Sunday, August 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


New-look Shatabdi with German comforts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
On Saturdays, gentle rocking in Shatabdi Express — chugging between Delhi and Kalka — becomes more relaxing than other days. The cheerful cushioned seats are “more comfortable”. Even the bathrooms are airconditioned.

In fact you notice the difference as soon as the train rushes in. The sky blue “German” coaches, instead of the boring blue and yellow, gleam as the morning sun’s not-so-sharp rays, piercing through the monsoon clouds, shine on the express.

Inside, if the striking paintings hanging on the immaculate walls fail to enthral you for long, you can savour the scenery through the extraordinary picture windows on either sides by pushing aside the glazed cotton curtains. This is not all. The leg space is more. The foot-rests, too, are more comfortable. Moreover, the seats open into tables and you have holders for placing glasses. Cold drinks too. The lighting is better. No wonder, you feel bright and cheerful while reposing on the comfortable cushy seats camouflaged in checked covers.

Even the technology is far more superior compared to our own “bit out-dated methods of manufacturing”. Listen to an expert, if you do not believe it. “The suspension is much better compared to the conventional coaches,” asserts Additional Divisional Railways Manager B.K. Sonwane.

“Believe me, you feel as if you are floating on water,” says Raman Trehan, a business executive working with a multinational organisation. “It is like travelling on a ship or flying in a nice comfortable plane”.

Little wonder, you have to pay a little more for “all the conveniences”. So do not be surprised if the official peeping from behind the grimy grills directs you to pull out 5 per cent extra from your wallet.

For travelling between Chandigarh and Delhi, the officer will demand Rs 480, instead of Rs 455. If you wish to commute by the executive class, he will ask you to pay Rs 960 — Rs 45 more than you usually do.

“It is worth it,” says Mr Sonwane. “Additional money has to be charged from the commuters in an attempt to recover the costs incurred in getting the technology imported from Germany”.

Agreeing with him, another officer at the Chandigarh Railway Station adds: “Otherwise also, Shatabdi passengers do not mind spending some extra bucks. If they can pay twice the money for traveling by Shatabdi than they spend on deluxe buses, they can very well dish out Rs 45 extra”.

Giving details of the coaches, he reveals: “The special coaches are put into service only on Saturdays. On weekdays, they were earlier running towards Bareily. Now, with the introduction of the new train, they will scuttle between Bathinda and Delhi”.

But how can the commuters be sure that they enjoy the ride of their life on the German coaches? “The train number of special Shatabdi, running since April 27, is different from the normal train,” reveals another official. “The one arriving at Chandigarh station is numbered 2037, the one leaving is 2038. On weekdays, the number is 2011 and 2012”. So happy travelling, folks.



Punjab lecturers get bonanza
Refresher courses get recognition
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
In an order that will come as a respite to more than 400 college teachers of Panjab University’s affiliated colleges, the Punjab government has given recognition to certain refreshers courses in inter-disciplinary subjects which will be counted at par with normal refresher courses.

The decision affects nearly 700 teachers from all colleges of the state. It is pertinent to mention that for promotion in the senior grade at least one refresher course was important and two were needed for promotion in the selection grade for teachers who were Ph.D. In 1987 as many as 46 universities had established Academic Staff Colleges. The affected teachers had done refresher courses in these inter-disciplinary subjects, but for their promotions, the Punjab government did not treat these at par with the courses for normal subjects.

A majority of the affected teachers had already completed these identified courses. Some had done so a couple of years earlier.

The subjects for which the concession has been allowed by the government include human rights and research methodology, environmental awareness, gender and women studies, education and forensic science. The official documents said that a teacher could do one of his refresher courses in one of the identified inter-disciplinary courses listed here.

The development is significant because while the University Grants Commission had given approval to acceptance of the courses from Kurukshetra University, teachers from Punjab in these courses were never accepted at par. The UGC had clarified the parity of the courses through a letter in March 1998.

The matter was taken up by Dr R.P.S.Josh, a university fellow, in a letter addressed to Dr Hari Gautam, the Chairman of the UGC in 2000 asking that refresher course in these subjects be treated at par with other subjects. He also wrote to Punjab government. Meanwhile Panjab University also formed a committee that in September, 2001, gave approval of accepting the course at par with other courses. However, a meeting that was attended by three Vice Chancellors of universities from the state with the government officials gave parity to the course with normal courses.

Dr Josh also met Mr Kushal Behal, the Education Minister of Punjab, with regard to the matter under question.

Dr Josh in his letter addressed to Dr Hari Gautam had underlined reasons for relaxation of the course period for teachers as well as demanding parity of course in environmental studies with other courses which included courses in certain subjects like home science, physical education, fine arts, dance and statistics.

It is also felt that courses like environmental studies had become a compulsory subject in the colleges affiliated to PU. There was no justification in the refresher course not to be given recognition because a sizeable number of colleges did not have the requisite staff to carry on the classes in the subject.



‘Banta’ sale goes on, despite ban
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, August 17
Mocking at the efforts of the UT Health Department to make the city secure against Cholera and other water-borne diseases, sweetened aerated drinks in bottles sealed with marbles are being openly sold in Chandigarh.

This is not all. Certain brands of flavoured milk are also being sold by roadside vendors on ‘rehris’, despite orders banning their manufacture and sale.

Such vendors can be seen in any of the commercial sectors in the city. Parking their ‘rehris’ in the lots adjoining the markets they continue to sell these products. Fear of the authorities is the last thing on their minds as they blatantly pour milk or sell cold drinks and ice-cream.

“I have read in the newspapers about the imposition of ban on ‘banta’ drinks and the sale of flavoured milk, but till date I have not seen even a single official of the Health Department carrying out raids against the erring vendors in his part of the city,” said a Sector 19 shopkeeper. “In the absence of checks how can the ban be implemented properly, he added.

The Health Department, it may be recalled, had earlier banned the sale of ‘banta’ drinks keeping in view the possibility of outbreak of water-borne diseases in the city. In fact, a senior health official admitted that ‘banta’ was being manufactured by some units in the ‘most unhygienic conditions making it unfit for human consumption’. He added that consumption of such drinks could actually lead to cholera, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.

The official added that the manufacturers of ‘banta’ drinks had even given in writing that they would not sell their products in Chandigarh. Raids were being carried out to ensure that the undertaking given by them was being complied with, he added.

A senior health official, claimed that raids were still being carried out with extra emphasis on the slum areas and colonies. “A large number of samples collected by our team showed that the drinks were adulterated, having high bacteria contents”, he asserted.

Raids were also being conducted against vendors selling brands of flavoured milk that had been banned by the Health Department. “The violators will be proceeded against strictly in accordance with the rules and regulations,” he maintained.

“We have, to a large extent, ensured that ‘banta’ drinks are not manufactured in the city. But a lot of unscrupulous vendors are smuggling it into the city from the neighbouring states”, he added.

“The ban will continue till the monsoon season is over. In the meantime, we will continue with our drive against the vendors violating the prohibitory orders. The residents, too, should inform us if they notice any violation of the prohibitory orders,” he said. 



Gift of life for talented 13-yr-old
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Arti’s dream of playing hockey for India may finally come true, as the Fortis Heart Institute and the Rotary Club of Chandigarh have come forward to bear the entire cost of heart-valve replacement of the 13-year-old who is battling for life in the cardiac-care unit of the PGI.

Arti of Yamunanagar had been selected to be part of the national sub-junior team when she was suddenly taken ill.

Her father, Mr Nand Lal, a factory worker, was unable to meet the over 1.25 lakh cost of the operation. She has been in the PGI since July 29, waiting for a miracle.

After Arti’s story was carried in ‘Chandigarh Tribune,’ help, small and big, came in from various quarters, including social organisations as well as individuals.

The efforts to save the life of an upcoming sportsperson of India have been huge. “Under our Gift of Life Project, we have decided to bear the entire expenditure on the operation and medicines, too, after the valve is replaced,” said Mr R.K. Saboo, a former president of the Rotary International.

“Now, I am hopeful of, one day, joining the national hockey team, which will be the happiest moment of my life,” said Arti, who looked cheerful after hearing that her treatment would, now, be possible, with the financial help coming in.

Some Rotarians and social workers met the parents of Arti today and assured them that the entire cost of treatment would be borne by the Rotary Club.

Under the Gift of Life Project of the club, so far, 60 operations have been performed, to help persons who cannot afford expensive treatment.

The Medical Director of the Fortis Heart Institute, Dr R.V. Karanjekar, said the hospital’s offer of free treatment of Arti was open and it was for her parents to decide where they would like to get their daughter treated. With Arti still having pneumonia, the surgery will have to wait.

“It is only after her pneumonia is cured that we will give the go ahead for valve replacement,” said one of the doctors treating Arti.

Members of the Lions Club Chandigarh Vishal have also raised funds for Arti’s treatment. The president of the club, Mr D.S. Kohli, said the members and their friends had raised Rs 6,000 for the treatment.

Others, like Mr Jasbir Singh Kapoor, a man of Sector 8, too, have offered financial help.

“I pray that my daughter gets well soon to be back in school, to excel in studies as well as sport, like earlier,” said Arti’s mother, Ms Janki Devi.



Two new high schools for city
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Taking cognisance of the growing demand for more schools in the city on account of rising population, the Chandigarh Administration has given the nod for opening two new high schools in the city to cater to the upcoming sectors devoid of adequate educational facilities.

Approved for construction in Sector 52 as well as Sector 38 (W), the schools would be made using the latest designs and would employ novel teaching techniques based on imparting practical knowledge and training rather than focussing on bookish information.

Sources in the UT Education Department said that the identification of two sectors for the opening of the schools had been based on the long-pending demand of the residents of the sectors.

In repeated requests to the Administration, they had said that while the population of the sectors as well as surrounding villages had grown manifold since they were created, there were no good schools in the vicinity to cater to the education of their children.

While Sector 38 (W) is now a fully developed sector and required a school immediately, the need for a school in Sector 52 was felt since it was still coming up and the sole government school at Kajheri was inadequate to manage the growing numbers and increasing demand.

Sources in the department said that the Chief Architect had already identified sites for the two schools once the decision for the same had been taken. The estimated cost for construction is roughly Rs 1.70 crore and work would commence on the project shortly. With the opening of the two schools, the total numbers of schools would go up to 106 in the city.

The DPI (Schools), Mr DS Mangat, said that arrangement for more staff for the two additional schools had already been made. “We have got a sanction of over 500 posts for teachers and the demand for staff required in the two schools would be met from this quota,” he added.

