Thursday, July 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn axe falls on leaders’ farmhouses
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Farmhouses of several top political leaders of the region were today demolished by the UT Administration under its ongoing drive against encroachments on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway.

Prominent personalities among those whose farmhouses were demolished include former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Vinod Sharma, business baron and vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Kewal Dhillon and president of the BJP’s local unit Yashpal Mahajan.

The structures of nine farmhouses were targeted following alleged violation of the Periphery Control Act. However, the owners of the farmhouses contested this allegation. A large posse of the police, including commandos of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), was deployed to avoid any untoward incident. The demolition drive was carried out under the supervision of the local Tehsildar (land acquisition), Mr D.S. Baloria.

The demolitions started early this morning from the Panchvati farmhouse, owned by Mr Jhujar Singh. The enforcement staff, using six bulldozers, first demolished the outer boundary of the farmhouse. Later, constructed structures including the main building with tin sheds were removed. The tin shed housing a power generator was also demolished. All electric poles erected in the garden were uprooted. A mango tree was also uprooted.

The other farmhouses that were demolished included Forest View of Mr Kewal Dhillon, Mahajan farmhouse of Mr Yashpal Mahajan, Sharma farmhouse of Mr Vinod Sharma, Grewal farmhouse, Green Valley farmhouse, Garcha farmhouse, Seventh Milestone and a godown presently used by Pasco Motors.

Talking to TNS, Mr Vinod Sharma alleged that a temple was also demolished at his farmhouse, jointly owned by him and his brother, Mr Sham Sunder Sharma.

“We have never been served any kind of notice for demolition during the past 12 years”, he said. The property was transferred in the name of the Sharma brothers from that of their father, Mr Kedar Nath, in 1991. “Since then, we have utilised the land for promotion of ayurveda and naturopathy by planting medicinal plants in the area”, he added.

“The temple has been since 1980 on our land. We have just renovated it and constructed a ‘havan kund’ to enable us to perform religious ceremonies”, he further said.

Mr Jhujar Singh said, “Demolitions of farmhouses make no sense at all. Since the matter was pending before the Finance Secretary for the final decision, the authorities should have waited for the decision”. He also alleged that no notice was served on to him regarding the move of demolition.

Mr D.S. Baloria, local Tehsildar (land acquisition), said notices were served and adequate time was given to remove all violations. “The administration was forced to take such a harsh action as there was no response from the owners of farmhouses”, he added.

He said they had demolished only those structures which had been constructed in violation of the Periphery Control Act. All types of constructions in the peripheral areas have been banned by the administration, he said.

Meanwhile, the enforcement staff left Bhinder farmhouse untouched following a court stay order. The farmhouse is being used as a kennel with the permission of the local administration.

It may be mentioned that the demolition drive against farmhouses has been initiated after strong criticism from a section of society. The criticism came from local residents who either lost their shelter in demolitions in colonies or received intimation to this effect. Various political and non-political organisations had recently protested against the “callous” attitude of the administration towards the poor residents of the city. 


RC addresses: two more counters opened
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Chandigarh Administration today opened two more counters to deal with the rush of people wanting to get their addresses changed on vehicles’ registration copies. These counters are specially for people whose vehicles are not registered in Chandigarh but are living here.

The offices of the SDM(East) and the SDM(South) located at the CTU workshop, Industrial Area, Phase-I and the sports complex, Sector 42, respectively, will also deal with the matter. Residents of the area can approach these offices but only for RCs issued by other states, including those issued in the townships of Panchkula and SAS Nagar, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar said tonight.

Meanwhile, confusion and panic prevailed in the city today in this regard. A resident of Sector 27 termed it as needless harassment, saying that the Administration should open more counters. The change will also apply in case of government servants who may be allotted a house elsewhere after some time. In case an official in private company or a government employee changes his house five time in seven years the RC also needs to be changed with each shifting.

The exact procedure is:

Vehicles registered at Chandigarh but owner has shifted residence within Chandigarh: People who have changed their residence from one place to another within Chandigarh will have to get the new smart cards. However, the rule that no change is required within first six months of the shifting, will be applicable. The cost is Rs 220. This applies to all people even those who are government servants or working in the private sector. In case of absence of ration card or lack of any such proof of residence a letter issued by the head of the department will do. In case of private companies or establishments a letter needs to be accompanied by an affidavit.

Vehicles registered at other states and owner has shifted to Chandigarh for a period which is longer than six months: People who have come to Chandigarh from other states, even from townships of SAS Nagar and Panchkula, but their vehicle is registered in the original address in their respective states can approach the RLA office in Sector 17 or at the new counters at the SDM offices. A slip mentioning their new addresses will be issued. The slip issued on hard paper can be pasted inside the RC if the RC is in booklet form. In case the RC is in card form then it can be stapled.

The cost is Rs 20. There is no need to get the registration number changed, Mr Naresh Narwal, official in charge said. The system to issue slips is manual and a register is maintained. The police will be sent a copy of the register, Mr Narwal said. Exemption will be allowed for the first six months.

In case of absence of ration card or lack of any such proof of residence a letter issued by the head of the department will do. In case of private companies or establishments a letter needs to be accompanied by an affidavit.

Vehicle registered in Chandigarh but owner has shifted to SAS Nagar, Panchkula, Dera Bassi and other places: The Chandigarh Administration says the owner should apply to his respective registering authority and get a slip for change of address issued from there. This is under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and no one can deny this, officials maintain. This means if a person who has a vehicle with a Chandigarh registration number and shifts to SAS Nagar he has to fill form No.33 and inform the registering authority of SAS Nagar about the change in address. A slip will be issued by the registering authority there. The owner can retain his Chandigarh registration number and there is no need to approach the RLA here. The same will apply elsewhere also, Mr Narwal claimed. 


Prof Pathak gets three-year extension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Prof K.N.Pathak has been given an extension of three years as the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University. A communication in this regard, signed today by Mr Bhairon Singh Sekhawat, Vice-President and Chancellor of the university, was received by the university.

