Friday, August 3, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Trouble ahead as 15-yr-old school buses to be phased out
Parents may have to bear the burden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Thousands of children studying in private schools in the city and their parents are headed for trouble. From September 1 commuting to school is going to be a major problem. Under the latest guidelines issued by the Chandigarh Administration in line with Union Ministry of Surface Transport (MoST), buses older than 15 years are to be phased out from ferrying schoolchildren. 

There are about 150 buses catering to various private schools. Nearly half of these buses are more than 15 years. Buying new buses means that schools will jack up the fee. It will have to be double the present fare of about Rs 300 to Rs 350 per child per month, explains Mr Manjit Singh, president of the Private School Bus Operators Association. Without doubling the bus fee, new buses — each costing about Rs 10.50 lakh, plus interest on loan — cannot be purchased, he clarifies.


* The Union Ministry of Surface Transport says impose annual fee and issue permits to streamline bus operations in schools.

* Permits will not be issued to buses which are older than 15 years.

* Operators say they will have to buy new buses and this will result in fee hikes.

* Administration officials do not agree and say new buses cost about Rs 10 lakh but second hand buses which are less than 15 years of age cost much less.

* Issue heading for standoff from September 1 when new guidelines come into force.

* The question is can parents bear an burden of additional fee hike ? 

Officials of the Chandigarh Administration, counter this statement, saying it is the new buses which cost that much, but who has stopped the operators from buying second hand buses which are less than 15 years in age. All this is being done as per guidelines from the MoST and also as per the directions issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

After September 1, the Chandigarh Administration will start issuing challans to buses, which will not have newly-introduced permits. This permit, having an annual fee of Rs 610, will be only be issued to buses which are less than 15 years old. The operators say they cannot pay the steep Rs 5,000 challan and several buses will be rendered off the road. Meaning parent will have to make their own arrangements.

In such a scenario the operators are skeptical of investing in new buses. ‘‘If we invest in new buses the monthly installment works out to be Rs 24,000. After this there is no guarantee that parents will pay up. They may prefer to send their kids by three-wheelers which are cheaper,’’ adds Mr Nirmal Singh, general secretary of the association.

The operators says they should be allowed to run buses till the 8-lakh km limit in line with the limit set for government buses. Mr Nirmal Singh explains: ‘‘Our buses do not run for more than 50 km a day and in no way do our buses run for more 15,000 km annually.’’ In 15 years this means less than 2 lakh km, he added.

The operators have sought a meeting with the Independent Schools Association, a body of all top private schools in the city. Through the schools the bus operators will ask the parents if they are ready to pay more for travel of their kids.

Already the decision of the Punjab Government to impose Special Road Tax at the rate of Rs 10,000 per private school bus annually has not gone down well with the bus operators. About 10 school buses of Chandigarh schools have been impounded in neighbouring S.A.S. Nagar, claims Mr Manjit Singh. In any case there are no restrictions imposed on people like rickshaw-pullers while bus operators are being targeted , alleges the association

The issue is hotting up for sure with both sides sticking to their guns and with less than a month to go parents are getting panicky.



Boy drowned in swimming pool
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Tragedy struck Mr Surinder Singh Aujla, a resident of the Chandigarh Housing Board flats in Sector 55 of SAS Nagar, this evening when his son, Karanbir Singh, drowned in a swimming pool run by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) in Phase VI.

According to information available, Karanbir, a Class IX student of Paragon Senior Secondary School, Phase I, went to the pool to attend the swimming class from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

When he did not turn up at his house till around 5.30 p.m., his family got worried and his sister, Gurvir Kaur, went to the pool in his search. Gurvir failed to locate her brother as the chowkidar informed her that all children had left.

Meanwhile, Mr Aujla, a government employee, who returned from office at around 5.45 p.m., along with his neighbours, again went to the pool in search of the boy.

It was at this time that the clothes and bicycle of Karanbir were located near the pool. Subsequently, his body was taken out from a depth of about 12 feet. Surprisingly, his co-swimmers and the swimmer of the subsequent batch failed to notice that Karanbir had drowned.

Similarly, the lifeguard at the pool, Mr Preet Bahadur, also failed to make out that the child had drowned. The pool coach, Mr Manish Kumar, was on leave.

Mr Deepinder Singh, Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA, who visited the spot, has ordered an inquiry into the incident. The Phase I SHO, Mr R.S. Sohal, said on preliminary inquiry it appeared to be a case of “negligence”. Further investigations into the case are on.

The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem examination.



Kundi connections removed from District Courts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 2
In order to check a reported kundi connection at the District Courts, officials of the UT Electricity Department inspected the court premises here today. Sources said that the official took a serious note on the number of illegal connections and warned that these connections be removed soon.

The officials reportedly removed some of illegal kundi connections in the court premises.

