Tuesday, April 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Drop boxes for paying traffic challan fine
Tribune News Service

Under the new system, those dropping a cheque in the drop boxes will not get receipts. Triplicate copies of the receipts will remain in police record. The violators will have the option to collect the receipt from the traffic police lines. However, those putting cheques in a stamped envelope will be sent the receipts by post.

Chandigarh, April 7
On the pattern of Delhi, the Chandigarh Police is installing drop boxes at various points in the city to facilitate the payment of penalty for traffic challans through cheques. The new facility will enable the motorists to pay fine without going all the way to the traffic police lines in Sector 26.

The new mode of payment is being introduced only for the sticker challan slips, recently introduced by the police. These slips are issued to those who park their vehicles along a slow carriageway or leave their vehicle, haphazardly, at an undesignated parking slot and to those overstepping the stop line at a traffic junction. The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, said the drop boxes would benefit the motorists, especially those coming from outside.

Sources in the police said, under the new system, the traffic police is installing the first drop box at a police post in the Sector 17 market. All motorists have to do is to write the details such as the name and the driving licence number on the back of a cheque. A policemen would be assisting the violators in filling details and to cross check whether the violators were giving the right information.

An official said the Sector 17 police post had been selected as the system of issuing sticker challan slips had been introduced in the Sector 9 and Sector 17 markets. The sources said the system of payment of challans introduced by the Delhi police had been studied in detail. A system of motorists getting payment receipts through automatic money and cheque collection machines (as adopted in Delhi) was not being introduced. The official said it was difficult to check the authenticity of the information fed into the automatic machines by the motorists.

The system of payment through cheques could not be extended for the other violations of traffic rules as the police had to take documents into their custody. Once successful, the drop boxes would be installed at other commercial centres in the city.



HUDA entangled in pipe replacement
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 7
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has lost lakhs of rupees as it had first laid a poly vinyl chloride (PVC) water supply network in most parts of the township and was now replacing this with the asbestos concrete (AC) water pipes.

An estimated amount of over Rs. 30 lakh had already been spent in replacing the PVC water supply pipeline in a 14-km area here over the past three years. This was after the authorities realised that this high density PVC supply network was unfit to withstand the water pressure. This PVC supply network had been replaced from the earlier existing cast iron (CI) pipes from 1978 to 1982 at a considerable cost in an area of about 110 km.

Other than the 14,000 metres of pipeline already replaced, HUDA proposed to replace these PVC pipes in another 2,000 to 4000 metres of area during this year. Sources said the most of this pipeline would be changed with AC pipes in a phased manner , after the present water supply network had failed to withstand the water pressure, resulting in joints being snapped and pipe bursts at numerous places here.

It was alleged that water pressure was being deliberately reduced at the heads of waterworks before being pumped into the water supply network comprising PVC pipes. This had resulted in the first and second storey houses not receiving any water supply because of a low-water pressure in Sectors 9, 10, 11, 12, 12-A, 14, 15, Industrial Area I and II , and parts of Sectors 6, 7 and 8. The residents here had been facing a low-water pressure problem during summer for the past several years .

The sources said low cost of high density PVC water pipes was the primary consideration for Public Health department , which reportedly compromised on quality and recommended these pipes to the Haryana Urban Development Authority ( HUDA). Senior officials agreed that the PVC pipes could not withstand high water pressure and thus pipe bursts in Sector 12-A, where the PVC pipes had not been replaced and Sectors 15, 11 and 9 were quite common.

With the water requirement increasing by almost double during the summer months, officials in Haryana Urban Development Authority maintained that the water pressure, even at the head of the water supply system was low. As a result, water released into the pipeline was at a low pressure, they claimed.

However, it was alleged that with bursting of these PVC water pipes being a rule rather than exception, whenever the water pressure was high, the pressure was sometimes deliberately reduced to avoid pipe bursts.



5-yr-old bags silver at equestrian event
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Among the Army's lancers and champion cavaliers from across the country, a little boy from the city stood tall. All of five years, Zoravar Singh Thiara bagged a silver medal at the Delhi Horse Show, a national-level equestrian event, organised by the Army Riding and Polo Club. The youngest rider at the meet, Zoravar had competed among 12 finalists in the Under-12 Years category in the seven-day event, which concluded in the Capital yesterday.

Zoravar, who had started riding at the tender age of two and a half years had won a gold medal in the same event last year. "Galloping" astride Sergeant, his brown-coloured "big" horse, is what he likes about riding.

His father, Mr Ajay Thiara, a local businessman, said he had introduced Zoravar to horses when he was just about two years old. There was a park adjoining their house and a friend used to send his horse on which Zoraver used to have a ride. It took away any fear of animals in him.

One thing led to another and Zoravar began taking riding lessons. He trained under Ms Beeya Vohra at her riding school in the Industrial Area here. "Initially, the instructor was reluctant to take a two-year-old boy, saying that riders must be at least six-years-old before they can ride," Mr Thiara said. "We consulted doctors who said that there was no harm in two-year-old children taking to riding," he added.

Zoravar trains four days a week, spending about an hour riding every time. Besides doing certain physical exercises, he also spends some time with his horse, which helps create a greater affinity between the rider and the horse.

