Friday, May 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


BSNL subscribers sweat over payment of dues
5,000 phones disconnected in past 2 days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Acting in a high-handed manner the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has disconnected telephones of about 5,000 subscribers in the city and its surrounding townships in the past two days. In some cases even the bills had not been issued, alleged users.

Since yesterday, the subscribers, whose phones were snapped by the BSNL, could hear a recorded voice ‘‘all outgoing calls are barred due to non-payment.’’ All telephone connections were, however, restored by this evening.

In an exercise to recover old dues (of one to three years back) from the subscribers the department had disconnected the telephone connections, following which long queues of subscribers were witnessed at the payment counters in Sector 17 and Sector 34 in the city. Residents complained of non-issuance of bills, very short prior notice and in certain cases the amount due was as less as Re 1.

“The department said I had prior dues of Rs 54 due to which they had disconnected my phone. But the fact is that this number has been transferred to me and the actual defaulter is someone else”, said Dr R.K. Sood, resident of Sector 42. He complained that despite his written complaints regarding this to the department, no action was taken and instead the department had disconnected his telephone connection. Another subscriber alleged that his phone was disconnected for non-payment of some dues which in fact was a small amount but much before the due date for the bill.

“We received a large number of complaints during these two days. The department should not act in haste like this as this is against the interest of the subscribers”, said Mr Randhir Verma, President, Chandigarh Telecom Subscribers Association. “The BSNL seems to remember even meagre amounts that are due from the subscribers but even till date there are subscribers who have been complaining for years for the non-payment of refund to be paid by the department”, he said. He said the Federation of Telecom Consumer Organisation of India has taken up the matter at TRAI level.

Meanwhile, BSNL has decided to recover the dues in lots from the subscribers. “The connections were restored but as we are yet to recover the dues, we will send individual notices to the subscribers and in case of default, the phones will be disconnected”, said Mr Vaish.

On the complaints of the subscribers, he said “errors might have been there but now that we have decided to deal with these cases in lots of small numbers, the chances of complaints will be very less”.

He said it will take two to three months for the department to recover the dues.


Sanitation services to be privatised
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 2
Amidst opposition charges of the ruling group trying to muscle their way through on the basis of majority, the civic body in its general house meeting today decided to once again privatise sanitation in the town. An estimate of around Rs 82 lakh for the work during the current financial year was passed.


* Privatisation of sanitation in SAS Nagar to cost around Rs 82 lakh

* Fee on apni mandis to increase from Rs 100 to 1,000 per market.

* Private parties to be allowed to display fluorescent traffic signs.

The house also decided to increase the fee on apni mandis from Rs 100 to 1,000. The president of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, said for the past six years, the civic body had been charging Rs 100 per mandi from the Market Committee, Kharar.

Soon after the meeting started, two councillors of the ruling group, Mr Sham Bansal and Mr BB Maini said the development related agendas should be passed. Protesting on the stand of the ruling group, the councillors of the opposition, Mr Manjeet Singh Sethi and Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, said it was undemocratic. They alleged that the ruling group in a meeting last night had decided to get the agendas passed without carrying on the proceedings in the meeting.

Seeking the intervention of the local MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who was also present in the meeting, Mr Manjeet Sethi said the president had failed to provide details of spending under the contingency head. He alleged that from April 18, 2001 to November 29, 2001 Rs 18 lakh was spent on filling petrol in the official vehicles. Another document showed that from April 1 to 30, 2001, around Rs 5 lakh was spent on filling petrol on the vehicles. Alleging bungling in the funds, Mr Sethi sought details of the spending.

An agenda item of paying salary of a clerk, Mr Amrit Lal, who was absent from duty from June 1, 1996 to December 29, 1999, saw a lot of debate among the councillors. While the MLA wanted to know about the outcome of the inquiry being conducted against the clerk, certain councillors wanted the issue to be given to a sub committee. The civic body decided to keep the issue of inquiry against the clerk pending and at the same time it was decided to refer to the case of paying salary for the period of medical leave to a sub committee of the civic body.

The president said since the civic body had to vacate the existing accommodation by June this year, quotations from owners of showrooms had been invited. Approval of the house was sought for taking a new premises on rent.

Acting on a complaint from a councillor regarding the long route buses not touching the local bus stand, the civic body decided to write to the transport department to get the needful done. The civic body also approved a table item allowing a private company to display fluorescent traffic signs along the roads.


PU to start diploma in scientific computation
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Taking a lead in the entire region, Panjab University has decided to introduce a diploma in advanced scientific computation from the forthcoming academic session.

The diploma offered by the Department of Physics assumes greater significance in the context that it does not only train manpower for research and teaching but also has immense capability for employment in industry.

Prof V.K. Jindal, programme coordinator, said: “It is a common practice in European countries to employ scientists in industries who are trained to programme in problem solving. We hope this kind of training will benefit M Sc students as well industry and research. The programme has the potential for future job prospects, besides enriching them logically and intellectually”.

In his absence Dr Tankeshwar Kumar will look after the coordination work. He said: “Even PhD students will be greatly benefited by this course in saving their time. The most potential field was research and development through simulations. This aided in calculating effect of any reaction without deploying the actual raw material. The field also had immense potential in designing of drugs and study of its effects”.

