Tuesday, September 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ex-BJP Mayor caused 16 cr loss to MC: Chawla
Tribune News Service

Who is responsible for loss?

The issue relates to 1997 when a hotel site in Sector 35 was sold for Rs 36 crore against a reserved price of Rs 23 crore. As per the provisions, the bidder deposited Rs nine crore, one-fourth of the price of the site. Mayor Subhash Chawla alleges that a BJP Mayor connived with certain officials of the Administration, corporation and the bidder to delay the process of handing over the physical possession of the hotel site. No effort was made to negotiate with the bidder. The issue could become a headache for the present Mayor, whose one year term ends in December or the next Mayor. If the corporation failed to pay the amount the bidder could get the property of the corporation attached, says the Mayor.

Chandigarh, September 22
A former BJP Mayor allegedly colluded with certain officers of the Chandigarh Administration and municipal corporation to cause a loss of over Rs 16 crore to the civic body, the Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, said here today.

Referring to a directive of the Supreme Court in a case wherein the corporation has been asked to pay Rs 16.12 crore for the delay in giving possession of a hotel site in Sector 35 to a bidder, the Mayor said a high-level inquiry should be conducted to expose the alleged scam. The amount would empty the coffers of the fund-starved civic body, affecting the development works.

The issue will be a major poll plank against the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections, indicated the Mayor, who today called a press conference in response to statements issued by a senior BJP leader, Mr Satya Pal Jain, against the sitting Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, and the Mayor. Mr Bansal was not present at the press conference.

He alleged that the Administration officials were under pressure from the Centre to ensure that the Congress-led ruling group in the corporation failed in running the show. He said the BJP leaders were indulging in low-level politics. Choosing to refer the team of Mr Yash Pal Mahajan and Mr Satya Pal Jain as “Ram Melaya Jodi”, he alleged that both shared common personal and political interests.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Bansal, he said the land was allotted to DPS School according to the rules. Instead no action had been taken on a complaint lodged with the Chandigarh Police against the BJP councillors for creating nuisance at the foundation stone laying function of the school. Mr Chawla dared Mr Satya Pal Jain to clear his stand on the issue of land to DAV School at Dera Bassi, which had been allotted to a widow.

He denied the allegations of the BJP leaders that he was responsible for the death of cows at Paonta Sahib, as he had himself written to the Chandigarh Administration to enquire into the matter. “If BJP leaders are concerned about the stray cows they should ask Mr L.K. Advani to conduct a CBI probe into the matter. The BJP leaders had put pressure on the Himachal Police to name me in the FIR. But wisdom prevailed upon the policemen”, said the Mayor. “It is the BJP leaders who have made the issue of death of cows was a political issue, he added.

Commenting on his fight at the Chandigarh Club, he said though the issue between him and the lawyer had been resolved, the Chandigarh Police was under pressure from the Home Ministry to involve me in the case. Mr Chawla challenged Mr Jain to fight from any of the wards of the corporation to prove his worth. “I will renounce politics if I lose elections in the BJP strongholds in the corporation.”, he said adding that the BJP was misguiding the masses by saying that the MP donated bulldozer for the demolition drive in slums. The MP had donated the bulldozer two years ago and the congress had strongly protested against the demolition drive.

He said the Congress as per its agenda to bring transparency in the corporation had asked for a discussion on the audit objections.



Biggest-ever haul of poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The Maloya police today claimed to have made the biggest ever seizure of contraband seizing 6.63 quintal of poppy husk, worth more than three lakh, from a house on the outskirts of Maloya village.

However, the man who had reportedly brought the husk managed to give police a slip. The police has rounded up a person who introduced the poppy husk dealer when he yesterday rented an accommodation in Maloya.

The police said a joint patrolling party of Maloya and Sahaura in Punjab spotted a “suspicious” looking man in the area. When the police tried to approach him, he ran towards a house situated in fields in the village. When police reached the house, it was unoccupied. However, a search of the house led to the seizure of the poppy husk.

The police seized 32 bundles of poppy husk covered under a cloth.

The man on the run is believed to be from Uttar Pradesh.

The area where the suspected person stayed is generally used by shawl and other merchants who come to the city temporarily from Jammu and Kashmir and other states.

The person who has been rounded up had introduced the suspect to the landlord of the accommodation, the police said.

The man had rented the house only yesterday and he had told the house-owner that he was a cloth merchant.

A case has been registered and the hunt for the man was still going on.



Residential premises being used commercially
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Misuse of residential premises for commercial purposes is not just on the rise in city, it has achieved such proportions that it is now difficult to differentiate between commercial areas and residential areas. The problem is more acute in the central sectors or those that had come up in the first few years of Chandigarh’s development in the 60’s.

