Tuesday, March 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Farmers’ dharna keeps cops on their toes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Agitating farmers of Punjab, under the aegis of the Kirti Kisan Union, today again laid an “indefinite siege” to the dual carriageway running between Sectors 16 and 17. And personnel of the Chandigarh Police had every reason to be apprehensive about the policing.

At least 700 policemen, drawn from different police stations, were today put on regular duty at Matka Chowk till the dharna was lifted. Additional reserve force has been detailed to meet any crisis situation.

Sources in the police said a DSP had been made the in charge for dealing with the law and order situation during the day and for the night, another DSP had been given the charge. Apart from personnel of the Chandigarh Police, Home Guard volunteers and companies of the Punjab Armed Police and Haryana Armed Police have been asked to be on stand-by. The SHOs of various police stations have also been asked to be on standby.

A gathering of around 35,000 farmers was expected during the dharna. Two CTU buses and two trucks have been requisitioned to ferry the farmers, in case they are rounded up. A water bouzer and other machinery will daily be on stand-by till further orders. By rough estimates, a rally or a dharna daily costs the state exchequer around Rs 3 lakh. The expenditure may vary according to the strength of the force deployment.

The plight of the force does not end with the farmers’ agitation. Police personnel are daily detailed till date for rallies, dharnas, processions, nagar kirtans, strikes and political meetings. Today, a rally by the Haryana forest employees and a Dharam Jagran Yatra by the VHP, which passed through the city, also kept the policemen on its toes.

In the absence of a separate set-up to deal with dharnas, rallies and processions, the policing in the city is suffering. A proposal to have a battalion of the Chandigarh Armed Police seems to have been shelved. The city being the seat of Haryana and Punjab governments, personnel have to be deployed along the route of the visiting dignitaries, said a senior police official.

As per the parameters followed by the Chandigarh Police, a contingent of 300 personnel led by three Inspectors and a Deputy Superintendent of Police are deployed for routine dharnas having a strength of around 1,000 protesters. If the strength of the protesters varies between 4,000 and 5,000, additional force from the neighbouring police is requisitioned.


Forget morning walk, farmers are here
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Residents of the city, especially those who go for a morning walk to the Rose Garden, may have to face a tough time in the coming days as six farmers’ unions of Punjab have put up their tents at Matka Chowk to hold an indefinite dharna in protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of the state and Central governments.

The Municipal Corporation and the UT Administration have so far not made arrangements for public utilities for the farmers, who are ready to use the Rose Garden for the purpose. The unions — Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta), Kirti Kisan Union, Democratic Farmers Sabha, All-Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha, Agricultural and Farmers Development Front and Punjab Kisan Sabha — have made it clear that they would continue their protest in the coming days till the state government comes forward to meet their demands. They are protesting against the “anti-farmer” Union Budget and the state government’s decision to impose 4 per cent tax on fertilisers.

Addressing the farmers, Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, President, Kirti Kisan Sabha, said, “The state government has failed to clear the payments to farmers for sugar cane and Rs 30 per quintal bonus on paddy announced at the time of the elections.” He said farmers from all parts of the state would sit on an indefinite dharna from today.

Mr Sandhu said the dharna was being held in protest against the increase in the prices of fertilisers and pesticides as announced in the Budget, and the Punjab Government's decision to impose 4 per cent tax on fertilisers.

He said though the government had failed to link the prices of crops with the price index, yet the farmers had been burdened with increased electricity rates, irrigation charges and other costs. The union would hold a protest to press upon the state and Central governments to provide relief to farmers, he added.

Mr Pishora Singh, state President of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta), said the state and Central governments were resorting to indiscriminate disinvestment to cover up their misdeeds.


Proposal shelved ?

Dharnas and rallies are mostly held at Matka Chowk. However, the site lack basic infrastructure. A two-year-old proposal to put up slide gates on the Jan Marg, arrangements for drinking water and lighting are yet to be implemented. The slide gates would have replaced the barricades put up and replaced each time there was a dharna at the Matka Chowk. The place requires a permanent structure to house police personnel. Till basic amenities are provided, the protesters would be using the adjoining Rose Garden for making use of public utilities.


