C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land to Judge’s sons at throwaway prices: PIL
HC stops construction on the land, issues notice
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 29
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stopped construction of the building of an upcoming institute of law here. It also summoned all the record pertaining to the allotment of the land for the institute on the next date of hearing.

Taking up a petition in public interest, filed by one Neeraj Sharma of Jalandhar, seeking quashing of the allotment of eight acres of land in Sector 38 of Chandigarh to the management of the institute at throwaway prices, the Bench also asked the institute not to advertise the institute till further orders.

Among those named as respondents in the writ are two sons of a sitting Judge of a Punjab and Haryana High Court, a former Chairman of Department of Laws of Panjab University, and an additional standing council of the UT. The respondents are Dr V.K. Bansal, a former Chairman of the Department of Laws of Panjab University, advocate Shailendra Jain, additional standing counsel of the UT and Mr Ripjit Singh Narang and Amarjit Singh Narang, both sons of Mr Justice J.S. Narang.

Interestingly, the address of the sons of Mr Justice Narang mentioned in the PIL is the same as the official residence of the Judge. Both the brothers, the petitioner claims, are still studying for their law degrees in PU.

The petitioner has also sought an investigation by the CBI in the matter.

In his petition, Mr Sharma has claimed that on January 22, the UT Administration allotted eight acres in Sector 38 to the respondents for a price of 2.55 crore. Pointing out that the allotment was done in a very discreet manner, the petitioner has said that the same was done in total violation of the policy laid down by the UT Administration. He has also claimed that while ordinary persons like him are never allotted land, influential persons like the respondents are given land at throwaway prices. The price of the allotted land, he says, is at least Rs 50 crore. He has also demanded strict action against government officials who connived together to cause such a huge loss to the exchequer.

In his writ, Mr Sharma has pointed out that a 2 kanal residential plot in the city fetched over Rs 1.65 crore in an auction last year, while a 1 kanal plot was sold by the UT Estate Office for over Rs 1 crore. He has also said that it is not the first time that the UT Administration has gifted away such prime land to private persons in order to give undue benefit to them.

In this regard, he has mentioned the name of the Durga Das Foundation, which was sometime back allotted prime land in Sector 26 for a school. He has said that the Strawberry School, Sector 26, managed by the Durga Das Foundation, takes Rs 35,000 as admission fee per student and Rs 2000 per month from each student as tuition fee.

Giving his own example, Mr Sharma has claimed that when he approached the UT Administration for land for residential purposes, he was bluntly told that he could get the same only through public auction.

After hearing counsel for the petitioner, the Bench comprising Mr Chief Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant issued notice to the UT Administration.

The case will now come up on May 6.



Changes in Chandigarh’s officialdom on cards
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Almost the entire officialdom of the Chandigarh Administration is going to change in the next six months. The virtual “exodus” starts next month once the elections are over. At least 11 officials will either be going back to their parent cadres or their term will come to end. This includes senior officials like the Home Secretary, the Finance Secretary and the Municipal Commissioner.

Besides these three a slew of officials from the IAS cadre or the State Services cadres of Punjab and Haryana are also scheduled to be repatriated. Since Chandigarh is directly controlled by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), officials from Punjab and Haryana are taken in on deputation for fixed period. This may be for two years and extensions are given on a case-to-case basis. A few senior officials of the UT cadre are posted here. The Chandigarh Administration has a small number of officials.

Once these 11 officials are repatriated, the only IAS officials remaining from the present lot will be the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar. The rest will be from the HCS or the PCS.

The list of officials going back to their states includes the Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, a 1976 batch Haryana cadre IAS official. His four-year term comes to an end in September. However, he is keen on deputation to the Government of India and his name may be cleared after the elections, sources have indicated. The Finance Secretary Mr Karan Avtar Singh, who is also the Secretary, Information Technology, ends his three-year tenure in July this year. The Chandigarh Administration has not sought for an extension in his tenure from the MHA. Mr Karan Avtar Singh is going back to his parent cadre of Punjab and a panel of three names, out which one is to be picked, is to be sent by Punjab.