Rows of houses in Sectors 21, 22, 23, 16, 19 and 18 are now more like commercial areas. Be it offices of small companies, driving schools, computer typing and training schools, coaching centres, small contractors, almost every type of commercial activity seems to exist here. Such misuse is more common in houses that are situated right opposite the markets in these sectors. The main reason behind putting residential property to commercial use is the lower rentals prevailing in these areas.

For those misusing residential properties, it is like a bonus. However, for the residents who live in adjoining houses, it is sheer harassment. They cannot do much except waiting endlessly for the Estate Office to take action, which is more or less never forthcoming. For those who have to live next to a place which is misused for commercial purposes, it is a harrowing time. Women folk cannot come out as these areas remain crowded with all sorts of people.

Mr Mohan Gopal, who lives in Sector 18 in a house facing the market, says, “It is total failure of the planners as our houses look like a bazaar. Nobody wants to buy property in this area due to lack of privacy. Some of the landlords, who have young daughters, have moved out and are living in rented accommodations at places that are more conducive to family-type atmosphere.”

Another Sector 20 -A resident, Ms Lalita Tewari, says houses adjoining ours are being misused and this has become a nuisance. We just cannot venture out as all sort of people can be seen standing in front of these shops at any given time. Residential premises are also being used for running coaching centres. These places are visited by youngsters who commute on scooters. They keep on standing in front of these centres before the commencement of their classes and even after that. In Sector 22 and 21, the problem is acute as small offices have come up in residential areas.



From bleak past to bright future
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
Rajiv Mandal (12) had never thought of life outside the confines of his jhuggi in Sector 7. Though a keen learner, his family circumstances were not conducive enough to let him have a good education. Son of a rickshaw-puller, he was admitted to a local government school, and in between helping his father to eke out a living for the family, he would sometimes also attend school.

But all this is the past. After he completed is Class V, his school Principal informed him of Sathya Sai Seva organisation’s offer for admitting meritorious students in a new school to be started by the Organisation in Panchkula. They promised to give free education in English, provide books and uniforms. It was thus that Rajiv, along with 300 other children, appeared in the examination and was amongst the 17 selected students.

Since the number of qualifying students were few, the organisation did not think it feasible to have a separate school, and instead approached the management of DC Model Senior Secondary School, for sponsoring and educating these children, along with their own students. The parents of these children are daily wage earners — tea stall owners, fruit sellers, security gaurds at private firms, gardners and masons.

It was thus that imbibing the famous shloka “... Asatoma Satgamaya, Tamsoma Jyotirgamaya” that these children were admitted to the schools and a separate section was made for them so that they could be taught English from the basics, and take on studies under the CBSE system of education. Now other than social sciences, all other subjects are taught in English.

The school management put the best of their teachers in charge of this new section in Class VI, special classes were arranged for them after school, and these children were allowed time in the school itself for completing their homework. “Since most of these children are staying in slums, a number of them do not even have an electricity connection, so it is difficult for the children to study at home. These children are also required to help out in the household chores, so they cannot do work home,” informs Mrs Kiran Kaushal, a Sai worker, who has taken over the role of their foster mother. Mrs Kaushal has made provision for commuting these children to her home in Sector 21, where she helps them with their English and mathematics lessons.

A year-and-a-half after these children, all from poor socio-economic backgrounds, were admitted in the school, 13 of these students have finally gelled with their changed environs. Of these 13 students, five managed to get above 80 per cent marks and an equal number managed to get above 70 per cent. Four of the students have dropped out after completing their Class VI examinations in April earlier this year because they could not get cope up in the English medium, and lack of support from their respective families that wanted them to work, “instead of wasting time in school”.

Happy with the success of this first batch of children from economically weaker backgrounds, the school plans to adopt two more classes and bring them into mainstream education in the school. “We realised that bringing such children in a group has proved successful. Thus we will now adopt 15 children, who have secured above 75 per cent in UT Board Examination for Class VIII, from a school in Mani Majra and admit them in our school. Another batch of students from poor families, being educated till Class V by the Gurukul school, under its evening school programme, will be adopted in Class VI next year,” says Mr Gupta.



Trailing Taj Mahal and its splendour
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Two years ago when Chandigarh-based writer, director Robin Khosla had promised to translate the grandeur of Taj Mahal on to celluloid, he was far off from the realisation of his dream. All he had in hand was a well-researched script, a string of famed technicians and the will to create history on screen.

But this time around he has returned home with the dream in hand, ready to share with the world the inspiration that makes Taj Mahal glow with divine flames of love. And although Robin knows that film-makers Akbar Khan and Bharat Bala are also dabbling in the same subject, he is not nervous as he says, “The one who approaches Taj Mahal with love will win.” To begin with, the film has a celebrated team of cinematographer Venu Gopal, designer Neeta Lulla who designed for Aishwarya Rai in “Hum Dil de chuke...”, art director Nitin Desai of the “Salaam Bombay” and “Kamasutra” fame, editor Sreekar Prasad who did “The Terrorist” and “Lagaan”.

