Tuesday, June 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Slum-dwellers make hay, oustees denied dues
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
It seems the Chandigarh Administration has different yardsticks for rehabilitating various categories of people. One is for the illegal slum-dwellers who have been getting free or highly subsidised housing and promised much more. The other category is of the oustees or farmers whose land was acquired to expand Chandigarh, who have got nothing other than hollow promises. Then there is another category of the urban poor living in rented accommodation. They are given no subsidy or housing at all. They can only apply in schemes of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

This discrepancy was evident today too by two instances — one at the Deputy Commissioner’s office and the other a letter of uprooted villagers. Slum dwellers today thronged the DC’s office to see the list of those eligible for the highly subsidised housing. Since 1979, the Administration has rehabilitated more than 1 lakh people in colonies like Ram Darbar, Bapu Dham Maloya, Dadu Majra, Mauli Jagran and Dhanas. It is another matter almost all such houses have been sold at a premium and the ‘owners’ remained where they were, in slums.

One lakh people still live in slums which dot the city.

On the other hand, the people whose land was acquired have been promised rehabilitation but got nothing. Last year on April12, the Chandigarh Administration issued a notification saying that an oustee, whose house had been acquired before or after November 1, 1966, would be entitled to a residential flat to be allotted by the Chandigarh Housing Board in its forthcoming schemes.

Since the late 1980s there has been no rehabilitation of villagers whose lands were acquired. All they have got is meagre compensation. A portion of their land have also been used to rehabilitate illegal slum dwellers, thus changing the demographic profile of the area and altering voting patterns. The National Commission of Minorities has criticised the rehabilitation policy saying, that it had altered the demographic profile.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, when asked about the growing number of slum dwellers in the city said, ‘‘we cannot stop anyone but we will not allow anyone to grab government land to put up jhuggies.’’

Meanwhile, the Pind Bachao Action Committee, fighting for the rights of uprooted villagers, today sent an angry letter to the UT Administrator asking pointed questions. The first question is how illegal slums are being rehabilitated on priority in lieu of demolitions whereas villagers whose lands and houses were acquired more than 35 years ago are still awaiting compensation.


IAS men among 400 violators served notices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Cracking down on the encroachments and violations in government houses in the city, the Chandigarh Administration today issued notices of various violations to 400 allottees. The list includes houses of officers also.

Well-placed sources said houses in Sectors 7-A, 23-A, 16-B and 16-C — where several IAS and IPS officials reside — are also on the list. Though officials dealing with the matter are tightlipped about the names of the high-profile allottees, the official line is “no one has been spared.” Apart from the houses of officers, notices have been sent to houses in Sectors 7, 19, 20 , 23 and 27. The violations touched this time are illegal opening on roads, growth of hedges, raising the height of boundary walls and construction of rooms in the rear courtyards without sanction of building plans.

The list was drawn up after a survey carried out by a hand-picked team of officials. They reported on the basis of house numbers and not by the names of the allottees. The UT Home Secretary and Chairman of the House Allotment Committee, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, confirmed that notices had been sent.

Under the house allotment rules, the Chandigarh Administration can even cancel the allotment if it is proved that the existing encroachment had been carried out by the present allottee. The notices mean the allottee can choose to demolish the structure on his/her own. The next course of action by the Administration could be to remove the violations and put costs on the allottees.


Chandigarh’s oustees, Punjab’s burden
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

 SAS Nagar burden SAS Nagar, June 23
Chandigarh’s oustees are now Punjab’s burden. In a major exodus, following the recent anti-encroachment drive by the Chandigarh Administration, hundreds of men, women and children are settling in vacant land in peripheral villages of the city, falling in Punjab.

For many village heads, this is a new way of making money. Many of them are reportedly charging over Rs 500 from a person for letting him construct a jhuggi. Hundreds of these oustees are spending days under the open sky on roads on the outskirts of these villages. Stepping up the vigil, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) is ensuring that not even an inch of its land, acquired in these villages, is encroached upon by the oustees.

In Kandala village, at least 50 families have arrived in the past few days, most of them belonging to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and working in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. They are the ‘richer’ of the lot and have been allowed by the village heads to go ahead with temporary constructions in the villages. Over 35 jhuggis have already come up in the past two days. When a Chandigarh Tribune team visited the village, construction was going on. Residents refused to tell from where they had come, but villagers confirmed that they were from Chandigarh.

