C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Treason charges against CRPF personnel dropped
Charge sheet filed in Burail jailbreak case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The police has dropped the charges of treason against two CRPF personnel who were on duty when the alleged Beant Singh assassins Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora escaped from Burail Jail.

While sufficient evidence of treason have been collected against 15 others, including arrested Jail Superintendent D.S. Rana, Deputy Jail Superintendent D.S. Sandhu, Deputy Superintendent V.M. Gill and Assistant Superintendent P.S. Rana, among others, CRPF personnel Kashmir Singh and Jagir Singh were only found to be negligent in their duty.

The charges have been dropped in the 1057-page charge sheet filed today in a local court in the jailbreak case. The CRPF personnel have now been left only with the charges of negligence in duty under Section 223 of the Indian Penal Code.

The charge sheet was filed in the court after getting sanctions from the government for the filing of charge sheet against its employees.

It was filed after 74 days of the incident. Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) report on how two tunnels were dug up and how the loose earth was disposed of by the accused has not been presented along with the charge sheet. More than 20 seizure memos say that the report will be presented before the court at a later stage.

The charge sheet says according to an initial measurement, the tunnel from the Barrack Number 7 was 94 feet long and 14 feet deep from the barrack and 8 feet deep from the exit point.

The dropping of the charges of treason against the CRPF personnel is surprising as the final exit point within the jail compound was just 15 feet away from the watch tower on which they were posted that night.

One wooden seat frame of a chair, that was fitted on the mouth of the tunnel in the Barrack Number 7, four pieces of cloths made into ropes measuring 15 to 20 feet long, one weight-lifting iron rod, an electric extension cord, an electric switch board, some soil of the tunnel and other items have been mentioned to have been seized from the barrack.

The charge sheet has also referred to June 7, 2002, letter from D.S. Rana to senior officials saying that there was no tunnel from the gurdwara barrack. It says despite the recovery of cash and a mobile phone from the gurdwara barrack of Hawara, jail officials deputed the same staff to guard his changed barrack, which was even much closer to the wall of the jail. The Barrack Number 7 was meant to lodge a large number of inmates, but only four of them were sent to the barrack. Hawara and others were provided Dev Singh as their “Mushakkti” in violation of the Punjab Jail Manual, the charge sheet adds.

The jail authorities had not been inspecting the barrack has been proved from the fact that a large number of items were there in violation of the jail manual.


Vedanti’s name finds mention in charge sheet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Jagtar Singh Hawara is purported to have written letters to a judicial officer and Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti from the Burail Jail but did not post them. This has found mention in the charge sheet that the Chandigarh Police today filed in a local court. While the name of judicial officer has not been specified Jathedar Vedanti’s name has found mention.

The handwriting of Hawara has been confirmed by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL). The letters mention that they would continue to fight for the creation of Khalistan.

The police, however, is suspicious as to why these letters were left behind by the escapees. The police suspect they might have been deliberately left behind to gain publicity or to confuse the police.

The chargesheet also mentions that the accused jail officials had reportedly been informed about Hawara’s escape plan by a person (without naming him) but the officials allegedly ignored the information.

“It has been found that a few days prior to the escape, even after receiving specific information that Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora were about to escape from the jail, who intended to to kill ‘big’ political leaders of the country so as to overthrow the Government of India, no action was taken on this information deliberately by the accused jail officials in order to facilitate their plan,” the charge sheet said.

The chargesheet finds a mention of another channel of supply of money to Hawara saying Sewa Singh, a witness and father of an accused Subeg Singh, received a payment of Rs 1 lakh from some contact of Jagtar Singh Hawara. The charesheet says Rs 98,000 of this amount had gone to Subeg Singh when he came out of jail on parole.

The charge sheet mentions that seven mobile phones were used in the escape operation by Hawara, Baljit Kaur, Narain Singh Chaura and others. One of the mobile phones used in the operation was recovered from near the outer wall of the gurdwara jail hidden under a heap of bricks lying there. Narain Singh Chaura informed the police about this mobile phone.

On the scrutiny of the mobile phone records, it has been found out that Hawara had made 52 calls to Baljeet Kaur on her mobile phone between January 12 and 21. However, the chargesheet does not mention any of the calls made to the Pakistan and Germany-based leaders of the Babbar Khalsa International.

It says Hawara had met Pakistani spy Abid Mehmood in the jail on the day he escaped from the jail in the night and had asked for a safe sanctuary and explored from him the support of the ISI.

The chargesheet quotes Nand Singh and Subeg Singh as saying that Hawara and others had told them that after their escape from the jail, they would strive to revive terrorism by killing top leaders.Back


Scrap dealer hangs himself from tree
Girl ends life after failing to appear for exam
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 5
Two persons, including a 22-year girl, allegedly committed suicide in separate cases, while a Sector 46 woman attempted to burn herself to death and was admitted to a hospital with 50 per cent burns yesterday.

According to police sources, Reenu, hanged herself from a ceiling fan at her residence in Sector 31. She was pursuing a B.Ed course in Ludhiana. She reportedly did not appear for the examination.

Though no suicide note has been found, the police suspects that she ended her life to save herself from the embarrassment of not appearing for the examination.

She was noticed hanging from the ceiling fan by members of her family. They took her to an Air Force hospital. She was declared brought dead there.

A post-mortem examination of the body has been done.

A scrap dealer, Sant Ram, allegedly ended his life by hanging himself from a tree near Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, in the late hours yesterday.

It is being said that he had been tense for quite some time as he could not find a suitable job.

Morning walkers of the area today noticed the body of Sant Ram hanging from the tree. He had left his residence in Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, last morning, said the police. His identity was established from a paper found in his pocket.

His father, Paras Ram is a rickshaw-puller. Besides his father and mother, he is survived by wife and two children.

In another incident, Jaswinder Kaur of Sector 46 allegedly self-immolated herself after she had failed to put her crying child to sleep on Saturday.

The woman was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital with 50 per cent burns. A Magistrate recorded her statement in the hospital.

The Sector 34 police station has booked the woman for an attempt to suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

Meanwhile, mother of three children, Ms Bimla, sustained 90 per cent burns when the kerosene stove, she was doing cooking on, bursted. The incident took place last night in Sector 45. Her condition was said to be stable when the reports last came in.


Chahal car mishap: victim cremated
No word of condolence from Chahal, say family members
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 5
Gurdial Kaur (60), who had succumbed to injuries yesterday after being seriously injured in an accident that involved the car of Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Media Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister, was cremated at Khooni Majra, near here, today.

Five persons were injured, one of them seriously, when Mr Chahal’s car and a scooter collided near Chunni village on April 2. Gurdial Kaur had been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, for treatment.

The cremation was attended only by relatives and residents from the village. Nobody from the side of Mr Chahal reached the cremation site. Members of the family of the deceased said no one from the side of those involved in the accident had even come to inquire when she was undergoing treatment at the PGI. Not even a phone call had been received, they added.

Members of the family were reluctant to talk about the accident to mediapersons who had gone to the village to cover the cremation. They were even seen persuading others not to speak to the members of the press about the accident. When asked whether there was any sort of pressure from authorities concerned they replied in the negative.

When asked why a case had been registered by the police against his grandson, Amandeep Singh, who was driving the scooter when the accident took place, Mr Bhajan Singh, husband of Gurdial Kaur, told Chandigarh Tribune that he was not aware of this. He said, “We are poor people and cannot take a stand. A member of our family has died and we are facing the loss”.

He said that his wife was a heart patient and was undergoing treatment from Doraha. About three years ago she had suffered a minor heart attack.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union of the Kheri block, said he was unable to understand how the driver of the scooter was at fault when his vehicle was hit from behind by the car. He alleged that the injured persons were taken to a hospital not by Mr Chahal but by Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, an Akali leader, who was also coming on that route.

According to some villagers, Gurdial Kaur had gone to Rampur village to drop her grandson at her daughter’s house on April 2. From there her grandson picked up a scooter to drop her at the Chunni bus stand from where she was to take a bus back to Khooni Majra. However, the accident took place before they reached the bus stand.

Mr Bhajan Singh has two sons and a daughter. While one son, Mr Jaspal Singh, is working with the Punjab Police, the other, Mr Major Singh, is working with the Punjab Home Guards.

Mr Bhajan Singh said their family had suffered during days of terrorism in Punjab. He said their house was set on fire by terrorists on November 5, 1991, because his son was with the Punjab police. He said the family had left the village and stayed at Samrala for three years. The members of the family were not even allowed to cultivate their land for three years.

Fatehgarh Sahib (OC): The Fatehgarh Sahib police today started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC following the death of Gurdial Kaur. The SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Shiv Kumar, said investigating officer had got Gurdial Kaur’s post-mortem conducted at the PGI and had also recorded statements of both parties involved in the accident.

When asked why a cross FIR had not been registered against Mr Sarbjit Pandher and Mr B.I.S. Chahal who were in the car that caused the accident leading to Gurdial Kaur’s death, the SSP said that cross FIRs in accident cases are not registered. He added that in this case the police itself had not taken cognisance of the accident since the driver of the scooter was a minor.


One ‘squadron’ of aircraft lost in accidents in one year
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
While aircraft accident rate in the Indian Air Force came down during the financial year ending last month, the Air Force still lost the equivalent of one squadron strength along with nine pilots. Besides, eight civilians were killed and several were injured, some seriously due to aircraft falling in habitated areas.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that between April 1, 2003, and March 31, 2004, there were 13 major accidents involving IAF combat aircraft. Though the IAF officially attributes human error and technical defects to be the major cause of accidents, ageing aircraft, poor maintenance and the inability of the force to attract talent are increasingly being cited as other reasons for the dismal flight safety record.

In fact, during preparations for Vayu Shakti 2004, where the IAF showcased its might and flying skills before an international audience at Pokhran, it lost two aircraft, a Jaguar and a MiG-23, and their pilots. The casualties included the commanding officer of a Jaguar squadron.

The incidents revealed a new problem for the IAF. According to reports, both aircraft had exploded while executing bombing runs. The reasons was that the defective ordnance or malfunctioning triggered mechanisms. After being fired, the ordnance did not leave the aircraft. There were also reports that during the exercise, a Su-30 escaped disaster when an air-to-air missile fired by it did not head towards the target but fell to the ground after flying just a few metres.

One of the worst accidents during the year was at Srinagar when a MiG-21 trainer exploded on touchdown. The squadron's commanding officer (CO), Wg Cdr R. Rastogi and Flt Lt B. Ganesh, whose flying skills were being assessed by the CO, were killed. The findings of the court of inquiry, which perhaps for the first time were made public by the IAF, attributed the accident to human error.

Worse, an IAF trainee, Arvind Sharma lost his life on his first sortie when a helicopter crashed near Secunderabad in August. His instructor too was killed. A few months later two pilots were killed during a training helicopter sortie.

In another little known incident, a MiG-21 flying out of Bathinda collided with an unmanned aerial vehicle over Punjab, but the pilot managed to get his damaged aircraft safely to base.

