C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Parties to fight stray cattle menace
Tribune News Service

Members of political parties listen to the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, during an all-party meeting on the stray cattle menace, held at the Municipal Corporation office, Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
Members of political parties listen to the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, during an all-party meeting on the stray cattle menace, held at the Municipal Corporation office, Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, November 18
Rising above political inclinations, representatives of different political parties today announced to jointly fight the stray cattle menace and pressurise the Chandigarh Administration to find a long-lasting solution. They unanimously demanded that a piece of land, around 25 acres, should be earmarked on the outskirts of the city for a gaushala.

The consensus on the issue was reached at an all party meeting called by the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, here today. The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, also attended the meeting.


  • At least 25 acres of land required to set up a gaushala for 4,000 head of cattle in the forest area of UT.

  • Political parties to fight the menace on a common platform.

  • NGOs and religious bodies to be approached for funds to feed the stray cattle.

  • Medical care of the “homeless” creatures to be undertaken by the corporation.

The all-party forum has decided to approach the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, with their demands and suggestions. Briefing the mediapersons after meeting, Mr Chawla said without any assistance from the administration, the corporation could only provide around 6.5 acres of land, spread in Maloya, Dhanas and Mauli Jagran villages, for gaushalas. A maximum of 1,500 head of cattle could be accommodated in the proposed gaushalas.

The Mayor said it was suggested that the administration, in consultation with the Forest Department, could earmark around 25 acres of forest land behind the PGI or Panjab University for a gaushala. Since there was provision of water there, around 4,000 head of cattle could easily be looked after there.

With the help of the NGO’s, political parties will arrange funds for fodder and other infrastuctural requirements. Mr Vijay Singh Bhardwaj of the VHP, who was a special invitee at the meeting, said an appeal would be made to every temple, gurdwara and other religious institutions to donate funds for feeding the “helpless creatures”. Medical care would be provided by the veterinary doctors of the corporation. The Mayor hoped that the administration would accept their suggestions.

Mr Bhardwaj said the administration could provide land from villages which were earmarked as ‘gau charas’ in the old revenue record. He objected to the suggestion of castrating the stray bulls. He said looking after the cattle could be made commercially viable by producing natural medicines and other products from the urine of the creatures.

Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit of the BJP, said the problem could be easily be controlled. He lamented that the corporation had not provided any financial support to victims of road accidents involving stray cattle. He suggested that gaushalas could be set up in four corners of the city .

Mr G.S. Riar, president of the local unit of the SAD, said the traffic police should be involved to keep away stray cattle away from road dividers and busy sections of the roads. He offered financial help for setting up a gaushala.

Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, press secretary of the All-India Lawyers for Human Rights Organisation, who was also a special invitee, also spoke on the issue. Other persons who spoke were Mr Devi Dyal from the CPI, Mr Inderjeet Singh from the CPM, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj from the Janata Dal (U), Mr Balbir Jhanghra from the BSP and Mr Narinder Kashyap from the Janata Dal (S).

Meanwhile, a series of road accidents due to stray cattle has made the Administration sit up and take notice, the UT Administrator today told his officers that pro-active measures to check the menace of stray cattle in the city were required. The Administrator added that the menace of stray cattle in the city were required. The Administrator added that the menace of stray cattle on the roads had to be solved by removing them from city limits to make life safer for the residents.

The problem needs to be solved with the involvement of public, said the Administrator while asking his Adviser, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, to convene a meeting of Non-Government Organisations who were keen to set up gaushalas in Chandigarh within five days. The Administrator said “we cannot shut our eyes to this problem”.

Justice Verma instructed his Adviser to identify suitable chunks of land which could be allotted to various NGOs to construct gaushalas, which can be managed by the resources of the NGOs.

The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr M.P. Singh, said there were around 4,000 stray cattle in the city.

The Municipal Corporation will approach the Chandigarh police to ensure that stray cattle from neighbouring states were not pushed into the city. The Mayor , Mr Subhash Chawla, said the corporation would be writing to the civic bodies of the neighbouring areas in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, not to push their stray cattle into the city. The authorities in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have already written to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation not to shunt out their “ homeless” animals. Checking the porous borders of the city with Punjab and Haryana for “infiltration” by stray cattle would be impossible, said a senior police officer.



