Thursday, July 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU student leader seriously injured in attack
Tribune News Service

Students call for strike

Dejected by the alleged attack on PUSU president Malwinder Singh Kang, many students raised anti-establishment slogans, saying that they would not allow the university to function till the time the guilty were brought to book. PUSU member Mohit, along with Yogesh Goyal, vice-president, PUSU, gave a call for strike.

Chandigarh, July 30
Traditional rivalry between the supporters of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) and the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) came to the fore yet again this evening with members of SOPU allegedly assaulting PUSU president Malwinder Singh Kang and two of his companions. Khushbaz Singh Jatana, Davinder alias Nawab, Ramandeep, Pannu, Raju, Lala and Sabi have been booked under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 506 and 307 of the IPC for the attack.

Kang, who is also the outgoing president of Panjab University Campus Students Council, was admitted to the PGI with broken teeth, bleeding head and injuries all over the body. His friends Vikramjit Singh, a student of the Punjabi Department and Hardip Singh of the Philosophy Department, have sustained injuries on the head. Significantly, the attack precedes elections to the Panjab University Campus Students Council slated to be held shortly.

Supporters of PUSU indicate stains of blood where Malwinder Singh Kang was attacked in the university market on Wednesday evening
Supporters of PUSU indicate stains of blood where Malwinder Singh Kang was attacked in the university market on Wednesday evening.

The situation reportedly got out of control around 7.45 pm when SOPU president Khushbaz Singh Jattana, along with around six others including Nawab and Raju, allegedly attacked Kang with batons. Kang, who was sitting in his car at the PU market area in Sector 14, was allegedly dragged out of the vehicle and attacked with sharp-edged weapons. Some of the eyewitnesses on the PU campus said Jattana and his friends were armed with swords while others maintained that they attacked Kang with batons.

The moment Kang was dragged out of the car, Vikram and Hardip rushed to his help and sustained injuries. In a note handed over to The Tribune, Kang alleged that Jattana and his two friends were accompanied by one Sabi, a SOPU member, who was also involved in the attack.

This is not an isolated case of political rivalry between PU students’ factions taking a serious turn. However, the case has again spurred tension all over the campus, with hundreds of students gathering at the spot of the crime. Interestingly, the wife of Dean, Students Welfare, reached the spot earlier than her husband. Not only did the students raise slogans against the Vice-Chancellor and the Dean, Students Welfare, who reached the spot about two hours later than the occurrence of the crime, they also threatened that they would damage the VC’s car completely. While hundreds of students gathered in the market area, where Jattana had allegedly attacked Kang, many others reached the PGI.

Jattana, when contacted, denied his and his friends’ involvement in the incident. However, many students who witnessed the incident said Jattana had attacked Kang.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor said he would look into the matter and restore normalcy as soon as possible.



MC admits to shunting out cows
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The Municipal Corporation today admitted to have shunted out cows on the night of July 25. A report from Nahan quoting the Sirmaur SP said that the post-mortem report of the cows showed they had died after falling into the Lal Dang Khud on the Haryana-Himachal Border in Paonta Sahib.

A person accompanying the convoy to transport the cows on July 25 night, on condition of anonymity, said five or six trucks and a Gypsy with an officer had gone to the area to leave the cows from where the deaths had been reported. He did not say whether the cows had been thrown into the gorge or they fell as soon as released from the trucks carrying them.

Mayor Subhash Chawla after meeting Municipal Commissioner M.P. Singh, said, the vehicles had been sent to shunt out cows as per a 40-year-old policy, also in place during the five-year tenure of the BJP.

Mr Chawla said only an inquiry would be able to confirm whether the cows found dead were those shunted out by the Municipal Corporation.

The Sirmaur SP said during investigations it was found that 60 cows were to be shunted out in the forests of Haryana but for some unknown reason 26 of them were allegedly thrown into a gorge. The report quoted him saying that four of the 26 survived with injuries and were taken away by farmers of nearby areas.

The officer charge of handling cattle whom the Himachal Police is looking for, Dr M.S. Kamboj, was said to be on leave today.



Downpour triggers landslides in Morni
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Morni, July 30
Hundreds of residents of Morni are paying the price for development and urbanisation of the area. Frequent soil erosion and landslides are a fallout of human interference in the area.

The first spate of landslides was witnessed here after a downpour in the area for almost eight hours last night. In all, landslides occurred at 16 places along the Panchkula-Morni road . At Seelo Dhaulaghat and Badiyal, the landslides resulted road blockade. Huge rocks came sliding down the fragile Shivalik hills after breaking a retaining wall constructed along the hills to check soil erosion.

The lateral cutting of roads and toe-cutting of rocks for widening the roads, coupled with large-scale deforestation, has made this area vulnerable to soil erosion and landslides.

Several years ago, when the Public Works Department (PWD) had planned to widen and extend the roads, the Forest Department had objected to it because of the fragile nature of the hills. The matter had even been taken up with the Union Ministry of Environment before the final nod was given.

