Wednesday, September 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Women with helmets win appreciation from police
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Why women prefer helmetless driving

  • To keep their hairstyles intact.
  • Fear of being laughed at by peers.
  • It is unfashionable to have the face covered.
  • Feel claustrophobic in helmets.

Chandigarh, September 23
Anxiety gave way to happiness as traffic policemen, better known for issuing challans, handed over food coupons as award to women scooterists wearing helmets at the Sector 18 crossing, here today.

The novel drive undertaken to “acknowledge the wisdom of women wearing helmets” and, in the process, ensuring not only their safety but that of others, the traffic police also took the opportunity to educate women and girls, driving two-wheelers without helmets.

Most women were unanimous that helmets were a must for safety though some cited religious reasons for not wearing one. While youngsters who wore helmets said their parents were behind their “wise decision”, there were others who chose to laugh off the fact that they were exposed to danger as they zipped around on their two-wheelers unmindful of safety.

Interestingly, most middle-aged women were not too keen on driving with helmets though the young population was a mix of the “helmeted” and the “helmetless”, a majority of them were convinced of the fact that a helmet was all that lay between life and death in most road accidents.

Armed with pamphlets, the men in brown laid siege at the Press chowk, asking women drivers to pull-up. The first women with a helmet was awarded a coupon of a fast-food joint as recognition.

The first woman to be honoured by the police team led by Inspector Ram Gopal was Ms. Anita Kataria, working with the Food Corporation of India.” My colleagues make fun of me, most are bothered about their hairstyles. I chose to be different and know a helmet will protect me. If the head is safe, all is well,” she says.

Expecting something positive when the police asked Manmeet Kaur, an executive at a local bank, to pull up, she added,” It is all about protection. I have been wearing a helmet since I started driving five years back. My mother coaxed me to wear a helmet. Now, it is a habit.”

Acting on her father’s advise, Ms Kavita Deswal, a resident of Sector 28, tried the helmet for the first time. “My friend met with an accident sometime ago and ended up in hospital with a severe head injury. Since them, my helmet has always been with me. I don’t want to meet the same fate as her.”

Working in a shop in Sector 17, Puja Sharma, was surprised when a policeman approached her at the lights. “I was worried though I was sure I had not violated any traffic rules. He explained to me the need to wear a helmet. Though I am convinced of its utility, I have not been able to find time to buy a helmet. I will do so now,” she stated.

In all, 15 women with helmets were honoured during the drive while pamphlets were distributed to everybody all over the city by NCC cadets, Home Guards and the Traffic Police.

“We want women to realise that they are in the danger zone once they are on the road. They might not be at fault but they also have to save themselves when the others are at fault. We want to evolve a culture of wearing helmets among women and encourage road safety,” says Inspector Ram Gopal.

The special drive was organised as a part of the Road Safety Week by the Chandigarh Traffic Police.



HC Additional Registrar booked for corruption
Tribune Reporters

List of assets

If the allegations levelled in the FIR registered against Tara Chand are to be believed, he and his wife possess following assets:

  • 192 sq yrd plot in Chandigarh.
  • 4 marla plot in Faridabad.
  • 170 sq yard plot in Gurgaon.
  • 135 sq yard plot in Dharuhera.
  • 450 sq yard plot in Kurukshetra.
  • 209 sq yard plot in Sonepat.
  • 15 biswa land in Baltana.
  • A flat in Panchkula.

Chandigarh, September 23
Suspended Registrar (Additional) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tara Chand was booked by the police here today under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998, for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Tara Chand and his wife had allegedly acquired eight properties at Chandigarh, Kurukshetra, Panchkula, Gurgaon, Dharuhera and Baltana.

Tara Chand was suspended by the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday.

A case under Section 13(1)E of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered at the Sector 3 police station following directions by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Mr Justice B.K. Roy.

A preliminary inquiry was conducted into the case by the District and Sessions Judge, Vigilance (Haryana). No arrest has been made so far.



Priest stabs wife for spurning unity offer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
A 22-year-old estranged priest today allegedly stabbed his 20-year-old wife when she spurned his offer to get reunited after having been separated for the last six months.

