Tuesday, May 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


VVIP encroachers go scot-free
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The recent drive of the Chandigarh Administration against encroachments on the directions of the new Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, may be within the law but has anyone spared a thought for those who fall prey to the hard situations.

Can the UT administration look over encroachments pertaining to those in power? Is the service station for vehicles of the Punjab Chief Minister at the backside of his official residence or the park being developed outside the boundary wall of the residential complex of Punjab ministers in Sector 39 legal?

The Punjab Government has encroached upon a vast stretch of land measuring at least 50 acres adjoining the residential complex of Punjab ministers and senior bureaucrats that had been lying vacant for the past many years. When this correspondent visited the site, Punjab Armed Police (PAP) jawans were busy levelling the area for plantation of grass. The entire area has been fenced. Small doors have been illegal opened into the boundary wall in contravention of the building bylaws.

Mr Rajinder Singh, I-G (Security), Punjab, who came on the spot, admitted that the park was being developed with voluntary services from PAP jawans. He clarified that “we have got permission from the UT Administration and all documents regarding permission are lying with him in his office.”

Even if the UT Administration has granted permission, how come the entry has been restricted only to the VVIPs and children of that particular residential complex? “Heavy security is deployed at morning which bars employees of the Punjab Government living in Sector 39 C&D entry into the park”, complained a resident of Sector 39-D.

The service station for vehicles of the Punjab Chief Minister is being run on vacant land at the back of his official residence. Sources in the MC revealed that the Punjab Government has not got permission to run this service station in a residential area.

These are just a few examples of encroachment by bigwigs. If one makes a round of the city, particularly its plush areas, most politicians and bureaucrats are seen having encroached administration or municipal land without inviting any action.

“Why are only poor people driven out of shelter or places of livelihood?” questions Sunder, a resident of Kumhar Colony. “Poor people often become victims of the very people whom they serve tirelessly. They flaunt their wealth and status beyond the reach of the law”, he added.

It may be mentioned that poor people living in the slums of City Beautiful provide the middle and upper class with basic facilities of maid servants, rickshaw-pullers, labourers for building houses/other buildings, vendors selling vegetables and fruits at their doorstep etc. Even though their services are urgently required by the middle and upper middle class one daily hears the general public denouncing slum-dwellers, saying that “they are thieves and criminals, they sell illicit liquor, their boys take and sell drugs, they have too many children — the list is endless....”

Local MP Pawan Bansal and Mayor Subhash Chawla have both alleged that the new Punjab Governor and the Administrator of Chandigarh, Justice O.P. Verma, is working at the behest of the BJP to defame the Congress MP and councillors by carrying out demolitions in an arbitrary manner.

“The Chandigarh Administration needs to spare a thought for the poor living in the slums and their ‘petty’ businesses. All possible help should be granted to rehabilitate them as per the existing law”, said Pradeep Chhabra, a local councillor.


Taste of victory for sweepers
MC panel accedes to major demands; no to contract system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
A nine-member special committee of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, headed by the former Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, in its report submitted to the Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, here today rejected the proposal of initiating contract system for sanitation work in the city. The committee has also accepted most of the pending demands of the sweepers.


* Drop the tenders floated to hand over sanitation work in southern sectors to private contractors.

* Contract system in sanitation wing may not be pursued.

* MC may engage sweepers on daily wages to keep the city clean.

* Provide employment to the dependents of sweepers after death.

* Allot plots to sweepers on easy instalments after retirement.

* Make the provisions of risk allowance for sweepers.

* Provide gumboots and raincoats once two years to sweepers.

* Promote those sweepers as cleaners who fulfil the qualifications.

* Allow the course of sanitary inspector to the qualified sweepers.

Meanwhile, the MC authorities have decided to lay the seven-page report of these recommendations on the table of the House at the meeting of the General House scheduled for tomorrow. For this, a supplementary agenda was prepared and circulated among the councillors late in the evening.

According to the report: “Keeping in view all factors, including the demand of the sweepers’ union, likely financial liability of the MC, unsatisfactory working of the earlier contracts and other related matters, majority of the committee members expressed their views against the contract system in the sanitation wing of the MC and also expressed the view that the proposed contract for which the tenders have been floated in two zones for the southern sectors of the city be dropped”.

Further, suggesting the scrapping of the scheme under prevailing conditions, the committee has recommended to the General House: “The contract system in the sanitation wing of the MC does not appear to be properly workable to ensure good sanitary conditions. Hence the private contract system in the sanitation wing may not be pursued for the time being”.

