Sunday, April 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Official function was on Oct 7, 1953, says historian
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The only "city-level ceremony" on record about "inauguration of Chandigarh" was held on October 7, 1953, at the Sector 1 Rajendra Park. The then President of India, Babu Rajendra Prasad, presided over the function.

Earlier, this park used to be called National Park and later its name was changed to Rajendra Park to commemorate the event, says Dr Kiran Joshi, a teacher at the City's College of Architecture.

Dr Kiran Joshi is at present engaged in research on the "Architectural Heritage of Chandigarh", especially with regard to contribution of Le Corbusier, the French architect.

The Tribune approached her as an Architectural Historian for her comments regarding the ongoing controversy of the “laying of the foundation stone of Chandigarh on April 2, 1952” by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru.

"The title of the picture put up at the City Museum has perhaps been based on some earlier unauthentic publication. Since the error has now come to light, I feel that the Chandigarh Administration is justified in its efforts to correct it and set the records right.

"During the course of my ongoing research, I have had occasion to make a detailed study the original documents (dating from 1951 onwards) that are available both at the Foundation Le Corbusier in Paris as well as in Chandigarh itself. There is no mention anywhere of any kind of “foundation stone laying ceremony of the city” by Nehru or, for that matter, by anybody else.

"The only 'city-level ceremony' that is on record is the 'inauguration of Chandigarh' by the then President, Babu Rajendra Prasad, on October 7, 1953. This 'inauguration' was held in what was then called National Park — later named ‘Rajendra Park’ to commemorate the event. It was not directly related to the status of construction activity, but implied the shifting of the Punjab Government offices from their temporary location at Simla and the commencement of the administrative functions of the new capital from the Chandigarh site itself. Extensive coverage of this event was carried in the Tribune of October 8, 1953.

"So far as identifying the ‘picture of the foundation stone laying ceremony by Nehru’ is concerned, it is also on record that, starting with his first visit on April 2, 1952, the Prime Minister visited the city several times, and that he had laid the foundation stones of both the new Secretariat building as well as of the Legislative Assembly. Whereas this ceremony for the Assembly took place on April 3, 1958, that of the Secretariat was held on November 7, 1953.

"Once again, The Tribune carried extensive coverage of both the events, which have been referred to by me as the most authentic records available today. According to The Tribune of November 8, 1953, the picture that is being touted as that of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the city is, in fact, that of the same event for the Secretariat building,” asserts Dr Joshi.

The controversy regarding the “official” beginning of Chandigarh has been going on since January 1999. “I feel that it is high time that the records are set straight,” she concluded.


Insurance cos take advantage of loopholes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
It may sound ironical but the fact is that your vehicle’s insurance does not necessarily mean that the company will pay up in case of an accident. This reality dawned on a Sector 22 resident when his Maruti omni (E) met with an accident and he went to the insurance company to claim refund of money spent on repairs.

The Oriental Insurance Company told Mr Harbhagwan Singh, that the driver of his van had a driving licence to drive a car or jeep, where as the van is a transport vehicle ! The licence was deemed to be invalid. The company wrote back to him last week: “the driver of the car Mr Ashwani was having a driving licence for car/jeep only, which is not valid driving licence to drive the van”.

Rejecting the claim the company added that a light motor vehicle (transport) licence is required to drive the van. A shocked Mr Harbhagwan says no policeman had ever challaned him or his driver for driving the van on driving licence for car/jeep. “Under what law and which rule has the van been deemed to be a transport vehicle”? he asked.

When the company insured the vehicle no such clause was highlighted and the insurance is of normal car and not a transport vehicle.

Quite interestingly , if one takes a Maruti van to pass a driving test to obtain a LMV ( transport) licence, the Motor Vehicle Inspector does not accept it. To get a transport licence the person seeking a LMV transport licence has to drive a mini truck and vans are not included in that category. Under these circumstances how does a Maruti van qualify to be transport vehicle is a mystery, he added.

To go deep into the background of all this The Tribune conducted its own investigations and found that the Chandigarh Administration was to blame for this confusion. The Administration has been treating all eight-seater vehicles under the category of transport vehicles and each vehicle is passed for road worthiness and registered afresh each year.

In the past few months the Administration has been registering eight-seater vehicles as LMV Transport. Earlier the vehicles were described as light motor vehicles. Thousands of persons have been driving around in eight-seater vehicles like Tata Sumo, Toyota Qualis, Mohindra Bolero, Maruti Omni, Maruti Versa and various new variants of jeeps while having licences to drive car/jeep only.

No one in the city has been challaned by the Chandigarh Police on this ground. So what do these people do? Get new licence. Going by the insurance company's stand, maybe yes. The Chandigarh Administration needs to clarify matters in this regard.


5,286 qualify for constables’ recruitment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
As many as 5,286 candidates have qualified to appear for the written examination in the first phase of the recruitment drive launched by the Chandigarh Police to enroll constables, which concluded at the Sector 26 Police Lines today.

During the first phase, spread over four days, candidates were required to undertake physical measurements, including height, weight and chest expansion. About 14,000 call letters had been issued by the police for the 156 vacancies, including 38 for female constables, out of which about 11,000 appeared for recruitment.

The first day saw 1201 candidates passing the physical measurement screening, while 1262 and 1292 candidates were cleared during the following two days, respectively. Today 1536 candidates passed the physical screening.

These candidates will now be required to appear for the written test, scheduled to be held here on April 14. Those successful in the written test will be required to undergo a physical proficiency test and an interview on April 19. About five centers are being established for the written test. The result of the written test, will be displayed on the notice board of all police stations.

Elaborate arrangements had been made by the police for conducting the rally. About 250 police personnel of all ranks had been deployed for the purpose, and they were also paid an honourium. Adequate measures for ensuring transperancy and fairness in the recruitment process had also been taken.


200 illegal structures razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
A team of the UT Enforcement Department today carried out a seven-hour-long demolition drive in Sector 49 and 50 bordering Phases IX and X of SAS Nagar. It razed about 200 illegal constructions like jhuggis, shuttering stores and other places carrying out commercial activities.

The drive started at 10 am under a heavy police presence. The land under occupation of the jhuggis had been allotted to group housing co-operative societies. It had been under encroachment for the past few years. The societies had been pressing upon the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Housing Board to give them the physical occupation of the land. This was not possible till all encroachments were removed.


HC dismisses Jerath’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Taking up a petition filed by Chandigarh’s former Chief Engineer K.K. Jerath against certain conditions imposed at the time of granting him bail, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has significantly ruled that the reasonability of conditions were required to be considered after keeping in mind the facts of each case.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Justice Goel ruled: “There is no dispute with the legal proposition that the conditions in the bail order have to be reasonable and if they are unreasonable, the statutory right under Article 21 of the Constitution may be attracted. However, the question as to what conditions are reasonable is to be considered from the facts of each case.”

The Judge added: “If the trial court, after consideration of the matter, lays down some conditions, they cannot be said to be unreasonable and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.”

Regarding the former Chief Engineer’s petition, the Judge held that no ground was made out for quashing the impugned conditions imposed in the bail order and as such the plea was being dismissed.


Air Marshal Gupta visits 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF’s Maintenance Command, Air Marshal S S Gupta, arrived at No.3 Base Repair Depot, here today on a farewell visit. He was accompanied by the president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional), Mrs Kusum Gupta.

On their arrival here, they were received by the AOC, 3 BRD, Air Cmde S B Prashar, Mrs Santosh Prashar and senior officers of the depot.

Addressing IAF personnel, Air Marshal Gupta emphasised the need to provide necessary means and facilities for continued upgradation of professional knowledge and skill while remaining operationally prepared at all times.

He added that the industry has lent full support to the IAF’s drive to indigenise aero spare parts, which has resulted in significant savings of foreign exchange.

The Air Marshal was also given a presentation on activities of the depot by Air Cmde Prashar. He also went around the depot and inspected various sections and units, and later shared a cup of tea with the depot personnel. He is scheduled to leave for New Delhi tomorrow.


Book on terrorism released
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
‘The Booby Trap-Anthology of Islamic Extremism’ a book on terrorism authored by Mr K.S. Sondhi, a former Intelligence Officer, was released by Mr M.S Bitta, Chairman of the All-India Anti-terrorist Front (AIATF) here today.

Speaking about the book Mr Bitta said it was a significant contribution on the subject of terrorism and would help in solving the problem of militancy and terrorism which have assumed global dimensions. He also announced that the AIATF would honour all retired officers who would make their experiences available to mankind through bold writings.


Record electricity
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 6
The thermal and hydel power stations of the Haryana Power Generation Corporation have generated a record 5161.15 million units of electricity last year.

This was stated by Ms Meenaxi Anand Chaudhary, Chairperson of the Haryana Power Utilities, here today. She claimed that power generation by the stations was 4050.98 million units in 1999-2000.


‘Charges against PU dispensary baseless’

This has reference to Mr M.S. Gill’s letter “Sorry state of affairs at PU dispensary” (Chandigarh Tribune, March 31). On the one hand, he alleges that “the law of the jungle seems to be prevailing at PU Health Centre”, and on the other, he seems to suggest that the claims of dependent members should be passed without the slightest scrutiny of theri eligibility as required under the rules.

The conditions on the printed proforma in respect of the dependent parents is that it has to be certified by the claimant that father or mother (as the case may be) “is wholly dependent on me and their income from all sources does not exceed Rs 500 per month”, and that “it is further certified” that the parent named above “also resides ordinarily with me at my normal place of residence”. In view of this certificate, if the bills submitted in relation to dependent parents, who are either not residing permanently with the claimant or residing only temporarily, the audit objection is relevant if the claimant is asked to prove his or her claim by adducing such evidentiary document as ration card.

As far as the university students are concerned (a hostel resident has to pay about Rs 4 per month and non-resident less than Rs 2 per month to the university), not even a single case has been brought to the attention of the Chief Medical Officer who had been denied medicines in any emergency.

To avoid financial irregularity, the rules of medical reimbursement are applied to all equally irrespective of consideration of high or low, senior or junior or any other. Is this the rule of the jungle if the claimants are required to follow rules in letter and spirit for avoiding financial irregularities?

Chief Medical Officer,
PU Dispensary,

No postal facilities

The Chandigarh Administration should be complimented for having allotted land to various housing societies in Sector 49 and so on. Sector 49 is partially developed and many societies have built multi-storeyed flats there. One such society is Pushpac.

Even though this society is fully developed in terms of the occupation of flats in the complex, the postal authorities have not realised this. The mail is delivered once or twice a day but it has no post box for the 500-odd families living in Pushpac complex to post their letters, let alone a post office to enable them to buy envelopes or postage stamps. This is all the more unfortunate because now the residents are forced to go to some three to four kilometres away to post a letter.

Through this letter, I appeal to the Postal authorities concerned to take note of our compassionate demand and fix one or two post boxes at an appropriate place/point in our complex. In the absence of this facility, the residents feel handicapped.


Minimum wages

This has reference to the news report regarding the revision of minimum wages announced by the Labour Department, Chandigarh Administration (March 18). The new schedule has been made applicable to more than 50 types of job profiles including those employed on contractual basis. The ex-servicemen have been given a raw deal in this context as the authorities concerned have not included security guards in the list for the purposes of revised wages.

Even though security guards have been playing an important role in safeguarding the life and property of the people of Chandigarh, they have not been given the attention they deserve by the authorities. If you look at them on any given day or night, you will recognise their individual contribution. Most unfortunately, even though security guards work at every nook and corner of Chandigarh city for 10 to 12 hours a day, they are given wages far lower than the stipulated minimum wages. It would be in the fitness of things if they, mostly ex-servicemen, are included in the list for revised minimum wages.

I request the Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator and other top officials to visit various establishments and check for themselves the duration of duty and the total emoluments being paid to this silent workforce. The biggest handicap of this workforce is that these ex-servicemen are not trained in trade unionism. The Labour Department should rise to the occasion and try to help the security guards.



Amitabh holds key in negative role
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

DESPITE a strong script for a theatre production, “Aankhen” (Piccadily and Suraj, Panchkula) fails to leave any creditable impression in its screen rendering.

Based on ‘Aanpato Patu’, a Gujarati play, it is basically a story of characters where Amitabh Bachchan in his negative role holds the key. His character, however, has not been neatly drafted and continues to be a weak link in the entire plot. Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar have given laudable performances and Rawal takes away the cake in his comic portrayal of a blind beggar.

Not a ‘chocolate love’ script nor a ‘don’ or ‘dadagiri’ plot, ‘Aankhen’ has elements of a neatly crafted and an aptly drafted bank robbery. However, the scene of action on screen is blown out of proportion for an Indian setting and the characters there are only ornamental additions without any emotional link to the presentation.

Bachchan is a bank manager who is a little too hard on his staff to ensure discipline in his office. He does not please everyone in the management and is thrown out of job for his ‘high heatedness’. He won’t sit quiet and wants revenge.

He picks three blind men —Akshay Kumar, Paresh rawal and Arjun Rampal — to be trained for the mission. The mission is to loot the bank. Sushmita Sen is the trainer who is forced to do the job because Bachchan has kidnapped her brother. The group of three robbers is a close-knit unit. Bipasha Basu has a negligible role while Sushmita Sen has done a decent job.

A fast-paced first half is not supported by a rather loose second-half action and the unity seems to collapse. Novelty in the plot and a rather controlled length to each separate character is worth mention.

Vipul Amrutlal Shah, who also staged the original play in Gujarati, directs the film. Gaurang Doshi has produced the film. The film has music by Aadesh Shrivastava set to lyrics by Nitin Raikwar, Praveen Bharadwaj and Prasoon Joshi. Remo D’ Souza and Ahmed Khan are the choreographers. Ashok Mehta has done cinematography and Abhas Ali Mughal is the man behind action.


Three booked on fraud charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The police has booked a resident of Sector 22 and two others on charges of fraud after the Manager of the Sector 26 branch of Punjab National Bank, Mr Rajiv Raizada, reported that the accused had taken a loan of Rs 2.75 lakh for purchasing a car in February. The accused got the car registered in the name of another person residing in Punjab and did not repay any loan installment. A case has been registered under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC.

CTU employee booked

A CTU employee, Gian Chand, has been booked for cheating and forgery after the CTU General Manager, Mr Surinder Kumar, reported that the accused had issued fake parking receipts when he was on duty at the Sector 17 ISBT gate. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC has been registered.

Maloya resident held

A resident of Maloya, Ramesh Kumar, was caught red-handed while allegedly trying to steal a bicycle from a house in Sector 52. The accused was handed over to the police.

Rickshaw-puller held

The police has arrested a resident of Bihar, Balteshar, for plying his rickshaw on the wrong side near the ISBT. He has been booked for causing danger and obstructing public way.


Two injured

Ratnaram and his grandson, Rajat, were injured when a tractor-trailer hit them near Rattpur colony, near Pinjore, on Saturday.

A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered, but no arrest has been made so far.

Dowry case

In a case of harassment for dowry, the local police has booked four residents — Malkiat Singh, Chandgi, Magdhar and Balbiro — of Dhuri. They were booked on the complaint of Ms Neena Kumari, a resident of Old Panchkula. In her complaint she alleged that her in-laws were demanding more dowry.

Illicit liquor seized

The police has arrested Lajja Ram of Piarewali village, Karan Singh of Kheri village and Sheesh Pal of Barona Kalan village for possessing illicit liquor. The police seized 58 pouches and 14 bottles of country-made liquor from their possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them at the Raipur Rani police station.


‘Allot sites at reasonable rates’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Marble Traders Association has urged the Chandigarh Administration to allot sites near Maloya village to the traders at reasonable rates. The association in a press note stated that the Administration had earmarked a site for the market near Sector 39, but it wanted from the traders to vacate their present premises before allotment. Mr Narata Mal Gupta, its president, claimed that the marble market was providing jobs to nearly 3,000 persons.

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