Thursday, June 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Over 3000 jhuggis demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Chandigarh Housing Board today removed over 3,000 illegal jhuggis from the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony to get the entire 43 acres of land vacated for allotment to housing societies.

The removed illegal structures included three religious places.

As the entire land could not be vacated, the drive will continue tomorrow too.

A heavy posse of around 1000 strong police force had laid a siege to the entire colony to prevent the possibility of the colony residents turning violent.

The colony wore a look of having been ravaged by an earthquake with bricks and tin sheds and belongings of the people lying in the open.

The Chandigarh Administration pressed into service as many as nine bulldozers hired from the market to remove the remaining structures of the colony. During the earlier drive around 1,500 jhuggis were removed.

Interestingly the entire area had been vacated around five years ago.

Amidst protests from the elected members of the Municipal Corporation, the Chandigarh Administration avoided using its machinery but officers of the corporation had been taken into service.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, had been asked to be present during the drive apart from the entire enforcement staff. Bulldozers started removing jhuggis from all sides of the colony and the Administration immediately started fencing the area and putting up display boards prohibiting entry into the area.

A Nirankari Satsang Bhavan member met SDM East, Mr S.P. Arora, to stop the demolition of the structure but Mr Arora said there was no order to spare any building except a temple and a gurdwara which were as per the approved plan. Mr Arora said he had warned people in the area on Friday that removal was to follow in three days. The residents complained that they waited for the removal of their jhuggis on Monday but when nobody turned up they kept their belongings back in the jhuggis.

The drive did not see any resistance from people few of them said they had been given the land on a rent of Rs 500 per month and a pagri of Rs 5000. Dharamvir said people here had been cheated.

The removal of so many houses has displaced thousands of homeless who say they were not even in a position to take on rent an accommodation as rent had gone up drastically in different areas where they could have afforded a place.

They said rent had doubled in Faidan, Burail, adjoining areas of SAS Nagar, Colony No 5 and Ram Darbar. The residents said their children would not be able to go to schools as they had not been able to take accommodation on rent.

Men and women were seen collecting their belongings and keeping children under shade.

As the colony is inhabited by a large number of masons it is likely that the construction activity in the city might slow down. A BJP delegation today met the Administrator Justice O.P. Verma in Punjab Bhavan to register their protest against the drive without rehabilitating those who had qualified for coming under the rehabilitation scheme. The delegation led by Bal Krishan Kapoor and comprising of former Mayors kamla Sharma, Kewal Krishan Adiwal, Purushottam mahajan and Rajesh Gupta amongst others said around 1,300 persons had been found eligible in the colony.

A BJP press note claimed that Justice Verma himself expressed the surprise that the entire colony was being removed. The press note said that the Chandigarh Administration was in the process of allotting space for those coming under the rehabilitation scheme and even those not covered under this could apply for a house under this.


70 unauthorised structures razed
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 18
The Enforcement Wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authorities (HUDA) demolished over 70 unauthorised structures in Sector 12-A this afternoon. About 10 rehris were also removed.

A team of the Enforcement Wing and about 12 police personnel, headed by the DSP (City), Mr Om Bir, carried out the demolition drive that continued for over one-and-half hour. A JCB and two trucks were used in the drive. To avoid any untoward incident, a riot control vehicle was also arranged.

During the operation, the team had to leave about seven structures since their owners had got stay orders from the court.

The victims alleged that they were doubly hit by the authorities. They alleged that a HUDA official was collecting ‘hafta’ from them and despite that their structures were demolished.


Early morning showers make weather pleasant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The city and the surrounding areas early this morning saw a squall with a wind speed of 94.4 km per hour and a fall in both day and night temperatures by around 6°C followed by heavy rain measuring 84.4 mm.

The highest wind speed of 94.4 km per hour was recorded at 4.17 a.m. in the direction of 340°. The city also saw the heaviest rainfall in the surrounding areas.

Ruling out that it was pre-monsoon rain, the Meteorological Department said the change in the weather had been caused by an upper air circulation over Punjab. The department also said it was not in a position to forecast now when the monsoon was likely to hit the city.

While the night temperature in the city fell to a pleasant 22°C from 28°C that of Patiala dropped by 5.5°C at 23.1°C.

Patiala saw a big drop of 10°C in temperature at 29.7°C during the day followed by Ambala at 30.5°C, 9°C less than the previous day. The maximum temperature in Ludhiana fell by 7°C.

In the areas surrounding the city, Nangal recorded 40.8 mm of rainfall, Patiala 12 mm, Ludhiana 1 mm, Kalka 46 mm and Ambala 5.6 mm.

The Met Department has forecast rain at isolated places in the next 24 hours and no large change in the next 48 hours.

Waterlogging has been reported in Sector 22 near Aroma Hotel but Municipal Corporation Chief Engineer V. K. Bharadwaj said there was no major waterlogging in the city as the cleaning of the road gullies had been started in the city at least a month back.

