Saturday, January 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man poisons wife, three kids; commits suicide
Tribune News Service

What could be the reason of the suicide pact ?

Investigations by the police point to the possibility of the couple taking the extreme step due to financial problems.

No suicide pact has been found. Sources in police say that Ravinder was facing a case under the Food Adulteration Act was reportedly under stress for some reason. However, the brothers of Ravinder claimed that his financial position was good.

Chandigarh, January 17
A 38-year-old resident of Burail, Ravinder Rai, allegedly committed suicide after poisoning his wife and three children. The body of Ravinder was found hanging from the ceiling in his single-room accommodation this morning.

The wife of Ravinder Rai, Sapna, was declared brought dead at the GMCH, Sector 32. While eight year-old Raju, and his 13-year-old sister, Sushma, who were rushed to the GMCH, are out of danger, the condition of the eldest of the children, Sita (14), is said to be critical. It appears that the parents had ended their lives in a suicide pact and had given poison to their children. However, no suicide note has been found.

The body of Ravinder Rai taken away from his house in Burail
The body of Ravinder Rai taken away from his house in Burail on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Ravinder, who hailed from Siliguri in West Bengal, had been living in the city for the past about 12 years along with his three brothers. But after his marriage he had separated from his brother and settled in Burail.

Investigations revealed that the head of the family, Ravinder had brought some tablets (suspected to be celphos) last evening. After the family had dinner, Ravinder gave hot milk laced with poison to the children. His wife also consumed the milk before the head of the family hanged himself, said a police official.

A police official said it appeared that Ravinder had hanged himself late last night as froth was coming out of his mouth when body was found. The mark of the rope around his neck had also deepened with the passage of time. However, it could not be ascertained whether Ravinder had also consumed poison.

In a statement given to the police eight-year-old Raju said his father had asked him to drink the medicine as it was cold and in the morning he had noticed the body of his father hanging from the ceiling. The utensils used by the family dining dinner were found in the kitchen and a utensil used to mix the poison has also been sealed by the police. The police, however, did not find any bottle of poison that was mixed in milk. Investigations revealed that the door of the one-room house was found open in the morning by Gita, a neighbour, who informed the police.

Ravinder used to run a meat shop in Sector 28 before he was given an alternative site in Sector 45 rehri market. Three months ago he had shifted to H.No 1305 and was running an STD booth and a tailoring shop.

A resident of Burail, Hari Parshad Sharma, who knew the family told the police that for the past few days Ravinder was upset due to his poor financial position. A brother of the victim, Parminder Rai, said he though he used to meet his brother at the latter’s shop. All children of the deceased couple were studying in Sector 46 Model School.

The bodies of the deceased have been kept at GMCH, Sector 32 and autopsy would be conducted tomorrow.


Fake I-cards: SEC begins probe
Tribune News Service

Politicians, cutting across party lines, blamed the administration for lapses in issuing of voters’ identity cards, while lauding the efforts of mediapersons in exposing these lapses.
  • Mr Chander Mohan, Congress MLA, Kalka Assembly Constituency :- The issuing of the fake identity cards is a murder of democracy. If elections were to be fought on the basis of votes, the entire purpose of selecting a people’s representative would be defeated.
  • Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, BJP state president and Member of Parliament:- The state government should initiate action against erring officials after the anomalies have been highlighted by the press.
  • Mr Amardeep Chaudhary, state secretary, Indian National Lok Dal:- The administration should take cognizance of such anomalies in issuing voters ID cards.
  • Mr Sher Singh Badshami, president, Indian National Lok Dal:- The faults in issuing of identity cards by district administration should be rectified and efforts should be made to ensure that there is no rigging during the forthcoming MC elections here.

Panchkula, January 17
Taking cognizance of the reports appearing in a section of the media against issuing of fake voters identity cards, the State Election Commission has instated an inquiry into large scale irregularities in issuing of these cards by district administration.

The Chief Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, has been asked to initiate an inquiry into the irregularities and submit a report to State Election Commission .

The inquiry has been initiated after photo identity cards of the Election Commission of India were issued to mediapersons in another person’s name.

At least three employees from various boards and corporations on deputation with the district administration, for issuing of identity cards, have also been placed under suspension. These officers Mr R.K. Nayyar, an assistant with Haryana Warehousing Housing Corporation, Mr Hansraj, a clerk with HUDA Subdivision No 7, and Mr Rajinder Kumar, clerk in HUDA head office.

The administration had started the job of issuing photo identity cards to voters on the basis of the revised Vidhan Sabha electoral rolls from December 24 onwards.

Over the past fortnight, a large number of cases, where fake voters identity cards had been issued, had come to light and a number of persons had been caught by the authorities while trying to get voters cards on another voter’s name.

A large number of voters had alleged that when they had approached the media over the past three days, alleging that when they went to get their I-cards, they were told that the cards had already been issued. It was following this, that the media decided to expose the shoddy working of the staff while issuing identity cards, without asking for any documentary proof of identity from the voters.

A delegation of BJP leaders led by Mr Sham Lal Sachdeva and Mr Ravinder Sehgal met the State Election Commissioner, and urged him to take action against the erring officers. They also alleged that the Ministers of ruling Indian National Lok Dal were coercing and pressurising officials of the election machinery to prepare photo identity cards so that the duplicate unidentified bogus persons with photo identity cards could cast their votes in their favour.

