Monday, November 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Unauthorised structures in periphery regularised
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 4
With the elections approaching, the Punjab Government has taken a policy decision to regularise all unauthorised structures in the periphery of Chandigarh. The cut-off date for the construction is November 3 for relief under this policy.

This means that thousands of constructions that have come up at Kansal, Naya Gaon, Kurali, Kharar, SAS Nagar and up to Dera Bassi between December 8, 1998, and November 3, 2001, will be regularised. Sources in the Punjab Government said over 1,300 acres in the periphery of Chandigarh that fall in Punjab had been eaten up by unauthorised constructions. Sources said there were about 2,000 such constructions.

However, the decision would not come in the way of the move of the state government to form a Notified Area Committee in Naya Gaon and Kansal. The objections of the Local Government on the inclusion of Kansal in the proposed Naya Gaon NAC notwithstanding, the Punjab Chief Minister is reported to have told the Local Government Department to form the NAC by the end of December. The decision to speed up this process would help influential persons like politicians of the Akali Dal government undertake change of land-use even after the cut-off date of November 3.

Sources said the CM had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar and the Chief Town Planner of the Local Government Department to work out the modalities of constituting the NAC within the next 45 days. The decision to regularise the constructions was taken by the CM at a meeting in Amritsar yesterday. The others who were present at the meeting included Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister; Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary of Punjab; Mr A.K. Dubey, Principal Secretary to the Urban Housing Department; Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Chief Administrator of PUDA; and Mr G.S. Grewal, Deputy Commissioner of Ropar.

The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), enforcement agency for regularising the constructions, has been asked to invite claims from residents in this regard. To accurately assess the extent of construction, an aerial survey of the periphery had been ordered.

There have been a number of cases of illegal construction in the periphery, including the case of Mr R.S. Ramoowalia, an MP. About 300 cases against violators of the Periphery Act will now have to be withdrawn.

Those who have already been issued NOCs for obtaining electricity connections after a decision on December 8, 1998, need not apply again. In cases where structures have been raised before December 8, 1998, but the NOCs have not been issued, the claimants have been asked to submit application in this regard in PUDA offices to avoid legal complications.

The Chief Administrator of PUDA, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, said the aerial survey was aimed at freezing the status of construction. He said, besides documents in support of construction activities, claimants would also have submit bank drafts for Rs 2,500 in each case in favour of PUDA. This includes a Rs 1,000 processing fee and aerial photography charges of Rs 1,500, in each case. Those making false claims shall be prosecuted.

Officials of PUDA have said that any fresh structures would immediately be demolished under the provisions of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act of 1952. Mobile squads have been formed to keep a round-the-clock vigil on violators.


PU to introduce new scholarship scheme
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Panjab University is working out a plan to introduce a large number of scholarships for poor students.

The move is seen as an interesting development in wake of regular complaints of the recent hike in the fee by students. The university is understood to have been forced to hike the fee in wake of the dwindling grants from the UT and the state government.

The plan for a “ large number of scholarships,” is seen as neat package for the financially-backward students, irrespective of their social backgrounds. Scholarships already exist for the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students. Scholarships for poor students will be able to address a wider range of deserving students”, a senior student leader pointed out.

Panjab University has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Prof Mohan Maharishi, the Dean, University Instructions to deliberate over the issue. The committee includes Prof Ashok Sahni, Prof S.S.Kumar, Prof M.M.Sharma, Prof M.R.Aggarwal and Prof Rajinder Hans Gill.

It is learnt that the committee members have received only a letter informing them of the meeting. This means that the committee will have to deliberate upon the matter right from the scratch. Firstly, the section of ‘poor students’ for the scheme will have to be identified on the basis of certain criteria, not identified so far.

A senior fellow said that “Scholarships to deserving poor students was not a concession by the university. There are scholarships for certain sections of the society. Wards of university employees get fee concessions. Setting aside any differentiation based on social criteria, deserving students from poorer sections of any class also deserve a concession for education. One way to ensure quality could be by working out a minimum eligibility merit list”.

A member of the committee opined that, “ The proposal was interesting in terms of its scope of helping poor students who were deserving. Details of the programme were yet to be shaped because a separate budget head provision will have to be made by the university”.

Another member said that, “Firstly a policy decision has to be taken to determine a poverty line, below which the students would benefit by the scholarship scheme. The matter needs detailed discussion to form a transparent and objective policy”.

It was pointed out that besides chalking out criteria for determining a poverty line, the university should make efforts to make the scholarship a little more ‘handsome’. There were a number of scholarships which did not receive a single application because the amounts the students received as scholarships were next to nothing when compared with the current market prices.


