Monday, May 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Regulate stay in PU hostels: panel
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service


  • While there is a shortage of rooms for students, certain rooms in each hostel are occupied by kitchen workers and some are used to store luggage.
  • Hostel VI has rooms for academic staff and also for teachers attending refresher courses.
  • Certain rooms are retained by professionals working outside the campus.
  • Shortage of accommodation has forced students to share rooms. However, they do not share the room charges or these of other services.

Chandigarh, May 25
A special committee of Panjab University has recommended that no student should be allowed a stay on the campus beyond five years. The stay will be allowed only in “vertical courses” and not in “horizontal courses”. This means that a student wishing to pursue higher research in the area of his postgraduation can stay. The university will not encourage students who keep on shifting hostels after admission in different postgraduate courses each year.

The committee was constituted following a resolution by Principal Tarsem Bahia seeking an end to illegal stay and drug abuse in hostels. The committee members are Dr Veena Sachdeva, Dr Mohhamad Khalid, Prof S.K. Kulkarni, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Prof Nirmal Singh, Principal A.C. Vaid and Prof R.D. Anand and Prof S.L. Sharma.

The committee has met on three occasions and has drafted a set of recommendations which will be forwarded to the Senate, reliable sources said. Principal Bahia had pointed out serious lapses in the hostel administration, stating that some students stayed on the campus for years on end. They changed their enrolment from one department to the other. Earlier, student leaders were known for long periods of stay on the campus. Some stayed for as long as 10 years. They kept on changing courses and rarely used their educational qualifications. The hostel facility was also “misused” by a segment of students preparing for competitive examinations.

A research scholar said the campus had excellent residential facilities with all amenities. One could boast of a good library facility, besides a suitable environment. If one could secure admission in any course on his personal merit, there was no reason why the university should deny him a chance to continue his studies.

The university proposes to constitute a standing committee on hostels to oversee all development works and other administration related activity. Meanwhile, the special committee has proposed lamination of identity cards. This is with a view to checking fake cards. According to a recommendation only research scholars who get a Fellowship should be allowed to avail the hostel facilities. Private research scholars can avail the facility to stay in hostels for maximum period of 20 days.

The university is allowing present students to retain hostel rooms on a payment of Rs 21 daily as special charges. Second-year students are not being allowed to continue their stay in routine. Students who furnished proof of appearing in any commendable entrance examination could be allowed to stay on.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the PU Campus Students Council, said the university should allow stay only for students pursuing “vertical” courses or those who shift from a normal degree course to a professional one.



Encroachment on Mayor’s rights?
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
A tussle seems to be brewing between the officers of the Chandigarh Administration and Mayor Subhash Chawla. Mr Chawla’s missive to Commissioner M.P. Singh as to who is the boss of the Municipal Corporation employees bears testimony to it.

Apparently miffed at drawing a flak from the Opposition for the reported involvement of the Municipal Corporation machinery and officials in the anti-encroachment drives, the Mayor, who as per the protocol comes next to the Adviser, has asked a question that will decide who wield greater power in the city. Sources close to the Mayor said he was thinking of approaching the court to get his position cleared.

As per the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, the executive powers are vested with the Municipal Commissioner and he is answerable to his senior officers in the Chandigarh Administration. It means the elected representatives have no right to interfere with the executive powers of the Commissioner, even if the issue happens to be of political consequence.

The Act, however, specifies what duties the corporation is supposed to perform and the Commissioner will be responsible for the discharge of those duties.

The letter of the Mayor says, “It is generally replied that anti-encroachment drives are undertaken on the orders of higher officers. It is not known as to who is the higher authority and with whose orders such drives are undertaken.”

Apparently making an effort to pre-empt any effort to criticise him for the anti-encroachment drives, the Mayor has hit back at officers, saying that the encroachments that were removed had not come up in a few days and even officers of the Municipal Corporation were equally responsible for encroachments in the city.

The letter has also said that the area councillor or the Mayor had no knowledge of the anti-encroachment drives in Attawa and Sector-34 furniture market.

The Mayor had already said that officials of the Chandigarh Administration were directly involving the officers of the Municipal Corporation in a number of operations without the knowledge of the elected members.

Mr Chawla had gone to the extent of saying that due to the involvement of the Municipal Corporation staff in the operations being carried out by the Chandigarh Administration, the recarpeting of roads had virtually come to a halt during this crucial season.

Apparently seeking to make clear that political interference always does not come into the way of law enforcement, the letter said he himself had been pointing out encroachments in the city but no action had been taken.



Don’t divide kathak into gharanas: Shovana
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Not many people in the world have the courage to introspect with the purpose of self-criticism and improvement. But for some reason, internationally-acclaimed danseuse Shovana Narayan has always found it easy to count her weaknesses and treat them as stimuli for growth.

