Saturday, April 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


BBMB wants better power deal with Chandigarh
To put Rs 30 crore burden on Admn
Tribune News Service

* The BBMB wants Chandigarh to pay more for power.
* If this happens Chandigarh will have to pay extra Rs 30 crore annually to buy power thus raising power tariffs in the city.
* Chandigarh buys 3.5 lakh units daily at 5.63 paise per unit and another 1 lakh units at 90 paise per unit.
* Chandigarh has been demanding a status of partner in the BBMB projects.

Chandigarh, April 25
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has asked the Chandigarh Administration to start paying more for the power it gets from the BBMB. If this happens the power purchase bill of Chandigarh will rise by around Rs 30 crore annually.

The BBMB says since Chandigarh is not a partner state in its hydro power projects it should pay more for power and should not pay at the rate at which power is being supplied to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan — which are partner states in the BBMB projects.

With Chandigarh having no power generation of its own, it buys power from other sources to supply it further to users in the city. This latest turn of events can upset the UT budgetary allocation and in turn have an impact on the power tariff prevailing in the city.

Under the present allocation from the BBMB, around 15 per cent of the city power comes at subsidised rates. Out of the total demand of between 28 and 32 lakh units per day, the city gets 3.5 lakh units at 5.63 paise per unit from the BBMB and another 1 lakh units at 90 paise per unit as its common pool share from the BBMB. Another 15 lakh units are procured from the BBMB at global rates ie Rs 2.12 per unit.

The BBMB says the first two rates of 5.63 paise per unit and 90 per unit cannot continue as even partner states are being billed at a minimum of 19.25 paise per unit as operation and maintenance charges. Chandigarh, says the BBMB, has to buy power at normal rates, which are much higher ie in the range of Rs 2.12 per unit.

Interestingly, the BBMB has been showing arrears running into crores of rupees as it wants 29 paise per unit as the minimum rate for the 3.5 lakh units and Chandigarh has been insisting that it will pay only 5.63 paise, the rate applicable for other partner states.

Even though Chandigarh has been demanding partner’s status for some time the problem lies in Chandigarh being a Union Territory. The Re-organisation of States Act, 1966 says Chandigarh is to be handed over to Punjab but is temporarily the Joint Capital of Punjab and Haryana and also enjoys the UT status.


Admn orders fresh poll to housing panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
In a move which will change the way real estate worth a few hundred crore is handled by cooperative housing societies, the Chandigarh Administration has ordered fresh election to 93 societies. Also all societies have been bifurcated into three parts.

A significant development is that, people, who have not been allotted plots or flats, have been delinked from contesting election and will have nothing to do with the elected body which is to be formed from among the members who have flats or plots. Elections for all societies are to be held in May. These fresh orders will affect about 10,000 families who own thousands of flats in Sectors 48, 49, 50, 51. Besides this, another 3,000 plots in Sectors 42, 43, 44 and 46 have been allotted through cooperative housing schemes.

The orders passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, in his capacity as Registrar, Cooperative Societies , say that the societies have been bifurcated as there are numerous complaints about disputes between the allottee and non allottee members which has led to hurdles in the construction work of housing societies. Acting on these complaints the DC has ordered that all societies — even if no dispute exists between members — hold fresh elections and the managing committees will have only members who are allottees. The order further says that mismanagement has come to light in societies where non-allottee members have been a part of the managing committees.

When the Administration allotted plots there was no scope for any complaint as the plots were handed over to the allottee who carried out his/ her own construction. In case of flats the managing committee had vast powers and in some cases the committees comprised members who had no stake in the flats thus giving rise to a situations wherein a member who did not have a flat in the society was deciding on the design of the flat, the contractor, the material and other important issues. The DC was flooded with complaints on this issue.

As per the new order all societies shall be divided into three parts. The first part will have members who have been allotted flats. The second will comprise members who have not been allotted flats or plots and the third category will be of those who had been allotted plots of land about 16 to 17 years ago. Once the societies have been divided into three parts the name of the society will remain the same but will have minor changes. The word “first” will be suffixed to the existing name for allottee members. The word “ second “ shall be suffixed for non allottee members. The word “ third “ will be suffixed for the plot holders. The old society shall cease to exist and the new societies will be allotted new registration numbers.

Now onwards the non allottee members shall have no connection with the allottee members, including any office situated in the premises belonging to the allottee members.

