Thursday, June 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Servant found dead in IAS officer’s house
He had warned of intruders, called for help; murder or suicide?
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 5
The body of Eknarayan (23), domestic servant of a Haryana-cadre woman IAS officer, Ms Sumita Mishra Singh, Member of the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the house of the bureaucrat (726, Sector 7) here today. The hands of the victim had been tied “loosely” at the back with a thin rope.

The police said the servant had called Mr A.K. Tuteja, Personal Assistant to the IAS officer, at about 5.30 pm to say that two persons armed with knives had entered the house. Though the police was not certain whether it was suicide or murder, as no suicide note or mark of struggle was found in the house, it registered a case of murder. Ms Sumita and her family were out of station at the time of the incident.

Eknarayan was, reportedly, also an ad hoc employee in the HERC. According to sources, when the PA to the IAS officer received the call from the servant, he called up at the house of Mr H.P. Chaudhary, Director Employment Bureau of Haryana and a neighbour of Ms Sumita Mishra Singh. Mr Tuteja, who was there when the police was taking the body away, refused to speak to reporters.

Mr Vikas Chaudhary, who had received the call from Mr Tuteja, said, “He told me that two persons had entered the house of Ms Sumita Singh. My sister and I rushed to her house and found the door open, with no one inside. I closed the door from outside, so that, the intruders, if any, could not escape. Then, the police was called.”

The police sources said the house bore no sign of a forced entry and nothing seemed to have been moved. Mr Baldev Singh, Superintendent of Police (City), told reporters that there were loose ends in the case and it was yet to be ascertained whether it was suicide or murder. “We found the entrance unlocked and the victim’s hands tied at the back,” he said.

Eknarayan, native of Nepal, is the third among four brothers and a sister. His younger brother, Ghanshyam, servant in the house of a PCS officer in Sector 8, told the police that Eknarayan had no enemy and he had been working at the house of the past year-and-a-half.

The police did not allow reporters to enter the house where Eknarayan had been found dead. The security guards of the SP (City), Mr Baldev Singh, did not allow anyone to go where investigations were being carried out. However, on emerging from the room, Mr Baldev Singh said: “I have not stopped anyone from entering the house.” Soon after the SP left the house, the PA to Ms Sumita Singh locked it and went away. Is it because the murder happened in the house of an IAS officer?



Illegal occupants strike goldmine
Admn losing crores in land, rent; ‘shocking’ encroachment
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service


  • Close to 3000 plots and flats owned by the Administration are under illegal occupation.
  • Originally were given on rent which is today between Rs 45 per month and Rs 166 per month.
  • Admn does not even have a ready list of original allottees. No survey ever carried out.
  • No way to prove if present occupant was the original allottee. No photos of allottees were attached.
  • Racket has been going for the past three decades.
  • In some cases tenancy rights have changed hands several times.
  • Property worth Rs 30 crore involved.

Chandigarh, June 5
Hundreds of plots and flats owned by the Chandigarh Administration and rented out to economically weaker sections of society over the past three decades are under illegal occupation. The Administration has not been able to recover the rent or take the property back.

It also does not have the list of original allottees. The property is valued at about Rs 20 crore. The Chandigarh Administration floated various schemes in the past three decades to provide the poor with cheap housing on rental basis. Fully built flats or 3-marla plots in Sectors 26, 29, 30, 37 and 38 were given on rent to the poor and the dwellings stand on prime land today. The land price here is close to Rs 17,000 per sq yd. It is, now, goldmine for tenants who continue to occupy the houses which can easily be sold at between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh each, depending upon the floor and location. Houses with main roads at the rear are valued high.

For the occupants, it is not a bad deal at all, as most of them pay only Rs 45 in rent. The highest rent is Rs 166, for independent 3 marla (75 sq yd) plots. Even this was enhanced three years ago. According to a confidential report, thousands of such houses and flats are under illegal occupation as the original tenants have sold off their rights or stopped paying the rent. Even those who have bought tenancy rights from them are not paying up.

The Administration is not taking any action because it does not even have photographs of the original allottees. Without the pictures, it cannot prove a thing, as fake identities have been made over the years. Till date, there has been no survey to know the status of the occupants, but, the officials concerned admit in private that illegal occupation is rampant. However, none of them is ready to touch the issue, as it can have political fallout.