Similarly, many have moved in Jagatpura village, where some have managed to acquire rented accommodation. Those who have shifted to the outskirts of Kambala village have not been so lucky. Many of them are living under the open sky without a roof on their heads. They are trying to encroach upon the land acquired by the railways here.

Most of these fresh encroachments are going on unchecked. These are taking place on village land, not acquired by PUDA, thus outside its jurisdiction. But the PUDA authorities are not taking any chances.

‘‘Since the drive in Chandigarh, we have stepped up the vigil in SAS Nagar. Our men are constantly on the move in areas where these people are shifting. PUDA has substantial land near these villages, but we are not going to allow any encroachment to start here. There have been a few attempts in the past two days, but these were aborted immediately,’’ said Mr Yashvir Mahajan, Additional Chief Administrator PUDA.

The Secretary, Urban Development and Planning, Mr A.K. Dubey, was unavailable for comments. However, sources in PUDA have stated that the authority was likely to undertake a similar anti-encroachment drive in the township to ensure that the PUDA land was clear of unauthorised structures and residents.

Sources in PUDA, however, said SAS Nagar could not accommodate the fresh burden spilling over from Chandigarh, to the township. Already blistering with heavy encroachments in over 10 acres in various pockets, mostly falling in areas bordering Chandigarh, the sources pointed out that over the years the city was pushing migrant labourers to SAS Nagar.


Demolition of slums to affect economy of city
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Sunita, a domestic help, working in Pushpac Society, Sector 49, today asked her employer to increase her monthly wages from Rs 400 to Rs 600 claiming that she was no more able to work at these wages. ‘‘How can you ask for such a rise in a day?’’ asked her employer. She said, ‘‘I have to buy a bicycle as I have been uprooted from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony twice. Now I would have to find some decent house in a far away village.’’ She said the police was already threatening to push the family out of Jagatpura village where she was staying along with her three children temporarily.

Her’s is not the single case. During the past few days, the Chandigarh Administration has demolished more than 20,000 jhuggies and houses in various slums spread across the city. While a large section of the middle class has supported the move, a section of politicians and the affected families have opposed it claiming that the move would have wider repercussions. The economy of city would be affected as slum-dwellers were playing an important role as unskilled labour, rickshaw-pullers, domestic helps and cheap labour to the industry and traders.

While supporting the demolition drive, Dr Manoj Sharma, senior economist at the University Business School, Panjab University, said,‘‘ The development of slums is a historical phenomenon in the economy of any major city. Even in cities like New York, where the local youth are not ready to do menial jobs, the Punjabi and African youth are staying in slum like dwellings and providing taxi and other low wage services.’’

According to government statistics, out of about two lakh people living in slums and villages in Chandigarh, majority are staying in slums. Though the administration had initiated various schemes to rehabilitate slum-dwellers, a large section of them have sold their houses and again shifted to slums by encroaching on the public land. Further, increasing job opportunities in the city has attracted migrant labour from UP, Bihar and other states to work as rickshaw-pullers and construction labour.

Dr Manoj Sharma said ‘‘The growing student community and inadequate public transport have created a demand for rickshaw-pullers. Most of them are staying in slums and even in markets. If the administration and the middle and the rich classes want to maintain the beauty of the city, it would have to prepare itself to pay higher wages to these workers.’’ You cannot enjoy cheap labour and slum-free city at the same time, he added.

However, Mr A. K. Agarwal, a leading industrialist, feels that the administration should offer cheap accommodation in collaboration with financial institutions to take care of the cheap labour in the city. Another economist at Panjab University said the Administration would have to develop satellite towns like Dera Bassi and Kalka in association with neighbouring states to provide labour in the city. Of course, the public transport system would have to be improved to check the growth of slums in future, he added.


Godman’ held for raping minor
Tribune News Service

Did police defer action?

If the contents of the complaint lodged by the father of the girl is to be believed, months before the victim became pregnant, he had complained at the Maloya Police Post about the action of the self-styled godman. However, no action was taken then. Again when some followers of the baba thrashed him, he complained to the police but without any success.

The SSP is learnt to have directed the DSP, Central, to inquire into the facts of the case. 

Chandigarh, June 23
A self-styled godman of Maloya has been arrested by the city police for allegedly abducting and raping a minor girl. The godman, Jai Dev Giri Baba, alias Deepak Bhatachariya of Dronacharya Mandir, Maloya, kept the girl in illegal confinement and kept on abusing the girl for over four years, claimed the police.

