Saturday, August 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man washed away by rising choe
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, August 22
Twenty-four-year old Gopi died last night when he failed to cross the rising N. Choe which passes through Leisure valley, Rose Garden, Kajheri village before flowing down SAS Nagar.

His three friends, Dinesh, Manoj and Sunil, managed to save themselves by clutching to bushes and trees coming their way.

The accident has also brought to light a lurking danger of school students in meeting the same fate as a large number of them cross a swollen causeway in Kajheri village during the monsoon.

Gopi was swept away and was fished out today 1.5 km away (near Kajheri village) from the site of the occurrence. Villagers noticed his hand and pulled him out.

The search for Gopi had to be abandoned after four hours at 11 pm yesterday. It was resumed early morning today.

Watery graves in the past 2 years

  • An eight-year-old daughter of a rickshawpuller was drowned in a swamp at Dadu Majra on August 8, 2003.
  • A kayak of CRPF, Ravi Ankit died in Sukhna Lake, while he was practising last year.
  • Three youths were drowned when they went swimming in a water filled pit in Mani Majra.
  • Rishav from Jalandhar died in a water pool at Thunder Zone Amusement Park situated in SAS Nagar last year.
  • Two brothers from Kumhar Colony here, Amit and Sumit, died in the waters of Jayanti Dam, near here in August last year.
  • Rajinder Singh, 10, of Dhanas village lost his life while he had gone for a swim in a water filled ditch in the beds of Patiala Ki Rao, near the village in 2001.

The four had held each other while crossing the rivulet near the Sector 52 and 53 bridge but could not stay together against the current.

The four had gone to pluck guavas from an orchid after crossing the rivulet at around 6 pm yesterday. The accident happened while they were returning. ‘‘It was only waist-deep water when we crossed the rivulet for the orchid, but on our return journey the water level had risen significantly, still safe enough to cross”, informed Manoj. Narrating the incident, Dinesh said that they were in the middle of the rivulet, when a sudden gush of water swept them apart.

Water had also entered the body of the three survivors but they managed not to lose their breath and return home, said the police. The survivors did not inform the police about the incident. In fact, it was someone else who informed the residents that Gopi had been washed away. Immediately, the police was called in and a rescue operation was started at around 8 pm.

Father of the victim, Mr Gopal, who works as a brass moulder, said that before leaving the house, Gopi had told him that he would be back soon.

Gopi was working as a plumber in a factory at Industrial Area, SAS Nagar. He is survived by his wife, a three month old son, three brothers, father and mother. Manoj is married and works in a private company. Sunil and Dinesh are matric pass and are unemployed.

Meanwhile, a large crowd gathered near the Kajheri village’s cremation ground, where the body of Gopi was kept after it was fished out of the water. The body was later handed over to the family after the latter requested the police not to conduct postmortem.


Mohali Murder
R.S. Sandhu held, sent to police remand till Aug 25
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 22
The police has arrested Rajinder Singh Sandhu who had fled the scene of crime after killing his wife and seriously injuring his step daughter in Phase X here yesterday.

Gurinder Kaur was shot dead and Komal was seriously injured by Rajinder Singh yesterday morning. The latter had been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

In a press note released here today on behalf of Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, said the suspect was hiding near Kharar after committing the crime and was rounded up from near the Kharar bus stand last night. He said the description of the suspect had been sent to various police stations in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Kharar and surrounding areas and police parties were also sent to the nearby bus stands and taxi stands.

The SP said at the Kharar bus stand a police party headed by Inspector Skattar Singh, SHO, Kharar, was checking vehicles of suspected offenders. He spotted one person who was standing all alone late in the night and rounded him up. On questioning it was found that the person was Rajinder Singh and his description also matched with the one provided by the local police. The police also recovered a .32 bore pistol that had been used for the crime from him.

The SP, who is investigating the case, said Rajinder Singh was brought to the Phase VIII police station after proper identification where he was arrested.

Mr Bhullar said on questioning the suspect it was found that one of the reasons behind the crime was a dispute with his wife over his house. While Rajinder Singh wanted to sell the house his wife was against such a move. Mr Bhullar said some time ago Rajinder Singh had even finalised a deal for selling the house but Gurinder Kaur did not let him go ahead with it. Moreover, he was against Komal’s working for a TV channel. He objected to her returning home late at night along with her mother. On the night of the murder too Gurinder Kaur and Komal had returned home late at night and saw Rajinder Singh under the influence of liquor. A tiff between the husband and wife followed after which they went off to sleep. But soon after Rajinder shot his wife and step daughter.

The SP said the suspect was earlier married to Ms Bhupinder Kaur, a resident of Gumtala in Amritsar district. He had two sons from his first wife and was staying with her at Pandori Waraich village. In the meantime he became friendly with a brother of Gurinder Kaur who was married to a tailor in the Majitha area and was going through a marital dispute. Gurinder Kaur’s divorce case was also going on in a court and Rajinder Singh started going for court hearings. Soon a close relationship developed between the two. Gurinder Kaur then started coming to the house of Rajinder Singh, much to the annoyance of his first wife.

Mr Bhullar said soon after Gurinder Kaur, along with her daughter, came to the house of Rajinder Singh and started living with him. As his wife could not tolerate this she left his house, along with her two sons, about 15 years ago and went to Mumbai where she started living with her sister. Since then Gurinder Kaur had been living with Rajinder Singh.

The SP said on questioning it was also revealed that Rajinder Singh had neither divorced his first wife nor had married Gurinder Kaur. He said the suspect had earlier remained in jail in connection with a murder case. Gurinder Kaur’s brother had been murdered by some unidentified persons some time back and Rajinder Singh was named as one of the suspects in the case.

Mr Bhullar said the suspect was produced in the court today and he was sent to police remand till August 25.


Boy lost leg due to doctors’ negligence, say parents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Seeing the cricket kit in his room replaced with crutches, the Ahluwalia family is still not able to come to terms with the fact that their 15-year-old son, who sustained a minor knee injury, has come home crippled after an amputation, shattering his dreams of becoming a cricketer.

Doctors clarify

Dr Sanjay Saluja said he had treated the child to the best of his ability and competence and could in no way be held responsible for the adverse outcome. After keeping the media waiting for more than an hour, he came accompanied by several private practitioners of the city. “He had to be put on ventilator because of respiratory complications. Like film star Vivek Oberoi, he, too, developed post-fracture complications,” the doctors said.

The doctors, including Dr Saluja, put the blame indirectly on the GMCH, saying that there was no need for an amputation and the child could have got hospital-acquired infection, which is very common in government hospitals. Sympathising with the family, he said there was no negligence. The GMCH authorities could not be contacted.

It was a minor internal knee injury which Abhishek sustained while playing football at St John’s School on July 11 which landed him at Inscol Hospital in Sector 34. His parents, Mr Anil Ahluwalia and his wife Anuradha, today alleged that it was due to the negligence of doctors at Inscol that their son lost a leg, even when it was a case of a simple fracture.

A police complaint has been lodged at the Sector 34 police station, while the Shivalik Enclave Residents Welfare Association will be meeting the Governor to demand a high-level probe into the case by a team headed by a PGI doctor.

“You can imagine my plight when I was asked to choose between death and amputation for my son when my husband was thousands of kilometres away on a ship near Spain,” said a weeping Anuradha. The family is all praise for the team of doctors headed by Dr Raj Bahadur, head of Orthopaedics at Government Medical College and Hospital(GMCH), because of whom they feel their son is at least alive.

The family has paid a bill of over Rs 84,000 for the treatment given by doctors at Inscol, including Dr Sanjay Saluja, Dr J. Banerjee, Dr Rashmi and Dr Kaplish. It was finally the doctors at the GMCH who performed the amputation as there was a threat to Abhishek’s life.

Abhishek was operated upon by Dr Saluja, a consultant orthopaedician at Inscol, on July 11. He was readmitted to Inscol on July 13 after there was numbness, swelling and blisters all over his leg. “When my son was writhing in pain and suffering from breathlessness, the doctors and hospital staff said he needed psychiatric counselling as he was ‘over-pampered’”, said Mrs Ahluwalia.

“On July 18, he was put on ventilator and this really shocked me as I could not understand why a patient with a fracture needed a ventilator. The doctors kept telling me that there was no cause for worry,” she said.

“Finally, on July 18, when the case became unmanageable, he was shifted to the GMCH, where doctors told us that he was already suffering from multi-organ dysfunction, where his heart, liver and kidney had been affected," said doctors at GMCH.

“Despite the best efforts of GMCH doctors, there was no option but to amputate his leg and it is only because of them that he is with us,” said a weeping Mr Ahluwalia, who landed in the city on July 26.


UT seeks extension in retirement age
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The Chandigarh Administration has made a formal request to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs seeking implementation of Central Service Rules, which, if approved, mean the retirement age of employees will rise from 58 years to 60 years on the Central pattern.

At present employees in Chandigarh are governed by the Punjab Service Rules and retire at 58 years. The MHA is the controlling ministry of the Administration, thus a formal approval is required from the Central Government for extension in the retirement age. A similar request had been made to the MHA about four years ago, however, it elicited no response.

The move has come at a time when the Chandigarh Administration is saddled with a monthly wage bill of approximately Rs 22 crore. Sources said calculations made within the Finance Department of the Administration point out to a collective financial loss of running into crores of rupees as all its work force which is in excess of 23,000 will draw wages for two more years than scheduled. This aspect has also been made in the recommendation lest the MHA refers back the case asking for financial liabilities.

Well-placed sources said as per the promise made by the Administration to employees unions on May 6, a letter seeking implementation of the Central Service Rules has been sent recently. This letter was drafted carefully by senior officials and demands of employees unions have been collated in it. It may be recollected that the employees unions had called for a strike on May 7. A day ahead of the strike the Chandigarh Administration and employees unions held a meeting in which the Administration agreed to get the government notification dated 13.1.1992 withdrawn. Under this notification the service conditions of all UT employees were changed from that of Central Service Rules to the Punjab Public Civil Services Rules.

If the MHA approves it will benefit thousands of employees who now retire from government service at the age of 58 years on the Punjab pattern. These include employees in the Education, Transport, Police, Engineering, Health, Industries, Environment, Excise and Taxation, Sports, Social Welfare, other departments, the Estate Office, the Municipal Corporation besides various boards and corporations of the UT Administration like the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO).

Besides two more years of service, the employees will also become entitled to payment of bonus as admissible to the Central government employees. In Punjab, no bonus is being paid for past many years because of the financial crunch in the state.

In the past, various employees unions have been demanding that their retirement age should be raised to 60 years because they were employees of a Centrally administered territory. The retirement age of the Central government employees was raised a few years ago following implementation of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission.

Employees of the Union Territory of Chandigarh have traditionally tended to enjoy the best of both worlds. Whenever they are given an option at the time of implementation of new pay scales, they prefer to opt for a state or the Centre which offers them the best deal in terms of pay scales and service conditions.


Educating masses, not classes
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, August 22
“Innovation and creativity have been the major guiding forces in my life and during the past three-decade long teaching career I have been guarding myself from getting stagnant,” says Ms Sarita Manuja, the National Award-2002 winner, sharing her proud moments with The Tribune today. Given by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the award is given to outstanding teachers in recognition of their scholastic achievement and contribution to society through their chosen field.

Ms Manuja who has almost three decades of teaching experiences to her credit as well as a long innings of administrative work as the Principal of DAV Public School, Sector 8, is not new to getting awards and honours but receiving this National Award on September 5 is going to be something really special.

