Sunday, April 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Robbers attack family, injure 4
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 13
An armed gang of robbers attacked and seriously injured four members of a family, including a woman and her teenage son, in Nabha village, around 2 km from here, late last night.

Armed with sharp-edged weapons, iron rods, sticks and batons, the robbers reportedly entered a house in the village at around 1.30 am. One of them scaled on to the terrace of the house. Others used an iron ladder to reach the terrace.

They forced into a room on the terrace and attacked Baba Prem Das who was asleep there. His grandson, Trilochan Singh, who was also asleep in the same room, got afraid and bolted the door from inside as soon as they left the room. Baba was taken to the ground floor where his son Randhir Singh, his daughter-in-law Binder and second grandson Gurvinder were sleeping.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Trilochan Singh (13), an eyewitness, said as soon as they reached the room in which his parents were asleep along with Gurvinder Singh, the robbers started hacking them on their heads and upper parts of their bodies with iron rods and sticks.

Four members of the family sustained head injuries and fell unconscious, he added.

‘‘I switched on a sound system lying in the room and started making announcements. Terrified, I could not make first few announcements clearly. But I somehow managed to raise an alarm,’’ recalled Trilochan Singh.

Hearing the alarm, villagers converged on the cottage premises. Subsequently, the robbers fled in the dark leaving behind the injured — Baba Prem Das, Randhir Singh, Binder and Gurvinder Singh (15).

The village sarpanch, Mr Ram Singh, reached the spot and the police was summoned. Villagers arranged vehicles and took Binder and Gurvinder Singh to the PGI, Chandigarh, while Baba Prem Das and Randhir Singh were taken to the Government Medical Collage and Hospital, Sector 32. A visit to the site revealed that the room where the victims were asleep was ransacked and blood stains were found on bed sheets and floor.

Later, Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, DSP, Rajpura, along with Mr Ajay Pal Singh, SHO, Banur, reached the spot and a team of forensic experts was pressed into service.

Meanwhile, a case under Sections 458 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. No arrest has been made so far.



Devotees throng Mansa Devi Temple
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
Town and Country Planning and Urban Estate Minister Dhirpal Singh performed ‘pooja’ at the ancient temple of Sri Mata Mansa Devi on the first day of the ‘Navratra Mela’ and sought the ‘Devi’s’ blessings.

The minister extended a hearty welcome to all devotees here. He said that the Haryana government was providing all basic facilities to the pilgrims.

The Commissioner and Secretary, Urban Development, Mr Manik Sonewane; HUDA Administrator Arun Kumar Gupta; DC Jyoti Arora; ADC S.K. Goyal; SP Charu Bali; CTM Mr Rajesh Jogpal and SDM M.S. Yadav were present during the ‘pooja’ and ‘havan’ ceremony.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that as many as 40,000 people visited the temple today. Devotees came from different places in Punjab, Haryana and even from Himachal Pradesh. In fact, devotees had begun queuing at the temple from 2 am.

The administration has made adequate arrangements during the mela. Temporary dispensaries have been set up to provide medical facilities to the pilgrims. Bus services from places like Ambala, Kalka, Naraingarh, Pinjore, nearby towns and from Chandigarh have been started. A number of taps and five water tankers have been provided for drinking water and all eatables are being provided at a retail price. An information cell has also been set up by the Public Relations Department for the public.

In order to maintain law and order, the Superintendent of Police, Ms Charu Bali, said five day-and-night visions and five metal detectors had been installed in the precincts of the temple, where the stalls have been set up. She said that 15 police nakas have also been set up with sufficient cops at each naka. Nine patrolling parties have also been deployed and a transit Police Line has been set up.



Overbridge inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 13
Commuters heaved a sigh of relief as the railway overbridge near here on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway was thrown open to the public after being inaugurated by the oldest worker of the construction company today. Mr Ghu Ram, a 70-year-old worker, got the honour of cutting the ribbon.

The overbridge was opened following directions from a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court had yesterday directed the Punjab Public Works Department to throw open the bridge for the convenience of thousands of commuters.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, Chief Engineer of National Highways, Public Works Department, Punjab, Mr Satnam Singh, Superintending Engineer of Central Works Circle, Punjab Public Works Department (B and R), and other employees of the department were also present on the occasion.

