Tuesday, October 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



PUDA axe falls on 100 structures
Pick-and-choose policy alleged
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 29
Equipped with little police force, the exercise by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to remove unauthorised structures entered the third day today, with around 100 encroachments being demolished in Phase 2 by this evening. Two teams, each led by an Executive Engineer, also axed encroachments in the rear of commercial premises.

Around three acres adjoining Madanpur village, which had been covered by shopkeepers stocking shuttering material, whitewash material and welders, was cleared of the encroachments. The place was also being used to tither milch cattle.

For the major part of the day, the effort of the demolition teams was focused on residential areas, with at least 90 per cent of the encroachments being removed, mostly voluntarily by the residents. Of the total around 800 houses in Phase 2, the teams demolished structures in front of 90 houses.

There were certain complaints of pick and choose. Residents complained that the temporary structure of security personnel, adjacent to the houses of retired police personnel, had not been touched. Two walls in front of one kanal house were also not touched, as were encroachments in front of house No 648.

The officials pointed out that the structures of security personnel would be removed tomorrow. Threat of the high court order saw the politicians, bureaucrats and people from the influential sections of the society removing their iron grills, fencing and barbed wires.

When a demolition team was uprooting the garden adjoining a palatial house (no.25), the occupant of the house lamented that he had spent lakhs of rupees to beautify the open space. “It was in fact a mansion with expensive variety of plants and shrubs adorning the open space. Now it is all in ruins”, said a resident of the area.

A visit of the area revealed that the residents were left to remove the rubble which the PUDA had planned to remove earlier. There was dust and rubble lying along the roads. Some residents had started raising their front boundary walls faced with security threat.

In Madanpur village, the land cleared by PUDA had already been acquired and had been planned for rehabilitation of the villagers. The reaming encroachments in HIG houses and around Manadpur village would be removed tomorrow before the teams proceeded to Phase 3.

With most residents voluntarily removing the encroachments, there was consensus among them that PUDA should check the menace of stray cattle and pigs. 


Introduce paid parking: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
In an effort to solve the problems being faced by the commuters while parking their vehicles in the lots, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh to introduce the system of paid parking in the city within three weeks.

The direction is significant as major commercial areas and shopping centres in the city, including Sectors 22, 17, 34 and 35, are facing acute shortage of parking space.

Paid parking system is not only expected to discourage the residents, including the office-goers and shopkeepers, from blocking the precious space by leaving their vehicles in the lots for hours together, it will also bring crores of rupees as revenue for the cash-strapped Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

The decision to introduce the system was initially mooted in 1997, but had to be kept on the back burner following protest by traders. As per the trader associations in the city, the system would have discouraged the casual shoppers from frequenting the markets and would have adversely affected their sales.

Meanwhile today, pronouncing the directions in the open court, the Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, also asked the Commissioner and other authorities of the Chandigarh Administration to ensure that the underground parkings were used by the public in accordance with the directions issued by the court in August this year.

The Judges also directed him to implement another order issued on October 11 by the Chandigarh Administration in compliance with the high court orders pronounced in this matter.

In their detailed order, the Judges also granted petitioner Grahak Panchayat — an all-India body dealing with public welfare — the liberty to bring to the court’s notice any violation of the directions issued in this regard, either by the authorities, or by any private agency, institution or organisation.

The petitioner, it may be recalled, had earlier sought directions to the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents to put into use the underground parkings constructed in the city as many as 25 years ago. 


Draw of lots held to relocate co-operative societies
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Even as the Chandigarh Administration today held a draw of lots to relocate some co-operative societies away from low-lying areas in Sector 50, the much awaited letters of allotment to the relocated societies as well as the remaining 19 societies in Sector 50 may not come through for several more months. Sector 50 had the largest chunk of land to be allotted to the societies.

According to sources six plots measuring collectively about 17 acre were allotted to various societies today. These societies have been moved out of Sector 50 to be relocated in Sector 49-D. The new site has no approach road, no water lines, no sewers, and no area has been exactly demarcated on the maps pinpointing the location of these societies.