That is why in the community of Indian classical dancers, Shovana is a class apart, not just in practising kathak but also lending it a fresh lease of life every now and then. Credit it to Shovana, also an Indian Audit and Accounts Officer, currently posted in New Delhi that kathak, as a style of narration and self-fulfillment, has achieved its rightful place on the world stage. With innovation as her forte, Shovana already commands the Padma Shri, apart from many other prestigious awards. Not just that, she has also written about six books on dance, the latest titled, “Cultural Policy in Performing Arts,” about to hit the racks shortly.

In the city to attend a seminar on kathak, Shovana talked to The Tribune about what she felt ailes the Indian classical system, where the North-South divide is still palpable. She explicitly touched upon the finer aspects of the kathak, which is underestimated when it comes to rhythmic power and historical strength. “Kathak is a glorious tradition, with a rich repertoire. What can be more enthralling than the fact that in kathak we don’t perform in rhythm; we virtually perform rhythm (Hum taal nachte hain, hum taal mein nahi naachte),”said the dancer.

Bringing in the inevitable comparison with bharata-natyam, that is said to be preferred over kathak, Shovana said, “A preferential treatment is natural when it come to performing arts. But we must not discount the strength of kathak. Where in bharatnatyam, the compositions are set to tala, a dancer is left with little scope for innovation. So the beauty of the composition stands out better. In kathak, on the contrary, we actually dance rhythm, exploring the beauty of the raga in a multi-dimensional way. Naturally, our items, despite some level of codification, don’t stand in contrast to each other. They telescope into each other.”

Denouncing the practice of dissecting kathak into gharanas, Shovana said the dance form needed to breathe easy if at all it were to grow. “We cannot be frogs in the well. We have to appreciate others. Whatever the gharana, we are all performing kathak. While we experiment and develop, we must take care of our identity. Super egos should not hamper the growth of the form. We must live the beauty of kathak, which can spellbind the audience with its varied flavours and shades. Finally, art is supreme. We are only drops in the ocean,” said Shovana.

Highlighting the challenge which kathak is facing, Shovana said the real trouble lay in the mindset of North Indians, who were not interested in safeguarding tradition. South Indians could challenge us on that front, she said. “How many people know that the term bharatnatyam was coined in 1932-33 by Rukmini Devi Arundale, the first South Indian Brahmin woman who took up dance as a mission. Earlier it was called dasisttam. But once Rukmini Devi lent a touch of dignity to dance, the entire South Indian fraternity made sure it pursued the mission. Even today the South Indians turn up in great strength to applaud their dancers, whether or not the dancers are skilled in their art. We, North Indians, on the other hand, take pride in allowing our tradition to slip away from our hands. In Punjab alone, we had kathak flourishing in Multan, Lahore, and other places, but we never cared to promote it. Today despite our inheritance of kathak, which is the only dance form that justifies all elements of the natyashastra, we remain insecure and smitten by other forms.”



Complementing debate with dance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The two-day kathak seminar organised by Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sector 35, was not just about rhetoric. On the one hand, kathak exponents debated the need to set the dance form free from the fetters of gharanas and infuse it with new life and vigour, on the other hand, they also demonstrated how subtleties in technique and style could go a long way in elevating kathak to a pedestal it rightly deserved.

After long, the world famous exponents of kathak shared a common stage at the kendra, displaying their respective strength with choreography and style. The opening recital of the seminar came from Sushmita Banerjee, celebrated danseuse from West Bengal, who is credited with promoting the North Indian classical dance tradition worldwide. Supported by her disciple Aditi Chakraborty, Sushmita presented an enthralling narrative piece based on the episode of Abhimanyu in Mahabharata. Using rhythm as the language for communication, the dancer exposed the whole canvas of kathak, enriching it with vibrant shades.

Sushmita Banerjee’s depiction of en epic tale was followed by a technically-powerful piece by Delhi-based dancer Prerna Shrimali, who is considered an authority in her own right. Her presentation of thaats (technical pieces in kathak) from the repertoire of the Jaipur gharana was a rare delicacy and her treatment of rhythm was beautiful. Graduating from one technical piece to another, Prerna left the audience spellbound with her subtle portrayal of “Gat nikas” and “Ghungat ke bhaav” (the two very challenging pieces in kathak). She was supported by Shakeel Ahmad on tabla, Ramesh Parihar on vocal and Vijay Sharma on sitar.

Yet another incredible presentation came from Singapore-based keeper of the Jaipur gharana, Pt Charan Girdhar Chand. With a rich repertoire to choose from, Pt Charan reflected the romance of Rajasthan through dance. He was enthralling with his Ganesh vandana, his technique of sliding across the stage with admirable ease as well as his impressive presentation of thaats, parans and chakras (technical pieces). His final presentation “Kesariya balam” created the aura of the Jaipur gharana in raag maand, taken from the Dhola maaru, legendary folk tale from the land of desert.

