Wednesday, January 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


And Chandigarh boogied into 2003
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The imprisoning drizzle failed to dampen the spirits on New Year Eve. Even though the functions were washed off at some places, revellers braved the icy winds to wildly drive their honking jalopies into 2003.

All roads led to celebrations, it was clear as the chill failed to freeze the thrill. As the last surviving day of the dying year made its final exit ceremoniously, apprehensions of residents, regarding the rains drowning the excitement, came to an end. As the clock struck 9, tearing passion broke lose on the city streets.

Wild shrieks and desperate honking rattled showroom windows as teenyboppers, even grumpy big brothers and cool daddies, in leather jackets over regular fits, drove towards 2003 in their cars with cheerful red and yellow balloons sticking out of the windows.

They stopped the vehicles, decked up with gladioli, in front of hotels and restaurants in Sector 35 to shake, rattle and roll under mercury vapour's brilliant lights as high wattage car stereos blared out bhangra music. Their sweaty hands removed the pullovers before tying them around the waists.

The streets leading to hostels were venues for some “prime-time celebrations”. On their single-cylinder flying machines, wild and wacky hunks zipped down the dark and dingy lanes of love as pretty damsels waved enthusiastically from balconies.

As the hands of the clock kissed each other, the city was rocked by a tremor of excitement. Year 2002 went crumbling down, just as 2003 rose from its ashes, encouraging the crowd to break into a frenzy. Jackets went up the shoulders and “Happy New Year” filled the air as everyone greeted everyone without discrimination.

Hooligans too did not miss the opportunity. In Sector 35 and in Sector 11, they tried to stop young couples cruising on their two-wheelers, but disappeared as soon as they spotted men-in-khaki.

For dealing with them, the police had deployed a massive force, all over the city. Barriers, too, had also been set up at strategic places. Police Gypsies also patrolled the length and breadth of the city.

Meanwhile, dazzling flames illuminated the night sky on the Panjab University campus as young revellers danced away their blues around bonfires, while portable stereos blared out some of ABBA's still remembered hits.

Others rushed to city bars for witnessing bartenders from Delhi setting the evening ablaze by igniting counters after pouring invigorating red wine on the counters, excitedly.

In the early 90's, singing sensation ‘Chandani’, named after the famous Bollywood blockbuster, was created by hoteliers to attract the crowd. Last year, it was DJ's from Delhi. In 2003, the juggling bartenders were the main attraction at Blue Ice in Sector 17, and other places. The bartenders specially from Delhi could be seen doing a flambe at Blues in Sector 34.

At Forest Hill Golf and Country Club, about 5 km from Punjab Engineering College, lush green lawns were converted into an impressive open-air discotheque as ‘Kambakht Ishq’ girl from Mumbai Shraddha Pandit crooned hit numbers, one after the other. Huddled together around the blazing fires, the revellers stood up to sing along with her.

Hundreds of cheerful balloons fluttered in the cool breeze as Chandigarh Club members, along with their guests, thronged the venue for some“real fun”. The thumping beats of rhythmic melody filled the air as exhilarated figures, illuminated by colourful blinking lights, twirled around the dance floor. As a “disc jockey of International fame” mixed fast numbers with slow ones, even the not-so-young joined in. At the Golf Club also, there was no stopping the crowd as their excited feet thumped the ground.

As the music blared out from the speakers, the crowd went berserk with excitement. Pushing back the chairs placed around blazing fires, they left their seats “for some action”. The lucky ones took along with them loads of alluring prizes. The venue of celebrations had to be shifted indoors because of the rains.

It was ‘Moonlight Magic’ at the CGA Golf Range. As the visitors savoured “choicest cuisines from all around the world”, along with the “choicest of liquor” , jesters, magicians and flame-throwers performed the tricks.

A dance party was organised at Hotel Shivalikview and Hotel Mountview. As the speakers, placed all around the hall, boomed with latest numbers, the revellers danced into New Year.

Live band performed at Mehfil's English Garden, while an impressive party was held at Hotel Sunbeam. It was a family affair of dance and dine to welcome 2003 at Hotel Maya Palace. ‘Special Night’ was held at Hotel K.C. Residency. Rhythm Divine enthralled the audience at Fusion in Sector 35. Sip ‘n’ dine was the hot favourite among stags. The reason was not hard to see. The restaurant-cum-pub had advertised in all newspapers “no restrictions, no passes”.

