Saturday, July 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dacoits strike at Palheri village, three injured
Our Correspondent

Palheri (Kharar), July 25
Three persons, including a woman, were seriously injured when dacoits struck at two houses in Palheri village falling under Mullanpur-Garibdass police station in the wee hours of today. All victims were sleeping when they were attacked.

This was the second major incident of its type in the area in less than a month. The village is situated about 15 km from Chandigarh.

The dacoits believed to be 10 to 12 in numbers were armed with batons and iron rods. They decamped with cash and jewellery before fleeing.

Mr Harmel Singh (40), his wife, Ms Baljeet Kaur (33) and Mr Harnek Singh (65), who were attacked by the dacoits were taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, with serious head injuries. Later in the evening, Mr Harmel Singh and his wife were discharged, while the condition of Mr Harnek Singh continues to be critical.

On July 3, dacoits had struck at three places in Mullanapur-Garibdass village and had killed a labourer, Sunil, and injured two other persons before looting the cash and jewellery from the house of Mr Arun Verma. However, the police has solved the case with the arrest of five persons.

It is worth mentioning here that five to seven villagers were deputed on thikri pehra of the village. At around 2 pm two cops on patrol duty had passed instructions to persons guarding the village. Police sources said villagers were not punctual regarding the thikri pehra and last night they had to be called from their houses for their assigned duty.

Mr Harmel Singh, his wife and their three children were sleeping in the compound of their house when the dacoits struck at 2.30 am (the victims or their family members could not tell the exact time of the incident). They struck Mr Harmel Singh and his wife with rods and batons. The two sustained head injuries. Luckily, they did not harm the children (two girls, Jaspreet Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur and a boy, Gurjit Singh, all below 14 years of age).

After injuring the couple, the dacoits entered the house and decamped with the valuables they could lay their hands on. Before fleeing they also snatched ear rings from Ms Baljeet Kaur.

Once their job at Mr Harmel Singh’s house was finished, they entered the house of Mr Harnek Singh. He, too, was sleeping, when he was hit on the head by some heavy object. However, the dacoits only took away the wallet of Mr Harnek Singh, who by then was bleeding profusely, villagers said.

“After sometime Ms Baljeet Kaur regained consciousness and came to my house for help”, said Mr Jarnail Singh, elder brother of Mr Harmel Singh and added that, “dacoits had entered the house by jumping the compound wall”. He said he along with some other villagers rushed the injured to the PGI. The police was also informed about the incident.

Later it was found that the dacoits had broken a cot lying near a tubewell (about a km from the village) and carried the wooden parts along with them before striking at Mr Harmel Singh’s house. While talking to the correspondent on phone, Mr G.S. Bhuller, SSP, Ropar, and Mr Rupinder Singh, DSP, Kharar, who were supervising the search operations in the area said the suspected person was being interrogated and the police hopes to get valuable information from him. Mr Bhuller said horse patrolling had been started on both sides of the river in the area during night time with effect from today.

Meanwhile, the Kharar police has registered a case under Sections 458 and 380 of the IPC against unidentified persons and has started the investigations.



Dacoities, robberies add to police worries
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
An alarming increase in the incidence of robberies and dacoities leaving behind a trail of destruction, including bloodshed, has been worrying the Punjab and Haryana police. In the past 72 hours, there have been eight such incidents, leaving behind four of the victims dead and 23 injured, some of them seriously.

Two cases each were reported from Gurdaspur (Chowk Mehta and Fatehgarh Churian) and Hoshiarpur while Ropar (Mullanpur) and Patiala (Banur) recorded one case each.Two cases have been reported from Panchkula district (Pinjore and Raipur Rani).

During the past few months in Punjab, there have been 70 cases of robbery and dacoity accompanied by serious violence in which 16 victims lost their lives while 65 others ended with injuries. Besides, the amount of property taken away by violent perpetrators of these acts of crime runs into several lakhs of rupees.

The police has been unable to pinpoint whether only criminal tribes were behind these robberies and dacoities or a new class of “first-time criminals” were behind them. In a majority of the cases, the amount of money snatched or robbed was in thousands and not even in lakhs. The involvement of “kale kachhewale” in these cases, too, cannot be ruled out.

The police has been unable to specify or link various “kale kachhewale gangs” to any organised gang or group operating at the intra or inter-state level. The possibility of smaller gangs operating independently of one another cannot be ruled out.

But there are two clear categories of crime — robberies, snatchings and dacoities committed during the day and such crime committed at night. For example, the day-time cases recorded by the Punjab police number 30 in which nine persons lost their lives and 33 were injured. The midnight robberies, 40 in all, left seven victims dead and 32 injured. The Patiala range, the home district of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, tops the list and it has witnessed several fatalities of victims following armed robberies. For the day-time robberies and dacoities, the border range heads the table with nine cases, followed by Jalandhar and Ludhiana with seven cases each.