The report has also suggested the MC to engage sweepers on daily wages (on contract) as per the requirement of the corporation by providing them minimum wages to ensure proper sanitation of the city.

At the same time, the committee has maintained: “If the corporation, to ensure proper sanitation of the municipal area, finds that proper sanitary conditions are not being maintained, it may adopt any other suitable alternative method to ensure proper sanitation”.

Political observers say that the committee has mainly stressed the need to pacify the sweepers, who had been showing their uneasiness over the issue, following apprehensions of losing their jobs.

The issue of privatisation of sanitation was brought up in the General House meeting of the MC on March 31 but could not be discussed following stiff opposition from the SAD-BJP councillors. However, tenders were later floated inviting bids to hand over sanitation work on contract in two zones, early this month, which could not be worked out due to “political” pressure.

Acceding to the demand of the sweepers to increase the number of sweepers, the committee has stressed upon the filling of 1,009 vacant posts of sweepers. It may be mentioned that the MC had earlier recommended to the UT Administration to allow them to recruit at least 1,009 sweepers, other than the existing ones, to fill the existing vacancies.

In regard to the other demands of the sweepers, the committee has unanimously recommended to provide employment to dependents of sweepers after death while in service, to increase the financial assistance from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 being given on the death of sweepers to legal heirs, to allot plots to them on easy instalments after retirement, to seek favourable consideration from administration for making a provision of risk allowance, to provide gumboots and raincoats once every two years, to provide four cakes of soap and one litre of mustard oil per month to each sweeper, to promote those sweepers as cleaners on the vehicles deployed in the sanitation wing subject to the fulfilment of qualifications as laid down in the norms of recruitment, to recommend qualified sweepers for the course of sanitary inspector and to construct booths on the place of their attendance.


Unemployed youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 26
A 26-year-old unemployed youth of Balongi village committed suicide here last night allegedly due to being fed up with his father’s and brother’s behaviour towards him. Yashpal Sharma killed himself by hanging himself from a high-tension electricity pole using his shirt. His body was found hanging from the pole on the Balongi-SAS Nagar link bridge by villagers this morning after which the police and the family was informed.

The Kharar police has registered a case under Section 306 of the IPC (abetment to suicide) against the father, Charanjit Sharma, and the brother Nitin Sharma, of the deceased on the basis of a suicide note found on the body of Yashpal. According to the police, Yashpal wrote in his note that his father and brother wanted him to die and hit him often.

Although Yashpal’s father refused to talk to the Chandigarh Tribune, police sources said Yashpal had a fight with his family last night and left home around 8.30 pm, after which they did not hear from him. Villagers found him hanging from a pole.

One of the three sons of Charanjit Sharma, a former employee of Punwire, Yashpal was a graduate and had been trying his hands at various jobs for the past few years. The sources said Yashpal seemed to have had a strained relationship with his father, who had some time ago even disowned him. The family was also facing monetary problems. Charanjit Sharma was working with Punwire here, but after it closed down, the family was facing problems. The sources said the deceased was also known to take drugs.


Husband booked for dowry death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 26
A 21- year- old woman was brutally beaten up by her husband, for allegedly not acceding to his demands for getting dowry. The victim, Suman, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh this morning.

The police has booked her husband, Guddu, on charges of causing dowry death. Though the accused evaded arrest, the police was on his trail and a case under Section 304-B of IPC had been registered.

In his complaint to the police, Danish, brother of the victim, said that his sister was married to Guddu, a resident of Azad Colony in Sector 3, almost one and a half years ago. He has alleged that his sister was often beaten up by the accused in order to pressurise her to get dowry.

On May 21, the victim was again beaten up by her husband. Bleeding profusely, she was rescued by some neighbours, who informed her brother, before rushing her to the PGI, Chandigarh. The victim died today.


Cops to tap public for information
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The city police will now be utilising its interaction with the public to gather information on crime and criminals. The development is a result of its decision to strengthen intelligence gathering network in the city.


  • Beat staff to gather intelligence about crime and criminals during patrolling.
  • Field staff asked to be on the lookout for information on organised crime.
  • Policemen to help members of the public to redress their grievances.

Apart from the regular policing, the beat staff is now being briefed about the intelligence gathering aspect. Today, the deputy superintendents of police and station house officers were asked to brief their field staff on two-way flow of information to gather intelligence about criminals.

Sources said the directives have been issued after a committee of ministers, set up by the Central Government on “national security system”, made recommendations regarding systematic functioning of police stations to all state governments and Union Territories. The committee had said that the government should streamline the functioning of the police stations while ensuring that policemen devoted time and attention to intelligence gathering.

The SHOs have been asked to be proactive in their functioning and brief their beat staff on intelligence gathering. The policemen have been asked to interact with members of the public while patrolling in their respective areas.

Policemen have been asked to be on the lookout for information on the activity of organised crime like drug trafficking, satta, illegal sale of liquor and gambling. Those arrested previously on account of illegal sale of liquor, gambling and drug trafficking, should be kept under watch. In a circular to the DSPs and SHOs, the SSP has said that the SHOs should react to the information forwarded by the senior police officials. The information on the activity of some crime, supplied by members of the public, should be verified before acting on it.

The beat staff has been asked to be people-friendly. The field staff has been asked to work in close liaison with the officials of other departments if the complaints of the public were related to other government departments. The SSP has asked the field staff to make entries of its activities in the beat books along with information on important persons and places. “If any surprise checks were conducted by senior police officials, the beat staff should be able to brief them”, said a police official.


Remove films from cars, officers told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The Punjab police today wrote to the Joint Secretary, asking him to instruct the IAS and PCS officers to remove black films from their official and unofficial cars immediately. Likewise, the police officers have also been told not to violate the instructions with regard to the black film on the windowpanes of their official and unofficial cars.

Sources said the Chandigarh police had brought that matter to the notice of the Punjab police that a number of IAS and PCS officers were violating the order regarding the use of black film in vehicles.

Reports in this connection have also been sent to the Punjab police, recommending action against those violating the instructions pertaining to the black film.

Meanwhile, the ADGP( Security), Mr R.K. Gupta, has written to all IGs, DIGs, and SSPs and other officers in Punjab to start a campaign to remove unauthorised black films and red lights from the vehicle of VIPs and others.

Intimation has been sent to offices concerned in the district that the authorities concerned have only authorised to about dozen persons to use black films. But it has come to notice that a large number of people are moving around in vehicles having black films on glasses.

There are reports that a zen car with black film on its glasses was seen in Chandigarh a few days ago. Its number was noted by a senior officer of Punjab police. When an effort was made to identify the car from the official files, the officer concerned was stunned to find that the number of the car was allotted to a scooter. The car was not only violating instructions pertaining to the black film, it was also moving about with a fake number plate.


Names of 297 POs deleted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The Chandigarh Police has deleted the names of 297 Proclaimed Offenders as part of its exercise to revise the list of POs in all its police stations.

A spokesman of the police said under the Punjab Police Rules, Section 23.23, the police had to regularly include, omit and revise the list of Proclaimed offenders in consultation with the District Magistrate.

The names of the POs were omitted after there was no evidence about them on record.

The names were deleted after the SSP issued directions to the SHOs to carry out the exercise of identifying the POs whose names were suitable for deletion.


They brought honour to regiment

“THREE Army personnel travelling aboard the Golden Temple Mail put their lives at stake to save over 200 passengers entrapped in the compartments of the train. The only regret these Army personnel have is that they could not save 38 passengers who were charred to death”. This is what a front-page news report in The Tribune said on May 16.

The mail train on its way to Amritsar caught fire near Ludhiana in the wee hours of the morning on May 15. The Army men who set this example were Havildars J.D. Singh, Bhagwan Singh and Sapper Sukhchain Singh. They belong to the famous 119 Assault Engineering Regiment, of the Bombay Sappers Group, which is located in the Western Sector.

The Army personnel have always come to the rescue of the public in disaster because they are trained to be saviours. Perhaps, military training to our citizens will make them more disciplined besides inculcating a spirit of self-sacrifice in them for the good of mankind.

Incidentally, 119 Assault Engineering Regiment has achieved a high standard of discipline and professional excellence. No wonder then, eight personnel of the regiment were commended by the Army Commander for their exemplary devotion to duty in Operation Parakaram.

That the Army Chief General N.C. Vij has honoured the Armymen, who saved 200 passengers by risking their own lives, has given great encouragement to them. It has also tickled the instinct of other Army personnel to uphold the high traditions of the Army.

Liquor quota mockery

There is a great resentment among the ex-servicemen in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar against the orders of the Army authorities that the liquor sold from the CSD(I) canteen from June 1, will be issued after breaking the seals of liquor bottles.