Today, at least seven “bhoj” (blocks of villages) — Naggal, Balag, Koti, Kothi, Rajpura, Pota and Palasra — which have over 50 hamlets beyond Seelo Dhaulaghat remained cut off till late this evening. Five landslides took place near Mandhana village and hamlets of Thana, Kheda Bagola and Gadiani. Six landslides occurred between Berwala and Gadiani, and two culverts had almost over a foot-high mound of stones and earth as a result of the landslides.

Locals say that it was only in the morning after the rain stopped that they noticed the landslides and informed PWD officials. Over 100 labourers were engaged to clear the road. Mr Baljit Singh, a resident of Teekri village, said no vehicles could pass beyond Seelo Dhaulaghat until a part of the road was cleared by the PWD men around noon. Children could not go to school because of the landslides. The sarpanch of Mandhana, Deena Nath, said frequent landslides caused problems. 



Cops yet to record statement of DIG
Tribune News Service

High Court norms for school buses
  • School buses should be painted in yellow colour.
  • Driver & conductor should have valid driving licence.
  • Bus should have a first-aid kit.
  • Driver & conductor should attend refresher course.

Chandigarh, July 30
The Chandigarh police is dilly-dallying on recording the statements of DIG S. Chatopadhyaya as well as the driver of the Army truck carrying schoolchildren. As many as 23 schoolchildren were injured following a collision between the DIG’s official car and the Army truck here on Monday morning.

The allegations and counter-allegations by the civil and defence authorities regarding the accident have put the UT police in a fix over how to handle the case. The FIR about the accident does not carry any names.

The official vehicle of the DIG was not bearing the number allotted to it by the registration and licensing authority. In fact, it had a fake numberplate. When contacted, an official of the UT Police in Sector 26 police station said he was ignorant about the matter. The fact has not been mentioned in the FIR.

The written statement issued by the DIG has put a question mark over the management of traffic in the city. Traffic lights start functioning after 7 am senior officials of the UT Police admit.

The registered number of motor vehicles in the city has crossed the mark of six lakh. Thousands of vehicles carrying children to school, ply on the city roads in the morning. Even CTU buses start functioning at 6 am. Heavy traffic without traffic lights for an hour in the morning can lead to accidents.

Second, a check on senior civil as well as defence officials is needed to prevent them from driving their official vehicles. The DIG says he was driving the official car, but no efforts have been made by the police to verify whether he possesses a valid driving licence or not.

The blank FIR registered in haste seems to have left ample space for a compromise between the Army personnel and the DIG.

The timing of the accident, 6.40 am as claimed by the DIG in a written statement, indicates that he was in hurry as Shatabdi Express leaves for Delhi at 6.50 am. He was on his way to the railway station when he met with the accident.

The Army, too, is to be blamed for violating the orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court that all school buses carrying children should be painted in yellow, the driver and conductor of the bus both should have a driving licence, there should be first-aid kit in the bus and the driver/conductor should attend refresher courses in driving at regular intervals.

This judgement was passed by Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Satpal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Namit Kumar versus the UT Administration case.



PU lets down its toppers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Panjab University has discontinued the award-giving ceremony for toppers in different teaching departments of the university. The much-awaited annual event has not been organised since 1999.

The function was organised to honour the toppers in all departments, including BSc (honours), MA and M Sc courses. The university also honoured winners in various cultural events and editors of the university magazine. Special additions had been made by including winners of prizes in academic, extra-curricular, contests and participation in community-based social service.

The university collects a special fee meant for the award function. The function was last held during the tenure of Prof Anirudh Joshi who was the Dean during 1993-1998. It happened only once later during the tenure of Prof R.S. Grewal.

The Dean’s office also used to send wishes for birth anniversary and examination to students in their rooms through hostel wardens. The university also used to extend invitation for the award ceremony to parents of meritorious students.

Prof Joshi said besides the normal functions, painting contests for campus students and “kavi darbars” were also held. Inter-hostel light music competition was also organised to promote camaraderie.

He said the university had an annual convocation which featured toppers in all courses. Students from affiliated colleges were also included.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said he would look into the issue and ensure the revival of the event.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Students Union, said the function had not been held since long which reflected on the interest of university officials in events concerning students. A prize distribution function was always eagerly awaited by the students.

Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean, Students Welfare, said winners in cultural events were honoured in functions concerned. He said he would look into the details of the case for other toppers.

An MA (History) topper who was awarded a gold medal in 1997 said she had not received the award for her M Phil which she topped in 1999. “An award function is a life-long memory which a student cherishes. The university should honour its bright students,” she said.



Police all set for challan drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Even as a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that any action by the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents would be subject to decision of a writ petition pertaining to the change of address in the registration certificates, the local police is all set to launch a challan drive as soon as the July 31 deadline expires.

Sources in the police department, however, maintained that the possibility of the challan drive being deferred by the Chandigarh Administration could not be ruled out.

