Wednesday, August 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HUDA sells UT land
32 acres cost more than Rs 70 crore
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Doublespeak, triplethink

Officials in HUDA and the Department of Town and Country Planning denied that any meeting to discuss the matter had been called yesterday, even though several letters mentioning the purpose of the meeting had been issued.

  • Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, Commissioner Town and Country Planning: “The meeting was called only to review the development work in Mansa Devi Complex.”
  • Mr N.C. Wadhwa, Chief Administrator of HUDA: “There has been no meeting to discuss the Sector 6 Mansa Devi Complex scheme. There is no dispute regarding development here.”
  • Mr Arun Kumar Gupta, Administrator of HUDA: “The meeting was called to discuss the issue of the membership of the Sector 3 Golf Club and nothing else.”

Panchkula, August 27
The Haryana Urban Development Authority has allotted 32 acres belonging to the Chandigarh Administration to six group housing societies. The land, worth more than Rs 70 crore, is in the proposed Sector 6 of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC).

This came to be known when HUDA, reportedly, decided to go ahead with its scheme of floating plots on this land. Officials of the UT Administration, however, say that they are unaware of any such move by HUDA.

Sources in the Department of Town and Country Planning of Haryana said the decision had been taken at a high-level meeting yesterday. HUDA decided to float about 200 residential plots of 1 kanal, 14 marlas and 10 marlas in this proposed sector.

Officials in the UT Administration said that Haryana could not float any scheme on this land. It could, however, buy the land from the UT. “The land is not along the UT boundary. It is surrounded by Haryana land, so, the UT cannot use it on its own. Whatever use the Administration plans for the land, it will have to be in conformity with Haryana’s Mansa Devi Complex development scheme,” said a senior official of the UT.

Sources in HUDA said this land, along with 10 more acres nearby, had been transferred to Chandigarh in 1977 in exchange of 68.93 acres of undulated land owned by the then provincial government at Judian village (now, Sector 5 of Panchkula).

The provincial government had set up brick kilns in Judian village to have brick supply for the then developing Chandigarh. Even in the State Reorganisation Act of 1966, this land is shown to be owned by the provincial government. However, after the kiln-owners had closed shop, the proposal to create Panchkula came in 1974 and the Urban Estate Department of Haryana proposed to acquire this land for the integrated development of the town.

Subsequently, this land was transferred to Haryana after an agreement between the state and the UT on August 17, 1977. Since the land in Judian village was undulated, it was decided to give away a smaller area in lieu of it.

After all these years, when HUDA proposed to develop Sector 6 of the MDC, it was unaware that the land belonged to Chandigarh. The office of the District Town Planner made a layout of this sector and allotted land to six group housing societies. Land was allotted to societies of the IAS officers, HUDA employees and an all-women group.

It was only when the Engineering Wing of HUDA was asked to make demarcations that it approached the Estate Office for a reference line. The case was, then, referred to the Land Acquisition Officer, who said the land belonged to Chandigarh. The matter was, then, taken up by the HUDA Administrator (Panchkula Circle), the Chief Administrator of HUDA and the Commissioner Town and Country Planning.


Sharma ‘forged’ papers to get car
Tribune News Service

Latest in rape case

  • The Shimla girl stuck to her earlier statement here today. At her Sector 44 rented accommodation, she said the police story was false.
  • Blood sample of Surinder Sharma sent for the DNA mapping to Central Forensic Science Laboratory.
  • Prime suspect, Ram Lal, suspected to be in Maharashtra.
  • The hotel bedsheet on which the Shimla girl was “raped” (reportedly, by Surinder) has been sent for forensic tests.

Chandigarh, August 27
The Chandigarh police slapped another case on the eyewitness-turned-suspect in the Shimla-girl rape case, Surinder Sharma, here today. He has, now, been accused of preparing a forged ration card and an income-tax statement to get a Tata Indica car financed from a Sector 35 company.

A case under Sections 406, 420, 467 and 468 of the IPC has been registered against him at the Sector 36 police Station. Surinder’s arrest in another case of cheating registered at the Sector 36 police station is still pending. Yesterday, he had been charged with hatching the “plot” to frame M.K. Jain.

The other eyewitness, Baldev Kumar, is still on the run and no more arrest has been made in the case. The DSP (South), Mr S.C. Sagar, said the girl would also be asked to join the investigation in view of Surinder’s confession. Surinder’s blood sample had been sent for the DNA testing to know whether the semen traces found on the girl’s clothes had come from him or not.

The police is also searching for a man called Ram Lal, who is said to have hatched the plot at the direction of a senior bureaucrat of Haryana. Sources said Ram Lal had reached Maharashtra, where he was under the protection of a politician.

Rajnessh ‘Raju’, a taxi operator, is said to have played a big role in getting Surinder arrested. However, after learning of Surinder’s arrest, he is said to have alerted Ram Lal. After the incident, Ram Lal remained in constant touch with certain police officials through mobile telephone. The role played by certain police officials in this case has raised doubts.

