Tuesday, September 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


A chaotic day for parents
Private bus operators’ strike to continue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
It was a chaotic day for parents who juggled with schedules to ferry their children to school following the total strike by private school buses today.

Things , however, are expected to be improve on Tuesday as a sizeable number of buses will be back on the roads. On the other hand, the Private Bus Operators Association, which has its own fleet of about 200 buses, shall continue with its strike.

Despite the presence of police and volunteers of the schools, roads leading to private schools of the city were choked with four-wheelers this afternoon as parents and guardians queued up to pick up their wards. In some cases it took more than 45 minutes for cars to come out of traffic jams. Cars were parked on road berms as parents walked into the schools.

Traffic snarls were bad outside Saint Kabir, Sacred Heart and Saint John’s in Sector 26, Carmel Convent in Sector 9, Saint Stephens in Sector 45, Saint Anne’s in Sector 32, Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, among others. Mr Jatin Kakar , who had come to pick up his nephew from a leading school told The Tribune that this crisis needs to be solved soon within the framework of the law.

In some schools the attendance was poor as several parents could not manage to ferry their kids and found it more convenient to keep the kids at home. The Principal of Saint Xavier’s Sector 44, Mr Andrew J. Gosain, said the school will remain closed on September 4 but will function normally from September 5 onwards.

Meanwhile, the president of the Independent Schools Association, Mr D.S. Bedi, said: “We will not participate in the strike by the Private Bus Operators Association on Tuesday. This means all buses owned by the schools themselves will run on Tuesday. Besides, the schools cannot be seen participating in such a strike as education is bound to suffer.”

Meanwhile, another school Principal added that no parent would want to put his or her child on board a bus which is older than 15 years. The general secretary of the Parent-Teacher Association of Carmel Convent, Mr Gulshan Narula, said the association had decided to enlist the support of CTU buses. But he wants some kind of provision of a security net as CTU buses do not even have doors. Formalities are being worked out to ensure smooth passage for children.

Administration speaks

Why cannot private schools use buses available to them from the body of tourist bus operators or the CTU, which have offered their services at same rates, remarked the UT Home Secretary cum Secretary Transport, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, while talking to mediapersons here today.

The tourist bus operators have about 175 legalised contract carriage permits and they have already offered their services. What is stopping the schools from availing their services is unexplainable. He alleged that vested elements were misguiding schools to meet their own purposes. Otherwise, there is no reason why alternative services were not plying. The total number of buses which were more than 15 years old is no more than 75 and are part of the School Bus Operators Association, Mr Gujral said.

CTU supplying buses to schools is hardly a commercially beneficial venture. It is rather a loss-making proposition as buses have to be kept standby, the Home Secretary clarified. And in any case, it is the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that buses older than 15 years in age have to be phased out. At no point of time can the Administration work against the decision of the High Court.

If the Private School Bus Operators Association or private schools have something to protest, they should move the Supreme Court. The Administration cannot do so on their behalf, Mr Gujral said, while explaining the Administration’s point of view. “We have attempted to break the crisis but to no avail,” he added.

When asked if the Administration will do something if the bus operators hiked bus fares under the garb of buying newer buses, Mr Gujral said it may not be proper for the Administration to intervene.


... but children love it
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
It is a matter of how two sides look at the crisis created by the ongoing strike by the school bus operators. On one side are the children, and on the other side are parents or guardians, who have to drop and pick the kids from school by juggling their already packed schedules.

Do children, especially the little ones, want the ongoing strike by bus operators to end ? Seeing the lighter side of it , probably not, if one saw the glee on the faces of children in various schools today. The little ones were gleeful to wait for Mummy or Papa and not the same old bus conductor, as airconditioned cars pulled up outside schools to pick them up and their school friends.

In certain cases the parents had to rely on chachas, chachis , maasis or the buas to drop or pick up the children. Happiness was writ large on the faces of the tiny tots as no more waiting to reach home in packed school buses in humid and sultry conditions.

In their little hearts they knew that a coke, a chocolate or their favorite packet of chips would be inside the car or they would demand it. And also the Mummy or Papa would be around to wipe off the beads of sweat from their foreheads with a fresh handkerchief.

On the other side, the guardians will not forget the day quickly. A strike by school bus operators may have sent shivers down the spine of many a working couples. But atleast for today everybody seemed to have managed well.

Men in officious looking pinstripes, well-creased trousers and holding mobile phones in hand or glued to their ears talking animated. The parking outside most schools was chaotic, however , not many tempers rose.

Waiting for their wards to come out it was time for busy parents to exchange visiting cards, mobile numbers or discuss the school syllabus with fellow parents.

Overhearing conversations one could get a feel that several long lost friends bumped into each other and in some cases even ex-flames. Introductions between parents were centered on their children.

How long can parents juggle their schedules is the question. But one thing in sure that the kids had nice time at least for the day.


9 held for violence in PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Petty politicking in the Punjab University, prior to the elections of the Campus Students Council, once again came to the fore with the attack on the newly elected Chairman of the Haryana Students Association (HSA), Mr Amit Rana, by the supporters of the dethroned chairman, Mr Chand Singh Madan, and the retaliatory action by the latter.