As soon as the inaugural function was over, the chaos that earlier used to be witnessed on the link roads — Bhankharpur-Mubarikpur-Dera Bassi and Bhankharpur-Issapur-Dera Bassi and vice versa — are no more.

Following is the toll to cross the bridge.

*Car / jeep/tempo Rs 10

*Bus/truck Rs 25

*Multi-axle vehicle, cranes Rs 30

*Tractor with trailer Rs 25

*Two wheelers/Cycle/tractor without trailer/ Defence vehicles/ambulance hospital vans/ vehicles with National Flag atop Free 

*Daily commuters in four-wheelers Monthly pass



PUDA mum over lifting ban on plots’ transfer
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 13
Considerations other than professional seem to be weighing heavily on the minds of certain employees in the local estate office of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

A significant order on lifting the ban on the sale and purchase of discretionary quota (DQ) plots which concerns hundreds of plot holders is being kept a closely guarded secret by employees concerned in the estate office. Only real estate agents are “benefiting” from the order by purchasing the discretionary quota plots in a “clandestine” manner.

The discretionary quota plots, located mainly in developed Sectors 64, 65, 70 and 71 of this township, attract a premium in the real estate market. The strength of such plots in Sector 70 alone is around 100. Sources in the estate office reveal that anticipating a premium on the plots, some of the property dealers entered into deals with owners of the DQ plots before the news of the lifting of the ban on transfer of plots allotted up to May 22, 1996, spread in the market.

While queries of public on the transfer of the plots are returned by the employees pleading ignorance, investigations by TNS reveal that some of the resourceful real estate agents picked up plots from the market and are waiting for their prices to pick up. A number of owners of such plots were unaware of the development.

The sources confirmed that in the last week of March, the Chief Administrator of PUDA had clarified on the issue to the Additional Chief Administrators and the Estate Officers in all urban estates. Information gathered by TNS revealed that the high court in a civil writ petition in year 1996 had directed the state to furnish details of residential and commercial plots allotted under the discretionary quota during the past 10 years. It was also directed that none of the allottee or their transferee would transfer such plots without court orders.

In pursuance of the orders dated September 2, 1996, PUDA issued directives staying the transfer of plots allotted out of the discretionary quota. It was clearly stated that no transfer of plots could be permitted allotted during the period of 10 years from January 1, 1986, to August 17, 1996. The ban did not cover the plots allotted before January 1, 1986.

Now the high court in an order passed on January 31, 2002, modified the interim order of May, 1996, through which the stay against the transfer and alienation of the plots were applicable to allotments made after May 22, 1996, and not prior to that date. 


*In the light of a recent public notice of PUDA asking plots owners to execute the conveyance deed wherein the full cost of the respective plot had been paid, the discretionary plot — for which full payment has been made — owners will have to shell out the fee of conveyance deed, which is 6 per cent of the allotment price of a plot.

* The discretionary plots on which the ban of transfer has been lifted were allotted before June, 1996, and the full payments had to be made within a period of three/four years.



Water flow: easy come, easy go
Tribune News Service

Solution of the future

Engineers admit that the only way to solve the long term requirement of water in Chandigarh was to go ahead with the proposal of building a canal which would supply water from Ganguwal in Ropar district. This would not require pumping. The canal can supply upto 200 MGD of water. It can also meet the needs of Chandigarh and also Panchkula and S.A.S. Nagar.

Chandigarh, April 13
It is going to be a thirsty summer for city residents as water will be in short supply by about 25 per cent of the requirement. In the months of May and June, the city, excluding Mani Majra, needs about 95 million gallons a day (MGD). The supply from all sources will be about 68 MGD.

So be ready for dry taps even as the Municipal Corporation is girding itself up to meet the water challenge. The city, by national standards too, is a water guzzler. Chief Engineer, MC, Mr V.K. Bhardawaj, accepts the fact that he and his team will not be able to meet all expectations, as the MC can supply only what it available. The boosting capacity of the motors has been increased in waterworks of Sectors 32 and 26, respectively. Now water supply will go up to the upper floors in peak of summer also, he claimed.

