Wednesday, April 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Congress rejects proposal to increase sewerage cess
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Frustrated by the Chandigarh Administration’s failure to “honour its reported commitment of providing matching grants” against resources generated by the Municipal Corporation, the Congress has hit back, rejecting the proposal of three-time increase in the sewerage cess.

The Congress, which leads the Water and Sewerage Committee of the Municipal Corporation, chaired by its member, Mr Kuldeep Singh, decided not to increase rates despite agreeing, in principle, to generate resources for improvement of the sewerage treatment arrangements.

The Congress rejection has come within days of the Municipal Corporation losing hope of getting budgeted grant of Rs 86 crore with the Administration sanctioning a Rs 18.28 crore quarterly grant to the corporation. The grant was sanctioned this week.

The grant, one-fourth of the approved annual grant of Rs 73.14 against a demand of Rs 86 crore, has been transferred to the Treasury Department and the Municipal Corporation, will get the funds transferred to its account in couple of days, sources said.

With less grants coming to the corporation, the Congress strategy of immediately providing service and facility to the city against 2 per cent house tax and paid parking, is likely to go haywire resulting in the party taking an intransigent stand on future resource generation measures.

The Congress had taken a pragmatic view on resource generation but felt deceived by the Chandigarh Administration, party sources told Chandigarh Tribune.

With the first quarterly installment coming to the corporation, hopes of nearly halted developmental work for almost four months getting going in the immediate future, will be realised but at a reduced pace and in less number. This is what may be troubling the Congress which had hopes of starting development work with the beginning of the fiscal 2002-2003 to make up for almost no work during the last three months of its regime in the Corporation due to dried up resources in the absence of poor resource mobilisation by its predecessor, the BJP.

The Congress leader in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla, expressed his dismay at the Administration’s attitude saying the rejection of increase in rates today was due to the Administration’s failure to provide matching grants promised in no uncertain terms while the party agreed to impose property tax. Corporation officials also indicated that there were very thin chances of grants getting increased in the end as in the case of last year because those grants were given against liabilities towards employees.

Mr Chawla said if the city lacked development the Administration would be held guilty for reducing the grant by almost Rs 13 crore despite councillors showing courage by accepting the challenge of resource generation. The Congress-Administration bonhomie as part of a development strategy seemed threatened as the promises were not kept, Congress sources said.

Panel boots the hike as well

The Water and Sewerage Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh rejected the proposal for a three-time increase in the sewerage cess on the pattern of SAS Nagar, here today. With it, the MC has virtually lost all hope for mopping up about Rs 2 crore for augmenting its sewerage-treatment facility.

The committee did not approve the increase in sewerage cess from Rs 5 to Rs 15 per toilet seat per month for domestic users and Rs 15 to Rs 30 per toilet seat per month for commercial users, on the pattern of SAS Nagar. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked Punjab, Haryana and the UT Administration to take steps to check the flow of untreated water into rivers by augmenting the sewerage-treatment plants. The committee plans to visit a site near Golf Course and Sukhna Lake day after tomorrow to approve the setting up of a Rs 18.57 lakh storm-water-drainage system there.

A Congress councillor, Mr Subhash Chawla, criticised the MC officials for their reported statement that there was no choice but to increase the water-supply charges in view of the Rs 11 crore loss in water supply in one year. The Superintending Engineer of Public Health said he had not said anything about any planned increase in the water-supply charges.

The committee also disapproved of the Rs 1.7 lakh expenditure on buying six air-conditioners which had not been brought to the notice of the House. The committee, however, approved the building of road gullies in Daddu Majra Colony, Grain Market, Transport Nagar, Sector 38, Sector 20 and Sector 18, besides several other places. This will cost the MC about Rs 15 lakh.

It also approved a Rs 2.3 lakh expenditure on having storm-water-drainage system in Slaughter House. The other expenditures that were cleared included Rs 1.72 lakh for Terrace Garden and Rs 5 lakh for letter-house-type road gullies in eight parks of Mordern Housing Complex.

