Monday, April 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Study suggests five birthdays for city
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The story of the birth of City Beautiful is becoming more intriguing.

A study entitled “Chandigarh Lifescape: Brief Social History of a Planned City” sponsored by the Chandigarh Administration when it celebrated the 50th anniversary of Chandigarh through year-long celebrations in 1998-99 and conducted by a team led by Prof M. Rajivlochan of the Department of History, Panjab University, his wife Meeta and two students lists as many as five birthdays of Chandigarh.

On pages 11 and 12, it says, “The first problem starts with finding a date of birth for the city. It may be logically impossible, and may be unnecessary, to make a simple statement for Chandigarh: “this is when the city began”. But begin it did. There was one time when it was not and then it was. So when did it begin? There are many claimants in line.

“K.L. Kapoor, the first resident engineer at the Chandigarh capital project, recalls that the symbolic take-over of the Chandigarh site was done on a rainy day in 1950. The Sukhna choe was in flood. After the flood subsided, he along with the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Ambala crossed the choe from the Mani Majra side on the old Chandigarh-Ropar road taking along a motor grader. The motor grader cut into the field about a kilometre length of the road. This also marked the end of the agitation by the villagers of the Chandigarh region to stop the construction of Chandigarh. Henceforth, only sporadic incidents continued but the big agitation was over.

“A book by the Census Department, authored by J.K. Nanda, S.P. Grover and J.C. Kalra, placed the “inauguration” of Chandigarh to Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to village Nagla on April 2, 1952. There is a memorial of the late prime minister at this site, which is in Sector 9 today. This was Nehru’s first visit to Chandigarh. From a specially constructed tower over here he had a bird’s eye view of the surrounding land that was to house the city of his dreams.

“The Tribune, which has been in the forefront of recording the growth and troubles of Chandigarh, noted that the capital officially shifted from Shimla to Chandigarh on September 21, 1953.

“Others remember that Chandigarh was “inaugurated” by the first president, Dr Rajendra Prasad, on October 7, 1953 in a ceremony at what is now known as Rajindra Park.”

“The contemporary Chandigarh administration on its part took the year of birth for Chandigarh to 1948, the first year of the first official decision to construct the capital at Chandigarh. Philosopher Gilbert Ryle would have said that when we search for a date of birth for Chandigarh we are involving ourselves in a serious case of category mistake causing confusion. Cities do not have a birth, they simply grow. They meander like a river with many estuaries, which of these is really the river remains a matter of contingent decision”.

The book by Prof Rajivlochan specifically focussed on the fact that in order to look at the lifescape of Chandigarh in the round it was necessary to include not just the story of its buildings and those who came to settle here but also, more importantly, all those who were displaced in the making of Chandigarh. Who were these, what were their concerns, how did they cope with the displacement caused by a bevy of uncaring outsiders who came and set up homes, offices and shops on their ancestral lands. The book discusses in detail how the interests of the original villagers changed vis-a-vis Chandigarh. First there was tremendous opposition. Some instances of firing also took place in Kalibar village, the contemporary Sector 8, in which many people opposing displacement died. Kehar Singh of Hamirgarh recalled that in those days people used to be scared of the police. The usual strategy for the police then was to round up the protesters, load them in a van and drop them off at some place near Kalka or Ambala, a day’s walk away from their homes.

There were occasions when the police became more aggressive. Rulia Singh of Kalibar village along with his brother Ujagar Singh were arrested and kept at Ambala jail for nine months when they tried to incite the crowd to stop the assessment of houses at Kalibar.

The arrest, remembers Rulia Singh’s son Gurbax Singh who now has a flour mill at Mani Majra, was preceded by an episode of police firing in which Ratan Singh, the nambardar, was wounded. Lachhman Singh of Ran Nagar village remembered that Amar Singh, the nambardar of Ram Nagar, too, was in the forefront of the agitation in which the police used “tear gas” to disperse the crowd. Bahadur Singh of Hamirgarh added that the police also drenched the crowd with water to force it to disperse. Surjeet Singh of Rurki village insisted that over 10,000 people had participated in the protests. The actual figure may have been less, but even if it was just 1000 it would suggest a demonstration of considerable size.

The Tribune carried no news of the protests other than the press releases given out infrequently by the anti-Rajdhani committee. Considering that 22 villages were involved and their action was hindering the beginning of the capital project, it seems amazing today that there was so little publicity for the protesters.

