Friday, December 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Traders’ bandh near total
Business activity paralysed; no untoward incident
Tribune News Service


  • The bandh was peaceful. 
  • A massive rally was organised by traders in Sector 17. 
  • Essential items, including medicines, were not available. Residents had to rush to Panchkula or SAS Nagar.
  • By the evening, a few shopkeepers in Sectors 47, 30, 29 and 28 opened their establishments.
  • Even banks reported fewer transactions as traders were busy with the bandh.
  • Offices of companies, liquor vends and several restaurants remained open.

Chandigarh, December 19
A near total bandh by traders, in protest against the recent amendment in the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949, paralysed business activity in the city during the day. By the evening only the main shopping centres remained closed, while a few shopkeepers, in the other markets, opened their establishments.

However, in Sectors 17, 22, 34, 35, 7, 8, 9, 26,16, 18,19, among other places, the bandh was total throughout the day. Several city residents had to rush to the adjoining SAS Nagar and Panchkula for emergency items like medicines.

During the day, only a few shops or outlets, owned by companies, remained open as employees of these organisations could not have gone on a strike. Though a few landlords also preferred to keep their establishments open, the bandh organised by the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal was successful and peaceful. The mandal had last organised a bandh on November 21.

Traders play cricket in a deserted market in Sector 35
Traders play cricket in a deserted market in Sector 35. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

This time, the mandal asked its members to gather in Sector 17 where the president of the All-India Vyapar Mandal, Mr Shayam Behari Misra, an MP from Kanpur, addressed the traders.

The agitation got a new twist today with Mr Misra saying that this fight was not only of Chandigarh traders but of the entire trading fraternity. Mr Misra was critical of the decision taken by the Chandigarh Administration to amend the Rent Act and assured the traders that this would be a fight to the finish.

Later, he told mediapersons about the outcome of a meeting with the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). Mr Misra claimed that the General said he could do nothing to withdraw the notification, however, if the Union Urban Development Ministry wanted to withdraw it, the Chandigarh Administration had no objection.

Mr Misra said he had demanded that since the such laws were not in force in Punjab, there was no justification to implement these in Chandigarh. The letter from the Urban Development Ministry was also silent on whether it was to be implemented on all properties or just residential properties, he said.

Mr Misra said he would meet the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar, in this regard. He also presented a memorandum to General Jacob.

In some markets, the traders played cricket and their employees heaved a sigh of relief for a day off. There was complete unity among the traders and delegations from different markets joined the rally in Sector 17. However, this time the traders did not indulge in sloganeering on the venue.

In the entire city, the police had made adequate arrangements and about 500 cops were positioned in different commercial areas. No untoward incident was reported during the bandh. A senior official said the maximum number of cops were positioned in the Sector 17 and the Sector 22 markets.

A contingent of police force, drawn from different units and led by the SP, Mr Baldev Singh, and a DSP, was positioned in the Sector 17 Plaza. Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPOs) of each divisions were responsible for the law and order situation in their respective areas.

The rehri markets and the mini booth markets also remained closed. Interestingly, booths in these markets have been allotted on heavily subsidised rates by the Chandigarh Administration to owners of rehris (handcarts).

By the evening, a few shopkeepers in Sectors 47, 30, 29 and 28 had opened their establishments. 


Group clash leaves 8 hurt
Shots fired; dispute over petty issue
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 19
Eight persons were injured, four of them seriously, in a clash between two groups in Lohgarh village near here late yesterday. Sticks, batons, sharp-edged weapons and even a double-barrel gun were used in the clash.

Sources said a difference over the ideology for the coming elections to the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat had been the cause of the clash. Sources in the village said more than 10 persons led by three men — Avtar Singh, Harvinder Singh ‘Micky’ and Harjit Singh — had attacked villagers Davinder Singh, Tajinder Singh, Dharminder Kumar, Bhagwant Singh and Gurjant Singh when they had been driving back home late yesterday.

The armed men, reportedly, made the men in the car to stop near the Sigma City crossing and attacked them with sharp-edged weapons, which left Davinder, Bhagwant, Dharminder, Gurjant and Tajinder injured. The injured were admitted to Civil Hospital in Dera Bassi. In the clash, Avtar Singh also sustained severe injuries, while two of his accomplices — Harjit Singh and Harjinder Singh — received minor injuries. Avtar was taken to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh. The clash lasted more than 15 minutes.