Cable guys shock again with hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Cable TV operators of Chandigarh, Mani Majra and SAS Nagar today announced a steep hike in their monthly subscription rates with immediate effect.

They have already raised their monthly subscription rates in Panchkula following a meeting with the district administation. The hike in rates in Chandigarh, Mani Majra and SAS Nagar will put them at par with those prevailing in Panchkula.

According to a press release issued here today, the subscription rate has now been fixed at Rs 165 per month per TV connection against between Rs 75 and Rs 150 per TV charged earlier. A sum of Rs 65 per month would be charged for any additional TV functioning in the same household.

The decision to hike the subscription rates was taken at a meeting of the cable operators held here today. The meeting was attended by Mr Sandip Bansal of Siti Cable, Mr Maninder Singh of C-Con, Mr Santosh Kumar of Skyvision, Mr Anil Mehta of CNS, Mr M.S. Bajwa of CCN, Mani Majra, Col S.S. Chahal of Mohali Satellite Communications, and Mr R.B. Singh of Punjab Cables, SAS Nagar.

They said the hike had become inevitable in view of the fact that most of the popular TV channels have now become pay channels. These included Star TV whose package cost Rs 30 per subscriber, Zee package for Rs 30, Sony package for Rs 22, Star Sports for Rs 16, DD Sports for Rs 14, HBO and TNT for Rs 11, and Discovery for Rs 6.25. Thus, these channels cost of Rs 129.25 per month to the cable operators.

The figure did not include the cost of infrastructure, operational cost including the expenditure on hiring technicians, office rent, electricity bills and software costs, they added.

They appealed to the subscribers to “cooperate with their respective cable operators because if they want good service, they must be ready to pay for the service”.

Residents threaten to surrender connections
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 4
The subscribers of cable in Phase XI here have threatened to surrender their connections if the cable operator in the area, M/s Karan Network, did not limit the monthly subscription to Rs 100 per month. The issue was raised at a meeting of cable subscribers in Phase XI here today.

Mr Amrik Singh, a councillor of the area, said the move by the cable operator to charge different rates ranging between Rs 75 and Rs 150 was deplored by the residents. If the cable operator did not revise his monthly subscription fee and did not remove his cable wires passing over the houses by November 12, the residents would be at liberty to remove the cable wire on their own, he said.Back


Cable operator assaulted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Mr Vikram Jaiswal, a Sector 47 cable operator, today alleged that he and his brother were mercilessly beaten up by Mr Parkash and his brothers when they went to their house (No. 891) in Sector 47-A.

Mr Jaiswal told Chandigarh Tribune that he had told the suspects that if the subscription was not paid, he would remove the cable from their television. Their monthly subscription was Rs 150 from this month. Earlier, they used to charge Rs 130, he added.

He has lodged a complaint at the Sector 31 Police Station.Back


Leisure Valley still braving blemishes
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
It must have taken Le Corbusier a great deal of time and energy to design the Leisure Valley. But it has virtually taken the UT Administration no effort to allow its desecration.

Conceived as part of a green belt, from Capitol Complex to Sector 42 and beyond, the Valley today has nothing aesthetic to boast of. Rather, it lives to tell the sad tale of massive encroachment at various levels. This despite the fact that the Edict of Chandigarh stipulates: “The Leisure Valley, the Rajendra Park and other parks shall be developed as parks only and no building other than that shall be permitted.”

The only buildings allowed along the stretch of the valley were the Government College of Art and three government museums. Rules were, however, mended and the basic structure of the valley was often tampered with, most of the time by the UT Administration itself.

Among the structures which exist in violation of the Valley’s original concept are, Kalasagar, the so-called marvel in scrap, developed by V.P. Goyal and inaugurated in 1998 by UT Adviser Jagdish Sagar. Four months ago, the UT Administration had reportedly decided to shift this visually-jarring junkyard from the Valley, but it continues to exist till date.

Excepting S.L. Prashar’s sculpture (approved by Corbusier) all others are clear encroachments, because they violate the basic concept of the Valley. These sculptures were created during a camp organised many years ago by North Zone Cultural Centre and the Administration. Much to the displeasure of art connoisseurs they were allowed to be installed in the valley directly, irrespective of whether, they complemented its environment. Later, one Vikram Dhiman was also allowed to install his sculpture in the valley, which was inaugurated by the then UT Home Secretary Anuradha Gupta.

When The Tribune revisited the belt today after a gap of seven months, it found that things had changed only for the worse. Wild grass continues to be a permanent feature of the Valley and has grown denser than ever. The two exposed pits which were spotted by The Tribune in April have still not been filled up. The latest addition to the belt is a tubewell, which has reportedly been dug up to raise the declining water level.

