Wednesday, August 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Proposal for new road link to Panchkula cleared
Town and Country Planning Dept to begin work
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 20
The Town and Country Planning Department has decided to begin work on creating an alternate link between the township and Chandigarh, linking the Dakshin Marg to the township from Makhan Majra village in UT to the road separating Sectors 16 and 17 here.

A decision to this effect was taken during a high-level meeting by the Commissioner, Town and Country Planning, Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, yesterday. The meeting was attended by officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, along with officials of the UT Administration, including Chief Engineer Puranjit Singh.

Sources inform that the Administrator HUDA, Panchkula, Mr Arun Kumar Gupta, has been asked to submit a report on the alignment of this alternate route. Since a large number of jhuggis in Rajiv Colony fall on the proposed route, the local HUDA officials have been asked to submit a report on how these jhuggis can be removed and people be resettled elsewhere.

It is learnt that the HUDA authorities had also submitted an alternate alignment to link the route to Chandigarh-Ambala road, without having to pass through Rajiv Colony. This route was proposed to be created from behind Bharat Electronics Limited had a small detour in order to link the road coming from Chandigarh via Makhan Majra village. Thus it has been decided to find a straighter alignment.

This route, from Chandigarh -Ambala road turning towards Makhan Majra village and then towards Darua, to be linked with road separating Sectors 16 and 17 here, has already been approved by the Ministry of Surface Transport (MOST). A part of the land to be acquired for creating this route is under forest cover. Officials of UT Administration said in the meeting yesterday that they had already taken clearance for acquiring the forest land for this road.

Though Panchkula has been in existence since 1972, it has only one road link with Chandigarh. Now, the township has a vehicular population of over 50,000. The peak hours in the morning and evening witness a heavy flow of traffic from Housing Board crossing to Transport Light Point. Though the road is being broadened from four to six lanes, the creation of an alternate route has become necessary.

It may be noted that MOST had approved three important link roads between Panchkula and Chandigarh. It was proposed to have a route from Sector 26 to Mani Majra via Kishangarh and linking Panchkula from the back side of Dhillon Complex. Another alternate route was proposed to link Industrial Area Phase I to Mauli Jagran and Panchkula Railway Station link road by creating a rail overbridge.

While the former proposal is pending following a High Court stay on land acquisition, the latter has been scrapped because of the prohibitive cost of constructing the rail overbridge.



Madhu challenges Pramod
‘Undergo lie detector test on four points’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A defiant Madhu Sharma, after yesterday’s negative response of the National Human Rights Commission, today challenged the Union Communication Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, to undergo a lie detector test simultaneously with her to check the veracity of the Minister’s version on four points.

Calling Mr Mahajan a “liar”, Madhu, wife of Mr Ravi Kant Sharma, IPS, who is considered to be the prime suspect by the Delhi Police in the Shivani Bhatnagar case, said the lie detection test should be conducted by any agency other than the Delhi Police. She said the test should be around four points which had been denied by Mr Mahajan.

The points, she said, were whether Mr Mahajan shared a purely professional relationship with Shivani for four years? Whether he did not talk to Shivani on the phone for six months before she was killed in January, 1999? Whether Mr Mahjan did not know Ravi? and was it not in the knowledge of Mr Mahajan that Ravi was being framed?

Madhu said her husband was being implicated in the murder case merely on the basis of certain telephone calls purported to have been made between Ravi and the other co-accused persons, Shri Bhagwan Sharma and Pradeep Sharma. “The printouts of the telephone calls have been fudged,” she alleged, adding meaningfully that Mr Mahajan incidentally happened to be the Communication Minister.

Madhu also claimed that Shri Bhagwan’s counsel had alleged that his client was made to talk to Ravi on the phone by the Delhi Police in order to create “back dated” telephonic conversation.

Whenever newsmen asked her to elaborate her allegations, Madhu took cover behind the plea that any elaborate answer would reveal the defence of her husband. When asked on what basis she was claiming that Mr Mahajan knew her husband, Madhu came out with a geometrical equation. “Ravi knew Shivani, who knew Pramod. Therefore, Pramod knew Ravi,” she made a tongue-in-cheek remark.

Interestingly, Madhu, who at her first press conference had alleged that “some one very influential and powerful” in the Home Ministry was conspiring with the Delhi Police to implicate her husband in the murder case in order to settle scores with one section of the ruling party, today claimed that all sections of the BJP had united now. “Most probably, the present case is the reason for their new found unity,” she remarked.

