Tuesday, June 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


’96 voters’ list to decide fate of slum-dwellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Showing its resolve to remove encroachments, the Chandigarh Administration said today that all slum-dwellers whose names did not figure in the electoral rolls as on December 8, 1996, would not be eligible for rehabilitation. All unauthorised encroachments or construction made by them would be removed in accordance with the law.


  • The Administration says slum-dwellers, who came after the cut-off date December 8, 1996, will be removed.
  • Flats to slum-dwellers will be given on finance options and not free of cost as earlier.
  • As per initial estimates, about 16,000 families are eligible for rehabilitation.
  • It will take a few years for all to be rehabilitated.

The Administration is ready with its first lot of 1,000 flats built for rehabilitating slum-dwellers and these will be allotted under the new policy. The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, confirmed that the date of December 8, 1996, will be respected and there was no move to rehabilitate slum-dwellers other than those who were on the electoral rolls as on the cut-off date.

Meanwhile, the Administration has finalised a tie-up with a bank to finance flats for slum-dwellers who are eligible under the rehabilitation scheme. The flat, when allotted to the beneficiary, will be mortgaged to the bank and will give a sense of ownership to the allottee. This is aimed at curbing mal-practices like underhand sale of houses at premium by the beneficiaries.

The Adviser said there was also a move to have a scheme for the poor who did not live in slums but were employed as domestic help or worked in offices. They would also get their houses on payment. This scheme was in the process of finalisation.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Estate Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner today said slum-dwellers of Shaheed Bhagat Singh (SBS) Colony, Sector 49, Peer Colony, Sector 56, and Palsora Colony, Sector 56, whose names appeared in any of the voters’ list between 1990 and December 8, 1996, and continued to be bona fide residents from the date of entry in the said electoral list till date, would be eligible for rehabilitation.

It was decided that the slum-dwellers of Saheed Bhagat Singh Colony may submit bona fide proof to the Tehsildar (Colony) at the colony between 10 am and 4 pm on June 10 and 11. The dwellers of Peer Colony and Palsora Colony, Sector 56, may submit their proof to the Tehsildar (Colony) at their respective sites on June 12 and 13 between 10 am and 4 pm.

Sources in the Administration confirmed that the number of families, which were eligible as per initial estimates, was close to 16,000. The Administration had promised to resettle them in phases over the next few years, but resolved that no more addition to the slums would be allowed.

However, the controversy is the change in the policy to rehabilitate slum-dwellers by allotting them houses free of cost. The Chandigarh Administration has decided that in the future no allotments to slum-dwellers would be made free of cost.

The idea of the Administration is to allot flats to slum-dwellers under its policy for removing slums. The cost of each flat is about Rs 2 lakh. Up to 50 per cent of the cost will be part of the subsidy. The rest will be financed through home loans offered by banks. The instalments will be easy and will stretch up to 15 years.

The property will be mortgaged to a bank. Banks, the sources said, had been shying away from this as loan recovery could be a problem. However, armed with new laws that enabled banks to take over the property of defaulters, the banks might agree.

Fingerprinting will be carried out to prevent anybody from coming and re-claiming further benefits under the rehabilitation policy. The National Commission for Minorities, had asked the Chandigarh Administration to review the whole process of first encouraging slum colonies in the city and then rehabilitating them as this had disturbed the population ratio in the city.

The population of migrants is estimated to be close to 2.5 lakhs of the UT’s 9.03 lakh population. The character of the villages around Chandigarh has also been spoiled by building colonies for slum dwellers, who are now a majority in the villages and have even been elected panches and sarpanches, depriving original residents of a chance.


Demolition drive at PGIMER
Evokes protest from minority community
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 9
In a demolition drive carried out at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), an unauthorised temple and a church hall were completely demolished. Unauthorised structure outside a gurdwara, where langar used to be served, was also demolished. Efforts to remove debris were on till late in the evening.

The drive snowballed into a major controversy with different religious organisations accusing the PGIMER authorities of hurting the religious sentiments of masses. They also accused the demolition staff of “burning” religious literature — an allegation categorically denied by the authorities.

Soon after the drive, a meeting of the Chandigarh Churches and Christian Institutes Association was held condemning the authorities for “demolishing religious places belonging to the minorities, and allegedly burning the holy Bible and Christian literature”.

Association president Darbara Singh said, “The religious sentiments of the Christian community have been deeply hurt. No prior notice or warning was given by the PGI authorities”.

Condemning the police for perpetrating “atrocities” and the PGIMER authorities for “high-handedness”, he demanded strict action against the persons concerned”. He also issued an appeal to the Government of India, besides the UT Administrator and the Minority Commission of India to protect “religious places of the minorities in general and the Christians in particular”.

The drive, started at around 7 am, and continued till about 3 pm. It was reportedly stopped after a delegation met PGIMER Director S.K. Sharma requesting him to suspend the operation.

According to sources in the institute, 60 employees of the Engineering Department, along with police personnel took part in the drive which was “more or less peaceful”. The Deputy Director (Administration) of the PGIMER, Ms Meeta Rajivlochan was also present during the operation.