No wonder the belt is hardly being frequented by residents who have actually stopped passing through this stretch. A Sector 10 resident, Dalbir Singh, who goes for evening walks daily, said, “There is nothing attractive about this belt. The wild grass is so dense that it obstructs brisk walkers.” A similar opinion was expressed by Nina Kumar, a Sector 11 resident, who has stopped frequenting the Valley. Piara Singh, who used to pass through the Leisure Valley every day till some years ago, has also stopped frequenting it. He said, “Many years ago, the Administration had promised to maintain and develop the reading room in the valley. The room still exists in the belt opposite Government College of Art, but only pigeons live there now.”

Meanwhile the Administration officials, when contacted, expressed unawareness about any such reading room. 


Punjabi, Hindi may soon be official
languages of UT’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
“Punjabi and Hindi may soon become official languages of Chandigarh, for which, the city Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur of the Akali Dal, had launched a campaign,” said the Secretary General of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Union Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, after laying the foundation stone of a Sector 45 community centre here today.

The Chief Engineer of the MC, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, said it was the 22nd such community centre. It was being funded by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, a former MP Mr Satya Pal Jain, and the local councillor, Mr Bachan Singh. He said the ground floor of the centre would be ready by June 2002.

The presence of Mr Dhindsa at the function organised by the Mayor, in spite of opposition from a section of the BJP, proves that Ms Harjinder Kaur, the SAD General Secretaries, Mr N. S. Minhas and Mr H. S. Sahni, and Mr G.S. Palia have not been expelled from the party as claimed by the head of the local unit of the SAD, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar.

Mr Dhindsa said when the demand that Punjabi and Hindi be made official languages of the UT had been raised by the Mayor, the Vice-Chairman of the Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, and he had taken up the issue with the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani. Mr Advani had assured them that the demand would be met.

He also said Mr Riar could not expel anyone from the party on his own and the Akali factions would be unified. Mr Dhindsa said he would call a meeting of the two factions of the local unit of the SAD in the next week or so and persuade them to give up hostility.

He also rejected the formation of a four-member election committee by supporters of the Mayor that did not include Mr Riar. He praised the Mayor for her development work and said the alliance between the SAD and the BJP was not election oriented. It was aimed at establishing communal harmony, he said, and would stay, “come what may”.

Mr Riar had said he would put up candidates in all 20 constituencies. The SAD sources, later, said Mr Dhindsa had asked them not to indulge in blame game.

Mr Dhindsa also said there was no need for members of the Akali Dal to speak for the BJP. The faction of the Mayor had said that Ms Ranjana Shai of the BJP could be denied the party ticket for opposing the Mayor.

He also said Mr Riar had no business writing to the BJP President, Mr Jana Krishnamurthi, against Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP.

Mr Dhindsa did not disclose how many seats the SAD would claim in the December MC elections. The alliance candidates would be chosen on merit.

The Mayor said she believed in democracy and contested for the post of the Mayor for protecting democracy. Her reference to “protection of democracy” is believed to be in protest against the BJP’s decision to boycott the last Mayoral elections. She had contested the elections in protest against this decision.

A former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, said the BJP and he had done a lot for the development of the city.


USA now backing India’s stand: Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The Union Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, here today said the USA, which before terrorist strikes considered itself the world’s lone super-cop, had now come round to the Indian position of waging an international fight against terrorism.

“America, which was the lone super cop in the world, did not heed India’s requests for waging a global war against terrorism but is now vindicating the Indian position by leading an international campaign against terrorism,’’ Mr Dhindsa told a gathering here today while laying the foundation stone of the Sector 45 community centre.

The Union Minister’s indication of the USA dragging its feet on repeated Indian requests to join a war against terrorism, probably the first by a Cabinet Minister since the September 11 attacks in the USA, assumes importance in view of the scheduled visit of the US Secretary of Defence, Mr Donald Rumsfeld, to India. Mr Dhindsa referred to the USA as the sole “thanedar’’ of the world, reflecting India’s old position against A uni-polar world order.

He said that the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had raised India’s stature in the world order as never before. Mr Dhindsa said leaders of the USA, the UK, France and Russia were now coming to India almost everyday to seek its opinion on the global campaign to fight terrorism.

He claimed that the Vajpayee government had been able to corner a “hostile’’ Pakistan before the world community. The Indian position on the global fight against terrorism had been accepted by the world, especially with even Muslim countries joining hands in the campaign, he said.

Mr Dhindsa said this had proved that India’s fight was not against any community, but against those who were bent upon depriving people of their right to live. Eulogising Mr Vajpayee, he said that India was now seen as a world power with all nations eager to accommodate Indian views on the campaign.

