Wednesday, September 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



UT faux pas on voters’ list
Confusion over labour colony voters
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
In a major faux pas by the UT Administration, thousands of residents of labour colonies in Sectors 31 and 47, facing the Indian Air Force station, continue to figure in the voters’ list for ward numbers 17 and 18 of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation long after they were officially removed from there and shifted to Mauli Jagran and other locations in the UT. The Administration has created even polling stations for them in this area.

The five-year term of the MC is coming to an end later this year when the House will to go the polls to elect new councillors from different wards.

The two wards in the outgoing House are represented in the MC by BJP councillors Ranjana Shahi and Kamlesh Sharma. The “paper presence” in the voters’ list of the two wards of thousands of voters of the colony which no longer exists physically has created a piquant situation for the two councillors. How to woo the voters who are not physically present in their wards? And even if they are contacted in Mauli Jagran and elsewhere and persuaded to cast their votes in the forthcoming election to the MC, can they be said to be voting to elect a representative from their area?

The issue was initially brought to the notice of the Administration at different levels by the BJP councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi, who is a High Court lawyer by profession. But so far there has been little action. Now Mrs Kamlesh Sharma has also written to the Election Commissioner pointing out the obvious distortion in the voters’ and the list of polling stations.

The issue was raised today with the Returning Officer of the ward, Mr Sunil Bhatia, by the BJP Mandal chief of the area, Dr M.S. Chauhan. The Returning Officer suggested that the matter be brought to the notice of the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Mr D.M.Khaneta, or the Chief Electoral Officer, Mr Karan A. Singh. The last date for filing objections to the list of polling stations is on Thursday but the list of polling stations is yet to be displayed.

When Ms Shahi was elected to the House five years ago, the ward no 17 had about 12,600 votes. Of these, nearly half the votes were from the illegal labour colony in Sector 31. Some time ago, the colony was bulldozed to the ground by the Administration and the cleared area was quickly taken over by the Air Force authorities and the UT Administration. While the Air Force built a seven-foot-high wall, the Administration put up a barbed wire fence around its land to prevent future encroachments.

In the parliamentary poll held two years ago, the voters’ list for ward no. 17 listed nearly 14,000 voters even though a large number of the residents had shifted to Mauli Jagran and elsewhere. The contesting candidates at that time are alleged to have provided the Mauli Jagran voters with transport and other allurements to ensure that they came to ward to cast their votes in the polling stations created for them in the ward.

Now, the voters’ list has swelled to nearly 16,000 because it continues to show the residents of now removed colony to be residents of ward no. 17. As pointed out by Mrs Kamlesh Sharma in her communication to the Election Commissioner, the vote of Shaheed Bhagat Singh colony have been rehabilitated in Sector 52, but their polling booths have been shown in Ram Darbar (ward No. 18) e.g. booth nos. 466, 466-A, 467, 524 etc.

Similarly, the old labour colony has been rehabilitated to Mauli Jagran, pocket no. 4. Their polling booths have been shown in Ram Darbar e.g. 284, 284-A, 285, 286 etc. They will also have to travel a long distance for casting their votes. She urged the Administration to establish polling booths where they had been rehabilitated.


Pvt bus operators call off stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The strike by private school bus operators was called off today and buses — other than those which are more than 15 years old — will return to the roads from tomorrow morning.

Parents who have been forced to ferry kids to schools in the past four days, can now heave a sigh of relief but keep an eye open for some initial teething problems.

Nearly 65 buses on school routes are more than 15 years old and alternative arrangements are being made by operators, said Mr Manjit Singh, president of the Private School Bus Operators Association, while confirming that the association had called off its strike today and members had been asked to run buses from tomorrow morning.

Mr Manjit Singh added: ‘‘We are sorry for inconvenience, if any, caused to the public in these four days and we thank them in supporting our cause as the Administration has allowed certain relaxations.’’

Since buses older than 15 years have to be off the road as per high court orders, the Administration has allowed the operators to purchase any bus which is less than 15 years old and it will be registered, Mr Manjit Singh claimed. The bus need not be brand new and these buses are available at lesser prices in the second-hand market.

The association has conveyed its decision to withdraw the strike to the Chandigarh Administration following a meeting with the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and also the Home Secretary-cum-Transport Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, today. Besides the operators, the delegation comprised a few school principals also.

Listing out further promises made by the Administration, Mr Manjit Singh said the registration of all buses would be done on Punjab pattern and no more pendency in registering brand new buses will occur. Besides, the Home Secretary promised that any bus which has applied for permits would not be impounded or challaned.

Mr Gujral said demands of operators like expediting certain day-to-day matters relating to the State Transport Authority would be sorted out. When asked how will the gap of 65 old buses be met, Mr Gujral said, “There are several options for schools like taking tourist bus on hire till the operators replace the 15 years old buses”.

Mr Manjit Singh added, “The association has 45 buses which are older than 15 years while other old buses are with individuals. The association at a meeting this afternoon conveyed to its members that alternative arrangements need to be made and they are on the job”.

The scene outside private schools was better today but still bordered close to chaotic for the second consecutive day following the strike by private bus operators. But today was much better as several buses which are owned by schools themselves and have valid permits to ply were back on roads. 


Plan to augment water supply to Panchkula
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 4
To salvage the parched city where water paucity is a chronic problem, the district authorities have recommended a water augmentation plan involving diversion of water from the canal of the Bhakra mainline to meet the requirements of the city.

Forwarded through the Commissioner, Public Health, to be taken up with the UT Administration, the proposed scheme highlights the fact that the city gets only 27.48 cusecs of water against a requirement of 78.27 cusecs, only one-third of the total demand of the city.

Sources in the administration said the UT Administration was being approached with regard to giving Panchkula its rightful share after it commissioned three phases of the augmentation scheme from the Bhakra main line canal at Kajauli.

According to information, at a meeting held in 1984 under the chairmanship of Minister of Company Affairs, the then Chief Minister of Haryana had demanded three cusecs of drinking water from the first phase which was approved.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, confirmed that the scheme had been sent to the Commissioner who would take up the matter with the Chandigarh Administration.

“As per the arrangement, we should get three cusecs of water from each of the phases of Chandigarh water augmentation scheme of the Bhakra main line. This is bound to ease the water problem a little while we work out alternative sources of water supply,” she added.

Admitting that drilling of more tubewells was certainly not the way out of the situation, Ms Arora said installation of tubewells would lead to greater depletion of underground water resources, overdrawing and no recharging of this water.

Meanwhile, as an alternative source, the district administration is tapping the water in the Ghaggar by constructing a check dam for which a separate report is being prepared.

“Put together, the two sources of water supply would lessen the gap between the demand and supply of water and prepare us better to meet the requirements of the residents during the summer months,” Ms Arora said.

Each summer, the problem of drinking water gets more and more acute with the newly commissioned tubewells also unable to meet the requirements of the city. Complaints of low water pressure, irregular supply and no supply on first and second floors of houses being to pour in with the advent of summers. 


Seven teachers selected for state awards
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, September 4
Seven teachers of the city, including principals of a private school and a government model school, have been selected for state awards while three others will get commendation certificates.

This is in recognition of their services, a spokesperson of the UT Education Department said tonight. Each state awardee is given a prize of Rs 5000 and a medal. In addition to this, each state awardee gets Rs 1500 from the National Foundation for Teachers Welfare. The teachers who get commendation certificate will get Rs 1000 each from the National Foundation for Teachers Welfare.

In all, seven distinguished teachers, including two principals, have been selected for the state awards. Besides seven state awards, three teachers have been selected for commendation certificates.

There are about 3500 government teachers and approximately 2500 teachers in privately managed recognised schools. Out of these, teacher’s selections are made every year for the state award.

The Principal of DAV School, Sector 15, Ms Rakesh Sachdeva, said, “It is a great honour to be selected for this award. Everybody likes to be recognised, it is a human urge to be praised. I will like to contribute more and more to the education field. My family has been supportive with me throughout my career of 21 years.”

On hearing about his award, Mr Sham Lal, who teaches English and social science, remarked, “A teacher has been given his due. I am in the teaching profession for the past 36 years. I am totally dedicated towards my profession.”

The Principal, GMSS, Sector 16, Mr Ram Kumar said, “In the 22 years of my service, I have performed my duty with sincerity. The award which will be given to me is just in return of the work which I should have done as a part of my duty. I performed my duty to the best of my ability.”

Ms Sunisha Kumari said, “I just cant express my emotions after hearing the news of being selected for the award. When your life achievements and contributions are recognised by the state at this level, one really feels elevated.”

Mr Pitamber Lal, lecturer, GSSS, Sector 38, said, “I received the news of getting the award with humility. I was really satisfied. I feel motivated to do much better and contribute to the society to the best of my ability.”

A committee under the chairmanship of the Education Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, and comprising Director Public Instructions, (Schools), Director, State Institute of Education, Regional Director, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, and Principal, St John’s High School, selected teachers for state awards. Nominations for the awards were received by the UT Education Department.