Cricket win sparks off celebrations
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, March 10
Deafening din of cheers reverberated against the decked up walls of bars and pubs all over the city as the men-in-blue bowled their way into the World Cup semi-finals late this evening. Cricket buffs, watching the action on small screens, also rushed out of their residences for bursting crackers as the bowlers struck again, sending the rivals back to the pavilion with the scoreboard showing just over 100 runs.

Little wonder, all roads led to celebrations soon after the crestfallen Sri Lankans walked out of the field with their heads resting on their chests. Chemistry and psychology papers, scheduled to be held on Tuesday, were forgotten as even Class XII students zipped up and down the city streets, screaming and shouting “dho dala”, zealously.

In front of hotels in Sectors 22 and 35, traffic came to a standstill as the revelers parked their cars right in the middle of the road for cutting footloose to the thumping beats of ‘bhangra’ music booming out of car speakers.

This was not all. Guys with their necks sticking out of the car windows shouted “ab World Cup hamara hai”. Apprehending ruckus, cops too narrowed in for keeping a strict vigil. They walked up and down the road with batons, looking out for miscreants.

Things were no different in the Panjab University campus. High on the World Cup spirit, boys reached the Students Centre on their bikes for celebrating the big win. Eager not to be left behind, girls too joined the fun. “Jai Hind” — they screamed from the balconies.

The victory did not exactly take them by surprise. Indians had performed exceptionally well during the last couple of matches. They had even defeated a “strong team” like Pakistan. They were successful in giving them a taste of dust without much effort, so it seemed. Confident over the country’s past performance, they were sure of the win against Sri Lanka also. But they had never though it would be that easy.

Eager to watch the action, they had cancelled all appointments in the afternoon. Leaving behind the sombre office atmosphere, they had reached the joints to savour the match, along with cool invigorating drinks. Reposing on sofasets in front of giant screens, they waited for the Indian team to crush their rivals ruthlessly.

Students, not so sure about the country’s entry into the semi-finals, had slammed the books on the study tables before gathering around television sets at home to watch the team in action at 1.30 pm. Excited about the match, they had jumped out of their beds early in the morning to complete the day’s work before the contest started.

Mothers and fathers of the world were also warned against disturbing them during their “exciting session with the cricketers”. Studies could wait even during the examination season and World Cup fever would rise only after four years, they were clear about the fact.

As the Sri Lankans won the toss and elected to field, they prepared themselves to watch Indian batsmen display their talent. ‘Twinkling star of the Indian team Sachin would strike again. Bengal Tiger would do wonders. Yuvraj would hit the ball real hard’, they were dead certain.

They pushed back the chairs to stand up and applaud as Sachin slammed the ball across the boundary, once, twice, thrice. “Yes,” they shouted as the ball went up in the air for a six. Just as they were getting ready to celebrate his century, Sachin lost his wicket just three short of 100. “Too bad,” they regretted, before gulping down beer to drown their sorrow. As India scored 292 losing six wickets, they paced the room, not so sure about the score being enough.


Construction of temple wall stopped
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 10
Officials of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today stopped the construction of a wall of the Prachin Shiv temple, alleging that the construction was illegal and being done to encroach upon PUDA land. The temple caretakers, however, stated that they were not doing any construction beyond the area already covered by the temple.

The temple, which is right opposite the PUDA office in Phase I here, is one of the oldest temples in the town. It was built in the late 1970s. According to the temple caretakers, the original land belonged to the Sanatan Dharam Stree Satsang Sabha, which started construction of the temple.

On the other hand, PUDA officials claim that PUDA has not allotted this land to the temple. “In its present state of construction, it is encroaching on PUDA land. And this fresh construction is a bid to encroach further on the land which belongs to PUDA and has been also allotted to one institution,” said Mr Ranjit Kumar, SDO, Buildings, PUDA.