She said a person close to Mr Mahajan had told her husband that “we know you are innocent”. Therefore, it was in the knowledge of Mr Mahajan also that Ravi was being framed in the case.

The wife of the Haryana I.G. said despite their repeated requests to the Delhi Police they had not been given the printouts of the phone calls made between Shivani and Mr Mahajan. The Delhi Police, she said, told them that since the Ministers had unlisted telephones, it could not get the printouts.

Madhu, who was accompanied by her younger daughter, Komal, said her entire family knew Shivani well, although they did not know her husband. She, however, refused to entertain any questions on whether Shivani had ever confided in her (Madhu) about the nature of her “intimacy” with Mr Mahajan. She also refused to tell on what basis she was alleging that Pramod had an “intimate” relationship with Shivani. “This is our defence”, she remarked.



Land allotment for MPs’ society challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Challenging the allotment of a 7-acre plot in Sector 40 to the Heritage Educational Society, a Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate, Vinay Kumar, today claimed that Members of Parliament, Ambika Soni and Pawan Kumar Bansal, had used undue influence on officials of the Chandigarh Administration to amend the rules for allotting the land to their society.

Taking up his petition, the Bench — comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall — after hearing counsel for the petitioner, issued notice of motion to the Chandigarh Administration and the society for October 17.

Claiming the allotment to be “totally illegal” and “arbitrary”, the petitioner had earlier alleged that as per the Registration of Societies Act of 1860, seven members forming the society should be unrelated to each other, whereas in the present case, out of the total nine, two were related to Ms Soni, Advisor to Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The rest were related to Mr Bansal. He had further claimed that the land was allotted to the society for just Rs 90 lakh even though the market price of the land was about Rs 50 crore.

The petitioner added that the Administration, with a view to obliging Ms Soni and Mr Bansal, carried out amendment after amendment in the allotment rules to make their society eligible even though it was otherwise ineligible to apply for the land.

Giving details, he said that even the last date for submitting the application forms was extended by the Administration to enable the society to apply. The Administration had also amended a clause regarding the number of government nominees on the management and number of students to be given free education. This, he added, was done to give a free hand to the society to run the school in any manner it liked.



Young girl crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
As if the loss of the bread winner of the family was not enough, the cruel hands of destiny today snatched 15-year-old Azra, who was crushed to death by a school bus. Her father had died of illness two years ago.

The victim, a 12th class student of Government School of Sector 40, was going on her bicycle to her school for the mid-term examination when she was crushed under the rear tyre of a school bus of Shishu Niketan School of Sector 22. The accident took place at a short distance from the Maloya police-post. The wailing mother of the victim was in a state of shock. The victim has left behind her 17-year-old brother, Asfak, two sisters, Sobya (19), a student of Sector 42 Government College, and Gajala (9), a student of Maloya Government School.

The family lamented that they had no source of income and the brother of the victim had just begun learning tailoring at a shop in Sector 37.

Meanwhile, an eyewitness of the accident said a scooter was overtaking a rickshaw and the victim was behind the rickshaw. In the ensuing moments, the victim fell off her bicycle and the school bus which was coming from the opposite side crushed her under its wheel. She was declared brought dead in the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Soon after the accident, a large number of people of Maloya gathered at the spot lamenting that the driver of the school bus, Jagmohan Singh, had been repeatedly warned to drive the bus properly. Two years ago when a child had died after being crushed under a CTU bus, the local bus stop had been shifted outside the congested area, said a resident of Maloya, Phool Singh. The residents also complained that the officials at the Maloya police took over half-an-hour to reach the spot despite the accident taking place near the police post. The driver of the bus has been arrested and a case under Sections 270 and 304 A of the IPC registered against him. 



MC panel cuts proposed hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh today announced reduction in the hike proposed by the Water and Sewerage Committee yesterday. It also completely struck down the huge reduction in tubewell monthly rentals and rejected paid parking for now in Sectors 34, 35 and 22.

The reduction in rates was effected after the local MP Pawan Bansal asked the Mayor and the leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla to make the hike reasonable for the commonman.

The reduction is likely to increase the deficit of the Municipal Corporation between Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.5 crore.

