C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Row with Admn: LPG dealers go on strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The LPG distributors of the city today went on an indefinite strike in protest against the demolition of LPG cylinders storage godowns yesterday. This will lead to a cooking gas crisis in the city as nearly 5,400 gas cylinders are supplied in the city everyday. Sales tax disparity will also halt the LPG supply from Panchkula and Mohali.

In the evening, various oil companies held a meeting with the LPG distributors. After this, they sought a meeting with Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator.

Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, the president of the LPG Distributors Federation (north-west region), blamed the UT Administration for the crisis. He said: “We will not end our strike till a final decision is taken. The construction of a godown requires Rs 6 to 8 lakh. How does the administration expect us to recover the money”

In October, 2002, demolition notices were served and the distributors decided to go on a strike on October 28, 2002. A meeting was convened by the then UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

In July last year, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, got an agreement signed with the panchayats of various villages in the UT. The villages were to offer shamlat or common village land for these godowns. Eight distributors were given land and each was to pay Rs 3,000 per month.

Mr Sharma said when the eight allottees started construction in September last year, the Land Acquisition Officer, Mr S.K. Setia, asked them to stop construction. Meanwhile, some distributors purchased land from private parties but the Administration refused to give permission for more than one year.

Mr Sharma, who was accompanied by several local LPG distributors, alleged the Administration had failed to get the agreement with the village panchayats materialised.



Public furore over public interest decisions

THE Chandigarh Administration is in overdrive and a series of its decisions in the past four weeks have led to one controversy after the other. Some affected the public directly, others caused resentment. Some of the decisions taken by the Administration since the end of elections on May 13 have been virtually fished out of the cold storage and implemented. The post election change in Government did not matter. The Administration just waited for the model code of conduct to end and took off from where it had left in end of February. It not only caused a furore among members of the public but resulted in a major headache for the newly elected MP. Ajay Banerjee reports on these controversial decisions which have raised hackles all around.

Helmets for women

It all started a day after the Lok Sabha results. On May 14, the Chandigarh police said it would challan women not wearing helmets. A major drive was launched. The Akalis protested. In political circles, the haste in implementing the “helmets for women” rule is being questioned as the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed these directions on July 9, 1998. Why implement now and so suddenly? asks Mr Subhash Kataria, who also convened an all-party meeting on the issue.

LPG distributors’ strike

The Administration demolished the godowns yesterday and the distributors have gone on a strike today. In August last year the Deputy Commissioner had tied up with panchayats for leasing out of land to gas godowns. Eight persons deposited money for construction in Mauli Jagran, the construction was not allowed. With the strike a shortage of cooking gas looms large. About 5,400 gas cylinders are supplied in the city everyday. With the strike, all possibility is of black marketing.

Demolition of farmhouses and houses outside Lal Dora

Bulldozers of the Administration went on a rampage in Khuda Ali Sher village, north of Punjab Engineering College, and in Kajheri village, south of the ISBT in Sector 43. The target was houses and farmhouses outside the Lal Dora. In some cases the land had been acquired and the Administration was just taking possession. This demolition outside the Lal Dora was carried out even as a decision on how to deal with the demand of extending the Lal Dora was pending. Also CHB flats were targeted in Sectors 43 and 44. At all places residents alleged the enforcement team was partisan. Roads were blocked and officials had to intervene. A resident of Sector 44 even asked why houses of CHB employees are spared.

Sending back deputationists

On May 15, a letter reached all offices of the Chandigarh Administration saying that deputationists, who have put in more than five years have to go back to their parent cadres of Punjab and Haryana. This led to an uproar as wives and kin of the powerful are on deputation here. The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana shot off separate letters saying they cannot take back so many employees. The decision is still a matter of debate among employees and the proverbial Damocle’s sword still hangs over their heads.

Chandigarh Club lease cancelled

On May 26, the lease of one of city’s biggest social clubs having about 6,000 members was cancelled. The club was also asked to vacate the property. There was a huge outcry and questions were raised over the future of the club. Actually, the lease between the Administration and club expired in 1982. The club was served the first notice for payment of arrears in 2001. The matter was listed before the Assistant Estate Officer, Mr N.S. Brar, who ordered the cancellation of the lease. A managing committee member said the decision was sudden and the club had no time. Members , most of whom are politically active, have approached officials to sort out the matter. Meanwhile, hearing in the case was today put off till July 14 by the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh.

Opening of shops on Sunday

On May 17, the Administration said it wanted to infuse some activity on Sunday and said shops in the city would remain open on Sunday. Following harsh protests by city traders, within three days of the first order, the Administration clarified that the shopkeepers had the option to open or close their establishments on Sunday. Mr Arvind Jain, president of the Market Welfare Association Sector 22, says, “ Opening of shops on all days would have ruined our social life.” Can the Administration open its offices on Sunday, he asked.

