C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn hikes rates of conversion 
Use of upper floors for commercial purpose
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Chandigarh Administration today enforced a very steep hike in rates fixed for allowing use of upper floors in shopping areas for commercial use. The hike varies on the basis of categories and is between 200 per cent and 300 per cent. The hike, well-placed sources said, is aimed at bringing about some semblance of parity for conversions where upper floors of buildings are used by guest houses.

But this may be hard on people in the older sectors of the city who are aiming to get their old shop-cum-flats converted for commercial use. The money spent may not be suitable to the commercial viability. Sources said the move was aimed at mopping up more revenue for the conversion of shop-cum-offices into commercial areas. The hike is expected to bring in an additional Rs 4 crore for the Administration. Earlier, the upper floors of SCOs could be used for offices. Last year, the Administration allowed the conversion of upper floors into shopping areas. The conversion fee is calculated on a per square foot basis and the prevailing market rentals have led to hike, a source added.

The hotel lobby in the city had been asking the Chandigarh Administration to hike the conversion fee as guest houses which had been closed down in residential areas had moved to commercial areas. This meant the hotel and restaurant owners who had bid for sites in auctions had paid more while guest house owners who moved into commercial areas after the change in building by-law got a better deal.

The upper floors of SCOs (including SCFs converted to SCOs under the rules) meant for office use are allowed, on payment of charges, to be used for more intensive purpose of shopping (display and sale of goods), restaurants (sale and serving of prepared foods and beverages, including banquet facilities) and lodging houses, provided that such use is allowed under the building rules, bylaws and zoning plans. Where applicable, permission for the conversion of trade will have to be obtained separately where necessary.



15-year-old house help kills self
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 6
A 15-year-old house help working in the residence of a horticulture scientist at Phase VII here allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a hook on the ceiling today.

The victim, Pradeep, had been employed by the doctor about two months ago and according to the police there is no information available with them regarding his whereabouts or family.

The house owner, Dr Rajwant Kaur, told the police that she was away at work when the incident occurred. ‘‘According to her she found the boy hanging from the hook of the ceiling with a dupatta tied around his neck,’’ said Mr Gurmeet Singh, SHO, Phase VIII police station, here.

The police also informed that Dr Rajwant lives alone in the house in Phase VII and her husband lived in Amritsar and the couple had brought Pradeep to their house work on somebody’s recommendation. The police has started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the IPC. The body has been sent for postmortem examination.



Board plans open school for Class XII
Chitleen K Sethi

SAS Nagar, November 6
In a significant move, pending a nod from the Academic Council of the Punjab School Education Board here, the board will offer open schooling for Class XII candidates. This will be in addition to the matric open school currently being run by the board. Once okayed by the council, all matriculates in the state above of 16 years of age can directly appear for the Class XII examination from the Board.

According to Ms Pavitter Pal Kaur, head of the open school branch of the board, a recommendation to this effect was made by the Advisory Committee on Open School during its first meeting held yesterday.

The minimum qualification to be eligible for admission to the open school for Class XII will be matriculation and at least 16 years of age. ‘‘Those who have dropped out of Class XII or have not been able to pass their Class XI and Class XII as regular students will be eligible for this exam if they are above 16 years of age. We are also looking into the possibility of giving credit to those subjects which the candidate has passed, in case he has overall failed to qualify Class XI or Class XII,’’she pointed out.

The open school scheme for Class XII will be available from the 2004-05 session. ‘‘Next year, the application forms for admission will be invited following which the examination will be conducted in 2005. The syllabus will be the same as that of regular Class XII and the examinations too will be held simultaneously. Only the course study material has to be prepared which will begin soon with the help of our subject experts, ’’she said.

Stating that the details of the syllabus and courses to be offered were still being worked out, Ms Pavitter Pal pointed out that initially only arts and commerce streams would be offered to the students but once the system was streamlined, science subjects too could form a part of the course.

Currently, the board is offering open schooling for matriculation to those above the 18 years of age or a class VIII pass-out above 14 years. ‘‘We have more than 17,000 students enrolled in Class X open school which is running successfully and a similar number is expected to enrol for Class XII. ’’said Ms Pavitter Pal. 



Police vigil for students comes a cropper
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, November 6
The announcement of the police to step up vigil outside schools and ensure the safe transportation of pupils here, following the kidnapping of an eight-year-old child in Sector 71 in August, seems to be mere hot air with little being done on the ground to implement it.

Taking serious note of the crime, a meeting of the heads of schools was called by the police on August 27. The principals were given directions on how every institution should have proper security arrangements. Over two months later, matters stand where they were, with the police failing to win the confidence of parents in general.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, had held a meeting with more than 40 schools heads after the kidnapping of Harkaran Singh, a class III pupil of St Xavier’s School, on August 25. The child was kidnapped by car-borne persons after he left the school for home. He was later rescued by the police and the alleged kidnappers were arrested.

On July 19, an 11-year-old boy, Gagandeep Singh, a pupil of Shivalik Public School in Phase VI, was kidnapped from Phase IV while he was returning home from the institution in a rickshaw. In this case too, the alleged kidnapper was arrested.

The SP had told the heads of the institutions that they had to maintain a register at the gates to enter the names of visitors and the register was to be inspected by police beat officers. Beat officers were also to be present near schools in the morning and at the time of closing. Moreover, students were not to be sent to schools in overload vehicles and if vehicle owners were found violating the directions they were to be challaned. He had even told the gathering that school buses would not be allowed to ply on internal roads. In fact, certain points had been fixed as bus stops for school buses.

However, the position at present is quite contrary to the security plans of the police. The police beat officers are not present near schools in the morning and at the closing hours. Neither do they conduct regular check of the visitors’, register at the school gates. Students of various schools are still seen bundled in autorickshaws and rickshaws, as the police has failed to challan such vehicles. And school buses are also plying on internal roads.