“Since each such scheme has its own rules, it gets confusing,” said an old hand in the Estate Office. If one scheme permits the sale of tenancy rights after a certain number of years, another scheme bars it. The plots have been stretched well beyond 3 marlas each and even the upper floors have been sold off. If, originally, it was a two-room house, today, it has been converted into a four-room set by occupying the adjoining land.

Telephone poles, electricity poles, sewerage pipes and water-supply lines have all been covered and houses built on these. Electricity poles supporting high-tension cables are, now, inside the compounds of these houses in Sectors 30, 32, 37, 38 and 30.

In some cases, the Administration does not even have the original building plan to judge the extent of encroachment.



No fee for transfer of property to family members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
In an important decision, the Chandigarh Administration today said no fee would be charged in case residential or commercial property is transferred in the name of a family member.

Till now, the Administration had been charging a fee under a head “unearned increase” to transfer property which was on leasehold basis. The fee used to work out in lakhs. It was protested by people who had got the property from a family member as an ancestral property.

Today’s order says that in case of a transfer of property to mother, father, wife, husband, brother, sister, son or daughter, no fee will be charged.

Also in case of lease hold sites purchased through auctions and being transferred outside family, no ‘unearned increase’ shall be charged. However, a small fee, calculated on a per square yard basis, has been fixed. This brings leasehold sites at par with freehold sites in this respect.

Transfer of lease hold sites, which are not subject to ‘unearned increase’ shall be allowed on payment of transfer charges which have been fixed at Rs 200 per square yard for residential, industrial or institutional sites and Rs 600 per square yard for commercial sites.

The set of amendments allowed have a provision for surrendering a site within two years from the date of auction or allotment. In exceptional cases of hardship, the site may be surrendered even after the period of two years has elapsed. For this Finance Secretary, who is also the Chief Administrator, has been empowered to reduce or waive off the amount of penalty in any case of surrender. But he shall have to put the observations in writing.

Another important change will be in case of new rules concerning misuse of a building. A procedure has been laid down for issue of notice and levy of monthly misuse charges so as to give time to the allottee or occupier to stop the misuse of property prior to commencement of resumption proceedings.

The Estate Officer shall commence resumption proceedings only after the misuse is not stopped within the time given. Till now resumption of a site was the only action taken in case of misuse of buildings. By imposing a fine, the Administration aims at getting more revenue and also being rational in imposing penalties for violations.

With the new procedure in place there will be a significant reduction in court cases and the Estate Office staff will be free for actual field level patrolling.

The monthly misuse charges are Rs 50 to Rs 100 per sq yd for residential premises, Rs 20 per sq ft for ground floor commercial building and Rs 10 per sq ft for upper floors or basement of commercial buildings.

Also the penal interest for delayed payments has been reduced to 20 per cent, but the interest will be compounded annually.

On the auctioning front, the Administration has said the Estate Officer may, by prior announcement regarding the auction of any property, fix the minimum percentage of the bid to be accepted by the auctioning officer on the spot on any percentage higher than the minimum 25 per cent.



Decision on property tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The House Tax Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh here today approved the deciding of rateable value for the commercial property tax as per the pattern followed by the Bangalore MC.

The committee has divided the city into four zones on the basis of annual rent value of different locations to decide the rateable value. The high rent commercial properties will be clubbed together and the lowest rehris and booths in another category. The committee also discussed the pattern of tax collection followed by the Panchkula MC but rejected it saying determination of rateable value by an inspector as in case of Panchkula would lead to corruption.

The committee will finalise a formula to bridge disparities in rates of rent in high value commercial areas where rent per month could be between lakhs of rupees and merely Rs 10,000 through an average.



BJP seeks legal action against Ambika
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The local unit of the BJP here today demanded legal action against Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, Ms Ambika Soni, local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal and certain officials for allotment of land to the Heritage Society allegedly “under influence” through deliberate misrepresentation of facts.

Sensing a political windfall in the controversy over the allotment of land to the society for running the prestigious Delhi Public School, the adhoc committee of the BJP passed a resolution demanding an inquiry and action against the Congress leaders and the erring officials.