Buffalo charges at car, occupants escape unhurt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
It was a miraculous escape for the Vohras, when a stray buffalo charged at their speeding Honda City car last night. Though the right side of the car was completely damaged, Mr Yash Vohra, his wife, son and the car driver escaped unhurt.

The incident took place last night on the Sector 16 and 17 dividing road, when the family was returning home after attending a marriage function. Mr Vohra informed TNS that as they were driving back home around 10.30 pm, a stray buffalo came running and hit the right side of the car, which sent the car spinning.

“The driver jammed the brakes and managed to control the car, preventing it from turning turtle. However, the impact was so strong that even the front screen of the car also cracked,” he said.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, councillor from Ward No 6 (Sector 17), said that inspite of the tall promises made by the MC authorities, the stray cattle menace, especially at night time, was causing a number of road accidents. He alleged that though the MC had given a contract for catching stray cattle, the contractor could do little because of the political patronage enjoyed by the dairy owners.



PFA offers to set up gaushala
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Ms Payal Sodhi, the Founder Trustee of the People For Animals (PFA), has offered to set up a big gaushala on the outskirts of the city, which can take care of the stray cattle problem of the City Beautiful.

“We have been after the UT Administration for the past several years to allot us land so that we could establish a big gaushala and run it on the pattern of a similar gaushala being managed on the outskirts of Delhi by Ms Maneka Gandhi, Chairperson, PFA”, said Ms Sodhi in an interview with TNS here today. “We would require 15-20 acres, which could be used to accommodate up to 3,000 animals. The gaushala in Delhi could accommodate nearly 10, 000 heads of cattle”.

Ms Sodhi said the problem of stray cattle in the city, which had led to many road accidents, including fatalities, had been compounded by a large number of animals being deserted by farmers. The widespread use of a drug called oxytocin by farmers to increase the yield of milk of the milch cattle had reduced the lactation period of a cow from 15-20 years to just 5-6 years. “So more and more animals are running dry faster and are being discarded on the streets of Chandigarh, which has accentuated the problem”.

In most cases, the animals found wandering on the streets of Chandigarh are those which had become too old and weak or sick to be of any use of their owner. “They are brought to the city by farmers from villages around Chandigarh in tractor-trailers at night and let off quietly,” said Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor of Chandigarh.

He said the Municipal Corporation was very concerned over the growing incidents of accidents in the city caused by stray cattle, but it had no cut and dried solution to the problem.

He said Chandigarh had three cattle pounds located in Sector 45, 25 and the Industrial Area with a total capacity to house 600 animals. They were all overflowing now and their actual population today stood at 825. Fresh areas had been earmarked in three Chandigarh villages for establishing cattle pounds, but they would take time to come up.

Mr Chawla said the stray cattle menace in the city had been compounded by the fact that the MC staff, which had been deployed for rounding up the animals had scaled down their activities after the big controversy kicked up by the death of certain impounded cows during their transportation to the neighbouring states.

The Mayor said the MC did not have enough funds to set up more gaushalas and it was for NGOs like the PFA and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to come forward and share the responsibility.

Ms Sodhi said grants up to Rs 25 lakh were available from the Government of India for setting up gaushalas, but a big gaushala would require a much higher outlay. Therefore, the UT Administration and a few other bodies would also have to chip in along with the MC if they wanted to solve the stray cattle problem in the city. “Arranging fodder from the local vegetable market and medicines from the Chandigarh Chemists Association would be no problem. What would be required was the allocation of manpower and funds to meet the running expenses like water and power”. She also wanted a ban on the use of oxytocin on the milch cattle.



Stray cattle menace: youth files complaint
against MC
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 18
A new motorcycle (HR 03 E 2309) of a youth, Haseeb, who runs a saloon in Sector 8, was badly damaged in a fight between two stray bulls at the Sectors 27-28 traffic lights today. Haseeb had to run for his life when he saw the two bulls pushing each other towards him.

The fight between the bulls continued for over an hour before the police shooed away the bulls.