On visiting various schools in certain phases, this correspondent was told that police personnel visited their schools regularly for a few days after the meeting but with the passage of time the frequency of visits decreased. The last entry made by police personnel in a register maintained by Shastri Model School in Phase I was on October 17 at 12.30 pm. Similarly the last entry recorded in the register of Gian Joyti Public School in Phase II was on October 21 at 7.45 am. Police personnel had not visited Gem Public School in Phase III B 2 at all. The register lying at the gate had entries of visitors since October 7 but not police personnel ever came to inspect the register. Similarly, authorities at Sant Isher Singh Public School in Phase VII said the police had not inspected the register for more than a month now.

However, some schools were seen complacent in recording the name of every visitor who entered the institution in the register at the gate.

This correspondent visited some schools but was not stopped by any of the gatekeepers and was not asked to enter her name in the register.

It was seen that eight to 10 students were squeezed in a single auto-rickshaw or rickshaw. Some students were also seen sharing the extended seat of the driver in the auto-rickshaw. When asked as to why students were going in overloaded vehicles, the heads of certain schools said the transport had been hired by the parents privately and it was the duty of the police to challan such vehicles.

Schools buses were also seen plying on internal roads with the authorities failing to take any action against the violators. The SP was not available for comments.



PU to monitor fee in private colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Panjab University will monitor the fee structure in all its affiliated colleges for the forthcoming academic session. The move is specially aimed at the non-government aided colleges where the fee difference is said to be “astronomical”.

Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, said the move was directed at making the fee structure uniform and curtail collection of funds which had not been provided for under any head by the university. As far as the ongoing controversy regarding fee hike was concerned, which led to the ongoing students’ agitation, he said it had nothing to do with the university.

Mr Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, said he was given a feeler about the proposed move of streamlining the fee for the next session. “Why cannot the changes be brought about from the current session? A date should be fixed for the receipt of necessary information and the university could take the subsequent decision at the earliest”, he added.

Students, meanwhile, began a chain fast against the fee hike. Mr Karanbir Singh Kaler, convener of the Coordination Committee of UT Colleges, said five students, including Amanpal Singh, Prabhdeep Singh Praddy, Gagandeep Singh Sandhu, Amanjeet Singh and Sudhir Rawat, observed a fast at Government College for Men, Sector 11. Prabhdeep Singh Deep and Dalip Singh Virk observed a fast at DAV College.

Students boycotted their classes. They threatened to launch an indefinite agitation from Monday onwards. “No political leader is cooperating with us. We will oppose them if they do not cooperate with us,” Ms Gayatri Bawa, co-convener of the Coordination Committee said.

The fee structure approved by the PU is Rs 3,581. Private colleges are charging between Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,500. Colleges offer justification in the name of making facilities available to students which, they say, is difficult in the absence of total government financial support. Besides normal expenditure, a large number of teaching posts were not covered under the scheme of financial assistance.

The university was the affiliating body, so it had full control over monitoring the functioning of the colleges according to the university calendar. This time, however, the Punjab and UT administrations, by making and withdrawing proposals on fee, have added a new angle to the university administration.

Students are agitating against the fee hike announced by the UT Administration. This step had followed an earlier announcement by the Punjab Government. Following a wave of agitation in the state, the Punjab Government withdrew the hike.

Nearly three months after the hike, the colleges in the city went on a strike on October 30. The immediate provocation was announcement of a 20 per cent hike for the next academic session by the PU. The university on its part justifies the move that the rise was an annual feature.

The agitating students have clubbed the demand of rollback in fee hike by the UT Administration along with the unequal fee structure in the affiliated colleges.



PU fee-checking branch staff stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Employees of Panjab University working in the fee-checking branch took a mass casual leave today and staged a dharna in protest against the non-issuance of orders by the university to revoke the suspension of three employees of the non-teaching branch who had erred in the preparation of a result.

The employees were suspended following incorrect declaration of a result. A boy, who had not cleared his graduation, was issued a result card as to have cleared the first year of his post-graduation. The employees, under question who had accepted the mistake, said the suspension was a wrong decision.

Addressing a rally, Mr Dharam Pal Sharma, president of the Panjab University Non-Teaching Employees Association, requested the Vice-Chancellor to fill-up all vacant budgeted posts to meet the increased workload in examination branches.

The university had introduced a number of courses, including the four streams at the University Institute of Engineering and Technology. No additions had been made to the non-teaching staff which had led to an uncomfortable situation.

The PUSA has asked the Vice-Chancellor to take up the matter of filling up the sanctioned posts with the Ministry of Human Resource. Each year, nearly 40 employees retired, yet no fresh recruitment were made. Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor has assured fair play in the inquiry.



Patient in hospital with dengue symptoms
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 6
The district health authorities have swung into action after a dengue case has been reported here two days ago. They have, however, denied that a patient had died of dengue in Haripur village last evening.

The rumour of a dengue death in Haripur in Sector 4 kept the health authorities on their toes throughout the day. It was later confirmed in the evening that the 40-year-old resident had not died of dengue, but of some other viral infection.

The Civil Surgeon, Panchkula, Dr Satvir Chaudhary, said a team of doctors led by the District Malaria Officer, Dr V.P. Kakkar, had visited Haripur today and family members informed them that the deceased had shown no signs of dengue or malaria. “ However, we have begun surveying the area and collecting blood slides to test for any possible dengue fevers, “ he said.

Meanwhile, according to the health authorities, Gautam Mohan, who has been admitted to Kaiser Hospital, here, has shown symptoms of dengue, but they would take his blood sample for a test tomorrow. Dr Chaudhary said Gautam Mohan had most probably contacted the disease, while he was away to Punjab on a tour on October 27 and 28. He denied that there was any other reported case of dengue in the area.