The drive, authorities confirmed, was carried out as the structures had been raised “without permission and intimation”. Ms Lochan said, the institute needed that land for a large number of projects. Moreover, a housing complex was to be built on the land where unauthorised structures had been constructed”.

Meanwhile, a number of visitors, including patients and attendants at the PGIMER had to go without langar after the kitchen behind the gurdwara was demolished. 

‘End row over demolition’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Municipal councillors Harpreet Kaur Babla and Vijay Singh Rana today requested the major political parties in the city to refrain from making the demolition drive a political issue but take some hasty and appropriate steps to normalise the situation in the city.

The two councillors, who but did not belong to the BJP or the Congress, said they were against encroachment of any kind, but added that some of the alterations were need-based and had not sprung up overnight. The two asked the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, to intervene and solve the issue. The demolition drive in the past few days has created a fear in the minds of people.

Mrs Babla and Mr Rana also requested former MP Satya Pal Jain to stop level allegations. Mr Jain should take up the matter with Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani since Chandigarh is directly under the control of the Home Ministry.


Panchkula MC: a House divided
Oppn councillors oppose most items at first meeting
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 9
The mandate managed by ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for electing the President and Vice President of Municipal Council today showed the first signs of divide. Councillors affiliated to Congress, who had earlier supported INLD candidates as President and Vice President, opposed most items on the agenda of the first ever meeting of the Municipal Council today.

The slip was showing.....

  • Lack of experience on part of some councillors and officers of Municipal Council was evident in the first meeting. Against the rules, councillors demanded allocation of funds for carrying out development works in their wards.
  • While Executive Officer, O.P. Sihag took upon himself the task of taking future course of action on most discussions initiated by councillors, President Seema Chaudhary looked on as a spectator.
  • The councillor from Ward No. 28, Mr Kastoori Devi, was repeatedly heard screaming that if no funds were to be allotted to her, what was the fun of being councillor?
  • One proposal that was passed unanimously was the installation of airconditioners in the meeting room and office of MC President. The councillors urged that with the heat showing no signs of relenting, the ACs should be procured as fast as possible.

The meeting began with the Congress-affiliated councillors opposing the 35 point agenda for the meeting, on the pretext that they had not been consulted when the agenda was planned. They alleged that some of the agenda items were only aimed at development works in the wards of councillors affiliated to the ruling party. It was after much deliberation that order was restored and the first meeting could finally begin.

Two of the proposals, one regarding sanctioning of Rs 2 lakh for installing iron grill along the railway line passing through Ward No. 2 ( Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, represented by INLD councillor Renuka Rai Walia) , and another about sanctioning Rs 50,000 for repair of roads in Ward No. 1 Bhainsa Tibba village represented by INLD Councillor and MC Vice-President Kuljit Waraich) met with stiff opposition both from the Congress-affiliated and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Councillors.

These proposals had to be finally deferred when the other councillors demanded a similar allocation of funds for various development works in their respective wards. Most of the councillors, including Mr V.K. Kapoor from Ward No. 6, Mr Dalbir Singh from Ward No. 7, Mr Mohinder Singh from Ward No. 8, Mr R.K. Kakkar from Ward No. 11 and Mr Kastoori Devi from Ward No. 28, opposed these proposals saying that when most of the wards were reeling under a severe water crisis and insanitary conditions increasing the risk of epidemics, how could such proposals ( regarding Ward No. 1 and 2) be brought up. “The priorities have to be right. Personal preferances cannot be allowed to prevail,” they said.

No decision could be taken on the issue of purchase of dustbins, garbage bins and tricycles for lifting and ferrying malba to garbage bins. It was decided that a survey be conducted by the MC authorities to see how many dustbins and garbage bins were required. The general body okayed a proposal to hire a tractor-trailer for lifting garbage . A proposal to purchase a motor cycle for the Municipal Council to ferry its employees to other offices for meetings or getting the files signed was accepted, while the proposal to buy a diesel jeep for a similar purpose was deferred.

It was decided to set up three sub-committees on Finance, Purchase and Sanitation, which would decide on the purchase of the above mentioned items, including installation of EPABX system in Municipal Council office, purchasing 200 streettube sets , 1000 sodium streetlamps to be installed at main roads and crossings, purchase of 1290 sq yard of plots at the rate of Rs 2587 per sq. yard etc.

The proposals to upgrade the fire services in the township were okayed and the BJP Councillor from Ward No 3, Mr C.B. Goel proposed that fire hydrants, too, be developed at various places so that the fire tenders could get an easy refill. Talking of congress grass menace, it was decided that a Junior Engineer of Municipal Council would survey all wards , along with the respective councillors, and then decide on the fund allocation for removal of these weeds in each ward.

Proposals to check violation of building bylaws and imposing fines on defaulters, and removal of encroachments on panchayat lands of villages which form a part of Municipal Council were also okayed. It was also agreed to give Rs. 1.09 lakh to Pinjore Municipal Committee for upgradation of a cattle pond at Khrag Mangoli village. In all, 29 of the total 35 proposals were passed by the Councillors.