Removal of hoardings from shops

Even though this is one activity which is carried out around the year. Now immediately after elections it has acquired a political colour. Hoardings were removed in Sectors 17, 7 and 18. Traders who have been protesting against the Rent Act now they claim the recent act of the Administration was vendetta.

What the MP says

Pawan BansalAll policies of the previous Government like demolishing everything cannot continue. They have to be discussed afresh, said the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, while speaking over phone from Delhi. Mr Bansal said, “I have requested the Administrator to put a stop on demolitions outside the Lal Dora till the matter is settled with the Government of India.” Mr Bansal quoted the speech of the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, in Parliament and said, “Forcible eviction has to be avoided.” Mr Bansal said he would meet Union Urban Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad about the demolitions outside the Lal Dora.

Mr Bansal said he would watch the conduct of the officials of the Chandigarh Administration for a while more but said, “It was too early to say if they were following the diktats of the previous regime.” From my side, it is clear all old decisions which require policy formulation have to carried out in consultation with the Government of India.



Postal Department proposes, UT disposes
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
An ambitious proposal of the Department of Posts to collect water and electricity bills through post offices in the city has been hanging fire for the past several months putting people to inconvenience.

With the Engineering Wing of the Chandigarh Administration dragging its feet on the proposal, the much-touted scheme is doomed to failure. This, despite the fact that the scheme had been running successfully in six districts of Punjab and there was a proposal to cover the whole state.

It may be mentioned that the department had tied-up with the administration for the delivery of over 1.8 lakh water and electricity bills to the residents last year. However, the proposal to accept bills at the city post offices is yet to see the light of the day.

Under the proposal, the UT Administration was to pay a service charge of Rs 5 for the every bill collected by the department. Currently, the bill collection centres were allegedly plagued by mismanagement and long serpentine queues were the order of the day.

It was believed that the outsourcing of the bill collection work would reduce the harassment to the residents. Besides, the staff manning the bill collection centres could be spared for other branches of the Engineering Wing which is plagued by the staff shortage.

However, the UT unions were opposing the proposal fearing that the Electricity Department staff might face the axe, the sources added.

The department had last written to the administration on March 9. Despite the department officials taking up the matter with the UT officials at regular intervals, the administration’ s response is awaited.

Though the department is ready to undertake the job yet it is for the administration for transfer the work to it, the Chief Post Master General, Punjab Circle, Mr L.K. Puri. On its part, the department can extend the time for the deposit of service charges by the administration to a fortnight, he added.

Mr Param Hans Singh, SE, Electricity (OP) circle, could not be contacted for comments.



Institutional reforms get priority in Pak, says minister
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
“Pakistan has taken a big leap forward in institutional reforms,” asserts Mr Daniyal Aziz, Federal Minister and Chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau of Pakistan.

Mr Aziz, who has been specially picked up by Gen Pervez Musharraf to rebuild various institutions at grassroot level, said:“We are eliminating the British legacy step by step and rebuilding various institutions on democratic lines at the divisional, district and tehsil level with an objective of decentralising power from top to the lowest level.”

He hails from Shakargarh, near Narowal, in Pakistan. He has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. His father, Chowdhry Anwar Aziz, was a famous swimmer, the only one to represent Pakistan in Olympics in this discipline till date.

“We have already got rid of the institution of Deputy Commissioner that used to enjoy vast powers,” he said. All powers vested with the office of the DC had been decentralised and given to various other organs that function under the direct control of District Nazims, elected representative of the people.

“District Nazims, as heads of elected district councils in which 33 per cent representation of women is a must, run the entire administrative machinery in districts. They have district coordination officers (DCOs) for linkage with various organs of the administration at the district, tehsil and union level,” he said. District Nazims could transfers DCOs, can take action against them and also write their annual confidential reports etc.

He said the office of the Deputy Commissioner was created by the British, who were ruling the country while sitting in the UK. “That system is not required now”, he added.

The Pakistan has also enacted Police Order-2002 to replace the Police Act that was enacted during the British rule.

The first order of reforms had already been implemented. After the stabilisation of reforms executed through the first order, the second order of reforms would be enforced, said Mr Aziz.

“After holding prolonged debates at various levels in the country, it had been decided to do away with the bureaucratic system as it had become an obstruction in the development of the country and to vest all powers with the elected representative of people at all levels steadily,” he added.



Officers called to query British expert on Tehelka tapes
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Phukan Commission investigating into corruption in defence deals has reportedly summoned all three officers facing trial by court martial in the Tehelka scam to cross- examine a British expert over authenticity of tapes showing them allegedly demanding and accepting bribes from fictitious arms dealers.

