Wednesday, August 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC development projects in jeopardy?
Non-plan head Budget brought down by Rs 32.22 crore
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Rs 115.77 crore first Congress non-plan head budget for the fiscal 2002-2003 has been brought down by 32.22 crore in the second quarter itself considering the availability of only a total assured amount of Rs 83.55 to meet non-plan expenditure.

This assessment of the corporation after the review of the performance of the first quarter is likely to jeopardise the promised developmental works on road, horticulture, sanitation, streetlighting and water supply in the remaining part of the fiscal 2002-2003 as far as their maintenance is concerned.

All drawing and disbursing officers of the corporation had virtually been asked to forget the current Budget allocation made by the House on February 28 and scale down their financial position in proportion to Rs 83.55 crore availability of funds, sources told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.

An official communication to this effect has been sent to all heads of the departments in the corporation recently.

All drawing and disbursing officers have also been asked not to cross their non-plan limit without the permission of the Commissioner, failing which the individual officers will be held responsible for exceeding the expenditure limit.

The official instructions were issued after an assessment that the sale of property supposed to bring highest receipts in the budget will not be able to fetch the expected amount and Rs 7 crore property tax has not yet been imposed to bridge the gap.

Instructions have come in the wake of allegations of diversion of Rs 7 crore funds from the plan head of Rs 45 crore for the year.

The Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi and the Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla, are believed to have communicated their objection to the diversion of funds reserved for development purposes.

The noose around the neck of drawing and disbursing officers is so tight that they have been instructed to mention Budget allocation, funds utilised and balance left on each bill sent to the Chief Auditor for pre-audit.

The drawing and disbursing officers have also been advised to cross check the fresh allocation of funds divisionwise.

A copy of the revised fund allocation divisionwise has already been sent to the Chief Auditor to exercise control on expenditure.

The department heads have also been asked to submit a receipt and expenditure statement for and upto the month of July.

With the Finance and Contract Committee starting monitoring of non-plan expenditure on monthly basis all departments have also been asked to send a detailed statement of non-plan expenditure every month.

The corporation has already been facing the pinch since the Chandigarh Administration effected a Rs 13 crore cut in the grant-in-aid projected in the Budget at Rs 86 crore while the Administration only gave Rs 73 crore — Rs 45 crore in the non-plan head and Rs 28 crore in the plan head. 


2 cholera cases in Mohali
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 6
Two cases of cholera have been reported in a jhuggi colony in the industrial area here. The patients have been admitted to the Phase VI Civil Hospital.

While one of the patients, Mansoor (45), was admitted to the hospital on Sunday, the other, Mustakeen (8), was sent to the hospital by a team of doctors that visited Udham Singh Colony yesterday.

Mansoor, whose name has been recorded as Mangu Angri in the hospital records, told Chandigarh Tribune that he had loose motions and began vomiting on Saturday night. He came to the hospital on Sunday.

Dr Manjit Singh Bains, SMO in charge of the hospital, said the patient was passing “rice water stools.” Treatment was started immediately, but the patient could not be labelled straightaway as a cholera case before carrying out certain tests. A specimen of the stools was sent to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Dr Bains said a three-member team had visited the affected colony. Dr Ashok Saini, a child specialist and member of the team, detected an eight-year-old boy with cholera-like symptoms. The stools of the second patient were examined at the Civil Hospital laboratory. 


PU fails to implement attendance rules
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Panjab University seems to be lacking in conviction to strictly implement the attendance rules as is evident from the fact that the university has once again allowed as many as nine candidates to qualify for the examination despite having a shortage in the classroom attendance.

This is important in the context that these candidates do not qualify in the minimum attendance of 66 per cent where the attendance requirement from this session onwards is 75 per cent. It is worthwhile to mention when similar cases came up for consideration earlier this year, they were allowed with an observation that no concessions would be allowed in future.

It is reliably learnt that Principal A.C. Vaid raised the question in the Syndicate of how these cases came up for consideration despite a decision last time that that was the last time. It was said that the chairman was out of the country so the concession be allowed.

A research scholar said the university should have no attendance rules at all considering that students at the postgraduate level were adults and knew what was important for them. Teachers should be attractive enough to attract them in the classes for which new innovations in teachings will have to be worked upon. However, in case the university boasted of being run by the rule books, no concessions should be made to lower the academic standards.

The concessions this time have been allowed to students of honours school in B.Sc and M.Sc of the Geology Department and students of the Department of Laws. It is worthwhile to mention that these students do not make it to the minimum requirement of lectures despite condoning of lectures by the chairman and the Vice-Chancellor, separately.

