Saturday, January 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Two drops of life, 1.3 lakh targets
There will be no tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Taken aback by the five-fold rise in case of polio in the country, the UT health authorities, drawing solace that only one case had been reported from their area, will be setting up 406 booths for administering polio drops to 1.30 lakh children below five years on January 5 and February 9.

Giving details, the Director, Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, said 1,800 workers from Health, Education and Social Welfare Departments apart from social activists, NCC cadets, NSS workers and religious leaders had been involved to ensure the success of the campaign. The Health Department would set up 408 stationary booths and 53 mobile teams so that no area, including construction sites, brick-kilns, roadside dwellers and hutments was left uncovered.

While admitting that there had been a failure at the implementation level of the pulse polio campaign, senior health officials pointed out that it was basically the endemic regions of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which had made India home for 85 per cent of the polio victims in the world. “As compared to a total of 268 polio cases reported in India last year, to everyone’s surprise this figure shot up to 1,400 this year, making it amply clear that there had been some shortcoming at the implementation level,” remarked Dr M. P. Minocha, Director, Family Welfare.

With 10-month-old Sonia, a resident of Nehru Colony, Sector 52, being declared a confirmed polio case on October 28, last year, UT lost its status of being a polio-free state, it enjoyed for the past two years. Prior to this it was Avinash, a resident of Sector 25 Kumhar Colony, who was confirmed to be a polio case on October 30,2000. In 1999 two cases of polio from Dadu Majra and Sector 52 were detected and in 1998 there was one case from Sector 26.

During the last phase of the pulse polio campaign, 1.25 lakh children, below the age of five years had been covered, while this time the expected figure was close to 1.30 lakh. Booths would be set up at bus stand, airport, railway station and at all barriers leading to the city, so that children in transit could also be given the polio dose.

While being candid in admitting that there had been a failure in the campaign, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the WHO State Surveillance Medical Officer, Dr Mohini Bhasin, stressed the need for quality supplementary immunisation and surveillance. “Since the efficacy of the oral polio vaccine we use is 85 per cent, as such 15 per cent of the children are still at risk, hence our endeavor should be to eradicate the polio virus so that no susceptible child becomes its victim,” she stressed.

She suggested that for this, it was imperative to increase the low community immunity. She pointed out that a section of the elite class were not comfortable with the idea of getting their children immunised along with others, which was not right as all children must be administered the vaccine at the same time.

Polio cases in Chandigarh during last four years.



Rotary working for polio-free India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
“In its 97-year history Rotary International has embarked upon one of the greatest humanitarian programmes — to eradicate the most deadly and crippling of diseases — polio”, says Dr G.S. Kochhar, President of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Shivalik.

According to him Rotary International has so far spent $ 424 million in fighting the disease by providing support for vaccine procurement, maintaining the cold chain, advocacy and social mobilisation.

Rotary, a catalyst in the polio-eradication campaign, focuses its energies on carrying out advocacy and social mobilisation through its network of 2480 clubs, 800 Inner Wheel clubs, 800 rotary clubs, 1100 interact clubs and 400 Rotary Community Corps. It has also participated in the National Immunisation days by adopting booths and polio high-risk areas for immunisation coverage, helping in transporting health workers to remote areas, deputing volunteers to high-risk areas, besides taking active part in publicity support materials such as banners, posters, etc. with pulse polio dates, press advertisements, caps for volunteers and sunshades for motivating and involving children.

Rotary has launched special awareness initiatives and celebrates 100 years of Rotary (2005) by declaring India “polio free”, said Dr G.S. Kochhar.



Rallies to create polio awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
More than 500 students from Government Model High School, Sector 39-C and Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 38(W), participated in a rally organised to spread awareness on the need to eradicate polio, here today.

The rally, was organised by the Citizens Awareness Group, in collaboration with the Health department, so as to create awareness among public. The chairman of Citizens Awareness Group said that on January 5, children below the age of five from Sectors 38, 39 , 40, barrier near the Civil Hospital and Ranbaxy will be given polio drops by volunteers of the NGO and health department.

A similar rally will be organised by children of Government High School, Sector 38-B, tomorrow to spread awareness about polio.

NSS volunteers of Government Girls Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18, organised an awareness rally for the forthcoming pulse polio programme. The volunteers, accompanied by school teachers and four health workers from the Sector 22 polyclinic went around the sector and gave the message about the importance of giving polio drops to children.

Meanwhile, NSS volunteers from the Government Senior Secondary school, Mani Majra Town, too went around their locality to spread a similar message. The first round of pulse polio programme is scheduled to be held on January 5.


