Sunday, July 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

4 hurt in ammo depot blast
Vehicle carrying ammunition catches fire
Bipin Bhardwaj and Nishikant Dwivedi

Dapper/Chandigarh, July 27
Four civilian helpers employed with Ammunition Depot Dapper were injured, two of them seriously with close to 80 per cent burn injuries, when a Army tractor-trailer carrying ammunition caught fire which led to an explosion within the depot premises this afternoon. The injured have been rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh.

The depot is safe and there was no cause for alarm, sources said while adding that the ammunition caught fire while it was being wheeled out of the depot to the nearby Ghaggar river to be disposed off. The incident which occurred near Chandiala village, adjacent to the depot on the Chandigarh — Ambala road, was caused when the ammunition got ignited while being transported in six metal cast containers, eye witnesses said.

The trailer was loaded with propellants which hurl explosives. Due to the sparking, the driver panicked and could not control the vehicle which overturned resulting in the blast.

The four persons who were on the trailer — Jawala Prasad (50), a resident of Lalru, Vir Singh (55) of Dapper and Molak Ram (50) of Ber Majra and Ram Chandra Saini (45), of Dehar villages — were injured. Bystanders doused the flames and army vehicles rushed them to Chandigarh.

The condition of two seriously injured person — Jawala Prasad and Vir Singh — is said to be serious. They were admitted to the hospital with 80 and 40 per cent burn injuries. The other two — Molak Ram and Ram Chand were admitted to the hospital with 20 to 25 per cent burns injuries.

Eyewitnesses said Ram Chandra Saini was driving the tractor-trailer while Molak Ram was sitting behind him. Jawala Prasad and Vir Singh, the two seriously injured, were in the trailer loaded with ammunition.

Though the local administration was unaware of the incident, the defence officials were tight-lipped over the issue. The Sub Area Commander Brig T.C. Katoch, had rushed to the spot.

Meanwhile, panic gripped the area as soon as the news of the blast spread. Had the vehicle load of ammunition caught fire inside the dump casualties would have been very high and loss of ammunition too would have been very high.

In the past few years fire at the Mamoon cantonment in Pathankot and ammunition dump in Suratgarh in Rajasthan had caused huge losses to the government besides the loss of lives.

The fire in the depot at the Mamoon cantonment in Pathankot had forced the authorities at the ammunition depot, Dapper, to formulate an ‘‘evacuation and abandonment plan’’ for villages falling in the periphery.

Under the plan, whenever an emergency occurs , over 32,000 residents of 11 villages are to be shifted to safer places along with their movable property. The villages falling within a radius of 3 km from the depot will be evacuated, sources said.

Highly-placed sources confirmed that 11 villages — Dappar, Lehli, Janetpur, Issanpur Jangi, Chandiala, Amlala, Ber Majra, Hasanpur, Karkour, Baroli and Toganpur — had been identified for evacuation. In case of fire in the ammunition dump, a massive destruction can occur within 3 km radius from the depot, the sources warned.



cholera outbreak
Inquiry report awaited to nail the guilty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July, 27
Following the submission of the report of the inquiry ordered to fix the responsibility for the outbreak of cholera in the city, strict action is likely to be taken against the erring officials.

The authorities have taken the matter very seriously and after the submission of the report within a week's time strict action is likely to be taken against those found to be responsible for the lapse, if any. The Additional Commissioner of the MC, Mr Ashok Vashisht , will head the inquiry committee, whose two other members are, the Deputy MS of the General Hospital, Dr G. Deewan, and the SE, Public Health (UT), Mr S.K. Malkhani.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, said after the completion of the inquiry responsibility will be fixed for the lapses, if any. He said the main focus of the inquiry would be to detect the main cause of contamination and the steps that need to be taken to ensure that this kind of outbreak is not repeated in any part of the city.

Apart from registering an FIR against Ram Azor, a resident of House No 2350, for causing contamination, notices are being issued to all those who had opened water chambers in the area. The MC, had already issued notices to over 50 persons.

Meanwhile, the number of diarrhoea patients who were admitted to various hospitals in the city, fell to just four today. While there was no patient at the PGI and GMCH, four patients from Sector 52 and Dadu Majra, were admitted to the General Hospital. Now a total of 60 patients are admitted in the General Hospital, while over 200 have already been discharged after receiving treatment.

With cases of diarrhoea being reported from a number of colonies, the health authorities and the MC have started cholera awareness campaigns in other parts of the city as well.