Discotheques were the venues of prime celebrations. Guys and dolls, illuminated by blinking intelligent lights, swayed wildly to DJ's techno beat on dance floors as synthetic smog changed hues. Heaven is a place on earth was the impression as earth angels, in glittering minis and sleeveless tops , descended upon the dance floors, despite the cool winter breeze.

Outside the discs, angry young stags in unending queues shrieked and screamed at security guards impatiently as they slowly tore invitation cards before refusing them entry. Some others could be seen searching the horizons for part-time partners. Live band literally shook the decked-up walls of Jailhouse Rock. At Aerizzona, it was ‘Yaaran Da Tashan’. The New Year bumper tambola at the Chandigarh Press Club in Sector 27 had to be postponed “due to inclement weather and rain”.


The New Year Eve celebrations here tonight turned out to be a more or less a subdued affair even though various clubs and hotels had drawn up plans to attract revellers. The winter rain was one of the factors which acted as a dampner on most people except the younger lot. Most residents, particularly the elderly, remained in their homes with their families, while many rushed to Shimla and the nearby hill areas on learning about the snowfall there.

Among the establishments that had made arrangements to ring in the New Year were the Mohali Club, the Punjab Cricket Club and Thunder Zone, near here.


Powermen sweat in bitter cold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The city and it surrounding areas shivered under cold-wave-like conditions with the daytime temperature dropping to 11.4°C, making it the coldest day, so far, of the season. The temperature was 10 degrees below the normal average for this time of the year, which made everyone remain indoor, which affected business activity and led to poor attendance in offices.

The cold conditions kept power engineers on their toes, as the demand for power shot up due to the increased use of blowers, heaters and geysers. The demand for power was about 150 MW. Last year, it was extremely cold outside on this day, with the daytime temperature dropping to 9.6°C.

The Meteorological Department recorded 8 mm rain by 5.30 pm today. Its Director, Mr S.C. Bhan, said the rain had been caused by western disturbances and it would end by tomorrow. The system causing the rain is expected to move away eastwards. “Once the cloud cover clears, the nights will get colder. The daytime temperature, however, will rise, once the clouds are gone,” he said.

The daytime temperature was 8 degrees less than yesterday’s 20.2°C. Early today, the city woke up to overcast conditions and even regular morning walkers avoided going out. By the afternoon, news reports of snowfall in Shimla came in and friends were called up; impromptu plans to go to Shimla were made. The adventurous went ahead, but most holiday packers returned from Barog, midway, after enjoying the weather.


Cross-voting stands between Cong and victory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Though Congress candidate Subhash Chawla seems like winning the Mayoral election scheduled for tomorrow on paper, BJP candidate Rajesh Gupta claims he will spring up a surprise. This is indicative of cross-voting in the Congress and the wholesale support of nine nominated councillors.

The Congress has 14 votes in the 30-member House and is being supported by 2 rebel members of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, giving it the magical number of 16 minus nominated councillors. Two of the nominated councillors — Amar Kulwant Singh and C. K. Sawhney — are told to be abroad. The BJP has three members, its alliance partner Akali Dal one and the remaining one member of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch Jitender Bhatia.

Both the Mayoral candidates claim that nominated councillors will extend their support to them on the basis of their performance. Both candidates have been in constant touch with nominated councillors, who today at a meeting left the matter of voting on individual member’s “conscience”. Sources, however, revealed the nominated councillors had a lengthy discussion and decided to “extend” issue-based support in the House.

The meeting of nominated councillors held at the residence of Dr B.R. Verma was attended by all six members present in the city. Brig Sant Singh (retd) could not attend the meeting because of bereavement in the family.

Nominated councillors are believed to have discussed that the group might have to perform the role of Opposition due to the break-up in the Chandigarh Vikas Manch and would push for measures for the “overall welfare of the city”. This sends a signal that they might push for an increase in the 2 per cent property tax rate and scavenging charges and other measures suggested by the Chandigarh Administration. Candidates would have to satisfy the nominated bloc on these issues before seeking their support.

The BJP today held a strategy meeting of the top leadership and hoped there would be “cross-voting” in the majority party. A Congress source said the BJP seemed to have conceded the defeat by banking on cross-voting that was not possible in tomorrow’s election.