The car-borne youths, in self-defence, reportedly, snatched some sticks from the attackers and hit back. Davinder told this reporter that Harvinder, Avtar and Harjit Singh, with others, had attacked his group with batons and axes.

Harvinder, who had a double-barrel gun, fired four warning shots in the air, according to Bhagwant Singh. “The firing scared us; Harvinder could have killed us all,” said Dharminder.

The gunshots raised an alarm in the village and a crowd gathered on the spot. The villagers brought the situation under control and, then, informed the police. When contacted, Mr Balwinder Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said the FIRs had been registered against both groups.

Harvinder, Avtar, Harjit and four other have charged under Sections 323, 324, 341, 506, 33 and 149 of the IPC, while cases under Sections 323, 324, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC have been registered against Davinder, Tajinder, Bhagwant, Gurjant, Dharminder and two others. Harvinder, who, allegedly, fired shots in the air, and one of his accomplices have absconded. The police has failed to seize the gun and the other weapons used in the attack. No arrest has been made.

Villages said tension between the groups had been brewing since early yesterday.



Quashed move made again ‘to help violators’
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
The proposal to extend the municipal limits of Pinjore to scattered pockets is likely to benefit hundreds of violators of the Punjab New Capital Periphery Control and Regulation Act, including influential farmhouse-owners, real-estate agents and the hotel-resort lobby.

The limits are proposed to be extended to seven pockets along the Nalagarh road, the Pinjore-Kalka road and near the HMT Colony. It has been proposed to include Lohgarh, Dhamal, Vasudevpura, Mohbatpur, Rampur Seori, Takwana, Milakpur, Surajpur and Bitna Seori in the municipal limits.

The move is being seen as an attempt to please real-estate-agent lobby, that has, reportedly, invested hugely here. As the possibility seems high that the administration will clear the proposal, real-estate prices in most pockets have risen by as much as 30 per cent. A number of property dealers here have, reportedly, bought huge chunks of land to build colonies when the Local Bodies Department would extend the limits.

The Pinjore Municipal Committee had, earlier, passed a resolution for extending the limits, following large-scale development in the periphery over the past two years. Pinjore, Dewol, Ratpur, Baglana, Dharampur, Ferozepur, Bitna, Rangawal, Damdama, Nagal Sodhian, Islamnagar, Abdullapur and Manakpur are in the municipal limits of Pinjore.

After the proposal to extend the limits was passed a few months ago, the committee Executive Officer was asked to work out its details.

The proposal, that has now been sent to the district administration here, shows the limits having been extended to scattered pockets, rather than in continuity.

Two months ago, the administration had rejected this proposal on the grounds that the limits had been shown to be extended to pockets. This is for the second time that the proposal has been sent for approval, after a change in the administration top brass. The office of the Town and Country Planner is studying this proposal.

A senior official of the administration, on the condition of anonymity, said the extensions would benefit only particular lobbies. “A large number of cases have been registered against violators of the Periphery Control Act here. Notices have also been issued to the violators that include owners of a popular resort near Surajpur. Demolition drives have also been conducted against the defaulters,” said the official.



CRPF to handle Burail jail security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The security of the Burail jail will be handed over to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). A company of the paramilitary force will replace the Special Security Bureau (SSB), presently manning the high-security jail.

The decision has been taken after five companies of the CRPF were provided to the Chandigarh Police. According to information available, a company of the CRPF would also be deployed along VIP routes and other related routes.

When six companies of the CRPF were withdrawn from the city in the wake of the recent elections in Jammu and Kashmir, six companies of the SSB and three companies of Punjab Commandos were deployed for manning security at vital public buildings, Burail jail, banks and processions.

As a stop-gap arrangement, the Chandigarh Police had withdrawn at least 400 police personnel from its units in July this year. To tide over the problem of shortage of force for deployment on multifarious duties, the additional force was distributed among 11 police stations.

The exercise was basically aimed at the Independence Day function.

A senior official said at least two of the companies of the CRPF would be positioned at the border “nakas”. The remaining personnel of the paramilitary force will be used for checking vehicles at special “nakas”, to be set up during morning and evening hours.

Senior officials are also planning to deploy the paramilitary force for dharnas, rallies and processions in the city. Admitting that the force continues to be hamstrung by the non-availability of more personnel, an official said this year, around 30,000 personnel had been deployed till date for rallies, dharnas, processions, nagar kirtans, strikes and political meetings.