Adviser’s assets astounding
Tribune News Service

Adviser’s wealth in 2000

  • Expensive vehicles.
  • Plots, land in New Delhi.
  • Gold jewellery and cash (seized from lockers).
  • Investments in commercial ventures.
  • Lakhs of rupees in FDRs and Indira Vikas Patras.

Chandigarh, January 3
Wealth is one thing that is not in short supply for the new Adviser to the UT Administrator. According to a dossier of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the wealth of Mr Virender Singh, 1969-batch UT-cadre official, runs into crores of rupees. He was made the new Adviser yesterday.

The CBI’s New Delhi unit, in May 2000, had registered a case against Mr Singh, charging him with possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. It accused him of abusing his official position for accumulating huge assets, following which, he was placed under suspension. This will be his first posting here.

It has been written in an old document of the CBI that searches were conducted at the house of Mr Singh and other places, resulting in the uncovering of huge assets. The assets were either in the name of some or the other member of his family or no one, with the power of attorney in the name of the accused officer and his son.

The assets, as listed by the CBI, are as follows: cash — Rs 22.82 lakh; fixed-deposit receipts — Rs 18.55 lakh; gold jewellery — Rs 13.72 lakh; motor vehicles — two Toyotas, priced at Rs 9.5 lakh; three Maruti Zen cars, priced at Rs 10.5 lakh; a Daewoo Espero (Vintage) vehicle, priced at Rs 5 lakh; an Opel Astra car, priced at Rs 7 lakh.

The real estate bought by the IAS officer, as shown by the CBI, includes 2-bighas and 27 biswas near Nangloi, where a Maruti workshop is being run by one of his sons. The land was worth Rs 25 lakh at the time of purchase and it was bought in the name of one of his relatives. He also owns an industrial unit in Phase II of the Okhla Industrial Area in New Delhi. The unit is spread over 300 sq yds and is valued at Rs 60 lakh. The unit is in the name of his son.

The other assets, as listed by the CBI, are as follows: A 700 sq yd plot at Lado Sarai in Hauz Khas, valued at Rs 50 lakh and purchased on the GPA in favour of his son; A 300 sq yd plot in Khirki Extension of Malviya Nagar, purchased on the GPA in favour of a firm owned by his son, on which, 20 one-room flats have been built at cost of Rs 25 lakh; a Delhi Development Authority flat in Sukhdev Vihar of New Delhi, purchased at Rs 15 lakh in the name of a firm owned by his son; Rs 29.16 lakh, paid by his son for purchasing the ground floor of a house in Panchsheel Enclave of New Delhi; a commercial premises worth Rs 12 lakh on Tolstoy Marg in New Delhi, bought in the name of his son and, later, declared under the Voluntray Dislcosure of Income Scheme.

The assets also include 6 bighas, worth Rs 25 lakh, at Satberi village near Chhatarpur, purchased in the name of one of his close relatives; about 15 bighas valued at Rs 5 lakh along Jaunapur Road, held on lease in the name of one of his close relatives; a building at Andheria Mor in Chhatarpur, where an Aptech Computer Education Centre is run by his son (The investment in the centre has been more than Rs 30 lakh).

The asset list goes on as follows: a farm house at Ansal Village, purchased in the name of a firm (The investment in this more than Rs 25 lakh); a Shop at Alaknanda Shopping Centre in Sector 28 of Noida, bought at Rs 9.5 lakh in the name of his son; a 30 per cent share of his wife in a petrol pump at Lodhipur, Moradabad, worth about Rs 15 lakh; 5.5 hectares in Chuck Gindora village of Moradabad district, worth Rs 3 lakh; A 274 sq yd house in Khirki Extension of Malviya Nagar, worth Rs 20 lakh, purchased in the name of his son; a house in Harbans Singh Estate of Darya Ganj, purchased in the name of his wife (it is worth Rs 15 lakhs).

The CBI has unearthed cash and bank balance totalling Rs 8 lakh and IVP-FDRS worth Rs 10 lakh. There are number of such transactions where his son and relatives are involved.


Soundless patrolling to trap thieves
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 3
Call it going back to the basics. Following success of one such experiment, the SAS Nagar police is all set to catch criminals...on bicycles.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, launched this pattern of patrolling at a special flagging off ceremony organised in the Phase VIII police station here today.

This pattern of patrolling by policemen on cycles across various parts of the township would be followed in addition to the routine beat patrolling being done by two policemen in every phase on motor cycles day and night. The bicycle patrolling would be carried out during the night in markets.

‘‘This is being done so as to ensure that the thieves or anyone else involved in a criminal activity is not alerted with the sound of motorcycles,’’ explained Mr Bhullar.

The SAS Nagar police has been instrumental in getting a gang of thieves operating in Chandigarh and the township caught after the patrolling pattern had been changed on an experimental basis here. ‘‘We try to nab a criminal on the spot and a change in patrolling pattern will supplement our efforts,’’ said Mr Bhullar. Less than a fortnight back, at a press conference addressed by the SSP Ropar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, it was decided that the patrolling pattern in the township be changed and policemen should take rounds of their beats on cycles and even on foot. ‘‘Since the criminals have changed their modus operandi a change of pattern in the way they are to be caught also needed to be changed according to the changed needs,” said Mr Bhullar.


4 DSPs shifted; then, orders withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Chandigarh Administration transferred four Deputy Superintendents of Police here today and withdrew the orders within 40 minutes, well after newsmen had been told about the transfers.

According to the withdrawn order, the DSP Lines, Mr Devinder Singh, had been transferred to the East police station and Mr Surjit Singh, DSP (East), had been transferred out as DSP Security. Mr B.D. Bector, DSP Economic Offences Wing and Women and Child Support Unit, had been sent to Police Lines and the OSD Vigilance, Mr S.C. Abrol, had been transferred to the Economic Offences Wing.

The reason for withdrawal is not known, but the transfers of DSP Devinder Singh Thakur from Police Lines to the East police station has raked up the infamous missing-files case and the issue of the alleged hushing up of the beef-tallow case. The cases had been registered at the East police station, where he was, then, the DSP.

After receiving a report of inquiry in the missing-files case, the then UT Home Secretary, Ms Anuradha Gupta, had ordered that DSP Devinder Thakur, SI Balihar Singh and MMHC Yashpal be placed under suspension. Except DSP S.C. Sagar, who was reinstated by the UT Administrator on July 30, 1999, all others accused officials were reinstated after about two years of it.

The police officials had been placed under suspension after it had been found that files of four cases being investigated by them had been missing for more than a decade. Mr Parag Jain, a former Senior Superintendent of Police, had ordered a department inquiry against Inspector P.K. Dhawan in this case. The inquiry against the DSPs is still pending.


Termites lay siege to city’s green cover 
Hundreds of infected trees await treatment
Kiran Deep


  • Related to cockroaches; their social behaviour is akin to that of ants, bees.
  • They feed on woods of trees and the woody tissue of other plants
  • They convert dead wood into humus that enriches the soil
  • When they encounter timber utilised by man, termites cause potential threat.

Chandigarh, January 3
If the termite onslaught on trees across the length and breadth of the city is anything to go by, the green cover is in grave danger. Over hundreds of trees in the city are currently being eaten by termites, due to favourable “feeding” factors prevailing due to late rains this season.

Whatever the causes of termite infection which was spreading at a rapid rate in view of meagre checks, experts said the green belt of the city might well be lost. A survey by a Tribune team revealed that the most affected trees were in Sector 17, Sector 28, Panjab University (Dispensary area and some other places), Sector 29 and Sector 22. Many trees in these sectors had already succumbed to termite infection, while others were on the verge of collapse due to deadly attack.


  • The Gotham Inspectors study says there are over 2000 termite species in the world. They include subterranean, damp-wood and drywood termites:
  • Subterranean termites build nests in soil or on sides of trees or transmission poles and rely on soil for moisture. In their search for food they construct covered runways of shelter tubes.
  • Damp-wood termites live in old tree stumps, logs and pieces of buried timber. They can move into sound wood.
  • Dry-wood termites live entirely within dry wood. Unlike others they depend less on external sources for moisture, enabling to survive above ground in moist timber. They need no soil access.

The most affected belt was in Sector 17, adjacent to the district courts’ boundary wall, and in front of Sector 17 police station. Many trees had lost leaves due to the lack of a proper protection policy by the department concerned. Ironically, the infection had taken many months to spread and despite its dangerous consequences, the Horticulture wing remained indifferent towards the cause of city’s green cover.

The problem was serious in view of the termite colonies that were now spreading into the offices situated near the affected trees. The Tribune survey revealed that such colonies had spread in all affected sectors. If that was not enough, the underground cable’s having rubber and plastic covering, might also be stripped to conducted wires resulting in water penetration and short circuits.

