Friday, May 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Goods over Rs 30 lakh gutted in three fire incidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/SAS Nagar, May 9
Goods worth over Rs 30 lakh were destroyed in three major fire incidents in the region today. At a SAS Nagar-based export unit manufacturing spring mattresses, a short circuiting led to a major fire which took the firemen more than five hours to control.

Officials at the SAS Nagar Fire Station put the loss at Rs 25 lakh. Mr BS Sidhu, in charge, SAS Nagar Fire Station, said the fire spread due to inflammable material used in the mattresses.

In rehri market of Sector 7 of Panchkula, five shops were gutted in a devastating fire that broke at around 1: 15 am today. Goods worth over Rs 3 lakh were destroyed in the fire.

A loss of lakhs of rupee was reported in another fire in a chemical plant at Zirakpur.

In Panchkula market, though the cause of the fire was not yet known, eye witnesses said that the fire started from a fruit and vegetable shop located on one corner of the market. The entire went up in flames when the chic that had been put all around the shop, in order to protect it from the stray animals at night, caught fire. A temporary plastic sheet roof that had been put, also caught fire instantly.

Workers of a sweet shop, who were sleeping on the roof of the shop, located opposite the rehri market, saw the flames rising, immediately rushed to the spot. One of the shopkeepers in Sector 7, Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassi, who had come to oversee the collection of his daily supply of milk from Verka, also saw the fire and he too rushed to the spot. They then went to a nearby house and called up the Fire Station as well as the owners of these shops in rehri market. As these people waited for the fire tenders to arrive they began dousing the flames with buckets of water.

Meanwhile, the fire spread to a stationery shop, a fast food joint and a cloth merchant’s shop. It took three fire tenders, including one from Chandigarh, and over two hours to put out the fire .

A forensic expert from Ambala Police Range was today called in by the authorities to ascertain the cause of fire. The expert, Mr G.R. Jain , took samples from the spot and took them for examination at Forensic Laboratory in Madhuban.

In the SAS Nagar factory manufacturing spring mattresses, the fire broke out at 6 am and was controlled by 10 am with the help of four fire tenders. The unit manufacturing goods was owned by Mr Manu Malhotra. The unit was also supplying mattresses to five star hotels. The heat generated by the fire was so intense that the machinery used in manufacturing the mattresses also melted. The owner, who lives in the unit’s complex, said the fire tenders responded fast and reached the spot within a short span. 


Fire hazard looms over rehri markets
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

At the time rehri markets in Sectors 1, 9, 11 and 17 were set up by the Haryana Urban Development Authority ( HUDA), it was proposed to allow their functioning as day markets. The vendors were each given a sitting place with concrete slabs of six by four feet and had to pay a nominal fee of Rs 50 per month to HUDA. They were also allowed to have a temporary umbrella over these slabs. Later, the persons allotted these sites, sold them off to third party. These sites first became kiosks and had now turned into shops, with HUDA being a mute spectator to these blatant violations. 

Panchkula, May 9
With the authorities choosing to ignore fire safety standards in four rehri markets here, these markets have virtually become a death trap because of overhanging open electricity cables, which can spark a major fire anytime.

A visit by a Tribune team to various rehri markets revealed that the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam has failed to learn from the two major fires that erupted in two rehri markets during the past one year. While five shops were gutted in a fire that erupted in Sector 7 rehri market late last night, as many as six shops in Sector 11 rehri market were completely razed in a fire caused by short circuiting a couple of months ago.

Officials of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam had promised some improvements in the conditions at rehri markets following a devastating fire in Sector 11 rehri market some time ago. The improvements did come, but only in the Sector 11 market. The authorities seemingly forgot about improvements in the other three rehri markets.

The main supply lines from electricity poles in Sector 11 market had been insulated and encased in a tube; T- connections had been given to most of the shops.

The situation, however, in other rehri markets remained dismal. While electricity cables in rehri markets in Sectors 9 and 17, criss-crossed dangerously over head, the problem of 11-KV cables running over the tin sheds of Sector 7 rehri market was posing a fire hazard.

Also the large-scale encroachments in the passageways in these markets ensured that there was hardly any place at entry\ exit points for escape in case of any fire. Though HUDA had earlier decided to remove these encroachments and create enough space for a fire tender to pass through, in case of a fire, it had not been done so far.

Meanwhile, the Fire Station here was also in need of urgent upgradation. However, ll proposals for upgrading the Fire Station here were hanging fire with the department’s functioning being transferred from HUDA to the newly-constituted Municipal Council.