Meanwhile, the Panjab University student, Mr Padamkant Dwivedi, who was injured in an accident involving stray cattle on November 16, today logged a complaint at the Sector 39 police station demanding action against the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh authorities. In his complaint, he requested the police to register a criminal case against the MCC authorities alleging that he was injured because of their negligent act of not rounding up stray cattle on roads. He alleged that the MCC had failed to round up stray cattle and thus had exposed residents to danger.



Birth certificate of still-born child!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
When the nurses at the maternity ward of the General Hospital today handed over the birth certificate of a still-born child to the unfortunate mother, Ms Kamaljeet, she almost suspected her husband of having sold the child after telling her that he was born dead.

It was not her husband who was at fault, but the overzealous health authorities, who despite the hospital birth register clearly indicating that the child was born dead, took the trouble of making the birth certificate. "For a while, even my wife, suffering from very high blood pressure, looked at me accusingly, as she felt I had lied to her," said a weeping Mr Sham Charan, whose wife, during the last three years, had delivered two still-born children.

Immediately after the birth certificate was given by the nurse in the maternity ward, Mr Sham Charan told the staff that he had buried his dead child, born on November 16. The child was born at 3.20 a.m. and after the hospital authorities gave us the body in a sealed packet, we buried him, said Mr Sham Charan. "If the hospital can be callous enough to issue a birth certificate of a dead child, you never know tomorrow they may implicate me for taking away the child," said Mr Sham Charan, who wanted the matter to be sorted out.

The Director, Health Services, UT, Dr C.P. Bansal, when contacted, said the birth certificate had been issued inadvertently as the hospital register had clearly written that the child was born dead. "The minute the mistake was detected, the birth certificate was withdrawn before it could be handed over to the parents," said Dr Bansal, he added.

In their effort to provide a birth certificate to every child born in the hospital, the overzealous staff at the office of the Registrar, Birth and Deaths, the certificate issuing authority missed out that born dead was clearly written against the name of the parents.

Mr Sham Charan, an employee with the Government Press, said after he took his wife to a private diagnostic centre for an ultrasound on November 15, he was told that the child was already dead. “It was after this disclosure that I brought my wife to the General Hospital, but I did not disclose to her that the child was already dead,” said Mr Sham Charan.

He said he had been taking his wife to the government dispensary in Sector 20 for her routine check-up. “Every time an ultrasound had to be done, we were asked to go to a particular private centre in Sector 21-A, though the facility was available at the General Hospital,” he said.



Mystery shrouds death of Ludhiana girl
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 18
Mystery shrouds the death of 27-year-old girl, Heena, whose body was brought here by the Chandigarh police from Sector 21, Panchkula, this morning. The body was left by two city residents, who had earlier taken her to a Panchkula hospital for treatment from Sector 21, Chandigarh.

It is believed that Heena, an asthma patient, was a resident of Ludhiana, but her exact address is not known yet. She was taken to a Panchkula-based hospital by Ms Eva of Sector 21 and Mr Arush of Sector 18 in the wee hours today.

There are no apparent marks of any injury on the body, said police sources. The body is lying in the General Hospital, Sector 16, here and an autopsy would be performed on it once the identity of Heena is established.

The police has also questioned Ms Eva and Mr Arush in this connection.

As per police sources, Ms Eva, a resident of Sector 21, got a telephone call around 3 am today from one Neena of Ludhiana to receive Heena from near Aroma restaurant in Sector 22. Ms Eva reportedly reached Sector 22 and took Heena home on a rickshaw.

After sometime, Heena got ill. Ms Eva made a call to Dr Deepak at Kaiser Hospital, Sector 21, Panchkula, for an ambulance.

However, she did not wait for the ambulance and called for a taxi for the Panchkula hospital. The taxi driver, Mahesh, refused to go to Panchkula, but agreed to drop them at Aroma. After reaching Aroma, Ms Eva called her friend Arush from Sector 18, who promptly reached there.

Ms Eva and Mr Arush hired an autorickshaw and took Heena to the hospital.

Dr Deepak said he had received a request for an ambulance. “I did not see the patient (Heena). Later a girl identifying herself as Harsha told me that the patient had died and she requested me to keep the body in the morgue. However, I told her to take the body to a government hospital," informed the doctor. According to him, an ambulance was sent at the address given, but the patient had already been taken to hospital.

In the meantime, Neena too joined Ms Eva and Mr Arush, said police sources.