Mr S.P. Singh, the Managing Director, Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO), a profit making semi-Government body is also headed back to Punjab. Already the Chairman of CITCO , Mr G.K. Marwah, has already ended his tenure on March 31 and has been repatriated to the UT cadre. Mr R.S. Gujral is handling his work. The Joint Secretary, Finance, Mr Dalip Kumar, another Punjab cadre IAS official ends his term in July.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, a Punjab IAS cadre officer has already ended his tenure last year. Punjab had forwarded three names for replacement. Mrs Raji. P. Srivastava was selected and the file was sent to the MHA for final approval. It has been pending for the past one year. Mr M.P Singh’s repatriation is also likely to be speeded up. Already the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), has made it clear that he is not keen on seeking extension in tenures of all officials.

The Chief Architect, Mrs Renu Saighal, who is from Haryana is also set to go back. Haryana has forwarded a panel of names but no date is fixed on her repatriation. Finally, come the scheduled repatriation of four Haryana Civil Services (HCS) Officers, who are on crucial posts. The tenure of Joint Secretary Home Mr Ashok Sangwan ends in May, The Director Public Relations, Mr S.P. Arora will complete his tenure in July. The tenure of Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Information Technology has ended. Haryana wants him back but the Administration has written a letter seeking extension, as he is required here for continuity for IT related activities in Chandigarh. 



They need good Samaritans
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, April 29
Twenty years after giving birth to her elder son Abhishek, Ms Manju Anand is going to give a new lease of life to her son. She is all set to donate her kidney to her son, whose kidneys have failed and is awaiting surgery at the PGI.

Her husband Chaitanaya Kumar Pandey died of kidney failure 12 years ago. She could not save her husband due to many odds, including the fact that her kidney did not match her husband’s. A brother of Ms Anand had agreed to donate his kidney, but Chaitanaya had refused to undergo transplantation as he did not want to risk somebody else’s life.

This time, poverty is coming in her way. Ms Manju Anand is penniless and cannot afford the operation. With surgery scheduled for May 30, Abhishek and members of his family hope only for help from the public. The family is finding difficulty to meet the costs of the dialysis of Abhishek.

Mr Anmol Kumar, Ms Anand’s brother, had offered his kidney to Abhishek. ‘‘We brother and sister are being examined for transplantation at the PGI. We do not want to take any risk as there are chances that at the last moment, doctors here do not find my kidney suitable for transplantation’’, informed Ms Anand. She had sold her jewellery and exhausted the money she got after the death of her husband to meet the cost of treatment of Abhishek.

She rued that had she got her son examined outside Bihar, her native state, the kidneys could have been saved. According to her, the doctors at home could not diagnose the problem during the early stages. She alleged that she was not sure whether the medicines being administered to her son were genuine.

The family rushed to the PGI for a kidney transplant operation. Now the mother and son, along with some other relatives, are camping at the Rotary sarai in the PGI, waiting for money so that Abhishek can be operated upon.

Abhishek, the eldest of the four siblings, is a science graduate and earns a paltry living giving tuitions at home in Bihar. The sole bread winner, Abhishek is paying for his brothers’ education and running the household. Six months ago, Abhishek found that he was suffering from a kidney problem and before he could start treatment, both his kidneys failed.

“This place is our only hope. I was not able to save my husband’s life. Abhishek’s kidney tissues have matched mine and I am ready for the operation. But where is the money going to come from? I am hoping that we will be able to muster some help from local residents,” said Ms Anand. Students of Panjab University have collected a few thousand rupees for the operation.



Condition of blood banks deplorable, says expert
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Dr J.G. Jolly, founder president of the Indian Society for Blood Transfusion and Immunohaetomology, has called for a concerted drive to revamp the blood transfusion services in the country in order to ensure safe blood to the recipients.