Charanjeet Kaur survived the attack on her breast, thigh and arm and is stated to be out of danger. Her husband, Daler Singh, who was arrested from the spot in Hallomajra, admitted to have launched a murderous attack on her wife,

Daler Singh told the Chandigarh Tribune that he asked his wife to listen to him while she was going to Hallomajra for a tuition for her secondary education but instead of listening to his offer of a rapprochement, a heed started crying and ran away.

He said his separated wife’s attitude and pubic humiliation enraged him. Charanjeet Kaur was going to Hallomajra at her sister’s place from whom she used to take tuitions.

Daler Singh alleged that his in-laws had got him bashed up couple of days back in Rajpura when he went for a court proceeding for the separation between the squabbling young couple married for only two years. Daler Singh said he was not in favour of divorce with his wife while his in-laws want the same through the court.

The priest, while refraining from making allegations against his wife, said the role of his mother-in-law had been very negative in the whole affair. He said Charanjeet Kaur had been staying with her mother for the last six months in Ram Darbar area of the city.

The Sector 31 police station which has registered a case of attempt to murder against Daler Singh has who is in 14-day judicial remand said the wife of the accused had objections against her husband’s behaviour. The victim was not available for a comment.

The case was registered after the police recorded the statement of Charnjeet Kaur in the Sector 32 hospital where she is stated to be out of danger.



Happening’ place for PU students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The canteen of the Arts Block I and II or ‘The Hut’, as it is popularly known, is one of the most happening places on the Panjab University campus.

The rush of students during the working hours, particularly during the earlier part of the day, is overwhelming compared to other canteens on the campus. The place basically caters to the departments of Hindi, Sanskrit, physical education, Punjabi, mass communication, history and English. The crowd of the English Department, which has more than 80 per cent students as girls, is one of the most-talked about one on the campus.

The beauty of ‘The Hut’ is a small thatched structure, which has a sliding roof with muddy walls. It lends an ethical touch to the creation located among concrete structures. A casual talk with the students sipping their tea or munching hot-dogs gives a peep into the mood at ‘The Hut’.

Dhaarna, a student of MA-II (English), said there is a hype about the place, which makes it one of the most happening places on the campus. This was visible with the rush of even “outsiders”. Tania, a final year student, said one feels relaxed among the young crowd and in the “cool atmosphere”.

Riggie, a student of literature, said the quality of eatables served at the canteen needed to be improved and the place needs a cleaner image.

Another student, Preeti, said “one can come here and chat for hours. The talk can be peppy or serious academic debate. One just forgets time at this place”.

Shivender Singh Kang, a student of MA-I (English), said ‘The Hut’ was a symbol of togetherness. “It is fun time after classes. If you cannot find a student from an adjoining department in the class, he will definitely be in ‘The Hut’, he added.

Aman, a first-year student, said the place gives an ethnic look. There is an element of nostalgia in the place, which makes “our feet stick to the place”. ‘The Hut’ is “hut ke”, she added.

‘The Hut’ was opened in 1985-86. Since 1991, the canteen has been handled by Mr H.S. Gulati, former assistant secretary with the Haryana Education Board. “I could have got another job. As I liked company of children, I shifted here on first opportunity, said the “young old man”.

Mr Gulati said, “The place has seen big student rush since beginning. However, the character of crowd keeps on changing each year. Students here are open and very positive in their interaction, he added.



8 petrol station owners booked
Tribune News Service

Petrol pumps found guilty

  • Oberoi Motors, Sector 10
  • Happy Services, Sector 12
  • Kaushal Service Station, Industrial Area, Phase II
  • Vishal Service Station, Sector 31
  • Sangam Filling Station, Sector 46
  • Karan Filling Station, Sector 52
  • Emm Pee Motors, Sector 22
  • Gurdial Singh & Sons Petrol Pump, Sector 22

Chandigarh, September 23
Hundreds of vehicle owners may feel relieved at the booking of erring petrol pump operators by the Weighs and Measures Cell in the UT Industrial Department. These petrol stations were allegedly dispensing less quantity of petrol and diesel, while showing the correct meter reading to the consumers.

