Monday, July 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



PUDA wakes up to quake threat
Building bylaws to be amended
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 8
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has finalised a strategy to check the impact of earthquakes on structures in Punjab. A comprehensive techno-legal system to check and minimise the effect of disasters on human settlements was being evolved, said a spokesman of the authority.

In a recent meeting of an interdepartmental multi-disciplinary working group under the chairmanship of the Chief Administrator of PUDA, it was decided to comply with the existing provisions in PUDA and municipal building bylaws at the stage of sanctioning of building plans. For multi-storeyed buildings exceeding three floors, the bylaws would be amended to obtain detailed calculation of the structural stability from a qualified engineer. These amendments would extend to all the public buildings, irrespective of the number of storeys.

In Punjab, PUDA would enforce the building codes in its over 12 urban estates. Construction of District Administrative Complex and other building projects were entrusted to PUDA.

The working group recommended amendments in the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, to incorporate provisions regarding marking of disaster-prone areas in master plans. A consultation paper was being brought out by PUDA soon, said the spokesman.

An integrated training programme for masons and builders was also being started by PUDA. The Punjab Government had also decided to enforce the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) code to provide quake-proof buildings in the state. The design adopted would be one seismic zone up.

The northern region — comprising Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ambala, Delhi, Shimla and Roorkee — fall in zone IV as per the magnitude of earthquakes measured on Richter’s scale. As per the vulnerability atlas compiled by the Union Ministry of Urban Housing, Punjab falls in seismic zones III and IV. As per the decision taken by the government, the structure and architecture of the buildings would be as per the code specifications for a higher seismic zone.

Structural engineers in the country feel that after the natural calamity in Gujarat, the seismic zoning needed to be revised on the basis of earthquake in the last one decade. In the state-wise list of the priority areas with respect to safety of building and houses in natural hazard-prone regions, the expert group indicated risk to Punjab from floods and earthquakes. Risk assessment of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Amritsar and formation of district-wise preparedness plans had been suggested.


Health Minister’s order to PGI 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
In an interesting development the Union Health Minister, Dr C.P. Thakur, has directed the PGI administration to take the case of the PGI Medical Superintendent-cum-Additional Professor, Dr A.K. Gupta, to the PGI governing body meeting scheduled on July 25 to decide whether he should be given the designation of professor or not.

In a letter written to the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, around a week ago, the minister decided to take up the issue. This was following a request made by Dr Gupta directly to the Health Minister bypassing the various PGI authorities including the PGI Director, sources add.

The governing body would also discuss the issue of appointment of Dean. The institute has been without a Dean now for the past three years. Head of the Orthopaedics Departments Prof O.N. Nagi’s name has been included in the list of probables for this important post this time. Others whose names appeal in the list include, Prof Subhash Kumari Gupta, Prof R.J. Dash, Prof R.N. Kataria, Prof Sarla Gopalan and Prof Sudha Suri.

Sources in the Health Ministry say that Prof Nagi stands a very good chance of being selected as Dean. In the last two governing body meetings when the issue of dean was discussed, Histopathology Head, Prof A.K. Banerjee, was among the fore runners for the post. However, since he is retiring in the end of this month, his candidature may not seriously figure during the discussions.

Sources add that another issue on the agenda would be the giving of a green signal to those candidates who had appeared for the posts of assistant professor about two months ago and have been approved by the PGI selection committee.

An important point which is likely to figure in the meeting is the ratification of the decision of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) regarding promotion of about 20 professors to the rank of senior professors. There are apprehension in the top rung that the issue would invite serious deliberations as the name of the Endocrinology Head, Dr R.J. Dash, who is one of the senior most professors of the PGI does not figure in the list of the doctors whose name has been recommended by the DPC for promotion. It is to be seen whether the body ratifies this decision or asks for further investigations as to why Dr Dash has been excluded from the list.

Apart from these issues, the governing body is also likely to discuss issues related to financial and other anomalies in different cadres. 


Parents of PGI MS murdered
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 8
The parents of Dr A.K. Gupta, Medical Suprintendent, PGI, Chandigarh, were found murdered in their house in Sector 6 of the posh Trikuta Nagar Colony in Jammu on Sunday night.

The police said Prof U.C. Gupta and his wife were found to have been murdered by the burglars who had barged into the house mid-day. According to the DIG, Police, Dr S.P. Vaid, a couple of almirahs and the safe were found broken which indicated that the burglars may have killed the parents of Dr A.K. Gupta. The bodies were found to be lying inside the house in a pool of blood.

The police said Dr A.K. Gupta had talked to his parents from Chandigarh this morning and had conveyed to them that he would be visiting them this evening. By the time Dr Gupta reached his house his parents had been, murdered.

The police has registered a case and a manhunt has been launched for the killers.


Poppy husk seized from CTU driver
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Crime Branch Operation Cell of the city police has reportedly unearthed a nexus between poppy husk smugglers in Uttar Pradesh and CTU bus drivers, who act as carriers for the drugs to be smuggled here.