“This has been achieved in most of the countries of the world and there is no reason why this cannot be accomplished in India,” said Dr Jolly in an interview with TNS here today. Despite directives from the Supreme Court and formation of the blood transfusion councils, the condition of the blood banks in the country continued to be deplorable, he observed, adding that “in fact, except at a few places in the country, most of the transfusions provided to the recipients are, in fact, transfusions of disease rather than transfusion of blood”. Trading and the commercialisation continued to be rampant in the country and although there were claims by health authorities that a large majority of the blood banks had been licensed their operational standards, the quality of blood continued to be highly unsatisfactory.

The emphasis on licensing of the blood banks and elimination of professional blood sellers by December 31, 1997, as per the directives of the apex court was well appreciated but one had to realise that unless trading and commercialisation in blood was brought to an end, it would not be possible to put a stop to the prevailing nexus between the hospitals and blood shops. Perhaps, the professional blood sellers would be labelled as relative or replacement donors by the traders of blood.

Keeping in view the experience of most of the developed countries in dealing with such a situation, it would be relevant to state that in order to ensure perfect safety of transfusion practice as recommended by the International Red Cross Society, WHO and International Society of Blood Transfusion the entire programme should be run strictly on voluntary, non-remunerated, basis. As recommended by these organisations, it should be run either by the state or by the Red Cross and under circumstances any private laboratories or commercial establishments should be allowed to operate on the pretext of gradual elimination or shortages etc.

Currently, three distinct organisations are operating in the country to promote this programme. These are Blood Transfusion Councils, voluntary bodies like the Red Cross and organisations operated by the Directorate of Health Services. A close coordination of all these was of paramount importance for speedy development and revamping of the programme. Besides, licensing of the blood banks operated by these organisations, a number of private laboratories and commercial establishments had already been given licence. Since the operation of these centres violated the voluntary principle, no further licence should be issued to such organisations and those who had already been issued licences should not be renewed.

While admiring the altruism of the voluntary blood donors and their dedication, NGOs engaged in motivational programme have cautioned the authorities that unless suitable steps were taken for revamping the blood banking operations and raising their technical standards to make the transfusion practices safe, the prevailing discrepancy between the enthusiasm of the people and the shortfall on the technical side invariably damped the enthusiasm of the voluntary donors.

It has been well established that over 90 per cent of the professional blood sellers belonged to the high risk group, for transmissible infections, invariably drug addicts, in poor health, anemic categorised as skid row population and having innumerable venipuncture marks indicating frequent blood letting for sale of blood are accepted by the commercial blood centres for meeting their requirements. Thus the agency of commercial blood banks and the professional blood sellers are the prime evils in this trading racket of precious fluid.

Tremendous advances in transfusion therapy have been possible due to technological developments in the associated field which in turn have been instrumental in ensuring safety of transfusion practice. As a result of these developments, the available of blood components have added new dimension of blood products and resulted in economy in transfusion practice. By this, a single donor’s blood is used for four-five patients and serves the specific need of the patient. Thus from the era of safety in blood practice through voluntary programme we have moved into an era of economy in blood by the availability of blood components.



Cossets office raided, MD’s brother held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The Chandigarh Police today arrested Rakesh Bhalla, manager of Cossets Limited, and Mohit Nanda, elder brother of the Managing Director (MD) of the company Puneet Nanda, and seized 17 computers and a large number of documents from the company office in Sector 26.

However, Puneet gave the raiding party of the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) the slip. The search continued for four hours at the Sector 26 office of the company. The store was, however, not raided.

The raid was made following the investigation of the case being transferred to the EOW recently by Inspector-General of Police Rajesh Kumar. IGP Rajesh Kumar was quoted as saying that the investigation was transferred to expedite the inquiry.

According to the police, with the seizure of documents the company will not be able to enrol new members as the company has been left with no documents to continue functioning.

