C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


E-governance to take off in April
City to follow Hyderabad model
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service


  • Payment of power, water & sewage bills.
  • Foreigner registration, NOC for stolen vehicles and challan payment.
  • Issue of caste & nativity certificate.
  • Payment of sales tax and local excise.
  • Issue and renewal of driving licence.
  • Vehicle registration and services like NOC for transfer; Change of address etc; payments of taxes.
  • Property related services.
  • Issue of bus passes and weekend tickets.
  • Issue of senior citizen card and disability card.
  • Issue of birth and death certificate.
  • Locations: Electricity bill payment centres at Sectors 23, 10, 18, 43, Manimajra, Industrial Area Phase I in Sector 48

Chandigarh, February 11
Chandigarh is on the verge of replicating the Hyderabad model of e-governance. Totally computerised offices where multipurpose work will be handled are being set up at seven locations across the city to collect various taxes, levies, bills, registration of new vehicles, driving licences and even issue bus passes or birth and death certificates.

The e-governance committee of the Administration has approved the selection of the 10 departments for the first phase of the project which has been named Sampark and the offices will be known as the Sampark centres. In Hyderabad it is named e-Sewa centre. Public dealing of these departments will be carried out at the new locations. The project will take off in April and ground work is already on.

The committee which met two weeks ago has finalised the blue print of the project. It says in case of departments where a service provider already is in place, the functioning with the Sampark Project has to be collaborated. Price Waterhouse Cooper, the consultants of the Administration had suggested that such e-governance centres were must to save time.

Computers will be installed at these centres and will be connected through the optic fibre network. These centres will reduce the time taken to travel to various offices and take the functioning of the Administration to the peoples doorsteps.

The Director IT, Mr Vivek Atray, when asked about the project said: “We will try and make it better than the one in Hyderabad. The idea to have such centres in Chandigarh was conceived three years ago when a team of the Administration visited Hyderabad to study the project there.

The heads of the 10 departments have sent a status report to the Administration. Seven Sampark centres identified by the Urban Planning Department have been approved for the launch of the project. The Engineering Wing will provide basic infrastructure at these sites.

The Administration has already carried out a mass training campaign for employees in the past six to eight months. It has been suggested that in-situ training be given in the offices of the various departments instead of waiting for the employees to come to the National Informatics Centres or the Society of Promotion of IT in Chandigarh. The offices with the requisite infrastructure are being identified and a detailed schedule is being prepared.


Judicial custody for Chaura
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, February 11
Even as the interrogation of 16 persons, arrested in the Burail jailbreak case, has failed to provide any vital clues that could lead to the arrest of terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara and the three other escapees, the police said today that more people would be arrested in this connection soon.

The Chandigarh police, which is investigating the case, will now have to work on the whatever information they were able to extract from the 16 accused arrested so far as the last of the them in its custody — Narain Singh Chaura — was sent to judicial remand by a local court today.

The police, however, claims that they have got “solid” leads during the interrogation of the accused.

‘‘The jailbreak conspiracy has been laid bare,’’ said an investigating officer. He, however, admitted there were no definite clues about the whereabouts the escapees.

The police said efforts were on at the national and international levels to arrest the escapees and check the re-grouping of Babbar Khalsa International.

The escape theory, however, is yet to get the support of evidence as Central Forensic Science Laboratory and engineering experts from the Punjab Engineering College and the Engineering Department of Chandigarh are likely to take some more time to finalise the report.

Meanwhile, the police is likely to seek transit remand of Attarjit Singh, a professional border crosser, who has been in the custody of the Jammu and Kashmir police. Attarjit is one of the key persons of Khalistan Zindabad Force, led by Pakistan-based Ranjit Singh Nitta.

Chaura was today produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Phalit Sharma.

All accused, including jail officials, a Pakistani spy and a woman accomplice of Hawara, will now be produced in the court on February 17.

Hawara’s harbourers spotted in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Possible harbourers of Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tara were spotted recently in Delhi, strengthening the suspicion that the three escapees might be in the Capital, sources said today.

“Certain persons whose names figured in the interrogation or questioning of those of militancy background for being capable of providing Hawara and others a hideout were seen in Delhi,” the sources said.

These persons were noticed by a joint team of the Delhi and the Punjab police, which is keeping surveillance on suspected persons whose names had emerged during the interrogation.