‘Tame’ indisciplined PCR cops, seniors told
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Indiscipline among the staff of the Police Control Room (PCR) vehicles in the city police will not be tolerated, says the top brass of the city police. While appreciating the presence of mind shown by the staff on PCR vehicles in checking incidents of crime in the city, senior police officials have asked the supervisory officers to ‘tame’ the indisciplined policemen.

The DSP (PCR) and Inspector (PCR) were today asked by the top brass to ensure that the staff on the PCR vehicle did not indulge in acts of indiscipline, harassing members of the public and performed their duty sincerely. It had been observed that the policemen changed their location without seeking permission from the competent authority.

In orders issued today, the Senior Superintendent of Police asked the supervisory officers to ensure that the change of duty by the policemen on PCR vehicles took place in the respective police station. The policemen were asked to make their entry in the log book and the DDR. The area DSP and the Station House Officer were also asked to regularly check their presence on duty.

Sources in the department said the DSP (PCR) had been asked to brief the policemen twice a week and the Inspector (PCR) would now have to brief the policemen daily. It was pointed that the policemen on PCR vehicles should know the nature of crime taking place in their respective beats. The supervisory staff was asked to adopt a positive approach in rewarding the good deeds of the policemen and take disciplinary action against their erring subordinates after thoroughly probing the matter.

It was said that action against the policemen on the basis of a complaint from the public should not be suo motu. But It should be based on proper investigations.

An official said that concerned at some incidents of drunkard staff on PCR vehicles creating nuisance at public places, the duty officers at the police stations were asked to verify that the PCR personnel were not in inebriated state while reporting on duty. The Station House Officers (SHOs) and the duty officers were asked to satisfy themselves in this regard before allowing the personnel on PCR vehicles to leave for duty.

The Chandigarh Police had already redefined the role the PCRs. The men and machinery of the Police Control Room (PCR) were put at the disposal of the Station House Officers (SHOs). The officials were now planning to cover the entire city with PCR Gypsies, said the sources.

The sources said an effort was being made by the senior police officials to increase the strength of PCR Gypsies.


Hockey fans euphoric over India’s victory
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, June 9
Hockey fans are delighted over the Indian victory against Australia in final of tri-Nation hockey meat at Sydney. Third team in the tournament was Pakistan.

Last year, Indian hockey lost its image when it went down tamely in the World Cup held in Malaysia and then lost to Poland in the Sydney Olympics at the same venue where on Sunday, India beat 5-3 Australia.

Mr J.P.S. Sidhu, Joint Director Sports, UT, who had been with the Indian hockey team as mental trainer, said the best part of the win was the perfect blend of experienced and junior players. Mr Sidhu said presence of Dhanraj Pillay, Baljit Dhillon and goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan changed the scenario in the final. He was of the view that if the present form of the team continued, the team was likely to do wonders in the forthcoming Champions Trophy to be held in Amsterlveen in Germany in August this year. He said this tri-nation win would be a big morale booster for the Indian side who also has to prove their worth in the Athens Olympic qualification matches to be held early next year.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, a former assistant coach of the Indian women hockey team, praised Indian coach Rajinder Singh for guiding his players to adopt attacking posture. He said when in the Asian Games at Busan last year, India lost to Korea, it was merely due to defensive style of play which forced Indians to succumb under pressure. Jaswinder said the win over Australia, runner-up in the 2002 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur, had always been a tough side.

Gurinder Kaur, a Sports Authority of India coach posted at Panjab University, said, women hockey players were also proud of men hockey team’s superb achievement at Sydney. She said hockey was our national game and for the past many years, we all were made to think only about cricket. She said hockey fraternity foresee beginning of better days ahead for Indian hockey.


Pvt AC buses between UT and Haryana soon
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
A scheme to allow private luxury buses to operate from the Inter State Bus Stand (ISBT) for selected destinations in Haryana is to be finalised by the Chandigarh Administration on a reciprocal basis with the neighbouring state. A draft notification inviting objections, if any, has been sought, sources told Chandigarh Tribune.

The transport authorities in Haryana have been pressing for such a scheme in the past few months to allow private air conditioned buses for select destinations to Haryana, including important destinations like Gurgaon, Faridabad and Rohtak. Buses headed for Gurgaon and Faridabad can also cater to the unending demand on the busy Chandigarh- Delhi route.

This also means there could be direct luxury bus service to the International Airport, at New Delhi.

At the moment all buses originating from the Delhi airport terminate in neighbouring SAS Nagar from where passengers are ferried in jeeps or other such vehicles to destinations in Chandigarh or Panchkula. This not only results in evasion of passenger tax but also adds to needless problems for travellers, who have to shift with bag and baggage from one vehicle into another. All other towns in Punjab are connected to the airport through private luxury buses.

Now the Chandigarh Administration is all set to finalise a scheme to allow the private buses to operate from the either the ISBT or a fixed destination with all legal trappings. This will include an insurance cover for passengers, proper seat numbers, fixed arrival and departure timings for destinations. Even the fare structure will be controlled partially, sources said, while informing that a final approval would done once a objections are received.