It is worthwhile to mention that the shortage of lectures was as high as 52 in one case while there are cases which have shortage of lectures than 40 and even 30. In case of M.Sc (honours) school students no concessions have been made by the chairman, saying “there is no mention of powers of Board of Control or chairman to condone the shortage of lectures”.

One of the common reasons for recommendation of concession for lectures by the chairman is illness.

It was pointed that the university even allowed students who were ‘preparing for the re-appear examination’ for which there is no concession in the rule-books. Interestingly the syndicate also considered a case for which “no reason” was ascribed. Another common excuse is participation in the cultural festivals of the university.

The list has an interesting entry of a student who is short of 38 lectures. The department has condoned 26 lectures and the Vice-Chancellor has condoned 12. Mathematically, that should be sufficient to make up the deficit.

However, the list shows him to be still short of two lectures that also have been allowed. In another case a student who is short of 40 lectures is shown to have already been given 35 lectures as benefit for participation in various activities.


You will be challaned for throwing garbage
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, August 6
Residents in the habit of throwing garbage in front, or even rear, of their residences, please be careful in the future. The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has decided to come down heavily on litterbugs. The authorities are now determined to issue challans to the residents violating the provisions of the sanitation bye-laws.


  * The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has decided to come down heavily on litterbugs. The authorities will be issuing challans to the residents violating the provisions of the sanitation bye-laws.

  * Special teams, under supervisory staff, are being constituted to catch the violators

  * Modalities are being worked out as far as the amount of fine is concerned.

The authorities, according to sources in the Municipal Corporation, are all set to constitute teams, headed by supervisory staff, for carrying out raids.

A senior officer in the health wing of the corporation, confirming the information regarding drive against violators, says, "Our staff members have been instructed to patrol the city and look out for residents in the habit of creating insanitary conditions around their residences and in the neighbourhood. Our men will also be considering the complaints submitted to us by the harassed neighbours and try to redress their grievances as fast as possible after verifying the facts. In case of violation, they will be also be taking stern action against the erring residents".

Regarding the amount of fine to be imposed on the violators, the officer adds: "The modalities are being worked out. In all probability, the offenders will first be issued notices and then fined".

Admitting that their department had been receiving a large number of complaints, the officer asserted: "In most of the cases, the residents were accusing their next door neighbours of throwing the litter in front of their houses. That is the reason why we have decided to act on the complaints as well".

The officer adds: "The problem created due to improper disposal of garbage was worst in sectors where private garbage and ragpickers were not operating, or else where the residents were not willing to pull out money from their pockets to pay to the garbage collectors. Okay, we are not forcing the residents to hire the services of private men, but we do expect that they will not create insanitary conditions in the neighbourhood".

The Medical Officer of Health has also issued instructions to the supervisory staff to ensure proper cleanliness around the garbage containers placed all over the city. In a letter to the Chairman of the Chandigarh Parents Association, Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal — who had issued a legal notice to the corporation and other authorities — the Medical Officer of Health has added that "all efforts were being made to maintain sanitation and refuse removal services in the city with the available manpower and infrastructure".


Masked robbers injure 6 in ashram
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
Six persons, including two women, were seriously injured, when they were attacked by seven masked assailants at Sri Sita Ram Sant Ashram and Ram Mandir, while in their sleep around 1. 30 am today.

The injured — Harbans Singh, main sewadar of the ashram, Prem Chand, president of the trust and his wife Veena, Surinder Kaur (all three from Morinda), Mr Subhash Chand from Kalka and Mr Jasbir Singh from Sohana village — have received serious injuries on face, head and arms. They have been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, and are stated to be serious.

According to information available, the incident took place around 1. 30 am. The only eyewitness — Mr Jagan Nath, a sewadar here, said, “I had gone to answer the call of nature at around 1. 30 am. I had just returned, when I found that a group of about seven persons had suddenly appeared. They were dressed up in black T-shirts and shorts and were armed with rods.”

He said each of the five devotees in the ashram — Prem Chand, Veena, Surinder Kaur, Subhash Chand and Jasbir Singh — was beaten up with rods. Only Jagan Nath and Baba Garja Singh, were tied up and gagged by the assailants but were not beaten up. They then rushed inside the temple, where Harbans Singh was sleeping and after beating him up, took away the keys of his room.

The assailants then broke open all five cash boxes in the temple and took out the offerings. Interestingly, they also went into the tubewell room, where two employees — Sattu and Sonu — were sleeping. Without making any noise they took out the trunk from the room and fled after searching it.