The police has come into action to check the veracity of the information, considering that Delhi could be a place from where procuring a fake passport would be easier than from Punjab.

The Punjab police is believed to have sent a team of officers to Delhi to find out the facts. The sources did not disclose who the suspected persons were and where they had been spotted.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir police has brought the arrest of professional border crosser Attarjit Singh on record. He is believed to have been arrested under special laws for disturbed areas.

The Punjab police has sent its team of interrogators and Chandigarh is considering to initiate legal proceedings to get Attarjit Singh on production warrant to unravel the conspiracy behind the jail-break.

The police has, however, not got any concrete confirmation as to the border crosser was in contact with Hawara and others after he came out of the Burail Jail. Attarjit Singh is believed to have denied that he had any contact with Hawara during his disappearance. Attarjit Singh was arrested from the Jammu region. It has also not become clear where he had been during the period of disappearance coinciding with the escape of Hawara and others from the Burail Jail. 


Power bill default over Rs 70 lakh
PUDA, hospital, police fail to pay up
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 11
Government institutions and private industrial units have failed to pay their power bills and other dues amounting to more than Rs 70 lakh.

Among the defaulters are the Civil Hospital, the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, the Punjab Planning and Urban Development Authority (PUDA) and the police besides private companies like JCT, Lachhman Singh and Sons and Raja Ram Corn Products.

Though the PSEB has not been able to recover the default amount of Rs 70 lakh, however, officials have managed to collect an outstanding sum of Rs 25 lakh from another set of defaulters.

Sources say that Civil Hospital in Phase VI owes over Rs 7 lakh to the power board as the payment of bills has not been made since October, 2002. Several reminders had been sent for clearing the outstanding dues but no response from authorities concerned had been received by power board officials. One such letter had been written to Civil Surgeon, Ropar, on July 21 last year but no reply was received.

Sources say a penalty of Rs 4.47 lakh had been imposed on PUDA for splitting the load and also for running unauthorised load when its offices were functioning from the building in Phase I. The penalty had been imposed in October, 2001, but PUDA officials concerned neither deposited the amount nor challenged it in the dispute settlement committee. PUDA had later on applied to the PSEB for releasing an additional load of 1000 kw for PUDA Bhavan in Sector 62 which has been withheld by PSEB officials because the earlier dues have not been cleared by it.

Sources further say that the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, which is running various irrigation tubewells in the area, has not cleared power bills amounting to Rs 5.72 lakh. The power supply had been disconnected because of non-payment some months ago but had to be restored after the intervention of Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, Punjab.

Sources say that the power supply to the Phase VIII police station had been cut by PSEB authorities due to non-payment of the bills during summer last year. An amount of Rs 1.11 lakh was pending. However, the amount scaled down to about Rs 80,000 after the PSEB adjusted the security deposited at the time of seeking connection against the pending amount. It is learnt that now the police station is illegally drawing power from nearby police quarters. Several reminders to various officials, including the Ropar SSP failed to draw any response.

Power supply to a veterinary dispensary located in Mullanpur village and to a civil dispensary in Parol village was disconnected as payment of bills had not been cleared by them. While the Mullanpur dispensary owed about Rs 2000 to the PSEB, the Parol dispensary had not cleared a payment of about Rs 5900.

It is learnt that the JCT factory here also owes about Rs 20 lakh to the PSEB as bills have not been cleared. Similarly another unit which had its power connection in the name of Lachhman Singh and Sons had not cleared a payment amounting to about Rs 30 lakh. Raja Ram Corn Products also owes a sum of about Rs 5 lakh to the PSEB. The power supply to all the three defaulting units had been permanently disconnected.

When contacted regarding power bill defaults, Mr K.S. Sidhu, Additional Superintending Engineer, told Chandigarh Tribune that a special campaign had been started to recover the defaulting amount from government as well other consumers. Recovery suits would be filed against major defaulters while the power supply of others would be cut. In the case of supply to emergency services, the competent authorities would be approached for realising the amount.


Bird flu scare
Poultry belt losses cross Rs 100 crore

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 11
Alleging “deep-rooted” conspiracy behind the bird flu scare in India, the Northern India Poultry Farmers Association claimed today that the largest poultry belt in North India, had suffered a loss of over Rs 100 crore during the past month.

