Sunday, June 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bhaddal institute chief hacked to death
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 21
In a gruesome murder, Gurcharan Singh, chairman of the trust running the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, Ropar, was stabbed to death by at least two unidentified youths, 500 yards away from his house in Phase XI here. Gurcharan Singh was killed around 5.15 this morning while he was out for a walk in a park near his house. The assailants managed to escape on a two-wheeler.

SSP’s appeal

According to sources, although there were at least 20 persons in the park at that time, the police has not been able to get anyone to give any account of how the murder took place or what the assailants looked like. ‘‘It’s a blind murder as far as we are concerned. No one is coming forward to tell us what the assailants looked like, so we have nothing to start with. We request the public to come forward and tell us about what they have seen. We assure them complete secrecy,’’ said Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ropar. The SSP said at least one of the assailants was injured and he could contact medical professionals. ‘‘If any information can be provided by them to the police, it will be their contribution to justice,’’ he said.

Pointing that there is a strong possibility of a contract killing, the police has stated that the murder is either the result of an ongoing rivalry within the institute’s management or the work of some disgruntled students.

The police today reportedly conducted raids both on the institute at Bhaddal looking for the students who could have harboured a grudge against the chairman and on the Sector 70 residence of Mr B.S. Randhawa, one of the trustees of the institute, who, according to information, allegedly had differences with the chairman over the running of the institute. Mr Randhawa, according to sources, is on a trip to Pakistan with his family since last week.

According to the police, Gurcharan Singh had started going for morning walks in the neighbourhood park just a month ago. ‘‘Today, the assailants were most likely waiting for him near outer track of the park with a dagger. Gurcharan Singh was hit at least 15 times with the dagger before he fell on the ground bleeding profusely. Later, the assailants jumped over the barbed wires and escaped on a two-wheeler,’’ said Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP here. According to the police there were at least 20 people in the park when the incident occurred. A group of people was doing yoga exercises at barely 50 feet from the site of the incident, he said.

Gurcharan Singh is said to have received at least 14 deep stab wounds on the neck and the chest. He was rushed to Fortis hospital here, where he was declared brought dead. According to the police, one of the assailants was hurt during stabbing or while jumping over the barbed wires as there was a distinct trail of blood on the footpath circling the park.

Addressing a press conference in the afternoon, the SSP, Ropar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, said the police was working on two theories. ‘‘There is a possibility that the murder is a result of jealousy among various trustees of the institute and another possibility is that some students who might have suffered at the hands of the chairman, might have been behind the attack. “We are working on information that there were some differences between the deceased and another trustee who had allegedly also threatened the family. He and the deceased had fought for the post of the chairman of the trust in September, 2002, but had lost,’’ said Mr Bhullar. The police was still not sure if the number of assailants was two or more, he said.

Gurcharan Singh is survived by his wife, Kulwant Kaur, and two daughters, Guneet and Japneet. Meanwhile, Gurcharan Singh was cremated at the SAS Nagar cremation grounds here this evening. Over 500 people attended the cremation. Gurcharan Singh’s father-in-law and his daughters lighted the funeral pyre.


Police questions students
Our Correspondent

Bhaddal (Ropar), June 21
The Ropar police today raided the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Bhaddal, in connection with the murder of Gurcharan Singh, chairman of the Kandi Area Friends Education Trust that runs the institute.

According to sources, the police summoned all students named Summit and questioned them about their whereabouts in the past 24 hours. Students who came to the institute from outstations were also questioned.

The police also got the room of the chairman locked and directed the authorities not to allow anybody in the room till the police party had searched it.

