Saturday, August 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos follows Admn crackdown on school buses
Tribune News Service


  • Shocking was the case of a 1976 model three-wheeler carrying 16 children and without any documents.
  • At least three buses were driven by drivers who lacked the requisite experience.
  • 27 buses were found overloaded.
  • More than two dozen drivers did not have permits to ferry children.
  • A total of 35 buses were impounded.
  • Parents may have to ferry kids to school in the next few days. 

Chandigarh, August 23
The Administration showed its iron hand and cracked down on buses and three-wheelers ferrying children to school. The traffic police and the State Transport Authority, in separate operations, challaned more than 130 buses out of which 35 were impounded. Another 30 three wheelers were also challaned.

The drive was ordered by the top officials yesterday after eight children were injured when a speeding school bus overturned injuring eight students of Sacred Heart School, Sector 26. Though the intention of the drive cannot be doubted, it led to chaos outside schools and transporters gave up on their afternoon trips to drop children back home after school.

Parents queued up in their cars to pick up the kids. In Sector 26 a major traffic jam ensued outside schools. Smooth flow of traffic could not be restored till about 3 p.m, a good one hour after schools close. The police, meanwhile, said they would be re-introducing one-way traffic movement outside major schools to prevent chaos.

Today parents faced the brunt of the transporters ire as they refused to provide alternative transportation. By mid morning parents had been calling up schools to find out if the buses were running or not. This morning the STA and police deployed special teams for the drive which will continue for one week. The teams fanned out in the city and checked buses in the morning. The drive was welcomed by parents who understood the importance of keeping a check on transporters, who are using improper buses.

The teams also came down heavily on overloaden three-wheelers who over load their vehicles. In all cases when buses or three wheelers were impounded, the action was carried out near the school gate thus enabling children to reach school and prevent any kind of harassment to them.

The drive was to check the special permits required for carrying children; certificate for roadworthiness; over loading; age of the vehicle.

Last year a similar drive was started and buses were impounded. A lot of hue and cry was raised by the transporters then. The CTU had offered to ferry the children to school but the matter had died down after a few days. Back



With 3 fresh cases cholera tightens its grip
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, august 23
With three fresh cases of cholera being reported from Sectors 49 and 55, the fear of an epidemic-like situation being created in the city has increased as several cases of gastroenteritis have also been reported from various slum areas as unhygienic and insanitary conditions prevail in most of these areas.

With three-year-old Jyoti and four-year old Renu from Sector 49 being admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) today, with suspected cholera, the Health and MC authorities are keeping their fingers crossed. One cholera case from Sector 55 Lal Bahadur Shastri Colony, has been admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16. With these three new cases now the total number of cholera cases has risen to seven.

The Medical Superintendent of GMCH, Dr Raj Bahadur, disclosed that Ranjit (32) and Santosh (27) from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, Sector 49, Amarjeet and Sahina from Mohali and Raj Kumar(36) from Mubarakpur village had been admitted to the hospital. Out of the four children, suffering from cholera from Palsora, one was discharged today.

The mobile teams and Rapid Action Response team of the UT Health Department, today treated several cases of gastroenteritis in Palsora and Sector 55 Lal Bahadur Shastri Colony. “With our teams giving treatment to over 30 cases of diarrhoea in Sector 55, I fear that this is the most vulnerable area, as people are consuming water from hand pumps,” said the Director, Health Services, Dr Rameshwar Chander.

The teams of the Health Department today distributed medicines in most of the slum areas, as people were advised not to consume water from the hand pumps. The MC tankers are supplying water to these areas.

With monsoon yet to get over, the fear of an outbreak of cholera has been revived, as most of the slum areas, inhabited by migrant population, wear the same old look of filth and garbage that they bore before the outbreak of cholera last month.” The Health and MC authorities did swing into action at that time but it only lasted for a little while,” rues Ram Prakash, a resident of Palsora.

The residents of other areas, inhabited by the migrant population in Janta Colony, Kumhar Colony, Ram Darbar, Dadu Majra, Colony No 5 and parts of Bapu Dham had the same complaint. “They went about cleaning up the area, distributing medicines, providing water through tankers and creating awareness, that lasted barely a week,” says Janki Devi of Palsora.

