Thursday, June 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cong men take to streets over demolition
MP, Mayor among 2,428 held, bailed out
Tribune News Service

Chawla breaches protocol

The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, today breached protocol and addressed a political rally and was arrested for protesting against the demolition drive of the Chandigarh Administration.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Chawla said, “I am not an armchair Mayor. If anyone comes in the way of the corporation or in the way of the rights of the Mayor, I will protest. The fight will go on and I will again breach protocol if needed on such big issues.” As per protocol, the Mayor is next to the UT Administrator and normally does not take part in public rallies.

A few days ago, the Mayor had alleged at a press conference that the Administrator was playing into the hands of the BJP.

Chandigarh, June 11
In a show of strength against the ongoing demolition drive of the Chandigarh Administration, the local unit of the Congress today took to the streets and raised slogans against the Administration. The police arrested 2,428 persons, including the president of the local unit of the party, Mr B.B. Bahl, the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, in apprehension of breach of peace.

Those arrested included councillors and the local Youth Congress president, Mr H.S. Lucky. They were booked under Sections 107 and 150 of the Cr.P.C. and bailed out later by the SDM (East), Mr S.P. Arora.

About 5,000 persons participated in the protest, which was held on the road dividing Sectors 7 and 8 leading to Punjab Raj Bhavan. “The party preferred not to get violent and attack cops or the officialdom with stones to raise a ruckus,” the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, told Chandigarh Tribune, when asked why the party did not breach the police cordon on the road to attempt and reach Raj Bhavan.

Mr Bansal said this was the first show of strength and a warning to the Administration. “We will hold another protest if the Administration does not stop its selective anti-encroachment drive,” Mr Bansal said. When several protesters picked up stones, Mr Bansal was seen getting the stones out of their pockets. The protesters raised slogans against the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, and waived black flags.

The police, wisened after yesterday’s incident when several cops were injured in a clash in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh colony, south of Sector 49, had a heavy presence. The cops, about 600 in number, were led by the SP, City, Mr Baldev Singh. They had brought along a water cannon, a fire engine and riot-control vehicles. A large part of the force was in riot gear. Traffic on the Madhya Marg was diverted to ‘‘safer routes’’.

By noon, the Congress workers, after speeches laced with criticism of the BJP and the Chandigarh Administration, headed towards the cordon set up by the police. The SP ordered their arrest. CTU buses, police trucks and private trucks were used to ferry the arrested persons to the Sector 17 police station. Even though the venue of the rally was not under the Sector 17 police station, the police wanted to use the ground adjacent to the police station for those arrested.



Admn move to consider need-based alterations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
In a major step, the Chandigarh Administration today called on people who have carried out need-based alterations in their houses, to come forward with a model plan and assured that if some relaxation is required it will be considered.

A committee under the chairpersonship of the Chief Architect, Mrs Renu Saigal, is also being set up to consider such need-based requests of alterations, which may be specific for each locality and the people’s representatives will also be associated with the same. The encroachers have been advised to remove illegal structures or submit a model plan.

Keeping in view some misgivings about the so called demolition drive, the Chandigarh Administration today reiterated that it was fully alive to the problems of city dwellers and no structure except where new construction was going on had been demolished.

The Administration was only urging the city residents to free government land outside the building line and the land beyond the plot boundaries, which had been encroached upon by them in various sectors, a spokesperson said tonight. The Administration also clarified how the Government houses were different from private ones as very little ground coverage had been originally made in government houses when compared with private houses.

About suggesting need-based alterations, the Administration said, ‘‘unfortunately, the resident welfare associations of Housing board colonies did not cooperate with such a committee set up in the past, but keeping the interest of the residents in view, relaxations were granted.’’.

It may be recalled that some city residents including the official functionaries, had made some openings on V3 and V4 roads, which should be closed. More than 50 such openings were closed in February and March this year. In April and May, more than 150 openings had been closed. People were now doing it voluntarily, because they had been requested to do so in view of the risk to human life involved, besides it being an encroachment. Wherever the people do not do it voluntarily, the official machinery comes into action for doing the needful, the spokesperson added. There is nothing like fresh demolition drive. A survey was conducted to identify alterations made within the boundary line of the plots or houses allotted by the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Estate Office. Notices as required under the law, were being issued in these cases. Government officials who have made such constructions or encroachments had been advised to cooperate and remove encroachments voluntarily. This would set an example for those who keep on alleging that only ordinary citizens, were being caught and government servants were being left scotfree.

A comparison between the government employees living in government houses and the people living in private houses was also somewhat misleading in the sense that a majority of government houses had utilised a very low ground coverage area and an additional construction was easily regularised, whereas the private houses had utilised the full permissible ground coverage area and no additional coverage could be allowed, the spokesperson said.

He said in some cases, the additions to the government houses had been permitted under the bylaws and had been sanctioned by the Urban Planning Department and were within the building or plot line and could not be termed as encroachment, as it was being loosely alleged.

Also in the case of berms in front of the houses residents were being called upon to beautify the berms in accordance with the hedge bylaws of the Municipal Corporation.



Book encroachers, orders Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Taking strong notice of the attempt to encroach upon municipal land, the Commissioner of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Mr M.P. Singh, has asked the enforcement staff posted at Mani Majra to register an FIR against the encroachers for trespassing on corporation land and obstructing and manhandling government servants on duty.

It may be mentioned that on June 5, the Land Acquisition Officer had handed over the possession of a vacant land to the MC after removing encroachments in Pocket No. 6 of Mani Majra, behind hotel Solitaire.

But on the night of June 9 a few people again tried to encroach upon the land by placing a wooden structure. When the enforcement staff went to remove the encroachment yesterday, the people responsible for encroachment tried to manhandle and obstruct the government servants from removing the encroachments.



