Friday, August 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



16-hr power cuts affect water supply and 30,000 villagers
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Garibdas, August 30
As many as 30,000 residents of 30 villages, getting power supply form the 66-KV substation in Mullanpur-Garibdas village, are facing unscheduled power cuts, which at times run over 15 hours at a stretch, for the past two months.

These power cuts affect the water supply and telephone exchange functioning.

According to sources in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), a large number of unauthorised connections in the villages, especially adjacent to Chandigarh, have increased the load and it has also become one of the causes behind the cuts.

However, the Executive Engineer concerned, Mr P S Bains, said that cuts were because of less supply in comparison to the demand and not because of kundi connections.

He claimed that his department kept a thorough check on the kundi connections.

PSEB officials admitted that six to eight-hour-long power cuts were being imposed in these villages.

However, the villagers claimed that at times, the cuts ran over 12 to 15 hours.

These unscheduled power cuts had incensed residents, who threatened to hold a dharna against the PSEB if the power scene was not improved.

The land on which the substation stands, claimed the residents of Mullanpur, was given free of cost to the PSEB in 1996 after the board promised 24-hour power supply to the village.

However, the six to eight hours power cut were being imposed in the village everyday for the past two months.

The village has a population of 15,000 and about 1,500 households have electricity meters. The villagers complained that for the last two months, the power supply remained suspended for more than six to eight hours daily.

According to Mr Arvind Puri, a resident of Mullanpur, ‘‘The cuts often go beyond 10 hours and as a result the village’s telephone exchange shuts down’’ and added, ‘‘Of course, the water supply is greatly affected because we villagers get water from tubewells’’.

The anger of the residents could be gauged from an incident few days ago, in Naya Gaon village, where over 500 residents of the village marched in a procession to the electricity complaint office located in the village.

However, the office was saved from the ‘wrath of the residents’ because the power supply was restored at the very moment the procession reached the complaint office.

Mr Balbir Singh, press secretary of the Ghar Bachao Committee, Naya Gaon, claimed, ‘‘The power cuts last at times 16 hours and this has been going on for past two months.’’ The chairman of the committee, Mr Surjit Singh, said that several representations to the authorities concerned had been made but to no avail.

The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had refused NOCs to those residential complexes which were constructed after December 9, 1998.

Owing to proximity to Chandigarh, hundreds of houses came up after the cut-off date but were denied electricity connections.

Most of these house owners, reportedly, were drawing power supply through kundi connections.

The Executive Engineer Mr Bains, however, assured that the power supply would be improved in the area in the next 15 days.


Removal of portraits sparks row
Political parties join hands against Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The removal of portraits of National heroes by the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, from her office, has sparked off a fierce controversy over the propriety of her action. Various political parties registered their protest today by criticising her action cutting across party lines.

The portraits of former national leaders — Dr B.R Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — were removed by Ms Harjinder Kaur yesterday as she was keen to replace them with those of her choice. However, it was vehemently opposed by the members of her own BJP-SAD alliance, Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP) and Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), who gheraoed the MC office and raised slogans against the Mayor for challenging the dignity of these national heroes.

However, realising the seriousness of the issue and after reading reports in various sections of the press, Ms Harjinder Kaur retraced her step and got the pictures of two these leaders, Dr Ambedkar and Sardar Patel put back in her office.

The removal of these pictures had virtually brought the political parties out on the roads today. Scores of BJP-SAD leaders who gathered in the MC office in the morning, along with the mahila wing workers, raised slogans and registered protest against the Mayor for removing these pictures and demanded that she should apologise to the public for doing so. While this was going on, BSP president Mata Ram Dhiman also reached there with over a dozen workers. The BJP SC morcha president, Mr Prabhu Dayal, was among the first to reach with his protesters. The agitation carried on for two and a half hours.

Speaking on the occasion, party president of the local unit of BJP, Mr Dharam pal Gupta, said that ever since she had taken over as the Mayor, she was jeopardising the communal harmony and creating gap among the people of the city. He also held the Administration responsible for all this since they had rejected the dissolution resolution passed by the BJP-SAD alliance by majority and held the elections of the Mayor.

A former Mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta and the leader of the BJP-SAD in the House, Mr Des Raj Tandon, also held Ms Harjinder Kaur responsible for vitiating the cordial atmosphere in the city. They claimed her conduct was shameful for she has ignored the importance of national leaders like Dr B.R Ambedkar who was the father of the Constitution and also championed the cause of the downtrodden, including women and Sardar Patel, who had consolidated the fragmented India into a unified country

Even the SAD president of the local unit , Mr G.S Riar, condemned the act of the rebel Akali mayor in removing the pictures of these national heroes and insisted that she ought to apologise to the public.

