Saturday, July 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Goyal is involved, says probe report
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The former Mayor of Municipal Corporation, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, has been found to be involved in selling soap from his own trading company based in Sector 26 to the Corporation. These are the findings of the inquiry report submitted to the Chandigarh Administration.

Well placed sources confirmed while adding that the inquiry officer, MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, has submitted the report to the Administration for further action. The action, if any, to suspend or disqualify the former Mayor has to be taken by the Chandigarh Administration. Top officials are aware of the findings of the inquiry report and it is under examination.

Last Saturday Mr Goyal had resigned in the wake of this controversy saying he had done so in the “interest of city and the democratic principles.” And since then the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala had taken over as the Mayor.

The flip side ..

Procuring soap from Mr Raj Kumar Goyal’s company has actually saved the cash-strapped MC a tidy sum. Mr Goyal’s trading company Bachanlal Shiv Kumar was supplying soap at the rate of Rs 7. 46 per cake. Previously the supply of the same soap was at the rate of Rs 8.50 per cake. Each month the MC purchases thousands of soap cakes for its employees posted in various wings.

This is one aspect also kept in mind by the Chandigarh Administration before any kind of action is initiated. Sources said going by the rule book Mr Goyal may have been wrong, however, this side is also being studied as it forms a part of the inquiry report. Already the issue has acquired political undertones and with the MC elections to be had in the next four months this could snowball as a major issue in the face of the Congress to which Mr Goyal belongs.

Mr Goyal’s company Bachanlal and Shiv Kumar Company, an authorised dealer of the Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), among others, has been allegedly supplying soap worth lakhs of rupees to the corporation, which the former Mayor himself had admitted. His plea before the inquiry officer that he had not entered into any contract with the MC was not entertained. The fact that bills of soap supply were produced and payments were made by the MC constituted a sort of contract which may have been verbal in nature, sources said .

In the past one week Mr Goyal has clarified. “He did not approach the Corporation, did not get any contract, nor did he submit any tenders to the MC and he had been an institutional supplier for 12 years, much before becoming a councillor, as a distributor of the Hindustan Lever Limited, and it does not amount to violation of law.’’ Most of the hotels and hospitals in the city make purchases of their soap requirement from the company and we cannot stop any one from doing so for that may lead to the cancellation of our dealership, he had added.

Going by technicality of the MC rules as per Section 13 (1) (i) of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1976 as extended to Chandigarh, which specifies the eventualities which lead to the disqualification of a councillor, says, “if he is interested in any subsisting contract made with, or any work being done for, the Corporation except as a shareholder (other than a director) in an incorporated company as member of a co-operative society.”

Section 13 (2-iv) also states that “the sale to the Corporation or to any other municipal authority or any officer or other employee of the Corporation on behalf of the Corporation, of any article in which he trades or the purchase from the Corporation, of any article of a value in either case not exceeding Rs 5,000 in the aggregate in any year during the period of the contract or work.”

When Mr Goyal resigned the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, said Mr Goyal had resigned from the post due to “non-cooperative” and “obstructionist” attitude of the BJP-SAD councillors. He had claimed that the Mayor had resigned on his own and there was no pressure from the party.



Plea for probe against ex-Mayor
Construction of illegal shops in Mani Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, in its meeting held today, passed a resolution, demanding a judicial probe into the alleged illegal construction of shops by a former Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, in Mani Majra. This resolution would be forwarded to the UT Administration for further action.

The resolution was passed in the absence of Mr Goyal in the first meeting of the House, presided over by the acting Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala. Mr Kala did not even raise any objection to passing a resolution against his predecessor in his absence. Another Congress councillor, Ms Kamlesh Banarsidass, tried to resist the same by saying that it would not be appropriate to pass any such resolution without giving Mr Goyal an opportunity to clarify his position on the said allegations. Mr Des Raj Tandon, BJP leader in the House, refuted the same by saying that Mr Goyal had given his written clarification on these issues.

The proposal seeking judicial inquiry against Mr Goyal was put forth by a BJP councillor, Mr R.L Arora, and was seconded by Mr Des Raj Tandon. Reacting to this later, Mr Goyal said he had asked the UT Administrator to conduct an inquiry into his alleged illegal shops. The BJP was trying to take credit for the same, he alleged. He also challenged the BJP councillors to move an affidavit against him.

Almost all long-pending agenda items were passed in today’s meeting, which lasted for nearly four hours. The same could not be taken up earlier due to frequent adjournments following uproarious scenes in the House.

Among the 20-odd agenda items passed today, members deliberated mainly on the inquiry into the construction of box culvert bridge on the road connecting Chandigarh-SAS Nagar and the purchase of deluxe bus. Heated arguments between the Jain and Gupta groups were witnessed on the issue pertaining to the relocation of nurseries situated in Pockets 2,3,4 and 5 in Mani Majra on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway. The Administration had since 1990 been trying to acquire this MC land by relocating the nurseries, but the High Court had issued a stay against acquiring this land.

