Tuesday, November 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



100 landline connections for Test match
Suspend digging work, says BSNL
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 26
For the first Test match between England and India, beginning at the PCA stadium here from December 3, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will be providing at least 100 landline telephone connections for trouble-free communication.

The facility was being extended by the telecom service provider on a request made by the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA). However, the BSNL is learnt to have told the host that the digging work being undertaken by private telecom companies to lay Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) in SAS Nagar and Chandigarh be suspended till the Test match was over. The digging work could seriously disrupt the communication network.

The apprehensions were expressed by officials of the BSNL at a meeting with the president of the PCA, Mr IS Bindra, recently. The PCA has also been requested to communicate with the local authorities concerned to ensure that the digging work was undertaken in coordination with the BSNL officials. An official of the telecom service provider company said: “We do want to get embarrassed due to a snap of communication network much to the anger of thousands of cricket fans watching the match through out the world.”

Recent incidents of cutting of cables of BSNL and the Spice Telecommunication leading to harassment of their subscribers has made the BSNL express their fears. An official said in a single day over 1200 telephone connections were snapped due to the cutting of a cable by a private company. The disruption in the connectivity has been noticed for at least six times in the recent past.

Sources said the users would be able to use ISD, STD and fax facilities. ISDN lines and a lease line for Internet use was also being provided. It is learnt that the Governor of Punjab, Lt Gen JFR Jacob ( retd), was holding a meeting on November 28 to review the arrangements being made for the Test match.

In the media centre, the BSNL was providing around 20 land lines.


Remove wires’

SAS Nagar-based officials of BSNL have asked cable operators to remove their transmission wires from the telephone poles in the town, failing which strict action would be taken against them. The area General Manager, SAS Nagar, Mr KK Sarangal, said due to passing of the cable wires close to the telephone poles, there was functional problem of frequency disturbance. He said after issuing the public notice, the police authorities would be requested to rope in the erring cable operators. A survey of the cable operators using the telephone poles would also be undertaken.



Illegal felling: who will bell the cat?
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, November 26
Following pressure from big-wigs the police has not registered a case against unidentified persons responsible for illegally felling over 1,000 fully-grown eucalyptus trees on a piece of common village land at a prime location on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Bhabhat village.

The issue was highlighted by Chandigarh Tribune on November 21.

According to sources, even the directive of the Punjab Finance and Planing Minister, Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, to register a case against the accused was ignored by the authorities, bringing to light the clout of the accused, who are allegedly part of an “encroacher-politician mafia” active in this area for the past several years.

Interestingly, the village panchayat handed over all documents to the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat pertaining to the issue soon after the publication of the news in Chandigarh Tribune.

However, the resolution proceedings have been recorded in such a way that those responsible for the act, if any, would be hard to pin down, sources revealed.

It may be recalled that in a well-planned conspiracy, a number of persons having allegience to a powerful “encroacher-politician mafia” had illegally felled over 1000 eucalyptus tree on order to grab a 15-acre piece of land, whose value has been estimated above Rs 10 crore.

The scam had came to light when a truck (HR-37A-5357) and two tractor trailers ( HR04-6776 and PJN-5877) loaded with logs were intercepted by the octroi staff on November 15 on a tip off by some residents, on the basis of non-production of the necessary receipts obtained from the village panchayat.

The trees were being felled for the past one month and the logs were being transported on the basis of the permission from the village panchayat for nine trees only.

According to sources, the mafia had prior knowledge of merger of Bhabhat village with the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat and were aware that this 15-acre piece of land, was village ‘shamlat’ land.

This land had been leased out by the panchayat to the Forest Department, which had planted eucalyptus trees some years ago. Ironically, the Forest Department had not taken any step in this regard so far.

Efforts to contact the Divisional Forest Officer of Ropar proved futile.

Mr Ashok Kumar Sikka, Administrator of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, confirmed that the village sarpanch, in connivance with some influential persons, had leased out the piece of prime land to some parties, in back date, after the village was merged with the civic body on September 4.

He claimed that despite repeated representations to the Chief Secretary of Punjab and other top officials concerned, revenue and other records of the village were not received by the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat authorities.

The village sarpanch, Dharam Singh, had already claimed that the panchayat was fully competent to auction trees, but said he did not know that nearly 1,000 trees had been cut and uprooted by the contractor.

Meanwhile, the police has identified the owner of the truck (HR-37A- 5357) which was used for carrying logs of felled trees as Om Prakash, a resident of Ambala.

Mr Amar Preet Singh, Bhabhat police post in charge, said that police parties had been sent to various places to identify others involved in the incident.



