Friday, September 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



UT fails to utilise funds for Sukhna
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service


*Sukhna fast silting up.

*Rs 4 crore sanctioned by the Union Environment Ministry last year lying unused.

*Work held up due to bureaucratic red-tapism

*Every official wants to play safe to avoid any kind of scandal as there is no earlier precedent to be followed in wet-dredging technology.

*The idea was to remove 9 lakh cubic metres of silt and increase the depth of the lake by 4 feet.

Chandigarh, September 6
In what may be a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, the Chandigarh Administration has been unable to utilise Rs 4 crore sanctioned by the Union Environment Ministry in August last year to carry out the much-needed wet-dredging in the ecologically fragile and the fast silting Sukhna Lake here.

On the other hand, the Administration spent as costs in acquiring about 28 acres of land just north-east of the lake in Kishangarh village aimed at depositing the slurry (wet earth) to be excavated from the lake. Well-placed sources said the money for wet-dredging is lying unused and the project is being delayed due to bureaucratic red-tapism as files keeping shuffling from one official to the other while no decision is being taken.

The target was to remove about 9 lakh cubic metres of silt from the lake, and the task was to be completed within the next 15 months. This was to increase the depth of the Sukhna by an average of 4 feet.

Thankfully, the money will not lapse as it is on the basis of the deposit work that the money was sanctioned by the ministry and not as part of a budgetary allocation which can lapse at the end of the financial year.

Sources said in reality everybody wanted to play safe to avoid any kind of scandal. There is no time-honoured method of knowing how much of silt has been removed. Since contractors removing the silt will have to be paid on a per cubic foot basis, this requires an extensive hydrological survey to first know about the surface area. This will be followed by a study of silt density. Engineers are required to drill holes in the area where silt has to be removed and study the density. All this requires time and effort and expertise of engineers who have worked on the dam project or similar such projects.

As far as the latest official move goes, an estimate of “cost to benefit ratio” has been ordered. In simpler words, this means working of the benefits and at what cost. This is to cover not just financial implications, but also ecological costs, which will include study of the exact amount of water which will be wasted in taking out silt.

The sources, while quoting experience of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), a frequent user of the wet-dredger technology, say a wet-dredger during the best of times takes out about 20 per cent of earth and the rest is water.

Last year in August, a sum of Rs 4 crore was sanctioned to remove silt by way of wet-dredging from the Sukhna lake and work was expected to start after December 20, after the conclusion of the Asian Rowing Championships.

To prevent wastage of water, the dredgers would dump out silt in the form of slurry into de-cantation tanks being built in an area north-east of the lake in Kishangarh. In the de-cantation tanks, silt will settle down and water will flow back into the Sukhna. The dredgers will take out 20 per cent of the silt with 80 per cent of water. The silt will settle down in the de-cantation tanks while the water will trickle back into the lake.

Though siltation has reduced considerably during the last few years due to various measures taken by the Administration in the catchment area as well as in the lake, wet-dredging has been decided as the only solution to increase the depth.


PU yet to frame result schedule
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Despite commendable progress on the front of timely declaration of annual examination results, Panjab University still staggers to ensure a proper time schedule in case of examination results where thesis, paper work and viva voce are compulsory elements.

Nearly all results which have not yet been declared fall in this category. The category includes the classes of master of education, M.Sc (Home Science), the second year of B Sc (geology honours), a class of M.Sc (Geology), a semester of M.Com and BE( Production) besides others.

Dr R.P.S. Josh, a Fellow, and Principal Satinder Dhillon met Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice Chancellor, in this regard recently. It was brought to his knowledge that in several cases a single teacher was given the load to conduct 25 viva tests. This meant a single individual also checked 25 papers. The exercise was usually carried out within a very short span to do justice to the contents of the papers, it was pointed out.

Principal Dhillon pointed out that there was a proposal of a single teacher to be given not more than 10 students. This has, however, not been implemented.

Dr Josh said that despite submission of thesis by as early as March, there were scores of cases where nothing had been done to ensure a quick viva of students. There was a time when the process had a definite time frame within which the university had to notify the students about the possible date of examination results.

Sources said that in several cases only a few teachers were handling the duty of aiding research and checking papers. All teachers should be ensured to participate in the whole exercise collectively.

Dr Josh said that several students who qualified the University Grants Commission examination as a qualification for applying for the post of lecturer or for higher research, could not avail the scholarship or the benefit because the results were not declared within time. This was collaborated by Principal Dhillon.

Mr A.R. Bhandari, Controller of Examination, accepted the fact that there had been a delay in certain results. The delay had occurred because delay was witnessed in receipt of reports of thesis evaluation. The load on a single teacher handling more research papers was not in hands of the examination branch. The process involved submission, evaluation and then viva. Such a change had to come from the Board of Studies, Mr Bhandari said.