The IAF has also raised fingers at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited over the quality of works undertaken by it. More recently, it has passed orders that all squadrons converting to the MiG-21 Bison, the upgraded version of the MiG-21, will have to spend six months at HAL factory in Ojhar. The upgraded aircraft delivered by HAL would be thoroughly flight tested by the squadron crew before being accepted. Air Headquarters had reportedly written to HAL several times over lapses in quality checks and technical defects in aircraft produced by it.

Training in the IAF has also come into sharp focus, with the quality of pilot training being raised even in Parliament. Reports placed before Parliament reveal that the training imparted to IAF pilots afflicted with serious shortcomings in terms of available equipment and infrastructure.

Concern has often been expressed over trainee pilots being deprived of adequate modern training due to lack of suitable synthetic training equipment aids like flight simulators and computer based training. A number of simulators in the IAF's inventory were old and unserviciable.

Errors and defects not withstanding, crucial to improving flight safety, is the IAF's accident investigation process, which itself has been in the eye of a storm. Courts of inquiry have often resulted in disagreements between various agencies, ending up in compromises on certain aspects. Consequently, officers said, a lot of fatal crashes are left unresolved and simply attributed to human error.

According to official reports, the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Board, set up under the Director of Flight Safety to investigate serious accidents, is handicapped due to manpower constraints. It also cited an earlier report that the IAF did not have the required level of expertise into accident investigation.




“Sukhna Lake is the heart and soul of Chandigarh”, observed a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice C.S. Singhvi, while hearing a PIL entitled “Save Sukhna Lake” last week.

It was brought to the notice of the court that Haryana intends to allow low volume habitation in the catcment area of the endangered Sukhna Lake. And if permitted to proceed, it would in all eventuality result in breach of the ecological balance of the area around the Sukhna Lake and may lead to “drying up of the lake”.

The court went on observe that “in the best interest of justice, we restrain the government of Haryana from implementation of its alleged low volume habitational scheme”. The court also wanted to be informed as who intended to be settled in the area of the above scheme.

The Bench wanted all the three states — Punjab, Haryana and UT — to bring to the notice of the court “the steps which have been taken or which are under contemplation, to save the forest area around and in the catchment area of the Sukhna lake.”

One hundred and fifteen physically challenged children and adults will be fitted with ambulatory aids and appliances absolutely free of cost at a special function to be held on Tuesday. In addition each one of them will get a token gift by the Governor and Administrator of UT, Chandigarh, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), courtsey Social Welfare Department, Chandigarh UT.

Karsan Colony, Ram Darbar, is the largest recognised disability centre in Chandigarh. Physiotherapy treatment is provided thrice a week to the needy disabled persons, who have already been provided with free ambulatory aids during the last two years.

Cows and bulls

Majority of the cattle in the cowsheds of the city are cows. The bulls are paying the price for indulging in violence inside the premises of the shelter. There have been a number of occasions when the raging bulls have destroyed the walls at the cowsheds near the cremation ground, Sector 45, and the Industrial Area.

Dr G.C. Bansal, Medical Officer, Health, feels that all rounded-up stray cattle should be castrated. “The urge for sex was the biggest reason why the bulls were overactive. This created problems for other animals on the complex. There have also been cases when stray cows got pregnant. This led to the load of additional population”, he said.

Dr Bansal said certain cows on road thought to be infertile could actually conceive. Cows in this category had been left out after milking them for a few years. People had injected dose of Oxytocil in cows to get more milk. This medicine was supposed to be used only during delivery of a calf.

Have you ever wondered why there were only cows and bulls on roads and no buffaloes? “The simple reason is that buffaloes were slaughtered and cows not touched because of religious reasons”, a senior official said.

Cricket dominates politics

Soon after Mr Lal Krishan Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, took to the mike at Nehru Park, Sector 22, on Wednesday (March 24), the sky in the background was full of fireworks. The noise of the crackers burst by city residents to mark the victory of India against Pakistan in the One-Day series was deafening. The political talk on stage soon assumed cricket colours.

The opposition is yet undecided over a face to match that of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the leader of the country. He is accompanied by an already decided team (political alliances) in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, he said. This meant a captain with his team was poised against a team which had no captain.

“What to talk of a captain, the Opposition is not even clear about its team”, he said.

Lesson for Haryana school board

The multi-crore Telgi stamp paper scam in Maharashtra has taught a lesson or two to the Board of School Education, Haryana.

The board secretary, Mr Rakesh Gupta,informed the other day that the scam had inspired the board to introduce several innovative security features to make the marksheets tamper-proof.

However, history is witness to the fact that the past scams had not made us any wiser. Will the Telgi scam make Haryana board, whose performance in the past years had been lacklustre, any wiser?

Rich men’s assets

The assets of world’s three richest individuals are more than the Gross National Product (GNP) of 48 poorest countries of the world. And the assets of 1% richest persons of the USA were more than 90% of the poor.

This interesting information was provided by a senior advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr R.S. Cheema, while addressing a conference of the Haryana branch of the Indian Association of Lawyers (IAL). While one-fourth of the world’s poor live in India, about 48% of the total lliterate polulation lives in the country, the advocate added.

Virtual film city

Two big banners from Bollywood shooting simultaneously in the city, Chandigarh has virtually turned into a film city. First it was Anil Sharma’s unit for “Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo” shooting in Forest Hill Resort, and now Yash Chopra’s unit for his untitled film shooting in the vicinity of the city. With mega stars flying in almost everyday, the media persons are getting a run for their money, trying to keep track with the day-to-day shooting report and if possible score ahead of others with some exclusive interviews.

While Anil Sharma’s cast that included Amitabh Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Nagma, Sandali Sinha and Aarti Chabria obliged the press with interviews, Yash Chopra’s unit featuring teenage hearthrob Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and yesteryear’s Dream Girl Hema Malini has maintained stoic silence when it comes to talking to the Press.