Nagar kirtan marks Gurpurb celebrations 
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 6
The sound of crackers mingled with the melodious notes of shabads as residents followed the ‘Panj Pyaras’ holding kirpans during a nagar kirtan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev which falls on Saturday.

The nagar kirtan began at about 1 pm. As the band played religious notes, students, clad in the traditional white attire, marched, while ‘gatka’ players displayed their talent.

A number of devotees joined the ‘Panj Pyaras’ who walked in front of the Palki Sahib carrying Guru Granth Sahib. Students could be seen launching rockets and bursting crackers.

The kirtan started from Sector 19 gurdwara and reached Sector 27 market. It then passed through Sectors 28 29, 30, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. Te nagar kirtan culminated at the gurdwara in Sector 15.

Elaborate arrangements had been made to divert the traffic during the nagar kirtan.

Meanwhile, poem recitation, talk show and shabad singing marked the Gurpurb celebrations at Delhi Public School in Sector 40.

The celebrations began with the recitation of shabad “Awwal Allah Noor Upaya”. A talk show on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev was held which was followed by prabhat pheri.

The school Principal, Ms Sunita Tanwar, highlighted the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev.



Journalist is not story: Mark Tully
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Christened the “Voice of India”, Mark Tully, the man who reached most Indian homes for almost 30 years as BBC India correspondent, is still very much the journalist India looks up to.

As he begins quizzing you about your entry into journalism, Mark Tully needs to be reminded that time has shuffled the cards and it is he who is under the spotlight, during an exclusive interview with The Tribune, before his lecture on “India in Slow Motion-Why?” gets underway at the British Library, here today. And from here on, there’s no stopping him as he takes you through the serpentine journey of history he was witness to, leaf by leaf, episode by episode.

Having reported the great events on the subcontinent right from Bangladesh’s war of independence to the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Indian Army’s attack on the Golden Temple to the assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Mark Tully’s found his way into journalism by a stroke of destiny.

After staying for a decade in Calcutta, now Kolkata, his birth place, Tully returned to Britain and weighed the option of entering the clergy while he studied at a theology college. “I realised I was not made to be in the clergy and approached my campus to find suitable placement. I did a brief stint with an NGO involved in serving old people before taking up an assignment in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on the personnel side. Unhappy with their bureaucratic ways, I applied for the post of Indian correspondent and got it though I had not planned,” he recalls.

When he came back to India in the sixties, he didn’t think he would stay for long. However, fate had other plans, and, during his stay at the Claridges’ Hotel in Delhi, the fragrance of marigolds and the musty smell of cow dung in its garden brought childhood memories rushing back “like an electric train”.

“It was then that I said to myself, ‘Maybe, there is something special about India’ and I stayed on. After I left BBC in 1994, I realised I had no reason to leave India. It would reflect poorly on my love for the country. Nine years on, I have no plans to leave,” he informs, at home in his suite at the IMTECH.

Profusely praising the Indian print media for being a “remarkable example of a free press”, he says its commercialisation was a sad trend. Naming a national daily for its non-journalistic ways, he remarks, “When you know you can pay to have a story, it is not journalism at all.”

Critical of the presentation of news by the electronic media, he opines that “not enough effort goes into using the film and pictures intelligently” besides there being too much focus on the correspondent. “The correspondent is not the story. The public is interested in seeing what is happening,” he adds.

Interrupting his own stream of thought, he takes the opportunity to introduce his passion into the conversation, the radio that made Mark Tully the man the sub-continent likes to hear. Blaming the elite for disgracing the radio, he explains, “We don’t need a Murdoch, a BBC or a CNN to tell us what is happening in our country. It’s ridiculous that the government allows private channels for news but doesn’t trust its own medium. I feel very strongly about that and my first love continues to be the radio,” he asserts.

As he speaks on endlessly about the radio, affable and amiable, Mark Tully blushes when asked about his iconic status with regard to journalism. Dismissing his recognition as a “cult figure” in the field with a wave of the hand, he says, “I am not a cult figure. I am confused on this issue because, all along, I have believed that the journalist is not the story, he is not the star and everybody wants to put me in the very position I don’t want. I wish I could put myself in a box but I don’t know how,” he says.

Reflecting on his stay in India and how the country has grown over the decades, he expresses satisfaction with the way things are moving. “We have a new India emerging. Essentially entailing information technology, this new India is also a consequence of the blooming of the economy, the liberalisation and development of infrastructure. Personally, however, I feel that we mustn’t allow two India to come up. In rural India, instead of the new India, we see a wrong India where the police fails to enforce law and the bureaucracy fails to deliver,” Tully points out.

In reply to a question on one event that he had hated reporting as the BBC correspondent, Mark Tully, said that the trial and execution of Zulfiquar Bhutto in Pakistan had a lot of sadness attached to it.

“A Supreme Court judge told us that the whole trial was rigged, but we couldn't report it because he would have backtracked on his statement. We did our best but we couldn’t pen down the facts. Had we written about it then, the government could not have gone ahead with it. The execution was shameful,” he lamented.

Unwilling to talk of his row over the “modernisation” of BBC in 1994 and his subsequent resignation, he informs,” I recall only my happy moments though I regret the fact that I neither got a pat on my back for my work in India nor the gold watch which was a tradition at BBC.”

With eight books to his credit, Mark Tully has also made documentaries on India, his favourites being two travelogues from Karachi to Khyber pass and another titled “An Indian Summer of Steam” on his journey from Jalandhar to Rann of Kutch. “For the time being, I am not into anything much. I am thinking,” he concluded.