In the absence of a separate set-up to deal with dharnas, rallies and processions, the policing in the city is suffering. A proposal to have a battalion of the Chandigarh Armed Police seems to have been shelved.

The city being the seat of the governments of Haryana and Punjab, personnel have to be deployed along the route of visiting dignitaries, a senior police official said. At present, only 27 per cent of the 3,969 police personnel are with the police stations.



Kabul seeks India’s help in medicare
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Afghanistani delegation here today expressed disagreement with the reported US suggestion to India to slow down the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country apparently to keep Pakistan in good humour.

“People of Afghanistan want close relationship with India and cooperation in the reconstruction of the country. Pakistan has given a lot of trouble to our people,” Dr Firouzzuddeen Feroz, Deputy Public Health Minister of Afghanistan, told reporters here today.

Dr Feroz came to the city to explore possibilities of replicating the Bangladeshi Local Initiative Programme (LIP) on Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) and Economic Empowerment of Women carried out successfully in Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Kangra districts by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

The Afghan minister, who was with Commander Masood of the Northern Alliance, said it was obvious that Al-Qaida cadre was alive and was getting ISI’s support.

He said the involvement of maulvis in Bangladesh in reproductive and child health programme was very encouraging and Afghanistan would rope in religious figures in this programme as the country had the highest mortality rate of expected mothers in the world. Dr Feroz said 1,600 women out of 1,00,000 die during pregnancy in the country.

The minister said the terrain in the country was so tough that a woman might have to ride a horse for three days to reach a hospital to deliver a baby.

He said the country was thinking of sharing the Indian experience of community healthcare instead of the facility-based medicare due to infrastructural problems and tough terrain. Dr Feroz, a surgeon, visited Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar to see the implementation of the programme.

Apart from seeking help in healthcare, training and technology sharing, the minister said common culture would be a big ground for both countries to cooperate in education. Dr Feroz's offer in education would ruffle feathers in Pakistan and its follower hardliners in the country considering education being capable of moulding young generation's mind in favour of a secular country.

He said the country needed $ 60 million for healthcare, for establishing hospital facilities at the rate of $ 3 per person per year.

Dr Feroz said the country would requires 1 billion in the health sector alone in the next 10 years. He said considering the experience of delivery of healthcare by NGOs in the country, Afghanistan would welcome private participation in this sector. India was considered to be a big name in the sector.

The minister said 25 per cent children die in the country before completing five years of age. He said resistance to the Afghanistan Government was weakening in hostile areas at least in healthcare sector as the government had been successful in installing a woman, Nazdana, as a provincial Deputy Director of Health. Dr Feoz said healthcare was in great demand in the country.

Dr Feroz was accompanied by Dr Mushtaq Shad, Director, Health Services, Afghanistan, Ms Kathleen o' Sullivan, Senior Programme Associate, Management Sciences for Health, Boston, USA, Abu Sayeed, Executive Director, S.M. Khalenquez Zaman, Programme Manager from Technical Assistance Inc (TAI), Bangladesh.



Year-long survey by NSSO from Jan 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), for the first time after Independence, will undertake a year-long situation assessment survey from January 1, 2003 to evaluate policy impact on farmers and suggest correctional measures.

The survey is being conducted on the request of the Union Ministry of Agriculture to look into the impact of doles to farmers, their falling returns, low productivity and to make them internationally competitive.

A four-day training programme on the methodology of the survey was launched here today for around 160 field staff drawn from the NSSO Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory. Economical and Statistical Advisers from the Union Territory and the staff from Punjab also participated in the programme.

Another survey on land holdings and livestock will also be taken up simultaneously after a gap of seven to eight years. Debt and investment aspect will also be surveyed.

Besides, data will be collected on household consumer expenditure and employment and unemployment. Land and livestock holdings survey envisages collection of information on ownership and operational holdings. Particulars will include area, tenurial form, use, irrigation practices and drainage of excess water facilities besides agricultural activities and attached farm workers for the period between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003. An inventory of the livestock will also be made.

Demand and investment that throws light on the position of demand and supply of credit, especially to the farming community, is designed to collect quantitative information on the stock of assets, incidence of indebtedness, capital formation and other indicators of the economy. The situation assessment survey has been launched to analyse the impact of the transformation induced by public policy, investments and technological changes on the farmers’ access to resources and income, as well as the well-being of the farmer at the end of the five decades of planned economic development.

