Tuesday, July 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Science stream records higher cut-off percentage
Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Science is at an all-time high, “scoring” a cut-off percentage of 62.2 at the on-going admissions for Class XI against last year's 51.1 per cent. Coming as a surprise to the authorities of the Education Department, the closing of admissions to the science stream has left many a glum face among students hoping to get admission.

Barring a slight fall in the cut-off percentage of GMSSS-35 from 85 per cent to close at 84.2 per cent this season in the science stream, all other schools showed a marked rise in the cut-off in comparison to last year. While there were hardly any takers for science seats in the two ordinary government schools of Sectors 20 and 27 till the fag-end of the admissions, this year the situation was in stark contrast with the cut-offs being as high as 62.2 per cent and 64.2 per cent.

This comes despite a fall in the overall pass percentage in the region in the Class X CBSE examination. Dropping from 78.49 of last year to 74.49 per cent this year where girls fared marginally better than boys, the Education Department wasn't expecting such an overwhelming response. Taken by surprise, a pleasant one at that, there was jubilation in the camp of the UT Education Department.

One major reason for the rise in cut-off percentage during the on-going admission season for Class XI this year could be attributed to the "improvement" in CBSE Class XII results shown by government schools.

Government schools scored over private institutions with 81.14 per cent students in government schools passing while the figure was 79.85 per cent in private institutions. Besides, over half the total number of government schools in the city registered an increase over last year's result. The best performance came from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, which had a result of 98.49 per cent, with GMSSS, Sector 37, bagging the second place with a result of 97.99 percent, followed closely by GMSSS, Sector 35 with a result of 97.97 per cent.

Elated with the “result” at the admission venue, Mr D.S. Mangat, DPI (Schools), said that the high cut-off this year was a consequence of the commendable performance of government schools during the Class XII boards.

“The Department under a well-designed plan, identified problem areas and monitored the working of teachers after each house test. This exercise paid in the form of a good show in the Class XII boards which has a direct relation with the kind of students we get during admissions to Class XI," he explained.

Science has made a beginning in setting a new trend. The department is positive that commerce will follow suit during the next admission season. 


Rush for commerce stream
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 7
The local Government College has become alive as the admission process for the new academic session is on and the authorities say that there is greater rush for the commerce stream as compared to other streams.

However, the usual rush of students at the time of admissions in Chandigarh colleges lacks in this institution. Even though the admissions started on July 1 and tomorrow is the last day for accepting forms, college staff are still waiting for more applications to pour in. The position in the commerce category is, however, satisfactory.

Teachers say that the recent fee hike announced by the government is going to adversly affect the admissions to the college. As most of the students come from rural areas with weak financial background, many of them will not be able to bear the additional financial burden. Moreover, the affiliation of the college to Punjabi University, Patiala, has always proved to be hindrance.

As commerce is proving to be a bigger draw as compared to other subjects, the college has so far received 130 applications against 90 seats for B.Com (I). The authorities say that by tomorrow afternoon the figure will go up to 150 applications after which a merit would be worked out for giving admissions. However, there is not much rush for the Class XI or Class XII in this category.

BSc was introduced last year in the college and there are 60 seats — 30 each for medical and non-medical disciplines. Only 10 applications have been received for the medical group and 30 for the non-medical group so far.

Not many students are opting for BSc (home science). The teachers concerned, however, did not reveal as to how many applications had been received for admissions this year. It is learnt that last year there were only 13 students.

The college is not witnessing much rush for admission to BA (I). Though the number of seats in this category is not fixed, only 23 students had been admitted till this afternoon. As many as 150 admission forms had been received by college authorities so far. Last year 550 students had taken admission to BA (I)Back


400 illegal structures razed
CHB handed over possession of 25 acres 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
More than 400 illegal structures were demolished here today by the Estate Office in Sector 53 and Dashmesh Colony, Sector 55.

The Estate Office immediately handed over the possession of 25 acres of land to the Chandigarh Housing Board to allot it for housing societies. The demolition squad could not demolish a church as well as a Vishwakarma temple as they had stay orders from the court.

Officials involved in the operation said they would soon seek vacation of the stay against these religious places and the remaining shops of the furniture market.

About 45 cattle sheds, four junk shops, the Sankalp Upasana temple, one saw mill and two shuttering units in Mazdoor Colony, Sector 53, were also demolished.

An Estate Office employee said to prevent re-encroachment, the Chandigarh police had sent a circular to all beat officers to take care of the government land in their respective areas.

A Punjab National Bank branch operating from an illegal structure has been given a notice of vacation till July 30 and has been asked to deposit the rent with the Estate Office instead of the private parties.

An Estate Office Inspector attached with the demolition squad, Mr Ashok Kumar, said three persons whose land had been acquired had made small structures on the land and rented them out during the past one-and-a-half year despite the compensation for the structures and land having already been paid. As many as 450 structures had earlier been removed from Dashmesh Colony.

The drive was conducted under the leadership of Tehsildar D.S. Baloria and Inspector Ashok Kumar with the help of 25 police personnel.

Six bulldozers and four trucks were employed in the operation that continued till evening.