The temple president, Ms Indu Sehgal, stated that the present construction was being done only to reinforce the existing construction. Alleging that the PUDA authorities were harassing them, Ms Sehgal said, “We have not moved outside the wall that has been the boundary wall for years now. The same wall has been demolished and pillars built so that a hall can be built.” However, PUDA officials point out that the construction of a simple six-ft-high wall is different from constructing pillars and undertaking more construction on top.


Revision of history-sheeters’ records begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The Chandigarh police has begun the exercise of revising its records of the bad characters and history sheeters. Names of persons convicted thrice were also being included in the Bundle A list in the police records. The entire exercise in all police stations was expected to be completed by the end of this month.

This follows the pulling up of field staff, including some SHOs, by the top brass for not keeping track of criminals involved in heinous crimes in the city. They had been asked to beef up their surveillance of the bad characters and history sheeters.

Some officials had been issued show-cause notices as to explain why the laid down procedure under the relevant provisions of the Punjab Police Rules (PPR) for keeping a tab on the activities of bad characters and other criminals in their respective areas had not been followed. A seven-day time period had been given to file the reply, said an official.

The field officers have been asked to fix accountability if any bad character commits another offence. It has been pointed out that several persons with criminal records and who are history sheeters are involved in heinous crime. A history sheeter, Baljit Singh, alias Billa, was involved in case of murder and he was convicted. He again committed a murder in Hallo Majra while on parole.

Similarly, Bhupa, a Sector 42 resident and history sheeter of Category A, was involved in the murder of XEN Chopra. Another criminal, Anil Kumar, alias Tota, a resident of Sector 40, is involved in several cases registered at Sector 17, 34 and 39 police stations. Sources said accountability for the lapse was being fixed.

Sources in the police said though provisions under the Punjab Police Rules existed, the senior officials had expressed displeasure over the prevailing system of keeping surveillance.

According to information, Section 23.7 of the PPR states that the mode of surveillance should be to keep a watch on the movement of the person concerned. A bad charactor roll is issued when the person under watch leaves his residence.

The sections of the PPR which govern various aspects related to bad characters and history sheeters are 23.4, 23.5, 23.8, 23.9, 23.10, 23.11, 3.11, 3.12, 3.13 and 3.14. Section 23.8 of the PPR states that the initial preparation of the history sheets should be done by the SHO. According to Section 23.10 of the PPR, the custody of history sheets has to be with the SHO.


Pool raids: Sec-34 SHO transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The controversy over the manner in which raids were conducted on various pool joints in the city today took its first causality when the Station House Officer of the Sector 34 Police Station, Inspector Dhan Raj,was transferred to the Police Lines. However, no official reason has been given for the transfer.

The SHO has been transferred by the Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh, Mr Rajesh Kumar, even as the inquiry in to the complaints of the police highhandedness is pending with the Superintendent of Police, City.

On directives from the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen JFR Jacob (retd) , the IGP, on March 6, had asked the Superintendent of Police, City, Mr Baldev Singh, to find out the lapses and fix responsibility of the police officials concerned within a period of five days.

In place of Inspector Dhan Raj, Inspector Sukhpal Singh has been posted as SHO of the Sector 34 Police Station. Inspector Ishwar Singh has been transferred from Police Lines (lock up) to Traffic. Inspector Dhan Raj has been posted there in place of Inspector Ishwar Singh.

Though the officials said it was a routine transfer, sources said the transfer was pending inquiry.

The Superintendent of Police, City, Mr Baldev Singh, was expected to submit the inquiry report in a day or two as almost all witnesses had been cross examined.

An official said more transfers were expected in the coming days.


New STD code unwelcome
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 10
Various organisations of the town have demanded that SAS Nagar should not be delinked from the Chandigarh telephone circle as it will adversely affect trade and industry here.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has decided to change the STD code of SAS Nagar from March 15 and link up the town with the Kharar circle. The new STD code for SAS Nagar will be 0160 instead of 0172.

A meeting was held here today by different welfare bodies of the town in which the matter was discussed. Residents said the master plan of Chandigarh indicated the layout of the city up to 73 sectors and the present sectors of SAS Nagar were part of that plan and were in continuation with those at Chandigarh.