The pumping from the Bhakra Main Line near Kajauli brings in about 60 MGD of water. Out of this 7.50 MGD is for Punjab. Another 1.50 MGD is for Haryana. About 3 MGD is line losses. Thus 48 MGD is what the city actually gets from the Bhakra canal.

Another 20 MGD is available through tubewells. This takes up the total to 68 MGD. Interestingly about 9 MGD is consumed in labour colonies or slum colonies alone. This is the known amount consumed. Since all slum colonies are located in low lying areas, water is mostly drawn illegally. In some cases, public taps are left open and water flows waste.

Meanwhile, on the supply front, the MC has had a meeting with Punjab authorities. In this, it was decided that pumping of water from Kajauli will start at 2.30 a.m instead of 3.30 am. This will enable filling of huge overhead tanks located in various places in the city much earlier than now. If the problem of low water pressure persists, pumping from Kajauli can start earlier also.

The MC nets Rs 27 crore annually by way of bill collection. Rs 11 crore is the annual power bill for the motors in Kajauli. Another Rs 13 crore is the power bill of the tubewells. And sources about Rs 17 crore is spent on staff wages. This takes the total expenditure to Rs 41 crore. So supplying water is a losing proposition after all.



HC backlog up as judges’ strength falls
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The backlog of cases is likely to go up with the rising shortage of judges in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The number of judges has already decreased from 30 to 26 with the retirement of Mr Justice S.S. Sudhalkar and the transfer of another judge to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Two more judges will retire later this year decreasing the number to 24. Another judge is expected to be elevated as the Chief Justice of a High Court. The sanctioned strength is 40.

According to highly placed sources in the High Court, the problem of pendency would have been largely solved with the appointment of seven members of the Bar as judges, but till date nothing has been confirmed. Sources add that their names had been recommended for appointment, but had been referred back to the High Court for comment. The file, sources further add, had now been sent back to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice and the matter was likely to be delayed by another two months.

The shortage is not only forcing the over-burdened judges to work till late in the afternoon, it has also resulted in an increase in the backlog. Sources claim that civil cases dating back to the mid-80s are pending, while criminal appeals against acquittals are pending since mid-90s.

This is not all. As per a report released by the Press Information Bureau last year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had the second highest number of dowry death cases after Rajasthan in the country. As many as 842 cases were awaiting disposal when the report was released in June 2001.

In an attempt to bring down the number of pending cases, the High Court, had earlier recommended the constitution of a special cell to chalk out a programme to list old cases on a priority basis. A committee of three judges had also suggested that “two officers of Punjab and Haryana Superior Judicial Service may be appointed for the purpose”.

The committee had also suggested that the cases pending before the subordinate courts, in which the High Court had issued stay orders, “may be listed for hearing on a priority basis before all Benches on Fridays”. Two Benches could be left out of the process for deciding urgent bail matters after hearing the arguments, the committee had further suggested.

It had also requested the judges “not to give fresh dates for Fridays so that the old cases could be taken up for hearing”. The authorities had also been directed to prepare “a consolidated list of cases in which proceedings had been stayed by the High Court, but cases were still pending before the subordinate courts”.



Baisakhi celebrated with enthusiasm
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 13
Festival of Baisakhi was celebrated with enthusiasm in the city here today. ‘Shabad kirtan’ programmes were organised at various gurdwaras in the city. ‘Chhabeels’ and langars’ were also organised.

The Servants of the People Society organised a health mela and camp for the promotion of ayurveda and homoeopathy in the gurdwara at Khuda Lahora. The camp was organised in collaboration with SOSVA and Youth Sports and Welfare Club of the village. The Chandigarh branch of the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants celebrated the festival by flying kites at the regulator end of the Sukhna lake.

The Mata Tripta Ji Charitable Trust organised a blood donation camp at Sector 38 gurdwara. In a press note, Mr Arvinderjit Singh, chief trustee of the trust, said 103 units of blood were collected at the camp. Huge crowd of devotees was seen at the Sector 34 gurdwara.

