Wednesday, April 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Practice that robbed PSEB of Rs 18 lakh
Robbers knew the money would come unguarded as usual
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 23
Three armed turbaned youths robbed two women employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board of more than Rs 10 lakh in cash and bank drafts and cheques for about Rs 8 lakh, in front of the Phase VII branch of Punjab National Bank here today, in broad daylight.

An artist’s impression of two of the three robbers.

The incident sent the women — Ms Monica and Ms Rajni Rani, clerks in the PSEB — into a state of shock. The driver of their vehicle, Jagtar Singh, recalled the registration number of the car and said the youths had been wearing turbans of light colours.

The robbers escaped in a white car that had tinted windowpanes and a fake registration number (CH-03-6897). The women were about to alight from their Jeep when two of the youths forced open the tail door of the vehicle, took them at gunpoint and snatched from them two bags that contained the cash and the cheques. The barrel of the gun had reportedly been covered with a plastic bag.

Theory on robbers

  • The police suspects that the robbers are in their mid thirties and from well-to-do families. The registration number on their escape car was of a Yamaha motor cycle owned by an Air Force personnel, Mr Mukesh.
  • The strike was timed well by robbers who, before this, had apparently studied the routine of the board employees, who always came to the bank to deposit the cash without an armed escort.
  • At least Rs 1.5 lakh had been snatched in a similar fashion from a woman employee of a local gas agency near the Phase V branch of Punjab and Sind Bank on September 10, 2001.
  • The police had then claimed to have made it mandatory for banks in the town to have security guards. However, there is still no security guard outside a number of branches of several nationalised banks here.

No one noticed the youths approaching the Jeep at this otherwise busy section of the Phase VII market. By the time the women alerted the manager of the bank, the robbers had escaped. Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, Senior Superintendent of Police at Ropar, said the police had not received the information in time for it to seal the exit points of the town.

The women did not have an armed security guard with them, which is said to be usual for employees of the board, who bring in cash everyday to the bank. However, employees of the electricity board said they had asked for armed guards a number of times — something that the police denies. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr H.S. Bhullar, said policemen were always made available on demand. The PNB guard was also on leave today.

An official of the board said, usually, when the cash was brought to the bank, the driver of the board vehicle honked the horn to alert the PNB guard. However, today, the cash was brought here by two clerks who were not aware of the practice. A case under Section 382 of the IPC has been registered.

The SSP did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of an insider in the incident. He said women employees should not have been sent to deposit the cash without an armed guard for protection.


Fitting square pegs in round holes
Failures in science get succour in arts
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 23
Failing in science in class XI, no problem. You can still get a ‘pass’ certificate from the school on condition of shifting to another institute or to the arts stream.

Surprising, but true. Some schools in the city are reportedly handing over ‘pass’ certificates to failed candidates, some allegedly for money in a “very few” cases. Others, to improve the overall result, and the credibility of the institute in the process. There is, however, nothing official about the entire process.

Expressing ignorance regarding the practice of shifting from one stream to another, Director Public Instructions for Schools, Mr D.S. Mangat says; “It is illegal. The schools cannot internally permit the change of stream on their own. It cannot be allowed or unless permission is granted by the Central Board of Secondary Education”.

Regarding the allegations of giving grace marks to the students before handing over the school-leaving certificates to them, he asserts, “I do not approve of it. Such institutes are merely spoon-feeding students and are encouraging them to take studies for granted”.

He concluded, “We are not directly concerned with it as the matter pertains to the CBSE, but in any case we will look into the allegations and do the needful”.

Agreeing with him, the principal of the Sector 16 Government Model Senior Secondary School, Mr Ram Kumar says, “ As per the CBSE norms, a student cannot change his stream in class XII. Under normal circumstances, he has to appear in the same subjects that he opted for in class XI. Option to change the subject can be exercised before October 31. If the subjects are to be changed after October 31, permission of the CBSE Chairman is a must”.

He adds, “The practice of granting ‘pass’ certificates to failed students should be curbed by adopting strict measures. The alleged action on part of the school authorities should be brought to the notice of CBSE, so that steps can be taken to curb it”.

Regional Officer of CBSE Yograj Sachdeva however, says, "Schools and colleges have to abide by certain rules and regulations, regarding changing of stream at class XII level. All schools have been given a set of rules and regulations regarding the matter. It is not a matter of encouraging the practice of shifting. Depends on what are the conditions of a particular student seeking a change of stream.”


