Tuesday, August 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Holy cow! MC halts cattle-catching
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Stray cattle block a road in Chandigarh after the municipal corporation stalled cattle-catching plans.
Stray cattle block a road in Chandigarh after the municipal corporation stalled cattle-catching plans. — Photo Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, August 4
The safety of cows has taken precedence over that of humans in the city with cattle-catching coming to a virtual halt amid allegations of the municipal corporation’s involvement in the death of 22 cows in Himachal Pradesh.

“We can’t keep cattle as gaushalas are filled beyond capacity and shunting them out is not possible in the wake of the allegations levelled by the Himachal police,” a source said today.

The source said cattle-catching had been halted since the Himachal police had booked employees of the municipal corporation on July 26 for their alleged involvement in the death of 22 cows that fell into a gorge.

As a result, cattle can be seen on roads and parks in large numbers. The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, said 70 per cent of accident deaths during the past five years had been due to cattle.

Catching cattle has come to a halt at a time when the number of cattle in the open is higher during the monsoon as it offers them grazing opportunity.

The only cattle pond in the city in the Industrial Area has 313 heads of cattle against a capacity of 150, posing a danger to the animals due to overcrowding. In such a situation, segregation of weak and strong animals and calves was not possible, those dealing with cattle management said.

A bull had died in the cattle pond recently. But fights within the gaushala has had officers worried regarding the safety of the cows.

The Sector 45 gaushala, which had drawn flak for the death of the cows recently due to overcrowding, has 200 heads of cattle against a capacity of 70.

The danger to traffic has also increased as the cows sit on traffic islands to avoid flies.

The municipal corporation officials conceded that now even milch cattles are being left in the open by their owners for grazing. With abundant green space in the city, cattle is also coming from Mullanpur, Naya Gaon, Dhanas and Sarangpur.

The officials said cattle from the nearby cities of Punjab and Haryana were also being left in the city.

The Medical Officer Health, Dr G.C. Bansal, said if the MC had space to keep around 2,000 animals (estimated to be in the city) cattle would not be seen on the roads. He, however, refused to comment if cattle-catching had been put off.



Waterlogging blocks Rock Garden expansion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Creator of the Rock Garden is apprehending danger. For over three days now, the area adjoining the outer wall of the Rock Garden’s third phase is lying flooded with over 3 feet of water, extending up to couple of acres.

The level of water in the area, which falls under the Lake Reserve Forest Area managed by the UT Forest Department, is increasing every day with heavy sporadic showers. Unable to pass through the area, Nek Chand today created a floating structure by putting together shafts of wood with drums. He used this to wade through the water logged area, saying that such water logging had taken place for the first time in this area.

Talking about the large-scale problems that labourers of the Rock Garden are facing, Nek Chand said, “The labourers cannot concentrate on the expansion work as they are worried that the waters would seep into their homes. The wall of the third phase that extends up to the Punjab and Haryana High Court area may also be damaged if the water is not drained out soon.”

Some of the villagers in Kaimbwala are equally worried.

The third phase has about three blocks where over 60 labourers are residing. They have been engaged by Nek Chand who wants to add more features to the garden. Due to waterlogging, the labourers are fearing damage to life and property. One of them said: “If water keeps rising like this and there is no outlet, it will enter our homes. There is no other way. The outer wall of the Rock Garden may also be damaged due to continuous seepage.”

Although Nek Chand feels that waterlogging has been caused due to the closure of the bunds in the Lake Reserve Forest Area, the UT Forest Department authorities rule it out.

The UT Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mr Ishwar Singh, said waterlogging in the Lake Reserve Forest Area was an annual feature during the rains . “This area extends up to the high court and is liable to get flooded during heavy rain. However, in due course of time the water gets cleared. Normally, the water does not get collected here as it flows into the Sukhna Lake. But since the year, the Sukhna is filled to capacity, the water may have accumulated in the reserve forest area. There is no cause of tension,” he said.



Nek Chand may bag another award
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Number of visitors to Rock Garden

























Chandigarh, August 4
Nek Chand's world of fantasy, Rock Garden, which has put the City Beautiful on the tourist map of the world, is being considered for yet another international award — British Airways Tourist Award.

A communication to this effect was received here the other day by Nek Chand from Mr John Maizels, Curator of Raw Vision, a London-based international journal of Intuitive and Visionary Art, Outsider Art, Art Brut and Contemporary Folk Art which also has its offices in New York and Paris.

The Society for Maintenance and Development of Rock Garden, Chandigarh, which is headed by Nek Chand and governed by a managing body which has the Home Secretary of the UT Administration, as its chairman, has written back emphasising that Nek Chand's creation richly deserves the award.

