Thursday, April 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Demolition squad faces mob fury, 7 hurt
1,500 illegal jhuggis razed to ground
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A major demolition drive by a team of the UT Enforcement Department to demolish 1,500 illegal jhuggis in Colony No 5, a slum located south of Sector 44, turned violent when a 400-strong mob of colony dwellers started pelting stones injuring at least six police personnel and an employee of the Municipal Corporation.

The mob also set on fire a private motorcycle of a policeman on duty and several cycle-rickshaws besides damaging a vehicle of the Fire Brigade. Till late at night the police had rounded up 15 slum dwellers for rioting.

The police fired tear-gas shells and reported to cane charge to disperse the violent mob. The stone pelting started at around 6 pm while the enforcement wing was carrying out demolition in the eastern side of the colony. Residents of the colony started by burning tyres and erected road blockades on the outer Dakshin Marg and stopped traffic. The stone pelting was so severe that at one stage, the police had to run for cover. However, 12 tear gas shells were fired and lathi charge by the cops send the violent mob back to the slum.

The police officials present on the spot said the attack by the colony residents was unexpected. Mr Gynesh Bharti, SDM (South), who was supervising the demolition drive said the drive was going on “peacefully” when the attack was started suddenly. These people had been encroaching on government land. The land has been allotted to the Co-operative Housing Societies and another portion of the land has to be used to widen the existing outer Dakshin Marg. Notices had been served to these jhuggi dwellers, officials said.

An additional police force of about 100 policemen will be posted in the area through the night. This will be led by a DSP level official. Mr S.C. Sagar, DSP (South), said the force deployment would continue in the night also.

In the eight-hour long demolition drive in the city’s biggest slum 1,500 illegal jhuggies, about 200 small commercial establishments like kiryana shops, pan shops, shops selling bamboo poles and cycles repair shops were demolished. These were situated along the outer Dakshin Marg.

The drive started around 9 a.m. under a heavy police bandobast. Source said the action had been pending since long and the area had been under encroachment for the past few years.

The societies have been pressing upon the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Housing Board to give them physical occupation of the land. This was not possible till all such encroachments were removed.


Costly equipment lying unused
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Costly electrical equipment collectively valued at crores of rupees is lying unused for the past several months in an obscure store of the Engineering Department in Sector 31 and also in a storeroom located opposite the mortuary of the Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32.

A team of the Central Vigilance Department (CVC) today conducted intensive checking of the two important works of the Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32 as part of its drive to bring about accountability in public spending. The CVC team will be here for three days till April 19. A confidential report will be sent to the UT Administration if anything is found wrong. The CVC had sent specific information to the Chandigarh Administration that it would be checking the entire work of installation of generators in GMCH as well as the electrification work of block ‘C’ of the hospital, sources told The Tribune. A separate inspection was carried out to check another work in the PGI.

The equipment is meant for the GMCH, however, no one knows when it will be used and why this equipment was purchased in advance by using public money. In some cases it was purchased about 18 months ahead of schedule.

The Tribune team found that equipment which has been lying unused for a long time included various sizes of power cables, top quality GEC Alsthom transformers, top of the end vacuum circuit breakers and air circuit breakers. Besides this LT panels through which power supply is routed are also lying locked for the past one year in a store room of the GMCH Sector 32.

About 35 rolls of cables, each having a length of 250 meters and collectively valued at about Rs 60 lakh are lying in an open area fenced by just a barbed wire. The stock includes 400 mm cable which is in short supply otherwise. Some of the cable rolls are as old as one year, a source told The Tribune while adding that the no one knows when the entire stock will be used.

Two transformers supplied by GEC Alsthom are lying in the Sector 31 office of the Sub Divisional Officer. Both have been covered with polythene. Two other transformers are lying in the Sector 32 store. Each transformer is valued at about Rs 4 lakh. The Sector 32 store also has six vacuum circuit breakers each of which is valued at Rs 3 lakh. Several air circuit breakers, each valued close to Rs 1 lakh are also lying unused. These circuit breakers are to prevent any damage to the power supply system in case of a fault. Another piece of equipment lying unused for the past 18 months is LT panel worth Rs 22 lakh. It is through these panels that power supply is routed in underground supply systems.

Interestingly, the works targetted by the CVC for inspection of installation of five generators had just been completed. The generators were also purchased several months ago and were lying unused. A source pointed out that equipment was purchased in a rush about 18 months ago under grab of speeding up the process of constructing the GMCH.


USA stopping terrorist infiltration into India: envoy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert D. Blackwill, said here today that evidence with regard to the implementation of the promises made by the Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, in his January speech was “ambiguous at the moment”.

General Musharraf made a “very remarkable speech” in which he expressed his determination not to allow the Pakistani soil to be used for terrorist activities directed against any country, Mr Blackwill noted. It was a “wide ranging and ambitious speech”. But the evidence with regard its implementation so far had been ambiguous.

Mr Blackwill was speaking at an interaction with media persons at a meet-the-press programme hosted by the Chandigarh Press Club. The US Ambassador was asked as to how could anyone believe promises made by the Pakistani President when innocent people were dying every day in terrorist blasts in Kashmir.

Mr Blackwill said he was grieved to learn about the death of three persons and injury to several others in a bomb last in Srinagar yesterday. But there was only way to describe it: terrorism.

