Monday, December 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Police verification drive fails to take off
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
Even as the district police is planning to make the verification of servants and tenants mandatory in order to curb crime, its drives during the past few months have come to a naught.

This is mainly because the police departments of several states have not been sending back the verification rolls to it.

Thousands of such rolls sent to police departments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal have not been returned to the local police. Thus, the verification of the floating population in the township has so far floundered.

Senior police officers in the district admit that with almost no cooperation from the police of these states, the entire verification drive carried out in the slum and labour colonies in the district, as well as the surrounding villages of Panchkula, becomes an exercise in futility.” Incidentally, the maximum number of the floating population in Panchkula arrives from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, “ he said.

Sources inform that even the verification of migrant population during the police-resident interface as part of Operation Sadbhavna has yielded no results. Verification rolls of migrants residing in the sectors were prepared, but even these drew no response from the states concerned, informed a senior police officer.

It may be noted that the police was deliberating on a move to get Section 144 the of Cr PC enforced, making it mandatory for residents to furnish essential information about domestic staff and tenants; and empowering them to initiate legal action against defaulters. This follows the growing involvement of migrants in heinous crimes taking place here.

It is also worthwhile to mention here that Panchkula has been seen as one of the safest havens for hardened criminals, some of them also having close links with the underworld. The verification drives of the police, too, have not been so frequent. As a result, drug-peddlers, criminals and even pimps have in the past been found residing here for months and carrying on their clandestine operations, before they were nabbed by the police.

Manjit Singh Mange, one of the main hitmen of dreaded underworld don , Babloo Srivastava, had been staying as a tenant in a house in Sector 7 for a few months, before he was nabbed by a team of the Delhi Police’s Special Crime Cell. Two of his former aides had also been staying in a rented accommodation in Sector 15, even after Mange’s arrest. It was only after they got wind of the Chandigarh police keeping a watch over them that they skipped away to West Bengal.

Another dreaded criminal, Mahavir had been staying in Sector 6 and later in Sector 10, but managed to escape. Tazzudin, a drug-peddler, who was arrested with smack worth Rs 2. 5 crore had been staying in a house in Sector 12-A.



Bar Council chief to be from elected members
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 9
In a major decision, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has decided that in the next election of the council, the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman will be from amongst the elected members of the council. It was decided at a meeting held here today.

The Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, said the council had taken up the matter regarding proposed amendments in the Punjab and Haryana Election Rules, 1968, and it was decided by majority vote that the proposed amendments be referred to the Bar Council of India for approval. The proposed amendments included that the Chairman should be from amongst the elected members of the council and that in future, elections should be conducted by returning officers appointed by the Bar Council instead of the Advocate-General.

The Secretary of the council said there were 14 items on the agenda and it was unanimously decided that the matter regarding proposed amendments be submitted to the Governor of Punjab and the Chief Minister of Punjab for making necessary amendments in the ordinance. As many as 40 complaints about advocates’ professional misconduct were taken up, out of which about 17 had been referred to the disciplinary committee.

The council also decided to send its five members to attend the National Legal Workshop at Kerala to be held from December 23 to December 27.

In another major decision, the council also decide that when an advocate, having practice of 10 year or more to his credit, is appointed to appear, plead or act for any party or person in any court in any civil suit or appeal where the value of the subject matter of the suit or appeal is Rs 25,000 or above or in any criminal case where offence is punishable with death sentence or imprisonment for life, such an advocate shall not be entitled to appear as plead in any such case unless he is accompanied by an advocate having practice of less than 10 years.

It was unanimously decided to propose that every advocate having 15 years’ standing at the Bar should appear in courts accompanied by one junior advocate as already provided in the rules. The Junior advocates would be entitled to junior fee. And in case Bar Council received any complaints regarding non-payment of junior fee, it would amount to professional misconduct. The matter would be referred to the high court for making necessary amendments immediately.