Then as the city began to take shape the displaced persons began to have a different kind of relationship. Prof Rajivlochan’s book describes how this relationship evolved so much so that when in 1970s the government sought to change the nature of Chandigarh once again by handing it over to Punjab, this time the same villagers who had opposed the making of Chandigarh began to form committees to save Chandigarh.

These displaced persons were actually the first settlers of Chandigarh and many of their monuments like various ancient temples dotting each sector, still exist and are in use despite the best efforts of town planners and engineers to demolish them.


More luck for third-time lucky
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Panjab University has now decided to declare the examination results of first-year students who have cleared their school board examinations in the special chance given by the Punjab School Education Board. The board had placed these students under compartment in the Class XII examinations.

They were able to join the first-year undergraduate courses, hoping to clear the board examination in two chances. When they could not, the university held back the results of their first-year examinations. Then, they got this special chance.

They were given roll numbers just before the examinations. The issue had been raised at the last meeting of the Senate, where the Vice-Chancellor had promised quick action in this regard. When contacted, Dr Sodhi Ram, Controller of Examination, said such a decision had indeed been taken.

Mr Ashok Goyal, who had raised the issue at the Senate meeting, had said that the university had set a precedent in 1999 by giving such students a special chance. His view was that, now, when the board had given such students a third chance, the university should react positively.

It was said that, if students did not get a third chance, they would lose two academic years. A senior student said either the PU should decide not to give more than two chances under any circumstance or the third-chance results should be accepted whenever announced.

A PU official said the university needed to be careful in giving a third chance to unsuccessful candidates in future because, if the other boards followed the practice, the list of candidates could become endless and university would not be able to refuse them roll numbers.

A senior fellow of the PU said the university should give students endless chances, but to maintain academic standards, promote a student only when he or she had cleared all previous examinations. There have been cases where students have cleared examinations of senior classes, but wasted two years at being unable to clear compartment tests of junior classes.


‘Sedentary lifestyle dangerous’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Obesity among north Indians due to dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle is the major cause of rise in cases of diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases. This was stated by Dr Rajesh Kumar of the Department of Community Medicine, PGI, here today while talking to TNS on the occasion of World Health Day.

A special function to mark the day was organised by the PGI, where the warning issued by the WHO that physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of diseases and disability was reiterated by Dr S.K. Sharma, Director, PGI. ‘‘If people continue regular physical activity they can prevent many diseases. Physical activity could be enjoyable and fun,’’ he said.

Dr Rajesh Kumar also warned that north Indians, in general, have to change their lifestyles from sedentary nature to a more physical one and take the WHO action plan for 2002 seriously.

Quoting the WHO World Health Day report, Deputy Commissioner M. Ramsekhar who was the chief guest at the function, stated that approximately 2 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity.

The WHO, through a worldwide press release, had issued a warning that sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world. “The habit of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet ideally begins in childhood and we hope that parents and schools everywhere will use this day to spread this message,” said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO’s Director-General. “We should all be ready to move for health and to adopt healthy and active lifestyles. World Health Day 2002 is a call to action to individuals, families, communities governments and policy-makers to move for health.”

Sedentary lifestyles increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. According to the WHO, 60 to 85 per cent of the people in the world — from both developed and developing countries — lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of children are also insufficiently active, with serious implications for their future health.

Among the preventive measures recommended by the WHO are moderate physical activity for up to 30 minutes every day, tobacco cessation, and healthy nutrition. In addition to individual lifestyle changes, governments and policy-makers are also recommended to “move for health” by creating a supportive environment for people.

Meanwhile, students of the Sector 38 Guru Harkrishan Model School performed yoga and demonstrated various “asanas” on the occasion. A cycle rally was flagged off by the DC from PGI to Sukhna lake who also rode with the 250 schoolchildren. Prizes were also awarded to some of the cyclists by the Chandigarh Amateur Cycling Association.

Dr Inderjit Walia, Principal, College of Nursing and president, IPHA, had earlier welcomed the guests and Dr Rajesh Kumar thanked them.


Mountview sauna catches fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The sauna of the health club of Hotel Mountview, allegedly built against safety norms, caught fire burning wood panels and heaters here today.

“As the information about the fire in the premier hotel of the city, which has very advanced firefighting systems, reached the department, we sent 5 fire engines thinking that the evacuation effort will be monumental,” the Chief Fire Officer, Mr G. S. Bajwa, told TNS.