The rates charged were: for those in 30-60 kl in domestic category, above 60 kl category, lawn metre, govt and semi-govt, institutional, industrial, milk colony, tertiary water category and agriculture categories.

The Water and Sewerage Committee had hiked from Rs 4 to Rs 5.50 per kilolitre in the 30-60 kl category, which has now been reduced to Rs 5 per kilolitre.

The Sewerage Committee had also increased from Rs 4 to Rs 8 for those users who consume more than 60 kilolitre but the Finance and Contract Committee has reduced it to Rs 6 per kilolitre.

The Sewerage Committee had increased from Rs 2.5 to Rs 7.5 for the lawn metre category consumer, which has been reduced to Rs 5 per kilolitre by the Finance and Contract Committee.

The rate for government and semi-government, institutional and industrial category has been increased from Rs 8 to Rs 12, Rs 8 to Rs 9 and Rs 11, respectively. These categories had yesterday also seen rise in charges from Rs 6, Rs 4 and Rs 6, respectively, from the present rates.

The Finance and Contract Committee also rolled back the hike for agriculture, milk colony and tertiary water user categories from Rs 500 to Rs 300, Rs 500 per connection to Rs 300 and Rs 5 to Rs 2.5 per kilolitre, respectively.

The Finance and Contract Committee completely rejected the fall in rates for tubewells and constituted a committee under the Mayor for recovering over a Rs 1 crore from the tubewell operators against whom a due of at least a crore stands.

The rate change in this category will only be considered after the recovery is made.

The present Finance and Contract Committee created a history by going in for a vote on the issue of levying paid parking in Sectors 34, 35 and 22, saying paid parking in new areas could not be considered until the promises of spending the parking money in Sector 17 and terms and conditions of the contract were not followed in toto.

The leader of the Congress, Subhash Chawla, Mayor Lalit Joshi, Kamlesh and Vijay Rana voted against the imposition of paid parking and Commissioner M. P. Singh nominated members P.C. Sanghi and Sant Singh voted in favour.

Those in favour wanted the imposition of paid parking delinking the issue of development of Sector 17 from paid parking money. But the elected members did not give up and stuck to the stand of first ensuring compliance of terms and conditions before imposing paid parking in other areas.

The Finance and Contract Committee approved Nehru Park being converted into a high-tech children park and mela ground and circus ground being developed at the level of the Parade Ground.

The committee in principle agreed to give road berms and green belts for advertisement purposes and deferred the agenda of the Planet Group to hire these places for five years till further information was provided. The committee approved the purchase of German equipment for water testing. The terms and conditions for sanitation contracts and toilet operation were deferred. The reserve price for the sale of property in Sector 9 was reduced by 20 per cent and by 5 per cent in Mani Majra. The reserve price for the property to be auctioned in Sector 25 has been increased by 50 per cent.

The proposal of the Defence Services Institute in Sector 36 to hand over the land near the institute was rejected.

The committee debated as many as 32 items on the agenda for seven-and-a-half hour.



Rape case: eyewitness goes underground
Tribune News Service

What the victim has to say

Talking to TNS at the district courts the girl said, “I met him (the accused) for just 10 minutes and he offered me to take his Panchkula office. En route he stopped to buy a cold drink for me and I fainted 15 minutes after drinking it. I can identify M.K. Jain in an identification parade. I had just gone to the computer centre for knowing about a computer course. The police should ask the people present in the office of Jain whether I had gone there or not. My Sector 44 landlady was approached twice by the family friends of Jain to withdraw the case”.

The sister and uncle of the victim were accompanying her. The victim refused to comment on her tenure as an employee in a Slim and Shape slimming centre in Sector 35 and her period of stay in Chandigarh. When asked about whether she remembered the place where the suspect bought the cold drink for her, she said she could not remember it.

Chandigarh, August 20
As the mystery behind the case of alleged drugging and rape of a girl in her twenties thickens, the role of Mr Surinder Sharma, an eyewitness to the dumping of the girl near the Sector 33 petrol pump, has become all the more important. It was Mr Sharma who had informed the Police Control Room (PCR) about the girl.

Efforts to contact the eyewitness today proved futile. Investigations by the TNS reveal that as there were serious contradictions in the victim’s version, statement of the eyewitness and the circumstantial evidence was forcing the police to probe the loose ends in the case, the eyewitness had today reportedly gone underground. This has apparently been done to save the person(s) behind the alleged conspiracy.