About how serious General Musharraf was with regard to the implementation of his promises to stop terrorism, Mr Blackwill said, “We do not have a definite answer right now as regards the implementation of the promises made by General Musharraf in this regard. But we will have a much more informed view in this regard within a few months time when the snow on the passes in Kashmir begins to melt and infiltration starts from the west... ”

Mr Blackwill emphasised that the US President and other top US leaders were doing every thing possible to ensure that the infiltration of terrorists into India from the neighbouring country stopped.

He said that the use of violence for political or ideological purposes against innocent people was terrorism. “There is no other way to describe it.” It was terrorism at work at the World Trade Center in the USA on September 11, and later at the J and K Assembly and the Indian Parliament House.

He said the USA and India were together in the forefront of the global fight against terrorism. He was conscious of the fact that the fight against terrorism would be a long one. He said that the USA knew that Osama bin Laden was somewhere in Pakistan. “But we do not know exactly where he is. If and when we do, we will visit him.”

Mr Blackwill also regretted the communal violence in Gujarat and hoped that peace and amity would restored soon in that state.

The US envoy said that he had introduced many reforms with regard to the issuance of visas to Indians intending to visit the USA and as a result, delays had been cut down drastically.

“The family connections between the United States and Punjab are evident everyday at the consular section of the US Embassy in New Delhi. Punjabis were among the first Indians I met upon my arrival in India when I entered my Embassy through the consular section. It was then that I decided that one of my first official acts would be to ensure that the visa process at the Embassy would reflect the transformation of US-India relations. The visa process is, after all, the most common experience any Indian has with the United States before they visit my country.

“I am proud to inform you that today no one needs to stand in a long queue to obtain a visa; each applicant has a fixed appointment. Many applicants need not even go through an interview. They can use the Internet or deposit their applications with a travel agent or in a convenient drop box. And no applicant must return to the Embassy to collect his or her passport. Those are returned directly to their homes via a courier pass-back system.

“I have visited many of India’s regions during the past eight months, but this is my first official visit to the Punjab. My travels have a concrete purpose: President Bush named me his Ambassador to India and I cannot fulfill his instructions by looking out at your country from my office in New Delhi. No one who knows India recommends staying in New Delhi to learn about India.

“I left Delhi via train, my favourite mode of travel. As I watched the city and suburbs slip by, I entertained a curious sense of arrival rather than of departure. Upon some reflection, I realised that it was the sight of the fields through the compartment window that projected a feeling of welcome for me. You see, as the son and grandson of American wheat farmers, I can never feel but completely at home with the land.

“Coming from a family of farmers, I know that any nation’s fortune is inextricably linked to its agricultural production. Across the globe the Punjab is known as “the granary of India.” I believe that it is no ordinary achievement that with only 1.5 per cent of the total geographical area of the country, Punjab contributes over 64 per cent of India’s wheat and 42 per cent of its rice. The Punjab’s productivity is testimony to one of the most industrious farming communities in the world.

“Since my arrival in Chandigarh, I have also found that Punjabis are as open and welcoming as their land. The hospitality extended to my wife and me has been exemplary. Punjabis, of course, are also well known for their entrepreneurial spirit. It is this spirit of drive and innovation that led many Punjabis to become some of the first immigrants from South Asia to the USA.

“After visiting Chandigarh, the seat of the Government of Punjab, I will be travelling to Amritsar, the seat of Sikh religion and culture. This is a trip I have wanted to make since I was welcomed through the doors of the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib last September. I visited there then reprehensible hate crimes that were committed against some Sikhs in the wake of September 11. I am proud to note that justice is being done against the perpetrators of those crimes in the United States.

“I have been told that Punjab is one of those rare places where the frames of gurus, pirs and warriors coexist in perfect harmony with huge harvester combines and food processing factories. I hope that my sojourn here will help me to understand your culture and your spirit, so that I may better represent my government to you, and better promote the cooperation of the United States with your region.”


Board sits on child’s release order
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
Nobody thought that the sickly child, who arrived in Bal Niketan here on a cold December night last year, would ever survive beyond a few days. But this baby girl, who was deserted by her parents at birth and named Gul by the Bal Niketan authorities, has shown an uncanny resilience. After braving a bad case of jaundice for over one month , she now has a long wait ahead for a home of her own, courtesy the local administration. The authorities have failed to issue a certificate of abandonment in her name, a prerequisite for initiating adoption process, even as almost 10 couples from all over the region queue up for her adoption.

Almost four months have elapsed since the child arrived at Bal Niketan. However, in violation of the Supreme Court directions regarding adoption of Indian child, which have been later revised by the Ministry of Welfare, the local Juvenile Welfare Board has failed to make a release order declaring the child legally free for adoption within a period of six weeks from the date of making of application before the Board.

Authorities at Bal Niketan inform that no meeting of the Board has been held for the past more than 10 months. The rules, however, specify that the Board, comprising seven ex-officio members and three nominated members, is to meet every two months. No meeting of the Board has reportedly been held over the past couple of months. It is thus that the case of Gul has not been taken up as yet, even as reminders have been sent to the authorities.