Further the high court would be requested to make necessary amendments regarding affixation of advocate welfare stamps on every vakalatnama on which advocate’s enrollment number would also be mentioned.

The council also decided to take strict action against advocates who violated the rule 36 of the Bar Council of India by visiting lower courts for procuring work. It was also decided that the government employees and employees of high courts and the Supreme Court, who were dismissed or retrenched on dishonesty charge be permanently debarred from enrolling themselves as advocates. 


Rigging alleged in MC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
A large number of people today alleged impersonation and rigging in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections which concluded yesterday.

Some of the voters complained of mistakes about their addresses in the electoral rolls. Mr P.S. Makol, president of the National Consumer Awareness Group, said the names of his family members ought to have figured in the electoral roll of Ward No 20 having booths 443 and 444 at Government Model School near the Government Dispensary. He alleged that to his horror he found that their names figured in electoral rolls of Ward No 19. All six members of his family returned home without exercising their votes.

Mrs Neeru Manchanda, who contested her election from Ward No 2, alleged that around 3.15 p.m. a boy entered polling booth no 108. When he was asked by the Polling Officer about the name of his father, he fumbled for words and could not reply. Mrs Manchanda took strong exception to this. She further maintained that the police officers did not lodge her FIR notwithstanding her repeated requests. She alleged that the police, including Sub Inspector Malkiat Singh, were under the influence of a powerful Congress leader. The police let off the boy within no time. Mr Ramesh Duggal, told mediapersons that bogus voting also took place in Sector 44-C.

Mrs Nilu Bhattal, who contested election from Ward No 13, lodged a complaint with the Joint Action Commissioner, alleged that a mass rigging took place in that ward. She claimed that a formal complaint had also been lodged with the Chandigarh police for taking necessary action against the suspects. She alleged that two voters who came to cast bogus votes were nabbed and were handed over to the police. She claimed that out of four candidates who were in the fray three had lodged complaints against a women candidate who was also contested election from the same ward.



BJP-SAD alliance in for a rout ?
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The BJP-SAD alliance seems in for a rout and the Congress may emerge as the single largest party in the 20-member Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) after votes are counted on December 11, intelligence and party sources indicated.

Estimates of all parties might, however, go slightly off-the-mark as none of them has been able to understand how low polling percentage will affect them. The Congress traditional voter in colonies and villages has also not voted very aggressively putting a question mark on these estimates. The intelligence estimate is also only an indicator and is nothing equal to psephological predictions.

The Congress believes it will certainly win Wards Number 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 18, 20 and even 6. The party believes if there was a wave they would even be through in Ward Number 12, 13 and 19 reaching a figure which the BJP-SAD alliance had last time.

The Congress does not want to make a guess about how many seats its rivals the BJP and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) might get nor does it want to say who will be the second largest party.

The CVM seems heading for a second spot in the corporation on the basis of information from the sources. However, party estimates say there will be a neck-and-neck fight between the Congress and the CVM with the BJP almost wiped out.

The sources also confirm that the BJP-SAD alliance which was openly opposed by a SAD faction-led by Gurpartap Singh Riar and his cahoots in the BJP who have a common enemy in former BJP MP Satyapal Jain, is going to fare badly with possibilities of getting two to three seats.

Sources in the BJP, however, are sure of winning six seats on their own and one of Mayor Harjinder Kaur.

The BJP, however, admits except for Ms Kamla Sharma and Mr Rajesh Gupta rest of the candidates are locked in a very tough contest. The BJP gives the CVM four seats. The CVM is sure of victory in 9 to 11 wards.

It considers Ward Number 1, which the BJP also claims, Wards Number 3, 17, 10, 16, 18, 14, 19, 11, 13, Manimajra, two other candidates of it are in close fight, it feels.

The CVM, however, expects if there was an under-current, it would sweep but does not hazard to guess the number of seats and also gives two seats to independents.

It feels in the worst scenario there could be a tie in the corporation with the Congress and the CVM getting seven or eight seats each.