Meanwhile, persons close to Ram Lal said his life was a perfect example of “from rags to riches”. Born poor, he established a construction-material business, got disputed properties vacated and worked for politicians. 


Buses buzz back on roads today
Tribune News Service

Bailed out

  • Buses to ply from tomorrow
  • Week-long grace period to schools without contracts
  • Schools to finalise contracts by August 31
  • Contracts to be signed by September 2
  • STA to suspend challaning drive till grace period ends.

Chandigarh, August 27
The on-going impasse between bus contractors and various city schools ended, here today, after the UT Administration directed the bus contractors to ply school buses from tomorrow.

Schools without contracts with the bus operators were also given grace period till August 31 to finalise these contracts at a meeting chaired today by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, and attended by contractors as well as heads of these institutions.

At the meeting, the DPI (Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat, and the STA Secretary, Mr S.P. Arora, being the other members present, the stalemate between the schools and bus contractors came up for discussion. In view of the inconvenience caused to the hassled parents, the bus operators were asked to restore bus service to all schools, irrespective of contractual agreements.

Schools without agreements were also asked to study the contracts in a stipulated time-frame and finalise these within this week. A deadline to sign these contracts by September 2 was also set by the Administration.

The terms and conditions laid down in the contract were read out to the school heads. They were also convinced that no clause went against them and the responsibility of ferrying children safely to and from school lay with the contractors.

Also, the schools were made aware of the provision of terminating the contract with the bus operators in case of misbehaviour or unsatisfactory performance.

The president of the Private Schools Association, Mr D.S. Bedi, said that during the week-long grace period, the Administration had decided not to challan any school buses. “They, too, have been given time to set their house in order before the Administration cracks the whip yet again,” he added.

Reacting to the decision of the UT Administration, the president of the Bus Operators’ Association, Mr Manjit Singh, said that the decision was a welcome one with the Administration looking after the interest of both parties, the school managements as well as the bus contractors.

The schools had yesterday given the first indication of softening their stand in the interest of the students by agreeing to study the contracts and forwarding them to their managements. At an informal meeting, they had suggested certain modifications in the contract to safeguard themselves in the face of any accident or casualty.

The decision has come as a welcome relief for harassed parents who were forced to shuttle between homes, offices and schools on account of the withdrawal of bus service by the contractors.

Many buses, besides school buses had been forced off-road with the State Transport Authority launching a drive against buses not adhering to directions of the Supreme Court.

The other fallout had been the traffic bottlenecks created whenever schools got over, leading to chaos and confusion on the roads, taking 45 minutes to one hour to clear up.

Meanwhile, today, too, the problem of picking up children from schools continued. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, drivers, rickshaw-pullers, all laid siege on the roads in front of schools to collect children when school got over.

The presence of traffic police and one-way traffic on these roads did little to ease the congestion as vehicles made attempts to crawl out of the sea of traffic after taking their wards. Interestingly, study-conscious parents have not allowed children to sit back at home and most schools recorded normal attendance all through the “trying times”. 


Huge kundi losses in ‘elite’ sectors
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Losses through kundis

Area %age of power lost during distribution

Sector 9-C

Sector 18-A 31.5

Modern Housing Complex

Sectors 42 to 55 66

Chandigarh, August 27
Figures of line losses — largely occurring due to theft — in Sector 9-C, Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, Sector 18-A and Sector 42 to 55, have startled the Engineering wing of Chandigarh Administration. These are areas where the upper class and the middle class live. Contrary to popular belief it is not the slum dwellers or industrial users stealing maximum power.

A comprehensive plan to check all points has been drawn up and the situation will be reviewed on September 15 by the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda. As part of the drive the department is replacing defective and burnt meters. High capacity meters are to be installed to match the sanctioned load. All joints in the service cable, linking the pole with the meter, will be removed. Already as part of the drive, the department has started installing electronic meters in several areas to keep theft under control, sources said.

The facts came to light when the Engineering wing had taken a sample of four high-voltage feeders for random checking. This was done under a newly-developed computer programme for checking power theft.

Sources said though line losses could vary a bit due to transferring of load from one high-voltage feeder to another, however, the variation in figures could be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of what was the output from the software. In the areas Sectors 42 to 55 the department was startled that 66 per cent of the power was not just billed as it was lost. It was in these area that Attawa and Burail villages, colony number 5, besides various unauthorised slums and markets were flourishing. It was here that large scale kundis existed. The other startling fact was that 42 per cent of power in Sector 9-C was also lost in distribution.

This is the area where VIPs live and has one of the city’s trendiest market place. In the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, the line losses stood at 46.9 per cent. This was quite high but sources said several unauthorised housing colonies also drew power from the same feeder supplying power to the complex.