According to sources, the three officers, Maj-Gen P S K Choudhary, Brig Iqbal Singh and Col Anil Sahgal will be required to be present before the commission between June 21--24. Summons in this regard have already been issued by the commission's secretary.

The commission, headed by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice S N Phukan, had ordered in May last year that the video tapes, first made public in March, 2001, to be sent to London for forensic examination to establish their authenticity and the possibility of tempering if any.

The firm in the United Kingdom, which had undertaken the examination of the tapes, has already forwarded its findings and observations to the Indian Government last month. Though the contents of the firm's report have not been made public, the Congress spokesperson and Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Kapil Sibal, had remarked a few days ago that the report certified the tapes to be genuine.

Since provisions of the Indian Evidence Act requires that the report submitted by the British firm cannot be admissible as evidence unless the accused get a chance to cross-examine experts concerned, the firm is sending one of its representatives to India for the purpose.

A total of 16 tapes, containing about 100 hours of footage, along with transcripts of dispositions and cross-examinations, notes marking disputed areas of the tapes and details of technical equipment used to shoot the footage, had been sent to the United Kingdom for forensic examination.

The Phukan Commission, which had taken over from Justice K Venkataswamy in January, 2003, had submitted the first of its three-part report to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.



Fraud charges against HC advocate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Punjab and Haryana Bar Council is looking into at least six complaints against an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Complainants, including a client of the said advocate - HPS Aulakh, have brought to the notice of the Bar Council various acts of profession misconduct and fraud allegedly committed by Aulakh.

According to Bar Council sources, Aulakh is also embroiled in some criminal cases and is currently on bail. He had been sometime arrested by the Chandigarh Police and was later released on bail. Incidentally, the UT Police last week booked the person who stood surety for the purpose of grant of bail to Aulakh.

The police is learnt to have found that Mr Paramjit Singh Kahlon, who stood surety for Aulakh, misled the police for the purpose of getting Mr Aulakh released on bail.

"We are looking for Mr Kahlon and he may be arrested soon, "say police officers associated with the probe.

One of the main complaints against Mr Aulakh has been lodged by his client, Mr Sohan Lal of Mohali. In his complaint, Mr Sohan Lal has claimed that he had engaged Aulakh for a court case. Aulakh got some blank papers signed from him on a false pretext and later used the papers to file a false and frivolous complaint against his own landlord and his family.

When Mr Sohan Lal asked him to return the material and documents relating to his court case, Aulakh allegedly demanded Rs 50,000 for the same. Mr Sohan Lal has demanded action against the advocate for professional misconduct and fraud.

A complaint against the advocate has also been filed by the family of his landlord. Aulakh lives in a rented accommodation in Sector 8, Chandigarh, and has been fighting a civil case with his landlord. He and his accomplices have also been involved in clashes with the landlord and his family.

The landlord, Mr Madan Lal Aggarwal, has complained to the Bar Council that Aulakh cheated him of lakhs of rupees and even tried to claim that he had sold a portion of his house. He is also accused of threatening the family with dire consequences.

A former employee of the Office of Advocate General, Haryana, has also accused this lawyer of cheating.

Yet another complainant, Mr D.D. Sharma of Mohali, has accused Aulakh of selling a flat to him on forged documents.


Unauthorised structures demolished in Kajehari
Our Correspondent

Villagers take away their cattle before the demolition drive
Villagers take away their cattle before the demolition drive.

Chandigarh, June 9
Continuing its anti-encroachment drive, a team of the Enforcement Wing of the UT Administration today reached Kajehari village amid tight security and demolished over 150 unauthorised structures, including hutments, cattle sheds and sheds containing shuttering material and other goods being used by the residents for commercial and residential purposes.

Meanwhile, a delegation of politicians reached the site and protested against the demolition drive.

The team of the Enforcement Wing led by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (South) Ms Madhawi Kataria, reached the spot and started the operation around 10 am.

The SDM was accompanied by the Land Acquisition Officer Mr S.K. Setia, a DSP Mr S.S. Randhawa and certain other officials of the Revenue Department.

During the operation, several unauthorised structures, including some shops, structures used for running commercial activities, 50 junk yards and over 25 saw mills were demolished. A religious structure was also razed. Villagers and migrant labourers were seen evacuating their unauthorised cattle sheds and taking the animals and household goods to safer places.

Mr Preveen Kimar Mittal, an inspector with the Enforcement team, said four earth-movers, a crane, two trucks and over 50 employees of the department were pressed into service during the demolition drive.

To avoid any untoward incident during the drive, the administration had also deployed an anti-riot vehicle and a well-equipped company of the Chandigarh Police personnel at the site.