Pt Charan’s recital was followed by Shovana Narayna’s delightful presentation. Embodying all that is novel and fresh in kathak, Shovana commanded the stage with elan, again winning over the audience by presenting a poetry piece from Maithilisharan Gupt’s Yashodhara. With a stage persona powerful enough to remind the audience of the Mughal grandeur, Shovana danced in a style marked by sophistication and vivacity, combining the elegance of the Lucknow school and the precision of the Jaipur gharana.

Uma Sharma came next underlining individuality in dance. Normally her presentations are confined to pure abhinaya pieces, this time she demonstrated her skill at the various pure dance items of the Jaipur gharana. Starting with thaat, uthaan, parans and tukras, she went on to present some complicated rhythmic patterns later. Her abhinaya of the “Ashtanayikas” reflected her understanding of the female psychology and “hav bhavas”. It was a depiction of the characteristic features of each of the eight nayikas. She was accompanied by Mubarak Khan on tabla and Khalid Mustafa on sitar. Ramesh Parihar provided vocal support.

Shobha Koser’s recital was the concluding presentation of the seminar that ended today, with the exponents resolving to lend a new lease of life to kathak. 


Principal accused of injuring kid
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 25
In a second case of its kind in a month, a school Principal was today accused of beating up one of the school students here.
In a complaint received at the child protection unit (CPU) of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission here, Principal Jhujhar Kaur of Police Public School, Phase-XI, was charged with beating up a student Gurparvesh causing serious injuries on his hand and arm.

The complainant Balwinder Kaur, mother of the child, was working as a constable with the UT Police. She gave a written complaint to the CPU this afternoon following which a preliminary inquiry was initiated.

Sources confirmed that yesterday at the school, which is situated in the Commando Complex, Phase XI, the Principal had hit the child when he was drinking water at the school’s water cooler. The child fell on his writing board and got injured.

The Principal allegedly had objected to the child using the water cooler after the school had closed for the day. When the child reached home with his injured hand, he narrated the incident to his mother who then confronted the Principal about it. According to Mrs Balwinder Kaur, the Principal refused to do anything to defuse the situation.

But Principal Jhujhar Kaur reportedly claimed the child was injured after a fall while playing with other children.

The police at the CPU would be questioning the Principal on the matter tomorrow. 



Flesh trade racket busted 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
A flesh trade racket being operated from New Delhi was busted by the Chandigarh Police today. Call girls, operating under the banner of a dance troupe, were being supplied by a Delhi-based woman, Kiran.

Three women, aged between 20 and 25 years, were arrested by the police after a pimp, Anil Sharma, accepted Rs 10,000 from a decoy customer near a Sector 9 discotheque, Aerrizzona, here late last night.

The DSP (Central), Mr S.C. Sagar, said the call girls were part of a group of about 20 girls being supplied to customers in different cities in the northern region. The arrested call girls were in a Maruti Wagon R and were possessing mobile phones. The girls were in regular touch with their leader, whom they addressed as “auntie”.

The girls charged Rs 10,000 each for a night. The girls Kavya (21) and Tisha ( 20), both residents of Rohini in New Delhi, and Divya (25), a resident of Panchkula, have been booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. The pimp, Anil Sharma, who was driving the car, has also been arrested.

The SHO, Sector 3, Mr Jagbir Singh, said the girls were in the city for the past five days. Money was accepted by the pimp on behalf of “auntie”.

‘Discotheques a safe haven’

Call girls are increasingly choosing city discotheques to operate. The police says that discotheques are considered safe by call girls to clinch deals. The new trend is a cause of concern for the Chandigarh Police, which has so far kept a vigil only on late night drunken brawls at discotheques. An increasing number of high-society girls, aged between 20 and 30 years, are choosing discotheques to woo customers. The deals are directly struck in discos, arousing little suspicion among cops. Investigations reveal that some organised gangs are using this modus operandi in the city and its periphery. Deals, ranging between Rs 8,000 and Rs 20,000, are struck, depending upon the purchasing power of the customer. 




Punjab Raj Bhavan here has undergone a change. The new Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, has issued instructions that no liquor is to be served in Raj Bhavan at any function. And also no one will bring in liquor. The previous Governor was not a lover of liquor but was not averse to the idea of serving it to his selected visitors.

Also, Justice Verma has asked his staff that all marriage invitations where display of wealth is huge and a lot of pomp and show is expected have to be declined.