Intriguingly, the Chandigarh corridor has emerged as the “softest target for violent crime”. As many as four robberies and dacoities have been reported from the city’s periphery during in the past 72 hours. The situation has been no different elsewhere in Punjab. Hoshiarpur had two cases in the past 48 hours in which two persons were killed and 12 were injured.

Early this week, two incidents were reported from Gurdaspur. In one case, a petrol pump was looted at Chowk Mehta while in the second, a commission agent was robbed at Fatehgarh Churian. Last month, a sub postmaster was killed after armed intruders robbed a clerk of a post office in Ludhiana of Rs 20,000.

A couple of cases clearly indicate the involvement of criminal tribes like Bauhrias, Pandis and Calendras. In all these cases, the victims were battered to death with iron rods, wooden clubs or other such blunt weapons.



Now pay through cheque for minor traffic violation
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Chandigarh police has decided to extend the facility of on-the-spot payment through cheques for motor vehicle that are registered in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali and have been challaned. However, this facility would be applicable for minor traffic offences, according to police sources.

The account payee cheques in favour of ‘Chandigarh Traffic Police Compounding Fee’ would be accepted on the spot by the challaning officer of the traffic police.

The offender would have to write his name, father’s name, driving licence number with the name of the issuing authority and the challan number with the date on the reverse side of the cheque.

To avoid legal complications in future, the receipt of the cheque would be acknowledged on the offender’s copy of the challan form, the police sources said. However, the offender would also have the option of handing over a self-addressed envelope for mailing the receipt of the payment by the traffic police.

“Then after the realisation of the cheque a receipt prepared in duplicate for the amount paid will be despatched at the offender’s address. The original receipt will be kept as record by the challaning branch”, the sources said.

A police official said the motorists would not have to go all the way to the Sector-29 police lines to pay their fine for minor traffic violations that were punishable under Section-177 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.



Squatters to get identical flats, says Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Giving final shape to the process of rehabilitation of slum-dwellers, the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today said all eligible squatters would be given identical flats. He ruled out a suggestion for an independent plot or site for any eligible squatter in future. Justice Verma said there should not be any discrimination amongst eligible squatters.

The flats in different locations in the city would be four-storeyed and more or less identical to the ones already constructed in Sector 56. This was decided at a meeting of senior officers chaired by the UT Administrator in which modalities of rehabilitation scheme for eligible and ineligible squatters were discussed.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has been asked to concentrate only on the construction of tenements for eligible squatters and flats under the economically weaker section for ineligible squatters. Justice Verma said responsibility of possession of land in various pockets had been assigned to the CHB and had been asked to begin work on a war footing. He said the services to the sites should be provided by the Engineering Department and there should be no compromise on the quality of construction of the houses.

The Deputy Commissioner was asked to complete a citywide survey of eligible squatters to identify their total number in the city. The DC was also asked to complete a citywide survey of eligible squatters to identify their total number in the city. The DC was also asked to complete the process of allotment of available tenements to eligible squatters of the SBS and Palsora Colony at the earliest.

Justice Verma also asked the Estate Office and CHB to coordinate and expedite the resettlement of eligible squatters. The Estate Office would provide the approximate number of tenements required for resettlement. Meanwhile, the Commissioner, MC, has been asked to modernise the poultry slaughterhouse.

The Administrator issued these directions in special reference to the nuisance created by meat market in Sector 21 and various small butcheries being run in peripheral areas and resettlement colonies. The commissioner was asked to get the project report completed within a fortnight and submit the same so that funds could be earmarked for the poultry slaughterhouse.

Another issue that came under discussion was the beautification of four entry points to the city. It was felt that the four entry points, three on the national highway and one on the main road to SAS Nagar, needed beautification and proper landscaping.

The Engineering Department has been asked to put electronic guide maps on each of the entry points.



Who is the VC of PU?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Who is the Vice Chancellor of Panjab University? Is it Prof R.P. Bambah or Prof T.N. Kapoor? The fact of the matter is that none of the two are the present incumbents of the post, however, the local office of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) sends bills of the office and the official residence at the campus in their names.

Interestingly, Professor Kapoor had taken over as the Vice Chancellor from Professor Bambah in 1990. Prof Kapoor continued in the office till July 1997 when Prof M.M. Puri took over reigns of the university administration. The bills do not even mention the name of Professor Puri who was the Vice-Chancellor till July 2000 when Professor K.N.Pathak took over.

Professor Pathak, the present incumbent, has completed one full term in his office and was given an extension recently.

Prof S.K. Sharma, the secretary to the Vice-Chancellor, in a letter to the Commercial Officer of the BSNL said “the bill for telephone installed in the office of the VC (Professor Pathak) and also bill for the telephone installed at his residence are being sent in the names of Professor Bambah and Professor Kapoor, both former VCs. This may be corrected and bills be sent in the name of Professor Pathak”.

The letter seeking another correction points out that “another personal telephone is installed at the residence of Professor Pathak. The name in the telephone bills is mentioned as Professor Pathik”.

Professor Pathak, when contacted confirmed the errors in the bills and said that the university had sought the necessary corrections. A copy of the letter has also been forwarded to the Finance and Development Officer of the university and the Director, Public Relations.