The multi-level marketing company with three lakh members and 40 centres across the country got trapped in the police net after 50 complaints were made by members against the company.

The company was first booked under the Price Chit and Money Circulation Banning Act on the request of the Reserve Bank of India on November 23, 2002. The investigation was then handed over to DSP B. D. Bector, who closed the case.

It was re-opened by IGP Rajesh Kumar, who handed over the investigation to DSP Thakur in January, 2003. The case was then handed over to DSP (Crime) Vijay Pal, who added the charges of fraud, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy against the company. But the case was again handed over to DSP Thakur recently, who carried out the raids today.

The police is awaiting the report of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory with regard to the documents seized earlier from an accountant of the company in Panchkula.



Real Issues: Candidate Speak
‘City needs garbage processing unit’
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The population of the city has increased significantly since 1987. The city is almost bursting at the seams because of the population. However, the strength of staff dealing with waste disposal remains almost the same. There has been a corresponding increase in waste. The municipal corporation has set up sehaj safai kendras in 19 sectors. Officers and councillors accept that except for a couple of places, the work is far from satisfactory.

The corporation is short of the required staff strength by around 1,200. This means at least 20 staff members required are missing from each sector, on an average.

Garbage bins flowing on to roads may not be a common sight, but are plenty all over the city. Shortage of staff is the most common excuse of officials. Stray cattle munching on leftover food items in garbage bins and rag-pickers taking away polyethene bags and other items are common. The residual waste is often scattered near the bins.

The dumping ground in Dadu Majra is located in the vicinity of houses. Birds pick waste material from the dumping ground and throw it in compounds of adjoining houses. The gas from the dumping ground is dangerous and so is the smoke of the burning of waste. The garbage yard has no processing unit. Another major problem is that the area does not have a buffer zone between the yard and human habitation. The recent attempt to put up a boundary wall has been stalled by certain institutions in the periphery of the ground.

Mr M.P. Singh, Commissioner of the corporation, confirming some of the drawbacks, has pointed out several schemes under consideration. One of the proposals is a plant to assist in vermiculture and composting. Another proposal under consideration is a processing plant which can produce electricity. The details of the programme are being worked out.

Satya Pal Jain (BJP)

The corporation led by the Congress has failed to ensure proper sanitary conditions in the city. The garbage bins are overflowing with waste and the garbage disposal ground is stinking. The people at Dadu Majra are living at the mercy of God. The Congress has not handled the project of sehaj safai kendras in a professional manner. The ground realities have come to my knowledge during my visits to different areas during campaigning. Relatives of the Congress councillors are managing certain sehaj safai kendras and councillors are pocketing corporation money. This is a very unhealthy practice.

I will try to stop the privatisation of sanitation, if I am elected MP. More government or corporation employees should be recruited to handle the job. Resident welfare associations can be involved in the exercise in maintaining a regular check and reporting the matter to the corporation.

Harmohan Dhawan (INLD)

Sanitary conditions are pathetic in the city. The garbage bins are not cleared for days together, leading to unhealthy conditions. If this is the case in sectors of the city, imagine the condition in villages and colonies.

Citizens are pouring in to me with grievance of improper disposal of waste material. The municipal corporation may have discussed the issue a couple of times, but there has been no action on the ground. Sehaj safai kendras have been not very effective. One of the better ways to start such a scheme is to give sanitation projects to two or three parties instead of making it a free-for-all.

Residents of Dadu Majra have been crying hoarse for years, seeking the attention of the administration. They have been inhaling poison. Immediate care needs to be taken about the processing of waste.

Sanitation is one of my priorities. I will ensure immediate action on the ground for positive results, keeping in mind welfare of residents in the long run.

Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress)

Over the past couple of years, the corporation has made noticeable progress in improving the sanitary conditions in the city. Nineteen sectors have been made garbage-bin-free and many more will be covered soon. The process is not complete and we have a long way to go.