Mr Jagan Nath said the entire exercise lasted for about 40 minutes. It was several hours after the assailants had fled, that Sattu and Sonu got up and were aghast to see the victims. They immediately ran to the village to seek help. It was only around 5. 30 am that the police was informed and it arrived here. By that time the injured had been rushed to Sector 6 Genera Hospital, from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

It is estimated that a sum of around Rs 20,000 was stolen. While Rs 15,000 was stolen from the personal possessions of Mr Harbans Singh, the total cash in the five cash boxes of the temple could not be more than Rs 5,000 as the offerings had been taken out during the last meeting of the trust on July 24.

Residents of the area allege that there is no police patrolling in the area at night and hence such incidents take place. This is the third time that such an incident has taken place in this ashram during the past two years.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case in this regard at Sector 5 police station and the hunt for the assailants has begun. 


Protest against police high-handedness
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 6
Over 100 members of Khatik Baradari (butcher community), including women, staged a protest dharna in front of the local police station against the implication of their four members in the case of beating up of Balak Ram, a former councillor.

The protesters assembled in front of the police station in the morning and held a silent protest. They alleged that the police was playing into the hands of some local politicians and was harassing minor community without any fault.

They alleged that Balak Ram had levelled false charges against Suresh Kumar, Pala Ram, Krishan Lal and Rakesh Kumar.

They also alleged that SHO Arvind Puri had publically beaten them up on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway and at the police station.

They further alleged that neither were they medically examined nor produced before any court even after two days of their arrest.

Despite various efforts, Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dera Bassi, was not available his for comments till late in the evening.


Work on murals begins
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
A team of experts from Archaeological Survey of India has begun the restoration work of murals in the 175- year- old Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine here today.

The team, comprising two assistant archaeology chemists — Mr R.S. Bisht and Mr M.K. Bhatnagar — arrived here yesterday. After surveying the murals (which belong to Kangra School of Art) yesterday, they began restoration work on the Singh Dwaar of the temple today.

Mansa Devi is one of the holy shrines situated on the foothills of the Shivaliks. It is a Shakti Peeth, which is thronged by lakhs of devotees each year. The main temple was built by Raja Gopal Dass of Manimajra, while the Patiala temple was built later by Rani Raj Kaur of Patiala. Ever since a board was constituted by the state government for its maintenance, extensive work on its maintenance has been carried out. However, the exquisite paintings here have decayed over the years.

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple as well as the Singh Dwaar have as many as ten panels of these Kangra style paintings. The paintings, in different colours, adorn the upper walls and ceilings of Parikarma of the sanctum sanctorum. The paintings depict Hindu mythological legends, mainly those of mother goddess in her various manifestations.

While legends on Mother Durga, as Asur Vardhini, are depicted in a majority of murals, paintings depicting legends related to goddesses Saraswati and Lakshmi can also be seen at a few places. Geometric patterns, floral designs and paintings of animals can also be seen here.

Long neglect, detachment of plaster, cracks, human vandalism (in case of paintings at head level), defacing, deposition of dust, soot and salt, and loss of pigment etc. have led to decay of these exquisite paintings over the years. “ The Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board had been urging the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for almost four years to take up the restoration work of the temple, which is one among the 51 sidh peeth in the country, “ said Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora.

It was only in January this year that officials of ASI finally agreed to carry out the restoration work. A team of experts led by Director, Science, ASI, Mr R.K. Sharma, had earlier visited the shrine in September, 2001, to assess the damage and then work out the cost.

After the board had deposited a sum of Rs 1.21 lakh with the ASI for carrying out the restoration, the work has finally begun. Talking to TNS, Mr M.K. Bhatnagar , said that main reason for the state of decay and disrepair of the temple was human neglect and natural causes. “Almost 50 percent of these murals have been damaged over the years. Restoration will require various kinds of skills- analytical, scientific and artistic.”

He said the work of chemical treatment and preservation of these murals will include removal of superficial dust, secretions and cob webs from the surface; chemical cleaning of the paintings and strengthening of loose plaster surface area; and, preservation of total surface of the painted area with preservatives.


Misuse of vacant sites irk residents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
The Residents Welfare Association, Sector 12, has asked HUDA officials to take into account the misuse of vacant sites in their sectors by slum dwellers.

In a statement to the Press, they have alleged that open space between Yadav Bhavan and Tubewell No. 3 here, an earmarked site for Community Centre, was being used by 300 to 400 migrant labourers as an open-air lavatory. The consequent stench can only be imagined, allege Brigadier B.S. Rajal and Mr N.D. Prashar, residents of house number 816 and 817, respectively.

Similarly, despite the construction of the Children’s Traffic Park, the adjoining nullah continues to be the “loo-with-a-view” and a source of malodour and nuisance. The Sector 12 residents fear that such unhygienic conditions can lead to outbreak of epidemics.


Distraught father commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The 23-year-old father of Garima Mehta, who was found dead in her house on August 3,committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling in his house on PU campus here this evening. The body was found by a police official who came to the house to enquire about the victim. According to reports the victim, Rotash Mehta used to remain inside his house after the death of his daughter. This evening the main door of the house was found locked from inside but the lights were on. The front door of the house had to be broken to gain entry to the house. The body was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital.


Tribune Assistant Manager bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Mrs Devki Devi, mother of Mr Mangat Ram, Assistant Manager (Maintenance), died here today after a prolonged illness. She was 82.

The funeral procession will start for the Sector 25 crematorium from 3036 A, Sector 29-D, at 11 a.m. tomorrow.


Need to revamp PU Health Department

THE Panjab University Syndicate’s reported move to appoint part-time doctors requires an in-depth study. This is all the more important because the Health Department has been bringing a bad name to this reputed university for well over four to five years. The concept of part-time doctors on contract basis sounds ideal. This will save huge funds, especially because the university is passing through financial crunch at present Flats can be reserved for part-time doctors near the Health Centre so that they can stay there during emergency duty.

The Health Department is in a bad shape. It is evident from various agitations against its style of functioning and unrest among its employees. One thing that requires immediate attention is rotation of the headship. When it is practised in other university departments, why not in the Health Department also? Mr Vaid, an eminent Syndicate member of the university, had suggested this. This is a democratic and right step.

Also, a committee should be constituted of people who have day-to-day contact with the working of this department, i.e representatives of teachers, non-teaching staff, Syndicate members, Senators and students from the university, to look into the affairs of this department as it concerns them directly. Not committees of those sitting in their ivory towers outside the university, whose own houses are not in order. They have no intimate knowledge of the working and wrong practices of the health departments in the university.

The picture presented to outsiders by interested parties in the comfort of their homes and offices is wrong and lopsided. They cannot get right the picture as they are not concerned with the university and its department directly.

Prof R.K. MALLICK, Chandigarh

Need for restraint

An unfortunate and deplorable tendency is developing on the Panjab University campus in Chandigarh. Students have begun to assemble in late night protest demonstrations at the residences of various university functionaries, including the Vice-Chancellor and the Dean, Students’ Welfare, thereby disturbing the families of these functionaries and causing avoidable nuisance to all those who live in the neighbourhood. On August 1, for the fourth time in the recent past, some students organised a night vigil at the residence of the Vice-Chancellor.

It is understandable that students have much energy and enthusiasm in support of various lost causes, But they need not get carried away. The students claim that they have a grievance, but whatever the grievance their demonstrations of protest have to be within the limits of commonly accepted civilised behaviour. The residential area cannot be used for demonstration purposes. Any such violation of decency, as has happened on other campuses in India, usually results in the total disruption of the academic atmosphere ON the campus and after some time, almost invariably, serious sanctions get passed against the students — usually in the form of the authorities shutting down the university, getting the hostels vacated and asking all students to go home. Perhaps the students of Panjab University need to restrain themselves, lest a similar fate awaits them.

M. RAJIVLOCHAN, Chandigarh

Police role deplorable

It was a bolt from the blue when I (a serious heart patient) received a telephonic message that my youngest brother Hardev Singh who was a supervisor in the UT Malaria Department expired on July 9 at Sector 32 hospital.

As per the version of my brother, who retired as an engineer, and other relatives, the police of Phase 4 pretended shortage of staff and inability to verify the cause of death. However, a deal was struck at Rs 2000. When the doctor came to conduct the post-mortem, the police vanished. The body was handed over to relatives at 3.30 p.m on July 10. The role of the police in the entire episode is deplorable.

However, the Director and two Deputy Directors of the UT Health Department attended the funeral and, as a gesture of goodwill, gave Rs 2,000 to the daughter of the deceased and assured all other help.

HARSARAN SINGH MOKHA, Headmaster Saint Kabir Public School, Ambala City

Long power cuts

Staggering power cuts have been imposed on the city. However, illumination of roads presenting a day-at-night picture when there is very negligible lighting is unnecessary and needs to be reduced to one-fourth or one-fifth to save power. In the USA, there are only five to six street lights in a distance of one mile with a view to showing the route.

In Lahore, the Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO) used to switch off lights on three days a month — on Full Moon Day, a day before and a day after Full Moon. Can this be followed here?