Sources said the police was working on a theory that certain ‘aggrieved’ students might have murdered Gurcharan Singh. The police also collected the list of about 15 students against whom he had taken disciplinary action in the recent past. Sources said certain student were annoyed with him as he had allegedly failed to protect them from external examiners. In the examination held recently, cheating cases were registered against many students of the institute by the external examiners. Besides, the police was also trying to probe into rivalry among Gurcharan Singh and other trustees of the institute. The murder has sent a shock wave among employees and students of the institute. Ms Varinder Kaur, Dean, Academic Affairs, said Gurcharan Singh was the steering force behind the institute. He was a friend of the students and the staff and was always considerate to their demands, she said.

Gurcharan Singh started the institute in a temporary accommodation at SAS Nagar in 1998. The institute was shifted to its present location, near Ropar, in 2000. In a short span of time the institute acquired 45 acre land and developed five blocks, besides many workshops, making it a leading institute under the Punjab Technical University (PTU). At present, the institute is offering courses in mechanical engineering, computer science, electronics and communication, electronics and instrumentation, information technology and electrical engineering, besides MCA course. About 1,500 students are enrolled with the institute. Gurcharan Singh was putting in efforts for getting the institute converted into a deemed university.


Dissent brewed among trustees
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 21
Signs of distress had been hovering over the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, for the past one year due to alleged infighting among trustees of Kandi Area Friends Education Trust, who ran the institute. According to sources inside the institute, around six months ago one of the trustees had voiced his dissent with chairman Gurcharan Singh. Within days rumours spread that the institute was closing down as some of the trustees wanted to pull back and withdraw their investment money from the college. Since the rumours had caused insecurity among the staff, the chairman had held a special meeting with the staff apprising them of his differences with another trustee.

He had, according to sources, told the staff that he and another trustee were not being able to see eye to eye on the issue of how the money that was coming to the college be spent. While the chairman wanted to put the money back into the college and its development, the other trustee allegedly wanted that some part of the money be given back to the trustees who had invested lakhs in the institute. It was then decided that the money be used for the institute alone for at least the first six years of the institute’s existence, following which the money will be returned to the trustees from the profits.

Sources stated that Gurcharan Singh, who was the founder of the institute along with his wife Kulwant Kaur, was one of the eight members of the trust. Amtesh Singh, Jaspal Singh and B.S. Randhawa along with their wives are the other members of the trust. Gurcharan Singh was, according to sources, an active member of the trust and was virtually running the whole show, while the others were sleeping partners who had their own businesses in here. While Jaspal Singh held the post of the financial director in the institute, he was also the general secretary of the trust. The wife of Jaspal Singh is the vice-chairperson of the trust. Director Principal of the institute R.S. Seehra had also recently been promoted from his earlier post of principal. All the trustees live in SAS Nagar and are running their own businesses. While Jaspal Singh runs a timber trading company, B.S. Randhawa has a packaging unit here.


Mayor, lawyer hold joint press conference
SSP orders probe into club episode
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The infamous incident at the Chandigarh Club, involving the Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, and an advocate, Mr Satbir Singh Goripuria, took a new turn today. The duo held a joint press conference, in which the advocate said he was under the influence of liquor when he lodged the Daily Diary Report (DDR) with the police on the night of June 18.

Clarifying his stand, the advocate said, “I might have said something unwarranted in the police complaint. I was infuriated at being bullied by two councillors who were accompanying the Mayor”. Mr Chawla said he would soon make public the names of the two councillors who were accompanying him at the club that night.

The Mayor and the advocate said the incident was being blown out of proportion by certain vested interests. “What had happened had been distorted by the media”, said the Mayor. Asked about the statement recorded by the police, the advocate said he did not remember what he had said to the police and had not read the contents of the DDR.

The Mayor said, “The advocate had passed some political remark in a provocative manner which I did not like. I might have got infuriated, but I did not assault the advocate, as reported in the media. I had gone to the club after a long period. I did not use my official car”.