Senior Municipal Corporation officials heaved a sigh of relief, saying the change in the weather would drastically reduce the demand of drinking water which at one point of time had gone up to 100 mgd against a supply of 64 mgd.

The horticulture wing said that no trees were uprooted by the squall but a large number of twigs were seen scattered around on the road side.

The electricity wing said that the streetlighting in the city had not been affected by the rain and squall.

The rain kept most part of the day overcast and comfortable in the city. The electricity supply in the city was almost cut off for around one-and-half-hour early morning. The demand of power also remained comfortable in the city during the day.

The police said it had no report of any major loss to life and property. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited claimed that it did not come across any disruption in communications.


Bhardwaj’s CBI remand extended
Our Correspondent

“I was not present at my home when the CBI laid a trap. So there is no question of my arrest by CBI officials. I was not absconding, as claimed by the CBI, therefore I am not bound to reveal my whereabouts,” stated Bhardwaj, while arguing his case for around 10 minutes in the court. Bhardwaj further argued: “No incriminating documents were recovered from my lockers.” Claiming that there was no need for further police custody, Bhardwaj argued that during his nine-day police custody, the CBI could not recover anything substantial. He also denied that he knew R.M. Gupta and Satinder Singh, alias Babu.

Chandigarh, June 18
The suspended Judicial Magistrate, S.S. Bhardwaj, was today further remanded in CBI custody by a local court in a corruption case registered against him by the CBI. He was produced in the court of the UT Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Mr Harbhajan Dass, who after hearing the arguments from both sides for about 40 minutes remanded him in CBI custody for one day.

The CBI had sought a six-day police custody of the accused in order to recover keys to a locker, mobile phones used by the accused, and to confront the accused with another accused R.M. Gupta. The CBI also pleaded that since Satinder Singh, alias Babu, had not been arrested in the case, the custody of the accused was required.

A large number of persons, including advocates, court employees and general public, were present in the court. Bhardwaj was produced in the courtroom by a team of CBI officials, lead by DSP (CBI) R. Upasak, at 2.35 pm.

Giving details, the CBI senior counsel stated that Bhardwaj had disposed of a mobile phone used by him in a nullah at Nada Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, during the period that he had been absconding. Therefore, the CBI required time to take him to the place to recover the mobile phone.

The CBI counsel further stated that the accused had remained at large for about one month from the CBI custody and there was possibility that he might have destroyed the evidence in the case. The CBI also claimed that the accused might have some more lockers in his name.

A battery of lawyers, including seniors lawyers, contended that the CBI had no fresh ground to seek the custody of Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj’s counsels further argued that the CBI had already taken a nine-day police remand. 


Mulling suicide, she ends up in Nari Niketan
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, June 18
A 17-year-old city girl, Ridhima, knows nothing beyond the fact that she is in love with Rajiv. Thrown out by her parents, who later forced her into menial existence at a relative’s house in Solan for over two years, Ridhima could not think of anything but suicide.

Only last night, she mustered the courage to leave the house and flee from Solan. She hired a taxi at 2 am, gave her gold ornaments as taxi fare due to want of cash and reached Chandigarh to call her boyfriend up for one last time.

Ridhima breaks down as she tells the tale of subjection at the hands of her own family. As she landed in the district courts this morning to get her statement recorded, Ridhima made it clear that she had come to Chandigarh with the intention of jumping to death in Sukhna lake. But one call to Rajiv reversed her decision. She instead landed up at the house of a human rights advocate, as guided by Rajiv, who himself could not come to her rescue out of the fear of being embroiled in a legal wrangle by the girl’s family.

Even as the love story awaits a logical end, the court today directed that Ridhima be taken to Nari Niketan. In fact, she pleaded that she be housed anywhere except at the house of her parents or relatives.

“I really love Rajiv. I am ready to live on the road or beg but I cannot live without him,” said Ridhima, relating the horrible sequence of her life. Giving further details, she said: “My uncle changed my name from Ridhima Sharma to Deepti Sharma. I wanted to escape because they tortured me all the time. Yesterday, I ran away because I wanted to die after being persistently beaten up.”

She added: “I reached Chandigarh at 4.30 am and thereafter made a call to Rajiv but he refused come to see me fearing legal action. But he referred me to a human rights advocate, Mr Arvind Thakur. Mr Thakur and Mr O.P. Dabla today brought me to the court.”

She further said: “Yesterday, I decided to commit suicide after calling up Rajiv one last time. But he asked me to see the advocate instead. That was how I was saved in the nick of time.” Ridhima was produced in the court of the UT Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Harbhajan Dass, where she narrated her story. Taking note of her state, the court directed her to be taken to the Nari Niketan.

