Sunday, September 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



After election heat, it’s frayed tempers at PU
Bhupi beaten up; complaint against Kang
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The calm on the Panjab University campus was broken within 12 hours of declaration of the results of the students council elections here yesterday. The PU Gate No. 2, which remained opened throughout the electioneering, was closed in the late hours yesterday and remained closed till this morning.

The outgoing president of the council, Bhupinder Singh Bhupi of the HSA, was reportedly beaten up by SOPU supporters. The winning party, SOPU, alleged that the losers, PUSU, had hurled abuses on them.

All this happened in the presence of police personnel on the campus. According to sources in the PU security, police personnel were present, but they failed to control the situation.

According to a senior police official, the police security at the PU would not be reduced, as more violence could not be ruled out. The incidents, took place immediately after the dance party at Girls Hostel No. 10 (Kasturba Hostel) concluded at around 12 mid night.

On the other hand, SOPU supporters alleged that PUSU supporters had deliberately entered into an altercation with them, hurled abuses at them and called them names.

According to information available, Bhupi was beaten up by SOPU supporters at about 1 a.m. in front of Kasturba and Sarojini halls, the twin girls’ hostels on the campus.

According to sources in the PU security, Bhupi was standing in front of the hostel when he was attacked. The sources alleged that a Chandigarh police PCR Gypsy was standing nearby when Bhupi was attacked. The SOPU activists who had come in two cars managed to escape.

Tempers also ran high at the Boys’ Hostel No. 5. According to an account given by an eyewitness, about 100 students having affiliation with both SOPU and PUSU had an altercation.

At least three police personnel were present, but they failed to defuse the tension. However, one of the policemen called up the police control room.

By the time the police reached the spot, PUSU supporters had hurled abuses on their SOPU counterparts. Hitesh Kaplish, a SOPU activist, alleged that Bhupinder Singh Kang, president of PUSU, had called him names. He added that the abuses were case-based.

The situation at Hostel No. 5 was brought wider control after Mr S.S. Randhawa, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Central), the SHO of Sector 11 police station and the PU authorities reached the spot. The DSP left the campus only after 2 a.m.

Later, Kaplish lodged a written complaint with the local police. The police made DDR entries in both incidents and was looking into the matter.

Meanwhile, science students staying at Boys’ Hostel No. 5 alleged that they were being threatened by PUSU activists for supporting SOPU in the elections. They reportedly lodged a complaint with the police today. However, this could not be confirmed.


SOPU is united no more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A temporary patch-up to present a picture of a united front for the student body polls by the Students Organisation of Panjab University collapsed a day after its victory here today. The party executive ordered removal of Bhupinder Beniwal, the chairman of SOPU, for his’ anti-party activities’. The action was being preferred to be called a ‘replacement’.

Beniwal said he, in his capacity as the chairman, expelled Santokhwinder Singh Nabha, Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa and Harbir Singh from the party for ‘undemocratic activities’. Nabha was elected the president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council yesterday. Randhawa is a former president of the council. Insiders pointed out that the chairman could not take the decision of expelling party members independently. The executive would have to be taken into confidence.


Punjab’s area near UT may be reduced
Badal’s announcement on Notified Area Committee
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

The shaded area in green indicates the area of Naya Gaon and Kansal to be included in the proposed Notified Area Committee.

SAS Nagar, September 22
Punjab’s area in the periphery of Chandigarh, where the change of land use is prohibited, will further be reduced by about 1,800 acres, courtesy the announcement by the Punjab Chief Minister to constitute a Notified Area Committee in Naya Gaon and Kansal areas.

Already at least 15,000 acres of land had become part of civic bodies in Zirakpur, SAS Nagar, Kharar and Derabassi. The unauthorised structures in the civic bodies, especially structures on 1,100 acres in Zirakpur were regularised. By rough estimates in 1,300 acres of the total 1,36, 660 acres of the periphery control area, unauthorised structures had been raised. In Naya Gaon, the land use in about 150 acres of area had been changed without any permission.

Though the issue of Anandgarh City is frozen for the moment, sources said the Anandgarh authority was under a lot of pressure when it went ahead with the notification of 465 acres in Kansal for the project. An area of 465 acres of kansal and 1497 acres of Naya Gaon was to be included in first and second phase of the Anandgarh project. Now this area was likely to be included in the limits of the proposed NAC. It could not be ascertained whether the forest area of Naya Gaon would be included in the NAC.

An official in the housing and urban development department said by constituting civic bodies, the politicians had found a mechanism to circumvent the Periphery Act. With the formation of the civic bodies at Zirakpur, Derabssi and now in Naya Gaon, the area under the Periphery Control Act had been automatically reduced. Sources in the government said the decision to constitute the NAC in Naya Goan was a political decision.

For long the government had been under pressure from different quarters to workout some mechanism by which change of land use could be permitted. To allow change of land use within the framework of the Periphery Act for structures raised after December 8, 1998, the government had to make amendments in the Periphery Act.