“We will be given the awards on September 5 in New Delhi by the Human Resource Development Minister, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, but apart from the award-giving ceremony she will be exposed to a whole lot of things like interacting sessions with other awardees, joining the Human Resource Development Minister over lunch at Vigyan Bhawan as well as a courtesy call on the Prime Minister at his residence on 7, Race Course Road. The award carries Rs 25,000 in cash.

Ms Manuja who joined the profession way back in 1975 is better known for her scholastic activities and humanitarian approach as an academics.” I stand by the DAV policy of the DAV Educational Society which believes in giving education to the masses, not classes,” says Ms Manuja. Taking this humanitarian approach a step further Ms Manuja after becoming the Principal of DAV Public School had introduced activities like promoting education for the lesser privileged children and protection of the environment in the school curriculum under the banner of “Vasudhiv Kutumbkam.”

Ms Manuja has been closely associated with the Central Board of Secondary Education, the British Council, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Navodyaya Vidyalaya and Kendriya Vidyalayas for writing textbook material and teachers’ training. After the CBSE gave her a national platform by sending her to an English Language Teaching programme in the UK, Ms Manuja has been preparing a core group of teachers to teach this subject all over the nation.

Her list of success is endless - starting with an award for promotion of badminton in Himachal Pradesh, some of her outstanding achievements include appreciation by the Institute for the Blind, Chandigarh, for her social services, Test of excellence Award, a National Institute of Economic Development award for excellence in education and management and Sambhang Award of Cultural heritage for her contribution and revolutionising the cause of culture and upkeep of cultural heritage. The latest feather in her cap is the Eminent Citizen of India Award by the National Informatic Centre, Delhi, for her outstanding achievement in her chosen field of activity.

Ms Manuja attributes her success to her single minded dedication and ability to reach out to people. And ask her if she is given one chance to bring some changes in the present education system, what that will be and she is ready with her answer - “I would like to establish a better co-ordination at the academic levels of school, college and university so that the mental growth of a child moves gradually following a logical curve.” CBSE’s communicative approach introduced in the recent years has borne some fruit but there are still certain areas in our education policy which needs looking into, she adds.


13 murders in city this year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The number of murders in the city, which stood at nine at the end of June, has risen to 13, despite the police claiming that it is less than that of the last year.

Last year, by this time, 18 persons had been murdered.

In three recent cases, in which the victims were Simran, Budhi Singh and Mainpal, the police has been clueless.

Police records also show a fall of cases of attempt to murder from 18 last year to 10 till date.

Panchkula has recorded 11 murders this year.

Murders in city:

by August, 2002 — 18

by August, 2003 — 13

by June, 2002 — 15

by June, 2003 — 9


Auction for mela grounds gets poor response
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, August 22
The hammer did not fall today. Many city residents reached the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh office to attend the auction of Sector 34 Exhibition Ground and Sector 17 Circus Ground for the Divali mela, but no one came forward for the finalisation of the bids.

The auction was, however, not exactly a “failure” as the Sector 22 Nehru Ground was auctioned. Corporation officials have decided to hold another auction after five days. Chances are that the reserved price will also be reduced to attract the crowd.

As far as the reason behind the “poor response” is concerned, no one was willing to divulge anything. Those present at the auction insisted that high reserve price of Rs 3.50 lakh for the ground was responsible for poor response. After the ground is auctioned. Stalls are later “cut” by the successful bidders and further offered. The Corporation earns something like Rs 10,000 from the entire project.

“It is not worth it,” said city-based trader Rajneesh Tiwari soon after the auction. “If we pay Rs 3.50 lakh for the ground, stall owners had to increase the price of the goods which will not be appreciated by visitors. After all, people come to the mela with a view to buy cheap stuff”. He added, “Otherwise also, the charm of Divali mela has dwindled over the years. There was a time when it was full of fun and entertainment with renowned singer enthralling the crowd with Punjabi numbers”.

That, he insisted, was years ago. “Now, it has become more of a commercial venture with endless number of stalls selling everything under the sun right from coconut water to T-shirts. This simply fails to attract the crowd because the showroom owners also offer massive discounts during the festival season”. Corporation officials also admit that the reserved price was “exorbitant”. Though officially they denied the fact that the response was poor.

City Mayor Subhash Chawla, said this time the auctions were being held early. “In the previous years, the auctions were held quite late. As a result of which the bidders were hardly left with time to make the preparations. Last year also, the Circus Ground could not be auctioned because the process started quite late”.

Another official added that the number of stalls were also less this year as the parking area had also been marked.


Canadian consulate in city by 2004
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Peter H. SutherlandChandigarh, August 22
Canada will by April, 2004, set up its only consulate in the city, first of any country outside the four metros.

“Canada is thankful to the government of India to have allowed setting up the Canadian consulate in Chandigarh, outside the four metros,” Canadian High Commissioner to India Peter H Sutherland told The Tribune here today. Mr Sutherland was in the city to meet businessmen and bureaucrats of the region to promote business between the two countries.

The city has been chosen as the place for the consulate as 44 per cent of immigrants to Canada come from Punjab.

The High Commissioner said the region had not been able to realise its business potential as despite a large number of visits of the people from both sides, there was no institutional framework to sustain the efforts.

He said in this regard, an Indo-Canada Joint Business Council Chapter would be opened in the city to get Canadian investors think about India as an attractive business destination. Mr Sutherland said till now the Canadian business had not been able to shed its pre-reforms image of India.

The High Commissioner said India and Canada would soon sign an agreement for co-production of films, TV and animation programmes. He said the agreement would bring Canadian expertise in animation to Bollywood after accounting for 80 per cent of special effects in Hollywood.

Mr Sutherland said with the topography and agriculture of Himachal being comparable with Canada, the North American country was planning to package agricultural produce of both countries.

