Sunday, July 22, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Money makes the Mayor go
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, who is facing a series of corruption charges, resigned here today. The local Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, announced this at a press conference here today.

He said Mr Goyal had resigned due to the “non-cooperative” and “obstructive” attitude of councillors of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal, who were adamant on “disrupting the proceedings of the House of the Municipal Corporation”. He said the Mayor had resigned on his own and not under the party’s pressure. The copies of the Mayor’s resignation letter were released to the Press.

Mr Bansal said Mr Goyal had submitted the resignation to the MC Commissioner and later called on the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), to inform him about his step.

Mr Goyal and Mr B.B. Bahl, President of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), were also present at the press conference. Mr Bansal said the new Mayor should be elected within a week. He also said the Congress would not field its candidate for the post, but corrected himself soon afterwards to say that it would depend on the circumstances. The MP said the corporation should not be dissolved as its term was to expire on December 23 in any case.

Mr Goyal, who was elected Mayor in spite of his party being in minority, alleged that the BJP-SAD combine was not allowing the MC House to function smoothly. He also said the charges against him were baseless and he had not misused his position to construct shops at Mani Majra and sell soap of his firm to the MC.

“I have been made a target of slander and vilification campaign under a conspiracy. This way, the BJP it trying to cover up its failures of the first four years of the term,” Mr Goyal said. He alleged that the opposition had not allowed him to work for the development of the city. “I don’t want the city and the corporation to suffer due to petty politics,” Mr Goyal said in his resignation letter.

Mr Goyal had defeated Ms Ranjana Shahi of the BJP in the race to the Mayor’s seat by three votes on December 23 last. While Mr Goyal had received 16 votes, the BJP candidate had received 13. At least four BJP councillors were believed to have voted for Mr Goyal. The BJP-SAD combine has 15 elected members and the Congress four. While Ms Satinder Dhawan has left the Congress, there are nine nominated councillors in the 29-member civic body. Mr Bansal also has a right to vote.


What happens next?

The Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, will be the acting Mayor till the new incumbent takes over.

According to the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act of 1976 as extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, in case of a vacancy in the office of the Mayor, the Senior Deputy Mayor or the Deputy Mayor, the corporation shall elect the new incumbent within a month of the creation of this vacancy. Every person so elected shall hold office for the remaining period of his predecessor’s term.

The election authority, the UT Deputy Commissioner, will the issue notification to announce the election schedule, according to sources.


Cong, BJP blame each other
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The resignation of the minority Congress Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, embroiled in a soap scandal, has led to the faction-ridden Congress and the BJP locking horns with both blaming each other for not delivering the goods due to their bickering.

While the BJP has termed the resignation of Mr Goel as an effort to scuttle an impending disqualification after the inquiry is over on the issue and a manifestation of Congress division, the Congress blamed the majority BJP for first not serving the people for four years due to internal rivalries and then not allowing the Congress to do the same.

A former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, blamed both the BJP and the Congress, for depriving people of their due development due to the BJP and the Congress' intra and internal fighting and demanded dissolution of the House and fresh elections to relieve people of non-functioning administrations.

The BJP has decided to meet in a day or two and inform the national party General Secretary, Mr. O. P. Kohli, to decide the next course of options.

A senior BJP leader and former Mayor, Mr Gyanchand Gupta, said if Mr Goel was to resign he should have resigned from the council membership also in wake of elections and he could not function due to his own party’s bickering which warranted his resignation at least four months ago.

The local M P, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, demanded fresh mayoral elections within a week and urged the U T Administrator to ensure continuance of the Municipal Corporation till its term is completed on December 22.Back


Mayor’s resignation: CTCC puts ball in BJP’s court
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The ‘forcible’ resignation of the beleaguered Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, today seems to be an effort by the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee(CTCC) to put the ball in the BJP’s court.

According to sources, by asking the Mayor to put in his papers, the Congress, which had considerably been weakened, following the expulsion of the former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan and the resignation of Ms Satinder Dhawan, had tried to escape incumbency disadvantages in the ensuing elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) later this year.