During the course of the survey, information will be collected on some basic socio-economic characteristics of farmer households and their access to basic and modern farming resources. Information on consumption of various goods and services in an abridged form will also be collected to have an idea about the pattern of consumption expenditure of the farmer household.


Georgina steals Chrysanthemum Show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
A Sector 44 resident, Georgina Roy, here yesterday walked away with 17 prizes in the individual category of the Chrysanthemum Show-2002 followed by the PGI with 10 prizes, Haryana and Punjab Accountant-Generals five each, Punjab Warehousing Corporation four and Hotel Mountview three.

Giving away the prizes on the last day of the show, Mayor Lalit Joshi asked the Horticulture Wing of the Municipal Corporation to hold such shows in each sector and park of the city.

Going by the public response, the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), had asked the corporation to extend the show till Wednesday.

The show was earlier planned for two days till December 15.

Students of Kailash Sehal DAV School presented a colourful programme on the occasion.

The Mayor appreciated the role of the Engineering Wing of the corporation, especially Chief Engineer V.K. Bharadwaj and Executive Engineer, Horticulture, Raghubir Singh for the success of the show.

Senior Deputy Mayor Surinder Singh, Deputy Mayor Balraj Singh, Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla, Fire Committee Chairman Sohan Lal and Slum Development Committee Chairperson Shyama Negi were also present on the occasion.


From China with love
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 19
“Chandigarh has really impressed me and I found it to be a well-planned city”.

These were the views expressed by Ms Tan Hangping, Deputy Secretary-General of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) at the guest house of the Punjab School Education Board here.

She said she had reached Chandigarh went on an outing and visited the Rock Garden, Government Museum, a gurdwara and also went for boating at the Sukhna Lake. She said the Rock Garden was a unique piece of architecture. She found that the museum had a very good collection of ancient stone carvings and paintings.

She said she had visited a “Sikh temple” for the first time and found the atmosphere quite peaceful. She had come to the city to meet members of the Indo-China Friendship Association.

When asked about the purpose of her visit to India, she said she had been invited by the Dr Cotnis Commemmorative Committee of West Bengal to attend the meeting organised at Kolkata to observe the sixty sixth death anniversary of Dr Cotnis. From there she went to Bangalore, Delhi, Agra.

She said that the aim of the CPAFFC was to strengthen the friendship and mutual understanding between the people of China and other countries.

India and China had a lot in common and the two countries should join hands in various spheres, she added.


Police remand for IT Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Income Tax Commissioner (Appeals-2), Ludhiana, Mr M.L. Dhunsa, who was arrested yesterday by the CBI in a case of corruption, was today remanded in two-day police custody by a CBI Special Judicial Magistrate.

Mr Dhunsa was arrested from the IT office in Balmiki Nagar, Ludhiana, while accepting a bribe of Rs 2.5 lakh through a businessman, Paramjit Singh. The bribe was being accepted to dispose of an appeal in favour of a party. Sources in the CBI said in the raid, led by ASP Surinder Pal Singh, Inspector M.S. Brar and other officials, an officer in a Jalandhar branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB), Mr Deepak Chug, were also arrested along with Mr Dhunsa and the businessman, Paramjit Singh. Deepak Chug and Paramjit Singh were also remanded in two-day police custody.

The CBI personnel today recovered FDrs worth Rs 30 lakh from the house of Chug. Searches were also carried out in the house of the Commissioner and certain documents relating to his disproportionate assets had reportedly been recovered.


Mayoral posts: poll on Jan 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Deputy Commissioner M. Ramsekhar here today sent a formal communication to the Secretary of the Municipal Corporation to hold annual elections of the Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor on January 1. The last date of the filing of nominations is December 28.

The notification said the detailed election programme would be issued by the Secretary, Municipal Corporation. The withdrawal of candidature can be done even a minute before the elections. Major General A.S. Kahlon (retd) a nominated member, has been appointed as Presiding Officer. For the elections to Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, the newly elected Mayor will preside over the meeting. The MC is likely to issue a formal notification with a complete programme schedule tomorrow.



Poll for ZP member on Jan 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The by-election to fill the vacancy of a Zila Parishad member from Kishangarh and Mauli Jagran will be held on January 5.

The last date for filing nomination papers is December 24, scrutiny will be on December 26 and withdrawal of candidature on December 28.

The Director, State Transport Authority, Mr S. P. Arora, has been appointed Returning Officer by the Delhi and Chandigarh UT Election Commission.