The order, signed by the Chancellor under powers conferred by Section 10 of the Panjab University Act, 1947, comes into effect from July 23.

A doctorate from IIT Kanpur, Professor Pathak joined Panjab University in 1970. He was a holder of the Centre Government scholarship and the Uttar Pradesh Government scholarship during his student days. He was awarded the coveted Meghnad Saha award for his work in physics in 1996.

Professor Pathak is the recipient of the Goyal Prize awarded by Kurukshetra University in 2001for his work in the field of science. He has been a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and associate member of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy, besides holding a number of other coveted positions. He was also Dean University Instructions of Panjab University.

Professor Pathak has published 123 research papers in international journals and delivered over 50 lectures in India and abroad.

In his academic career spanning over 35 years, Professor Pathak has been the winner of the Alexander Von Humbolt Senior Fellowship award. His area of specialisation is understanding of atomic motion in liquids.


Steep hike in college fees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The UT Administration today effected a steep hike in admission and tuition fees for government as well as privately-managed government-aided colleges, Government Home Science College and B.Ed colleges in the city.

The new fee structure will be applicable from the 2003-04 session. According to the teaching community, the hike, which comes after a gap of over a decade, will result in students having to pay approximately double the amount that they had to pay earlier.

A statement issued by the administration has stressed that the new fee structure will be applicable to students seeking admission for the first time in the 2003-2004 session and will not be applicable to students who got admitted prior to the session and subsequently moved on to higher classes.

The statement said students who had already taken admission in the current academic session would have to pay the difference in the fees.

The fee hike in Chandigarh comes close on the heels of the Punjab Government hiking the fees of colleges in the state. The fees applicable in Chandigarh colleges, however, are lower than those fixed for Punjab colleges.

There has been a three-fold increase in admission fee as well as tuition fee for undergraduate classes. The admission fee for postgraduate classes has been increased by five times, while the tuition fee has been increased by almost six times.

Besides admission and tuition fees, colleges also charge other fees under various heads, such as amalgamated fund, college development fund, sports fee, university charges, examination fees, library and laboratory charges, magazine fee, red cross fund, dilapidation charges, etc.

While the fee structure is common for all government colleges, the overall amount charged by privately managed institutes varies. While the Administration has fixed admission and tuition fees as these are credited to its account, Panjab University, to which city colleges are affiliated, has also fixed certain charges which are deposited with the university. In addition, colleges collect certain funds to generate revenue to meet their expenses, the amount of which is the college managements’ prerogative. Teachers said the hike should have been implemented in phases.

It is students, of course, who will feel the pinch. “Earlier, we used to charge Rs 1,713 from a BA student at the time of admission. Now the difference we have worked out comes to Rs 1,900, which means that he will end up paying pay over Rs 3,000,” a teacher remarked.



SC students without UT domicile denied admission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The decision to disallow admission to Scheduled Caste students without a Chandigarh domicile sparked off angry protests from candidates and their parents on the first day of centralised admissions to Class XI in government schools at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, here today.

Agitated students, along with their parents, raised slogans against the UT Administration’s decision to disallow admissions on the grounds of their being of “non-Chandigarh” origin, leading to confusion at the venue.

After no favourable response came from officials of the UT Education Department, the parents of “rejected” candidates organised themselves into a group and tried to force their way into the building, following which the police was summoned to defuse the tension.

Later, the District Education Officer, Ms Rajesh Chaudhary, explained to the parents that the Education Department was only adhering to the policy of the UT Administration and could not make any compromises or adjustments in the matter.“We have given them the letter number of the notification and they have understood that it is not our doing,” she said.

Angry parents said the change in performa of the SC certificate had caused problems since the new one made a mention of the state of origin of the father of the candidate. “Earlier, they were allowing admissions to all children. This new policy is unjustified and the Administration must look into the matter to ensure that we are not deprived of our rights,” a parent said.

Barring this interruption in the morning, the admission process for candidates in the reserved category went on smoothly at the venue. At the end of the first day, 353 students were given admission. While 192 were admitted in the science stream, 50 seats in commerce and 64 in humanities were filled. A total of 47 students were admitted to various vocational courses offered at government schools.

Students with 80 per cent or above would be admitted tomorrow. A merit list of 998 students was displayed at the venue this evening. The highest percentage in forms received by the department is 96.6 per cent.


2 cholera cases in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The worst fears of the UT Health Department seem to be coming true as two new cholera cases have been admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), apart from an increase in the number of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis cases pouring into city hospitals.

A resident of house number 1171/45 in Burail, Rajiv Singh Rana, (12) is receiving treatment for cholera at the isolation ward in the emergency at GMCH. Rajiv, a student of Bhartiya Adarsh Vidyalaya, fell ill after he returned from Bulandshehar in UP, where his family had gone to attend a marriage.

“From Bulandshehar we left for Mukundpur on June 28, and since then Rajiv has been suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. We returned here on June 30 and the same night my son’s condition started deteriorating, after which we rushed him to GMCH at 2.15 a.m,” informed his father, who is an employee in the office of the Director, Hospitals, Haryana.

The emergency medical officer at GMCH informed that the test report of Rajiv and four-year-old Nisha had tested positive for cholera. He added, both were being given treatment for cholera. Nisha, a 4-year-old girl has also been admitted to GMCH emergency with complaint of diarrhoea and vomitting. Her stool samples sent for microbiological test have tested positive for cholera.

“Today we have admitted six children suffering from gastroenteritis to our emergency,” informed a doctor at the GMCH.

The Director Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, said as a precautionary measure six water samples from Burail, have been collected. “Since Rajiv’s house located behind the Sainik Gurdwara is clean with proper piped water supply, it is certain that he got the infection, while in Bulandshehar,” he stated.

Dr Bansal held a meeting with all medical officers of the department and directed them to immediately inform him about any cluster cases of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. He added that the department was collecting water samples on a daily basis and in case of infection, the MC authorities were informed to rectify the source of contamination.