According to the association, the outbreak of bird flu in South-East Asian countries provided an excellent opportunity to India to push its exports of poultry products to over Rs 3 billion from the current Rs 1,000 million. However, the adverse propaganda by the West adversely affected the export potential inflicting huge losses on poultry farmers, the Chairman of the association, Mr Jagdish Chander said.

Before the reports of bird flu appeared, of the prices of the eggs ruled over Rs 160 per hundred which had come down to over Rs 80 now, the general secretary, Mr Rajinder Mittal, said. Similarly, the present broiler rate hovered around Rs 11 per bird as compared to about Rs 30 per bird about a month back.

Mr Surjit Singh Sagri of the Punjab Poultry Farmers Association expected a rise in exports despite the bird flu scare as the consumption level in India was quite low. Despite the fact that India was the fourth largest producer of eggs with 3,800 crore eggs per year, the consumption was only 38 eggs per capita. The comparative figure for the USA was 346 eggs per capita. The meat consumption was only 1.2 kg per capita as compared to over 30 kg per capita in the European countries.

Meanwhile, the Animal Husbandry Department Director of the Haryana Government, Dr K.S. Dangi, reiterated that there was no incidence of bird flu in the state. The random sampling of poultry belt had been done and the authorities were taking no chances, Dr S.K. Khanna, a poultry consultant from Ambala, stated.

The association claimed that it was pointless to compare the Indian poultry industry with the industries in Asian countries, including Pakistan, which had been severely hit by the bird flu. The very fact that no case of bird flu had been reported in the country during the past 40 years showed that hygiene was taken care of in the Indian poultry industry.

It may be recalled that the poultry industry’s contribution to the GDP amounts to Rs 29,000 crore(2.5 per cent of the GDP). The industry employs over 20 lakh persons and the sector was registering a growth of over 15 per cent per annum, the highest in the farm-related sector.


Sanjay, Sunil to star in film to counter flu scare
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Notwithstanding avian influenza scare, Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty have been eating more chicken than usual for the past some days. The idea is not to build muscle, which the two already have in plenty, but to send across the message that all is well with the poultry industry of India and that there is no cause for panic.

Sojourning in Chandigarh enroute Manali this afternoon, Sanjay and Sunil talked more about the unfounded fears caused by bird flu than anything else. Sharing the concern for poultry farmers in an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Sanjay and Sunil informed that they had associated with the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) to produce an awareness film that counters the fear of bird flu among consumers. In fact, one got to speak to the actors only because their travel agent, Devinder Nirmal of Dhariwal Travels took, some time to arrange a better car for them. They wanted a Toyota Corolla, not a City Honda.

Pained by the consumer behaviour that is causing a loss of crores to the poultry industry in India, Sanjay Dutt said, “You get a chicken from Vietnam today and I will eat it. Was Leander Paes not hit by a bug in lettuce? Someone tell these people there is no cause for alarm. America gets this flu every year but never panics as a nation. Thousands of farmers in India have lost their means of livelihood overnight. Many are being forced to commit suicide. We must fight this frenzy.”

Seconding Sanjay, Sunil Shetty said, “The NECC approached us for the film on awareness regarding avian influenza. It will be a 30 second to one minute film. The idea is to bring into focus the shattered economy. Despite being the fourth largest producer of eggs in the world, India is consigning safe poultry products to bins. The media must play a constructive role here.”

Coming back to films, especially Mani Shankar’s “Rudraksha”, which attempts a modern day interpretation of the Ramayana, Sanjay Dutt, said,”It is a supernatural thriller. I play a spiritual healer in the film which focuses on the Rudraksha given to Ravana by Lord Shiva. The story explores the power of spirituality and the power of those who possesses the Rudraksha.”

Sunil Shetty, who also features in Rudraksha, added, “The film talks about good and evil, about body and soul and about time cycles. It is not a safe script at all. It will either blast the box office or come crashing down. There is no possibility in between.” Rudraksha has music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy and script by Mani Shankar himself.

As for Sanjay, who has developed a strange fascination for challenging roles, Rudraksha may well be another major milestone. Basking in “Munna Bhai’s” success, Sanjay said, “As actors, we have to experiment with scripts and test ourselves constantly. Every film lends a fresh perspective to life. Munna Bhai had to succeed because it talks of human values and talks honestly. I am also working with Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar.”