In the case study the losses were clearly a case of theft. Surprisingly in the Industrial Area, which has four sub stations, two high-voltage feeders in Phase I have losses of 1 per cent and 29.2 per cent, respectively. The others in phase II have losses of 8.57 per cent and 7.46 per cent.

Among other areas of high losses were the feeders emanating from the 66 sub station located in Main Secretariat, Sector 1. Here the losses stood at 34.87 per cent


PU students call off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The ongoing crisis of no-classes in Panjab University's Law Department finally came to an end with the Students Organisation of Panjab University and the Panjab University Students Union calling off the strike.

PUSU was earlier seeking the re-admission of its president Malwinder Singh Kang whose admission was cancelled because he allegedly failed to attend 33 per cent lectures in the first 10 days. the rival organisation, SOPU was, meanwhile, insisting that his admission should be cancelled as he had submitted a fake medical certificate.

Today the strike was called off after the university authorities reportedly assured that Kang would be given provisional admission. If his case was found to be fit, all other 34 similarly placed students would also be granted admission.

Regarding the allegations of a false medical certificate having been submitted by Kang, the authorities reportedly asserted that a probe would be conducted and provisional admission cancelled if the charges were proved.

An undertaking was also taken from the unions by Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath and other members of the committee specially constituted for the purpose that the final decision would be acceptable to both the parties.

The university had earlier asked the agitating students of the two unions to end their dharna. PUSU was insisting that it would not call off the ''dharna'' till the university announced a decision in its favour. SOPU, on the other hand, was claiming that it would not call off the ''dharna'' till PUSU did so. 


Three new road links between city, SAS Nagar opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The flow of traffic between Chandigarh and SAS Nagar will be smooth as three new road links between the two cities were inaugurated by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) today. The General also formally opened a green belt in Sector 48-A and promised that a green belt will be developed in Sector 47 within the coming months.

In a series of functions the General today inaugurated a dual carriageway on V3 road between Sector 52 and 53 along with a box type bridge on the seasonal rivulet. This road, including a bridge, was constructed at the cost of Rs.1.45 crore. Mr Karan A. Singh, Finance Secretary, informed the Administrator that with the opening of this road, traffic straight from the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Punjab and Haryana High Court and Assembly can move directly towards Mohali connecting Phase-III BI and Phase-VII of Mohali. This will also help facilitating the residents of Sector 52 and 61 of Chandigarh. He said that this would also open a direct link to 2nd ISBT Sector 43, thus reducing congestion on the Himalaya Marg leading to Aroma Hotel to quite an extent.

General Jacob asked the Finance Secretary to explore the possibility including this route, for the proposed trolley bus for Mohali. The Finance Secretary informed the Administrator that a cycle track had been planned on both sides of this road.

Later, the Governor also inaugurated the missing V3 link between Sector 55 and 56. This link has been constructed by removing 300 unauthorised jhuggies coming in the way of dual carriageway. The Chief Engineer informed the Administrator that Rs.55 lakh had been spent on this road and this road will help direct traffic towards Phase I, Phase II and Phase VI of Mohali and ease congestion of other congested roads.

General Jacob also visited the road east of sector 47 A and opened it for traffic. With this another road between Chandigarh and SAS Nagar had been opened. He said that this road has been constructed by filling the earth from 25 to 35 feet depth. He said that with the construction of this road link, the people coming from Shimla and going towards Mohali would not have to enter Chandigarh.

Later, the Administrator inaugurated the Green Belt in Sector 48 constructed by the Administration. General Jacob had visited this place on April 30, 2002, on a surprise visit and was appalled to see the condition of roads and absence of green belt. He had instructed the Chief Engineer to re-carpet the roads of 48 and 49 sectors. He had also ordered to construct a green belt for the residents of Sector 48.

General Jacob appreciated the efforts of Engineering Department for constructing the green belt in the sector.

The Chief Engineer informed the Governor that this is only green belt in the Chandigarh with a tubewell with sprinkler irrigation system. He said that the provision of lights, toilets and cafeteria are being made shortly in this green belt. The residents of the area complained to the Governor that these are being charged commercial rates for electricity supply. The Finance Secretary assured the residents that societies, which have installed their transformer and completed other facilities, would be issued regular electricity connection very soon.


Beating children blue and black

THERE is rampant violation of children’s rights in most schools in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, including certain prestigious schools in Sector 26. Despite a ban on corporal punishment, teachers at these schools resort to slapping, tweaking of ears and other harsh methods to ‘discipline’ children, often for trivial offences.

The Chandigarh Administration, it seems, has taken no steps to implement the law on corporal punishment, which is banned. It is only when a child is severely injured during beating at school that some action is taken. Often, parents do not approach the authorities till much damage is done.

It is, indeed, ironical that when Europe is in the process of drawing up a pet’s charter for the protection of their rights, our children continue to suffer indignities at the hands of teachers, who are to shape young minds and, hence, India’s destiny.


