Thursday, May 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Servant clubs woman to death, kills self
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 30
In a bizzare incident, the wife of a Haryana Civil Service officer was clubbed to death by her servant, who later shot himself with the licenced revolver of the officer at the latter's residence in Sector 15 this evening.

Ms Sudesh Bala Bishnoi, wife of Mr Bhoop Singh Bishnoi, a vigilance officer with HAFED, was, reportedly, hacked to death by her domestic help Raman Bahadur. The victim was fatally attacked with a wooden spice grinder, following an altercation over a petty issue.

Ms Bishnoi was at home alone when she was attacked by Raman Bahadur. Her elder son, Arman, a civil engineer posted with Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and her daughter Umang, a postgraduate student at Panjab University, were not at home. Also, Ms Bishnoi had just returned from the office when she was attacked.

The real cause of death, however, remains unconfirmed, with the police reluctant to comment on the issue. Police sources said the actual reason behind Ms Bishnoi's death would be confirmed only after the post-mortem examination reports are obtained. There could be two possibilities of her death — she could either have been fatally attacked on the head by the servant or could even have been shot dead by him.

Eyewitnesses revealed that the servant, who had covered his face with the help of a white cloth, was first seen chasing the woman to the main gate of the HCS officer's house. They added that when they reached near her, the persistent servant was still flogging her head, thus killing her. Later, he went upstairs to the second floor and fired four shots, killing himself.

On hearing the cries, children playing in a nearby park rushed in front of the house, only to find Ms Bala in a pool of blood, while the servant was covering his face.

Eyewitnesses informed that as neighbours gathered at the spot, Raman Bahadur fled inside the house. After a while shots were heard. Neighbours added. A child, who was testimony to the gory incident told the Chandigarh Tribune, that he noticed Ms Bishnoi running outside, crying for help, while a masked man was chasing her with a wooden baton in his hand. ‘‘He repeatedly hit aunty on the head and she collapsed. The masked man then went inside,’’ said another boy who was playing in the park.

A woman neighbour of Ms Bishnoi said she heard commotion outside and later heard three fire shots at about 5.45 pm. ‘‘People, in large numbers, assembled in front of the house and Ms Bishnoi was lying on the floor, with blood splattered all over her face and clothes,” she said.

The neighbours also managed to rush a critically injured Ms Bishnoi to the PGI in Chandigarh where doctors declared her ‘brought dead’. Subsequently, the police and Mr Bishnoi, who was at his farmhouse, were informed about the murder. On receiving this information, Mr Ranbir Sharma, SP, Mr Desh Bandhu, DSP, along with some police personnel reached the spot and began interrogation.

While briefing mediapersons, Mr Sharma claimed that the servant committed suicide by shooting himself after clubbing Ms Bishoni to death. Ms Bishnoi was working with the Haryana Food and Supplies Department in Sector 17, Chandigarh. Hailing from Nepal, Raman Bahadur was employed with the family for the last three years and was living in a room on the second floor of the house.

The SP added that the servant might have used the licenced revolver (.38 bore) of his employer for committing suicide. The servant shot himself at his temple. His body was lying on the terrace of the house and the revolver was spotted in his hand, added the SP. The police has also recovered shells of used cartridges and the wooden baton from the scene of crime.


Now another girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The spate of suicides in the city continued with yet another girl reportedly committing suicide by consuming some poisonous substance. The 20-year-old Chandra, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26, consumed celphos late this evening when she was alone in her house.

Chandra was shifted to the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, from where she was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh. The doctors at the PGI declared her “brought dead.”

Although the police has not yet registered any case in this matter, SHO Tirath Singh is investigating the issue and also interrogating the husband and the in-laws of the victim, who had been married only for two years. Chandra’s husband Mohan Lal, who works as a salesman in the Sector 26 grain market, was sitting at the PGI police post after his wife Chandra was declared brought dead. His parents were also present at the police post.

Meanwhile, Mr Ashok Kumar, father of the victim, informed The Tribune that Chandra was not so weak as to kill herself by consuming poison. Chandra’s mother Rosy said the same, adding that although there had not been any dowry demands from Chandra’s in-laws, they had always prevented Chandra from meeting her. Incidentally, Chandra’s mother Rosy is a patient of tuberculosis.

The parents of Chandra are fruit vendors in Sector 17.


Vegetable vendor ends life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A 22-year-old vegetable vendor of Manimajra allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison late last night. The deceased, Chander Pal, who was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital, died early today.

The police said the deceased used to sell vegetables at Sector 26 grain market and was living alone at Shastri Nagar, Manimajra. His mother Pream Wati is a daily-wager near Ambala and was living there. The deceased had two brothers and a sister. The father of the deceased is learnt to have deserted his family a few years ago.