Reacting to the allegation about gambling at the club, the Mayor denied that he indulged in gambling. On the other hand, the advocate neither denied nor admitted that he had indulged in gambling. He added that whatever was done was within the permissible limits and laws of the club. The Mayor admitted that he had played a game of cards, but denied that he had gambled or that anything was at stake. The Mayor claimed that his advocate friend was being coaxed by opposition parties to complain to the UT Administrator. The president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Mr Anmol Rattan, accompanied the advocate.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh unit of the BJP urged the UT Administrator today to mark an inquiry into the incident at the club. The general secretary of the BJP Chandigarh unit, Mr Bal Krishan Kapoor, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Ms Kamla Sharma, said the Mayor was the first citizen of the city and the incident had tarnished the image of the corporation.

The BJP asked why a case was not registered under the Gambling Act by the police in the light of the DDR lodged at the Sector 3 police station and with whose permission was gambling allowed at the club. Why did the Mayor used his official car and how did the security guards of the Mayor enter the club, it further asked.

Meanwhile, the Senior Superintendent of Police directed DSP (Central) Mr S.C. Sagar today to give his findings about the incident at the cardroom on June 18. The DSP was instructed to ascertain whether any cognisable offence was committed, whether gambling, as defined in the Gambling Act and other laws, was taking place, to establish the exact sequence of events and to establish whether the police personnel present at the spot acted in an appropriate manner or otherwise.


MC functioning ‘being affected’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The incident at the Chandigarh Club in which Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, was involved, has started affecting the functioning of the MC. Critics have alleged that the BJP and Congress were trying to highlight the issue at the cost of larger issues like property tax and removal of encroachments.

Mr Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of the Janata Party, has lamented that the incident has been given political colours. It had virtually become a mud-slinging affair to settle political scores, especially between the BJP and the Congress.

In a press statement issued here today, he felt that the episode was affecting the functioning of the Municipal Corporation. He said an impartial enquiry should be ordered and on the basis of report action should be taken against the guilty.

However, members of the Bharati Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and its Labour Colony cell held a demonstration at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony late in the evening in protest against what happened at the Chandigarh Club. Mr Davesh Moudgil, president of the morcha, and Mr Naveen Kochhar, general secretaries of the Morcha, in a joint statement issued today alleged that the episode was an eye opener for the residents of the city.


Councillor to file suit against lawyer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The general secretary of the local unit of the Congress and a councillor, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, has announced that he will file a defamation case against advocate Satbir Singh for damaging the image of the Congress by allegedly levelling ‘serious’ charges against Mr Subash Chawla.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune on telephone, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma said that the defamation case would be filed in a local court on Monday.

Besides this, the party general secretary said a deputation of Congress leaders would meet the Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh, seeking the registration of an FIR against the said advocate on charges of gambling and misguiding the police to lodge a DDR based on wrong information.

Further, the Congress would also approach the Bar Council to cancel the licence of the advocate, he added.


Operation clean-up claims 5 structures
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 21
Coming heavily on structures that had come up within a radius of 900 metres from the outer fence of the Terminal Blastic Research Laboratory (TBRL) and also in violation of the Punjab New Capital Periphery Control (Regulation) Act, 1952, in Moginand Naggal village along the Panchkula-Naraingarh road, the District Town and Country Planing (DTCP) Department today demolished five structures.

Spread over five acres of village land, the demolished structures include a hotel-cum-restaurant, a motel, a residential house, a two storyed building and poultry farm building.

The Enforcement Wing of the DTCP Department with the help of two earth movers (JCBs), five half body trucks and a staff of over 50 men began the demolition drive at about 9.30 am. To avoid any untoward incident during the drive the enforcement wing had also sought police assistance.

The drive which lasted for about seven hours was conducted under the leadership of Mr Anirudh Sharma, District Town Planner, and was observed by Mr Inder Singh, SDM. Mr Ombir Singh, DSP, City, was heading a police company of about 50 cops.

Talking to The Tribune the DTP said that over 3,000 structures, including buildings of tourist resorts, educational institutions, farmhouses and residential units had come up within is the no-construction-zone in the area. Moreover, these structures were falling within 900 metres radial distance from the defence installations in Ramgarh.