They argued that the postal zone of Chandigarh covered SAS Nagar and all facilities available for quick collection and delivery of post at Chandigarh were extended to SAS Nagar. A number of businessmen and others had settled down at SAS Nagar because it was considered an extension of Chandigarh.

Apart from a number of residents of the town, the meeting was attended by representatives of the Mohali Industries Association, the Property Dealers Association, the Rotary Club, the National Consumer Awareness Group, the SAS Nagar Architects Association and the Kiryana Union.


Stop payment, says Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The Mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC), Mr Subash Chawla, today asked the Commissioner of the MC not to release payment for the populated area of Darshani Bagh on the basis of an assurance given to the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and Mr Chawla by the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, at a meeting held on March 2.

In an official note sent to the Commissioner, Mr Chawla has said: “In view of the outcome of the meeting that the houses will not be demolished, the area on which houses have been constructed is about 20 per cent of the total area under acquisition, as such the balance amount will not be required to be released. The CMC is requested to direct the accounts branch not to release the balance amount.”

The letter of the Mayor has followed allegations by the leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation, Ms Kamla Sharma, on March 6 that the Mayor had written a letter to the administration asking for acquisition of land under Section 9. The Mayor had denied the allegation challenging Ms Sharma to produce the letter.

Inquiries from the municipal corporation revealed that a resolution for the acquisition of the controversial piece of land had been approved by the General House of the MC on June 25, 1997 when Ms Sharma herself was the Mayor. The BJP-dominated House had approved the acquisition of land amidst protest from the then Congress councillors Ms Kamlesh, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, Ms Suneeta Rani, Ms Satinder Dhawan and Mr Rajkumar Goel.

The text of the resolution passed said: “...considered and resolved that land in pocket nos. 7 and 8 in Mani Majra be acquired out of municipal funds in accordance with the notifications issued by the Chandigarh Administration and amount of compensation deposited with the administration is hereby approved”.

Lashing out at the BJP for misleading the public on the issue, Mr Chawla said the resolution passed by the MC during the tenure of Ms Kamla Sharma as Mayor clearly exposed the face of the BJP leadership that had tried to rake up the issue with the motive of drawing “political mileage”.

Mr Pradeep Chhabra, a Congress Councillor, has also attacked the BJP for “mud-slinging” without going through the facts.

Meanwhile, in a press note here today, Ms Kamla Sharma, leader of the Opposition in the MC, and Mr Ram Vir Bhatti, state secretary of the BJP, along with few other leaders of the BJP have reiterated that the Congress was misleading the residents of Darshani Bagh, Mani Majra, in connection with the decision taken by the UT Administrator for not demolishing the already constructed houses.


Now manure from organic kitchen waste
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Residents will now be able to convert their organic kitchen waste into manure in their backyards without worrying about pollution or stink. The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) has designed a portable system for converting organic household waste into manure through vermi-composting. With trials having been completed successfully a few days ago, the system is being offered to the general public.

The portable vermi-composting unit showing earthworms in the foreground
The portable vermi-composting unit showing earthworms in the foreground.

Principal Scientific Officer (Biotechnology)Jatinder Kaur Arora, who is overseeing the project, said PSCST has started receiving orders for the portable system from various NGOs and schools in Chandigarh and Punjab. The council is expecting to get about 100 orders initially.

The system is simple. A covered plastic bucket with holes all around for ventilation containing a habitat for earthworms inside. A layer of garden soil is laid on a bed of pebbles in the bucket. On this straw or dried leaves are laid and topped by a layer of two to three day-old cow dung. Finally about 400 grams of earthworms are put in the bucket. Feeding on cow dung these worms bore through the layers of dried leaves and soil.

Giving details, Dr Arora said earthworms are natural bio-reactors having a specific body organ called gizzard which acts as a “mill” and grinds the waste ingested by the worm. The gut of the earthworm is such that it provides the optimum conditions for efficient growth of micro-organisms that carry out the bio-gradation of waste.