Helpline on suicides proposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Have a 24-hour helpline where children with suicidal tendencies and undergoing stress can call up; the media should not glamourise such deaths with graphic details and schools have to be more accountable and handed over more responsibility in handling such cases.

These were among the recommendations put forward at a meeting convened by the Department of Social Welfare, Chandigarh Administration, today.

The meeting was attended by doctors from the PGI, the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Sector 32, some NGOs and the SSP. It was brought out that 50 per cent of those who have committed suicide in this year are below the age of 25 years. It was also claimed that the 31 cases of suicide reported in the city was not the exact figure as the number could have been higher.

At least 23 cases of suicide have taken place in this month alone, it was brought out before the gathering. The role of schools and teachers was highlighted during the meeting as it was brought out that teachers should be extra cautious and students who fail in examinations have to be dealt with compassion. Schools need to have trained counselors to handle the cases.

The focus was how most people visit the general practitioners who fail to recognise suicidal tendencies in children. There was a great need to sensitise the general practitioners about suicide cases. The role of media was criticised with speakers saying that the media should not glamourise suicides by carrying out graphic details on page one with all details how the person had committed suicide. This aspect needs to be underplayed. The meeting which was chaired by the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Mr G.K. Marwah will make recommendations to the Chandigarh Administration.


Seminar on suicides
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Nehru Yuva Kendra organised a seminar on “Rising Trend of Suicides in Chandigarh” in collaboration with Panjab University here today. Nearly 200 girls from various institutions along with their instructors participated in the discussion.

Opening up the discussion, Dr C.L. Narang from Panjab University said the survey reports indicated six factors responsible for the rising trend of suicides in the city. These included economic conditions, frustration, irresponsible role of media, dowry deaths, commercialisation of education and breaking up of joint family system.

District youth coordinator of the Nehru Yuva Kendra G.S. Bajwa said the girls should be brave enough to face the difficulties of life. Highlighting the problems of unemployment resulting into poverty, he said the future of the youth was bleak.

The participating girls pledged that they would not marry those who demanded dowry. 


Tubewell equipment ‘stolen' from PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Expensive equipment used in tubewells was reportedly stolen under mysterious circumstances from the store of the Waterworks Department in the PGI here. The equipment, weighing around five quintals, was stolen from a locked building of the Public Health Wing.

According to information, a Junior Engineer of the Engineering Wing reported to the police that the heavy equipment, meant to be auctioned, was found stolen. The grills of a ventilator in the building were found to be tampered with. However, the door lock was not touched. The building is surrounded by a compound wall.

Sources in the PGI said the police was working on various theories behind the alleged theft. The role of certain employee of the PGI in the theft was not being ruled out. After a DDR was lodged at the PGI police post on April 21, the police began investigating the matter. Yesterday the PGI officials concerned stated that a new lock of the building was found tampered with.

The sources said senior police officials visited the spot to verify the complaint. The police is reported to have sought the list of the employees who were on duty during the days of the reported theft.

Sources in the Engineering Wing said the stolen material had to be auctioned. After an attempt to sell the material to a Haryana Government department failed, the offer was made to scrap dealers. However, scrap dealers demanded that they would purchase the material by weight and the deal did not materialise fell.


Sweepers meet MC officials, to continue stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The agitating sweepers and the Municipal Corporation, which have been on a warpath for the past eight days over the privatisation of sanitation, today came to the negotiating table.

However, the Sweepers Union has reportedly extended its agitation for a month. Despite the meeting, the two sides seemed to stick to their respective stances.

Mayor Subhash Chawla, Municipal Commissioner M. P. Singh, Joint Commissioner Sunil Bhatia and Medical Officer Health represented the corporation side, while a delegation comprising eight members of the Sweepers Union was led by its president Sham Lal Ghavri and general secretary Dharampal Ghavri.

The sweepers were told that the issue of extension of an improved form of privatisation had been referred to a nine-member committee. They were informed that the Municipal Corporation had yesterday written to the Central Government and Chandigarh Administration, asking for the sanction of 1009 posts of sweepers.

The Mayor expressed his support to the permanent jobs for the sweepers if the Central Government lifted the ban on recruitment and funds for the posts were provided.

The corporation decided to increase the cremation allowance for sweepers from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5000 and start giving them salary slips.

The sweepers demanded that they should be given soap and oil and there should be a provision for their regular medical checkup. The Mayor assured that he would write to the Director, Health Services regarding the matter.

The Mayor also agreed to give them houses under the Ambedkar Awas Yojna. He said a scheme would be worked out in this regard.


B.Ed (correspondence) course for regular teachers only
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Only regular teachers with over two years of teaching experience can apply for the Bachelor of Education(B Ed) course announced by the Department of Correspondence Studies, Panjab University, from the forthcoming academic session.