The BSP president, Principal Mata ram Dhiman, also criticised Ms Harjinder Kaur for removing the picture of Bharat Ratna Baba saheb Ambedkar from her office. Speaking on the occasion, he described her act to be an insult to the Constitution.

They had even threatened that if his photograph was not put back, they would not let the Mayor move out in the city. However, they were later satisfied when they saw that the picture had been put back.

A former mayor, Mr K.K Adiwal, in a letter, criticised her and demanded that the photographs be put back.

However, the Mayor, who retraced her step in the face of the opposition, clarified to the delegations that she did not mean any disgrace to the renowned national heroes.

The portraits had been removed only temporarily to make place for the pictures of president and her mentor, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and first Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru in between the other pictures. She also wanted to put motto "Truth is higher but still higher is truthful living"’.

However, as she has not put back the picture of Indira Gandhi, thereby provoking the Congress to insist for its installation. A delegation of Congress leaders, including the vice-president of CTCC, Mr Ram Pal Sharma, general secretary, Mr Sunil Parti, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala and Krishan raised slogans of ‘‘Indira Gandhi Amar rahe’’ and demanded that the picture be put back, failing which they may launch an agitation. Mr Parti said that a Bharat Ratna awardee former PM's picture should be put back instead of the state leaders.

Even the chairman of the Backward Classes cell of CTCC, Mr M.P Verma, criticised the step and urged the Congress to take back the support given to the Mayor keeping in view her misdeeds. The action was also condemned by the Block Congress Committee at a meeting held today under the presidentship of Mr Surinder Singh.

In a joint statement issued here today, Mr Satinder Singh and Mr Shakti Prakash Devshali, president and general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, said that by removing these pictures, she had challenged the dignity of these national heroes. They also held the Congress equally responsible for her misdeeds as their councillors had voted her to power. 


Admn sticks to its guns on school bus deadline
Tribune News Service

10 schools have so far sought 30 buses from Chandigarh Transport Undertaking to pick and drop children following an offer made by the Admn.

No strike announced till now, says Mr Manjit Singh, President of the Private School Bus Operators Association, which is demanding an extension in deadline from August 31.

Crucial meeting between bus operators, schools and Secretary State Transport Authority (STA) on Friday.

Admn says it cannot go against High Court decision as buses older than 15 years have to be phased out.

Parents may have tough time from September 1.

Chandigarh, August 30
The issue of phasing out 15-year-old school buses continues to be on the boil. Parents of children may be the worst sufferers as alternative modes of transport to ferry children to school are few and far between.

As confusion prevails, parents are making contingency arrangements like pooling cars or hiring rickshaws and autorickshaws. It maybe noted that several school buses may not ply as these will not be issued the mandatory permits under a new set of rules.

The Chandigarh Administration is sticking to its stand that the deadline of August 31 to phase out 15-year-old buses on school routes cannot be extended as it is a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Administration cannot go against the decision of the High Court, said the UT Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Transport, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral. If the bus operators are not satisfied with the decision it is for them to approach the Supreme Court, Mr Gujral added.

The president of the Independent Schools Association, Mr D.S. Bedi, says the offer made by the Administration asking schools to opt for the CTU buses is impractical as none knows who will be responsible for the security of children and who will be accountable.

On the other hand, the office of the Director Public Instructions (DPI) Schools, has received 10 requests from schools demanding a total of 30 buses from the CTU. The same has been forwarded to Director Transport. The CTU has made an initial offer to provide 40 buses extendable to 60. The number of private buses which are overage is about 50

Mr Bedi along with Mr Manjit Singh, president of the Private School Bus Operators Association, will meet Mr Chandersekhar, Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), tomorrow. ‘‘We will request the Administration that the bus operators be allowed some more time to replace the buses in a phased manner as replacing all buses in one go is not possible,’’ said Mr Bedi.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjit Singh was categorical in saying that so far the association had not announced any strike from September 1 as reported in some sections of the Press. The association only wants some more time to buy new buses and hopes for sympathetic view from the Administration. A meeting has also been fixed with the UT Administrator for September 4.

A view of the Administration is that the tourist bus operators who have contract carriage permits are ready to ply their buses on school routes on same rates so these could be used by schools. The Tourist Bus Operators Association had made its offer to the Administration yesterday.


