Saturday, July 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Car crushes two morning walkers to death
Rams into tree; driver succumbs to injuries; HCS officer among eight hurt
Tribune News Service

Senior citizens rush for help

Senior citizens taking a morning walk at Topiary Park responded immediately when they heard the crash. They included former IAS officer R.D. Garg, Mr S.L. Gupta, councillor from Ward No. 3, and Mr C.B. Goel, IGP, Haryana Police. They rushed towards the car and helped Head Constable Ram Kumar and Constable Rameshwar to extricate the injured from the car.

Celebrations cut short

A pall of gloom descended on House No. 24F, Sector 26, a house that should have been resounding with laughter after the marriage of Satinder with Mamta. Talking to TNS, Satinder, a Constable in the Haryana police, said his father, Ranjit Singh, was very excited about his wedding. Ranjit leaves behind his wife, two sons, Satinder and Manoj, and a daughter, Monica. 

The walk that turned fatal

Sudershan GargWhen death comes knocking, there can be no escape. Both Sudershan Garg, who ran a cosmetics store in Sector 10 here, and Radha Dutt, wife of former Financial Adviser, Haryana Tourism, Thakur Dutt, were not regular morning walkers. Sudershan would go for a walk only when her husband, HCS officer R.K. Garg, would come home for a holiday. Mr Garg is presently posted as the SDM, Kosali, and had come here for a few days. It was her second day for a morning walk today. She is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Radha Dutt’sRadha Dutt’s son-in-law, Ishwar Dutt Dhawan, said she had been bedridden for several months because of diabetes. Her condition had improved over the past month and so she decided to resume her morning walk from today. She saw the Gargs coming from their house and joined them for a walk.

Panchkula, July 4
Two morning walkers, Sudershan Garg and Radha Dutt, were crushed to death while the former’s husband, HCS officer R.K. Garg, was seriously injured when they were run over by a car carrying a marriage party. The accident took place near Topiary Park around 6. 20 am today.

The car driver, Ranjit Singh, succumbed to his injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, in the afternoon.

The remaining seven persons in the car, who were also injured, have been admitted to the PGI and are stated to be a serious condition. 

They were returning after attending the marriage of Ranjit’s son, Satinder, at Kurali. While the rest of the marriage party, including the bride and the groom, had left earlier, Ranjit Singh was driving some of his relatives back.

Eyewitnesses said the car (Maruti Zen, No. CH-01X7499) was speeding down the road when a cyclist appeared from inside the Topiary Park. 

To avoid hitting the cyclist, the driver swerved the car and it ran over HCS officer R.K. Garg, his wife, Sudershan Garg, and Radha Dutt, before ramming into a tree.

While Sudershan Garg, 50, and Radha Dutt, 71, were killed on the spot, R.K. Garg, who is posted as Subdivisional Magistrate at Kosali, received injuries on his chest, arms and suffered fracture on his leg.

Among the occupants of the car, Ranjit Singh, his brother-in-law, Roop Singh, Roop’s son, Ravi, Roop’s nephew, Rahul, a photographer, Deepinder, and his assistant, Sunil, received head injuries and were referred to the PGI. 

Two other persons in the car, Balbir and Chand Singh, escaped with minor injuries, and were admitted to the General Hospital, Panchkula.

Speaking to TNS, Balbir said they had left Kurali after the marriage ceremonies were performed around 5. 45 am. “The baraat had left earlier and Ranjit Singh was the last to leave. 

Since we had not slept, most of us were sleeping while Ranjit was driving. It was only after the car swerved before crashing into a tree that most of us got up. I lost consciousness and it was only at the hospital that I regained it,” he said.

Amar Singh, a brother-in-law of Ranjit Singh, whose son, Rahul, was also injured, said he was following the car in a Tempo, carrying gifts from the bride’s family. 

“As I reached the scene of the accident, I could not recognise the car, but saw some relatives standing there. I realised to my horror that it was my family members who were injured,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving causing death against the car driver. 

A senior police official informed that a liquor bottle was found in the boot of the car, though it could not be ascertained if the driver was in an inebriated condition. Back



Second cholera case from Balongi village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Geeta, a 25-year-old woman from Balongi village, SAS Nagar, who was admitted to the Government College Medical and Hospital here yesterday morning, has been found to be suffering from cholera. She is the fourth cholera case being reported at the hospital.

During the past one week, this is the second cholera case from Balongi village. Earlier, Nisha, a four-year-old had tested positive for cholera.

Geeta, who was admitted to the GMCH yesterday morning, has been discharged.

Confirming that Geeta had tested positive for cholera, the Director Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, said she did not belong to the UT as Balongi was a part of Punjab. He added that Virender, a 16-year-old boy from Sector 33 who was admitted to the GMCH yesterday, had been discharged after he tested negative for cholera. He was found to be suffering from gastroenteritis.

The other two cholera patients, Nisha and Rajiv, have also been discharged from the GMCH. Doctors said since it was dehydration that could prove life threatening, giving intra-venous fluid to a cholera patient was more important than giving antibiotics.

Meanwhile, the health authorities are taking samples from all over the city to ensure that there is no contamination in the drinking water being supplied to the residents.

Various agencies, including the Municipal Corporation and the Health Department, are monitoring the situation round-the-clock to prevent outbreak of cholera.


Dengue carrier mosquito detected
Sanjay Sharma and Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Even before the city could have heaved a sigh of relief about cholera, the fear of dengue is looming large with mosquitoes causing the fatal fever having been detected in the city.

The UT Health Department has traced the dengue-causing mosquitoes in the N-Choe passing through Sectors 3, 10, 16, 36 and 42 and the Sukhna choe, sources in the Municipal Corporation said.

The presence of the mosquitoes has alarmed the authorities which have been carrying out an unannounced campaign for the last three days to pinpoint the breeding points of the mosquito apart from the areas already identified.

The appearance of the dengue carrier Aedes Egypti mosquito has come as a surprise as generally it is noticed in the second fortnight of August, doctors said. Dengue is a life-threatening high fever in which the platelet count falls drastically. Last year, a major dengue causing place was found in the Motor Market of Mani Majra.

The Chief Engineer of the municipal corporation, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, has set up a two-member committee comprising the Executive Engineer, Mr Shyam Singh, and the Anti-Malaria Officer, Mr H. C. Gera, to carry out a drive to contain the growth of the mosquito with in the municipal limits.

A campaign is being devised to immediately contain the wild vegetation growth and stagnant water in the city.

The two-member team will again survey the municipal area to detect the site of the growth of the mosquito.

Meanwhile, three fresh samples of water have failed the test in Vikas Nagar and Mauli Jagran, reliable sources told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.

E.coli, confirming faecal contamination, has been found in samples taken from house numbers 169, Vikas Nagar, 1520, Mauli Jagran, and tubewell No 2 of the same area. The Chief Engineer of the municipal corporation confirmed that such a report had come to his notice but when the mobile laboratory of the municipal corporation was sent to cross-check the results all three samples taken again were free from any contamination, he added.

The samples were reportedly taken from these areas by an independent agency on Saturday and sent for testing to the PGI.

The Superintendent Engineer, Public Health, Mr Swarn Singh, said the department had taken more than 250 samples recently and none of these had shown contamination of water.


SDM office gears up for change in RCs
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 4
The SDM’s office here has geared up to deal with the rush of local residents wanting to get their addresses changed in the registration certificates (RCs) of their vehicles registered in Chandigarh. The office will be dealing with cases of transfer of addresses of SAS Nagar residents owning vehicles registered in Chandigarh.

While the SDM here has sought a clarification from the state government whether transfer fee, road tax etc are to be charged from these vehicle owners or not, his office is, as a stop-gap arrangement, issuing receipts, valid for a limited period, to all those who are applying for a change of address to avoid challaning in Chandigarh.

Fending for the right information amidst confusion, a large number of residents landed at the SDM’s office here today. The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, said everyone giving an application for transfer of address on the requisite forms was being issued a receipt which would be valid for a month. The receipt would ensure that the vehicle owner did not get challaned. “Within a month, we will come to know if the various taxes and fee have to be charged from the applicants or not. In case the fee is to be charged, the applicants can come and pay the amount and get their addresses changed on the registration papers. In case the fee is not to be charged, the alternative process suggested by the government will be followed,” said Mr Sharma.

The Regional Transport Authority has also sought a similar clarification from the State Transport Commissioner. “There is a possibility of a one-time exemption of taxes in such cases,” said a source.

“It is high time that RCs are amended in accordance with the actual addresses of the vehicle owners. We have only 30,000 cars registered in SAS Nagar, while there are at least one lakh cars in the township. Obviously, rest of the cars are registered in Chandigarh,” said Mr Sharma.

The SDM office has pasted notices in and around the office informing the public about the procedure to be followed for change of address in the registration certificates of vehicles. 


Getting NOC made easy

Chandigarh, July 4
Keeping in view the inconvenience being faced by vehicle owners in obtaining no objection certificates (NOCs) from the city police to get their vehicles registered with the registering authorities in the neighbouring states, the police today decided to do away with the tedious procedure of obtaining NOCs.

Earlier, an applicant, after approval from the Registering and Licensing Authority, had to go to the office of the DSP (Traffic) at the Police Lines, Sector 29. From there, the file was marked to the public window for clearance from the National Crime Record Bureau. Then the file had to be taken to the modus operandi branch at the Sector 9 police headquarters from where it went to the challaning branch, Traffic Lines, before the DSP issued an NOC.

Now an applicant would have to just bring the file to the modus operandi branch and get clearance from the National Crime Record Bureau. The decision has been taken in consultation with the transport authority. TNS


Police was on Garry’s trail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Chandigarh traffic police has already been on the look out for the driver of the white-coloured Maruti Zen car (CH-01-T-2478), reported by belonging to Gurpreet Singh, alias Garry, a 20-year-old son of an official driver of the UT Administrator and the Punjab Governor, who was arrested by the crime branch while “selling” a fake permission sticker for the use of a black film on car window and to use a red beacon light.

In the past weeks, occupants of the car with jet black film on the windows had been frequenting the geri route. The car was never stopped at the nakas of the traffic police and we were on the look out for the car, said a police personnel.

Searching for the car, a team of the traffic police had gone to the registered address of the car owner (752, Sector 8) only to be told that no one owning the vehicle stayed at the address. Incidentally Garry’s address, who was found driving the car yesterday, is 752, Sector 7. Inquiries reveal that the owner of the car used to stay at the Sector 8 house earlier.

Investigations reveal that the driver of the Maruti Zen car had been challaned thrice. Gurpreet had been challaned twice for wrong parking and for driving without a seat belt. On the third occasion, Jasbir Singh, who was driving the vehicle, had been challaned for dangerous driving and for disobeying a police signal.

The traffic police was contemplating to take action against Gurpreet for using a sticker for the use of black film unauthorisedly. Barring 18 persons, the Punjab Police has withdrawn all permissions given for use of black film

Meanwhile, the crime branch of the city police today seized a central processing unit (CPU) from the Sector 7 house of Garry, a second year student of computer engineering at Punjab Engineering College (PEC). Yesterday, Garry was arrested from near the Mountview hotel in Sector 10.

Investigations by the police reveal that the youth had stored data of the sticker on a computer floppy and used to copy it.

The authenticity of the driving licence of the Garry, issued from Madhya Pradesh, was also being verified. During a search of the car of Garry, the police found a a red beacon light, two mobile phones, including an expensive model of a Nokia mobile phone set, Rs 4200 and some other documents. 