It is also alleged that the local police is hardly cooperative, when it comes to getting a DDR registered or conducting an inquiry about the child. Though the inquiry is to be conducted by the police within one month of the report being lodged with them, this is hardly ever the case, said Dr Madhu Sharma, honorary secretary of Bal Niketan .

"When Gul was left at Bal Niketan, she was first taken to the police station to get a daily dairy report registered. It was after much difficulty that the police registered the DDR. It was only after much persuasion and threatening that we managed to get the inquiry report one month after the stipulated time period ," she informed.

Dr Sharma says that there is a need to sensitise the administration towards the issue of adoption. " This not an isolated case where we have had to wait for months in order to initiate the adoption process. There have been cases where we have been forced to wait for more than one year in order to get the certificate of abandonment for the child. By the time we manage to get the certificates the child is more than a year old. Their adoption becomes difficult as most couples prefer younger children, " she rued.

It was after 10 pm on December 18, 2001, that one of the staff members heard the wails of a baby from near the main gate of Bal Niketan. For about 15 minutes she thought that it was her imagination at work. However, she decided to go out and check the crib placed near the gate.

"It was raining and when we reached there we saw a girl lying in the crib and shivering from the intense cold. We immediately picked up the child . Thus began a long and hard struggle for Gul, which has not ended even now. But she is one perfect example of Darwin's theory of Survival of the Fittest," says Ms Kamal Singh, Superintendent of Bal Niketan.


Man found dead in house
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
An employee of the UT Engineering Department, Shiv Lal Pathak (51), was found dead in his Sector 33 residence this evening. Police sources said that initial investigations suggested that he had died due to over consumption of liquor a couple of days ago.

Shiv Lal, who was working as peon in the CP division no. 6, was staying alone, while his son, Chhabi Lal Pathak, was working as a servant in a Sector 7 house. Mr Krishan Prasad, a relative of the deceased, had gone to Shiv Lal’s house to meet him this evening but found the door locked from inside. ‘‘After repeated knocks when the door was not opened, I informed the police’’, said Mr Prasad. Shiv Lal was a native of Nepal and is survived by his wife and son.


CHB flats for oustees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Oustees whose houses in villages have been acquired by the Chandigarh Administration for the purpose of planned urban development will now be entitled for a Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flat. This has been notified by the Administration.

This means persons whose houses were acquired will be given reservation under the Chandigarh Allotment of Dwelling unit to Oustees of Chandigarh , Scheme , 1996. The oustees will have the choice of a category of flats like HIG, MIG, LIG, or EWS. In case of oustees, who had build their houses in an area less than 200 square yards, the choice will be restricted to EWS and LIG flats. The oustees will be accommodated in the future scheme.


Ice-cream factory raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A food inspection party of the Food Health Authority here, raided an ice cream manufacturing unit in Colony Number 5 after receiving reports that the ice cream was being manufactured under unhygienic and insanitary conditions.

The team found that the manufacturer did not have a licence to produce ice cream and the stalls from which this ice cream was being sold did not bear the requisite information for public.

The owner of the factory was challaned and two samples of the ice cream and ice candies were taken from the factory. The food inspectors later raided the grain market in Sector 26 and found that saunf was being packed under the name of a Delhi firm which was against the law. Samples of the saunf and black pepper were also taken. All samples were then sent to the food laboratory for analysis and examination.


Move against parking beyond limit
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
Residents, look out. If you leave your vehicle for over 24 hours at a paid parking lot managed by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, chances are that it will be towed away.

According to sources in the corporation, the authorities are in touch with top officials of the Chandigarh police to work out the modalities. They said the staff manning the parking lots would inform the police in case a vehicle was parked beyond the specified limit of 24 hours.

The police would then take necessary action according to law. The police, they said, was studying the provisions of law to explore the feasibility of towing away the vehicles.

The decision to tow away the vehicles parked beyond the time limit is significant as a large number of residents park their vehicles at parking lots, particularly the ones around the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Sector 17, before leaving for outstation destinations.

The sources maintained, parking vehicles at the ISBT was not only expensive, but extra money was being charged for keeping these it beyond the specified period of time. At the paid parking lots around the ISBT, such vehicles, most of the times, went undetected for days together causing loss to the corporation in the process.

Otherwise also, most of the parking lots were manned till about 10 pm, sources said. “Residents taking their vehicles after a gap of a few days, blame us for even minor damage caused to the vehicle at a time when the parking lot was unmanned,” claimed an MC official posted at a parking lot in Sector 17.

Another reason being cited for towing away of vehicles is security. A senior police officer said the possibility of someone abandoning a vehicle after committing an offence could not be ruled out.

In some cases, vehicles, stolen for the purpose of joy ride, were also found abandoned at parking lots. “Such vehicles, sometimes, go unnoticed for a day or so. But now, as the corporation staff will be keeping a vigil, this problem will be largely taken care of,” he said.

The Chandigarh police, the officer said, had already asked the parking lot staff to be vigilant. “Not only are bags being lifted from vehicles and car stereos stolen, the chances of someone planting an explosive, though remote, are also there,” he added.


Quoting PAN on returns mandatory from June 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Quoting Permanent Account Number (PAN) on income tax returns, payment challans and tax deducted at Source (TDS) certificate will become mandatory from June 1 ending the acceptance of mere ‘’applied for’’ mention in these transactions with the Income Tax Department.

This was informed here today by the Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chandigarh, Mr S. C. Grover, in a press conference while announcing a PAN grievances redressal fortnight between April 15 and 30.

Mr Grover said during the fortnight special PAN enquiry counters would be operating at each single station/office and at the headquarters of the range additional/joint Commissioner of Income Tax, where assessess would be intimated their PAN, if already allotted.

In case the PAN has not been allotted to an assessee, he can file an application alongwith a photograph at the counter itself and will be issued the PAN in 10 working days.

If a rectification is sought in the PAN card already allotted, he will be asked to fill up a proforma on the spot which will be available at the counter for this purpose.

The implication of PAN being quoted mandatorily will be that returns, TDS and income tax payment and refund for the year not being accepted requiring fresh assessees to get it made before the date but the Department did not make announcement of any special drive to immediately make PAN cards before June 1.

The “redressal of grievances” fortnight has been announced to clear the pendency due to complaints of PAN not being issued despite copying for it, rectifications not being carried out and even giving opportunity to those who did not apply for a PAN.

Mr Grover said the absence of a PAN would make it difficult for an assessee to deal with the department and carry out business transactions as many more activities would be included for a mandatory mention of the PAN.

He said failure to mention PAN might invite a penalty of Rs 10, 000 for an assessee.

Mr B.M. Singh, Commissioner Income Tax, said the Chandigarh Income Tax offices would now be equipped with AST software for an automatic processing of returns from this year.

Mr Grover admitted that recently certain assessees had been issued notices despite having filed returns and expressed regret adding the people would be welcome to come up with their complaints in this regard.

The Chief Commissioner said officers had been instructed to quote PAN on notices so that such thing did not recur.

He said out of 7,59,892 applicants, PAN had been allotted to 7,52,985 assessees and the balance 6,907 would be allotted the number within a fortnight.


Promoting Malaysia as tourist destination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Mr Haji Sheikh Fadzir Malaysia's rising interest in India as a potential tourism market is natural in view of the long-standing relationship shared by the two countries. Over the past about a year, the Government of Malaysia has been strategically diversifying its tourism industry, now the second biggest contributor of foreign exchange after the manufacturing sector. The move is significant in view of the fact that until five years ago Malaysia was regarded a highly closed society, with rigid immigration rules. Now, however, the country is welcoming tourists with open arms and India is one of the most favoured market with tourism potential.

Explaining the change in attitude and stance at hotel Mountview today, the visiting Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism for Malaysia, Dato Paduka Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir said five years ago as many as 60,000 persons were overstaying in Malaysia. "Gradually the situation has been controlled and Malaysia has realised its tourism potential," he said. Throwing light on attractive tourism packages being offered by his government to tap the Indian market, said Tourism Malaysia was specifically interested in exploring markets in Chandigarh, Kolkata and Lucknow.

So much so that Malaysia has recently opened six immigration offices all over India, apart from three offices of Tourism Malaysia. Visa rules stand largely relaxed, to the extent that if anyone carrying a visa for Singapore wishes to halt at Kaula Lumpur, he would be granted visa on arrival at Kaula Lumpur. The same would be valid for five days.

He was speaking at hotel Mountview where he also answered the queries of local travel agents. The idea, he said, was to increase the number of Indian tourists. Last year Malaysia had 14,4000 tourists from India. This year the government plans to increase the numbers.

With tourism promotion efforts already on, the Malaysian Government has planned three big road shows in the fore-mentioned cities. The first road show, held in Chandigarh today, was a virtual journey through the rich cultural heritage and scenic splendour of Malaysia. Titled “Malaysia — truly Asia” — the show will be held at Lucknow tomorrow and further in Kolkata on April 20. The project involves meetings of Mr Fadzir with the local travel agents.

On the first mission to promote Malaysian tourism in Chandigarh today, the Minister talked of India as the number one tourist destination of the world in the near future. "Where we have to invest heavily to strengthen our tourism industry, India is naturally blessed with heritage, nature, and culture. We, as a government, are happy to strengthen ties with India, which has stood by us through thick and thin," he said. In India to receive the best travel video award the PATA Gold Awards luncheon held on April 15, Mr Fadzir informed that nine direct flights from India to Malaysia had been introduced.

"The airline services of India are free to operate in the Malaysian sky. More direct flights are about to be introduced," he said, further indicating that the day is not far when the Malaysian government will place its agents in India to collect applications and process them on the behalf of potential tourists.

A mention was also made of the government's “Showcase Malaysia” offer, which has been extended till June. Mr Henry Moses, Sales Manager, North India, Malaysian Airlines (MAS), who accompanied the minister said, "This collaborative effort between MAS and 88 Malaysian hotels, provides for a complimentary four-day-three nights stay inclusive of breakfast for two persons who buy two tickets to Malaysia."

Meanwhile, Malaysia is also analysing post- September 11 affects and trying to combat them. "Last year we managed $ 8 billion as direct forex earnings from tourism. This year the global recession has dampened the sector a bit, with most tourists coming only from neighbouring countries."