Coming to rescue of harassed husbands

Chandigarh, July 25
For those who thought all privileges in the world were exclusively reserved for women, here is a chance to think afresh. A group of city lawyers, well posted about the fact that there is no one to give a patient hearing to men, have floated a special cell that will cater to those, who are seeking legal recourse in matters of harassment at the hands of their wives.

So just in case you happen to be among the harried lot of men who find it difficult to win over their women, just knock at the doors of Crime Against Husband Cell (CAHC) which will ensure complete protection of your fundamental rights, coupled with the right to dignified living.

The organisation has a simple logic: “crime against husbands have been increasing tremendously over the past few years, especially after the enactment of the section of dowry harassment in 1983. The dowry harassment law is nowadays misused extensively, thanks to the fact that most laws and institutions favour women. In fact, the section is being used as a weapon by wives and their relations to put the innocent husbands and their relations under unnecessary harassment”.

Organising secretary of the CAHC, Mr K.S Lamba, talking to The Tribune, said that “Our organisation has been floated to awaken the society to the crimes against men. Everybody feels an urgent need for change in the present law, especially the dowry law. Law in its present form is pre-judicial. It must provide for equal protection of innocent husbands and their relatives.”

Talking about need to form such a body, Mr Lamba said that “husbands are not prepared to bring their harassment to the notice of police authorities. This is because they know talking about their woes would simply add to their miseries and subject them to untold suffering. We are not against innocent wives being protected under law, but we also want a fair play in the game of justice. Innocent husbands and their relatives should also be protected. The law should be more preventive than punitive. It is made to gratify aspirations of the society. Keeping this in view the dowry harassment act also needs to be amended.”

Executive member, Rajesh K.Sharma, said that whenever the organisation learns about a husband or his relatives are being harassed unnecessarily, it will take appropriate action. He added that the amendment of the law was one of the basic features of the rule of law which must be judicious.

Another member Yogesh Goyal said that “the object of amendment of any Act is public good and amendments in the law should be made so as to make it relevant to the needs of the growing and changing society”. 



Converting wasteland into bird sanctuary
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Government College of Art (GCA), Sector 10, is getting closer to nature these days. Engaged in something that can well qualify as an eco conservation drive, the college authorities are setting an example for all the institutions, blessed with vast, unutilised patches of land.

In collaboration with the Environment Society of India (ESI) which is the regional resource agency functioning under the Ministry of Environment, the college authorities have converted their huge backyard into a bird sanctuary. Having cleared the dense wild growth in the backyard that served no purpose except spoiling the beauty of the campus, the authorities have planted 200 saplings of all descriptions to attract birds. They have also dug up a pit that helps in rain water harvesting.

Not just that, the authorities, under the guidance of Mr S.K. Sharma of the ESI, have dug a beautiful pond at the college entrance. Blooming with lotus and lily flowers, this pond has been filled with two kinds of fish — gambusia, the mosquito eating fish and the golden fish, which adds to aesthetics of the pond. About 200 fish have been released into the pond, which is all set to sport a wooden over bridge.

A majority of saplings planted are the ones that extensively feature in art works — from miniature paintings to sculptures from the Gandhara, the Buddhist, the Kushana and the Sanghol school. So you have the Sita Ashoka that features extensively in Kushana art works, coupled with other trees that enjoy a prominent place in art — Kadamba, Maulsari (associated with Lord Krishna), Camphor (used in religious rites), Amrapali, Jand, Ber and the sacred threesome formed by Pipal, Neem and Bod.

Prof Brahm Prakash, principal of the college, explains, “The idea behind planting these saplings is to help the students in nature studies. Many fruit trees have been planted, besides shady trees that offer scope for the play of light. Not only will this drive enhance the ambience, it will also provide a rich surrounding to students who will have full grown trees for their instant study. Most plants will grow in a year’s time.” Dense trees like pipal and neem have been planted at the entrance to the college.

Mr S.K. Sharma, the motivator of the drive, said, “Art College had a huge land lying waste. So we decided to clear the backyard of growth and use it for plantation instead. The saplings planted are a combination of flowering, fruit and heavy trees. 



Bulldozers in Grain Market, echo in Delhi
Advani “approached” to stop demolitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
More than 150 illegal sheds set up by traders in the grain, fruit and vegetable market in Sector 26 were demolished by a team of the Chandigarh Administration today as part of the ongoing drive to remove encroachments in the city.

The drive was stopped for a short time when former Mayor Raj Kumar Goyal and his son levelled allegations against the staff of the Chandigarh Administration. Mr Goyal was pacified by officers as he made statements that his shed had been demolished more than that of others. Actually the shed of Mr Goyal as well as those of the other traders are all illegal under the UT building bylaws.

The team of the Administration had reached Sector 26 his morning with three bulldozers. The tin sheds of the traders are on the concrete platforms used for loading and unloading. These sheds have now become full time storage spaces. A few small makeshift shops had also sprung up in the area under the sheds, forcing the Administration to take action.

