C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Monsoon may hit City Beautiful by Tuesday
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

A school girl is caught unawares by afternoon showers in Sector 38, Chandigarh
CYCLING IN THE RAIN: A school girl is caught unawares by afternoon showers in Sector 38, Chandigarh, on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, July 3
After parching the earth for over a week, weather gods plan to change track now. At least that is what officials at the local Meteorological Department feel. The latest semi-official message from the department is that the much-awaited monsoon might actually hit the City Beautiful by Tuesday. They link the plummeting temperature and the rising humidity level to the arrival of monsoon.

Quick to clarify that there has been no formal announcement from New Delhi with regard to the monsoon’s arrival, Met officials said the trend is very much indicative of its advent by the coming week. However, they kept the confusion brewing by adding: “Monsoon cannot be predicted with surety. We are still eagerly awaiting the final reports about when the monsoon will hit the northern limits. Our Delhi office is yet to release this information.”

The unpredictably voiced by Weather Department officials was for all to see in the vague alterations that the weather registered all this day. Beginning on an exceptionally hot note, the day breathed a little cool only by the evening. High humidity levels, however, kept the element of discomfort alive, often taking it to intolerable levels. The low velocity winds added to the trouble.

The level of relative humidity in Chandigarh air, recorded today was 64 per cent - next only to the higher levels in Nahan (85 per cent) and Karnal (75 per cent). Official explanation behind the high humidity levels also matches the forecast that the monsoons may be on their way to the North. Said a local Met official, “High moisture can be attributed to the gradual advent of the monsoons. Some element of this moisture has also been contributed by the rain that lashed hills of Himachal Pradesh today.”

With the weather playing hide and seek, officials suggest the city folks should be under no delusion of respite from heat for some days to come. One can, however, heave a sigh of relief by looking at the general weather forecast. “There will be rain and thunder showers at a few places in Himachal Pradesh, and isolated places of Punjab and Haryana.” These isolated pockets may well feature Chandigarh due to its proximity to the hills.

While the monsoon has kept us guessing, the temperature has been fairly predictable. It has also been dipping over the past three days. From the yesterday’s maximum temperature of 39.4, it dropped to 36 degree Celsius today. The drop in temperature was however, nullified by the rise in moisture.



‘Green wall’ around city planned
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Alarmed at the fast depleting green cover around Chandigarh, the Chandigarh Administration plans to acquire all open areas in villages and build a “green wall” around the city to effectively put a end on any more construction outside the “lal dora” of these villages.

The idea is to add to the green space of the city and give it a breathing space, while stemming the boom in unauthorised construction. This will, in turn, slow down the rise in population, as the city has seen a whopping 40 per cent rise in population between 1991 and 2001.

Around 2,200 acres of open lands fall in villages of the Union Territory. Today, these lands have more commercial value than what agricultural land has and are prone to misuse, with all kinds of businesses being run from these lands. The construction is haphazard and will only spoil the city besides adding pressure to depleted resources like water and power.

The concept to have green areas in the future has been mooted by the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, who is in favour of having parks and green areas or even areas like golf course in these open spaces. Even amusement parks and specified gardens can be set up barring construction.

Villagers would be paid adequate compensation, said official sources.

This will be part of the planned development envisaged for villages. The recent planning to have green wall has its history in the original plan of Chandigarh. French architect and planner Le Courbusier had planned a green periphery in a specified area around the city. But with townships of Panchkula, Mohali, Mansa Devi and Zirakpur coming up in the past three decades, the concept of having a green or open periphery stood defeated.

While areas in Raipur Kalan are being used as godowns, in Kishangarh the upcoming IT park has triggered a construction boom. In Maloya, a huge construction activity is going on. In Hallo Majra, a mini township has come up.

Apart from these, a furniture market, a marble market, an illegal kabari market, brick, cement and sand storage godowns, among others, have come up in open areas.

An artist’s impression of the proposed ‘green wall’ to be created along Chandigarh’s periphery
An artist’s impression of the proposed ‘green wall’ to be created along Chandigarh’s periphery. Graphic by Kuldip Dhiman



General Mehta appears before court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Two former General Officers Commanding-in-Chief of Western Command, who were summoned as witnesses by the General Court Martial trying Major- Gen P S K Choudhary on charges of impropriety in the Tehelka episode, have maintained that the alleged misdemeanour by the officers involved in the case came to the knowledge of authorities concerned on June 14, 2001.

It was on June 14, three years ago, that the recommendations and directions on the court of inquiry instituted by the Army into the matter were finalised by Headquarters, Western Command.