Mr Goyal’s alleged acts of omission and commission had already caused much loss of face to the party and it was left with no alternative except force Mr Goyal to quit office. Party sources informed that though the party leaders had been suggesting to the Mayor to resign but in a past couple of days he was told in no uncertain terms to leave office as enough was enough. This was the best bargain for the party as in the run-up to the MCC poll the party could revamp its organisational structure while playing the role of ‘responsible opposition’.

And by blaming the majority BJP of ‘obstructing’ the proceeding of the House of the MCC for the past several months thus putting the development works at a standstill, the party has thrown the ball into the BJP’s court.Since according to the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, as extended to the Union Territory, Chandigarh, the election of the new Mayor has to held within one month, the BJP will be caught in a Catch-22 situation on the contesting of the election.

And for the faction-ridden BJP, whose official mayoral candidate, Ms Ranjana Shahi, lost to Mr Goyal on December 23 last year, it is virtually a choice between the devil and the deep sea. First, it would be difficult for the party to agree on an unanimous candidate. Even if the party bags the post of the Mayor, the anti-incumbency factor will come into play affecting the prospects of the party in the civic body poll.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that a section of the BJP is keen on having its own Mayor as it feels that with the majority support the party could actually stand to gain in the MCC poll since a lot of developmental work could be done in the next five months. The party is likely to chalk out its strategy at a meeting on Monday.



Panel on Bir Ghaggar problem to be reactivated’
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 21
Was an active committee constituted to settle the land dispute of the 30-year-old Bir Ghaggar problem declared defunct to wriggle out of a tight situation?

At least that is the stance the district administration adopted when faced by a road blockade by villagers to lodge their protest against the anti-encroachment drive here today.

The SDM (Panchkula), Mr M.S. Yadav, said that the committee constituted by the Haryana government had not met for long which had rendered it defunct. “Now, we will make a conscious effort to reactivate it and find an amicable solution to the long-pending dispute,” he added.

Ironically and in contradiction to this statement, the last meeting of the “defunct” body was scheduled to be held on June 23, according to information with the committee members. It was decided that the agenda of the meeting would include a public hearing at the village. However, a VIP visit to the district did not enable a meeting and a new date was yet to be fixed.

In addition, the committee had asked for the submission of the collector rate of the land in Bir Ghaggar from the office of the tehsildar which has not reached it till date.

Earlier, nothing concrete could be achieved in the six rounds of closed-door talks amongst the officials with absenteeism dominating the meetings of the committee. This time, the committee had decided to approach the affected villagers and hear their pleadings against being displaced.

Interestingly, while the committee had been entrusted with the task of making recommendations in the dispute involving occupation of forest land by villagers, it was conveniently sidelined for the purpose of the anti-encroachment drive.

It may be recalled that the government had constituted the committee with the intention of ending the tussle between legalising encroachment or shifting villagers of Bir Ghaggar residing in the protected forest area, a matter hanging fire for the last one-and-a-half years though the problem itself is over 30 years old.

Also, it is learnt that the action was initiated by the District Forest Officer, Pinjore, and Morni, as Collector under the Public Premises Eviction Act since cases had been registered against the villagers long back.

However, villagers felt that when the matter had come to the notice of the government which had, in turn, constituted a committee to resolve the differences, all cases should have been automatically put on hold.

“The district administration should have waited for the report before initiating any action on the front of evicting us. On the one hand the committee was preparing us for talks and on the other, a plan to evict us was being thought out,” the villagers claimed.

Fact file for Bir Ghaggar

1963: Land allotted to the defence forces

!970-71: Bir Ghaggar not in possession of any individual according to jamabandi records.

1973: 341 acres declared Protected Forest Area according to government notification.

1973-75: Seven families settle in the forest area

1975: Encroachment brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner, Ambala.

1982: Report of 268 houses in 13.56 acres submitted to the Forest Minister.

1989: The Forest Department attempted to file cases of eviction against villagers who did not allow measurement of land.

1994: CM recommends resettlement of villagers or legalising the encroachment by charging market rate for the same.

1998-2000: 807 houses found in a new survey conducted by the Forest Department.

July, 2000: Meeting under the chairmanship of Principal Chief Conservator held. Decided villagers cannot be “thrown out”.

June 23, 2001: Public-hearing in the village by committee constituted for the purpose.



