Sunday, September 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Admn seeks more funds for city
Tribune News Service

Major demands made by UT

  • Additional funds in the forthcoming 10th plan.
  • More budgetary allocation this year.
  • Lists out immediate needs in power, health and transport sector.
  • Delegation of financial powers to Administrator at par with Administrators of Andaman & Nicobar and Pondicherry.
  • Rs 10 crore limit for sanctioning new projects.

Chandigarh, September 1
The UT Administrator Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) today demanded additional allocation of funds for city from the Central government and also more financial powers at the local level for sanctioning of new projects and schemes.

General Jacob was speaking at the 49th meeting of the National Development Council to discuss the draft approach paper of the 10th Five Year Plan and other related issues in Delhi today.

Arguing Chandigarh’s case, he said the UT was not putting any extra burden on Union Government’s budget. In the past, the net deficit of the UT was marginal. In the last financial year, the UT had recorded a surplus over-expenditure.

In the past three years, there has been no substantial increase in the plan outlay of Chandigarh. In fact, against the 1999-2000 outlay of Rs.151.39 crore, the annual plan size in the year 2000-2001 actually came down to Rs.149.20 crore. Even the current plan size (2001-2002) is of Rs.148.00 crore.

Since urban problems are getting more and more complex, there should be a substantial increase in the plan outlay of Chandigarh in the 10th Five Year Plan, he argued.

Being the capital of the two adjoining states, the city requires a very high standard of civic amenities. The rising migratory population aggravates the problem. The population pressure on the city has led to numerous slum and squatter settlements. Unauthorised constructions, unplanned growth and development in the villages in the periphery put pressure on the infrastructure and services.

Acquiring land in the periphery would help the Administration in checking the unauthorised growth around the villages. Besides, there are other critical areas like transport, power, medical health and slum improvement, which require immediate attention. Under transport, the Administration’s priorities are for early construction of a flyover at transport chowk to reduce traffic congestion between Chandigarh and Panchkula and introduction of an electric trolley bus system. In the power sector, we intend to set up two 66 KVA substations (Sector 48 and 56) to cater to the requirements of third phase sectors of the city.

On the crucial issue of vesting more powers at the local level, the Administrator pointed out that under Delegation of Financial Powers Rules 1978, the Administration had been delegated powers to make purchases and enter contracts up to a monetary limit of only Rs 20 lakh.

On the other hand, the Administrations of Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, respectively, have been vested with enhanced powers to the extent of Rs 5 Crore. Due to limitation of these powers, various proposals of purchases and contracts, especially concerning the prestigious projects like Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, cannot be implemented within set time-frames.

Similarly, the UT Administrator enjoys powers to sanction new projects up to Rs 5 crore while administrations of Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands enjoy powers upto Rs 10 crore. The processing of schemes submitted to the ministries concerned takes a long time.

On the creation of more posts, the Administrator said though our focus should be on downsizing, there are areas like education, health, excise and taxation where trained manpower is required. Since the Andaman & Nicobar Administration is competent to create posts in Group ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ services besides the creation of Group ‘A’ posts, it is submitted that similar powers may be delegated to Administrator, UT Chandigarh.

On health, General Jacob pointed out that in view of the national commitment to provide health for all, the construction of Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, is likely to be completed by the end of the ninth Five Year Plan. Suitable infrastructure in the form of an independent unit for the “TB and chest diseases” will be created. On the information technology front, the Chandigarh Administration e-governance in all government departments is being brought about. An information technology park is proposed to be developed.


Skeletal service by school bus operators
* 14 buses impounded; 6 challaned
* confusion among parents, wards
Tribune News Service


  • 14 buses impounded. Children in these buses were ferried to school. However, they were dropped back on board special CTU buses in the afternoon. Six other buses were also challaned.
  • On Monday problems may be more as Saturday several city schools were closed.
  • Buses owned by schools and also those with permits operated while the Private Schools Bus Operators Association took its buses numbering about 180 off from routes.
  • Wherever buses were off road, parents had to bear the brunt. Several children, especially those in Panchkula and SAS Nagar, had to skip school.
  • Contingency arrangements on a personnel level like pooled cars caused traffic snarls outside schools.
  • Drivers of CTU buses, used by certain schools, gave their best in a “new” field but certain gaps need to be bridged. 

Chandigarh, September 1
Confusion prevailed among students in private schools and their parents here today as some school buses plied while others remained off road in protest against the phasing out of 15-year-old buses from school routes.

As a result, hundreds of children were at the receiving end as they had to skip school. In certain cases no buses plied to ferry children from SAS Nagar and Panchkula. Parents juggled with their own schedules to drop and pick their wards as a precautionary measure. This resulted in traffic snarls outside several schools.

Today being Saturday several schools were closed due to one reason or the other. The real impact of the protest will show up only on Monday. Today certain schools had pre-scheduled parent teacher meetings. A couple of schools even ordered a closure. In one school, only senior students were called . But all this cannot go on for long as September is the month for first term examination.

