Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Goods worth Rs 7 lakh gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A fire broke out at Capital Small Scale Industries, Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh, here today. It took more than three hours for the Fire Department to be quelled and turned an estimated Rs 7 lakh worth of candles, paper rolls and packaging material into ash here today. A huge cloud of smoke was visible from a distance and workers were running for cover, a fire fighter said.

An immediate task before the fire team was to prevent the Bhushan Industries and other factories around from getting engulfed in the fire and the operation was challenging due to a poisonous smoke, he said. The cause of the fire was not yet known, the Fire Department said.

As many as six fire tenders and an 18,000-litre water bouzer were pressed into service to extinguish the fire that was reported around 9.45 a.m. The industry owner, Mr Anil Bhasin, said goods worth around Rs 7 lakh were destroyed in the fire. The Fire Department, however, has recorded a ‘’loss unestimated’’ in its records.

The entire team of top Fire Department officials, including the Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, the Fire Officer, Sector 32 station, Mr S.K. Gosain, and the Fire Officer, Sector 38 station, Mr M.L. Sharma, reached the spot to supervise the operation which stretched to almost three hours.

The first fire tender to reach the spot was from Ram Darbar Fire Station. Two fire tenders from Sector 17 station and one each from Ram Darbar, Industrial Area, Sector 38 Fire Station and Sector 32 Fire Station and an 18,000-litre bouzer were called to control the fire.

The firemen first entered the ground floor to control the fire and then launched an all pronged attack by breaking the ceiling and putting in water splashing machines from the top floor.

The owner of the factory said the major loss was due to dismantling the internal structure and use of water which destroyed packing materials. The Fire Department officials claimed that they had been able to save a lot of material of the factory.


Spirit may soon return to night
Liquor in pubs, beer in discotheques soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
In a move aimed at changing the night life in the city, sale of liquor will soon be allowed on peg-measure basis in restaurants and pubs, while beer will be permitted inside discotheques.

These changes are likely to be incorporated in the forthcoming excise policy of the Administration to be announced in the next few days.

Sources said liquor would be allowed in existing pub joints and restaurants. The parameters to allow sale of liquor would include a good sitting space combined with a healthy turnover. The term ‘healthy turnover’ would be defined in the policy.

Meanwhile, the Hotel Association of Chandigarh in a statement said the move was welcome, however, licences should be given for only those sites which were actually restaurant sites.

Anyone who had got his site converted into a restaurant site by paying the requisite charges should also be allowed. Similarly, pub licenses for the next year should be granted or renewed to those restaurants only which were running in the restaurant sites approved by the Estate Office.

As per the present policy, hotel owners have to pay Rs 2 lakh for getting a licence for a bar. The association said liquor should be allowed in hotel room and the hotels should not be asked to deposit any extra fee for that. The facility was already available in neighbouring states, it said.

According to the association, ‘ahatas’ running adjacent to liquor shops have become parallel restaurants and bars most of these are air-conditioned and have very good interiors, thus catering to the affluent section rather than the economically weaker section of the society. These ‘ahatas’ are running without any regular bar licence causing huge losses to the government exchequer. This has also resulted in steep fall of the bar business.

The association has suggested that ‘ahatas’ should be permitted only with country liquor shops on the payment of high licence fee.


Alumnus returns as PEC Principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Dr Baljeet S. Kapoor, new Principal of Punjab Engineering College, received a grand welcome here today. While the band played a melodious tune, the teaching and non-teaching staff waited at the gate for over two hours for the Principal to arrive.

When he came, they broke into a dance and the procession began towards the office of the Principal. For Dr Kapoor, an alumnus of the college, it was a nostalgic moment. His eyes had tears of joy when he entered his room, where professors offered prayers and the acting Principal, Mr R.S. Gupta, handed over the charge to him. Later, ‘laddoos’ were distributed among the staff. The president of the college union, Mr Upkar Singh, also welcomed the new Principal.

Dr Kapoor said teaching weeks would be increased from 14 to 18 per semester and new courses like robotics and biotechnology would be introduced as electives. A double-degree concept would be introduced in the college.

Under research and development, institute and industry interaction would be increased and funds for research would be generated through sponsorship schemes, he said. Introduction of online notes would also be a priority.


