Thursday, May 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man, daughter electrocuted
Case against UT Electricity Department
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
As nine-year-old Amandeep played in the courtyard of his house at Badheri village, he was unaware of the fact that people had assembled at his house to mourn the death of his father and elder sister, who were electrocuted this morning. Amandeep’s mother is struggling for her life at the PGI.

The other two members of the family, Baljinder Kaur, 14, and Amandeep, survived as they did not come in contact with the wire.

The family members were electrocuted after a wire used to dry clothes came in contact with an electricity wire dangling close to the projection of an adjoining house. Villagers alleged that the mishap had occurred due to the negligence of the UT Electricity Department.

Tragedy struck the family around 4 a.m. today when Ms Ravinder Kaur, was spreading washed clothes on a wire in the front courtyard of her house. She received an electric shock when she came in contact with the wire. On hearing the screams, the husband of the victim, Mohinder Singh, rushed to her rescue. “After pushing her to a side, Mohinder came in contact with the wire and got entangled in it. But nothing was visible due to the darkness. On hearing the shrieks of her father, 12-year-old Harmeet Kaur rushed to help her father and was also electrocuted “, said Raju, a neighbour.

The neighbours in the locality were angry at the Electricity Department as it had allowed the wire to dangle, resulting in the mishap. A visit to the spot revealed that electricity passed through a wire used to support the electric wire. The supporting wire accidentally came in contact with another wire being used by the family to dry clothes.

Mohinder Singh, the sole breadwinner of the family, works as a driver with Khanna jewellers in Panchkula. He had returned from Delhi last night and had to go there again with his employers.

On the basis of initial investigations, the police has registered a case of negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC against the UT Electricity Department. A police official said the FIR had not been registered by name as the investigations were on to fix the responsibility. The wire used by the family of the deceased to dry clothes has been seized by the police.

A number of residents of the locality complained that the Electricity Department had been careless in putting the electric wire properly. Some residents complained that they had also received electric shocks due to the non-insulated electricity wire.



Suicide bid: abetment charge withdrawn
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, May 14
The police has withdrawn the charge of abetment to suicide against the teachers who had allegedly beaten up a girl student of Sant Isher Singh Public School here.

The SHO of the Phase VIII police station, Mr Ramandeep Singh, said here today that the teachers concerned had now been booked only under Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC. The teachers had earlier been booked under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment).

He said doctors of the local Civil Hospital, where Monika was admitted, had given the medico-legal report to the police. He said the report indicated that the substance allegedly consumed by the student was not very harmful. There were no blisters in the student’s mouth. Besides, she remained conscious and alert throughout. The student’s pulse and blood pressure, too, were normal. However, investigation was on under Section 323, he added.

Dr M.S. Bains, SMO in charge of the Civil Hospital, was not available for comments.

Monika had allegedly consumed some cleaning liquid lying in the school toilet after she was beaten up by certain teachers on Monday. She was later admitted to the Civil Hospital from where she was discharged yesterday.



Afternoon water supply to continue: Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Even at the peak of summer, city residents are getting 150 gallons of water on a per capita basis as against the national average of 45 gallons.

Claiming this, Mr Swaran Singh Kanwal, Superintending Engineer of the Public Health wing of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, told Chandigarh Tribune that the water supply to the city as on date was at least 64 million gallons per day. “This is more than enough for domestic purposes”, he added.

However, surprise raids were being conducted on a daily basis to stop the misuse of water by deploying a special squad of officials at different locations during the morning hours, the official said.

Although the main focus was on the colonies where the misuse of water was comparatively more but the MC, this time, had made deliberate arrangements to keep a check on watering of lawns and washing of cars in the residential areas.

Another senior official of the MC said the SDO’s of the Public Health wing of the MC were the nodal officers to check the misuse of water. In case, defaulters were found repeating the offence, the water supply would be disconnected”, he added.

Mr Kanwal further said around 50 million gallons of water was being received from the Bhakra Main Line and the rest was supplemented through 170 deep bore tubewells installed at various places in the city.

The water discharge from a tubewell reduces to less than 5,000 gallons per hour after eight years of its installation, which forces the engineering wing to declare it uneconomical. As such, the pumping machinery of such ‘abandoned’ tubewells need to be replaced after every eight years.

“Every year, a separate Budget allocation is reserved for replacing the pumping machinery or reinstalling tubewells. This year Rs. 60 lakh had been reserved for the purpose, Mr Kanwal added.

At least, a sum of Rs 12 lakh was required to either install a new tubewell or reinstall the abandoned tubewell. But it may even cost more depending upon the water level of the area.

As per the details available, the tubewells worth Rs 12 lakh each were installed at Palsora and Sector 26, last year, while at Mani Majra the tubewells were installed at a cost of 18 lakh. The Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the MC in its meetings in the recent past, had thrice raked up the issue to reduce the cost thereby, making it cost effective.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of the MC, Mr Subash Chawla had assured ensure that the afternoon water supply would not be discontinued even during peak of summer. “Pipelines including that from the main Kajauli water works and in the city, have already been checked to avoid any disruption in water supply due the to leakage in the coming months”, he added.



VB exhumes remains of tiger
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), May 14
Following investigations into the alleged smuggling of animal hides and bones particularly of lions, tigers and panthers, a team of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau exhumed the remains of a Royal Bengal Tiger carcass from the animal graveyard on the Chhat Bir zoo premises today.

In addition to the remains of bones, skull and hair of the big cat, whose carcass was buried in the backyard of the zoo hospital, bones of some other animals like bear, monkey and exotic birds were also found during the digging operation.

The remains of the carcasses were found almost 5.6 feet deep under the floor.

The Vigilance Bureau team started the operation at about 9.30 a.m. with the assistance of Mr Neeraj Gupta, a Wildlife Warden, and Mr Ram Dev, a pharmacist, in the presence of three veterinay doctors. With the help of more than 10 zoo staffers, the VB team collected the remains of exhumed carcasses and separated them for identification of skulls, ribs, spine and leg-bones.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Amarjit Singh, SP, and the head of the VB team, said they were to exhume the carcass of the tiger that had died on July 13, 2000 and was buried by zoo authorities.

Lack of required quorum of veterinary doctors forced the VB team to postpone its digging operations on Monday. The remains of the tiger carcass were exhumed by the VB team relating to an inquiry against former Chief Warden (Zoos), Punjab, Dr Vinod Sharma.



City resident held for defrauding NRI
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A city resident was arrested by the Chandigarh police today for cheating a Canada-based NRI of Rs 12 lakh in a property deal relating to a house in Phagwara. The arrested was identified as Mr Sukhpreet Singh Rana of Sector 49 here.

The economic offences wing (EOW) of the local police, which arrested Rana early today is also on the hunt for his wife, Devinder Kaur Rana and their son, Rajiv Rana, besides a property dealer Maan Singh of Pinjore.

All of them have been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC on May 8, on the complaint of Mr Ranbir Singh Dhanjal, an NRI settled in Canada.

Mr Dhanjal told The Tribune that Rana came in contact with him in 1999. They became friends. However, in September when Rana and his wife came to know that he wanted to purchase property Ranas persuaded him to buy a 10 marla house in Phagwara. The Ranas claimed to be the owners of the house. However, the real owner of the house was Kulwinder Singh, a brother of Mrs Rana. The Dhanjals came to know about this after going through the original records in the estate office in Phagwara.

In fact, Mrs Rana had produced a fake power of attorney on the name of her brother. The fake power of attorney is presently in the police records of the EOW along with the statement of Mr Kulwinder Singh, who gave a statement before the investigating officer that he had not signed the power of attorney.

Mrs Rana, through Maan Singh, a property dealer, signed the fake sale agreement with Mr Dhanjal on September 18.

The Ranas took Rs 9.48 lakh in two instalments from the NRI, the receipt of which was given by Mrs Rana. Apart from this, the property dealer took Rs 39,000 as advance commission and Rs 2,500 against documentation charges. Rajiv Rana also took Rs 2 lakh as “friendly loan” from Mr Dhanjal but returned only Rs 25,000. The rest of the amount was assured to be returned through post-dated cheques that later bounced.

Earlier, in a complaint written to the SSP of UT police, Mr Dhanjal had claimed that Maan Singh was a “habitual cheater” who had masterminded the fraud.

Sources in the EOW revealed that Maan Singh had changed his cellular phone number 19 times within four months. Different phone numbers purchased by the accused on separate names and addresses have been mentioned in the FIR.

Sukhpreet Rana was produced before the court of the local Chief Judicial Magistrate Mr C.L. Mohal, who sent him in police remand till May 18.



Sector 22 booth broken into, one held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Confusion prevailed in the Sector 22 Shastri Nagar market around midnight when as many as six armed persons, allegedly broke into booth No. 296.Although no case had been registered till midnight, the police seized two vehicles loaded with goods looted from the booth.

The two vehicles seized by the police include a Cielo car (DL 3CG 2158) and a Maruti car (DDU 6943). While only one person, Bittu (a former salesman with the tenant of the booth) has been arrested , the rest of the suspects escaped in a jeep.

The scuffle began when the tenant of booth, Mr Sunil Kumar, received a call from a friend around 11 p.m. informing him that his booth in Sector 22 market had been broken into. Mr Sunil Kumar reached the spot along with friends when the thieves were busy loading goods into the three vehicles, two of which have been seized by the Chandigarh Police. The goods have also been seized.

The booth owner Billy, whose name is also Mr Sunil Kumar, had rented it to Mr Sunil Kumar, who claims to have been paying the rent for the same regularly. The latter alleged that Billy had not been issuing receipts against Rs 8,000 he was paying as monthly rent.

Mr Sunil Kumar, the tenant, also alleged that his booth was ransacked, among others, by one of his former salesman named Bittu (who has been arrested). He added that he had dismissed Bittu from service some time back on grounds of bad conduct.

Bittu, meanwhile, claimed that he had nothing to do with the entire episode. He added,“ Billy has run away along with his accomplices. They were all under the influence of alcohol when they came to the market. I had only come to the booth to collect my own goods which Billy had asked me to collect.”



Judge still on the run
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
For the fourth consecutive day, the local Judicial Magistrate, S.S. Bhardwaj, continued to evade arrest. An anonymous caller rang up the Police Control Room (PCR) to say that the Judicial Magistrate was sitting in the office of a senior official of the PGI.

Sources said officials from the Sector 11 police station went to the PGI, only to return empty-handed. Efforts were being made to identify the caller.

The sources in the CBI said, teams of the investigating agency conducted raids at different places in Panchkula today after receiving a tip-off about the suspected hideouts of the judicial officer. However, the outcome of the raids could not be ascertained.

Meanwhile, no team of the Jalandhar police arrived in the city to look for the CBI complainant, Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra. Dr Samra was behind the trap laid to nab the two judicial officers by the CBI. The Punjab Police will be arresting him after the CBI investigations in the corruption case were complete.



Will PU VC get an extension?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Windmills of rumours are minting unlimited gossip at Panjab University as to whether Prof K.N. Pathak will get an extension as the Vice-Chancellor or not?

It is important to point out at the outset that around this time in a Vice-Chancellor’s tenure, a search committee shortlisting likely candidates for the next VC is the first big news to hit one’s ears. Confirmed sources point out no news on the front of any search committee.

It is worth remembering that even during the appointment of Professor Pathak there was no news of any search committee. In a related development giving some credibility to certain names doing the rounds, a top office of the university administration asked the main office to hand over a list of the seniormost teachers on the campus recently. This has, however, not been confirmed officially. The list features Prof Ashok Sahni, Prof V.C. Dumir, Prof V.K. Gupta, Prof R.J. Hans Gill, Prof S.K. Sharma, Prof Bhuvan Chandel and Prof R.K. Chaudhary.

Also doing the rounds in the senior academic circles are names of certain ‘outsiders’ whose appointment coincidently has never happened in the history of the campus at least from the past three decades. The “big” names on the list are Mr K.S. Arya, a former Principal of the local DAV College, Prof V.N. Paul, pro-VC of Punjabi University, Patiala, besides certain other names. One newspaper reports that Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, had sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor urging them to appoint a Sikh as the next VC.

The campus meetings naturally pick up the names from near home while discussing those in race to the coveted post. The list has names of three fellows of the university Senate, two of whom are former fellows. Some of them are learnt to have communicated their bio-data to the Chancellor’s office. A fellow said if quoting history served as a precedent, all except one Vice-Chancellor, were given an extension.

As expected, there are two schools of thought engaged in justifying their argument as to whether the present incumbent deserved an extension or not. The side harping on a possible change is building its argument on the need for a new VC. The gravest allegation levelled against Professor Pathak is that he is a ‘weak administrator’. The context to support the argument is quoted as frequent constitution of committees even on trivial issue. His mannerisms are said to be mild even in conduct of meetings which feature crucial decisions, the Senate and the Syndicate, in particular.

‘Majority’ of the time of the House is spent on “non-academic issues” and the issues concerning students remain pushed to the background, detractors said.

There is another school which says it was unfair to call democratic mannerisms of the VC as his weakness. The committees are formed as a part of the university regulations and the decision makers there were not outsiders.

Certain tough decisions taken during the tenure of the VC deserve a special mention including: enquiry of financial misappropriation against the Finance and Development Officer; enquires against the personnel in the examination system; cancellation of appointment of the Director of Sports; abolition of the Date of Birth Committee; punishment to a university teacher for giving 42 marks to a student who deserved zero; to name just a few.