PUDA team pelted with stones
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 11
A mob pelted the anti-encroachment team of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) with stones in Phase I here today injuring one Junior Engineer and at least two policemen accompanying the team.

The mob reportedly comprised the persons, who have encroached upon PUDA land and established their hutments, and resorted to stone throwing when the anti-encroachment team reached the spot in order to demolish some illegally constructed structures.

According to sources, PUDA officials had the information that fresh construction was on at the site where they had demolished 55 jhuggis 20 days ago. “We had gone to get these eight new jhuggis demolished and taken a group of six policemen with us to provide the security cover. But out there, by the time we reached, the news had spread that the demolition drive is to start and a mob gathered and started throwing stones at us,” said Mr Sukhpal Singh, Junior Engineer, who got hurt during the operation.

The team had to return after the JE and at least two of the six policemen received minor injuries. “After that we went to the police station asking for more force to provide security, but were told that there was a shortage of force in SAS Nagar these days as a large number of men were posted in Talhan, Jalandhar,” added Mr Sukhpal Singh.

About 20 days ago, PUDA in one of its major operations demolished over 50 structures in Phase I here on a complaint by residents of Phase I MIG and HIG houses. The PUDA team was accompanied by over 20 policemen, who had insured that the operation be carried out smoothly. Today’s operation was, however, cut short following opposition, but, according to sources, the drive would be resumed the day the police force was in place.



Alterations not encroachments: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The BJP does not consider internal need-based changes made by thousands of residents in their houses as encroachments and is in favour of a liberal approach of regularising these changes, said a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, while addressing a press conference here today.

He urged officials of the Chandigarh Housing Board to withdraw notices issued to thousands of residents during the past few days. The BJP will oppose any move to demolish such structures build within houses in Chandigarh, including those flats sold by the Chandigarh Housing Board.

The BJP also claimed that the team of the Administration, which was attacked in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, yesterday, was carrying out demolitions without notice and without any orders from the competent authority. He sought an inquiry against the officials and also those police personnel, who allegedly attacked the party President, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan.

Mr Jain said the Administration itself had announced through various newspapers that a survey to find out eligible persons, under the December 1996 Scheme would be carried out in the area on June 10 and 11.Instead of a survey, the officials started demolition without any notice.

Taking a dig at the Congress, Mr Jain said it should be enough indication as to who were actually opposing the demolition move and who were just showing sympathy towards affected people by organising protest rallies.

Clarifying his stand, Mr Jain said even encroachments from government land should be removed in a legal way and not in an arbitrary manner. A delegation of the BJP would meet senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration tomorrow to stress these points and urge the Administrator to call a meeting of either the Chandigarh Advisory Council or a meeting of either the Chandigarh Advisory Council or public representatives. This meeting should be attended by all political and non-political representatives of various residents welfare associations to chalk out a clear-cut policy on the issue.

The BJP denied allegations that its leaders instigated a mob in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh colony. Mr Jain said he or Mr Mahajan did not deliver any speech. The BJP, he claimed, had always fought for the rights of the residents.

Probe ordered

The Chandigarh Administration today ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the District Magistrate, Mr Arun Kumar, into the incident of violence, which occurred at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony yesterday. The Chandigarh Administration would take further view after receipt of the inquiry report. It may be recalled about 40 persons were injured when a mob of slum-dwellers allegedly attacked a team of the Chandigarh Administration. No time frame has been fixed for the inquiry.



Probe sought into PGI demolitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Demanding an inquiry into the demolition undertaken by the authorities, the PGI Campus Sarav Dharam Sabha, today shot letters to the Union Health Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, and the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, terming the action as highly unjustified and undemocratic.

In the letter, a copy of which was also handed over to the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, the Sabha demanded that strict action must be taken against officials responsible for hurting the religious sentiments of the public.

It said the demolition drive at Ravi Dass Mandir, Jeevan Jyoti Church (CNI) and the gurdwara had hurt the sentiments of not just the people belonging to these minority communities, but all PGI employees, their families and patients.

They demanded that accepting moral responsibility for the shameful act, the PGI administration should immediately reconstruct the damaged religious buildings.

Meanwhile, condemning the demolition drive, the North India Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare Association has demanded compensation for the damage to Ravi Dass Bhavan.



Bhardwaj remanded in CBI custody
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 11
The court room today virtually turned into a battleground for lawyers and CBI officials when the suspended Judicial Magistrate, S.S Bhardwaj, was produced in a local court in a corruption case registered against him. As soon as the CBI produced Bhardwaj in the jam-packed court room of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L Mohal, the lawyers present there started raising objections over the CBI investigation.

The case took a serious turn when the DSP, CBI, Mr R.Upashak, raised objection, as the former president of the District Court Bar Association, Mr N.K. Nanda, started arguing Bhardwaj’s case. Mr Upashak said as Mr Nanda had not filed “vakalat nama” in the case therefore he had no right to argue in the case. Thereafter, a number of lawyers raised objections over the CBI interference and condemned its act. Mr Nanda stated the investigating agency had no right to stop lawyers from arguing during the court proceedings. The heated arguments between the CBI officials and lawyers continued for about 10 minutes.

The arguments in the case began at about 11.05 a.m. and continued till 12 noon. Thereafter, the CJM adjourned the case for order till 12.30 p.m. After hearing the arguments from both sides S.S. Bhardwaj, was remanded in CBI custody for three days till June 14. The CJM also directed the CBI to produce Bhardwaj during the court hours next time.

The CBI counsel argued that the custody of Bhardwaj was required for the investigation of this case. Besides key of the locker maintained by Bhardwaj at Punjab and Sind Bank, Ferozepore cantonment, was yet to be recovered from him, he said.

The CBI counsel further argued that Bhardwaj was to be taken to various places for recoveries. Moreover, other accused in the case, including any police officer, have to be identified if involved in the case and for this accused has to be put under sustained interrogation.