The department has booked owners and operators of eight petrol stations in the city under the Standard of Weighs and Measures Act, 1976. These were found selling less quantity of petrol and diesel to the consumers by tampering with the digital meters. Though experts from oil companies concerned check their meters from time to time, yet insiders say that they had mastered the art of fooling them and public as well.

Petrol station owners admitted that Mr Naresh Narwal, SDM (East), who has recently taken the additional charge of the cell that constitutes just two inspectors, has created a terror among them.

According to official sources, six petrol stations out of the eight — Oberoi Motors, Sector 10; Happy Services, Sector 12; Kaushal Service Station, Industrial Area-Phase II; Vishal Service Station, Sector 31; Sangam Filling Station, Sector 46; Karan Filling Station, Sector 52; Emm Pee Motors, Sector 22; and Gurdial Singh & Sons Petrol Pump, Sector 22 — were found selling less quantity of petrol and diesel, while two other petrol stations were found selling packaged battery water not adhering to the specified standards.

The sources said Mr Naresh Narwal, who has been credited with revamping the office of Registration and Licencing Authority, had selected petrol stations in the first stage to create awareness among the public about the importance of the department and how they were being defrauded worth lakhs every month.

The inspectors who had taken samples from all 40 petrol stations and 10 kerosene depots, took samples on the spot. As per the provision, they took five litres of petrol from operators in a five-litre can as per the reading shown on the meter. But in six cases it found that the actual quantity was much lesser. Most of the operators committed themselves guilty on the spot and paid the penalty up to Rs 5,000 per person.

Their meters were calibrated again and then allowed to function. But in some other cases, including that of Vishal Service Station, the dispenser had to be sealed.

The official sources confirmed that the next target of the department could be waste paper dealers and retailers in “apni mandis”, who are still using unstamped weighs.

They admitted that the department had failed to book the guilty due to lack of awareness among public and shortage of staff in the Weighs and Measures Cell.

With the booking of petrol station owners, they felt, the public would come forward and complain against the erring shopkeepers, traders and department stores.

As per the Standards of Weighs and Measures Act, 1976, no one should use unstamped weighs and measures for any purpose. They have to get their weighs stamped from the department.



Tribune chowk-Zirakpur stretch declared
‘accident prone’
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The road from Tribune chowk to Zirakpur has been termed the second “killer stretch” after the one leading to Panchkula, with the Chandigarh Police putting up six caution boards declaring it a “fatal accident-prone” road.

The boards display a man in yellow shirt and black trousers lying on the road with blood oozing out from his head. The Traffic Police has brought the road under category “A”.

The road between Transport chowk and Panchkula has already been placed under the category because of its record of fatalities.

These display boards have been put up at Delhi Automobile, Poultry Farm chowk and Hallomajra chowk for vehicles entering Chandigarh and at Zirakpur barrier, Airport chowk and CRPF crossing for traffic leaving Chandigarh

According to the Traffic Police, each of these sites has seen multiple fatal accidents, including seven casualties at the Hallomajra crossing, this year itself.

With most of the casualties being suffered by cyclists and pedestrians, the Chandigarh Police has also proposed to close the Hallomajra crossing on the road and provide an exclusive track for cyclists through an alternative route. Sources in the police said the Engineer Department had agreed to the proposal and an alternative cycling track was being provided.

When implemented, this will be the first such attempt in the city to segregate cyclists from fast moving vehicles at roundabouts, which have become major accident points between cyclists and motorised vehicles.

The problem of both fast and slow moving vehicles on the road has also been encouraging demands for converting roundabouts into traffic signals to avoid accidents.

The danger on the road has increased as it has not yet been broadened on the pattern of the one between the Transport chowk and Panchkula.

The police has also suggested to increase the height of route markers for the airport.

The presence of villages like Hallomajra, Makhanmajra and other localities along the road has lead to a high number of casualties, the police said.

With a large number of workers working in the industries living in these areas, the road has been witnessing violation of traffic rules especially by cyclists during rush hours.

In the next phase, boards displaying “accident-prone area” are scheduled to come up between Barheri and 3 BRD, near Colony Number 5 (where a large number of fatalities have occurred); ISBT chowk in Sector 17 and Piccadily chowk; roads leading to SAS Nagar; Sectors 45 and 46 light point; and the one leading to Mullanpur.