Encroachers beware

Talking of encroachments the Chandigarh Administration has cracked down on people who have been illegally occupying government lands. The action has been swift and has led to fear among people who love to add a room or cover the verandah.

The demolition has been ruthless and has earned a pat from the average city resident. However, politicians true to their character have not been liking it. The administration just needs to carry on but a suggestion has come from several citizens that demolition should also start in the VIP sectors only that will satisfy the public.

SMS results

The students and their parents were quite enthused this time with the announcement by Airtel, Reliance and Spice telecom that their subscribers would be able to access the results of class 10 and 12 of the CBSE board through SMS.

Thousands of students did get their result by sending SMS, leading to exceptional rush at the internet cafes. However, during the day, some of the students were frustrated when they failed to access the overburdened network. Other subscribers also found it difficult to connect on their phones. In fact, officials of the companies said they had not expected such a favourable response from the student community and would try to upgrade their network next time.

What a lesson!

The Chandigarh traffic police, which is known for its ‘‘no-nonsense approach and strictness’’ in the region, has evolved new methods to teach traffic rules to the drivers of Haryana and Punjab Roadways buses. They are perhaps the toughest traffic violators. The other day, a driver of a Haryana Roadways bus was trying to drop passengers at the Sector 22 roundabout near Sector 34, during rush hours in the morning resulting in a traffic jam. The traffic cop, who was trying to manage the traffic at that time, shoved the passengers into the bus again and asked the driver to move on since there was no stop there.

Wait for DC

Chandigarh has been waiting for its new Deputy Commissioner for the past two months. The present incumbent, Mr M. Ramsekhar, is already in transit mode. He is a Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1988 batch. The files to appoint a successor have been shuttling between the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Various names have been in circulation and the MHA has zeroed in on Mr Arun Kumar from the Haryana cadre.

Work has, fortunately, not suffered as Mr Ramsekhar, known for his clear-headed functioning, has carried on. Insiders say he has earned the appreciative eye of the new Administrator.

The latest example was when the DC, who is also the estate officer of Chandigarh which has some of the most expensive real estate in the country, explained through a computerised presentation on what was the impact of slums and encroachers on development of the city. The subject of encroachment on government land is very close to the heart of the Administrator and he has made it very clear that all encroachers have to be removed.

Symbolic protest

The employees of banks, insurance companies and various state government departments were on strike on May 21 on the call of central trade unions apparently to protest against the privatisation and anti-labour policies. When asked about the significance of the strike at a time when privatisation had become a reality, a senior trade union leader said, ‘‘We are also aware that we are unable to stop the speeding bulldozer of privatisation which has already caused the loss of millions of jobs. But we do not want to be blamed by the coming generations that we had not made even a symbolic protest against the government’s move.’’

Transfer woes

As per the existing provision of the Motor Vehicle Act, whenever a vehicle is moved to a state other than the state where the vehicle is originally registered, it is required to be registered afresh with the RTO of the new place. Because of this provision those in transferable jobs such as the banking industry are facing hardship.

The process of getting the vehicle registered afresh involves considerable expenditure. Officials driving vehicles with outside registration numbers are subjected to harassment and made to cough up substantial amounts by the police authorities.

Keeping in view these difficulties the Tamil Nadu government has extended exemption with regard to the tax payable in respect of non-transport vehicle belonging to the defence personnel, employees of the GOI and its public sector undertakings in respect of vehicles which are brought with them to the state of Tamil Nadu on transfer and for which tax has already been paid in other states or UTs.

The All-India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) has approached the Indian Banks Association to take up the matter with the Ministry of Surface Transport for securing exemption from fresh registration of vehicles owned by bank officers who are liable to be transferred throughout the country and at frequent intervals — according to Mr S.C. Dhall, a banker in Chandigarh.

Veg vs non-veg

A rare scene of protest was witnessed outside a local hotel on Friday evening, when a girl sat on a dharna protesting against the delivery of non-veg patty that was not ordered by her.

Talking to the TNS, the girl, a resident of Sector 21-B, said that she and her friend went to a local hotel to have refreshment. “My friend and I ordered a plate of veg cutlets and one piece of veg patty but the waiter served non-veg patty. When I asked the waiter that the non-veg item was not ordered, the waiter took up the patty and repeatedly insisted on that it was probably vegetarian. The matter was reported to the manager of the hotel who felt sorry and did not demand money for the order”, she said.

However, she lodged a written complaint before the manager to take appropriate action against the guilty for serving a non-veg item to her as she is purely vegetarian.

Interestingly, she also sat on a dharna for more than half an hour outside the hotel demanding action against the person responsible for the act.

Jail gesture

In order to help inmates lodged in Burail Model Jail to become better citizens of society, the jail authorities have made arrangements for about 45 inmates to appear in the examination conducted by the IGNOU in the jail. All the examination expenses will be paid by the UT administration.