City-based environmentalist and a member of Environment and Anti-Pollution Front, Mr Rajinder Sharma, said he had long been noticing this problem in the city as well as the casual attitude of the department concerned. He added, “ I have seen many trees in the city dying because of termite attack since the past six months.” He said their organisation would send a representation to the department concerned to solve the problem. He added if the problem was not solved soon, their organisation would file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the court to protect the green cover in the city.

When contacted the Executive Engineer (Horticulture), Mr Raghbir Singh, said the department was well aware of the problem and had planned a different method to solve it. He added that a team of horticulture employees had been directed to remove termites manually. He further informed that the department had been receiving a number of complaints from all parts of city as termites had affected houses, various departments, shops and offices. “The colonies are spreading due to the delayed monsoon,” he informed.

However, the Director, Environment, UT, Mr Ishwar Singh, said that his department was posted at the matter by its Dehra Dun centre. “We had been cautioned about this problem earlier. Although we are not responsible for treating it, we had passed on the relevant information to the Horticulture Department, MC.”

CFSL helped nail Geelani
Attack on Parliament House
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Two weeks ago, a Delhi Court, sentenced S A R Geelani, a Delhi University lecturer in Arabic, to death along with two others, in the December 13 Parliament attack case. But how was Geelani’s involvement in the case proved? This is, perhaps a mystery for most of people.

The Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) Chandigarh played crucial role in providing a conclusive evidence in this case. CFSL experts proved in the court through a computer analysis that the voice tape recorded by the Delhi police while intercepting a telephone call matched that of Geelani. The Delhi police had intercepted phone calls on the basis of telephone numbers decoded from the mobile SIM cards seized from the terrorists killed during the attack. The conversation between Geelani and the caller was in Kashmiri.

The question before the prosecution was how to prove that the intercepted voice was of Geelani’s. First samples of Geelani’s voice and of the one intercepted were sent to CSFL experts in Delhi. But they could not establish any link because of a high level of background noise in the tape and lack of technology required for micro acoustic analysis of the speaker. Then the tape and a sample of the Geelani’s voice were sent to CFSL Chandigarh, which succeeded in their auditory analysis and later presented the same in court.

Not only in the Parliament attack case but also in several other sensitive and high-voltage cases, the CFSL has played a pivotal role by doing what is technically called “forensic speaker identification”. CFSL scientists have succeeded in creating a forensic speaker identification facility which is as good as in the USA. In fact, the Chandigarh lab is technically better equipped in this technology than many such laboratories in the West.

The credit for establishing such a facility goes to Assistant Director, S.K. Jain, who acted as leader of this project and Dr C.P. Singh, deputy leader of the project. Dr Jain says that in the present era widely available facilities such as telephones, mobile phones and tape-recorders have become an efficient tool in commissioning sensational crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, match-fixing, filthy anonymous calls etc. Criminals use such gadgets to conceal their identities. In such cases, the voice of the person involved in the crime is an important clue for identification, if recorded. The entire computer programme and lab has been set up by Dr Jain and his associates.

Dr Jain claimed that the CFSL had developed a computerised voice analysis system which could identify even disguised or improvised voice. Dr R.S. Verma, Director of the CFSL, says that the facility created here would go a long way to help the prosecution agencies scientifically solve criminal cases. This technology can be applied in speech pathology and several other areas. Even in murder cases, one can solve the case from the sound of firearm used by applying this technology.



Verify facts, HC tells scribes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has expressed “hope and trust” that press correspondents would verify facts before publishing the news pertaining to court affairs.

Disposing of the proceedings against Hindustan Times and Dainik Bhaskar, a Division Bench of the High Court expressed “hope and trust that any journalist, press or newspaper, in future shall be cautious in relation to the publication of any news pertaining to court proceedings/affairs or any other Judicial Officer or Judge of this Court, and before they actually publish the same, shall verify first the correctness or otherwise of the report received”.

The High Court had initiated proceedings on its own motion against the Resident Editors and correspondents of the newspapers asking them to show cause why proceedings for contempt should not be initiated against them after going through a news item.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Binod Kumar Roy and Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi, observed: “Even though in fact that the Court had suspended Ajay Singhal, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) posted at Chandigarh, yet unfortunately a news giving a bold line caption was published in the Hindustan Times’ Chandigarh edition that read `District Judge suspended for corruption’. In Dainik Bhaskar’s Chandigarh edition it was published `Sessions Judge suspend” which gave rise to the initiation of proceedings for contempt against the Resident Editors and the Correspondents of the two newspapers to show cause why proceedings for contempt should not be initiated against them”.