Politician-bureaucrat nexus cornering fruits of progress, says Mark Tully
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Former BBC correspondent for India Sir Mark Tully interacts with a reader at Capital Book Store, Sector 17
Former BBC correspondent for India Sir Mark Tully interacts with a reader at Capital Book Store, Sector 17, in Chandigarh on Thursday. — Tribune photos by Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, November 6
Sharing one’s fears can be the most hazardous of tasks, not only because it bares one’s insecurities, but also because it makes one susceptible to public judgment. The hazard can, however, be handled if the man voicing his concerns puts them across not as if they were his alone, but as if they were a collective inheritance and, therefore, demanded a collective handling so that they may be allayed forever.

Mark Tully did just that this evening by bringing the gathering at the British Library face to face with the stark realities that challenge India to recall and uphold its potentialities —- from humanism and tolerance to secularism and non-violence. With his deeply deferential manner, his incisive knowledge of India and his outstanding felicity of expression, Mark Tully discussed the gravest of issues with admirable ease, stressing upon caution and hope at the same time.

Taking off from his work, “India in Slow Motion,” Tully brought alive the India of his understanding, reaffirming his faith in the grandeur of its civilisation and its human potential, which, he said, could take on China any moment. He, however, derided the lethal politician-bureaucrat nexus which, he said, had for long been cornering the fruits of progress in India. “What holds India back is its inability to reform the administrative system which it inherited from the British. It has allowed power to fall into the hands of politicians who are misusing caste and religion to divert the attention of the people from their own misdeeds,” said Tully in his typically mordant style.

While examining the root cause of slack growth in India, notwithstanding its incredible potential, Tully made points in favour of privatisation. “The impact of development is fractional. Education and health have not reached the poor. Our politicians resist privatisation not because they favour nationalisation but because they don’t wish to part with the privileges of centralised control. Otherwise there was no need for us to have the Indian Airlines or Air- India.” Tully also touched upon the critical “right to information”, which is being vehemently advocated by social activist Aruna Roy.

As the archetypal reporter discussed the urgency of modernisation and civil activism in India, he made the moot point abundantly clear: “Politicians are using caste and religion to distract public attention. While I perfectly understand why people do politics in the name of caste, I don’t understand why caste should be exploited to grind baser motives. Religion is a more fundamental diversion in India and it is being used to promote strife. It is a paradox considering India’s rich tradition of religious pluralism. We must also guard against secular fundamentalists.” In a brief interaction with The Tribune later, Tully admitted that there was a need to include the study of religion in curriculum, so that all doubts about religion could be put to rest.

As for Tully’s musings, they led the listeners into questioning him almost endlessly on the roadblocks in India. His talk naturally stirred passion, especially when he said, “India’s potential remains unrealised due to “neta-babu raaj”. If it were to be realised, India will make huge contributions to the world and the West will again turn to the East as it has often done. But unless India relearns its own lessons, it will not have anything to teach anyone”.

While Tully paid verbal tributes to India, one sat virtually smitten with his style, so laced with visual, spiritual and philosophical details about India that one could instantly experience the land in all its hues — from peace-endorsing scriptures to blood-stained paths engineered by communalism. Finally, however, only the truth remained, as stated by thinker Shobhita Punja, whom even Mark Tully loves to believe:

“The whole purpose of my life is to be able to understand one truth — that you and I are just manifestations of that same divinity. If that is the truth, then there is no way I could ever harm you, because you are God, I am God.”

Tully charms his readers

Keeping his date with readers at the Capital Book Store in Sector 17, Sir Mark Tully held them in a spell with the charm of his words. The self-professed Indophile enamoured people with his humble and spirited demeanour. He spent about half an hour in the store, hearing out people’s views about him and his style of expression and analyses and also congratulating them for keeping their interest alive in his pursuits. Divided between journalists and readers, he managed to balance time, signing autographs on copies of his works for readers and also talking about his Indian experiences to journalists. The copies of books which he autographed, included, “No Full Stops in India,” “The Heart of India” and “India in Slow Motion”.

A warm welcome

At the British Library in Sector 8, Mark Tully arrived well in time, only to be greeted warmly by Chandigarhians. No wonder he made a special mention of the hearty and a “flowery” welcome which he received at the British Library, that was all decked up for his talk. After being introduced by Dr N.K. Bhatia, who narrated interesting anecdotes on the current state of political and social affairs in India, Sir Mark Tully went on to deliver a crisp talk on “India in Slow Motion: Why”. As the talk ended, the quintessential journalist braced up to handle the questions posed by the audience. Attending each query, including the most elaborate ones, with utmost humility, Mark Tully answered each one, even while his evening cup of tea awaited him well past the evening. 



Registration of wells, tubewells ordered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Union Government has directed the Deputy Commissioners of certain districts in Punjab and Haryana, besides other states, to start immediately the registration of tubewells, wells and other sources of water owing to a decline deterioration in the subsoil water table.

The Union Government has issued a notification asking the Deputy Commissioners to start registration.

Sources in the Regional Ground Water Board here told TNS today that senior officers of the board had got in touch with the Deputy Commissioners concerned to make them aware of the registration process. Registration is to be completed in 90 days.

After the lapse of the 90-day period, intimation about every fresh installation of a tubewell, borewell etc, would have to be submitted to the authorities concerned at the district or block levels.

There were “over-exploited areas” in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh where the withdrawal of ground water was more than its replenishment resulting in a decline of the ground water level.

Among the areas where registration is to be done are Moga (I) and Moga (II) blocks, Sangrur, Mahal Kalan and Ahmedgarh in Punjab. In Haryana it is to be done in Shahabad, Nangal Chowdhary, Narnaul, Samalkha, Karnal, Khol( Rewari) areas. In Rajasthan, the areas listed for registration are Pushkar Velley, Behror (Alwar), Bhinmal, Jalore, and Bhinmal (Jalore), Budhana, Chirawa, Surajgrah (Jhunjhunu), Mundhwa (Nagaur), Dhod and Sri Madhopur (Sikar).