Protesting villagers block Kalka-Ambala highway
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 21
Traffic on the Kalka-Ambala highway remained disrupted for nearly two hours here today as angry villagers of Bir Ghaggar in Chandimandir blocked traffic to vent their ire against yesterday’s demolition drive in the village.

The crowd dispersed after the villagers ‘extracted’ a commitment of table-talks on the matter with the district administration. The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, also assured the villagers that the demolished houses would be reconstructed under the Indira Aawas Yojana.

Earlier, in response to yesterday’s drive, lathi-wielding villagers came on to the highway in large numbers to lodge protest against the ‘treatment’ and seek a commitment from the administration against further use of force to dislodge them.

The blockade caused great inconvenience to students on their way to schools and colleges as also to the office-goers since it came at the rush hour, around 8:30 am when people were on their way to the offices. Till 10 am, all pleas of the public fell on deaf ears with the unrelenting villagers unwilling to step aside till an assurance from the administration.

The Sarpanch of the village, Mr Vinod Kumar, said that the Radha Soami satsang nearby had been given land at Rs 8 per square yard. ‘‘We are willing to pay Rs 16 for the same and yet they are bent on removing us,’’ he said.

The villagers also pointed out to the administration that bungling of revenue records had led to demolition of houses in the villages. ‘‘The land with khasra number 10/2 was in the name of three persons, Raghbir Singh, Balak Ram and Desh Mann. How this was changed to 14/2 remains a mystery. We want a thorough inquiry into this as well,’’ Mr Raghbir Singh said.

They claimed that Ms Arora had assured them that she would inquire into the matter and it would be taken up at the subsequent meeting with the villagers.

The INLD general secretary, Mr Pradeep Chaudhary, said that he had discussed the matter with the villagers and assured them that his party would mediate between them and the government to settle the dispute.

‘‘We have asked Ms Arora to shift the date of the meeting to July 25 instead of July 24 since a rally at Bhiwani will keep us busy on July 24. We want to be present when administration talks to the villagers on the issue of occupancy of the forest land. She has agreed to do so,’’ he added.

It maybe recalled that a demolition drive had been undertaken in Bir Ghaggar yesterday against encroachments on the forest land which was resented by the locals. Though the dispute was pending before a committee to decide the fate of the villagers, they were unwilling to leave the land. 


Sukhna Lake dam: a gateway to disaster
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The Sukhna Lake dam is a ticking bomb in the absence of an operation manual required for handling its regulator, a high-level safety committee and a notification to inform people about what impact a certain level of water will have on those living up and down the stream.

These fears have been expressed by an expert, who has been associated with the design of the dam at the time of its construction, and supported by another, who had been involved in putting in place the Sukhna Dam regulator, but have been rubbished as “unfounded” by the Union Territory Administration, which is taking care of the lake now.

Experts seeking anonymity said though the Administration had an instruction sheet listing what had to be done when the water-level reached its full capacity, but it was certainly not a substitute for a dam operation manual, which is a dam operation Bible to be followed letter by letter.

The people must also know what the impact would be on them at a certain level of water as their safety was involved in the operation and upkeep of the dam, which was brought to the notice of the people through a notification which was nowhere to be seen in the case.

An official spokesman, however, said nobody upstream or downstream would get affected from the water-level or by the release and retention of water in the lake, but could not confirm the presence of an operation manual and any notification.

The officials dismissed recent reports that a person was washed away in the last rains due to sudden opening of the gate to flush out silt and garbage, which gathers in the dam.

The people of Kishangarh village, however, complained that though there seems to be no connection between the rise in the water-level and flooding of the village, still they had recently witnessed the village inundated with waist-deep water as the lake did not intake the water coming to the village.

A senior member of the village Mr Baldev Singh told The Tribune that after the silting of water channels, which existed earlier, water from Saketri village was now getting diverted to the village.

He said water could have been taken in by the inlet channel of the lake which is fed by the Mahadev, the Sukhna and the Kansal, adding that the silting of the Manimajra water channel that existed earlier had also been led to the flooding of the village.

The experts, however, feel even the instruction sheet governing the operation of the regulator, which specifies how the water-level has to be maintained by opening gates and closing them by six inches in the case of increase in water-level and decrease every 15 minutes, who will issue direction for this operation, what the flood level is and how the information of flood has to be passed on to the people downstream, is incomplete and flawed.