Giving details the Superintendent of the jail, Mr D.S. Rana, said that this was the first time that so many inmates were taking an interest in the studies and have been appearing for exams.

— Sentinel



Change property sale laws: sabha 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha today urged the Administrator of Chandigarh, Justice O.P. Verma, to initiate steps to bring about the much-needed transparency in the Administration by introducing changes in the laws governing the sale and purchase of property.

In a statement issued here, Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, president, vice-president and general secretary, respectively, of the Sabha, said the active interest being taken by the Administrator in the affairs of the city was most welcome. They, however, sounded a note of caution on his reported instructions to officers of the Administration to curb the sale of property using the power of attorney to prevent loss of revenue and plug loopholes.

In a reference to various rules and by-laws governing the administration of property in Chandigarh, they pointed out that there were several restrictions on the sale of various properties in the city such as industrial plots, defence plots and residential plots allotted to various group housing societies over the years. “At the time of allotments, these properties were allotted with conditions that the allottees cannot sell these for a period of time after obtaining the occupation certificate. However, obtaining the occupation certificate for a building in the city is a herculean task. Thus a majority of the properties, though complete and having sewerage connection, in the absence of the occupation certificate, cannot be sold by the owners.

Thus in times of extreme need, they have no option but to sell their properties on the basis of the power of attorney”.

They urged him to make all properties, including industrial, residential and commercial, transferable by charging a conversion fee in case they had been allotted these 10 years ago or earlier. This will curb sale through the power of attorney and bring revenue to the Administration.



Revise family pension, demand pensioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The Punjab Government should bring the pensioners’ who had retired before January, 1996 on a par with those who had retired after January, 1996 by revising their pension up to 50 per cent of the grades of the last post held by them at the time of retirement. Their family pension should be revised up to 30 per cent of their total pension as per the notification issued by the Central, Maharashtra and Haryana governments.

These demands have been raised by the Punjab State Pensioners’ Confederation in a memorandum submitted to the state government. The association has called upon the Congress government in the state to consider the demands of the pensioners. According to them, the Congress had at the time of election promised to accept the recommendations of the Punjab Pay Commission but failed to do anything in this regard.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, president of the association, said keeping in view that pension was reduced proportionately depending upon the years of service period, the commission had recommended that all pensioners be granted additional pension at the rate of 0.5 per cent of average emoluments for each completed six months period of additional service over and above the qualifying service of 33 years.

He urged the state government to enhance medical allowance of the pensioners for the cost of medical treatment had gone up manifold during the past few years. The other demands of the association included reimbursement of medical expenses incurred on the prescription of qualified doctors even for pre and post outdoor chronic expenses.

He said the Civil Surgeon in the district should also be declared as an authorised officer to issue the certificate declaring the disease as a complicated chronic disease. He urged the government to accept the recommendation of the Pay Commission regarding full reimbursement of expenses incurred on medical tests and check-ups, besides reimbursing actual expenses incurred on specs, dentures, hearing aids, knee and hip replacement etc.



Kalka remains picture of neglect... courtesy 
powers that be
Historic town in danger of passing into history
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Kalka, May 25
Considered the gateway to the pristine beauty of Himalayas, this historic town is slowly losing its glory. With neighbouring Himachal Pradesh dumping this town as being part of Haryana, the latter has also failed to give Kalka its due. Years of neglect by successive governments in Haryana, which focussed on development of Panchkula instead, and pressures of modernisation, inspite of its geographical restraints and burgeoning population, have resulted in a sorry state of affairs in this township.

Residents of Kalka today highlighted their problems and grievances during an interactive session organised by The Tribune. The focus of this interactive session was on the problems and prospects of Kalka, and to project these at the right forum so that a practical solution could be evolved for the residents by the authorities concerned.

Traffic snarls in the Main Bazaar, which falls along the National Highway-22, need for fast completion of a Kalka by-pass, poor civic amenities, water pollution from industries in Himachal Pradesh, a sewerage system that has outlived its utility, inadequate water supply, defunct street lights, and poor sanitary conditions in the town were the major problems projected by the residents. They also blamed the administration for doing little to restore as save the historic places in this town.

Among others, Mr Lachhman Singh, former Member of Parliament, Mr S.S. Nanda, former President of Kalka Municipal Committee, local leaders, businessmen, lawyers and other prominent citizens representing all sections of society attended the meet.

Mr A. J. Philip, Officiating Editor of The Tribune, Mr A. S. Prashar, News Coordinator and Mr Yajan Kashyap, Deputy News Editor, Mr S. S Bhullar, Editor Punjabi Tribune, and Mr Raj Kumar Singh, Assistant Editor, Dainik Tribune, listened to the problems faced by residents.

Initiating the discussion, Mr Lachchman Singh, former Member of Parliament expressed gratitude that the task which ought to have been done by government officials and political representatives is being done by The Tribune. He said that while the population of Kalka had increased manifold, the infrastructure development had not kept pace with it. He said that with the town sharing the border with Himachal Pradesh, it could expand only on the Haryana side. “However, with the Periphery Control Act being implemented, all structures constructed outside the lal dora are considered illegal. The township is bursting at the seams and this Periphery Control Act should be abolished here,” he reasoned.

Blaming the local administration for its lethargy, the former Member of Rajya Sabha said that the government must initiate schemes for proper planning and systematic development of towns.

Mr Lachchman Singh also highlighted how the waters of Kaushalya, a seasonal river flowing through the town, was polluted by the industries set up in Barotiwala, Baddi and Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh. He said that this toxic river water often seeped under ground and polluted the tubewells and other sources of drinking water. Through the newspaper, he urged the state government to take this matter with the Himachal Government so that the river pollution could be stopped.

He lamented that work on Kalka bypass project, which was planned several years ago was not being started by Ministry of Surface Transport. “With all vehicles passing through the town, it results in traffic chaos. Half of the road is occupied by the vehicles of people visiting the market, and the remaining half by the people passing through the township,” he said.

He also pointed out that there was erratic supply of drinking water and power, and unhygienic sanitary conditions in most parts of the township.

Dr P.D. Dwivedi from the Sanatan Dharam Sabha, remarked that Kalka had etched its place in history, but over the years it was losing its history to over-modernisation. He said that the a hotel, which was made for the Rajas and Maharajas, who would rest here for a while, before resuming their journey to Simla, has now turned into ruins. He said that the post office now was earlier a tonga workshop from where the tongas were taken by these rajas for their onward journey to Simla. “Unless these historical places are preserved, the next generations would not know of the importance of the town,” he reasoned.

Speaking about the poor state of hygiene and sanitation, Dr Dwivedi said that a lot of filth had been accumulating in and around the town. Blaming the bureaucrats and politicians for the poor state of affairs, he said that the drainagae system in Kalka was the same as had been laid in 1936. “At a number of places, houses had been constructed over the open drains, thus causing sewerage blocks. With sewearge flowing in the open, the hygiene in most localities had gone for a six,” he said.

Mr S.P. Sethi, an office bearer of the Housing Board Association, Kalka, said that the residents of Housing Board Colony were often treated as poor country cousins. “The street lights remain out of order, sanitation is in bad shape and water shortage is a perrenial problem,” he said. He said that water was available only once a day and even then the water pressure was very low.” The problem becomes acute in summers when the water requirement increased by almost double,” he added.

Mr Sethi also said that a branch of a post office should be opened near Housing Board Colony for the benefit of hundreds of people residing there. He also lamented that the traffic police had failed to do anything about the accident prone spot on National Highway passing in front of the Housing Board Colony, where a lot of fatal accidents took place.

Ruing about the poor educational facilities being offered by the State Education Department in Kalka, Mr Vijay Kumar Bansal, an advocate and president of the Panchkula Congress (Rural), said that there was no girls school upto matriculation and senior secondary level. He said that masters degree in Hindi, English and political science being offered at the local Government College had also been stopped now.

He also said that the local Civil Hospital did not even have an opthalmology department and was in a dilapidated condition. He also urged that the government to come to the aid of HMT, Pinjore, as it provided employment for the residents of Kalka and Pinjore.” If the government were to come to the aid of the company, it would help the local people in having a permanent source of employment,” he said.

The problem of overhead electric cables dangling loosely overhead and loose telephone cables was highlighted by an office-bearer of the Arya Samaj, Mr Surinder Pal Sharma. He said that this could cause an untoward incident as the cables dangle near rooftops, where children play. He also said that there was no park in the town for the children or senior citizens.

Talking about the only public park in Kalka, Mr Ajay Singla said that Rabindra Nath Tagore Palika Udyan, the only park here, has been embroiled in controversy since day one. He said that earlier the way leading to this park was through the meat market. However, political considerations forced the authorities to make another road leading to the park so that the meat market would not be relocated.

“Then the administration, in its effort to reach to its objective of planting a certain number of trees as part of Van Mahotsav celebrations, planted saplings here. But no one cared for these and most of these plants died. Now, no one uses this park. If the administration were to give the maintenance of the park to a private party, things could improve and the residents could benefit,” he said.