In his petition, the former Head of Panjab University’s English Department, Prof D.C. Saxena, had sought directions to the Chandigarh Administration against implementing the reported notification regarding the change of address in the registration certificates.

Professor Saxena had also sought directions to the administration for formulating a practicable and humane scheme for implementing the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act without causing harassment to the citizens. He had pleaded that interim stay should be granted in the matter so that the residents could get the addresses changed without facing inconvenience.

Terming the notification “illegal”, the petitioner had added that a fee of Rs 220, already charged from motor vehicle owners, should be refunded.



Man at liquidator’s office in police net
Breakthrough in computer parts theft case
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, July 30
Five years after computer parts worth Rs 1.50 crore were stolen from Gurgaon-based Altos India Pvt Limited, a staff member at the liquidator’s office, appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has landed in police net. The firm, running into losses, was put under the liquidator’s scanner in 1997.

The accused, K.K. Dutta, was arrested by the local police today. Krishan Singh, a peon, has also been arrested in this connection. The police is on the look-out for two officials of the firm allegedly involved in the theft and sale of the computer parts. Dutta is a resident of Sector 19 while Krishan Singh stays in Sector 7.

As per police sources, Dutta, the then senior technical assistant at the liquidator’s office, was sent to prepare an inventory of one of the three units of the firm in August 1998 along with Krishan Singh. On September 4, the two employees along with the general manager of the firm, D.K. Kapil, and its deputy general manager P.K. Verma, besides a peon, allegedly entered a unit of the firm without authorisation and took away 150 cartons of computer parts costing about Rs 1.50 crore.

The firm was put under liquidation in 1997 and a liquidator was appointed by the high court. All three units of the firm were sealed and a private security agency was appointed at the units.

The sources said Dutta along with the firm officials reached the unit located in Gurgaon but were stopped by security personnel. Dutta reportedly told them that he was entering the compound as an authorised official of the liquidator’s office. They entered the firm’s compound by breaking the official seal and took away the computer parts in a taxi.

The security staff reported the matter to the owner who reported the matter to the official liquidator. The matter reached the Department of Company Affairs in New Delhi.

The incident was also reported to the Central Vigilance Commission and an inquiry was conducted. It is learnt that Dutta took voluntary retirement in 2000.

In February this year, on the direction of the court, a three-member committee headed by SSP Gaurav Yadav was formed to investigate the matter. After investigations, a case was registered with the economic offences wing of the police on May 5. Dutta has been booked under Section 409, IPC.



Tom remembers Punjab connection
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Tom Alter has always been bewildered by the importance people attach to nationalities. No wonder he remains on his guard over the issue of belonging. As you seek a conversation with the man of many muses, he obliges you with a rather humble remark, “I hope you won’t ask me if I am an Indian. I trust you know that I am one.”

As our quintessential Indian splashes the winning smile and confesses his love for Faiz and Ghalib, comfort dawns upon the heart. Every detail about Tom is reassuring — he shares your roots, your ideals, your history. Indeed Tom has always been fascinated with the Indian history, which, he feels, is replete with inspiration for civilizations. No wonder he played with ease the towering Maulana Azad in the Sayeed Alam production “Maulana Azad” that traces the lesser known aspects of the leader’s life.

In Chandigarh to announce the launch of an acting workshop on the behalf of Cine Scope, Tom informed, “The play opened to an enlightened gathering at Jamia Hamdard, Delhi, in December. It was a solo performance in which the Maulana shares experiences with his secretary, who features nowhere. The role was challenging on all fronts. I had to be careful about historical details as also about emotions the character inspired. Many Maulana contemporaries were watching me. But the standing ovation confirmed that I had justified history. The production has been invited by England and Pakistan.”

Coming back to roots, Tom referred to his Punjab connection. “My father was born in Sialkot. I was raised in Mussoorie, not too far off from here.” Not many know that Tom taught at a mission school in Jagadhri (Haryana) before taking the film route. A nostalgic Tom remembers, “There was something very warm about Jagadhri. I remained a teacher there until the day I watched Rajesh Khanna romance Sharmila in Aaradhna. That was the beginning of my addiction to cinema.”

Fuelling this addiction was the stint at Film Institute, Pune, where Tom received an offer from Satyajit Ray, who signed him up for Shatranj Ke Khiladi. For those who typecast Tom in the foreigner villain’s role, it’s important to know that Ray chose him for his mastery over Urdu. Recalls Tom, “The most challenging scene in the film has me playing the interpreter between Richard Attenborough and the mother of Wajid Ali Shah. I am translating Urdu into English and vice versa. That scene is the loveliest scene I’ve ever shot.”

Having studied Urdu for 12 years, Tom has written an Urdu script for a film he wants to make. Interestingly, the film which traces the friendship of a padri, a maulvi and a pandit, has been inspired by a Faiz Ahmed Faiz couplet: “Ek fursat-e-gunaah mili woh bhi chaar din; dekhe hain hamne haunsale parvardigaar ke.” The film will feature Naseeruddin Shah, Benjamin Gilani, besides Tom.