Canadian visa office in UT ‘not a priority’
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
“Upgrading of the Chandigarh business office into a consulate is not on the immediate priority list of the Canadian Government,” says Mr Gurmant Grewal, Canadian MP and Foreign Affairs Critic for Asia Pacific and Co-Chair of the Standing Joint Committee of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate for Scrutiny of Regulations.

“I am disappointed about the progress or lack of significant progress in opening a full consulate office in Chandigarh. The Indian Government called the Canadian Government’s bluff and had given permission in early September last year to open a consulate office. But after eight months, it does not seem to be on the cards of the Canadian Government.

“A visit by an immigration officer once a month to the Chandigarh office is not good enough as this office is not connected to the immigration computer system — CAIPS,” said Mr Grewal adding that his immediate the priority would be to improve the functioning of the Chandigarh office and get it connected to CAIPS.

Mr Grewal is on a short visit to India accompanying President of the Queens’ Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Inter-Government Affairs Stephan Dion. They participated in the roundtable on Mechanism on Inter-Governmental Relations in New Delhi yesterday and another roundtable is being organised in Bangladesh on April 25. The other participating nations are Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

Mr Grewal, who became the first Canadian official to call on the new Punjab Chief Minister during his brief visit to the city today, said that neither the Canadian Immigration Minister nor Mr Herb Dhaliwal during their visit to India last year made any commitment on upgrading the Chandigarh office to a consulate to facilitate Punjabis who comprised 80 per cent of the Indian immigrants in Canada.

Mr Grewal said that “India has been our long-time friend. The relationship with Punjab is so special and of tremendous significance to me. Out of about a million people of Indian origin in Canada, as many as 75 per cent come from Punjab and my constituency of Surrey Central has the highest concentration of Punjabis outside Punjab.

“Apart from strengthening the people-to -people relationship, I am also looking forward to strengthening the government-to-government relationship,” he said.

Mr Grewal has been the only politician of Indian origin to oppose political and diplomatic measures as well as economic sanctions imposed by Canada after both India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998.

“Though the Canadian Government has eased the sanctions now, it has cost more than 25 per cent of Canadian export and investment to India. The Canadian Government now seems to be eager to rebuild trade relations with India. I am pleased that India is back on the priority list of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Export Development. It helps Canadian companies to develop business opportunities in India. There are already 37 active projects in India and 68 projects have joint ventures since April, 2001. Facilitation of the ongoing projects is further demonstration of the enhanced level of cooperation.

“In Punjab, there are many projects in the pipeline, such as environmental projects in Patiala and Ropar, an agrifood project with Markfed, science and technology projects in Kapurthala, biotechnology park near Chandigarh, hydel projects, animal husbandry projects and tourist complexes for family entertainment,” Mr Grewal said.

He said his meeting with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was very useful. “I have extended an invitation to him to visit Canada and hopefully he will accept it,” he said maintaining that various issues of bilateral interest were discussed at the meeting.


HC orders PUDA officials’ presence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
In SAS Nagar encroachment case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that a senior town planner and other officers of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, besides those from the horticulture wing, should be present in the court on the next date of hearing.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Bakhshish Kaur, also asked PUDA counsel to consider the suggestions made by another counsel and assimilate these in the landscaping policy. The case will now come up for further hearing on May 20.

In their petition, SAS Nagar’s Anti-encroachment Committee through president N.S. Minhas had earlier sought directions for the removal of encroachments and obstructions.

Describing the encroachments as ‘illegal and unlawful’, Mr Minhas had also sought directions to the government agencies for ‘enforcing the provisions of law to remove the encroachments’. He had added that the VIPs had initially started encroaching upon the land due to leniency on part of the PUDA authorities. Their example was soon followed by the other residents.

Claiming that the committee had been set up with an objective of protecting the interest of the general public and for awakening the government agencies into removing the encroachments, counsel for the petitioner had contended on the committee’s behalf that the residents, in the name of beautification, had grabbed land by encroaching upon the open spaces outside their houses.

The land, counsel had added, was ‘meant for providing essential services like the laying sewerage connections, water pipes, electricity cables and telephone lines’.

He had added that several complaints regarding encroachments had been addressed to the authorities concerned, including the Chief Minister and Minister of Housing and Urban Development, but so far no action had been taken.


Tallest building looks down at Admn laws
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Using loopholes in the UT building bylaws, a local builder is constructing a high-rise building which will be one of the tallest building in UT. Maybe just second to the mammoth Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat.


*Nine-storey building in Sarangpur village may soon be one of the tallest building in UT.

* The Administration can take no action and nor can it inspect or check the building under any law.