Prior to this, there had been only one confirmed cholera case from the Vikasnagar area in Mauli Jagran. Arjun, (7) was admitted to the GMCH with cholera on June 23 and discharged after three days.

To ensure the supply of safe drinking water, especially to the slum and rehabilitation colonies, the Municipal Corporation, collected over 250 samples, today.

The MC Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, informed that the 400 water samples collected during the past two days, had been found to be absolutely fit for consumption. The Municipal Corporation authorities undertake spot testing to ensure that the water is free from contamination.

Mr Bhardwaj, added that though water samples were being collected from all over the city, but special emphasis was being laid on monitoring the situation in the slum colonies, which are prone to water and vector-borne diseases.


Anti-farmer policies made me quit Cabinet: Ajit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Mr Ajit Singh, President of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and a former Union Agriculture Minister, said here today that he had to leave the Union Cabinet due to the persistent anti-farmer policies being pursued by the BJP-led Government.

Speaking at a “meet the press” programme organised by the Chandigarh Press Club, Mr Ajit Singh said while the Vajpayee Government decided to give drought relief only to those farmers who owned land less than two hectares, it extended assistance totalling over Rs 1,100 crore to UTI with no condition to save the interests of only small investors.

He alleged that despite his best efforts, the Centre could not ensure the payment of the statutory price to sugarcane growers in several states, particularly in UP. He also alleged that while the bank interest rate for consumer goods was low, they charged a hefty interest on tractor and crop loans.

Similarly, despite the declaration made by the Prime Minister in Parliament that one-year interest on loans to farmers would be waived, the farmers were given relief worth only Rs 472 crore. He claimed that the one-year interest quantum on agriculture loans was to the tune of Rs 6,744 crore.

Mr Ajit Singh also accused the BJP of deliberately raking up the Ayodhya issue near the poll as it was never a party of rural and poor people. Criticising BJP leaders for issuing contradictory and confusing statements, the RLD leader said in addition to “Vikas Pursh” and “Loh Pursh”, the BJP had a “bakwas pursh” in its President, Mr Venkaiah Naidu.

He said his party was small and was being unnecessarily criticised for making alliances with various parties. While making such alliances the RLD remained firm on its principles and issues. But major parties like the Congress, the BJP, the BSP and the Samajwadi Party had also changed their alliance partners, sacrificing their principles.

He said the grant to Choudhary Charan Singh Agriculture University, Hisar, had to be curtailed because the university had failed to follow the norms laid down by the University Grants Commission regarding promotions and recruitment of teachers. He alleged that perhaps the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had recruited people from Rajasthan, where his party, the Indian National Lok Dal, wanted to contest the next assembly elections. Mr Ajit Singh said a letter had been sent to the Governor, Babu Parmanand, in this regard.

He said after the death of his father, Mr Charan Singh, there was a vacuum in the kisan leadership in the country. He regretted that farmers had been divided on caste and religion lines as a result of which they failed to elect suitable representatives, who could redress their grievances.

He said the Haryana unit of his party would decide the party it wanted to have an alliance with in the next elections.


PWD team visits hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
A team of Public Works Department (Bridges and Roads) today visited the General Hospital, Sector 6, in order to take stock of the poor quality of construction material used in the hospital building.

It may be noted that plastering on about 10 square feet area of a wall in the minor operation theatre, where most emergency cases are initially brought, had peeled off on its own yesterday. A major tragedy was averted as no patient was in the minor OT when the plaster came off. This had resulted in damage to the surgical equipment lying nearby.

It is learnt that the Engineer-in-chief, PWD (B and R) Mr R.S. Sheoran, today asked his officers to visit the hospital and assess the quality of construction material used in the building. He has reportedly asked his team of officers to submit a written report in this regard at the earliest.

Officers of PWD said that there were no major structural defects in the building, but just a few finishing defects. They said that these would be rectified as soon as possible.


Bank to accept money on Estate Office’s behalf
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
An MoU will be signed next week between the Chandigarh Administration and the Bank of Punjab, thus facilitating the residents to deposit money meant for the Estate Office in any branch of the bank.

The building plan branch is also being computerised. All drawings of buildings will be scanned and fed into computers for easy and ready access at counter where NOC to mortgage, extensions for construction etc. will be issued. The work on the bank and computerisation process will be done in simultaneously.

The bank will open a counter at the Estate Office to accept cash, which will be deposited in the account of the Chandigarh Administration. Soon residents who own properties in Chandigarh will be able to deposit money for annual ground rents, lease money, installments and other fines at any branch of the bank. The system will soon be out of the hands of clerks at the Estate Office and handed over to the bank.

Four banks had showed willingness to accept money on behalf of the Estate Office. However, the Bank of Punjab has been selected for the job. The bank will now deal with the property owners directly and even provide net banking and phone banking services to its clients. Thousands of commercial, residential and industrial property owners have to battle it out with the Estate Office as their properties are on lease.

At present the system is cumbersome as the property owner has to first get a draft or banker’s check drawn in the name of the Estate Office and get it noted in the treasury branch. Then comes the process of getting a receipt. Even after that there is no guarantee that the payment will be marked against the owner correctly.

The bank will now issue receipts of payments to customers. These receipts will be valid for all purposes. For accounting purposes, the bank will at the end of the day transfer all the money received to the accounts of the Estate Office.

A “no dues” certificate will also be issued by the bank but files for this will be handled by staff of the Estate Office. The bank will also deal in the processing of files for mortgage of property.

The new system of accepting payment through a bank means the government will not need staff for issuing of receipts, maintaining of registers of payments and updating of the registers and each account. 


Stalin bust turns lucky mascot
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 2
D-110, Industrial Area here is all set to become the new pilgrimage centre for the country’s Communists. The place, a bathroom fittings manufacturing unit, has become the latest haunt of the followers of Karl Marx in the region, after the owner, of the unit announced that he had discovered a three feet bust of Stalin from scrap imported from Russia. Ironically enough, the owner Mr Raj Pal Singh, is the press secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Having generated considerable interest among the Communists initially, to the extent of the local leaders even wanting to buy it, their enthusiasm has now boiled down to a controversy of whether the bust is really of Stalin or not. But for the owners, Stalin or not, the bust is their lucky mascot and they are not parting with it at any cost. It will be installed on the unit’s terrace for anyone and everyone to see.