Lavish life-style

A second year student of computer engineering, Garry had a taste for flashy mobiles, swanky cars and expensive clothes. For the past two years, Garry, living along with his family in a government accommodation in Sector 7, had a life style which did not fit in with the economic background of his family. Back


Health Dept ‘ignores’ migrants
Only 2 doctors for 40,000 persons
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The UT Health Department might boast of providing the best medical facilities to its residents, but when it comes to caring for migrant population, the figures present an altogether different story.

For a population of 40,063 residing in Mauli Jagran, from where the first case of cholera has been reported, there are just two doctors and two pharmacists. The plight of the over 18,000 population of Dadu Majra is even worse as only one doctor and one pharmacist is posted at the civil dispensary. The situation is not better at the dispensary in Colony Number 5, catering to a population of over 60,000.

While most of these dispensaries do not have even basic medicines and provision for tests like haemoglobin and blood sugar, it is the private clinics who are minting money at the cost of these poor people. “Since a large number of gastroenteritis and at times cholera cases come to us, we have provision for admitting six patients,” said a doctor who runs a two-room clinic right next to the civil dispensary in Dadu Majra.

Residents rue that it is only after a cholera or dengue case is reported from their locality that health teams come calling, but only till the problem persists. With a migrant population of over three lakh, the authorities keep blaming the migrant population for creating unhygienic conditions in the city. It is only during the monsoons that authorities take pains to provide us drinking water through tankers, clean up the place and distribute chlorine tablets, but why can’t they provide all this on a permanent basis so that there is no problem, quip residents.

“Earlier there was only one doctor at Mauli Jagran but seeing the large population we posted another doctor this February and as such we keep assessing the requirement,” said Dr C.P. Bansal. He felt the staff at these dispensaries was sufficient.

At the time of outbreak of cholera last year, people had to face a lot of inconvenience. “There were occasions when we were directed not to send any more cases to the GMCH and GH-16 as there was no place in the special cholera wards set up there,” said an employee posted at the government dispensary in Dadu Majra.

“With a premier medical institutes like the PGI, GMCH-32, GH-16 and our 40 civil dispensaries, we do not feel there is need to post more doctors at these places,” reasoned out an official of the Health Department, adding that this will only amount to encouraging the migrant population, which was a burden on resources. Interestingly, large percentage of persons residing in these colonies are suffering from chest and respiratory infections like asthma, tuberculosis and leprosy.

“Having low immunity due to malnutrition and the unhygienic living conditions, people in these areas are more prone to infections and diseases, so we need to strengthen the health facilities here,” says a doctor posted in one of these dispensaries. The skeletal staff posted at these dispensaries too faces a tough time handling such large number of patients.


Punjab proposes to probe Ranbaxy fire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
Admitting that it was mandatory for the state government to probe the cause of major industrial disasters, the Punjab Government has proposed to conduct an independent inquiry into the cause of fire in Ranbaxy Laboratories Private Limited, SAS Nagar. The inquiry is crucial if the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, are to be complied with.

Filing an application for the cancellation of stay order on conducting an inquiry into the Ranbaxy incident, the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Rajan Kashyap, stated,”In case the inquiry is not allowed to continue, material evidence will be destroyed and it will not be possible to ascertain the degree of liabilities and responsibility.” The application was filed against the earlier order of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) which reads, “Since the commission is seized of the matter, it would be appropriate that the other authorities may not go on with further inquires”.

Underlining the need to cancel the stay and continue with the inquiry, Mr Kashyap stated that in the status report on the Ranbaxy fire incident submitted to the PSHRC on June 23, he had not ascertained the cause of fire, in which case he could be liable for proceedings under the Factories Act. Under the Act certain penalties and liabilities arise out of the violations by the occupier of the factory. “Therefore it was necessary to complete the inquiry, as mandated by the Factory Act within month of the occurrence,” he said.

He added that the inquires being conducted by the Factories Inspector and the District Magistrate, Ropar, were mandatory by statutes under sections of the Factories Act.

Elaborating the Act, he said that when in any factory an accident occurs which causes death or injury that prevents the labourer from working for a period of 48 hours or more, following the accident, the manager of the factory shall send a notice to the authorities, which shall make an inquiry into the occurrence of the mishap within one month of the receipt of the notice.

Mr Kashyap said, “the stay order be kindly vacated so that inquiries may continue and the details of the injuries be filed before the PSHRC. The order may kindly be vacated to enable the authorities concerned to complete the statutory and mandatory inquiries, he added.Back



Plan to spruce up Sector 35 markets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The markets of Sector 35 C and D, the largest in southern sectors with the highest concentration of jewellery shops, are going to get a facelift with the Municipal Corporation and MP Pawan Bansal joining hands to contribute Rs 18 lakh and Rs 12 lakh, respectively, for the purpose.

The improvement in the infrastructure was being taken up after 12 years, said the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, who visited the markets here today. He was accompanied by the Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, and his team of engineers.

Recarpeting and widening of parking areas and roads has already begun in the sector. An amount of Rs 7 lakh was sanctioned for replacing streetlights in the market. Old tiles in the market are being replaced with inter-locking pavers. Shopkeepers had long been demanding improvement in the infrastructure of the market.

The Mayor also asked the officials to widen the jogging track in the Central Park here. This was demanded by representatives of the local Residents’ Welfare Association.

Residents asked Mr Chawla to get a Sahaj Safai Kendra (SSK) built in the sector to derive better results from the garbage-bin-free scheme. The Mayor assured the residents that SSKs would be built on a priority basis.

The Mayor also launched a plantation drive in Sector 46 greenbelt as part of an ongoing campaign to green the city in the monsoon.

Mr Chawla said the corporation had planned to lift at least 1,500 truckloads of debris lying along the road from Sector 47 to Attawa Chowk and to beautify road berms. The Mayor also took stock of the work done under the drive that had already been launched by the authorities.


Safeguard interests of safai karamcharis’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The National Commission of Safai Karamcharis yesterday directed the PGI and the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) administration to constitute committees, to ensure that contractual safai karamcharis, engaged by the private contractor were given provident fund.

Mr Chinta Sambha Murthy, Member of the commission, visited the PGI and GMCH and directed the authorities that the safai karamcharis was not denied their due in terms of salary, provident fund work conditions.

He directed the GMCH authorities to settle the ongoing strike by the contractual safai karamcharis, some of whom were retrenched by the contractor. “One way of avoiding these kind of problems is to give the contract to the contractual safai karamcharis union itself, rather than bringing in any private contractor for the job,” he opined.

Mr Murthy, said that the respective committees at the PGI and the GMCH would ensure that the private contractors contributed towards the provident of the safai karamcharis. The committee at the PGI would include the Medical Superintendent, Dr D. Behera, Liaison Officer and representatives of the safai karamcharis.

He further directed the hospital authorities to provide the safai authorities with modern cleaning equipment like blowers, apart from gloves and masks. The PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, said as per the directions of the commission, 60 vacancies of safai karamcharis will be filled soon.

Prof Sharma, said all safai karamcharis at the PGI would be given free hepatitis vaccine to keep them protected against any infection. There are a total of 530 regular safai karamcharis at the PGI and 210 contractual staff.

The PGI Safai Karamchari Union, presented its demand charter to Mr Murthy, highlighting their problems.


Issue licences after thorough testing

Apropos news report “ Police drive against under-age drivers” (June 24). A lot of hue and cry has been raised by the media after a rickshaw-puller died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by a minor, resulting in the police drive against under-age drivers, particularly school going children. Perhaps like all such drives undertaken in the past, it would also end up as an exercise in futility and the issue would be completely forgotten after some time. The real cause of accidents involving motor vehicles driven by major or minor drivers would remain un-addressed.

The age of the driver, whether he is under 18 or over, hardly matters. What matters most is the training, or lack of it, and the knowledge of rules and thorough testing by the licensing authorities. In developed countries like USA and Canada, the age limit for holding a driving licence is 16 . But anyone who wants a driving licence has to first qualify at a centrally conducted written examination to learn traffic rules and road etiquette, including those applicable to non-motor vehicles, drivers and pedestrians, before appearing for a driving skill test. Unlike in India, the driving test is very thorough and includes driving on a congested city road. If you commit more than one mistake, you fail and try again.

But in India, we lay more stress on the age of the driver and are still sticking to the age limit (18 years) fixed long time back (1939), although you can get a licence even without undergoing any test, whatsoever. About five years back, my gardener showed me a brand-new licence for a two-wheeler which had cost him only Rs 500. He also told me that his elder brother, also a gardener, had got one for a car and a two-wheeler for Rs 800. I minutely compared his licence with my own but could not find any difference, whatsoever. Both of them would be holding these licences till the age of 50. About two years ago I questioned a Plus 1 student as to how he was driving a car and scooter. He smilingly replied: “Uncle sab chalta hai — money make the mair go,” and advised me to get one for my grandson who has passed the Plus-2 and would have to wait for another 7-8 months to be eligible for a driving licence.

The licencing authorities should ensure that the driving licences are issued only after thoroughly testing the knowledge of traffic rules and road etiquette and the ability to drive on congested city roads.

Dalip Singh Ghuman, Chandigarh

Ganda Nullah problem

We seek to remind the authorities yet once again the plight being faced by the residents of Phase 9, Mohali, due to the Ganda Nullah passing through the centre of it, starting from Leisure Valley and stretching throughout the phase. Though all of us have repeatedly raised our voice through the High Court as well as appealed to PUDA and MC no respite has been forthcoming.

It will not be possible to understand our predicament unless a visit of an inspection team is planned from 7.30 pm till 8 am on any day. It is impossible to walk outdoors, let alone stand or sit. Notwithstanding the heat our evenings are being spent indoors, trying to burn mosquito repellents, closing windows doors in order to get rid of the mosquitoes and inhaling toxic chemicals, eventually throughout the night. Still, we are unable to save ourselves and our children from the occasional daily mosquito swellings and red marks. A reminder here is that the same is not the case in other phases or Chandigarh.

The second problem being faced is the stench emanating from the nullah due to the sewerage being let into it. It is surprisingly painful to know that this seasonal rivulet is being used to carry the sewerage of Mohali from right between the residential area, whereas it should only be carrying the monsoon rainwater.

We all know that Mohali has recently evolved as a township and is still developing with ambitious future plans and most of the people residing here are migrants from outside the state country within. They have spent huge amounts of money in buying expensive plots and eventually made houses with the plans of living peacefully with best infrastructure and modern facilities as per the promises made by PUDA. On the one hand one hears talk about modernisation with the best hospitals, stadium, parks, the upcoming city center etc, and on the other hand, the existing phases (8 & 9) are facing this filthy nullah problem which can be solved with a few crores.

We, therefore, request the authorities to take an urgent decision regarding this common problem and take the necessary steps for our deliverance.

Please oblige keeping in mind that Mohali is an upcoming township and a good alternative to Chandigarh in terms of settlement for present/future residents.

Dhanraj Gill, Amarjit Virk, Kamal Mohan Singh and others

Beware of Pak plans

Apropos “Fire in Ordnance Depot” reported in your esteemed paper of June 14. It is yet again another case of fire in an Army depot. Earlier, a fire was reported in the Army ammunition depot near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Thousands of crores of rupees worth of ammunition and other stores have been lost in these ‘fires’. Notwithstanding the official version of the causes and consequences of such fires, let’s examine whether any “pattern” emerges therein. Firstly, these fires are of recent origin, starting with Bharatpur, then Bikaner, Suratgarh and other places. Indian Army’s state of affairs (grass etc) fire prevention procedures have not changed recently. They are age old. If those conditions procedures/ practices could prevent such fires earlier, how come that they have started failing row? Secondly, origin of these fires coincided with the Kargil war or near about and carried on thereafter. Thirdly, we need to examine General Pervez Musharraf’s statement relating to the recent Indo-Pak stand-off that he would fight an “unconventional war”. While we construed it to be a nuclear threat but he qualified it by implying that he would “trap and immobilise”. The Indian Army, or words to that effect.