CBI plea to handcuff Bhardwaj turned down
Our Correspondent

“May God give medals to the CBI and long life to Gurvinder Singh Samra”, said an emotionally shattered Bhardwaj while appearing in the witness box in the CJM court today. Pleading that he was falsely implicated in the case, Bhardwaj said he had no faith in the CBI. He pleaded that he be remanded in police custody as he had already been tortured by the CBI. Earlier, during the proceedings Bhardwaj pleaded that he be allowed to argue his case and denied the allegation that he had taken bribe from Samra. He claimed that he did not make a call either to Samra or to suspended District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta. He stated that he had already surrendered his mobile phone when he was arrested and had no bank balance in his account therefore there was no need of CBI custody.

Chandigarh, June 11
The CBI today suffered a setback when its request to handcuff the suspended Judicial Magistrate (First Class), S.S. Bhardwaj, was turned down by a local court.

The CBI had pleaded in an application moved before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L. Mohal, that while investigation was in progress, Bhardwaj clandestinely slipped away from the place. He was arrested yesterday. Pleading that Bhardwaj may be allowed to be handcuffed during his custody, the CBI stated in the application that in the light of his escape and to avert any kind of danger to his life, there was an imminent need to restrain him physically

Meanwhile, the CJM has allowed three applications moved by Bhardwaj for medical examination, presence of counsel during his interrogation and to allow his relatives to meet him during his custody. The CJM stated in his order that “since the accused has the right to meet his relatives and counsel therefore the accused is allowed to meet his relatives and counsel in isolation between 9.30 am and 10 am, and 6 pm and 7 pm”.

While allowing counsel to the present during interrogation, the CJM said, “The interrogation be conducted in the presence of counsel of the accused—Mr Ashok Sehgal and Mr Pardeep Goyal. Only one of the two can be present at the time of the interrogation and shall sit at a sufficient distance so that the CBI may interrogate the accused properly”.



French Ambassador calls on Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The French Ambassador to India, Mr Dominique Girard, today assured the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, that he would pursue with his government the pending project of Electricite-de-france regarding reduction of line losses in power sector in Chandigarh and the financial and technical aid requested for it by the Indian Government.

The assurance came when Mr Girad called on Mr Verma at Punjab Raj Bhavan. The Ambassador discussed various issues of mutual interest. The Governor informed the Ambassador that Punjab was a frontline, progressive and vibrant state, which had made a mark especially in the agricultural sector. He said there was an urgent need to harness full potential of this sector. He said that France could help Punjab in setting up joint sector ventures, especially in the areas of food processing, agro- processing and in post-harvest technology.

Justice Verma said with a large human resource base, especially in Punjab, was the right place for France IT and biotechnology firms to set up their base and also in upcoming technology park in Chandigarh.

The Governor said farmers of Punjab were already exporting flower seeds to many European countries including France and there was a need to expand this trade. He said Punjab farmers were diversifying into new areas and a boost to export of flowers seeds to France would re-define the trade ties between Punjab and France.

Speaking about Chandigarh, Justice Verma said France had inherent ties with Chandigarh, as it was French architect and urban planner, Le Corbusier, who planned the city and every citizen of Chandigarh was emotionally attached to the name of Le Corbusier.



Discusses areas of mutual interest with Chief Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Mr Dominique Girard, French envoy, today called on Mr Rajan Kashyap, Chief Secretary, Punjab, and discussed issues of mutual interests to the state of Punjab and France.

During the meeting, Mr Kashyap told the French Ambassador that the Punjab Government had undertaken a project of restructuring the government departments with specific emphasis on modernising the entire structure.

He also said the government had been encouraging the private sector to invest and also sought partnerships abroad. Financially viable projects would be planned, said the Chief Secretary. Speaking on education, he said French was being taught in all universities in the state.

Bilateral arrangements between France and India should be promoted on Agriculture. Food processing units would be encouraged whereas in the power sector more hydro-electric units would be set up in the state, said Mr Kashyap.

Mr Kashyap said bio-technology and information technology were the two thrust areas to be developed in Punjab. New initiatives were also taken by the government in the field of education and health.

The setting up of a technology park at Mohali was already in the pipeline, he added.

While expressing his gratitude towards the people of India in general and Punjab in particular, the French Ambassador appreciated the Indian way of mobilising resources. Referring to the similarity of the culture of hard work among Indians and French, he hoped that there would be some kind of financial, social and even cultural partnerships between Punjab and France.



Shortage of staff affects functioning of NCC
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Shortage of staff is affecting the functioning of NCC establishments in the region. The gravity of the situation is such that it propelled the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, to write to chief ministers of various states, asking them to direct the departments concerned in their respective states to make the requisite staff available.

Information gathered by Chandigarh Tribune revealed that a large number of posts of superintendents, office assistants, clerks, drivers, and watchmen in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorates were lying vacant. Making personnel available for these civilian cadre posts was the responsibility of the state governments.

The Chandigarh Administration recently issued directives to terminate the services of contractual employees, who had been hired by the NCC to fill up vacant posts on an ad hoc basis. However, go ahead has recently been given to recruit drivers and a cook.

In Punjab, the deficiency of civilian manpower is to the tune of 30 per cent. There are just four superintendents against a sanctioned strength of 20. Ten posts of senior assistants and 25 posts of clerks are lying vacant. The establishments are also short of 35 drivers and a large number of Class IV staff. In some categories such as Laskar, the shortage is as high as 54 per cent, while stenographers are deficient by 50 per cent. Similarly, the strength of drivers are short by 41 per cent, while chowkidars are short by 20 per cent.

In Haryana, all posts of superintendents are reported to be lying vacant, while there is a 47 per cent deficiency at the level of assistants and accountants. Drivers are short by about 22 per cent.