The rapid response teams of the health department are still visiting the colonies, especially the slum areas, where due to unhygienic living conditions there are higher chances of outbreak of cholera.

The Citizen Awareness Group, has also launched a similar campaign in the worst affected area of Sector 52 Rehabilitation Colony. They are creating awareness amongst the residents about the preventive measures to be taken.

The chairman of the group, Mr Surinder Verma, said it appeared that the unhygienic living conditions and the use of contaminated water was the main reason for the outbreak of cholera

The members of the Social Welfare Society, while blaming the MC for the outbreak of the disease, said despite their submitting a memorandum to them for the removal of garbage and supply of clean water, no steps had been taken.



MC blames residents for cholera outbreak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Municipal Corporation has blamed residents of the cholera-affected areas for the contamination due to defecating in the open, which had contaminated the drinking water.

The MC, which held an emergency meeting today to review the steps taken in view of the outbreak of cholera in certain colonies of the cities, observed that in spite of the provision of mobile toilets in these colonies the residents were defecating in the open, which may had to the spread of the disease.

The Mayor Ms Lalit Joshi, who chaired the meeting, said the efforts made by the MC during the past week had yielded encouraging results as contamination from the distribution lines had been eliminated. She said the situation was being monitored round the clock.

She said the results of the water samples collected from the affected areas did not indicate any contamination at the source of the water supply, that is the tubewells, but the problem was at the distribution points.

Ms Joshi, said another source of contamination was the construction of toilets over the water supply lines, which had now been plugged and the flow of sewage into the water supply lines had been checked. She said the residents were being supplied water through water tankers apart from providing PVC tanks of 3,000 litres capacity at the tubewells in Kajheri.


With filth all around, Mohali has its fingers crossed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
Despite the fact that not a single patient has been admitted to the Civil Hospital here with any cholera-like symptoms, doctors working in the hospital are keeping their fingers crossed and are ready for any eventuality.

Other than the fact that Phase 3A is dangerously close to Sector 52 of Chandigarh from where the maximum number of cholera patients had come, most residents and many doctors working in various sectors of this township believe that Mohali is just lucky not to have reported any cases of cholera.

Stating that Mohali with the poor state of cleanliness is prone to diseases like cholera and typhoid, most residents believe that the authorities are doing precious little to improve things.

“Wherever you see there is a heap of garbage lying out in the open, sometimes on roadside sometimes in the garbage dumps from where these are never picked up or cleaned. Cattle feed on them, dogs spread the filth around, it is sickening. We are just lucky that cholera has not spread till here,” says a homoeopathy doctor residing in Phase II.

Similar opinion is held by a housewife residing in Phase VI. ‘‘One has to just look at the massive garbage heap right outside the PUDA office and realise what state the residential areas will be in”, she points out.

The in charge of the civil Hospital, Dr M.S. Bains states, “Most cases of diarrhoea we receive here are caused by either Jiardiasis or amoebiasis. These are seasonal cases and the symptoms are different from a cholera infection. Till now we have not received any cholera like case but we are ready for any eventuality. We are stocked with medicines, we have arranged for test facilities. All doctors have been told what to do in case a patient comes with such symptoms.”

Dr Ajai Pal, serving as medical specialist in the Civil Hospital states, “We have had some cases of diarrhoea but these are common in this season. No patient has come with any symptoms which can lead us to believe that there is any spread of cholera here.”



Protest against ban on ACs
Mohali commercial units to move court
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
Some of the commercial units here, which include mainly restaurants, have decided to move court against the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board banning the use of airconditioners in commercial units if the orders are not withdrawn within the next week.

According to restaurant owners, their business has slid down appreciably since the use of airconditioners was banned and majority of their customers have started going for food to Chandigarh. Similar is the complaint of various bankers who state that they have had to invest in pedestal fans in order to ensure comfort to the customers. A large number of shopkeepers too are now facing the problem of reluctant customers constantly rushing out of the shops trying to cool themselves.

The ban on use of airconditioners in commercial units was ordered on July 18 for an initial duration of five days and on July 24 the duration was extended for another five days. The decision was taken by the PSEB with delayed monsoons failing to give any relief to people from the heat and there was an overload on electricity consumption across the state.

Negating this method of trying to save on electricity, the owners of the commercial units state that there are other ways available in which electricity can be saved. ‘‘Why not start cutting power on an hourly basis from all the sectors, including residences and commercial units?’’ questions Mr Onkar Singh of restaurant Hungry Hunter Phase VII.