Nine agenda items, mostly related to the maintenance of tubewells, were put off till the next meeting of the committee. The committee sought a detailed report on the age of each such tubewell and whether it was abandoned or non-functional. It also sought a report on the performance of these tubewells in terms of the MGD units and whether the output was as per the specifications or not.



Poisonous ‘burfi’ kills 2 kids
Our Correspondent

Lalru, April 9
Two children, aged five and three, died under mysterious circumstances after they allegedly consumed some poisonous sweets in Chaundheri village, about 5 km from here, late last night. Two pet dogs of the family also died after licking the foamy substance regurgitated by one of the kids.

Relatives of the deceased said Nisha (5) and Akash (3) had consumed a piece of ‘burfi’ each which was given to them by their father Mr Ajaib Singh, on Monday at about 7.15 pm. After consuming it the children complained of dizziness. Within few minutes they started vomiting and foamy substance came out of their mouths. On this the family members got suspicious and both children were taken to a clinic at Lalru. As the condition of the children worsened, both were taken to Ambala City.

Both were admitted to a private nursing home in a critical stage where Akash, younger of the two, breathed his last. His sister, Nisha, despite being administered an antidote, died after a night-long struggle this morning.

Mr Gurmej Singh, uncle of the deceased, said his brother Ajaib Singh, a labourer, had bought 500 gm of ‘burfi’ from Ganesh Sweets Shop located in Lalru mandi. On reaching home, he distributed these between Nisha and Akash. After consuming the ‘burfi’ Nisha’s health started deteriorating and she started vomiting. Akash did not vomit, but a foamy substance started coming out of his mouth, he said.

The Lalru police has taken the remaining sweet for chemical examination. The shop from where Mr Ajaib Singh had purchased the burfi has been sealed. The police has detained workers of the shop, while its owner Vinod Kumar is said to be out of station.

Mr Karan Sher Singh, SHO, Lalru, said bodies had been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for postmortem examination.

Case would be registered only after the test reports confirmed the cause of deaths, the SHO added.



PGI Dean’s selection today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Governing Body of the PGI is meeting tomorrow in New Delhi to consider the names of five professors for appointment to the post of the Dean.

According to a reply filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the PGI’s counsel, the names that are being considered for the post include (not in the order of seniority) those of the Head of the Department of Endocrinology, Prof R.J. Dash; the Head of the Department of Cytology, Prof Subhash K. Gupta; the Head of the Department of Radiodiagnosis, Dr Sudha Suri; and the Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Dr Sarla Goplalan. The name of a former dean, Dr O.N. Nagi, is also being considered, according to sources.

Even though the meeting is to be held tomorrow, the result will not be declared then, following the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard. A Division Bench of the High Court directed the institute here today to continue with the process of selecting the Dean and ordered it not to declare the result yet.

The Bench comprising Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice N.K. Sud also preponed the date of the hearing of the case to April 25. Earlier, in her application, Dr Sudha Suri had said the appointment of Dr O.N. Nagi to the post had been quashed and the competent authority was likely to consider the appointment issue afresh.

She had said that, since there was a dispute on the seniority of the petitioner and another respondent, the result of the selection should be kept a secret as long as the writ petition was pending.



Students feel the heat in PU Library
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Students at the Panjab University library here today had to suffer as power supply to the library remained suspended for over seven hours.

Students said there was no electricity in the library since afternoon. In fact, a sizeable number of them assembled on the road outside the library late in the evening. A group of students, led by Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Students Union, assembled to move to the residence of the Vice-Chancellor to lodge their protest.

Mr Kang said that air-conditioners of the library did not give the required service to students and the need was felt all the more with summers round the corner. The university should have reacted immediately about the power failure and made alternative arrangements in view of the forthcoming examination.

He sought a permanent solution to the problem in case of any emergency.



Unauthorised markets killing authorised ones
Sunil Kumar
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 9
With the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) turning a blind eye to the misuse of residential premises, more and more owners of strategically located houses, especially those facing main markets and main roads, are putting their houses to commercial use.

In some of the phases of the town, residential lanes opposite main markets have turned into mini markets. The misuse is more rampant in case of flats and built-up houses allotted by PUDA.