Students’ agitation

There is something quirky about a university’s society and culture that it handles its problems in ways different from the rest of society. Take the case of the recent spate of student unrest at Panjab University campus which gives a wrong impression that studies are being disrupted. Far from it. Most of students are very much involved in their studies.

These happenings need to be seen in their proper perspective. Students at the university level have, over the centuries, been a little more boisterous than their age-mates involved in professional pursuits. In European and American campuses, this gets expressed in distinctly anti-social activities involving the abuse of drugs, alcohol and much more in the name of enjoying themselves and letting their hair down.

Comparatively, the students at Panjab University are definitely a far more conservative, laid back, responsible and self-contained lot who do not impose themselves upon the surrounding society. Even in matters of agitational politics such as has been seen in the recent past, it goes to the credit of the students that their differences with the university administration have been over matters of interpreting rules and regulations of the university.

Sometimes such differences seem to be of such serious importance to some that they are willing to call them a fight against injustice, a search for a more equitable university or what have you. Hunger strikes, dharnas and so on seem to them the appropriate manner of forcing the authorities to concede to their demands. Most often authorities don’t. Yet the erroneous impression that gets carried by the outside society is that of continuous concessions. Often ex-students, with a continuing interest in university affairs become the sage advisers of such students, but that does not make much difference to how decisions are taken.

However, the basic point remains that university administrations, unlike other arms of the government, are routinely more understanding and forgiving of the activities of the students even when they verge on being intimidatory and criminal. But that is how universities are different from the rest of society and it behoves society to tolerate its quirks instead of deciding to use the might of the state to crush the spirit of the university students or to presume that the university administration is being unnecessarily forgiving and condemn it on that count. It is just that if the university’s way of handling its problem is different, it is no less effective.

M. RAJIVLOCHAN, Chandigarh

Milkfed as market leader

Brig Harwant Singh’s letter (Chandigarh Tribune, August 21) is incorrect and misleading. Apparently, the very concept and working of Milkfed and dairy cooperative societies are not clear to him. He has confused the issue of bonus by calling it as deferred payment. Payments are made separately up-to-date on 10 days’ basis by the organisation. It was decidedly bonus distribution function by the Ludhiana District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union in which the union distributed bonus to its member societies out of the profits earned by the union.

The union purchases milk from its member societies on kilogram basis and not on litres basis. True, 95 per cent of Milk Producers’ Cooperative Societies affiliated to various unions are in profit but to say that this profit is only on account of the weight-volume difference is wrong. In fact, it is one of the sources of profit of the society. The societies earn their profit from the commission being paid by the District Union against milk collection, the commission on the sale of cattle feed, ghee and other dairy products, the sale of sample milk and local sale of milk to its members and of the course, the weight-volume difference. Thus, the total profit of the societies is exceedingly very high, as compared to the weight-volume difference alone which is distributed among member producers at the end of the financial year as per the provisions of the society’s bylaws.

It would be worthy to mention that this system is being followed throughout the country under the Anand pattern system of functioning of cooperatives. This was also being followed by our predecessor body i.e. the Punjab Dairy Development Corporation with the only difference that while the benefit was flowing to the corporation then, the benefit is now shared by the member producers.

No commission is charged by Milkfed on the sale of liquid milk from any of the union. Only a very nominal service charge is paid by the unions towards marketing, technical and financial services provided by the Milkfed to its members unions.

It is incorrect to say that only two milk plants out of 11 are running in profits. Since 1996-97, nine out of 11 milk plants started earning profits. The overall profit of Milkfed and milk unions put together, was to the tune of Rs 5.36 crore. In the subsequent years, it rose to Rs 7.68 crore and Rs 9.98 crore. Due to overall depression in the milk products (ghee and milk powder) market, the financial position was weak which was unavoidable because of the market condition and product mix available with the federation. Such slump and its effect were suffered by the entire industry, not only the Milkfed Punjab. Some milk unions suffered losses. In the last financial year, even the milk plant at Sangrur recorded net profit in spite of unfavourable market conditions.

The figure of pouring by each member — 2.8 litres — is incorrect. Each of our member has supplied 4.6 litres of milk during the last year for which he earned an additional income of more than Rs 1,350 per month. This is a matter of record.

As regards the number of pourers, 75 per cent of members of the dairy cooperative societies are small and marginal farmers holding two or three animals. Not all animals give milk at times. As such, out of 3.75 lakh members, some 2.25 lakh members pour milk to the respective societies daily. It is not denied that a sizeable share of surplus milk is still being handled by middlemen, but there is a continuous growth of the societies. On date, our unions are procuring about 20 per cent of the marketable surplus as against 13 per cent five years earlier. This shows significant improvement in milk procurement despite mushrooming of private milk plants after liberalisation and subsequent registrations.

The figures of daily milk procurement by the member unions do not matter when we talk of average daily procurement. In any case, the industry has to face both the flush and lean seasons. Milkfed has never based its performance on a single day procurement in the flush season, but it is always on the basis of average of 365 days.