‘‘Our customers come into the restaurant and leave simply because the AC is not working. Hotels are places where people get together to have a good time. Without an AC in the summers why would a person come to restaurants,’’ adds Mr Onkar Singh.

Bankers too are not happy with the decision. ‘‘We have had to invest in pedestal fans in order to ensure our customer’s comfort. But then there is no way one can provide comfort in the ATM counter which is too small and as a result stuffy without an AC,’’ says an employee of a bank in Phase 3B II.

Alleging that most of the banks are not following the orders at all and prefer to put on the ACs rather than lose customers, the showroom owners complain that it is their business which has been worst affected by the ban. ‘‘Mine is a cloth shop and it becomes miserably stuffy and claustrophobic in here with all these rolls of clothes and bright lights around. Use of ACs is the only relief. But since these are government orders one will have to follow them. We are better placed since we have so many fans but there are many showrooms which do not have fans and depend solely on ACs,’’ says Mr Manjit Singh, owner of My Shop in Phase VII. Similarly affected are the various training institutes and cyber cafes.

In an earlier conversation with Chandigarh Tribune, Mr J.S. Sekhon, Superintending Engineer, Operations, at Mohali had stated that the decision of banning use of ACs was only till the arrival of the monsoons, immediately after which use of ACs will be allowed.



Krishan Kant’s death mourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Condolence meetings were held in the city today to express shock over the demise of the Vice-President, Mr Krishan Kant.

Lt-Gen J.F.R.Jacob (retd), Governor of Punjab, expressed deep shock over the demise of Mr Kant. In his condolence message, the Governor said in his death, the nation had lost a true Gandhian, who was the pillar of Bhoodan movement in Punjab. Krishan Kant would be missed for his contributions in land and electoral reforms.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee condoled the untimely death of the Vice President. Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the CTCC, while conveying his sympathies to the bereaved family, highlighted the sacrifices made by the departed leader.

The Servants of the People Society organised a meeting of the local Lala Lajpat Rai fraternity and leading citizens of the city to express grief over the passing away of the Vice President.

Krishan Kant had the rare privilege of sitting in the lap of Lala Lajpat Rai. For the past 25 years, he has been a member of the Servants of the People Society and played a big role in raising the local Lajpat Rai Bhavan. In his long political career, he served as Member of Parliament from the city and Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

In a press release of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit of the party, and Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former Member of Parliament, expressed their heartfelt condolences over the sad and sudden demise of Mr Kant. They said Mr Kant had close relations with the people of the city, as he represented the Lok Sabha seat of the city from 1977 to 1980. He was a firm believer in principles of democracy and favoured healthy criticism.

Mrs Kamla Sharma, a former Mayor, also expressed her condolences. Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, members of the Senate, faculty, non-teaching staff and students condoled the demise of the Vice President. A meeting was organised in the Law Auditorium which was also attended by Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the UT Administrator.

Professor Pathak said in his death the country had lost an illustrious statesman and an able parliamentarian, eminent educationist, a social worker and a noble soul. Mr Kant had contributed a great deal in almost every sphere ranging from freedom movement to social development to spiritual upliftment. His absence will be felt for a long time.

Members of the management, staff and students of Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital placed on record their deep sense of sorrow and grief. The Shiromani Punjabi Lekhari Sabha (Punjab) also held a condolence meeting at Government High School, Sector 40.



Police official probes juvenile’s detention
Kiran Deep

“Juveline” or “Child” means a person who has not completed 18 years of age (earlier the age was 16). The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill having been passed by both the Houses of Parliament received the consent of the President on December 30, 2000. The new Juveline Justice Act, which provides care, protection, development and rehabilitation of delinquent juvelines, came on the Status Book as the Juveline Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (56 of 2000).

Chandigarh, July 27
Acting on the news report carried by Chandigarh Tribune on July 25 about the arrest of a 9-year-old child who had been caught by the UT police on the charges of stealing a tricycle, a senior UT police official has conducted an inquiry and submitted his report.

Sources informed that an inquiry into the case was conducted by DSP B.D. Vector, who found some violations in the arrest of the child. After completing the inquiry, Mr Vector submitted his report to the UT SSP and UT SP.

On July 25, Chandigarh Tribune had carried the news item “UT police walks over juvenile justice law, arrests 9-yr-old; detains him illegally”, which had highlighted the plight of the child. The father of the juvenile, Mr Setu Thapa, a watchman, said the police had arrested the child on July 23 without informing him and had detained him illegally. However, taking cognizance of the age of the child, a UT CJM had released him on bail.