List of awardees

State awards: Mr Ram Kumar , Principal , GMSS, Sector 16; Ms Rakesh Sachdeva, Principal, DAV Model School, Sector 15; Ms Sunisha Kumari, lecturer, GGMSS, Sector 18; Mr Pitamber Lal, lecturer, GSS, Sector 38-West; Ms Kund Bala, lecturer, GGMSS, Sector 18; Dr Parvati Bai, TGT Hindi, GMSS, Sector 16; Mr Sham Lal, SS master GMHS, Sector 36.

Commendation certificates: Mr Sumesh Kumar, SS master, GMSS, Sector 32; Ms Gurjinder Kaur, SC mistress, GGMSS, Sector 18; Ms Usha Garg, TGT Hindi, GMSS, Sector 20-D.


Supplementary exams results to be declared in time
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Continuing its process of streamlining the conduct of examination and declaration of results, Panjab University will declare results of the forthcoming supplementary examination before the last date for filling up the examination forms for the 2002 annual examination.

In the past few years, the results of the supplementary examination have been declared late, forcing the deserving students to miss their chance in the subsequent examination. The move to declare the results before the last date of filling up forms for the annual examination have been confirmed by Mr A.R.Bhandari, the Controller of Examination.

Mr Bhandari says November 22 is the last date for filling up the examination forms for the annual examination. The private candidates will be special beneficiaries of the move.

The supplementary examination for BA and B Sc I will commence from September 27. A total of 61 papers are scheduled for the first day, including those of languages, arts, science, vocational and compulsory streams. The BA I examination will conclude on October 4.

Supplementary examination of BA and B Sc II will also commence from September 27 and end on October 3. The BA and B Sc III examinations commence from September 28 and will continues till October 4.

The practical examination in case of all three years of BA and B.Sc classes will be conducted between October 9 and 11. Candidates should contact their superintendents of examination before termination of written examination to know about their centre for the practical examination. In case of no confirmation of centre for practical examination, students should contact the Assistant Registrar (Conduct) on October 8.

The last date for submission of forms for the supplementary examination without late fee is July 27. The last date for submission of forms with a late fee of Rs 4,125 is August 27. Candidates can apply till September 18 with a late fee of Rs 8250.

The centres identified by the university for conduct of the supplementary examination for BA, B.Sc, BBA, BCA and B.Com classes include Abohar, Chandigarh (eight centres), Dasuya, Fazilka, Ferozepur City, Garhshanker, Hoshiarpur (two centres), Jagraon, Khanna (two centres), Ludhiana (five centres), Malout, Moga (two centres), Mukerian, Muktsar, Sidhwan Khurd and Tanda Urmar.

The annual written examination for BA, B.Sc, B.Com, BBA and BCA (all three years) commence from April 2, 2002, and the practical examination, scheduled before the theory examination, will be held from March 18, 2002, to March 30.

The examination in the postgraduate streams are scheduled to commence from April 15. The last date for filling up forms for private candidates is November 22 while the last date of filling up forms for regular and correspondence candidates is December 22. Candidates can fill up the admission forms as late as seven days before the commencement of annual examination with a late fee of Rs 8250.


Son of hotelier shot in Panchkula
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 4
A 27-year-old son of a hotelier was shot dead at a remote place near the new Ghaggar bridge near Sector 25 while he was on his way home in Sector 10 late last night. The deceased, Pankaj Rana, was reportedly fired at twice by three unidentified youths after stopping his vehicle on the road at about 10.30 pm.

The vehicle which Pankaj was driving was stopped by the three unidentified miscreants after obstructing the road by stopping their maroon-coloured car in front of his Indica car (HR-18C-0022). The trio first hit their vehicle on the right side of the Indica car while overtaking it.

The deceased objected and the miscreant smashed the windowpane of the driver’s seat, took out the car keys and fired two shots of .9mm bore revolver at Pankaj from a close range. The second bullet pierced the chest of the victim.

The assailants fled from the spot after committing the crime. Pankaj was noticed by Mr Subhash Bishnoi, a passerby, who stopped a motercyclist and the police was informed. Struggling for life, the victim was rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 6, where the doctors declare him brought dead.

Pankaj could hardly say “My house number is 420, Sector 10, and I was shot dead,” one of his family member told Chandigarh Tribune. Hailing from Chiria village near Dadri in Haryana, Pankaj’s father, Mr Karan Singh Rana, was living in rented accommodation in Sector 10. After his retirement from the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, he had opened a hotel on the Panchkula-Ramgarh road and Pankaj was also into this hotel business.