The High Commissioner said Canadian Prime Minister due for visiting India would come to the city by the end of the year as part of a high level of political and business engagement. He said during this heightened cooperation, nine ministers including Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and eight ministers of India had visited the two countries.

He said Canada had now placed India in a high priority business category country ahead of China, Mexico and Brazil and after the conglomeration of industrialised G-8 countries.

Mr Sutherland said the Indo-Canadian trade increased last year by 25 per cent and trade was now getting into value-added areas like aviation with Sahara Airways purchasing four aircraft from Canada.

The Canadian High Commissioner said the trade between the two countries had been rapidly growing but was only at 2.5 billion dollars, which is at least five times less than that between Canada and China.

Asked why it had been taking an unusually long time to get visa to the country, Mr Sutherland said the point weightage system had changed to accommodate only those who could cope with the changing shape of economy in Canada. He said still doctors, nurses, software personnel, engineers, biotechnologists were in great demand in Canada.

He said Canada and India were training their diplomats in each other’s institutions to broaden the relationship between the two countries.

Mr Sutherland, when asked that delay in the grant of visas were leading to immigration aspirants being cheated, said there was no need of going through agents to get a visa.


Crystal tattooing comes to town
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Swarovski, the Austrian family company synonymous with full-cut crystals, has stocked Ethos, a store in Sector 8, with fine crystal collectibles and an exquisite range of crystal jewellery. It also inducted today into its glittering stock a fashion range spanning the art of nail and body painting.

How it is done

Crystal tattoos come on a transparent sheet with a white protective foil. The foil should be removed, making sure that all stones remain on the sheet. The motif should then be positioned on the skin, which has been previously washed and dried. After pressing the stones on to the skin for 10 seconds, the foil can be peeled off at a flat angle. The adhesive has been specially developed for use on the skin and is dermatogically approved.

The fashion festival, which gets its punch from the new line of belly jewels that Swarovski has included in its existing range of crystal tattoos, will be on at Ethos tomorrow also. Especially organised for ardent Swarovski collectors as also for young hearts in search of fashion adventure, the event is laced with exciting events — nail painting and body painting in the medium of crystals by trained artistes from the school of Vidya Tikari in Delhi.

Along with the event that was all about young girls lining up to get their nails and bodies painted, the day also brought forth the new range of Swarovski jewellery. Merging the modern, the aesthetic and the stylish, the new collection features over 40 tattoo designs. Various methods of using crystal onto one’s body are being experimented with during the two-day crystal festival that opened this morning. The hallmark of the collection is crystal belly jewels that can be worn with sarees as well as low-waisted pants. Also being shown is Swarovski’s new body jewellery in aquamarine and clear crystal colours. Talking about the event, Pooja Ahluwalia Choudhary from Swarovski said, “The art of body and nail painting is hitting the international scene like anything. Swarovski has developed a classic range of tattoo designs.”

All day the Delhi-based nail art and body painting artistes, Sonia and Charu, were busy displaying crystal magic. They will carry on tomorrow, when anyone interested in the art can try it from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 3.30 pm and 7.30 p.m.


New Rotary team
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 22
The new team of Rotary Club Himalayan Ranges was installed by the Inspector-General of Police, Ambala Range, Mr Alok Joshi, at an impressive ceremony in Hotel Solitaire today.

The Additional General Manager of The Tribune, Mr O.P. Arora, presided over the function. He lauded the good work done by the club. The outgoing president, Mr T.K. Ruby, welcomed his successor, Mr Anil Oberoi.

The new vice-president installed was Mr Mohnish Kapila. Mr Rajesh Bajaj was installed as the secretary and Mr Raj Mehta was installed as the joint secretary. Major Sudhir Mittal was installed as the sergeant- at-arms and Mr Bharat Bhushan Gulati was installed as the treasurer.

The director club services is Mr Khulbushan Bhasin and director vocational services is Mr Pankaj Setia. Mr N.K. Gupta is the Director International Service and Mr Rajeev Gandhi is the director new generation. The director community services is Ms Poonam Bajaj and the incoming president is Mr Rajneesh Jindal.


Readers Write
Rent Act has outlived its utility

THIS is with reference to the tall claims made by various Tenants’ Associations on the misuse of power by the UT Administration and making baseless allegations that it does not have the power to exempt the buildings from the operation of the Rent Act. In this regard, various news items have appeared in the press. Chandigarh Tribune has also published such news items, including “Jethmalani to traders’ rescue”, published on July 27, 2003, and the more recent one, “Rent Act: association produces Home Ministry order” published on August 19, 2003.

These Tenants’ Associations are misleading the public with a view to overawing the Administration and at the same time project a vote bank for politicians, who are interested in nothing but votes. It is a matter of common knowledge among the lawyers and those having shops and commercial establishments and are letting them out and even the tenants who take such buildings on rent that the Administration under Section 3 of the Rent Act can issue such notifications exempting the building from the Rent Act. Similar notifications have earlier been issued by the Administration on January 31, 1973, September 24, 1973, September 24, 1974, and June 11, 1982, directing that the provisions of the Rent Act shall not apply to buildings constructed in the urban area of Chandigarh for a period of five years with effect from the date of the sewerage connection granted, and like matters of inapplicability of the Rent Act for a certain period from the date of grant of electricity connections.

These notifications were upheld by the Supreme Court as far back as in the year 1983 in the case of Punjab Tin Supply Co and it was observed that the power to issue such notifications vested in the Central Government can be exercised by the Chief Commissioner of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

As for the exemption from the Rent Act, it needs no mention that it is a matter of sound policy of the UT Administration, Chandigarh, in issuing the notification by directing that the provisions of the Rent Restriction Act shall not apply to buildings where monthly rent exceeds Rs 1500. This has opened the market and would lead to all-round growth and development of the economy. It would fetch a revenue for the government as lease deeds would be registered on stamp papers of appropriate value. Moreover, the “pagri” system which generated black money would finish. Even the gunda elements and land mafia, who were taking forcible possession by purchasing property at cheap rates from landlords who could not get their buildings vacated because of the archaic laws, would come to an end.

The authorities now need to look into the plight of those landlords who are suffering because of the applicability of the Rent Act to building getting rent less than Rs 1500. They should be saved and their miseries ended. These are mainly old landlords ( sorry ... landless owners) who gave out their buildings about 40 years ago when there was no Rent Act. They now are senior citizens and need special support of the government as is being given in other respects.

The Administration should take immediate steps to abolish the Rent Act altogether as it has outlived its utility. The system has to open and free trading and business activities allowed. With the abolition of the Rent Act trade and business will flourish. Even now the rent of the buildings has come down because of easy availability of buildings for housing and commercial purposes. The abolition of the Rent Act will also ease the housing problem as persons letting out the building would feel free to let it out with the guarantee that it would revert back to them after a specified period.

Narinder Pal Singh Chinna

Vacant plots a health hazard

It is a case history of a self-occupied house. I constructed a house on plot No 495, Sector 12, Panchkula, in 1994. At that time the construction was in full swing in the sector and many houses were under construction in our lane. We were hopeful that our adjacent plots — Nos. 494 and 496 — would also be occupied soon. However, years passed by but nobody cared to see these plots. Nor was any construction carried out. These plots became a dumping ground for malba and all undesirable garbage. This led to the growth of all kinds of wild plants, and the area became a breeding ground of animals, snakes and insects.

Once in a blue moon, some labourers came to clean the congress grass. One cannot blame them. Through newspapers we read the tall claims made by HUDA and now the Municipal Corporation that they will clean all the sectors having congress grass and wild growth. During the past some time, these plots have become death-beds of sick dogs, cows and even horses. Again, we informed HUDA or engaged labourers to lift the dead animals. HUDA imposes huge fines to the allottees of plots for non-construction of houses, but it does not impress upon the owners of these plots to get them cleaned. Many times it was decided by HUDA to resume the vacant houses, but time and again the policies of HUDA change. No concrete efforts were made by the authorities concerned. During the rainy season, with wild growth, these plots become breeding ground of snakes. The plots should be resumed if the owner failed to clean them.

SK Saigal

Illegal schools

Through this letter, I want to draw your attention towards the increasing tendency of illegal schools of Panchkula to attract new admissions. A number of new schools have sprung up in residential houses, showrooms and industrial areas. These schools are advertising regularly on cable network and newspapers.

I have a grandson to be admitted to the pre-nursery class. I visited almost all such schools to assess them. Most of them lack the basic amenities for a school. They have been constructed in a make-shift type of arrangements. Most of them are in rented accommodations. When I enquired about their identity from the authorities of HUDA, I was told that most of the plot owners of such schools have been served resumption notices and they are going to close down within a short span.

I again contacted the schools. Most of them denied that they are closing down the operation. Then I came to know about some of the schools that have either closed down or shifted their premises to nearby areas beyond Panchkula.

Through the esteemed columns of your newspaper, I want to advice the public not to get misled by such schools, as they can close down any day. Moreover, such illegal sites can never get affiliation from any education board. Such schools may not refund the admission charges and securities at the time of shutdown.

Through my efforts and awareness, I have prevented myself in getting my child admitted to these schools. This may not happen with many other parents. But this piece may give them some knowledge about the reality of these illegal schools.

VK Agarwal

Bapu preferred pauperism than alcoholism

The Indian state is sitting on the horns of a dilemma. We have millions of drunkards, some of them already paupers and others on the way downhill, who account for filling up a major portion of the state treasury. But somewhere down the line, we seem to have blurred the line between availability and active promotion of alcohol consumption for the sake of revenue.

Let us look at it from a broader perspective. On the one hand we have the Father of the nation who preferred an India shorn of such vices even at the cost of reducing it to pauperism. On the other hand is the modern view of governance which sees a fat packet of currency with every barrel of liquor sold. The Mahatma wanted to translate his courage of conviction that got us our freedom, into another front — building up a nation that could boast of freedom from alcohol. A visionary that he was, he could foresee that getting rid of the latter would be even more difficult than the first one.

Alas! He is no longer around to see that his foresight has been proved more right than even he could have imagined.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the modern state has given up all semblance of keeping these vices away from society. In fact the state has actively taken to promoting sale of liquor. Otherwise what else could explain the location of so many liquor vends in every nook and corner, right from the busiest shopping districts to vicinity of educational institutions in the City Beautiful?

There are an astounding 96 liquor vends accompanied by the ahatas in the city. Roughly translated this means one vend for every 9000 people, perhaps one of the highest per capita availability of liquor in the country after Goa.

A leisure trip around the city will give you the exact picture. Barely does one lose sight of one vend before you spot the next one. It should not come as a surprise if the city turns from the City Beautiful to the city of ahatas. Apart from the negatives of liquor consumption associated with the individual lives of common people, the existence of the ahatas where people from all walks of life can come and have to their hearts ‘fill has a social fallout that is too strong to be ignored.

Sometime back the Times of India has carried a report on the ahatas in which the Chandigarh Administration was quoted saying that the city needs the money generated from these joints to keep the wheel turning. Perhaps this is the most innovative method of earning revenue. Simple, easy and most comfortable for one and all involved.

For one the bureaucracy does not need to make any efforts to generate resources as long as the money keeps rolling on this account. And this certainly is most comfortable for those in this trade. After all they are only required to take care of a few people and the field is left open to them to make hay while the sun shines.

Kulbir Singh


Cinegoers stage walkout over poor sound
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Cinegoers who had gone for the night show of ‘Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost’ at Neelam Cinema in Sector 17 staged a walkout in protest against the poor quality of sound. The police had to disperse the protesting crowd.

The movie enthusiasts alleged that they had been cheated by the management of the cinema by selling tickets for the 9 pm show knowing that there was something wrong with the sound system. Mr Parminder Singh, a businessman, complained, “ Around 9.30 pm, the manager of the cinema was asked to check the system. But when the sound system totally failed we staged a walkout”. Mr Manveer Chopra said as he had to take a late night bus for Delhi, so he preferred to watch the movie. He demand the refund of his money.

A number of moviegoers continued their protest against the indifferent attitude of the management of the cinema for over an hour before the in charge of the Sector 17 Police Post, SI Sucha Singh, intervened. The manager of the cinema, Mr Amarjit Singh, assured the protesters that they could see the movie on any other day with the same tickets. But he refused to give the undertaking in writing.

Another moviegoer, Mr Anil Kumar, complained that the policemen could be seen favouring the cinema employees. “When we sought refund of our money, the SI said it was not possible to refund the money at this odd hour. He said if the cinema management refused to entertain the affected cinegoers on any other day, they could come to him”, said Balwinder Singh, who works in a private telecom firm. The in charge of the police post accepted the complaint after initial reluctance.


Awadhi food festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The Moti Mahal Delux Restaurant in Sector 17 has brought a bit of Awadh in the city. The week-long Awadhi festival, to be on till August 27, caters to the aficionados of the rich cuisine of the Lucknow nawabs.

The creamy delicacies made exotic with cooking on low heat in the dum style have been finding favour with guests in Moti Mahal branches in Delhi. Encouraged by the response, the local eatery which was launched in December, 2002, too, decided to bring it here. But they have brought the chef specially for the festival from Lucknow to make improvisations to suit the taste of Chandigarhians, informs the restaurateur, Mr Sanjay Ahuja.


Businessman donates land for temple
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, August 22
On the occasion of Janmashthmi, Mr Phool Singh Saini, a local businessman, donated a piece of land to the residents of Punjab Modern Complex, Bartana, for raising a temple, here, yesterday, according to Mr M.R. Rawat, general secretary Residents Welfare Association, Bartana. A committee for raising the temple would be constituted shortly, the association assured Mr Saini.


Man poisoned over property dispute
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 22
A 38-year-old man was allegedly poisoned by a property dealer here yesterday and thrown near Sarseni village, Lalru in an unconscious state. He died at the PGI, Chandigarh this morning.

The victim, Mewa Ram, an employee of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), was allegedly murdered because of a property dispute. His relatives claim that he had struck a deal for selling his two room flat in Panchkula and was to receive a payment of Rs 3. 80 lakh for it yesterday. However, he was allegedly poisoned to death.

Sadly, this death became a major bone of contention between the Panchkula police and the Lalru police. While the Panchkula cops claimed that the case should be registered at Lalru, as the victim was found there, the Lalru police said since the incident took place in Panchkula, the case be registered there. It was late in the evening that the Panchkula police initiated inquest proceedings in this case, in spite of the claims made by the relatives of the victim.

This tussle between the two polices led to an unsavoury situation, where the hospital authorities refused to release the body on account of this being a medico legal case. With the police not coming forward for a post-mortem till late in the evening , the post mortem was finally put off for tomorrow.

It is learnt that victim Mewa Ram had bought a one room flat in Mansa Devi Complex, but had exchanged it with a two room flat owned by another person. He had made an additional payment of Rs 1.65 lakh for the two room flat, but could not get this flat registered in his name. It was still registered in the name of the original allottee.

Mr Harmesh Kumar, member of Zila Parishad, Lalru, and a close friend of the victim, informed TNS that Mewa Ram was trying to sell off this flat and was looking for prospective customers. “He came to me yesterday morning and informed me that he had struck a deal with a property dealer, who he referred to as Arora. He also said the original allottee of the flat was now demanding Rs 15,000 , in order to get the registry of the flat done in Arora’s name. He asked me to accompany him to Panchkula, but I could not go because of some pre-occupation, “ he said.

The victim reportedly left his office in Sector 6 here at around 11. 30 am yesterday to settle the deal, but did not return. It was at around 6 pm last evening that a resident of Sarseni saw him lying unconscious near the village bus stand on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway. He immediately took the victim to his village, Batauli. As his condition worsened he was taken to Sant Ram Arora Hospital in Ambala, who after confirming that he had been poisoned , referred the case to the PGI Chandigarh.

Mr Islamuddin, a relative of the victim, informed TNS that Mewa Ram had gained consciousness for about 10 minutes at the PGI last night, and then informed them that he had been poisoned by Arora property dealer and the original allottee (whose name the relatives could not understand), who were hand in glove with each other. “ He said they gave him egg curry for lunch and he started feeling dizzy after eating the curry. He also said they then bundled him in a car and threw him near Sarseni bus stand.” The victim died at the PGI at around 1.30 am today.


Truck crushes social worker in front of her house
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 22
Tragedy struck the family of prominent social worker and religious activist, Surjit Kaur, when she was crushed to death by a truck in front of her home here today.

According to residents, the accident took place when Bibi Surjit Kaur, who headed the Bebe Nanki Istri Satsang in Phase-I here, was going towards a rehri parked on the roadside. Two stray bulls were fighting on the road that time and she fell down after either being hit by the animals or while trying to save herself. She was then run over by a rear wheel of a truck which was passing that way.

A large number of people gathered at the spot as she lay in a pool of blood. She reportedly died on the spot. The body was taken to the Phase-VI Civil Hospital where a post-mortem examination was done. It is learnt that the right side of the skull and the face were crushed during the accident.

The driver of the truck fled from the scene after the accident.