It is learnt that keeping in view the increasing population, new schools would be opened on priority basis in upcoming sectors to ensure no pocket is deprived of educational facilities. 



Sikhs to elect new leader: Manch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Panthic Vichar Manch has charged the government at the Centre with subverting the basic structure of the Constitution and dismantling its essential secular and democratic features, making minority communities insecure and vulnerable. In a resolution moved here, it said a congregation would be held at Akal Takht within three months “to lead and guide the Sikhs”.

At a Panthic convention in the Sector 26 Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, the speakers said the “short-sighted policies” of the Shiromani Akali Dal should be rejected and the party should be restructured in its original form.

The speakers said the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee should resume its original role to counter threats to its religious and cultural identity; besides, the future of the Sikhs should be defined and projected. At the gathering, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal, said the Badal government had violated the Sikh tenants, corrupted gurdwara managements and tarnished the Sikh traditions. He also said the Sikh problem was due to Mr Parkash Singh Badal and a Sarbat Khalsa would soon be convened to elect a new leader of the SAD.

The recently elected president of the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, said that the Sikh community had reached a point where a reformation of gurdwaras on the lines of the Singh Sabha movement had become essential. He alleged that the Badal government had brought in corruption and mismanagement, leading to a shattered economy.

Historian Dr J.S. Grewal, read a paper on “The Akalis at Crossroads”, tracing the history of the Sikhs and the rise and fall of the SAD. Dr Gurbhagat Singh, a noted scholar, spoke on “The Sikh Dream and Recent Akali Leadership”. The others who spoke included Mr Bharpur Singh, president of the Panthic Vichar Manch, and its general secretary, Col Jasmer Singh Bala.



Jaitley defends Mahajan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
BJP’s national spokesperson, Arun Jaitley, on a visit to the city, evaded questions regarding the need for the DNA test of the Union minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, or the child of murdered journalist Shivani Bhatnagar.

A DNA test can scientifically establish the paternity of the child of the journalist, who was killed in January 1999 in her New Delhi flat.

Mr Jaitely, who addressed a gathering of local BJP activists at the party office in Sector 33 tonight, said allegations against Mr Mahajan were baseless. Two days ago Ms Madhu Sharma, wife of Haryana Cadre IPS officer Ravi Kant Sharma, had levelled allegations against the minister. The Congress, he said, was shielding the accused. The name of Mr Mahajan was being dragged into the case with an intent to divert the attention of investigating agencies, he said.

The image of the country had been projected well during the tenure of the BJP, he added.



A body of British scholars
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
In the recent times, the British government has been focusing on formulating newer and better policies with a view to strengthen ties with India. Sustained efforts have been made in this direction through the office of the British High Commission in India, which has not only established a vast network of British libraries all over the country, but has also concentrated on providing increased information and better infrastructural facilities to Indian students interested in taking up studies in British universities.

Talking about fresh efforts being made on the part of the British Council to enhance relationship with India, Minister, Cultural Affairs, British Council, Mr Edmund Marsden, today told the Tribune about new policies which have been formulated with a view to facilitating cultural exchange with India. In the city for inaugurating the Chandigarh Chapter of Association of British Scholars, Mr. Marsden talked about how very keen the British government was to have educational exchange with India.

Saying that educational exchange was the best way to further cultural exchange between the two countries, Mr Marsden informed about the various British scholarships for the Indian students who wish to pursue studies in Britain. Interestingly the number of Chevening scholarships is now 120. Mr Marsden also informed that the Council was now prevailing upon the various British universities to prvide partial scholarships to Indian students. Admitting that Britain could not compete with the USA in the matter of scholarships due to the basic difference in the scholarship structure, Mr Marsden said, “ We can, however, improve upon the existing structure. That is one reason why we are advocating partial scholarships for Indian students.”

Referring further to the recent scientific and technical agreement, which has been signed between the governments of India and Britain, Mr Marsden said, "This agreement will go a long way in further improving our ties. Under the new policy, young research fellows from both the countries will be encouraged to pursue research work and significant research projects will also be funded by the government.” Mr Marsden also said that the British government would care to spell out both the benefits and the disadvantages of studying in Britain so that the Indian students can make an objective choice.

Further pointing towards the Association of British Scholars (there are 12 chapters of the ABS in India) as a great medium to strengthen Indo-UK relationship by harnessing the resources, expertise and potential of every ABS chapter, Mr Marsden today facilitated the formation of the Chandigarh chapter of ABS. Forty British scholars attended the meet at a local hotel in the city. They will work for its launch on a later date.

The ABS, as informed by Mr. Marsden, aims to encourage information sharing, contact making and social interaction among British scholars in India. “Another aim is to increase the membership of ABS so that better and cordial relations can be fostered,” said Mr Marsden. Also the occasion was taken to introduce the ABS website called



Poor-oriented LIC schemes highlighted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
A function was organised by the Tamil Welfare Association at Mauli Vikas Nagar village, near Chandigarh yesterday. Mr Tejinder Singh, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC of India was the chief guest. He explained the features of Janshree Bima Yojana and Shikhsha Sahyog Yojana for the poor people launched by Prime Minister on August 15, 2000.