The police has placed the two roads in category “A” as these connect the city with Haryana, Punjab and Himachal and long-distance drivers tend to move fast on them.



And now power from aero-engines
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The IAF has initiated a project to study the techno-economic feasibility of using surplus aircraft engines to run generators for producing electricity. The project is being undertaken at No.3 Base Repair Depot here.

“We are studying if aero-engines, whose airworthiness life has expired, can be put to some useful work,” a senior Air Force officer told The Tribune. “Once the life of an aero-engine has expired, they are as good as scrap for us,” he added.

Officers said they were trying to see if the aero-engines could be adapted to run generator sets. At present generators are being powered by conventional, commercially manufactured diesel engines. According to sources, the reasons behind the study is an endeavour to reduce dependency on commercial electricity supply and to have a powerful generating system in remote areas. “Based on the findings of the study, we will decide whether it would be useful to modify aero-engines to run generators,” the officer said.

Studies are being carried out on a surplus Mi-8 helicopter engine. “If the study reveals favourable findings, similar studies on engines of other aircraft, including fighters, will be conducted,” the officer said. According to IAF officers, the Mi-8 engine generates about 1800 horsepower as compared to the engine of a Maruti 800, which generates 8 horsepower, and a normal household generator, which produces 1-2 horsepower.

“The Mi-8 engine could generate about 200 kilowatt of electricity. This is where the potential of decommissioned aero-engine lies,” the officer remarked.

The engine would use aviation turbine fuel (ATF). “Though aviation fuel is cheaper than petrol and diesel, aero-engines, specially Russian, are known to be fuel guzzlers,” the officer said. “We will have to work out the fuel consumption vis-a-vis power output and compare it with the performance of diesel generators,” he added.

The price of commercial ATF in India is currently fluctuating around Rs 18 per litre, whereas the rate of petrol and diesel is over Rs 20 and Rs 34, respectively. ATF is relatively inexpensive as it is basically refined kerosene and is graded below petrol and diesel. “Even if the stipulated life of ATF expires, it can be sold and used as kerosene,” the officer remarked. ATF supplied to the armed forces is even more cheaper as certain excise duties and taxes are not applicable on it.

Air Force sources said they would also study if the decommissioned aero-engines could be modified to run on diesel or petrol. “Initially our focus is to convert the aero-engines for use by the armed forces only. Its scope for the civilian sector would be taken up later on,” the officer remarked.



Plea of sportsperson on engineering seat dismissed
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The classification of games for providing benefit to the students by a university is permissible under Article 14 of the Constitution of India, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled in a significant judgement.

The ruling was issued on a petition filed by Shivika Arora against Panjab University and other respondents. She was seeking admission to the bachelor of engineering course against seats reserved for sportspersons.

Claiming to have been a sportsperson, Arora, in her petition, had earlier asserted that she had stood first in all the four events during the Chandigarh Cycling Championship organised by the Chandigarh Administration in conjunction with Chandigarh Amateur Cycling Association in November, 1999.

She had also participated in a mountain biking championship organised by the Chandigarh Amateur Cycling Association under the aegis of the Cycling Federation of India. In the first event, she was awarded the gold medal. In the second event, she got the silver medal.

Arguing before the court, counsel for the petitioner had asserted that the petitioner was entitled to be considered for admission against seat reserved for sportspersons. He had added that the university had arbitrarily denied admission to the petitioner in the sports category.

Counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, had contended that “admitting a candidate against the category of sports in which the university does not participate would be an exercise in futility”.

It was added that the students were given admission in the sports category so that they could be sent for participation in the inter-university tournament. As far as the present case was concerned, even the UT Sports Department did not consider the event of mountain biking for admission to engineering college.

After going through the documents and hearing the arguments in the case, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, ruled: “We are of the considered opinion that the action taken by the respondents cannot be said to be either unreasonable or arbitrary”. Giving details, the judges held: “The university does admit sportspersons having high achievement for participation in the inter-university tournaments. These persons are outstanding sportsmen. They are admitted with an eye to improve performance of the university in the inter-university tournaments. For that reason, the university selects the sports in which the benefit is to be given”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Nijjar concluded: “The classification of sports has a nexus with the object sought to be achieved. Such a classification is permitted under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. We find no merit in the petition.... Dismissed”.



Warrants against Chandigarh DC

New Delhi, September 23
A Delhi court has issued a bailable warrant against Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner for failing to produce the records of revolver licence issued to a person accused in a case before the court.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate T.S. Kashyap issued the bailable warrant for October 14 after there was no response to an order calling upon him to authorise a responsible person for producing the record before him. The court was dealing with a case registered in the Deshbandhu Gupta road in 2000 after a quarrel between two persons. — UNI



Award to Ranbaxy a cruel joke, feel residents
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Panic gripped the area last night when some of the residents of Mohali village, residing just behind the factory, heard a loud noise in the plant. “We were shocked when we saw clouds of smoke emanating from the factory. We felt irritation in eyes and problem in breathing as well. But within 15 to 20 minutes, everything was normal,” said residents of Mohali village. Some residents even claimed to have seen flames which vanished in seconds.

Meanwhile, Mr Pushipender Bindra, Vice-President, Ranbaxy, refuted the allegation. He said: “There was no leakage of gas or any fire last night or any such incident after the last fire accident”.

Chandigarh, September 23
The National Safety Award conferred on the Mohali plant of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd has been declared a cruel joke by residents of Mohali and villagers living in the vicinity of the factory. They wondered how such a prestigious award could be given to the company that had met with a major fire accident on June 11 this year after the leakage of toluene had claimed five lives and injured nearly 20 persons.

The incident had caused loss of property worth crores of rupees to the company besides damaging a number of industrial units and houses in the neighbourhood.

Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Phase II, said: “The company may get any award from the government or other organisations, but we cannot forgive it for destroying our lives. Even today, our relatives hesitate to visit us saying that you are living in a dangerous zone.” He claimed that though he had suffered loss worth over Rs 1 lakh due to the fire, he did not get any compensation.

Mr Karam Singh, who is running a shop near the factory, said: “I cannot forget the incident when we had to run away from our houses. The images of wounded persons will hound me for all my life. Our children even today feel scared whenever we talk about the incident.”

Mr Swaran Singh, general secretary, Mohali Gram Welfare Association, questioned: “How can the Centre offer a safety award to the company which has made our life hell? Had the judges ever visited our houses and felt the foul smell emanating from the plant, they could have never conferred that award on the company.”

The residents claimed that the property rates in the neighbouring area have substantially fallen after the incident. Mr Sarup Singh, an electrician, claimed: “Before the incident, people would not find it easy to buy a single marla even for Rs 1 lakh here. But now you cannot sell one marla even for Rs 50,000 as there are no buyers. In fact, a number of tenants have already shifted to other areas.”

Mr Tej Pal Brar, Managing Director, Shine Auto Private Limited, a unit that was damaged in the fire, said: “We do not know what sort of safety measures have been taken by the company. Though I got Rs 1.76 lakh as compensation from the company, the management has never bothered to update us about the safety measures.”



Looking forward to meet ‘modern Chacha Nehru’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
“He’s the modern Chacha Nehru of the children”. So perceive two visually impaired children chosen to interact with President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, with other schoolchildren on his visit to the city on September 29.

“He loves children and wants to spend quality time with us, dwell into our thoughts and feel our emotions. It is this love that has endeared him to us and we are looking forward to meeting him,” hold Manglesh Kumar and Mandeep Singh of the Institute of Blind, Sector 26.

Referring to the President as Kalam sir, they exclaim, “We are on top of the world since the news came in.” Students of Class XI and XII respectively, both eagerly sketch a picture of their perception of Dr Kalam in their minds. “Touching 60 years, he supports a beard and is of average height,” Manglesh Kumar says while Mandeep chips in, “He in all probability and like other politicians, is attired in a kurta pyjama though he is very humble and loving. Our picture of him is based on whatever we have heard and read in class.”

They recall that a boy from the institute was chosen to meet the President in Delhi last year. “We were almost envious of him and asked him to relive the moments of the meeting for us. We, like all our other schoolmates, cherished the desire to be in the company of the President. Our dream has come true,” says an elated Manglesh Kumar.