Also associated with Benjamin and Naseeruddin in the theatre group, Motley, Tom has worked in countless English productions, where he has played powerful characters of Robert Clive, Mountbatten, Henry Lawrence and General Dyer. Largely satisfied with the range of characters he has played, Tom’s only regret is that he could not master the art of making people laugh.

“I am bad at comedy,” says the actor, who will shortly feature in three films — “Hawaein”, a film set in the backdrop of 1984 riots, directed by Amitoj Mann; Asambhav, a thriller by Rajiv Rai and Aitbaar, a Vikram Bhatt film that also features Amitabh Bachchan.



Silly’ objections stall lecturers’ deputation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
A move by the UT Administration to accept college lecturers on deputation from Punjab and Haryana after a gap of several years for posting in government colleges in the city has been stalled following what is described by UT officials as a few “silly objections” raised by the Union Public Service Commission.

Official sources in the UT Administration indicated here today that most of the objections related to procedural matters which, strictly speaking, did not fall within the domain of the Central body. As far as the UT Administration was concerned, the only requirement involving the selection of college lecturers from Punjab and Haryana for deputation was to secure a formal approval from the UPSC. The rest of the process, including calling for panels of lecturers from Punjab and Haryana, their selection for posting in UT colleges and issuing of formal orders posting them in the city colleges was done by the UT Administration as laid down in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

Official sources said that the UT Administration had sent the list containing the selected lecturers to the UPSC for approval but the UPSC had made a back reference. “We are preparing a detailed reply explaining the position under the existing rules and regulations,” the sources said, adding that “we hope that the list would be cleared soon.”

In the meantime, the Administration has begun preparing for hiring guest faculty for the colleges in case the selected list of lecturers is not approved by the UPSC. As many as 32 lecturers from the two states were selected last month for posting in UT colleges. Of these, 13 lecturers were from Punjab and the remaining 19 were from Haryana.

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

The UT has a total of 374 posts of lecturer of which 224 belong to the UT cadre, 90 to Punjab and 60 to Haryana. The selections made by the Education Department will take care of this shortfall as regards Punjab and Haryana posts. as regards UT posts, 29 candidates belonging to SC and OBC have already been selected by the UPSC but their formal appointment is held over pending a clarification from the government of India.

Official sources said that if cleared by the UPSC, the appointment of the deputationists from Punjab and Haryana would be for 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 ration of 60:40 existed in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, under which 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 has since amended the Chandigarh Educational Service (Group-B Gazetted) Government Arts and Science Colleges Rules allowing posting of deputationists in UT colleges.



Exposed electric cables pose danger to life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Months after the exposed electric cables claimed a life in Sector 41, the UT Electricity Department, has not learnt lessons. For about two months now, powerful electric cables are lying exposed at the backside of SCO — 264 in the market area of Sector 35-D.

Hanging at a precariously low height where any casual passer by can inadvertently fall a prey to the danger, the electric cables pose a potential danger to human life. Apart from posing danger to life, the loosely connected wires are also causing a great deal of trouble in power supply to showrooms in the area. So bad is the condition that Utkaliaka, the emporium of Orissa government, often goes without electricity whole night.

Owners of the showrooms in Sector 35-D, said the area came under the SDO, subdivision No 7. Mr S.K. Nanda, manager, Utkaliaka, said, “We have been complains repeatedly but the electric cables continue to hang loosely threatening us as also the visitors to the sector. Power supply has become extremely erratic. Electricity goes off at least for three hours every day. Our complains have not yielded any result. Some electricity department’s workers come but they never repair the fault completely. I wonder what they are waiting for. Casualty can occur at any time.”

Meanwhile, other showroom owners added that they have escaped danger many a time. “These wires are very strong and powerful. They are hanging at a very low height where anyone passing by can come in contact and even die. This problem is not personal. It pertains to human life,” said one of them. The danger has been doubled in the wake of the monsoons, which further charge up the wires and add to their fatal dimensions.

Meanwhile, when contacted, the man on duty in the 11 KV substation, Sector 35-B, said their office had not received a simple complain in this matter. When posted on the matter, he said the office would immediately get the fault repaired.



CBI inquiry sought into death of cows
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The BJP today demanded registering a case against Mayor Subhash Chawla for the death of 22 cows and demanded a CBI inquiry into the affair in which the cows were found dead in Kalesar forest area of Paonta Sahib district in Himachal Pradesh.

“The Mayor should be booked for the death of cows found dumped in a gorge in Himachal,” BJP councillor Gian Chand Gupta, flanked by party president Yashpal Mahajan, councillors Kamla Sharma, Rajesh Gupta, general secretary Purushottam Mahajan and National Kisan Morcha general secretary Shyam Ji Bhaskar, said at a press conference.

Mr Bhaskar said he would bring the National Animal Welfare Board Chairman, Justice Ghuman Mal Lodha, to the city to have the matter investigated.

