Saturday, November 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Flats for oustees at cheap rates
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service


  • Planning commission lays down more flexible guidelines for spending money.
  • Admn wants to use a sum to fund a housing project of 5000 rural families.
  • These families were uprooted 30 years ago for the development of the city.
  • National Commission of minorities had told Administration to do the maximum for uprooted people.
  • Villagers want very high subsidy on the lines of what is being offered for slum dwellers.

Chandigarh, November 29
As many as 5,000 families of villagers who were ousted more than 30 years ago to develop the second phase of the city (Sectors 31 to 47) Industrial Area and to expand the airport in the city will now have to pay a nominal cost for owning flats which are to come up under a special rehabilitation scheme for them in Sector 63 ( near the PCA stadium in Phase IX, SAS Nagar).

The Planning Commission, on a request of the Chandigarh Administration, has sent a report on how certain guidelines for the usage of funds under the Pradhan Mantri Gramaodaya Yojana have been changed. The Administration is also keen to adopt the guidelines with a view to help these families and reduce the cost of flats as a special gesture, according to sources.

Under the new guidelines the Planning Commission had told the Administration that it enjoys total flexibility to decide the allocation of grants under additional central assistance as per their own plan priorities and discretion. The six main parameters still are — primary education, primary health, safe drinking water, rural shelter, rural electrification and nutrition.

Initially the Administration had said the flats for the oustees would come at a price. However, a subsidy component was thought in some manner, said top sources in the Administration. This formula was rejected by the Pind Bachao Committee, a body leading these villagers. The argument was that rehabilitation colonies for illegal slums were given almost free of cost.

In the past three decades, the Chandigarh Administration has rehabilitated several thousand migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, it is for the first time that villagers with Punjabi background who had been evicted for the development of city were being rehabilitated under some policy. As of date, no policy exists and this was admitted by the Chandigarh Administration in the Lok Adalat during a hearing last year.

In this case, the matter has been tragic as residents of 11 erstwhile villages — Shahpur ( now Sector 38), Bijwara ( Sector 35), Faidan (Sector 47), Karsan (Ram Darbar), Datarpur (airport), Bair Majra (airport), Madhrian (Sector 34), Jaipura (Industrial Area), Chuharpur, Kanthala, Bhaktapur-Bijwari — were uprooted without being issued even an oustee’s declaration certificate. These villages made way for posh sectors. Several acres of shamlat land were acquired without any compensation, allege villagers.

The biggest blow to the psyche of the villagers was that the lands acquired by the Chandigarh Administration from these 11 villages was also used to establish rehabilitation colonies for slum-dwellers besides development of sectors.

The Pind Bachao Committee in the past has alleged racial discrimination at the hands of the Chandigarh Administration. Already the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has passed instructions to the Administration to do the maximum for the uprooted families.

The villagers have been demanding that flats for the uprooted villagers be allowed under 100 per cent subsidy so as to make it special dispensation regarding cost treating base year of price factor as 1966. A minimum 2 bed room for the 5,000 families must be as special dispensation at maximum price of Rs 5000 as 25 per cent before possession and at the rate of Rs 100 per month as maximum installment for the number of years a person stays in the house.

After the fresh guidelines the subsidy component for the flats can now be decided.



Missing boy strangulated
Tribune News Service


  • Fourth killing in Chandigarh in the last 13 days.
  • As many as 28 cases of murder reported so far this year.

Chandigarh, November 29
A six-and-a-half-year-old boy, who went missing from his Sector 32 home on last Wednesday, was today found dead at a secluded place along the Dakshin Marg in Sector 29 here. The victim, Nihal, had apparently been strangulated before being dumped there.

The police believes that the victim had been tortured as a portion of the left ear of the victim was missing. A futile attempt had been made to deface the victim’s face by burning the upper part of the body.

Grieving family members of six-year-old Nihal, whose dead body was found at Sector-29 in Chandigarh
Grieving family members of six-year-old Nihal, whose dead body was found at Sector-29 in Chandigarh on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Mr Ram Pal, who works as a car mechanic in Sector 23, said a missing complaint had been lodged at the Sector 34 police station the day the boy went missing. A case of kidnapping had been registered only last evening after the victim’s family protested against police inaction in searching the boy.

Enquiries reveal that Nihal alias Ishu, a class II student at Sector 32 Government School, returned from school at around 2.30 pm and left home for playing after changing clothes. The father of the boy said that the boy behaved very strangely when he left home. He said that though he had no enmity with anyone, his son had been intentionally targeted. “We suspect that the boy had been picked up by someone known to the family”, said the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, while not ruling out the possibility of the boy becoming a victim of witchcraft.

No circumstantial evidence was found on the spot to suggest that the victim had been strangulated there. A police official said the assailants had tried to burn the corpse. It could also not be ascertained whether kerosene had been used to set the victim’s body ablaze. A rusted plastic water bottle was found near the spot. Though the autopsy report of the body is awaited, it appeared that the boy had been strangulated yesterday.

The boy was first sighted by some kids who informed Mr Rustam Ahmed, an employee at a Sector 29 mosque. It was Rustam who called the Police Control Room. An elder brother of the boy, Atul, said the Nihal had not accompanied him back from the school and also did not attend the evening tuition class that day. The victim’s mother, Manisha, who works at a beauty parlour was at home when the boy left home.

The SSP said police was working on two theories. A case of murder and kidnapping has been registered. Some persons were questioned by the police but without any clue.

Did Nihal became a victim of witchcraft or family enmity?

A missing portion of the left ear of the victim corroborates the theory of the victim being done to death by someone practicing witchcraft. If the family of the boy is to be believed, Nihal was under some influence and behaved very strangely the day he went missing. He did not take his lunch and left home without much talking.


HUDA to develop plots in Panchkula Extension
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
The near total failure of group housing societies in Panchkula Extension here has jolted Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). It now proposes to develop the land allotted to group housing societies here as residential plots.

Sources in the Town and Country Planning Department, HUDA informed TNS that a decision to develop these plots, earlier allotted to group housing societies, as residential plots of varying sizes — 1 kanal, 14 marla and 10 marlas — had been taken during a high-level meeting earlier this week and presented to the higher authorities in Town and Country Planning Department for approval.

Officials say with almost 93 per cent of these group housing societies in Sectors 23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 surrendering their plots to HUDA over the past one year, the development of these sectors has been stalled. Of the 139 such plots allotted in the above- mentioned sectors, 129 have been surrendered.

Though group housing societies had so far proved to be unpopular here, the authorities had hoped for a reversal in these sectors. However, the mysterious cracks near Nadda choe that appeared in January, 2001, created a fear psychosis and a and a lot of plot holders, especially group housing societies, began to surrender the plots.

Group Housing Societies which have surrendered plots in various sectors of Panchkula Extension.

In fact, other than in Mansa Devi Complex here, the concept of group housing societies has not picked up. Even in Sector 20 here, most of these societies are still unoccupied. Though HUDA has now made efforts to woo residents for group housing schemes by offering sops in terms of increasing floor area ratio (from 150 square meters to 300 square meters), decreasing the size of plot for a society (from 1 acre to 0.5 acre) and certain other changes in registration (as compared to 40 members required for registration earlier, only 20 are required now), it is unlikely to have an impact in Panchkula Extension. Thus, it has been decided to develop the land allotted to societies in Panchkula Extension as residential plots, said a senior official with the Town and Country Planning Department.

HUDA had created the much-publicised Panchkula Extension — sectors 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 — across the Ghaggar. Eight years down the line, HUDA has failed to evoke a good response for its development. While a large number of allotees of residential plots in Sectors 27 and 28 have reportedly surrendered their plots to HUDA, the frequent enhancement costs imposed on plot holders in Sectors 25 and 26 (almost 53. 20 per cent increase in price since the allotment) have led to the situation with a number of sellers and no buyers.


PU in a fix over students’ attendance
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
As the plot of lecture shortage at the Law Department thickens, Panjab University is poised to be trapped in a Catch-22 situation over cases more than 30 lectures short of the required number.

The number of students caught in the lecture shortage position is high. As many as 124 fall short of lectures in the first semester alone. As many as 214 candidates are short of lectures in the combined total of third and fifth semesters. While the department is allowing candidates who are short by 30 lectures according to “special powers” those above 30 lectures short will have to chalk out alternative avenues.

In the third and fifth semester lists there are cases where students are short of as high as 186 lectures. Some other cases include shortage of 121, 122, 149, 150, 168 and 176 lectures. In the first semester there are students who are short of as high as 176 lectures.