A committee comprising the Joint Secretary (Home) and the Secretary, State Transport Authority, has already invited objections to the scheme and these have been studied and incorporated in the main scheme. Inviting of objections is an important part in any decision of the government.

While explaining the need for such a scheme, officials said that the demand for such luxury buses was growing everyday as people were getting used to the comforts of Shatabdi trains and luxury cars. And in any case it made no sense for the government to invest heavily in such routes thus private operators would be allowed in a controlled manner.


Dust haze brings down temperature in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
With the dust haze persisting over the city and its surrounding areas, the maximum temperatures continued to stay a few degrees below normal for the second day today in Chandigarh and the neighbouring towns of Punjab and Haryana, providing relief to the people who had been suffering under blistering heat for the past fortnight.

The Weathermen predicted that the dust haze and thunderstorm could continue for the next two days. Rain or thundershower were also likely to occur at nearby places of Himachal Pradesh during the next 48 hours. There is chance of thundry development over Chandigarh also.

Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar recorded a high temperature of 37.4°C, three degrees below the normal.

The city witnessed dusty weather and the sun remained hidden for most part of the day. The dust also pushed up the humidity level at east during the day, thus making people sweat.

Ambala, 50 km from here, reported a temperature three degrees below normal at 38.1 C, while Patiala, 70 km from here, had the maximum temperature of 37.9°C. Despite the dust haze, two flights landed and took off from Chandigarh as per schedule.


MP, Mayor used unparliamentary language against Verma: Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The BJP today publicly stated that government lands should be cleared off encroachments to preserve the beauty of Chandigarh. The party has also levelled charges against its political rivals, alleging that the proposed June 11 rally of the Congress was a ‘political stunt to gain cheap popularity’.


  • Refuting the charges of BJP leader Satya Pal Jain, Mr Subash Chawla, Mayor, reiterated his stand that the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma was working at the behest of the BJP. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, he said, “Since the administrative affairs of Chandigarh are directly under the control of the Union Government, one cannot deny the fact that the Administrator was working at the behest of the BJP-led Union Government”.
  • Regarding the allegations of misuse of the MC premises for holding press conferences, the Mayor said, “Mr Bansal is also a councillor and has the very right to sit in the Mayor’s office and talk about the issues related to the common people”.
  • Lashing out Mr Jain, the Mayor said the BJP leader should ask the Administrator to shun the policy of uprooting the poor from their homes and look forward to rehabilitating them instead of creating an atmosphere of ‘panic’ among city residents in the name of demolitions.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP and senior leader of the BJP, said the Congress was unnecessarily politicising the issue against the UT Administrator Justice OP Verma, to gain cheap popularity.

He clarified that Justice Verma had never joined the BJP. “Therefore, the allegation that he was acting at the behest of BJP high command is baseless”, he said.

He asked the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, to clarify “whether they have any objection on Justice Verma’s appointment as Governor and Administrator of the UT Chandigarh”.

Mr Jain said, “The local Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the Mayor Mr Subhash Chawla, had used unparliamentary language against a constitutional head.

They have also not taken into confidence their senior party leaders. The Chief Minister had already given his consent to the name of Justice Verma before it was finalised by the Union Government”.

The BJP leader clarified that encroachments on government land and internal changes in houses were two different issues that needed to be addressed separately. “As far as encroachments on government land were concerned, they need to be removed, but internal changes in houses cannot be blindly declared as encroachments. They can at the most be termed as a violation of building byelaws”.

He on behalf of the BJP demanded that need-based changes within one’s own land/house should be regularised. He urged from the UT Administrator to convene a meeting of the advisory council to draw a clear-cut policy on encroachments.

Lashing out at Mr Bansal and Mr Chawla, the BJP leader said both were incompetent and weak leaders who could not keep the flock of their supporters intact. “The walkout by Congress councillors from the general house meeting of the MC held on June 5, leaving the Mayor sitting on his chair, was a clear indication of growing factionalism within the Congress over the issue of demolitions and privatisation of sanitation”, he commented.

The BJP also accused the Congress MP and the Mayor of misusing the MC premises to hold press conferences on political issues.


Efforts on to make Bhardwaj surrender
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
With the Supreme Court today rejecting the anticipatory bail petition of suspended Judicial Magistrate (First Class) S.S. Bhardwaj, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Chandigarh police have stepped up their efforts to arrest the judicial officer or force him to surrender.

The Judicial Magistrate is wanted by the CBI in the case of corruption and the Chandigarh police has registered a case against him for escaping from the lawful custody of the CBI. Sources said efforts were on to make the judicial officer surrender in the city. Some of the close relatives of the absconding judicial officer were playing a key role to facilitate his surrender as he had no option left.

Inquiries reveal that after rejection of the pre-arrest bail of Bhardwaj, a team of CBI official and Chandigarh police remained stationed at the District Courts following apprehension that he might surrender. The rumours of Bhardwaj surrendering kept the mediapersons on the toes at the court throughout the day.

The sources said that a blood relation of Bhardwaj was playing a key role in facilitating his surrender. As part of its investigations by the Chandigarh police, Mr Tej Pal, an advocate brother of the judicial officer, was today asked by the police to join investigation by tomorrow.

CBI wants more time to file reply
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 9
The CBI today sought more time to file a reply on the application moved by suspended Judicial Magistrate (First Class) S.S Bhardwaj for recalling of the order regarding issuing of non-bailable warrants (NBW) against him and also for stay of the proclamation proceedings in a corruption case registered against him. The case has now been fixed for hearing on July 8. Both the CBI and the local police have already obtained fresh NBW against Bhardwaj in the case.

Remand extended: Two girls arrested by the UT police under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act were today further remanded in judicial custody till June 23 by a local court. Meanwhile, the police filed a reply in the court stating that the address furnished by one of the girls was found to be true, while another girl furnished her new address of Jammu.

Plea admitted: A local court today accepted an application moved by a counsel in the Beant Singh assassination case for the production of all the photographs of fingerprints of the accused captured by the CFSL expert.


PSEB’s automated complaint service in jeopardy
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 9
A plan by the local office of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to automate the complaint services in the township seems to have been grounded even before it could lift off.

With a tie-up with Modi Telecommunications Limited, Chandigarh, in place, the PSEB was to start the automated complaint attendance service from May 5. But according to sources the linemen in the PSEB have put a spanner in its implementation jeopardising the process.

Protesting against the starting of the service, the linemen were demanding that the service not be undertaken till some of their old issues were taken care of. On the other hand, the PSEB authorities were alleging that the service, once it started, would ensure that no lineman shirked work and that were one reason they are opposing the move.

The service, first of its kind in the state to be undertaken by the PSEB in collaboration with a private agency, once started would be processing calls made by the consumers in case of complaints to the 15 complaint centres in the township. Instead of 15 different numbers which had been distributed area wise, a single dedicated pager number would be manned round the clock by the company. All complaints would be registered and a complaint number given to the complainant. The complaint would then be forwarded to the concerned areas’ linemen all of whom would be given pagers.

More important that the service itself was the accountability factor inbuilt into the service. ‘‘Every complaint will be tracked down. If the complaint is not looked into within two hours by the lineman concerned the message is automatically diverted to the Junior Engineer and in case it is not dealt with in four hours the complaint will be given to the A/E concerned followed by the Senior XEN and then the SEO,’’ said Mr M.S. Kalra of Modi Pager Chandigarh.

‘‘The calls are automatically recorded and it is the paging company’s job to get a feedback from the consumer through the lineman that the complaint has been looked into. when no feed back is received the complaints start moving up in hierarchy,’’ said Mr SC agarwal, S.E. (Operations), SAS Nagar circle, PSEB.

The call centre service at the pager number would also obtain and maintain general information of the PSEB supply and break-down status and inform consumers on request. In case the area from where complaints might be pouring in not under break down, shutdown or loadshedding, the complainant would also be regularly informed about the status of his or her complaint.

Alleging that the complaints catered to through the automated system would be charged from the consumer, the linemen stated that the consumers too should oppose this move. The SE (operations), however, stated that the consumer would not be charged anything for this better facility. ‘‘Catering to complaints have been always free of charge and so is this facility,’’he said.

Interestingly even though the service was yet to start many of the complaint centres in the township where line men were supposed to be present on duty round the clock, a poster had been pasted giving the number of the automated service which in turn replied that the service was yet to begin.


Manhandling case: woman loses baby
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 9
The case of Ms Bhupinder Kaur, a pregnant woman who was admitted in the local Civil Hospital, after Mr Karan Singh, Assistant District Transport Officer (ADTO) Ropar allegedly misbehaved and manhandled her three days ago on the Kharar-Kurali road, took a new turn when her foetus was aborted in the hospital last evening.

Dr S.S. Dhanoa, SMO, Civil Hospital, Kharar, said in spite of best efforts, the doctors could not save the pregnancy. He said blood has been sent for chemical examination.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, who visited the victim in the hospital on Saturday and to whom she narrated the whole story, said it was an unfortunate incident. While talking to Chandigarh Tribune today, he said he has talked to the SSP, Ropar, to check the facts and to register a case against the guilty. He said the already delay on the part of the police to register a case was unexplainable.


Platform: Save water
Save water, save life!

Today man is blindly pursuing a mad race, trying to exhaust all natural resources at our disposal. Water is indeed one of the five elements of nature indispensable for life and nothing can substitute it. The earth is sometimes described as the ‘‘blue planet’’ because of its appearance in photographs taken from space, which clearly show that 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is sea. Today the reservoirs of water are not sufficient to meet our future needs, rather it has become imperative to ‘‘save water’’. Every individual should feel a sense of responsibility and make efforts to save water. Running taps and leakage from pipes should be avoided. Usage should be proper and limited for household purposes. You can help save water if you repair leaking pipe in your home. Just one leaky faucet can waste 3000 gallons or more per year. Up to nine gallons of water a day can be saved if you don’t let it run each time you brush your teeth. Start with this conservation project today. Save water save life!