He said benefits of the scheme covered persons between 18 to 60 years of age and premium of the scheme was Rs 200 per member per annum to be shared 50 per cent i.e Rs 100 by the member, nodal agency, state government and the balance 50 per cent (Rs 100) will be borne by Social Security Fund set up by the government with the LIC of India; in the event of natural death of the member Rs 20,000 becomes payable to the nominee by LIC of India.

Educational benefits have also provided in these schemes for children studying from IX to XII standard of the members covered under the scheme.

Mr Tejinder Singh appealed to all nodal agencies, NGOs, and local bodies to offer cooperation in this cause. He handed over policy documents to the president of society and gave away the scholarships to children.



Afghan cops’ training concludes
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 17
The 21-day course which was specially designed and organised for Afghanistan police officers, concluded at Central Detective Training School (CDTS), Sector 36, here today. The training of the first batch continued from July 8 to July 13, and the second batch from July 29 to August 17.

The 15 Afghan policemen were given training in “crime scene investigation, procedures and application of forensic science, in the investigation of capital offences.” The training started with the registration of first information report (FIR), crime scene management, forensic science laboratory works, photography and sketches of event and place, suspected investigations, till court room, covering every aspect of crime.

Mr B.N.S. Negi, Principal, CDTS, Chandigarh, in his lecture asked the Afghan cops to impart the same training to their other colleagues. He concluded his lecture with a saying in Persian, “That man does not die who has love in his heart.”

Col Ali Shah, one of the Afghan cops, said it was a new experience for them, and the training would initiate the overall improvement in the functioning of the crime department. It would also help in securing peace and security, law and order in the country. The dream of democracy would be fulfilled soon, he added. He thanked the staff and the government of India for training them.

The chief guest, Mr Kamlender Prasad, Director (Training), Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR and D), New Delhi, distributed the mementoes among the Afghanistan cops, besides books and investigation kit. He cited many examples to India-Afghan ethnic ties like Rabindra Nath Tagore’s “Kabuli Wala”, Baba Sheikh Farid, Sufi poet, Abdul Gaffar Khan and many others.

Dr Madhukar, head of the Persian Department, Panjab University, acted as the interpreter throughout the training and on the occasion. The programme took the shape of a cultural exchange at the end with both delegates and officials trying to speak each other’s language.



JCT workers criticise factory management
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 17
Workers of JCT Electronics Limited, while welcoming the orders of the Punjab Labour Commissioner prohibiting the continuance of the temporary lockout in both plants of the factory here, today condemned the anti-labour policies of the management.

The president of the JCT Electronics Employees Union, Mr Adesh Tyagi, and the president of the JCT Electronics Workers Union, Mr K.B. Sharma, said the plants — the CPI and B&W-DY units —had been lying closed since May 13,2001, and workers had not been paid their wages since June 2001. They claimed the units suffered because of ill-planning and mismanagement at the top level.

They said the management, which had been adopting delaying tactics in settling the dispute, had been assuring the labour authorities as well as the unions that both units would be made operational soon and wanted some sacrifices from workers to make the units viable.

The two presidents said the whole matter was settled about one-and-a-half months ago in the presence of the Labour Commissioner, Mr Sanjay Kumar, and the Additional Labour Commissioner, Mr Hardayal Singh, the unions had agreed to wave the wage cost to the company to the extent of Rs 62 lakh, inlcluding the excess manpower cost of the total wage cost of Rs 147.11 lakh.

They further said that as per a notice put up by the factory management on July 24 regarding voluntary retirement, more than 340 workers submitted their resignations up to July 31. The plants were to become operational from August 1. However, the management had neither accepted their resignations nor paid any amount to the workers concerned.

The presidents of the two unions said the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, had promised that the government would get the closed units revived. They urged the Chief Minister to prevail upon the Thapar group to make the factory operational. 



Gardeners take part in workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Officials of the Horticulture Department and gardeners working in UT gardens took part in a workshop ‘Composting of garden waste’ held at Leisure Valley in Sector 10 here today. It was chaired by Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the Administrator.

The workshop was sponsored by the Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik and was conducted by Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu, charter president, Rotary Chandigarh Shvalik.

In his introductory address, Dr G.S. Kochhar, president, Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik, appreciated the decision of the UT Administration to undertake the “Vermicomposting project” throughout the city, as this was the beginning of a very effective and economic garbage disposal system to provide environmental protection. He also said that the Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik was taking up a similar project in Chhoti Perch village under the charge of IPP Rtn. Lt-Col A.P.S. Dhillon.

A demonstration on the functioning and use of “wire mesh composting bin” was given. Ms Neeru Nanda showed a lot of interest and enthusiasm in the project. Colonel Harsharan Singh Sandhu suggested the starting of a vermiculture composting and training centre, to which the Adviser reacted favourably and desired that three to four places be identified for her consideration. Dr G.S. Kochhar, offered to start a vermicomposting station in Leisure Valley where the general public could be educated to reap the benefits by starting vermicomposting at their residences.



Artful tribute to freedom fighters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
In keeping with its tradition, with a view to promoting talent in the region, the Department of Cultural Affairs of Haryana has begun its annual painting workshop in Haryana Panchayat Bhavan, Sector 28, here.

The workshop that went underway about two days ago has 11 participating artists ready with a rough outline of the final product. The artists include six students of the Sector 10 Government College of Art and five seasoned artists.

While, last year, the department had promoted women’s emancipation through the medium of art, this year’s theme is freedom fighters. The theme has, perhaps, been chosen because the workshop began close to Independence Day.