The three took the body to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. However, later Neena left Ms Eva and Mr Arush and did not return. Ms Eva and Mr Arush reportedly got nervous and abandoned the body near a hospital in Panchkula.

According to the local police, Mr Arush contacted a UT police constable, who was known to him and narrated him the story. The constable reportedly advised him to report the matter to Police Post, Sector 22. The matter was reported to the police.

Later, a team of the UT police reached the place where the body was lying and brought it here. The body is currently lying in General Hospital, Sector 16, here.



Dengue patient hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A dengue patient from Mohali, Jaskaran Singh, has been admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 16 here.

A resident of Sector 71, Jaskaran Singh (31) was admitted to General Hospital, complaining of fever, headache and low platelet count of 37,000. His condition was stable as his platelet count went up to 1.65 lakh, said hospital sources.

This is the second dengue case from Mohali, the first being from Sohana. Much to the relief of the health authorities, there has not been a single dengue case from the city, as compared to last year, when more than 100 persons had suffered from dengue. There have also been two cases of dengue in Panchkula.



Quality of democracy has improved: Barnala
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
After long years of tumultuous infancy, Indian democracy has matured into a state of youthful vibrancy. The growth of public sensibility towards clean politics is evident from the results of certain polls where the difference is just one vote.

This was said by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Orrisa, in an exclusive interview with The Tribune just before he flew back to AP after inaugurating a seminar on ‘Higher Education’ at Panjab University here today.

While responding to a condition like Mrs Rabri Devi, who had no political experience, heading a state like Bihar, Mr Barnala said such cases were exceptional and they did not mark the rule in Indian democracy. The quality of democracy had improved substantially as was reflected by the change in the general living standards and higher standards of debate on all issues, including social, commercial and political.

Mr Barnala is an alumnus of Lucknow University from where he graduated in Law. “I have been active in politics since my student days. Politics is not anything negative against which youth need to be warned. In fact, till date there were plenty of those who forayed into the arena of politics with certain social objectives through political tools,” he said.

Mr Barnala is known as a refined politician, parliamentarian and an enlightened educationist. He is associated with the establishment of Guru Nanak Dev University when he was the Education Minister in 1969. He participated in the Quit India movement in 1942 and was arrested on a number of occasions.

Mr Barnala had been an MLA from the Barr constituency till 1999. He was throughout associated with the Akali Dal politics and was a Member of Parliament in 1977 where he was the Union Minister for Agriculture, Food, Irrigation. He was the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1995 and a Cabinet Minister in the Union Government in 1996 and 1998. He was also the Governor of Uttaranchal.

When questioned about status of the Governor in the Indian democracy vis-a-vis the political leaders, he said “we exercise the powers conferred on us in the Constitution. The assignment is less verbal as compared to the poll politicians. I don’t know how I slipped out of the arena of normal politics into the governor’s role but I have special feelings for the grace attached with the job”. He said it was better not to talk about the power differences between the governors and the politicians. “We continuously have the conferences of the governors and discuss the current issues,” he said.

Dwelling on the charter of action needed for future action, Mr Barnala said nothing was more important than education in any political set-up. Problems like unemployment, health, exploitation, besides several others, were all related and could be effectively handled through education for all.



Higher education stagnating, says Barnala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
“It is a matter of concern that higher education in India is in a state of stagnation which is a big contradiction in a very dynamic world”, said Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, while inaugurating a two day seminar on “Quality of higher education in India: the challenge of change” organised by Panjab University here today.

The seminar is being organised in observance of the 75th martyrdom anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai. The university today has to be not merely a creator and transmitter of knowledge, but also it has to be a vehicle of economic growth.

Mr Barnala recalled the spiritual resurgence of Indians during the freedom struggle against the British imperialism. He said though institutions of higher education had increased considerably, these were inadequate for meeting the demands of education. He said there was a considerable gap between the performance of universities and expectations from higher education.

Mr Barnala urged the academic community to work for developing multi-disciplinary, holistic and relevant approaches for understanding and planning the path for India’s social, economic and cultural development.

Paying tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai, Mr Onkar Chand, president of the Servants of the People Society, recalled Lalaji’s seminal insights into goals of education. He lamented than even today the old inadequacies of education continued.

Prof P.P.Arya said the choice for the theme of a seminar was the most appropriate way of paying homage to the great martyr. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the central and state policies which were responsible for the crises being faced by the educational institutes.

Prof Satya P Gautam said, “We have been hearing for over a century now that weaknesses of the Indian system remain the same. This makes it clear that the system was resisting change. Theoretical knowledge needs to be merged with practical skill for positive results”.

Prof S.L.Sharma underlined the challenges of quantitative expansion for the maintenance and sustenance of quality. He suggested a need to move from outdated authoritarian structures to egalitarian structures as envisaged by Lalaji.

Earlier Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the guests.



Mystery shrouds woman’s death
Our Correspondent

Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, SP (Detective), said he had verified that the part of the fan from which the body was found suspended could actually take the load of the body. In fact, he said, he asked the DSP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, to hang on to the fan and later he himself did the same. “And I weigh 85 kg,” he said. Besides, to rule out any foul play the police requested the Civil Hospital to set up a three-member board for the post-mortem. He said no written complaint had been received from the girl’s side against the in-laws.

SAS Nagar, November 18
The needle of suspicion in the death of Harjot Kaur, a 25-year-old married woman, turned in different directions here today. The police continued investigations even as a post-mortem was performed by a board of doctors at the Civil Hospital here.

The body was cremated today.

The body of Harjot Kaur, who was married to Mr Ajwinder Pal Singh, who is doing MDS from Bangalore, was found hanging from a fan in a bathroom in her in-law’s house in Phase IIIB2 here last morning. The couple had come to attend the wedding of Mr Ajwinder Pal Singh’s brother.

Mr Ajwinder Pal Singh, who was sitting in a car with a crepe bandage on his right foot in the Civil Hospital, where the post-mortem was being performed, kept silent when mediapersons tried to question him. Harjot’s father-in-laws, Mr D.P.S. Sandhu, who was also at the hospital, said it was a happily married couple and had planned to go to the USA. He gave no details about the circumstances relating to the death.

A board of three doctors — Dr G.S. Bedi, who headed the board, Dr Jai Singh and Dr S. Suri — was constituted at the request of the police to conduct the post-mortem. Such a board is usually not set up in cases of suicide.

The post-mortem examination was exhaustive and went on for more than two hours. The viscera had been sent to Patiala for chemical examination.

It is learnt that the death probably took place 24 hours before the post-mortem. A mark due to hanging was reportedly observed on the neck of the deceased.

A maternal uncle of Harjot, Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, president of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Association, said today that he was told by Mr Ajwinder Pal Singh that he and Harjot had come late to Mohali after the function. Ajwinder went to sleep. When he got up in the morning, he found that the door of the bathroom was locked and Harjot was not in the room. He thought that his wife was having a bath and came downstairs.

Mr Sidhu said Ajwinder also told him that when Harjot did not come downstairs for a long time, he went to the bathroom and broke open the door. He found the body of Harjot hanging from the fan by a dupatta.

Mr Sidhu said it was a “love but also arranged” marriage. About Rs 35 lakh was spent on the wedding. Harjot’s father was a prominent lawyer and her grandfather was a former MLA.

It is learnt that members of the family of Harjot, including her mother, living in Sector 18, Chandigarh, were told about the death around 11 am. The police was reported to have been informed about the death around 3 pm.

Certain questions arose during the investigation. First, could the part of the fan from which the dupatta was hanging take the load of the body (more than 50 kg)? Second, why was the police informed about the death late?



All for the sake of her beloved
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 18
She ran away from her parent’s home to marry her beloved. But being a minor, this could not work out. Now, the 17-year-old, Ridhima, has preferred to stay at a Nari Niketan instead of going back to her parents. Her request was accepted by a local court, yesterday.

Ridhima pleaded that it’s quite embarrassing for her to appear after an interval of 14 days in the court so she should be allowed to stay in the Nari Niketan. She also requested for exemption from personnel appearance till she turns 18.

Accepting her request, the court has sent Ridhima to the Nari Niketan till she turns 18. She has been asked to appear in the court on June 24, 2004. On the same day, the court will also decide her fate, after recording her statement.