Almost all ex-servicemen i.e officers, JCOs and other ranks, are bitter about this order. They comment ruefully that if the defence liquor is falling in the unauthorised hands, the culprits should be caught and taken to task. “But treating all ex-servicemen as thieves is unpardonable”.

To see the reaction of ex-servicemen to this laughable order, they have been asked to offer their comments on whether they will draw liquor from the CSD(I) canteen with broken seals. Almost all of them have commented adversely on this order. Some of the comments read: “This is great humiliation. The orders must be withdrawn. No, I will not draw liquor from the canteen with this humiliation of broken seals. This is a degradation which I cannot stomach”. The general feeling is that no self-respecting officer, JCO or jawan should draw liquor from the canteen from June 1, if this order is not withdrawn.

As for the quota, no one is drawing it in full except when there is a function or a ceremony. Since the Army Headquarters must have taken all points into consideration while fixing this quota, it may not be changed.

Commissioning of docs

After four and a half years of training at the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, 72 medical graduates successfully completed their MBBS course and were commissioned in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) recently. Of them, 14 were girls.

While commissioning them Lieut-Gen B.N. Shahi, Director-General, AFMS, said that medical science was both an art and science. The science, he said, lost its relevance if the art of medicine was forgotten. The science of medicine had therefore, to be practiced with care, compassion, commitment and the highest degree of professional integrity.

General Shahi awarded the President’s Gold Medal for the best all-round cadet Lieut Asish Pandey. The second best cadet trophy was awarded to Flying Officer Shivani.

Holiday homes

The concept of holiday homes took birth in the British mind in the days of yore. They were meant to provide rest and relaxation to the battle weary troops. Today, we have holiday homes at some of the hill stations for officers and their families for a short stay.

The Kasauli Holiday Home has only 15 suites i.e. 11 small and four large. Considering the number of officers, both serving and retired in this region, the holiday home should have at least double of its present accommodation. Besides, all holiday homes should have bar and messing facilities as are provided in Sherwood Shimla.


Yeoman service by Helpline
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh May, 26
Despite the fact that his meagre salary is barely enough to provide two square meals a day to his family, nothing prevents Ram Prasad from spending money to save the life of unknown patients battling for life at the PGI emergency.

It is not just the sincerity and dedication of doctors and other para medical staff at the PGI which saves the lives of patients, but even deserted persons battling for life here are taken care by a social organisation, Helpline.

The presence of attendants of the Helpline round the clock at the PGI Emergency helps in saving the lives of unattended patients, who are brought here. “Had it not been for the attendants of the Helpline, we would have faced great difficulty in saving the lives of deserted patients as with so much of burden it is not possible for us to attend to them all the time,” said a doctor at the PGI. Others, too, have words of appreciation for the efforts of the workers of Helpline.

One such dedicated worker, Ram Prasad from Dalay village in Nepal, has been taking care of unattended patients for the past five years. “Though I am a paid worker of the Helpline, but I consider myself lucky that the God has given me the chance to serve the sick and ailing,” feels Ram Prasad.

The Helpline has three attendants who are present in the emergency round the clock. “We bring all medicines, get tests done and take care of all the needs of the unattended patients till their family members can be contacted,” said Ram Prasad.

The attendants, who at times are on duty for more than 12 hours, say it is rare that people appreciate their services. “What to talk of thanking us for taking care of their loved one, they refuse to pay us the money we spend on medicines for the patient,” rues Ram Prasad. Though the medicines required for unknown patients are mostly provided by the PGI and other voluntary organisations, at times these attendants spend money from their pocket.

Two other attendants Vinod and Jaswant say they try to save the live of every deserted patient, but at times their condition is so critical that they die. “Even though we see people dying in the hospital everyday, but still we feel bad when despite our best efforts we are unable to save an unknown patient,” says Ram Prasad.

They say at times they have to take care of 10 unattended patients in a day.

The Helpline also takes care of patients who after being discharged from the PGI stay at the serai, before they can travel back home.


CPI activists stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
CPI leaders from various parts of the state here today staged a dharna at the local Matka chowk in protest against the alleged anti-people policies of the Punjab Government.

Warning the state government on the occasion, the CPI leaders said they would intensify the agitation if the hike in tuition fees, drinking water and sewerage charges and power tariff was not withdrawn immediately.

The CPI also demanded for the restoration of free education for girls. They demanded that the government should drop the move to privatise Civil Hospital at Amritsar.