The artists are creating their own visions of the freedom fighters. There seems to be no favourite hero; rather, from Mahatma Gandhi to Devi Lal, every person has found a space in the artist’s mind. While Ram Vinod of Ambala has painted Gandhi in all his might, Shankar Sharma of Sirsa has created a beautiful picture of Rabindra Nath Tagore. Sheri Karnal’s portrayal of Subhash Chandra Bose is also impressive, as is Mahesh Dalal’s image of Devi Lal. Renowned artist Satwant Singh is also taking part in the workshop.

Young artists have concentrated on the image of Mahatma Gandhi. The budding artists participating in the workshop are Alka, Ritu, Amita, Kavita, Samridhi and Surbhi. The workshop will conclude on August 19.



Take care of priority areas, bankers told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
On the auspicious occasion of the celebration of the 55th year of the India’s Independence, the National Flag was unfurled by Mr U.S. Bhargava, General Manager, Punjab National Bank, Northern Zone, in front of PNB house, Sector 17-B, Chandigarh, with salute by security guards of the PNB working in various branch offices of the bank in the City Beautiful.

The function was attended by all senior officers of the PNB along with branch managers and staff working in various branch offices of PNB in Chandigarh and around.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Bhargava said: ‘‘We will have to strive hard for becoming more economically sound and independent. For achieving this objective, banks have a special role to play. He appealed to the bankers to take care of priority areas of the nation and finance the credit needs of areas like housing, education, agriculture, SSI and exports.’’



Museum Advisory Committee recast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
As per a recent notification of the UT Administration, the Museum Advisory Committee for advising the Chandigarh Administration in the working and development of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, has been reconstituted. The term of the committee will be one year, beginning on August 1, 2002.

The new committee, headed by Adviser to UT Administrator Neeru Nanda, will consist of 12 members, with the Director of the museum as its member secretary and Ms Poonam Khanna, assistant curator, the technical member.

The other members of the committee are Home Secretary, R.S. Gujral, Finance Secretary, Karan A. Singh, Chief Architect S.S Sandhu, the Director-General of National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi, art historian Dr B.N. Goswamy, the museologist and former professor, MS University of Baroda, Dr V.H. Bedekar, the Director General, Indian Council of Conservation Institute, Lucknow, Dr O.P. Agarwal, a former professor, Department of Fine Arts, Panjab University, Dr. D.C. Bhattacharya, a Professor, Department of Geology, Dr A.K. Sahni, a former Professor, Department of Anthropology, PU, Dr J.C. Sharma and the Chairman, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy, Mr Shiv Singh.



Liquor vends blot on city’s face 

Planned city, with strict building bylaws and designated slots for every trade, is what has made Chandigarh the City Beautiful. However, the greed and desire to mobilise additional revenue by the Chandigarh Administration and the departments concerned are eroding its beauty. The building bylaws are being thrown to the wind with impunity.

The opening of new liqour vends on the roadside is in blatant violation of rules; it shows the inadequacy of the existing laws which do not specify the distance of vends from the road. These new vends are becoming sources of public nuisance for residents and are a traffic hazard. Are the authorities waiting for a major accident to take place before any action is taken to remove them to reasonable distance from the road?

Besides, it sends wrong message to public about the seriousness of the administration regarding its welfare. When scooter, timber, grain, vegetable markets have specific, designated areas for operation, why liqour vends are being permitted to operate from anywhere and everywhere? The answer is simple — the liqour lobby is a goose which lays golden eggs and is the major source of revenue for the fund-starved administration. Should it be understood that any business which can fill the coffers of the government be allowed to function even if it is flouting the existing rules and is not good for public? Funds are, no doubt, required for all development schemes but they should not be collected by making liqour more easily available than even drinking water.

Chandigarh is our city and let us not make it look like a city whose main trade is selling liqour by permitting liquor vends at all places at the whims and caprices of contractors.


Electronic meters

We, the members of the Pushpac residential society, Sector 49-B, on the advice of the Chandigarh Administration’s Electricity Department, installed electronic meters in our flats. We spent huge amounts — ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 — on an average for the same. We were not allowed to go in for normal meters but electronic 3-phase ones for reasons best known to the authorities concerned.

Now that we have shifted to our flats in the Pushpac Housing Complex, we get electricity bills on an average basis. If the UT Electricity Department was to send electricity consumption bills on average basis, what was the ‘fun’ of getting installed highly sophisticated electronic meters?

The meter reader does not visit the housing complex and even otherwise, he does not take the reading. It has also been noticed that once the meter reader visits a flat and finds the electricity meters locked (meters have been installed on the ground floor — the garage in each block), he breaks open the space where a small plastic glass piece is fixed to help him read the meter. Our meter readers are so careless that they break the entire glass piece to read the meter. This act is condemnable and highly uncalled for. The keys of the meters are readily available with the flat owners. They will hand over the keys to the meter reader on demand.

Issuance of electric meter/ consumption bills on an average basis is certainly not desirable. The authorities should instruct meter readers to take the actual reading and send the bill accordingly. If the present ‘average’ system is continued for long, the difference will accumulate and it will then be painful for the owners to pay the arrears.