Within minutes of halting at Rajiv Bali’s Sector 2 residence, Sanjay and Sunil were off to Manali, where they will shoot for Nitin Manmohan and Sohail Maklai’s film, “Tango Charlie”, also starring Ajay Devgan, Bobby Deol and Tanisha.


Publisher, reporter’s apology accepted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Holding the Times of India and another newspaper Hari Bhoomi guilty of committing criminal contempt of court, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that an effort had been made by them to scandalise the appointment of a High Court Judge. The Bench, however, accepted unconditional apology submitted by them.

Another respondent — a Hisar-based advocate — was, meanwhile, fined Rs 2,000. He had sent a legal notice to the President of India with a copy to the High Court Chief Justice regarding the appointment of Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

The High Court had initially taken cognizance of the report “Government ignored IB (Intelligence Bureau) report on High Court Judge” published in the Times of India on May 8. Notice of a similar report published in Hari Bhoomi was also taken. Subsequently, the court had ordered the initiation of proceedings against the printer and publisher, besides a reporter, of the Times of India, along with the printer of Hari Bhoomi.

The Bench had ruled that an impression had been given that the IB report was sacrosanct. The Judges had added that the correctness of the report was considered by the High Court, besides the Supreme Court collegium and was not accepted.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court this morning, the Bench held that the news-item was “clearly contrary to the factual position which was evident not only from the Law Ministry record, but also from a note of the Law Minister.... It was further pointed out that both the Chief Justice of this court and the collegium had taken into account the association of Mr Justice Goel with the All-India Adhivakta Parishad as its general secretary and had reiterated that the Judge had an impeccable reputation of being an upright and honest advocate”.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice N.K. Sud, further held: “It is evident that a slant has been given in the news reports to convey an impression to a common reader that the Law Minister had dismissed the IB report about the integrity of Mr Justice Goel at his own level and that the government had made his appointment by ignoring the IB report”.

In their 53-page order, the Judges added: “It is true that five pages available with respondent number four (printer and publisher of the Times of India Balraj Arora) and respondent number five ( the Times of India reporter Akshay Mukul) are part of the record. However, a bare perusal of these documents shows that it is not the complete record pertaining to the appointment of Mr Justice Goel”.

The Judges further held: “The contemners did not have the benefit of the observations made by the President in his note dated May 3, 2001. They did not even have information about events subsequent to that date which had ultimately culminated in the note of the Law Minister dated May 19, 2001, which was put up before the Prime Minister. They also did not have complete report of the IB and had merely based the news-item on the summary of a report in an incomplete note”.

The Judges concluded: “The (other) contemners have indeed tendered their unconditional apology at the very outset. However, they have also attempted to justify their action. Thus, we are of the view that they have not fully purged themselves of contempt of court. However, in view of the fact and circumstances of the case, especially that an unconditional apology has been tendered at the very outset, we are inclined to accept the same....”


He served jail term on earned leave!
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
A Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) employee got earned leave while he was in Burail Jail in connection with a case registered by the police station, Sector 31.

Babu Ram, a poultry assistant, was sent to the jail on April 4, 2002, and was released on bail on April 10 but neither the Chandigarh police informed the department nor the employee. The employee during this period got earned leave instead. Sources said the earned leave was sanctioned for the period. The Director of the organisation, Dr. J. N. Bora, said the person was already on leave during the period but he did not inform the office about being lodged in the jail.

Babu Ram was later acquitted in the case by a local court.

Dr Bora said he was not the Director of the organisation at that time and action was initiated after he received a complaint about Babu Ram being in jail for seven days.

Babu Ram was allegedly involved in a group clash in Hallo Majra.

Dr Bora said the department would take action against the employee and he had been given a notice for concealing the fact from the office.

As per the service rules, an employee is placed under suspension after 24 hours in jail. But in this case, the employee escaped suspension because the office did not know about his imprisonment.

Though the then dispensation knew the fact of Babu Ram being in jail, it did not try to find out the fact, the sources said.

The fact was confirmed by the Director when he wrote a letter to the jail authorities in December to know if Babu Ram was in jail during a particular period.

The jail authorities confirmed that the person was lodged in jail in connection with FIR No. 55 registered under Sections 147, 148, 149, 34, 324, 323, 325, 352, 354, 426, 440, 441 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. Dr Bora said the disciplinary inquiry had been initiated two months ago.

The sources said the then dispensation was not ready to initiate disciplinary action despite getting a direction from the Union Deputy Agriculture Secretary in this regard.


Woman suffers burns as oil canister catches fire
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 11
Wife of an Army man sustained burns when a plastic canister containing petroleum accidentally caught fire from a burning matchstick, thrown by her, in Vikas Nagar Colony, Bartana village, near here, this evening.

Shashi Sharma, along with her two children, has been staying in a rented accommodation in the house of Subedar Gurpal Singh here for the past five months.

According to her, the cane caught fire when she threw the burning matchstick carelessly while preparing to hot water on a stove. She sustained burns on her left leg and left hand.

She called for help. A fire engine was called from the Dera Bassi fire station that doused the blaze.

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Shashi’s husband, Company Head Major C.P. Sharma, is at present posted in Srinagar.


Search Within
Will you stand up for what is right when it can prove costly?

To be honest, such a question should send tremors into some of us, who are aware of the ground realities. Standing up for what is right has become a costly affair in this nation. Twelve drunken men throwing out a passenger from a running train, that accommodates more than 60 passengers, with impunity, is symbolic of the situation we face in the political, social and other realms of life. According to one version, the policemen who were present in the compartment of the Chhattisgarh Express just watched the fight and did not intervene.

That Manish Misra, one of the victims, this time happened to be a relative of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, helped focus media attention on a “successful intimidation’’ that resulted in silencing and paralysing a larger number of people by a few determined mischief mongers in public is a sad commentary on our civic sense.

Women members of a cultural troupe travelling by the Himgiri Express were molested on December 29 last year. The main accused in the incident, a politician, is yet to be arrested. A 25-year-old Mizo woman was allegedly stripped in the Guwahati-Dadar Express on November 12. No one has been arrested in this case too. On August 14, 2002, a 10-year-old girl was raped in front of other passengers and in this case, the accused, who was only a casual labourer, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Alert newspaper readers will recall the incident of October 26,1998, in which Jayabala Asher was pushed out of a running train resulting in the loss of her legs. Her assailant is yet to be traced. As against these incidents reported in the papers, there must have been numerous cases of eve-teasing and bullying which had gone unreported.

Strong arm methods of the wicked in intimidating the weak and the helpless are meeting with such success not only in Bihar but in more enlightened and urbanised areas of this country because people are afraid to get involved until their interests are touched. A culture of “non-involvement’’ in public affairs either because of indifference or out of fear of the consequences often allow the bad elements in society to have their way and with the least opposition or protest.

In the incident involving the Chattisgarh Express, it is the silence of the majority of passengers in the coach in particular that had made the tragedy inevitable. Fear of incurring the wrath of the bullies must have deterred at least a few of them from taking the side of the victim. “Why get involved in an issue which is not related to me,’’ could have been the rationale behind other spectators, who refused to intervene. They could have at least compelled the policemen, who were present in the coach to act. There was the other option of stopping the train by pulling the chain. Among the silent spectators no one felt the pangs of guilt at such inaction either before the two victims were thrown out of the train or even after the event.

Besides fear, it is selfishness that often prevents people from getting involved in such cases. The desire to prefer one’s own safety or convenience even when others are being wronged is not an unusual trait in man. It is this survival characteristic embedded in human nature that makes injustices and wrongs possible in society. Corruption in society becomes possible because there are many who would rather collude with the corrupt than stand apart and fight the evil. It doesn’t take long for the majority to be on the side of the corrupt when it stands to benefit thereby. And in the process, the honest ones become the target of the corrupt. They expose themselves to danger.

The recent murder of Satyendra Kumar Dubey, Deputy General Manager of the National Highway Authority of India, in Gaya, who sent a note to the Prime Minister’s Office on corruption involving officials and contractors, underline the dangers a crusader against corruption exposes himself too in the current scenario. Unlike Dubey, there must be many who simply fall in line because it is dangerous to oppose the corrupt or those wickedly bold.

Cowardice and selfishness in man are the two serious flaws when it comes to the issue of rooting out corruption from public life. That explains why the majority would rather fall in line rather than protest against wrong-doing and injustice. The sense of right and wrong does not seem to override the inclination towards survival and self-interest in the case of the majority. And this only strengthens the concept of original sin, the concept of a sin-stained personality of man.