Also there have been three incidents of fire in trains in Punjab itself in a short span of just about a month or so. Why were there no fires in trains earlier? Why fires in trains now? Why train fires in Punjab only? Why are these not in other places as the Railways fire prevention procedures are same everywhere?

There could well be a ‘sabotage plan’ prepared by Pakistani ISI as part of Pakistani army’s operational (war) plan and these fires could just be ‘testing and validating’ of those plans. Let our intelligence, security and other related agencies examine the possibility of sabotage in these fire in greatest detail and ponder over the emergence of any “pattern” of these fires and come out with the real causes of the same.

We, as a nation, have the habit of adopting an ostrich like attitude. After an event tragedy is over, it is soon forgotten till we are caught by a similar event tragedy again which in turn is soon forgotten, yet again. The cycle carries on. Let this cycle be broken and let all concerned take a vow. “We will not let sabotage succeed”.

Brigadier Harwant Singh (retd) Chandigarh

Make shramdaan purposeful

The present model of shramdaan is a symbolic expression of the will of the people of Chandigarh for solving its silt problem. At present, the whole exercise is stage-managed by the government. It would have been more desirable if it had been really voluntary in nature. Instead of being respected, it is being jeered upon but that should not matter . This is so because whatever portion is de-silted before the monsoon, gets re-silted during it. This infructuous exercise has been going on for more than 15 years and the end of the problem is nowhere in sight.

The only solution to the problem is to rectify the basic mistake of filling the lake with the silted water and not the de-silted one. An innovative method has been recommended to the government. It costs less than Rs 40 lakh and can be made operative by the year 2004. At present, the shramdaan is confined to students and babus. The engineers and their associations are silent spectators. They should be invited to do their bit of shramdaan by examining the scheme for supplying de-silted water to the lake and apprise the government about their valuable views. When this is done, shramdaan would have served more than its purpose. The government and the people will feel obliged to respect and honour it.

S. P. Malhotra, Chandigarh

Admission to PEC

The sudden decision of the Chandigarh Administration regarding eligibility for admission to PEC is highly arbitrary and unfair. This will certainly give an unfair chance to kin of high-ups but would at the same time harm the career of the students who are on the borderline of the merit list and who have a rightful claim to the seat that might go to these ineligible students because of the erratic decision of the administration.

It is an enigma as to why should the officials suddenly become so charitable, after the UT quota ranks have been declared, as to accommodate certain students who do not so far fulfil the reservation criteria as per the existing rules. It seems the forms have been delayed to include this clause in order to cater to certain vested interests. The merit list, howsoever, marginally affected, would certainly ruin the career of an eligible candidate.

The situation is atrocious and parents would not tolerate this injustice. They might be forced to take a lawful recourse to seek justice.

Rakesh Kumar, Panchkula


15,000 carpenters rendered jobless
after demolition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Thousands of city residents today lined up in the partially demolished furniture market situated on the SAS Nagar-Chandigarh border with the hope of buying furniture at reduced prices. The total loss of shopkeepers in the furniture market, after the demolition drive was carried out yesterday, has been estimated at around Rs 1 crore. And at least 15,000 carpenters have been rendered jobless.

With the flow of heavy rush to the market, the local administration was forced to deploy force, including traffic personnel. The people on all the approach roads, even up to a distance of 300 to 600 metres from the market, parked hundreds of cars and two-wheelers. The local administration was forced to restrict the traffic on the road to one way only.

Heavy bargaining was witnessed between the customers and the shopkeepers. Out of the 177 furniture shops, at least 70 shops were demolished by the local administration yesterday. Around 100 shops were left untouched following stay orders from the court.

“Panic struck among the shopkeepers this morning when an official of the local administration came to the market and said that they had filed an application before the court to vacate the stay orders”, said Mr Satish Kumar, president of the New Furniture Market Association.

As the customers rushed to the market with the hope of buying furniture at reduced rates, the panic stricken shopkeepers despite their stay orders sold out the furniture at reduced prices.

A survey of various shops this evening revealed that major furniture items including sofa sets, double beds and dining table sets, were sold at reduced prices ranging 25 per cent to 40 per cent. Double beds with back-rests were sold at prices even as low as Rs 1,500 while good sofa sets were available at Rs 4,000. Cane sofa sets were available between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,500. Similarly, all other items were available at reduced prices.

“This can also be seen as one of the biggest blows to the administration as 15,000 skilled persons have been rendered jobless in just a single day”, Mr Satish Kumar further said.


Residents in panic over demolition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
For five-year-old Ajay, the activities taking place around him were beyond his comprehension as his father and elder brother were busy transporting major household items to a nearby village.

Little could he realise that he might lose his friends in the neighbourhood, among whom he had grown up as a school-going child at a nearby school run by a local NGO.

This is a common scene at almost every house in Colony No. 4, the biggest slum cluster in the city, with the residents fearing displacement any day after a demolition drive was carried out at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony and Palsora Colony, last month.

With a population of over 80,000, mostly comprising migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the colony has been providing cheap labour to local industries for the past two decades.

Its close proximity to the local industrial area, Phase I, helped in the gradual settlement of the migrants during the past years as job prospects increased for them.

However, the demolition drive launched by the local administration has shattered their hopes. “Residents of the colony are in a state of panic, as they are now sure that they will be thrown out of their homes sooner or later”, said Mr Shubh Lal Singh who runs a private school in the colony.

“Most of the poor people have transported their important household items to safer places in nearby villages either by getting rented accommodation or with their relatives”, he added.