The experts said the instruction sheet did not specify whether out of the three gates all would be opened, or only the middle one or the two outer ones would be opened, whether the gates had to be completely opened at all or not and under what condition, how many cusecs of water could be released and its impact and how the public was to be informed. It did not mention any guage in the downstream, who would open the gate and codification of up and downstreams.

They said telephone connection provided at the regulator was not reliable with reports of it repeatedly going out of order and no flood lighting was there on the site adding that the information system had to be improved with an independent wireless system at the site and proper lighting arrangement.

The experts said though the Administration felt that nobody up or down the stream could get affected from the water-level in the Sukhna but the back water curve (impact) had to be studied and made part of a manual for the operation of the regulator.

They said the dam designed for 1160 feet was only capable of handling little above the water-level and beyond that the structure could even crumble leading to a disaster, but the studies carried out earlier allowed the water-level up to 1161 feet level and if it swelled to 1163 the Lake Club, Gursagar Sahab Gurdwara and the Rock Garden would be inundated. 


Four houses collapse in heavy rain
Bipin Bhardwaj

Members of some of the families whose houses collapsed after heavy rain sit on cots.
Members of some of the families whose houses collapsed after heavy rain sit on cots after taking shelter in a dharamshala at Rampur-Sainia village in Dera Bassi. — photo Karam Singh

Dera Bassi, July 21
Four kutcha houses collapsed following heavy rains since the last four days in Rampur Sainia village along the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, about 10 km from here.

Cracks appeared in the walls of the four houses, and five submerged in water are on the verge of collapsing. Apart from this, roofs of two houses also came down. The newly constructed pucca streets and roads caved in due to waterlogging in the village.

A 70-year-old dweller, Puran Singh, had a narrow escape as he was pulled out of his room by the neighbours just a few minutes before the house in which he was staying collapsed.

Two of the affected families, whose houses had submerged in waist-deep water, were shifted to the village dharamshala temporarily. A family had to hire accommodation in the same village.

More than 15 houses, besides cowsheds, were affected and foodgrains were submerged in about four to five feet of flood water. As the houses were constructed in a low-lying area of the village, the rain water went upto a level of five to six feet at some places. Following this the residents had to vacate their houses and take shelter in houses of their neighbours.

Clothing and other household goods were submerged in the muddy water. Cattle and other animals were herded to safer places.

Houses of Sher Singh, Ram Puran Singh and Gurcharan Singh collapsed completely, while roofs of houses owned by Ram Singh and Nirmal Singh came down. Waterlogging also led to cracks in the walls of the pucca houses of Rampuran Singh, and Ram Singh.

Waist-deep water accumulated in the houses of Joginder Singh, Madan Pal Singh, Joginder, Som Nath, Rajpal Singh, Suresh Kumar, Jagdish and Surjan Singh.

Residents of the village complain that some residents dumped loose earth to raise the level from their side, following which a nullah changed its natural course and flooded the houses. Moreover, the residents constructed houses on the bed of the nullah hardly leaving any space for storm water, they alleged.

Mr Rampuran Singh said that water entered his house and submerged almost every household item. While flushing out the slush from her house, a woman lamented that the rains has ruined her house and goods, including utensils and clothing. The beds made of plywood were damaged.

A visit to the village revealed that slush had accumulated inside a number of houses constructed in low-lying areas. The affected villagers were busy in flushing out the mud and water from their houses. Children were seen helping their parents.

Members of some affected families, who had taken shelter in the village dharamshala, were waiting for the authorities to act.

Mr Sher Singh, a resident, said that a list of affected families had been sent to Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planing Minister of Punjab, for his consideration.Back



Petrol price to come down next week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The price of petrol in the city has been reduced to be brought at par with prices in Panchkula and SAS Nagar. An order in this regard is expected to come by the middle of next week, well-placed sources said, while confirming that the Union Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Ram Naik, had approved the reduction in price.

Sources, however, refused to divulge as to what the exact reduction in the cost of petrol would be at this stage. As per indications from the ministry and keeping in mind the presentation made by the UT authorities, parity would be brought about in prices in Chandigarh and surrounding townships of Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

Last month, the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), using his powers, had ordered the reduction of motor spirit tax on petrol from 15 paisa per litre to 1 paisa per litre and on diesel from 10 paisa to 1 paisa per litre. However, the cost of petrol and diesel was still more than that prevailing in SAS Nagar and Panchkula.