The Judges further observed: “The noticees are present in the court personally as also through their counsel, who have filed affidavits tendering unqualified apologies. From perusal of their affidavits it appears that there was a bona fide mistake on their part in preparing the captions giving the impression to the readers that the District Judge, Chandigarh, has been suspended for corruption whereas it was the Judicial Magistrate who was placed under suspension. We find that the caption ‘Sessions Judge suspend’ published in the Hindi newspaper was incomplete inasmuch as instead of using the word ‘suspended’ it mentioned ‘suspend’”.

The Bench concluded: “The District Judge, Chandigarh, has been brought to disrepute. However, in view of the facts stated in the affidavits and before us by counsel representing the noticees, we do not consider expedient in the interest of justice to continue this proceedings in contempt. Consequently, we discharge the rule. This contempt proceedings stand disposed of accordingly....”


Trainer to replace Kiran to fly soon
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Following the successful flights of the light combat aircraft (LCA), the medium combat aircraft, the next version of the LCA, is already in the concept stage while the intermediate jet trainer is ready to fly within the next two months, disclosed Dr Kota Harinarayana, the man behind the LCA project.

Dr Harinarayana, who was the Project Director for the much talked about and awaited LCA till a few months ago, was here on the opening day of the two-day national seminar on “Technological Developments in Aeronautics and its Impact on Maintenance” being organized at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO).

While talking to The Tribune he said the jet trainer would replace the Kiran aircraft used as trainer now and would have the capacity of carrying a two-tonne weapon system. The LCA, he said, when it was inducted in the Air Force in 2006 would have a four-tonne weapon carrying capacity that is as much as the MiG 27. Dr Harinarayana saw a future in the fact India might become a major player in selling fighter aircraft to other countries.

In India itself 250 planes were required immediately to replace the ageing MiG Squadrons. On the next generation medium combat aircraft he said it was still in the design studio but its development would be much faster as “We now have the experience of the LCA”. This aircraft would have a range of 1200 km.

Earlier, during his 35-minute presentation he had hardened pilots and scientists listening with rapt attention as he narrated the safety features in the LCA. He also explained in detail to the maintenance men that the aircraft would require lesser time on checking details.

The scientist, who laced his talk with humour, said in this technology we have to run just to stay where we are while India was not even crawling for more than three decades. Between the sixties and the early nineties no more than Rs 50 crore had been spent. And this sum is nothing in the aerospace world. However, in the post LCA conception stage about Rs 2,500 crore had been used. Every component of the LCA was digitalised and a high level of localisation of parts has been achieved. Each and every detail had been cross checked, he added.


Military aviation ‘needs’ frequent overhaul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Military aviation needs to be coping with the pace of development carried out in the commercial aviation, Air Marshal, V.A. Patkar, said while delivering the inaugural address at the national seminar on technological developments in aeronautics and its impact on maintenance here today.

Already the planes are getting complex with advancement in technology. Engines in military aviation still require frequent overhaul, while the commercial airliner has now managed a time of 40,000 hours before the overhaul, Air Marshal Patkar added. He observed that the seminar would be a great help in knowing the people who develop various components.

The seminar organised at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) is being jointly held by the Aeronautical Society of India, Chandigarh branch, 3 BRD, Air Force Station, and the Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA).

Air Cdre S.B. Prashar, Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, said aviation was the fastest growing field unlike advancements in other fields like telecommunication, medicine, computers and the like.

The Aeronautical Society of India said that the advancements in the field of aviation take place at a very rapid pace. Since most of these are related to defence, the details are never made public. There was need to bridge the gap from time to time, said Wg Cdr D.P. Sabharwal, organising secretary of the seminar. In the seminar, about 200 delegates shall be participating and more than 25 papers shall be presented during the two days.

In the technical session, Dr B.K. Parida, Senior Deputy Director, National Aerospace Laboratory, Bangalore, pointed out that the Indian Air Force ranks the fourth largest one in the world. For historical reasons, the IAF has in its inventory a large number of Russian aircraft of the 1960 and 1970 design, some of which have already crossed their original design lives and its inventory of ageing fleet of aircraft is fast expanding. However, in view of the high procurement cost of new weapon systems in the international markets, the IAF can ill-afford to phase out all of them. In this case proper maintenance to keep them operationally ready at all times to defend the Indian sky is important.