Meanwhile, the voters’ identity card issued to The Tribune correspondent was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner-cum- Chief Election Officer for cancellation this evening. Talking to mediapersons, Mrs Satwanti Ahlawat clarified that the administration had not threatened to register cases of impersonation against the reporters, but against any person getting the fake voters’ ID cards made. She said that the press release issued by the administration last night had a typing error on part of the Public Relations Department.


40 PGI docs at receiving end
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
A batch of 40-odd Assistant Professors whose services were regularised in 1999 after over five years of ad hoc service are awaiting that period to be counted as “teaching experience” for promotion as Associate/Additional Professors.

These Assistant Professors, whose students have now joined their ranks at the PGI, Chandigarh, are reportedly being penalised for a fault of the hospital authorities.

For more than five years, the PGI authorities failed to hold routine interviews for recruitment to regular posts of Assistant Professor. These were scheduled to be held in July, 1995, but continued to be postponed on one pretext or the other. It was only when the Punjab and Haryana High Court intervened that their ordeal ended and their services were regularised in 1999.

That was not to be the end but the beginning of more mental torture for these 40-odd doctors. The PGI continues to refuse to count the five-year period of their ad hoc service for the purpose of giving them service benefits and seniority. This period is not being considered for promotion to the next grade of Associate/Additional Professor.

The case of these doctors has figured in the agenda of the PGI Governing Body at least three times since April, 2002. The last listing of the case was on December 12. Each time it was opposed on some flimsy ground or the other. A member of the Governing Body told TNS that some “clerical” noting was coming in the way. He endorsed the cause of these Assistant Professors.

One of these doctor said: “The services of some of our students were regularised once the PGI regularly started holding routine interviews for recruitment to the posts of Assistant Professor. One day, our students will be our seniors, as our five-year ad hoc service is being ignored as teaching experience”.

In fact, the PGI’s Assistant Professors are not the only harassed lot. There are at least 70 Assistant Professors at the AIIMS, New Delhi, who are also facing the same dilemma.

The demand of these Assistant Professors neither involves any financial implications nor is it a case of regularisation since their services already stand regularised. It is a simple case of consideration of five years or more of ad hoc service already rendered in patient-care and research that is to be treated as teaching experience for the purpose of next promotion. This also does not impinge on anyone else’s seniority and even the inter-se seniority of this batch is not affected. More so, no special rule is required and the case can be considered as a corollary of current rules but should not become a precedent, say doctors.


Driving in fog no child’s play
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Ludhiana, January 17
Punjabi comedian Bhagwant Mann while parodying rash and drunken drivers on Indian roads narrates how such drivers bang their vehicles into “safedas” (eucalyptus trees) along the highways. Mann may as well be right as blinding fog in the past three weeks has made roads dangerous to travel and lucky is the person who reaches his destination safely, avoiding the “safedas”, or for that matter other roadsides trees, oncoming vehicles, bullock carts, cyclists, pedestrians and speeding buses, besides an assortment of animals. All this despite not rash or drunken drivers like in the parody.

* Blinding fog has reduced visibility to a few metres.

* Disoriented drivers find it tough to keep vehicles on the road.

* Traffic moves at snail’s pace and accidents are common.

* Cyclists and pedestrians are the toughest to sight.

* The extreme conditions have delayed movement of goods, LPG and other essential items.

* Unlit roads are unsafe and roads along canals are best avoided.

* No lights even on roads where a toll is collected.

For the past three weeks the entire north India has been enveloped in dense fog, and the situation is the worst in Punjab. Even at noon the fog lifts a little to reveal the wheat fields along the roads and descends again by 5 p.m.

A Tribune team carried out a survey, travelling more than 300 km yesterday to assess the situation on the highways and the impact of fog in the state. Driving across various districts for nearly nine hours the most heartening feature was the presence of police on all important road crossings. Braving the cold, at places they were controlling the movement of traffic in certain areas. Mr Anil Sahota, who met The Tribune team near the Satluj river in Ropar says the police should be empowered to challan tractor-trailers without tail lights and also locally made contraptions like “Marutas” which usually give no indication of their presence on the road.

For drivers it is like being partially blindfolded and the risk is enormous despite being careful. There are no self-illuminating indicators to show the edge of the road. If an oncoming driver does not switch on the headlights, you could be in trouble. Cyclists are almost invisible not to mention the risk of being hit by an overzealous driver from behind. Driving on the National Highway No 1 to Ludhiana is a little better but driving on the Chandigarh-Ropar highway to Jalandhar, or taking the route to Manali is fraught with danger.

Same is true for other links roads in the state, like those linking Ropar with Morinda or from Sirhind to Chandigarh. Visibility is down to a few metres. Roads running along canals may be soothing during the summer but now they are like death-traps. A young couple Diksha and Ritesh Narang of Ludhiana, who met The Tribune team at Neelon on the Chandigarh – Ludhiana road, suggested that the roads along the canal should be closed till the fog cleared.

Sources in the Police Department said drivers found it tough to drive straight. Accidents are common and several are injured every day. Unless the accident involves two vehicles, a case is usually not registered. As per practice an entry is made in the daily diary report.

Nearer Chandigarh, Ropar district could be the worst hit by the ongoing cold spell. The road to Jalandhar via Nawanshahr is best avoided as visibility is down to few metres. The canals and dams in the district result in more fog in the area.

The trickiest is the Chandigarh–Ropar highway which leads to Jalandhar, Banga, Phagwara, Dharamsala, Una, Manali, Hoshiarpur and Anandpur Sahib. The highway has only two lanes with no dividers. If dividers are provided in certain places they increase the risk as they are generally in a dilapidated condition with no indicators. On several stretches of the highway, work to expand the road has been held up. Though the road from Ropar to Nawanshahr is in good shape the fog is the thickest here.