Mr Rajesh Gupta today said the Congress was getting nervous because of the strategy of the BJP only to field a candidate for the post of Mayor, leaving the post of Senior Deputy Mayor uncontested. A BJP source said the party had virtually given a walkover to a Vinod Sharma camp follower in the hope it would get back the support.

Mr Gupta today criticised local MP Pawan Bansal for attempting to “lure councillors” from outside the party and within the party alike by announcing Rs 7 lakh grant to each councillor for the development of their areas yesterday. Congress President B. B. Bahl today called a lunch meeting of all councillors apparently to ask them to be united in the election tomorrow.


Political events hogged limelight
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
After a year of long, dry spells, including drought that hit the region, a wet farewell to 2002 is a good omen. Though compared to the rest of the country, northern India remained peaceful yet it had its own reasons, actions and events to stay in the headlines.

Prominent being Jammu & Kashmir where terrorist violence escalated but failed to deter people from turning out in impressive numbers to exercise their franchise and bring in a new government, ending Dr Farooq Abdullah’s regime. Earlier, Punjab also witnessed fiercely contested Assembly elections in which the ruling SAD-BJP was thrown out of power and the Congress Government was installed.

These political developments apart, Punjab, Haryana shared the headlines more than once during the year . The subjects varied from the Supreme Court directive on completion of the SYL canal to the minimum support price for the kharif and rabi crops, first of wheat and then of paddy, and also the much-publicised SGPC elections. Corruption was another issue which dominated the Punjab scenario more but remained subdued in adjoining Haryana.

It was in January last year that the apex court on a petition moved by the Haryana Government directed the Punjab Government to complete the SYL canal with a directive that in case it was not done within a year of the passing of the order, the work should be undertaken by the Central Government or one of its agencies. The orders came on the eve of the Assembly elections in the state. Though all major political parties of the state joined the chorus in opposing even a drop of Punjab water flowing into the controversial SYL canal, the Punjab Government failed to file a case in the apex court even until the last day of the year.

Haryana kept on repeating that Punjab had to complete the canal failing which the Central Government would intervene to carry out the apex court’s directive. The issue is expected to dominate the political scenario not only in the two states but also at the Centre where in the NDA Government, both SAD — the main opposition party of Punjab — and the INLD — the ruling party of Haryana — are partners. Punjab is averse to the proposed nationalisation of rivers on the plea that it was already starved of water.

It was the friendship between Akali superemo Parkash Singh Badal and INLD chief and Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala that helped the former in keeping his flock of SGPC members at his farmhouse in Sirsa district amidst pressure from the Punjab police on the members to switch loyalties to the Congress-supported SHSAD. The SAD’s victory in the elections put the Congress as well as the SHSAD on the defensive. Not only that, this bitter fight for the control of the mini-Parliament of Sikhs painted a wrong image of the ruling Congress for it sent the police to search all five serai buildings in the Darbar Sahib complex and evicted “yatris,” including children, staying there.

The Congress government in Punjab, in spite of its good work in checking corruption in high positions, jumped from one controversy to another starting with the appointment of Justice AS Garg as the one-man Enquiry Commission to go into all acts of omission and commission of the previous SAD-BJP Government in the state. Justice Garg, however, had to quit after a controversy about his conduct as a judge hit the headlines. Though initially the government maintained that it would appoint a new judge in his place to head the commission, it gradually backed out, taking the plea that after the Vigilance Bureau completes investigations, the matter would be put up before the courts and if need be, before the special courts, to try members of the previous ruling alliance.

The failure of the government to arrest former Chief Minister Parkash Singh

Badal for his “much-publicised corruption” — the Congress had accused him and his family of having amassed assets worth Rs 3300 crore in its pre-election charge sheet — was another issue that hogged the headlines.

Another major controversy was about the visit of a strong contingent led by the Punjab Chief Minister to the UK and the USA to get funds and financial assistance for various development activities. It claimed a major success for having been promised by the International Financial Consortium $ 100 million grant-in-aid. When doubts were raised about the bona fides of the IFC, the government quietly withdrew and let the controversy meet its own quiet end. Neither the grant came nor any delegation from the IFC came to Punjab in September as was being maintained by the government. No one in the government is now prepared to talk about the IFC. The controversial tour remained in the headlines for weeks together.