However, some hutments and houses in the area were not touched by the team after a delegation of villagers, comprising Congress leaders Mr Davinder Singh Babla, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhadheri and Mrs Om Lata opposed the drive.



Another cholera case reported
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 9
In a fresh breakout of suspected cholera infection, one more resident of the BSF camp suffering from acute diarrhoea was rushed to the Mohali Civil Hospital today. Meanwhile, the Ropar health authorities had yesterday confirmed that three of the 20 patients earlier admitted to the Civil Hospital were suffering from cholera. The total number of those found suffering from the disease has gone upto four. While three of these belong to the BSF camp, the fourth person is a resident of Sector 39, Chandigarh.

Bhawan Chand, a cook employed at the BSF camp, was rushed to the Civil Hospital today evening following acute diarrhoea. He is the first patient to arrive from the camp since June 6. Earlier, it was being claimed by the health authorities that the cholera spread had been controlled in the camp.

Meanwhile, the 14 jawans admitted to the Mohali Civil Hospital were discharged today following improvement in condition. The two patients at the PGI from the BSF camp, including Lily Dass, wife of a BSF constable N.C. Dass, were discharged from the PGI yesterday. Besides 14 BSF jawans discharged today, two other persons, including one from Sector 39, Chandigarh, were discharged today. The number of cholera suspect cases in the hospital are now five including the BSF camp cook.

Dr Rana Harinder, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, said after examination of stool samples sent on June 6, the PGI Department of Medical Microbiology confirmed that G K Rai (35) and S. Islam (40), both BSF personnel, and Rajiv Kumar (24) of Sector 39, Chandigarh, were suffering from a dreaded communicable disease. No fresh case of any kind of water-borne disease was reported from the BSF camp or any other part of the district today, said the Civil Surgeon.

Commandant Hava Singh, in charge, BSF camp, said the condition of the jawans who had come back today from the hospital in the camp was good and they were in high spirits. ‘‘But our cook had started showing symptoms of the disease and we had to rush him to the hospital,’’ he added.

The couple, Promila and Rajesh, and Rajiv, all of Sector 39, are still admitted to the hospital.



Sanitation estimate cleared amid walkout
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 9
The Municipal Council cleared an estimate of Rs 105.24 lakh in connection with the sanitation of the town at a meeting held here today at which members of the Opposition group staged a walkout.

The term of sanitation contractors for the town will end on July 22 and, as such, fresh estimates for giving the work on contract for one year had been prepared. The town has been divided into four zones and estimates for each zone had been prepared separately.

The work in zone I (Phases I, II, IIIA, VI, Mohali and Shahimajra villages) will be carried out at an estimated cost of Rs 25.75 lakh while in zone II (Phases IIIB1, IIIB2, VII to IX) at Rs 27.77 lakh. An estimate of Rs 21.65 lakh has been prepared for zone III (Phases X, XI, Sectors 70, 71 and Mataur village).

Seven councillors, belonging to the Opposition group, walked out of the meeting in protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, and officials of the civic body. Mr Amrik Singh, who started raising slogans against the president, first walked out of the meeting followed by other councillors. They alleged that discrimination was being done against them as adequate number of development works were not carried out in their wards. They further alleged that no action was taken by authorities concerned whenever complaints were lodged by them.

Mrs Prabhjot Kaur Sodhi, councillor of the ruling group, told the House that the allegations levelled by the Opposition group were baseless. She claimed that the civic body had spent much more money on development activities in the wards of Opposition councillors as compared to the others.

The House also cleared the proposal to get a database of the residents of the town prepared as had been directed by the Ropar Deputy Commissioner. The information would be collected through a door-to-door survey and later fed into a computer. The information collected in this way would be made available to the district administration. The process of registration of births and deaths in the town would also be computerised.

The council also decided to get triangular spaces, formed after making slip ways at various chowks, landscaped and the work in this regard would be done by private parties. The civic body would also invite proposals from private companies for constructing bus shelters and toilets in the town free of cost.

A committee, comprising two municipal councillors, the SDM, the DEO and the principal of a school, had been formed to give their views regarding the purchase of books for the council library, which is under construction. The Ropar Deputy Commissioner had asked the civic body to make the library functional at the earliest. A sum of Rs 2.5 lakh had been proposed for the purchase of books and furniture for the library.

Development works amounting to over Rs 75 lakh in various parts of the town were also cleared at the meeting. The council will also provide water to various slum colonies around the town after taking permission from the authorities in this regard. The council was not providing water to these slums as they were illegal colonies.



‘New regime should focus on good governance’
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Swaminanthan S. Anklesaria Aiyar
Swaminanthan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Panchkula, June 9
Leading economic journalist Swaminanthan S. Anklesaria Aiyar is an iconoclast who nails his colours to the mast. His description of events is vivid and thorough.