Explicitly stating that NCC activities presently suffer heavily due to shortage of state government staff, the Defence Minister’s letter stated that deficiencies in office manpower, whose presence is essential for day to day running of an establishment, are required to be made up urgently. The Defence Minister has also desired that the state governments “ should explore all possible avenues for making up the existing shortage of civilian staff in the NCC directorate, group headquarters and units located in the state”.

The Defence Minister has written that Members of Parliament, during the Parliamentary Consultative Committee, had highlighted the need for the Union as well as state governments to discharge their responsibilities unequivocally to ensure the effective and efficient functioning of the NCC. These views, he added, were also aired during the Central Advisory Committee meeting of the NCC and again at the Joint State Representatives and Deputy Directors General of NCC Conference, which was also attended by representatives of state governments.



Mother who gave soul to city
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Prominent citizens of the City Beautiful plan to celebrate later this year the beatification of the Nobel-laureate, Mother Teresa, who is bound to Chandigarh through her Missionaries of Charity’s home for destitute women and abandoned children established by her in Sector 23 way back in 1976.

“Beatification of the Mother will take place on October 19 at the Vatican. The Pope himself will conduct it”, says Mr M. G. Devasahayam, who, as the then Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh, was primarily responsible for inviting the Mother to Chandigarh some 27 years ago and allotting a two-acre of plot of land for setting up the home for destitute women and abandoned children.

“Beatification is an important step towards declaration of a person as a saint. Beatification will be a formal declaration to the world that the Mother is a fit case to be declared a saint”, said Mr Devasahayam in a talk with TNS here today.

He said he had had an informal meeting with the sisters at the Missionaries of Charity where it was decided that the celebrations should be a three-day event. It will include a photo exhibition of the Mother’s various visits to the city, an inter-faith prayer meeting, a public meeting and a Thanksgiving Mass at the Sector 18 church. The photo exhibition and inter-faith prayer meeting will be held on October 31, public meeting on November 1 and Thanksgiving Mass on November 2.

An organising committee for the event has also begun to take shape. It includes Ms Bonnie Sodhi, wife of the former TRAI chief, Mr Justice S.S.Sodhi, Ms Madhvi Gujral, wife of the Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, Ms Goldie Malhotra, Principal, Modern School, Delhi, Mr Ashok Khanna, Managing Director of Khanna Watches, Mr Iqbal Singh Kalsia, an engineer, to name only a few. Many others are being contacted, said Mr Devasahayam.

He recalled that the Mother was persuaded with great difficulty to come to Chandigarh and set up a home for destitute women and abandoned children. “As Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh in 1974, I was keen on tackling the problem of destitute women, orphans and the poor. It was always at the back of mind. Then one day, I spoke to Bishop Gilbert Rego of Chandigarh about it. And he immediately suggested Mother Teresa. I wrote to the Mother but her refusal was prompt and blunt. Chandigarh is a city of rich people whereas I work among the poor only, she replied. Then Bishop Gilbert Rego and I wrote a joint letter to her. But her objection remained the same. It was then I suggested to her that poverty in the midst of plenty is even more painful. Therefore, Chandigarh needed her services more than any other city. This argument persuaded her and she agreed to visit Chandigarh”.

Mr Devasahayam said before she came, the UT Administration had surveyed a few sites, including the one in Sector 23. The Mother was shown all of them but she liked the site in Sector 23 the most. The UT Administration also promised her financial assistance in the construction of the home, but soon she became so famous throughout the world because of her selfless work that there was no dearth of donations.

The home for destitute women and abandoned children now has 220 inmates. The sisters in charge of the home say there is no dearth of noble souls in Chandigarh who take care of all the needs of the home and its inmates.

“Chandigarh was known as a city without a soul. Mother has given it a soul through her home”, says Mr Devasahayam.



Tigress may get mate from Chhat Bir
Bipin Bhardwaj

Panchkula, June 11
The long wait of the Royal Bengal tigress at the Pipli zoo near Kurukshetra for a companion may soon come to an end. The tigress had been lonely for the past one year after the death of her partner, the Haryana Wildlife Department has, now approached Mahindra Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhat Bir to seek its help in the pairing of the animal.

The request has come in spite of the apprehensions that the Punjab Wildlife Department was housing hybrid Royal Bengal tigers in the Chhat Bir zoo. Complying with the Central Zoo Authorities (CZA) guidelines, the Haryana Wildlife Department has decided to procure animals, birds and mammals for pairing in captivity at mini zoos in Pipli and Rohtak.

Sources said the department would get a Royal Bengal tiger for pairing with a tigress in the mini zoo at Pipli, while the other tiger pair would be for the Rohtak zoo.

In a letter, the Haryana Wildlife Department has asked the CZA to intervene and ask other zoo in the country to provide it with the animals under the exchange programme. Considering the request, the CZA has asked the Chhat Bir zoo authorities to go for the exchange.

When contacted, Mr R.D. Jakati, Chief Wildlife Warden of Haryana, said the department had indeed approached the Chhat Bir zoo authorities for a Royal Bengal tiger for pairing with a tigress in the Pipli zoo.

“After failing to get a positive response from a number of zoos, we have decided to get the tigers from the Chhat Bir zoo. Because of the inbreeding of Asiatic lions in that zoo, there are still apprehensions that the tigers there are hybrid,” Mr Jakati said.

As per the CZA guidelines, no animal should be left unpaired, for which, an animal would have to be either procured or shifted to some other zoo. Mr Jakati said the Haryana zoos would fulfil this condition.

Meanwhile, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Director of the Chhat Bir zoo, when contacted, said the CZA had asked him to give tigers to the Haryana Wildlife Department. He also said the Chhat Bir zoo housed over two dozen Royal Bengal tigers, none of which was a hybrid. He was in contact with the Haryana Wildlife Department for getting other animals and birds in exchange for the tigers.


