Friday, August 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


College girl killed as Sumo hits scooter
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, August 28
Two persons, including a girl student of Dera Bassi, were killed this morning in a head-on collision between a Tata Sumo and a scooter on the ‘killer’ Kalka-Ambala highway near Singhpura village, 2 km from here.

The student, Nidhi Jain (21), died on the spot. Four others were injured. The brother of Nidhi, Yatish Jain, was injured seriously. Nidhi was on the pillon of the scooter (PB-11R-8253) driven by her brother. An occupant of Sumo who died on the spot is to be identified. He died of electric shock as the Sumo rammed into an electricity pole on the highway.

The four-wheeler overturned after the incident, trapping the passengers inside.

Carrying 10 passengers, the Sumo (HR-56T- 2062) was on its way to Ambala when it collided with the scooter. Yatish Jain, a second year student of Dera Bassi Government College, sustained severe head injuries.

Eyewitnesses said the Sonepat-bound Sumo was overtaking a truck near the Silver City housing complex on the Ambala road when it collided with the scooter at 5.45 am.

Hearing a loud thud, two security guards, Manjit Singh and Surinder Singh, of the Silver City complex rushed to the spot and extricated the trapped passengers after disconnecting power supply to the electricity pole.

They also gave a call on 98140-17102, a 24-hour helpline number in Chandigarh.

Eyewitnesses said Yatish Jain and his sister were flung off the scooter.

Yatish was going to drop Nidhi at the Chandigarh Inter-State Bus Terminus since she was to go to Amritsar for academic work.

The police said both brother and sister were taken to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh where doctors declared Nidhi “brought dead” while Yatish was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh.

The driver of the Sumo was returning to Delhi after dropping passengers in Shimla. While on his way back, he picked passengers for Ambala, Kurukshetra and Panipat. The unidentified passenger in the Sumo was on his way to Ambala from Pinjore, the police said.

As news of the death of the girl reached Dera Bassi, shopkeepers of the area pulled down shutters. A pall of gloom descended on Jain Mohalla, where the family of the victims resides.

The police has nabbed the driver, Harbinder Singh, of the four-wheeler. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against him with Lohgarh police post.

Nidhi’s body was handed over to her family after post-mortem while the body of unidentified passenger of the Sumo has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura.



Two stretches, 56 deaths 
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, August 28
On March 12, five occupants of a Maruti car were killed on the spot in a head-on collision with a mini truck near Dera Bassi. On June 6, the journey of five members of a Delhi-based family ended when the car in which they were travelling collided head-on with a Haryana Roadways bus near Lalru, leaving all of them dead.

Yesterday, a professor of Punjab Engineering College, Dr R.S. Prasad, was killed on the Patiala road.

Today, a student of Dera Bassi was killed on the Ambala road, near Zirakpur.

Two “killer” stretches — the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Chandigarh-Patiala highways — have claimed 56 lives in 94 accidents since the beginning of this year. All the accidents have occurred within a distance of 20 km from Chandigarh, raising questions of safety of motorists coming to and from the city beautiful.

In the past decade, the government has been boasting of working on the four-laning of these highways, but the work has not been completed yet. These roads have turned into death traps for the motorists. Apart from the number of fatalities, the loss of earning members and near and dear ones of the affected families is incalculable.

Despite being used by VIPs, both the roads continue to be ill maintained and badly illuminated. These are not wide enough to handle such a huge volume of traffic. The Chandigarh-Ambala road is the only link to popular hill stations like Shimla, Manali and defence installations like Dappar ammunition dump, Chandi Mandir and forward bases. Traffic coming from Delhi and heading towards these destinations has to cross this stretch. From Ambala onwards, only a two-lane road, covering a distance of 40 km, exists till Zirakpur.

Moreover, roadside encroachments have reduced the width of the road. The road lacks streetlights and median. Police sources say motorists from Delhi, after a high-speed journey on the new four-lane highway till Ambala, do not slow down on this road. The traffic on the road, due to proliferation in the number of vehicles and daily commuters, is on the rise, says a policeman, while adding that the road needs to be widened for safety of users.

When compared with the Chandigarh-Ambala road, the Chandigarh-Patiala road is relatively better, as it has been widened. But it is still dangerous as it lacks median to hold back drivers in their designated lanes.

