Friday, June 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City to have 3 new sewage plants
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The city will have three new sewage treatment plants in addition to the existing one. All new plants will be spread across various locations in the city to cut cost of building underground concrete networks carrying sewage. Treated water will be released down natural seasonal rivulets.

The sites finalised are in Maloya village on the south-western tip of Chandigarh adjoining Phase VI of SAS Nagar. Another plant will be located in Raipur Kalan village on the border with Panchkula. The location of the third plant is yet to be finalised. It will either be set up south-east of Sector 48 near Jagatpura village or at Hallo Majra village situated on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway. The Maloya plant will be constructed by the Chandigarh Administration while the other will be built by the Municipal Corporation and will treat a total of 27 million gallons of sewage a day.

The plant in Maloya will have a capacity to treat about 2 million gallons of sewage a day. This will deal with the sewage flowing south from Khuda Lahora, Khuda Jassu, Dhanas and Dadu Majra villages and southern parts of the city like Sector 38-West.

The Raipur Kalan plant will have a capacity to treat 5 million gallons a day of sewage generated in Mani Majra. A natural slope exists from Mani Majra to Raipur Kalan, thus there will be no problem in laying pipes, sources says. So far sewage from Mani Majra goes untreated down the natural seasonal rivulets on the eastern fringe of the UT.

The third sewage treatment plant will have a capacity to treat about 20 million gallons of sewage a day. One of the sites is situated across the upcoming Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link in Jagatpura. This will be preferred to the Hallo Majra site as the latter the forest area and will be difficult to acquire, sources say.

Residents of neighbouring SAS Nagar will have to bear with the foul smell amanating from the sewage treatment plant located in Industrial Area, Phase IX. This treats sewage released from Chandigarh. It had been decided to shift the plant at a meeting between top UT and Punjab officers.

Under the agreement, sewage from Chandigarh was to be treated at a new site whereas Punjab was to construct its own sewage treatment plant for S.A.S Nagar, near Dehri on the Banur-Kharar road.

The residents have been demanding for the past 12 years that the plant spread across 48 acres in Industrial Area, Phase IX, be shifted. The matter has been hanging fire and no concrete decision is forthcoming.

The property is owned by the Chandigarh Administration. Chandigarh has said that it will seek compensation and Punjab should help build a new plant having a capacity to treat upto 30 MGD of sewage. Chandigarh authorities have hinted that the property is valued at Rs 7 crore in the region. Such a high cost may not be acceptable to Punjab, sources add.

Meanwhile, an enquiry has been ordered into the “over-expenditure” on the Maloya sewage treatment plant. In the records, about Rs 35 lakh were spent about seven years ago while on the ground, work of around Rs 2 lakh has been carried out. A Superintending Engineer-level official of the Administration is conducting the inquiry. The division of the Public Health which carried out the work had not been shifted to the MC, well-placed sources said.



Physically challenged want change in recruitment policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The physically challenged residents of Chandigarh are at a disadvantage as far as recruitment in government jobs is concerned.

Under the policy being followed by the UT authorities, while physically challenged candidates from Punjab and Haryana are eligible to apply for the posts in the reserved category here, the reservation benefit is available only to the candidates from Chandigarh in case of OBC and SC categories.

This is being resented by physically challenged candidates who claim that ‘outsiders’ are usurping their seats in Chandigarh, while the governments of both these states are not considering them for any posts.

One such candidate, Mr Rajesh Kumar, claims, “In Punjab, I was turned away after my interview since I did not possess a domicile of the state. Officials informed me that the domicile of Chandigarh would not work.’’

Meanwhile, here in Chandigarh, he has already applied twice for the post of Master in the UT Education Department. “Even in the recently advertised posts, as before, candidates from other states have been allowed to appear which is not the case with OBC and SC categories. Why this dual policy? We will again be left out and somebody else will take our seat,’’ he rues.

He has sent applications to heads of various departments, but to no avail. “The Deputy Commissioner, too, had assured me that the issue would be taken care of, but nothing has happened so far,’’ he adds.

Sources in the Administration said the UT was following the national policy in allowing candidates from Punjab and Haryana to appear for interviews in the physically handicapped category. “Any change in the policy can only be made if there is a representation at the national level or the Department of Social Welfare of Personnel takes an initiative in pointing out the disadvantage being faced by the candidates from Chandigarh,’’ an official said.


Movie bugs exposed to germs
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Who cares for your health

  • Cinema halls not inspected for years by health authorities.
  • MOH not asked to give NOC on annual renewal of licence.
  • Punjab Cinemas Act asks to maintain sanitary conditions, but does not specify standards.

Chandigarh, June 20
The cine-goers in the city have been exposed to health risk for years as the authorities supposed to be monitoring sanitary conditions in picture halls are not being asked to issue no objection certificates at the time of annual renewal of licences of the halls.

“We were never asked to certify sanitary conditions in picture halls and we have not been monitoring the conditions on our own,’’ sources in the Medical Officer Health (MOH) told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

Ignorant of health hazard to people, the MOH has not been conducting regular inspection of picture halls officially probably believing that they were not the competent authority to do so.

The MOH has been entrusted the task of overseeing sanitary conditions in cinema halls under the condition numbers 38 and 39 of the licence for a cinema hall under the Punjab Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1952.

However, the sources said they had been inspecting halls when asked by senior officials. The MOH had not been aware of its authority in this case.

The cine-goers have been left to the mercy of picture hall owners and only few of them had been maintaining sanitary conditions in absolute terms for years. Enquiries from cinema halls said the halls were being checked by authorities but the MOH sources said no regular checking was being done.

The Medical Officer, Health Department does not have proper equipment to check the quality of air in cinema halls which exposes people to the risk of contracting tuberculosis and a number of viral infections spread through air. The equipment is available in the market.

The situation in the city is unlike that in Punjab where the MOH or Chief Medical Officers have been monitoring the sanitary conditions of cinema halls.

The Punjab Cinemas (Regulation) Act does not elaborate much on standards of sanitary conditions leaving the scope for either exploitation of cinema hall owners or their maintaining only superficial sanitary conditions and getting the place germ-free does not figure in it.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, said there were no specified standards of sanitation mentioned in the Act.

Doctors said unless a no objection certificate from the MOH was taken annually, there was no pressure on cinema hall owners to maintain the conditions.

Mice, mosquitoes, bugs, leg space, sufficient number of toilets with a certain level of cleanliness, level of humidity and temperature, a level of exhaustion system, disposal of degradable garbage, water quality, food quality, cleanliness of the staff serving food and functioning of the air-conditioners, dust particulates need to be checked regularly for healthy conditions.

The Director General Health, UT, Mr Rameshwar Chander, said his department was also not involved in the monitoring and the MOH was supposed to do the monitoring.



PWD contractors damage BSNL cables
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Thousands of phones in Chandigarh and Mohali were out of order today due to permanent damage caused to underground cables on the Mohali-Kharar and the Sohana-Chuni roads by PWD contractors, entrusted with the work of widening the roads.

According to Mr K.K. Sarangal, General Manager of the Mohali, of BSNL, cables have been damaged by PWD contractors. He said, “The existing cables have been cut into pieces at several places. It is beyond normal repair and will have to be changed. We have already sent estimates to the officials concerned and the payments are still awaited.’’

In another case, senior officials of Punjab and Haryana residing in Sector 7 had to suffer today when their phones went out of order. According to information available, about 500 subscribers were affected today.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Area Manager, BSNL, said, “Complaints were received around 6 pm and workers have been sent to repair the fault.’’ By the time of filing of this report, BSNL workers were working to put the services in order. The exact fault could not found by that time.


Bylaws force house owners, architects to ‘lie’ officially
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The declaration required as per the new building bylaws ‘’wants the house owner and the architect to lie officially in writing.’’ This was concluded here today at a meeting of the Practising Architects Association (PAA).

“To make a structural plan of a house already built is not possible until the entire structure is either demolished or scanned thoroughly to know what quantity, quality and specifications are inside a building,’’ honorary secretary of the PAA, Mr J.L. Khanna, told Chandigarh Tribune here today while briefing about the meeting.

The association said these provisions left no option before the owner of a built-up house and an architect but to lie to get a clearance. This situation would result in a number of architects losing their licences for ‘’willfully making a wrong statement.’’ The Architects Act stipulates “making a willful wrong statement will attract cancellation of licence,’’ Mr Khanna said.

An afterthought after the Gujarat earthquake, the new provision did not suit the old situation when the clearance on the structural plan was not required, he said. The association, however, said for new houses this provision was better but for old houses this provision was ‘’illogical and frivolous,’’ he added.

While the rule of seeking extension has been waived off in the houses completed up to the cut off date, where sewerage connection has been obtained, the extension letter was still being sought instead of right away processing these cases, Mr Khanna said.


Because police lost time...
...Chawla’s family lost him
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 20
The report of the postmortem examination conducted on the body of the murdered trader Ramesh Chawla has exposed police inaction for at least six hours on June 16, the day Chawla was kidnapped and killed.

The police had ignored the claim of Chawla’s family that he had been kidnapped. The police told the family that it had ruled out the possibility of the trader having been kidnapped from the grain market, but it could well have been a stock reply to make the family relax.

According to the police sources, the kidnappers and the killers of Ramesh Chawla remained here and around along with the car for several hours before dumping the body in woods near Panjab University and abandoning the car in Hoshiarpur. On June 16, Chawla’s relatives alerted the police within two hours of the kidnapping. More than three days have passed since the murder, but the police still has no clue. When contacted, Mr Baldev Singh, Superintendent of Police (City), said Ramesh’s Hyundai Santro car (HR-43-D-0016) had been seen in Hoshiarpur on the night of June 16 and impounded the next day.

The report of the postmortem examination suggests that Chawla was killed between noon and midnight on June 16. It takes not more than two-hours-and-half to reach from here to Hoshiarpur. Blood stains in the car also suggest that Chawla might have been killed in it. The police is yet to find the murder weapon.

Chawla’s family has alleged delay on part of the city police in probing the kidnapping lead. The police registered the FIR several hours after receiving the complaint.

However, a police official said this delay did not mean that investigation, too, had been delayed. “Alerts were flashed on wireless network soon after receiving the complaint,” said the police.

The SP (City) had said on Tuesday that the police had taken the kidnapping lead seriously. However, the police is still silent on why someone would kill Chawla. Several persons are believed to have been rounded up. A senior police official said a property dispute might have been the motive.

Chawla’s family have ruled out enmity and ransom to be the motives, as Chawla was not so rich that anyone would have liked to kidnap him for ransom. It could be a case of mistaken identity.

On Sundays, the grain-market traders make bulk payments and June 16 was a Sunday. The kidnappers could have mistaken him to be a lucrative target on the payment day and killed him on finding him otherwise.

Chawla’s ‘munshi’ is said to have told someone a day before the murder that Chawla had made a transaction of Rs 30,000, but not brought the money to the market early next day for making payment, contrary to the usual practice.


Panchayats to get more powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Panchayat Samiti and elected rural bodies will get more powers as the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has agreed to give powers to all 17 panchayats falling under the Union Territory.

This was announced here this afternoon by Mr Pawan Bansal, the local MP, while addressing a gathering of elected rural bodies.

Mr Bansal said that he had raised the issue in Parliament and a reply in this regard is to be tabled on June 24. The MHA has said that certain offices like those of the Block Development Officer and the Agriculture Department will be placed under the elected Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti.

So far these offices are placed under IAS officers and for long, elected members have nursed a grouse that they have to “beg” for each little work and also for the release of grants to officials and the BDO.

Mr Bansal also announced a grant of Rs 51 lakh, with Rs 3 lakh each for the 17 panchayats out of his local area development fund. The chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, said the grants should be given directly to the Panchayat Samiti and not be routed through the Deputy Commissioner and onward to the BDO, as it takes very long for the utilisation of the fund.

Mr Bansal said that the issue of providing electricity and water connections outside the lal dora will be taken up on a priority bases.


Kargil martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
It was an emotional moment today for the 50-odd people, who had gathered here to remember the martyrs of Kargil operations. The atmosphere was sombre as family members of these martyrs sat through the function, remembering their young sons who had made supreme sacrifice for the nation.

Family members of four of these martyrs, belonging to Panchkula and nearby areas, were today honoured by Senior Citizens Council at an impressive function at Day Care Centre, Sector 15. The Superintendent of Police, Ms Charu Bali, was also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Wg Cdr H.L. Ratta said that the memories of all those who had laid down their lives for the country will forever remain etched in the minds of all countrymen. Members of the council also recited patriotic poems, exhorting people to be ready for any kind of sacrifice for the country.

Later, Capt Harpal Singh, father of Maj Harinder Pal Singh who sacrificed his life fighting militants in Jammu and Kashmir on April 13, 1999; Mr H.G. Lall , father of Dy Commandant Joy Lall of the ITBP, who attained martyrdom on May 30, 1999; Wg Cdr H.L. Ratta, father-in-law of Capt Deepak Guleria of 3 R.R. sector Head quarter, who died on June 18, 1999; and Prof Harbans Lal, father of Maj Sandeep Sagar of 18 Grenadiers, who was killed on June 25, 1999, were honoured on the occasion.



Employees burn Budget copies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Hundreds of government employees working in the Punjab government departments, boards and corporations burnt the copies of the Budget presented in the state Assembly here today. The employees of the PRTC organised traffic jam for more than two hours and a gate rally at the corporation’s office. The employees were protesting against the anti-government measures announced in the Budget.

Mr Sajan Singh, President, Joint Action Committee of Punjab and UT Employees said, “ The workers have decided to launch a decisive struggle as our survival is at stake. The government seems to force us to beg on streets by taking our jobs. It has decided to freeze DA, LTC and other allowances in addition to privatisation of some corporations.”

Among others, the Punjab Raj Mulazam Dal, PSU state committee, AITUC, the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union and the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation participated in the protest.

Mr Sajan Singh said a meeting of all the worker unions have been called on June 23 at Patiala to launch a joint struggle against the government proposals. A state-wide rally would be also organised at Patiala on July 16 to force the government to withdraw anti-worker decisions.


LTC frozen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Following the example of the Punjab Government, the Chandigarh Administration today stopped the Leave Travel Compensation (LTC) payments for its employees with immediate effect. The freeze on the LTC will continue till December.


‘Need to downsize armed forces’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Vice-Admiral P. J. Jacob (retd), former Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff, today called for downsizing of the Indian Armed forces in view of the fact that India was now a nuclear power.

Delivering a talk on the “Role of Navy in Future Operations” at a function held at the CII, Vice-Admiral Jacob said the cost of conventional arms and forces had increased in such an exponential fashion that the capability of even the richest countries to maintain large conventional forces had been substantially eroded. “We too have to think seriously in terms of downsizing our armed forces, manpower and establishment costs,” he said.

“Having acquired the status of a nuclear-weapon state, India has to determine the level and mix of systems which would provide credible deterrence. Existing nuclear powers, including China, has already acquired and deployed the nuclear triad,” he said.

The full potential of highly expensive strategic and sub-strategic weapon systems could not be fully exploited without the installation of the entire gamut of support infrastructure which was required to realise and enhance the mission profile of these systems, he said.

Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob, Governor of Punjab, was the chief guest at the function.



Cop accused of threatening Col
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
A retired Army officer has accused a Sub Inspector of the Punjab police and his tenant of intimidating him. The policeman owns a flat in Modern Housing Complex, above the flat of the Army officer.

Lt Col M. Khorana, (retd.), affected officer, says that the family living in the policeman’s flat has been harassing him. He also says that a sewerage drain of the flat remains choked, making the water seep into his flat, which has damaged the walls of almost all rooms.

The retired officer says that he has got the drain repaired five times, but the problem persists. Last week, he had approached the local police to get the dispute resolved amicably, but the family got offended and reported the matter to the mother of the policeman, following which, he called up the officer and “threatened” him.

The former Army man, now, fears for his safety and has sought help from the local police. and given a representation to the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, in this regard.


Install burglar alarms: DSP
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 20
Mr Rupinder Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kharar, has urged all persons living in colonies outside the old town to install burglar alarms and to be more vigilant than ever at night.

He said this at meetings in Swaraj Nagar, Bhagat Ghat Colony, Ranjit Colony and some other places late yesterday. He said the police had made sufficient arrangements for public security at night but the police could not be present at all places.

The DSP said 10 beats of police had been formed here and night patrolling was on, keeping in view recent thefts. The alarms do not cost more, so every house owner can afford one. He heard the grievances of house owners and assured them early redressing. 


W. R. Rishi bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Harshavardhan, the youngest son of Padmashree W. R. Rishi, died in London on Tuesday, family sources said here today.

Mr Rishi, Director of the Institute of Romani Studies, said Harshavardhan was 55 years’ old and he was working with a private firm in London.


IT camp from June 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Income Tax Department in association with the Joint Action Committee, Sector-38 (West), will hold a two-day camp on June 23 and June 24.

The camp would be held in the park facing the Sector 38 (west) market and inaugurated by the Income Tax Commissioner, Mr Pankaj Gupta, said here today. The camp will have facilities for the filing of returns, applying for Permanent Account Number, deposit of tax challan and spot issue of passport size photographs free of charge.


Coin mela today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The regional office of the Reserve Bank of India, in a press note issued here today, has informed that with a view to ease the scarcity of coins in the city, the bank would organise a coin dispensation mela at Sector 26, Grain Market branch of the State bank of Patiala on June 21 at 11.30 am.

The bank would also exchange the damaged notes of Rs 1, Rs 2 and Rs 5 with new coins without charging anything.



Postman’s cycle, letters stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 20
In the past 24 hours, the police has received five complaints of theft including that of a postman’s cycle along with letters here.

Mr Zail Singh, a postman at General Post Office, Sector 17, reported that his cycle along with the post bag containing 56 packets of post and 18 registered letters were stolen from near the GPO parking lot last afternoon.

Mr Kuldip Singh, a resident of Sector 22, reported that household articles were stolen from his house on the night of June 18 here. Mr Sat Narain of Palsora Colony reported that a colour television was stolen from his house three to four days ago. In both the cases, houses were unoccupied at the time of theft.

Mr Satish Kumar, a resident of Sector 22, reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH 01 K 4537) was stolen from a hotel parking in Sector 22 yesterday. Maruti car (CH 01 N 6455) of Mr Harmohinder Singh, a resident of Sector 32 was reportedly stolen from his house on night of June 18.

The police has registered five cases of thefts in different police stations.

Held for assault

On complaint of Mr Amrinder Singh, a resident of Sector 44, the police has arrested Kulwinder Singh of Sector 46 here yesterday. The accused along with four to five other persons had allegedly assaulted and threatened the complainant at about 10.30 pm yesterday in Sector 24.

Pirated CDs seized

A team of Super Cassettes Industries Limited raided two shops in Sector 19 and 20 here today and claimed to have seized pirated MP3, video and audio compact discs. These shops were allegedly selling and renting out pirated compact discs of T-Series.

The shops which were raided are Ishan Music and Sonu Music. The matter was later reported to the Sector 19 police station and cases under the Copy Rights Act were likely to be registered. The seized discs were later handed over to the police and two persons were arrested in this connection.


Rape alleged

A young woman was allegedly raped by the son of her landlord in Bir Ghaggar village when her husband was away.

According to an FIR registered against the accused, Rajesh ‘Babloo’, under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC, he barged into the victim’s house at about 2 am today, taking her by surprise, as she was sleeping.

It is alleged that the woman was, first gagged by the accused. Later, when she shouted for help, the accused ran away.


In less than a month, the house of late security agency owner, Maj. K. Nagpal was burgled the second time here today. The burglary come to light when a maid came to clean the house and saw a man running away with a packet. The exact loss could not be ascertained. 


Power failure hits business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
City’s Sector 35 commercial centre was without power for more than four hours today affecting business activity in leading banks, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and private offices, besides department stores. 

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