Department officials said the candidates who were short by 30 lectures were being allowed by the department to appear in the examination according to powers vested. The candidates visiting the department are giving the excuse of cultural events, sports or disciplines medical certificates.

The problem will get complicated in cases where the number of lectures short is high because earlier the Vice-Chancellor and the Syndicate had special powers to condone lectures over and above the department concessions. These powers have now been withdrawn.

A senior professor said most cases were in the category of shortage less than 30 lectures and so there should be no major problem. However, a student said the number of lecture short cases above 30 lectures was pretty high and the department would have a tough time. It could even face a student agitation because one of the candidates under question for lecture shortage was Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council.

Kang has presented himself before the department committee on the lecture issue. However, the department is yet to announce its final decision. He is likely to submit a representation to the department and the Vice-Chancellor seeking condonation of his shortage (86 lectures) on grounds that he was medically unfit; spent about a month in jail during student agitation; and was busy in organising events like tours and cultural events.

The department sources, however, said the medical and other grounds for relaxations were covered under the limit of 30 lectures and so there was no question of a further relaxation.

A senior faulty member said under the existing situation it would not be a surprise even if the university allowed all lecture short cases. As far as withdrawing the powers of the Syndicate and the Vice-Chancellor to condone lecture shortage was concerned, the university Senate might restore the powers.

A research scholar said this would not be the first case, as there were several instances when the rules were bent to allow concessions.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, in a press note here today said the university could not implenent the attendance requirement of 75 per cent, according to a circular of the University Grants Commission.


Burglaries bare chinks in police patrolling
Tribune News Service

Changes in the patrolling pattern

Certain changes in the patrolling pattern in the city is on the cards. The move follows sensational serial burglary at 10 shops in markets of Sectors 34, 35 and 45 yesterday. Items worth Rs 60,000 had been stolen from the shops by armed miscreant. The Administrator of UT, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today instructed the IGP to intensify night patrolling in the southern sectors and apprehend the robbers. Meanwhile, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, has condemned yesterday's incident of burglary.

Chandigarh, November 29
The sensational serial burglary at 10 shops in markets of Sectors 34, 35 and 45 yesterday has once again raised questions on the role of 65-odd Police Control Room (PCR) vehicles stationed at pre-determined points in the city.

The deployment of the PCR gypsies and motorcycles is telling on the night patrolling in the city. While police officials maintain that the PCR vehicles were basically to instill confidence among the people, residents demand that the vehicles instead of changing their static location after every three hours should be taking rounds of the residential and commercial areas in coordination with the understaffed beat staff of respective police stations.

A better coordination between the PCR staff and the beat staff of the 11 police stations in the city was the need of the hour.

As per the prevailing practice, the role of the PCR vehicles was to react after an incident has taken place by reaching a spot and informing the reserve officer of the respective police station. Sources say that the force in the police stations was woefully short and often put on miscellaneous duties. Not denying that the beat staff had to be pulled up, a police official said that static points of the PCR vehicles helped the criminals in selecting their escape routes.

“A system should be evolved wherein the PCR vehicles should be constantly on the move after brief intervals. Coupled with surprise checking, the deployment pattern of the vehicles should be changed after every few days to ensure that there was no laxity on part of the cops”, said a police official on the condition of anonymity.

Investigations by the TNS reveal that there were order to the PCR’s not to change their location from 12 am to 5 am. A PCR gypsy was given 10 litres of petrol for a day, depending on the duty and 2.5 litres was given for motorcycle.



Admn, NTPC sign power pact
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, November 29
In order to meet the power demand and to combat any sort of power crisis in the city, the Chandigarh Administration today signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for five projects, namely, Kahalgaon STPS Stage-II, North Karanpura STPS, Barh STPS, Dadri-II and Unchahar-III.

With Chandigarh having no power generation of its own the requirement of power, is being met from purchased power from various sources channeled through the Northern Region Electricity Board (NREB). The demand for power in Chandigarh has risen from a mere 1.38 lakh units per day to close to 30 lakh units today. The anticipated demand by the end of year 2006 has been worked out as 273 MW considering 10 per cent rise every year. At present the allocation per season varies between 170 and 190 mega watt.

Keeping in mind the shortfall the UT Administration today signed PPAs with the NTPC. From these agreements Chandigarh will be allocated 65 MW on the respective commissioning of the projects. Mr Karan Avtar Singh, Secretary, Engineering, on behalf of the Chandigarh Administration and Mr Shyam Wadhera, Executive Director, Commercial, on behalf of NTPC signed the agreements.