Vibrant culture of Malaysia unravelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
As cultural ambassadors to India, all members of the visiting dance troupe from the Malaysian city of Penang struck an instant rapport with the audience gathered to watch them in action at Tagore Theatre today. The “Malaysia — truly Asia” show which began at slow pace, on account of a delayed beginning, went on to delight the audience, so much so that they could not leave the venue for the two and a half hour of presentation. It was thus an evening made worthwhile by the vibrant dancers of Penang, the Malaysian city which offers a unique blend of East and West. As the dancers took control, they did not stall the presentation even for a second. In the graceful movements of girls and vigorous stances of boys was reflected the rich Malaysian culture which blends the best of Asian elements.

Choreographed especially for the road shows to be organised by the Malaysian Tourism in three Indian cities — Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kolkata — the dance sequence fused the eye, ear and mind, exhibiting all the elements of good choreography. The lavish drapery of dancers coupled with the brightness of hues added further charm to the evening which was also attended by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Malaysia Dato Paduka Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir and the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Punjab, Mr Ashwani Sekhri.

The show began with the dancers portraying the choreographies of Malays original inhabitants of Malaysia.


US Ambassador’s wife visits Phulkari
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Mrs Wera Hilde Brand, wife of the US Ambassador, visited Phulkari, Punjab government emporium. She appreciated a wide collection of quality handicrafts displayed at the emporium.

Mr S.K. Sikka, Chief General Manager (Emporium), Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, said Mrs Brand showed interest in intricate inlay work of Hoshiarpur, especially charkha, chaaki madhani, chakki and elephants.

She was fascinated by ethnic colourful range of embroidery in Phulkari and Baghs, its adoption in modern ladies suits, dupattas, jackets, bed spreads and cushion covers. She lauded the efforts made by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation in keeping the traditional crafts alive by training rural women and providing them self-employment opportunities, claimed Mr Sikka.

Mr Sikka said Mr Mukal Joshi, Principal Secretary, Industries, and Mr P.S. Aujla, Managing Director of the corporation, were also present at the emporium when Mrs Brand visited it.


Villagers level graft charge against govt officials
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, April 17
Residents of Chilla village, near here, today complained to the Kharar MLA, Mr Birdevinder Singh, that two government officials were allegedly demanding illegal gratification for the release of the compensation amount for the village land acquired for laying the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway line.

The residents said in a written complaint, addressed to the Punjab Chief Minister, a copy of which was handed over to the MLA, who sent the complaint to the Vigilance Department for an immediate inquiry, that the cost of the shamlat land acquired for the railway line was about 12-13 lakh. Some residents of the village had already been given compensation. All sections, including the Scheduled Caste, Backward Classes and Jat Sikhs, had a share in the land. However, certain poor sections had been ignored in the matter of payment.

The complainants alleged that on March 10, a patwari, Mr Rajinder Singh, and the reader of the SAS Nagar SDM, Mr Om Prakash, took 14 per cent of the cheque amount in cash from each beneficiary at the time of distributing cheques, which were unjustified and an example of corruption.

The complainants also alleged that in some cases the names of the persons entitled to the compensation were wrongly recorded. When the affected persons sought to get their names corrected, the two officials allegedly demanded illegal gratification. Besides, the names of persons with small shares in the land had not been entered in the records. In such cases, the SDM’s reader asked the affected persons to get their claims varified in writing from the patwari and also allegedly told them to bring 14 per cent in cash of the cheque amount to be given to them.


Do’s and don’ts in Fire Safety Week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
With summer round the corner and the city having already witnessed three major fires, these are some do’s and dont’s as part of the Fire Safety Week ending on April 20.

Do’s for high-rise buildings:

Good house-keeping must be ensured, put ash and cigarette butts in ashtray after extinguishing these, all receptacles for waste should be emptied at regular intervals, faulty electrical appliances should be replaced or repaired immediately, switches and fuses should conform to correct rating of circuit, welding and cutting should be carried out under strict supervision, keep smoke, fire-check doors closed, keep means of escape obstruction-free, fire-rescue drills should be carried out at regular intervals and impart fire fighting training to occupants.

Dont’s for high-rise buildings:

Don’t dispose of lighted cigarette ends carelessly, don’t plug too many electrical appliances in one socket and don’t paint fire detector and sprinkler heads.

Do’s for electricity:

Use ISI-certified appliances, good-quality fuses of correct rating, miniature circuit-breakers and leakage circuit-breakers, use one socket for one appliance, switch off electricity supply of affected areas, fuses and switches should be mounted on metallic cubicles for greater safety against fire, replace broken plugs and switches, keep the electrical wires away from hot and wet surfaces. Switch off appliances after use and remove the plug from the socket and switch off the main switch if you are away from home for a long time.

Don’ts for electricity:

Don’t use sub-standard fixtures and appliances, never have temporary and nacked joints on wiring, don’t lay wires under carpets, mats or doorways which get crushed and result in short-circuit, don’t put live wires in socket, don’t allow appliance chords to dangle.

Do’s for houses:

Keep your houses neat and clean, keep matches, lighters and crackers away from children, handle crackers with care. Papers, clothes and flammable liquids should be kept away from heaters, stoves and open chullahs, evacuation route should be obstruction-free, keep LPG stove on a raised platform, turn off the cylinder valve and burner knob after use, keep a bucket of water handy while handling fireworks.

In case of burn injuries pour water on burnt areas till the pain subsides.

Don’ts for houses:

Don’t meddle with electrical appliances like plugs, wires, switches, and sockets, don’t leave spray cans on or near heaters or direct sunlight to prevent their explosion, don’t throw cigarette ends, matches and pipe ash into wastepaper basket, don’t allow children to play in kitchen, never place candles, incences and lamps on the floor or near combustible material, don’t wear loose, flowing clothes while cooking, avoid synthetic clothing.

Do’s for industries:

Store flammable liquids, gases, solvents and chemicals in stable racks correctly labelled, keep chemicals in cool and dry places, prohibit smoking and maintain ventilation in places where chemicals are kept, all traces of flammable material must be removed at a safe distance, welding and hot work should be carried out under proper watch, keep machinery clean and lubricated to avoid friction and regular fire drills should be carried out.

Instructions for temporary structures and pandals:

The height of the roof of the pandal should not be less than 3 m, no use of synthetic material should be made in such a structure, margins of at least 3 m should kept on all sides at pre-existing walls, structure should not be erected underneath a live electrical line, structure should be erected at least 15 m away from railway line, electric sub-stations, furnaces, exit on all sides should at least be 1.5 m wide, first-aid fire extinguisher and water buckets must be installed at strategic points inside and outside the pandal, emergency light should be provided and kitchen must be segregated by GI sheets.

Keep a watch on children.

Attack the fire with available equipment if you can do so without undue risk or leave the place closing windows and all routes after evacuation of occupants and do not create panic.


Nursing home sites’ auction on freehold basis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Sites for nursing homes in the city will be auctioned on a freehold basis in future, The Chandigarh Administration today notified a new scheme while rescinding the old policy of allotment of land for nursing homes on leasehold basis in Chandigarh, 1999.

The Chandigarh Administration has earmarked suitable sites for nursing homes in various sectors of the city.

These sites are to be provided to nursing homes on a freehold basis under the Chandigarh (sale of sites and buildings) rules, 1960, by sale through open auction.

Laying down the rules the notification says to participate in the auction an individual shall be a qualified doctor possessing a MBBS degree and having at least three years experience in the medical profession.

A firm shall have as its major partner(s), holding at least 50 per cent share of the firm, qualified doctor(s) holding an MBBS degree and having at least three years experience in the medical profession.

A society of trust shall be a non-profitable, charitable organisation, whose income is exempted from tax under the Income Tax Act.

It shall either have as its major contributors with over 50 per cent contribution qualified doctor(s) possessing an MBBS degree and having at least three years experience in the medical profession, or it shall be on its rolls (with an employment contract of at least three years) .

A limited company bidding in the auction shall either have at least one full time working director as a qualified doctor with an MBBS degree and having at least three years experience in the medical profession, or it shall have on its rolls, with an employment contract of at least three years duration at least one qualified doctor with an MBBS degree and having at least three years experience in the medical profession.

A person must fulfil the required statutory and mandatory conditions laid down by the laws and rules in force in the Union Territory of Chandigarh pertaining to hospitals, nursing homes, clinical laboratories and the medical profession, as applicable.


Stormy MCC meeting likely today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Municipal Corporation meeting tomorrow is likely to witness a wordy duel between the ruling Congress and the combined opposition of the BJP, Shiromani Akali Dal and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM).

The BJP today in a statement sought to show the Congress as a party which had forgotten its promises of ‘’no taxes’’ and blamed it for lack of improvement in the conditions of roads and sanitation as also pursuing an ‘’undemocratic’’ approach by excluding the opposition from different committees.

The Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, today held a meeting of the party group in the House to ensure floor management and push agendas apart from blunting the allegations of the opposition.

Against the allegation of lack of development, the party will say that the financial year started only 17 days ago and the remainder period of the Congress rule was run with the empty coffers left by the BJP.

The Congress is likely to get a report tabled before the House by the Municipal Commissioner on a demand of an inquiry into the paid parking affair to be raised by the BJP Councillor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta.

To counter allegations against taxes, the party would take a stand that it only reduced the percentage of taxes imposed by the BJP but kept in abeyance. To counter allegations of a ‘’bungling in the Fire Department’’, the Congress is proposing a fire committee.

The BJP Councillor Gian Chand Gupta alleged Congress interference in shielding the Deputy Mayor’s wife in a corruption.


Aarthi enthrals devotees
Tribune News service

Panchkula, April 17
Upcoming danseause Aarthi Shankar enthralled the august gathering with her beautiful rendition of Bharatnatyam on the fifth day of the Navratra Mela at Mansa Devi Shrine today.

Her devotional choreography featuring six items was based on the folklore surrounding Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna in their various manifestations. The dance began with the dancer projecting the costume (lion skin), jewellery ( snakes) and the crescent around the head of Lord Shiva, which is different from any other God in Hindu mythology.

The second item in the choreography showed the longing of a Gopika for Lord Krishna. The third item, was Maheshasur Mardhini, which is based on Adishankaracharya’s tale of the massacre of the demon at the hands of Devi. The fourth item was a composition of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, which showed the Natraj manifestation of Lord Shiva. The abhaava regarding the childhood pranks of Lord Krishna was also very appealing.

It was however, the last part of the choreography, sargam that transcended the audience to ascending heights with its rhythm and dance.

The programme on devotional Bharatnatyam had been organised by the Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board on the premises of the temple. Mr L.M. Goyal, Chief Secretary, was the chief guest. He inaugurated the programme by the traditional lighting of the lamp. He also presented a shawl to Aarthi Shankar.


Modi’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The local constituents of the People’s Front here today jointly burnt an effigy of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and demanded his dismissal.

Demonstrators burnt the effigy at the Tribune Chowk but did not carry out their threat of blocking traffic.

The demonstration was led by the Samajwadi Party president, Mr Shivi Jaiswal, Janata Dal (Secular) secretary general, Mr Rajender Mohan Kashyap, CPI secretary, Mr Devi Dayal Sharma and CPM secretary, Mr Mohmmed Shehnaz.

Activists of the Front raised slogans ‘’BJP leaders have become Dhritrashtra to ruin India and torch Gujarat.’’


Arya convention at Hardwar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A four-day International Arya Convention will be organised at Hardwar from April 25 to mark the completion of 100 years of Gurukul Kangri University, Hardwar.

Stating this here today, the president of the Haryana Prantiya Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Mr Roshan Lal Arya, former MLA, said over 5,000 delegates from Haryana would participate in the convention, at which vedic scholars, freedom fighters and vedic scientists would be honoured.

Mr Arya said a strategy would be drawn up at the convention to save the youth from the influence of Western culture and to inculcate patriotism among them.

Mr Arya said a former Union Minister of State, Prof Sher Singh, had been expelled from the Arya Samaj for his alleged anti-Samaj activities and his alleged role in the illegal sale of land belonging to Gurukul Kangri University.

He said the Haryana Arya Samaj would awaken public opinion in support of the construction of the SYL canal so that the state’s share in river waters could reach its fields.


Meeting to discuss sanitation contracts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The review of sanitation contracts, alleged bungling in the Fire Department, constitution of a fire committee and management of the sector-46 community centre will be discussed in the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) meeting tomorrow.

Considering the alleged neglect of the Fire Department and bungling in it, the Congress leader in the House, Subhash Chawla, has sent an agenda item for the constitution of a fire committee.

The Chandigarh Vikas Manch leader in the House Jitender Bhatia has sought a report on the alleged theft of the department's material.

The Congress councillor Sohan Lal has sought a detailed discussion on the effectiveness of the sanitation contracts in the wake of allegations that they had failed to take care of the city.

The Congress councillor Pushpa Sharma has sent an agenda item on the Sector-46 community centre.


Residents seek ‘VIP's’ nameplate on bridge
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 17
In less than a week after the opening of the Bhankharpur railway overbridge (RoB) on the National Highway -22, a controversy has arisen regarding its inauguration.

A foundationstone without a plate mentioning the name of the inaugurator, Mr Dhu Ram, of the Bhankharpur Raolway over bridge on the Chandigarh ambala highway near Dera Bassi. — Tribune photo Pankaj Sharma.

While the authorities have still not fixed a plate, mentioning the name of the person who inaugurated it on the foundation stone, residents of the area insist that the name of the labourer who actually cut the ribbon at a formal inaugural ceremony should be mentioned on it.

The residents demand that Mr Dhu Ram, a 70-year-old labourer, who had the honour of cutting the ribbon — that was otherwise to be done by some VVIP — should be treated as a chief guest.

“The name on the plate of the foundation stone, for which he had never even dreamt for, would be the biggest award and actual honour for Mr Dhu Ram. If the authorities and the construction company did this, it would be setting a precedent,” opined Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, chairman of the Rotract Club.

Meanwhile, sources in the Building and Roads Wing of the Punjab Public Works Department, PPWD (B & R), revealed that the department and the construction company had a proposal to organise an inaugural function and the name of the person inaugurating it would be mentioned on the plate that would be fixed on the foundation stone.


Fire destroys wheat crop
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
In two fire incidents, crops and wood worth thousands of rupees were destroyed that broke out in Tofanpur village and in a forest adjoining Sukhmani International School in the past 24 hours.

In the first incident, fire destroyed a field of wheat belonging to Mr Jaswant Singh in Tofanpur village last evening. Fire-tenders from Dera Bassi were rushed to the spot and took more than one hour to control the blaze.

While flora and wild growth covering over one acre of forest land was destroyed in fire that broke out this evening.

According to Mr Avtar Singh, Fire Officer, Dera Bassi, a short circuit was the reason for the fire in the crop. He has appealed to the public to contact him directly at 433101 in case any one notices fire around.


9 in fray for Advisory Council poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Nine members were left in the fray today for election to four vacancies from Municipal Corporation to the Home Minister’s Advisory Council to be held tomorrow.

Nine members, mostly from the Congress and nominated, withdrew their names today.

Two nominated members — Ms K. Atma Ram, Ms. Amar Kulwant Singh, three Congress members — Ms Kamlesh, Ms Anu Chathrath and Mr Kulwant Singh, Mr Gian Chand Gupta from the BJP and Mr Vijay Rana, Mr Jitender Bhatia and Ms Harpreet Kaur from the Chandigarh Vikas Manch still remain in the fray.


