Sunday, August 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rise in Tangri water level threatens villages
Bipin Bhardwaj

Jodhpur (Lalru), August 2
Terrified residents of over half a dozen villages located along the banks of Tangri, a tributary of the Ghaggar, have had sleepless nights for the past few days as the water level in the river continues to rise.

Engineers are struggling to keep the river in check as heavy rain in the catchment area falling in the lower Shivalik hills in Himachal Pradesh means more water. Already the swirling waters of the river have washed away 5,000 sand bags, forcing an augmentation in the number of bags.

In the past few days the rains have been in short bursts which has led to the level of the water rising suddenly. This has made the spread of water difficult to contain.

Villagers complain that the government has failed to take concrete steps to prevent floods that often wash away agricultural land along the banks. To avoid flooding of villages and washing away of their land, village panchayats have assigned duties for community policing in turn. The worst-affected are Jodhpur, Khellan and Mallhan and Sarangpur villages where residents have been forced to conduct community policing (thikri pehra) to assist the employees deployed by the Punjab Drainage Department at sensitive points along the river bank.

Talking to The Tribune, the residents said the river has washed away their fields with standing crops of paddy and maize for the past several years. Though the government had erected spurs at some sensitive points but these, too, were not able to control the floods and prevent soil erosion.

Mr Viri Ram, sarpanch of Khellan village, said the river had left a trail of destruction, washing away 10 acres with standing crop and also submerged maize fields.

He said continuous rain in the catchment areas of the Lower Shivaliks had results in the flooding of the river, putting thousands of residents in the area in trouble.

Mr Jagmal Singh, a resident of Mallhan village, said agriculture was the main source of income of a majority of villagers. The river playing a havoc on their crops every year.

He said in case of floods the villagers assembled at sensitive points and used tree trunks and thickets to fight the menace.

Mr Jarnail Singh, an employee of the drainage department in charge of constructing a kuccha bundh along the river bank in Jodhpur village, said the water level arose on July 30 night and washed away the sand bags along the bundh of Tangri.

The Executive Engineer and the Sub-Divisional Engineer sent a team of employees and 3,000 sand bags to reconstruct the spurs. The course of the river has now been partially diverted by repairing the spurs.


It poured chaos
Tribune News Service


  • Kalka-Lucknow train and evening Shatabdi Express delayed
  • Rainwater enters houses in Sectors 15, 11, 41 and Kumhar Colony
  • Firemen pressed into service to pump out water.
  • Chaos and traffic jams on roads
  • Floodgates at Sukhna opened to drain out excess water
  • Evening shows in various cinema halls attract little crowd

Chandigarh, August 2
A heavy downpour this evening exposed the ugly side of City Beautiful. The water outlet at the cremation ground in Sector 25 was blocked, Water from a drain flooded houses in Sector 40-C, hundreds of commuters were stranded on the road dividing Sectors 40 and 41, traffic was held up near the Piccadily roundabout, the Aroma traffic lights and also on the road to Panchkula.

If all this was not enough, all roads leading to SAS Nagar looked like rivulets, under three feet of water. The markets in Sectors 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40 were flooded and had to uncover manholes to let the water recede faster.

The downpour which began around 5.30 pm was heavy and its first impact was on the cremation ground in Sector 25. A priest performing the last rites of three persons called up officials of the Municipal Corporation. The relatives of the dead and staff at the cremation ground had been caught unawares — the pyres had been lit and the cremation could not be stopped. The spots where the bodies are cremated are covered and remain largely unaffected by rain. The problem arose when water started accumulating.

In Sector 40-C, citizens alleged that the recent double-laning of a highway had stopped the natural flow of water, which had led to flooding of houses. Certain houses like Number 2810 in the Sector were in knee-deep water. Officials had just forgot to put a storm-water outlet, alleged a man who was busy salvaging his household goods. The Deputy Mayor, Ms Geeta Rani, who reached the spot, was received by angry residents.

As the rainwater inundated residential areas in the city, panic calls flooded the control room of the Fire Department. A wireless control officer of the department said the control room had received at least four distress calls. A fire engine was pressed into service to drain out water from a public health office in Sector 11. A row of houses (3115 to 3121) was inundated with water and a fire engine had to be pressed into service here, too. Rainwater entered Kumhar Colony and a shop in Badehri village (Sector 41).