On the stretch from Ropar to Morinda one cannot even see trees on the side and traffic moves at a speed of about 15 km per hour, even with headlights.

The Ludhiana–Delhi highway which charges Rs 45 per car also does not have lights but has three lanes on each side of the divider. The poles for streetlights have been erected but fittings have not been completed. Will it need a tragedy to wake up the powers that be.


Ludhiana, Narnaul coldest

Chandigarh, January 17
People in most of northwest region today greeted the sun after experiencing yet another foggy weather early today, while Ludhiana and Narnaul turned coldest again in plains where the minimum dipped to 1.9 and 1.0° C, respectively.

With one more death, each occurring in the city and Phagwara, and five in Ambala district in the past 24 hours, the known death toll in weather-related incidents rose to 54 in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Chandigarh since the new year day.

The fog, right from Jammu in the north to Suratgarh in the west, and covering most of Punjab and Haryana, National Capital Territory of Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh, again played havoc with normal schedule of rail, road and air services.

However, as the day advanced, the sun appeared and the people came into the open to bask in its warmth.

Life and business activity also remained paralysed in the morning due to dense fog.

All government schools in Haryana re-opened after a week-long closure.

Most of the long-distance trains and sub-urban trains arriving to Chandigarh were behind schedule, railway sources said.

The traffic on the National Highway was the worst hit due to poor visibility on account of thick fog, police sources said.

At least 11 persons were killed in separate road accidents in Punjab and Haryana since yesterday, the police said.

Three members of a family were killed and nine others injured, five of them seriously in a collision between a truck and a jeep on the G.T Road near Murthal, about 8 km from Sonepat last evening, the police said.

In another mishap at least seven occupants of a Jeep died when their vehicle fell into the Sirhind canal near Muktsar in Punjab yesterday.

In yet another road mishap due to foggy weather, one person was killed and seven others were injured in a collision between a Haryana Roadways bus and a car near Hisar in Haryana, the police said.

Meanwhile most of the trains arriving at Chandigarh were running between two to eight hours late, Railway sources said here.

While the Howrah-Kalka Mail is running 8 hours behind schedule, the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi is two hours late.

The Jodhpur-Chandigarh Express is running four hours behind schedule, and the Lucknow-Chandigarh Express is late by four hours.

According to the Met office here, most parts of Punjab and Haryana were engulfed with dense fog in the morning.

The Met office has predicted rain at a few places in Punjab in the next 48 hours. PTI, UNI


Keep body warm to avoid chilblains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
This is one of those medical problems where doctors or medicines can be of little help, as the only protection that one can have against chilblains is to keep yourself warm, which in itself is proving to be a difficult task with the entire region reeling under severe cold wave.

Even though more than half the patients visiting the dermatologists these days are complaining of symptoms like itching and swelling of hands and feet (chilblains), all the doctors recommend is to avoid cold as far as possible. “Getting a large number of patients suffering from chilblains during winters is not unusual but this year the number has doubled to 60 patients a day at the OPD’s,” remarked Dr S.D. Mehta, a dermatologist at the Sector 22, Polyclinic.

The situation is no different at the Government Medical College and Hospital, where a large number of patients having chilblains are visiting the Skin Department. “All that we tell such patients is to avoid the cold by keeping the body, especially the hands and feet warm and in case of severe cases we do prescribe medicines,” says Dr G.P. Thami, head of the Dermatology Department.

A number of children, who have to go to school early in the morning, too are also complaining of chilblains as exposure to severe cold causes this problem.

Dr Mehta said domestic servants and housewives who frequently use cold water, are the worst hit. “It is a problem caused due to an abnormal reaction to the cold weather and those who are prone to it are likely to suffer from chilblains year after year”.

The initial symptoms of chilblain are the swelling and redness of the hands and feet which is accompanied by pain and itching. If adequate care is not taken, the problem may further aggravate with ulcers and non-healing wounds making it very difficult for the patient, warn doctors. The last stage with ulcers is seen in the case of many domestic servants, as they wash clothes and utensils with cold water throughout the day.

Dr Mehta’s tips for those vulnerable to chilblains is to keep the body warm, especially hands and feet with woollen socks and gloves. “Those who drive, especially two wheelers must wear gloves as severe chill can cause chilblains to exposed hands,” he says. In some cases, the problem could be so acute that chilblains start appearing on the face, ear and nose also.

Doctors say that one needs to take precautions like use of warm water for washing purposes and keeping the room cosy with the help of heaters and blowers. In case, the problem aggravates antibiotics and peripheral vasodilators are prescribed. “Since these help to increase the blood supply, the body automatically gets warmed up,” says Dr Mehta.

He adds that a good massage with some cold cream or oil, will not only help against dryness but will also increase the blood circulation, keeping the body warm and protected.


Campaigning ends in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Security arrangements for MC poll

The police has made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair municipal council poll here on January 19.

An official press release by the police department said that at least 10 nakas have been laid at all entry/exit points at Mauli, Ramgarh, Majri Chowk, Old Panchkula, Sector 7-18-8-17 roundabout, Saketri, railway station, Ziarkpur, Madanwala and in Gandhi Chowk at Kalka.

More than 500 cops have been put on special duty at the 100 polling booths set up for the elections. The force deployment will begin from January 18 and continue till after the declaration of the results on January 19. The press release also states that while 12 stations have been declared as sensitive, nine have been declared as hyper-sensitive.

