Thursday, June 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn swoops on Palsora
Demolishes 2,200 illegal dwellings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Chandigarh Administration today removed around 2,200 illegal slum dwellings out of a total of around 4,000 in the Palsora and Peer colonies in one of the biggest-ever drives, which has brought thousands of people on the road.

The drive, which will continue tomorrow also, began in the morning amidst complaints from the residents that their belongings had been buried under the debris as they were not given sufficient time to remove them. The Administration has denied the charge. It said the people were informed last evening. One illegal temple was removed and three-day time for a gurdwara was given as akhand path was going on there. Out of around 50 acres of land illegally occupied, 20 acres was today freed from encroachments. Out of 3,735 applicants from the area, 1,710 had been found eligible for rehabilitation.

A 1,000 strong posse of policemen and senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration, including Additional Deputy Commissioner Inderjeet Singh Sandhu and SDM (South) Madhvi Kataria led the drive.

The Chandigarh police and the Administration deployed the anti-riot vehicles, fire engines and the riot-control police to control a possible mob reaction.

The demolition brought to the notice that the colonies had as many as 40 illegal dairies. The drive continued till dusk and a large number of people said they had no place to go to spend the night. A police van carrying a microphone kept urging the people to remove their belongings, lest they should be impounded by the Estate Office.

Trucks, horsecarts, rickshaws, goods carriers and rickshaws flocked to make hay while shifting the belongings of the people from the colony. Junk dealers gathered there to purchase the discarded material. A few residents in the colony had cars. One of the babas had a Contessa car and was shifting his belongings in the car.

The Administration, had placed water tankers to provide drinking water. No medical aid was seen as part of the paraphernalia of the drive to provide medical aid to the displaced people. Ms Sunita Gaba, running the Navjeevan Anathayala in the colony, was seen pleading with officers not to remove the orphanage only to meet rejection from them. Belongings of the people including TV sets and coolers, were seen spread all over the area.

A number of residents, having already been rehabilitated and even farmers given compensation were found running their business from the area which had been acquired by the Chandigarh Administration.

A section of residents, who were asked to stay here after they were removed from the Indira Awas and Karsan colonies, alleged that they had been removed a second time without being rehabilitated.

The residents said that they kept trying to contact the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, and BJP president, Mr Yashpal Mahajan. Congress councillor Shyama Negi and District Congress Committee-(Urban II) president Pawan Sharma visited the colonies.


BJP to take up slum-dwellers’ rehabilitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
A delegation of the local unit of the BJP, to be led by the party president of unit, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, will take up the issue of rehabilitation of slum dwellers with the Union Home and Urban Development Ministries.

A decision to this effect was taken here today at an emergency meeting of the party office-bearers.

The meeting said the demolition of the houses of slum-dwellers was on cards in some other areas as well.

The meeting unanimously passed a resolution condemning the statements of the All-India Congress Committee general secretary Oscar Fernandez and Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president B.B. Bahl who accused the Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, of carrying out the demolition drive to please his “master (L.K. Advani).”

Mr Mahajan, party general secretaries B.K. Kapoor and Purushottam Mahajan and president, Labour Colonies Cell, Meghraj Verma said the party was not in favour of uprooting the people.

They said the party had been fighting for the rehabilitation of the people with the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation.


CVC to probe failure to take possession of lands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
In an unprecedented move, the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, today asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to initiate two inquiries and fix responsibility of officials for failing to take physical possession of lands and for failure to take possession of land vacated in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony in Sector 49 following a demolition drive in 2001.

What can the CVC do?

The CVC does not inquire into anything on its own. It will either ask the Vigilance Department, Chandigarh, to look into the matter or, if the CVC deems fit ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into the affairs, a source said.

A spokesperson for the Chandigarh Administration said the CVC is to first inquire into and fix the lapse of officials responsible for not taking physical possession of lands acquired by the Chandigarh Administration from time to time in the past. Secondly, with regard to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, the CVC has been asked to fix the lapse of officials for not handing over the possession of acquired land to the beneficiaries even after the land was got vacated in 2001 following a demolition operation.

The CVC has been asked to investigate why possession of the lands acquired by the Chandigarh Administration for various beneficiaries was not taken and handed over to the beneficiaries right at the time of award. It has been asked to look into why uniform compensation was paid even with regard to the lands already encroached upon by squatters and why the compensation was paid in undue hurry even without taking physical possession of the land.

Regarding Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, Justice Verma has asked the CVC to especially inquire into the aspect that after getting the land vacated in a demolition operation said to have been carried out in 2001, why was the possession of land not delivered to the beneficiaries and why was the land allowed to be encroached upon by squatters again.

The CVC has been asked to fix the responsibility of officials who are found at fault.

The scope of the inquiry does not mention how far back in the past will the Administration want this investigated. Interestingly, a source pointed out that as per the rules prevailing in Chandigarh, whenever, notices under Sections 4 or 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, are issued owner of any jhuggi which exists on the land will be eligible for rehabilitation. Under the law, when the land acquisition officer takes over a piece of land from private parties, the jhuggi dwellers, have to be rehabilitated.


MCC forms special teams to check water theft
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, June 25
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has constituted special teams for preventing the slum and colony-dwellers from tampering with the joints in water pipelines in the city.

Confirming the information, senior MCC officials said slum-dwellers and labour colony residents were deliberately loosening the bolts at the joints of the pipeline before walking away with the utensils full of water. It was not unusual to see scores of dwellers waiting for their turn to fetch water with empty buckets at their sides and utencils in their hands, the officials asserted.