After she escaped from her relative’s house in Solan on June 17, Ridhima alleged that she had been thrown out into menial existence at relative’s house for over two years by her parents.

She mustered enough courage to break open the doors and left Solan on June 17. At 2 am she hired a taxi by giving away her gold jewellery in the absence of the cash to pay the taxi fare. She reached Chandigarh at 4.30 am and telephoned her boyfriend Rajiv but he refused to come her rescue out of the fear of being embroiled in a legal wrangle as Ridhima’s parents had already registered a case against him. But he told her to contact human rights activist for help.

She had come to Chandigarh with an intention of committing suicide by jumping into the Sukhna Lake. But one call to Rajiv reversed her decision. She instead landed up at the house of a human rights’ advocate, as guided by Rajiv. Ridhima had also narrated the entire incident to the court earlier.

But later her parents in a statement said they were ready to get her married to a person of her choice but only after she turns 18. They also denied that she had been harassed by them.



TA General asked to explain Recruitment norms bypassed
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Army Headquarters has ordered an investigation into the circumstances under which three persons were granted direct commission as JCOs into the Territorial Army (TA), bypassing the laid down recruitment norms, it is learnt. Army Headquarters is also reportedly looking into several other complaints about irregularities in TA recruitments.

Well-placed sources at Army Headquarters told The Tribune that the inquiry into the matter was instituted following written complaints on several issues, including recruitment and deployment. It is learnt that the Vice-Chief of Army Staff has sought an explanation in this regard from the TA’s Additional Director- General, Major-Gen Dalbir Singh.

The three persons recruited as JCOs are alleged to be associates of senior TA officers. All three have been recruited into the Meerut-based 153 Infantry Battalion (Dogra), currently deployed in the Northern Sector.

“The recruitment was done without the vacancies being advertised as required by law,” a source said. “As per a Supreme Court judgement, no public appointment can be made without the said posts or vacancies being advertised,” he added.

General Dalbir Singh, when contacted at Delhi, however, declined to comment on the matter, citing procedural restrictions. A senior TA officer, however, maintained that regulations were followed and the recruitment was done “as per existing practice.”

Army Headquarters is also reported to be looking into several irregularities in the TA’s recruitment pattern which have surfaced recently. Sources said that men from Haryana and Rajasthan were being recruited into battalions meant for Punjab.

“Recruiting troops in a battalion from outside designated geographical and demographical areas is not only against the very concept of the TA but also the character of an Indian Army battalion,” a senior officer said.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that six candidates from Rajasthan and Haryana have been recruited into 152 (Sikh) TA Battalion at Ludhiana, four candidates have been recruited into 112 (Dogra) Battalion at Jalandhar and three candidates each into 102 (Punjab) Battalion at Kalka and 103 (Sikh LI) Battalion at Ludhiana.

“The zones of recruitment are being changed, with units in Punjab and J&K being asked to recruit troops from Haryana and Rajasthan, whereas TA concept calls for territorial recruitment from designated areas near the location of the unit,” an officer said. Sources said that the move has also upset commanding officers of TA units, with some of them reportedly taking up the matter with the higher authorities.



With ailing son, widow struggles without pay
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, November 18
Ms Gurmel Kaur, a widow with a son suffering from epilepsy, struggles to make both ends meet because she has no other source of income and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, has not paid her salary for the past five months.

Ms Gurmel Kaur, who works as a Class IV employee at the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, here, says she has to borrow money from others for the treatment of her child. But for how long will this go on, she asks helplessly. She says she has brought the problem to the notice of the Principal of the institute, who shows his helplessness in the matter.

Two more widows, Ms Paramjit Kaur and Ms Chandro, working as a Class IV employee and a safai sevak, respectively, at the institute, are in similar financial distress. A number of other staff members, including a doctor and a superintending engineer, have also not been paid their salaries for the past five months.

Dr Inderjit Singh Bhatia, lecturer and epidimologist, says he has not got his salary for the past six months. He says when funds were released for the first quarter (March to May), he was not paid his salary as the amount fell short. He says he has been meeting higher authorities in this regard, but to no avail.

Sources say the Principal of the institute wrote a letter to the Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, on October 12, in which it had been stated that the department had released Rs 4.10 lakh for the payment of salaries for the first quarter. But all staff members could not get their salaries for the first quarter out of the released amount. As such, a request was made to release Rs 50,000 for the first quarter.