Objecting to the ongoing construction activity in the area, the TBRL authorities had written to the district administration many times, he said.

Mrs Monica Chopra, whose dwelling was demolished lamented that the authorities had served them notices directing to vacate the house within seven days but suddenly turned up today morning.

‘‘It was a bolt from the blue for us after a waiter from a nearby restaurant reached our house and delivered the message — vacate the house — of official heading the demolition drive at about 9;15 am,’’ she narrated.

The male members of the family, who were away jobs were informed and the house was vacated. Mr Anil Kumar who had hired 10 sheds of a poultry farm to keep 5,000 chicks had to arrange vehicles to transport the birds to Barwala, while Mr Karan Singh was seen pleading with the DTP to leave a portion of his motel. The authorities, claimed that they had repeatedly served notices on the violators and the action was taken only after completing all legal formalities.


Commuters dissatisfied, CTU running into losses
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Despite having a good public transport system only a few persons are using the local bus service of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU). According to senior officials of the CTU, during non-peak hours, the occupancy on local routes is 10 per cent. In fact, the CTU is earning profit on 10 routes out of the about 70 routes in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

Public transport in city

* City has highest number of vehicles per household.

* Majority of commuters are not using public transport.

* CTU is making profit only on 10 of the 70 local routes.

* Average occupancy ratio below 40 per cent.

Insiders point out the CTU has been running into losses worth crores annually. Commuters are also not satisfied with the service. The people have been shifting to two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws. The commuters have often said travelling by their own vehicles is cheaper than travelling by CTU buses. During the past few years, no new routes have been added and only a few routes have been extended to the newly developed southern sectors.

Says Mr Raman Kumar, a commuter from Sector 49 to Sector 27, “There is no direct bus service on a number of routes. We have to change buses and spend extra money and time to reach our destination. Can the administration not run special small buses for employees, students and women on specified routes?”

Officials agree that the routes have not been properly planned. Commuters complain of inadequate bus service from the bus stand to Tribune Chowk, Sector 32, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Secretariat and the markets of Sectors 19 and 26.

Dr Amar Pal Singh, Director, Transport, claims that efforts are being made to improve efficiency by adding 50 buses to the fleet, including 15 to the local fleet.The CTU is also introducing a global positioning system for better monitoring of the fleet. He says in collaboration with Indian Oil, the city will introduce Euro II diesel for its buses.

Says another official of the CTU, “Out of the 412 buses, about 100 buses are running on local routes and about 110 on suburban routes like those to Zirakpur, Kharar and Kurali. Despite high fares, the CTU is incurring losses due to a manifold increase in the price of inputs and the wage bill. The staff strength is 2,345 and there are plans to recruit 100 drivers and conductors.”

He says since most of the commuters are employees, there are a few takers for the bus service during the day and on weekends. The illegal plying of auto-rickshaws has been causing losses to the CTU, he added. He says the UT Administration has rejected the proposal to operate buses on inner roads in sectors and so the commuters cannot be attracted.


Bulk users ‘are not following RBI order’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The Reserve Bank of India’s recent instructions to the banks to offer ‘clean currency notes’ by ensuring staple-free bundles, have started making impact on market. Though some of the banks have made serious efforts to improve the quality yet they have complained that customers like transport companies, insurance companies are still depositing mutilated and stapled notes.

They have urged the RBI and the government to issue instructions to other financial institutions like the LIC, private insurance companies, and create awareness among the bulk users like the transport companies to deposit only ‘‘staple-free notes in the banks.’’A senior official of the State Bank of India here disclosed that the issue was raised at a meeting held with the officials of the RBI. The bankers had urged the central bank that it was not possible for them to provide ‘clean notes’ to all customers when the bulk users were depositing mutilated and stapled notes.

Interestingly, about three months ago, the RBI had issued directions to the banks ‘‘not to staple’’currency notes, threatening them to take action if they failed to do so. Though the scheme has proved a success, yet some banks especially some of the private banks are still issuing stapled notes.The RBI had threatened the erring banks with prosecution under Section 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act. It had asked the banks to install note counting machines to address the problem of missing of notes from wads. It has warned the banks not to issue soiled or stapled notes, otherwise their chests could be suspended.

Under its clean currency campaign, the regulating bank had urged the public and the banks to cooperate in the nationwide campaign to weed out soiled and mutilated currency notes from the market. The regional office of the RBI here has installed three machines at a cost of Rs 3 crore each, imported from Germany to destroy mutilated and soiled notes. Everyday these machines destroy over nine lakh notes and convert them into brick shaped objects.

Another official of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) complained that the banks had no control over the quality of notes that were being deposited by the customers. He said,‘‘ How could we offer clean and unstapled notes every time, when a large number of customers deposit mutilated and stapled notes.’’ However, he agreed that with the increasing use of cheques and plastic money the problem would mitigate substantially. ’’

Said a union leader, unless the bulk customers and big shopkeepers came forward to install note counting machines and sorting machines at their premises, it would be difficult to follow the RBI guidelines. Further, the bank employees should be provided adequate training and infrastructure to deal with the unstapled notes, he added.


Eligibility lists for allotment out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The Estate Office has prepared separate eligibility lists for allotment of dwelling units and also for booths in commercial areas under the rehabilitation policy for slum-dwellers and for rehriwallahs, respectively. The first list, which features residents of the recently demolished Shaheed Bhagat Singh slum colony (south of Sector 49), has been displayed outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Sector 17. The second list belongs to those eligible for the allotment of booths under the rehabilitation process for rehriwallahs.

The two lists were pasted outside the Estate Office, Chandigarh Administration, last night. The first one is the tentative list of eligible applicants of Shaheed Bhagat Singh slum colony, Sector 49, who had submitted their applications to the Estate Officer for allotment of tenement or dwelling unit under the Rehabilitation Scheme on June 16 and June 18.

A statement issued by the Estate Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, said the tentative list of eligible candidates had been displayed at the notice board of the Estate Office, UT, Chandigarh, and in the Labour Colony Allotment Branch, located on the third floor, Estate Office, UT, Chandigarh. The eligible applicants have been requested to furnish their claim in the prescribed form available in the Labour Colony Allotment Branch, third floor, Estate Office, UT, Chandigarh, within 15 days.

Meanwhile, the DC has also notified the tentative list of eligible and ineligible persons on the basis of documents received from 482 applicants in connection with the allotment of 54 booths in various rehri markets of Chandigarh under the Chandigarh Allotment of Land to the Persons with Disabilities Scheme-2001. The list has been displayed on the notice board at the offices of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities-cum-Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board; Estate Officer, UT, Chandigarh, and the Director Social Welfare, UT, Chandigarh, for the information of the general public and applicants.

The ineligible applicants have been given another opportunity for amending their deficiencies within 21 days, failing which their names for the allotment of booth under the scheme shall not be included in the draw of lots without any further notice. For further enquiry or compliance, Mr Prem Sharma, Licensing Assistant in the Rehri Licensing Branch of the Estate Office, room No. 1, third floor, Town Hall Building, Sector 17, may be contacted on any working day from 10 am to 1 pm within 21 days.

The Estate Office will also organise a camp at Labour Colony, Palsora, on June 22 and 23 from 9 am to 4 pm to receive applications from the remaining persons who were not able to submit their applications on previous occasion, the DC said.

At the camp, officials of the Estate Office will receive applications with eligibility proof regarding the allotment of alternative sites from the eligible slum-dwellers who qualify for rehabilitation under the Licensing of Tenements and Sites and Services in Chandigarh Scheme, 1979. The scrutiny of these applications will be completed by June 27.

Before organising the camp, “munadi” through the officials of the colony branch will also be done at the colony so that the residents who could not submit their applications could do so to the officials of the Estate Office during the two-day camp.