The IAF had to meticulously maintain and keep its ageing fleet of aircraft fit to fly. It is common knowledge that the original manufactures maintenance manuals and service bulletins contain procedures and recommendations for use of inspection methods/equipment that may be called elementary as compared to the present state of knowledge and technology available in this field, the IAF needs to be complimented for quickly realising the possible long-term adverse impact of this scenario.

From the Aeronautical Development Agency, Dr M.P. Reddy spoke on light combat aircraft (LCA) maintenance philosophy. The main feature is that every unit should cater to 95 per cent test coverage, detection, isolation and reporting of the failures.

Dr S.C. Sharma, Professor and Head of Aeronautical Engineering, Punjab Engineering College, said the department was started in 1962 and it has slowly and steadily carved out a distinct position for itself through its graduates. They have excelled wherever they have worked. From the first batch onwards, from 1964 to date, its graduates are enjoying distinguished positions in all the establishments of aeronautics and aerospace in the country.



Harassment of outstation vehicle owners in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
It seems that considerations other than professional weigh heavily on certain cops in the traffic wing of the Chandigarh police as vehicles bearing outstation registration numbers are specifically "targeted" for violations, if any.

Despite instructions from the higher-ups to dissuade from stopping vehicles with outstation registration numbers for general checking, a Tribune team found that the instructions were seldom being followed. A police official said that the field staff had been told not to harass the people travelling in cars with outstation registration numbers.

The cops have been asked not to stop a vehicle with outstation registration numbers if no violation of the traffic rules had been noticed. However, the ground reality is different. To prove the point, a cameraman captured scenes of how the occupants of vehicles were "harassed" by the cops while the same offence, if any, was being committed by vehicles bearing registration number of Chandigarh.

At the Piccadily roundabout, cops stopped three vehicles bearing outstation registration numbers only to harass the occupants in the vehicles. The vehicles plying as taxis were soft targets of the cops. At times when the cops were busy in checking the outstation vehicles, there was nobody to attend to traffic jams at the busy roundabout.

To check the illegal practice, senior police officials have been conducting surprise raids and action has been taken against cops, indulging in unauthorised checking. But the practice continues.


Sun breaks through, brings relief

Chandigarh, January 3
The sun broke through today after four days of foggy weather, even as Ludhiana remained the coldest in the northwest plains with a minimum temperature of 3.2°C.

Shimla had the coldest night of the season, with the mercury dipping to minus 1.6° C.

Srinagar (minus 2.9°C) was the coldest in the entire northern region.

The cold weather claimed three lives in Haryana. A beggar died of cold in Sonepat, while a saint and a farmer lost their lives in Fatehabad and Sirsa districts, respectively.

As the sun shone briskly with the lifting of the fog around 9.30 a.m., people ventured outdoors to bask in its warmth to ward off shivering cold, caused by temperatures one to three degrees below normal.

Rail, road and air traffic were affected for several hours this morning as the visibility was reduced to near zero at many places due to a thick fog.

The Indian Airlines Chandigarh-Delhi-Mumbai-Goa flight operated for the first time in five days, but it was around three hours behind schedule.

The Jet Airways flight to Chandigarh was late by half an hour but took off for Mumbai via New Delhi on time.

Trains ran one to four hours behind schedule. The Howrah-Kalka mail arrived here three hours and 45 minutes late. The Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi, Himalayan Queen, Mumbai-Kalka, Shaan-e-Punjab, Golden Temple Express and a number of other trains also ran behind schedule by 30 to 105 minutes.

The delay in Bihar-bound trains, especially the Amrapali and Shahid Express trains, stranded hundreds of migrant labourers at Karnal in Haryana, a report said.

Chandigarh and surrounding areas of Punjab and Haryana had yet another chilly night, with the minimum temperature dipping to 6.4° C, one degree below normal from the previous low of 8.2°C.

In Haryana, Ambala reported a low of 6°C, while Hisar and Rohtak recorded 7.1°C.

Amritsar (5.3°C) and Patiala (5.4 °C) were the other colder places in Punjab. Una reported a low of minus 0.8°C, Manali 1.1°C and Sloan 2.5°C.

The Meteorological Bureau here has forecast a fall in morning temperatures and the possibility of ground frost appearing at isolated places in plains following clear weather over the next two days in the region. UNI, PTI


Campaigning gains momentum
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
Banners, colourful buntings, cars zooming around with pamphlets of candidates and advertisements on the local cable channel are some of the means of canvassing being adopted by candidates here.

In spite of bleak winter months, various parts of the township are decked up with colourful banners and shimmering buntings, put up by the candidates. Posters of candidates are adorning market places here. With most candidates having finished their first round of door-to-door campaigning, they are now relying on other means of canvassing to keep up with the tempo of election campaigning.

Says a candidate from Ward 6, “Most people here do not like being disturbed every other day. Since we do not want to hurt their sensibilities, we are using other means like placing an advertisement on the local cable channel,” he said.

Ms Lily Bawa, an Independent candidate from Ward 22, along with her supporters, continued with her campaign and met several residents. Ms Bawa, a social worker, promised to work for the uplift of the ward.

Mr H.L. Ratta, a candidate from Ward 27, went about the ward with his supporters. In Ward 6, Mr Pawan Kumar Garg went around visiting houses in Sector 18. He said problems included sanitation, stray cattle and the beautification of a nullah passing behind Sectors 17 and 18.

In Ward 21, Mr Davinder Dhawan, a BJP candidate, met citizens of the area who updated him of the problems in the ward.

A meeting was organised by residents of Ward 27 in favour of Mr Pawan Mittal. After having completed his first round of campaigning, he is now going around the ward and listening to the problems of residents.

The Market Welfare Association, Sector 10, extended their support to Mr B.B. Singhal, a BJP candidate from Ward 11. They hoped that Mr Singhal would help in the development of the ward.


50 poor get blankets
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 3
About 50 poor disabled, widows and old people were distributed blankets in Colony No 4 today. The programme was organised by the Society for Social Health.

Certificates to 20 women were also given for completing the sewing training course run by the society in the colony.

The SDM (East), Mr SP Arora, was the chief guest on the occasion. He appreciated the role of the organisation for undertaking projects for the welfare of the poor and disabled. He urged the participants to remain in touch with the society to take the maximum benefits of its programmes.

The Director, Society for Social Health, Dr Nareshanand, said the society had recently started a vocational training course in paper cutting and binding for the underprivileged youth at Hallomajra. This course is being held in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, besides other programmes, including afternoon school for the slum children and sewing training courses for poor women.


8 cops among 24 hurt in lathi charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
At least 24 persons, including eight police personnel of the Chandigarh Police, were injured in a lathi charge on protesting members of the Dismissed Panchayat Secretaries Union at the Matka Chowk here this evening.

The policemen, including a woman Home Guard Volunteer, were injured in an alleged stone pelting by the agitators.

Of the total 24 injured admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 16, 22 were discharged after the first-aid. According to the health authorities, two persons, Sukhwinder Kaur, a Home Guard Volunteer and Gurmukh Singh, a leader of the union, were still in the hospital. Both had received head injuries.

The trouble began when about 400 members of the Dismissed Panchayat Secretaries Union tried to cross the barricades put up the police at the Matka chowk. The protesters lifted the barricades and tried to violate the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, said a police official.

The police led by the SP, City, Mr Baldev Singh and the DSP, Mr SS Randhawa, led over 200 cops to cane charge the protesters. Before the cane charge, tear gas was also used to dispel the mob. The police claimed that at least eight cops were injured and had to be hospitalised.

The protesters have been demanding their reinstatement by the Punjab Government.



Exclusive joint for disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Chandigarh is all set to become the first city in the region to have an exclusive restaurant for the physically challenged persons. To be inaugurated by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator at SCO 483-484, Sector 35-C, tomorrow morning, the restaurant will cater to the needs of the disabled who are not very happy with the unfriendliness of various commercial complexes in the city.

The new joint has been constructed with the needs of the disabled in mind. Easy access for them has been kept in mind while designing the eating joint called Memorable Moments.

After the inaugural function, New Year festivities will be organised with Harbhajan Mann and folk singer Gurkirpal Surapuri.

Joint chairman Alamjit Singh informed that apart from free lunch for the disabled, there will also be a special programme under which they will be welcomed to vent out their feelings before the guest of honour.


PAP constable booked
Tribune News Service

The National Emblem engraved on the pillar of the main gate to the sprawling farm house of Mr R.N. Gupta, Financial Commissioner, Punjab, in this village leaves one wonder about the ownership of the property. The emblem, which is allowed only outside the official residences of heads of state, is unauthorisedly being used here. When questioned about the use of the emblem by pressmen at his residence today, the bureaucrat said that officers of ranks of Commissioner were allowed to have the emblem insignia on their houses. 