Brother of three sisters, Pankaj was married to Pooja in November last year and was the only son of his parents.

A family member said Pankaj closed down his hotel around 10 pm as he had to pick up some of his relatives from Zirakpur at 11 pm.

The police informed the family and a case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered. Forensic experts were called in and the police of surrounding states had been alerted.

The police found Rs 1,531 from the pocket of the deceased, apart from a mobile telephone and a wrist watch.

The SP said, old rivalry could be the cause of the murder. He refused to confirm the exact motive behind the firing incident and appealed to the public to inform the police on telephone by post or by e-mail ( in case someone had noticed the maroon-coloured car and recognised its occupants.


Burail jail inspected
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
A team comprising senior judicial, police and UT Administration officials has raised objections to the insanitary conditions in the Model Burail Jail during their inspection of the jail, here today.

The team included the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramshekhar, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, and the Sub-divisional Divisional Magistrate, Mr Gyanesh Bharti. The Superintendent of the Jail accompanied the officials in their inspection of the different parts of the jail.

The team reportedly inspected the barracks and prison cells. It also examined jail registers and records and met jail inmates.

The team observed that the toilet and other places were in very bad condition. Jail authorities were directed to keep the jail premises neat and clean.


Major parties sore over delay in getting draft lists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Even as the date of filing objections and claims to the voters lists prepared by the State Election Commission, UT, for the forthcoming MC elections is just two days away, the six national parties in the city are yet to receive all the draft lists of polling stations alongwith the voters list. The leaders of these parties are rather sore and are all set to seek an extension in the date for filing the same.

These lists prepared by the Election Commission have been displayed by the Returning Officers outside their respective offices, most of them are yet to make the same available to the six national parties in the city. These are the BJP, Congress, (BSP), National Congress Party (NCP), CPI and CPM.

According to information available, three of these parties namely, BJP, Congress and BSP have till date received only two lists from Returning Officers, Mr D.S. Saroya, who has been allocated (wards 1,2 14 and 20) and Mr Amar Pal Singh (wards 13, 15, 18 and 19). Of the total five Returning Officers appointed for the MC elections, the lists of the other three namely Mr S.P Arora (ward No: 3,4,5 and 12); Mr N.S Brar (ward No: 6,7.8 and 9) and Mr Sunil Bhatia (10,11, 16 and 17) are yet to be received by them. Sources reveal that the other three political parties have also received almost the same number of lists from the two officials.

The leaders of the local units of these political parties are resentful over the delay on the part of the Returning Officers concerned in despatching these lists to them as it will create difficulties for them in filing their objections and claims.

The president of local unit of BJP, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, said the officers should have despatched these lists atleast 10 days in advance for detailed verification.. For even if the remaining lists are received by tomorrow, we will find it difficult to make the said verifications. Hence, we intend meeting the officials to seek an extension in the date for filing these objections and claims. Even last time, the lists were received rather late and the verifications had to be done in a hurry.

The State Election Commission has invited objections and claims to these lists by September 6 and the necessary corrections have to be made by September 8. The final lists are to be displayed on September 10.

The president of the Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP), Mr Mataram Dhiman, said, “How do the officials expect us to file these objections/ claims when just two days before the last date the lists are still not with us.” It was for the election in charge to ensure that these lists had reached the leaders of all national parties 10 days in advance for proper verifications. He pointed out that even though the MC elections were nearly three months away, Delhi has already despatched the code of conduct and other related documents for these elections.

The president of the local unit of the Congress, Mr B.B Bahl, is also critical of the officials for the delay in supplying these lists. He said he would be writing to the State Election Commissioner, Mr S. Malaichamy seeking an extension in the date for filing these objections. He pointed out that even if these lists come by tomorrow, where is the time to scrutinise the same and file objections.

Mr Bahl further impressed on the need to update the electoral lists of 1999 by adding the figures of all those new voters who have attained the age of 18 at the time of revision of rolls on September 1, 1999 and September 1, 2000. The increase in numbers of migratory population should also be included in the final list.


YC workers quit Cong
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
Youth Congress workers under the leadership of Mr Rajesh Sharma, general secretary of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress, quit the Congress and joined the Chandigarh Vikas Manch here today.

In a press note, Mr Sharma said the Congress had lost credibility among the masses as was evident from the defeat of the party in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1996 and 1998. According to him, the Congress was able to win the last parliamentary elections only because Mr Harmohan Dhawan, former Union Minister and now president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, had joined the Congress before the elections. 


