Wednesday, October 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



More benefits for kin of defence personnel
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

  • Ex-graria grant of Rs 2 lakh.
  • A CHB flat in Chandigarh at Rs 5 lakh less than the reserve price or Rs 5 lakh to build house in city or native place.
  • Employment on Group C and D posts in the Administration.

Chandigarh, October 23
The Chandigarh Administration has adopted the Punjab pattern of financial assistance and other benefits to be given to the families of defence and paramilitary personnel killed or disabled in action.

Orders issued by the Home Secretary in this regard were conveyed to the President, Zila Sainik Board, Chandigarh, yesterday. The Chandigarh Administration’s decision to grant the benefits comes two years after Punjab issued directions following the Kargil conflict.

The ex-gratia grant will now be Rs 2 lakh as per the Punjab Government order of October 13, 1999, for all classes of officers and jawans. To meet the housing requirements, a flat will be allotted as desired with a subsidy of Rs 5 lakh has been built in. Explaining this a source said for example if a flat costs Rs 10 lakh.

In case the beneficiary wants to construct her or his own house in the city or at the native place, Rs 5 lakh will be paid. The subsidy for construction of house, will be given out of the Chandigarh Defence and Security Relief Fund. In case allotment of a residential flat, the matter would be referred to the Chandigarh Housing Board where war widows and widows of defence and para-military personnel are already included in the category of eligible applicants for the discretionary quota flats.

On the issue of employment the kin of the defence or security personnel will be entitled for Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ posts. The UT Administration, in consultation with the Government of India has already extended the scheme of compassionate appointments to the dependent of the security personnel who die or sustain disability in action.

Following the Kargil conflict, Punjab hiked the ex-gratia payments. The next of kin can claim all the three benefits listed by the Administration. Sources said the biggest demand is for flats and already several allotments had been made by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), who has the discretionary powers to allot CHB flats. Back


Confusion reigns supreme in PU counting process
9,050 votes declared invalid
Tribune News Service

Candidates for the graduates constituency in Panjab University Senate argue over the controversy on invalid votes in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 23
Confusion due to an unclear university stand on rules of counting reigned supreme on the second day of the process for the graduates’ constituency of Panjab University here today. The normal counting process was delayed by over five hours.

As many as 9050 votes out of the total 55,554 votes were declared invalid at the outset. Following a representation of protest from the candidates, the university had to go in for re-checking of the votes under question.

Finally Sanjiv Kumar Bandlish from the State Bank of India was declared elected as the top vote scorer with 4800 votes. Principal R.C.Jeevan from the local DAV College with 3481 and Principal Subhash Chander Marriya from DAV College, Bhatinda, with 3142 votes were also declared elected. Others who were declared elected to the senate today were Mr Rajinder Bhandari (2914 votes) and Mr Mukesh Arora, both from Ludhiana.

The final quota of votes was fixed at 2936 votes. Contesters demanded that invalid votes be shown to them for clarity, saying the number under question was very high. The university authorities said that a thorough check had been done and there was no need to show them the invalid votes.

The university announced 2907 as the cut-off quota. However, today when the totalling for the valid votes was being worked out, fellows raised their demand to be shown the invalid votes. Sources said that after legal counselling, the university agreed to decide the issue of the invalid votes by allowing a re-checking.

Mr Ashok Goyal condemned the “unprofessional approach of the university in dealing with the matter”. Prof Paramjit Singh, the Registrar, said that invalid votes would be shown to the candidates to sort out the differences, ‘if any’. The process, however, lacked conviction because candidates complained that it was not possible for all candidates to verify the authenticity of all the votes at a single time.

Mr Goyal said that the cut-off margin declared by the university would loose its meaning in case valid votes were detected among those rejected. Mr Padam Nabhin Walia, a candidate, pointed out that certain valid votes had been detected on being shown to the candidates. Prof Paramjit Singh sought opinion from the candidates to solve the problem.

The final figures showed that a total of 55,554 votes were cast. As many as 8585 votes were declared invalid. This meant that 719votes were found to be valid on re-counting. The number of invalid votes had seen a rise of another 254 votes following the first announcement.