Contrary to claims made by certain parties that buses would totally remain off road, several private buses plied. This is evident from the fact that the Secretary State Transport Authority (STA) even impounded 14 buses while six others were challaned for plying without mandatory permits to be availed at the rate of an annual fee of Rs 610. About 100 buses have been issued permits till now. Secretary STA Chandersekhar said ‘‘anyone can still apply and get a permit but the bus has to be less than 15 years in age.’’

Out of the 14 impounded buses, seven were released by the evening after the owners paid up the mandatory challan fee ranging between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000, sources in the STA said. The fines were decided on aspects like lack of permit as well as lack of other documents.

Since morning teams of the STA had been located at various points in the city. Special care was taken that no student was harassed. Any bus which had to be impounded was asked to continue to the destined school and drop the children before the STA teams took over the bus. To drop these children back in the afternoon the CTU was informed and additional special buses were pressed into service.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjit Singh, president of the Private School Bus Operators Association, said ‘‘we will keep our buses off road unless the Administration softens its stand and allows an extension in time to phase out the buses.” The association has demanded six months extension to replace the buses which are more than 15-year-old.

An opinion among the Administration is that if 98,000 students in city government schools reach to schools on their own, why can’t those studying in private schools. A lot of fuss being created as careless statements are also being issued on road worthiness of the CTU buses.Back



Free security, despite tax! Unbelievable
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Can a company offer security service free of cost? It can happen in the PGI. A tender for managing security service in the PGI that was opened yesterday has brought out strange facts. One of the five bidders has offered to provide the PGI with the security service without charging any administrative or service cost.

Representatives of the Sanchi Security Company Private Limited said, while three other firms had quoted 0.001 per cent, 0.01 per cent and 1.5 per cent administrative cost, respectively, in their tenders, this firm had quoted the highest service charges — 11 per cent. “How can a firm provide its clients with services without charging a single penny as administrative service costs, when it has to pay income tax at source, besides other expenses on uniforms and other things?” they said.

The present contractor is providing the PGI with the service by charging just 0.37 per cent administrative cost. A Pandora’s box has been opened with the tenders. This is a box of unfair practices that are adopted by contractors in extending contract services to the PGI, which makes one worry about the quality of security in the PGI, according to sources.

When the matter was brought to the notice of the PGI Joint Medical Superintendent, Dr D. Behera, he said he was not aware of the quotations, but the issue would certainly be examined by the PGI Technical Committee this year before the final decision.

It is simple mathematics that it is not feasible for any firm to offer its services at such low costs. Every year, security firms have to spend on buying uniforms for winter and summer (One uniform costs at least Rs 900, even at the government rates), supervision, stationery and office management and the 2 per cent income tax that is deducted at source.

“At zero, 0.01, 0.001 and even 1.5 per cent service charges, the service is economically not feasible for the company when the tax itself is two per cent,” said sources.

“This is the reason why the performance of service contractors remains poor, while non-payment of minimum wages and exploitation of workers is rife,” said senior officials of the PGI, on the condition of anonymity. “It lends credibility to the reports that contractors not only cut corners, but also make forged bills to compensate for their expenses,” they said.

They said, “The modus operandi of these firms is to exploit employees. Certain contractors hire persons on the promise of a salary that is between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000. Moreover, contractors are supposed to provide security guards with uniforms, but instead, they ask guards to pay for their uniforms.”

“Contractors fire their employees regularly and force them to deposit some amount with them if they seek re-employment,” the sources added.

On receiving such complaints in the past, the PGI authorities had insisted that these contractors paid their employees in the presence of officials of the security department. “Security firms used to initially pay the whole amount in the presence of the officials and, later, force employees to return a big part of it,” the sources added.

Sources also said most employees did not even receive their provident fund or the ESI benefits, though contractors made mandatory PPF and ESI contributions and got the money reimbursed by the PGI. “Contractors open the PPF accounts outside Chandigarh where employees wouldn’t bother to go to claim their benefits,” they said.

The PGI authorities also insisted that contractors paid their men through cheques, but the cheques were dishonoured in many cases after that. Following newspaper reports regarding the exploitation of contract employees, the UT Labour Department and the SC-ST Commission had conducted a probe.


CISF seeks night-vision goggles, caller IDs
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
To further upgrade airport security, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has sought night vision goggles and telephone caller identification systems for its contingent deployed here.

It is learnt that the CISF unit manning the Chandigarh airport, has written to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) this week, to make at least one pair of night-vision goggles available to its personnel. In addition, it has sought installation of caller identification systems on all telephone lines, besides additional hand-held radio sets.

Sources say that though there have been no attempts to breach the perimeter or any hoax calls here, these steps are being taken in accordance with directives issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). The night-vision goggles are meant to be used by guards patrolling the perimeter as well as roof-top pickets. The only reported incident here was a few months ago, when a pistol bullet was discovered in a handbag being carried by the wife of a senior Punjab Government official.

A senior BCAS officer arrived here from New Delhi yesterday to review the security arrangements at the airport. He also had discussions with the local authorities, besides conducting training sessions on airport security for CISF personnel as well as local home guards.

