Friday, April 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Inventing an event!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Somebody in the journalistic fraternity has slipped. And slipped badly, giving a bad name not only to his own newspaper but also misleading another newspaper into committing the same mistake of inventing an event and then slamming the powers-that-be for not celebrating it.

It all began when a paper reported that the foundation stone of Chandigarh was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on April 2, 1952, and that the UT Administration had forgotten to ‘celebrate the golden jubilee of the city’. But a meticulous checking of the available record and interaction with some of the officials associated with the execution of the capital project, showed that although Nehru was closely associated with the project from the very beginning, he never laid any ‘foundation stone’ for the construction of the city as claimed in the newsreport.

“I have been associated with various activities, functions and ceremonies with regard to Chandigarh right from the beginning and I do not recall Pandit Nehru ever laying foundation stone of Chandigarh,” said Mr M.N. Sharma, a former Chief Architect of Chandigarh, and a close associate of Le Corbusier, the French architect who planned the city. “All that happened on April 2, 1952, was that Pandit Nehru during his first visit to Chandigarh was taken to a specially erected 36-foot-high tower in Sector 9 from where he had a bird’s eye-view of site selected for Chandigarh. I was a member of the party which accompanied him. From the observation tower, Nehru was taken to Sector 22 where construction on houses had already begun and also drove past the half-finished building of Government Printing Press in Sector 18.”

“So it is clear that the construction on the capital project had already been. Therefore, the question of his laying the foundation stone of the city on this occasion does not arise,” he pointed out.

Later, a memorial was built at the site to commemorate the visit. “The cube was designed by me and it is still there for all to see,” said Mr Sharma. On the side of the cube is inscribed: “This monument was dedicated to the memory of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on November 14, 1989, in his birth centenary year.”

On the other side of the cube is inscribed: “This memorial has been erected in tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of planned urban development in a free and renascent India.”

On the third side of the cube is inscribed: “Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, inspected the site and layout plan of Chandigarh on April 2, 1952, from a tower at this spot.”

Mr Kulbir Singh, then a young XEN who later rose to the Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, was also a member of the party which accompanied Nehru and echoes the same sentiments. “No foundation stone was laid. Somebody is just imagining things”, he quipped.

The Tribune was then the only English language mass daily of the region. It carried a detailed a report on the Prime Minister’s first visit to Chandigarh and gave a graphic account of his activities, including his visit to the observation tower in Sector 9, newly built houses in Sector 22 and construction work on Government Printing Press in Sector 18. Again, there is no mention of Pandit Nehru laying foundation stone of the city.

Ďt reads as: “India’s Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Punjab’s New Capital in the making for the first time today. This visit of the Prime Minister resulted in creating unbounded confidence among the people and those engaged in the stupendous task of building a new home for a refugee government of the state of Punjab which is also designed to provide shelter to the refugee population of the state and an asylum for all the uprooted institutions of the Provincial status, including the High Court, the University, the Legislature and a few vocational colleges besides serving as a nucleus for collecting together the best talent of the Punjab which having been uprooted after the partition has not been able to come together as it was in Lahore. Pt Nehru’s visit certainly is expected to result in removing the cloud of uncertainly which had been hanging over the future of this project of the Punjab State.”

“On arrival at the site of the New Capital where he was accompanied by Lady Mountbatten, Mrs Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, Shri Bhim Sen Sachar, Chief Minister — designate of the Punjab and Miss Mridula Sarabhai, the Prime Minister was received by the Administrator of the Project Shri P.N. Thapar. The Deputy Commission of Ambala, Mr R.P. Kapur, and the District Police Chief, Shri C.L. Malhotra, were with the Prime Minister as also the DIG Police, Mr Holliday, besides Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, MLA, President Ambala District Congress Committee and Gyani Rajendra Singh, Advocate, MLA, Shri Kidar Nath Sehgal, MLA, also joined the party here.”

“Shri Thapar introduced to the Prime Minister the various officers connected with the building of the Project, including the Chief Engineer Shri P.L. Varma.”

“Immediately after he was conducted into one of the officer rooms where plans and charts had been put up showing the whole project. Here the Architectural Adviser Mr Corbousier explained to the Prime Minister in French the whole plan and the architectural designs of the various buildings meant for housing the Punjab Secretariat, the High Court, the University, the various colleges, and the residential quarters both bungalows and houses meant for the government officers and other employees. The only three persons from among the visitors who could understand what was being explained were Pt Nehru, his sister Mrs Vijay Lakshmi Pandit and Lady Mountbatten. Pandit Nehru took very keen interest in what was told to him by the grey-haired French Architectural Adviser and he examined minor details of the whole plan and made many enquiries.”