Operators offer tourist buses for school kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Chandigarh Tourist Bus Operators Association yesterday demanded grant of state carriage permits to operate AC bus routes on reciprocal agreement with the state of Punjab and have also offered their services to the Chandigarh Administration for carrying school children.

A deputation of association met the UT Home Secretary-cum-Chairman of the State Transport Authority (STA), Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, regarding their long pending demands which include fixation of life span of contract carriage buses at 15 years as per judgement of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Where children play with ‘explosive toys’
Bipin Bhardwaj

Raipur Rani, August 30
Notwithstanding the claim of defence personnel of having cleared the area of explosives near the Bhoor firing range, from where over 775 misfired bombshells and mortars were found four months ago, children of the surrounding 10 villages still play with the ‘‘explosive toys’’.

Unaware of the danger, the vulnerable children of these villages could be seen carrying the bombshells on their shoulders from one place to another while playing in groups.

It was not only the kids but also their ignorant and illiterate parents who earlier used to collect such bombshells to extract brass and copper metals and sell them off. The practice has claimed over 55 lives and left many more handicapped in the last over 30 years.

Thought the Army claims to have cleared the areas of explosives, the villagers termed the search operation ‘half done’.

A survey of the areas revealed that a large number of misfired bombshells were still lying in and around the residential areas in different villages.

While talking to The Tribune team, Mrs Kali Devi, sarpanch of Mandlaya village, said that the Army and police had jointly conducted a search operation for over one month after some bombshells were found in this area in April.

The villagers were also advised not to tamper with the explosives but to inform the police.

“We are living in constant danger. I found two bombshells while ploughing my fields about five months ago. Later, these were handed over to Army personnel,” said Mr Om Prakash of Bhoor village.

Recalling the day when he lost his right foot in a bomb blast about 15 years ago, Mr Lakhbir Singh of Bhoorewala village said that the area might be having more of abandoned bombshells.

Mr Nasib Singh, sarpanch of Bhoor village, admitted that the poor villagers and migrant labourers often tamper with these bombshells to extract metal from them. They sell the iron and brass to scrap dealers to earn their livelihood.

It may be recalled that the Army authorities and the Panchkula police had found 780 such bombshells from the area and defused them. Bombshells were even found in the walls of mud-houses, fields and the river bed.

The defence forces had come into action after the death of Mr Abid Ali in April in old Panchkula. Following this incident the police had also conducted a survey in the villages and made the villagers aware of the risk involved.

When contacted Brigadier Rakesh Goel (Intelligence), Western Command, Chandi Mandir, said that areas had been searched with the help of metal detectors thoroughly. He said that search operations were carried out for over three weeks and several bombshells and mortars were defused.

He said that the villagers were not cooperating with the Army in detecting and recovering the bombshells.


US team highlights latest heart surgery methods
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Some of the latest techniques in heart surgery, including coronary, valve and thoracic aortic surgery, may soon become available at the newly established Fortis Heart Institute, thanks to its tie-up with one of the world’s leading health delivery systems — the US-based Partners Healthcare System Inc. (PHS).

This was stated here today by Dr Sary F. Aranki, Director of Clinical Research and Associate Professor of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

In an interview to TNS, Dr Aranki said that although Indian doctors were second to none in the world, their techniques were still relatively less advanced. For instance, the latest trend in heart surgery was the use of minimal invasive techniques. Even major operations like coronary bypass and replacement of a valve in the heart were done in such a way that the patient did not have to undergo major trauma.

A small incision in the chest or in the knee could be used to carry out these operations. But in India it would seem that doctors were still carrying on with the opening up of the chest or removing the whole vein in one of the legs to carry out these procedures. This required longer hospitalisation and caused great trauma to the patient.

On the other hand, the surgery techniques which he had pioneered in the USA required only small incisions. This in turn speeded up recovery, lessened the trauma and reduced pain.

Dr Aranki said that because of these techniques, coronary bypass had now become the most common surgery in the USA after caesarean section.

Dr Aranki is in town at the head of a six-member American cardiac team visiting the Fortis Heart Institute set up at SAS Nagar by the Ranbaxy group of companies. The focus of the team is to work with the doctors and nurses at the hospital to help it implement the standards of care being followed by US hospitals.

The PHS comprises the founding hospitals — Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital — leading teaching hospitals of the Harvard Medical School. It facilitates hospitals’ access to clinical protocols related to cardiac care, quality assurance, criteria for accreditation in accordance with US hospital standards, credentialing protocols for cardiac surgeon and cardiologists based on US teaching hospital standards, training material for staff and recommendations concerning critical medical equipment.

According to Dr Nagendra Swamy, Executive Director of the institute, the hospital, which has been offering only OPD facilities till now, will soon introduce 24-hour emergency services.


HC orders closing down of maize starch unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Dismissing two writ petitions filed by SAS Nagar-based Raja Ram Corn Products engaged in the manufacture of maize starch, Mr Justice V.K. Jhanji of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today upheld the orders passed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board on June 23, 1998, directing the petitioner and other authorities to close down the industrial unit and to disconnect electricity supply with immediate effect.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Jhanji observed in the open court that the order was not liable to be interfered with as the directions had not been proved erroneous or having been issued by the board without any basis. “There is no merit in both the writ petitions and the same are dismissed,” the judge concluded.

In his detailed order, the judge observed: “From reading a report, there is no doubt left in my mind that the effluent treatment plant set up by the industry is not designed to meet the BOD limit of 30 mg per litre”.

The judge added: “I am further of the view that the board had given a number of opportunities over a span of more than 10 years to the industry, but it failed to upgrade its treatment facility and to set up a proper and adequate effluent plant so as to bring the pollution within the limit prescribed by the board as per the law”.

The petitioner had earlier challenged the orders of November 23, 1994, passed by the board “whereby consent to discharge the effluent had been refused to the petitioner as it had failed to provide an adequate treatment plant”. The petitioner had also challenged another order of October 8, 1996, whereby its appeal against the orders refusing consent was dismissed by the appellant authority.

SAS NAGAR: People living in the north-west and southern sectors of this town have heaved a sigh of relief with the Punjab and Haryana High court ordering the closure of Raja Ram Corn Products, a unit manufacturing maize starch in the Industrial Area, Phase 6, here

The residents of the area, led by the local Consumer Protection Forum, had waged a long battle against the pollution-causing units in the town. Mr A.S. Bhatti, a member of the forum, said people living in Phases 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 were directly affected by the unpleasant odour from the unit.

In fact, consistent efforts by the residents had forced the Punjab Pollution Control Board to take strict measures against the polluting units. Citing examples of the Ranbaxy factory, they said the main units responsible for air pollution were Ranbaxy, Swani Rubbers and Raj Ram Corn Products. 


Income tax raids on VLCC centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The local branch of Vandana Luthra's Curves and Curls (VLCC), a slimming centre in Sector 8, was raided by officials of the Income Tax Department here today. According to departmental sources, the raid here was part of a series of nationwide raids on VLCC centres.

Sources have termed it as a "consequential raid", implying that the action had been initiated here on the request of another IT centre which had started investigating the firm for possible evasion of income tax.

Though the issue of search and seizure warrants as well as making requisite manpower available was the responsibility of the local investigation wing based in Panchkula, the documents seized will be scrutinised at Delhi where the case is being handled.


UT to have Addl DC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Chandigarh Administration will now have an Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), orders to this effect are to be issued in a day or two, well placed sources confirmed.

According to what has been approved by the Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), the seniormost official amongst the PCS and HCS cadre officials serving with the Chandigarh Administration is to be appointed Additional Deputy Commissioner. He will assist the Deputy Commissioner in his work and sit in the DC office in Sector 17. The move has come about as the work pressure of the DC has risen manifold due to various schemes.

At present the seniormost official is Mr Gurmel Singh, who is presently posted as Controller, Printing and Stationery. A couple of years ago he was posted as Under Secretary, Home.

The earlier idea to appoint an IAS officer as ADC was dropped as it would have required permission from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, sources said.



Burail jail under threat from mushrooming colonies
Kiran Deep

As per the Jail manual jail officials shall frequently visit and inspect every barrack, yard, cell, workshop, and latrine, as well as armoury lines and other parts of the jail and its precincts and all premises belonging or attached to, or connected therewith the jail, and shall satisfy themselves that all buildings, structures, enclosing walls and like, were secure and were maintained in the best possible state of repairs as well as every part of the jail precincts.

Chandigarh, August 30
The security system of the Burail jail is under threat with unauthorised colonies mushrooming around it. Branches of trees around the jail hang inside its walls and a gas agency store is also in the vicinity of the jail in contradiction to the Jail Manual. The inmates are also facing danger as there is no fire fighting system in the jail.

At present more then 400 prisoners are lodged in the jail and about 300 security personnel and their families are residing in the jail campus.

An investigation by Chandigarh Tribune revealed that the Administration had failed to stop the unwanted growth of the number of unauthorised houses in Colony number 5 just adjacent to the jail boundary. There were also three gas agencies close to the jail boundaries — the two agencies in front of the jail boundary wall and one on the left side of the boundary wall. Trees planted around the boundary wall for safety measures had also become a cause of threat as many of its branches hung inside the jail premises.

There were no fire extinguishers, sand buckets or water hydrant system or any other fire fighting gadgets outside and inside the jail boundary and even in the makeshift trial court specially meant of Beant Singh trial. Lives of visitors, prisoners, security personnel, judicial officers and lawyers visiting the jail were at risk.

As per the jail rules, officials should themselves review that proper precautions were taken inside the jail to guard against fire. With this objectives they should draw up a set of rules for the guidance of jail officers in such cases and a copy of the rules should be pasted on the jail gates or some other equally conspicuous place.

The rules should provide a signal to notify the outbreak of fire, setting up of fire points with fire-fighting equipment placed at various strategic places, a fire-fighting staff organised from the members of the jail staff, who should be put through a fire alarm drill once a month and be trained in scaling ladders and other duties they may be called on the perform in case of a fire.

Sources said that none of the official visitors and non-official visitors appointed for the jail inspection had taken note of this problem yet. And due to this negligence a number of people were under threat.

The sources added that when the jail was built there was no house near the jail but now the jail seemed to be a part of the colony. The authorities concerned were not available for comment when contacted.


Police remand in Gill murder case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 30
Mr Roshan Lal Chauhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Pawan Kumar, brother-in-law of Satwant Singh Gill, owner of Gill Estate, who was murdered in Naya Gram village recently, in police remand till August 31.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, Assistant Public Prosecuter, who appeared in court on behalf of the State, pleaded for police remand as the accused has been arrested by the SAS Nagar police today in connection with two cases under Sections 420/406 IPC. He alleged that the accused had committed a fraud with the complainant as he used to accept money from people and later on returned them four times the amount which was not returned. He said that the police had already recovered an amount of Rs 2.25 lakh from him and more money was yet to be recovered and information about his co-accused was yet to be collected.

The defence counsel, on the other hand, opposed the police remand and said that the accused was allegedly taken into custody by the police on August 18 and was interrogated, and the police wanted to implicate him in the murder case of Satwant Singh Gill. He pleaded that when the police could not implicate him in the murder case, two FIRs were registered on August 21 and August 25, and he has been falsely implicated in these cases.


Where cops overlook violations
Tribune News Service

Overspeeding underage driving and triple riding on two-wheelers by students make the small rotary of Sector 23 one of the most accident-prone spots of Chandigarh.

The traffic police has no record of any accident at this junction. However, the residents of Sector 16 and 23 maintain that a couple of minor accidents take place here every day, particularly in the morning and afternoon hours when students from the neighbouring schools are on the road.

With traffic police not always present outside the schools in this part of the city, underage driving and driving without and helmet are common.

Though the traffic authorities maintain that there is heavy deployment of traffic police near the schools at opening and closing time, yet this has apparently failed to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations. At this crossing where the presence of policemen is scarce, rules and regulations are flouted with impunity.

A resident of the area, Mr A.P. Sharma, said: “With no visible check on the students of schools in Sector 16 and Sector 23, they are seen rushing at breakneck speed and thus accidents take place. Recently, a student escaped with minor bruises when his scooter skidded at this junction”.

It is alleged that cars with black films, two wheeler drivers without helmets, drivers taking wrong turns, cars with red lights driven by wards, drunken driving, using cell phones and smoking while driving, rarely catch the attention of policemen at this junction. Other than the time when a special drive is launched, hardly any violators are challaned here, though there is large-scale violation of rules.

Wrong entry near the General Hospital in Sector 16 is hardly ever checked and this too has become an accident prone spot.


Panel constituted to formulate youth policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
With a view to formulating a youth policy for Chandigarh, the Chairman of the District Advisory Committee on Youth Programme (DACYP), Mr M Ramsekhar, today announced a district-level selection committee for the purpose of selection of National Service Volunteers.

Youth awards has been constituted for granting assistance to various youth clubs.

The chairman stated that the committee would help in channelising the energy of youth for constructive purposes by involving them in various social, economic and developmental programmes. It would also help in implementation of various plans and programmes formulated for the youth and would help and guide them in promoting effective youth movement, besides coordinating the activities of other governmental and non-governmental agencies in this regard. The committee would also evaluate the work of Nehru Yuva Kendras and would suggest improvements in its working.

giving details, Mr M. Ramsekhar said, that the other official members of the DACYP would be SDM (E), Chief Medical Officer, GM-DIC, District Social Welfare Officer/Research Officer, lead Bank Officer, Public Relations Officer, DSO, Field Publicity Officer, DFP Chandigarh, NSS Programme Officer and the BDPO. The District Youth Coordinator, Nehru Yuva Kendra, Chandigarh would act as its member-secretary.