Acting on a complaint by the father of the victim, Achhe Lal, a rickshaw-puller, the police arrested the godman and recovered the girl. A medical examination of the girl at the Sector 16 General Hospital last evening revealed that she was 28-week pregnant. The SDM, South, today sent the girl to Nari Niketan and the godman was booked for abducting, rape and keeping the girl in illegal confinement by the Sector 39 Police Station. A medical examination of godman revealed that he was medically fit.

A spokesman of the police said one of the daughters of Achhe Lal, aged around 16 years, who had studied till middle standard used to frequent Dronacharya Mandir as a devotee for the past few years. The father of the girl in his complaint to the police claimed that the baba on the pretext of teaching her religious discourse kidnapped her and kept her away from her family. The girl was reportedly under “ influence” as she refused to return to her parent’s house. The baba managed to take back the girl after her father brought her home. The baba kept on taking the girl to various places on the pretext of teaching her about religious places.

Achhe Lal alleged that the baba in order to conceal his immoral activities dressed her daughter in saffron clothes and claimed that she had become a godwoman. The name of the girl was also changed to Pratibha. The victim’s father said that he apprehended his daughter was pregnant from the baba and was preparing to take her to some unknown place with an intention to kill her. A case under Section 344, 363, 366, 376 and 506 of the IPC has been registered by the police.

The godman was today remanded in police custody till June 26.

The spokesman said interrogation of the baba had revealed that he had been raping the girl under the influence of liquor.


Glow signs removed on Madhya Marg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
As many as 40 glow sign panels were removed in a drive on Madhya Marg in Sectors 7, 8 and 26, here today.

Around 90 shopkeepers had already removed glow sign panels on the expiry of the period of notices served by Municipal Commissioner M. P. Singh.

A glow sign removal team, led by Municipal Corporation officer S. K. Seth, today removed the panels put up in violation of the Advertisement Control Act of Chandigarh.

Mr M. P. Singh had issued notices to 130 shopkeepers in the city on Friday, an official spokesman said today.

Accompanied by 15 policemen, 20 labourers and three inspectors of the Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), the team, however, did not ask the business establishments to pay for the removal of the glow signs.

The vice-president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal accused the MCC of high-handedness, saying that the SDO, Mr Seth, did not even give time to the traders for the removal of the panels. He alleged that MCC staff also did not issue receipts for the material impounded.

A delegation of traders, including Mr Panchhi, met Mr M. P. Singh to register its protest and termed the action as illegal.


Police drive against under-aged drivers
Our Correspondent

Facts at a glance

  • Six accidents, including two major mishaps, involving youngsters reported since 2000.
  • Over 150 young violators challaned.
  • Fine ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1500 being imposed on adolescent violators.
  • “Offending vehicles” can also be impounded.

Chandigarh, June 23
In less than 24 hours after a rickshaw-puller died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by a minor, the Chandigarh police has decided to check under-age driving.

The Independent Schools Association has decided to extend cooperation to the police in its campaign. Association president D.S. Bedi said students would be discouraged from coming to the schools on their vehicles.

The Chandigarh Parents Association has, meanwhile, asked the school authorities to enrol retired police personnel and ex-servicemen for the purpose. Association chairman Bhim Sen Sehgal has also sought a probe into the issuance of fake licences from neighbouring cities.

Concerned over the increasing number of accidents involving minors, the police has decided to intensify the drive against youngsters zipping up and down the city roads and streets without valid documents. “The campaign against youngsters without valid licences is top on our priority list,” a senior police officer confirmed.

The decision to concentrate on their drive against young violators is significant as, according to sources in the Police Department, minors were involved in at least five accidents since 2000, including one major mishap. Saturday’s accident, in which a rickshaw-puller lost his life, was the sixth accident involving a minor driver.

Sources in the Police Department reveal that over 150 challans have been issued during the drive to violators riding without helmets or indulging in overspeeding and other offences. The fines varied from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500. “Offending vehicles can also be impounded,” a senior police official informed.

Besides, the authorities have also decided to request the school principals to constitute special committees to arrest under-age driving.

According to sources, the school authorities would be requested to help the police in implementing the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act so that shortage of staff was no hamper in sustaining the drive.

The authorities would also be asked to identify the students coming to the institutes on bikes and scooters, besides cars. The principals would also be asked to verify their age from the school records before informing the police for enabling them to act against the violators.