The fire suspected to have been caused by a short circuit was brought under control after one hour's difficult exercise as the fire engines did not have access to the club. No damage to life was caused and a minor loss to property was estimated.

Mr Bajwa said every structure needed to have a clearance from the Fire Department but the club had not got it. As a result fire engines could not reach it.

However, Mr Bajwa said the hotel's firefighting system was perfectly functional and very effective.

The hotel staff reported the matter immediately after they smelt some substance burning and shut off water and electricity supply to the health club.

The fire fighters had to scale walls to reach the place and vehicles could not be taken to the spot, which was unusual. But the vehicle could still be positioned at a place near the wall from where it could have used water jets through pipes that had to be taken over the boundary wall, firemen said.

The department had sent one fire tender each from Sectors 11, 32 and 38 fire stations and 2 from Sector 17.

Senior Fire Officers M. L. Sharma and S. K. Gosain themselves supervised the operation.


Minister’s kin assault cops
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 7
A nephew of the Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries reportedly barged his way into the Phase I police station here late last night and roughed up two night constables there. The trespassers were said to be in an inebriated state and had come from Morinda.

The Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, was not available for comment. The VIP lad, Rajpal Singh, who is said to be working as a Naib Tehsildar at the Commissioner’s office in Patiala and his two associates created a lot of ruckus before they were overpowered by the cops there. The Phase I police has booked them for assaulting a police official and trespassing.

A case under Sections 353 and 186 of the IPC has been registered against them. The suspect, Rajpal Singh, came to the police station along with two other persons, Jaspal Singh Bhatti, a resident of Sector 3-A and Jugrag Singh, a son of the owner of Singh Gun House and a resident of Sector 37 in Chandigarh. One of the youths, Jaspal Singh Bhatti, is said to be involved in a case registered by a former minister in the last Badal government.

The youths, who reportedly had a drinking session at Morinda, came to the police station and asked for the Station House Officer (SHO). The ‘nephew’ went into the room of the SHO and sat on his chair and hurled abuses at the cops there. The bedlam continued till 2 p.m. before they were taken to the local government hospital.



FIELD surveys carried out by the Environment Society of India (ESI) over the years have revealed another area in the south of Chandigarh developed into patch of biodiversity enriching the landscape of the city. The campus of the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) has become a home of several species of flora and fauna. One can see peacocks, hare, quails partridges, butterflies, glow worms, beehives and several species of birds chirping there. These include cuckoos, grey hornbill, buntings, flower-peckers, babblers, tailer birds, fly catchers and parakeet etc.

The IMTECH was set up on a 50-acre area in Sector 39A in 1989. The wild growth was cleared and area levelled in a systematic manner. Several species of native trees were retained during these operations. Ornamental and fruit plants were grown. On the back side of the campus, the problem of some species of snakes arose. The authorities left about 1.5 acre of wild area untouched. This wild growth gave rise to peacock population — from 6 in 1993 to about 60 during this year.

While the rise in peacock population checked the number of snakes in this area, the peacocks became a nuisance for the staff colony inmates. Early in the morning and evening hours, the peacocks sneak into the kitchen gardens, eat away the vegetables and destroy the youngshoots of plants as well. But their beautiful plumage, hop hop flights, loud cries and dances make the residents nature friendly. Thus they overlook their losses.

Tree on the road

Environmentalists and media make a lot of hue and cry when the government or private persons axe down trees (for various reasons!) to an extent they are justified. However, at times it becomes necessary to fell trees for developmental works. The readers must be aware that many a times even temples have been shifted for building dams.

In Sector 49-A, officials who laid a road didn’t dare to fell a mango tree which stands in the middle of the road — probably to escape any possible criticism. Recently a new road from a coming-up colony by advocates joined the road at a right angle.

Now this mango tree (there is another tree adjacent to it) has become problem for the motorists as it is obstructing free movement. Some of the advocates having flats in the colony want the tree to be felled. Of course, they are ready to plant many more trees at suitable places to compensate for the mango trees.

Love letter

Mrs Sushma, a resident of Patiala who won the first prize in the First Global Love Letter Writing Contest, says that she had decided to take part in the contest only after reading a news item in The Tribune on February 19. And therefore, she has written to us to share her joy and happiness.