A student of St John's High School, Zoravar is also good at academics. He also goes for swimming and plays a "little" golf. He is keen on solving jig-saw puzzles and playing around with a computer.



Crucial Mohali-UT road link missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The authorities in SAS Nagar have failed to keep pace with Chandigarh as far as construction of an important road link between the two cities is concerned. On top of it, the road link will benefit the residents of SAS Nagar more than anyone else.

Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) today inaugurated a new link road between Chandigarh and Mohali which will pass through Sectors 48 and 49. But the road comes to a dead end at a junction where it joins Phases X and XI. A kutcha track starts off from that point. The SAS Nagar authorities have constructed the road which turns towards PUDA Colony in Sector 48-C. The main road link which should benefit phases X and XI is nowhere.

Mr Yashvir Mahajan, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA (Mohali), says there was a difference of opinion between Chandigarh and Mohali over who will construct the culvert over a narrow natural choe. PUDA has constructed that now. All that remains to be done is the black topping of the road which will be undertaken soon.

The portion of the road in Chandigarh has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1.15 crore. It is a four-lane dual carriageway with a central verge. A rotary at the intersection of Sectors 48 and 49 will add to the safety features.

The road has been well illuminated as street lighting has been provided at the central verge and saplings have already been planted on both sides of the road. There is also a plan to construct of 10-ft wide cycle tracks on both sides of the road.

As night fell after the inauguration of the new link road, the street lights on the road between Sectors 48 and 49 did not function. Interestingly, the lights were working last night during a trial.



Docs: patient not suffering from SARS
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
The 40-year-old resident of Sector 41, who after returning from Hong Kong was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, with complaint of body ache, fever and cough, is responding well to medical treatment. Doctors attending on him have ruled out the possibility of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

When contacted, Dr G.S Sandhu, Medical Officer, General Hospital, said the patient had started responding to the drugs given to him and he was not suffering from SARS. As a precautionary measure, the doctors have kept him under observation.



Crash victims complain of apathy
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 7
Struck by a bolt from the blue, an Ambala plane crash victim, Roshni Devi, kept writhing in pain for hours together in the Emergency Ward before being shifted to the burns unit at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital here. Though the officials insisted that Roshni Devi was kept in the Emergency Ward till her condition stabilised, relatives blamed the authorities for not acting “fast”.

Another crash victim, Swaranjeet Kaur of Patiala district, kept lying flat on a hard stretcher in the dimly lit corridor of PGI here till late in the evening as there was no place to accommodate her inside the surgical emergency.

Anxious relatives standing around both patients had just one question to ask, “What have we done to deserve this?” The reason behind their expectations was not hard to see. The victims had suffered not because of any fault of theirs but because of an accident they had nothing to do with. But the reality was quite different. As the day progressed, their hopes gave way to desperation as none of the officials visited the patients.

In fact, the relatives, caught unawares, had to run from one unit to another to get the CT scan and other tests done. They had nothing against the doctors, but accused the authorities of neglecting them.

According the relatives, it all happened at around 11. 40 am. Swaranjeet Kaur was returning home on a rickshaw after paying a visit to her relatives when she was hit by splinters.

Roshni Devi had just stepped out of her house to fetch water from a tap when the incident occurred. “I was on duty at that time,” her husband Dharam Pal Sharma said. “Just as we were carrying on with our day-to-day activities, I heard a loud explosion followed by eruption of a huge ball of fire. I had no idea my own wife was involved in the incident”.

As soon as he received the information, Mr Sharma rushed out of the milk plant before taking Roshni Devi to the Civil Hospital at Ambala in a jeep. After giving first aid, the doctors referred her to Chandigarh.

Roshni Devi was brought to the GMCH, Sector 32 at about 2 pm with “40 per cent burn injuries”. She was taken to the burns unit at about 7. 45 pm. This is not all. Mr Sharma, working as an electrical foreman, alleged, “The time of shifting the patient was mentioned as 4.45 pm”. The doctors on duty refused to comment.

Another relative of Roshni Devi, former District Judge of a Consumer Court, Mr Shayam Lal Jangra, added, “In fact, I even went and met a senior doctor posted in the administration but instead of helping us out, he was very rude”.

The doctors said adequate care was being taken of the victim. Denying the allegations, they asserted that she was kept in the Emergency Ward only till her condition stabilised.



Chaturvedi’s stress on governance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Governance is a dynamic, multifaceted concept, which is intrinsic in all human affairs. Efficiency, effectiveness, equity, economy and environment are, all separately, the basic ingredients of governance.

This was said by Mr T.N.Chaturvedi, Governor of Karnataka, in his inaugural address at the seminar on “Governance — Its present challenges” organised by the North-Western Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Social Science Research(ICSSR) at Panjab University here today.

Mr Chaturvedi said governance includes totality of action, which impinges on the economy and the way it functions in the economic-political-administrative system. He stressed that governance has to envision and meet the challenges of capability and character of individuals, conscious of the nation, courage of individuals who run institutions and the credibility of the entire system.