Panchkula, January 17
The last day of the campaigning saw the entire electorate of the township on the roads. With the Sun God shining bright, car rallies and processions marked the campaigning by candidates in the fray. The rallies in various wards saw a huge turnout, showing the interest of voters in the first ever municipal council elections scheduled for the coming Sunday.

The entire township appeared to have been coloured in hues of blue, yellow, orange and green, with flags, buntings and election manifestoes adding colour to the last day of the campaigning. In Ward 6, Mr Baldev Kumar Nayyar, a BJP candidate, organised a car rally with over 50 cars going around Sectors 17 and 18. In the same ward, Mr Praveen Kumar Garg also completed his last leg of campaigning. A rally was also held in Sector 9, in favour of Ms Rekha Sharma, BJP candidate in Ward 10.

In Ward 25, Mr Jagjit Soi, INLD candidate, along with his supporters, led by the Dabwali MLA, Dr Seeta Ram, went from door-to-door, asking people to vote in his favour. Mr Tarun Bhandari of the same ward also went for a door-to-door campaigning.

Election meetings and door-to-door campaigning were organised in Ward 13, in favour of Mr Randhir Malik, INLD president (urban). A large number of party workers and supporters, led by the Yamunanagar MLA, Mr Malik Chand Gambhir, sought votes in support of Mr Malik. In the same ward, Mr Gian Chand Goel, too, went about asking for votes, along with his supporters.

In Ward 26, a public meeting was organised in favour of Ms Seema Chaudhary. She was honoured by a number of residents.

Similarly, a procession was taken out in Ward 12 (Sectors 10 and 15) by supporters of Mr Naresh Rawal. His supporters went about the ward, along with Congress leaders, Mr Vijay Bansal and Mr Ravinder Rawal. The candidate has also been assured support by the Indian Citizen’s Forum and the Punjabi Welfare Sabha .

In Ward 22, a car rally was organised in Sector 12 by supporters of an Independent candidate, Ms Meera Chopra. Another election meeting was organised in Ward 9 in favour of Mr Sanjeev, an Independent candidate. In the same ward, a car rally was also organised by supporters of Mr S.S. Goel. An election meeting was also organised by Ms Pinky Chabbra, the only woman candidate from the ward.

In Mansa Devi Complex, a rally was organised in Swastik Vihar, MDC, Sector 5 and Gandhi Colony by supporters of Ms Renuka Rai Walia, a candidate from Ward 2. A procession was also organised in the favour of Mr Pradeep Sharma, an Independent candidate from Ward 19. In the same ward, Mr Suresh Paul organised a car rally in Sector 12-A and Railley village. An election meeting was also held by Lieut-Col Surjit Singh in Old Panchkula.

Mr Pawan Mittal, an Independent candidate from Ward 27, today held a car rally from Sector 2 to Gurukula colony. Later, Mr Mittal, along with his supporters went from door- to-door. Mr B.B. Kochchar, an Independent candidate from Ward 3, also organised a car rally in Sector 7. Dr S.K. Chabbra of the same ward also organised a rally. The BJP candidate from the same ward, Mr Chander Bhan Goel, held a election meeting in the Sector 7 market.

In Ward 4, rallies were organised by an Independent candidate, Mr Manoj Pal. The BJP candidate from this ward, Mr V.K. Sood, organised a procession and went about in Sector 5, 6 and 7, along with his supporters, asking the people to cast their votes in his favour. Ms Surinder Parmar, INLD supported candidate , also organised a car rally.

Nukkad meetings were organised in the favour of the BJP candidate from Ward 26, Mr Surinder Kaushik, Mr Ramesh Singh from Ward 16, Ms Tara Devi in Ward 30, Mr Hari Narayan Jindal from Ward 13 and others.


INLD leaving nothing to chance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
The ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is leaving nothing to chance for the Municipal Council elections scheduled for the coming Sunday. The entire rank and file of the party is camping here to ensure a smooth sailing for the party candidates. Party leaders hope to project a united front for ensuring a win. With party bigwigs, led by INLD president, Mr Sher Singh Badshami, to the trusted lieutenants of the Chief Minister, including the Urban Development Minister, Mr Subhash Goyal, ensuring that the rebel candidates down their swords, the party hopes for a better performance here.

With the party being able to pull reins on at least two of the rebels, Mr Dilbagh Singh Nain, who was opposing the official candidate, Mr Randhir Mallik, in Ward 13, and Mrs Saroj Rani, opposing the official candidate, Ms Uma Verma, in Ward 18, the party is now upbeat over the results of the elections.

Similarly, in Ward 14, efforts by the party high command were on to ensure the withdrawal of Mr Sunil Talwar, contesting against the party's official candidate, Mr Shyam Sunder Sharma, and Ms Amoljit Kaur, wife of the vice-president of the Zila Parishad, Mr Sohan Lal, opposing the official INLD candidate, Ms Raj Bala Sharma, in Ward 17.

Party sources say that the links of these rebel candidates up to the senior leaders of the party in the state were traced out and their "godfathers" summoned here to ensure that the party vote bank remained undivided.

It may be noted that after apprehending a poor show by the party supported candidates in these elections, the party office-bearers, ministers and MLAs had joined in the last three days of campaigning. Over 15 MLAs had been specially brought in and assigned specific wards to turn the support of the voters in their favour.