According to officials, the teams comprised sub-divisional officers and inspectors. They have been asked in clear terms to patrol the sensitive areas for catching hold of those indulging in unlawful activities and also to “avoid wastage of water.

The decision to carry out the survey of the vulnerable areas by the special teams was taken recently after senior MCC officials were informed that the dwellers were illegally filling up their pots and buckets after damaging pipelines.

It was significant as, according to MCC officials, at least four major leaks in the water pipelines passing through the slums and colonies were reported during the past two weeks.

The officials added that the leaks were affecting the normal water supply in other parts of the city as well. A recent leakage in the pipeline had affected water supply in Sectors 20, 21, 40, 42, 46, 47, 48, besides Maloya village, Ram Darbar, Dadu Majra, Industrial area.

In fact, the authorities were forced to suspend the afternoon water supply due to repeated incidents of leakage. The officials revealed that the police would be informed and action would be taken against the culprits for damaging public property and other offences, sources reveal.

Chandigarh, sources asserted, was otherwise also suffering from water shortage. At present the requirement of water in summers was 90 mgd, while the water supply to the city was just 65 mgd.

The problem would be resolved to a large extent with the fourth phase of Kajauli water works becoming operational after about two years. Till then efforts were being made to improve the supply by cutting down on wastage, sources added.

A ban on watering of lawns and washing of vehicles has already been ordered in the morning hours. Wastage was also being avoided by installing new linings and valves. Colonies were also being bye-passed to avoid tampering, they concluded.


Bus queue shelters to get new look
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The face of bus stops in the city are in for a change. Doing away with the brick and stone design of the 1950s, the Chandigarh Administration today approved a scheme to construct 40 bus queue shelters in Mani Majra and the southern sectors with a new and modern design. They will be made of tubular steel and fibreglass. The scheme is to have them on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) pattern. The operators would earn money by displaying advertisements on these shelters.

Other admn decisions

  • 1500 tenements and sites to be allotted to eligible people
  • 22 taxi stands to be regularised
  • Officials on sensitive posts for 3 years to be shifted within one month

The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma approved of the scheme today. During the weekly coordination meeting with senior officers, Justice Verma said the residents of Mani Majra and southern sectors were facing many problems especially during the rainy season as they had to wait in the open for a bus. The Administrator said in the first phase, the bus queue shelters on BOT basis would be completed in the new sectors and Mani Majra and in the second phase, the existing shelters in old sectors would be dismantled and constructed on a BOT basis. Justice Verma said as the operators would maintain the shelters, there would be no chance of encroachments.

Justice Verma asked the Municipal Corporation and Finance Secretary to jointly work out a scheme with post offices and the Reserve Bank of India so that people could deposit their electricity and water bills in the post offices and public sector banks. He said the problem of bill collection was being faced because everybody did not have a bank account and the ECS system introduced by the Administration was not successful. He said that once it is tied up with the post offices and public sector banks, it would be convenient for the common public to deposit their bills in both.

The Administrator said in the congested sectors, especially the southern sectors, Mani Majra and slums, there were problems of long queues for the collection of electricity and water bills.

Justice Verma asked the Adviser to work out a scheme to make available nearly 1,900 tenements sites to eligible squatters within one month. The Adviser informed the Administrator that over 1,500 tenements were ready.

It was informed at the meeting that 22 new taxi stands would be regularised. The Administrator also stressed the need for completing the task of shifting officers sitting on sensitive seats for more than three years within one month.


Students ‘used’ to kill Gurcharan Singh?
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 25
Even as the police has remained tight-lipped about the progress into the investigations of the murder of Gurcharan Singh, Chairman, Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Bhaddal, sources say the police is also working on the possibility of students having been ‘used’ to kill him.

The Ropar SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, who is the investigating officer in this case, said, ‘‘The way Gurcharan Singh was killed, it could either be the work of professional killers or someone whom he knew or recognised.

“The killers ensured that their victim is dead,’’ Mr Bhullar had said at a press conference on the day of the murder.

Reiterating that the possibility of students been involved in some way in the murder could not be ruled out, the sources pointed that there was substantial unrest among the students in the college due to alleged collection of ‘forced’ funds.

The students had complained that the college administration was fleecing them in the name of the Kandi Area Friends Educational Society, for which they had to pay over Rs 1,000 each year. ‘‘Mr Gurcharan Singh was very strict and unrelenting as far as this fund was concerned. The students had objected to the fund but he refused to give them any other option,” the sources added. Even poor students were not spared.

The sources stated the money for the fund was collected on the day new session’s fee was charged and no student was spared. Gurcharan Singh wanted to bring up Bhaddal village in a big way and was using a part of this fund to develop the village.

With more and more information trickling in about the case, the police is almost certain now that the murder took place due to the money the college had started ‘minting’ in a short duration. ‘‘The college had made major progress in a short span of time and most of the money that was being put into the college after the initial investment of the trustees came from the students,” said the sources.

The college had initially started on the premises of an industrial unit in SAS Nagar. The industrial unit belongs to one of the trustee, Mr Jaspal Singh. Then land was bought in Bhaddal by the trust, where the college was shifted in 2000. ‘‘Bhaddal college was also causing a certain amount of heart burning among its competitors in the vicinity because of its progress,’’ the sources said.

In 2002, the college acquired the ISO certification and started getting good students. Since there was a simultaneous proliferation of other engineering colleges in the area, IET Bhaddal was also exposed to rumours when infighting among Bhaddal trustees became public about six to eight months ago. ‘‘Gurcharan Singh had to call a meeting of the faculty some months ago and relate to them that the college would survive his tussle with Mr B.S. Randhawa.

He even mentioned that other colleges were trying to spread rumours that the college was for sale,’’ the sources added. A problem which the college is facing even today after the sensational murder of Gurcharan Singh. Just after the death of Gurcharan Singh, the college gave an advertisement in a newspaper that the college will run as before and no one should believe any rumours about the institute.

Who will be the next Chairman of the Institute? This question is already making rounds of the college. With the annual turnover of the college being in crores, the post is a coveted one. The sources said under normal circumstances, Mr B.S. Randhawa would have been the next choice. But with his name under the cloud, main contenders for the post are Mr Jaspal Singh, General Secretary of the trust, and Ms Kulwinder Kaur, wife of Gurcharan Singh.


Ranbaxy to disburse Rs 60 lakh as relief
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Ranbaxy Laboratories plan to disburse about Rs 60 lakh as compensation to the families of the five persons who died in a fire which followed a blast at its Mohali plant earlier this month.

This was disclosed here today by Mr Pushpinder Bindra, senior vice-president, Global Manufacturing, in an interview with TNS. He said the company had already paid compensation packages of about Rs 25 lakh to the next of kin of the two victims. The packages included an ex gratia grant of Rs 5 lakh, voluntary contribution of the employee totalling Rs 2.25 lakh and insurance of about Rs 3.5 lakh. The families of three other victims would also be given compensation packages of about Rs 10 lakh each. This was in addition to Rs 30,000 paid to the victims families immediately after the blast.

The company also planned to set up a trust which would arrange for free education for the children of the victims up to the college level. Besides, the company would offer employment to one member of the family of each victim. As regards those injured in the fire, the company had arranged for free medical treatment for them.

Mr Bindra said the company had made arrangements for the replacement of windowpanes in houses shattered by the blast on the day of the accident. It was also carrying out a survey of houses which might have suffered damage due to the blast. The survey would be completed within the next two days.

He said Ranbaxy’s Mohali plant was one of the biggest in the country. Set up at a cost of Rs 250 crore, the plant provided direct employment to about 900 persons, besides providing indirect employment to hundreds of others and creating a large number of ancillary units. It produced 600 tonnes of bulk drugs annually, paying Rs 40 crore as excise duty to the Central government, Rs 4 crore as sales tax to the Punjab government and Rs 2.25 crore as octroi to Mohali Municipal Council every year.

The company maintained some of the highest safety standards in the world and had won as many as 10 safety awards from the Punjab government during the past five years. Therefore, the accident at the plant earlier this month was very tragic. It could have been worse but for the constant preparations at the plant to handle such eventualities. “We have a safety audit every week and a fire drill every three months. As a matter of fact, we spend as much as Rs 45 lakh on safety precautions alone every year. It was because of these stringent safety measures that the staff was able to isolate the fire accident spot within 15 minutes of the blast and bring it under control with the help of all concerned,” he said.

Mr Bindra said that Ranbaxy was a world class company and commanded respect throughout the world because of its commitment to the highest standards of safety and quality. He would like to assure the residents of Mohali that the company would continue to maintain these standards.

Meanwhile, a two-minute silence was observed at the annual general meeting of Ranbaxy Laboratories held at SAS Nagar today as a mark of respect to those who died in the fire accident. Mr Tajendra Khanna, Chairman of the company, in his opening remarks referred to the tragic accident and assured all those present that the company would continue to adhere to strict safety standards.

The meeting was attended by Mr D.S.Brar, CEO and Managing Director, Mr Vivek Bharat Ram, Dr P.S. Joshi, Mr Nimesh N. Kampani, Mr V.K. Kaul, Mr Vivek Mehta, Mr Harpal Singh, Mr Surendra Daulet Singh, Dr Brian W. Tempest, all directors, and S.K. Patwari, secretary of the company.


‘Exercise control over Ranbaxy’
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 25
The House Owners Welfare Association, Phase I, has demanded from the Punjab, Government that departments concerned should exercise proper control over Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd here and the manufacturing of those drugs which involved the usage of chemicals that could prove dangerous to human life be shifted away from the residential area.

In a press note released here today, Mr P.S. Virdi and Mr Tek Chand Sharma, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, said there were repeated incidents of fire at Ranbaxy which could prove hazardous to the workers in the factory as well as those living in the adjoining areas.

They said the management had so far done nothing for the safety of the residents.

The association demanded that the government dispensary should start functioning from the building constructed for that purpose by PUDA in Phase I. The building had been completed in August last year and the Department of Health had been asked to take possession of the building.

Mr Virdi said there was shortage of water in the area and as such one tubewell, out of the three sanctioned for the town, should be sunk in Phase I.

The association demanded that PUDA should construct the building of a primary school, site for which had been reserved next to the building constructed for the government dispensary in the area. It also demanded the construction of a community centre in Phase I as residents were facing problems at the time of holding functions.


Punjab police opens beauty parlour in VIP complex
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 25
Better known for their tough and terrorising ways, police officers are thinking sending a sober signal to the public by transforming their looks by recruiting a beautician to run a newly set up beauty parlour in the Punjab Government’s VIP complex in Sector-39 here.

The beauty parlour named Hair Craft to be run by the Punjab police was inaugurated by Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional Director-General of Police (Punjab) this morning.

A tea party was organised on the occasion that was attended by senior police officials, including Mr Rajinder Kumar, Inspector-General of Police (Security), and a few other IPS officers.

Talking to TNS Mr Bhatti said, “The opening of this beauty parlour by the Punjab police is a part of our welfare activity as most of our people (police personnel/officials) cannot afford an expensive quality service”

In reply to a question, the IG (Security) said, “We have picked up one of the best beauticians of the city from Hotel Mountview and recruited him in the Punjab Armed Police (PAP). We have opened this beauty parlour with lots of facilities like quality facials, setting/colouring of hair, manicure, pedicure, threading, bleaching, ladies/gents saloon, waxing and massages with special facilities for men and women.