Sources in the police confirmed that the eyewitness was well known to person(s) close to a senior bureaucrat of Haryana. The name of another person, close to the Haryana bureaucrat has a strong connection with the eyewitness. The name of the eyewitness is said to be not new in the Chandigarh Police circles. The sources said Mr Sharma — hailing from Brotiwala in Solan district — had been booked in a case of cheating and breach of trust the Sector 39 Police Station last year.

The suspect, M.K. Jain, who is evading police arrest, is said to have good relations with a senior Haryana bureaucrat. Enquiries reveal that dispute over a sum of over Rs 4 crore, including cash and immovable property, could be a possible reason behind the entire plot. A senior police official said today that in face of the severe contradictions, the truth would be brought to the fore. All possibilities were being explored, he added.

The police had sent samples of the traces of semen of the alleged rapists to the CFSL for the DNA mapping. The results would be matched with those of the suspect(s), subject to their arrest. In a delayed action, the car of the suspect had also been sent for forensic examination.

However, the result of the blood samples of the victim taken on the night she was admitted had so far not been made available to the police by the health authorities, said a police official adding that it would have helped in the investigations.

Meanwhile, the victim was taken away from the General Hospital by the activists of human rights without the permission of the doctors.

Rights activists in action

A Human Rights body— Lawyers for Human Rights International — today decided to produce the alleged rape victim in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get her free and sought CBI inquiry of the case. A team of members of LHRI today meet the victim in the evening and decided to file her case in the High Court.

The LHRI also helped the girl get discharged from the hospital and took her to the House of the President of the LHRI, Mr Amar Singh Chahal.

While addressing a press conference at the residence of Mr Chahal in Sector-8 the girl alleged that the UT police was shielding the accused involved in the case and despite her repeated requests she was not allowed to meet her relative. The girl added that in spite the fact that she was feeling well, the doctors had not allowed her to get discharge from the hospital. Blaming the UT police, the general secretary of the LHRI, Mr Navkiran Singh, alleged that the UT police was unable to trace the accused in the case.



PU in dilemma over Kang’s readmission
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service


  • The board of control of the Law Department cancels admission of Malwinder Singh Kang, PUSU president, for not attending 33 per cent lectures in the first 10 days.

  • PU constitutes a committee under the chairmanship of Justice D.V. Sehgal, which recommends readmission of Kang.

  • The BOC says the medical certificate submitted by Kang was fake while Kang says the certificate under question was never submitted by him.

  • SOPU says it will sit on an indefinite 'dharna' till univer sity either cancels admission of Kang or readmits all other students whose admissions were cancelled on the same grounds.

  • Malwinder Singh Kang says he will sit on an indefinite 'dharna' because the university was not respecting the decision of a special committee which had dealt with all aspects of his case and made a recommendation for re- admitting him.

Chandigarh, August 20
Panjab University is still in a dilemma as to whether it will readmit the Panjab University Student Union president whose admission was cancelled by the Law Department for not having attended the required 33 per cent lectures in the first 10 working days of the current academic session.

The case is poised at an interesting position because the department's board of control cancelled the admission, and a few days later a university committee recommended his readmission because there was nothing concrete to establish that the questionable "fake" medical certificate was submitted by him.

The chairman and certain faculty members are learnt to have met the Vice-Chancellor today. Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, said no formal decision had yet been taken on the issue by the university. It is reliably learnt that deliberations are still on as to whether the VC can take a decision independently or the case requires to be submitted to a higher university body.

The case has generated more heat because students of Students Organisation of Panjab University are sitting on 'dharna' in front of the Law Department seeking cancellation of admission of Kang or to readmit all other students whose admission was cancelled on the pretext of shortage of lectures. "The university decision to readmit him will be one sided and will be taken under political compulsion", Harveer Singh, SOPU president, said.

Another twist to the story was added today with Kang saying he was going to sit on an indefinite dharna because the university was not allowing him a re-admission despite a decision by a committee which comprised of Justice D.V. Sehgal, Dr M.M. Sharma, Mr Ashok Goyal and Prof Bal Krishan, who is himself the chairman of the Law Department. He made allegations of 'favouritism' and demanded fair play in case of other candidates whose admissions were cancelled as well.