In a letter she wrote to The Tribune, Mrs Sushma says that the contest was launched by, a website of Rupak Manush of Kolkata who had shot into fame last year. The contest was started on February 14 and was to close on February 28. In the contest a letter was to be written — either to a lover or a terrorist. So she made an entry.

She says that as she searched more about the contest on the internet, she found that BBC World and many international houses had given good coverage to the contest. On the first day of the contest, 130 entries were received. On February 19, The Tribune told her, thousands of entries were received by the organisers. The jury consisted of eminent personalities like known poet and writer, Sunil Gangopadhyaya, Moon Moon Sen, apart from others. It was a tough contest.

On March 10 she remembered that the results were to be declared on March 6. Without much hope but with a lot of curiosity, she opened the website. And she could not believe her eyes when she found that she had won the first prize. Other prizes had gone to entries from Japan, the USA, Germany, UAE, Pakistan and India.

She, however, does not know the contest prizes, which are sponsored by Schefields Pen, Germany. What the prizes are, is still a mystery. An e-mail confirming her winning the first prize had been received from the organisers. First 100 letters are to be published by the website managers in a book.

Calling a spade....

Speakers at seminars organised by their counterpart departments usually speak with extra caution and usually praise the organisers. Very few speakers display the courage to say faithfully what they feel about the subject.

At a seminar organised by the Tourism Department of the Chandigarh Administration, in tandem with CITCO, on April 5 the Chairman and Managing Director of CITCO praised Chandigarh for its architectural beauty, Rock Garden, Lake and above all its cleanliness. They said Chandigarh would soon become a convention city. This would help reduce pressure on Delhi.

Mrs Navraj Sandhu and Mr Sanjay Kumar, Managing Directors of the Haryana Tourism Development Corporation and the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, respectively, asked the organisers a few inconvenient questions. They asked what special facilities the city had to offer to tourists. What would the tourism department offer to tourists from the south? These questions evoked laughter among the audience.

While Mrs Sandhu was very polite in making comments, Mr Sanjay Kumar did not hesitate to speak in a forthright tone.

UK degree

The University of Birmingham (UK) has conferred a degree of Master of Business Administration (public service) on Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, who first educated at Lawrence School, Sanawar, and later passed Senior Cambridge from YPS, Patiala. Mr Grewal was selected by the Government of India from amongst 4000 Indian officers from different all-India services to join the course in Birmingham University for the year 2000-2001. The degree was presented to him by Dr C. Rangarajan, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, at a function organised at Indian Institute of Public Administration in Delhi.

Mr Grewal — who has been appointed as Administrative Member of the PSEB, also holds the charge of Special Secretary, Planning, Punjab — chose Public Finances and Economics as his optional module in the MBA and did his dissertation on “devolution of central taxes to states with specific reference to Punjab”.

Among the seven compulsory modules in the course were Governance and Management, Financial Management and police analysis. He has also served as Economic Advisor to the Punjab Government.

Women’s grievances

The Punjab Backward Classes Land Development Corporation (BACKFINCO) does not seem to bother about the instructions issued by the State Government that women employees should not be asked either to sit late or come to office on Sundays and other holidays.

Seeking anonymity certain women employees complain that even on Saturdays and Sundays they are asked to attend office. Their genuine requests are turned down. Two who are in the family way are also not spared, despite their repeated requests.

The women employees say this problem was even voiced at the last meeting of the Board of Directors. One of the Directors told the meeting that he had also received a number of complaints. The women employees plan to call on the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, one of these days.

If their “genuine” request is still not entertained by the Corporation, the women employees will be forced to echo their problem before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Recruitment rally

The recruitment rally conducted by the Chandigarh Police this week was remarkably different from the preceding ones, if the old guards present there are to be believed. To ensure transparency in the recruitment process, a number of steps were initiated.

The staff deployed for the four-day phase-I of the recruitment rally were rotated among different groups and counters. Entry into the cricket ground in the Police Lines, Sector 26, the venue of the recruitment, was strictly prohibited, with no one other than authorised personnel being allowed in.

The physical measurement process was video-taped in the case of each candidate to counter any wrong claims later on. Besides a mini-computer centre was set up on the grounds to streamline the administrative work. The entire process was carried out under the personal supervision of the DIG, UT, Mr Ajay Kashyap, who was present there throughout.