PUDA rules specifically prohibit the commercial use of residential premises, but nobody seems to bother about such restrictions. A residential premises that may not fetch its owner more than Rs 2,000 per month as rent, when converted into a commercial site, can fetch up to Rs 8,000 or even more.

Hundreds of shops are functioning from residential premises in Phase XI here. Residential blocks (HIG houses) opposite the Community Centre and those across the road (LIG and MIG houses) wear the look of mini commercial centres. People have constructed small shops in the courtyards of their houses (upto four in many cases). These shops are available at anything between Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500 per month each.

When one such shopkeeper, who has built three such shops in the courtyard of his corner house, was asked about the future of these shops, he said there was no reason to worry as whatever happened would happen to all. “There are so many shops and I am not the only one who has done so” he said. While these unauthorised shops are doing good business, the condition of the SCF owners of the area is bad.

They complained that due to these unauthorised shops, there was hardly any customer at their shops. “If one can get everything from a shop in the neighbourhood, why would he or she walk up to these SCFs?” they said.

According to them, they had bought these commercial sites in auctions by paying huge amounts to PUDA ( about Rs 40 lakh or so for an SCF) and have to pay an instalment of about Rs 12 lakh every year, but with little income now, their business was in dire straits. Moreover, if there was any delay in payment of instalments, they had to the pay penalty and interest. “How does PUDA expect us to pay instalments, when we don’t even have any earning from these shops and that, too, because of PUDA’s inaction against these illegal shops,” they said.

“We have given several representations to PUDA, but nothing has been done so far. When PUDA allots us these commercial sites after charging so much of money, we should have the exclusive right to run shops in the area and PUDA should ensure that we are not divested of our right at least due to its own negligence,” said Mr Lal Chand, a chemist.

“When I bought an SCF here, I was hopeful that investing here would not be a bad idea as the area was thickly populated, but all my hopes have been belied. As there was no customer, I closed my shop and put up a ‘to-let’ board, but nobody is ready to take these shops on rent. You can see a number of the SCFs with ‘to-let’ boards here, the reason is obvious,” said another SCF owner.

“We are a ruined lot, our massive investment in these shops has gone down the drain,” said Mr Balwinder Singh, a cloth merchant.

The misuse of residential premises is on the rise in other phases also.

A full-fledged unauthorised market is functioning in Phase IX here. In the residential lane opposite main market, people have replaced rear walls of their houses with shutters and are using the rooms as shops. As the rents of these shops are less than the rents for the SCO and booth sites in the main market, there is no dearth of takers for these shops. There are about 25 such shops in a single row facing the main market here. These shops give the look of a busy market.

Hairdressing saloons, grocery shops, STD booths, music stores, photo studios, dairies, sweetshops, electrical repair shops, bookshops and even auto repair shops are functioning from residential premises.

These shopkeepers have extended their businesses even to the footpaths and road berms. They are using footpaths to display their wares. Some of the shopkeepers have put up wooden cabins on the footpath to add to their income by catering to the STD users. High-pitched music from cassette shops and rattling sound from auto-repair shops make matters worse. Vehicles parked in front of these shops, especially the auto-repair shops, create traffic problems for neighbours.

“Our business is adversely affected due the presence of these unauthorised shops. On several occasions, we have brought this matter to the notice of PUDA, but nothing has been done, so far, to check this menace. Few years ago, notices were served on some of the violators, but the situation has only worsened,” said Mr Jaspal Singh, president of the Market Welfare Committee of Phase IX.

The misuse of residential premises can be noticed in almost every other phase of the town. Will PUDA ever wake up and do something.



Overbridge opening postponed again
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 9
In what may be called a game of political oneupmanship between the Congress and the BJP, the inauguration of the overbridge on the busy Chandigarh -Ambala highway has been postponed for the third time.

The bridge over the railway line was readied four months ago but awaits a VIP to open it.

The first inauguration was scheduled for April 5. It was re-scheduled for April 8 and then for April 10. Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh was to be the chief guest, while the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Surface Transport , Maj-Gen B.C. Khanduri (retd) was to open the bridge formally.