Dr Dayanand Kumar, a medical practitioner living in the colony, apprehended that the displacement of poor people from the colonies would not only lead to disorder in society but also adversely by affect “services” to the industrial sector.

He said the Chandigarh Administration needed to spare a thought for the poor people living in such colonies keeping in view the services they rendered to the city residents. “They should be provided every possible help to resettle before displacing them”, he said.

He also said, “Hundreds of children who have shown an interest in education following the efforts of local NGOs may have to drop out.

Mr Kamaljit Singh, president of the Godwin Education Trust who has been running a school for the children of labourers in Colony No. 4 for the past six years, said all his efforts to educate the children would prove futile if a demolition was carried out in the colony.

“We have helped to reduce child labour from this slum dwelling. However, if a demolition drive is carried out without a rehabilitation policy, the future generation of the nation, living in this colony, may be forced to go back to a world of darkness”, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajinder Kumar, a former BJP councillor who had represented the colony area, said no one had so far received any formal notice to vacate the land.

“We talked to the adviser to the local administration, last week on the issue. He has assured us that sufficient time will be given to the residents to vacate the land before demolition is carried out”, he said.


Illegal constructions demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The enforcement wing of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today demolished illegal constructions and removed all types of encroachments from V-3 roads on government land in Sectors-39, 40 and 41.

A senior official of the CHB said seven fresh constructions in the courtyard and on roofs of the houses were demolished while 60 gates on government land were removed. Illegal hedges were also removed.

The demolition drive that started at 9.30 in the morning continued till late night. In Sector 39, the enforcement wing demolished illegal rooms constructed with RCC ceilings in house nos. 1012 and 1031.

In House No. 1194, Sector 40-B, the wing found illegal room constructed on the first floor. The room was demolished.

Illegal constructions in House nos. 52, 58 and 869 in Sector 41 were also demolished.

The housing board also demolished 585 structures, including 120 cattle sheds, in Dashmesh Nagar in Sector 54 as part of the on-going anti-encroachment campaign.

As many as 450 illegal structures, six shuttering shops and 15 junk dealers were also removed in the drive that continued through out the day.

Eight bulldozers were deployed in the drive to free 20 acres of land from encroachment, official sources said.

However, board officials spared a branch of Punjab National Bank operating from an illegal structure.


Blindfolded Shankar leaves residents awestruck
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
Thundering applaud of enthusiastic residents drowned the constant roar of engines as master magician Samrat Shankar zipped down the city roads, and history, on a motorbike, blindfolded.

The baffled passersby froze in their tracks as the “world’s swiftest magician”, with his face “nicely and properly covered with a thick black cloth”, dexterously negotiated the sharp turns on his way to glory.

“How is it possible?” was the question they asked each other as Samrat Shankar, followed by scores of the residents also on their bikes, waived enthusiastically before accelerating.

It all started at about 11 am. Even before an announcement was made on the loudspeaker, the residents rushed to Sector 17 piazza for witnessing the historic ride. Among them were students of local schools.

As Shankar, in a royal black ‘achkan’ with heavy embroidery around the neck, appeared on a dais in front of Neelam cinema, the crowd craned their necks to witness the grand event.

Clapping their tiny hands, the young innocents of KB DAV School in Sector 7 managed to cut their way through the jostling crowd for applying 'tilak' on his forehead. As they stood there a senior eye surgeon with the Sector 16 General Hospital, Dr B.K. Gupta, “blindfolded” him with three layers of white cloth.

After the operation was over, his face was covered completely with a black mask. Giving further credence to the whole affair was Sub-Divisional Magistrate (South) Madhavi Kataria and UT Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar. After wishing him “best of luck”, Mr Kumar waived flagged off the event.

As the caravan moved ahead, more and more residents, shouting and screaming, joined in. Some even joined the procession on skates. After leaving Sector 17, the convoy passed through Sectors 18, 19, 27, 28 and 30.

During his “melodramatic ride” he shook hands with residents and even demonstrated some of the magical tricks to the crowd. He stopped at Divya Yog Mandir in Sector 30 for a few minutes and again started the “incredible ride”. The ride culminated in Sector 17. As he parked the bike, the spectators rushed forward with garlands and flowers in their hands.

The awe struck residents, inquisitive to know how he had managed to ride the bike blindfolded, fired a volley of questions. They even asked Dr Gupta the secret. Replying to their queries, he said: ‘’Before blindfolding him, I checked the cloth for lens in between the layers, but found nothing. It was actually impossible to look through the cloth. I would personally describe the rise as demonstration of a fine art’’.

Later in the evening, Samrat Shankar made a flag of India out of three handkerchiefs of different hues. This was not all. He called up a girl from the audience. Asked her to sit in a car on the stage before making the vehicle disappear. After about three minutes, the car returned. Gladly, the occupant said: “I am coming from Sukhna Lake and Rose Garden”.

He also transformed a girl into a serpentine. Reduced a six-feet guy to four. Pushing back the chairs, the audience stood up to applaud as a girl emerging out of a mummy floated in air before disappearing and within minutes came back from the audience.

The show was inaugurated by Haryana’s Chief Minister O.P. Chautala. Addressing the gathering, he said Samrat Shankar’s name would be recommended to the Union government for awarding “Padamshree”. The show will be thrown open to public from Saturday.

Magician plans to set up academy
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, July 4
For youngsters eager to cast a “magic spell” on the audience, world renowned magician Samrat Shankar is planning to start an academy in the region to teach magic. The academy, perhaps the first of its kind in the country, is expected to become operational within a year or so.

In the city to raise funds for the Red Cross Society by performing for 15 days at a cinema hall in Sector 17, Samrat Shankar is presently working out the modalities. Clad in a cheerful red achkan, the magician asserts: “We will open the academy somewhere near Delhi, preferably in Haryana.”