The officials involved in the operation said occupants of all 350 houses in Deshmesh Colony had been given a verbal notice to vacate the government land to avoid facing demolition of their houses.

The Chandigarh Housing Board patwari and kanoongo were present during the demolition drive to supervise a levelling operation undertaken by them simultaneously. The Chandigarh Housing Board also started the fencing of the land vacated after the demolition.

Residents protest against demolition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Members of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha held a rally and a dharna here today in protest against the demolition drive launched by the local administration and the Municipal Corporation in various colonies recently.

Hundreds of residents of various colonies gathered in Sector 20 under the banner of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha and marched towards Punjab Raj Bhavan.

At the roundabout of Sectors 26, 7, 19 and 18, the police stopped them from further advancement. The protesters also blocked traffic at various roads en route to Raj Bhavan and raised slogans against the Governor and Administrator of UT, Justice O.P. Verma (retd).

When the police stopped them from advancement, the protesters staged a dharna.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Hari Shankar Mishra, chief adviser of the morcha, said the Chandigarh Administration was giving a step motherly treatment to the poor residents of colonies. “The administration has dislocated thousands of poor residents of colonies from without serving prior notice and providing alternative place”, he alleged.

Mr Rajinder Kumar, former BJP councillor and president of the morcha, warned that if the administration did not give any positive response on this issue by tomorrow, they would intensify the stir. He said the poor people who had been uprooted by the administration should be rehabilitated at the earliest.

Mr Rajiv Kumar Pandey, general secretary of the morcha, said the administration should decrease the cost of houses under the multi-storey scheme to bring it within the reach of the poor people. He also demanded that the shopkeepers also should be provided land for shops.

Later, a delegation of the morcha led by its leaders submitted a memorandum to the Administrator’s office.Back

125 illegal structures removed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 7
The anti-encroachment wing of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here today removed over 125 unauthorised structures in different sectors of the township. A majority of these encroachments had come up recently after the anti-encroachment drive in Chandigarh.

A team of PUDA officials led by SDO (Buildings) G.S. Tiwana, along with a large number of policemen, first removed eight shops put up on road berms outside Kumbra village in Sector 69. This was followed by the removal of over 100 newly established jhuggis on the vacant PUDA land in Sector 78. More than 200 persons were rendered homeless following the drive. Most of these were working a migrant labour in Chandigarh and had been ousted following the anti-encroachment drive there.

The team also removed about 20 jhuggis from Sector 67 and an unauthorised gate in Phase 3A being used by Nehru Colony residents as entry point. The gate has been recently constructed with a temple-like structure on top.Back


Tenants ‘harassed’ by decision on RC
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Fact File

* About 1800 vehicle owners so far registered for changed address

* About 50,000 vehicle owners staying on rent in city, say property dealers.

* It would require at least one month to change the addresses of all persons concerned, say staff of R&LA.

* Applicants feel charges for smart card, forms and late fee are too high.

* Tenants demand simplified ways like filing of affidavit for changed address.

Chandigarh, July 7
Thousands of tenants in the city are up in arms against the UT Administration's order to get their new addresses registered in the registration certificates (RCs) of their vehicles. The administration has fixed July 12 as the last date for changing the addresses after which the traffic police would challan the vehicle owners.

According to information from the Registration and Licensing Authority (R&LA), about 1800 persons have so far registered their changed addresses in the RCs.

According to rough estimates, says Mr Amarjit Sethi, chief patron, Chandigarh Property Dealers Association, more than 50,000 vehicle owners stay on rent. After an amendment in the Urban Rent Act recently, the rate of shifting houses is likely to increase.

A senior official in the R&LA office said, ‘‘We have made additional arrangements to deal with the rush and the process of obtaining the police report has been simplified. But it is doubtful whether all needy persons would be able to get change their addresses by July 12.’’ He said the date was not likely to be further extended.

Mr V.K. Puri, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association, who was standing in the queue for over three hours, said: ‘‘How can the Administration justify that tenants would have to spend over Rs 300 and at least two days to change their address in the RC every time they change their home? Further, it is almost impossible to give residential proof in case landlords do not cooperate. Most of the tenants do not have either ration cards with changed addresses or telephone or electricity bills in their name.’’

Mr Yadwinder Singh, resident of Kajheri village, questioned the Administration decision to charge Rs 220 for smart card, up to Rs 100 as delay fee, Rs 5 for Form 33 and Rs 2 for check list. He lamented that tenant vehicle owners were harassed for no fault. Dr K.L. Sharma in the Physical Education Department of Panjab University wondered at the purpose of the move.

Mr Surinder Jolly, resident of Sector 26, wondered why the politicians were not protesting against the decision. He urged that a simplified way be worked out to solve the matter or extend the date. Lt-Col Sarwan Singh (retd), Chairman, Consumer Forum Chandigarh, appealed to the administration to resolve the issue.

Mr A.P.S. Shergill, advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court felt that tenants could be asked to file an affidavit to the nearest police station whenever they changed their residence. Secondly, the date should be extended by at least two months, he added.