It was pointed out that the university officials seemed to be taking one-sided decisions without taking the candidates into confidence. “For any problem, the candidates should be the first ones whom the officials should contact. While the university employees have elaborate arrangements for drinking water facilities and eating, the fellows and their supporters were not being properly addressed for their minimal needs even as a matter of courtesy”, a candidate said. Prof Paramjit Singh said that ‘consequent to representation on the status of invalid votes and subsequent to legal opinion, direct contact with the candidates and agents, re-checking of the invalid votes had to be done’.

The second round of counting will commence tomorrow. Still prominent in the race to a seat in the senate are Dr R.N. Sharma, Mr Ashok Goyal, Mr Ajaib Singh and Mr Pawan Valecha, among others.


Anthrax-laced’ letter to city Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The city Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, here today got a letter claimed to be containing anthrax germs.

The letter that threatened that she would die of anthrax, however, did not have any powder, Ms Kaur told Chandigarh Tribune.

The letter was received in the name of the Mayor. Her Personal Assistant, Mr Gulshan Girdhar, opened it and read the threat:

“This contains anthrax. You are dead Bin Laden”. He rushed to the Secretary, Municipal Corporation, Mr Ashwani Kumar, with the letter.

Mr Kumar then contacted the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, who informed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain. The talk of the anthrax-laced letter created panic in the corporation with employees talking about the biological weapon likely to hit them.

Meanwhile, the SSP sent the letter for a laboratory test before noticing that it had a local stamp subsiding the fear of the people.

The police has not registered any case in this regard.

The letter came in the morning before the Mayor was to launch her sanitation drive which had been termed a political stunt by her political opponents. A similar letter reached the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, reports said.

Both letters have been sent for laboratory tests. The Director, Health Services, Mr Ramesh Chander, told Chandigarh Tribune that the letters were tested and they turned out to be only hoax. He said there was no need to panic.


UT to have 5 more night schools
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Philanthropy is still blossoming in the city where the race for material possessions has slowly gained ground. This is evident from the fact that three social welfare organisations have put in requests with the UT Education Department for running five additional night schools in the city.

The UT Education Department, in turn, proposes to start these schools to be run in Karsan, Palsora, Kaimbwala and Colony number 5 by November 20, taking the total number of night schools in the city to 17.

The two NGOs, Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS), being run by Ms. Reetica Khanna, and Rotary Club headed by Mr. Anil Khanna, have volunteered to run two schools each despite being involved in other colonies with the cause of educating children who can ill-afford two square meals a day, let alone find time to study. The Aurobindo Society is, however, yet to be allotted a colony.

The DPI (Schools), Mr DS Saroya, said that a house-to-house survey of all these colonies had been carried out to identify students in the respective areas. Arrangements for other requirements to run these schools have also been made.

“We have met with resounding success in the past experiments where night schools are already functional. This has also proved to be a shot in the arm for non-government organisations involved with the task of educating these ‘students’ in colonies and villages,” added Mr Saroya.

Under the project of night schools, floated by the Administrator, UT, Lt Gen JFR Jacob (retd), soon after taking charge as Governor, Punjab, whereby the UT Education Department decided to rope in NGOs for the nobel cause of educating the children residing in colonies.

Faced with initial hiccups, the project finally took off in a big way with the department agreeing to provide one trained teacher, a school building and other related infrastructure.

It was, however, the responsibility of the NGOs to have additional teachers and offer incentives to the students for keeping them involved with classwork, a task they have completed to everybody’s satisfaction.


You can’t arrest Syal, court tells Rajasthan police
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 23
A local court has turned down the request of the Rajasthan police to arrest the Managing Director of Golden Forest, R.K Syal, and seven other directors of the company. A case of cheating has been registered against them at Bikaner. The magistrate said the accused were not present in the court and the MD was in hospital here for a major surgery. Moreover, the police did not have production warrants issued by the Rajasthan court.

The court said the police could arrest them whenever they appeared in the court for the next hearing. The police could even arrest them whenever they appeared in a lok adalat.

Sources in the Bikaner police said there were more than 10 cases of fraud to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore against the accused in various police stations of Rajasthan. The police had registered a case under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the IPC against them.

The sources said a team of the Rajasthan police comprising more than 10 police personnel, including two women constables, had been trying hard for the past two days here to get the permission to arrest the accused.

The court has not issued production warrants against them on basis of a Rajasthan High Court judgment. The Rajasthan High Court had directed that the police could obtain production warrants against the accused from where they were in custody for some other violations. Sources in the Bikaner police said the Rajasthan policemen had also appealed against the order of the lower court. They said the District Collector had also written to the Centre in this regard.

The accused, R.K. Syal, is in the PGI for an operation on his right hip, the permission for which he had obtained from the High Court here. The accused had previously had an operation on his left hip in 1999 in Apollo Hospital of New Delhi. The other accused in the case are in the Model Jail at Burail.

The sources said there were 30 lakh investors all over India who had invested Rs 4,000 crores in various schemes of the company. R.K. Syal has allegedly made hundreds of crores of rupees by cheating these investors, who have now got together and approached courts all over the country against the company.


No sun for ‘captive’ safari lions
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, October 23
In the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhat Bir, 24 adult lions have not seen the sun since August last. They are being kept in dingy shelters of the Lion Safari for vasectomy operations.

Due to an inadequate space for accommodating over 90 lions in the park, these animals have been packed together in these shelters, following which, some lions have started losing health.

Sources in zoo said the authorities had locked up these predators in early August, during a weed eradication drive in the Lion Safari. Since then, only lionesses and cubs have been released, while adult lions are still there.

The zoo staff alleges that the authorities have not even caged the lions and the lionesses on rotation basis to avoid their mating. Due to overcrowding, the lions fight among themselves and most of these have sustained injuries because of it. The lions that have received serious injuries have been caged in separate enclosures, behind the enclosure of hippopotamus.

To curb an alarming rise in the lion population, Mr R.K. Luna, Director of the zoo, said the vasectomy operations of the lions would begin on October 25. He said 24 lions would undergo the operations in the first phase of the drive.

The Zoo authorities had conducted vasectomy operations on six lions in 1995, but the drive had to be stopped midway. In spite of the efforts of officials, no other zoo in the country is willing to accept these lions or barter these for animals and birds that are not in this zoo. Sources in the zoo said this was because of faulty breeding exercises here that had resulted in large-scale inter-breeding among the animals. Therefore, no other zoo would accept these mixed species.

Two lionesses of the Safari had delivered four cubs each recently. Surplus number of such hybrid lions have become a problem for the authorities. Mr R. K. Luna, said most of the zoo budget was being eaten up by the carnivores. He said a team of Punjab Agricultural University experts would conduct the vasectomy operations on lions.


MCC poll likely on Dec 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The local Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh elections are likely to be held on December 9 under enhanced security as an additional force is being sought from Punjab. Well-placed sources said the holiday factor has been kept in mind while deciding the date.

So far four days between December 7 and 10 have been tentatively shortlisted by the Chandigarh Administration to hold the elections. This comes as the five year term of the MC comes to end in the last week of December. Though the final date will depend upon the date the notification, December 9 is the most likely date, the sources added.

Thirtyfour days are required from the date of the notification. During this period the procedures shall include the last date of filing nominations followed by the last date of withdrawal scrutiny of papers and the date of the poll.

Since Mr S. Maliachamy, Election Commissioner, UT, will be in Chandigarh from tomorrow, it is expected that the final poll schedule will be announced soon. 


51 more sites for parking tourist buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
For ensuring orderly plying of tourist buses in the city, the District Magistrate, Chandigarh, Mr M. Ramsekhar, has notified 51 additional sites for parking these vehicles.

According to an order produced before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, site for parking six buses has been notified in Sector 20 near Gurdwara Kalgidhar, 10 on the V-4 road in Sector 21-B, six in Sector 22-C near Government High School, seven each in Sectors 32-D, 33-D and 41-D, besides another eight in Sector 37-D.

In an order issued on September 24, the DM had observed: “Whereby it has been made to appear to me that additional parking space for tourist buses in Chandigarh is required to be designated to ensure orderly plying of tourist bus service, I do hereby notify additional sites for such purpose”.

After going through the order and hearing arguments in the case, the High Court Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, meanwhile, admitted a petition filed by Chandigarh Tourist Bus Operators Association and 12 others seeking directions for quashing order and resolution passed by the Chief Engineer and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh regarding the levying of parking fee.

Giving details, counsel for the petitioners had earlier contended that the corporation had passed a resolution on May 17 last year levying fee of Rs 500 per month for parking a bus within the municipal corporation limits. They had added that the Chief Engineer had, subsequently, written to them and other operators asking them to deposit the amount. This resolution and demand made by the Chief Engineer was ordered without jurisdiction and in violation of the rules and as such were liable to be quashed, counsel had contended.Back



Volunteer force for civil defence
Tribune News Service

The US action in Afghanistan and the global anthrax scare, both of which have implications for India, have focused attention on the country’s civil defence system.

Civil Defence, a non-military set-up with its control and functioning delegated to the local administration, aims at saving life, minimising damage to property and maintaining continuity of industrial production in the event of a hostile attack.

The government’s civil defence policy, until 1962, was confined to making the states and union territories conscious of the need for civil protection, and asking them to prepare civil protection plans for major cities and towns.

The Chinese aggression of 1962 and the Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1965 led to considerable re-thinking on the policy and scope of civil defence. As a result, the civil defence policy, as it exists today, was evolved and Civil Defence legislation was passed in 1968.

Although the Civil Defence Act is applicable throughout the country, the organisation is only raised in such areas and zones as are considered tactically and strategically vulnerable to enemy attack. According to government reports, civil defence activities at present are restricted to 225 categorised towns in 32 states and union territories.

Civil defence is primarily organised on voluntary basis, except a small nucleus of staff which is augmented during emergencies. According to official figures, the present target of civil defence volunteers is 9.73 lakh, of whom about 5 lakh have already been raised and 4.66 lakh have been trained. These volunteers are under the administration of 67 deputy controllers, 17 medical officers and 515 civil defence instructors, all of whom are full time government employees. The Central Government gives financial assistance to the states for civil defence only in respect of some categorised towns.

To meet the early warning communication requirements against an enemy attack, a reliable and flexible network of telephone lines and radio or wireless communincation has been established in most of the categorised towns. Communication facilities have also been established in most of the civil defence towns for the purpose of command and control, coordination and liaison and mutual aid and cooperation.

In addition to carrying out training programmes and demonstration of civil defence measures in peace time, civil defence volunteers are also deployed, on voluntary basis, in various activities such as assisting the administration in relief and rescue work during natural calamities.

Civil defence training is conducted on a three tier concept — at the Local or town level, at the state level and at the National level. The National Civil Defence College, Nagpur, run by the Ministry of Home Affairs, conducts courses in civil defence and disaster relief management. Since the inception of the college in 1957, it has trained about 32,000 persons, including some foreign students.


No water for 5 days in UT village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Residents of Raipur Khurd village in the Union Territory of Chandigarh have been doing without drinking water for the past five days. Only one part of the village is getting water for some time and the residents of the other part have been drawing water from there for their daily needs, including drinking purposes.

The authorities concerned have been informed, but the problems has not been solved so far, villagers say.

Residents of this village had faced water and electricity crisis for almost a fortnight a couple of months ago also.


Scooterist killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A scooterist was killed in a head-on collision involving a Maruti car and a scooter near Singhpura village on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway this evening. The scooterist was on his way from Ambala to Chandigarh when his vehicle collided with the car.

The body of the victim is with the Lohgarh police and further investigations are on. The driver of the car fled the scene after the accident.


Two bodies found at different places
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 23
Two bodies were found at different places in the town and an accident victim succumbed to her injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, during the last 12 hours.

An unidentified body of a rickshaw-puller was found lying near a house in Phase VI of the township here. The victim was wearing a brown coloured trouser and the upper part of the body was nude. The police suspects that the victim was an addict. The autopsy was done at the Phase VI Civil Hospital.

In another case, a 40-year-old public health employee, Ram Kewal Rai, was found dead in tubewell operators room in Phase VI here. The victim was reported to be a patient of tuberculosis. After the autopsy, the body was handed over to the officials of the Public Health Department.

Meanwhile, a former Vice-Principal of the local Government College, Ms Karamjit Kaur, who was admitted to the PGI on October 17 last after being hit by a canter in Phase 3-A, succumbed to her injuries on today. The victim had recently retired from the college.

X-rated CDs seized: The police raided a video parlour in Phase XI here late last night and seized eight compact discs of x-rated movies. The Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ms Kalpama D. Nayak, said the raids were conducted at Sudhir Videos.

Sources added that the raids were conducted following a tip off. Further investigations into the sale and hiring of such CDs and video cassettes were on and more raids were likely to be conducted in the near future.


Dead: A Sector 22 resident N.K. Gupta who was hit by a Kinetic Honda scooter near municipal corporation office in Sector 17 on October 15 died at the PGI today, said sources in the Police Department.


Cyclist dead: An unidentified cyclist was crushed to death by a half-body truck this morning. It is learnt that the truck ( HR-37-7023) hit the cyclist near Red Bishop in Sector 1 at about 10 am. The truck driver reportedly fled away from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered at Sector 1 Police Station. 


3 held for outraging modesty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The local police have arrested three persons working in a Sector 22 travel agency for allegedly trying to outrage the modesty of a woman and threatening her. The accused have been identified as Tirlochan Singh, Davinder Singh and Mahavir Jain. A case has been registered.

One arrested: A resident of Kakrala village near Ludhiana, Manjot Singh, was arrested by the police from Transport Area, Sector 26, for allegedly consuming liquor in a public place. A case has been registered.

Gold chain snatched: A Sector 31 resident Shanti Devi has reported that two scooter-borne youth snatched her gold chain near the Nirman Theatre, Sector 32. A case has been registered.

Recovered: The police has recovered a Maruti car (HR-03-C-7965), which was reported by Panchkula resident Ashu Khullar as stolen from Sector 22. The car was found lying unclaimed in the same sector.

Stolen: A Sector 34 resident Suresh Chaudhary has lodged a complaint that his Maruti car (CH-01-H-8277) has been stolen from the Chandigarh Club parking lot. A case has been registered.

Scooter stolen: A resident of Panjab University, Rajesh Mittal, has reported that his scooter (CH-01-S-3736) has been stolen from his residence. A case has been registered.


Oyzterbay unveils ‘your first diamond’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Oyzterbay, the trend-setting company that has created a niche market for jewellery for young people, today unveiled the dazzling “your first diamond” collection, announcing its foray into the diamond jewellery market. Branded “Your first diamond”, Oyzterbay’s collection is all set to fulfill every young Indian woman’s desire to possess her own set of the most precious stone on earth.

Young women can now possess guaranteed VS-GH quality diamonds with a certificate from IGI, world leaders in gemstone certification, at an amazingly affordable price range between Rs 1800 and Rs 10,000. “Your first diamond” collection from Oyzterbay comprises a collection of over 200 contemporary designs and will be available at 14 Oyzterbay signatures outlets in 13 cities, and the Oyzterbay web store, with fulfillment to over 850 locations in the country, from Dasehra day.

Announcing the launch of the new business initiative, Mr Vasant Nangia, Chairman, Oyzterbay, said “The new collection is based on market feedback that a range of contemporary, high-quality diamond-set jewellery at affordable prices would be ‘really cool’.

What is special about your first diamond is that it epitomizes the young spirit, is not hide-bound by tradition, and has special appeal for those looking for their first diamond.

We have designed the line with out target segment in mind, ie young women, and this collection is a logical extension of our current offering.”

The “Your first diamond” collection has been inspired by both traditional and modern geometrical forms using pink, yellow and white gold in a variety of finishes that give the range contemporary appeal.

Apart from cutting edge designs using round and baguette cuts in diamonds, the collection also features designs with coloured natural gemstones in pleasing colours that highlight and complement the diamonds. Almost 90 per cent of the product portfolio comprise pendants, earrings and finger rings. The balance consists of neckwear.

Mr Johnson Verghese, vice-president (Operations), Oyzterbay said, “The diamond jewellery market in the country is growing rapidly, and is currently estimated to be over 10 per cent of the total jewellery market in the country thus providing us a great business opportunity.

Interestingly, India, apart from being the largest diamond processing centre in the world, is also the world’s third largest consumer of diamonds. Your first diamond collection carries the hallmark of Oyzterbay — contemporary designs, packaging and pricing — and it will be promoted separately.”

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