According to Dr S.K.Saxena, Senior Scientific Officer, a properly maintained system does not stink as the waste is humified during the process. Nor does the system attract flies if the surroundings are kept clean.

The portable system is capable to deal with the organic waste produced by a five-member family.“On an average about 0.5 kg organic waste is produced daily by a five-member family, generating about 15 kg of biodegradable waste in a month,” Dr Arora said. “The system would need about about a month to convert it into manure,” she added.


Leaf from history
An awe-inspiring cyclorama
Chitleen K Sethi

Artists, too, make history and sometimes their craftsmanship matches that of the professional historian, and they bring life to leaves from history in ways unthought by historian. In the history of Chandigarh, the role of artists of various kinds has been considerable. Many of them have created artefacts whose artistry has been acknowledged worldwide. Some have also ventured into illustrating history, providing visualisations, which make the leaves from history more easily comprehensible to the common man. One such is the cyclorama of evolution of life painted by artists Jaswant Singh and Kirpal Singh. It may be one of the last of cycloramas painted anywhere in the world.

The Evolution of Life Museum Sector 10
The Evolution of Life Museum Sector 10

Located in Sector 10 in the Government Museum complex, it was inaugurated on 13th August, 1973, almost 200 years after the idea of a cyclorama was first patented by an Irish painter named Robert Baker. The story is that Baker was out climbing a hill in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. When he reached the top and saw the city spread out around and below him Baker decided to find a way of capturing the view. He opened his first cyclorama in Edinburgh in 1787. A cyclorama (from the Greek word cycl, to circle and orama, to view) was the 19th century version of virtual reality. A large round building was built with a small platform in the middle. The walls were painted with one continuous theme encircling the spectators, filling their peripheral vision and thereby providing enhanced sensation. Typically, a cyclorama stayed at one place for about two years and then moved on to another location. While it was educational, it was also awe-inspiring for the size of the display was huge for those early industrial times.

Since the idea was first mooted, a number of cycloramas of historical importance and considerable permanence have come up all over the world. The cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta, on the subject from the American Civil War, originally with more than 20,000 feet of painted surface boasts of being one of the largest paintings in the world. Commissioned by General ‘Blackjack’ Logan it was supposed to celebrate his victory in the battle and thereby promote his chances of becoming the Vice-President of the US in the 1890s.

St. Anne de Beaupre: The great cyclorama of Jerusalem at the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec
St. Anne de Beaupre: The great cyclorama of Jerusalem at the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec.

The cyclorama at Chandigarh though draws its inspiration from the great cyclorama of Jerusalem that is currently located at the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in Canada. An eminent German painter, Her Bruno Piglhein, over a century ago, conceived this circular panoramic painting 45 feet high and 360 feet in diameter. It shows the life at Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside on the day of the crucifixion of Christ. It was made under the supervision of Dr Ernest Pierpont of Munich and painted by Paul Philippoteaux of Paris who was assisted by five other famous artists — Messrs. S. Mège and E. Gros, of Paris C.A. Corwin and O.D. Grover of Chicago and E.J. Austen of London.

In consonance with the ideology of science, rationality and modernity underlying the foundation of Chandigarh, the cyclorama at Chandigarh was designed as part of the Government Museum complex, to promote scientific thinking. Or, as Professor O P Kahol is given credit in the official report on the “Birth of Chandigarh” [Government Press, 1968] for introducing the idea that the main idea behind the museum is to produce ‘a climate of science’.

The 14 paintings, each 12 feet x 8 feet in dimension, with provision for illumination from behind, were done in situ in a circular building 60 feet in diameter and 20 feet high. The building had air vents low in the wall as some high in the ceiling hidden behind a circular channel, which was designed to house a cunning lighting system that would sequentially spotlight one panel at a time. Thus the viewer was supposed to be carried from the early days of earth to the time when homo sapiens established their colonies.

The government commissioned noted Sikh artists Jaswant Singh and Kirpal Singh to execute the task of depicting the history of earth since its very beginning. Working from high wooden ladders the two venerable Sikhs had different styles and pace of work. By the time Kirpal Singh finished his panels in 1969, the enforced closeness had already sparked off a few inter-personal problems, especially because Jaswant Singh added a few touches to the panels done by Kirpal Singh. Later, in the mid-1970s, both were commissioned together to paint for the Anglo-Sikh War Museum on the outskirts of Ferozepore.

The panels at the cyclorama in Chandigarh start with the early days of earth as a planet full of lava spewing volcanoes, take us through various geological periods like the achaeozoic, early palaezoic, devonian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Eocene, oligocene, miocene and pleistocene. The remaining three panels in the cyclorama depict the life of the Peking man, the Neanderthal man and the Cro-Magnon man. Six of the panels on display are signed by Kirpal Singh, while the rest of them were done by Jaswant Singh. In order to bring the panorama up to our times, the life of homosapiens, there were panels depicting inter alia the life of people in a Harappan town as well. However, these are not given any place inside the cyclorama. One of the mysteries that remains hid in official files today is that Jaswant Singh is acknowledged in the official panel identifying the creators of the cyclorama. The bureaucrats and engineers associated with the project too are named, but Kirpal Singh’s name occurs only in the panels that he signed.


A get-together with a difference

It is their camaraderie that brings them together again and again. The retired officers of almost all regiments and corps get-together periodically to renew their contacts. This an occasion when the veterans reminisce about their heydays of soldiering. Women don’t lag behind in recalling the emotional moments when, during the days of war, they lived together as one family in the cantonments.

Brigade of the Guards officers residing in Chandigarh and around started their get-together on a monthly basis in 1993. But this time on March 5, a get-together was hosted by Lt-Gen and Ms Mann at their scenic farmhouse near Sirhind in Fatehgarh district, about 50 km from Chandigarh, Lt-Gen H.R.S. Mann retired as Chief of Staff (COS) Western Command, more than a year ago and is a former Colonel of the Brigade of the Guards Regiment.

The farmhouse midst lush green orchards with playful birds living in their natural habitat, gave special joy to the guests who enjoyed every moment of their stay in the salubrious milieu of the farmhouse. Brig Man Mohan Singh (retd), who is over 80 and his wife though the oldest, are full of the regimental spirit and never miss these meetings. The bonhomie of the Guards family was the main factor to attract a sizeable number of couples, who drove to this venue from Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali, Ludhiana and Patiala.

Maj-Gen A.P. Bhardwaj (retd) recounted several benefits of these social meetings, including maintaining contacts and knowing about each other’s welfare. A glass of beer and sumptuous lunch in the homely atmosphere was refreshing indeed.

Proxy voting right

A Bill to allow the serving defence personnel to vote by proxy was passed in the Lok Sabha on February 19 last. This Bill is likely to be passed in the Rajya Sabha also. The Bill gives the right to a serving soldier to authorise his wife or any other blood relation to vote on his behalf.

With the passage of this Bill, the serving and retired armed forces personnel will have a strong vote bank, which the political parties would not be able to ignore for their success at the hustings. This will change the attitude of the political parties towards the ex-servicemen whose demands will be taken care of by the former.

It is now for the defence personnel to show solidarity in influencing the outcome of the state Assemblies’ and Parliamentary elections. The earlier voting system by the serving soldiers by dispatching their ballot papers to the returning officers concerned was not workable, for the ballot papers often reached the returning officers after the date of voting.

The serving personnel must make use of the proxy vote so that they have a say in the formation of a government. While exercising their franchise the ex-servicemen should support a party, which accepts their demands.

Sainik guest houses

It is seen that the servicemen, ex-servicemen and their dependents while reporting to a military hospital for admission, are often accompanied by a close relative who has no place to stay near the hospital.

To overcome this difficulty, Maj-Gen A.S. Jamwal, General Officer Commanding (GOC) ATNK K&G Area has created a new facility of sainik guest houses close to the military hospitals which are located in the territorial jurisdiction of this area. These guest houses provide furnished dormitory and room accommodation besides canteens for meals and snacks and recreational and telephone facilities at nominal rates.