Projects stalled

With the change of guard in Punjab, the new bureaucratic set-up is looking at the ongoing development works with an eye of suspicion. Some of the development works approved by the bureaucracy during the previous regime are learnt to have been stalled. An officer told Sentinel that some of the ongoing projects in SAS Nagar were “wasteful” expenditure.




Plan to develop Mansa Devi complex
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 7
The state government has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop Mansa Devi temple here on the lines of Tirupati temple and Vaishnodevi Shrine.

The government has agreed in principle to set up a cultural centre in the form of a theme museum on the Mother Goddess, Shakti, and a light-and-sound show here. The concept of the museum is to embody within itself all intellectual, religious and philosophical traditions and ideas relating to the goddess.

It is also proposed to have a library section in the museum, displaying religious and philosophical literature with special reference to the goddess. The Mansa Devi Shrine Board already has a sizeable collection of ancient manuscripts of ancient Sanskrit medieval classics and books on philosophy, religion and occult and oriental studies. This collection will be augmented by procuring copies of all classical and authentic works on Mata Mansa Devi.

The project cost has been estimated at over Rs. 3.5 crore. About 10 acres of land around the shrine is lying unused of this, about two acres has already been identified for developing the museum.

Mansa Devi is one of the old Shakti Peeth, where lakhs of people come to worship Mansa Devi each year. Although this is a sacred place, yet it has a secular dimension. It was thus decided that a cultural centre should be developed here in form of a theme museum to enable visitors and pilgrims to unravel the various aspects of the goddess.

The proposed museum will have two distinct sections of display-heritage section and the mother goddess section. Exhibits of heritage section will include findings highlighting the pre-historic man in India, along with historical and archaeological findings of the Panchkula region-sculptures, paintings and manuscripts.

However, the mother goddess section will be the main attraction of the museum highlighting the evolution of the goddess in India and abroad, Shakti cult, worship traditions, rituals and offerings associated arms and ammunition related with shakti et al. A section dealing with tantricism and Shakti cult will also be set up.

The Chief Administrator of Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, Ms Jyoti Arora stated: “A collection of 57 paintings from the Chandigarh Art Gallery will be collected for their reproduction in a larger-than-original size, to be displayed at the museum. In the first phase, the art gallery depicting these 57 versatile images of the goddess will be created.”

It has been decided to begin restoration and preservation work on the murals inside the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum, before the Navratra Mela starts on April 13. A team of the Archaeological Survey of India had earlier visited the shrine to assess the damage to the paintings that have withered with age and human neglect. This is for the first time that the restoration work in this 200-year-old temple is taking place.

An estimated Rs 1.21 lakh will be spent on restoring these paintings that adorn the outer walls, arches, inner walls and ceilings of the sanctum sanctorum. These murals depict the various legends of Durga Saptshati, Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Krishna Leela.

Besides, a symposium and a workshop on the goddess will be organised here on April 22 and 23 to explore more ideas on the project and enrich the collection of art objects and paintings that would be exhibited.


PUDA pool cold-shouldered
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 7
An eerie silence greets the visitor at the Phase VI swimming pool here. At a time when this year’s swimming season should have already begun, battered tiles on the floor and dirty water at the deep side of the pool are all that is there.

Standard guidelines to be enforced at swimming pools

*Safety rules should be clearly posted and strictly enforced. Water depths should be well-marked on interior walls of the pool and on the deck. “No diving” signs need to be clearly marked in shallow areas on both the walls and deck.

*“No running” rules in the pool area also should be strictly enforced.

*Walking surfaces in pool areas and locker rooms should be slip-resistant, yet present no discomfort to bare feet.

* Life-saving equipment should be easily accessible. A certified lifeguard must be on duty at all times during open hours, and qualified adult supervision should be required for small children. Someone functioning in a supervisory capacity should check on lifeguards periodically, to ensure that they were carrying out their responsibilities effectively.

*The pool should be cleaned regularly and water quality tests should be performed each day.

Reason. After the tragic death, last year of a13-year-old boy of Paragon Senior Secondary School due to drowning here, officials of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) are reluctant to open the pool to the public. Enquires reveal that since the drowning incident, no steps have been taken to rectify the shortcomings at the pool.

Due to the pool remaining dry for long, and the lying were exposed to the vagaries of the weather, the tiles need urgent repair at a number of places bottom at the walls. “The pool was emptied some days after the drowning incident and has not been filled since then”, says a resident of the area. Even the dirty water at the deep end of the pool has not been dried.