Though the town planning department may come up with demarcations within the next couple of weeks, other services will take several months as no development has been planned so far. In case of the remaining 19 societies in Sector 50 allotment may not come through in the near future as land identified for allotment is encroached upon by milkmen. These plots had been acquired by the Administration and compensation had been paid but the occupants did not vacate the plots.

A total of 25 co-operative societies were collectively allotted about 72 acre for its members in Sector 50 (south of Sector 45) and they had deposited Rs 9 crore as the first installment towards land costs. But no area had been demarcated specifically for any society. The Administration realised that large part of the earmarked area in Sector 50 was low lying and prone to water accumulation thus the societies had to be shifted.

Today the Estate Officer, Mr M. Ramsekhar, held a meeting and conducted a draw of lots of the societies in Sector 50. Members of the societies raised questions like interest to be paid if any. Representatives of the societies were told that allotment in Sector 50 would be made after the plots were vacated.

About 900 middle-class families of the city are members of these societies. The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is scheduled to allot land to a total of 57 cooperative societies for the construction of multi-storeyed flats. The price of the land is Rs 2,850 per square yard and 136 acre spread across Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51 are to be allotted in total.

Members of societies have raised loans from their own resources, banks and their offices and some have even dipped into their respective funds and a delay will mean a loss for them. A draw of lots to allot area and sectors to societies was held in December 2000. By July this year, members were asked to pay up 25 per cent of the land cost and also the money for the conversion of the land from leasehold to freehold. Now the CHB is to issue allotment letters and hand over possession to the societies.

Already this lot of 57 societies have been delayed by eight years. When allotments in the first phase were made these societies were left out as members wanted plots and not flats. Cases dragged on court and final decision was reached last year.


Anthrax scare: more imaginary than real so far
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The fear of anthrax contamination which is sweeping the USA in the wake of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, has turned out to be more imaginary than real in Punjab and Chandigarh so far.

While anthrax has claimed a few lives in the USA and there is a steady stream of reports about a concerted attempt being made to spread the disease by mailing letters containing anthrax powder in America, no such incident has come to the notice of the authorities in Punjab and Chandigarh. A few letters and parcels suspected to contain anthrax powder have been reported from certain parts of Chandigarh and a few areas in Punjab in recent days, but none of them have been confirmed by the Department of Microbiology at the PGI, which is handling such cases.

However, the authorities are not letting down their guard on this issue in view of the developing situation in the region. An anthrax alert has been sounded in Punjab and Chandigarh. All post offices at the district headquarters handling foreign mail in Punjab and the Head Post Office in Chandigarh which receives overseas mail and the Railway Mail Service (RMS) have been issued with surgical masks and gloves. In Chandigarh, 30 pairs of gloves and masks have been issued to the postmen who handle the mail, according to Mr A.S. I. S. Paul, Chief Post Master General, Punjab circle.

Mr Paul says the postal authorities are in close touch with the police and the health authorities. There are standing instructions to postmen to immediately contact the police and the district health officer if and when they come across a suspicious parcel or letter.

According to Dr Meera Sharma, Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at the PGI, she has so far received nine samples of suspected anthrax powder. One of these is from Ramgarh, another from Ropar, while the remaining are from Chandigarh. So far three of these have been tested and all tested negative. It takes about four to five days to test the sample because there are so many similar bacteria which have to be ruled out.

She says if somebody suspects anthrax contamination in an envelope or parcel, he should not try to open it. He should immediately contact the police, which in turn will bring it to the PGI. She has also discounted as wrong and ill-informed reports in a section of the press that anthrax bacteria can be killed if the envelope containing it is exposed to a steam press.

Disease origins

Anthrax is a disease caused by the organism bacillus anthracis, according to information available on the Internet. It derives its name from anthrakis, the Greek word for coal, because the cutaneous version of the disease can cause black skin lesions. It is rarely seen in people and mostly affects hoofed animals, which become infected after ingesting the dormant forms of the bacteria the spores, in soil. The spores can remain dormant in the soil for many years.

It is infrequent in western Europe and the USA and is more often found in south and central America, south and east Europe, Asia and Africa. Traditionally, people most at risk are those who work with animals or in industries processing animal products such as meat and wool. Anthrax is not contagious. The only way to be infected is by being exposed to large numbers of spores.