With the elections to the students body scheduled later this month, hectic politicking is on. Clashes between rival groups of students are becoming a rule rather than an exception. This is the third incident in the past week when students politics took an ugly turn.

According to the information available, a group of five persons, reportedly owing allegiance to Mr Chand Singh Madan, converged at Hostel No. 5 late last night and beat up Amit Rana. According to reports the group comprising Chand Singh Madan, Anirudh, Manish Anand, Karamveer and Ravinder, alias Robby, came together and beat up Amit Rana.

In retaliation of last night’s incident, the supporters of Amit Rana — Ashok Rawat, Mahavir Prasad, Yashwant Yadav, Pradeep Yadav, Sandeep Goyat, Rashpinder and Jagwinder Ratthi today gheraoed Chand Singh Madan near the Gandhi Bhavan and beat him up.

The police was summoned and a cross case was registered under sections 147, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC. All nine students were later arrested by the police.

On Saturday night, four youths in a silver-coloured Santro car (CH-01-X-8027) reportedly smashed the window panes of a security booth at gate no. 3 . They youths, who were reportedly the guests of a resident of Hostel No. 5 had reached the university around midnight and asked the security guard to open the gate for them. After he refused to open it, the boys smashed the window panes.

Three days prior to this incident, rivalry between two student organisation factions of the university — PUSU and SOPU — came to the fore when about eight armed boys, owing allegiance to PUSU allegedly attacked and injured three inmates of boys Hostel No. 5, who, reportedly, were members of SOPU.

Amid strong allegations and counter allegations by the members of SOPU, the three injured boys of Hostel Number 5, namely Amanpreet Singh Sandhu (former president, DAV College) Samandeep Singh (both of Law Department) and Manpreet Singh (of Geography Department) were taken to the hospital.

However, chaos and confusion prevailed on the campus following the assault incident and members of many students organisations were present on the spot.

With the situation in the campus reaching a flashpoint today, the city police chief called a meeting of the leaders of various student associations in the campus. Representatives of HSA, PUSU, SOPU, ABVP and NSUI attended the meeting.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, told the students to ensure that the elections were conducted peacefully.

He said the police wanted their minimum interference in the affairs of the university, provided the students maintained law and order. He asked the students to abide by the code of conduct laid down by the university.


Civic body poll postponed again
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
The long overdue election to the post of president and vice-president of the Municipal Committee was postponed sine die yet again, here today, with members failing to turn up for the scheduled meeting.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, said for want of quorum, the election could not be held despite the presence of the Observer, Mr Suresh Goyal, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Returning Officer, Mr Sushil Sarwan, SDM, Kalka.

However, sources said the members failed to turn up at the meeting since a consensus on the candidates for the two posts could not be evolved. “While one faction is supported by the district INLD president, Mr Ram Gopal Mehta, the other is backed by the INLD general secretary, Mr Pradeep Chaudhary. The two parties have been unable to arrive at a common choice for the two posts,” a member said.

Mr Chaudhary said there was no dispute among members on the election but that they were being consulted to arrive at a consensus for the two posts. “We do not want elections to take place and are convincing members to make a choice before the meeting,” he added.

Meanwhile, at the office where the election was held, members of both groups turned up at the venue at different times but did not enter the premises. Consequently, the meeting had to be postponed by officials

Earlier, a few members had moved court for not being administered oath as members of the committee. Following this, the High Court had directed the administration to hold a meeting and administer oath to the remaining members. 


By choice, they won’t opt for school job
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, September 3
Its true. Candidates with the UGC qualifications and good marks in postgraduation prefer to apply for job as lecturer in a college and not join as schoolteachers.

Schoolteachers are often termed as nation builders. It is claimed that school teachers strengthen the base upon which the society rests. Yet they are not being given much importance as compared to the college lecturers. Talking to educationists it was observed that more people prefer college lecturership because school teachers do not enjoy high status as those of their college peers. They are not adequately paid and working hours are more in comparison to the college lecturers.

Harold Carver, Principal, St Stephens School, says “All over the world school teachers are paid a pittance. Though these teachers are nation builders, still they are an exploited lot. There are financial constraints linked inherently with the school teaching profession. A person has to be exceptionally dedicated to opt for the teaching profession. Teaching in schools must provide financial stability to the teachers. The lure of a big salary should be at the initial stage of the profession and not at the fag end of the innings as a teacher. But it is true that schools have to charge more from the students to pay more to the teachers. Teachers mould the future of kids. Like the Australian rules, the salary of Indian teachers should be brought on par with the pilots. Incentives should be given to the school teachers. School management should be armed with the power to raise the grades of efficient teachers.

Ms K. Atmaram, former Principal, GCG, Sector 11, said, “Basic emoluments are same for the senior secondary lecturers in schools and colleges. Rules framed by the CBSE are flouted by most of the private school managements. The best and highly qualified teachers are needed in schools. For example, to teach a language, one has to have total command over that particular language. Postgraduation is not enough as one needs to do more detailed study to teach a language subject. More people prefer colleges to schools, because school hours are longer and there is more discipline. Sincerity is the most essential virtue of a schoolteacher. School level teaching is being neglected. This is baseless notion among people that college lecturers command more respect in society as compared to school teachers. Status is achieved by ability and efficiency of a teacher. College teachers may be enjoying more status but most of them are not as dedicated as are school teachers. So far as emolument are concerned, they should be raised for school teachers.”

Mr R.C. Jeevan, Principal, DAV College says “More people opt for college lecturership because work load is less in colleges. Going by Indian mentality, people prefer to choose the path of less resistance and effort. College lecturers enjoy high status in comparison to school teachers. Mostly people want to rise high in life without working much. College lecturer is always an attraction because of more status, less working hours and handsome salary. While working in colleges, lecturers also run their private businesses, tuitions and coaching academies. Dilution of norms has led to the dilution in quality”.

Ms Jasmine Jakhar, Lecturer, Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 33, said “Good qualified teachers are there in schools, but they are not getting better working conditions. In colleges the lecturers have more scope for expanding their horizons. If one is doing good in schools, one must get incentives for better working ability. A college lecturer enjoys more status and is looked upon as a better professional. Schoolteachers are not getting the respect which they deserve. Primary teachers do the work of a mother, as well as, a teacher. They are the ones who guide the child from the very beginning. Teacher should be given more time to explore his individuality. He should be given recognition and respect for his performance. Schoolteachers perks should be brought on par with the college lecturers. Schoolteachers should also be given better grades and perks.

Mr J.P. Singh, Principal, St Kabir School, while commenting on the topic said, “Every school would like to employee the best teachers. A good school is one with highly qualified, dedicated and honest teachers. Schoolteachers are the nation builders, still they are not a well paid category.

Teachers need much more respect than what they are getting. Private school managements should come forward and give their teachers good grades. Money is the prime factor in life. Schools must provide respectable working conditions for teachers.

Better grades and salary should start from scale of Rs 7000-8000. Mostly women come to this profession to while away their time and are not serious about it. Teachers should be encouraged with new ideas.”

Harpreet Sangha, Lecturer, SGGS College, says “I would always prefer to go for teaching in a school but the truth is that college lecturership commands more respect.

Thus better qualified candidates prefer college lecturership and also teaching hours are less. Pay scales are much higher as compared to the school grades.”

The authorities who are at the helm of affairs should hike the pay scales of school teachers to bring it to the level of college scales. Besides, personal liking also matters.

One needs to be patient to teach small children and one must have the aptitude to teach kids. The viewpoint of society also needs to be changed.”


Forum serves notice on CHB
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Taking serious note of the delayed possession of the dwelling units in Sector 38 (West) by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II has issued notice to the board for October 16.

According to sources, the notice has been issued on a complaint filed by Mr Pankaj Gupta, president of the HIG (Independent) Residents Welfare Association, Sector 38 (West), and an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Mr R.P. Bajaj, Presiding Officer, and Mr H.S. Walia and Ms Urvashi Agnihotri, both members, issued the notice.

In his complaint, Mr Gupta has submitted that as per the scheme floated by the CHB, the physical possession was to be handed over to the allottees up to September, 1998. However, the possession could be handed over only in February, 2000, putting the allottees to a lot inconvenience.

The complainant contended that the CHB was liable to pay interest to the allottees at the rate of 18% per annum on the amount which was lying deposited with the board for the delayed period. Interestingly, the same rate of interest is being charged by the CHB from the allottees also under the terms and conditions of the allotment.

Meanwhile, Mr Gupta informed that an identical case of HIG (Upper) flat had already been decided by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, vide orders dated November 1,2000. The commission had awarded interest at the rate of 18% to the allottee up to the date of possession.

It may be recalled that the board had floated the five schemes — HIG (independent), HIG (lower), HIG (upper), MIG and LIG — under its mega project costing around Rs 75 crore in Sector 38 (west) in 1996. Nearly 1,700 allottees were to be handed over possession by September, 1998, but it got delayed for one reason or the another.

The possession was reportedly delayed as the Engineering Wing of the Chandigarh Administration had failed to carry out the internal development of sector on time. Later, the CHB had decided to undertake the internal development of those areas in which it proposed to construct the dwelling units so that the possession could be handed over in time.


DPI sets up probe panel
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
In less than three days after a school teacher allegedly asked the entire class slaps four classmates for reportedly annoying her, the Director Public Instructions for Schools, Mr D.S. Saroya, today ordered the “withdrawal of the tutor from the school with immediate effect”. The DPI also directed the setting up of a committee of two senior officers to look into the matter.

Confirming the information, the DPI, when contacted, said the teacher Ms Nirmal Saini, had been asked to report in the District Education Office till further orders.

Giving details of the committee, Mr Saroya said the committee would include Deputy Director, Adult Education Sudesh Kalra and District Education Officer Brahmjit Kalia. “The officers will conduct preliminary inquiry into the matter and submit report by Tuesday,” he asserted. “Further action would be taken after receiving the report”.

It may be recalled that about 37, students studying in Class IV in Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37 had reportedly slapped four of their class fellows ‘following their teacher’s orders.

One of the four , Khushpreet, was admitted to the PGI following the incident. He was later discharged but was asked to visit the Institute again for an ENT test as he had been complaining of hearing loss.

A daily diary report has also been lodged by Khushpreet’s father at Sector 39 police station.