Although Ridhima is now safe, a legal battle is expected to follow in case someone comes and claims her custody. In case Ridhima’s parents come forward, human rights lawyers will take up her case.


Killing stress with sport — Sec 30 youth show the way
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Youth panchayat’s inspiration

Following the spate of suicides in the city (Chandigarh witnessed 50 suicide cases between January and March), the youngsters of Sector 30 labour Colony got together to form a youth panchayat under the guidance of theatre activist Zulfiqar Khan. Ever since it was formed in the end of April, the panchayat members have been going from door to door to befriend addicts, drop outs and other stressed out youngsters in their locality. The panchayat is committed to reaching out to children, so that suicides can be prevented.

Chandigarh, June 18
Even while the UT Social Welfare Department is still busy working out the modalities of its much-hyped helpline targeted at arresting the alarming suicide rate, a set of youth from the city have already offered a helping hand to over 50 youngsters, desperately in need of help.

Truly embodying the principles of community support, the 14 members of the city’s first youth panchayat formed in Sector 30 Labour Colony to prevent suicides, have already tracked down 25 cases of drug addiction in their locality. The problem persists even among the 13 year olds. Having identified the trouble, the youth panchayat members, along with city based theatre activist Zulfiqar Khan and child specialist Dr Shakuntala Lavasa, have been able to inspire UT Red Cross Society into action.

Secretary, UT Red Cross, Ms Madhavi Kataria, has announced full support to the voluntary scheme of rehabilitating young addicts from the Labour Colony. The society will provide a full-fledged facility sports network, featuring games like volleyball, body building and chess. The idea is to tackle the cause of addiction which, in most cases, is idleness and hazardous influences.

Dr Shakuntala Lavasa, president of Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, who is associated with the exercise, told the Tribune, “The youth panchayat is extremely efficient. Recently we organised a painting contest to involve youngsters from the community. The three topics given were — drugs, conserving water and plastic menace. Strangely, children who had gathered to take part in the workshop began disclosing that they had long been into drugs like cough syrups, opium and smack. They said that drugs were easily available and that they first tried them to get that good feel.”

Surprisingly, where counsellors take months to get addicts to declare their addiction, these children were able to nip the evil right away. They have also identified people with depression symptoms and are keeping a close watch on their activities. Dr Lavasa added, “A major perpetrator of stress is idleness. These colonies are full of children, who keep bad company and get influenced by trivial issues that can have potentially hazardous consequences. For example, they love to emulate actors. Nowadays actor Aditya Pancholi is promoting Raj Darbar zarda on television. The punch line is “ek rupai mein chaar rupai ka maza.” Children are trying the product and are now addicted to it. They are even consuming opium and smack on the sly. But now that we know we are going to rehabilitate them through counsel.”

For the first time, an attempt is being made to rehabilitate potential addicts by engaging them in constructive activities like sports, creative expression and healthy sharing of time. Said Zulfiqar Khan, the man behind the mission, “UT Red Cross has promised sports infrastructure for Sector 30 Labour Colony. Soon these children will be able to channelise their energy in games.” Dr Lavasa made another point, “Involvement in outdoor activities will release chemicals called endorthins in the mind of these children. As a consequence, children will experience the same level of pleasure as they experience when they consume drugs.”


New-look Sukhna this monsoon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
It will be a new-look Sukhna Lake this monsoon. It will have more water as its storage capacity has been increased, but this increased storage capacity is also raising doubts in the minds of certain experts. Can this raised water level flood the Lake Club or the Gursagar Gurdwara, they ask.

The Chandigarh Administration has completed its work of raising the crest level at the regulator end, on which the radial gates of the regulator will rest. Costing Rs 15 lakh, this will raise the storage capacity of the lake from 1,161 elevation feet to 1,163 elevation feet. The Chandigarh Administration says it will help increase the pond area of the lake by 25 per cent.

This two feet of water will also mean that water will spread further. It will also add to the depth of the lake. Sources point out that the level at the Lake Club is 1,161 elevation feet. Chief Engineer Puranjit Singh says, ‘‘There will be no flooding at the Lake Club end.” Work to strengthen the existing retaining wall near the Lake Club is under way and it will also not flood the island, says the Chief Engineer.

Dr G.S. Dhillon, an authority on dams, says if the sill level of the retaining wall at the lake remains the same, it will cause flooding. He adds that areas near the gurdwara and the Rock Garden will be flooded. Old-timers point out that during optimum storage, water touches the top two stairs of the Lake Club.

Mr Puranjit Singh, explaining about the raise in the crest level, says it will add to the water storage capacity. The other way of increasing the storage capacity of the lake is to raise the sill level of the embankment. Such an act will add to the pressure on the radial gates, requiring redesigning of the hinges on the gates. ‘‘Despite our best efforts, we could not find a new design for the hinges,’’ he says. The crest is where the radial gates will rest

According to a spokesperson of the Administration, the increased regulator level will increase the life of the lake by 20 years, as per an estimate of the Punjab Irrigation Research Laboratory, Amritsar. Dr Dhillon has pointed out the need to design the crest in such a way that there is no gap in it, failing which it can be eroded due to high water pressure.

Meanwhile, the annual ‘shramdaan’ at the lake came to a formal end this morning. Through this manual effort to desilt the lake, about 25,000 cubic feet of silt was removed this year. The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, was the chief guest. He honoured institutions and sponsors of the ‘shramdaan’.


Defrauded labourer cries for justice
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Hopes of Mr Hawa Singh of getting an inexpensive house under the rehabilitation scheme were shattered when the form on which his details were provided was found to be carrying a photograph of somebody else without change in name, address or voter number.

After coming to know of this fraud earlier this year, he has been running from pillar to post to get justice. Although an inquiry has been marked, things are yet to take off. A labourer by profession, he is a resident of ‘jhuggi’ 797, Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, for the past 20 years and his voter number is 912.

“I was allotted tenement site number 3007, Sector 25, against my ‘jhuggi’ under the rehabilitation scheme by the UT Administration. The possession of this site has not been given to me despite all relevant documents, including proof of residence, having been submitted to the department concerned”, he alleged.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer of Chandigarh, he further alleged, “The official concerned in connivance with some agent of the locality, is bent upon allotting the said tenement site to some other person by pasting the photograph of another family on my application forms and documents.”

When contacted, an official of the Deputy Commissioner’s office revealed that the application of Mr Hawa Singh has been marked to the Tehsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate (Colonies) of the UT Administration.

The possession of the tenement site has not been handed over to him. The site was allotted to him last year. He also alleged, “A few persons of Kumhar Colony, with whom I do not enjoy good relations, manipulated with the authorities concerned to harass me by engineering this fraud.”

Preliminary investigations revealed that the person whose photograph had been pasted by removing the family photograph of Mr Hawa Singh was not a resident of Kumhar Colony. No proof of his presence in the colony during the past few years had been found.


Coop bank employees take protest leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Employees of cooperative banks and various state corporations posted in Chandigarh and Punjab today took one-day casual leave to press for their demands, particularly the withdrawal of a circular relating to pay parity of the employees of cooperative banks with government employees issued on April 17 this year.

The employees also held a protest rally in front of the office of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Sector-17, here today.

While addressing the rally, Mr Gurmit Singh Tiwana, general secretary of the Punjab State Cooperative Banks Employees Federation, said the decision of the state government to bring down the salaries of the employees of the cooperative banks to make them on a par with the government employees was unjustified.

He said the actual decision of the government was meant to be applicable to the employees of the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). Even the Board of Directors of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank did not agree with the decision of the government.

Mr Tiwana alleged that the higher authorities of the Cooperative Bank had issued the circular of pay parity on April 17 to bring down the pay of bank employees to make it on a par with government employees, contrary to the decision of the Board of Directors of the bank.

As per information, the employees of Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank, Punjab State Cooperative Bank and affiliated bodies of employees ‘mahasangh’ in Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, PSIEC, PSIDC, PUNSUP, SPINFED, Punjab State Poultry Development Corporation, Punjab Financial Corporation and MARKFED also joined the rally taking one-day casual leave.

The other main demands of the employees included the rejection of recommendations of the Vaishnav Committee and the Disinvestment Commission, clearance of the list of pending promotions and eight year proficiency step-up for employees against the assured career progression scheme.


IAF veteran recalls his 1948 mission
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Fiftyfive years ago, a little-known but vital action by an Air Force officer paved the way for vastly expanding the scope of IAF activities in Jammu and Kashmir, which ultimately paid put to the designs of Pakistani raiders.

Soon after the Indo-Pak War broke out in 1948, Wing Commander Atma Singh Lota, then a Flight Lieutenant, was ordered to move a fuel bowser from Jammu to Srinagar, so that IAF aircraft could refuel there without having to divert to the Jammu airfield. Initiative, presence of mind and daring helped him accomplish a journey never undertaken before, for which he was mentioned-in-despatches for gallantry.

Though fuel was available at Srinagar as fuel barrels were transported regularly by Army supply columns, there was no means to refuel aircraft. Refuelling facilities at Srinagar could enable aircraft not only to carry greater loads, but also operate further beyond Srinagar.

Having turned 92, Wg Cdr Lota’s memory is crystal clear about the hazardous journey he undertook then. Though he requires support to move around, his mind is alert. He remembers each and every aspect of his service career, which began with the Royal Indian Air Force in 1933. He had also served during campaigns in the North West Frontier Province and in Burma during the Second World War.

“When we came across a rope bridge over the Chenab, the sentry on duty refused to let us through because of the weight of the bowser, which was carrying 25,000 gallons of fuel,” he said. The sentry feared that the bridge would collapse, thereby breaking up a vital line of communication. Never had such a vehicle traversed this route before.