Case registered against power dept
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
On the complaint of a Sector 19 resident, Ms P. Angres, the local police registered a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code against the UT Electricity Department here today. In her complaint, she alleged that her gardner Shambu Rai died of electric shock from an electric pole erected on the road near her residence. The gardner had reportedly died on April 16.

Case of abduction

A resident of Sector 29 has reported to the police that Jagtar Singh, a resident of Ram Darbar, abducted her daughter on Monday. A case under Sections 365 and 366 of the IPC has been registered.

Theft in office

Mr Gurmail Singh, an Assistant Officer in CAT Building, Sector 17, has reported that the locks of his office and almirah were found broken on Monday night. A case has been registered.

Shields stolen

Mr Ajay Kumar, a resident of Sector 45, has reported that shield of his scooter was stolen from the parking lot of the Government College for Boys, Sector 11. A case has been registered.

Liquor seized

The local police arrested five persons from Maloya village and Dadu Majra Colony under various Sections of the Excise Act and recovered 49 pouches and seven bottles of liquor from their possession yesterday.

3 cases registered

The Electricity Department today registered three police cases against unknown persons for disrupting power supply to Sectors 41, 45 and Mani Majra. The cases were registered at police stations in Sectors 36, 34 and Mani Majra. Sources in the department said power supply was disrupted to the areas during the yesterday’s strike by its employees.


Vehicle theft

As many as four cases of theft of vehicles including three cars, have been registered in different parts of the district during the past 24 hours.

A car (HR-06D-1605) was stolen from near Vatika another van (CH-03-8322) was stolen from Kalka, and a car (HR-49-2993) from Kalka. A truck (HR-68-0940) was also stolen from near Sector 21 last night. In all cases, FIR’s under Section 279 of the IPC have been registered.

In another case, cash and jewellery worth Rs 4,000 was stolen from a farmhouse in Sadakpur village. It is alleged that the miscreants had entered the house of Kishore Lal and stolen the things after beating him up. A case under Sections 458 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.


In yet another burglary in Sector 11 market, unidentified miscreants burgled three cabins on the first floor of SCO 8 in Sector 11 last night. It is the third such incident during the past two months.


The police has booked Bagu Khan and Karamjit on charges trespassing and assault. A case has been registered on the orders of the JMIC, Ms Aradhana Sahni, under Sections 323, 452, 506 and 34 of the IPC. It is alleged that the two, alongwith six other persons, had beaten up Preetam Singh. The police has also booked Kanwal Nain Singh on charges of entering the Sector 17 residence of Mr Savindra Dhillon and assaulting him. The reason for this is stated to be the implication of the accused in a case by Mr Dhillon in 1998.

Five booked

The local police has booked Sukhjit Singh, Labh Singh, Rajinder Kaur and Sarvjit Singh and Jaswinder Singh on charges of kidnapping Mr Jagdish Prasad Jain’s daughter from their Sector 4 residence. A case under Section 366 and 120-B has been registered in this regard.



Burglars broke into two shops in the Phase II market here and decamped with cash and goods. They stole Rs 54,000 in cash and four computer CPUs from one of the shops. From the other showroom they decamped with Rs 70,000. It is reported that the burglars did not break the locks but entered the buildings by tampering with the latches. The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC.


2 held for thefts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The police arrested two residents of Mauli Jagran, here today, and claimed to have solved eight cases of theft in booths of the city and Panchkula. However, the search for the third culprit, Dhama, absconding since yesterday, is on.

The three, aged between 18 and 20 years, are involved in three thefts in booths in Sector 7 three months back, a booth each in Sector 28 and 30 and three thefts in Panchkula from where they picked up a camera, VCR and a gold chain. A spare tyre of a scooter was also stolen by them from Sector 26.

Following a tip-off, Vijay, (20) was arrested the Police Operation Cell last night. On interrogation, he revealed that the modus operandi involved breaking open grills to gain entry into the booths. Once inside, the trio would leave with the cash.

Police sources said they avoided taking any other items for the fear of being noticed. Also, Vijay carried an I-card, stating that he was employed with the stray cattle contractor at Panchkula to justify his movement in the night.

During interrogation, he also disclosed the name and whereabouts of his accomplice, Surinder, who was arrested by the police this afternoon from Mauli Jagran, while the third accused is still at large.

In an operation headed by SP (Operation), Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, a recovery of around Rs 60,000 is expected following the arrests.

Meanwhile, Vijay was remanded in police custody till April 20 after he was produced in court, here today.


Cop remanded in abduction case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 17
Mr R.L. Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, remanded Balbir Singh, constable posted at the Sohana police station, in judicial custody for 14 days here today. He was arrested on the charge of abducting a married woman.

The SAS Nagar police has registered a case under Section 366 IPC, against the accused as per the statement recorded by the woman.



Coin mela: Coins worth Rs 10 lakh were distributed at the coin distribution mela organised by the State Bank of Patiala, Sector 17 branch, in association with the Reserve Bank of India, here on Wednesday. Coins of denomination of Rs 1,Rs 2 and Rs 5 were distributed among public and traders.

Shirts’ collection: Excalibur has launched its Merlin Collection of shirts priced between Rs 595 and Rs 745.The collection has corporate shirts in premium cotton and wrinkle free and after-hours shirts for special occasions. Mr Ashish Pandya, vice-president, Sales and Marketing, said the collection was a range of sophisticated shirts.

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