The commission has found that voters in around 200 houses were not listed in the last voters’ list.

The constituency is reserved for a general category woman.


59 file papers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
In Mini Secretariat here today, 59 persons filed their nominations for the Municipal Corporation elections, out of which, 12 were of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Hundreds of their supporters accompanied them to the place.


Jaspal Bhatti’s Friday humour
Entertainment tax on ‘sarkari’ information

THE Information Bill 2000 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha. That means a common man will have the right to access to ‘sarkari’ information. On hearing this news many government officials have gone into depression. It is, infact, the confidential information which makes clerks, superintendents and officers richer — otherwise these days it is hard to make both ends meet merely on salary. It is the secret ‘noting file’ which makes a ‘babu’ walk proudly. The stiffness in the neck of a government officer is directly proportional to the secrecy of the information in a file he is holding. Orthopaedics are generally heard asking officers with spondilitis “Have you been carrying highly confidential files recently?”

The Bill has been passed to bring more transparency and control corruption in the government.

Dear babus, don’t dishearten yourselves. You still have numerous rights and vast powers. For eg:

  • Right to delay a case by sending the files up or down for useless comments.
  • Right to pile up files like a mountan on your table.
  • Above all — the right to misplace or lose a file altogether.

Sometimes, the objections put on a file are so funny and unreasonable that these objections have an entertainment value. When such cases are picked up by the press, it makes up for enjoyable reading.

I suggest that the Information Bill be amended to incorporate this clause that when any government information is passed on to the citizens, an entertainment tax is also levied on it.


Theft cases

During the past 24 hours the police has registered four cases of theft from different parts of the city.

A resident of Sector 45, Mr Ajay Kumar, reported with the police that someone has stolen gold jewellery and Rs 3,000 from his residence yesterday. A colour television and Rs 3,000 has been reportedly stolen from residence of Mr Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Ram Darbar, here yesterday.

A Maruti car (CH01H 0253) of Mr Satinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 33, was stolen from Sector 22 yesterday. Mr Sachin Thukral of Sector 44 reported that his Hero Honda Splendor motorcycle (HR05H 3941) was stolen from his residence on the night intervening December 17 and 18.

Stabbed: Mr Vijay Kumar, a resident of Sector 26, was allegedly stabbed by Bango and Arun of the same locality after a quarrel here yesterday. Mr Kumar was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where his condition was said to be stable. A case under Sections 324 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Injured: Mr Shiv Kumar of Panchkula was injured after the cycle he was riding was hit by a Maruti car near railway crossing (near Darwa village) here on December 17. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the car who fled from the spot.

Body found: Body of a 27-year-old youth was found lying near the railway crossing in Mani Majra here today. According to information, the victim has been identified as Shafik, a resident of Bijnour in Uttar Pradesh. The victim had come to Mani Majra to meet her sister.

A police official said the victim was identified from a prescription slip found in his pocket. It appeared that the body had been eaten by animals. The autopsy was done at the Sector 16 General Hospital. The victim is said to be mentally unstable and left the house of his sister for Bijnour on December 16. Today the body was noticed by a passerby.


Gambling: The police arrested four persons for gambling and another for speculating and seized Rs 725 from them. The accused, Madan Pal, Trimal Singh, Tirendra, Pravesh and Gufran, have been booked under the Gambling Act.

Four arrested: The police arrested four persons, Ram Phal, Prem Singh, Bhairon and Ashok Kumar, on the charges of drinking at a public place. They have been booked under the Excise Act.



2.29 lakh stolen from car

Panchkula, December 19
Miscreants today stole Rs 2.29 lakh from a car parked near the Sector 4 Apni Mandi this afternoon. According to information available, Mr S. Chhabra, a resident of Sector 6 here, had withdrawn the money from HDFC Bank, Sector 11, in the afternoon and was on his way home when he stopped by at the Apni Mandi to buy fruit. TNS


ASI arrested for accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The police today arrested ASI Bashir Ahmad, posted as additional in charge of Mansa Devi police post, for accepting bribe. He was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 1500.

An NRI, Mr Twinkle Sodhi, had lodged a complaint with the police last evening, accusing ASI Bashir Ahmad of demanding a bribe for absolving the former in a case registered against him earlier. The police laid a trap and the ASI was arrested at about 10 pm while he was taking the bribe money from Sodhi. Mr Sodhi also complained that he had earlier paid Rs 5000 to the accused.

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