MC passes censure motion amid BJP boycott
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh here today passed a historic and controversial censure motion against “10-month-long conduct of BJP councillors” who had alleged that “few members” might have had taken “benami” paid parking contracts.

Agitated Congress, Chandigarh Vikas Manch and nominated members, including the Mayor, came to feet as soon as BJP member Kamla Sharma cast “aspersions” on members.

They demanded Ms Sharma to either name the councillor who had “benami contracts” or apologise for making an irresponsible remark.

With Ms Sharma refusing to comply with the order of Mayor Lalit Joshi who asked the first Mayor of the city to apologise or withdraw the comment, Leader of the Congress in the House Subhash Chawla moved a “censure motion” that got the approval of the entire House barring three BJP members.

Terming the motion “unconstitutional, undemocratic, violative of rules laid down in the relevant Act and a measure setting wrong precedents,” BJP councillors boycotted the day’s proceedings.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta, during whose question the controversy sparked off, contested the decision of the House saying there was no provision in the Act allowing a censure motion but secretary Sunil Bhatia said the House and Mayor had rights to pass any resolution in “public interest.”

Nominated councillor Amar Kulwant Singh said the relevant rules wanted a member to “comply” with the “order” of the Mayor saying she herself had offered an apology in the first meeting of the present House and the BJP councillor had to comply with the order.

Remaining aggressive from the beginning of the House meeting supported by all nominated councillors and Chandigarh Vikas Manch members, the Congress scored a political victory over the BJP by showing that the Opposition party councillors had been left alone in the House ahead of the next Mayoral elections. With the BJP protesting the resolution, Mr Chawla and Ms Amar Kulwant said the members who lowered the dignity of the House by bringing everybody under suspicion could explore legal means to challenge the House decision.

The resolution, though not specifically mentioned in the relevant Act, has exposed a grey area as to what the House can do if a member does not obey the Mayor.

Mr Chawla, talking to Chandigarh Tribune, said he would move an agenda in the next meeting requiring the House to pass a resolution having provisions of privilege on the pattern of Parliament. The resolution could be sent to Parliament for an amendment to the Act, he said.

The House plunged into furore with marshals called in and majority comprising the Congress, the CVM and nominated members coming to the well of the House to force BJP members to apologise but they did not budge.

Mr Gupta had demanded an inquiry to find out who was “protecting” paid parking contractors despite repeatedly violating terms and conditions set by the House.

The Mayor had to adjourn the meeting for a tea break to restore normalcy but the post-tea session also witnessed heated exchanges before the BJP members boycotted.

The BJP councillors came in for a harsh treatment at the hands of the nominated councillors when they opposed Additional Commissioner Ashok Vashishth for sitting beside the Mayor in place of Commissioner M.P. Singh, who had been called by the Administrator to Delhi for some “urgent” work.

Nominated councillors took exception to Kamla Sharma seeking to raise the issue pending an inquiry and without seeking a permission to speak from the Mayor. Dr K. S. Raju said agitatingly that unless the BJP councillors followed procedures, they would not allow the House to be run. His comments drew support from all nominated councillors who said Mr Vashishth had not yet been proven “guilty.”

Mr Gupta’s question remained unanswered in the controversy but he asked why his question on expenditure in his constituency was not included in questions.

Mr Chawla suggested that a privilege committee be formed in the House on the pattern of Parliament and Vidhan Sabhas and the matter of Ms Sharma’s conduct be referred to it. Mr Gian Chand Gupta said the Congress was trying to inquire into Ms Sharma’s comment instead of the “people behind paid parking contractors.”


Forest Hill attracts stars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Forest Hill Golf and Country Club is in the starry news. Bollywood stars have landed on this resort not to play golf, but to shoot in JP Dutta’s LoC. The shooting, which began in the evening and continued till late in the night attracted a large number of fans eager to have a glimpse of their heart-throb.

Abhishek Bachchan and Esha Deol were on the sets at the Club House to shoot a scene. Abhishek said: “Forest Hill is not merely a golf course but is in fact a perfect locale to shoot. There are a number of world-class golfing and hospitality facilities that have sprung up in various parts of the country in the recent past, but very few golf clubs tend to turn out to be a perfect shooting location like Forest Hill”.