A student leader said that the examination branch should prepare an expected schedule of the conduct of the viva along with a fixed rigid schedule for submission of the thesis work. The departments facing this problem should be identified separately and an action plan should be planned well in advance.

Mr Bhandari said that often there was a delay on the part of the students while submitting the thesis or paper work. They could submit the papers even late on depositing late fees. This aspect needed to be geared up.


No more chances, says PU panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
A committee of Panjab University today decided that no additional chance will be given to students who have exhausted all their admissible chances of clearing the class examination at the undergraduate level.

It, however, gave powers to the Vice-Chancellor to grant special chance to 'deserving students' who could justify their absence from the papers.

The committee met under the chairmanship of Prof Mohan Maharishi, Dean, University Instructions. Others who attended the meeting included Mr Satish Sharma, Mr R.C.Jeevan, Mr A.C.Vaid, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Ms Harmit Kaur.

There is already a provision of two chances. The classes covered under the 'requests of students' for a special chance are BA, BSc, BCom, BBA and BCA.

It was pointed out by members that the committee did not have the powers to change the calendar provisions. 


Three-cornered MC poll likely
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Even as the date for the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) is yet to be announced, political activity has picked up momentum and a “three-cornered” contest is on the cards for the 20 wards of the civic body.

All political parties, including the smaller political formations, which have marginal presence in the city, have started informal discussions among the party fora to shortlist the probable candidates. In fact, names of certain politicians are already doing the rounds in the political circles.

According to political observers, the battle royal this time is going to be among the Congress, the BJP-SAD combine and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM). The half-hearted efforts of certain smaller political parties for the formation of a third front on the pattern of the Lok Marcha at the Centre seem to have not yielded any result till date. However, the three parties, which would contest all 20 seats, have their share of problems.

The BJP-SAD combine, which won 15 of the 20 seats in the 1996 civic body poll, is plauged by factionalism. The combine will have face anti-incumbency factor as general perception was that the civic amenities had gone from bad to worse during the past over four years. Besides, the defeat of its Mayoral candidates twice, reportedly due to cross-voting by a section of the party councillors, is a pointer towards the extent of factionalism in the party.

It may be recalled that the war of words between the factions owing allegiance to Mr Satya Pal Jain and Mr Gian Chand Gupta had been continuing for a long time. In fact, the Jain group had been demanding the removal of the local BJP chief, Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, a close associate of Gian Chand Gupta, for considerable time.

The party’s alliance partner, SAD, is already a divided house with the party chief, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar and the city Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, coming against each other openly. Besides, the cracks had already appeared in the BJP-SAD alliance after the election of Ms Harjinder Kaur as Mayor.

The position of the Congress, which has four councillors in the civic body now, is no better. Considerably weakend after expulsion of the former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, and formation of the CVM, the Congress, according to sources would try to make the anti-incumbency factor against the BJP-SAD a major poll issue. Failure of the alliance on the developmental front despite having a three-fourths majority in the corporation and factionalism in BJP will be issues the party is likely cash in on during the MCC poll process. However, the Congress, too, could not escape the anti-incumbency factor as its Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, had to resign on corruption charges only after a few months and during that period the House could not function properly and developmental work had come to a standstill. As far as the CVM is concerned, factionalism is virtually absent. But it being a new outfit, the organisational structure would need to be strengthened in the run-up to the elections. Sources in the morcha claimed that it stood a better chance to fare well in the elections as they would stand to gain from the anti-incumbency factor against the BJP-SAD alliance and the Congress. The “non-political” character of the morcha is its USP, the sources.

But only the coming events would show how the political formations shape up in the run up to elections. This coupled with the presence of other political parties such as the BSP, the Samata Party, the CPI, the CPM and the Janata Dal (United) in certain areas and their equation with the major parties will play a significant role in the elections.


Flesh trade racket busted
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 6
In a swoop late last night the local police arrested four girls and their pimps, allegedly involved in flesh trade, from a house in Phase X here. The girls, aged between 18 and 25 years, were reportedly in the profession for the past three months.

The modus operandi of the persons involved in the profession was to ask the customers on a mobile to pick the girls at a public place and leave them back there to avoid police suspicion. Two pimps Suman Lata and Sanjay Kumar, had taken a house on a monthly rent of Rs 6,000. Sources in the police said Suman through two other women, Bibha and Payal, used to arrange customers and then drop the girls at the desired place. Incidentally, the woman, Payal, had been arrested by the police for being allegedly involved in flesh trade during raids conducted at hotels in the town a few months back.

One of the girls Sandhya, who was married and living away from her husband, said tension in her family forced to join the profession. “I came to the town leaving behind my husband, who works in a hotel in Delhi”. Another girl, Tulsi from Muradabad, claimed that family circumstances forced to join the profession. Her acquaintance with Sanjay brought her to the town. The youngest among the four girls, 18-year-old Rani Gupta said after working in Delhi , the illness of father forced her to join the profession.

