Friday, October 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Industry to generate its own power
Approval expected next week
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Adopting an innovative approach to deal with the growing shortage of power in the city, the Chandigarh Administration is all set to allow industrialists to have their own small captive power generation plants to operate their units. Generation units will have to be in excess of 2 megawatts.

The issue will be accorded final administrative approval once the Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), accepts the scheme and permits its actual implementation. This is expected to be done in the coming week, a source said, adding that everything has been finalised.

With the local industry needing close to 35 megawatts of power a day, the Administration was finding it difficult to meet the aspirations of the industry and day-long power cuts had become the norm. Under the new scheme, the Administration aims at changing the rules to allow industrialists to set up their own generation units.

A set of checks, balances and safety precautions will be incorporated within the amendments to be carried out to allow generation of power. The fuel for generation will have to be non-polluting one and pollution control devices have to be set up under the proposed amendments. The city has 2,318 industrial power connections.

The scheme means the Administration, which only distributes power, will be facing a lesser burden of supplying more and more power as several industrial units may opt for the same. The Administration expects that some medium-size consumers may join hands to set up their own small generation units. At the moment, power costs about Rs 3.78 per unit for large industrial consumers and Rs 3.15 per unit for medium-size industrial consumers. The classification is based on the load sanctioned to the user. Already a few of the large consumers have shown interest in having their own generation capacity.

Engineers say gas-based generation is the cheapest form. If owners can get supply of gas, it will cost about Rs 2 per unit, which is 50 per cent of the present cost. With the IT sector having established presence in the city and the Administration planning to set up an IT park, besides a series of institutes of excellence, the need for more power will arise in the near future.

The industry has to take a day off once a week. The offs are staggered so as to cut down on load usage. The industry is not allowed to function during peak hours, that is, between 6 pm and 11 pm. Heavy penalties are enforced in case of violations.

Chandigarh has no source of generation and sources all power from outside. The present allocation is about 168 MW. Even this has come up after recent hikes in allocation made by the Union Ministry of Power after hectic lobbying by the Administration.

An earlier ambitious captive power project to generate 125 MW in Chandigarh had to be dropped as the Union Ministry of Petroleum did not find it feasible to lay a gas pipeline from Panipat to Chandigarh. Another proposal to use rice husk was also dropped. The cost of power is going up almost every two years as overheads are cutting into a major chunk of revenue.


Panchkula police to acquire speed radars
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
Overspeeding in the city would soon be a thing of the past with the district police forwarding a proposal to the police headquarters for acquiring new speed radars to check overspeeding in the town.

This was stated by the Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, following a demonstration of speed radars and breath analysers by Chandigarh-based distributors of the American-made equipment in Sector 1 here today.

Mr Yadav along with other senior police officials inspected the performance of the two gadgets for over half an hour. They were offered to use the gadgets for special campaigns on trial basis.

The gadgets have already been acquired by the Punjab police while a demonstration for these was also held in Chandigarh recently.

Speed limits in the town were notified over a year back though no challans have ever been issued for overspeeding.

The sole speed radar, the only possession of the police, has been under repair ever since the notification, a handicap which has stood in the way of issuing challans for these violations.


MCC to reintroduce paid parking in Sector 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The parking lots in Sectors 17 and 8 are going to be paid ones. ‘’The decision to make the parking lots paid has been made by the Municipal Corporation after a direction from the UT Administration and rates would be kept in probably two or three slabs,’’ a corporation source told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

The decision of the corporation came in the wake the Punjab and Haryana High Court direction to de-congest these sectors from traffic and give an implementation report by October 29.

The corporation officials are seeing the court order as a boon to mop up the resources of the corporation that has been fighting a resource crunch.

The rates are going to be designed on Delhi pattern where it would be costly in those areas where there is a heavy congestion while in those areas where congestion is generally less, the low rates will be lower, the sources said. The sources indicated that rates taken before the House would not be taken into account as new rates have been left at the discretion of the corporation officials.

The MC House had fixed parking rates in 1998 but because of protest from shopkeepers and office goers, they were kept in abeyance.

The Corporation Commissioner, Mr. M. P. Singh, and the Chief Engineer today inspected the three underground parking lots in Sector-17 which have been made functional recently.

