Thursday, August 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



2,000 phone connections developing snags per day
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
An average of 2,000 telephone connections are developing snags per day in the Chandigarh Telecom District, recording a substantial increase over previous years and resulting in rectification taking three to four days in certain cases.

‘’Around 1000 to 1200 connections in Chandigarh, 200 in Panchkula and 900 in Mohali are reporting faults due to increase in digging activity damaging the cables and water seeping into the cables,’’ the Principal General Manager, Telecom, Chandigarh, Mr. R.C. Vaish, told The Tribune today.

The average is higher this year because of different agencies engaging in digging activity and giving a go-by to an understanding reached at a meeting with the Municipal Corporation and other agencies to inform the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at least a week in advance, he said.

He said the understanding was hammered out with the aim that the BSNL, the biggest asset holder, asks one of its officers to supervise the digging activity to prevent damage to the cables and also ensure repair of the same.

Unfortunately, the BSNL is not being informed in advance resulting in wet season complications caused by water seeping into cables and the consumer and staff suffering due to additional burden of attending to complaints.

He said after the cables develop faults, despite the department possessing equipment to trace the problem, it may take a long time to pin-point the snag and in certain cases efforts may go in vain.

Mr Vaish said that the rectification of complaints is being monitored every day at his level and a complaint registered before 3 p.m. is normally attended to on the same day and should certainly be taken up the next day as per the company’s all-India policy.

He, however, admitted that during the wet time, like these days, fault corrections have also been taking time for reasons beyond the organisation’s control.

The PGMT said the workforce is under tremendous pressure to handle complaints as recruitments have been banned for years and a number of telephone connections having gone up manifold.

Mr Vaish said every day he got reports of faulty connections and their rectification and if a connection was found not to have been repaired, the people responsible were pulled up.


Poor MC! No ‘poor man’ in all Chandigarh
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
For long, Chandigarh has been considered a city of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. Now, this statement is official after the Chandigarh Administration is struggling to find suitable recipients for the Centre’s grants for the poor.

Consequently, the Rs 1.79 crore sent here by the Centre as grants under the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana is lying unused. Meanwhile, the Union Government has stopped allocating the city more money for the past two years because the utilisation of earlier grants has not been upto the mark.

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, which distributes these grants here, says that there are only a few eligible recipients in the city as per norms of the Planning Commission. According to these norms, the income of a family should be Rs 300.91 paise per head per month for it to be called a poor family. Besides this, various other parameters like living conditions of a family are also taken into account. Conditions like the kind of a roof over its head, floor under its feet, sanitation around it, water supply in its house, education that its children receive and occupation of its members are also taken into account. Points are given for pucca roofs, pucca floors and sanitation.

The grant includes a subsidy clause which means that the MC will pay off 15 per cent of the loan taken by a member of a poor family for any activity.

The MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, says, “We have asked the Planning Commission to revise the norms that specify which family should be considered poor.” While the cut-off limit for per capita monthly income here is Rs 300.91, it is Rs 300 in Punjab and Rs 400 in Maharashtra, which is the highest in the country. “This limit needs to be raised, says Mr M.P. Singh, “as the grants in this case do not lapse and the money remains in the MC coffers.”

He said state authorities could transfer funds from one MC to another, which was not possible in Chandigarh as there was no other channel here which could divert the funds elsewhere.

Out of the Rs 1.79 crore of the grant that is with the corporation, Rs 1.01 crore is for various loan schemes only. The loan schemes have a 54 per cent chance of being rejected by banks. In some cases, the banks have asked for collateral security against the loan, which is the Centre’s scheme does not allow.

Another clause in the scheme is that a loan seeker should be less educated than a matriculate. It is hard to find a person here who fulfills all these conditions. Recently, the Administration conducted a survey to identify residents of the city who were living below the poverty line.

All 20,000 such families that were identified lived in slums and banks dreaded extending loans to migrant labourers who would not stay at one place for long. That way all this money of banks would turn into bad debts.

Mr M.P. Singh said the MC could do nothing, but implement the scheme in toto and it was upto the Planning Commission to raise the income slab in its poverty clause.


Diesel costlier in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 1
Price of diesel in the city has risen by Rs 1.02 per litre making it as the costliest in the area. This follows a notification issued by the Chandigarh Administration today in line with the Government of India directions.

With this hike, diesel will now cost Rs 17.34 per litre here as compared to Rs 16.46 in Panckhula and Rs 16.36 per litre in SAS Nagar. Mr Amanpreet Singh, general secretary of the Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association, said 90 per cent of the diesel to the city comes from transporters. He feels the city will be able to retain only 20 per cent of its present monthly sale of 4,000 kilo litre of diesel. The association has demanded that the hike should have been done in accordance with Punjab as Chandigarh has to follow the Reorganisation of States Act 1966. Punjab and Haryana are yet to hike the sale tax.


Nirmal Singh is new PU DSW
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Prof Nirmal Singh of the Department of Physics in Panjab University has been appointed the Dean Student Welfare, official sources said here today.

Prof Nirmal Singh replaces Prof V.K. Bansal, Chairman of the Law Department.

Prof R.C. Sobti of the Department of Bio-technology has been appointed the Dean Foreign Students. He replaces Prof S.K. Malik who passed away recently.

Prof M.L. Sharma from the Botany Department has been appointed the Dean Alumni Relations. The post was earlier held by Prof Dinesh Kumar from the University Business School.

The post of the Dean Student Welfare was in news for the past some time because of “regular observations” by student bodies over the possible names for the post doing university rounds.

It may be noted that a press release of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad had opposed extension to the present DSW, Prof V.K. Bansal, because he is also the Chairman of the Department of Laws. He is unable to give sufficient time to either office, the release said.

The student organisation said that it had come to our knowledge that one of the office-bearers of a prominent student organisation was son of a faculty member whose name was being considered for the post. The appointment would be unfair, the release added.


Police raids PU boys’ hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Keeping in view the celebrations of Independence Day, a team of police led by the DSP Central, Mr S.S. Randhawa, conducted a raid on all six boys’ hostels in Panjab University to check for suspicious elements.

According to information available, the raids were conducted in the wee hours of the morning and 56 persons were rounded up. However, they were later released after the police had verified their antecedents.

It may be recalled that the SSP, Mr Parag Jain, had recently convened a meeting of all three subdivisional police officers and 11 Station House Officers of various police stations and asked them to intensify their patrolling. He had directed all SHOs to beef up security, especially near the sensitive installations like Bus Stand, water works, Railway Station etc. in wake of the Independence Day celebrations. They were also asked to intensify patrolling in slum and labour colonies, hostels, paying guest accommodations and other hide-outs.

They had also been asked to keep an eye on persons who were coming to the guest houses and other suspicious persons roaming in the city. The police was also asked to keep a check on all PCOs in their respective areas and on the persons making international calls, especially to certain hostile nations. 


Controversy haunts cremation ground
Nishikant Dwivedi

Naya Gaon (Kharar), August 1
The village panchayat here today began walling the remaining parts of an encroached cremation ground, raising doubts of legalising the encroached land.

The saved chunk of cremation land still remains in controversy with an old resident claiming that a part of it legitimately belonged to him, and has threatened to put a spanner in the fencing work.

The panchayat seems to have begun ‘’the save cremation ground campaign’’ without measuring the land, giving encroachers a field day. Sources in the Punjab Revenue Department said that the total area of the cremation ground was six kannals and four marlas. They admit that no measurement of the cremation ground had been done for a long time.

Village sarpanch H.S. Bajwa, however, maintains that the exercise was just a beginning and the people who have encroached upon the land will be sent notices. Mr Bajwa said: “We first want to build a boundary wall around the cremation ground, which is available and the encroached land will also be retrieved”. He said that the boundary wall will encompass about five kannals of the cremation ground.

The controversy over the area to be covered by the wall was yet to be resolved, when an old man, Mr Mehar Singh Jaildar, and his grandson, Mr Amarpreet Singh, reached the spot.

Mr Jaildar claimed that he owned two marlas of land, which now fall on the road leading to Nada village. According to him, he was allotted equal land at one corner of the cremation ground, when the original road was altered to the present position. The villagers allege that the road was altered by persons who had encroached on the panchayat land.

However, Mr Jaildar was not committed the “swaped” land on paper. He claims: “I have possession documents of my original land”, and threatened to dig the present Nada road if the land allotted to him in “exchange” was taken away from him. He also said that he would move court.

When asked about Mr Jaildar’s claim, Mr Bajwa said: “Whatever he was claiming did not happen during my tenure”. Mr Manjeet Singh Kamboj, general secretary of the Residents and Shopkeepers Joint Action Committee, Nayagaon, demanded that proper measurements of the ground should be taken up and the entire land should be brought back in possession of the panchayat.

For want of a demarcation line, a large part of the ground had been encroached upon by villagers. Surprisingly, shops, a road and a horsecart stand had come to exist there. The matter was highlighted by Chandigarh Tribune in its July 1 edition.

At the same time, a section of the villagers are demanding shifting of the cremation ground to another “suitable place”. Mr Bhupinder Singh, a coach with Panjab University and a resident of the village, suggested: “Now the population of the village has crossed 30,000 and the cremation ground should be shifted away from human settlement to another suitable place”. Mr Gurdeep Singh, another resident, also demanded shifting of the road.

Earlier, work on the construction of the boundary wall along the cremation ground started this morning and a JCB was pressed into action. The work was reportedly halted for sometime after some of the villagers who were using a road passing through the cremation ground objected to the construction. However, later the work resumed with the path in the ground left out of the proposed boundary wall for the “time-being”.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, was not available for comments. 


10 booked for making fake licences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Vigilance Department has booked 10 persons, including four officials of the UT Licencing and Registration Authority, for their alleged involvement in making fake licences and registration of vehicles.

According to the information available, the Vigilance Department had registered a case against all 10 accused after an inquiry was conducted.

The accused had been involved in making fake registration of vehicles on fake names and addresses. It was reported that the racket was run by three touts, four officials of the Licencing and Registration Authority and three others for the past couple of months.


EC to discuss MC election dates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The state Election Commissioner of Union Territory, Mr S. Malaichamy, will hold meetings with senior officials of the Administration, corporation and people to decide the dates for the corporation and panchayat elections in the Union Territory and to oversee preparations in this regard.

The Election Commissioner told The Tribune, that he would talk to the Administrator, Mr J.F.R. Jacob; Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda; Corporation Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh; and the people to decide the dates for the elections due by the end of the year and know the preparations for these.

He said after two days of meetings he would be in a position to announce the dates for elections in the Union Territory.

According to the Joint Election Commissioner, Mr Khaneta, delimitation of wards was not possible due to various administrative problems, even though various political parties had put forth their demands from time to time.

The political parties have been demanding that the number of wards be increased to 30. 


World passport scam: complainant withdraws case
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Even as the Economic Offences Wing of the city police has been left in the lurch by a complainant in the world passport case, the former maintain that this will not hamper the investigations in the case.

According to information available, the complainant, Baljit Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, had recently submitted an affidavit in the court, stating that Dayal Massih, an accused in the case, had taken Rs 1.80 lakh from him for issuing him a passport. While the accused had returned Rs 50,000 to Baljit Singh, the remaining sum of Rs 1.30 lakh was still due. Baljit Singh said that later the accused had paid him back his dues and thus he was withdrawing his complaint against him.

Baljit Singh had reportedly submitted photocopies of the bank drafts given to him by Massih in order to pay back his dues. This had caused a major setback in the investigations of this sensational case, where Massih and another accused, Rajiv Puri, were involved in making fake passports issued by a fake ‘‘world service authority’’ on behalf of a ‘world government’ that ensured the passport holders a trip anywhere in the world, without a visa.

It may be recalled that the accused were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing on July 10 after Baljit Singh had complained against them during an alternate complaints redressal meeting on July 7. He had said that he had approached Dayal Massih, a travel agent based in SAS Nagar, for immigrating to the USA. The latter had taken him to Rajiv Puri, another travel consultant. And these two had promised him a world passport. Massih’s son was also involved in the racket.

However, the police maintained that they had already received complaints from three other persons against the accused. The police had also seized fake passports, forged identity cards and birth certificates, fake IT returns and fake bank drafts from them, which was enough incriminating evidence to nail the accused.

Also, the police had approached officials of the US Embassy to check the validity of these ‘world passports’ and was expecting some information from the US Government on the World Service Authority, based in Washington DC.

When contacted, the DSP , Special Crime, Mr B.D. Bector, said that two of their officers had visited the US Embassy and had been assured full cooperation. ‘‘The officials there had also confirmed unofficially that the said passports were not recognised,’’he said.

The accused had been promising their clients that the said passports were valid in five countries of the world. People were also lured on the pretext that these passports ensured an international exit visa.

The visas issued by the World Service Authority ensured entry into the chosen foreign land at a much lower cost. While immigration to the USA cost about Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh, the passport of the World Service Authority ensured entry in the USA for about Rs 1 lakh.

The entire process began when Rajiv had chanced upon a website,, through a search engine. The website reportedly promises easy immigration to any country in the world.

These passports were procured from Washington DC address mentioned on the website upon a payment of $ 100 to $ 200(US). Other than the passport of the ‘world government’, the birth certificate, identity card and citizen card of the ‘world government’ were also sent here , for its sale to gullible people.

Interestingly, it was also revealed that the accused were also preparing fake income tax returns and fixed deposits needed as surety — that were needed for getting a visa.

The police also suspected the duo of making fake Indian passports as an empty passport was also seized from Rajiv Puri.

While 29 passports ( 24 Indian, three of his own — old, new and a World Service Authority, his wife’s and a blank one) 40 photocopies and visa papers of passports, birth certificate, identity card and citizen card , three world certificates, nine photocopies of world passports and seven pass books were seized from Puri, two forged FD’s worth Rs. 3.80 lakh, one world certificate, passport of Baljit Singh, and fake IT returns were seized from Massih.


Epidemic threat makes MC pick up the broom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has decided to launch a special month-long sanitation drive in the city and its nearby areas. The drive will focus more on sanitation in slums and villages around the city.

The drive follows news reports that there is a high risk of the outbreak of diseases in slums here and the MC has failed to clean up the areas. The UT Health Department had also alerted the authorities concerned about the impending danger of an epidemic here.

According to the Assistant Commissioner-I, Mr Ashok Vashistha, this decision has been taken in the wake of detection of a few cases of cholera and diarrhoea in the city. A recently concluded special sanitation drive had focussed on improving sanitation in various sectors of the city.

The MC teams will not only clean up the slums but also check leakages and drain out water from ponds that are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Senior officials of the MC will inspect a zone every week and recommend suitable action against defaulting employees.

When Mr Vashistha inspected Zone 4 recently, he found that six MC employees had been absent from duty for long. These men included Rattan (Sector 22), who had marked his attendance but was absent; Ramesh (Sector 37), who he found was away since past one year; Suresh (Sector 37), who he found to be off duty since June 23; Rangi Ram, who had been away since June 21; Som Pal, who was absent since June 30; and Jagdish, who was under suspension since March 19. Action has also been recommended against another sweeper, Ashok, for burning heaps of leaves outside the Sector 36 Hibiscus Garden.

Mr Vashistha said the exercise had been undertaken with a view to not only checking the preparedness of safai karamcharis but also sensitising masses about the importance of cleanliness.

For the purpose of the drive, the city has been divided into four zones. Though no zone will have a special team of safai karamcharis, the supervision will be strict, according to officials.

Sources in the MC say that, while the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner-I will visit the areas twice a week, the AC-II, Mr Ashwani Kumar, and the Medical Officer Health, Mr G.C. Bansal, will visit these areas once a week.


Four vehicles damaged in freak accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
A major tragedy was averted when a Haryana Roadways bus first hit a Maruti car while trying to overtake and then fell off on the other side of the road, hitting another bus coming from the opposite direction. Another car, a Honda City, following the second bus too banged into the two buses. The accident took place this morning near the Airport chowk.

No casualty was reported and six persons, including the two bus drivers and conductors, a passenger and the driver of the Honda City car sustained injuries. The two bus drivers, Pirthi Singh and Om Prakash, are admitted in GMCH, Sector 32, and the PGI respectively. All the other injured, bus passenger, Ajmer Kaur, driver of Honda City car Kuldeep Singh and the conductors of the two buses, Banarsi Dass and Balwant Singh, sustained minor injuries and were discharged later in the day.

It is learnt that a Haryana Roadways bus (HR- 38- 7390) coming from Chandigarh, first hit a Maruti car (PB-13J-0104) in a bid to overtake the latter. The impact of the collision resulted in the bus crossing over the central verge and falling off on the other side of the road. Meanwhile, another Haryana Roadways bus (HR-47-7136) from Rohtak hit the bus that had fallen on the other side of the central verge. A Honda City (PB-03G-2000) that was following the second bus from Rohtak too hit the two buses. The police immediately reached the spot and the injured were rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32. Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC against Pirthi Singh, driver of bus HR- 38-7390.


VIP security not on panel’s agenda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The murder of the Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament, Phoolan Devi, in the Capital has left the security wing of the city police in a Catch 22 situation. Its proposal to withdraw security personnel given to various politicians, lawyers and bureaucrats in order to overcome staff shortage has been put on the proverbial back burner.

The issue is to be taken up in the security review committee meeting to be held soon. However, even as the government is under fire from various quarters for its alleged lapse in security provided to Phoolan Devi, the issue of withdrawing security to VIPs of the city has also been shelved for the time being.

A senior official of the security wing of the police, while confirming that the issue of withdrawing security will not be discussed in the meeting this time, said that they had been hoping that with the security personnel being withdrawn from several politicians and bureaucrats, they could be better utilised for VIP-route alerts, thereby easing pressure on the traffic police and the PCR staff.

It may be noted that more than 10 per cent of the police force has been put on security duty of VIPs , civil and police authorities — totalling to no more than 200. And this VIP security cover is not extended to VIPs from Punjab and Haryana. Presently, there are 410 persons from the 4000-strong police force ( 10 per cent of the total city police) who are engaged in providing security to the VIPs in the city.

The security wing personnel here are mainly providing security to the local politicians, 32 judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, around 10 lawyers, besides civil and police authorities.

It is learnt that the maximum number of security personnel are deployed as guards with the judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, police and civil authorities. While the HC judges and senior civil and police authorities get a guard of 1- 4 ( one Head Constable and four constables) and a personal security officer (PSO), several judges of the lower court and other civil and police officers only get a guard of 1-4 .

Lawyers and other VIPs like local politicians have been given only two personal security officers (PSOs). It is only these two categories that are likely to face the axe.


Punjab MC law Bill introduced in LS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The local member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, introduced the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (extended to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill, 2001, in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session, seeking to incorporate a provision therein to the effect that “any official or employee who is or has been transferred to the Municipal Corporation from any department of Chandigarh, UT Administration, shall be deemed to be and to have always been on deputation with the corporation.”

In the statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, Mr Bansal stated that the Punjab Act as extended to Chandigarh does not provide for the protection of the status of such officials and employees. As a result, they found themselves in a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis their colleagues with whom they had worked as equals before their transfer to the MC. It is imperative to undo any injustice that may have crept in as a result of this and to assure them that they would continue to be governed by the terms and conditions applicable to similar officers and employees of the Administration, said Mr Bansal.

The other amendments proposed by Mr Bansal seek to increase the number of wards from 20 to 30 and to delete a redundant provision conferring associate membership of the Corporation on a member of Punjab Legislative Assembly “representing the constituency in which the city or any part thereof is situated.”

Mr Bansal also moved two bills to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) (Union Territory) Order, 1951, and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 seeking to specifically include “Ramdasia” and “Ravidasia” in the relevant entry relating to these castes in the said constitution orders.

In a release issued here today, general secretary of the CTCC, Mr Sunil Parti has stated that besides, the above legislations, questions relating to Chandigarh that were raised by Mr Bansal and answered in the first week of the session regarding the clearance of slums, release of funds under Swaran Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojana, regularisation of daily wage workers, eradication of AIDS, fixation of berths and seats in trains, Kalka- Amritsar Express and service tax.

It may be recalled that earlier also some councillors, had taken up this long pending demand of the UT Administration’s employees being transferred to the MC on deputation. 


CTYC launches enrolment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) formally launched its membership drive from Rajiv Gandhi Congress Bhavan, Sector 35, here today.

The drive was launched by the President of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee(CTCC), Mr B.B. Bahl, by making Mr Sumit Chawla as an active member of the CTYC. A large number of the Congress workers, led by Mr HS Lucky, Mr Ravinder Singh Palli, Mr Jugraj Mann, Mr Gurmeet Sehgal and the Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma took part in the drive.

Mr Bahl and Mr Pankaj Sharma, Indian Youth Congress observer and Pradesh Returning Officer, informed that every active member had to enroll 10 primary members.

Meanwhile, Mr Pankaj Sharma clarified that since Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma had been made General Secretary of the CTCC, he ceased to be the President of the CTYC and the Youth Congress was in the process of electing its new President.


Temporary parking lot in Grain Market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will develop a temporary parking lot opposite the Grain Market in Sector 26.

The road wing of the MCC has started fencing the area and it would be made a paid parking lot in a few days. The enforcement staff had removed encroachments from the area a couple of days ago.

Earlier, vehicles, including tempos, taxi and trucks, continued to be parked on the road berms hindering the smooth flow of traffic and putting the general public to inconvenience.

Sources said although it was not a designated parking area, yet since it was being used for parking by the transporters free of cost, the civic body had decided to develop it as a paid parking.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, has assured the Subzi Mandi Arhtias Association that the civic body would issue monthly passes to the association member at Rs 50 per car per month. Similarly, scooters of their employees would be allowed to be parked for a monthly pass to be issued at Rs 20 per month.

This assurance was given by the Commissioner when Mr Om Parkash Chawla, a director of the Market Committee, and Mr Banarsi Dass Mahajan called on him yesterday.


Fast by Punwire staff union
Tribune News Service

Members of the Punjab Wireless System Employees Union on a fast at Balongi Chowk, SAS Nagar, on Wednesday.
Members of the Punjab Wireless System Employees Union on a fast at Balongi Chowk, SAS Nagar, on Wednesday.
— A Tribune photograph

SAS Nagar, August 1
Demanding the revival of Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union, the Punwire Employees Union today staged a one-day hunger strike at the Balongi rotary here today. Mr Shaeed Ahmed, president of the union, said the employees had decided to take their agitation to a logical conclusion.

He said the company still had orders worth over Rs 150 crore. The employees, who went on the hunger strike were Shaeed Ahmed, Prithpal Singh, Iqbal Singh, Dharmendar Singh, Kulwant Singh, Dev Raj , Jasbir Singh, R.L. Salaria, Shalendra Singh, Yashpal Singh, Ashok Behl, and Rajiv.

Raising slogans against the Punjab Government, the employees demanded that the findings of the Price Water House and the report of Justice H.K. Sandhu should be made public.

The leaders announced that the agitation would be further intensified. Different trade unions, including the Punwire Employees Union, would stage a dharna and organise a rally in front of the office of the SDM in Phase 1 here on August 10, said Mr Ramji Dass, general secretary of the Trade Union Council. 


MCC to replace 34,061 water meters in 6 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Public Health Wing of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will be replacing as many as 34,061 defective water meters of consumers during the next six months. The new water meters of all sizes are now being installed by the MCC in accordance with the revised notification following the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions.

Giving details, the Superintending Engineer (Public Health), Mr Swaran Singh Kanwal, pointed out that based on a survey in 1998 as many as 54,227 water meters were found to be defective.

Of these 27,248 meters have already been changed, while only 26,979 remained to be changed. But since 7,000 defective meters have been added to the existing list in the past one and a half years, the number has once again increased to 34,061 meters.

The drive to start the replacement of defective meters was started on July 10 and till date 2,630 meters have been replaced.

Earlier, the civic body had fixed July 31 as the last date for getting the defective water meters replaced but following the intervention of the court, the MCC has been directed to do the needful of buying and installing the meters within six months.

The cost of the meters will be recovered from the consumers.


E-book on tales of signalmen
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
A retired Indian Army Signals officer, Col Didar Singh, is launching on the website a unique “electronic book” containing Signal veterans’ tales authored by signalmen in India, Pakistan and the Royal Corps of Signals (British).

The website, which will be formally launched tomorrow, is backed by authentic photographs, anecdotes, documents and sketches. In a talk with TNS here today, Col Didar Singh said the project had aroused considerable interest among ex-servicemen as well as the general public.

He was of the view that a large number of Signal veterans and their relatives were bubbling with nostalgic true tales and stories about the Signals. Some tales might be of a personal nature with a good sense of humour or excerpts from personal diaries or records which in many cases could be “historical fill-in-the-blanks” regarding the history of the India and Pakistan Signals and the Royal Corps of Signals.

“This is an opportunity for the Signal veterans with encyclopaedic memory to come out with such tales or stories and bring out forgotten records of Signals from their shelves and to become co-authors of the e-book on the web portal. The e-book will, of course, be a book with a difference. It will not be a fiction but a treasure-house of true stories and records.”

Col Didar Singh says if the response from the Signal veterans and others is encouraging, the project material will be edited by experts and consolidated in a conventional paperback form with the credits of co-authors and names of Signal veterans. The book will be presented to the Indian, Pakistan and British Signals for their archives as a first volume in due course of time depending on the response.

The project, he says, also aims at forming an international mercury club with retired signallers from India, Pakistan and the Royal Corps of Signals organising periodical gatherings. Another objective of the project is to discover the ex-comrades-in-arms now living in India, Pakistan and other countries.

This unofficial website <> is dedicated to the Corps of Signals of India, Pakistan and the Royal Corps of Signals who were once part of the Indian Signal Corps before Partition and then continued to serve in the Signals of the countries of their choice.

The e-book includes:
Narratives, stories, or records of a historical nature regarding the progressive development of Signal communications and Signal equipment.

Relevant excerpts from personal diaries and personal glimpses.

Gist of interesting intercepts or dialogues on wireless links or lines. Humorous intercepts will be preferred.

Humorous stories, tales or anecdotes relating to Signal personnel, units, equipment or locales.

Humane or bravery tales of signalers during international conflicts between India and Pakistan and in United Nation peace missions. Please do not use word “enemy” in narratives, rather use words like “opposing” forces or “opponents”.

Tales concerning Signal communications, equipment or personnel from the opposite side in World War II against whom Indian Army units fought in Burma, North Africa or Europe, including the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army). Tales and stories with Signal background from members of Signal associations, Signal welfare organisations and editors of Signal magazines in India, Pakistan and Britain.

All material for the project to be true, unpublished and devoid of defamation and politics and must conform to the security and legal norms of the country concerned.

All write-ups must contain the particulars of the writer with address to establish communication with the sponsor-cum-project director project editors.

The project editors will suitably edit the write-ups for inclusion in the project and their decision will be final. Rejected write-ups will not be returned.

Write-ups may be sent in any language.


Make community centres functional: Kala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Acting Mayor Gurcharan Dass Kala has in a note written to MC Commissioner M.P. Singh stated that community centres, which are lying ready in various parts of the city, should be thrown open to the public at the earliest.

Mr Kala suggested that the area councillors could throw open these centres to the public in their respective areas. It may be recalled that four of these community centres are lying ready in the wards of former Mayor, Mrs Kamala Sharma, and former Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Kanhya Lal.

The opening of these centres has been held up on the ground as to who will inaugurate these. Former Congress Mayor Raj Kumar Goyal, during his tenure, stuck to his stand that the Mayor in chair shall inaugurate these centres. But area councillors were of the view that since these had been constructed out of the funds provided by the former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, these should be inaugurated by him only. Hence, the inauguration has not been done for the past six to seven months.

Mr Kala has in his note suggested that the matter be resolved by making the area councillors inaugurate the same. The Commissioner has reportedly told the Acting Mayor that the councillors can do so by organising functions at their own level, for the MC will not organise any function.

In another note sent to the Commissioner, Mr Kala expressed concern over the increasing number of stray animals in the city. He has also observed that the health wing of the MCC has not been able to tackle the problem. He further directed the officials concerned to strengthen their drives to nab these stray animals, particularly in the area close to Burail village.


BJP decision on Mayor poll soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership will take a decision in a day or two whether to contest the Chandigarh Mayor's election or favour dissolution of the corporation.

''The party will decide on the issue of contesting the Mayor election due on August 10 or the dissolution of the house in a day or two after thorough discussions,'' BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy said.


Temple body objects to encroachments
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 1
The management of Shri Vaishno Mata Mandir in Phase IIIB1 here has objected to encroachments on land in front of the temple.

The mandir head, Mr Harish Monga, said yesterday that occupants of kiosks in the nearby ‘rehri’ market were indulging in encroachments that denied devotees an easy approach to the temple.

He said some policemen deployed in the area consumed liqour in the company of kiosk owners in front of the temple every evening. Complaints in this regard had been lodged with the police, the Municipal Council and the SDM, but nothing had been done to improve the situation.

Mr Monga said, to add to the problems of devotees, the Municipal Council had placed a garbage container near the temple. Foul smell from the garbage irked devotees who visited the temple everyday. Requests had been made to the Municipal Council to shift the container, but no action had been taken. Besides, a municipal water tap near the main gate of the temple kept running and the water that accumulated in front of the temple caused inconvenience to devotees.

Mr Kulwant Singh, the MC President, said no one from the managing committee of the temple had contacted him. Had they done so, the garbage container would have been shifted elsewhere. As far as the encroachments near the temple were concerned, the civic body had to take the help of the police to remove these. The council had requested the police authorities to provide it with some constables on a regular basis to remove encroachments in the town. He said an earlier effort to remove encroachments from near the temple had proved futile as the kiosk owners had attacked the anti-encroachment staff of the council.


Breast feeding week function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The inaugural session of the World Breast Feeding Week, 2001, was today organised by the city unit of the Food and Nutrition Board in coordination with the UT Social Welfare Department. The theme this year is, “Breast feeding in informative age”.

The Director, UT Social Welfare Department, Ms Madhvi Kataria, stressed upon exclusive breast feeding during the first six months and timely supplement through correct foods for the growth and development of young children. The function in the Burail village was attended by field officials of the department and aganwadi workers.

During the session, importance of breast feeding was stressed and the women were informed that breast feeding in the first six months of an infant’s life improves nutritional status of child, reduces morbidity and also mortality.

Dr Savita Kansal, Medical Officer, Polyclinic, Sector 45, said that not only are the breast-fed babies more healthy, mother’s milk has positive effect on a child’s mental and physiological health.


Water problems dominate khula darbar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
Complaints of non-availability of drinking water and repair of water pipelines dominated the khula darbar organised by the district administration at Morni today under the chairmanship of the SDM, Panchkula, Mr M.S. Yadav.

As many as 165 complaints were received, of which most pertained to the problems of drinking water, repair of village streets and roads, land sliding and pensions.

The villagers from Morni and around highlighted the need of appointing teachers in schools against posts lying vacant for long, inclusion of names in the list of people living below the poverty line and preparation of pink and yellow ration cards.

On the repeated demand for changing school timings, the SDM directed the District Education Officer to take immediate action and change the timing from 8 am to 9 am. The DEO said that the same would be done after the approval from the Director, Primary Education.

Mr Yadav told the villagers that a decision to lay paths in Morni had been approved under the Kandi Project at a meeting chaired by the Deputy Commissioner. He added that all BDPOs had been directed to prepare a list of all such paths.

The grouse of the villagers about rescheduling the timing of buses plying between Panchkula and Morni was also settled. The SDM instructed the transport authorities to take the necessary action to change the timing from 6.30 am to 7 am.


Tribune scribe dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
Mr Rajinder Singh Sodhi (53), employed as Chief Proof Reader, Punjabi Tribune, died on the spot when his car collided with a parked tanker on the Panchkula-Kalka highway near Chandimandir late last night.

While Sodhi died on the spot, his nephew, who was driving the car, escaped without a scratch. He said the accident took place after 1.30 a.m. when he, along with his maternal uncle, was heading for Kalka.

A case under Sections 304 A, 279, 283, 337 of the IPC has been registered at the Chandimandir police station. A post-mortem of the deceased was conducted at the General Hospital, Sector 6.

Police sources said the tanker filled with LPG had been parked at the spot for over a week due to some fault in its engine. The police had called in a crane to move it off the highway, but the attempt proved unsuccessful.

Sodhi joined Punjabi Tribune as a Proof Reader in 1978 and had authored various books on poetry. He is survived by his wife and two children.


Sector 29 traders call on MCC Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
A deputation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, led by its president, Mr Jagdish Arora, along with traders of the Sector 29 market met the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), Mr M.P. Singh, today to protest against the misbehaviour by the enforcement staff with certain shopkeepers of the market yesterday.

The deputation brought to the notice of the Commissioner the fact that the enforcement staff went to the extent of snatching material without any receipt and beat up a shopkeeper who was later admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32.

The delegation emphasised that the enforcement staff should always contact the President of the market concerned and avoid direct confrontation with the shopkeepers.


Villagers interact with police
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur-Garbidas, August 1
Over 100 police cases were today solved at a special sangat darshan programme at the Mullanpur-Garibdas police station.

Residents including of over 40 villages Sarpanches, apprised Deputy Superintendent of Police Lakhbir Singh about the problems they were facing regarding law and order situation in the area. The DSP advised the villagers to intensify the thikri pehra in their respective villages.

Mr Parminder Singh Dhillon, Station House Officer, asked the villagers to coordinate with the police to help in checking anti-social elements.


Haj applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Central Haj Committee, Mumbai, has extended the last date to August 11, 2001, for the submission of applications for next year’s Haj.

Mr M.K. Midha, member-secretary of the Haryana State Haj Committee, said applications reaching after August 11 would not be accepted.


New stamps to be released today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Department of Posts is releasing a set of four beautiful stamps on corals, one of the greatest splendours of nature.

The stamps, which are in the denomination of Rs 4, Rs 15 and Rs 45, will be released tomorrow, according to a press release here today.


57 booked for kundi connections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The city police has booked 57 residents of Raipur Khurd village on charge of stealing power by making kundi connections.

This comes close on the heels of recent protests by villagers against the administration’s decision to remove kundi connections. Hundreds of villagers had taken to the streets when they had to go without electricity and water. The villagers had maintained that their connections were legal.

However, the Electricity Department has alleged that the villagers had always been using kundi connections and in spite of the fact that the kundis were often removed, they were again put up.

Sources in the Electricity Department said that as a result of these kundi connections , as many as three 300 KVA transformers were damaged within a week.

It was then that the department swung into action and supply to the erring villagers was withdrawn. For the past two weeks, the angry residents took to the streets thrice and blocked traffic on the Chandigarh- Ambala road. Residents also pelted stones at a transformer in protest against the administration’s decision to disrupt power supply.

The police has now registered an FIR against villagers under Sections 379 of the IPC and 39 of the Electricity Act. The case has been registered on the complaint of Mr G.C. Goel, Assistant Executive Engineer. However, no arrests have been made.


Liquor factory case takes new turn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The illicit liquor factory case took an interesting turn when the police party discovered that the driving licence of the driver of the truck found in the factory was fake. The police party comprising officials of the Chandigarh crime branch returned from Kota, Rajasthan, here today.

The police had earlier found a licence in the name of Jeet Singh, a resident of Anaj Mandi, Kota.

Sources in the police said that another party had been sent to Indore in Madhya Pardesh to verify the registration number of the truck. Meanwhile, the police had laid a trap for the accused, Harvinder Pal Singla, late last night to nab him but did not meet with success.

It may be recalled that the illicit liquor factory was discovered accidentally by the city police when fire broke out on the factory premises last Tuesday.


Industrial panel resents HUDA notice
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
The Panchkula Industrial Association expressed resentment and anger against the serving of resumption notices to industrial units in the city for presence of tenants at the premises, here today.

These notices have been issued by HUDA to industrial units for allowing more than one tenant at the premises or for change of project which has not been approved by HUDA.

‘‘We have to rush to Chandigarh for every small work that needs to be done as far as the industry is concerned. To save us that trouble, we have allowed tenants to work at our premises and cater to our needs as well. Why this has created a problem for HUDA is not understandable,’’ the owners question.

One of the owners, Mr Madan Lal, explained, ‘‘Everything in the city is exorbitantly charged whether it is water, electricity or taxes imposed by the government. We hardly had any business and find it difficult to make both ends meet. Shutting shop would be a better proposition if HUDA fails to allow tenants.’’

Expressing dissatisfaction with the availability of infrastructure, Mr SS Goel, general secretary of the association, said the government had miserably failed to give any facilities to the industry, it was unnecessarily harassing the owners and pushing them to close down their units.

Mr Surinder Kumar, owner of Royal Electrical Systems, said, ‘‘I am ready to surrender my unit if HUDA is willing to pay me the prevailing market price and there are many more like me. In Panchkula, opening a unit means expenses, expenses and more expenses. Water, electricity, quick disposal of cases, you name a problem and we are facing it when we are the ones who determine the prosperity of the area.’’

The industrial unit owners have further demand the writing off of such laws and amending these laws to give concession to the industry.


Employees want replacement of Puncom MD
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 1
Holding the Managing Director of Puncom responsible for the circumstances leading to disinvestment by the government, former leaders of the PCL Employees Union today said the company could still be saved from being privatised if its Managing Director was replaced.

The leaders, who were dismissed from service last year over alleged charges of assaulting an executive of the company, lashed out at the management for the present crisis in which the company was today.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Som Dutt, a former general secretary of the employees’ union, said a CBI enquiry into misappropriation of funds and wrong decisions taken by the management in the last five years would expose everything. Mr Bharat Bhushan, a former president, said some of the main members of the joint action committee (JAC) of employees, formed to fight against the disinvestment move, were “yes men” of the management.

Mr Dutt claimed the balance sheets showed profits whereas the company suffered losses due to delay in delivery of items, unnecessary storing of material in store and wastage of company funds. The Managing Director of the company, Mr A.S. Gill, was not available for comments.

They alleged that the company was adopting dual standards in dealing with the issue relating to the employees. They cited a July 10 incident in which a security officer of the company, Mr Sakattar Singh, was assaulted by Nasib Singh, an employee in the DC plant, when the latter pointed out to his coming late.

Other employees, Gurdeep Singh, driver of the Managing Director, Jasbir Singh, Jagtar Singh, Resham Singh and Kashmir Chand were also involved in assaulting him. The union leaders alleged that being “favourites” of the management no action was being taken against them. Instead, the security officer was allegedly forced to sign a paper stating that he did not wish to take any action against the employees. “The security officer was kept for entire day in the office without telling us,” said the wife of the security officer, Ms Gurcharan Kaur.

Mr Dutt said the action of the management in protecting the suspects was questionable. Last year the executives of the company had gheroed the Phase 1 police station against an alleged case of an assault of executive, Gulshan Khanna, by union leaders. Six employees, Som Dutt, Bharat Bhushan, Jaspal Singh, Didar, Harvinder Singh and Ujjal Singh were dismissed from service in the case. “We were dismissed because we spoke against the wrong policies of the Managing Director. But the employees involved in assaulting the security officer did not face any action”, said Mr Bharat Bhushan.

He cited another case of Mr Sandeep, a group engineer, who was allegedly involved a case of theft of D-rams. a computer component, but was left with minor punishment.



Insurance cell: United India Insurance today inaugurated the first personal line insurance cell of the region. The cell will cater to the needs of the public for personal lines like personal accident, mediclaim, computers, household, shopkeeper insurance, etc.

Programme: State Bank of India today organised a customer relations programme at Ambala in which customers of the bank from local branches — Haryana Motor Market, Model Town, Mandi and Nangal — participated.

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