As the first-ever international English feature film on Taj Mahal gets ready for world release on October 17, we get up close and personal with the vivacious director of the film and his petite female lead Purnima, who embodies the dignity of Mumtaz Mahal, the character she plays with brilliance. Dressed to suit her role, Purnima, the youngest sister of actress Bhagyashree, still seemed to be under the spell of Taj Mahal. She said, “Although I have featured in many Doordarshan serials as a child artiste, some Ravinder Pipat films and an Indo-French project, ‘The Bengali Night’, which had Hugh Grant as the male lead, I don’t think any role compares to this one.”

Also a trained classical singer, Purnima has given background scores for many films. She said, “Since we come from the royalty of Sangli in Maharashtra, we have music and art in our genes. Interestingly, it was music that got me the present role. Music director of the film, Santosh Nair, had called me over to his studio the day Jagjit Singh was recording a song. As he sang, I wore a nostalgic expression on my face. It was that expression which the producers were looking for. They signed me instantly.”

The strength of the film lies in its authentic detailing and real locations. Director Robin Khosla informed, “The film has been shot in Kashmir, where the love between Arjumand Banu (Mumtaz Mahal) and Prince Khurram (Shah Jehan) blossomed. We also shot at Taj Mahal, besides erecting sets in Mumbai. Ours are no thermocol sets. We are reflecting the grandeur of the real Taj.” This idea was born when Robin was taking his master’s degree in film direction from Philadelphia’s Temple University. He recalls, “My friends would marvel the thought of visiting Taj Mahal. Their curiosity forced me to discover my roots. I started my research on Taj Mahal, which I wanted to portray in all its splendour.”



Jawan denied disability pension for 44 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Can the disability factor be reduced if a bullet continues to remain embedded in the body 10 years after the injury and no subsequent medical examination is conducted? This is precisely the question being asked by an 82-year-old ex-serviceman whose disability pension was abruptly stopped 44 years ago.

Sepoy Santokh Singh was wounded in the 1948 operations and was subsequently discharged from service on medical grounds in 1951. The bullet which wounded him continues to remain embedded in his upper back till today. Hailing from Sehjo Majra village, near Ludhiana, his numerous letters to the Controller of Defence Accounts, Allahabad, and the Punjab Regimental Centre, Ramgarh, went unanswered till finally the Centre wrote back in 2001 asking him to get a medical certificate from a competent authority.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, Santokh's son, Naik Amarjit Singh, who too served in the Army, said that his father was boarded out from service with 20 per cent disability. He received disability pension till 1959 when it was stopped.

Amarjit said that a letter from the Regimental Centre a few years ago informed him that the temporary disability pension granted to his father was stopped by the CDA as his disability was re-assessed in 1958 as less than 20 per cent. His father, however, did not recall any re-assessment by any medical board.

A medical examination conducted by a civilian doctor in 2001, as advised by the Regimental Centre, certified that Santokh Singh continued to suffer disability due to the bullet wound. Amarjit, who also produced an X-ray showing the projectile embedded in his father’s body, said that following the medical examination, disability pension was restored. Santokh is now seeking arrears for the pension which was not paid to him for over 44 years for no fault of his.

"The disability due to the injury is increasing day by day," Amarjit said. "Besides, he has also developed heart problems and we had to sell off our land for his treatment," he added.



HC Registrar faces criminal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
After placing Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar (Additional) Tara Chand under suspension, the Chief Justice, Mr B.K. Roy, today reportedly directed the registration of a criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against him.

This is perhaps the first time action against an officer of Registrar's rank has been initiated by the High Court in the recent years. Though the High Court authorities are tightlipped about it, sources confirmed that Registrar (General) Pritam Pal had been directed to lodge the first information report against him with the police.

Sources confirmed that Mr Tara Chand was facing the allegation of amassing property disproportionate to his known sources of income. A complaint had been received against Mr Tara Chand, the sources added.

Taking up the complaint, the Chief Justice had reportedly asked a senior High Court officer to look into the matter. After going through the documents, the officer had prima facie found a case against him. The matter was, subsequently, referred to a three-judge committee for opinion. After perusing the committee's report, the Chief Justice issued the order this evening.



CBI opposes bail to Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today claimed that Chandigarh's suspended Judicial Magistrate S.S. Bhardwaj could cause fatal injury to the complainant in the case if released on bail.

In a reply before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the CBI claimed, “In view of the conduct of the accused, there is every likelihood that the petitioner may cause fatal injury to the complainant in pursuance to his earlier threat if released on bail at this stage”.

The CBI added that the possibility of the accused fleeing from the country “to escape the clutches of law” could not be ruled out either. Moreover, the accused may even tamper with the evidence. The case will now come up for further hearing on September 25.

