C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ghaggar gasping for breath
Rising toxicity threatens river’s existence
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 13
The discharge of various pollutants into the Ghaggar is having an adverse effect on the marine life in the seasonal river with fish production declining each year.

Discharge of industrial effluents from factories at Parwanoo and Baddi, domestic sewerage from Kalka, discharge from the Burj Kotian crusher zone, and industrial effluents like zinc, cadmium and lead, from the paper and sugar mills in Dera Bassi, Lalru, Patiala and Patran - are playing havoc with the existence of the river. Also, with the river remaining almost dry upstream in the past three years, and excessive mining in the river bed have adversely affected the aquatic life.

The water in the river is so full of mud, right from the time the river passes along the crusher zone in Burj Kotian, that it is unfit for consumption even by animals. The large scale deposition of silt from the sand stone Shivalik hills in the river has further affected the aquatic life. It is thus that the Fisheries Department faced a lot of problem in auctioning fishing rights in the river and its tributaries, falling in Panchkula district, last year.

Officials in the Fisheries Department inform that as against the annual fish production of 10 tonnes in the year 1998- 1999, the production fell to 2.5 tonnes in 2002- 2003, and was just five tonnes last year (2003- 04). It may be noted that even though the Ghaggar is a seasonal river, it was once rich in Indian major carps like Mrigal, Rohu and Catala. Other varieties like cat fishes, murrels, Bata, Mahaseer and common carps too were present in the river. But now, only a few species of Indian major carps are found in the river.

The test of the Ghaggar water by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board last year had revealed that bio chemical oxygen demand (BOD) had exceeded seven times the average. This results in less amount of oxygen in the water, which spells trouble for the aquatic life. The BOD level recorded was 14.5 mg, as against the normal level of 2 mg.

A study was conducted by a two member team of experts - comprising Dr TK Mishra and Dr Usha Mosa- from the Central Fisheries Research Institute, Karnal, to check the affect of pollution on the aquatic life in Ghaggar. Dr Mishra says that their study had revealed that the river water becomes acidic in nature because of pollution, and the dissolved oxygen levels fall down from the required 6 to 9 ppm to 1.6 ppm, and thus the fish were unable to survive.

A senior official in the Department of Fisheries says that though the upstream of the river was never a rich source of fish and aquatic vegetation, but the increasing pollution, especially as the river flows down from Himachal to Panchkula, and then from Mansa in Punjab to Haryana, has caused an alarming decline in population of fish.


Cholera fear looms large as water samples fail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Nearly all water samples collected from a construction site in Sector 50 and Colony number 5 in the wake of cholera outbreak last week have failed the test of purity. Incidentally, of these samples, only the ones collected from MC water tankers have passed, while the rest taken from hand pumps and contractors’ taps have failed.

Six of seven such samples collected from Sector 50 along the Burail Jail road by the Medical Microbiology Department of the PGI, and nearly all but a few of the 47 samples collected by UT health authorities have been found to be unfit for human consumption.

Even while the Director, Health Services, UT, Dr C.P. Bansal, confirmed the news, all contractors and workers on the construction site have been warned against consuming water from the area. They are being posted on the hazards of unfit water by way of announcements on mikes. Sources added that an alternative had been worked out to ensure that drinking water supply continued uninterrupted in the area.

Water will now be supplied from the Sector 15 pipeline, which also caters to other areas in the city. The deployment of a mobile ambulance continues in the area, from where cholera cases were reported last week.

Six water samples, which failed the test after being collected by the PGI, were the ones taken from hand pumps at site number 10 in Colony number 5. The news of samples failing the test was confirmed here tonight by Professor Meera Sharma, Prof and Head of the Department, Medical Microbiology, PGI.

Meanwhile, the health authorities are silent on the report of 29 stool samples which were also collected from the area last week, when about seven cholera cases were confirmed. About 100 persons were treated for diarrhoea at General Hospital in Sector 16 and on the spot where a mobile ambulance was deployed.


Paper leak: CBSE yet to get tough with staff
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The CBSE has adopted a double yardstick to deal with examination-related irregularities.

In the one-year-old case of tampering with answersheets, the board has cancelled the results of the 21 students who were found involved in the scam. It has, however, allowed erring officers posted at the answerbook cell to go scot-free.

They have merely been transferred with one of them being recently transferred to the board’s regional office at Ajmer .

While three of the officers, Mr Yograj Sachdeva, Regional Officer, Mr Rajbir, Assistant Secretary, Mr Anil Thakur, Assistant, have been transferred to the Ajmer office, Section Officer S.P. Sharma has been transferred to Allahabad. The transfers have been mentioned as routine transfers.

Sources in the board said after the scam was highlighted in the media, officials of the rank of Joint Secretary visited the Chandigarh regional office to inquire into the matter.

The findings of the inquiry have so far not been made public.

During investigation by the police, it was revealed that each student was asked to shell out Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 for each answersheet. The agents of the contractor used to smuggle out the answersheets out of the secrecy centre and give it to the students who would return the sheets the next day. Most of the men employed by the contractor were daily wage earners.

It is learnt that the payment of the Secrecy Officer, appointed on contract — one of the key men responsible for removing the original roll numbers and then encoding the answersheets had been withheld by the board.

The sources said the Assistant, Anil Thakur, who had recently been transferred from the Chandigarh office was found responsible for forwarding the names of candidates for the plus two examination whereas the schools were affiliated up to the secondary level. In last year’s examination, an ineligible candidate was made to appear in the board examination by the assistant.


Slum colony holds up work on rail link
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Work on one of the high profile development projects in North India — The Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link — has been held up due political manoeuvrings in Chandigarh. City-based politicians want the Chandigarh Administration to first re-settle about 300 families living illegally on the land meant for the upcoming railway line before the Railways can start work on it.

The Administration would have nothing of it as this would mean an expense of about Rs 8 crore to 10 crore. Also this would set a wrong precedent: Illegally living on Government land can get one a free house. In the centre of the storm is Sanjay Colony which is located in Industrial Area phase I, about a kilometre away from the Chandigarh Railway station.

When Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, announced in the Budget that the Chandigarh—Ludhiana rail line would get priority, the Chandigarh Administration swung into action and issued orders to remove the slum colony. But the bull dozers were halted following political pressure, said sources.

Fresh from the victory in the Lok Sabha polls, the second line of Congress leaders took it up as a challenge that the slum would not be removed until every resident of the slum colony was resettled. Last weekend the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal also made a round of the slum.

Now, the Administration is bound by a policy which says a person should have been a voter in Chandigarh as on December 8, 1996, only then is he illegible for re-settlement. In the controversial slum only 72 families are eligible for resettlement under this clause. The Administration suggested that it would temporarily shift the colony to a new location and re-settle the 72 families. But the politicians would have none of it. They want all the 300 families to be shifted to a temporary location. The argument is that the families are not being resettled but are just being re-located to a fresh place. Since no new pucca houses are to be allotted all the 300 families should be allowed to live in the relocated place on a temporary basis by creating another slum colony.

Meanwhile earth work to create a place for the track is on. Over-bridges are being constructed. However, till this slum colony is done away with, the alignment of the overbridge cannot be done.



Kidnapped child rescued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A two-and-a-half year-old girl, Suman, was allegedly kidnapped by the “paramour” of her mother Raj Kumari of Sector 30 to force her divorced and pregnant mother to live with him.

Babban Pal (27) allegedly first lured his divorced landlady and allegedly seduced her and pressurised her to live with him at Sangoli village in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh.

Babban Pal allegedly abducted the child on July 3 when Raj Kumari’s mother, Indraji, went to her village in Uttar Pradesh. Raj Kumari and Indraji alleged that Raj Kumari was more than seven-month pregnant.

Raj Kumari got a phone call from Babban from Sangoli village that her daughter was with him and if she wanted her back, she would have to live with him. Raj Kumari informed her mother about the kidnapping of her child. The family approached Congress activist L. K. Khurana who informed the matter to the SHO of the area, Mr Nanha Ram. The SHO next day registered a case and on July 9 sent a police party, comprising ASI Shishpal, constable Jaswinder Kaur and constable Harvinder Kumar, to Sangoli.

The police party recovered the child and arrested Babban Pal.


‘Managements must reach out to staff’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The Chandigarh Management Association (CMA) organised the first programme on “Human values in management” under the CMA knowledge series at the Rotary Bhawan, Sector 18, here today.

Prof G.P. Rao, chairman of Human Values Foundation, Noida, and former faculty member of IIM, Kolkata, and Professor Emeritus, University Business School, Panjab University, addressed the management professionals, on the need for the managements to foster conditions conducive to integral development of the human being in a work situation.

“We work on the assumption that unless the members of an organisation do their best, well and willingly, the effectiveness of an organisation cannot be high. This can be achieved only when the organisation offers an environment where employees feel that the given organization is their home. If this is to be achieved, top managements should go beyond the monetary parameters and reach out to their employees,” he said.

Prof Rao expressed satisfaction that many organisations in the country were focusing on human values. “Even in Chandigarh, several corporates have joined hands to form an association, called ‘Spandan’. At an institutional level, it refers to conscious and constant evolving of corporate philosophy aimed at achieving an optimal balance between organisation-specific values like results, and individual-specific values like relations,” he explained.

This has been necessitated because of the significant changes occurring in the human work as a consequence of globalization, Prof Rao said. Mr Charanjit Singh, president, CMA, informed that this was the first lecture under the CMA knowledge series. Mr Avinash Mathur, Mr A.K. Gandhi, Mr Ashok Laroiya, Mr Amarjit Singh Deepak were among those who attended the lecture.


Shopkeepers remove structures
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, July 13
Following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, shopkeepers today removed structures marked by the National Highway Authority of India, Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat and the local Revenue Department as encroachments on the government land.

The authorities had launched a major demolition drive against the unauthorized structures constructed by the shopkeepers along the busy Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway-22, and removed scores of encroachments from the Zirakpur market in May.

During the drive, dozens of unauthorised concrete structures constructed by the shopkeepers in violation of the National Highway rules along the busy highway were also pulled down. However, certain shopkeepers had objected to it and had alleged that the authorities were adopting a pick and choose policy during the demolition drive.

Following objections, the authorities had asked the shopkeepers to remove their encroachments themselves or face the bulldozers. The shopkeepers who had not removed their unauthorized structures launched the demolition drive on Monday and pulled down the unauthorised structures constructed on government land.

The Deputy Commissioner of Patiala after a visit to the township had asked the authorities to issue directions to shopkeepers to remove their unauthorised structures themselves.

The court had also asked the authorities concerned to file a reply about the action taken. In addition, the court had also pulled up the Police Department for not controlling the heavy volume of traffic on the intersection of the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Panchkula-Patiala highways.

The court had taken cognisance of a public interest litigation in which the petitioner had complained that the highways had virtually been occupied by shopkeepers, vendors and rehriwalas. Due to road congestion, many persons had lost their lives.



Abandoned girl diagnosed with TB
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 13
Eight-year-old Pooja, who was abandoned by her brother, is suffering from tuberculosis (TB). Her condition is stated to be serious.

The girl was admitted to General Hospital yesterday by a social worker, who found her crying at Raghunath temple in Sector 15 on the night of July 11. The malnourished girl had been abandoned by her brother, her only surviving relation after their parents died a few years ago.

The doctors attending to the child say that her X-ray results have confirmed that she is suffering from tuberculosis. Dr Rahul Kakkar, who is handling the child’s treatment, says that the child is malnourished and has oedema in her feet. “As of now we cannot say if she will pull through. Though we have started treatment, she will begin to respond to the treatment only after 15 days,” he says. Dr Kakkar says that the girl is still in a delirious state and is not responding to anybody.

Meanwhile, attendants of patients in the Emergency Ward at the hospital have taken upon themselves the opportunity of attending on her. A few of the women attendants were seen talking to the child, and trying to make her comfortable. The District Red Cross, too, has come to her aid, and she will be taken to Bal Sadan- a home for destitute children, once she recovers.


Girl sustains 80 pc burns as stove bursts
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 13
Shikha Rani (18), a resident of Lalru, sustained burn injuries when the stove she was using to prepare tea in her kitchen burst this morning.

Daughter of Mr Lakhbir Singh, an employee of Government Degree College, Dera Bassi, Shikha was admitted to the PGI with 80 per cent burns.

According to family members, Shikha was using the stove as the LGP cylinder was empty. Shikha had been staying at home after completing her plus two.


Exhibition opens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 13
A three-day exhibition of designer clothes opened today at Piccadily Hotel in Chandigarh. This exhibition has been put up by city-based designer, Reeth Batth. She has designed an array of garments which bear the stamp of her creativity.

Her collection includes, Indo-westerns, and ethnic Indian outfits.

She has extensively used embroidery, beads, stones, sequins, dabka, mukaish, mirror and aari work in her outfits.

Multi-coloured sequins and gotta patti lend a touch of elegance to her dresses. One noticeable thing aspect is used of big stones in some of the outfits.

She does not have any formal training in fashion designing. It was her hobby which took the shape of a profession.


Bansal’s appointment welcomed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Several UT Congressmen have hailed the appointment of Mr Pawan Bansal, Congress MP from Chandigarh, as Chief Whip of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Ram Parkash Sharma, Mr Devinder Babla and several other partymen said Mr Bansal deserved the honour.

They had no doubt in their mind that Mr Bansal, who was a veteran Parliamentarian, would be able to discharge his responsibilities ably.


HUDA initiates flood-control measures
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 13
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today initiated flood control measures along the seasonal rivulet passing near Rajiv Colony.

The rivulet often swells during the monsoons and floods the labour colony each year. HUDA authorities have now begun digging a trench, almost one metre deep, in 1.5 km area of the rivulet.

The earth being dug out will be used to make protection walls along the nullah. This will ensure that the water does not flood the surrounding areas. It is also proposed to instal wire crates along the embankments to prevent any breach, especially in the area along the slum colony.


Exhibition hall

Chandigarh, July 13
An exhibition hall, “Exposure”, in Sector 17 has been opened where budding designers exhibiting their creations will be given special discounts. The hall is equipped with CCTV cameras and offers full view from the plaza, according to a press note issued by the Managing Director. OC


Man succumbs to burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A 40-year-old Sector 52 resident late last night succumbed to burn injuries at the PGI where he was admitted along with his wife with 95 per cent burns on July 11.

Amarchand had a tiff with his wife Madhuri (35) following which the latter tried to immolate herself on July 11.

Amarchand, father of four, tried to save his wife and in the process got entangled in her sari. His wife received 75 per cent burns and is hospitalised at the PGI. According to the police, the duo had a tiff over the husband’s habit of consuming liquor.

On the basis of the statement of Madhuri, the Sector 36 police station has booked Amarchand under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC.

Domestic help booked

Zirakpur: The police has booked Manoj Kumar, a domestic help, who allegedly made an attempt to outrage the modesty of his mistress over one-and-a-half months ago.

According to the police, the woman was reportedly alone at her house in the Zirakpur area when Manoj Kumar attempted to rape her.

The police said Manoj Kumar, who hailed from Shahabad, had been missing since that day and a case under Sections 376 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against him at the Lohgarh police post.

3 booked in dowry case

The police has booked a man and his two sons of Parwati Enclave Colony in Bartana for allegedly harassing his daughter-in-law for dowry.

In her complaint to the police, Mrs Minakshi (24) had alleged that her husband, Sandeep Kumar, his father Kishan Kumar and brother-in-law Pradeep Kumar had been harassing her for dowry. She alleged that her husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law pushed her from the first floor of their house following which she sustained injuries and was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The police has registered a case under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 if the Indian Penal Code against the trio at the Lohgarh police post. No arrest has been made.



Spice announces value-packed offer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Spice Telecom today announced a value-packed offer on prepaid - Quicky full value offer on every activation and recharge. Under this limited period offer on every activation on MRP Rs 250, Rs 299 and Rs 495 will get full talk time. Apart from the new activation, all prepaid customers who recharge bucks of denomination of Rs 540 and above will get the benefit of full talk time value on the recharged coupon.

Following the launch of Hutch in Punjab, Chandigarh and Panchkula today, Spice has also announced two way international roaming for its prepaid segment. With this service, a prepaid customer will now be able to make and receive calls while roaming anywhere in the world wherever Spice has roaming tie-ups. To begin with international prepaid will be made available in Egypt, China, Germany, France, USA, South Africa, UK and UAE and gradually spread across. While the incoming call rate for international roaming for a pulse of 60 seconds will be Rs 60 per minute, the outgoing call rate will be Rs 75 per minute.

Spice has also announced a new friends and family discounted call rate on the prepaid offering and enhance customer satisfaction and convenience. Under the new offer, a prepaid customer can call his family and friends at Rs 1.25 per minute only. Through this new offer, Spice Quick subscribers can choose any five Spice numbers , post-paid or pre-paid for calling at half the normal calling rate. All the subscribers keen on using this service have to do is to dial an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) number 777 and follow the instructions to get the service activated. The users will be charged a nominal fee of Rs 2 per day for using this scheme. The registration charges for the first five number entries have been waived and only subsequent changing of numbers will be chargeable at the rate of Rs 2 per number change.

Announcing the new offer, DGM ( Marketing), Spice Telecom said: “The new offers are designed for the value conscious customers.”


New Esteem unveiled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Maruti Udyog Limited today unveiled the new, Esteem.

The car, known for its performance and fuel efficiency, now comes in a refreshing new font styling, with a new bonnet, multi reflector clear headlamps, new bumper and new chrome grille. The rear has been redesigned with multi-reflector clear tail lamps and new boot garnish. It can also boast of refined interiors.

The new Esteem is also available in a new metallic colour: Fawn Mist. However, it will continue to be available in silky silver, pearl silver, aqua blue, midnight black and superior white. It also comes with tubeless tyres.

Speaking at the launch of the new Esteem, General Manager of Maruti Udyog Limited, Mr R.S. Kalsi said: “Initiatives on the new Esteem are in line with Maruti’s increased focus this year on the A 3 segment of the domestic passenger market.’’

The new Esteem (petrol) will cost Rs 40,000 less than the old version. The new prices of Esteem Lx are Rs 4.28 lakh; Esteem LXi (Rs 4.58 lakh); Esteem VXi (Rs 4.93 lakh); Esteem D (Rs 4.89 lakh) and Esteem Di (Rs 5.15 lakh).

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