Vishakapatnam MC team meet counterparts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
A delegation of Municipal Corporation of Vishakapatnam (MCV), including the Deputy Mayor, Mr M. Appala Raju, and floor leaders of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telugu Desam Party ( TDP), Mr P.L.N. Patnaik, Mr H. Apparao Reddy and Mr P.G.K. Varma respectively, today visited the MC office here and met the Mayor, the Commissioner, officers and councillors.

During an informal meeting held in the assembly hall of the MC office, the 37-member delegation, including councillors and certain officials of Vishakapatnam, interacted with their counterparts to know about the functioning of the civic body.

They also apprised the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, and the Commissioner, Mr M.P, Singh, about their system of functioning and made certain enquiries about sanitation, electricity, horticulture and public health wings of the MC. They also asked about the financial health of the MC.

Talking to mediapersons, the leader of the House, Mr Patnaik, said roads and beautification of the city was at a par with Canada in terms of the length of the roads and cleanliness. He further observed that the city was well planned and architecturally very sound.

Mr Patnaik said that since the work of civic bodies was the same all through, the system should also be uniform in all the MCs of various states and union territories. For instance, the term of the Mayor should be either five years or one year and the system of election should either be direct or indirect.

Ms P. Sailakshmi, a corporator was impressed with the sanitation arrangements in the city. She informed that their 50-member MC House had 26 ruling Congress councillors, one CPM councillor, three independents, 16 TDP councillors and four BJP councillors. Besides this, there were seven co-opted members elected by the corporators. The term of the Mayor was five years, who was directly elected by the public, she added.

On the arrival of the delegation, the Mayor welcomed them and presented a bouquet to the Deputy Mayor. The leader of the House of the MCV, Mr Patnaik, was presented a bouquet and so were the floor leaders of the BJP and the TDP.

At the end of the function, the Mayor presented an insignia to the MCV Deputy Mayor. They also presented a shawl and insignia to her. They went around the city to see various civic aspects.


MC poll: 581 polling booths identified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The initial draft lists of polling booths and number of voters in each ward, prepared by the State Election Commission have been issued to the Returning Officers for verification keeping in view the forthcoming MC elections . As per the list, 581 polling booths have been identified in 20 wards . These lists also indicate the location of the booth and the number of voters in each of them.

According to these lists, ward No. 7, which belongs to BJP Councillor and former Deputy Mayor, Mr Bachan Singh, has the highest number of voters ( 45,000) and ward No. 10, which belongs to former Mayor, Ms Kamala Sharma, has the highest number of polling stations ( 53).

Further, five of the total eight Returning Officers who have been allocated these 20 wards by the State Election Commissioner, UT, have already started inspecting the polling booths located in the wards under their charge and are required to scrutinise the objections and claims received till September 6. Further, they will make the necessary corrections in the list after personal verification of the objections and claims before September 8. The final draft list of polling booths and the number of voters in each will be displayed on September 10 after the necessary corrections are made in accordance with the Returning Officer’s reports.

The State Election Commissioner had earlier allocated wards 1,2, 14 and 20 to the DPI (Schools), Mr D.S Saroya; wards No. 3,4,5 and 12 to the Assistant Estate Officer, Mr S.P Arora; ward No: 6,7,8 and 9 to CGM, CITCO, Mr N.S Brar; ward No. 10, 11, 16 and 17 to the Administrative Officer, GMCH-32, Mr Sunil Bhatia and ward No. 13, 15, 18 and 19 to the Director, Transport, Mr Amar Pal Singh. Each of these officers has about 100-150 polling booths under his charge.

As per the initial list there will be 581 polling booths in various wards and the approximate number of voters is 5.5 lakh. However, these figures are likely to change in the final list. The number of voters has increased in the wards as the additions of the revised supplementary lists indicating new voters who have attained the age of 18 on September 1, 2000 and September 1, 2001 or the migratory population which has moved in, have also been incorporated in the existing Lok sabha electoral list. While the population of voters has increased during the past five years, the number of wards have remained the same, hence the number of polling booths have been increased accordingly.

Meanwhile, the number of voters in some wards will increase due to the rehabilitation of certain colonies. For instance, three labour colonies have been shifted to Mauli Jagran, which falls in ward No. 19 and an increase in the number of voters is likely to be significant here. However, the number will decrease in ward No. 17, from where the people had shifted to Mauli Jagran.

Similarly, the number of voters will increase in ward No. 10, since some of the residents of Sector 31 labour colony, who did not get plots in Mauli Jagran, either moved to Colony No. 5 or Bhagat Singh Colony.


Two transmitters inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, inaugurated two low power transmitters (LPTs) to telecast Doordarshan (I) and Doordarshan (II) programmes from the Doordarshan kendra in Sector 37 here today.

On April 28 this year, the minister inaugurated the same Doordarshan kendra here. Addressing a gathering after the inaugural ceremony, she announced the setting up of a Doordarshan kendra in Haryana on September 25. The minister did not specify where in Haryana will the kendra be located.

She said the DD kendra in Chandigarh would have 500 W and 300 W transmitters, respectively. The kendra is equipped with latest state-of-the-art equipment, Ms Swaraj added.

The functioning of these transmitters would enable the kendra to transmit locally-produced programmes in addition to relaying those being transmitted from the Doordarshan kendra in Jalandhar, she said.