The school heads would also be requested to write notes to the parents urging them against permitting the young innocents from coming to the schools on their vehicles.

Reacting to the incident, some schools have also decided to issue instructions to the parents asking them not to allow their children to come to school on scooters or mobikes if they are not legally authorised to drive a vehicle.


Harry Potter ignites price war
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Tremendous. This is how local book sellers are describing the response to J.K. Rowling’s latest offering, “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix”. Much to the delight of readers, the book, which hit city markets on Saturday has also set-off a price war among several book stores, with discounts up to 15 per cent as well as some other incentives being offered to woo book-lovers.

Harry Potter, a fictitious character portraying a school student, is immensely popular with children and has taken the city by storm, with several hundred copies being sold in the first two days. “Harry Potter novels revolve around fantasy, magic and school life,” Tanya Singh, who bought a copy for her 14-year-old son remarked. “Children can relate to school life, while magic and fantasy catches their imagination, which makes these novels so popular,” she added.

Fifth of the proposed seven series, the book is attracting readers of all age groups, though children outnumber the elders. Some book sellers report that the trend they have noticed is that more girls than boys are buying the book. “The way Rowling concluded her fourth book has led to a lot of curiosity as to what will happen next,” remarked Madhvi Kanwar who was eagerly awaiting for the book. “The way she puts across the story is very exciting. The magic is fascinating and she transports you to another world,” added Vipul Joshi, a 15-year-old Harry Potter fan.

The English Book Shop in Sector 17 reported selling over 200 copies out of its stock of 275 books. “We sold about a 100 copies on the first day itself,” the shop’s owner, Mr Rajeev Chaudhary, said. Capital Book Depot’s Ajay Arora said about 156 copies have beem sold so far. “Besides, we have also supplied about 300 wholesale copies to other book stores in the city,” Mr Ajay Arora said.

All 70 copies received at The Browser in Sector 8 were sold out the first day itself. “We are getting about 10-15 calls everyday, with readers asking about the availability of the book,” Ms Meenakshi Rana, library executive at The Browser, said. “The book is not available even with the suppliers and it could take a week’s time for fresh stock to arrive,” she added.

Ebony in Sector 9 has reported selling about 50 copies since Saturday.

Though the book is priced at Rs 795 per copy, retailers in Chandigarh are selling it at various rates. While Capital Book Depot is sticking to the original price, The Browser is selling it for Rs 675, while Ebony is selling it at Rs 700. English Book Shop has priced it at Rs 750 and is also offering free home delivery, besides a discount of 10 per cent on other Harry Potter titles purchased along with the latest release. The shop was specially opened on Sunday to cater to readers keen on buying the book.

“We can definitely say that there is a price war over the book,” Supreet of Ebony said. Chaudhary of English Book Store said there were ways and means to attract customers. 


City receives pre-monsoon showers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The city today received the first pre-monsoon showers. The maximum humidity rose to 100 per cent and minimum to 52 per cent, leaving the people to perspire profusely after the sun made its appearance in the evening.

The people thronged the Sukhna lake; the Rock Garden and various gardens as the sun disappeared behind clouds.

The weather department termed the rain today as pre-monsoon showers but avoided making a guess as when the monsoon would hit the city.

The department said the monsoon had arrived in south Rajasthan but there were no indications when it would arrive in the city and how fast it was advancing. The normal time of the arrival of the monsoon is late June or early July in the city.

It said the sky was likely to remain cloudy tomorrow with possibilities of rain and thundershowers.

The maximum temperature in the city is likely to hover around 31°C’. City residents and visitors experienced relief today with 31.6 mm rain bringing down the maximum temperature to 31.2°C’, down by 7.2°C’ from yesterday and 8°C’ below normal.

Even the night temperature came down to a comfortable 23°C’.

Adjoining areas of Ambala, Patiala, Ludhiana remained comfortable at a maximum temperature of 31.7°C, 31.3°C and 31.9°C, respectively.

Ambala recorded a morning rainfall of 10.5 mm, Patiala 26 mm and Ludhiana 6.5. After 8.30 am, Ambala recorded 2 mm rainfall and Patiala 2 mm. Chandigarh received 18 mm rainfall during the period.


Pre-monsoon showers in Punjab, Haryana

Chandigarh, June 23
Pre-monsoon showers lashed many parts of Punjab and Haryana today, resulting in a drop in the mercury by several degrees.

Chandigarh was lashed by heavy showers. The Meteorological Office said that the city had received 13.6 mm of rainfall since morning.