Esha Deol chipped in: “Forest Hill is an exotic and lavish multi-facility hideaway far from the maddening crowd giving you all that you long for. We wish we could spend our leisure time here in this exquisite and secluded happening destination”.

As for the ‘Border’-fame Director JP Dutta: “The ambience of Forest Hill works great for the lungs, what more can one ask for”.


Help her to help her son
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Even her willingness to donate a kidney to save the life of her 32-year-old son, might not help, as a sum of Rs 3 lakhs would be required for kidney transplant, which Dinesh Joshi, a resident of Rishikesh, in Uttaranchal needs at the earliest.

“We have even sold off our land to raise money for his treatment,” says 60-year-old Satya Suri, while assisting her frail son in walking. She, along with her elder son, has come all the way from Rishikesh for Dinesh’s operation, as the facility is not available at their native place. Every time a dialysis was to be done, we had to travel to Dehradun as the facility is not available in Rishikesh, says Satya Devi.

“The Rotary is trying to help out the family and will bear some of the cost of the operation, but even then Rs 2 lakh more will be required to save the life of Dinesh,” says Dr G.S. Kochhar, president of the Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik. He says the only ray of hope left is the donations from the public. Dinesh is the father of a two-year-old daughter.

Having immense faith in the Almighty, Satya Devi’s family that has been finding it difficult to make both ends meet with the meagre salary of her elder son, who is a daily wager, is confident that help will definitely come in to save the life of Dinesh.

All donations, however small, can be made in the name of the Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik, says Dr Kochhar.


Taste of adventure at carnival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
For those who care to taste adventure, Leisure Valley is the place to be for the next three days. Right at the entrance to the carnival, which will roll tomorrow from 11 am, a virtual reality ride will greet fun lovers of the city. Developed by Stealth Amusement, the ride is the first simulating ride of its kind in the entire country and it has been developed after extensive research on adventure rides by the said company. About Rs 20,000 have been deposited with CITCO for the installation of the ride, sure to attract crowds on account of its special sound effects and sophistication.

An overview of the ride revealed its salient features, the hallmark being its ability to simulate experiences of adventure, action and confusion for those who take the ride. Stealth sixer, as the fun ride is called, is based on the concept of US patented motion platform. The design of the ride was originally developed for advanced aerospace and light simulation and entertainment. The most striking part of the ride is the way in which it has been installed. Mounted on a Swaraj Mazda truck which is self sufficient in power generation, the ride is moveable. It can start within five minutes of notice and can accommodate eight persons at a time.

Talking to the Chandigarh, Tribune about the specialty of the ride, Managing Director, Stealth Entertainment, Mr Harpal Singh, informed that the elegant simplicity of the design coupled with rugged construction made Stealth simulator extra attractive. To begin with, car rides will be given tomorrow. Later real life experiences will be given to the clients with the help of computer motion control. This will include the experience of driving a car in a factory and smashing into the factory walls. Interestingly, the jolts and jerks will be all real.

What’s more is that smooth, dependable hydraulic motion of the ride and its actuation make for a realistic ride experience, while sophisticated computer motion control makes the system operation simple and safe. To start with, the company is offering four designs — Stealth sixer, Stealth ultimate, Stealth moveable and Stealth action theatre.

After car rides tomorrow, more and more programmes will be given at the carnival, including skiing, animation, millennium bug and so on. A huge computer projector screen right in front will also allow those taking the ride get the real feel of where they are heading!

The ride will cost Rs 25 per person.


Jain supports traders’ protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The relay fast by traders continued today and it got a boost, with former MP Satya Pal Jain coming out in favour of the tenants.

He joined the protesters against the recent amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. Visiting the protesting traders in Sector 17, Mr Jain, who was accompanied by the president of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, pledged total support to the agitation by the BJP.

Mr Jain, who went to the spot where the traders were carrying out a relay fast, termed the amendment as anti-trader and added that it would ruin the economy. Meanwhile, Mr Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, vice-president of the mandal, thanked local MP Pawan Bansal for raising the issue in Parliament.

The president of the mandal, Mr Jagdish Arora, thanked Mr Jain for his support. A delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal would call on Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani to apprise him of how the rent act would affect the trading community.