The victim’s son, Mr D.M.S. Bedi, who rushed back from office on getting the news of the tragedy was inconsolable. Bibi Surjit Kaur was about 70 and is survived by two daughters and a son.

The Director of Paragon Senior Secondary School here, Mr B.S. Shergill, while condoling her death said she was a great philanthropist. She had been making regular donations to various government schools in the form of uniforms, books, fans and coolers. She had donated a water cooler to the local Civil Hospital.

Mrs Indu Sehgal, a municipal councillor of the area, said stray animals had become a nuisance. The municipal council had given the work of catching stray animals on a contract but it was not being done in a satisfactory manner. She alleged that the contractor was more interested in catching milch cattle so that he could get money on the release of animals. The two stray bulls in the area had injured many persons earlier also but the contractor was doing nothing to catch them.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, said a case had been registered against the absconding truck driver and the vehicle had been impounded.


Husband accused of sending men to wife’s place
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 22
In a peculiar case of harassment, a woman has accused her estranged husband of exposing her to the lust of men. He has allegedly been sending men to her by telling them that she is involved in flesh trade.

The 35-year-old resident of Railla village here today complained to the police that her husband, Nandu Lal and Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Morinda in Punjab, were harassing her because she opposed her husband’s illicit relations with another woman.

Talking to TNS, the woman, who hails from Bihar, said she had two children from her first marriage. After the death of his first husband, she married Nandu Lal seven years ago at Mansa Devi temple.

She said six months ago her husband left her and started staying with another woman in Morinda. The other suspect, Gurmeet Singh, was aiding him.” I went to Morinda several times to sort out the differences and even sought Gurmeet Singh’s help, but to no avail. After this, they started sending men to my place. I was more scared for my daughter, so I requested my employer to keep my daughter till things were sorted out. However, things have only worsened,” she said as she broke down into sobs.

The woman alleged that two months ago, Gurmeet sent his friend, Bhakta, to her house. “I raised the alarm and he went away after informing me that he had paid Rs 200 to my husband and Gurmeet Singh. I have been running from pillar to post for help and even had to sell my belongings,” she said.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir S. Sharma, today directed the Sector 19 police to investigate the matter.


3 MC employees arrested in cow death case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The Himachal Pradesh police has arrested three of the eight employees of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, who were named in the FIR registered in the case of death of 22 cows at Lal Dangh near Paonta Sahib. The three employees, Dr M.S. Kamboj, Superintendent of slaughter house, Roshan Lal, in charge of the Sector 20 cattle pond and Bhupinder Singh, a truck driver, were today remanded inn one day police custody by the Paonta Sahib court.

Though the employees of the corporation were arrested last evening, the arrests were kept a closely guarded secret by the DSP of the Himachal Pradesh Police, Mr Bhagat Singh Thakhur, who had yesterday met officers of the corporation. Even the offices of the corporation feigned ignorance about the development. The media persons who were keeping a close watch on the movement of the Himachal Pradesh police were also taken in by surprise.

The senior officers of the corporation evaded queries from the mediapersons. Sources in the corporation revealed after a team of the Himachal Pradesh Police yesterday came with non-bailable arrest warrants against eight employees of the Chandigarh, officers of the corporation facilitated the surrender of the employees.

It is learnt that the Himachal Pradesh Police had threatened to initiate proclaimed offenders (PO) proceeding against the employees if they did surrender. Last evening, five employees of the corporation were identified by the informer of the Himachal Pradesh Police and were seen in the corporation office — though the offices of the corporation had been claiming that the employees were on leave. By the time the Himachal Pradesh Police personnel swung into action, two of the suspects gave them a slip. The surrender took place near the office of the Medical Officer of Health of the corporation.


INTUC leader’s brother booked for kidnapping
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 22
There seems to be no end to the ongoing tussle between the chief of Himachal Pradesh unit of INTUC, Mr Amarjit Bawa, allegedly supported by the Congress government in Himachal, and Pinjore-based lawyer, Mr M.K Shishodiya.

After Mr Shishodiya was allegedly assaulted by Bawa’s men in Shimla on August 20, one of Shishodiya’s supporters, Mohinder, was allegedly kidnapped by Bawa’s men last evening. Four of Shishodiya’s supporters, who were coming back from Shimla were stopped by the Solan police at Parwanoo on the night of August 20 and yesterday booked in a case of assault on Mr Bawa.

Last night, after Shishodiya’s men had been booked by the Himachal police, the Panchkula police booked a brother of Mr Bawa and his two nephews in a case of kidnapping and assault. The incident took place near Surajpur last evening , when the victim, Mr Mohinder, was coming towards Kalka from Panchkula. Accompanied by Mr Lal Dass and Mr Mukesh, Mr Mohinder’s car was stopped near Surajpur by Bawa’s brother and five others.

According to the police, a Honda City car carrying Bawa’s brother Jagjit and his two nephews, Manpreet and Jaspreet and three others, Subhash, Ginni and Vinni, stopped Mahinder’s Maruti van near the Surajpur bridge. The accused reportedly pulled Mohinder out of the van and assaulted him. When Mr Lal Dass and Mukesh, tried to rescue Mohinder, they too were beaten up. Later, Mohinder was bundled away in the car. A case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 364 of the IPC was registered at the Pinjore police station.


Woman ‘barges in’ in-laws’ house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 22
An aged couple, Mr BD Suri and his wife, Ms D. Suri, have accused their daughter- in-law, Ritu Suri, of harassing them, even after they had won a civil suit for permanent injunction against their son and daughter-in-law.

The couple alleged that they were being harassed by their daughter-in-law, who was threatening to frame them in a case of dowry harassment. Their son, Naresh, is posted in Bahrain in the Middle East. However, a couple of months ago, relations between Naresh and Ritu improved and they decided not to part ways. The old couple then filed a civil writ for permanent injunction against their son, daughter-in-law and the latter’s parents and brother, which was granted by a local court. However, their daughter-in-law accompanied by the police and other persons barged into their house - in violation of the court order.


An eight-year-old girl, Harshita, was seriously injured when she was run over by a woman driver. The woman was allegedly using a mobile phone while driving. The girl , daughter of Maj. SK Dhakle, was boarding a school bus, when the car rammed into her.


One arrested for fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police today unearthed a Rs five lakh cheating racket by arresting Pawan Kumar who allegedly charged Rs 5000 each for getting a person job abroad.

A Crime Branch team led by its in-charge Inspector Satbir Singh raided SCOs 365, 366, 311 and 312 in Sector 35 housing two recruitment companies owned by Pawan Kumar and recovered a register in which allegedly 1,000 persons were enlisted.

Pawan Kumar had been running Divyajyoti and Subh recruitment companies for the past eight months. He has been remanded to police custody till Monday.

The racket came to light when a Ferozepore resident Mangat Singh complained to the police he had not been given any job by Pawan Kumar despite his having paid him Rs 5,000.

He also complained that between 10 to 12 persons of his village had also got themselves enrolled with Pawan Kumar.

SHO Satbir Singh said the accused had not issued any receipts to his clients nor had got his firm registered with the labour authorities.

The Inspector said he had not got a general registration from authorities.


Mother of three commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Mubarikpur, August 22
Mother of three children, Savitri Devi committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree in paddy fields in Pandwala village near here, early this morning.

Her body was noticed by some villagers hanging from a sheesham tree in the outskirts of the village at about 8 am and her husband Mr Vidhan Varman was informed.

Mr Varman with the help of his colleagues, friends and villagers managed to bring down the body from the tree.

Hailing from Bengal, the family was residing in the village in a rented accommodation of Mr Surjit Singh for the past over one month. Mr Varman was working in a iron rod manufacturing unit in the village for the past over 10 years.

According to the police, Mr Varman in his statement claimed that his wife was suffering with depression.


Man succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
A resident of Ropar, Naresh Kumar, who was seriously injured in an accident on August 19 near the Sectors 38 and 40 crossing road, died in the PGI here today.

The deceased was driving a scooter when it was hit by an Indica car.

The car driver had fled away from the spot. The UT police has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.


CII workshop for better HR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
An effort aimed at enhancing the quality of human resource in the country right down to the grassroot level of the school, the CII’s two-day workshop on tools and techniques of “Total Quality Management” began at the CII, Sector 32, here today.

Attended by principals, administrators and senior teachers from private and government schools of the region, the workshop is aimed at improving the student-teacher relationship, communication and imbibing the problem-solving approach.

The workshop would also take the participants through strategy planning to provide direction and meaning to day to day activities by examining the values of the institution and its current status.

Focussing on improvement in overall performance, stimulating future oriented thinking, coping with changes in a proactive manner and providing a powerful framework and impetus for action, the strategy involves assessing the external environment and internal capability, developing objectives to reach the future and measuring progress.

The two resource persons for the programme, Dr A Senthil Kumaran and Mr Vetriselvam, qualified TQM counsellors from the CII Institute of Quality in Bangalore, would use the TQM tool kit of lectures, discussions and presentations based on case studies, group exercises and role playing to “educate” the participants.


Serving safe beedis
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Mr Sudershan Banerjee, Managing Director, Dalmia Consumer Care
Mr Sudershan Banerjee, Managing Director, Dalmia Consumer Care.

Chandigarh, August 22
“After serving in world class companies like Crompton Greaves, Britain Keltron Bailey, France, Eastman Kodak, USA, Amway Corporation, USA, and Hutchinson Telecom, Hong Kong, why am I putting my career on the line for promoting a product like a herbal beedis.

This is the question, Mr Sudershan Bannerjee, 56, Managing Director and CEO of Dalmia Consumer Care (DCC), a new company in the Dalmia Group, has had to face from friends and foes alike ever since he joined the group sometime ago. “And I tell them that I have done it because I believe in the product. I am absolutely confident that it will be the ‘in’ in the coming days...”

In city in connection with the launch of a product developed by his group, Mr Bannerjee told TNS in an interview that his father played a major role in motivating him to quit the foreign multinational and join an Indian company. “More than anything else, he was gratified to note that my main job in the new company will be to wean people away from the curse of tobacco. ‘You have made a lot of money for yourself and your family. It is now time to do something for the society’,” said Mr Bannerjee quoting his father.

Mr Bannerjee says that the extent of the problem was mind boggling. As many as 15 crore “biris” are smoked in India every hour. Of these, between 70 lakh and 75 lakh “biris” are smoked every hour in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J and K and Chandigarh. And almost all smokers of beedis are poor, less educated, daily wagers with no insurance backup. “We are targetting them. The product has been developed over the past four years through extensive research. It consists of leaves of various trees. I won’t tell you which one. But it is similar to tobacco in taste and the smoker gets the same kick. I am sure that in due course it will be a great hit not only in India but also abroad.

Mr Banerjee was awarded “Millennium Marketing Person of the Year” by the Indian Institute of Marketing and Management , 2000, for his contribution to the Photographic and Direct Selling Industry of India. More recently, he has been invited by All India Management Association to spearhead Delhi’s first Top Management Forum. As a Chairman of FICCI’s Human Capital Development Committee, he has contributed towards creating people excellence in the MBA education and in organisations.


City store bags award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Kapsons, a Sector 17 shopping store, has been given an award for “excellence in retail operations” for the city of Chandigarh by the Mumbai-based DFU (Dealers For You ) Inside Fashion Publications.

The DFU Inside Fashion Retail Awards were based on a study conducted by DFU Publications on the apparel industry called “Reality Check” covering 26 cities, over 1000 retailers, 120 manufacturers and 120 manufacturing companies. The awards were given in retail and brand categories.

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