Ambala had 10.5 mm of rainfall while another Haryana town, Kalka, had 44 mm.

Ludhiana and Patiala recorded 6.5 mm and 2.6 mm of rainfall, respectively. Jalandhar, too, had some showers. Amritsar was partially cloudy.

Shimla also reported rain (4.8 mm), the Meteorological Office said, adding that the change in the weather was due to upper-air cyclonic circulation over north-west Rajasthan. — PTI


Living in fear of falling bricks
Sector 39 govt houses in need of repair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Punjab government employees living in II and III type houses in Sector-39 C&D are in constant fear of life from falling bricks and cracks in the ceilings of the houses.

The Residents Welfare Association of Sector-39 D has identified 27 vulnerable houses, but the government has expressed its inability to take up the repair work due to “shortage of funds”.

According to Mr Ashok Kapoor, General Secretary of the association, “The association has on several occasions complained to the Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD) about the deteriorating condition of the government houses, but no one has turned up to repair the houses”.

He said the association had conducted a survey of the houses on its own and identified that 27 houses were vulnerable. The report of the finding had been submitted to the PWD office concerned .

Mr Dilbagh Singh Baghi, president of the association, said, “The most dangerous portions of the two-storeyed houses are the cantilevers of the front and back balconies of the first and second floors. The bricks on the face-work have been laid without any support”.

The association alleged that the houses built by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) in the 1983-84 and later handed over to the Public Works Department for maintenance were poorly designed.

Mr Bhiwani Dutt, president of the Residents Welfare Association of Sector-39 C, has alleged, “The material, particularly the cement used to construct/repair the houses is of poor quality. In most of the houses, one can see iron rods jutting out from the ceilings of roofs. They are a constant threat to life of the residents”.

Residents of this sector alleged that officials posted in the complaint office of the PWD in Sector-39 C & D do not entertain their complaints/demands. Mr Amarjit Singh, in charge of the complaint office of Sector-39D, expressed his inability to repair the houses due to lack of infrastructure and paucity of funds. “Only the higher authorities can decide whether the houses need to be repaired”, he added.


Car damaged in cantilever collapse

THE front side cantilevers on the second floor of House Nos. 3133B and 3134 collapsed on Sunday night at about 10 pm, damaging a car parked under it. However, no one was injured.

A complaint has been lodged in the police station of Sector 39 regarding the incident. Mr KIP Singh, SHO, said, “The report of the preliminary investigation by the police will be forwarded to the Public Works Department of Punjab tomorrow for further technical investigations into the aspect of use of substandard material and poor maintenance”.

The incident has left the residents of the Sector in fear of more such mishappenings. Last year, the bricks from the front face-work of cantilever on the second floor of House No 3120B fell down, damaging a car parked under it.


Police denies arresting Randhawa
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 23
The SAS Nagar police did an about-turn today, stating that they have not arrested Mr B.S. Randhawa, one of the eight trustees of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, on charge of abetment of murder of the Gurcharan Singh, Chairman of the Institute, on Saturday morning.

Mr Randhawa, one of the main suspects in the murder, was picked up by the SAS Nagar police from the Wagah border, Amritsar, yesterday while he was returning from Pakistan with his family. The police had confirmed that Mr Randhawa had been arrested on the charge of murder but today the police stated that Mr Randhawa was detained only for interrogation and had been sent home after he joined the investigations . Reiterating that no arrests have been made in the case of murder of Gurcharan Singh, the SP, SAS Nagar, Mr Gurcharan Singh Bhullar stated that the matter was still under investigation.

‘‘Mr Randhawa has been questioned and since there is no evidence against him he has been let off,’’ said sources. However, efforts to contact Mr Randhawa or his family at his residence in Sector 70 here failed as his house was locked. Mr Randhawa’s wife, too, could not be contacted.

Meanwhile, the family of Mr Gurcharan Singh said that it had no knowledge of the fact that Mr Randhawa had not been arrested. According to the police, the wife of Mr Gurcharan Singh had in her statement to the police after the murder clearly stated that she suspected Mr Randhawa’s role in the murder as there was a tussle going on between him and her husband over the issue of money being earned by the college. Today the police, however, said that by merely naming someone as a probable suspect did not mean that he or she had to be arrested. 


MC legal panel opposes draft bill points
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The Legal Affairs Committee of the Municipal Corporation has expressed its opinion against several recommendations of the Draft Specimen Municipal Bill prepared and sent by the Central Government for seeking comments of all municipal bodies of the country.

The committee, at its meeting held under the chairmanship of Dr K.S. Raju, has largely favoured the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976 (Extended to Chandigarh) against which some elected members have been raising their voice in the city. The draft Bill recommends the municipal body having only elected persons as members unlike in Chandigarh.

But the committee said the corporation should have elected and nominated, persons, an MP, MLAs and MLCs as members.

The committee has also rejected the suggestion of a five-year term for the Chief Councillor or Mayor or Chairman of the committee, saying that the term of one year, as is applicable in Chandigarh, is sufficient. The draft says that the Mayor should be directly elected but the committee has said that he or she should be elected by the councillors.

The committee has supported the suggestion of the draft to have ward committees for ensuring a wider participation of the people but has rejected the wards committees (committee over a group of wards), saying that they would become parallel power centres for the municipal bodies.

The draft law has suggested an Empowered Standing Committee with executive powers and comprising the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and seven members nominated by the Mayor, saying that it would make the Mayor a dictator.

But the committee has suggested that powers should be with the corporation, a standing committee, the Mayor and the Commissioner.

The committee has suggested that a councillor should represent 20,000 voters. The draft law has suggested a minimum of 80 members and a maximum of 110 members for a municipal body having an electorate between 6 lakh and 12 lakh.

The committee has decided to meet again in early July to make more recommendations and has sought comments from the Chief Accounts Officer and the Chief Engineer on financial and technical matters, respectively.

The committee said municipal bodies should have nominated members as per Section 243 of the 74th Amendment of the Constitution. The committee said the empowered standing committee system was only prevalent in West Bengal. Giving absolute powers to the Mayor through the empowered standing committee could be a negation of the democratic spirit of the Constitution.


Another claimant for biggest hands
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
He is not an artist, no sportsman or intellectual and yet Mr S.K. Yadav stands out in the crowd. His towering frame of 6 feet 10 inches is one of the reasons though it is not the only one. His claim to fame is bigger, broader, heavier and it comes from having one of the largest hands.

A contractor by profession, Mr Yadav has hands that span 30 cm against the normal size of a human hand which is 24 cm. “When my hands are spread together, they span 60 cm. However, I was never too conscious of the fact especially since I had grown up being the odd man out in any gathering, be it my class or my friend circle or the business community in which I move. I had never thought it would earn me a place in the newspapers,” he adds.

Elated at the thought of having his name printed in the newspaper, all that is bothering him is getting his name registered in the record books. “I didn’t know such things find their way into record books. The place for the biggest hands is mine and I will write to these people to do justice to me. I will get the addresses of the places of publication of the record books, the Limca book of records and the Guinness Book of World records, and stake claim,” he says.

While his friends prefer a “namaste” rather than shaking hands with him, strangers go gaga over his hands, comparing theirs with his and marvelling at their sheer size. “I shake hands a thousand times over and don’t mind at all. If somebody can be happy at my cost, why should I mind,” he asks.

Recalling an incident from his school days when the realisation of big hands dawned on him, he says, “I had an argument with a classmate which resulted in a brawl. Before it had begun, it was over after I gave one whack to the boy. He was down with fever for four days. It was on that day that I decided never to raise my hand in anger lest I get into some serious trouble.”

Unable to find clothes, shoes and gloves of his size, he gets everything stitched to suit his size. “I have hunted all over the country for my jacket size and haven’t found one that fits me. Being big has its disadvantages,” he rues.

Mr Yadav says his wife and daughter are both 5 feet 10 inches. “It runs in my family. Everybody is tall but the size of my hands is unmatched. I sometimes find it queer especially since there were no predecessors as tall as I am or even closer,” he says.


Ranbaxy asked to obtain NOC
Tribune News Service


The Punjab Human Rights Commission today issued notice to Ranbaxy to submit before it the allegations contained in the complaints against the factory on July 7. It has also stated that, ‘‘Since the commission is seized of the matter, it would be appropriate that other authorities may not go ahead with further inquiries.’’ On June 13, the Lawyers for Human rights had complained to the PHRC that the presence of Ranbaxy in a densely populated area was hazardous to the residents.

SAS Nagar, June 23
The Deputy Director of Factories, Mohali, has directed Ranbaxy Laboratories not to carry out any manufacturing process in the Module 1A and 1B of the factory here till it obtains a no-objection certificate from the Chief Inspector of Factories, Punjab. This direction is part of the interim report given by Mr Hardayal Singh, Deputy Director Factories to the Director of Factories, Punjab.

This, along with some other reports filed by various government agencies regarding the June 11 Ranbaxy blasts and fire that killed five persons, were laid before the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) today. Admitting a complaint filed by the Lawyers for Human Rights International, the PHRC on June 13 called for a complete report on the incident from the Chief Secretary, Punjab.

In a forwarding letter addressed to the PHRC Mr Rajan Kashyap, CS, Punjab stated that prompt action was taken by the Administration in bringing the fire under control with assistance from the civil and military authorities and in providing transportation and best medical treatment to the persons affected by the accident. He further stated that the report filed by the Chief Inspector of Factories was interim and not conclusive in regard to the specific cause of the accident.

While the Subdivisional Magistrate, Mohali, Mr M.L. Shrama, in his interim report to the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar has concluded that the June 11 incident was an accident, his report too remains inconclusive regarding the cause of the accident. According to the report filed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board Patiala to the Labour Commissioner-cum-Director Factories, Punjab, the various samples of air taken after the blast have been found to be safe as the elements present in the air were below the threshold limit value.

The Deputy Director Factories has also directed the factory management to secure the affected structures of the plant and machinery so that the workers removing the debris may not suffer further accidents. The management has also been prohibited from using the pump set room and room containing electric panels near the affected site.


Probe panel set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Ranbaxy has set up a technical committee to conduct an internal inquiry into the causes of the fire and blast at its Mohali plant earlier this month which led to the death of five persons.

This was disclosed here today by Mr Pushpinder Bindra, senior vice-president, Global Manufacturing, in a talk with Chandigarh Tribune. He said it would be a detailed inquiry to find out the causes of the accident in order to ensure that more safety measures were taken to prevent its recurrence in future.

Mr Bindra said employees of Ranbaxy had played a major role in controlling and putting out the fire at the plant on the fateful day.

Regarding the location of the plant in a residential area, he pointed out that when the factory was set up way back in 1973, there was no habitation around it. But over the years, the populated areas had come all around the plant.


Platform: Save water

LET us all start conserving water from our homes. As the saying goes,” Little drops of water make the mighty ocean. “ To start with, when you brush your teeth use a mug, when you wash your car and water the plants, use a bucket.

It is estimated that you use 15 times more water if you keep the tap or shower or pipe running. Do not neglect the minor leaks due to worn-out washers or just a little adjustment of the float in a cistern. The overhead tank can become empty overnight due to minor leaks.

Operate automatic clothes washers and dishwashers only when they are fully loaded or set the required water level for the load put in. When washing dishes by hand, fill a vessel with soapy water instead of keeping the tap running and quickly rinse under the tap.

Don’t water lawns everyday. While the lawns need water every third day in summer, they require water every 10 days in winter. Try to do one thing each day and you will end up saving a lot of water. Every drop counts and every person can make a difference. So tell your friends, neighbours and co-workers to conserve water as water is life.

Ishita Singh, Class V, Carmel Convent


Park-and-pay system suggested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
A committee on parking has suggested the introduction of a “park-and-pay” system in the paid parking lots in Sectors 17, 8 and 9.

The committee at its meeting held today said the parking contractors must issue tokens to the visitors to the paid parking lots and if there was no space, visitors must be told about the unavailability of space.

The committee also decided that the Municipal Corporation should itself issue multiple parking passes and the money collected through this exercise should be distributed among all contractors.

It suggested the opening of booths in the underground parking lots to make them attractive for the people to visit them.

The corporation has also assured to install more signboards for instructions to remove confusion in the parking lots. A committee of officers and traders will be formed to visit parking lots and listen to the complaints of the people.


Talk about drugs on June 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in collaboration with the Chandigarh police will organise a series of functions to observe the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26.

Mr Rakesh Goyal, Zonal Director of the NCB, has said the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime had proposed the following themes for the day — youth uniting to prevent drug abuse, music against drugs, facing reality, sports against drugs, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS and let’s talk about drugs. On June 26, skating and painting competitions would be held to create awareness among the children . For the painting competition to be held at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15.


Stalin’s bust found in scrap
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 23
A three foot brass bust of Joseph Stalin has found its way to this township from Russia via Dubai. Part of the ‘scrap’ imported by a local dealer, the bust landed at KPR Industries, a bathroom fitting manufacturing unit, in Phase VII almost 10 days ago.