A bus driver with the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, Depot Number 1, Balkar Singh, was arrested by the cell this afternoon and four-and-a-half kilogram of poppy husk was seized from his possession.

He was on way to the CTU workshop after dropping passengers at the ISBT, Sector 17 . He was coming back after a trip to Rishikesh and Hardwar. It is learnt that they buy the drug from vends in Uttar Pradesh at the rate of Rs 50 a kg and sell it here at the rate of Rs 300 to Rs 400 per kg.

Balkar Singh was arrested during a naka on the Sector 19- 20 dividing road. The drug was found in a bag under the driver’s seat.

In another case, 10 kg of poppy husk was seized from Billu Kumar, a resident of Samrala, from the ISBT, this morning. 


Cameras to monitor big cats
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, July 8
To keep a close eye on tigers, their upkeep and health care, the Chhat Bir zoo authorities today installed three close-circuit cameras in two enclosures. The decision has been taken by the authorities to monitor different activities of the beasts as well as to provide them more security.

The Chhat Bir is, perhaps the first zoo in this part of the country with this facility. The authorities have spent over Rs 35,000 on the project which will benefit the big cats..

Sources said that two cameras were installed in the first tiger enclosure and one in the second enclosure. In the first enclosure, one camera was installed in the inner house, meant for the sick and injured animals, while the second will display the outer view of the enclosure. The third camera, installed in the second enclosure, will help in monitoring the day to day activities of the striped cats.

Mr R. K. Luna, Additional Chief Wildlife Warden, confirmed the installation of the cameras and said the cameras would be controlled from the office of the Zoo Director. The doctors and other officials would be able to monitor the activities of the animals by these cameras. ‘‘Improvement in the health or healing of wounds of an injured animal could be thoroughly watched by the doctors and other zoo officials‘‘ he said.

Mr Luna said the cameras will also prove helpful in watching quantity of the beef being fed to the animals by keepers. Apart from this, the activities of the zoo keepers would be also monitored.

The cameras installed in the enclosures to monitor the activities of the cats will also help in observing their mating time and the birth and the death of animals. Moreover, the visitors teasing the animals and feeding them, which is not permitted, would be identified.

He said the cameras had been installed on experimental basis. More cameras would be installed within the Lion Safari and in other enclosures if the project succeeded. In order to avoid the re-sale of tickets the authorities are also planning to install a camera in the ticket house.

Mr Luna claimed that zoo had fetched a revenue of Rs 5,19,725 in the month of June. The revenue earned during the same period last year was Rs 2,08,000.

Meanwhile, 40 budgerigars which were shifted by the zoo authorities from a Mini Zoo located in Neelon near Ludhiana have become an attraction for the visitors.

Three porcupines, including one female one, have also been shifted from the Neelon Mini Zoo to Chhat Bir zoo.


Global treat for smokers in city
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The City Beautiful has reportedly become a major hub for the sale of smuggled cigarettes in North India. From the world’ s best known brands to the completely unheard of ones, foreign cigarettes of all sizes and origins have flooded the market here.

The imposition of 15 per cent excise duty surcharge on cigarettes in the Budget- 2001, has seen a sudden spurt in the entry of smuggled cigarettes in the city markets. The surcharge drove most Indian companies out of the Re 1 filter cigarette market. Once the Indian companies vacated nearly one third of this market segment, the smuggled cigarettes came in. With absolutely no check their sale has picked up rapidly . So much so that even the next door paan- beeri kiosk proudly displays the imported cigarettes.

It is learnt that cigarettes are being smuggled in the country not just from Pakistan, but also from Nepal and Bangladesh. Sources inform that most of these imported brands reaching the market here are routed through Amritsar, where the consignment generally arrives from across the border.

It is learnt that the consignments of cigarettes arrive in the holy city either through rail or through land, for its onward distribution to various cities of Punjab and Haryana- right till Delhi. Sources say that a majority of this consignment is meant for Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh.

Sources engaged in the trade also inform that a number of consignments arrive here through post. The local wholesale dealers here reportedly give a fake address to their associates in Nepal and Bangladesh, who send the parcels here, to be collected by the dealers from the post office. The fake addresses are to save their skin in case the parcels are seized by the Central Excise and Customs.

A visit to various cigarette retailers in the city revealed that other than the popular brands like State Express 555, Dunhill, Marlboro, More and Benson and Hedges, obscure brands like Mild Seven Lights, Super Kings, Aziz Gold, Gudang Garam et al are also selling across the city. It may be mentioned that it is not just the cigarettes made in the USA, Germany and United Kingdom that are flooding the market here, but also the ones made in several Asian countries like Japan and Indonesia.

The reason for the rise in smuggling of cigarettes is that their prices are comparative to the prices of cigarettes made in India. A cigarette retailer in the Sector 17 market, on condition of anonymity informed that almost all smuggled brands are available to the customer for Rs 2 a cigarette. As compared to this, the cheapest Indian king- sized cigarette is available for Rs 2.50.