Sahiba Duggal, Chandigarh



They sacrifice their today for your tomorrow

The War Heroes Fund was started by the Punjab Government during the Kargil war in 1999, to award Rs 5 lakh each to the widows of those soldiers who had down their lives for the country and Rs 2 lakh each to the parents of such soldiers. These cash awards were also to be given to the widows and parents of all soldiers who were killed in conter-insurgency operations.

The number of soldiers from Punjab who have sacrificed their lives has been more than 50 every year. Even at the rate of 50, the annual expenditure comes to Rs 350 crore. This fund has almost run dry and the Punjab Government has no money to sustain it. The fund has either to be closed or the voluntary organisations such as industrial units and business establishments have to come forward to donate to this fund to keep it going.

Helping the disabled

The Artificial Limb Centre (ALC) was established at Pune in May, 1944. It moved to Kirkee in 1945 and then to Lahore in 1946. After Partition, it came back to Pune in January, 1948.

The centre was established with the aim of meeting the prosthetic and orthotic needs of the disabled soldiers and its motto is “No wheel chairs, no crutches”. The ALC combines the skills of the Army Medical Corps (AMC), the Corps of Electronics and Mechancial Engineers (EME) and industrial and non-industrial experts. Their joint efforts is geared up towards enabling the physically challenged patients to walk out of the ALC on their own.

A patient coming to the ALC is put on its roll for life. There are more than 45,000 patients on the roll of the ALC is present. Nearly, 25,000 of them visit it for repair and replacement of their artificial limbs and appliances regularly.

The ALC has designed and developed a below-knee carbon fibre shaft in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The technology of making of artificial limbs has been transferred to 515 Army Base Workshop for mass production of below-knee kit.

To rehabilitate the disabled soldiers, a paraplegic rehabilitation centre (PRC) was established by the Army of SAS Nagar a few years ago. This centre has the latest equipment to help the paraplegics to regain physical fitness as far as possible. Vocational training in various skills to also imparted at this centre to enable both men and women to learn and earn at the same time.

Punjab war Museum

The Punjab Government had constructed a war museum near Ludhiana a few years ago to preserve the history of its was heroes who made great sacrifices for the country.

To bring out the valour of the war heroes, their acts of gallantry have to be illustrated in a proper sequence in the pre-and-post-Independence sections in the museum. For this, the regiments and units concerned have to part with their trophies, portraits, statues and other prized possessions so that these can be put under one roof.

Since no regiment or unit is prepared to part with its history, the museum continues to remain incomplete. An answer to this problem lies in the Punjab Government making a request to the regiments and units concerned to let them have the replicas of their possessions at the state government’s cost.

Shimla conference

A two-day conference presided over by the Army chief, General N.C. Vij, and attended by the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, all Army Commanders, the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) and a few other senior officers, was held at the Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla, from June 5. Some changes in the inter-command boundary and the lessons learnt from Operation Parakram were also discussed, among other important issues, at this conference.

As for the lessons from Operation Parakram, this was the largest and the longest deployment of the Indian Army at the border since Independence and it brought out many useful lessons. We have learnt from our past experience that even important recommendations made to the government after each operation are not implemented. The Kargil Review Committee recommendations are clear example before us.


Leaf from history
Chandigarh’s Sufi saint
Chitleen K. Sethi

Sufism in India is one of the earliest forms of Islam which became prevalent in North India around the 10th century AD. A large number of sufis influenced kings, princes and queens. Sufism was essentially a hinduised form of Islam. Within it, it had a number of elements of the local forms of worship. In Kashmir, sufism became the predominant form of Islam and continued to be so till very recently. In fact in contrast to the sword wielding islamic ideology, sufism emphasised love, brotherhood and peace even with the enemy.

The aged brick walk at the Dargah in Village Manikpur Sharif
The aged brick walk at the Dargah in Village Manikpur Sharif. — Photo Diwan Manna

Music is one of the most important elements in the Sufi form of worship. Progenitor of the qawwali, the Sufi followers believe that bhakti to the Lord is best done through music. The word samah is related to oneness with the Lord while chanting his name and worshipping him singing his praises. A number of poets like Bulle Shah and Vaaris Shah who have sung about love have been Sufi protagonists.

Sufi saints in India have started their own silsilahas and most of the sufi saints, the darghas of whom one finds across the countryside in North India, belong to one of these silsilahas. These darghas or the places they have been buried, have been almost invariably attracted a mixture of Hindu and Islamic forms of worship. Their followers have been people from all religions in the locality, including Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.

One such dargah frequented by people following every religion is the famous dargah of a Pir Hazrat mohammed Musha Sahib in Manikpur Sharif village near Mullanpur, about 15 km into Chandigarh’s periphery. Tracing its association to the Chishti silsilah of Ajmer, the dargah of Musha Sahib is a perfect examples of the syncretic traditions of India.

The dargah believed to be over 175 years old, is thronged by visitors from as far as nearby states on Thursdays. It is the belief that matters, religion is secondary. The main dargah is surrounded by mazaars who, they say, are of those who served the Pir when he was alive and later his dargah.