* The builder requires no permission as the site is within the lal dora of the village.

* In Chandigarh houses and buildings are resumed or heavy fines imposed for violations.

* Several requests for increase in height for buildings pending with the Administration.

Located in Sarangpur village (about 3 km from the PGI) the building is scheduled to be nine-storeys high when complete. The building will most likely house flats. Interestingly it is located adjacent to the 104-acre Botanical Garden project of the Chandigarh Administration.

The upcoming building in Sarangpur is well within the legal frame-work and the Chandigarh Administration, despite having a load of laws to govern all types of construction, can do nothing to check it under the building bylaws, fire safety norms, height restrictions, zoning plans, sewerage restrictions or even urban planning norms. Not even the Periphery Control Act under which several houses build outside the lal dora are demolished.

Sources said the upcoming building was located within the lal dora of Sarangpur village thus it did not come under the building bylaws or any other law thus not allowing the Administration to take any action. Even the builder required no permission to build, nor did he require to submit any building plans. The building bylaws applied only in four villages Burail, Badheri, Buterela and Attawa which were within municipal limits. Had the building been outside the lal dora action could have been taken.

Even if the builder was taking all safety precautions there could be no check, admitted official sources. With Chandigarh being located in zone IV for seismic activity such a building might have to conform to precautions listed for earthquakes. But, sources said once again there could be no check despite the intention of builder to carry out all precautions.

This planned nine-storey height of the building which had shocked several city residents, as even residential buildings were not permitted beyond four storeys. Commercial buildings were also not permitted to be higher than four storeys in Chandigarh. Actually several Sector 17 showrooms had been resumed for violations. A five-star hotel site was surrendered by bidder due to strict building bylaws of the city.

The Estate Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, admitted that his office could do nothing in this case as the building was within the lal dora and building bylaws or even the Periphery Control Act did not apply here.

All efforts to contact the builder, Mr R.K. Aggarwal, were fruitless as he was unavailable in his Sector 8 office along the Madhya Marg and his residence phone went unanswered. Interestingly the building when completed would be taller than several other city landmarks like the UT Secretariat, SBI building, the Government Medical College and Hospital or the RBI building to name a few.


SISI Director in CBI net
Rs 18 lakh recovered, raids conducted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April 23
Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have recovered deposits totalling Rs 10 lakh and fixed deposit receipts amounting to Rs 8 lakh from the possession of Joginder Singh Kullar, Director of the Small Industries Service Institute in Ludhiana. In addition, Rs 28,000 in cash and Rs 1.3 lakh deposited in his son’s account have also been recovered. CBI sources add that Kullar also owned a palatial house in the posh South City area of Ludhiana, measuring about 9000 square yards. The value of the house is estimated to be about of Rs 1 crore.

The CBI had searched his residential premises in Ludhiana yesterday. In addition, the CBI had also carried out searches at six other places, including the premises of a firm in Mohali. The CBI had registered a case against him on Sunday after irregularities in the purchase of computers, equipment and tools was brought to its notice. Between the years 1998 and 2000, equipment for the institute had been purchased at highly inflated prices.

CBI sources reveal that the premises of the institute’s former Deputy Director, Ranjit Singh were also searched. Sleuths also visited a firm in Mohali — E-con Tooling Systems — which had supplied some equipment to the institute. The CBI has also taken into its custody a number of documents recovered from Kullar’s premises. The documents reveal his investments, accounts and other financial dealings, while some also bear mathematical calculations. Sources add that the scrutiny of the documents is expected to take some time.

The CBI is also looking into the sources of financing a factory set up by his son. The factory manufactures bicycle parts. His various bank accounts have also been frozen.


Special PU concessions for Kashmiri students
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Panjab University has decided to extend special concessions to wards of Kashmiris displaced from their homes in the wake of the ongoing long phase of terrorist activity. The special concessions include giving weightage in merit and creation of extra seats in addition to the existing concessions.

The candidates will have to submit relevant certificates issued by an authorised government official for the forthcoming academic session. The special concession is an extension of the special concessions announced in the Senate meeting of May, 2001.

The university will give a weightage of 5 per cent and the final merit will be determined accordingly provided that the candidate fulfils the minimum prescribed qualifications (including entrance test, in case applicable) for all courses. These also include professional and technical courses of all university teaching departments and affiliated colleges.

The university has decided to increase the in-take of wards of people displaced from Kashmir. There will be a 5 per cent increase, subject to a maximum of three seats. These will be treated as additional seats at the entry point in all the courses so that it does not affect the existing number of seats. This will be applicable to all postgraduate and undergraduate courses in all the arts and science colleges wherever the reservation policy approved by the university was applicable.