The court had summoned Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh Sangra, who was the GOC-in-C, Western Command at that time, and his successor, Lieut-Gen Shamsher Singh Mehta. While General Mehta appeared before the court today, General Sangra had deposed last week. The GCM, presided by Lieut-Gen C.S. Chima, is taking place at Ferozepore.

The defence had been maintaining that the alleged acts of improprieties came to the knowledge of the authorities in March 2001, when the news portal tehelka.com released tapes showing senior Army officers, bureaucrats and politicians demanding and accepting bribes from fictitious arms dealers.

The defence had raised the plea that since three years had elapsed since March, 2001, the alleged offences had become time-barred, and hence, under the Army Rule 53, the trial cannot take place. The trial had commenced in April this year.



FS likely to be relieved on Monday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The UT Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, is likely to be relieved from his duties in the Chandigarh Administration on Monday. The decision to relieve him and repatriate him to his parent cadre of Punjab was scheduled to be taken today, however, the Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma, has asked the Finance Secretary to wait till Monday, sources said.

The Finance Secretary had expressed his keenness to go back to Punjab as he is set to be appointed Secretary Finance (Punjab).

Meanwhile, the Administration today made a telephonic plea to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to speed up a letter allowing the Finance Secretary to stay on in Chandigarh Administration till an incumbent joins.



My Budget

Expectations have never been as high India couldn’t have chosen a more qualified Prime Minister. The Prime Minister couldn’t have selected a better Finance Minister. The Meteorological Department couldn’t have predicted better rainfall. Is India destined to shine after all? If the CMP is a precursor to the Budget, cows can look forward to greener pastures again and bulls and make hay while ‘Man’ shines.

With emphasis on agriculture and employment, the new government has set its priorities right. It needs to plough in investment towards the neglected agricultural field and employment needs should be addressed by investing in infrastructure at the semi-urban and rural levels. This will also serve to reduce migration to urban areas, thereby reducing congestion and pollution and improving living conditions.

Prestigious institutes like the IITs and IIMs have to increase manifold to provide world-class education in India to more candidates. This will help calm the ‘brain drain’ fever.

Prakarsh Singh



Arrest councillor, demands BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The BJP today impressed upon the Chandigarh Administration to arrest Mr Balraj Singh, Congress councillor, and register a case against him for allegedly accepting bribe from a contractor.

Addressing a press conference here, the president of the local BJP unit, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, said the case should be entrusted to the CBI and Mr Balraj Singh should be dismissed from the post of councillor.

Mr Mahajan said the BJP had repeatedly appealed to the UT Administration to take action against him over the past one week despite which no action had been initiated. A delegation of the BJP led by its Mr Mahajan met Justice O.P. Verma (retd), Administrator, UT, and presented a memorandum urging him to do the needful.

Mr Balraj Singh had accepted the bribe from a contractor of his Ward No. 19, Mr Gian Chand Singla. The councillor gave an assurance to the contractor that he would not be removed from the place where he is running his business of shuttering if he continued to pay Rs 2,000 per month to him as bribe.

Meanwhile, a detailed report on the in-house probe conducted by the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee on the accepting of the bribe by Mr Balraj Singh, was submitted to the President of the CTCC, Mr B.B. Bahl, today.

The report, prepared by the Chairman, anti-corruption cell of the CTCC, Mr B.M. Khanna, would be put before a committee which would deliberate on it and submit its recommendations.

On the recommendations of the committee, a decision on the future course of action would be taken in consultation with the local Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Bansal.

The committee constituted to look into the matter includes Ms Kamlesh, Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Chander Mukhi, Mr Sunil Parti and Mr Bimal Chand Bitta.



Villagers protest against land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 3
Over 50 land owners of villages in Sirhind have joined the villagers here in protest against the acquisition of their land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). Following in the footsteps of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee, Sohana, the Sirhind landlords have formed a similar committee to represent them.

PUDA had on June 10 issued a notification for acquisition of 200 acres of land in three villages of Fatehgarh Sahib. The landowners have protested against the move and given a written objection to the Additional Chief administrator, PUDA, Patiala. The villagers stated that they would not allow PUDA to acquire their land and no amount of compensation will be acceptable to them. ‘‘We want to be partners in PUDA's development process. If PUDA can earn millions out of our land, why cannot we?' stated Mr Gurmukh Singh, Vice-President of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee, Fatehgarh Sahib. PUDA has issued the first notification for the acquisition of land in Sirhind, Mandofal and Atewali.

Over 500 landlords of villages in Chandigarh's periphery have been protesting for the past five months against the acquisition of the land. On May 17, the villagers had intensified their stir by starting a chain hunger strike. The strike, that began at the Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Sohana, is continuing till date.

The protesters are demanding the cancellation of the notification issued by the government dated January 19, 2004, with respect to acquisition of approximately 690 acres of land in five villages. According to PUDA notification, over 170 acres of land will be acquired in village Sohana, another 209 acres will be acquired in village Lakhnaur, 21 acres in Landran, 124 acres in Bermpur and 162 acres in village Manak Majra.



Panchkula Diary
MC House meeting likely on July 15
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 3
The Municipal Council General House meeting is likely to be called on July 15. The meeting will be held after a gap of four months.
The president of the MC, Ms Seema Chaudhary, said they were working on the agenda and the beautification of the township would be taken up on a priority basis at the meeting.

It may be noted that the delay in calling the meeting of the House had caused a lot of heartburn among councillors, and the Congress camp had even accused the president of delaying the meeting because she feared being overthrown, as many councillors, owing allegiance to the president, were now supporting the Congress

Ms Chaudhary also said that she had issued notice to the contractor for maintaining streetlights within the MC limits because a number of streetlights were found defunct.

The president also warned the residents not to hold any function in various parks of the township, which have been transferred to the MC by HUDA without paying a rent of Rs 2500 to the MC and seeking prior permission.

Pension scheme: The district administration on Thursday began a fresh survey of the beneficiaries of the old age pension scheme of the state government. The survey began in the Barwala and Raipur Rani blocks of the district to assess new pensioners and check those who had been wrongly taking the benefits.

Deputy Commissioner Neelam P. Kasni said the verification of the beneficiaries in the villages of Panchkula township would be done on July 6, while the beneficiaries of Pinjore and its surrounding villages would be verified from July 13.

Dowry menace: SDM Panchkula Varinder Dahiya on Thursday exhorted the people to do away with the dowry menace. He was speaking at an awareness camp to spread the anti-dowry message at Barwala village. He also asked people to work for the eradication of violence against women, female foeticide and child labour.



Gul CII’s goodwill ambassador 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Gul Panag, Femina Miss India Universe 1999, will be the goodwill ambassador spearheading a major project on AIDS awareness, prevention and rehabilitation being initiated by the CII, Northern Region.

In Chandigarh, the project, to be implemented with the help of the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society, would focus on sensitising the public, particularly industrial workers, towards AIDS-related issues and measures.

The activities during the year would include interactions with industry workers, students, cops and slum-dwellers, states a release from the CII.

A major activity on the anvil is a marathon in the city to be organised on World AIDS Day on December 1. The marathon would be organised to generate awareness about AIDS and will feature participation of people from different sections of society, including schoolchildren, government officials, sportspersons, industrialists and prominent personalities.

Gul Panag has contributed to society by working with HelpAge India for the cause and care of the elderly. She has also worked with Deepalya, a Delhi-based NGO, in the area of rehabilitation of slum children.



Hindi translation of three works released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The National Book Trust (NBT) today dedicated to its readers Hindi translation of three outstanding pieces of prose. The translated books are Kartar Singh Duggal’s “Kis Pah Kholu Gathdi” (Punjabi); Olga’s “Swechha” (Telegu); and a compilation of folk tales from South Orissa. The books were released by famous Hindi writer Ramesh Kuntal “Medh”.

Punjabi writer Kartar Singh Duggal today stood face to face with the city audience, speaking about the translated version of his autobiography “Kis Pah Kholu Gathdi”.

The translation has been done by Phool Chand Manav. Duggal began his introduction with an interesting remark. “Litterateur often write autobiographies when they are left with nothing else to say. But my case was an exception. I began writing the autobiography in 1982, when my intellectual capabilities were at their peak. For three years, my work was published as a regular column in Jagbani, Hind Samachar and Punjab Kesri — vernacular dailies. It has been published as a volume for the first time.”

Duggal’s work stands out for the sheer honesty of his expression. As he deals with the grim historical facts, he spares no one, not even his father whom he accuses of accepting bribe. “In writing all this, I caused tremendous embarrassment to my father. But he was still proud of me,” said Duggal.

The next book to be released was a collection of folk tales from Orissa, “Aranya Swar”. Compiled by Anand Kumar Mishra and Girish Chandra Dash, it has been translated by Sujata Shivan.

Today, the work was reviewed by Hindi writer Arun Aditya, who poignantly brought out the feeling behind each folk tale.

“The work takes us closer to the traditions of tribesmen inhabiting South Orissa. Authenticity has been maintained during the course of this publication, which has been preceded by checks and cross-checks.”

Referring to folk tales hinging upon hunger and poverty, Arun successfully established their relevance for every reader. He correlated the sale of human organs with the helplessness of tribesmen, who are known for trading their children in return for two square meals a day.

“Swechha” was the final work to be released today. Written by Olga, the famous Telegu writer associated with the feminist movement across the world, the work has been translated by R.C. Shanta Sundaram. It was critically analysed by Manmohan Sehgal from Punjabi University, Patiala. Beautifully juxtaposing elements from the work, Prof Sehgal delineated Olga’s purpose behind the creation.

“The work is the writer’s crusade against the system, which seeks to trammel women at all costs. It challenges rotten mindsets that define the patriarchal society in India.

The protagonist rebels against the system, but to break free from one fetter she lands into another — that of marriage where her husband seeks to possess her.” The writer suggests a middle path to deal with the situation.



Suspect in fraud case escapes from police custody
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 3
A Mohali resident, accused in a fraud case registered in Assam today, managed to escape from police custody while he was being presented before a Kharar court. The accused, Raj Kumar, along with his accomplice, Rajiv Bhatia, were arrested from Mohali this morning by the Assam police.

While the police was able to foil Rajiv Bhatia’s escape, Raj Kumar fled with the help of some of his men. According to the Kharar police, the Assam policemen had first taken the two for a medical examination at the Civil Hospital following which they were brought to the court. Raj Kumar feigned dizziness and while the police was preparing to rush him to hospital, he fled.

According to the SHO, phase VII, Mr Sukhjit Singh Virk, the Assam police team landed here this morning to arrest, Raj Kumar, a resident of Phase 3B2, and Rajiv Bhatia, a resident of Phase IV who had allegedly run away from Assam after taking money for the car from Mr Talwar Singh, a Punjabi living in Naalbari, Assam.

The two were arrested from Mohali today under section 392 of the IPC on the basis of an FIR lodged at the Naalbari police station on a complaint by Mr Talwar Singh. Mr Talwar Singh had alleged that he had paid Rs 4.3 lakh to the two for a car but he never got the car.



Driver, maids booked for theft
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 3
The police has booked a driver and two maids for stealing their employer’s mobile phone, wrist watch and Rs 46,000 today.
In a complaint to the police, Mr Satish Vardhera, resident of Sector 18, alleged that his driver Bhagmal, alias Sanjeev, of Dhanas village, and maids Ramkali and her daughter, committed the theft.

The police has registered a case under Section 381 of the Indian Penal Code at Sector 19 police station.

In another case, Mr Sat Parshad, resident of Badheri village, complained to the police that someone took away his mobile phone, a gold chain and Rs 6,000 from his residence on July 1 night. A case has been registered at Sector 39 police station.

Rs 40,000 lost: Mr Chaman Lal, resident of Sector 21, lost Rs 40,000 while he was returning home from his office in Sector 17 on a bicycle, last evening. In a complaint to the police, Mr Chaman Lal, an Inspector at the office of Registrar, Cooperative Societies, said he withdrew the money from a branch of Punjab and Sindh bank in Sector 17 for his son’s admission in an engineering college in Patiala. He was carrying the money in a polythene bag on the carrier of his bicycle.

After reaching near the Fire Brigade office in Sector 17, Mr Chaman Lal found the bag missing.

A case has been registered at Sector 17 police station.

Eve-teasing: The police has arrested four youths - Harshpreet of Phase VII, Mohali, Navdeep Singh of Chabal village in Amritsar, Yudhvir Singh Seena and Jasvir Singh both of Sector 38-B - for eve-teasing in Sector 38.

The four have been arrested on the complaint of Mr Deshvir Singh Bhullar, resident of Sector 38 and a case under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against them at Sector 39 police station.

Held with liquor: In two separate incidents, the police arrested two persons and recovered 12 bottles of country liquor from them in the past 24 hours.

Sandeep Kumar of Dadu Majra Colony was arrested from the colony with five bottles of liquor while Pappu, resident of Sector 38, was arrested with seven bottles from his residence.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them at Sector 39 police station.

Meanwhile, Satish of Dadu Majra Colony was arrested near his residence while gambling at a public place. The police has recovered Rs 200 from him. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered.


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