Another girl, Sarika, said she had joined the profession on her own. The pimp, Suman Lata, claimed: “My broken marriage forced me to start the business of supplying girls. Left with children, I wanted a source of income”.

The arrests were made after police parties led by the SHO, Central Police Station, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, ASI Gurinder Singh and ASI Bhagwant Singh raided the house after sending decoy customers. The ASP, SAS Nagar, Mr Kaplana Nayak, led the raid.

A case under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, has been registered by the Central Police Station. All girls and pimps were sent to judicial custody by the Duty Magistrate, Kharar. 


Govt ‘promoting’ pseudo rationalism
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Prof Satish Chandra, an eminent historian, today accused the BJP-led Central Government of attempting to replace rational humanistic tradition of the universities by obscurantism.

Reading a paper entitled ‘Religion and State in India and Search for Rationality’, at CRRID here today, Professor Chandra said the attack on the concept of rationalism and humanism by the present regime was more serious than the onslaught on plurarism mounted by the BJP in the name of cultural nationalism.

Professor Chandra, who was speaking at CRRID, as part of the series of lectures organised by the institution in memory of Mr P.N. Haksar, said if the government was keen on promoting the scientific study of astrology, as it claimed, it could promote astrology in various institutions outside the university system. Professor Chandra, who taught medieval history at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said pseudo rationalism and pseudo science were being promoted by the government at a time when the Planning Commission as well as the government were found talking about making India a knowledge based super-power based on modern science and technology. “ Can the building of a knowledge based superpower go hand in hand with undermining the rational, humanistic basis of the university system”, he asked.

Professor Chandra added that recently there had been much talk about introducing cultural values in our system of education. It by such values, religious values were meant, it was always believed that ethical and moral values propounded by various religions were always the same. “ Hence there is legitimate suspicion that in the name of value education, obscurantist ideas, some of them based on myths and mythology, would be promoted”, he said.

However, members of the Sangh Parivar were not the only ones who were attacked by Professor Chandra in his lecture in course of which he addressed some of the issues which had kept the academic world busy since the emergence of the BJP as an important political force. He was, in fact, also severely critical of the academic fraternity known as the post-modernists. Central to the debate on post modernism was the attack on secularism and the concept of rationality, Professor Chandra said while bemoaning the fact that the theory of post-modernism was currently fashionable in the West and accepted “almost as a gospel by some sections in our country”.

Prof Andre Beteille, a sociologist of repute, was president of the session when Professor Chandra spoke.

Earlier, in the morning session, Ms Savitri Chandra, Professor Chandra’s wife, who too is a scholar by her own right and taught Hindi at the JNU, gave a lecture entitled “Humanism and the Medieval Hindi Bhakti Poetry” . She said values such as ahimsa and tolerance got a fillip in India after Buddhism became popular in the country. She discussed bhakti saints such as Kabir, Dadu, Tulsidas and other and cited instances of presence of moral, ethical and secular values found the verses attributed to them.

The morning session, when Mrs Chandra spoke, was presided over by Prof B.L. Abbi. Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director CRRID, gave the welcome speech in both the sessions.


CSIO equipment for Jaguars
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The IAF’s Jaguar strike aircraft are to be equipped with an indigenously developed electro-optical equipment designed and developed in Chandigarh. The Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have approached the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here for the fabrication of a head-up display for the Jaguar.

It is learnt that technical discussions between CSIO, HAL and the Air Force to work out the modalities for the design and production of the head-up display (HUD) are to conclude within this month itself. The HUD is an electro-optical device which superimposes vital flight parameters like airspeed, altitude, rate of turn and bank, compass direction as well as the armament status on the pilot’s vision of the outside world.

Sources say that three HUD units, specifically contoured for the Jaguar aircraft, are to be supplied within six months of the finalisation of technical discussions, followed by a batch of 30 more units. The indigenous HUDs will gradually replace the western-origin Smiths and Raster Cursive HUDs, which are integrated with the aircraft’s avionics suite and navigation system.

The IAF operates four Jaguar squadrons in the interdiction role and one squadron for maritime strikes in support of the Navy. Originally bought from the United Kingdom, Jaguars were also assembled by HAL at its Bangalore plant. Recently, the IAF placed further orders for at least 17 Jaguars.

The CSIO has already developed HUD units for the light combat aircraft and one unit has been installed in the TD-1 prototype, undergoing flight tests at Bangalore. About seven units have been fabricated here and three have been supplied to the Aeronautical Development Agency. Sources say that the HUD for the Jaguar would require several changes to the existing design, including physical dimensions, technical features and the software.

It is learnt that a top-level team from the Centre of Military Airworthiness Certification (CEMILAC) visited CSIO last month to review the HUD project. Sources say that the certification of the HUD by CEMILAC is to be completed by September 15.

The HUD is installed above the cockpit’s instrument panel with its screen at about the pilot’s eye-level and enables him to get all required information about the flight configuration even while scanning the skies outside, thereby allowing him to fly the aircraft with his “head-up”.

Since the pilot does not have to change his line of sight or visual accommodation by peering repeatedly at his instrument panel inside the cockpit, the HUD reduces his workload and reaction time, while enabling him to take split second decisions and enhancing his weapon aiming capability.

Data about flight parameters generated by the aircraft’s systems is fed into the HUD and processed by an in-built microprocessor. The data, in alpha-numeric form is produced on the HUD’s horizontal cathode ray tube and reflected by special angled lens above the tube. The lens allows the light to pass through, but traps a particular colour (generally fluorescent green), enabling the pilot to read the information.


Cops misusing security staff
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
It seems that most of the protectors in the city police cannot do without police protection themselves. Most officers of the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police and Inspector have been blatantly misusing the under-staffed VIP security staff for their personal use.

According to information gathered by The Tribune, a number of Deputy Superintendents of Police as well as Inspectors have violated all rules and regulations to have personal security officers and guards at their residences. In some cases, these officers have double the sanctioned police personnel at their disposal and are often using them as domestic help.

The irony is that on the one hand the authorities cry themselves hoarse over the shortage of staff, officers of the department have been found to be violating all rules in the book for this “status symbol.”

This, in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the top brass of the city police have often advised its officers to make judicious use of the available strength of its personnel, so as to keep a check on the growing crime graph.

It is alleged that most of the 10 DSPs have unofficially kept as guards one Head Constable and three constables or one Head Constable and four constables for themselves. Other than this, these officers are also alleged to have been drawing personnel from the Home Guards to be employed as domestic helpers in their houses.

Same is the case with the Inspectors of Police. At least six of the Inspectors have kept one or two personal security officers. It is alleged that while two of these officers were assigned PSOs for their valour in anti- terrorism operations, the others are enjoying the security cover as a status symbol.

In a few cases, officers posted as Station House Officers in police stations are also using the staff from their respective units for their domestic work.

Interestingly, one of the Inspectors, who was facing suspension for almost two years, too, preferred to retain his PSO during his suspension.

It is alleged that other than a handful of police officers, a Superintendent of Police and one or two DSPs, who were sanctioned guards at their residences because of threat perception from terrorists, others have guards merely as a status symbol.

Interestingly, these unofficial guards are drawing their salaries, either from a particular police station or a unit of the city police, depending on the officer who is availing their services. This ensures that on the paper, the officers are availing services of only the sanctioned personnel.

It may be recalled that in 1998, the then Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh, Ms Kiran Bedi, had withdrawn the unofficial guards from a large number of police officers and civil authorities. However, after her departure, the practice of unofficially drawing guards was resumed.


Laptop lifters active on Shatabdi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
If you carry your laptop with you while travelling by the Shatabdi, be careful. Laptop lifters are active on the train. Three such machines were lifted from the train in the last week of August.

The latest victim was Mr Rajinder Kapur, a Deputy Manager in Max Gb in Chandigarh. His IBM “thinkpad” was stolen while he was waiting for his friend to join him in the morning train from New Delhi to Chandigarh on August 31. His suitcase was also stolen. Instead, the “bag lifters” left their bag.

All this happened while policemen in the adjoining coach were alerting passengers about the stepped up activities of handbag and laptop lifters operating on the Shatabdi and the Rajdhani trains.

In fact the suspects, believed to be two youngsters, had set their eyes on the laptop, of Mr Dinesh Singh, a Programme Manager in a New Delhi company. But, his alertness saved him from losing his computer.

The alleged lifters, who were sitting next to him in C-7 coach, then moved to the vacant seats meant for Mr Rajinder Kapur (no 24) and his friend. Mr Kapur was at the door of the coach waiting for his friend to join him. He was keeping an eye on his handbag and the laptop stashed in the overhead rack of his seat.

A lapse in concentration for less than a minute was enough for the two to decamp with the computer. Besides the laptop, he also lost other costly gadgets, including a calculator, some important documents and other items. All efforts of his co-passengers and cops to trace the suspects were in vain.

Mr Kapur lodged a complaint with the police. He met the Superintendent of Police at New Delhi railway station, Mr Kashyap, who told him that a laptop was stolen the previous day. In fact between August 26 and 30, two other laptops were lifted from the train. And on September 4, two women travelling in the executive class of the Shatabdi to Amritsar from New Delhi also lost their bag to probably a member of the same gang.

Mr Kapoor was told that policemen in plainclothes had also been deployed to look for the bag and laptop lifters. But so far there had been no success. The lifting of the handbags and the laptops from the Shatabdi, admitted the police officials, had started again after five or six months.

A good laptop has a good market and can fetch anything between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh depending upon the make and configuration of the machine. Since travellers on the Shatabdi are mostly senior executives, bureaucrats and technocrats, they carry latest laptops, which are a major attraction for these “operators”. “My laptop cost me a little more than Rs 2 lakh. And it was gone in a matter of few seconds,” said Mr Kapur.

“We have got some important clues and we are after the culprits,” said a senior official of the Government Railway Police.

Interestingly, large number of policemen travel by each Shatabdi or Rajdhani. At places like New Delhi, even Home Guards are now posted outside the entrance to every coach and still these bag and laptop lifters carry out their operations without being caught or arousing any suspicion of fellow passengers.


Power bends before fortitude
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Sacrifice inspires and sometimes truly enough to cause a flood of tears. This was one of those rare days when power bends before humility and fame bends before fortitude. When Yasoda of Beemanthope village from Tamil Nadu ascended the stage at Tagore Theatre to receive the Neerja Bhanot award today, the celebration of courage had only begun. It saw the epitome in the gesture of the chief guest for the evening, Ms Neeru Nanda, who, in place of showering verbal praises on Yasoda, chose to bow before her and touch her feet.

For a mother, who was found smiling even after having lost her young 20-year-old daughter at the altar of goodness, this gesture was the real reward. All else meant, but a little less than what this honour meant. This one might have been yet another year, yet another day dedicated to the memory of Neerja Bhanot, but it appeared as virgin, as great as ever. And this because sacrifice can never really be outgrown. It can only be remembered and respected.

What else would have prompted a gathering of over 800 persons, including people like Mr Ranjan Lakahnpal, stand in reverence of an illiterate woman, who cannot write a word and cannot read one either. The reason was not far to seek — here was Yasoda, who, despite being uneducated, had learnt the quintessential lesson in life — that which Neerja had learnt long back: “do your duty come what may and never tolerate injustice.”

Hence the Neerja Bhanot award ceremony and the spirit behind it, which was best reflected today in the persona of a woman who must have bowed a thousand time in gratitude that her effort was recognised and rewarded. The generosity of the woman was the most touching. She did not even take a second to announce that she was diverting the award money of Rs 1.5 lakh towards the corpus of the Indra-Rathna award, instituted in the memory of her dead relatives. Also present on the occasion were Ms Tamilselvi and Mr Annamalai, who played a great role in inspiring Yasoda into action. They are the founder members of the organisation which Yasoda joined as a worker in 1995.

Among the many speakers of the day, Ms Nanda stood out for her tribute to Yasoda. She went to the extent of commenting: “None of us has seen God, but I am sure he must be like Neerja and Yasoda and countless other women who are fighting against social injustice.”

The most overwhelming moment of the day, however, came when Yasoda was asked to speak. With bedewed cheeks and moistened eyes, Yasoda expressed immense gratitude to Harish Bhanot, the Panam Trustees and the judges. She said: “My daughter Indra has gone, but I see her breathing in every poor woman around. Now I live, not for myself, but for others. Like Indra I also have to die one day but I want to do something worthwhile before that day dawns.” Yasoda also appealed to the city residents to donate for the Indra-Rathna award which has been instituted by the Centre for Rural Women’s Education for Liberation (CRWEL).

The occasion was also taken to award the winners of painting contest organised for the first time by Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust. The entries were adjudged by Mr D.S. Kapoor and Mr Sandeep Joshi and each prize was awarded by Yasoda. The prizes in order of merit are:

Category A (class V to VIII): Pierre Goswami (Sacred Heart High School), Bharti Sharma (Carmel Convent) and Charandeep (St Stephen’s School). Fifteen consolation prizes were also awarded.

Category B (class IX to class XII): Ankita Negi of St Xavier’s bagged the first prize comprising Rs 5,000, a certificate and a trophy; Ashan Kataria of Sacred Heart High School received the second prize comprising Rs 2,500 and Deepali Thapar of Government Model High School, Sector 35, bagged the third prize comprising Rs 1,000.


Bhabat substation inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Bhabat (Zirakpur), September 6
The Punjab Minister for Power, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, inaugurated the 66-KV grid substation here today.

Speaking at the function, the minister announced that the Union Power Minister would visit the state this month to lay the foundation stone of stage — II of the GHTP Lehara Mohabbat thermal power project. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 1,800 crore

Addressing the gathering, Mr Maluka admitted that there was shortage of power in the state, but hoped that with the commissioning of new plants and collaboration with Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, the power demand in the state would be met. He also called upon the people to cooperate with the PSEB so that the power supply could be made smooth in the state. He meant that unauthorised power connections should be checked.

Refuting the claims of the Dera Bassi Industries Association that shortage of power supply has led to closure of over 50 per cent of industrial units in the area, the minister asserted, “No industry in the state has closed because of power shortage,” he added, “There must be some other reason behind their closure”.

The function was organised by the Dera Bassi Industries Association. Mr Kewal Garg, president of the association, complained that since 1996, the government had not given any subsidy for the industries of the area. He suggested that the PSEB should provide modern means of communication to the Executive Engineer and the Subdivision officer so that they could be contacted easily.

The Member Operation, PSEB, Mr Kirpal Singh, said the Punjab Government had provided urban power supply to 4,700 villages and the same facility would be provided to another 3,000 villages in the next five months. According to him, the power cuts were being imposed in the state because of shortage of supply.

The PSEB Employees Federation demanded the construction of residential complexes for the employees posted at grid substations. The federation later submitted a memorandum to the minister.

The minister and senior officials of the PSEB also planted trees in the substation. Later, Mr Jaspal Singh, Sarpanch of Zirakpur, complained to the minister that the power cut in the area was being imposed during lunch time and requested him to change the cut timing. Mr Kulwinder Singh, Sarpanch of Baltana village, complained about the low voltage in their village.

The Sarpanch of Chattbir village, Mr Gurcharan Singh, requested the minister to connect the entire village from the Zirakpur feeder. Mr Rajinder Singh, Sarpanch of Dayalpur village, demanded replacement of power cables in the area. According to him, the cables in the area were more than 20 years old.


Short-cuts that spell disaster
Bipin Bhardwaj

Panchkula, September 6
Taking a short-cut across road dividers at different places in Panchkula has often proved a short-cut to disaster.

The heavy rush of traffic during office and school hours on the internal road that takes off from Sector 7 has made it one of the most accident-prone roads in the city. A number of lives have been lost on this road and many persons have sustained injuries.

Motorists, scooterists, motorcyclists, cyclists and even pedestrians are often seen taking short-cuts over the road divider. Students who are late for school take these short-cuts in their hurry and meet with accidents. Many school children have been injured, taking such short-cuts on their way to school.

Police records show that three or four minor accidents take place at these points every week. In the absence of traffic policemen, even heavy vehicles show a tendency to avoid driving up to a proper turning and take such short- cuts. A long line of vehicles is held up whenever a heavy truck driver decides to take such a turn.

Although the authorities have closed all small crossing on the roads, yet road users have removed the concrete blocks for their convenience. Vacant plots on the main road are also being used by the road users to take short-cuts and that adds to the problem manifold.

Mr Manoj Yadav, SP, says that the police has started challaning vehicles for making wrong entry into the city. The matter has already been brought to the notice of HUDA which maintains the roads. Mr Yadav said that special mobile teams had been constituted to restrain traffic violators.


Errors in delimitation of wards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
On the last day of filing objections and claims to the draft list of polling stations made by the State Election Commission for MC elections, the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, and the Chandigarh Nationalist Mahila Congress have alleged that certain polling stations belonging to Ward No 20 have been erroneously included in Ward No 19.

They said polling stations 428, 428-A, 430, 431, 432, 432-A, 433, 433-A, 434, 434-A, 435, 435-A, 436, 436-A, 437, 437-A, 438, 439, 440, 440-A, and 441 belonged to Ward No 20 in Mani Majra.

Mr Kala demanded that all these polling stations be included in Ward No 20 as the entire area was included in this ward during in 1996, elections, adding that polling stations 427 and 514 in Marhiwala town, were part of Ward No 19 and not Ward No 20.


Food and craft fair from Sept 14
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Hundreds of country’s best chefs, cooks, “masalchis”, artisans and craftsmen will be in the city to participate in a 10-day Food and Craft Bazar to be held at the Sector 17 Parade Ground from September 14 to 23.

The mela is being organised by Punjab Tandoor, a Delhi-based group, as an event manager for the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC).

The Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, told mediapersons here yesterday that the fair would provide a platform to not only chefs and cooks but also to craftsmen, artisans and handicraft organisations to exhibit their skills in the city.

To enliven the proceedings in the evenings, some of the top folk artistes of the region, including Wadali brothers, Idu Sharif and others, would be invited. Folk dances, qawalis and other cultural events would also be organised during the fair.

The handicraft and handloom items from all over the country would be displayed. The food “mela” would include delicacies from all over the country. Designed on the pattern of the famous Suraj Kund Mela organised by the Haryana Tourism Development Corporation, the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation has appointed a private company of Delhi as its event manager to conduct the mela.

An initial brochure issued by Punjab Tandoor described the PTDC as a Government of India undertaking and claimed itself to be the sole authority for making bookings of stalls for craftsmen, traders and societies.

Later, however the brochure was withdrawn and an amended brochure was issued in which the name of the PTDC was also mentioned for booking stalls. The booking rates for stalls vary between Rs 8,000 and 15,000 per stall. While the first brochure said “allotment of stalls shall be the sole discretion of Punjab Tandoor” but the new brochure says it is the PTDC.


Mystery shrouds cop’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Mystery shrouds the death of a Head Constable of Punjab Police, who died after falling off the fourth floor of the Punjab Vigilance building in Sector 17.

According to information, Head Constable Jaswant Singh fell off the fourth floor of the building at around 2.30 pm. The incident occurred minutes after two other guards sleeping with Jaswant Singh in the guard room on the top floor of the building had come down.

The police is now working on two angles. While the death could be an accident, the police has not ruled out the possibility of suicide. It is learnt that Jaswant Singh belonged to 36 Battalion, Punjab Armed Police.


Need to popularise Urdu language
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
With promotion of Urdu language as its objective, the Haryana Urdu Academy will host a conference of writers on September 11 at the Government Museum and Arts Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh.

Stating this, here today, the secretary of the academy, Mr Ramendra Jakhu, said Urdu was gradually losing its admirers and the list of those interested in learning it was gradually declining.

“This is certainly not the language of a particular community as it is made out to be. Once a language gets a communal touch and comes to be associated with a particular caste, its learning remains confined to that particular class. Sadly, that has been the fate of Urdu despite having originated in Delhi and spoken on the outer belt of Haryana,” he said.

Mr Jakhu said the academy has come out with a book to promote the learning of Urdu which would be released at the function on September 11. Written in Hindi, the book consists of a brief history of great Urdu poets along with some of their famous works.

He said in continuation of the drive to develop the interest of the masses in learning the language, the book would be sent to various schools and a quiz contest with Urdu as its theme would subsequently organised.

Mr Jakhu went on to add that the academy was established in 1986 and had set up 80 centres in Haryana where as many as 1,500 students were learning the language.


SPCA president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Mr Jasbir Ralhan was today elected president of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (SPCA), at the annual general committee, for a period of two years. This has been the third time when Mr Ralhan became President of the society.

The meeting was chaired by Mr K.A.P.Sinha, Joint Secretary, Finance Chandigarh Administration. A press note issued by the society said Dr Satinder Dhillon, Mr Gian Chand Aggarwal and Mr Rakesh Vats were re-elected senior vice- presidents, vice-president and honorary treasurer respectively. Dr B.M.Sharma and R.C.Garg were made honorary general secretary and joint secretary respectively.


Blood donation camp on Sept 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Tribune Employees Union will organise a blood donation camp on the death of anniversary of the founder of The Tribune Trust, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, on September 8.

The camp is held on September 9 every year but this year, it will be organised on September 8 because it is a Sunday on September 9, according to Mr Balbir Singh Jandu, president of the union.


Residents meet HUDA Administrator
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
Residents of the Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, met Mr A.K. Gupta, Administrator, HUDA, Panchkula, today and apprised him of the problems being faced by them.

The meeting expressed concern over the improper condition of roads that had potholes and were without berms and footpaths. Streetlighting arrangement were inadequate and the garbage collection system was insufficient. There was thick growth of congress grass all over the complex and ‘‘malba’’ was found all around the boundary walls of various societies and open areas.

Mr A.K. Gupta assured the residents of taking the requisite steps soon to resolve their problems.


Army team completes expedition
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
Major Jaspreet Singh of the Watershed Gunners (61 Medium Regiment) and a city officer, led an expedition called the Gunners Sikkim High Altitude Operational Trek(Gunshot), which was flagged off at Tsomgo in East Sikkim.

The team comprising of nine jawans crossed seven passes of height between 17,000ft and 18,300ft, located in the glaciated region of north-east and West Sikkim.

Covering 25-30 km each day the trekkers waded through numerous swollen streams and survived sub-zero temperature.

Major Jaspreet Singh said the idea of the trek was to spread the message of friendship, ecological preservation and national integration.

Major-Gen K.C. Vig, GOC, 17 Mountain Division, said the motto of the expedition that lasted 23 days was ''flora-fauna-friendship'' and had caught the attention of the Government of Sikkim and stressed the need for a better relationship between the Army and civilians.


Woman, two kids assaulted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
A woman and her two children were hurt when they were beaten up by unknown miscreant(s) at her residence in Maloya today. The police registered a case of attempt to murder.

The woman, Janki Devi and her two children — seven-year-old Pappu and three year old Kamal — were seriously injured after they were assaulted with a sharp- edged weapons.

According to the information available, a young man reportedly approached the eldest son of Janki Devi, Pankaj at his school in Daddu Majra and asked him to show the way to his house. The latter, a 10- year-old boy, took the man to his house and went back to school after leaving him there.

It was a few hours later that Janki Devi and her two children were found lying unconscious in a pool of blood. While Janki Devi and Pappu had received injuries on their heads, the other child had escaped with minor injuries.

All three were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where Janki Devi and Pappu were still unconscious state.

Body found
A decomposed body of a young woman was found near the nullah near Hallo Majra on Thursday.

According to information, the body was maggot infested and appeared to have been lying in the jungle for the past couple of days. The police says that the deceased appeared to be around 25 years of age. The body was discovered after a passer- by saw it and informed the police.

It is learnt that there was no mark of an external injury.

It has been sent to the General Hospital, Sector 16, for a post-mortem examination. The police has, proceeded under Section 174 of the Cr PC.

The police later arrested Mohan Bhatt in this connection. The victim owed him Rs 10,000.


A 21-year-old married woman, Mukesh of Kalka committed suicide at her residence, on Thursday. Married just over three months back, sources said she committed suicide following strained relations with her husband. However, no case has been registered in this regard with the parents of the girl still to arrive.

The police said though it was known that an unhappy marriage was the cause of the suicide, a decision to register a case against the victim’s husband would be taken by her parents after they arrived.

Three persons were booked and arrested under Sections 51, 63 and 68 A of the Copyright Act, 1957, during two surprise raids conducted by the police here today following a tip-off.

In Sector 9, the owner, Devinder Wadhwa, was caught red-handed while selling CDs of the recently released movie “Lajja”, after the police sent in a decoy customer. An official spokesperson said a decoy customer, Mr Ashok Jain, was handed a signed Rs 100 note and sent to the shop to purchase the CD of the movie. Inside the shop, the customer handed the signed note to the owner and alerted the police party waiting outside.

The police, besides taking away the signed note, also recovered two more CDs of the movie and arrested Wadhwa. A case was registered against him at the Sector 5 police station.

In Mansa Devi, Amrik Singh and Prithvi Singh, running the Mansa Devi Cable Network, were arrested for screening the movie “Albela” for which they had no copyright, two CDs, one VCD and a television was also seized during the raid. The police also took pictures of the movie being screened by the cable operator as evidence.

When contacted, the ASP, Mr Vikas Arora, said the police would keep up pressure on cable operators and owners of shops selling CDs and VCDs to ensure they did not violate rules of the Copyright Act. “Similar surprise raids would be carried out at other shops and the workplace of cable operators to check violations,” he added.

Illegal sale
Two residents of Raipur Rani — Chamanlal and Ram Krishan — were arrested for illegal sale of LPG cylinders in Raipur Rani, here today. A case under Sections 7, 10, 55 of the Essential Commodities Act was registered against the two.

In a raid carried out by a police party led by the ASP, Ms Bharti Arora, the police recovered 40 gas cylinders which were stored and were being sold without permission following a complaint received by the police.

Sources said the modus-operandi of the accused involved purchase of cylinders from trolleys of gas agencies at slightly lower rates and selling these at marginally higher rates to customers of the area.

This practice had been continuing for a long time as no gas agency had been allotted to the area and business was being carried out by Panchkula-based agencies which supplied cylinders on a weekly basis.

In the absence of regular supply, it is learnt that some people had begun to hoard these cylinders and sell them at higher rates in violation of the Essential Commodities Act.

The gas agency owners, too, had expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement, alleging that stocking of gas cylinders by gas agencies of Ambala and around was taking its toll on their business since they had been entrusted with the task of supplying gas cylinders to these areas. 


Design your car on computer
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
In a novel concept designed to bring the customer closer to the production process of a car, Hindustan Motors Ltd, is inviting customers to design their own Mitsubishi Lancer on a computer before placing an order for their customised vehicle.

Called “My Lancer”, the initiative was formally launched here today by Mr S. Vasudevan, General Manager, Sales and Service, Hindustan Motors Ltd. It has already been launched at New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad where it has generated a considerable amount of interest among the customers. “We have so far received about 500 enquiries for ‘My Lancer’ and a confirmed booking for 48 vehicles which is not bad at all”, said Mr Vasudevan in an interview with TNS. Each car costs between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.

All that a customer willing to buy “My Lancer” has to do is to walk into the local Mitsubishi Lancer dealership, browse through a computer kiosk specially provided for the purpose, select the specifications from the host of options available, add them to the existing GLX, SLX and SFX models and place an order. The price of the car will vary depending on the features chosen by the customer.

In addition to this facility, customers can also do a “power search” on the computer where they can indicate the maximum and minimum amount they are ready to spend on the car of their choice. On the click of the mouse, customers will be able to select the car of their choice from all possible options available within the indicated price range. The car with the selected features will be manufactured at the company’s state-of-the-art plant at Thrivullar in Tamil Nadu and delivered within 20 days.

“My Lancer” has been positioned as the fourth variant of Mitsubishi Lancer. “With this initiative, Hindustan Motors Ltd, has become the first automobile company in India to offer such a facility to its customers. It is a part of our continuous value addition programme aimed at meeting customer’s aspirations. Apart from providing value additions to the customer, ‘My Lancer’ will also beef up our market share in the mid-size premium car segment,” said Mr Vasudevan.



New course:
The UGCE Insurance Institute for Education and Training on Thursday signed an MoU with Technical Teachers Training Institute, Sector 26, to provide one-year advanced certificate course in insurance business management at Chandigarh. The MoU was signed by Mr B.K. Sharma, Chairman, UGCE-IIET, and Dr S.K. Krishnamurthy, Principal, TTTI. TNS

Tooth jewellery: Tooth jewellery has become the latest craze among well-heeled patients who want gems on their teeth and flash that “million-dollar smile”. The treatment is available in Panchkula. TNS

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