By the evening traders’ bodies and welfare organisations had lodged protest against the drive. Samadhaan, a social group, said when such an action is taken against migrant labourers all political parties support them. The parties even involved the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, who was asked to handle the situation. Subsequently directions were given to stop the action with immediate effect.

But the bulldozers of the Administration now turned towards the minor but needful violations and demolished them. However, none of the so-called political leaders was to be seen nearby, members of Samadhan alleged.

Members of the group opined that perishable items like vegetables and fruits procured from far off parts of the countries need protection from sun and rain hence the sheds were need based.

Meanwhile the Chandigarh Beopar mandal flayed the ‘‘double standards’’ of the Administration and alleged that the Grain Market was suffering due to lack of infrastructure. The CBM deplored the fact that no political party had bothered to visit the market when bulldozers were removing the so-called encroachments. The CBM urged upon the Administration to provide sufficient need-based infrastructure which is required to run business smoothly.



Political pressure ends demolition drive
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 25
Bowing to the alleged political pressure the enforcement staff of Punjab Infotech Limited (erstwhile ELTOP) cancelled a major demolition drive in the Industrial Area here today leaving the local administration which had made elaborate arrangements high and dry. While the enforcement staff team denied any such pressure, sources stated that slum-dwellers whose houses were to be demolished today had contacted one of the local political leaders to stop the drive.

ELTOP owns large tracts of land in the Industrial Area, a part of which is encroached upon by over 600 jhuggis, popularly known as the Udham Singh Colony. About 225 policemen and a judicial magistrate were deputed specially for the drive. The SDM, SAS Nagar, was to supervise the operation along with the enforcement staff.

The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, however, stated that there was enough women police constables to handle the situation. The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, on the other hand mentioned that there was enough police personnel to carry out the demolition drive.

This is not the first time that an anti-encroachment drive has been scuttled following political pressure. Earlier this month, PUDA had announced that the Guru Nanak Colony behind the PCA Stadium in Phase IX would be removed as a part of a major operation. But even two days after announcements demolition drive was not carried out in the colony, said Mr T.S.Teer, president, Residents Welfare Association.

Similarly in Sector 57, after a successful demolition drive, the jhuggis were reconstructed allegedly on the assurance of another political leader that they will not be demolished again. In Phase I too, where a demolition drive was carried out last month, the slum-dwellers showed a letter signed by the MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, addressed to the Estate Officer, PUDA, asking him to talk to him before any demolition drive was carried out.

Stating that the lack of unity among the three Congress leaders active in the township was responsible for the failure of every encroachment drive in the past few months, a source in PUDA said three were hankering after the captive vote bank of these jhuggis. Bir Devinder Singh is the one who manages to stop such demolition drives.’’ he said.



Panel not in favour of powers for Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Talking about the sensitive issue of executive powers within the Municipal Corporation, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Municipal Corporation today suggested that powers should be wrested with the Commissioner and not the Mayor.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr K.S. Raju when asked that this suggestion was opposite to the demand of the previous Mayors, said the final decision to accept or reject the proposal lay with the Municipal house. The committee was entrusted with the task of framing a draft of model municipal laws to be sent to the Union Ministry of Urban Development which has sought suggestion to empower local bodies effectively.

The Legal Affairs committee also suggested that the delimitation of wards should be on the basis of population. The limit should be 20,000 for each ward. There should be no upper limit on the number of wards. The committee also suggested that area MP’s and MLA’s should be given representation and voting rights.

The committee also said the Mayor should not be elected through direct elections. The committee has also supported the constitution of the Municipal Establishment Audit Commission, Municipal Service cadres and State Municipal Vigilance Authority. The committee said the powers of the government to dissolve the MC should be curtailed and a high powered five-member committee headed by a judge should be responsible for this. Other members of the committee are —Ms K. Atmaram, Major Gen A.S. Kahlon (retd), Mr Surinder Singh, Mr C.K. Sawhney, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma and Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla.


Kiwis formulating new immigration policy
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
A new immigration policy is on the anvil in New Zealand, which will adversely affect people of this part of the country, says Ms Anuradha Sharma, a former Visa Officer in the New Zealand High Commission in Delhi and an immigration consultant.

Ms Sharma says once the new policy comes into force at the end of the year, the immigration from not only this part of the country but also from all Asian countries would be virtually reduced to a trickle. If a person wants to migrate to New Zealand, he has the best chance under the interim general skills category scheme (IGSC) operative at present.

Already, the Kiwi Government, she says, has decided that applications pending with the High Commission till July 2 should lapse unless they meet certain conditions. These are being returned along with the fee. The number of such applications in India, she says, is about 9,600.

Ms Sharma, who reached here today after a visit to Ludhiana, regrets that many immigration agencies have not told their clients about the new Kiwi policy.

New Zealand had changed its immigration policy on November 20 last with a retrospective effect. This was challenged in a high court in that country, which struck down the new policy. The government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. At the same time it introduced an interim policy through legislation.