Bhardwaj, in his plea, had contended that the complainant in the case had connived with the CBI to implicate him. The petitioner had added that he may have decided a case against complainant G.S. Samra when he was posted at Jalandhar. Claiming to have been implicated, Bhardwaj had also denied the allegations of escaping from the CBI’s custody. He had added that the CBI was at his residence for over six hours, but not even a single document, prepared by the agency, had been signed by him.

Arguing before the court, his counsel had asserted that the petitioner was not required as the investigations were over. Moreover, other accused in the case had been released on bail. In his earlier petition, Bhardwaj had added that he had no connection with Jalandhar's suspended District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta.



Abhay Chautala’s driver booked for drunken driving
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Chandigarh Police impounded a white Mercedes Benz, carrying a daughter-in-law of Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, when its “inebriated” driver threw tantrums flaunting connection with the Chief Minister on being challaned for overspeeding.

The driver of the car, Sukhbir Singh, who reportedly told the traffic police that the wife of Chief Minister’s son Abhay Chautala was seated in the car, was also booked for drunken driving by the Sector 3 police station after a medical examination confirmed that he had consumed alcohol.

The new car with a temporary registration number and being used by the Chief Minister’s younger son, was released on Sunday, a day after being impounded after a payment of Rs 4900 compounding fee for overspeeding, dangerous, drunken driving and moving about without a driving licence, registration number and registration documents.

When contacted for comments, the Senior Secretary of the Chief Minister, Mr Rishi Raj, said madam had gone for a test drive in the new car and the driver was booked for overspeeding near Sukhna Lake. He said Sukhbir was a personal driver of Mr Abhay Chautala.

The car was spotted for overspeeding on Saturday night near Sukhna Lake. When the traffic police sought to stop the vehicle, Sukhbir Singh escaped only to be caught on a picket especially set up against overspeeding vehicles.

On being stopped, the driver of the vehicle got into an argument with the police and threw the keys of the car at policemen reportedly threatening them and saying the daughter-in-law of the Chief Minister was seated inside the car.

The belligerence of the driver forced the traffic police to inform the Sector 3 police station. When the driver of the vehicle refused to go through the test to confirm consumption of alcohol, he was sent for a medical examination.

During the tussle between the driver and the police, commandos in Haryana Chief Minister’s security and officials came to the spot and a Sonata car believed to be of some Haryana minister picked up the woman in the car.

The driver of the car initially refused to disclose his name but revealed it later in the police station.

It is for the second time that, the Chandigarh Police has booked someone being connected with chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab.

Earlier, the Chandigarh police had impounded a vehicle of a political adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister, sources in the police said.

They said one of the DSPs in the Chief Minister’s security had approached the traffic police on Sunday to get the vehicle released but did not know names of either the woman sitting in the car or the officer who came to get the vehicle released.

Sources said it was surprising that a family member of the Chief Minister might have been travelling without a pilot vehicle or security personnel.

Though no family member or the official attached with the Chief Minister has directly approached the Chandigarh Police to show its displeasure, yet certain officials of Haryana had suggested action against the daring police officials who impounded the car despite being told to have connection with the Haryana Chief Minister.

The SP (Traffic and Security) Amitabh Dhillon, an IPS officer of the Haryana cadre, is believed to have rejected suggestions of punishing his officers who challaned the driver. The suggestions were believed to have been forwarded by certain officers from Haryana not directly attached with the Chief Minister.



Now human rights interludes in Ramlilas
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The Ramayana an epic about the victory of “good over evil” — will convey another theme, this time of human rights protection.

In an attempt to spread across the message of protection against unnecessary harassment by the police, besides torture and other such evils, members of a human rights organisation have resolved to address the gathering during Ramlila everyday.

Explaining the reasons behind the necessity to spread the message, Chandigarh Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha President Subhash Kataria says, “Human rights were never violated in Ramrajya. But with changing times, there has been an increase in domestic and social violence. This is an effort by the Ramlila committees and human rights body to create awareness among the masses about their rights and duties”.

For the purpose of making the masses aware, members of the Lawyers for Human Rights International — a non-government organisation — have joined hands with the mahasabha. The mahabha is responsible for organising majority of Ramlilas in the city.

The members propose to address the residents gathered at three different venues every night. But why Ramlila? “Theatre has always been a very powerful medium of conveying messages,” says Association Press Secretary Arunjeev Singh Walia. “For centuries now, playwrights across the world have been using the stage as a platform for making the people aware of social problems and their rights”.

Giving details, President Amar Singh Chahal says: “Four members will make the people more aware of their rights for at least seven to 10 minutes daily during the shows every night. An attempt will be made at addressing the gathering during the intervals when the rush is maximum. Pamphlets, giving details of legal rights, would also be distributed among the spectators”.

“This is not all. We will be informing more and more women about their rights, at workplace, even at home. We will be telling them how to deal with family discords, besides social problems”, he added.

Meanwhile, mahasabha members add that Ramlila will start in the city from September 23. The first human rights awareness programme will be held at Sector 22 the next day.



Dying, she cries for help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Thirty-year-old Srimati is fighting a losing battle. Afflicted with renal failure, she has been asked to arrange a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh for kidney replacement by the PGI. With no source of income to meet the expenditure, she has given up all hope of recovery.

Her husband, a daily-wager, however, says all is not lost. “We are hopeful that somebody will bail us out and we will be able to arrange the money with the help of the public. My brother too had died of renal failure. We could not save him,” she says.

Poor to the extent that she has come looking for help barefoot, she says that she in incapable of moving around. “I start panting as soon as I take a step. I can’t eat and my feet refuse to budge. This disease has incapacitated me,” she explains.

With three daughters and a son, the eldest being 11 years old, she adds with regret that her children are forced to look after her at an age when they should be playing and going to school. “My husband has not gone to earn since I fell ill six months back and now, I am practically bed-ridden. We have a hand-to-mouth existence at home. When there is not enough to eat how can we think of spending on medical expenses,” she claims.

Living in Vikas Nagar at Mauli Jagran, Srimati complained of breathlessness after which she underwent a number of tests at the PGI and was diagnosed with renal failure. “The doctors have told us to go home and come back with the money. Without it, they can’t help me. I want to live to see my children grow. Help me,” she appeals.

Those who wish to help Srimati can contact her at H.No. 411, Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran.



Booksellers can run business from road side
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A ray of hope today emerged for the sellers of secondhand books in Sector 15, who were forced to shut their four-decade-old business on last Friday.

The booksellers have been allowed to run their business from the roadside for the time being, said the Mayor of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, Mr Subash Chawla, who visited the market today.

Without specifying the deadline for allowing the shopkeepers to run their business, the Mayor said he would take up the issue with the Chandigarh Administration. However, Mr Chawla pointed out that the shopkeepers were sitting in haphazard manner and it did not auger well with the planning of the area.

He said the shopkeepers should display the stock that was salable and not the entire stock. He opined that the Panjab University authorities should provide space to the shopkeepers on the university premises.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition in the corporation, Ms Kamla Sharma, and Mr Ratan Lal Goyal, another BJP leader, today demanded a high-level probe into the encroachment drive against booksellers. They alleged that the Member of Parliament and the Mayor were behind the demolition drive. They alleged that the shopkeepers in the market had refused to accommodate booksellers owing allegiance to the Congress.



PUDA burns old files, raises suspicion
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 22
The PUDA authorities burnt hundreds of old files near the office building in Phase I here today with a section of the officials alleging that the action was against the rules.

The building is being vacated by PUDA, which has constructed a new one in Phase VIII. The process of shifting to the new premises is on and most of the sections of the office have packed up documents and other items.

It is reported that the records were mostly related to the periphery areas of SAS Nagar. Some were also related to other areas of Punjab and Chandigarh. Insiders say that many of the documents were related to the giving of no-objection certificates to persons owning property.

Some PUDA officials said, on condition of anonymity, that records should not be destroyed before a lapse of 50 years. However, other officials said that the burning of the records was in accordance with the rules and regulations. Burning of old and unwanted records was not an unusual thing in government offices, they added.

It is learnt that the permission to destroy the records was given by the Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA, who was reported to be of the opinion that junk should not be shifted to the new office building in Phase VIII.

However, residents suspect that some important documents related to property matters may have been lost.



Mock disaster control plan on BPCL’s premises
Bipin Bhardwaj

Lalru, September 22
In an attempt to check the effectiveness of its emergency preparedness plan in case of a mishap, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) conducted a mock disaster control management plan within the premises of company’s bottling plant, here today.

The drill was conducted with the assistance of local fire brigade and police personnel as a part of the annual feature of the company ensuring its effectiveness in handling any eventuality.

In 45-minute mock drill a tanker containing liquid petroleum gas (LPG) caught fire while being refilled at the plant. The automatic fire sensors sounded alert following which the sirens installed in the plant gave an indication.

In no time, the firemen of the company detected the fire and put the emergency plan into action. They were also joined by other employees of different sections of the plant. Information was passed to the Dera Bassi Fire station and an ambulance was also called from a local social organisation.

The scene was well dramatised as sodium carbonate emitted from the tanker showing it as gas leakage. After a minute, a red-coloured substance (sodium carbonate mixed with red colour) was discharged indicating it as fire.

The tanker driver ran for safety but collapsed nearby showing “severe burn injuries.” He was “picked up” by the staff and was carried on a stretcher to an ambulance which had reached the spot.

All firefighting equipment including fire extinguisher, fire hydrant, monitors and fixed water spray system were made operational. A fire tender was also put to service to bring the mock fire under control.



Department store selling low quality products
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A section of customers have alleged that Farmer’s Hyper Market, Guron Food Farm Private Limited, a department store (SCO 218-219, Sector 34-A) is selling spoiled, low quality and adulterated products. They said though the Department of Health, Chandigarh, had conducted raids on its premises just two days ago, it was still selling the same products.

Mr B.S. Sethi, a resident of Shivalik Cooperative House Building Society, who purchased monthly ration from the store today, alleged that the packet of white gram that was given to him was full of pests. Mr Bedi is an employee of the Punjab Government.

He alleged that a few days ago, he had purchased packed meat from the same shop, but later he found that foul smell was emanating from it. When he complained about it to the salesmen, they first declined to listen to him. However, when he said he would expose them in the media and take them to the consumer court, his money was returned.

Mr Rupinder Guron, owner of the shop, when contacted, admitted that the packet was full of pests. He said my salesmen have given it by mistake. He pleaded,” It is just due to rainy weather. I am ready to take back the packet and even to offer compensation to the customer, if he comes forward to make a compromise.”

He also admitted that inspectors of the UT Health Department had taken samples of meat just two days ago from his store, on the complaint of some customers, but the issue had been resolved. He conjectured that his business rivals were inciting customers to make complaints against him, though he was selling high quality products.

Mr Sethi made it clear that he was not asking for any compensation, but wanted action against the department store. He wondered how could the UT administration allow such stores to function in the city, which were playing with the public health. He demanded that the proprietor of the store should be booked under the Consumer Protection Act.



Seminar on national security on Sept 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Forum on Integrated National Security will be hosting a two-day seminar on “Integrated Management of National Security” in Chandigarh on September 27 and 28.

The seminar will be inaugurated by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes on September 27 at the main auditorium on the Panjab University campus. The Governor of Himachal Pradesh , Mr V.S Kokje and the Minister of State for Home, Mr I.D Swami will attend the seminar. The Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, and Swami Chinmyanand will preside over the valedictory function.

According to the convener of the seminar, Mr P.C Dogra, IPS (retd) , defence analysts, internal security experts, experts on foreign policy and media commentators will deliver the key note address and present papers on topics such as integrated management of the defence of the country, latest strategy of China, changing perspective of national security, challenges and responses etc.



Breached water reservoir repaired
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
A breached water reservoir in Bhudd village near Raipur Rani has been desilted and repaired by the Ningana Social Welfare and Environmental Society.

This structure was made under the Kandi project in 1995 but was abandoned in 1997 due to poor maintenance.

The matter came to the knowledge of the society, and after it received a grant from the Council For Advancement of Peoples Action and Rural Technology, desilting and repair work on this earthern structure began and the work was completed in two months. This year, farmers of the villages have again cultivated paddy on 50 acres after water has been again made available.

Mr Surinder Yadav, secretary of the society, informed that the future charge of the structure had been handed over to the Village Development Committee of Bhudd.



Congress rally on Sept 30
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The local unit of the Congress will take out a rally on September 30 against the “failure” of the NDA government at the Centre and submit a memorandum to the UT Administrator seeking from the President of India dismissal of the government.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee here on Saturday.

Addressing party workers at the meeting, local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal alleged that the NDA government had failed on all fronts, including defence and foreign policy. According to him, the NDA government had no right to continue in the office.

Among other leaders who attended the meeting included the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla and Congress Municipal Councillors.



Development, not a bane for Morni

APROPOS Ruchika M. Khanna’s report captioned “Development becomes Morni’s bane, five new link roads threaten fragile ecology” in Chandigarh Tribune of September 13, she has built her entire story around five new link roads to be built and then has proceeded to conclude that government departments are working at cross purposes, giving an impression that the Forest Department and the Shivalik Board are fighting and in the process Morni forests are facing destruction.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I specifically said that there were five existing routes, which required to be made operational with construction of culverts/bridges on them. She had asked a number of questions and this point was repeatedly clarified to her in the briefing that only a stretch of 2 km on Tikar Barat road had to be constructed afresh as the local population was pressing hard and about which forest clearance had also been obtained from the Central Government. Otherwise, all other roads already existed and could become popular if they were made operational.

Incidentally she also raised a question about a wildlife sanctuary being threatened. It was pointed out to her by the DFO, Morni, that the sanctuary will be up to Mandhana only and not beyond. Secondly, when other roads become operational, pressure on this present road on which the sanctuary is to be located will rather ease. It is absolutely wrong and mischievous to say that the departments are working in opposite directions, as DFO, Morni, was a part of the briefing and part of the planning of the project and he himself clarified that the sanctuary or jungles would face no threat on this account. She is entitled to draw her own conclusions whatever she wants, but the correspondent has no right to distort and misrepresent the facts and suppress official briefing.

B.R.Lall, Director General of Police (H) & Chairman, Shivalik Development Agency, Panchkula

Ruchika M. Khanna replies:
Nowhere does the story mention that five new roads are being laid in Morni. It is merely mentioned that these new routes are being completed by the Shivalik Development Board. Shivaliks being relatively new hills, are fragile and toe cutting of these hills for creating roads has caused frequent landslides .

If a wildlife sanctuary has to be developed in Morni — as proposed by the Wildlife Department — it would not be possible to have a tourist resort as well as a discotheque for 500 people near the wildlife sanctuary as is proposed by the Shivalik Development Board.

Sukhna’s silt problem — a paper tiger

City Beautiful can feel proud of its features like the Rock Garden, which has brought glory to it by putting it on the world map. But for a defect in its design, Sukhna Lake could also have done something similar. Its input of silt is much more than its output. On the output side it is nil by natural means. Despite spending crores of rupees on removing silt by draglines and shramdans, nothing tangible has happened. According to the annual surveys, the bed has always been rising in the last 20 years. Thus from day one, the lake was doomed to death by silting. By now two-third of its capacity has been lost. There is helplessness and disappointment all around.

The million dollar question being asked is as to whether it is possible to save its remaining capacity for the posterity. For an answer, we must remember its basic defect. If output of the silt cannot be increased, at least its input should be reduced to zero. This is an entirely new concept which has not been tried anywhere in the world. Some consider it to be unpractical and absurd. With a little bit of common sense and some ingenuity, its existing infrastructure can be woven into a zero silt entry scheme costing Rs 40 lakh only. Its details are already with the government. It has not received any publicity so far. Before it is executed, the government should display its working model. Such a bold and transparent action will show that Sukhna’s silt problem is nothing but a paper tiger. The public might even start asking as to why has this scheme been delayed so far.

Sukh — Na (no joy) is nothing if not true to its name

S.P. Malhotra, Chandigarh



Military action cannot solve Kashmir problem
Col. Pritam Bhullar (retd.)

Naik Yadunath Singh THE Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said at Mattan in Kashmir the other day that “the security forces will give a befitting reply to the stepped-up violence by militants in J&K”.

Mr Fernandes, if terrorism could be crushed by military action alone, then communists would not have come to power in China, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. Nor would have Algeria and Zimbabwe got their independence. Nor could the guerrillas hold out in El Salvador or Northern Ireland.

Military action is just a prelude to a political solution which alone is the answer to this problem. Take the example of Malaya (now Malaysia) and Mizo Hills (now Mizoram). This writer having commanded a battalion in Mizo Hills in 1967-68, when militancy was at its peak there, can say through his personal experience that military action, no matter how harsh it is, does not solve this problem. If anything, a prolonged military action makes things more complicated. And this is what the situation is in J&K now.

Now think of the American military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Has this taken the super-power any nearer to a solution? Frankly speaking, in Iraq, the US is virtually caught in a cleft stick.

Militancy in J&K is continuing since 1989. And there is no sign of it coming to an end. Think of the Army manpower and civilians that we have got killed there in futility.

Mr Fernandes, what is needed to solve the vexed problem of J&K is political wisdom and not the repeated rhetoric which proves hollow.

4 Guards’ anniversary

Four Guards (1 Rajput), now located somewhere in the western sector, celebrated its 205th raising day recently. Raised at Sasaram in Bihar, as the 2nd Battalion, 15th Native Infantry of the Bengal Army on September 15, 1798, it was converted into 4 Guards (1 Rajput) on January 26, 1950.

In its advance to Delhi, as part of Lake’s Army, it achieved remarkable success and was honoured with an honorary standard inscribed with the words “Lake and Victory”. To carry which, it was authorised an extra Jemadar (now Naib Subedar). It was also bestowed with the Battle Honour of Delhi, 1803. The other privileges given to the battalion were to march with fixed bayonets and draw a special allowance while posted at Delhi. This allowance is no more applicable now. In 1922, the battalion was re-designated as the 1st Battalion, 7th Rajput Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Own Light Infantry).

The highest Indian gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra (PVC), was awarded to Naik Yadunath Singh of the unit posthumously in the battle of Naushera in J&K in February, 1948. Yadunath had checked the advance of the enemy on the left flank of the battalion singlehandedly even when all the jawans of his section were killed. The battalion, after capturing a number of hill features, was the first unit to enter Jhangar town to liberate it. For this daring feat, it was awarded the Battle Honour of “Naushera”.

Spare bravery from politics

Havildar (CQMH) Abdul Hamid must have experienced a tremor in his grave at Asal Uttar in Amritsar, when the two main political parties in Punjab made his supreme sacrifice the butt of their shoddy political games by holding parallel rallies at Asal Uttar on September 9.