The brass statue landed as part of a scrap consignment from Russia via Dubai in the unit in Phase VII Industrial area two years ago. ‘‘But we could find no way of breaking it so we let it be. Then sometime back we were told by a family friend that the bust looks like stalin and could be one of the many statues that were defiled in 1991 after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union,’’related Mr Raj Pal Singh. ‘‘Media coverage followed and what seemed to be an interesting find became a showpiece and people of all sorts started landing up here. We had to keep it inside then. But we will be installing it on the terrace here so that everyone can see it. This bust is my brother’s lucky mascot as it has given him publicity that will last a life time,’’ he added.

For the Communists, however, the bust is more than just an interesting find. Considered to be of historical value, it symbolises their ideology. Or rather its fall.


Sweepers’ strike delays extension of scheme
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 2
The extension of the unique garbage-bin-free scheme to the entire city has been delayed by six months due to the recent protest by sweepers.

The scheme, which has already been implemented in Sectors 8, 10, 11, 15, 19, 21, 27, 28, 33, 35 and Ram Darbar, was to be extended to the entire city till the end of June, sources told Chandigarh Tribune here yesterday.

The scheme had drawn the attention of the Central Government due to its promise of providing an inexpensive sanitation solution. The Central Pollution Control Board had even extended a grant to the Municipal Corporation for carrying out the exercise.

The scheme has been appreciated by residents of areas where it has been implemented. It has checked the menace of stray animals, reduced the littering of garbage by ragpickers and the presence of garbage around the sector.

The scheme seems to be facing another obstacle with the detection of a cholera case, forcing the Medical Officer Health (MOH) Department to take measures for cleanliness, chlorine tablet distribution, cracking down on sale of cut fruit and educating the people on sanitising their surroundings in slum areas, the sources said.

The first setback to the extension of the scheme came when sweepers opposed privatisation of sanitation under new terms and conditions proposed by the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla. The relay fast of the sweepers and the consequent buckling under pressure by political parties, including the Congress, almost derailed the scheme. The protest of the sweepers ended after 62 days of relay fast last month.

The MOH Department today again picked up from where it left off, sending councillors reminders to provide the corporation the list of the proposed sites for setting up 132 Sahaj Safai Kendras (SSKs) in the city.

Despite the SSKs being an integral part of the scheme, only six of them could be built in the 10 sectors where the scheme has been extended in a staggered manner. Even these 10 sectors were short of at least 14 SSKs.

With a part of the Central Pollution Control Board’s grant being disbursed to the Municipal Corporation, the latter has planned to buy as many wheel carts as demanded by the residents welfare associations involved in the scheme.

However, the corporation is getting different kinds of garbage carts this time and samples have been collected for examination.

The sources said almost one- fourth of the city would be able to avail of the scheme if private parties would take over several areas under the new terms and conditions.

The scheme could have drastically reduced the need for the recruitment of 1009 sweepers, the number which the sweeping staff is told to be short of. To take care of the shortage of supervisory staff, which has not been recruited since 1978, leaving six posts vacant, the supervision of the day-to-day running of the operation had been left to the welfare associations of the areas.


Documenting lives of revolutionaries
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, July 2
Prof Malwinder Jit Singh Waraich is driven by the passion to save the revolutionaries of the Gadar movement and their sacrifices from fading into oblivion. So this one-time lecturer in Humanities and now a practising lawyer in the Punjab and Haryana High Court has devoted his life to gathering information on the life and work of known and unknown revolutionaries of this region who raised their voices and took up weapons against the British rule.

The result of his passion is the Qaumi Virsa Kender, a forum which brings together atleast 15 like-minded persons. Professor Waraich himself has documented lives of 67 Gadar revolutionaries. He has prepared charts that include a brief life history, memorable quotes, the assignments they had undertaken and their end, along with rare photographs.

“If you look into the life history of Gadar revolutionaries, they open up a vast resource of knowledge in front of you. Their outlook, their drive to achieve what they had targeted to achieve and their passion can teach a thing or two to our present generation,” he says.

Prof Waraich’s interest in the Gadar movement started when he met Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s nephew, Jagmohan Singh, during his teaching days at Guru Nanak Engineering College in Ludhiana. “Jagmohan Singh, who himself is a famous personality now, was my student during those days and once he took me to meet Bhagat Singh’s mother, Vidyawati, in 1964. It was an unforgettable experience and it was that visit which kindled my interest in the revolutionaries,” he says.

His interest later increased due to his close association with Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna. Professor Waraich started doing the translation and compilation work on Baba’s autobiography, “Jeevan Sangram”, which has been published now in three languages — Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. This association later brought him close to other prominent revolutionaries like Hari Singh Usman, Baba Sakha Singh, Ram Saran Das Talwar and Baba Harbhajan Singh in between 1966 and 1998.

Enriched with first-hand knowledge from those Gadar leaders and his chosen profession, which exposed him to a number of cases pending in the High Court against those leaders had helped him to edit his first book along with another writer, Harinder Singh. It was called “War Against King Emperor (Gadar of 1914-15): A verdict by special tribunal”. The book was based on the judgement in the Lahore conspiracy case against Bhagat Singh, which was passed on September 13, 1915.

His second book, “Tryst with Martyrdom”, based on the trial of Madan Lal Dhingra, is about to be published. “I have been doing some research work and have gathered enough data to write three more books — one on Kama Gata Maru — the ship which carried Indian revolutionaries to Canada, the second on Army soldiers who revolted against the British during the World War II and the third on trial cases involving Gadar revolutionaries which will include famous cases like the San Francisco conspiracy case and Mandle case that took place in then undivided Burma,” he says.

What about writing something from his personal experiences with the Gadar revolutionaries he had met? “I am still very much in awe of their personalities. Probably one day when I will be able to make myself detached from my feelings, I will pen down my personal experiences with Gadar revolutionaries like Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna and others,” he concludes.


Special courses for jail inmates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 2
With a view to making the jail inmates better citizens of society and self-reliant, the Model Jail authorities in collaboration with the UT Jan Shikshan Sansthan and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have decided to start various vocational courses and personality development programmes in the jail.

The jail authorities have set up special classrooms in the jail for offering new courses of radio and television repairing and an electrician’s course for male inmates, and pickle- making course for female inmates.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the Superintendent of the jail, Mr D.S. Rana, said that all the courses would be inaugurated by the UT Deputy Commissioner on July 5 and will be of six-month duration. He added that a teacher would be provided by the UT Jan Shikshan Sanstha for one hour daily and paid by the jail authorities. He added that the programmes benefit those undertrials who were convicted in different cases for more than a year and would help the inmates to start life afresh with confidence and dignity.

Giving details about the courses already being run by the jail authorities, Mr Rana added that two batches of male inmates had completed a course of refrigerator and air-conditioner repair and female inmates had completed a mehandi-applying course.

Talking about personality development programmes, Mr Rana informed that yoga classes have been started in the evening.

Giving details about the educational programs, Mr Rana said that more than 40 undertrials has took admission to complete matric, graduation and postgraduation classes run by the IGNOU. He added that all the expenses of the students would be paid by the UT Administration. He added that in last batch about 45 inmates had appeared in different examination conducted by IGNOU.


City’s organic food demand up in two years
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Organic food demand rising

Significantly, world trade in organic products for 2000 is estimated at $ 17.5 billion. Trends indicate that the organic food market would grow substantially in most of the European countries, the USA and Japan. Concerned over the chemicals they ingest along with their food, the Indians are also waking up to the problem, especially in view of the fact that 70 per cent of pesticides being used in India are prohibited in the West. Because of the intake of chemical foods, the incidence of cancer is also increasing in India. In 10 years (1982 to 1992), the incidence of cancer rose by 7.39 per cent in Bangalore, 12.7 per cent in Mumbai and 12.8 % in Chennai. Further 50 per cent food samples in India are pesticide contaminated with 30 per cent exceeding tolerance limits.

Chandigarh, July 2
Time is not far when the demand for organic products in the city will outpace supply. Over the past two years when the first organic food counter opened in the city under the aegis of an NGO called Manthan, the sale of chemical free foods has more than doubled. Also the number of permanent members enrolled with Manthan has been on the steady rise. Where in 2001 when the counter opened, there were just 15 members, today Manthan has a permanent membership of 135.

Given the potential of the chemical free food market, many business houses are also promoting organic produce through their farms. Anand Foundation from Gurgaon has been making huge investments in this area. Most super markets in the city are also increasingly marketing organic products through their counters, besides placing hefty orders for the same. As the potential of the market lies exposed, a price war of sorts has also been unleashed.

Where until recently, Manthan, a voluntary organisation promoting organic agriculture in the region, was the only big player in the field, now more and more private business houses are entering the area. Only recently a famous Hissar farm got international certification for its organic produce which is now being marketed through super stores in Chandigarh and elsewhere. However, there is a major price difference between organic products being supplied by private farm owners and those being supplied by Manthan. Manthan’s products are about four times cheap.

While the price war continues, the number of outlets stocking organic food in the city is still on the rise. The latest trend is organic food finding space in upmarket stores like JD’s in Sector 35, Farmers Hypermarket in Sector 35 and Goyal Department Store in Manimajra. Where in 2001, there was just one organic food counter in the city — being run by Manthan in Kalagram — today Manthan alone is supplying organic foods to six counters in the city. Besides supplying the same to the above-mentioned hypermarkets, Manthan is supplying its products to People for Animals and Gurukul Nature Centre in Kurukshetra. Another heartening development is that where earlier people were a little wary of buying organic foods due to their “high cost”, now they are ready to pay money in the interest of health.

Navneet Singh of Manthan informed The Tribune, “Among the most demanded organic foods is desi wheat which costs Rs 75 per 5 kg as against the normal wheat which costs about Rs 60 per five kg. The demand is increasing, despite cost. Other most demanded varieties are rajmah, unpolished pulses and unpolished basmati rice. We have recently introduced organic pickles at the super markets in Chandigarh. The demand is rising. Where today we have 273 farmers into organic farming, in the future we will need more.”


Randhawa’s nephew, kin main suspects
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 2
Ten days after the murder of Gurcharan Singh, Chairman, Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, Ropar, the police here has zeroed in on the nephew of Mr B.S. Randhawa, Lally, and his cousin Satta.

According to the Superintendent of Police here, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, police raids at Lally’s residence in Gurdaspur district found him missing along with his family. “This made us suspicious. Later, when it was found that even Satta was missing we decided to focus on this particular lead that Mr Randhawa had given us,” he said.

Mr Randhawa, a resident of Sector 70, is one of the trustees of the institute and was the main suspect in the case. He joined the investigations after he was picked up by the police the day following the murder from the Wagah border while returning from Pakistan with his family.

Lally and Satta, according to sources, were unemployed when they managed to get a contract for the construction of a block in the college, but following allegations of misappropriation of college funds, the two were removed by Gurcharan Singh.

“Although we are working on some other leads also, the focus is on these two and raids are on at various places. I am are sure we will be able to solve this case soon,”added Mr Bhullar.

Sources added that the SAS Nagar police had been camping for days at Lally’s village at Dera Baba Nanak.

The police had stated that one of the killers had been injured as a distinct trail of blood could be seen leading to the road. “Since we are sure that one of the killers is injured, it will be easy to corroborate the evidence once we found the two,” the SP added. 


Mayor should resign: BJYM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today demanded the resignation of the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, for having been involved in a brawl in the card room of the Chandigarh Club.

The activists of the BJYM, zila No. 2, held a protest and burnt an effigy of the Mayor.

Speakers at the protest rally, including the BJYM state unit president Davesh Moudgil and general secretary Navin Kocchar, said the Mayor should set an example by tendering his resignation on moral grounds.

Congress Councillor Pardeep Chhabra, however, hit back asking the BJP to first demand similar resignations from the Home Minister L. K. Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, George Fernandes and other leaders.

BJYM’s zila No. 2 unit general secretary Narendra Chaudhary, BJP district president Kanyaya Lal Sharma, state general secretary Purushottam Mahajan, were among those who participated in the rally.


Parmar is chief of SJP(R)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July, 2
Mr Ajit Singh Parmar was elected president of the local unit of Samajwadi Janta Party (Rashtriya) at a meeting of party workers held here yesterday under the leadership of Mr Om Prakash Shrivastava, national general secretary of the party. He would be replacing Mr Harmohan Dhawan, who parted ways from the party by forming the Chandigarh Vikas Manch some time ago.

Other newly elected office-bearers are: vice-president — Yashveer Kumar, general secretary — Balraj Bahadur Singh Teji, secretaries — Shakti Singh and Amardeep Singh, and executive members — Anil Kumar Lamdharia, Chand Singh Madan, Subash Chander Sharma, Sanjay Bhayana, Satish Katyal, Rajinder Singh Rana, Gobind Singh Bisht and Jagtar Singh.

Later, talking to mediapersons Mr Shrivastava said they would soon launch a membership drive in the region.

In reply to a question, he said the party would never compromise with the Congress, the BJP or any other party that support the policies of the World Trade Organisation. “Unfortunately, all major political parties in the country favour the new economic liberalisation policy that is not in the interest of the nation”, he added.

Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, president of the Punjab unit, ruled out any type of alliance with SAD, until it had a soft corner towards the BJP. However, he said they would not hesitate to join hands with any type of third front formed in the state minus the SAD-BJP and the Congress.

Mr Anand Mandal, national president of the youth and Mr Sham Singh Rana were present, among others.


Samrat Shankar to raise funds for Red Cross
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 2
He is all set to cast a magical spell. Clad in a cheerful red ‘achkan’, Samrat Shankar will ride around the city “blindfolded” on July 4. The “master magician” will be performing this and other feats just to raise funds for the Red Cross Society.

It is all going to be authentic. In fact, Sector 16 General Hospital’s senior eye surgeon Dr B.K. Gupta would “blindfold” him. The entire exercise will take place in the presence of Secretary, UT Red Cross Society-cum-Sub Divisional Magistrate (South) Madhvi Kataria. The “amazing event” would be flagged-off at 11 am by UT Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar.

The rally of motorcycles will start from Neelam Theatre in Sector 17, and pass through Sectors 18, 19, 27, 28, 30 and 20, before reaching Sector 34, 35 and 22. The “procession” will culminate at Neelam Theatre.

If you miss the event, Shankar will be pulling out rabbits from a hat or slicing his companion into two at Neelam Theatre. The first show is scheduled to be held on July 4 itself. It will be inaugurated by none else than Haryana Chief Minister O.P. Chautala.

A member of the Red Cross Society, Shankar will also donate a draft for Rs 1,00,001 to the society. This is not the first time “the swiftest magician in the world” would be holding a charity show.

He has an amazing record of giving performance for charity purposes. Out of 17,000 shows, 12,000 were for the charity purposes. The collection were liberally donated to the CM relief fund and the Red Cross Society to provide food for the victims of flood and draught, also for the homeless and the poor. 


SC delegation meets Adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
A delegation of the Chandigarh Scheduled Castes Welfare Coordination Committee, led by its chairman, Mr Resham Chand Jakhu, and a former Deputy Mayor, and councillor, Mr Balraj Singh, met the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, here today in connection with admissions of Scheduled Caste students to city colleges.

Mr Virendra Singh reportedly asked the Secretary Education, Mr R.S. Gujaral, and the Director Public Instructions on telephone to allow admissions to SC students to various colleges.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), led by its local unit president, Mr Balbir Singh Jangra, brought to the notice of the Administrator, Justice O. P. Verma, that Scheduled Caste students were being denied admissions against the 14 per cent quota ment for them. The Administrator, Mr Jangra claimed, assured the delegation that he would favourably consider the issue.


Joint celebration of religious functions

Chandigarh, July 2
All religious and panthic functions will now be celebrated under the banner of the Chandigarh Gurdwara Parbandhak Sangathan. This was decided by the presidents and the secretaries of 14 city gurdwaras at a meeting held in Sector 34 Gurdwara recently.

According to a press note, the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib’s Parkash Utsav will also be celebrated jointly. Major N.S. Rangi has been elected chairman of the sangathan, while Mr Sarmohinder Singh Anand will be the secretary-general. Mr Nirmal Singh Mawi and Mr Harcharan Singh Gujral will be the secretary and the finance secretary of the sangathan, respectively. TNS


CA Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Chandigarh branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) yesterday held a meeting to celebrate Chartered Accountants Day, at the site of its branch office in Sector 35. Mr Manoj Kohli, chairman of the branch hoisted the institute flag.

Speaking on this occasion, he said July 1 was celebrated as Chartered Accountants Day all over the country as on this day in 1949 Parliament had passed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Act.

Mr Kohli claimed that the ICAI had recently signed a MoU with the CAs of Nepal on technical and other support.


Shopkeepers remove encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Shopkeepers of the Sector 22 Shastri Market today voluntarily removed encroachments before the enforcement team reached there as part of the ongoing special drive launched yesterday.

The authorities had asked shopkeepers to remove tin sheds. This shelter put up for protection from rain and sun is used by unauthorised shopkeepers to run their businesses. Magistrate Ishwar Singh directed the area Tehsildar to take action if any violations recurred. The market association led by Mr Shyam Sunder Arora assured the authorities of cooperation in this regard.

The clearing of passages had been demanded by the Fire Department. However, the removal of tin sheds from the passages in the Sector 19 market continued even today.

The authorities concerned said if voluntary removal of the tin sheds in the Sector 19 booth market was not completed by today then they would send the enforcement machinery to remove them tomorrow. The drive would be simultaneously launched in the Sector 15 booth market also. One bulldozer, six trucks and around 50 labourers are being used for the drive. Fifty policemen along with the anti-riot machinery led by the area SHO is also taking part in the drive.


No life without water

Another name of life is water. Without water, life is not possible. Out of the nine planets of the solar system, only the earth possesses this gift. The water level in the earth is dropping down rapidly and it is becoming a big problem. The main cause of this problem is lack of awareness of water conservation. Due to urbanisation and industrialisation, the jungle forestry and greenery are disappearing. Water is becoming scare. The natural charging of water resources has reduced. If it continues, in the coming years there will be paucity of water. This will cause drought in many areas of the country.

To overcome this kind of situation, some measures should be taken. For example, we should use water prudently in cleaning and household use. Farmers should plant crops that need less water ( from rice to vegetables etc). We should plant more trees and adopt the latest methods of rain water conservation like rain water harvesting system etc. Water must be recycled. These methods will positively help improve the situation to some extent.

Ankur Behl
Class VII, YPS, Mohali


Two killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
Ram Siddh (40) was crushed to death by an unknown vehicle near Punjab National Bank, Sector 4. The incident took place past midnight, when the labourer had ventured out of his jhuggi to ease himself. He is survived by a wife and five daughters.

Man crushed: A 24-year-old unidentified man was run over by a speeding train (Lalgarh Express) near Lalru at about 6.45 am today. The victim was reportedly crossing the rail truck, when the accident took place. His head was severely crushed.

SAS Nagar

The police has booked Inderjit Singh, a resident of Phase 1 here, under Section 110 of the CrPC. According to the police, the accused is a history-sheeter with the Chandigarh Police and has been booked at various police stations for various crimes. 


Mystery shrouds man’s death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 2
Mystery shrouds the death of a 45-year man, Jaivir, a resident of Maloya Colony, whose cremation was stopped this morning when some of his neighbours noticed blood on the upper part of his body while an anonymous caller told the police that a murder had taken place.

The cremation will take place tomorrow as the police has sent the body for a post-mortem examination.

Jaivir was employed as a peon in Punjab State Cooperative Bank, Sector 34. According to his neighbours, he was an alcoholic. They said the couple used to fight a lot.

The police said the blood had reportedly oozed out from a cut on his right cheek. Police sources have ruled out any foul play as the cut seems to be “superficial” and “accidental”.

The police has questioned the victim’s wife, Ms Darshana, as she was said to be the only person present in the house when he died. Mr Avtar Singh, a widower, was a drinking companion of Jaivir and used to frequent his house. Jaivir was the father of two sons, who are said to have parted ways from their parents. Jaivir was raising Mr Avtar Singh’s two children in his house.

Ms Darshana reportedly told the police that around 3.30 am today, Jaivir, after a heavy bout of drinking, fell unconscious. She claimed to have immediately called her neighbour, Ms Nisha. Other friends were also called in but he died before he could be rushed to hospital.

“I had seen blood on the cloth covering Jaivir’s body,” said Ms Nisha. She admitted that Ms Darshana had come to her house around 3.45 am for help as her husband had fallen ill. “When I reached her house, I saw Jaivir lying unconscious. We immediately send in for another acquaintance, Shakeel,” she said. She stated that Jaivir died before he could be taken to hospital. 


Minor raped

Kharar, July 2
A four year-old girl of Batta village was allegedly raped by a 17-year-old youth Gagu, yesterday. The Kharar police has registered a case under Section 376 of the IPC against the accused who has absconded.

The father of the victim complained to the police that the girl was alone in the house and she was taken by the accused to his house where she was assaulted.

The girl was admitted to the local Civil Hospital. OC


Barring a dhaba, this market lacks all basic civic amenities
Kulwinder Sandhu

* No parking space in front of the booths
* Deplorable condition of pavements
* Back lane is in bad shape
* Frequent waterlogging even during slight showers
* Continuous leakage from public lavatory
* No entrance to the market

Active members of the market welfare association:
B.K. Jain, Jasbir Singh Chadha, Deepak Vashist and Ramesh Khanna.

THE general trade market of Sector-28D in booths has not been able to pick up business as it’s potential is being held back due to the callous attitude of the local administration and Municipal Corporation with lack of planning and efforts to improve business.

Few traders have sold their booths that are lying closed with hardly any buyers. Some have even shut down their business or either preferred to rent their property as the profits have shrunk. Out of the total of 51 booths in the market, the owners of 11 booths have either sold their property or shut down the business.

Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, an active member of the market welfare association of Sector-28D, said that the customers have shown least interest in the market for the past couple of years, particularly due to lack of any parking space in this mini-market between booth nos. 167 and 210.

The only speciality of this market is the Paul Dhaba that mostly attracts maximum customers during the evening time when it is the time for other traders to shut down their business at the end of the day.

However, Paul Dhaba is on the backside of this mini-market with its close proximity to the SCOs. Virtually, it plays no role in attracting customers who may have otherwise helped to boost the prospects of income to these petty traders of this mini market.

With hardly any other speciality, the market has a chemist shop, five confectionary shops, two shops of car accessories, four STD booths, two paint shops, four tailors, two electrical shops, three photographers, one shop of mattress and few other local utility shops.

The traders have alleged that this mini-market is a victim of the callous attitude of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation. The main problems include no parking space, poor conditions of the pavements, emergence of unhygienic conditions due to non-cleanliness of the backlane and adjoining vacant land etc.

No parking: Surprisingly, this mini market from booth no. 167 to 210 has no parking space at all. This has badly affected the business of this market. The authorities concerned have raised the floor level of the open space lying in front of the market near the junction of the road leading to Sector-27, leaving no room for the customers to visit the booths along with their vehicles.

However, sufficient space along the road within the open courtyard and at the back of booth no. 198 to 210 is available that could be made available for parking it.