Then there were controversies over the use of English in the Vidhan Sabha by ignoring Punjabi and, of late, about the alleged immoral activities of some Punjab ministers during their Gujarat election campaign. The last issue brought to surface growing division within the ruling party, revealing two groups wielding power in the state.

In fact, it was a drought-like situation throughout the country that made the power scenario grim. In the absence of adequate rain farmers in Punjab and Haryana struggled to save their crops from withering away by using diesel-based pumps. This added to their cost of production.

Both Punjab and Haryana sought special drought relief. The Punjab case, was, however, turned down by the Centre on the plea that it did not meet the laid-down drought criteria. It led to the accusation that the NDA Government was treating the Congress Government “shabbily”. It was why the state government held that there was inordinate delay in announcing the MSP for wheat as well as paddy and the date for procurement of paddy was not advanced as was being done during the SAD-BJP regime.

Haryana had somewhat similar issues but the Jind and Jhajjar agitations were the major ones. The change of command of the HPCC and continuous infighting also continued to dominate the headlines.

The dramatic removal of Mr L.M. Goyal as Chief Secretary and the 55-day drama prior to the surrender of Mr Ravi Kant Sharma in the Shivani murder case also remained in the headlines during 2002.


PU takes up research project in explosives
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
In the first project of its kind being undertaken by any academic institution in the country, Panjab University (PU) has embarked on a research programme to find ways to change certain properties of explosives. The project, being funded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is scheduled to be complete next year.

Talking to TNS, Prof V.K. Jindal of the Department of Physics, who is undertaking the studies says the focus of the programme is to study how certain materials break up under very high pressure or fragment on impact. The study will also research on ways to control and prevent explosive materials from breaking up. “If we are able to understand this, we can control the properties of explosive materials and also modify such materials to suit our requirements,” he says.

The importance of such a project to the defence establishment cannot be underscored. Not only can explosives be designed to suit task-specific requirements for achieving the desired results, but the safety aspect of explosive materials can also be greatly enhanced.

Pointing out that the study requires an understanding of the parameters which control the actual process of detonation or the breaking up of the material, Professor Jindal said “if we can control these parameters, we can achieve a lot”.

The department has received about Rs 7 lakh to carry out the theoretical work on the subject, which is being undertaken by a four member team headed by Professor Jindal. The team is also interacting with scientists from the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, a DRDO laboratory here which undertakes research in ballistics and explosives, as well as functionaries of the Department of Science and Technology.

Dr Jindal, who is using experience gathered in this field during a fellowship programme in the USA, said that results obtained during the study could also be applied to develop devices for measuring very high temperatures and pressure.

Besides, another research programme on “Fullerene solids and carbon nano-tubes” being undertaken by the department can also have defence applications. These solids and nano-tubes are stated to be new materials developed during the nineties and are meant for use in nano-technology, the latest buzzword among scientists and the electronics industry.


Man murdered; body burnt
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 31
A debtor allegedly murdered his benefactor when the latter went to his house in Bhagwas village to collect his dues last night. The body was later set on fire and dumped in a ditch along the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, near Saidpura village, around 3 km from here.

The charred body of Sushil Kumar alias Sanju (25) was found in the ditch with his scooter (HNK 9175) parked on the road this morning. After the murder, Sushil Kumar’s body was reportedly set on fire. Sushil is the son of a member of Lalru Panchayat, Mr Chaman Lal.

According to police sources, Sushil had been running a grocery shop at Lalru village for the past many years. He used to sell goods to the customers on credit and collect the dues later.

Yesterday, Sushil had gone to collect his dues from Tarun Kumar, a labour contractor, in Saidpura village but failed to return. This raised suspicion among his family members and a search was carried out, said a neighbour of the deceased.

During the search, the brother of the victim found the body dumped in a ditch and the scooter parked on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, near Saidpura village, this morning. The lower part of the body was completely charred, he added.

Members of the victim’s family said Tarun had earlier been staying in a rented accommodation in Lalru village and used to borrow ration and other goods from his shop. Tarun had shifted to Saidpura village a few months ago but remained a regular customer to the shop.

Money is said to be the motive behind the murder. To destroy the evidence, the assailant(s) reportedly took out some petrol from the scooter, poured it on the body and set it on fire.

A case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against some unidentified persons on the complaint by Mr Chaman Lal. The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital in Rajpura for a post-mortem examination.

Sources said though the police had questioned some persons, no arrest had been made so far.


Serial burglaries: 4 more held

Chandigarh, December 31
The Chandigarh Police today claimed to have arrested four members of a gang involved in robberies and serial burglaries in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. Five members of the gang had already been arrested on the night intervening December 25 and December 26. The four members of the gang, Azad Kumar, Sat Pal, Vijay Kumar and Fauji, all residents of Sector 52, were today remanded in one-day police custody.

The modus operandi of these gangs was to swap their leaders, Parmod, Michael and Rambo, while committing robberies. Sources in the SAS Nagar police, said Parmod was involved in another case of theft of a gun from a house. TNS


Full dues for poor sanitation men
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, December 31
Despite the Municipal Council finding the work of sanitation contractors unsatisfactory, officials of the Department of Local Government have ordered the civic body to make full payment to them.

Payments for October and November amounting to over Rs 4.5 lakh were made on December 18 to Reliable Services and Gill Contractor, the two firms looking after sanitation work in many parts of the town.

Sources say that the Deputy Director, Local Government, Ludhiana, had visited the council office on December 17 and discussed the issue of payment with the Executive Officer (EO). The matter was also discussed by the EO on the telephone with the Director, Local Government, Punjab. Both the officials ordered the civic body to make full payment for two months to the sanitation contractors.

It is learnt that Joint Director, Local Government, Punjab, in a letter dated October 17 had ordered the council to keep the payment of contractors pending as the work of the two firms was not satisfactory. The contractors had then approached the Director, Local Government, Punjab, and Deputy Director, Local Government, Ludhiana, requesting them to get the full payment released.

Sources say that many letters had been written by the council office to the Director, Local Government, stating that the sanitation work was in state of neglect as the contractors were not performing their job properly.

Even the president of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, had written to the Director, Local Government, Punjab, that the work of the contractors was unsatisfactory. They were not engaging the required number of workers. Many notices were being issued to them in this regard. Mr Kulwant Singh requested the Director to take necessary action against them.

The Municipal Council had earlier cancelled the contract of the two firms after the proposal in this regard had been cleared at a general house meeting held on July 30. It had been pointed out at the meeting that the contractors were not working according to the conditions of the contract and the sanitation was in a state of neglect.

The affected persons then approached the Director, Local Government, who gave them one month’s time to show satisfactory performance. The work went on well for some time. But once again sanitation is in a bad state leading to complaints from residents.


Armyman ‘harassed’ by IT Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Due to the indifferent attitude of a government department and the insensitivity of its staff an 89 year old handicapped and retired Army Captain, H.R. Bagga, is facing problems at the hands of the local Income Tax Department.

Captain Bagga, a resident of Sector 21, says his income tax refund have not been delivered despite repeated reminders to the department. All his sons and daughters are living in different cities across the world and are in no position to pursue the matter.

The Armyman, who has seen action in World War II, says with a skepticism that he keeps on reading news about how instant refunds for senior citizens have been promised. But in the past two years he has not received any tax refund and correspondence with the office always leads him to another office.

After a series of letters Captain Bagga was asked in September to contact an official in ward 3. In October he submitted the necessary documents to the office of the Chief Commissioner which refused to accept it saying that its should go to range III. Captain Bagga did this as well, however, there has been no response till date.


Mayor lists achievements on last day in office
Tribune News Service

Lalit JoshiChandigarh, December 31
Mayor Lalit Joshi here today claimed the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) was the sole municipal body in the country to have been successful in prevailing upon the state government to accept the State Finance Commission report completely.

“I, along with councillors, begged before the Second Delhi Finance Commission, Administrator Lieut-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister L.K. Advani and Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs Pranab Mukherjee to provide rightful resources to the corporation,” Ms Joshi told a press conference here today.

This effort paid off with General Jacob accepting the recommendations of the Finance Commission in toto, a record of sort as far as states’ record was concerned countrywide, she said. Ms Joshi said the money was likely to be disbursed to the Municipal Corporation in February, which would provide a sound basis for the MC to take up development works in future.

The Mayor, on the last day of her tenure, said she had been able to reverse the trend of diminishing share of the corporation in the Chandigarh Administration’s share of resources taking it up from 15 per cent to 17 per cent along with a promise of matching grants for resources mobilisation efforts of the Municipal Corporation.