The university has created an additional seat (over and above the sanctioned intake) in certain professional courses. These courses include bachelor and masters in Education, LL.B, bachelor and master in Library Science, master in Mass Communication, master in Pharmacy, master in Computer Application, University Business School, bachelor and master in engineering courses, M.Sc (bio technology) and master in technology courses.

The matter comes up for a formal clearance in the forthcoming Syndicate meeting.

The university step to give special concessions to people displaced from Kashmir is seen as a very positive step. A senior fellow pointed out that it would be better if the university could make provisions for special fee concessions and special accommodation at a sizeable concession in the university hostels. Hostel accommodation at cheaper rates could be beneficial because a large number of them were struggling to find accommodation. This was evident from the fate of hundreds of Kashmiri migrants lodged in shanty camps.

It was noted that last year the university and affiliated colleges witnessed negligent intake of wards of people displaced from Kashmir. One of the reasons was lesser availability of information. A senior student said the university should directly communicate the decision of special concessions and additional seats to the University in Kashmir, which should display it on the notice board and use other methods for dissemination of knowledge.


Only two colleges get NAAC accreditation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Only two colleges out of the entire lot of those affiliated to three universities in Punjab have been accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) till date.

This was disclosed by Mr B.S. Madhukar, adviser to the NAAC, while addressing mediapersons at Panjab University here today. He was speaking at the conclusion of a two-day workshop and seminar of principals of universities in Punjab organised by the NAAC.

This was interesting in the context that the NAAC has set a deadline of December, 2002, for accreditation of all universities and December, 2003, as the deadline for accreditation of all colleges. As on date the NAAC has accredited 52 universities and 177 colleges across the country. About 41 more colleges from Punjab have sent their letter of intention for the assessment.

Addressing the press conference, Prof H.S. Soch, a former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, said evaluating an institution by an independent body was purely in the academic interest of the students.Institutions were assessed under seven major heads. Any institution had an opportunity to improve their previous results after two years of inspection by reapplying for the same exercise.

Prof K.N.Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, said that the university had nearly completed its exercise of self-assessment through auditing in 102 colleges out of 108. The report would be filed before the forthcoming Syndicate meeting.

Mr Madhukar said state-level action plans had been formulated for the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. The State-level action plan for Punjab was expected shortly.

The seminar was attended by 78 principals of colleges in Punjab and the city. As many 40 of these colleges were affiliated to the host university and 19 each to Guru Nanak Dev University and Punjabi University. The seminar was an intense activity of two days covering all aspects of assessment and accreditation. One big contribution was aiding colleges to learn details regarding filling up of assessment forms.

The NAAC has developed the performa under heads of : curricular aspects; teaching, learning and evaluation; infrastructure and learning resources; research consultancy and extension; student support and progression; organisation and management; and healthy practices.

The NAAC resource persons who answered queries of principals included Prof H.S. Soch, Mr K.K.Bajaj, former Dean, College Development Council, Himachal Pradesh University, and Dr K.S.Arya, a former Principal of the local DAV College.

The valedictory session was chaired by Mr Khushal Bahal, Minister of Higher Education, Punjab. He urged all principals to come forward and contribute unitedly for improving the quality of higher education in the state. He assured all government assistance in this direction.


Zail Singh’s widow gets relief
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, April 23
After a lapse of more than six years, 82-year-old Ms Pardhan Kaur, wife of a former late President of India, Giani Zail Singh, was today granted a compensation of Rs 12 lakh by a local court in an accident claim case of her late husband.

She had sought a compensation of Rs 1 crore in a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) on the ground that her husband had an income of more than Rs 5 lakh per month, including all facilities provided by the Government of India.

While talking to The Tribune, Dr Gurdip Kaur, a daughter of the Giani Zail Singh, said she could not comment if the family would file an appeal against the order or not. All family members — my brothers and sisters — have to sit together to decide the next course of action, the doctor said.

Giani Zail Singh was seriously injured when the car in which he was travelling was hit by a truck on November 29, 1994, at Mihalpur Handoor village. He had sustained multiple injuries in the accident and was later admitted to PGI, Chandigarh. He succumbed to his injuries on December 25, 1994.

The order awarding the compensation was delivered by the UT Additional and Sessions Judge, Mr J.S. Klar, in the afternoon today. It directed the National Insurance Company to pay a Rs 12-lakh compensation to Ms Pardhan Kaur with 9 per cent interest since the filing of the case.