Sitting in a Sector 35 hotel, he says, “We will soon get in touch with the Haryana Government for the allocation of land. Our requirement is not much. Five acres would be enough.” The “world’s swiftest magician” is already running a counselling centre at Sri Ganganagar for drug addicts and for those inclined to commit suicide.

Students who had cleared their plus two examinations will be admitted to the courses, he reveals. Beginner’s courses would be of one-year duration. For advanced course, one will have to spend another year. “Candidates in the age group of 15 and 30 are the best learners,” he insists.

The admission criterion will be simple, he reveals. “There will be no entrance tests or screening to spot talent. Decency will be the only criterion for judging the candidates.”

Giving details, he says, “We will simply ensure that the candidates, enrolling for course, do not belong to the category of people who misuse their magical powers to befool gullible residents or to rob them of their precious belongings in the name of religion and superstition.”

In fact, removing of wrong notions is the “main motivating force” behind the decision to open the academy. “Otherwise also, magic is a dying tradition. If nothing is done about it now, the art will soon fade into oblivion. We will not only be instructing the students, but also encouraging them to further teach magic.”

Regarding the curriculum and the facilities for students, he says: “Hostel facility will also be provided. We are also planning to have an impressive library. As far as curriculum is concerned, we will be holding classes to improve memory and power to concentrate. The reason is not hard to see. Magic needs a lot of patience, concentration and dedication, besides learning the art of hypnosis.”

The master magician concludes: “Yoga will also be taught to the students. Besides helping one to concentrate and relax, yoga, combined with meditation, accentuates the effect of magic. It even helps you to read the psychological condition of the spectator.” Back


12,000 saplings to be planted
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 4
Before the monsoon end, Mohali will be a much greener place to live in. The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) will be planting over 12,000 trees in SAS Nagar as part of a major greening drive undertaken by the authority on orders from the Punjab government.

Keeping in view a decision of the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, that 1 per cent of the total budget of the various land development agencies in the state be spent on greening of the areas under their jurisdiction, PUDA and the Municipal Council here will separately take up the greening of the township. Incidentally, PUDA, SAS Nagar will also be the nodal agency for the implementation of the plan in the other PUDA zones across Punjab.

Although in the initial stages of planning, the entire greening process will include both buffer greening and roadside greening. ‘‘Buffer greening is augmentation of already available forest or green cover. We have identified about 69 acres of land in SAS Nagar where there is some sort of green cover but there is scope for planting more. This augmentation will be done in almost all the developed sectors of SAS Nagar starting from 52 to 71. As many 5,500 saplings have been marked for buffer greening.’’ Informed Mr HS Dhaliwal, XEN, Horticulture, PUDA, here.


Signals make it a memorable evening

Chandigarh, July 4
For retired Signals officers and their families, comprising Mercury Circle, it was a memorable evening as they got together for a social evening at the Defence Service Officers’ Institute in Sector 36 yesterday.

Eighty families joined the celebrations. A few outstation officers also attended the function. Maj-Gen K.K.Tewari (retd) had come all the way from Pondicherry. Five other retired general officers from the Corps were also present.

The Chief Signals Officer, Western Command, Maj-Gen B.P.S.Virk, along with a few serving officers interacted with former colleagues. General Virk highlighted various welfare schemes being run by the Army for retired officers. TNS


Plots for Janata Kumhar Colony oustees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Eleven hundred plots will be ready for allotment to eligible oustees of Janata Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, by July 15.

An assurance to this effect was given by the Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, to the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, when the latter visited the colony. The Chief Engineer said around 1,100 plinths would be laid by July 15 for the authorities to start the allotment process. It would provide relief to thousands of people who had been displaced due to the on-going anti-encroachment drive in the city.


Suicide case: truckers get clean chit
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 4
Certain office-bearers of the Truck Union, SAS Nagar, have reportedly been given a clean chit by the SP (Detective) in connection with the death of a union member.

Bhupinder Singh, a resident of Phase V, had committed suicide in March. There were allegations that he took the extreme step because he was harassed by office-bearers of the truck union and the police. The Ropar SSP had then marked an inquiry which was to be conducted by the SP (Detective).

It is reported that the inquiry officer had recorded the statements of about 80 truck operators and only four persons had given statements against the police and the secretary of the truck union. The statement of the mother of the deceased had also been recorded by the inquiry officer. 


Youth arrested on theft charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
A 19-year-old youth of Mauli Jagran has been arrested by the Chandigarh Police on the charge of being involved in several cases of theft in the past few months in the city. At least two stolen scooties, a kinetic Honda scooter and an LPG cylinder were recovered from his possession.

A case has been registered at the Sector 3 police station. According to SI Ram Kumar, the youth had been committing thefts in association with other members of his gang. Raids were being conducted to arrest other members of the gang.

Found dead
A 30-year-old youth, who was found lying on a road behind Sector 38 here this evening, was declared brought dead at the PGI. The youth, who was found unconscious by a passerby, was rushed by him to hospital.

According to the police, the deceased appeared to be an addict as some injections used to inject drugs were found on the spot. The police was trying to ascertain the identity of the deceased.

Sources said the deceased appeared to be a resident of some nearby village. No external injury mark was found on the body.

Burglary prevented
Tall claims of the Chandigarh Police to respond to a distress call were belied last night when Kiran, resident of Sector 10, tried in vain to call up the Police Control Room and the Sector 3 police station to report about some miscreants who were trying to sneak into a house.

According to the information available, at about 12.30 am, Kiran, who lives on the first floor of a house (61, Sector 10) heard some noise coming from the ground floor of the house. The occupants living at the ground floor were away. On coming out she noticed that three persons were trying to break into the house on the ground floor. When efforts to call at the PCR failed, she called up the Sector 3 police station. But she was directed to contact the PCR. Finally, she raised an alarm and forced the thieves to retreat.