Even as the party insists that it is only giving outside support to candidates and not contesting on the party symbol, the party leaders, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Sandhu, the State Urban Development Minister, Mr Subhash Goyal, and Mr Badshami insist that the results of these elections will not be a referendum on the government. But the party sympathisers, workers and MLAs all camping here proves that there is a lot at stake for the party in the first-ever Municipal Council elections here.


Raj Kapoor to Ritu Nanda — the tradition flows
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, January 17
Not everyone can cherish the moments gone by, especially so when a lot of precious life has been lost along the way. But to some fortunate people, the understanding of life and its equations comes easy.

Ritu Nanda is one of them. Raj Kapoor’s second offspring, who was married to the Escorts man in 1969, holds life in great esteem, not only for the surprises it springs but also for the scope of self discovery that it offers. Born of a legend, she naturally wears the charisma so typical of her father. In fact, very often it appears as though Raj Kapoor is staring at you through her eyes.

Always in news for her ability to make a point, despite her husband, Ritu Nanda is now making waves with her first book which chronicles events and episodes that endeared Raj Kapoor to India and to the world. The book gains greater relevance in view of the fact that Raj Kapoor became the first Indian and the first ever film personality to be posthumously honoured at the Cannes film festival held recently.

Like a child curious to unfold every visible element of nature, Ritu has also unfolded her father’s personality bit by bit and recorded it for posterity in the form of her first book, “Raj Kapoor Speaks”. Published by Penguin India, the 280-paged book offers a complete insight into the life of the last true showman the Indian film industry knew. Written like an autobiography, the book is the first authentic document that deals with the man who touched the screen of Indian cinema with his sensibility.

As a daughter recalls how desperately she missed her father around during her childhood days, all she has to say today is, “I discovered papa through the book, which is based on interviews and conversation with critics, co stars, singers and family members. Highly informal in nature, the book presents Raj Kapoor in the way the world knew him — straight, non conforming and sensible.”

Also converted into CD Roms, the book portrays Raj Kapoor in all possible shades — there are sections on his humour, his wit, his majestic style, his dreams and above all, his family and possessions. Ritu, who was in Chandigarh for the launch of Escolife, her new insurance service, spoke about the book with great sensitivity.

“This book is very close to my heart and it has been dedicated to my mother who, like all of us, believes that Raj Kapoor can never die. Years after his death I empathise with the ideals he stood for. He always knew what was right. And though people disagreed with him, his words would someday come true, lending credibility to his thought. He was a dreamer, a man from whom I learnt the greatest lesson of life: aap na mariye, swarga na jaiye.”

It was after being inspired by her father that Ritu Nanda joined the insurance sector in times when people used to laugh at her face over the decision. But today she is the number one insurance agent for the LIC in India. Naturally, for her it is time to recall the lessons learnt at home. “My father had written a beautiful doli song for me. The song “laaj baba ki tu aaj rakhna, naam roshan ho woh kaam karna” was composed by Shankar Jaikishen and sung by Mukeshji. I have recorded the song in papa’s voice. The CD rom version of ‘Raj Kapoor Speaks’ has the song.”

As for life, it has left Ritu Nanda blessed. There is no dearth of peace and happiness at least as long as at the end of every day Ritu knows that we have it in our power to change the world.


PUDA allottees resent delay
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Premium spirals down

According to township-based property dealers, the market value price of these plots would also be dropping sharply following this advertisement issued by the PUDA on January 12. ‘‘The premium these plots have been fetching on the cost price varied with the size of the plot from over Rs 2.75 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. But now with this delay there will be an appreciable fall,’’ stated Mr D.S. Benipal, a property dealer in the township.

SAS Nagar, January 17
In a move which is being seen as grossly unfair by the 3,931 allottees of residential plots in the upcoming Sectors 76 to 80 here, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), has once again delayed the allotment of actual sites to these allottees by another one year.

With the latest advertisement issued in this regard by the authority on January 12 in various national dailies, the PUDA announced that the process of handing over the actual plots to the allottees would begin in a phased manner in March 2004.

Protected by an all-inclusive disclaimer that bound the buyer from approaching the court in case of any failure or delay in the implementation of a housing scheme, PUDA was not bothered about the fact that for the original applicant who applied for the plot in November 2000, by the time he got the plot in March 2004, it would be a wait of over three years.

Over 3,700 allottees of these plots had paid the 15 per cent of the total cost of the plot. Other than a straight loss of interest on the amount paid by these allottees, a large number of allottees had also been paying interest to various banks from where they had taken loans to pay for the plot.

The reason for the delay given out by the advertisement was that the acquisition process was under litigation as a result the development of these sectors could not be carried out in time. But many of the allottees were not impressed. ‘‘The litigation is barely on one tenth of the total land acquired. That would amount to barely 200 plots, what about the rest?’’ questioned an allottee.

Similar sentiments were shared by some other allottees who were regretting having paid the 15 per cent amount. ‘‘In case we delay our payment by even a single day to PUDA they charge us an interest of 2 per cent per day on the amount pending and here they are sitting on our money for two years now.’’ said another allottee.

The worst affected were over 1,500 allottees of the smallest sized plots of 125 sq yards and 150 sq yards. Keen to get houses of their own, most of these allottees had paid the initial amount after having taken loans to pay PUDA.

The scheme’s special offer was sale of 2 kanal plots for the first time in SAS Nagar. While only 15 of the total 31 letter of intent holders paid the 15 per cent of the total cost, 13 failed to pay and three surrendered their letters.