The committee, "after close examination of all the documents, has noticed the following startling facts which need a deeper probe: Harveer Singh (SOPU president) and Jagbir Singh Brar had presented their representations before the convening of the meeting of the board of control. Both the representations are the same word for word. Therein, it is alleged that the medical certificate of Kang is fake."



Rajiv Gandhi remembered
Tribune News Service

Congress leader CTYC President H.S. Lucky, Mayor Lalit Joshi, MP Pawan Bansal, CTCC chief B.B. Bahl, Leader of the Congress in Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla pay tributes to Rajiv Gandhi at Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Congress leader CTYC President H.S. Lucky, Mayor Lalit Joshi, MP Pawan Bansal, CTCC chief B.B. Bahl, Leader of the Congress in Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla pay tributes to Rajiv Gandhi at Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 20
A prominent BJP activist Shambhu Banerjee joined the Congress on the occasion of Rajiv Gandhi’s 58th birth anniversary here today.

The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress led by Harmohinder Singh Lucky organised a blood donation camp in which as many as 150 youth donated blood.

The Punjab Agriculture, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, local MP Pawan Bansal, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee President B.B. Bahl, Mayor Lalit Joshi, Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla, INTUC chief Rampal Sharma were also among those who paid floral tributes to the late Prime Minister. The leaders remembered Rajiv Gandhi for making the supreme sacrifice for the country. Speaking on the occasion the leaders said Rajiv Gandhi had shown the party a vision of modern India armed with high technology and compassion for the deprived. Ms Bhattal exhorted the youth to wage a war against forces that were destablising the country.

In another function held to celebrate Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary in Indira Colony, Mani Majra the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi and Senior Deputy Mayor Surinder Singh announced grant of Rs 7.5 lakh for the development of parks in the area and Rs 7.12 lakh contribution from MP Pawan Bansal for a Harijan Dharamshala and three stand posts in the area. The Rajiv Memorial Society in Sector 23 cut a birthday cake and distributed it amongst rickshaw pullers and rehri market vendors.

As many as 250 students participated in the Sadhbhavna Divas rally to mark the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi organised by Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33, here today.

Holding placards and banners the students went through the entire sector spreading the message of oneness. Earlier, at a special assembly held on the school premises today morning, the Principal, Mr Karan Singh, students and staff pledged that they would work for the emotional oneness and harmony of one and all without discriminating on the basis of caste, creed, religion or region. They also pledged that they would resolve differences through dialogue and constitutional means.

In GMSSS-16, students were urged to break the shackles of communalism. Songs and speeches by students marked the day. A lecturer in Biology, Ms Vandana Aggarwal, conveyed the message of love, compassion and brotherhood to students.

Sadhbhavna Divas was also observed at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19. At Government College for Education, Sector 20, a discussion was held to mark Sadbhavna Divas, here today. Introducing the topic Mr Harjinder Singh in charge NSS, sensitised the audience about the concept and the need you sadhbhavna.

In another function the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, administered the ‘‘Sadbhavana Day pledge’’ to officials and employees at UT Secretariat, Sector 9, here this morning.

The employees pledged that they would work for the emotional oneness and harmony of all the people of India regardless of caste, creed, region, religion or language. It was also pledged to restore all differences through dialogue and constitutional means without resorting to violence.

AMBALA: A blood donation camp was organised by the District Youth Congress (Urban and Rural) to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The camp held at Ambala City was coordinated by Mr Tarun Chugh and Mr Randeep Sandhu. Nearly 21 Congress activists donated blood. A list of 178 activists, who wanted to donate blood, has been prepared so that they can be contacted in times of need. The activists paid rich tributes to Rajiv Gandhi.



Rise in crime worries Mohali residents
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 20
Residents gave vent to their grievances and presented their problems ranging from increase in incidents of theft to traffic hazards at a police-public meeting held here.

Mr R.C. Jhingan, a resident of Phase VI, said crimes such as the removal of water taps and the spare wheels of two-wheelers and the snatching of gold chains from women were common in his area.

He suspected that some jhuggi dwellers were behind these incidents.

Mr Jhingan said police patrolling should be increased. Besides, residents should not face any difficulty in getting the cases registered with the police, even at night.

Ms Manmohan Kaur, municipal councillor and a resident of Phase II, complained about the parking of vehicles by students of Gian Jyoti Public School on the roadside and on footpath outside the premises of the institution.