The president of the District Bar Association, Mr H.S Hundal, said that there were more then 1,500 advocates practicing in the court and they needed some utility services. The only solution to all problems of the advocate was in shifting to the proposed new court building complex in Sector 42. He added that the Administration should take action as per law against any person having a kundi connection and misusing electricity.

Mr N.S. Minhas, advocate, added that the authorities had not provided regular meters to them. He said action should be taken against those using ACs through kundi connections.

The action of the electricity department came after a lawyers body Lawyers for Social Reform (LSR) had sent a legal notice to the UT Home Secretary and Executive Engineer complaining about abrupt failure of electricity supply to lawyers’ chambers and courts. The LSR had complained that for the past two months the lawyers had been facing a lot of inconvenience due to frequent power failures.

They had complained that there was a danger of fire tragedy due to defective electricity wires and main switches in the junction boxes and many electronic typewriters, computers and ACs installed in the lawyers chambers had become defective due to abrupt failure of electricity.



Parties gear up to politicise CHB residents issue
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The announcement of the Chandigarh Administration for the formation of another building bylaws committee to look into unauthorised alterations and additions in the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flats notwithstanding, the issue is all set to be “politicised.”

With the CHB and the CHB Residents Federation, a representative body of 35 residents’ welfare associations, sticking to their guns, and the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) slated to be held later this year, the campaign to regularise the “need-based” changes appears to be a long-drawn one. This is despite the claim of the federation to keep the campaign “apolitical”.

However, if the stands of political parties at the July 29 massive rally and the all-party meeting the next day are any indication, the parties are all geared up to capitalise on the sensitive issue. It is all the more reason for the parties to cash in on the issue since several thousand allottees are directly linked to any action by the CHB authorities.

The stand of almost all parties on the issue of rehabilitation policy, implying the regularisation of illegal encroachment on public land, is there for all to see. Despite criticism from various quarters, politicians have virtually been supporting encroachment by slum-dwellers and exploiting the vote-bank politics to the hilt.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Administration had urged the people not to be “misguided by the vested interests, who are fuelling the agitation” which was an indirect reference to the parties. It may be noted that leaders of major parties have nothing to do with the CHB flats and hardly anybody from amongst them lives in the CHB dwelling units.

However, the issue of “need-based” changes is entirely different and some of the demands of the federations like reduction of conversion charges from leasehold to freehold and the reduction of transfer fee for the general power of attorney (GPA) holders and the composition fee with nominal charges make sense and could be sorted out with some efforts from the parties concerned.

On the other hand, sources said the formation of the new committee could at best delay the action by the board authorities. Since over 40 concessions had already been given and there was hardly any scope for new concessions, the constitution of committee would be an exercise in futility.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the action like the issuance of the notices and the demolition of the illegal alterations and additions is likely to be put on hold on the basis of the survey conducted by the CHB.



Resentment against CHB action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Tension gripped Sector 47-D when the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) came to evict a family “on account of suppression of facts.”

According to information available, allotment of house No 3898, Sector 47-D, was cancelled and the allottee had reportedly lost the case in the court. He was asked to vacate the house before September 16. However, a press note of the Welfare Association,Sector 47-D, claimed that the allottee was given three months’ time to vacate the house about 20 days back.

Later, a delegation of the CHB Federation went to the office of the CHB but could not meet any officer.

A meeting of the federation was held later to consider the “terrorsing tactics” of the board.



BSNL to file civil suits to recover dues
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The BSNL has decided to recover its dues from subscribers by filing civil suits against the big fish even before agreeing to adhere to issuing demand notes for disconnection, ordered by the National Consumer Redressal Commission in 1994.

‘‘The BSNL has decided to file civil suits against defaulters for recovery of huge dues as there are large number of the people who have just vanished without paying up the company,’’ BSNL sources in Chandigarh district told The Tribune today.

The sources explained that suits would not be filed against all defaulters as filing cases against small defaulters against whom amount was not substantial, would not be cost effective but the company would proceed against those who owed a big amount to the department.

They said even in the cases of the big fish, suits would be filed on case-to-case basis. The company had launched a recovery drive by disconnecting 9,000 connections last month and referring certain cases of 1996 to the CBI for realisation of Rs 16 crore.

However, certain legal experts had termed the method of disconnection of telephones as ‘illegal’ citing the National Consumer Redressal Commission judgement in the Madhav Vinayak Rajvade vs MTNL case of 1994 making a proper demand, not just serving a telephone bill a prerequisite for disconnection.

The company had been resorting to its age-old provision of the consumer being responsible for getting the bill and paying it up on the due date.

The company had also written this at the back page of the bill informing the consumer amidst complaints from certain consumers not getting the bill at all or getting late, for which the postal department had squarely blamed the BSNL for ignoring the postal department’s request of delivering bills pin code-wise. The company had also reduced the time from two months to 15 days for STD-PCO operators to pay their bills after having lost a large amount of money earlier to those who were not traceable. The sources said that around 20 per cent of consumers just did not pay the bill till the threat of disconnection hung over them and only around 30 per cent consumers paid in time.