The primary goal of the diploma is to ‘train manpower for research or teaching position and also for industry through knowledge of mathematical modelling and scientific computational methods. The curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature.’

Examples of similar courses can be cited at Stanford, Utah and George Mason Universities in the USA. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, has decided to start a masters degree course based on scientific computations from the coming session.

The programme endeavouring to inter-link scientific computing, industry and research will provide practical training with exposure to various computer languages relevant to scientific programming. A two-semester diploma will be available only for students who had completed their masters in the subject.

Project work is an important component of the programme which will be done in the second semester in collaboration with the industry and engineering disciplines. The course will have a maximum of 15 seats.

Admission will be based on the merit list prepared by giving 50 per cent weightage each to marks obtained in the M Sc and aptitude test. A candidate will be required to attend 75 per cent of the lectures to be eligible for appearing in the annual examination which also includes the practical.

The assessment will be totally internal for all theory papers. In case of laboratory papers, the department could call an external examiner which will be recommended by the Board of Control. In the theory course, 75 per cent marks will be on basis of the test at the end of the semester while the remaining 25 per cent will be for ‘in semester’ assessment. In the paper, the answersheets will be given to students incase they wished to peruse the matter.

In the practical examination, 50 per cent of the marks will be meant for evaluation during course of a semester.


Move to hike power tariff flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Federation of Small Scale Industries today flayed the move of the Chandigarh Administration to hike power tariff in the city.

Mr Rajeev Gupta, general secretary of the federation, said the UT Electricity Department had been making profits. He revealed that during the last year it had purchased power for Rs 176 crore and the total revenue was of Rs 216 crore. The department had made a profit of Rs 39 crore. Thus there was hardly any rationale behind effecting a hike in power tariff.

Mr Gupta said there were no losses because of free or subsidised power to farmers and there were no power thefts. The pilferage of power in labour colonies ought to have been checked by the Administration to avoid losses. He suggested that the Administration should minimise wastage of power in the city.


Row over ‘selective’ encroachment removal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
“Selective” removal of encroachment outside a house in Sector 27 here today sparked off allegations and counter allegations between a Congress functionary and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch councillor, Ms Harpreet Babla.

The Chandigarh District Congress Committee (Urban-1) general secretary M.P. Sharma, alleged that the Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Corporation yesterday demolished his cemented parking area at the instance of Ms Babla due to a political rivalry.

He alleged that corporation staff did not remove encroachment of other residents in Sector 27.

The Husband of Ms Babla, Devinder Singh Babla, also the general secretary of the CVM, while denying his or Ms Babla’s involvement made a counter allegation that Mr Sharma was trying to give a political colour to a property dispute.

Mr Sharma has faxed a copy, of the complaint purported to have been sent to the Municipal Commissioner Mr M.P. Singh, complaining against the alleged connivance of the enforcement staff.

Copies of complaints have been sent to the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, all councillors and newspapers.


Tandoor owner alleges harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
A man running a small tandoor (roadside eating place) inside the fire station in Sector 17 has alleged that he is being targetted by policemen. The tandoor has been functional for the past two decades and is visited mostly by Class III and IV employees and also poor travellers as they get food at cheaper rates.

The fire station is located behind the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) and the tandoor is within the station premises. In the past few days policemen have been harassing the tandoor owner, Kamal Walia. Today vegetables cooked by Walia were allegedly spilled by the cops and rate list was torn off.

Walia alleges that the cops are acting at the behest of eateries being run inside the ISBT. He said he had never been disturbed by anyone in the past.

A tandoor owner in Sector 17 points at vegetables which were allegedly spilled by cops in Chandigarh on Thursday.


Council’s plea to Chief Engineer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Indian Trade Union Council here today drew attention of the Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation to its demands of regularisation of services of daily workers (mechanical section) and filling posts of drivers and cleaners. A delegation of the council met Chief Engineer V.K. Bharadwaj, who assured it that the matter would be expedited.


Parking lots’ auction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Municipal Corporation will auction last of its parking lots in Sectors 17, 8 and 9 on May 10. The reserve price of the lot number 2 in Sector 8 had been earlier fixed at Rs 3.23 lakh. The reserve price of the lot number 2 in Sector 8 had been earlier fixed at Rs 3.23 lakh.


Illegal doors removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board, removed and took away illegal doors opening onto main roads in Sectors 40 and 41, here this afternoon.

This is to deter the owners from refixing the doors and get the gaps closed with bricks and cement. The staff also demolished illegal construction carried out by certain flat owners. Instead of the routine hammer work the team has acquired a machine which demolishes the structure much faster.


Birthday celebrated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 2
The 61st birthday of Sant Asa Ram Bapu was celebrated here today. Sri Asa Ram Ramayan path and video satsang was organised from 11 am to 12.30 pm. A prize distribution function was also held. A shobha yatra was taken out at 3.30 pm from Sector 15. The yatra went through Sectors 16, 23, 22, 21, 19, 27 and culminated at Sector 20.

Fruits were distributed among patients of the GMCH and PGI.


Former Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Kamla Kehar, daughter of Mr R.G. Khosla, former Circulation Manager of The Tribune, died today after a brief illness. Kamla (65) is survived by a son. Her cremation will take place tomorrow. The funeral procession begins at 1 p.m. from her house (No 204, Tribune Model Gram, Baltana near Zirakpur in Patiala district).


Scrap dealer held in theft cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
With the arrest of a scrap dealer in Industrial Area, the local police has claimed to have solved three cases of theft reported from the vicinity of the area, and has recovered goods worth about Rs 8 lakh.

The accused, Madan Lal, a resident of Mani Majra, and his gang were engaged in thefts in Industrial Area, Phases I and II. He used to receive stolen goods from the gang members at throw-away prices for further disposal. During investigations, the accused revealed that he had a nexus with a notorious woman thief, identified as Poppi, who is absconding.

The articles already recovered from the accused include welding rods, bathroom fittings, high-tension conductors, brass plates of mobile telephone transmitting towers, compressors, tyres, tubes, rubber items and pasting material.


Labourer done to death
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, May 2
A 60-year-old labourer was done to death with a brick by another labourer of a brick-kiln in Bhabhat village, about 2 km from here, late last night.

Hailing from Nalanda district in Bihar, the deceased, Ram Bashish, was working in the brick-kiln, owned by Mr Roshan Lal Gulati, for the past over one year. He was staying with his sons — Sita Ram, Sarwan Ram and their families — in a hut adjacent to the kiln.

Eyewitnesses said that Santosh Kumar (25), a neighbour of the deceased, lost his temper after losing a game while gambling with some other labourers in his courtyard at about 8 pm.

This resulted in a scuffle among the “players”, following which other gamblers quit the place.

Tension aggravated when Santosh Kumar resisted over some issue and started abusing and hurling stones at his fellow players. As others fled from the scene, Santosh tried to chase them, and under the influence of liquor, accidentally hit Ram Bashish on his forehead. The latter died on the spot.

In the mean time, other jhuggi-dwellers assembled at the site and overcame Santosh Kumar, who was trying to flee from the site. They managed to lock him in a room of the brick-kiln, and later handed him over to the Sohana police.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered but no arrest has been made so far. The body was sent to the General Hospital in Phase VI in SAS Nagar for post mortem examination.


Booked for issuing fake tickets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The local police has booked two CTU bus conductors for allegedly preparing fake bus tickets and bills. The accused have been identified as Sukhwinder Singh and Hardip Singh. Based on a complaint filed by the CTU General Manager, Mr Vijay Kumar, the police has registered a case under various provisions of the IPC for cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy against the accused.

Cheating case

The police has booked a resident of Kulu, Karam Chand Yadav, after officials of a local vernacular daily reported that the accused had taken Rs 88,000 from several parties for getting their advertisements published, but had failed to deposit the money with the newspaper office although the advertisements were forwarded to the office. The police has registered a case.

Case against bus driver

A resident of Sector 14, Panchkula, Geetika, sustained minor injuries after her scooter was knocked down by a Haryana Roadways bus near the Transport traffic lights. The police has arrested bus driver Karan Singh and registered a case against him.

Booked for duping

The local police has booked a Panchkula-based couple for allegedly defrauding a number of persons on the pretext of sending them abroad. Sector-44 resident Jaswant Singh Saini has reported that the accused, who were running an immigration service in Mani Majra, had collected money from 14 persons for sending them abroad, but they neither sent them abroad nor returned their money. The police has registered a case.

Case registered

The police has booked a resident of Palsora, Dalip, after his wife Nirmal Yadav complained that the accused was already married and had three children from his first marriage. The complainant, who has a 16-year-old daughter, had also been married before, but was divorced. She had married Dalip in May, 2000. Dalip had allegedly taken Rs 2 lakh from the complainant as dowry. The police has registered a case of cheating and misappropriating dowry articles.

Cars stolen

Ludhiana resident Navneet Sood has reported that his Maruti car (PB-10-T-0365) has been stolen from the parking lot outside Hotel Aroma in Sector 22. The police has registered a case. Sector-23 resident Sandeep has reported that his Maruti car (HR-09-A-0977) has been stolen from Sector 17. A case has been registered. Sector-32 resident Vinod has reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-R-8246) has been stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.


Theft cases

Four cases of theft have been registered in different parts of the city during the past 24 hours. A sum of Rs 10,000 was stolen from the scooter of Mr Sant Kumar in Chandimandir.

Mr Abdul Khan Pansari has alleged that his shop in Sector 10 was burgled and a CPU computer stolen. In another case, the battery of a Kinetic Honda was stolen in Sector 5.

As many as 86 sodium vapour lamps have been stolen from Sector 6 during the night intervening April 19 and 20. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of the SDO ( Electrical), HUDA.

Woman assaulted

A resident of Khautali village, Ms Vidya, was reportedly assaulted by Surinder on May 1. A case under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.


A 16-year-old girl was allegedly abducted by Akhilesh and his friend Ram Babu on April 13. The police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC.

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