Govt intervention in education ‘disturbing’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Professor Andre Beteille, a former Head of the Department of Sociology at Delhi School of Economics, says he is “greatly disturbed at governmental intervention in education, especially school education. Otherwise, it is difficult to make judgment of the likely outcome of policies of the Union Government on secularisation of India”.

Delivering the P.N. Haksar Lecture on “Secularism” at the Sector 19 CRRID here this evening, Professor Beteille said doubts were now being raised on the consensus on secularism that we had 40-50 years ago considering it to be a good and desirable thing.

Former Foreign Secretary of India, Salman Haider will speak on “Post-Agra summit scenario” tomorrow , on the second-day of the week-long lecture series dedicated to Mr P.N. Haksar, a former Chairman of CRRID.

Though there are people who have been attacking secularism calling it to be pseudo-secularism. They question what secularism has achieved in 50 years maintaining that there have been too many pseudo-secularists around.

“I do not agree that there is only pseudo-secularism in India. The attack on pseudo-secularism has gone too far. I do not agree that Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru’s secularism was pseudo-secularism. Rather it was genuine secularism. There were two components of his secularism — equality and fairness and his deep faith in science. He believed that secularism was demanded by modern science and technology and for building modern institutions, secularism was required.

“The pertinent question is, Can secularism really prosper in Indian society especially when religion has a deep hold over the minds of the people. Rather I will put a counter question: Can modern India survive without secularism ?,” asked Professor Beteille.

If India wanted to emerge as a modern society could it do without secular institutions, he asked while referring to institutions like Panjab University, Reserve Bank of India and others describing them to be “secular”.

Secular ideology and the secular institution of citizenship have been the main highlights of Indian secularism which the country had to adopt because of historical as well as demographic compulsions, he said.

Professor P.N. Dhar, one of three founders of Delhi School of Economics, who was the guest of honour, wondered whether the Western model of secularism of complete separation of state from religion would have been ideal for India or not.

Professor Beteille said that though there have been violations of principles of secularism in all societies and may have been more glaring in India, but separation of state from religion was also not there in the Western concept with the exception of France. In the UK, which has by and large a secular society, the state was not secular as the Anglican Church was the official religion of the state.

Earlier, Mr Rachhpal Malhotra, Director, CRRID, in his address of welcome talked about the association of Mr P.N. Haksar with CRRID.

Among those who attended the lecture were Prof R.P. Bambah, Mr Salman Haider, Mr Ram S. Varma, Mr J.P Gupta, Mr S.C. Aggarwal and Mr Charanjit Singh Lohara. Prof B.L. Abbi presided over the lecture.


Trees endangering air safety axed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The lush green environs of the Air Force Station here have become a casualty to the IAF’s forthcoming Presidential Review. Virtually all trees within the perimeter of 12 Wing as well as the adjoining 3 Base Repair Depot have been chopped. According to estimates, over 500 wood-laden tractor-trolleys have been moved from the air force station over the past two-three weeks. The entire station now wears a barren look, with little or no shade available. Even shrubs and hedges, including those around the barbed-wire fences, have been removed or burnt. Consequently, structures and other installations, which were earlier hidden from view, can now be seen easily from outside the perimeter fence.

IAF authorities here are citing several reasons for clearing the station of trees. Besides keeping in mind the flight safety aspects, trees have been chopped down as dead leaves and twigs used to clog up the station’s drainage system. Further axing trees became a necessity to widen the roads. According to sources, a major reason for de-greening the station is to have a clear field of view for the fly-past. Directions to chop the trees have come from the highest level.

Officers here say that trees are a nesting place for birds, which are a hazard to flight safety. Bird-hits have been a major reason for accidents during low level flying, particularly during take-off.

The Presidential Review will involve a fly-past by about 98 aircraft in various formations. With the airbase’s perimeter ringed with hazards, flight safety is a major consideration with the authorities. Several measures for sanitising the airspace for the fly past to avoid any incident are being contemplated by the authorities. IAF sources say that some directions, which are applicable to all air force stations have been issued by Air Headquarters which requires a specified area around the runway and the dispersal bay to be clear of trees and vegetation. The IAF had removed trees from the stipulated area some time ago, but a large number of trees outside the technical area and those in the station’s domestic area had been left out. Now even these trees are facing the axe.


Minister’s statement decried
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Congress Municipal Councillors, Ms Kamlesh and Ms Suneeta, and Congress leaders, Mr Krishan Lal and Mr Banarsi Dass, have condemned the statement by the Union Minister for Food and Supply, Mr Shanta Kumar, in which he had said the ministry did not plan to hold a survey of the BPL ration cards in the city.

The leaders have pointed out that the Supreme Court’s order for survey for making new BPL cards includes the Union Territory of Chandigarh, but the minister was giving step motherly treatment to Chandigarh, even as many people were living below poverty line in the city.

The two councillors said earlier also they had written to the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen, JFR Jacob (retd) and Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, for a fresh survey for BPL cards.

In a press note issued here today, they have stated that it the survey for the BPL cards was not done, they will protest against his visit to the city and would also bring the matter to the notice of the Chief Justice of India.


Muddy water from taps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Residents of some parts of Sectors 18 and 19 have complained that muddy water was flowing from their taps for the past few days.

Mr Sunil Parti, a resident of Sector 18-C, said 10 days ago also they were confronted with the same problem, following which there was no water supply for three days. Then the supply improved for a day or two, but only to worsen again. At times even insects were found in tap water. Few other housewives in the area pointed out the difficulties faced by them in cooking food and doing other household chores due to muddy water supply. Layers of mud settle down in the buckets as soon as it is filled, said one of them.

Residents complain that the officials of the Public Health Wing of the MCC did not pay heed to their complaints. However, Superintending Engineer ( Public Health), Mr Swaran Singh Kanwal, said it was due to a fault in one of the tubewells supplying water to the area. “The problem has been rectified and the supply will improve from evening itself”, he added.


PUDA auctions 25 plots
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 4
In an open auction of residential plots in the town, PUDA earned Rs 3.42 crore by selling 25 plots in Sector 64 which were put under hammer here today. The maximum price was attracted by a 200-sq yard plot, which was sold for Rs 14.20 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 10.80 lakh.

Another plot of the same size was sold for Rs 14 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 10.80 lakh. An official of PUDA said all plots put under hammer were sold. The minimum bid was attracted by a plot no. 430 which was sold for Rs 12.60 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 10.80 lakh. All 200-sq yard plots were sold between Rs 12.60 lakh and Rs 13.75 lakh.

However, some of the corner plots with a reserve price of Rs 12.17 lakh attracted price between Rs 14 lakh and Rs 18.50 lakh. A corner plot no. 642-C was sold for Rs 18.50 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 17.42 lakh. 


Fauji Beat
Streamlining military justice
Tribune News Service

About two years after a proposal mooted by the Army Headquarters seeking changes in the Army Act was drafted, it continues to gather dust in the Ministry of Defence, affecting the system of military justice.

“As many as 10 amendments to the Army Act have been forwarded to the Ministry for approval, but these are still pending,” a senior officer of the Judge Advocate General’s branch revealed.

The proposed changes assume significance in the light of the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence which was placed before Parliament this week. It hauls up the military for its poor track record in administering justice.

“If there is a tendency to go to an outside agency to seek redress of grievances, it is apparent that there is a loss of faith in the system,” the report says. According to the report, since 1992 as many as 32,454 service personnel have “failed to get justice”, and gone to civil courts.

Even the Supreme Court recently observed that the Army Act was archaic and criticised the government for not bringing about the necessary changes in the Act. In fact, the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC), has directed the Institute of Military Law to study the tendency of seeking redressal from civil courts for perceived injustice done to men in uniform from their own authorities.

The last major changes in the Army Act was brought about in 1992, when eight amendments were incorporated in the Act. Another significant change was done some time ago when the judiciary had pointed out that courts martial did not give a reasoned order in support of their conclusions even while awarding the death sentence.

The amendments are aimed at making the procedures under the Act more transparent. While attempting to modify the Act in conformation with emerging judicial trends, it will also be brought on a par with the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which is applicable in civilian courts, source say.

While there is a move to bring about some transparency in the administration of military justice, sources said that the modifications would not result in a drastic change in the court martial procedures, nor would the basic structure of the Act be altered.

A three-member Supreme Court Bench had observed that even today the law relating to the armed forces remained static, requiring changes keeping in view the apex court’s 1982 observation, the constitutional mandate and changes effected by other democratic countries.

Expressing concern at the inadequacies of the Army Act, the Bench had observed that neither Parliament nor the Central Government appeared to have realised its constitutional obligations, as expected by the court.

This view is shared by both serving as well as retired JAG officers, who feel that the Army Act remains deeply mired in its colonial past and requires virtually a complete overhaul.

While describing the Act as “arbitrary” and devoid of “reasonable transparency”, JAG officers point out that even rules and laws governing the armed forces in the United Kingdom, on which the Army Act was initially modelled, have been amended. The United States also has a uniform code, and the law governing the armed forces is compatible with the civil code.

Sources say that though some amendments have been made in the past, these have made the system more rigid and failed to introduce any transparency. The changes were designed to plug the existing loopholes and had resulted in imposing more limitations, a JAG officer said.

Officers say that several anomalies in the procedures relating to the conduct of courts of inquiry and courts martial still exist, which need to be removed. “For instance, there still are no procedures regarding search and seizure while investigating a case,” a JAG officer said. “Also, the Army Act has no provisions for granting bail,” he added.

Officers reveal that a court martial is not bound to accept an application moved by the defence and at times these are summarily rejected, depriving the persons concerned of an opportunity to put across a point or view. ‘’Conscientiously, a court should accept all applications and if it may so warrant, dismiss them later,” the officer said.

Another anomaly in the court martial procedure is that, unlike civilian trials, the signatures of the accused or his counsel are not obtained after the evidence or statements are recorded. Sources say that since the statements recorded are not acknowledged, these become prone to tampering.

A significant anomaly in the court martial procedure is the absence of any appeal to review evidence, legal formulation and sentence awarded by a court martial. This has been observed by the judiciary as a “glaring” lacuna in a country where a civilian convict can go in appeal after appeal through a hierarchy of courts.


Internal peace is what counts’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
Guru Nanak Dev propagated for the upliftment of the society through his message of ‘kirat karo, vand chhako and naam japo’. It is the need of the hour to follow these principles in earnest. A person who realises the true meaning of life, all his efforts and activities are then automatically dedicated to religion.

This was stated by Sant Baba Harpal Singh of Sant Anant Mission, while addressing a press conference, here today. He said there was a great stress and strain in the West and race for worldly comforts is going on but, now they have realised that peace and tranquility can be achieved only on the Indian soil.

According to him , it is the internal peace which counts and could provide real comfort to the mankind and not the worldly pursuits. Baba Harpal Singh said the Mission would strive to work towards providing food, clothing and shelter to all those who will become ‘‘part of the Mission’’.

The Mission would provide medical help to the rural youth who have taken to drug addiction and would provide employment opportunities to them. He said unemployed youths have been accommodated in packing and distribution of langar to the people. The programme has already been started at Jallandhar and Dehradun.

The langar distribution programme was started in the city on Sunday with Ms Pauline Hansra, Mission Representative in Canada distributing langar in the Pir Colony, Palsora here.

Mr R.P.S Sarna, Chief Executive Officer of the Mission, said the mission would guide people towards spiritual growth and awareness through mass prayers.


Balongi bypass, adding to drivers’ woes
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 4
The recently inaugurated Balongi bypass, providing an alternative route to the town from Kharar side, has become a source of nuisance for the road users. A section of road near the cremation ground has become a virtual death trap, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the local civic body.

The road has developed four huge potholes large enough to overturn a truck. The road leads to the recently inaugurated bridge on Patiala ki Rao choe. Road users lament that the condition of the road had been such for the past several weeks.


A futile wait for minister
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Garibdas (Kharar), September 4
It was a futile wait for a VIP who never visited the village. Yesterday, inhabitants of this village had made elaborate arrangements for receiving the Punjab Minister of State for Irrigation and Power, but he did not turn up. The minister, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, told the Tribune that the visit was not on his schedule.

The villagers claimed that they were told by the PSEB officials that the minister would visit the village on Monday afternoon to listen to the grievance of the villagers regarding the power supply. The villagers had made arrangements to welcome the minister in the new school building of the village.


Firm charged with cyber crime
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The police today registered the first ever case of cyber crime in the city against a local firm, Techno Noble Infoway Limited (TNIL). The firm has been charged with hacking into the main server of a US- based concern.

According to information available, the local police has registered a case under section 66 (2) of the Information Technology Act and section 380 of the IPC. It is alleged that TNIL illegally down loaded confidential information from the FTP server in the USA, after the accused had made at least 15,000 attempts to log on to the FTP server in America. However, no arrests have been made. Interestingly, the police say that it is only after certain ambiguities in the case have been cleared that they will arrest the accused.

It is learnt that IGSP Inc., a US- based company , had given a contract to a local firm, IGSP Technology India Private Limited, for sending jobs for medical transcriptions . The Managing Director of the latter firm, Mr. O.P. Bhardwaj, is the father-in-law of Mr. Rakesh Sharma of IGSP, Inc. The US firm had given the sub- contract for medical transcription to the accused company.

According to the FIR registered on the complaint of the MD of IGSP Technology India Pvt. Ltd., Mr. O.P. Bhardwaj, it is alleged that the contract between IGSP India and TNIL was cancelled on August 21, 2001. The company also cancelled the access password given to TNIL. The police today conducted a search and seizure operation on the premises of TNIL in Sector 17. Two servers, two monitors, two hubs, switches, router, VPM devices, rod ASM and cables were seized by a police party led by the SP Operations, Mr. HGS Dhaliwal, and the DSP Special Crime, Mr. B.D. Bector.

However, the accused in this case are claiming that they are more sinned against than being the sinners. The Directors of TNIL , while talking to media persons, said that IGSP India had breached the contract and only when confronted for this breach of agreement, they got a case registered against them.

Mr Mohan Lal Goel, one of the Directors, said that TNIL and IGSP India had signed an agreement in July, 2000, and they had been assured a business of 10,000 lines for medical transcription daily. It was also agreed upon that in case this stage could not be achieved, TNIL would get payment of a minimum of 5000 lines. However, till date they were given business of not more than 800- 900 lines on an average and had also not been paid for 5000 lines- as per the terms of the contract.

They have also alleged that as against the terms of the agreement, they were not provided with the requisite number of software licences and original CDs of the software. Only foot pedals and sound cards were provided to them. 


Rs 50,000 stolen from scooter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
An amount of Rs 50,000 was reportedly stolen from the dickey of a scooter parked in front of Canara Bank in Sector 35.

According to the information available, Ms Indra Neel Datta , an employee of Shaw Wallace, had withdrawn Rs 50,000 from Allahabad Bank in Sector 17 at about 1 pm today. After withdrawing the money, he went to the Sector 35 branch of Canara Bank in Sector 35 to get a bank draft made. After about an hour, Mr Datta came out and found that the money had been stolen.

Man assaulted
Mr Rakesh, a resident of Sector 55 here, has lodged a complaint with the police that he was attacked by Deva, Satta, Rinku and others (addresses not known) with a sharp-edged weapon yesterday. The complainant had reportedly suffered injuries and was admitted to the PGI.

The local police has registered a case under Sections 341, 324 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

House of Ms Adarsh Preet Kaur, a Sector 36 resident, was reportedly burgled sometime between August 25 and September 3. The occupants of the house had gone out of station during the said period.

A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Scooter stolen
Mr Niten Sharma, a resident of Sector 19, has reported with the local police that his scooter (CH03A 9327) was stolen on Thursday from a parking lot in Sector 17 here.

A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.


Bank staff  body holds meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The first biennial conference and election of the Union Bank SC\ST Welfare Association, Chandigarh region yesterday. A number of members attended the meeting which was inaugurated by Mr Ravi Malhotra, AGM, Union Bank of India. Speaking on the occasion Mr Malhotra laid emphasis on the need for unity and more welfare schemes for the downtrodden.

The following were elected office-bearers of the association: president _ Mr O.P Chauhan;vice-presidents. Mr Chander Singh and Mr Jagmal Kalapdev;general secretary -Mr S.K Brar; deputy general secretaries-Mr Ramphal Sehjlan and Mr Som Nath;and treasurer-Mr B.S Gill. 


Meeting inconclusive
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 4
The joint meeting of the Cable Operators’ Association, joint-action committee of the Residents Welfare Association and the representatives of the district administration, here today, proved inconclusive as the parties were unable to reach a consensus on the hike in the cable charges.

While the residents and cable operators presented their respective points of view, the officials of the administration tried to adopt a mediatory role to evolve a consensus but failed.

Sources said another meeting would be convened shortly resolve the matter.


Biz Clips

Ticket sales for the first-ever concert by Vengaboys in Chandigarh has commenced. Vengaboys who shot into fame with “We Like To Party” will give a live performance at the Circus Grounds, Sector 17, Chandigarh, on September 16 at 7 p.m. Popular Punjabi pop singer Sukhdev Sukha will also perform on the occasion. TNS

Drive: The NRI branch of the State Bank of India, Sector 17, Chandigarh, organised a cleanliness drive at the Janta colony, Sector 25, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. The branch officials including Mr C.L. Sethi, deputy general manager, Zonal Office, Punjab, visited the colony. TNS

Websity: Xansa Websity, a premier computer training institute in Chandigarh has extended an open invitation to teachers of schools and colleges to attend free course on computer basics and the Internet at their centre in Sector 34. Those interested in attending the course on September 8 or 9 should contact Websity Centre by Friday. TNS

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