Its been eight months, enough time to set things right. The then minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur had visited the house of the victim, Karanbir Singh in Sector 55, Chandigarh and said that steps would be taken to prevent such an incident in the future. An inquiry conducted by an official of PUDA had also suggested ways and means to improve the functioning at the pool. But apparently, neither have “No diving” signs been marked clearly in the shallow area on both the walls and the deck, nor have the safety rules been written and prominently displayed in the precincts.

The Punjab Human Rights Commission has awarded an interim compensation of Rs three lakh to the family of the victim. The victim’s father, Mr Surinder Singh Aujla, said the commission had taken suo motto notice of the incident after the CHB Flats Resident Welfare Association of Sector 55 had made representations at different forums. The commission has fixed April 15, 2002 as the final date for announcing the order. The association has sought that a video camera be fixed at different levels in the pools in the region for timely detection of any mishap.


Challenges to secular policy discussed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
The government of Gujarat came under criticism during discussion on “Challenges to secular policy in India” organised by Janshakti under the auspices of the Servants of the People Society at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15, here today.

Presiding over the discussion, Swami Pitambarananda, secretary, Ramkrishna Mission Ashram, said the basic tenets of human values were destroyed by the Gujarat carnage. He said the education system had failed to provide physical, mental and moral training to people since it was bereft of spiritual values.

Prof Satya Dava warned that quarrels on the basis of caste, religion and race would make people more backward. Prof G.S. Brar, Department of Political Science, Panjab University, criticised the transfer of certain police officers for doing their duty by the Gujarat Government. He also attacked the Congress and Left parties for playing communal card during elections.

The secretary of the Society, Mr Onkar Chand, said the Gujarat police had failed to handle the crisis which engulfed the state. Prof P.P Arya, convener, Janshakti, was of the view that social forces should come forward in Gujarat and take the democratic institutions to grass-root level involving the poor.


Channelling was meant for rainwater only’
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 7
The channelling of Leisure Valley choe here, which carries a heavy discharge of rain water, was never designed to carry sullage of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. The procedure of stone pitching with grouting had been adopted to check erosion of banks of the choe, said an official of the Public Health wing.

In late eighties, the then housing board had consulted renowned engineers to protect houses around the choe from being damaged during the rainy season. In 1991, on the advice of late Mr L.S. Passi, a known engineer who was then with the Union Ministry of Surface Transport, the decision on channeling the choe was taken.

The work on channelling the choe was executed in phases during the tenure of different officials of the housing board and the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). The official said at least 19 acres of prime land had been reclaimed and the bed of the choe had been restricted to a small area due to channelling. Dry stone pitching with wire grades was done to allow recharging of the ground water.

Experts say that the choe was never designed to carry sullage, which has now become a source of nuisance for the residents of the area.


Road without lights causing deaths
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 7
The absence of streetlights on the busy road dividing Sectors 49 and 50 in Chandigarh is resulting in fatal accidents. The residents of Phase X here lament that deaths are due to darkness on the road.

The only time the lights work is when an international match is to be held at PCA Stadium, recalls Mr T.S. Teer, president of the Residents Welfare Association of Phase X. He points out that streetlights had been out of order for the past three years.

Various representations to the Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) and officials of other departments of the Chandigarh Administration have failed to yield results. Enquiries reveal that a 47-year-old person, Bhajan Singh, and 28-year-old Ravinder Singh had died in accidents on the road. The association has urged the MCC to repair the lights at the earliest.


CTCC holds ‘sadbhavna rally’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) held a rally through main areas and markets of Mani Majra here today to re-affirm Indian society’s faith in secular values.

The rally was the 11th in the series of rallies organised on the direction of the All-India Congress Committee after violent incidents took place in Gujarat.

The rally was led by the CTCC president, Mr B.B. Bahl, and attended by the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, Deputy Mayor, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr D.V. Manchanda, Mr Mohmmed Sadiq, Maulvi Shakeel Ahmed, Ms Sulochana Ahuja and Ms Kulwant Dhaliwal.

The “sadbhavna” programmes will end on April 13. The party had earlier decided not to raise any slogans and to convey the message through banners and placards.


Sikh values eroding’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
A serious multi-dimensional programme was the need of the hour to prevent the citadels of Sikhism from erosion. This was highlighted at a seminar organised by the Sikh Educational Society at Guru Gobind Singh College here today.