Recovery of house tax stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta stayed the recovery of house tax here today and issuing a notice of motion for August 8. He acted on a petition that the act of Panchkula’s Municipal Council in issuing notices assessing annual value and house tax payable on properties in Sector 21 was illegal.

In its petition, the House Owners Welfare Association had said, though the notification issued on January 25, 2001, by Haryana, declaring Panchkula as a municipal area, was not applicable to underdeveloped like Sector 21, the MC had issued notices of assessment for April 1, 2001, to March 31, 2002, in January this year.

The counsel for the petitioner said the Haryana Government had decided to divide the municipal area in two parts — developed sectors and the other areas. The developed areas included Sectors 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 12-A, besides Sectors 14 to 19 along with Phases I and II of the Industrial Area.


SAS Nagar council passes Rs 20.86 cr budget
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 11
The local municipal council passed a Rs 20.86 crore budget for fiscal 2002-2003 at a meeting held here today.

The proposed income was fixed at Rs 17.46 crore while loans from banks totalled Rs 2.50 crore. The balance carried forward from the previous financial year was Rs 90 lakh. The meeting was presided over by the council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, and attended by a majority of the councillors.

The proposed expenses came to over Rs 20.74 crore, out of which Rs 14.60 crore was fixed for development, over Rs 5.09 crore for staff salaries and Rs 1.05 crore for contingency.

The council expects Rs 14.50 crore as grants from the Punjab Government in lieu of the loss incurred due to the scrapping of octroi. The council also expects income from other sources, including excise duty (Rs 80 lakh); water supply and sewerage (Rs 65 lakh); and rent, tehbazari, show tax, entertainment tax, licence fee, cattle pound and slaughter fee (Rs 51 lakh).

The proposed expenditure on the sanitation and works branches is more than Rs 1.55 crore and over Rs 1.27 crore, respectively. The allocation for the re-strengthening of roads is Rs 2 crore, for the new office building Rs 3 crore and for streetlight bills Rs 1.50 crore. The civic body president was given the powers to form four subcommittees — finance, works, sanitation and library and education — for more detailed consideration of the relevant issues.

Certain opposition councillors demanded that budget proposals must be made wardwise as there was alleged discrimination against various areas. Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, a councillor, claimed that no maintenance work was done in his ward for almost a year. A general meeting of the civic body was also held after the budget meeting.

At the general meeting the House decided to withdraw permission given to the Punjab Communications Limited to develop a chowk near the factory as it had failed to follow the instructions and rules in this regard.

The council also decided to file a review petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order of the court directing the civic body to remove garbage dumped on land taken on lease near Badmajra village. It said it was now difficult to remove the garbage which was lying at an inconvenient depth.


Don’t use Army for both roles simultaneously
Pritam Bhullar

THE Army’s primary role is to defend the borders of the country against external aggression, while its secondary role is to assist the civil administration in internal security (IS) duties. As per rules, the Army is called out for IS duties only when the situation goes beyond the control of the state police and the paramilitary forces.

In practice, however, the Army is called out at the drop of a hat, so much so that one cannot quote even one example in the last few decades when the state police alone was able to quell the rioting, thanks to its politicisation. No wonder then that the Police Commissioner in Gujarat went on TV to justify the failure of his police force to stop the slaughter for the reason that “you cannot expect policemen to be exempted from the mood of the community”.

Ironically, the politicians and bureaucrats have formed a habit of requisitioning the Army as soon as riots break out anywhere. This had made the police and paramilitary forces totally ineffective and they act only as bystanders until the Army arrives on the scene.

This has driven the country to a dangerous situation over the years. For, if riots erupt when the country is at war as would have happened in case war had started in January, then who will control Gujarat — like riots which have become commonplace? We cannot expect the Army to take on both its roles at the same time. The sooner, therefore, we stop overusing the Army for its secondary role and prepare the police and paramilitary forces to measure up to their tasks the better it would be for the country.

Villagers’ healthcare

Good civil and military relations go a long way in making a country strong. Nothing can win over a person more than restoring him to good health when he is ailing.

Seeing some of the old and ailing poor villagers of the border areas in Punjab dying due to the lack of medicare, the Army authorities decided to organise medical camps in these areas more than a decade ago. Three to four of these camps of three days duration each are held for a group of villages every year, provided the units and formations are not committed on their operational roles.

Besides medical examination and treatment, minor operations are also carried out at these camps. Arrangement is also made for some of the deserving cases for a long-term treatment. Some medicines to the patients are given by the Army, while the others are arranged by the civil authorities.

In some of the villages, the Army has adopted schools in which it provides medical aid to the children. This includes periodic medical inspection and treatment of the children who are in need of it.

These camps have become popular for the villagers. No doubt, the civil medical authorities also hold occasional eye and family welfare camps. But these are not enough to cover all the rural population.

Defence budget enigma

The defence budget continues to fall short of the expectations of the armed forces year after year, resulting in their not having the modern equipment. This became glaringly evident during the limited Kargil war in 1999.

Despite this, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) returned Rs 5000 crore as the unspent amount of the allocation of last year. This has almost become an yearly practice, for even out of the budget of the year 2000-2001, Rs 4126 crore was returned by the MoD, which it was unable to spent.

The non-utilisation of allotted funds is adversely affecting our defence potential because of the absence of essential defence hardware.

We have gone so deep in the quagmire of corruption that no government can pull us out of it. Bofors was not the first deal which was laced with kickbacks. Corruption has always been there in almost all the deals though it was not of such astronomical dimensions in the earlier days. That Bofors, Tehelka, Coffingate, etc, followed by the CAG reports have cautioned the main players of the game cannot be denied.

Unnecessary caution clearly shows that we are afraid of being caught in the cobweb of corruption that we have woven around us.

The rules are already there which we have to follow honestly in letter and spirit without bringing our greed into play. We should not deprive the armed forces of the important equipment because of our misplaced caution.


People throng temples on Shivaratri eve
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
Residents thronged temples on the eve of Shivaratri here this evening.

They offered prayers, milk and fruits to the idol of Lord Shiva. They also attended the evening prayers in temples situated in Sectors 18, 20, 22, 23, 33, 35 and 36.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made by the Chandigarh police. Outside each temple, cops were deputed to regulate traffic. Excitement could also be witnessed among the jhuggi-dwellers in certain colonies and slums in and around the city.


Eucalyptus falls on moving car; occupants unhurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Two members of a family and their driver had a narrow escape when a full-grown eucalyptus tree fell upon their moving Maruti car here this afternoon. Mr S.K.Mishra, a hydrologist with the Punjab Agriculture Department, was going to Sector 17 when the tree bumped on to the roof of the car, damaging it to considerable proportions. He, along with his friend, Mangat Verma, and driver, Bant Singh, however, escaped unhurt.

Not able to reconcile with what had happened suddenly, Mr Mishra was helped-by many passers-by in regaining poise. He later called some of his friends to the spot. Within about 20 minutes of the happening, about 10 police personnel from Sector 17 police station also reached there and helped in rescue work. They also went to the Executive Engineer, Horticulture Division, MC, and requested him to send his men to cut the tree and remove it.

A survey of the belt where the tree fell today shows that about 50 trees lining up the footpath have a very weak foundation. They are almost hanging towards the ground and may fall any day.

The Executive Engineer, Horticulture (MC), Mr Raghbir Singh, appeared concerned about the problem. He mentioned that with concrete structures booming in the city, the trees had been devoid of enough space for growth.

He, however, said that the department would soon conduct a survey and find out if some trees need to be felled in the interest of public safety. “The department is also thinking to formulate a new policy to encourage further plantation in the city,” he added.


Water shortage in Sector 57
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 11
Residents of LIG houses in Sector 57 here staged a protest in front of the Municipal Council office today against the acute shortage of water. The protesters said there were 434 houses built by PUDA in the area out of which only about 100 had been occupied owing to the lack of various facilities. Earlier, water was being supplied at low pressure to residents, but the problem had become acute over the past one month. They said they had to fetch water for daily use from nearby areas.

Mr Gurdeep Singh, a resident, said the affected persons had complained to the PUDA authorities but were told to approach the Municipal Council. Mr Kulwant Singh, another resident, complained that there was no proper sanitation or streetlight facility in the area, which had been totally neglected by the authorities concerned.

Mr Kulwant Singh, council president, said that it was the responsibility of PUDA to provide water to the residents of the area. 


Lions Club honours Garcha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Lions Club International Distt 32 F Region organised its annual region conference “SAMBANDH-2002” at Kharar. Lions clubs from Chandigarh, SAS Nagar, Ropar, Kurali, Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib and Morinda participated. Multiple Council Chairman, Dr N.K Grover, was the chief guest while S.P. Singh, Region Chairman, presided over the meeting.

Mr S.P. Singh in his inaugural address told that in last year more than 600 units of blood were donated, 500 free operations were done, 10,000 vaccines of hepatitis were provided, 2,500 diabetes detection cases were done, besides mass marriages and seminars on aids awareness, pollution control, female foeticide were conducted.

Ms Lakhwinder Garcha OSD to CM Punjab, lauded the role played by the club and assured that government would encourage by all means the work done by social organisations. She assured development of Kharar region on priority basis.


Sehajdhari Sikhs flay move
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
Condemning the reported efforts of the SGPC to disenfranchise Sehajdhari Sikhs in the SGPC elections, the President of the newly formed Sehajdhari Shiromani Akali Dal (SSAD), Dr P.S. Ranu, claimed that Sikh religion was already in minority and the move will create a minority within the minority population.

According to Dr Ranu, 80 per cent of the total world Sikh population is non-amritdhari.


Injured bridegroom discharged from PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
While Purshotam the bridegroom of yesterdays’ unfortunate wedding party which met with an accident on the Parwanoo-Kasauli road was discharged after plasters for his fractures, two more accident victims, Gyan Chand and Hakam Chand have been admitted to the PGI. 


B.S. Sekhon dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Lieut-Col B.S. Sekhon (retd), a former secretary of the Indian Ex-Services League, and a Consumer Forum activist, died here today after a protracted illness. He was suffering from cancer. He was 80.

Colonel Sekhon was also involved in a number of NGOs and welfare organisations besides playing a pioneer role in the Indo-Pak Forum, a non-political organisation, for bringing people of India and Pakistan together.

He was also among founder members of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, a political outfit of ex-servicemen. He would be cremated at the Sector 25 cremation tomorrow noon.


Madan Lal surrenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
An inspector with the UT Food and Supplies Department, Madan Lal, surrendered before a local court today. He was wanted by the police for his reported involvement in issuing a ration card to Pakistani spy Mohammad Riaz who was arrested by the Delhi police about one and a half years ago.

Madan Lal, a resident of Sector 46, has been remanded to police custody for three days. Earlier, the court had rejected his bail application.

Madan Lal had allegedly issued a ration card to Mohammad Riaz who had been residing in Sector 45, in April, 1999. According to the police, the ration card was supplied on the basis of a fake “surrender certificate” supplied by a lawyer. The lawyer, Kehar Singh had been arrested by the police earlier.

The police had also arrested a travel agent, Balbir Singh, in connection with getting a passport made for Riaz from the Regional Passport Office here.

It may be recalled that Mohammad Riaz, a Pakistani national, was arrested from Chandigarh in August, 2000, on the charge of espionage. An Indian passport, driving licence, ration card and voter’s card were recovered from him. He was brought here from Delhi by the Chandigarh police last month for investigations.


Cash, goods stolen from shop
Tribune News service

Panchkula, March 11
Miscreants decamped with cash and goods worth Rs 35,000 from a shop in Sector 11 last night. It is learnt that they had broken into Satguru Gulab Dev Studios located on the first floor and stole three cameras, speakers of a deck and some cash.

They also broke into the adjoining office of a gas agency and stole Rs 500.

Fatal fall: A 12-year-old boy, Amjad, was killed when he accidentally fell off a bridge near Rajiv Colony today. It is learnt that he was playing with other children when he fell down. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital, where he was declared dead.

Assault: A resident of Rajiv Colony, Raghubir Singh, was reportedly assaulted by Pala Ram yesterday. The accused was reportedly in an inebriated condition.

It is learnt that the victim was on his way to a chemist shop to buy medicines. The accused reportedly charged at the victim with his knife. The police has registered a case under Section 324, IPC.

Driver arrested: The police has arrested Prem Singh, driver of a Haryana Roadways bus that had hit a Kinetic Honda scooter near the bus stand on March 8 and claimed the life of 38-year-old Sarabjit Kaur. Two daughters of the deceased , who were pillion riding with her, were also injured.

The accused has been arrested from his residence in Bagpat, Uttar Pradesh. He was presented in a local court here today and was released on bail.

Two women arrested: The police has arrested two women in Raipur Rani for doing indecent acts at a public place. A case under Section 294, IPC, has been registered.

Burglary: Four miscreants are alleged to have barged into the Shiv Mandir in Dhamala village on the night of March 9 and decamped with Rs 4,000 from the donation box. The accused also beat up the priest, Jagan Nath, and Radhe Shyam.

Farm equipment burnt: Some miscreants are alleged to have burnt the farm equipment of Mr Joginder Singh in Bhagwanpur. A case under Sections 457 and 436, IPC, has been registered.

A resident of Mani Majra, Pawan Kumar, was arrested from Darwa village for allegedly consuming liquor in a public place. The police has registered a case under the Excise Act against him.

Theft cases: A cable network dealer in Sector 29, Virender Mehta, reported that his two amplifiers were stolen from the Industrial Area (Phase- I).

Mohali resident Sanjay Sharma has reported that some computer parts have been stolen from his office in Sector 35. A case has been registered.

Six booked: The Chandigarh police today booked six persons allegedly involved in a bounced cheque case. According to the police, Palsora resident Surinder Pal Singh and Sector 44 resident Neena had complained that they had invested money with two finance firms in Sector 36 — Madhur Kunj Finance Limited and Madhurma Kunj Forest India Limited. However, cheques issued by the firms bounced.


One killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 11
One person was killed when he was hit by a scooter here last night.

It is reported that Prem lal, a resident of Adarsh Colony, near Phase II here, was going on a bicycle when he was hit by a scooter on the dividing road of Phases IV and V. Prem Pal died on the spot.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 304 A of the IPC in this regard.


Pepsico rating soars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
PepsiCo has been rated as the world’s most admired beverage company by Fortune – one of the world’s premier business publications.

According to a company press release, the New York-based Fortune’s latest measure of “The world’s most admired companies”, PepsiCo has moved up from No. 5 in 2000 to No.1 in the beverage industry category.

The rating has been done on the basis of nine attributes, including quality management, innovation and financial soundness.

Fabric introduced: Graviera Suitings here on Monday introduced ‘Purista’, a specially treated fabric with anti-microbial property. The company claims that the fabric will stay fresh all day long due to its anti-microbial treatment that helps control bacteria.

Dealers’ meet: Metro Tyres organised a dealers meet for its dealers of Ortem fans and air conditions in Chandigarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and J&K branches. Mr J.K. Sharma, deputy vice-president (marketing), launched a new decorative range of Fans Princess models. Mr Anup Malik, vice-president (marketing) addressed the dealers.

Toaster launched: Usha International Limited launched automatic pop-up toaster.

The toaster comes with a cool wall body and a variable browning control. Other features include reheat as well as defrost facilities, besides high-lift mechanism. There is also the mid-cycle cancel button.

Pepe jeans: Following the success of its "Denim is Back" product line, Pepe Jeans has taken Denim to a higher level with Denim Breeze, a collection for spring summer 2002. Chetan Shah, Managing Director, Pepe Jeans: "Pepe Jeans has carefully selected summer fabrics and colours for Denim breeze, an ensemble that lends garments an excellent drape, with a soft and smooth hand-feel".

Insurance: Top golfer and Arjuna award winner Chiranjeev Milkha Singh has been insured by Max New York Life, a leading new life insurance company. Singh has chosen Max New York Life’s Whole Life Policy and two riders — Personal Accident Benefit Rider and Dread Disease Rider.

“I chose Max New York Life because they were able to customise a product specially for me,” said Jeev Milkha Singh.


ATMs opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Canara Bank today opened two ATMs in the city. Mr N.C. Wadhwa, Chief Administrator, HUDA, while inaugurating the Sector 35 ATM appreciated the bank’s effort in bringing technology to the doorstep of its customers.

The ATM in Sector 17 was inaugurated by Ms Namita Sekhon, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA. The ATMs are part of the ATM network of the bank.

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