Surprise checks and drills are also a regular feature. In fact a top functionary from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Mr R.D. Sohi, was recently “caught” with a dummy weapon on his person by CISF personnel here.

On account of the VIP movement through the airport and its close proximity to military installations, the Chandigarh airport has been classified as hyper sensitive and the security arrangements have been made accordingly.

The CISF, which replaced the Chandigarh police about a year ago, has deployed around 100 men led by a Deputy Commandant at the airport. A barrier at the approach road has been set up to regulate the vehicular entry, while the area immediately in front of the terminal building had been made off-limits for vehicles.


We love to break rules: Vittal
Tribune News Service

Mr P.C. Dogra, DGP Punjab (retd), welcomes the CVC, Mr N. Vittal, at a function organised in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Mr P.C. Dogra, DGP Punjab (retd), welcomes the CVC, Mr N. Vittal, at a function organised in Chandigarh on Saturday.

Chandigarh, September 1
“Corruption is like white ants nibbling away at the life of plants,” said Mr N. Vittal, Central Vigilance Commissioner, in his talk on ‘Impact of Corruption on the Security and Stability of Our Nation’ organised by the Sanskrtik Gaurav Sansthan on the Panjab University campus here today.

Mr Vittal gave a long list of corruption scandals that had rocked the country after the Independence. Regarding the Hawala scandal, Mr Vittal said, “It all began with Kashmiri militants receiving money through the ‘hawala’ route. On investigating further, the police found that politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats were also involved in the scam.”

He said, “About 25 per cent of our people live below the poverty line. We give a subsidy of Rs 15,000 crore to support the public distribution system (PDS), but 31 per cent of food grains and 36 per cent of sugar reach black market because of corruption. This means that Rs 5,000 crore worth of subsidy goes into the pockets of corrupt politicians,” he said.

Mr Vittal said, “Most Indians are selfish. When we face a problem, were want an immediate solution, for which, we even break queues and rules. There is a vicious cycle that begins with political corruption and leads to bureaucratic corruption.”

Mr P.C. Dogra, a former DGP of Punjab, welcomed the guests and Justice D.V. Seghal introduced the subject. Mr P.H. Vaishnav led the proceedings of the session.


A tribute to Maharaja
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
In a befitting tribute to the great demeanor of Sher-e-Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, today's sound and sight panorama, directed by Harbax Latta, beautifully reproduced historic sequences that led to the establishment of Khalsa Raj in Punjab.

The show, conceived by the Bank of Punjab in association with Shobha Shakti films, was all about perfection of portrayal by means of light, sound, drama, music and other minor elements of performing arts. A fiery script of the multimedia project written by Dr Harcharan Singh coupled with technical finesse offered by Latta and his associates gave the audience a glimpse into the tumultuous past on the land of five rivers, which produced a protector in the form of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Today's show was a memorable one as it featured a live Maharaja Ranjit Singh for the first time ever. With permission from the SGPC, Latta has roped in Arjun Singh to play the Sher-e-Punjab. In the role of Sada Kaur, the woman who is credited with having changed the course of Punjab's history by marrying her daughter Mehtab to Ranjit despite personal enmities, is Latta's own wife, who is more than just convincing.

The project is well-knit and uses five stages to depict sequences featuring the Lahore Fort, the throne of Lahore, the Shahi Masjid and even the Batala Fort. The story captures the zeal and zing of the times that saw a young Ranjit Singh defeat his military instructor, then rise from the level of a small-time chieftain to that of the most powerful Indian ruler of his time. The story begins from Ranjit Singh's father Maha Singh's victories and ends with the establishment of Khalsa Raj by him. In between there are all important events shaping the course of history — like the accession of Lahore; the coronation ceremony of Ranjit Singh on April 12, 1801; the release of Shah Shuja and the final procurement of Koh-i-noor; and finally Ranjit Singh's victory over Peshawar, which came as the final feather in his cap.

The script knits the character of Ranjit Singh well. On the one hand the magnanimity of Ranjit Singh is depicted in a sequence where he lifts the burden for an old man or offers 100 gold coins to an artist for decorating the Quran Sharif, on the other the fire of a fighter in the Maharaja is revealed by the way he conquers regions one after another and finally spreads the boundaries of the Khalsa Raj from Satluj to Khyber Pass and from Tibet to Sindh.

The programme features a well-blended use of the screen, the voice over technique, the musical scores and the dramatic elements. The durbar of Ranjit Singh reproduced by the director needs a special mention as it reflects a real royal gathering where the Maharaja hears to the grouses of people as also punishes some for the breach of law. Interestingly, today's show also showed how Ranjit Singh summoned his own son to the court of law. The latter was accused for riding Laili, the favourite horse of Ranjit Singh, without his permission.

