Thursday, September 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Heavy rain exposes flaws in city’s planning
* Goods worth lakhs destroyed in Sector 19 market * 15 cm of rainfall recorded * Water pipeline bursts in Sector 42
Tribune Reporters

Labourers in Sector 15, Panchkula, conduct ‘Operation Evacuation’on Wednesday morning. — Tribune photo Pankaj Sharma

Water discharge wreaks havoc

Breaking previous records of this year, a maximum water discharge of about 25,000 cusecs was recorded at the Bhankharpur post of the Punjab Drainage Department today.

River water washed away acres of land with trees, crops and seasonal vegetables as it changed its course at many places.

At Chhat Bir, the river water even damaged two spurs. The zoo authorities have deployed a team of employees to keep a vigil on the water level.

The river water wreaked havoc on several acres with poplar trees and paddy at Stabgarh village and fodder fields in Bakarpur village downstream to the bridge over the river at Bhankharpur village. Damage was also reported from Bhankharpur, Stabgarh, parts of Ibrahimpura, Bhaura and Bhauri villages located along both sides of the river.

Chandigarh, September 3
Chinks in the city’s planning were exposed again today as heavy rain since last night led to flooding of several houses and caused loss of goods worth lakhs to shopkeepers in a poorly designed Sector 19 market.

The bridge on the road dividing Sectors 36 and 42 was damaged for the second time in a month. A water pipeline burst in Sector 42 and power supply to many parts of the city was disrupted.

Late at night, the downpour was so heavy that more than 500 vehicles, including trucks, were stranded on the roads. Several long-route buses were delayed and commuters working in neighbouring towns were also delayed. In the morning, newspapers were delivered late and milk supply was also affected.

The city was lashed by a whopping 15 cm of rain last night. The Met office said the rain occurred mostly between midnight and 6 a.m.

In the city, water entered houses in Sectors 15, 19 and 35, besides villages of Kishangarh, Mauli Jagran and Mani Majra. The worst-affected was the Mauli Jagran rehabilitation colony, where houses were under four feet of water. The colony has been designed on a natural slope of water coming downhill from the Mani Majra side.

The Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation today suggested a plan to work in tandem with the railway authorities whose land abuts the Mauli Jagran colony. The plan was also told to the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and it will be taken up with the Union Railway Minister.

Rainwater also entered houses in low-lying areas in Bapu Dham (near Sector 26) and Vikas Nagar in Mani Majra. About 10 fire engines were pressed into service to drain the water from water- logged areas.

The road leading to the railway station from the Industrial Area was stopped for vehicular traffic between 6 and 9.30 a.m. At one point water The logic was that people use the road in the morning rush to board the Shatabdi thus using that road could be dangerous.

In Pallika Bazaar in Sector 19, irate shopkeepers raised the issue of poor planning before the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla. The shops on the upper floor do no have any cantilever which could prevent rainwater from falling in the verandah of the shops in the basement.

The MC spend Rs 12 lakh to install a water pumping sump which has a drainage capacity of only three inches of water per hour whereas the inflow of water is about 12 inches. The shopkeepers said these things had been pointed out before but to no avail. In Sector 40-C, hundreds of cars were stranded in the water on the road dividing Sectors 40 and 41. Vehicles were stranded outside the row of hotels in Sector 35, besides in Sectors 27, 28, and 30.

The roads leading to SAS Nagar were like small rivulets and each had more than two to three feet of water. The markets in Sector 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40 were flooded with water. In Sector 42, a water pipeline burst, leading to shortage of drinking water. The bridge on the road dividing Sectors 36 and 42, which was under repair, was damaged for the second time in one month. Panchkula: Continuous heavy downpour since Tuesday night threw life out of gear in the peripheral areas, including Zirakpur and Dera Bassi, on Wednesday morning.

The worst-affected were Sectors 4, 19, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19, Indira Colony and Rajiv Colony, where rainwater entered the houses and submerged household goods. The residents had to drain out muddy water from their houses and shift their goods to safer places.

Vehicular traffic on the Chandigarh-Panchkula link road near Mani Majra was disrupted for hours because of water accumulated on the road starting from the Mani Majra traffic-light point till the Sectors 7-8-16-17 roundabout.

Attendance in offices and schools was reported thin while at least five schools remained closed because of rain and bad weather. Power supply to certain parts of the township was also disrupted as water entered some power houses.

Residents were seen draining out rainwater from their houses with buckets. Vehicles were also seen stranded in muddy water at various places in Panchkula and Zirakpur.

Efforts of the district administration to drain out rainwater from various sectors and water-logged areas proved futile as a majority of the sewerage pipes were choked.

SAS NAGAR: Rainwater entered a number of houses in many parts of the town here on Wednesday, damaging property and causing inconvenience to residents.

Complaints were received from certain pockets in Phases I, IIIB2 and V. The worst-affected was Phase V which lies at a comparatively lower level as compared to other areas and there is no proper outlet for excess rainwater to drain out.

In the affected pocket of Phase V, which is near JCT Chowk, water was almost three-feet-deep on certain roads. Cars and other vehicles were stranded.