The attack on the Mayor comes a day before the General House meeting of the municipal corporation which is likely to come under the shadow of the death of cows, allegedly dumped by the municipal corporation of Chandigarh in the forests of Himachal Pradesh.

Reacting to the allegations, the Mayor said “I am ready to get a CBI inquiry done into the affair and the person booked who might have been behind the death of the cows.” Mr Chawla said he was ready to have an open discussion on the issue at the House meeting. The leader of the Opposition in the municipal corporation, Ms Kamla Sharma, demanded a CBI inquiry into the Chandigarh Club episode also involving the Mayor and sought his resignation on moral grounds.

Ms Sharma alleged that she had been denied her right as a councillor to ask a question on the club episode permissible under Section 63 sub-Section 3 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act as the matter related to municipal corporation.

Mr Chawla, when asked, said the rejection of Ms Sharma’s question has been communicated from the Commissioner’s office on the ground that personal issues could not be brought on the floor of the House. The Mayor said he had not personally rejected the question and was even ready to discuss the issue in the House, if rules permitted.


UT plans golden jubilee celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Golden jubilee celebrations of Chandigarh are being planned by the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Administration from October 7.

This was stated here today by the art and culture committee of the Municipal Corporation Chairperson, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, after its meeting which discussed the preparations in detail. The committee decided to write to all market associations, asking them to inform the corporation about their need to hold events in each market and organise festivals on the pattern of those held last year in Sectors 17 and 22.

Ms Amar Kulwant said she had asked the Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Administration to improve the condition of the park in Sector 9.

The committee could not take up other issues as it was informed that it had not been allocated funds for the year and the non-Plan budget had been exhausted. A resolution to correct the anomaly was passed, stipulating that 50 per cent of the amount earned by community centres would be transferred to the committee. The matter was then discussed with the Mayor, who assured the committee chairperson that some budgetary arrangement for the committee would be made soon.



Selling treasure for survival
Monica Sharma

Two of Bhasin’s prized possessions, a gold medal with mention of Mohindra College Patiala State and a rare handwritten miniature book, that he intends to sell.
Two of Bhasin’s prized possessions, a gold medal with mention of Mohindra College Patiala State and a rare handwritten miniature book, that he intends to sell. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 30
For 40 years, he has travelled all over the world — from the US to Australia — in search of antiquities. Over the ages, he has purchased gold coins, medals, even old clocks. Today, he is being forced to part with his collection for survival.

Recovering from kidney transplant, property-cum-antique dealer Rajiv Bhasin needs money, a lot of it, to buy medicines. “Every month I have to buy medicines worth Rs 15,000,” he says. “Obviously I do not have that kind of money. That’s the reason why I am being forced to sell off my collection.”

Bhasin, now putting up in Sector 11, Panchkula, started young. So young that he does not even remember when. “I was still a boy when I started collecting coins,” he reveals. “I seriously do not recall when my hobby became a passion.”

Real estate business gave Bhasin more time, and freedom, to pursue his passion. Leaving behind the comfort of his house, he travelled from one country to another, contacting goldsmiths and other mongers in the process.

“Most of the time people do not realise the worth of their own possessions,” he asserts. “For them, a medal is just a gold article to be sold to a goldsmith in the hour of need. That’s where we get our stuff from at nominal price.”

The process, however, is not simple. “You should have thorough knowledge about medals and coins. That is why I read a lot of books,” he maintains. The price an antique can fetch is directly proportional to its rarity, he discloses. “But till I suffered from kidney failure, price was the last thing on my mind,” he insists.

Sitting on a bed, surrounded by old clocks, phones and paintings lit by a chandelier, he points at scores of gold, brass and silver coins, along with medals from the 18th century and even older. “I am willing to sacrifice all this for survival.”

He adds: “On Monday itself, I sold a gold coin to buy two small vials of medicines. The pain kills me and tears roll down my eye, but then.... Now I am offering a medal with Mohindra College, Patiala State, inscribed on one side and Viceroy Lord North Brooke on the other. I am sure it is a unique piece and will fetch me enough money to sustain my treatment for some time.”

With fading eyesight due to medicine, a son still studying in college and wife who remains mostly at home, Bhasin’s only hope to save his treasure is assistance from some non-government organisation.



30-page inquiry report into Ranbaxy fire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 30
The Additional Director General of Punjab (ADGP), Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), Mr S.K. Verma, today submitted a 30-page inquiry report regarding the Ranbaxy fire incident before the PSHRC without revealing the exact cause of explosions that took place on June 11.

As a result of the fire and blasts, five persons lost their lives, while several others were injured. Thereafter, separate complaints alleging human rights violation and for compensation for victims were filed by the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) and the Mohali Gram Welfare Association.

Giving details, Mr Verma stated that “it is not possible to determine with certainty whether mechanical or human failure had led to the fire. Thereof, it is not possible for me to conclude by giving categorical reasons whether such explosions or fire can be avoided in future.”