While most of the Jain group councillors pressed for deferment of the said item, the same was opposed by the councillors of the Gupta group. They maintained that the MC should not leave such prime land worth crores, but should take possession of the acquired land by getting the stay in the High Court vacated.

The Jain group, amidst heated arguments, suggested that the matter be deferred for three months, subject to the decision of the court. It was proposed by Mr O.P. Goel and seconded by Mr Arora. Mr Prem Sagar Jain, who was earlier in favour of removing these nurseries and handed over the land to MC, supported this proposal.

The House also passed the subcommittees constituted by the five-member committee constituted by the House. Elections for the chairman and deputy chairman of the said committees will be held next week.

Regarding the purchase of a deluxe bus for the MC during the tenure of a former mayor, Mr K.K. Adiwal, the members, after heated discussions, agreed to make payment of Rs 12.12 lakh to Swaraj Mazda. Some members recommended that the responsibility of the officer who passed the purchase of the bus for an amount exceeding Rs 10 lakh, as passed earlier in the F and CC be fixed. The matter was referred to the House since audit objections had been raised then that the power of the F and CC in March 1999 was to the extent of Rs 10 lakh only.

On the issue of repayment of loan taken by the erstwhile Notified Area Committee, Mani Majra, now merged with the MC, the members recommended that a letter be sent to the Administration, asking it to waive the interest. The councillors objected that the loan was taken by the NAC from the Administration, but since the MC had no money, the Administration should waive the interest amount of Rs 35.52 lakh, worked out upto the financial year 1999-2000.

The House was also intimated that the revised estimate amounting to Rs 365.24 lakh for providing public health services and amenities for the upgradation of Kumhar Colony and Janata Colony, Sector 25, has been approved by the Administration. The said work was being carried out by MC as deposit work.

Some councillors were keen on deferring the agenda item pertaining to the augmentation of pumping machinery at the Sector 32 waterworks due to constraint of funds, but following the intervention of a nominated councillor, Mr R.K. Aggarwal, and Ms Ranjana Shahi, the said business item recommending the rough cost estimate of Rs 67.80 lakh for replacement of old pumping machinery for use at various waterworks was taken up. It was pointed out that since the said machinery had outlived its life, it was incapable to develop sufficient pressure to reach the upper floors of the houses located in this zone.

The inquiry into the construction of box culvert bridge on the road connecting Chandigarh-SAS Nagar was dropped followed heated arguments between the BJP councillor of both groups. One of the members pointed out that since the said bridge was built in record time and at less cost, the inquiry could be done away with.

The members recommended that the Administration be asked to reconsider the decision taken by the House to enhance its share of taxes from 50 per cent to 100 per cent. Mr Jain pointed out that since grant-in-aid and share of taxes were separate issues, separate sanctions should be made.

All councillors except Mr Prem Sagar Jain favoured the installation of board at the sites where development of the area had been one out of the councillors, ward development fund. It was suggested that the Chief Architect, who had objected to the same, should be asked in writing to reconsider the same.

The members also gave permission for holding yoga classes and classes in martial arts in all community centres by paying Rs 500 per month for three months. The permission could be extended on the basis of the performance after three months.

The item pertaining to levy of tax on sale of liquor was also passed. The rates approved are Rs 2 per bottle of country liquor and Rs 5 per bottle of English Wine and beer.

The House also passed the proposal pertaining to the transfer of certain V-3 roads to the Chandigarh Administration for recarpeting and strengthening as a one-time measure due to paucity of funds. Members also recommended that the issue of transferring 50 per cent of token fee and tax on rickshaws, thelas, rehris and/handcarts to the MC be reconsidered.

The House was also given details of the collection of removal charges on the eve of Divali. As proposed by Mr Tandon, it was agreed that commercial stalls should be allowed in front of the Sector 22 shops on the eve of festivals.



Dissolution resolution moved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has been given a notice for dissolution of the House through a resolution likely to be discussed some time later in a special meeting as it could not have been taken up today in a meeting to clear adjourned agenda.

Ms Satinder Dhawan, wife of the former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, handed over her resolution just at the beginning of the House but it was rejected because of procedural problems.

But Ms Dhawan at the end of the meeting again gave a resolution to the effect asking that a special meeting be held for this purpose and matter is likely to be decided soon.

The acting Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, has been advised by those in favour of the election to pursue the matter and get a date fixed for the discussion of the resolution.

The move of Ms Dhawan is seen as an attempt to get across her party Chandigarh Vikas Manch’s message that a fragmented House suffering from intra and inter party differences should be dissolved as not much time has been left for the fresh Corporation election and Mayor’s election for the term will only lead to serve self-interest of those aspiring to become Mayor.

The BJP also attempted a similar move on July 20 when its senior member Mr Prem Sagar Jain gave a similar resolution but withdrew it as soon as the Congress Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, resigned.

The resolution, however, if passed will only become a recommendation for the Administration to consider as the Act incorporating the Corporation remains silent on the issue and only gives a procedure of the Administration deciding to dissolve the House.



MC seeks land at reduced rates
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
The local civic body today rejected an offer of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to allot land for the office complex of the local civic body at a rate of Rs 7,200 per sq. yds. The issue was raised at a general meeting of the civic body here today. A total of 22 agenda items were passed at the meeting.

Demanding the allotment of land at reduced rates, the Municipal Councillors unanimously decided to take up the issue with the Punjab Government. It was specifically pointed out that the rule under which the authority was allotting land to educational institutions at a subsidised rate could also apply to the civic body as it was looking after the maintenance of essential services in the town — handed over to it by PUDA.

The President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, did not rule out the possibility of taking a legal course over the allotment of land as around Rs 25,000 had been deposited with PUDA in 1997. Mr N.K. Marwaha and Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, both municipal councillors brought to the notice of the house that the civic body had applied to PUDA for the allotment of land on more than two occasions. The rates of allotment then were comparatively less.

At the meeting it was categorically specified by the president that the civic body would not take over the new sectors being developed by PUDA unless it also transferred the assets along with the liabilities.

In another significant decision, the civic body decided to adopt a tough stand over the issue of PUDA not passing over to it the non-construction fee charged from the occupants of vacant plots in the town. The General House passed a resolution demanding that PUDA should pass on at least 75 per cent of the fee. The president said new areas developed by PUDA would not be taken if the latter failed to decide on the issue of non-construction fee. Passing over at least 75 per cent of the fee charged by PUDA pass layout plans of plots was also demanded by the civic body.

The issue of granting sanction to new tubewells in the town witnessed heated arguments. Mr Manjeet Sethi, a member of the opposition group, said some of the tubewells bored by the sewerage board were running as per their specified capacity. Taking over the control of tubewells in Sector 70 was discussed at the meeting.



PU concern over non-compliance
Payment of UGC pay scales to part-timers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Panjab University has taken serious note of the non-compliance of a government notification for paying UGC pay scales to hundreds of marginally paid part-time and guest faculty teachers by affiliated colleges.

The matter came up for discussion in a meeting of a subcommittee which would submit its observations to the higher committee. The members included Dean, College Development Council, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Principal Tarsem Bahia and Deputy Registrar, Colleges.

In December 1998, a UGC notification clearly said part-time and guest faculty teachers be paid the applicable scales. Later, a Punjab Government notification, with the approval of the Cabinet, cleared the scale of Rs 8000-13,500 for teachers in this category.

Instead of recommended payment of Rs 250 per lecture of the guest faculty, the payments were as less as Rs 125 per lecture in scores of colleges. There was no extra payment for additional duties these teachers were expected to perform in other cases.

The recommended scales have not yet been applied in practice. Leave aside the private institutions, a large number of government colleges are yet to comply with the orders.

In a meeting earlier in April-May this year, the problem of non-compliance of new scales for the affected teachers was pointed out. It was expected that suitable communication would be forwarded to the colleges, but nothing had been done on this front.

Sources pointed out that it was also highlighted in the meeting that there existed non-uniformity in recommendations of the inspection committees. It was expected that reports of the inspection committees would be made available at the next meeting. The committee was likely to visit certain colleges.

The committee agreed that there was exploitation of young teachers in the form of extra workload and marginal payment. The UGC scales should be made compulsory and the university needed to play a pivotal role in this direction. In several cases, instead of regular appointments, colleges were restoring to the practice of appointing two or more part-timers.

Dr Jagwant Singh, a member of the PCCTU, had made a recommendation in this regard, which was also discussed. The report of the subcommittee would be submitted soon for final decision.



Special chance for compartment cases
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
In a decision affecting compartment cases, the Punjab School Education Board today decided to give a special chance to the candidates to clear the examination of the subject concerned. The chance will be given to the candidates who have exhausted the two chances given by the board in a year.

A decision in this regard was taken in a meeting of the board held here today. The candidates will be allowed to sit in the supplementary examination being held in September this year.

Though the cut-off year for the beneficiaries was yet to be decided, officials in the board said the candidates who had a compartment in the examination held during and after 1999 would be allowed to avail themselves of the last chance. A fee of Rs 1000 has been fixed for the last chance.

Dr Kehar Singh, chairman of the board, said the fee structure for the candidates availing themselves of the last chance had been approved after studying the fee charged by different universities in the region. He said over 50 applications of candidates seeking the last chance to clear their examination were pending with the board. With the decision, more candidates were likely to avail themselves of the opportunity.

Sources in the board said earlier the board had proposed a fee of Rs 2500, but a fee of Rs 1000 was approved in the board meeting. In case of Punjabi University, Patiala, a candidate was given a special chance by the Vice-Chancellor on payment of Rs 2500 in addition to the existing fee.

In certain cases, a fourth chance was given to a candidate and the fee was Rs 7500. In case of Panjab University, Chandigarh, a candidate had to pay a fee of Rs 2500 to avail himself of the special chance.