Officials at the Meteorology Department said monsoon showers of similar intensity were expected tomorrow. Policemen could be seen diverting traffic on the roads leading to Panchkula and SAS Nagar. The traffic control room received two distress calls from Makhan Majra and Dhanas villages. A crane was pressed into service to pull out vehicles stranded along the Sukhna Choe at Makhan Majra village.

The problem worsened as it started raining again. There was chaos outside cinema halls after the 6 pm show. Those on two-wheelers were the worst-hit. Commuters who were to board Delhi and Ambala bound-trains could not reach the railway station in time.

The evening Shatabdi was 15 minutes behind schedule. Due to inundating of rail racks at Chandi Mandir, the Kalka-Lucknow train strated an hour behind schedule.

There was heavy traffic on almost all city roads once the rain stopped at 7.45 pm. Over 400 vehicles were stuck on the Chandigarh-Panchkula road.

At the Piccadilly chowk one was stranded for at least 20 minutes. Over 100 two-wheelers and cars were stranded in the storm water flowing down the road towards Sector 14-15.

As the stranded commuters looked for help, mechanics rushed to their aid. The help was not cheap, they had to pay at least Rs 50 for each repair.


ESI leads in rainwater harvesting
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
For a long time now, Chandigarh, like Punjab and Haryana, has been facing the problem of groundwater depletion. With the watertable declining due to urbanisation and extensive tubewells, the city has no choice but to wake up to rainwater harvesting. Even as the UT Administration waits to adopt a proper strategy for rainwater harvesting, the Environment Society of India (ESI), a regional resource agency functioning under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has taken the lead in this area.

Last year, the ESI assumed the task of desilting half an acre pond in Khuda Ali Sher village and made it fit for rainwater storage. The work, executed at a cost of Rs 1.5 lakh, resulted in 20,000 cubic feet of silt being taken out of the pond, which is now a good rainwater harvesting site. Rainwater harvesting ponds were recently constructed at the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre, Sector 12, and Government Art College, Sector 10.

The need of rainwater harvesting is also being felt in the wake of more and more wetlands being drained and reclaimed for cultivation or urbanisation. Many ponds that once existed in the city’s vicinity have dried up. The ones in Burail and Kishangarh have been filled up by the Administration.

Identifying another site between the Technical Teachers Training Institute and the Municipal Nursery in Sector 26, the ESI has created a baby wetland in the vicinity of Sukhna Lake. About 35,000 cubic feet of silt was taken out of this pond, which now attracts migratory birds and researchers.

The ESI is also taking rainwater harvesting to schools and colleges. Between January and August, 2003, it has provided for percolation pits in 12 schools in Chandigarh and 15 schools in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal. Informs the president, ESI, Mr S.K. Sharma, “This is being done to have adequate surface water to meet the local demand and reduce dependence on groundwater. Due to urbanisation, infiltration of rainwater into the sub-soil has decreased drastically and recharging of groundwater has diminished. These ponds will help raise the water level. The UT Administration should provide for recharge wells in roundabout areas where maximum water is stored during rains.”

The work being done by the voluntary agency is significant in view of the Prime Minister’s recent appeal to state governments and UTs: “To focus the nation’s attention on the water conservation issue, I suggest that we observe July as Water Month.” Later it was decided that August would also be celebrated as Water Month.

Punjab losing on wetlands

A PAU study states that since 1960s, wetlands in Punjab were drained and reclaimed for cultivation or urbanisation. Now only 11 per cent of the natural wetlands remain. A survey by Kheti Virasat, a Chandigarh-based NGO, in 20 villages of Ropar reveals that only 21 ponds (2 -4 acre) exist whereas, earlier in just one village three to four ponds could be found. About seven of these are dry and 14 have dirty water”. Six districts of Punjab — Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Sangrur, Patiala, Ludhiana and Amritsar — are facing major ground water depletion problem. Keeping them company in Haryana are Kurukshetra, Karnal and Mahendragarh.

Legislation: While Chandigarh has no legislation, in New Delhi, the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has made rainwater harvesting mandatory in new buildings with a roof area of more than 100 sq m and in plots with an area of more than 1000 sq m, that are being developed. The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has made rainwater harvesting mandatory in all institutions and residential colonies in notified areas. The CGWA has also banned drilling of tubewells in notified areas. The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has also made rainwater harvesting mandatory in all new buildings.



Cops force peace on PU campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
It was all quiet at Panjab University campus today, a day after a fierce group clash over who was to head one of the organisations. It was a subdued weekend after the tumult over the murderous assault on student leader Malvinder Singh Kang on Wednesday.

While the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) is taking care of its badly wounded president, Malwinder Singh Kang, the president of the Students Organisation of Panjab University, Khushbaz Singh Jattana, is on the run, (he is one of the suspects behind the assault) even as the warring leaders of the Haryana Students Association (HSA) fear “falling into the police trap.

At least eight student activists of the HSA were arrested late yesterday, including Mohinder, Anil, Rajinder, Naresh, Baljeet, Jasvir, Jagvir and Rakesh. They were produced before the UT Judicial Magistrate and remanded to two days’ police custody.

These arrests has had a subdued impact on the student leaders.

Dharmendra Balhara, chairman of one faction, said:” This is a calm before the storm. We are studying the issue and will call an open house where the matter will be decided. We (including Satinder Dahiya who claims to be president of the group) have been office-bearers from the past two years, how can we vacate the posts without any discussion”, he asked.

Pawan Singh, a claimant for the post of the president, was beaten up yesterday at the general house meeting. Talking to The Tribune, he said:” The issue is not over. Let there be a fair general house and the opponents will see that they do not have the support of students. I am demanding a fair discussion to choose new leaders.

Pawan Singh said he was not coming into the open because he feared police action.” I am waiting for the right opportunity and will prove my credentials at the right time”, he claimed.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Student Union, was asked by the doctors to vacate the bed by 5 p.m today.

This was opposed by his supporters who wanted him to be allowed more time.

Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean, Student Welfare, accompanied the students to the PGI and Kang was allowed to stay for a day, Gurpreet Singh, an office-bearer of PUSU said. Meanwhile, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in a press note has appealed to “student organisations to maintain a peaceful academic environment on the campus”. Saurabh Joshi, secretary, said police presence at the campus “instills fear in the minds of students. The girlstudents, in particular, feel suffocated”.


Army trucks ferrying kids to school illegally
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The use of modified military trucks as school buses to ferry wards of defence personnel, which violate safety directives issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court, has come into focus following an accident involving one such vehicle in Chandigarh earlier this week.

While the use of modified military trucks as school buses is officially sanctioned by the authorities concerned, the problem is more acute in the police, where normal trucks are used unofficially to ferry children.

Twentyone school children were injured when a Punjab police Ambassador being driven by a DIG collided with an Army Shaktiman being used as a school bus. Such was the impact that the truck would have overturned, but for the CTU bus alongside the truck which broke its fall. The truck was carrying about 40 children.

There have been at least two judgements by the high court as well as the apex court concerning the safety aspects for school buses. The orders are evidently not being followed by the Army. The use of Army trucks to ferry schoolchildren was prohibited in New Delhi by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, after a schoolgirl was killed while travelling in one such truck. At other places, these continue to be used.

The trucks being used by the Army are soft-topped vehicles, with benches fixed along the length of the body on both sides as well as the middle. At the rear, a wire mesh with a door is fixed in the place of a tailboard and a ladder s fixed to enable the children to board or alight the vehicle. Besides the driver, an Army jawan is deputed to perform the duties similar to that of a conductor.

The biggest disadvantage of these trucks is the absence of a cab with a sound metal body. Tarpaulin sheets covering the vehicle’s body do not provide adequate protection in the case of a severe impact. Similarly, children sitting on narrow benches are liable to be thrown around. Regulation stipulate that school buses should have forward-facing cushioned seats and all metal parts or rods should be covered with soft material.

Court directives also state that the colour of school buses should be yellow. Besides, the driver as well as the conductors should be qualified and experienced drivers. Though Army drivers are well qualified as they undergo special driving courses, the same may not be true for the other jawans accompanying the children.

Army sources say that the matter of providing proper school buses as per the court directives has been raised several times at various levels, but nothing has materialised in view of the non-availability of funds. Another factor is that trucks belonging to various units can also be used for other duties or to ferry families on certain occasions with little or no modification.

Sources say that as per the Army’s Table of Equipment and Organisation, there are no provisions for units to possess special school buses. Since the units are scattered all over, providing special buses to every such unit would be a difficult task.

Some officers, however, are skeptical of the pretext of non-availability of funds. “The services surrendered unspent funds amounting to Rs 25,000 crore last year,” an officer here commented. “If not for all units, the Army can make a beginning by procuring proper school buses at least for use in major stations,” he added.

Meanwhile, police sources say that trucks are being used to ferry children regularly. “Any vehicle available is sent to drop or pick up schoolchildren. This is being done without any official sanction,” a police source revealed.


Get new secure, smart PAN cards
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

What is new PAN card ?

The PAN card being prepared by the Unit Trust of India (UTI) will have security features like a colour photograph of an applicant, a hologram of the Income Tax Department and a UV line. The new PAN process will be certified by the BIS.

IT Dept inquiry counter

For the convenience of the assessee, a computerised inquiry counter has been opened at the ground floor of the Sector 17 office of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, North West Region.

Chandigarh, August 2
Issuing a new Permanent Account Number (PAN) card is not restricted to the new income tax assessees. The assessees who have already been issued the PANs can also opt for the new “smart” card.

“Since the new PAN card has some security features and is tamper-proof, the existing assessees cannot be prevented from going for a superior document,” said a senior officer of the Income Tax Department, North-West Region.

After the Union Finance Ministry decided to hand over the work of accepting applications for PAN and issuing the number to the Unit Trust of India (UTI) from July 1, this year, the Income Tax Department stopped accepting the applications from the new assessees.

However, a number of existing assessees have been running from pillar to post to get their particulars rectified on the PAN cards. There are cases in which the names of the assessees and their dates of birth have been printed wrongly. To get the mistakes corrected, the PAN allottee had to go the Patiala office of the Income Tax Department. The Patiala office of the Directorate (Systems) was handling the work of preparing the PAN cards.

An official said the new facility can also be availed of by the existing assessees whose particulars have been printed wrongly on their PAN cards. The PAN allottee would have to go to a UTI authorised PAN service centre, fill in the new form and pay a fee of Rs 60. A PAN card would be issued after verification by the Income Tax Department.

The officer said since the system of verifying the record of an assessee had been computerised, it took a few hours to process a case. A fine of Rs 10,000 could be levied on a PAN allottee, who did not inform the IT Department about his changed address. “We have to just change the address in our computerised records,” said the officer.

An officer claimed that of the pending applications for PAN submitted to the department before July 1, around 97 per cent applications had been processed. There could be some delay as the applications submitted at the circle and ward offices of the IT Department were reaching the headquarters. The department has been asked to work on the week days to clear the back log.


PF Dept offices computerised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The process of settling claims and issuing of cheques has been computerised in all offices of the Provident Fund Department in the Punjab region. The inter-connectivity has speeded up the process of settlement of claims, said Mr S.K. Aggarwal, Regional PF Commissioner-II, Chandigarh.

As a result of the computerisation, this year the department has issued more than five lakh annual accounts’ statements to its subscribers. At least 150 cases of distribution of cheques in retirement cases had been processed in the Punjab region.

These issues were discussed at a monthly meeting of various regional offices of the Union Ministry of Labour here. Mr N.N. Sharma, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-I, said due to computerisation, three of the four claims were being settled within 30 days.

Mr Aggarwal said a log-in facility had been made operational with the State Bank of India (SBI) whereby status of cheques issued to the members and presented to the banks could be seen on line. He said the department was issuing eight-digit business number to establishments within three days of receipt of the application.

The meeting of the regional offices of the Labour Ministry was attended by Mr T.R. Gautam, Regional Director, ESIC, Mr D.R. Prashar, Regional Director, CBWE, M. Bal Ram, Deputy Director, Labour Bureau, Mr Navdeep Sud, Regional Labour Commissioner, Mr Ranbir Singh, Protector of Emigrant, Mr S.K. Aggarwal, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner.


Rs 4.5 crore for making Kaimbwala model village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Chandigarh Administration today approved a Rs 4.5 crore action plan for developing Kaimbwala south of the Sukhna as a model village. It also will be the first police-free model village of the country.

The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, said the endeavour of the Administration would be to involve the villagers of Kaimbwala in the development process and prepare them for self-governance and self-policing.

As part of the development plan, storm-water drainage works costing Rs 20 lakh would be taken up in the village and storm water would be channelised towards the Sukhna Choe. The village higher secondary school would be upgraded to the senior secondary level, for which, the building would be expanded at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore on an area to be acquired by the Administration. A stadium would be constructed adjacent to the school at a cost of Rs 35 lakh. All streets of the village would be bricklined and open drains would be constructed on both sides.

Level crossings on the drains would be constructed and ring road and internal roads will have solar lights. The long-pending demand for a link road to Saketri-Mani Majra would be met, as the Administration would construct the 1.5 km missing link on land to be donated by the villagers.

The meeting convened by Justice Verma to finalise the development plan was attended, besides others, by the Home Secretary, Finance Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, Chief Engineer and all members of the Kaimbwala Panchayat. Three toilets blocks in the village would be constructed and its ponds would be desilted.

The Administration decided that the remaining 17 villages of the UT could also be developed on the same pattern.

The Environment Department would educate the villagers on segregating bio-degradable waste from non-biodegradable solid waste. The aim is to use the biodegradable waste for making manure by storing in a compost pit.

Justice Verma also sought the cooperation of the Gram Panchayat in stopping the haphazard construction outside the ring road. He said the involvement of police in this village would be minimal and villagers will be motivated to do self-policing.


Forum to tap retired men’s talent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Punjab’s former Director-General of Police (DGP), Mr P.C. Dogra , along with a former Vice-Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal P.S. Brar (retd), today formed the Forum on Integrated National Security.

The forum will study all aspects of national security and analyse it. It will be a non-political body, announced Mr Dogra at a press conference here today. He has been nominated its convener.

It will address national security in an integrated manner, encompassing the armed forces, paramilitary forces, bureaucrats, political masters, local police, intelligence agencies, scientists, media and the intelligentsia. Mr Dogra said the nation had an unlimited reservoir of talent in retired generals, air marshals, admirals, bureaucrats, police officers, scientists and enlightened politicians. To tap their expertise, they had devised this mechanism.

It was a step towards seeking transparency in the formulation of government policies on national security and also to seek a role of the public at large.

Of late, the intelligentsia had been feeling uneasy about the security environs of the country and India’s preparedness to meet such challenges effectively, Mr Dogra added. India was fighting a proxy war and acts of subversion and terrorism unleashed by the hostile neighbour on our land.


Murdered boy’s father approaches city cops
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Truth eludes a Jind district resident even nearly three years after his 21-year-old son Anil Kumar’s body was found with a smashed forehead along with that of his friend. The Haryana police has failed to trace the culprits. In fact, the cops have filed an “untrace report” even though some persons were named as suspects.

As per an affidavit submitted by Anil Kumar’s father Ram Phal, the police had arrested an innocent person in order to destroy the evidence and protect the “killers”. The culprits, he has claimed, have close family and political links with an MLA.

His hope for justice is now the Chandigarh police. Taking up his petition seeking a probe by the CBI, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered a re-investigation by the Deputy Superintendent of Chandigarh Police in charge of Crime.

The victim — a plus two student studying at Jind — was reportedly murdered on his way home on April 2, 2001. His body, along with that of his friend Gurnam, was found near a pond by the father and his friends the next day. Near the bodies was a hammer with blood on it.

A case of murder and destruction of evidence was registered but no one was named in the FIR as “Anil and Gurnam had no enmity with anybody.”

Subsequently, one Subhash was arrested by the police “but not on papers”. His arrest, along with that of some others, was shown on papers after the high court appointed a warrant officer on a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Subhash. He was later released on bail. A few days after the incident, Ram Phal found “five love letters and the photograph of a girl”. The documents were handed over to the police and it was told that the murder had been committed by the girl’s father and his accomplices.


Employees’ fast enters 11th day
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 2
The relay fast of employees of Punjab Recorder Limited entered its 11th day today. According to a press note issued by the employees’ union, the management has not taken any step to end the strike. Six employees of the unit, including four women, are on a fast in protest against the non-payment of salaries to the employees for the past eight months. Stating that they had also been not paid their bonus for the past three years nor the overtime for the past four months, Mr Ramesh Chand, the president of the union alleged that the management had not deposited the employees’ provident fund or their ESI amounts.

Workshop for students

A workshop for students on table and telephone manners was conducted at Swami Ram Tirath Public School here on Saturday. Students of classes V to X attended the workshop. They were taught how to make the best out of waste material. Later in the day, an inter-house rakhi making competition, calligraphy and paper-reading contests were organised in the school.

Martyrdom day

Shahid Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Tangori, organised a function to mark the martyrdom day of Shahid Udham Singh. Floral tributes were paid to the martyr on this occasion.

Teej celebrated

Students of Anees School here celebrated Teej on Friday. Special sessions were arranged to educate children about the importance of this cultural festival and the reason for its celebration. Traditional dishes like "maalpua" and "kheer" were also served to the children. 

Muddy water

Residents of Sector 66 have complained that they were getting muddy water in their taps. On Saturday morning, an earthworm was seen floating in tap water, said Mr Varinder Pal Singh of House No. 2108. He pointed out that complaints had been lodged with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority but no action had been taken in this regard.

Meeting held

The monthly progress review meeting of the working committee of the All-India Defence Brotherhood was held here on Friday. The members, under the leadership of Brig Harwant Singh (retd) discussed the various problems being faced by ex-servicemen.

Residents’ complaint

Residents of Phase 3B2 here have alleged that the Municipal Council of the township had failed to ensure that the township was prepared to face monsoons. Stating that rainwater entered their houses every time it rained heavily, Mr Varinder Singh of House No. 1133, Phase 3B2, said they had to use buckets to remove water from their house.

Students’ feats

Students of Shivalik Public School here have brought laurels to the school. While Simranjit Kaur, a Class X student, got the second position in a national literary competition, two other students, Navjeet Inder and Abhijeet Singh, got the second position in Derek O' Brien's All-Asia Bournvita Quiz Contest finals.

Simranjit won the second prize in short-story writing category in a competition organised by Scholistic India. Shivalik Public School was one of the 64 teams from Asia to have qualified for the final round.


Dharna against make-shift liquor shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Activists of the Chandigarh Territorial Janata Dal (U) workers led by its president, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, today held a dharna in front of the liquor vend in a tin shed in Sector 17 near the Reserve Bank of India building.

The party accused the Chandigarh Administration of double standards on demolitions. Residents have been demanding removal of all make-shift liquor vends which have become an eyesore.

The Janata Dal said it had decided to continue with its campaign against liquor vends in the city till the Administration removed these.

The Administration, has started “operation clean up” in the city and is demolishing structures illegally constructed on the land owned by the Administration.

In view of this operation, the party said it had written to the Administration that about the 40 or 42 liquor vends in make-shift shed had encroached upon prime land in the city and had been “wrongly” permitted to run business. Under the new policy of the Chandigarh Administration, the liquor contractors were making huge money by way of smuggling liquor to Haryana and Punjab. This resulted in losses to the tune of crores of rupees to the Administration.

Moreover, these vends posed a nuisance to the common man.


Pilgrims have something to cheer about
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (SMMDSB) is all set to develop 67 acres for providing basic amenities for lakhs of pilgrims visiting the shrine each year.

It is learnt that the Department of Town and Country Planning has made a layout plan for the area by earmarking space for a theme museum-cum-Sanskrit bhavan, satsang hall, dharamshala, serai, bhandaras, parks and a hotel site. The layout plan will be sent to the state government for approval.

While the board already had 10 acres lying unused for several years, 57 acres were acquired recently.

The SMMDSB has decided to set up a theme museum on the concept of intellectual, religious and philosophical traditions and ideas relating to the Goddess. The museum will have a library and will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 3.5 crore.

Mansa Devi is one of the old Shakti peeths, where lakhs of people come to worship.

The proposed Sanskrit bhavan, to be spread over two acres, will offer five UGC-approved Sanskrit degrees — Pragya, Visharda, Shastri, Karamkand and Sanskrit Sambhajan.

Sufficient space has been earmarked for parking. During the Navratras, the pilgrims are forced to park vehicles almost 3 km away from the shrine.


Heavy rush at voter card centres
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 2
The first phase of making voter cards of residents of the Kharar constituency began today. While over 60,000 residents are expected to get their cards during the next few days, those who reached the centres today alleged that they had to face mismanagement and inconvenience.

Residents of Sectors 66 to 69, Phase 7 to Phase 11, and Kambala, Nandiali, Bhabat, Kandala, Kumbhra, Mauli Baidwan, Sohana and Mataur villages were supposed to reach government schools in their areas to get the cards made. Many of them, however, faced a lot of problems as in some centres the number of those called was far higher than could be handled in a day.

At Kumbhra Government School over 3,000 voter cards were to be prepared today but only one camera person was available as a result people had to wait for hours in queues.

Several persons who had been issued the cards with wrong names or addresses had also reached the centres for getting fresh cards made.

The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, said the first phase included only those whose names were on the list but the cards had not been made.

Asked if all those whose cards had already been made had to report to the centres, he said such persons need not report to the centres. 


NGO takes up sterilisation of dogs
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 2
The People for Animals, a Chandigarh-based NGO, today launched the Animal British Control Project with the help of various resident welfare associations here today.

A press note issued by the organisation said stray dogs would be sterilised in various sectors of the town under the Dogs Rules, 2000.

Approved by the Animal Welfare Division of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, the project would include the administration of anti-rabies vaccine.

The sterilised dogs would be marked. A special cell had been set up in this regard.

The contact numbers were 749080 and 749211.


Eco Club members plant 100 saplings
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 1
The Eco Club of Government Model High School, Sector 39, carried out a sapling plantation programme here today. Students under the leadership of the headmistress, Ms Kiran Jyoti, and staff members planted 100 saplings in the school campus.

Speaking on this occasion, Ms Jyoti said trees were our best friend and more and more trees need to be planted. Mr Bahadur Singh, Project Officer of the UT Education Department, who was the chief guest on this occasion, informed that under this programme 6,000 saplings would be planted in all government schools of the city.


Labourer dies as roof collapses
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, August 2
A 28-year-old migrant labourer, Harichand, died after the roof of the house on which he was engaged in construction work collapsed in Nehru Colony, Sector 52, here this morning.

Harichand was working on the third floor of House No. 1457, when the roof caved in. The police has registered a case against the owner of the house, Amrish, under Section 304 A of the IPC.

Consignment missing

Mr Gobind Singh of Industrial Area (Phase I) on Friday reported to the police that Manoj Kumar, a truck driver, loaded a consignment of 389 brass boxes in his truck for Delhi but the consignment had not been delivered. He said truck was found abandoned in the Salim Pur police station area in Uttar Pradesh and 208 boxes costing Rs 1.30 lakh were missing from the truck. A case under Sections 407, IPC, has been registered.

Purse snatched

An unidentified scooterist reportedly snatched a purse of Ms Gailfay, a Sector 33 resident, from near the Brahm Kumari Ashram here on Friday. She told the police that the purse contained Rs 14,000 and some documents. A case has been registered.

Bag stolen

Mr Satish Kumar, a conductor with the Haryana Roadways, has reported to the police that his bag containing Rs 1,000 and bus tickets had been stolen from the bus. A case has been registered.


The police on Saturday arrested Bakshish Singh of Ropar district and Satwinder Singh of Patiala district for eve-teasing. The two have been booked under Section 294, IPC.


SAS NAGAR: Kesar Singh, 25, who had come to Kumbhra village died on Thursday. A relative of the deceased, Mr Amarjit Singh, alleged that Kesar Singh had died after he consumed bottle gourd (ghiya) bought from the local “apni mandi”. Kesar Singh was at Mr Amarjit Singh’s house in Kumbhra village when the latter’s wife, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, prepared the vegetable bought from the market the same day, following which she and Kesar Singh fell ill. While Kesar Singh died on way to the hospital, Jaswinder Kaur is still undergoing treatment at a private nursing home here.



Cop assaulted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 2
The police booked six employees of a Sector 17 parking contractor allegedly for rioting and attempting to assault a police Inspector last night. The employees were demanding parking fee from the Inspector who refused to pay.

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