Mr Aiyar stands out as much for his analytical skills as he does for having instituted the unique convention of incorporating his wife’s surname between his first and last name. Mr Aiyar was in the city for a workshop organised by the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy in Sector 10 here today.

Reflecting on this conscious decision he took years ago, Mr Aiyar recalls, “I was opposed to the trend of women retaining their maiden names after marriage. At the same time, I was not comfortable with the fact that names of men never changed after marriage. This prompted me to incorporate my wife’s surname, Anklesaria, in my name.”

Initially, there were friends who were aghast and others who dismissed it as a gimmick but Mr Aiyar, brother of Congress leader Mani Shanker Aiyar, was unperturbed. Gradually, it gave him a new identity.

Commenting on what the agenda of the new government should be, Mr Aiyar asserts: “We don’t need to worry on the economic front. The government needs to build up on governance. The police is not catching thieves, the administration is ineffective, the judiciary is not performing. Without all this, higher things will not work. It is a disgrace that criminals are sitting in Parliament. If governance is improved, everything will click.”

And, there is more to him. The economist in him is forever calculating, analysing every move of the government on the fiscal front. In his own words, the state of the Indian economy can be summed up as “half-baked reforms producing half-baked success”.

While the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party can lock horns over who initiated the economic reforms, he maintains that the process began in the 1970s, though the big change came in the 80s. “It was around this time that India experienced a growth rate of 5.8 per cent. The process began with creeping liberalisation, which was enough to produce considerable acceleration in the economy. Since then, we have made a steady progress,” he opines.



Downsize technology to suit rural needs: Chidambaram
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Dr R. Chidambaram
Dr R. Chidambaram

Mohali, June 9
“My definition of a developed India has been: When the quality of life in rural India becomes comparable to the quality of life in the non-urban areas of already developed countries. And for this to happen technology has to be taken to rural India. We need to downsize technology to suit rural needs,” said Dr R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, here today.

Pointing out that technology is power, Dr Chidambaram said technology domination was sought both by companies and countries. “And the areas that are commercially profitable or strategically important will continue to be denied to India. And India can counter this by self reliance — not just in terms of self sufficiency but in terms of — immunity against technology denial,” he added.

Dr Chidambaram, who is also the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, was in the town to attend the second convocation of Punjab Technical University.

Stating that the two appropriate measures of development for a developing country were per capita electricity consumption and female literacy, Dr Chidambaram said that developing technology should be aimed at creating national wealth, improving the quality of life of the people and enhancing national security.

Suggesting critical technologies for India, Dr Chidambaram said other than developing strategic technologies like nuclear, space and defence related, India should focus on technologies related to energy, food, nutritional, health, water and environmental securities, advanced manufacturing and processing, advanced materials etc. “We also have a special talent for knowledge-based technologies like IT and Biotechnology,” he said.

Talking about the importance of rural technologies, Dr Chidambaram said normally a technology was enlarged to benefit from economy of scale. But if experts from modern industry could be encouraged to help their rural counterparts, they stand to benefit from downsizing the technology by gaining in terms of distribution. “The challenge is to establish synergy among all efforts in order to disseminate rural development technologies and to nucleate new initiatives and strengthen existing ones,” he said adding that Rural Technology Action Groups (RuTAGs) that could provide the mechanism and the support for this synergy had been conceptualised in his office in New Delhi.”

Criticising the mindset problem in scientists and industry leaders of the past, Dr Chidambaram said a strong academia-industry interaction was possible now in the current liberalised environment. “The process of creating user-friendly data base of professors and scientists who are willing and capable of interacting with the industry has started with the automotive sector. But there is also a need to identify emerging frontier technologies in the automotive sector,’’ he added.

Suggesting that globally competitive basic research should be one of the focus of Indian R&D, Dr Chidambaram said at the same time, R&D that feeds Indian technology- in terms of industrial needs, critical technologies and societal needs should also be focused on.



At the Counter
Touts continue to irk visitors at RLA office
Tribune News Service

Official version

Though the Registration and Licensing Authority, Mr Naresh Narwal, could not be contacted for comments, the officials claimed that the role of the touts had been virtually eliminated. In any case, the applicants had to attach all documents and the touts stood in queue for the persons, who did not have spare time. While accepting the backdoor entry, the officials asserted that it was not for the touts.

Chandigarh, June 9
Despite improved services at the office of the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) in Sector 17, here, the backdoor entry and touts continue to irk the visitors.

In fact, occasional problems such as truant staff and power failures continue to occur at regular intervals in the office, which caters to hundreds of persons every day. A visit to the office yesterday and today revealed that despite claims by the authorities the touts continue to have a field day.