The Deputy Director-General, Doordarshan, Mr Anees-ul-Haq, said modalities were being worked out for starting a daily 45-minute programme from the kendra here.

Presently with the inauguration of the two LPTs, a 45-minute programme will be transmitted from this kendra on Monday and Thursday.

A brief cultural programme followed and was held at the PGI’s Bhargava auditorium.


IT revolution did us proud: Sushma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
‘‘Knowledge, discipline and character, are the three qualities in every Indian which have led to our nation making a mark for itself the world,’’said Ms Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, addressing the students of Panjab University here today.

In a prize distribution ceremony organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) state branch in association with the campus unit of the ABVP, Ms Sushma Swaraj gave away prizes to more than 180 PU toppers.

Her well-worded address was punctuated with constant applause and sloganeering by the students, many of whom came out of the university’s law auditorium completely moved with the speaking prowess of Ms Swaraj.

Relating incidents from her political and student life, Ms Swaraj told the students that although the nation had made a lot of progress in the past fifteen years, much still needed to be done. “ Thanks to information technology revolution and our role in it we have made a place for ourselves internationally,’’ she said.

Talking about one of her favorite topics, she proudly stated that women had clearly surpassed men in most fields of education . ‘‘Earlier there used to be one women after every twenty men getting an award or a prize but now there are more women than men getting prizes. The same thing happened today. But then I am sure that though women feel proud of what they have been able to achieve, they would also like men to be their equal. At the same time, men should consider this as a challenge.’’she said.

Recalling her days in Panjab University as a student of law, she said from 1970 to 1973, she was among the seven girls in the class of over 200 students.‘‘All seven of us had thought of what we wanted to do with our lives and I am happy to say that six of them have achieved their aims. I wanted to become a lawyer but I ended up in politics,’’ she said.

Ms Swaraj later was introduced to the members of the ABVP at the ICCSR, where she signed autographs for them.

The Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) have stated in a press note that the office-bearers of PUTA met Ms Swaraj and presented her with a memorandum.

Talking to TNS, Ms Swaraj said there was no problem if the students celebrated Valentine Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Friendship Day. ‘‘Celebrating these days is just a supplement to our own rich culture. We do not have to like the Westerners wait for days to respect our parents or show love to dear ones we are doing it all the time and if we do it one more day in an year it will not affect the richness of our culture,’’ he said. 


Financially sound MC may get no funds
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 3
The “sound” financial health of the local civic body is proving to be a hurdle in its efforts to get funds from the Infrastructure Development Fund. An amount of Rs 50 crore was recently released by the Punjab Government for development works in various civic bodies in the state.

Of the total Rs 2.10 crore released for Ropar district, not a single penny was likely to be given to the SAS Nagar Municipal Council. With a projected income of Rs 17 crore of the total budget of around Rs 21 crore for the current financial year, the civic body did not require any financial help, said an official of the district administration. With the likely abolition of octroi, we would be left little funds, said on official of the civic body.

Enquiries revealed that money from the Infrastructure Development Fund — to be released through the Deputy Commissioner — was likely to be distributed among the civic bodies at Kharar, Kurali, Morinda, Anandpur Sahib and Ropar. The money would be allocated on the basis of report of committees comprising officials of municipal councils under the respective Subdivisional Magistrates.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, when contacted, said the financial status of the SAS Nagar and Nangal civic bodies was good. The financial health of Kharar, Morinda and Kurali civic bodies was not good and they required funds, he said, adding that the exercise of allocating the funds was under progress.

The officials of the civic body were keeping their fingers crossed in connection with the move by the government to abolish octroi. The decision would have far-reaching financial implications for the civic body as 90 per cent of its income was from octroi collection. The civic body does not levy other type of taxes like house tax, commercial tax and fee to clear the lay out plans of houses. A move by the council to earn around Rs 2 crore by imposing the tax at a rate of 10 per cent of the rental value of the property concerned had been declined by the government.

“If the octroi is abolished, the civic body will be left with an income of around Rs 3 crore, which includes income of Rs 1.60 crore from excise duty on liquor and on electricity duty. Even if we have an income of around Rs 3 crore we will not be able to pay the salary of 250 strong staff of the civic body”, said an official. Around Rs 5 crore was annually spent in disbursing salaries of the employees.


Woeful state of ‘defence sector’
Tribune News Service

The ‘‘defence sector’’ of the city — Sector 36 — continues to be plauged by problems as the authorities concerned look the other way.

This sector houses a large number of retired defence officers, besides other eminent persons from different walks of life. It has some of the best facilities, but the maintenance of these facilities leaves much to be desired.

The Sector 36-D market is a picture of neglect. The parking area in front of the shop-cum-offices has not been recarpeted, with the result that parking becomes a nightmare. Moreover, the adjoining booth market does not have a parking area worth the name. Repeated representations to the authorities to give this market a parking lot have gone in vain, complaints Lt-Col B.S. Sekhon (retd), convener of the Sector 36 Consumers Forum.

This apart, the misuse of the SCOs is common. There are at least a dozen teaching shops in the market and a large number of students who go there for coaching, add to the parking problem.

The vacant space near the market is used for dumping stone metal. Wild vegetation adds to the problem. With a majority of streetlights defective, thefts are common in the market, alleges the president of the booth market.