Elections are to be held in the case of State Bank Supervisory Staff (the words — Cooperative House Building Society Limited — are common to all societies); Swati; Private Teachers; Pink Rose; Customs and Central Excise Employees; Chandigarh Professional; Dyal Bagh; Punjab Secretariat Employees; Punjab State IPS officers; New Light; Chandigarh Radio Colony; Chandigarh Sector 7; Modern Bakeries; Indian Express Employees; Rose Petals; Blossom; Jeewan Adhar; Chandigarh Small Industry Owners; Central Ground Water Board Employees; Telehouse Employees; Roadways Directorate Punjab Employees; Gagan; Chandigarh Brook Bond; Shantivan; Panjab University Staff Associates (PUSHPAC); Uday; Haryana IAS officers; RCS Punjab employees; Sargodha; Young Dwellers; SBI Officers Ideal; Chandigarh Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat; Chandigarh Accredited Press Correspondents; State Bank Staff; Chandigarh Central Government; M & I Staff; NFL; Public Health; District Court Lawyers; Chandigarh Sector 10; Industrialist; Chandigarh Sector 34; Customs and Central Excise Officers; Excel ; Chandigarh Sector 16; Chandigarh PGI Employees; Chandigarh Employees; Bank of India Employees; GBS workers; Chandigarh Chief Editors Punjab; Labour Bureau Employees; Tribune Friends; Punjab Engineering College Employees; Milkfed Employees; Universal ; Mani Majra; Sarvhitkari; Shivalik; Amandeep; Punjab & Haryana High Court Advocates; Chandigarh Vayu Bharti ; Marked employees; Punjab State IAS Officers; Chandigarh PSIEC Employees; Burail Janta; SBI Employees; NBI employees; Central Scientific Instrument Organisation (CSIO); Chandigarh ESIC employees; Bank of Baroda; Defence Scientist (TBRL); Government Employees; Progressive; Amrita Shergill; Chandigarh PEPSU; Chandigarh Coop and DC Office Employees; Super; Blood Donors; Executive; Ajanta; Singh; Rajdhani; Popular; Chandigarh Sector 22; Chandigarh Sector 21 Universal; PGI Faculty; Chandigarh Railway Employees; Le-Corbusier- Released Defence Officers; Tenant; Nirvana and RCS Punjab Gazetted Officers. 


1 cr given to Mohali civic body
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, April 25
A sum of Rs 100 crore will be spent on the development of towns and cities in Punjab during the current financial year, which has been declared as ‘Development Year’.

A cheque for Rs 1 crore for SAS Nagar was handed over by the Local Government Minister, Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, to the Municipal Council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, at a function here today.

The minister, who was speaking after laying the foundation stone of a municipal library building and inaugurating work on the boring of three new tubewells, said that out of Rs 1 crore given to the civic body Rs 50 lakh could be spent on paying the instalment which the council owed to PUDA for the land allotted to the council and the remaining amount could be spent on the construction of the office building.

He said the government would see that the sum of Rs 100 crore which had been sanctioned in the past two months for development in the urban areas in the state was spent on the work for which it had been sanctioned. Moreover, the quality of work had to be given importance as was being done at SAS Nagar.

He said the council was spending Rs 52 lakh on constructing the library building in Silvi Park in Phase X and sinking three new tubewells in Phases IX, XI and industrial area Phase IX. He gave permission to the civic body to sink three more tubewells in the town.

He said he would hold a high-level meeting with the PUDA authorities for solving the problems being faced by residents.

To the demand of municipal councillors of giving more perks, like a free telephone facility, Chaudhry Jagjit Singh said he would take a decision after discussing the matter.

Earlier, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Kharar MLA, said there was a fear that the town might face a serious water problem in the coming years as a number of tubewells had become non-functional. The discharge of the functional tubewells had also reduced drastically. He said the project of laying a new pipeline from Kajauli at a cost of Rs 110 crore had started and the town would get its share of water after the completion of the work.

He suggested that the Department of Local Government and the Department of Housing should be clubbed and be looked after by one minister so that the problem of overlapping of work did not exist and people were not harassed.

Mr Kulwant Singh, the council head, demanded that PUDA should allot two acres of land for a gaushala in the town free of cost. If the authority was unable to do this then the land should be allotted at a rate on which it was purchased. He said PUDA had allotted land to the council for its office building at an exhorbitant rate despite the fact that the civic body was working for the benefit of the public.

He said a number of development works had been carried out in the town in the past two years after laying great stress on quality. A sum of Rs 400 lakh was spent on carpeting roads which he claimed were now better than those in Chandigarh. The sewer pipelines which were almost choked had also been cleared in many parts of the town.


Mentally challenged excommunicated for suspected murder
Tribune New Service

Chowki (Panchkula), April 25
A mentally challenged man here has been excommunicated by village elders for one year, after he was suspected of killing an 85- year- old man in February. Though the village panchayat has denied this move, the police today began investigations into the episode.

The man, Harnek Singh, was asked to leave the village and get himself treated at his in-laws' village Jainagar in Rajpura, Punjab. He was reportedly asked to leave the village for one year begining March, after he was suspected of murdering a fellow villager, Dal Singh. Harnek's wife and other relatives were asked to get him back here only after "his punishment" was over.

The police, however, said Dal Singh had died a natural death and had already initiated inquest proceedings. "Dal Singh had no family of his own and was staying with his brother, Banta Singh, who has gone on record that his brother had fallen down while walking, and then died," said SHO of Chandimandir police station, Mr Varinder Kumar, while adding that they were now investigating if the village elders had excommunicated Harnek Singh. The police team today met the village panchayat members and recorded their statements.

At least two members of Chowki Panchayat - Ramesh Chand and Som Nath reportedly said that they had not been consulted by the villagers, when the decision to oust Harnek Singh from the village was taken. The police had now decided to call Harnek back to the village and then record his statement to know the truth.

During a visit to the village, most of the villagers kept mum about excommunicating Harnek Singh. The village Sarpanch, Mrs Surinder Kaur, admitted that Harnek was suspected of killing Dal Singh on the basis of his own statements, but maintained that the panchayat had no role to play in his ouster. Even the relatives of Dal Singh, brother Banta Singh, nephew Shiv Charan Singh and Balbir Kaur opted to remain silent on the issue of excommunication .

The incident took place on February 22, when the victim, Dal Singh left his house in Ucchli Chowki — the part of this village on the upstream of River Chowki — to buy medicines from Panchkula. He was, however, found dead with an injury mark on his head , less than half a kilometre from the village.

Some villagers said that they heard Harnek Singh claim that he had killed Dal Singh. However, others said that the latter being mentally retarded, could have just blabbered so in ignorance. Though Dal Singh was cremated by his family and the police was not informed, the talk of Harnek Singh having killed Dal Singh gained ground. A few village elders, said sources, then gathered together and asked Harnek's uncle, Udham Singh and his wife, to take him away for a year, till he was totally cured. 


Owner catches up with car thief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 25
Mr Atul Malik could not have hoped for better luck. After his Maruti Esteem car was driven away by a youth in Sector 8 here last evening, he had little hope of finding his car, and that, too, all by himself.

Mr Malik was returning to Panchkula, after picking up his daughter from Carmel Convent, Chandigarh, when he spotted his silver-coloured car (CH-01Z-6646) being driven by a youth near the Railway Light Point, Chandigarh. Mr Malik began following his Esteem after informing the Sector 7 police post here.

Mr Malik told TNS that he chased the car from Modern Housing Complex to Old Mani-Majra in Chandigarh and finally managed to catch up with the car in Rama Market, Mani-Majra. The youth reportedly tried to flee, but Mr Malik ran after him and with the help of passers-by managed to catch hold of him.

The Sector 7 police, led by Mr Om Prakash, too, arrived here and the youth was arrested. He was later identified as Deepak, a resident of Bathinda, who is at present residing in Sector 16 here.


Anmol Rattan is Bar body chief
Tribune News Service

Advocate wait in a queue for casting votes during the Punjab & Haryana High Courts Court Bar Association
Awaiting their turn: Advocate wait in a queue for casting votes during the Punjab & Haryana High Courts Court Bar Association poll in Chandigarh on Friday.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 25
Dr Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu was today elected president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association after defeating his nearest rival advocate Rupinder Khosla by a margin of 425 votes. Dr Sidhu is also member of Punjab and Haryana Bar Council.

Mr Satraj Singh Toor was elected vice-president. He defeated his nearest rival Mr N.K. Sanghi by a margin of 167 votes. The association secretary for 2003 is Mr Surjit Singh Swaich. Mr Kuljinder Singh Sra was the advocates’ choice for joint secretary’s post.

While 1,061 votes were cast in Dr Sidhu’s favour for the president’s post, Mr Khosla bagged 636 votes. About 563 advocates polled in Mr Sarwan Goel’s favour. Over 2,000 advocates participated in the poll. Mr Khosla, meanwhile, demanded re-poll because of alleged “malpractices and bogus voting”..

Supporters rushed forward to congratulate Dr Sidhu soon after the results were announced on the loud speakers.

“Welfare of young advocates is top on my priority list,” Dr Sidhu said soon after being elected. “A guidance cell would be set up for professional development of young advocates. Seminars would also be held for providing legal education to the new entrants”, he added.


Varsity concession for displaced Kashmiris
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Panjab University will continue the concessions for wards of Kashmiri displaced persons even in the forthcoming academic session(2003-2004).

The candidates are required to fulfill the minimum academic requirements for admission to the course and under no circumstance “the requirement of entrance test, wherever applicable, will be relaxed. It is a mandatory requirement for the candidate to submit a certificate issued by an authorised authority that he was ward of a Kashmir displaced person”.

Importantly, the university has sanctioned one additional seat over and above the sanctioned intake in the professional courses being offered in the departments on the campus and affiliated colleges. These courses include Bachelor of Education, Master of Education, LLB, LLM, B Lib, M Lib, Bachelor in Pharmacy, Master in Pharmacy, Master in Mass Communication, Master in Computer Application, Master in Business Administration, M Tech (Instrumentation), MSc (Biotechnology) and Bachelor in Engineering courses.