Posing as a newcomer to the city intending to make a licence, this correspondent accosted a tout near the main gate of the office. When told that the correspondent had no residence proof, he offered to “help the stranger” by first registering him as a voter in the Union Territory. The deal was settled for Rs 2,500 with Rs 1,000 being the “charge” for registration as the voter and Rs 1,500 for the learner’s licence and “other charges”.

All you have to do is to fill the form and leave the rest to me, the youngman assured the correspondent while promising to meet the latter at the same time on Thursday.

Inside the office you have to sweat it out as backdoor entries test your patience. Mr Mohinder Singh, who had come for the registration of his scooter, alleged that he had to wait for over one-hour as the person manning the counter was busy attending the backdoor visitors.

This was not all as the person manning one of the delivery counters went missing around 11.30 am today. Tempers ran high with impatient crowd running helter-skelter to get the documents. It was only around 12.05 pm that the work at the delivery counter resumed.



Hello, 300 city phones are ailing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Nearly 300 telephones of the township are ailing. The new telephone exchange in Sector 15, set up last year to improve the telephone services, is responsible for the recurring fault in the lines.

Residents of Sector 15, Phase II of the Industrial Area, and Buddhanpur village have made regular complaints with the local Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) office about the “temporarily withdrawn numbers”, but to no avail.

For the past couple of weeks, the subscribers of telephone numbers starting with 2592 and 2595 are facing problems of snapped connections and are virtually cut off from the rest of the city after the exchange closes at 5 pm.

“Four out of every five phones are not working in every sector. And, it gives the impression that we are not paying our bills on time. We have approached the officials of BSNL time and again. They temporarily set things in order on that particular day. The next day, it is the same old story,” the president of the Citizens Welfare Association, Mr S.K. Nayar, said.

Last week the association met a senior officer of BSNL and apprised about the problem they were facing. “He didn’t seem to have a clue about what was wrong and we apprised him of our grievance. The officer concerned, instead, blamed us for having extensions by way of cordless phones and additional lines at our residences,” added Mr Ravinder Rawal, secretary-general of the association.



Review disinvestment policy: ESPL union
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 9
The Electronic Systems Punjab Employees Union has urged the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee to take up the matter of disinvestment with the Punjab Chief Minister in order to save viable units by giving support.

In a press note released here, Mr Rajinder Shukla, legal adviser, said the disinvestment policy should be reviewed keeping in mind the change of policy with regard to disinvestment by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at the Centre.

He said the ESPL was earlier declared a viable unit by the BIFR and a rehabilitation scheme had also been prepared which could not be implemented to the alleged negative approach of the bureaucrats.

Mr Shukla said the PPCC chief had forwarded the memorandum submitted by the union to the Chief Minister.



Riar to contest SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The president of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, justified his decision to contest the SGPC elections for the lone seat from the city at a press conference here today.

Mr Riar said the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had not bothered to consult him on the ticket allotment issue. “In my many meetings with him, Mr Badal kept saying that I was his candidate for the seat, never indicating he had anybody else in mind. Had he consulted me and then given the ticket to Mr Amarinder Singh, I would not have thought of giving him a fight. Now, things are different,” he said.

He expressed hope that Mr Badal would ask the official candidate to withdraw in his favour. “The SGPC needs people with a clean image as its members. Those with criminal backgrounds should and would find no place,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh chapter of the Sikh Core Group appealed to voters to be circumspect in exercising their voting rights since the future functioning of the SGPC house — its quality and choice — depended on their choice.



ASI team to inspect idols today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The mystery shrouding the exact nature and period of the ancient idols, recovered from a Shiva temple at Burail in Sector 45 here recently, is likely to be unravelled tomorrow.

The UT Admininistration today sought the assistance of the Chandigarh Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) to determine the exact nature of the nine sculptures believed to be dating back to 600 BC to 500 BC.

The Director of the Government Museum and Art Gallery here has requested the ASI to inspect the idols. The Assistant Archaeologist, Ms Garima, will inspect the idols tomorrow. The inspection is likely to throw some light on period to which the idols belong.

It may be recalled that the idols were found while some construction workers were digging a site near the temple recently. On June 3, the Estate Office staff placed these at the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 here.

Sources said since there was no protected monument in Chandigarh, the ASI was not directly involved in the digging and preservation of the idols, Normally, the sculptures of some historic importance are preserved by the ASI.

Since Chandigarh did not have any such department, the idols were taken into possession by the Estate Office and kept in the museum.



A barricade to prevent more mishaps?
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 9
Even 24 hours after the death of a former Navy Commander, J.K. Singh, the police has failed to take any concrete action to prevent another mishap on the site, near the Air Force Station.

On its part, the police has just erected a barricade at the place from where the car plunged into the 40-foot-deep nullah.