But what happens when bad characters remain unchallenged? They get emboldened and repeat their misdeeds being sure that there will not be any resistance from third parties. And more and more people are unwilling to burn their fingers on any issue in which their interests are not involved.

But then if it is costly to get involved, we must know that sometimes it is costlier not to get involved. If a few pollute the air and some others pollute your source of water you drink, you will be compelled to act at some point or the other. You can only keep quiet at your peril. So it is when society is being polluted and challenged by law breakers. When the rule of law does not prevail, there is a possibility of chaos engulfing everyone whether they are getting involved or not.

It is often dinned into our ears that it is not the wickedness of the few that endangers society, but the indifference of the large number of good people who simply watch things happen and remain indifferent. Your neighbour’s house is being looted and you can choose to remain unaffected. But then, it won’t be long before the looters find a way to your doorsteps. It costs to take a stand for justice and righteousness in our times. But indifference also will prove costlier. The moral is that we should get involved when public interests are at stake.

— MPK Kutty


Traffic hazard at Industrial Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
The local Federation of Small Scale Industries in a letter to the Superintendent of Police (Traffic) has highlighted the traffic hazard in the Industrial Area, Phase I, besides the misuse of the industrial premises by certain occupants.

Mr Rajeev Gupta, general secretary of the federation, has requested the authorities to assess the situation to initiate the necessary corrective action. It has been pointed out that “there are certain transport companies operating business from their premises. The plot number 12, in particular, is being used as a car repair shop which leads to a large number of vehicles parked on the roadside.

The road in front of plot numbers 26, 27 and 28 are generally blocked because of illegal parking of trucks and other heavy vehicles. The vacant plot between the road and the industrial establishments is being used as a parking place by vehicles which is seen as a traffic hazard, the letter said.

Mr Gupta said: “The truck drivers at night make it an open drinking place and reports of public nuisance after the consumption of alcohol are also common”.

The letter is signed by at least 12 industrialists, including the managers of the Chandigarh Paper Board Ltd, the Kamal Engineering, the Ravindera Engineering Works, Goel Multiplex, the Baba Machine Tools, the Power Zip and the Sood Industries, besides others.


Celebrate love with diamonds

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But are expensive too. So in case you cannot afford to buy the sparkling stones, just drive down to Sector 35 market for buying gems after taking out anywhere between Rs 200 and Rs 7000 from your pocket.

The collection of “elegant Valentine’s range” was launched by Ravoy gems. Easily affordable diamond jewellery by a Mumbai-based group was introduced in connection with the big day.

The collection includes diamond pendants, ear-rings, rings and colour stones, besides ear-ring-pendant sets. The theme is “celebrating the joy of love”. The colour stones include ruby, emeralds, sapphires and aquamarine.

This is not all. You will get an “attractive” gift after purchasing ornaments worth Rs 500. In fact, you can take home free perfumes after purchasing gems worth Rs 3,000 and above and you will get “love bite” pendant on purchase of items worth Rs 7,000 and above. TNS


Visually impaired intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 11
Eight of the 33 visually impaired activists of the Netrahin Jagriti Sangh, Haryana, who had been arrested on February 9 by the Chandigarh police and were later sent to judicial remand, were today released.

The General Secretary of the sangh, Mr Jagdish Singh Saini, said the rest of the activists would not seek bail. ‘‘They will not seek bail and it is the Administration which would have to got them released’’, Mr Saini added. According to him, the eight had some personal problems and that is why the sangh’s president Mr Surinder Singh Lamba, arranged their bail.

Meanwhile, over 36 more members of the sangh joined it ongoing agitation at the Matka Chowk here. It would intensify its agitation, said the general secretary.


Spiritualism only reality: Swamiji
Our Correspondent

Swami Jitatmanand addresses a gathering at Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh
Swami Jitatmanand addresses a gathering at Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 11
“India is doing well in all spheres and has a bright future due to its spiritual force,” said Swami Jitatmanand of Ramakrishna Mission here today. He asserted, “In foreign countries, there is more stress on materialism”.

Addressing a gathering of distinguished guests, including bureaucrats, at the Art Gallery auditorium in Sector 10, he said “spiritualism is the ultimate reality and only it can lead to progress”. He said India could aid global development through its deep rooted cultural values. He was delivering a talk on “The emergence of India as a global power and its spiritual culture”.


2 cops injured in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 11
Two police officers were injured when their motor cycle collided with a truck near Old Panchkula today.

According to information, Mr Giani Ram, ASI, and Mr Tara Chand, posted at the Police Headquarters here, were on their way to Panchkula from Pinjore.

While Mr Giani Ram was discharged from the hospital, Mr Tara Chand has been shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The driver of the truck has absconded. A case has been registered.


Readers Write
PGI’s wrong priorities

I felt sad on reading the report about the mismanagement of public money of the PGI administration. Is the managements aware that not a single sheet or blanket is available for a patient in winter brought to the emergency at midnight?

In an accident case, the patient is lucky if some passer-by picks him from the roadside brings him to the PGI. But arrangement at the hospital throw a poor light on the management of this prestigious institution. There are competent doctors in the PGI who are capable of giving excellent medical service, but till the patient is attended to by the doctor concerned, he might as well get pneumonia due to severe cold.

The audit report exposes the management when it says the “PGI might cry itself hoarse about an acute shortage of funds when it comes to routine hospital expenditure, but it is magnanimous in shelling out Rs 30.89 lakh for the 59 window-type air-conditioners, that too in areas which are already centrally airconditioned.” It has been further observed that “ACs have been installed unnecessarily to exhaust funds. The aggregate amount for running these 59 ACs will be Rs 21.24 lakh per year.”

I am writing this on the basis of personal experience recently at the PGI. Will the administration refix its priorities?

J.J. Kaur, Mohali

Bus no 7 route

It is a matter of great concern that the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) has changed the route of Bus no 7. Previously, the bus started from the Airport and went to the PGI through Sectors 29, 32, 20-21 etc. Now, it goes through Sector 18-19.

As a result, children who go to the schools of Sectors 20 and 21 and patients who go to the Sector 32 hospital for treatment have to walk for over 1 km.

I, on behalf of the Behlana Gram Panchayat, urge the authorities to revert the route of the bus.

Mahinder Kaur, Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat, Behlana, Chandigarh-UT

Redesigning city centre

A recent trip to Chandigarh was a shock in terms of the weak stance taken up by the administration in accepting whatever is offered to it by just anybody.

The frequent changes in byelaws to please the public and ghastly overdressed topiary rotary junctions would force Le Corbusier to turn in his grave.

The news of the Sector 34 city centre being redesigned by a private architect speaks volumes of the administration’s manner of functioning. Some competent urban designers/planners (with international exposure) should have been shortlisted and an open competition held rather than giving work to an old timer with limited or no exposure of urban-scale projects of this magnitude and importance.

T. Singh, Chandigarh

Mohali should be district

PUDA has also constituted committees for monitoring the work relating to water sanitary, sewerage, parks and roads in Mohali. The administration seems to have forgotten to take note of unauthorised jhuggis on government land which are very much visible from the road dividing Sector 56. Not even an inch of the road berm is free from encroachments.

The administration has also failed to take notice of the demand of the residents to upgrade the city to the level of district so as to avoid running for every petty job to Kharar and Ropar. Residents are at a loss to understand why district status to the city is being denied despite repeated promises by various political parties.

S. S. Bal and P. S. Bedi, Mohali

PEC and SC/ST students

Concessions for the SC/ ST students as per Government of India norms are not being given in PEC. We have to pay Rs 20,000 per semester in addition to Rs 50,000 we paid at the time of admission. We are treated as if it is a private (profit-making) institution.

Manisha Singh, Swati Ghothwal, Neha Kumari, Amit Kumar, Vishal Singh, Sanjeev Sareen and Vijay Ghushal, Chandigarh


Burglary at chemist shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Medicines estimated to be worth Rs more than 5 lakh have been stolen by burglars from a chemist shop, National Trading Agencies, in Sector 37.

Medicines including brand names of Cipla, Pfizer, Ranbaxy, Unichem, Bluecross, Ozone and Lica were missing, the proprietor of the firm Varun Goel claimed today. Mr Goel said when he came to the shop, it was discovered that all seven locks had been broken and costly medicines were stolen. Mr Goel said the night watchman of the market was on leave on the night of February 8, when the incident happened.


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