Low percentage of polling has been interpreted as “voter developing apathy towards the corporation due to its functioning and the hardcore BJP voter choosing not to vote instead of supporting some other party”.

The BJP and CVM have interpreted it as a “failure of political class, administration and system”.

The BJP feels academician and the common man should be involved in an exercise where the politicians are asked to listen to them instead of lecturing the people to take immediate remedial measures of restoring faith in democratic institutions.



MC poll: percentage comes down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The average polling percentage of yesterday’s Municipal Corporation poll has come down from 35 per cent to 34.5 per cent after collection of information from all wards.

Ward Number 6, which was earlier thought to have polled lowest, has now been replaced by Ward Number 9 recording only 25 per cent polling as against 26 per cent polling in Ward Number 6. The percentage of Ward Number 6, which was yesterday believed to have polled the lowest 20 percent, has now been calculated at 26 per cent.

The highest percentage of the ward polled, Ward Number 18, has also gone up from 52.3 per cent to 57 per cent now, according to the Election Commission (EC) sources.

The real poll percentage is again going to change when Returning Officers present their diaries before the EC just before counting starts. There could be a marginal plus or minus difference in the final tally on December 11

A cursory look at the ward-wise percentages shows that the traditional enthusiasm of participation in elections from villages and colonies also seems to be waning.

Meanwhile, ballot boxes have been kept in strong rooms of counting centres.

Ward-wise polling percentages are: Ward Number 1, 33 per cent, Ward Number 2, 32 per cent, Ward Number 3, 31 per cent, Ward Number 4, 34 per cent, Ward Number 5, 39 per cent, Ward Number 6, 26 per cent, Ward Number 7, 34 per cent, Ward Number 8, 28 per cent, Ward Number 9, 25 per cent, Ward Number 10, 39 per cent. Ward Number 11, 29 per cent, Ward Number 12, 28 per cent, Ward Number 13, 29 per cent, Ward Number 14, 33 per cent, Ward Number 15, 36 per cent, Ward Number 16, 30 per cent, Ward Number 17, 44 per cent, Ward Number 18, 57 per cent, Ward Number 19, 33 per cent and Ward Number 20, 47 per cent.

Amongst sectoral areas Ward Number 17, comprising Sectors 31, 47 and 48, polled the highest of 44 per cent.

Ward Number 8, comprising villages and colonies, was the lowest polled rural-urban constituency registering only 28 per cent polling.



Move to shift gallery hangs fire
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, December 9
The proposal to shift the National Gallery of Portraits from its present location to the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 for a better display of the portraits of freedom fighters seems to have been lost in the whirlpool of red-tapism.

Acting on an article titled “National Gallery of Portraits Cries for Attention” published in Chandigarh Tribune on March 14, the then DPI (Colleges), Ms Madhavi Kataria, had mooted a proposal to shift the contents of the Gallery from Sector 17 to the main museum for a better exposure.

Although nine months have passed since the proposal was sent to the Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, no action has been taken so far in this regard. “The first phase of the written proposal was okayed by the authority concerned and a committee was formed to execute the plan, but the implementation stage did never come,” said Ms Madhavi Kataria who as a Director of the Social Welfare Department had lost touch with the whole project.

Sources from the Department of Urban Planning said the department had forwarded two proposals to the museum authority. “The proposals were sent about three months ago but nothing have been heard about their executions so far,” they added.

The Director of the Government Museum, Mr V.N. Singh, denied his knowledge about any such proposal. He said the gallery did not come under the museum authority and hence moving the portraits into the museum was out of question.

The National Gallery of Portraits that houses over a 1,000 portraits of the freedom fighters who dedicated their lives from the time of the First War of Independence in 1857 to the actual achievement of freedom in the year 1947, is dying a slow death for the lack of visitors. The portraits along with brief write-ups and original drafts of letters by famous personalities are gathering dust as not too many people are aware of the existence of these things.