The committee would also have eight other non-official members which include Mr Pramod Sharma, Mr H.S. Lucky, advocate, Dr Sneh Sharma, Hindi lecturer in Government College, Sector 46, Mr Davesh Moudgil, Panjab University student, Ms Manjeet Kaur, advocate advisor, Youth Club Burail, Ms Gur Kiran Kaur, National Service Volunteer, Ms Bhupinder Kaur, village Sarpanch, Sarangpur and Mr Taran Deep Singh, member Panchayat Khuda Jassu UT., Chandigarh, added Mr M. Ramsekhar.

The district-level selection committee for granting assistance to youth clubs has been constituted with Deputy Commissioner as Chairperson, Dr C.L. Narang, Programme Coordinator, Panjab University, Chandigarh, member, District Social Welfare Officer, member, Mr Onkar Chand, secretary, SOPS, member and Mr G.S. Bajwa, District Youth Coordinator as member secretary. The duration of the committee would be for three years and it would meet every quarter.


CITCO organises road shows to promote tourism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) held a series of road shows in Delhi, Kolkata and Jodhpur recently, as part of an endeavour to promote Chandigarh as an ideal place to host conventions and a gateway to North India.

In Jodhpur, the roadshow coincided with the IATO convention. Since tour operators from all over the country were converging at one point, this forum was considered most appropriate to talk about the city.

Ms Beena Kak, Minister of Tourism, Rajasthan, on visiting the Chandigarh road show said she would like to visit Chandigarh, which she has not visited so far. Even Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar, Jodhpur, was impressed with the show and wrote down, “Looking forward to my next trip to Chandigarh.”

During the IATO sessions, discussions were held to promote domestic tourism. The figures showed the maximum number of domestic tourists from West Bengal during the last year. To tap this enormous flow of tourists from West Bengal, CITCO had organised another successful road show in Kolkata on August 25, which coincided with Travel and Tourism fair held at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata. Apart from all this, discussions were held to improve traffic between states, as the significance of domestic tourism was realised alongwith the global tourism.

Travel agents were given information about the infrastructure available in the city along with the brochures and tariff cards. These brochures, picture post cards, guide maps and CD’s of a 15-minute film on Chandigarh were got prepared by CITCO highlighting major attractions of the city and were distributed free of cost. The response to these road shows was tremendous from tour operators, travel agents and general public. 



Cablemen using power poles in SAS Nagar too
Tribune News service

SAS Nagar, August 30
Lives of residents in the town are at risk, thanks to the unchecked use of electricity poles by cable operators. The consequences of the irregularity was highlighted recently when an Executive Engineer in Chandigarh had died when a cable wire had come in contact with a live electricity wire.

But the local authorities, be the local civic body or the Punjab State Electricity Board, appear to be least concerned. Not only the electricity poles, the poles of the Telecom Department were also used by cable operators.

A random survey of the town revealed that barring certain areas where the cable operators had put up independent poles, the electricity poles looked like cobwebs. The power supply to the amplifiers used by cable operators to boost the signals was also being drawn from power lines.

Inquires reveal that though the electricity board had framed certain guidelines but they were yet to be implemented. Similarly, the local civic body has been making claims for the past few months to check the misuse of streetlight poles by cable operators but nothing had been done so far.

Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the municipal council, had stated in May last that council was planning to impose certain amount of fee on the cable operators to allow erection of poles to carry the cables and the cables will be removed from the streetlight poles. But three months have passed and no action had been taken by the civic body. The president said we had asked the cable operators to come and discuss the issue with us. But no one came. A civic body official opined that a fee on the pattern of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation should be imposed.

Few months back the Subdivisional Magistrate had conducted raids on the premises of the cable operators who were evading fee to be paid to the Post and Telepgraph Department.

As per the provisions of the law, initial registration fee was Rs 2,500. In case of SAS Nagar, the requisite licence was issued by the General Post Office at Ropar. The cable operators had to pay an annual fee for using the government land for laying the transmission cables. However, most the cable operators use the streetlights poles and do not pay the required fee.

In the town, there were three major cable operators who had further sublet their facility. Another four Chandigarh-based cable operators, including one owned by a national-level satellite channel, were transmitting their programmee by subletting the lines. Around 15,000 subscribers were spread throughout the town.