The Judge has also directed the National Insurance Company to pay a compensation of Rs 90, 000 to Giani Zail Singh’s nephew, Basant Singh, who was also travelling with Giani Zail Singh and had sustained injuries. The Judge also directed that a compensation of Rs 3, 80, 000 be paid to the driver, Mr Parvinder Singh.

Meanwhile, Tarsem was convicted and sentenced to two years’ RI and also fined Rs 500 on December 2, 2000, in a case registered against him under Sections 279, 337, 304-A of the IPC in Sadar Ropar police station on November, 29, 1994.


Haryana to set up ‘sadhna kendras’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 23
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said “yog sadhna kendras” would be set up in all districts. A museum was being set up to preserve artefacts related to Jain culture and a chair named after Bhagwan Mahavira had been instituted in Kurukshetra University.

The Chief Minister, who was speaking at a function organised to celebrate Mahavira Jayanti at Jainendra Gurukul said the government had constituted a state-level committee , which had held several meetings to suggest ways to celebrate the 2600 th Janam Kalyak year of Mahavira in a befitting manner. He said several conferences had been organised to highlight the life and deeds of Mahavira.

He said some idols related to Jainism had been found at Hansi and the “shilas” found at Tikkertal near Morni were being examined by the Department of Archaelogy. He said Mahavira had traversed the land of Haryana to propagate the message of non-violence.

The Chief Minister expressed concern over the incidents of violence in Gujarat and said it was unfortunate that the land, where Mahatma Gandhi had been born, was burning with violence. He said members of the Jain community constituted 35 per cent of the total population of Gujarat and they should help restore peace in the strife-torn state.

Earlier, Swami Shiv Muni and Acharya Suman Muni expressed their gratitude to Mr Chautala for restoring 19 acres of land to Jainendra Gurukul , which was being acquired by the previous government.

Godman Chandraswami, who was also present on the occasion, condemned the violence in Gujarat.

Later, Mr Chautala inaugurated a 27 MLD capacity sewerage treatment plant in Sector 20, constructed at a cost of over Rs 2 crore and a traffic training park in Sector 12 , constructed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh. The park , which has been developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) with the help of Outline Graphics , was handed over to the police department today.


Scientific information in Indian languages soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Though India is ahead of China in scientific achievements, yet it is way behind China in providing technology to the end user because of language barrier between the technology developer and the user.

The Scientific and Technological Vocabulary Development Commission has decided to bridge this language barrier by deciding to disseminate scientific information in all Indian languages.

This was revealed here today by commission Chairman, Dr Harish Kumar, at a two-day all-India Hindi conference on agri-electronic instrumentation, the first in the country.

The conference was jointly organised by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), the commission and the Technology Mission on Oilseeds and Pulses.

Dr Kumar said the commission had published 400 books in Hindi on agriculture.

The CSIO Director, Dr R. P. Bajpai, stressed upon the need to make available the scientific knowledge in popular languages, especially in the field of agriculture, as its end users felt alien to English. He said the organisation had developed instruments for levelling the fields, seed sowing and protecting the crop from birds and animals.

An Administrative Officer of the organisation, Mr Swatantra Kumar Sadana, gave details of the papers to be presented by scientists from various universities, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research and the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The conference was inaugurated by a former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain, who congratulated the organisers for making available scientific and technological information in the people’s language.

The Head of the Department of the Science and Technology in ICSIR, Dr A. K. Bhatia, congratulated the CSIO for development of agriculture instruments to improve productivity.

Dr J. S. Khan, Senior Deputy Advisor to the Technology Mission, released a souvenir brought out on the occasion.

The first day of the conference saw 30 papers being presented in technical sessions among 69 papers sent for being presented in five technical sessions in two days. Today’s IT session was chaired by Ms J.R.D. Kailey from the Regional Computer Centre and on post-harvest technology by Mr Khan.

The papers presented or to be presented are on electronics and IT in agriculture, post-harvest technology, water management, energy in agriculture, management of inputs — fertiliser, pesticides, and soil evaluation techniques.


Loan facility for safai karamcharis’ wards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Chandigarh Scheduled Castes Backward Classes and Minorities Financial Development Corporation has made an appeal to the ‘safai karamcharis’ working in various departments of UT, Punjab, Haryana and Central Government offices situated at Chandigarh to come forward for availing of the loan facility for their dependents.

A special project run by the National Safai Karamchari Financial and Development Corporation offers loans . A camp is being organised at Mauli Jagran (community centre) on April 26 and in Sector 20 (near Masjid) on May 3 to create awareness among Scheduled Castes Backward Classes and Minorities and Safai Karamcharies.

This corporation is providing loans at a very low rate of interest of 6 per cent, repayable in easy installments. “Safai karamcharis” includes a safai karamchari working wholly or partially in government/ semi-government, autonomous bodies/banks etc or engaged for manual handling of human excreta. The scheme is for dependents of such safai karamcharis.

It has informed the public that for a project/unit costing Rs 1 lakh, applicant share is not insisted upon. For a project in excess of Rs 1 lakh the applicant’s contribution is 5 per cent of the cost of project. There is no income limit for ‘safai karamcharies’. The Corporation started providing loans to safai karamcharies since the year 1999-2000 . Till date, 203 dependents of ‘safai karamcharis’ have benefitted.


Shakti inspiration behind many creations: experts
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 23
The two-day colloquium on ‘Worshipping Goddess — Mythology, Form and Ritual’ concluded at Mata Mansa Devi Temple , with the dual object of highlighting various academic aspects of the Goddess worship and tradition; and of setting up a theme museum and library in temple complex.

Several senior scholars, academicians and architects participated in the colloquium. One of the speakers, Ms Karuna Goswamy, dwelt upon the deep devotion of painters for the Goddess and how it was the inspiration behind their creativity. She illustrated her lecture with paintings from Kashmiri manuscript of Devimahatamaya.

Dr Madhu Khanna talked about mapping the trajectories of the idea and image of the divine female — the Shakti. She talked about the Goddess phenomenon in India as the Goddess appears, reappears , but never disappears.

The Director of the colloquium, Prof Ashwani Aggarwal, talked about the depiction of Goddess with mixed attributes of her different forms, illustrating his point from the gold coins of the Gupta period and some sculptures from Himachal Pradesh. He said that the idea of Goddess, in her many manifestations was inherent in the minds of worshippers, artists and writers.

Mr N.K. Ojha highlighted on the attributes , origin, form and rituals of the folk Goddess, Sanjhi being worshiped by commoners in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. Dr Mahesh Sharma spoke on the perspectives on Jalandhar peeth and dwelt upon the meaning and symbolism of Goddess concluding that her worship in various ways had different meaning for different practitioners and people. Dr Rajesh Purohit highlighted the aspects connected to folk tradition both in art and ritual in eastern India, with reference to Mansa and Shashthi worship.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Administrator of Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, Ms Jyoti Arora, said that the tradition of Devi worship was beyond the parameters of time and space. She said that the tradition of Goddess worship highlighted the deep truths of our religious, philosophical and mental attitude.

Deliberating on the project of theme park, the scholars were unanimous in their views that this should be made more accessible to common man, besides the scholars and researchers. Other than showing the development of the worship of the Goddess through the ages to the present times, the aim should be to set up a library having an exhaustive collection of secondary and primary works as original hand-scripted manuscripts.

The plan of the building, its scope and shape were also discussed with architects and it was decided that the final shape should be given to the project at the earliest possible.


Home for mentally ill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Punjab Governor and Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), inaugurated a Half Way Home, a day-care centre for critically mentally ill patients — the first of its kind in North India in Sector 47 here today.

Half Way Home is a transitional supervised residence designed to help the patients in the period following discharge from hospital. Half Way Home is the result of the efforts of the Departments of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Department, on a space provided by the Social Welfare Department. General Jacob said that mental health care remained an isolated field. He said that lack of emphasis on this aspect, especially during undergraduate teaching, may be a contributory factor in this.

The Administrator regretted that mentally ill patients had not only been devoid of adequate care but have also been subjected to ridicule and contempt. The Governor appreciated the district mental health programme launched in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and said that all efforts should be made to implement the Mental Health Act. General Jacob said that the community needs to be sensitised towards the needs and requirements of the mentally ill patients, and the family members must be trained to treat residual symptoms which persisted after discharge from hospitals.

The Administrator said that Half Way Home could help them to become independent and participate in a productive and dignified way with minimal use of mental health resources.

Expressing the need to expand this facility in Chandigarh, which can take only 20 patients, General Jacob asked the Adviser to explore the possibility for adding one more floor to this single-floor building and also make a plan for residential facilities in the complex.

Dr S.B.S. Mann, Director-Principal, Government Medical College and Hospital informed the Administrator that patients above 18 years were eligible to get admission in this home and those having negative symptoms like social withdrawal, lack of interest, poor communication, lack of initiative, poor treatment compliance and inadequate self-help skills would benefit most from this home.

