Saturday, October 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Villagers protest against IT park plan
Thousands stranded on Chandigarh-Panchkula road
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Chandigarh Administration’s proposed hi-tech Information Technology park in Kishangarh village received its first jolt as villagers of Kishangarh whose lands and houses are to be acquired protested against the IT park by blocking the busy Chandigarh-Panchkula highway here this morning to drive home their point.

As a result a traffic jam which lasted for more than an hour ensued holding up people on both sides. The only time the protesters relented was when they allowed a couple of ambulances to pass. Even the motorcade of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was caught in the jam.

The protesters had blocked traffic at the railway station traffic light point and this lasted no more than 30 minutes, causing jams with hundred of vehicles stranded.

While the queue of vehicles extended till the crossing at Panchkula, on the other side the jam was till the Grain market in Chandigarh. Since the blockade was affected around 10:30 a.m., the peak rush hour, thousands of people headed for either Panchkula or beyond were stranded. The daily commuters from Panchkula coming to Chandigarh on the other side were the worst hit.

Two days ago the Chandigarh Administration had issued a notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894, to acquire about 74 acres to Kishangarh village. This covers more than 75 per cent of the village abadi area also. The IT park is spread across 104 acres and several top IT companies of the country and abroad have shown keen interest the setting up base in Chandigarh.

The Gram Panchayat of the village today told mediapersons that they welcome the IT park as it is step towards development but would not allow any acquisition of their houses. The villagers said they were not seeking any enchanced compensation but only wanted the notification withdrawn. There is no other demand, they added.

Actually in the past decade several middle class people who could not afford houses in Chandigarh have built their homes in places like Kishangarh located on the north-eastern tip of the UT adjoining Mansa Devi complex area. The population of the village has gone up from a few hundreds to a few thousands. Several Class II and Class IV employees of Punjab and Haryana governments and Chandigarh Administration live in the village. The demography of the village has changed. What were once open fields today have been replaced with built up houses. 


12 Tibetans arrested
Our Correspondent

Admn’s attitude ‘racist’

The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Chandigarh has accused the Chandigarh Administration and the police of indulging in “racism” as the police today picked up several students belonging to various communities. It was further stated that the demonstration, like any other activity of the RTYC, was meant to be completely peaceful.

Chandigarh, October 4
After being caught unawares by the Tibetan students at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, here yesterday, the local police today arrested 12 of them, including six girls, from different parts of the city. They were later remanded in 14-day judicial custody. More students were likely to be arrested as more raids were being carried out, the police said.

Those arrested were shouting slogans against the Chinese rule in Tibet while being taken to a city court. The police had raided various hostels, paying-guest accommodations and eateries in the city to arrest these students. According to police sources, at least 200 youths were rounded up, including a large number of those from the north-eastern states. However, all of them, except 12 Tibetans, were later let off.

The raids started late last night and continued till afternoon. Cops also raided hostels in various city colleges, besides some houses in various sectors.

It may be mentioned here that a group of about 60 Tibetans, under the banner of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Chandigarh, yesterday held a demonstration against the Chinese rule in Tibet by forcibly entering the museum minutes before Chinese Ambassador to India Hua Junduo was to inaugurate a photo exhibition on Chinese monuments.

In the ensuing fracas, the protestors were lathicharged resulting in injuries to two of them.

One of the protesting Tibetans while speaking from an undisclosed destination, later told Chandigarh Tribune that their protest was against the exhibition as it aimed at promoting Chinese culture, while that of Tibet was being ruined. A case under Sections 147, 149, 341, 427 and 506 of the IPC has been registered. 


Rose Garden issue: Admn seeks time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Save Rose Garden campaign launched by a city advocate trudged ahead with counsel for the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh requesting the Punjab and Haryana High Court to grant two days time for informing the Judges about the decision to shift the venue of agitation.

After hearing counsel, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, also fixed October 8 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Appearing before the Bench, counsel for the Administration, on the last date of hearing, had stated that effective steps for shifting the protest venue would be taken soon after the conclusion of the farmers’ agitation.

This, counsel had added, would be done to avoid damage to ecology in general, besides the Rose Garden and the Shanti Kunj in particular. He had further stated that the Adviser to the Administrator had been contacted in this regard and the assurance had come from him.

Counsel had further submitted that the Administration would also get in touch with authorities in Punjab and Haryana for the provision of mobile toilets. The High Court had, before that, directed the Administration and the corporation to take adequate and effective measures against damage to the Rose Garden by the agitating farmers.