The fact that gastro cases from different areas of the city are being reported, is giving anxious moments to the authorities. However, the fact remains that residents of the slums are defecating in the open, right next to their hutments, creating sanitation problems. The virtually non-existent sanitation facilities in the slums and rehabilitation colonies, apart from contaminated water, are one of the major causes of the outbreak of gastroenteritis.

It is the unhygienic conditions prevailing in the slums, where the ever-increasing number of migrant population resides, that maximum number of people are complaining of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. Many people were taking treatment from private doctors.


Jacob pays surprise visit to Palsora slum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Reacting to the reports of cholera outbreak in an illegal slum near Palsora village, the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today paid a surprise visit to the slum.

Cancelling his prior appointments, General Jacob decided to visit the spot of the outbreak to have an on-the-spot assessment of the situation this morning.

The Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, Mr V.K. Bhardawaj, explained to the Administrator that three public standposts had been provided to the illegal slum to provide potable water. But despite this, residents had punctured the main water pipeline at three places, which might have contaminated the water.

He said four cases of cholera had been reported from this slum from totally different directions and keeping in view the scattered nature of the cases, it was possible that the outbreak was not due to water contamination but due to food contamination. This aspect was also being looked into, he said. However, the samples of the water have been sent to the laboratory and notice boards are being put up on hand pumps advising people to use the hand pump water only for washing and bathing purposes.

General Jacob asked the Municipal Commissioner and Chief Engineer to immediately provide Potable Water Storage Tanks facility of 9,000 litres each at three places to supplement the potable water supply to the slum.

Walking through the slush and narrow lanes, General Jacob went inside the colony from where the cholera cases had been reported. The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, informed him that sanitation in slum was relatively better than that in Palsora village. He said sanitation condition in the village was worrisome as many residents, including the Sarpanch of Palsora village, had constructed 40 to 45 tenements each on plots inside the Lal Dora and had rented them without providing any civic amenities to the tenants.

As a result residents of these rooms were defecating in the open and thus causing sanitation problem in the village. Two cases of cholera have been reported from the rooms near such multi-storey tenements in the village.

General Jacob said illegal non-planned construction in the villages for commercial use had to be stopped and asked the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh, to expedite the village bylaws that were under preparation so that illegal non-planned construction in villages could be checked.

General Jacob asked the Municipal Commissioner to distribute chlorine tablets to the residents immediately. The Finance Secretary informed the Administrator that even the Chandigarh Police had initiated an awareness campaign in the colony to educate the residents of the slums.


Chaos in MC over encroachments, cholera
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Concern on the reports of fresh cases of cholera in the city echoed in the House meeting of the Municipal Corporation today inviting belligerence from the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal members, leading to the suspension of two former BJP mayors and councillors for the day.

As soon as the House assembled to take up the question on encroachments in the Industrial Area, BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal members came to the House armed with a poster and wanted to force a discussion on fresh cholera cases and the tabling of the report of the disease in Sector 52 and Daddu Majra.

The Opposition members were saying that there could not be anything more important than the question of the lives of the people and kept on repeating their demand despite request from the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, to speak in turns.

BJP member Gian Chand Gupta and Ms Kamla Sharma virtually held the House hostage seven to eight minutes, sparking off wordy crossfire between the Congress and BJP members.

Enraged at the situation, the Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla, initiated a resolution to ‘’suspend’’ the two senior members on the ground of their eight months of disruptive track record, evoking an immediate seconding by the rest of the members.

Refusing to go out of the House, the BJP members blamed the Congress for a cholera death in Sector 52 and fresh spread of the disease.

They were forcibly removed by marshals from the House on the order of the Mayor. Mr Rajesh Gupta of the BJP and Ms Harjinder Kaur of SAD boycotted the meeting after the two other members were forcibly taken out of the House.

The Opposition group then sat on a two-hour long dharna at the gate of the House shouting slogans against the Congress and its MP Pawan Bansal, who had come to participate in today’s meetings.

Mr Gupta displayed a placard accusing the Congress of cholera deaths, alleged bungling in the recruitment in the Fire Department, theft in the Fire Department, ‘corruption’ in the Municipal Corporation and betrayal with the people by imposing financial burden in the shape of paid parking, property tax and water charge hike.

Mr Gupta sought the report of the last cholera outbreak to be tabled before the House. The Mayor clarified the inquiry had not yet been concluded. The BJP member said the responsibility of questioning the officials was that of the Congress members who should have asked this question.