In the 1965 war, Asal Uttar became the graveyard of the newly acquired and much flaunted Pakistani Patton tanks. Hav Abdul Hamid shot down a number of them singlehandedly. By sacrificing his life in this rare act of bravery on September 9, he won the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) posthumously. And this was the first PVC of the 1965 war.

Do these political parties know that it was only on September 9, 1994, (29 years after Hav Abdul Hamid won the highest gallantry award of the country) that a properly constructed memorial in his honour was inaugurated at Asal Uttar by Lieut-Gen R.K. Gulati, the then GOC-in-C Western Command?

What we expect from political parties is that they should spare the war heroes from their one-upmanship political games at least on such occasion as this lowers the sanctity of the memorials.


Thief held with stolen goods
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A thief was arrested last evening along with stolen goods while trying to flee into a jungle near Makhan Majra.

Baldip Singh, a resident of Saini Vihar in Baltana, was caught while fleeing into the jungle along-with a sack full of stolen goods, Daria police post in charge Pargat Singh said.

Baldip threw the sack in the bushes but police seized it after catching the thief. He was carrying the sack on foot but ran away on seeing a police picket near the Pepsi Chowk.

The goods were stolen 16 days ago from a shop in Mauli Jagran. The police found a fan, a camera, a music system, amplifiers, CDs and cassettes from the thief.



6-yr-old crushed to death by truck
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
A six-year-old boy was crushed to death by a truck near the Naddha bridge this morning. It is learnt that Vijay was on his way to the school when he was crushed by a speeding truck ( HR- 55- 1519) . The driver of the truck, Rajbir, was arrested and booked for negligent driving leading to boy’s death.

Woman commits suicide: A middle aged woman, Urmil, reportedly committed suicide by consuming sulphos tablets at Raipur Rani last evening. She was admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6, in a serious condition and referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, but died on way to the hospital.

One arrested: The Kalka police has arrested Balbir Singh, who is an accused in a snatching case at Dharampur. The accused had reportedly locked a family in their house in Dharampur on July 23, and robbed a woman of her gold ornaments.



Japanese nail art major attraction
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
It was ladies day out at Hideout - a discotheque at North Park. Women of all ages gathered here to shake a leg and freak out during a special evening organised for them by the VLCC on Saturday.

About 100 women participated in various games and quizes. However, the major attraction was Japanese Nail art, body tattooing and arabian mehandi. Recipes for health drinks and snacks to encourage healthy eating and to educate people on healthy food habits were also shared. A breached water resorvoir in Bhudd village near Raipur Rani, has been desilted and repaired by the Ningana Social Welfare and Environmental Society.

This structure had been made under the Kandi project in 1995, but was abandoned in 1997 because of poor maintenance. When the reservoir was made, the area near this reservoir was irrigated by farmers of both Bhuud and Piarewala villages, but following the abandoning of this reservoir, these fields were irrigated.

It was then that the matter came to the knowledge of the society, and after it received a grant from the Council For Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology, the desilting and repair work on this earthern structure began and this was completed in two months. This year the farmers of the villages have again cultivated paddy on 50 acres of land after water has been again made available.

Mr Surinder Yadav, secretary of the society, informed that the future charge of the structure had been handed over to the Village Development Committee of Bhudd.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlwat, has appointed Executive Magistrates as duty magistrates for maintenance of law and order during the Navratra mela at Mata Mansa Devi shrine from September 26.

It is learnt that Mr DPS Budhwar, secretary, Zila Sainik Board, Mr Raj Pal Sharma, Xen, Panchayati Raj, Mr ML Garg, Legal Officer, Mr Rupinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Mr O.P. Sihag, Executive Officer of Municipal Council, Mr Krishan Kumar, Planning Officer, Mr D.S. Chikkara, District Stastical Officer and Mr Shivnandan Sharma, District Welfare Officer - have been appointed as duty magistrates. While Estate Officer, Mr Ashwani Sharma, and District Transport Officer, Mr Jagtar Singh Sandhu have been kept as reserve officers, Mr Inder Singh, SDM, has been made the overall in charge.



Reliance claims record in mobile data services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Reliance Infocomm claims to have created a world record in the growing field of mobile data services in India. On September 20, the very first day of introducing "Navratri" - a multi-media mobile service offering ring tones, greeting cards, pictures and video clips of Navratri festival, over 10 million Navratri specific content downloads were reported.

Mr Mahesh Prasad, President Application Services, Reliance Infocomm, in a press note issued here said: "This is a world record for a single new mobile data service launch on mobile networks anywhere in the world. Moreover, such heavy usage of a single data application, recorded within the first 10 hours of launch, was achieved despite the fact that it was an informal launch with zero advertising/promotion around the service. This is a testimony to our subscriber base getting increasingly accustomed to various R World services that range from news to guides to MMS messaging to games."


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