Friday, May 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC scraps sanitation tenders
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh today scrapped the tenders floated to invite bids for sanitation work in southern sectors, including four villages —Burail, Badheri, Attawa and Butrela — besides Mani Majra and colonies in the city.

Confirming this, the Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, told Chandigarh Tribune that the “tenders invited for handing over the sanitation work on contract had a few technical errors”.

He said the tenders were floated without the approval of terms and conditions of the contract in the general house.

A majority of the councillors had raised questions over the tenders being floated without the approval of the terms and conditions of the contract in the general house. They also raised questions over the delay in opening of the tenders for more than 10 weeks after inviting bids.

However, Mr Chawla clarified that the scrapping of tenders did not mean that the proposal of handing over of the sanitation work on contract had been cancelled. “The proposal is still pending before the general house and a final decision will be taken by members at the general house meeting on June 5”, he said.

The Mayor said the councillors would decide the fate of the contract system through secret ballot. “It will be now up to the councillors to formulate a streamlined policy on the terms and conditions of the contract of sanitation in the city”, he added.

The issue became controversial soon after the tenders were floated in March. Regular sweepers of the MC took to the streets, fearing that they would lose their jobs if the contract system was enforced.

The contract system could not be implemented following stiff opposition from opposition parties in the general house meetings of March 31 and April 29.

Later, when the tenders were opened in the last week of April, the sweepers intensified their stir with a chain hunger strike and demonstrations. They even laid siege to the MC office in Sector 17. In the meantime, the issue was politicised, forcing the MC authorities not to allot the contract to any of the interested firms.

When the issue came before the general house meeting on April 29, BJP councillors Gian Chand Gupta and Kamla Sharma disrupted the proceedings, forcing the ruling Congress to appoint a nine-member committee of councillors from all parties to look into the ‘aspects’ of the contract system.

The nine-member committee, headed by a former Mayor and Congress councillor, Ms Lalit Joshi, during its meetings held on May 15, 19 and 23, discussed the issue of handing over the sanitation work to private firms in two zones, besides other demands of the sweepers.

In a surprising decision, the committee recommended to the general house to reject the earlier proposal of privatisation of sanitation work in the city, paving the way to defuse the ongoing agitation of the sweepers. The committee also accepted most of the pending demands of the sweepers.

However, when the issue came up before the general house meeting on May 27, the councillors were divided over the issue. No decision could be taken due to difference of opinion among the councillors, including a few from the ruling party. Four hours of discussion proved a futile exercise, forcing the Mayor to adjourn the proceedings. Meanwhile, a special meeting of the general house has been called on June 5 to discuss the issue.


PEC teacher’s selection quashed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 29
Declaring that the grouping of posts of professor in engineering and applied science was illegal, the Central Administrative Tribunal(CAT) has quashed the selection and appointment of Dr Harminder Kaur as Assistant Professor in applied science (Chemistry Department) at Punjab Engineering College (PEC).

The petitioner, Dr Sarla Kumari, had filed a case against the Union of India through Secretary, Department of Personnel, Central Secretariat, New Delhi; Chandigarh Administration through UT Home Secretary; Principal, Punjab Engineering College, Dr Harminder Kaur and the UPSC through its Secretary, Dholpur House, New Delhi.

The petitioner stated in the petition that she belonged to the general category and had been appointed as lecturer in applied science (Chemistry) on ad hoc basis at PEC on October 17, 1984. Having been selected as lecturer on regular basis through the UPSC, she joined on February 15, 1989, in the scale of Rs 2200-4000 and was placed in the senior scale of Rs 3000-5000 with effect from February 15, 1994.

The petitioner had complained that the UPSC had advertised a post of Assistant Professor in applied science (Chemistry Department) PEC, to be reserved for the OBC category. She alleged that as per the instruction no reservation was provided in respect of the single post cadre and in case of small cadres, where cadre strength is between 2 to 13, the departments were asked to consider grouping of posts in different cadres as prescribed by the Government of India. For small cadres, where strength is between 2 to 13 posts and where it is not possible to resort to such grouping, the methods given in L-type model roster was to be followed to decide reservation position.


Ravi Kant’s family feud hots up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
The on-going feud between the mother and family of former Inspector-General of Police and accused in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, Mr Ravi Kant Sharma, today reached a flashpoint when his mother, Mrs Kamla Sharma, was barred from entering their house in Sector 6 by Haryana Police security guards deployed outside the house.

The incident took place around 12.30 pm, when the wife and daughter of the former IG, Mrs Madhu Sharma, and Ms Komal, respectively, were out of station. The situation deteriorated to the extent that the local police had to be called to resolve the issue. The 82-year-old widow, Mrs Kamla Sharma, was allowed to enter the house in the presence of the local police, but was not allowed to take any possessions from the house.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mrs Kamla Sharma, said she had gone to her Sector 6 residence to get her summer clothes, airconditioner and a refrigerator. She has been living with her daughter, Sudha Joshi, at the latter’s Mani Majra residence since, Ravi Kant was named as an accused in the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar. She had recently accused her daughter-in-law, Madhu, of turning her out of the house and siphoning off her money.

“My driver, Jaswant, and maid, Babbu, were accompanying me. I had the keys to the house and when I tried to enter, the security guards refused to allow me inside. Even though I am an old woman, I had to sit outside in the sun till the time the local police came in. Even then, I was not allowed to take away my own things,” alleged Mrs Kamla Sharma.

She alleged that the local police even threatened to arrest her driver and maid if they tried to take away any belongings. Mrs Kamla Sharma said the police had acted at the behest of her daughter-in-law, who was informed by either the security guards or some neighbours.

Repeated attempts to contact Mrs Madhu Sharma proved futile. Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir S. Sharma, said the police had no role to play in the entire episode and a police party had been summoned by someone from the house, who had alleged that someone was trying to break into the house.


Libyan ban on travel may go
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
As many as 600 Indian workers who are stranded here at the end of their annual leave may be able to resume their duties in Libya soon as the authorities there are favourably inclined to lift the ban on travel to and from India. The Libyan authorities had imposed a blanket ban on travel after the outbreak of SARS some time ago.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, took up the issue with the Foreign Office, saying that the majority of the Indian workers stranded here because of the ban were Punjabis who had come home on annual leave before the outbreak of SARS.

In case the ban is not lifted immediately, these workers may not be able to resume their duties in Libya as their visas or entry permits would lapse . In most of the cases of the stranded Indian workers, the validity of visa is till May 31.

Responding to the communication from Mr Tarlochan Singh , the West Asia and North Africa Desk of Ministry of External Affairs shot a letter to the Indian Ambassador in Tripoli, Mr A. Ramesh, saying that the blanket ban imposed by Libya had started causing problems for a number of Indian workers currently here on annual leave. “The total number of Indians so far affected is approximately 600.This number is in addition to other Indian business travellers to Libya. Similarly, Libyans desirous of travelling to India are forbidden to come here,” the letter said.

It is further held that unless the Indian workers are allowed to return by May 31, their visas may lapse. Issuance of fresh Libyan visas may prove to be time-consuming and otherwise problematic. The Desk wanted the Ambassador to take up the matter with the Libyan authorities and impress upon them to lift the ban as even the World Health organisation (WHO) does not include India in its list of countries where SARS is prevalent. The ban, unless revoked soon, would also hurt the prospects of bilateral cooperation which had emerged from the mutually beneficial last session of Indo-Libyan Joint Commission, the letter said.

According to a communication from the Indian Ambassador to Libya, Mr A. Ramesh, the Libyan authorities have constituted a committee to look into the question of lifting such restrictions on nationals of some select countries, including India. The committee, which consists of key officials from economic, immigration and health ministries is expected to come out with its decision shortly, says the message sent by Mr A. Ramesh to the Foreign office in New Delhi following assurances that extremely stringent measures have been taken for the prevention and containment of SARS.

Mr A. Ramesh said the Indian Mission had already taken up the issue with the Head of Consular Division in Libyan Foreign Office on May 1. A formal demarche to the Libyan Foreign Office was made on May 7.

It also drew attention to India’s multifaceted economic and commercial cooperation with Libya and the implications on bilateral economic and commercial ties implicit in the enforcement of such restrictive measures on Indian nationals.

Mr Tarlochan Singh told The Tribune over the telephone today that he was hopeful that the ban would be lifted immediately and Indian workers would be able to resume their work in Libya.


Talk on SARS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik held a meeting for its members. The guest speaker, Dr Atul Sachdeva, Head of Medicine, Sector 32, Government Medical College, Chandigarh, spoke on “Global interest — SARS”.

Dr G.S. Kochhar, President of Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik and Chairman, Indian Medical Association Academy of Medical Specialties, in his welcome address said experts from Cadiff University and University of Wales, Colleges of Medicine “believe that huge amount of micro-organisms, including SARS virus, land on earth everyday from space.” The first case of SARS was reported in Hanoi on February 26, 2003. Till now SARS has killed more than 700 persons and infected well over 7000 globally.

Dr Atul Sachdeva said the main symptoms of SARS were high fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties and changes in X-ray of chest indicative of pneumonia. Medical teams have been badly affected by SARS pneumonia in Hong Kong. An Italian doctor, who identified SARS virus, himself died.

At the moment the epidemic appears to be under control but WHO has said that SARS is still a significant threat to all because of its new entity.


Extra classes for govt school students
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, May 29
Concerned over the poor performance of government school students in the examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, the UT Education Department has asked teachers to conduct extra classes during the summer vacations.

Though the authorities describe the holding of classes as a “routine exercise”, sources in the Education Department say that the recently declared result has “left them worried”.

The classes will commence from June 2 and continue till the end of the month. These will be held for “weak students”, specially the ones studying in classes VIII, X and XII. Sources say the examinations are “crucial” as these are conducted by the Board.

More attention, the sources say, will be paid to the students who get compartment in the previous class examinations, besides the ones studying English language for the first time. Sports classes will also be held in the mornings everyday so that students “do not loose touch” with games during the holidays.

The development is significant as for the first time, almost all schools will be holding classes for two hours everyday as compared to 50 per cent of the institutes in the previous years. These classes are expected to go a long way in improving the results.

The sources say a large number of students, specially the ones from rural areas, waste their time playing around in the fields, during holidays instead of doing the homework. “If nothing else, the students will at least do their homework and overcome their weaknesses,” The weak students will be able to catch up with the brilliant ones”, sources say. They say that letters have already been issued to teachers of the model and non-model schools asking them to hold the classes on rotation basis.

Extra classes, sources say , will not burden teachers as they will not be forced to take classes for more than five days during the vacations.

The Director, Public Instructions (Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat, said the teachers, working on contract basis, will be paid for extra classes.

Even though the authorities claim that the teachers are “enthusiastic” about the classes, the teacher say the instructions issued by the authorities have “spoiled” their plans for the vacations.

A government school teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said, “It is true that teachers will be taking the classes only for a week on rotation basis, but most of them have been forced to cancel their plans, specially the ones asked to hold classes in the middle of the month. The principals are trying to accommodate them, but one cannot go out for a week, take classes for seven days and go back on vacations again”.


Govt schools to hold summer workshops
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
A summer workshop at absolutely no cost in government schools for their students this vacation is the UT Education Department’s answer to the many other workshops doing lucrative business in the city.

Reviving the decade-old tradition, these workshops would endeavour to engage students, fruitfully cultivate interest and hone talents. With flexible timings and offering a variety of week-long workshops, the camps would cater to outsiders as well at a nominal fee of Rs 100 to be utilised for purchasing material required for the hobby.

Beginning on June 2, a circular to this effect issued today, each school would hold workshops according to the number of teachers at its disposal with the department adverse to hiring outside help. “Hiring professionals from outside would only make it imperative for us to charge fee and we are against the very idea when our own teachers can deliver the goods,” says Mr DS Mangat, DPI (Schools).

The activities have been distributed among the schools in a manner that the teachers available with them can hold short camps as well as enjoy their vacation, each teacher to be given a short break after conducting the workshop. The schedule, timings and activities, has been left entirely to the school principals.

Dance and song, cookery and painting, craft and puppet-making, the summer camps are offering a whole lot of activities to choose from and students are free to enroll in any school depending on their individual tastes. In addition, sports and computer classes would also continue as has been the practice in previous years.

To be run in all middle, high and senior secondary schools, the idea is not only to keep the students busy but the buildings occupied as well right through the vacation. Also, the department is hoping the workshops would elicit a good response going by the keenness the idea evoked amongst its students.

The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, had asked the Education Secretary to utilise the vacations in schools for various students’ growth activities at a meeting of the Education Department held last week.

He had asked the Home Secretary to explore the possibility of starting summer hobby classes in government schools to keep the contract teachers fully occupied and also to channelise the students’ energy. 