The PUDA scheme for allotment of residential plots of various sizes was launched in November 2000 and the letter of intents to the successful applicants were sent after the draw of lots in March 2001. The actual handing over of plots was to begin in December 2002, which would now begin in March 2004 in a phased manner. 


Chandigarh to have planetarium in 2 years
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, January 17
The five-year-long wait for the city to have its own planetarium finally seems to be over. For after the final nod has come from the office of Chief Architect in a recent meeting, the administration is gearing up to complete the project within the next two years.

After the last high-power committee meeting on December 19, which gave its green signal to go ahead with the execution of the project, the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Urban Planning and Office of the Chief Architect have joined hands for a speedy execution of the proposal.

“The plan to construct a planetarium was mooted about five years back. It took us long enough to get started as the Department of Urban Planning and the Office of the Chief Architect were undecided about the site,” said Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Department of Science and Technology.

Though till now the Department of Urban Planning and Office of Chief Architect had played a vital role in the initialisation of the plan, the rest of the execution will be carried out by the Department of Science and Technology with Mr Atray as the head of the project. “The actual construction is likely to start from the next financial year and is expected to be operational in two years of time,” informed Mr Atray.

According to information available a high-power committee has already been set up for this purpose and two teams have been deputed to study the planetariums in Lucknow and Pune to get a fair idea on the subject. Sources said the committee was still toying with the idea of importing technology either from Germany or from Japan, both countries being pioneers in the field.

Though the idea of constructing a planetarium was mooted in 1996, the entire proceedings geared up in February, 2000 when the Office of the Chief Architect gave the green signal for the acquisition of land. The proposal was finally approved in 2002 and following this development 2 acres were acquired in Sector 53 on February 14, 2002.

“After dwelling too long on the site plan, finally 2 acres were selected in Sector 53, near Beant Singh Memorial,” said a source. The initial phase of construction is next on the agenda, with Rs 5 lakhs being allocated for the construction of its boundary walls.

The entire projected cost is estimated to be around Rs 25 crore “The Chandigarh planetarium is supposed to have the latest imported technologies and all modern facilities to make it one of the best in the country,” said the source.


Eyesores on green belts, courtesy MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Covering green belts under ugly bricks enclosures for throwing garbage — that is exactly what the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh is doing now-a-days.

Even though corporation officials claim that the structures are not being raised in violation of the existing rules and by-laws, architects and experts associated with the city since long claim that the construction of “brick jalis” is defeating the perceived purpose of the green belts.

The architects add that this is not the first time concrete structures are devouring the green belts. “Over the years, booths had been constructed in Sector 11 and other places, power sub-centers had come up, along with a community centre. “The structures have become an eyesore,” they insist.

Their assertion is not without a valid reason. As you drive down the road dividing Sector 27 and 30, you see a brick enclosure amidst dense trees. Jutting against the greenery, the construction “look out of place” and “absolutely unnatural” to residents so used to looking at the imposing blue mountains and green bougainvillaea bushes with a cluster of red and yellow flowers. You get the same claustrophobic feeling as you look at the structure in Sector 45.

The green belts were not meant for dumping garbage,” says city’s first Indian Chief Architect M.N. Sharma. “And the belts should not be used for the purpose, strictly”.

He adds, “Though the problem of dumping garbage has been existing in the city since its very inception and has become acute with the increasing population, the green belts should not be converted into garbage dumping grounds”.

Alternate sites, he insists, should be explored. “The garbage bins should be kept at places within easy reach of the residents, no doubt about it, but not within brick jalis constructed on the green belts. Otherwise also, the residents, instead of neglecting the green patches around their houses, should be working towards their maintenance”.

Regarding the rules, he asserts, “Everything is not specified in the by-laws. Some things should, or should not, be done after keeping in mind aesthetic considerations.”

As far as the purpose of the green belts is concerned, Mr Sharma says, “Open spaces were left in between the rows of houses so that the little ones could play while other could feel rejuvenated after taking a walk”.

Another architect adds, “Le Corbusier had designed the city in such a manner that you could simply walk down to your work place after strolling through the green belts”.

Justifying the constructions, Chandigarh’s officiating Chief Architect Renu Saigal says, “The construction is being carried out in public interest. The garbage dumping enclosures are being built near the houses keeping in view the convenience of the residents.”

She concludes, “It is just a temporary arrangement so that garbage is not disposed off in the open, to keep the city clean. It is just a wall structure to be covered with thatch for the attendant.” 


Indian Building Congress seminar
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, January 17
The Indian Building Congress, a national body of building professionals, will hold a two-day mid-term session and seminar on the theme of ‘Management and Maintenance of Built Environment’ here from January 17.

The seminar is hosted by the PWD, Haryana, Engineering Department of Chandigarh Administration, and CPWD are the co-organisers. The session will be inaugurated by the Finance Minister, Haryana.

Indian Building Congress was established in 1993 under the patronage of the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Government of India. It offers a common platform for mutual interaction to various disciplines of building professionals.

It has on its rolls about 2000 members from various disciplines like engineers, architects, town planners, administrators, builders and financiers.

It is supported by 67 Institutional Members which include central & state government PWDs, housing boards, development authorities, private sector organisations etc.

The theme of the present seminar has been selected to focus the attention of society on the need for upkeep and maintenance of our ancient heritage in the shape of buildings.


Seminar on VAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
“Government machinery was not yet ready for implementation of the ‘value added tax’ (VAT) likely to replace the sales tax shortly, said Mr Amarjit Chopra, a member of the Bar Council, while addressing a seminar on value added tax(VAT) organised by the local branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India here today.