Mrs Mohinder Pal Kaur, a resident of house No. 1749, said water was around one-feet-deep in some of the rooms in her house. Household items lying in cupboards and box-type beds were soaked. The entire family was busy removing belongings this morning.

Mr Sham Bansal, a municipal councillor living in Phase I, said water had entered some HL-type houses in Phase I. He said as the internal roads in the area were very low-lying rainwater from other parts flowed this way. He said the residents had been facing the problem for the past 20 years but the administration had failed to find a solution. He said he had got road gullies cleaned and also got four new road gullies constructed in the area.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, Station Fire Office, said the fire brigade had received help calls from residents when water entered their houses. He said two fire engines were sent to Phase V and one to Phase I to deal with the situation.

Rain also disrupted life in a number of villages near SAS Nagar. The affected villages included Giddarpur, Nigari, Chandiala, Patran and Landran.

Schools had to be closed in certain villages due to flooding.

According to reports received here, a resident of Nagari village was washed away by the gushing water.

Zirakpur : There were flood-like scenes in different parts of Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. The flooded Sukhna choe posed a threat to the people residing along its banks till afternoon. Waist-deep water got accumulated on vacant plots in Highland Colony, Defence Colony, and other colonies in the area.

Heavy rain also flooded parts of the Chandigarh Air Force Station. The Air Force authorities, with the assistance of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, used an earth- mower to make way for the rainwater.

The civic body had to press into service two earth-mowers for digging soil from kutcha passages made by encroachers along these roads. To clear the roads flooded with knee-deep muddy water, trenches were also dug along the Zirakpur-Panchkula road at Dhakauli village and Zirakpur-Ambala road at Lohgarh village.



Patients’ attendants left high and dry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The UT Administration and the local authorities are busy sprucing up the Bhargava Auditorium at PGI, the venue for President Abdul Kalam's date with the city teachers, whom he will address here tomorrow.

The entire area around the auditorium has been cordoned off by security personnel, who have taken charge of the venue. Apart from setting up of hot lines by the telecommunication department, the entire area is being given a clean and fresh look.

However, the attendants of patients who used to spend the night under the auditorium ramp, have been put to a lot inconvenience due to this. After the visit of top UT officials, including the Adviser, Mr Virendra Singh, to PGI, yesterday, the attendants were asked to move to another place, for the next two days.

Barricades have been placed all along the route to the auditorium, inside PGI and no vehicles are being allowed to be parked around that area. A metal detector has been placed at the auditorium entrance.

Eversince, Rain Basera, the night shelter at PGI was pulled down to make way for the Advanced Trauma Centre, attendants and family members of patients admitted to PGI, have been facing a lot of inconvenience. “Though family members of patients sleep out in the lawns, but during the monsoons they generally take shelter in and around the auditorium,” admitted a PGI official. Today, PGI security personnel did not allow the patients, their attendants and other visitors to even sit in the lawns, adjacent to the Bhargava Auditorium. The PGI staff remained busy mowing the lawns and painting the speed breakers.



24-yr-old raped near PGI

Chandigarh, September 3
A 24-year-old woman from Badheri was allegedly gangraped near the PGI by an autorickshaw driver and his two accomplices in the wee hours in the three-wheeler which she hired. The woman complained that she had hired an autorickshaw at 4 am from her village to go to the PGI where one of her relatives was hospitalised.

She alleged that apart from the driver of the autorickshaw Sarabjit Singh, two others Bobby Kumar and Ranjit also got in the vehicle.

Finding a lonely place in the bushes near a water tank, the three allegedly gangraped her in the three-wheeler. The driver of the autorickshaw Sarabjit Singh and Bobby Kumar have been arrested while Ranjit Kumar was on the run, the police said.

The three have been booked under Sections 376 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. TNS



Notice to Katrina on NIFD’s suit
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, September 3
Katrina Kaif, a Mumbai-based model turned film actress, and three officials of Matrix Entertainment, Mumbai, have been issued notices for September 9 by a local court for allegedly violating a contract with the National Institute of Fashion Design’s head office at Chandigarh.

The NIFD today filed a civil suit against Katrina and others in the district court, claiming damages of Rs 1 crore, and also pleaded to restrain her from performing in India and abroad if she failed to attend the fashion show scheduled for September 10 in Nagpur.

The institute had signed Katrina for the display of garments made by its students at the Nagpur institute. The case was filed by the Director of NIFD against Katrina and Matrix India Entertainment Consultant through its Managing Director and two other officials. The institute has pleaded in the suit for mandatory injunction, directing the four parties in the case to honour the commitment, contract and agreement for the fashion show or else face damages to the tune of Rs 1 crore.

The NIFD Director stated in the suit that the institute was organising an annual passing-out show for students. Officials of the NIFD had contacted Katrina through e-mail and informed her to participate in the fashion show with a contract of Rs 30,000. Later, employees of Matrix visited the head office of the NIFD in Sector 8 to discuss the matter and demanded Rs 35,000, besides Mumbai-Nagpur-Mumbai return air tickets.

The NIFD claimed that it had sent a cheque for Rs 35,000 to Katrina and also arranged air ticket for her.

The institute alleged in the suit that the officials of the NIFD were shocked when they received a fax message on September 1 from Katrina, in which she expressed her inability to attend the NIFD fashion show at Nagpur due to unavoidable circumstances.

In a separate application filed by the NIFD against Katrina, the institute had pleaded that she be restrained from attending any other function or assignment on September 10 in India and abroad.

The NIFD also stated that the model had committed criminal breach of trust and cheating. Officials claimed that the institute had make arrangements according to her schedule and if she failed to attend the show, it would cause a huge loss of money to the NIFD.



Power board draws flak on electronic meters
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Bonanza for consumers

* HVPN asked to simplify application form for applying for a new connection.

* More than one connection can now be released in multi-storeyed buildings.

* Single-phase connection of 5 kw load to be provided in off season for the seasonal industry.

* HVPN told to develop Low Tension(LT) network in a way that nearest point of network is available within 30 metres of consumers’ premises. 

Panchkula, September 3
The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has pulled up the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) for failing to procure new electronic meters according to the metering plan submitted before the Commission, and replacing these without adhering to the procedure laid down in sales manual.

In its order issued on August 21, HERC has said that the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) cannot replace any meters in future without verifying the correctness of the meter at the installation point. A calibrated check meter, duly checked by competent agency, will be installed at the site by the concerned licensee-HVPN for its subsidiaries the UHBVN or the DHBVN, for checking the error in the existing meter and the report indicating error in the meter will have to be given to consumer before disconnecting or removing the check meter from the consumer premises.

The order further states that the recovery or the refund will be worked out on the last six months consumption by a consumer based on error indicated in the check meter reading, and will be adjusted by the HVPN in the next billing cycle. The order passed by HERC will have to be implemented by the HVPN as it is a quasi judicial body, and its order can only be challenged in the high court.

This order has widespread ramifications. Consumers have been complaining against the indiscriminate change of meters from electromagnetic type to electronic meters, without prior ascertaining their healthiness. Consumers have been complaining that the electromagnetic meters are being taken out of the premises without verifying for its correct operation and replaced arbitrarily. They also complained that consumer owned meters taken away by the UHBVN- distribution subsidiary of HVPN in north Haryana, or DHBVN- distribution subsidiary of HVPN in south Haryana, were not returned to them and meter rental for the new electronic meters was charged. Non payment of interest on meter security deposits was also a bone of contention with the consumers. It is learnt that so far the Haryana Power Utilities has replaced over one lakh meters in the state.

The order also states that the HVPN will reimburse the cost of meter removed at the prevalent market rate or HVPN’s issue rate — whichever is more and no meter rent or meter security can be charged from the consumer. The order further states that in case a replaced meter has not been removed from the premises of the consumer, the HVPN cannot levy any meter rent as it would amount to double investment by consumer for providing better meter. The HVPN has also been ordered to pay interest charges accrued on meter security amount recovered from the consumer. Such interest charges shall be shown and duly adjusted in each bill.

HERC has also stated in its order that the protection of meter is the responsibility of the HVPN — which in turn will provide adequate automatic disconnection devices to protect meter against any electronic fault or over current. A consumer will bear the replacement charge of the meter only if the damage has been done due to consumer fault or negligence.



All presidential candidates have police record
* SOPU releases manifesto * Concern over ‘outside’
muscle power
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Panjab University today officially released the election schedule for the forthcoming elections to the campus student council.

The elections are scheduled for September 12. The nominations will be required to be filled on September 9. The scrutiny, display of list of candidates and filing of objections also need to be done on the same day.

The university has fixed September 10 as the date for withdrawals and display of final list of candidates. Elections to the departmental representatives are also scheduled for September 12.

According to an official note of Prof Nirmal Singh, the Dean Student Welfare, the guidelines will also extend to elections to the student bodies in affiliated colleges located in the city.

Chandigarh, September 3
The road to presidentship at elections to the Panjab University Campus Students Council meanders its way through the corridors of courtrooms and police lock-ups.

Keeping up with the records ever since the electoral process restarted in 1997, all likely presidential candidates of prominent student organisations this time are one up the other in the race towards hitting the headlines in dailies through routine interface with the police at fights and ‘dharnas’.

Saurabh Joshi, the presidential aspirant from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, was picked up by the police in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office on August 12. Pawan Singh, the president of the Haryana Students Association, was thrashed at the Student Centre by then president of the organisation Satinder Singh Dahiya and chairman Dharmender Balhara on August 1. Khushbaz Singh Jattana, the presidential candidate from the Students Organisation of Panjab University, is back on the campus from the lock-up following alleged attack on the outgoing president of the council on July 30 . Malwinder Singh Kang, the president of the Panjab University Students Union, was in the lock-up till today afternoon for jumping his bail in an earlier attempt to murder case.

Saurab Joshi (ABVP)
Saurab Joshi (ABVP)

Malwinder Singh Kang
Malwinder Singh Kang (PUSU)

Pawan Singh (HSA)
Pawan Singh (HSA)

Khusbhaz Jattana (SOPU) 

A majority of the presidents ever since the elections recommenced have travelled to the police stations and courts on one pretext or the other. SOPU and PUSU are the two prominent groups on the campus. Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa (SOPU), president in 1998 and in 1999, Bhupinder Singh Bhuppi (PUSU), president in 2000, Santokhwinder Singh Nabha (SOPU), president in 2001, and Kang in 2002 have figured on police lists at one time or the other.

The PU authorities and the local police have expressed their concerns at the rising violence. The administration enforced Section 144 on the campus following a spate of rallies to the residential quarters of the university staff at night. The Vice Chancellor’s office had become sort of a street-corner for student gatherings. The university closed the entry from the side of the PGI to decrease outside interference.

Another major sidelight to the PU polls is the interference of the outsiders. The prominent student organisations are known to get their share of supporters mainly from Punjab and Haryana to show the “muscle power” during campaigning. The size of the rallies to show individual strength in the past depended on students from the local colleges as well.

Things might be different this time with the recent police action and the university’s concern against outside interference.

In a related fact in the mad-race for the post of the president, there is absolute absence of faces of other office-bearers in each organisation. Each of the prominent organisations is engaged in the projection of its presidential candidate. Nearly all of the organisations who are having rounds of talks among themselves argue on a common point of “give us the post of the president and rest all office-bearers can be yours”.

Meanwhile, the Students Organisation of Panjab University today took lead in campaigning by releasing the election manifesto to the forthcoming elections to the students council on September 12.

The topmost priority has been listed as “conducive atmosphere for higher studies on the campus”. The copy reads that “in order to attain this goal we will give a helping hand to the authorities, request for better facilities in the library and request the authorities to help poor students”.

SOPU will attempt creation of a machinery comprising students and authorities to hear grievances of students and minimise use of ‘dharnas’ for students to put their demands. SOPU has sought that police patrolling on the campus should be minimised.

The list of other work priorities include fortnightly meetings of the council, giving more representation to girl students, honour for distinguished academicians and seeking student participation in bodies like the Senate and Syndicate. SOPU has also underlined its aim to work for better facilities in the hostel mess and department canteens.

Yogesh Goyal, vice-president of the Panjab University Students Union, said that a core group was working out the agenda to highlight the latest issues, demands and future requirements which will be released withing the coming couple of days.

Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, president of a rival group of PUSU, said he along with his supporters in a convoy of vehicles toured different departments and heard the problems of students. He said official declaration of his alliance with other student organisations will be soon made.



Reprieve for R.K. Sharma in VSNL case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Punjab IGP S.K. Sharma’s brother R.K. Sharma, booked in June for allegedly running an illegal telephone exchange and causing an estimated loss of Rs 91 lakh to the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), was today virtually let off the hook with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) “withdrawing its assessment of loss" against him.

Mr R.K. Sharma claimed that the complaint stands nullified with the complainant withdrawing the assessment after confirming that he had been given a licence to run the Chandigarh Call Centre. Mr Sharma had been accused of using imported machines to run an illegal telephone exchange. When contacted, the Superintendent of Police (Operations), Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, confirmed that DoT had sent a letter to “recheck the facts in the complaint made by the VSNL.”

Mr Sharma said he had served legal notices to police officers, DoT and others for a compensation of Rs 30 lakh for giving wrong information.

He alleged that the police had been sitting on the letter for more than 10 days. He said losses calculated by the police were not mentioned in the complaint and it had made a crude assessment.

The police said the VSNL had stated that it wanted to re-assess the losses.

Mr Sharma said he had paid Rs 70 lakh as a licence fee for running the call centre and had imported machines through the RBI and given papers of customs clearance and payment of duty to DoT.

Mr Sharma alleged he had been implicated in the case to defame his brother who had handled high-profile cases, including of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He also alleged that the police had shown a bias against him by booking him under the provisions of the IPC instead of the Indian Telegraph Act, as was told to him by the Chief Vigilance Officer of the VSNL.



Protesting farmers refuse to meet minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Farmers protesting in Chandigarh against the privatisation of the power in the Punjab, today refused to meet Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, saying that the issue needs to be handled by the Chief Minister himself.

An emissary of the Punjab Government carrying the message was sent to the Matka Chowk where farmers are laying siege. The convener of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Mr Kamalpreet Singh Pannu, said the proposal was rejected as they had demanded a meeting with the Chief Minister to sort out the issue.

It seems the farmers will have to wait till Friday as the Chief Minister will be busy with the President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who will be on a visit to Ludhiana and Chandigarh.

The committee said it had demanded that the expenses due to hike in power and water should be added to the minimum support price of wheat and rice. The minimum support price in both cases have remained static at Rs 620 and Rs 580, respectively, even as water and power have become expensive. Farmers will be unable to bear the additional burden, he said.

Later, hundreds of farmers took out a rally and marched to the office of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission in Sector 34 raising slogans. They demanded that the commission be disbanded. The committee highlighted how farmers were under debt and were being forced to commit suicide. A sum of Rs 125 crore was pending as payment of sugarcane crop. The increased rates of diesel and petrol have not helped.

Heavy rain during the night did not deter the farmers who sleep in the open.



Residents complain of gas leakage
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 3
Residents of Mohali village complained of suffocation and irritation in eyes after an alleged leakage of gas from one of the plants of Ranbaxy laboratories here today.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, who runs a flour mill in the area, said he saw something like smoke coming out from one of the plants and soon. he and many experienced suffocation. He said he had to cover his mouth with a cloth to avoid the inhaling of gas.

Residents said after the alleged leakage they saw some employees of the factory, who were wearing masks, going up to the point from where some smoke coming out.

Another resident, Mr Manjit Singh, said he shifted his family members to Phase I as he felt scared of the suspected gas leakage.

Mrs Harinder Kaur, another resident running a shop in the village, said she closed her shop and went home soon after she felt suffocated and some irritation in the eyes.

Mr Kuljit Singh, husband of municipal councillor of the area, Mrs Daljit Kaur, demanded that the factory be shifted from near the residential area. He said that the government should feel care for the life and prosperity of the residents of the village.

Mr S.K. Behal, Senior Manager, Liason, said after receiving a complaint from residents he had gone to the plant to check but he found nothing. He was told by employees of the factory that two generator sets were started by them around that time and the smoke must have been emitted by them. He alleged that the residents of the village only wanted to exploit the management. He said even the Punjab Human Rights Commission had given them a clean chit in the case of the Ranbaxy fire.



Experts stress on importance of environment
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
It is not a matter of chance that the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) chose India to coordinate its Asia project for integration of environment component in Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) in schools across five Asian countries. It was a conscious decision taken because India presented an excellent blend of voluntary and government agencies working together to promote environment awareness issues at school level through informal programmes like National Environment Awareness Campaign and National Green Core.

With India as the coordinating country and Chandigarh-based Dr Neelima Jerath from the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), as nodal officer for the project, UNESCO today entered a crucial phase of the $ 30,000 project, that was initiated last year in five Asian countries — China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and India. Besides country experts in TVE present to discuss the Asia report prepared by Dr Jerath, two representatives from UNESCO, Paris were also in Chandigarh to supervise the proceedings that will result in the evolution of common core curriculum to be implemented at secondary level in schools across the participating nations.

Talking to The Tribune about the project, Julia Heiss, Programme Specialist from UNESCO, Paris, said that UNESCO had lately been declared to lead the Decade (2005-2015) of Education for Sustainable Development across the world.

“The Asia project means to strengthen UNESCO’s role. It will interpret the existing environment component in TVE across five Asian countries and will result in identification of specific action that needs to be taken to help secondary level school students understand the importance of environment. Gradually UNESCO will implement the project in Africa and Latin America.”

Dr Jerath highlighted why she selected five countries out of the list provided by UNESCO. “We chose Philippines and Indonesia because they have intensive MNC concentration and strong workforce; India and China because they are growing economies; Malaysia because it’s developed. After visiting these countries I found that environment education in TVE was stressed upon at lower secondary level. Also this education was more a part of general education than of TVE. Since graduates of secondary TVE schools will enter trades that will have a direct bearing on environment, they should be trained to understand environmental problems that may arise in their trade. For example they must know why an industry requires environment clearances.”

The experts, after deliberating upon Asia report, listed the country-wise situation and highlighted success stories that can be emulated by other countries. Miki Nozawa of UNESCO, Paris, said that UNESCO was interested in reaching a conclusive point from where environment education could be integrated in TVE across schools of five Asian countries.

Earlier, Mr Y.S. Rajan, Scientific Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister inaugurated the international workshop and Mr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director, PSCST, talked of how the Council met the challenge of studying the structure of environment education in TVE across the five Asian countries. The gathering will hold discussions till September 5.



Peace returns to Bal Bhavan campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Peace returned to the campus of Bal Bhavan Working Women’s hostel in Sector 23, where hostel inmates had boycotted the mess yesterday, while demanding the exit of their warden Shipra Chakravarty. Under the aegis of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, the hostel is currently working under a part-time warden, who joins duty daily at around 5 pm.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune about the problem of the hostel, Honorary Secretary of the ICCW, Dr Vidhu Mohan, said the authorities were interested in the long-term settlement of the issue. Sources informed that the ICCW may also contemplate the replacement of the part-time warden with a full-time one, but the modalities of the same would have to be worked out.

Dr Vidhu Mohan was in Bal Bhavan hostel for two hours yesterday, trying to pacify the inmates, who were persisting with the expulsion of the warden. She resolved the issue by giving a patient hearing to both the sides. Later, she also made the fasting girls eat food. Meanwhile, the Secretary, Social Welfare, UT has also taken notice of the matter and along with the ICCW authorities, he is working to restore peace on the hostel campus.



Seminar on cyber security held
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 3
A seminar for Army officers on cyber security and geo-informatics system was organised at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) here today.

Mr J.S. Bhatia, Director in-charge of C-DAC, highlighted the geomatics project and IT training for the defence forces. The delibrations of the seminar covered information on geo-informatics system, cyber security threats assessment and strategy development and also apprised the officers about the modus operandi of the hackers. Practical tips to defeat such cyber attacks were also given by members of the Network Security Solution (NSS) and the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) India.

Dr A.K. Kaushal, head of the Geomatics Division, C-DAC, Pune, made the presentation on the utility of geomatics technologies for defence forces during peacetime as well as security operation.

Commander V.K. Jaitly, Defence Consultant India, CISCO Systems, New Delhi, highlighted the specifications of the security equipment like firewalls and intrusion detection system specially being designed for the defence forces.

Team members from the NSS, the CERT India, said all occurrences of breach of computer security had to be reported to CERT India, who would take the necessary action to restore the computer system.

Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, Chief of Staff, Western Command, Maj-Gen. Nandrajog and 80 officers, including major generals, heads of Arms and Services at Western Command attended the seminar.



Labs not equipped to detect toxins in food
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
A local non-government organisation (NGO), Samadhaan, got a big shock when it was informed by two of the leading laboratories in the region that they were not equipped to carry out tests to detect the presence of toxic pesticides and insecticides in food samples.

A Samadhaan team led by Mr Gaurav Bansal collected samples of vegetables and fruits from the market and approached the Food and Drug Laboratory, Sector 11, and the Institute of Microbiological Technology, Sector 39, Chandigarh for testing.

The Samadhaan was told that there was no arrangement with either of these laboratories to check this kind of contamination in food. An official at Sector 11 laboratory, on the condition of anonymity, told Samadhaan that the laboratory required chromatography machine for the purpose. At present, the laboratory has the equipment only to perform basic tests such as checking of fats and SNG in milk and colour of prohibited quality in food products.

As far as the testing the food products for the presence of highly poisonous pesticides and insecticides contents is concerned, the laboratory has no arrangements”, said Mr R.P. Malhotra, President of Samadhaan. The Institute of Microbiological Technology also offered a similar reply.

Mr Malhotra said it was surprising that the city which served as a seat of power of two states and one union territory and had a population of more than 10 lakhs could not provide this elementary facility to the public to verify the purity of foodstuff. He demanded the establishment of a full-fledged laboratory to check all types of contamination, adulteration and impurities in foodstuffs for a healthy living. 



Schoolteacher dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Shashi Arora, a teacher in Air Force School, succumbed to head injuries today while her husband, Mr Satyapal Kumar, fractured his arm after a car grazed their scooter on the Sector 31 and 32 roundabout early today.

She was declared brought dead when the couple was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital by a police control room vehicle.

The police said Mr Satyapal Kumar lost control of the scooter when it was grazed by a car. Shashi Arora was riding pillion without a helmet.

The husband, whose left arm was fractured, works with the Military Engineering Services. He was discharged from the hospital in the evening.

A case has been registered.



Radhashtami celebrated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
The local chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated Radhashtami, the appearance day of Radha, at Hare Krishna Dham in Sector 36 today with enthusiasm and religious fervour.

Hundreds of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to ISKCON co-president Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu. Mangla aarti was conducted at 4.30 am, followed by sankirtan, sringaar aarti and abhishek of Lord Krishna and Radha. Bhajan and kirtan programme was held from 11 am to 12 noon and more than 108 types of delicious bhog offered.

The main attraction of the programme was nauka vihar at 7.30 pm. After performing sandhya aarti at 7 pm, idols of Lord Krishna and Radha were placed in a decorated boat, which was pushed by the ISKCON devotees in an artificial pond.



Beauticians form body
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
Beauticians operating from commercial establishments across the region, have joined hands to give a new look to the profession. For the first time, perhaps, the beauticians — running beauty parlours and salons in different cities — have formed an association to “build up a positive image” and to strengthen “themselves against all odds”.

The association will also be working towards sharing “new techniques being introduced in the field”. But first, they have resolved to fight against the “problems being posed by the parlours operating from residential areas”.

As many as 150 members have already enrolled in the association christened as the “Parlour and Salon Association”.

“Besides struggling to build up a better image of the profession, we will also be taking up the issue pertaining to the operation of parlours from the residential areas with low operational costs,” the members said.

“Over the years a number of parlours have mushroomed in such areas,” member Neeru Sidhu says, “Though it is quite convenient for the homemakers to have parlours next door, it is not all that good because a substantial number of salons use substandard and fake products to keep the costs low”.

Giving details, she adds, “The clients, unaware of the products being applied, go in for easy and cheap substitutes, sometimes with disastrous results. No wonder, they come back to us, but not before learning their lesson the hard way”.

Otherwise also, the parlours running from residential areas with low investment and poor infrastructure are harming the business, the members assert. “They do not have to invest much,” Arshid Khan a member of the association, says. “In fact, the owners do not even have to pay rent. A portion of house is converted into a parlour for catering to the needs of the customers. They do not even have to pay commercial charges for electricity and water. As a result, they offer their services to the clients at lesser rate compared to their counterparts running parlours from commercial establishments.”

Moreover, the ones running the parlours from their houses do not pay service tax, even income tax, causing loss to the exchequer, member Dinesh Malhotra claims. “On the other hand, the ones running business from showrooms have to pay the taxes, besides monthly rent which increases every year,” he says.

“In fact, the service tax has increased from five per cent to eight per cent for parlours running from commercial places, making the matters worse,” Ms Sidhu adds, “We also have to pay good salaries to the workers”.

They insist that the authorities should take action against the parlours operating from the residential areas, the way they did in the case of guest houses on the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions. “They should be closed down in a phased manner and asked to shift. For the purpose, a high-level committee should be set up,” the members demanded.



Wooing city with Subway delights
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
After Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins and Domino’s Pizza, another chain of international food stores has set shop in the city. Subway arrived on the scene on August 25 and ever since, a steady stream of customers has been visiting the joint in Sector 17, opposite Mehfil restaurant. Everyone’s been wanting to try the sandwiches and salads that have tickled the taste buds of foodies the world over.

Yes, Subway boasts of more than 19,300 outlets in 73 countries. It had a humble beginning in 1965 in Connecticut, USA, when Mr Fred Dehica, a student began the business with $ 1,000 borrowed from partner Peter Buck in order to finance his education. Today, 38 years later, it is said their income from royalty is over Rs 60 crore daily. And businessmen are ready to pay huge amounts to get Subway franchises. Clearly, it is an idea that has clicked because of the management’s strict check on quality and adherence to standards.

Mr Rajpal Dhillon has two Subway outlets in Canada. He says that the sub sandwiches, wraps and salads taste the same the world over. That’s because the unique, secret sub recipes for sauces and dressings as well as the footlong loaves of bread shaped like submarines are the same everywhere. Even the decor and ambience of the restaurants is similar to maintain consistency.

His brother Charanjit Singh, the local franchisee who has come from Kot Kapura in Faridkot to woo City Beautiful, says some meats and vegetables like gerkin, olives, turkey etc are imported to give the “right effect”. They are kept in deep freezers (-17°C) and chillers (4°C) and discarded after their shelf life expires.

He has employed smart fresh graduates from the FCI who have been given training in the Subway style of working. Wearing the trademark green T-shirts, the young employees deftly toss up slices of onions, lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cheese, capsicums, gerkins and olives from the rectangular pegs in the chiller and top them with your choice of flavour — chicken, lamb, meatball, peas, onion, panir tikka or veg patty garnished with a squirt of mayonnaise and turmeric sauces, and sprinklings of salt and pepper.

Subway promises to make you switch to a new way of eating with 6-inch layers of mouth-watering fillings of a choice of exotic meats and crisp vegetables stuffed between 12 inches of oven-fresh bread.

Complement with glasses of cold coffee or iced tea and sign off with the cookies or cake slices to have a feeling of a global village. On an average, this meal deal will set one person back by around Rs 100.



Dr Vasudeva honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Dr Bhisham Narain Singh, former Governor, Tamil Nadu conferred the Bharat Jyoti award upon Dr P.K.Vasudeva, Principal, College of Communication and Management, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chandigarh at a seminar on “National integration and economic growth” organised by the India International Friendship Society held in New Delhi last week.

According to a press note issued here today, the award has been conferred on him in recognition of his outstanding work on the WTO studies for which he received a PhD degree from Panjab University.

Air Chief Marshal N.C. Sareen, former Air Chief, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry and Sports, Maulama Abdul Kalam, Minister for Cooperation, Manipur, Lieut-General Suraj Prakash, neurosurgeon, Batra Hospital, New Delhi and Mr K.S. Kang Municipal Commissioner, Amritsar were among those also honoured at the seminar.



Constable hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Kuldeep Singh, a police constable posted with the Sector 31 police station was seriously injured last night when his motor cycle was hit by a Maruti van near Sector 48 along the dividing road of Sectors 46 and 47.

Even while the occupants of the Maruti van fled without bothering to admit the injured to the hospital, Kuldeep Singh, sustained serious injuries. Those who witnessed the accident informed the police control room and a vehicle was despatched to the rescue of the police constable, who was shifted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. His condition is stated to be was stable. He has sustained forearm and head injuries.



Coop bank staff stages gate rallies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Employees of Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank and Punjab State Cooperative Bank are on war path for the past over four months against the state government’s decision to cut down their salaries. As part of their agitation, they staged gate rallies today during lunch time in front of their respective head offices and branches all over the state.

Addressing a gate rally here, Mr Bua Singh, general secretary, Cooperative Banks Employees Federation, Punjab said, “The employees are protesting against the implications of the letter issued by Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab (dated April 17, 2003) vide which pay scales of employees of both banks —Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank and Punjab State Cooperative Banks — have been reduced substantially.”

Condemning the delay tactics of the state government, the speakers called upon the state government to take back the letter immediately and settle the genuine demands of the employees.



Kalam’s security arrangements checked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Cars, medical staff and fire brigade today zipped on city roads, making the people believe that President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had advanced his visit to the city by a day.

The cavalcade started off from the Chandigarh airport to reach the PGI via crowded routes. It was a mock drill of the security arrangements for Mr Kalam. The UT police said the drill had given sufficient hints to improve the final security arrangements.

As many as 120 personnel of the ITBP, 240 of the CRPF, 200 commandos of the Punjab police and 300 of the Chandigarh police will man the entire route, to morrow.



Failure to implement decision irks nurses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The PGI Nurses Welfare Association has demanded allocation of direct bed patient care duty to all nurses in the institute so that health care does not suffer and a section of the nurses are not burdened with work.

In a statement issued here today, the president of the association, Mr Lakhvinder Singh, condemned the non-implementation of the decision to allot similar duties to these 85 nurses, as per a decision taken, last month. He said though PGI administration had agreed to allocate direct bed patient care duty to all 85 nursing Grade-I staff, who were promoted on March 1, 1992, but the decision was yet to be implemented.

He further said it was due to the reluctance on the part of these 85 nurses that patient care was suffering. “This has not only burdened the other nurses but is affecting patient care at PGI,” said Mr Mukhtar Masih, general secretary.



Babla, Rana reinstated in CVM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch has revoked the expulsion of Mr Devinder Singh Babla and Mr Vijay Singh Rana. Both have been reinstated in the party at the posts held by them prior to their suspension. This was stated by the CVM president, Mr Harmohan Dhawan.



Two thieves arrested
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, September 3
In a joint operation, the Sector 3 police and the Crime Branch today arrested two youths in their early twenties involved in at least 20 cases of thefts from near the Rock Garden here today.

As per the police, Jaswant Singh of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, and Praveen Kumar of PUSHPAC, Sector 49, used to open dickeys of scooters with a master key and steal bags and purses

Yesterday, they had stolen a purse containing Rs 250 from a scooter dickey.

Meanwhile, the Sector 3 police today arrested a Panchkula-based advocate, who in connivance with five others, had allegedly attempted to forge a court order on the possession of land of an heir of the Maharaja of Jind even before the judgement was delivered. On August 31, the police had arrested two Sangrur-based persons in the connection.


Theft in Sector 71
Thieves took away cash, jewellery and watches from a house in Sector 71, here.

Mr Ayushman Sinha complained to the police that locks in his house were broken and doors damaged while he was away to Dehra Dun. He said that before leaving the town, he had handed over the keys of the house to a relative and a maid used to come to the house for work. When the maid came on Saturday, she found belonging scattered all over the house.

Mr Sinha said the thieves decamped with eight watches, Rs 18,000 in cash and jewellery. According to him, the total loss was around Rs 2 lakh.


Raid on lottery shops
In a surprise raid on lottery shops located on the intersection of the Patiala-Panchkula and the Chandigarh-Ambala roads, the police today arrested seven persons for gambling on the pretext of lottery.

On a tip off, Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, DSP, Rajpura, along with a police party raided the shops and nabbed seven lottery vendors from the spot. The police team also seized cash and lottery tickets from the shops.

After picking up seven vendors, the police registered cases under the Gambling Act against them.

After seeing the police, some lottery vendors fled from their shops, leaving cash boxes and counters unmanned, while others locked their cash boxes and managed to elude the police.

Man injured
A 55-year-old man, Mr Jagga Ram, of Kheri Gujran village was injured after a Uttra Pradesh Roadways bus ran over his foot at the local bus stand this evening.



Man on rickshaw robbed of Rs 54,800
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
At least two cases of snatching were reported from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

A resident of Sector 41, Rajinder Kumar, was allegedly robbed of Rs 54,800 by three rickshaw-pullers here last night. In his complaint, he said that he boarded a rickshaw from the ISBT, Sector 17, for his residence. While the rickshaw was nearing the turn on Sectors 16 and 23 dividing road, the rickshaw was stopped by two other rickshaw pullers.

Later, the three rickshaw-pullers beat him up and snatched his bag containing the money. A case under Sections 382, 323 and 34 of IPC has been registered.

Navneet Kumar of Zirakpur, also reported that he was robbed of Rs 150 on knife point by three persons, Raju, Kaka and Narinder Hans, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26 here yesterday. A case under Sections 392, 341 and 34 of IPC has been registered.



Biz clips
Oakley eyewear launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Oakley has launched five models of trendy eyewear in India — Plate, Pocket, Spike, Yardstick and Big Square Wire. In addition to making a fashion statement. Oakley eyewear also provides total eye protection.

Chronograph range: The CapeLand S wristwatch, priced at Rs 2,10,350, is the newest arrival in the chronograph range created by Baume & Mercier. Equipped with a COSC-certified self-winding mechanism, it possesses a 40-hour power reserve and is water-resistant up to 200 metres, says a company press note.

New showroom: The Yamaha Motor India Private Ltd’s today inaugurated an international dealership in the city — Berkeley Automobiles at SCO 42, Sector 26. Mr H. Sakurai, Director, marketing and Mr R.R. Prasad, associate vice-president, marketing, inaugurated the showroom. Speaking on the occasion, Mr H. Sakurai, Director, marketing, YMIPL, said, “To attain the No 1 position in customer satisfaction, the Yamaha has undertaken several initiatives including expansion of dealer network.”


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |