Monday, May 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police putting pressure to withdraw cases: Samra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Charging senior police officials at Jalandhar for implicating him in false cases of cheating, Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra, the CBI complainant who got two judicial officers trapped in a corruption case, today said he and family were being constantly threatened by the police for exposing the nexus between judicial officers and senior police officials.

He said he was being threatened by the police to withdraw the complaint made to the CBI. He claimed that he had provided proof to the CBI about the cases registered against him after he had initially refused to pay bribe to the judicial officer at Jalandhar.

Speaking at a press conference held at a private hotel in Sector 22 here, Dr Samra alleged that the police began registering cases against him when he refused to pay Rs 2 lakh to the SHO of Kartarpur police station. The money was demanded at the behest of the SSP, Jalandhar, he alleged.

“On April 15 and 16, cases of cheating patients were registered against me despite the fact that there was no proof of the complainants having been treated at my Kartarpur hospital. On April 20, again a case was registered against me,” stated the CBI complainant.

He said on April 20 he contacted his old-time friend, Mr S.S. Bhardwaj, the suspended judicial officer whom Dr Samra claimed that he knew since 1998, during the latter’s posting at Jalandhar. “Mr Bhardwaj during a meeting at his Sector 22 house told me that all cases would be disposed off and no fresh case would be registered once he paid a bribe of Rs 11 lakh to District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta. After April 20, no case was registered. On April 29, I refused to pay the bribe. I was threatened on my mobile that the cases would go on and all conditional bails were rejected by the Sessions Judge. On April 30 another case of cheating was registered,” added Dr Samra.

“On May 9, I was given conditional bail by Mr Gupta and I sold my Mercedes car to pay the bribe. After granting me conditional bail, Mr Gupta came to Chandigarh, as the meeting time was fixed for 6 pm. I also talked to him on phone. Two recorded cassettes of my conversation with the judicial officers have been handed over to the CBI about the conversation on telephone and personally. I gave the money to Bhardwaj and he counted it.”

On the question of possessing a fake degree, he claimed that he had done MD in Neurology and Nutrition from the National Institute of Medical Health at Delhi.

During his interview, he refused to comment on what evidence he had given to the CBI. He said it would come out during the course of investigations. It appeared that the CBI had thoroughly briefed Dr Samra before he talked to the mediapersons. Despite being asked repeatedly about the new names which were figuring in the nexus, he refused to comment .

The SSP, Jalandhar, Mr Varinder Kumar, refuted the charges of Dr Samra. “ I am duty bound to register a case if a complainant comes to me. Some complainants had gone to senior police officials,” said the SSP.

He added that he had joined as SSP, Jalandhar, two-and-a-half-months back and the cases had been registered against Dr Samra since year 1999.

Mr Varinder Kumar said Dr Samra had been cornered and baseless allegations were being levelled against the police. The SSP said on hearing about Dr Samra, more patients were approaching police with their complaints.

There was no restriction against arresting Dr Samra in the cases of cheating, said the SSP adding that he would be consulting his seniors about the possible ways of taking legal action against Dr Samra. 

The story of friend turned foe

Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra, whose name figured on the national news, after getting two judicial officers trapped for demanding Rs 11 lakh as bribe, had a chequered past. Inquiries reveal that after Dr Samra migrated to Kartarpur (Kapurthala) in year 1991, he used to treat a number of patients in his hospital at nominal charges and earned a lot of money. Then he joined politics under the flag of Tohra camp and was interested in fighting Assembly elections from the Beas Assembly seat. He spent a lot of money from his pocket to release advertisements in newspapers.

After his interest in politics, his clientele at the hospital dropped to 20 patients a day in OPD. He then developed relations with the suspended judicial magistrate, S.S. Bhardwaj, who was then in Jalandhar. Dr Samra used to act as conduit in cases decided by the judicial magistrate. It is, the same judicial magistrate who was trapped by the CBI on Dr Samra’s complaint. “It has to happen when a friend turns foe,” remarked Dr Samra.Back


PUDA orders resumption of plots
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 18
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has ordered the resumption of plots given out to the United Cooperative Housing Society and the Danga Pirat Cooperative House Building Society here following the non-payment of about Rs 7 crore to the authority.

The two orders passed separately by the Estate Officer here state that the plots given to these societies in 2000 and 2001 are being resumed on grounds of non-payment of instalments due to them under the relevant sections of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Act, 1995.

The United Cooperative Housing Society was allotted 9.2 acres by PUDA in Sector 68 on March 14, 2000. The society according to PUDA sources has not paid the money due to them. Now after the society owes a whopping Rs 4.79 crore, it has ordered that the plot be resumed. The society has 364 members and was to construct as many flats in the given area. The construction was started in March 2001 and 104 flats have already been constructed. The society members had taken the plea before PUDA authorities that they “have not been able to pay as their construction work was being hampered as a large part of their land had been rendered useless due to the presence of a water body”. However, PUDA authorities claim that a site visit was conducted and it was found that the part of land which had the water body was just a small portion of the total land given and was located in one corner. “This could not have hampered the construction work hence the reasons being given by the society for non-payment of instalments are not valid”, state the resumption orders.

Similarly, the orders relating to the Danga Pirat Cooperative House Building Society here state that PUDA allotted 20,332 square yards of land to the society in Sector 67 on January 24, 2001. However, due to the non-payment of dues to PUDA and repeated reminders the society had failed to pay any amount to PUDA. Now when the society owes over Rs 2.19 crore, the plot has been resumed.

The societies can, within one month of these resumption orders, file appeal petitions before the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, here.


PU bans 8 students for 5 yrs
Use of unfair means in examination
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Panjab University has banned as many as eight students from taking any university examination for a period of five years after they were found guilty of using unfair means in the annual examination.

The matter in this regard comes up before the forthcoming Syndicate meeting of the university for a formal decision, sources said. The candidates have been found guilt by the Unfair Means Committee and an action has been suggested by the Vice-Chancellor. The guilty students have been banned from taking university examination between 2002 and 2006.

The students found guilty are from different classes in the Arts stream of the undergraduate classes in the affiliated colleges. Those in the list of being guilty are: Harpreet Singh (BA I), Pardeep Singh (BA II), Amit Kumar (BA II), Rohit Kumar (BA II), Daljit Singh (BA II), Balraj Singh (BA II), Gurbahihar Singh (BA III) and Rajesh Kumar (BA III).

Interestingly, at least two candidates on the list were learned to have employed impersonator who ran away from the spot when they were caught red-handed impersonating in the examination. Despite the provision of a university action against such candidates, the university has no other option but to punish only the candidate who was allegedly being benefitted in the exercise since impersonator were difficult to trace.

The university has very little option to contemplate action against the impersonator because of limited powers, senior sources in the examination branch said. In majority of the cases, the impersonator did not turn up before the Unfair Means Committee and the university usually avoided police intervention in the matter because such cases occurred each year and by the time one year’s backlog got cleared the university faced another examination, sources added.

A research scholar said the university should reconsider its decision not to take action against the impersonator because if university set examples of punishing even the impersonator, the practice could be checked.

The university regulation clearly provides that any person found impersonating will be disqualified from any university examination for a period of five years if a student is registered with the university. In case, the university deems fit or the candidate is not covered by university rules, the university will register a case with the police.

Person who is being impersonated, as in this case, can also be disqualified from university examination for a period of five years. The university has two committees to handle the unfair means cases. The university is working out the constitution of a committee because of certain controversy recently when some members refused to share the responsibility saying they had been members even earlier and someone else should be appointed.


Non-inclusion in camp leaves rower dejected
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, May 18
Kirandeep Kaur is a 19-year-old local multifaceted sports personality. She has to her credit glorious performances in rowing, swimming and cycling. However, today she is dejected as she has been kept out from the national camp organised by the Rowing Federation of India, (RFI), in progress at Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad.

In April last year, the RFI released a list of 33 rowers, including 14 women, for the camp in preparation for the Asian rowing championship and the Olympic qualifying rounds. Renowned coach Nicolac Vulpe from Rumania along with few Indian coaches are training the Indian rowers at the camp. Kirandeep’s name was missing from the list which also included the name of fellow rower from Chandigarh, Gurnoor Kang. Kirandeep and Gurnoor had won gold medal in the Coxless pair event in the Junior National Rowing Championship held at Pune in 2002.

Though the RFI was to review the performance of camp rowers after two weeks, even after 17 days, Kirandeep is still waiting for her name to be recalled.

The Chandigarh Rowing Association has taken up her case with the RFI. On Thursday, Kirandeep’s mother had met the President of the Chandigarh Olympic Association, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, in this regard

Kirandeep said she was told that due to the non-fulfilment of certain physical parameters, she was dropped from the camp. She said she had enough strength, and power, the basic requisites to excel in rowing. She had been giving good results in every national, she said, adding that apart from rowing, she had also excelled in swimming and cycling at the national level.

Kirandeep, who has appeared for the class XII examinations from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, continues to practice at Sukhna Lake.


Environmentalists, foresters against raising crest level of Sukhna dam
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Prevent silt accumulation to save city’s lifeline

Agriculture in catchment area must be banned

Extensive plantation need of the hour

Protect wildlife and stabilise eco-system

Chandigarh, May 18
It was a gathering of experts. The topic of discussion was ways and means to save Chandigarh’s lifeline, the Sukhna Lake, from drying out and preventing the eco-system of the Union Territory from getting disturbed. The speakers at The Tribune interactive session held at the Nepli forest reserve, just north of Chandigarh, on Sunday morning included professional forest managers and former engineers of the Irrigwhich would help save the lake. The Deputy Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr Ishwar Singh, while introducing what had been done so far said this year two silt retention dams would be built and another 10 would be cleared of silt. He told the audience that a 75 sq km radius formed the catchment area.