While talking about the safety of Ranbaxy employees and residents of SAS Nagar, Mr Verma said: “The members of the factory can be better advised to get safety devices updated for the safety of the employees and residents of SAS Nagar.”

Giving details, Mr Verma added that it was mentioned in various reports that Ranbaxy had failed in its duty to ensure the safety of workers and general public and to stop the leakage of toluene gas. The reports also raised questions over the routine checks of the system.

Meanwhile, the counsel for the Lawyers for Human Rights International, Mr T.S Sudan, has submitted a memorandum carrying signatures of 221 witnesses and statement that fire and explosions took place due to human failure. The hearing on the case has been fixed for August 6.



Muslim settlers threat to demography, says BJP
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 30
Attempts are being made to change the demography of Punjab by settling Muslims in the state in an organised way, especially in the border areas. Stating this at a press conference at Sohana, near here, today, the general secretary of the state unit of the BJP, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, claimed that nearly 10,000 Muslims from Saharanpur, Bangladesh and Pakistan had been made to settle in the Ferozepore area. He said in the border areas around 30 “mazaars” had come up in the recent past.

Mr Grewal said the “madarsa” culture was spreading in the state which was a matter of grave concern. He said in the Kishangarh area in Bihar, the Muslims had become a majority. The result was that non-Muslims were finding it difficult to cremate bodies and were compelled to bury these.

Mr Grewal said there was a need to inquire into the development but stressed that the hand of Pakistan’s ISI into the organised settlement of Muslims in the state could not be ruled out. He said state leaders on the BJP would meet the Union Home Minister soon and urge him to visit the state to assess the situation.

In reply to a question on possible poll alliance, Mr Grewal said the BJP already had an alliances with the SAD. If need be alliances with other “like-minded parties” could be forged but only after consultations with the SAD, he added.

Mr Grewal, who is also all-India vice-president of the Kisan Morcha, said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee genuinely wanted to protect the interests of farmers. He had recently reduced the interest rate on loans for farmers. He also announced a Rs 600 crore package for sugarcane growers.

He said around 1,000 farmers from the state would visit Delhi on August 2 to thank the Prime Minister. He, meanwhile, demanded a separate agricultural policy for the state.



PUDA begins demolitions after 2 yrs of HC order
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 30
The long-awaited demolition drive to remove decades’ old Jhotte Kutt Colony here began today, almost two years after the Punjab and Haryana High Court vacated the stay orders of 33 petitioners who had their jhuggis here.

The colony, which encroaches over two acres of prime land in Sector 71, is one of the oldest in the township. It has 276 jhuggis, which were removed today. The rest of the structures, owned by 102 persons, who have a stay order from the court, had to be spared by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) team.

Interestingly, most jhuggi owners in the colony do not live here, preferring better localities in the township, and have given out their jhuggis on rent. Baldev Singh, a former Punjab police employee, better known as jhotte kutt owns 30 jhuggis here and reportedly collects rent from those living here.

Similarly, Karnail Singh, Parminder Kaur and Jaspinder Singh are some of those listed in the PUDA files as owners of a majority of jhuggis here. The rent varies from Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per month and many of those residing in these colonies have been paying rent now for over 10 years now.

Led by PUDA Junior Engineer Sukhpal Singh the drive was undertaken today in accordance with an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2001, vacating the stay orders of 33 persons regarding demolitions.

Stating that the subsequent official procedure took over two years before the orders could be implemented, a PUDA official mentioned that over a 100 more petitioners have in the past 10 years been granted stay by the court in a similar case.

‘‘These stay orders start from 1993 with the last one ordered in 2002. Till these stay orders are vacated, the demolition process in Jhotte Kutt Colony cannot be carried out beyond what has been done today,’’ he said.

The drive started at 9 am in the morning. The jhuggis were scattered in the colony and were removed according to their location listed in the PUDA survey carried out in 2002.

Residents of Sector 71 have been over the years demanding the removal of the colony where many of the slum-dwellers rear cattle for a living, leading to filth and stink in the colony.



As good as its name
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Inspired by the success of last year’s golden jubilee celebrations of the markets of Sector 22 and 17, Hotel Regency in the Sector 35 lane of restaurants has pulled a coup. It has offered a scheme for guests that they will find hard to resist. During the 100-day festive period of July 18 to October 25, anybody partaking of the hotel’s hospitality and incurring a bill of a minimum Rs 500 stands to win a car, a TV set or a fridge The General Manager, Mr Ajay Ahluwalia, says that they have come up with this scheme to attract customers.

But what about food and the quality of service? Says Mr Lalit Bhatia, an IPS officer who is a regular for the past five years and happened to be at the eatery today during lunchtime, “The hotel is as good as its name — regent. And I have tasted one of the finest dishes here and experienced prompt service provided in an excellent ambience.”

Pink Pearls, the restaurant, the bar and the banquet hall have been host to a number of lively parties and quiet twosomes ever since the joint came up 11 years ago. You have a variety of delectables to choose from Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines. Savour the smart salute of the watchman and go on to be helped by the liveried waiters as notes of soft instrumental music fill the dimly-lit carpeted room.