Principal Bharpur Singh while introducing the subject, said a forum was to ponder over the problem. 


Car thieves held
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 7
The police yesterday arrested members of a gang of car thieves. A green Maruti car, suspected to have been stolen from Chandigarh, has been recovered from the thieves.

Though no police official was available for confirmation, according to information available, the traffic police signalled the Maruti car, bearing temporary registration no CH-01-T-0338, to stop at the Phase 8 traffic lights. While one of the occupants of the car, said to be Avtar Singh, was showing the registration documents, the other two persons sitting in the car drove away and brought the car to Dhiman Autos in Industrial Area, Phase 2, Panchkula. They left saying that they would be back in some time and gave their mobile phone number.

In the meantime, the owner of the auto repair shop, Jeetinder, rang up on the mobile phone number given to him by the two persons, but the call accidentally landed with a cop trailing the thieves. The cops asked the garage owner to hold back the occupants of the car when they come to get their vehicle. In the ensuing moments when one of the suspects, Bablu, living in Sector 19 of Panchkula, came to get the vehicle, the cops pounced upon him. The Panchkula police was, however, not aware of the arrests.

The vehicle and suspects were taken to the Phase 8 police station. The police has registered a case under Section 411 of the IPC against Bablu, one of the suspects.


Kumhar Colony resident stabbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
A resident of Kumhar Colony, Vinod Kumar, was reportedly stabbed by a resident of the same colony. He has been admitted to the Sector 16, General Hospital. According to the police, the assailant, Vicky, was involved in a dispute with his neighbour, Ram Garib, over a drain flowing near their tenement. When Vinod intervened to prevent them from fighting, he was stabbed in the abdomen by Vicky. The accused is absconding. Police has registered a case.

Bicycles stolen

In separate incidents, two persons were caught red-handed while trying to steal bicycles from various parts of the city. A resident of Ropar, Mohan Singh was caught red-handed by Anil Kumar while the former was trying to steal his bicycle from Sector 46.

In the second incident, a resident of Moradabad, Suraj Pal, was caught red-handed by Mahi Pal while the former was trying to steal his bicycle from the Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra. The accused were handed over to the police, who have arrested them and registered separate cases against them.

Bootlegger held

Police has arrested a rickshaw-puller from Sector 11, Dinesh Kumar, and recovered 39 pouches of whisky and seven pouches of gin from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Cyclists injured

Two persons were injured after their bicycle was knocked down by a Maruti car near the Sector 4-5-8-9 chowk. The injured have been identified as Nachhttar Pal Singh, a resident of Yamunanagar and Santosh, a resident of Garhi Koth near Panchkula. They have been admitted to the PGI. A case has been registered.

Fraudsters booked

Police has booked two persons operating from a Sector 34 office, for allegedly duping several persons on the pretext of sending them abroad. A resident of Ropar, Ranjit Singh, had complained that the accused collected Rs 4.28 lakh from 12 persons with the promise to send them to Kuwait, but they did not fulfil their promise nor returned their money. Police has registered a case of cheating and conspiracy.

Van stolen

A Sector-46 resident, Rahul Kohli, has reported that a Maruti van (CH-01-Q-5384) has been stolen from his residence. Police has registered a case.


Banks directed to provide new currency notes
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 7
The Regional Director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Mr Surendra Kumar, today asked the banks in the public and the private sector to provide new currency notes in place of used or soiled currency notes to their customers. He was speaking at the opening of an extension counter of the Bank of Rajasthan Ltd at Sanjay Public School in Sector 71 here.

Mr Kumar said it was the duty of the bank employees to sort out the old currency notes. ‘‘If any bank was found providing old currency notes then the customers could complain to the RBI,’’ he said, adding that the banking sector was undergoing a big change. From social banking the emphasis had changed to customer service now. In coming days, the banks would become financial super markets and with facilities like e-banking, the customer could transfer money sitting in their homes.

Dr KM Bhattacharaya, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Rajasthan Ltd, said the institution had tied up with the Infosys for technological upgradation in its centres. He said after passing through a financial crisis, the business handled by the bank during the year ending March 31,2002, was Rs 6500 crore. Mr Vinod Juneja, Executive Director, Mr Niraj Tyal, Chairman, Mr SN Sharma, Deputy General Manager and Mr SC Maheshwari, Assistant General Manager, were among those who spoke on the occasion.

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