Owners flay traders on black-flag issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The role of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal in showing black flags to the UT Administrator has come in for sharp criticism from the UT Villages Property Owners Association. Another body, the Property Owners Welfare Association today alleged that statements of the mandal officials showed that the traders had malicious intention of usurping others’ property in the garb of tenants.

Mr Amit Tayal, president of the UT Villages Property Owners’ Association said the mandal should not forget the steps taken by the General in the past. He asked political parties to restrain themselves in siding sides with the traders.

Such parties would have to pay heavy price for supporting tenants, he said. The association announced that a general body meeting of the association would be held on Sunday at 7 pm at Mani Majra to decide the future course of action.

Meanwhile, in an executive body meeting of the Property Owners Welfare Association it was said out that statements by the leaders of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal in saying that they approved the repealing of the rent act as regards residential property in the city, the traders had proved their malicious intention of usurping others’ property in the garb of tenants.

Meanwhile, the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 18, today in its executive body meeting resolved to welcome and support the recent rent notification issued by the Chandigarh Administration. The Mani Majra Owners Welfare Association today in its meeting resolved to welcome the decision of the Administration and demanded total repeal of the rent act in the city. The association also demanded a separate court for deciding tenant-landlord disputes.

The meeting was attended by president Mr R.K. Bhasin, Mr Karnail Singh Doad, Mr Anupal Singh, Mr Rakesh Wadhawan, Mr N.P.S. Chhina, Brig Sant Singh, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Kartar Singh Dhillon and Mr R.P. Malhotra.


Rape victim seeks quashing of FIR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Adding a twist to the ongoing controversy, a Shimla district resident who was allegedly raped after losing her consciousness, today sought the quashing of the FIR registered in the matter by the Chandigarh Police on August 15 after blaming the cops for twisting the facts.

In her petition, the “victim” claimed that Chandigarh Police was alleging that the rape had been committed by “witness” Surinder Sharma even though she had never stated the same and as such there was no question of conspiracy being hatched in the case. She added that the prosecutrix was supposed to know better than the Chandigarh Police about the identity of the rapist.

Her counsel had added that the stand of the petitioner had been consistent throughout. Giving details, counsel had added that the petitioner, from the very beginning, had been claiming that she had been raped by Mr M.K. Jain. The fact was evident from statements given by her from time to time. Taking up the petition, Mr Justice Virender Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice of motion to the Chandigarh Administration. The case will now come up for further hearing on December 5.

It may be recalled that the alleged victim, in an earlier petition, had sought directions to the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents to protect her life and liberty. Claiming to be just 21, the petitioner had then submitted that she had boarded the car of a Sector 8 resident from Sector 20 on August 14 but had lost consciousness after consuming a cold drink purchased by him. Later, she had found herself in Sector 16 General Hospital where she came to know about the incidence of violence against her.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had added that her search for a part-time job and quest for knowledge about computers had brought her in contact with the accused, who was running a computer institute. The accused, after alluring her with the promise of a job, had taken her in his car from his Sector 20 office, she further added. The police, on the other hand, had claimed that it was a frame up and had initiated proceedings against alleged witness. 


Policy to check cattle menace soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh here today decided to formulate a policy to check cattle menace in the city. The Sanitation Committee would be asked to formulate a policy which would be placed before the House for adoption and discussion, sources said.

Expressing the need for such a policy, Mr Subhash Chawla, Congress leader in the corporation, said the corporation would have to take immediate steps to check this menace if it wanted to bring down the number of road accidents in the city.

He said with the two of the three cattle ponds of the corporation being converted into ‘gaushalas’, there had been an attitudinal change in the officers and they did not care to catch stray cattle.

He took a dig at the BJP saying why it was not taking care of a revered animal of Hindus. The House approved Mr Chawla’s appeal and referred the matter to the committee.

The House also approved the Mohalla Sanitation Scheme on the pattern of Ludhiana under which a committee, headed by the local area councillor and suitably funded by the corporation, would take care of sanitation. The scheme would be launched in Ram Darbar on an experimental basis for six months.

Burail would be next the place where the scheme would be implemented.

Mr Sohan Lal, Congress councillor, moved an unscheduled resolution demanding revocation of an order by the Administrator that unless six feet of road berms was cleared of encroachment on either side of roads, development work would not be taken up in the area.

The Chief Engineer, Mr V. K. Bharadwaj, expressed the need to keep road berms encroachment for the future development of those areas, but councillors said the issues of development and removal of encroachment should be dealt with separately.