Despite student opposition, Professor Pathak was able to implement a higher classroom attendance to 75 per cent. The university income also increased from Rs 22 crore to Rs 38 crore during his tenure.

Although there is nothing concrete to prove on grounds, Professor Pathak was said to be close to the certain quarters of the government at the Centre and now there is talk of others playing the same card.

There is, however, nothing to deny the fact that all academic activities initiated by the VC have not met the required results to suit the university standards. The university did manage to speed up considerably the declaration of results, however, there was very heavy incidence of result late cases; the single window facility for convenience of students exists only on paper; and the Placement Cell has also not achieved the planned results.

While one school praises the VC’s achievements in starting the University Institute of Engineering and Technology and more professional courses the other says that little has been done to improve the condition of majority of existing courses and their content in the university and affiliated colleges.



Entry points to city to wear bright look
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The entry points to the city would soon be wearing a bright look, complete with user-friendly electronic guide maps and other useful information.

Following directives of the Adviser to the UT Administrator, designs for sprucing up the points have been finalised.

Nine proposals were submitted for the project by the Chandigarh College of Architecture, out of which four designs have been short-listed. All proposals submitted by the college were conceived and designed by students.

A few designs were also proposed by the UT Architecture Department, out of which two are reported to have been short-listed. According to sources, two designs each from the college and the department would be used.

The sites earmarked for the entry points are on the Chandigarh — Kalka road, Chandigarh — Zirakpur road, Chandigarh — Kharar road and the Chandigarh — SAS Nagar route (near the marble market). The UT Engineering Department is in the process of executing the project.

The area around the entry points would be landscaped, complete with structures, shrubs and trees. All entry points would display specially-designed maps of Chandigarh for the convenience of the visitors. These maps would be made of unbreakable acrylic sheets and would be illuminated at night.

What makes the project interesting is that newcomers to the city would be able to get directions to specific locations in the city. An electronic keyboard listing about 12 important city points would be installed alongside the maps and by pressing a button for the desired location the most convenient route would get illuminated on the map.

Besides, other information about the city, which would be of use to visitors, certain rules and regulations applicable in Chandigarh would also be displayed at these points.

The design of each structure displaying the map would be different. One of the structures is stated to be a box set atop a pedestal, with the map and information displayed on its four sides. Another is a slab supported by an arch atop a raised platform with steps leading to it. A third structure envisages a diamond-shaped board supported by three beams.


Cong councillors oppose contract system
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Sanitation of the city seems doomed with the Congress leadership believed to have given in to opposition of a section of councillors against the much-acclaimed contract system proposed the by Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla.

Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Ms Kamlesh and Mr Balraj Singh along with others opposed the contract system thus indirectly lending support to the agitating Sweepers’ Union and shoot down Mr Chawla’s proposal ahead of a meeting of the nine-member committee of the Municipal Corporation scheduled for tomorrow to decide if the contract system should be allowed or not.

Sources said the new sanitation contract met with resistance and forced the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, to concede to the demands of councillors in a meeting today.

The meeting had followed a separate meeting between the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee President, Mr B.B. Bahl and the Scheduled Caste Councillors of the party in the Rajeev Gandhi Bhavan.

The division among the Congress councillors on the proposed dream project of Mr Bansal and the Mayor is being considered an attempt by certain councillors politically reduce the stature of the Mayor. These councillors had been feeling slighted after the Mayor did away with certificates of councillors to sanitation contractors amidst allegations that one of the reason behind the failure of the old contract system was the delay in getting signatures of councillors.

With no alternative in sight for replacement of the expired contract and resources the decision of the councillors would lead to a near collapse of sanitation in certain sectors and colonies, sources said.

The replacement of the scheme, which allowed the contractor to collect Rs 3 crore from each house for garbage collection, to employ 700 sweepers and machinery, will be difficult as resources of this magnitude would not be available from the corporation’s funds.

The opposition to the contract system led by the party General Secretary and councillor, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, has strengthened Mr Sharma and weakened the Mayor. Mr Sharma had promised to take agitating sweepers to the All-India Congress Committee President Ms Sonia Gandhi, and had already raised the issue with AICC General Secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai.



Trade unions call for nationwide strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Left trade unions have called for an all-India industrial strike on May 21 to demand the reversal of the economic policy. This was announced by All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) general secretary Gurudas Dasgupa at a press conference here today. He said the next phase of the strike would be for changing the government.

He said the strike had the support of CITU, HMS, AICCTU, UTUC and federations of employees of banks, defence, telecom, post and telegraph, Central Government, states, coal sector, ports and docks, power sector, oil sector and transport sector, including the Railways.

The Communist leader said both Congress and the BJP were similar in their outlook on economic policies.

Refuting political motives behind the strike to create an ideological space for the third and Left forces, he said the strike had followed Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s reluctance to talk to trade unions on policies which were likely to deprive employees of Rs 3,500 crore through reduction in interest on provident fund and had led to one crore people losing jobs and six lakh industrial units being closed.

Mr Dasgupta lashed out at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for following the Vajpayee government’s policies.

He asked the government not to bother about deficit financing and consider public investment in social and industrial sectors. Asked how resources would be mobilised for the purpose, he said the government should recover Rs 70,000 crore tax dues from the people and Rs 1.4 lakh crore of non-performing assets.

He lashed out at the government for allocating 30 per cent of the budget for defence to deprive 40 per cent of the population of food.

He said there was low growth rate as only 14 per cent of the budget was being spent on development.



SAD seeks probe into illegal sale of houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A delegation of the SAD’s local unit led by its president, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, today called upon Justice O.P. Verma, Punjab Governor, at the U.T. Secretariat.

The delegation supported the suggestions of the Governor who is also the Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, to the Municipal Corporation (MC) to raise the revenue of the MC making it financially a self-sustained body.

They maintained that the infrastructure and public amenities could not be delivered better without raising adequate revenue from the public.

The SAD demanded an inquiry into the illegal sale of houses allotted under rehabilitation schemes. They also demanded that the Chandigarh Housing Board should construct maximum low-income group houses and should allot them on a ‘no-profit no loss’ basis.

Earlier in the day, the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, had a meeting with the Administrator at Punjab Raj Bhavan.



Eating out
Sagar’s tangy boon for Panchkula
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
When General Nalwa (retd), a Panchkulaite, decided to celebrate the birthday of his wife of 40 years quietly with his family, he chose the new outlet of Sagar Ratna that opened in this town of parks last week. The new-look joint with sleek Italian furniture, sparkling white marble floor and soft lighting in the commercial area of Sector 9 opposite the Town Park is a shift from the staid ambience of the 21 earlier outlets in Delhi, Chandigarh, Patiala, Ahmedabad etc in an attempt to attract the youngsters. As General Nalwa’s pretty young daughter said, ‘‘It’s so convenient for us now. We don’t have to go all the way to Chandigarh to pamper our tangy taste buds. ’’

It seems she is not alone in having this view. The big waiting line during dinner hours is proof of the ready acceptance of the famous eatery by the foodies, claims the in charge, Mr Kamal Sahni, happily.