Mr Amitabh Dhillon, SP (Traffic), was not available for comments. However, Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP (Traffic), said the driver must have lost control over the vehicle while negotiating the curb.

He added that a team of traffic police personnel would conduct a survey of the spot tomorrow to see if there was any need for installing a hoarding, warning the people about the steep curb. The matter would then be taken up with senior police personnel, he added.

Sources said the authorities were contemplating putting up barricades along the turn and warning signs of the danger. Pelican lights, reflectors and glow signs would be put up to show the way in the dark.



PUDA meeting to discuss villagers’ problems

Mohali, June 9
A six-member committee formed by the Punjab Government to solve the problem of villagers protesting against acquisition of their land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) met at Chandigarh today.

The meeting, chaired by the Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, was attended by Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Chief Minister, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, the Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr A.S. Chattwal, and Mr Parshottam Singh Sodhi, Land Acquisition Officer. A delegation of the villagers also attended the meeting.

Talking to The Tribune, Mrs Garcha said the committee would be studying in detail the pooling-in scheme followed by the of Maharashtra Government and then consider if it could be applied to Punjab. The Committee would also study the land acquisition process followed by the Rajasthan Government and some other states. She said since the implementation of the pooling-in scheme would require an amendment of an Act, it would take some time to materialise.

She added that the delegation of the villagers had been told to bring a few proposals of their own as suggestions which would also be considered. “The villagers will tell us what they expect in terms of the pooling in scheme. For example, when they say that we want a piece of developed land per acre of their land acquired by the government, they have to be more specific.” TNS



Summer workshop at Press Club
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, June 9
Children are being trained in the art of clay modelling and painting at a summer workshop being organised at the Chandigarh Press Club, in Sector-27. In fact, the workshop is providing them with an opportunity to express their creative skills.

In all, about 80 students between the age group of six and 15 are taking part in the workshop being organised in collaboration with BSNL. Besides painting and clay modelling, the children are learning dance and drama. They are also trying their hands at caricature and cartooning.

Ms Neha Sharma is training children between nine and 15 years of age the craft of making flower baskets, pencil stands and slippers with ice cream sticks besides pot making.

Ms Silky Sethi is teaching them dance, while Mr Manjeet Singh is training them in the art of mask making besides other things. A show will also be organised on June 12 where students will display their skills.



Environment Day at YWCA
From A Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 9
Environment Day was celebrated at Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Sector 11 B, here yesterday. Students, senior citizens and the staff members planted a few saplings on the campus.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Dr Ishwar Singh, Director Environment emphasised the importance of a green and a clean environment. He motivated the students to contribute in their own little ways to keep the environment pollution free. He told them about the various causes of pollution, and how people could decrease it. He encouraged the students to use substitutes like paper, jute and cloth bags instead of polythene.

The chief guest and the other guests were presented with cloth bags made by the students of the sewing class. They also sang bhajan at the function.



Gurmat samagam tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 9
A gurmat samagam will be held at Gurdwara Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Phase II, on June 11.

Mr Mohinder Singh, general secretary of the organising committee, said the samagam would be dedicated to three Sikh centenaries falling in the year and also to the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev.

Mr Joginder Singh Sondhi, president of the Gurdwara Coordination Committee, said a nagar kirtan would be organised in connection with the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev on June 14.

The nagar kirtan would start from Gurdwara Sahib Phase VI in the afternoon and after passing through various areas of the town would end at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in the evening.


Cops get tips on healthy living
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 9
The Chandigarh police yesterday organised a lecture to inculcate moral values among its cops of different ranks and recruits at Police Lines, Sector 26, here.

As many as 130 police personnel, including those going under training at Police Lines, attended the lecture, ‘Tips on healthy living and on how to maintain good health keeping in mind dietary habits’, was organised with the assistance of Dr Jagdish Singh Jaggi.

For the efficient working of cops, the doctor stressed on three points — sound mind with a healthy body, how to prevent from diseases and healthy diet — in his lecture. The points will prove helpful for the cops in improving their profession skills, dealing with public and especially investigating the cases.



DC meets HUDA and MC officials

Panchkula, June 9
In a joint meeting of officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Municipal Council, here today, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, asked them to work towards solving the problems of the common man.

Ms Kasni took up all pending issues between the two and directed them to resolve their difference and find out solutions. HUDA was asked to make the land available to the council for a dumping ground as well as allot land for its office. She was told that half an acre plot in Sector 28 had been given by HUDA for a cattle pound. The council and HUDA were directed to keep water storage tanks clean and maintain cleanliness. TNS



Goods worth Rs 50,000 destroyed in fire

Mohali, June 9
Household items worth about Rs 50,000 were destroyed in a fire that broke out in Jhuggi in the Phase VIII industrial area here today.