Mr Dhindsa said that certain elements were still trying to make the fight against terrorism as against a particular community, which India never subscribed to.


Vision restored after 44 yrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Fiftyfour years after an Army jawan lost an eye, a corneal transplant during a chance visit to the Western Command Hospital, Chandimandir, has resulted in the restoration of his vision.

Sepoy Hazara Singh had lost his left eye after he was hit by a Shrapnel during the 1947 operations against Pakistani invaders. Consequently, he was relieved from service.

Hailing from Prika village near Hoshiarpur, Hazara Singh was here to visit his son, who is also serving in the Army. During a visit to the Command Hospital to get an eye check, doctors persuaded him to undergo an eye transplant.

The 75-yr-old ex-serviceman underwent the surgery a few days ago. Doctors say that from complete blindlness, he was able to read the first three lines on the eye chart soon after the operation. During the first few days after the surgery, his vision ranged between 6x12 and 6x24, the exact results of which would be established only after three months.

Meanwhile, according to sources at the hospital, there is a proposal to extend eye transplant services to civilians also. “We have surplus cornea available with us and there is no waiting period in the hospital for those requiring eye transplants,” an Army doctor said. “Even at the best institutes in the country, there is a waiting period of three years for priority-one cases, whereas at times we have surplus tissues available,” he added.

As per the proposal, currently under discussion in the upper echelons of the Western Command, special permission from authorities would be required to cater to civilian demands if spare tissue is available in the hospital’s eye bank.

Sources say that since the eye bank was established in December 1999, 38 eye transplant surgeries have been performed at the hospital. About 40 per cent of the recipients were serving military personnel, while the remainder were ex-servicemen or dependents. Majority of the cases of blindness among serving soldiers have been attributed to injury.

To deal with the issue of motivating individuals to donate eyes, the hospital has also embarked on a corneal retrieval programme. Under this programme, the hospital is pursuing “delayed harvesting of cornea”, where measures are undertaken to retrieve the cornea or the eye when permission is granted by the next of kin after the death of an individual. Generally, it is the donor who pledges his eyes before death.

Doctors say that if a patient expires in hospital, a request is made to relatives of the deceased to allow the removal of cornea before the body is handed over.Back



THE prices of bangles, bindis, henna, Vermilion and other items suddenly skyrocketed last week, when the city was rocked by rumours of an ominous Karva Chauth this year, as predicted by some star-gazers. This indeed was a cause of concern for the women who flocked the nearest temples and other places of worship to make special offerings in cash and kind, thus invoking the boon of longevity for their doting hubbies.

Whether or not it could turn the tide of unforeseen misfortunes against any one, it certainly turned out to be a gala day for small traders who made good fortune out of this “mazboori” that was sure to spell doom for those unheeding the “premonition”. Cries of inflation caused no impediment for the women, who squandered oodles of money to “buy” a fortune and good health for their spouses, by making special offerings at the temples. These small-time traders stood huddled cheek-by-jowl at various temple gates hawking their wares, with the over-enthusiastic women swarming these make-shift bangle shops.

Even though the canard was later contradicted and the pundits trading tales about them pooh-poohed, nothing could stop the “anxious” women from doing their bit. There was a marked upswing in the prices of these items following the surfacing of stories as a squal to the rumours. Raju, a roadside bangle-seller in Sector 20, said: “I was intrigued at the unprecedented rush of bangle and bindi-hunters”. “We have to remain open till late evening due to the never-ending rush of buyers”, chipped in another shopkeeper.

Henna artists

Henna artists have a great time whenever Karva Chauth is around. But this time the festival proved quite auspicious for them. There was a huge rush in Sector 22, which is considered the hub of the best henna artists. Interestingly, this time many artists from Amritsar and Jalandhar also joined in to make hay, much to the dislike of local artists, who are so used to undivided attention.

With the result, there was quite a scene one day in Sector 22 when a customer walked up to someone who had come in from Jalandhar to make profits. All the local artists ganged up against the poor man and almost snatched the customer from him. By the end of it all, the customer was so hapless that she went home without getting henna applied. She was heard shouting: “Tumne to Karva Chauth ko bhi ek dukaan bana liya hai.”

Well, business went on as usual. So much so that some time later all local artists started wooing customers by presenting them with formal business cards, which had all details about them, including the fact that they were from City Beautiful and no outsiders!

A handy concert

After temples and gurdwaras, love birds now seem to be looking for better places to meet. Only recently, the Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan being organised by Indian National Theatre on the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan campus, came handy for some couples, especially those who take evening classes in journalism at BVM.