At the tower

“The Prime Minister and the party were then taken in an open truck conducted by Shri P.N. Thapar followed by other officers around the actual site where the Capital is to be built. The party passed through the University Road which is under construction and looked at the Government Printing Press whose building is half-ready and then went upto the Observatory Tower. The Prime Minister and the party were conducted by Mr Thapar to the top of this 36 feet high tower from where one can have a very clear idea of the whole site with a very fine background provided by the mountainous and submontane area. The landscape is exhilarating and it seemed to have gladdened Pt Nehru’s heart. Lady Mountbatten was full of praise for the Project.”

“From the Observatory Tower the Prime Minister was conducted to Sector No. 22 where residential quarters are being built for Government employees of the ranks of Superintendents and Assistants. Shri M.R. Sethi, Contractor who is building these quarters and the party and conducted Pt Nehru to the buildings which are under construction. Pandit Nehru went into the houses which are still under construction and enquired about the accommodation and other facilities which would be provided to those who are to live in these houses. Here also Pandit Nehru was heard making certain suggestions which he said should be incorporated in view of the special requirements of the houses to be built here in the Punjab. Special attention had to be paid to the need of providing air and sun in these houses which was an equally good need for the houses to be built anywhere in India.”


Ignore’ anonymous complaints
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
In a major decision the Chandigarh Administration today ordered that any official taking action against an employee or official based on a complaint by an anonymous (without name) or pseudonymous (under fake name) complainant will himself be liable to face action.

This means any complaint that does not bear the name and address of the complainant will not be entertained by the Vigilance Department of the Chandigarh Administration. Action will instead be taken against the official who is found holding inquiries on the basis of a complaint lodged under a fake name or anonymously written complaints, says the order of the administration. What action will be taken against the official who orders an inquiry into such complaints is not mentioned in the order. A departmental action is likely to be taken in such cases, said sources.

Such complaints usually emerge out of the blue when an employee or an official is about to be promoted or is due for some benefit. In majority of the cases, nothing but personal rivalry is said to be the basis, a source added. To curb this practice, a complainant will now have to state his name and address in the allegations. The person’s credentials will be verified and will also be asked whether the complaint was actually lodged by him or someone was just using his name. These steps will be taken even before a preliminary inquiry begins. Today’s order will have no bearing on the merits of the case.

The order of the administration is in line with the instructions issued by the Central Vigilance Commission. The CVC says such complaints in which an employee’s actions or activities are inquired into leads to demoralisation of the work force. The UT Home Secretary-cum-Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) confirmed that such instructions have been issued.

Today’s order does not mean that previous inquiries on anonymous or pseudonymous complaints will be closed down. As per the previous instructions, no anonymous complaints were to be entertained. Pseudonymous complaints were to be ignored unless the facts were very clear and verifiable.

Still around 95 per cent of such complaints land in the dustbin. In some cases, employees even allege harassment as complaints are being lodged primarily to defame officials.

A source gave an example on how in a complaint an officer was alleged to have bribed a senior official without basing the complaint on any evidence. 


Who is axing trees in Sector 27?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
For the past few days, some portions of the green cover around the residential premises in Sector 27 A has been cleared off. Much to the displeasure of environmental artiste Nek Chand, who spent years in developing and nurturing the said area, many trees have been felled on the particular stretch of land which falls very near to his house.

Where many trees have already faced the axe, it still remains a mystery as to who are the people responsible for the felling business in the green area. Four poles of electricity have been put up in the area after clearing up some trees and a transformer is waiting to be installed at the said site. Where the direct blame of felling the trees falls on the UT Electricity Department people, they deny the charge point blank. Mr V.P. Dhingra, superintending engineer, in charge, when contacted today said, "Yes, we are in the process of installing a transformer on the area, but we have not axed the trees. We are only interested in our business. Who are we to fell trees and diminish green cover of the city. We have not done it at all. There is no question that our people could have been doing this."

Where Mr Dhingra denies involvement in the act, Mr Nek Chand maintains otherwise, "I have talked twice to Mr Dhingra on the phone and told him that his people are felling trees in the green area, I have developed with a lot of care and labour. But the process is still going on. I am feeling very helpless. Even people in the locality are very sad about all this. The department people say they have to install a transformer. But there was enough space for the same at another spot. There was no need to cut trees."

A visit to the spot confirmed that many of the trees had already been axed over the past some days and many more are awaiting the process. As for Mr Nek Chand, the depression was natural because he was the one who took upon himself the task of clearing the adjoining area of dirt and filth and plant saplings all over. He recalled today, "It was about 10 years back when I arranged clearing up of the mess which prevailed all around our residential premises. That was when I planted many saplings, watered them and watched them shape up into trees. Now the UT Electricity department people are busy felling the trees which were grown with so much of labour."

While the felling continues, the responsibility remains to be fixed. With the Electricity Department denying the charge and Mr Nek Chand convinced that they are getting the trees down, the fact remains clouded. 


Child’s body exhumed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
The body of three-year-old Chottu, who was crushed to death under a road-roller in Old Panchkula on March 28, was exhumed at Bhainsa Tibba village today.

It is learnt that the body was exhumed this afternoon under the supervision of Chandimandir police. The father of the deceased, Tej Pal, who was away to his native village in Muradabad when the accident took place, has come back. He was also present when the exhumation was taking place.

The body was then taken to the General Hospital in Sector 6 for a postmortem examination. It may be noted that the child had been put to sleep under the shade of the road roller by his mother, Veer Wati, who was employed as a labourer for widening of the road.

The driver of the road roller, Rajwinder Singh, without realising that the child was sleeping there started the vehicle and the child was crushed. However, some aides of the contractor, sensing trouble, talked the child’s mother into hushing up the matter and quietly buried the body.

Meanwhile, the police has also arrested the driver, Rajwinder Singh and contractor Gian Chand Kholia today. The other two accused, Inderjit Singh and Parminder Singh, are still at large. 


Admn wants power in phases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
After virtually knocking at every door, the Chandigarh Administration has managed additional power from the Union Power Ministry a few days ago. Now the Administration has written to the Northern Region Electricity Board (NREB) saying that the entire allocation should be released in phases.

Well placed sources in the Administration says a review can be made on a day-to-day basis as per demand. The NREB has agreed as Chandigarh may not need the entire allocated power thus it is being diverted to meet the needs of other states. About 15 days ago, the Union Power ministry allocated additional power for Chandigarh out of its unallocated quota from the central power pool.

This allocation was 5 per cent of the unallocated power quota and was with immediate effect. This meant another 35 to 40 MW was to be available to Chandigarh taking its allocation for peak period usage upto 170 MW.

After the temporary reduction sought by the Administration, the allocation of power as on today during peak hours is 138 MW. Yesterday’s peak demand was 137 MW around 8: p.m. In off peak hours the demand was just 80 MW around 2 a.m.


Hyderabad MC team meets councillors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MCC) officials and councillors today met a 29-member delegation of the Quttubullapur Municipality in Hyderabad led by its Chairman B. Lingam Goud and the MCC led by the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi.

Impressed by the beauty of the city, guests asked the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M. P. Singh, how their town too could be turned into a city like Chandigarh and how much and from where they got resources for the purpose.

The Commissioner said half of resources came in the shape of grants and there was no tax in the Chandigarh Municipal body and it had been surviving on selling its property till now.

Mr Singh said probably making the city as a Union Territory could ensure better facilities.

The corporation had also no answer to what welfare measures it was taking up but to say it was the responsibility of the state, the UT Government.

The Municipal Commissioner and councillors showed interest in Andhra Pradesh’s Janmabhumi Scheme envisaging 70 per cent contribution from the Municipal Corporation for developmental projects if residents of the area come up with a plan of 30 per cent contribution.

The Andhra Pradesh Government gives priority to those works where the people offer financial and physical participation.

The Chandigarh officials and councillors were told with such participation from the people, which initially met resistance, civic amenities had tremendously improved in Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra representatives made inquiries about the sanitation of the city and expressed surprise that community participation was not there in this effort.

They said in their city, groups of 20 local persons were made which worked with residents welfare associations for taking care of sanitation work and the corporation paid them minimum wages, provided guarantee for buying a vehicle on loan from bank and Rs 1.5 lakh subsidy after three years for continuing with the work.

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation evinced interest in such projects.

Ms Joshi explained to them about the political structure of the MCC and representation to political parties apart from committee-based functioning.

The MCC was represented by the Chief Engineer, Mr V. K. Bharadwaj, Public Health Superintending Engineer, Mr Swaran Singh, Public Works Superintending Engineer, Mr I. S. Sokhey, apart from the Mayor and the Commissioner, among other officials.

Chandigarh Councillors Ms Kamla Sharma, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, Deputy Mayor, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr Dildar Khan, Dr B. R. Verma, among others.


MNC offer on waste management
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The Terrasafe Technologies Private Limited, possessing an environment friendly know-how to convert municipal waste into power and vitreous tiles, has made a fresh offer to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) freeing it of 20 per cent equity participation in the Rs 150 crore project, the first such in the country.

‘‘The company has informed that the condition of equity participation worth Rs 27 crore has been withdrawn along with an attractive offer of transferring the project to the corporation after 10 years,’’ sources told the Chandigarh Tribune.

The fresh offer has been made after the multi-national company explored financing the project and found an insurance instrument to take care of it.

The fresh offer has followed the MCC showing its inability to take equity participation due to paucity of funds in the project whose technology demonstration before corporation officials and councillors early this year had won accolades.

The corporation officials and policy makers had shown keenness to get the project going expecting the Chandigarh Administration to give a grant for taking equity participation in the project.

The offer has come at a time when the corporation has been worried about meeting the December 2003 deadline of setting up a waste management project without much cost to prevent the Central Government’s axe falling on it under the Supreme Court-decided guidelines.

The fresh offer has been verbally made to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M. P. Singh, and the company has also proposed to the Commissioner to take a delegation to Osaka in Japan where such a project is operational.

The only hitch Corporation earlier had about the viability of the project was that it was nowhere operational in India. The offer of Japan visit has now apparently come to remove the misgiving about the viability of the project.

With the revival of the offer of this project, the Municipal Corporation is considering to contact authorities in Panchkula and SAS Nagar and nearby places to seek common participation in the project.

The power project requires a minimum of 300 metric tone of municipal waste.

The corporation may also contact PGI and other hospitals and nursing homes to dispose of their bio-medical waste to convert it into power and tiles.

The corporation is calculating the problem of setting up waste management projects as it is common for the three cities and they may also be interested in disposal at a common plant.

The advantage of a project with the plasma technology is creating valuable by-products and zero adverse effect on environment. 


One booked in blast case
Our Correspondent

Naya Gaon, April 4
The Ropar police today booked Tejpratap Singh Virk, for endangering human life and for negligent conduct with respect to fire and combustible matter. Tejpratap was trying an experiment on use of constituent gases of water as an alternative fuel for motor vehicles, said police sources. However, no arrest was made till the time this report went to press. The ‘reaction chamber’ of Tejpratap’s experimental model had exploded on Tuesday in Naya Gaon injuring three persons, including himself.

According to police sources, the case was registered after legal advice. The police was yet to receive the forensic reports, said the SSP, Ropar.


Plan to promote Panchkula as cultural hub
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
The local administration is gearing up to woo various event management firms and cultural organisations in order to promote this satellite township as an alternate cultural destination to Chandigarh.

In the wake of poor infrastructure for hosting cultural events in Chandigarh, the local administration is hoping that their efforts at promoting the township will yield good results. Also, the administration is starting work for providing better infrastructure in terms of a state-of-the-art auditorium.

The administration, after a successful stint at hosting at least three cultural extravaganzas during the past one month, has decided to set up a district advisory committee for attracting organisers.

“The role of the administration is to act as a catalyst for promoting these activities by giving logistic support. Thus we have decided to have a committee, comprising NGOs, involved in cultural activities in order to have more cultural shows here,” says the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora. The township already has an open air theatre in Yavanika with a seating capacity of 1,000 persons. It offers a relatively better light and sound system.

The administration is wooing organisers by offering low rents.

The organisers have to pay Rs 1,500 per show, along with a refundable security of Rs 2,000. Meanwhile, HUDA has started work on the construction of the indoor auditorium in Sector 5.

The cost of this fully air-conditioned auditorium is estimated at Rs 14 crore and will have a seating capacity of 2,000 persons. A convention hall and a library is also being constructed on the premises. Tendering work for the construction is underway and the auditorium is expected to be complete within 18 months.


Prof Chaudhary dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Prof Iqbal Nath Chaudhary, a former Principal of Panjab University Evening College, died here today.

Professor Chaudhary was a reputed scholar of political science. He was a member of the university senate for three terms and was also a member of the syndicate. He was about 72 years of age.

Professor Chaudhary held the position of Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor during the tenure of Prof M.M. Puri as the Vice-Chancellor.

He was closely associated with the Homoeopathic Medical College, Sector 26. In fact, he is better known as one of the founder members of the medical college. Close sources said that he himself was an efficient homoeopathic practitioner.

Prof Chaudhary is survived by his wife Dr (Mrs) Pushpa Chaudhary. The funeral procession starts from his residence at house No 1666, PUSHPAC flats, Sector 49, Chandigarh, tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. The cremation is scheduled at 11 am.

Hearing the news about Professor Chaudhary’s demise several teachers, including Prof R.P. Bambah and Prof M.M. Puri, both former Vice-Chancellors, and Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, expressed their deep sorrow.