A formal clearance on the issue needs a nod of the university syndicate. The Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, in a letter to the university recently, has requested that the situation in Kashmir had not changed much and the Kashmiri migrants continued to face hardships. ‘It will be necessary to provide concession to their wards for their admission during the academic session 2003-2004’, a university note says.

The note says that “5 per cent weightage be given and the merit be determined accordingly provided that the candidate fulfills the minimum prescribed qualifications (including entrance test), wherever applicable”. This applies to all courses, including professional and technical courses of university teaching departments and affiliated colleges.

The university and affiliated colleges will have to go in for permission for 5 per cent increase in admissions subject to a maximum of three seats per course at the under and postgraduate level. These seats will be treated as additional seats.

A faculty member said the concession in admissions to the wards of Kashmiri displaced persons was a noble gesture, but it meant little without supporting concessions. “Such a student need a matching concession in fees and hostel charges as well, to make the exercise worthwhile”.


MC drive to capture cattle
Tribune News Service

Municipal staff herd the cattle captured from Burail in Chandigarh as part of a rid-the-city-of-cattle campaign on Friday.
Municipal staff herd the cattle captured from Burail in Chandigarh as part of a rid-the-city-of-cattle campaign on Friday. — Photo Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, April 25
The Municipal Corporation today captured 68 animals as part of the biggest ever drive to rid the entire city of cattle kept “illegally” by dairy owners.

As a result of the drive, around 150 animals were taken away by dairy owners from the locality.

But for a failed attempt to manhandle the Medical Officer Health, Dr G.C. Bansal, the drive continued for three hours peacefully.

As many as 250 police and Health Department personnel led by the Joint Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mr Sunil Bhatia, swooped on the largest village of the city estimated to have around 800 head of cattle. By the evening the corporation claimed, the entire area had been cleared of all animals.

The corporation also decided to keep a vigil for couple of days on the village,. Cattle of this village had been a major cause of accidents and insanitary conditions in the village and the entire southern sectors’ belt. The vigil would be kept to stop dairy owners bring back animals to the village, the Medical Officer Health, Dr Bansal told the Chandigarh Tribune.

The Municipal Corporation staff had to chase a few head of cattle which were later intercepted in Sectors 46 and 47.

The drive followed after the dairy owners staged a dharna yesterday in front of the Municipal Corporation office demanding to stop evicting their animals from the village. They were supported by the BJP leadership.

Dr Bansal said within a week or ten days the Corporation would remove all animals kept by dairy owners in the city. The corporation staff avoided catching pigs which had been removed last year from the city as they felt this would give the dairymen an opportunity to take away their other animals.

However, it seems unlikely that the city would be completely ever free of stray cattle immediately considering the lack of space in the cattle ponds. But with the dairy owners moving out of the city, the number would be drastically reduced.

The corporation staff broke open a lock of a house to capture 19 head of cattle from there.

The tedious procedure of lifting an animal through a hydraulic lift and keeping it in a truck provided to a large number of dairy owners an opportunity to take away their cattle from the massive village.

A caravan of around 23 vehicles, including that of the police and Municipal Corporation was involved in the operation.

Reports said that dairy owners had started taking out their animals when the Municipal Corporation refused to stop the operation till they were given alternative sites for the business.

Last night an estimated 200 animals had been taken away by the dairy owners to the border of Punjab.

Dr Bansal said the Corporation would ensure that none of the places in the Municipal limit had any cattle to ensure a clean, disease and road-rage free city.

The MOH also said there were reports that the dairy owners had started removing their cattle from Butrela, Attawa and Badheri in the wake of the drive launched after serving a notice and giving dairymen an opportunity to themselves remove the cattle.

The cow dung disposed in the village had led to the crumbling of infrastructure in the village creating unliveable conditions, Dr Bansal said. Openly disposed of cow dung had choked drainage and sewerage system leading to the roads caving in the area, he said.


MC men uncertain over cattle drive’s success
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 25
Even as the Municipal Council SAS Nagar’s first experiment with private contractors catching stray cattle in the township started here today, uncertainty over its success was already looming large. Having failed miserably for about a decade to solve the problem, MC officials agreed that it was one of the most complicated problems they had faced in their seven-year existence in the township.

Complaining that they lacked the basic facilities to ‘catch’ cattle, MC officials, however, conceded that local bodies, having the requisite machinery to take care of the problem in theory had failed to achieve success in freeing urban areas of this menace.

Dividing stray cattle into two broad groups, MC officials said that the menace of cattle on streets, in parks and public buildings etc was largely due to the fact that cattle that was old and useless had been hoarded out of a neighbouring city limits or their owners refused to owe responsibility for them. ‘‘Cattle which is owned by dairy owners is generally taken back in the evenings but they are let loose in the mornings every day which is equally bad,’’said the AEO, MC, Mr Sarbjit Singh.