Ms Sharma says those applicants whose applications will be returned by the High Commission can apply under the IGSC scheme within three months and in that case their existing police and medical certificates will be valid. Under the interim policy, however, an applicant must meet passmark (a minimum of 29 points on different criteria) and must have a job offer relevant to his or her educational qualifications and work experience.

She says the new policy is aimed at preventing the "scientists-driving-taxis" scenario. Under the new policy on the anvil, the Kiwi Government had raised the minimum standard of English language considerably. An applicant must score at least 6.5 points in the international English language testing system. Earlier, the minimum score was 5 points.

Under the new policy, a prospective migrant, meeting certain requirements like health, character and English language, will have to "express interest" in having a residency in New Zealand. Then he may be invited to apply for residence in that country. Only after he receives such an invitation, he would be able to apply.

Ms Sharma, who is here for a couple of days, wants to educate the prospective migrants to New Zealand on the interim as well as new immigration policy of that country.



Demand to extend ‘lal dora’ village heads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Leaders of various villages of Chandigarh today asked by the Chandigarh Administration to extend “lal dora” and remove liquor vends operating from kiosks located near villages and encroachments from the “shamlat” (common) land in villages.

These demands were raised at a meeting between community workers from UT villages and the administration. The meeting on “Development of UT villages” was chaired of Mr Virendra Singh, Adviser to the Administrator. Around 200 social workers, including chairpersons and members Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti, Chandigarh, and sarpanches participated in the meeting.

The main discussion was on the extension of “lal dora” as the population of the villages had increased manifold. Another issue was having liquor vends operating from kiosks removed. Most of such vends were located near the villages. The leaders said the administration must change its policy towards villages and demanded that no “ahatas” should be allowed in kiosks, as these caused harassment to villagers.

The administration was also informed to get encroachments removed from “shamlat” (common) land of villages, as such lands were worth crores of rupees in the open market. Even ponds at villages were being used to tether cattle.

The Adviser informed the participants that the objective of calling the meeting was to receive their suggestions and to seek cooperation of the village community in implementing rural development projects and in sorting out the bottleneck in the way of all-round development.

Mr Darshan Singh, Chairman, Zila Parishad, and Mr Bhupinder Singh, Chairman, Panchayat Samiti, and sarpanches from UT villages raised the issues of sanitation, upgrading of rural schools, improvement in education, devolution of power to panchayati raj institutions, opening of libraries in villages, proper drainage of rainwater, water supply and electricity connections, etc. Mr Kartar Singh Thakur, Sarpanch, Mauli Jagran, pointed out the problem of a dirty choe, which during rainy season caused damage to life and property.

The Adviser assured the villagers of immediate steps to fulfil these demands and to solve other difficulties, but he simultaneously informed that it could only be possible with the cooperation and assistance of the villagers. He also advised the sarpanches to call gram panchayat meetings to identify problems that could be solved at their level and mark those that required to be tackled at the level of the Chandigarh Administration.

The Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh, Secretary Rural Development, Mr M.P Singh, Chairman Chandigarh Housing Board, Mr G.K. Marwah, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, Chief Architect, Ms Renu Saigal, and Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh, were also present.



NGOs get Rs 25 lakh for welfare schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board, one of the prime NGO funding agencies in the city, has cleared grants-in-aid to the tune of Rs 25 lakh for executing various social welfare schemes in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The decision to this effect was taken at the 52nd meeting of the board held here yesterday under the chairmanship of Ms Kamlesh Gupta, who sanctioned grants -in-aid proposals for Rs 25 lakh under different schemes which the board runs for its mother body, Central Social Welfare Board in New Delhi.

The project proposals had been submitted by 32 NGOs. The main areas of intervention proposed by the NGO were awareness generation, projects for the poor and rural women, creches for children of working and ailing mothers, condensed courses of education for school dropouts, family counselling centres, short-stay homes for deserted women and counselling for undertrials and women convicts. Proposals for premarital counselling centres in Panjab University were also submitted.

Apart from clearing NGO projects at the meeting, the board also elected some members. Ms Nancy Ganju was elected vice-chairperson of the board and Dr Pankaj Mala Sharma treasurer. The other members of the board are Ms Agya Rajinder Singh and Dr Ramneek Sharma, besides official members who are Director, Social Welfare, Director, Health Services, Director Public Instruction (Schools) and the Block Development and Panchayat Officer. A representative of the Central Social Welfare Board is also a member of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board.



Paving way for success
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Having worked with the Cambridge Youth Enterprise Agency for over five year now, Vidya Sagar knows exactly what it takes to motivate children and youth towards success. As an instructor and motivator back home in Cambridge, Vidya Sagar has long been involved in generating confidence among children who come from a poor family background.

The idea behind the effort, which is supported by the government, is to bring the underprivileged children on a par with the privileged ones and offer them a level playing field as far as employment is concerned.

In Chandigarh to conduct special grooming classes for kids and youth, Vidya Sagar today talked about his work profile in the UK. “Our agency is supported by the Princes Youth Trust, which closely coordinates with us to help children pick up etiquette of all kinds. The main idea is to set goals for the youth. To further this objective, we conduct classes wherein we teach all about personality and etiquette, then we build up profiles of children after they have crossed the high school level and finally we tell them what profession they should opt for.

It is like enabling the children to enter their respective areas of interest.

So if we think a certain youngster is interested in carpentry, we will create complete infrastructure for him in our class, teach him the skills and set the goal for him.

Our work serves as an extension of academics. Academics provides students with information; we tell them how to channelise that information to realise goals.”

Currently touring India, Vidya Sagar will be conducting special classes for children and adults in Chandigarh.

He has already conducted workshops in Chennai and Bangalore. As he belongs to Chandigarh, he will conduct the longest workshop here.

To be organised in association with Trainer’s Den, a grooming academy in Sector 17, the workshops will commence from August 1 in two sessions for kids and adults.

Among the many aspects to be covered some will be the art of introducing people, art of giving gifts, business etiquette, hotel manners, art of making a conversation, health and nutrition tips and personal grooming.



S.K. Sharma installed Rotary Club president
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
Prof S.K. Sharma, Director, Energy Research Centre, Panjab University, was installed as the 27th president of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown in an impressive ceremony at a local hotel here today evening.

Prof Sharma, an accomplished academician and scientist, has several research papers published in journals of national and international repute and four books to his credit. In an audio-visual presentation, Prof Sharma gave a preview of the service projects that his team intended to accomplish in the year 2003-04.

Some of the priorities identified by Prof Sharma’s team included formulation of a club to work towards literacy programme for women, rehabilitation of handicapped youth, setting up of a digital service centre, developing of Kot Billa village in Panchkula district as a model village. Besides this work on upgrading night schools and vocational centre at Sarangpur village in Chandigarh is also on the agenda.



Catchy billboards and garbage dumps

“Mera shahar usday shahar ton sohana kyon nahin hai’’ (why is my city not more beautiful than his), ‘‘Clean Mohali-Green Mohali’’ — such billboards written in bold letters on freshly painted billboards on the road crossings greet the visitor as he enters Mohali from Chandigarh. But equally heady is the stink that enters his nostrills emanating from the garbage dumps scattered all over the town. Now that the Punjab Government has notified the Singapore code of civil sanitation for all civic bodies of Punjab, more billboards with still more catchy slogans will come up at more vantage points. Lakhs of rupees will go down the drain in publicising the code. But nothing will change on ground. Politicians will pass huge budgets under various heads and give contracts to their cronies. Whether they execute these projects is nobody’s business to check. One senseless project already under way in Mohali is construction of metalled pavements on both sides of the road.

No pedestrian can think of walking on pavements without stumbling 10 times on a hundred yard stretch. Sanitation of roads and public places should be the top priority of any civic body worth the name, and proper garbage disposal on regular basis from the garbage dumps should be the first in the list of priorities. But no system, governmental or privatised, seems to work, because neither of the two is honestly implemented. The residents see clusters of municipal sweepers dressed as dandies sitting and smoking beedies under shady trees while their trolleys and brooms rest in peace. Nobody from the executing authorities seems to ever nudge or ‘whip’ these persons.

Hence more slogans, more billboards, more Singapore codes, but no sanitation, no garbage disposal. Why not experiment with issuing anti-stink masks like anti-SARS ones to save the residents from stink and disease? It will create more budgets from a unique new project and bring plenty of publicity.

Prof Kulwant Singh, Mohali

Checking traffic snarls

The decision to ply electric buses on city roads is a good idea as far as pollution is concerned. But the apprehension is that these buses would add confusion to the already congested city roads. Road accidents are already on the increase and the widening of the roads has its own limitations. To help reduce such problems, I have the following suggestions:

1. A high-speed overhead train should be run between Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali. This would reduce traffic on the roads and will also add to tourist attraction. Since, this will reduce traffic on roads, accidents will also reduce.

2. An express flyover between crossing of Sector 17, 9, 18 and 8 (i.e. government press chowk) to Housing Board Chowk should be erected. This will reduce mix-up of high-speed and slow-speed traffic, thus, reducing chances of accidents and will also be time saving to commuters.

3. On all those roads which would need widening in the next 7 years, new trees should be planted accordingly so that by the time the existing trees need axing, the new ones are there to take care of the environment.

4. Office timings in one sector (e.g. Sector 17) to be staggered by at least 1 hour so that traffic congestion on the roads is reduced. This will help reduce road accidents.

5. It is commonly seen that local bus drivers stop the buses in the middle of the roads, without stoppage points. They also do not give any signal at the crossings. They drive the buses in the middle of the road, not giving side to the faster traffic. This is the biggest traffic hazard in Chandigarh. All these are high-accident prone points.

6. It is further suggested that retail market centres of Sector 17 and Sector 22 and a few other sectors should be opened on Sundays, and their weekly off to be staggered. This will reduce traffic on roads, thus reducing chances of accidents.

Vinay Prakash, Chandigarh

RC issue and its solution

RC issue has become a big problem causing worry, anxiety and panic. As can be seen, there is a definite need to locate the vehicle and the person driving it in the case of an accident or a challan. Certainly, this need-based issue has to be dealt with but in a thoughtful manner, keeping in mind the inconvenience to the public, people working in the Transport and Estate Offices and people using vehicles. The difficulty can be better appreciated by placing oneself in long queues and keeping away from one’s daily routine jobs for house for hours together. Also, the rules and regulations prescribed should be simple and easily workable rather than being intricate and confusing, incomplete and hard to be understood. Otherwise, it will be someone going in his/her own way, which may be like the Tughlak’s way.

Now, what can be the solution to this problem without messing up with the entire set-up and without making it a headache or a worrisome task? I would suggest the procedure parallel to the one being followed in reporting particulars about the tenants and servants in the house to the nearest police station. Particulars of the vehicles being driven by the persons residing at a particular address, including landlords, tenants, servants etc can be submitted. This will not need any change in the RC records.

It should also be kept in mind about the well publicised slogan ‘‘Police is your friend’’. Police is to help and correct public and not just to put on record a few challans everyday. At times it clearly seems that the intention is unfriendly. A police officer bringing greater number of challans by the end of the day may not be having eligibility to name and fame.

D.S. Arora, Chandigarh

Driving licences

It was heart-rending news in Chandigarh Tribune recently about a car accident resulting in death. Actually the traffic has become so hazardous that both the drivers and the public have lost road sense, what to talk of implementation of existing traffic rules, which are generally applied after the occurrence of accidents, and that too in a discretionary manner, depending upon the persons involved. Considering illiteracy and indiscipline among the majority, I would stress that the driving licence be only issued after strict driving test/scrutiny of particulars in the application. The most important is the training or lack of it and the knowledge of rules and driving test by the licensing authority. It is imperative that the prevalent practice needs modification. Quite a good number of men/women are driving vehicles without having any licence. The exact number is only left to the imagination of the police/transport officers.

In my opinion there should be one licensing office centrally located in the state which will finally issue the driving licence after strict driving test by a competent instructor. Impatient type of driving is most dangerous when passing the other vehicle or giving passage to the one coming from behind. Sometimes the driver going in front won’t let you to pass, creating unnecessary harassment. This tendency needs to be curbed. The driver is supposed to take all precautions with relation to the entire traffic patiently and never become emotional. The Central Transport Office for issuing the driving licence will serve a useful purpose. I am sure that licences will be issued to genuine persons if it is manned by meritorious officers.

The application for issue of licence may be submitted to the District Transport Offices of the respective districts, who will scrutinise the authenticity of the particulars in all respects to his satisfaction.

Adoption of this procedure would be felt inconvenient in the beginning but once the people become used to this routine, it will be smooth going for issue of licence for the right and deserving persons.

P. Singh Virk, Patiala

Rule of law and BJP

The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice Verma (retd), has done a wonderful job of removing illegal encroachments on government land. These shanty towns and ghettos should never have been allowed to come up in the first place had the official machinery been alert and vigilant. Officers who are part of this machinery should be held accountable and penalised for dereliction of duty.

Progress of this drive has been put on hold because of the deplorable policy of Central Government — their only aim is to capture votes in Chandigarh and exploit poor migrant labour. Rather than encouraging the rule of law they are encouraging the rule of jungle. This policy of the BJP is harmful to the residents of Chandigarh. They should write up and speak up against this unethical practice. We should not put hurdles in the performance of duties of a karamyogi like Justice Verma.

Dr Balraj Singh Gill, Chandigarh

A purposeless move

I look at the docility of the citizens of Chandigarh and despair for the much-vaunted Punjabi spirit.

One lazy bureaucrat who does not want to do his work diligently can haul up the entire citizenry and hold it hostage to his sudden whims and fancies. This is a malaise visible in all institutions of our democracy. In clubs one ignorant member will bounce a cheque and the secretary will pass a Draconian order that cheques will not be herewith accepted as payment. Which means everyone is found guilty without a trial. One account holder will default over his payment and the bank will check the accounts of all the other account-holders.

In the case of this change of address in the registration of vehicles, I find it very surprising that a police force which can go and catch a burglar if it wishes from Kanyakumari, should be reluctant to find the trail of some person in an accident. A little bit of detective work and you have the culprit.

If even a trace of the original Aryan blood is left in the veins of the people of Chandigarh, they should throw their damn vehicles on the Madhya Marg and block the traffic till this autocratic law is repealed. Is this a democracy where deep in the summer all the people are forced to queue up before two measly counters? Will we meekly accept any law? Shame on us!

I would be proud to stand in that damn queue if I saw the municipal councillors queuing up themselves; if I saw a Judge of the High Court taking leave to get his address changed; if the SDM politely stood in the humid hall waiting for his turn to get the number of his private car changed.

I hope someone has the good sense to withdraw this stupid unenforceable law. Laws which are untenable and unenforceable die a natural death, but here we need to kill this stupid law.

Ram Prasad, Chandigarh



Cyclist run over by Punjab Roadways bus
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25
An unidentified cyclist was run over by a speeding Punjab Roadways bus this afternoon. The accident took place near the Command Hospital and the victim received serious injuries on his head.

He was rushed to Command Hospital, where he later died. The police says that the victim over 60 years of age appeared to be a dhobi, as bundles of cloth were piled on the carrier of his bicycle.

Accused identified: The police on Friday claimed to have identified an accused involved in the highway robbery incident near Raipur Rani on Thursday morning.

The police said the accused was a local resident of Raipur Rani and was missing since the incident. Sketches of the accused were made after getting details of the accused from the passengers of the two buses.



Police files challan in immoral trafficking case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
The UT police today filed a challan against five persons, including Kiran “aunty”, alias Kamlesh, in an immoral trafficking case. The flesh trade racket, being operated from Delhi, was busted by the Chandigarh Police on May 25. The police had arrested three girls aged between 20 and 25 years and a pimp, Anil Sharma. Later, Kiran “aunty”, the kingpin of the gang, was arrested by the Delhi police in a separate case under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and was bought to the city by the Chandigarh Police. All suspects in the case had already been released on bail by the court.

Kiran “aunty”, allegedly running business from Delhi, had been operating under the guise of a dance troupe and used to supply girls to various parts of the country, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.



Briefcases containing 70,000 stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
An SAS Nagar resident, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh, became poorer by Rs 70,000 after his two briefcases containing the money were stolen from Sector 17 yesterday. The briefcases were lying in his Honda City car (CH03 A 7035). A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

Sanjay Kumar of Hallo Majra village yesterday claimed that his house was burgled while he was away. In his police complaint he alleged that jewellery, besides a television set and music system, was stolen from the house. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Vehicles stolen: A resident of Panjab University, Ms Sonia, reported to the police that her Maruti car (CH01 T 5238) was stolen on July 23 from near the State Bank of India office, Sector 22.

A Maruti car (CH01 7066) of Mr Charan Singh (Sector 43) was also reportedly stolen from his residence on the night of July 23.

Mr Vikram Singh Rawat of Sector 41 reported that his Hero Honda motor cycle (CH03 H 5441) was stolen from the sector on July 22. Three cases have been registered.

Four held: The police today arrested four persons and claimed to have solved a case of theft. The police said that more cases were likely to be solved after their interrogation. The police has also recovered stolen items from their possession.

Those who have been arrested are Dilbag Singh of Kajheri village, Sukhbir Singh of Burail, Wasim Ahmed of Colony No. 4 and Bhupinder Singh of Rasulpur village, Dera Bassi. After raiding one of their hideouts in Colony No. 4, the police recovered a VCR, a music system, jewellery costing about Rs 50,000 and a pair of shoes. Sources said that some of the items recovered were stolen from house No. 1466, Sector 43, on July 19.



Owner cries thief as thieves drive off car
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
A thief took away car of Mr Om Prakash Bansal, resident Sector 10 Panchkula, from near Solitaire Restaurant, Mani Majra in front of his eyes in the late hours here today.

Mr Bansal, who owns a poultry farm at Barwala, had called a business meeting at the restaurant.

When he came out of the meeting at about 10.30 pm, he saw a man sitting in his white Maruti Zen car (HR14A 0007). Another bottle green Maruti Zen car was parked in front of his car.

Mr Bansal ran towards his car, but before he could reach the car, the person sitting in it drove it off.

The other car also moved along with it. Colleagues of Mr Bansal also joined him in the chase, but to of no avail. Later a case was registered.



Laser show adds ‘spice’ to dull evening
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Spice Telecom organised, a colourful event, “Spice Laser Show” for its subscribers at Sector 17, Chandigarh.
The laser theme show depicted the evolution of man and his subsequent transformation from the Stone Age to today’s wire free mobile world. Besides, it also depicted the reach of the Spice network in the state and all over the country due to its tie-ups with nearly 300 operators in over 155 countries.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Swarn Bajaj, General Manager, Marketing of Spice Telecom said, “We are pleased to bring, for the first time in Punjab, an innovative laser show for all Chandigarhians. Innovation and creativity has always been the hallmark of Spice and it is the result of all such endeavours that has made Spice one of the most admired brands in the Indian telecom sector. The theme of the show was the achievement of having the largest number of roaming tie ups, spreading all across India and over 155 countries.”

The glittering laser beams, foot tapping music and the unique idea added ‘spice’ to the evening drawing rich applause from the audience present. 



Raveena to open new beauty centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Actress Raveena Tandon and Ms Vandana Luthra, chairperson of VLCC, beauty clinic, slimming and fitness centre, will inaugurate a new international look VLCC centre, incorporating a therapeutic diet clinic and aroma studio and spa tomorrow. Latest hi-tech radiancy treatment for instant acne and hair treatment will also be introduced.


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