“The present building of the gallery which is a part of the Central State Library in sector 17 is a dingy lacklusture kind of place which does not have any appeal for tourists,” said Prof M.S. Waraich, an eminent historian and former professor of Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, who now practises in criminal law in the High Court. “Even if the Government Museum has no space for the entire contents, at least the martyr section of the gallery should be shifted,” he added.

“The gallery lacks the proper ambience and certainly deserves better treatment as it has the potential of becoming one of the major attraction for tourist and educationists”, said Ms Kataria. Sources said the gallery receives no more than an average of four to five visitors per week.

The gallery was inaugurated in the year 1977 by the then Union Minister, Jagjivan Ram at its present location in the basement of the Central State Library building. The Gallery that started with only about 125 portraits now has about a 1,000 portraits of freedom fighters, besides a number of ceramic murals and illuminated glass box tableaux.


Probe panel indicts Registrar
Leakage of nursing exam papers

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
An enquiry into the leakage of examination papers of the first year of general nursing and midwifery of the Punjab Nursing Council is learnt to have found that the leaked question papers were distributed at the examination centres by the Registrar of the Council.

The papers were conducted in September.

After the reports of the leakage, the Punjab Government had ordered an enquiry. Sources in the Punjab Health Systems Corporation said a Deputy Director who was enquiring, had submitted his report to the Director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation-cum-Chairman of the Punjab Nursing Council, Dr G.S. Preet. The Director was not available for comments.

The sources said after reports of the tearing of a bundle, containing the papers of fundamental nursing, physiology and anatomy and community health nursing, being taken to a centre in Ludhiana by a Class IV employee of the council, the office of the Registrar prepared fresh papers before sending them to all centres, located in Ludhiana, Patiala, New Delhi, Amritsar and Jammu and Kashmir.

However, on the examination day (September 27), the Registrar of the Nursing Council rang up the examination centres at CMC, Ludhiana, Mohandai Oswal Hospital, Ludhiana, Civil Hospital, Jalandhar, Rajinder Hospital, Jalandhar, and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar, and informed the persons concerned that there were reports of leakage of reprinted paper. The questions in the earlier leaked paper, which was earlier withdrawn, was again dictated on the phone and sent to the examination cetres at Ludhiana and Amritsar. At the Jalandhar centre, handwritten papers were distributed among the candidates, said the enquiry report.

The sources said the question papers which were damaged enroute to Ludhiana on September 20, were again sent to centres in Ludhiana, Patiala and Amritsar in three different formats but with the same set of seven questions. But the handwritten paper distributed at the Jalandhar centre contained different questions from the papers distributed at other centres. As per the rules, same question papers should have been distributed at all the centres in Punjab and outside. While the question paper sent to Delhi contained eight questions, the papers sent to other centres contained seven questions.

The same set of question papers sent to Ludhiana, Amritsar and Patiala differed in type size and spacing. While the paper sent to Amritsar carried over to the second page, the papers sent to Patiala and Ludhiana were on a single page.



VCs’ concern over govt funding
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
If “Technology enabled flexible education and development’’ was the theme of the 76th meeting of the Association of Indian Universities and Vice-Chancellors’ Conference that concluded at Panjab University here on Saturday, improving housekeeping of universities was the main concern.

Panjab University had last hosted the conference in 1959. And, understandably, it was a matter of pride for it and the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K N Pathak, to do so again. It provided a platform for academicians and administrators of the universities and key apex organisations to exchange ideas and draw a blueprint for sustainable higher education, teaching and research.

From the deliberations it transpired the Vice-Chancellors, particularly of state universities, were apprehensive of the future funding from their respective governments.

They were equally aware of the declining standards of teaching and quality of research that cast a dark shadow over the credibility of the universities with governments treating them nothing more than outgrown colleges in dire need of resuscitation.

The Vice-Chancellors also shared their concern on how unionism and extraneous factors (political and bureaucratic interference to name just two) were eroding universities’ discipline and how autonomy without accountability was corroding their credibility.