Chandigarh residents are paying higher price for petrol and diesel because of the Central Sales Tax imposed at the rate of 4 per cent on petroleum products that are supplied to the city. The CST has to be borne as all stocks are purchased from Ambala. Till date there is no petroleum depot within Chandigarh where stocks could be brought on stock transfer basis.

The issue was put up before the oil coordination committee meeting to first fix the price of petrol in Chandigarh and also allow commissioning of BP depot while expediting the construction of the IOC depot.

Since last July, when the uniform sales tax regime came into place, city residents have been paying more for each litre of petrol. Due to price disparity, the consumption of petrol has fallen from 7,000 kilolitres a month to 4,500 kilolitres a month in the city. Several people who come daily from Panchkula and SAS Nagar prefer to get their vehicles filled their instead of opting for Chandigarh. 


Guru Harkrishan’s anniversary celebrated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
The founders day and birth anniversary of Guru Harkrishan was celebrated at Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Sector 40-C here today.

About 14 schools participated in the inter-school shabad gayan competition organised on the occasion. An exhibition displaying creative items made by the children was also put up. The exhibition display included art and craft items, science and mathematic models. The Principal, Ms Karamjeet Kaur and other staff members had worked hard to make the function a success.

The president, Chief Khalsa Dewan, Amritsar, Nishan-e-Khalsa, Mr Kirpal Singh, delivered a speech regarding the Sikh path of life laid down by the Sikh gurus. He also gave away the prizes to students.

The honorary secretary, Sikh Education Society, Chandigarh, Mr A S Rewal, gave a brief sketch of Guru Harkrishan. The function was organised by honorary secretary, Chief Khalsa Dewan, Mr Tarlochan Singh. 


Youth ‘beaten up’ by Mohali cops
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 21
A youth was allegedly beaten up by personnel of the local police sustaining injuries.

The youth, Randhir Singh of Phase II here, who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, was reported to have been beaten up by an ASI of the Phase I police station and others last night.

According to hospital staff, the youth had injuries and swelling on his face besides internal injuries. He had not been discharged from the hospital till late tonight.

It is reported that the youth had gone to the police station to seek the release of his brother, Mahavir Singh, who had earlier been picked up by the police in connection with a case relating to a property dispute in Mohali village. Randhir Singh had gone there with a copy of a July 13 stay order from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on his brother’s arrest.

Randhir Singh was later allegedly taken to the cremation ground area and again beaten up. He was allegedly forced to consume liquor and then dropped at the hospital.

According to the police, the hospital authorities had not yet informed it that the youth’s case was a medico-legal one.


New office-bearers installed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The Rotary Club, along with the Inner Wheel Club and the Rotaract Club of the SAS Nagar today installed its new team of office-bearers for 2001-2002 at a function held in Hotel Park Inn here.

Mr Sat Pal Gossain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, was the chief guest and Mr Hemant Arora, district governor elect of district 3080, was the guest of honour.

Outgoing president, Mr J.S.Sethi, spoke about his achievements during his tenure. He said the allotment of a plot measuring 1060 yards in Sector 70 of Mohali by PUDA for the development of the Rotary Vocational Training Centre was his major achievement. He presented the president’s collar to Mr Manpreet Singh, the incoming president.

The newly installed president, Mr Manpreet Singh, spelt out his plans for the coming Rotary Year. He emphasised that he would continue to pursue the ongoing projects. He said he would also make efforts for the construction of the Rotary Vocational and Training Centre. It would help in imparting training to poor and needy students of Mohali and adjoining areas.

Mr Gossain was impressed by the Rotary tradition of changing the president each year in a smooth transition. He said the Rotary ideals would be followed in letter and spirit. He presented books, notebooks and stationery items to the representatives of Dharamgarh village in Ropar district for helping the needy students.

Mr Gossain was also inducted as an Honourary Rotarian and was given the Rotary Pin by the charter president, Mr Major Som Dutt.


Puncom staff meet Disinvestments Board chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The joint action committee of the Puncom Employees Union met Mr P.H. Vaishnav, Chairman, Disinvestments Board, Punjab Government, today and told him that Puncom was a growing and profitable company contrary to the impression given to him that it was sick unit.

A press note issued by joint action committee of Puncom Employees Unions said that if disinvestment decision was sacrosanct, then the sale tender should have certain qualifications, including job security for all employees, agreement of leave/leave rules and other allowances. 



Astrology centres opened
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
The All India Federation of Astrologers Societies opened two centres here today. Mr Amarjeet Aggarwal, chairman of the Chandigarh Chapter, informed in a press conference that the federation had opened one centre in Sector 20 of Chandigarh and the other in Panchkula.

Mr Aggarwal informed that there would be six courses of six months’ duration. He said the society had opened 300 centres throughout India.

Mr R.S. Bhanot, chairman of the Panchkula Chapter, said that our whole system is based on astrological calculations and vedic scriptures. He added that only those having deep understanding of the scriptures could forecast future events.Back



A special word about altars

Every Indian has an altar. Indians basically are very religious people. They pray before they start their day and end their day with praying. Having a pooja room in a home is a must for most of the Indians. I cannot really advise you on the spiritual or religious side of the matter. However, having an altar in a home is very auspicious.

Altars that directly face the doors of the living rooms are deemed auspicious. But if you have a special room for pooja, there are a few guidelines which you should follow. First of all, do not let the room or the altar face the room or a toilet. The kitchen near a pooja room is also considered bad.

Similarly, never place holy verses opposite toilet doors. It is disrespectful and it creates bad Feng Shui. It is also wrong to place deities on the floor.

This suggests a lowering of the good and positive energy which emanates from the statues of deities. Do not try to have an antique statue of any deity. Remember that good or bad energies cling to objects. These energies affect the house they are placed in. Do not have a pooja room under a staircase. This suggests stepping on the holy statues or texts whenever one goes up the stairs.


Address your Feng Shui queries to:
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



When driving was a pleasure
Tribune News Service

Mr Suneil Anand desperately turns his scooter to the right and presses the brake pedal with all his might to avoid a zooming car overtaking him from the wrong side. As the two-wheeler comes to a halt in the middle of the road, cars whiz past him from both the sides. Visibly shaken, Mr Anand who runs a business in the city realises what a close call it was. Recovering his breath, he mutters: “It was not like this until a few years ago”.

Wiping the beads of perspiration from his brow with his trembling fingers, Mr Anand kick starts his scooter. As he cuts his way through the zooming cars and trucks, he recalls the days when a drive on the wide roads of the city was a pleasure.

“In late 60s and early 70s”, he recalls, there were very few scooters and motorcycles, hardly any cars. Auto rickshaws were used only for going to the railway station, or to the hospital in an emergency. The number of buses too was small. Trucks were not permitted on Madhya Marg in day time,” he reveals. “You had cycles and more cycles. That is all”.

He adds: “You could walk with your friends in the middle of a road for hours without being interrupted by honking cars. Children could spend the day playing cricket or badminton in front of their houses without encountering a single four-wheeler”.

Putting on his helmet, he asserts: “The result was there for all to see. The number of accidents in the city was small, very small. Fatal mishaps were almost unknown. Parking was not a problem. Pollution? It was something that worried people in Delhi. Chandigarhians were hardly aware of this phenomenon”.

That was the time when Chandigarh did not have the edgy, jittery, always rushing, always-in-a-hurry, crowd of people. Today, driving in the city is like playing cricket. A moment’s loss of concentration and you are bowled out. You may or may not get a second chance. It all depends on your luck.

“Now-a-days, you drive with one eye on the speedometer and the other on the traffic ahead,” says Mr Anand. “You never know when the policeman will emerge from behind a bush and pounce upon you. And when with God’s grace you reach your destination with dirt all over your clothes and face, you are not sure if you will find a place to park your vehicle.”

He concludes: “Earlier, while driving a car, I used to sing “gaddi jandi hai chhalanga Mardi”, now I say “gaddi jandi hai brakaan Mardi”.


No power for 30 hrs
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
About 3,000 residents of Raipur Khurd village have reportedly been without electricity for more than thirty hours. The residents of the village said in a press release here that the transformer of the village was burnt a day before but officials had been unable to solve the problem till now.