Narrating his tale of woes, Setu Thapa said his child used to play with the children of the servant of the complainant. “On July 23, the child was attracted to the tricycle of the complainant’s child. Later at about 8 pm, the UT police picked up the child and took him to the Sector 3 police station”. He further said the police claimed to have tried to contact him throughout the night but could not succeed.

This is not an isolated incidence when a juvenile has been treated badly by the UT police. There have been a number of cases in the past when juveniles have been arrested by the UT police without considering the age of the children thus violating the new Juvenile Justice Act. Sources revealed that on May 25, four minors were arrested for allegedly assaulting and looting a rickshaw-puller near the Paccadily chowk. They had allegedly snatched Rs 80 from him, besides beating him up. The police had registered a case under Sections 392 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code against them. Surprisingly, one of the juveniles had to spend about a month in a Juvenile Home as no one came forward to furnish his surety bonds. Later, he was granted bail after one of his relatives gave his surety and furnished bail bond.

Similarly, on May 26, two 10-year-old children from Bapu Dham were allegedly subjected to torture and deprived of basic rights while in the custody of the city police. Later, taking serious view of the arrest of the minor children, within a week the court of the then Chief Judicial Magistrate had discharged them.



‘FDI decision taken in undue haste’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Print media is not a priority sector for foreign direct investment and since it has a sensitive role in the society it should not be exposed to external influences, opined the Editor of The Tribune, Mr Hari Jaisingh, while speaking at seminar on “FDI in Print Media” organised by the Chandigarh Journalists Association here today.

The motivation of the government in allowing FDI is suspect, Mr Hari Jaisingh, who is also the President of the Editor’s Guild, said while adding that the decision had been taken in undue haste and without any justification. “Now as this has been done we have to keep an eye on everything to ensure that the government decision is not allowed to harm national interest.” He had a special word for journalists: “Do not allow the lure of higher wages draw you away from the path of national interest.”

He said: “I fail to understand that how the Sangh Parivar and the Swadeshi Jagran allowed all this. What brought about the change in opinion needs to be probed.” The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, had once said, “I was told this has to be done,” Mr Hari Jaisingh quoted a conversation between himself and the minister.

FDI is needed in building infrastructure and technology and not in media, Mr Hari Jaisingh said while debunking the theory that FDI will fuel growth and pump in money. There is no dearth of money in the market or how else small newspapers have also graduated to those having multiple editions, he pointed out.

Due to FDI the Indian media, including the electronic media, is at crossroads. “We are caught in quicksand and we have to see if we can come out and what are the challenges ahead of us”, he added.

Senior journalist Tribhuvan Nath narrated that a Cabinet decision in 1955 had disallowed foreign ownership and equity. In 1991 also a demand was made to review the decision, however, this was shelved. In 1999 when the NDA alliance came to power this issue was raised again. Then Mr Arun Jaitley had said, “We will not allow FDI. Even the now I& B Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj had said, “We have an open mind and this and there was no need to fiddle with the print media.”

He expressed fears that slowly the control of foreigners in the news media will increase. He gave an example of how Jahangir gave permission to the East India Company for trading thus opening up the doors to slavery.

Panjab University Journalism Department Head, Prof Sanjay Wadwalkar said he could not give a definite yes or no as an answer for FDI in print media. He said: “There is not the slightest doubt that foreign investors will not be interested in safeguarding national interests. The control of the Indian thought process through FDI in print media and through advertising will not only be harmful for democracy but also for every citizen of the country.”

The saddest part is that trivialisation of communication has taken place due to these changes as both TV and advertising seek to grab attention. We have been silent spectators to this process of trivialisation, the professor added.

The President of the Chandigarh Journalists Association, Mr Radhey Sham Sharma, asked several relevant questions like what will be the public opinion? Will it be in favour of Indian development or totally lopsided in favour of foreigners? He cited the example of Korea which refused the US help saying they (USA) could not set up industries in their land as and where desired. Korea actually told them where and what sectors needed investment.

Later in the evening the association in a resolution adopted unanimously demanded the setting up of a third Press Commission to go into the matter thoroughly and demanded that the matter of FDI be kept pending till a report comes in.



Gupta flays action against 42 residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Accusing the Administration and the Municipal Corporation of failing to maintain sanitation in the Sector 52 colony, the BJP councillor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, today condemned the registering of police cases and issuing of notices to 42 residents of the area.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Gupta said instead of punishing the guilty officials, the entire blame was being put on the innocent people by the authorities. “ I want to ask the Sanitary Inspector, Health Inspector and other officials as to why they did not take action against those who dug up pits to arrange for drinking water at that time only , so that hundreds of people could have been saved from falling sick,” he quipped.

He regretted that despite the Parents Association issuing legal notices to the Mayor, Municipal Commissioner and Secretary, Health, to maintain proper sanitation in the city , no action was taken at that stage, for which the poor people have been made to suffer now.

While stating that innocent people were being made scapegoats for the negligence on the part of the authorities, he lashed out at the Congress which was in power in the MC,for the unhygienic conditions prevailing in the city. He said ever since the Congress had come to power the condition of sanitation facilities in the city had worsened.

Demanding the resignation of the Mayor, he said despite giving an assurance to the people that the sanitation of the city would be improved , there had been a cholera outbreak .He demanded that the affected people should be compensated .

He further demanded that the report of the inquiry conducted by the Mayor, should be placed before the House in its forthcoming meeting, to be held on July 30.



Decks cleared for Association of British Scholars
Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
On the hold for long, the decision to introduce a chapter of the Association of British Scholars (ABS) in Chandigarh has finally been taken by the office concerned. The reputed association, which was conceived way back with the establishment of the British Council in India, will now have a chapter in the city also.

Scheduled to be inaugurated on August 17 at the complex of the British Library in Sector 8, Chandigarh, the association will feature over 50 scholars from the areas of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, a part of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, including Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Jalandhar. With the decision of the establishment of the chapter, which earlier existed in Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore and Kolkata, and some more Indian cities, already been taken, the British Library authorities are making arrangements for the day of the inauguration. The inauguration of the Chandigarh Chapter will be done by Head, South Asia, the British Council.

Talking about the need to have the chapter of the ABS in the city as also about the activities that will form a part of the meetings, the Manager, British Library, Mr Sushant Banerjee, told Chandigarh Tribune that the idea of setting up the chapter had been brewing for long. “Now the decks are cleared. The objective behind having the chapter in the city is to consolidate the various alumni of British universities scattered all over the region of Punjab, Haryana, J& K and Himachal Pradesh. The scholars will thus have a platform from where they can chalk out their future agenda. All activities pursued from the office of the ABS will, however, have a fragrance of Britain.”

A list of over 50 Indian scholars, who have been the alumni at British universities at some point or the other, has already been prepared by the authorities at British Library. The Manager informed that communication with the scholars, who had been selected from all over the region for forming a part of the ABS, was already going on and that many confirmations in this regard had already been received. Once the whole list was confirmed, the ABS would be ready in letter. The spirit would be added once the formal inauguration of the ABS took place on August 17, he said.

The ABS will be allowed to use the premises of the British Library for its activities, which may include presentation of papers in various fields, holding seminars on subjects of interest ranging from English, science, technology to art and design. In its finality, the entire exercise aims at establishing and further fostering a sense of goodwill among the British alumni in India. The scholars, who will form a part of the ABS, will be entitled to free membership of British Library. Also, they will elect their own coordinators and office-bearers, who will decide upon the future agenda of the association.



Forum formed to help cable subscribers
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 27
A joint forum of cable operators and different welfare organisations has been formed to sort out the problems faced by subscribers as well as operators.

The newly formed body, Cable TV Operators and Consumers Forum, has decided to provide service at a nominal rate of Rs 110 per month. For an additional TV set an extra sum of Rs 40 per month would be charged. At present different operators in the town are charging between Rs 150 and Rs 200 per month.

The forum has drawn members from resident welfare societies, consumer forums, senior citizens’ forum, exservicemen organizations and Punjab Cable Services.

According to a press note released here today by Mr R.B. Singh, a partner in the Punjab Cable Services, the basic aim of the forum is to resolve disputes in the town regarding cable TV services and monthly charges. The forum would start functioning from August 1.

Mr R.B. Singh said once the forum started functioning, all meetings of the body would be conducted at the studios of the Punjab Cable Services and would be telecast live for the subscribers so that they could interact with the forum through telephone.

He said after getting encouraging response, the doors of the subscriber management had been thrown open.

The members of the core group are Mr B.S. Tej, Mr Harwant Singh, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Albel Singh Shyan, Mr A.N. Sharma, Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti, Mr Jagir Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Makhan Singh, Mr Sajjan Singh, Mr S.S. Sohi, Mr Kewal Singh Rana, Mr Anoop Prashar and Mr R.B. Singh.



UT officials absent from film show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The producers of the film ‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ have expressed resentment over the absence of UT officials from the special screening of the film organised at Batra Theatre this morning.

It has been informed that the special screening of the film, which was to be held to request for tax exemption, had been organised today at 8 am with the prior permission and intimation to the UT Administration. Referring to the letter sent by the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, UT, who confirmed the names of five UT officials to attend today’s show, the organisers said the non-attendance tantamounted to mockery of the film.

The list of officials who were to attend today’s show are the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, the Joint Secretary, Finance, the Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, the Director, Public Relations, and the Director, Health Services, UT.

The producer of the film had requested for tax exemption under the Punjab Entertainment Duty Act, 1955.



Councillor visits govt houses
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 27
Local Municipal Councillor Harpreet Kaur Babla and C.V.M. general secretary Devinder Singh Babla visited government houses of Ward No. 13, Sector 28-C, today.

They found the condition of the houses deplorable. Residents alleged that no maintenance work had been undertaken in the sector for the past 10 years.

The Chief Engineer, Mr Puran Jeet Singh, promised to start work within few days. He dispatched a team of officers of the Public Health and Engineering Department to the sector. The residents and the councillor received the dispatched list. The officers visited all houses and noticed the works to be done on priority. The residents appreciated the efforts of the councillor. The councillor said officers would frequently visit the ward from now onwards.



MES grievance cell suspends work
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 27
The MES Contractors Grievance Cell , Chandimandir, suspended work for two days beginning yesterday. The president of the association, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal and general secretary, Mr Y. P. Kapoor, said they were being made to suffer because of a rift between the workers of the Garrison Engineer Utility, Chandimandir, and Auditor Unit Accountant Garrison Engineer, Chandimandir.

They informed that there were three GEs in Chandimandir, while seven in Chandigarh. While each GE had an accounts officer in Chandigarh, there was only one accounts officer for all three GEs in Chandimandir. Because of the rift between the workers and accounts officer, the office of the accounts officer had been shifted to Sector 9 Chandigarh.

This had affected their payment schedules and several contractors had not received their payments.



SSP’s car meets with accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Ambala, Mr Manoj Yadav, had a miraculous escape when the Ambassador car in which he was travelling turned turtle after hitting a road divider near the Chandigarh airport late last night. The SSP along with his gunman, Gani Ram and driver Shish Pal were admitted at the GMCH, Sector 32 with minor injuries and was discharged after first aid. Sources in the police said the vehicle which was badly damaged had been towed to the Sector 31 Police Station and was then taken away by Haryana Police. No case has been registered.



Boy drowns

Chandigarh, July 27
Eight-year-old Sunil Kumar of Kishangarh died of drowning at the regulator end of the Sukhna Lake here this evening. The boy had gone along with his friends for swimming in the lake. The body of the victim was fished out by a passerby and family members. TNS



135 detained in Palsora
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
As many as 135 persons were detained for questioning during an intensive search operation carried out in the Palsora Colony under the jurisdiction of the Sector 39 police station. The operations were led by SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Mr K.I.P. Singh.



One killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 27
An unidentified person was killed while another was seriously injured near Mampupur village on the Kharar-Morinda road in the early hours today when the three-wheeler in which they were going was knocked down by an unidentified vehicle.

The injured person has been admitted to a hospital and a case has been registered under Section 279/304-A.


The quintessence of school education

APROPOS of Parbina Rashid’s report “Readymade science models on display” (Chandigarh Tribune, July 3), I am not surprised to learn that science project assignments are readily available in the markets for a little price to any student for asking. That these can also be made to order is a matter of enterprise, not perhaps surprise. But there is no use blaming the hapless students, who are hard pressed for time and energy, thanks to the inhuman demands imposed on them by a curriculum of learning by rote, which is increasing the workload day by day.

Most of the time poor parents, who can, and have the time, end up making these projects for their wards; otherwise it is the bought models that are presented as finished assignment. Isn’t it pointless to blame those who cater to the needs of these students and parents, for they are simply fulfilling a need?

Blaming the education system is again unjustifiable, for the intended basic idea of wanting children to learn through model-making is not what is flawed. Its whole purpose is to make fundamental principles clear in a practical sense and to encourage children to learn in a manner that elucidates the applicability of science they are made to rigorously mug in classrooms. The flaw lies in the implementation, rather non-implementation of the idea in its true spirit and with sincerity. Model-making projects have become a chore for teachers and the taught. This is so because the exercise lacks in sincerity.