Celebrations at ISKCON

The local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised ‘Glorification Day’ of its founder spiritual master A.C. Bhakti Vedant Swami Srila Prabhupada as a part of Baisakhi and New Year celebration, at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today. According to Akinchan Priya Dasa Prabhu, hundreds of devotees thronged the temple on this occasion. Amidst recitation of Vedic mantras and kirtan, the programme began with the ‘mahabhisheka’ of Srila Prabhupada by ISKCON devotees followed by glorification of the spiritual master. Main attraction of the programme was a play by children depicting the childhood pastime of Srila Prabhupada. One thousand eight dishes prepared by the foodgrain derived from new corn were also offered to Srila Prabhupada and the same were distributed among those present on the occasion.


“Shabad kirtan” at bedecked gurdwaras greeted devotees on the festival of Baisakhi in the township here today. Devotees thronged different gurdwaras to offer prayers. Special ‘ragi jathas’ recited religious hymns at the gurdwara in Phase 1, 3B-1 and 8. A religious film ‘Amar Khalsa’ was screened at Bibi Bhani Gurdwara, Phase 7. The Mohali Club organised a cultural programme to celebrate Baisakhi. The celebrations began with painting and fancy dress competitions. In the evening, a DJ entertained the members of the club. The contest winners were given prizes by the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Suresh Kumar. A function was organised by Golden Bells Public School. Speeches on the importance of Baisakhi and a bhangra performance marked the celebrations at Gilly Flower School, Sector 70. A picnic to nearby rural areas was also organised for schoolchildren.


Thousands of devotees visited Nadha Sahib Gurdwara on the occasion of Baisakhi here today . People from surrounding areas in Punjab and Chandigarh visited the gurdwara to pay obeisance on the first day of the New Year, according to the Hindu calendar.

A number of ‘dhadi jathas’ and ‘kirtani jathas’ had arrived here. A ‘langar’ was also organised for the devotees.

In Pinjore, a large number of devotees took a holy dip in Bhimkund, located near Pracheen Shiv Mandir in Dhara Mandal.



From the world of miniature plants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Japanese surely did well to raise the status of bonsai to a perfect living art. Thanks to them, world is increasingly indulging in the art, not just to fill empty moments but also to consciously fight stress. Only recently, a survey conducted in America confirmed that indulgence in the art served to secure one’s peace of mind. And quite naturally so. With all their beauty and ornamentation, the bonsai charm the viewer, so much so that he is easily led into learning the art.

A visit to the Snack Shop in Sector 17, which is the venue for the third bonsai show by the local Bonsai Club, only confirms this observation. Filling the space of the venue are over 180 specimens of the art, which originated in China but developed in Japan. Laced with beauty and technique, the bonsai of various styles create an atmosphere of bliss and peace.

Right at the entrance stands the lavish and exuberant group or forest style bonsai that represent the artiste’s urge to create woodlands, groves and forests in a tiny pot, which may be even as small as one inch tall. The miniatures have been created with such precision that minus the area they occupy, they actually create the illusion of massive woodland. Some which present the root-over-rock style are all the more appealing. Adorning this section are a host of plants like arocaria, jungle jalebi, peepal, madhumalti, ficus benjamina and many more.

Interestingly, this time Cactus Garden, Panchkula, has also participated in the exhibition, with 12 entries in various styles. Among the other styles, which are rather demure in the area they span, are duranta verigata, the dwarf eucalyptus, cryptomania japonica and others.

Apart from being rooted to beauty, the show is also informative as it presents specimens of various varieties of bonsai like the informal upright style or tachiki, the root-over-rock style, the exposed root style, the formal upright style.

The other beautiful varieties come from the cascade or the wind sweep style wherein the pant appears to be taking the direction of the wind, with all its branches hanging loose towards one plane. Specimens in the raft style are equally enchanting. They appear to be moving along with water in the water bodies. Then there are twin trunk and semi-cascade varieties.

Managed largely by Mr Anil Kaushik, the Bonsai Club seeks consultation from Dr J.S. Sarkaria. Still in its fledgling state, the Bonsai Club is gaining ground in the city with its membership becoming stronger with every year. As for bonsai, the training involves creation of a very old tree in a shallow pot. As informed by Mr Kaushik, “Anyone with a little background in horticulture and a basic aesthetic sense can create a bonsai.”



Farm mechanisation gets major credit support
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Despite farm mechanisation in Punjab having reached a saturation point, the activity continues to be one of the major sectors for credit support from the banks. According to observations by Nabard, the total credit requirement for activities under farm mechanisation (on the basis of potential credit linked plans) will be Rs 847.80 crore for the year 2002-03. This would include a major amount for tractor financing, amounting to Rs 693.64 crore. However, the scope for financing new tractors is confined mostly for replacement of tractors.