The letter further stated that the second quarter had also ended, but the staff members could not get their salaries. A request to release Rs 16 lakh was made again so that salaries could be given in time during the year and pending dues could be cleared.

Dr P.C. Singla, Principal, says he had gone and met the director in this regard. He was told that the delay was at the level of the Secretariat.

The institute is providing training to multi-purpose health workers under a 100 per cent Centrally sponsored scheme, apart from holding orientation programmes for doctors. Despite attempts, the Director of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, Dr G.L. Goyal, could not be contacted for comments.



DC assesses state of parks, roads
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA: The Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Satwanti Ahlawat, on Tuesday visited various sectors and villages within the Municipal Council limits to assesss the development work in the parks and roads.

The visit was a sequel to the Deputy Commissioner expressing her displeasure with the sanitation facilities in the township on many an occasion and frequent complaints by residents about the poor condition of parks and roads. Mrs Ahlawat assessed the roads which have to be repaired or recarpetted at a cost of Rs 4 crore.

She visited Azad Colony, Bana Madanpur, Industrial Area Phase I, Sectors 12-A and 19 and directed MC officials that the traffic census of the road be considered for recrapetting so that these roads were not damaged time and again.

She also visited various parks in the township and asked MC officials to speed up the development work here.

International Fresh Water Year

A "water mela" to celebrate the International Fresh Water Year, 2003, has been organised by the Central Ground Water Board in association with the Indian Council for Environmental Education at DAV School, Sector 8, here on Tuesday.

As part of the two-day mela, a number of competitions for schoolchildren are being organised. On Tuesday, competitions in drawing and painting, a quiz, essay writing and a declamation contest were held. Mr K.K. Bhugra, Chief Engineer, HUDA, was the chief guest and Mr Ravinder Talwar, president, Indian Council for Environmental Education, presided over the function.

About 150 students from 12 schools of Panchkula and its surrounding areas participated in the competitions. Mr A.K. Bhatia from the Central Ground Water Board, said the idea was to create awareness about the declining water table and how it could be recharged. He said on Wednesday a talk by Dr MD Notyal on the need for rainwater harvesting would be organised at the school. Development works

Under a decentralised plan, Rs 42 lakh will be spent on 82 development works in the rural areas of the district during the current financial year.

Stating this on Tuesday, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat said Rs 9 lakh had been released for Barwala block, Rs 5 lakh for Morni block, Rs 18.60 lakh for Pinjore block and Rs 9.5 lakh for Raipur Rani block.

She said this amount would be spent on the construction of concrete streets, drainage, retaining walls of ponds, construction of pavements and sheds of cremation grounds. Nearly one-third of the total amount would be spent for the welfare of the Scheduled Caste category.

World Heritage celebrations

As part of the World Heritage celebrations, the Federation of Migrant Groups from North-Western India (now Pakistan), in collaboration with the Bahawalpur Welfare Association and Bahawalpur Panchayat, organised a havan yajna on Sunday.

The programme was organised at Roshan Lal Memorial Deep Manav Sewa Ashram, adjoining the Ghaggar riverbank, and bahawalpurias from Chandigarh, Patiala, Rajpura, Mohali, Patiala and Rajpura participated in the programme. They sang songs in praise of the Ghaggar, which once flowed into Cholistan, now in Pakistan.

Mr S.K. Sharma, president of the federation, urged the Haryana Government to allot them land on the river bank as they had an emotional attachment with the river. Mr Chaman Lal, president of the Bahawalpur Welfare Association, said they had a plan to construct a bhavan and an exhibition hall to showcase the rich heritage of Bahawalpurias.



MC adopts resolution on district status for Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 18
The Municipal Council here today unanimously adopted a resolution demanding district status for Mohali.

A proposal had earlier been put forward in this regard by four municipal councillors — Ms Amteshwar Kaur, senior vice-president of the civic body, Ms Indu Sehgal, Ms Deep Kaur Shyan and Mr Yog Raj.