She said it must be stopped as it created traffic chaos in the area.

Similarly, she said vehicles were being parked on the footpath along the main road from Franco Hotel to the old barrier in Phase 1.

She further complained that autorickshaws which had been prohibited from plying in Chandigarh had now shifted to SAS Nagar and were causing pollution.

A resident of Sector 71 said incidents of crime were more in his area than in other parts of the town. He attributed this to the presence of a large number of labourers engaged in construction work in the area. Besides, he said that there was traffic congestion at the PCL Chowk during peak hours.

The Ropar SSP, Mr G.S. Bhullar, called for “family watch, neighbourhood watch and colony watch” to curb crime. He favoured the use of alarm systems and other gadgets.

The SSP said people were not security conscious. Personal security of the area should get priority. Verifying the antecedents of servants was a must.

Mr Bhullar said traffic bottlenecks should be removed with the help of the Municipal Council.

Besides, no-parking zones should be demarcated. Eve-teasing too should be taken up as a serious matter and parents must not try to defend their children if they indulged in such activity.

He said he would make efforts to get orders passed for creating “enclosures” for residential areas.

The public address system was poor at the venue of the meeting in the community centre in Phase IIIB1 and speakers were often inaudible.

Among those present were the SAS Nagar SP, Mr H.S. Bhullar and the Municipal Council president, Mr Kulwant Singh.



Punwire staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 20
Members of the Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union held a rally at the Balongi chowk here today in protest against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government.

Leaders said before the elections the Congress had given an assurance that it would get the factory started if it came to power. But now the attitude of the government was totally different. They said certain ministers had given an assurance to union leaders that they would reach the venue of the rally today but none of them turned up.

The speakers said if the government failed to provide justice to the affected employees of Punwire they would intensify their agitation.



Concern over changes in building bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has expressed concern over the amendments in building bylaws. In a press note issued here today, Mr Jagdish Arora, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said, “According to the amendments, the tenants would be required to take consent from the landlord, even to make small changes in building. It would spoil the cordial relation between the landlord and tenants. ’’

He said the traders should not be asked to apply for change in trade to the Estate Office, where the shops had been converted into general trade. Similarly, where the sites had been auctioned as commercial site by the Administration, there should not be any charges for using the basements and upper floors.

The mandal urged the Administration to stop the unauthorised sales in hotels and bhavans since apart from encroachments, it was leading to loss of revenue for the Administration as well.



BSP candidate wins market panel poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Gurdev Singh today won the vice-chairmanship of the Market Committee 5-4 by defeating BJP candidate Rattan Chand, who was supported by Congress chairman Kuldeep Singh.

The contest again brought out in-fighting in the rural unit of the Congress with Mr Kuldeep Singh and his friend-turned foe and Panchayat chairman Bhupinder Singh supporting two different candidates.

This time Mr Bhupinder Singh turned victorious by supporting the BSP candidate. Mr Gurdev Singh BSP was supported by Mr Bhupinder Singh and Mr Om Prakash Chawla.

Mr Chand of the BJP was supported by Mr Kuldeep Singh and Mr Rambir Bhatti.

The Bhupinder Singh group had earlier tasted defeat in several elections with the Kuldeep Singh group emerging victorious.



SOS Village kids meet Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
It was a memorable day in the life of orphan children of the Save Our Society (SOS) Village near Rajpura. They were the ‘special guests’ of the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), at Punjab Raj Bhavan here today.

The children enjoyed their evening on the lawns of Punjab Raj Bhavan. They sang, danced and made merry. They had small pleasures to share with ‘Governor Uncle’. Every child was eager to share his dreams and ambitions with General Jacob. While somebody wanted to join the Army, another had already cleared the entrance test for a course in architecture.

Mr Gurdev Singh, in charge of the SOS village, Rajpura, informed the Governor that children were doing very well in studies and they had a great inclination towards sports. The Governor said he would consider allotting a piece of land to the SOS Society to set up their small children’s village in City Beautiful.

The children spent 65 minutes with the General.



Doc commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A 33-year-old woman doctor of Sector 32 GMCH was found dead in her house in the residential complex of the hospital here this afternoon. The victim, Madhulika, was declared brought dead at the hospital. According to information, the victim had come from Rohtak two months ago. The victim, whose husband is also a doctor in the Sector 32 GMCH, has left behind two children.

Though no police action had been initiated in the case, sources in the hospital said the victim had injected some drugs.



Girl electrocuted

Dera Bassi, August 20
A six-year-old girl was electrocuted when she fell on high-tension power cables passing adjacent to the terrace of her house at Kuranwala village on the Dera Bassi-Barwala highway this morning.

Pooja fell on the power cables, carrying 11,000 kv current, while playing on the terrace at about 10 am. OC



Misleading milk producers

I have gone through the Milkfed’s advertisement on bonus distribution in The Tribune carefully and critically and would like to share my observations with your readers as its projections in the said advertisement amount to misleading both milk producers and people.

Milk from the producers is accepted in litres by measurement at the village-level milk producers’ co-operative societies and accounted for at the co-operative sector milk plants in kilograms by weight. This means 102.7 kg of milk producers’ milk is counted as 100 kg only. This is a clever ‘invisible’ deduction from milk, which belongs to producers. At the close of the year, a part of the savings after deducing expenditure is distributed among ‘producers’. It is thus wrong to call it a ‘bonus’. It is only ‘deferred payment’ of a ‘part’ of amount due to the producers but was ‘cleverly’ withheld at the time of purchase and later declared as ‘bonus’ and distributed with great fanfare. Thus, 95 per cent of village-level cooperative sector are shown making profit at the cost of the poor and ignorant milk producers whose plight is nobody’s concern.

Similarly, Milkfed charges all its milk plants a certain percentage as commission for the milk sold by it in fluid form and milk products regardless of whether a milk plant is running at a loss or profit. As such, like the village-level cooperative societies, Milkfed is also assured of making a profit from these commission earnings. Thus, both milk producers’ cooperative societies, and the apex body i.e. Milkfed, make profit. But what about the cooperative milk plants? They are mostly in loss, which is the real issue.

People have the right to know how many and which of the 11 milk plants in the cooperative sector under the Milkfed are running at loss or profit? Is it not a fact that the accumulated loss of all milk plants at the close of 1996 was Rs 51.46 crore which has since swelled to Rs 72 crore? Is it not true that only two out of 11 milk plants have shown profit? Why are these facts being concealed under the misleading claim of ‘bonus to farmers’ and (so-called) profit to Milkfed?

It is projected that Milkfed last year covered 6,565 villages and collected on an average 10.53 lakh litres of milk per day from 3.75 lakh milk producers, which works out to be 2.8 litres per farmer or 160 litres per village covered by it. The milk producers by selling 2.8 litres earn about Rs 20 per day or a gross amount of Rs 600 per month. Is it not pathetic? The average per day per village surplus in Punjab is 750 litres out of which Milkfed’s share is only 160 litres. It means the major share of marketable surplus milk is still with the “middle man”. This shows that the role of the Milkfed in the industry is only marginal and that it has failed to earn the confidence of the milk producers who are still in the clutches of the village ‘money lenders’.

Compare the collective performance of 11 milk plants owned by Milkfed with a single milk plant of Nestle at Moga which collects almost the same quantity, some 10 lakh litres per day, from less than 1,000 villages as against 6,565 villages covered by Milkfed milk plants. Does this state of affairs bother anybody? It is amazing that the bosses are taking pride on such poor performance.

It would make an interesting and meaningful assessment if the figures for the milk collected by each of the milk plants of the Milkfed on July 17, the day the function was held at Ludhiana, are made public. It would reveal the extent of the misleading projections and provide insight into its poor performance.

As regards the programme for enhancing productivity and modernising milk production, the less said the better. If the ‘achievement figures’ were made public, they would speak for themselves.

Last but not the least, whose interests is Milkfed protecting and serving? In every country, it is the responsibility of the government concerned to provide milk for (fluid milk) consumption in adequate quantity and of the highest quality at reasonable rates as milk is the “health base” of a nation. It has to be ensured that on its journey from ‘producer to consumer’, the price of milk does not rise by more than 50 per cent which, in case of Milkfed, is more than 125 per cent. But still no alarm bells are ringing.

It is the Milkfed’s purchase and sale price which is followed by both organised and unorganised sectors. As a result, both milk producers and consumers in Punjab are the worst sufferers because of Milkfed’s miserable performance. Will the powers that be please pay some heed?