While scores of victims, who receive minor injuries, are not mentioned in the police record, record at the Dera Bassi police station states that most people who die are either riders of two-wheelers or occupants of small vehicles like cars. The offending vehicle in almost all the cases are trucks, buses, mini trucks and vehicles like Tata Sumo and Toyota Qualis.

The police record showed that 53 persons lost their lives on the Chandigarh-Ambala road. Out of these, 31 were killed under the jurisdiction of the Lalru police station, while 22 were killed under the jurisdiction of the Dera Bassi police station. Another 68 persons were injured seriously.

This year, while only three motorists have died in road accidents on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway, seven persons have sustained serious injuries till today. Police records show that eight accidents have occurred on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway this year.

Long queues of vehicles at octroi posts of different municipal councils and nagar panchayats on the highways have proved to be major bottlenecks for the traffic. Moreover, the vehicles parked at the information collection centres along these roads have further aggravated the problem.

The department concerned has not made any provision of side-lanes on the highways for the parking of vehicles without disturbing the free flow of traffic.

When contacted, Mr Balwainder Singh Brar, DSP, Dera Bassi, said heavy volume of traffic on the Delhi-Ambala highway converged on Baldevnagar, near Ambala, and moved on to the narrow Ambala-Chandigarh road. He further said the issue had been taken up with the higher officials many times but to no avail.



No free housing for slum-dwellers 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The controversial rehabilitation scheme to provide either free or subsidised housing to slum-dwellers in the city was withdrawn by the Chandigarh Administration this evening following a notification issued by the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh.

Though the scheme has been withdrawn, the ongoing process of rehabilitating 16,000 slum-dwellers on the voters list as on December 8, 1996, will carry on. Officials refused to comment if the demolition drives against illegal squatters will be re-started.

The notification mentions that unauthorised construction made by ineligible slum-dwellers shall be removed in accordance with the law. Sources said the Administration would go by what the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr I.D. Swami, had said during his visit to Chandigarh.

The minister had said there would be no further demolitions till those eligible were rehabilitated.

The notification today said the Administration had formulated a scheme called the “licensing of tenements and sites and services in Chandigarh scheme, 1979”. The scheme was to prevent hardship, expedite work on rehabilitation of slum-dwellers and improve the dwelling conditions of such persons and allotment of low-cost tenements.

Slum-dwellers whose names do not figure in the electoral rolls on the eligibility date will not be rehabilitated. The notification says: “Whereas, once this category of persons are accommodated, virtually, the aforesaid scheme of 1979 comes to an end and it is not considered desirable to keep the scheme alive on the statue book.”

The UT Administrator, exercising powers conferred by Sections 3 and 22 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, repealed the scheme today.

The Tribune in the past has highlighted how the scheme was being misused by slum-dwellers for getting free housing only to come back and live in slums to claim further benefits of free housing. The National Minorities Commission had also asked the Chandigarh Administration to stop “aimless rehabilitation” as it was affecting the demographic profile area, reducing Punjabis to a minority. Certain social organisations had also demanded that the scheme be withdrawn.



Students call off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Students of the Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, called off the strike this evening after the college authorities agreed to meet their demands by next week. The compromise was struck after many rounds of meeting between the two parties — the students and the college authorities.

In the morning, the students boycotted classes and sat on a dharna in front of the college. Around 11 am, the Principal, Mr Naveen Kumar Nanchal, met students and appealed them to attend the classes. He invited the students for talks following which a 10-member delegation of students, after a discussion with the hostellers and day scholars, presented a charter of demands to the Principal.

The students demanded ‘better treatment’ at the institute and asked the authorities for a change of faculty and the Placement Officer. “The Vice-Principal also holds the charge of the Placement Officer. We want somebody else to handle that post since it is a question of our careers,” the students said. Taking up this demand, Mr T.K. Razdan, a member of the faculty, was given charge of the placement cell.

The students also urged Mr Nanchal to check suspension and rustication of students from the classes by the faculty on trivial issues. They were assured that the faculty would be warned against settling personal grudges.

For the hostellers, the students asked for an STD/PCO at the hostel, round-the-clock medical facilities, a regular warden for the girls hostel and better mess and canteen contractors. Mr Nanchal told the students that he would look into the matter and address their problems by next week.

Taking up the case of Shamilima Barua, who died on August 26 on the way to hospital, the students demanded a refund of the entire fee which was agreed by the authorities. The students have also sought time from the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, to discuss their problems.