Chairman nominated to probe firemen recruitment scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
In connection with the issue raised by the BJP councillors over the delay in completing the inquiry into the alleged bungling in the recruitment of 40-odd firemen, the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, today nominated a councillor, Mrs Harpreet Kaur, as the Chairman of the committee constituted to probe into the scam.

Earlier, the Mayor had said the probe into the scam had been delayed as he was no longer the Chairman of the probe committee. He said he had ceased to be the Chairman after he was elected as the Mayor of the corporation.

The other members of the committee are Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Mrs Amar Kulwant Singh and the Chief Fire Officer, Mr G S Bajwa.

Last year, while Mrs Lalit Joshi was the Mayor, the committee headed by the leader of the Congress in the municipal corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla, had postponed a meeting of the committee after the corporation expressed its inability to provide more documents in a letter.

As the members of the committee and municipal corporation officials differed on the supply of documents, the committee could not conclude its findings. The corporation had then supplied around 5,000 pages to members of the committee.

A member of the committee said a number of loose ends in the version of the officials had strengthened the suspicion of bungling after repeated denial of documents. There were alleged cuttings on mark sheets, a person rejected earlier was passed later on, two Scheduled Caste category candidates with their residential addresses in SAS Nagar had been selected despite a condition that a bonafide resident of the city only could qualify.

The member said it was on the record of the com- mittee that the officials had showed their inability to give individual mark sheets of members of the selection committee as these were reportedly torn after the selection committee had selected the candidates.

The criteria fixed for a physical test and two grades were decided to grade the candidates but the selectors later did away with a superior criterion requiring a candidate to climb a 10-foot rope. It was reported that the list of the successful candidates had been signed by clerks instead of committee members. 


Waste treatment plant to come up on 12 acres
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 6
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the municipal council (MC) have decided to set up a solid waste management plant, opposite Sector 23.
A 12-acre piece of land has been identified for the garbage dump and setting up a waste treatment plant in order to do away with the problem of garbage disposal. A part of this land belongs to the Forest Department, while the ownership of a small portion is in private hands. Official sources say that negotiations for acquiring this land from the Forest Department are almost complete and HUDA will allocate some land to the Forest Department elsewhere in lieu of this land being taken for setting up a solid waste management plant.

Sources inform that this land has been identified keeping in view its distance from the township. This land also has a depression of 20 to 30 feet, which will be useful as a dump for many years, informed a senior official.

Till date there is no systematic disposal or treatment of solid waste in the township. This is simply dumped in vacant plots on the periphery or reportedly in the Singh Nullah, passing through various sectors in the township.

According to a survey conducted by the municipal council, 400 grams of solid waste is generated by a single person in a day. With a population of around 2.75 lakhs, as much as 110 tonnes of solid waste is generated in the township a day.

Most of the residents welfare associations in the township complain that the sanitation system here is anything but good. In almost all the sectors, residents welfare associations have given private contract for collecting garbage from each household, at rates varying from Rs 10 to Rs 20 a household. Garbage collected from a particular area is then disposed off in the garbage bins put up by HUDA.

It is learnt that more than 150 garbage bins have been put up by the authorities at various places here. The garbage, after being collected from these bins by the private contractor of the council is finally disposed off on the outskirts, especially near partially developed Sectors 20, 23 and 25. However, residents of these areas have given numerous representations to the authorities against dumping of garbage here. With a number of people now residing here, the foul smell emanating from these “unauthorised garbage dumps” has become a major problem for them.



Corridor mooted for commercial vehicles on city-Panchkula road
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has suggested to provide a separate corridor for slow-moving commercial vehicles on the Chandigarh-Panchkula road in the wake of a whopping rise of 25 per cent in fatal accidents in the city.

Interestingly, the total number of accidents this year has come down by 7 per cent but fatal accidents have increased manifold.

However, the suggestion could only be implemented if there are certain bylaws for rickshaws and cycles as enforcement on them was not possible because they are not covered under the Motor Vehicles Act.

The Chandigarh police is going to suggest a separate carriageway on the left side of the road but because this space is now earmarked for slow moving non-motorised vehicles, it would not be possible to allow commercial vehicles on it. This is being followed in many areas of Delhi.

The Chandigarh police is also considering to make busy roads free of slow-moving vehicles.

This opinion of the Traffic Police is being forwarded to a committee comprising Municipal Commissioner M.P. Singh, Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar and Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Amitabh Dhillon. The committee has been set up to improve traffic management in the city.

But before this, the licencing of rickshaw-pullers and rickshaws' permits would have to be ensured so that they are covered under the law. The Traffic Police feels the registration and licencing of rickshaws should be done by the municipal corporation and enforcement should be entrusted to the MC, the Estate Office and the police.

The police has also suggested that on the Panchkula-Chandigarh road, rickshaws and bicycles could be banned with an alternative route being provided to them through internal roads. But for this also there is a need of a law for which the competent authority has to issue a notification.

This killer road has drawn the attention of the police but now Vikas Marg on the outer limits of the city seems to have replaced it with 10 fatal accidents being recorded on this road till yesterday.

The Traffic Police is wary of impounding rickshaws for the violation of traffic rules and wants that compounding authority should be given to the MC, the Traffic Police and the Estate Office to penalise the violators but the rickshaws need not be kept in police custody, Mr Dhillon said.

The Traffic Police is of the opinion that if the slow-moving traffic has to be regulated, it needs to be ensured in the bylaws that cycles, rickshaws and slow moving vehicles move only on cycle tracks being laid in the city.

Mr Dhillon said 50 per cent of the deployment is for ensuring that the non-motorised vehicles move on the side of the road which is earmarked for them.

He suggested there was need for at least two additional traffic signals on Vikas Marg against one as of now.

The Traffic Police, to make public aware about the accidents, is going to make accident albums a public document so that everybody could follow the sequence preceding an accident.

The Traffic Police is finding the staff strength at the 1974 level as a constraint to enforce traffic regulations completely as the vehicle population and number of accidents have gone up by five times virtually.



Cops in Bangalore to search for missing girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh police assisted by the Bangalore police today conducted raids at several places in Bangalore in search of a missing city girl dancer, Simran, on whose mother’s complaint a racket of trapping girls as floor dancers in pubs was claimed to have been busted.

The raids, however, did not yield any result but going by the cooperation of the Karnataka police, the investigating party’s team leader Inspector K.I.P. Singh has decided to stay back for couple of days more to look for Simran.

The investigating team was today separated in two groups with the one led by Mr K.I.P. Singh staying back and the another heading towards Chandigarh, along with 12 girls from the region which was likely to reach the city tomorrow. The girls recovered by the police from confinement included Simran’s cousin Rajni about whose presence the kingpin of the racket K. M. Muralidhar had already told the police.

Muralidhar had said Simran had allegedly eloped with someone from Bangalore and was not with him. He had told the police of the 35 girls recruited from the city through a music company and two other persons, 21 had already reached the city during Divali and had not returned to his pubs.

The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, said the Karnataka police had been very cooperative with the local investigating team.

The recovery of Simran is crucial as her mother had alleged that her daughter had complained on telephone that she was not being allowed to buy train tickets and maintain contacts with the family.

After this information, the girl had just disappeared with no contacts being maintained with the family in Chandigarh.



Four agenda items passed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Differences among the members of the Electricity Committee, including the Congress councillors, today resulted in deferment of agenda items on augmentation of services in the city.

Only four agenda items, including a table item on electrification in a pocket of Mani Majra, were passed. The Chairman of the committee, Ms Shayama Negi, said the contentious issue of augmentation of work on putting up streetlights on V5 road in Sectors 31 had been deferred till the next meeting.

Enquiries reveal that when the committee meeting began, Mr Didar Khan, a nominated councillor, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Ms Shyama Negi, Ms Pushpa Sharma were present. Both Mr Didar Khan and Mr Chhabra left after passing the agenda items, excluding the three items on augmenting streetlighting on V5 road in Sector 31 and V3 road between Sectors 54 and 55. According to information they contested that the development work of Sector 31 had been split into two so that it could be taken up at the Finance and Contract Committee meeting.

After some time, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Jatinder Bhatia came to the meeting. Mr Surinder Singh, a Congress councillor, said he had opposed the agenda item on argumentation as the officer concerned had failed to provide the details of the works. He said they had recommended that the issue relating to work in the area which did not have any streetlighting should be taken up. He said the augmentation work in Sector 40 and Sector 30-D and a supplementary agenda item on providing streetlight at Ram Darbar had been passed.

Mr Didar Khan said once the Chairman had passed the agenda items the same could not be deferred later. He said it was unfortunate if that had happened.

Ms Negi said the councillors were opposing certain agenda items due to their personnel differences. But added that she would not allow the development work to be affected. The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, dismissed it as a minor issue and said it would be resolved tomorrow.



Panchkula Diary
Women not exercising their rights, says DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 6
Though women have been given adequate representation at various levels by the government, they have failed to recognise and exercise their rights. It is still their menfolk who make all the decisions.

This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, while presiding over a workshop of self-help women groups organised by the Women and Child Development Department here today. She said the women should be apprised of their rights for the betterment of society as a whole.

She asked all district departments to make such schemes that can be taken up by the women self-help groups, and ensure their active participation. Speaking on the occasion, Ms Suraj Kaur, District Women and Child Welfare Officer, told the women that the main aims of these women organisations was to control violence against women, stop female foeticide, help stop the practice of dowry , ensure education of girl child etc.

Jhuggis demolished: As many as 35 jhuggis and 10 shuttering shops, on the government land in the Industrial Area were demolished by the Enforcement staff of HUDA. The drive went on peacefully. One JCB machine was used for razing these illegal structures. 



Goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 6
Two incidents of fire were reported from Phase V and Phase 3B1 here. While there was no damage to life, goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh were gutted in the fire.
According to fire station officials, a resident of Phase V Mr Neerajpal lost household goods worth at least a lakh rupees when his computer caught fire. Neerajpal, who had been living as a tenant in the house of Mr A.J.S. Aujla here, had gone off to work but was called back from office when smoke was found emanating from the upper storey of the house. According to fire officials, Neerajpal had left his computer in a working condition in the morning and by afternoon, the UPS of the computer sparked off a short circuit causing the fire which gutted almost all his furniture.

In another incident, goods worth Rs 30,000 were gutted in a fire at house number 249, Phase 3B1 belonging to Mr Khushwant Singh. The fire officials said the fire was caused by a short circuit but was brought under control before the tenders could reach as the whole family was at home when the incident took place.


Check misuse of loudspeaker by gurdwara

This letter is to bring to your notice the problem of noise pollution created by the gurdwara situated in Shahid Bhagat Singh Colony, Sector 49. Though we have requested the gurdwara authorities many times and even informed the police, no respite has been forthcoming.

Residents living nearby are having a harrowing time as gurdwara authorities use loudspeakers in violation of the rules, caring little for the sick, students, elderly and others. Kirtan in the gurdwara starts around 4 am and the loudspeaker remains functioning at high pitch till 9 pm.

Though the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests has banned such a use of public address system, we fail to understand why the gurdwara management does not listen to the requests of the people of the area.

Though most of the members of the gurdwara management are opposed to the idea of using the loudspeaker at such a high pitch, they add that the head of the gurdwara, Baba Harpal Singh, is adamant on continuing with the practice and is not open to any dialogue on the issue. About six months ago, the police had acted on our complaint, but the problem has started again.

We request the police to intervene and oblige us by ensuring the enforcement of rules in this regard and to make sure that the harassment is discontinued.

Dharamvir Singh Gill, Tejinder Singh Kahlon, Kamal Mohan Singh, Amarjeet Singh, K.S. Dhillon, (Residents of Phase 9, SAS Nagar)

Bank claim false

This refers to my complaint regarding undue delay in the settlement of my retrial dues and the reply given and duly published in these column on October 28. The reply is misleading and almost all issues remain unresolved.

The DGM, Jammu zone, had called me personally for discussion in October, 2002, at Chandigarh LHQ. He had promised to settle all issues within a fortnight. He had admitted that there had been lethargy on the part of dealing officials at the zonal office at the Chandigarh LHQ.

It is totally misleading on the part of a senior functionary of the bank to say that I had abandoned my service. I had retired in routine vide orders of a former Chairman of the bank. The Chief General Manager of the bank must look for the papers.

It is also wrong to claim that 20-day salary was paid to me. It was maliciously set apart and no information was given to me in this regard. I have not been paid salary, despite my elaborate reply to letter No. Per & Hrd/1041 dated December 29, 2001, of the Jammu zonal office. I have also not been apprised officially in this regard.

The decision of the LHQ in imposing any penalty was reversed by the Central Office. Withholding the promotion is against the principles of natural justice, administrative law and decisions of the apex court.

The Chief General Manager should go through the contents of the letter of his office (PPG/2/901 of October 3, 2002, para-II) and my letter (dated October 14, 2002) for further details and proceed against the defaulting officials.

Tarlok Singh Chhabra, SAS Nagar

Don’t humiliate Daler

All self-respecting citizens should strongly condemn the humiliation meted out to Daler Mehndi by the Patiala police. He might have indulged in human trafficking and may even be found guilty of the offence, but even then the act of the police in gathering a mob to browbeat and demoralise him cannot be justified. Removing his trousers for identification is also not justified.

The police authorities should conduct themselves in a dignified manner, however, big or small the person may be.

Col Randhir Singh (retd), Patiala



Air Force station contractors go on strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The contractors of the 12 Wing Air Force station and 3 BRD today went on indefinite strike in protest against the alleged non-cooperative attitude of the authorities.

According to Mr Amarjit Singh, Chairman of the MES Contractors Association, Chandigarh, the decision to go on strike was taken at a meeting of the contractors which was attended by 32 of the 50 contractors. A letter has also been sent to the Chief Engineer, Western Air Command, New Delhi.



Eminent educationist dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Mrs Jaswant Kaur, an eminent educationist and wife of Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, General Secretary of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), died at Ludhiana this afternoon. She retired as a headmistress from Punjab Education Department. She was 86.

Mrs Jaswant Kaur was the first Headmistress of Government Model Middle School in Model Town, Ludhiana, before she was promoted and posted as Headmistress of High Schools. Her youngest son, Dr Navdeep Singh Khaira, is the President of the Punjab Nephorology Association.

She will be cremated at the Model Town Extension cremation ground in Ludhiana at 1 pm on Friday.



Unidentified man dies
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 6
An unidentified man who was found unconscious near fields at Sawara village and who was later taken to the local Civil Hospital by the sarpanch of the village, died here today.

According to Dr Balwinder Singh of the hospital, a CT scan was conducted yesterday and it was found that the man had suffered brain haemorrhage.

Mr Rupinder Singh, DSP, said the body of the deceased would be kept for two days at the Civil Hospital for identification.



ITBP personnel create ruckus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Three Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel today allegedly created a ruckus in front of Tawa Restaurant on the Sector 19 and 27 light point.
According to sources in the police, ITBP personnel were in an inebriated condition and were taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital for medical examination by police personnel of Sector 19.



Flesh trade racket busted
Five women in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Five women, who ran their commercial sex network for years, reportedly in the knowledge of their family members, last night landed in the police net.
Feroza, Shashi, Sonu, Neelam and Krishna were arrested by a police team led by the DSP (South), Mr S.S. Randhawa, after the women struck a deal with a decoy customer near the petrol pump in Kajheri. Mr Randhawa sent a Rs 500 note signed by him along with the decoy costomer after information was passed on to him that these women were allegedly involved in immoral trafficking.

The women were today sent in judicial custody despite three of them having been granted bail.

Though Krishna, Sonu and Neelam were granted bail, they could not be released as their addresses could not be verified. The court asked the investigating officer to verify their addresses before releasing them.

Feroza and Shashi, the pimps, were denied bail.

They were operating through mobile phones and the police seized five of these from them.

All of them were between 25 and 30 years of age, except one who was 48. Children of one of the woman had been married.

Sonu from Sector 12, Panchkula, told the Chandigarh Tribune that she was lured into the trade on account of extreme poverty and continued afterwards as she had been earning a handsome amount.

The women told the police that they had left their mobile numbers with certain select customers who used to refer these to others.

The pimps Feroza from Manimajra and Shashi from Sector 12, Panchkula, used to charge them 50 per cent of the each deal struck, they reportedly told the police.

They told the police that they had been charging both on hourly and per night basis from the customers.

The women told the police that on certain days they earned as much as Rs 2500.

One of the women was carrying an identity card of a national political party, the police said.

Sources in the police said family members of the women were present on the district court premises when they were produced in the court.

Feroza and Neelam were seen sobbing in the court with their illegal activity becoming public knowledge.

Feroza, Neelam and Krishna are from Manimajra, Sector 21, Chandigarh and Chudianwala Mohalla in Manimajra, respectively.

The police has not revealed the details of their mobiles phones to know who have been in contact with the women.

A senior official said the details of the mobile phones would be ascertained to know if it was a bigger racket than it seemed.