32 lecturers selected on deputation to UT colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
After a gap of several years, the UT Administration has started accepting college lecturers on deputation from Punjab and Haryana for posting in government colleges in the city.

As many as 32 lecturers from the two states had been selected over the past few days for posting in various UT colleges. Of these, 13 lecturers were from Punjab and the remaining 19 were from Haryana. The list had been forwarded to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for formal approval.

The lecturers picked up for appointment would be teaching 13 subjects including chemistry, physics, physical education, English, music (vocal), political science, commerce, economics, geography, music (instrumental), public administration, zoology and history. The selections had been made by a committee headed by Mr Dilip Kumar, DPI (Colleges) and consisting of experts in different subjects.

The UT had a total of 374 posts of lecturers of which 224 belonged to the UT cadre, 90 to Punjab and 60 to Haryana. As against these, only 198 UT posts, 78 Punjab posts and 42 Haryana posts had been filled till now. The selections made by the Education Department would take care of this shortfall in regard to Punjab and Haryana posts. As regards UT posts, 29 candidates belonging to SC and OBC had already been selected by the UPSC but their formal appointment was held over pending a clarification from the Government of India.

Mr Dilip Kumar told TNS here today that the appointment of the deputationists from Punjab and Haryana would be for a period three years. However, the Administration was in touch with the Union Home Ministry for an extension in their deputation period because it was not a deputation in the normal sense of the word. A provision for posting deputationists from Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 60:40 existed in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, under which the Chandigarh UT was created.

Posting of deputationists from Punjab and Haryana remained stalled for several years after certain lacunae in the UT rules came to the notice of the Administration. The Administration had since amended the Chandigarh Educational Service (Group-B Gazetted) Government Arts and Science Colleges Rules allowing posting of deputationists in UT colleges.


Urmila, Ishaa give city the slip
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The movement of stars can be really strange at times. Only last night, Urmila Matondkar, along with Ishaa Koppikar and singer Hema Sardesai, managed to give the city a slip by reserving her appearance for a select gathering at Forest Hill View Resort on the city outskirts.

So well-guarded was the secret that three reigning women of Bollywood were visiting the city for an exclusive performance that even the most well-informed sources learnt of it only after the stars had cleared the Chandigarh sky. Urmila, Ishaa and Hema were here to add zing to a purely professional show, “O Laila”, organised by Lux.

For about two-and-a-half hours’ the stars performed live on a special stage erected for the show, exclusively organised by Lux for its 6000 dealers from the entire northern region. The first star to set the stage on fire was Ishaa Koppikar, who shot to fame with her item song “Khallas” in Ram Gopal Verma “Company”. She performed on the same song, as also on “Ishq Samundar”, the hit song that featured in the multi-starrer film “Kaante”.

Next in the line came the most-wanted Urmila, who had the audience gasping for breath with her nearly perfect performance as a woman possessed in “Bhoot”. Choosing two of the best numbers for the evening, Urmila drove the audience crazy. Dressed in a snazzy outfit, she danced on “Chhamma chhamma” (the song that featured in the famous foreign film “Moulin Rogue”) and the “Lajja” song, “Aaiye aa jaiye”.

Hema Sardesai also managed a great response as she sung in Punjabi. With husk in her voice, Hema also treated the audience to a medley of Goan melodies. The show began at 8 pm and ended by 11 pm.

The star performances were backed by dance sequences choreographed by ace Bollywood choreographer Pappu Mallu. Also present was the mime king of Bollywood, Naveen Prabhakar.

Giving details of the show, one of the organisers informed, “This event was designed to create an impression and generate extended recall for the brand.” Mr Tony, Production Manager of the firm that managed yesterday’s star nite, added, “The actresses went back early his morning. They were not supposed to meet anyone because the event was exclusive.” However, the celebrities did spend a night in Hotel Mount View.


Official caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
A works inspector in the UT Estate Office was today allegedly caught redhanded by sleuths of the UT Vigilance Department while accepting a bribe of Rs 300 from an allottee of a government house in Sector 24 here this evening. The employee of the Estate Office, Mr Charan Singh, had allegedly demanded the bribe from Ms Jasbir Kaur, junior assistant, in the office of the Director Health Services, Chandigarh, to issue a vacation report.

The vacation report would have enabled her to take possession of her new official accommodation in Sector 24.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against Mr Charan Singh at the Vigilance police station. According to information, the Works Inspector was caught while he was accepting the bribe in his Sector 24 office. The Sector 24 branch of the Estate Office issues vacation certificates to the government employees who change their official accommodation. " Before a government employee changes his official accommodation, he has to get an NOC from the Estate Office which states that no dues are pending with the department", said an official.

The complainant approached the Vigilance Department and the trap was laid.

The Works Inspector would be produced before the Duty Magistrate tomorrow.


Illegal auto-rickshaws cut into CTU profits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Chandigarh Administration has failed to check the illegal plying of auto-rickshaws on city roads. Employees of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) have alleged that this was resulting in financial losses worth lakhs of rupees to the CTU, besides causing air pollution, minor accidents and frequent traffic jams on some roads.

A senior official of the CTU said: ‘‘We have raised the issue with the Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), and the UT administration a number of times. The STA has issued permits to a specific number of auto-rickshaws, but hundreds are plying illegally on the city roads and its surrounding towns, including Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Panchkula, SAS Nagar and Kharar, without any check.’’ He claimed that since a section of auto-rickshaw owners did not pay permit fee and carried more passengers than the sanctioned limit of three, they could operate with lower fare than that charged by the CTU.

The CTU Employees Union and the management have lamented that on the one hand the occupancy ratio in the local buses was as low as 10 per cent during off-peak hours, on the other the auto-rickshaws were running overloaded on major routes, including Tribune Chowk to Zirakpur, Bus Stand to the PGI, Sector 47 to Bus Stand, Sector 43 bus stand to SAS Nagar and Kharar and from Kisan Bhavan to SAS Nagar.

Interestingly, they said that while the CTU was charging Rs 10 from Tribune Chowk to Zirakpur, one could hire an auto-rickshaw for just Rs 5 for the same distance. Similarly, from Phase 6, SAS Nagar, to Bus Stand in Sector 17, auto-rickshaw drivers were charging Rs 5 to Rs 7 per person as against Rs 13 charged by the CTU.

Mr Ramanjit Verma, who has a shop at Zirakpur and resides in Sector 32, claimed that he always preferred an auto-rickshaw to a CTU bus. He said: ‘I take an auto-rickshaw from Tribune Chowk to Zirakpur and pay just Rs 5 while the CTU and other long-route bus services ask for Rs 13. I am least bothered whether the auto-rickshaw is running legally or illegally.’’

The CTU employees alleged there was a nexus between the auto-rickshaw owners and a section of the Chandigarh Traffic police. Mr Gurmeet Singh, a conductor with the CTU, claimed that the management often asked them to increase the revenue but how was it possible when a parallel local transport of illegal auto-rickshaws was operating in the city.

Denying the allegations, Mr S.P. Arora, Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), Chandigarh, said, ‘‘We are not lenient towards auto-rickshaw operators or truck drivers who are operating without permit or running overloaded vehicles. In fact, the monthly penalty collections have increased from an average of Rs 3 lakh till recently to over Rs 9.5 lakh now. ’’ 


Sahay flays ‘BJP’s temple drama’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Former Union Minister and All-India Congress Committee secretary Subodh Kant Sahay is launching a national initiative on July 10 from the city to prepare public opinion against corruption, communalism and casteism to counter what he termed as “the temple drama being enacted by the BJP and the Sangh Privar.”

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Sahay said a regional seminar would be held in the city on July 10 to counter these evils eating into the vitals of the country. He said around 400 persons were likely to attend the seminar. Mr Sahay, who had been handling the Ayodhya issue at the peak of its dispute as Union Minister in the VP Singh and Chandra Shekhar governments, said the BJP had allowed the country to be held to ransom on the issue and degraded the status of the Shankaracharya by the exercise initiated to resolve the issue.

Mr Sahay clarified that the seminar was being held under the banner of the Rashtriya Ekta Abhiyan involving former Union Ministers Suresh Kalmadi and Bhakt Charan Dass, among others. Representatives from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory will participate in the seminar. He said members of other political parties would also participate in the seminar as it was a non-political forum.

He alleged that the BJP had only opened a Pandora’s box by initiating talks through the Shankarach-arya as the conclusive meetings and contentions of both the All-India Babri Masjid Committee and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had been finalised by November 8, 1992, with a decision that there would be no further discussion.

He charged the BJP of not even constituting a national integration council.

Mr Sahay alleged that the Ram Mandir issue had been brought back to the fore to exploit it in the elections to the four Assemblies and subsequently for the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Sahay, who is in charge of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, claimed that if the Legislative Council elections held earlier were taken into account, Chief Minister Mayawati did not have a majority and her government would fall if the Vidhan Sabha was called.



PSHRC nod to Ranbaxy probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has given green light to the Punjab Government to resume its inquiries on the Ranbaxy fire tragedy which were stopped by it following a PSHRC stay order.

Modifying its order passed on June 23 that “since the commission is seized of the matter, it would be appropriate that other authorities may not go on with further inquires”. The PSHRC today said that the Assistant Director, Chemicals, and Deputy Director, Factories, may proceed with inquiries into the cause of the fire as per Section 88 of the Factory Act, 1948.

The PSHRC order followed the application moved by the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Rajan Kashyap, for the cancellation or modification of the stay order. Mr Kashyap stated in the application that “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.”


Remove temporary liquor shops: JD(U)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The local unit of the Janata Dal (United) led by Union minister Sharad Yadav here today threatened to lay a siege to temporary liquor vends dotting the city in an uncouth manner.

In a letter to the Chandigarh Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, local unit president Surinder Bharadwaj held out the threat, according to copies of the letter released to the newspapers.

The letter has, however, not specified as to when the siege would be laid.

The letter says: “The people of Chandigarh want to know how the Chandigarh Administration justifies the presence of the temporary construction of liquor vends in the makeshift sheds.”

It further asks if the ahatas (liquor vends) are adding any beauty to the city, not creating traffic chaos on roads due to their proximity to main roads and not creating nuisance at public places.”

In an apparent effort to link the ongoing encroachment removal drive of jhuggis with the liquor vends, Mr Bharadwaj said the presence of liquor vends in tin sheds showed that the Chandigarh Administration had double standards on the beautification of the city.


Saini is Rotary Chandigarh Central president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Rotarian D.S. Saini was installed as the new president of Rotary Chandigarh Central and Ms Rupinder Bal as president of the Inner Wheel of the club at a function of the Rotarians of district 3080 held here last night.

Among others who were installed as office-bearers of Rotary Chandigarh Central include vice-president S.K. Chakar, general secretary N.S. Aulakh, secretary J.S. Lamba, treasurer Inderjit Singh, joint secretary Lakhbir Singh and directors, Satpal Singh, Narinder Rawat, H.S. Nanda and Anil Sharma of club services, community services, vocational services and youth services, respectively. In the Inner Wheel of the club, apart from Ms Bal as the president, Ms Suman Sharma was installed as the secretary.

While, addressing the gathering, the chief guest at the function, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Minister of Public Works Department (B&R), Government of Punjab, said, “Our nation faces many challenges — right from basic education to health care services even after 50 years of Independence”. He stressed upon the need to raise the standards of education, health care services and other social welfare activities and said the NGOs could play a vital role in the overall development of the nation.

He said the Punjab Government was committed to improving the living standards of the people of Punjab through various welfare schemes. He promised to grant sum of Rs 51,000 to the Rotary Chandigarh Central for the welfare of the local people.

Ms Sudha Suri, Dean, PGI, Chandigarh, who was the guest of honour at the function said Rotary Chandigarh had done appreciable work in the field of social work in the area, particularly the upliftment of the community.

She reminded the gathering of Mr R.S. Saboo, former president of Rotary Chandigarh, who had started a special project of giving financial aid to the needy children suffering from heart diseases. “The project being run with the assistance of the PGI has, so far, saved many young lives in the recent years”, she added.

The newly installed president, Mr Saini, said he would lay more stress on Kishangarh village, already adopted by the club for its overall development. He said, “We will improve the sanitary conditions, further carry on the literacy campaign and launch a special TB eradication campaign with a sum of Rs 8 lakh in this village”. Other programmes for this year include hosting a state-level table tennis tournament, organising vaccination camps, vocational training camps and other welfare activities, he added.

The Inner Wheel of the Rotary Chandigarh Central also inducted Ms Suri and Mrs Bajwa as their honorary members.


47 sweepers lose salary for being absent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
A day’s salary each of 47 sweepers was deducted today by the Medical Health (MOH) Wing for being absent from duty between 6.40 am and 6.50 am today.

The MOH, Dr G.C. Bansal caught 12 persons, including the area jamadar, absent. Four sweepers were found taking tea during duty hours.

Sanitary inspectors caught 35 persons absent from the duty in their respective areas today.

The drive to improve the functioning of the sweepers has come in the wake of the outbreak of some disease in the city.

The wing has taken special measures to regulate polythene use in the city by forming teams of 10 members each. Six persons were challaned for keeping unhygienic and stale meat weighing 40 kg in Colony Number 5. The meat was destroyed by the department.

The wing also caught 10 pigs from Daddu Majra and six from Indra Colony. Another pig caught by the wing was snatched from the Enforcement staff by the residents of the area who protested against the drive.

Under an operation to remove the causes of the epidemic diseases, the wing destroyed 870 kg of ice candies, 250 kg of rotten and cut fruits, 80 kg of food item and 48 bottles of cold drinks. 


Corruption crippling our military might?

Defence Minister George Fernandes’ statement, in an exclusive interview to The Tribune recently, that the Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) acquisition was likely to be delayed by another two to three years, has sent shock waves in the Air Force. He also said that a situation was being reached in which major procurement for the armed forces would come to a “standstill”. British newspapers, the Defence Minister said, had expressed a feeling that British Aerospace was marketing Hawk trainer by paying huge kickbacks.

It was in 1991, that two AJTs (British Hawk and Franco-German Alpha Jet) were shortlisted. Soon after, the IAF had opted for the British Hawk. Several times in the past 10 years, it appeared as if the deal was almost finalised. But it seems now that we are back to square one.

Meanwhile, the IAF has lost hundreds of young pilots and aircraft in accidents, majority of which were attributed to the lack of proper training of pilots on AJTs. The successive Air Chiefs have been bringing home to the government the dire necessity of acquiring AJTs.

Our armed forces, having suffered in various conflicts due to the lack of modernisation, heaved a sigh of relief when the new defence procurement procedure (DPP) came into force in December, 2002. But, it seems, no system, howsoever foolproof it may be, can stand against corruption, which has emerged as the final winner in India.

MBS members’ status

Before the introduction of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) in April this year, most of the ex-servicemen were members of the Army Group Insurance (AGI), Medical Benefit Scheme (MBS). Some of them, who are above 70 years of age, are not keen to switch over to the ECHS. They, therefore, want to know the future of the MBS.

According to current orders, the MBS will be terminated with effect from March 31,2005. However, an effort is being made by the Army authorities to get this scheme extended for a period of five years. Looking at it from the legal angle, it may not be possible to terminate this scheme without the consent of its members, because it is a contract between the two parties.

Those MBS members who join the ECHS, can ask for the refund of the amount they have paid as contribution towards the MBS. No deductions will be made from the MBS contribution, even if the member concerned or his wife has received treatment under the scheme. Incidentally, the number of diseases covered under the MBS is only 10, whereas all diseases are covered under the ECHS.

Helpline really helps

The widow of Brig R.P.S. Randhawa, who is in her 80s, lives in Patiala and is deaf and dumb, became entitled to the higher rate of special family pension from January 1, 1996, consequent to the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations. Based on the Government of India letter of May 16, 2001, on the subject, the CDA (Pensions), Allahabad, issued instructions to all banks on August 6, 2001, for the payment of enhanced pension to all pensioners.

The State Bank of India (New Officers’ Colony branch), Patiala, did not pay the enhanced pension to the widow, despite requests from all quarters. After getting totally disgusted, she wrote to former Army Chief General V.P. Malik, who lives in Panchkula, in May, 2003. The General requested the Helpline to help the widow. The Helpline got on to the job and the Administrative Commandant, Patiala, went with the widow to the bank twice, yet the manager did not agree to pay her revised pension until the CDA (Pensions) sent a telegram to the bank.

The widow of Brig Randhawa, who was getting Rs 8710 as pension earlier, is now getting a pension of Rs 17,419. And she has also got Rs 6,45,486 as arrears of pension from January 1, 1996. This is not the first case where a bank has shown callousness to a pensioner, despite there being clear instructions from the government.

The Western Army Commander, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, is deeply interested in helping the needy ex-servicemen and widows and it was with this aim that he created the Helpline on September 15, 2002. It is located in the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, and its telephone numbers are: 589624 and 867624. Its Officer in charge is Col Subhash Chander (retd). 


Police station phone disconnected
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 7
Even as the fruitless requests by the police here to the Telephone Department continue over ‘revival’ of their central police station telephone, the department has gone ahead and disconnected the telephone in Phase I police station too for non-payment of bills.

With this now telephones in both the main police stations in the township are non-functional, not just making it difficult for the residents to contact them in case of trouble but also making it problematic for the police to function effectively.

Stating that the central police station telephone had been disconnected due to non-payment of bills over six months ago, a police official pointed out that they had been requesting the telephone department to allow them to receive and make calls till the bill was paid, but they had refused.

The fund-starved Police Department here routinely face a problem with telephones and electricity.

The various station house officers have taken to using their personal mobile telephones for official work. Many of the ASIs and SIs also wield mobiles to keep in touch.

Claiming that the Police Department owes them bills worth thousands, sources in the Telephone Department informed that till the incoming call facility is not stopped, the police stations will never pay their pending bills.Back


PLATFORM: Save water

Water is necessary for life. Water is 100 per cent natural but 0 per cent replaceable. Earth has 97 per cent salt water found in the seas, 2 per cent water in the form of glaciers and only 1 per cent of it is fresh water. So, one can imagine the need to conserve water.

Conservation of water means wise and careful use of water. A normal human being requires 2.82 litres of water per day. We can save water by following a few simple steps.

In our homes, we must ensure that no taps are left running while washing dishes and clothes or brushing teeth. Instead of keeping the tap running while bathing, a bucket of water should be used. We must see that there are no leaking taps in the house, school and neighbourhood and any leakage must be fixed immediately.

Also, fresh drinking water should not be used to clean cars. Water in which vegetables and fruit have been washed could be used to water plants and using water of the first wash from the washing machine should be used to mop floors.

Every single drop saved counts and if each of us decides to do our bit, conserving water will not be a challenge anymore.

Madhvi Sharma, Class X, DAV Public School


643 oustees to be rehabilitated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Hopes of residents of 22 villages displaced between 1966 and 1970 to build Chandigarh to get rehabilitated got a boost with the Chandigarh Administration preparing the first list of 643 out of 5,000 of them for allotment of dwelling units in Sector 51, according to the Deputy Commissioner.

These are from the first group of oustees from 11 villages who were displaced with a promise of rehabilitation but had to continue their fight for 36 years to get a nod from the government.

The Pind Bachao Committee chairman Angrez Singh today met the Deputy Commissioner to demand rehabilitation of the oustees.


Cable operators get reprieve
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The break in the cable service being feared in the wake of the Municipal Corporation’s planned drive to remove their poles from tomorrow seems to have been put off till July 10.

The three additional days for clearance of dues of around 100 cable operators were today granted by Municipal Corporation Commissioner M. P. Singh when Mayor Subhash Chawla took up the matter with the top officer of the corporation.

The Mayor took up the matter with the Commissioner after a delegation of cable operators met the former, urging him to give them more time for clearing their dues pending since 1999 at the rate of Rs 1,000 per operator per sector per month.

The corporation had planned to remove the poles of cable operators from the public land for the operators’ failure to clear their dues.

The Mayor appealed to the cable operators not to expect further postponement of the payment due for long.

The cable operators had approached the courts to get the fee either raitionised or waived off but failed to get any relief.Back


Good Samaritan offers to return money
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Mr Devi Dyal, an employee of the Census of India Department here, claims that he got possession of about Rs 20,000 today when he tried to intervene in a scuffle among some rickshaw-pullers and a person. He said he saw that near the Tribune chowk some rickshaw-pullers were trying to snatch money from an old Sikh aged about 50 years.

He said, ‘‘When we challenged the rickshaw-pullers, they claimed that the Sikh gentleman was fighting with them.” Mr Dyal said the person concerned could get his money from him by contacting at his official phone no 770572 or his residential phone no 95-171-2776044.Back


Devinder Babla bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Expelled Chandigarh Vikas Manch leader Devinder Singh Babla and his councillor wife, Harpreet Kaur, were bereaved when Mr Babla's mother, Darshan Kaur, died of cancer yesterday.

She was 62. She is survived by a son and a daughter.

She will be cremated at the Sector 25 cremation ground at 3 pm tomorrow.


Forged passport racket unearthed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Chandigarh police has unearthed an international racket involving persons who prepare forged passports of foreign countries and encash stolen travellers cheques in the country. The travellers cheques encashed by the gang members are stolen from other countries, reveal police investigations.

The modus operandi of the gang is to select a person and prepare a forged foreign passport in his name and use him to cash stolen travellers cheques.

A team of the Sector 3 police station stumbled upon the facts during interrogation of a resident of Andhra Pradesh Chander Kant Reddy, who had earlier been arrested with a Canadian passport while trying to encash ‘lost’ travellers cheques worth $ 500 at an authorised money changer in the city. The cheat had a forged passport issued in the name of John Thomas, an employee of Cargo Timber company in Canada. He was nabbed when officials at Thomas Cook in Sector 9 here discovered on June 30, that he was trying to encash travellers cheques listed as having been lost in the UK. The truth about the identity was revealed when the Canadian High Commission confirmed that the Canadian passport was a forged document.

During interrogation, Reddy, hailing from Thanuka West Kotawri, Andhra Pradesh, said he came in contact with Nawaz, a resident of Chennai, who deals with illegal exchange of foreign currency. Nawaz, gave him stolen travellers cheques. While encashing cheques worth $ 2000 through Forex Call, an authorised dealer of foreign exchange in Pondicherry, Reddy was arrested and sentenced to nine months of sentence.

After he came out of jail, Nawaz introduced him to a gang which prepared forged passports of other countries. The persons holding the forged passport encashed stolen travellers cheques of other countries at different places in the country. Taking Chandigarh to be a safe place, Reddy along with other members of the gang came here on June 20. He was arrested on June 30, while trying to cash ‘lost’ travellers cheques worth $ 500.

A case under Sections 419, 467, 471, 474 and 120 B of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 3 police station. Reddy, who was arrested by the police on June 30, was today sent in judicial custody.



Residents help police nab burglars
Tribune News Service

Three burglars, who were arrested by residents while committing a burglary
Three burglars, who were arrested by residents while committing a burglary in a Sector 27 house, being whisked away by the police in Chandigarh on Monday. 
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 7
Alert residents of a locality in Sector 27 here spoiled the plans of a three-member gang of burglars to escape with the booty from a locked house early this morning. By the time a police party from the Sector 26 police station reached the spot, residents had caught one of the burglars, Udhay Raj, after a hot chase.

The two others, Phool Chand and Fariyad Ali, were arrested with the help of the police. Gold ornaments worth Rs 90,000, which had been stolen from house No. 2131, Sector 27, were recovered from the thieves.

It was Mr N.S. Dhania, an Under Secretary in the Haryana Food and Supplies Department, living in house No. 2133 who heard some noise in the neighbouring house. “As the occupant of the house, Kulbir Singh, had gone out of station along with his family, I went out to have a look and found that lights in the house were on,” said Mr Dhania. Then Mr Dhania woke his neighbour, Mr R.S. Sangwan, an Assistant Cane Commissioner, Haryana.

Mr Sangwan told TNS that he deputed both his sons, Sumeet and Sandeep, at the rear of the house being burgled and himself along with Mr Dhanai went to wake up other residents in the locality. Within minutes around 50 residents sealed the house from all sides. Since at least 15 of the two-storeyed government houses share a common roof, persons were deputed on both ends of the row of houses.

At about 2.30 am, sensing trouble one of the burglars tried to climb a tree at one end of the row of the houses but fell down. He was then overpowered and the police was informed. With the help of the police, the two other burglars were arrested from the rooftop of the houses. A police official said the burglars had been active in the area for the past few months and had committed thefts in various sectors of the city.

Further interrogation of the burglars was going on to know their involvements in other cases of theft. The police was already on the look out for Udhay Raj and other gang members eversince a theft in Ebony, Sector 8, was committed.


Firm charged with cheating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Chandigarh Police today registered a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy against a Delhi-based company, Media Ad Link — also having its branch office in Sector 35 here — which has allegedly duped several residents by promising their children a modelling career. The case was registered late this evening on a complaint lodged by Sandeep Singh, a resident of Sector 36. He had enrolled himself at the Sector 35 office of the company.

Bhawna Karir, owner of Media Ad Link, was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 30. The police had raided the Delhi office of the company on a complaint by Anil Kumar Sahni. The company allegedly used to contact parents randomly and promise to get their child into the world of modelling. Back


4 incidents of theft in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were stolen in four separate incidents of theft in residential and commercial premises in the city today.

Inquiries reveal that the burglars, suspected to be juvenile, sneaked in the shop, Agrani Switches, Sector 35, through a ventilator and searched for cash and gadgets. Mr Ravinder, who runs the shop, told TNS that it appeared that the burglars were novice and did not pick expensive mobile sets. "Dummy mobile sets were lying on the top and the functional sets were lying in the lower portion of the counters. But the burglars did not touch four other counters," he added.

A police team inspected the spot and a case was registered at the Sector 36 police station. A police official said it was being probed how the burglars entered the showroom through the ventilator.

Electronic gadgets, including a digital camera, jewellery, mobile handset and a computer printer were stolen from a house in Sector 11 last night. The occupants of the house, Mr Vivek Sharma and his wife, were away when the theft took place. A police official said the matter was being investigated.

In another case, Harminder Singh, a resident of Sector 21, reported to the police that his mobile phone was stolen from his residence on the night of July 3.

Mr Kailash Chand, a resident of Sector 28, reported that pre-paid Spice SIM cards worth Rs 10,000 were stolen from his shop in Sector 34. A case has been registered under Section 380 of the IPC.

Killed in accident

Mahesh, a resident of Sector 38, who was riding a scooter, died after being hit by a Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus of Dharamsala depot near the Sector 17 bus stand last night. The deceased was riding the scooter along with Sanjay and Anand when the mishap took place. Both the injured, Sanjay and Anand, have been admitted to the PGI. The driver of the bus was arrested and bailed out.


Shopping scheme starts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Ebony today launched its “Monsoon Hungama Shopping Extravaganza”. To continue till July 27, the scheme provides customers with an array lifestyle and household items, appearels and accessories at its outlets in Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Noida, Faridabad and Delhi at discounts of up to 30 per cent. This scheme also has a lucky draw that entitles the shopper to win an Opel Corsa on the purchase of a certain brand of shirts.

Ms Nikita Anand, Femina Miss India Universe, will compere the concluding celebrations.

Mutual fund office opened: Standard Chartered Mutual Fund has announced the launch of its operations in Chandigarh. The company will now offer investors in the city a range of eight debt schemes.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Mr Naval Bir Kumar, Managing Director of the company, said, “Chandigarh is one of our key markets in north India and we are confident that our schemes will be well received by both, individual investors and institutions, who are seeking an alternate saving option.”

The company has also opened new offices in Ludhiana and Lucknow in the north, Vadodara and Surat in the west and Cochin and Coimbatore in the south.

Membership drive: Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX), an independent, demutualised exchange, flagged off its membership drive for nationwide commodities trading in Chandigarh at a road show held here. The road show highlighted the market opportunity in this nationwide market system for market participants. Inaugurated by senior officials of the exchange, the programme showcased the benefits of the MCX membership, trading and settlement rules, contract specifications and other key information to an audience of around 150 traders, market specialists, consumers, commodities brokers, producers, importers, exporters, stock brokers and other intermediaries.


Top models for NIFD show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The annual fashion bonanza of the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD), in Sector 8 is about to begin. To prove that it gets better every time, the NIFD has put together the best models of India for the fashion show to be held on July 10 at Hotel North Park in Panchkula. Supporting the effort will be Aristocrat Premium.

The celebrated models who will don the creations of the NIFD students will be led by the current date of actor Salman Khan,Katrina Kaif. With 'Boom', a Jackie Shroff-Ayesha Shroff production, in her kitty, Katrina is tipped to be the next big star of Bollywood. Acting alongside supermodels Madhu Sapre and Padma Lakshmi in 'Boom', Katrina is already a rage in the modelling world.

Teaming up with Katrina will be Aditi Govitrikar, who is still revelling in the fame of her Mrs World title. A familiar face from many music videos, Aditi also featured in the film 'December 16'. Among other top models who will walk the ramp on July 10 are Jesse Randhawa, India's answer to western supermodels, and the current model of Killer jeans; Nikita Anand, Miss India Universe 2003, Roxxane Smith, British model who is in the hot seat with 'Rexona 24-hour woman' campaign, Divya Jaitley, Femina Miss India finalist 2002, and Simran Sachdeva, present face of Maruti Wagon R, Oswal, Texla and Ponds. Jaishree and Aakanksha will be the other top models who will be a part of the glamour show.

The event titled Aristocrat Premium Haute and Kool, will be choreographed by Priyanka Singh and it will have Mohini Singh, queen of remixes, as a star performer for the evening. Ace compere Pallab Bose will host the show.Back

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