Another retailer in Sector 35 pointed out that a few of the imported brands that are also manufactured in India like Benson and Hedges and State Express 555, are also being smuggled in large quantities. He says that the smuggled cigarettes are cheaper than the ones manufactured here.

Talking about the clientele, a retailer in Sector 26 on the Madhya Marg pointed out that it mainly consisted of the youth belonging to the upper echelon’s of the society. “ As of now, the percentage share of the smuggled cigarette was very less as compared to the share of the Indian cigarettes, but it is definitely making a hole in the latter’s market share,” he points out.

Interestingly, most of the cigarette dealers and retailers in the city point out that while earlier the trade was carried on clandestinely in the rehri markets, with no official objection, it has come out in the open now. 


Injured in training, cop denied aid
Kiran Deep

Gurpreet SinghChandigarh, July 6
Punjab Police constable Gurpreet Singh has been running from pillar to post for the past eight years to seek medical aid after being injured in police training, but to no avail. He was appointed constable in 1990 at Police Lines, Sangrur.

He was sent for a training course at Ladha Kothi, Sangrur, in 1993. During the course, he suffered serious spinal cord injury and was admitted to Civil Hospital, Sangrur, He underwent medical treatment at Police Hospital, P.R.T.C., Civil Hospital, Sangrur, Government Medical College, C.M.C, Ludhiana, Indian Spinal Injuries Central, New Delhi. But since 1993, he had not been provided with any medical aid by the police department.

Despite a number of representations to various senior officials for help, no one took note of his problem. He also gave a representation to the Chief Secretary and to the Chief Minister of Punjab. Finally he sent a complaint to the Director-General of Punjab Police for medical aid. He said, “If my demand is not met soon, I will sit on indefinite fast in front of the office of DGP (Punjab).”

Narrating his tale of woe, Mr Gurpreet Singh said, “I am going through a great financial problem. I have taken a loan from my relatives for medical treatment. My family is surviving only on my mother’s pension”.

He added that he underwent a major spinal cord operation on February 15, 1997, at Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, and spent the entire money. The operation did not prove successful and the medical authorities recommended a fresh spinal cord operation in 1998.

“I have been undergoing treatment at the PGI since December, 2000. Various tests like MRI and contrast MRI have been conducted and reports have clearly stated that I have been suffering from injury for eight years. Due to lack of proper medical facilities, I have also suffered from many other diseases. My legs were also affected. I could not stand for a long time. Despite all this, the department has not given me any financial help for medical treatment,” he added.

He said the records of his ailment were shown to the SSP, Sangrur, but alleged that nothing had been done. The department had not sanctioned any amount to the victim. He complained that his family members also suffered to a great extent. He added that the whole treatment and operation would cost Rs 2.5 lakh.

Mr Gurpreet added that despite being advised bed rest by the medical officer, the department had not considered his problem and posted him to a tough job. He said he had requested that he should be shifted to the any clerical or light job.

He said taking serious note of his problem, the chairman of the medical board, Police Range, Patiala, who was also in charge of the police hospital, had recommended his case to the SSP, Sangrur, for the grant of financial aid for the operation of the spinal cord. He added that the medical officer had also advised him that the delay in treatment would cause danger to his health, but nothing had happened so far. His case was now referred to the PGI for operation of the spinal cord.


Haryana Aam Kesri title for Rajinder
Tribune News Service

Pinjore, July 8
The exhibition-cum-sale counter of the state horticulture department attracted a large number of farmers and visitors on the second day of the tenth Mango Mela at Yadavindra Gardens, here today.

The stall was particularly put up with the objective of demonstration of departmental activities and transfer of latest technological knowhow to the cultivators. The representatives of the department present at the venue interacted with the mango growers and answered related queries also.

The winners of the competition, Shams Nursery of Gazipur in Uttar Pradesh and Mr Rajinder Pal Singh from Khera village in Yamunanagar district, were given a shield by the Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr L.M. Goyal, in the evening, for the best mango variety. They won the titles of “Hind Aam Kesri” and “Haryana Aam Kesri” respectively. Yamunanagar district won the award for “Best district” in the Mango Mela.

A cultural programme by the North Zone Cultural Centre and the West Zone Cultural Centre at the concluding function was appreciated by those present. The sound of the dhol resounded at the venue all through the day while puppet show and day performers including tightrope walkers entertained the crowds. Stalls for eatables dotted the garden and joyrides for children proved to be a major attraction.

With over 2,987 entries from mango growers and farmers from Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi, the main varieties at the mela were — dusheri, langra, chausa, alphanso, Bombay green, amarpali, ramkela, arka neelkiran.

Besides various varieties of mango, the mela received 168 entries of home-made and processed mango products like jams, juices, chatney, pickle and squash while 513 varieties of mangoes were on display.

The mela was inaugurated by the Agriculture Minister of Haryana, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, last evening. While going around the various stalls, Mr Sandhu said such functions should be organised for all crops at different places in the state regularly. He also asked the farmers to boost the production of fruits, vegetables and flowers especially since the state had already attained self-sufficiency in the production of foodgrains.