Anticipatory bail plea of Bhardwaj rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Chandigarh’s suspended Judicial Magistrate S.S. Bhardwaj’s petition for the grant of anticipatory bail in a bribery case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was dismissed by Mr Justice Virender Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

Claiming to have been implicated, Bhardwaj, in his petition, had asserted that he was out of station when the alleged raids were conducted at his Sector 22 house. He had alleged that not even a single document, prepared by the Central Bureau of Investigation, had been signed by him even though the raid had continued for over six hours from 6.30 pm.

The petitioner had added that he had no connection with Jalandhar’s suspended District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta. Giving details, Bhardwaj submitted that he had never worked as his subordinate.

Arguing before the court, his counsel had asserted that the petitioner’s absence from his house during the raid was established from the fact that the CBI had not proceeded against the officials allegedly responsible for Bhardwaj’s escape. Action for negligence, he had added, would have been initiated against the officials had Bhardwaj escaped from their custody.

Case adjourned

The Contempt of Court case against The Tribune will come up before a Bench of three High Court Judges on July 7 for further hearing. Arguments in the case remained inconclusive today.

Appearing before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, counsel for The Tribune submitted an affidavit. Another affidavit was submitted by the standing counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation, also a party in the case. The Court, it may be recalled, had taken suo-motu notice of a news report published in the newspaper.


NH four-laning on BoT basis
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MRTH) has decided to hand over the four laning work on 131 km of two National Highways in the region on a build operate and transfer ( BoT) basis. These projects are to be taken up during the current financial year.

Sources in the regional office of MRTH informed TNS that applications had been invited for preparing a panel of entrepreneurs, who could later bid for implementation of the four- laning of 73 km of National Highway 21 (Chandigarh — Kiratpur leading to Manali) and 58 km of National Highway 22 (Ambala — Kalka leading to Shimla). Once the panel was formed, tenders would be invited by MRTH for carrying out the work on BoT basis.

The MRTH officials would acquire land required for four-laning the highways before they were turned over to the private entrepreneurs. The scope of work for the private entrepreneurs would include rehabilitation and upgradation of the existing two-lane section to four-lane divided carriageway, rehabilitation of existing pavements, construction of major and minor bridges (including railway overbridges), culverts, road intersections, interchanges and drains.

These two highways in the region had been chosen on a priority basis after the traffic census on both highways was found to be over 18,000 passenger car units (PCU) on an average each day. Other than these, 21 other National Highways in the country would be offered to private entrepreneurs for four laning.

Senior officials in MRTH said that the base construction cost for four-laning the Chandigarh-Kiratpur section of NH-22 to be awarded this fiscal would vary from Rs. 3 crore to Rs. 4 crore per km, but the same for the stretch on NH-22 from Ambala to Kalka would be Rs. 6 crore per km.

Sources said that the cost of construction for the four laning of the Ambala-Kalka highway was more primarily because this included the cost of construction of 14.31 km bypass to Pinjore and Kalka. Officials said that the alignment of the bypass (from Malha road ahead of Pinjore to Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh, after passing Shivalik Agro Products with alignment on NH-22 at 66. 820 km distance from Ambala) had been approved by the Ministry in January, 2001.

This bypass to the towns of Pinjore and Kalka was conceived almost a decade ago and the first feasibility study on this bypass was done in 1996. The alignment of this bypass was then different than the present alignment as the bypass was supposed to join NH 22 in the Haryana area just beyond Kalka. The construction work , however, could not be started following opposition by the shopkeepers in Pinjore and Kalka, and later ,when the Himachal Government pleaded that this bypass should be extended and a bypass on Parwanoo be made a part of this. 


Kashmiri Pandits flay Digvijay’s remarks

Chandigarh, May 29
Several organisations representing Kashmiri Pandits living in the region today criticised Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh for his reported remarks terming the exodus of Pandits from the valley nearly 13 years ago a big mistake.

“Digvijay Singh has said that the migration of Kashmiri Pandits was a mistake that gave boost to terror activities in the strife-torn valley. The Chief Minister said that the Pandits should have stayed back and opposed terrorism till the security forces wiped it out. Does Mr Digvijay Singh mean that the peace-loving minority community should have stayed back to face bullets from militants and waited till its last member was gunned down?” the local Kashmiri Sahayak Sabha president B.L. Sadhu said.

Addressing the Saheed Parivar Fund distribution function at Jalandhar on Sunday, Mr Digvijay Singh had reportedly said that the militants wanted to create panic among the minority community and the mass migration told them that they had succeeded in their evil designs.