Ravishing dame basks in fame
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
“Chandigarh is one of the most modern cities I have been to. In fact the kind of life the residents of this city enjoy is far better than those living in metros around the country.” gushed Manpreet Brar, supermodel and former Miss India, talking to newspersons at Hotel Mountview here today.

Manpreet Brar is in the city to launch a haircare product of a company based in Germany. “We have already been to Jaipur and this is the second city.” she informed.

Manpreet, who got married a few months back is also visiting her parents who have recently shifted to the city in their Sector 33 residence from Delhi.

After having achieved considerable amount of success in modelling, Manpreet is all set to make a name in the field of Television anchoring. Manpreet says “Anchoring is something which is a great high for me specially when it is done live during shows. There you get the audience’s feedback immediately. And one feels good when one does a good job of carrying out a whole show successfully stringed together properly.”

And acting? “I have been offered films but I have avoided getting into acting, not because of any particular reason but just that I am really enjoying a lot what I am currently doing. But if I ever decided to get into acting I will probably start from doing theatre so that I know if I can really do it.”

Manpreet is hosting two shows on television, one on fitness and health on Zee TV and another about golf on Zee Sports channel.

Not so sure if her fans will ever see her on the big screen, Manpreet, is instead all set to make her MBA teachers proud. Manpreet will soon be starting her own business venture on health and fitness in Delhi. Not divulging any more information about the project, Manpreet says, “I believe in doing things first and then informing others about it.”


Five kids transferred to juvenile home
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, November 26
With a view to provide care, protection, development and rehabilitation of delinquent juveniles, five children were transferred from the Model Burail Jail to the Juvenile Home in Sector 15 under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000. The Administration also decided to build new homes for the neglected and delinquent juveniles at cost about 1.5 crore in Sector 25.

Sources said the five children were transferred between November 20 and 24. When a Chandigarh Tribune team visited the Juvenile Home in Sector 15 today, it found that the children were kept in different rooms. Two were watching television and the others were playing carrom.

The children said they were feeling better here as only children were hiring here and they had better facilities then the jail. The Superintendent of the Juvenile Home, Mr V.M. Pillai, said they were providing the children with proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs and by adopting a child-friendly approach. He said their department had been making every to make them a better part of society.

The Director-cum-Deputy Secretary, Social Welfare, Ms Madhavi Kataria, said recently five children had been transferred from the Model Burail Jail to the Juvenile Home in Sector 15 as per the new Act. She informed that under this Act, the government had provided for various provisions for development, rehabilitation and empowerment of juveniles.

She said the Administration had build a home for juveniles in Sector 25. She added that juveniles would be kept according to age group and due consideration would be given to physical and mental status and degree of the offence committed for further induction into an observation home.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, after being passed by both Houses of Parliament, received the assent of the President on December 30, 2000. It came on the statute book as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (56 of 2000).


Expelled BJP leader joins SAD
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The expelled BJP vice-president, Mr Suresh Verma, a rebel candidate for the December 8 municipal polls from ward 20, joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) here today, attacking the BJP’s local leadership and the national secretary, Mr O. P. Kohli.

Flanked by the SAD local president, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, Mr Verma accused a former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain, and the adhoc committee convener, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, of interfering in SAD and splitting it. He accused the BJP leadership of distributing tickets on extraneous grounds and the criteria of loyalty, winnability and clean image had not been adhered to.

Mr Riar appointed Mr Verma senior vice-president of the party and welcomed zila 4 BJP general secretary, Mr Ashok Bamotra, BJP colony cell vice-president, Mr Ganesh Dutt Pandey, zila 4 executive member, Mr Harbhajan Singh, BJP mahila morcha vice-president, Ms Mohinder Kaur, SC morcha zila 4 general secretary, Mr Dhiraj Kumar, and mandal 20 treasurer, Mr Pradeep Bhalla. They joined the SAD today along with Mr Verma, who accused the BJP of being run by the RSS.

Mr Riar lambasted Mr Jain for splitting SAD by promoting his bete noire and the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, who was “not a party member”. He accused Mr Kohli of going back on his word by not giving ward 12 to SAD despite seeking his party’s choice of seats.

Mr Riar said at the last moment the party had been asked to contest the election from ward 20, where none of its candidates had filed nomination papers. The party had lost in this ward in the last election.

The SAD, divided into groups led by Mr Riar and the Mayor, had been given four seats by the BJP. The BJP had given two seats each to the two groups. Mr Riar had refused to accept this, saying those with the Mayor were not party members.

He said Mr Jain had got the Mayor to file her nomination from wards 9 and 6 and withdraw from ward 6, where Ms Kamla Sharma was contesting. He did not persuade the Mayor to withdraw from ward 9 where the party’s official candidate was Dr Darshan Singh.



Political parties testing waters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
All major political forces of the country — of national or state levels — are testing political waters in the twin capital of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh, apparently to make a foray into Punjab Assembly poll due in a couple of months.

While the Congress has fielded candidates on all 20 seats of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) whose results in 1996 elections were largely reflected in 1997 Assembly poll in Punjab.

The BJP-Akali alliance had routed Congress in MC elections ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections, which was repeated in Punjab. The experiment of BJP-Akali alliance was started in the state from Chandigarh.

Considering the scenario, the Congress has been careful in its strategy with all major factions of the local unit led by local MP, Pawan Bansal, former Union Minister, Venod Sharma, and former Indian Youth Congress Chief Manish Tiwari, virtually sorting out their differences and agreeing on a formula of sharing seats amongst groups.

The intra and inter faction-ridden BJP-Akali alliance has, however, faced hiccups with the local unit of the SAD President, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, putting up candidates against alliance candidates mainly to target the other faction of the SAD led by the local Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur.

The BJP has fielded 16 candidates and left four for its poll partner.

Other national parties like the Nationalist Congress Party has fielded 10 candidates, BSP 11 (one nomination was cancelled), Samajwadi Party three, Rashtriya Janata Dal one, Rashtriya Raksha Dal two, Panthic Morcha, which has an eye on Punjab elections, seven, and Janata Party one.

The Lok Janshakti led by the Union Minister, Mr Ramvilas Paswan, has put up one candidate as an independent as the party has not been allotted a symbol, Janata Dal (United) led by the Union Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav, has fielded five candidates.

The Samata Party led by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, and Railway Minister Mr Nitish Kumar has fielded four and, the Communist Party of India-Marxist has fielded two candidates.

The presence of predominantly strong parties from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is due to the fact that there are a large number of migrants from these places in Chandigarh and Punjab.

The local party Chandigarh Vikas Manch led by former Union Minister, Harmohan Dhawan, having a local appeal, has fielded candidates from 17 wards and has strategically adopted one candidate each of the BSP and BJP’s alliance partner, the faction-ridden SAD. The party has left one more seat for adoption to promote dissension in other parties.

The Punjab link in the election is reflected in the Shiromani Akali Dal and Panthic Morcha both deciding not to contest the election on party symbol apparently to prevent its likely fall out in the state Assembly elections which are only two months away.


MC poll campaign hots up
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 26
Campaigning for the coming Municipal Corporation elections picked up with various candidates trying their luck holding public meetings and door-to-door campaigns here today.

Ms Shyama Negi, contesting the elections on a Congress ticket from the Ward No. 5, started her campaign in Janta Colony, Sector 25, followed by Dhanas and concluded her day with workers meeting in Kumhar Colony, in Sector 25. Speaking to her prospective voters, she ridiculed former mayors and councillor of Ward No. 5, Mr Keval Krishan Adiwal’s press statement that he could not complete the development work because of lack of time.

Congress candidate, Ms Uma Wadhera, from Ward No. 13, has promised a healthy and clean environment, with particular reference to green belts, development of play grounds and parks for kinds

The election office of the Bhartiya Janta Party — Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from Ward No. 11, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, was inaugurated by Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, at Sector 20-C.

Speaking on the occasion, various leaders from the two parties highlighted the achievements of the outgoing Corporation headed by them. Mr Des Raj Tandon, the party’s candidate from the Ward No. 3, highlighted the various developmental works done by him as a councillor during the past five years. Ms Santosh Rana, party’s candidate for Ward No. 5 has set up her office in Dadu Majra Colony.

Addressing an election rally, Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP leader and former Member Parliament, while addressing party workers at Ward No. 12, said that the Congress had no agenda for the development of the city and hence no votes should be cost in its favour.

Bahujan Samaj Party candidate, Mr Deepak Sidhu, from Ward No. 4, started his day with a door-to- door campaign and also held at least 10 street meetings. He promised support to all the residents of ward, if voted to the Corporation.

The Janta Dal (United), organised a public rally at Palsora Colony (Ward No. 7) and was addressed among others by Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, president of the unit.

The speakers promised that if the party’s candidate, Ms Saroj Devi, was voted to the Corporation, she would work for the all-round development of the ward. They also promised that its councillor would work for making the Corporation people-friendly.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal Panthic Morcha, finalised its 10-point election manifesto. Promoting communal harmony in the city tops the priority list of the party in addition to maintaining the public peace and security. The party has also promised 24-hour water and power supply to the city residents. Other promises include softening of the tax burden and working forwards making the city pollution-free.

The Executive Committee of the local unit of the Indian National Trade Union Congress , in a meeting urged all its members to support the Congress candidates in the elections. Mr M.L. Narang, General Secretary of the Union, said that all members associated with the union would be mobilised to ensure the victory of Congress. Another frontal organisation of the Congress, Chandigarh Territorial Congress (I) Seva Dal, started mobilising votes for the Congress candidates, with a meeting at Shapur Rajiv Colony here. Ms Manjeet Kaur, candidate from Ward No. 6, was also present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the All India Congress Committee (Socialist) has decided to support Ms Rano Devi, an Independent candidate from the Ward No. 14. This was decided at a meeting held at the residence of the candidate, according to Mr Dhuran Shahu, Chairman of the unit.



Congress declares war on BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Congress today declared an all-out war on the BJP accusing it of neglecting the city, despite having control over the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh Administration and the Central Government.

The local party MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, released a 35-point chargesheet against the BJP at a press conference.

The BJP has been accused of ignoring development due to its infighting; for failure to elect three mayors despite having-three-fourths majority, its Central Government has not been able to get due share of funds to the corporation, discrimination in matters like issue of ration cards and failure of the Administration to check brazen religious intolerance shown by the Sangh Parivar.

Unjustified power tariffs and shortage of water and power, multiple raise in petrol prices, attempt to impose levies on house tax and parking fee, poor sanitation, no permission to allow an extra room, also conversion from leasehold to freehold are issues the chargesheet lists.

CITCO sheds have not been transferred for 15 years, housing societies have not been allotted land despite depositing money, Administration is colluding in encroachment of public land by permitting liquor vends and welfare associations have been denied any say in running community centres and janj ghars, the Congress has charged.

Mani Majra is being denied the right to have its own Municipality and several colonies and villages are not being regularised, villagers are not being provided alternative sites for milkmen and water and power for them is still a dream, it said.

Compensation laws for land acquisition are outdated, panchayati raj institutions have not been vested with powers, Administration has not let the poor be rehabilitated by giving up Economically Weaker Section (EWS) tenements, housing scheme for bonafide residents has not been framed and the scheme to construct houses for the retired has been given up, it said.

No employment has been generated, conversion of rehri markets into day booths has slowed down, bonus has not been paid, Corporation employees have not been considered on deputation, services of daily wage workers have not been regularised, SC certificates are not being issued, creches are not provided, schools are in an appalling condition and the aged have not been looked after, the chargesheet said.

State Commission for Women has not been set up, widows of defence personnel have not been rehabilitated, law and order situation has deteriorated, freedom fighters are neglected, corruption goes unabated and Municipal Corporation vehicles are being used by BJP worker are some of the major changes.



Dhawan’s juggling act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) here today adopted an official candidate of BJP’s recalcitrant alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal (Riar) from ward number 12, apparently to send a signal that one faction of the SAD was supporting it.

The CVM also adopted a BSP candidate from ward number 7 and Zila Parishad member, Ms Charanjit Kaur, indicating a friendly contest on those seats where there were candidates of both parties while support from the BSP on those seats where the BSP was not contesting.

This was announced here today by the CVM Convener, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, at a press conference.

Mr Jaspal Singh (an Akali), who is contesting as an independent candidate, has been adopted by the CVM, he said.

Mr Dhawan said the candidate from ward number 8 will be adopted in couple of days, when the manifesto was released.

Mr Dhawan’s adoption of an Akali and a BSP candidate, may signal a break in the BJP alliance and prevent the BSP vote going to the Congress in those wards where BSP candidates were either weak or not in the fray.

The former Union Minister’s strategy seems to deal a blow both to the Congress and the BJP, as margins in the MC polls are considered to be low and even a small transfer of votes might brighten prospects for CVM candidates.

Both parties however, have never been able to win any election in the past on their own.

The Samata Party vice-president and Property Dealers’ Association Chairman, Mr Tarlochan Singh, has also joined the CVM.

Mr Dhawan said two main issues of contest by the party would be granting people the right to recall Corporators who failed to deliver goods after one year, as was done in Anoopnagar district of Madhya Pradesh and the other issue was party less local bodies.

He said that the party would recall its Corporators if they failed to perform within one year of their election and that the first resolution passed would be on right to recall. He said the Manch would send a memorandum to the Constitution Review Committee led by Justice Venkatachalaiah, for granting people the right to recall.

The CVM attacked both the Congress and the BJP for squabbling in the last House.



SSP discusses canvassing violations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
A controversy over the use of loudspeakers on vehicles and pitching of tents on public land by political parties during canvassing dominated a meeting called by the UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, with representatives of political parties and candidates for the forthcoming MC poll.

While the guidelines issued by the Election Commission prohibit the use of loudspeakers mounted on moving vehicles as well as pitching tents on public land, several candidates present during the meeting said they had been granted permission for the same by the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

This led to several candidates filing a written complaint before the Joint Election Commissioner, Mr D.M. Khaneta, highlighting alleged violations of the code of conduct.

The meeting was organised near the Sector 17 police station. Besides all 148 poll candidates and representatives of various political parties, the SP security, Mr Baldev Singh, the three sub-divisional police officers and the SHOs of all 11 police stations in the city attended the meeting.

Law and order situation during the poll, abiding by the poll code issued by the election commission, conduct during canvassing, use of liquor were some of the issues discussed at the meeting.



EC asks for more police force
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Election Commission today asked for eight more companies of police force. This was informed here today by an EC source. The need to call more companies for election duty was felt after 71 polling stations, mostly in colonies and villages, were identified as sensitive.

Meanwhile, 13 candidates filed nominations today to the December 8 panchayat elections for 15 panchayats.

Mr Harbhajan Singh filed nomination from Minhas, Ms Daljit Kaur from Daddu Majra, Mr Shingara Singh, Mr Sunil Kumar Gupta, Mr Nand Kumar Yadav, Mr Gurpreet Singh from Darua, Mr Balbir Singh from Kajeri, Mr Tipu, Mr Shiv Madan, Mr Gurcharan, Mr Rajesh Kumar and Deedar Singh from Hallo Majra, Mr Shripal Chand and Mr Dayal Singh from Behlan.



Six poll observers appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Election Commission of Chandigarh and Delhi today appointed six observers for the December 8 simultaneous polls to the Municipal Corporation and panchayats. Five officers of the Special Secretary rank in Punjab Government and one from UT have been appointed observers.

Mr G.S. Sidhu is observer for wards number 1, 2, 14 and 20, Mr Bidhi Chand Thakur for wards number 3, 4, 5 and 12, Mr B. Sarkar for 6, 7, 8, 9, Mr Harjit Singh for 10, 11, 16 and 17 and Mr V.K. Janjua for 13, 15, 18 and 19 wards. Ms Varsha Joshi from the UT is the only observer for elections to 15 panchayats.


Loudspeaker use to be discontinued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Election Commission today directed the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramasekhar, to withdraw permission for fitting loudspeakers on vehicles granted to Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, which was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

This was announced by the Joint Election Commissioner, Mr D. M. Khaneta, here today.

Mr Kala said that he had applied for permission without knowing that the same were banned and probably the DC was also not aware of EC instructions. The EC acted on a complaint filed by the Samajwadi President, Mr Shivi Jaiswal, who said that mobile loud speakers and setting up of tent offices were banned as per the provisions of the Conduct.



Villagers petition Badali
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur-Garibdas, Nov 26
Residents of the village and other surrounding villages demanding Notified Area Committee (NAC) status submitted a memorandum to Mr Ujagar Singh Badali, jathedar of Shiromani Akali Dal said to be ‘‘instrumental’’ in getting the same status to Naya Gaon and Kansal villages, here yesterday.

Mr Badali, was in the village to attend the eight Jagran organised by the village Jagran Committee. Mr Jaspal, alias Guddu, of the Committee said that over 5,000 people from the area attended the Jagran. Mr Badali also announced Rs 2 lakh for the construction of a sports stadium in the village. He also gave Rs 50,000 to the Youth Welfare, Sports and Health Club, Mullanpur.

In the memorandum, addressed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, residents said that the population of the village had crossed 20,000 and the village also served as a commercial center for the nearby 70 villages. Mr Arvind Puri, resident of the village said that the NAC status would improve living conditions in the area. Villagers also demanded a sewerage system and repair of the streets.

Fed up over the irregular power supply in the area, residents urged Mr Badali to use his links in the government to streamline the same. The telephone exchange situated in the village had been ‘malfunctioning’ for the past five years and several representations by the subscribers to the BSNL authorities had proved futile. The villagers also demanded an up-gradation of the exchange.


Dharna by UT powermen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
As a part of its agitational programme against privatisation of the Electricity Department, the UT Powermen Union held a dharna outside the Electricity (Operation) Division No 4 in Sector 34 here today. The powermen had decided to launch an agitation against opening of tenders for giving work of meter reading and bill distribution work to private parties.

Mr Bhag Mal Rana, general secretary of the union, said the dharna was addressed by various trade union leaders, including Mr Ujjaggar Singh Mohi, Mr Raja Singh, Mr S.K. Saggi, Mr Narinder Singh Sekhon, Mr Garish Kumar, Mr Gopal Joshi, Mr Saroop Singh Rawat and Mr Pardeep Kumar.

The leaders flayed the move of the Union Government and the Chandigarh Administration to privatise the Electricity Department under the direction of the World Bank, IMF and WTO. The leaders cited the examples of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where the scheme had failed and the public was put to a lot of inconvenience. They urged the Chandigarh Administration to withdral the privatisation move.

The employees also voiced their other demands which included grant of bonus, regularisation of daily wage workers, treating all those employees who were sent to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as on deputation and giving appointment to the next of kin of deceased employees, and filling of vacant posts under various categories.

Mr Rana said the dharna was lifted only after the cancellation of tenders which were to be opened today. They warned the Administration to stop this exercise otherwise the union would be left with no other alternative but to intensify its agitation.



Fun-filled day for special children
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 26
It was a special day for special children who, despite their disability, captured the hues and colours of this world through their crayons and pencils and then merged themselves in the fun games. The occasion was the celebration of Disability Week, which started at Bal Bhavan in Sector 23, here today.

Sandeep from Asha School, Chandimandir, drew a beautiful house with members of a happy family. Jitendra drew the Tricolour. Samsher Singh and his friends were ecstatic to be part of the banana race and musical chairs. For the first time they had become part of such a huge gathering and faced so many competitors in fun-filled games.

The week-long celebrations this year are indeed a treat for special children. The Social Welfare Department, UT, and the Indian Council for Child Welfare, U T branch, have joined hands with voluntary organisations working with special children to bring them to the mainstream.

“The state has made full efforts to empower these children with equal opportunities. To execute this plan at the grassroot level policy makers have realised that full co-ordination with voluntary organisations needs to be ensured,” said Ms Madhvi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare Department ,UT, who was the chief guest.

About 400 special children from institutes such as Prayaas, a rehabilitation centre for handicapped children in Sector 38, Asha School for Mentally Handicapped and Deaf and Dumb, Chandimandir, Youth Technical Training Society, Sector 11, Vatika School for Deaf and Dumb, Sector 11, and School for the Blind, Sector 26 besides schools like St John’s School, Sector 26, and Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, gathered under a common platform and gave an outlet to their creative talents on he first day of the celebrations. The fun games included banana race, matka phoro, musical chairs and treasure hunt. The prize winners of today’s games would be awarded at the concluding function on December 3 at Tagore Theatre.



Hero Screen contest winners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Hero Honda today announced Sameer V. Sangawade of Nasik and Aditya Singh Rajput of Delhi as the winners of the Hero Screen Contest. The winners would now get an opportunity to work with Hrithik Roshan and Saurav Ganguly in the company’s latest commercial ‘Desh Ki Dhadkan’, part 2 to be shot in Mumbai.

Aditya , who is a second year software engineering student was also a part of Harbhajan Mann’s video album ‘Ae Soneye’. With one year training in dance from Shaimak Davar’s Institute of Performing Arts, he has also modelled for a few print advertisements including corporate campaign for Microsoft, Tropicana juices etc.

Sameer, a first year B.Sc student is actively involved with theatre. He recently acted in a Marathi play ‘Celebration’ which won six awards.

Mr Atul Sobti, senior vice-president, Marketing and Sales, said the contest was an attempt t

o bring the Hero Honda customers closer to the brand. The jury for the contest included directors Mahesh Bhatt and K.S. Ravikumar. 


Taps go dry in six sectors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Half a dozen sectors of the city today went without water supply in the morning as the main pipeline for water supply to Sector-37 water works burst in the wee hours.

People came out of their houses in Sector 24 to protest against the failure of water supply without knowing why the supply had been disrupted a resident told the Chandigarh Tribune.

Complaints poured from Sectors 38, 37, 36, 24, 23 ,22, 40 and 41.

The Municipal Corporation Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, said the line had been snapped resulting in these sectors going without water in the morning but partial water supply was restored Sectors 38-C and 38-D in the evening.



Valmiki sabha submits memo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Bhartiya Valmiki Sabha has submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), who is also the Administrator of Chandigarh.

In its three-page memorandum the sabha urged the Governor to celebrate the birthday of “Bhagwan Valmiki” at the state-level on the pattern of Punjab. It requested the Governor to set up Valmiki Bhavan like Ambedkar Bhavan and hand it over to the sabha.

The memorandum said the Chandigarh Administration had allotted plots to various religious institutions except the sabha. It requested the Governor to allot a plot on lease basis as it was unable to bear the cost of the plot.

The sabha regretted that the teachings and philosophy of Maharishi Valmiki had not been included in syllabus. The sabha requested the Administrator to incorporate the teachings of Maharishi Valmiki in syllabus.

The Scheduled Caste certificate should be given to persons who had residential proof of three years as was the Chandigarh Housing Board policy.

Houses built under the self-finance scheme were being allotted to Scheduled Castes on commercial rates by the Chandigarh Housing Board. People belonging to the Valmiki community were poor and not in a position to pay the huge amount. The sabha requested the Governor to allot these houses to them on no-profit-no-loss basis.

Unemployed Valmiki youths should be allotted booths and shops by making a provision to take loans from the Chandigarh Scheduled Caste Corporation or any scheduled bank.


Senior citizens honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
As part of the on-going Sher-e-Punjab Lala Lajpat Rai martyrdom fortnight, the Servants of the People Society today honoured senior citizens. Those honoured included Mr Jamna Dass (97), Mr Bhag Mal, Mr Rattan Ram Dogra, Mr Harbans Lal Vohra and Mr A.P. Handa, all are over 90 years. Tombola was also played without any entry ticket and prizes were given.

Mr H.S. Nama, Mr Bhagat Ram Rangara, Mr K.C. Goel and Mr S.S. Sood recited their poems on Lala Lajpat Rai which were applauded by the audience.

Mr Onkar Chand, the Secretary of Servants of the People Society exhorted the audience to follow the teachings of Lala Lajpat Rai. He referred to the multidimensional personality and the missionary spirit with which the great leader had worked. He said although he belonged to Punjab, he was a leader of all-India stature, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of our country.

The programme was organised by Col M.S. Allagh, Maj A.S. Baidwan, Mr B.R. Pahuja, Mr Tarlok Singh and Ms Harinder Mann.


Tiger cub dies in zoo
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, November 26
A six-months-old cub of a Royal Bengal Tiger succumbed to its injuries which its had sustained in a fight with some other cubs in their enclosure a few days ago, in the Mahendra Chaudhari Zoological Park here late last night.

According to sources, the cub had sustained injuries following which it was kept in a separate enclosure for treatment. But the authorities failed to provide proper medicare, following which the cub died after over a week.

The cub was found dead by the zookeeper today morning. The carcass was burnt after conducting a postmortem examination. With the death of the cub, number of Royal Bengal tigers in the zoo has reduced to 28.

Mr R.K. Luna, Zoo Director, was not available for comments. 


Computerised registration centres
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
The district-level Integrated Services of Haryana will provide services to information centres in various tehsils and sub tehsils from tomorrow.

This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, while presiding over a meeting of district officers here today. A formal training was imparted to the officers.

Ms Jyoti Arora said these computerised registration centres would provide facilities of on-the-spot registration. Besides, the computer centres would also undertake the work of land ‘jamabandi’, records, births and deaths, voters’ list and 22 other facilities.

The Integrated Informatics Centre would provide information about Sarkar Aapke Dwar, Panchayati Raj, BPL list, emergency services etc. Individuals could also lodge complaints about water and electricity supply, beside Administrative and other departmental grievances through various centres established at sub-tehsil level. 



Challan filed against Batra Group MD
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 26
The city police today filed a challan against the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Batra Group, Naresh Batra, in a local court in a case cheating and fraud registered against him.

The challan was filed against, Naresh Batra, before the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L. Mohal. The case will come up for hearing on November 29 in the Court of Judicial Magistrate( First Class), Mr Pushvinder Singh.

The FIR against Naresh Batra was registered in October 1998 by his brother, Dr Mahesh Batra. It was alleged that Naresh, by using some old signed blank papers had fraudulently transferred the shares owned by him, his wife, Manju and two sons, Mr Vikram Batra, and Mr Vineet Batra. The complainant had also alleged that he had lost about Rs 25 crore due to this.

The founder of the Batra Group, Mr B.L, Batra, had died in August 1993. The complainant had alleged in the FIR that after the death of his father, Naresh had started handling the affairs of the company. For convenience, he had given a general power of attorney in the name of Naresh Batra. It was also alleged that even when B.L. Batra was alive, the complainant had given some blank forms and papers which had gone into the possession of Naresh who had not returned these on one pretext or the other.

It was stated in the challan that as per the report of the CFSL, it was found that the letter in question, bore forged signatures. 


Man held for stealing clothes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
A resident of Sector 28, Abhay Pathak, was caught red handed by Surinder Sharma, a resident of the same sector while the former was stealing clothes from the Garhwal Bhawan, Sector 30. The accused was handed over to the police, and a case has been registered in this regard.

Two held

Two persons have been apprehended by the police during the past 24 hours in connection with various theft cases. Those arrested have been identified as Om Parkash, a resident of Mauli Jagran and Jasbir Singh, a resident of Palsora.

Moped stolen

Poonam Vasudev, a resident of Sector 38 has reported that her moped (CH-01-3501) has been stolen from Sector 34. The police has registered a case.

Theft cases

Sudesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 34, has reported that his house was broken into and gold jewellery weighing about 14.15 total and Rs 30,000 in cash have been stolen. The police has registered a case.

In another case Omkar Singh, a resident of Sector 22, has reported that an unknown person entered his house through the rear door which was unlocked, and stole two gold rings, a gold chain and a tikka. The police has registered a case.

Neki Ram Lila Dhar, a resident of Mauli Jagran, has reported that he was threatened and beaten up by two persons, Anokha and Vijay Kumar, at his residence. The accused are absconding. The police has registered a case.

A resident of Kajheri, Zakir, was injured after his rickshaw was hit by a three-wheeler near the Government College For Girls, Sector 42. The police has registered a case.


Ekta Chopra, a resident of Sector 25, has reported that the battery of her Kinetic Honda scooter was stolen while it had been parked near a temple in Sector 36. The police has registered a case in this regard.

3.1 kg charas seized

The local police has arrested one person for smuggling narcotics and has recovered 3.1 kg charas from his possession at the Parwanoo police barrier on Sunday. Mr Sanjeev Lakhan Pal, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, said during the routine checking of vehicles, a police party led by ASI Jai Bhagwan, apprehended the accused, a resident of Matloda village in Panipat District. He was travelling in a Delhi-bound bus. DSP said charas worth Rs 3 lakh was hidden in polythene bags. A case has been registered.



Three proclaimed offenders held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
The police claims to have achieved a major success with the arrest of three proclaimed offenders, wanted in two separate cases.

According to an official press note, two of the proclaimed offenders (PO’s) arrested by the police were wanted in a case of abduction of a minor girl from Manimajra in Chandigarh. Both Ajay and Poonam were arrested by a police party from Hoshiarpur.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, said a minor girl had been abducted by Jitendra on November 28, 1998. After the girl was allegedly raped by the accused, he took her away to Hoshiarpur and they stayed in the house of the above mentioned PO’s. The two — Ajay and Poonam — forcibly married off the girl to Jitendra at Chintpurni shrine and then brought them to Tanda township in Punjab.

Later, the family of the girl discovered them and brought her to Chandigarh. A case on charges of abductuion and rape was registered at Sector 19 police station. All three were arrested and later released on bail on the condition that they would appear in the court, whenever called for. However, they were declared PO’s for not being present in court. They have now been sent to judicial remand till December 4.

The third person — Laalta Prasad was wanted in a case of cheating and theft. He alongwith another person had reportedly hired a video cameraman on the pretext of making a video film of his brother’s wedding ceremonies in Kalka in December 1994. The two had later befooled the cameraman and had fled with his camera.

The Panchkula police arrested him on a specific tip off from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh on November 24. He has been sent to judicial remand till December 1.



Gambling gang busted
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 26
Amidst high drama, the police in a swift swoop in the evening raided a place in Phase 1 here and caught red-handed at least nine persons allegedly involved in the illegal business of single-digit lottery. The raiding police parties recovered Rs 43,000 in cash from the arrested persons.

The ASP, SAS Nagar, Ms Kalpana Nayak , said on getting a tip-off, two parties, lead by ASI, Harghawant Singh Riar and SI Balbir Singh, raided a public place and busted the illegal lottery business.

The modus operandi of the illegal business was that customers were lured to earn Rs 70 after every one rupee invested, provided the number given to a player came in a draw. A number was being sold for Rs 10 each. A decoy customer, Constable Daljeet Singh, was sent to the site with Rs 100 to buy the “ numbers”. Earlier, players were given tickets with a number printed on it.

Incidentally, the police had also conducted raids at two showrooms in Phase 1, being used by lottery agents to run the illegal business. However, not much success could be achieved by them.



Memo on real estate business submitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
A four-member delegation of Samadhaan, a pressure group for social justice, today met Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), U. T. Administrator, and submitted a memorandum containing a series of suggestions relating to real estate business in the city.

The delegation, was led by its president, Mr R. P. Malhotra, and also consisted of Mr L. C. Arora , Mr R. K. Gupta and Mr R.K. Bhasin. It discussed issues relating to rationalisation of stamp duty, complicated documentation, working of the Estate Office, NOC, departmental commercialisation in the name of relaxation of bylaws, leasehold conversion policy and partition of commercial buildings. The meeting was also attended by the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Chandersekhar.

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