The residents complain that the road dividing Sector 42 and 36 has become a traffic hazard. Besides, garbage and manure are dumped on the rear side of the houses in the C section of the sector.

Though the supply of water and power is better than many other sectors, the collection of garbage remains unsatisfactory. The pruning of the trees has not been done and the parks in the sub-sectors are not properly maintained.

The vacant area on the eastern side of the stormwater ‘‘nullah’’ has been turned into an open air defecation ground. This problem has been brought to the notice of the officials concerned, but nothing has been done.

The Sector has a premier college, MCM DAV College, and a couple of good schools. The Garden and Fragrance and the Defence Service Officers Institute add to the glory of the Sector.


Kharar’s water problem unresolved
Shashi Pal Jain

The water supply scheme of Kharar involves an investment of about Rs 1 crore and a recurring expense of about Rs 3 lakh a month, and still the residents are not getting adequate supply of drinking water. Erratic supply of electricity and unscheduled power-cuts aggravate the situation further.

The population of Kharar city, and the two villages of Mundi Kharar and Khanpur is about 30,000 and seven tubewells constitute the source of the water supply to this area. Still in many areas such as Govind Colony, Randhawa Road, Ranji nagar etc the residents are not getting sufficient water. In some areas the supply is almost negligible. An overhead reservoir constructed some years ago has proved of little use as it is difficult in the present circumstances even to fill it with water.

Mr Hardeep Singh of Ranjit Nagar says that the area does not receive any water for days together. When there is no water supply, the residents depend on hand pumps, although some of these yield water unfit for consumption.

Mr Ranbir Singh, President, and Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Executive Officer of the municipal committee, hold the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board responsible for the situation. They say that the management of the water supply system was taken over by the committee in 1998 from the board and only after that they had realised the actual position. They maintain that the pipelines are faulty. In this connection they cite the example one pipeline which starts with three inch diameter which is gradually increased to 12 inches. This prevents the building up of water pressure. The tubewell in Mundi Kharar, they say, is at a low level where as the water has to be supplied to higher areas.

The committee has installed three new tubewells in 2000-2001 but still the residents are not getting adequate supply. The committee does not have a technical staff to manage the water supply system and has requested the government sanction a post of Junior Engineer.

The committee needs more fund to install two more tubewells. A grant of Rs 25 lakh announced by the Chief Minister last year is yet to reach the committee.


Three-hour dharna by BKU
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 3
The members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, led by its district president, Mr Shamsher Singh Gharuan, sat in dharna for more than three hours in 132 kv station, Bhagu Majra (Kharar), today to protest against the erratic supply of electricity to the residents of villages for the past many days and failure on the part of the employees of the PSEB in solving various complaints of the villagers. They raised slogans also. A few hundred farmers, including women, sat in dharna which started at 11.30 a.m. today.

Mr Shamsher Singh Gharuan, while addressing the gathering, said the supply of electricity from Garangan feeder was erratic. He said on September 2 the supply of electricity to residential houses was for one hour only and for agricultural purposes it was only for two and a half hours only instead of eight hours. He alleged that the service of the employees of the board was very poor and they did not replace a defective transformer for many days together in spite of requests.

He alleged that Rs 500 had been taken for replacing a transformer in Gharuan. He alleged that no employee of the board had been deputed in the substation in Gharuan and people during night were facing a lot of problems.

He alleged that the board had not fixed any time for power cuts in villages and it all depended upon the desire of the officers.

He said the wires were too low in villages and could cause any mishap any time. He said if the officials failed to improve the condition within seven days, the BKU would resort to strict action.

The dharna was lifted when the SDO assured them that he would try to solve various problems of the farmers.


Riar, Harjinder meet Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
In a bid to unite the faction-ridden local unit of the SAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister and General Secretary of the SAD, called the meeting of the two factions here today.

According to sources, Mr Dhindsa called leaders of the two factions separately and is understood to have impressed upon need of unity in the local unit in the wake of the coming elections to the Punjab Assembly and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC).

The local president, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, and the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, met Mr Dhindsa separately and expressed their point of view.

It may be recalled that there had been a long-standing dispute between the two leaders. The gulf between the two widened following the defeat of the Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh, a close confidant of Mr Riar, by Ms Harjinder Kaur in the mayoral election held last month.

While Ms Harjinder Kaur has the blessings of Mr Dhindsa, Mr Riar is considered close to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.


Kang for repair of Kharar roads
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 3
Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president, Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, and one of the aspirants for the SAD ticket from the Kharar Assembly constituency, yesterday urged the Punjab Government to immediately order the repair of 13 prominent roads of Kharar areas the people of this area were facing a lot of problems. He said he had met the Chief Minister of Punjab and had given him a list of the roads which required repair.

Mr Kang was addressing local mediapersons in the Press Room here. He said the reason why Kharar area was lacking in development works was that the elected MLA’s from Kharar did not pay much attention to the development works. He said because of this the people of Kharar has suffered a lot.

He said right from the tercentenary celebrations, too much development works, especially in the case of roads, had been done, but a few development works had been done in Kharar area. He assured that if he would be elected by the people then he would try his best to solve the problems faced by the people of this area.

He assured that the action would be taken against the officers who were lacking behind in solving the problems of the people. He added that the water shortage in Kharar would be tackled soon. He said encroachments on land of the panchayat samiti would be removed soon.

He was accompanied among others by Mr Ranbir Singh, president, and Mr Preetkanwal Singh, vice-president, of the Municipal Committee, Kharar.


Second block of vet hospital opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP of Chandigarh, today inaugurated the second block and the first floor of the Veterinary Hospital Building of Chandigarh run by the society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Sector 38.

Ms Harjinder Kaur, Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, accompanied Mr Jain as the guest of honour on this occasion.

A press note issued by the society said that Mr Jain honoured animal welfare activists, & SPCA members and students of the local Dev Samaj College of Education and Dev Samaj Junior Model School, Sector 21, for propagating the message of compassion for animals.

He also released a souvenir “Millennium 2000” brought out by the SPCA.

Mr Jasbir Ralhan, president of the SPCA said , the society was allotted a sum of Rs 7.12 lakh under the MP Local Area Development Scheme for the purchase of ambulance when Mr Jain was an MP. The vehicle so acquired was providing service to sick and injured animals.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Dr S.K. Sharma, Dr J.C. Kochar, patron and honorary general secretary of the society, respectively.



Dealing in artefacts
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

A passion to decorate her home has turned her into an artefacts dealer. A former model of Eve’s Weekly and wife of a Naval officer, Mrs Nirmal Nagra travels throughout the country to select artefacts. Besides this, she is a familiar name in gardening and landscaping.

Her unique taste was always appreciated by her friends and it was in the late 60s that she started organising exhibitions and sales of her collection. “I organised sales at Pune, Mumbai, Jamnagar and the response at these places was tremendous. In Chandigarh, when I had to select presents for my friends I realised the lack of such things. Then I thought of opening an outlet”, she says. Her outlet in Hotel Mountview includes items such as old statues, pottery, jewellery and decoration pieces like traditional diyas from Karela, UP, Karnataka etc.

To procure these items, she travels widely. “But I never compromise on quality and unless I get things that satisfy me, I do not buy them merely for the sake of buying,” she says. She has also tied up with some dealers at several places who she says, have also guided her in her business. “Initially I did not know the different aspects of the trade, such as pricing the products, which I learnt from the dealers.”

“I feel ecstatic when I learn about various cultures, forms of art that form the background of these items”, she says. Through this work, she is also able to promote tribal art.

Most of her clients come from Delhi and other places and people in Chandigarh still have a lot to learn when it comes to such things, she feels.

Managing things has never been a problem for her as she has always been involved in some work or the other like landscaping which she has done for many reputed companies. Learning the intricacies of whatever she does makes it interesting. Whether it is music, which she did for two years, or modelling, or gardening or decorating her home, it has been a success story.

Her family has always been her priority. besides the few hours at work, she prefers to spend the rest of the time at home. “In fact unless you feel contented at home, you cannot perform well professionally,” she asserts.


Mayor felicitated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Sector 46 -D Residents Welfare Forum (Kothies) today organised a welcome function for the new Mayor of Chandigarh, Ms Harjinder Kaur.

A press note issued by forum said residents highlighted their demands before the Mayor. These included development of green belt, pitiable condition of roads in their sector, menance of stray dogs and cattle, removal of Congress grass and the construction of bus shelter in Sector 45.

The note said the Mayor assured the residents of immediate redressal of their grievances.


Set up children’s society: Rao
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The national president of the Samata Party , Mr VV Krishna Rao, today stressed the need for setting up a children’s society to make children aware of their rights.

Addressing a party workers’ meeting at Palsora Colony here, Mr Rao also stressed the need for empowerment of women.

He assured the residents that their problems would be taken up with the authorities concerned by the party.

Earlier, Mr Rao was welcomed by party workers led by Mr Hem Raj, president of the local unit, Ms Poonam Sharma, president of the Mahila Samata Party, and Mr Ajay Kumar, president of the Youth Wing of the Samata Party.


Tree plantation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Jeevan Bima Welfare Cultural Society today held a tree plantation function in its colony.

A press note issued by the society said Mr R.C. Sodhi, Senior Divisional Manager, who was the chief guest, explained the value of tree plantation and the way trees helped improving environment.


13 held on gambling charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The local police has arrested 13 persons from different places in Sector 39 on the charge of gambling at a public places. A sum of Rs 1,330 and four packs of cards were seized from them.

The police has registered four cases in this regard. Charan Singh, Som Pal and Satish Kumar were arrested in one case and Rs 309 were seized from them, while Mukesh, Salim and Tek Chand were arrested in the second case and Rs 361 were seized.

A sum of Rs 450 was seized from Lallu Parsad, Anand, Rajinder and Sanjeev Kumar, while Rs 210 were seized from Deepak Kumar and Ajay Kumar.

According to the information available, all accused were arrested from Daddu Majra and Maloya colonies. The accused have been booked under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

Theft in temple
Cash worth Rs 4,000 was stolen from Radhey Krishan Mandir, Sector 14, during the night intervening September 1 and 2.

According to the information available, the lock of the temple was broken open by the miscreants. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Purse stolen
A purse containing Rs 1000, keys and some documents was stolen from Saini Bhavan, Sector 24, last evening. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Hit-and-run case
A pedestrian, Ashu Kiran, was hit by a car (CH-01E-9990) in Sector 8 on the night of September 1. He was admitted in the General Hospital, Sector 16. The car driver sped from the spot with the car. A case under Sections 279, 337 of the IPC has been registered.

One held
Manohar Lal, a resident of Mariwala town, Mani Majra , was arrested from near Fauji Dhaba last evening and 13 bottles of country made liquor were seized from his possession. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Man beaten up
In yet another case of road rage, two persons are alleged to have beaten up a man after he banged his car in their scooter near Grain Market Chowk this afternoon.

According to information, Mata Ram Dhiman received a fracture on his hand when he was allegedly bashed up by Sanjeev Bhalla and Suresh Bhalla. It is learnt that Dhiman’s car rammed into the scooter of the Bhallas.

The duo allegedly pulled Mr Dhiman out of his car and beat him up. The police has registered an FIR under Sections 279, 427, 323 and 34 of the IPC and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act.

SAS Nagar

Truck hits bus
At least 39 passengers travelling in a CTU bus, plying on the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar route ( no. 38), had a miraculous escape when the bus was hit by a truck ( PB-12-A 2607) near the Phase 7 trafficlights. The brakes of the truck had reportedly failed, said a police official. The driver of the truck, Tarsem Singh, also received injuries in the accident.

Car recovered
A Maruti car (PB-02-P-0945), which was stolen from Phase 5 here yesterday, was today recovered from the PTL traffic lights. Jagtar Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur, who was driving the stolen car, was arrested.


UT is a preferred IT destination
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Despite some aggressive hardsell by the Punjab Government to project SAS Nagar as an up-and-coming electronic city and the next IT destination, Chandigarh remains a preferred IT destination for the investors.

Although patterned on the model of Chandigarh, SAS Nagar has always remained a poor cousin of Chandigarh. The infrastructure and the quality of life together with a compact and responsive administration available in Chandigarh is matchless. Little wonder, IT investors prefer to give a close look to Chandigarh rather than SAS Nagar.

Although Punjab is in the process of setting up an IT park in association with Mahindra, it is the IT park being developed by the UT Administration at Kishangarh village which seems to be more attractive to the potential investors. According to official information available with the UT Administration, a number of potential IT investors have shown interest in the new IT park at Kishangarh.

Chandigarh already has about 65 IT units which are exporting software worth Rs 30 crore a year. With the coming up of IT park at Kishangarh, Chandigarh could become an even more popular IT destination.

SAS Nagar, has not been able to interest any major IT investor so far. Those who are already there or are in the process of shifting there like HFCL and Quark India Pvt. Ltd., are not exactly overjoyed.

Quark India Pvt Ltd, is at present operating from a rented premises at Chandigarh’s industrial area. It will soon be shifting to its own building at SAS Nagar. “When we decided to set up our own base in this part of the country two years ago, the proposed IT park for Kishangarh was not even conceived. And now, it is too late for us. We have already purchased land at SAS Nagar and constructed our new building at SAS Nagar”, says Mr Bal V. Sehgal, Executive Officer of Quark Media House (India) Pvt Ltd.

But given the choice, he admits, Quark might have preferred to stay put in Chandigarh. “Not only the infrastructure in Chandigarh is good, the UT Administration is also a small, compact unit which is much quicker to respond to the problems of the investors”.

“Ïn Punjab, on the other hand, things move at their own pace. Despite all the anxiety and eagerness shown by the people at the top to attract IT investors, the mindset of the bureaucracy has remained the same.”

“Take our own experience. We had to run to different places for different clearances for setting up our office in SAS Nagar. Why cannot the Punjab Government provide a single-window facility for IT units? They have been promising to do so for a long time”, points out Mr Sehgal.

Quark will shift to its new office at SAS Nagar by the end of this month. Built at a cost of Rs 30 crore, the Quark office is spread over an area of five acres. The new building reflects the Quark philosophy of developing the personality of its employees as well.


Impressive display of heavy machines
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, September 3
A ‘Balle-balle show’ with EJCB Machines, was organised, perhaps for the first time in North India, by Escorts JCB Limited, manufacturers of earthmovers and construction equipment at Daulat Singhwala village on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

According to officials, the show was intended to display the versatility of Excavator Loaders. The manoeuvrability and the driftness of the machines were highlighted as they went through their routine works while latest tunes, played in the background.

A youngster, dressed as Charlie Chaplin, added to the glamour of the show. A number of machine dealer and residents of the surrounding villages thronged the venue to enjoy the show.

Earlier, Mr Onkar Singh Smar, Managing Director of the Company, disclosed that the company is among the five top manufacturers of earthmoving and construction equipment in the world and number one producer of backhoe loader.

He further said a total of seven to eight per cent of the machines produced by the company were sold in the state market. Earlier, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat were the major buyers of these machines.

More than 200 machines have been purchased by various Municipal Councils and nagar panchayats in Punjab till date and 500 by the Indian Army. Over 1,000 machines are still operating in the Bhuj area which was rocked by an earthquake recently, claimed Mr Eash Jaitly, Assistant Vice-President of the company.

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