The company also felt that certain legal provisions were required for protection of the company’s dues as defaulters had been taking recourse to a modus operandi of acquiring phones in different names to run their business and not paying a large amount on a particular phone. The sources said that the company had also increased its security for PCO-STD operators to hedge its dues against the security deposited with the department. They said now the company did not have a large number of defaulter consumers due to immediate disconnection but the old dues were still existing.



Making kids compassionate
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
People who abuse animals usually don’t stop there. Studies conducted in Western countries have shown that young people who get away with violence toward animals often commit acts of violence later against humans beings too.

Therefore, the best approach to teaching children the value of human life is to instil in them an appreciation for all life. In America, scientists and criminologists are rediscovering what Indian tradition has always taught: People who abuse animals are cruel to humans too.

Dr Maya Kriplani, leading Mumbai psychologist, says: “In my experience in the field of psychology for the past 18 years, I have found that children who commit cruel and violent acts toward animals tend to become anti-social adults who engage in criminal activities. At the same time, children who are taught respect for animals grow up to be ethical, compassionate, and empathic adults - in every sense more responsible citizens’.

Hence, the need for teaching children to be compassionate. The Share the World Foundation, in association with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is bringing its “kindness curriculum” to India with the launch of “Compassionate Citizen”, the Indian version of of an award-winning education programme already used by hundreds of thousands of teachers around the world to help students understand and appreciate animals. Educators who have used the programme call it “highly motivating” and “very well thoughtout”.

According to PETA representative, Jason Baker, “Compassionate Citizen” teaches children to respect and project the smallest and most maligned among us. Among the diverse lessons included in the programme are the importance of sterilising and neutering street dogs; the dangers of litter, which can be deadly to cows and other animals who mistake plastic bags and other trash for food; and how to humanely remove a bat from a house.

Film star Jackie Shroff is featured in the “Compassionate Citizen” video, along with John Abraham and Nafisa Joseph, who model trendy, animal-friendly alternatives to leather.

The “Compassionate Citizen” programme and video are given free to schools that ask for them. The printed materials enhance students’ understanding that animals are living, feeling beings to be treated with respect and kindness. The kit contains a teacher’ guide, four reproducible activity masters, a reading unit with adaptations from true animal stories and a full-colour wall poster. The Compassionate Citizen video is fast-paced and attention-grabbing. It’s filled with absorbing animal footage, topics for discussion and important lessons.

“Compassionate Citizen” is claimed to be the only teaching kit of its kind in India and is expected to be the furthest-reaching education lesson ever to be introduced to children. The kit is designed so that teachers can introduce other educators to the materials, widening the circle of children exposed to these humane lessons. All the activity sheets can easily be reproduced in schools and thus used by many teachers. The video will remain in school libraries for years, encouraging even more teachers to teach compassion to their students.

In Chandigarh, the programme was launched at Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, which was attended by students and teachers from several educational institutions of Chandigarh, Mrs Komal Singh, vice-principal of the school, said she found the programme to be very useful which was thoroughly enjoyed by the children.



PU papers not from syllabus
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The recently concluded annual examinations of Panjab University for the last academic session once again had instances of “out of syllabus” question papers taking hundreds of students off-guard.

Grace marks is the only respite that students are given and this is not enough for students who put in extra hours of study only to score better than others.

One of the question papers in the Department of Laws was very interesting as a major portion of it was related to a provision which no longer existed in the official rule books of the country. In a question paper of Civil Engineering (V semester) and in the humanities examination for BE( first semester), many questions did not adhere to the prescribed syllabus.

In one of the question papers of civil engineering (Structure Designing II) students were surprised to find the paper as per the old syllabus in which the paper was of four hours for a total of 75 marks whereas the changed pattern said it would be of 100 marks and three hours duration.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, said, “out of syllabus question papers were not fair to students. The university will consider proposals of an appropriate change on this account shortly by September.” One of the possible changes could be having certificates from the examiners that the paper adhered to the prescribed syllabus, he added.

A student said every year there were several such cases, but nothing has been done so far to rectify this problem. One of the possible ways could be appointing experts who should check the possible question papers before a final selection is made, he suggested.



Rift delays IAF training plan
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Differences between the Indian Air Force and Israel over equipment to be used for training IAF personnel to operate Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) has resulted in the training programme running behind schedule, it is learnt.

While Israeli experts initially trained a small batch of IAF officers on UAVs, sources say that Israel had been unwilling to provide its own UAVs for training IAF personnel here and wanted the IAF to use its own equipment for the purpose. Consequently, the IAF had to wait till its own contracted aircraft began arriving, which delayed the training processed.

With a few UAVs having been inducted recently, the IAF is in the process of raising two new UAV units — one at Bathinda and the other at Bhuj (Gujarat). Training is in progress with the Israeli-trained IAF personnel forming the core of these units.

While the Army’s UAVs, which has its own establishment for these mini-aircraft, have been operational for about three years, the IAF’s first UAV unit is scheduled to become fully operational later this year. The IAF is reported to be inducting about 32 Searcher-II UAVs, manufactured by the Israeli aircrafts industry.

According to sources, the Israeli standpoint is that they are willing to train IAF personnel so long as the IAF uses its own UAVs, the idea behind it being additional wear and tear of equipment as well as reducing the operational life-span of the equipment. “This also has an implication for the IAF. A significant part of the newly acquired UAVs life-span will be expended in training itself,” an IAF officer said.

A 12-member IAF team comprising officers qualified on missile systems had returned from Israel in last November 2000 after an eight-week training stint. The team, however, could not make its newly acquired expertise useful for several months owing to non-availability of equipment. The IAF had been keen on getting its personnel trained by the time the UAVs were inducted into the IAF so that these squadrons could be operational at the onset.

The area of operations for the UAVs is expected to be the coastal regions around Gujarat, specially the now volatile Kutch area as well as the deserts and plains along the western frontier. The Army, which too is reported to be acquiring additional UAVs capable of operating at high altitude, will have the responsibility for UAV surveillance over the Line of Control, which is perhaps, the most active frontier in the world.

For tactical surveillance as well as a means to provide “real time” intelligence to field commanders, UAV’s are a cost effective measure. Inexpensive in relation to a reconnaissance aircraft, UAVs can plug holes in aerial surveillance in almost any weather and terrain without exposing human assets to danger.



XEN charged 1 lakh rent for overstaying
in official house

Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 2
The local civic body has levied a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on an Executive Officer of the civic body, Mr KS Brar, who was earlier posted here and had now been transferred to Gidderbaha, for overstaying in the official accommodation here for over five months. The penalty imposed on account of house rent will be deducted from the salary of the Executive Officer subject to its approval by the Local Government.

A case about charging the house rent at a market rent of around Rs 26,500 per month had already been forwarded to the Director, Local Government, after being passed at a recent general House meeting of the civic body. The sources said the government could wave off two months’ period which means the rent could be reduced to around Rs 52,000.

The Executive Officer, Mr Brar, was transferred to Gidderbaha civic body about four months ago and Mr Bhagwant Garg was posted in his place, But the former officer continued to stay in the official accommodation in the municipal council residential complex in Phase V here. Some alterations in the house had also been made. The Local Government Department was reported to have already issued notice to Mr Brar to vacate the house, which he had not even till now.

As per the rules an official had to vacate a house on being transferred from a station. But the present Executive Officer was still residing in Chandigarh. Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the civic body, said it had been decided to levy market rent on Mr Brar. During 1995, the then President, Mr HS Billa, had levied market rent at a rate of Rs 20,000 per month to his predecessor.

Interestingly, the house occupied by the Executive Officer was the official accommodation of the President and that of the Executive Officer was occupied by a Town Planner from the Local Government Department. Sources said the government had also issued notice to the town planner to vacate the house. There were some cases in which employees of the civic body had occupied house above their entitlement.



Vacant posts in Fire Dept to be filled
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
UT Administration’s decision to clear applications for hundreds of vacant posts in the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, Fire Services Department, has brought cheers to all those who had applied for the said posts. The orders to this effect were issued here recently by Secretary, Local bodies, Mr R.S Gujral.

It may be recalled that the MCC had, vide an advertisement, invited applications for 73 posts, including 44 firemen, 13 drivers, 10 clerks and six stenotypists. In fact, these applications had been invited to fill these vacancies without taking the required administrative approval then. Besides the MCC House, the Administration had also imposed a ban on fresh recruitments in the civic body in view of the ongoing financial crunch. However, the Finance Secretary, who was the then Secretary, Local Bodies, had, in his letter, specified that ‘since the expenditure under the non-plan head is already very high, prior approval before filing any vacant post in the MCC must be sought from the Administration.’’

With a view to streamlining the Fire Services Department in line with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the department had sought an approval from the Administration, after inviting the applications for these posts. Several hundred applicants, who had applied for these posts, were happy to know that the Administration had given a go ahead to fill these posts. Earlier, they were apprehensive that the same might be cancelled, if the Administration did not give the required clearance.

The MCC Commissioner, Mr M.P Singh, had maintained that even though the department was held the view that in emergencies it attended to, the recruitment of firemen was important but if the Administration did not accord approval to the same, no appointments would be made.

Over 100 important posts, including those of firemen were lying vacant in the department presently. This also included three posts of Station Fire Officers. According to a senior official of the department, no new appointments had been made against these vacant posts during the past three years even as many posts had fallen vacant due to the retirement of certain employees and death of few others. Interestingly, more than 10,000 applicants had applied for these 74 vacant posts in the department. This roughly meant 135 applicants for one post.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S Bajwa, when contacted said that the process of scrutiny of applications had started and call letters for interviews would be dispatched shortly. The process of filling these posts would be completed by the year-end.

Emphasising the need to fill these posts, Mr Bajwa pointed out that even as the MCC had been expanding its network in various areas, the manpower had not increased correspondingly. For instance, services of a minimum of 44 firemen was essential at fire brigade station in Industrial Area, Phase-I as it had been recently expanded and another fire station was being started in Sector 26. Though the MCC House, at one of its meetings in February, had recommended that these posts be filled on contract basis in case of an emergency, but senior officials in the department were against it.



Accident-prone bridge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The confluence of buses and light vehicles, especially two-wheelers, makes the Khuda Lohara bridge an accident-prone area.

Though the reconstruction of the bridge has drastically reduced the accident rate, the police records show that as many as three persons were injured in three separate accidents that took place here this year.

Recently, a scootorist sustained serious head injuries when a CTU bus coming from the opposite direction on this bridge hit him. He lay bleeding for half an hour before he was rushed to the PGI by a PCR van. Luckily, he was saved.

However, traffic police officials concede that even now minor accidents at this spot are a routine affair. A couple of days ago, a cyclist of Khuda Lohara village had a miraculous escape when he fell off the road when avoiding hitting a CTU bus.

It is learnt that earlier, this was a major accident spot in the city. A lot of fatal accidents were reported and three to four minor accidents took place here every day. Since the village was mainly connected to the Union Territory with a bus service and not many three-wheelers or cycle rickshaws were used for commuting accidents between buses and cyclists or pedestrians were a routine affair because the road was narrow.

However, now things have changed for the better with the broadening of the road and the raising of the level of the bridge.

The problem arises only because there is little check on the overspeeding buses. The traffic officials point out that the heavy vehicles are generally never willing to give pass to the light vehicles.

Also there is less deployment of the force which ensures that the traffic rules and regulations are violated with impunity.


Water-borne diseases on rise in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The monsoon months this year have been quite healthy, say the experts. And despite the fact that weather conditions during these months are generally conducive to favourable growth of viruses and bacteria, magnitude of reported cases of various viral infections have not been remarkable so far.

The ophthalmology departments of the city hospitals, this year have recorded a remarkably less number of eye flu and conjunctivitis cases, which are most common in this season. However, this does not mean that these infections will not occur at all, warns PGI Opthalmology Head, Prof Amod Gupta.

Prof Gupta says that most viral infections occur in cycles and can break out any time. “This season is most favourable for growth of germs as they can grow on all surfaces. People should continue to be careful about their eyes and should not touch them with unwashed hands, towels or handkerchief. Even while splashing water into eyes, one should do so with clean hands,” he adds.

But the city has reported a significant number of diarrhoea; its worst form, cholera; and other gastroenteritis disorders in the city slums and villages due to prevailing unhygienic conditions in these areas.

There has also been a spurt in the hepatitis cases and the GMCH, Sector 32, has recorded more than a dozen cases of paediatric viral hepatitis, which occurs in children due to contaminated water and unhygienic conditions, very common in this season.

Hospital OPDs are also receiving viral cases where the patients complain of fever, running nose, watery eyes, body and muscle ache, headache, difficulty in swallowing and other such problems.

The GMCH Medicine Head, Dr Atul Sachdev, says that viral cases have shown about a three-increase. “Normally we get two to three cases every day, but now we are getting about seven to eight. Most of these infections are transverse in droplet form, require rest and symptomatic treatment and ideally should be over within five to seven days. However, any fever going beyond seven days should be thoroughly investigated by experts, “ he adds.


Apex architects’ body honours M.N. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Indian Institute of Architects, the highest professional body of architects in the country, has honoured Mr M. N. Sharma, former Chief Architect of Chandigarh, with Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal 2000 in recognition and appreciation of his contribution to architecture.

Mr Sharma (78) who is also President of the Citizen’s Forum for Chandigarh Heritage, was the first Indian Chief Architect of Chandigarh after the departure of his illustrious French predecessors Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. He designed the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Kurukshetra University and the adjacent Regional Engineering College. As a sculptor, Mr Sharma designed the three famous fountain sculptures at the Sector 17 City Centre and its landscaping. He was associated with Pierre Jeanneret for the design of the Townhall and the Central State Library in Chandigarh.

After the establishment of Mohali and Panchkula townships, Mr Sharma was instrumental in formation of the Coordination Committee of the all states presided over by the Secretary, Union Ministry of Works and Housing. Mr Sharma was Chairman of the working group II for Architecture and Planning, prepared the First Chandigarh Complex Plan in 1977 to define the growth of the region.

Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the great scientist, personally approached Mr Sharma for the design of rocket manufacturing facility at Thumba and Sriharikota.



Workers’ delegation meets Adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
A delegation of the Federation of UT Employees and Workers today called on Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the Administrator, in support of their demands.

The delegation consisted of Mr Piara Singh Kang, Mr Man Mohan Singh, Mr Ujjagar Singh Mohi, Mr Ram Gopal, Mr Sushil Kumar, Mr S.K. Saggi, Mr Vijay Singh and Mr Gopal Dutt Joshi.

The demands of the federation include grant of dearness allowance, house rent allowance and CCA to all daily-wagers pursuant to the various judgements pronounced by the CAT Bench at Chandigarh and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The judgements were upheld by the apex court.

A press note issued by the federation said that some of the daily-waged workers had put in several years of service.

They were forced to approach the Central Administrative Tribunal for getting their grievances redressed.

Mr Bhag Mal Rana, general secretary of the federation, also called on UT Home Secretary R.S. Gujral and urged him to implement the judgements of the court. This would stop exploitation of the workers.



Panic among phone subscribers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Panic was reported by certain telephone subscribers to the Ram Darbar exchange when their telephones on dialing said “only emergency facilities are available.”

A troubled subscriber said that he got panicked listening to the recorded message that only emergency facilities are available on telephone prompting him to ring up the police.

He said the police told him that certain other calls also came to them to inquire their number also announced emergency.

The BSNL sources said that there was some snag in the morning which was rectified, but consumers said their telephones remained dead between 9.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.

Certain telephone numbers of 64 and 65 levels remained dead between 11 a.m. and 12 noon.

The BSNL sources said the latest technology exchanges automatically announce that only emergency facilities are available when exchange develops a fault.

A subscriber said that he was surprised when he pressed the first digit resulting in an announcement that this telephone number does not exist and when further digits were pressed it called “emergency”.



Gesture towards blind children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
It was an emotional and enthusiastic scene at the Institute for the Blind when Brahamkumari sisters tied “rakhis” and presented “prasad” to visually-impaired children.

Teachers of Rajyoga, Sister Anita and Sister Neelam, explained the significance of Raksha Bandhan to over 150 students and teachers who gathered at the institute. The students also presented patriotic songs on the occasion.

The Brahamkumari sisters also celebrated the occasion in the Senior Citizens Home in Sector 43, inspiring the inmates to make the world a better place to live in through their contribution.

Sister Kavita and Sister Leena expressed their views in the GREF camp, Behlana, inspiring them to protect themselves from vices, besides the safety of the country.



Octroi abolition demanded
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 2
Mr Vinod Bhushan Jain, member, Punjab Pharmacy Council, welcomed the statement of Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Punjab Local Bodies Minister, published in The Tribune on August 1 that the Punjab Government would soon decide over the octroi exemption issue after getting the report of three-member committee formed for reviewing the octroi exemption issue. The report was expected with in next two or three days. He demanded abolition of octroi in the state as it was promised by the SAD-BJP in its election manifesto.

Mr Jain while talking to mediapersons said here today that the government privatised the octroi collection and was causing irrepairable damage to the trade and public. Mr Jain said that the government should abolish octroi and sales tax on medicines as they save the lives.



CTSA chapters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Chandigarh District Telephone Subscribers Association (CTSA) has increased its strength opening its chapters in Panchkula and Zirakpur.

The Panchkula unit will be headed by Mr Indrajit Sengupta with Mr Jasjit Gill as its general secretary and the Zirakpur unit will be headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Baidwan and its general secretary will be Mr Gurminder Singh Longia.

All the members of the units will be executive members of the CTSA.

The Zirakpur unit will look after all villages south of Zirakpur and Dera Bassi apart from reporting all matters to the PTSA and emergency matters directly to the CTSA.

The CTSA announced that the SAS Nagar unit will shortly be opened. 


Residents not to pay increased cable charges
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
Sore over the hike in cable charges in the town, the Private House Owners’ Welfare Association, Sector 11, had decided not to pay more than Rs 150 monthly against the new charges of Rs 180.

In a press note issued here today, the vice-president, Mr Sunil Jain, said they supported the Residents Welfare Associations protesting against the hike and high-handedness of the cable operators.



Kala to visit slums today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Acting Mayor, Gurcharan Dass Kala along with senior officials of the Municipal Corporation will visit various slums and colonies in the city tomorrow to take stock of the sanitary situation in these areas during the monsoon season.

He will commence his visit from the NAC, Mani Majra and visit Indira Colony, Mauli Jagran, Bapu Dham, Colony No. 4, Ram Darbar and Burail.

Mr Kala said he had decided to visit these areas following complaints of slush and filth. Infact, cases of gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and cholera have been reported from various city hospitals. The first cholera case was reported by the PGI about a fortnight back.

Earlier, during the day he met the UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral. Mr Gujral is reported to have told Mr Kala that the report pertaining to the soap scandal of former Mayor, Raj Kumar Goyal is complete and is under the consideration of the government.



5-day jhulan yatra festival opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Sector 20 Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, organised five-day festival of jhulan yatra (swinging festival), was inaugurated by Sreela Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami, all-India president of the Chaitanya Math Organisation.