General Jacob also interacted with the patients who were enjoying their day playing carrom and exercising in the gymnasium and also cooking snacks for themselves.


What is justification in imposing house tax?

THIS is in connection with the haphazard and shoddy manner in which the authorities in Panchkula are going about imposing house tax. It seems the politicians here are in tearing hurry to form at municipal corporation for Panchkula and to impose this ill-considered tax. There is least consideration for the welfare of the general public. actually, it is not even justified in the absence of proper infrastructual facilities. The city is not even fully developed. How can the authorities justify imposing house tax, fire tax etc? In comparison, though Chandigarh is 50 years old, fully developed, having all infrastructural facilities, excellent educational institutions etc., the Municipal Corporation has not found it necessary to levy such tax yet.

Without any proper staff, the authorities have issued notices to the people of Panchkula, with all sorts of mistakes regarding the age of the building, the area of construction, the number of storeys etc. Some of the houses do not find mention even on their records. The little arrangement they have made to collect taxes is equally shoddy. No proper counter has been opened to collect taxes. There are no separate grilled counters or windows as in banks, post offices for ladies and senior citizens. All these arrangements should have been made before issuing notices or making collections. But officials seem to be in great hurry to collect taxes from the people.

The least they can do now is to announce immediately extension of the last date for payment with rebate of a month at least, by which time they can make proper arrangements to facilitate proper collection of taxes through banks, post offices etc as in the case of the submission of electricity and telephone bills.


Gateway to Himachal

This has reference to your editorial “Chandigarh-50 and forgotton” (April 4). It is a pragmatic and painful truth today that Chandigarh is partly and surely turning into a slum, with crowded roads. It is also becoming quite expensive for the common man residing here. At the same time, there are some bright aspects of this city as well.

Beautiful places like Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake and Pinjore are beautiful places to visit and relax. They are Chandigarh’s precious lung-spaces. These places need to be kept clean not only by the administration but by the visitors also.

The Punjab government should call Chandigarh as the “Gateway to Himachal Pradesh” from where the Shivalik Ranges start and give the viewers a glamorous hill-side view from the city itself.

Whenever it rains, the roads are flooded in the absence of proper storm water drains.

Even the Sector 17 shopping complex is not free from this problem. The government and the Municipal Corporation should take suitable measures to tackle this problem now itself so that roads would be okay by the onset of monsoon.

The people of Chandigarh are very polite and cultured, compared with others. We can even compare the politeness of a babu of Chandigarh with any of the officers of our neighbouring states.

There are many reasons which should make us feel proud of our City Beautiful. We should start a cleaning drive of the city right from our own doorsteps. Only then can we expect to keep this city lush-green and spacious. Chandigarh’s pet name “City Beautiful” will, then, be most appropriate.

Jind, Haryana

Not user-friendly

I had a bitter experience of the Haryana State Transport Authority’s inter-state deluxe bus from Jaipur to Chandigarh recently. Even though we had valid tickets (myself and my children aged two years and five years, respectively), the conductor did not give seats to my children, maintaining that half-ticket holders were not entiled to separate seats. With the help of a kind-hearted fellow passenger who adjusted himself near the driver, we somehow managed the 12-hour long arduous journey.

When half-ticket holders get good treatment by the Indian Airlines and the railways, why is the Haryana State Transport Authority behaving like this? It is time it became user-friendly.



Cop rewarded for nabbing thief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
A police constable, Naresh Kumar, has been commended for exhibiting a high sense of alertness and courage in apprehending a purse snatcher while he was on duty near the Modern Housing Complex (MHC), Mani Majra, last night.

In addition to a commendation certificate Class I, he has also been given a cash reward of Rs 1,000 by the UT IGP, Mr B.S. Bassi.

At about 8.15 last night, a resident of Mariwala town, Sudarshana, had gone to purchase vegetables near the MHC where a 17-year old boy, Wasim Akram, snatched her purse containing Rs 70 and some documents.

When she raised the alarm, constable Naresh Kumar, who was on beat duty, chased the accused and apprehended him.

The purse along with its contents, was recovered from him. The accused was arrested and a case registered against him.


Ranbaxy burns drugs; issued show cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee today issued a showcause notice to M/s Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, New Delhi and SAS Nagar, for disposing of, discarded, outdated and contaminated medicines by burning the pile of drugs in the open in the Industrial Area, Phase-II, on April 17.

These medicines, manufactured by the company, were being disposed of in the open by putting them on fire. As per Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998, these type of medicines are required to be incinerated/ or disposed of in a secured landfill.

The violation of provisions is punishable under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection Act), with imprisonment upto five years and fine upto Rs 1 lakh.

The company has been asked to show cause within 20 days. The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee has warned pharmaceutical companies to follow the Bio-Medical Rules, failing which strict action could be taken against them.


Rotary Club to open training centre
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 23
The Rotary Club of SAS Nagar has embarked upon an ambitious project to construct an art vocational training centre in Sector 70 here. Mr Manpreet Singh, president of the club, told TNS that total cost of the project was around Rs 75 lakh.

The building would come up in an area of 1070 sq yards. He said the construction of the building had already begun. In the first phase, a vocational training centre would be started to provide training in the field of apparel designing, stiching and embroidery to the needy girls. Mr Manpreet Singh said contacts with different industries were being established to organise career-oriented programmes. In the second phase, vocational training in computers, electrician and plumbing.

For raising funds for the project, a charity show is being organised at Shivalik Public School on April 27.


Sanitation complaint centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
With a view to streamlining the sanitation services in the city, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has established 30 sanitation complaint centres across the city which will start operating from May 1.

The supervisory staff will be available on each working day from 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon to receive sanitation complaints.

Complaints received at the complaint centres would be acknowledged and immediate action would be taken to redress the grievances, Medical Officer, Health, Mr G.C. Bansal, said.

All types of complaints will be received and those concerning the sanitation wing will be attended to by the supervisory staff of the MOH and the complaints concerning other wings will be passed on to the wings concerned for action.

Complaints of those areas run by the sanitation contract can also be made at these centres.


Grievance registers for policemen
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 23
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, today said on an experimental basis a welfare register was being maintained in every police station to enable the cops, irrespective of their rank, to write down their grievances. The policemen would not have to go to the office of the SSP or the DSP to convey their welfare-related grievances. Mr Bhullar said women constables in every police station had been asked to listen to the complaints of the women in separate rooms.


No smoking at public places
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 23
In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court to ban smoking at public places, the UT Administration has banned smoking in auditoriums, hospital buildings, health institutions, educational institutions, libraries, court buildings, public offices and public conveyances including trains. The orders were issued by the District Magistrate under Section 144 of the CrPC.


Youth beats up ASI at naka
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 23
A youth snatched a walkie-talkie from an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police, beat him up and fled away upon being asked to stop for a routine checking at a naka.

According to information available, the driver of car (0066) was signalled to stop by a police party engaged in checking overspeeding vehicles near Sector 2. The driver, however, zoomed past and the police party gave a message to the next patrolling party to stop the Matiz car.

As soon as the car reached there, ASI Surinder Singh motioned the car to stop. The driver assaulted the driver, snatched his walkie-talkie and fled away. The police has registered a case under Sections 323, 279, 337, 186 and 356 of the IPC.

The police has also booked Somi, a resident of Gari Kotaha, for causing disruption in the performance of duty by the public servant.

Three arrested

The local police has arrested three persons, Malwinder Singh, Kapal Mochan and Ram Lal, on the charge of gambling at a public place and recovered Rs 2460 from them.


One held for cheating

A resident of Patiala, Sudhir Mangal, was arrested by the police for trying to use a credit card belonging to someone else for purchasing articles in Sector 17. He was caught after he tried to forge the signatures of the credit card owner, Archana Sharma, also a resident of Patiala. The police has registered a case under sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 for cheating, forgery and conspiracy against the accused.

3 held for bootlegging

Three persons have been arrested by the police from Sector 25 for bootlegging and 70 pouches of whisky have been recovered from their possession. Suresh Kumar was arrested from the Sector 14-15-24-25 chowk with 25 pouches, while Piara Singh and Santro Devi were arrested from Sector 25 with 24 pouches and 21 pouches, respectively. All three are residents of Sector 25. Separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them.


Sector 35 resident Santokh Singh has reported that his house was broken into while he was out of station and his clothes were stolen. Police has registered a case.

Car stolen

Sector 38 resident Sukhdeep Singh has reported that his Maruti car (DNH-8664) has been stolen from his residence. A case has been registered.




Castrol India on Tuesday announced a 32 per cent increase in its net profit for the first quarter, between January 2002 and March 2002. Mr RA Savoor, Managing Director, while announcing the results for this period, said that the net profit increased to Rs 32.83 crore from Rs 24.93 crore during corresponding period last year and the gross margins increased as a result of higher unit sales realisation and reduction in cost of raw materials. TNS

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