Milkfed is not a government body, but a farmers’ cooperative working on commercial lines. It is a commercial organisation and has to work for the welfare of its members as also protect the interests of the consumers to the extent possible by providing quality milk and milk products at reasonable prices. Undoubtedly, Milkfed is a market leader and others follow it for fixing the milk purchase price as also the sale price. What would have happened had Milkfed not been there? We leave it to the superior wisdom of our milk producers and the readers of The Tribune.

Dr B.M. MAHAJAN, Managing Director, Milkfed Punjab, Chandigarh


CBI solves murder mystery
Father, kin killed girl for marrying against their wishes
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has solved a one-year-old case of mysterious disappearance of a 19-year-old married girl of Pakhana village in Karnal. The girl, Rajdeep, who was reported missing from her parents’ house in November, 2000, was murdered by her father and uncles.

Investigation by the CBI sleuths revealed that the victim’s family was opposed to her affair and subsequent marriage to Amitoj Singh, a 22-year-old boy of Lal Khera village in Karnal. The families of the boy and the girl were distantly related.

The case was handed over to the Chandigarh unit of the CBI after the boy, Amitoj Singh, filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a probe into the disappearance of her wife from her parents’ house. As the facts unfoulded, gory details of the murder of the girl by her father and uncles came to light. After that, the victim’s body was covered in a jute sack and thrown in a feeder line of the Bhakara canal.

Two of the suspects in the case, Surinder Virk and Kulbir, paternal uncle and aunt, were about to escape from the country when a team of the special crime cell of the CBI, led by Inspector N.S. Raju, arrested them from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. The father and maternal grandfather of the victim, Manjeet Singh and Ajit Singh, have also been arrested. While, Manjeet Singh is in the custody of the CBI, three others: Surinder Singh, Kulbir and Ajit Singh have been sent to judicial custody by a special CBI court at Ambala.

The boy, Amitoj Singh, had stated that he had married the girl in the Sector 32 gurdwara in November, 2000, and came back on November 16, 2000, after the parents of the girl’s family promised to accept the marriage. The girl was taken back to her house on the basis of a written promise that she would return after a family function. But the girl did not return.

After searching for the girl, her husband filed a writ petition in the High Court. During the preliminary investigations, the girls relatives refused to have brought the girl from the boy’s house. Further investigating revealed that the girl was pressurised by her family to break the marriage failing which she would be killed.

Initially, the father of the girl said she had consumed some poisonous substance. The trail of the case took the sleuths to the Madbhubhan where body of a girl had been found in a canal on January 29, 2001. The post-mortem examination report matched the identity of the victim. The forensic report also confirmed the girl was murdered The father, grandfather, maternal grandfather, paternal uncle and aunt were found to be involved in the murder. The maternal uncle, Kalu, and grandfather are on the run.


Roadside cremation for Baltana dead
Kiran Deep

Zirakpur, August 27
For thousands of residents of Baltana and its surrounding areas, cremating the dead is turning out to be a horrifying experience. With the cremation ground (measuring about four acres) virtually lying unutilised due to massive growth of wild grass therein, Baltana residents are being forced to cremate dead bodies along the newly-built Baltana highway link road, much to their chagrin. More often than not, parts of the body lie scattered on the highway, causing immense pain and dejection to the near ones of the dead. Also, many a time, the families cannot even trace the ashes which sometimes blow away with every passing vehicle and sometimes get washed away in a heavy or even a mild shower.

Whereas voices of dissent have often been raised against the Zirakpur Administration, nothing has been done yet to put an end to the miserable state of affairs.

As for the cremation ground, it is being used for other purposes. Many villagers visit it to answer the call of nature. The Administration seems to be sleeping over the problem as there is no one in the ground to even maintain the record of number of bodies cremated. The issue is of serious nature in view of the fact that no data regarding deaths is being sent to the Department of Birth and Death.

Tribune investigations revealed that a number of bodies had been cremated along the road where skulls and bones were also visible. A visit to the cremation ground showed that there were hardly any space for cremating bodies. Moreover, two sheds built for the purpose of cremation in the middle of the ground, are also in a bad shape.

Residents said the cremation ground had been lying unused for the past many months. They said dense wild growth and lack of proper maintenance had resulted in the sorry state of affairs. It was further learnt that there was no arrangement for storing wood on the ground making the task of cremation tougher. A villager, Shanti, said, “Earlier, four acres of shamlat land was being used by the villagers for cremation. But about one-and-a-half years ago, the Administration constructed two sheds here. It, however, never cared to maintain these.”

Another villager, Manjit Singh, said due to lack of space, the residents had no better alternative than to take to roads for cremating the dead. “It is very painful and dejecting, but who cares?” he said.

A survey of the area revealed that the only proper place for cremation was far away from Baltana and was, thus, not a very easy choice. Due to financial constraints also, most villagers have not been taking the bodies to the other cremation place in Panchkula. Manjit Singh said apart from bearing the pain of having to cremate a near one on the road, people also have to compromise on the issue of gratifying religious sentiment.

While the dead continue to be disrespected, the local Administration seems to be in deep slumber. It is yet to be seen if it rises to take care of the ground. 


VB team visits MC office again
Seals accounts branch
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 27
A three-member team headed by the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), Department of Local Government, Punjab, made a surprise visit to the Municipal Council office here today.

It is learnt that the officials sealed the accounts branch because the officials concerned were not available as two of them had been arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau yesterday on charges of corruption.

Sources say that two sanitary inspectors, Mr G.S. Cheema and Mr Harinder Pal Singh, did not report at the council office the whole day though they had signed the movement register at about 8.15 a.m. today. None of them had submitted any leave application. It is important to mention here that the third sanitary inspector, Rajinder Singh, had been arrested along with other two employees yesterday after a raid had been conducted by the vigilance officials.

The Executive Officer of the council, too, had gone to attend a court case at the Director’s office in Chandigarh.

The CVO, Mr A.K. Kansal, accompanied by two vigilance officers, Mr Arshdeep Singh and Mr Raj Krishan, also checked the attendance and the movement registers of the council. Mr Kansal said the Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, was really upset to know about yesterday’s incident in which three employees of the council were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau. So he sent a team of officials here to check the records and find out the number of payments that were lying pending and since when.

Mr Kansal said he had directed the Additional Executive Officer (AEO) to find out why payments of earnest money, if any, had not been released and since when such payments were lying pending. He asked the AEO to give a report in this regard.

Mr Kansal said records were not found in order, action would be taken against guilty officials.


City Congress seeks CBI probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) here today sought a CBI inquiry into the alleged involvement of senior local BJP leaders in the transfer of a piece of land from DAV school in Dera Bassi for a song and money changing hands in the rehabilitation attempt of marble market.

“We will produce the person and records at an appropriate time to show the involvement of BJP leaders in these scams and a CBI inquiry could unearth it,’’ the CTCC president, Mr B. B. Bahl, told a press conference here today.

The CTCC president flanked by the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla and the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress president, Mr H.S. Lucky, said ‘’We have the person, who gave the money to BJP leaders in the marble market deal, ready to come on record.’’

The Congress, however, neither produced the ‘’person’’ who allegedly made the payment nor was his identity was disclosed.

When asked about the allegations the BJP local unit president, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, termed all allegations as “baseless and a ploy to justify and save the wrong allotment of land to the Heritage Society,’’ adding the “allotment will be cancelled.’’

Mr Mahajan said the Congress had started resorting to ‘mean tactics’ to save the piece of land allotted to the Heritage Society involving political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, Ms Ambika Soni, and the local MP Pawan Bansal.

The CTCC president further alleged that a senior BJP leader had been openly lobbying for the retention of a senior bureaucrat, whose integrity had been under cloud.

Mr Bahl accused the former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain, of providing funds from the MP local area development fund to an outfit associated with the RSS.

He charged a BJP office-bearer of being involved in a recruitment scam in the Technical Teachers Training Institute as chairman of the governing body.

The Congress, in a separate three-hour meeting attended among others by former Union Minister Venod Sharma, stood by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, in the wake of allegations of influencing authorities for the allotment of land for the Heritage Society. The Congress also took a decision to turn the heat on the BJP by deciding to improve co-ordination of councillors and office-bearers on jointly fighting on Municipal Corporation-Chandigarh Administration issues.

The Congress might now try to be more aggressive against the Chandigarh Administration on the issues of the people to target the Central Government that controls the Chandigarh Administration.


BJP denies trespassing on Heritage land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The BJP today denied that its activists and leaders had trespassed on Heritage Society’s land, defiled a ‘havan kund’, intimidated the attendant and took away a tent of the society as alleged by the local Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal.

The BJP local unit ad hoc committee convener, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, in a statement said that there was no ‘havan kund’ and tent at the site where the incident was reported to have occurred.

Mr Mahajan said the demonstration, against which Mr Bansal had filed a police complaint, was held in a peaceful manner in the presence of police personnel, asserting there was no trespassing.

The BJP convener said the BJP would take up the issue of land allotment under ‘influence’ at the national-level to ‘expose’ Congress leaders Ms Ambika Soni and Mr Pawan Bansal.

Mr Mahajan also said the issues related to the running of the Municipal Corporation would also be taken to the national-level to highlight how the Congress was imposing taxes on the people.

He said a protest on the issue would be held on August 29 in front of the Municipal Corporation office.

Mr Mahajan said the allotment of the school site at the cost of the local applicants was condemnable and the party would oppose it at every forum.


NCP demands Vidhan Sabha for UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party here today urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to bring a bill in Parliament for the creation of a Vidhan Sabha in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

A delegation of party leaders led by Principal Gurbachan Singh handed over a memorandum to the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob, to press for this demand.

The memorandum was addressed to the Prime Minister.

Before the submission of memorandum, the NCP activists took out a rally from the labour chowk to the Governor House.

Mr Jacob, according to the members of the delegation, had assured them of forwarding their memorandum to the Union Home Ministry. The memorandum said that considering the present population of the city, a Vidhan Sabha here was necessary. It further stated that the union territories of Pondicherry, along with others, already had Vidhan Sabhas.

In a separate 21-point memorandum, the party demanded the withdrawal of hike in water and electricity charges in the city. The memorandum demanded raising the recruitment age from 25 to 35 years, preference for the local youth in jobs, unemployment allowance, setting up a separate service commission for the UT and inclusion of ‘dhobi’ community in the Scheduled Castes category. It also sought a ‘kisan bhavan’ for the UT farmers. The party also demanded allotment of booths and plots lying vacant for several years to the poor of the city.

It also demanded that roadside workers be given identity cards to allow them continue their business.


Remove Naik, say Cong men
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 27
Congress workers of Panchkula today demanded that the Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, be removed for his involvement in the petrol pump scam.

This demand was made at a meeting of the party workers held under the leadership of Mr Chander Mohan, MLA from Kalka. Later, party workers submitted a memorandum to this effect to the Subdivisional Magistrate, Panchkula.

Party workers have alleged that tall claims of the National Democratic Alliance of giving a transparent, secular and judicious government had been belied time and again. They said that the Petroleum Minister had adopted a pick-and-choose policy even in the appointment of chairmen of oil companies and dealers selection boards.



Fingerprints identified
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 27
A fingerprint expert of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, New Delhi, Mr S.K. Chadha, today identified the fingerprints of the four accused alleged to be involved in the Beant Singh assassination case before the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S Bhalla, in a special court in Model Burail Jail. He also identified the car (DBA 9598) used by the four accused to reach the UT Secretariat on August 31, 1995. The car was placed outside the courtroom in Model Burail Jail.

Mr Chadha made a statement in the court that he along with other members of the team had collected the fingerprints from the rear view mirror and other parts of the car. Mr Chadha added that a team of members had taken the rear view mirror of the car in their possession and along with other articles after the blast. He added that later the fingerprints of the accused were matched with the fingerprints taken from the mirror. Mr Chadha said that he had identified the four accused, Gurmeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Jagtar Singh, Balwant Singh.


Dharna by PSIEC staff
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 27
Employees of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), in support of their demands, held a dharna in front of Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17, here today. The PSIEC Staff Association had reportedly submitted a list of their demands on August 12, but the association alleged the Managing Director had neither resolved the issue nor invited the association leaders for negotiation.

The association leaders, while addressing the dharna, threatened to intensify the agitation if the demands are not met. The main demand includes cancellation of mass transfers of Class III and IV employees. The association alleges that its leaders have been targeted and harassed under the ‘‘garb’’ of transfers. The leaders also alleged that on anonymous complaints, technical staff have been demoted and charge-sheeted. It has also been alleged that the association had filed written complaints against certain officials who are causing loss to the corporation, but no action has been taken against them.

The association leaders who addressed the dharna include Mr Gurdip Singh, chairman, Mr G.S. Oberoi, president, and Mr N. Marwari, general secretary.

Later, a memorandum to this effect was given to Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, member-secretary, Cabinet Subcommittee.


Makwana made BSP convener
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Mr Rajender Makwana was today appointed convener of the local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for supervising reconstitution of a permanent local unit.

This was announced here yesterday by the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council member and in charge of the Chandigarh and Haryana units, Mr Narendra Kumar Kashyap.

The Haryana unit president and another in charge of the Chandigarh unit, Mr Ashok Sherwal, was also present at the press conference. Mr Kashyap said permanent units of nine wards of the Municipal Corporation and six units at the village level had been constituted.

He announced the reconstitution of the state unit would be done in a month’s time after the constitution of the ward units was completed.

The BSP local unit headed by Mr Mataram Dhiman had been dissolved by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and party vice-president, Ms Mayawati, recently for fairing poorly in the Municipal Corporation and parliamentary elections in the past.



Rain lashes city areas
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 27
A heavy rain lashed parts of the city and its surrounding areas this afternoon. The sharp showers disrupted normal life for more than an hour.

Schoolchildren returning home were affected the most by the rain. However, for a large number of them, it was a time to have fun on the flooded city roads. The rain caught those employees unawares who go to take their lunch home and a significant number of them came late to the workplaces as they could not leave their homes till the downpour was reduced to a drizzle. Southern sectors for some time wore a flood-like look with most of the roads being waterlogged.


Half-day in UT, Mohali today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The Punjab Government today declared that its offices in Chandigarh and Mohali will remain closed for the second half (after lunch) on August 28. This has been done to enable employees to take part in “shoba yatra” that will be taken out to celebrate Janam Ashtami. Offices of government corporations and boards will also be covered under this order.