Ms Joshi said the functioning of the House had been very effective with it being able to dispose of all agenda items that came before it.

The Mayor said she gave the corporation’s work culture a great push by involving the maximum number of councillors in decision making by immediately setting up committees. On top of that, an effort now had been made to involve the whole city in development work by the House approving the setting up of ward committees in its last meeting. She thanked MP Pawan Bansal for having announced a Rs 3 lakh grant to each of the ward committees to provide them a capacity to contribute to the development of the city.

Ms Joshi took credit for being able to reduce the burden of property tax imposed by the BJP at the rate of 10 per cent. It was reduced to 2 per cent. She said the corporation had decided to make the Circus Ground of Sector 17, Nehru Park of Sector 22 and Exhibition Ground of Sector 34 as well maintained as the Parade Ground.

Ms Joshi said that around Rs 14 crore were spent on the improvement of roads in the municipal area. The corporation spent between Rs 6 crore and Rs 6.5 crore, the Chandigarh Administration and the Housing Board did rest of the work on the request of the Municipal Corporation. These roads included those in industrial area and parking lots in the market, which had not been recarpeted for the past 20 years.

Cattle pounds were converted into gaushalas in Sector 45 and 25, Sahaj Safai Kendras were used to convert garbage into bio-fertiliser for the protection of environment of the city, the city was also rid of pigs, meat by-laws were approved, slaughter house was modernised, growing flowers on the dumping ground had been planned, a carcasses utilisation centre had been approved, a plant for making power from garbage was approved and number of equipment were purchased to create better sanitary conditions in the city, Ms Joshi said.

She said around 135 parks were developed in the city at the cost of Rs 84.38 lakh.

Ms Joshi said she gave the city an afternoon water supply and an improved water supply with the engineering wing being “wonderfully” managing water resources as well as checking leakage. Water supply in villages and colonies had been improved by fixing new tube wells and the Chandigarh Administration transferring two tubewells. Water harvesting wells had been dug up and a Sewage Treatment Plant would come up in Raipur Kalan.

Senior Deputy Mayor Surinder Singh praised the Mayor for fighting for the implementation of the Article 243 (W) of the Constitution and transfer of 18 departments as per the 12th schedule, which will be continued.


Jain heads party’s election cell
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Former local BJP MP Satya Pal Jain, a national executive member and in charge of the party in Uttaranchal, was today appointed in charge of the Election and Legal Cell of the party at the national level.

With this responsibility, Mr Jain will be in the company of Mr Rajnath Singh, who has been made Prabhari of Panchayati Raj Cell, Ms Anita Arya, who will head the Slum Cell, Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who will head the Grievances and Media Cell, Mr Arun Jaitley, who will head the Intellectual, Economic and External Affairs Cell, Mr Pyarelal Khandelwal, who will head the Cooperatives Cell, Dr Harshwardhan, who will head Doctor’s Cell, and Mr Bal Apte who will head the Party Workers Training Cell.

The appointments were announced today by BJP national President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Mr Jain told the Chandigarh Tribune here today. Mr Jain said he would have to take care of legalities of elections as well as legal issues at the national level.

Mr Jain is the first leader in the party from the city to have reached such a level in the party hierarchy.

Mr Jain is fighting cases of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Union Rural Development Minister Shanta Kumar, Union Minister Vinod Khanna, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani, Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former Union Minister Uma Bharati, MPs and MLAs from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. He recently pleaded the case of the party before the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker during the recent crisis in the party.

The local unit President, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, thanked the national leadership for honouring the workers of the local unit and giving the city great importance in the national politics.


Rain hits door-to-door campaigning
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
The last day of 2002 saw most candidates confining to their homes and the door-to-door campaigning gave way to campaigning through telephone, courtesy the rain that lashed the region all through the day.

While election offices of two candidates were inaugurated today and their election manifestos released, various candidates completed the first leg of their door-to-door campaigning. Ms Lily Bawa, a candidate from Ward 22, has said that she would make all efforts for the improvement of the area. Wg Cdr H.L. Ratta, a candidate from Ward 27, said that he had finished the first round of campaigning and had got a warm welcome from the voters of his ward. Lieut-Col Surjit Singh, a candidate from the same ward, said he had also finished visiting all houses in this ward.