Meanwhile, the parents of Shamilima Barua, who were expected to reach here yesterday, did not come. Instead, some relatives of the deceased who arrived this evening, took away her body to Assam after a post-mortem examination.

Doctors refused to divulge the findings of the post-mortem report and said the cause of death could be ascertained only after the viscera report was received from Patiala.



Elderly couple attacked 
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, August 28
A teenaged robber last night attacked an elderly couple in Sector 9 with a “kitchen knife” seriously injuring Mr Ashok Burman in his eye. The attack brings into focus the vulnerability of senior citizens after the police gave a quiet burial to the Help the Aged Persons Scheme (HAPS).

Mr Ashok Burman, a resident of 248, Sector 9, was stabbed in the face by a boy in his teens suspected to have entered the house when the couple was in the garden of the house.

Mr Burman put up a valiant fight with the robber who entered their bedroom past midnight with a dagger in hand.

Mr Burman said when he went to bed, “I heart a noise and lighted a torch, I saw a youth with a dagger in his hand in the bedroom”.

Mr Burman picked up a stick to push the robber back. He caught the wrist of the intruder and the weapon fell from his hand. The thief picked it up the dagger with the left hand and again attacked Mr Burman, which led to injuries to his eye.

In the meantime, Mrs Burman went out and called for help. Hearing her shrieks, the thief ran away.

Two security guards at Grewal Eye Hospital situated near the Burman’s house caught the robber. But the boy cooked up a story and was let off. The security guards informed personnel of the police control room who reached the site in minutes.

Sources in the police say the robber could have been a novice and the ‘dragger’ he held was, in fact, a kitchen knife. But for the courage shown by Mr Burman, the couple could have been seriously hurt.

SSP Gaurav Yadav told Chandigarh Tribune that the police was trying to establish a link between the murder of an elderly woman in Sector 47 and was drawing a sketch of the attacker on the basis of the description provided by the security guards who had caught the robber. He said a computer portrait would be prepared to hunt the culprit.

The incident exposed the vulnerability of the aged in the city after the police scheme to protect the elderly was scrapped.

As per the scheme, the SHO of the area would visit senior citizens on a routine basis.

SSP Yadav said night patrolling in the area had been increased with immediate effect.

When contacted, Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd), Chairman, Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations, said: “In the past too several schemes like Neighbourhood Watch and COPS were launched with fanfare but little was achieved”.



No early end to Beant trial
Kiran Deep

* Main suspects arrested in September 1995; trial begins in 1996

* Witnesses examined: 228; total witnesses: 426

* Balwant Singh, Jagtar Singh Tara confess to

involvement in January 1998.

* Sessions Judges who conducted the trial earlier — Mr Amar

Dutt, Mr B.S. Bedi, Mr H.S. Bhalla, presently hearings being

conducted by CBI Special Judge Mr Balbir Singh.

Chandigarh, August 28
Eight years into the assassination trial to prosecute the people who are suspected of planning and killing former Punjab Chief Minister, the late Beant Singh, the ongoing trial is nowhere near an end. Only half of the 426 witnesses listed in the case have been examined.

There was also lack of political and administrative will to speedy disposal of the case. Since the assassination of Beant Singh, Punjab has had four Chief Ministers (two of them from the Congress) but no one had made a serious effort to expedite the trial.

Since the trial began in 1996, many judges have been hearing the case. These include Mr Amar Dutt, now a sitting Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge and Mr B.S. Bedi, a retired District and Sessions Judge and now President of the Consumer Forum. And also the present District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, Mr H.S. Bhalla. At present, the trial is being conducted by the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Balbir Singh. The court is holding hearing for seven to 10 days in a month in line with the high court directions.

The CBI claimed that they would drop some of the witnesses and only 70 important witnesses would be examined. The CBI counsel Mr R.K. Handa and Mr Rajan Malhotra said there were so many witnesses in the case that prosecution required time to examine them. Mr Handa alleged that even some of the accused had disrupted the court proceeding by raising slogans.

On the other hand, the defence counsel, Mr Amar Singh Chahal, said that he had to specially go to Burail Jail, here the case was heard in a special room, to conduct the trial thus there was so much wastage of time. Mr Chahal added that the persons who were alleged to be involved in the case were in no way responsible for the delay as they had right to raise their objections. He alleged that there was delay on the part of the CBI as it had made so many unnecessary witnesses in the case.

