C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pall of gloom in Shahi Majra
Angry residents damage STD booth, seek death for suspects
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 4
Tempers ran high here today as gloom descended on a family of Shahi Majra village after the murder of a seven-year old child whose body was removed from a nullah by the police late last night.

Agitated residents damaged an STD booth, where a call for ransom of Rs 1 lakh for releasing the child had been received. Slogans were raised by the protesters demanding death sentence for the two suspects — Meharban and his brother Mohammad Iqbal. Agitated residents had also planned to gherao the police station in Phase I but changed their mind when they were told that most of the police officials were out of town in connection with the visit of the Punjab Chief Minister at Jhanjeri village today.

Shopkeepers put up the shutters in protest against the murder of the child.

Both the suspects were produced in a court at Kharar and were remanded to police custody for five days.

The body of the child, Amit, was handed over to the members of the family after a postmortem had been done at the Civil Hospital here. Sources at the hospital said that it was a clear case of homicide and the throat of the child had been pressed and given a twist to kill him. Amit had also been allegedly sodomised. The body was later cremated.

The family members of Amit were completely shattered. His mother, Bindu, was inconsolable. Mr Achhe Lal, father of the child, who runs a grocery shop of the village, said that the alleged killers of his only son should be hanged so that in future no such crime took place. He told Chandigarh Tribune that the STD owner, Mohammad Iqbal, was aware that Amit had been killed by his brother, Meharban, but he gave no information in this regard. The family members kept running here and there seeking all possible help to get back the child.

Mr Achhe Lal said that Amit was wearing a colourful sweater and trousers when he went missing but his body was found only with trousers on.

Sources said that the child was killed on January 26 itself to prevent him from exposing the perpetrator of the sexual crime and his body was thrown in a nullah near the Quark offices in the Industrial Area which was found by the police late last night.

Meharban run away to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh after allegedly committing the murder. From there he made a telephone call to the family of Amit at his brother’s STD booth demanding Rs 1 lakh for releasing the body and the amount was to be handed over near a bridge at Ambala at 7.30 p.m. yesterday.

A police team had been sent to Saharanpur by the SP, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, which nabbed Meharban from Hira Heri village in the area. The phone call had been made from an STD booth in Manhesri village.

The kidnapping drama, which had been planned by both the suspects, was reported to have been enacted by them to divert the attention of the police. However, the cover-up plan only provided clues to the police which helped in nabbing the two suspects.


PSEB men lathicharged, 13 injured 
Tribune News Service

Members of the Punjab Technical Services Union, Punjab, and (right) Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) hold a protest against privatising of the Electricity Department in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. — Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, February 4
Twelve employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and a policeman were injured today in a clash between the Chandigarh Police and PSEB men at the Matka chowk. The police used water canons, batons, and later teargas shells to disperse the employees. They had gathered to submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister or any of his Cabinet ministers against the move to unbundle the electricity board.

Trouble started when some employees tried to break the police cordon and march towards the Punjab Secretariat. They got agitated as no government representative had arrived to accept their memorandum. Police officials claimed that though no officer on special duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister had arrived to accept the memorandum, union leaders insisted on handing the same to the latter.

The police claimed that during the clash, which continued for over half an hour, some of the employees used bricks and stones. First, the police tried to disperse them by using water canons and later by batons. But when the employees pelted the police with stones, the latter used tear gas. One policemen was injured.

However, Mr Amarjit Sodhi, president, PSEB Joint Forum, alleged that “the police lathicharged the peacefully gathering without any provocation. All employees unions will observe February 5 and 12 as protest days across the state in this regard.” He demanded action against the police officials who ordered the use of force.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered in this regard.

Earlier, the joint action committee of the PSEB employees held a massive rally at the Sector 17 plaza. Members of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, Employees Federation of PSEB, Council of Junior Engineers, PSEB, Bijli Mulajam Front, PSEB, Punjab Raj Bijli Majdoor Sangh and Workers Federation (INTUC), PSEB, also participated in the rally.

Mr Surinder Singh, president, Employees Federation, PSEB, said, “The state government is bent on unbundling the board on the recommendation of the Haldia committee report without realising that wherever these have been privatised it has led to hike in power tariff, retrenchment of employees and additional burden on the state exchequer.”

The speakers alleged that if the government did not provide subsidy then private companies would charge power tariff up to Rs 7 or Rs 8 per unit. They said the unbundling of the PSEB will ruin the agricultural sector and rural economy.

The joint forum threatened to launch an agitation if the state government did not check power theft and review its decision.

The Bharti Kisan Union, PRTC Employees Union and PSIEC Employees Union also participated in the rally. 


Mobiles of Baljit, Chaura seized
Owner of escape vehicle identified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The police today recovered a mobile phone from the house of Baljit Kaur and two from Chaura’s house. The SIM card of Baljit Kaur is yet to be recovered. The police has recovered three SIM cards of Chaura.

The police today got confirmation that the car (PIQ 927) used to transport Hawara was registered in the name of Gurdeep Singh. Baljit Kaur, who gave logistic support outside the jail for the escape of Hawara, had reportedly told the police that Gurdeep was driving the car. The police hopes Gurdeep will soon be in its net.

The police said Gurdeep was reportedly told by Baljit Kaur that the car was to be used for transporting Rs 5 lakh from a place in Mohali. Baljit Kaur had frequently used the car.

The Chandigarh Police today ordered that a house be provided to the key witness in the Beant Singh assassination case in the Sector 26 Police Lines. The police has deployed a Gypsy for his security. Balwinder Singh said he had been promised a job in the Punjab Police and orders to this effect may be issued soon.

The police is now veering round to the theory that the tunnel was dug by hand tools in three-five months.

The police has sent samples of soil to different agencies to match it with that of the tunnel.

The role of missing militants Jagrup, Fauji, Attarjeet Singh and Purushottam Singh is being suspected in the escape. Fauji and Attarjeet Singh had met Hawara in Burail Jail. Purushottam was lodged in the jail in connection with an attempt on the life of the then Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhajan Lal.

The excavation of the second tunnel got a setback as the wall near it cracked, possibly because of seepage of water.

The three-member committee headed by former Delhi Police Commissioner R.S. Gupta today returned to Delhi after a second visit to Burail Jail. He is likely to return on Monday, sources said.

Mr Gupta is believed to have sought documents related to the administration of jail and communication between different authorities, apart from identifying who needed to be summoned to explain the jailbreak.


Orders reserved on Hawara’s warrants
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 4
The Additional Sessions Judge, UT, today reserved orders on an application of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel for issuance of non-bailable warrants against Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh and Jagtar Singh Tara, accused in the Beant Singh assassination case.

The orders were reserved on another plea by defence counsel of Beant Singh’s alleged assassin, Paramjit Singh, alleging that his client and the three others had been forcibly taken out of the jail and had either been killed or were in illegal detention.

Replying to the CBI’s plea, the defence counsel today said it was yet to be ascertained if the three accused were alive or not.

After going through the reply of the defence counsel in the special court room in the Burail Jail premises, the judge reserved the orders for February 7.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive day, the media, on the orders of officiating Jail Superintendent, Mr S.K. Setia, was not allowed inside to witness the trial.


Where is Hawara? Cops have no answer
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Either the police is in the dark about where dreaded terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara and other escapees are or is on purpose sending conflicting signals about their possible destinations.

Director-General of Police A.A. Siddiqui was recently quoted as saying Hawara and others were likely to be in Punjab while Intelligence agencies do not rule out his being in Nepal.

Another interesting theory is Hawara might have gone to Pakistan to join Wadhawa Singh and Mehal Singh Babbar. What is being regarded as the least possibility is his having escaped to the West Uttaranchal from where one of his co-escapees, Dev Singh hails. Sources say they may have reached Uttaranchal to cross over to Nepal. Bahraich and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh may be other escape routes of the fugitives.

However, intelligence sources say Hawara has escaped to safety as he reportedly rang up Narain Singh Chaura at 1 am on January 22 on the latter’s mobilephone that he was “theek thak” Chaura says he does not know where they had gone, according to the police.

The chances of their reaching Nepal, however, seem to be the highest as Hawara had his base in the country where he stayed for two months before fleeing to Pakistan.

The infamous Tora Bora mountains where Bin Laden was said to be hiding are being suspected to be one of the possible places he may have gone to. Hawara is understood to know the topography of the area well as he has had his terrorist training on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

The police is keeping an eye on the Terai area of Uttranchal and Babbar belt in Haryana near Yamunanagar.

The police feels Hawara would look for a safe haven for which he may either approach Kashmiri militants or those in the north-east. But the militants in the north-east are already pushed to the wall because of Bhutan’s crackdown on them.

There were indications that Hawara initially went to Sirhind. The Punjab police carried out combing operation in the entire Ropar district after Narain Singh Chaura was caught.

Intelligence sources say Hawara is most likely to go to Nepal through Bihar and from there another country.


Further police remand for jail official
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 4
The police remand of Deputy Superintendent of Burail jail, V.M. Gill, Pakistani spy Abid Mehmood and the three jail inmates, who were arrested in connection with the Burail jailbreak, was today extended till tomorrow by a local court.

Gill and others were produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mr Phalit Sharma, after their police remand for eight days expired today.

The public prosecutor had asked for extension of the police remand for five days. However, the magistrate remanded the suspects in police custody till February 5.

The police has so far arrested 15 persons in the jailbreak case. 


Procedure for building plan approval to be made simple
All work will be done under one roof
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Rule 5 may go

Rule 5 in the Building plan procedure be completely abolished for all purposes. This rule is impractical and involves repetition of work and drawings even for previously sanctioned plans. This rule is totally unwanted and unjustified as there is hardly any residential and commercial building where permissible internal changes have not been made. This rule gives immense power to the inspectors and breeds maximum harassment, corruption and red-tapism.

Chandigarh, February 4
In a move which will benefit all residential and commercial property owners of the city, the Chandigarh Administration is all set to simplify the procedure for passing of building plans. The present procedure of getting a fresh or a revised plan sanctioned has nearly 40 channels involving a period of a few months and exorbitant financial implications. The idea is to do away with this highly complicated, repetitive, cumbersome and obsolete procedure and replace it will small working committees which will meet about three times in week just for passing of building plans.

The Administration has decided to reconstitute the plan approval committee (PAC). A formal letter is awaited with in the next few days, Chandigarh Administration officials confirmed. PAC upper will work for all multiplexes and cinemas, hotels, all type of institutional buildings, group housing societies and industries without frame control. The committee will comprise an architect, a Town planner, a public health engineer, SDO buildings, a structural engineer, the Chief fire officer for the buildings above 15 meters and falling under fire Act . The Estate officer will be the chairman of the committee.

The PAC - lower will cater to all residential, commercial and all industrial buildings with Frame-Control but and not covered by PAC upper. It will comprise an architect, SDO (Buildings), public Health engineer. Assistant Estate Officer will be the chairman of the committees. To simplify the working the administrative set-up is also being re-worked. The work is being done on the suggestion made by Mr Ashok Bansal, a member of the committee on simplification of building plans. The same has been endorsed by the non-official members of the committee. Official sources said the changes are being made and a formal letter will issued within the next few days.

Under the new system all work will be done under one roof. For this the entire ground floor of the additional town hall building was being readied.

An architect and a member of the Town Planning Department alongwith their respective draftsmen and zoning plans will be deputed to check and scrutinise the plans for three full days in a week under one roof.

Already Bank of Punjab has opened a counter to accept cash and composition fee in the Estate Office. If the suggestions of the committee members are accepted. Then everything will move smoothly.

On e critical component is the internal changes in residential premises carried out from time to time during and after construction.

Under the present system a revised plan has to be submitted. It is not possible to halt construction and get the revised plan sanctioned. Similarly partitions and position of bathroom, stairs etc in commercial building often change with various new occupants as per their trade and professional needs and requirement. So no sanction and approval should be required for sanctionable internal changes in residential and commercial buildings which are mostly temporary and non-load bearing nature particularly in commercial.


Fund raising in India yet to reach full potential
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, February 4
Fund raising in India has “still not matured to its full potential unlike the West where people not only give, but completely get involved in the process,” said Jeroninio Almeida, Chief Executive of the Action Aid India Society — an international development organisation working for the poor in 42 countries.

Talking to The Tribune during a brief halt in the city, he asserted, “In the West, people not only organise walkathons, celebrity charity balls and dinners, but also garage sales to raise money for different causes. But in India, fund raising, though a 25- year-old process, is mostly for children related issues or for a religious cause”.

Indians, he said, “were traditional givers who believed that humanity was the highest religion and caring for the poor and their unfortunate friends was their duty. But they needed to work together as a community”, he added.

Claiming that individuals mattered, he said, people should not ask what they could do for a cause, but say “I can do it”. They should also think that “their doing some charity, work, big or small, will make a difference in the world. Each one of us can work for a small change in the world”.

Giving details about their concept of “philanthropy of social justice”, he said, “It is something where you go beyond doing charity and just giving money. In fact, you get integrally involved to understand and advocate an issue, thus bringing about a change for a just and caring society”.

Mr Almeida recently received the Indira Super Achiever Award 2003 for a “donor loyalty programme — Karm Mitra — and for innovation in fund raising”. Karm Mitra, he explained, “was an exclusive community movement to bring together like-minded, socially responsible and caring individuals. They believed in investing for a legacy of a better world that was pro poor”.

His organisation, Action Aid India, was the only development organisation to receive the award, along with 10 other awardees from the corporate sector.

The organisation, he asserted, was raising funds from European countries, but were aiming at raising indigenous resources. “We have been successful in raising funds from the Indians during the super cyclone of Orissa, Gujarat earthquake and during the communal violence in the state. Our objective is not only to raise funds, but also to educate people about the communities that required attention, involve them and create a support base”.

Regarding the organisation, he stated. “The organisation has been working with the poor people for over 30 years in 42 countries spread across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Carribeans. It commenced its operations in 1973 and is distinctly an Indian non-government organisation (NGO). We work with the poor and marginalised people in 20 states of India, along with 300 other NGOs, and attempt to make a difference in the lives of at least two million Indians every day.” 


24-hr supply by 2005, says CM
Tribune News Service

Jhanjehri (Kharar), February 4
The Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh today stated that Mohali would get uninterrupted supply of electricity from March, 2005. Other than the township, about 500 villages of the area will be benefit as part of a major power improvement project worth Rs 35 crore.

The Chief Minister was addressing a large gathering of PSEB personnels after inaugurating a 220 kv power sub-station in the village here today.

Stating that Mohali was fast coming up as the investment destination of the future, the Chief Minister said quality industry could be attracted only if there was snag-free electricity supply available. ‘‘More industry means more jobs for the unemployed youth of the area.’’he said.

The Chief Minister said Punjab might get into a partnership with Pakistan through SAARC for gas to run its thermal plants. ‘‘Electricity in Pakistan is produced at half the cost we produce here. And we can import gas from it through the Kandla gas pipeline,’’he said.

The Chief Minister announced that the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) would ensure that all villages in Punjab got 24-hour power supply.

‘‘We are left with about, 5000 villages which are yet to get 24-hour power supply and by June 2004, the task will be accompalished” he said.

Giving details of the grid sub-station inaugurated today, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who presided over the function said the station would be completed by March, 2005, at a cost of Rs 14 crore.

‘‘With the commissioning of this grid station with a capacity of mva there will be tremendous relief to the area being fed by the 220kv sub-station Mohali-1. The quality of power shall improve considerable and uninterrupted and reliable power supply will be given to industries, commercial, domestic and agriculture sectors,’’he said.

An improvement scheme had been prepared for Mohali city and adjoining areas and as part of the scheme every 66kv grid sub-station would have two independent sources of supply so that in case of failure in one grid the other continues to run.

Earlier, the Chairman, PSEB, Mr Y.S. Ratra, stated that such grids need to be put up all across Punjab so as to improve the quality of the power being supplied.

‘‘I took up the chairmanship of the board in May last year and the challenge before me was to improve the financial condition of the board and I am happy to say that by March, 31, 2004 we will have no cash-loss situation,’’he said.

Organised by the Punjab State Electricity Board, the function started three hours behind schedule with the Chief Minister reaching the venue at 1.50 pm for a function that was to begin at 11am.

For the three-hour wait for the Chief Minister, the Ropar Public Relations Department organised a live show of singer Bhupinder Kaur Mohali. 


Several contenders for post of PSEB chief
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 4
With the Chairman, Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Dr Kehar Singh, due to end his term on February 7, several contenders for the post have lined up. Sources stated that the race among the strong contenders had become hot as a final decision on the matter was pending with the Education Minister. The Chairman’s last working day is tomorrow.

Giving the names of three top contenders for the coveted post, highly placed sources in the board said Dr Inderpal Singh, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) was the top contender for the post. Since he was already above 65 years of age, there could be a technical problem in his appointment, pointed a board member.

Mrs Hardayal Kaur, Vice-Chairman of the board, was the natural contender for the post, being next in command at the board. Sources said the Secretary of the board, Mr Mahinder Bir Singh was trying his best to become Chairman.

However, sources pointed that there was strong likelihood of Dr Kehar Singh being given extension, keeping in mind the significant achievements the board had shown in his leadership.

‘‘The members of the board are in his favour, but it is learnt that the Education Minister is keeping his cards close to his chest”, said a board employee.

When contacted the board Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh, said tomorrow was his last working day and in case no instructions were received from the political bosses by tomorrow evening, he would hand over charge to the Vice-Chairman.

‘‘Since the next few days are holidays, it will be the Vice-Chairman who will chair the board till an alternative is found,’’ he said.

Asked if he was expecting an extension as Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh said the final decision lay with the Education Minister and since there had been no indication so far, he did not want to comment.

Sources said there was a lot of pressure on the minister to take a decision either in favour of Dr Inderdeep Singh or Mr Mahinder Bir Singh and a decision in the matter would take time.

‘‘There is all likelihood that some of these persons have contacted the Chief Minister and since he is busy these days, a final decision will be taken only by the end of this month during which the Vice-Chairman will handle the board,’’ said a Board employee.


Meeting discusses sanitation plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Municipal Corporation today saw a special meeting to work out preliminary details regarding the special sanitation drive planned in the city later this month. Mrs Kamlesh, Mayor, called all councillors for inputs regarding a work plan.

The meeting was attended by Brig Sant Singh, Mrs Kamla Sharma, Mrs Harpreet Kaur, Mrs Geeta Rani, Mrs Lalit Joshi, Mr Rajesh Gupta, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Mr Surinder Singh, Mrs Pushpa Devi, Mr P.C.sanghi, Dr B.R.verma, Mr K.S.Raju and Mr Balraj Singh.

Officials who attended the meeting were Mr K.B.Sharma, Chief Engineer, Mr Kulwant Singh Kalson, Joint Commissioner, and Dr G.C. Bansal, Medical Officer Health.

Certain councillors said the drive should begin sectorwise. Others opined that the drive should commence wardwise.

Mrs Kamla Sharma, former Mayor, said that February was not the appropriate time to take up the sanitation project.

Mrs Kamlesh, Mayor, said the meeting was not called to take any decision. It was deemed fit that suggestions should be taken from different councillors before drafting a final action plan.

After taking into consideration all suggestions, the corporation would make a proposal which would be brought up at another meeting.

At today’s meeting there was unanimity on the point that different wings of the corporation should be brought together rather than each one acting in isolation.

These include the roads, sewerage and public health wings.

“Instead of a publicity stunt for mere media coverage, we want the drive to have a strong impact on cleanliness in the city,” Mrs Kamlesh added.


Report blames Sports Director for embezzlement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The latest report on embezzlement by former Director of Sports Ajmer Singh, Department of Sports, Panjab University, has recommended initiation of civil and criminal action against him.

The report submitted by the probing officer, Mr H.L. Sharma, observes that funds attributed to Ajmer Singh have either been misappropriated or remain unaccounted for. It adds that senior assistant Gurpal Singh played a crucial role in fudging figures and manipulating accounts.

The detailed report on embezzlement in 1996-97 submitted to the Vice- Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, traces the irregularities for the first year when Ajmer Singh was the Director-cum-Secretary,Panjab University Sports Committee.

The report mentions that of the 355 total paid vouchers of Rs 27,10, 339, 10 vouchers for Rs 66,691 were found missing while Ajmer Singh had drawn Rs 68, 055 by counter-signing all his TA bills although there were no invitations for the same.

One such bill pertained to his visit to the USA for the Olympic Games at Atlanta. The report complied by the former Registrar of the university, Prof H.L. Sharma, mentions that while six cheques for Rs 9,000 each were withdrawn without sanction and entered in the advance register, it is not even certain whether he visited the USA since no air ticket was appended.

Similarly, Ajmer Singh attended meets at Khajuraho, Madras and Varanasi for which an advance of Rs 20,000 was withdrawn. No accounts were rendered for these also. The report states that Rs 1.65 lakh drawn by him in December, 1996, still has to be recovered despite a lapse of seven years.

Besides, the report also holds him guilty of purchasing a second- hand track cycle and some accessories in addition to a tractor for appointing the son of his confidant in the department.

The report further adds that the Secretary, PUSC, extended exclusive patronage to 10 shops for making purchases and renting services, some of which have been already blacklisted by the Syndicate when the embezzlement came to light.

Mr H.L. Sharma said the reports for the year 2000 onwards was being prepared and would be ready by March-end.”

All the reports would be tabled in the Syndicate which would decide the fate of the Director. “I will also suggest that copies of these reports should be sent to Ajmer Singh for his response,” he added.


PSIEC employees protest against land allotment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) Employees observed a one-day strike and held a protest rally in Sector 17 here today. They were protesting against the Punjab Government’s decision to transfer the developed land of the corporation in Mohali Phase VII-A and B to Motion Limited, a company floated by Ponty Chadda, liquor baron, to set up a multiplex and integrated mixed use industrial project.

Addressing the rally, Mr Dalbir Singh, president of the union, alleged that the PSIEC had already invited applications to allot the land under the industrial housing scheme at the rate of Rs 3,700 per square yard. But the government was planning to sell the land at the rate of just Rs 1,000 per square yard.

He said Ponty Chadda had applied to the industrial department for allotment of 50 acres to set up an integrated mix land use project. The state Chief Secretary had called a meeting of senior officials tomorrow to decide the allotment of the land. The union had appealed to the members of the committee and Mr Ram Lubhya, Chairman of the PSIEC, to oppose the decision of the state government.

The union leaders warned the state government to review its decision otherwise, or else the employees would be forced to intensify their agitation. Later, the employees joined the protest rally of the PSEB employees at Matka Chowk.


Land to liquor baron: CM to investigate
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 4
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today stated that he would look into the case of giving 40 acres in Mohali to a company promoted by a liquor baron as part of the government’s ‘off-the-shelf’ scheme. The same piece of land had been advertised by the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) as part of its industrial housing scheme.

The Chief Minister was answering questions of mediapersons after a function at Jhanjehri village in Kharar today. The Chief Minister said there was no foul play in granting land to the company promoted by the liquor baron Ponty Chadha as it was done as part of the ‘off-the-shelf’ scheme of the Industries Department. ‘‘Anyone who is ready to invest more than Rs 100 crore in Punjab can benefit from this scheme,’’ said the Chief Minister, rubbishing allegations that the Punjab Government was being partisan in handing over the land to the company for developing it into an industrial park.

However, the Chief Minister showed surprise when he was told that the same piece of land had already been advertised by the PSIEC for a residential housing scheme for which over 3,500 persons had applied and the PSIEC had collected Rs 40 crore as earnest money. ‘‘If this is the case, then I will look into it,’’ he added.

The industrial housing scheme was advertised by the PSIEC on December 20, 2003, for 280 freehold residential plots of sizes 250, 400 and 500 sq yards at the reserve price of Rs 3,700 per square yard. The scheme closed on January 7, 2004. This is the second such scheme to be launched in Mohali. In 2002, the PSIEC had sold 200 similar plots under the scheme.


Gen Mohinder Singh is Adjutant General
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Lieut-Gen Mohinder Singh has taken over as the Adjutant General at Army Headquarters in New Delhi. Prior to this appointment, he was the General Officer of 4 Corps, a press statement issued here today said.

Born on October 20, 1945, General Mohinder Singh had his early education at Khalsa College Jalandhar and joined the National Defence Academy in May 1962 and commissioned into Punjab Regiment on January 15, 1966.

A graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and Higher Command Course at Army War College, Mhow, the General has held various prestigious command and staff appointments which include command of an infantry battalion of Punjab Regiment, a mountan brigade in the Kashmir Valley, an infantry division in the western sector and counter insurgency force in Jammu and Kashmir. He was Defence Adviser at Lagos, Nigeria from July ‘90 to July ‘94 and Deputy Master General of Ordnance at the Army Headquarters.

An avid sportsman, the General excelled in the field of hockey during his formative years and he has translated his hockey prowess into golf.

General Mohinder is a recipient of PVSM and AVSM and was GOC 4 Corps before assuming his present appointment. He is a senior serving officer and Colonel of Punjab Regiment

NGOs’ role in checking pollution highlighted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
“If you cannot stop pollution caused by an industrial unit in your region, file public interest litigation against it. Once punished, it will send a strong signal to other people as well,” said Mr P.J. Dhadwal, Additional Director, Central Pollution Control Committee, UT here today.

He was speaking, at a one-day workshop on environment, awareness that was attended by about 25 NGOs of North India.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Central Pollution Control Board in collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Committee, Chandigarh and Kanpur to work out an action plan to check pollution in the region.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr N.K. Gupta, Environment Engineer, Central Pollution Control Committee (CPCC), Kanpur said, “The NGOs can play a great role in environment awareness by organising seminars, workshops, and starting some movements in their area.”

The participants shared their experiences and problems in the field regarding pollution. Speakers pointed out that heavy traffic of two-wheelers and four-wheelers was creating pollution in the city.

Since the distances in the city were not much, people should try to use bicycles to check air and noise pollution.


Nagar kirtan held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 4
Melodious notes of hymns filled the air as enthusiastic residents participated in nagar kirtan taken out in connection with the 627th “Prakash Utsav” of Sri Guru Ravi Dass falling on Friday.

The kirtan started from Sector 20-D Sri Guru Ravi Dass Bhawan. It passed through the markets of sector 20,21, 22 (Arya Samaj Mandir), Sectors 17, 18 and19 . Further from Sector 27 Ramgarhia Bhawan moved towards Sector 30 before culminating at the Sri Guru Ravi Dass Gurdwara.

The “shobha yatra” was organised by Shri Guru Ravi Dass Maha Sabha in Sector 20-D. Prasad was also distributed to commuters by devotees. Elaborate arrangements had been made to divert the traffic during the nagar kirtan.


Shantikunj gets lantern posts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Shantikunj Garden, Sector 16, demanded a new look this evening with completion of the electrification process. The lights gave a more dignified look to the garden, which is placed under care of the Municipal Corporation.

Reliable sources said the work had been completed at an expenditure of Rs 9.10 lakh. The walking space in the garden had been lit with 28 lantern posts.

Maj Rajkumar Singh, a city resident, said the lights would draw more visitors.


New electric crematorium
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The city is all set to have a new electric crematorium, reliable sources in the Municipal Corporation said here today. The new crematorium will have two separate units.

The crematorium is planned to be set-up at Industrial Area, Phase I. Work will commence shortly in the new financial year.

The cremation ground in the city had facility for an electric crematorium. The machine is out of use from the past more than three months. A senior official said an electric crematorium was an eco-friendly proposition.


Upgrade rolling mills, says expert
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
“Majority of the 300 rolling mills at Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh are using obsolete technology, leading to air pollution and wastage of fuel resources. The use of pulverised coal leads to clouds of smoke around these industrial towns, causing various diseases to residents,”said Mr Gustaff Van Ditzhuijzen, Adviser to the Netherlands Management Cooperation Programme (NMCP) here today. He stressed the need to upgrade these units to check pollution control.

He is in India on the invitation of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology to study rolling mills in the state and suggest technical measures to check pollution.

Talking to TNS, he stated that after surveying eight units at Mandi Gobindgarh and Khanna he had come to the conclusion that it was not the lack of financial resources but individual will and lack of local technical expertise which were hampering pollution control measures.

Mr Ditzhuijzen added that though most of these units had shifted from furnace oil fuel to pulverised coal to save financial resources, they had not made any changes in the burners, furnace design or operational practices. Legally the units cannot use pulversised coal — low quality coal that causes heavy air pollution. The state government is making efforts to evolve some technical way to deal with the problem.

Mr Vinod Vashisht, chairman, Small Scale Steel Re-Rollers Association, Mandi Gobindgarh, admitted that the problem of air pollution was a serious issue in the state. He said, “We are ready to invest any amount if the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology or any other agency is able to provide us the required technical know-how.” He added that some of the units had already taken technological measures to deal with the problem.

An expert in control systems, Mr Ditzhuijzen has worked with Hoogovens Steel Company in the Netherlands. He said, “The NMCP is a voluntary organisation of about 4,000 retired experts in the Netherlands that provides technical expertise to small and medium scale industrial units in developing countries without charging consultancy fee. The hosts have just to bear the air fare and daily expenses of the expert during his stay.”

Talking about the rolling mills in the state, he said, “In comparison to steel units in developed countries or even steel plants in India these are very small units with a processing capacity of 10 to 100 tonnes per day. I was surprised that some of the units were using decade-old pipes and not burners to melt down scrap at 1200°C. One can imagine how safe they are?” he wondered.

He claimed that he had identified the shortcomings in the design of furnace, burner and operations. By installing modified burners, proper insulators and some changes in the designs, the units can substantially reduce the level of air pollution.

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