MC website

The website of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is www.mcchandigarh.com. The website will provide information about organisational structure and major achievements of the corporation. It will also contain e-mail addresses of the officers and also the office-bearers among the elected councillors.

The website will have sections for public information and also for receiving public complaints. Public can download forms from the website and submit their complaints.

The facility will also cater to providing information on seeking new water connections along with tarrifs. It will also contain information on green parks, list of fire stations, centres for dumping waste, besides others.

Shortage of lectures

Shortage of lectures in class has become the hallmark of presidents’ heading students organisations at Panjab University over the years. Every year, the university authorities are faced with numerous requests to condone lectures and the names of heads of these organisations invariably find a mention.

This year is no different and three student leaders right from Malvinder Kang of Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) to Khushbaz Singh Jattana of Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) as also Gurparvez Singh Sandhu of PUSU (Shelly) are awaiting the university’s decision. They are, however, not worried about the university departing from convention and are hopeful of a waiver.

Promotion policy

Faced with no promotion avenues, nearly 20 years back the medical fraternity employed at the Panjab University Health Centre first made its demand for a promotion policy for them.

Repeated reminders to the university since then failed to elicit a response. Finally, the doctors have got their way after the Syndicate, at its recent meeting, laid down requirement for a promotion.

While a Medical Officer (MO) would require nine years of service to be promoted as Senior Medical Officer (SMO), 14 years of service would entitle a doctor to be designated as Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The beneficiaries are Dr Devinder Dhawan who becomes CMO, and Dr R Khullar as well as Dr BS Lal who will get the designation of SMO by virtue of the years of service they have put in. Dr Pragya Kumar will, however, be CMO in charge. — Sentinel


Goods worth lakhs gutted in yarn spinning unit
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 5
Goods, including raw and waste material worth lakhs of rupees, were gutted in a major fire which broke out at a yarn spinning unit, located along the Dera Bassi-Barwala road in Bhagwanpur village, about 6 km from here, this afternoon.

However, there was no loss of life in the fire that engulfed a godown of the unit of Usha Yarns, a thread manufacturing unit. Since labourers noticed the smoke being emitted from the godown, a timely action by unit supervisor Raj Kumar averted a major tragedy which could have claimed lives

The supervisor informed Mr Aanurag Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, of the unit and subsequently fire tenders from Dera Bassi, Mohali, Chandigarh and Air force Station, Barwala, were called to extinguish the blaze.

About 50 firemen, with the help of fire engines and labourers of the unit, had a tough time in controlling the flames. Due to the high temperature of high-rising flames, the roof of the godown crashed down after iron cantilevers melted while the plaster of walls pealed off.

After fighting for even over seven hours, the firemen were not able to control the blaze completely till the filing of the report.

Mr Gupta said the workers of the adjoining factories also swung into action and helped in extinguishing the flames by throwing buckets of water and sand. He added that the exact cause of breaking out of the fire and loss could not be known at the initial stage.

Mr Avtar Singh, fire officer, Dera Bassi, said the fire would be complelely extinguished till tomorrow since it was still simmering in cotton bales. The fire tenders were being refilled from tubewells in nearby areas and water storage tanks in adjacent units.

No case has been registered by the police in this regard.


Readers write

Apropos the report “Poll announcement scuttles move on building bylaws”. The Punjab and Haryana High Court restrained the Punjab Government from regularisation of any encroachment and construction in violation of building bylaws. No one, except the persons involved, can appreciate regularisation of encroachment of any kind. But issue of construction in violation of building bylaws within the plot area of the house and conforming to requirements of sunlight and cross-ventilation needs a vivid and distinct evaluation. In early 2003 the Chandigarh Administration issued notices to residents for demolition of unauthorised construction within their houses. The issue was raised by the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, in the Lok Sabha questioning the reasonability of the threatened demolition on a massive scale. Mr Bansal urged the Lok Sabha to get the built up area of house with unauthorised construction increased and need-based additions should be allowed (The Tribune dated April 29th, 2003). During the ensuing period Chandigarh Administration took far-reaching people’s friendly decisions.

Cases of building bylaws violations within the plot area and conforming to the requirement of sunlight and cross-ventilation must be de-linked from other cases where encroachment of public land is involved or there is gross violation of building bylaws. The government should collect necessary data under these three categories separately through a survey and take appropriate action for regularisation of cases falling within first category i.e. where no encroachment of public land is involved and conform to the requirements of sun, space and air.

R.K. Gupta, Mohali

Vital bridge incomplete

While laying the foundation stone of the Machhiwara-Rahon road bridge on April 8, 2001, former CM Parkash Singh Badal had said that the bridge was to be completed within 18 months, and termed it the beginning of infrastructure revolution in the Sidhwan Bet area on the Sutlej river. This area had remained backward because of a poor road network. Also, it would have reduced 42 km distance between Khana and Hoshiarpur, besides reducing traffic on the GT Road on the other side of Ludhiana.

Alas! More than 35 months have elapsed i.e. equal to the double time schedule for its completion, but the project has not been completed. If promises and performances do not tally, then what expectations do they have from the people of the area?

The Machhiwara-Rahon road bridge on the Sutlej has been in a state of neglect, which needs immediate attention of the government in power.

R.S. Bali, Ambala City

Data cable kit

This is with reference to letter to the Editor headlined ‘Data cable for mobile not given’ dated February 24, 2004 published in your esteem publication.

We would like to inform you that the data cable kit mentioned in the letter is an accessory, which is used to connect to the Internet through the Reliance India Mobile. This is a value-added service of the phone and the cable is available at a cost as an add-on accessory.

We have spoken with the customer. Apparently, Col Soni believed that the data cable is available free of cost as a part of the standard equipment, and therefore the misconception prevailing with him. We are pleased to report that the matter has now been sorted out, to the customer’s satisfaction.

Piyush Gupta, Chandigarh

Well done, Sub Post Master sahib

In these days when the display of a sense of irresponsibility and unpunctuality has become a routine matter in every field of society, specially in government offices, it looks strange to see the staff of Sector 15, Panchkula post office, commencing their work in the office even before their duty hours. The other day I went to the said post office for getting the booking of a registered letter at 8.45 a.m. and was surprised to see that office assistant at the counter accepted my letter and gave me the receipt for the same in no time. When asked about their duty hours, the Sub Post Master said that they were voluntarily coming early and starting their work before the commencement of their duty hours to satisfactorily manage the heavy increase in the pressure of work at the counters with the existing staff. This is providing a great relief to the public, especially to the office-goers. The credit for this motivation to the staff goes to the Sub Post Master and they really deserve appreciation and some kind of incentive from the department.

Om Prakash Seth, Panchkula

Fire in health club

The fire caused at Planet Fitness Club (Sector 8) could have been an accident but certainly if due precaution had been taken it would have avoided the loss of money/material. It is pertinent to mention that buildings of the city should be periodically checked to ensure that these safety norms are adhered to so as to avoid such incidents. Strict penalties should be imposed as this involves the safety of the citizens and no laxity should be tolerated.

In some of the commercial buildings, the staircases have been encroached upon by STD PCO/tea shops/stores or in some the electric wirings are hanging out which in itself may cause a fire some day.

The only remedy to prevent fire lies in the precautions we take. The famous proverb still holds good ‘Prevention is better than cure’.

Rajinder Singh, Chandigarh

Traffic awareness

Apropos the news items regarding observance of traffic awareness and awareness weeks by traffic police at various places time to time. The only activity highlighted to have been undertaken during such weeks is the number of challans issued for different offences. It shows that the very concept of observing such a ritual is misplaced. Issuing challans is not a special activity that has to be specially undertaken. What is needed is educating people on avoiding such offences. Lane driving, right of way in roundabouts, personal advantages of wearing a helmet, overtaking from right side only, observing speed limits, dipping lights during night driving inside town areas, dangers of driving on the wrong side on roads with a divider are some of the traffic rules/etiquette that need to be drilled into road users’ minds. Activities undertaken during such weeks should be corrective and educative rather than being punitive, to serve any fruitful purpose.

The roundabouts having high berm walls is another traffic hazard and against international road safety norms. In the event of a car getting stuck along this wall due to an accident, and even worse if it catches fire, it will be very difficult for the driver to get out. The traffic island berms should not be higher than car door ground clearance.

Lt Col Bhagwant Singh (retd), Mohali

Countdown for Sukhna

It was in the month of May last year that The Tribune took the laudable initiative of arranging a public debate for finding a solution to the chronic silt problem of the Sukhna Lake. Several environmentalists, foresters and engineers took part in it. They all were of the view that the soil conservation schemes being tried in tis catchment had done a good job in reducing the amount of silt entering the lake, but by their very nature these could not make it to zero. And this was a must if the balance meager capacity of the lake was to be preserved. This is an extra ordinaryconcept and the know-how for it was not available in any of the textbook, only some innovative solution could do the needful. Keeping in view its geography, hydrology and the position of its exit regulator, a very practical and fool proofscheme costing just Rs 40 lakh was prepared and explained to the government with the help of its card board model. Its broad features were also published in several newspapers (Chandigarh Tribune, March 16, ‘‘Save City Pride’’). With a view to convincing the public and experts about the suitability of the scheme, the government was requested to permit the construction of its masonry model on the lake itself. So for there has been no response to it from any quarter and further debate on this life and death issue for the lake, is at standstill.

On the other hand, the rainy season which is also the silting season for the lake, is fast approaching. The government, which cannot remain a silent spectator, has yet to unfold its action plan for saving the lake from yet another yearly instalments of silt load. This is going to be much greater now than in the past as the crest level of the exit regulator has been raised by two feet.

S.P. Malhotra, Chandigarh


Contractor sells liquor under tent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
While new liquor shops and ‘ahatas’ are yet to be set up following the recent auction, certain liquor contractors are selling liquor from tents and makeshift arrangements.

A liquor shop in Sector 34 (near Piccadily theatre) has been selling liquor under a tent. The old structure has been pulled down and a new one is under construction near the same site.

A salesman on duty said arrangements had been made temporarily because of heavy public demand. A new structure would be ready within a couple of days.

A salesman at a liquor shop in Sector 46 said a makeshift arrangement at the end of the sector was operational till Saturday. “Certain old contractors had handed over existing structures to the newcomers while others were demanding heavy money. So this had led to a situation of kutcha structures being installed for immediate sales”, the salesman said.

Another salesman said, “We are challenging the administration’s decision to close down sheds. We are spending huge amounts of money in procuring a ‘theka’. So we should have the liberty to choose a place for setting up the shop where we could do better sales”.

Mr Arun Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said the UT Administration had decided that all vends would be shifted from tin-sheds. As many as seven, out of 13, have already done so and the remaining have been given a one-month time.

When asked that there were certain other structures of tin-sheds near the old ones, the Deputy Commissioner said the matter would be looked into.


Fauji Beat
They are peacetime heroes too

While in war the soldiers sacrifice their lives to save the integrity of the country, during peacetime they render yeomen service to the humanity and save human lives by risking their lives. In a rail or road accident, even when two to three Army men are among the passengers of the ill-fated train or bus, they take over the situation and save as many lives as possible.

When it comes to blood donation, all of them are volunteers. In each Army unit, a register of blood donors with their blood groups is maintained. No sooner a military hospital asks for donors, they are there in any numbers. The blood banks of all military hospitals always remain full to capacity.

The officers and their wives set an example in donating blood in their units. Col R.D. Singh of Hudson’s Horse, who is on study leave at Ambala at present, is a well-known donor among them.

Col R.D. Singh has donated blood for 57 times since his college days. He was awarded a bronze medal by the Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, in 1973. The Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma, honoured him as a star donor on the eve of Blood Donation Day on October 1, 2003. The Vice-President of India, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, also gave him an award on December 13, 2003, for his outstanding performance during DAV College, Chandigarh, days and for repeated contribution to the field of blood donation. Happily, his wife and daughter have also become regular blood donors.


The recent decision of Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, that in future no seminar will be held in the university in March, has been welcomed by all. This decision stemmed from the feeling of most faculty members that the seminars held in March turn out to be an exercise in futility.

Like most other departments, the Centre for Defence and National Security Studies also organised a seminar on March 26 to 27 on “India’s security in the 21st century”. This hurriedly organised seminar left much to be desired. To drive full benefit from the seminar, the speakers should be given enough time to prepare their papers. This can only be done if an advance planning is done for the seminars.

Despite having been started a few years ago, the centre continues to remain a skeletal department. This is the main reason why eminent speakers from outstations do not like to come here for the seminars.

Staff shortage

There have been a number of reports from ex-servicemen in the past two weeks that they were finding it very difficult to submit their applications for the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme to the Station Headquarters Detachment, Sector 28, Chandigarh. Despite waiting for the whole day, several of them had to return without any success in the submission of their applications.

The cause of this delay is the paucity of clerical staff at the station headquarters. It is certainly not possible for one clerk and a sepoy to check these applications, which needs thorough scrutiny.

— Pritam Bhullar


Injured jail inmate shifted to PGI
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
Jagjit Singh, who was injured in police custody yesterday, was today shifted to the PGI in Chandigarh from the Civil Hospital here as his condition deteriorated.

The police today claimed that Jagjit was trying to hurt himself and even flee, due to which he was chained to the hospital bed. He remained handcuffed throughout the day. He was shifted to the PGI in an unconscious state later in the day and his condition is said to be serious.

Meanwhile, the police today informed that Jagjit had been booked in a number of cases, including attempt to murder, landgrab, trespassing, threatening and assault at the Kurali police station.

Jagjit (30), a resident of Taqipur village, was arrested by the Mohali police on April 1 on the charge of trespassing. On the next day, he was also booked under the Arms Act and a countrymade revolver, along with two live cartridges, was seized from his possession. He was sent to police custody till April 6. Yesterday, Jagjit was rushed to the hospital here after he sustained serious head injuries in the police lock-up. While the police stated that he banged his head against the lock-up grill, the relatives of Jagjit alleged that the police had tortured him to this condition. The police even booked Jagjit for attempting to commit suicide following the incident.

Sources pointed out that the police station, from where the complaint against Jagjit Singh originated, was not even informed before he was picked up.

They said the complainant belonged to Kansal village which falls under the jurisdiction of Naya Gaon police station, as also the village of Jagjit. But the complainant gave an application to the DSP, Mohali, who marked it to the “anti-goonda” staff who went and picked up the accused.

“Also, the police arrested Jagjit on April 1, but the revolver was seized on April 2. Hence, there is a possibility of the police having planted the revolver,” asserted a source.

The sources also informed that the “anti-goonda” staff of the police also gave electric shocks to the accused while in custody.

Meanwhile, Jagjit’s relatives today requested the Lawyers for Human Rights International and the SP, Mohali, to take cognisance of the case. 


Mahila Cong resents remarks against Sonia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Major Krishna Mohini, national vice-president of the All-India Mahila Congress, today criticised BJP leaders for their remarks against Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Talking to mediapersons here, she said the issue of the foreign origin of Mrs Gandhi which had been settled by the Supreme Court was being raised again and again by the BJP just to gain mileage. The statements by the BJP leaders proved that they were afraid of a woman with a clean image.

She toured several areas of Punjab and was accompanied by several Punjab mahila Congress leaders.

She said she would undertake a tour of Uttaranchal from April 10 and Himachal Pradesh from April 20 to mobilise support in favour of the party candidates.


Eco Notes
Who cares for our oxygen source?
Vishal Gulati

Trees are for a city what lungs are for a man. They take in the polluted air and release life-sustaining oxygen for us. But who cares for these immensely important purifiers?

They are cut to make way for roads and buildings and the shortsightedness of our planners heaps unnecessary suffering on the trees.

Every year, a large number of trees are pruned in the city by residents, particularly during winter, as they block their sun, by the Electricity Department to “protect” high-tension wires, by the Telephone Department to lay wires and by slum-dwellers to keep the hearth fire burning.

Is there a law to protect these saviours of cities?

The answer is yes, according to the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chandigarh, Mr Ishwar Singh. Under the Tree Preservation Order, 1952, the Adviser is authorised to allow felling of trees for the development of public utility services and if they pose a threat to life or property. He can take action against a defaulter on charges of destroying public property.

Environmentalists say the Administration does nothing to safeguard trees because it comes to know about the felling or pruning of trees very late or not at all in many cases.

Mr S.K. Sharma, president, Environment Society of India, says the Tree Preservation Order has no teeth. He says the order was issued to protect the cluster of trees, particularly mango, neem, pipal and sheesham, on the depopulated 59 villages on which the city was constructed.

Though the order was useful, now there is a need for a comprehensive tree preservation legislation.