Woman, paramours arrested on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
A Mani Majra-based woman allegedly connived with her two paramours to murder Ajmer Singh, with whom she had been living for the past several years, in their house here on Thursday night. The police sources informed that all the three accused were staying with the deceased in his house at Mani Majra.

The battered body of the victim, bearing injury marks, was recovered by the police from a gutter in Sector 12, Panchkula, this morning on a clue given by a domestic help in the house. The servant, Om Prakash, had lodged a complaint informing about the murder, the police claimed today.

He was an eyewitness of the whole episode and the accused had locked him in a room after committing the crime. Later in the evening, he was released and asked to get a bread from market. However, instead of getting bread, Om Prakash informed the police.

The murdering trio, Bajinder Singh of Jind, Rajbir Singh of Hisar and the woman, Babli, were arrested today and booked under Sections 302, 201, 342, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, a spokesperson of the police said. The servant told the police that the trio beat up the 45-year-old victim with iron rods and then carted away the dead body in a Maruti car towards Panchkula.

The body, wrapped in cloth, was taken out in the wee hours on Friday morning, the servant, who was threatened by the trio, told the police, sources said.

During the entire episode none of the neighbours heard anything. And till late evening today none of the neighbours was aware of the murder. But on a condition of anonymity a neighbour said several young men and women used to frequent the house of the deceased.

A senior official said the victim, Ajmer, was married and his wife and children were living at his native place in Jind, Haryana. For the past few months he had been living in the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, with Babli, according to the police.

Initial investigations indicated that the deceased might have been using Babli in flesh trade. During her travails with various men she happened to meet Bajinder Singh and Rajbir Singh.

According to information, the deceased was arrested a few months ago from Panchkula under the Immoral Trafficking Act. One of the accused, Rajbir, was earlier an employee of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and was suspended from the job. He was also said to be engaged in ‘‘flesh trade’’ in the Karol Bagh area of Delhi.Back


Cell mooted for pending court cases
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Expressing concern over “a large number of cases pending in the courts”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court here has recommended the constitution of a special cell “for chalking out a programme to list old cases on priority”.

A committee of three judges, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice V.M. Jain, has also suggested that “two officers of Punjab and Haryana superior judicial services may be appointed for the purpose”.

The measures, as per a circular issued to the high court judges through the special secretaries and the court secretaries, were being taken for expeditious disposal of old cases and for the “implementation of observations made by the Supreme Court in its judgement dated February 7”.

The recommendations are significant as civil cases dating back to the mid-80s are reportedly pending in the courts. This is not all. Criminal appeals against the orders of acquittal have been reportedly pending since 1993. Appeals against the orders of conviction pronounced in 1996-97 are reportedly being heard.

The situation is worse in dowry death cases. As per a report recently released by the Press Information Bureau, the Punjab and Haryana High Court is reported to have the second highest number of pending dowry death cases in the country. As many as 842 such cases were awaiting disposal when the report was released in June. The Rajasthan High Court, with 926 such cases, topped the list.

The shortage of Judges is being cited as one of the reasons for the increase in pendency of cases. The number of judges in the high court here is 30 as against the sanctioned strength of 40. The situation is expected to improve with the reported appointment of seven more judges.

Meanwhile, the committee has also suggested that the cases pending in subordinate courts — in which the high court has issued stay orders — “may be listed for hearing on priority before all Benches on Fridays”. Two Benches can be left out of the process for deciding urgent bail matters, the committee has suggested.

It has also requested the Judges “not to give fresh dates for Fridays so that the old cases can be taken up for hearing”. The authorities have also been directed to prepare “a consolidated list of such cases in which proceedings have been stayed by the high court but the main cases are still pending before the subordinate courts”.


Redress of grievance system rusty
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Redressing grievances is an obligatory responsibility of the system of governance for which an inbuilt mechanism exists in every state.

How does the system function? Is it effective? How serious is the administration (political executive and bureaucracy) in redressing grievances?

To find an answer, TNS representatives surveyed the system of removal of public grievances in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The feedback provides an interesting insight. If, on the one hand, it mirrors the public aspirations, expectations and frustrations, on the other hand, it reflects the public perception on governance. Put together, the survey enables the identification of various faultlines in the mechanism, which has become rusty.

Irrespective of the political outfit in office in a state, the manner in which public grievances are dealt with and disposed of remains almost the same with some minor variations here or there. The common thread running through the system shows growing government indifference towards the public, and the waning public patience. People are fast losing faith in the government. So much so that the officials concerned have become selective even in including grievances submitted by people in the agenda of the meetings of the district committees constituted for the purpose.

These committees have representatives of different political parties and social organisations besides officials. Obviously, those representing the ‘’ruling’’ group defend government inaction and those representing the public remain on the offensive.

The survey has revealed that seldom do these committees meet. If these do, the grievances still persist. Invariably, meetings end in confusion with solutions getting postponed or delayed. In the long run, this failing system does not portend well for social tranquillity that every government desires.

The TNS report on Jammu and Kashmir says there is no organised system to redress public grievances, though a number of problems exist. The Haryana feedback is that the public is caught between two slogans: one official, ‘’Sarkar aap ke dawar’’, and the other that of the Opposition, ‘’Vipaksh aap ke samaksh’’. In the cross-echo of the two, pubic grievances remain unresolved.

The survey shows that unattended demands and broken promises transform into grievances leading to a public outcry for justice. Small needs and problems faced by the public, when ignored, result in agitation and anger. The public does not expect quick-fix solutions. It only hopes and seeks sincere efforts that are visible to redress the grievances. This does not happen.

In Punjab there are the district committees for the removal of public grievances and also the district planning and development committees. These are headed by ministers. Seldom do these two meet. If these do meet, it is invariably a joint meeting. In the process nothing gets sorted out. Over a period of time, the “sangat darshan’’ scheme of the Chief Minister has rendered the two committees absolutely defunct. It is another matter that neither ministers nor bureaucrats (deputy commissioners and senior superintendents of police) have paid heed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal to evolve their own mini “sangat darshan” concept reaching out to the people to redress their grievances ‘’on the spot’’, as far as possible.

The survey shows that in Himachal Pradesh, the government has introduced the ‘’khula darbar’’ system to take care of public grievances. The system is rarely in operation. The story of the hill state’s district committees is no different from that in Punjab.

The survey also shows how people carrying applications try to meet ‘’maai-baap’’ at their offices and residences for a ‘’sunwai’’. Their only interaction is with stiff securitymen. The lucky ones whose applications are ‘’marked’’ by the ‘’sahib’’ remain ignorant of the ultimate fate of their pleas.

The nature of grievances — common issues and community projects to individual requests — is the same, more or less, in all states. So is the public’s fate.

With inputs from Rahul Das (Ambala), Varinder Walia (Amritsar), Chander Prakash (Bathinda), Sushil Goyal (Sangrur), Kanchan Vasudev (Ludhiana), Ehsan Fazili (Srinagar), Rakesh Lohumi (Shimla) and Raman Mohan (Hisar).


Two-day police remand for Chumma
Kiran Deep

The main suspect in the contract killing case, Balwant Rai, alias Chumma, comes out of a district court in Chandigarh on Saturday. 
— Tribune photo Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, September 22
The main accused in the contract killing case, Balwant Rai, alias Chumma, who had been arrested by the police from Mumbai airport, was sent to two days’ police remand by a local court here today.

The accused was produced in the court of the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Pushvinder Singh, this afternoon. The Magistrate also allowed the application moved by the advocate to accompany the accused during the time of interrogation.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Balwant Rai, said he was alone when the Mumbai police arrested him at the airport and denied that any family members were accompanying him. He added that he was leaving for Dubai in connection with his business. The accused also alleged that some persons were trying to implicate him in a false case for their personal gains.

The police sought 10 days’ police remand for the accused to recover the money involved in the contract killing and to find out more facts about the case. On the other hand, the defence counsel argued that the other four accused in the case had been remanded in judicial custody and there was nothing to be recovered from the accused. He also argued that the accused had been falsely implicated in the case and there was no need for police remand of the accused.

Sources added that the accused was brought from Mumbai by train by the city police The team reached Chandigarh on September 22. Sources in the Mumbai police revealed that the Chandigarh police had given details about the main accused in the contract killing to them. The city police had also passed the information to the Mumbai police that the accused might try to flee from the airport.

The sources informed that Balwant Rai, alias Chumma, was arrested by the Mumbai police on the morning of September 18, when he was trying to slip to Dubai along with other family members. He had reportedly asked Ashok Kumar, the driver of another accused, Sant Kumar, that he should arrange some hitmen for eliminating some person. After that, Ashok Kumar had contacted Rajinder Kumar, alias Bittu, who had agreed to do the job. Bittu had arranged for Ashok, alias Shoki Dhabewala, and Baljit Singh, alias Billa, of Ram Darbar to execute the plan.

Reported to be a hardened criminal, two cases of murder had been registered against Baljit Singh. It was also alleged that Balwant Rai had asked Ashok Kumar to take Shoki, Billa and Bittu to their farmhouse at Tirau Khara Tehsil. The deal had been struck for Rs 10 lakh for eliminating Harjinder Singh, alias Ghugi, a timber merchant. According to Ashok Kumar, Chumma had paid Rs 2.5 lakh in cash to Bittu. Another accused, Sant Kumar, the brother of Chumma, had paid Rs 50,000 to Bittu.

Bittu had confessed to Harjinder Singh when he reportedly learnt that the victim was a close friend to one of his friends. The complainant had then taken the assassin to the police. A case under Section 115 of the IPC was registered on August 4. The FIR registered almost 10 days after the police had received a complaint from Harjinder Singh.

In the meantime, the accused in this case, Balwant Rai and Sant Kumar, had registered a complaint under Section 323, 452 and 506 of the IPC against Harjinder Singh and two others in Panchkula. Shoki Dhabawala had confessed to Gurdev Singh and he had been produced before the police by Gurdev Singh. Bittu had been produced before the police by Charanjit.

Baljit Singh had made an extra-judicial confession before Braham Pal, who produced him before the police on August 8. Sant Kumar was arrested by the police on August 5. Ashok Kumar made an extra-judicial confession before Santokh Singh who produced him before the police on August 22.


Ward boy charged with molesting girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A ward boy of Sector 16 General Hospital along with his friend reportedly attempted to outrage the modesty of a girl late last night. The girl was in the women’s ward on the sixth floor to attend to her ailing mother. The attempt was reportedly foiled by another patient in the ward. The Director Health Services, Mr Rameshwar Chander, has suspended the suspect Sanjeev, a Class-IV employee, and has referred the case to the police for investigations.

According to reports available, Sanjeev accompanied by his friend entered the women’s ward at around midnight when the patients and their attendants, including the victim, were fast asleep.

Sanjeev was allegedly drunk and was not on duty. He reportedly asked all male attendants to leave the ward. According to the victim, the suspect asked to her to follow him to an other room on the pretext of showing her mother’s medicines to senior doctors on duty there. Later, he reportedly tried to push her to a vacant room, but when he failed, he asked her to accompany him to the ground floor to change the medicines. However, when she refused to comply with his direction, and altercation took place.

This made Monu, attendant of another patient, suspicious and he intervened. Sanjeev and his friend then fled away. The nurse on duty, Ms Balwinder Kaur, and a doctor also on duty were immediately informed about the incident. The doctor in turn informed the police who took Sanjeev into custody.

Meanwhile, sources in the GMCH-32, said with intervention of a workers’ union, a compromise was reached between relatives of the victim and Sanjeev, early in the morning.

When this was brought to the notice of the Director, Health Services, and the Deputy Medical Superintendent, Mr G.S. Dewan, they took a serious notice of it. Sanjeev is not a permanent employee and was later suspended from work. Dr Rameshwar Chander said the hospital authorities would not tolerate such incidents in the hospital and that a strict action would be taken to punish the culprits. 


A derelict ‘khokha’ market
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar
Guru Nanak Market in Phase 1, one of the oldest ‘‘khokha’’ markets in the town, was set up about 20 years ago and it has changed little since then as far as essential facilities go. Even the 350 ‘‘khokhas’’ remain the wooden shacks that these were when built.

The owners of the ‘‘khokhas’’ complain that only about 100 electricity connections have been given in the market. For the rest, the Municipal Council has not issued the necessary no-objection certificates. Some of them who were illegally drawing power from regular connections in the adjoining ‘‘khokhas’’, were fined by the Punjab State Electricity Board.

More drinking water taps are needed. The ‘‘khokha’’ owners pooled money to construct toilets. The narrow lanes between the rows of ‘‘khokhas’’ are in poor shape, causing inconvenience to customers. ‘‘Khokha-owners have got the paving work done at their own cost.

The highly fire-prone market also lacks adequate fire-fighting arrangements. The local fire brigade has suggested the provision of an underground water tank with a capacity of one lakh gallons at every rehri market in the town, apart from the installation of hydrants.

The president of the ‘‘khokha’’ owners’ association, Mr Nirmal Singh, says that about 100 jhuggis next to the market constitute a fire threat. The jhuggi-owners collect firewood for their use and there is always the danger of a fire breaking out. In fact, a few incidents of fire have already taken place, he adds. He wants the jhuggis to be shifted to some other site.

Mr Nirmal Singh, says that a dead mango tree poses another danger. It can fall any time and cause damage, maybe even loss of life. Requests to the SDM, the Municipal Council and PUDA to cut the tree down have not been heard for the past two years.

He says the authorities had planned to construct pucca booths in the market a few years ago, but the scheme was opposed by certain booth owners, who also went to court in this regard.

The ‘‘khokha’’-owners also resent the presence of phariwalas in front of the market every evening. They say the unauthorised use of the area by the phariwalas affects their business. Some house-owners are reported to be charging ‘‘rent’’ from the phariwalas for allowing them to lay pharis in front of their houses. The ‘khokha’ owners have complained to the Municipal Council but no action has been taken to remove the phariwalas. They allege that the phariwalas have won over certain civic officials to prevent eviction.

The ‘‘khokha’’-owners also complain that the Municipal Council has not collected tehbazari of Rs 60 per month from them for the past two years and it is now demanding lumpsum payment. They say this is unjustified and will be a financial burden to many of them.


Footpaths that rarely last
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar
The SAS Nagar Municipal Council has decided to lay footpaths on its roads at a cost of lakhs of rupees.

The president of the council, Mr Kulwant Singh, had said a few months ago that no new footpaths would be laid, yet tenders worth lakhs have been passed for the construction of footpaths in different parts of the town. These footpaths will have telephone cables, storm water drains, and sewers under them and any problem with any of these will require the footpaths to be dug up.

In such cases, “careless” digging of the footpaths makes their repair difficult and also expensive. Though council officials maintain that concrete footpaths have a long maintenance-free life, the residents point out that the footpaths have to be broken whenever there is a fault in the cables or pipes underneath.

According to specifications, footpaths are to be laid at least four feet away from the road berms so as to leave enough space for laying and repair of underground cables and pipes.

A recently laid footpath in Phase 7 had to be broken and dug up to lay telephone cables. Tiles removed from the footpath are scattered all over the place. In another case, a section of the pathway in Phase 3BI had to be dug up to repair a blocked sewer. An employee of the Public Health Department said: “We prefer to leave the dug-up portions open as blockage can occur again.”

Sources in the Municipal Council said that the quality of the work was also at times sub-standard. An employee of the council said instead of the specified material, poor quality material was used, resulting in damage after some time. In several places in the town, pieces of broken concrete and tiles lie scattered as a testimony to the poor quality of work.


The MP who counsels on marriage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Why it is important for the institution of marriage to function? This will be probed by cinestar-turned-MP, Shatrughan Sinha, in a play ‘Pati Patni Aur Mein’ to be staged before a select audience in the city tomorrow.

Marriages are breaking down due to anger and ego problem in couples, while kids become suffers, said Sinha when asked why he was acting in a play on this theme. He plays the friend, philosopher and guide to a young couple who first fall in love, get married and then fall apart. What happens later and what role does Shatrughan play as “mein”, the narrator (sutradhar), will be known tomorrow. The play has a lesson sent in a subtle manner and not in preaching style.

“The play is laced with humour and is based on the occurrences in life of just about anyone and everyone and makes people relate to it,” said Shatrughan while addressing a press conference here this evening. It is not a satire on politics or his political rivals, he clarified, while adding that this was his first attempt at theatre. And in this he was egged on by his wife, he said.

Directed and produced by Ramesh Talwar and Sanjay Goradia, who had also staged “maa retire hoti hai” and “Dr Mukta” with Jaya Bachhan in the lead role, the play has been getting good reviews from critics.

Sinha plays the role of a bank clerk, Shatrughan Verma, who is a happy-go-lucky dreamer with no worries troubling him. He is a guide and like older brother to Prakash (Amar Babaria). The play has already been staged in various cities across the country, Sinha said. He added that Chandigarh was not in the original schedule. The change had come about as the scheduled tour to USA had to be cancelled due to the recent bombings there.

Shatrughan avoided questions on politics. The only exception was a remark ‘making someone a minister or not is the prerogative of the Prime Minister and who am I to question his wisdom.’ This he said as mediapersons asked him if he was channelling his anger on not becoming a minister through the play. “I would be doing a devdas and not a humourous play if I had been angry,” the cine star remarked. 


Killer spot on the highway
Bipin Bhardwaj

The habit of taking a wrong turn towards the Mansa Devi Complex has turned the point near Dhillon Cinema on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway a killer spot.

Road users coming from the direction of Old Panchkula and headed for the Mansa Devi Complex, Saketri and other villages and colonies, often take this turn and run head-on into the traffic coming from Chandigarh. Two petrol pumps near this spot have aggravated the problem and added to the rate of accidents.

Heavy rush during office hours also makes it one of the most accident-prone roads in the city. A number of lives have been lost in accidents at this spot and many persons have received injuries.

Motorists, scooterists, motorcyclists, cyclists and even pedestrians, often take a “U” turn here and run into accidents. Short cuts across the road divider have added to the problem. Though the Panchkula Police has set up a post here but it has not posted any traffic policeman to control the traffic.

The exit points of the two petrol pumps on the highway have further aggravated the problem. Whenever there is a shortage of petrol or diesel, long queues of vehicles are seen at these filling stations, which often spill over on the highway.

Police records show a rise in the death graph and an average of four or five accidents every week at this place. 


ICAO meet: spotlight to be on terrorism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Terrorism will continue to occupy the centre-stage not only in world politics but also at other international fora, including civil aviation and policing.

When civil aviation experts from 187 contracting states meet at Montreal from September 25 to October 5 for the 33rd session of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the main agenda will be aviation security in general and terrorist attacks on civil aviation in particular.

Similarly, almost on the same dates — from September 24 to 29 —when the 70th general assembly of the ICPO - Interpol is held at Budapest in Hungary, terrorism will be one of the major subjects of deliberations for the police chiefs of various nations.

“The terrorist attacks of September 11 in the USA represent the greatest-ever threat to civil aviation security. For the first time, aircraft have been used as weapons of destruction. Such acts have no place in our civilised society. Our primary objective at this Assembly ( 33rd session of the ICAO) is to identify the means by which we can eradicate this new threat and restore confidence on a system that remains fundamentally safe, secure and efficient,” said Mr Assad Kotaire, President of the Council of the ICAO, in a statement received by The Tribune here today.

India, one of the ICAO members, will be represented at the Montreal Conference by an official delegation. The agenda of the ICAO session, held every three years, includes full review of the ICAO activities and consideration of other projects and issues vital to safety and orderly development of civil aviation.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the aviation industry the world over has landed in a crisis with a steep fall not only in air traffic but also “safety” of air traffic.

The Budapest session of Interpol will also deliberate upon the “anti-terrorism programmes”, besides discussing other issues, including disaster victim identification and vehicle crime. Another important issue before the cops of the world would be “threat assessment”.

Countries like India, which has been facing the malaise of terrorism since Independence, are expected to present their case studies and viewpoints both on safety in civil aviation and in fighting cross-border terrorism.

In the Indian context, the strong linkage between civil aviation and terrorism needs no corroboration as almost more than 75 per cent of the hijacking cases involving civilian aircraft were the handiwork of terrorists.Back


Price structure of ordnance products
Tribune News Service

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is preparing an approach paper on the pricing policy for it products for civil trade and export so that a reasonably realistic profit can be earned by various ordnance factories.

The OFB has 40 factories all over the country which are oriented to meet the requirements of the armed forces, including clothing, weapons, vehicles, heavy and specialised equipment as well as other lethal and non-lethal stores. During 2000-01, they sold products worth about Rs 6300 crore.

Besides catering to the needs of the armed forces, para military and police organisations, these factories also produce equipment for the railways, public sector undertakings, government departments and even some private organisations.

An ordnance factory in Chandigarh, which produces cables for military use, has also been supplying its products to other government departments as well as to civilian clients. Another ordnance factory has produced a sheet note counting machine for banks which can substitute imported equipment.

According to an official report, the project has been taken up on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee, which found that the prices of products sold to the armed forces, state police organisations and government departments, and those sold in the open market were different.

While the profit margin on supplies made to the armed forces is nil, there are different profit margins on supplies made to government organisations and civilian agencies or to the export market.

The committee has recommended that marketing and cost analysis should be involved in determining the prices of ordnance factory products for sectors other than the armed forces.

According to the report, the execution of orders from the civilian sector has two aspects — products which are a spin-off to the current range of products such as small arms and their ammunition, and products where the manufacture is undertaken to utilise spareable manpower which would otherwise become idle and increase the overhead costs of the factory concerned.

In the first case items like pistols and revolvers and ammunition are sold to government and law enforcement agencies. Because of a persistent and high demand from the civil sector and the Ministry of Home Affairs, ordnance factories are stated to be in a position to earn a reasonable profit on these items. Here, prices are based on the capacity of the market to bear the particular prices.

In the second case, to minimise under-utilisation of labour, certain items such as axle shafts and brake shoes, as well as turbine shafts are produced on prime cost basis, which includes the cost of material, labour and certain overheads.

The prices of such items are fixed after evaluating the market trend as well as taking into account the prices which competing suppliers demand.


Regularise paying guest accommodation’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The local unit of the All-India Paying Guest Accommodation Association today demanded the immediate regularisation of paying guest accommodation in the city.

Addressing a press conference here, Gp Capt A.S. Mann and Mr O.P. Bagga, president and general secretary, respectively, said the accommodation would be helpful to the middle class visitors and tourists who could not afford luxury accommodation.

The concept of paying guest accommodation had been approved by the Government of India and implemented in 33 states and the UTs as part of the heritage tourism. Though the then Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Jagdish Sagar, had agreed in principle to implement the scheme, yet nothing had been done till date, they alleged.

The patron, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, claimed that the Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, had assured a delegation of the association that a committee would be formed soon with a member from the association to formulate the rules and regulations regarding regularisation of the paying guest accommodation.

Mr Mohinder Partap, secretary, said the paying guest accommodation, besides being much cheaper, was secure for the tourists as the families of the owners lived in the same premises.


The changing crime scene
Tribune News Service

Surfing through the television channels, special counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr R.K. Handa, comes across a serial in which hired assassins are taken into custody minutes before they can execute their plan to pump bullets in a business tycoon.

Raising the volume of the TV set, Mr Handa observes enthusiastic sleuths flush out all the contract killers one after the other from an impressive building in downtown Mumbai. As the serial concludes, he wishes that detectives in real life were as successful as they are in reel life “because the trend to hire killers for personal gain is on the rise, even in this region.”

“In the good old days when people had some kind of respect for human life, such phenomena was totally unknown”, he recalls. “I have been associated with the CBI as special counsel, even as standing counsel, since 1989 and can tell you that the system of hiring assassins for vengeance was introduced in this region only recently”.

Going back in time, he mutters: “Murders used to take place in the 80s also, but without the help of goonda elements because man-slaughter was seldom pre-planned. At the most, brothers or friends would get together and commit the crime in a fit of frenzy with the help of sickles or batons and, in some cases, with a gun. So much of thinking and planning was not involved in the process”.

“Revenge used to be the prime motive behind murder. In most of the cases, grabbing of ancestral property by the opposite party dictated the need for settling scores. Family honour was another reason. But in all these cases, the aggrieved individual and the victim would face each other”.

Now the situation has undergone a complete metamorphosis. “The real culprit remains behind the scene as the process of eliminating the enemy is carried out by contract killers,” Mr Handa says. “It is no more a simple job committed in a huff. Hours and hours of thinking go into formulating foolproof strategies and for ensuing that the identity of the `mastermind’ remains a secret for all times to come. At least till the premier investigation agency begins to act”.

This is not all. The motive behind committing such heinous crimes has also changed over the years. “Business rivalry, political vendetta and professional gains are now emerging as the real motives behind murders,” he asserts. “The reason for this drift is not very hard to find. Earlier, illiterate persons use to tread the path of crime. Now, even the educated class, dazzled by the glitter of a commercial world, is looking for short-cuts to material success”.

He concludes: “For the sake of a few rupees, or for enhancing one’s status in society, precious lives are taken in a pre-planned manner without realising that crime cannot remain hidden for long even if the culprit remains behind thick drapes. I wish people start showing respect for life again”. Back


USA responsible for global terrorism: CPI
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 22
Dr Joginder Dayal, State Secretary of the CPI, Punjab, today held the USA responsible for the spread of global terrorism and said international terrorists like Osama bin Laden were the creation of that country.

Dr Dayal, who was speaking at the general body meeting of the CPI City Committee, SAS Nagar, held here, said the USA not only provided opportunities for the development of international terrorism but also supported terrorists by terming them as crusaders fighting for their independence and fundamental rights. Now when Bin Laden had directed his activities towards his creator, the USA had changed its definition of crusaders and terrorism.

Dr Dayal said the USA took little interest when trans-border terrorism affected India and around 25,000 persons were killed in Punjab during the period of militancy. In fact, during that time the USA “granted recognition” to the Khalistani Council.

He said the USA was interested in stamping out terrorism only to the extent it affected that country, but could not achieve this at the global level. To get rid of international terrorism, the UN must hold serious meetings and discussions on the matter to find a way out.

He said global terrorism of every type should be identified and wiped out with sincerity and unity.

The CPI leader demanded a probe by a Supreme Court Judge to determine who was behind terrorism in Punjab.

He said a judicial commission should also be set up to enquire into the assests of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Dr Dayal said under the Badal government the law and order situation had deteriorated to a great extent. Drugs were being sold at places of worship and there was an increase in the incidents of rape of minors. In fact, there was a state of anarchy. There were apprehensions that Punjab would now have to face nacro-terrorism, he added.

Prominent Punjabi writer Santokh Singh Dhir said evil forces of the entire world were fighting among themselves. It was time for the Left movement to unite and fight global terrorism paving the way for international peace and human development.

The general body meeting, which was presided over by Mr Baldev Singh Jhajj and Mr Ramji Dass, was held in two sessions. The first session included the welcoming of newly enrolled members, and at the second party organisational matters and civic grievances of the town’s residents were discussed.


World Tourism Day celebrations in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The UT Administration has planned a host of activities for the World Tourism Day on September 27 and the week thereafter in collaboration with CITCO, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, Food Craft Institute, Sector 42, Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends ( ITFT) and the Hotel Association of Chandigarh.

Giving details, the General Manager ( Tourism), Mr Ashwani Malhotra, has said the activities spread over four days will have something for people of all age groups. The day (September 27) will see the floral welcome for all those who come to the city by Shatabadi Express, a seminar on “Role of Ecology in Tourism Industry”, quiz on Eco Tourism, sightseeing tour to Morni Hills for residents of oldage Homes in Sectors 15 and 43, free local sightseeing tour for children on Hop-on-Hop-off double decker tourist coach and a food fusion theme dinner.

The highlight of the day will be the release of the first issue of Northern India Aviation and Tourism News Letter of ITFT by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), and tourism slogan-writing competition on Hop-on Hop-off coach. The roundabouts of Sectors 2, 3, 10 and 11 developed by the Tourism Promotion Society of Chandigarh (TPSC) will also be dedicated to the city.

While there will be free boating for children at the Sukhna Lake on September 28, on the third day (September 29), there will be a special programme at Piazza Carnival at Sector 17 in which renowned TV artistes and pop singers will perform; sightseeing tour for mentally challenged children to Chhatbir Zoo, food festival at Chef Lakeview along with musical/orchestra performance.

The concluding day, September 30, will have roller-skating competition for children at the Sukhna Lake; a skit by a group of students of the Centre for Education Voluntary Action (CEVA) at the lake, a classical fusion music performance by Subhash Ghosh.

According to Mr Malhotra, all CITCO outlets, including the two main hotels, Mountview and Shivalikview, and all other restaurants and hotels will offer special 15 per cent discount on food and beverages. Elevenses II, the bakery shop of Food Craft Institute, will set up a stall at Chef Lakeview on all these days. Besides this, some restaurants will also organising food festivals at their respective outlets.Back


MC officials plant saplings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
As many as 70 saplings of ‘neem’ and ‘pipal’ were planted by senior officials of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh along with residents in the extended portion of the green belt in Bapu Dham colony this afternoon.

While the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, who was the chief guest at the function, led the plantation drive, others who joined in were the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, SE ( B and R), Xen of MC, Mr I.S. Sokhey, the Congress party president, Mr B.B Bahl and Congress leaders namely Mr Ram Pal Sharma, Mr Krishan Lal and the area councillor, Ms Suneeta.

Earlier, the Commissioner emphasised that every family should plant at least one sapling, which will go a long way in making the area clean, green and pollution free. 


CBI inquiry sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The president of the local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mr M.R. Dhiman, and a director of the Market Committee, Mr Gurdev Singh, today demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the committee and the delay in making the barriers functional at the Grain Market.

Addressing a press conference here, the BSP leader alleged that market fee and sales tax were not collected honestly with the result that the state exchequer was put to great a loss. They alleged nexus between the officials and certain directors of the committee.

On the question of party’s stand on the barrier issue, Mr Dhiman made it clear that the party was in favour of making the six barriers functional to check the evasion market fee and sales tax. He said Mr Gurdev Singh, would remain neutral during the voting on the non-confidence motion against the committee chairman, Mr Kesar Singh.

The party would contest all seats of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) elections scheduled to be held in December. The national president of the BSP, Mr Kanshi Ram, would kick up the election campaign of the party at a rally here on October 6.Back

Lions Club chief installed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Mr Rajat Mohan was installed as president of the Lions Club Chandigarh by the district governor, Mr D.K. Sood, at a simple ceremony held at Hotel Solitaire today.

Former district governors of the club were also present on the occasion. Highlighting the activities of the club, the club secretary, Mr Chander Verma, said the club had been holding medical check-up, AIDS awareness and diabetes check-up camps etc.

The club has adopted a school in Naya Gaon, where they provide fee of the students and other material for studies such as books, copies, pencils and school dress.Back


NCP activists burn Pakistan flags
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today burnt the flags of Pakistan and Afghanistan in protest against their role in spreading terrorism in the world.

Led by its president, Mr Gurbachan Singh, the party activists assembled at Labour Chowk in the morning and raised slogans like Pakistan ‘murdabad’ and Osama bin Laden ‘murdabad’.

The activists demanded that terrorism should be eliminated from the world so that the people could live in peace.Back


Police remand
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The two suspects involved in a fake licence making scandal were sent to one-day police remand by a local court here today. The duo, Gulab Singh and Madan Singh, both officials of the State Transport Authority, were arrested by the UT Vigilance Department yesterday. 


Beopar Mandal to be expanded
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM), the largest representative body of the traders, is all set to be expanded with the addition of more members.

With the screening committee of the CBM clearing a majority of the 40 applications received, the composition of the prestigious traders’ body will never be the same again. The mandal will bear a more representative look when the CBM executive okayed the new memberships next week, sources said.

The new members come from the “unrepresentative markets” including in Sectors 7(C and D), 8 (Madhya Marg), 9, 10, 11 and 17. A unique feature of the new membership was that a number of trade-specific associations such as the Chemists Association, the Booksellers Association, the Crockery and Bartan Sellers Association and Wholesale Readymade Cloth Merchants Association had applied for the membership.

It may be mentioned that the strength of the CBM had remained stagnant during all these years and there were allegations that certain markets had not been given representations for one reason or the other.

It was after the election of Mr Jagdish Arora as president of the CBM on July 1 that the process for the enrollment of new members was started and the screening committee comprising Mr Jagdish Pal Singh Kalra, Mr Gurdial Bhasin, Mr GS Sawhney and Mr Sat Pal Garg, besides Mr Arora, was formed. The screening committee invited applications and verified the claims of various markets and their office-bearers for the new memberships.

According to the constitution of the CBM, the membership is open to the office-bearers of the Market Welfare Association and the number of representatives is decided depending upon the strength of the association.

While the association having 1 to 25 members has one representative, the market having 26 to 100 members send two members to the CBM. Similarly, the market body having 101 to 200 members was entitled to send three members. The number for the market having 201 to 300 can send four members and that having above 301 members can send 5 representatives.

When contacted, Mr Arora informed that the membership drive had been launched to give the CBM the true representative character and make traders’ unity a reality. He said the membership will be ratified by the executive meeting to be held next week.

It may be recalled that the importance of the non-political CBM had increased manyfold as the Chandigarh Administration was going in for major changes in commercial building byelaws. Besides, the administration had decided to actively involve the CBM for the enforcement of the ban on the recycled polythene bags and plastic bags with a thickness below 20 microns for storing and carrying foodstuffs.

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