Its at the urs that the place comes alive. There is music and songs all in the praise of God. Sufi singers, dhadi jathas and many others reach this place to be with the believers.

Built in the last century the dargah is a simple structure but complete with the eight minars on top. Painted white and green the structure is almost in the middle of the old village with its pond now within the dargah’s boundaries. Old trees standing for decades have provided shade to the followers who say that they find peace here. And why not? Sufism stands for love, harmony and peace.


400 participate in shramdan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
As many as 400 persons participated in the shramdan at the regulator end of the Sukhna Lake here today.

Around 200 personnel of the Horticulture Department, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC), 50 persons from Dhanas village and 50 persons of the Zohari Samaj, besides 50 regular shramdanis from sectors and villages of the city participated in shramdan.

The Director, Public Relations, Chandigarh, and Secretary, Save Sukhna Lake Society, Mr Naresh Narwal, also took part in shramdan and interacted with the shramdanis. Sweet Verka milk was served to the shramdanis by Milkfed. Till date 21.95 lakh cubic feet of silt has been removed from the dry bed of the lake. The others present on the occasion were the Superintending Engineer, CMC, Mr I.S. Sokhi, the Executive Engineer (Horticulture), CMC, Mr Raghbir Singh, the Panchayat Samiti member (Dhanas), Mr Dyal Singh, and social workers Mr Nirhhey Singh and Mr Rajiv Kumar.


Dowry charge
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 9
Mr Mukesh Bansal, a resident of Sector 10, here has filed a case with the police that he had to cancel the marriage ceremony of his 21-year-old sister yesterday as Mr Sanjeev Kumar Singla, her would-be husband, and his father, Mr Roshan Lal, Superintending Engineer with the Irrigation Department, had demanded Rs 8 lakh in dowry.

The police is investigating the matter and is yet to register the case.


MC plan to check dog menace
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 9
The Municipal Council proposes to check the stray dog menace by chemical sterlisation of dogs. In this regard, a presentation was organised by scientists from the Department of Animal Reproduction , Gynaecology and Obstetrics, College of Veterinary Sciences, CCS University, Hisar, at the MC office today. The scientists showed how chemical sterlisation of feral dogs could be done without use of surgery and it was also effective.


Burglary in former secretary’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Burglars broke into the house of a former secretary in the Haryana Financial Corporation (HFC) in Sector 37 here while the occupants of the house had gone to Delhi to attend bhog ceremony of their relative. The owner of the house, Mr B.J. Khuranna, who was informed about the incident by his neighbours, said he had returned this evening and was yet to access the loss.

The burglars, suspected to three in number, sneaked into the house after breaking a lock of the front grill and then broke the lower portion of a door of a bed room. Mr Rakesh Khuranna, an AGM in the Haryana Industries Department, said after a theft in their house in 2001, they had put up adequate locks.

A visit to the spot revealed that after the burglars failed to break the locks of the door, a sharp-edged weapon was used to break the lower portion of the door. The entire house was found ransacked by the occupants of the house. Mr Khuranna, owner of the house, said he lived on the ground floor and his son along with his family was living on the first floor. Mr Khuranna said the burglars had searched each and every house hold item. While escaping with the booty, one of the burglars changed his pair of shoes with that of Mr Khuranna.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune Mr Khuranna said he had informed the Police Control Room at around 5 pm, a police party from the Sector 39 Police Station had inspected the house and took finger prints of the burglars.

He said earlier burglars had taken away cash and jewellery from his house in August, 2001. The total loss at that time was assessed a t around Rs 50,000. He said after five months a policemen had come from the Sector 39 Police Station to hand over a letter stating that the case was being closed and whenever any recovery was made they would be informed.


Vacation, but not for thieves
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, June 9
It’s confirmed. In Chandigarh, cases of housebreaking increase by seven to 10 per cent every year during summer vacation due to the “negligence of the residents”. Even though the Chandigarh Police has issued a long list of directions to the Station House Officers of all 11 police stations, little has been done to warn the residents.

Senior police officers say on an average a case of theft is reported daily, but the number of such cases increase considerably in June and July.

They agree that preventive measures by residents can go a long way in reducing the number of housebreaking cases, but so far the police personnel have not issued any warnings to them.

Off the record, the officials have a number of suggestions to offer to the residents before they go out on summer vacation. First of all, they recommend that the lights should be switched off.

“A large number of residents leave lights on before going out,” a senior Chandigarh Police officer says. “They do not realise that the switched-on lights during day-time indicate that the owner is not in the house”. The telephone should be disconnected as a ringing phone, especially at night, is another indicator to thieves and robbers that the owners are away.

The newspaper vendor should also be asked to discontinue supply for the period of vacation. A heap of newspapers in front of the house is an indication that the owners are away.

The help of the neighbours should also be taken. They should be requested to switch on the lights of the house locked in the evening and switch them off in the morning.

They should also be asked to keep letters delivered and get your driveway cleaned once in a while by their servants. The residents should keep in touch with the neighbours while out of station on vacation.

Calls should be made in two or three days to neighbours requesting them to keep an extra vigil in their absence.