It is learnt that the fire broke out in a jhuggi, belonging to Sri Ram, in Shaheed Udham Singh Colony, due to leakage in- gas cylinder. Food was being cooked when the incident took place. The fire brigade was called for help.

Two sewing machines, other household items and Rs 8,000 in cash got destroyed in the fire. OC



Two houses in Sector 12-A burgled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 9
Two houses in Sector 12-A were burgled last night while the occupants were out of town and two cars were reported stolen in separate incidents, here today.

While items worth Rs 60,000 were found missing by Dr Vimal Trehan from his house, Mahavir Singh, a contractor with the Haryana Urban Development Authority, put his loss at Rs 80,000.

Dr Trehan said the entire family was away to Ludhiana when the theft took place. The thieves removed the grill of the bedroom and gained entry into the house. He told the police that Rs 6000 cash, jewellery worth Rs 20,000, a stereo and six wrist watches were found missing.

Meanwhile, Mr Mahavir Singh was away to Rohtak since June 5 along with his family. Today morning, he asked his friend, Anant Singh, a resident of Sector 21, to make sure if all was well at his house. On reaching the house, Anant Singh found the lock to the main door of the house broken and informed the police.

On his return, Mr Mahavir Singh said that 12 tolas of gold, six glasses of silver and Rs 8000 were missing. A team of fingerprint experts is likely to visit the house tomorrow. The police have registered case of theft.

In another incident, Rakesh Chahal, a resident of Mohali, reported to the police that his Santro car, (HR-36-E-0041) was stolen from the parking area made for the public attending Swami Ramdev’s yoga camp.

Last night, a Maruti car (CH-01-K-8039), belonging to Ms Seema Sharma, was stolen from outside her house in Sector 17. The car was parked on the roadside. The police has registered a case.



PCS officer booked for corruption
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 9
Kiran Rosy, a PCS (Executive) officer, currently posted as Secretary, Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, has been booked by the state Vigilance Bureau on corruption charges.

Sources said a case under Sections 7 and 13(1)(D)(E), read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was registered against her in the Vigilance Bureau’s Mohali police station vide FIR No 7 last evening.

The bureau alleged that she had earned an income of Rs 42 lakh between November 1990 and October 2000 but invested Rs 1.95 crore in properties, including benami, in her and her family members’ names . These properties are worth Rs 1.52 crore more than her known sources of income during the period.

The FIR further alleged that she, as the Deputy Director, New Mandi Township on Mandi Board, had accepted a bribe of Rs 26,000 from Gursharan Bir Singh in registering the sale deed of shop no. 99 in Sabzi Mandi, Jalandhar. She has also been charged with misusing her official powers.



Grand lodges ink friendship treaty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
A “Treaty of Amity and Friendship” has been signed among the Grand Lodge of France, Grand Lodge of Upper India, Grand Lodge of South India, Grand Lodge of Western India and Grand Lodge of Eastern India.

The treaty was signed by M.W. Bro. Yves-Max Viton, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France, M.W. Bro Kapil Dev Joti, Grand Master (Upper India), M.W. Bro K. Sathianathan, Grand Master (South India), M.W. Bro Virendra Shah Grand Master (Western India) & M.W. Bro O.N. Kapoor, Grand Master (Eastern India) on June 4 at Coimbatore. Members of all four Grand Lodges were present at the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of South India. Bro Kapil Dev Joti presented a copy of the book of constitutions and book of ritual of Grand Lodge of Upper India to Bro. Yvgesmax Viton, Grand Master of Grand Lodge of France.

The treaty declared to admit in their lodges as members, men of all races, all nationalities and all faiths; committed themselves to admit in their masonic bodies, brethren belonging to the lodges of the contracting Grand Lodges and to give them help and assistance in case of need; members of each contracting masonic grand lodge shall enjoy within the other grand lodge the same rights, privileges and guarantees as the members of that grand lodge do within their own masonic body; they agreed to appoint grand representative to look after the interests of each of the contracting grand lodges.

Grand Lodge of France has 700 lodges and about 26,000 masons. The grand lodge was established in 1728. The system of masonic ritual worked by it is called “ScottishRite”, which is also popular in the USA, Canada, Europe and South America.



Red Hat’s training partners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Red Hat, linux and open source provider, today announced Eon Infotech Ltd and Silicon Comnet Pvt Ltd as their authorised training partners in Chandigarh.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Shankar Iyer, Head Learning Services, Red Hat India, said a module course offered a range of basic linux administration and networking to specific areas of expertise. These courses are presently available in Bengali, Marathi, Hindi, Tamil and Punjabi.

Red Hat has also been instrumental in providing computer education in 220 rural areas of Madhya Pradesh.


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