Sources said the Union Minister’s programme was cancelled. Meanwhile, the angle of a political game emerging from the whole episode is not being ruled out. The bridge was sanctioned and built by the Central Government when its NDA alliance partner Prakash Singh Badal was Chief Minister in Punjab. With a change in the political leadership, things are reportedly not going smoothly.

Vehicles continue to take a 5-km detour through narrow bylanes and a railway crossing. Traffic jams are common even as the first bridge in Punjab that has been constructed on build operate and transfer (BOT) basis is ready but not being used.



PGI governing body meets today
Decision on ad hoc service may benefit many
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
PGI’s Governing Body which meets in New Delhi tomorrow to appoint the PGI Dean is also likely to consider another important matter which would be affecting the service conditions of the entire PGI faculty who have put in any ad hoc service before being regularised in their particular positions.

The matter, to be taken up at the behest of Mr Suresh Chandel, MP and member of the GB, would be a major welfare measure leading to the much needed improvement in service conditions of the PGI faculty. The basis of the issue is a two-page representation prepared by 40 assistant professors addressed to the GB to count their ad hoc service for the purpose of promotion.

The case of these assistant professors assumes significance since 4 PGI faculty members have resigned from the Institute in a period of two months and the levels of discontentment of junior faculty members with the Institute has reached a new high.

Dr Puneet Verma, Assistant Professor, Department of Cardiology, who left PGI’s service today was one such assistant professor. He resigned last month. Dr A Banerjee of the same department also resigned a fortnight back leaving the department with a meager faculty of two people. Dr R Muralidharan of the Department of Endocrinology has also resigned while Dr Ashok Sharma of the Department of Ophthalmology resigned in February.

The representation given by these assistant professors states that their ad hoc service ranging from one year to six years should be regularized. They claim that they have had to serve in an ad hoc capacity for so long because the PGI had not made any regular appointments during this period for various reasons which included a large number of litigations the PGI faculty was involved in against the PGI. Their appointment letters too had stated that their ad hoc services would not count for the purpose of seniority or promotion.

Dr Ram Samujh, Dr Sanjiv Handa and Dr Archana Sood had also filed a civil writ petition requesting that their ad hoc services be counted, but the same was dismissed for being contrary to rules.

The representation thus petitions to the GB that their case be given special consideration so that their service put in can be regularised and that they also be given benefits of their ad hoc service for promotion purposes.

Among the other things which are going to come up for discussion at the GB meeting include a report on the functioning of the Vigilance cell of the PGI for the last two years. This report was prepared at the behest of Mr Suresh Chandel.

The GB will also be considering some of the agenda items which were deferred in the last governing body meeting. These include creation of new faculty positions in some of the PGI’s existing departments and for the upcoming Bone Marrow Transplant Centre. The new courses in pharmacology to be started at NIPER by the PGI will also come up for discussion in the GB.

The downgradation of the post of the Senior Medical Officer in the PGI emergency to that of a Medical Officer is also likely to receive a go ahead during tomorrow’s GB.



Poor lighting in garages poses problems for residents
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, April 9
The Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra, having a population of nearly 20,000 and built by the Chandigarh Housing Board about a decade ago is plagued by a plethora of problems. A major problem is unsafe garages in the multi-storeyed complex, involving nearly 2300 four-storeyed flats, where the absence of any proper lighting system has resulted in total darkness. None of the three authorities — Chandigarh Housing Board, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, and UT Electricity Department — wants to own responsibility for the maintenance of the lights installed here.

There exist four categories (I, II III and IV) of houses here. While the first two are provided with car garages, the remaining two have scooter garages. The garages meant for four wheelers are situated on the rear side of various blocks.

For the past few years, tubelights in these garage lanes are not functional thus leaving more chances of thefts, burglaries. In each 100-yard lane of garages, there is a provision of nearly 10 to 12 points for providing lighting, but in 90 per cent of these garages lanes lights are out of order. Few residents have at their own expenses installed some tubelights, but these are minimal in number.

Theft incidents have increased over the year. In February, jeweller of Shivalik Enclave, Mani Majra, who had just arrived after day’s work to his residence, was first beaten up along with his son and later the burglars had tried to loot valuables in the cover of darkness.

In another case, a housewife Suman was robbed of her gold chain near there garages. She was returning to her house after shopping. She was accompanied by her two children.

According to Mr Anurag Sharma, an executive whenever he comes late from his office (say around 8 p.m.), there is always a fear in his mind, whether it would be safe to park his car in the garage at that very time or not. Most of the residents have even now started parking their vehicles in front of their flats. This has resulted in more loneliness in the garage lanes.

Ms Sukhpreet who lives in duplex independent houses, says in order to walk down to the main market around 7 p.m., they prefer to go via category I garages’ lane. But while returning it becomes difficult to take the same route as there is total darkness in that area. So they prefer to take a longer route while returning home.

Mr A.K. Chawla, another resident, said these garages have become dens of anti-social elements. Boys of nearby localities resort to drugs in these lanes.

The Category I Residents Welfare Association representatives have time and again urged the authorities concerned to install tubelights in each lane. But the three authorities in the city have never coordinated well to solve their problem, claims Paramveer.



Displaced villagers demand reservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Pind Bachao Committee, a body of villagers who were ousted to make way for establishing Chandigarh, has demanded reservation in jobs in the Police Department and also other wings of the Chandigarh Administration on compassionate grounds. The committee says it will be like an alternate profession to be taken as rehabilitation in lieu of loss of their ancestral professions which were lost for ever at the time of displacement.

The applicants who have applied for jobs in the Police Department be given preference under a special quota. Similar special quotas were given to oustees of the Bhakra Dam and other big projects.

The Pind Bachao Committee said several of the applicants were the actual undeclared original domiciles of the erstwhile uprooted villages of Chandigarh who had not even been declared oustees but had enough education to be eligible. This is in spite of the sufferings having thrust upon them due to the displacements of their houses, villages and professions.


Coloniser denies selling plots twice
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 9
Reacting to a news item published in Chandigarh Tribune today Mr Prem Chand Singla, managing director of Shalimar Enclave Colony, located in Dhakauli village, near here, has alleged that members of the Shalimar Enclave Welfare Society and the land owners from whom he had purchased land were blackmailing him.

He said he had lodged an FIR under Sections 420, 406, 452, 342, 427, 382, 379, 323, 148 and 149, IPC, against Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh and Mr Ranjit Singh, actual owners of the land. And now they had started instigating some plot holders against him.

He, however, said the sizes and shapes of plots in the previous PUDA-approved map (licence LDC/2000/67) were reduced on the demand of investors. The investors would be allotted plots after according the new map that had been submitted to PUDA for approval. Mr Singla also denied sale of plots twice.



Tax-payers honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Former Advocate-General of Punjab and Haryana Manmohan Lal Sarin, and Mr Gurmeet Singh, proprietor of the Gurmeet Singh and Company, of the city were honoured by the Income Tax Department for their tax contribution to the national exchequer.

They are the only city residents from amongst the 16 awardees of the Rashtriya Samman and Aykar Samman for the highest income tax payers of the region.

The honours were given by Mr Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay, Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Information Technology.

The honours were conferred upon them for their performance during the past five years before the assessment year 1998-99.

Mr Mukhopadhyay hinted that the income tax provisions of the current year budget, considered to be harsh on the salaried class, were being reviewed in the wake of protests from people.

He said “we can hope for the best” when asked what is happening to the review of the tax provisions on the salaried class. The final decision has to be taken by Parliament and the Finance Minister, he added.

Mr Mukhopadhyay defended the budget provisions, saying changes in the provisions would not affect the lower income group amongst the salaried.

The board member said the department had set a target of 6 crore assesses by the year 2005 along with complete computerisation of income tax administration within two years.

The Chief Commissioner, Chandigarh, Mr S.C. Grover, the Chief Commissioner, Panchkula, Ms Hardeep Kaur, were among those who participated in the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sarin said that he had recieved the honour on behalf of all sincere and honest tax payers of the country who are contributing to nation building.