Dr W.D. Kain passes away
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 21
Dr W.D. Kain, a well-known social worker and philanthropist of the city, died today following a brief illness. He was 90.

He is survived by his widow. Dr Kain had been associated with a host of social and religious bodies of Panchkula for more than 20 years. He was an active member of the senior citizens society, the local Sanatan Dharam Sabha and the local branch of the Family Planning Association of India.

His funeral this afternoon was largely attended. A number of social and religious bodies paid tributes to Dr Kain.Back


Markfed products to be launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Mr D.S.Bains, Managing Director of Punjab Markfed, will launch a new range of ready-to-serve canned food products at a special function being organised at the Chandigarh Press Club here on Sunday evening. The new items include aloo-wari, karhi-pakorah, rajmah, palak paneer, tadka daal, daal makhni, chat-patta channa, aloo methi and palak paneer.Back


Ragpickers deprive couple of jewellery, cash
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
Residents beware. A gang of ragpickers is out to loot you. Its modus operandi is simple. A street urchin in rags starts hurling stones at the victim’s car. As the occupant gets out of the parked vehicle to stop the ragpicker, an accomplice slips away with the bag of valuables inside the car.

On Saturday in Sector 22 here, one such incident was reported to the police. According to information available, a Panchkula-based couple was looted of jewellery worth Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 10,000. However, the police said the jewellery was worth between Rs 70,000-80,000.

Mr Ajay Jindal and Ms Anju Jindal, who were going to Moga to attend a marriage, stopped at the former’s office in Sector 22 at 11.45 a.m. Mr Ajay reportedly went inside his office while his wife remained sitting in the car with luggage.

In the meantime, a girl in her early teens and in torn clothes, started hurling pebbles on the rear shield of Mr Jindal’s car. Ms Anju shouted at the urchin but to no avail. The ragpicker kept hitting the rear shield with pebbles. At this point, Ms Anju got out of the car and slapped the girl, who was standing a few feet from the car.

After punishing the girl, when Ms Anju returned, the bag containing jewellery was gone.

It may be recalled that a few weeks ago, a similar incident had taken place with a woman who had come out of a Sector 35 restaurant after attending a party. When she was about to start her car, a rag picker started throwing small stones on her car. At this point she came out of the car to stop the ragpicker.

However, her purse, which was lying on the front seat of her car, was stolen in the ‘‘little time’’ she remained out of the car.


7 held for operating satta, possessing arms
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 21
The Ropar police has arrested seven persons on various charges, including those relating to the operation of satta and the illegal possession of arms and ammunition.

According to a press note released here today by the SSP, Mr G.S. Bhullar, the SAS Nagar police had arrested two persons on charges of cheating a resident of Phase VI here. Tarlochan Singh and Kamal Krishan were arrested under Sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust), IPC, for cheating Kamaljit Kaur of Rs 50,000. A sum of Rs 15,000 from that amount had been recovered from them. Efforts were being made to nab their alleged accomplice, Surinder Kaur.

The SSP said the SAS Nagar police had also arrested Rajesh Kumar, alias Raju, who was at present a resident of Khuda Lahora village (Chandigarh), at a naka in the Phase IX Industrial Area here. A .38 -bore pistol, two magazines and 18 cartridges were seized from him. A case under Section 25 of the Arms Act had been registered against him. Earlier, a case had been registered against him at the Sirhind police station under Section 399, IPC, in connection with looting and snatching.

The SSP said that the district police had also arrested three persons in two cases relating to satta. Surinder Kumar and Ashok Kumar of Ropar and Vijay Kumar of Chamkaur Sahib were arrested under Sections 3, 13A and 67 of the Gambling Act.

In another case, the district police recovered a car stolen from Sector 17, Chandigarh, and arrested Davinder Singh of Parol village under Kharar police station. The vehicle had a fake number plate. A case under Sections 379, 411, 465, 467, 471 and 472, IPC, was registered against the suspect.


Two vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
Mr Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Mandi Dabwali (Haryana), reported with the police that his Maruti Esteem (DL-2-CB-5244) was stolen from a Sector 17 parking lot here on Friday. Mr Om Prakash, a city resident, also reported with the police that his Kinetic Honda (CH-01-E- 8027) was stolen from near the General Post Office in Sector 17 on Friday.