Panchkula, January 3
The police has registered a case of murder against Punjab Armed Police constable Jarnail Singh, accused of killing a priest, Brij Mohan Shukla, in the farm house of the Punjab Financial Commissioner, Transport, in Mogi Nand village last night.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Jarnail Singh on the complaint of a brother of the victim. Police parties have been sent to various places in Punjab to nab the accused.

The complainant, Mr Brij Nath, has alleged that the accused had an altercation with his brother over Jarnail Singh's drinking binges. The victim, being a Brahmin priest, had objected to Jarnail Singh’s drinking in a quarter shared by them. It was then that the accused, in a fit of rage, fired a shot from his carbine, which hit the victim in the abdomen.

Meanwhile, the post mortem was performed at General Hospital here and later the body was taken away by Brij Nath to their native village, Puraina in UP.


Four youths assault PEC watchman
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 3
Swaranjit Singh, a watchman of Punjab Engineering College, Sector 12, was allegedly beaten up by four youths of Janta Colony, Naya Gaon, when the former objected to them jumping the college wall here yesterday.

As per information available, Satpal, Neeraj Mangla, Rajinder Kumar and Hulwinder Singh, jumped the boundary wall of the college from the Naya Gaon side and entered the college compound. The watchman stopped them from doing so. The four entered into an altercation with the watchman and allegedly assaulted him. However, Swaranjit Singh received only minor injuries. The four were arrested and later released on bail. It is being alleged that the four often used to jump the wall as a shortcut to Chandigarh.

Theft: Computer and clothes were reportedly stolen from Hostel No 1 (room no 17, block no 1) in Panjab University after breaking a rear door of the room. The room was unoccupied since December 21 as the occupant Navjot Singh Miglani, an MBA student, had gone to his native place in Jalandhar. The theft became apparent only after he returned to the room yesterday. A case has been registered with the Sector 11 police station.


2 arrested: In separate incidents, the police has arrested two persons, Rameshwar Das and Prithvi Raj, while another accused, Raj Kumar, escaped. As many as 28 bottles and 50 pouches of liquor were seized from them.

Four arrested: The police has arrested four persons, Sukhdev Singh, Labh Singh, Mohan Singh and Amarjit on charges of drinking at a public place.

Four gamblers held: The police has arrested four persons, Kamaljit, Jeevan Lal, Bhupinder and Chander Mohan, on charges of gambling at a public place and recovered Rs 510 from them.

Cyclist injured: A 60-year-old cyclist , Pritam Singh, was seriously injured when he was hit by a car on the road dividing Sectors 4 and 11. He was rushed to Sector 6 General Hospital, from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.


Live demonstrations mark Orissa handloom show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
With a view to uplift the suffering artisans of Orissa, who have often been a target of nature’s wrath, the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, is organising a special exhibition showcasing the traditional arts and crafts of the land.

The exhibition titled Orissa Shilpi Mela, was earlier to be inaugurated by Ms Neeru Nanda in her capacity as the Adviser to the UT Administrator. She could not turn up on the account of her transfer to Delhi.

The handicraft and handloom exhibition, however, opened at the scheduled time. The high point of the show is its rare qualitative content. Right from the oldest art traditions, that have long been groomed in the heart of Orissa’s countryside, to the latest and contemporary motifs set in applique work, the fair is all about the richness of Orissa’s craft.

Backed by live demonstrations, the fair appeals all the more. Right at the entrance is an artisan working on rich Orissa marble. Categorised under ‘stone carving’, the art of making intricate patterns out of Orissa marble has been appreciated far and wide. Many of these works draw their themes from the Konark wheel or the rich architecture of various Orissa temples, right from Jagannath Puri to Sun Temple.

‘Pattachitra’ forms a significant part of the handicraft show which will be on till January 12 and can be viewed in Sector 17 C between 11 am and 9 pm. Live demonstrations in the section of palm leaf paintings is being conducted by Vijay Kumar, while Babu Sahar and Vikas are holding the fort with stone carving.

Live display of applique art works is being held by Saran Maharana and Savitri Nandi is working on ‘lac’, another product used by Orissa’s artisans to display their creativity. Terracota works and ‘dhokra’ casting (alloy works) abound along with Orissa’s traditional handloom weaving patterns ‘ikkat,’ being the most attractive among them.

Organisers of the fair, S.K. Nanda and Manoranjan Maharana said the proceeds from the exhibition, sponsored by the Indian Government, would be diverted to the artisans who were in the city with their creations. Also, more artisans would be called in rotation so that everyone gets an opportunity to display his art and earn a living.

At present 12 artisans are showing their works in Sector 17.

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