A police official said these woman had no source of livelihood other than this immoral and illegal trade.



Man killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 6
One person was killed and another injured in an accident that took place near Sill village here last night.
According to the police, Ajaib Singh and Swaran Singh were going on a scooter when a car (CH 01H 8354) hit them. They received serious injuries and were taken to the local Civil Hospital.

While Ajaib Singh succumbed to his injuries on the way, Swaran Singh was referred to the PGI. The police has registered a case against the driver of the car under Sections 279, 337 and 304, IPC.



Milkman killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 6
A 37-year-old milkman from Raipur supplying milk to the town died in an accident early this morning.
According to the information given by the police, the victim, Kushal Singh, was hit by a canter in Phase V this morning.

The driver of the canter fled away leaving the canter. The police has registered a case against the driver and impounded the canter. Kushal Singh is survived by his wife and two children.



Milkfed to increase plant capacity
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service


  • Demand for milk in city down from 2 lakh litres per day during Divali to 1.70 lakh litres.
  • Plans to increase milk handling capacity to 3 lakh litres a day.

SAS Nagar, November 6
After handling the recent milk supply crisis in the city and surrounding towns, Milkfed has decided to expand the milk handling capacity of its Milk plant here from two lakh litres a day to three lakh litres a day soon. It plans to expand the capacity of the plant by raising a soft loan of Rs 12 crore from the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to meet the increase in demand of the packaged liquid milk in the region.

The milk plant here is supplying milk to Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula besides some supply to Parwanoo and Shimla as well. Recently due to drastic fall in milk procurement by over 10 per cent and increase in demand by about 20 per cent, it faced severe crisis of milk supply. Subsequently, the production of all other milk products was stopped to deal with the situation.

Officials say the milk supply crisis has been solved with the increase in milk procurement and decline in demand for the milk after Divali. Before Divali, the demand for milk had gone up to over two lakh litres per day in view of the high demand for sweet preparation. But now the demand has come down to around 1.70 lakh litres per day. Consequently, the preparation of milk products like the curd, kheer and desi ghee, that was stopped in view of the shortage of milk, has again been resumed.

Dealers in Sectors 15, 22, 40 and 45, 47 admitted that they were not facing any shortage of milk. The supply of curd, kheer and other products was now available on demand. Said a dealer in Sector 40. “We had to face the wrath of the customers during Divali days, but now the supply has normalised. The demand for curd and ice cream has also fallen with the onset of winter season.

Officials disclosed that because of increase in milk demand, they not only cut down the production of other products, but also offered an incentive of Rs 15 per kg fat to the milk producers. It helped them meet the demand in city, SAS Nagar and Panchkula during Divali, Karva Chauth and other festivals.

He claimed: “We have learnt various lessons from the supply crisis this year. Our total milk handling capacity has, no doubt, increased from one lakh litres per day to two lakh litres a day, but the demand for packaged milk has increased by our 15 per cent annum in the city. The increase in population, income levels and increasing concern for health are the main reasons for this development.”

The Milkmen, Milktime and some other private players were also supplying milk to the city, but the Milkfed still enjoyed over 80 per cent share in the packaged milk supply, he added. Regarding the reports of low quantity of milk in packets, he said: “We take all precautions to ensure packaging of right quantity and quality of the milk. In case of any complain the customers can approach us directly.” 



Bangalore girl wins diamond pendant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
AirTel, India’s leading mobile service provider, today presented an exclusive diamond pendant to Ms Alpana Priyabhasini, the winner of its “In-Roamers Reward programme”.

All in-roamers who selected AirTel Punjab automatically qualified for the In-Roamers Reward programme once they crossed 25 minutes of usage. For every one minute beyond the 25 minutes, the roamer got an additional chance to win the diamond and other attractive prizes.

27-year-old Alpana, working with a leading financial consultancy firm in Bangalore was visibly excited at having won the diamond pendant. “A diamond is a girl’s best friend and I thank Airtel for giving me this,” she said.

Mr Vinod Sawhny, CEO & Director — Mobility, Bharti Mobile Ltd., said “AirTel values relationships and this initiative is an effort to reward our valued customers and appreciate their trust in us.”



Adventure park planned at Morni
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 6
The Haryana Tourism Department is setting up a state- of- the- art adventure theme park at Morni here. This park, which will put Haryana on the adventure tourism destination, will be opened by the beginning of next year.

Officials in the state Tourism Department informed TNS that the adventure park is being set up on a five acre piece of a hillock, between the two taals at Morni. Officials say that proper care is being taken so that the ecology of the land is not disrupted. It will be an environmental adventure park without the mechanical or other swings found in most amusement parks, they promise.

The park is being set up at a cost of Rs 80 lakh, and will have river crossings, Tarzan swings , tree houses, a maze, tree top works, a haunted house ( where the visitors will have an experience of the haunted using light and sound effects) etc. A kutccha house on this land, where the park is being set up, will be retained, and after being redecorated, will be converted into a restaurant. This park will combine the old world charm with the latest in adventure sports. The landscaping of the area is now almost complete.

Morni is the only hill station in the state and attracts a large number of trekkers and adventure sports enthusiasts from the region. In fact adventure camps are a regular feature here which prompted Haryana Tourism to set up an adventure theme park.

This adventure park is the brainchild of the Director, Haryana Tourism, Mrs Navraj Sandhu, who says that utmost care has been taken to ensure that the adventure park caters to all age groups. She informs that the park is so designed that children, youth and elders can all have fun. “In fact, we have created a separate children’s section, which will have all geometrical shapes and will be brightly painted. Huge butterflies in different hues are being set up in the children’s section,” she says.

She informs that the students of Chandigarh College of Architecture have assisted them in the designing of the park, while the art work (at the entrance, in the haunted house etc) will be done by Government College of Art, Chandigarh.


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