The secular character of the Maharaja was also reflected in each dialogue used to weave the story, so was his generosity, especially by the portrayal of a sequence in which a dethroned and dispossessed Shah Zaman is treated as a royal guest by him. The programme thus covers 40 years of the Khalsa Raj, dotted with events that showed how Ranjit Singh used European officers to train his army, how he won over the conquered feudal lords with his affection, how he got the dome of Golden Temple plated with gold and how he treated himself as the chosen one of the gurus by refusing to sit on a throne, or wear a crown.

In its totality, Latta's show did justice to the spirit of the Maharaja, which has even been acknowledged at the Harmandir Sahib where the following verse has been inscribed forever: 'The great guru in His wisdom looked upon Maharaja Ranjit Singh as his chief servitor and Sikh and, in his benevolence, bestowed upon him the privilege of serving the temple'.


I’ve been personally looking into complaints: Bedi
Tribune News Servce

Chandigarh, September 1
The Municipal Councillor, Air Marshal R.S Bedi ( retd), representing ward no: 6, has been posed a number of questions by residents of the ward expecting him to act through the “Question your councillor’’ series . We are reproducing below some questions raised by residents of the ward together with the response of the ward councillor.

Question: The general sanitation in Sector 37-D is not very satisfactory and heaps of garbage can be seen lying at various places. The conditions of certain parks developed by the Horticulture wing is deplorable due to poor upkeep and maintenance. What have you to say in this regard? ( Mr J.L Bajaj, a social worker of Sector 37-D).

Answer: I admit that the situation could have been much better if official and safai karamcharis on duty perform their duties more diligently. Even though I have been personally taking up the complaints with the health wing officials, the lax attitude of the staff is responsible for the mess. However, the callous attitude of the people has also added to the problem.

I have not received any complaints about poor maintenance of parks, but now that it has come to my notice, I will look into the problem.

Question: The bad condition of roads in the sector poses problems for the residents and has often led to serious accidents. The menace of stray dogs and cows also adds to their woes, partcicularly during night. What are you doing or have done regarding that? ( Mr K.L Mahajan, a resident of Sector 37-D).

Answer: Even though a lot of strengthening and recarpeting work of roads was done in my ward, particularly during my two years’ tenure as chairman of the roads committee of the MC, the work on certain V-6 roads and the approach roads to mini markets in Sectors 37 and 38 could not be done due to constraint of funds.

The menace of stray cows and dogs is common in the city and the round-up drives to impound these cattles have also not yielded the desired results. However, I am hopeful that the problem will be contained with the MC going in for sterlisation of the dogs in association with PFA and SPCA, as approved by the Finance and Contract Committee.

Question: A majority of streetlights in the area are non-functional and pose security hazards to residents, who move about during wee hours or late night. The condition of the road leading to Sector 40 is rather bad and accumulation of water on the same during monsoons makes mobility of residents difficult. What do you have to say about these problems? ( Mr Amrit Lal Mahajan, President, Residents Welfare Society, Sector 38-A).

Answer: While the MC and the Administration, who jointly share the responsibility of maintenance of streetlights in the city keep passing on the buck, the residents continue to suffer. However, as and when a problem came to my notice I have asked the Executive Engineer concerned to rectify the fault. Shortage of staff in the electrical wing of the MC is also responsible for the poor maintenance of these lights.

Question: Wild growth of Congress grass and garbage dumps close to sanitary bins placed in the parks have led to breeding of flies and mosquitoes in the area. Noone has ever come to spray medicine ever since MC came into being and the problem has only aggravated over the years. ( Mr Lalit Kochhar, district president of the BJP).

Answer: I agree that though a lot of parks and green belts have been developed in front of various houses in these sectors, the maintenance of the same is far from satisfactory. I have however been taking up the problem with the authorities from time to time.

Question: The gaps between certain row of houses in Sectors 36-A and B have so far not been closed despite best efforts. Besides creating nuisance, they also pose serious security hazard as bad elements have free access to the area from the main road dividing Sectors 36 and 37. The hedges being planted are also used as hiding places. The road berms are also uneven and dotted with heaps of garbage at many places. What have you done to solve these problems and when will it be possible for these problems to be solved? (Col S.S Gill, President Sector 36-A Residents Welfare Association)

Answer: I am aware of the problem and did solve similar problem in Sectors 36-C and D. But some work in this regard is yet to be done. I am hopeful the same will be done at the earliest.

I have already taken up the issue of levelling and proper maintenance of road berms in certain areas with the roads wing officials of the MC. 


Persistent jaundice needs
immediate attention: expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Persistent jaundice extending beyond 14 days of age in newborn babies should be taken seriously and requires immediate attention. One of the major causes of pathological jaundice is biliary atresia, which if ignored, may require expensive and complicated treatment and liver transplant, quite beyond the reach of the common man.

According to Dr Anupam Sibal, gastroenterologist and hepatologist from the Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, who specialises in liver transplant in babies, more than 2,000 babies, are added to the list of those requiring liver transplant every year. Dr Sibal and his colleagues from Apollo performed the first liver transplant in November 1998 in an 18 months old boy from Kanchpuram. The boy is now 34 months post-operative and doing extremely well. Whereas in India it is the only one undertaking this highly complicated surgery, even the world over there are very few centers who do this kind of surgery.