Just as the classes got over at about 8.30, many couples were seen heading towards the musical concert venue on November 2. Finally, a pure musical concert, which is invariable in need of an audience, was bursting with attendance. The couples were seen lined up in the back chairs, busy conversing with each other. Meanwhile, stalwarts of classical music went on with their performance, wondering over how the city youth had suddenly become so interested in them!

HCS selection

The Haryana Public Service Commission recently faced a piquant situation with the intrepid Republican Party of India legislator, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, levelling serious allegations of wrongdoings in the ongoing selection to the Haryana Civil Service.

The very next day the newspapers flashed the statement of the Chief Secretary, Mr L.M. Goyal, about the government direction to the HPSC about conducting a three-tier exam for HCS selection like the UPSC. This, it was said, will reduce the chances of any wrongdoing and make the selection process rigorous and transparent. However, the Chief Secretary kept quiet about the allegations. Obviously, the HPSC like other public service commissions is a constitutional body and no government functionary can speak on its behalf.

Discerning readers have, however, been left wondering whether the format for the selection procedure will change for the current selection process also or not. If the process goes on, does it mean that the government understands that the allegations are not unfounded?

For better service

Subscribers of basic and cellular telephone services, paging and internet services in the region (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh , J& K and UT ) are now on a stronger platform to fight against the cartelisation of the operators. This, courtesy the Chandigarh Telecom Subscribers Association (CTSA) which is now a part of the newly formed Federation of Telecom Consumer Advocacy Groups of India (FOTCAG).

For the time being, FOTCAG (which has almost all the telephone subscriber associations in the country as its members) will have its head office in Chandigarh. Mr Randhir Verma, president, Chandigarh Telecom Subscribers Association, and Mr Neelam Singh, general secretary, will be the co-convenors of FOTCAG. With this, the CTSA has also become the only association in the country which will have two of its members on the board of the federation. The decision to the effect was taken at a three-day national regulatory procedures and processes workshop organised under the aegis of the India facilitation of Private Sector Development Project in New Delhi.

Bliss of honesty

From October 31 to November 7 the Vigilance Awareness Week has been observed among all Central Government corporations and financial institutions all over the country but the poster-making and slogan-writing competitions organised by Semiconductors Complex Limited at its premises earned appreciation and laurels from several high dignitaries, including a High Court Judge and Secretary with the Central Vigilance Commission, thanks to the imaginative skill of Dr Sudha Sharma , a senior IRS officer who has been working as Chief Vigilance Officer with the company.

She invited students from different colleges from Chandigarh and Mohali with a view to writing eye-catching slogans on corruption. She compiled a book on poster writing. The book was divided into five parts. These were : The Bliss of Honesty, the Curse of Corruption, Where will Corruption Lead Us, the Crusade Against Corruption and Let’s Resolve. All these chapters contain vocal posters speaking against the rampant corruption in society. She told the audience that it was shameful that India was considered among the most corrupt countries.

The slogans that attracted public gaze were: The honest have value, the corrupt a price; Needs can be met, greed never; Behind every corrupt man there is a greedy family. The Honest need no props, the corrupt need accomplice, Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful; and Give your child the right direction — towards honesty, not corruption.

When the function ended, Dr Sharma said if a person adhered to honest means, he could at least make his family honest. His children would strictly adhere to honest means. And if all of us decided to follow this principle, India could shed the ignoble reputation of being the most corrupt country in the world.

New arrival

Not many Chandigarhians know that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been blessed with a grandson. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, his only son, had been blessed earlier with two daughters. When this was communicated to Mr Badal he was in the midst of redressing public grievances at one of his sangat darshan programmes. Laddoos were distributed among all those who were present.

After the laddoo distribution, journalists were wondering about the political consequences of the new arrival. Knowing the penchant of sundry Akali leaders for naming their political outfits after their individual names, which has been exhibited in the past in the form of SAD(Shiromani Akali Dal), BAD (Badal Akali Dal), MAD( Mann Akali Dal), PAD( Pheruman Akali Dal) and so on, one wag quipped that some enterprising Akali worker must have already thought of registering a new political outfit with the Election Commission. The likely name? Bal Akali Dal (BAD).


When the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), was admitted to the PGI recently for correction of prostate enlargement it was time for doctors and nurses to have personal photographs with General Jacob , who is one of the most photographed persons by the local media.

After the surgery was over and the recovery period was going on nurses in the private ward were all too excited to be taking care of the man who has brought about a change in the way the Chandigarh Administration functions by his radical and people friendly functioning and is highly decorated war hero of the 1971 war with Pakistan.

The General lovingly obliged them for the photos and also autographs.

The PGI sees many dignitaries every year, but he was different from the other Guvs or senior politicians, said a doctor. There was no overbearing security or demanding relatives and hangerson. Only his personal staff, which include an IAS officer, two ADCs, his information officer and private secretary, were allowed in. Remember the General is a bachelor. Attendants of patients in others rooms were also keen on meeting the Guv. Of course they were not allowed for obvious reasons.

Allegation time

Local units of all major political parties are in an overdrive mode for the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation. And as is the wont of the politicians, allegations are flying thick and fast. The core issues like faulty streetlights, delay in building roads, bridges and other projects were put on the backburner.

The past week was interesting. The ruling BJP’s former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain while addressing a gathering of BJP workers lauded the Prime Minister’s foreign policy while in the next breath announced that the BJP was ready for MC polls.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which is the alliance partner of the BJP cautioned the BJP not to deal with anyone who has not been authorised by SAD. The threat: " we will work against the BJP if it does not toe our line ’’.

The Congress lodged a complaint to the police against two activists of the Harmohan Dhawan-led Chandigarh Vikas Manch alleging that the duo had forged a press release on behalf of the Congress and faxed it to the press. On the other hand, Mr Dhawan asked the Congress to tell what material it had collected for Gujarat relief and how much of it was actually sent. The arena will hot up further as allocation of tickets is to start in the few days.


Some people are quite obsessed with themselves and feel that they can make all the difference. One such person has got the following sentence written on the back seat cover of his Bajaj Chetak scooter:”Don’t cry girls, I will be back.”



District status for SAS Nagar demanded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The issue of elevating SAS Nagar to the status of district may have become mired in local party politics, but several organisations, both political and non-political, have made out a compelling case in its favour. The issue of making the town a district has been smouldering for quite sometime past. 

The Citizens Welfare Association of the town has been at it for the past many years and have submitted a series of memoranda to the Punjab Government on the issue from time to time but to no avail. Now several other organisations have taken up this cause in right earnest. The Mohali Welfare Council headed by Mr Harinder Singh Billa is one such organisation.

A meeting held last week at SAS Nagar made it clear that it would not hesitate to launch an agitation if the demand was not accepted. It was pointed out that in Haryana, Panchkula became a district long time ago.

It was pointed out that the town was conceived about 30 years ago as a planned modern industrial town in the vicinity of Chandigarh. Rapid industrialisation during the last two decades has generated adequate funds to support the basic layout infrastructure based on modern architectural designed techniques. Today, the town encompasses a vibrant and very productive industrial cluster comprising many national and international entities which provide outsourcing of products and services from a large number of small and medium enterprises.

“SAS Nagar as a residential town has grown to be a modern city. There are a large number of architectural marvels making the town a most favoured destination for the best of human resources.” Mr Billa said.


Marginal drop in dak
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar
There has been a marginal decrease in ordinary dak at post offices here but no such effect is discernible in registered post, parcels and speed post items.

A survey of the local post offices shows that the main reason for the drop in the volume of ordinary dak is the increased use of the telephone by the residents and not just the operation of private courier services. It is a myth, say postal employees, that the growth in the telephone and courier services has rendered them virtually idle.

In fact, officials argue that the private courier facility is used mainly by business houses and banks and infrequently by the common people. They say that certain courier companies even use the speed post facility on the sly for the delivery of their items, particularly at distant places. Speed post charges are calculated on the basis of weight and distance. From September 10, the Department of Posts slashed these rates. About 300 speed post items are delivered every day in this town.

In all, there are seven post offices and 27 postmen in this town. Three of the post offices are delivery centres.

Postmen here say that they have to work much harder than their counterparts in Chandigarh, whose strength is much more than theirs. The workload increases if some postmen happen to be on leave. On an average, a postman has to cover one phase or sector daily while in the Union Territory there are at least two postmen for every sector. They say the work has increased with the growth of population and the expansion of the town over the years. “As soon as construction begins on a new house, letters start arriving for the migrant labour at work there,” said an official.

The Phase I post office, which is the oldest one in the town and is usually mistaken by the residents to be the “head” post office, is stated by officials to have the maximum work. A part of the building — the only one owned by the department as the other post offices are housed in rented buildings — in which it is housed is still vacant. There is a proposal to convert it into the town’s head post office. If that happens, delays will be reduced, as some work, including that related to the NSS, will be cleared here without the papers being sent to Ropar.

Staff members at the Phase VIII post office, which is located in the Punjab School Education Board building, say that around 2,000 registered letters are despatched from there every day, besides receiving 800 to 900 registered articles. Apart from this, 300 to 400 other items are handled at this office.

Employees at the Phase V post office, which shifted to a showroom in the market from a one-kanal house a few days ago, say they are facing a space shortage. Customers, too, are put to inconvenience because of the congestion. Meanwhile, the department is paying Rs 9,000 per month as rent. A plot has been allotted to this post office, but a building is yet to be constructed.

Meanwhile, the residents of the town have been demanding that the postal authorities should make arrangements to deliver the dak twice a day.


The changing scene on city roads
Tribune News Service

A loud bhangra beat warns Ajay Jagga, President of the UT Janata Party, of an approaching car even before he spots it in his rearview mirror as he waits for the traffic signal to change from red to green. The other car, flouting all rules of the road, whizzes past the stop signal, narrowly missing a cyclist.

As the visibly shaken cyclist wipes beads of perspiration from his brow with trembling fingers and tries to find his way through an endless caravan of cars and trucks, Mr Jagga realises how things have changed in the city.

“In the late 60s and early 70s, there was some kind of respect for the law among the residents,” he recalls. “Not many would jump the red light. Even though there were no checks on speeding, a majority of the residents drove their vehicles keeping the safety of others in mind”.

An increase in the number of vehicles, and a corresponding rise in the number of drivers, is perhaps one of the reasons for this disturbing change, believes Mr Jagga. He asserts: “When we were in college in the early 80s, the line between necessity and luxury was distinct. Except one or two students, most of the undergraduates went to college either on cycles or by bus. A minister’s brother who was studying with us used to walk all the way to the college from his residence”.

He concluded: “Today, the students are not known by their achievements; in some cases, not even by their names. They are referred to as ‘the guy with a silver Merc’ or ‘the one who drives a black Maruti with wildcat printed on the windshield’. I think it is time for all of us to do some serious thinking”.


‘I love working for the poor’
Tribune News Service

Promise Performance

  • Roads Made but area still is one of the worst in the city.
  • Water Situation has improved.
  • Parks Need mainte- nance
  • Power Situation as it is.
  • Sanitation Poor.

Chandigarh, November 4
Mr Rajinder Kumar, representing ward No 15 comprising Colony No 4, Industrial Area, Phase-1, and Sector-29, claims to be probably the only person in the country to have won election without speaking a word. The BJP councillor still maintains his image of a ‘’poor man’’ living in a virtual jhuggi. Chandigarh Tribune has interviewed him as part of the ‘’Question your Councillor’’ series.

Question: What have been your achievements during the term?

Answer: Issuance of ration and voter identity cards, which were stopped in 1993, to bring the economy of the poor on rails as these people who were earning around Rs 1,000 a month, ended up buying kerosene for Rs 750 every month.

Another big achievement was recognition to the Colony No 4 in official records, thus opening the way for development and future rehabilitation. Power meters and 700 to 800 electricity poles in the colony were also put up during his period. Roads were built in pockets 3 and 4 of the Industrial Area. Two tubewells for the industrial area and one exclusively for the colony were dug up.

Most of the parks of Sector 29, a green belt in the same sector and a causeway was developed. Fresh V-3 roads in the Industrial Area and V-6 roads in Sector 29 were also built.

Question: What do you think you could not do for the electorate and Why?

Answer: Rehabilitation of the colony due to a court case and pavement of all streets in the colony despite being successful in getting Rs 68 lakh from rural development fund diverted for labour colonies. He said the Municipal Commissioner, Mr. M. P. Singh, allegedly did not have any answer where those funds were diverted.

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

Answer: I had forsaken my ego and used all means including entreaties at all levels towards this end.

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

Answer: I did not promise anything as I did not even open my mouth during the whole campaign. I did not know delivering speeches nor was I prepared to contest the election till the last date of election considering my financial position. My campaign was veering around only going to the people with folded hands.

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

Answer: Party has helped but also drew a ‘’lakshman rekha’’ on vehemently sticking to the issues concerning the colony. The party, later however, allowed me to pursue these concerns unhindered.

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

Answer: Bureaucracy probably has forgotten that it is the servant of the people. It behaves as if it was the king of the people.It is very aristocratic and talks to only those with the same background and who speak in English. They even continue their meetings in public time. The corporation and Administration officials should meet the councillors once in a week in their colonies.

Question: Would you like to recontest the election in view of your performance?

Answer: Yes.

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

Answer: My experiences of fighting for the people’s cause despite a handicap of poverty will benefit any of my successor and I am ready to share with them.

Question: Why should the voter vote for you?

Answer: Apart from the development of the area, I have been able make the people aware of the problems and their rights is democratic India.

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

Answer: I have lost everything in politics to get affection of the people but the cost of the affection is high as now I am known to hundreds of the people who invite me for functions. Considering my position of a councillor, I end up paying shagun to all invitees beyond my capacity.

As Mr Kumar claims that he did not make any promise, he would be assessed on the basis of the party manifesto.Back



People’s forum felicitates Rudy
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, was felicitated by the Chandigarh People’s Welfare Forum led by its president, Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Deputy Advocate General Punjab and Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana here today.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr Rudy appreciated the role of old students of the university who were now at prime places in the bureaucratic and political circles of Punjab and Haryana or even at the national level. The various other representatives who spoke on the occasion included Mr G.K Chatrath, president of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Association, Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, president, Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, Mr Ravinder Chopra, president of the Chandigarh Club, Mr Rajiv Kawatra, secretary-general of the Chandigarh People’s Welfare Forum, Mr C.M Munjal, secretary of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, and Mr H.S Mattewal, the Advoacte-General of Punjab.


Removal of Shekhar criticised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The Punjab and Chandigarh Medical Sales Representative Union (PCMSRU) in a press statement has expressed shock that Mr Chander Shekhar has been removed from the CPM and CITU. Alleging that it is the handiwork of Mr Harkrishan Singh Surjeet, the president of the association has stated that Mr Surjeet has no right to remove a unanimously elected Mr Chander Shekhar as only the CITU state conference can take a decision on any change of leadership in CITU.

Issued on behalf of the PCMSRU, the note also states that CITU workers will not tolerate such undemocratic and arbitrary style of functioning. ‘‘We will not remain quite if certain disgruntled elements try to remove honest and sincere leaders like Chander Shekhar through unscrupulous means. All attempts of such dubious elements will be opposed thoroughly and thwarted fully.’’


416 challaned for traffic offences
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
As many as 416 vehicles were challaned today for various offences on the second day of the special traffic drive by the Chandigarh police. In addition, the police also impounded 16 vehicles.


Man kidnapped by four persons
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
A Sector 35 resident, Mr Sushil Kumar, reported to the police that four persons kidnapped him on October 4 and got a forged signature on a blank paper which was later used as a demand note for Rs 10 lakh.

According to sources in the Police Department, the complainant was kidnapped from near his house when he was returning from Delhi. The accused, Nachatar Singh, Ram Karan, Nar Singh, Raju and others were in a Tata Sumo. They also took away the complainant’s car.

Mr Sushil Kumar was allegedly taken to Laddi village in Ambala district. The accused are said to be residents of the same village. The complainant’s mobile phone and a briefcase containing Rs 3,500 were also taken away by them.Back


2 shot at, admitted to PGI
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
Two middle-aged persons, who were allegedly shot at, were admitted to the PGI late this evening in a serious condition.

Sources informed that the duo, Malkit Singh (50) and Gurcharan Singh (40), have been brought from Kurali by the police.

The sources added that Gurcharan Singh had suffered injury in the neck and Malkit in the stomach. The police is investigating into the matter. The cause the injury could not be ascertained till the filing of the report.


Mobile phone, purse snatched
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
Two motor-cycle-borne youths snatched a mobile telephone from a girl when she was returning with one of her friends to Kasturba Hall of Panjab University. The incident happened near the Sector 15 temple here yesterday. The girls were on a Kinetic Honda scooter at that time.

Suruchi, who was driving the scooter, said the youths had driven their motor cycle parallel to the scooter and snatched the telephone from Anjali, the pillion rider. The youths were on a Bullet motor cycle that did not have a registration-number plate. One of the boy was wearing a red shirt, while the other was in a blue shirt. The girls informed the police.

Two clean-shaven scooter-borne persons snatched a purse of Ms Ravi Sharma, a resident of Sector 38 (West). The incident happened near Kiran Cinema in Sector 22 here yesterday. The registration number of the scooter could not be determined. The police has registered a case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC.

Vehicles stolen: A black Tata Safari vehicle (CH-03-E-7529) of Mr Hemant, a resident of Sector 38 (West), was, reportedly, stolen from a parking lot of the Chandigarh Club in Sector 2 here. Mr Vinod Swani, a resident of Sector 34, reported to the police that his motor cycle (HR-02-5110) had been stolen from his residence on Tuesday night. The police has registered a case of theft.

Accident: A Maruti car (CH-01-O-5178) was damaged after it was hit by a three-wheeler near Batra Cinema in Sector 37 here yesterday. Sunam Singh, driver of the three-wheeler, was arrested and a case under Sections 279 and 356 of the IPC was registered against him.


Gang busted: The local police says that it has busted a gang of vehicle lifters with the arrest of at least six persons. At least three cars and two scooters, besides some other valuables, have been recovered from these persons.

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