“A large number of trees in market places and at the entrance to the Rose Garden are facing serious threat due to cementing of the area around their stems. It does not allow the roots to breathe and take water, reducing their life spans considerably”, says Mr Sharma. He emphasises the need for conducting an annual tree survival audit with the help of NGOs, residents and welfare associations.

Dr G.P. Sharma, a resident of 505, Sector 36, says four trees in front of his house have been infected by termites. The authorities are not bothered in spite of his writing to them many times in this regard.

Officials in the Administration say there is no coordination between the UT Horticulture Department and the Municipal Corporation Horticulture Wing, creating confusion over the care of trees. The MC wing looks after the trees that are on the municipal land and the department is responsible for trees along the main roads.

Prof R.K. Kholi of the Department of Botany, Panjab University, says a tree preservation Act on the lines of New Delhi should be adopted. People should be educated on the importance of trees.

Under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, there is a provision of setting up a tree authority. The authority carries out census of the trees and their transplantation. There is also a provision of a tree officer, who is authorised to give permission to fell, cut, remove or dispose of a tree. He can arrest any person suspected of involvement in any offence and can impose fine up to Rs 10,000.

The former Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, had sent a proposal to the Union Ministry of Home to allow the UT to adopt the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act.

Sadly there has been no follow-up.


Search Within
Asking the right questions to your own self

For those aiming at success, it is imperative that they should examine their priorities, their beliefs and attitudes. Think of a teenager who spends a good part of his time in clubs, before television watching cricket or gossiping with friends. You will soon conclude that that person is not likely to succeed in his goal of becoming a doctor or pass the civil service examinations. He may not amount to much because his energies are dissipated in too many directions. These distractions clearly prove to you that the candidate is not willing to pay the price for achieving the goals he or she had set for himself/herself.

While most people dream of success and are quite ambitious, they are not willing to rein in the body or mind which keep wandering from one subject to the other activated by the desire to find pleasure and avoid pain. This is in keeping with the nature of man and acknowledged by the scriptures. The mind is wayward in its ways and difficult to control. Hence the saying that a man who can exercise self-control is greater than another who takes (conquers) a city.

Gregory Stock, a genetics and biotechnology expert, has written a book, ‘The Book of Questions’. In some ways it is an extraordinary book because it contains only questions and not answers. These questions are designed to probe our very psyche and personality. It is a good guide to go on a self-discovery.

This New York Times bestseller, translated into 17 languages, poses 250 questions that invite people to explore the most fascinating of subjects: themselves. The questions are about our very lives—our fundamental values and beliefs, our dreams and nightmares. Many thrust you into a value-testing hypothetical situation, others ask you about your past to help you find out if you’ve changed; and yet others reveal your basic nature by examining your behavior. This book can help us discover areas in our lives which need correction; it can help us to adopt strategies for our growth by becoming aware of our strengths and weaknesses. A little examination will help us understand that we drift through life, often postpone important decisions and neglect opportunities. It can warn us about attitudes and life styles which are in the end detrimental to our own success. Whether used as an avenue for personal growth or as a tool for deepening relationships, this book can challenge the ‘’escape’’ mentality and confront us with realities we are only dimly aware. Some of the questions listed in the Book of Questions could reveal to us what we are when we give sufficient thought. Have you specific goals in life? If so have you got a plan of action? If we are simply drifting we must have the honesty to admit it and set things right soon. What are you seeking from life? What are you fighting for? Money? Power? Knowledge? Security? Love? Worldly pleasures? We may be looking for success in one of these areas unconsciously.

It is vital that we examine our real goal in the light of the ethics we believe in. Thereby we can make necessary corrections in the direction of our life and avoid regrets later on. Look at another question: Do you act always according to what you profess? Will you judge yourself using the same criterion you use in the case of others? Can you be tempted with money and gifts? Answers should reveal the level of our integrity. What are your bad habits? Have you any plan on how to check them?

Have you hated anyone? How long? Well such questions should open up the aspect of how we relate to others and the pitfalls in that area. It is worth knowing whether we harbour bitterness, resentments jealousy and pride and thereby cause hurts to ourselves and others.

He will have to ask himself questions to determine what kind of company he is keeping. Youth is a time when we are driven by whatever yields pleasure for the moment. If anyone allows passions and affections to sway the will, this will be a big obstacle on the road to success. The glutton, the gambler, the drug addict-result from the love of pleasure. Samuel Smiles, in his book, character points out:

“In the Bible praise is given not to the person who “taketh a city” but to the stronger man who “ruleth his own spirit.” This stronger man is he who, by discipline, exercises a constant control over his thoughts, his speech and his acts. Nine-tenths of the vicious desires that degrade society, and which, when indulged, swell into the crimes that disgrace it, would shrink into insignificance before the advance of valiant self-discipline, self-respect and self-control.

— MPK Kutty.


10 held in fake lottery racket
Mohali cops were involved: Ropar SSP
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
Claiming to have busted a fake lottery tickets racket in the township, the Ropar police today arrested 10 persons during a major operation conducted by five police teams of the district.

According to the SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, the gang was operating under the garb of dealing in Punjab State Lotteries, posing as their authorised agents. But instead of selling the original lottery tickets, these “agents” would take less money for tickets and give a plain chit to the buyer with a number printed on it. While the original tickets were left unsold, the “agent” would make a quick buck himself. ‘‘The gang was daily selling fake lottery tickets worth Rs 2.5 lakh, causing a massive loss of revenue to the state,’’ he said, adding that a total sum of Rs 90,000 had been seized from those arrested.

The SSP also said the fake lottery business in Mohali was flourishing with the active connivance of the local police. ‘‘It came to our notice that the police was being paid on a monthly basis by these operators,’’ he said.