They pleaded that the population of the town had now risen to between 3 lakh and 3.5 lakh. Large factories and state-level government offices were located here. Besides, they said, the area had been made a subdivision about 10 years ago. Residents also faced inconvenience as they had to go to the district headquarters at Ropar for various kinds of work. They, therefore, urged the council to pass a resolution for the grant of district status to the town and forward it to the state government for clearance.

When this important item came up for discussion at the general house meeting of the council this morning, members of the opposition group in the House tried to embarrass the President, Mr Kulwant Singh, by circulating a Chandigarh Tribune clipping dated June 9, 2001, to show that he was not in favour of district status. However, Mr Kulwant Singh said he had expressed his personal views at that time. Now when councillors wanted the matter to be taken up at the council meeting, it was included in the agenda without any objection from him.

Mr Surjit Singh said Mohali had not even got full-fledged tehsil facilities yet. There was inadequate space in the Tehsildar’s office and lawyers, too, were sitting in the verandah in the building in Phase I.

One of the issues, which was not on the agenda, sparked arguments. The issue was the alleged harassment of residents by the octroi contractor.

Members said the contractor’s employees did not issue octroi receipts in a large number of cases. Besides, they did not carry I-cards or wear uniforms. It was necessary to put a check on the activities of the contractor, the members added.

A discussion also took place on the construction of footpaths in the town. It was felt that the construction of footpaths on internal roads was mere wastage of funds. The House decided that in future footpaths would be constructed only where there was heavy traffic on the road and pedestrians faced difficulties.



Pen-down protest by PUDA staff
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 18
Employees of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) went on a pen-down strike in protest against the behaviour of two property dealers with an Assistant Estate Officer here today.

The employees, who ended their protest after some time, also demanded the cancellation of the licences issued to the two dealers by the PUDA authorities.

It is learnt that the property dealers, who had come in connection with a no-objection certificate (NoC) for a flat, used objectionable language and threw files on the office table of the Assistant Estate Officer, Ms Chanchal Atwal, after arguments over a procedural matter. The matter was brought to the notice of the PUDA Employees’ Union.

The Estate Officer, Mr T.K. Goyal, is looking into the incident and will submit a report of the PUDA authorities.



No pact with BJP in city, says Riar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The president of the Chandigarh unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, today said there was no alliance with the BJP in Chandigarh. He said the local unit of the SAD would fight the next general election on its own or with like-minded parties, excluding the Congress and the BJP.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Riar said the SAD was forced to snap its ties with the BJP in the city due to treatment meted out to it after the 1996 general election.

He said he had served a notice on Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, local BJP President and Mr Kamla Sharma, leader of the Opposition in the corporation, for writing BJP-SAD alliance without any authorisation from the SAD. He said Mrs Harjinder Kaur fought the 2001 election of the corporation as an independent and was not supported by the SAD. He said he would drag the BJP leaders to the court if they misused the SAD name for their political benefits.

He said after the 1996 election in the corporation, the BJP did not give the due share to the SAD which had won on two out of four seats. The BJP leaders worked to create a split in the local units of the BJP and the SAD. When Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Mr Mohinder Singh contested for the post of the Mayor, Mrs Harjinder was supported by the rival group within the BJP.



Cong decries CBI probe into Judeo case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) today organised a rally in the Sector 17 Plaza to protest against corruption by ministers in the BJP-led NDA government. Addressing a gathering, Mr B.B. Behl, President of the CTCC, said the Prime Minister on his return from a foreign tour had said that action would be taken against Minister for State for Environment, Mr Dilip Singh Judeo.

He said handing over the investigations to the CBI meant dumping the case. The CTCC President criticised Mr Raj Nath Singh for painting Mr Judeo an honest person. He pointed that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had named six ministers for being involved in corruption.

Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, said many national and local issues indicated that the BJP had failed on all fronts. He said the Prime Minister had taken the CVC report in a light manner. Accepting bribe by a minister was shameful, said the MP.



Gloom descends on Mohali family
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 18
A pall of gloom descended on a family in Phase VII here when the bodies of three of its members who were killed in a road accident near Khanna last evening were brought home today. The cremation of the victims — Kamal Kumar Batra (44), his wife, Kamlesh (40), and son, Sumeet (17) — took place at the Chandigarh cremation ground. The fourth deceased was 4-year-old Tanish Dhingra, son of a sister of Kamal Batra.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |