Saturday, August 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Was Gill murdered by family members?
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 24
On the eighth-day of the murder of 52-year-old Satwant Singh Gill, owner of Gill Estate, the Ropar police has reportedly by achieved a breakthrough in the case. Though no official of the district police was available for comments, sources said the police had zeroed in on a family member of the victim.

Investigations by the police have reportedly revealed that the assailant (s) did not leave the premises after stabbing Satwant Gill several times on face, chest and lower abdomen with crude sharp-edged weapon (s) indicating that the murder had been done in a fit of rage. The sniffer dogs brought by the police had kept on moving within the estate premises corroborating the theory that the assailant, who was familiar with the layout of the Gill Estate, had not left the place. The sources did not rule out strained relations between the deceased and his family members over financial matters and relations with other women as the prime motive behind for the murder.

It may be pertinent to mention that the priest, Narinder Kumar had said the pet dog of the family, Lika, had not barked during the time the murder took place. Thus indicating that the dog was familiar with the assailant (s).

A team of police officials led by the district police chief is believed to have worked hard in solving the blind murder. The police is reported to have already questioned, Sunita Gill, Ravinder Singh and Namita Gill, wife, son and daughter, respectively, of the diseased and Pawan Kumar his brother-in-law and Narinder Kumar, priest and Shesh Pal, servant, in the case. The wife of the deceased was admitted to a Sector 21 private hospital after she complained of high blood pressure. The sources said the police was likely to arrest the suspect within a day or two.

A police official said the deceased had planned to send some persons on a world tour and had taken about Rs 8 lakh from each of them. But when the tour programme did not materialise, two persons took away two vehicles owned by Gill.

The deceased had invested the money in the Gill Estate and was planning to install equipment for rain dance. He had owned over Rs 60 lakh to people, but the fact, had been questioned by the police. The sources said there was some tension between the deceased and his 23-year-old son, a student of BA-I, Government College for Men, Chandigarh. The daughter of the deceased is a student of B.Com first year at SD College in Sector 32.

On August 17, the body was found in a pool of blood in his room by his servant, Shesh Pal, at 5.30 am on August 16 when he had gone to serve the morning tea.

The deceased, who had donated blood 117 times, was discovered in a pool of blood on his bed. His son Ravinder had rushed him in his car to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he was declared brought dead.

Meanwhile, in a case of cheating registered by the deceased and five other persons, the police had found that the suspect used to supply fake currency notes. The matter was being investigated.


Principals must ensure proper work culture: VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The education system in colleges is facing a virtual collapse because of a non-existent decent work culture in most of the colleges in Punjab.

This and more on troubled waters of the teaching system in colleges was highlighted at the annual conference of Principals of colleges affiliated to Panjab University here today.

Initiating the discussion Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice Chancellor, said that “grant-giving bodies to colleges and universities have been asked to ensure an optimum work culture as communicated through a letter of the Punjab government, seeking at least 40 hours working in a week. Yet, the actual work hours were much less, which was a well known fact. Principals should take earnest steps in the direction of improving the work culture”.

Prof Pathak said one of the ways was ‘submission of a self-appraisal report at the end of a session by each teacher. Evaluation by students was also an area which needed to be deliberated upon’.

Master Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, said that ‘the whole system was collapsing. Instead of concentrating more on pay packets, the teachers first needed to handle the collapsing system’. “The system has failed. We are worthy sons of the land. Let us accept the fact and stand up to face the challenge to revive it,” he said.

Principal Janmeet Singh, DAV College, Hoshiarpur, said that besides awareness there was a need for ‘forceful methods’ in the existing circumstances to improve the work culture. Strict measures should be initiated by the Punjab government and the university to curb the tuition business.

Maj D.P. Singh, Government College, Sector 46, said that an academy of teaching needed to be set up for a training schedule for teachers before they entered the profession.

Principal Tarsem Bahia said that there was nothing disputing the fact that there lacked a proper work culture. The university and even the Income Tax Department need to maintain a strict vigil, Principal Bahia added. He also highlighted the problem of drug menace in colleges. The government needed to chalk out a policy in this regard, he said.

A principal said that each college sent reports that work schedule was being followed by colleges but none managed it in reality. Only one principal in the gathering of about 65 differed with her. A flood of computer institutes all over the state also came in for sharp criticism, Principal Bahia said that a number of institutes were offering courses neither recognised by the UGC nor the AICTE. PU needed to clear its stand on recognition of these courses. Even the state government needs to step down in the arena to save hundreds of students loosing their way in the mad race of computer education.

Master Mohan Lal said that computer centres were coming up in a big number and were misleading pastures for hundreds.

Prof Pathak underlined the need for further developments in the field of examination, conduct and evaluation. He even suggested that colleges should conduct the part one examination internally. This was, however, debated from different angles by principals.

Professor Pathak underlined the need for timely dispatch of documents by colleges due to which several results were delayed. The VC said that after a fixed date the university should not accept the examination forms at all. 


More non-stop buses on Patiala-Chandigarh route
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) is set to increase its non-stop bus service on the Patiala-Chandigarh route, besides making the Zirakpur township a nodal centre for running of local buses to Chandigarh.

A survey conducted by the corporation has revealed that there is more demand for running of non-stop buses to Chandigarh and vice versa. Presently the corporation is running four non-stop buses to and fro on the route. These run without any conductor with bookings done at the respective bus stands.

Corporation Managing Director Harkesh Singh Sidhu said the non-stop buses fleet would be augmented as they had gained popularity amongst commuters for their efficient plying. He said besides this the number of buses going to Chandigarh and back without going into the Rajpura township would also be increased. He said it had also been decided to increase the timings of vehicles going to Chandigarh as well as Ludhiana and coming back from there in the evenings after office hours. He said the corporation bus fleet strength was being reviewed to make this possible.

The corporation has also decided to make Zirakpur a nodal centre. It feels the potential of the township situated on the Chandigarh-Ambala road is not being fully utilised. Now the corporation will start a local bus service to Chandigarh from Zirakpur, besides other places. The idea behind making a strong presence in Zirakpur is also to discourage private pliers from picking up passengers from the city indiscriminately.

Under the drive, the corporation will put up bus shelters at Zirakpur, besides issuing warning to private pliers, including trucks and tempos, not to pick up commuters from the place. A drive against such unauthorised activity is also likely to be started. Sources said there was a move to tighten the screws on government employees also who preferred to board PRTC buses from the secretariat to Zirakpur and then the private transport for the ongoing journey to Patiala.

Simultaneously, the Managing Director disclosed that a special drive was being launched during the coming fortnight under which corporation bus drivers and conductors would be goaded to pick the maximum passengers from every stop. 


Demolition drive: bias alleged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Tension prevailed in Sector 46-C following the demolition of unauthorised structures in a house by the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today.

According to information available, the enforcement team of the CHB, accompanied by a strong police posse headed by Mr S.C. Sagar and Mr Om Parkash, both DSPs, and Mr KIP Singh, SHO, Sector 34 police station, reached house No. 3332 in the sector in the morning and started demolishing the unauthorised structures. As the team went about its task of demolishing the additional room at the top floor and parts of the second and first floors, residents protested against the “pick-and-choose” policy of the CHB.

The protesters alleged that while there were a large number of building byelaws violations in the sector, this particular house was “targeted” for demolition. On its part, the officials clarified that the Board action was in line with demolishing the new illegal additions and alterations in CHB dwelling units.

The owner of house, Mr A.S. Anand, alleged that the construction was not a new one and work on it was stopped in December last year. He also claimed that no notice was issued and only an employee of the CHB had visited the house a few days back.

Tempers ran high when Mr Harmohan Dhawan and Mr Devinder Babla, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, reached the spot. They unsuccessfully tried to break the police cordon. Later, Mr Babla, Mr C.S. Narula, Mr N.K. Bhatia and Mr Amit were taken to the Sector 34 police station, but later let off. The demolition was stopped when the owner assured the team that he would voluntarily demolish the unauthorised structures.


Haryana toughens stand against ACC
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 24
Finally, luck of the ACC management seems to have run out with the Haryana Government deciding to register cases against them for encroachment on 809 acres of forest land since 1997 and carry out an evaluation of their scrap lying at the factory premises.

The decision to book a case under the Section 5 of the Public Premises Act for unauthorised occupation of the land, was taken at a meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary, Haryana, Mr L.M. Goyal, held in Chandigarh recently.

The decision was necessitated as the management was unwilling to vacate the land at Mallah and Surajpur after the lease for mining limestone, shale and clay expired in 1997, 60 years after it was granted by the erstwhile State of Patiala.

Also, a dispute had arisen over the view that the company be allowed to remove the fixed machinery rendered as scrap contrary to the lease agreement that the state government could purchase plant and machinery at a depreciated value of 5 per cent per annum.

Earlier, the state government had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Mr SC Chaudhary to resolve the matter with the company and take back possession of the land in Mallah and Rajipur Jhajra.

At this meeting, the company representatives said the government had chosen to reject the purchase-offer at a value of Rs 3.07 crore after which tenders were invited for the sale of the plant and machinery on freehold and leasehold lands as scrap.

They added that while the contractor was allowed to remove scrap from free hold land, he was disallowed to remove the same from the Mallah mine.

However, the government differed on this, taking the stand that mobile machinery worth Rs 2.55 crore had been removed by the ACC to its sister concerns while machinery not in working order had been removed earlier. Consequently, fixed machinery worth Rs 8 lakh was left behind.

It was also unanimously decided that the company be allowed to take away the fixed machinery and hand over the possession of land to the government which finally fell through.

The mining lease was given to ACC Limited in November, 1937 for 30 years. This was renewed by the Mines and Geology Department for another 20 years and then again till November 1997.

Following the expiry of lease, the Divisional Forest Officer, Morni, issued a 15-day notice in March 1998 for handing over the possession of land to the Forest Department in addition to a penalty of Rs 5,000 per annum for unauthorised occupation of land.


No full house for evening Shatabdi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The third Shatabdi between Chandigarh and Delhi, which starts tomorrow, may be set for a not so popular start, largely due to it being a weekend tomorrow, when not many people prefer to travel between the city and the Capital.

Sources said, bookings for seats on board the train were few till about 7 p.m. The train may not run totally booked like the other two Shatabdis departing from the city in the morning and afternoon. Tickets for the train will also be available at the railway station before its departure tomorrow.

The third Shatabdi will depart from the city in the evening and reach New Delhi by 8 :30 p.m. This meets a long standing demand of people from Delhi who want to return by the evening. In the absence of a Shatabdi returning to Delhi in the evening, visitors from the national capital had to perforce stay back.

The sources said the train would have the usual six to seven normal air-conditioned chair car coaches, one executive coach and two power coaches. It will be pulled by an electric locomotive. The interior of the coaches is better as they are the same used on the Swaran Shatabdis, which run at faster speeds than the Shatabdis. These coaches also have better braking.

Though the train has so far been designated as Special Shatabdi, the official version so far is that it has been introduced to clear the rush. Sources, however, say the train will get a permanent status and not be withdrawn. Railway officials estimate that within a few days, the new train will start running to capacity.


City second largest hub of aviation activities
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
A giant IL-76 freighter thunders overhead, as bespectacled scientists run computer simulations on warheads designed for ballistic missiles. A few kilometers away, a civilian Boeing 737 taxies past fighter aircraft being readied for an exercise sortie, while on the other side of the Air Force Station engineers strip down a Mi-17 chopper for overhaul.

Even as preparations for the IAF’s forthcoming Presidential Review, scheduled to be held here in mid-October, are on at a war footing, a little known fact has, for long, escaped people’s attention — Next to Bangalore, Chandigarh is the largest hub of aviation related activities in the country.

From fighters and missiles to transporters and helicopters, from training, research and academic work to aviation-related extra-curricular activities, from repair and maintenance of aircraft to manufacturing components, perhaps no other city plays host to such a vast expanse of aviation activities.

The Air Force Station here is perhaps the only one in the country with two officers of the rank of Air Commodore holding command appointments. Comprising two major establishments with a combined strength of about 6000 personnel, the Air Force Station is one of the country's largest and the only one to house operational fighter, transport, helicopter and missile squadrons besides a dozen other units, as well as the country's largest helicopter repair and overhaul establishment.

Virtually the entire air maintenance of the Northern Sector and forward posts is undertaken from the local airbase. Two transport squadrons, one of them equipped with the IAF's heaviest freighter and a helicopter unit equipped with the world's largest helicopter, the Mi-26, are based here. On an average each transport unit logs 550 flying hours per month. As per reports, about 25,000 tonnes of load is airlifted annually, which is roughly equivalent to the total cargo handled at international airports in the country and more than that handled at domestic airports.

Besides routine activities, the airbase also hosts aircraft for participation in flypasts at New Delhi during the Republic Day and the Air Force Day celebrations.

No. 3 Base Repair Depot, on the other hand, is engaged in engineering activities on three types of helicopters — Mi8, Mi-17 and M-25/35, besides engines of the An-32 and the Navy's Il-38 and Ka-25/27 aircraft. About 20 choppers pass through the depot every year.

Some distance away is the MiG-23/27 TETTRA School, which is responsible for imparting technical training to pilots, engineers and ground crew on the MiG-23 and MiG-27 fighter aircraft.

The Army Aviation Corps (AAC) too has a presence here, with the entire AAC activities in the region being planned and executed at Chandimandir. AAC choppers also operate out of a helipad at Chandimandir as well as the air base when required.

Two establishments in Sector 30, Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) and the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) are also engaged in aerospace related research activities. While TBRL is largely associated with developing aerodymanics and missile and related technology, CSIO has designed and developed several components. Notable among them are the Head-up Display for the Light Combat Aircraft, a PAN-Camera for unmanned aerial vehicles, various lens for satellites and a pre-fabricated VIP capsule for AN-32s. A project for developing a Fly-by-Light control system for the Advance Light Helicopter has also been taken up.

Except for the Indian Institutes of technology and the MIT Chennai, the Punjab Engineering College, Sector 12, is the only other institute in the country to offer a degree in aeronautical engineering.

The IAF is going in for indigenisation of aero-spares in a big way and the local industry has also chipped in with over a dozen units producing non-critical items such rubber hoses, seals and screws. The past few years have seen several seminars on indigenisation being organised here.

Two state governments, Punjab and Haryana have their aviation departments, headed by secretary-level officers, here. Besides overseeing flying academies and related activities in their respective states, they are also operating their own aircraft for VIP use. In addition, Chandigarh is the transit point for all VIPs and VVIPs, including the President and the Prime Minister proceeding from Delhi to the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh.

A civilian airport also exists here, but the civilian passenger and cargo traffic to and from Chandigarh is not much. Indian Airlines operates a flight to and from Delhi once a week and to and from Leh once a fortnight, while Jet Airways operates a daily flight to and from Delhi.

Chandigarh is also in the forefront of aviation related extra-curricular activities. The National Cadet Corps has an air squadron here, with sub-units in a number of institutes in the city. A large number of cadets from this units undergo flying and aviation related training, while a number of them have joined the IAF.

The Aeronautical Society of India also has a local chapter and is engaged in promoting aviation activities. It is also conducting quiz competitions, essay-writing contests and painting competitions based on aviation theme, besides conducting classes on aero-modelling in several schools.

Last but not the least, Chandigarh has one of the highest concentrations of retired Air Force officers, including about 17 officers of the rank of Air Vice Marshals and above. Several of them are working with the local industry or with private aviation establishments.


Consumers may not pay for strike period
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The cablemen of the city and Mohali today geared up to remove wires from electricity poles within a week, as promised yesterday, as the All Chandigarh Cable Operators Joint Action Committee mooted the idea of not charging anything from the viewers at least for the day of strike.

A delegation of the committee today submitted a memorandum to the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob, detailing problems faced by the industry and sought clear guidelines on cable operations, which will be crucial link for making the city smart as envisioned by the Administrator.

The cablemen have been asked by the Administrator’s office to meet the UT Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh, to discuss their problems.

As the viewer was put to inconvenience yesterday by the strike a suggestion not to charge at least for the day came up, a committee spokesman told The Tribune here today.

He said as the strike was stretching into the second day, a suggestion had also come for giving a two-day charge holiday to scribers.

The spokesman said the committee would stick to its promise and consultations for deciding modalities to remove potentially dangerous wires were discussed. He said cable operators were now being personally informed about the decisions taken yesterday.

He said in future the committee would try to solve the problems amicably and restrain from resorting to the last protest action considering the people missing entertainment, information and education. The spokesman said the operators were preparing for a wired city where they would play a vital role to provide every household internet connectivity.

The cable operators had gone on a 24-hour strike yesterday in protest against the alleged high-handedness of the local electricity department.

The people reacted sharply to the strike appealing not to pay for the three months for breach of contract to provide airwaves.

A sector 15 resident even threatened to drag cablemen to the court for ‘’disrupting an essential service and seeking to scuttle competition and monopolising airways going against a Supreme Court verdict on the matter.’’

The day without the ‘’Idiot Box’’ yesterday made the city residents dull and missing ‘’part of life.’’

The electricity department had launched a campaign to remove cable wires from the power poles finding them dangerous when an Executive Engineer died after a cable staywire became a power conductor this monsoon. 


A strange silence
Roopinder Singh

I went home after work to a strange silence. As I walked in, I could hear voices. Such sounds are uncommon these days, drowned out by the din from TV sets that dominate the evenings of practically every middle-class home.

It was an eerie feeling. I saw that everyone was reading, or chatting — they had reverted to the pre-TV phase. We all seemed to have much more time on our hands and I was told that even during the day the search for good reading material had resulted in a virtual dusting of the books that lay on the shelves untouched for long. I too picked up a book that I had long been meaning to read. After a while, it was time for others to go out and for me to visit a friend.

At that house, too, it was not the usual scene. The children were sitting with their parents, and they were all talking. The younger son was curled up on a sofa, with his legs high up in the air. Antediluvian, i.e., extremely old-fashioned, activities, like conversation, reading and chatting were dominating the scene.

As we spoke to each other, we realised that we were no longer competing with anything - the voices were pitched at far lower decibels than usual, and we were communicating. Attention spans were better. A teenager was listening to music, and even this seemed not too loud. He was not intruding on our space.

“Dinner is served,” announced the lady of the house. We all trooped in to the dinning room, including the children. This called for a comment from the grandfather, who wondered aloud what had happened, no one being dragged out of the room to the table, no one saying, “Just a minute, Mom!” No running away with the plate to the TV.

An American friend has refused to have a TV in his flat. He has even been offered one, but he is in Chandigarh to study and refuses to get a TV in his house. His Indian friends are often confounded when he pleads ignorance about the latest on the idiot box in the USA. He did not watch much TV even when he was in America. He actually chose not to watch TV! He could not be bothered.

Not that our activity was out of choice. It was the cable strike in Chandigarh that had forced us into a Hobbesan State of Nature, but life was not “nasty, brutish and short.” Far from it, it seemed that civilisation had asserted itself in a rather civil fashion. The moment the strike is over, life returns to “normal.” What a pity. 


‘Tatkal’ option a hot favourite
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The ‘tatkal’ option in the scheme of commercial booth sites floated by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) at SAS Nagar (Mohali) has elicited an overwhelming response.

According to official information here, although the ‘tatkal’ option attracted a premium of 10 per cent over the normal price, nearly 65 per cent of the applications received were in this category. Analysis of the applications in the ‘tatkal’ category further revealed that Sector 64 (Phase 10) was the most favoured destination with 20.8 per cent applications, followed by Sector 59 (Phase 5) with 17.5 per cent and Sector 61 (Phase 7) with 15.8 per cent applications. The draw of lots was fixed for September 5, 2001.

As per the terms and conditions of the brochure, the ‘tatkal’ applicant for every phase/sector shall be taken up first of all to the exclusion of the ‘ordinary’ applicants and every successful applicant shall be assigned a seniority number. Once this exercise was completed for all the ‘tatkal’ applicants, the general category applicants, along with unsuccessful ‘tatkal’ applicants, shall be taken up in one go.

Thereafter, a period of two weeks shall be given to the successful applicants so that they could make up their mind regarding the specific booth sites to be preferred or opted by them. Another interaction would subsequently be held with the allottees so that they could choose their preferred sites in accordance with their seniority number, subject to availability of sites in the phase in question.

An official spokesman, however, clarified that corner sites shall command 10 per cent premium over and above the offered price. The possession of the booth sites shall be given only after the deposit of 25 per cent of the total plot price. The remaining 75 per cent is payable in three equated yearly instalment switch an internet of 15 per cent per annum. The scheme was unique in the sense that for the first time commercial sites were offered by PUDA on allotment basis rather than auction. 


AWWA raising day function
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Ambala, August 24
A heart-warming cultural programme was presented by the mentally and physically challenged students of Asha school as part of the celebrations to commemorate the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) raising day today.

The function held at Kharga auditorium included a prize distribution function and a talk on cancer detection and blood donation, besides a cultural programme by the students of Asha school, which is a school for special children run by AWWA.

Over the past one week, a series of events were organised by Kharga AWWA in Ambala Cantt, in which the families of the Armymen participated. Today’s function was presided over Kharga AWWA president, Ms Gita Vij.

The programme presented by the Asha school students included the song Itni shakti hamein dena data..., a puppet dance, dancing to the beat of western music and a play revolving around wild animals.

In the clean house competition, in the group Branches/Services (OR) Hav H.N. Ramesh was first, Hav R.B. Patil was second and Hav Gurmit Singh was third. In Def and Emp Coy (OR) category, Hav Rajbir Singh was first, Hav Sayar Singh was second and Hav Hawa Singh was third. In the HQ 2 Corps MT (OR) category, Sep Santosh was first, Sept Ishwar Dayal was second and Sep Bhanwar Lal was third. In the JCOs all Br/Services category, Sub Birender Singh was first, S.M. Malkiat Singh was second and Sub Lal Singh was third.

For the first time, exams were held for the hearing impaired students of Asha school. Kuldip Raj was first, Shishir was second, Vikas was third and Manisha stood fourth in the exams. In sports, the physically challenged students of the school participated in the first state Special Olympics held at Rohtak and won three gold medals, five silver and one bronze, along with two consolation prizes.

In the healthy baby competition, Nikhil Chauhan, son of N.K. Umed Singh, was first, Shubhi Singh, daughter of L/Nk B.P. Singh, was second and Sahil, son of Ald Ajmer Singh, was third. The first consolation prize went to Dilip Kumar, son of P.C. Sahu, and second consolation prize was won by Ashajyoti, daughter of S/M T.K. Mishra.


Harness rainwater: Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
“In cities like Chandigarh, house owners and cooperative house building societies should harness rainwater. Rooftops are catchment areas that can be used to harvest rainwater. This is reasonably clean water and can be used either directly or for recharging the aquifer”. This was suggested by the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, PVSM (retd), while addressing the audience at Panjab University’s Gandhi Bhawan at a function organised jointly by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), People for Animals, and Yuvsatta here today.

Underlining the need to launch a move for harvesting rainwater and recharging ground water, the Governor said over the past 100 years there had been two major shifts in the water management. The first was that individuals and communities have left everything to the state and the other shift saw the decline in the use of simple technologies for utilisation of rainwater thus depending entirely on rivers, dams and tubewells.

Since water in the rivers and the aquifer is only a small portion of the total water available there is a huge stress on harnessing water from rivers and other traditional sources.

General Jacob said now when several parts of the country had drought-like conditions, sometimes even in the rain fed areas, the importance of water resource management can be easily gauged. “Cherrapunji has water scarcity for nine months in a year despite having 11,000 mm of annual rainfall. If we do not harvest the rainwater, there will never be enough water”, he said.

The Governor said, there was no reason why the country should suffer drought conditions. Several water-harvesting technologies are now available for use in rural and urban areas. These include technologies for harnessing rainwater, recharging groundwater, cleaning surface water and recycling water. The country has been continuously encouraging exploitation of groundwater but has done little to recharge it. As a result, groundwater table is falling all over the country, he said.

He said urban areas faced peculiar water problems. Urban waste polluted rivers and the aquifer. Rains leave the cities waterlogged. As the natural drainage channels get clogged and the urban catchment degrades, urban tanks and lakes tend to dry up. As a result, urban populations have to deal with water scarcity on one hand and flooded streets on the other, said the Administrator.

Earlier, the Governor released a publication by the CSE titled ‘Making Water Everybody’s Business’. On the occasion, Mr Eklavya Singh of CSE gave a resume of the activities of the organisation.


Pangolin found in Naya Gaon
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 24
A male pangolin was found in Govind Nagar Colony in Naya Gaon village in Ropar district, about 10 km from here, this morning.

The scaly ant-eater was noticed by the family members of Mr Naresh Kumar in a water tank in their courtyard at about 7 am. Considering it to be something unique, his wife raised an alarm and children of the neighbouring houses gathered at the spot.

They rescued the animal from the water tank and kept it in the open. The children raised a alarm saying that they had found a small animal resembling a dinosaur. The shy animal then raised its head and crept to the adjacent bushes and disappeared.

A search operation under the leadership of Mr Khushpal Singh Sandhu was launched. Finally, Muhammad Subhan, a 12-year-old-boy, succeeded in locating the animal, which had bundled his body under thick shrubs, after two-and-a-half hours.

‘‘As we had seen the pictures of a pangolin in Chandigarh Tribune over one month back, we were able to identify the animal,’’ Subhan added. The animal was captured by putting a jute bag over it and then kept in plastic basket in the courtyard of Mr Sandhu’s house. In the process, the animal sustained minor injuries in its paw.

A number of colony residents thronged the house where the ‘‘shy ant-eater’’ was kept. The Punjab wildlife authorities were informed and the male pangolin was taken to the Chhat Bir Zoo.

The presence of the animal further put a question mark over the competence of the zoo authorities to keep the creature there. The zoo had also received two female pangolins in the past two months and had failed to keep them for public view. The authorities had also constructed a special enclosure for the ant-eaters. One of the animals had died in a earth-digging operation while the second was sent to Nandankanan Zoo in Orissa on the directions of the Central Zoo authorities.

Mr K.R. Luna, Zoo Director, when contacted, said the injured animal had been kept in the zoo hospital. ‘‘Earlier, we were not aware of the food habits of a pangolin. Now our employees have got a diet chart and learnt to feed the ant-eater. They learnt at the Nandankanan Zoo. We will try our best possible for the survival of the animal and hope for its female partner soon,’’ he said. 


Kebabs cooked on stone

Harvinder Khetal

CHANDIGARH: In this age of modern cookers and microwave ovens, cooking on stone and firewood brings with it an element of surprise and curiosity. Khyber Restaurant in Sector 35, here, takes us back to the ‘stone age’ and ‘wood age’ with its new kebabs.

Before explaining the kebabs, let me tell you about this ‘new’ old method of cooking. Revising the legacy, Khyber unfolds a culinary mystique that breathes magic and mesmerises the senses. Mr Sanjiv Verma, proprietor, says that he found Askali, the cooking stone with great difficulty at one of the few shops that still market it in Shimla. This specially crafted round stone has about 25 concave-shaped depressions on its flat surface. It takes nearly 20 minutes to heat it enough for cooking. Of course, they use the modern gas to heat it, unlike wooden logs used a long time ago from Iran and Afghanistan to Lucknow. Then some oil is poured into the Askali and on it are placed the mushrooms or mutton keema kebabs marinated in special herbs and spices, covered with an earthen lid  kept on a low fire and it is ready in minutes.

The kebabs are presented on the table sizzling hot in the Askali itself which is placed on a wooden platter. And Mr Verma has an interesting offer: you can ask for the cooking to be done on your table itself! The marinated stuff will be placed on the hot stone in front of you before you pick it with the fork and savour it. You also have the choice of ordering only mushroom kebabs (Rs 100) or have some of the 25 depressions filled with mushrooms and the others with mutton (Rs 120).

While the kebabs are roasting and your appetite is building up, you get a chance to relish another fascinating aspect of this eatery — its magician. Sporting the trademark hat and armed with a few coins and a handkerchief, Pradeep goes from table to table entertaining the guests with his bag of tricks. He makes a coin disappear or multiply it or produces a handkerchief from thin air.

In the ‘wood age’ category are chicken keema kebab (Rs 100), chicken cheese kebab (Rs 90) and fish kebab (Rs 75). These dishes come piping hot to you on wood logs, crackling with burning ends. Yes, beware of touching it, and keep an eye on the kids.

Kids remind one of another thing: this restaurant is one of the few in the city that have spared a thought for tiny tots. It provides chairs that can be hooked on to the table for infants. This serves a double purpose. One, the child is bound to the place and cannot crawl around. Two, he can have a good view of the table as well as the room. Then there are big cushions for toddlers. Kept on the chair, the cushions increase its height and the child can eat with ease.

Also, don’t forget. With these kebabs, comes a complimentary Mirinda apple flavour.


Fervour marks Jain festival
Shashi Pal Jain

KHARAR: Mahaparv Sambatshri, an important festival of the Jain Community, was celebrated with enthusiasm here in the Jain Sthanak. A function was organised to mark the occasion in which a cultural programme based on the principles of Jainism was presented.

Women saints, Kamlesh Ji Maharaj, Chandna Ji Maharaj and Shereshta Ji Maharaj appealed to the people to follow the path shown by Lord Mahavira.

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Some residents of Kharar have sent a complaint to the Subdivisional Magistrate of Kharar about the enhancement of cable fee by the cable operators of Kharar. They have complained that the cable operators were exploiting the public by arbitrarily enhancing the fee time and again. They have requested the SDM to intervene and ask the cable operators to maintain the status quo as regards the monthly fee.

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Mrs G.K. Bedi, District Chairman 308, Inner Wheel Club, paid an official visit to Kharar on August 21. Mrs Babli Dhiman, President and other members of Inner Wheel Club, Kharar, welcomed her and apprised her of the activities of the club. Mrs Bedi praised the efforts of this club and said that the Kharar Club was considered one of the best clubs of the district. She asked members to create awareness among the masses about AIDS and other diseases.

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The Rotary Club of Kharar, in association with State Bank of Patiala, organised a Hepatitis-B camp in Bajheri village on August 19. According to Mr Kirpal Singh Saini, Project Chairman of the club, 295 persons were vaccinated against Hepatitis-B on subsidised rates.

The next dose will be given on September 28. Members of the Naujwan Sudhar Sabha of Bajheri took active part in organising the camp.



Green belt thrown open to public
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
A green belt in sector 30-A and B was opened to the public today following formal inauguration by the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd). The green belt, which had been recently developed by the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, fulfills a long-pending demand of the residents.

The green belt, developed at the cost of Rs.10.85 lakh and spread over an area of 5.5 acres, is provided with railings, pedestrian walkways, garden lights, parking space and boundary wall. Its whole area has been turfed with grass. Various shade-giving and ornamental trees like palms have been planted. Flowering shrubs like Chandni, Cassia Biflora and Hibiscus also add colour to the environment of the belt. Besides thatched huts and benches, seasonal flowers have also been planted in its flower belt.

General Jacob was impressed by the newly developed green belt. He asked the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjeet Singh to plant more shady trees having broad leafs. He also said that number of benches for the public should be increased in the green belt. Going through the posters of various parks developed by MCC, General Jacob observed that slides provided for children in various parks have a faulty design and may injure the children. General Jacob asked the Chief Engineer to modify the design of slides to make it safer for the children.

General Jacob also met various gardeners who worked day and night to develop this green belt. He appreciated their efforts and honoured two employees including the supervisor, Kamal Tara, and gardener-cum-chowkidaar, Naib Singh, on this occasion also. Tara said that he was happy that their efforts yielded the desired results.

Area councillor Gian Chand Gupta, who has spent Rs 14.50 lakh from the councillors’ ward development fund and another Rs 8 lakh on boring a tubewell to develop the green belt expressed his gratitude to the officials of the Engineering wing as the task was by no means an easy one.

Even the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, disclosed that since the said piece of land was alkaline, it was subjected to the required treatment for six months before the work was undertaken. The work has been completed in about a year-and-a-half’s time.

Mr M.P. Singh, Commissioner, Municipal Commissioner, informed the Administrator that in the year 1997 MCC had developed Shanti Kunj Garden, Sector 16, followed by the Fragrance Garden in 1998. Subsequently, in 1999, the green belts of Sector 20 A and B and 15 C and D were also dedicated to the public. Last year the garden of annuals, Sector 44, was developed and in February. The same was opened for the public. Leave alone the development of the major gardens and green belts, in various sectors, the MCC has so far developed over 400 small and big parks. These parks were also provided with railings, playing equipment for children and various ornamental and shady trees, shrubs, besides seasonal flowers. He said that it was a part of MCC’s policy to develop and dedicate to the public atleast one garden and green belt to the general public.

The Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, received the Administrator on his arrival. After unveiling the plaque, General Jacob planted a sapling and took a round of the green belt. Later, the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, accompanied by the Mayor and Commissioner planted saplings in an extension of this green belt across the V-5 road.

Officials maintain that development of the green belt and plantation was in line with greening action plan, 2001, launched by the Administration recently. The Mc is planting 18,245 saplings this year, though the number is likely to exceed the target. Besides this, during the last four years about 40,000 saplings have been planted in the city.

Among others who were present were Assistant Commissioners, Mr Ashok Vashisht and Mr Ashwani Kumar and SE (B and R), Mr I.S. Sokhey; SE (Public Health), Mr Swaran Singh, a few councillors and other MC officers. 


Police, immigration consultants meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The city police today called a meeting of various immigration consultants, operating in the city to redress their complaints and have an interactive session with them.

According to a press note release, the meeting was chaired by the Superintendent of Police (Operations), Mr. H.G.S. Dhaliwal. The DSP, Special Cell, Mr B.D. Bector, and Mr Kultar Singh, Inspector of the wing, were present on the occasion. About 14 immigration consultants attended the meeting.

The immigration consultants said a number of people were making false complaints against them. They also highlighted the constraints imposed by the Immigration Act.

Meanwhile the consultants were asked to ensure that the persons, whose passports, were being processed, were physically present in their office so that no one could submit fake credentials on their behalf. They were also warned to deposit proper documents of the clients in the requisite time or they would be booked for criminal breach of trust.

Mr Dhaliwal also asked the consultants not to process passports on a new name after a visa on an earlier passport had been rejected. He said strict action would be taken against those consultants who were found indulging in these practices. The consultants were also asked to keep proper records of all cases.


Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in Sec 55 launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Chandigarh Police’s ambitious Neighbourhood Watch Scheme was today launched in the MIG Housing Board flats in Sector 55 by the UT Inspector-General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi.

The scheme has been launched in association with the Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 55. The scheme will cover the geographical area of this Sector for about 504 private houses. Those residing here will be the members of the scheme aimed at enhancing the safety and security of the area by improving the police-community interface.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bassi said community policing had to take the centrestage to curb the growing crime rate. He said seeing the overwhelming response to the scheme by the various residents’ welfare associations, the police had decided to extend the scheme in as many sectors of the city as possible.

He said the beat system of the police had been appreciated by the city residents. More than 140 beats were set up in the city, he added.

Later, the residents urged upon the IG to set up a beat box in the area. They also requested him to set up traffic blinkers at the accident spots in the area.

It may be noted that this is the sixth sector in the city where the scheme has been launched. The scheme, a brainchild of the IG, Mr Bassi, was first launched in Sector 38 West in January this year. Subsequently, the scheme was also launched in Sector 15, Sector 19-D , MIG flats in Sector 61 and Sector 46-D.


Dalam advocates need to educate women
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 24
Tracing the history of mediaeval Indian society, in which where women used to enjoy equal social status with men, the Information and Public Relations Minister, Mr Natha Singh Dalam emphasised the need for educating women. He was speaking at a cultural programme “Shakti” at B.Ed College in Sector 20 here today.

During the programme, which was organised by the Own Fantasy Own Art in collaboration with the Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Department here to mark the year of women empowerment, Mr Dalam also urged women to raise their voice against female foeticide.

He also highlighted various aspects of “Kanya Jagriti Scheme”, for which the government had earmarked Rs 9 crore this year for general uplift of women. The scheme targeted 18,000 beneficiaries in the current financial year, he said.

The city Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, who was the special guest on the occasion, urged women to fight for true empowerment, which could come only through education and economic independence. She also urged women to retain the spiritual beauty, which was the essence of womanhood.

Prof Vikram Kumar Diwedi, Head of the Sanskrit Department, Punjabi University, spoke on women empowerment in the context of the Vedic society. Ms Anshu Singla from the Law Department of Punjabi University stressed the need to struggle for equal rights without the women giving up their dignity.

The cultural programme included a kavi darbar, with various poets of the city reciting their compositions. Arun Aditya described the plight of a woman who undergoes physical exploitation due to poverty in this composition “Ramkalia.”

He also described the pain and fear a mother went through which was forced to live separately during the period of militancy. A few others, including Sandhya Rai Choudhuri, also recited their compositions, which were based on the theme of women exploitation.

The programme concluded with the beautiful Sufiana kalaam rendered by singer duo Nanak Ali and Manak Ali. Earlier the programme was inaugurated with the Principal of the college, Ms Surinder Tingari, Mr Natha Singh Dalam and Ms Harjinder Kaur lighting the traditional lamp. 


Today’s woman is career conscious: SP
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 24
“Technical know-how, healthy reading habits and good communication skills are the key to success in any field you wish to enter”, said Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, SP, Chandigarh police, at a discussion on career counselling attended by 120 students of class XI and XII at DAV Model School, Sector 15 here today.

“If you are fortunate enough to enter the profession of your choice, you are able to give your best. But if you are forced into a profession you are not inclined towards, your performance will not be upto the mark”, added Mr Dhaliwal.

He said today’s women were assertive and career conscious. Counselling for girls should begin in the early years, he added.

Students were quite inquisitive during the discussion. Most of the queries pertained to career options available to students. Majority of them wanted to know the secret of how to enter the civil services. The desire to enter the civil services and to lead an authoritative life was expressed by many students.

Mr Dhaliwal gave prompt replies to questions put up by the students. He apprised the students of various professions, including those in the private as well as government sectors. He mainly stressed on hard work and sincerity towards one’s profession as well as studies.

Appreciating the efforts of schools, Mr Dhaliwal said ,“The schools are simultaneously striving hard for the routine syllabus as well as preparing the students for competitive examinations”. Students should focus on their goal and put efforts to get through professional courses from the very beginning, he added. He stressed on inculcating the habit of reading newspapers and competitive magazines.

The Principal of the school, Ms Rakesh Sachdeva, proposed the vote of thanks. 


Reduction in compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Members of the Paramilitary Forces Retired Officers Association have condemned the decision of the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Governments to reduce compensation to next of kin of soldiers killed on duty. They have also condemned the decision of the Haryana government to keep personnel of paramilitary forces out of the purview of such compensation.

The compensation has been reduced from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh.

In a meeting held here, members of the association said there was an urgent need to have a permanent national policy for martyrs and disabled soldiers, including paramilitary personnel. They added that if the Central Government did not make an announcement in this regard by October 21, members would observe a fast.

Pointing out that the number of paramilitary personnel who had sacrificed their lives in the past five years was five times more than the number of defence forces casualties, members also demanded that the Central Government should issue firm instructions to all states, public sector undertakings and other institutions concerned to offer uniform treatment to all martyrs, disabled soldiers and gallantry award winners of all security forces.


4 booked for tampering with MC records
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 24
Following the directions of a Rajpura court, the Dera Bassi police has booked four employees, including the Executive Officer and a former vice-president of the local Municipal Council, for tampering with the records of the civic body.

On a writ petition filed by Mr Chander Kumar Gandhi, a resident of Mohalla Chaudhriyan, a Rajpura court has directed the Dera Bassi police to register a case against Executive Officer, two other employees and a former vice-president of the local civic body.

The complainant had sought the registration of a case against the accused for tampering the records of his house with the civic body.

The police has registered a case under Sections 465, 466, 467, 468, 471, 192 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code against Jai Kishan Sharma, Executive Officer, Mohan Pal Singh, clerk, Amarjeet Singh, house tax clerk and Brajesh Gandhi, a former vice-president, of the Municipal Council.

Directing the SHO of Dera Bassi police station, Mr N.K. Gaur, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) of Rajpura court, had said a case should be registered against the accused after proper investigations by the investigating agency. The magistrate had further directed to the SHO to record the statement of the complainant to register a case and then start inquiring into the matter.

In his complaint, Mr Chander Gandhi, had alleged that the accused had changed the number of rooms in the records of his house from four to three and had increased the number of rooms in the records of Mr Kanti Lal’s house from two to three, with whom he had some litigation pending in the court. He had complained that the employees of the civic body had tampered the records in connivance with Mr Kanti Lal with an intention to hurt him.


Saini sammelan on Sept 1
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Mr Jaswant Singh Thekedar, convener, Saini Sammelan, Saini Samaj, Banur area in a press note here today said that it was strange that of the total 117 Punjab Assembly seats, fate of 20 to 25 seats were decided by Saini votes but still not more than four or five tickets given to the community. And even elected MLAs from the community were given only ‘less important’ portfolios though they were second to none in educational ability, honesty and other aspects. To deliberate this “injustice” a big sammelan of the community will be organised on September 1 at 9.30 a.m. at Zirakpur.

The sammelan will deliberate on which political party to back for maximum political leverage.


Five held for immoral conduct
Our Correspondent

Lalru, August 24
Five persons, including a woman, who were found in a compromising position in a farm near Handesra village on Thursday have been arrested by the police.

According to the police, Maan Singh, Niab Singh, Khushwant Singh, Chaitanya and the girl were arrested from the farm on a tip-off. The accused were arrested under Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused Maan Singh, Niab Singh, have been identified as residents of Ambala and Panjola while Khushwant Singh and Chaitanya both belong to Tasalpur. Hailing from Kolkata, the girl was new to Ambala and was solicited by the accused.

The four accused have been released on bail. While the girl is still in police custody and has been sent to Patiala jail as no-one came forward to furnish her bail.

Eve-teasing case
Five youths of the town have been booked for teasing a girl while she was on her way back to home after school. The three have been identified as Neeraj, Annu and Mannu, while two others have still to be identified. They have been booked on the complaint of the girl. No arrest has been made so far.


Case filed
A relative of the Congress MP from Faridkot, Mr Jagmeet Brar, has filed a case against his landlord in Sector 8 for allegedly throwing him out of the house.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 118, 380 and 34 of the IPC, Mr Sarwan Singh Mann alleged that his landlords, Mr Surinderjit Singh and Ms Rajwinder Kaur, threw his belongings in the courtyard. Both the accused have been arrested.

Theft cases
A Hero Honda motor cycle (HR-20-C-7408) was stolen from near the Bank of Baroda in Sector 17. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

In another case, Jaswant Singh was caught red- handed while stealing a bicycle from Subhash Nagar in Mani Majra. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.

Houses burgled
Gold jewellery and cash were stolen from two adjacent houses in Sector 18-C. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Three booked
Three persons, Rachhpal Singh, Surinder Singh and Jaspal Singh, residents of Ram Darbar were arrested on charges of eve-teasing late last night. They have been booked under Section 294 of the IPC.



Aptech to sponsor computer contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Aptech Computer Education, India’s largest network of computer training institutes, has signed up as a sponsor for Microsoft’s NET Campus Challenge.

The contest, targeted at engineering colleges and Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centres (CTECs) across the country, will require participants to build business applications using XML web services. The winner of the contest will represent India in the Asia Pacific finals at Seoul on October 17.

Mr Bill Gates, Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation, will present award to the winner of the Asia-Pacific contest.

A ally of the revolutionary Net platform, Aptech plans to popularise the same through its 2,350 strong network of training institutes across the world. “Aptech will in partnership with Microsoft’s NET Campus Challenge Contest promote the NET technology in the country through Aptech’s large network of centres. It has always been our endeavour to offer our students the latest in cutting edge technologies and expertise of the alliance partners globally,” said Mr Pramod Khera, CEO, Training and Education Business, Aptech Limited.

Elaborating on the Net launch, Mr Rajiv Kaul, Managing Director Microsoft Corporation India, said, “The NET Campus Challenge is a unique programme for students and developers across India to create valuable intellectual property which will be a great business opportunity. Through the NET Campus Challenge, we are striving to provide a common platform for the corporate and the government sector to work closely with the academic community in order to create future ready solutions, today.”

The contest is split into three stages:

Round I- Quiz: This will be administered completely on-line. The teams will need a password ID to enter the quiz. The quiz will consist of 20 questions to be answered in 30 minutes. Around 100 teams will be short listed at this stage. Each team will consist of 2 students, a faculty member and a corporate sponsor.

Round II: Design prototyping: The design prototype which will include a flow diagram, brief description, screen layouts etc., will be uploaded on a secured website. Eight zonal winners will be selected at this stage.

Round III: Build solutions: The eight zonal winners will prepare the final solution/application using NET technologies/framework. A winner will be selected at this stage who will represent India at the APAC finals.


‘Super Bazar officials flouting norms’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The local unit of the Janata Dal (United) today demanded a judicial probe into the Super Bazar affair alleging that the cooperative society was being run by corrupt persons in gross violation of norms.

‘’A liquidator was appointed violating the 1961 Punjab Cooperative Act and more than 200 employees were shunted out. Six employees were employed ignoring the sacked employees and even those who have been employed are not protected under the labour laws,’’ the local unit president of the party Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, told a press conference here today.

He said the liquidator had appointed those persons against whom strictures have been passed by the High Court, CBI and the UT Vigilance wing.


Punwire staff end fast
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 24
A four-day hunger strike by the Punwire Employees Union at the Balongi Rotary ended here today. The employees said the agitation would continue till they were paid their dues and the company was revived.

Mr Saheed Ahmed, president of the union, said a convention of different political, religious and social parties would be organised by the union.

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