The rush is no surprise as the residents of the area have developed a taste for the Southie delights that Sagar Ratna specialises in. They dig into the spicy sambar complemented with coconut chutney, tomato’n onion sauce and green mint paste with a the whole range of dosas, utthapams, vadas, idlis and rice preparations.

Besides the modern ambience, the restaurant has given in to the demand for Punjabi delights. They have come up with a counter for chana bhatura, chaat, gol gappas, tikki and pav bhaji.

Founded by Mr Jayaram Banan in December, 1986, in Delhi, Sagar has today become a brand name. The residents who endorse its delights would be delighted to know that Sagar recently won The Times Food Award for Best South Indian Restaurant. Mr Banan, who was here for the opening, and a director, Mr Kuldeep Gupta, attribute the success to their emphasis on the check on quality and hygiene, besides the style of cooking by chefs from Tamil Nadu using the typical South Indian masalas and other ingredients who try to replicate the original flavour.

The sweet’n salty dahi vada garnished with boondi drops, a slice of tomato and a green chilli twig serves as an appetising starter for a meal of the rava onion dosa (all their dosas are made in styles different from one another) and milk badaam made refreshingly yellow with a dash of kesar. Top the vegetarian delectables with rava kesri (suji halwa) or the faluda kulfi or filter coffee for a befitting finale.

The menu offers a tantalising range of dosas (masala, plain, coconut, rava, papar, Mysore, ghee roast, family), rice (tomato, coconut, rasam, curd, lemon, tamarind) and utthapams (plain, onion, coconut, tomato, vegetable, mixed).

The cold beverages to quench your thirst are butter milk, lassi, coffee, soft drinks, shakes and fruit juices. Go for filter coffee, tea or hot chocolate if you prefer it hot. The thalis comprising a South Indian assortment of goodies and the executive north Indian meal should fill two or even three tummies.

They offer 10 per cent discount on kitty parties and also take orders for home delivery at 370377.



Verma’s greetings

Chandigarh, May 14
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma ( retd), today called upon people to follow the path of truth as shown by Prophet Mohammed. Felicitating residents on the eve of Milad-ul-Nabi, he said ideals of brotherhood as propagated by the Prophet were relevant today. TNS



Sukhna Lake and its catchment area
Ishwar Singh

SUKHANA lake was constructed in 1958 across the Sukhna choe. The lake spreads on the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range and is a major tourist attraction. The reservoir of the lake is in the shape of a bean seed bounded by a 12.8 m high rockfill earthen dam. At the time of its construction, its pondage capacity was 10.74 million cubic metres with 2.28 sq. km spread area. As per latest assessment (1997) the pondage capacity has reduced to 4.2 million and water spread area has reduced to 1.52 sq. km. Its maximum depth (with RL 1161 feet as datum) has reduced from 35 feet to 16 feet. Shivalik hills (hilly catchment area of Sukhna Lake) are ecologically sensitive and geological unstable and thus highly prone to soil erosion. Poor vegetation and excessive biotic interference in the catchment area had further accelerated soil erosion and from 1958 to 1962 huge quantity of silt slipped into the lake. This alarming rate of soil erosion and fast siltation of lake forced the erstwhile Punjab Government to acquire hilly catchment area in 1962 and 1963 to carry out soil conservation and afforestation works.

Catchment area details:-

Total catchment area of Sukhna Lake — 4207 hectares

Hilly catchment area with UT — 2542 hectares,

Hilly catchment area with Haryana — 770 hectares,

Catchment area under agriculture use — 895 hectares

Total catchment area of the lake which falls in UT — 2908 hectares.

The soil in the Shivaliks is sandy embedded with pockets of clay which is highly susceptible to erosion by run off water action during rains. The degree of slope is steep with precipitous slopes. As such land slips in upper area of the catchment are very common during rains. To tackle the problem of soil conservation measures along with tree plantations were taken up in the catchment area at a rather modest scale in early seventies. Though some plantation works were taken up in late sixties but by that time a lot of silt had already found its way to the lake.

In the area falling under the UT of Chandigarh, schemes of soil conservation and afforestation were implemented on a steady and sustained basis and are being continued under various programmes. As a result of concerted and sustained efforts of the Chandigarh Administration soil erosion in the catchment area has been reduced from 160 metric tonne per hectare per annum to 5.6 metric tonne/hactare per annum.

Following soil conservation and afforestation measures have been taken up in the catchment area:-

i) Construction of check dams/silt retention dams: till date 180 checks dams/silt retention dams have been constructed. 110 dams have been silted/partially silted and 70 dams are having perennial water bodies/water holes/reservoirs behind them. These water bodies are providing/acting as good water holes for the wildlife. Regular desilting of silted/partially silted silt retention dams have been carried out.

ii) Construction of masonry spurs, revetments, grade stabilizers, retaining walls, crate-wire structures and small loose stone structure to minimise soil erosion, retention of silt and train the course of the streams.

iii) Vegetative measures of soil conservation re in the form of planting live hedge of Arundo-donex, ipomea & kana along choe banks, bhabhar grass plantation on exposed slopes and brushwood structures to control soil erosion.

iv) Massive plantation of endemic tree species like Khair, Kikar, Neem, Peepal, Papri, Karonda, Jungle Jalebi, Jamun, Gular, Khejri, Shisham etc. in the lower hills.

v) Contour trenching and direct seed sowing of the seeds of Jungle Jalebi, Kikar, Khar, Neem etc. in the higher reaches of the hills.

Most of the erosion prone area have been treated very effectively and silt inflow to the lake is reduced to a bare minimum.

Availability of water in the water bodies/water holes throughout the year has improved underground water regime which in turn has improved the micro-climate of the catchment area. Hilly catchment area of Sukhna Lake under UT of Chandigarh has been notified as sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. Massive plantations and seed sowing of indigenous species in the sanctuary is responsible for the development and improvement of natural habitat for the wildlife in the sanctuary. Consequently, there is proliferation of wildlife in the sanctuary. Wild animals like Sambhar, Cheetal, wild bor, porcupine, pangolin, jackal, fox, civet etc. and birds like peacocks, red jungle fowl, partridge etc. are found in abundance in the sanctuary.

Suppression of lantana:

As lantana weed is adversely affecting the growth of endemic species and reducing the biodiversity of wildlife sanctuary, the Department has initiated the programme of suppression/removal of lantana in the wildlife sanctuary.