Theft cases
Items worth lakhs of rupees were stolen in four separate incidents in the city in the past 48 hours. According to the information available, burglars broke into the house of Mr Dyas Chandera, a resident of Sector 37. Mr Chandera said household goods worth Rs 34,000 were stolen from his house when he was away.

In another case, Mr Yogesh Pasrina, a resident of Sector 4, reported that an unidentified youth stole Rs 85,000 from his car parked in front of Nanaksar Gurdwara, Sector 28.

Mr Subash Pingir, a resident of Burail village, reported that an LPG cylinder was stolen from a Sector 8 godown last night.

Ms Karnail Kaur, a resident of Ropar, was hit by a motor cycle at the roundabout of Sectors 1, 2 and 3 here last night. The motorcyclist sped from the spot. In another case, Dr Ravi Ghai, a resident of Sector 2 , Panchkula, who was going in an Esteem car was hit by an ambulance (CH 03 D 1086) near Inscol Hospital , Sector 34. A case under Section 279 has been registered at the Sector 34 Police Station.


Cash, ornaments stolen
Cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 15,000 were stolen from the Sector 16 house of Mr Dal Chand on Friday evening. Mr Dal Chand’s wife had gone to buy groceries from the market. When she returned after two hours, she found that someone had forced his way in her house and Rs. 10,000 cash and a gold ring lying in the cupboard were missing. A case under Sections 354 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Dowry case
The police has arrested two persons, Ankush Anand and his mother, Rani Anand, from Delhi, on charges of demanding dowry and threatening Ankush’s wife, Poonam. The woman’s father, Mr M.M. Bhatia, a resident of Sector 15, said his daughter was being harassed for dowry. A case under Sections 406, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.


Woman killed
A woman was killed in a road accident near Naraingarh here. She was run over by a tractor. She died on the spot.

According to information, Kaoshalya Devi was coming back to her house after visiting a temple late last night. When she reached near Panjalsa chowk, she was hit by a tractor. Later, the tractor rammed into a tree and overturned. The driver, however, managed to flee from the spot leaving behind the tractor. A case has been registered.


Rape alleged
In a complaint made to the police on Thursday, the parents of a minor girl of Kurari Mohalla here alleged that a local youth had raped their daughter. The girl was medically examined in the night. The accused, Mandeep, a resident of Upper Mohalla area of this town is absconding. The girl told her parents that she had been taken to different towns of Himachal Pradesh and abandoned at Parwanoo on Friday.

A resident of Bargodam village of this subdivision, Puran Chand, alleged in a complaint to the Deputy Superintendent of Police here on Thursday that Pyara Singh had fraudulently got transferred his land in the name of his nephew. He also requested the DSP to take action against Pyara Singh.

Two arrested
During a surprise raid conducted by the local police here on Thursday, two persons were caught while playing satta and Rs 2500 recovered from them Chattar Singh and Naresh Kumar have been arrested and a case registered against them.


State Bank of India launches e-Pay for paying bills
Tribune News Service

What is e-Pay service

* Customers of six branches of the SBI can deposit their insurance premium, electricity and phone bills through Internet banking.

* They would have to register themselves to avail particular billing facility.

* Option to deposit bill payments from the account automatically or after checking the bills.

* No service charge for the service.

* Plan to extend the facility for other branches and services.

Chandigarh, July 4
Customers of the State Bank of India (SBI) in the city would not have to stand in queues any more to deposit their electricity and telephone bills as the bank has launched e-Pay service for its customers. It would enable the customers to deposit their bills by giving standing instructions to the branch or to pay the bill through the Internet after checking their bills.

Mr Yogesh Agarwal, CGM, Chandigarh circle, SBI disclosed that from yesterday onward the customers could deposit premium of their insurance policies taken from the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and send donations to the SAVE and CRY NGOs through the service. He said the bank was entering into agreements with various utility service providers including, BSNL, Airtel, Spice and Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, to offer that service to its customers.

The scheme would enable the customers of six branches — SBI NRI branch, Personnel Banking branch, SBI main branch in sector 17, Panjab University branch and PGIMR branch — to deposit their fixed line, cellular phone bills and electricity bills through the bank. Another official of the bank disclosed that the service had been very successful in Delhi and Mumbai. The customers would be able to deposit their electricity and phone bills by next week through internet banking. The bank has tied up with M/s Indiadeas (Bill Desk) for billers related services. The bill payment facility through ATMs would be shortly available shortly.

He said the internet banking customers would be required to register themselves to avail of the facility, and select the billers for a payment of utility bills. The bills would be presented in electronic format, he added, for payment though the customers would continue to receive hard copies of the bills at their home. The billing service provider— M/s Pvt Ltd would collect the banker check from the designated pooling branch and present to the respective billers for payment.

He said: “We have already entered into an agreement with the LIC and some NGOs like SAVE and CRY. The customers can simply instruct the bank through internet to deposit their premium or to donate money to these NGOs.” He made it clear that the customers would not be charged any amount for availing of that service. The payment would be rather made by the utility providers.

He disclosed that the customers would also be provided an option to issue standing instructions to deduct bill payment up to a certain limit automatically, and additional payments “only after they issued directions through internet.” The bank has plans to extend that service to other branches in the Chandigarh circle as well, he added. Back



Hike conversion charges: hotel union
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
The Hotel Association of Chandigarh has urged the Administration to either withdraw the notification allowing guest houses\ hotels into general business with nominal conversion charges or enhance the conversion charges and bring them on a par with the recently charged conversion fee to make it a level playing field for the hotel industry in the city.

In a joint press note issued by Mr B.B.Bahl, Mr Ashok Bansal and Col. H.S Sandhu (retd), president, general secretary and president of honour, of the association, respectively, it has been stated that the existing local established hotels have purchased their sites in the past on a very high premium than the normal general trade SCOs and have raised their properties with huge loans from financial institutions.

It added that the proposed notified rates are just symbolic-nominal charges for the guest houses and shall result in their mushrooming all over the town. 

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