C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT gets power from eastern grid
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Central Government today marginally hiked the allocation of power to Chandigarh. City residents continued to reel under rotational and unannounced power cuts.

The allocation of power would be further hiked in the coming weeks, the Chandigarh Administration had been assured by the Central Government. This might be done in the first week of October.

Sources in the power sector pointed out that power allocation to the union territory from the eastern power grid had been usurped by bigger states, claiming to have requirements for the paddy crop. The states had the political clout to seek more allocation, especially Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Power allocation to Chandigarh was today hiked by about 7 mega-watt. The original allocation was 218 mega-watt and it had been slashed in the past couple of weeks. The allocation varies as per peak load requirements.

Power from the eastern sector was restored after the fault on the grid at Sasaram in Bihar was corrected. It is at this place that power from the eastern grid is transferred to the northern grid. The fault was corrected, but power allocations had not been restored to their original positions. Despite the countrywide shortage of power, Chandigarh should get more power, between 20 and 35 mega-watt, based on the ratio of previous allocations.

This had not happened and the union territory had protested a few days ago. It again exerted pressure today, seeking restoration of the original allocation. If that was not possible, the allocation should be based on ratio of shortage, the Administration asserted, adding that it had no power generation of its own and was forced to buy power.

The power situation remained grim today as residents reeled under unscheduled power cuts, over and above the rotational power cuts. Power supply to specified areas is cut off for two hours each. The process is then repeated in the next areas.



Power cuts
Industry in Mohali to lose business 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13
Mohali industries stands to lose business worth several crores every day following the Punjab State Electricity Board’s announcement to impose a two-day compulsory power holiday every week with immediate effect. The compulsory power holidays in Mohali would be now on Saturday and Sunday. Other than this, the daily power cut time in the industrial area in Mohali has been increased to seven hours a day including the peak load time.

‘‘Mohali has over 390 small scale units and over a 100 medium scale units. Other than these more than 30 large scale industries are also running here. With seven hours of power cut each day and two days of compulsory power holiday every unit stands to lose business worth crores. “I cannot quantify it right now but we should have a close figure about the daily loss by tomorrow evening,’’ pointed out Mr Gurmeet Singh, president, Mohali Industries Association here.

Mr Gurmeet added that a representation highlighting the extent of this loss would be handed over to the PSEB Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra day after tomorrow.

‘‘We want to bring to his notice that Mohali had been declared a power-cut free zone for the industries and a relaxation from these cuts should be given to the industries here, 'he said.

Mr V.K. Mahajan, Additional Superintending Engineer, Mohali circle, said that the cuts had been imposed in accordance with orders from the headquarters. ‘‘The industrial cuts have been time in a manner so that uninterrupted power supply for eight hours is ensured to each industry, 'he said.

Mr Amardeep Sharma, former president of Mohali Industries Focal Point Phase IX, said every small scale industry would lose over Rs 10,000 per week due to the power cuts and power holiday. ‘‘Even if many of the industrial units are not doing well, power holidays mean giving a compulsory holiday to the employees. Since we have to pay them even for these days, it leads to losses, 'he explained adding that power cuts was a harsh blow to the small scale industrial units.

Other than the industries, the duration of scheduled power cuts to residential areas too has been increased from three to four hours each day. ‘‘A long term solution to the electricity shortage problem is needed,’’ pointed out a Mohali resident, Mr R.S. Sachdeva, former District and Sessions Judge.



Outcry over water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Carrying empty buckets, activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parisad (ABVP) organised a rally in protest against the paucity of water in hostels of Panjab University, here today.

In a procession, supporting placards and banners and raising slogans, the students went to various departments on the campus. Led by the ABVP president, Gurparvez Sandhu, they highlighted the pitiable condition of the hostellers who were facing an acute shortage of water, frequent power cuts and were getting poor quality meals.

After going from department to department, they staged a dharna in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office and blocked its gate for nearly an hour. Sandhu addressed the students and warned that if the university administration failed to redress the problems on a priority they would intensify their agitation.

The secretary of the ABVP, Saurabh Joshi, said it was unfortunate that a university with five-star credits from NAAC could not provide basic facilities like water, electricity and quality food to its resident students. The other office-bearers of the ABVP also addressed the students. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, assured the students that the problems would be resolved at the earliest.

Extra chance: Panjab University has extended the last date for the receipt of examination forms from the candidates who have been granted extra chance for B.A./B.Sc./B.Com./ B.B.A./ B.C.A. I, II & III from August 30 to September 17. This date has been extended for those candidates who did not clear their compartment in two admissible chances exhausted in April 2004. These candidates, as earlier notified, will have to appear as per new syllabus in the forthcoming supplementary examinations commencing from September 27.



HUDA gains, applicants lose
Mansa Devi scheme yields Rs 2.6 cr interest per month
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 13
Over 34,000 applicants have invested Rs 465.103 crore with Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for the allotment of residential plots in Sector 2 and 6 of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC).

The money, deposited as a dixed deposit in a bank, is getting HUDA a collective monthly interest of around Rs 2. 60 crore (at seven per cent rate of interest, Rs 31.90 crore is the collective annual interest), or a daily interest of around Rs 9 lakh.

The scheme for the two sectors in Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) was floated by HUDA on April 5, 2004. As many as 165 residential plots in Sector 2 MDC, and 372 plots in Sector 6 MDC were offered under this housing scheme.

As many as 5943 applications have been received by HUDA for the plots (of size two kanal, one kanal and 14 marla) in Sector 2, and 27,850 applications have been received for plots (of size 1 kanal, 14 marla and 10 marla) in Sector 6.

However, these applicants still have a long wait till HUDA authorities decide on when the draw of lots is to be held. With “Save the Sukhna Lake” petition filed by a Naya Gaon resident, restraining HUDA and UT Administration from carrying out any development in the catchment area of the lake, still pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, HUDA has decided not to go ahead with the allotment, till the High Court decision.

Comparing the development of the area near the lake to the Taj Corridor scandal, the petitioner had contended that the area proposed to developed by HUDA was forest land. If construction was allowed in these sectors, the ecological balance of the area adjoining the lake would get disturbed.

The proposed Sector 1 of Mansa Devi Comlex, which could have come under the “catchment area”, has already been declared an entertainment sector by HUDA and recreational facilities have been planned for it. HUDA authorities have submitted before the court that no construction, disturbing the ecological balance, would be allowed in Sector 1.

HUDA proposes to develop the prestigious Sectors 2 and 6 in the complex as low-density urban area with plenty of open and green spaces.

Official sources in HUDA inform that though the two sectors, where this housing scheme has been floated do not fall in the catchment area of the lake, they are not carrying out any development of the land till the High Court decision. Officials reason that Sector 6, Mansa Devi Complex is far beyond the catchment area of the Lake, and Sector 2 is at a lower level than the lake. “We cannot go ahead with the allotment of plots, because if the High Court rules that a part of either of these sectors falls in the catchment area, we will have to allot alternate sites,” he says.

When asked about the profit that HUDA was earning because of this delay, officials agreed that HUDA was generating additional revenue by way of interest. “As per the rules, we can hold the draw of lots till six months from the date the scheme was floated. Its just been five months since the scheme was floated, and we still have a month to hold the draw,” he added. Till the time, HUDA’s gain is the applicants’ loss.



Inspector’s son beats up CTU driver
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Traffic was blocked for sometime this evening by CTU employees at the roundabout separating Sectors 23, 22, 35 and 36 when a driver was beaten up allegedly by an inspector’s son and his friends.

According to the police, the CTU bus being driven by Darshan Singh hit the car of the inspector’s son. At that time the roundabout was crowded because of a rally of farmers.

Sources in the police said though the traffic diversion was arranged, the rally led to traffic chaos. The sources said Inspector Jarnail Singh’s son allegedly slapped the driver.

After the incident, the CTU employees gathered on the spot in protest against the behaviour of the officer’s son.

Tension was diffused after negotiations between the two parties and the Inspector’s public display of anger over his son’s behaviour.

Though the police had diverted the traffic in the evening, there was a minor jam at the Aroma light point for a brief period. According to the police, the gathering of farmers was large and beyond the estimate made initially.

The farmers were late in the evening seen flocking to liquor shops of Sector 22 and 17.



Farmers protest against inflation, rising prices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
As inflation has started hitting them hard, farmers today came out on roads to protest against the rising prices of various agricultural inputs and other essential commodities. Agitated over the upward trend in the prices of diesel, pesticides, seeds, various fertilisers and implements etc, thousands of farmers, including large number of women, from Punjab held a demonstration here under the banner of Kisan Sangharash Samiti, a united front of various farmer organisations.

Seeking restoration of free power to the farming sector, farmer leaders, who addressed participants in the demonstration, said that the Punjab and the Union Governments was ruining farmers by enforcing policies dictated by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund etc.

Among those who addressed farmers were Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, Mr Sukhdev Singh of Kokri Kalan, Mr Surjit Singh Daban, Mr Surjit Singh Gillkalan, Mr Puran Singh Doda, Mr Harjit Singh Ravi, Mr Suvinder Singh Chutala, Mr Ram Singh of Bhaini Bhagha, Mr Guraditta Singh Bhagsar, Mr Suchha Singh Thathe and Mr Jagtar Singh Talwandi.

Taking a rational stand on the river water issues, leaders of the samiti said that the issue of river waters sharing should be resolved in a brotherly manner by involving river water experts and making riparian and basin rules etc as basis. The samiti has opposed the way river waters were being used to sow the seeds of hatred against each other among farmers of Punjab, Haryana and other states. Drip irrigation should be promoted for judicious use of river waters.

While prices of various foodgrains produced by farmers have been almost freezed by the Union Government, prices of various agricultural inputs have been rising unchecked. Substandard fertilisers, pesticides and seeds were being sold with the connivance of Government agencies. Leaders of farmers said that by withdrawing the facility of free power and water to farming community, the Punjab Government has made farmers’ life miserable.

Farmers, who remained peaceful during today’s demonstration, has warned the government that the next time they would resort to traffic jams if demands were not conceded.

Farmers leaders said that with the privatisation of the PSEB, farming community would be burdened further as power bills would go up to Rs 3000 per month. If the Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharastra could give free power to farmers, why could the Punjab Government not do so, they asked. While subsidy to farmers was being declined, the Union Government was liberal in giving subsidy worth Rs 21,000 crore to traders exporting foodgrains etc, they added.

The state government has not fulfilled any promise made during the Assembly elections. Instead of helping the farming community, the government has been using force to crush farmers’ struggle. 



Teachers who help students cheat in for trouble
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Teachers encouraging students to cheat during the supplementary examinations being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) are in for trouble. The PSEB authorities have been assured by Punjab's Education Department that strict action will be initiated against the instructors caught helping the students during the exams.

In a related development, the authorities have decided to have half the number of invigilators from the schools where the examinations were being conducted. The sources in the education board claim that the move will go a long way in reducing the number of cheating cases as the teachers can easily identify "potential cheaters". This is not all. The teachers are also worried about the school's reputation. As such they discourage the adoption of unfair means.

The decision to act tough against the teachers is significant as complaints against the instructors are not uncommon during the examination season. The sources disclose that until a few years ago some of the teachers, acting as invigilators, went go to the extent of writing the answers on the blackboards.

The sources add that complaints forwarded to their "parent department" often failed to evoke the desired result as "hardly any action was ever initiated against the tutors".

They claim that education board's Controller of Examinations Sukhvinder Kaur Saroya, in an attempt to deter the teachers from helping out the students, sought action against the erring ones after meeting Principal Secretary of School Education Tejinder Kaur. The Controller was reportedly assured of full co-operation. Neither Ms Saroya, nor Ms Tejinder Kaur, was available for comments.

Meanwhile today, approximately eight cases of cheating were detected from different parts of the state during the English and Mathematics paper. Three students belonged to a school in Kharar.

The situation was by and large peaceful in the border city of Gurdaspur. Just two students, belonging to a government school, were caught copying by the vigilant invigilators.

Acting on the Controller of Examination's request, Gurdaspur's Senior Superintendent of Police had deployed approximately five personnel outside the schools to "maintain the law and order situation".



A noble gesture

Coming to the rescue of a student putting up in Malout, the board authorities today permitted her to take plus II English examination in a Mohali school. The student was issued a roll number this morning. As it was not possible for her to reach her home town on time to take the paper, she was ferried to a school in 3-B I in an official vehicle.

The sources say that the student reached examination control room set up by it in Mohali at about 4.45 on Sunday. By that time, the dealing officer was not available. The student was asked to reach the control room this morning at 8. The officer was also called from home and the roll number was issued. Subsequently, the Centre Superintendent was also asked to accommodate the student.



Herbal medicines have side effects: PGI study
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Contrary to the general perception that the herbal medicines are free from any side effects, the PGI study suggests otherwise.
In the first of its kind a research done in India which establishes the effect of herbal medicines on genes, it has been found that the effect of the herbs on human body are far too profound and deep and a combination of the ayurvedic medicines with the allopathic medicine is extremely dangerous for the patients.

Dr D. Kaul Additional Professor at the Department of Experimental Medicine at the PGI, who carried out the study says that the polyphenols derived from tulsi, neem and green tea have a genomic effect on the human beings. As a result, when the herbal medicines are taken along with the allopathic treatment, the results could be extremely detrimental for the patients.

“The research has established that the herbal medicine have a genomic effect on the human body. It clearly means that they do have their own side effects. Since both the ayurvedic (herbal) and the allopathic medicine in the treatment of diseases like cancer and coronary heart diseases affect the genes, the combination of the two therapies can lead to a lot of problems in the patients.

It can either nullify the affect of both the therapies or it can actually play havoc with the patient's life where the two different medicines are acting differently on the affected genes,'' said Dr Kaul, cautioning the patients against taking the allopathic and the ayurvedic medicines simultaneously.

The pilot study, which was started last year, has found that the herbs have a profound affect on the six genes which are of crucial importance in the initiation or control of heart diseases and cancer.

“The study, which is being keenly observed at the international level has, in fact, raised more questions than answers in terms of the general belief that unlike the allopathic medicines, the herbal medicine have no side effects,'' added Dr Kaul.

However the study also finds that the herbs, especially tulsi and the green tea, when used as medicine exclusively can be beneficial for the cancer and heart patients. ``Individually tulsi, neem and green tea are beneficial for cancer and heart patient but become harmful when taken with the allopathic medicine,'' explained the doctor.

This is a unique study conducted by the PGI and may be the first of its kind in the country.



Chandigarh Calling

A local social organisation “Pratibimb” which organises religious quizzes in the city, has now been providing inputs on religious talk numbers of a leading mobile operator in Punjab. Users of the mobile operator have to dial specified numbers for religion talk line and get to hear the “shlokas” from Hindu as well as Sikh religious texts. Once the call is ended the mobile operators send an SMS and indicating that Pratibimb was the source of the “shlokas.” Satya Pal, who runs the organisation told the sentinel that his supply of “shlokas” was endless. The organisation had recently organised a special session for Indian kids living in Australia. The organisation also holds quiz contests on Indian religions and gives prizes to school-children.

Road or deathtrap

Photo by Parvesh ChauhanEven though the Chandigarh Administration went on an overdrive to repair roads and restore other essential services that fell to the fury of rains a month and a half ago, many of them were left unattended, perhaps due to the enormity of the fury. Like many other city roads, the outer road facing the CII building in Sector 31, has been reduced to a virtual deathtrap. The fury of rainwater had washed away a good portion of this road. Driving on this stretch of unlit road is dangerous for vehicle drivers as well as morning walkers and joggers.

Teacher honoured

Mr Gian Chand, a familiar name in Chandigarh’s education circle, who is a social studies teacher working in Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, has added another feather to his cap. He has been given the “outstanding teacher award” by the Lions Club (Supreme). Given as part of the Teacher’s Day celebrations, the award had been conferred on him for his services in the field of education, sports and extra-curricular activities. The club had invited entries for the award with recommendations from school Principals. In her recommendation, the Principal, Ms K. Sharma, had described Mr Gian Chand as “an asset to the school.”

Morale booster

The visit of Punjab Governor Justice O.P. Verma (retd.) to Doomchheri village in Ropar district, 40 km from Chandigarh, on Saturday was not the usual official visit of the Governor. Justice Verma chose to visit the village himself to witness the mini-revolution that has been brought about in the village by landless labourers, Dalits, poverty stricken women and even under debt small farmers belonging to the Jat Sikh community who decided to collectively chart their own course, breaking the shackles of poverty and vested interests of moneylenders. Volunteers of these groups of villagers took the benefit of a self-help group scheme launched by the local Regional Rural Bank (RRB), an offshoot of Punjab National Bank. Justice Verma’s visit to the village was designed to be a morale booster for the self-help groups who till date had not received any recognition from the district administration. Lauding the effort of villagers to become self reliant, Justice Verma said these groups were ‘agents of change and development’. He said this experiment of self-help group had been a great success in Bangladesh and even UNO had recognised that it was the best development programme.

Loyalty to boss

A crowd was seen chasing a well-dressed young sardarji in Sector 17 market the other day. The policemen on duty also joined the chase thinking that the man might have snatched a chain. But it turned out to be another story after the man was caught. The sardarji, a new private bank employee, was asked by the Sector 17 police station why he was pestering a woman waiting for her husband outside a famous cloth shop in Sector 17. In fact our man, a marketing guy mistook a woman as Radha. He asked her to accompany him in his car. When she refused to do any such thing he rang up his boss and asked the woman to talk to his boss on his mobile phone. All this was seen by the woman’s husband, a salesman. Salesmen in other shops also saw it and they all gathered and chased the man. He reached the police station and told the police that he had been asked by his boss to pick up one Radha from Sector 17 and drop her in Sector 11. The woman was standing at the same spot at the given time making him think that she was Radha.

Senior ‘fun’

It was heart warming to see senior citizens in their youthful and creative spirit at Art Museum, Sector 10, on Saturday last. They regaled the audience with skits, jokes, ghazals and jugalbandi. The highlights of the cultural event were two plays “Nu Saas Di Nok Jhok and ‘Nalayak Puttar’. Well enacted and spontaneous these drew instant appreciation. A ‘Mahiya’ by Parminder Phool was also presented. Arjan Singh, 71, a talented vocalist compered the programme. Birinder Pannu who played the husband in ‘Nalayak Puttar’ informed that this was a part of month long celebration which will conclude on the Senior Citizens’ Day on October 1. Well, one hopes to see more such engaging output from them.

— Sentinel



Muslim family walled in, no arrest so far
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 13
Tension continues in Haripur Hinduan village, located along the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, about 5 km from here, following the construction of a brick-wall blocking the main door of the house of a Muslim family.

Residents belonging to the Gujjar community raised the wall to isolate the family of Havildar (retd) Sahib Ram, a Muslim, from rest of the village.

The aggressive residents raised about 6 feet high brickwall, blocking the door and a window of Mr Sahib Ram’s house. The residents swung into an immediate action and raised the wall attached to a portion of the house facing a temple of khera, (villagers common god).

The villagers said they had been restraining Sahib Ram and his family from using the main door of their house since the land next to their door belonged to khera. The villagers had also cautioned them not to litter the khera.

The problem that was simmering for the past couple of months finally blew over on Sunday afternoon, when over a dozen of residents belonging to the Gujjar community stormed into the house of Mr Sahib Ram and attacked and stripped Ms Roshani Begum and her sister-in-law Hasina. This all happened when the male members of the family were not at home.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune Mr Sahib Ram, alleged that the villagers constructed the wall in hours when the family members were busy attending the injured women at the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

Mr Sahib Ram alleged that the villagers had also objected over offering namaz by him at the khera.

Meanwhile, the police booked five villagers, including the father of a block samiti member, on the complaint of Roshani Begum. A case under Sections 452, 323, 506, 120-B and 34 of the IPC has been registered against Col (retd) Ajit Singh, Mangat Ram, Gurdev Singh, Jarnail Singh and Niab Singh, at Dera Bassi police station. No arrest has been made so far.

A visit by the Tribune team to the village revealed that the women folk (Gujjar community) were camping at a shed at the khera while men had assembled at the chaupal. The scared Muslim families of the village have demanded police protection. 



Admn may allow sale of society flats after 5 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Chandigarh Administration is contemplating allowing the sale of co-operative housing society flats after a lock in period of five years from the date of allotment and also allow substitution of members based on an open draw of lots while charging a fee for the same. This will legitimise sale of such flats.

According to sources a meeting of officials was held on Saturday by the Estate Officer, Mr Arun Kumar, where these ideas were discussed.

The original scheme for housing societies has envisaged that sale may be allowed after five years from the date of allotment. Sources said the Chandigarh Housing Board had created confusion in the matter. The Estate Office handed over land to CHB for further allotment to societies. The CHB imposed its own rider saying nobody could sell till a period of 15 years. This was wrong as the scheme formulated in 1991 said sale was possible after five years. The Administration will correct this anomaly and permit the sale.

Those people who have purchased flats on General Power of Attorney will also be considered if the period of five years is completed.

In case of allowing the sale the Administration is considering levying fee to bring in legality of the sale on paper besides collecting revenue.

When a member surrenders his membership substitution is allowed but very loose norms exist. The Administration is considering a draw of lots by inviting applications. For this a premium may be fixed to bring in revenue to the society and also to the Administration, the sources added.



Residents’ bodies to identify hawkers, workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) of the city will identify cable TV workers, hawkers, rehriwalas and others operating in a particular area. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the senior police officers and the representatives of the RWAs.

This is a move to check crime rate. The police will ascertain the antecedents of such persons in each sector. The RWAs will then issue them identity cards for the beat and the security staff to keep a tab on their movement.

The Station House Officers (SHOs) have also been directed to brief the beat staff to check the movement of outsiders in a sector.

The residents also raised the issue of delay in the verification of Nepali servants but the police said it was a matter to be discussed between the External Affairs Ministries of the two countries. The beat staff was also asked to pay a door to door visit to the houses occupied by elderly persons once a month. The SHOs will visit such houses randomly.

The police also decided to talk to the courier and other service providing agencies to identify their personnel who could be issued identity cards by the RWAs of respective areas.

However, the police had made it clear to the RWAs that it could not be legally done to check the movement of the service providers but cooperation could be sought from them to ensure safety in the city. The RWAs had sought regulation of time of their movement.

The police crackdown against beggars also followed the RWAs demanding the same.

Representatives of Panjab University had alleged that begging, sale of liquor, bad behaviour of ruckshaw pullers and movement of young couples had been plaguing the residents of the university.

The RWAs also raised the issue of encroachment on footpaths but the police asked them to take up the matter with the agencies concerned.

The senior officers also directed the SHOs to take stringent action against scrap dealers purchasing stolen goods. The decision was taken after the people from the Industrial Area said there were many cases of theft in the area and the possible cause of them could be the presence of scrap dealers.

The Sector 19 Police Station SHO was directed not to allow illegal parking of private trucks and buses in the green belt of Sector 21 after the matter was raised by the residents in the meeting.

The beat staff will also be specially briefed about keeping an eye on the illegal activities of rickshaw pullers apart from creating a traffic hazard.

The police also refused to be drawn in preventing encroachment of road berms saying the matter should be taken up with the authorities concerned.

The evasive attitude of the police comes in contravention of the measures taken by Kiran Bedi during her brief tenure as Inspector General of Police of the city.

The residents of the crime prone Sector 25 and Bapu Dham colonies asked the senior officers to increase the number of personnel on these police posts.

The senior officers assured the RWAs that they would urge the school managements to deploy their teachers and personnel to manage traffic in front of their premises during school hours. The residents had complained that there was chaos before the schools at peak hours.

The SHO Sector 36 Police Station, was asked to put up special pickets to prevent rash driving by youths in front of the girls’ college.

Residents also asked the police to inform the result of servant verification exercises and set up a single nodal agency for senior citizens.



Verma for bylaws to ban slaughter of chicken in sectors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today asked the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, to frame bylaws to ban slaughter of chicken within sectors of Chandigarh.

In a coordination meeting, Justice Verma said it was imperative for the Municipal Corporation to check the menace of slaughtering of birds in residential areas and markets, that was creating nuisance in surrounding areas. In the beginning, the slaughter of chicken would be banned within the sectors and no live bird would be allowed to be brought in the grid area for being slaughtered and sold.

It was decided that there was a need to regulate paying guest accommodation in residential areas. The Finance Secretary was asked to work out regulations to ensure minimum space and equipment required, if somebody wanted to keep paying guests at his residence.

The first phase of sealing V-3 roads had been completed and 49 of 51 spots had been sealed. The Commissioner was asked to identify more vulnerable spots on V-3 roads that required to be sealed for the second phase within the one week. The Commissioner would submit a report of the survey at the next meeting.

The Finance Secretary informed the Administrator that the report on need-based changes in houses had been received. 



Petrol stations ignore fire safety norms
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13
Non-compliance of fire safety norms for petrol stations seems to be the order of the day in Mohali. No petrol station in Mohali is fully equipped to deal with a fire-related mishap effectively, risking lives and property worth crores.

Though no major petrol station fire has taken place in the township over the past few years, safety precautions at petrol stations are non-existent. Except for the mandatory sand buckets and hand-held extinguishers, no contingency plan or machinery is in place. Fire suits for attendants or safety drills are unheard of. The other mandatory requirement that a water hydrant be provided at each side of fuel storage tanks is ignored. Basic precautions like disallowing unloading of tankers after sunset, no smoking and allowing no source of artificial light within nine metres when a tanker is unloading too are not followed.

“We have three sand buckets and six or eight chemical-type cylinders,” says Mr Sohan Lal, owner of a petrol station in Phase 3A, adding that HP officials come for checks every fortnight and have found the petrol station well-equipped for firefighting. The petrol station has four storage tanks, two each for petrol and diesel. Each petrol tank contains 16,000 litres of the fuel while each diesel tank contains 22,000 litres of fuel.

With a slightly larger fuel storage capacity, a petrol station in Phase VII had eight sand buckets and some chemical-based fire extinguishers. “We have surprise checks regularly. Had there been something lacking, they would have pointed it out,” says Mr Raghunath Singh, petrol station manager.

The impunity with which the precautions are flouted do not seem to bother residents of the area. Both petrol stations are located in densely populated residential areas. Several persons have been found smoking or using mobile phones while petrol is being filled in their cars.

Petrol station owners claim that the level of preparedness is within the framework of the sketchy safety parameters from oil companies, who in turn, are following instructions issued from time to time by the Explosives Department of the Central Government. But with untrained staff and no equipment, petrol stations can cause extensive damage due to lack of awareness or indifferences.



Fauji Beat
Western Command creates history

The Western Command War Memorial at Chandi Mandir Commemorates the sacrifices of war heroes
The Western Command War Memorial at Chandi Mandir Commemorates the sacrifices of war heroes. 

THE Western Command celebrates its 57th anniversary on September 15. It was raised at Delhi as Delhi and East Punjab Command on September 15, 1947, and was re-designated as Western Command on January 18, 1948.

The Command has created a history by actively participating in all wars that India has fought after Independence and has towered in all Commands by winning the maximum number of gallantry awards. Before it could complete its raising, it was assigned the task of throwing out the Pakistani raiders from the Kashmir valley. First Sikh, which was flown to Srinagar airfield on October 27, 1947, saved the airfield from falling into the enemy hands by suffering heavy casualties, including its Commanding Officer, Lieut-Col Ranjit Rai.

In the 1962 war against China, the Western Command offered tough resistance to the enemy in Ladakh. In 1965, when Pakistan let loose it “Gibraltar Force” into the Kashmir valley, they were thrown out by August, 1965. This prompted Pakistan to launch “Operation Grand Slam” (armoured thrust into Chhamb sector) on September 1, 1965. To release pressure on Chhamb, the Western Command hurriedly launched operations into Lahore sector. The rest is history. In 1971, the enemy again tried its hand in the Chhamb sector. The situation was saved but at a cost of heavy casualties.

The Western Command has rendered a commendable service for the welfare of ex-servicemen and widows by establishing a helpline for them on September 15, 2002. The Command also has the singular distinction, as 10 of its Army Commanders have become Army Chiefs. It hopes to increase this number to 11 by next year.

Chandigarh may lose CSD concession

Despite clear instructions having been issued by the Army authorities repeatedly for stopping the misuse of canteen stores, the misuse still continues. The fallout of misuse is that in most stations, the excise duty concession on liquor has been withdrawn and liquor is being sold in the canteens at the market rate.

Time is not far when this concession will be withdrawn from Chandigarh also, if the misuse does not stop. Thanks to these Faujis who are out to increase their income by selling canteen stores and liquor.

Some ex-servicemen feel that the financial limits for the purchase of grocery stores for the JCOs and other ranks of Rs 2500 and Rs 1500, respectively, are on the low side. If anything, these limits are on the high side. It is unthinkable that any officer, JCO or other rank, needs grocery stores worth more than Rs 1,500 for his family every month.

As for the AFD-2 items such as fans and geysers, etc, the purchasing limit is Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 for officers, JCOs and other ranks, respectively. And for AFD-2 items i.e. cars, scooters, washing machines, TVs etc, there is no financial limit. But these items can be purchased only once after a gap of two years. The best way to stop the misuse is to remove all CSD canteens from cities.

Travel by ECHS members

The ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members are entitled to travel to another city for treatment when such treatment is not available in their city. But this can only be done if the ECHS medical officer/specialist has advised the patient for such treatment. The patient will be paid rail fare, both for outward and inward journeys by the ECHS authorities by the class he was entitled to at the time of retirement or the actual expenditure incurred by him, whichever is less.

An attendant or escort, if recommended by the medical officer can also travel by the same class as the patient. For this, the necessity has to be certified by the medical officer. The expenditure incurred on attendant’s journey is reimbursable. The ECHS members can also avail of the ambulance services in their city when they are referred to service/empanelled hospitals by the polyclinics.

— Pritam Bhullar



More auto-rickshaw drivers join stir
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13
The strike of auto-rickshaw drivers in Mohali intensified today with auto-rickshaw drivers of Panchkula, Dadu Majra, Dhanas and other nearby areas joining it. Till late last night autos coming from Chandigarh side were stopped from entering the township and some of these were even impounded by members of the SAS Auto-Rickshaw Union that is leading the strike in Mohali.

Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, Mohali, said he would apprise the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, tomorrow about the problems being faced by people due to the strike. He said that the matter needed to be resolved immediately. I had taken cognizance of the situation and talked to the Transport Department in Chandigarh today. We should be heading towards a solution soon, he said.

Stating that over a 1,000 auto-rickshaw drivers had joined the strike, Mr Rajinder Singh Randhawa, president of the union, said the stir would turn more aggressive by the day. Today we caught a large number of cars being used to ferry passengers from here to Chandigarh. While three of these had temporary numbers, other three only had tour permits. We are being supported by auto-rickshaw drivers from other areas in Chandigarh’s periphery, he said.

Mr Randhawa added that if no action was initiated by either the Mohali Administration or the Chandigarh Administration in the coming days, they would take to the roads. We would be carrying out rallies on Mohali roads and block traffic to ensure that the Administration paid attention to our demands, he said.



NIPER scientist to be awarded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13
Prof Ramesh Panchagnula of the Department of Pharmaceutics, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), has been selected for the ‘Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) Scientist Award’ for year 2004.

He has been selected for the award for his contributions in the area of novel drug delivery systems, biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics and evaluation of anti-TB drugs. The award includes a citation, memento and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. and will be presented on September 25 in Mumbai.

Prof Panchagnula joined NIPER in September 1994 along with a handful of core faculty, who were entrusted the responsibility of establishing NIPER as a centre of higher learning. He played a significant role in building the institute and more importantly the Department of Pharmaceutics, which he now heads. At NIPER, he developed a strong research program based on extramural funding to understand the molecular basis of drug delivery and develop technologies for delivery of various classes of drugs based on the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS).

He has been working closely with various international organisations like the WHO, the UNDP, the World Bank and the Global Drug Facility through collaborative research and exchanges in connection with quality assurance and assessment, bioavailability aspects of anti-TB drugs, TB drug discovery etc. He also played a major role in creation of an international standard bioavailability centre at NIPER, which is one of the two laboratories in the world approved by the WHO for conducting bioequivalence studies.

Prof Ramesh Panchagnula was awarded the prestigious IUATLD scientific prize in 2000 in Italy. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow, American College of Clinical Pharmacology. Last year, he was selected for the Ranbaxy Research Award, which will be presented by the President of India in New Delhi on October 8.