A shopkeeper alleged: “Parking space has been provided by the local authorities in all the markets of the city with the exception that our mini-market is being treated step-motherly by the UT Administration and Municipal Corporation”.

No entrance: A major portion of the market lacks approach as there is no entrance provided to the booth nos. from 167 to 210. This is one of the biggest problems that the traders as well as customers are facing in this market.

Deepak Vashist of ‘Life Time Tailors’ said: “The business has fallen prey to the callous attitude of the local politicians and the administration. Sales have declined ever since the entrance to the market was stopped by the administration last year”.

It may be mentioned that the authorities concerned of the local administration last year blocked the entrance to the market, as the motor mechanics encroached upon the vacant land lying at the backside and one of the other sides of the market.

However, the mechanics have been removed from the area and resettled at some other place. Presently, there is not even a single mechanic operating from this market area but still the entrance has not been reopened for the general traders running their business in this market.

Leakage from public lavatory: There is a public lavatory in the rear of booth Nos. 178 to 182 of this mini-market. The underground pipe of this lavatory has either cracked or blocked somewhere.

Further adding to the woes of the traders, the seepage from this lavatory has started entering into the basements of booth Nos. 180 and 181. Under this situation, it has become almost impossible for the traders to keep their goods in it. Mr Vijay Kumar of Vijay Cloth House, said: “We have raised the plinth level by wooden blocks to keep the clothes and mattresses/foam safe from the seepage”.

“We have complained about this to the concerned authorities a number of times but nothing has been done so far to stop the leakage”, he added.

Dirty backlane: The backlane of this market is in a deplorable condition, particularly during the monsoons. It has virtually become a dumping ground for malba with water logging all around.

The market welfare association has written to the authorities concerned a number of times demanding to put concrete on the backlane so as to avoid water logging. “No one has ever turned up to look into the problem”, said a trader.

Further, at the back of booth nos. 198 to 210 there is a plenty of space available without proper use. Even during slight showers the open area becomes slippery due to water logging. It has also become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.

Mr Deepak Kumar of Paul Medicos alleged that the domestic servants working in the adjoining separated defence officers’ family quarters create nuisance by throwing household waste and sometimes even malba in the backlane, thereby, creating unhygienic environment.

Verandah a hurdle: The traders have demanded that a verandah on the front side of the mini market joining the booths on both the sides is of no use. “It has been constructed with lack of planning/ designing”, said Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha.

He said that the verandah is leaking from the roof during rains and has almost become a danger point. “It will be better to demolish this verandah in order to avoid any mishappening. Moreover, it will help to pave the way for opening the space between the booths on both the sides to make it for proper use as parking”, he added.


Bank fails to disburse salaries in time
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 2
Employees from various government departments had a harrowing time today when the State Bank of Patiala branch in Phase VII here failed to disburse their salaries in time.

Agitated employees said they had to wait throughout the day to get the payments released though the bank officials kept on assuring that payments would be made soon. Some of them were carrying bank tokens in their hands even at 4.30 pm. Certain employees alleged that they had presented the cheques yesterday, but these had not been cleared till today evening.

Mr Bant Singh, an employee of the Punjab Irrigation Department, said he had presented two cheques — one for Rs 3.62 lakh and another for Rs 2.20 lakh — yesterday at the bank branch and he was issued token number 126 to collect the payment, but he had to return empty-handed. Today when he reached the bank in the morning, he was given token number 137 and since then he had been waiting for the payment to be made.

Mr Sat Pal Garg, a cashier with the Soil Conservation Department, Punjab, said he had presented a cheque for Rs 6.31 lakh and had been given a token for getting the payment, but what followed was a long wait. Two more cheques for Rs 2.29 lakh and Rs 1.77 lakh were also presented.

Similarly, employees of the Forest Department, Punjab, had also presented two cheques amounting to over Rs 2 lakh for getting payments.

A number of teachers from the Punjab Education Department said they had been waiting since 10 am to get the payments released. Ms Chander Prabha, a government school teacher, said she had been told by the bank manager at 2 pm that the payments would be cleared by 3 pm, but nothing happened. However, the employees got the payments around 4.45 pm.

The chief manager of the bank, Mr A.K. Bhalla, said the bank branch conducted government business and as such heavy payments were made between the first and the sixth day of every month. The bank worked according to an estimate and in case of sudden heavy payments, cash had to be arranged from Chandigarh or Kharar for which proper security arrangements had to be made. He said problems normally arose when cheques were presented around lunch time by employees of various departments.

It is learnt that the currency chest of the bank, which had been suspended by the RBI during the days of terrorism in the state, had not been restored so far. As such, cash has to be brought from other stations whenever heavy payments are to be made.



Quality check: Amartex Industries Limited has come out with “Amartex benchmark” for getting any fabric checked. It will provide a facility to customers to test the quality of any kind of fabric at company outlets. According to a press note, the test can be carried out on all kinds of fabrics like cotton, polyester, terrycot and linen etc. The facility will be available at all company outlets on the payment of a fee of Rs 100. TNS

Loan Processing Fee: Canara Bank has announced to waive off processing fee on housing loans and other personal loans sanctioned up to December 31, according to a press note of the bank. The bank is already offering exemption from administrative fee or service charges for processing retail loan applications. TNS

Customer meet: Over 100 persons, including women, participated in a customer meet organised by the Sector 8 personal banking branch of the State Bank of Patiala here on Wednesday. Addressing the meet, Mr P.K. Goyal, assistant general manager (Chandigarh region), called upon the officials to understand the needs of the customers. He said the bank was offering 29 schemes for social needs. Individuals, salaried persons, professionals and businessmen could benefit from these schemes, he said. TNS

Raising day: While celebrating the circle raising day, State Bank of India (main branch), Sector 17-B, Chandigarh has shown its concern for the under-privileged section of society by distributing food and sweets among the inmates of Leprosy Home at “Chandi Kusthasharam” in Sector 47 on Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion Mr B R Sharma, Assistant General Manager of the branch, called upon people to donate liberally for rehabilitating the inmates by restoring their health and usefulness towards society. TNS

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