Car, scooter catch fire

Panchkula, April 4
A car and a scooter, parked at a house in Sector 11, caught fire under mysterious circumstances late last night. 

The car (HR-51E- 0059) and scooter (HR-03C- 8072) parked at the residence of Mr Ram Gopal, caught fire around 11.15 pm yesterday. Some passersby, alarmed at the flames emanating from the house, sounded alert. TNS


One held for possessing charas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
A resident of Nohanda Tinder near Kulu, Jeewan Lal, was arrested for illegal possession of narcotics. The police has seized 2.7 kg charas from his possession. Following a tip-off, a special team from the Sector 19 police station laid a naka and arrested the accused. A case has been registered against him.

Two pedestrians hurt
Two pedestrians were seriously injured after they were knocked down by a Maruti car near the Sector 22-23 light point last night. The injured, Brij Mohan, a resident of Sector 24, was admitted to the PGI while, Balbir Singh, a resident of Patiala, was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The police has arrested the car driver, Harsimran Kaur, a resident of Sector 23 and impounded the car.

Liquor seized
A resident of Kumhar Colony, Ajay Kumar, was arrested from the same colony with 25 pouches of Hero whisky from his possession. The police has registered a case under the Excise Act against him.

Cases of theft
An Army officer residing in Sector 15, Maj R.S. Saini has reported that his Maruti car (PB-30-A-3003) has been stolen from his residence.

A Sector 35 resident, Kapil Sharma, has reported that his Maruti car (DL-2-CR-6597) has been stolen from his residence.

Sector 38 resident Ram Singh Saini has also reported that his Maruti van (PB-10-X-5008) has been stolen from his residence while he was away. Separate cases has been registered.

Sector 9 resident Gurmit Singh has reported that Rs 30,000 in cash and a diary were stolen from his car parked in the same sector. A case has been registered.

Cyclist crushed by car
A resident of Bapu Dham was killed after his bicycle was knocked down by a Maruti Zen in Industrial Area today.

According to eye-witnesses, the car, driven by Panchkula resident M.M. Aggarwal, first hit a rehri before crashing into the cyclist. The cyclist was dragged along with the car for some distance before the vehicle could come to a stop.

The cyclist was taken to the Government Hospital, Sector 32, where doctors declared him brought dead. Several eye-witnesses added that the policemen who reached the spot from the local police station wasted around 20 minutes trying to summon a police control room vehicle instead of taking the injured to hospital in their official vehicle.

The police has registered a case against the driver of the car for rash and negligent driving.


Gang of robbers busted
A gang of robbers which used to steal power lines and transformers coils has been nabbed by the CIA staff, Ambala.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Sandeep Khirwar, said Satnam Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Mahinder had been nabbed. During questioning, the robbers said they had stolen about 6720 metres of power line and 60 kg of aluminium coil in Shahzadpur since December. They had also stolen power lines from Mullana, Naraingarh, Naggal and Panjokhra. Four other gang members are absconding.


Murder accused nabbed
The local police on Thursday arrested two persons in different cases of murder. The SP (City) said in the case relating to the murder of Amritpal Kaur, a resident of Model Town here, the police has arrested her adopted son, Amrik Singh, on the complaint of Mr Ajaib Singh, a brother of the victim. The SP said a police party arrested the accused when he was travelling in a car. The weapon used for the murder was also recovered from his possession. Investigations have revealed that Amrik Singh had allegedly murdered his foster mother in order to grab her property.

In another case, the police has arrested Rakesh Kumar, resident of Astbal colony here. The SP said the accused had pushed Rani, wife of Ram Gopal, against a wall. The victim received injuries on the head and collapsed on way to Rajindra Hospital.



Coolex-2002: Coolex-2002, a four-day exposition on air conditioning and refrigeration, will be inaugurated at the CII on Friday. According to CII spokesperson, more than 15 leading multinational and domestic companies, including Daewoo, Voltas, Whirlpool, Amtrex Hitachi, Bluestar, Godrej, Diakin Sriram, etc. will showcase their products in the exposition which is being sponsored by LG. The fair, which will continue till April 8, will be inaugurated by Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High Power Committee of Finance, Punjab. The CII will also organise a Punjab State Annual Session—an agenda on industry competitiveness. While industry representatives will give presentations on expectations and suggestions for industry competitiveness, the Principal Secretary Industries and Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab, will also speak on the occasion. TNS

New chairman: Mr Yashovardhan Saboo, Managing Director, Kamla Dials and Devices, took over as the new Chairman of the CII Chandigarh Council for the year 2002-03 at its annual meeting held on Thursday at the CII (North) headquarters. TNS

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