The Director, Dr V.P. Ahlawat, said enteries had been received from as far as Andhra Pradesh and had been sent through courier for the festival which attracts mango growers from all corners of country.

After the Mango Mela concluded, all varieties of mangoes on display were handed over to army personnel for distribution at the Command Hospital in Chandimandir as a goodwill gesture on the part of the Haryana Horticulture Department and the Haryana Tourism Department. 


XEN cremated, case registered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
The death of Uma Kant Sharma, Executive Engineer with the Irrigation Department of Haryana, due to electrocution at his residence in Sector 37 here yesterday could have been more disastrous. According to Mr Lalit Sharma, son of the deceased, ‘‘My mother and myself were desperately trying to pull out my father from the wire fencing and we two could have been electrocuted’’. Both received shocks while trying to rescue Uma Kant Sharma.

Once again the callous face of the city came to the fore with a number of neighbours standing as mute spectators to the tragedy that unfolded before their eyes. Mr Lalit Sharma complained that a few labourers were also engaged at their residence for renovation work. “Even they preferred not to come to our help,” he lamented.

“It was only after we managed to pull out my father that people came forward to offer help,” says Lalit. His sister, Chandrika Sharma, who is in Baroda at the time of the accident flew back to the city today. The body was consigned to the flames at the Sector 25 cremation grounds here today.

Meanwhile, the local police has registered a case against the UT Electricity Department and Cable Communication Network for causing death due to negligence on the complaint of Lalit.

Uma Kant died after he accidentally touched the wire fencing on which a television cable wire had fallen which was in further contact with a live power cable.

However, in order to hush up the case and avoid getting embroiled in the case, officials of the Electricity Department allegedly rushed to the spot after the incident and disconnected the television cable wire and also repaired all loose connections in the area.

Narrating the turn of events, Lalit said yesterday his father and mother returned home after visiting a relative in Panchkula. He said, ‘‘My father dropped my mother and went to a nearby open space to park his car’’. He said after parking the car Uma Kant decided to jump the fence to enter the house.

Lalit, who was waiting at the porch with an umbrella, said ‘‘Suddenly my father fell on the ground and starting shouting and I ran to pick him up’’. He said when he touched his father he received a ‘‘very strong electric shock’’. He reportedly fell on the ground. In the meantime, Ms Mala Sharma, wife of the deceased, also went ahead to rescue her husband but met the same fate as that of her son.

Lalit said his father was trapped in the wire fencing and knee-deep water on the road. ‘‘I started looking for a wooden log but all logs were wet’’, said Lalit.

In the meantime he found a dry log and with the help of it he succeeded in breaking the wire fencing. After that the victim was immediately rushed to the PGI where he was declared dead. 


PU Dean Malik passes away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Dean Foreign Students, Panjab University, Prof S.K. Malik, died last night. He was cremated here today.

Professor Malik had suffered a heart failure yesterday . He was a senior faculty in the Department of Mathematics. Professor Malik was recipient of the Prof V.V. Naglikar award. He had also been awarded the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar award in 1985. He was a MSc in Physics (1963) from Delhi University and was a doctorate holder.

Professor Malik had earlier won a scholarship from the Wisconsin University, USA. He had later joined Panjab University as a lecturer. He won the coveted Meghnad Saha award in 1995. Professor Malik had recently been awarded the Jawahar Lal Birth Centenary Fellowship in 2000.

He was a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Science in 1993.



Well-known Pakistani playback singer Humera Channa, who visited City Beautiful last month under the Indo-Pak culture exchange programme has returned home with happy memories.

Accompanied by her father, Mohammad Gulam Channa, a film producer and mother, Khairunnisa Channa, who is also a film producer in her own right, she arrived in Chandigarh on June 19. During her stay here she gave a series of performances, including two organised on June 20 and 21 at the Panjab University auditorium under the auspices of the Punjabi Parivar Association of India, one at Chandigarh Club on June 24 and one at the All India Speakers Conference on June 29.

In a communication to The Tribune, she says that “all programmes were very well attended, appreciated by all and covered by Zee, Star and local TV and all newspapers. We enjoyed our stay and hospitality of the people of Chandigarh and are leaving for Mumbai with very happy memories. We met a large number of people and were very warmly received. Receptions and treatment meted out to us have been beyond our expectations at all places”.

Always on

Water may be a precious commodity but authorities concerned seem to care two hoots for it. A case in point is a water tap at the regulator end of Sukhna Lake which never stops, thus wasting hundreds of gallons of water.

It was near this particular spot that “shramdan” was launched by the Chandigarh Administration about a couple of months ago. But the problem seemed to have escaped the notice of the authorities.

Free advertisements , started in 1998 by two city students, Nakul Goyal and Gaurav Singhal , has completed 26 websites and portals . The team today has eight members . After developing a site on the Gujarat tragedy, which was also acknowledged by the Indian Government and was listed on the special page of, the team has now developed a mega advertising and classifieds portal where advertisements (for Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali) can be placed free of cost.

The site named has features, including advertisements in 40 main and 175 subcategories. Users will be free to modify their ads which will be active between 3 and 90 days, by putting in their login and password. One can post classifieds, messages for various categories like birthday messages, matrimonials , to let , car for sale etc.

Singh to Ram

A goof-up by the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Chandigarh, while renewing a passport was brought to light by a Tribune reader. His father, Babu Singh Heran, was holding a passport No. A-265124, issued on November 15, 1990. When the passport was sent for renewal, the passport issued subsequently on June 20, 2001 (No.B-5485471), however, had changed the bearer’s name to Babu Ram.



‘Reasons behind Kashmir problem need to be addressed’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Welcoming the forthcoming Indo-Pak summit, several city-based political theorists have stated that the most pertinent question which needs to be addressed during the summit is why Kashmir has become a problem. The least the leaders on both sides can do is not to allow the Kashmir issue to be used for de-democratisation of polity, as a justification for not being able to remove poverty, inequality and unemployment, and denial of cultural and linguistic rights to other cultural groups.

A statement signed by political theorist Dr Randhir Singh, social scientist Dr Pramod Kumar, Punjabi theorist Ms Neelam Mansingh, former Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr G. S. Grewal, Prof Pradeep Kumar added that leaders should think of not allowing the Kashmir issue to become an easy escape route for those who were not committed to the development process or to militarise the region.

They added that economic and military integration and political marginalisation of south Asian countries in the global decision-making system had created a mismatch, and the summit leaders might think of demanding global denuclearisation, end of militarisation of the region and an active role of south Asian countries in global decision-making bodies.

The Kashmir issue, it further added, should be addressed as an issue of Kashmiri people needing restoration of their economic, political and cultural rights like any other cultural group.

Suggesting that trust and confidence building mechanisms should be allowed to percolate to other spheres of human interactions such as collaborative knowledge generation programmes to meet challenges posed by unequal global competition as envisaged in regimes like the WTO, the statement added that this would lead to reduction of hostility and antagonisms by transforming rigid positions into alternative political choices.

Pointing out that historical problems could not be resolved in a jiffy, the statement added that the dialogue, therefore, must not end with this summit. The terms of reference, it further stated, should be guided by the democratic and secular principles of governance.


Dhawan followers: expulsion will be a boon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan who is facing disciplinary action for alleged anti-party activities from the Congress seems keen to severe ties with the party to rebuild his local base by fielding 20 candidates for the coming Municipal Corporation elections due by the year end.

With raising a banner of revolt against the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and his expulsion being a foregone conclusion, the former Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) leader has been left with the task of rebuilding his base block by block for survival and for that he will immediately have to show his presence in the MC elections, sources close to Mr Dhawan said.

“In fact, Dhawan had precipitated his exit from the party by announcing several programmes against inaction of municipal members through the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM), which had been formed to independently remain in the public notice,” the sources said.

They said, “As municipal elections are fought on local issues and presence of national parties does not make much of a difference in making or marring chances of a candidate, Mr Dhawan with his committed following amongst lower strata of society may give a run for money to both the BJP and the Congress in many constituencies.”

Mr Dhawan’s followers are basing their calculations of a good showing in the MC polls on the ground that both BJP and the Congress will have to face anti-incumbency factor for allegedly not delivering the goods.

They said that the infighting within the BJP, which resulted in the official party candidate losing despite having 15-member support in the 20-member house, and the Congress will also brighten chances of the CVM candidates. The sources said Mr Dhawan who had been getting good number of votes as an SJP candidate in Parliament elections on his personal appeal had been instrumental in the victory of the Congress candidate, Mr Pawan Bansal, in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

They said with Mr Bansal and another former Union Minister Vinod Sharma ganging up against Mr Dhawan, former SJP leader’s camp was apprehensive of their supporters not getting a fair deal in terms of party tickets.

The sources said Mr Dhawan’s revolt against the Congress is not aimed at his ambition for a parliamentary term, but to control the MC which, if grabbed, may bring Mr Dhawan into a term-dictating position for extracting a good bargain from any political party in the future.

The Congress sources, however, accuse the former Union Minister of being a lonely plougher not ready to fit in the party’s scheme of things and termed him as a “marginal force”. The sources close to Mr Dhawan hope to put up candidates on all 20 corporation seats to make a standing of his own and are hopeful of getting good results.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) here today rallied around the AICC president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to demand immediate expulsion of the former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, for questioning her capability to lead the nation.

The CTYC in a meeting, chaired by the legal cell convener of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), Mr Dinesh Kumar, and presided over by Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, condemned Mr Dhawan for his outburst.


NAC status sought for Naya Gaon
Our Correspondent

Naya Gaon (Kharar), July 8
Representatives of three villages — Naya Gaon, Kansal and Karoran — today demanded a Notified Area Committee (NAC) status for Naya Gaon and development work in the three villages. They communicated their grievances to the Jathedar of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Mr Ujjagar Singh Badali, a front runner as SAD nominee from Morinda assembly constituency in the elections due early next year.

The representatives communicated to the Jathedar that the entire area would vote for the candidate who would work for the development of the area. The residents were for long demanding removal of four liquor vends situated on the Khuda Ali Sher road, adjacent to the Punjab Engineering College in Sector 12 of Chandigarh, and improvement of village roads.

Addressing the meeting, Mr H.S.Bajwa, sarpanch of Naya Gaon village demanded that the Punjab Government should immediately lift ban on release of water and electricity connections to the residents of Naya Gaon who had constructed their houses after December 9, 1998. The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority had stopped the connections to the houses constructed after December 9, 1998.

Addressing the gathering, president of the Joint Action Committee, Mr Manjeet Singh Kamboj, demanded that NAC status should be immediately granted to the area. According to him, NAC status to the area would solve all problems. The residents were also demanding the extension of the lal dora of the villages so that the increased population could be adjusted. The three villages have an estimated population of 30,000.

Mr Badali promised the villagers that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, would visit the area in the near future and would make ‘‘important announcements’’. The Jathedar also informed that money would be released to the village sarpanches in the next week for carrying out development works in their respective villages. The Punjab Finance Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh, had recently sanctioned Rs 35 lakh for development of villages falling in Morinda constituency.

Asked about his candidature as SAD nominee, Mr Badali said, ‘‘I am just a worker. The candidature is to be decided by Mr Prakash Singh Badal’’. 


A driver’s nightmare
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Poorly laid tarmac surface dotted with potholes and depressions on the road dividing Sectors 42 and 43, particularly at the crossing separating the two sectors has made it a driver’s nightmare. Things become worse especially during night, when drivers fail to notice these depressions leading to accidents.

Residents of the area, who are rather sore about the improper upkeep and maintenance, point out that the constant water leakage from a pipeline close to it, during the past few months has further led to the weakening of this road. Those residing in State Bank Colony in Sector 42 said the problem aggravated in monsoons when rain water accumulated in these potholes making it more dangerous for those driving on it. Surinder Raghav, a bank employee said a woman employee of his bank had sustained head injuries after falling from her scooter near this round about. He said more such accidents would take place if the road was not repaired immediately. The absence of streetlights in the area has also led to many serious accidents, but till date not much has been done for the betterment of the area.

Some other residents, who drive amidst these potholes daily point out the damage caused to their vehicles. Aarti says, “I had to change the tyres of my scooter in less than a year and the suspension has also been damaged’’. Another resident pointed out that repair work on the water supply line was yet to be completed.

This roundabout has become a major accident prone area ever since heavy vehicles have started passing through the road to go to the Inter State Bus terminus in Sector 43. Even the parking area in front of the mini market of the sector is in an unfinished state.

President of the Resident Welfare Association, Sector 42 -B, Mr Shiv Kumar, pointed out “residents of this southern sector have been without basic facilities for more than 10 years now and the authorities have not paid any heed to their persistent complaints”. They had recently once again sent a memorandum to Lt Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob and urged him to visit their sector to know about the stepmotherly treatment being meted out to them. They have also sought that they should be provided basic amenities in line with other sectors.

While the residents blame the MC for its apathy, a senior official said the work had been held up due to the constraint of funds. He disclosed that water pipeline would rupture often due to the flow of heavy traffic on these roads and work was being undertaken to strengthen this patch by putting RC slabs since the estimate for the same had been approved now. Once this was completed in the next few days, the repair of the said crossing would be undertaken. 


Himachal Mahasabha holds annual function
Tribune News Service

The Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Dr Suraj Bhan, lights the lamp to inaugurate the annual function of the Himachal Mahasabha in Chandigarh on Sunday.
The Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Dr Suraj Bhan, lights the lamp to inaugurate the annual function of the Himachal Mahasabha in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Chandigarh, July 8
The Himachal Pradesh Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, today eulogised Himachalis formaking relentless efforts to make Himachal an ideal state.

He said Himachali people, by making supreme sacrifices, had rendered sincere service and played heroic role on the frontiers for defending the nation and its glory both during the independence struggle as also in wars in the post-Independence period. “Himachal Pradesh is not only a land of gods, but is also a land of the brave and nationalists,” he remarked.

Presiding over the eighth annual function of the Himachal Mahasabha organised at Panjab University Auditorium, the Governor said great sacrifices were made for Independence of the country. The history of their sustained struggle and supreme sacrifices was also repeated by martyrs during the Kargil operation, when 52 brave Himachalis laid down their lives for the motherland.

The Governor also appreciated the role of the mahasabha for its benevolent acts in the field of socio-economic uplift of weaker sections and providing a helping hand to the needy and other beneficiaries.

Earlier welcoming the Governor and other dignitaries, Mr M.P. Agnihotri, president of the mahasabha, said all-out efforts were afoot to unite all Himachalis living in the area, including Panchkula, SAS Nagar and Chandigarh, to bring them on a common platform. He also said the mahasabha, with the help of Lion Club, had arranged the marriage of 21 girls from poor families. He revealed that the mahasabha had also provided financial assistance regularly to the deaf and dumb school and the muni mandir.

Mr M.R. Verma, general secretary of the mahasabha, detailed the activities of the mahasabha and urged the chief guest to help them acquire land for the construction of a residential colony for Himachalis at Baddi. The Governor also released a souvenir of the mahasabha and a Himachali cultural programme were also organised on the occasion.


Residents up in arms against PUDA
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 8
Residents of Phase 3-A here, adjoining the Nehru Colony in Kajehri village in Chandigarh, are up in arms against the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and the local civic body for not taking action against the slum dwellers who were from creating insanitary conditions in the area.

They lamented that the slum-dwellers defecate in the open area adjoining their houses and any effort to stop them attracted violent reaction. Mr Manomhan Singh, a retired technocrat, said a boundary wall raised by PUDA to prevent the slum-dwellers from crossing over had been broken at some places. It may be recalled that the efforts by PUDA to create a roadblock had resulted in a violent protest with the jhuggi-dwellers blocking the traffic on the main-road which connects Chandigarh with the township near Yadvindra Public School, here last year.


HVP decries poor sanitation
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
Rueing insanitary conditions in the colonies inhabited by jhuggi-dwellers, president of the district unit of the Haryana Vikas Parishad, Mr K.P. Singh, said the government must initiate steps to rehabilitate jhuggi-dwellers and provide them with basic amenities.

Addressing a press conference, he said if his party came to power in the state, it would provide alternative accomodation to residents of these colonies besides basic amenities like water, electricity and ration card.

He added that the residents in these colonies should be issued voter identity cards after verification that their vote in their native lands had been cancelled.

Taking up the issue of hike in power tariff, Mr Singh said the government should introduce a slab system in the power units consumed by farmers in the Barwala block.

He raised the issues of non-construction of a dispensary at Chiplana village, the exploitation of farmers by middlemen in sale of ginger and sugarcane crop and anti-farmer attitude of the present government.


Raksha Dal’s plea to improve basic amenities
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 8
The ex-servicemen cell of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal has drawn the attention of the President of the local civic body towards the poor state of basic amenities in Sector 71.

The cell said street lights had not been made functional despite repeated reminders to the officials concerned.

Lt-Col S.S. Sohi, general secretary of the cell, said wild growth had covered all open spaces.

The road gullies required immediate attention. About the cattle menace, the residents said inhabitants of Jhota Kut Colony were rearing the milch cattle. They also pleaded for proper maintenance of parks and green spaces in the sector.


Mango prices crash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
There is good news for the mango-lovers as the price of the “king of fruits” has crashed.

The local Grain Market and the retail markets have been virtually flooded with the fruit, bringing it within the reach of the common man. The fall in the price was attributed to the bumper crop in the region.

Inquiries revealed that abundant supplies to the city were another reason for the fall in the price. The city gets its supply mainly from the Saharanpur and Lucknow belts in UP, besides Punjab and Haryana. Also the harvest in the Mango Belt in Sector 29, which had been bad for the past several years, has been good this year.

According to a survey of the retail markets and the Grain Market, the common varieties such as the Dasehri, the Chausa and the Banarsi were priced at Rs 10 per kg. The Langra variety of the fruit was priced at Rs 15 per kg. However, the prices varied slightly, depending upon the quality.

An interesting aspect this year was that there was not much variation in the prices between the Sector 26 Grain Market and the retail markets. It was probably for the first time in many years that the prices had dropped to this level, Mr Paramjit Singh, a fruit seller in the Azad Market, Sector 20, said.


Kisan Club’ to meet WTO challenge
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
The ‘Kisan club’ would be constituted in the district as an answer to the challenge put to the farming community by WTO.

Stating this at a press-conference organised after the District Grievances Committee meeting, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, said the purpose of the club was to share the latest know-how and information in the agriculture sector with farmers.

The first meeting of the club would be held on July 12, she said. Ms Arora added that the administration had floated a scheme under which the departments have been urged to reduce the power consumption. The departments reducing their power consumption upto 10 per cent would be given awards by the government, she said.

The DC stated that the afforestation drive to be launched in villages would last over a month with one officer looking after five villages for the purpose.

Earlier, taking up complaints of residents at the meeting, Ms Arora directed the police to register a case against the accused involved in destroying the crop of Kato Devi of Ganauli village.

The DC directed the SDM to arrange compensation for the injuries received by Mr Rajesh Kumar who had lost his arm while working at a factory in Kala Amb.


Safe use of LPG highlighted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
A camp on the safe use of LPG was held at Tribune Colony, Baltana. It was organised by Ram Chander and Sons in collaboration with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Chandigarh.

The main thrust of the camp was to make the consumers aware of the safe use of LPG and need for its conservation.

Ms Neelam Aggarwal, Assistant Manager Indian Oil, Chandigarh, educated the housewives about the various precautions and the safety measures to be observed while using LPG in kitchen. Sh. Saurabh Dutt Dy. Manager (LPG) from Indane Area office was also associated in the clinic.