The disposal at the garbage dumping yard is not satisfactory at the moment. The processing part of the waste needs immediate attention. We have discussed projects for mechanical disposal of waste and another one for producing electricity. The matter was under deliberation when the elections were announced. The city will soon witness an important project in this direction in case I am elected MP.



Industrial plots to be made freehold, assures Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
All leasehold property of industrialists will be converted into freehold and the third phase of industrial development in the city will be given an impetus if voted to power, promised Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate, while addressing a public meeting here today.

Promising more sops for the industrialists he said those running a small- scale industry in Industrial Area, Phase I, and had applied for an industrial plot with the UT Administration would be allotted the same on priority. He said the allottees of Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation Organisation (CITCO) plots would also be get possession.

He said if elected he would make sure that a power project is set up at Kishangarh so that industries as well as people of the city got adequate power.

For a parliamentarian a long span of 16 years is sufficient to bring about complete development in his constituency. But the Congress has not taken any positive steps in this direction, he added.

Mr Jain was welcomed at the grain market, Sector 26. Later, shopkeepers accompanied him on his padyatra.

Earlier, Mr Jain undertook padyatras at Raipur Kalan village and Sector 28, where he was welcomed by residents, who assured him of their support. He also addressed newspaper hawkers in Sector 22.



BJP an opportunist, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Every action of the BJP is motivated by opportunism, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress nominee for the Lok Sabha elections, said this at a number of public meetings here today.

Mr Bansal said the BJP’s single- mind pursuit for power had seen the making and breaking of unprincipled alliances with all kinds of political parties. Such a government was liable to take decisions which may work against the national interests in order to please its partners.

He said over the past few years the BJP’s off and on honeymoon with Ms Mayawati, Ms Jayalalitha, and Mr Om Prakash Chautala had sullied the Indian political landscape. He said it was sad that the BJP was refusing to learn from its past mistakes. Today its senior leaders had unabashedly solicited alliances with any and every one, including their arch rival Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Mr Pradeep Chhabra and Mr Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, party spokespersons, criticised the local BJP leaders for creating an unnecessary hype regarding the ‘lal dora’ at UT villages.

The members of the Northern India Saini Cultural Society met Mr Bansal and extended their support They also donated Rs 11,000 for his election campaign.

A meeting of the local Congress leaders took place at the residence of Mr Venod Sharma, former Union Minister, to discuss the modalities of Ms Sonia Gandhi’s forthcoming visit to the city.

Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, president of the All-India Youth Congress, said the BJP’s faulty policies have resulted in massive unemployment. He was addressing the gathering in Sector 7. Mr H.S.Lucky, president of the Chandigarh Youth Congress, also addressed the gathering.



Dhawan assures class A status for city employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
I would work for getting class A status for the city employees, said Mr Harmohan Dhawan, INLD candidate, while addressing a rally of the Punjab and Haryana Government employees at the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat here today.

“The income tax limit has not been increased, rates on bank and post office savings are at an all-time low and it has become difficult for an employee to survive,” he said, adding that his endeavour would be to get the lowest income tax limit increased to Rs 1 lakh if voted to power.

Leaders of the Punjab and Haryana government employees also addressed a rally and assured support to Mr Dhawan.

Mr Swaran Singh, president of the Tandoor Union, said all executive members who met in Sector 22 passed a resolution that they would support Mr Dhawan.

Meanwhile, a large number of footpath workers and phariwalas assembled at Guru Ravidass Bhavan , Sector 20, remembered Ramesh Chandolia, a leader of the workers’ union, who died in a road accident recently. Mr Dhawan also addressed the meeting in memory of Chandolias.



Panel to certify poll ads on TV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
In line with the orders of the Election Commission of India pertaining to the certification of advertisements to be inserted in television channels or cable network, the Chief Electoral Officer, Chandigarh, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, has set up a two-member committee.

The Additional Chief Electoral Officer-cum-Returning Officer, Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, Mr Arun Kumar, will be its chairman and the Information Officer, Press Information Bureau, Mr Chaman Lal, will be the member to deal with the applications of all registered political parties having their headquarters in Chandigarh and all organisations or groups of persons or associations having their registered office in Chandigarh.

Another committee has been set up to entertain complaints or grievances of any political party or candidate or any other person in regard to any decision about granting or refusing the certification of advertisements. The Returning Officer, Mr Arun Kumar, will be the designated officer for the purpose of entertaining applications for the certification of any advertisement proposed to be issued on a television channel or cable network.



EVM use

Chandigarh, April 29
To familiarise the contesting candidates and political parties with the operation and use of electronic voting machines(EVMs ), a demonstration camp will be held on May 1 at 9 am at the canteen hall of the local Punjab Engineering College, the Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, today said.

The candidates had been requested to join the camp, Mr Kumar said adding that on May 4, the sealing of the EVM’s would take place in the presence of the candidates and their representatives. Observers from the Election Commission would also be present during the sealing, Mr Kumar said. TNS



First Vote
Vote judiciously

Varinder Singh Gaur
Varinder Singh Gaur, who is doing a private job

THERE is always a first time. I would be voting for the first time on May 10. I request all the voters of the city to exercise their voting right on the day. I will be very judicious while using my right given to me by the Constitution. I am excited that I will be one of those who will decide the fate of the 18 candidates, who are contesting for the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency.

The voter identity card issued to me by the Election Commission is one of the most important documents I have. I have met the candidates of the BJP and the Congress, and asked them what they would be doing for the benefit of the city residents if sent to Parliament.

It is a matter of great pride that I will press the button on the EVM and I am waiting for the day.

It is a matter of concern that national and regional political parties in quest of more and more votes have stooped down to petty politics and even do not hesitate to level personal allegations. Political leaders do not realise that in this manner they are confusing the electorate, a majority of whom are illiterate and ignorant.



Antim ardas held at Chandolia’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The only surviving male, Hari Mohan Chandolia, and his 80-year-old grandmother stood as an epitome of courage at the Daddu Majra residence for the antim ardas and satsang.

The turmoil in the life of the family was reflected again today when strong winds uprooted the tents where the gathering was to sit. The antim ardas and the satsang was later held in open.

The gathering, numbering between 1,000 and 1,500, saw the Nirankari Mission followers making arrangements. A Nirankari preacher spoke on the occasion.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mr Satyapal Jain and Mr Harmohan Dhawan also attended the satsang.

The Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Administration, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, assured the gathering that he would pursue the case of compensatory jobs for the widows of Chandolia family.

The gathering included followers of the Nirankari Mission, a large number of footpath and colony workers and government employees.

The patron of the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation Raghubir Singh Sandhu, its general secretary Sant Singh Saini, Chandigarh UT Workers and Employees Federation president Bhagmal Rana were also among the mourners.



Caring for disabled, Railways style!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Tall claims of the railway authorities to provide user-friendly facilities at the Chandigarh railway station remain only on paper. A physically challenged senior citizen from Uttar Pradesh had to undergo a gruelling experience the moment he landed at the railway station.

On way to Panchkula to meet his relatives, Mr S.K. Srivastava, who decided to travel by train from Lucknow, repented his decision the moment he arrived at the railway station. To his utter shock, there was only one wheel- chair, which that was not in working condition.

The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, makes it mandatory for the Railways to provide basic amenities for physically challenged persons at public places.

As the train arrived at platform 2, Mr Srivastava’s relatives had a hard time requesting passersby to lift Mr Srivastava while negotiating the stairs leading to the footbridge from platform 2 to platform 1. A relative of the senior citizen who had come to receive him lamented that her concern about the damaged wheelchair elicited no favourable response from the railway officials on duty. One of the front wheels of the wheelchair was missing.