Mr O. P. Munjal of Hero Cycles said the company has a history of five decades of tax payment and rapport with the Income Tax Department.

He suggested changes in income tax to stop harassment of people by bringing the latest world standards of accounting, absence of which was resulting in unnecessary surveys in companies. Outdated accounting norms in the Income Tax Act are working to dry up transfer of resources to the social sector, he added.

Mr Anil Vohra, an awardee pilot of the Czeck Republic and earning Rs 37 lakh salary per annum, said the salaried just cannot evade tax if the source of income was only one.



Attack on scribes condemned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Governing Council of the Chandigarh Press Club today took serious view of the recent incident in Ahmedabad in which journalists on duty were assaulted. “The incident was viewed as a direct assault on democracy, especially on the freedom of the Press by retrogressive and reductionist forces,” said Mr Sarabjit Pandher, President of the club.

He said the Governing Council adopted a unanimous resolution condemning the declining level of tolerance, especially against voice of dissent. While the Chandigarh Press Club expressed solidarity with its journalistic fraternity in Gujarat, it emphasised that it would resort to every peaceful and democratic mode of agitation to uphold the right to expression.



CTCC rally against attack on journalists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) here today decided to organise a rally from Ram Darbar to the main parts of the city on April 11 to protest against the alleged attacks on journalists in Gujarat.

The rally will be led by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the CTCC President, Mr B.B. Bahl, and will be attended by senior leaders, including councillors.



Dharna by vendors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Sector-26 Subji Mandi Rehri-Phari Union here today sat on a dharna to protest against the alleged harassment of rehri-phariwallahs.

Leaders of the union, Mr Chandrabhushan, Mr Raja Papaji and Mr Shyam Sunder Arora, threatened to rope in associations of this section at the national level to launch a stir.

They threatened to fill jails to check the alleged high-handedness of the Administration in alleged violations of the High Court order. Representatives of UP Bihar Members Union also expressed their support to the cause of rehri-phariwallahs.



Probe ordered
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 9
The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, has marked an inquiry into an alleged incident of preventing certain scribes from entering the Phase 8 police station here today.

The scribes had gone there to perform their official duty.

The scribes lamented that an ASI and a head constable prevented them from clicking pictures of a person involved in a case of assault.



Killing of Hindus condemned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha here today condemned the killing of nine Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir and criticised the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, for failure to protect the minorities in the state.

The morcha president, Mr Satinder Singh, and its general secretary, Mr Shakti Prakash Devshali, issued a joint statement condemning the killings.



National Survey Day today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The north-western headquarters of the Survey of India will celebrate the National Survey Day here tomorrow.

The Survey office will display latest techniques of photogrammetric survey and digitisation in map making.

Experts will deliver lectures on the world of map making, latest techniques and their importance.

The Survey office in Sector-32 A, Dakshin Marg, will be kept open for the public. 



SCOs not covered by PSEB order

THE Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), vide Memo No.11420/12170/SSM268, January 24, 2002, has decided to release more than one connection on the same premises for domestic supply consumers keeping in view the genuine problems of the consumers and for giving independent supply to tenants by landlords to avoid disputes.

The non-residential supply consumers of shop-cum-office/shop-cum-flat have not been covered by the said order whereas the same problems are being faced by the owners/tenants of SCO/SCF. It would be a benevolent act on the part of the PSEB authorities if necessary orders are also issued for the release of more than one connection, i.e. floorwise in SCO/SCF for commercial consumers.

The PSEB will also be benefited to the tune of lakhs of rupees by way of security deposits and ACD charges which it levies at the time of releasing a new connection.


Polio not eradicated

Reports say India is still not polio-free. Attempts to eradicate polio by December 31, 2000, did not meet with success for various reasons. Polio cases continue to be reported from many states. Uttar Pradesh seems to be the worst hit. Even assuming that the total number of polio cases reported by states during 2001 is true, there has been only a marginal decline in the incidence of the disease compared with the previous year, i.e. 2000.

It is well known that the morbidity statistics in this country are quantitatively and qualitatively poor as the disease surveillance system at various levels still remains imperfect. Consequently, chances are that a fairly good number of cases of various diseases, including polio, remain undetected altogether or detected and reported late, further delaying effective intervention to stop the transmission of polio. In all probability, this situation is helping to sustain the polio infection in many states even now. For the same reason, the disease reports in respect of polio from the states showing ‘zero case’ throughout the year may have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

It is therefore imperative that the authorities concerned further strengthen and activate the disease surveillance system for polio especially at the peripheral level if further transmission of polio infection is to be stopped expeditiously.

It is also felt that after having a series of intensive pulse polio immunisation rounds in the past few years, the entire emphasis now should be shifted again to the routine immunisation activity so that even a single new born baby does not miss administration of the potent oral polio vaccine (OPV). This is essential for attaining and sustaining the hard immunity level till the disease is completely eradicated throughout the world.

Unless complacency, which seems to have set in the campaign against polio in some states, is checked, India is not likely to achieve the polio-free status even by 2005, as envisaged now.

Dr S.S. SOOCH, Jalandhar

Lions’ population

Our authorities seem to be very much concerned about the rise in the population of lions in the Chhat Bir Zoo. The number of lions has just increased to 78 (including 18 operated male lions). The zoo management is in the fourth phase of the vasectomy drive.

However, no one seems to be bothered about the steady increase in the human population. Our population, having crossed the one billion mark, is now bursting at the seams. For sheer political reasons, our governments — at the Centre and in the states — are not thinking of any sterilisation drive to check the population explosion. Ironically, while the authorities boldly and courageously sterilise lions, who do not constitute the vote banks, they timidly ignore the most vital issue of human population control. Are we waiting for our country to become a big zoo before any preventive measure is taken to contain population?




One killed in car-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
A resident of a village, Ranjit Singh was killed and his brother-in-law, Varinder Singh, injured when their car collided with an unidentified truck near Kansal village today. The incident occurred this morning while the car was turning on to the main road from a kutcha track. The truck driver sped away.

According to the police, Ranjit Singh died on the way to the Sector 16 General Hospital. Varinder has been admitted to hospital, while his son, Karam Singh, who was also travelling in the car, escaped unhurt. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304, IPS has been registered in the Sector 3 police station.

Stove burst
A 32-year-old resident of Mani Majra, Renu, received burn injuries after an oil stove burst while she was working in her kitchen. She has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Liquor seized
The local police has arrested a resident of Mohali, Imran Khan, from Ram Darbar and seized 24 pouches of liquor from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Car mishap
A resident of Sector 45, Vijay Kumar, received minor injuries after his Indica car was hit by a Honda City car near the Industrial Area. The police has arrested the Honda City car driver, Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Sector 44 and registered a case.

A resident of Sector 40, Anil Kumar has reported that his car was stopped by a resident of Palsora and two others near the Sectors 37-38-40-41 chowk, and he was assaulted by them. The accused then ran away from the spot. The police has registered a case.

Theft cases
Sector 37 resident Charan Singh has reported that his house was broken into and three wooden doors, three wooden windows, two ceiling fans and a table fan have been stolen. The police has registered a case.

A resident of Budlada near Ropar, Aman Goel has reported that his Maruti car (HR-61-Q-4422) has been stolen from Sector 17. The police has registered a case.

Sector 21 resident Varinder Singh has reported that the stereo of his car, parked at his residence, has been stolen. The police has registered a case.


The Sector 21 residence of Mr Tomar was reportedly broken into by miscreants, while he was out of station. The burglary was reported today when the neighbours found the front door of the house open.

The entire house was ransacked. Mr Tomar, who arrived here late in the evening, said that there was no cash or jewellery in the house. He has, however, submitted a complaint to the police.



Exhibition of sarees
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 9
Bugli’s Creation, a well-known name for designer suits and sarees, is holding an exhibition of hand-painted sarees and suits which will be inaugurated at Hotel Aroma in Sector 22 here tomorrow.

The entire collection with floral and other geometric and floral patterns done with acremine dyes on cotton is meant for summer wear.

Bugli’s Creations take inspiration from the nature.

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