Chhabeel offered on Nirjala Ekadashi
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 11
Traffic came to a standstill in different parts of the city as enthusiastic residents stepped in the middle of the road for offering sweetened water to commuters on the occasion of Nirjala Ekadashi.

At several places, chana-bhaturas, were served to passersby. The stalls of sweetened water were put up to enable residents to beat the intense June heat.

Heavy rush was witnessed outside The Tribune office in Sector 29 as the commuters on the busy national highway stopped their vehicles to savour the sharbet, and sumptuous channa-bread and melon. The stall organised by The Tribune employees started at 9 am and continued till about 5 pm.

Rush was also witnessed in front of stalls in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, outside the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research and on the Panjab University campus. Passersby also stopped to have sweetened water in Sectors 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 43, 44, 45 and 47.



Tree plantation camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
To give a fillip to the Green Rural UT Chandigarh drive, Punjab National Bank today organised a tree plantation camp at Dhanas village that was attended by Mr I.S. Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, Mr V.J. Mattoo, Senior Regional Manager, PNB, Chandigarh Region, Mr Harbans Singh, sarpanch, and villagers.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Mattoo said that as a good corporate citizen, the PNB was involved in the afforestation movement throughout the country. It was also involved in community work, including medical check up, blood donation, immunisation and tree plantation camps.

Appreciating the efforts of the PNB, Mr Sandhu, urged the villagers to develop a green belt in the village so that it could be used for morning and evening walks and other health-related activities.



TTTI officials take part in shramdan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The shramdan at the Sukhna Lake — today entered the 13th day. More than 100 officials of the Technical Teachers Training Institute (TTTI), Sector 26, along with the Head of the Department, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, took part in the shramdan at the regular end.

About 50 personnel of the Horticulture Department, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation led by Superintending Engineer, I.S. Sokhi, and 100 persons of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, led by Mr Om Parkash, besides 50 regular shramdanis, participated in the shramdan.

Till today 22.40 lakh cubic feet of silt has been removed by means of manual and mechanical way from the dry bed of the lake. Icecream was served to shramdanis.



Platform Save water
Encourage afforestation

The recent heat wave and drought in Andhra Pradesh have caused untold misery. More than a 1,000 people have died because of heat which has led to water paucity. The main causes of water scarcity are pollution and deforestation. To conserve water, we should use water judiciously. Afforestation programme should be encouraged and water released from industrial units should be recycled. Dams should be constructed so that various sources of water are fully tapped. We should keep in mind “Water is Life”.

Shrey Sharma, Class III, St. John’s High School



Encroachments and demolition drives

EVERY other day one comes across headlines of demolition drives being undertaken at one place or the other in Chandigarh and its satellite towns. The authorities, man and machines are out to raise to the ground shanty colonies, slums and at times multistorey structures, including unauthorised additions in housing colonies. The new Administrator of Chandigarh seems to be very keen in removing these encroachments defiling the City Beautiful.

These drives which come at odd intervals do move the otherwise lethargic and unconcerned Administration to perform positively in improving the overall environment, be it on road sides, in colonies or other open spaces. But it seems that there is no proper survey and no planned action programme to tackle these eyesores on a long-term basis. Many a time the encroachers are back in business after a few days. This is due to the fact that the staff hardly go out, check and report the encroachments on a regular basis. Unless and until the staff concerned is made accountable for their respective areas, these half-hearted measures will not bring permanent results.

As a long-term measure, the floating population has to be housed in some of the villages around Chandigarh and its satellite towns so as to prevent encroachments as well as creation of little slums with their inherent sanitation and health problems and related social evils. We wish the Administrator well in his drive for making the city more livable.

Brig (retd) H.S. Sandhu, Panchkula

Stale information on varsity website

Apropos “Chaudhary leaves Rs 20 cr in FDs” (The Tribune, April 5, 2003), I wish to bring some more facts to your kind attention. As the report clearly points out that the university’s distance education courses have been the major source of its income, it will be just fair to know what deal do the students of these courses get from the varsity. A BCA student through varsity service provider (like ZILS) alone ends up paying more than Rs 50,000 over the course period, more than half of which goes to the varsity just to provide study notes, marksheets, datesheets and other basic services. Rest is shared with the service provider, which at least provides some teaching facilities to the students. The varsity hardly monitors the quality of these facilities, or cares for the welfare of these students. Charges for many other courses are even higher.

These are also not given in time and are often incomplete. Confusion prevails all the time over the examination result declaration dates. Various forms are not easily available and have to be bought from private sellers at higher prices. The varsity’s crude looking website is frustratingly loaded with stale information and of no use to anybody. Results are posted on it months later. One wonders if the varsity has the competent staff to conduct a host of computer courses that it does. The varsity has hundreds of students enrolled from Chandigarh and the surrounding areas but its nearest examination centre is Panchkula and Ambala for some courses, putting students at great inconvenience. Supplementary examinations are compulsorily conducted in Ambala or other far-off centres only. Nobody minds paying a price for good basic services. Any university charging exorbitant prices and providing poor services will be able to fill its coffers in the short run. But the question is whether it is ethical or even a sound business proposition in the long run?

Yatin (A concerned guardian), Chandigarh

BJP ‘more worried’ about unity

Old habits die hard. Come elections, the Akali Panthic unity talks are smearing the newsprint. But this time there is a new factor in the otherwise too familiar an exercise. It is the BJP which is more worried and interested in Akali-Panthic unity, or at least unity of the two warlords. It pains me to note that during past decade or so, the Sikh politics of individualism and feudal connotations have damaged the Sikh image, values and eroded the authority and prestige of Sri Akal Takht Sahib.