Mr Vaitheu Swaran, an advocate from Chennai, while speaking on the issue, said consensus was eluding the implementation of the VAT. Majority of the states and the UTs were facing problems in drafting a unanimously acceptable scheme . In the current scenario the VAT was likely to lead to a rush of litigations because the same term had been defined differently by different states. A lot of homework was still required to be done.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Mr S.P.Babuta, chairman of the local chapter of the institute, Mr Vivek Arora, vice-chairman and Mr Vineet Aggarwal, secretary.


Rights panel’s complaint against former SSP
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 17
Lawyer for Human Rights International today submitted a complaint to the UT Administrator against a former UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr C.S.R. Reddy, Inspector P.K. Dhawan and Sub-Inspector Dilsher Singh Chandel demanding legal proceeding against them in the jailbreak case.

The human rights body stated in a letter that with a view to curbing reoccurrence of such objectionable misconduct and criminal acts by the high-ups and responsible persons in the police force, these officials should be proceeded against departmentally for the misconduct.


Idol installation at Sector 42 temple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
A five-day ‘murti sthapana samaroh’ is being held at Shree Sanatan Dharma Temple, Sector 42, since Wednesday.

During the samaroh, ‘prabhat pheri’ ‘yajna’, ‘murti poojan’, kirtan and other programmes are being held. The samaroh will conclude on January 19 with ‘pran pratishtha’, followed by a ‘sanskirtan’ by Mr Sunil Dhyani and others.

Besides this, kirtan will be held in different temples of the city in connection with the samaroh from January 20 to 23. Shree Sanatan Dharma Sabha, Sector 42, will also organise ‘Shree Bhagwat saptah yajna’ from January 24 to 30.


Puri trust for early transfer of land
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January17
A joint delegation of the Rural Area Development Committee, Ropar, and the Puri Development Trust, Mullanpur, met the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and submitted a memorandum to him here yesterday.

According to Mr D.D. Puri of the trust, the Chief Minister was urged to expedite the process of transfer of the land to the Puri Development Trust, UK-Mullanpur, for setting up of an institute of engineering and technology at Mullanpur-Garibdas village. Mr Nathu Rapm Puri, chairman of the trust, has expressed his desire that construction of the institute should begin at the earliest. He urged the Chief Minister to lay the foundation stone of the institute by February 16.

The delegation also demanded that on the pattern of Zirakpur, Mullanpur-Garibdass should also be accorded the status of a notified area committee (NAC). The other demands included laying of sewerage and setting up to a trust at the Mata Jayanti Devi Temple, Jayanti Majri.

Among others, the delegation included Mr Nachhatar Singh and Mr Sanjay Kumar of the Puri Development Trust and Mr Arvind Puri, chairman of the Rural Area Development Committee, Ropar.


Rally on water conservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
An awareness rally on water conservation launched from Anandpur Sahib by the Yuva Shakti Punjab, reached Chandigarh today, where it was received by the Punjab Irrigation Minister, Mr G.S. Bhullar, according to a statement issued here today.

The rally, christened ‘Bhai Kanhaiya ji jal chetna yatra’ would reach New Delhi on January 21, where a memorandum would be submitted to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, as well as the Congress leader, Ms Sonia Gandhi.


Man held for rape bid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
A 40-year-old resident of Sector 27 was today arrested for allegedly trying to rape a 23-year-old behind the Police Lines in Sector 26 here. According to information, the suspect, Bhim, said to be in inebriated state, took the woman to a deserted place behind the Police Lines.

However, the woman raised an alarm and some passerby nabbed the suspect and handed him over to the police. A medical examination of the girl was conducted today at the Sector 16 General Hospital. A case under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC has been registered by the police.

Booked: Two college-going students were today booked for negligent driving and trying to run over an ASI of the Chandigarh Police. According to information, the motorcycle borne students, Yadvinder and Sukhjinder Singh, took a turn towards the Government College for Girls, Sector 42. A police party standing on the road signalled the youths to stop.

However, the youths tried to escape and were injured in the ensuing moment. A case under Section 279 and 336 of the IPC has been registered by the police.

Assaulted: Kuldip Singh, a resident of Nayagoan, in a complaint to the Police said he was assaulted by Gurdhian Singh, Kesar Singh, Bhag Singh, Bachan Singh, Harkesh Singh, Karnail Singh, Sajjan Singh, Avtar Singh, Kuldip Singh and Sham Lal, a resident of Karor village. In his complaint, Kuldip Singh, said his mobile phone was snatched by the assailants.

Police remand: A notorious gangster, Nazim, who had recently surrendered in judicial lockup after surrendering in a case of the Arms Act, was today sent to three day police remand. The Chandigarh Police has sought police remand to investigate his links with the underworld. The gangster has featured in the India’s Most Wanted episodes.


2 booked for fraud

Chandigarh, January 17
The Chandigarh police has booked Avtar Singh Rekhi and Ms Mahinder Kaur, residents of Sector 2, Panchkula, under Sections 406, 420 and 120 B of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Surinder Minhas, a resident of Sector 42-C on charges of selling the machinery of a firm in which they were partners.

In M/s Rikhi & Sons firm, stone crushers in Rampur village (tehsil Kalka), Avtar Singh has a partnership of 30 per cent, Mrs. Mahinder Kaur of 20 per cent and the complainant has the partnership to the extent of 50 per cent.