100-minute ordeal for residents of Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 13
As power crisis worsens in the state, residents of Panchkula are feeling the heat, literally. Dealing with the shortage of power in the state, the Haryana Power Utilities has now alloted time slots for imposing power cuts.

Though the township will now face two power cuts of 50 minutes each, the adjoining areas of Kalka, Pinjore, Barwala, Raipur Rani, and other places in the Ambala circle (including the Ambala Cantonment area and Ambala City) will face six power cuts a day.

Officials in the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) inform that Panchkula will face a power cut for 50 minutes each between 11 am and 12 noon, and between 3.15 pm to 4.05 pm. Other than this, light load restriction on all industry (so that the industry cannot operate) will be imposed from 7 pm to 6 am, and industries having load over 1 Mega Watt will not be supplied any power. 



23,000 residents to get reprieve from paying house tax
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 13
Over 23,000 residents of the township will get a reprieve from paying house tax and fire tax during the year 2004-05. This was stated by the Executive Officer of Municipal Council, Mr O.P. Sihag today.

Mr Sihag said the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had announced that all self possessed houses having an area less than 100 square yards are exempted from paying house tax, and fire tax exemptions have been given to all residential buildings. He said the MC will begin issuing the house tax bills from September 27, and an estimated Rs 2. 75 crore will be collected.

The Executive Officer said last year, the total house tax to be collected from the residents was Rs 3.30 crore, and they had managed to recover 90 per cent of the house tax — to the tune of Rs 2.98 crore.

He added that a sum of Rs 67 lakh recovered as fire tax last year, though a sum of Rs 8 lakh was yet to be recovered from some government buildings. 



Residents demand recarpeting of roads
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 13
Members of the Southern Sectors Residents Welfare Federation, Chandigarh, presented a memorandum listing over 15 demands to Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP in a thanks-giving function in Sector 44-C, today.

The members demanded recarpeting of the V-6 roads, laying of more sewerage pipelines, more police patrolling on foot, shifting of labour chowk and Colony no 5. They also demanded that St. Xevier School authorities should be asked not to park buses on parks and not to construct speed breakers on the roads adjacent to the school of its own.

Mr Khush Paul Singh, president of the federation, said that the MP heard their grievances and assured to solve them.



Vishakhapatnam MC team meets Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
A 32-member team of councillors from Vishakhapatnam MC, were bowled over by the cleanliness and greenery of the city. During their interaction with the Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, the councillors were all praise for the “well-maintained” city.

They were led by the Chairman of the MC, Mr V.V.A.M Raju. He said the main purpose of their visit to the city was to get an idea of the planning and various schemes of the Municipal Corporation. They told the Mayor that the major source of revenue for their municipality came from property tax. The team has already visited Shimla, Kullu, Manali.



Expedition flagged off

Chandigarh, September 13
Two girls from Muktsar have gone on an expedition to the world’s highest motorable road, Khardungla Pass. The two girls, Sukhwinder and Paramjit, will cover the expedition on a motorcycle. The Khardungla Pass is at a height of 18,380 feet above sea level. Their expedition was flagged off here today. — TNS



Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Chain Singh (80), father of Bishan Singh Saini, senior operator in The Tribune, died yesterday after brief illness at Rathana village, R.S. Pura tehsil, Jammu district.



4 booked for illegal plot sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
A former sarpanch, a panch and a brother of the sarpanch of Kishangarh were today booked for violating the Periphery Control Act. Rammurthy of Mani Majra was also booked in the same case.

Seventy five-year-old former sarpanch Prem Singh, a woman panch Gejo and Shadi Lal, a brother of sarpanch Sitaram, had allegedly sold small plots in the Kishangarh area in violation of the Periphery Control Act. Shadi Lal is the fourth member of Mr Sitaram’s family, booked for violating the act. Sita Ram and his brother Preetam Singh and a son has been booked earlier.

The four cases were today registered at the Mani Majra police station on the complaint of the Land Acquisition Officer, Mr S. K. Sethia.

According to the Periphery Control Act, small plots can not be sold by owners of the land . The buyer of land on illegal power of attorney can be booked for the violation of rules governing general power of attorney.



Jeweller freed from police custody
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 13
A warrant officer today got a person in illegal custody at the Sector 39 police station released. The family of a jeweller, Vijay Puri, alleged that he was in police custody for 10 days. The SHO of the police station denied this, saying he was called this evening after a thief said he had sold stolen property to the jeweller.

The jeweller has a shop in Sector 44. The father of Vijay Puri alleged that the police personnel were allegedly demanding Rs 1.5 lakh to let him off.

The father of the jeweller approached the court, which sent a warrant officer, who raided the police station this evening. The SHO of the police station, Hardev Singh, said the jeweller had come to the police station around 6 pm and soon a warrant officer followed him. The SHO said the person was called to the police station to verify if he had purchased stolen property from a thief arrested earlier. The SHO said the police would arrest the jeweller tomorrow after completing procedures.

2 held for gambling: The police arrested two persons for gambling in the past 24 hours, according to a press note. Ashok Kumar and Titu, residents of Bapu Dham Colony, were arrested from a park in the same locality for gambling at a public place yesterday. The police recovered Rs. 600 from their possession. It registered a case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

1 held with smack: The police arrested a woman for possessing two gram of smack yesterday. Sunita, a resident of Janta Colony, Sector 25, was arrested from near her house. The police registered a case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

3 arrested: The police has arrested three persons for assaulting and causing injuries to Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Ram Darbar, yesterday. Sanjay reported to the police that Sandesh Singh, Krishan Kumar and Maman, residents of Ram Darbar, trespassed his house, assaulted him and threatened him. He was later admitted to the GMCH in Sector 32.

2 hurt in mishaps: Scooterist Victoria, a resident of Sector 28, was hit by a motor cycle near Gopal Sweets in Sector 27 on September 3. The police registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

Pedestrian Kishori Lal, a resident of Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, was hit by a scooter, driven by Mohinder Kumar of Sector 37, near New Bridge, behind Bapu Dham Colony, on September 11. He was injured and admitted to the PGI. The police registered a case.



3 injured in accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 13
Three persons were injured in two road accidents today. Jai Lal, a scooterist, hit a fruit rehri, and its owner, Somveer, in Sector 21. Both persons were seriously injured and were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6. Jai Lal was later referred to PGI, Chandigarh. In another case, a 48-year-old woman, Savita, was injured after she was hit by a vehicle near the Dhakauli barrier.

Two remanded: A local court remanded Gyan Singh of Nolta village, Pinjore, to one day in police custody. He was arrested yesterday after he had a fight with his father, Pritam Singh, and mother, Kamla Devi, over family property. He had allegedly fired a few shots in the air to scare his parents.

In another case, Nirmal Singh, arrested yesterday under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for possessing 30 grams of opium, was remanded to one day in police custody. 



Accident victim dead
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13
Kewal Krishan, a production manager with a plywood company at Bhago Majra, died at the PGI today, succumbing to injuries sustained in an accident at Mohali on September 10
Kewal Krishan and his two children were injured in an accident near Dara Studio.

He was taking his children, Deepak and Hasat, to Chandigarh from Kurali when his scooter was hit by a truck.

The three fell down and sustained injuries. They were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32 of Chandigarh, from where they were referred to the PGI.

The police had registered a case against the truck driver, Amarjit Singh, who was later arrested, and impounded the truck.



10-year-old raped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
A 10-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a 20-year-old cotenant in a house at Mani Majra. The alleged rapist Sanghi, alias Sanjay, has been arrested on the complaint of the victim’s mother. The police also got the girl and the boy medically examined at the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The father of the girl alleged that Sanghi, a resident of Sikkim, had illegally detained his daughter, raped her and threatened her if she revealed the act to anybody. The incident took place yesterday when family members of the girl were away.

The police has registered a case under Sections 376, 506 and 242 of the IPC.



Doordarshan plans DTH telecast
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The days of poor quality TV programmes marred by snowy pictures and indecipherable sound reaching you through your local cablewallahs may soon become a thing of the past.

Doodarshan has unfolded plans for the launch of the state-of-the-art direct-to-home (DTH) telecast of its programmes which will ensure DVD quality pictures and crystal clear stereophonic sound, as early as by the end of this month.

DTH is the latest technology in broadcasting in which a large number of TV channels are received by the viewer directly at his home, thus eliminating the need for cable TV. All that the viewer needs is a 45 cm to 60 cm dish, a digital integrated receiver decoder commonly called as "set top box" (STB) costing between Rs 3000 and Rs 3500. In Chandigarh, it will cost Rs 3200. It consumes only 40 watts of electricity.

Touted as the common man's DTH, the service has been christened "DD Direct+". It will initially provide a bouquet of 30 TV channels suitable for the whole family, including entertainment, sports, news, educational and regional language programmes besides 20 radio channels. And as the popularity grows, more channels will be added.

According to Mr Gurbinder Singh, Station Engineer, DD, Chandigarh, all the TV channels to be telecast by "DD Direct+" will be free to air. These include 17 Doordarshan channels. Negotiations are on with 13 private TV channels like BBC, CNN and Zee and 13 private radio channels for inclusion in the bouquet.

Viewers do not have to buy new TV sets for receiving DTH broadcasts. Their existing TV sets should be okay for the service. However, if they are looking for stereo sound, they will obviously have to have stereo TV sets.

Private DTH operators worldwide encrypt their channels which require the viewer to access these channels with a smart card which is just like a credit card. They charge activation fee and subscription fee for this on monthly basis. In contrast, there is no activation fee, recurring charges or any hidden costs to receive DD Direct+.

"DD Direct+ is thus much cheaper than private DTH service", says Mr Gurbinder Singh. The viewer only has to get an STB which is once in a life time investment. The STB used for received DD Direct+ is also cheaper to the one required for receiving pay channels. The set up is easy to install and does not take much time. STB is easy to tune, which is required only initially.

The DTH service is available on NSS-6 satellite which is located at 95 degree east. The signal has been tested to be available throughout the country.Test transmissions are on.

Mr Gurbinder Singh points out that "Doordarshan, as the national broadcaster, reaches out to 90 per cent population of the country. Remaining 10 per cent population lives in very difficult terrains like hilly, snowy and remote areas. Being a public service broadcaster, it is our duty to inform, educate and entertain the people of the entire nation. To cover this inaccessible population with the terrestrial transmitters would cost enormously. Moreover, it would have taken 10 to 15 years.

"With the launch of DTH, the entire population of the country will be covered in one stroke and within a short time.

Doordarshan will thus meet its obligation of reaching out to the entire population of the country. To further achieve this objective, Doordarshan will distribute 10, 000 STBs free of cost, in these uncovered areas, to public institutions like schools, panchayats, anganwaris, public health centres, youth clubs etc.

DTH technology is costly and requires powerful transponders. All these costs have been absorbed by DD".


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