A quiz competition was also held on the occasion. Ms Sunder Kumari Tiwari won the first prize. Ms Neelam Aggarwal gave away the prizes to the winners of the competition. 


Stitching centre inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
A stitching and embroidery centre was inaugurated at Sant Namdev Bhavan ,Sector 21, here today. About 30 women would be imparted training at the institute. Ten new sewing machines were installed at the school. Two trained teachers would impart training at the centre.

The local, MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, was the chief guest. He said,’’ It is a good effort made by the Namdev Educational Society . Such schools giving training on professional courses should be encouraged.’’

The vice-president of the society, Mr Amarjit Battu, said,’’ The society is already running two batches for stitching and embroidery .Opening of this school will fetch us more women interested in learning embroidery and stitching.’’ 


CHB allottees hold rally
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
Thousands of members of the Chandigarh Housing Board Residents Federations participated in the seventh Sunday campaign rally held in Sector 41-A here today. The rally was organised by the LIG allottee UT Employees Welfare Association.

Members gathered to persuade the CHB authorities to withdraw July 31, threat and to review the hastily given concessions so as to regularise more structurally sound, unencroaching additions, alterations, to decide very reasonable composition fee, to flash down the heavy transfer of ownership fee for the GPA-holders, and also to modify the language of the affidavit to be given by the GPA holders.


Residents block traffic
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
A large number of residents of Sector 49-B blocked the separating road Sectors 46 and Sector 49 for about five hours in protest against power failure in their sector.

Mr Anil Kumar Sharma, general secretary of Pushpac, said the residents had to take the extreme step as no action was taken when about 100 residents went to the office of the SDO, Sector 20, to register their complaint in this connection.


Mechanics’ rally on July 10
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
Members of the Auto Mechanics Federation continued their agitation against the UT Administration here today.

The federation has also decided to hold a scooter and car rally on July 10. Mr Kadion informed that indefinite fast by members of the federation entered 12th day. He alleged that the Administration had done wrong survey for the allotment of booths.


Spurious soft drink manufacturer held
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 8
The police has arrested a resident of Bhuddanpur village for allegedly manufacturing spurious soft drinks.

Sources in the department said that a police party conducted raid on a tip off and arrested Sidhu Kumar from house number 165 of the village. A number of crates, bottles and lids of various soft drink brands were also seized from the site. He was selling his products in various nearby villages and slums.

A case under Sections 420, 272 and 273 of the IPC has been registered. The accused was later produced in the court of Mr Pushpinder Yadav and was remanded to judicial custody. 


Two cheats arrested
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 8
The local police today arrested two cheats and recovered Rs 20,000 from their possession. According to information, Kamal Kishore and Tarlochan Singh were arrested while they were allegedly tried to lure a woman of Phase 3B 1 to purchase gold at a price less than its market price.

During interrogation they confessed that they had connived with Surinder Kaur, a resident of Bhegowal, to cheat the woman, Manjeet Kaur, of Rs 50,000. The suspects had allegedly cheated several persons in Jalandhar, Sirhind, Khokhamajra and Rajindergarh.

A case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC has been registered.


Video parlour owner booked
Surinder Kumar, a video parlour owner in Sadar Bazaar, Sector 19, was arrested on charges of in possessing of CDs of blue films.

The accused was arrested from his shop in Bapu Dham Colony. He has been booked under Section 292 of the IPC. He was later granted bail.

Booth burgled
Thirteen kg of butter, seven kg of desi ghee and ice-cream were stolen from a milk booth in Sector 15-D on the night of July 6. A case of burglary under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Five arrested
Five persons — Gurnam Singh, Mohinder Singh, Jeet Singh, Jaginder Singh and Kehar Singh — residents of Khuda Alisher, were arrested for apprehension of breach of peace. A case under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC has been registered.

Women held
Two women, Cheenu and Meenu, were arrested after they had stolen 10 registers from the SBI main branch in Sector 17. They have been booked under Section 454, 411 and 380 of the IPC.


Boy escapes kidnappers’ clutches
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, July 8
A Parwanoo boy managed to escape from the clutches of kidnappers at Chandigarh.

As per information, Arun Choudhary (11), a resident of Sector 6 here, was allegedly kidnapped by some car-borne kidnappers at 6 p.m. on Friday. The boy had gone out of the house for playing when some persons came in a white car and kidnapped him. According to the statement of the boy, there were three kidnappers and two more children in the car. Arun added that the children were tied and their mouths were tapped.

Arun said that as soon as the car reached near Chandigarh bus stop in Sector 17, he requested the kidnappers that he wanted to urinate and they allowed him. The boy said that he immediately got down from the car and tried to run away, but one of the kidnappers caught him again. He got himself released by biting on the arm of the kidnapper and ran away.

He said that after this he went to a nearby STD booth and informed his parents about the incident. His parents informed the local police. The police took the parents to Chandigarh and brought the boy back home.

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