A view of the interactive session on "Save Sukhna Lake"
A view of the interactive session on "Save Sukhna Lake" organised by The Tribune at Nepli Forest inspection hut in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, near Suketri village, on Sunday. 
— Tribune photo Parvesh Chauhan

About 42. 07 sq km was plain while the remaining 33 sq km was hilly. Part of the hill area was in Haryana and the rest was under the control of the UT. He said the forest area was very well vegetated. The area had 180 silt retention dams. Out of them 90 had water throughout the year. This had improved the vegetative cover due to moisture. Also, the wildlife had increased and at present there were about 450 sambhars and other 250 deer, some civets and wildboar. The animals have flourished due to availability of water and fodder.

The grand old man among the engineers, Dr G.S Dhillon, started it by laying out the broad parameters of discussion and said agricultural activities in about 9 sq km of area should be banned totally. This was the biggest contributor of the silt. He also highlighted how the regulator could not take more water than the present level. If this was done, the gates of the regulator would twist due to pressure. It may be re-collected that Dr Dhillon was among the engineers who worked on the Sukhna lake project when it came up in 1958.

Former Chief Engineer and Secretary Engineering, Chandigarh Administration, Mr S.S. Virdi, re-collected that in 1988, when he was posted with the Chandigarh Administration, the lake had dried up and comedian Jaspal Bhatti even got a group of artists to play a cricket match. By that time Chandigarh had made a bid for the Asian Rowing Championships in 1990 . The federation refused at first seeing the condition of the lake. This needed a clear 2000-metre stretch with the facility to have simultaneous rowing in six lanes. He suggested that the regulator gate should be opened by two inches during high floods as silt would flow out. Besides, this would divide the lake in sections. “Dry up one section and carry out intensive dry-dredging. Then repeat the same in other sections. If the height is raised, the area around the Rock Garden will be submerged”, Mr Virdi concluded.

Another former Chief Engineer and Secretary Engineering, Chandigarh Administration, Mr J.S. Kohli, held the opinion that wet-dredging was the answer “I have no doubt about its effectiveness.” The lake has lost close to 70 per cent of its capacity by 1975. Centrally sponsored schemes helped in silt control. Mr Kohli, who has worked on the Sukhna Lake for more than 13 years, said there was a need to acquire all the land in the catchment area.

A retired Chief Engineer, Irrigation , Punjab, Mr R.K. Sharma, said he was against raising of the crest wall. However, he suggested that the height of the radial gates should be increased by two feet. On his suggestion about the design of a ‘‘ fish belly ’’ gate, the engineers wanted to know what it meant. Mr Sharma explained that this gave the shape of a belly of a fish.

Mr H.L. Sharma suggested that silt from the check dams needed to be cleaned at once. He said no acquisition of land should take place. Even after forestation some silt would come. The crest level should not be raised and dredging had to be done immediately in the Sukhna Lake.

Mr F. Kropvinik, suggested that the exact location and quantity of silt needed to be studied before any plan was laid out. He said a speed boat which reads the underground silt was available with the Bhakra authorities and a similar thing could be used here.

Former principal scientist on Central Soil Conservation Institute, Mr S.P. Mittal, said: “We need one more major centrally-sponsored scheme to save the lake. Trees should be planted across the rivulets as these would help even more in soil retention.” He seconded Mr Virdi’s opinion on dry-dredging. His suggestion of drying up the lake totally in one go raised several questions like what will happen to the eco-system , the migratory birds.

Former Indian Forest Service official, Mr S.K. Kapoor, said: “We have to involve the villagers. Acquiring all lands in the catchment area is impossible as these belong to powerful people. We could have them shifted to horticulture instead of routine crops. Like the BBMB, we should have an interstate board of people from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, and the board should manage the Sukhna. Though a lot of work has been done in the catchment area, more efforts are required”.

Dr N.K. Rana, a geo-hydrologist, said the ecology was weak in the Shivaliks and there was a need to involve villagers and not dislocate them from their present locations, as this would not serve any purpose. Serving Chief Engineer from HUDA, Mr R.C Taneja, wanted that the rivulets feeding the lake needed to be harnessed, and he wanted wet-dredging. He also suggested that Haryana needed to be taken along and the state would be keen to join in the move.

Col (Dr) B.R. Pruthi (retd) wanted that the Army should be called in to save the lake. He suggested that the Army had the requisite experience in handling such jobs and told the audience how an eco-battalion was raised and the good work done by it. Mr Ravinder Sharma said a computer profile of the silt was needed. Wet-dredging was necessary and was the need of the hour. There were various machines available for this.

A unique suggestion was put forward former Engineer-in Chief, Haryana, Mr S.P. Malhotra. He said the existing regulator could be made a part of the filter house complex for supplying de-silted water. He said the regulator should be separated by bandhs from the existing lake by having a approach channel for diverting flow towards the regulator. “Provide the bundh with a weir, fitted with vertical filters for de-silting the water before it enters the lake and prevents back flow from the lake”.

Former Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, Mr C.M. Sethi, re-collected that he was posted in Ambala district in the early 1950’s. The lake was created as a fluke when the Administration was trying to tame rivulets. The biggest folly was to connect Kansal and the Nepli choes. This connection had added to the silt tremendously.

Secretary of the Chandigarh Hotel and Restaurant Association, Ashok Bansal suggested that there should be a circular road around the lake for tourists. The lake should have houseboats, musical fountains and private investment.

President of the Sukhna Lake Strollers Welfare Association J.S. Puri, favoured the formation of a rigid plan to save the lake and then follow it.

The interactive session of The Tribune concluded with the participants praising the newspaper for the effort.



PGI patient falls to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
A PGI patient died here today after he accidentally fell from the fifth floor.

Narinder Pal Singh, 45, slipped on the ramp when he came out for morning walk to fall on the ground from the fifth floor, the police said.

Narinder had been admitted to the hospital after complaints in the functioning of the kidney.

Relatives of the patient had been called from his native place, Sangrur, to hand over the body.

The police has started investigation in the case.



Cultural organisations across the city are facing a great deal of trouble these days. Ever since the prime venue for almost all art events — the Tagore Theatre — closed down for repairs some days back, the organisers have been worrying about what to do and where to go. Whatever the shortfalls of Tagore Theatre, it has managed to remain the focal point of all cultural events.

Now that it has been closed for repair and renovation and will reopen only on June 30, most of the organisers are busy discussing which venues to choose from for the forthcoming activities. Although there are some places, all of them have something or the other that goes against them.

To begin with, the sprawling complex of Kalagram serves little purpose when it comes to attract visitation. The reason, the complex is almost “out of easy reach” of people. Bal Bhavan in Sector 23 is another place that can be utilised, but the auditorium is not in good shape. Even the technical services are not up to the mark. Panjab University, with its various department auditoria, is also not such an attractive bet.

Given the state of affairs, the city might well miss out on the cultural activities until Tagore Theatre comes out polished on June 30.

Magic of yoga

There is a lot more about the beautiful sculpture show organised by P.S. Sawhney than meets the eye. Based on yogic techniques and therapies, this show of art is a delightful extension of yogic regime by way of art. Not only has the artist dealt in detail with the most popular and practised yogic postures, he has also been available for the visitors to help them with his own expertise.

Trained in yoga from Lonavala, the artist is already getting calls and enquiries, asking him if he could actually offer yoga training. In fact, it was for the purpose of popularising yoga that the artist had exhibited his collection at Indus Ind gallery.

Interestingly, not even a single sculpture is on sale. All the works are from the personal collection of Sawhney, who has chosen to display them in the interest of the public. There are over 10 yogasanas being shown, along with the detailed technique and explanation of the asana. The captions serve to highlight the significance of respective asanas and also throw light on which part of the body gains strength on account of which asana.

Wanting services

Another swimming season has rolled on. But the level of services for the members, who have enrolled for the swimming services, has not improved much. In fact, the condition of changing rooms in most of the places, accept, of course, the privileged Chandigarh and Golf Clubs, is not very heartening at all. As you take a round of the rooms at various places offering swimming facilities this season, you find that they are in a bad state.

There are hardly any latches in most of the rooms. Also the condition of shower rooms is not very good. Nor is their any availability of lockers for those who wish to keep their belongings in the rooms.

Art lovers

As a rule members of bureaucracy seldom appreciate art and culture. There are, however, exceptions. A Haryana bureaucrat has a number of paintings adorning his office including one by surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Dali’s famous work known as “soft watches” is splashed right behind the officer’s chair.

There is also the printout of a work by Satish Gujral among the paintings which one can see on the walls on both sides of the room as well as the one facing the occupant of the chair.

The printout of the Dali painting was originally obtained from the internet and then enlarged, explained the officer.

Another room on the fourth floor of the secretariat has a copy of one of Van Gogh’s works. This painting has been in that room for a long time and it is not the present incumbent of that office who has introduced it. Nevertheless, he deserves praise because at least he did not remove the painting !

Changed man

A major change in the pattern of one’s life is rare. In the case of Satya Pal, the change has been drastic. During his prime Satya Pal used to bid for liquor vends in the city and dominated trade.

Today he runs classes for youngsters teaching them about religion and ancient texts. Every weekend he organises a quiz on mythology and gives away small prizes on his own. From liquor to religion has been a long journey. Satya Pal says: ‘‘It just occurred to me to give something back to society and now this is the mission of my life.’’

Satya Pal runs an organisation “Pratibimb” (reflection). Probably the name itself says a few words about his own life. He is unhappy that religious places do not encourage him. He wants to hold the quiz in a temple but says despite best efforts no one allows such a quiz in a temple.

In the news

Following alleged involvement of certain judicial officers in a corruption case, the UT District Court has suddenly become the centre of media activities. Cameramen of national electronic media and reporters are seen roaming outside the court to get footage of the suspects. One of the TV channels has even made an arrangement for live coverage of the events and stationed an OB van outside the court.

As photography is banned inside the court premises the cameramen are forced to fix their cameras outside the court premises and have to wait for hours in scorching heat to get the suspects’ photographs. (See photo on top)

Community factor

The appointment of Mr A.K. Chawla as the VC of Kurukshetra University is believed to have poured cold water on any possibility of the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr M.K. Miglani, becoming VC of Hisar Agricultural University when the present incumbent retires in June.

Mr Miglani, who showed prodigious talent when he studied agriculture in Punjab and later in Delhi, was a contender for the HAU VC’s post and his present assignment as Principal Adviser to the Chief Minister was considered only a stopgap arrangement till the VC’s post fell vacant.

However, Mr Miglani, who retired from service recently, is a Punjabi and since Mr Chawla also happens to be from the same community, Mr Chawla’s appointment as the KU VC has apparently diminished Mr Miglani’s chance of becoming the HAU VC. After all Mr Chautala is not the one to have two VCs from the Punjabi community because it may antagonise other communities, it is believed.

Great somersault

Corporators of Chandigarh are fast changing their stand on privatisation of sanitation in the city.

After giving satisfactory performance certificates till April to private sanitation contractors, they are now opposing the policy after their right of certification has been given to residents welfare associations amidst complaints that their certification did not have anything to do with the cleanliness in their areas.

A section of councillors who till recently was happy signing satisfaction certificates to private contractors despite residents expressing their dissatisfaction on the arrangement, is now in the forefront of opposition to a new privatised contract system.

These councillors have now indirectly joined hands with the agitating Sweepers’ Union of Chandigarh which is pressing for a complete withdrawal of the contract system in sanitation which is continuing in the city since 1996.

The stand of the councillors and sweepers threatens to lead to the collapse of sanitation in the city due to a ban on recruitment on regular or daily wage basis and the number of sweepers being only half of the required number as per the national guidelines.

Do they have an axe to grind?

Mother cow

The condition of cows in the city recently sparked off a debate as to what treatment “Mother cow” was getting from the government as well as society.

The debate was kicked off by BJP Councillor Gian Chand Gupta through a tabled agenda in the Municipal Corporation during the last meeting immediately after deaths of cows were reported from the Sector 45 Gaushala. Mr Gupta wanted to fix responsibility for the deaths of cows picked up as stray cattle inviting a counter from the Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra who asked if the BJP could clarify that cows were not auctioned during their rule in the Municipal Corporation. When Commissioner M. P. Singh said previously stray animals had been auctioned, the BJP refuted it.

A nominated councillor, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, apparently annoyed at the coming up of the issue, said “How can people leave their mothers to stray on the roads and feed on unhygienic waste, including polythene that leads to their death?”

— Sentinel


Man blames BSNL for losses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has blocked incoming calls on the cellular phone (No. 94170 - 12555) of a painter, Mr Om Parkash, a resident of Palsora, though he has cleared all his dues.

Despite depositing the bill on May 2, said Mr Om Parkash, his incoming call facility had not been restored. He lamented that the official concerned were now asking him to change the handset, as they were finding it difficult to fix up the problem. He said he had suffered business losses worth thousands of rupees due to laxity on the part of the BSNL.

He said he had taken a cellular connection from the BSNL, under Rs 325 monthly rental scheme, mainly for free incoming calls to help his business. “I was paying the bill in time. But last month, I did not get bill at all, so I could not deposit the bill in time. First my outgoing calls were blocked and later the incoming calls were also blocked. Later, I paid Rs 701 to the BSNL office in Sector 34,” he said.

Though the outgoing call facility was restored the next day, the incoming call facility had not been restored till today. He urged the BSNL officials to fix up the problem immediately, otherwise he would be forced to approach the Consumer Court and would seek compensation for the loss of business, he added.

Though no official of the BSNL was available for comments, but an employee dealing with bill payments, said the BSNL was withdrawing the facility of incoming calls in such cases to teach a lesson to the defaulters. In a number of cases, he said, it was found that small-time businessmen were often delaying the payment of bills. Since the incoming call facility continued, they would always delay the payment of bills. In such cases, he said, after the payment of bills, we would block incoming calls for several days so that they did not delay the payment of bill next time, he added.


Sweepers’ agitation exposes chinks in ruling Congress
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Almost a month-long agitation of the Sweepers Union has for the first time exposed chinks in the majority Congress in the Municipal Corporation, with party councillors taking contradictory stands openly after a 17-month domination of the party in the corporation.

The division in the 13-member group of the ruling Congress is being linked to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, with different groups in the party seeking a fresh realignment of councillors ahead of the all-important Lok Sabha elections, party observers feel.

Chandermukhi Sharma's, a party general secretary and a sidelined councillor who was being considered a campfollower of former All India Youth Congress President Manish Tiwari, extension of support to the agitating sweepers has portrayed that the majority councillor group of MP Pawan Bansal has developed groups within the monolith.

Mr Sharma has been successful in forcing his bete noire Subhash Chawla, who had earned an image of a tough man through his numerous raids and the campaign to rid the city of cattle menace, to beat a hasty retreat. He instead of defending the contract system referred the issue to a nine-member committee of councillors.

Amidst the opposition to the contract system, considered to have been organised by Mr Sharma after a number of councillors turned against Mr Chawla at his insistence on withdrawal of the controversial satisfaction certificate to private contractors after receiving complaints, a number of Congress councillors had lent support to Mr Sharma's stand.

The opposition leaves before Mr Chawla no option but to give in to the popular demand of councillors to restore the authority to councillors of issuing certificates to private contractors to allow private parties to come into sanitation under an improved system proposed by the Mayor.

But the Mayor's coming under pressure on the issue will make a dent in his image apart from exposing him to submission in the future also, something which Mr Sharma will relish.

Apart from this, the authority of the Mayor will also be eroded before the officials who could now defy the Mayor, thinking that the groupism of the party could be exploited against the wishes of the Mayor.

A possible retreat of the Mayor on the issue will also nip in the bud his possibilities of gaining sympathy of a big network of residents' welfare associations, as they would not be given the authority to issue the satisfaction certificates to private contractors.


Concern over increasing trend of violence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Crime is not just increasing but has become institutionalised by becoming one of the pillars of strength of politicians, said Mr Radhe Shyam Sharma, a former Editor of Dainik Tribune, while addressing a lecture on “Violence— A Threat To Democracy” organised by Samashti (Krishan Kant Thinkers’ Forum) at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan here today.

Mr Sharma said in the changed times violence was not just increasing but it had come to dominate the proceedings of the day. “Black money was not just a parallel power but a dominant power, now,” he said.

Mr Sharma said the three pillars of democracy — the legislative, executive and the judiciary— presented a maimed look today. The legislators showed the actual state of affairs if one had a look at the proceedings of the House; the executive had shown its chinks by one small example of the Punjab Public Service Commission scam recently; and the lesser said about the image of judiciary these days, the better it is, Mr Sharma said.

Money is the only dominating force in today’s society. Earlier, the moneyed class was known only to support the political parties financially. In the changed times, they felt it was better to join the race directly. Earlier, political leaders engaged criminals to support and use threat as a coercive measure to gain votes. Now, the scene was full of criminals themselves who seem to have realised that instead of getting votes for others, it was better to join the race.

Mr Sharma said even the field of journalism cannot negate the fact that marketing forces ruled the roost in today’s world. Even advertisements have started appearing in the guise of news. At one time, the name of the Editor spoke about the worth of a newspaper and its functioning. Now, big industrialists themselves had entered the arena with the sole objective of making profits.

Onkar Chand, the Chairman of the Servants of the People Society, introduced the speaker and the subject for the discussion. Justice M.M.Punchhi, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and patron of the Samashti, said it was sad that the Press was highlighting even small crime cases. “The Press is doing a divine duty and needs to be careful about what goes to the public each morning,” he added.


Residents demand spray of insecticides
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
It was probably a decade ago when insecticides were sprayed in Sector 29-B to keep a check on inbreeding of mosquitoes. It has exposed the residents to the spread of malaria and other mosquito-carried diseases.

The Housing Board Residents Welfare Association, Sector 29-B, has requested the Health Department to take immediate steps to spray insecticides in the area.

The association president, Mr Amritpal Singh Chadha, and the general secretary, Mr Sanjeev Sikand, have demanded that a sweeper should be posted in the area on permanent basis for lifting garbage littered on roads. They have also asked the Municipal Corporation to check cattle menace in the sector.

According to them, there were 36 points where bulbs were operating earlier. Now the Administration had installed tube lights, but only at 10 points. These tube lights could not meet the requirement of the area, they said.

The association has also asked the corporation to maintain parks lying in neglect. Recarpeting of the back lanes has also been demanded.


Complainants — criminals or victims?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Are CBI complainants mostly criminals wanted by the police or are they victims of police harassment ?

The recent case of Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra, who initiated CBI raids against Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta and Chandigarh Judicial Magistrate (First Class), S.S. Bhardwaj, is no exception. He is a history-sheeter wanted by Jalandhar police in separate cases of cheating.

The theory holds ground in case of the Chandigarh Police personnel arrested by the CBI in cases of corruption. A history-sheeter in records of Chandigarh Police, Rajinder Singh Bhasin, got a Sub Inspector of Chandigarh Police, Janak Raj, trapped by the CBI. Inquiries reveal that Bhasin was involved in a number of cases of cheating, robbery and forgery. He had robbed Mr Bharat Bhushan of his belongings while posing as an official from the crime branch. The trial in the case is pending.

He had cheated people by promising them jobs under the name of a company — All India Placement. A case was registered against Bhasin by the UT Vigilance Bureau for forging treasury vouchers regarding the payment of fee for registration of vehicle. Another case registered against Mr Bhasin was under investigation by the CBI.