The party said Ms Soni and her husband, Mr Uday Soni, had allegedly misrepresented facts by showing themselves as residents of house number 79 in Sector 9 of Chandigarh, despite Parliament record showing Ms Soni as a resident of Delhi.

Seeking to expose the “irregular” the BJP said the screening committee for land allotment to educational institutions had, on April 24, 25 and 26, 2002, not found the Heritage Society eligible for the allotment but allegedly a high ranking official did not record it in minutes.

The party alleged the minutes of the meeting were only recorded when Mr Bansal procured a letter from another senior Congress leader, Mr Salman Khurshid. As a result, observation of the committee was sought to be removed, the BJP alleged.

The BJP further alleged that the letter, which was reportedly given to the screening committee on May 9, was received by the Chandigarh Administration on May 13. Despite this, the letter was put on record to allot the land to the society.

The party said it would collect facts of the matter and not spare the Congress big guns for “deceiving” the people of Chandigarh.

Giving a political twist to the matter, the BJP sought to project the Congress MP as one who had been seeking to get land for himself and members of the families of his party bosses.

The party also said during the past 40 to 50 years, none of the local MPs had sought to get land for himself. Mr Bansal told Chandigarh Tribune that he would welcome any inquiry into the land allotment.

Another local Congress leader and former Union Minister, Mr Vinod Sharma, defended the land allotment, saying that the criticism was “politically motivated” and that instead of praising the Congress leaders for bringing the best educational institution of the country to the city, politicians were trying to drag Ms Soni and Mr Bansal into a malicious campaign.

The Congress leader in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla, said the hue and cry from the BJP was mischievous as it had all the power in the Central Government which controlled the Chandigarh Administration to get the land allotment probed if something was wrong. Mr Chawla reminded the BJP that Ms Soni always had a house in Chandigarh. The Shiromani Akali Dal factions led by Mr Gurpartap Riar and Mr N.S. Minhas condemned the Congress leaders for the “influence peddling” and demanded an inquiry. The two groups got engaged in one-upmanship with Mr Riar declaring that he had nothing to do with the BJP as it had toppled Mr Kesar Singh from the Market Committee while Mr Minhas questioned Mr Riar’s authority to snap ties with the BJP.



Immigration agents try for image makeover
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Immigration consultancy, which has over the years become a byword for illegal human trafficking from countries like India to the Western world, is finally trying to get its act together and refurbish its image as a legitimate and legal professional service.

“Think of immigration consultants and the common man immediately relates them to the Malta boat tragedy in which hundreds of persons perished, men, women and children being smuggled in containers and freezers or through other illegal means”, admits Brig B.K.Sud (retd), Vice-President, Can Asia Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd. “Youth are shown rosy dreams and duped of the hard-earned lifetime savings of their parents. The media is full of such alarming exposures...”

But sadly, he points out, in spite of all this, the illegal activities continue. The latest example is the arrest of 14 such fly-by-night operators at Kapurthala last week.

The fact of the matter is that immigration, which was an option for a few enterprising professionals till some time ago, has now become a necessity due to the shrinking job market at home and prolonged recession in industry, says Lt-Col B.S. Sandhu (retd), chairman-cum-Managing Director of World Wide Immigration Consultancy Ltd. Therefore, it is perfectly understandable for people to go abroad to look for greener pastures. Little wonder that immigration consultants have been mushrooming every day to make a fast buck by giving the aspirants false hopes and promises. These activities go unchecked in the absence of any governing body and are considered the easiest method of making quick money.

Though the necessity to exercise a check on the activities of illegal immigration consultants had been felt for a long time, the media has begun to create a big hype on it which in turn has alerted the authorities. Hence, the decision to set up an Association of Professional Immigration Consultants of India (APIC), says Mr Kuldip Singh, Managing Director, Sunrise International Legal Services Ltd. Although there are about 200 immigration consultants in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar, the APIC at present consists of only seven members. They are Lt-Col Sandhu, who is the chairman, Mr Kuldip Singh president, Lt-Col Batth (retd) and Mr Tarlochan Singh Sekhon vice-presidents, Mr Sukhmeet Grewal, secretary-general and Brigadier Sud, ex-officio secretary.

The seven founder members of the APIC have now established a regulatory body to “provide fair and transparent immigration advice to aspiring citizens by enforcing a very strict code of ethics in the immigration industry and to curb exploitation by unscrupulous immigration agents by holding national-level seminars to reach out to the public”, adds Mr Kuldip Singh.

The APIC has laid down comprehensive membership selection criteria and the members’ conduct will be regulated by a strict code of ethics in accordance with the laws of the land and the immigration laws of the respective countries. “It is mandatory for the members to prominently display the credentials of their organisation. Any violation of the code will make the member liable to disciplinary action. The clients will thus be assured of a reliable service and advice”, Mr Kuldip Singh says. APIC membership will mean guaranteed fair services to the aspirants. APIC membership will be a matter of professional respect for the member, as it will ensure a certain level of trust from the customers, he says.



Civil defence mechanism toned up
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Administration is ready for ‘’any time war’’, including nuclear one, and has toned up the civil defence mechanism to the level that was witnessed during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

As many as 17 long-range hooters and sirens have been installed to fine tune the alarm call system for the city. This would allow an opportunity to city residents to save themselves in case of an attack, sources told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

There was a circular after the December 13 attack on Parliament for the civil defence bodies to be prepared to keep things under control in case of a war, but a meeting of the civil department was the first of its kinds after the 1971 Indo-Pak war, sources said. Such a preparation was not witnessed even during the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan, they said.

A top secret paper circulated for preparations had expressed the apprehensions of a nuclear war, but did not suggest any measures to protect people from the nuclear holocaust and rescue operations, they added.

Major army establishments in the region have been put on hotline to be in touch with each other.

Several departments of the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Administration, like electricity, health, fire, food and supplies, water supply and police, have been asked to prepare individual action plans for the safety of the people in case of a war. The review of the civil defence mechanism, however, does not necessarily means an impending war, but certainly indicates that the military standoff between India and Pakistan is pushing India to war-readiness. A siren with constant intensity would mean ‘clear of danger’ while that with fluctuating intensity would mean danger for the people and that they should take measures for their safety.

Interestingly, there is a rush for the purchase of sirens of 5 km range as these are not available in the city and are arranged from Kolkata. However, disturbing reports of sirens not meeting the claimed range norms have also come to notice.

The public dealing departments and rescuers have been asked to ensure supplies and services during the war. Different departments have been informed of each others possibility of help and providing equipment and personnel. A Civil Defence Control room has been set up and the related departments have been given a list of persons who can be contacted in case of need.



Seminar on Sikh heritage in USA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Punjab’s Secretary for Cultural Affairs, Ms Geetika Kalha, and a conservationist, Ms Gurmeet Rai, are among the special invitees to a one-day seminar on “Preservation of the Sikh Heritage” being organised by the world-renowned Smithsonian Museum Institute in Washington on June 14.

Dr Paul Michael Taylor, Director of the Asian History Programme and Curator of the Smithsonian Museum, will be the coordinator of this seminar, which will be held at Baird Auditorium of the museum.

The institute had recently decided to set up the first-ever Sikh Heritage Gallery at its National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The institute has been working on this project with the support of the Sikh community in the USA for the past one year.

According to information reaching here, eminent persons in the field of art and culture have been invited from India, the UK and the USA to participate in the seminar. Dr Narender Singh Kampani, who was responsible for organising Sikh arts exhibitions in London, San Francisco and Toronto as part of the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa, will deliver the keynote address.

A significant item on the agenda of the seminar is a discussion on the preparation of a specific plan of action which may help in the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Sikhs and of Punjab.

There is also a proposal to identify one site in Punjab which could be included in the list of “100 most endangered monuments’ of the world within the official listing of the World Monuments Fund.

Last yeat Dr Taylor, accompanied by some other experts, had visited Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh to interact with various experts on the setting up of the Sikh heritage museum.



House built on encroached land
Effective width of street reduced to 10 feet
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, June 5
In violation of the Zirakpur Nagar panchayat rules specifying the width of internal roads, a resident of Badhawa Nagar Colony has allegedly encroached upon the road, reducing its width to 10 feet.

The construction is going on within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat area in a haphazard manner, right under the nose of the civic body authorities who have been mute spectators to the whole process for a long time.

Residents of the colony allege that Ms Bindu Kumari, a Haryana Government employee of the Agriculture Department, has started constructing a house in violation of the prescribed rules of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

In a complaint to the authorities, Mr Rattan Lal and his neighbours have said that the house-owner has encroached upon the government land, thereby reducing the width of the internal road to 10 feet. They have also complained that the owner has hardly left space for even a jeep to pass through to the last six houses in the street.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Rattan Lal said that the construction of the house has made the street narrow and that it would cause inconvenience to residents of other houses if they have to commute or park their vehicle in their courtyards.

He alleged that despite repeated representations to the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat the authorities have done nothing to solve their problems so far.

When contacted, Mr Naresh Kumar, husband of Ms Bindu Kumari and the houses owner said that the house was being constructed on their own land after getting approval from the Nagar Panchayat authorities.

Mr Kumar further clarified that the piece of land had been purchased from a local dealer before the formation of the civic body from a local property dealer. He, however, denied violation of the any rules set by the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

The Executive Officer of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat was not available for comments.



Adviser advocates use of solar energy
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, June 5
The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, emphasised the use of non-conventional energy, especially solar energy, while inaugurating ‘Eco Tourism Seminar’ at Hotel Shivalikview, Sector 17, here today. The seminar was organised by the Chandigarh Tourism Department, CITCO and the ITFT as part of the World Environment Day celebrations.

She added that the Panjab University’s Non-conventional Energy Resource Department was to coordinate with the ITFT, Chandigarh, for compiling information on hotels using solar energy in Chandigarh and for giving feedback on further usage of such energy resources in hotels and other units.

She also spoke about various ways and means to recycle waste, especially from the kitchens of the hotels, along with segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. She called upon the residents to keep the city clean and adopt eco-friendly community activities so that Chandigarh’s original character could be maintained.

She emphasised that the energy conservation devices like efficient CFL lighting systems could also be used in commercial establishments. Vermiculture and garbage disposal management should be the key areas for the civic body.

Mr G.K. Marwah, Chairman, CITCO, said the ‘Solar Energy Pilot Projects’ could be started in government owned CITCO hotels. He called upon all the hotelier and the local residents to adopt non-conventional energy systems. He also spoke about the various measures taken to promote eco-tourism activities in the region.

Mr Aditya Prakash, an architect, scholar and associate of Le Corbusier, suggested that solar, wind and bioenergy should be harnessed as far as possible in place of electricity which is becoming costlier and scarce. Tourist facilities and amenities should be upgraded for domestic tourists, he said.

Mr Jagjit Puri, Director (Ayurveda), Punjab, said the Punjab Government was constructing a building in Sector 33 based on non conventional sources of energy to promote eco-friendly concept. He said we should emulate the example of Kerala which had successfully promoted eco and health tourism. He said his department had many plans to promote ayurveda and to start arogya health centres.

Mr Man Mohan Singh, president, Tourism Promotion Society of Chandigarh, advocated for a community approach to protect environment and to maintain the ecological balance.

Professor S.K. Sharma from the Panjab University recommended the use of non-conventional energy devices, especially solar energy devices, for cooking and heating purposes.

Earlier, an eco-tourism quiz and a slogan writing contests were inaugurated by Mr R.S. Gujral, Home-cum-Tourism Secretary, Chandigarh, in which more than 200 students from various educational institutions participated. Mr G.K. Marwah, Chairman, CITCO, appreciated the cause and gave away prizes to the winners. Col Harsharan Sandhu, president of honour, Hotel Association of Chandigarh, was also present on the occasion. Dr Gulshan Sharma, Director, ITFT, coordinated the event.

Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, also inaugurated a seminar on waste management at Panjab University here today. An awareness rally followed the inauguration of the workshop to mark the World Environment Day celebrations.

The Society for Social Health (SOFOSH) organised a programme to plant trees on the premises of Government High School, Colony Number 4, here today. The programme was attended by more than 50 residents of the colony and 20 neem saplings were planted along the boundary wall of the school.

Mr Arjun Kamboj, Director, Jan Shikshan Sansthan, inaugurated the programme stated that increasing pollution can only be controlled by planting trees. The participants in the programme also took an oath not to use polythene bags and plant at least 10 plants in this year.

Ms Kamaljit Saini, president of the society, urged the participants to take care of the plants in their proper surroundings and use proper ways for domestic waste.

Dr Nareshanad, Director, SOFOS — said that the real objective of celebrating this day was to take the message home that trees give life to human beings and should be treated as best friends.

Meanwhile, World Environment Day was celebrated at Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, here today. The Principal, Dr Satinder Dhillon, alongwith faculty members participated in the celebrations.

The college has already started a mass campaign against pollution. For the protection of the environment, college teachers started an awareness campaign among students, and time-to-time poster making competitions on environment degradation and its protection are organised to make students environment friendly.

The Director, NSS, Panjab university, Dr CL Narang, in his message said the government alone cannot do much without community participation. Teachers and students should come forward to communicate the message of environment protection among the people of the community and city slums. He added that over population, industrialisation and urbanisation have become a threat for the existence of mankind.

Dr Dhillon said that ecological imbalance in nature was due to pollution. Revival of epidemics and natural calamities like earthquake and floods basically lead to environmental deterioration. The Principal also disclosed that the college had also started an experiment to manage the garbage in the form of manure by setting up a vermicomposting unit.

The faculty members felt that everyday should celebrate environment day. Teachers should create a self- learning society so that the problem of pollution comes to an end.

It was also observed that sharp increase in the number of city vehicles has caused lot of noise and air pollution. So people should be made aware regarding minimising the use of fuel. Noted environmentalist Sunder Lal Bahuguna, who visited the city recently motivated the students and teachers by initiating a cycle rally in which he also participated himself. It was also pledged that teachers and students will work for a ban on polythene bags. Due to excessive use of polythene, city sewerage system gets choked every year. Stagnant water creates a number of ailments concerning various body organs like liver, lungs, kidney.

Those present included Dr CL Narang, Principal, and members of the staff pledged to adopt eco-friendly material and inculcate this sense among their respective area residents, students, friends and relatives on the World Environment Day.

ICICI Bank, observed the day by planting a sapling in front of the main office building in Sector 9 here today. The bank gifted 200 saplings to its customers.

The chief guest, Mr NS Tiwana, Executive Director, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, said that several organisations and government agencies were involved in ecological improvement. The Chief Manager, Mr sandeep Singh sandhu, informed the gathering about the social initiatives undertaken by the bank.

Meanwhile, today, the CYP donated 15 kg of red earthworm and gave a nod to the creation of a pond on the garden premises.

Meanwhile, more than 350 NSS volunteers and teachers of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, held a seminar regarding Environment Day. The principal, Ms Jagjit Kaur, who presided over the function urged students, even those living in flats, to plant more saplings or flowers in pots and to use public transport and bicycles instead of using cars and scooters. Later 20 saplings of ashok, gulmohar and neem were planted.


As many as 50 saplings were planted in the local Civil Hospital in connection with the World Environment Day today. Dr Baldev Singh Brar, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, himself planted a sapling of mango tree. Dr Brar cautioned the gathering about the increasing pollution in the country and said that the area under the forests was decreasing. He appealed to the masses to plant maximum trees. The day was also celebrated in Nanak Jyoti School, Mundi Kharar and painting competitions were held.


The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, urged the people to keep the environment clean and plant more trees so as to maintain ecological balance. In a message on the World Environment Day, he expressed concern over the indiscriminate felling of trees. He also said that the growing rate of population was also adding to the problem of environmental pollution.

The Environment Society of Haryana organised a workshop for housewives and health personnel in Haripur village to spread the message of saving earth from further degradation. The participants were encouraged to initiate action , both at the family level and individual level against use of plastic bags. They were also motivated to plant saplings.



The challenged take up the challenge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
They can draw..They can colour...They can dance..

It was a day of self discovery for the 14 mentally challenged children and their parents who are attending the unique summer camp which started at the Government Institute for Mentally Challenged Children, Sector 32 here yesterday.

“Learning through activities and to make them independent...this is what we are aiming at”, says the instructor at the workshop. This workshop includes a group of 14 who arrived at 8.30 a.m to attend the workshop and were involved in a number of activities to develop skills.

This workshop costs Rs 200. ‘‘All the activities which have been scheduled for them aim at developing eye and hand co-ordination and developing fine motor hand and gross motor hand skills. To begin with a simple activity is carried out thereby proceeding towards a complex activity.”, says the instructor.

Keeping in mind, the aim is to help these children develop cognitive skills. She says that the best way one can make them learn is through play. Even yoga can be a playful activity for them. ‘‘They will be taught different asans each day and will be made to perform multiple activities such as vegetable painting, salad making, tearing and pasting, games etc. They will also be taught to manage themselves by doing small things on their own thus contributing in the family activities,’’ she adds. Through various techniques such as task analysis and modelling, they can be taught a number of activities.

Categorising the severity of mentally challenged children into three types, there are severe, moderate and mild participants. ‘‘Obviously the success of learning varies from each type.’’says the instructor. With a few dedicated teachers and a group of attendants at work this workshop will last till 18th June. 


Complaint against PUDA SDO
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 5
A resident of Phase III B2 today complained against an SDO of PUDA on duty at the swimming pool in Phase VI here.

Mrs Manisha Aujla, who takes here 11-year-old son to the pool for swimming, alleged that the SDO told his subordinates to “throw her out of the swimming pool premises” when she was enquiring as to why the identity card of her son was not being given to her.

She alleged that the PUDA authorities had not handed over the identity card as they claimed that it had not been laminated. She said that the persons on duty at the swimming pool allowed her son to swim for a few days and then suddenly one day she was told that her son would not be allowed to swim till the card was handed over. She was wondering as to how long would PUDA take to get the identity card laminated. She alleged that today when she was enquiring about the card the SDO “misbehaved” with her.



Football fever at cafe
Tribune News Service

The FIFA World Cup fever is on. The pitch of excitement is on high with a number of surprises and upsets. And it's just the beginning of the game. The frenzy is poised to rise as the teams get filtered for the semi-finals and the final slated for June-end.

So, what's this to do with eating out, you would ask. Well, cashing in on the mania is Café Coffee Day, Sector 35, and all other chains across the country. It is offering soccer fans a wide range of opportunities to join in the excitement by telecasting all the matches monitored by Ten Sports non-stop at its outlets. Called “Caffeine Kick” 2002, its highlight is the Fan Club for die-hard soccer lovers. Members of the Fan Club are entitled to a whole lot of excitement and special gift hampers from Café Coffee Day, Weekender, Equal and Wrangler. Besides bringing to football fans an uninterrupted viewing of all matches, the café will organise regular contests, quizzes, trivia on soccer with lots of freebies and prizes to be won.

So, as you sip coffee, keep yourself abreast of the latest goal posted at the various stadia in Japan and South Korea.

Mr Sumit Ghildiyal, Manager, says that if you drop over to the bar during the first three weeks of the World Cup, ask for an ID coupon on your visit. Each time you bill over Rs 100, get your coupon stamped. Nine such visits, and if you are among the first 2,500 persons to do so, you are entitled to a whole lot of prizes.

It will pay to know the latest trivia on football as well as its history. Like, defending champs France lost to Senegal 1-0. Yes, that Zinedine Zidane was out of the French team due to an injury and this played an important part in this defeat could be the point that scores you that gift. Or, that favourite Portugal with the world number one player Louis Figo suffered a humiliating blow by the underdogs USA 3-2. And that other crushing blow to Asian soccer: Germany beating Saudi Arabia 8-0.

Look forward to the June 7 match between Argentina (with veteran Gabriel Batistuta) and England (starring David Beckam) to be played in the hi-tech Sapporo Dome in Yokohama, Japan.

Be informed about the latest on other stars as Rivaldo (did he fake the injury?), Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos of Brazil, Alessander Del Pierro and Christian Viari of Italy, Nakata of Japan or Oliver Bierhof of Germany.

Win gifts, vouchers, merchandise during every match if you answer questions and quizzes posed by Amit Bakshi, the cafe jockey, 3.30 pm onwards any day this month. As Amit, a law student, says, his job is to build good public relations and spice things up at the bar by keeping up the excitement of soccer, laced with that caffeine cup. Yes. There's World Cup coffee, too, in an extra large saucer cup for Rs 30 to add zing to the celebrations.

As you sit at the coffee bar, you just wish that for the duration of the matches, it would switch off the jukebox to enable one to enjoy the telecast properly.



Fire in industrial unit
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 5
A fire broke out in an industrial unit in Phase VII here today.

Raw material comprising bales of cotton got burnt. A part of the machinery also got damaged. It is reported that the fire broke out due to a short circuit.

It took two hours for the fire brigade personnel to bring the flames under control. Four fire engines were pressed into service.



Impostor dupes woman of gold jewellery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 5
A close relative of a senior official in the administration was duped of her gold jewellery in Sector 7, while the house of a relative of a senior police official of Haryana was burgled, here today.

Ms Arora, a resident of Sector 7, was duped by an impostor claiming to be a saint. Her two gold bangles, earrings and a gold chain were taken away by the man, who was aided by a young woman.

It is learnt that the victim was returning home after attending to some work in a bank near Moti Ram Arya School. On her way back, a middle-aged man reportedly stopped her on the pretext of asking an address, in Sector 15. As the unsuspecting woman tried to explain the address , another well dressed woman approached them. She told Ms Arora that the man was a renowned saint and that he had helped her during a difficult phase in her life.

Hypnotised by the two, she reportedly gave away her gold jewellery to them.

He tied the jewellery in a piece of cloth and chanted certain ‘mantras’. He told the woman that she should open the cloth after taking a bath and wear the jewellery after washing it with milk.

Ms Arora came back home, took a bath and when she opened the cloth, she found that her gold jewellery had been replaced with two steel bangles. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered.

In another incident, the house of Mr R.S. Behl in Sector 16 was burgled by unidentified miscreants today. Mr Behl was away to Shimla, while his daughter was away to college. When she came back, she found the house locked from inside.

The police was informed and they pushed their way in. They found the entire place ransacked. The miscreants had also unsuccessfully tried to break lockers. The exact loss could not be ascertained.



‘Petrol price hike bad for industry’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
City residents have termed the recent hike in petroleum and diesel prices as unwanted and detrimental to the industry as well as general public.

“There was no need for the Central Government to pass on the burden to the consumers as the government already has a cushion (cess) of around Rs 6 on petrol”, said Mr Amanpreet Singh, general-secretary of the Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association.

“The landed price of petrol”, he said , “is around Rs 15 and even after adding the margins for companies, dealers and cess the price can be maintained at around Rs 20 to Rs 22”. Condemning the government decision further he said this was entirely against the policy of free market pricing.

Mr GS Channi, Head Centurion Bank, (Punjab region) feels the hike will further push up inflationary trends. “While on one side we are trying to control inflation, hike in petroleum and diesel prices is a step against that”, he said. Not only it is a blow on the common man’s budget, it will have an adverse impact on the industry as well.

The small scale industrialists assert that increase in costs, which would occur following the increase in petrol and diesel prices, will reduce their competitiveness. “The small scale industry, which is the backbone of the overall industry, is already suffering due to opening up . We have also been badly hit by hike in the prices of furnace oil (between December 2001 and June 2002 the price of furnace oil was changed five times resulting in an increase of 28 per cent during this time period) and light diesel oil (LDO)”, said Mr AL Aggarwal, general secretary, Chamber of Chandigarh Industries.

He further said the scale units, which were facing tough competition in the market today, would suffer badly following the hike.

Ms Suruchi Sharma, a resident of Sector 46 said that repeated hikes made it very difficult for the common man to spend according to his budget. “We will suffer not only on account of increase in petrol prices but also the prices of consumer goods, which will increase as a result of this”, she said, adding, “Within a small time frame, such price increases which are happening frequently, lead to a manifold increase in the expenses”.

There is a section of residents who hold slightly different view point. Mentioning the Union Budget 2002 where the Finance Minister had announced a roll back in prices, Wg Cdr (Retd) HS Sodhi said , “The Finance Minister had then announced that there would be absorption of the roll back. Though the decision to increase petrol and diesel prices is not welcome but the net effect has not resulted in hike”.


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