Harassment alleged
The mother of Sabnam, who died in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after she reportedly consumed poison here yesterday has alleged that Sabnam’s husband was responsible for her death.

According to the police, Ms Muni, resident of Hallomajra village, alleged that her son-in-law Sunil Kumar used to harass and assault Sabnam. The woman was married to the accused five years ago. A case under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Ms Mona, a resident of Sector 35, reported with the police that Rs 3,900 were stolen from her purse while she was shopping at a Sector 22 booth here on Friday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

The local police arrested Suraj Pal, a resident of Ram Darbar, under the Excise Act and claimed to have recovered 15 bottles of liquor from his possession here on Friday.


Selling balloons pays very little
Our Correspondent

Once Jawaharlal Nehru saw a man returning home with 10 balloons tied to a stick. After talking to him, Nehru learnt that the man was a balloon seller and that day he had failed to sell even a single balloon. Nehru bought his all balloons.

But today, the balloon sellers find no one who would volunteer to purchase their unsold balloons. A balloon seller in Sector 17 said: “I perform my duty, rest is in the hands of God.”

“I want to earn an honest living and provide two square meals to my family. I came to the city hoping to do better business, after selling balloons in Sonepat, my home town”, said Sohan Singh, who came to the city five years ago. To his surprise, there are hardly any takers for balloons in a place as busy as Sector 22. “The visitors seem just not interested in my balloons. The displays in show-windows are what attract the youngsters,” laments Radhey Krishan, another balloon seller in Sector 22.

The number of balloon sellers in the city is smaller than people engaged in other roadside businesses. They say that business has never been brisk. At the same time they maintain that with changing lifestyles, the demand and craze for balloons has not changed.

The city market centre in Sector 17 is one of the favourite haunts of balloon sellers. There are at least 20 persons who sell balloons here and their main customers are small children. Though at times, a boy would fish out a 10-rupee note from his pocket and buy a heart-shaped red balloon for his girl friend.

Ratan, a balloon seller in Sector 17, said that he had been in this business for the past 22 years. According to him he earns just enough to buy two meals for his family. He inherited this business from his father, and wants to shift to some other business but for that he needs money. “Every day I come here to sell balloons and return home with Rs 50 in my pocket”.

Giani Singh, another balloon seller, says that he waits for customers all through the day till late in the night even on Sundays. “I am thankful to the policemen who do not bother us”. Municipal Corporation staff does bother them at times but he realises that “it is their duty to see that no unauthorised person does any business in Sector 17”.

They anxiously wait for February 14, St. Valentine’s Day. Rajinder, a balloon seller said,” On Valentine’s Day it seems that every boy in the city wants to buy at least one balloon for his girl friend”. On last Valentine’s Day, he sold balloons worth Rs 1800.



Mehandi workshop: A three-day mehandi workshop on the art of applying mehandi, organised jointly by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development for Women of Canara Bank, Sector 34, Chandigarh, and the Drug Awareness and Counselling Centre run by the Servants of Peoples Society (SOPS), an NGO, concluded on Saturday. The workshop, held at Dadu Majra colony was attended by about 45 women keen on learning the skill. A brief inaugural function was held in which Group Capt P.S. Soni, honorary administrator of SOPS and Mrs Harvinder Kaur, manager, CED for Women, addressed the participants and emphasised the importance of self-reliance for women. Those who attended the function included Mr Gobind Ram, Pradhan Dadu Majra Colony, Mr Manohar Lal Gill, Pradhan Dadu Majra village, Mrs Suman Gupta, project coordinator, Ms Arushi, volunteer, Mrs Santosh Rana and Mrs Vijay Bhatti, social workers. TNS

Opened: Abhushan has opened a jewellery showroom on the Mansa Devi Road, Panchkula. The showroom offers a whole range of jewellery items. The showroom is promoted by the Century Steel Industries. TNS

A road show Launched:  British Petroleum, one of the largest energy companies of the world, having a group turnover of Rs 58,000 crore, has launched its product range of diesel engine oils for the first time in India. 

A road show was held to mark the launch of the products at Patiala on Saturday. 

The next launch will be held at Chandigarh, according to Mr Mukesh Sahni, Trade Marketing Manager (North East) BP. TNS

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