The two are still in the process of framing questions for the interaction though they are clear it has to with “their fraternity.” We are shunned and ignored by society and public all the time. We want Kalam sir to encourage impartial selections and make rules so that nobody can turn his back on us because of our handicap. We also want to find out the scope in computers for visually impaired and how technology can benefit us,” they explain.

While the serious bit is all very well, the two, smiling from ear to ear, disclose, “Besides asking a question, we are sure we want his autograph, touch his feet to seek his blessings.”

“While we are making preparations for the big day very enthusiastically, it would be a heart-breaking experience if we are not allowed to meet the man who has won the hearts of children all over the country, not only with his love but guidance and advise,” Mandeep claims.

Though they admit they are “very lucky” and the interaction with the President is a “golden opportunity”, they insist, “We should be allowed to meet him or ask a question as a special case since we cannot see him. If we have to stick to only listening to him speak, we can do so on radio. Where is the need to go to the venue.”

However, while the UT Education Department has said the two boys would be given seats in a corner and an attendant to avoid any inconvenience to them, they can’t say with certainty whether a chance to ask a question would arise during the hour-long interaction.



Kalam to open NIPER facility
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 23
The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) is among a few centres to have a state-of-the art facility to develop batches for clinical trails of active pharmaceutical ingredients of synthetics and herbal origin. The President, Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam, will dedicate the facility to the nation on September 29. Once operational, the Technology Development Centre will cater to the need of the Indian pharmaceutical industry to work on pilot projects for technology development and prepare clinical batches for new chemical entities. The institute, functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, will cater to the growing worldwide market of herbal drugs.

Dr C.L. Kaul, Director of the institute, said it was a known fact India was becoming a centre for expertise in developing new and innovative processes for bulk actives. Apart from becoming a self-sufficient, the country was destined to a major exporter in this area. To penetrate regulated markets in the USA, Europe and Japan, it was mandatory that clinical trails were carried out on product from bulk actives prepared under good manufacturing practises (GMP) conditions.



Mohali to be spruced up for President’s visit
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 23
While the police started security checks in connection with the visit of the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to the town, the municipal council has been asked to carry out a special cleanliness campaign.

Dr Kalam is coming as a chief guest at the second convocation of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here on September 29.

The Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, met the officials concerned at NIPER this evening to review various arrangements for the visit.

Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Ms Jain said she had asked the civic body to carry out a special four-day cleanliness drive in the sectors around NIPER.

She said she had also told the council to clean road berms, carry out proper maintenance of the roads in the area and proper pruning of trees that could prove to be obstacles from the security point of view.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, Ropar SSP, said a verification drive was being carried out.



Phase XI park in a state of neglect
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 23
The Neighbourhood Park in Phase XI is in a state of neglect and the number of people who come there for daily walks has come down.

Mr Amrik Singh, municipal councillor of the area, said that the footpaths in the park had broken and it had become difficult to walk on them. There was wild growth in the area and the lights installed in the park were not functioning for the past five months. The fountain in the park was also not functional. He said he had been meeting PUDA officials for the past three months to get the lights in order but instead of taking action, they just kept giving assurances.

He said the maintenance of the park had not been carried out for the past one-and-a-half-year and he had made written requests to the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, in this regard but to no avail.



Panchkula Diary
MC gives 10 days to pay house tax
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 23
The Municipal Council has given 10 days’ time to all residents within the municipal limits to pay their house tax and fire tax bills for the year 2002- 2003.

MC President Seema Chaudhary informed that so far a sum of Rs 2.07 crore had been collected as house tax against the outstanding dues of Rs 2.80 lakh. In case of fire tax, compared to dues of Rs 56 lakh, only Rs 36 lakh had been paid.

She said the residents who had not paid the house and fire tax to the council should collect their bills from the MC office and deposit the taxes at the earliest.

Shaheedi Divas

Haryana Shaheedi Divas was observed by the district administration at Bal Bhavan here on Tuesday. Six freedom fighters of the district — Mr Jodh Singh, Mr Barkat Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh, Mrs Agya Kaur, Mrs Santosh Devi and Mr Ajay Kumar — were honoured and presented shawls.

Additional Superintendent of Police Bharti Arora spoke on the occasion. Sacrifices made by Rao Tulsiram were also remembered.

‘Jan Jagran Yatras’

The state unit of the BJP will commence its ‘Jan Jagran Yatras’ from October 5, and the first phase will cover five parliamentary constituencies of the state. The yatras would be held in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Sonepat and Faridabad and culminate at Panipat on October 14.

‘Sanjhi’ competition

The district administration will organise a Sanjhi-making competition on October 2. The contest will be open to women of the district . The ‘Sanjhi’ designs will have to be made on cardboard or stretched canvas. The competition is being organised to revive the dying art of making sanjhis.

Awareness camp

An awareness camp was organised by the Haryana State Social Welfare Advisory Board and the Hitkari Social Welfare Society at Pinjore and Raipur village from September 15 to 22. Residents were informed about health-related subjects, environment, pre-natal and post-natal care and use of kitchen ingredients in dealing with minor ailments.



Council chief refutes fraud allegations
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 23
The President and the Executive Officer of the Panchkula Municipal Council today refuted allegations of fraud levelled at the latter by a local social organisation, Peoples Voice Gods Voice. They have also threatened to take legal recourse against the organisation.

At a press conference, Ms Seema Chaudhary, President, and Mr O.P. Sihag, Executive Officer, said the allegations made by the founder of the organisation; Mr B.L. Tandon, were false, and made only after his offer of appointing him as a Technical Adviser and his son as an Architect in the council were turned down.

It may be noted that the organisation had demanded a vigilance probe into the alleged fraud of about Rs 6 lakh in removal of congress grass from internal roads and vacant plots and false payment of Rs 14.40 lakh to the sanitation contractor. Mr Tandon had claimed that the area affected by the congress grass was about 22,5000 sq m after excluding the area already maintained by residents. “At the rate of Rs 0.75 per sq m the total cost comes out to be Rs 1.70 lakh, whereas the total payment made to the contractor was Rs 6 lakh.” He also alleged that the issue of removal of congress grass had been mixed with the removal of ‘malba’ from the internal roads, thus the contract value was about Rs 10 lakh.

Mr Sihag today said the council had paid only Rs 1. 17 lakh to the contractor. He said removal of the congress grass was done at all places by the contractor, barring a few places in Sector 9 and EWS Colony in Sector 20. He said as against the allegations made by Mr Tandon, they had paid at the rate of only Rs 0.32 per sq m to the contractor.

Mr Tandon had also alleged that the sanitation contract was violated by the contractor, who had employed only 200 sweepers as against 295, specified in the agreement.

However, both Ms Chaudhary and Mr Sihag clarified that the sanitary contractor had always put in the required number of people. “ In case, there was any irregularity, we have imposed hefty fines on him. As per the agreement, the sanitation contractor was to be paid Rs 46.44 lakh, but we paid him only Rs 36 lakh, after deducting fines imposed on him for insanitary conditions, “ they said.

Mr Sihag also alleged that the social organisation was misusing names of several VVIPs by mentioning their names on his letter head as patrons and advisers. He said that at least two VVIPs Lieut-Gen J.L. Malhotra and Mr HS Yadav, former Engineer in Chief, Haryana, had denied that they had anything to do with the organisation.



All-India Tribes Dal threatens to move SC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 23
The All India Tribes Dal has threatened that if their demands regarding welfare schemes for destitute tribes were not fulfilled, it would move the Supreme Court against the governments responsible for delay.

Mr Rana Bawa Singh Sansi, president of the dal, said the National Human Rights Commission had directed the governments to rehabilitate these tribes, but no action was taken.

No scheme had ever been mooted for their welfare or for imparting education to their children, he added.



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
While referring to a news item titled “Residential premises being used commercially” published in these columns, Mr Vijay, a resident of house number 3, Sector 21, said no part of his house was being used more than the permitted area of 15 square metres. The use is as per government specifications. A photo of his house had appeared in the paper depicting the misuse of residential premises. Mr Vijay said the depiction of the house as being misused for commercial purposes was wrong.



Man, horse killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
A 35-year-old resident of Palsora Colony and a horse were killed this evening near Daddu Majra in an accident involving a bicycle, a tractor-trailer, a horse cart and a stationary vehicle of the Municipal Corporation.

Viren was dashed against the corporation vehicle when a tractor-trailer collided with the cart and then with the victim who was riding the bicycle.

The horse died on the spot. The driver of the tractor-trailer fled from the spot.

Two killed: Two persons were killed in road accidents in Ambala. Satpal, a scooterist, was killed in an accident on the GT Road, near Ambala Cantonment. In another incident, a child was killed near Amba market at Ambala city when a Sumo hit him. The police has registered cases.



Police told to register cheating case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
A man who was trying to make a fast buck by promising assured allotment of subsidised rehablitation dwelling units against payment to displaced jhuggi dwellers is to be booked at the behest of the Chandigarh Administration.

The police was asked to register a case of cheating and fraud against Mr Suresh Rahi for allegedly trying to befool people and demanding Rs 30,000 each for them. In case people refused to pay up, he used to get false complaints lodged against them with the Estate Office and get the allotment withheld. More than 200 people whose names figured on the original list of allottees had suffered on account of this. Interestingly, these lists were displayed outside the Estate Office and also published in local newspapers.

On the basis of these complaints, which are still awaiting verification, the names of the allottees had been held back from the draw of lots conducted by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). The real picture depicting the modus operandi of Rahi dawned on officials when they were confronted by people whose names did not figure in the draw of lots. The affected people told Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar how they had been offered assured flats in return or money. Rahi had allegedly sought about Rs 30,000 from all these people.

The names of about 1000 people had been forwarded by the Estate Office to the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). The CHB later asked for more names when some of the names facing complaints were held back. The scope and involvement, if any, of employees will be also be studied by the police, sources said.



Man hangs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
An ailing 44-year-old resident of Colony Number 5 today hanged himself to death leaving behind three children and his wife.

Om Prakash, a resident of 890 in K-Block, was found hanging to a ceiling fan in his house when his family members returned home. He was allegedly in heavy debt. He was a rickshaw-puller.



Hallmarking gold jewellery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
About 88 per cent of the samples of jewellery picked up by the Bureau of Indian Standards in different parts of the country have been found to be much below their declared purity.

This was disclosed here today by Mr K.K. Sharma, Deputy Director-General BIS during an interaction with mediapersons. He said India was the largest market for gold jewellery in the world consuming over 850 tonnes of fine gold. But unfortunately the Indian consumer, as in many other countries without national marking regulations, was often the victim of irregular metal quality, and what was purchased as 22 carat jewellery often turned out to be under-carated. In addition, the traditional hand crafted 22 carat jewellery typically contained many soldered joints and the use of lower carat solders could result in a serious level of undercarating.

Hence, the need to have a system in place which could instill a sense of confidence in the mind of consumers. One such system was the hallmarking of gold jewellery. “Hallmarking is the system for testing and marking the fineness as a guarantee of the actual content of gold and saving the people from the deceit. It signifies that gold articles have been evaluated and tested at an official assaying and hallmarking centre. It provides the consumers with a quality assurance on the purity of the gold jewellery that they purchase and also enables the jewellery manufactures to compete on a level playing fields”.

In India, the hallmarking scheme was launched by BIS in 2000. This launch was the culmination of an initiative by the Indian Government, the Indian Jewellery Trade and the World Gold Council. At present the scheme was voluntary in nature and was covered under BIS Act, 1986.

Under this scheme, jewellers who wish to have their gold jewellery hallmarked must obtain BIS licence and follow an approved quality assurance procedures. When licensed, the jeweller could get his jewellery hallmarked at an approved and accredited assaying and hallmarking centre.

Mr Sharma said the BIS maintained surveillance on the operations of the licensed jewellery at a defined periodicity. The licensee had to pay a fixed certification fee to BIS for operation of the licence. To encourage the scheme, the BIS has also introduced an incentive scheme for the licensed jewellers under which a concession on certification fee was given in case they hallmarked particular number of pieces of jewellery during the year.

Mr Sharma said there had been a considerable consumer interest and awareness of the scheme during the past three years. Today, there were over 600 hallmarked licensees in India while in northern region comprising Punjab, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, there were 32 licensees.


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