It was proposed to add a fleet of fire tenders ( two fire tenders and a jeep fire engine) to the existing two fire tenders with the fire station here. It was also proposed to add a hydraulic platform worth Rs. 2.75 crore , construct two garages and family quarters at the Fire Station.

While the HUDA authorities had reportedly declined the proposal for buying two fire tenders and jeep fire engine and construction of garages and family quarters, the proposal for buying a hydraulic platform was again hanging fire.

According to the government guidelines there had to be one fire tender per 50,000 population and a leading fireman, four firemen and a driver had to be present in a single shift.

The population of the township is around 1. 80 lakh and for the entire district at it is 2. 5 lakh. 


PUDA for sewage-treatment plants in all urban estates
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority is learnt to have made a regulation making it compulsory to set up sewage-treatment plants in all its urban estates. The regulation specifies that the developing agency, be it PUDA or licensed colonisers, will either have to integrate treatment plant with a city’s network or set up an independent treatment plant.

Sources in PUDA said the matter would be discussed at a meeting of the authority tomorrow. In a case of water pollution being heard by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, PUDA and the State Pollution Control Board had been asked to check the untreated sewage being dumped in seasonal nullahs which ultimately flows into the Ghaggar.

Although the provision of setting up the treatment plants exists in the planning norms of PUDA, It was never enforced in SAS Nagar and other towns of Punjab. Once approved, it would make it mandatory for PUDA to set up treatment plants.

PUDA has decided to set up a 10 mg treatment plant for SAS Nagar near Papri village.

About 25 acres will be acquired for the project. The earlier proposal set up a treatment plant at Dairi village, located along the Landhran-Banur road, has now been changed.

The proposed treatment plant will be located near the proposed Sector 81. The capacity of the plant could be increased to 15 mgd. An official said it had been decided that against an initial plan of setting up a treatment plant of 30 mgd, a treatment plant of 10 mgd would be set up.

At present, around 8 mgd of sullage was being generated in residential sectors of the town. In the coming years if the discharge of the sullage increased, another plant would be set up.

The officials were of the view that sewage treatment plant of smaller capacity could be set up instead of setting up one big plant.


F&CC disapproves cut in grant-in-aid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh’s budget proposal for the year 2002-2003 was abandoned midway here today with the Congress-dominated Finance and Contract Committee not approving a Rs 13-crore cut of grant-in-aid in it, saying there could be little development work in the city with these funds.

The committee chose to send the proposal back to the House and requested the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, to write a letter against the reduced grants vis-a-vis the needs of the corporation.

The Congress leader in the House, Mr Subhash Chawla, while rejecting the cut in the budget alleged, “It seems the people of the city are being punished by the BJP-led Central Government for handing over the reins of power to the Congress.”

He also said the Administration, allegedly under the influence of the BJP, deceived the Congress by not honouring its promise of providing matching grants to the corporation, despite the party taking hard decisions of imposing property tax and paid parking.

The F&CC continued its pressure on officials for development with deciding to hold the next meeting only when action was taken on the decisions of the last meeting.

The committee also passed the rental for sugarcane juice vendor’s rehris at Rs 750 per month in Mani Majra, amidst protests from officials. Congress members, however, wanted permission for the same at Chandigarh also. The Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mr M. P. Singh, however, sounded tough, ordering the removal of watermelon sellers and juice vendors from V-3 roads by Monday.

The Medical Officer Health’s proposals of having 100 garbage bins and 200 wheelbarrows fell through on technical grounds.

The committee set up a working group of all elected and nominated members along with the Chief Engineer and both Superintendent Engineers to invite reputed companies for running the cafeteria in Shanti Kunj on the pattern of Hot Millions and other such food joints to provide the place with a good facility as well as earn revenue for the corporation. The committee approved recarpeting and strengthening of two roads in Phase-II of the Industrial Area.

It decided to invite fresh tenders for the security arrangements of the Municipal Corporation and extended Municipal Corporation canteen contract for three months.

The committee also approved acquisition of one acre of land in Khuda Lahora to set up a car cases utilisation plant with the help of the Chandigarh Administration.


Decomposed body of 53-yr-old found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The decomposed body of a 53-year-old employee of the Water Works department was recovered from his residence in Sector 33 here today. The deceased, Murari Lal Sharma, had been absent from duty for the past several days.