He claimed that the services provided at the beauty parlour would be the best in the city at minimum charges. However, after a perusal of the rate card, it seemed obvious that they have almost shut the doors for lower rank police officials as the charges for shaving have been fixed at Rs 30, for dry hair cut Rs 60, women’s facials above the range of Rs 180 and so on.

The man who is running the show, Ehsan Ali, popularly known as Salman among the elite of the city, has been chosen from the city’s best beauty parlour Nirvana in Hotel Mountview. His client list includes top bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

Salman hails from Moradabad and has been in the profession for the past 13 years. “My forefathers have all been in this profession”, he said.


ITBP personnel to learn Chinese language
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
As Indian and Chinese leaders join hands to improve bilateral relations, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is reaching out to people residing on the Himalayan belt separating India from Tibet. In a unique step to ensure effective communication with border residents, the ITBP has decided to teach elementary Tibetan and Chinese languages to its personnel.

Sources in the ITBP told The Tribune that only the basics of these languages would be taught to officers as well as other ranks of the force, so that they can interact with people residing along the Indo-Tibetan border. This is a part of a wider move being undertaken to increase the quality of the training being imparted to ITBP personnel and to upgrade their professional skills.

ITBP officers said that the force was planning a tie up with Panjab University here. Though the university has a separate department for teaching Tibetan, its Chinese language department was merged with another department about three years ago as no students were opting for this course. The ITBP Basic Training Centre located at Bhanu, near here, would be the nodal agency to conduct these courses.

“We are working out the modalities of the course and a final decision in this regard is expected to be taken by the ITBP headquarters in Delhi soon,” a senior officer said. Besides Panjab University (PU), the force could also invite experts in the aforementioned languages from other institutions or government agencies. Officers said a tie-up with PU is ideal due to its proximity with the training centre.

The ITBP is responsible for guarding the mountainous Indo-Tibetan border from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir through Himachal Pradesh to the India-Nepal-Tibet tri-junction in north-eastern Uttaranchal, while manning the Sino-Indian border in the east is the responsibility of the Assam Rifles. Officers said that a large populace located in the western border belt spoke dialects similar to Tibetan language.

“It would create a lot of goodwill among the border residents if we are able to understand what they are speaking as well as make ourselves understood,” an officer remarked. “You can imagine the effect if we greet some one in his native language or react immediately to a call for help without losing time in trying to understand what the other person is talking about,” he added.

Besides better communication with border residents, the move is also expected to help in intelligence gathering as tit-bits of conversations picked are a good source of information and can provide useful clues and breakthroughs.

While the ITBP is looking at dual benefits of teaching Tibetan and Chinese languages, the Army, under its own initiative, is reportedly giving an exhaustive course in Mandarin to select groups of troops stationed in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to help them decipher intercepted radio signals and messages.

According to reports, the Army programme, being conducted by Headquarters Eastern Command, is being conducted by Chinese immigrants. The duration of the course is stated to be nine months.


Ousted shopkeepers reoccupy PUDA land
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 25
For the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, it cannot get worse than this. Barely a 100 feet away from the Estate Officer's office in Phase I here, oustees of the Phase I meat market have established themselves illegally on PUDA's vacant land.

The meat market shopkeepers had been removed from their unauthorised occupation of land in Phase I and Mohali village early this year. Since then over 40 shopkeepers had been moving from pillar to post to look for a suitable place to pitch their shops and start business.

A similar attempt to occupy over an acre of wasteland opposite the PUDA office here was made by them a few months ago but it was aborted by the then head of the anti-encroachment team and SDO (Buildings) Ranjit Kumar. Most of their construction material, which included large tin sheets, was taken into PUDA's possession.

However, yesterday evening these persons started building shops on that land again, right under the nose of the Estate Office. The SDO (Buildings) and the Estate Officer were not available for comments. However, sources stated that the shopkeepers had been meeting many politicians of the area who could have put pressure on PUDA officials to allow this encroachment.


MC Commissioner refutes traders’ charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Municipal Corporation Commiss-ioner M.P. Singh here today refuted the charge levelled by representatives of traders that they had not been educated about the provisions of the display of glow sign panels before a drive was launched to remove these on Monday.

“Efforts have been on for the past four months to impress upon shopkeepers to regulate advertisements in markets as per the architectural control plan and the Chandigarh Advertisement Control Order 1954,” the Commissioner said in a press note.

It said many meetings had been held with representatives of the market associations of Sectors 17 and 22 to revise the control plan and provide additional advertisement space on buildings. This had been communicated to the representatives of the market associations, the note said.

He said despite all this and the issuance of notices, the result was not encouraging, forcing the authorities to remove unauthorised advertisement panels from the markets.

The note said the purpose of the drive to remove unauthorised advertisement panels was to achieve uniformity in each market in accordance with the order and the architectural control plan for each Sector.

It said additional advertisement space had been identified and a revised control plan was issued by the Chief Architect and the representatives of the markets had been informed about the changes.

The note said illuminated advertisement (neon signs and glow signs) were also allowed in the markets subject to the provisions of the order and the architectural plan.

It said for clarifications, Chief Engineer Municipal Corporation V.K. Bharadwaj and Sub-Divisional Engineer Sarvesh Seth could be contacted on telephone numbers 710670, 710671 (ext 414) and 714182.


BJP wings demand Mayor’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and the BJP Mahila Morcha here today staged a protest rally to demand the resignation of Mayor Subash Chawla for his alleged involvement in a scuffle with a lawyer.

Amidst raising of slogans against the Mayor by protesters, BJYM president Davesh Moudgil said, “The Mayor has no moral right to continue in the office and should quit immediately.”

He said Mr Chawla had failed to maintain the dignity of the office by allegedly getting involved in gambling, consuming liquor and indulging in a brawl.

Mr Moudgil announced June 25 as the ‘black day’ to remind the people about the imposition of Emergency.

BJP Mahila Morcha president Nancy Ganju also demanded the resignation of the Mayor on moral grounds.

Party general secretary Purushottam Mahajan, vice-president Pavittar Singh Namdhari, Leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation Kamla Sharma, in charge of councillors Raghuvir Lal Arora, district president Kanhaya Lal Sharma, former Mayor Kewal Krishan Adiwal, Ms Ramnik Sharma, Ms Hira Negi, BJYM general secretary Navin Kochhar, Mr Jasjot Singh, Mr Sanjeev Bansal, Ms Santosh Rana, Mr Narinder Chaudhary, Mr Jaspal Singh Pali and Ms Urmila Devi were among others who addressed the rally.


Major Sandeep Sagar’s death anniversary observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Major Sandeep Sagar’s family battled tears and pain at his death anniversary—tears in memory of their son who laid down his life fighting for the country and pain at the “indifferent” attitude of the Army authorities and the local district administration.

Nobody from the district administration or the Army made it to the late Major’s memorial service at the Major Sandeep Sagar Chowk in Sector 8 here this morning, awaiting a “formal invitation” for the same while friends and family gathered to mourn another year of separation.

This is in sharp contrast to the memorial service conducted to mark the martyrdom of another officer from Panchkula, Major Sandeep Shankla, whose battalion sends a guard of honour at his memorial in Sector 2 every year and a special function is organised to pay respects.

While the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact her, the Public Relations Officer of the Western Command, Mr D.S. Rawat, said he could not get in touch with officers in charge.

“I have been trying since afternoon but have not been able to get through to the officers concerned. I am not sure if the Army is supposed to be present at such personal functions. We will see tomorrow morning,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the memorial, the late Major’s mother, Ms Raksha Devi, could not hold back her tears as she offered flowers at the photograph of her son while his father, Prof Harbans Lal, tried putting up a brave front as he accepted condolences from those present.

Sharing his grief with the family members of other martyrs and seeking solace in their company, the family observed their “hero’s” death anniversary, recalling his valour and courage which earned him a place in history.

Officials of the district administration and those of the Army were conspicuous by their absence as everybody queued up to offer floral tributes at the memorial. Present in her personal capacity at the ceremony was the president of the Panchkula Municipal Council, Ms Seema Chaudhary.

Later, a prayer meeting was held at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Sector 7 where a path of Sukhmani Sahib and kirtan were held followed by a langar. The prayer meeting was attended by the Secretary of the Zila Sainik Board.

Through with the two programmes scheduled for his anniversary, the whole conversation revolved around Major Sagar at his home with each one recalling the Sandeep they knew — the Sandeep who lived and died for his motherland, the parents’ son, doing them proud even in his death, the brother his sisters looked up to.

And for five-year-old Uday Marriya, Major Sagar is not just a maternal uncle who was killed on the battlefield. He is an ideal Uday looks up to and wants to emulate by becoming an Army officer one day.

Later, in the evening, Lt-Col A.K. Sharma, Staff Officer (Ceremonial), Western Command, met the family at their house. “He said there was a confusion with regard to the name, there being a memorial for Major Sandeep Shankla as well. He has taken a list of families of all martyrs in the city and has assured us that the mistake will not be repeated in future and that they will set their record straight,” Prof Lal said.

Major Sagar was killed in a landmine blast at Naushera in Rajouri district during “Operation Vijay” in 1999. Later, a site in Sector 8 where his parents reside was earmarked for his memorial.


Hail ‘Verma sahib’s’ commitment

I would like to congratulate Justice O.P. Verma (retd) for joining as Administrator, Chandigarh, and Governor of Punjab. Further, I feel happy to know that he is much concerned with the development of Chandigarh and its beautification. Now it is visible that he is serious about removing encroachments and re-establishing the city’s glory, as it deserves.

As a common citizen of Chandigarh, I would like to write a few words for the Governor’s consideration that may help him to know the ground realities.

Chandigarh is a city of two different habitats — one is the north side of Madhya Marg, which can be called as urban Chandigarh, and the other one is the south side of Madhya Marg, which can be called as rural Chandigarh. Urban Chandigarh is using 80 per cent of its resources for 20 per cent of its population, and rural Chandigarh has 80 per cent population to survive on 20 per cent of resources. You can feel the difference if you visit any of the south sectors.

At the moment, illegal encroachments are a major issue. I can assure the Administrator that people are happy since it is felt ‘‘Verma sahib is committed to removing encroachments’’. I am a resident of Chandigarh for the last 23 years and surprisingly I am seeing for the first time that people are removing encroachments by themselves. I hope this time it will not be a wasted effort. If a few points are considered, the expected results can be achieved.

Rest assured that the blessings of 70 per cent of Chandigarh residents are with “Verma sahib” and they will feel satisfied if he succeeds in his task because only 30 per cent of Chandigarh residents are on the ground floor and 70 per cent are on the upper floors, and all encroached land is occupied by the ground floor owners. Anti-encroachment drives are always started with rural (south) sectors and end there. The posh or urban sectors are never touched. People in southern sectors feel cheated and helpless when no anti-encroachment drive is carried out in northern sectors. People say that they have no problem if all encroachments are removed simultaneously.

If the Governor is serious enough to make the city as beautiful as it deserves, he should instruct the concerned authorities to start clearing the encroachments from Sector 1 without any discrimination and political considerations.

P. Raj

Water a rightful necessity

It is indeed a matter of concern to learn how the residents of a small satellite town like Panchkula are feeling the shortage of water and are forced to buy or borrow water from nearby places. Panchkula takes it name after five rivulets flowing beneath the ground and, thus, the scarcity of water even for a population of 2.10 lakh should not arise. Water is a natural mineral and is rightfully desired and consumed by all sections of people. Therefore, the government should make all necessary arrangements for optimum, if not adequate, supply of water.

At a few distance from Panchkula, a small unknown river, Kaushalya, is flowing over the concrete beds. The water of the river is clean and medicated as it comes through the herbs of the Shivalik ranges. The government must consider to construct dam over this small river so that a sufficient quantity of water may be stored and utilised in emergency circumstances. By doing so, the earthen reservoirs can also be saved for future needs.

Nirmal Kumar

NCC movement in troubled waters

Immediately after India attained independence, our Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru conceived the idea of creating an NCC wing as the second line of defense. The prime objective of giving preliminary defence training to students studying in schools and colleges was to inspire students and make them realise the importance of defending the country. Competent and physically fit persons among teachers were selected and given intensive training under control and guidance of regular defense personnel.

NCC soon become popular among students because of multiple benefits of this scheme. The physical fitness aspect often gets neglected when students and teachers give importance only to academic curriculum. NCC parade on a regular basis proved useful for physical fitness of students. Undergoing defence training like handling arms and ammunition while students created interest among students to join the National Defence Academy. Many NCC cadets subsequently became regular commissioned officers and occupied prominent positions. Discipline, as we all know, is the key for success in any venture. NCC training produced in improving overall discipline in the schools.

I am pained to know that due to budgetary constraints and lack of understanding among state and Central Government regarding sharing of expenses on NCC scheme, the government is gradually pulling its hands out and reducing the strength of student receiving NCC training in educational institutions. I would appeal to state and Central Government to provide adequate funds to keep this useful scheme alive and functional.

Bant Singh

Encroachments and demolitions

Demolition of huts in Sector 48 led to a political hue and cry by the BJP and Congress. The coming of both the rival political parties to the aid of illegal encroachers is not only sad but unfortunate. Both the political parties are supporting illegal encroachments just for the sake of votes. People should condemn this move. It is sad that both the parties are bent upon a converting the City Beautiful into city ugly. I am sure the generation present the next will never forgive these selfish leaders. I appreciate the difficulty being faced by jhuggiwalas in the wake of their uprooting. They should be given some alternative shelter. Mushroom growth of jhuggis must be checked at the very outset. Uprooting them when they own TVs, coolers and houses is painful. If jhuggi culture is illegal or evil, it must be nipped in the bud. Why displace hundreds of families when they have settled themselves. There is need for a long-term policy. Illegal encroachments of the government land must be vacated even if influential VIPs come to their rescue.

Ujagar Singh

Rehabilitate jhuggi-dwellers

As a result of the demolition drive launched by the Chandigarh Administration, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony in the city wore a deserted look as it was ravaged by bulldozers of the Chandigarh Housing Board to get the land vacated for allotment to housing societies. The drive did see some resistance in the beginning but later it seems that the residents had become well aware of their fault that they shouldn’t have taken the possession of land that has been paid for by others.

Whatever be the reason, they have really  shown courage by being the silent watchers of the legal action. No doubt it is a legal step by the Administration, but at the same time it should not be forgotten that the drive has rendered thousands of people homeless who are not even in a position to take an accommodation anywhere in the city. Residents of this colony ,who are largely labourers, contribute a lot in the construction activity in the city.

As the colony residents have finally accepted this new situation, the administration should realise its responsibility and start its rehabilitation scheme immediately. There have been such drives in the past also but there hasn’t been any decrease in the number of such colonies in spite of these drives. It is high time that the Administration should look for a permanent solution to this problem so that it does not have to waste time and resources in launching its repetitive drives. All such jhuggis in different colonies in the city should face such drives, but only after adequate arrangements for the rehabilitation of the dwellers of these colonies have been made. This would be a wise and commendable step on the part of the Administration towards beautification of the city.

Satinder Kaur
SAS Nagar



Rotary awards presented
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 25
Outstanding performance awards were given to the past presidents of the Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik Prithi Vohra and Sneh Popli at a ceremony held in Sector 7, yesterday. The Rotary talent award was given to Dr Kanwarjit Kochhar.

The best Rotarian award was given to Saroj Khosla and B.S. Anand. The award for maximum participation in Rotary activities was bagged by Minnie Partap and M.L. Gupta. The best Rotary Ann award went to Sucheta Luthra. The best multimedia presentation award was bagged by Harshvir Jaspal.

Handing over the prizes, UT Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar said that the club should cooperate in accident cases in association with the Red Cross and the police. Club president G.S. Kochhar assured full cooperation in this regard.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Kochhar said the club had reached new heights not only in the city, but the entire district. Giving details, he said 46 projects and activities were carried out, including a health camp in Kajheri village. A blood donation camp was also organised at Deep Hospital, besides TB, ear and eye check-up camps. Residents were also immunised against Burton disease.


Minister’s statement on LIC ‘misleading’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Northern Zone Insurance Employees’ Association has described the statement of Union Minister of State of Finance, Mr Anandaro Vithoba Adsul, on the health of the Life Insurance Corporation as most unfortunate. The Minister reportedly has expressed the apprehension that within two or three years the corporation would also meet the fate of the Unit Trust of India. Mr Rajiv Sehgal, Divisional Secretary, All India Insurance Employees Association, in a statement here today said that the Minister’s comment was meant to create confusion among the people about the LIC.

Mr Sehgal alleged, the Minister’s statement aimed at tarnishing the image of the corporation and to pave the way for disinvestment. Mr Sehgal stated that the Association’s General Secretary, Mr K. Venugopal had already with all facts and figures, proved that the position of the LIC was strong thus exposing Minister’s statement on the LIC’s health as wrong.



WATER is required for drinking as well as industrial purposes. In general terms, the quantity of water available is of greater significance than its quality. In order to meet the growing demand for water and given the limited resources, the most important aspect is to devise appropriate measures for the conservation of water.

We should have a system which circulates water and recycles it.

It would be advantageous to segregate the surface drainage from the sewerage and provide storage facilities. After settlement, the water could be used as industrial water.

Saaheb Chadha,
Centenary Public School



Ravneet Kaur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Mrs Ravneet Kaur, has been posted as Special Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment, against a vacant post, according to an official press note released here today.


Judge bereaved

Chandigarh, June 25
Mrs Joginder Kaur, mother of UT Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Tejwinder Singh died here today. According to family members, the funeral is scheduled to be held at 5 pm tomorrow. TNS


Marriage fraud: parents, son held
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 25
The police has arrested mother, father and son on charges of cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy.

The police arrested Ranjit Singh, his mother Lakhwir Kaur and father Raghbir Singh, all residents of Chandigarh, on a complaint lodged by Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, a resident of Guru Tegh Bahadur Complex, Sector 70, here.

In the complaint to the police, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur said on November 17, 2002, she had got her daughter, Lovepreet, married to Ranjit Singh, a resident of Sector 21, Chandigarh. Before the marriage she was told that Ranjit Singh was staying in the USA and after marriage would take Lovepreet with him there. The complainant alleged that on this pretext Rs 5 lakh were taken from the girl’s family. Lakhs of rupees were spent on the marriage and purchasing items that were given in the form of dowry.

Ms Sukhwinder Kaur further alleged in the complaint that instead of taking Lovepreet to the USA, her in-laws started making demands and harassing her. On April 12 this year, Lovepreet was thrown out of the house by her in-laws. She said later when she along with some prominent persons took her daughter to her in-laws house, they were not allowed to enter and were even threatened with dire consequences.

The police has registered a case under Sections 406, 420, 498 and 120B of the IPC.


Police to nab call-girl racket kingpin
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 25
Armed with production warrants, a team of the Chandigarh police has been sent to Delhi to bring the alleged kingpin of the call-girl racket busted recently, Kiran, Kamlesh Verma, alias Kiran Aunty, alias Momji, to Chandigarh.

On Sunday, the Delhi police had arrested Kiran and seven others on the charge of immoral trafficking. Similar cases are registered in Sector 3 police station against Kiran. The police today obtained the warrants till July 7 from a local court.

It may be mentioned here that a call-girl racket being operated from Delhi was busted by the Chandigarh police on May 25. The police had arrested three girls between 20 and 25 years and a pimp, Anil Sharma. The call girls were said to be operating under the banner of a dance troupe and were being allegedly supplied to VIPs in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, by Kiran.


Man killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 25
An unidentified man in his early 40s was killed after being rammed by a Punjab Roadways bus near Chandigarh - Panchkula barrier in Mani Majra here this morning.

As per information available, the accident occurred at around 11.30 am while the man was trying to cross the Chandigarh-Kalka road.

The victim, who was bleeding profusely, was rushed to the PGI but he succumbed to his injuries. The bus driver was arrested under Section 304-A of IPC and later released on bail.


4 cases of theft solved
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 25
With the arrest of two persons, the police today claimed to have busted a gang of burglary involved in more than 15 cases of theft and burglary in and around the city.

It was further claimed that four cases of theft and burglary have already been solved and property worth Rs 1.25 lakh recovered.

Those who have been arrested are Vinod Kumar and Mannu Bhatti, both residents of Sector 24-C.

Three of the cases, which have been solved, were registered in June (police stations of Sector 17, 19 and 39) and one case of Sector 17 police station registered in December last year.

The articles recovered from the accused include four mobile phones, a gold bracelet, two gold chains, a mangalsutra and three rings.

The police was hopeful of solving more cases and recovery after interrogation of the two.


Thieves strike at Laxmi Narain Mandir
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 25
Thieves reportedly struck at Laxmi Narain Mandir, Sector 44, on the night intervening June 23 and 24 and took away brass and steel items, 15 saucer pans, four beds, two pressure cookers and four buckets. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of IPC has been registered on complaint of Mr Sandan Kumar.

Meanwhile, a resident of Sector 22-C, Mr Rajesh Sudhir, reported to the police that someone made an attempt of theft at his industrial plot in Phase II, Ram Darbar, here yesterday. However, nothing was found stolen. A case under Section 379 and 511 of IPC has been registered.

INJURED: A rickshaw-puller, Sarup Chand, was injured after his rickshaw was allegedly hit by a truck (CHW 6222) near traffic light points of Sectors 15 and 16 on Tuesday. The victim, a resident of Kangra district, was admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16, where his condition was said to be stable. The truck driver fled away from the spot in the truck. A case under Section 279 and 337 has been registered.

HELD: The police has arrested Ashok of Kumhar Colony and Munideen of Darwa village from different parts of the city for smuggling liquor on Tuesday. As many as 250 pouches of liquor were also recovered from their possession. The two have been booked under various sections of the Excise Act.


TWO HELD: The police has arrested two persons on charges of smuggling liquor from Chandigarh to Punjab and seized 1500 pouches from their custody.

The police arrested Shingara Ram, a resident of Dogra Colony, Faridkot, and Sham Lal, a resident of Moga, from near Amb Wala Chowk night when they were carrying liquor in an Indica car which was to be taken to Moga. A case has been registered.


UT to blame for poor business in Sector 38-C market
Kulwinder Sandhu

The sleepy market in Sector-38C could have had more customers but it’s potential is being held back because of lack of planning and efforts on part of the Chandigarh Administration.


* Inadequate parking space in front of the booths

* No exit point of parking in front of the booths

* Poor light system

* Deplorable condition of pavements

* Illegal sale of goods without paying taxes at pharhi market

* Vacant land in front of the booths across the road turning into a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

* Beautification of the market has not been attended to.

A large number of wholesalers prefer this market as the rents are low here. It seemed that the urban enclave of Sector 38-West (located just cross the road) would have helped matter so. However, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has opted to have its own self-sufficient market in Sector 38-West.

Ever since the market came into existence 25 years back, most of the owners of SCO’s and booths have themselves shut down their business and either rented out or sold their property as the profits have shrunk.

Mr Janak Raj Kalia, chairman of the main market welfare association of Sector-38C, said that the local area residents have shown least interest in the market for the past two decades.

He said that the main reason of lack of interest shown by the consumers in this market is that the markets of Sector-37 have close proximity to most of the areas of Sector-38. Moreover, the markets of Sector-37 have a varied section of shops to suit the customers.

Another reason for less attraction of customers to this market could be that there is no particular speciality of this market except for Galaxy Lamp Shade Company that attracts maximum customers due to the branded range of products with them. They are the authorised distributors of Decon Lighting Company, a brand name in the lamps used in interior designing of the houses.

The local traders of the market say that Galaxy Lamp Shade Company has managed to earn credibility in the city with their quality products and survival of 17 year in the field.

With hardly any other speciality, the market has five chemist shops, five cloth shops, one shoes shop, one clinical laboratory, a tent house, a polyclinic with five specialised doctors, two dental clinics, one homoeopathy clinic, two fast food restaurants, one sweets shop, a couple of computer institutions with cyber cafes and few other local utility shops.

The market has a number of problems almost ignored by the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation for the past many years. These include lack of adequate parking space, no exit point of parking in front of the booths, poor working of the lights, taking away a major portion of the business by the old pharhi market, Sector 22, rehabilitated near this market.

Pool lighting system: The lighting arrangement in this part of the sector is woefully deficient to the extent that there is not even a single lighting pole in front of the booth nos. 1 to 14.

However, there are 13 light poles in other parts of the Sector-38C market which are generally out of order, alleged Mr Jagtar Singh, President of the Market Welfare Association.

He said that the lighting system was installed about 20 years back in the market but since then no upgradation work has been carried out to keep the systems working. The wiring system on the poles is old and even worn out on few a points. The electric bulbs and tubes are of old type that have already outlived their utility and need replacement.

Parking woes: The parking space in front of booth nos. 1 to 14 is extremely inadequate. Surprisingly, it has no exit point that exposes the inefficiency of the planners. There is only a narrow road that serves both as entry and exit points with the result that vehicles coming to the market have to wait long for parking, entry and exit.

Mr Kalia said that due to inadequate parking space some vehicles are forced to be parked alongside the main road, putting the passersbye at the risk of accident. Besides this, the parking covers only a part of the market. “The parking needs to be extended to cover up the space in front of booth nos. 1 to 3 and 14 and adjoining verandas to booth nos 1 to 14”, he added.

Shopkeepers say that a separate entry point needs to be provided to the parking place, preferably in front of booth no. 1 and adjoining veranda as in the case of Sector-37C in front of booth nos. 1101 to 1115 and 1116 to 1125.

In order to enlarge the parking area, the area under pavements needs to be decreased to the present from 8 feet to 4 feet wide, both in front of the booth nos. 1 to 14 and booth no. 32 to 36, 40 to 51 and SCOs 68 to 86 (main market) in order to avoid congestion, bottlenecks and accidents.

Old pharhi market: The old pharhi market of Sector-22 rehabilitated in Sector-38C has added to the woes of the local business community of this main market and booths.

“They have snatched away a sizable section of the business from our market leaving us in deplorable condition. They sell products comparatively at fewer prices, as they need not pay any taxes. This makes a lot of difference for the customers who turn themselves to the pharhi market”, says Mr. Kalia.

The market welfare association has alleged that a large portion of the funds allocated for the development of their market have also been diverted in the recent past to benefit the pharhi market. It may be mentioned that a sum of Rs 1.6 lakh was sanctioned from the counsellors’ fund by local counsellor Jatinder Bhatia to upgrade the lighting system in the main market but the MC authorities diverted the funds to the pharhi market to install a new lighting system to benefit them.

Develop green belt: The portion falling in sub-sectors A&B has been developed in the sector but the sub-sectors C&D in front of the booths of the main market have been inordinately delayed.

It may be mentioned that this vacant land of five acres was allocated 15 years back to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for constructing a housing colony for their employees. However, the CPWD authorities have not turned up to utilise their land in a proper way.

The market welfare association has demanded that the vacant land should be used either to construct a housing colony or it should be developed as a green belt to improve the environmental conditions. Otherwise, the vacant land has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes with large bushes and weeds growing haphazardly.

Active members of the market welfare association:
Chairman - Mr. JR Kalia
President - Mr. Jagtar Singh


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