I humbly feel instead of promoting individual effort, children should be encouraged to be innovative and original in implementing such projects, as groups. Ideally, for such purposes, students in a class should be divided into small groups comprising four to five of them in each group, which can be asked to choose a project of its own liking, after having had a class discussion among students and with the teacher in-charge. These groups of students should then be advised and supervised by the teacher in-charge, to guide them into making use of and developing their skills and abilities to full potential.

More often than not, fancy projects are assigned to students, with no discussion whatsoever on their applicability, the principles involved, the need and desirability of undertaking such exercises. The utility of projects assigned and as such undertaken remains beyond the comprehension of most students, for it is rarely, if ever, discussed in class. Many a time, it bears no relevance to what the class is being taught. As such these projects remain exercises in futility, serving little purpose than to encourage cheating (through inadvertently encouraging purchase of models from the market) thus bending the character of students towards base instincts. Most of the time, students are forced to seek easier alternatives like buying models from the market.

The teacher should be a ‘rudder’, gently lending right direction to the children in their endeavours. The idea is not to spoon-feed, but at the same instant not to let them wander at sea either. Students need to be guided about how best to use the various available resources such as the school library, newspapers, books, magazines, and others that are available today — importantly the computers and the Internet in order to gather further information for their projects.

The groups should be asked to work as a team, choose a co-ordinator from among themselves, divide the project into various aspects, assign these to each individual, discuss it with family and friends, gather whatever information they can from whichever sources, compile this in whatever form they deem will present their view on the subject best. While one member can collect relevant newspaper clippings, another can surf the net for other information; just as another member thinks of ways to express the problem with a working model.

The group can pool its resources and learn to work as a team. This way we will not only encourage students to become independent thinkers, rather than copycats, but also inculcate a team spirit and build their character and prepare them for later life. This ought to be the quintessence of this part of school education.


Traffic confusion

There is a lot of confusion on traffic rules almost everywhere. Uncertainty prevails in everyone’s mind as to whether the same rules are applicable in Chandigarh alone or in states around it. Use of helmets, safety belts, the colour of number plates, tinted glasses, overtaking from the left, use of beams at night etc. are some of the points on which the police and the transport authorities have not properly educated the public.

This is all the more surprising because earlier the authorities concerned used to give wide publicity through the Press, cinema and television in order to guide the person on the wheels. These days, officials keep introducing one rule or the other, but without adequate publicity. The result: confusion and frequent challaning of innocent people for no fault of their own. The authorities may change rules from time to time, but they must give adequate publicity through the print and electronic media to let people know of the developments and act accordingly.

In Mohali, there is a peculiar problem. Most of the traffic lights are not properly timed to the flow of traffic or half of the lights are non-functional. For example, on the crossing of Sectors 52, 53, 60 and 61, the green light for the main road (which is known for the high volume of traffic) is on only for 10 seconds. However, at the other end of the road, the green light is on for 45 seconds. The traffic police officials must be in the know of things as accidents are frequent. But when will they rectify this anomaly?


Prune expenditure

Panjab University is passing through a bad phase even though it is an important educational institution. Since I am a product of this prestigious university, it hurts me to see my Alma Mater facing acute financial crisis.

The Punjab Government has taken many steps to curtail expenditure. Punjab University should also follow suit and form a committee of experts from economics, business management and commerce to suggest some concrete steps to bail the university out of troubled waters. Departments that fail to provide good quality service should either be shut down or merged with other allied ones to cut expenditure. One department that has become a white elephant is the Health Services department. It is not serving the university well. It figures in the media frequently for all the wrong reasons, bringing a bad name to the university.

The university can save a lot of funds if it appoints staff on contract, instead of keeping permanent staff (with huge salaries and perks like free accommodation and telephone). Part-time staff on fixed salaries should be considered. Free accommodation should be provided only to those on emergency duty. The university can save lakhs of rupees annually if it cuts unnecessary expenditure.


Rebuild the road

The approach road to Punchkula Extension from Azad Colony invariably gets submerged in water. It is shocking that this road, which was built by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) last year, was washed away within 24 hours of its construction.

Some time ago, HUDA authorities said the road would be constructed by the contractor at his cost. However, till date neither the HUDA nor the contractor has taken any initiative to construct the road.