This is essential, a senior police official says. “In Chandigarh, the neighbours pay little attention to what is happening the next door. This is a boon for the criminals, who carry out thefts with confidence”, he adds.

The problem is compounded by the fact that most of the residents remain indoors during hot summer months. Moreover, the din created by coolers and air conditioners drowns any sound caused by forced entry. “At night, several residents prefer sleeping on the terrace making the job of criminals easier,” he asserts.


Theft in Phase IV house
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 9
In a burglary that took place some time last night in a Phase IV house here, thieves decamped with goods worth Rs 40,000. According to information provided by the police, the house, belonging to a business family residing in Sector 22, Chandigarh, was being used as an STD shop. The owner of the house, Mr Dinesh, said the house had been given to a family friend on rent, but there was generally no one in the house on weekends.

‘‘We left the STD booth last evening at about 8.30 and locked all the doors. But when we arrived today at about 11 a.m. we realised that the door was open. When we entered the house, we found that household items were missing.’’

The family of Mr Dinesh claims that a microwave, an STD machine and some other items were missing from the house. The police has registered a case.


Hoax bomb call

Chandigarh, June 9
A hoax call of a bomb inside a jewellery shop in Sector 35 today saw the police in action for over an hour. According to information, a person called up at Nikka Mal Babu Ram Jewellers to say that there was a bomb inside the shop. Immediately the police was called and the premises was sealed. No visitors was allowed inside the shop for over an hour. TNS


CII drive to help industry improve efficiency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
As part of its programme to help small and medium scale units in north India, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Northern Region, has launched a programme for industrial units based in SAS Nagar.

It has planned to provide skills to the units to build up internal strengthen and reduce their dependence on benefits, relief and government subsidy. Following the ‘‘cluster approach,’’ the CII has embraced 14 companies from SAS Nagar, including manufacturers of bathroom fittings, electro-mechanical parts for automobiles and packaging material.

The CII claims that it has engaged trained and experienced counsellors on different subjects to impart training on tools and techniques and provide hand-holding to these small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In a span of 12-15 months, it claims, each participating company will report substantial monetary and non-monetary benefits, which many have already started realising. The focus areas in the project are energy management, quality management and cost management.

The CII has expressed concern that the SMEs are facing a number of problems such as the poor quality of products manufactured, timely deliveries and high cost of production due to various reasons. As a result, they inevitably end up focusing on crisis management on a day-to-day basis, rather than on improving their manufacturing processes and products.

A team of CII counsellors has already conducted energy audits at each of the participating company’s plants. Each company has been given specific and customised energy saving proposals to help it reduce its present energy consumption (power and fuel). These 14 participating companies will realise savings in the range of Rs 15, 000 to Rs 14.80 lakh per annum, depending upon their present energy consumption bills.

The quality management component will be delivered to the companies through a “manufacturing for excellence programme”, a step-by-step approach to address specific problems encountered by the SMEs. Two highly experienced and trained counsellors are supporting this part of the initiative. They personally visit each company on a monthly basis to offer advice on specific issues, with customised solutions. The participating companies are already in transition and have immensely benefited from the intervention.

Between the counsellors visits, the CII is also providing follow up and monitoring support to the companies on a regular basis through its staff at its SME desk. The staff are helping them reduce inventories, wastage of material, higher utilisation of manpower and machines, better maintanence of machines leading to consistent production of quality products, working capital management and reduction in rejections, improved housekeeping leading to reduction in retrieval times for tools and materials.


Weavco showroom inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Mr Lal Singh, Finance and Corporation Minister, Punjab, today inaugurated a showroom of Weavco on the premises of Punjab Civil Secretariat. The Weavco has already 21 showrooms within and outside the state to sell products of Primary Handloom Weavers Cooperative Societies. This would be the 22nd showroom of the federation.

Addressing the employees, Mr Lal Singh said that the showroom in the secretariat building had been opened keeping in view the needs of over 7,000 employees so that their day-to-day requirements could be met at their workplace. Two new showrooms, one each at Ludhiana and New Delhi would be opened shortly, he added.

While reviewing the working of the Weavco, Mr Lal Singh emphaised that the physical verification of the stocks at its showrooms would be undertaken and instructed the Chief Auditor Cooperatives to submit the audit report within a month to the minister. The report should also indicate the federation’s assets, he added.

He said that Weavco would soon come up with a multi-cultural handicraft promotion complex in Punjab which would include traditional craft and handicraft items from the artisans from all over the country to give a boost to the handicraft market.

Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, State Minister for Cooperation, said that keeping in view of the poor financial position of the weavers societies and their inability to invest large sum of money for purchase of yarn, its had also been decided by the state government to provide yarn to the societies and get the clothes fabricated from them on wages so as to provide them employment without any investment.

Ms Suman Bansal, MD, Weavco said that other consumable items like tea leaves, sugar packets, soap, tooth paste, stationary items would be added to the showroom. Dr B.C. Gupta, FC (Cooperation), Mr A.R. Talwar, Registrar Cooperative Societies, Punjab, were also present on this occasion.

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