The guest houses, providing 10 to 50 beds, are located close to the Military Hospitals, at Secunderabad, Golconda, Chennai, Avadi, Wellington, Belgaum, Trivandrum, Cannanore and Panaji. This essential welfare of guest houses should be created at all military hospitals in the country.

Pritam Bhullar



NRI’s view on Tenancy Act

I keep coming from U.K. to Chandigarh to look after my aged parents. I always return sadder after hearing about the miserable plight of relations of NRIs who have had the misfortune of acquiring properties for their sustenance back home. The tenants behave like de facto landlords whom they treat so shabbily. The remedy lies in extending a helping hand to senior citizens, widows, ex-servicemen and the disabled by introducing the system of summary trials so that their tenancy cases are settled expeditiously. The stock of the Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator has risen very high abroad after his introduction of the latest amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act.

There are lakhs of overseas Indians who are keen to invest back home, particularly in the City Beautiful, if they have the assurance that their properties will not be grabbed by unscrupulous elements. Lakhs of Keralites are working in the UAE but they are not letting out their premises for fear of unruly elements. I am told the Kerala government is taking steps to protect the properties of NRIs from the nefarious designs of anti-social elements.

On persistent demands of the Punjab House Owners Association the Beant Singh government had enacted a model Rent Act in 1999, which was also accorded Presidential assent. But unfortunately, Mr Beant Singh was assassinated and the successor government did not care to issue the necessary notification. I hope and believe that the present Amarinder Singh government will do the needful.

Romesh Bhargava
Coventry - U.K.

Alert watchman

Everybody must praise the watchman, Mr Gaje Singh, whose timely action averted a major train disaster, and he should be suitably rewarded. (Alert watchman averts train mishap-Chandigarh Tribune, dated 24.2.2003). But what makes it a more important issue is the role of the Maruti driver who was the root-cause of the whole problem by not agreeing to back off his car. What should be done about such a driver? Cancel his driving licence? Is it a traffic violation under MVA or an indicator of deep-rooted arrogance not to obey traffic rules, or to derive pleasure by violating the rules? This is not a problem with the youngsters or the neo-rich alone. It is the impunity with which our administration and bureaucrats violate traffic rules. Crossing red lights, taking wrong turns, overspeeding etc. is taken for granted by drivers even if their officer is sitting in the car.

On Sunday (2.3.03), there was a traffic jam near Kalka on the GT Road. On one side, motorists made five lines and were crossing the kutcha path on their extreme right to go ahead. On the other side, there was a loaded tanker on a small bridge which was not allowed to move forward. There were at least 4-5 cars, both private and official, which crossed from the extreme right side, making their way, but none bothered to stop for a while on the side and ask the uniformed guards to get the traffic regulated.

This all indicates a ‘‘who cares attitude’’ of the public and the masters. The malady lies deep and needs to be tackled from the primary level by incorporating a chapter on ‘‘traffic rules’’, and by imparting proper knowledge to the teachers. Even most of the policemen are not aware of the traffic rules!

Dr R.K. Gupta

‘Police state’ mentality

The rounding up of persons by the police from some pool parlours in Chandigarh a couple of days back on the assumption that some undersirable elements visit the same is not only illegal and unfortunate but is also indicative of the mindset which smacks of ‘‘Nazism’’ and perverted logic. Going by this logic, the police will tomorrow round up the viewers of a film in a cinema house since many undesirable persons visit cinema houses also. For that matter, undesirable persons can be found in any place of assemblage. Why not round up everybody at a busy railway platfrom, or a bus-stand, since none of them can be certified of being free from the possibility of being in the presence of undesirable persons.

If the police had information of the presence of mischievous elements in those pool parlours, they should have established the identify of the persons concerned and proceeded against the few suspicious ones. Treating respectable persons like criminals and dragging them to police stations is most reprehensible. Are we a ‘‘police state’’ or a liberal democracy?