Mr Mahavir Rana, a Railways employee here, rued that there was no direct train to either Haridwar, Meerut, Lucknow and several other important destinations.” Once Kalka was an important railway station. But now, it has lost its importance,” he said. His views were supported by Mr Amrit Pal Singh, music teacher at Government College, Kalka. He also lamented that there was no inquiry service at the bus-stand. Mr Amrit Pal also brought to light the dilapidated condition of roads in Kamla Nagar Colony, where the roads had been dug for laying the telephone cable several years ago, but these have not been repaired.

Talking about the poor bus service, Mr Manmohan Mangla, said that a large number of children go to the Kendriya Vidyalays in Chandi Mandir and other schools in Panchkula for their education. However, no local bus service to Kalka is available when the schools close down in the afternoon.

Mr R.K. Vaid, highlighted the problem of the slum dwellers in Kalka, who had not been issued the identity cards for being below the poverty line (BPL). He said that in several cases the administration had not cross-checked the applicants and some employed people who were above the poverty line had been issued these BPL cards ,while a number of residents of Bangla Colony and other slum and labour settlements had not been issued these cards.

The high development charges levied on residents was highlighted by Mr Anil Kumar Aggarwal. He also brought to focus the problem of connecting the two sides of Kaushalya river — from Tipra to Kalka. He said that a culvert was constructed on the river several times but it collapsed because of gushing water coming down the Himalayas during the monsoons.

The problems being faced by senior citizens were highlighted by Mr L.C. Behal. He said that it was a major problem for senior citizens to get the power and telephone bills deposited as there was no separate counter for senior citizens. One is forced to stand under the sun for hours in order to deposit the bills. The same is true for railway reservation counter. There is no separate provision for senior citizens and women, he rued.

Mr R.C. Sharma, talked about the dilapidated condition of the town library at Gandhi Chowk. He said that this library had not been updated since 1936.” This is the only centre for recreation for children to learn and for senior citizens to pass their time. But the administration is least concerned about updating this library,” he said.

The problem of underage driving and other traffic violations in Kalka, right under the nose of the police, was brought to light by Mr Suraj Razdan. He said that children could be seen zooming past on their two-wheelers and even in cars. These children use pressure horns, causing noise pollution, but the lack of traffic police in Kalka ensures that traffic rules are not followed.

Mr Razdan also urged the administration to set up a park or a recreation centre for senior citizens.

Complaining of poor sanitation facilities, Mr Rakesh Kothari said that there were only 27 safai karamcharis in Kalka.” But they are overworked and there is no effort to recruit more karamcharis, which speaks for the poor sanitation,” he pointed out.

Mr S.S. Nanda, formal president of Kalka Municipal Committee, said that the committee had no funds and the government was also not releasing any money for buying any equipment.



Society members complain against management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Eight members of the Blood Donors Cooperative House Building Society have in a joint complaint to the local Deputy Commissioner and Registrar of the Cooperative Societies alleged that the managing body of the society has been misleading the members by not disclosing the documents to the members regarding the allotment of contract to construct the flats.

They have also alleged that the members have not yet been informed about the election schedule already declared by the local administration for June 2. “We have never been provided with the copy of any resolution or minutes of the meetings in the past,” the members further alleged.

Meanwhile, Mr M. Ramshekhar, Deputy Commissioner, has directed the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, to inform the members of election details and ensure that the election programme is known to all members.

It may be mentioned that a court case is also pending before a local court regarding the allotment of contract of constructing the residential flats.



‘Order changed’ behind petitioner’s back
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
If allegations in a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are to be believed, Chandigarh’s Additional Registrar of Co-operative Socities “changed an order” regarding the holding of election behind the back of the petitioner — Pink Rose House Co-operative Building Society Limited.

In their petition, the society members alleged that they appeared before the Additional Registrar on May 23. But due to a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, the respondent was not available till about 1 pm. Counsel for the petitioner was later told that their reply had been taken on record and the matter had been adjourned till May 26. However, the respondent at around 4.30 pm, changed the order behind the petitioner’s back and kept the election in abeyance, counsel alleged.

Furthermore the petitioner was threatened that the society’s charge would be given to an administrator in case it was not given to certain respondents. All orders, they added, had been passed with malafide intention by the respondent. The case is likely to come up for further hearing on Monday.



Woman alleges police inaction

Chandigarh, May 25
A resident of Faidan village, Surinder Kaur, yesterday alleged that the Chandigarh Police had failed to take action against persons who had assaulted her and her husband in their house on Friday.

Talking to mediapersons, she said her husband was involved in a legal case with Ujjagar Singh. On Friday, she was at home when four persons of her village, Amrik Kaur, Surinder Singh, Harpal Kaur and Palo, forcibly entered her house and started beating her. She said she had approached the Sector 31 Police Station and the DSP, South, with her complaint. She said though she was assured of action by the police but nothing had been done. TNS



VHP distributes tridents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 25
About 180 persons were given tridents “for self protection” during a “trishul deeksha samaroh” organised by the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, amidst anti-Muslim rhetoric by leaders of the two parties at Pracheen Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, today. Mr Kailash, Haryana VHP organisational minister, who distributed tridents, claimed that over 50,000 youths from Punjab and Haryana would participate in the exercise in the coming days. The tridents were received amidst chanting of Jai Shree Ram.

Those present were Punjab VHP in charge, Mr Vijay Singh Bhardwaj, Mr Om Prakash Dheer of the Bajrang Dal and Haryana VHP in charge Bharat Bhushan.



Residents hold protest rally

Chandigarh, May 25
Residents of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) houses in Sector 45 today held a protest rally near kerosene pump against the move of the CHB authorities to demolish boundary walls and minor constructions done by the allottees.

The residents alleged that a notice was published in newspapers in which the allottees were asked to demolish such constructions themselves within 10 days, but the CHB authorities without bothering for the notice started demolitions the very next day.

The rally was addressed by Deputy Mayor Geeta Chaudhary, councillors Shyama Negi and Jatinder Bhatia besides the leaders of the CHB Residents Federation. TNS



Jewellery stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Thieves took away five leather bags containing jewellery, clothing and some other articles worth Rs 50,000 from a Maruti car parked in front of Maya Palace Hotel in Sector 35. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

Assault: Parmod Kumar, a resident of Palsora, complained to the police that Ram Gopal, Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Kamlesh, Sulu and Raju had assaulted him. The victim was admitted with injuries to the PGI. A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 17 Police Station.

Threatened: Navdeep, a resident of Sector 23, complained that eight youths entered his house and threatened him. A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 427, 323, 452 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

Case registered: On a complaint of the Superintendent of Ambala Central Jail, the Baldev Nagar police has booked a prisoner, who did not turn up even after the expiry of his parole period. According to the police, Chander Bhan, a resident of Naraingarh, who was lodged in the Ambala Central Jail in a criminal case and had gone on parole for three weeks, did not return till Sunday.

Snatching case: A woman of Jaggi colony, Ambala City, filed a complaint with the Baldev Nagar police station on Sunday that three youths snatched her purse and mobile phone when she was crossing the jail bridge. The purse contained Rs 2,000. A case has been registered.



Ask for BIS-stamped gold: dealers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
After Iraq war, it is now the depreciating value of dollar that is affecting the price of the gold in the international market. Despite the ongoing marriage season in North India, say dealers, the sales have not picked up. Besides purchasing limited quantity of gold ornaments for marriage, the couples are also coming to the dealers to exchange old traditional gold ornaments given by parents for sleek and stone studded jewellery.

Says Mr Anil Talwar, Talwar Sons Jewellers, “During Iraq war people were expecting that gold prices would come down drastically once the war is over. But due to depreciation of dollar, the prices have rather firmed up. There is no reason that the gold price would come down below Rs 5500 per 10 gram in the near future. “

The gold prices were fluctuating every day. If it was Rs 5725 per 10 gram on May 21, it fell to Rs 5670 on next day. Today’s price, he said, was Rs 5560 per 10 gram. But it was expected to fluctuate between today’s price and Rs 5,500 during the next few days.

Mr Gian Chand, a businessman, who had come to Sector 22 market to purchase jewellery for his daughter’s marriage, said, “Unfortunately, despite paying such a heavy price, we are not sure about the quality of gold. Further, some jewllers are charging up to Rs 200 per gram but others are ready to take just Rs 100 per ten gram as service or designing charges.”

Mr Talwar claimed that designing charges depended upon the quality of the designs and assurance about the purity of gold. Instead of asking the dealer to take less charges, the customers should rather demand “hallmark”-stamped jewellery whose quality was tested by the laboratories of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In fact, there were a few jewellers in the city who were offering BIS stamped jewellery with “BIS 916 stamp.”

The Tanishq jewellers in Sector 17 has installed carat measures machine, where they are offering discount on designing charges depending upon the purity of gold. Elaborating the importance of BIS mark, another dealer said, “The 916 stamp means that the gold has 91.6 per cent purity (22 carat), the purity that is used worldwide. Since with 100 per cent purity (24 carat), it is difficult to make ornaments, so the jewellers have to mix copper and silver to make good ornaments.”

However, there were a number of jewellers, he said, who would take less designing and manufacturing charges, but would not offer even 20 per cent purity of gold. So the customers should demand BIS stamped jewellery besides looking for new designs.


Gold price (per 10 gm, 22 carat)

April 2 ,2001

Rs 4090

April 2, 2002

Rs 4900

April 3, 2003

Rs 5200

May 21, 2003

Rs 5725

May 22, 2003

Rs 5670

May 24, 2003

Rs 5560


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