It is disgraceful to read that Panthic leaders are talking to each other for unity at the bidding of the BJP. Unfortunately, these days politics have degenerated to the person-level. Look back just two years ago. The Congress was nowhere on the Punjab political scene. But due to the narrow, personal interests of the two Akali stalwarts and their mutual distrust, Capt Amarinder Singh’s Congress came into power. The Captain had shown better Panthic character by resigning from the Congress. Thanks to the Akalis, Capt Amarinder Singh is today the Chief Minister of Punjab.

On the national level, an era of alliance governments has come to settle. It is no doubt that regional parties will have to have a truck with national political parties. The Akali Dal is in a dilemma — whether to choose the Congress or the BJP.

Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian, Chandigarh

Funds for NCC

Apropos “NCC forced to de-enrol cadets” published in Chandigarh Tribune on June 9, 2003. The decision of the Punjab and UT Administration to hold back funds for the NCC is most unfortunate. The NCC was conceived by the late Mr Jawaharlal Nehru not only as a second line of defence but also as a “reservoir” of potential officer cadres for entry into the three services, on the lines of the erstwhile University Training Corps (UTC) of the British India, though with a vastly enlarged scope. Overall, it was conceived as a “character building” movement for the youth for national resurgence. It contributed enormously in all the fields and provided many an outstanding officer to the defence services. It also did a yeoman’s service during national calamities such as the recent Gujarat earthquake and many other such tragedies as also during 1965 and 1971 wars.

It is sad that this very fine organisation is now being strangulated for lack of funds and the Deputy Directorate General of Punjab and UT, Chandigarh, has been constrained to “de-enrol” a colossal number of cadets to the tune of 75 per cent of their strength. What is the oddest part is that it is happening in Punjab, the “sword arm of India” and a “potential battle field”, where the profession of arms is considered a noble one and parents in rural Punjab used to take pride in naming their sons as Major, Karnail (Colonel) and Jarnail (General) Singh!

Apart from the laid down aims and objectives, the NCC, performs a vital function of ‘‘national integration’’ through the medium of camps at national functions like Republic Day. Such camps provide an ideal exposure to the cadets to the cultural and other influences of other states at a very impressionable age, thus widening their horizon. As many as 31,000 de-enrolled cadets would thus be denied chances of such an exposure and thus be forced to remain “frogs in a well”, courtesy the holding back of funds for NCC.

The malady is deeper than the holding back of the funds for the NCC. It is the general “apathy” of the bureaucracy towards the military. It is more a question of mindset rather than the availability of money alone. Whenever anything concerning the military appears before them, their (bureaucracy’s) first reaction is often apathetic.

In view of the foregoing, it is strongly requested that the powers that be may please release the necessary funds at the earliest for the good of the country and the affected cadets.

Brig (retd) Harwant Singh, Chandigarh

Saving Sukhna

Some of my suggestions sent to Chandigarh Tribune to save Sukhna were published with my photo on 15-5-2003 under the heading “Reserve water from Kajauli”. On the basis of suggestions already sent in limited words, it may further be mentioned as under:-

To restrict silt from entering the lake, a specially designed reservoir, high enough, connected to the lake above the radiator (outlet) for clean water to flow into the lake, may be constructed opposite to the regulator. Make water of choes flow into the reservoir, constructing a channel at the extreme end of lake. Silt will settle down at the bottom of the reservoir and clean water will flow into lake. Flush out the silt-deposit, if required, or it may be removed easily afterwards by trucks.

So far as the problem of removing silt from lake-bed is concerned, excess water may be made to flow to remove the silt from the lake-bed, as already suggested by me. A specially designed low-cost outlet may be constructed at the lesser height than the radiator (present outlet). One or two more such outlets may be constructed at suitable places in the lake, if required. For a few rainy seasons the water of choes may also be utilised for removal of silt from lake-bed. Mostly the silt may be mixed with flowing water manually. However, some floating platforms with diesel engine-driven shafts having blades at the bottom to mix the silt with water may also be used for this purpose.

The water of the choes may be made to flow towards the Ghaggar without entering into the lake except in case of the above suggestion. Since the sand and dust of storms also settles at the lake-bed, the above process of removing silt from the lake-bed may be repeated after 100 years or so.

Gurbakhsh Singh Mann, Chandigarh

No room for God

We’re born into a culture that pays obeisance to God for everything we live with. Our day begins with bowing to the Almighty, and a visit to the nearest temple in the neighbourhood instills positivity and optimism for the rest of the day.

Yet some authorities seem to think otherwise. For example, our very own Huda. The Administration has proven that money holds more value than the emotional well-being of the people. This fact came to light in Sector 20 of Panchkula which accounts for 40 per cent of the city’s total population, where each acre of land has been sold out to ground housing societies. Near about 200 societies are coming up in this sector. Land has been allocated for the largest grain market, shopping centre, dispensary and cremation ground. But since dear God got delayed in queuing up for His share of land, no zone has been earmarked. He is left high and dry in HUDA’s process of selling out plots for a large sum of money. With due apology, poor God, with no regular/fixed source of income, has to sit back in a three-decade old Shivalya on a small piece of land donated by some villagers. A few residents of the sector, who raised this demand for allotting a plot for the temple, are being ‘suppressed’ by the administration and the police force alike.

It is to be noted that in all other sectors, zoning sheets have been prepared and land allotted to various sects for carrying out their religious as well as public activities in the temple premises. Then why is step-motherly treatment being meted out to Sector 20? Is the public expected to go to other sectors for worshipping, or should God be advised to first seek employment to raise such a huge amount of money for buying land for His residence?

Aggrieved residents of Sector 20, Panchkula

Poor sanitation

The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, should look into the poor sanitary conditions existing in the southern adjoining areas of Police Colony of Sector 46-D. The condition of public parks lying to the east of the colony is deplorable. There parks are full of debris and left-over building material.