UJAGAR SINGH, Chandigarh

Ripple of unrest

Apropos of Prof R.K.Mallick’s letter “Need to revamp PU Health Department” (Chandigarh Tribune, August 7), the measures suggested by him to “revamp” are mainly two: one, employment of part-time doctors in place of full-time ones in the name of economy; and two, rotation of headship. Since both these are essentially a matter of ‘policy’, I, as Chief Medical Officer, would avoid making any comments.

In my own personal capacity, however, I am not averse to the idea of ‘rotation’. In fact, I shall be happy if I could be relieved of the administrative responsibilities by virtue of rotation or even otherwise. Since this is also a matter of record, the same can be verified from the Vice-Chancellor, if someone is interested in pursuing the matter on this count.

However, it is a bit surprising to learn that there are “various agitations” in the Health Department “against its style of functioning and unrest among its employees.” It is surprising because I myself, who has been working in the Health Centre as a doctor for the past 28 years, including as Chief Medical Officer for the past seven years, would not know the state of health of PU Health Centre. There has not been a single complaint by any of the employees of the Health Centre — doctors, paramedical staff and all the rest — that was brought to the notice of the CMO and remained unattended and unresolved.

On the contrary, the functioning of the Health Centre is completely transparent and duties and responsibilities are shared with a “democratic sprit”. All day-to-day problems are discussed and sorted out at the regularly held bi-monthly meetings of all doctors working in the Health Centre, and the record of their proceedings are maintained and the Vice-Chancellor is kept continually informed about all happenings and decisions.

All decisions regarding the purchase of medicines, involving the expenditure of lakhs of rupees every year, are taken through a regularly constituted Purchase Committee consisting of two (now three) experts from the Department of Pharmacy, two medical officers including the CMO, and the Deputy Registrar (Accounts).

There is a provision of Advisory Committee consisting of the representatives of PUTA, PUSA, Senators, Medical Officers including CMO to advise the university in all matters of critical decision-making relating to health services at the university.

For restructuring the functioning of PU Health Centre, a high-powered 11-member committee was constituted by the Vice-Chancellor under the Chairmanship of the Director, PGI, Chandigarh. It consisted of three Senators, Registrar, two Professor-Heads from PGI, and all four full-time Medical Doctors including the CMO, with an Assistant Registrar as its convener. In its wisdom, this committee inter alia recommended that for the efficient discharge of medical services to the university staff, any number of part-time doctors cannot be a substitute for full-time medical doctors, because of the inherent difficulty in overcoming conflict between ‘public’ and ‘private’ interests.

Under the present arrangement, there is a budgetary provision of making use of some specialised services; the specialist doctors on part-time basis are being appointed at the PU Health Centre now for quite a few years. These services have not been introduced for the first time this year, as it appears from the perusal of the letter under reference. The ‘newness’, however, lies in the fact that it is for the first time that all the appointments have been made, not just on the recommendation of the CMO but, through a special Selection Committee chaired by the Director-Principal of the Government Medical College, Chandigarh; the specialists have been selected after having face-to-face interaction with them.

I may, however, mention, and the record of the university would bear on this count, that for better transparency and objectivity, a recommendation was made in the very first instance by the present CMO to the Vice-Chancellor that a committee of internal doctors may be constituted to select the specialists, instead of the CMO alone recommending the names for appointment as was done earlier. The internal committee was proposed because of the short-term nature of appointments. Better still, the Vice-Chancellor constituted a committee of external members comprising experts from the PGI and the university including the CMO.

Yes, there is indeed a ripple of ‘unrest’ among certain employees of the university in general, but not that of the PU Health Centre in particular. This relates to the problem of entitlement of free healthcare facilities. Under the existing rules, the employees of the university whose spouses are gainfully employed outside the university are not to be treated as ‘dependant’ members, and, therefore, are not entitled to free medical facilities, particularly the facility of reimbursement.

On this count and also for the inclusion of the dependant members of the female employees of the university, the matter is pending for the active consideration of the committee consisting of the representatives of PUTA, PUSA, three Fellows of the university, and two medical doctors of the PU Health Centre, including the CMO.

Till the rules are reversed and amended, the CMO will have to observe the rules of audit. Inconvenience or loss suffered on this count need to be appreciated by all right-thinking people.

DR PRAGYA KUMAR, Chief Medical Officer, Panjab University Chandigarh



Residents meet DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 17
Residents of Sector 12 today met the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, to protest against the alleged assault of an ex-serviceman by residents of Railly village yesterday.

The delegation led by Lieut Col Surj it Singh, president of Sector 12 Residents Welfare Association, said that the Deputy Commissioner had assured them that action would be taken against the accused.



Tribune employee bereaved

Chandigarh, August 17
Jayanti Devi (77), mother of Mr Tarsem Chand Sharma, Sectional Head, (Type Section), The Tribune, passed away after a brief illness today. She was cremated at Raipur Rani village in Panchkula district. She is survived by two sons and a daughter.



Cyber cafe owner held for showing porno movies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Chandigarh police unearthed a clandestine business of showing porno movies at a cyber cafe in Sector 22 here today. The owner of the cyber cafe, Cyberzone, was showing the short duration porno movies. He used to charged money for the show, Rs 10 for an hour in the morning and Rs 20 in the night hours.

Police sources said the owner of Cyberzone had downloaded porno visuals on the hard disk of the main CPU which was connected to several monitors through a local area network.

The raiding parties of the CIA branch of the Chandigarh police raided the premises of the cyber cafe and seized the hardware.

A hard disk and the monitors used for showing the blue films has reportedly been confiscated. The owner of the cyber cafe, Harminder Singh, a resident of Sector 45, has been arrested and a case under Section 292 of the IPC has been registered.

An official said the police had been warning the cyber cafe owner against showing porno visuals to their customers in the past. Already an order has been passed by the administration stating that accessing porno sites is punishable.

A committee of school principals, educationists and UT Education Department had been constituted last year to check whether school students were visiting cyber cafes to access porno sites.



PGI employee held for theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
An employee of the PGI was here today arrested by the Chandigarh police for stealing a cheque book from the bag of a junior resident doctor in the Emergency Ward. The suspect, Chander Pal Singh (25), a contractual employee, posted in the operation theatre of the Emergency Ward, after stealing the cheque book had withdrawn Rs 20,000 from the bank account of the doctor.

Navin K Chinan, a junior resident doctor, in a complaint to the police said the suspect had admitted of having stolen the cheque book and withdrawing the money. He had reportedly agreed to give back the money. When the money was given back, the doctor lodged a complaint and a case under Sections 380, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered.

The suspect was today remanded in the police custody for two days. Sources in the PGI said there had been similar incidents in the PGI in the past also but no complaint was ever lodged by doctors.



Three incidents of snatching in the city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Three incidents of snatching were reported in the city. In a daring incident, a scooter-borne youth sntached gold chain from a 75-year-old woman in the front courtyard of her house in Sector 15 here this evening. The suspect, dressed in a black clothes, escaped on a Kinetic Honda scooter.

Moments after the incidents, a police party from the Sector 11 police station reached the spot. But the snatcher had escaped by that time. The woman had returned home after visiting an accident spot near the Sector 15 government school. The woman, Narinder Kaur, in her statement, said the youth was also standing at the spot. Apparently he followed the woman to her house and when she was about to enter the house he called her on the pretext of asking for an address.

A police official said the youth, while showing her a slip, asked for an address. When the woman turned back after replying in negative, the youth snatched her chain.

In another incident, two girls were robbed of their purse by two motorcycle-borne youths. According to the victims, one of the youths was wearing a turban and the other was wearing a helmet. The girls belonging to Sector 29 were riding on a scooter when the incident took place near the Tribune rotary. The number of the motorcycle used by the snatcher could not be noted down by the victims.

In the third incident, two scooter-borne youths made a futile attempt to snatch a purse from two scooter-borne women. The two women, Manjeet and Surjeet Kaur, both residents of SAS Nagar, were near the Sector 20 and 21 road, when the incident took place. The women were injured in the incident and were admitted to the PGI.

Alarmed at the increasing incidents, the Chandigarh Police has started verifying the whereabouts of the snatchers existing on the police records. Says the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, “We had directed all in charge of the 11 police stations to physically verify the whereabouts of the snatchers from a master-list with the police. Now we would again check the list, he added.

He did not single out the possibility of the involvement the experienced snatchers. But said the youths involved in the incidents were first-timers. 



Rape case: main accused yet to be arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
In a case of alleged drugging and kidnapping a girl in her twenties, who was abandoned near the Sector 33 petrol station, the main suspect in the case M.K. Jain is yet to be arrested. The police today said that raids were being conducted to arrest the suspect.

The girl has been moved to female ward in the hospital. The owner of Kodak computers, M.K. Jain was booked for allegedly kidnapping and raping the girl. However, the family of the suspect said he was being falsely implicated. A case under Sections 366 and 376 of the IPC had been registered.



Man falls from car; dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17A 35-year resident of Mani Majra died after he fell while alighting from his Gypsy near the Sector 17 petrol station here this morning. According to the information available, the victim, Bachittar Singh, died after he was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Thefts: Three different incidents of thefts were reported from the city in the past 48 hours. Rohit Jain, a resident of Sector 8, lodged a complaint that his mobile phone was stolen from his residence on August 16.

In another case, Amar Bector, a resident of Sector 23, complained that brass water taps were stolen from his house in Thakur Dwara, Mani Majra. A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC has been registered at the Mani Majra Police Station. Besides, three bags of bronze were stolen from a plot in Industrial Area.

Gambling cases: Two separate cases of gambling were registered on Saturday in the city. Malkiat Singh of Maloya village was arrested for gambling at a public place in Maloya colony. In another case, Mathar Khan of Burail village was arrested for gambling at a public place and Rs 1,450 cash was recovered from him.

Liquor seized: As many as 510 pouches of liquor was seized by the police in five different cases in the city. The persons arrested were Kuldip Singh, Atma Ram, Jimmy, Ram Kumar and Ram Mehar.

3 booked:
The police has booked three members of Old Panchkula-based family — Balwinder Singh, alias Vicky, Amarjit Singh and Amarjit Kaur— were booked on the complaint of Shankar Das of the same locality on the charge of kidnapping a girl.

Father of the victim, in his complaint to the police, has alleged that Balwinder Singh of the same locality abducted his daughter after luring her on August 3 in connivance with his father Amarjit Singh and mother Amarjit Kaur.

A case under Sections 363, 366 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered.

Booked: Rajpal, a resident of Balwala, has been booked for stealing electricity from the main line, on a complaint of Mr JC Sharma, SDO of the UHBVN. A case under Section 39 of the Electricity Act has been registered.