Enquiries at a public assistance counter for physically challenged persons adjacent to the office of the Chief Reservation Office did not result in any assistance from the railway staff. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Srivastava said he felt hurt at the indifferent attitude of the railway staff towards physically challenged persons. “Railway authorities in a modern city like Chandigarh do not care for the physically challenged. It is really sad”, added Mr Srivastava.

To the anguish of those accompanying the senior citizen, a station master on duty refused to admit that the wheelchair was not functional.

The Northern Railway had announced expansion and upgradation of the railway station. The Chandigarh railway station had to be developed as a model station, having facilities, which the Railways claimed were the latest and user-friendly. A separate car parking for the disabled, a ramp for uninterrupted movement of the disabled and a low-height booking window was planned.

It appears that the Railways have not planned barrier free access for the physically challenged. Mr Srivastava, who arrived on Saturday, left for Lucknow by train this evening.



Punjab told to beef up infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The Government of Punjab was today told that if it wanted to attract substantial domestic and foreign direct investment in the state, it should beef up its infrastructure. Eminent experts mooted the suggestion at a round-table discussion on ‘Rapid-economic development of Punjab’, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) here today.

It was suggested that a roll-on long-term infrastructure development plan covering a minimum span of five years needed to be formulated since the state had no such plan so far.

Dr B.C. Gupta, Financial Commissioner (Development), said industry would be attracted to Punjab on the basis of superior technology, human resource development and suitable marketing opportunities in domestic and international market.

It was pointed out that Punjab exported nearly Rs 5,000 crore worth of industrial products every year. However, most of the exports were at the low end of the market.

Mr S.S. Agarwal, Principal Secretary (Industries), said a number of projects with investment worth between Rs 100 crore and Rs 500 crore were in the pipeline. Setting up such large-scale projects would spur ancillary industries in Punjab.

Talking about the precarious condition of finances, he said 88 per cent of the state revenue was distributed among salaries, pensions and interests. The experts said funds should only be borrowed for capital investment.

Operation and maintenance of social and economic services should be outsourced and a model of public-private partnership should be worked out for Punjab.

The experts favoured contract farming, with the private sector playing a bigger role.

Mr Ravi Wig, President of the PHDCCI, said the chamber had visualised a strategy for achieving rapid development in employment generation, removal of fiscal imbalances, attracting new industries and investments, industrial growth, information technology and biotechnology.



Met office predicts pleasant weather
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
City residents can plan their day out tomorrow. Thanks to rainfall in upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh, pleasant weather is expected to continue here for another two days according to weathermen at the local Meteorological Department.

In the past 24 hours, the average rainfall recorded at the local Air Force station observatory was 1.6 mm. The maximum daytime temperature was recorded at five degrees below the normal temperature for this time of the year. The rainfall resulted in the settling down of dust particles in the air.

Due to snowfall in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh, the maximum daytime temperature has fallen. Over the past few days, the minimum temperature has registered an increase. While the maximum daytime temperature was recorded today at 31°C, five degrees below the normal temperature for this time of the year. Yesterday, the maximum daytime temperature was 34.4°C, two degrees below normal.

Weathermen said the pleasant weather was a temporary phenomenon and the dry and humid spell would return.

Meanwhile, due to the welcome change in weather, the rush in the commercial hubs and parks of the city registered an increase.

Mr Surinder Singh of the Meteorological Department said a low-pressure cyclone over Punjab, coupled with westerly disturbances over Jammu and Kashmir was resulting in rainfall in the region.



Mohali Diary
Engg college gets ISO certificate
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 29
The Chandigarh College of Engineering, Landran, was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 certificate by the Accreditation System here this week. Brig Z.S. Khosa of the Apex Quality Systems handed over the certificate to the college chairman, Mr Satnam Singh Sandhu, and general secretary Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal. Dr G.D. Bansal, Principal of the college, emphasised that getting the ISO certificate was not the end but efforts should be continued to ensure that the students and parents were satisfied with the quality of education.

Dullo weighed against ladoos

The Congress candidate for the Ropar Lok Sabha Constituency, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, was weighed against ladoos this week by his party- men and supporters, including members of the Rehri Phari Union and Senior Congress leaders of the township, including Amarjit Singh Saini, Bhag Singh, Paramjit Singh Randhawa, Harinder Pal Singh Billa, S.S. Grewal and Rajinder Prasad Sharma, Ram Kumar Gupta, Jaswinder Singh Kaka, Mrs Narinder Kaur Pappi and Mr Harbans Singh.

Contact programme

Ms Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has started a contact programme with villagers as part of campaigning in favour of Congress candidate from the Ropar Shamsher Singh Dullo. In a press note issued by the party’s leaders in Mohali, Ms Garcha said Mr Dullo will win with a large margin from Ropar.

Programme on development

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, in coordination with the Department of Social Security, Women and Child Development organised a programme on population and development education at Gurdwara Sahib, Majri village this week. Anganwadi workers, supervisors of various villages participated in the programme. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dildar Khan, district in charge of the sansthan, said the objective of the programme was to lay emphasis on the small family norm and to ensure child health status of the existing population. Prof Asha Sethi spoke about sex education. Mr Gurjeet Singh, programme officer, Family Planning Association of India, Mohali, in his presentation dealt with the issue of discrimination against women and female foeticide.

Calligraphy competition

An inter-house calligraphy competition was organised at the Swami Ram Tirath Public High School, Phase IV, here recently. The competition was held in three categories and was open to all students of Classes I to X. The winners were later awarded.

Swimming pool opened

A swimming pool was inaugurated at Anees School, Sector 69, here this week. The pool was inaugurated by the schoolchildren themselves. The children showed great enthusiasm as they welcomed summers by playing water games.



MC meeting without agenda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The formality of the monthly meeting of the Municipal Corporation (MC) was completed here today without any issue on agenda. The meeting started with Vande Matram followed by the announcement of acceptance of the minutes of the meeting held on March 31 earlier this year. After the formality, everybody stood up as a mark of respect to recite the national anthem and the house meeting concluded.

This being an election time no business pertaining to development or new projects could be discussed. “There was no scope for matter being presented for discussion. The House merely completed the formality of conducting at least one meeting in a month”, Mr M.P. Singh, the Commissioner of the MC, said.

The agenda also contained the minutes of the Finance and Contract Committee meeting held in February. “It is election time and we would like to spend our precious time in managing the party campaign for the forthcoming elections”, a Congress councillor said.

While a majority of the members had walked out of the hall, Mrs Kamla Sharma, a former Mayor, tried to catch attention of the members by raising the issue of fall in water supply in different parts of the city. She said residents were full of complaints all over the city. Mr Jitender Bhatia, a member of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, said sanitary conditions had also worsened and the matter could at least be discussed even if no decision could be taken.



Couple run over by train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
A man was cut into two and his wife killed when they were run over by the Kalka-Howrah (Down) train near Baltana village last night taking the toll of persons killed on the track this fortnight to six.

A 32-year-old pickle-maker, Sandeep Bajaj, his wife Ranjana and mother Kanta Devi were strolling along the track last night after a strong wind led to disruption of electricity in the area. He was reportedly walking on the track with his wife when the train ran over them.

Ranjana reportedly saw the train coming towards her husband and ran to push him to safety. She received head injuries which led to her death on the spot. The mother of Sandeep received injuries and was admitted to the Sector 32 GMCH. She was later discharged.

The two were residents of Saini Vihar, opposite Guru Hargobind Nagar near Baltana. They left behind two children, aged five and three-and-a-half years.

The first accident on the track in this month occurred on April 16 when a person died following amputation of his leg. This followed another accident and then a woman and her paramour committed suicide.


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