Symptoms and effects

Anthrax spores can infect humans through a cut or graze, in contaminated meat or by being inhaled. The disease is classified by the way it is caught, so there are three types: cutaneous, gastro-intestinal and pulmonary or inhalation anthrax. Evidence indicates that man is fairly resistant to anthrax. A study in the early 1960s found that mill workers inhaling up to 1300 spores over eight hours suffered no ill effects.

It is estimated that a human will have to inhale more than 10,000 spores to become infected. Infection will only result if sufficient spores germinate and release harmful toxins. Signs of the disease usually appear within three days, but in some cases it can be up to two months. An anthrax vaccine is available for people in high risk occupations or for members of the armed forces who may be in danger from biological warfare.

Anthrax dispersal

There have long been fears in the USA that terrorists may use crop dusting planes to distribute a biological agent. In an analysis for the US government, it has been estimated that up to three million people can be killed in one attack. Fears were compounded when FBI agents reportedly found a crop duster manual among the belongings of one of those involved in the World Trade Center attacks. Dispersing anthrax from a plane will be unpredictable. Experts are divided over how effective it will be. Biological weapons are often not very efficient at killing people, but their main power is to create widespread panic.

Anthrax spores tend to stick together and form a liquid sludge. To use anthrax as a weapon, it must be converted into a powder which can be inhaled. The spores have to be very tiny, between 1 and 5 microns, and present in the air to be absorbed in the lungs. Aerosolising spores in this way is difficult and costly. The anthrax found in the USA attacks belongs to the ames strain, common to northwest America. It was originally isolated in the 1930s and is widely used for laboratory cultures.

Biological warfare

In 1995, the US listed 17 countries which it said had biological weapons programmes. These were Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Egypt, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Bulgaria, India, South Korea, South Africa, China and Russia. Russian leaders insisted they had terminated their biological weapons programme years before. Other countries, including the USA and the UK, had biological weapons programmes in the past, but these were ended in 1972 when international concern led to a treaty banning the production and stockpiling of these weapons.

During World War II, the UK tested the use of anthrax as a weapon on the Scottish island of Gruinard. The island was not decontaminated until 1987. The Aum Shinrikyo group, which released sarin in Tokyo in 1995, also released anthrax. No one was infected. The biggest human exposure to inhalation anthrax occurred in 1979 at a military biology centre in Sverdlovsk, in Russia. Anthrax spores were accidentally released, resulting in 79 anthrax cases, 68 of which were fatal. 


Anthrax scare in Kharar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 29
The local administration swung into action today as a resident received an envelope by mail which contained some powder like substance. The envelope has been sent to the PGI, Chandigarh for analysis.


Tender tampering: MC officials in soup
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Certain officials of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation are in trouble for allegedly making interpolation in a tender with the connivance of officials of a firm that had sent a tender of Rs 4.23 crore for the construction of a sewage treatment plant at Mani Mara near Raipur Kalan.

The Chief Engineer of the corporation, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, told Chandigarh Tribune that some irregularities had been committed in the tender. He added that he had obtained orders from the Municipal Corporation for conducting an inquiry into the episode. He revealed that an enquiry officer would be appointed in a few days to ascertain facts and guilty officials would be punished.

He said the corporation would call fresh tenders for this project shortly. He added that certain officials had confessed to have made interpolation with a view to giving benefits to the firm.

The corporation had a few weeks back invited tenders for the sewage treatment plant. It had received certain tenders for this work. These tenders were opened by a five-member committee of the corporation headed by the Superintending Engineer of Public Health , Mr Swaran Singh.

The lowest tender for the sewage treatment plant had been sent by H.L. Handa and Company for Rs 4,08,60,000. Another firm , Geomiller and Company, of Delhi, had sent a tender of Rs 4.23 crore. Two representative of this firm, one from their local office and the other from their head office in Delhi, had attended the opening of the tenders. The NBCC, a Government of India undertaking, had sent the tender offering a discount of 1.8 per cent on their revised rates.

After preparing the comparative statement of all five tenderers, the Executive Engineer of the corporation had recommended to the SE that the work be allotted to the lowest tenderer, H.L. Handa and Company. The Superintendent Engineer, had however, returned the file to the Executive Engineer to intimate him the reasonableness of the rates and make proper recommendations.

In the meantime, Geomiller and Company allegedly tampered with their tender, in connivance with officials of Division 4 . They had added a line in their tender, giving a rebate of Rs 27 lakh, and had informed the Executive Engineer that theirs was the lowest tender after offering a rebate on so and so page of the tender.

On sustained interrogation, certain officials had confessed that they had tampered with the tender. The Executive Engineer recommended deterrent action against guilty officials and suggested that Rs 10 lakh sent by the erring firm should be forfeited. He also recommended that this firm should be debarred from sending tenders in future.


MC meeting adjourned after walkouts
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
An adjourned meeting of the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh was adjourned today again after both the Congress and the BJP staged walk outs accusing each other of indulging in corruption.

The issue assumed importance as the Congress wanted to paint the BJP corrupt ahead of elections and the BJP accused the Congress of the same, alleging that the local Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, was pressurising the Administration to delay conclusion of an inquiry against the former party Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, on the soap scandal.

The issue arose when a Congress member, Ms Kamalesh, sought an assurance from the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, that the inquiry the Mayor recommended into the purchase of substandard storm water pipes before the plan for their use being finalised be made public before elections.

This brought the lone Chandigarh Vikas Party member, Ms Satinder Dhawan, to demand that inquiry in both cases be brought before the House before the corporation elections, likely to be held in the first fortnight of December, so that people could know about corrupt practices of political parties.

The issue of storm water pipes, on which the Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, started speaking, was suddenly lost when the BJP members said the Commissioner should place before the House the preliminary report submitted to the Administration against Mr Goel.

Amidst the din, the Mayor said because it was an adjourned meeting, no fresh issues could be brought before the House and assured them that once the House was through the agenda, it could discuss these issues. The Commissioner’s reply was lost in the furore.

The BJP asked the Mayor to fix a special meeting to discuss all issues of corruption including that of the storm water purchase made during the tenure of Mr Gyan Chand Gupta of the BJP.

When the Commissioner sought to refer to the last resolution passed with regard to inquiry against Mr Raj Kumar Goel, a BJP member and Leader of the Opposition, Mr Desraj Tandon, moved a resolution, seconded by Mr Raghuvir Lal Aora, to place the report before the House.

During this time, a Congress member, Ms Kamalesh kept on pressing for first giving an assurance on the storm water purchase issue and staged a brief walkout to return later. Following a deadlock, the House had to adjourned.

The Mayor, while talking to reporters, said she was sad that the House was again hijacked by politicking and important agendas like public toilets could not be decided upon. She claimed that if the BJP was so serious about the issue, it could have given a written notice for including the issue in the agenda.

Mr Tandon told reporters that the Mayor was incompetent and the proceedings collapsed due to her insistence on not allowing the report against Mr Goel to be placed despite the BJP’s promise of completing the whole agenda after the report was placed. He alleged the Mayor, who had been elected through Congress support, was trying to pay back its debt by protecting Mr Goel.

The Congress General Secretary, Mr Subhash Chawla, told reporters that the BJP had derailed the House proceedings, as always, by using its brute majority and did not allow issues of corruption against its Mayors through majority.

He said, ‘’We want a special House meeting to discuss the issues of Mr Goel and scandals of cement, tiles, rain basera, storm pipe, bitumen and others of the BJP regime’’.

The meeting, however, achieved some success, passing three agenda items. The House decided to bring down per day fee of hotels using open spaces near it for parties and marriages. Charges for those spaces available for Rs 10,000 were brought down to Rs 5,000, those for Rs 7,500 to Rs 5,000, those for Rs 5000 to Rs 3,500 and those for Rs 3000 to Rs 2000.

The House restricted use of open spaces in sectors and developed areas. It, however, allowed use of these spaces by sector residents and to outsiders only with the permission of the area councillor. It doubled removal collection charges on rehris and pharis put up during festival time. It did not allow them putting up in Sector 17, except for Circus Ground. Shopkeepers in Sector 17 were asking permission for this before their shops.