Nine held: The police has arrested four persons — Dhan Singh, Bablu, Ramesh and Mohan Lal of Surajpur village — for gambling on a public place.

A sum of Rs 1530 has also been recovered from their posession and a case under Sections 13/3./67 of the Gambling Act has been registered against them.

Accident: A resident of Sector 14, Ram Awatar, was hit by an unidentified vehicle while he was going on foot. A case under Sections 279/337 of the IPC has been registered.

Gold chain snatched: Three members of a gang of gold chain snatchers have been arrested. According to the SP, Mr H.S. Bhullar, a resident of Phase XI, Mrs Amarjit Kaur, was walking with her husband when three youths, aged between 18 and 21 years, came on a scooter. One of the youths alighted from the scooter and snatched her gold chain and the three fled. Mrs Amarjit Kaur noted down the registration number of the scooter.

A mobile police party was immediately informed. Three youths were stopped at a naka set up on the dividing road of Sectors 68 and 69 by Mr Jasjit Singh Sohal, Circle Inspector, and Mr Gurinder Singh, ASI.

The SP said these three youths were Sakattar Singh of Vishal Colony, Patti (Amritsar district), Sartaj Sinh of Gandiwind under Sahai Amanat Khan police station in Amritsar district and Roopinder Deep Singh of Dharmai under Dinanagar police station (Gurdaspur district).

A search led to the recovery of the gold chain snatched from the Phase XI resident and a mobile phone.

The police has registered a case in this regard.



In-laws booked on harassment charge
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 17
Eight members of a Paonta Sahib-based family were booked by the Dera Bassi police on charge of harassing and beating up Ms Satwinder Kaur, a local girl who was married in the family in 1998.

Sources in the police said Dalbir Singh, husband of Satwinder Kaur, Ajmer Singh, father-in-law, Angoori Devi, mother-in-law, Rishi Pal, brother-in-law, Meena Devi, wife of Rishi Pal, Rajdulari, sister-in-law, Rakesh Saini, husband of Rajdulari, and Amarjit Kaur, another sister-in-law, have been booked under Sections 406, 498-A, 506 of the IPC and the Dowry Act.

In her complaint, the victim has alleged that after some years of the marriage, her in-laws started ill-treating her. When the things became unbearable, she left the house and came to her maternal home, along with her one-year-old daughter, she added.

A case has been registered at the Dera Bassi police station, but no arrest has been made so far.



New haircare products launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Indo Cosmi launched of its range of Vidal hair fruits shampoos and conditioners here yesterday. Made to suit the Indian hair type, the shampoos, that are available in five basic variants, are manufactured and packaged in Europe.

Regarding the product line that was launched in Hotel Aroma yesterday, Mr Ajay Agarwal, president of Indo Cosmi, said: “The latest range of haircare shampoos contains nutrients that help strengthen and increase the volume of hair. These nutrients add to the lustre of hair, leaving it beautiful and bouncy. These hair fruit shampoos contain three essential vitamins — B complex, C and E. Besides this, ours is a low-foaming range of shampoos.”

Low-foaming shampoos are usually considered not as effective as the high-foaming ones, but Mr Agarwal said: “This is a sheer myth. In reality, the low-foaming products are healthier for the hair simply because these are low on the detergent content and take care of the hair the natural way. Another myth is that the hair fall whenever you change a shampoo. Actually, the fall of hair is cyclic. We promise that the latest range of our shampoos, if used during this period of hair-fall, will strengthen the hair follicle and replace the dead hair with fresh growth.”

About the growth in the shampoo market over the past decade, Mr Agarwal said: “From Rs 160 crore in 1992, the market has grown to Rs 875 crore. The urban market accounts for 80 per cent of the total shampoo sale. Our objective is to capture at least one per cent of the natural market.”

The range that was launched includes five variants — orange, kiwi, apricot, apple and peach. With extracts of fruits and vitamins, these shampoos cause no damage to the scalp.

The Vidal range is being stocked at least 300 outlets in Chandigarh. There is a whole range of Indo Cosmi products launched earlier, including the Tabac Range for Me, Julian d’Irvy deodorants for men and women and the Trompy range for children.

Mr Agarwal also said his company was about to launch skincare and body care products. Brought from abroad and marketed in India, the products are already getting a healthy customer response. He said, “North India is our primary market, followed by the West. While the deodorants for men and women are highly visible in various retail outlets, the current range of shampoos will shortly be available. The size of the shampoo market is about Rs 1,000 crore every year and over 40,000 tonnes in volume. We are out to target this market.”



5-kg LPG cylinders launched
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 17
Hindustan Petroleum Company Ltd launched 5-kg HP gas cylinders in Punjab at a function held at Kurali yesterday. Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Dairy Development, Fisheries, Sports and Youth Services Minister, Punjab, was the chief guest. Initially the 5-kg cylinder has been introduced at Kurali on trial basis and consumers’ response would be analysed before introducing the small cylinders in other parts of the state. Mr R.K. Goyal, Regional Manager of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, said that this was a pilot project and 5-kg cylinders are easy to carry and affordable.

Mr Alok Dixit, Senior Sales Officer, said that anyone could purchase this cylinder with a refundable security of Rs 350 and filling charges would be Rs 100 per cylinder.

Mr Kang appealed to the organisers to introduce cheap and affordable gas burner for the poor section of society.


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