Another history-sheeter — Ashok — got an in charge of Sector 24 Police Post, SI Gurmukh Singh, trapped by the CBI. He has been convicted in four cases. Another accused, Kapil, was behind the arrest of Head Constable Satnarayan, by the CBI.

Besides, a co-accused in a case of fake degree case was behind the arrest of a former CIA Inspector, J.S. Cheema, by the CBI.


Nirmala Devi honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The President of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, was in the city today to honour Ms Nirmala Devi, a resident of Pipli village, district Mandi (HP), who had in a daring act, killed a leopard with a sickle on April 17. The wild cat had attacked her while she was collecting fodder for her cattle.

He called upon the women to show their “exemplary courage” to root out evils from society and play a constructive role in developing the socio-economic condition of our country.

He honoured Ms Nirmala Devi on behalf of the front and presented her a cheque for Rs 25,000 along with a memento. He also announced that she would be honoured with a bravery award at New Delhi on May 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister, late Rajiv Gandhi. The day is celebrated every year as “Anti-Terrorist Day” by the front.

Nurture Immigration Consultants (NIC), Chandigarh, brought the ailing woman here, this morning. She has been under medical treatment for the past one month at a hospital in Shimla.

Nirmala Devi was brought here especially and honoured to inspire members of the nursing community.

Meanwhile, narrating her heroic experience with the wild cat she said, “I went out at about 2 pm in the nearby jungle to collect fodder for my cattle. While cutting the grass, I heard a ‘roaring’ sound and saw a leopard coming towards me. As soon as I turned back, the leopard attacked me. I did not get any chance to strike back. But when the leopard came back again after a moment, I raised the sickle and pointed it on its eye. The leopard lost one of its eyes and went almost mad and deadly. It started biting a rock in anger.”

“Finally, the leopard gave a severe blow to me on my left arm and forehead. The fight turned to be the battle for survival on both sides. The leopard caught me by hair and I kept on hitting the leopard with the sickle. The last time, possibly before losing its breath, the leopard pulled me closer and sunk its teeth into my right arm also, taking out the flesh. But did not let off my hair and we kept on lying like that for almost an hour”.

The local villagers came to the spot at about 4 pm but did not dare to free me from the clutches of the wild cat. “I took the courage and pulled my hair slowly from the animal’s mouth realising that the leopard had either died or lost consciousness. No one came close to us. I stood up and sat on a rock nearby. Then someone threw a piece of stone on the leopard. Having realised that there was no reaction, I again went close to it touched its body making it sure that the wild cat had died”, she further said.


Local industry in bad shape: SAD
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, May 18
The SAS Nagar circle unit of the SAD today said industries in the Kharar constituency were gradually closing down and accused the Congress government in Punjab of failing to fulfil its promises made during the Assembly elections.

Speakers at a meeting of the unit held here said in many factories workers were not getting wages. Industry, they said was in bad shape.

The meeting, which was held under the presidentship of Mr Harsukhinder Singh Babbi Badal, said liquor vends were being opened on a large scale all over the state. Leaders of the SAD from Ropar district who attended the meeting also opposed the government's move to open casinos in the state.

The party unit decided to send activists of its Youth Wing to the rural areas during the panchayat elections in the state, as it apprehended that the Congress would resort to malpractices to win the poll.


Article 21 doesn’t include right to die’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Ms Tejinder Kaur Soni, a socio-legal expert, has observed that the Supreme Court has rightly held that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution does not include ‘right to die’ or ‘right to be killed’. Thus the court held that the Section 309 of the IPC is not violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

In a statement issued here on ‘Suicide: socio-legal perspective’, she said, “The judgement is very correct and justified because number of suicides taking place due to frustration in love, failure in examinations and failure to get a job or even a good job or promotions in service will raise many social problems in society. Those capable of taking a decision to end their lives in such conditions also owe a responsibility towards society. In Indian tradition escapism has never been approved as the philosophy of life.”

“Keeping in view the socio-legal perspective, society has to be effective and has to take some action, whether it is by attempting to alter the established social institutions or by adopting measures which can be organised or personalised. The former is through group effort, the latter is through individual life and influencing others by living a life in accordance with good principles, values and norms. There is a need to generate confidence in people and establish a belief that there is no limit to progress if you have intelligence and you put in your best efforts,” she said.


Man crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Lalru, May 18
A 30-year-old resident of Rani Majra was crushed to death by a private bus on the Ambala-Nariangarh road, near Handesra village last night. According to the police, Sheesh Pal was seriously injured when the bicycle that he was riding was hit by the bus (HR-37A-2800). He was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The driver of the bus reportedly fled the spot after the accident. A case has been registered under Section 304-A of the IPC at the Lalru police station.


Grooming young, old alike in English
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 18
If utilising your child’s free time on something constructive is what occupies your mind, then Ms Promila Mahajan of “The Finesse — the institute for languages” has a solution for you. She has devised a composite programme of grooming for schoolchildren.