Mr Ram Verma, a former Chief Secretary of Haryana and a fellow of the university, in his keynote address said: “We have greatly expanded the functions of the state in our endeavour to create a welfare state. As a result we have created a bloated and gargantuan bureaucracy.”

He said: “Governance has taken a backseat. Dithering and weakened responses to pressing problems have been characteristic to the Central Government. The universities, NGOs and political parties are mired by morally dubious and monetarily misappropriatory trends”. Even the judiciary is slowly, though in a small measure, slipping into a “suspect species.”

Earlier Prof S.L.Kaushik introduced the theme of the seminar. Prof Sahib Singh Bhayana, honorary director for the local chapter of the ICSSR, in his vote of thanks said character building was the need of the hour.

Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, delivered the welcome address. He said transparency, commitment and accountability are the essential ingredients of governance.

Prominent speakers in the technical sessions included Prof S.L.Goel, Prof B.S.Ghuman, Prof Aruna Goel, Dr Dolly Arora and Mr Puneet Aneja, besides others.



Karnataka Governor dispels rumours
Tribune News Service

Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi during a visit to Shishu Graha at Bal Niketan, Panchkula, along with the honorary secretary of the home, Dr Madhu Sharma
Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi during a visit to Shishu Graha at Bal Niketan, Panchkula, along with the honorary secretary of the home, Dr Madhu Sharma, on Monday. Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Panchkula, April 7
The Karnataka Governor, Mr T.N. Chaturvedi, who has earlier served as Chief Commissioner, Chandigarh, today said he would not like to be dislocated from his present posting and join as Governor of Punjab. He was reacting to a question about his name doing the rounds for the post of Governor, Punjab and Administrator, Chandigarh. He said though he was very fond of Chandigarh, he was equally happy being in Bangalore. He also said he had earlier declined the Governorship of Punjab in 1991.

The Karnataka Governor was visiting an SOS Children's Village, Bal Niketan, here. He lauded the efforts of the management for maintaining a perfect home for destitute children. The Governor also visited Shishu Graha, the adoption centre of the Niketan. Accompanied by the honorary secretary of Bal Niketan, Dr Madhu Sharma, he also took a round of the residential premises for abandoned children.



Karnataka Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Governor of Karnataka, Mr T.N. Chaturvedi, yesterday visited the Government Museum in Sector 10 here along with the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd). After going through various sections of the museum, Mr Chaturvedi expressed happiness over the way the museum had grown and strengthened its collection.



More constructions in illegal Mohali colony
Tribune News Service

Fresh constructions come up in the illegal Guru Nanak Colony on the Chandigarh -SAS Nagar border.
Fresh constructions come up in the illegal Guru Nanak Colony on the Chandigarh -SAS Nagar border. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

SAS Nagar, April 7
Even as the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has been demolishing illegal colonies in the township, residents of Phase X here have raised objections against fresh illegal constructions that are coming up on the outskirts of Guru Nanak Colony on the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar border here.

These residents alleged that four new shops were being constructed as part of the illegal Guru Nanak Colony by certain residents taking advantage of the fact that during weekends no PUDA officials were expected to take notice of the constructions. However, according to PUDA officials, a Junior Engineer had already been sent on the site and had warned those undertaking the constructions.

Alleging that fresh constructions had been on for the past five years, the president of the Residents Welfare Association, Mr. T.S. Teer, said that government apathy towards the situation had encouraged the residents to raise illegal construction in the UT boundary as well.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune yesterday, Mr Teer, along with some other residents of Phase X, said in the past five years, the government had not been able to implement orders of the then Principal Secretary, PUDA, Mr I.S. Bindra, that Guru Nanak Colony be razed to the ground. “PUDA has carried surveys, numbered the jhuggis, counted the population but no step has been taken to remove this colony from here. On the other hand the colony residents have got voters, I-cards made and ration cards issued and are now voters’ of the Kharar constituency and the Municipal Council,” said Mr Teer.

The colony is one of the highly populated pockets of the township with over 5000 persons living in about a thousand jhuggis. The colony is on the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar link road that leads to the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Phase X here. Just before a World Cup match that was held in 1996, some of the shops were razed to the ground but these came up again. Residents are now demanding that the colony, too, be removed and the persons residing there be rehabilitated.



Army no longer attracts youth

EXPRESSING his opinion on the shortage of officers in the Army at Patiala, a senior Lieut-Gen said: “The shortfall cannot be done away with overnight as the Army cannot lower its standards. We want youths for whom the Army is the first choice and not those drifting into the armed forces after trying out other options”.

The shortage of officers in the Army is more than 13,000, which is one-third of the authorised strength. Despite measures adopted by the government to offset this shortage like hiring the services of the electronic media, granting commission to suitable JCOs, NCOs and ORs, reducing the training period of cadets at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) by six months and increasing the annual intake of cadets at the IMA by about 1,000, the paucity of officers continues to increase.

The main reason for the Army becoming unattractive is that the youth today wants to go in for softer options which fetch handsome salaries. The emphasis has, by and large, shifted from patriotism to materialism the world over. It is only a microscopic minority that opts for the Army.

We cannot have the best people coming to the Army. Nor does this happen in any other country of the world. But so long as we get suitable young men coming forward to join the Army, we should be satisfied. This, too, can only happen if we improve the terms and conditions of service and restore the Army to its pristine glory.

Health scheme inaugurated

While inaugurating the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) at Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, on April 5, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, GOC-in-C, Western Command, expressed optimism about the scheme growing into a beneficial health project over a few years. Until polyclinics at non-military stations were established, efforts would be made, he said, to provide medical assistance to the ex-servicemen and their families at these stations.

As for the military stations, the existing arrangements, General Mehta said, would come in handy for the ex-servicemen and their families until the augmented armed forces clinics were set up. The scheme, though gigantic, would be made to take off smoothly and as fast as possible in all stations in the Western Command, General Mehta further added.

The former Army Chief, General V.P. Malik, who was associated with the working of this scheme as the Chief of the Army Staff, told this writer that this was the best medical scheme that could be worked out for ex-servicemen and it took nearly 10 years for all three services to get it through from the government. He said improvements in the scheme would be brought in with experience over a period of time.

The current Medical Benefit Scheme (MBS) would remain operative till March 31, 2005. The subscription made by a member to this scheme would be refunded once an individual intimated to the Army Group Insurance Fund (AGIF) that he/she had become member of the ECHS or on the closure of the MBS on March 31, 2005.

A humane gesture

The President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, set a new precedence while giving away the posthumous gallantry awards to the next-of-kin of the brave soldiers, who sacrifices their lives for the country, in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, on March 26. The new procedure was followed for the disabled soldiers also.

In the past, the next-of-kin walked to the podium to receive the gallantry award. This time, as soon as the citation was read out, Mr Kalam walked to the widow or parent of the award winner, who stood at a short distance from the podium, to hand over the medal to her/him. This humane gesture was highly applauded by the audience. “It is a small thing but it will mean a lot to those who have lost their near and dear ones”, said a senior Army officer who attended the investiture ceremony.

Pritam Bhullar



Jacob inaugurates green belt, power station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), shopped for vegetables in an Apni Mandi, opened a green belt in Sector 49 and laid the foundation stone for a 66 KV substation in Sector 47, this morning.

The development projects are important for Phase II and Phase III sectors of Chandigarh, which have been overlooked by the development process.

Mr Puranjeet Singh, Chief Engineer, informed that the Sector 49 green belt, spread over an area of 6.16 acres, had been landscaped and different varieties of trees, shrubs, and creepers planted. For irrigation, a sprinkler system has been provided.

Footpaths, garden benches and three weather shelters have also been provided for the people. The Administrator asked the Chief Engineer to provide a toilet and drinking water in the green belt at the earliest. Besides this, 2000 saplings of various species have also been planted, along the roadside in Sector 49.

The Administrator also laid the foundation stone of the 66 KV substation in Sector 47 to cater to Phase III in which multi-storeyed houses of cooperative societies have come up. To meet the power requirement in these sectors, which is assessed to be 40 MVA, the substation will ensure uninterrupted power supply. The Rs 5.52 crore project would be completed within 15 months and the Bhakra Beas Management Board has been entrusted the task of completing the project on a turnkey basis.

The General said to eradicated the north-south divide, which had kept the southern Sectors ignored during the past few years, better civic amenities would be provided to people living in these areas.

While returning to the Raj Bhavan, the General made an unscheduled stop at the Apni Mandi in Sector 46. Farmers, selling their produce, were surprised to see General Jacob there, who also bought some vegetables.



Leaf from history
Women’s protection led to origin of haveli

Chitleen K. Sethi

(Top) Doors of a Haveli in Rajasthan (Left above) A typical Haveli, from Manda in Rajasthan (Left below) The Haveli in Village Kajehri, Chandigarh.

(Kajehri Photo by Parvesh Chauhan)

AS we browse through the leaves from history, we notice people trying to obtain the basics of life for themselves. Some researchers in history have established that India was in fact a land of plenty. There was plenty to eat and it was easy to produce. None of that nonsense of man constantly warring against nature to obtain livelihood and fighting with each other merely to survive as was the case in Europe and much of the Americas. That in turn gave enough time to people to indulge in the finer things of life: like decorating their houses with intricate designs. The people from poor villages and tribal settlements decorated their houses as much and as beautifully as the merchant princes whose houses were as big as a small village and had as many members, retainers and supporters living inside the house.

Such huge houses were known as ‘havelis’ after the Persian word for ‘enclosed place’. It is difficult to say from which area haveli architecture first originated. Most probably it evolved out of the need to provide a large space for the women of the family since there came a time in Indian history when keeping one’s women enclosed became an important indicator of the power and pelf that a family, especially in urban areas, enjoyed. The rich and influential merchants began to invest part of their wealth in constructing structures to enclose their women-folk. Most of the havelis came up either in the capital towns like Delhi, Agra and Lucknow or in towns like Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Jaipur, which had many rich traders. Typically a haveli would be guarded at the entrance by large wooden doors that would provide entrée to a large courtyard. Surrounding this courtyard would be a number of suites, each suite being made up of one or more rooms. The size of rooms in the suites would vary according to the importance of the user of each set of rooms. The more senior members of the family would get the more important set of rooms. On the ground floor would be a number of areas for serving the household: the kitchen, the store for daily knick-knacks, one or more wells for providing water, a washing area, a place for tying up cattle and other domestic animals that the household needed and of course the common rooms, one for men and another, slightly at the back and suitably covered with pardah, for women where the public contact with the household would take place. The frontage of the havelis in Rajasthan also came to be decorated intricately. The huge doors, sometimes as high as 20 feet, were carved with complex and auspicious designs. The front balconies were covered with just as beautiful jails made of stone and wood which today are much in demand in the heritage market.

When the region of Chandigarh began to become prosperous in the period since the World War I, a number of havelis began to come up in the larger villages like Kalibar, Burail and Kajheri. Kalibar came to be destroyed completely to give way to what today are parts of sectors 8, 9 18 and 19. Burail rapidly adjusted to extensive demand for rented accommodation among the newly emerging service classes working in Chandigarh and converted its havelis to modern hen-coop like structures to be given out on rent. In Kajheri, though, we can still see much of the original building of the haveli. The haveli at Kajheri was constructed in 1937 by the zaildar of the Sardar Bir Singh village. Bir Singh’s family controlled all of the 950 acres of land under the raqba of Kajheri. His huge family required a huge house to live in. When the haveli was finally done it had, at any given time, about 80 people living in it. Even today one merely needs to ask for the haveli and anyone in the village quickly leads you to the structure which is currently undergoing transformation as a janjghar. Bir Singh’s son, Arjan Singh, was an overseer with a private construction company. In that capacity he was also involved in the construction of the Bhakra dam, an experience that the family still remembers with some pride for having contributed to the development of the nation. Arjan Singh too succumbed to the demand that was coming from Chandigarh of rooms for rent. He too began to rent out the rooms of his haveli, some 20 of them. For the use of his own family he converted the family tabela, place for tying cattle, into a modern house. With emphasis on functionality, partly air-conditioned, closer to the outskirts of the village settlement, this new house had smaller rooms than the original haveli. But the rooms were adequate for his family of 6 sons and 8 daughters from his 3 wives.



Need to conserve water stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The first meeting of the newly-constituted society for water conservation, Jal Baradari, in SAS Nagar was held at the Soil Conservation Complex, Phase VI, here yesterday.

The society, whose aim was to generate awareness about water conservation and management, highlighted the problems concerning water in Punjab at the meeting. Vital suggestions for conservation of water for agriculture, urban and industrial usage were floated. More than 30 persons which included professionals, social workers and farmers attended the meeting.

In Punjab total available water resources were about 31.3 lakh hectare metre while the demand was over 43.7 lakh hectare metre. The excess demand was met through over exploitation of the ground water. “The issues this situation has thrown up include increasing costs of new water sources, wasteful use of existing water supplies, degradation of existing water supplies degradation of land and irrigated crop and ground-water depletion,” said Mr J.S.Gill, president of the society.

The society would also be undertaking surveys and collecting data on water and resources. It would coordinate with other agencies involved in similar work and motivate people of the state to adopt rainwater harvesting technology and measures of conservation and management of water.

Though a large number of similar kind of bodies were giving useful suggestion each day on water conservation, many of these ideas remained impractical. “For example it is said that the farmers in Punjab should diversify cropping patterns to reduce water usage. But research has shown that growing vegetables, horticulture, etc will lead to use of more water and not less. The solutions lie in increasing the productivity of water available,’’ said Mr Gill.

Meanwhile, one of the most workable suggestions to conserve water came up during discussions at today’s meeting. It was stated that 30 per cent of the tubewells in Punjab could be used to recharge their water source by collecting rainwater. “This will require a slight change in technology used in the construction of tubewells but it will lead to a significant difference to the ground water table,” pointed out Mr Gill.



Silent medium, serious issue
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
With war raging, the Centre for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA) expressed the anguish over sacrifice of human lives at the altar of greed and power through a set of puppets. It left a deep impact on the minds of those who had gathered to watch the show at Sector 17 Plaza here today.

The larger-than-life puppets moved slowly on the melody of “Ishwar Allah naam hai tera, phir nafrat kyon hai, jung hain kyon” — a song from Deepa Mehta’s famous film “1947 - The Earth”, depicting hatred and greed in their own silent way.

The performance, lasting for just five minutes, was enough to lend an outlet to the pent-up feelings of the people. “The idea was just to do that — to provide a platform to the masses to express their feelings, because majority of us do not know how to express our feelings,” said Mr G.S. Channi, Honorary Director of CEVA and chairperson of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy.

CEVA plans to continue with this anti-war campaign till Friday and on Saturday the campaign will conclude with a mass gathering of like-minded people. “We are trying to spread the message through the word of mouth,” said Mr Channi.



Media professionals rise to the occasion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Professionals from the media today promised to lend a helping hand to the wellknown local non-government organisation, Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, in highlighting its voluntary activities in the field of blood donation and motivating people from all walks of life to come forward to donate blood.

The occasion was provided by a seminar on “Donor Recruitment and the Media” organised by the Blood Bank Society in celebration of World Health Day. The seminar which was held in the newly constructed Blood Resource Centre building in Sector 37, was attended by some of the leading lights of the voluntary blood donation movement, including Mrs Kanta Saroop Krishan, Mrs Niti Sarin, Dr Manmohan Kaur, Mrs Soudamini Bambah, Mrs B.S. Danewalia, Mrs Sukrita Singh and Mrs Subhadra Jhina, to name only a few.

Professionals from the media included Mr A.S. Prashar, News Coordinator, The Tribune who spoke on “Role of Print Media”, Mr Harbans Singh, a freelance writer who spoke on “Public Relations and Donor Motivation”, Ms Veenu Sandhu (Indian Express) who dwelt on “Print Media and Social Issues” and Mr Sandeep Joshi, Cartoonist, The Tribune, who presented the “Lighter Side to Motivation” by drawing on the spot a couple of sketches on the existing scenario facing the media in which various sections of the society were making demands on it for attention and projection.

Meanwhile, the UT Red Cross Society celebrated the World Health Day by organising a string of activities today. A seminar was held in Government Art Gallery and Museum, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on the theme “Shaping up Healthy Environments for Children”. The seminar was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar.

In his inaugural address Mr Ramsekhar called for creating awareness about the dangers being faced by children and joining hands to overcome these. Other speakers included Dr Vidhu Mohan, a psychologist, Dr Veena Parmar and Dr Vikas Bhatia from GMCH, Sector-32, Mr Saurab Sanyal, journalist, and Mr N.K. Sharma, an environmentalist. Two students also spoke on the subject. A free medical camp for children residing in Colony No. 5 was held. The camp was inaugurated by Ms Madhvi Kataria, SDM (S)-cum-secretary, Red Cross. Sixtyfour children took part in various categories and nine winners were given prizes by the secretary, Red Cross, Ms Madhvi Kataria.

PANCHKULA: The local chapter of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) held a clinical-cum-counselling camp as part of the World Health Day celebrations.

SAS NAGAR: The Population and Development Education (PDE) cell of the Regional Resource Centre (RRC), Panjab University, observed the World Health Day at Phase II here on Monday. Dr Dazy Zarabi and Mrs Binwant Pannu, programme coordinators RRC, PU, spoke on the occasion.



Expenditure vouchers missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Audit wing of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has found the original expenditure vouchers of the sub-offices missing in the main accounts branch of the corporation.

The Audit wing has raised objections against the working of the main accounts branch of the corporation for the past many years. The branch has failed to keep the original expenditure vouchers of the sub-offices in the office of the Chief Accounts Officer (CAO).

According to the details available, the Audit wing had issued several memoranda to the CAO in the past many years to maintain the original vouchers of expenditure of all the sub-offices, but the CAO had been defending the present system of maintenance of cash books in the respective sub-offices.

In its recent audit report, for the financial year ending March, 2002, the Audit wing has held, “The Audit wing of the municipal corporation is facing a great difficulty in checking the main cash book and scrutiny of bills as the original expenditure vouchers are not kept in the office of the CAO”.

The report stated that “the same problem was also earlier pointed out to the CAO vide audit memorandum no. Audit/MC/99/435, dated August 4, 1999.But despite this, nothing has been done”.

The Audit wing has stressed upon the need to streamline and strengthen the main accounts branch, so that all bills are routed through the CAO before these are put up before the Audit wing.

Expressing its difficulty in carrying out the audit work efficiently, the Audit wing has stated that they were short of the required staff strength, as a result of which there were chances of omission due to overload and rush of work.



Housing Board urged to provide proper drainage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Several Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flat owners in Sector 45-A are living a miserable life due to the negligence of the Board in providing proper drainage. Repeated requests made to the CHB authorities in this regard have fallen on deaf ears, Mr Hemant Sharma, General Secretary of the Red Flower MIG Flats Residents Welfare Association, Sector 45-A, said in a statement here today.

There is no outlet facility for rain water accumulated in the back courtyards of the flats as a result of which rain water gushes into living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms etc.

The problem is acute in MIG flat numbers 424 to 430, where the road level is higher than the flats. The association demanded that the CHB authorities should send a team of experts to rectify the deficiency at the earliest so that the residents, who had spent lakhs of rupees on purchasing these flats, were not made to live in pitiable conditions.



Abolish contract labour: food procurement staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Demanding abolition of the contract labour system (CLS) in the food procurement agencies, members of the All Food and Allied Loading Unloading Mazdoor Union’ (AFALUMU) of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh region, held a protest rally in Sector 34 and at Matka Chowk here today.

Addressing the gathering, Mr HP Singh, former MP and president, labour cell, Janata Dal (U), demanded that the CLS should be abolished. He said the workers, already working in the state food agencies, should be put under direct master and servant relations to make an end of exploitation of the workers.

He also demanded the PF, EPF and ESI facilities for the workers. He suggested,” Until the process of abolition of CLS is delayed, the government should provide welfare facilities as specified in the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, such as provision of canteen, rest room, first aid box, potable water and sufficient number of urinals and latrines should be extended to the workers.

AFALUMU also submitted a memorandum to the Heads of state procurement agencies of Punjab and Haryana and the Food Ministers of both the states to press for their demands.

The other important demands of AFALUMU included fixed working hours for the workers, extra payment for over-time work, weekly off, timely payment of wages by the employer and minimum wages as notified by the government from time to time.

Later, talking to the TNS, former MP further said, “No contractor should be allowed to execute a contract work till he obtains a valid licence from the competent authority for the specified number of workers”.

Mr Jeet Singh, general secretary, AFALUMU, Haryana region; Mr Maheshwar Mehto, general secretary, FCI Workers Union; Mr Puran Sahney, vice president, FCI Workers Union; Mr Chetu Yadav, president, AFALUMU, Punjab region, were among other leaders of workers, who addressed the gathering at Sector 34, outside the FCI Regional Office.



Restricted holidays is the answer

THIS is in reference to views of Mr S.C. Dhall published in The Tribune that the work in government offices in Chandigarh as also Punjab, Haryana and Himachal will come to a standstill for almost 10 days from April 11 to 20 on account of various festivals and other gazetted holidays. It seems your report is only informative and has not gone into the roots of this menace as to why governments declare too many holidays. It is not the fault of anybody. In effect we have a multi-religious country, having peoples’ faith in different religious and myths. The governments of the day always try to please the people of a particular section by declaring public holidays in government offices at the cost of the state exchequer. In this context, the Union Government every year notifies 17 holidays apart from two restricted holidays to be observed in the name of different communities in the country. The number of holidays varies from state to state. Not only government, it is the people, particularly the religious heads/social and political organisations, who seldom demand holidays on birth and death anniversaries of gurus or eminent personalities, resulting in the governments of the day always bowing to the wishes of heads of these organisations with an eye on their vote bank.

Besides full-day holidays which your report has mentioned, there are several half-day holidays, particularly in Punjab, which are declared well before the happening of the birth/death anniversary of a particular person to enable government employees to participate in shobha yatras etc. Not caring for the inconvenience to the public, Punjab has to pay more than Rs 2 crore to government employees for a one-day holiday without any work. Incidentally, I may mention here that when Mr Brezhnev of the erstwhile Soviet Union died, only three minutes’ silence was observed throughout the Soviet Union as a mark of respect to the departed soul. Apart from these holidays, there is an unlimited number of holidays (summer/winter vacation), which educational institutions and courts observe...probably a part of British legacy.

To arrest this menace, the best course would be that the government should declare as many restricted holidays as required to please different communities in the country. For instance, if Good Friday is declared as restricted holiday, Christians would observe this day as holiday and employees of the remaining communities would attend to their jobs and vice-versa. This practice should be applicable to other communities. In a competitive market having a flood of multi-national companies entering into India, if the government employees actually want their survival and save themselves from government onslaughts and wish that there should be real development in the country, working hours of government employees can also be altered on the pattern of factory workers. Moreso, with the coming of these MNCs, government employees should work wholeheartedly, diligently and observe discipline in their respective places of posting. This would certainly avoid unnecessary inconvenience caused to the masses owing to these holidays. Besides this, there may be a boost to work culture and much less expenditure on the state exchequer. It is noted that keeping in view the changed scenario in the country, banks have already enhanced their working hours.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

Cheerful news on page 1

The primary objective of a newspaper should be to apprise its readers about what is happening in and around. Chandigarh Tribune is doing its best. What sometime I am peeved to read is that the front-page news items mostly convey said aspects of life. I agree with the verse of a poet...’Dukh to apna sathi hai, sukh hai ik chhaon dhalti..., Quite in line with this bitter truth, our daily newspapers are following its footsteps. Why can’t a good, pleasant or humorous news item, which can provide solace to the general mood of readers, be printed on the first page? I feel if this is done, the readers will get refreshed, cheerful and will look forward to reading news items on the other pages that follow. I also feel that it is the prime duty of a newspaper to keep its readers cheerful. All sensationalising news should take the back bench and be published on inside pages. News which upsets the mood certainly is not welcomed by anyone. Let Chandigarh Tribune take the lead in publishing healthy and positive news items on the front page and other news items concerning murder, suicide, dacoity etc on the inside pages. This will be a healthy trend for others to follow suit.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Rent notification : new facts

Let me thank first of all Chandigarh Tribune for giving a very balanced picture of the latest landlord tenant notification, starting with a full-page article by noted civil lawyer M.L. Sarin. Sadly though the controversy is becoming a law and order problem, with tenants becoming more and more violent out of sheer frustration. The tenants, who all along had been blackmailing landlords into submission and paying very meagre rents, are bound to resort to such malpractices as more and more cases are filed in courts claiming relief under the long overdue rent notification.

I know of a most recent case where a tenant’s son physically assaulted an old couple, both senior citizens well past 70 years of age, dragged the husband out of his study, pushed him against the wall and repeatedly hit him in the belly. When the wife tried to intervene, she was slapped several times by the father-son duo. They even threatened to kill them by throwing them into Sukhna Lake, where the couple go regularly for their morning walk. The case was reported to the police which, far from giving protection to the hapless old couple, are forcing a compromise on them without even an apology by the son or his father.

During the course of investigations by the police the tenant’s son confessed defiantly that even the ejectment proceedings pending against them would be of no avail as they had recently deposited into their account an advance rent of Rs 32,500 without the knowledge of the landlord. Wherefrom they got their bank account number, is being looked into.

There are reports that about 1,500 rent cases seeking relief under the new notification have already piled up in Chandigarh courts. The cases, I am afraid, will keep piling up unless there is a provision for summary trials and the Supreme Court’s directions to give short dates in the case of senior citizens are strictly followed by subordinate courts.

Prof Harbinder Mahajan, Chandigarh

Let Chandigarh remain UT

This letter is in response to the two ‘letters to the Editor’ published in your newspaper ( March 21). It is only partly that I agree with them. I do agree that Chandigarh is a monotonous, silent city with its people being, somewhat, strange.

Still, I have my own reasons in support of the city.

Chandigarh should be made neither the capital of Punjab nor Haryana . It should be left alone as a Union Territory, not because of it being dull, but, for the reason that it is too clean and beautiful. One dreads the very thought of it becoming asthmatic with pollution and dirt that characterises cities of the above mentioned states. After all, in today’s polluted world, it is not easy to find a clean environment.

Chandigarh is, in fact, a place where you happen to meet all people, but end up meeting no one. Here people are surrounded by their complexes, jealousies and false pretences. I do not blame the city itself. It is its citizens who need to change from within, to change the environment they live in.

Even its administration needs to think and work afresh in changing its present image. Its architecture needs to get out of the Le Corbusier hangover and do some great experimentation.

In my opinion, it is a heaven as far as its clean air, greenery and open spaces go; and a solitary refuge for creative people.

To sum up, only a few can appreciate its true worth in today’s world.

Harbandana Kaur Sidhu, Chandigarh



Poll observer appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Chandigarh Housing Board secretary Gurmel Singh has been appointed election observer (general) for the by-elections to the Kishangarh and Mauli Jagran Zila Parishad constituency and for the post of Sarpanch of Daria village.

Any complaint with regard to the elections may be registered on telephone Nos. 741945, 782046 and 721061 on all days including on Sunday.



Rickshaw-puller found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
A 40-year-old rickshaw-puller was found dead in Industrial Area here today. The police suspects that the victim, Himmi, had consumed liquor. The body was found lying near his rickshaw. The body has been sent to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

In another case, a 45-year-old resident of Kansal attempted to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at the residence of his sister in Sector 7 here today. Laxman, who was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital, is said to be out of danger.

According to the information available, Laxman had been disowned by his family members. A police official said the wife of Laxman had also deserted him. The victim in his statement to the police alleged that that his brother-in-laws were after his life. The police was investigating the matter.

Cheating: The operation cell of Chandigarh Police has arrested Prabhjot Singh, a resident of Ambala Cant, for using registration number of a tractor on a stolen motor cycle. The motor cycle had been stolen from Delhi.

In another case, Ravi Kumar, a resident of Sector 41 and runs a business of scooter sale and purchase in Sector 43 market, complained that Varinder Yadav, a resident of Colony No. 4 took away LML Vespa scooter (CH 01 M 0984) for testing purpose but did not return.

Liquor seized: As many as 150 pouches of liquor were seized from Mahavir, a resident of Panipat, while he was trying to smuggle out the liquor from the Sector 17 Bus Stand.

Snatching: Mrs Bimla Devi, a resident of Mauli Jagran, complained that two motor cycle-borne youths snatched her gold chain near NAC complex in Mani Majra. A case under Section 356 and 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Injured: A Head Constable, Shamsher, posted in VIP security, was hit by a Maruti car near the Sector 17 police station. A case under Section 279 and 337 of the IPC has been lodged by the police.


Baby abandoned: A female infant was abandoned by unknown persons at the doorstep of Shivram of Chandi Kotla village, near here, yesterday. The infant, who was around two days old, was handed over to the police.



Mandeep murder case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
In the murder case of Mandeep, the Chandigarh police today conducted raids at different places in the region. The police has already arrested the main suspect Gurpreet and recovered the sharp-edged weapon with which Mandeep had been killed.



Connect customer service opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The first “Connect World” in Chandigarh was inaugurated by Mr N.S. Kalsi, IT Secretary, Punjab, and Managing Director, Punjab Infotech, today at SCO 350-52, Sub City Centre, Sector 34-A.

Mr Jayant Keswani, General Manager, Marketing, Connect, said in a continuous effort to improve customer service levels, Connect had launched its exclusive chain of showrooms branded “Connect World”. The chain has already been launched at Mohali, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. He said, “Connect has been rated as the preferred telecom service provider in Punjab for customer satisfaction along with overall service, according to the latest survey report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the quality of service standards conducted across the country. In our quest to provide high quality, world class customer care to Connect subscribers, we are pleased to announce the launch of “Connect World” — an exclusive one-stop shop to fulfil communication needs.”

“Connect World” will provide a single window opportunity to address all customer queries, besides serving as an outlet for the sale of all Connect products. These aesthetically beautiful outlets will allow Connect subscribers to subscribe to any of the Connect services while experiencing a demonstration of exclusive Connect services like phone to mail, audio conference bridge, video conference etc.


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