The directions were issued on a petition filed by the advocate seeking directions for shifting the venue of rallies and dharnas from road dividing Sectors 16 and 17 to some alternate site, besides maintaining the cleanliness of the Rose Garden and the Shanti Kunj.

The Bench had also asked the authorities to inform the Court about the steps being taken for providing basic amenities to the farmers on one hand and preventing further damage to the gardens on the other. In his petition, the advocate had added that the authorities should be directed to provide amenities like water and mobile toilets to the agitating farmers. 


No end in sight to motorists’ woes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Vehicles in the city seem destined to continue their bumpy ride on the Municipal Corporation-maintained roads with just 600 km of a total of 1500 kilometres of roads being carpeted during the past 69 months since the corporation came into being.

The corporation is now only left approximately with Rs 1.6 crore to recarpet about 900 kilometres of roads in addition to those 100 kilometres of roads which had been completed five years back and need to be recarpeted again.

The corporation had a budget of Rs 3.8 crore in the present fiscal.

Unless the Corporation is able to increase its performance of recarpeting about 300 kilometres per year, three times the present rate, condition of roads cannot be improved, an expert said. The figure of 300 km has been reached on the basis of technical parameters requiring every road to be recarpeted every five years.

Mani Majra had a Rs 40 lakh separate allocation and colonies Rs 25 lakh. Around Rs 29.65 lakh of rupees have already been spent in Mani Majra with Mauli Jagran having cornered a lion’s share.

Mauli Jagran is one of the those few lucky areas along with Sector 23 where more than 90 per cent of roads have already been recarpeted.

Sector 17 where roads had been ignored for years seems to be rewarded for its acceptance of paid parking with the Corporation having already spent Rs 35 lakh on recarpeting of its roads and parking lots.

Chairman of the Road Committee Pardeep Chhabra said Sector 17 would get an additional allocation of Rs 50 lakh for the remaining parking lots and roads to be recarpeted.

He said the committee would ensure that the prime sector of the city got the entire amount of nearly Rs 1 crore to be collected from the parking contract.

In addition, the heart of the city would also get an allocation of Rs 10 to 15 lakh for improving its streetlighting, he said.

The Chairman conceded that despite putting the whole parking money for the development of the sector, works worth around Rs 10 lakh would still remain to be done.

Southern sectors remain ignored and are still likely to face the cash crunch for the repair of its roads.

Rehabilitation colonies probably can not expect anything fresh because the entire budget allocation of Rs 25 lakh is only being spent on the already approved roads.

The Corporation has yet to make payments amounting to Rs 26.25 lakh to contractors.

Despite a tight fiscal position, the Road Committee had been very benevolent having already passed roads worth Rs 3 crore.

Interestingly, the decisions taken by road committees since 1999 seem to be of no relevance as they had passed roads amounting to 3.5 crore in division number two alone.

Despite the shortage of funds, the committee is saddled with social obligations of recarpeting the parking lots of Sectors 21, 27 and 28 from where scooter and motor markets were shifted.

The committee also faces a threat of having to forego the amount approved from the Ward Development Fund of councillors.

Even main roads of Sector 17 like the one on the bridge, in front of K C cinema hall, in front of the district court, from Parade Ground to the new hotel site and from Fire Brigade to State Bank have not yet been recarpeted.

Parking lots near Jagat, KC, General Post Office and electricity office have also been left untouched and remain to be done.

The Road Committee is now thinking of re-prioritising the already approved roads in the wake of funds available.

However, Mr Chhabra said the committee would try to take a share from the additional grants to be released, Rs 30 to 35 lakh to be collected from taxi operators, dues of bus operators, 141 of whom owe the Corporation about Rs 20,000 each and dues of cable operators running into tens of lakhs.


Gujral gets extension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Prime Minister’s Office today cleared two-year extension of the UT Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral. A formal letter in this regard is expected to be issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday, sources said.

The MHA is the controlling ministry of the Union Territory and all appointments and postings are made through it.

The Chandigarh Administration had sought his extension on the plea of maintaining continuity in running the Administration. Mr Gujral is a Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1976 batch.


Tackling virus threat to vultures
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Pinjore, October 4
Avian experts will soon have an answer to reasons for the extinction of white-backed and long-billed vultures the world over. They have been able to isolate the virus from tissue samples of diseased birds and are now trying to type it.