Col S.S. Chahal, owner of the Mohali Satellite Communications, said cable operators were erecting independent poles to carry the cable wires.



148 ITBP constables pass out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
As many as 148 recruits were absorbed as constables into the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force at an impressive passing-out parade and attestation ceremony on the culmination of the 52-week basic training course at the ITBP Basic Training Centre (BTC) at Bhanu near here today.

The passing out constables included general cadre constables as well as tradesmen from the 131st batch.

The Director-General, Bureau of Police Research and Development, Mr V.N. Singh, reviewed the parade and took the salute. Addressing the recruits he exhorted them to prove themselves worthy of the force and keep up the traditions of the ITBP. He also gave away prizes to recruits for outstanding performance in various disciplines during the training period.

The Additional DIG, BTC, Mr S.C. Nayar, highlighted the training aspects at the centre. A colourful ribbon PT and judo demonstration were also presented by trainees at the BTC.

Those who were adjudged best in various disciplines during the course of the training are:

Overall best cadet : Sher Chand (BTC).

Firing : Praveen Kumar (19th Bn).

Weapon Training : Shabudin (11th Bn).

PT : Sunil Kumar (4th Bn).

Drill : Sunil Kumar (4th Bn).



MC men in counter blame game
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 30
The decision to initiate action against a councillor of the opposition, Mr Manjeet Sethi, for his alleged misbehaviour with the head of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, at Tuesday’s general house meeting is all set to lead to a showdown between the ruling party and the opposition. The two men had stopped just short of manhandling each other during a heated argument at the meeting.

Councillors of the Opposition met the Local Government Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, here yesterday and demanded an action against the civic body chief for his alleged misbehaviour with some women councillors. Ms Harbans Kaur and Ms Manmohan Kaur told the minister that Mr Kulwant had misbehaved with them at the June and August meetings of the House.

The minister is reported to have asked the Secretary of the Local Government Department to conduct an inquiry into the allegations. The councillors alleged that the civic body chief had been bullying everyone at the general house meetings.

On the other hand, councillors of the ruling party have already decided to write to the Director of the Local Government Department to initiate action against Mr Sethi for his alleged misbehaviour.



Welfare society chief flays MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Mr Mehar Singh, president of the Social Welfare Society, yesterday criticised the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation for its alleged failure to provide even the basic essential services to its residents.

Talking to newspersons, he said not a single day passed without an electricity supply breakdown in one part of Sector 32 or the other.

The worst affected was Sector 32-D. This caused inconvenience to the residents of this locality. When the harassed residents approached the electrical staff, the staff not only failed to attend to the complaints but also behaved rudely with them, he alleged.

Besides internal roads in this sector were also in a deplorable condition. The roads were full of deep potholes and at some places, these were as wide as the roads.

He wanted the corporation to pay immediate attention to these problems.



Samata Party to contest all MC seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The local unit of the Samata Party will contest elections on all wards of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), elections to which will be held later this year.

Announcing this here today, the president, Mr Hem Raj, said the party would also actively support the agitation of the CHB Residents Federation for more concessions to the flat residents. He claimed that Mr Ajay Kumar, Mr Varinder Gupta, Mr Suman Kumar Singh, Mr Amrit Pal, Mr Raju Dass and Ms Renu Kumari, all members of the Lok Jan Shakti, had joined the party.


ADA Corps gets new Colonel Commandant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Major Gen Charanjit Singh Chima has taken over as Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Air Defence Artillery (ADA), a statement issued here said. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in August, 1964.

A graduate of Defence Services Staff College, he has commanded 501 Air Defence Group (SP) as well as an independent air defence brigade in an armoured division. The appointment makes him one of the two Colonel Commandants of the ADA.



Truck union dispute resolved
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 30
The dispute regarding the Truck Union of Kurali regarding which ban orders under Section 145 Cr PC were imposed by Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Kharar, in March this year, following a dispute between two groups, has been solved and Mr Malkiet Singh, Tehsildar, Kharar, has opened the office of the union and handed over all furniture etc to the parties concerned.

It may be recalled that in March this year Mr Malkiet Singh was appointed receiver of the disputed area. The orders at that time were passed by the SDM, Kharar, following a report submitted by the SHO of Kurali that some dispute had arisen between two groups of the truck union and both groups were claiming the office and property of the union. He submitted that there was apprehension of breach of peace between the groups, which might result in loss of life and property. The union has at present about 19-20 kanal land belonging to the Panchayat Samiti Sialba Majri in which the union has its office also.

Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Kharar recorded the compromise statement of both groups on August 20 in which the groups stated that now there was no dispute between them. He ordered the Tehsildar, Kharar, to act accordingly and withdraw the earlier ban orders imposed under Section 145 Cr PC. 


Agricultural board put up wall against crime
Bipin Bhardwaj

Panchkula, August 30
Taking serious view of the increasing crime rate in the township, the Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board has decided to construct walls at the exit points of the approach roads to the board’s colony in Sector 14 by spending over Rs 2 lakh.

Spread over 14 acres of land, there are 252 residential houses for employees of different categories residing in the colony. Besides the residential accommodation of the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner, some senior officials of the police and the board employees are also availing the accommodation facilities in the colony.

The authorities have planed to construct walls on almost every exit points to the colony leaving only two entry points. In addition to it, a controlled exit point will also be left for the pedestrians.

Sources in board disclosed that the colony had a total of 252 houses of different categories in six types from A to G. There is only one house of type A and is meant for the Deputy Commissioner’s residential accommodation. Types B and C have five and six houses, respectively, while D, E, F and G types have 24, 60, 108 and 48 houses, respectively.

The approach roads to the colony have been walled to avoid thefts, burglaries and restrict frequent entry of the vendors to the colony. The colony has been surrounded with slum areas which have become ‘safe’ hideouts for criminals. Moreover, the boozers and gamblers often create nuisance in this locality and to prevent their entry to the colony the step has been taken by the authorities, sources revealed.

Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Executive Engineer of the board, said that the department had proposed to leave six entry points but later their number was reduced to two, excluding a restricted entry point. He said that to beef up security two security personnel would be deployed at both the entry gates of the colony round the clock.

The step has been initiated by the board authorities to provide their employees with more security. The internal roads of the colony had become thoroughfare for the inhabitants of the surrounding colonies, Mr Gupta added.


Junior assistant of CTU booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The city police today booked a junior assistant of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking and a Mani Majra-based firm on charges of fraud, impersonation and criminal conspiracy.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC, the General Manager of the CTU Depot No. 3, Mr Vijay Kumar has alleged that the Surinder Singh and Azad Engineering Works had conspired to prepare bogus bills of Rs 72,330 relating to CTU items.

The accused, Surinder Singh, had passed the bill by putting forged signatures of the Works Manager, Mr Cheema. The police has registered a case after an inquiry was conducted by the DSP East, Mr Surjit Singh.


2 booked for forgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The police has booked two persons on charges of obtaining tenders of the Electrical Division of the Telecom department by forging documents.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468 and 34 of the IPC, the Executive Engineer of the Telecom Electrical Division has alleged that Mr Abhay Singhal and Mr Sanjay Singhal of Delhi for cheating the department of Rs 2.72 lakh.



Principal assaulted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
A middle-aged woman, Principal of a school near Dera Bassi, was reportedly assaulted by a foreign national at the Rose Garden at 6 am this morning. According to an FIR registered under Sections 323 and 354 of the IPC, the victim, Ms Baljit Kaur, alleged that she was assaulted when she had gone for a walk this morning. She is a resident of Sector 16.

Police sources said that as the victim was walking in the garden, a foreign national appeared from behind a bush and tried to molest her. The victim fell down and screamed for help. Another walker, who heard her screams, rushed to help her. In the meantime, the accused escaped.

The victim was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, for treatment. She suffered minor injuries on her leg.



3 booked as cheque bounces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Three persons have been booked on charges of defrauding a musical instrument dealer by presenting a cheque that bounced.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the IPC, it is alleged that Dipin Sharma and two others had bought musical instruments from Sunil Kumar and gave him a cheque of Rs 1,70,000. Later on, the cheque bounced as there was no amount in the account.

Three cases of theft: A Maruti car (CH -01C-2120) was stolen from outside the KC parking in Sector 17 yesterday.

A moped ( PB-12-3023) was stolen from in front of the FCI office in Sector 34 on August 28.

Gold ornaments, valuables and Rs 10,000 cash were stolen from the Sector 8 residence of Ms Sushikla Passi. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Two booked: The Crime Branch officials have booked Raj Pal and Rakesh Kumar on charges of liquor smuggling and recovered 25 boxes of various brands of whisky from them. They were carrying the whisky in a Maruti car (CHK-7266).

The driver of the car, Raj Pal, escaped in the dark, but the other accused, Rakesh Kumar has been arrested.

A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Lost: A bag containing optical frames was lost in the Phase VII parking today. The matter has been reported at Phase VIII Police Station.

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