Saturday, August 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



BJP-SAD for MCC dissolution
Alliance not to field any nominee for Mayor’s poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The majority 15-member BJP-Akali Dal Municipal Corporation Councillors group in the 30-member House here today forwarded a resolution for the dissolution of the House following the party high command decision of not fielding, proposing, seconding and voting for any candidate in the Mayoral election scheduled for August 10, raising the possibilities of an early end of the corporation’s five-year term.

The decision influenced by the Mr Gianchand Gupta and Mr Dharampal Gupta has come as a shot in the arm for the group as they may now hold on to the party president now as changing the party president mid-course may not be resorted to.

After the decision of the BJP with the lone Chandigarh Vikas Manch member, Ms Satinder Dhawan, having already moved a resolution to this effect and the Congress unwilling to contest the Mayoral election, elections to the corporation seem round the corner as the resolution is likely to be passed by the House.

The resolution will send a signal to the Administrator, Mr. J.F.R. Jacob, that that when members are seeking a dissolution, the House cannot be run.

According to the decision of the BJP high command, ‘‘The party President, Mr Janakrishnamurthy, has decided that the BJP councillors will not contest the election, propose or second some body’s name and will not cast their votes,’’ blocking possibilities of a section propping up a candidate.

However, the decision of the party, believed to have been influenced by a section, has met with severe criticism from senior party leader considered to be from the other camp. Mr Prem Sagar Jain said, ‘‘The decision exposes the ultimate bankruptcy of the political wisdom of those who supported such an idea but he said he would abide by the party’s decision as a disciplined soldier.’’

Mr Jain, who did not attend today’s party councillors’ meeting, called to inform them about the high command’s decision, said that the decision meant that the party had decided to ‘support’ the acting Congress Mayor Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala after forcing the former Congress Mayor to quit.

It was believed, however, the BJP decision seemed to have been influenced by the fact that the BJP councillors had earlier also been divided, which led to rebels winning in earlier annual Mayor elections.

The dissolution and a fresh mandate sought by the party, however, was only recommendatory in nature as the Administrator was the final authority to take the decision on the dissolution. The two-member Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), having earlier split into one each, had also been taken along with the party to seek dissolution of the House and the party leader Mr. Mohinder Singh, accompanied the BJP leader in the House, Mr Desraj Tandon, BJP spokesperson, Ms Ranjana Shahi and Mr Gianchand Gupta to hand over the resolution to the Secretary of the corporation, Mr Ashwani Kumar and the Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala.

The BJP, after councillors’ meeting, also demanded disqualification of the former Congress Mayor, Mr Rajkumar Goel, who resigned amidst allegations of corruption.

The Chandigarh unit president, Mr. B.B Bahal, said that the party would take its decision after holding a meeting of the Executive on Sunday and criticised the BJP for depriving the people’s right to be served due to its obstructionist attitude.

He said, ‘‘The BJP first forced the Congress Mayor, Mr Goyal, to resign and not allowing him to work for seven months despite one of their sections having supported him to be elected and then did not own the responsibility of serving the people.’’

A top Congress source said that the party also did not have many options and that the party might also not field any candidate for the Mayor’s post.

A nominated member, Mr Harish Bhanot, said that the BJP seemed to have taken the decision taking into consideration their history of factional fight but said that if major parties decided there was no option but to dissolve the House.

The BJP local unit, during the day, also considered to meet the Election Commissioner for the UT, Mr S. Malaichamy to seek an early election and thought of sending through fax its resolution to the Administrator, who is out of town, seeking an early election.

The decision of the BJP, Ms Satinder Dhawan and the Akali Dal had given the acting Congress Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, an opportunity to continue for a month and if the elections were held later than late August, the Commissioner of the corporation, Mr. M.P Singh, might be asked to handle the charge of the corporation.



MC poll in early October
Sanjay Sharma and Poonam Batth

Chandigarh, August 3
The election for the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) heading towards dissolution with the BJP today deciding not to contest the Mayoral election, could earliest be held by mid September or early October and they could be advanced by three months if Administration accepts the dissolution of the Corporation sought by almost all parties.

“The Commission can only hold elections for the Municipal Corporation, Panchayat Samitis and for five vacancies of the Panches earliest by mid September or October as a lot of preparations are to be made,’’ The State Election Commissioner for the Union Territories of Chandigarh and Delhi, Mr S. Malaichamy, and his Joint Commissioner, Mr D.M. Khaneta, told The Tribune in separate interviews here today.

The Commission today decided to hold the corporation and the 15 panchayat samiti and vacant five panch elections simultaneously for cost and administrative effectiveness along with the comfort of the people.

The decision was taken after two days of consultations between the commission and top officials of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation. Senior functionaries, including the Home Secretary, Mr R. S. Gujral who is also the Secretary Local bodies, the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, IGP, Mr Bhim Sen Bassi and the Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, among others, today held meeting with the commission. In the meeting held to review the preparedness for the polls, all the officials concerned assured the Commissioners that they were ready for the same at any time.

The Administration and the corporation agreed to spare 4,500 officials, including 10 IAS officers, as observers, 10 returning officers, 35 assistant returning officers and 1,800 officials for polling parties apart from security personnel.

The Commissioner said that the elections will only be held through ballot papers as the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment for the creation of local bodies does not provide for the use of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).

Giving reasons for holding elections earlier in October, the Joint Commissioner said that it requires seven days before the notification for the election and seven days after, ten days for nominations and withdrawals, 14 days for campaign for MC and seven days for panchayats, one day for polling, two days of gap for holding repoll, one day for counting and then a few days for notifying the elected.

The Commissioner said that the elections will be contested on the basis of the voting list finalised on Jan 1, 2001 and that the delimitation of wards is not possible due to shortage of time. The decision in this regard will be taken later by the state government, though it stands ruled out before these elections.

He said that the rotation of the reserved seats will be done in the middle of this month either on August 14 or August 18 by a draw of lots. The MC presently has 20 wards of which one is reserved for Scheduled Caste women, two for SC men, six for general category women and the remaining 11 for general category. As per the constitutional provision, the wards which were reserved for women this time will not go to them again. The same will be left open to the general candidates.

He said that polling arrangements will be such that every polling station is manned by a Sub-Inspector and that once the UT officials are left at the disposal of the Commission they cannot be transferred.

He said that the model code of conduct for the candidates will be observed very strictly and a limit of expenditure of Rs. 50,000 in the MC will have to be adhered to.

The first election to the civic body was held on December 6, 1996, and the house was constituted on December 22, 1996.



Admn may buy power from HP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Chandigarh Administration is in the process of tying up with the Himachal Pradesh Government to buy power on a long-term basis from Himachal Pradesh for its proposed Chamera stage II power generation project on River Ravi. A date to sign an agreement between the Administration and HP Government will be announced soon.

An initial meeting between the two parties was held recently. The share of power would be allocated by the Union Power Ministry. The project had a power generation capacity of about 550 mega watts. In the agreement aspects like what would the Administration pay and what would be funded by the Union Government would be built into the costs.

In the Central projects, the Administration was keen on investing a lump sum as a portion of the cost of the project and get a share of power supply in lieu and while paying whatever rate was approved for power purchase by the Ministry of Power, said a source. It was economically prudent to invest in a Central project in Himachal Pradesh and ‘wheel the power’ to Chandigarh through high tension lines by paying the National Grid Corporation. This would mean the expertise of the NTPC’s or NHPC’s engineers would be used by paying up one-time payment in lieu of power, said officials.

All this power would be required as part of the long-term planning of Chandigarh and the need might arise five years later but planning for the same had to be done now.



No additional power cuts in Aug
Cool times ahead for city residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
City residents can heave a sigh of relief as the expected power cuts which were to re-start in the city from August 1, are not being imposed now. The Northern Region Electricity Board (NREB) has decided that it will not immediately impose its penalty tariff on overdrawal of power.

The NREB, in March this year, had communicated that it would charge three times the cost of power from any state which drew power more than its allocated share from the Northern Power Grid thus forcing the states to stop overdrawal and impose power cuts as the only available option.

The new tariff named availability built tariff (ABT) would have come into force from August 1.However, now the NREB had decided to first train its engineers in sending in their day-to-day demands of power and then impose the penalty tariff

Due to power shortage in the city the Administration had resorted to rotational power cuts from May 1. This continued till June 15. It was expected that cuts would be imposed from August 1 but this would not happen now, said sources in the Chandigarh Administration.

The penalties under the ABT would be so high that it would be not viable for states to overdraw from the grid and then supply power to its consumers. Thus power cuts would be have to be imposed.

The NREB regulated power in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Under the ABT the lower the frequency at the time of overdrawal the higher the penalty, explained sources in the power sector.

The highest penalty would be about Rs 4.68 per unit taking the cost of a unit to a whopping Rs 6 per unit.

As part of the implementation from, 686 special energy meters were being installed at locations throughout the partner states where power was drawn from the Northern grid.

Each meters would record all parameters of available power and each one of them was connected through overhead fibre optic lines to pass on information directly to the New Delhi-based Northern Region Load Despatch Centre (NRLDC) which would monitor the overdrawals.



Arrests, probe order follow as tragedy sinks in
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 3
The Punjab Government has ordered an inquiry into the incident of drowning of a 13-year-old boy in the Phase VI swimming pool. The Principal Secretary of Punjab for Housing and Urban Development, Mr A.K. Dubey, has directed the Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) and the General Manager (policy) of PUDA, Mr N.S. Sangha, to submit a report in this regard within a week.

Karanbir Singh
Karanbir Singh

Meanwhile, the local police arrested the coach at the pool, Manish Sharma, and the lifeguard, Preet Bhupinder Singh, today for negligence leading to the death of the boy. The police has registered cases under Section 304 A of the IPC against the coach, the lifeguard, two attendants — Bhupinder Singh and Gurdev Singh — and a junior engineer of PUDA, Jagmel Singh. The coach and the lifeguard were later released on bail and the swimming pool area was sealed. The postmortem of the boy’s body today showed that he had died due to drowning. The police sources said, “The JE, the coach and the lifeguard were at the swimming pool when the parents of the boy were looking for him.”

The Phase I Paragon Senior Secondary School, alma mater of the boy, Karanbir Singh, remained closed today as mark of mourning. The last rites of the boy were performed at the Sector 25 cremation ground in Chandigarh today.


Sinking of safety rules led to boy’s drowning
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 3
The death of a 13-year-old student of the local Paragon Senior Secondary School due to drowning in the Phase VI swimming pool yesterday has raised a debate on the state of affairs at the pool.

Officials concerned of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had clearly ignored safety rules at the pool in this incident. Overcrowding at the pool may be a reason for the mishap. As per the rules, identity cards are issued to registered members at the pool, but in some cases, officials issue “slips” to allow some other persons (mostly children) to use the pool.

Several persons who were at the pool today with their wards said on the condition of anonymity that the coach and the lifeguard there were hardly ever alert. Had he been alert yesterday, the lifeguard could have saved the boy’s life. The staff at the swimming pool, including the Junior Engineer, Mr Jagmel Singh, had refused to search for the boy till the 5 pm to 6 pm batch for women had left yesterday. Enquiries by the distressed parents of the boy had been handled with indifference, though the lifeguard should have immediately swung into action on receiving the first reports that the boy had been missing. No one supervises whether the lifeguard at the pool performs his duty well or not.

Past year, an alert swimmer had saved two children from drowning, while the lifeguard was “on duty”. In 1999, a resident of Phase 3A had saved a five-year-old child from drowning here. Over 300 students were using the pool facility this season, but the standard practise of keeping a record of those who enter or leave the pool was hardly being followed. Children could also have been divided into batches to avoid overcrowding at the pool.

The pool is not cleaned regularly and the quality of the water is seldom tested. The bottom of the pool is hardly visible at the deep side and the filtration plant is not run regularly. It took time to locate the body yesterday because the surface of the pool could hardly be seen.

Guidelines to be followed at swimming pools

  • Safety rules should be displayed prominently and enforced strictly.

  • The pool depth should be well-marked on its walls and the deck.

  • No diving’ signs need to be clearly marked on the pool walls and the deck at the shallow areas.

  • The ‘No running’ rule should be strictly enforced at the pool.

  • Surfaces near the pool and in locker rooms should not be slippery and still smooth enough for bare feet.

  • Life-saving equipment should be available in the pool complex.

  • A certified lifeguard should be on duty at all times while anyone is in the pool and there should be adult supervision for children.

  • There should supervisors to check whether lifeguards were performing their duty well or not.

  • The pool should be cleaned regularly and the quality of the water should be tested every day.

  • Diving boards should be used only by qualified divers and diving should be allowed in pools of adequate depth only.

  • The slope break should be clearly marked at the bottom of the pool for all swimmers to see.



Safety questionable at city’s pools
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, August 3
The people of Chandigarh have an access to maximum number of swimming pools run by the UT Sports Department, Panjab University and by different clubs. The department manages pools at Lake Club, Sector 6, two pools in Sector 23 — one adjoining the table tennis hall and second at the Government Yoga Centre. PU has a six-laned pool, whereas the club-managed pools are at Chandigarh Club, Sector 2, Press Club, Sector 27, Golf Club, Sector 6.

Yesterday’s incidence, in which a boy got drowned in a pool at SAS Nagar, has raised questions on the safety aspects of children, especially in large numbers.

When asked, Mr J.S. Negi, District Sports officer, UT, said it was chiefly due to unmanageable rush and negligence on the part of the staff present there. On the three pools run under their supervision, he said they had separate coaches along with life guards. He said the children were registered before they were allowed to swim.

He said though summer invited heavy rush, especially during vacations, they had a group system, which meant and after every 45 minutes another group of swimmers was allowed to swim.



PGI operation theatre complex closed
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
After a revelation that the water supply to the PGI operation theatre complex has been contaminated by micro-organisms , the hospital administration has decided to close its operation theatre complex with immediate effect.

The Secretary, Operation Theatre Management Committee, and the PGI Medical Superintendent’s office has conveyed to all concerned that the 16 operation theatres in the complex will remain closed for the next two days following results of a study conducted by the PGI Microbiology Department where it was found that water supply to operation theatres was contaminated with harmful micro-organisms. A high-level committee comprising senior PGI faculty members and others will review the situation tomorrow .

When contacted, the Joint Medical Superintendent, Dr D Bahera confirmed that the operation theatre complex had been closed for the next two days following doubts about contamination of its water supply and all surgeries planned for Saturday had been cancelled. “Sunday is a holiday and Saturday is a half day, when instead of 50 to 60 surgeries, 25 to 35 are normally planned. All these are routine surgeries which have been postponed till the doubts about contamination are cleared.”

He added that the Engineering Department had been asked to detect the problem and the officials are already in the process of checking and rectifying the fault, if any.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the source of micro-organisms — pseudomonas and acinetobacter — detected by the Microbiology Department in the tap water supply to the operation theatres is not known. Sources, however, add that monkeys inhabiting the rooftops of the hospital may be responsible for this contamination. Microbiologists say that the presence of micro-organisms in hospitals causes infections leading to serious complications post operatively and especially in burn cases and open wounds.

They add that these micro-organisms are dangerous and common antibiotics do not affect them. If they get infected by these micro-organisms, they require specialised and very costly antibiotics.

Meanwhile, surgeons say that these organisms, if present in the tap water, may not be very dangerous for the patients as the water used in operation theatres is ether normal saline or boiled. But ideally these organisms should not be present in the tap water and all efforts should be made to clean it, they add.



Constructive ties with media must: Railway CPRO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Mr Davinder Pal Singh Sandhu, the new Chief Public Relations Officer of the Northern Railway, wants a “constructive relationship” with the media, to take the Railways to the level of people’s expectations.

Mr Sandhu, who belongs to the 1987 batch of the Indian Administrative and Allied Services, is a product of the Sector 26 St John’s School. He did his BA (Economics-Honours) from DAV College before doing his MA and MBA from Panjab University. After a brief stint in Punjab Wireless Systems, Mr Sandhu joined the Civil Service in 1987 and got into the Indian Railways Traffic Service.

After two years in Bihar, Mr Sandhu has worked in various capacities, including commercial operations and traffic.

The endeavour of the Railways, he says, has been to provide hassle-free services to travellers. Statistically speaking, the safety record of the Indian Railways, he says, has been excellent.

Mr Sandhu says while he was senior DRM, Delhi, additional four coaches, on the Kalka Mail were introduced for the convenience of travellers.

The extension of Paschim Express to Chandigarh had also benefited rail from commuters Chandigarh and nearby areas.

Once additional facilities, including a wash line, were complete, the services of more South and west-bound trains would be extended to Chandigarh.

Mr Sandhu says it is not the Railways alone but other means and modes of transport which also need to ensure the complete “safety of passengers” or “users” of the transport system.

Instructions would be issued to all media units of the Northern Railway to provide complete and latest information to scribes on the Railways, he added.




City sweats as monsoon takes a break
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Residents of Chandigarh and its neighbouring states continue to perspire due to heat and humidity. The Director of the city Meteorological Department, Mr S.C. Bhan, says that these conditions are likely to persist till August 10. July 20 to August 10 is the time for a break in the monsoon when the low-pressure trough line shifts towards the foothills of the Himalayas, he says.

The break monsoon, that began at the end of July, has reduced the chances of a widespread rain over the next 48 hours in the region. However, the city can experience localised thundershowers due to localised humidity, says Mr Bhan.

Past year, the break monsoon conditions, that comprise a reversal of the wind pattern, had prevailed here from August 5 to 10. It is a normal annual phenomenon which is considered good for agriculture, provided the wind pattern reverses in time, say the experts.

In any case, the city has had a good monsoon so far. The monsoon had arrived week earlier than usual this year, as a result of which, the region received more than its normal share of rainfall in June and July this year. Heavy rain and high-velocity squalls in June and July left a trail of destruction and deaths as houses collapsed, flash floods struck, trees got uprooted and overhead wires snapped.

According to Mr Bhan, Chandigarh and its surrounding areas received 210.8 mm rain in June against a normal of 145.2 mm. In July, the city recorded 334 mm rain against a normal of 280 mm.

Meanwhile, rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at isolated places in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Haryana in the next two days. While the monsoon is at its peak in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, parts of Andhra Pradesh, it has weakened in the rest of the country in the absence of any thrust in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.



Neglect mars prime property
Shashi Pal Jain

About two acres of prime land and the building constructed on it long ago are lying in neglect and cry for care. This building at one time housed the civil hospital, and in later years was used as a judicial complex. The Panchayat Samiti of Kharar which owns this property has not shown any interest in its maintenance. Situated in the heart of the town, next to Gandhi Bazar and the police station, this land at current prices is worth several crores.

The Civil Hospital was shifted from this building more than 20 years ago. According to a plaque which is still intact, the building was constructed by one Ram Rattan of Sohana in the time of Lala Sant Ram, Sub Assistant Surgeon and was opened by Mr R. Sykes, Deputy Commissioner, on November 18, 1910. A part of this building has collapsed.

Similarly, the operation room was built by one Cheit Singh Gill of Landran village in 1937 in memory of his father. Later in 1996, a Government Primary School was inaugurated here by Mr Harneik Singh Gharuan, then MLA for Kharar and a minister in Punjab on July 20, 1996. The rooms are now in a bad condition.

The same building housed the civil courts for many years and two civil judges used to hold court in it. The courts also shifted to the new judicial complex about 10 years ago.

Since then this prime land and the building have fallen on bad days and have been lying unused.

It has two gates, one of which opens towards Gandhi Bazar and the other towards the police station.

The Panchayat Samiti of Kharar has been facing an acute shortage of funds and in the past its employees have resorted to agitations, demanding their salaries. With a little effort, the samiti could have earned substantial amounts from this property. About three years ago, Mrs Vini Mahajan, then Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, had ordered the DDPO of Ropar to prepare a map for the construction of a Panchayat Samiti Market here with 200 shops which could fetch the samiti a good amount as rent. But the project was forgotten after her transfer.



Where faith flows from strings of thread
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Eleven-year-old Maru washes utensils in the household of Sector 32 and many of her friends do the same in other sectors. Ask the little worn-out creature about what it means to be celebrating rakhi and her eyes beam with energy. “I love my brother Shyam. He also loves me a lot. We are five sisters and a brother. All the sisters are working hard to make our brother feel a special tomorrow. I have taken Rs 20 in advance each from five households and have bought a beautiful rakhi and a gift for Shyam. I hope my rakhi is the best.”

It’s strange to see that a festival should generate feelings of this order. But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter remains that Raksha Bandhan has risen beyond frames of time to evolve as a festival of masses, irrespective of caste and status. Today, there is a Padmini in every slum-dweller of the city and there sure is a Humayun in every other brother, who sweats it out in the blazing sun to earn money for a living.

As the Tribune today asked the monetarily-weaker revellers if little money had any negative bearing on their festive spirit, it discovered that there was no direct relation between money and feeling, whatsoever. The slums of the city will also rise to the occasion of Rakshan Bandhan tomorrow, despite being enveloped by penury and frustration.

Maru’s is not an isolated case. There are many others who follow in the same line. Shumi is 17 years of age and is engaged in selling pottery-wares along the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway. She has two brothers, Madho and Suka, both very dear to her. This correspondent spotted the frail girl selling wares in the Sector 17 market today. She bore more weight than she could carry. When intercepted, she said: “Ae didi, ye chota gamla le le. Tera bahut bhala hoga.” When asked why she was working so hard, Shumi replied: “There is a small shop in Sector 22, which is selling expensive rakhis. They are very beautiful, but cost Rs 70 each. I want to buy two for my brothers. My parents don’t give me much from their earnings. Even I want to buy rakhis on my own. That will give joy to my brothers.”

As these words touched the heart, we proceeded to speak to Pankaj, a shoeshine boy in the Sector 17 market. He was accompanied by his sister Sudha, who loves her too much to part from him, even for a second. “In the past one week I have been going to other markets for work. Here we don’t get as many customers. I have bought a walking doll for my sister. It costed Rs 275. I will present it to her when she ties the sacred knot tomorrow,” he said.

Ramdin, who works as a help in a Sector 22 dhaba, is equally excited about the occasion. “I know my sisters would have bought me great rakhis. There will be a competition among us friends over whose rakhi is the best. Where my sisters are saving money for my rakhi, I am also responsible towards them. I had to buy gifts for each of my four sisters. So I worked overtime. Now I am waiting for tomorrow.”

Razzmatazz of rakhi apart, it’s this above-featured element which makes the festival what it is today — pious and respected, irrespective of financial considerations. The city’s poor may have their own humble way of celebrating the day, but it’s this very way which makes Rakhi so universal in appeal. At the end of the day, it’s all about faith. That is how a piece of thread, which means nothing on a shopkeeper’s shelf, occupies divine significance on a brother’s wrist.

It’s this spirit of trust which rakhi embodies.



The nuisance of condemned vehicles
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 3
The Mani Majra Motor market, has virtually become a dumping ground for junk vehicles and used tyres.

The space occupied by the condemned vehicles in addition to several illegal kiosks have deprived the market of space for normal activity. Encroachments on the road lead to frequent traffic jams

The entire motor market is dotted with several junk vehicles. The junk dealers in the motor market have piled up several vehicles all over the market, thereby blocking a significant part of the open space in the market.

Several vehicles, including some trucks and burnt buses, have been lying in the parking ground for years. The scrap dealers use the open space to store the scrap. Scrap iron and other parts of junk vehicles keep lying in the market till scrap-dealers find customers. The shopkeepers in the area are demanding that a separate yard should be alloted to the scrap dealers where they could store and dismantle junk vehicles.

Last month, MC officials had removed about six junk vehicles from the market along the Haryana boundary.

Mr Krishan Kumar Palta, president of the Motor Market Welfare Association, alleged that despite several representations to the authorities concerned, the encroachments on the parking ground had not been cleared.

Shopkeepers in the market allege that these people are causing a lot of pollution by burning tyres in the open to extract metal.

At least 20 unauthorised kiosks have come up in the market. These are reportedly being openly bought and sold between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000.

Mr B.S. Makol, general secretary of the association, demanded that it was the duty of the municipal corporation to remove the junk vehicles for parking space.

When contacted Mr Ashwani Kumar, Assistant Commissioner- II of the municipal corporation, said last month 10-15 discarded vehicles were removed from the market. He claimed that at times encroachments are removed from the area. He however, admitted that no “major drive” had been launched in the area. He promised that he would look into the issue.



Influx of screen celebrities

Some small screen as well as big screen personalities kept halting in the city confirming the view that this city is falling in line with other active cities such as Delhi, Pune and Kolkata.

Jimmy Shergill, the boy who had the mettle to secure a role in the prestigious Yash Chopra film Mohabbatein, was in the city on some kind of a promotional visit. With his boyish charm, many in the gathering were heard comparing him with the Hollywood Leonardo De Caprio who has to his credit the Oscar winning The Titanic. Also in town on a personal visit was Tara, the city girl who has made it big on the small screen. These days she is playing a liberated woman in the Sony TV serial, Shaheen.

Where the influx of celebrities continued in the city, the weather played spoilsport. The CITCO tourist coach was said to be doing well, with many families trying out the new experience on the roofless Hon-on-Hop-off bus.

Thanks to Raksha bandhan, the food scene in the city really livened up last week, with many restaurants announcing one food festival or the other. Bikaner sweets in Sector 26 offered 30 per cent discount on all food items except sweets. Aroma in Sector 22 held a salad festival, attracting many a large number of customers.

The much-hyped Subhash Ghai film Yaadein, did not hit the box office the way it was expected to. This generally happens with high-flying stuff which is not laced with adequate substance. Even the star cast — Hrithik, Jackie Shroff, Kareena Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri — could not manage good proceeds for the film. Many Subhash Ghai fans were actually disappointed.

Art works kept surfacing throughout the week. Some good paintings were seen with focus on the turmoil in Kashmir. Brought to the city by Jammu and Kashmir Fine Arts Society, the exhibition voices the pain of Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits alike. The collection is on view at the Punjab Kala Bhawan art gallery in Sector 16.

Not to miss the celebrated Gujarati interior designer, Gajendra Shah, who finally settled for painting. Shah, who is respected in art circles for his vision and precise implementation, is in town with excerpts from his ensemble. Adorning the walls of Art Folio in Sector 9, his works relate to the musicians of India.



Salads for all tastes
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

On August 1, Hotel Aroma, Sector 22, opened Salad Days, a multi-cuisine buffet luncheon (from 1 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.) in its inner courtyard which has been tastefully done up in style, giving one the feeling that a global village is a reality. As you sample the Indian, Continental, Chinese, Thai and French fare, you can’t help but notice the Australian roof, the white Grecian pillars and the Mediterranean floor tiles.

But reassurance comes from the fact that despite the globalisation, the Indianness is predominant. This is evident from the pooja thali occupying the pride of place on a side table. Also, when the proprietor takes out a portion for a poor child as inaugural ‘bhog’, it touches a cord.

Talk of the interior would be incomplete without mentioning the huge waterfall on rocks, adorning a wall (and justifying the name of the hall — Cascade). Along with the wrought iron furniture and lamp stands, the green plants and the high ceiling, the waterfall is an attempt to give you the feel of a garden.

Then, of course, you can’t miss the tempting spread of dishes — the salad bar (a trolley with different types of salads and dressings), the row of the main course and the desserts.

Since it is a buffet, you may help yourself to as much of the delectable stuff as you want. But first, know the price — Rs 115 for soup, salads and desserts, Rs 135 for soup, salads, desserts and vegetarian food and Rs 165 for soup, salads, desserts and non-vegetarian food. You have a choice of vegetable and mushroom soup.

The salads offered are aplenty. Both veg and non-veg, they are nice and cold. They include such self-explanatory ones as pasta based chicken, pasta with green vegetables, papaya and beans salad, cucumber and gherkin salad, Russian salad, pasta with thousand island dressing, beetroot salad with vinegar, Thai vermicelli salad and Greek salad with tartar sauce. You have a number of dressings to top your plate for umpteen combinations of flavours. To complement, we also have raita of cucumber and mint chutney raita.

In the main course, a meal of vegetarian biryani or assorted breads from tandoor with the Kashmiri roganjosh is the ultimate. The tantalising pieces of mutton fried and cooked into the gravy, however, are without the strong red chillies originally used to suit the Punjabi palate, explains Anjum, Mr Man Mohan Singh’s son who is fresh from his hotel management studies and training at Oberoi’s hotel.

While the menu will be changed daily, you can broadly expect a couple of dals, vegetables and a Chinese dish. On Wednesday, we savoured boiled chick peas, pasta-based chicken, cheeses asparagus sauce, tossed vegetables with mushroom and macaroni, vegetarian Manchurian and dal along with assorted baked breads.

I suggest you go slow on the salads and food, as yummy sweet dishes await you. While there will be an Indian delicacy everyday (that day, it was moong ka halwa), you also have a chance to pick on puddings, creamy cakes, pies and gateaux as music enchants you in one of the best cooled restaurants of the city.



Stress on quake-resistant structures
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh August 3
‘‘There is no way which can predict earthquakes. All we can do is to find means and ways in which earthquakes are measured properly and then study the trends which emerge,’’stated Mr KL Arora, an expert of seismology from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai.

Mr Arora delivered an interactive lecture on ‘Earthquakes and seismology’ at the Department of Geology, Panjab University, here today.

The lecture was organised by the Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Geologists Association. Prof Naresh Kochhar, secretary of the organisation, welcomed the guests and the speaker, while Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, CSIO, presided over the lecture.

Mr Arora emphasised the importance of good construction to avoid damage due to earthquakes in cities.

He also clarified that the earth waves caused by nuclear testing were very different from the ones caused by earthquakes. ‘‘Earthquake waves are asymmetrical and hence there is a compression and depression pattern to them while the nuclear test waves are symmetrical,’’he said.

When asked about the danger of reservoir-induced earthquakes, he informed that earthquakes were induced by dams not because of the pressure of the mass of water collected but because of the seepage of water into underlying stones.

More than 40 students and faculty members of the Department of Geology and scientists from the CSIO attended the lecture. Many of these scientists had come from various research institutes of the country to attend a programme at the CSIO. Prof L.N. Gupta of the department of geology proposed a vote of thanks.



JD (U) ultimatum to Punjab, Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Janata Dal (U) today served a six-month ultimatum on the Punjab and Haryana Governments to leave Chandigarh and build their own capitals.

Shouting slogans, activists of the party, led by its president, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, burnt the effigies of the two governments. Later, a memorandum was faxed to the President of India.

The memorandum wanted a permanent status for the Union Territory with the merger of adjoining 20-km area of Punjab and Haryana, as enacted in the Periphery Act,1952, under the Chandigarh Capitol Project. Appointment of the Chief Commissioner and a political set-up on the pattern of Delhi were also demanded.

Formation of an autonomous Chandigarh development authority and the creation of the Chandigarh Public Service Commission and the Chandigarh Subordinate Service Commission exclusively for more than three lakh unemployed youth of the country, were also demanded.



Yoga conference tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Chandigarh Yog Sabha will organise a grand yoga conference at the Yog Sadhna Kendra in the Community Centre of Sector 21-D on August 5.

According to a press release, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Local Bodies and Labour and Employment Minister of Punjab, will inaugurate the conference to be held on the occasion of the third death anniversary of the Yogiraj Swami Devi Dayal Maharaj.



Four cars stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Four cars were reported to have been stolen from the city during the past 24 hours.

Mr Ramandeep Singh, a resident of Sector 38 A, reported that his Indica car (CH-03-D 3749) had been stolen on August 2. The car was parked at the rear side of SCO No 122-123 in Sector 8. A case under Section 379 has been registered.

Mr Ram Kishan, of SCO No 77, Sector 17, lodged an FIR stating that his Maruti car (CH-01-J 1686) had been stolen. The car was parked at Gurdev Parking in Sector 17.

Mr Krishan Arora, a resident of Sector 25 of Panchkula, told the police that his Maruti car had been stolen. The car was parked at the rear side of SCF No 171 in Sector 26 (Grain Market).

Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of Sector 44, told the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-X 5196) had been stolen. It was parked near the UTI Bank in Sector 34.

Meanwhile, the local police seized 48 pouches of whisky from Ranbir Singh, a resident of Ram Darbar. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Cash stolen
Mr K.L. Gupta, president of the Ram Mandir in Sector 35, in a complaint lodged with the police said Rs 15,000, a cheque book, collection book of the mandir and some articles were stolen from the glove box of his scooter in Sector 35 on Thursday. The police is investigating the matter.

Punwire officials booked
The local police has booked the Managing Director (MD), Mr Gurpal Singh, the Executive Director (ED), Mr Ved Pal, and two other officials of Punwire, Mr D.L. Saini, and Mr A.P. Singh, for their involvement in at least 14 cases of cheating and forgery. The cases had been registered on a complaint filed by Mr Sajjan Singh, Assistant General Manager of PSIDC. According to information available, three cases, involving a sum of Rs 39.75 crore, had been registered against the officials. A total of 14 cases are to be registered against different officials of Punwire.



Seminar on electrical protection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The GE Power Controls, a business wing of General Electric of the USA, today held a seminar on electrical protection and modernisation taking place in the field on the CII premises here today.

According to a spokesperson, a large number of engineers from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana took part in the seminar. The key speakers at the seminar were Mr Manav Chakravorty, vice-president of the firm’s Indian operations, and Mr Manoj Sharma, a senior engineer of the firm.

They informed the audience about the technical innovations and developments taking place in this field, which was followed by a question-answer session. A demonstration was organised for the participants.




Egmont Imagination India Limited, a leading children’s entertainment company, has launched the new Mickey Internet from A-Z book for the first time in India. It is an information-packed book with eye-catching Disney illustrations. It opens gates of the Internet world for children in an interactive and easy manner. TNS


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