Once these viral strains are typed, the scientists will finally be able to find the virus causing sudden death of the two above mentioned species of vultures — the main scavengers in the Indian sub- continent. The tissue samples of sick vultures all over the country are now being typed in a laboratory in Pune, informed Dr Vibhu Prakash, Principal Project Investigator, Bombay Natural History Society.

Experts say there has been more than 95 per cent decline in the population of the two species of vultures during the past 10 years in the Indian sub-continent alone. Experts say as compared to millions of vultures found in this region of Asia, the population of white- backed vultures is estimated to be between 3000 and 5000, while that of the long-billed species is now between 7000 and 8000.

Colonies of vultures have been sighted in Ferozepore district of Punjab, Morni hills (Badisher and Samlesan Devi) and Pinjore in Panchkula, near village Uchana in Jind district , Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary in Yamunanagar, at various places in Rajasthan, Bihar, Assam and West Bengal during the past couple of months.

However, avian experts have observed that the vulture, after it has laid eggs and young ones come out, die because of extreme exhaustion in rearing the young ones. The young vultures, too, die thereafter. They say post-mortem of dead vultures have consistently revealed symptoms of infectious disease of viral origin.

This viral disease is not just restricted to the Indian sub-continent. This has spread in vultures found in Europe and in wildlife sanctuaries and safaris of Africa, besides the vulture population of Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the first Vulture Breeding and Disease Diagnosis Centre in Asia, coming up in village Jodhpur, near here, has finally been completed. This is a joint venture of the Bombay Natural History Society and the state government.

Dr Vibhu Prakash informed they had now begun capturing vultures from different parts of the country. Till now two vultures — one from Bharatpur in Rajasthan and other from Akola in Maharashtra — have been captured.

As many as 20 pairs of vultures will be caught by wildlife experts from different states. The vultures will be caught from Kalesar, Morni, Palwal and Hodal in Haryana, besides different places in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh,West Bengal, Maharashtra, Assam and Nagaland.

After the vultures are caught, they will be kept in eight isolation pens constructed at the centre. Once it is sure these vultures do not have any viral disease, they will be released in holding pens and the flock will be monitored. Till the time they are kept at the centre, even diet samples will be thoroughly examined so as to ensure that the birds manage to avoid catching the viral disease.Back


Group flays CM on SYL issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Chandigarh chapter of the Sikh Core Group here today expressed its disillusionment with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s failure to take measures to protect the state’s right in the SYL case in the Supreme Court.

Principal G.S. Shergill, Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Mr Gurdev Singh, a retired IAS, Brig Gurdeep Singh (rtd), Dr Gurmeet Singh, Maj-Gen Jaswant Singh (rtd), Dr Kharak Singh and Dr Kirpal Singh today discussed the issue of dispute on the Punjab river waters.

The group said it had a meeting with Chief Minister on July 29, 2002 where it was decided that a comprehensive case would be prepared on the basis of a memorandum submitted by the Sikh Core Group in June.

It said the Chief Minister had given instructions on July 29 to set up a monitoring committee and an advisory committee to pursue the case regularly and watch its progress.

The group noted that no follow-up action had been taken on the decisions of the July 29 meeting saying that the failure to present a cogent legal representation on the case in the apex court would be disastrous for Punjab.


Missing child reunited
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
A five-year child, Ravinder, who was found wandering alone by the police in the Punjab Engineering College on September 11, was today united with his family. According to the police the ‘Child Line’ of the Paediatrics Department, PGI, played a major role in locating the parents of the child.

Ravinder was found by the PGI police post personnel, who in turn informed the Child Line. Workers of the Child Line took over the child and kept him at Pingalwara, a destitute home in Palsora village here. Photo of the child appeared in the media. After reading the report, Ms. Pooja Khanna, assistant Secretary, Indian Council for Child Welfare, reportedly recalled that a migrant couple had sometime ago approached her for helping them in tracing their missing child.

She informed the Child Line, which later contacted the couple. Workers of the Child Line and the couple were called in the Women and Child Helpline of the police. After a thorough enquiry, the child was handed over to the couple, Mr Rajbir Singh and Ms Krishna.

The police said Ravinder had gone out to play along with his elder brother Rakesh (7) on September 11 and the two lost contact on the way. While Rakesh returned home, his younger brother went missing. A report was registered with the police.

The Father of the child is a rickshaw-puller, who lives in Gobindpura village, Mani Majra, along with his wife and three children.


Police to undertake career counselling
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
With an aim to encourage youths to join the police, the city police will undertake a career counselling session from Sunday in connection with recruitment of 200 constables. Ten city colleges and four villages will be covered under the counselling exercise.

The police department in association with the Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, had conducted a similar counselling session during last recruitment drive of constables and the response was encouraging. During the last recruitment drive, 80 per cent of the recruits were graduates and three of them were postgraduates. Most of them were in the age group of 20 to 25 years.

This was stated by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ajay Kashyap at a press conference here today. Two students of the Dev Samaj College of Education, Swati and Manjeet Gupta, would conduct the counselling.

Four villages, Khuda Lahora, Burail, Kajheri and Dhanas, will be covered on Sunday and the colleges in the next three days.

This time a total of 200 constables will be recruited, including 30 women. The last date for submission of forms is October 18, physical test will be conducted between November 25 and November 29. Written test will be held on November 15. The result of the test will be declared on December 18. Interviews of successful male candidates will be held on December 20 and that of the female candidates the next day. The final result will be announced on the same day.


PFA organises camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
People for Animals, (PFA), Chandigarh chapter, organised a pet-care camp on the occasion of the World Animals Day at its pet clinic in Sector 11 here today. Various facilities were provided to pet owners at discounted rates, including a variety of pet products and accessories.

Free anti-rabies vaccine was a major attraction for which 70-80 animals were brought to the camp. Consultation was provided to all pet owners free of cost. A free mobile veterinary camp was organised at Sector 25 Kumhar Colony. Nearly, 40 to 50 animals were treated by PFA volunteers. Later, a new animal wing for the injured birds and rabbits was inaugurated at the PFA hospital.

Besides, a booklet containing 15 poems in Hindi regarding the significance of different living creatures and forests was released. The booklet inspires all to care for other creatures, be a vegetarian, avoid animal products like fur and leather, save the environment, grow more trees and avoid reckless driving and unnecessary killings.

SAS Nagar: In a camp organised on the occasion of World Animal Day by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal's local unit, over 155 dogs, including stray canines, were immunised against rabies and other infections.

According to a press note, a mobile team of veterinarians and volunteers moved about in a vehicle provided by the Municipal Council for immunising stray animals after locating them.

Stressing upon the problem of stray cattle and dogs, the SPCA President, Dr R.M. Sharma criticised the public in general, besides PUDA for "negative" attitude towards the welfare of the animals. Its honorary general secretary Dr Kanwarjit Singh, added that it was the responsibility of every resident to stop the exploitation of animals.



Now, revolving effigies for Dasehra
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
With Dasehra just around the corner, the artisans all over the city have started the process of erecting the effigies of Ravana. For the first time, perhaps, you will see revolving effigies.

If you want to see workers giving final touches to the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarn and Meghnath, go to the Panjab University campus. Just behind the university market, you can see them working for hours at a stretch to prepare the effigies.

Raj Kumar Sharma is busy with his unique creation. Hailing from Dhuri in Punjab, Sharma has put in all his efforts and experience in making revolving effigies. A city-based organisation will reportedly pay about Rs 35,000 for the effigies. But Sharma’s job will not end after the effigies have been set up. Soon after finishing his job here, he will go to Ludhiana and then to Amritsar for erecting effigies with the help of newspapers, bamboo shafts, crackers and clothes. 


Pension issue: Jain meets Joshi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP and member of the Panjab University Syndicate, on Wednesday met Dr M.M. Joshi, Union Human Resource Development Minister, and urged him to review the decision of refusal of pension scheme to employees of the university.

The meeting took place at the residence of Dr Joshi, according a press note.

Mr Jain told Mr Joshi that by now almost all universities in the country had adopted and implemented the pension scheme. The Senate adopted the scheme a long time back but because of several reasons confusion in the date of implementation being one of them, the matter is still pending with the government. Mr Joshi assured Mr Jain to look into the matter.


Chandikrit-2002 begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Chandikrit — 2002, an annual exhibition to showcase products of the local industry, started in Sector 17, here today. It was inaugurated by Secretary Industries, Mr G.K. Marwah.

The exhibition, an annual feature since 1987, is a build-up for participation in the India International Trade Fair which is held in Delhi every year from November 14 to November 27. Schoolchildren presented a colourful programme at the inaugural function.

There are about 3,000 small-scale industrial units in Chandigarh, a part from the 15 medium and large-scale units. About 60 stalls have been set up in the exhibition. Mr Marwah visited various stalls. He showed keen interest in pottery, electrical, electronics and handicrafts items.

The Department of Industries will organise an on-the-spot painting competition on Saturday which will be followed by a quiz contest on Sunday.


BJP leaders to visit villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
BJP leaders and workers will visit Khuda Alisher, Khuda Lahora and Khuda Jassu on Sunday as part of their “Gaon Chalo Abhiyan”, which was launched in the city from Kaimbwala village by BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

BJP Kisan Morcha president Harbhajan Singh Kajheri, general secretary of the morcha Gurdeep Singh, the Zila Parishad chairman Darshan Singh, Market Committee director Ram Vir Bhatti, Panchayati Raj Cell president of the party Shingara Singh, Hallo Majra panch and Kisan Morcha national executive committee member Baljit Singh claimed in a press note that the “abhiyan” had been successful in the first phase.

They said the campaign had been able to improve the social base of the party and had given an opportunity to the party leaders to understand problems of villagers.

They said the party would also inform people about various developmental measures undertaken by the NDA government.


CMs to lay Law Bhavan’s stone
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
The foundation stone of Law Bhavan; to be constructed at a cost of Rs 2.18 crore, will be laid by the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, Capt Amarinder Singh, and Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, on October 5 in Sector 37-A, near Ambedkar Bhavan, according to a press note of the chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu.

Mr C.M. Munjal, secretary of the Bar, said the bhavan would have five wings — administrative, guest house, banquet hall and law college. He said the amount spent on its construction would be met from the building fund.


Creche owner booked
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
The police has booked the owner of a Sector 19 creche, Sunita, after a boy, who had fallen from the roof of the creche, succumbed to his injuries in a local hospital here on Thursday.

According to the police, Yog Raj, son of Mr Rajesh Sehgal of Sector 48, had been admitted to the creche owned by the lady a few months ago. He fell from the roof of the creche and succumbed to his injuries.

The police has registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC against Sunita. However, no arrest has been made so far. 


ASI hurt as gun goes off
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
An Assistant Sub Inspector of UT Police, Mr Parminder Singh, who was on training at Commando Training Centre in Chandimandir, was seriously injured when a gun went off in his hand.

He was immediately rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6 here and was discharged after a minor surgery. The police has ruled out any foul play in the incident.

Two arrested
Deep Kumar and Pradeep Kumar were arrested by the police on charges of commiting affray in Sector 18 yesterday. A case under section 160 of IPC has been registered.

One held
The police arrested Narendra Pal from Modern Housing Complex, Chandigarh, on charges of being involved in a case of vehicle thieves. 


Two scooters stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
Two scooters have been stolen from two separate places in the city in the past two days.

According to the police, an LML Vespa scooter (CH-01N-3100) was stolen from a newspaper office in Sector 25 on Thursday morning, while another Vespa scooter (CH-01-Q-0624) was stolen from Air port parking on Tuesday.

The police said Mr Dev Nath Sharma, a resident of Sector 25 and owner of the scooter CH-O1N-3100, had complained that he found his vehicle missing from the rear end of the newspaper office in Sector 25.

Another complainant, the owner of the scooter CH-01Q-0624, Mr Ravi Sharma of Tribune Complex in Raipur Khurd village, complained that his vehicle was stolen from the Airport parking on Tuesday.

Cases under Section 379 of the IPC have been registered.

Rs 12,500 stolen
A sum of Rs 12,500 was stolen from the glove compartment of a scooter that was parked in front of the State Bank of Patiala office in Sector 8 in broad daylight here on Thursday.

The police said Mr S.P. Sharma, of Guga Mari Mandir in Budanpura village in Sector 15 of Panchkula, had complained that he had parked the scooter in front of the bank before it was stolen.

A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

In another case of theft, some unidentified persons stole the spare wheel of a Kinetic Honda that was parked in Sector 34 market on Thursday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered by the police on the complaint of Mr Mohit Kumar, a resident of Sector 45.

Three booked
In a case of threat to death and grievous hurt, the police has registered a case against three motor cycle-borne youths on the complaint of Mr Boujlas B Macaulay, a Canadian citizen.

In his complaint with the police, Mr Macaulay, a resident of Sector 42, had alleged that three unidentified youths had beaten him up and threatened him of dire consequences.

The police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323 and 506 of the IPC against the three.

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