The government should not sold its institutions that were established after hard work for decades, to private parties. The leaders criticised the casino culture that was allegedly being promoted by the ruling Congress in the state.

The leaders alleged that the state government was the first in the country to implement the agenda of WTO and IMF. Such policies would ruin the state, they added.

Among those who addressed the dharna were Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the CPI, Mr Bant Singh Brar, Mr Jagroop Singh, Mr Piara Singh Deosi, Mr Bhupinder Sambar, Mr Hardev Arshi, Mr Kartar Singh Boani and Mr Gurnam Kanwar, all state secretariate members of the party.

Various other organisations associated with the CPI such as the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Punjab Istri Sabha, and the All India Students Federation also participated in the dharna.


Spinfed staff oppose disinvestment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Members of the Spinfed Employees Union’ at a meeting of their executive body held today, unanimously opposed the disinvestment and closure of Spinfed by the government.

The union president, Mr Nirmal Singh Ghuman, has warned that if the government did not backtrack from its stand, they would be forced to launch an agitation.

They have demanded that employees of the Spinfed Department be adjusted in the other government departments and the decision to implement the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) be taken back.


Disco owner complains to police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
In connection with the arrest of three call girls from near discotheque Aerizzona, by the Chandigarh Police yesterday, the owner of the discotheque, Mr Surinder Singh, in a complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police, today alleged that the police had defamed his discotheque by stating that the girls were arrested from near there.

He alleged that call girls had been arrested from a guest house run by the Haryana Government in Sector 2 here and another guest house being run from Sector 22. Mr Surinder Singh demanded an enquiry into the entire episode.


Everest hero honoured
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 26
The local unit of the Mirpur Welfare Association has honoured Mr C.P. Vohra, a former Director-General of the Geological Survey of India, who was a member of the first Indian expedition which climbed the Mount Everest in May, 1965. Mr Vohra belongs to Mirpur, now in the Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Incidentally, Mr Vohra is the only Indian to have climbed both the Mount Everest and gone on an Antarctica expedition.


Mini-Secretariat typist nabbed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 26
The police has arrested Bhushan Paswan, a typist in the Mini-Secretariat here, for getting driving licences made at the SDM’s office after taking a commission ranging between Rs 300 to Rs. 1000 from applicants. His accomplice, Sunil Kumar, has, however managed to give police a slip.

This two-member gang was busted by the police after a complaint was received from Mr. Ramesh Kumar. He alleged that though a fee of Rs 750 was charged at the SDM’s office for getting the driving licence made, the accused were charging anything between Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1800 for getting the driving licence made. A case under Section 420 of IPC has been registered.

One booked

A resident of Sector 16 here, Vikas Kapoor, has been accused of cheating and misrepresenting facts by issuing fake cash receipts of Municipal Council to Manmohan Sharma on pretext of getting him a booth allotted in Sector 20.

The case came to light when Manmohan Sharma approached the Executive Officer of Municipal Council here to know when the booth would be alloted to him. On being told that the MC was not the agency that alloted booths and it was HUDA that dealt in this regard, Mr Sharma showed him the receipts issued to him.

The matter was then brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, who directed the Superintendent of Police to take necessary action. The police is now on the look out for Kapoor.

SAS Nagar

6 held for gambling

The police here has arrested at least six persons on the charge of gambling. In a surprise raid conducted by the Deputy Speaker and Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, this evening on the Guru Nanak Colony, the police arrested these persons and seized cash and satta parchis from them.

According to information available, the Deputy Speaker after a function in Matoaur this evening took the police with him to the Guru Nanak Colony. He had received information from colony residents that gambling was on in the garb of lotteries there. While a large number of persons were allegedly gambling at the lottery counters, many of them ran away on seeing the police along with the MLA.


Drug addict commits suicide

Chandigarh: Veeru, a 22-year-old drug addict of Ram Darbar, committed suicide here today. According to the police, he stabbed himself to death using a kitchen knife. He was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in the evening where he died after a few hours. The police said Veeru ‘s mother and two younger brothers lived in Ram Darbar but since he had been on drugs for the past six years his mother, who is a fruit vendor outside the District Courts, had disowned him. Veeru was unhappy and would often tell his mother and two brothers that he would kill himself. The younger brother of the deceased had gone to SAS Nagar to get some medicine and finding no one at home, Veeru stabbed himself. The police had registered a case under Section 309 of the IPC. TNS

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