Mr Chawla went to the extent of demanding regularisation of encroachments saying Delhi was already doing so. Mr Surinder Singh, Mr P.C. Sanghi, Mr Balraj Singh and others also participated in the debate.

The issue of charging fine for dumping malba through water bills was deferred in the present shape maintaining that there was no foolproof method of identifying who had dumped the malba. The issue is likely to be passed in the next meeting.

Mr Bharadwaj said that the corporation would issue a list of contractors who would lift malba on demand.

The corporation decided to go slow against the person against whom an FIR was lodged for contaminating water in Daddu Majra colony and spreading cholera. The report on cholera spread was appreciated by nominated members, while Congress councillors said unless the problem of scarcity of water was sorted out, the people could not be entirely blamed for such things. It was decided to provide funds for augmenting water supply in these areas.

The House passed a resolution that the councillors fund would have a separate allocation from the next budget and it would not be adjusted against provisions of a plan head. It also deferred the adoption of the Urban Reforms Incentive Fund proposed by the Central Government on the apprehensions that it would force the corporation to levy taxes.

The House condemned the killing of innocent people by terrorists in Raghunath Temple.


Woman suffers burns while cooking
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 29
A 35-year-old woman, Hansi Devi, was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, with 80 per cent burn injuries after she caught fire while cooking on a kerosene stove in Sector 36 yesterday afternoon.

Her husband, Man Singh (38), also received burn injuries while trying to save her.

Hansi Devi was battling for life till the time of filing of this report.

As per police sources, Hansi Devi, in her statement to a Judicial Magistrate, has said that she caught fire while cooking. The accident occurred in a garage of H.No 1109 in Sector 36, the place where she lives with her family. She is employed as a domestic help in the house. Her husband is a waiter in a Sector 35 restaurant. The couple has three daughters and the eldest one is 12-year-old. 


A book lovers’ paradise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Over one lakh books of different descriptions are adorning the shelves of Browser, which kick started its fourth annual book fair in Sector 8 this morning. Participating this time in the fair are leading publishing houses like the Oxford University Press, India Book House, Tata McGraw Hill, Roli Books, UBS Publishers, Navneet Publications, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Rupa and Company and many others. The attempt this time has been to exhibit a range of books rarely seen on the book store shelves. Representatives of various publishers were also present at the venue to guide book lovers through the grand show.

Apart from various exciting gifts and library membership packages, Browser is also offering discount on the books being purchased. One of the focus areas of the fair this time is to promote the culture of reading among residents of the city. That is why Browser is offering some stunning offers and gifts for customers opting to take up library membership. These offers have been made with the support of leading companies.

The fair will be on till December 2.


Employees resent introduction of VRS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Electronic Systems Punjab Limited (ESPL), an SAS Nagar-based public sector unit of Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, has introduced a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for its 300 employees. The authorities have fixed November 30 as the last date for submitting applications under the scheme.

The Electronic Systems Punjab Employees Union said today that certain officials of the Industries Department were working for the closure of the unit thus putting the future of 300 employees and their families in danger. The union has sought the intervention of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, into one issue.

Opposing the VRS benefits, union leaders said the authorities had offered only 15-day salary for every year of one’s remaining period of service besides six months’ salary. This, they said, was against the VRS formula recommended by the Disinvestment Commission. The union demanded that employees should be given 60-day salary for each completed year of service plus other benefits as recommended by the Disinvestment Commission.


Need to popularise merchant navy: Jacob
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 29
The Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd.), today underlined the need for popularising the profession of merchant navy amongst the youth of the country.

Speaking at a seminar on “Merchant Navy — Meeting the challenges” organised by the Merchant Navy Officers Association at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research here yesterday, General Jacob said there was a need to popularise the profession amongst the youth to provide them challenging opportunities to serve in the sea. He said North India being away from the sea failed to attract youth to the Navy and merchant navy.


MIA panel reconstituted
Tribune Reporters

SAS Nagar, November 29
The Executive Committee of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) was reconstituted here today in order to resolve the differences between two groups of the association.

Members of both the groups led by their respective leaders Mr B.S. Baidwan and Mr Tarsem Bansal held a joint meeting today under the Chairmanship of the Sub Divisional Magistrate, SAS Nagar, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, and Mr Sarbjit Singh, General Manager, District Industries Centre and after five hours of rigorous discussions, reached a compromise re-constituting the Executive Committee.