For starters, there is a tongue-tickling range of typical Indian coolant drinks like jeera pani, lassi, masaledar chaach and the special mango lassi. Then there is the halka phulka chaat and kabab, besides the usual shorbas (soups). From the Indian kitchen, there are delights like veg and non-veg tikkas and kebabs, straight out of the tandoor.

The traditional fare spiced up in the handi includes dhaba chicken, murg makhani, gosht korma and veg treats like kadai panir, navratan korma and mushroom do piaza. Complement them with Basmati pulao and rotis/parathas/naan, peppered with salad and raita.

For those who prefer Chinese food, the specialities are chicken chilli, fried rice, chowmein, manchurian and spring rolls. And off the Continental hot range is grilled fish, baked veggies, lemon chicken and sizzlers. Round up with a scoop of ice-cream or the breezy soda and juice.



BSF post lying vacant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
About a year after the post of Additional Director General (West), Border Security Force, was established here for effective management of the western border, it has largely remained vacant. This has reportedly been creating administrative problems in the smooth functioning of the newly created headquarters.

Though an Additional Director-General (ADG) was posted here initially, he was moved out within two months, ostensibly because he had no exposure to the BSF. Since then no ADG has been posted here. Sources reveal that another officer of the rank of ADG at BSF Headquarters in Delhi has been given the dual charge of this post, while a Deputy Inspector General is holding the fort here.

“When a new headquarters is set up, a lot of administrative work and co-ordination is required and there are any number of problems to be sorted out,” a source remarked. “If the head of the family is not there, naturally there are difficulties,” he added. While there may be administrative hitches, the source, however, asserted that on the operations front, things are fine.

Selection for this post is made by the Ministry of Home Affairs after a panel of names of eligible officers is forwarded to it and final clearance for the appointment is accorded by the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr K.K. Kashyap, an IPS officer, was the ADG here.

With the coming of the BSF to Chandigarh, the city has emerged as a major centre for paramilitary forces. It was already a major military centre. The office of the Central Reserve Police Force’s Additional Director General (north western region) is located here.



Sewerage choked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The heavy monsoon has damaged sewerage in the SBI, RBI and Amrita Oriental Tribune complexes in Sector 48-A (from house No 294 to 411), making sewage spill over on the road, residents of the area complained here today. As a result the residents have been experiencing great hardship as sewage emits a foul smell.

Overflowing sewage has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies which can lead to an epidemic. Complaints to the authorities concerned to set right the damage have fallen on deaf ears.



Erring cops sent to Police Lines

Panchkula, July 30
The two policemen posted at the Sector 6 police post here, Karam Singh and Varinder Singh, who misbehaved with a vendor last night have been sent to the Police Lines. They had tried to implicate the vendor in a case of liquor smuggling. The cops, allegedly in an inebriated condition, went to the vendor, who sells eggs, and demanded food. By that time the unsuspecting victim had wound up business. He pleaded that he could not oblige them. This infuriated the cops, who smashed his rehri and took him to the police post. — TNS



2 girls hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 30
Two students of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, were injured after the Kinetic Honda they were riding was hit by a truck near Piccadilly roundabout here this afternoon. The girls were returning home at Kota village, Panchkula, after attending the college.

As per information available, Urvashi (17) was driving the scooter and Kulwant (21) was riding pillion. Urvashi who sustained a leg fracture reportedly told the police that the truck (HR58 1493) rammed into their vehicle from behind. Kulwant sustained injuries on the arms. Meanwhile, the driver of the truck, Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur district, has been arrested under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

Ms Hardeep Kaur, a resident of Sector 44, reported to the police that her Bolero Jeep (CH03F 6951) was stolen from her residence on the night of July 25. A resident of Sector 23 also reported that two youths riding a Hero Honda motor cycle stole petrol from his car yesterday and fled. Two cases of theft have been registered.

Man held
The police has arrested Parveen Kumar of Jind district from near Kile Wali Gali, Burail village, here yesterday and recovered 21.56 gram of smack from his possession. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered.


Teacher, wife booked
The Haryana police has registered a case against a teacher, his wife and brother for abducting a young college girl from Nagla village, under Barara police station on July 16. The police said it had registered a case under Sections 366 and 120 of the IPC on a complaint by the girl’s father. The complainant alleged that village school teacher Hari Om and his wife wanted his daughter should marry his younger brother Naresh. UNI

4-yr-old killed
A four-year-old girl and a cyclist were killed in separate road accidents in the district on Tuesday, police said. The girl, daughter of a labourer from Madhya Pradesh working in a cardboard factory along the Naraingarh road, was knocked down by a vehicle near Handesra village. Scrap dealer Om Pal, alias Omi was knocked down by a private bus at Agar Sein Chowk along the Ambala-Hisar road. The driver escaped leaving behind his bus on the spot. UNI



One more held in Gagandeep case
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 30
The police here today claimed to have arrested Mandeep, one of the five accused in the kidnapping of 11-year-old Gagandeep on July 19 while he was on his way back from school in rickshaw. The boy, a resident of Phase II here, was returned to the family after two days by a rickshaw-puller sent by the mother of one of the kidnappers. Out of the five accused, Jatinder and Surjit Singh Bains are already in police custody.

According to the SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, Mandeep was caught from Adarsh Colony, Naya Gaon. He reportedly confessed to the crime during interrogation. The other accused, Balwinder Singh and Anita, are still at large.



Drug peddler held, opium seized
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 30
The police has arrested a person on charges of peddling drugs and seized 1.25 kg of opium from his possession.

According to the Superintendent of Police, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, the accused, Varinder Singh of Manouli, was stopped by the SHO, Sohana, Ms Raka Ghira at Madanpura T-junction during a special checking drive.

Varinder was on a motor cycle. He was frisked by DSP Daljit Singh and over 1.25 kg of opium was seized from his possession. During interrogation, he told the police that he used to buy opium from a person in Panipat and sell it at higher rates here.



Admn, MC to blame for problems plaguing
Sector 7 market
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service


  • Delay in construction of pavement in front of the shops
  • Deplorable condition of pavements
  • Back lane is in bad shape
  • Frequent waterlogging even during slight showers
  • No public lavatory for SCFs
  • Blind exits from residential areas facing the market causes accidents.

THE callous attitude of the local administration and Municipal Corporation in improving the basic amenities in the inner market of Sector 7 is telling on the health of the market. The shopkeepers lament that lack of road engineering in the market is proving to be fatal for road users — around 50 accidents take place on an average due to a “virtually” unnoticeable road divider near the Sector 7 petrol station. Being an old established market, business has not been bad for many.

Few traders lament that pavements in front of their showroom-cum-flats (SCFs) are in need of urgent repair. Mr Amar Nath Sharma, president of the Sector 7 SCF Market Welfare Association, said due to the damaged pavement, an aged customer visiting his shop fell when he accidentally stepped on to a damaged part of the pavement.

The general secretary of the market association, Mr Ashok Kumar, laments that around Rs 3 lakh had been sanctioned for street lighting and another Rs 3.40 lakh for laying of new pavement.

An active member of the Market Welfare Association, Mr Amar Nath said the Mayor of the corporation, Mr Subash Chawla, and the local Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Pawan Bansal, had visited the market in January this year and assured all possible help.

The business men are equally unhappy with the traffic police for not challaning wrongly-parked vehicles in front of their shops. “We had got the parking space in the market increased. But still youngsters visiting the market park their vehicles in a haphazard manner. A road divider near the Sector 7 petrol pump does not have any road sign to warn the approaching motorists at night, said Mr Ashok Kumar, adding that during the night hours a number of vehicles hit the road divider as their eyesight was blocked by the headlights of the vehicles coming from the opposite side.

The market needs an extension counter of bank or an ATM branch, and a post office. The market caters to all the needs of the residents of Sectors 7, 8 and 9.

No parking: There is shortage of space in front of the booths in the market. This has badly affected the business of this market. People visiting the market park their vehicles on the road leading to Madhya Marg. This often leads to congestion, said Mr Ramesh, a shopkeeper running an stationery business from a booth. The area in front of the booths need to be developed for marking, said Mr Harpreet, a frequent visitor to the market.

Blind exit from residential areas: A major headache for the shopkeepers was the inner sector roads which opened in front of the market. Motorists coming from the residential areas often collided with vehicles moving on the main road passing in front of the market. The shopkeepers demand some type of warning signs at the accident prone spots.

Absence of public lavatory: There is no public lavatory in the rear of SCF ( from Nos. 1 to 44 ) of this market. Space has already been marked for the lavatory but the construction is yet to begin.

Dirty back lane: The back lane of this market is in a deplorable condition, particularly during the monsoons. It has been covered with wild growth. The market welfare association has written to the authorities concerned a number of times demanding to put concrete on the back lane so as to avoid waterlogging. “No one has ever turned up to look into the problem”, said a trader.

Even during slight showers the open area becomes slippery due to waterlogging. It has also become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.



24-hour AirTel Connect opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
AirTel today opened its 24-hour AirTel Connect in Sector 17 here, the first to be opened in the region.

AirTel has over 1,50,000 customers in Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula. They will be able to buy new connections and recharge their cards, 24 hours a day the year round.

Recharge cards of AirTel, Delhi, will be available for Delhi customers roaming in Chandigarh. A special value-added services counter has been set up for GPRS and MMS facilities.



Spice announces contest winner

Chandigarh, July 30
Spice Telecom today announced the mega prize winner of its “dream destination contest”. The winner was selected after a lucky draw. Mr Devinder Kumar of Chandigarh was declared the winner for an all-expenses-paid return trip to New Zealand for a couple. TNS


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