The situation put him in a fix. On the one hand, it was imperative to get the bowser to Srinagar, while on the other, he was being barred from doing so. “Observing the volume of traffic crossing the bridge, I was confident that the bowser, if made lighter, could cross ”, he said. “I asked the sentry to fetch his officer, who was a little way off. In the meantime, I dumped some of the fuel to make the vehicle lighter and asked the driver to proceed over the bridge,” he added.

As the vehicle moved over the bridge, there were shouts from behind. “The 100-foot bridge started bending and sinking and when we were 25 feet from the other end, I asked the driver to accelerate,” Wg Cdr Lota said. “When the vehicle crossed over, the bridge swung upwards as the tension was released,” he recalled.

Proceeding further, more problems were encountered at the old Banihal tunnel, which seemed to low to accommodate the vehicle. “I took a torch and inspected the tunnel. We then deflated the tyres to lower the bowser’s height,” Wg Cdr Lota said. “As we were moving along, there was a grinding noise. Jutting rocks from the roof had broken one of the bowser’s pipelines. Thereafter I, checked each inch of the tunnel with torchlight to ensure that the vehicle could move forward safely,” he added.

“I am glad that we were able to make it. Had a fuel bowser not been made available to the IAF, the operations would have been left half done,” He remarked. “The journey called for initiatives, which I took with precautions. I did it for the Air Force and the end result was that the Air Force’s efforts during the conflict were doubled” he added.

Wg Cdr Lota, whose father had served with Hodson’s Horse, now an armoured regiment in the Indian Army, has another war incident to narrate. During the operations, a Dakota came in for landing on a wet field and when coming to a stop, its undercarriage sank into the soft soil, laving it in a nose-down-tail-up position. In the absence of equipment and machinery in the forward areas, a lot of innovation and improvisation was required to get the aircraft back in position and carry out the necessary repairs.


Wah bhai wah, what a spread
Harvinder Khetal

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 18
Imagine if the culinary delights associated with famous addresses and restaurants of Delhi were to come together at one spot. Like Pandara Road, Connaught Place, Bistro, Muffins, India Gate etc. The result would be explosive. A gourmet and food connoisseur's dream come true.

This is exactly what is aimed at Panchkula's newly-opened Wah Dilli. The aptly-named food plaza is majestically ensconced between Vatika and hotel Pallavi in Sector 5, facing the City Fountain. The vast parking area on this HUDA land only lends convenience to the attraction of the place.

Wah Dilli recreates the magic of India's culinary capital. It is a virtual gastronomical tour away from the madding crowd. Step in for a regal spread at the Viceroy, the speciality fine dining restaurant on the first floor.

The ambience at the restaurant with soft lights , starched napkins, liveried waiters and captains and the black pillars and hanging lamps are reminiscent of the era of Viceroys, informs F & B Manager Robin. He proudly adds that they offer lipsmacking savouries from Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines. Check the kalmi kebab wrapped in aluminium foil and accompanied with salad dressing. The veg shashlik is an appetising mix of grilled panir, tomatoes, capsicum and pineapple pieces covered in a spicy sauce on a bed of boiled rice ringed with slices of cucumber and tomato and a brocolli swig embellishing one end. The missi roti fresh from the tandoor makes a soft complement to the panir tikka masala. Wash it down with fresh lime water or fruit punch before bidding adieu with cool kulfi in a tiny matka.

And if your budget is small, stick to the fast food counters offering a range of eats in the nine units on the ground floor. There is everything for almost everybody — from a samosa to a dosa, from a pan to a pizza, a coffee to cake, a chaat to chhole-bhature to chocolate. And, at reasonable rates. In airconditioned, neat surroundings. In fact, even though there are nearly 200 covers, on weekends specially, the area is a choc-a-bloc and you may have to wait for a table.

The names of the counters are as interesting as they are self-explanatory. Sample this: Chinese at China Town, parathas at Gali Paratha, north Indian fare at Pandara Road, Chat and sweets at Chandni Chowk, dosa, idli at Cafe Madras, pasta and taco at Bistro, tarts at Muffins.

So, grab your plate, take your pick or mix 'n match as each family member pampers his or her taste buds on a personal level.

Mr Ashok Sethi, partner of the unique venture, who is busy gauging feedback from the guests and making the necessary incorporations as desired by them, says the bar would start functioning as soon as they get the license. On the demand of the customers, who come from not only Panchkula, but also Chandigarh and Mohali and even as far as Ambala, they are also shortly beginning home delivery services, setting up a special unit for kitty parties and adding some swings for the kids, besides the big soft mousie already installed on the lawns in front.

In fact, just one piece would not do justice to the eatery. Look out this space for more on the same.