Statistics show that the disbursement for farm mechanisation in the state by various credit agencies has been a major sector for financing, but stagnant for the past almost four years. The refinance disbursed during 1998-99 was Rs 133.05 crore , Rs 1522.57 crore for the year 1999-2000 and Rs 155.40 crore for 2000-01. This has been mainly due to the fact that the state has achieved a saturation point for farm mechanisation, according to observations by Nabard.

According to the analysis by the bank, farmers in the state have adopted farm mechanisation for fast growth of agriculture, leading to increased production. This has helped to increase cropping intensity, diversification of agriculture, better usage of available irrigation facilities, timely sowing and harvesting and transportation of inputs to the fields. This has helped the farmers to get better prices for their products as they can easily access the nearest market outlets.

The credit requirement on the basis of Potential Linked Credit Plans for different districts for 2002-02 will be Rs 99.89 crore (22,985 units) for threshers, Rs 22.80 crore (306 units) for combine harvesters, Rs 17.35 crore (2,690 units) for trolleys, Rs 12.12 crore (990 units) for power tillers and Rs 693.64 crore (29,465 units) for tractors.

As per the feedback received during studies on utilisation of tractors by the farmers, it has been observed that the average use of tractors per annum is much below the minimum 1,000 hours of productive use in agriculture including custom hiring. This is leading to over capitalisation of farm mechanisation and the capital is under-utilised due to decrease in farm size.

The study on farm mechanisation status by the bank, emphasises on the need to strengthen pre-appraisal exercise by the bank field staff and assessment of genuine requirements of the farmers taking into account the land under cultivation and the scope for custom hiring.

As per the policy decisions by nabard, in addition to the models of combine harvesters, commercially tested CFMTTI, MP, the models by NRFMTTI, Hisar and Department of Industries , Punjab would be eligible to be covered under Nabard's refinance facility.

The stipulation regarding compulsory registration in respect of combine harvesters financed by banks has also been withdrawn and the re-finance support for tractors above 50 HP restricted to a maximum five per cent of the allocation of each state.



8 city cops to join UN mission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Eight Chandigarh Police officials have been included in the Indian contingent scheduled to join for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. A total of 13 candidates had been short-listed by the local authorities for final selection at New Delhi.

Those selected include Inspectors A S Jaggi, Baljit Chaddha and Inderjeet Singh, Sub- Inspectors Baljit Singh, Charanjit Singh, Umrao Singh, Dilbagh Singh and Naseeb Singh. Among these, A.S. Jaggi and Baljit Chaddha have already served with the UN mission in Bosnia earlier.

The shortlisted candidates had gone to Delhi last week to appear for tests and interviews for final selection. They will be leaving for their assignment next month.



City lad joins British Army
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Sachin Handa, a 23-year-old city lad, has made it to the British Army.

Sachin, a resident of Sector 45, had gone to Britain about eight months ago on a study visa. He has a bachelor's degree in computer applications. Before leaving for the United Kingdom he was working with a leading company selling Xerox machines here.

His father, Mr D.R. Handa, is an Assistant Audit Officer in the office of Accountant General Punjab and his mother is an employee of Markfed.

At present, Sachin is undergoing training at the 1 (training ) Squadron Royal Signals. The squadron is an army training regiment based in Hertfordshire. At present he is in the phase one of military training. The second phase will be the specialist trade training. His present training includes handling and firing of weapons, nuclear, chemical and biological weapon protection drill.



Cleanliness drive by Sector 43-B residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
On a call given by the Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 43-B, Chandigarh, residents in large number today participated in the Cleanliness Drive launched by the Association. Residents of all ages including women and children, came out in the early hours of the morning and cleaned the parks in the Sector and removed polythene bags and garbage. The Association has started the cleanliness drive in the Sector to spread the message that it was the collective responsibility of the residents and Administration to keep the City Beautiful clean. Encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the residents, the Association has decided to make it a regular feature according to the Secretary of the Society, Mr S.P Sood.



Tax collection via nationalised banks
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
The Government of Haryana has allowed the municipal council, it to collect house tax and fire tax bills from the residents through nationalised banks. Earlier, the bills were collected through the Cooperative Bank or at a counter set up in the MC office

The MC has opened accounts at three branches of Punjab National Bank at Sector 4, 5 and 12-A and Indian Overseas Bank, Sector 4. So far, a sum of Rs 1.90 crore has been collected as house tax and fire tax.



Club function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The installation ceremony of the new team of the Chandigarh Press Club governing body will be held on April 15 at 7.30 p.m.

According to Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, president of the club, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will be the chief guest on the occasion. He said cultural programme would be presented by renowned artistes. Eatables would be available at subsidised rates to members. However, no guest would be allowed.



Overbridge a Baisakhi gift

I am very happy that the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday gave a Baisakhi gift to commuters on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway by directing the Punjab Government to open the overbridge built at Dera Bassi. Its inauguration was postponed repeatedly in the past three months. Obviously, the authorities concerned did not have any valid reasons for the postponement all along. This is sickening because the powers that be did not seem to be bothered about the problems of daily commuters, patients, students and office-goers.

The high court has rightly noted that patients in dire need of medical attention rushing to Chandigarh from all over the region, were unable to reach the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in time due to frequent traffic jams. Equally important is the fact that, as Mr Justice G.S. Sanghvi, has noted in his ruling, the authorities’ failure to inaugurate the overbridge was also resulting in the wastage of precious fuel. Mr Justice Sanghvi said every vehicle was burning substantial amount of petrol, which could have been saved had the overbridge been thrown open earlier.

Originally, the bridge should have been opened for public on January 14, 2002. Subsequently, it was postponed to January 26, February 14 and March 11. Had the high court not ordered the authorities to open the bridge on Saturday, to coincide with Baisakhi, the inauguration would have been postponed again.

Politics is eating into the vitals of our society. It is also encroaching on the common man’s rights and privileges. If reports were to bear scrutiny, the authorities were facing the problem of getting a VVIP for inaugurating the overbridge. If this was actually the reason for the postponement, it proved the authorities’ lopsided priorities. If they were finding it difficult to fix a date to suit the convenience of the so-called VVIP, why didn’t they get it inaugurated by a common commuter — the real beneficiary and the one who has been facing its heat in the past.

If this formula was not acceptable to the authorities, why didn’t they just open it earlier, followed by a formal inauguration as and when the so-called VVIP was available? The authorities perhaps are ignorant of the fact that a similar exercise was done earlier in the case of the overbridge over choe near Marble Market in Chandigarh.

I am also happy to know that an old labourer engaged in the construction of the overbridge under the build-and-operate system, was selected for inaugurating the ridge by cutting the ceremonial ribbon on the Bhankarpur side of the bridge.


Welcome campaign

The Chandigarh Administration’s decision to spread awareness about burning dry leaves and pollution it creates is welcome. Certainly, if leaves are not burnt, it will help reduce air pollution. However, this should not be confined to Chandigarh alone. Such campaigns are also necessary in important cities like Delhi where smog during December-January delays many international and domestic flights, leading to the loss of thousands of working hours in addition to causing inconvenience to many people.

A more serious threat to air pollution comes from the burning of rubber and old tyres by roadside mechanics and most of the automobile mechanics almost at every service station in winter months. They release carcinogens apart from the irritants that cause bronchitis and asthma. The authorities should ban this practice as well.

Engine oil after an oil change and insecticides like DDT should be disposed of in a proper way and not just thrown on the ground or down the drain. Our ground water is already very polluted. Schools should undertake the responsibility of educating students about all these practices, just as a concerted campaign is carried out by them to avoid burning crackers and fireworks during Divali and save precious money. Similarly, people should also prefer electric cremations rather than burning jungle wood causing pollution and deforestation.

MANDEEP SINGH, St Indianapolis (USA)

Burning of leaves

This has reference to the report “Sweeper suspended for burning leaves” (April 3). I wonder why only one sweeper has been suspended for allegedly burning leaves in violation of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s pre-autumn instructions as the entire Chandigarh appeared to be burning for some time. If the Municipal Commissioner just drives through V-3 roads, especially the one dividing Sectors 33 and 34, he would find evidence of what has happened. The burnt leaves’ ashes are still lying there.