Donate medicines

Medicines are so costly that these are out of the reach of the poor. It is duty of people, who can afford, to contribute to the cause. Medicine Donation Boxes have been placed at central places in many sectors in Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula.

Any unused surplus medicine, within the expiry period, may be put in these boxes. These can be utilised to help the needy.

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula

Burden of home work

I wish to make a request to all heads of schools. The school-going children are overburdened with home work which they get daily in their respective schools. If there is no way left to reduce the burden of home work, then school authorities can decide at least not to give home work on weekends.

This will help students to enjoy their Saturdays and Sundays without the tension of home work. This would also be helpful to their parents by giving them some free time to relax during the weekend.



Man dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
A 40-year-old Umed Singh died after being hit by a Santro car near the Rock Garden today. The victim was declared brought dead at the GMCH, Sector 32. The driver of the vehicle escaped from the scene of the accident and the vehicle has been impounded.

Arrested: Two representatives of a cable operator were taken into preventive custody in sector 45 on Tuesday when the Residents Welfare Society of the sector complained that the proprietor of the cable company, Anil, allegedly entered into a house along with 10 persons in an inebriated state.

The police arrested Anil and Amarinder under Section 751 of the Cr PC.

Evicted: Mr Beant Singh, a tenant in house No. 7, Sector 11, alleged that the demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation aided by the Chandigarh Police demolished the first floor accommodation and threw his articles in the backlane. He claimed that he had stay orders from the court and no notice of illegal construction had been issued by the corporation. A police official of the Sector 11 police station said the demolition squad had order to demolish the structure.

Theft: Three vehicles were stolen in three separate incidents in the city. According to information, Surinder Mohan Sharma said his Kinetic Honda scooter was stolen from Sood Petrol Pump, Sector 22. In another case, Sukhdev Singh said jewellery items were stolen from his residence.

In third case, Monica Tandon of Zirakpur complained that her credit card, an ATM card, one cheque book and driving licence were stolen from her car in the parking area of the Sector 8 market.


IDBI plans easy housing loans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The IDBI planned to work out tailor-made housing loan schemes as preferred by customers by interacting with the leading builders, developers, colonisers and promoters of group housing societies, said Mr Sanjeev Verma, Manager ( Sales ), here today.

Addressing a meeting of builders, colonisers and promoters, he said the IDBI had recently launched a 20-year housing loan scheme for young working couples, under which EMI would be as low as Rs 1032 per lakh at the rate of 11 per cent on monthly reducing and floating interest. He said that the customers would get the maximum amount of loan with minimum denomination and without hassles.

Under the Balance Transfer Scheme, the IDBI would not only take over the existing costlier loans at lower rates of interest, but would also provide up to 30 per cent additional loan with specific conditions, he said.

Mr Jeet Gupta, Senior Town Planner, PUDA, emphasised that cooperative societies could play a vital role in providing qualitative and competitive housing accommodation to public. He said government agencies like PUDA/ HUDA and others had changed their role as promoter to facilitator.

Mr R.P. Malhotra, an engineer and leading builder, was of the view that the faulty housing policy of the Chandigarh Administration had proved a blessing in disguise for the builders constructing on the periphery as the low budget buyer could not buy a house in the city limit.

Among others Mr Surinder Kochar Senior Manager, Credit and Mr Anil Tiwari Assistant vice president and cluster head also addressed the meeting. 



COSMETICS RANGE: Pantina Global Inc. today unveiled the Jackelin’s range of international colour cosmetics in Chandigarh. Jackelin has an extensive range of colour cosmetics to suit every occasion. The range includes trendy lipsticks, eyeliners, nail colours, concealers, hair highlights and all that is needed to look your best.

Commenting on the launch of Jackelin colour cosmetics at Ebony, Chandigarh, Mr Hitendra Luthra, president, Pantina Global Inc. said, “Jackelin is a reputed brand worldwide. It is a trendy and youthful brand with a lot of appeal for our ‘fashionistas’. The brand also marks a chic attitude towards fashion – openness to more individualistic expressions as the range is all about giving an individual point to feminine beauty. This is also a recognition of the fact that the Indian woman is fast reaching international levels of fashion awareness.” TNS

OUTLET INAUGURATED: Bombay Dyeing has launched yet another retail outlet, M/s Supreme Furnishings in Sector 7-C, Chandigarh. It was inaugurated on Tuesday. It is a complete furnishing shop having a wide-range of curtains and upholstery, fabrics, blinds, furniture and accessories. TNS

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