Deities of Radha Madhavji were beautifully decorated in a swing, which was surrounded by an illuminated pandal. Thousands of devotees were present on the occasion.

A press note issued by the math said the function is held all over the world by the Vaishnavas, especially in Mathura, Vrindavan, in all temples.

the function will continue in the math up to Baldev Purnima i.e. Raksha Bandan, August 4.



Triplets born to Panchkula couple
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
Triplets were born to Lalita and Sanjay, residents of Azad colony, at the General Hospital, Sector 6, here today. The doctor, Dr Usha Gupta, said the mother and children were healthy.

Expressing happiness over the birth of three sons, Sanjay, employed as a daily-wager in a factory, said he did not have resources to meet the needs of his children. “God has given us triplets. He will take care of them,” he said.

Lalita, too, was ecstatic over the birth of her sons. “I wanted one son. I have got three. There can be no greater joy than this,” she added.



Perhaps as the song goes love will find a way. Starting August, there will be more love stories on the silver screen. Action-thriller specialist Rajiv Rai of Yudh, Tridev, Vishwatma, Mohra and Gupt will be exploring shades of love in his new movie ‘‘Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabbat’ which will be released today at Batra, Chandigarh. The young film maker promises ‘‘something different’’ this time.

Trimurti Films Pvt Ltd presentation and producer Gulshan Rai’s “Pyar Iqhq Aur Mohabbat” is reportedly inspired by a Hollywood film ‘There is something about Mary’. Love, action and humour are the audience-hooking ingredients. Director Rajiv Rai returns with a bang after Bobby Deol, Kajol and Manisha Koirala starer ‘Gupt’. ‘Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabbat’ is an enchanting love story of three young men and a lovely girl. ‘Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya’ fame Keerthi Reddy is wooed by model-turned actor Arjun Rampal, Sunil Shetty and Aftab Shivdasani. This is Arjun Rampal’s maiden movie. The only suspense in this love story is who will get the beautiful Keerthi Reddy. Shot extensively in picturesque locales of Switzerland and Scotland ‘Pyar the film is generating great pre-release buzz. The promos which feature Sunil Shetty, Aftab Shivdasani, Arjun Rampal and Keerthi Reddy have film pundits predicting a hit. The film also stars Isha Kopikar, Monica Bedi, Dalip Tahil and Raza Muraad. Music is by Viju Shah and lyrics by Anand Bakhshi.


‘Hum Ho Gaye Hain Aapke ’ of Venus Tapes & Records will be released today at Piccadily, Chandigarh and Suraj, Panchkula. The film stars Fardeen Khan and introduces model-turned actress Reema Sen in a love story made by the director of ‘Sirf Tum’ Ahathian. The film, is about the inner conflicts about the leading character and how his love for the heroine inspires him to change and become a better person. Apoorva Agnihotri, Suman Rangnathan, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Charlie and Suresh Oberoi are in supporting roles. Sameer’s lyrics and Nadeem Shravan’s music are highlights of the film. DP



3 held in gang rape case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 2
The local police today arrested three persons who had allegedly gang raped an 18-year-old girl in a Sector 17 gymnasium last month.

According to police sources, the girl, a resident of Jharkhand, was raped by the trio some 15 days ago in a gymnasium. The girl who had reportedly gone to Delhi after the incident returned yesterday and went to Swaran Singh, one of the accused. According to police sources, the girl informed Swaran Singh that she was pregnant.

Hearing this, Swaran fled away, and the girl complained to the police. In her complaint, the girl said that she had come to Behlana village from Delhi last month in search of job. In Sector 19, Swaran Singh met her and offered her lift on his scooter to the village.

When the girl sat on his scooter, Swaran Singh reportedly took her to a Sector 17 gymnasium instead of the village. After taking her into the gymnasium, Swaran Singh along with his two friends Ram Singh and Sikander, raped her all through the night.

Swaran Singh (22), a resident of Bihar, was working as salesman with a Sector 22-based hotel, while, Ram Singh (23), a resident of Pauri Garhwal, and Sikander, a resident of Bihar, were working as helpers in a Sector 17 gymnasium.

The three were booked under Sections 376 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.



Robber arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 2
An alert cop of the local police arrested a robber who was trying to escape after robbing an employee of Neelam cinema here yesterday. However, the accused’s accomplices escaped.

According to information available, Mr Sudh Singh, camera operator in the Sector 17 Neelam cinema, was going towards the Inter-State Bus Terminus when three persons stopped him and forcibly snatched Rs 300 from him.

Meanwhile, constable Ram Bir, who was patrolling in the area, rushed towards the spot. According to the police, the robbers left the employee and started running.

The constable gave them a chase and caught Ramesh Chand, one of the robbers. The accused, a resident of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, was today produced in a court and was sent to two-day police remand.



Police-public meeting on crime
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 2
A meeting was organised at the Phase 1 police station here where the local Deputy Superintendent of Police met prominent persons of the town, including municipal councillors of various wards. Law and order problems were discussed at the meeting.

Problems created by school buses in various residential areas were also discussed. Participants said school buses plying on B and C roads in the town caused noise pollution and accidents.

The DSP, Mr Amarjit Singh Bajwa, assured the participants that he would look into the matter. He said the DIG of Ludhiana range, Mr Suresh Arora, had instructed the local police to hold regular meetings with residents.

Mr Bajwa said, as the number of theft cases were rising in the town, residents should provide the police with information about their tenants and servants, which would help the police control the crime.



19-year-old cyclist crushed to death by jeep
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
A 19-year-old cyclist, Vishnu Bahadur, was crushed to death by a jeep, which was attempting to overtake a bus, on the dividing road of Sector 7 and 8, here today. His brother, Thamna Singh, also received injuries but was discharged after first aid.

Sources said the two brothers, employed as mechanics at Pasco automobiles, were returning home after work when the accident took place. The driver of the jeep took the injured to a hospital. Vishnu was declared brought dead at the hospital. The police has registered a case.


THEFT: Mr Narinder Kumar, a resident of Model Town, Rohtak, lodged a complaint with the local police over the theft of Rs 7,500 from Room No. 18 of Government College for Boys, Sector 11, after breaking open the lock at the door. The theft took place on Monday night. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

ACCIDENT: A pedestrian, Mr Sunil Kumar, a resident of Sector 55, was injured after he was hit by a tractor near Palsora village, yesterday. The victim was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC was registered against Paltu Ram of Paramjit Ka Bhatha, Mullanpur - Garibdas (Kharar).

CARS STOLEN: Mr Suresh Kumar, a resident of Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the local police that his Maruti car (HR-02-B-1277) had been stolen from Sector 9 market on Wednesday. Mr Harminder Singh, a resident of Sector 21, also reported that his Maruti car (DL-4CA-1247) was stolen, which was parked at Nirman Cinema, Sector 32 on Monday night.

Cases under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in both the case..

ONE HELD: The local police yesterday arrested Rakesh, a resident of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, and seized 50 pouches of liquor from him. A case has been registered under the Excise Act.



8 POs arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
The district police has arrested eight proclaimed offenders between July 15 to 31 after a special team was constituted for the same. This was stated by the Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, in a press note issued, here today.

The arrested include Deepak, a resident of Sector 10, Mahipal of Old Panchkula, Ram Karan of Chhabilpur, Ramesh Kumar of Solan, Amarjeet of Bijnaur, Anil Kumar of Sonepat, Dharamvir of Kalka and Mukesh Kumar of Shimla. 


City dealers expect decline in diesel sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
City petroleum dealers apprehend a major decline in diesel sale with the recent hike in diesel prices. The city, now having the highest diesel as well as petroleum prices compared to Mohali and Panchkula, will suffer heavy revenue losses as demand will shift to nearby areas , say the dealers.

The diesel price in Chandigarh was the lowest before the hike at Rs 16. 14 per litre . The price having increased to Rs 17.34 a litre, the city has become the costliest. The price in Mohali is Rs 17.01 and Panchkula Rs 16.74 a litre. “We are already the costliest when it comes to petroleum , now with the diesel price also having risen, it would be a major blow to the trade here”, said Mr Amanpreet Singh of the local Petroleum Dealers Association. Last month when the diesel price went down by 10 paise, the city witnessed an increase of around 400 kilolitres in demand .

While the price has increased due to policy of uniform sales tax (floor rate 12 per cent on diesel), Punjab and Haryana have still not implemented the rate due to which prices there are still lower. Dealers say the UT Administration should not have taken the step before Punjab and Haryana did so . “Punjab and Haryana might not implement this rate for several months, we rather apprehend they may not do so at all due to political reasons. It will give a serious blow to the trade in the city,” said Amanpreet.

The sale of petroleum in the city last month was approximately 4,200 kilolitres and of diesel 3,500 kls. This demand was 6,200 kl for MS and 3,000 Kl for diesel in July last. After the hike in the petroleum prices, a decline of almost 2,000 kl a month during this time period was witnessed. However, diesel price being comparatively lower, the demand went up.

An oil depot in the city was then promised by the Administration to the dealers which would being petroleum and diesel prices in the city at par or even lower than Mohali and Panchkula. “It has been almost a year and nothing has come up as yet”, lamented another dealer. The price of diesel, said Mr Amanpreet, after the depot comes up, would be Rs 16.92 which would not be the cheapest. 



Anniversary scheme

Tanishq, celebrated its fifth anniversary today with the launch of an anniversary scheme at all its 48 boutiques across the country. The special offer presents consumers a discount of upto 20 per cent on all jewellery. The anniversary scheme is valid till midnight of August 14, 2001. Tanishq’s gold jewellery prices start from Rs 600. Tanishq offers guarantee on the purity of jewellery.


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