The police had received information about these illegal operations at various Punjab State Lottery booths in Mohali some days ago, following which secret investigations were carried out by the Ropar and Kharar police and a list of such agents made. ‘‘After this, a sweep operation was planned, five teams formed under various senior police officials in the district and simultaneous raids conducted on booths and shops in Phase 1, Mohali, from where these agents operated. The persons arrested have been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B of the IPC.

Sub-inspector Gurbachan Singh of the Sadar police station, Ropar, along with his party arrested Bhushan Kumar and Vijay Kumar. Inspector Jagdish Singh SHO, Sadar police station, Ropar, picked up Jatinder Kumar and Ajit singh, sub-inspector Gurinder Singh Bal, in charge, CIA staff, Kharar, arrested Manpreet Singh and Hemant Sood and Inspector Tejinder Singh in charge, CIA, Ropar, arrested Lakhvinder Singh and Satish Kumar. Sub-inspector Tejpal Singh arrested Ajai Sethi and Sanjiv Kumar. A total of Rs 89,190 was seized.


2 brothers booked for bid to grab panchayat land
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 5
The police has booked two brothers of Baroli village for their bid to grab a piece of panchayat land. Hari Singh and his brother Dharam Pal have been booked under Section 13-A of the Punjab Village Common Land Act by the local police.

The Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Dera Bassi, had complained to the police that the brothers were trying to grab a piece of village common land despite the fact the land had been auctioned by the panchayat to Mr Karam Singh.

8 booked for cheating

The police has booked eight persons, including a lambardar of Himmatgarh village near Zirakpur, in a case of cheating and embezzlement. They have been booked for their alleged involvement in a fake power of attorney of a plot in Shalimar Enclave. The case has been registered on the complaint of Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of Sunam.

The complaint had alleged that Tarsiminder Kumar Garg, the managing director of Shalimar Land, in connivance with Harbhajan Singh, a lambardar, Anil Kumar and S.S. Rana, all of Himmatgarh village, Arun Singla and Prem Chand Singla, both of Panchkula, and Hardyal Singh of Mohali, defrauded him of Rs 85, 219 for which he had purchased the plot. Mr Pawan Kumar further alleged that they did not transfer the land registry to his name even after charging the requisite amount.

After taking legal advice from the District Attorney, the police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code against them.

2 injured in clash

In a clash between two families over a piece of land in Dera Jagadhri village, two persons, near here, including a woman, sustained injuries today. Both have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

Eyewitnesses said the families used kirpans, sticks and sharp-edged weapons in the clash, in which Kaka Ram and Kamaljit Kaur sustained serious injuries.

On the complaint of Kaka Ram, the police has booked nine persons — Gurmeet Singh, Pamma, Minta, Kamaljit, Paani, Khala, Teja, Jasbir and Gurnam. Om Prakash, Satpal, Jasmer Singh, Kaka Ram, Soni, Moni, Shiv Kumar, Banti Devi, Salochna Devi and Gyano Devi have also been booked.


A bazar to demonstrate their skills
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 5
Presenting the works of as many as 50 craftsmen from all over the country, Akhil Bhartiya Dastkar Samiti has organised a Karigari Craft Bazar at Lajpat Rai Bhawan in Sector 15.

The participants, majority of whom are award winners in their own field, are displaying and demonstrating their skills in pottery making, terracota items, hand-embroidered suit and dress materials, handloom saree, silver and artificial jewellery and leather items.

The main attraction of this year’s exhibition is a wide collection of dresses, wall hangings and purses with zari and zardosi work by Delhi-based craftsman Kashmuddin who has been given Shilpa Samman award for his intricate work. Other stalls like cane furniture stall from Assam, kantha work sarees from Shantiniketan, silver jewellery from Delhi add to the appeal of the bazar.

Saying that ‘Kaarigari’ was a group of young ‘dastkar’ coming together for their mutual benefit and also to help those dastkars from different states of India, Rani Neelu Pal Singh, chairperson of Akhil Bhartiya Dastkar Samiti said that the samiti aimed at bringing about a direct interaction between dastkar and consumers, thereby eliminating the middlemen.

Mr Iqbal Singh, president of the samiti added that the samiti envisaged an year-round sale of products of such craftsmen by holding exhibitions and sale of their products besides providing them assistance in related matters. The exhibition is open to the public till April 13.


‘Bromark’ chicken in city soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The All-India Broiler Farmers marketing Cooperative Ltd. would launch branded chicken, a — Bromark, which will soon be available in most sectors and localities of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali through its authorised outlets.

According to Mr Sandeep Bhatia, a spokesman of the organisation, Bromark chicken is not only light eating but also good value for money. Offering low levels of cholesterol and lesser fat, Bromark brings to the city Vencobb chicken — a mix of Venky’s and Cobb, the number one chicken breed in the world”.

At Bromark, every chick is raised under the supervision of Venkateshwara Hatcheries and Venky India Ltds on a strict diet of corn and soya. These birds are picked up when they are six to seven weeks old to ensure that you get best chicken that is juicy, tender, easy to cook and easier to digest.

Broiler Marketing co-operative (rbomark) was established by poultry farmers with the chief objective of bringing to its customer the best quality chicken at a reasonable price and to prevent the exploitation of the farmers and consumers. Bromark has already made a mark in western and southern India with 280 outlets in Hyderabad, 90 outlets in Pune, 40 in Mumbai, 20 in Vishakhapatnam, 30 in Vijayawada and 10 in Bangalore.

Soon Bromark is planning to start its operations in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. In the first phase, it would open its outlets in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Shimla.

In comparison to other meats, chicken is low in fat, particularly saturated fat and contains a high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, important for the reduction of cholesterol levels in the diet. Chicken is also high on protein and provides useful Vitamin B.

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