The nine-member Executive Committee is now constituted of four members of Mr Baidwan’s group and four members of Mr Bansal’s group. While Mr Baidwan retains the presidentship of the association, Mr Balbir Singh has been chosen as the senior vice-president, Mr Gurmeet Singh, will be the vice-president along with Mr Yogesh Saggar. Mr Anurag Aggarwal is the general secretary and Mr Sanjeev Kumar will be the Joint secretary and Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta will be the treasurer.

Although the names of the remaining two executive members have not been finalised, sources also state that Dr Naresh Kumar and Mr Anil Mittal will be chosen as executive members.

The five-hour discussion had moments of heated spats between the two groups during which the SDM had to intervene and calm down the members.

In a press note issued by the association later, Mr Baidwan has expressed his gratitude to the members of the other group especially to Mr Tarsem Bansal, Mr R.K. Goel, Mr Gurkirpal Singh, Mr R.P. Singh, Mr H.S. Sabharwal and Mr B.S. Anand who voluntarily agreed to step down for paving the way for unity.

The Committee has also appreciated the efforts of the SDM and General Manager, DIC, for playing a proactive role in helping the members in sinking their differences and coming together. The two groups of the association had been aiming to be the real office-bearers of the association.


Agro Tech 2002: driving an industry in transition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
CII’s Agrotech 2002, which opens tomorrow in Chandigarh, has come at an interesting moment for the region. Unlike in the past, this year agriculture is in full transition, and the states themselves are the drivers of change.

Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala has been candid in admitting that cropping patterns must change as the assured market and price support structure on which they were built is drying up. While Punjab has not talked so openly of the support price mechanism its actions are indication of the seriousness with which it views the need for change. A few weeks ago the Johl committee on diversification of agriculture released a blueprint for diverting 2.5 million acres away from grain crops to alternatives like oilseeds and vegetables.

In another significant shift, the Punjab government has taken a pro-active approach, with state agency Punjab Agro-Export Corporation donning the role of intermediary in contract farming of vegetables and non-traditional crops and setting up of Punjab’s first food processing park. It hopes to build on this in Agro-Tech 2002, where it will also interact with would-be partners for several integrated food-processing ventures it has identified, according to company spokesman Mr Gagan Kashyap. Traditional agriculture will be looking to sourcing quality seeds and new irrigation techniques, which have acquired greater importance now, as user charges begin to take on the role of driver of farm economics according to Director, Agriculture Mr R.K. Rampal.


Company clarifies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Mr Puneet Nanda and Mr Rajeev Dugala, Managing Director and Director of Cossets Marketing Pvt Ltd, respectively, have asserted that their company was engaged in a totally lawful business of multi-level marketing (MLM).

Talking to mediapersons here, they referred to press reports that the RBI had initiated an enquiry against several MLM companies, including Cossets, and said their company, unlike some other companies in the past had never made any promises and allurements regarding money being doubled or returned with exorbitant interest etc over the years.

Hence, they did not owe any liability to any business associate in the market except of day to day basis. They alleged that Cossets had been victimised by multi-national companies and other “big brothers with deep pockets” in this industry.




Game launched: AirTel yesterday launched the first of its kind multi-player mobile dating game using short messaging system (SMS) exclusively for AirTel Magic Subscribers. In this SMS based game, players are asked a series of smart and funny questions related to dating and relationships. Questions could range from the ideal dressing to the first sentences on meeting a stranger. At the end of each round, the system will automatically find and match the two most compatible players of opposite gender based on their answers. Subsequently, users have the opportunity to chat with each other and make friends. To access LuvM8, AirTel Magic subscribers simply need to send an SMS ‘LM’ to ‘777’ and start playing the game. A contest has also been launched on LuvM8, the winners of which will get air tickets to fly to Shahrukh - Kareena shoot. TNS

LAUNCHED: Arrow, range of men’s wear has launched a range of suits in lightweight polywool fabrics and casual winter garments. With this step, Arrow’s has taken a diversion towards catering to the tastes of the younger age groups as well. This new range of suits has been styled with Italian precision provided by the international design team of Cluett and Peabody — the parent company of Arrow. The suits are extremely light — weighing between 1000 to 1200 grams and are priced from Rs 5,999 onwards. OC


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