The Municipal Council has a complete team of persons employed to catch stray cattle and other animals. ‘‘But without a cattle catcher machine the team is useless. More than six persons are required to hoard cattle throughout the day then it is another superhuman effort to lead the cattle into the trolley which then transport these to the cattle pond. On top of there are these NGOs who object to the inhuman manner in which cattle is hoarded and stored,’’ he added.

The MC, SAS Nagar had also had a long-lasting demand for a cattle pond from the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) who was ready to give cattle pond land but at rates comparable to the market price for that size of land. ‘‘A cattle pond costing us over Rs 50 lakh is not possible to pay for the rates have been brought down after much discussions and deliberations but still the cattle pond land remains elusive. In the middle of deliberations we even decided to buy our own land but nothing came of that either,’’says the MC President, Mr Kulwant Singh.

The MC was now left with no option but to use a small piece of land lying vacant on the township’s outskirts as cattle pound. ‘‘This land is too less. It can barely contain a hundred stray animals,’’ he said. Some novel suggestions by a Councillor to check the problem were also tried. Councillors, who are also heads of temples here were asked to have goshalas attached with temples but they refused stating that they could not afford to feed the cattle. Similarly a neighbouring township Municipal Council tried to involve the township’s residents in controlling the menace but was met with protest.

Keeping cattle in the cattle pond for as long as it lived, or till someone came to claim ownership, was also a rather profitless exercise. While the MC was able to get some money from fining those who come to MC to get their animals back, majority of the cattle caught was old and no one wanted them back. ‘‘Feeding them is another problem besides the fact that we have limited space to keep them,’’ they point out.

“The easiest solution most Municipal bodies have found to the problem is that instead of hoarding them into cattle pounds, they simply push them out of their limits. The population of stray cattle as a result is high on the Chandigarh, SAS Nagar borders where one can see stray cattle on the road dividers roadside, everywhere actually,’’ pointed out a city resident.

The MC here was following the Panchkula experiment of giving out cattle catching on contract to a private party failing which he would be fined by the Municipal Council. The drive took off today. The MC would provide the space for keeping the cattle caught by the contractor and pay for its feed but in case MC found stray cattle on the streets the contractor would be fined, informed MC officials.


Mannu, Jennat Gargi pay homage to their father
Tribune News Service

Gargi’s admirers pass resolutions

* The auditorium of the Department of Indian Theatre, PU, be named after Balwant Gargi
* W-11, the campus residence of Balwant Gargi, be converted into a museum, housing over 8,000 sketches and notes the dramatist has left.
* Publication of a commemorative volume, carrying Gargi’s reminiscences, written by his friends, family and students.
* Organisation of a festival of Gargi’s plays.
* Provision of a theatre in Gargi’s name at Bathinda.

Chandigarh, April 25
Balwant Gargi would have given anything to be at the Department of Indian Theatre this evening. In attendance at the department today were his two children, Mannu and Jennat, who were coming home together after decades.

The evening on the university campus set off on a melancholy note, in memory of Balwant Gargi, who gave the campus the gift of the theatre department. However, theatre person G.S. Chani reminded everyone that the meeting was not meant to mourn Gargi’s death. It was meant to announce the homecoming of Mannu and Jennat, who grew up at W/11, the campus residence where Gargi lived for years.

Before Mannu and Jennat were asked to share their memories of the past, the gathering called by the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi, in association with the Department of Indian Theatre, passed some proposals. The most significant one that drew instant support was “naming of the Indian Theatre Department auditorium after Balwant Gargi.” The other resolutions were converting W/11, the residence of Gargi, into a museum, organising a festival of Balwant Gargi’s plays and publishing a commemorative volume carrying Gargi’s reminiscences.

As for Mannu and Jennat, the occasion was nothing less than homecoming. As Mannu said, “I have strong memories of this place, especially of this department. Everyone in the department was part of our family from Chani uncle to aunt Rani Balbir. I remember my father’s fixation with this department. He created the best plays here. In fact, he never presented a full-length play after he left Chandigarh. It is very touching to see the way you have all come together in his honour.”

After having assisted film director Ram Gopal Verma in the direction of Ajay Devgan and Vivek Oberoi starrer “Company”, Mannu is now working on the script of a comedy film. With academic training in acting to back him (he studied in New York), Mannu feels comfortable with the medium. His latest project has the working title of “Bombole” and centres around the atomic issues in India. “It is a social commentary and also a dig at each one of us. He also plans to make a documentary on his father.

With fond memories finding reflection in his eyes, Mannu could not help mentioning the legacy he has inherited from his father. “The thirst for knowledge and the quest for life are the two things I have inherited from him. He was a creator, unfettered, unbound.”