The protesting members accused the Congress and the Mayor of resorting to ‘’undemocratic and repressive tactics.’’ The House had already discussed the issue seven-and-a-half hours in the last meeting.Back


MC okays water tariff hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has put a final seal on the hike of water charges with unanimity after two BJP councillors were suspended for the day and the other two boycotted proceedings.

The House approved rates of water charges proposed by the Finance and Contract Committee on August 20 modifying those proposed by the Water and Sewage Disposal Committee a day before.

The hike will now be notified by the Chandigarh Administration before being implemented in a month’s time.

The Leader of the Congress in the House, Mr Subhash Chawla, reiterated his stand saying a letter should be written to the Chandigarh Administration demanding a 100 per cent matching grant on the increase of rates. He sought the cooperation of officials in mopping up resources by making a speedy recovery of dues.

The hike was approved without much discussion in the absence of BJP councillors who had been suspended for the day.

The local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, said the hike was effected after the Central Government’s assertion of the ‘’user has to pay’’ to conserve now the most precious resource.

Mr Bansal said the better management of water resources could bring down the operational cost and may awaken the people to use water judiciously. He expressed the need for launching a campaign to save water in the city and the Municipal Corporation should consider it.

Mr Bansal said the water supply should be metered everywhere and the slab system would help in saving water.

The MP lamented that the corporation had failed to provide metres to 30,000 persons despite their having deposited funds for the purpose.

Over billing needed to be checked, he said. Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma said a consumer grievances cell needed to be opened to deal with the complaints of the people.

The corporation today allowed the sale of 6.9 acres reserved for corporation employees’ housing to tide over financial crisis with a condition that they would be provided an alternative site in the nearby areas.

The alternative site condition was put by Mr Bansal, Mr.Chalwla and Dr K.S. Raju. The corporation deferred the setting up of a compost plant at Daddu Majra and decided to consider it in the next meeting only after comparative study of proposals of other technologies were also presented before the House.

The answer to the question of Mr Chawla in the last House meeting was not sought in the wake of an ongoing inquiry into the matter.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta’s requisition, notice and Ms Harjinder Kaur’s agenda of charging the malba/garbage charge in water bill could not be taken up because of their absence from the House due to suspension and boycott.

A debate on encroachment problem was sparked off with the Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, suggesting a working group and Ms Amar Kulwant Singh suggesting cell to receive complaints from the people.

The House allowed measures to mop up resources in the Sector 8 Community Centre, creation of post of assistant collector (tax), powers of Apni Mandi, Legal Affairs and Fire Services Committee and cash payment of stitching charges of uniform of sweepers.

Mr Bansal sought to find a solution to the problem of unanimity in fiscal resource generation and management by suggesting a committee with majority from the opposition and nominated to understand the problem and suggest measures with a sense of responsibility. 


Admn stopped from allotting booths
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Issuing notice of motion for September 30, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Kiran Anand Lall, today restrained the Chandigarh Administration from allotting booths in Sector 46-C rehri market.

In their petition against the Administration, the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, the Assistant Estate Officer and other respondents, Laxmi Kant Sharma and six others had earlier sought directions for allotting pucca booths to them. They had contended that the booths had been constructed primarily to rehabilitate those having rehris in the market before a fire broke.

They had also sought directions to the respondents for declaring Rule 5 and 5-A of “Allotment/ transfer of built-up booths in any sector on lease or hire purchase basis in Chandigarh Rules of 1991”. They had added that as per the rules, only licence holders were eligible for the allotment of pucca booths and not persons actually having rehris in the market for the past several years.

Their counsel had added that the petitioners were General Power of Attorney holders of licencees who had given these for consideration. 


Car identity holds key in rape case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Was the car used in dumping the unconscious rape victim near the Sector 33 Petrol Pump a Mitsubushi Lancer or a Maruti Zen? An answer to this question could finally solve the mystery behind the case of rape of a girl in her twenties.

Even as the victim in her statement had mentioned the car to be a Mitsubushi Lancer (CH03 E 0125) and the eye witness had mentioned that the car used by the alleged rapist as bearing registration number (CH 03 F 0125) — which was a silver-coloured Maruti Esteem, investigations by the Chandigarh Police are indicating that the car used in the crime was a Maruti Zen.

The mystery will be clear only after the forensic examination of the Mitsubushi Lancer of Mr M.K. Jain, the main suspect in the case, and the Zen (CH 03 9375) in possession of the eyewitness in the case, Surinder Sharma and Baldev Kumar. While contesting their statement given to the police on the night of the crime, both the eyewitness have offered to get forensic examination of the car. A forensic expert said even a trace of hair of the victim could be a vital clue in the case. A senior police official said the report of forensic examination of Mr MK Jain’s car was awaited from the Central Forensic Scientific Laboratory (CFSL).

The sources said the Chandigarh Police was examining the communication between the main suspects through their mobile sets . It could lead the investigators to vital clues. The police believes that the assailants exchanged vital information.

Meanwhile, DSP S.C. Sagar has been deputed as the inquiry officer in the case. Sources said statement of different persons were being recorded by the police officials.

A social worker, Mr Alamjeet Singh Mann, who had come forward to help the victim’s family and had contacted the human rights organisation, today said the police was harassing him. “I am being asked about the person who had approached me for helping the victim. I told them that he was Mr Billa working at a Sector 20 petrol pump”. He said he had told the name of the person to the police.


UT Judge Singal suspended
Tribune News Service

The UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class)-cum-Civil Judge (Junior Division), Ajay Singal, was today suspended by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A District Court employee attached with Mr Singal was also suspended. Though the authorities in the high court are tight-lipped about it, sources confirm that judicial work has also been withdrawn from Singal with immediate effect. 


Lucky draw scheme by BSNL
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The tardy and cumbersome legal procedures to recover outstanding telephone bills from wilful defaulters has resulted in locking of crores of rupees of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

With the entry of private players in the field, the problem has aggravated, as the defaulters have started switching to new operators. After serving of their connections by the BSNL, they simply take new connections.

Officials of the BSNL claim that though they often give the lists of defaulters to other operators, they do not cooperate. There have been reports that if subscribers default in case of private players, they are handled by musclemen of operators.

However, these allegations are denied by the private operators, who blame corrupt employees of the BSNL for all the mess.

Insiders in the BSNL agree that in the Chandigarh circle alone, thousands of consumers have defaulted in clearing their payments over the years. The outstanding amount runs in more than Rs 10 crore. Mr R.C. Vaish, Principal General Manager Telecom, BSNL, agrees,‘‘ There is a huge amount of arrears, especially before 1996 period. Due to manual operations at that time, the department used to take more time to disconnect the connections of defaulters.

We are trying to convince the defaulters to clear the dues, but without much success in most of the cases.’’

As part of the strategy to recover the amount, he said,‘‘ We have filed civil suits in some cases against defaulters after we failed to convince them to clear the bills pending for the past many years.

We have even offered to the defaulters to pay the outstanding dues in instalments. Further, we have decided to disconnect the connections immediately, after publishing the names of the defaulters in media.’’

The department has now come up with a scheme to attract the subscribers to clear their dues. It has decided to hold a lucky draw for the subscribers who have no outstanding telephone/telex bills up to September 30, 2002.

According to Mr Vaish, the scheme is valid from August1 to September 30, and the draw shall be held on October 2, 2002. The draw shall be held at three levels and prize will be Indian Telephone Cards worth Rs 5,250 at the secondary switching area (SSA) level (11 in Punjab), Rs 40,000 (Hero Honda) at the circle level and up to Rs 3 lakh (Maruti car) at the all-India level.

In another scheme, he said, “A lucky draw shall be held to encourage the subscribers to pay their arrears and the winner shall get the prize equal to 20 per cent of the paid amount.

The details of the schemes could be had from DEP (CS) in the Sector 18 office or on phone number 544066 and Account Officer, Customer Care Centre, Sector 34, or on phone number 645300.”


Applications for bravery awards
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) , New Delhi has invited for bravery awards for the year 2002 for children between six to eight years of age who have shown courage or done a brave deed during the period from July 1, 2001, to June 30, 2002.

The applications of such children can be forwarded to the Chandigarh Child welfare Council, Punjab at Karuna sadan, sector 11. Candidates can obtain application forms from the deputy Commissioner’s office of their respective districts. The last date for the submission of applications is September 15.


Scheme reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Inspector General of Chandigarh Police today held a meeting with various resident welfare organisations to review the neighbourhood watch scheme being implemented in eight different sectors of the city. 

The SSP, Mr Parag Jain, was also present at the meeting.


One-way traffic on Vigyan Path
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
To implement the directions of “no vehicle zone” on Saturdays and Sundays on Uttar Marg, running along Sukhna Lake and Lake Club, the concept of one-way traffic has been introduced on Vigyan Path road, dividing Sectors 5 and 8 and turning to Sector 5.

According to the information, there would be no right turn for vehicles approaching from the roundabout of Sectors 5, 6, 7 and 8 and for those coming from Sectors 5 and 8 and approaching Vigyan Path. The restrictions on the traffic would be imposed on all Saturdays and Sundays from 4 pm to 9 pm.


Section Officer held on bribery charge
Tribune News Service

  • Today’s arrest could lead to a scandal of employees of the engineering wing paying bribe to get their salaries released.
  • At least five more similar cases under the scanner of the CBI.
  • The section officer was to retire next year.

Chandigarh, August 23
Carrying on its action against the Chandigarh Engineering Department, the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) today arrested a Section Officer of the Engineering Wing while accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from his colleague to release the latter’s salary.

The official, Raghbir Singh, was posted in the office of the mechanical Sub-division (PWD), Sector 26 here.

The Section Officer was demanding a bribe from a cleaner in the PWD for releasing his salary for the month of June 2002 and marking his presence in the attendance register. Acting on a complaint by the cleaner, Sukhdev Singh, who was working under the accused, the CBI sleuths led by ASP Surinder Pal Singh and Inspector M.S. Brar, laid a trap in the morning and arrested the accused at about 9. 30 a.m.

The complainant was daily going on duty but his presence was not being marked. A case under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, has been registered. The Section Officer has been remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody after being produced in a local court.

Sources in the CBI said records pertaining to the case had been seized and further investigations were on to ascertain other related facts in the case. The modus operandi of the Section Officer was to issue a letter about holding of the salary of the employee concerned but no reason was mentioned.

The file was then sent to the Senior Officials. On receiving the bribe the dealing hand was directed by the Section Officer to release the payment of the employee concerned.

The central agency was investigating similar complaints but the details could not be ascertained. The sources said complaints about holding the salary of the labour staff in the engineering wing had been received and were being investigated.



Abductor of minor girl arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Sagar (21), who had allegedly abducted and raped a minor girl, was today arrested from Ambala by the Chandigarh Police. According to information, Sagar working with a florist in Sector 9 here had eloped with the girl of Kishangarh village. He had also been living near the girl’s house.

The uncle of the girl, Moti Lal, had lodged a complaint with the Manimajra police station on August 19. The girl has been recovered by the police. A medical examination of the girl was done at the Sector 16 General Hospital following which a case of rape was added against the suspect. A case under Sections 363, 366 and 376 of the IPC has been registered.

HELD: Malkiat Singh, a resident of Arno village, in a complaint at the Sector 11 police station, said Sunil Kumar of Patiala had taken Rs 1400 from him on August 1 for treatment at the PGI.

But the money was never returned. The suspect was today arrested at the PGI where he had gone for treatment.


Wife, father-in-law booked in murder case
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 23
The police has booked members of a Chadiyala village-based family, including the wife and the father-in-law of resident of Baupur village of Kaithal district who had died under mysterious circumstances here January 1 this year.

According to the police, Suresh Kumar of Baupur village had come to see his wife Jaswinder Kaur at his in-laws’ house at Chadiyala village on January 15. He stayed with his in-laws for two days and died on January 18 under mysterious circumstances.

Earlier, the police had started an inquest proceeding under Section 174 of the CrPC though Suresh’s father, in a complaint to the police, had expressed suspicion on his son’s death, sources said.

The reports of the postmortem examination had confirmed the death due to consumption of some poisonous substance.

On the complaint of Dyala Ram, father of the deceased, the police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Jaswinder Kaur, wife of the deceased, her father Rishi Ram and some other members of the family. However, no arrest has been made so far.


Washing machine range launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Electrolux Kelvinator Limited (EKL) today launched its next generation washing machines, the Washy Talky, in the city.

The washing machine tells the user how to get a perfect wash and has been designed, developed and manufactured in India. It is launching, for its consumers in Punjab, the “smart soak” washing machine.

The fully automatic machine is being introduced in a phased manner across the country.

The company plans to introduce the washing machine first into the major metros and gradually into the smaller markets. Priced at Rs 16,000, the Washy Talky indicates operational errors and ensures that the entire wash process is user friendly.

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