PU gives one more chance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Panjab University has decided to give an additional chance as a one-time exception to those candidates of BA/BSc /BCom/ BBA/BCA (I, II and III) OT/MIT and MA/MSc/ MCom (I and II) (annual system only) examinations who had been placed under compartment/partial reappear in any one of the annual examinations held between April 1996 and April-May 2001 but could not pass the same despite availing the admissible chances.

All such candidates may now avail this chance in April-May 2002 (annual) or September-October 2002 (supplementary examinations). No such chance shall be allowed after September-October 2002 examination.

The examination fee for availing this chance is Rs 1,000 per examination form. The last date for submission of the forms along with the requisite fee for April-May 2002 examinations is November 22, in the office of the Deputy Registrar Examinations. Any form received after this date will be subject to the payment of late fee.


UT employees call off strike
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 29
The proposed four hour strike by UT employees tomorrow has been called off following an assurance from the Chandigarh Administration that the demands raised by the worker’s unions of UT will be taken up with the Union Government. The postponement is for an indefinite period, a spokesperson of the Administration said.

The unions had proposed a four-hour pen-and-tool-down strike for an indefinite period. Leaders of various unions, after meeting the senior officers of the Administration, were satisfied with the steps taken and as a goodwill gesture postponed their strike, claimed the spokesperson.


Ramlila contest concludes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 29
Roaring din of armies clashing, clanking of swords, besides shrieks of wounded soldiers fighting for a religious cause, filled the air as the 14th Ramlila competition organised by the Chandigarh Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha, came to an end today. As many as 12 dramatic clubs and Ramlila committees participated in the two-day competition.

Spectators in large number thronged the ramlila ground in Sector 7 to watch various Ramlila teams competing against each other. Each team was given 25 minutes to perform. The scenes played included the one in which Lord Rama was sent to exile, besides Sita swayamber, Sharupnakha scene, Sita haran, killing of Ravana, and the coronation of Lord Rama.

According to organiser of the Sector 7 Garhwal Bharatri Mandal Committee C.S. Rawat, ‘’The Ramlila competition is being organised since 1982 to encourage artistes. The competition spirit helps them to perform better with each passing year.’’

“We encourage them by giving awards for the best actor best scenes, best background music, best director, best dress and best make up,’’ Mr Rawat added.

General Secretary of the Chandigarh Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha, Mr Sabar Singh, asserted, ‘’With these competitions the standard of Ramlila committees has considerably improved. The artistes have started putting in extra efforts to prove their abilities.’’

Giving details, the organisers revealed, “Three best teams are adjudged out of the participating 11 teams. Team standing first is given prize of Rs 3,100, second prize of Rs 2,100 and third prize is of 1,100. Besides, trophies are also given to the best three teams.”

Only the Ramlila committees registered under the Chandigarh Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha were entitled to participate in the competition. To stage the Ramlila competition, different Ramlila committees come forward and volunteer to stage the competition.

‘’To meet the expenses for organising the competition, the Chandigarh Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha gives a total amount of Rs 6,000 to the organising committee. Rest of the expenditure has to be incurred by the Ramlila committee. The Mahasabha also spends about Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 on trophies to be handed over to the winners. Total expenditure for organising the Ramlila competition comes around to Rs 15,000,’’ said Mr Sabar Singh.

The chief guest for today’s competition was former Chairman of the Market Committee, Mr Desh Raj Gupta. The competition was presided over by general secretary of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, Sandeep Singh.

The 11 teams which participated in the competition were the Garhwal Bharatri Mandal Committee in Sector7, the Garhwal Ramlila Mandal Electricity Board in Sector 28, the Bal Dramatic Club, Manimajra, the Navyug Ramlila Dashera Committee in Sector 7, the National AD Club, Manimajra, the Young Dramatic Club in Sector 30, the Garhwal Ramlila and Sanskritik Mandal in Sector 22, the Badrish Ramlila Kala Niketan in Sector 30, the Raghukul Ramlila Committee in Sector 21, and the Yuva Vikas Ramlila Committee in Milk Colony Dhanas.