Blaming the CBI for the delay in the trial, Mr N.S. Minhas, counsel for one of the accused, Navjot Singh, said that in almost eight years only half of the witnesses had been examined by the CBI.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked the Chandigarh Administration and the Central Bureau of Investigation to move the court for the appointment of a Special Judge for the expeditious disposal of the case.

There are 13 accused allegedly involved in the case by the CBI — nine are presently facing trial and are lodged in Model Burail Jail. The other four have been declared proclaimed offenders by the CBI. These accused include Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Balwant Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Nasib Singh and Navjot Singh, who have been facing trial for their alleged role in the assassination. The accused have been charged with murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy and under Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Explosives Substances Act.



Delay plagues Beant memorial
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
It will be eight years on August 31 since former Punjab Chief Minister, Beant Singh was killed by a suspected human bomb outside his office here. It also means the annual remembrances are around the corner. Tributes will be paid like last year and the years before that. However, once the functions are over, things will be back to slow motion as far as completion of the memorial for the former CM in Sector 42 here is concerned.

In December, 1998 the work on the memorial project was started and it was to be completed in 18 months at a cost of Rs 8 crore. The building is still under construction.

In October last year during the rule of the Congress, it seemed the Punjab Government was serious and agreed to pay Rs 4 crore for the completion of the library-cum-conventional centre building of the memorial with the rider that the first phase be completed within 10 months. After 10 months the building is still incomplete and even the new contractor is yet to be appointed. Phase I of the project includes construction of an open air auditorium, a conference hall and a library besides landscaping of 26 acres of land to develop gardens.

To top it all this un-implemented decision to complete the first phase had been taken at a high level meeting of the governing body of the Beant Singh Memorial Society presided over by the then Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), in which the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, the then Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, the then Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda also participated. At the same meeting Mr Lal Singh had then said it was a prestigious project for the state government and it should be completed at the earliest.

Just days before this meeting the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh had set the tone by lashing out at the Akalis, saying the memorial project had been delayed by the Akalis.

In the almost five years since work on the first phase of the building started, the delay on account of wrong planning and political differences have hit the project badly. The latest is that the contractor who originally started work does not want to carry on. The contractor has disputed the payments made to him. The arrangement with the contractor was scrapped in June this year. Sources said till the arbitrator decided the matter the society was free to invite tenders from new contractors.

In the past the delay had been caused due to Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party led government in Punjab which stalled the project saying it did not have funds for a memorial on Beant Singh. The Punjab Government led by Mr Prakash Singh Badal had come to power in February, 1997, and it actually backed off from paying Rs 6 crore of the committed Rs 8 crore citing a financial crunch. The Chandigarh Administration which was a partner to the project just could not fund it on its own.

A part of the blame also lies in faulty planning. The designers had planned for a huge four storeyed library which was meant to house books on Beant Singh. Re-designing of the originally planned library had been ordered on two accounts. Firstly, with the advent of the internet it was said that a huge library was not required. The space could be used for other purposes as well. Secondly, there would never be so many books on Beant Singh that all the four storeys would be occupied.

Meanwhile, removed from the first phase of the building a 9 acre ground adjoining the project is to be used as an exhibition centre on the lines of Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. This will be developed in partnership with a private partner who will manage the day to day affairs and invest in infrastructure. The Chandigarh Housing Board is to be entrusted with the task of providing other amenities. The aim is to bring in more conventions, tourism and revenue for the city.

Apart from the memorial project the promise to give Cabinet status to the widow of Beant Singh, re-naming of his village Kotli as Kotli Beant Singhwala and name of the Doraha —Kotli road as Beant Singh marg are also in abeyance. 



Temple demolition case takes political hue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The din of the Dalit temple demolition at PGI has reached the All-India Congress Committee chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who has written to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into the matter.

The letter from the AICC chief’s Assistant Private Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister comes in the wake of the representation sent by PGI Sarav Dharam Sabha, seeking intervention of the Opposition Leader in the demolition that was undertaken by the PGI administration on June 9.

Eversince the PGI administration undertook the demolition of religious places, including the Ravi Das Temple, on the campus, the PGI Sarav Dharam Sabha shot letters to the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, to intervene and take action against the officials responsible for hurting the sentiments of the people belonging to different religions.