All right-thinking people have condemned the incident in the severest terms. Apart from any administrative and other official action, the affected persons should demand compensation for damage to their reputation. Some legal luminaries may like to file a writ petition on the subject, or hon’ble Judge of some court may take action ‘‘suo moto’’. Or else, be prepared for the ‘‘mass detention’’ at any crowded place followed by being bundled to a police station. If the police are not held accountable for their action, the country will defacto become a ‘‘police state’’. You, my dear countrymen, have been warned!

Brig Harwant Singh (retd)

Spare this harassment

I write to bring to the attention of the Chandigarh Administration the difficulties being experienced by commercial units in obtaining commercial electric connections for setting up their offices. The procedure requires the applicant to submit a surety bond from two existing commercial consumers to the effect that in case the applicant does not clear his dues, these will be recovered through the bills of the consumers who gave the surety bond. By doing this, the Electricity Department is following the path of least resistance and unnecessarily harassing the users. Firstly, no one in his right senses will stand surety for another commercial unit, particularly when it is setting business for the first time in the city. When this is just not possible, it is, therefore, equally not possible to get a connection. Secondly, is it not the job of the Electricity Department to streamline its procuedure to collect its dues? Why involve a third party? The department could resort to disconnection of electricity if dues are not cleared by the due date, and recover these from the deposit made by the applicant.

If we are to encourage business in the City Beautiful and create jobs for the youth, there is an immediate need for the Administration to rectify matters and win the confidence and goodwill of the public.

Brig Jagmit Singh (retd)

Signposts, sector number

Signposts on roadsides showing maximum speed limit for motor vehicles is a common sight in various sectors of the City Beautiful. Cannot these signposts also indicate the sector number, where they stand, for the convenience of the motorists who are new to the city or have lost their way, particularly at odd hours when there is nobody around to guide them properly?

B.S. Saini



Dharam Jagran Yatra reaches city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The Dharam Jagran Yatra being taken out by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad reached here tonight from Punjab.

Bajrang Dal activists received the members of the procession at the Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 23.

The yatra was led by Swami Parmanand, Swami Atul Krishan and Acharya Manmandaleshwar, among others.

Swami Parmanand said if the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya was not allowed, the government would have to face the music.

Urging people to join the “satyagraha” in New Delhi on March 27 to press the Centre for the construction of the Ram temple, Swami Parmanand asked the local unit of the VHP to launch a drive for the recruitment of Ram bhakts in large numbers.

Swami Parmanand said the newly recruited Ram bhakts should be brought to the “satyagraha” on March 27.

Local VHP and Bajrang Dal activists, including Col Baldev Krishan Byala (retd), Rajinder Pal Singh, Diwakar Pathak, Satinder Singh, Shakti Devshali and Naresh Arora, received members of the procession.


Senior citizens hold meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
A meeting of the Senior Citizens Welfare Association, Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, was held under the chairmanship of Mr Amrit Dhingra (president). Dr Rahul Kalra, a dental surgeon, apprised the members about the dental diseases and the necessary measures to be adopted in this regard.

Acharya Chander of Divya Yog Mandir, Panchkula, explained the importance of yoga. P.N.Kapahi (general secretary), K.L.Aggarwal (vice-president), Sardari Lal Kaushal, P.C.Gupta, L.P.Sood and D.P.Wadwa (all executive members) attended the meeting.


8 held
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 10
The police arrested eight persons, Jagdish, Surendra, Harpal Singh, Afsan Hashmi, Raj Kishore, Sushil Kumar and Vikram Singh, on charges of drinking at a public place and seized eight bottles of liquor from them.

One arrested
The police arrested Jai Kumar, from Sector 7 here on charges of speculation and seized Rs 360 from him.

A motor cycle (CH-03D- 3830) was stolen from outside Yavanika Park on Sunday and a case under Section 379 of IPC has been registered.

Ishwar Chand, a resident of Kalka, has accused Anil, Rajesh, Ajay Kumar and Khan of assaulting him and threatening him near Kali temple there on Sunday night. A case under Sections 323, 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

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