If the burning of leaves and garbage dumped near the garbage bins warrant punishment, why suspend sweepers alone? There is a supervisor over every group of 10-15 sweepers and quite a number of inspectors responsible for the areas allocated to them. Why action should not be taken against the supervisory staff for dereliction of duty? Probably the authorities will move only after some resident lodges an FIR in this regard.




Slick depiction of underworld
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

“Company” (Jagat and KC, Panchkula) is a nicely presented slickly edited copy of the turmoil in the Indian underworld with its roots primarily in Mumbai. The script is tight and characters are very diligently crafted.

The script does not contain Bollywood masala of don movies. It is almost a documentation of facts with a dexterous addition of impressive screen faces that suit the presentation. Ram Gopal Verma in the director’s chair shows that he is different and good. Vivek Oberoi has made an very impressive entry and makes a strong impression against another ably suited Ajay Devgan.

The reality of the underworld is shocking but the shock neatly carries the impact of making an artistic impression. The supporting cast too is simple and melts into the intrinsic beauty of the story. Rajpal Yadav, Akash Khurana, Isha Kopikar and Harsh Chhaya have made memorable contributions.

The film opens with Vivek, a strong-willed rebel, joining Ajay in his underworld missions. The entire work has police support till Mohan Lal takes over as the new commissioner. The “company” escapes abroad and establishes international business.

Differences emerge between the two because of the difference in their style of functioning. Ajay will kill anything that errs while the human heart rules supreme in Vivek. Both have to part ways and the gang war starts between the two with threats to eliminate each other.

Seema Biswas in the role of the mother and Antara Mali as Vivek’s wife are impressive. Manisha Koirala has a small but creditable role.

One repeated image in the movie is the negative use that mobile communication was being put to. The bell ringing continuously throughout the movie is a strong reaction. The settings of the world of crime are in Kenya, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore (all of which feature in relation to the escapades of the Indian underworld) besides Mumbai.

Boney Kapoor and Ashwini Dutt have produced the film. Jaideep Sahni has scripted the story; Hemant Chaturvedi is the cinematographer; Allan Amin has directed the action; and Ganesh Hegde is the choreographer.

“Vadh” (Nirman) features the lone crusader Nana Patekar in a challenging role of a psychiatrist. An unusual role set in lavish settings, however, demanded greater care in screen presentation.

Puru Raj Kumar, Anupama Verma, Meghna Kothari, Nakhul Vaid and Raju Mavani support the lead.

Nida Fazli has written lyrics to the music set by Vishal Sekhar. Dilip Dhanwani is the producer.



Woman duped of Rs 4.95 lakh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
A woman was duped by a couple of Rs 4. 95 lakh on the pretext of getting her a gas agency in her handicapped daughter’s name.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC, Ms Jyoti Sharma, a resident of Sector 11, has accused Ms Seema Sharma and her husband, Mr Sunil Sharma, of defrauding her. She has alleged that they had promised to use their clout in order to get a gas agency allotted in her handicapped daughter’s name.

They had reportedly taken the money in separate installments from April 2000 to January 2001. However, they neither returned the money, nor was a gas agency allotted to the complainant.

Six injured
As many as six persons were injured in two separate accidents during the past 24 hours. While five persons travelling in a truck- (HYJ- 5692), Chattar Pal, Nikka Ram, Munna, Rabyana and Manoj were injured when the truck overtuned near Paploha, a four-year-old girl was injured when she was hit by a gypsy ( CH-01L- 4048) near Majri chowk.

Mr Ratan Chand, a resident of Sector 4, has alleged that his house was burgled and valuables worth thousands of rupees stolen, while he was out-of-station since April 8.

PO arrested
The local police has arrested Devan Chand, a proclaimed offender since 1990 from Faridabad. He had been accused of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.

Ranbir Singh has accused a local resident, Bhagwan Singh of having duped him of Rs 1.5 lakh on the pretext of getting his brother a job in the Haryana Police. While the accused later returned Rs 70,000, he failed to return the remaining sum of Rs 80,000.


Trespassers arrested
The local police has arrested two persons for allegedly trespassing into the residence of Vijay Kumar in Sector 38 and assaulting and threatening him. The accused have been identified as Khuamohan Singh, a resident of Sector 22 and Rajeev Sharma, a resident of Sector 38-West. They have been booked under Sections 452, 506, 323 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

One held
A resident of Kumhar Colony, Nathu, was arrested for reportedly entering into a house belonging to Alok Sharma in Sector 28 with the alleged intention to commit theft. A case has been registered against him.

Cyclist injured
A resident of Sector 23, Gabar Singh was injured after his bicycle was knocked down by a Maruti van near the Sector 15-16 crossing. He has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. A case has been registered.

Car stolen
Sector 21 resident Suresh Kumar has reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-L-4687) was stolen from Sector 22. Police has registered a case.

Cash stolen
Sector 21 resident Bharat Bhushan has reported that cash amounting to Rs 20,000 was stolen from his car, parked at his residence. A case has been registered.

Manager assaulted
The personnel manager of Drish shoes in Panchkula, Naresh Nangia, has reported that he was allegedly assaulted by some employees when he was going to his office today. He has alleged that three workers, Om Parkash, Ram Naresh and Prem Kaur lay down on the road near the gate and did not allow him to proceed. When he objected, they assaulted him. There is a dispute between the management and the workers, which is pending before the Labour Court. The workers were protesting against bonds which they were made to sign.


Booked for assault
The local police has booked some contractors of Mandi Gobindgarh for allegedly assaulting two contractors of Bathinda during an auction of scrap at the 220 KV sub station in Phase 7, Industrial Area here last Wednesday. After investigating, the police has registered a case under Sections 148, 149, 323, 341 and 506 of the IPC. Rajan Mittal and Krishan Kumar, both from Bathinda, were bidding during an auction of iron and conveyor belts scrap and quoted a price of Rs 60 per kg. One of the victims, Rajan Mittal, alleged that a Superintending Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) who was conducting the auction, accepted a lower bid of Rs 44 per kg from the contractors of Mandi Gobindgarh. This led to commotion between the two parties. The PSEB watched the entire drama without doing anything and the police had to intervene.



Rice bran oil introduced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
AP Solvex, a 100-crore company has come out with Ricela — the country’s first branded refined rice bran oil. The company, which has its plant at Dhuri in Sangrur district, has developed a special process (patent applied in India) for refining rice bran oil. “Ricela has a fat profile closest to the recommendations by various studies at the international level”, said Mr A.P. Sharma, Chairman, Ricela.

He said, not only is the PUFA content much lower in rice bran oil compared to other oils, it also has a higher cholesterol reduction power than even the PUFA rich oils due to presence of a unique component, oryzanol”. Various studies in India and abroad have proved that using rice bran oil as a cooking medium could significantly reduce bad cholesterol without adversely affecting the good cholesterol, he said.

Explaining other properties of the oil, Mr Sharma said that Tocotrienols, which are found in rice bran oil are also known to have anti-cancer, anti-ageing and anti-thombotic properties. The favourite cooking medium of the Japanese and known as ‘Heart Oil’ in Japan, rice bran oil has the unique ability to reduce harmful cholesterol level upto 30 per cent without reducing good cholesterol that protects against heart attacks, said he. He said that foods fried in rice bran oil had exhibited better flavor and odor stability at elevated storage temperatures. The oil also has more vitamins than any other cooking oil available in the market and retains those vitamins even at high temperatures.

Explaining the production process, he said that crude rice bran oil is obtained by processing rice bran by solvent extraction process, which is further processed by vegetable oil refinery to produce refined rice bran oil for edible purposes.

On the status of rice bran oil market in India, he said India is the second largest producer of rice bran (China being the first). While the current production of rice bran oil in India is estimated at 5,00,000 tonnes per annum, out of which 3,50,000 to 4,00,000 tonne is of edible grade, there is a potential to produce about one million tonne of rice bran oil from about 120 million tonnes of paddy per annum, he said. The company has introduced this oil in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir.




Baisakhi celebrated

Farmer’s hyper market celebrated Baisakhi on Saturday. As part of the celebrations, a lucky draw was held and a bumper prize of 1.5-ton air conditioner was won by Tejasvi Verma. This was stated by Mr Rupinder Singh Guron, managing director of the store. TNS


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