The garden is entirely made out of discarded city debris, industrial waste and natural rocks fossil collected from the nearby foothills of the Shivaliks. The work on this garden was secretly started by Nek Chand about 30 years ago. It eventually gained official recognition and was inaugurated in 1976. The garden resembles a small town with streets, archways, distinctive sculptures created from cement and waste material. In line with the development of Chandigarh in phases, Rock Garden was also designed and developed in phases.

Phase I evokes the traditional Punjabi village. In the second phase, large sculpture environment of nearly 2000 figures, including kings and queens, women collecting water, children exercising, a wedding party, gods, beggars, saints, an animal kingdom and later on, a water fall was also added.

To the third phase of Rock Garden, still under construction, giants swings were added. The entire work of third phase is likely to be completed in a year's time. This garden has been attracting thousands of visitors from India and abroad every year.



2 Bal Niketan inmates arrive
Tribune News Service

Dr Madhu Sharma, honorary secretary of Bal Niketan, has appealed for financial help for these two teenagers, so that their studies are not disrupted. “Though we are getting aid from a US-based club, Indian Schools Alumini and Friends, we will need financial help to get these two through in their professional degrees as the fee is astronomical”, she says. 

Panchkula, August 4
All people in this world dream but a few make efforts and realise their dreams. Mohit and Ram Parvesh, the two teenaged inmates of Bal Niketan, a home for destitute children, have worked hard and reached out for the stars.

The two children, who were left by their parents at Bal Niketan several years ago, have studied hard to achieve their goals. While Mohit, who has been a resident of Bal Niketan for the past 10 years, has been selected for Bachelors of Technology and Computer Engineering at the Swami Devi Dyal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Barwala, his friend Ram Parvesh has been selected for a course in Food Craft Institute, Chandigarh.

In fact, Mohit is the first inmate of Bal Niketan to be selected for a professional degree. “I had never thought of any other profession than engineering. And computer engineering was my dream. Though I was dedicated, it is because of the efforts put in by the management of my home Bal Niketan, that I have been able to get through, “ he says.

When others in his league were hopping from one coaching class to another and taking crash courses for success, Mohit was busy in self study — with help from some teachers. “A few teachers, who are associated with Bal Niketan, were so impressed by his dedication to make it to engineering college that, they decided to give him free coaching,” informed a beaming Dr Madhu Sharma, honorary secretary of Bal Niketan. She recalls how Mohit would get up at 5 each morning, ever since he passed his class X, and cycle away for special classes by teachers. “He was so focussed on studies that he did not watch television or indulge in any recreation for two years,” she adds.

The other successful candidate, Ram Parvesh, says that his culinary skills were widely appreciated by the other inmates. “Though I can cook only Indian and Chinese cuisines, my flair for cooking became serious for the past two to three years and I was heading the Kitchen Committee of Bal Niketan. Getting into Food Craft Institute for polishing my skills, to be taken as a profession, was thus a natural progression,” says the boy who has been here for the past eight years.



Five held in Raipur Rani robbery case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 4
In a late night development, the Raipur Rani police and CIA staff claimed to have solved the highway bus robbery of July 24 by arresting five persons.

It is learnt that the accused belonged to Loha (near Raipur Rani) and Naryangarh (Ambala) villages. One of the suspects was identified as Sunil Kumar. However, the police did not disclose identity of the remaining persons. The police was conducting raids to recover the booty stolen in the robbery.

Over 100 persons travelling in two buses, a truck and a car were robbed of cash and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh allegedly by five persons near Dhandrawali village, four kilometres from Raipur Rani, in the wee hours of July 24.



Residents urge SP to release Sunil
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 4
Over 125 residents of Bhurewala, Sambhalwa, Khanpur and Laha today met the Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir S. Sharma, and urged him to release Sunil Kumar, who was reportedly picked up by the police three days ago for questioning in the bus robbery case of Raipur Rani.

The residents, including members of the panchayats of these villages, met the SP and pleaded that Sunil Kumar be released as he was innocent. The SP reportedly assured them that Sunil was being questioned and if found innocent, would be let off.



2 Haryana student leaders surrender
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Satinder Dahiya and Dharmender Balhara, president and chairman of the Haryana Students Association, respectively surrendered before the police here today. The two were accused in the case of rioting in the general house of the HSA at the Students Centre on August 1.

Police sources said that a case has been registered under Sections 147, 149, 247 and 506. The two will be presented before the court tomorrow.

Meanwhile, eight HSA activists, were today granted bail by a local court. The HSA activists granted bail include — Mohinder, Anil, Rajinder, Naresh, Baljeet, Jasvir, Jagvir and Rakesh.

The incident took place on August 1 at around 2 p.m. As many as 300 activists of the HSA gathered in the coffee house of the students centre to elect their leaders. The meeting turned violent and several activists received injuries.



PU bans assembly of over 20 students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Student activists on the Panjab University campus are a little subdued with the stepping up of police patrolling and a university direction of not allowing assembly of more than 20 students.

A rival group of PUSU headed by Gurparvez Singh Sandhu today had planned to stage a dharna in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. The dharna was to demand that the police should not “pick up Haryana students unnecessarily”. However, the university order against the assembly of more than 20 students dissuaded them.

The rival PUSU faction is grudging the police action of rounding up activists of the Haryana Students Association. Sandhu said: “No more students should be rounded up unnecessarily. Students were scared and the ‘campus looked to be on a holiday’ since morning.” He said those guilty, including Satinder Dahiya and Dharmendra Balhara, should be picked up by the police if necessary.

Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean, Student Welfare, confirmed the university order. This was to ensure a peaceful atmosphere on the campus. In case the students wanted to have a bigger assembly, they can do so after a formal permission from the office of the DSW.

Meanwhile Mr Khusbaz Singh Jattana, President of the Students Organisation of Panjab University, who is on the run following allegation of his involvement in the murderous attack on Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Student Union called up Chandigarh Tribune and said the police was “troubling” students named in the FIR. He said the house of one of his supporters in Kharar had been raided by the police which had taken away father of one of the suspects. “The police was behaving as if we were living in the days of terrorism”, alleged Jattana and added: “Last evening the police took away Mr Harjinder Singh, father of Davinder and till now we do not know his whereabouts’’. Davinder is one of the suspects in the assault on Kang. He alleged that even his parents at his local residence had complained of police visits. He also urged the UT Administrator to intervene into the matter.

Meanwhile, a police tent has been pitched up adjacent to the varsity Gate No. 2. Cops had been deployed at the university gates to check the entry of unauthorised persons in the campus. The police has also intensified its patrolling in the campus, which has been extended during the night hours also.



PU has a history of student violence
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Students agitated over attack on Malwinder Singh Kang, Panjab University Students Union president, argue with policemen in front of the PGI emergency.
Students agitated over attack on Malwinder Singh Kang, Panjab University Students Union president, argue with policemen in front of the PGI emergency.

STUDENT activism has become synonymous with violence at Panjab University, as is evident from the recent spate of brawls and assaults. Each year the campus is a witness to ugly scenes of violence, largely due to group differences.

With near completion of the admission process at Panjab University, student organisations are expecting news on the front of elections to the Panjab University Campus Students Council. The police has already given clearance for polls and a nod of the UT Administration is awaited.

The Panjab University Students Union and the Students Organisation of Panjab University are the two prominent student bodies on the campus and each year either of the two are the main office-holders. Each year there are altercations between the two groups which lead to police stations and courts.

The immediate past president Malwinder Singh Kang was brutally assaulted along with two of his supporters last week which has led to a section of the students questioning the very relevance of elections on the campus. PUSU has been in the news recently for infighting. The fellow Haryana Students Association did not lag behind with the exchange of chairs and blows at a meeting on Friday.

After announcing normal elections since 1996, a former PUSU president, Kuljit Singh Nagra, was involved in a shooting incident. The founder president of the SOPU, Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa, was involved in stripping of a PUSU supporter at the Students Centre, Malwinder Kang was involved in slapping of Khushbaz Singh Jattana besides several others.

The month of September is the normal time for elections. However, setting of party tents during counselling for students during the admission process are the first grounds of interaction of students with the student organisations.

Researchers cry for hostels

Research scholars of Panjab University feel to be a harassed lot because of irregular conduct of the Research Development Committees (RDC) and Joint Research Board of Panjab University.

There is a long time gap between the date of submission of synopsis and the final registration. Research scholars have sought that the period of usual three years for submission of the PhD thesis should be considered from the date of registration and not from the date of enrollment.

It has also been sought that the progress report of the research scholars should be submitted regularly as per the university rules.

According to the new rules for hostel accommodation, the non-JRF research scholars are allowed to stay in the hostel only for 30 days in a year. “ We want that previous rules be followed and researchers be allowed to stay in the hostels up to submission of their thesis (maximum period of five years)”, Chand Singh Madaan, coordinator of the Panjab University Research Scholars Association, said.

Research scholars said M Phil students had been asked by the university to appear in the Joint Entrance Test which was unfair. They have sought that these students had already appeared in an entrance test while enrolling for the M Phil. So, they should be exempted.

Research scholars (non-JRF) are also required to submit an affidavit countersigned by the chairperson and the supervisor. This affidavit was sought from the research scholars who wanted to live in hostels. In several cases the chairperson and the supervisor did not sign the documents. An exemption has been sought on this ground.

The university has not yet responded formally.

Book club

It has also been pointed out that Panjab University has decided to set up a book club for popularisation of books published by the university publication bureau. The university Syndicate has given the formal approval.

The objective of the club has been underlined as “ providing book lovers with easy access to the publications of the university with a view to popularise new literature in the languages of English, Hindi, Punjabi and Sanskrit. The list of publications also includes other areas of knowledge, culture and philosophy”.

With the introduction of the scheme, the discount already being allowed to Fellows, university employees and teachers of affiliated colleges stands withdrawn. The discount now will be available only after becoming members of the club.

Each affiliated college will be required to purchase at least two copies of every book published by the Publication Bureau. This has been done with a view of sales promotion of university publications.

Physics workshop

A workshop on regional facilities available for Proton Induced X-Rays Emission (PIXE) was organised by the Physics Department. The PIXE technique is used to trace elemental analysis in bio-medical, geological, archaeological and environmental samples.

Dr Amit Roy, director of the Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi, inaugurated the workshop. Dr S.K. Sharma, director of the PGI, in his presidential address spoke on the study of trace elements in the kidney and hair of urinary stone patients.



Two students may be punished
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Panjab University plans to punish two employees from the examination branch for tampering with the university results.

The university proposes to stop four increments of Mr S.S. Mann, clerk and two increments of Mr G.D. Sood, ASO, for having fudged the record. One of the accused, Mr R.S.Nagra, junior assistant, has already been dismissed by the university when he was held guilty on a similar account earlier. The committee has exonerated Mrs Chander Sakhi, superintendent.

The committee members consisted of Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, Principal A.C. Vaid, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath and Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu.

The committee was studying the recommendations of the enquiry conducted by Mr K.S. Raju which has now been accepted. The matter will, however, be cleared by the university senate before any final decision.

The case dates back to 1994. Sukhjeewan Singh had appeared in BA I. He scored only 18 marks in the political science and did not appear in any other paper. The result naturally showed him fail. Sukhjeevan singh applied for re-evaluation in October and the result in October, 1994, showed him as candidate suspended.

Interestingly, the result of March, 1995, showed him to have passed scoring 382 marks. During verification of the results it was detected that the marks cards showed him to have scored 48 in Punjabi(compulsory), 98 in history, 92 in political science, 102 in Punjabi (elective) and 42 in English compulsory. He did not appear in any of the papers except political science and even in this case the marks entered on the result card were wrong.

A committee member when asked about identity of the candidate said it was immaterial for the university because the result of the candidate had been cancelled long back in 1995. Now, the university was only deliberating on how the fraud occurred. He said the case had exposed several chinks in the university examination system which needed a deeper study.

Infact, the report of Mr K.S. Raju said “after detection of the present fraud, they simply cancelled the pass result of Sukhjeewan Singh. I think this was not sufficient. More deterrent action in form of the disqualification of the candidate should also have been initiated”.

It was pointed out that the result slip was falsely prepared and Mr Nagra and Mr Mann got the result declared without getting it scrutinised. The available signatures could not be identified and appeared bogus.

There are clear indications of the accused having support in the university Senate, so one can only wait and watch the final decision.



City flooded, device shows only 3 mm rainfall
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Even as most parts of the city were virtually flooded with rainwater, an observatory at the Air Force station, located in the south of the city, recorded only just 3 mm of rainfall.

Apart from the sole rain gauge instrument at the Air Force station which supplies data to the Meteorological Department, the local authorities have not bothered to install rain-measuring devices around the city even as it has grown in size and population. For irrigational purposes, the authorities in Punjab and Haryana have installed rain-measuring devices in Panchkula, Patiala and Ropar districts.

Though not mandatory, the manually-operated rain-measuring devices provide valuable information regarding the extent of rainfall in specific areas. The Director of the regional office of the Meteorological Department, Mr S.C. Bhan, said it was the prerogative of the state government to install rain gauge instruments. The rainfall measured by the department is on an average basis.

As per the standards of the World Meteorology Organisation, there has to be an observatory in an area of 900 sq km. The city is spread in an area of around 114 sq km , which means one observatory is enough. “However, the location of the observatory matters. In the city, it usually rains heavily in the north, adjoining the lower Shivaliks”, an officer at the Meteorology Department said, adding that setting up an observatory around Sector 16 would be more appropriate.