Brig R.S. Sharma, an Independent candidate from Ward 6, today released his election manifesto wherein he has promised to get the nullah passing through Sectors 17 and 18 covered and provision of a community hall and a government dispensary for the ward. Mr Parveen Kumar Garg, an independent candidate from the same ward, said he would be releasing his agenda on January 3 and that he had finished visiting his ward.

Mr S.R. Monga, an Independent candidate from Ward 13, too, released his election manifesto and his election office was inaugurated. He has promised to get better drinking water supply, sanitation, streetlighting, etc for the ward.

Meanwhile, most candidates say “We have acquainted ourselves with the voters once and the next round will begin next year. People do not like much interference and so we will now give a break in our door-to-door campaigning and emphasise on nukkad meetings,” remarked the husband of a candidate in Ward 22.

Mr B.B. Kochhar, an Independent from Ward 3 , said that after he had completed his door-to-door campaigning, he was now emphasising on nukkad meetings.


Cop alleges victimisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
A constable of the Chandigarh police, Jaiveer Singh, is running from pillar to post to plead his innocence. Jaiveer Singh was suspended after a case of corruption was registered against him by the CBI in January, this year.

Alleging that the case was false, he said it had been registered to pressurise him to withdraw a case of cheating against Lal Singh, a resident of Yamunanagar, at a police station there. The constable said he had explained his side of the story to the SSP in the CBI office at Chandigarh and to the SSP, Chandigarh police.

Jaiveer Singh alleged that Lal Singh had taken Rs 1,80,000 from Joginder Singh to get him recruited in the Haryana police in 2000. But after Joginder was not recruited, Lal Singh gave back a cheque of Rs 90,000 which bounced. later, Lal Singh allegedly refused to pay the amount. Subsequently, a case of cheating was registered against him in Yamunanagar.

In his representation to the SP, CBI, the suspended constable alleged that Lal Singh was a close relative of an inspector in the CBI, posted at Chandigarh. Jaiveer Singh said since he had submitted an affidavit against Lal Singh, he was told to distance himself from the case. “It was after that Lal Singh connived with certain police officials to get a case of corruption registered against me for something which I had never done,” alleged the constable adding that complainant against him, Mahipal Singh, had also given Rs 1,20,000 to Lal Singh for getting his brother-in-law, Rajesh Kumar, recruited in the Haryana police. Rajesh Kumar is related to an inspector of the Chandigarh police in the Sector 26 Police Lines, he said.

Jaiveer Singh alleged that despite the registration of the case against him, he continued getting harassed by persons known to Lal Singh.“I was injured after being hit by a car near the Punjab Engineering College colony, but the duty officer at the Sector 11 police station did not act,” said the constable.

He claimed that he was deliberately shown absent from duty from March 5 to March 8, this year, so that the half pay which he was entitled to, could be withdrawn as per the provisions of the Punjab Police Rules 16.21.

Jaiveer Singh's allegation that after recording his statement, the CBI did not further investigate the case even after an year could not be verified. The CBI official, investigating the case, was not available for comments.


SFC approves of new sewage treatment plant 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
A new sewage treatment plant will stop the dirty and highly contaminated sewage from flowing towards villages of Punjab and affecting the lives of thousands of people who live downstream a natural seasonal rivulet, through which the sewerage of the city is pushed down. The rivulet drains of in Ghaggar and the pollutants in it are affecting local population, cattle and vegetation.

The plant, costing Rs 8 crore, was recommended by the Standing Finance Committee of the Chandigarh Administration today. However, a final approval is required from the UT Administrator before work can commence.

The location is yet to be decided, but sources said it would be at the exit of the existing sewerage line, just east of Sector 48. The new site is across the upcoming Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link.

Punjab will construct its own sewerage treatment plant for SAS Nagar, near Dehri, on the Banur-Kharar road.

The natural rivulet is used to dispose off the excess sewerage which cannot be treated at the existing plant.

The treated water will be used to cater to the lawn watering scheme in the III Phase sectors. and also in various parks.

A natural slope exists to cater to the needs of southern sectors.

Under the agreement, sewerage from Chandigarh will be treated at a new site, where a new plant, just south-east of Sector 48 near Jagatpura village, will come up.

It has been 12 years since residents of villages, along the rivulet, have been demanding that a sewerage plant be set up.

The move will also benefit residents living near the existing sewerage treatment plant spread across 48 acres in Industrial Area, Phase IX. This plant will be shut down.