We, the residents of Panchkula Extension, request the authorities to rebuild the road expeditiously. In case no action is taken, we will be forced to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

RESIDENTS, Panchkula Extension



Police gets vital clues in Sec 22 robbery case
Barber, woman arrested

Tribune News Service


  • Chandigarh Police to contact Mumbai Police and Uttar Pradesh Police to get more details about the criminal activities of Majid.
  • Police parties sent to arrest Majid and his accomplice, Shaukat.
  • Antecedents of persons from western Uttar Pradesh, engaged in tailoring profession, being verified.

Chandigarh, July 27
A 27-year-old hardcore criminal, Majid, from Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh was behind the armed robbery at a Sector 22 house last Tuesday. Two armed youths had escaped with Rs 70,000 cash and 140 gm of gold jewellery after tying up an aged woman and her daughter in the incident.

Wanted in at least four cases of dacoity and robbery in Mumbai and Saharanpur, he was accompanied by Shaukat, a resident of Haridwar. A .315 bore country-made pistol, a live cartridge and some stolen gold bangles have been recovered by the police from a house in Kajehri.

A breakthrough in the case was achieved today when a team of the Chandigarh Police led by the Station House Officer of the Sector 17 police station, Mr Vijay Kumar, arrested a 24-year-old Arif, who works in a barber shop in DAV College, in Sector 10, and Talvinder Kaur, a resident of Kajehri.

Arif used to frequent the boutique run by the victim and provided information about details of the house.

The main suspect, Majid, landed in the city about three months ago and came in contact with Arif.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, said the police was undertaking the exercise of verifying the antecedents of persons with suspicious identity.

Some days before the incident, Arif took Majid to the house as a customer and made a recce of the house.

The Superintendent of Police (City), Mr Baldev Singh, said Majid used to live in the house of a woman, Talvinder Kaur, in Kajehri village. On April 24, Talvinder Kaur had engaged her daughter to Majid.

The SP said after committing the robbery, the duo went to the Kajehri house and stayed there for night.

The next day, at about 4.45 am, they boarded a bus from The Tribune roundabout. The police suspect that they boarded the bus for Delhi.

While leaving the house of Talvinder Kaur, the main suspect, Majid, gave the gold bangles to her.

The police believes that had the criminals not been caught, they would have committed more such robberies in the city.

During the course of investigation, the police verified the credentials of more than 300 tailors and those engaged in boutiques in the city.

On the basis of the investigations, Sections 216-A and 120-B of the IPC have been added to the case already registered at the Sector 17 police station.



Necklace stolen from Sec 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
In a daring act, a group of five women with mongoloid features, suspected to be either Tibetans or Nepalese, lifted an expensive necklace worth over Rs 2.61 lakh from Trendsmith, a recently inaugurated Sector 17 jewellery-cum-outlet store of a Mumbai-based company, Nirmal Zaveri.

The woman incharge of the outlet refused to comment on the incident. Sources in the police said a group of five women had entered the shop and asked the saleswoman to show different items last evening. The shop was reportedly crowded at that time.

The police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC on the basis of a complaint lodged by Ms Manjeet Singh, manager of the outlet. The necklace has been valued at Rs 2,61,395.

The sources said the staff at the outlet came to know about the theft only when the shop was being closed. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, said the investigations were on.

About two months ago, a group of five women said to be Tibetans had tried to escape with Rs 48,000 cash and a licensed pistol from an electronics shop, Surindra Radios, in Sector 22. The modus operandi of the woman was to divert the attention of the staff at the shop and steal the items.

The women were caught by a vigilant employee at the shop. The theft at the jewellery shop appears to have been committed in the same fashion.

The SSP said the police would investigate any link between the two incidents.



Student held for chain snatching
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
Within days of arrest of an engineering student, Jaskaran Sharma, on the charge of chain snatching, another engineering student, Viney Bhardwaj, was arrested by the police on the similar charges today.

According to the police, Viney Bhardwaj who is a student of Regional Engineering College, Jalandhar, is a friend and accomplice of Jaskaran Sharma who was arrested by the police on July 24. Both are residents of Bathinda. While Jaskaran’s father is an advocate, Viney’s father serves in Oriental Insurance Company there.

A mangal sutra snatched from a resident of Phase IX, a chain and a pair of earrings were recovered from the two boys. Viney was reportedly caught after information about him was provided to the police by Jaskaran.

The two belong to good families but they resorted to chain snatching as one of them took drugs. They said they were planning to start trading in watches and mobile telephone sets from Delhi and collecting gold ornaments for the purpose.


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