White tiger cub born at Chhat Bir Zoo
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), June 18
With the brown Royal Bengal tigress giving birth to a white cub, the Chhat Bir Zoo has entered the league of other zoological parks housing white tigers in India.

It is for the second time in the past two years that the Royal Bengal tigress has given birth to a white cub, along with three other brown-coloured cubs at Chhat Bir. In the litter of four cubs born to the tigress, one is white, while the others exhibit show shades of white. Zoo Director Kuldeep Singh said the white cub was 10-day-old and was enjoying good health.

Located on the Chandigarh-Patiala National Highway about 15 km from Chandigarh, the zoo already occupies a pride of place for its credit of housing over 32 Royal Bengal tigers and that too with a ‘white’ one.

Narrating the mystery behind the birth of the white cub to a brown tigress, Mr Kuldeep Kumar said the cub was born to a tigress with the genes of a white tiger. ‘‘The zoo authorities had procured a white tiger — Raju — from Kanpur Zoo in 1988. The breeding process continued in the particular zoo enclosure housing Raju and the cubs (both male and female with white tiger genes) were born,’’ he disclosed.

“This new and rare ‘arrival’ is significant in view of the fact that it belongs to the tiger family sporting genes of white tiger. We are observing the best possible precautions so that the cub is safely brought up in the zoo. We have been so careful that we do not even touch the cub for the fear of harming him.

A wave of excitement and happiness has gripped the zoo employees and animal lovers of the area.

Earlier, in a similar incident, a Royal Bengal tigress had given birth to a white cub in October 9, 2000 but unfortunately the cuddly animal died in less than two weeks after its birth. Since its mother had refused to accept and feed the cub, the best possible efforts of the zoo authorities could not save the cub.

It’s pertinent that the Nandankanan Zoo in Orissa, where a number of tigers had died two years ago, had the maximum white tigers in the country. The other two zoos are Hyderabad and Delhi. Chhat Bir Zoo had also joined the coveted list, thanks to the birth of the white cub.


Relief for kin of ITBP men killed in action
Tribune News Service

Bhanu, June 18
Financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to next of kin of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) personnel hailing from the state who are killed in the counter-insurgency operations, was announced by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today.

Addressing ITBP personnel at the force’s Basic Training Centre at Bhanu here on the occasion of the passing out parade and attestation ceremony of recruits, the Chief Minister said the state government would also wholeheartedly consider the ITBP’s proposal to establish the proposed National Training Centre for Disaster Management in Haryana.

Stating that the role played by paramilitary forces was in no way less than that of the regular Army as they had been safeguarding borders as well as helping the nation in times of natural calamities, he added that the force is also combating terrorists and anti-national elements in a befitting manner.

Earlier, the ITBP Director General, Mr R.C. Aggarwal had, in his address, pointed out that Haryana is the only state not giving financial assistance to next of kin of the ITBP personnel killed during operations. He said while the force had killed 126 terrorists during deployment in Jammu and Kashmir, it had lost 43 of its own men. Highlighting the force’s responsibilities and achievements, he also appealed to the chief minister for assistance from the Haryana government towards solving some of the problems faced by its establishments located in the state.

Earlier, Mr Chautala reviewed the passing out parade and took the salute from 510 constables, including 11 women, who formally joined the ranks of the ITBP after completing the 44-week basic training course, which included weapon training, drill, field-craft and battle-craft, map reading and unarmed combat as well as aspects of law and human rights.

He also gave away awards for outstanding performance during training. The recipients included Astik Pandey and Kalawati (overall best trainees), Laveen Kumar (best in drill), Atul Kumar (best in weapons) and Basant Lal (best in PT).

The ITBP river rafting team, which won the national championship, was also honoured by the chief minister. A sum of Rs 15,500 was disbursed among five members of the team. They will represent India at the Asian championships.


ITBP ‘first responder agency’ during disasters
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Bhanu, June 18
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) has been given a new responsibility of being the first “responder agency” during national disasters or natural calamities. Stating this while speaking to The Tribune at the force’s Basic Training Centre here today, ITBP Director General R.C. Aggarwal said that six nodal centers are being set up to execute the responsibility.

One ITBP battalion has been re-organised into a disaster management battalion. Headquartered at Noida, the battalion would move anywhere in the country where the need arises.

The DG said that special equipment is being procured for the disaster management battalion. Three sets of equipment, worth about Rs 9 crore have been procured for training. The equipment includes complete first-aid kits, medicines, rescue and relief equipment such as cranes and dozers, special blankets, and tools to dig through rubble and collapsed structures.

A national-level training centre in disaster management is also being set up by the ITBP and it is expected to be based in Haryana

Another new undertaking by the force, Mr Aggarwal said, is the establishment of the National Centre for UN Civil Police Officers Training in Delhi this year. All Indian police and paramilitary officers selected for UN assignments abroad must pass through its portals. The first batch underwent training during March-April.

On the modernisation front, Rs 180 crore has been earmarked for new weapons, equipment, vehicles and special high altitude clothing. ITBP is replacing the venerable SLR with the indigenous INSAS rifle. High-powered telescopes and binoculars, digital cameras, surveillance equipment, global positioning systems, radio direction finders, hand-held thermal imagers, snow scooters and mountain bicycles are also being procured through local as well as foreign sources. About Rs 80 crore has been spent in this direction so far, the DG said.

Besides improving the quality of training, the strength of the force is being raised by about six battalions. Already, 25 new companies have been raised, while 13 more will be raised during 2003-04.

As far as welfare is concerned, Mr Aggarwal said that to make life comfortable for jawans in remote, high-altitude areas, every post has been equipped with a generator set. Satellite de-coders are also being installed at posts, which would enable jawans to view 20 different TV channels.


Daily-wage worker electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
A 45-year-old man, Mohd Sadiq, was electrocuted at Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, here this morning. Though he had a metered connection, residents of the area alleged that there was unsafe wiring. The contractor responsible for the distribution of power in the area said he had been given the contract a fortnight back and the wiring had been existing before he took charge.

The residents alleged that such a tragedy was waiting to happen as a significant number of hutments in the colony were getting power through unsafe connections. They alleged that the contractor was charging money as per his contract, but was providing unsafe connections. They also alleged that the contractor’s men, accompanied by five or six persons, used to barge into their hutments at odd hours.

The contractor, Mr Vinod Sharma of Vinod Sharma and Company, while refuting the allegations, claimed that he was doing his level best to correct the system. He admitted that there were a large number of ‘kundi’ connections in the area.

As per information available, Mohd Sadiq, a daily-wage worker, was electrocuted at about 7 a.m. today. His wife, Ms Beena, said she was asleep when the incident occurred. ‘‘I was told by my neighbours that my husband was putting a cloth on the tin roof when he was electrocuted,’’ she said. The deceased was her second husband and they had been married for the past 10 years. She has three children from her first marriage.

The residents said there were reports of people getting electric shocks every other day as the wiring was haphazard. A visit to the colony revealed that a large number of residents were drawing power through ‘kundi’ connections.


Reuse can help

We invite school students to send in original and innovative ideas on how to conserve water for publication in Chandigarh Tribune. The write-up should not exceed 300 words and should be accompanied by a passport size colour photograph.

WATER is an essential for every living being. The demand for water is much more than the resources. These resources are drying up and decreased evaporation has led to shorter monsoons.

A person living in a town requires between 70 and 100 litres of water per day. A family of five needs approximately 500 litres of water per day. All towns are facing severe water shortage. The gigantic problem has to be solved at the government, community and individual level. We can contribute at the individual level.

Out of the 500 litres, between 30 and 40 litres is used for drinking purposes. The rest is used for washing and watering plants. The water that is drained contains soap and dirt. Each house should have devices that separate these impurities from water. In this way, 70 per cent of this water can be reused for watering plants and washing cars.

Water is also wasted while watering plants. The plant takes only 25 per cent of the water while the rest is lost in evaporation. We should switch to drip irrigation.

Nazuk Kumar, Class VII, Vivek High School


Kids Fiesta ends with colourful show
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
A cultural programme marked the valedictory function of Kids Fiesta, a summer camp organised by the Rainbowz Club at Chandigarh Traffic Park, Sector 23, here today.

The camp was held with the intention of developing kids’ skills in theatre, sketching and painting, besides improving their personality. Mural-making and pot-painting classes were also held.

The children were also given lessons in dance. During the 15-day camp, nature walks and short treks were also organised.

Sukhraj Chahal and Meenakshi Pathak were the coordinators of the camp. According to the organisers, the children were able to learn a lot of new things under one roof. They even had interactive sessions with teachers on different topics, they said.

Children perform during the final presentation of Kids Fiesta in Traffic Park Auditorium, Sector 23, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Children perform during the final presentation of Kids Fiesta in Traffic Park Auditorium



Approach IG on stray cattle issue, MC told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Sanitation Committee of the Municipal Corporation recommended today that the corporation should approach the Inspector-General of Police to stop the bringing of cattle to the city. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the committee chaired by Mr Balraj Singh.

The committee also recommended to the corporation that it should demand a piece of land for another ‘gaushala’ in the city. The committee said the ‘gaushala’ coming up at Maloya, with a capacity of 700 cattle would not be sufficient.

It recommended that the corporation should advertise asking religious organisations to fund the proposed ‘gaushala’. The recommendations indicated that a fresh campaign to rid the city of stray and domestic cattle was coming up. Officials confirmed that a public notice to relaunch the campaign would be issued shortly.

A member of the committee, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, asked the officials what alternative arrangements had been made for the June 23 strike call given by the sweepers’ union. The committee was informed that arrangement plans had been made, but those were not revealed.

The committee rejected the agenda item of Mr P.C. Sanghi for allowing licensing of cycle carts used in garbage collection. Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla and Mr Sanghi were called to the meeting as special invitees. The committee approved about Rs 4.5 lakh for expenditure on repairs of machinery used at the Daddu Majra dumping ground.



Panel considers draft MC law
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Legal Affairs Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh yesterday began the process of considering the draft of the Model Municipal Corporation Law proposed by the Central Government to incorporate the spirit of the 74th amendment to the Constitution.

A meeting of the committee was held here under the chairmanship of Dr. K.S. Raju. Copies of the three-volume law were got made for distribution among committee members. The members had said that it would be difficult for them to discuss the issue unless they got copies of the draft law for their perusal.

Dr Raju said, at the face of it, the draft law had been successful in prescribing the domain, powers and functions of the municipal bodies. He said it would shift the executive powers from the Municipal Commissioner to a proposed standing committee.

The next meeting of the committee would be held on Monday. Dr Raju said though June 6 was the deadline for considering the draft law, it could not be done as the committee had received the draft only on June 3.


Ranbaxy fire: probe begins
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 18
A magisterial inquiry into the fire incident that took place at Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited here on June 11 was started by the SDM here today.

The inquiry was marked by the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, yesterday. Mr Mohan Lal Sharma, SDM, said he visited Ranbaxy Laboratories today and asked the company to provide him a data which would show as to how many employees were on duty at the time of the mishap and other details. He said he would try to find out whether the factory had proper fire-fighting arrangements and what led to the death of four persons.

He said he would conduct the inquiry with the help of the police and doctors who had performed post-mortem examinations and treated victims of the blasts. He would also try to contact Punjab Pollution Control Board officials.


Pangolin creates panic

Panchkula, June 18
Panic gripped the residents of Kharag Mangoli Basti (Old Panchkula) when a pangolin strayed into the locality late last night. The ant-eater strayed into the area at about 12.30 am, putting many residents on their toes.

The scared villagers called in the police. After receiving the information a few policemen reached the spot, but were scared on seeing the three-foot animal.

The confused policemen informed the wildlife authorities and sought their assistance in capturing it. The animal was captured by wildlife officials and released into the forest area near Berwala checkpost at about 2.45 am. OC


One killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Lalru, June 18
One person was killed and another sustained injuries when a Canter in which they were travelling rammed into a multi-excel vehicle on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at the Jharmari barrier near here today.

The deceased has been identified as Kishore Kumar, a resident of Jakh Khand in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh while the injured Khem Singh is a resident of Solan. According to the police, both vehicles were heading towards Chandigarh when the accident occurred. The Canter (HP-13-064) rammed into the multi-excel vehicle (HR-38E-2638) after the latter applied breaks near the barrier in Jharmari village thus resulting into the death of Kishore Kumar, helper with the Canter.

The police said iron rods being carried by the multi-excel vehicle pierced the chest of Kishore Kumar leaving him dead on the spot while Khem Singh, driver of the Canter, sustained serious injuries. The driver of the multi-excel vehicle is said to have fled from the scene. The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem. After impounding the two vehicles, the police has registered a case.


361 boxes of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 18
Officials of the Excise and Taxation Department, Ropar, seized 361 boxes of liquor that were being smuggled into Punjab in three different vehicles.

Mr Jarnail Singh, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), Ropar, said the seizure had been carried out under a special campaign against smuggling of liquor into Punjab. He said the seized liquor was to be used during panchayat elections in the state.

The AETC said Mr Shalin Ahluwalia, ETO, and Inspector Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal today stopped a truck on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur road and seized liquor, which was being smuggled from Chandigarh. The seized 280 cases of Hero whisky, 27 cases of Commander whisky, 12 cases of Thunder Bolt beer and two cases of Officer’s Choice whisky. Ranjit Singh, a resident of Panipat, was arrested in this regard.



Pens launched: Japanese company, Zebra, has launched a range of colour changing gel ink pens, Colour Xchanger, in India. These pens change colour while writing on white (read light colour) and black (read deep colour) paper. TNS

Tooth powder: Surya Herbal Limited, the first Ayurvedic ISO 9001:2000 certified company, has launched Dant Manjan Lal. This is the first microbiological approved and tobacco-free tooth powder in the country that confirms the absence of microbes. TNS

New range: Arrow – the leading premium men’s wear brand today announced the launch of its new range of Stylised Sport Trousers. These are part of Arrow’s sport collection designed by Renato Grande. TNS

Yellow pages: The Manu Multimedia Ltd on Wednesday launched the 10th edition of Yellow Pages of Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula. Ms Ved Nanda, Director of the company claimed that it included addresses, phone numbers and other information. TNS

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