Jennat, who has long been married and settled in Seattle, appeared somewhat lost. Her memories of the city are faint. “I had left Chandigarh when I was barely four. Later, I did not get to live with my father as I was educated in the USA. It was only in 1990 that I came back and stayed with my father for four months. This time was my best learning experience. It was a wholesome experience. I am so glad that both Mannu and myself were by papa’s side when he took his last breath in Mumbai,” she said. Brilliantly placed in the field of film production, Jennat has worked in film production with 20th Century Fox studio.

While Mannu and Jennat spoke, close relatives of Balwant Gargi — his younger brother, his elder sister, his sister-in-law — listened from a distance.


Swiss national Bosshard cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Edwin Bosshard had his last wish fulfilled. His chosen friends who stood by him after his death today consigned to flames the mortal remains of the 43-year-old Swiss national at the Sector 25 crematorium here. Bosshard had been found dead in a room of Panchayat Bhavan, a week ago.

Though family members of the deceased could not reach the city from Zurich, representatives from the Swiss Embassy were present at the cremation. As the body was being moved to the crematorium, tears rolled down the cheeks of the members of, a Kulu-based software solutions provider organisation. For them, Bosshard was their friend and guide. It was Bosshard who funded the project, said Mr Ravi Parkash, project manager of the software service provider portal.

Led by his colleagues, Mr Parkash and Mr Anil Aggarwal, a Mani Majra-based friend of Bosshard, made arrangements for the last rites. “ We laid the mortal remains of Edwin to rest as per the Hindu rituals. He had converted to Hinduism and had wished to be cremated in the country”, said Mr Parkash.

Mr Parkash told TNS that Bosshard was their godfather. He was funding and taking a keen interest in setting up managed services on the web. The deceased nurtured a dream of creating a team of dedicated professionals. He had planned a donation module on the website through which the people willing to donate money could reach their targeted beneficiaries. The profit from the project was to be used to fund charity projects of education and health.

It was in regard to the charity project that Bosshard had been frequenting the city and had come in contact with Mr Aggarwal. Mr Parkash, who had been in contact with Mr Aggarwal, said it was Mr Aggarwal who was to provide the information to be put on the charity module.

Bosshard’s love with the mountains began in 1999 when he landed in Gurdhur village in Shambala, where a hospital being funded by a french woman was coming up. Mr Parkash met Bosshard there and they grew close “Initially, I refused to work for Edwin. But later he funded an organisation, Shri Pooja Computech, at Bangalore. But it did not take off as planned. Then he involved me in a project and a company, Himalayan Wd Site, was set up. We floated two sites, and”, said Mr Parkash.

It was the second phase of providing a software module on charity funding which brought Bosshard to the city. The Swiss national, who was a follower of Sai Baba, had often told Mr Parkash that being from a rich family, he had no lust for money. The friends of the Swiss national described him as a saint who had a simple lifestyle. He used to travel a lot and had gone to Una in connection with the purchase of a UPS system for computers. On April 16, a day before he landed in Chandigarh, he was seen at Kulu and Mandi by Mr Parkash. While Mr Parkash left for Delhi, Bosshard left for Una. 


Taking the road least travelled
Spreading awareness about leprosy
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
The road to service is invariably strewn with difficulties. That is precisely why it is the least taken. But just as there is a flip side to every coin, there are people in this world who will do anything to follow the path of service.

Meerut-based Father Antony is one among the few who are dedicated to the welfare of the marginalised sections of society. Over the past 17 years, Father Antony’s society has been working for the eradication of leprosy and rehabilitation of leprosy patients all over India. Called Roshi, the society runs three projects — a leprosy hospital where acute cases of leprosy are accepted and treated free of cost; a network to detect leprosy cases in the villages of Uttar Pradesh; and a school-cum-hostel, Nayee Aasha, to house and educate children of people suffering from leprosy.

In the city today with an objective of spreading awareness about leprosy in schools, Father Antony talked to The Tribune about what pains the children of leprosy patients the most. “They are seeking love, care and attention like any other human being. Born as they are in abjectly poor conditions, they are inherently insecure about their future. At Nayee Asha, we provide them care, education and love so that they feel to be a part of the system. But we are sad because society is indifferent towards these children.”

Unfortunately, Father Antony has long been facing problems in pursuing the noble cause. His biggest problems is not money, but the apathetic attitude of society towards these children. The most pertinent example of this indifference is that Nayee Asha, which once used to educate children of normal parents along with those of leprosy patients, now has just 200 children left — all wards of leprosy patients.

Earlier the school, located at Kheri village in Daurala, had a strength of 650. Gradually as parents came to know that Nayee Aasha was also accommodating children of leprosy patients, they began to withdraw their wards, reducing the strength to 200.