Lantana has been removed from 400 hectares of land during the years 2001 and 2002 by manual uprooting. This area now has very good natural regeneration of the medicinal species like Bansa (Adhatoda vasica), Giloe (Tinospora cordifolia), Karipatta (Muraya cognii) and various tree species thereby restoring the biodiversity of the sanctuary.

Deputy Conservator of Forest-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden, Chandigarh Administration, Chandigarh.



Catchment area must be acquired

Survey the entire catchment area of the lake and acquire every inch of the land. Part of the catchment comprising eroding areas fall in Haryana. This should be acquired and handed over to UT for proper management. Once the acquisition is complete intensive soil conservation and afforestation measures should be taken up.

Previously erected check dams and other soil erosion works have become ineffective due to siltation.

Removal of sand and silt through mechanical means and “Shramdaan” can continue. Wet dredging can be implemented if economically viable. A seminar should be organised and a series of recommendations should be considered by the Chandigarh Administration.

C.M. Sethi, Former Chief Conservator of Forests & Chief Conservator of Soils, Punjab

Have three-tier forest vegetation

EVER since its completion, the Sukhna Lake has been continuously facing the problem of siltation and by now has lost about two-third of its water storage capacity in spite of several anti-siltation measures. Having worked on the ecology of Siwaliks for more than a decade now, I suggest that Kansal, Nepli and Ghareri tributaries of Sukhna choe traverse high gradient hillock thus carry high loads of silt because of fast down flow of rain water. For checking silt flow there is an urgent need to construct several check dams in each of the down stream flows of the tributaries.

The catchment area of the lake has fairly good vegetation but the present need is to have at least 3-tier forest vegetation of indigenous species of tall trees, medium trees and shrubs with lots of ground cover in order to have almost zero level rate of soil erosion. This can best be down with involvement of the local population settled in the catchment basis.

Dr Yadvinder Singh Patiala

Motivate youngsters

We should try to motivate our young generation to save lake. it can be done by giving lectures and by organising seminars regarding water resources in schools and colleges. Plant vegetation in the catching areas to prevent soil erosion which will help us to prevent silt from entering the lakes.

Alkesh Sharma, Baltana

Invite private sector

Open up the lake for private sector and permit water sports, besides house boats for those wanting to stay there. The private party will bring in resources to prevent silt forming in the lake. The other side of lake can be connected with a ropeway and then developed with the beautiful landscaping, musical fountains, colourful lights and camping sites.

Ashish Lamba, Chandigarh

Sukhna is a diamond

The Sukhna Lake is the jewel of City Beautiful, to be more precise. It is like diamond studded necklace in the neck of bond. It is a place to relish for people from all walks of life.

Apart from all efforts put in, by administration, volunteers and social organisations to desilting it, more concrete steps are required to generate dedicated feeling among masses people to contribute in what so ever manner to save and keep live the most prominent water feature of City Beautiful. Let us pledge to save Sukhna, lest we may not lost this precious treasure.

Rajinder Parshad, Chandigarh

Follow example of Venice

To keep our Sukhna silt free we can take the example of Venice where water transport is quite common. In Venice, silt and mud are removed regularly, and for this purpose, a dredging machine is used to remove the mud from the base of the canals. The machine which has two hydraulic arms is fixed on a large boat and the arms are lowered into the water. One of the arms is fixed with electronic rotating blades which help stir the stiff mud so that it can be sucked by the suction pump which is attached to the second arm of the machine. The suction pump is attached to a large tube which takes the mud or silt outside the waters so that it can be taken away to be used for some other purpose.

The whole process can be expensive but the administration will have to raise some funds by various means.

Anuraag Kapoor, Mohali

Get fresh survey

The entire catchment area needs to be got surveyed and a detailed contour plan prepared. Erecting of check dams at the narrow gorges of the deep creeks during the dry months be undertaken thereafter. Since these dams are not a permanent solution silt ejectors of the type already constructed on the UBDC hydel channel in Punjab, be provided upstream of these check dams and the lower layers of water carrying the silt be disposed off far away from the catchment area through the tunnels.

MP Gupta, Civil Designs Engineer (Retd.), Panchkula

Make panel of engineers

Additional measures to desilt water entering the lake are necessary such as, vertical filters, silt excluders, silting tanks and check dams. Most suitable measures can be suggested after full knowledge regarding the type & quality of silt flowing in, topography of the catchment and the area around the lake. Engineers of Punjab and Haryana Irrigation Departments & Central Water Commission have dealt with such problems. A small panel of them (Serving/Retired) may be asked to give advice after thorough consideration.

Raising water level in the lake will add to the water depth available and extend its life but will not prevent silting up of the lake.

HL Sharma, Chief Engineer (Retd.) Deptt. of Irrigation, Govt of Punjab

Needs organised, effective steps

In the light of processes of erosion and drainage patterns this serious problem urgently needs organised and effective short-term and slow long-term measures. This essentially involves constructing low-cost rock-fill and earth-fill check dams on the in-coming streams to withhold sediments and regulate water flow, coupled with dredging or desilting operations. While the latter essentially includes large scale afforestation in the entire catchment area which specifically involves growing varieties of grasses, bushes, shrubs, small and large trees.

The additional maintenance and periodic environmental measures cannot be ignored, such as, removal of excessive growth of weed sand introducing varied forms of fresh-water.

Dr DS Arora, (Geologist), Chandigarh

Innovative method

I have an innovative method which can prove helpful. "We have to dig a deep pit near the dam (near Saketri) and put an iron pit (non-rustic). It should be inserted at such a depth that it is below the normal bed of mud in the lake. The mud thus accumulated in this iron pit can be easily scooped out and this giving way to more silt falling into this pit.

Deepak Bahl, Chandigarh

Make best efforts

The heat is increasing the water is evaporating and the lake is getting dry day by day. People from all over the world come to see this lake. I just want to say that whatever happens this lake should not get dry and it should remain in existence. We the people of Chandigarh should make our best efforts to save it.

Ayush Jairath, Chandigarh

Raising level is impractical

This is a very important and crucial issue to be deliberated upon. Today, the existence of Sukhna Lake, having tourists' attraction, seems to be in danger. The step to save Sukhna Lake by way of raising the crest level of the radial gates of the regulator can prove to be fatal and hence, there is utmost need to keep in mind the pros and cons of this action. The raising of crest level of radial gates of the regulator in a bid to enhance the present water level by 3ft, by and large, seems to be impractical, as the concrete walls may not be able to near the excess weight. This action can pose serious problems in the future.

VK Puri, Chandigarh

Create no man’s land

A nearby rivulet can be used as an alternative site by developing it permanently to transfer the water of Sukhna. For dredging the silt every alternative year and earmarking the surrounding area of 3-5 kms as "Reserve Area" where afforestation should be adopted. Remedial measure are to stop environmental pollution in the surrounding villages. To enhance the life span stop yatching competitions. Create no man's land upto 3-4 kms which will improve fauna culture, a natural habitat.

Sham Lal K, Chandigarh

Is lake designer to blame?

The designer of the lake who was an outsider was not familiar with the fact that all the plains of Punjab are due to formation of this silt coming from the hills from the time immemorial. The silt can be reduced by increasing jungles in the catchment area. The Babbar grass should be planted to reduce erosion. Small dams in the choes will reduce the velocity of water in the rainy season. Adhoc measures like removing silt or sand from the bed's is not a permanent solution for saving the life of sukhna lake.

Baldev Singh Hada, Mohali

Reserve water from Kajauli

A small percentage of water supplied from Kajauli may be reserved for Lake. Pump it through 10 inch diameter pipeline approx. into lake for few days in a month to maintain desired level of water in lake, as already suggested by me, to Chandigarh Administration in May, 1988 — which made several National and International rowing meets possible in Chandigarh. Construct small water reservoir at the bed of the Ghaggar river at suitable height and make necessary water flow through pipeline lines into the lake, simply by gravity. Excess water may be made to flow to remove silt from lake-bed.

Gurbakhsh Singh Mann, Chandigarh

Take remedial steps fast

The Administration should take immediate remedial measures to check the slow death of this wonderful gift to the city. It is not only necessary but also important to grow more trees as well as special grass, which will help in holding the soil and will also check the silt to flow to the lake during monsoon season. Apart from this, modern techniques to remove the silt from Sukhna bed both manually and mechanically should be employed with the active voluntary participation from the general public as well.

Kishore Kumar Sharma, Chandigarh

Ensure adequate water supply

Multiple planning of the Government of Punjab and Haryana and also the cooperation of the people to save the Sukhna lake target. Adequate water-supply is assured through Shivaliks mountains and new canal networks have been created such as the Rajasthan canal and Bhakra Nangal canals networks. if the inflow system is improved the Sukhna lake would be assured check silt flow. There has been a steep and steady need for plantation in the catchment area.

Vikas Grover

Build check dams

Deforestation, faulty-agricultural practices and over grazing have lead to soil-erosion. It should be checked by building check-dams and construction of terraces on hill-tops. Planting of trees can also check the process of soil-erosion. Also multipurpose project is such a scheme which is carried out to fulfil a variety of purposes. For example irrigation, generation of electricity, flood-control, fish-breeding

Neeru Gupta, Chandigarh

Build speed breakers

A multi-pronged approach is needed to arrest the problem of its silting. The preventive measures include: building of check dams at appropriate locations, aggressive and sustained afforestation drive in the catchment area, declaration of as much catchment area as possible as reserve forest to prevent any building activity in that, and creating artificial speed breakers at appropriate locations in the rivulets and nullahs to break the speed of flow of water thus disabling it to carry the silt downstream. Artificial speed breakers could be made by casting irregular shaped concrete blocks of suitable size.

Lt Col Bhagwant Singh (Retd), Mohali

Call foreign agency

It is a matter of concern which calls for evaluation by some foreign Agency having adequate experience of rain management. The removal of silt from the lake bed, mechanically or manually or even the redesigning of regulator gates for increasing the reservoir capacity cannot be permanent solution. The solution lies only in the effective control of silt movement at the place of origin.

Jagdish Lal, Panchkula

Call in the Indian Navy

Best possible solution to Sukhna problem is to seek the help and advice of the Indian Navy which is well equipped and is a capable arm of defence forces which can provide much needed solution to Sukhna problem.

S.K. Kaushik, Lt-Cdr (Retd), Panchkula

Soil stabilisation is needed

Man has always played havoc with nature in the name of urbanisation. Degradation of Sukhna lake is a result of widespread deforestation due to explosion of human and live stock population in its neighbourhood, expansion of crop and grazing land, construction of roads along the terrain.

Measures like construction of check dams and retaining walls to reduce the inflow of silt into the Sukhna Lake during rainy season besides dry and wet dredging are only symptom specific and are not going to help in a big way to cut the source.

The problem can be arrested by taking prompt afforestation measures by planting compensatory trees, bushes and revegetion on step slopes so as to increase the green cover on the nude land. In addition to above soil stabilization measures will have to be taken which may include polymer, bituminous and chrome-lining grouting.

Dr S.K. Aggarwal, Director Academic, Punjab Board of Tech Education and IT, Chandigarh.

It requires a series of steps

A series of measures must be undertaken to save the Sukhna Lake. Afforestation, construction of wired check dams in the catchment area and removal of silt can be some of the remedial steps.

The silt movement should be stopped for its original place. Effective steps must be taken to lower the speed of rain water in the Shiwaliks which will reduce the soil erosion.

Mehakinder Singh, Chandigarh

‘Shramdaan’ a photo session

Drying up of the lake is not a new topic. At the start of every summer Sharamdaan is started. The UT Administration is not serious. The show of Shramdaan started more than two decades ago by ordering Government Employees to be present at the Sharamdaan. Big bosses attended the show for photos in the media.

Have a fool proof plan and keep extra budget for this and work should go through-out the year rather than have it only in summer. Purchase heavy and sophisticated machinery to engage full fledged staff for working through-out the year.

G.K. Chopra, Chandigarh

No more ‘shramdaan’

‘‘A photosession on the banks of a canal’’ will be an appropriate word than the ‘‘Sharamdaan’’ a farce being organised by the over enthusiastic entrepreneurs to save Sukhna Lake’’. Managing the feeding rivulets and desilting the lake are the specialised jobs and cannot be done by ‘‘Shramdanees’’.

If all these people and others are really interested, I suggest that those who have some experience in the desilting and managing the feeding rivulets they should register their names for undertaking this operation and others who do not have any experience about the same should contribute as per their capacities so that the needed persons and material can be hired for doing this job.

S.B. Sharma, Chandigarh

Wet dredging the only solution

Wet dredging is the only solution. There is no point in delaying it by another 10-15 years. Raising the crest wall by 2 feet is a temporary and unsafe experiment and will create similar problems later. The 16000 trees that we talk of saving will die as soon as the water level is raised by 2 feet. Instead, cutter-suction type dredger should be used which has electro-hydraulic system and the mouth pipe can be increased upto 15 meters.

This same wet-dredger is being used efficiency by BBMB on Beas Satluj Link Project, Sundernagar. So, lets be fair with our job and make some concrete and everlasting decision to save our beautiful Sukhna Lake for diminishing.

Sanjay Verma, Panchkula

Sukhna is in danger

Today, the life of the lake is in danger because of reduction in its depth and purity day by day. This is due to large amount of silt deposit and waste during monsoon seasons. Soil erosion deforestation, sedimentation are among the main reasons while the most distress part is that we are also responsible for the damage caused by the lake by throwing eatables and polythene wrappers in to it. To save the heart of Chandigarh a well planned strategy and appropriate steps are required to clean the lake. Technical and Mechanical equipment, guidance from experienced and qualified Engineers and Consultants may be taken in this regard.

Narinder Shukla, Chandigarh

Have outlets at lower levels

Outlets in the dam need to be at lower levels. During the time of heavy inflow, these outlets are operated to drain-off silt laden water. To prevent the in-flow of silt and sediments into the lake. preventive measures, such as provision of control bunds, checking of gully formation by providing small embankments, afforestation, grassing and control of grazing in the catchment area of lake for controlling the sediment in-flow in the lake, should be taken up at top priority.

All these methods need to be accomplished by a variety of manual, mechanical and hydraulic methods.

J.K. Arya, SDO Irrigation, Punjab

One authority should maintain it

The word ‘lake’normally excites of image of something bright and beautiful, but the word ‘‘Sukhna’’ invokes the image of a patient suffering from an impossible disease. Recourse should be taken to the best expertise available from anywhere in the world. This dithering by the authorities must stop.

One authority whose working should be as quite as the lake itself should be incharge. The hand of the artist should be invisible.

Dr A.P. Sharma, Panchkula

Result -oriented approach needed

The silt that has developed over a period of time in the lake bed is making the lake endangered. The authorities should first look at the root cause of the copious amount of silt deposition. If it cannot stop completely then at least control it to bring the lake out of the danger zone. The check-dams have to be improved and increased in number.

Rain water should be controlled and a proper outlet from the lake should be developed for drainage. There has to be result-oriented approach and no one should throw any plastic material, bottles any other garbage into the lake as it binds the silt in the lakebed and ultimately pollutes it. The responsibility has to be shared right from the authorities to the common man to preserve our own priceless lake.

Mohit Thakur, Panchkula

Increase breadth of rivulets

The bed level and breadth of the rivulets carrying rain water to the lake should be increased. Sedimentation check points enroute be created with sand bag barriers so that the silt settles down on the way (about 200 to 250 metres away from the lake) and the minimum quantity of silt flows into the Lake.

Steps to widen the breadth of Lake towards Kaimbwala village, which has narrowed, should be taken through proper planning. In the first year desiltation was started near the entry gate through Conveyor Belt installed with the assistance of BBMB. Can’t it be undertaken again? To save Sukhna by increasing the depth is a challenging task to test skill of the engineers.

Joginder Singh Bhogal, Chandigarh

Do not litter

Despite the authority's endeavour, to keep Sukhna clean, it is tough to prevent people from littering the place. Messages like "keep Sukhna clean", "Do not litter" et al, repeatedly appear along the path. However, these fall flat as visitors still litter the lake with polythene, wrappers etc which may turn lethal for the lake.

Sumit Gulati, Chandigarh

Save the lake at all costs

The accumulation of silt in the Sukhna is causing serious threat to its existence in the coming years. Deforestation in the catchment area of lake is a problem which should be checked. Increasing the level of water by making ponds an installing of silt excluders is required as it is not a natural lake but a man made lake.

Soil erosion from nearby Shivalik hills also causes danger to the lake which brings more and more silt towards the lake. Dredging of silt with machines is another measure required to be taken to increase the depth of lake. Sukhna is not only a lake for city people but it is pride of city. Sukhna should be saved at any cost by proper co-operation of Administration and residents of city.

Swaraj Arora, Chandigarh

Select a solution

This lake started to choke in its initial years due to tremendous siltation, it lost about 70 per cent of its original storage capacity. Then the Chandigarh Administration started sharamdan. I am myself one of the regular Sharamdanis and have been awarded by the Save sukhna lake society' in 1992 and 1995. First question is how to remove the silt that has already piled up. Secondly, how to minimise the entry of silt. For the first problem, afforestation, mechanical desilting operations, wet dredging and shramdaan should be vehemently followed.

Jagdish Kumar, Retd. Principal

Control flow of water excess

Removing of silt every year is not the solution yet it is a remedy. The silt comes to the Sukhna from the Shivaliks with the heavy flow of water during rains and there are no means to de-silt that water. The silted water is allowed to come in huge quantity and the access is also allowed to go out leaving behind the silt in the Sukhna.

This must be controlled by making silt trap structures like silt-excluders and by construction of wired check dams. Afforestation- heavy vegetation on the Shivalik hills will also solve the purpose and stop siltation.

Arun Goyal, Chandigarh.

Plant shady trees

The inflow of silt into the lake is due to deforestation in the catchment area in the Hills. Due to deforestation the land is fully exposed to rains, the soil is eroded and flows into the lake. The best method is to avoid silt in flow is by plantation of shady trees like in dense type forests.

These trees will prevent direct contact of rains on the land and thus avoid erosion of the soil. In addition to it Ipomia ( Pahari Aak ) needs to be planted in the path of flow of rain water and slopes of the hills which will restrict erosion and in flow of silt.

Rabinder Sharma, Ambala City

Form expert committee

To Save the Sukhna lake the problem of water level must be tackled immediately and on top priority. Water should be stocked or preserved in such a way that it becomes a watershed in the history of management of lakes. Services of specialists , if needed, must be requestioned.

An expert committee should be formed to have an acceptable solution in the interest of preservation of the lake. The lake must be preserved as such because it is source of solace for visitors, who visit the lake.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh



Three crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 14
Three persons were crushed to death by trains on the Zirakpur-Lalru section of the Kalka-Ambala railway track in two accidents here during the past 24 hours.

Two youths — Sujit Kumar and Manoj Yadav — were mowed down by a train heading towards Ambala on a railway bridge over Jharmal rivulet near Lalru village, while the third victim — Raj Kumar — died on the railway track near Gajipur Sanauli village.

Hailing from Bihar, the youths were on their way to their rented accommodation at Lalru village when they met with the accident. They were taking a short cut through the railway bridge. They were working at a factory.

Sujit Kumar died on the spot while Manoj Kumar breathed his last while being taken to a hospital in Chandigarh.

In another accident, Raj Kumar (30) died on the railway track at Gajipur Sanauli village near Zirakpur. He was a resident of Gumthal in Haryana.

Mr Gurinder Singh, in charge of the GRP post at Lalru, said the bodies have been sent to the Civil Hospital in Rajpura for post-mortem examination.



Family clash turns violent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
An altercation in a family turned violent, when an elder brother allegedly stabbed the younger one in Dhanas village this evening.

As per the information available, Noor Alam (25), a fruit vender, allegedly had an altercation with his sister-in-law. Noor’s brother and the latter’s husband, Nazar Mohamed, also got entangled. During the clash, Nazar allegedly stabbed his brother Noor.

Noor Aalam was admitted to the PGI and his condition was said to be stable. The police has arrested Nazar Mohamed.

In another incident, a 20-year-old resident (name not known) of Raipur Khurd village was run over by a train here this afternoon. Though the exact sequence of events is not know, the police suspects it to be a case of suicide.



Theft in house in Dera Bassi
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 14
A gang of thieves struck at a house in Preet Nagar Colony and decamped with goods worth thousands in broad daylight, here today. The house owner was away at the time of the crime.

In a complaint to the police, the house owner, Mr Soma Ram, alleged that he found two rooms open and a bicycle, an LPG cylinder, a ceiling fan and some other articles missing. The thieves had entered the rooms after breaking open the locks of the doors. They also took away Rs 1,045 from a room of the house, which he had rented out to Mohan Lal and Pawan Kumar.

The police was investigating the matter, but no case had been registered till late in the evening.



Market spotlight Sec-26 Sabzi Mandi
Mandi holds the centrestage in the fields of fruit, grain, vegetables
Sanjay Sharma

INDIA’S most sought after apple trade hub turning over a Rs 323 crore annual business has been clamouring for upgradation of infrastructure for years. One of the biggest markets of the city having a standing at the national level for dealing in apple business has been the sole dealer of a major chunk of fruit from Himachal.

However, the market which paid a market fee of Rs 3.45 crore to the market committee last year is battling with the superior infrastructural facilities of the Azadpur Mandi of Delhi and that of Chennai.

Trading licence holders, whose records showed earning a commission of around Rs 18 crore during the last year, feel that the Chandigarh vegetables and fruits market may easily beat others at least in apple business due to its strategic advantage if the infrastructural problems are sorted out immediately.

Mandis of Punjab, including that of Khanna, could have got recognition at the level of Asia, yet this market is a great hope for vegetable and fruit growers of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

It has been getting arrivals of 20 truckloads of fruits and vegetables daily and hundreds of tractor-trolleys of the locally produced fruits and vegetables. Other than apple, during the off season of peas in the monsoon, the mandi attracts national attention as it gets supplies from the hills. Almost the entire country comes to the Chandigarh mandi looking for peas.

Farmers of Kerala have been visiting the local mandi to sell their coconut whose prices have recently crashed after import was opened. Mr Digvijay Kapoor, general secretary of the Sabzi Mandi Arthias Association, who is running for presidentship in the coming elections, said the commission agents here were confident of emerging at the top if a joint effort of the market committee, Municipal Corporation, Housing Board and the Chandigarh Administration could be made to improve the facilities in the market.

Mr Kapoor feels the present market feels threatened from the creation of a new one in Sector 39 D where the Chandigarh Administration was ready to provide all facilities which the market here had been demanding.

Stressing the need for opening the second grain, fruit and vegetable market after a proper development of the old one, he said the Chandigarh Administration had to realise that this market enjoyed the benefit of proximity to the railway station and road transport facilities. He said courtesy apple, during the last three months the Market Committee had been able to earn an additional Rs 90 lakh.

As many as 500 farmers come to this market daily these days and during a lean period hundreds visit the market but facilities for them are nowhere to be seen. Having emerged as a nodal mandi in India for the apple crop, the market feels that the Administration has given them a short shrift. This has also been echoed by a Director of the market committee, Gurdeep Singh, and its chairman, Kuldeep Singh, who say the committee had sent three proposals for a shed but to no avail.

They said the first proposal of Rs 69 lakh, second of Rs 79 lakh and the final one of Rs 1 crore to create a shed and a platform for the apple sale had been sent only to wait for the Chandigarh Administration’s reply.

They said a Rs 9 lakh proposal was sent for the improvement of roads but again the authorities have not been able to do anything.

A mandi where certain traders have been in the business for four decades when it had no recognition, is feeling insecure because of the infrastructural weakness.

The Supreme Court decision to ban tree felling has also had an adverse impact on the market as the apple which used to be brought in timber boards is now brought in the card board during the monsoons.

Traders here say that rain has been spoiling apple after being exposed to rain and the absence of a shed has been adding insult to injury. The market takes credit in having fed the winners of Kargil war with fruits and vegetables being supplied from here.

Problems: Though sanitation has improved after the market committee took charge, it is far from satisfactory.


  • The internal roads are in a shambles.
  • The market becomes congested during the peak time.
  • There is no facility worth the name for the stay of farmers. The situation leaves the burden of arranging the stay of farmers on commission agents.
  • Despite the mandi having grown to acquire national importance, the quantum of fruits and vegetables perishing is very high due to lack of cold storage facilities.
  • Traders allege the Chandigarh Administration is apathetic to the concerns of farmers and those associated with the farm business.
  • Estate office has been seeking removal of sheds created by traders without any alternative arrangement.
  • 15 posts are lying vacant in the market committee and only junior engineers cannot handle the works to be undertaken.
  • It is short of a platform for apple trading.

President: Yashpal Agnihotri; General Secretary: Digvijay Kapoor; Vice President: Balbir Singh; Secretary: Brij Mohan; Treasurer: Devinder Mohan; Secretary Public Relations: Subhash Khanna.



Spice awards contest winners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Spice Telecom today announced the lucky winners of “Scratch and Win Hot Maal Offer” of its pre-paid product Spice Quicky. Mr Jatinder Arora from Chandigarh won the first grand prize of Hero Honda Splendor. The other 14 winners won LG Joymax TV sets and Sony music systems. Every new Quicky subscriber who took a connection during the promotional offer won Parker pens.

Giving away the prizes, Mr Y.S. Bains, Vice-President, Corporate Support Group (Spice Telecom), Punjab, said, “ Spice congratulates the winners who have joined the family of over 4.5 lakh delighted Spice subscribers.”

Arrow’s new label

Arrow, the leading premium menswear brand, today announced the launch of its new label, “Urban”. Created by Italian designer Renato Grande this line brings to the Indian customer the latest in international style. The garments are crafted from 2-ply cotton — where some fabrics have lycra for extra comfort. These garments are different from social wear currently available in India. “Urban” is priced at Rs 1,395.

Allen Solly for women

Life is a rush, especially for the Indian woman, who has a lot on her mind. Allen Solly women’s wear, which captured a major share in the women’s apparel market, and caters to the working woman is launching agile trousers as part of the summer collection.

The collection has been designed for Indian women who are not necessarily pencil-thin. The design team had conducted extensive research for the purpose.

Strepsils variant

Strepsils, world’s most popular brand in throat-care, has introduced a variant “Strepsils pain relief” in India. Launched by Boots Piramal Healthcare Pvt Ltd, this is the country’s first product for a painful sore throat. It has hexylresorcinol formulation that gives relief from painful sore throat.



Memory man” in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 14
A living computer is in the city, to dazzle with his memory. He is “memory man” Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury who is national record holder for the strongest memory. This amazing man gave a demonstration at Gandhi Smarak Bhavan, Sector 16, which was organised by Manu Multimedia Limited. He gives courses to enhance one’s memory.

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