The garbage has been never cleared and the bin lying near the forest boundary near Police Colony is over flowing with rubbish for the last six months. There is a serious threat to the public health. The concerned authorities must take immediate steps in public interest.

B.S. Lubana, Chandigarh

Backache cured

I would like to draw your kind attention towards the efficacy of homoeopathic system of medicine. After my first delivery, I was suffering from a severe backache. I consulted many doctors of Chandigarh in every field of medicine but that did not give me any relief. But when I switched over to homoeopathy, my backache got cured permanently within one week. And now I remember it as a bad dream.

I would like to suggest that Chandigarh Administration should appoint a homoeopathic doctor in every dispensary and hospital of Chandigarh, whether allopathic or ayurvedic, so that more and more people get the benefit of homoeopathic medicine, and they have a better choice of treatment for their diseases.

Nisha Goyal,. Chandigarh



Take away biryani, korma
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
It is basically a takeaway and home delivery point with a posh address. Nestled in the booths of the Sector 35 lane of hotels and restaurants, Nawab's was opened last week for those looking for a quick bite of rich Hyderabadi cuisine.

It is the brainchild of Mr Deepak Bhardwaj who has been associated with the hospitality industry for nearly two decades, both as a frontman and consultant. Nawab's is the culmination of a concept that he has always dreamed of while in service — to use his expertise for his own project. And while the beginning is modest, he aims big. He intends to shortly expand to Panchkula, Mohali and two more outlets catering to the northern sectors too. With more dishes and post-midnight service also on cards. With the base kitchen being outside (the booth is too small), it is the huge electric steam oven that keeps the food warm and fresh with the its flavours intact. Thus, the khana is always ready for anyone wanting it delivered at home or office (ring 371717) or those walking in.

In fact, those just casually stepping in out of curiosity go back quite impressed with the quaint interiors and no-nonsense jiffy service in disposable plates by the staff dexterously taking out scoops from the big pateelas lined up behind the see-through glass partition. Like Sunny, who runs a telecom business in the neighbourhood who came for a fill of chicken korma and rumali roti along with his friend. While he was satisfied with the dumpukht khana that was light on the pocket comparatively, he wished there were some stools to sit on by the driftwood-like table tops. It is not only the rich creamy rice and dal bukhara that transport you to the royal days of nawabs. The interiors also provide the ambience of the bygone era with claylike walls made ornate with mirrors and strokes of coloured brushes and ceiling in hut-shaped logs of woods. The electric lanterns hanging overhead complete the scenario. One positive aspect of the small area is that the AC is very effective.

As of now, the menu is limited to biryanis, kormas and dal bukhara. Available in four sizes — one portion, 1/2, 1 kg and 2 kg, you have a choice of biryan-e-murg (favourite of Raja Nawal Kishore of Lucknow) and the mutton-filled rice from the house of Nawab Maslum Jang of Hyderabad for Rs 40 kg to Rs 400, depending on the portion. Each grain of the white grain peppered with green and red condiments as well as fried onions thrown in stands out appetisingly. For good measure, if you order 1 kg and more, the stuff will be at your doorstep in handis or clay pots and if less, in plastic containers that can be put straight in the microwave oven. The tabari biryani sprinkled with sliced veggies is for those who shun meat, just like Birbal.

The chicken and gosht kormas (Rs 50 to Rs 200) float in the gravy that has no tomato base, but is flavoured with onions, ginger, garlic and paste of dry fruits like in yesteryear. Similarly, the black dal (Rs 35) mashed in butter and cream is enriched by slow cooking on simmering heat for hours together. Accompanied by rumali roti (Rs 10) or Mughlai paratha (Rs 15), your Hyderabadi meal is complete. For the diehard Punjabi khana fans, there is chana-bhatura and lassi (Rs 20), but only Sunday ke Sunday for breakfast.

And the attractive, wooden gazebo outside will soon offer paans made by an authentic panwari from Benaras. Those walking the corridor, look out.



Two incidents of purse snatching
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 11
Two cases of purse snatching were reported from different parts of the city here today.

Three youths riding a motor cycle snatched a purse from Ms Tajinder Kaur in Sector 29 this afternoon.

As per police sources, Ms Tajinder Kaur had gone to a gurdwara along with her neighbour and was on her way back to home when the incident happened.

“The miscreants stopped the motor cycle near me, pushed me off and while I was trying to regain control of myself, the youths had fled with the purse,’’ Ms Tajinder Kaur said.

According to her, she raised the alarm and some persons standing nearby tried to catch hold of the motorcyclist but in vain. The purse contained Rs 6,000, gold jewellery and other items.

In another incident, two scooter-borne youths reportedly snatched a purse from a resident of Phase X, SAS Nagar, Ms Balpreet Kaur, in Sector 42 and sped away here this evening. The bag contained some cash and a mobile phone set, besides other things.

As per information available, Ms Balpreet Kaur was riding a rickshaw when the snatching took place.



Car recovered after hot chase

Panchkula, June 11
Two car thieves kept almost 30 local cops on their toes for almost an hour late last night. Though the police recovered the stolen car after a chase, the thieves escaped in the darkness.

A Maruti car ( HR-37- 0077) was reportedly stolen from outside Sector 20 Anaj Mandi at about 11.15 last night. The stolen car was finally spotted by a Police Control Room vehicle in Sector 20 and a wireless message was flashed to other PCR vehicles. It was then that four PCR vehicles , a CIA staff jeep, the Sector 19 Station House Officer’s jeep and the DSP (City) followed the car.

However, it was only near Kundi village on the Panchkula- Zirakpur border that the stolen car fell off the road. However, the two accused escaped. TNS



Five cases of theft solved
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, June 11
With the arrest of Varinder Duggal (21) the police today claimed to have solved at least five cases of theft and recovered four mobile phones, a walkman and other items from his possession.