Father Antony was in the city today to clear doubts about leprosy and create the much-needed awareness. Accompanied by 20 children from Nayee Asha, Father Antony visited three schools in the city — St Stephen’s, Sector 45, Mount Carmel, Sector 47, and St Mary’s, Sector 46. He addressed assemblies of students and talked to them about the values of life. “We can’t all be Mother Teresas. But we can all make a difference in our small ways. Let us come forward and help, howsoever we can, so that these children, who have come to see you, get a secure, happy future just like you all.”

Tomorrow the students from Nayee Asha will again meet the school children of St Stephen’s School and interact with them.

Meanwhile, this message is for everyone who cares to pay heed: lakhs of children of leprosy patients in India are facing a bleak future because there is little infrastructure to provide for their educational needs. Nayee Asha is one school which educates children up to Class X after which they have nowhere to go. Says Father Antony, “Funds are critical to their future. We have been wishing that people should come forward and sponsor children. Annual expenditure on one such child is not more than Rs 5,000.”


Woman seeks help for ailing son
Tribune News Service

Jitender with his wife and daughter
Jitender with his wife and daughter

Chandigarh, April 25
“Even after selling off our land and house in Patna, I failed to save the life of my two sons who died due to kidney failure. And in case I do not get financial help now, my youngest son will also die,” says Kanta Devi from Bihta village, near Patna, in Bihar.

Her 32-year-old son Jitender Kumar underwent a kidney transplant surgery at the PGI on October 31 but with no money left with the family he is unable to take the medicines prescribed by the doctors. With their entire property back home being sold off to raise money for the treatment, the family, including Kanti Devi’s two daughters, daughter-in-law and grand child, have been camping in the city for the past six months.

“Despite the death of my two sons in the past five years, I have still not lost hope”, says Kanti Devi, who has donated her kidney for the transplant. As Jitender, the only bread winner for the family, being ill, there is no way the family can arrange for money.

Jitender has been prescribed medicines that cost at least Rs 10,000 a month. The entire efforts of the family will go futile if money is not arranged for the medicines, says Jitender’s wife. The couple have a two and half-year-old daughter.

Her eldest son Joginder underwent a kidney transplant in 1992 for which her husband donated his kidney. “As complications developed, he could not survive and within no time my other son Amarinder also developed a kidney problem,” she says.

Even before the surgery could be performed, he died at AIIMS, Delhi. “Nothing can be more cruel for a person than to see his mother, wife and sisters beg before people to save his life,” says Jitender. Before he fell ill, he worked at a cement shop, earning Rs 80 as daily wage. At a time when Jitender needs complete comfort and rest for early recovery, he is pained to see his family go through hell.

“It is amazing the way this poor uneducated woman from Bihar has refused to give up despite all odds,” say doctors at the PGI, who have extended all possible help to the woman.

Those wanting to help the family can get in touch with them at: 1310, Sector 15-B, Chandigarh.


Seminar on learning disability held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
The fourth annual seminar of Optimising Development in Education (ODE), an organisation working in the field of “Specific Learning Disability” since1999, founded by Ms Bharati Kapoor, “I can’t to I can” was held at Indra Holiday Home in Sector 24.

There were different speaker expertise in the field of learning disability from schools of New Delhi, Bangalore and Jaipur. School teachers and counsellors from Chandigarh, Panchkula, Amritsar, Kasauli, Shimla, Parwanoo, New Delhi, Dehra Dun and Solan attended the workshop.

The key note address was given by the Associate Professor, APC, PGI, Dr P. Malhi, in which she talked about reasons for poor school performance in children and alarming suicide rate in adolescents due to the stress of examinations.

The Head of the department, Lady Irwin College, Delhi, Ms Renu Malviya, had a talk on management techniques.

A clinical psychologist with Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, Ms Roma Kumar, stressed on assessment techniques to be used for labelling a child as learning disabled.

A speaker, Ms Vimala Venkateshan, talked about individualising curriculum with the integrated learning programme according to the needs and performance of the child for the parent, child and teacher.

Ms Ratnapria Datta spoke on understanding and managing behaviours and emotional difficulties of learning disabled children.

Ruchika Sachdev from British School gave her views on enhancing the written language in the learning disabled child and Ms Simran Randhawa on dealing with parental stress.

The post seminar workshop will be held at Hansraj Public School in Sector 6, Panchkula, tomorrow instead of Indra Holiday Home, Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, a pre-seminar workshop on “The whole school quality circle” was held at Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, Panchkula, by Ms Urmila Ramakrishna from Bangalore on Thursday.

This seminar is a part of the fourth annual seminar on “Specific learning disability” being organised by ODE (Optimising Development in Education), an organisation working in the field of specific learning disability since 1999, founded by Ms Bharati Kapoor.

