Sunday, December 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


And now bone scam at Chhat Bir
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, December 29
After the beef controversy, the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park is embroiled in yet another scam, this time involving the sale of bones and carcasses.

The zoo authorities have reportedly given contract to a private contractor for lifting of bones for Rs 28,000 per annum, which is over three times less than the money yielded by earlier contracts.

Zoo authorities have denied the allegations saying that the contract has been given to a private party to maintain cleanliness and avoid unhygienic atmosphere adjacent to the Lion Safari.

“The bones were earlier used to be dumped adjacent to the Lion Safari that had created filth and stench all around. To avoid any possibility of spreading of disease in the Lion Safari, it was decided that the bones should be lifted on monthly basis”, said Mr R.K. Luna, Director Zoo.

“The up-keep and medicare of big cats has been given priority even though the management suffers some losses in awarding the contract of bone lifting on lessor price”, revealed Mr Luna.

Picture appeared clear as the previous records of bone tenders show that the zoo had fetched a sum of Rs 80,000 by auctioning bones in May 29, 1996, for the bulk accumulated in previous six months. The contract was awarded to Mr Garib Dass. Then after six months, the contract was awarded to Mr Maddi for Rs 32,000.

Similarly, the contracts for lifting bones was awarded to Mr Maddi for Rs 41,000 in July 2, 1997, and then again to Mr Garib Das for Rs 42,000 in March 28, 1998. furthermore, the bones were lifted for Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 on an average basis after a gap of six months.

Sources said earlier the zoo authorities used to purchase 7 to 8 quintal of beef daily, while 1.5 to 2 quintal of bones were extracted. But nowadays the authorities were purchasing 9.15 quintal of beef every day despite the money being collected after selling the bones was much less than the pervious years.

When contacted, Mr Garib Dass, the contractor who has been allocated the job, said he lifted the bulk in October for Rs 9,000 and was awarded contract to lift bones for Rs 2,400 on monthly basis.

“Till date I have suffered a loss of over Rs 1 lakh in the deal as the bone is in less demand in open market. I am selling bones at a rate of Rs 2 per kg in Karnal, Neelokheri and Phillour. There is no demand for bones in foreign market these days,” said Mr Dass. Veterinary experts are of the opinion that health of carnivores in the zoo may be adversely affected if they were not given beef containing bones.


New attractions for zoo visitors
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, December 29
Efforts are being made to have more species of zoo animals, besides maintaining cleanliness and develop green cover, in the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park in Chhat village near here.

This was stated by Mr R. K. Luna, director of the zoo, while addressing mediapersons on zoo premises here today.

Mr Luna said a pair of blue golden macaws had been brought from Delhi zoo and a male zebra from Kanpur zoo under the animal exchange programme. Exotic birds like emu and golden pheasants had also been procured.

He said some animals and birds in the zoo had become surplus. Among the surplus species the most common were lions, tigers, black bucks, Himalayan black beer, panthers, Assamese macaque, bonnet macaque, barking deer, sambhar, pigeons, Indian geese, parakeets and painted storks.

The worst problem being faced by the zoo authorities was the alarming rise in lion population. To overcome this problem, nine animals had been vasectomised.

The zoo authorities imposed a hike in entry tickets and also announced lucky prizes on sold entry tickets. A restaurant was reopened after a gap of over 10 years, he added.

Mr Luna, listed plans to construct and complete enclosures for animals, birds and the reptiles. Efforts were also being made to procure mates for unpaired animals from various other zoos.

New houses for lions and expansion of lion safari, besides setting up a modern operation theatre in the zoo hospital, were also on the cards.

Two veterinary doctors would be appointed and introduction of a mobile van for staff and puppet show were under consideration.


PU Senate defers major issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Academic issues concerning students largely remained on the back-burner at the Panjab University Senate meeting here today.

Teacher benefits, appointments, promotions and many other issues related to service matters ruled the roost for a majority of the nearly 10-hour session. The session started with question and zero hour and Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, reminding the house about the decision of the last Senate to keep it brief to an hour. However, the session spread to nearly three hours no major issue on the agenda being taken up for discussion before lunch.

In a major decision, the Senate decided to take up the case regarding a controversy over the candidature of Dr Ajaib Singh as member of the Senate to the Supreme Court. He was recently declared elected after counting of votes was allowed by the high court. Mr Satya Pal Jain raised the issue saying that rules of the university were being put to question which was not dignified for the prestige of the university. The issue was supported by Prof Charanjit Chawla and Dr Keshav Malhotra, among others. Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath differed on the issue saying that Dr Ajaib Singh was a member of the Senate from the same discipline.

Importantly, the case regarding the allegation of financial misappropriation of university funds against Mr M.G.Sharma, a former Finance and Development Officer, was deferred. It was pointed out that the final findings of the P.H.Vaishnav report were contrary to findings of two earlier committees. Mr Ashok Goyal said all related papers should have been attached to the report for perusal by the members.

The case pertaining to the “huge expenditure” on telephone bills by Prof M.M. Puri, a former Vice-Chancellor, was also deferred.