There was a proposal to install a rain gauge device at the Teachers’ Training Institute in Sector 26. The Department had purchased an acre of land in Sector 39 to set up a fully- equipped observatory, Bhan said. The observatory would measure temperature, air pressure, cloudiness, wind speed and humidity. Mr Once functional, it would provide old data on weather. Presently, the facility is available in Delhi.



An unending list of woes
A Correspondent

A view of Mani Majra pocket 9 after rains.
A view of Mani Majra pocket 9 after rains. 
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 4
The land adjoining Subhash Nagar, Manimajra pocket 9, falls under Kishanpura village that was acquired by the Administration for setting up an information technology park. However, in the past month, the rainwater has become stagnant. In addition to this, the streets are in a bad condition and the filth spread by “illegal” dairies in an eyesore. Irregular supply of water is also a cause of concern.

Residents have complained that the rain water has been standing in the area for the past month due to poor drainage. Subsequent rain has worsened the situation and they fear the spread of malaria and dengue.

Buffaloes and cows have made the “pond” — above three feet in depth —their abode.

“The standing water might become a breeding ground for mosquitoes”, says Rajesh Sharma, a resident of the colony. The water may damage the foundation of my house.” says another resident.

The area around the stagnant water is surrounded by congress grass which can cause allergy.

Due to lack of maintenance, the roads have developed potholes. “The innner roads have not been recarpeted ever since they were constructed in 1994”, complains Jitender Mohan Sharma.

Unauthorised dairies in Indira Colony have aggravated the un-hygienic conditions in the area. “The carcasses of animals are thrown in the open,”says Amar Chaudary.

Sheela Devi, a housewife, says, “The morning and evening supply of water is poor and the afternoon supply is often suspended without prior information.”



Ghaggar in spate threatens villages
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, August 4
The Ghaggar river that has been in spate after the recent rains has left a trail of destruction in the area. The gushing waters of the river have damaged crops, vegetables, fodder over several acres of agriculture land besides endangering over a dozen villages located along its banks. The record water discharge of about 8,000 cusecs in the river on July 30 damaged standing crops, including those of maize, paddy, bajra and seasonal vegetables. The raging river washed away about 10 acres area having standing poplar trees and paddy crop in Stabgarh village and fodder fields in Bakarpur village.

At Chhat Bir, the river changed its course and eroded about two cares land adjacent to spur near the Lion Safari of the Chhat Bir Zoo. The river water even damaged two old spurs here.

Since, the Punjab Drainage Department has declared this point sensitive for floods, five employees have also been deployed by the department here to keep round-the-clock vigil here.

The worst affected were Bhankharpur, Stabgarh, part of Ibrahimpura, Bhaura and Bhauri villages located along both sides of the river. While fields with green fodder were completely inundated in Ibrahimpura village, over 20 acres in Bhaura village having crops and vegetables was washed away by the strong current of water.

Though the drainage department had made all possible arrangements to avoid soil erosion at sensitive points yet the farmers claim that it had done nothing to ease their problems.

A major chunk of shamlat land of Bhaura village that was cultivated by over 15 farmers, who had taken it on contract from village panchayat, was inundated.

The river waters first damaged a temporary bundh and agriculture land after that causing huge losses to the farmers.

Mr Gurdev Singh, a farmer of Bhaura village, complained that the river was causing huge financial loses to the villagers for the past over 12 years. In the last three years, about 60 acres of village land has been washed away by the floods.

He alleged that many governments had come and gone in the past 15 years, political leaders had made promises but their problems had remained unsolved.

Another farmer of the village, Jaswant Singh, whose paddy fields are spread over and area of six acres, lamented that the river had changed its course over the past five years thus threatening villages and damaging their crops

Lifting of sand from the river bed by ‘land mafia’ has resulted in more floods that cause massive destruction. Moreover, leasing out the river bed for lifting soil by the village panchayats and the mining department has further aggravated the problem of the farmers, he added.

Mr Mohinder Singh village Sarpanch, claimed that the changing course of the river had become a nightmare for the villages located on its banks. The government had failed to take concrete flood control measures in this area till date, he complained.

Mr Amarjit Singh Dulat, Executive Engineer, of the Drainage Department, said 7,900 cc discharge was recorded at Bhankharpur bridge on July 30 that had raised to 24,000 cc near Ambala border in Haryana. The water level had reached up to 790 cc at Bhankharpur, today.

He, however, revealed that a pucca bundh would be constructed in Bhaura village by next year.



New employment avenues for ex-servicemen

ABOUT 60,000 armed forces personnel retire every year. The majority of them are in their thirties. All of them are well-trained, well-disciplined and highly motivated. To utilise this manpower to the best advantage of the country, a new set-up called the Army Placement Agency was established at the Army Headquarters and in all Command Headquarters in 1998.

The main task set for this agency is to give the employer the right kind of employee and the latter a job for which he is best suited.

Having seen the success achieved by the Ex-servicemen Helpline and realising that there was a lot in common between this set-up and the Army Placement Agency, the Army Commander, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, got the latter shifted to the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, about six weeks ago. It is now located by the side of the Helpline office. Its telephone No. is 589495 and its Deputy Director is Col Harpartap Singh (retd).

While at its previous location in the Command Headquarters about 40 ex-servicemen were coming to it for employment every month, at this location, the number has risen to 320 per month. Majority of them are non-technical hands, the remaining comprise technical personnel, clerk, drivers and others. When this agency was created, jobs could be found only for three or four persons every month. But now, the average is about 20 persons a month. Besides Chandi Mandir, eight more Army Placement Agencies are functioning at various stations in the Western Command. To improve the scope for employment of the Army manpower, vocational training has also been started at a few stations.

At this rate, in another few years, the Army will turn into the biggest manpower feeder agency in the country and will meet the requirements of technical, non-technical and other sectors.

Family pension

The fact that after completing the tenure of his service, an Army man starts drawing pension and after his death, his widow begins to draw family pension, is known to all. But a number of people do not know that after the demise of a soldier’s widow, the dependents i.e. son or daughter of the deceased soldier, if he or she is 100 per cent disabled, is also entitled to family pension.

Ms Amarjit Kaur, widow of Warrant Officer Ajaib Singh of the Air Force, has a 35-year-old daughter with 100 per cent disability. She approached the Helpline, Chandi Mandir, that after her death, her disabled daughter should get the family pension. The case was taken up by the Helpline and the CDA, Air Force, New Delhi has given sanction that Satwinder Kaur, daughter of Amarjit Kaur, will start getting family pension after the death of her mother.

Benevolent fund

According to current rules, an Army officer, who has retired after a service of 20 years or more, on completion of 75 years of age, will be given a grant of Rs 50,000 from the Army Officers’ Benevolent Fund (AOBF) towards which he had been subscribing during his service. If an officer dies in harness, his next of kin is paid this amount on his death, irrespective of the years of service that he had put in. This grant is also available to an officer who is invalided out of service.

In almost all cases of non-receipt of this grant, the fault lies with the officers, for they are on a different postal address now than what they had given in their service documents at the time of their retirement.

All such officers should intimate their present address to the Ceremonial and Welfare Directorate, Account Section, Adjutant General’s Branch, Army Headquarters, Room No. 279, South Block, DHQ PO, New Delhi-110011.

Demise grant

Recently, some of the Naval officers and widows of the deceased Naval officers had queried whether they were also entitled to get grant out of the Benevolent Fund.

On checking up with the Naval Headquarters, New Delhi, it was found that since officers from the Navy do not pay any such subscription during their service, they are not entitled to any grant from this fund. However, their next of kin are entitled to a demise grant of Rs 10,000 on the death of the Naval officer. This grant has been increased to Rs 15,000 from March 1.

— Pritam Bhullar



Warm memories of a frozen life
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Flt Lt M.S Bains (right) at the wedding of his cousin Col P.S Lehl in 1966.

Chandigarh, August 4
"Flt Lt. M.S. Bains was full of life and vigour," this is how Col P.S Lehl remembers his cousin who was on board the AN-12 transport aircraft of the IAF that went missing while on a sortie to Leh 35 years ago. Time has failed to dim the memories of a dear one even as the recent events have revived the pain of loss, says Colonel Lehl, a S A S Nagar resident.

Speaking to The Tribune, Colonel Lehl said he and Bains had been together since their school days and had also joined the armed forces at the same time. "In 1962, while I got commissioned into the Army, Bains joined the Air Force," he recalled.

The skeletal remains of a soldier on board the ill-fated AN-12 as well as some wreckage of the aircraft were spotted on the South Dakka Glacier near Kunzam Pass in Lahul Valley of Himachal Pradesh by a trekking team from the Himalayan Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute. A service book and a letter recovered from the Army uniform and overcoat draped on the body led to the identification the deceased as Beli Ram, hailing from Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir. He was with the Army's Pioneer regiment.

Flight Lieutenant Bains was the navigator on the ill-fated AN-12, belonging to the IAF's No. 25 Squadron based in Chandigarh. The aircraft, being flown by Flt Lt. H.K Singh was on a routine sortie to Leh on February 7, 1968, for ferrying troops and supplies. Besides the crew, as many as 80 soldiers were on board the aircraft.

Colonel Lehl said, ‘‘Apart from being very good friends, we also got married around the same time. There was a gap of just seven days between our weddings," he remarked. They were married in December 1966.

He was married to Parminder Kaur for about 14 months when the incident happened. The couple's son Richie was just three months old then. The family used to stay in Sector 11 here.

His wife kept on waiting for four-five years for his return. Her brother was a MiG 21 pilot, also based at Chandigarh. Later, he left the air force and migrated to Canada and she also followed suit, Colonel Lehl recalled. Bains’ younger brother has settled in the USA, while another brother and three sisters are in the UK.

"Bains was very fond of shikar," he said. "He often used to go out for this and once, when I was here on a vacation, I accompanied him. We went to Kapurthala in search of game," he added. ‘‘He was posted in Ferozepore at the time of the crash’’, reminisced Colonel Lehl.

Inclement weather conditions had hampered search operations for two days after the crash. Fresh snowfall over the next few days covered all traces of the aircraft, making its sighting difficult in a hostile terrain. According to some officers, the IAF had carried out search operations till November, but without any success.



Traders gear up for city bandh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Traders in the city are gearing up for a complete bandh in the city on August 8 in protest against the amendment to the Rent Act. A rally of traders will be held at the Sector 17 piazza and the former Union Law Minister, Mr Ram Jethmalani, will address the gathering.

The Commercial Tenants Association plans to have an elaborate show and will see families of the members participate in the protest. The association has already faxed its programme to senior officers of the administration and the police. Professional actors will highlight the plight of traders through small skits. The amendment to the East Punjab Urban Restriction Act, 1949 by the Chandigarh Administration in November last year has drawn a lot of criticism from traders.

The association president, Mr Arvind Jain, said he expected a total bandh. He claimed to have spoken to the Hotel and Restaurant Association for support. He also claimed to enjoy the support of wholesale cloth merchants, paint dealers, Sector 17 traders, Sector 22 main market and other such sub-groups of traders in the city.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, after a meeting of its office-bearers today said: “The decision with regards to bandh call given by the Commercial Tenants Association for August 8 is left entirely with the wishes of individual traders of the city.” Mr Jagdish Arora, president of the CBM, said office-bearers had not given a clear verdict for the bandh call given by the association. “Thus we have left the decision on closure of establishments entirely with the traders,” he said.

The CBM said if the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), did not recognise the gravity of the situation then traders would have to go on an indefinite strike and organise a “jail bharo andolan”.

Meanwhile, the Property Owners Welfare Association (POWA), which has supported the Rent Act amendment and opposed protests by traders, today requested the administration to provide adequate police force as protection for peaceful businessmen willing to keep their establishments open on the bandh day.



Demand to remove encroachment from school
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 4
The Gram Sudhar Committee, Sohana, has demanded the removal of an encroachment from Government Elementary School in the village and also a grant from the government to construct a boundary wall of the institution.

Mr Madan Lal Sharma, president of the committee, alleged at a press conference here today that a resident of the village had encroached upon a part of the playgruond of the school and constructed a room on it and keeping his buffaloes there. The area was littered with heaps of cow dung. He said the matter had been brought to the notice of SDM and the Ropar Deputy Commissioner but to no avail. The encroachment was also brought to the notice of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development, Panchayats and Agriculture.

Mr Kamaljit Singh, general secretary of the committee, said a small nullah was passing through the village which should be shifted out of the village. He said the nullah, which was passing through Harijan Mohalla, posed to be a health hazard as it overflowed during the rainy season and the filthy water entered the houses. He said the nullah had been dug in the area by the panchayat in 1970. But the problem arose only when the village population increased, which led to a lot of construction and the nullah became a part of the residential area of the village.



Readers write
Refresher course for cops

ON July 31, I received a call from my wife that she is waiting to be picked up from outside the British Library in Sector 8. On reaching there I pulled over to the side and waived out to her as she had moved into the corridor as it was drizzling. Soon after, a motorcycle pulled over and two traffic personnel snapped at me, that I had parked the car on a no-parked slip-road. My plea that the engine was still running, was too much for the cops who said stopping the car with the engine running was also ‘‘wrong parking’’. One of them tried to pull out the ignition key and demanded my driving licence and at the same time threatening me. In the meantime my wife reached the car and the other cop tried to pacify his colleague and asked me to move on. In the rearview mirror I noticed one of the them was noting down my registration number. Sensing trouble, I returned to the venue couple of minutes later, with a camera and started taking photographs of wrongly parked cars and the traffic personnel. I was told not to take the photographs. They then requested for a recovery van over the wireless.

The Chandigarh Traffic personnel need a refresher course in public dealing and mannerism. Also if you have to pick up someone, request the person to jump into the moving car for you may be challaned for ‘‘wrong parking’’.

Vikas Suri, Chandigarh

No change with coming of MC

One would have expected things to improve with the coming up of Municipal Corporation in Panchkula which has collected millions to rupees in the name of upkeep of the city. But things, on the other hand, have worsened and are continuously deteriorating day by day. The upkeep of roads, sanitation, street lights — all have worsened. Cattle and stray dogs rule the roads, as is evident from cow dungs all over and cases of dog bite rising daily. They had been warned to take preventive measures like spray, fog spray, removal of wild growth all over. This should have taken place and they had been warned to do so before onset of rainy season. But who cares except for self? So now mosquitoes and flies rule and so do a large number of cases of diarrhoea.

Dr Mtrs Elsie M.L., Panchkula

Huge stakes on rent issue

Traders in Chandigarh are agitated over the promulgation of the Rent Control Act, whereas the owners are quite elated. There is no denying the fact that both parties have huge stakes over its implementation. The owners complain of receiving very low returns against huge investments and are demanding rent at market-rates, which the tenants consider too high to comply with. The arguments put forward by both sides are strong and justifiable in their own right. There seems to be no meeting point. The rift has created cleavage among the residents, living together, dealing with each other for decades.

All the political parties, big or small, more conscious of their vote-banks rather than finding a way out of the dispute, have taken to double speak. They have no guts to back a specific viewpoint. The only solution to the tangle is that representatives of both the parties sit across the table and search a midway i.e. tenants to agree to reasonable increase in the rent and the owners to be considerate and not insist on evictions. The tenants, who are unable to pay enhanced rent, should be suitably compensated so that they can restart their commercial activity elsewhere. Such a settlement shall lead to mutual trust and bonhomie among the owners and the tenants.

J.K. Mago, Panchkula



22-yr-old raped in Railley
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 4
A 22-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her neighbour in village Railley last night. She was sleeping with her three children when the accused entered the room and raped her.

According to the police, the victim’s husband, a rickshaw puller went to sleep on the terrace of their room, leaving the door open. The accused allegedly raped the woman by gagging her.

Ms Manjit Malhotra, president of Mahila Nyay Samiti, Haryana, said though the victim had reported the matter to the police this morning, it deliberately delayed proceeding against the accused, who later ran away.

Purse snatched
Some miscreants snatched a purse from a woman at Amartex showroom in the Industrial Area here this afternoon. The victim, Pooja, a resident of Mani Majra, was standing at the Amartex chowk, when the miscreants snatched her purse containing Rs 5,000 and fled away in a Tata Sumo, parked nearby.


Two held
Two brothers, Raju and Lakhwinder Singh, both belonging to Burail, were arrested from a park in Sector 45D here yesterday allegedly with 5.58 gram of smack. The two have been booked under Section 21 of the NDPS Act.

Couple injured
A Mani Majra-based couple were injured after they were hit by a Maruti car (CH 01U 0457) near Housing Board traffic light points here yesterday. The couple, Mr Kalu Ram and Ms Renu Devi, were later admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16. The driver of the car, Sham Sunder Dutta, was arrested under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC. However, he was later released on bail.

Man held
The police yesterday arrested Younus Masih, a resident of Naya Gaon, for allegedly stealing a mobile phone from the shop where he was employed as a servant. The stolen property has reportedly been recovered from his possession. He has been booked under Sections 381 and 411 of the IPC.



UTI Bank opens ATM

Dera Bassi, August 4
The Panchkula branch of UTI Bank opened an ATM here today. The bank claims to be the first private bank to provide the facility to the residents of the area.

Mr N.K. Maheshwari, president of Winsome Yarns Limited, inaugurated the ATM. OC



PSIDC corporate agent of National Insurance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
National Insurance Regional Office II, Chandigarh, has issued a licence to the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, Chandigarh, to act as its corporate agent.

The licence was handed over to Mr Vishwajeet Khanna, Managing Director, PSIDC, by Mr T.K. Ghosh, Regional Manager, National Insurance. Mr S.K. Sharma, Executive Director, PSIDC; Mr A.K. Sud, General Manager, PSIDC; and Mr T.K. Chattopadhaya, Manager; Mr S.M. Sehgal, Deputy Manager; and Mr N.L. Anand, Senior Branch Manager, National Insurance, were also present.


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