It may be recalled that a camp was earlier held at Labour Colony, Palsora, to accept applications of the eligible slum-dwellers. Thereafter, some of the residents of the colony approached the Estate Office for submission of their application on June 16 and June 18.


10 villages shortlisted for UN scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Falling in line with the new mantra on water resource management, 10 villages located on the periphery of Chandigarh have been shortlisted for a United Nations- backed scheme in the nearby Shivalik hills. This is part of the national action programme.

Small dams will be constructed as part of the plan at 10 villages of Morni, Raipur Rani, Barwala and Pinjore blocks of Panchkula district. These villages are — Berghati, Kedarpur — Nandpur, Kodarpur II, Bhoj Ponta, Bariwala, Chooharpur, Mallah and Nandpur, Singhwala, Banswala and Thapli. The project will be completed in four years.

The project will be implemented through the Chandigarh-based Environment Society of India. A report on the same has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, says ESI chief S.K. Sharma. Dr S.P. Mittal, soil scientist, who retired from the Central Soil Conservation Institute, is part of the initial project. He says ‘‘ a revised plan has been submitted and a nod is being awaited from the ministry.’’

There is tremendous pressure on land in the Shivaliks and this has led to erosion. Lack of irrigation facilities in the region, further adds to the plight of the people. Crop failures are common due to erratic rainfall pattern. Consequently, large chunks of agricultural land remain fallow. Shortage of food and fodder is a common occurrence, forcing villagers to migrate to other areas.

The action plan is to work on the foothills in the region of Panchkula district of Haryana. Preference will be given to those villages which have no source of irrigation. Besides, making provision for irrigation water, improved packages of agricultural practices will be introduced. Farmers will be motivated to develop their land to receive irrigation. This will augment groundwater and about 6,200 hectares of land is expected to benefit. About 1,200 families will be beneficiaries of this project.

The main activities include introduction of improved agricultural practices through crop demonstrations on farmers’ fields rehabilitation of degraded hilly catchment area through the concept of social fencing by involving the local community

The most important factor responsible for the desert-like conditions is the lack of irrigation facilities and consequent crop failure. The major emphasis during the past two and a half decades has been on water-resource development for these rain-fed areas. The process was initiated with the development of water resource for irrigation in the Sukhomajri Watershed Development Project in 1975. This proved to be a panacea for the parched agricultural land, says the project report.

Now it is proposed to check further degradation of cultivable lands, to develop water resource for rain-fed areas in the Shivalik foothills region, stabilising agriculture production in rain-fed areas, to increase fodder production, and to create infrastructure for milk production and groundwater augmentation. Indirectly this will mean an increase in milk production with the availability of more fodder and also increase in biomass production from hilly areas and wastelands. Now the idea is to have a Water Users Association (WUA) in each project village before taking it up. All activities will be initiated after thorough discussion with the WUA. Water will be given on a payment basis. The revenue so generated will be used for the maintenance of the project assets.


ITBP to introduce disaster management course
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
With the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force introducing a special disaster management course, disaster management in the country will soon assume a professional and more efficient approach. The first course of its kind to be taken up by this paramilitary outfit is scheduled to commence at its Basic Training Centre in Bhanu, near here, on July 1.

Sources in the ITBP told Chandigarh Tribune here today that the course had been formulated to ensure that disaster management units of the ITBP met the international standards. Two special battalions, termed as Specialised Rapid Response Units for Disaster Management (SRRUDM), were being raised and equipped for the task.

“The battalions will be trained and equipped to be the first responding units in all types of disasters, whether natural or man-made, including those caused by weapons of mass destruction (WMDs),” an ITBP officer remarked.