After the matter was raised in Parliament, the Ministry of Urban Development asked the Health Ministry to direct the PGI to send a detailed report of the site plan and other structures encroaching PGI land, before a meeting is held in this regard.The Director, Ministry of Urban Development, Mrs Nisha Singh, has also written to the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, in this regard.

The Sabha, had demanded that the Deputy Director (Administration), Mrs Meeta Rajivlochan, under whose supervision the demolitions had taken place, should be repatriated to her parent cadre.

Now, the PGI demolition issue is likely to be taken up at the meeting to be convened by the Urban Development Ministry. Apart from PGI representatives, the Health Ministry officials have been asked to attend the meeting, the date for which is yet to be fixed.



3-day sports festival at school
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, August 28
A three-day sports festival for tiny tots as part of National Sports Day celebrations began here today at The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula. The coincided with the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand.

Various sports events such as fun race, tricycle race, biscuit race, banana race were being organised to involve children in sports activities, said Ms Kavita Soni, Principal of the school. Events like Charlie Chaplin race and balloon race were held on the opening day. Tomorrow, the school would hold print races, relay races, obstacle race and finals of various heats.



More sectors to come under paid parking
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, August 28
Even as complaints of mismanagement and misbehaviour against parking lot attendants continue to pour in, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has initiated the process of introducing the paid parking system in at least three more sectors in the city.

According to sources in the corporation, the authorities are now working out the modalities to introduce the system in Sectors 35, 34 and 22. Giving details, the sources asserted that the residents parking their vehicles in front of the hotels in Sector 35, behind Piccadilly Cinema in Sector 34 and in Sector 22 would have to pay for leaving behind their vehicles after the introduction of the system.

The sources revealed that the residents parking their cars would have to pay Rs 5, while those leaving behind their two wheelers would have to pay Rs 2, in accordance with the existing rates.

Currently, the paid parking system was existing in three Sectors 17, 8 and 9. The corporation was earning Rs 1.5 crore just from Sectors 8 and 9. This was not all. The corporation was bagging a revenue of Rs 1.1 crore from Sector 17 alone.

The sources further revealed that the entire process of introducing the system in other sectors could possibly take a month, or even more, as the matter would first have to be placed before the House for approval.

The move was significant as the introduction of the paid parking system would go a long way in solving the problem caused due to the haphazard parking of vehicles in these sectors.

The sources further said passing through the lot in Sector 35 was almost impossible in the evening due to the vehicles casually parked on either sides of the road. The situation was not much different in Sectors 34 and 22.

The paid parking system was introduced following directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Taking up a petition, the court had directed the Commissioner of the corporation to introduce the system in an effort to solve the problems being faced by the commuters while parking their vehicles in the lots.

The decision to introduce the system was initially mooted in 1997, but had to be kept on the back burner following protest by the traders. As per trader associations in the city, the system would have discouraged casual shoppers from frequenting the markets and would have adversely affected their sales.

Subsequently, coming down heavily on the corporation for not informing the residents about the background of the case, the high court had also asked the officials to tell the court whether they had informed the public about the fact that the decision to introduce paid parking system was approved by the corporation in 1998 and that parking spaces were also auctioned the same year.



Decision on water charge hike deferred
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 28
Municipal councillors of the town are against hike in the water and sewerage charges and a decision on the issue was kept pending at the Municipal Council meeting held here today.

The decision on the same issue was kept pending at the council meeting held on June 30. The Department of Local Government, Punjab, had directed the civic body to implement the revised rates.

The councillors said the revised rates would put an additional financial burden on residents. Mr Manmohan Singh Langh said his ward had been facing water shortage and no rates should be revised till the residents were provided adequate quantity of water.

Mr Sham Bansal complained that residents of his ward were facing shortage of water too. Mr Sukhminder Singh Barnala said there was wastage of water in the town which should be checked instead of hiking water and sewerage charges.

He said residents of Commando Complex in Phase XI were wasting large quantities of water but officials of the Public Health Department had failed to check this.

Disagreement arose when issues relating to repair of certain vehicles of the civic body came up for discussion. Mr Manjeet Singh Sethi said details of the expenditure incurred on repairs were not shown to councillors.

Mr Amrik Singh Mohali said repairs should only be carried out after the vehicles were inspected by persons with technical experience. Mr B.B. Maini said the house should be presented details of the amount spent on repairs. Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the civic body, said councillors should approach him whenever they needed to see records which would be shown to them. But the office could not provide photo-copies of the record.

The House unanimously rejected the issue relating to the presentation of a challan in a court in the case of Padam Parkash, a clerk in the council office, who had been allegedly held guilty by the Vigilance Bureau on charges of corruption. The councillors said since nothing had been recovered from him by Vigilance officials during a raid on the office on August 26 last year, the House should support the employee and reject the item on the agenda.

The issue of inviting separate tenders for boring, installation of machinery and related work for sinking three deep-bore tubewells in Phases I, II and IV was cleared at the meeting. These areas were facing water shortage and the Department of Local Government, Punjab, has given the necessary sanction for sinking tubewells.

Among the other items approved at the meeting was one relating to the beautification of three chowks — Diplast chowk, YPS chowk and the Dara Studio Chowk — by private parties. The private companies will be responsible for the maintenance of chowks in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down by the Municipal Council.



Roads await repair in Industrial Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The heavy monsoon rains over the past one month have brought cheer to all sections, except the industrialists and transport operators in Industrial Area, Phase II. They claim that they have been waiting for the repair of the roads for the past many years.

Mr S.S. Bhal, owner of Bhal Engineers, said: “The condition of roads is so bad that workers find it difficult to reach their factory premises.” He said no supplier or buyer wanted to come to their factory in the monsoon season due to bad conditions of the roads. They have to pay additional money to transporters as well.

Mr P.K. Chugh, owner of Parakeet International, said the roads were broken and caused inconvenience to the people. No repairs were done over a long period of time. The rain water get collected on the road and created problems for motorists and pedestrians. The sewerage system was in a bad shape. Municipal Council workers repaired the sewerage system but after a week the points again started leaking, he added.

Mr Narinder Singh, owner of Bharat Graphics, lamented that the trucks were parked on both the sides of the roads which led to parking problems. Mr Rajesh Singh of IFB Industries said bad condition of roads had even caused some accidents in the area. Mr Sandeep of Godrej Industry added although the repair work of inner roads in Industrial Area, Phase I, had been undertaken, yet it was unfortunate that inner roads of Phase II area had been completely left out.

He claimed that the Council was simply interested in the collection of property tax from the industry and was not doing any thing for the development of area. He said that like the transport area, the administration should take back the Industrial Area under its control from the Municipal Council.

The industrialists demanded that action should be taken against those officials who had failed to undertake repair work before the onset of monsoon season. He wondered how could the council could ignore that area which was contributing to the economy of the city, besides providing jobs to thousands of people. 



Dr R.S. Prasad — A man with a golden heart
Baljeet S. Kapoor

The old dictum of Hindu mythology that good persons are also wanted by the Almighty as much as by the humanity on earth has come true once again when a noble soul — Dr Rama Shankar Prasad, Professor of Electronics Engineering in the Punjab Engineering College — departed for his heavenly abode.

Dr Prasad always strived for academic excellence; perfection in his deeds and truthfulness in his activities. Born to Murli Prasad on July 10, 1946, he finished his schooling from Tirhut Academy, Samastipur, Bihar, in July 1953 and passed his Pre-University from Samstipur College in July 1959. He did his B.Sc. Engineering in Telecommunication from Birla Institute of Technology, Sindri, and obtained his M.Sc Engineering (Electronics) and Ph.D. Degree from Panjab University while serving in the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh.

He was on the faculty of B.I.T. Sindri, from 1966 to 1968 and from July 1968 to July 1974, he served in the Intelligence Bureau, MHA, Government of India, New Delhi. He joined as Lecturer at Punjab Engineering College in July, 1974 and subsequently served as Assistant Professor and Professor and presently he was heading three departments i.e., Electronics and Electrical Communication, Computer Science and Engineering and Information Technology.

In Dr Prasad, I found acumen for excellence along with his diligence and sense of responsibility; it made me assign various duties to him from time to time. He was selected through UPSC as Professor of Electronics and Electrical communication but was also given the task of stabilising the departments of Information Technology and Computer Science and Engineering., which were dithering and were on the brink of academic collapse. His zeal and efforts bore fruit and these departments have not only been given due recognition by statutory bodies but also resulted in the wonderful placements of IT first batch, start of ME (I.T.) self-financing course and in gaining stature. He was truly a man besides being a true teacher.

Dr Prasad had put in infinite efforts to ensure that both PG and UG students are given adequate opportunities to get training. To quote an example, all PG students of Electronics (EPDT) and IT can go to CSIO for one year training. This facility was arranged by Dr Prasad. His love for students was to be seen to be believed. For them he would always come and fight with me for sanction of grants, technical tours and seminars. Off and again, whenever we used to sit together and plan out things for the betterment of the college, I would always in a lighter vein ask Dr Prasad if he ever got tired and his reply would always be: “When one is working for the betterment of the students, God gives one strength”.

Dr Prasad was revered by his students for his honest, transparent and fatherly approach. I could rely on Dr Prasad in totality and assign duties to him with confidence. The delicate and arduous duty of Coordinator, Admissions, he performed for a number of years and also initiated admissions in PEC in conjunction with AIEEE. He was in addition handling all the technical societies in the college, MOUs and also coordinating the computer and telephone networking of the college.

His tragic demise has been a personal loss to me as not only have I lost an able administrator and colleague but also a personal friend - a true friend.

He was associated with many voluntary organisations which deal with humanitarian activities. His biggest role was in blood donation. He was not only a champion donor himself but was also a motivator who used to motivate students, young and even old persons, to donate blood and save a valuable life. Besides being well known among college staff and students, he was also a familiar face with common masses as he used to interact with persons from all walks of life. He used to render self-less service to old and ailing persons in PGI and other hospitals. His simple words of consolation used to heal even the biggest of the injuries of a person. He also used to render social service in rural areas adjoining Chandigarh.

As a parent of three daughters, he was an exemplary father who ensured that all his three daughters do well in life.

During his illustrious career at Punjab Engineering College, Dr Prasad left his stamp of hard work, sincerity and wisdom in every task he undertook. In him we have lost a dedicated teacher and a pillar of strength. May his soul rest in peace!

The writer is Principal, Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh.



PEC professor’s cremation today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 28
The cremation of Prof R.S. Prasad of Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Sector 12, who died in an accident on the Chandigarh-Patiala road yesterday, will take place tomorrow at 9.45 am at the Sector 25 cremation ground. The funeral procession would start from his house (No. 652) in Sector 12 at 9.30 am, the Principal of the college said.



Reliance phones go out of order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Thousands of Reliance WLL telephone subscribers in the city felt frustrated today when they failed to receive calls from other subscribers of the Reliance network and other networks.

Subscribers of Airtel, BSNL, Connect and Spice mobiles were unable to call their friends and relatives with Reliance phones. Even calls could not be made from the BSNL landline phones to Reliance phones, complained subscribers. No company official could be contacted on the phone since most of them were also carrying Reliance phones, which could not be connected. According to insiders, the network of the Reliance has developed problems, resulting in connectivity problems.



Vigilance books 3 in bogus pensions case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today registered a case against a District Social Security Officer (DSSO), a Child Development Officer (CDPO) and a doctor on the charges of fraudulently recommending old-age pensions in Kapurthala district.

A spokesman for the bureau has stated in a press note that after a vigilance inquiry it was found that Mr Satish Kapur DSSO, Mr Amrik Singh CDPO and Dr Rajinder Kumar, Civil Dispensary, Lakhan ke Padda had recommended old-age pensions to ineligible beneficiaries during the previous regime. In this case, the ADC, Kapurthala, was also named in the FIR. He was posted at that time at Kapurthala.

In yet another case, officers and officials concerned of the Directorate of Research and Medical Education ( DRME) were also booked on the charges of embezzlement. They allegedly accepted medical equipment below standard worth lakhs of rupees from Rai Surgicals, Bathinda.

Mr Satinder Kumar, tehsildar, Baghapurana, was also booked in a corruption case, the spokesman said. He said Vigilance inquiries had been initiated against Mr Gaganjit Kashyap, manager, Punjab Agro Industries, and Sub-Inspector Parmjit Singh, Recruitment Training centre (RTC), Jalandhar, on the charges of possessing disproportionate assets.



Woman accuses cop of rape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
A woman, who runs a finance company in Sector 22 here, has accused Head Constable Randip Singh, posted at the Sector 22 police post, of having raped her in a village of Kharar tehsil. However, members of the constable’s family have alleged that the woman was trying to blackmail them. The complaint of the woman, after preliminary investigation, has been sent to SSP Gaurav Yadav, who has sent it to Ropar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar as the area, where the alleged incident took place, falls in Ropar district.

Mr Bhullar said he had been telephonically informed about the complaint of the woman, but he had received no official communication so far.

Meanwhile, Ms Mamata, wife of the accused cop, has filed a complaint with the police, alleging that the woman had demanded Rs 5 lakh from the family. She said when she reached the victim’s office to deliver Rs 50,000 as per a deal, the money was snatched by the woman and Rajinder Bhasin, employer of the alleged victim.

The police says Bhasin is a bad character and has allegedly been involved in shady deals.

The city police is verifying the claims of the two women. However, it has made a DDR entry regarding allegations and counter-allegations and subsequent fight between the two women.



16 held for immoral trafficking
Our Correspondent

Raipur Rani, August 28
The police this evening busted a flesh trade racket being run by a couple. The couple’s teenage daughter and 13 others were also arrested.
The police claimed that Raksha, alias Ranjan, and her husband, Krishan Kumar, had been running the trade in the area for the past many months. The police raided Krishan Kumar’s house around 8 pm and arrested the accused.

Those arrested have been identified as Kuldip Kumar of Mani Majra; Gogi of Khanpur; Ram Prakash of Haripur; Jeevan Kumar of Raipur Rani; Jangsher and Gafoor, both of Nariangarh; Rajendra of Piarepala; Raju and Ramesh of Sehzadpur; Chaman Lal of Raipur Rani; and Krishan Lal of Bahadurgarh.



Four booked for rioting
Our Correspondent

Lalru, August 28
Four residents of Dappar village were booked by the police on the charge of rioting, thrashing and threatening a resident of the same village with dire consequences today.

According to the police, Hardeep Singh, Baljit Singh, Soni and Prakash Singh have been booked under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the Indian Panel Code on the complaint of Mr Niab Singh.

In his complaint to the police, Mr Niab Singh had alleged that the four thrashed him after trespassing his house on Sunday. They also threatened him with dire consequences in future.

The police has registered a case in this regard but no arrest has been made so far.



Youth kills self

SAS nagar, August 28
Twenty-two-year-old Jagat Pal of Mauli Jagran allegedly ended his life by hanging himself from the ceiling of his house last night. Inquest proceedings under Section 174 of Cr.P.C have been initiated. Jagat Pal used a dupatta to hang himself. He had studied up to Class XII and was unemployed. OC



MIA opposes frequent hike in steel prices
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 28
The Mohali Industries Association (MIA) has opposed the increase in the prices of steel over the past eight to 10 months, saying it had adversely affected small-scale industrial units in the town.

Mr Gurmeet Singh and Mr Anurag Aggarwal, president and general secretary of the Mohali Industries Association, respectively, said at a press conference here today that as the prices of steel had increased by over 50 per cent, it had become impossible to plan business. They alleged that steel manufacturers in the country had formed a cartel and were increasing the prices every 15 days to one month. They tried to create an artificial shortage in the market.

The MIA office-bearers said the Union Minister of Steel, Mr B.K. Tripathy, was coming to Ludhiana tomorrow where he would be given a memorandum. The government would be given 10 days to take action and if it failed to do so, the MIA would be compelled to decide the future course of action.

They said it had become impossible to execute orders in hand as these had been booked at lower prices of steel. This was bringing a bad name to industrial units and some companies were being blacklisted by customers.

It had become difficult to book fresh orders due to the instability in the steel prices. A large number of workers were being rendered jobless as a number of industrial units were closing down.

They said it had become difficult to supply products to original equipment manufacturers as the prices with them were decided on a long-term basis and the did not entertain any requests for frequent price increase.

The association demanded a ban on the export of raw material to China as it was the main competitor in engineering goods. By exporting cheap raw material to China, the industrial units in India were unable to compete with Chinese goods. The rates should be increased once or twice a year but not repeatedly.

It demanded immediate removal of all restrictions on import of steel from Ukraine and Russia. The application of BIS standards on imports and all anti-dumping duties should also be removed.

Mr Gurmeet Singh and Mr Aggarwal said the government should encourage export of finished goods and not raw material. Finished goods would earn more foreign exchange for the government and also generate employment.


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