Traffic policemen have been placed near these parkings to direct motorists to park their vehicles in the underground parkings, which are free of cost now.

The three-layered parking in the 30 Bays Building, which is the biggest parking lot among three, has been opened for cars also with the two wheelers being sent on the first level while four wheelers being parked on the second and third layers.


Centre to raise army of ‘grief counsellors’ 
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
In a bid to give a fillip to the movement for eye banking, the Government of India plans to raise a trained and committed army of “grief counsellors” who will approach members of the family of a deceased person at an appropriate time and motivate them to donate the eyes.

Grief counsellors or eye donation counsellors will be told and taught the concept of eye banking through classes comprising both theory and demonstration. They will be stationed in hospitals and banks and will be trained to approach next of kin of the deceased at an appropriate time in such a way as to dispel myths about eye donation and to motivate them to give away the eyes of their dead kin willingly so that someone else can see.

It has often been seen that family members of the deceased veto the removal of the eyes from the body even when the deceased had willed so. Under the existing law, permission of the family members of the deceased is essential for the removal of the eyes even if the deceased had willed it during his lifetime. This is among the factors which have prevented the eye donation movement in the country from taking off, says Dr Jagjit Singh Saini, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology, PGI, and president of the Eye Bank Association of India.

This is where the role of the grief counsellors will be crucial. The Government of India also plans to suitably amend the human organ transplant laws to make it easier for the hospital authorities to remove eyes from dead bodies. It is also planned to shift the emphasis from the treatment of cataract only to other causes of blindness as well.

At present, the country has only a skeletal structure by way of eye banking. “There are only six to eight properly equipped eye banks in the country”, says Dr Saini. “The remaining eye banks, numbering about 150, leave much to be desired by way of infrastructure, equipment and storage facilities for the eyes.”

Last year, about 18,000 eyes were removed in the country. However, the requirement runs into millions of eyes. “So you can well imagine the gap between the demand and supply of eyes”.

There are nearly 38 million blind people and almost 110 million with low vision, giving a total of nearly 150 million people with some degree of visual impairment in the world.

There are 8.9 million blind people in India, 6.7 million in China and 7.1 million in Africa. Together, this constitutes nearly 60 per cent of the global burden of blindness. The major cause of blindness in India, China and sub-Saharan Africa is cataract. Globally, there are at least 16 million people who are blind from cataract. Trachoma is the second cause of blindness in sub-Saharan Africa, China and the Middle East countries, with a global estimate of 5.9 million people being blind from trachoma.

There is no good available data on the incidence of blindness, although it is estimated that at least seven million people become blind each year and that the number of blind people worldwide is at present increasing by 1-2 million per year.


Global initiative to tackle blindness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Every five seconds, an adult in the world goes blind and a child goes blind after every one minute. And if national and international efforts to tackle blindness are not intensified, the number of people with severe visual disability will double by the year 2020.

These startling facts and figures were released here today by Dr Jagjit Singh Saini, of the PGI. He is also president of the Eye Bank Association of India. Sensing the enormity of the problem, a number of world bodies like the WHO, the Christoffel Blinden mission, the Helen Keller Worldwide, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, the Orbis International and the Sight Savers International, have joined hands to launch a worldwide programme “Vision-2020: The right to sight”. It is a global initiative aimed at eliminating the main causes of blindness.

The programme is designed to create awareness about blindness as a major public health issue and to control the major causes of blindness, train ophthalmologists and others to provide eye care, create an infrastructure to manage the problem, and develop appropriate technology concerning the field. Meanwhile, the Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, will be the chief guest at a function to be held here tomorrow to mark the “World Sight Day”.

Dr Rameshwar Chander, Director, Health Services, UT, will also attend the function being organised by the Eye Bank Association of India at Shishu Niketan Modern Senior Secondary School, Sector 22-D, said Dr Jagjit Singh Saini.


Five of family donate eyes
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 11
The Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr Jaipal Singh, and four of his family members have donated their eyes for the eye bank of Sohana Eye Hospital. Mr Jaipal Singh donated his eyes at a camp held recently at Gyan Jyoti Public School in Phase 2 here. He told TNS that he was convincing his office staff and members of the public to donate their eyes for the noble cause.