Earlier, during the day a case regarding the suspension of a teacher from the College of Education at Ferozepore came up for detailed discussion. Dr Dinesh Talwar said the college management was not showing a sincere resolve to solve the issue. The university Senate decided that efforts will be made to bring the warring factions again to the table for discussion.

The Senate faced a pandemonium-like situation on a couple of occasions with loud voices and heated arguments rocking the House.

Mr Mukesh Arora said despite progress on certain aspects of declaration of results, there still existed many a lacuna. Private candidates faced several problems in getting their result cards on time. In case of a college in Mukerian, the registration numbers of the entire batch were printed wrongly.

Principal Satinder Dhillon said several colleges did not adhere to the recommendations of inspection committees and the faults pointed out by the inspection committees existed for years. Members pointed out problems that candidates from out-stations faced while coming to the university for their routine work.

It was pointed out that the law course at Regional Centre, Muktsar, had not yet been recognised by the Bar Council. Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, president of the Bar Council, said the issue would be resolved by January. Principal H.R. Gandhar said Punjab should take up responsibility of the centre in a bigger way otherwise it would face problems on several accounts.

Dr R.P.S. Josh pointed out that fee concession in NRI seats for university employees should also be given to the wards of the college staff. It was decided that the proposal be first accepted for the university staff wards and expanded to colleges later.

Dr Malhotra raised issues regarding feeder scale, past service and next phase of Career Advancement Scheme (CAS). In one case the university allowed 22 promotions under CAS. However, Prof P.P. Arya pointed out that the number of rejected candidates(16) was very large and there were genuinely deserving candidates who had been left out.

The university Senate decided setting up of an Institute of Technology. Prof Pathak said the issue was accepted in principle and the details would be worked out later. Mr Satya Pal Dang said merit should not be compromised in the name of money collection. Dr M.R. Aggarwal appreciated the setting up of the self-financing centre which was important in the light of the financial crunch that the university faced.

Prof Chawla said the ‘blacklist’ of teachers found to be indulging in unfair practices was not sufficient if it was to be kept in the office only. He said dissatisfaction should be conveyed to the concerned teachers in writing. The senate accepted the note of Justice D.V. Sehgal asking the university to discontinue the practice of change in the date of birth.

Dr Satya Pal Gautam proposed that the government should not interfere too much in the financial administration of the university. The university rejected the proposal to charge 20 per cent of the fee charged by colleges for self financing courses. Principal A.C. Vaid said the colleges were already paying the university for the services received from the university. The issue will be taken up later in a ‘different form’.

Prof Pathak said the university was passing through a severe financial crunch. The university is trying to build up the credibility of the examination system, he said, adding that the university planned to bring improvements in the answersheets to avoid tampering.


Rescue shelters being identified
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 29
In view of the rising tensions between India and Pakistan, the civil defence machinery in the town is being put to place. The local administration has already begun the exercise of identifying rescue shelters in the town’s government buildings.

The Deputy Controller of Civil Defence-cum-SDM, Mr Jaipal Singh, said so far the basement of the Punjab School Education Board complex in Phase 8 had been identified as it was a central place of the town. “ We are looking for more such shelters”.

A meeting of officials linked with the civil defence machinery was being called to work out the details as per the blue print prepared by the State Civil Defence Department. The town was recently notified as a civil defence town by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It has been divided in to 25 warden posts.

Mr Jaipal Singh said the town, along with four other towns of Punjab, had been included in the list of civil defence towns.

Describing the town as strategically important due to its proximity to the Air Force base on its south-east and other defence installations, an official of the Civil Defence Department said the place was an important industrial hub with some units catering to the needs of the defence forces.

He said the training of wardens would be taken up at different places in the town. As per the norms, for a population of 25,000 a team of rescue workers is to be provided by the Home Guards.


There is no short cut to fame’
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, December 29
Pankaj Beri is in town with a message — that acting is just not a short cut to fame, but a tough job. And this well-known Bollywood actor, who has been an integral part of the glamour industry, is going to do so by asking a questions to a bunch or aspiring beauty queens all set to dazzle the silver screen.

“Taking part in beauty contests certainly gives a boost to one’s confidence, but one should go through a deep analysis before taking the plunge into stardom,” says Pankaj who came to judge the “Face of the Year” event organised in the city.

This Ambala-born lad, rose to prominence after the teleserial “Gul Gulshan Gulfam” which was telecast on Doordarshan in 1991. After that there was no looking back for him. If in one film he is a corrupt policeman, in another he is a misguided youth.

“I am a versatile actor and now even the industry has recognised my versatility,” he says. His role as Kitu Gidwani’s father in “Junoon” proves this. “I would like to keep experimenting with different roles”, he says. Pankaj was spotted by Sagar Sarhadi in a talent hunt by Sagar Sarhadi who signed him for two Punjabi productions which unfortunately never saw the daylight.

But the sparks of ambition ignited by Sarhadi did not die with the unreleased films. Pankaj migrated to Mumbai in search of work and started working for serials like “Tamas” and “Kabir”.

“My first memorable project was ‘Discovery of India’ with Shyam Benegal,” says Pankaj. Though “Gul Gulshan...” got him wider recognition, the actor had by then already worked in one of Sudhir Mishra’s film that bagged the National Award for the Best Feature film on social issue.

Working for such serious projects has definitely left an impact on Pankaj’s way of thinking. The actor is going to come up with a few scripts for feature films and teleserials on relevant social issues like prostitution and divorce. Not only that, Pankaj wants to open up an institute promote the Haryanvi culture.

“The folk culture of Haryana is as rich as that of Punjab, but look at the position the Punjabi culture has attained over the years while the Haryanvi culture is on the verge of extinction,” he says. “It is time the government took some steps to promote artistes of this region by giving them incentives”.


Resident threatens to ‘cremate’ Mercedes
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Fed up with the continuous malfunctioning of his new Rs 30-lakh Mercedes Benz car, city resident, Raman Mehta has threatened to ‘cremate’ the same.

Mr Mehta, who bought the car (C- class) in June this year from an authorised dealer in New Delhi, has sent a legal notice to the company.

Apparently taking the cue from the action of a Chinese Mercedes car owner, who publicly destroyed his Benz to express his anger over the faulty vehicle, Mr Mehta says: “I am exasperiated with the poor services and ever since I bought this car, it has been in the service garage most of the time. Since the company has been giving one excuse or the other to cover up its failure to set the matter right, I will set the car on fire to express my protest”.

The company, which in a written communication to him has said the fault had occurred due to bad quality of diesel being used in the car, has assured action on his complaint . Mr Mehta, however, argues that the Mercedes has sold 800 vehicles in the country. All using the same type of fuel. It is therefore, inconceivable that only his car should malfunction because of the “bad fuel”.

Mr Mehta says he had met Mr M. Ziegler, Managing Director and CEO of Mercedes Benz India in New Delhi and brought the problem to his notice, but to no effect.

Mr Mehta, in the legal notice dated December 7, 2001, has complained of a rattling noise from one of the doors and a fault in the air- conditioning of the car. In August, he says the car engine stopped running, following which he took the car to the dealer here who then delivered him the car back.

“Again in November, the engine stopped working and since then my Mercedes, on which I have spent a sum of over Rs 27 lakh is with the local dealer, says Mr Mehta, throwing his hands in the air. Alleging that the car has a manufacturing defect, Mr Mehta demands that it be replaced.


Sleuths to mingle with crowds
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Young revelers do not even think of putting your arms around the shoulder of a reed-thin damsel twirling around the polished dance floors in discotheques on the New Year Eve celebrations. If you pick up a fight or are caught acting fresh, the Chandigarh Police will take no time to round you up.

For combating hooliganism inside and outside discotheques, the police here plans to post men in plain clothes. Highly placed sources in the Police Department disclose that the sleuths will mingle with the partying crowd, gather information from “irritated guys around” and catch the hooligans before they indulge in mischief.

A senior police officer, confirming the presence of cops in plain clothes outside the discotheques, restaurants and other venues, says: “Officers from the intelligence wing of the police, besides CID officials, will keep a regular vigil. They will be assisted by a regular police force.”

Another senior police officer says the cops will rush to the aid of security guards in case of an argument or a quarrel. They will even help the guards in frisking the visitors, besides looking for unclaimed vehicles in the parking lots.

The decision to post cops around the discotheques is significant as, according to sources, incidents of violence at venues have been reported to the police in the recent past also.

A senior police officer reveals a few years ago, a youngster had even pulled out a pistol after seeing the “girl of his desire” cutting footloose with another guy.

Claiming arguments with the baton-yielding security guards to be “common”, the officer says several cases of drunken brawls in the parking lots in front of the discotheques have also “come to their notice”.


Police eats its words
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 29
The city police does not seem to be sure that the person it has caught is really needed in connection with criminal cases or not. In a surprise move, the city police today retracted from its statement made before a local court eight days back that there were no more cases pending against the accused.

The city police had booked the accused, Navdeep Singh in eight cases in different police stations. Now the police was seeking his arrest in four new cases in different police stations. Sources revealed that the city police had given a statement in the court on December 21 that a wireless message had been flashed to all police stations that the accused was being produced in court and if he was wanted in any case, the same be intimated, but none had replied.

The city police arrested Navdeep Singh along with Yuv Raj in a case of theft on December 12. Thereafter, the city police revealed that there were eight different cases pending against the accused.

On December 19, the accused moved an application before the court under Section 50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for issuance of direction to the state to disclose particulars of all pending criminal cases against him in different police stations.

After court directions, the city police gave a statement before the court that there were no more cases pending against the accused. On December 21, the Magistrate said in its order, “The reply filed by the police shows that no other case is pending against the accused in any other police station. Therefore, the application filed by the accused has become infructuous and is dismissed accordingly”.

Legal luminaries were of the view that it was the duty of the police to disclose the particulars of pending case or cases in which the accused had not yet been arrested to the magistrate so that the accused could come to know that he was likely to be arrested at any time in those pending cases. Such particulars should be described in forwarding report by which accused was produced before the Magistrate, or to disclose such particulars at any time to the Magistrate before the accused was released on bail.