Wednesday, August 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CBI sleuths check PGI Engineering Wing records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Engineering Wing of the PGI is once again attracting the attention of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), whose sleuths today spent the entire day collecting documents from the electrical division and vigilance cell of the institute.

More than half a dozen CBI personnel arrived at the office of the Superintendent Hospital Engineering (SHE) today morning and left late in the evening, after going through a lot of documents.

"The CBI personnel were here in connection with investigations of alleged misuse of power against an engineer, Mr R.K. Gupta, in the electrical division of the Engineering Wing," informed an employee.

The CBI, has already marked a preliminary inquiry in this particular case and the investigations are going on, before the registration of a case in this regard. So far, the CBI is in the process of collecting documentary evidence but has not quizzed any of the officials in person.

According to sources the electrical engineer had allegedly misused his powers to benefit certain contractors in awarding works undertaken at PGI. These works pertain to insulation work done at the electrical sub-station at the PGI, which was allegedly done in violation of the norms. "Since the official concerned did not have the powers to award work worth Rs 19 lakh, he split it to benefit a Delhi -based firm," informed a PGI official.

It was last year in August, that the CBI had raided the office of the SHE, amidst allegations that undue favour had been extended to certain private contractors for undertaking construction work at PGI. During the CBI raid it was found that sub-standard fire tenders had been installed in the Advanced Paediatric Centre at PGI.

Prior to this in June 2001, the CBI had raided the Cardiology Department of PGI, as there were allegations that expensive stents and other surgical material had been kept stacked in an almirah. The matter is still pending with the CBI.

The Cardiothoracic Department too had come under scrutiny of the CBI, as there was a complaint that a sub-standard valve had been used during surgery on a patient.

The Health Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, as well as her predecessor, Mr Shatrughan Sinha, had expressed concern over the CBI raids and allegations of irregularities against the PGI Engineering Wing.

Construction work worth crore of rupees is being undertaken at the PGI, which includes the Bone Marrow Transplant Centre, Advanced Eye Care Centre, Advanced Cardiac Centre and Advanced Trauma Centre.



Zoo staff pampers royal cub
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), August 5
Staff of the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park here is busy these days looking after the zoo’s royal kid, a two-month-old female white tiger cub born to a Royal Bengal tigress in the zoo.

From a distance it seems as if a ball of snow rollicking, but a closer look reveals the major asset of the zoo - a white tiger cub.

The cynosure of all eyes, about 12 inches tall and three-feet-long, the white cub too seems to be aware of its supremacy over its three other siblings.

Not only are the zoo officials giving special attention to the cub, but its mother also seems to be benefitting from the extra care being showered on it.

The naughtiest and the healthiest of the litter of four, is the most pampered. It nestles close to the mother and bullies the other siblings. The white cub has many members of zoo staff at its beck and call. Bittu, the attendant, who looks after the enclosure, said since the cub was 65 days old now, it was time to switch over to meat from milk. Following its mother, the cub has now started licking and biting into small chunks of soft meat.

The cub has put the zoo among the select ones in the world having white tigers. It is due to the birth of this cub only that the zoo authorities have decided to set up a ‘White Tiger Safari’.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Wildlife Warden Neeraj Gupta claimed that a full-time veterinary doctor has been monitoring the activities of the white cub, especially. In addition to this, two attendants have been put on around-the-clock vigil for its enclosure, he claimed.

However, according to Mr Gupta the visitors will have to wait for two-and-a-half years till it became a semi adult tigress to watch it in an open enclosure.



Move to collect funds for upkeep of parks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Municipal Corporation (MC) is mooting a scheme to collect Rs 10 per month from each household in the city. These funds would be put at the disposal of residents welfare associations of each sector to help them maintain parks in their respective areas.

“I have proposed and discussed the idea with senior officers in the corporation as well as a few residents welfare associations. They seemed enthusiastic about the proposal,” Mayor Subhash Chawla said here today.

As per the scheme, the park maintenance charge is proposed to be included in the water bill. The corporation would issue cheques of Rs 2000 per month to each of residents welfare associations for engaging a gardener for parks in their respective areas.

The scheme would be scrutinised by the councillors, including the Opposition BJP.

The Mayor has planned to discuss the scheme with Congress councillors and also call an all-party meeting of councillors. The proposal would be placed before the Finance and Contract Committee and later taken up by the House, Mr Chawla said.

The distribution of funds would be made through councillors. They would be asked to assess the work of each society, Mr Chawla added.



HC seeks report on raising of dam height
Tribune News Service

The Counsel for the Chandigarh Administration informed the court that “after proper verification and checking all aspects it was decided to raise the level of the regulatory dam by two feet from 1,161 feet so that the water could be retained up to that height, if required”.

Chandigarh, August 5
Taking up the save Sukhana Lake case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents to submit a detailed report and produce relevant record “connected with the raising of the dam’s height”.

The Bench, comprising the Chief Justice, Mr B.K. Roy, and Mr Justice J.S. Narang, also asked them to give details regarding “the movement of the file and the decisions taken by the officials concerned with need based reasons and the technical report”.

The judges added: “The department is also required to submit a specific report with regard to the structural strength of the dam and how many cusecs of water it can hold. We will also like to know from the Administration about the discharge of the water made in terms of cusecs from the Sukhana Lake during past five years. The estimated life span of the dam, indicated at the time of its construction, should also be indicated.”

The Judges also clarified that the “Haryana Government may proceed further with the land acquisition proceedings at its own risk, but, nevertheless, the authorities under the Land Acquisition Act are commanded to mention in the contemplated award this fact that the effect thereof shall be subject to further orders of the court in the public interest litigation.... Any decision which may be taken in the land acquisition proceedings, shall be subject to the court orders”.

Earlier during the proceedings, the Haryana’s Senior Deputy Advocate-General said while disposing a representation made by petitioner Dr B. Singh, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary to the Haryana Government observed that the catchment area of the lake had been identified and left out of urbanisation, which is a part of the heritage, besides being ecologically dear to the state of Haryana and every effort has been made to retain it in its original form.

The petitioner, on the other hand, had asserted that the catchment area of the lake was infact a forest area. An attempt was being made by the Haryana Government to have a lake adjacent to the lake by retaining the rain water or water from the rivulets ending into the lake. “If that is allowed, then the Sukhana Lake will apparently dry up....”, he added. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 28.

In a petition Dr B. Singh, a resident of Naya Gaon, had earlier produced development plan of Haryana. Describing it as “death warrant”, he had stated that the plan would stop the inflow of the rain water into the lake, rendering it as a dumping ground for the waste material.

Dr B. Singh had asserted that Haryana wanted its own lake within the state territory. He had alleged that the Chandigarh Administration, under the influence of the Haryana Government, was maintaining silence and was not taking any measure to stop such plan. In another petition, a city resident, Mr Pritpal Singh Sodhi, had asserted that the lake would be destroyed if the level was raised. He had further asserted that the pressure would increase by 40 per cent on the adjoining buildings if the level was raised by two feet.



Invincible till the end
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 5
A pall of gloom fell on the house of Gp Capt J.S. Kahlon (retd) in Sector 71 here as news of his death in a helicopter crash along with four Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir was received this morning.

Group Captain Kahlon, who had been working as Commissioner, Civil Aviation, with the Jammu and Kashmir Government, was himself flying the helicopter that crashed near Ganderbal in Srinagar district.

The deceased’s wife, Mrs Aneet Kaur, was in a state of shock and could not talk to newspersons.

Mr B.S. Randhawa, brother of Group Captain Kahlon’s daughter-in-law, said that the family got to know about the crash around 8.45 am. He said Group Captain Kahlon’s son, Mr Sarpreet Singh, who is in the merchant navy, got to know about the accident in Mumbai where he had gone to take a flight for Dubai as he had to join his ship. On getting news of the tragedy, his son returned to Delhi. He will be bringing the body of his father to the town here. The cremation was scheduled to be held at 11 am tomorrow.

They said that Group Captain Kahlon had taken premature retirement from the Indian Air Force. He was a fighter pilot.

He belonged to Bhagowal village in Gurdaspur district.

He had been with the Jammu and Kashmir Government for the past 20 years. First he had worked there on deputation and again after taking premature retirement. He was about to retire in about six months from his present post.

According to his relatives, the family of Group Captain Kahlon had come back from Jammu and Kashmir about two days ago as his grandsons had to attend school. He had visited the town about two months ago when his third grandson, Ishan, was born and left for Jammu and Kashmir on May 7.

The family has been staying in the town since 1998 when they had constructed a house here. Earlier, the family had been staying with him in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Randhawa said that Group Captain Kahlon was among the best pilots in the country and was known as “King Kahlon” among his colleagues when he was in the Air Force. He said that no pilot could beat him in a dog fight.

According to Mr Randhawa, Group Captain Kahlon was close to Dr Farooq Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

It is reported that on Dr Abdullah’s persuasion, Group Captain Kahlon had left the Air Force and was made in charge of the Civil Aviation wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Government. He said that Dr Abdullah had even attended the house warming ceremony of Group Captain Kahlon here.



Sculpted wetland pulsates with life
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Water plants in wetland area
  • Ipomoea carica: A hardy plant that can tolerate water as well as land conditions. It shelters birds from enemies.
  • Weeping willows (Salix Babylonica): Finds a mention in the Old Testament. Quoting, "We hang our harps over the willows". The plant is considered sacred.
  • Typha augusta: This water plant sucks pollutants from sledge and water; keeps water clean.
  • Lotus: Beautiful varieties procured from Kashmir are now blooming.

Chandigarh, August 5
When the neglected stretch of land lying between the Technical Teachers Training Institute (TTTI) and the Municipal Nursery in Sector 26 was chosen for rainwater harvesting some time back, no one had an idea about the potential of the site.

Today with water lilies and myriad varieties of lotus from the Kashmir Valley adorning the one-acre pond area, the site has become a haven not just for normal and migratory birds, but also for scientists and researchers, who visit the area for study purposes.

Nascent as the ecosystem of the area was before it was dug up for rainwater harvesting and 45,000 cubic feet of silt was removed from here, it offers all peculiar features of a wetland.

Besides providing significant scope for nature studies, the wetland, lying close to the Sukhna Lake, is now being frequented by about 300 birds, many of whom have made home in the thick cover provided by water plant Ipomoea. Lining the boundary of the wetland are water plants in four rows — bougenvilla, ipomoea carica, weeping willows and typha augusta.

The wetland is especially significant in view of the meterological observatory due to come up here. It will be the first observatory of its kind to come up in Chandigarh. It will supply vital weather data like wind velocity, temperature, humidity, rainfall, etc. A mast has already been erected. Meanwhile, the Environment Society of India (ESI), a voluntary agency that helps in the maintenance of the wetland has asked the UT Department of Science and Technology for Rs 1.25 lakh for the observatory. The TTTI is also supporting this project.

A visit to the area, which was once a garbage dump, confirms its potential. It attracts birds like the koel, the parrot, owls, water hyenas and other migratory birds, which have lately started frequenting the wetland, created by joint efforts of the ESI and the Municipal Corporation's Horticulture Wing. About 12 nesting boxes have been hung over the trees to facilitate breeding by birds.

Mr S.K. Sharma of the ESI, said "Birds are breeding here. Gradually we will install more nesting boxes."

Explaining the research potential of the site, Dr. Satnam Singh Ladhar, Principal Scientific Officer, Environment, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, who often visits the wetland, said, "This wetland can serve as an excellent site for nature studies, not just for scientists but also for school children. It can be used for a thorough exposition of the food chain. The role of insects in the food chain can be especially studied."

Elaborating, he said, "The area was a garbage dump. Naturally its ecosystem has developed peculiarly. Rooting plants, floating plants, free floating plants, submerged plants have grown gradually. Then dependent fauna has emerged. This is an ideal ecosystem for scientific study, he said. Also it is the right model for replication. Such wetlands prevent the flooding of adjoining areas by conserving rainwater." Scientists from the Forest Research Institute, Kashmir, have also visited this wetland.



Open sale of army uniforms in market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The recent incidents of terrorists attacking security installations wearing military uniforms has once again focused attention on the unchecked sale of army uniforms and accessories in the civilian market.

While the sale of cloth used for army uniforms, especially the disruptive pattern designed for camouflage, has been banned in Jammu and Kashmir, it is easily available in virtually any cloth shop in this region.

Markets adjoining military stations are generally well stocked with items of military use. Besides the basic uniform, these include badges of rank, insignia, apaulets, caps, belts, etc in some major stations, there are dedicated shops catering to uniforms and accessories.

“An army jawan is issued a uniform by his unit but it does not last the stipulated period,” an officer here commented. “He has no choice but to purchase his own private gear,” he added. Though every military station has a tailor shop to cater to soldiers’ requirements, there is no bar on getting uniforms stitched from elsewhere as long as the pattern is correct.

For officers, the issue is different. They are not issued uniforms but are entitled to a uniform allowance to get their uniforms stitched from tailor of their choice.

In Chandigarh there are two well-known drapers who, besides preparing military uniforms to specifications laid down by various regiments, provide a complete compliment of accessories. There are also several shops in Old Panchkula and Mani Majra, which sell such items.

Earlier, officers could purchase uniform items from “Officer Shops” in ordnance depots but these were done away with during restructuring of the Army’s logistics set-up in order to reduce the teeth-to-tail ratio.

Ambala, which has one of the country’s oldest and largest cantonments, has scores of such tailors scattered all over. Short of weapons, just about any ordnance item can be bought from civilian shops in the cantonment.

Similarly, stations like Amritsar, Pathankot and Sri Ganganagar, which are strategically located, have major outlets for sale of uniform items. Shopkeepers say that while wearing a military uniform may be a crime, selling military pattern cloth is not. Just wearing a plain army pattern jacket or trousers is no offence, they add.

Police sources say although wearing a military uniform by a person other than members of the armed forces is a crime, wearing a military pattern jacket or trousers with civilian clothes does not amount to an offence. Further, a formal complaint about any violation of law has to be made for any action to be taken.

The booming private security sector has emerged as a major market for these outlets. Military pattern headgear, scarves, belts and apaulets are being used by private security guards, much to the consternation of the armed forces.

Though the matter has been raised by the military authorities with the civilian administration several times, no action has been taken to stop this practice.



Zero-silt plan for Sukhna Lake
A.S. Prashar

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
An Haryana irrigation expert has come up with the model of a plan which, he says, could offer the “final solution” to the problem of silting in the Sukhna Lake.

The plan drawn up by a former Engineer-in-Chief of Haryana’s Irrigation Department, Mr S.P. Malhotra, was unveiled today at a meeting of the newly formed Save Sukhna Forum, where he made a brief presentation with the aid of a model of the Sukhna Lake and a sketch.

The problem of silting in the Sukhna Lake which has already reduced the capacity of the famous water feature by several feet has so far defied solution. The UT Administration has been toying with one method after another, including the removal of silt through manual labour, mechanical desilting, wet dredging, silt extruders and raising of the crest on which the radial gates of the regulator rest by 2 feet. None of them has given the desired results so far.

Mr Malhotra claims that his plan is guaranteed to produce the desired results. “My plan is just based on common sense”, says Mr Malhotra in an interview with TNS. “And it is also cost-effective. It does not involve the use of exotic and costly material. The basic concept is to prevent any silt-laden water to enter the lake. Only filtered water is allowed in”.

So confident is Mr Malhotra about the workability of his plan that he is willing to put up a bigger model at the Sukhna Lake to allow the experts and general public to study it and give their opinion. “The government should allow me to put up the model on a plot of 20x30 feet at a cost of Rs 20,000 and let everybody judge it. It can be ready in just one week”.

Mr Malhotra’s plan involves building of a bundh near the entry point of the lake. The bundh will start from the right abutment and touch some high ground on the other bank so that inflow of water has no direct access to the lake.

“All the inflow will get diverted towards the regulator where it will be pushed up to El 1161 feet. I will withdraw water from only the top 2 or 3 feet to avoid any silt. The water will be filtered so that even the fine silt gets separated and the lake gets zero silt which is our objective. The lake can then last till eternity”.

The cost of building the bundh and the filter house will be just about Rs 40 lakh which is much cheaper than a sum of Rs 2 crore being mooted by the UT Administration for setting up silt extruders at the lake, he says. The construction time is just six months and the plan can become operational well before the next filling up period.

The filter will consist of jute and coconut bushes which will be put in an iron frame through which the water will be pumped to take out the silt.

The model, he says, can be converted into a laboratory for conducting experiments for injecting rainwater into the groundwater in Punjab and Haryana where the falling water table has become a cause for serious concern.



Short-circuit causes fire in shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Clothes worth almost Rs 25 lakh were saved from being burnt in a fire caused due to a short-circuit at SCO 116 in Sector 17.

However, clothes worth over Rs 10,000 were burnt in the fire.

The firemen had to break open the lock and glass of the shop after they got information that smoke was emanating from the shop in the morning.

Jeans and school bags kept in the shop had caught fire by the time the operation to extinguish it was launched by the Fire Wing of the Municipal Corporation.

Mr S. K. Gosain, the Fire Officer, said the shopkeeper reached the spot later and opened two locks.

He said the shop had no arrangement for fire fighting.



MC passes items as Oppn walks out
Tribune News Service

MC’s largesse for itself

  • One of the agenda items passed today included allocation of Rs. 1.5 lakh for renovation of two houses in Sector 12 to make this into Executive Officer’s residence
  • The INLD councillors demanded a salary of Rs. 10,000 for the President, Rs 8,000 for Vice-President and Rs 5,000 for all councillors. With Mr Randhir Singh Malik opposing this saying that they could not (mis)utilise the public money like this, the councillors relented and decided to take up the issue with the state government.
  • Mr S.S. Goel, councillor from Ward No 9, demanded that the councillors be given a free telephone connection or a mobile connection, as their telephone bills had increased ever since they were elected as councillors.

Panchkula, August 5
The 18-member majority of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the municipal council today passed all but one item on the agenda of the council meeting even as the 11 councillors belonging to the Congress and BJP, led by MLA Chander Mohan, staged a walkout over the issue of holding elections for the proposed sub-committees.

Led by Mr Chander Mohan, councillors V.K. Kapoor, Jalmegha Dahia, Tarun Bhandari, Naresh Rawal, R.K. Kakkar, Dalbir Singh, Om Prakash and Manvir Gill, from the Congress, and BJP councillors — V.K. Sood, C.B. Goel and Jagdamba Gupta — walked out of the meeting even before the council agenda was read out. One of the councillors, Ms Anita Aggarwal, from Ward No 30, had earlier walked out from the meeting in protest against the non-inclusion of any of the items pertaining to her ward in the council agenda. Ms Aggarwal, who is originally from the Congress, had joined INLD about three months ago.

At least three sub-committees — Finance, Building and Public Works and Sanitation and Water Distribution — were to be formed during today’s meeting. Though the 18 members of INLD in the 31-member House authorised the council President, Ms Seema Chaudhary, to form all three sub-committees on her own, Congress and BJP councillors demanded that the sub-committees be constituted by holding an election, as provided for in the Haryana Municipal Act.

With President Seema Chaudhary showing no signs of relenting and a verbal duel erupting between the INLD councillors led by Mr Sunil Talwar and Congress MLA Chander Mohan, and councillor V.K. Kapoor, supported by BJP councillor C.B. Goel, these councillors walked out of the meeting. Alleging that the council President did not believe in democracy and feared cross-voting in case of elections for sub-committees, these councillors said that the INLD did not believe in going by the rule book.

In fact, ever since the meeting began, the Congress councillors seemed to be on the war path. The House meeting could not begin for almost an hour, as both INLD councillors and Congress councillors insisted upon discussing state politics on the floor of the House. Taking the lead, INLD-backed councillor Pavan Mittal started praising the ruling INLD’s policies in the state and ridiculing the previous Chief Ministers of not initiating any development in Panchkula. This led to Congress councillors V.K. Kapoor and R.K. Kakkar highlighting the achievements made by Mr Bhajan Lal, former Congress Chief Minister.

Later, the INLD councillors continued with the meeting and passed all items on the agenda, while deferring the item pertaining to the constitution of the sub-committees.

Most of the 28 items on the agenda passed by the House today relate to better sanitation and beautification of the township. Discussions were held on beautifying and cleaning up the entry points of Panchkula. It was decided to constitute sub-committees of area residents for the maintenance of public parks, after they have been transferred from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to the council.

Other important decisions taken today include setting up a district library and an old-age home. The issue of constructing a railway over-bridge at Mansa Devi Complex , which was turned down by the councillors in the last council meeting, was also passed. The issue of setting up a dairy complex outside the council limits of Panchkula and acquiring 50 acres for the purpose was discussed and it was decided to form a four-member committee for purchasing the land.

Errecting traffic lights at Sector 7/8/18/17 roundabout was turned down, though it was decided to instal these at Sector 11/10/15/14 roundabout and at the Industrial Area.



New order to hit Mohali developmental works
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 5
The government order which gives 60 days’ time to the authorities concerned to give approval to resolutions cleared by civic bodies during monthly meetings is going to adversely affect the developmental works here.

A copy of the order dated July 28, which was received by the municipal council here yesterday, said the time period for approving the resolutions passed by municipal corporations, nagar councils and nagar panchayats by the authorities concerned had been increased from 10 days to 60 days.

The order directed that no civic body would implement any resolution cleared at the meetings for 60 days after a copy of the proceedings was received by the Director, Local Government, Punjab, Regional Deputy Director, Local Government, and Deputy Commissioner concerned.

It said that a proper scrutiny would be carried out on the resolutions during the period and if any objections were raised, the civic body concerned could be intimated in this regard.

Reacting to the order, Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the municipal council, said the 60-day period was too long and it would adversely affect the development of the town. He said some works like the purchase of insecticides, repair of some council vehicles or court cases which required immediate attention would now keep hanging on for 60 days or civic body officials would have to rush to the higher authorities for getting an early sanction.

He said the time period could have been increased from 10 days to 15 days but 60-day period was only going to be a hindrance in the execution of works.

He demanded that the government should reduce the period to 15 days. Justifying his demand he said when the proceedings of each meeting were sent to the government, the comments of the Executive Officer stating whether each resolution was passed according to rules or not were also sent.

It has been pointed out in the order that the proceedings of the meetings held by municipal corporations, nagar councils and nagar panchayats reach the government very late for approval. It said the specified period of 10 days was not enough to scrutinise the proceedings and then take a decision on them.

The order said it had come to the notice of the government that many civic bodies initiated action for the implementation of the resolutions cleared at the meetings after waiting for 10 days. As such, the government decided to increase the time period.

The order stated that municipal corporations, nagar councils and nagar panchayats had to send a copy of the proceedings within 72 hours of the meeting to Director, Local Government, Punjab, and Deputy Commissioner concerned in the case of A-class councils. Similarly, in the case of meetings held by Class 2 and Class 3 councils and nagar panchayats, a copy of the proceedings had to be sent to the Deputy Director, Local Government, and Deputy Commissioners concerned.

The Executive Officer of each civic body had to send a copy of the proceedings through Class IV employees, who would deliver them by hand and take a receipt of the delivery.



It still hasn’t poured much
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Asked to comment on the monsoon, most of us would say it had been good. However, meteorological records indicate that this has been the second consecutive year when it did not rain much in July.

While it rained only 26 cm in July this year, the rainfall was only 7 cm last year. These two years notwithstanding, July in the city has meant plentiful rain. Looking at the past seven years, it rained 66 cm in July, 1998 — the highest rainfall recorded at the Air Force observatory here.

This year, widespread rain has lashed different parts of the city.

The reason behind the 26 cm rainfall, an officer said, was that small changes in weather brought scattered rainfall across the city. Also matters is the time for which the downpour last. The lesser the time, the more the impact.

“It is the south-west monsoon that brings rain to the city and its neighbouring areas,” said the source in the Meteorological Department. In July, 2001, an average rainfall of 33 cm was recorded, and in July, 2000, it rained nearly 44 cm. The average rainfall in 1998 and 1999 was 35 cm and 66 cm, respectively.

In the coming days, officials in the Meteorological Department say that widespread rain is expected in the city and parts of Northern India till the first week of September.

Monsoon in July in the past six years.

Year Rainfall (in cm)















Family dreads monsoon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Occupants of house 1300 in Sector 23 dread monsoon because the authorities concerned have failed to repair the roof damaged when a tree came down on it months ago.

An occupant of this government house, Tirathram, says he was happy living here till the last monsoon, but this season the leaking roof has been a constant problem.

The roof and a number of windows and doors have been mauled by the 30-foot eucalyptus tree that fell on the house after a squall.

The father of Tirathram says that the family was lucky to have it survived the tree fall, but it has failed to get the Chandigarh Administration to repair the house.

He said while the department repaired windows and doors, it did not do so with the roof, even though it was difficult for the family to live in the house.



Anwar Ali on minority morcha panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Dr Anwar Ali has been appointed member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP Minority Morcha from the city for the second consecutive term.

The minority morcha national president Mr Ramzan Khan, has made the appointment on the recommendation of the BJP general secretary Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the in-charge of the minority morcha.

Dr Ali attributed his re-nomination to the morcha general secretary, Nr Shah Mohmmed Khan, a former MP Mr Satyapal Jain, and the local BJP, president Mr Yashpal Mahajan.



4 BDPO staff found absent

Panchkula, August 5
The Chief Minister’s flying squad found at least four employees in the office of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Morni, absent from duty, during a surprise raid today. The flying squad led by the DSP, Mr Phool Kumar, conducted surprise checks in government schools and offices in the Morni area today. During the raid at the BDPO office, Morni, the Panchayat Officer, an accountant, a clerk and an assistant were found to be absent. TNS



Five get police remand in robbery case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 5
The five persons arrested by the Raipur Rani police last night in the highway robbery case of July 24 have been remanded in the police custody till August 11.

The accused — Amar Singh of Kami village, Amjad Singh of Naraingarh, Randhir Singh of Bhurewal and Ashok Kumar and Sunil Kumar of Laha — were first held on suspicion. Raids are being conducted by the CIA staff and the Raipur Rani police to recover the booty.



Mobile phone snatchers held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
A youth, Varun Sabra, who tried to run away after snatching a mobile phone from a girl student of Panjab University in Sector 15 this afternoon, was overpowered by passersby. His accomplice, Sandeep Rawat of Sector 45, who had fled, was later arrested. Sabra and Rawat have been caught for similar offences earlier as well. The police said more cases of snatching were likely to be solved with their arrests.

Sabra snatched the mobile phone from Kulwinder Kaur, a student of the PU Chemical Engineering Department, and ran towards Rawat who had kept a scooter ready. However, Kulwinder and her friend, Anu Nidhi Sharma of Sarojni Hall, PU, raised an alarm. While Rawat sped away, one Parminder Singh, who was standing close, caught Varun.

Sabra and Rawat are addicted to drugs. Earlier also they had been arrested by the Sector 36 police for snatching a mobile phone. Rawat, whose father works in the Bank of India, Sector 17, was once arrested by the Panchkula police in a purse-snatching case. Both have studied in the ITI, Sector 28.

Woman killed
A woman of Attawa village, Jaswant Kaur, died in the PGI after she had been injured in an accident on the dividing road of Sectors 40 and 41 on Monday. Jaswant Kaur was going on a bicycle with one Ashok Kumar when a scooter banged into the bicycle. Both were injured and taken to the PGI. The police has registered a case against the scooter driver under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC.

Car stolen
A Maruti Zen car (CH-01-W-2468) of a Sector 16 man, Mr Rajiv Nayyar, was stolen from the parking lot of the Psychology Department, Panjab University, here yesterday.

Two rickshaw-rehris, one of Mr Rakesh Kumar of Janta Colony and the other of Mr Jasbir Kumar of Sector 24, were also reported to have been stolen from different parts of the city.

Ms Kali of Mauli Jagran Complex here reported that two man — Ikrish and Johny — had attacked her with a sharp-edged weapon at her house yesterday. She sustained injuries and was admitted to hospital. A case under Sections 324 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

Bicycles recovered
The CIA wing of the police today claimed it had solved at least seven cases of theft by arresting two “habitual criminals” here. The police also recovered a large number of stolen rickshaw-rehirs and bicycles, besides a rickshaw, from their possession.

The accused — Rajinder Kumar of Ram Darbar and Jasbir Singh of Phase X, SAS Nagar — were arrested from Kajheri village. The police said they were drug addicts who had been arrested earlier also in theft cases. The police was looking for scrap dealers who bought the rickshaws rehris and bicycles stolen by them.



Glam doll Rajeshwari shoots for game show
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, August 5
It was not just a free flow of goodies but the energy that flew from the Zee TV production team along with the glamourous presence of actress-singer Rajeshwari which converted Bhatia’s International Super Market in Sector 35 into the most happening place today. “Tide- Khel Khel Mein”, the programme canned by the team, took the participants through a maze of fun games, allowing each of its participants to bring out the child in him.

An inhouse production of Zee TV, the “Tide Khel Khel Mein” team is in town shooting four episodes in different locales. Today’s episode was an special episode in which Rajeshwari handpicked a few customers and allowed them to loot the shop — all within one minute. So when the timer was set and camera rolled, two couples, Ashish and Anu, Rahul and Sandhya, along with four kids, Ashish, Vishwas, Sukaran and Nisha ran around the shopping archive to collect their booty as well perform a host of fun activities.

“The serial aims at bringing families together,” says Rajeshwari in between shoots, who feels that the busy mechanical lifestyle of today’s world has made each member drift from one another. “It is nice to see each member of a family participate in this game, working as a team and forming a bond in that process,” she says.

Rajeshwari, who has been acting as a catalyst in such family bond formation, says the experience was indeed gratifying. “In one of my earlier shows in Mumbai I witnessed a 50-year-old man saying the three magic words “I love you” for the first time to his wife and the expression on his wife face was worth all the sweat and hard work,” she gushes.

Directed by Gajinder Singh and Ashok Kochchar as Executive Director who was also present in the scene, an element of surprise is what makes “Khel Khel Mein” different from the other game shows. “There are six rounds in each episode but apart from two fixed rounds which are Treasure Hunt round and Riddles, we keep other rounds flexible to suit the taste of the audience,” says Mr Manoj Soral, who is writing the script for the serial.

For today’s special super market episode, the team devised a “one minute loot maar” round, dumb charades and others like in which the husbands were required to tie the knot of a necktie for their wives and two other singing rounds. Three episodes have already been shot in Chandigarh which comes as the second city in the list of towns to host the show.

Rajeshwari, Shyam Benegal’s “Sardari Begum”, who is waiting for the release of her next film, “The Perfect Husband”, and her second untitled audio album, in the meantime, will be travelling from city to city hosting the show. And what makes her tick as a hostess? “A humane approach to the whole concept and respect for the participants,” she lets out her secret.


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