The neighbours informed the police when an overpowering stench started emanating from the house. The police broke open the door and recovered the deceased’s body.

According to some neighbours, the deceased was a diabetic and used to abstain from smoking or consuming alcohol. He was last seen about a week ago.

The deceased has a son who stays with his uncle in Ludhiana. His wife passed away several years ago and the whereabouts of his sister, said to be residing in Chandigarh are not known.

The body has been sent for post-mortem.


Lawyers to observe strike today
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, May 9
More than 1,600 advocates of the District Bar Association (DBA) came up vocally against the judges whose names had been mentioned in the PPSC recruitment scam at a meeting held here today and decided to observe a day’s strike tomorrow to show resentment.

The role of certain high court judges in the scam was condemned and the grave consequences arising due to the appointment of certain judicial officers allegedly through the backdoor and their adopting corrupt, unfair and influential means were discussed. The members of the DBA also appreciated the efforts of The Tribune in highlighting loopholes prevailing in the system by publishing the page one signed editorial by The Tribune Editor, Mr Hari Jaisingh and the Point of Law by Mr Anupam Gupta.

The President of the DBA, Mr N.K. Nanda, said, “All members of the DBA have agreed to abstain from work. A fine of Rs 1,000 shall be imposed on any lawyer found violating the resolution. Disciplinary action shall also be initiated against him.” Mr Sajal Koser, vice-president of the DBA, said, “There was resentment among the members regarding the order of Mr Justice K.S. Garewal, whereby public information in the Sidhu case will no longer flow.”

The secretary of the DBA, Mr N.K. Kapil, said the meeting was held to discuss the appointment of judicial officers during the tenure of the Chairmanship of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu. He said the DBA demanded that the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana Court or the Chief Justice of India should conduct investigations in the PPSC scam and ascertain the names of the judges who were involved.

Addressing the gathering, an advocate, Mr K.S. Lamba, said, Nothing short of the removal from services should meet the fate of the judge who is confirmed to be corrupt even if the evidence is scanty.”Back


Pig owners ask for one more chance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
A section of pig-owners in the city has offered to take their animals out of the city forever and shown eagerness to file an affidavit in this regard.

The offer follows three drives by the Municipal Corporation to impound the animals and remove piggeries.

Mr Babloo Makwana, the President of the Ramdarbar Sudhar Sabha, made this offer, asking the Municipal Corporation and Chandigarh Administration to release pigs after charging penalty.

Mr Makwana said the disposal of animals by the Corporation would be a financial setback to at least 35 per cent unemployed people of a community which survives on the pig sale-and-purchase business.

The Corporation had warned these people through a public notice that the animals caught during the drives would not be returned, even on payment of penalty.

Official sources, however, indicated if the pig-rearers were ready to give an undertaking on an affidavit, the corporation could consider the proposal.

Mr Makwana said people of his community were ready to take their animals to Saharanpur under the supervision of an official.

One person accompanying him also showed a receipt of a transport company for the purpose.

Mr Makwana said the poor pig-rearers should be permitted at least one more chance to recover their loss that would drive many families bankrupt.

He said it was a wrong notion that pigs were being reared by those who already had jobs to supplement their incomes. However, a large number of families of the sweeper community with a family size of more than five people were dependent solely on the business.


Multi-purpose hall for police personnel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today laid the foundation stone of a multi-purpose hall in the Sector 26 Police Lines. The hall will cater to the needs of indoor training facility and sports activities for police personnel.

The Governor said that about 180 additional residential quarters would be constructed for the Chandigarh police personnel.

General Jacob released a citizen’s charters which listed duties of police personnel, rights of the citizens and tips for cops for effective and people-friendly policing.

According to police officials, the hall, costing about Rs 70 lakh, shall be used for multifarious activities and shall become the hub of socio-cultural activities to be organised for the benefit and welfare of police personnel


MCC panel rejects trolley tippers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The Tender and Inspection committee, a sub-committee of the Sanitation Committee of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, here today rejected the first lot of two trolley tippers for dumping garbage in the dumping ground in Daddu Majra.

While one of the trollies could not lift the required 7.5 tonne weight, the tractor attached to the other trolley came off the ground while lifting the weight, sources told Chandigarh Tribune.

A Ludhiana-based company has to supply six of such trollies and first lot was sent to Chandigarh for testing today at the dumping ground. Each of such trolley will cost Rs 75,000.

Labourers at the dumping ground started screaming ‘’fail-fail’’ when the machines could not lift the weight. A member of the committee, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, said the committee has also decided not to visit Ludhiana each time and the supplier would give demonstration of a ready item in Chandigarh.


Summer camps travel to foreign shores
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, May 9
With ‘globalisation’ the buzz word today, it could possibly do not harm to introduce our younger generation to the ‘international style’ of rec-reational activities. So when the concept of kids going abroad for short duration summer camps was introduced in the city, the affluent class, who could afford the exorbitant prices jumped at the idea.

“To survive the rat race in these days of a global economy, it is important to give our children international exposure. The concept of conducting summer camps abroad is a really good idea, as it could be a learning experience for the young participants,” says Mr P.J. Singh who is toying with the idea of sending his child Bikram Singh for such a trip to the UK this summer.

Mr P.J. Singh who owns a trading house in the city, feels it is important to treat children as individuals from an early age to imbibe a sense of confidence among them. “Meeting people from different nationalities on our own terms would develop their personality and teach them how to deal with people from different backgrounds,” says Mr P.J. Singh.

Parents’ expectations attached to such trips range from introducing their children to exotic fun games to personality building. “I am sending my son, Jatin, to a summer camp in UK because I want him to make new friends and learn to handle difficult situations on his own,” says Mr S.K. Bhatia, a businessman from Ludhiana.

But for others, such trips would have a bearing on their future life decisions. “I plan to go on a ten-day trip to campsites in UK because I would learn how it would be to live alone in a foreign country, as later in life I am planning to migrate to the USA,” says Rupali Nagpal, a student of Bhawan Vidyalaya.

Besten Foundation, which is organising these summer camps happens to be the first such organisation to have joined hands with Kingswood Learning and Leisure Group ltd. UK to hold summer camps in various locales in UK and London. “This is a new venture of the Besten Foundation, but there has been an overwhelming response from the people to participate in the summers camps abroad,” says Ms Pragati Gandhi, Assistant Director of the Foundation.

“Looking at the number of people of this region having relatives living abroad, we knew the idea of holding summer camps abroad would strike the right chord, because most people here want to send their children to faraway places even for short visits. The desire remained unfulfilled till now because of the problems involved in sending a young person all by himself,” says Pragati. “Now the summer camps have given them the security of going in a group under the vigilance of an elderly person as a guide,” she adds. To accommodate all such expectations from people, the trips have been designed to give the participants an opportunity of seven-days full of adventure and group activities, as well as a three-day sight-seeing tour, she adds. 


2 accident victims die
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
A Junior Engineer in the Punjab State Electricity Board, Parmod Kumar, died on the spot after being hit by a loaded truck at Sohana here late this night. The victim, a resident of Sector 7-C in Chandigarh, was posted at Sohana.

According to information available, the truck (PB 12 D 9581) being driven by Satpal, a resident of Ghaurna village, was coming from Landhran to Chandigarh when the mishap took place near the Akal Ashram colony. The victim was driving a scooter (CHT-2872). The driver of the truck has been arrested.

In another case, Gurvinder Singh, a motorcyclist who was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, last night after being injured in an accident with a scooter, succumbed to his injuries today. A case against the scooterist, Bhupinder Singh, has been registered by the police.


Peon murder: 6 ex-employees suspected
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
In connection with the murder of a factory chowkidar Dina Nath, at a unit in Industrial Area, Phase VII here, the police has zeroed on at least six employees who had been removed from job in the past. Two police parties have been sent to raid the houses of these workers.

A police official said that from the circumstantial evidence it looked that the assailant(s) knew about the place and were known to the victim. The police has already questioned around 35 employees of the unit.

Meanwhile, the postmortem report revealed that the victim had suffered extensive hemorrhage. A three-member board of the doctors at the Civil Hospital was constituted to conduct the autopsy. The doctors were Dr GS Bedi, Dr Manjit Singh and Dr Harbant Singh. At least 30 wounds of grievous nature were found on the body. The head had been badly crushed and part of the brain was protruding out. A piece of the skull was also missing.

The doctors said the deceased had been attacked with a sharp-edged weapon. To ascertain whether the victim had been poisoned before death, the viscera had been sent for chemical examination to Patiala.



2 imposters held
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
An employee of a Chandigarh-based advocate and an Ambala-based cement dealer have been arrested by the police for demanding money while posing as officials from the Crime Branch, Chandigarh.

Jagmohan Singh (28), cement dealer and Amarjeet Singh, working as a munshi with an advocate, Mr Navjeet Singh Brar, had gone to the house of a drug addict in Phase V, Narinder Kumar, on April 28. Pretending as officials from the Crime Branch, they bashed him up and sought Rs 5,000. After paying Rs 1,150, the victim promised them to pay Rs 4,000 on May 6. They again returned on May 6 but did not get the money. On May 8, the police arrested them.


Judge’s gunman roughs up PU official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
A Panjab University official was assaulted on the campus by security personnel of the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, today. According to sources, Srinath Yadav, an assistant in the Anthropology Department, was coming towards the campus. He overtook the Sessions Judge’s car on the road separating Sectors 14 and 15. Later when the driver of the judge’s car tried to overtake Yadav’s car, sources alleged, he did not give way and attempted to ram the car.

The judge’s gunman signalled him to stop, but he did not and entered the campus. They followed him inside the campus, where the judge’s gunman reportedly slapped Yadav. The police was called, but police officials also manhandled him and later took him away.

Two injured
Two persons were injured after their scooter was hit by a tractor-trailer near Dadu Majra. The injured, Renu, a resident of Dhanas, has been admitted to the PGI, while Roshan Lal, a resident of Sector 15, has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The driver of the tractor-trailer sped away from the spot. The police has registered a case.

Computer parts stolen
The Deputy Director, Financial Resources and Economic Intelligence, Punjab, Mr Karnail Singh, has reported that computer parts have been stolen from his office on the 7th floor of the Punjab Civil Secretariat.

Shop burgled
Kishangarh resident Rakesh Kumar has reported that his shop has been burgled. According to him, 30 kg flour, 20 kg sugar, 12 oil bottles, Rs 1,800 in cash and some other items were stolen in the incident. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen
Sector 16 resident Manpreet Singh has reported that his Maruti Zen (CH-01-T-0299) car has been stolen from his residence.


Man dies
Mystery shrouds the death of a 35-year-old resident of Ferozepur Kalan Colony, near Sector 19, here this afternoon. Tarsem Lal Saini, who was an employee of HUDA, reportedly came home for lunch. Family members say that he was in a delirious state. After having his lunch, he vomited and his mother rushed him to General Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

One killed
A scooterist was killed and the man riding pillion, Khursheed, was seriously injured when their scooter collided with a truck near Sultanpur village, near Barwala, on Thursday afternoon. 



3 make it to Pepsi final contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Pepsi announced today the names of first three contestants who have qualified for the final of the biggest-ever musical talent hunt in Punjab — “Pepsi Banjaa Staara Yaraa Contest”.

Tarlochan Singh (43), Sukhdev Sagar (28) and Sewa Singh (25) emerged winners in the first semi-final. At a live concert held at the PAP Ground in Jalandhar last night, seven semi-finalists performed in front of a large audience. The contestants were judged by well-known singers Gursevak Mann, Harry Anand, Shankar Shawney, Romy Gill, Paramveer Singh, music director Jaidev, his wife and renowned singer Simran and journalists Kuldip Singh Bedi and Ashok Kaura. All artistes also enthralled the audience with a live performance at the concert.

The second semi-final will be held at Patiala tomorrow, based on which the remaining finalists would be chosen. The final would also involve live performances by the selected contestants. The final on May 12 at Ludhiana, which will witness a musical extravaganza, will decide the ultimate winner. All rounds of the contest will be telecast on the hugely popular ETC Channel (Punjabi).

The winner of the contest will instantly hit stardom, getting an opportunity to record his debut album with the T-series music label, which will then release and distribute the album throughout the country.

Pepsi had received over 3000 entries for the contest. Shortlisted candidates were then called for auditions, which were conducted by a panel of experts from T-series and ETC Channel (Punjabi).

Announcing the series of music concerts, Mr Sandeep Singhal, vice-president (Marketing), Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd., said, “Pepsi Banjaa Staara Yaraa Contest” was rolled out to provide a platform to aspiring singers. We were overwhelmed by the response, which poured in from across the state. Now we are in the second phase of the talent hunt, where the contestants are required to perform in a real-life situation, a live concert, and demonstrate their talent.”

Punjab is fast emerging as a hub of pop music in the country. Pepsi recently brought the sensational international music group Vengaboys to Chandigarh, which was a huge success. Pepsi has earlier brought international artistes to India such as Bryan Adams, Ricky Martin, Yanni, Scorpions, Deff Leppard and Deep Purple.

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