Punjab’s share

The Punjab Government has a grievance that like other assets, Haryana’s share of water in the Yamuna has not been divided in the ratio 60:40 in Punjab’s favour.

The factual position is that a river’s water is primarily allocated to land and only secondarily to its government which is supposed to manage it for the convenience of farmers. Such allocations are inseparable from land and cannot be traded as a separate entity. This is why when a farmer sells his land, he cannot retain back its water; it gets sold automatically.

As no portion of Punjab’s land forms part of the Yamuna/Gangetic Basin, the question of dividing the share of water allocated to Haryana’s lands hardly arises and the grievance of the Punjab Government totally misplaced.

S.P. MALHOTRA, Former Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation Dept. (Haryana) Panchkula

Hike in cable charges

The age-old monopolistic attitude system lives on. Big players of cable television networks have joined hands and planned to ease out the small ones (cable TV viewers) and formed all powerful cartels and have increased the subscription from Rs 60-75 per month to as high as Rs 250-275 in a short span of 5-6 months.

Following the indiscriminate hike in cable charges, the office-bearers of various Sector Welfare Associations assembled at Sainik Rest House, Chandigarh, recently under the aegis of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) and protested against the hike in the cable TV charges. They have decided not to pay more than Rs 110 per connection i.e. at par with Mohali. They will not bother about disconnection in case the operators did not fall in line, according to Lieut-Col T.S. Dhillon (retd), general secretary, FOSWAC.

Air Marshal Randhir Singh, Chairman, FOSWAC, said that staff boys of cable operators take the liberty of disconnecting the cable connections if the residents check their unlawful entries into their residences. Even they make false complaints to the police and cause harassment to residents. He demanded that cable operators should desist from making such false complaints to the police and urged the Administration to put a stop to the “exploitation” of consumers by the cable television operators.

The FOSWAC has decided to stage sector-wise dharna (to be started from Sector 38) in the last week of this month to protest against the arbitrary increase in cable fee, if the fee is not lowered to Rs 110 per month i.e. at par with SAS Nagar.

The FOSWAC has appealed to all Members of Parliament to wholeheartedly support the Cable TV Network (Regulations) Amendment Bill, 2002, keeping in mind the interest of cable television consumers.

Air Marshal RANDHIR SINGH (retd), Chairman, FOSWAC, Chandigarh



Stolen cable wires recovered, 4 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Stolen cable wires and signal amplifiers worth over Rs 80,000 were recovered from members of a gang arrested by the Sector 39 police today. The gang used to steal cable wires and other equipments used in transmission of cable signals.

Four members of the gang, Ranjit Singh, Darbara Singh, Anand and Sarwan, were caught red-handed by a team led by SI Dilsher Singh near Pingalwara at Palsora. According to information, the gang members were selling the stolen items in the second-hand market after changing the labels of companies.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Mr K.I.P. Singh, said the police was on the lookout for other members of the gang who used to change labels of the manufacturing companies on the amplifiers. The police has recovered 24 amplifiers, 150 cable meters and a diving meter worth Rs 60,000. Out of these, FIRs of theft of seven amplifiers had been registered at the Sector 39 police station on August 9 last. The remaining recovered articles have been taken into possession by the police under Section 102 of the CrPC.

In another case, a police party headed by ASI Kaka Singh has arrested Sandeep Singh, a resident of Sector 38, for being involved in theft of brass water taps and stop cock. Stolen items worth Rs 5,000 have been recovered from him.



2 hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 20
Two persons were injured in road accidents here yesterday. A pedestrian, Mr Ratti Ram, resident of Sector 52, was injured after he was hit by a scooter driven by a SAS Nagar resident, Lakhwinder Singh, on dividing road of Sector 61 and 52 here. In the second incident, Mr. Harpinder Singh of Kalka was injured after the car he was driving was hit by the car being driven by Mohinder Singh of Patiala near the small roundabout of Sectors 37 and 38. Two cases have been registered.

Cars stolen
Mr Vijay Kumar, a resident of Sector 19, reported that his Maruti Esteem car (CH 01 2625 (T)) was stolen from his residence on Monday. Mr Palwinder Singh, a resident of Sector 22, also reported that his Maruti car (CH 01S 0775) was stolen from his residence on Sunday night. Two cases have been registered.


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