The Panun Kashmir Movement’s North India coordinator, Mr Vinod Kaul, said the community had already witnessed a lot of turmoil and had been living like “refugees” in their own country. “His remarks have deeply hurt us,” he said. PTI


Demolition drive comes to a halt
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 29
The demolition drive of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) came to a grinding halt this afternoon, with PUDA officials allegedly succumbing to a protest by residents of the unauthorised colony and a nearby market in Phase I.

The drive successfully completed one operation in the morning, razing to the ground the complete Guru Nanak colony, Phase I, consisting of over 55 hutments. After this, they started the operation in the nearby Khokha market.

Shopkeepers protested the move, claiming that the PUDA team did not have any orders to remove their shops from the area. A protest march was organised and over 200 persons reached the PUDA office here, raising slogans against the officials. The Additional Chief Administrator, Mr Yashvir Mahajan, met the protesters and assured them that all cases would be dealt with fairly. The operation was then postponed. Mr Mahajan, talking to Chandigarh Tribune, said the PUDA team had orders only to remove the colony and not the market.

The PUDA team, along with the Duty Magistrate and a large police force, returned without completing the other operation in Sector 57 scheduled for today. While the PUDA team said it had reached the site, but was ordered by senior officials in PUDA to come back, the latter said the team was given no orders regarding the Sector 57 colonies and probably confusion made the team come back without completing the operations, which would be resumed tomorrow.


25 houses demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Housing Board here today removed between 20 and 25 illegal houses constructed on a green belt in the Indira Colony of Mani Majra.

The anti-encroachment contingent was led by the Anti-Encroachment Magistrate, Mr Ishwar Singh. The houses were constructed on public land.

There was no resistance from the residents whose houses were removed.

A large posse was accompanying the officials of the two bodies in anticipation of resistance from the residents.


Encroachments on periphery to be removed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
A meeting to discuss the removal of encroachments on the periphery of Panchkula was taken by the HUDA Administrator, Mr. M.P. Bansal. Officials from Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, National Highways Division, District Town Planner and Terminal Ballistic Research Laboratory were present. All officials were told to remove encroachments and TBRL authorities asked the officers to ensure that construction in the 900 meters area around TBRL was not allowed.

Rare surgery: A 20- year- old girl, Krishna, was operated upon at the General Hospital here today for removing round worms from her stomach. The patient, who works as a domestic help, had been complaining of stomach ache for the past several months. Though she was given medicines for de-worming, it did not work. She was operated upon by the Senior Medical Officer, Dr Subhash Sharma, and a large number of round worms were removed from her intestines.

Chaos in General Hospital: A mentally-challenged person’s antics with a stick in the General Hospital today created chaos and had the patients running for cover. The person, about 22 years of age, had first gone to the laboratory section in the hospital, and tried to prevent the doctors there from performing their duty. When one of the doctors, Dr Suvir Sharma, forced him out of the laboratory, he came in the main lobby and did strange acts with the sticks. The patients began to run for cover as he began shouting abuses. He was finally driven away by the hospital staff.

Function: The annual prize distribution function of Swami Devi Dyal Institute of Engineering and Technology was held yesterday. Dr A.K. Chawla, Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University was the chief guest.

Office Inaugurated: The office of Municipal Councillor from Ward No 2, Ms Renuka Rai Walia, was inaugurated by the Indian National Lok Dal general secretary, Mr Amardeep Chaudhary, at Mansa Devi Complex yesterday. 


Pind Bachao panel for CBI probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Pind Bachao Committee, a body of villagers who were ousted to make way to establish Chandigarh, today, demanded a CBI inquiry against those officials who allowed encroachments in the city, especially unauthorised occupation of government land by migrant labourers.

If the periphery control Act was imposed on villagers as they were not allowed to construct outside the ‘lal dora’, why were the slum colonies permitted to do the same, the committee asked. The committee praised the efforts of the Chandigarh Administration and the New Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, in removing all encroachments from government land .

Its president, Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, while lauding the efforts of the Administrator, criticised politicians who had been hankering for votes and trying to criticise Justice Verma’s move. The best way out was to hand over the case to CBI which would report as to how slum colonies were allowed and original residents were systematically uprooted from their land holdings and homes.


Remove vendors outside Command area, PWD told
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
The Western Command authorities have asked the local police and National Highway authorities in the Haryana Public Works Department to immediately remove all vendors selling their wares near Command Headquarters.