Dr Sibal, who is here in the city in connection with the ongoing Paediatric Gastroenterology conference at the PGI, says that a part of the liver of a living relative with matching blood group is transplanted in the ailing child. “Liver has the capacity to regenerate and while in the donor it grows back to its original size within eight to 12 weeks, in the infant too it grows to perform its normal functions,”

Cost of the operation, however, is a deterrent factor. While in India the operation can cost anywhere around Rs 15 lakh, in England the expenses incurred can be Rs 90 lakh and in the USA Rs 1.2 crore. In India one of the major reasons behind the expensive treatment is the cost of disposables which are imported from abroad.

Meanwhile, in today’s session extensive deliberations were held on major gastro-intestinal disorders in children, including liver and pancreatic diseases and acute liver failure.

While discussing diarrhoea, a major health problem in the children, doctors opined that 20 per cent cases of acute diarrhoea are invariably associated with malnutrition and thus resulted in high mortality. According to the Dr P.U. Iyer, Dr A.K. Patwari, Dr S Bhatnagar and Dr S. Gopalan, nutrition was extremely important in children who were ill. “ A nutritionally compromised child will have longer hospitalisation, delayed wound healing and other complications,” they said.

Dr Iyer highlighted the role of parental nutrition in very sick children admitted in the ICUs, while Dr Bhatnagar asserted cereal-based diet along with milk was better than any formula available in the market. According to Dr BR Thapa, rice, pulses and curd were better tolerated by children and they also gained weight much faster.

Dr HPS Sachdev talked about role of zinc in diarrhoeal diseases in children. Zinc, he said, has a great role to play in improving immunity of children and has also proved to be useful in diarrhoea. Dr M. Mehta from Mumbai stressed upon the need of rice based ORS in treatment of dehydration due to acute diarrhoea. Dr S. Gopal stressed upon the role of immunonutrients in health and disease. Role of ERCP, as diagnostic tool in hepatobilliary and pancreatic disorders was elaborated upon by Dr PVJ Sriram. Upper GI bleed and corrosive injuries of oesophagus and stomach were discussed by Dr S.K. Mittal and Dr S.L. Broor. Dr Broor stressed upon the prevention of corrosive injury by keeping the bottles containing alkalies and acid away from children as they could lead to severe injury in food pipe and stomach.

Whereas autoimmune hepatitis was covered by Dr A. Koshy, recent advances in diagnosis of diseases concerning long length of intestine role of endosonography was discussed by Dr PVJ Sriram, Dr K. Venkateshwarlu and Dr S.K. Chowdhary. They stressed upon early recognition and appropriate treatment of diseases related to pancreas in children at the tertiary care center.


A forgotten government library
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar
The Government Public Library here lies almost forgotten by the authorities concerned. Tucked away in an inconvenient corner of the town, adjoining Mohali village, the library comprises two dingy rooms and an office. When it was set up in 1989, it was located in Government College. It has been at the present location for about 10 years.

For a membership of nearly 800, mostly retired persons, it has a large number of books. The Municipal Council supplies 11 newspapers and 15 magazines. Some time ago the supply of newspapers remained suspended for about six months because the council had failed to pay the bills of the news agent.

The library did not get any grant in the 1999-2000 financial year and last year the grant lapsed in the absence of permission of the Finance Department to purchase books. Although some books were purchased by the officials concerned last year, but the payment could not be made for want of the required permission. The payment will now be made from the current year’s budget.

Owing to the lack of space, open book racks are stuffed in one room and members find it difficult even to move around to get books of their choice. There are also cupboards packed with books in the reading room and the office. Members face problems to locate books in the cupboards as each shelf has two rows of books one behind the other. A few cupboards belonging to the library are still lying in the college due to lack of space.

Space constraints have also forced the library officials to buy only expensive books so that fewer are acquired with the available funds.

When the library was shifted to the present building, the council used to pay the water and power bills, but this was discontinued about five years ago.

An effort was made to shift the library to a centrally located place in a residential area. However, the Education Department declined to pay the high rent of private premises.

Sources say that at one time PUDA planed to shift the library to the vacant first floor of the Punjabi University extension library in Phase VII, a building which was constructed by PUDA. However, the plan could not be implemented as the university rejected it at the eleventh hour.

Members of the library feel that it should be shifted to one of the town’s community centre.


A prejudice finally broken
Saurabh Malik

It is 3.30 pm. Advocate Nirmaljit Kaur has just returned from the High Court and is hanging her back coat when the doorbell rings. Within minutes, the maid rushes in. “Ma’am, some persons from Abohar are here. They have been recommended by another client,” she declares.

Picking up sheets of paper, she walks into her study. Minutes roll by as she patiently listens to the estranged husband and his father. The meeting continues until their depressed eyes sparkle with hope.

Such incidents are not uncommon in her life. For the past few years, clients from all over the region, with faith in her abilities, have been approaching her with their problems. She has worked her way to success. At the same time, she is aware of the fact that woman lawyers are now respected as serious professionals.

This was not the case until a few years ago. “The good old days were not so good for women lawyers,” she recalls. Most of the people in the 80s believed that teaching was the right profession for woman. ‘Teach children in a school if you are a graduate, in a college or a university, if you are a post-graduate’. This was the general opinion. Fighting legal battles in jam-packed courtrooms was not considered the right thing for young women. The reason was not hard to see. Girls were meant to be polite and docile. They were not supposed to argue.

Those were the days when not many approached women lawyers with their cases. “And those who did, after thinking twice, were always critical of our performance,” she recalls. “Even after we had argued the case exceptionally well quoting all the authorities in our favour, they were not sure of the outcome until the case was decided against their opponents. Then, they would thank us for taking all the pains.”

Now, the situation has changed. “The image of woman lawyers has undergone a metamorphosis. A large number of litigants are now convinced that we are hardworking and dedicated professionals. As a result, an increasing number of young girls are now taking up law as a career,” she reveals. “With so many of us around, both lawyers and litigants have stopped noticing and discussing us. They now look up to us with a kind of indifferent interest and recognize us for the hard labour we put in”.

The old order has changed and that also for good, Ms Nirmaljit Kaur is convinced. “At least now we can show our capabilities in the field of law without encountering any bias and prejudice,” she concludes.


SPCA members honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh September 1
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) organised a function to honour the active members of SPCA at Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, here today.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, former city MP, was the chief guest at the occasion while the other honourable guests included city Mayor Harjinder Kaur and Dr S.K. Sharma, Director, PGI, who is also the patron of the SPCA.

Mr Jasbir Ralhan, president, SPCA, thanked the chief guests for having donated a van to tend to the the need of the sick animals and also honoured the executives.

Life members and teachers and students of Dev Samaj Model School, Sector 21, Government School, Sector 40 and Dev Samaj College have worked actively in the field.

Dr Kochhar and Dr S.K. Sharma, Mr Satya Pal Jain and Mrs Harjinder Kaur spoke on the occasion.


Army defuses 10 bombs
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 1
The Army authorities today defused all 10 misfired bombshells which were found in Mandlaya and Bhoor villages surrounding the Boor Army firing range during a special drive launched by the Panchkula police on Friday.

A team of seven engineers along with the Raipur Rani police collected the shells and defused them with the help of detonators in the foothills near Mandlaya village.

The police and Army had launched a joint operation to comb the areas ‘‘enriched’’ with misfired bombshells on Friday.

Under the leadership of Mrs Bharti Arora, ASP, today the Raipur Rani SHO conducted a search operation and also made announcements informing the public about the consequences of keeping the shells with them.

The teams also appealed to the public to inform them in case they noticed any explosive in the vicinity.

However, no bombshell was found in the area during the second day of search operation today.


Govt decision on SCs criticised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Punjab State General Categories Welfare Federation has flayed the Union Government for amending Article 16 (4a) of the Constitution to provide employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes with the benefit of seniority to grant them promotions on the basis of roster.

According to a press note issued by the federation here today, this decision will nullify the decision of the apex court in the Ajit Singh Janjua case. Speakers at the meeting criticised successive governments since the times of Mr V.P. Singh for “sacrificing interests of the people of the general category”. They urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, “not to appease only members of the Scheduled Castes at the cost of the people of the general category”.Back


Aroma’s filth irks welfare panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Sector 22-C Chandigarh Welfare Association yesterday alleged that the Aroma Hotel kept its handdriven cart full of filth and rubbish in the passage between the hotel and SCF 1 and 2. This was a matter of great concern for all residents of the area. It also produced a foul smell and it was causing health problems as well.

A press note issued by the association said that the hotel authority should be asked to remove its filth cart from the passage and place it anywhere its premises without any harm to the residents.

The association said the site behind SCF 1 and 2 had become a dumping place for waste building material and other unwanted articles. It was causing great hazard to the residents and passersby.

The association requested the Municipal Corporation to take immediate steps to redress their grievances.Back


Saini samaj to field nominee for Vidhan Sabha poll
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, September 1
The Saini Constituency Committee of the Saini Samaj will field its own candidate in the Vidhan Sabha elections if their candidates are not given ticket by political parties. This was decided in a Saini samelan organised by the Saini Samaj, Halka Banur here on today.

A number of representatives of Saini community from different states, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar participated in the convention and expressed their solidarity on different political and social issues being faced by the community.

It was also decided that constituency-wise committees would be constituted having 51-executive members in Punjab. These committees would further be assisted by the village-level committees. Apart from this, specific cells would be constituted at the state, district and block levels to safeguard the interests of different sections of the Saini samaj.

While addressing the convention Mr Gurnam Singh, senior vice-president of All-India Saini Welfare Society, claimed that there were over 19 lakh Saini voters in the state, who had not been given any representation in the government till date.

Mr Jaswant Singh Saini, convener of Saini Samaj, Halka Banur, alleged that the Punjab Government restrained three sitting Saini ministers — Mr Sat Pal Saini, Mr Tara Singh Ladal and Mrs Mohinder Kaur Josh —from attending the sammelan.

Those who were present at the occasion include Mr Kamal Chaudhary, a former MP from Hoshiarpur, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA Sirhind, Mr Shiv Lal Dehar, Mr Sardul Ambrawan, Mr Swaran Singh, Mr Sucha Singh and a number of other senior Saini samaj persons.


Saplings planted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
The Mayor of Chandigarh, Ms Harjinder Kaur, today said that the rich Indian culture and heritage should be preserved.

The Mayor, who was the chief guest at a sapling plantation and prize distribution function at Government Senior Secondary School in Sector 35 here, emphasised the all-round development of the personality of the youth. She asked students to follow the path of truth and respect for elders and teachers.

A number of saplings of different varieties, including the Ashoka tree and medicinal plants, were planted by the Mayor, the Principal, Ms Khushinder Sharma, the head of the Parent-Teacher Association and students.

Prizes were given away to various students by the Mayor for their achievements.Back


Medicinal saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh September 1
It was a day full of extracurricular activities at the Government College of Education, Sector 20, here today. More than 30 saplings of medicinal and ornamental plants were planted on the college premises by the college’s NSS unit.

‘‘Our environment is polluted’’ declared Mrs Surinder Tangri, Principal of the college. She also stressed the need to bring pollution under control and check further loss and decay. She felt that the motto of ‘‘har manukh lave ik rukh’’ is going to usher in a new era of rejuvenated life to the environment.

Earlier, Mrs Harjinder Kaur, in charge of NSS in the college, welcomed the guests while Mrs Manjit Kaur Dhaliwal, programme officer, NSS unit, proposed a vote of thanks.

An inter-tutorial poetry recitation competition organised by the college literary and cultural society was held later in the day at the college. Prof Avtar Singh Dhaliwal, seniormost faculty member, presided over the function.

Gurcharan got the first prize for singing a poem while Ranjana and Sandeep came second and third, respectively. Ritu Gupta got the first prize for recitation while Geetanjali and Ramanpreet Kaur got the second and third prizes. Sandamini got a prize for the best self composed poem.Back


Bansal to lead delegation to S. Africa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress MP from city, will led a six-member delegation of MPs to attend an important international inter-parliamentary conference on “Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” beginning in Durban, South Africa, today. The conference will be attended by delegates from all over the world.Back


Free veterinary camp by PFA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1The Chandigarh Chapter of People for Animals (PFA) today organised a free mobile veterinary camp at Hallo Majra village in the Union Territory. Mr Kiranjit Sidhu, information officer of the chapter said during the camp treatment, vaccination and medicines were provided free of cost. A total of 54 animals (dogs, cows, buffalows, hen, goat and pigs) were treated by People for Animals veterinary doctors.Back


Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Mr S.D. Khurana (61), father of Mr Sunil Khurana, Trainee Operator, Dainik Tribune, died at Raipur Khurd, near Chandigarh, today. His funeral procession will start from House No. 45-C, Raipur Khurd, at 11 a.m. tomorrow.


2 cars collide, 2 hurt
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
Two persons sustained injuries after two cars rammed into each other here this evening in Sector 29.

A blue Premier Padmani car (CH-01-M-44) rammed into a white Maruti car (CH - 03D - 2306) injuring Satish, driver of the Maruti and Sunil, another occupant of the car. Driver of Padmini car escaped from the accident spot.

Satish, a Sector 44 resident, with injuries on his stomach, was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, while Sunil sustained minor injuries on his left leg, said police sources. The police was investigating into the matter.Back


Robbery bid accused sent to police remand
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
Sanjay Kumar and other two persons involved in an unsuccessful attempt at robbery at a house in Sector 35 were sent to two days’ police remand by a local court here today.

The police had arrested Sanjay and two others yesterday and registered a case under Sections 455, 352, 342, 34 of the Indian Penal Code at the Sector 36 police Station. It was alleged that five persons, including an employee of the victim , Mr Ajay Kumar, had tried to commit robbery at his Sector 35-A house at about 6.30 a.m.


Body found
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 1
Body of an unidentified man was found near the truck union premises in Phase VI here today.

Vehicle drivers at the scene said that the man, aged around 50, had fallen down nearby last night and appeared to be under the influence of liquor. He was picked up and made to lie down under a shed. He was found dead in the afternoon. The police is investigating the matter.

Sarpanch killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 1
The Sarpanch of Devinagar village, Ramesh Kumar (55), died here today when a CTU bus rammed into a scooter on which he was sitting. His brother sustained injuries and was taken to hospital.

The brothers were shopping in the village when a truck hit the CTU bus, following which, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and it ran over the stationary scooter on which the sarpanch was sitting. The police sources said the Sarpanch had died on the spot.