School teachers and counsellors from Chandigarh, Panchkula, Amritsar, Kasauli, Shimla, Parwanoo, New Delhi, Dehra Dun, and Solan attended the workshop.


Run-for-peace marathon tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Airtel, India’s leading cellular service, is organising the “Airtel run-for-peace” on Sunday (April 27) in association with The Tribune. The marathon will be flagged off from Rock Garden at 6 am by Mr Vinod Sawhny, CEO, Bharti Mobile (North), and the finish line will be 2.5 km away at the KB DAV Centenary School, Sector 7. Registrations for the marathon are open for all and can be made on telephone No. 981 54 40773. There is no entry fee.

There are two categories: Under 15 and over 15. Airtel will give a scholarship of Rs 5000 to the winner of the under 15 category. The winner of the over 15 category will get an Airtel Magic Card with a Rs. 10,500 recharge coupon. There are a lot of other exciting consolation prizes like walkman, caps etc. There has been tremendous interest in the city for the marathon and a large number of schoolchildren are expected to participate. Coke is sponsoring the refreshments.

Mr Vinod Sawhny said Airtel had always been committed to making a positive difference for its customers and society and the Airtel run for peace is just another example of this commitment.


Gurdwaras told to follow code of conduct

SAS Nagar, April 25
Almost a week after two women allegedly razed to the ground cemented benches constructed in the main hall of Sacha Dham Gurdwara in Phase 3B1 here, the gurdwara coordination committee, SAS Nagar, has in a meeting condemned the construction of benches in the gurdwara’s main hall which houses Guru Granth Sahib.

The meeting was held in the Phase IV gurdwara, and according to a press statement issued today by Mr Tarlochan Singh, general secretary of the committee, the committee had requested the various gurdwaras of the township to strictly follow the rehat maryada. TNS


Mock drill: 2 constables honoured
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 25
The Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir Singh Sharma, gave commendation certificates and cash reward of Rs 200 each to two constables, Darshan Singh and Pradeep Kumar, for their quick response in nabbing two motor cycle-borne youths in a mock drill.

The SP had organised a mock drill to check the efficacy of his men this morning. He gave a wireless message to the two cops, deputed on PCR motor cycle No. 5, deployed in Sector 10, to locate a particular motor cycle and verify the antecedents of the motor cyclists. Reacting immediately, the two cops managed to locate the motor cycle within five minutes and took the decoy motorcyclists to the Sector 10 police post for verification. 


Year-round mechanical desilting must start

F. KropiunikAll year round mechanical desilting must start without delay even as experts on soil conservation and matters regarding stoppage of silt continue doing their bit. A floating platform with a hydraulic or mechanical excavator is needed to lift the silt and load it onto a floating bucket or barge. These buckets or barges can then be to taken to a convenient place on the banks, where these will be transferred onto a material handling ropeway with a capacity to handle 50 tonnes an hour onwards to a dumping site 1 or 2 km beyond the lake.

The end of the ropeway can either distribute the silt or let it pile up into an artificial hill. There will be no problem of pollution of any kind as silt is wet till final disposal. Water will be muddy only along the platform in the lake. Change in water level will not affect the operation . The entire equipment can be designed and manufactured in Chandigarh itself.

F. Kropiunik, Chandigarh


Employee booked for fraud
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 25
The Chandigarh Police has registered a case of embezzlement against a former employee of Kandhari Beverages, B.R. Kansal, for allegedly cheating his employer of Rs 1.36 lakh. A case has been registered in the Industrial Area and is being investigated by the Economic Offences wing.

Snatching: Ms Divya Rathore, a resident of Sector 18, reported that two motor cycle-borne youths snatched her mobile set from near the Sector 18 church, last night.

Man succumbs: Mr K.K. Joshi, a resident of Phase 7 in SAS Nagar, who was admitted to the PGI after being injured in a road accident on April 21, today succumbed to his injuries. The police has registered a case against the driver of a Tata Sumo which had hit him. The victim was an advocate.

Mobile phone snatched: Two motor cycle-borne youths snatched a mobile phone from a Sector 18 resident, Divya Rathore (20), here yesterday.

Divya, who is preparing for a medical entrance test, told Chandigarh Tribune that she was talking on her mobile phone near the church when the two youths on a Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle snatched the phone.

“I was on a scooter and I followed them for some distance before they disappeared in the streets of the sector”, said Divya. According to her, the boy driving the motor cycle was of a thin build and was wearing a check shirt, while the one riding pillion was wearing a yellow shirt.


Arrested: The police has arrested one of its most wanted men, Harnek Singh alias Neka, from Butala village in Amritsar district. He was presented before a local court yesterday and sent to police remand till April 30. Harnek Singh, along with his brother, Rajwindra Singh, and Kamaljit, is involved in several cases of car theft and their resale after forging registration papers of these cars. At least three cases have been registered against them in the Kalka police station and the Sector 5 police station. 

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