The plea was made by the Army authorities during the Civil Military Liaison Conference held at Chandi Mandir with senior officials of the Panchkula administration in the Command area today. The Army authorities said that these vendors were a potential security threat and the possibility of intelligence gathering by enemies posing as vendors was high.

Discussion on the internal security situation in Panchkula, Chandigarh and the Command area were also held. The authorities also asked the administration to keep tabs on the emergence of buildings coming up under the garb of religious buildings.

The Western Command authorities also asked the administration to ensure smooth issuing of driving licenses and arms licenses to Army personnel. The officials from local administration reportedly said that if the Commanding Officer of the unit was willing to take up the responsibility of the applicant for arms license, they would have no objections and the arms license issuing/ renewal would be expedited.

Among other things that came up for discussion were the congestion on NH-22 , particularly the section that passes through the Command area, increasing Highway Patrol and check points, creating rumble strips on the NH-22, displaying speed limit boards, and improvement of Chandi Mandir Railway Station. 


80 get challans for dumping debris
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has issued notices to 490 persons and issued challans to 80 others for illegally dumping debris on the public land.

The punitive measures were taken during a special drive to check the tendency of the people to dump debris on public land. The MCC said it would intensify the drive in future.

Fines to the tune of Rs 7000 had already been recovered and the process had been initiated for the recovery of Rs 20,050 through water bills, an official release said here yesterday.

During this period, 126 persons sought the permission for stacking debris on the berms of roads in front of their houses. A sum of Rs 60,580 has been received through permits to dump the debris.


9-year-old wants to live like a child
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 29
Nine-year-old Sagar wants to live the life of a child. Having wandered through his tender years cleaning, washing, cooking and mopping in strange homes, without the soothing love of any of his parents, Sagar has run away from these homes thrice and has already taken to petty thefts.

Found alone at the Commando Complex, Phase XI, here by a police officer, Sagar claims to be an orphan who was brought from Nepal by a Nepalese family to the township. Sagar, alias Ajay, alias, Sanjay Thapa was today handed over to a Chandigarh-based social service organisation by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission’s child protection unit here.

Despite his situation and being slightly unwell, the kid is, however, hardly a picture of innocence. With his street-smart responses and brashness, Sagar could be easily mistaken as a overconfident brat, but as he relates his story distractedly, one realises that street-smart survival tactics is all that the poor child has learnt all these years.

“Brought to the township many years ago, I lived in a gurdwara for some time and also attended school. I have cleared my class II examinations. But then I was made to work at a kothi here in Phase XI. I did not like it there as they made me work a lot. So I ran away from there,’’ he said. ‘‘Then I was made to work in another house in Phase VII from where I ran away as they did not take me in their car along with the other children in the family.’’

Disoriented about his current location, Sagar recalls his entry into the Commando Complex after he walked from Phase VII and reached here. “Then this uncle brought me here to this place.’’ he said.

The police officer, Mr Prem Chand, then brought him to the unit, where the DSP in charge, Mr Gautam Singhal, informed Guru Sahara Ashram in Khuda Lahora in Chandigarh from where Mr Baljit Singh Bajwa came to take away Sagar.

“The child came here with a Connect mobile telephone, which, he says, he picked up from the house in Phase VII where he was working. But this is wrong as the telephone belongs to someone in Sector 37 in Chandigarh, according to the company people.’’ informed Mr Pradeep Kumar, ASI of the unit.

‘‘This child is on the verge of taking off on a path which leads to delinquency. By sending him to a place where he will be sent to school and taken care of, we feel we have done something positive,’’ said Mr Rajiv Kumar, head constable of the unit.


Bus diplomacy
Jaspal Bhatti’s Friday humour

Prime Minister Vajpayee has said to normalise Indo-Pak relations, the bus service from Delhi to Lahore should be resumed. But a lot of people are left wondering as to how a mere bus service can normalise relations between India and Pakistan. However, I feel that there is definitely a scientific rationale behind this move. Probably when the Delhi bus will pollute the Pakistani environment or when the Lahore bus will send smoky fumes in Delhi, the people of the two countries will realise that after all the conditions are the same in India and Pakistan. This oneness will make them more sympathetic towards each other.

The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is worried after the PM’s declaration. They are wondering as to where the new buses will come from at such a short notice. Or how are the old rickety buses will be repaired so quickly? My advice to the DTC would be not to go in for any kind of repair. Field the old buses but with a joint Indo-Pak staff. If the driver is an Indian, let the conductor be a Pakistani. If the bus breaks down on a "tooti phooti" road and the two of them get down to repair it jointly, the sentiments of the two countries will echo this love and ‘‘bhai-bhai’’ feeling. With an Indian on the driver’s seat and a Pakistani conductor pushing the battered bus with the other passengers, the other countries will feel jealous at this Indo-Pak "dosti".

Vajpayee is absolutely right in his attempt at bus diplomacy. Twenty to 25 buses from Delhi should be immediately set off to Lahore. If by chance the buses fail to improve Indo-Pak relations, re-route these buses to different states in India. At least the Centre-State relations can be strengthened, if not the Indo-Pak ties.


18-year-old ends life

Chandigarh, May 29
An 18-year-old boy committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in Bapu Dham Colony here today. The victim, Tinku, who was an ice-cream vendor in the Sector 19 rehri market, died at the Sector 32, GMCH.

According to the information, the victim left home in the morning after taking his breakfast. He was living with his sister, Kiran, in a jhuggi in the Bapu Dham Colony. The victim returned back and told his sister that he had consumed some tablets but did not reveal the reason.

A police official said the parents of the deceased had died long ago and since then he had been living with his sister. The deceased was rushed to the Sector 32, GMCH, where he died. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC. TNS


3 booked for demanding dowry
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 29
The city police has booked three members of a Nawanshahr-based family for demanding Rs 5 lakh from Meet Ram, a resident of Sector 61, to marry his daughter.

A case under Section 498-A of the IPC and 4 Section of the Dowry Prohibition Act has been registered at the Sector 36 Police Station. According to information, the case has been registered against Deepak Bali, DP Bali and Sharda Bali. The complainant said the marriage was to be held on May 26 with Depak Bali. But Deepak demanded dowry. The case is being investigated by the Woman and Child Support unit of the city police.

Assault: Rohit Sharma, a resident of Sector 41, Chandigarh, reported that Gurinder Singh, Prabhjot, Sanjay, Kuldeep, Vijay, Vikramjit, Prabhpartap Singh, Vikram and Arun Kumar, assaulted him leading to injuries on May 28. A case under Sections 147, 148, 149 and 323 of the IPC has been registered.

Injured: Narvinder Singh, a resident of Sector 11, in his complaint said when he was going in his car, a truck being driven by Amarjit Singh hit his vehicle near the Transport Light Point. The victim has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. A case has been registered.

Labourer injured: A labourer of Sector 20, Panchkula, was seriously injured when he was hit by a private bus coming from the Kalka side at the Mani Majra light point. The victim, Raja Ram, was crossing the road when one of his leg was crushed under the bus. The injured labourer was rushed to the PGI. The driver of the bus, Jaspal, has been arrested.

Cash and jewellery worth Rs 50,00 have been stolen from the house of Mr Sujan Singh at Ajit Nagar in Ambala cantonment. He said he and other members of his family were away when the house was broken into.

Mishap victim dies: A person succumbed to injuries at the Civil Hospital here today. According to information, the motor cycle of the victim, Dharm Singh of Ucha Samana (Karnal), collided with a tractor trailor near Thol village on the Ambala-Hisar road. The police has registered a case in this regard.

One held:
The police here has today arrested one person on charges of liquor smuggling. The accused, Gurdeep Singh, a resident of Kharar, was arrested on Thursday evening when he was found to be carrying a case of Indian-made foreign liquor on his motor cycle from Chandigarh to Kharar. The police has registered a case.


CII career fair opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Producing skilled workforce, well equipped for global competitiveness, required a 21st century educational system connected to real-world marketplace needs, and driven by world-class academic standards. Events such as Alternatives 2003 gave the young generation much-needed exposure to emerging career options, said Justice OP Verma (retd), Punjab Governor, and UT Administrator, here today.

Inaugurating Alternatives 2003, CII’s four-day career fair, Justice Verma said the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government would extend all support to the CII in organising such seminars at educational institutions in smaller towns.

Welcoming the gathering, Mr Krishan Goyal, Chairman, CII (Chandigarh Council), outlined the objectives and scope of the event that focused on opportunities in areas such as advertising, retailing, hospitality, fashion designing, new emerging career trends, armed forces, education options and careers abroad, IT enabled services, banking, finance and insurance, entertainment and employment market dynamics.

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