Friday, February 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Deadline for illegal guest houses ends
Violators to face action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Guest houses operating illegally from residential areas now face resumption of their property if they continue operations beyond midnight. The crackdown starts tomorrow. The extended deadline to close shop ends tonight.

In the past three weeks, the Chandigarh Administration had conducted a survey of guest houses which have been operating here. Armed with the list of such places, action will start under the prevaling provisions of the building bylaws.

This is in line with a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seal all guest houses functioning from residential areas within the next two weeks.

The deadline of the High Court expires on January 20 by when the court has asked the Administration to close down all such guest houses. The Administration has asked about 140 guest houses being run from residential areas to close shop or face the consequences, which in this case means the premises will be sealed. Once a building is sealed it cannot be put to any use and the owner loses even the right to stay within it. The guest house-owners sought some more time and the deadline was extended up to January 31.

About 140 guest houses are being run from residential areas in sectors 21, 22, 8, and 18.

The matter went to high court as residents in the area had been protesting for long, alleging that the guest houses have become dens of vice and anti-social elements visit the area.

The Administration has been told that action can also be taken under the Pollution Act under which power and water connections can be disconnected as residential areas cannot be put to commercial use without clearance from the Pollution Department. Now, said a senior official, we have no option but to close down the guest houses.

Demands of the Guest House Social and Welfare Association that an average tourist could not afford accommodation in four, three, even two star hotels, was turned down by the Administration, saying various bhavans can let out rooms.

Actually senior officials in their meetings were apprised of the fact that some of the bhavans run by social organisations are already letting out rooms.

It remains to be seen how much the Administration can do to make a change on the ground. In the past guest house owners just removed their signboards and got away.


Syal says he’ll return 980 cr to investors soon as govts pay him for declaring surplus land
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 31
The Chairman and Managing Director of Golden Forest, R.K. Syal, said his company owed Rs 980.14 crore to 24,65,231 investors, besides a Rs 22,500 lakh interest on this investment calculated at a rate of 8 per cent per annum. Mr Syal gave these details to a consumer court here today and said he had already given these detail to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

After his appearance in the consumer court, Mr Syal said he was to get Rs 360 crore from the Punjab Government for declaring his 3,000 acres as surplus under the Punjab Land Reform Act of 1972. He also said he would get Rs 75 crore compensation from the Uttaranchal Government for declaring 750 acres as surplus.

Syal has also agreed to pay the principal amount plus the 8 per cent interest to investors. He gave this statement to the President of the Consumer Forum-II here today. There are 279 cases against the company and the next hearing will be on April 2.

In spite of the statement of Syal, a number of investors of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh, said they had approached the court in the hope of a quick justice, but that seemed to be a distant dream now, with the increasing number of petitions against the company that were pending in the High Court. They will get their dues only after the decision of the High Court.

Salma, a 45-year-old city resident, said the company had failed to return Rs 31,250 deposited by her son, Mr Shekander Ali, which had made life even more difficult for her, as her husband had died in 1978.

Another investor, Mr Vinod Kumar, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, said, at every hearing, he had to spend more than Rs 1,000 on travelling and other expenses and there were about 40 more such investors from his place. The cheques issued by the company had been dishonoured.

Another investor, who belonged to Uttar Pradesh, said his wife had deposited Rs 40,000 in one of the schemes of the company, but, on maturity, the bank had dishonoured the cheque issued by the company.


Serla Grewal cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The body of Mrs Serla Grewal, President of the Tribune Trust, who died here on January 29 , was cremated today.

The pyre was lit by her sons, Sanjay and Sandip. Her husband, Mr S.S. Grewal, stood prayerfully.

Her cremation was attended by a large number of distinguished persons, employees of the Tribune group of publications and senior officers of the Punjab and Haryana governments and the Chandigarh Administration.

Wreaths were placed on the body by the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh, Mr M. Ramshekhar, on behalf of the Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who is also the Administrator of Chandigarh, and by a senior officer on behalf of the Haryana Government.

On behalf of the Tribune Trust wreaths were placed by Mr R.S.Talwar and Dr R.P. Bambah, Trustees. Wreaths were also placed on behalf of Mr Justice R.S. Pathak (another Trustee), and Mrs Shobha (Feri) Nehru, wife of a former Trust President, the late B.K. Nehru. Mr Kamaleshwar Sinha laid a wreath on behalf of The Tribune's Editor, Mr Hari Jaisingh. The Editors of Dainik Tribune and Punjabi Tribune, Mr Vijay Saighal and Mr Harbhajan Singh Halwarvi, respectively, also placed wreaths.

Mr S.D. Bhambri, former General Manager of the Tribune group of publications, Mr R.N. Gupta, General Manager, and Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager, paid their homage with wreaths. Mr Balbir Singh Jandu, President of the Tribune Employees Union, did so on behalf of the union.

The others who attended the funeral included Mr Justice S S Sandhawalia and Mr Justice S S Sodhi; the Mayor of Chandigarh, Mrs Lalit Joshi; Mr B S Ojha and Mr R S Verma, former Chief Secretaries of Haryana; and Mr A S Chatha and Mr R S Mann, former Chief Secretaries of Punjab.

The solemn ceremony ended with the offering of prayers and Ardas.

President’s tribute

The President of India, Mr K.R. Narayanan, has mourned the death of Mrs Serla Grewal, President of the Tribune Trust. In his condolence message, Mr Narayanan has said: “My wife and I are deeply grieved to learn of the sad demise of Mrs Serla Grewal. Her contribution in various fields such as Health, Family Planning, Social Welfare, etc, and the Indian Administrative Service in particular, starting from the office of Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, will always be remembered.

"I had known her when she was Secretary in the Union Government and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. She was a dynamic and multi-faceted personality...”Back


Serla Grewal's death condoled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A condolence meeting was held in Tribune Model School here today to mourn the death of Mrs Serla Grewal, Chairperson of The Tribune Trust, who died on Tuesday. The achievements of Mrs Grewal were highlighted. Teachers and students recited the 'Gayatri Mantra' for the peace of the departed soul.Back


Pocket’ phone becomes pocket-friendly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The notification of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to reduce the roaming airtime rates to Rs 3 and fix the monthly access ceiling at Rs 100 will not only made roaming facility affordable, but also increase penetration of the mobile service.

This has also disrupted the plans of Bharti, that is yet to launch its services in Punjab and Chandigarh, to capture the market with low rates of the roaming facility.

However, Mr I.B. Mehra, CEO of Airtel, said, “It is a welcome move that will bring all cellular operators on an equal platform.”

The notification, that has not been officially received yet by operators here, will be implemented only after a month. However, it not only includes the mention of a ceiling on the airtime for roaming facility and the monthly access charges, but also says that there be a limit on the maximum surcharge, which will now be 15 per cent.

Presently, users in the region are paying Rs 10 per minute for the roaming facility, along with the STD and the DoT charges, besides a 15 per cent surcharge. The monthly access rent is Rs 100 only.

This comes as another welcome news for customers of cellular services, following the launch of facilities like national roaming and the SMS from cellphone to landline in this region. Consumers are now hoping that incoming-call rates decline further.

Ruling out such a possibility, Mr Vinod Sawhney, MD of Spice Telecom, said, “This move will bring about a jump in the use of the roaming facility and cellular services, but, tariffs are not likely to come down soon.”

A section of market observers say that the decline in these rates will have a negative impact on limited mobility (CDMA based) services. Mr Sawhney says, “Limited mobility services have become even more irrelevant than earlier.”

“The market for limited mobility is not that of cellular-service users, so, we are not competing for that segment of users to whom roaming is a primary service,” says Mr Vijay Kaul, Chief Marketing Officer of Connect. He says that, out of all those who go in for mobile telephones — cellular and limited mobility — more than 50 per cent require local services only. “Limited mobility has the benefit of free incoming calls and outgoing calls at the fixed-telephone-call rates, which has added 14,000 customers within a few months of the launch of this service,” he said.


Results down, school’s just a playground
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 31
The poor results of various government middle and high schools here in the previous academic session notwithstanding, residents say that the condition of these schools continues to deteriorate.

A large number of these schools don’t have buildings or staff. Several of these do not have science or mathematics teachers, which explains why Class VIII batches of all schools in Morni and Raipur Rani blocks failed in the Haryana State Education Board examinations. As a result, there is no Class IX in these schools in this session.

The pass percentage of candidates of these schools in previous matriculation examination was about 40. Though the government had decided to ensure better results in the following sessions, this seems a distant possibility.

Residents of Morni, Pinjore and Raipur Rani blocks, who had assembled here to participate in a Village Development Committee training programme, said the government was opening new schools in these areas, but there was no emphasis on creating infrastructure for a proper functioning of these schools.

Ms Maya Devi, Sarpanch of Palasara Bhoj in the Morni block that has six villages, said there were two teachers each in the middle school and primary school there. “There are 250 students in these two schools, but, in the absence of teachers, they learn little. A few teachers who are there, come to school late and even bring their household chores to classroom. Most children consider school to be a place for uninterrupted play till it is time to leave for home,” she says.

The Sarpanch of Baldwala Gram Panchayat in the Morni block, Ms Sunita Rani, said, “Though there are three primary schools and a high school in this panchayat for about 350 students, there are only one to four teachers in each of these.

“The high school does not have a science teacher, so, student show poor results in tests of this subject. Also, the Block Education Officer has not visited the primary schools for as long as I can remember, so, teachers take classes at will,” she says. The Sarpanch of Bhud village of the Raipur Rani block, Mr Naseeb Singh, said none of the Class-VIII-batch students of the village could clear the board examination because of these reasons.

The story of four primary schools and a high school in the Bhuj Koti Darara Gram Panchayat of the Morni block and Barauna Kalan of the Raipur Rani block is no different. Mr Randhir Singh, a member of Barauna Kalan Village Development Committee, said, “The two-room school building is so old that it can come down any moment. We have requested the officials concerned several times for constructing a new building, but to no avail. Whenever the problem of skeletal staff in the school is taken up with them, they tell us to engage a private tutor to ensure better results.”

When contacted, the District Education Officer, Ms Phulwati Khatri, said the Education Department was indeed facing a shortage of staff, but the allegations of teachers not taking the classes were baseless. “The Commissioner Education and his flying squad have been conducting surprise checks, but have found no such irregularity,” she said.


DC told to be present in court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed Chandigarh’s Deputy Commissioner to be present in the court on February 4 for explaining why the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal had not been implemented in a promotion case.

The directions were issued on a petition filed by city resident Dhian Singh by a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar.

In his petition against the Union of India and other respondents, Mr Dhian Singh had earlier sought the quashing of a judgement delivered by the tribunal on September 27 last year.

Whereby the original application filed by Shamsher Singh was allowed and orders dated May 17, 1994, promoting him from the post of patwari to the post of naib sadar kanungo were held to be legal.

Counsel had added on the petitioner’s behalf that as a result of the orders, the petitioner, promoted in his place by a subsequent order dated July 7, 1995, was bound to be reverted. 


Patient’ death: doctor booked for negligence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Kurali police has filed a case against a doctor working in Kurali Civil Hospital on the charge of causing death due to negligence of Kulwant Kaur, a 28-year-old resident of Saini Majra Village, who died on her way to the PGI yesterday.

The doctor was reportedly conducting tubectomy upon Kulwant Kaur when she suddenly collapsed. According to the doctors assisting, all efforts were made to revive her and after some revival was done, the patient was immediately rushed to the PGI. Two doctors of the hospital accompanied her.

Kulwant Kaur, was declared brought dead at the PGI emergency and a medico-legal report prepared. The body of Kulwant Kaur was sent to the PGI mortuary. A post mortem was conducted at General Hospital, Sector 16, today, the official report of which is still to be made public.

Unconfirmed sources have stated that the autopsy report of Kulwant Kaur states that she died due to eruption of aorta leading to extensive bleeding, resulting in death.

Meanwhile, the CMO, Kurali Civil Hospital, has said that the said doctor is very competent and experienced and there has been no negligence on the part of the hospital. “He had already conducted five tubectomies yesterday and this was the sixth case. The patient died of a problem which happens during the operation. It is a rare complication but not unknown,” she said.

The relatives of Kulwant Kaur have, however, alleged that she died due to negligence on the part of the hospital. The Kurali police investigated the case at the PGI today. The doctors of the Kurali Civil Hospital also reportedly met the relatives of the deceased and assured them of all possible support from the government’s side.

Kulwant Kaur was accompanied by her husband Baljinder Singh and sister-in-law Ram Piyari when the incident happened. Kulwant Kaur reportedly belongs to a financially backward family and is survived by her husband and three children. The body of Kulwant Kaur has been handed over to her relatives. The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, was not available for comments.Back



‘Use NCC as springboard to join armed forces’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today said that the National Cadet Corps should act as a stepping-stone for students to get commissioned in the armed forces.

Speaking informally to the students after honoring the NCC cadets who had participated in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi at a function organised in Punjab Raj Bhavan, General Jacob said that the NCC was established to inculcate the qualities of character and national unity, besides providing them military training. The military training in NCC provided a base for the cadets to get commissioned as officers in the armed forces. He regretted that the basic aim for providing talent to the armed forces by the NCC was not being subscribed to fully.

Exhorting the NCC cadets to opt for glorious career in the armed forces, the Governor said that there cannot be any better career than defending the motherland.

Stressing the need for inculcating the spirit of adventure in the students, General Jacob said that students should be encouraged for adventurous sports and they should learn to take calculated risks.

Emphasising the need for making NCC training in schools and colleges mandatory, the Governor regretted that only 3 per cent students of Punjab were undergoing NCC training these days.

Earlier, at a function organised at the NCC group headquarters, the Deputy Director-General, Brig R.S. Kalha, felicitated the cadets from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh Directorate who had attended the Republic Day camp. The contingent from this directorate comprised 132 cadets, including 32 girls.

The commander of the Rajpath marching contingent, SOU, Munish Sharma, was awarded a baton and silver medal. Cadet Supreet Bajwa was given a cash prize of Rs 5,000 for winning three gold medals in the national shooting championship held last month.

The cadets of this directorate also excelled in equestrian events, with Madan Lal winning a gold in show jumping and Seema Madan bagging a silver in show jumping and a bronze in tent pegging in the veterans category. In the novice category, Sheely won a gold and bronze in show jumping and tent pegging, respectively.


Cables hamper SCO construction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A local resident who bid for a plot in an auction by paying several lakhs does not know where to go. Mr Vipin had bid for a shop-cum-office (SCO) site in Sector 46. The site is full of underground telephone cables.

His problems began when work was started to dig up the foundation and construct the basement as per building rules. Thick telephone cables of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited pass right under the site at a depth of no more than four feet. A pole carrying an overhead power line was also within the plot. This has now been removed and erected at a new place.

Re-routing of the BSNL cables requires a few days of labour and expenses running into lakhs of rupees. The question is who will do it, the BSNL, the Chandigarh Administration or the plot owner? The latter has approached the BSNL, but to no avail. Till then work has stopped. Sources said one of the BSNL cables is the main optic fibre cable (OFC) which links the newly commissioned Sector 46 exchange with the main exchange in Sector 34. It is through this cable that all call traffic originating or terminating in Sectors 46, 47, 48 and 49 is routed.


Oil Conservation Fortnight ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The 12th Oil Conservation Fortnight organised by various oil companies from January 15 concluded today.

The valedictory function was held at the Institution of Engineers which was presided over by Dr G. Vajralingam, Director, Food and Supplies, Punjab. He laid emphasis on conservation of oil. He explained the benefits of environment protection. He said Punjab was one of the largest consumers of petroleum products and steps taken by each user would go a long way in saving foreign exchange.

Mr G.C. Daga, state-level coordinator, Oil Industry, Punjab, also spoke about various activities which were conducted during the fortnight for vehicle users, industrial units and the household sector. To make the masses aware, talks had been given on Doordarshan and AIR and rallies were organised in major towns. He said the theme for this year’s fortnight was “conserve oil and gas for our future”.


Young Voice
Making small bits of effort

Professional obligations have never prevented Manoj Kohli from doing his bit in making society a little better. As a chartered accountant based in the city, he has always been working to provide aid to the needy villagers of Ropar, where his business is going on well.

In keeping with his aim of charity, Kohli is presently running two NGOs in Ropar. The first, called Urban and Village Education Research Institute, as the name suggests, caters to those who wish to make it big in life. It offers help to the village students who wish to pursue studies in some field or the other. The second trust called Medical Relief Institute is working for family planning and welfare, apart from offering medical help to villagers, as and when required.

Kohli has also been the recipient of the prestigious Commendable Performance Award of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of India for the year 1998. TNS


3 youths hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Three youths were injured when two groups of youngsters clashed outside a disco in Sector 34 tonight. One of them received head injuries and the other two were injured in the neck and head. The injured are Ajit Pal, Yogesh Salwan and Atul Malhotra.

The alleged assailants escaped in a blue-coloured Maruti Esteem before the injured group could react. The police has registered a case under Sections 147, 149, 149, 323, 324 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. Sources said sharpedged weapons were used in the attack and stones were also hurled. The groups first exchanged blows and fisticuffs. The injured were rushed to the GMCH-32.


Cyclist knocked down, killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A resident of Indira Colony, Panchkula, Baleshwar Rai, was killed after his cycle was knocked down by an unidentified vehicle near the Rose Garden chowk. He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital in a serious condition, where he succumbed to his injuries later on. The vehicle driver sped away from the spot. The police has registered a case.

RICKSHAW-PULLERS HELD: Three rickshaw-pullers have been arrested for plying their rickshaws on the wrong side of the road near the inter-state bus terminus, Sector 17 and Sector 22. The accused have been identified as Basheshar, Mastak and Kamal Narain. They have been booked for endangering human life and obstructing public way.

CAUGHT RED-HANDED: A resident of Makhan Majra, Ashok Kumar, was caught red-handed while trying to steal various items from the residence of Manoj Tandon in Hallomajra. He was handed over to the police, who have arrested him and registered a case against him.

ABDUCTION CHARGE: Sector 20 resident Ravinder Singh has reported that his 25-year-old daughter has been abducted by a resident of Nayagoan village. The police has registered a case.

THEFT ATTEMPT: The sub postmaster of the Sector 23 post office, Kali Ram, has reported that the post office premises were broken into last night with the intention to commit a theft. The estimate of the stolen property is still to be ascertained. The police has registered a case.

MARUTI CAR STOLEN: Sector 38 resident Mahesh Kumar has reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-Q-0017) has been stolen from the parking lot of the Police Headquarters in Sector 9. A case has been registered.


FINANCIER BOOKED: The police has booked a Delhi-based financier on the charges of sending goons to a local industrialist and taking away his machinery, which was financed by the accused. The goons also beat up the manager of the company. Amit Kumar, and crane operator Darshan Singh.

ASSAULTED: The police has booked Jarnail Singh for assaulting Gurmel Singh on the night of January 27 and beat him up with the handle of a hand pump. A case under Sections 323 and 325, IPC, has been registered.

GIRDERS STOLEN: Four girders have reportedly been stolen from the Mini Secretariat on the night of December 16. A case of theft has been registered.

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