Two-year-old child’s fatal fall
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 27
A two-year-old child, Aanchal, died after she fell while peeping out of a first-floor window of her Sector 9 house today. The child received serious injuries on her head and was referred to PGI, where she succumbed to her injuries. She was the only child of her parents.

One killed: A motorcyclist, Pawan Kumar, was killed when he was hit by a truck (PB-12Q-9469) in Pinjore yesterday. The driver of the truck, later identified as Pratap Singh, ran away from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has seized 40 pouches of liquor from Shashi Pal in Chandi Mandir. In another incident, 10 bottles of country liquor were seized from Chaman Lal from near the Badana bus stand in Raipur Rani. In both cases FIRs under various sections of the Excise Act have been registered.

Fraud: The police has booked four directors of Reliance Bullock Drug Formulation, Industrial Area (Phase I), on charges of defrauding the Haryana Financial Corporation.

The manager of the HFC, Mr Atul Behl, has alleged that the directors, Mr B.K. Chawla, and his wife Sadhana; and Mr G.S. Gill and his wife Jasbir Kaur Gill, have defrauded them by selling off the raw material and machinery pledged with the HFC. The police has registered a case and begun investigations.

Theft: Mr Gurmukh Singh has complained that four truck tyres, one fan, one wall clock and cash worth Rs 10,000 was stolen from the Mauli Truck Union yesterday. A case under Section 458 of the IPC has been registered.

Two booked: The police has booked a truck driver, Nirmal Singh, ferrying sheep and goats and the contractor on charges of cruelty to animals. The accused was ferrying 125 animals in a truck (HR-37-7437).

Jawan ends life: A constable of the SSB, Battalion 16, L. Choubey (38), who was deployed at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, here ended his life by hanging himself from a tree near the court premises in the early hours today.

As per the suicide note found, he took the extreme step as he was mentally disturbed because his wife was suffering from cancer. Choubey had just returned after one-month vacation at his native place in Manipur. Police sources said that he committed suicide after his duty ended at 4 am.

Cartridges found: As many as 60 live cartridges were found from a pond in Maloya village yesterday. The police is yet to establish who had dumped the cartridges in the pond. The cartridges would be sent to the CFSL laboratory for examination. Meanwhile, a case under various sections of the Arms Act has been registered.

Theft cases: At least four cases of thefts, including that of Rs 45,000 stolen from a scooter dickey, were reported from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

A Panchkula resident, Mr Parveen Kumar, reported that Rs 45,000, which he had kept in the dickey of his scooter which was parked in Sector 8 parking lot, was stolen yesterday.

The Administrative Officer of the CSIO, Mr J.S. Meena, reported that 30 kg of aluminum costing Rs 8,000 was stolen from the Administrative Office premises.

An Indica car (CH-03-H-9688) of Mr Deepak Maria, a resident of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, was allegedly stolen from his residence last evening.

Mr Pritam Sharma, a resident of Sector 32, also reported that his Hero Honda motor cycle (JK-02-L-4200) was stolen from the Sector 20 parking lot yesterday.

Injured: A cyclist, Vikas Vashist, a resident of Baltana, Patiala district, was injured and admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after being hit by a truck in the Industrial Area (Phase I) here yesterday. A case has been registered.

Arrested: The police arrested Devta Deen, a rickshaw-puller from near Tagore Theatre allegedly for pulling the rickshaw on the wrong side of the road yesterday under Section 283 of the IPC. He was later released on bail.


Woman succumbs to burns
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 27
A 27-year-old woman, who tried to take her life yesterday by setting her clothes on fire after pouring kerosene on herself, died at the PGI, Chandigarh, today.

Rajni, a resident of Phase IV here, was referred to the PGI by the local Civil Hospital with 20 per cent burns.

It is reported that on the basis of a complaint made by Rajni’s father, the police registered a case under Sections 306 of the IPC against her mother-in-law.

In the complaint, the father had alleged that his daughter’s mother-in-law used to harass her which compelled her to take such a drastic step.


4 booked in clash case
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 27
The police has booked four youths for their involvement in a clash in which eight persons were injured, one of them seriously, outside the local Government College yesterday.

According to the police, Anil Bugga and Ashok Kumar of Zirakpur, Sukha of Banur and Paramjit Singh, alias Pamma, have been booked under Sections 323, 324, 341 and 506 of the IPC, on the complaint of Mr Gurdyal Singh, a college student. However, no arrest has been made so far.

It may be recalled that Mohammad Amzad, Sunil Kumar and Lakhbir Singh of Amandeep Singh group were seriously injured when some members of the Pamma group attacked them with daggers, iron rods and sticks during an election campaign in the college.

Seriously injured Paramjit Singh was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, while Mohammad Amzad and Sunil Kumar were given treatment in local Civil Hospital.


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