As per police sources, Varinder had been working as an electrician in a Sector 19 shop. More cases of theft are likely to be solved, said a police official. Varinder was produced in a local court which remanded him in police custody.

A resident of Nehru Colony, Sector 53, has reported to the police that his two daughters were abducted by Chhotu Ram of Bareli district, Uttar Pradesh, on June 4 from the complainant's residence. A case has been registered under Sections 363 and 366, IPC.

In another similar complaint, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony has reported that his minor daughter was abducted by a fellow resident, Anuj, on June 7 from the complainant's residence. A case has been registered.

A woman of Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, has alleged that Ram Asra of Bapu Dham Colony tried to outrage her modesty here yesterday. The alleged crime took place at the residence of the complainant. A case under Section 354, IPC, has been registered.

Mr Avinash Kumar Mishra, a resident of Hostel No. 6, Panjab University, reported to the police that his LML Vespa scooter (HR-02-F-6877) was stolen from the hostel parking lot on the night of June 5. A case has been registered.

The police arrested Durga Dass, Shop No. 3173, Sector 56, and reportedly recovered three pornographic compact disc from his possession here yesterday. A case under Section 292 of the IPC has been registered.

SAS Nagar

Body found
The dead body of an unidentified person was found near the Punjab School Education office in Phase VIII here today. According to those present at the site, the person was found lying next to an autorickshaw. The person who appeared to be about 35 years old, according to the police was the driver of the autorickshaw. The police further stated that no address and name could be found on the body but chits carrying names of medicines have been found in his pockets.

Women held
The police has arrested four women for loitering under Section 109 of the CrPC. The four, Sonu, Sumal, Sumita, Simi, were produced in the SDM’s court here today and released thereafter. The four were arrested on a complaint lodged by residents of Phase IX here.

The police has arrested one person on the charges of violation of the Copyrights Act and recovered over 440 pirated audio cassettes. Madan Lal Verma, the accused, was caught from his shop in Phase V booth market following a police raid.


Youth held
A youth of Uttar Pradesh, Sunil Kumar, has been nabbed near Parushram Chowk and a countrymade pistol and a live cartridge recovered from him. The police has registered a case under the Arms Act against Sunil. He was produced in the local court and later sent to judicial custody.

Prisoner booked
On the complaint of the Superintendent of the Ambala Central Jail, a case has been registered against a prisoner, who did not turn up even after the expiry of parole period. Giyan Singh, a resident of Indiri, had gone on parole on May 6 for three weeks but failed to turn up so far. A police team has been sent to the native village of the prisoner.

One killed
A person was killed and two others injured in two separate road accidents here today. An unidentified person was found dead on the G.T. Road near the IOC depot here today. The police suspects that some unknown vehicle may have hit him. In another accident, two persons were injured near Sain Majra village near Naraingarh when a car hit their scooter. The police has registered a case against the driver of the car on the complaint of one of the injured, Jora Singh.



Hero Honda launches ‘Karizma’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
After launching ‘Dawn’, Hero Honda today launched another model — Karizma — in Chandigarh . It was launched by Flying Sikh Milkha Singh.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Aneek Dutta, Area Manager, and Mr Ronny Pratap Hoon, Managing Director, Charisma Goldwheels, claimed that the Karizma, 223CC, with maximum power of 17 PS at the rate of 7000 rpm, would be targeted at customers seeking to enjoy the ‘the thrill of power on wheels of style.’ It would be priced at Rs 79,000. He claimed that company was expecting a sale of 45,000 Karizma bikes by the end of year.

Mr Dutta said though company was not expecting high volume of sales in this high-end segment, yet the model was launched to complete the product range of the company. The product would be aimed at creating a new segment of premium sports motorcycles. Its features include pick up of 0 to 60 km in 3.8 seconds, large front disc brakes, safety and most effective braking with minimal of effort. Moreover, the braking effectiveness would not diminish even under extreme weather conditions, he claimed.



5 get free talk time worth 1 lakh
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 11
It was a Sunday and Mr Subrata Roy wanted to make an urgent mobile call to his girlfriend. His BSNL prepaid card had expired and he could not get a new one on that day. So he went in for an AirTel connection instead. His girlfriend proved lucky for him because with that purchase he won Rs 1 lakh in free “Talk Time”.

Mr Roy, who is a probationary officer (PO) with a branch of the State Bank of India in Ludhiana, was happy today on winning the prize. “I have already spent about Rs 12,000 in talk time in 10 days,” he said here.

The young PO was among AirTel’s eight “Magic” subscribers in Punjab who were given prizes of Rs 1 lakh each under a countrywide Rs 10 crore free “Talk Time” offer. They were invited to the company’s office here today. The offer is open until June 15.

Mr Gurjant Singh, a young farmer from Sohail Khurd village in Ludhiana district, said he had recently purchased a mobile and went in for an AirTel Magic prepaid card on which he had won the prize. He said as most of his relatives were settled in England he would be able to talk to them more often because of the free talk time.

The other three winners, who visited the AirTel office here today, are Mr Paramjit Singh, a JCB operator working with a private firm in Chandigarh, who won the prize yesterday; Mr Suresh Kumar, who deals in readymade garments and has a tailor’s shop at Burail village in Chandigarh and Mr Sunil Kumar, a resident of Ludhiana and also an AirTel distributor.

A press note issued by the company stated that under the new offer, which started from May 3, on purchase of every new AirTel Magic prepaid mobile card, a customer got a guaranteed free talk time of Rs 50. In addition, every one out of two new subscribers had a chance to win extra talk time ranging from Rs 25 to Rs 100,000. Every day a top prize of Rs 1 lakh worth of talk time was announced and the winner was informed through an SMS. The extra talk time won by the customer was over and above the minimum guaranteed free talk time of Rs 50.


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