Of promises that were kept
Tribune News Service

Question your councillor

The five-year term of the Municipal Corporation is drawing to a close. It is time for stock-taking. What did the councillors promise at the time of elections? And, what has been their performance? Have they been able to deliver? Have they been able to come up to your expectations?

Today, we publish the 14th interview in the series Interactive in which a councillor has been questioned as regards his promises vs performance. You are invited to question your councillor by 8 p.m. on Wednesday either through e-mail: [email protected] or at phone number 680345 for one-and-a-half minutes of recording on the Tribune interactive voice response system (IVRS). Editor

Chandigarh, October 29
Ms Sunita, representing ward No. 14 won elections as an independent, courtesy her husband, Mr Kishan Lal’s readiness to work for the people. She later joined the Congress. Her ward comprises Bapu Dham Colony, Teachers Training Institute Colony, Police Colony and Grain Market. The Chandigarh Tribune has interviewed her as part of the ‘’Question your Councillor’’ series. The interview is produced here:

Question: What have your achievements been during the term?

Answer: Nothing much had been done here since 1978. Except for V-6 roads, all roads were metalled in Bapu Dham. Rs 11.25 lakh has been allotted for the V-5 roads, where tiles are proposed to be fixed. Seven transformers were installed to improve the power situation. One tubewell was fitted exclusively for Bapu Dham which has made water supply possible to the third floor. One green belt and 13 parks were also developed in the area. Roads were built in Police Colony and street lights were fitted. Money for Grain Market roads has also been deposited with the Grain Market body. Storm water arrangements were made to solve the problem of water logging. A primary government school in Bapu Dham which was in poor shape is now in a running condition.

Question: What do you think you could not do for the electorate, why?

Answer: Rates of houses in Phase I, II and III of Bapu Dham have not yet been fixed and houses have not been transferred to tenants. Upgradation of the school to Class XII has not been done.

Promises Performance
* Roads V-6 roads are still incomplete.
* Water Situation has improved.
* Power Improvement

* Parks

Developed but maintenance required.

* Transfer of houses to tenants

Promise unkept.

Question: How did you use the Corporation forum to redress the grievances of the people?

Answer: Building of roads and storm water arrangements were put in the House agenda. I used the councillor’s fund for development and pleaded with officials of the Administration and Corporation to get public works done.

Question: What did you promise the voter during your election campaign?

Answer: Civic amenities and transfer of house to tenants.

Question: How responsive has your party been towards your electorate’s grievances?

Answer: The party MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, helped me in taking up the issue.

Question: How supportive has the bureaucracy been in your role as a Councillor?

Answer: Very Much.

Question: Would you like to re-contest the election in view of your performance?

Answer: If it were a test of performance, certainly yes. But I will not contest, as my constituency has gone in the reserved quota.

Question: What will you suggest to your successor, if you do not contest this time? What must he do for the electorate after overcoming party and bureaucratic hurdles?

Answer: Push for more development. Take help of the party, the MP and the House above all.

Question: Why should the voter vote for you?

Answer: Apart from my performance, my husband has been standing by the people since 1974.

Question: What have you gained personally by being a Councillor?

Answer: People’s love and re-affirmation of my husband’s effort to work for the people.


More truth per car!
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
With Panchkula fast emerging as the new Mecca for sale of stolen vehicles, the local police has come up with an ambitious plan to ensure that residents buying second hand cars get a fair deal.

The police now proposes to tie up with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in New Delhi for verifying if the second hand vehicle being purchased by a local resident is a stolen one. The facility will be available to residents of the township in a few weeks from now.

Mr Manoj Yadav, Superintendent of Police, says, “ The idea is to ensure that residents buying second- hand vehicles are protected. Because, if one is found to have purchased a stolen car, the stolen property ultimately has to be recovered from him.” The police propose to introduce forms for people interested in checking the antecedents of the vehicles they want to purchase. These forms will be available at a nominal price .The applicant will have to fill up the form by specifying the model of the vehicle, its colour, chassis number and registration number. These will be submitted to the local authorities, who in turn will send all such application received during a week to the NCRB authorities for verification.

It may be noted that the NCRB has a database of 3.5 lakh vehicles stolen from all over the country. This database is updated every month and the particulars of the stolen vehicles are fed in the computers. Once the particulars are sent to the NCRB, these will be matched with the database there and in case the inquiry matches the particulars of any stolen car in the NCRB data, it will be conveyed to the applicant as well as to the concerned police station, where the FIR for theft of the particular vehicle has been registered.

This initiative follows close on the heels of an inter- state gang of car-lifters being busted by the local police . Eleven vehicles were recovered from different places in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh. This gang had stolen the cars from different parts of Mumbai and was selling them here. Fake registration papers and NOC were prepared in connivance with an employee in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla. Fake papers and stamps of the registration authority at Shimla were also recovered from him.

Earlier, in April , another car-lifting racket was busted by the local police , headed by the then President of the Panchkula unit of Indian National Lok Dal. Around 15 cars, luxury as well as middle segment cars, stolen by this gang and then sold off to unsuspecting people in Chandigarh, Panchkula and other places in Punjab and Haryana, were recovered by the police.


Dog squad for local police
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
The Inspector-General of Police, Ambala Range, Mr Harish Singh Ahlawat, today announced that the local police would soon be equipped with a dog squad and facilities for lifting finger prints from the scene of crime.

He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Sector 15 police post here this morning. Earlier, he had also inaugurated the newly-constructed building of Sector 21 police post and the Crime Against Women Cell in Sector 10.

Mr Ahlawat said that the Government of India had also granted aid to the Haryana Police for the modernisation of the force. He said that the police existed for the safety of the people. He also urged that the public follow traffic rules and regulations for their own safety.

Among others who spoke on the occassion were, Deputy Commissioner, Jyoti Arora, Superintenent of Police, Manoj Yadav and Vice-Chairperson of State Women Commission, Preeti Chawla.

According to information, a new police post in Sector 15 is being added to the 14 other police posts already set up in the district. The Sector 21 police post under the Sector 5 police station was already existing and the IGP inaugurated the new building for the police post. The Crime Against Women Cell has been set up in the town with the assistance of two NGOs Piya Sharma foundation and Crime Against Women, in order to deal with the growing incidences of crime against women.


The winged visitors are back!
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, October 29
A sudden fall in mercury levels has expedited the arrival of the ‘‘winged visitors’’ this year. This is probably for the first time that the birds have come here a fortnight before their time of arrival. Generally, a lake in the Chat Bir Zoo serves as a winter retreat for these guests from mid-November to February end.

The first batch of the visitors, from Siberia, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Tibet and the upper reaches of Himalayas has arrived at the Chhat Bir Zoo lake. Their arrival has added to the beauty of the zoo and has resulted in attracting visitors.

Though, Mr M.P. Rai, Chief Wildlife Warden of Punjab, expressed his ignorance about the arrival of any migratory birds, Mr R.K. Luna, Director Chat Bir Zoo, confirmed that dozens of common pochards, Tufted pochards, coots, mallards and painted storks had already stauted arrived

Sources at the zoo disclosed that dozens of spot bills, grey ducks, and cormorants had also arrived at zoo and were taking a break here for the past over two weeks. The common pochards, cormorants, tufted pochards, coots, grey legged geese, moorhens, teal, snow goose and mallards seem to have descended heavily in Chhat Bir zoo. Punjab Wildlife department authorities claim to anticipate a massive gathering at the zoo lake this year. Water features in zoo have an easy availability of fish here while the weed from the lake and other ponds in the lake has already been eradicated, claimed the authorities.

Over 6,000 migratory birds, including brahminy ducks, grey legged goose, moorhens, pochards, teal, snow goose and other species of birds, were spotted at Chhat Bir Zoo last year.

The ongoing air and civil attacks by the American forces on Afghanistan have further forced birds to leave their habitats in those areas early this year. Pollution caused during the war and noise were another major reasons to expedite their arrival, experts opined.

Mr S.K. Sharma from the Wildlife Society, Chandigarh, says the ongoing war in Afghanistan may hit the number of Siberian birds coming in this year adversely.


Hike in khokha transfer fee likely
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, October 29
The local Municipal Council proposes to raise the khokha transfer fee four times at its meeting scheduled to be held on October 31.

According to the agenda for the meeting, the tehbazari transfer fee in respect of khokhas was fixed at Rs 5,000 in 1990. As the amount is considered low, the civic body now proposes to raise it to Rs 20,000.

There is also a proposal to hike the temporary tehbazari fee from Rs 2.50 per sq ft per day to Rs 15. This will mainly affect those putting up temporary stalls during the festival season.

The council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, said earlier shopkeepers used to put up temporary stalls wherever it suited them. Now sites would be earmarked for the purpose and the appropriate fee realised.

The agenda also has some proposals relating to painting of kerb channels, making of the central and stop lines on roads, marking of zebra crossings, etc, in various phases. The estimates come to over Rs 40 lakh.

There has been criticism that the town has been given an overdose of paint. For example, zebra crossings can be seen at short intervals on the road from the Phase I barrier to the Civil Hospital in Phase VI.

Residents say more attention needs to be given to the provision of good roads and other civic amenities than to such paint work.

The agenda also states that the Punjab Local Government Department has cleared a council resolution passed in April to rename the Bougainvillaea Garden in Phase IV after Shaheed Sqn Ldr Anil Sharma.


INLD secy clarifies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
Reacting sharply to a statement issued by the Member of Legislative Assembly from Kalka, Mr Chander Mohan regarding the slow pace of development in his constituency Mr Pradeep Chaudhary, the General Secretary of Indian National Lok Dal has said that his party was committed to a steady pace of development.

He said that as part of the “Government at Your Door Step” programme launched by the present government, 114 tasks in the subdivision during the first phase had already been completed at the cost of Rs 2 crore. He said that the second phase of this programme, too, had been started and a sum of Rs 3 crore had been released for completing 178 development works in rural areas.

He said that in order to ensure proper irrigation facilities in the hill areas of this subdivision, 26 tubewells had been installed and the installation of 20 more was on the anvil.

He also said that work for providing safe drinking water, augmentation of sewerage pipes etc. was also being initiated.


MC workers hold rallies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 29
The Road Workers Union and Public Health Workers Union of the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh and UT Building and Maintenance Workers Union, today held gate rallies at their respective offices and decided to go on a four-hour pen down and tool down strike on November 9 to press the Administration to accept their demands.

The main demand of the unions , include treating transferred employees to MC (from Administration) as those on deputation, the release of bonus and regularisation of daily wagers. 


Protest by labourers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
A large number of labourers engaged at the local Air Force Station today went on strike and staged a dharna to protest against the alleged beating up of a worker by a senior officer yesterday.

The IAF authorities are, however, maintaining that the labourer was found sleeping by an airman, who rebuked him. According to the chairman of the MES Contractors Association, Mr Jagmohan Singh, the strike is likely to continue for three or four days.


One arrested on kidnapping charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The local police has arrested Babu Lal, a resident of Mauli Jagran, on the charge of kidnapping a minor girl from Sector 27. The girl has been recovered from the accused’s residence. A case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC has been registered.

Two held
Two persons, Ravinder Singh of Dadu Majra colony and Manohar Kumar Gupta of Dhanas village have been arrested from the parking lot of KC Cinema for allegedly selling cinema tickets in black. Separate cases have been registered under the Punjab Cinema Act.

Cash, ornaments stolen
Mr Randhir Singh, a resident of Burail, has reported that Rs 11,000 along with some gold and silver ornaments have been stolen from his residence. Police has registered a case.

Scooter stolen
Theft of a Bajaj Chetak scooter (CHS 7005) from near the Passport Office, Sector 34, was reported by Mr Satish Kumar, a resident of the same sector. A case has been registered.

Trespass attempt
Ms Gurjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 15, has reported that an attempt to break into her house was made by someone while she was away during the past 15 days. The police has registered a case.

Theft reported
Mr Deepak Verma, owner of a tractor spare parts manufacturing unit in Industrial Area here, has reported to the police that aluminium and copper tools and other items, worth about Rs 18,000, have been stolen from his factory. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.


One booked
The police has booked the president of the Phase 3B1 rehri market for assaulting employees of the local civic body while they had gone to remove encroachments. According to information, he along with other shopkeepers had forcibly removed the confiscated material from vehicles of the civic body.

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