It has been alleged that the machinery worth Rs 18 lakh used in stone crushing bought after raising a loan from a private finance company has been fraudulently sold by two of them. TNS


Wock-Oliver launches hi-tech STPs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Wock-Oliver Inc, a Panchkula-based company, claims to have developed high speed bio-system Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs), based on the EEC USA Company’s technology. Unlike the traditional STP, these plants are much cheaper and need minimum space to start. The company has successfully exported these plants to the USA, Australia and other countries.

Mr Vishal Garg, Director of the company, said, ‘‘The Wock-Oliver Condo STP/ETP system is based on the company’s high-speed bio-tech biodegradation and sedimentation technology, which is unique in its compactness and performance. These technologies are combined in a pre-fabricated, skid mounted and standardised tank system.’’

After doing his graduation from HP University, Shimla, Mr Garg (30) did his MBA from Panjab University in 1991. After that, he says, 'My friend, who had done graduation in engineering from Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, and had worked abroad, decided to try our luck in this emerging area. Initially, we used to manufacture sand bed filters, ozonators and reverse osmosis plants. Later, we got a licence from the EEC USA, an environment management company in the USA to build high speed bio-systems.’’

Comparing them with the traditional water treatment plants, he said, ‘‘While the traditional system of sewerage treatment plant has to be constructed on land, and demands more energy, these plants could be set up within an area of 8’ x10’ to 8’ x15’. The cost of the plant is between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 50 lakh depending upon the capacity of water to be treated. ’’

Set up in 1992 by Mr Garg and his friend Mr V.S. Virk, the company has developed a range of environment management technologies for water treatment, effluent treatment, air-treatment, and solid-waste management.

Mr Garg claimed that the technology had been recently recommended by the Punjab State Pollution Control Board for PUDA-approved colonies, small-scale industries, including dyeing units and electroplating industries. The company, he says, is set to increase its annual production from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore in the coming year.

He said the company’s clients included Birla Textile Mills, Baddi, Parle Epic Foods (P) Ltd, Frooti, Encotech Pitsberg, USA, Kaveh Paper Mills, Iran and others. Headed by a professional group of scientists, Wock-Oliver, he said, was providing consultancy services and equipment of international standards and suitable for Indian conditions.

Due to the financial constraints, the SSI sector is looking for cost-effective pollution control systems, which could meet the stringent guidelines. He said Wock-Oliver Inc’s standard systems were designed for indoor location with draft ventilation. Small systems could be even placed outdoors under shelter with natural ventilation, he adds.

He said the demand for environment management systems was increasing at an exponential rate in the region. The SSI industries of Dera Bassi, Lalru, Mandi Gobindgarh, Ludhiana and other cities would also have to set up these water treatment plants as per the guidelines of the Pollution Control Board.


Impressive display of Maharashtra handicrafts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Trimourti Maharashtra emporium is organising a special handicraft exhibition in the city. Beginning from today, the artisans from Maharashtra will be displaying their creations at Panchayat Bhavan. The exhibition is being sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles.

The participating craftsperson's are from the interior and remote areas of Maharashtra. Most of them are from economically weaker sections and depend on the Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation for marketing support.

On display at the current exhibition is Warali art. Warali is a tribe belonging to Thane. The tribesmen are known for decorating their huts by painting, which narrates a story. The paintings also depict events from their daily life. Made from rich paste, this form of art has now entered the living rooms of several urban homes.

Bamboo articles from Virbhadra region are a special light. A host of articles like lamp shades, file covers, trays and table lamps designed out of bamboo. Burud tribe of Virbhadra promotes this art.

Handwoven cotton wall hangings on abstract as well as figurative themes are also on display, along with articles made from copper. Procured from Thane artisans, these articles are used for worship as also for decoration. Gel candles and copper mina works are also being displayed at Panchayat Bhawan. The exhibition can be viewed between 10 am and 8 pm.


Doc wins trip to Shimla
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, January 17
Dr Navneet Singh, working with Fortis Heart Institute and Multi-Speciality Hospital here, has won a trip to Shimla by participating in the i-netbanking contest organised by the IDBI Bank.

The tickets for the holiday package to Shimla were handed over to Dr Navneet Singh by Mr Daljit Singh, Chief Executive Officer (Operations), Fortis Healthcare Limited, at a ceremony organised in this regard here today.

Dr Navneet Singh had won the second prize in the contest which was launched on October 1. Customers could take part in the contest by using the bank’s internet banking service during the period.

Mrs Meera Ajay Baxi, the winner of the first prize, has won a trip to Malaysia.



BRANCH OPENED: HDFC Bank has opened its third branch in Sector-17 here on Friday. It was inaugurated by Mr Mandeep Singh Sandhu, secretary, Punjab Agricultural Marketing Board. According to an official press release, the bank has a network of 216 branches and 675 ATMs across 111 cities in the country. TNS

AMTREX OFFICE: Amtrex Hitachi Appliances Ltd. has tied up with the Cooltech Corporation to open a new office and showroom for its Hitachi Logicool and Amtrex range of airconditioners in Chandigarh. Mr Mukul Ghanekar, vice-president (corporate sales) of Amtrex Hitachi, said that their company has been at the forefront in launching consumer-friendly technology in the AC industry that has set new trends in the country. TNS

TIE-UP: In a path-breaking tie-up, Hindustan Lever Ltd. and Pepsi Foods Pvt. Ltd. on Thursday formed an alliance in India to jointly market a full range of hot beverages and soft drinks through a vending format. TNS

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