The course, which starts on May 20 on the institute’s campus in Sector 32, promises to make your child a complete person within a span of 45 days. “The course aims at helping students to communicate well with teachers, seniors and their peer group along with teaching facts related to most school subjects, including general knowledge,” says Ms Promila Mahajan, founder director of the institute.

Ms Mahajan strongly believes that knowledge of a language can enhance one’s personality tremendously. “A language gives one confidence, adds to his IQ,” says Ms Mahajan. And she is the right person to comment on the subject for Ms Mahajan not only has 11 years of language teaching experience but is also working on her Ph.D on “How is language related to one’s personality”.

Teaching language is a pure science for Ms Mahajan. “When we teach English speaking to both young and adults, we try to teach them the way a child is taught his mother tongue — first imprint the sentences on their mind and later explain them in the context of grammatical rules,” she says.

Ms Mahajan has been catering to a mixed population — students of both government and private schools, young professionals and housewives. “People come here to learn spoken English at various levels, right from those who do not know how to read and write well to those who are fluent but not impressive,” says Ms Mahajan.

It was a deprived childhood that motivated her to start the institute at Dehra Dun in 1992. But as the problem of speaking English among the common mass outweighed all the other grooming attributes, Ms Mahajan later concentrated more on the language aspect than the grooming. “Due to unfavorable circumstances, I was not even allowed to join a proper school in my childhood days. So I know the problems people face when it comes to speaking in English,” she says.

But one need not feel inferior for not knowing a foreign language. “If one can learn a subject like mathematics and chemistry with professional help, why not English? she asks.


Harrowing show for 4 movie buffs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 18
It was a show that viewers would remember for a long time. At least three viewers were robbed of their mobile phones and another one lost Rs 4,000 in cash during the interval of a movie, Armaan, at Suraj Theatre today.

The thefts took place during the interval of the movie show from 3 pm to 6 pm. Mr Anil Pal Singh, Mr Parveen Garg and Mr Kunal Chawla had reportedly gone to pick some nicknacks for their friends and family members from the food counter in the theatre, when their mobile phones were stolen.

All three of them had kept their phones in their waist pouch. Since the place was teeming with people, the miscreant(s) managed to steal the phones with ease.

Another movie enthusiast, Col A.C. Chibber’s pocket was picked and he lost Rs 4,000 in cash. It was after the interval that the unsuspecting victims realised that they had lost their belongings.

They immediately raised the alarm and the cinema management was called in, who in turn called the police.

After a thorough search of the place, one of the mobile phones was found near the cinema entrance.

This led to the belief that the accused had made good his escape. The police has registered a case in Sector 5 police station.Back


Man cheated by tantrik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
A resident of Sector 23, Mr Vikram Singh, in a complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) said he and his wife had been cheated by a resident of Sector 23, Jolly Baba, who claimed himself to be tantrik. He said the tantrik had taken Rs 8,000 to get his work done.

“But when I demanded my money back after my work was not done, I was threatened of dire consequences,” said Vikram. He said his repeated complaints to the police had failed to show any results.


One arrested: The police has arrested Surendra Kumar from bus stand at Bir Ghaggar village and seized 10 bottles of liquor from him. He has been booked.


Suicide bid by girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Anita, a 16-year-old girl of Colony Number 5, allegedly attempted self-immolation by pouring kerosene on her body at her home this evening.

She was taken to GMCH, Sector 32, in an unconscious condition, the police said. She was unfit to give a statement, according to the police.

The alleged attempt was made when her parents and two younger brothers were away.


SSI units sore over additional tax burden
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The small scale industrial units in the city are up in arms against the Municipal Corporation’s decision to impose 5 per cent property tax on industrial property besides commercial property. They have claimed that ever since its inception, the MC had not undertaken any major development work in the Industrial Area, Phase I and II, so it had no right to overburden the Industry with additional taxes.

In a memorandum submitted to the MC, the Laghu Udyog Bharti Organisation, headed by Mr P.D. Mongia, has raised this issue demanding exemption for the Industry from the payment of property tax. He said since the SSI units in Chandigarh were already passing through a critical phase so they should be exempted from paying any property tax. Further, he said, almost all state governments provided preferential treatment to the manufacturing sector as against other sectors, but the city administration had nothing to offer to this sector.

Mr Kailash Aggarwal, Vice-President of the Laghu Udyog Bharti, claimed that the status of the industry was different from that of the commercial sector. He said, ‘‘The MC’s decision would put an additional burden worth lakhs of rupees on small industrial units, which were already struggling for survival.’’

Mr A.L. Aggarwal, General Secretary, Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, claimed that in Chandigarh there were no incentives for industrial units as compared to those in other states. Consequently, the units had to shell out additional amount for raw material. There was no subsidy or any facility like common effluent treatment plant, he said, for the industrial units in the Industrial Area. So the Administration must have a soft corner for Industry and help it realise its true potential.

Mr Rajiv Gupta, General Secretary, Federation of Small Scale Industries, warned that in case the Municipal Corporation failed to exempt the industrial units from the payment of tax, it would be forced to resort to agitation.

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