The two-year course has already been cleared by the National Council for Teachers Education and approved by the university syndicate.

The university has decided that the maximum intake in the course will not be over 500. The admission will be based purely on the merit of the entrance examination. In the final merit, 90 per cent marks will be given on the basis of performance in the entrance examination test and the remaining 10 per cent will be accorded on the basis of the teaching experience.

The aspirant should have secured at least 45 per cent marks in the graduation examination.

The entrance to the B.Ed (correspondence studies) course will be based on test which will be different from the entrance test to the other B.Ed courses in Punjab. This year the test will be conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University and includes the education colleges affiliated to Panjab, Punjabi and Guru Nanak Dev universities.

Prof U.S. Sehgal, Chairman of the Department of Correspondence Studies, said the department was conscious of number of institutes allowing concessions in the course to have maximum student intake. People managed “fake” qualification certificates to take admission in such courses.

Professor Sehgal said the university had decided to give credit to professional experience to only those candidates who were taught in recognised schools. The schools could either be affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education or the Punjab School Education Board. The course was open only to candidates employed in schools of Punjab or the Union Territory. He said the schools in this category would also include those affiliated to the ICSE board.

The university would have five centres for personal contact programmes. These included two at Chandigarh and one each at Ludhiana, Abohar and Hoshiarpur.

Professor Sehgal said the department had six regular teachers. In addition, guest faculty would be involved in conducting the contact programmes and preparing lessons.

To give more dignity to the course, the department had organised workshops in collaboration with the Distance Education Council and resource personnel from the Indira Gandhi National Open School.

Besides offering career promotion avenues to teachers in the private sector, the programme would also cater to needs of certain categories of teachers in government schools particularly from the areas related to drawing and physical education, Professor Sehgal said.


Cops to get tough with black film users
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service


* Colour of the permission sticker for the use of black films and curtains on car windows being changed to check its misuse.
Hologram of the Chandigarh police being added on the sticker
* Conditions of visibility being incorporated on the sticker.

Section 100(2) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, reads:

The glass of the wind screen and read window of every motor vehicle shall be maintained in such a condition that the visual transmission of light is not less than 70 per cent. The glasses used for the side windows are maintained in such a condition that the visual transmission of light is not less than 50 per cent and shall confirm to Indian standards.

Chandigarh, April 30
Persons who have been permitted by the Chandigarh police to use black films on car windows will now have to adhere to the conditions of visibility in accordance with the provision laid down under the Central Motor Vehicles. Those violating these provision would be challaned.

To check the misuse of the permission to use black films on car windows, the Chandigarh police has decided to ensure that those seeking the permission do not use jet-black films. It has been observed that most of the permission holders, including the VIPs, were using jet-black films, said a police official. The traffic police was also reviewing the issuing of permission stickers to prevent their misuse.

Use of jet-black films was in violation of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, which say that the glasses of cars had to have some minimum per centage of visibility. Though it had not been decided when to begin the challan drive, sources said the vehicles of the VIPs moving in the city would also not be spared.

Though the number of permissions issued by the Chandigarh police in the past were around 200, permissions issued by the Punjab and Haryana governments were much more than these.

Sources said the colour of the permission stickers for the use of black films and curtains was also being changed. Now the minimum conditions of visibility and the hologram of the Chandigarh police were being printed on the stickers. An official said the city police would take up the matter with the neighbouring states to ensure that they also incorporate the provisions of visibility on the permission stickers being issued by them.

Some security features were also being incorporated on the stickers to check its misuse. Last year, the Chandigarh police had busted a gang involved in forging the stickers authorising use of black films and use of red lights atop the vehicles. At least seven permission stickers for the use of black films, bearing forged signatures of the ADGP (Security), Punjab , had been recovered from their possession. Some cases of seizure of fake permission stickers from different places of Punjab have also been reported in the past. The Punjab Government had also changed the colour of the sticker and incorporated some security features. 


BSNL introduces new tariff plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has introduced a new tariff plan, which will become effective from May 1. Despite TRAI’s decision to introduce inter-connectivity user charge (ICUC) regime, BSNL will continue with the same pulse rates and monthly rental, said Mr R.C. Vaish, Principal General Manager, BSNL, Chandigarh SDCA, here today.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of new tariff system introduction, he said under the ICUC, regime, they would have to pay a share of revenue to mobile and WLL operators for transferring calls to their network. Though the general customers would have to pay Rs 2.40 for a 3-minute call for calling from landline to WLL phones and Rs 7.20 per 3 minutes for calling at mobiles, yet landline subscribers would continue to enjoy three-minute pulse rate for calling at landline phones.

He said the subscribers in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar would be able to call the subscribers in Amritsar, Ferozepore and other border areas through the 95 (group dialling) facility. Further, under the new system, the customers of SAS Nagar and Panchkula would have to pay Rs 180 monthly rental as against Rs 250 monthly rental to be paid by subscribers in Chandigarh.

However, he said, the customers would be offered BSNL Economy (150 free calls with minimum Rs 350 monthly charge), BSNL Special (600 free calls with minimum Rs 750 monthly charge) and BSNL Super (1,800 free calls with minimum Rs 1,650 monthly rental), packages, in addition to general package of Rs 250 monthly rental with 30 free calls per month and Standard package of TRAI with Rs 280 monthly rental. He said customers would have to apply to BSNL if they wanted to opt for any package other than the general one.

He said the TRAI’s standard package offered them a chance to avail 60-second pulse for fixed to mobile calls within 0-50 km distance, in comparison to 30-second pulse for other packages. However, they would get 2-minute pulse for landline to landline calls in that case, instead of 3-minute pulse for other packages.

Ms Namita Sekhon, GM (Finance), said the subscribers would now get monthly bills. They would be offered free caller-identification facility free of cost by applying to BSNL. However, to get a detailed bill, she said, they would have to pay Rs 30 per month. She said BSNL was expecting an increase in revenue by 20-30 per cent with the introduction of the new tariff regime.


LPG distributors’ strike today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
LPG Distributors, Chandigarh, at a meeting here today announced that it would observe a strike tomorrow and the future course of action would be decided after that. There would be no delivery of LPG cylinders tomorrow.

The general secretary of the association, Mr Sharanjit Singh, said a delegation of the association tried to meet the state-level coordinator and officials of the Chandigarh Administration but in vain.

The association criticised the Chandigarh Administration for not allotting any new sites for godowns while notices had been served on two LPG distributors for the demolition of their godowns.

Members discussed the matters of resettlement of LPG in Chandigarh saying two LPG storage godowns faced the threat of demolition. This was contrary to the assurances given by the Chandigarh Administration in October 2002. The Administration had been then said no LPG godown would be demolished till new LPG godown sites were allotted and reasonable period given for construction.

It was unfortunate that no godown sites had been allotted since October 28, 2002.


Capt Tomar’s body brought home
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 30
The body of Capt K.P Tomar who died in a copter crash at Preeni village near Manali on Tuesday was brought at his residence in Sector 11 here late this evening.

As the family members could not get seats in a Jet Airways plane to airlift the body, they had to arrange a private vehicle to bring it to Panchkula by road.

Mr S.S. Tomar, father of the victim, his mother, Ms Murti Tomar, and wife, Mukta Tomar, accompanied the body to their residence.

After receiving news of the death of his elder brother Mr Ravi Tomar, also an employee with the Indian Air Force, reached home from Jamnagar this morning.

The body would be cremated tomorrow, according to family members revealed. 


Truck rams into pole, 6 vehicles damaged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A truck rammed into an electric pole damaging two scooters, a motor cycle and three cars in the Industrial Area, Phase-II here, this evening. However, no one has been reported injured. The driver of the truck who had lost control over the vehicle managed to escape from the spot, immediately after the incident.

The electricity supply to at least 25 industrial units were affected following the felling of two electricity poles.

The accident took place in front of Bahl Engineers and Nespa Tools industries. According to eyewitnesses, the truck (RJ-02-G-2983) was parked on the roadside following the downloading of cases of beer. Suddenly, it went out of control and rammed into an electricity pole, running over one motor cycle, two scooters and causing little damages to three cars.

An employee of Bahl Engineers told TNS that the cases of beer from the truck were downloaded at about 3 pm. The driver of the truck was sitting inside the store when the accident took place.

It is believed that the cleaner of the truck was sleeping inside the truck. He woke up at about 5.15 pm and suddenly started the truck but failed to control it.

The police has registered a case.


MC ‘accepts’ mistake, to issue bills again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has decided to rectify the water bills charged on commercial rates from at least 1,000 residents of the Milk Colony of Dhanas village.

According to information available, water bills charging commercial rates were issued to residents of the village early this month and residents demanded an inquiry into the matter.

A senior official of the MC admitted that the water bills circulated to the residents of Milk Colony were calculated on the basis of commercial rates. Inquiries into the matter revealed that the Public Health Wing of the MC had ‘mistakenly’ over-charged them.

Mayor Subash Chawla has asked the authorities concerned to rectify the bills. The residents were charged at Rs 11 per unit as against the actual rate of Rs 6 per unit, applicable to them.

Even after realising their mistake, the authorities of the MC have collected the amount from most of the residents on these bills. “Those who have deposited the bills, their balance amount will be adjusted in the coming bills at normal rates”, said a senior official.


87.5 lakh cut from MC grant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Administration has cut around Rs 87.5 lakh from the first quarterly instalment of grant of Rs 23.44 crore for this fiscal year to the municipal corporation. The corporation was given Rs 22.57 today. The cut was made due to the corporation's failure to produce a utilisation certificate for buying a fire- fighting equipment required for multi-storied buildings.


Use of intoxicants on the rise in Kharar
Heroin, smack, opium easily available
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Kharar, April 30
Widespread use of intoxicants in this town and its surrounding villages has become a cause for concern. Even more disturbing is that youngsters are increasingly getting hooked on to intoxicants.

Some persons of Kharar who were interviewed, said the use of intoxicants was not showing any signs of abating. Rather, it has been on the rise over the past few years. Unemployment and frustration among the youth and domestic or financial problems among adults coupled by a growing social acceptance for the use of intoxicants are among the reasons cited by the locals for this situation.

“During a survey conducted in a nearby village, we found that in about 60 per cent of the households, at least one person was using some sort of intoxicant,” Dr S.S. Dhanoa, Senior Medical Officer at the Civil Hospital here remarked.

Besides cigarettes and beedis, gutka, opium derivatives, sleeping pills, painkillers, cough syrup, alcohol as well as narcotics such as heroin, smack and ganja were listed by health authorities here as substances being abused.

Dr Dhanoa said that about 150 addicts have been registered with the hospital for a de-addiction programme being conducted by the PGI, Chandigarh. He, however, pointed out that this number is very low as these were only persons who have been compelled by family members to undergo treatment.

Residents also cite the easy availability of over-the-counter drugs and intoxicants as a reason for their widespread abuse. As per available statistics, there are about 60 chemist shops in Kharar and another 15 in adjoining areas.

According to the president of the Kharar Chemists Association, Dr Prem Kumar, there ought to be one chemist shop for every 5000 persons. The population of Kharar is stated to be around 50,000. This means that 10 - 15 chemist shops would be sufficient to cater to the needs of the people. A number of chemists sell certain drugs containing opium derivatives, alcohol or intoxicants without the mandatory doctor’s prescription.

Agreeing that certain chemists could be selling some drugs without prescription, which he said was improper on their part, Dr Kumar said that it is up to the government’s enforcement machinery to bring a halt to this activity. He was also of the view that some addicts switch over to medicines in an effort to break away from hardcore narcotics such as heroin or smack.

Some doctors were of the opinion that unless chemists went in for self-restraint and stopped selling intoxicating drugs for economic gains, this problem cannot be curbed effectively.

Citing illiteracy and unemployment as the main reasons for the widespread use of intoxicants, Seema Bhageria, a government employee, said that curiosity and peer pressure initiate youngsters into such habits. Once hooked, there is no going back. “There is also a lot of frustration among the youth, while adults take to intoxicants due to problems such as debts, marital disorders or professional difficulties,” she added.

Stating that easy availability of intoxicants in the region as a factor for widespread use, she said that drugs containing intoxicants available at chemist shops are relatively cheaper than alcohol and also their intake is hard to detect as they do not have any smell.

A 20-year old youngster, Aman Sharma, opined that the vast majority of youngsters in the town have experienced using some sort of intoxicants. “Puffing on Cigarettes and beedis is a matter of routine. No one even raises an eyebrow on this,” he said.

It is not only smoking or drinking, but increasing use of narcotics by youngsters that is worrying. “The demand for smack is growing like the demand for petrol,” he commented.

A couple of youngsters spoken to said that parents have not only given a lot of freedom to children, but are also ignorant about their activities. “Parents either do not get to know about such wrong doings or are not ready to believe that their children could do such a thing,” said Inderjit Thakur, a school student.

Residents say that the increasing use of drugs and intoxicants by youngsters has led to an increase in the crime rate, particularly thefts and hooliganism. “Children as young as 10-year old move around asking for money,” Kesar Singh, a parking lot contractor said. “No doubt, if they do not have money, they will look for some means to procure it,” he added.

Sukhdev Singh, a domestic worker, said that at least 15 per cent of the population of his village is hooked onto intoxicants and this number is constantly increasing. He blamed the migrant labour population for introducing intoxicants to locals while working alongside them.. “In my village, it is generally persons over 18 years who are using intoxicants,” he said.

Stating that the use of items such as tobacco, zarda, pills, alcohol and fancy-drill are being commonly used by residents of his village, Prem Singh, a retired government servant, said that even 15-year old children have started indulging in this activity. Use of intoxicants, he added, has been constantly on the rise.

Another local resident, Shamsher Singh, was of the opinion that the government should organise awareness camps in villages to highlight the ill-effects of the use of intoxicants among the largely illiterate population in villages. “There are a number of social organisations here, which can also play a useful role in helping to check the abuse of intoxicants,” he added.


Cows’ deaths: BJP, Cong trade charges
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Congress and the BJP yesterday locked horns on reported deaths of cows at the Sector 45 gaushala, accusing each other of “ignoring the mother cow.”

BJP Councillor Gian Chand Gupta alleged that between eight and 10 cows had died at the gaushala during the past few days of foot-and-mouth disease. Mr Gupta demanded an inquiry into the “criminal negligence” of the officials concerned, apparently blaming the Congress for neglecting the cow. Mayor Subhash Chawla said it was not the responsibility of the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation but of the Chandigarh Administration, which was under the Home Minister of the BJP. He said the deaths were normal.

The discussion on the issue was initiated when Mr Gupta moved a table agenda on the reported deaths of cattle at the Sector 45 gaushala.

The BJP councillors rushed to the Well of the House when Mr Chawla asked Commissioner M. P. Singh to make a statement on the policy regarding disposing of cows during the BJP regime.

The Commissioner said during the past five years, cattle caught by the Municipal Corporation had been auctioned, provoking the Congress councillors to say “shame, shame.” Mr Gupta and the Leader of the Opposition, Ms Kamla Sharma, contested the statement of the Commissioner, claiming that they did not allow auction of cows.

The House plunged into a ruckus for some time with BJP and Congress councillors accusing each other of neglecting the cow. The Mayor had to adjourn the House for lunch break to bring back normalcy. The councillors asked the Commissioner to provide details of the auctions during the BJP regime. The Mayor promised to provide the information at the next meeting.

The Commissioner said a team comprising two doctors had been sent to the gaushala and initial investigations revealed that the cows had not died of foot-and-mouth disease but of either old age or stampede.


Deaths of Prof Thakur, TVL condoled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Chandigarh Journalists Association held a condolence meeting here today to mourn the death of veteran journalism teacher, Prof B.S. Thakur and Mr T.V. Laxminarayan, Special Correspondent The Tribune.

Mr Radhe Shayam Sharma, a former Editor of Dainik Tribune and president of the association, led the mourners who recalled the services of the two departed souls and paid tributes to them.

A resolution was adopted at the meeting and a two minutes silence was observed in memory of the departed souls. The mourners included some former students of Prof Thakur. The services and contribution of the late T.V. Laxminarayan were recalled by his colleagues in the Tribune group of newspapers. 


Handicapped to begin relay fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Frustrated at the harassment at the hands of the officialdom, the handicapped youth will start a relay fast on May 1.

Saying they have not received any aid, the handicapped, in a statement, alleged that they were not being looked after.

They claimed to have got their names registered with the employment exchange about five years ago. The handicapped who are called for interviews of chowkidaar, sweeper or security related posts, are asked to run to show efficiency. They claimed to have written to the employment exchange that when posts were reserved why should they be called for an interview?


PF facility for employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
In order to extend the facility of provident fund to maximum number of employees a special drive was launched in February and March to bring the eligible establishments under the purview of the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

This was stated in a press note issued by the office of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner Punjab and UT, here today. As per the Act all establishments employing 20 or more workers and falling under the schedule heads are eligible for the facility.

As many as 655 establishments employing 18,319 workers were covered during this special drive. As many as 1323 establishments were brought under the purview of the Act during the past one year. 


Workshop on ‘water... elixir of life’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April, 30
With water-borne diseases like cholera and jaundice taking an epidemic form in the summers, YWCA today organised a workshop jointly with Punjab State Council for Science and Technology on the theme ‘Water... elixir of life’.

During the workshop organised at Government Girls Secondary School, Mullanpur, a clinical demonstration was given on how to test if water is fit for drinking. Information about the economical water testing kit introduced by Punjab State Council was also given to the participants on the occasion.

The general secretary of YWCA, Mrs Brijinder S.D. Singh, in a talk on “Water a precious and Scarce Resource” stressed the need for conserving and recycling water and its proper use. A detailed talk on prevention, cure and symptoms of cholera, typhoid and malaria was also held.

The Punjab State Council of Science and Technology has also been promoting vermiculture, where kitchen waste is converted into manure.


Residents’ body thanks MP for grant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Welfare Association of the MIG (I) Houses of Sector 40-C has thanked Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, for giving a Rs 2 lakh grant for the development of two community parks in the sector. However, the association said the Municipal Corporation was not expediting the work.

The MP had also earmarked Rs 40,000 in October 2001 for the laying of pavements around one of these parks, but the work is yet to be completed. “The roads of the sector get uneven soon after repairs because the cement tiles on both sides of the road have not been replaced since long,” said Mr J.C. Verma, general secretary of the association, in a press note issued here today.


Romance with candle-lit dinner
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
You can win a man's heart through his stomach. The romance of food and love is age-old. Who would know this better than a restaurateur? Cashing in on this sentiment this summer is Hotel Sunbeam, Sector 22. And they know how to create just the right ambience to drive those blues away and help you bring that smile back on your beau's countenance. So, if you want to impress your girlfriend. Or, rekindle the magic in your wife. Or, why not? In the hubby. And, yes, maybe the whole family or your friends who have been sulking over an issue that you have put off for long ? And you think a good meal, far away (not in miles), could do the trick... for a few hundred rupees.

In that case, the Ambassador restaurant of the hotel beckons you with its softly-lit interiors. The effect is heightened by the special perfumed candles glowing warmly in brass cages adorning each table. By the flame of the flickering wax beauty trapped cosily in the candlestick, you make yourself comfortable. The rose buds handed out to women at the entrance already set the pace for a cosy outing. To make the day for the children are the complimentary chocolates offered by the restaurant.

Whether you select a secluded corner or the central table, the live band playing romantic melodies from old Hindi film songs ensure that privacy you need as far as being inaudible to fellow guests is concerned. So, speak your heart out fearlessly. And if all is well, you are likely to get immersed into the soulful renditions of Madan Tanwar on the mike accompanied by the casio tunes. In fact, for some, food becomes secondary as they enjoy the favourite "Jab koi baat bigad jaaye, jab koi mushkil pad jaaye, tum dena saath mera o hamnawaz...”. Or, the romantic "Do dil mil rahen hain magar chupke chupke...". If need be, go up to the singer with a request of your partner's choice and feel the feel the difference. The giant screen across in the bar beaning MTV Loveline only completes the picture of a perfect evening.

The table-setting is also an effort towards making your day. The rose buds sitting pretty in the vases, instead of the staid gladioli, emanate a fragrance sure to touch your heart. And the napkins folded in peacock shapes give a touch of comic relief, forcing you to turn your frown into a smile. But, perhaps the manager could ensure proper starching of the cloth for better effect. Ideally on such an occasion, if you are dressed to kill, it might make matters meatier, most would agree.

Now, the food. Their dessert comprising a cocktail of ice-creams and fruits topped with a wafer served in tall slim glasses has been specially designed to help you succeed in your designs. And if Mr Dheeraj Punj, the manager, is to be believed, some special dishes are also being prepared for the platter of a romantic evening. Till then, add spice to your life with their regular Indian, Chinese, Continental and South Indian fare. But, I think, for that, the restaurant need not literally add spices to the dishes. In fact, it could do well to make it a bit less hot.


Need to construct pucca channel

To save the Sukhna lake there is a need to construct a pucca channel or drain which is fairly deep and wide along the foothills of the Shivaliks, behind the lake. The channel should be designed in such a way that only decanted water drains into the lake and the silt is removed regularly from the channel. The land falling between the channel and the lake should be planted with series of bushes and trees so that the flow of silt is restricted.

Sukhna lake is a vital part of the city. It attracts a large number of migratory birds and tourists besides providing water sports facilities. The UT Forest Department has been taking a lot of steps since the 1970s to minimise silt inflow and carry out soil conservation works. However, there is still scope for carrying out more plantation in the entire catchment of the lake. The shramdan, for desilting should also continue.

R.D. Sharma
Retired Divisional
Forest Officer, HP


Woman sustains burn injuries
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 30
A 32-year-old woman of Vikas Nagar in Mauli Jagran received 60 per cent burn injuries when the stove on which she was cooking food accidentally burst. The victim has three children. The victim was admitted to the Sector 32 GMCH and the Duty Magistrate was taking statement of the victim till the filing of this report.

Theft: Around 150 metre-long cable transmission wire of Punjab Cable Services Network was stolen from near the rotary of Sectors 35, 44, 51 and 52, last night. A case under Sections 379 of the IPC has been registered at Sector 36 police station.

Abduction: A woman of Burail alleged that her daughter had been abducted by Devinder Singh, a resident of Burail, from Sector 45 on April 29. The police has registered a case and is investigating the matter.

Defacement case: Roshan Ali, a resident of Colony no 5, and Sanjay, a resident of Industrial Area, Phase I, were arrested while fixing banner of Associate Finance Company near the taxi stand of Sector 19. Both have been arrested and bailed out.


Purse snatched: A resident of Sector 4, Ms Kulwant Kaur, reported to the police that two persons snatched her purse here yesterday. She told the police that the purse contained a gold ring and Rs 2,000. A case has been registered.

Held: The police has arrested Mahinder, a resident of Surajpur, from Main Bazar, Pinjore, here allegedly for driving a truck under the influence of liquor.

Three held: The police has arrested Jaikumar of Azad Colony from the Sector 7 market allegedly for satta gambling. Two persons Rai Sarup and Babloo were also arrested from near a temple in Sector 15 allegedly for creating nuisance at a public place.


Quality building material available here but at a price
Sanjay Sharma

Unsatisfied with an insipid furniture design or trendy bath tubs or any building material and electrical fittings? Try out imported stuff here if your pocket allows.

A bed with a price tag of Rs 1.95 lakh designed by an Italian furniture giant will catch your attention for the quality. The integration of the Indian market to the globe and further to Chandigarh is what one can see here. It seems the choice of offering imported material has been forced upon the building material market of the city with around 80-odd-shops.

It is touted as the only market in Punjab and Himachal where one could look for up-market imported products as soon as they land in India.

The market is shaping itself for the twin demands of a medium quality range for Himachal and a superior one for the rich connoisseurs of the city considered setting trends in fashion and taste.

It is, however, faced with a dilemma of companies directly approaching retailers in Himachal apparently to pass on benefits to the customer. The business from Himachal has been shrinking with the companies evolving strategies to reduce intermediaries between the company and the customer.

The direct selling also seems a precursor to the introduction of the Value Added Tax which would force the product manufacturers to reduce the long chain of intermediaries to keep the price down for the customer.


* Lack of parking space.
Mismanaged parking arrangement.
* Recarpeting of roads has not be done for 32 years.
* No toilet here.
* Back lane has vast space which is not used for parking because recarpeting has not been done.
* Restrictions on the entry of goods carriers to manage traffic have created a havoc for the business activity.
* The tiles in the verandah have lost their sheen.
* Beautification of the market needs a re-look.
* Sunday Car Bazaar is stopping shopkeepers to run their business on the day to cater to wholesale needs of customers from Himachal.
* There are no utility service booths here resulting in vendors providing the services in the verandah and even from underneath trees.

The situation has forced traders, most of whom are wholesalers, to wear the cap of a retailer also. This phenomenon has prodded shopkeepers to get their shops renovated to give them a trendy look but the outdoors of the market do not support the change in the design.

The market is divided in two apparent blocks but is united in the character of business of building material and allied activities.

A market estimated to be turning out around Rs 100 crore per annum does not attract a large number of visitors. Yet the parking space is covered by scooters, cars and even cycles.

The floors upwards the ground are occupied by government and business offices, which employ around 2,000 people. The shopkeepers here rue the Himachal market is growing but the share of this market was constantly getting reduced.

Mr Inder Gupta, dealer of the costly Durian furniture and who claims to be the first person in the city to have introduced the city to a foreign furniture taste, says business has drastically failed after the restrictions on traffic were imposed.

He said till 1997 end or early 1998, this market was doing roaring business but was later caught in the economic depression and changing strategies of the companies.

Mr Gupta was still confident that the investment in the taste development of the people would bring him rewards in the future.

He said this market has designed itself for a customer with plastic money, saying payments in the market of building material here could be made through cash, credit or debit cards.

Mr Sukhchain Gill, the proprietor of the Gilton who set up his business in 1972, remembers the market was conceived by the first Chief Commissioner of the city, Dr M. S. Randhawa.

Mr Gill says when he set up his shop, Madhya Marg used to see only six or seven buses going to Himachal to and fro, and apart from it there were not even rickshaws available to reach the market.

He also says Dr Randhawa had planned the market for 4 Bay shops but when shopkeepers protested he reduced their size to a half. Mr Gill said because of this factor, shops of one part of the market had odd numbers like shop number 20 A and B.

If one looks for Himachal way of living and food, this is also a perfect place as hotels like Sip and Dine and restaurants here have been designed to cater to this market.

Mr Gill said people initially were very apprehensive over the success of business in the market and did not shift, mostly from Sector 18. The electrical trading giant of the city, Mr Gill, said he used to bring tea in a thermous as there was no tea available in this market. Mr Gill said he would walk from his house to the market.

Big names like Glass Palace, Gupta Ply Company, Durian, Gem Furniture, Gilton Electricals, Sip and Dine are attracting customers from far off areas.

Office-bearers: The market does not have any recognised association. However, Jagdish Arora represents the market in the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal as its representative.


Stress laid on skin care
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 29
A live demonstration of anti- ageing international skin and hair treatments by eminent cosmetologist, Satya Pokhriyal was organised at the VLCC centre here.

She stressed that it was important to look after one’s skin and maintain a balance between your life and skin care routine.

Ms Satya, who has trained at Blane School, USA, also demonstrated the lifting machine and its use for preventing for ageing process. 

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