A feast for polo lovers of city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A sizeable crowd at the Railway Territorial Army Ground could not have asked for more. It was treated to a rare feast of polo by teams of the Punjab Polo Association and Punjab and Sind Bank who played superbly for a 5-5 draw to mark the beginning of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bicentenary Coronation Polo Tournament here this afternoon.

Riding their trusted mounts for the game were Major Ajay Ahlawat, Capt A.S. Randhawa, Samir Suhag and Angad Khan for Punjab Polo Association while veteran Vikram Sodhi, Major Shalendra Singh, Dhruvpal Godhara and Vishal Singh took up the fight for the bank team.

Two other stalwarts of the game, Pinka Virk and Manoj, were in the middle to umpire the game of fluctuating fortunes which saw bankmen holding the limelight in the first of the four chakras, squandering the advantage in the next two, before pulling a last minute goal through Vikram Sodhi to share honours with the host association’s team.

Tomorrow, when the Punjab Governor-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), formally inaugurates the tournament, there will be two matches, starting at 3 p.m. Seen in action tomorrow will be Lieut-Col J.S. (Pinka) Virk with a handicap of plus 4. Samir Suhag, Dhruvpal Godhara, Angad Kalaam and Vishal Singh — all with a handicap of plus 5 — were seen in action during the opening game of this first ever Polo Pageant here.

Last time, Chandigarhians saw country’s top mounts and riders several years ago when it played host to the North India Horse Show at the Sector 1 Rajendra park when Gen O.P. Malhotra (retd) was the Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh.

There could not have been a better tribute to the Maharaja of Punjab on the bicentenary of his coronation than this polo meet which would feature country’s top players for the next three days.

The newly laid turf, though at times dusty, reverberated to the hooves of the mounts for almost 40 minutes in the afternoon as Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, escorted by Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Maj-Gen U.S. Sidhu, President and Vice-President of the Punjab Polo Association, joined by hundreds of horse lovers of the city, both from defence and civil, watched the exciting game where riders change their mounts after every chakra — quarter — of the game.

Bankmen started with a flourish with Dhruv Pal Godara giving the early lead. But Angad Kalaam and Samir Suhag had different ideas. They not only neutralised the 0-2 lead but put the Punjab Polo Association ahead at 5-3 before the end of the third chakra.

The last chakra saw the bankmen restoring parity moments before the hooter sounded for the end of the game.


VSNL fails to help police in cyber crime case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The first cyber crime case registered in the city is again hanging fire, with the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) having finally written to the city police that the activity log of the two days on which hacking in the case is alleged to have taken place is not available.

Investigations in the case have suffered a setback, with the VSNL conceding that it cannot help the police in establishing that the accused company, Techno Noble Infoway Ltd, had hacked into the FTP server of its US-based estranged business partner, IGSP Inc.

The police had first sought the help of PUNCOM in dealing with the intricacies of the case, who had referred the matter to VSNL. Though the latter had earlier verified the Internet Protocol address (IP Address) of TNIL, the police needs the activity log of the accused company to prove that the offence of hacking had been committed.

Senior officials say they will once again request the complainants in US to send them the activity log of the FTP server there as evidence that the accused had hacked into their system and downloaded certain files. It was alleged that at least 15,000 attempts at hacking had been made by the accused company on August 25 and 26, 2001, after the two companies had broken off their contract.

This case has also brought into focus the lack of knowledge about cyber crimes and provisions for booking the accused under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act , which is proving a major constraint for the police force in the region. In spite of the fact that regular refresher courses are regularly being organised for the Chandigarh police, there is little stress on making the cops “computer literate”.

According to the FIR registered under Section 66 (2) of the Information Technology Act and Section 380 of the IPC, it is alleged that a local concern, Techno Noble India Limited, illegally downloaded confidential information from the FTP server of IGSP Inc, USA, after the contract between the two firms was cancelled on August 21.

The US-based company had given a contract to their subsidiary firm here, IGSP India Private Limited, which in turn had given the subcontract to the accused firm , TNIL, for sending jobs for medical transcription. It was after the contract was broken off between the two firms and the password to the main server was changed that the accused firm allegedly tried to log on to the main server in order to get vital information.


Dept claims fall in malaria cases
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
The district health authorities here have claimed that they have been successful in containing the spread of malaria in the district, bringing down the number of reported cases by almost 40 per cent.

This year the number of cases reported with malarial infection during the “season’’ have reduced from 41 to 29, according to the official records. For the month of September alone, the number of cases has been cut to 50 per cent, against 14 cases reported at various dispensaries and health centres last year, only seven have been detected so far.

The break-up of the urban reports is even more encouraging with only two cases reported in against 11 cases last year. In addition, no cases of the potentially fatal dengue or the Japanese B. encephalitis have been reported so far.

“The peak season for all these fevers is almost over. By the end of this month, all these illnesses will be on their way out. The risk period is over and we are glad our exercise to educate the masses has paid off,’’ said Dr B.S. Chaudhary, Chief Medical Officer.

He said that the number of viral infections, too, have been fewer this season on account of rigorous operations undertaken by the Health Department. “Under a special drive, we have been carrying out melathine residual spray in as many as 50 houses around the house from where a positive case is reported. This drive will continue till October 15 in the district,’’ Dr Chaudhary added.

For the purpose, 15 teams were constituted for surveillance and supervision. They were given the task of educating the public on how they could prevent illness in their houses and precautions they needed to take to keep infections at bay.

The health authorities have carried out intensive larvicidal sprays ranging from use of malarial oil to use of Baytex spray for reducing the mosquito intensity in the risk-pockets of the district.

The rural areas have emerged as a challenge from the efforts undertaken as most of the reported cases are confined to the villages. “The economic conditions have improved. Along with prosperity in villages, illnesses typical of the urban set-up have also found their way to this area. Lack of information and education has also brought about increased threat from infections and fevers. We will gear up to tackle this next time,’’ he stated.


CVM disowns Sangeeta Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) here today disowned Ms Sangeeta Gupta accused of criminal conspiracy rape of a minor girl and her kidnapping.

She was remanded in police custody yesterday.

“Ms Sangeeta Gupta was never a member of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch,’’ the CVM general secretary, Mr Sandeep Singh, said in a statement.

The CVM rebuttal came in the wake of reports that Ms Gupta was appointed an office-bearer of the women’s wing of the manch a couple of months back.

The statement said, “The reports were false, frivolous and politically motivated to defame our organisation.”

Ms Gupta was charged with conspiring and kidnapping a minor to be allegedly raped by her co-accused Ashok, alias Sweety Bajaj.


Test of courage for students
Bipin Bhardwaj

Catching a bus to reach their college and school and then back to their homes has become a test of courage for the students who come from far off villages of the district to attend classes in Panchkula.

Students and office-goers are seen running on busy roads to catch buses after their college and office hours. There is no bus stop near the Government Degree College. They have to go to Majri Chowk, on the intersection of the Shimla-Ambala and Panchkula-Naraingarh highways. Due to the heavy rush, the commuters hurry for seats and often meet with accidents. A number of college students have met with accidents at this point and some of them have even lost their lives.

Students and teachers of the college allege that more than a year ago the authorities removed a bus queue shelter close to the main gate of the college. Now they have to trudge a long distance to catch buses for their destinations.

Girls who cannot jostle their way through the crowd are the worst sufferers. They sometimes have to wait for hours before they can get into a bus. Being the most accident prone spot in the city, Majri Chowk has a record of four or five accidents in a week.

Traffic lights have been installed at this crossing but road users rarely follow the light signals. Some even ignore the traffic policemen on duty. Senior police officers admit that the number of policemen posted at this point is not sufficient to manage the traffic.


Beant case accused undergoes operation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Navjot Singh , one of the accused in the assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh was today operated on in the PGI for a knee-joint problem.

The accused had reportedly been suffering from a problem in his knee-joint for the past couple of months. He was brought to the hospital under tight security at around 7.15 am today.

The route to the PGI appeared to be under seige, with policemen in uniform as well as mufti guarding the area. Three officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, three Inspectors and nearly 40 cops were deployed at the PGI on special duty.

The operation which lasted for about five hours was held on the fouth floor of the hospital and was performed by Dr Mandeep Dhillon. Earlier, the main accused in the case, Balwant Singh had been operated on for a spinal cord problem in March at GMCH, Sector 32. 


Air Force anniversary function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A cultural programme and a cake-cutting ceremony marked the celebrations of the Air Force anniversary at the MiG-23/27 TETTRA school at the Air Force High Grounds near here.

Families of Air Force personnel presented popular folk dances, while the anniversary cake was cut by Mrs Tanuja Yadav, wife of the Station Commander. Earlier, an audio-visual history of the IAF’s fighter fleet was presented by the Station Commander, Gp Capt Rakesh Yadav. A large number of serving and retired Air Force officers as well as select Army officers and their families attended the function.

As part of the celebrations, the local unit of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) also organised a mela at the station.


SSP refutes allegation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Amidst allegations of Sweety Bajaj and other accused in the rape of a 15-year-old girl being given a VIP treatment while in police remand, the SSP, the H.G.S. Dhaliwal, today conducted a surprise check in Sector 36 police station.

According to sources in the Police Department, the SSP visited the police station in the morning following reports in a section of the media that the accused was being given a VIP treatment, but found that no special treatment was being given to the suspect.


Three cases of vehicle theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Three cases of theft have been registered in different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

A Maruti car (CH-01R-2077) was stolen from Fragrance Garden in Sector 36 yesterday. A Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-03D-1962) was stolen from the Sanjeevani Hostel parking lot in the PGI on October 9 night. In both the cases, FIRs under Section 379 of the IPC have been registered.

The front wheel of a scooter (CH-03E-9344) was stolen on the night of October 9 from the Sector 41 residence of Ms Vijay Gupta. A case under Section 380, IPC, has been registered.

Accidents: As many as three cases of accident were reported from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

An unidentified pedestrian was injured when he was hit by two cars after the cars collided with each other near Kisan Bhavan this morning. It is learnt that a Premier Padmini car (DL-2CD-8850) collided with a Santro (PB-26B-3400) and then hit the pedestrian. He has been admitted to the PGI.

The police has booked the driver of a car (DBB-2652) six days after it hit Mr Sardari Lal, near Gate No 2, PGI. A case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC, has been registered.

Mr Daya Singh was hit by a vehicle near the Sectors 24, 25, 37 and 38 chowk. He was admitted to the PGI and the police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

Liquor seized: Thirtysix pouches of whisky were seized from Ashok Kumar, near Dadu Majra Colony, yesterday. He has been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Dowry case: Surinder Kaur has accused her husband, Jatinder Kanojiya, of maltreating and harassing her. She has also accused him of attempting to marry again while they were not yet divorced. A case under Sections 494 and 498- A of the IPC has been registered.


Mobile phone snatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Two motorcyclists snatched a mobile phone from a scooter-borne girl in the Sector 11 market at about 5 pm today.

According to information available, two girls were driving down the geri route when they were accosted by a youth on a Bullet motor cycle. As the motor cycle neared the girls, one of the accused snatched the mobile phone that the pillion-rider on the Kinetic Honda was carrying. The girls could not read the alphabets on the registration number, but managed to read the digits (5820).


Instant food product launched
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 11
A woman entrepreneur, running a food processing unit in focal point of Industrial Area in Phase 9, today launched an instant gravy under the brand “Zest Food (India)”. The product, which would initially be available in Panchkula, SAS Nagar and Chandigarh has been launched in four different varieties — Shahi Paneer, Paneer Makhanwala, Butter Chicken and Dal Makhni — priced between Rs 18 and Rs 25 for a 200 gram pack.

Addressing a press conference, Mrs Anupama Sharma, owner of the unit said the products had been launched after 12 years of research. The uniqueness of the product was its shelf life of six months without refrigeration and without any preservative. This had been achieved by containing the temperature of the gravy while being prepared in a dust-free plant, she said adding that the idea of preparing the gravy came to her mind especially for the working women.

As the product has been launched in the Northern cities, the taste of the people has been kept in mind. She said instead of authorising dealers, unemployed youths would be given incentives to sell the products. 

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