Meanwhile, three persons were injured in a collision between a scooter and a truck near Majari Chowk here today.Back


Two held for stealing clothes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
The local police arrested Manoj Kumar and Barjesh Kumar, both residents of Colony No. 5, allegedly for stealing clothes from a jhuggi in the colony here yesterday. The two were reportedly caught red handed. Mr Lalit Kumar was the complainant.

They were booked under Sections 380 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code.

Dead: Roshal Lal, a resident of Darwa village, died when the scooter he was riding, was hit by a truck, near the Railway Traffic Light Point here on Friday. The victim was rushed to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.

The truck driver escaped leaving his truck at the spot. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304 A of the IPC has been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Mr Mandeep Singh, a resident of Sector 42, lodged a complaint with local police that his Bullet motorcycle was stolen from parking of Sector 17 here on Friday. Mr Aktesh Pandey, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, also reported that his Hero Honda motor cycle (DL-3-CD-3422) was stolen from Sector 17 on Friday. Mr Gopal Sood, a resident of Sector 23, also reported that his Hero Honda motor cycle (HP-29-8000) was stolen from his residence on Thursday night.

Cases under Section 379 of the IPC have been registered.

Held: The local police arrested Mewa Lal, a resident of Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, under the Excise Act here on Friday. The accused was reportedly consuming liquor at a public place in Sector 26.

Injured: Ms Rajinder Kaur, a resident of Burail, sustained injuries and was admitted into the PGI, after the scooter she was driving was hit by another scooter, near Sector 25 here on Sunday. Police sources said that the driver of the scooter, sped away from the spot. A case has been registered. OC


Matiz recovered: The Panchkula Police has recovered a Matiz car which was stolen from Sector 21 on May 31.

Mr Vikas Arora, ASP, said that the car (CH-03D-3370) was found abondoned near Yamunanagar recenlty. Earlier, Mr C.S. Garg, car owner, had filed a complaint with the Panchkula police. OC


Selling paranthas at night
Nishikant Dwivedi

Where does someone who lands in the city at an odd hour or a hostel inmate who misses his dinner, go for food ? The choice before most of them is to go to the roadside vendors selling parathas and omelettes. There are only a few restaurants in the city which remain open till late in the night.

There are at least 100 vendors, who are making a living in Sector 22 (opposite Inter State Bus Terminus), Sector 10 (opposite General Hospital) and near the Panjab University Gate No 1, by selling omelettes and parathas all through the night. Apart from them, there are other vendors in some other sectors of the city.

These parathawalas have also become a joint for those who find themselves in need of a meal after a bout of drinking. Every night, hundreds of youths flock these parathawalas at night, especially in Sector 22. They also have customers who get parathas packed for their families.

Most of these vendors claim to have regular customers. Sudhir Singh, a parathawala in Sector 22 claims that he has been selling parathas there for the past 10 years and “whoever comes to my stall once, keeps revisiting me.”

Early in the morning, these vendors are flocked by bus drivers and conductors, attendants of patients in the PGI and the General Hospital and labourers. They sell parathas, omelettes, boiled eggs and also regular meals along with butter and curd. Their income differs from vendor to vendor and from day to day.

The service is on first come, first served basis. The charges are nominal — Rs 3 for a paratha and Rs 10 for a two-egg omelette. However, most of them care little for cleanliness and hygiene.

Till a few months ago, there were several such vendors near the university’s Gate No 1 and opposite the General Hospital. Every night a number of students of the university and the nearby colleges used to visit them for meals. But now, policemen do not allow these parathawalas to do business at these points at night. However, in the morning, they set up their stalls near the university and do a roaring business.

Apart from the Enforcement Wing of the Estate Office, they have another problem. The vendors complain that often policemen have their bill and just walk away. Sometimes they are forced to close their business because of “security reasons”. At times the police removes their stalls during special drives.


Industrial body flays RINL decision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Chandigarh Industrial Fastners Association has criticised the steep hike in the rates of MS round by the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL).

According to Mr A. L. Aggarwal, president, within a period of five months from March, the RINL has increased the rate by Rs 1,120 to Rs 1,366 per MT. However, the rates of the secondary producer rerolling mills for the same grade of raw material are lesser by Rs 1,500 per MT. The association has taken up the matter with the RINL and CITCO authorities but nothing has been done.

It may be noted that another public sector company — Indian Iron and Steel Company — was supplying the same grade of MS round at lesser rates by Rs 50 per MT. The hike in the rates of the essential raw material has hit the capacity utilisation of the SSI units badly as lifting of material from the CITCO yard was very slow due to high price.

The association had written to the CITCO authorities to pass on the rebate of Rs 440 per MT to the units lifting this material from the CITCO depot so as to accelerate their sales and make units viable.

Since the increase in the rates by the RINL is arbitrary, the association has viewed it seriously, especially keeping in view the downward trend in the rerolling mills in the region. If the prices of the MS round are not restored to the March 2001 level, most of the units will be forced to put down their shutters which in turn will hit the movement of material from the CITCO depot, Mr Aggarwal added.

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