Friday, August 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Protesting traders held
Shutters down in Sectors 17, 22
Our Correspondent

Protest to continue

“Members of the Commercial Tenants Association along with their wives and children will go ahead with their scheduled protest at Matka Chowk tomorrow,” said Mr Sanjay Abott. Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal said it would wait till noon as it expected some announcement from the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), in this regard. The mandal president, Mr Jagdish Arora, said a meeting would be held at noon tomorrow to decide the future course of action.

Chandigarh, August 14
The controversy over the Rent Control Act notification took a new turn when the police arrested 12 traders this morning. In retaliation, traders downed shutters in Sectors 17 and 22 this evening terming the police action illegal and uncalled for.

It all started this morning when the Commercial Tenant Association (CTA) was holding a silent protest at Matka Chowk. Those leading the protest were asked by the SHO of the Sector 17 police station to take the rally elsewhere for today and tomorrow in view of the Independence Day restrictions.

Traders refused to budge on the ground that they had been holding rallies at the chowk for the past 48 days with due permission. Later, Mr S.C. Sagar, SDPO (central), also reached the spot and ordered the arrest of traders under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC in apprehension of breach of peace. Initially, nearly 20 traders were rounded up, but eight were let off. In the evening, the remaining 12 traders were remanded in judicial custody till August 22.

Things remained quiet till the afternoon, after which more than 100 traders gathered at the Sector 17 police station after they came to know of the arrests. The traders then decided to down shutters and declare a bandh.

The president of the traders’ association, Mr Arvind Jain, who has also been arrested, said on mobile phone: ‘‘Our protest against the Rent Act Notification was totally peaceful. We were not even raising any slogan, still they (police) arrested us.’’

To show resentment against the police action, traders marched towards the Sector 17 market from the police station at about 5.30 pm and asked all shopkeepers to close shops and switch off lights. According to reports, ‘‘none’’ of the shopkeepers resisted the bandh call. At least on two occasions, the police entered into arguments with the traders. The police also rounded up Mr Adarsh Jain from the Sector 17 market, but he was later let off.

Those who were arrested from Matka Chowk were: Mr Arvind Jain, Mr Mahinder Kumar, Mr Harinder Kumar, Mr Ravinder Mohan, Mr Mahesh Kumar, Mr Maharaj Sodhi, Mr Vinod Uppal, Mr Deepak Mittal, Mr Kabul Singh, Mr Dinesh Kumar, Mr Baljeet Singh, Mr Jagdish Chand Kaushal and Mr Om Prakash.

On August 8, when former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani had visited the city, the divide among the trading community here had showed up, when only traders of Sectors 8, 17 and 22 had responded to a bandh call. Today, the stand was more unanimous.



Agitating PU students detained, let off
Tribune News Service

Students protesting against the implementation of credit system for promotion to the next class in BSc (Honours) at Panjab University
Students protesting against the implementation of credit system for promotion to the next class in BSc (Honours) at Panjab University being taken to the Sector 11 police station in Chandigarh on Thursday. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, August 14
As many as 29 students were picked up from Panjab University by the police here today when they were protesting against the implementation of the credit system for promotion in B.Sc (Honours School) classes.

Students were taken to the police station at Sector 11 and let off later. The arrested were Saurabh Joshi, secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Yogesh, secretary of the Panjab University Student Union, and Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, president of a rival faction of the PUSU.

After their release on personal bonds, a delegation of the ABVP met Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, and asked him to withdraw the credit system for promotion to the next class in the honours school.

The letter addressed to the Vice Chancellor read: “The students of B.Sc (Honours) who appeared in their first-year examination and could not clear the re-appear examination in August, 2003, should be allowed to continue in the second year”.



Education for slum children top priority, says Verma
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Education for all, including slum children and those employed as domestic help in homes and offices, is the new mantra of the Chandigarh Administration City residents will be asked to cooperate in sending domestic help to school or close a legislation may be introduced to enforce this, said UT Administrator Justice O.P. Verma (retd) while talking to The Tribune on the eve of completion of his 100 days in office.

Justice Verma said his endeavour would be to provide facilities to city residents available in developed nations — well-managed traffic, good roads, pollution-free buses, pathways for pedestrians and separate bins for degradable and non-degradable garbage. Cleanliness would get priority.

On what he liked the most about Chandigarh, Justice Verma said its “greenery.” The standard of education and health institutes was high and civic facilities in abundance.

Going back to education for all, especially slum children, he said. “I am trying to do away with slums by rehablitating the slum dwellers. The population has to be controlled as civic amenities cannot be added to meet an ever-growing population.” On the villages surrounding the Union Territory, Justice Verma was clear: “We will see that the Periphery Control Act is implemented in letter and spirit and no diversion is allowed. ’’

Asked if civic amenities were under pressure from the floating population of Panchkula and SAS Nagar, he said Punjab and Haryana should have corresponding infrastructure in their satellite townships.

A formula would be devised on those on deputation with the Chandigarh Administration from Punjab and Haryana. “Anybody who has been here for 20 years will feel bad on being sent back. Similarly, there are others who want to come on deputation as they too want to enjoy the good facilities and quality of life in Chandigarh. But one cannot be on deputation to the Administration on a permanent basis,” Justice Verma explained.

He said the issue of use of the cricket stadium in Sector 16 would be sorted out soon.

On further development in the city, the Chandigarh Administration, he said, was looking for a private partner for developing a convention centre of international standards at the Beant Singh Memorial site in Sector 42.

“We are also gearing up for setting up an IT park of world class standards,” the UT Administrator added.



Police remand for former ultra Taari
Tribune News ServiceAvtar Singh Taari

Panchkula, August 14
Avtar Singh Taari, a former terrorist arrested by the police yesterday on the charge of extortion, has been remanded in police custody till August 18.

Taari was produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr P.K. Yadav, by the Raipur Rani police this afternoon. The prosecution said it had sought police custody to recover the country-made pistol used by the accused to threaten Dr Billa of the village of Kakrali near here. Taari had demanded protection money from Dr Billa, who finally got him arrested.

The police said Taari had 16 cases against him in Punjab. He was said to have been active in the districts of Ludhiana and Patiala during the days of militancy. After his arrest by the Punjab Police and his conviction in six cases, he was released from the Patiala jail in November, 2002.

Taari, his brother Waryiam Singh, and a friend, Sukhpal ‘Pala’, had subsequently formed a gang and were involved in several crimes in Panchkula, Ambala and Yamunanagar districts. The police said they would disguise as granthis and stay in gurudwaras, while they identified their targets and struck later. They were involved in the looting at a petrol station in Yamunanangar, a robbery in Jagadhari and a shooting incident near Barwala.

While Waryam Singh was arrested two months ago on charge of murdering Sukhpal Singh ‘Pala’ near the village of Toda, Avtaar had evaded arrest.



3 more cases of cholera reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/SAS Nagar, August 14
Cholera has once again resurfaced as three confirmed cases have been reported from the city and adjoining SAS Nagar area.

A 10-month-old girl, Sukanya, resident of Madrasi Colony in Bapu Dham, was admitted to the Emergency at the Advanced Paediatric Centre, PGI, on Sunday. UT health officials, while confirming that Sukanya had tested positive for cholera, said she was discharged today.

Two cases of cholera have also been reported from SAS Nagar. One of the patient, Surjit (2) from Colony Number 5, has been admitted to Cheema Medical Complex in Phase IV with cholera symptoms. The other patient, Sikander (8) is a resident of Jhuggi Colony near Phase II.

Dr Varinderjit Singh Virdi said the two patients were suffering from acute diarrhoea and vomiting. He added that both had tested positive for cholera. While Surjit has been discharged, Sikander is still under treatment. He added that the stool test for darting motility had been conducted, which indicated growth of viprio cholrae.

With this, the total number of cholera cases from SAS Nagar, during the past two months has gone up to five. Two cholera cases had been reported from the Balongi area, as residents have been complaining about unsafe drinking water.

During the past one month there have been seven cholera cases from various parts of the city as compared to last years’ 72 cases.



Spinning magical melodies
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In these times wrought with non-musical sensibilities, Shankar Mahadevan continues to talk melody. More than that, he continues to fashion music in a contemporary style that makes sense to every heart, young and old; every audience, Indian or Western. And that he knows how to make magical musical configurations is clear from his winning packaging of melodies in Farhan Akhtar’s “Dil Chahta Hai”, which entranced the nation with its airy music.

It was not by a sheer stroke of fortune that Shankar, along with Ehsaan and Loy, his partners in rhyme, were asked to do music for “Dil Chahta Hai”. It was supposed to be like that, given poet Javed Akhtar’s fancy for Shankar’s perfectly-toned musical consciousness. Earlier on, music lovers had benefited from Shankar and Javed Akhtar’s association in music album, “Breathless”.

In the city to promote “Nine”, his second album with Javed Akhtar, Shankar talked about everything, from his inclusion in Zakir Hussain and John McLoffin’s international fusion band Shakti to his fascination for African and Middle Eastern music. He began by mentioning “Nine”, “We wanted to team up again. But we did not want to make a mush of music. So Javed decided to give words to the nine emotions including joy, pain, hope, despair, jealousy and passion. The album explores feelings in the language of music,” laughed the singer-composer, who is now also the voice of the Government of India’s promotional music video for the National Literacy Mission (NLM).

“Savere, savere”, the happy number composed and sung by Shankar, is now coaxing kids to school. The video also features Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in an inspirational role. Shankar says he is happy to be a part of the NLM’s project. “It’s a great cause to work for,” said the singer, who was awarded the national award for the best playback singing for his rendition in the Tamil film, “Kandukondian Kandukodian”, in 2001.

With classical music as his base, Shankar reasons, “With ragas in your roots, you can’t falter. My grooming helps me sing variety — from Pepsi's jingle to the semi-classical song in “Breathless”. Now I will also be the vocalist for Shakti. John McLoffin himself called me up to admit how he loved my harmony. Smitten with Shankar’s sonata, a Hollywood director has recently signed him for his film, “Marigold”.

At ease with western and Indian music, Shankar says blending the two leads to the creation of winsome patterns. “We are rhythmically rich, but lack western harmonies. As such, many Indian ragas match Western scales. Raga bihu matches the pentatonic scale,” says Shankar, who left software engineering to justify his passion. Shankar is now making music for Mani Shankar's “Rudraksha”, Farhan Akhtar's “Laksha”, Ramesh Sippy's “Kuchh Na Kaho” and Karan Johar's “Kal Ho Na Ho”.



What citizens have to say on Independence Day
Gaurima Yadav

Chandigarh, August 14
“The dream of Bapu, the father of the nation, remains unfulfilled till date. If nothing is done to control the population explosion, we will soon find ourselves at the mercy of foreign forces again” 

— Mr C.M Munjal- General Secretary of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council.

“Focus should be on the India of tomorrow, which should ideally reflect the basic virtues of honesty, dedication and hard work”. 

– Harold Carver-Principle, St. Stephen School.

“The difference between the rich and the poor is alarmingly increasing which can lead our country to a social turmoil. Steps should be taken to uplift the poorest of the poor so that they can understand the real meaning of independence”

 — Dr Sukhdev Sharma, Professor, History, G.C.M.

“Tussle with Pakistan must be sorted out and then the deep-rooted evil of corruption should be tackled in order to accelerate country’s development” 

— Dr Raj Bahadur, Head, Orthopaedics G.M.C.H.

“Godhra and Gujarat riots presented the dismal picture of the distorted values of society. I can just hope that such inhuman acts shouldn’t take place again to make our country a better place to live” 

— G.S Chani, Social worker.

“India is the 21st century technology hub, thanks to our freedom fighters that gifted independence to us. Bureaucratic bottlenecks must be removed to facilitate the growth of the economic sector” 

— Preeti, P.U. student.

“The contribution of our freedom fighters should be propagated not just through the books but also through the media. Students should be aware of our real heroes rather than those in films”, 

— Sunita Sarohar, teacher, D.A.V, Sector-15

“Moral degradation has transformed our social set-up. Joint family system is giving way to nuclear families. Un-ethical relationships are on the rise. Mature India should be a graceful blend of tradition and modernity” 

— Vineet Sharma- research scholar.



Punjabi Tribune, Dainik Tribune are 25 years old
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The sister publications of The Tribune, Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune complete 25 years tomorrow. Both the publications have come out with special colour supplements on the occasion. The supplements will be distributed among the readers tomorrow.

The supplement of Punjabi Tribune was released by the Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers, Mr H.K. Dua, at a brief function held on the premises of The Tribune in Sector 29 here this evening. The function was attended by the General Manager of The Tribune, Mr R.N. Gupta, the Additional General Manager, Mr O.P. Arora, and the Editors of Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune, Mr S.S. Bhullar and Mr Raj Kumar Singh, respectively.

Others members of the editorial and management departments of The Tribune group were also present. The publications were launched on August 15, 1978, and have grown since then to become powerful voice of the people.



No help at roadways helpline
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
If you plan to board the best bus to a particular destination immediately, attempts to get telephonic information will only meet with failure due to clash of commercial interests between various state roadways operating from here.

Making calls the Haryana, Punjab, Himachal and Chandigarh roadways will leave you in despair. And if destinations are like Gwalior, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Agra or one in Jammu and Kashmir you may even have to wait for a day to leave Chandigarh as there are chances that you may get wrong or no information about vehicles being plied by the Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Uttaranchal roadways.

A telephone attendant on Haryana Roadways admitted that ringing up inquiries of state road transport corporations was not a much help as because of commercial interest they would not provide information about buses of other states.

The city does not have a centralised information centre to guide a passenger.

The state of affairs of railway inquiries is no different calls made to their computerised inquiries just did not mature between 4 pm and 4.55 pm.

When a call to the Sector 17 manual inquiry matured, the person who was asked to inform the status about the position of seats for Bharatpur in Rajasthan in the Pashchim Express, the reporter posing as a visitor had to wait for 10 minutes only to listen to what he was telling those who had queued up for inquiries.

It seems the Railways carrying millions of people every day did not depute two separate persons for telephonic and other inquiries.

The Station Master Bipin Meena when asked why there was not response to queries expressed his surprise and said he would inquire about the efficacy of the inquiry system.

Ambulance services in city are slightly better as these are prompt in response.

As no doctor is present in the ambulances, patients run a risk on the way to a hospital.

The Police Control Room number 100 seems to have become a friend of all as it could guide the caller about a problem providing them much-needed with telephone numbers .

When this reporter complaint of water-logging, he was guided to inform the Fire Brigade and Public Health Department with their telephone numbers to drain out water.



Fire in LIC building
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Panic gripped occupants of the LIC building ‘Jeevan deep’ in Sector 17 when a fire broke due to a short circuit in the sub-station at the ground floor of the building. A thick smog of smoke engulfed the area around the building.

The Fire Department is issuing a notice to the LIC authorities for not taking preventive measures what had lead to the fire. A fire tender from the Sector 17 fire station rushed to the site to control the flames.

A fire official said the sub-station suffered little loss as the flame did not spread to the transformer lying nearby. The fire broke out due to load on the sub-station, said an electrical engineer. In the past months, fire has broken out at the sub-station on several occasions.

The Chandigarh Fire Department has issued a number of notices to the authorities concerned in the past. However, this time the fire Department indicated strict action against the agency concerned.

A fire official said the location of the building was such that a fire could result in a major disaster in the area as a number of the offices were located in the area.



Malimath panel proposals opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Criticising some major recommendations of the Malimath Committee, a patron of the Punjab and Chandigarh section of the International Commission of Jurists, Justice Mela Ram Sharma, has asserted that the suggestions, if implemented, would make the country’s legal system “akin to the authoritarian and dictatorial ones”.

He said this after inaugurating a conference on “Malimath Committee report: issues and perspectives — quest for Justice?” at the ICSSR complex on Panjab University Campus. The conference was attended by retired judges, lawyers, police personnel and members of human rights organisations.

The commission suggested that the key recommendations of the committee should not be implemented as such. It was also resolved that criminal justice reforms must be within the framework of the universally recognised human rights standards, besides the principles of natural justice, fairness, transparency and accountability.

Legal adviser of the commission Ravinder Joshi said the major recommendations of the committee were in violation of the universally recognised human rights standards. Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons), however, noted that the recommendations had been made in good faith as society was passing through a critical phase.



MC Gypsy seized by Himachal cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In the case of death of 22 cows in Paonta Sahib, a team of the Himachal police today seized an official Gypsy of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

The Gypsy (CH-01-G-1424) carrying the Slaughter House Superintendent of the corporation, Dr M.S. Kamboj, had led the four vehicles in which 22 cows were taken before being thrown from a hilltop at Lal Dangh near Paonta Sahib, according to the Himachal police.

The police team led by Additional SHO, Paonta Sahib, Mr Sham Lal, went to the office of the Medical Officer of Health to make certain queries. The police personnel, who then went to the office of the Joint Commissioner and Additional Commissioner of the corporation, alleged that the corporation officers did not cooperate with them. However, the Municipal Corporation denied the allegation.

Finally, the Gypsy, which was reportedly parked at a Sector 20 office of the corporation, was handed over to the police team.

Sources in the corporation said the police team then went to the houses of Dr Kamboj and some other corporation officers, but none of the officers named in the FIR could be contacted. The Superintendent was said to be on leave. The team is expected to return with warrants against the Slaughter House Superintendent and a police Sub-Inspector Om Parkash, who is attached with the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

Earlier, on August 8, the Himachal police had to return without seizing the Gypsy of the Medical Officer Health Department.

The names of Dr Kamboj and SI Om Prakash figure in the FIR registered in the case of 22 cows found dead in an area falling under the Paonta Sahib police station. The Himachal police had registered a case under Section 429 of the IPC (causing injury) and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act in this regard.

The Municipal Corporation has accepted that 47 stray animals including cows, had been shunted out on the night of July 25 on orders of leaving them at Kala Amb. The Himachal police, on the basis of a statement of a Forest Ranger, had said the cattle had been shunted out at the site where 22 of them had been found dumped in a gorge. The corporation also accepted that the vehicles whose registration numbers had been provided by the Himachal police were used in the shunting out of the cattle.

The Himachal police today made queries regarding the names of some other employees of the corporation, including Darshan Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Bhajan, Roshan and Sucha Singh.



Tussle over govt dispensary
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 14
A government dispensary running in Sanatan Dharam Mandir in Phase IV here has become a bone of contention between residents of different phases of the town.

Residents of adjoining areas sat on dharna here today in protest against the government orders that the dispensary be shifted back to Phase I where a building for it had been constructed by PUDA.

It is reported that efforts of the doctor in charge of the dispensary to shift the furniture and other items to the Phase I building proved futile as residents did not allow him to do so.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, Municipal Councillor, said that efforts to move the dispensary from Phase IV were foiled as a number of residents kept sitting there till the doctor had left the dispensary around 2.30 p.m.

She said the residents had put up locks on the locks put up by the dispensary staff. Even part of the mandir gate was locked so that no vehicle could be taken inside for loading furniture after the residents had left. She said they would meet the minister concerned.

Mr Hem Raj Aggarwal, president of the Sanatan Dharam Mandir, said three rooms in the building had been given for running the dispensary free of cost, apart from free power.

He said as there was no government dispensary in this area, shifting of the dispensary to Phase I would be unjustified. He said as Phase I was closer to the Civil Hospital, residents of that area could go there or additional staff be sent for running the dispensary in Phase I.

This dispensary was shifted from Phase I to Phase III-B1 after the rented accommodation from where it was functioning was got vacated by the owner. As it failed to get suitable accommodation in Phase IIIB1, it was shifted to the mandir in Phase IV. Now a large number of patients daily visited the dispensary. They would be deprived of this facility if it was shifted.

It is reported that office-bearers of the Residents Welfare Association, Phase I, are making efforts to get the dispensary shifted back to Phase I as the building for it is ready.



Three Tribune employees hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Three Tribune employees were injured when the Tata Sumo they were travelling in was reportedly hit by an Indica car near the roundabout of sectors 46 and 47 this evening.

The injured — Tarun Sharma, Sukhwinder Sodhi and Baldev — were taken to the Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, where they were stated to be out of danger.



A clarification

In the news item “Brutal ragging forces boy to leave Army Institute of Technology” which appeared in these columns on August 12, instead of mentioning that a relative of the boy did not wish to be quoted, it was inadvertently mentioned that the father of the boy did not wish to be quoted.



Two cycle thieves held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The crime branch today claimed to have recovered six cycles and a CD player from two thieves recently released from jail after serving sentences in rape, kidnapping and theft cases.

Vijay Kumar, alias Gauri, a resident of Janata Colony, Sector 25, and Ram Nagina, a resident of Sector 25, were arrested on a tip off.

Vijay Kumar was arrested on June 19 last for a cycle theft and was released recently. Ram Nagina had also been in jail for being involved in a kidnapping and rape case. He was released on April 4 this year.

During interrogation, the two, in their early twenties, confessed they had stolen three cycles from Panchkula and one each from Sectors 15, 10, 38 and Kajheri. The CD player had been stolen from Rajeev Colony in Panchkula. The thieves had taken rented accommodation in Dhanas and Kajheri villages to escape police attention.



Rs 1.5 lakh stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Rs 1.5 lakh cash was today stolen from a Zen car from Sector 22-B. Pradeep Batta, a resident of Sector 48, complained that his wife and he had collected cash from the Centurian Bank in Sector 9 and went to meet a relative in Sector 22 when an envelope and a brief case containing cash, driving licence and registration papers of the vehicle left behind were stolen.

A rickshaw-puller said a white Maruti car with three unidentified persons inside it had been following the car.

He said one of the thieves followed Mr Batta, another went to the car and the third one stayed in the car.



Laptop makers woo students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Several computer manufacturers have begun to approach educational institutions and business centres in the city to sell laptops. The manufacturers are targeting business executives, students and medical professionals to sell their laptops, said Mr Raj Saraf, Chairman and Managing Director, Zenith Computers.

He claimed that computerisation of the telecom, banking, finance and insurance sectors had led to an increase in sale of personal computers, printers and UPS units and the next target was to promote the sale of laptops. He said at present, over 1,000 personal computers and nearly 100 laptops every month.

Officials of HPCL, Compaq and other companies said they were approaching the Panjab University and PGI research scholars to sell laptops. A marketing executive of a leading company said: “We are witnessing a new segment of buyers, who want to exchange their personal computers with laptops.” He said the companies were also approaching financial institutions and banks to finance the laptops.

According to a latest survey report of the industry, the sale of personal computers in 16 major cities, including Chandigarh was likely to grow by 20 per cent this year, said Mr Saraf.

Another manufacturer said: “After acquiring mobile phones, a section of students studying in professional institutes and staying in hostels are feeling a need to acquire laptops. The fall in their prices is also likely to attract them towards laptops.”


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