The Chandigarh authorities have said that Punjab should help them set up a plant which treats up to 30 million gallons a day.

This is the capacity of existing plant also. The idea is also to construct smaller sewerage treatment plants.

Initially it was proposed that the existing treatment plant would be shifted south of its present location.

The Administration had objected to it saying that it pumps up treated water, used in irrigation and lawn watering.

This would have jacked up the costs as it required laying of additional pipes. When asked how the railway line will be crossed, a top official said since the sewerage pipes were several feet underground this will not be a problem. Sewerage pipes could pass under the railway line, he said.


Rally by PCL employees
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 31
The Punjab Communications Employees Union organised a rally against the PCL management and the Punjab Government in connection with their demands.

The procession started from PCL Chowk and culminated at Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17, Chandigarh. Dharnas were organised at both these points.

The union representatives said that the management had signed an agreement with the employees on October 18 in connection with an increase in wages and other facilities which it was not being implemented. The management was saying that the agreement had not been cleared by the Board of Directors (BoD) as the PCL was not stable financially. The union leaders said that when they met the Chairman of Puncom, Mr Mukul Joshi, they were told that the agreement had been cleared by the BoD.

They said that during the year 2001-02 the company had earned a profit of Rs 8 crore, but the money was being wasted on many unnecessary expenses. They said new appointments were being made when the regular staff was sitting idle. Officials reaching retirement age were being given extension.

They said that the union was not against disinvestment, provided it did not affect the interests of the employees.


Khadi exhibition ends

Chandigarh, December 31
Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh, was the chief guest on the concluding day of a Khadi Gramodyog exhibition held since October 2 at Gandhi Smarak Bhavan, Sector 16, here today. The programme was started with a song “Toro man darpan kahlaye” by Mr Vimal Sardana, a noted social worker of Chandigarh.

Ms Nanda stated that the Khadi Gramodyog and Cottage Industry was the basic key to the success for the development of industries in India. She stated that in order to promote khadi, people should adopt the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave.

On the occasion selling of vermi-compost manure on the macro level was launched by the Adviser. Mr H.C. Upreti, Director, Gramodyog, Chandigarh, stated that the exhibition put up by them since October 2, 2002, was a successful experiment. TNS


Rally on female foeticide
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 31
Over 1,200 women from Anganwari Training Centre here participated in a rally taken out by Milkfed, Punjab (Verka) and Child Welfare Council Punjab under the ‘the Girl Child and Prevention of Female Foeticide’ project of Family Planning Association of India, SAS Nagar branch here today.

CRPF personnel also participated in the rally which passed through Phases 2, 1, 4, 5, 3 and 7 here. Among others who participated in the rally included Dr B.K. Goel, District RCH Officer, Dr Harbhajan Singh, Child Welfare and Development Officer.


Four thefts reported in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Four separate incidents of theft were reported in the city. A Maruti car was stolen from the parking of Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17. A case has been lodged on a complaint filed by Gurmukh Singh, a resident of Sector 39. In another case, Lal Chand, a resident of Sector 39, said that his scooter was stolen from his residence.

Goods worth thousands of rupee were stolen from Sidhu farm in Sarangpur village. Two motors of wall fan, a battery of generator and a geyser were stolen. Jaspal Kaur, a resident of Sector 19, complained to the police that a mobile phone, an identity card and Rs 10,000 cash were stolen from her house from Roop Saree Centre in Sector 17.

Injured: A pedestrian was injured by a scooterist near the police booth in Sector 21. The pedestrian is still said to be unconscious.


2 booked for duping one
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
The police has booked Joga Singh and an accomplice on the charge of duping a local resident, Amarjit Singh, of Rs 1.80 lakh on the pretext of getting him a visa for Italy. The accused neither got him a visa nor returned his money. They also threatened him with dire consequences, he has alleged. A case has been registered.

Arrested: The police has arrested Roshan and Rama in two separate incidents on the charges of indulging in indecent behaviour. While the former was arrested from Sector 6, the latter was arrested while saying indecent words to a woman near Raipur Rani.


Two booked

The police has booked two officers of Kalka Grameen Bank, Mallah, manager Dalip Singh and an field officer at Ambala, on the charge of demanding a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a villager to sanction a loan for him. The duo had demanded the bribe from Dharampal. They have been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. TNS

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