The genesis of the idea lies in the report of a high-powered committee, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, set up in the wake of the devastating earthquake at Bhuj in 2001 to study disaster management requirements and recommend suitable steps to formulate an efficient approach. Disaster management, which was earlier a responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, has now been brought under the realm of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Given its operational deployment, ITBP has been made the nodal disaster management agency for North India, though it can be asked to move anywhere, while the Central Industrial Security Force will be the nodal agency for South India.

“Once our units are fully operational, we would be capable of undertaking rescue and relief missions abroad, alongside international disaster management teams,” the officer said.

“Besides specialised equipment and tools, the units will be equipped with sophisticated gadgets, sensors and will have sniffer dogs and stock of life saving drugs,” he added.

An upper age limit had been fixed, above which no person would be retained in these units. Since the special courses would be a regular, round-the-year feature, there would be no dearth of requisite manpower, he added.

Initially, the course would cater to ITBP personnel. Once the two battalions, with approximately 1,000 personnel each, were fully trained and operational, training for personnel from state police forces and civil defence organisations would also be taken up.

“The major aspects of the course are medical relief and collapsed-structure search and rescue. Important areas of focus are co-ordination with local agencies, including the police, fire brigade, civil defence and medical establishments, logistics and communication, dealing with disasters involving chemicals and toxicants as well as teaching theoretical aspects related to disaster management,” he added.

While the courses will be held at the ITBPs establishments at Bhanu and nearby Ramgarh, the ITBP Director-General, Mr R.C. Aggarwal has requested the Haryana Government to allocate land for setting up a separate disaster management training institute in the state.


Budding designers showcase talent
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 21
Budding designers were provided an opportunity to showcase their talent at a contest organised by Renoo’s designer studio in Sector 8 here today. Titled “Be A Designer”, the contest attracted more than 70 entries from Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

Of these, 10 best designs were shortlisted. These were of Bhawna, Shweta, Kamal, Neha, Silky, Honey, Shalini, Poonam, Vandana and Raman.

The ramp shop at the boutique was a riot of colours with the designers experimenting with different types of cloth materials. The contest was judged under two categories — casual and semi-formal. The Director, National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD), Ms Priyanka Singh, and Mr Charanjit Toor, were the judges.

The results are as follows: Semi-formal dresses: Poonam for beautifully embellished garment; Shalini for use of eye-soothing colours. Casual dresses: Kamal for most exotic outfit, Shweta for most appealing dress.

The winners were awarded a designer suit from the boutique.


Parliamentarians meet BSNL officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
An eight-member delegation of Parliament reached here today to review the functioning of the telecom sector, especially of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The members of the Standing Committee on Communications held meetings with the officials of the BSNL and consumer forums.

The union of BSNL employees presented a memorandum to the delegation regarding its demands. According to a trade union leader, they asked the delegation to accept the genuine demands of the JTOs and SDOs, including the provision of WLL telephone connections for joint telecom officers, transfer on need basis, promotion of employees posted at Jalandhar and residential phone connections to JTOs of the civil and electrical wings.

They asked the delegation to take up the issue of transfer of telecom employees to the BSNL. Mr R.C.Vaish, Principal General Manager, Telecom, apprised the delegation of the achievements of the BSNL.


‘Striking sweepers not GMCH employees’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 21
The authorities of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, today clarified that the striking safai karamcharis were not their employees. Reacting to a news item, the Joint Director (Administration) stated that they were the employees of a contractor.

He asserted that the news item published on June 20, pertaining to the strike by some safai karamcharis, had mentioned that they were hospital employees.

He said the striking safai karamcharis were the employees of the former contractor, M/s Good House Keeping, whose contract expired on March 31 this year. As per the terms and conditions of the contract, the safai karamcharis were the employees of the contractor. It was the responsibility of the contractor to remove his employees after the expiry of the contract. There is no relationship of employer and employee between the hospital authorities and the striking safai karamcharis, he added.


Traffic police turns to public for help

Chandigarh, June 21
Concerned at increasing traffic violations during the late evening and night hours, the police has sought cooperation from members of the public to enforce the traffic rules.

In a press note, the spokesperson for the police department said members of the public who wanted to contribute positively in enforcement at odd hours could get themselves registered with the traffic police at the 24-hour toll-free telephone No. 1073.

The volunteers were required to furnish their names, address, contact phone number and availability. TNS


Check wastage

Water is a pre-condition of life. The presence of water has made the earth a unique planet. With the changing lifestyle the demand of drinking water has gone up. In spite of concerted efforts to increase drinking water supply, there is a yawning gap between demand and supply.

Man is now disturbing ecological balance to fulfill his needs. He is relentlessly cutting down trees which is resulting in soil erosion, floods and receding water table. There is an urgent need to conserve water. For efficient management of water we should create awareness in the community and involve people in all activities concerned with water conservation.

To conserve water, the first thing that we need to do is to stop its wastage and create water reservoirs. We should encourage people to grow more trees as these help in increasing the water table. Rainwater harvesting is the latest solution to the problem of declining water table. Save every drop and harvest a bountiful crop.

Gopal Krishan Mohan, Class X St. John’s High School


Labourer dies from electrocution at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
A 19-year-old labourer was electrocuted while working at a construction site in the PGI here late last evening.

The victim, Deepak, who hailed from Minardhu, West Bengal, had been employed by a contractor, Neeraj Goyal, two months ago for constructing a water tank on the PGI premises.

According to information, the labourer was handling a vibrator while laying a concrete slab of the water tank. The victim was electrocuted after coming in contact with an iron rod that carried electric current. The contractor took the victim to the emergency ward where he was declared brought dead.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC. The deceased was living in Sector 39. Relatives of the victim alleged that he died due to the negligence of the contractor.


Cupboard falls on girl, dies
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 21
A two-and-a-half year old girl died after a cupboard fell on her while she was asleep in her house in Sector 12 here late last night.

The police said the deceased, Savita, sustained severe head injuries and was rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 6 by her father Raju. She was declared brought dead by the doctor at the hospital. The body was cremated today.

Meanwhile, the police has started inquest proceeding under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the case.


MC warning on ad panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M. P. Singh, who has been authorised to deal with violations of advertisement display norms, yesterday warned the persons running shops and offices to bring their advertisement panels in conformity with the rules or face action.

In a statement, the Commissioner said notices had been served on 130 violators in Sectors 7, 8 and 26 along the Madhya Marg.

He said the removal of the advertisement panels would be at the expense of the defaulter. The statement said the Commissioner was authorised to take penal action against violators.


Ex-servicemen’s body against contributory health scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The All-India Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association here has, in a representation sent to the Ministry of Defence, asked the three service chiefs to reconsider the recently launched Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme on the grounds that it is against the interests of personnel below officer rank.

According to a statement issued here today, the association had alleged that the scheme has been floated in an arbitrary manner without taking into confidence retired armed forces personnel for whose benefits it was stated to have been launched.

The association alleged that the scheme had been launched only to re-employ retired armed forces medical officers at the cost of lower-rank personnel who would be contributing a large chunk of money for the scheme.

The association recommended that there should be equal contribution irrespective of rank. The scheme be brought under the purview of the Health Ministry instead of the Defence Ministry and civilian doctors be employed rather than retired officers, it added.


Solar energy devices launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
If you want a safe, effective, economical and environment- friendly cooker, or want your little ones to learn more about the application of solar power, just walk into the office of Tata BP Solar India Limited, which was inaugurated in the city today.

You can also have a look at water heating systems, besides purifiers and pumping systems. Garden lights, home lighting kits and solar lanterns are also on display. Farmhouse owners, hostellers and resort owners can also learn about solar heating system for swimming pools.

Hospitals and hotel industry, even policemen can also benefit as the company is involved in the sale of road separating warning lights, besides arrow directional lights and green traffic booths. According to a press note, the company is a joint venture of Tata Power Limited and BP Solar of the USA.

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