Apart from the two opportunities, candidates of Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, were given the third, fourth and fifth chance to clear their compartment, subject to payment of fee of Rs 2500, Rs 5000 and Rs 10,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, the new fee structure for middle, matriculation and senior secondary examination was formally approved in the board meeting.

Fee structure

Class  Examination fee
Middle standard  
Regular  180
Private  220
Regular  250
Private  300
Senior Secondary  
Regular  260
Private  310



Cop suspended for accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The UT police today placed Constable Jai Bhagwan under suspension, after he was arrested from Mohali on charges of accepting bribe by the Vigilance Bureau. The policeman was posted in Sector 17 Police Station.

Jai Bhagwan was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 3,000 from a dry-cleaner, Pawan Kumar in Mohali. The policeman was accompanied by his friend, Balvir, a resident of Sector 25.

They had demanded a sum of Rs 20,000 from the dry-cleaner. They had told him that he was wanted by the CIA Staff, and that they would save him. A deal was struck for Rs 5,000 and Pawan Kumar had already paid him Rs 2,000 in two separate installments.

However, Pawan Kumar informed the UT Vigilance Department and the two were arrested on Monday.



Subscribers harassed as BSNL falters
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Not exactly a model of efficiency, Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL ) appears to have excelled itself in inefficiency and callousness by disconnecting telephones of thousands of subscribers, charging them for calls never made and generally failing to provide satisfactory service to the subscribers.

‘’Demand notice (apart from supplying the bill) by the telecom authority for depositing telephone bill is a prerequisite before disconnection, ‘’the National Consumer Redressal Commission in The Madhav Vinayak Rajvade Vs MTNL case 1994, Volume one, Consumer Protection Judgement-546”.

The public sector company this month either disconnected 15,000 telephones or made them one way amidst revelation of the Postal Department that telephone bills may not necessarily be reaching the people because of the company not handing them over in an appropriate manner.

Over 1000 consumers have complained that their connections were disconnected without supplying bills and situation in the city reached such a pass that a telecom mechanic Mr Jagar Singh, has allegedly been beaten up by a harried consumer, Mr Prem Singh.

Queues of consumers were seen in exchanges with several complaints with not many people to attend to them and BSNL employees allegedly not behaving well with the consumers.

Even acquaintance with the pampered telecom staff has gone in vain with people spending hours to be heard by BSNL employees.

The level of service can be ganged by the fact. The District Secretary of the All-India Telecom Employees Union Class-111 (n), Mr S. K. Sharma, himself has been waiting for three days for his telephone to become functional after disconnection for non-payment.

Till recently a monopoly BSNL has not learnt from its private sector competitors like HFCL which sends its bills to consumers through courier, collects it through various collection centres, gives a tele notice of three or four days for major subscribers for making the connection one way and even avoiding disconnection to small subscribers.

The woes of subscribers do not stop at only non-supplying of the bills, they have to face the regular problem of repair taking days, over-billing, cross-talking and wrong numbers.

The telecom employees have called a strike tomorrow against the alleged attack on Mr Jagar Singh.

The department continues the illegality of disconnecting telephone connections despite the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission having given a ruling in 1994 in the Madhav Vinayak Rajvade vs MTNL case that disconnection can only be made after a due notice.

The BSNL however, does not seem to accept the consumer protection judgement, retaining clauses like disconnection and the responsibility of getting the bill being on the consumer.

Telecom employees have blamed that top officials allegedly seem to be conspiring to sell off the company citing loss of faith of the people to a multinational group.

They have decided to meet the Principal General Manager Telecom, Chandigarh, Mr. R.C. Vaish, to chalk out service improvement measures.

A consumer affairs lawyer, Mr Arunjit Singh Walia, told The Tribune that the department in December 2,000 disconnected all telephones of STD booth operators in one go for non-payment despite employees being on strike for 15 days citing the office rules framed on the basis of the Swamy Manual. Bills could not be supplied to the people due to the P&T employees remaining on strike and the STD operators get their bills every 15 days instead of a two-month cycle.

A Chandigarh Telecom Consumers Society member said that telephones could not be a business alone but a necessary service to the people to link them, especially at the time of distress like sudden accident, crime and health problems which can take lives of the people. He said disconnection without notice amounted to risking the lives of the people.



Phone subscribers inconvenienced
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 27
A number of telephone subscribers are facing inconvenience while depositing their telephone bills at the office of the Bharat Sanchar Nigan Limited in Sector 5 here.

Long queues before the counters on the first floor of the office is a routine sight. The authorities have not made separate counters for men and women.

The subscribers complaint that the nigam authorities are not issuing proper bills. The authorities have started disconnecting the telephone connections without given them sufficient time for depositing the bills.

Mr Balbir Singh, a resident of Majri, complained that earlier the bills were accepted by the banks and the post offices even after due date, but nowadays they refused to entertain them. When they approached the office counters for depositing the bills, it took them two to three days to stand in the queue to make payments.

Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of Chhat village near Banur in Patiala district, complained that he had deposited the bills and still had received a letter a week later from the department, asking him to deposit Rs 241, which the department had forgotten to calculate in the total amount.

Earlier the department had sanctioned 250 free calls to the subscribers of rural areas, but this time the department had sent them bills after reducing half the calls.

When contacted Mr P. N. Vaish, Principal General Manager Telecommunication, said the BSNL had given sufficient time for the subscribers to deposit their bills. Almost every bank and post office in the circle were accepting the bills, but the subscribers had ignored the facility, he claimed.

The department had also arranged a mobile van, which collected the telephone bill payments in remote areas, but they had ignored the facility, he added.



Question your Councillor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
People’s response to the “Question your Councillor” column launched by Chandigarh Tribune on Monday has been both interesting and revealing. We are reproducing below a few of the additional questions raised by residents of Ward 1, with the response of the ward councillor, Ms Satinder Dhawan.

Q: The area opposite State Bank of Patiala in Sector 8 is dirty and water gets accumulated there during the monsoon. What have you done to redress the problem and by when will it be solved. — Mr D.S. Sandhu, president, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 8.

A: Now this has come to my notice. I will contact the association to know what exactly is the problem and get it redressed immediately.

Q: The Sector 11 rehri market remains a dirty place. There is encroachment and traffic congestion in the area. What have you done to solve this problem and by when it will be done? — Brigadier S.S. Chaudhary, president, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 11.

A: The dirt in the area is due to the rehri market. Now the market is going to be converted into a booth market, work on which is going to begin probably next month as tenders have already been floated.

Q: The park facing Sector 9-C has become a garbage dumping ground and Nehru Park is in ruins, where even marriage functions are held. There is dog menace and there is no parking for Sector 9-C and 9-D showrooms. Rickshaw-pullers do not have toilets and shelters and streetlights are in poor condition in the Sector. What are you doing or have done regarding that? — Mr Gurcharan Singh, secretary, Plot Holders Association, Sector 8.

A: The parking problem is temporary as showrooms are still coming up. The authorities are ready to make it once construction of shops is finished. The dog menace is all over the city and the High Court order not to kill animals has restrained the corporation, but the sterilisation process is on. The park development has been taken up on my behalf. I have sent a proposal of Rs 6.74,000 for beautification, but lack of funds has been coming in the way. Regarding shelter for rickshaw-pullers, I will take up the matter with the authorities.

Q: Sector 7 does not have a bus stop with a shelter. The parking lot work from booth 1 to 8 has been left halfway. The public toilet is dirty and no lighting is available there. What have you done to solve these problems and when will it be possible for these problems to be solved? — Mr Ved Prakash, president, Booth Market Association.

A: For construction of a bus stop shelter, the Chief Engineer has been told and he has agreed to build one. The parking lot creation has stopped temporarily because of the rains. It will start as soon as the monsoon is over. The problem of unclean toilets and poor lighting has come to my notice now. I will address it soon.

Q: There has been collection of garbage and water in the Sector 10 market. There is a mini-slum there. Tall trees pose a threat to the life of the people. When will these problems be solved? — Col Pruthi, secretary, Chandigarh Welfare Society.

A: The problem has now come to my notice. I will request the residents to write to me or welcome them if they come to me to tell me the problem.

Q: The entry to the parking space in Sector 8-C on Madhya Marg has not be paved for almost 15 years. Will you help do this work? — Mr Rajiv Khanna, Sector 8, Traders Association, Madhya Marg.

A: This problem has been there on all entries to parking lots along Madhya Marg. I have taken up the matter with the corporation, which says it cannot be done because of lack of funds. I have persuaded the corporation to take up this matter with the Administration, which will probably take up this responsibility.

Q: Residents of Sector 10 have been demanding a walkway of four to six feet in their park and concrete backlanes. What have you done to redress these grievances of the people? — Mr Varmani, Citizens Welfare Association, Sector 10.

A: I hope the matter will finally be solved due to consistent and long persuasion because the architect does not allow such paths in parks, but it may take some time.

Q: The Sector 9 market is poorly lit, with lights being veryhigh and old. When will the lighting system be improved? — Mr Naresh, son of secretary, Sector 9-C, Market Association.

A: I have contributed some amount for the purpose, but the problem still persists. The Chief Engineer has taken it up and recommendation of mercury lights has been made.



Without power for seven days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July 27
The Central State Library, Sector 34, has been without electricity for the past seven days and till late in the evening today, efforts were on to repair the burnt cable connection to the library.

The electricity supply to the library stopped on Saturday last week and it was assumed that it was part of the routine power cuts in the area. On Monday morning, however, it was realised that the library was still in darkness because of a technical fault.

For the next three days, Librarian, J.K. Kataria ran from pillar to post to get the electricity fault repaired. He first complained to the Sector 35 electricity office which directed him to contact the department in Sector 19. He visited the Sector 19 Electrical Department, who promptly sent him back to the Electricity Department, telling him that the library has a temporary supply connection, not a regular one. Mr Kataria had to in the end fall back upon a personal contact in the Sector 35 Electricity Department to ensure that someone comes to repair the connection. But only after he gave a written undertaking that the library would pay for the expenses incurred by the department for the repairs.

Electricity Department employees said they could not change the cable till the consumer arranged for one and in this case since Library was the administration’s property, it would have to provide the cable.

‘‘But getting that sanction will take time and even if the sanction is given it will take at least another day to get the cable. The readers have suffered enough already,’’ said Mr Kataria ‘‘hence, I have given the undertaking.’’

The number of readers to the library has gone down considerably and many people are constantly calling up the librarian whether the electricity supply has resumed. Some students who generally get together in the library are sitting outside and exchanging notes.’’ informed an employee.



Fighting against female foeticide
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Foeticide is a unique form of violence against women which those operating the ultrasound and other types of sex determination clinics are actively promoting. If the present trend of unabated ante natal sex determination continued for another decade, the region will witness an alarming decline in sex ratio — so much so that the present male: female ratio of 793:1000 in Punjab would decline by another one third, says Dr Sabu M. George.

Dr Sabu is an activist-researcher, who has been actively involved in implementing female infanticide and foeticide prevention programmes all over the country for the past 16 years now.

Disturbed at the alarming number of missing women in the country Dr Sabu along with voluntary CEHAT from Mumbai and Masoom from Pune, also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) after which the Supreme Court directed implementation of Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (regulation and prevention of misuse) Act 1994, by June 30 this year.

Passionately involved in the fight against the menace of sex determination, Dr Sabu has worked in the villages of Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country. “At least, it has now been recognised that this problem affects South India as much as northern parts, Gujarat and Maharashtra,” he says.

With a basic training in public health and nutrition from IIT, Mumbai, John Hopkins and Cornell universities, for the past six years, he has been actively trying to build coalitions against female infanticide and foeticide.

Dr Sabu is here in connection with the ongoing workshop on evolving intervention strategy for checkmating the declining sex ratio, organised by the Voluntary Health Association of Punjab (VHAP) to sensitise the grassroot workers against the declining sex ratio in Punjab. “Working in the rural areas, I realised how badly female infanticide was affecting the sex ratio. However, between infanticide and foeticide is the fact that while killing a girl in infancy took a long time to distort this ratio, foeticide with the help of modern day gadgets like ultrasound has done this in a few years,” he adds.

Elaborating further, he said first private sex determination centre came up in Amritsar in 1979. “The 1981 census recorded the female: male ratio in Punjab as 924 : 1000. The gap widened in 1991 to 875 : 1000. With ultrasound clinics operating from every nook and corner in the state, the ratio by the Census 2001 was recorded at a miserly 793 :1000.”

For this drastic decline, Dr Sabu blames doctors more than anybody else. “On my first visit to this part of the country in 1998 I saw advertisements in the newspapers, on billboards, on walls, proclaiming — boy or girl. It was after the activists filed a petition with the Human Rights Commission in 1999 that these advertisements were banned.”

Fight against the evergrowing menace was not so easy. “It took me some time to convince my lawyer that we had a case. But by this time we had collected enough material. The first draft was ready and filed in May 2000. Following this, the Supreme Court issued an interim directions asking the government of India, state authorities and other appropriate authorities to implement the act. The government has to give a report by July 31 in terms of the progress that has been made,” he adds.

Whether the implementation of the Act has made a difference, he says that there has been some progress, “At a lot needs to be done. With the present trend India is following in China’s footsteps where a massive foeticide for family planning has resulted in a lopsided male: female ratio. It is expected that after a few years, as many as 10 million Chinese men will not have a wife. Even now, more than 100,000 women are abducted in this oriental country every year. A disturbed sex ratio will only mean more violence against women,” Dr Sabu adds.



Plea to open health centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The CHB Dr Ambedkar Awas Welfare Society, Sector 56, has urged the Chandigarh Administration to open a public health centre in the colony.

In a representation to the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (Retd), the society demanded the opening of a senior secondary school and a community centre.

Demanding the reduction in the fixed water charges from Rs 100 to Rs 50, it demanded that electricity poles should be relocated at a proper distance from houses to avoid any untoward incident.

It urged the Chandigarh Housing Board to regularise the additions and alterations on the pattern of those regularised in the case of LIG, MIG and HIG houses. It also drew the attention of the authorities concerned to water shortage.

The representation demanded that a bigger sewerage line should be laid as the residents faced problems on account of this.



Ultimatum on land to gurdwara
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
The local Gurdwara Talmel Committee and members of the Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha today gave a 10-day ultimatum to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for giving the possession of land in Sector 70 here failing which an agitation would be launched.

They lamented that despite having paid money for the allotment of land under a scheme of PUDA in 1997, the land had not been allotted as yet.

Mr Hardeep Singh, a member of the SGPC, said residents of Sector 70 were agitated over the attitude of PUDA. He said the Gurdwara Singh Sabha was ready to pay any cost to PUDA for the allotment of land.

We had been offered two kanals of land but the demarcation of land was yet to begin.



Civic body waits for funds
Shashi Pal Jain

The Municipal Committee of Kharar has not been able to undertake several development plans for want of funds because it has not received for more than a year about Rs 1 crore from the Punjab Government on account of octroi on liquor. Moreover, a grant of Rs 25 lakh which the Chief Minister announced two years ago has also not reached the committee. Unless these amounts are made available to the committee, it may not be able to provide basic necessities to the residents.

* * *

The residents of Machli Kalan village in Kharar Block are resentful at the failure of the authorities to upgrade the Government High School of the village to the senior secondary level. Mr Harmesh Chand, a Congress leader and resident of the village, said that on the one hand ministers were proclaiming that the standard of education in the villages should be raised, but on the other hand schools were not being upgraded. He said that this village had a large population running into thousands but the government was not listening to the demands of the villagers.

* * *

The tree plantation campaign of the Kharar Rotary Club got going last week with the planting of saplings by the president of the club, Mr Karam Singh Mundi. An environment protection seminar held by the club in association with State Bank of Patiala coincided with the campaign. Mr Sunil Kaushal, Assistant General Manager, SBOP, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. Different aspects of environment protection were dealt with by speakers including Mr Kaushal, Mr Devinder Singh (SDM, Kharar) and Mr Deepak Sharma.

* * *

The Lions Club of Kharar organised a blood donation camp last week. As many as 63 persons donated blood at the camp which was inaugurated by Mr Devinder Singh, SDM. He announced a grant of Rs 21000 to the club. Mr Preet Kanwal Singh, President of the club, revealed that the club had given a hearing to a needy person. It was donated to the club by Mr Parmatma Singh of Santo Majra village.

* * *

The Innerwheel Club of Kharar organised a get-together of club members in Kasauli last week. A large number of families of members participated in the get-together. Mrs Babli Dhiman, President, and Mrs Asha Jain, Project Chairman of the club organised the meet.



Where coffee is an experience
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

A coffee ‘bar’? Yes, Barista is no ordinary tea shop. Here, executives (barista means barman) are trained to make a cocktails that give you heady feeling.

So, you have an assortment of mix’n fix beverages to choose from. But, before you venture out here, be prepared — the cost of one coffee mug begins from Rs 30 and can go up to Rs 65, depending on the flavour.

Chandigarh has three Barista outlets — the main one in Sector 35 (it is open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.) and one each in Planet M, Sector 17, and Ebony, Sector 9.

As you enter the place, the ambience of an international chain of stores that has a similar hue all over the world hits you and gives a sense of familiarity to the regulars and globe-trotters.

Orange — the colour of happiness — stands out in the Sector 35 ‘bar’. The furniture, flooring, and even the uniform of the staff exude mirth through hues of orange. The contrasting electric blue light shades accentuate the expressions in the espresso joint. A note saying ‘play me’ beside the guitar beckons coffee sippers to string and tune the instrument.

Or, if you prefer, you may help yourself to something from the magazine stand or the newspaper rack. Otherwise, simply get entertained by the TV.

The Planet M outlet has colourful sketches lining the walls, preceded by a gallery of larger-than-life portraits of gorgeous filmstars.

Why am I telling you all this and not coming to the point straight? Because, as the Manager, Mr Biswajeet Mandal, says: “We are not selling only coffee. We are selling an experience.”

As in a bar, here too the person making the drink can make a difference in the taste of the beverage. While the elaborate menu card gives you an idea of the type of coffee offered, the executives say that you have the option of asking for add-ons — whipped cream, hot chocolate fudge, icecream and flavours (Irish cream, caramel, cinnamon, almond, vanilla, hazelnut) — at an additional cost of Rs 15 to Rs 20.

Savour this: Iced cafe mocha (caf-ay mokah) is a fresh shot of espresso, chocolate and low-fat milk over ice (Rs 40).

Or, Cappuccino (cap-uh-chee-no). It is one of Italy’s greatest inventions, featuring the inimitable Espresso Italiano topped with steamed milk and foamed milk in a thick cup to contain the flavour and warmth (Rs 30).

You also have the option of asking for ‘decaffeinated’ coffee. The coffee beans used by Barista are roasted, ground, pressurised and processed in Italy to retain the special flavour. (The coffee powders ordinarily available in the market are made from granules, not beans).

Also available is a range of fine teas in the price range of Rs 15 to Rs 40. It includes Assam team, English breakfast tea, iced tea (peach lemon) and mint tea.

For refreshing alternatives, you can select ginger fizz (natural ginger and soda poured over ice for Rs 40) or icecream soda.

In the granitas or slush drinks category are lime, blue curacao and strawberry flavoured cold drinks for Rs 30 to Rs 45.

You may complement these drinks with an assortment of snacks and desserts like sandwiches, doughnut rolls, cakes, pastries, cookies, muffins and brownies.



Residents’ relay fast continues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The relay fast by members of the CHB Residents’ Federation entered its eighth day today.

Batches of federation members sat on a day-long dharna in different parts of the city to press Chandigarh Housing Board to grant more relief to the allottees. Later in the evening, leaders of various political parties broke the fasts of the protesters by offering them glasses of juice.

While Mr Mata Ram Dhiman, president of the Bahujan Samaj Party, offered juice to the members of the MIG Residents Welfare Association, Sector 46, Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, broke the fast of the members of the Residential Welfare Society, Sector 45-D.

Similarly, the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, and the Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh, offered glasses of juice to members of the LIG Residents Welfare Association, Sector 41-D, the LIG Allottees UT Employees Welfare Association, Sector 41-A, and the MIG Flats Residents Welfare Association, Sector 41-A. Ms Shyama Negi, president of INTUC, visited Sector 29-B and offered juice to the members of the Housing Board Welfare Association, Sector 29-B.

Various speakers, while assuring to take up their case with the authorities concerned, extended full support to the rally of the federation in Sector 40 on July 29. Among the main demands of the federation are withdrawal of proposed demolition drive threat after July 31, regularisation of the “need-based” changes, additions and alterations, reduction in conversion charges from leasehold to freehold and reduction in the transfer fee for general power of attorney holders.



District 321 F Lions Clubs are best
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Lions Clubs of District 321F, numbering about 145, have been declared best among all the 746 districts of the world.

Dr N.K. Grover, who was the district governor, gave credit to the members of the institution.

A press note said eye donation by members of the club helped to conduct 25 eye transplantations. He said one member of the club gave Rs 50 lakh for Dirba Primary School. He said more than 5,000 eye operation were performed at various eye camps.



Look for land that faces waterways

To the Chinese man water almost always symbolises prosperity. One will wonder why and how water can bring prosperity in one’s life. Water is known to us as a life source. Without water no human being can live. And in the environment water is believed to be an excellent “purveyor” of Chi, especially if it is clean and meandering.

If one plans to buy land in the hills, one should look for land that faces waterways.

The presence of moving rivers is always indicative of good luck. So one should buy a piece that is situated near a river or stream. It will have an exciting Feng Shui potential.

Always buy this kind of land. Just make sure that the water which is flowing in a part of your house is clean and unpolluted. It should not be blocked by garbage or any other thing.

When you build your house make sure you orientate your home in a way that allows you to “top” into the good Chi flow of the waterway. People living in such a house will always prosper. They will not fall sick and good future will always be with them.

— Harshna

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



Two arrested on fraud charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A former guard of the Industrial Development Bank of India, Sector 17, has been booked on charges of stealing a cheque from the bank and later trying to encash it from a different bank.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 380, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC, it is alleged that Raj Kumar Sharma, who was working as a security guard in the bank from November 2000 to January 2001, had stolen a cheque for Rs 7,000 from the bank and later gave it to Tribhuvan Yadav for encashment.

Tribhuvan presented the cheque for encashment in Punjab National Bank branch in Sector 16. Both have been arrested.

Case registered
Nijamudin was caught red-handed while stealing a scooter (CH-01P-7195) from Maloya Colony on Thursday. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Mr Sukhdev Singh.

Two injured
A cyclist, Kehar Singh was injured when he was hit by a motor cycle( CH-01C-8036) near the Khuda Lohara bridge on Thursday.

In another accident, a scooterist, Ms Suchitra Sareen was hit by a Maruti car ( CH-03- 4471) in Sector 27 on Thursday.

In both the cases, the accused drivers fled away and the police has registered cases under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

One arrested
Mewa Lal was arrested on charge of consuming liquor at a public place in Sector 19 and booked under sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.


Shopkeeper held
The local police today arrested a shopkeeper of Bansal Book Depot in Phase 3-B2 here for selling obscene magazines. The shopkeeper, Baldev Kishan was booked under Section 292 of the IPC. The police was investigating the matter to know the source of the obscene material.


One killed
One person was killed and another injured when a Gypsy of the SHO, Barwala hit their moped on the Panchkula-Barwala road, on Friday.

According to sources, Jai Ram who was riding pillion on the moped died on the spot, while Balbir Singh sustained injuries. He was later rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh. Jai Pal, a resident of Kajehri, was labourer.

Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle has been arrested and the police has impounded the vehicle.

Mr Manoj Yadav, SP, was not available for comments.



Special team for illicit liquor case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A special team of crime branch officials has been constituted in order to look into the case of the illicit liquor factory that has been discovered in Industrial Area recently. It may be noted that the investigations of the case were transferred to the crime branch yesterday.

According to an official of the branch, the team will now find out the name of the owner of the truck that was recovered from the factory. Its task will also include finding out the places from where the rectified spirit was supplied to the factory and the place from where the labels of the other popular brands were printed.

The team will also be conducting raids in order to arrest the accused, Harinder Pal Singla.


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