If the Vice-Chancellors were worried about the poor state of humanities group and social sciences, they were conscious of the students’ aspirations to join vocational and professional courses.

Therefore when the participants interacted with the heads of key organisations like the University Grants Commission, departments of science and technology, bio-technology teachers education, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the All-India Council of Technical Education etc., they were assured of support for the projects submitted for approval to attain “excellence” in these disciplines. But there was, seemingly, no commitment to prop up teaching at the graduate level.

The Vice-Chancellors appeared equally hapless when it came to striking roots to promote and strengthen school education. The edifice of higher education sans a strong foundation at the school level, primary and secondary, was like building castles in the air.

The conference, perhaps, did not know how to provide forward and backward linkages on this aspect. Even the Punjab Governor, Lt.Gen. J.F.R Jacob (retd.) had stressed on paying attention to the grassroots (school) in his inaugural address.

The vice-chancellors favoured “adoption”, the Western education models and modules to improve socio-economic situation of the down-trodden the way advanced societies did for their disadvantaged societies. But for that to happen, the answer was in “adaptation” with changes to suit Indian conditions.

More than anything, the conference enabled the Vice-Chancellors to share their concerns and also get a feedback on how institutions of higher learning were performing across the country.

They discussed and debated on the “expansion” of education through “distant education” modules, dove-tailing of conventional education with new generation multi-media approach and “open” universities concept. Each system had its own merits, demerits and limitations.

The need was to evolve a system of education, across the board from primary level to Ph.D selection, that would equip students with requisite skills to enhance their “confidence” and “empower” them to use the acquired knowledge for building a sound society and nation besides earning a living.

One major concern of the Vice-Chancellors was the absence of any reliable data on manpower requirements of the country in future in relation to education. A strong voice was raised that India must prepare a manpower requirement map in each discipline.

It should also be area or region specific for equitable growth and development of the youth belonging to different strata of the society. Providing equal opportunity and affordability for “education to all” was another hallmark of the conference.

The conference also discussed the system of assessment and accreditation introduced by the University Grants Commission and discussed ways and means to reorient the universities’ administration and academic systems. The concept of self-assessment through “audit” was also discussed. It was decided to even short-list “respectable” journals. For future promotion or admission to Ph.D courses and research, publication of papers in “referred” journals alone would merit attention.

Some of the participants felt peeved that there was no policy for the selection and appointment of Vice-Chancellors. There had also to be a continuity of education policies that must not be tinkered with the change of political or bureaucratic guard.

The conference recommendations will be processed by the University Grants Commission and circulated to the universities as a guideline for implementation. But there are spheres which Vice-Chancellors can conquer at their own initiative.

One last word on the ostrich-like attitude of the bureaucrats of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Administration. None of them dealing with higher education thought it necessary to visit the conference venue and interact with the Vice-Chancellors. Even the ministers concerned with universities’ affairs were conspicuous by their absence.




CHANDIGARH Municipal Corporation elections had a bearing on the ongoing wedding season. The District Magistrate banned sale of liquor and also serving of liquor on three days last week starting December 6. This acted as a damp squib on the festivities as the ban was for all clubs, hotels, restaurants and establishments.

The last day of the ban was a Saturday and several functions were to be held that day. This included weekly functions at several of the clubs. Thankfully, the Chandigarh Administration relented and the ban was imposed till 4 pm on Saturday thus paving the way for issuance of permits for liquor to be served in marriages and functions. In Chandigarh no one seems happy to be caught on the wrong side of law. So the Administration came up with the idea that the ban will be enforced till the time the polling is over.

The Administration issued this amendment late on December 5 and till then several top hotels had told customers that “there will be no liquor without a permit.” Several of clients got to hear about the requirement of a permit only now. Usually the hotel itself manages the permits.

In the end several party organisers applied for permits with the District Magistrate who is also the Excise and Taxation Commissioner keeping in view the changed timings.

Test of popularity

The Test match between England and India generated much frenzy. In the news in local newspapers were visits by living legend Sunil Gavaskar to a scooter showroom where he handed over keys to a lucky customer. Here the original little master advised the audience to drive straight and carefully just like an opening batsman would.

The interest he generated was great as visits by the Indian team to these parts of the country were very few and television coverage was almost non-existent. Sunny played in a Test match in Jalandhar against Pakistan in the early eighties and in a one dayer versus David Gower’s team in 1984. The game was a washout and only a 20-over game was held. So fans never had enough of Sunny. Sachin and Dravid visited Sector 17. Both endorse separate brands of shoes. The little master was mobbed and so was Dravid, who says he loves Chandigarh as the city reminds him of his hometown of Bangalore. As Sachin left the showroom a huge crowd followed him and behind the crowd was the coach John Wright walking slowly.

A day later Saurav was supposed to have a pizza at a major pizza chain. The only difference in the visits was that those admiring Sunny were in their 30s, 40s or 50s or even older. These are the people who have grown up listening and reading about his exploits. And wherever he went for a public appearance he was referred to as “Gavaskar saheb” out of sheer reverence for the man. Probably more visits by the living legend will satisfy desires of fans.

Largely youngsters and female fans admire the present stars and address them by their first names.

Such was the interest in local newspapers that even visitors and fans from England — also known as the barmy army — were photographed and written about.

Happy moments

The concluding function of disability week celebrations held at Tagore Theatre on December 3 brought some happy moments for the disabled children of the city. Many institutions working for the welfare of the disabled were rewarded for their services. Also, individual awards to a host of challenged children were given away.

So excited were the kids that they went about all over the Tagore Theatre campus showing the awarded trophies to the visitors. They also formed a beeline, waiting to be photographed by press photographers. It was good to see that the lensmen were not only patient with the disabled kids, they were also helping them strike the best possible poses for the pictures. The idea was to make them feel a part of the mainstream.

Earlier, during the cultural function presented by the disabled children, the audience in the hall remained extremely supportive. People clapped and encouraged the kids as much as they could. Not to miss mentioning the fact that Director Social Welfare, Ms Madhavai Kataria, often went backstage to help the kids around with dressing up. The Adviser to UT Administrator made it a point to get herself photographed with each prize-winning kid.

No wonder the kids were beaming with energy and hope. Most of them are already looking forward to next year’s disability week celebrations.

Akademi sans office

The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi officials had a very difficult time arranging for the All-India art exhibition at the Government Art College, Sector 10, this time. The show, held in collaboration with the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, came through but only after a lot of confusion over all related aspects.

The major problem was that of storing the works of art and finally transporting them to the venue. Ironically, the Akademi does not have an office of its own. It also has no land allotted by UT Administration where the officials can construct a store of their own. Currently the entire proceedings of the Akademi is being carried out from the house of secretary, Mr Viren Tanwar. Another problem was that of sending out invitations. Since the Akademi has no office, no typewriters, no photostat machines, all the invitations had to be written in hand and posted.

For the sake of cricket!

Thanks to the cricket match between India and England, the attendance in many schools of the city dipped considerably. Not only the government schools, but also many of the private schools recorded very meagre attendance. The trend was especially noticeable among the boys of the senior section, who chose to remain at the PCA stadium boosting the morale of their team than sitting in their classrooms taking mathematics lessons.

The mass bunk by students did bother the school authorities a little, but they, in turn, chose to remain patient for the sake of cricket!

Vat 69

Who says bureaucrats can’t be humorous? UT Deputy Commissioner M. Ramsekhar gave a good example of ready wit during a seminar to understand Value Added Tax (VAT) which is to be imposed in the country from April next year.

The DC , who was at the seminar in his capacity as Excise and Taxation Commissioner of Chandigarh, said all of us in this seminar are fearing VAT on the same wave length as one would fear a hangover caused by VAT 69, the famous scotch. ‘‘ I am teetotaller but this VAT has to be tasted and tried as it is in the best interests of the business community,’’ he went on to add.

Fighter jets

A request by the Punjab Cricket Association to the Ministry of Defence to reduce the number of flights by fighter jets while the Test match between India and England was on had little impact. Pilots of the Indian Air Force had to practice on their machines in full throttle, never mind if Kumble and Harbhajan were tormenting the Brits in the cricket field below .

For the uninitiated the stadium at SAS Nagar falls below the funnel of the Chandigarh airbase, one of the biggest operational airbases of the MOD. So whenever a jet takes off the roar is much higher in decibles than the roar of spectators in the stands.

Probably the Brits will find a reason as to why they lost so badly. They can blame it on the jets or on the big transport aircraft which fly just a hundred metres above the stadium in their takeoff or landing mode.

— Sentinel


2 boys fall in Sukhna choe, die
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 9
Rakesh and Ravi Kumar, residents of Madrasi Colony in Bapu Dham area, kept on struggling for their lives in a water-filled ditch near Madrasi Colony, Phase III, in the Sukhna Choe bed yesterday evening.

The two cousins later died. One of them died on way to the General Hospital, Sector 16, while the other breathed his last in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

Alleged illegal quarrying in the choe bed has resulted in a number of ditches, which get filled up with water and pose a threat to human lives.

However, when contacted, Mr Ishwar Singh, Deputy Conservator of Forests, denied any illegal quarrying activities in the choe bed. Regarding this particular incident, he said, “I am not aware of the exact location of the incident, so I am not in position to comment about the incident.”

According to information available, six-and-half-year-old Rakesh and seven-and-half-year-old Ravi Kumar, had gone towards the choe to relieve themselves. One of the two, reportedly fell “head down” into the ditch while trying to take out water. And the other jumped into the ditch in an effort to rescue his cousin.

Some persons heard their cries and reached the spot. They rushed the two kids to hospital. Ravi was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he died, while Rakesh died on his way to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

Mr Surjit Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said the death was natural and no case has been registered. Meanwhile, parents of the deceased boys had collected the bodies of their wards.

Hailing from Muradabad district in Uttar Pradesh, Ravi’s father, Mr Lakshman, and Rakesh’s father, Mr Giridhari, are daily wagers at Grain Market, Sector 26. The parents ruled out any possibility of foul play and did not lodge any police complaint.


PUDA team prevented from doing survey
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 9
For the second day today, members of the Phase 3 B 1 rehri market prevented a team of the engineering wing of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) from undertaking a survey of the number of kiosks there.

The survey was being done prior to the allotment of pucca booths under a rehabilitation scheme for the rehri market. At least, 380 booths are to be constructed at the site. The work on around 139 booths has already begun.

Today when the team led by two SDOs and two JEs reached the market, pardhans of the market asked it to include kiosks at the front of the market. After some arguments when the team started its work, the pardhans again insisted that two or more kioks within a shop be considered as one. The survey team left the site after the shopkeepers refused to cooperate. Yesterday the survey team had to return when the market was closed within a short time of the officials reaching there.

It is learnt that the kiosk owners wanted some time to “settle the things in market” before the PUDA teams reached the market. Enquires reveal that a well-organised nexus between officials of the local civic body and those patronising the mushrooming of kiosks in the rehri markets was active.

The pardhans or those owning the kiosks fragment their temporary structures in two or three parts on the basis of tehbazari receipts.


Geared up to take fashion world in stride

GEOMETRIC lines and unusual patterns are what fascinates the most this petite lady from Panchkula who is all geared up to take the world of casual wear in her stride. She is Saru Narula , a first year fashion designing student from a fashion institute in Chandigarh.

Designers of casual wears have a good scope in today’s market as these clothes are affordable and popular with youngsters, says Saru. And, of course, to survive the cut-throat competition, Saru has her artistic nature to bank upon.

Though designers in this city are dime a dozen, only the best can survive here, she says. And by ‘best’ Saru means designers with creative uniqueness that stands out. “Though one can see a lot of youngsters enrolling themselves for courses in fashion designing just because it happens to be an ‘in thing’, most of them do not even survive the initial year of their courses,” says Saru.

After completing her course, she would like to open a boutique. “Though I have my parents’ support and a financial background to fulfil my dreams, I am prepared to face any adverse situation and establish myself as one of the best in this field,” says the Cancerian lady with a note of determination.


“Beautiful smile” contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Haryana branch of the Indian Dental Association (IDA) organised a “beautiful smile” contest at Himachal Bhavan in Sector 28 here today.

A poster-making contest on the theme “dental awareness” and a dental quiz were also held. Dr Kanwaljeet Saini, honorary secretary of the Haryana branch of the IDA, said the contest marked the culmination of the National Oral Health programme launched by the IDA.

Students from different schools of Haryana were examined for dental health. A teachers’ training programme was also conducted by experts from various local branches of the IDA. The winners will participate in the national level “beautiful smile” contest to be held at Manglore on December 16.

The judges for the contest were Dr Manju Dutta, Director Health, Dr Simmi Gupta, Mr Swadesh Talwar, Dr Ashok Soni and Dr Suparna Jain.

The winners of the contest are: Age group 6 to 10 : Bhavya Sharma 1, Chetna Bakshi 2 and Anjali 3; Age group 11-15 years: Ayushi Tomar 1, Priyanka Gupta 2 and Shipra 3.


Man succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 9
Scooterist Gurwinder Singh, a resident of Kharar, who was hit by a truck near Palsora colony last evening, died at the PGI. The accident had taken place at around 5.45 pm and the truck driver fled from the spot.

The police does not have the registration number of the truck. However, a case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

In another accident, motor cycle- borne Vipin Sharma, a resident of Sector 27, was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, after being hit by a scooter near Sectors 37-40 turn, on Saturday. The scooter driver left the vehicle at the spot and fled away.

The scooter has been impounded and a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Theft case: Burglars struck at two adjoining shops along the Madhya Marg in Sector 7 on Friday night. Mr Ashok Vyas complained to the police that Rs 3 lakh was stolen from SCO No 22.

Mr Charnajit Singh complained to the police that a colour television and Rs 4,000 in cash were stolen from SCO No 21. Two cases under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC have been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Mr Ajay Dua, a resident of New Delhi, reported that his Maruti car was stolen from Sector 22 here on Friday. Mr S.D. Deadhar, a resident of Sector 42, also reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-Q-5205) was stolen from the PGI parking on Saturday. Two cases of theft have been registered.


Freak mishap holds up traffic
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 9
A freak accident at the Mubarikpur level crossing near here this evening held up rail and road traffic for over two hours.

According to eyewitnesses, a Chandigarh-bound truck rammed into the railway barrier and broke the pole which struck the power lines leading to short-circling.

The accident delayed the Chandigarh-Ambala rail traffic for over two hours.

According to Mr Gurinder Singh, Inspector Railway police, the truck (HR-03-6641) rammed into the barrier that was closed for the train which was to arrive at about 6.20 p.m.

The truck driver, however, escaped often the accident. Efforts by the police to catch him failed.

Traffic on the busy highway came to a standstill for over two and a half hours as railway employees took almost two hours to repair the barrier and electricity cables.

To ease the high volume of traffic on the Highway, vehicles heading towards Ambala and Delhi were diverted from the Zirakpur traffic lightpoint towards the Rajpura road to rejoin the highway near Ambala. Vehicles going to Chandigarh and Himachal were diverted from Dera Bassi to the Issanpur Link road to rejoin the highway at Bhankharpur village.

Shimla-bound traffic was diverted from Mubarikpur towards the Ramgarh-Panchkula road to rejoin the Ambala-Shimla highway at Old Panchkula.

The Railway authorities claimed that a case under Section 279, 427 of the Indian penal Code was registered against the truck driver.

Traffic was restored at about 8.50 p.m.

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