“We did not initially realise that this bust is so important till a friend told us,” said Mr Prit Pal Singh, MD of the unit. “Today we have the members of the CPM coming from Chandigarh to buy it. But we are not selling it. For us it is big find. We want to retain it for its historical value,” he said.


Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, has taken over as Chief of the Staff at the Western Command Headquarters, Chandi Mandir, near here. A graduate of the Defence Service Staff College, General Grover was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers in December, 1966.

He has held several prestigious command, staff and instructional appointments during his career. 


Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
A 35 year-old woman, hailing from Nepal, allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at her residence in Hallomajra village here late last night. The victim, Sunitga, was living along with her husband and two children — a boy aged 12 years and a girl aged 10 years.

A police official said the deceased was under depression. When she was about to consume the poison, her boy snatched the bottle from her hands and ran outside the house. The woman chased the boy and snatched the bottle and consumed it. The woman died on the way to hospital. The husband of the victim works in a factory in the Industrial Area.

Pick-pocket: Jaipal, a resident of Meerut, complained to the police that someone stole his purse containing Rs 1,000 in the Sector 26 grain market. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.


Cyclist knocked down: A cyclist, Bachna Ram (50), sustained injuries when he was knocked down by a car on the Panchkula-Zirakpur road this evening.

The police said that the injured was a jhuggi-dweller of Sector 20 here. Bachna Ram was rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital but was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, after his condition deteriorated.

The car ( HP-11-1950) driver is said to have fled from the scene leaving behind the vehicle. The police has registered a case against the car driver.

Snake bite: A teenaged labourer, Deepak, allegedly died due to snake bite in the Sector 6 General Hospital this morning. The deceased was putting up near the railway line in Mubarikpur village on the Ramgarh-Dera Bassi road and was working with some industrial unit.

Deepak was bitten by a snake late last night. As his condition deteriorated in the morning, his fellow labourers took him to the General Hospital. He died in the afternoon. The Railway Police, Lalru, has started investigating the case.


One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Lalru, June 23
One person was killed and 12 others were injured in two separate accidents on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, near here, during past 24 hours.

A Delhi resident, Surinder Pal Singh, and his companion, Baljit Chaddha, were on their way to Shimla when an unidentified vehicle hit their car (DL-4C-2615) near Jharmari late last night. Surinder Pal Singh died on the spot, while Chaddha sustained injuries.

The injured was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh and was discharged today. After receiving information, family members of the victims reached Lalru in the afternoon.

The body of Surinder Pal Singh was sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post mortem.

In another head-on collision involving a Haryana Roadways bus and a truck, as many as 12 bus passengers and two truck occupants were injured near Sarseeni village this morning.

According to the police, the bus (HR-37-7032) heading towards Ambala collided with the truck (HR-45-1946) coming from the opposite side.

Three injured, who were admitted to a local hospital, have been identified as Pahalwan Singh from Patiala, Jaswant Kaur from Ballopur village and Rajrani from Lalru. They were discharged from the hospital in the evening.

The other injured were taken to hospitals in Chandigarh by the police.

After impounding the vehicles involved in the accident, the police has registered cases under different provisions of the Indian Penal Code.


Extension counter upgraded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Punjab National Bank (PNB) today upgraded its extension counter at DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8. Mr Harwant Singh, General Manager, Punjab National Bank, Northern Zone, inaugurated the upgraded branch.

Mr Harwant Singh said: ‘‘This branch would undertake all types of banking operations, including retail lending and bill discounting, besides deposit mobilisation. Till now, the extension counter was providing deposit account services only.’’

He claimed that keeping in view of the current and future requirements of the customers, segment specific products had been introduced for medical practitioners and teachers. ‘‘PNB Fin Basket’’ had been introduced for clients requiring more than one retail loan so as to give relationship benefit to the customers. For women empowerment, he said, the bank had introduced “mahila sashaktikaran abhiyan”.

Mr Harwant Singh said PNB was the lead bank in UT and 17 districts of Haryana, including Panchkula. It had installed six ATMs in Chandigarh, of which five were connected with the national network. In Panchkula, he said, there were six ATMs.

Among others, Mr Subhash Marriya, Principal, DAV College, Sector 10, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, Municipal Councillor of the area, and Mr V.J. Mattoo, Senior Regional Manager, PNB, Chandigarh, were present on this occasion. 

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |