C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Review cases against Kapoor, Admn told
Tribune News Service

UT Administrator A.R. Kidwai has told his staff not to accept any files relating to the Union Territory unless the matter is of utmost urgency. Dr Kidwai was not taking routine files as he has preferred to wait for the Governor-designate of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to join duties on November 16 and take care of the files pertaining to Chandigarh, sources in Haryana Raj Bhavan said.

Chandigarh, November 10
The Chandigarh Administration’s request to charge-sheet Dr Baljeet Kapoor, Principal of Punjab Engineering College, was kept in abeyance today and it was asked to re-examine all cases against him.

The Administrator of Chandigarh, Dr A.R. Kidwai, reportedly asked his Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma, to get the cases examined afresh in light of certain points raised by Dr Kapoor in a representation to the Administrator.

Dr Kapoor has pointed out that he had taken decisions as per past practice and followed rules. He has also said the inquiry conducted by an official of the Chandigarh Administration is “biased” and asked for a re-examination of the matter before charge-sheeting him.

Officials in Chandigarh were tight-lipped about the development. However, a well-placed source confirmed “the charge-sheet has been kept in abeyance and will be dealt with only after the new Administrator joins on November 16”.

Dr Kapoor was appointed Principal of PEC by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). He joined the college in March, 2002.

The Administration had alleged that Dr Kapoor had made certain appointments on contract ignoring rules. Dr Kapoor has claimed to have followed guidelines while making the appointments and clarified that advertisements in newspapers for the appointment were made mandatory this year.

Since 1998 employees have been kept on contract in all departments of the Chandigarh Administration without inserting any advertisements in newspapers. He even pointed out that the issue of inserting advertisements was raised in 1999. The then Principal of PEC had said that the practice of inserting advertisements for appointments on contract had been done away with and the same was accepted by the Administration.

The Administration had pointed out that Dr Kapoor committed an irregularity by paying honorariums to people on contract. In his representation, Dr Kapoor has said the audit of the college had been done until 2003 and no objection was raised. The rules for paying honorarium do not distinguish between regular employees and employees on contract, he says.

In another case, the Administration has alleged that Dr Kapoor gave undue benefit to an employee who was to be dismissed from service. The Vigilance Department had investigated the matter. Dr Kapoor allegedly paved the way for giving compulsory retirement to the employee, Mr Jaipal Rawat. Mr Rawat would have been deprived of retirement benefits, had he been dismissed from service.



Divali shoppers get traffic woes for free
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, November 10
Divali shoppers from city and surrounding areas today thronged markets in the city leading to major traffic jams all through the day. The worst period was, however, between 5 pm - when the offices closed - and 8 pm.

The worst affected were Sectors 17, 22, 35, Dakshin Marg, Madhya Marg, Sector 18, 19 and Mani Majra markets and roads leading to Mohali and Panchkula.

It seemed as if the whole city was out on the roads ready to shop on the occassion of “Dhanteras,” today. Buying utensils and ornaments on Dhanteras is considered auspicious and is done to please the god of wealth “Kuber.” With the number of vehicles swelling in the parking lots, the police had to allow parking along the main roads.

The police force seemed inadequate to manage the traffic which continued to swell as time went by and evening set in. The afternoon saw a lot of chaos on roundabouts on Madhya Marg where school buses, cars and two-wheelers brought traffic flow to a virtual halt.

Shopping centres of the city were the worst hit with finding parking space being a major challenge for most of the shoppers. The Sector 17 plaza, packed with vehicles, saw parking contractors manoeuvring vehicles which were left in neutral gear to squeeze in more vehicles. It seemed the city markets had attracted the moneyed buyers from surrounding areas of the city.

The Sector 22, where shopping was at its peak and parking space was limited, was in utter chaos. Haphazardly parked vehicles, bumper-to-bumper driving and absence of traffic policemen only added to the prevailing confusion.

The evening brought with it a lot more families out on the roads. Some were out to buy gifts, while others to distribute them. The roadside vendors selling earthen lamps and candles, idols of gods and goddesses with their stalls set up on the pavements, made movement of pedestrians within the markets difficult. Specially set up stalls for the Divali mela also proved to be a hindrance at many places.

The office-goers also faced a tough time finding their way through the shoppers’ rush. Vehicles moved at a snail’s pace on all roads and it took nearly an hour to cover a distance which, on any other day, can be covered in less than 10 minutes.

The road from ISBT to Hotel South End in Sector 35 also overflowed with traffic, rendering movement impossible. With heavy rush on this road even on normal days, today, it became a virtual sea of closely packed vehicles moving at the speed of an inch a minute.

When asked about the arrangements made by the Traffic police in the wake of traffic jams. DSP, Traffic Police, Chandigarh, Mr Jaspal Singh said, the Traffic Police had set up 25 pickets in heavy traffic zones in the city and the traffic policemen were deployed in these zones from 4 to 11 pm to regulate the traffic for today and tomorrow. On Divali day, the duty will continue from 4 pm till late in the night.

He also added that for Sector 17 they had set up eight pickets, four pickets for Sector 22 and four for Sectors 34 and 35, as there is a heavy rush of people in these sectors for the Divali melas. He further cited the shortage of personnel as a reason for the incapability of the police to effectively manage the traffic flow.

The four major entry and exit points of the city — The Tribune roundabout, Transport Light point on the Shimla highway, near Sector 39, in Mohali, Phase VII near YPS School were clogged — till late in the evening with cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles moving at a snail’s pace.



44.9 pc in city suffer from hypertension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
Blaming the high incidence of cardiovascular diseases on the sedentary lifestyle, Dr J.S. Thakur of the Department of Community Medicine of the PGI, said here today that the prevalence of hypertension had almost doubled in the city in the past 30 years.

Giving a presentation on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases at the inter-media publicity coordination committee meeting, Dr Thakur said according to a study the incidence of hypertension had increased from 26.9 per cent in 1968 to 44.9 per cent now. The total body fat had increased in the human beings as over 73 per cent male population was engaged in light physical activity, he added.

The diseases of circulatory system (32.6 per cent) are the most common
cause of death in urban Chandigarh, he said.

In India, a majority of the estimated 32 million heart attacks every year are caused by the cardiovascular risk factors — hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and physical inactivity.

A comparative study of the risk factors of coronary heart disease in a rural area of the North India and Chandigarh showed that the incidence of angina pectoris was 5.4 per cent in city and 0.8 per cent in the rural areas. Similarly, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity were common in urban areas and the use of tobacco was more in the rural areas.

Another study among schoolchildren had revealed that health education helped in changing their behaviour and knowledge regarding nutrition and physical activity.

Dr Thakur informed that an intervention package focussing on smoking cessation, regular physical activity, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and reduction in high salt intake would be developed.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Pushpa Gujral Science City, Dr R.S. Khandpur, informed that the giant dome theatre would be the main attraction of the first phase of the project. Flight simulator, virtual 3-D show, indoor laser show, space gallery, fun science exhibits and fun games would be another highlights of the science city.

To be constructed at a cost of Rs 100 crore on an area of 72 acres on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road, the project was intended to fire creativity and spirit of inquiry in young minds, Dr Khandpur added.



New rule of the road; octroi on personal gifts!
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
Octroi contractors have made Divali, a festival of lights and sweets, a bit bitter at certain places. There are definite reports that musclemen of octroi contractors are forcing people to pay octroi even on gifts being exchanged at individual and personal level by friends, relatives and others at some places.

According to reports reaching here, octroi contractors have put up nakas at entry points in different towns and cities to charge octroi on such gifts. Exchanging gifts is a normal practice during Divali days and going from one town to another to meet and present tokens of love to friends and relatives is also a routine. But such people are becoming victims of octroi contractors this year.

One person, who faced harassment for about an hour at the hands of octroi staff this morning, told The Tribune that he was on way to Zirakpur from Panchkula when two youths stopped him at the Zirakpur entry point and asked him to pay octroi as he had two gift packs on the back seat of his car.

“I told them that I am not engaged in any commercial activity and was just on way to a friend’s house to wish him on Divali and to give a small gift. But they remained adamant and insisted on charging the octroi saying that they had been charging it from everyone passing from there,” said the person. “Both the youths claimed that the Punjab Government had authorised them to charge octroi,” he added.

However, when contacted, Mr S.K. Sharma, Joint Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, said, “There are no directions from the government to charge octroi on gifts being exchanged on individual level”. He said that the persons concerned should contact the Executive Officers concerned to lodge a complaint in this regard.

Zirakpur incident, however, is not the first one of its kind. Three days ago also two youths on a motorcycle had stopped a car on the flyover near Dera Bassi. They asked the car owner, who had two gift packs in the vehicle, to pay octroi. When he told the youths that he was on way to Ambala and had no work in Dera Bassi, they asked him to pay “rahdari” (charges for passing through the town).

However, the car owner refused to pay them and phoned the president of the Dera Bassi Committee. The car owner, who had to break his journey for over an hour, was allowed to leave only after the intervention of the president.

These incidents have become a routine rather than an exception. 



In the league of legends
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
Kalapini Komkali nestles the grand musical legacy of Kumar Gandharva in her tender heart. Celebrated in her own right, she still doesn't arrogate to herself the attributes of her illustrious father and her promising mother Vasundhara with whom she is now discovering hitherto unexplored realms of the Indian classical music.

As true representatives of the Gwalior tradition, Komkali and her mother have long been experimenting with the content of their presentations. And the treasures they have stumbled upon in their musical journeys have been truly awesome, one of those being their much regarded theme concerts.

In Chandigarh today to present a vocal recital on an invitation from Padmashri Dr B.N. Goswami, Komkali talked about Kumar Gandharva's legacy, her well conceived theme concerts and her recent foray into the world of meaningful cinema. She has rendered three musical scores in the yet to be released Shabana Azmi starrer "Devi Ahilya".

"The title song is a "shloka" in Raag Bhairavi and there is one traditional Malwi composition. I took up the project provided I was allowed to compose myself. I have used the tanpura to recreate the feel of the era gone by," says the vocalist who detests commodification of music. "I am concentrating on my practice right now. Recording albums in bulk is not my priority, nor am I concerned about how many programmes I get in a year. I am against people who change homes and hearths in their pursuit of success. Success in this field does not depend on whether you are in Delhi or in Devas which has been my only home," she tells.

Ever since Kumar Gandharva settled in Devas in Madhya Pradesh, Komkali and her mother have stayed put there, closely guarding his legacy. "It is a difficult inheritance to claim," she says, "but it is also an inheritance to feel proud of. I feel blessed in every way. I was fortunate to have got two "purna" gurus in Kumar Gandharva and Vasundharaji."

Busy researching texts of devotional poets like Surdas, Namdev, Bhadrahari and some Nirguni poets, Komkali is now looking forward to more theme concerts with her mother. Together they have made Kumar Gandharva's "Ritu Sangeet" legendary. Many more collaborations are in the offing.

For her part, Komkali prides in whatever her father has bequeathed to the world of Indian classical music. She tells of how she had to distance herself from him to understand him as a guru. "He never wrote plans for me. His concern was to see that I evolve into a fine musician. Only once he had said that I could be a good vocalist if I chose to be."

Komkali however differs with those who typecast Kumar Gandharva as a devotional singer. She explains, "He has immortalized Kabir but that doesn't mean he should be identified with devotional singing alone. His presentation of Gwalior gharana khayal is matchless. His genius shines through all his works." And Komkali is happy to have retained her father's brilliance in generous measures.



Watch out for ‘noise-struck’ pets this Divali
Aditi Tandon
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 10
It’s about time you understood why your pets are hiding for cover and literally running for their lives. Divali is here with all its festivity and cacophony — the latter not being so favourable for the health of either humans or animals.

As the D-day draws near, vets in the city are in for a roaring business with people pouring in to seek answers to pet-related queries. The most common problems confronting pets this festive season are irritable behaviour, disinterest in food or play, high stress and self-destructive tendencies in extreme cases.

Birds are placed no better amidst all this festivity. They tend to get disturbed by high noise levels which force them to escape from their natural habitats and return only when the world comes back to normalcy.

Says Lt-Gen Baljit Singh (retd), an avid bird watcher, “There is no doubt that high decibel levels unnerve birds. For many days after Divali you will not see them where you originally used to. They tend to disperse until of course they settle down again. Only pigeons, that have adjusted to humans as well as factors like noise, stay back peacefully. The rest of the species almost always panic and don’t show up for many days after Divali.”

Dogs, for their part, get stressful — a symptom that manifests in the form of irritable, sometimes self-destructive behaviour. Experts point out that there have been cases of dogs hurting themselves by scratching their bodies repeatedly. In fact, even gun dogs that are bred to tolerate gunshot sounds fail to bear with the noise pollution levels that mark Divali.

Says Dr Sandeep Jain, in charge of the PFA, Ludhiana chapter, says that due to noise dogs lose sense of direction and might easily get lost. “So the best precaution is to keep the pets indoor. Close your windows and curtains and turn the radio or TV on to mask the noise. It must be kept in mind that your pet is wearing a collar with an identity tag, as there are chances of him escaping the home and getting lost.”

In many cases, dogs even go on a biting spree following disturbances due to the high noise levels. This is usually true of stray dogs which are most troubled due to Divali festivity. There are instances where birds’ nests have also been damaged on account of noise, smoke and bursting of crackers.

Says Dr Raghu, a vet with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty among Animals, “Animals face adjustments problems due to earsplitting noise during Divali. The fluid in their internal ear which usually maintains the body balance is also disturbed leading to high stress levels which cause dogs to bark continuously or even run away from homes. It is best to plug the ears of pets with buds.”



MC accepts demands of employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
Giving in to the demands of its employees, the Municipal Corporation decided to repatriate Senior Assistant Tarsem Lal to his parent department, here today. Mayor, Kamlesh, offered juice to employees, Madan Lal Sharma and Ramesh Gupta, who had been on a fast for the past three days.

Supported by the Chandigarh Subordinate Services Federation, UT, (INTUC), the employees began their independent fast to press the authorities to revert orders of promotion of Mr Tarsem Lal from Senior Assistant to Superintendent Grade II. Mr Tarsem Lal had come to the Corporation on deputation from the Chandigarh Administration.

Recently, the corporation had passed orders to absorb him in its department. that led to a protest by the employees.

The president of the Federation, Mr Harjinder Singh, extended support to the MC employees. The Secretary of the federation, Mr Jangsher Singh, thanked the Mayor for repatriating Mr Tarsem Lal.



Harvesting scheme for SC farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
The regional office of Nabard will be implementing the centrally-sponsored water harvesting scheme for the Scheduled Caste farmers with credit linked subsidy assistance in 2,000 units in Punjab and 1,500 units in Haryana. An investment of Rs 7 crore is to be made during a period of three years, of which Rs 3.50 crore will be the subsidy, says an official release.

The main component under the scheme is a water harvesting structure in the form of a rain water storage tank. The investment is to be promoted through a capital investment subsidy scheme with 50 per cent subsidy and 50 per cent bank loan. The subsidy is credit linked. The scheme is available for three modes based on the size of the command area with an investment ranging from Rs 12,000 to Rs 30,000, the release adds.

For the smooth implementation of the programme, the regional office has launched a banking plan involving Punjab State Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank (PSCADB), Punjab State Cooperative Bank (PSCB), Haryana State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural development Bank (HSCARDB), Harco bank, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of Patiala through their branches.



Businessman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
A 28-year-old businessman of Subhash Nagar hanged himself to death this evening two days before he could have prayed to the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi, to bring him out of a “financial mess.”

The body of Shrinivas Murthy was today found hanging from a fan by his supplier Uday Narayan Tiwari when the latter reached his office. Murthy is survived by his wife Rama.

The police has found a suicide note from his office according to which he had committed suicide due to financial losses.

Murthy was in the business of floor cleaning detergent and was having financial problems for sometime. Tiwari, who has a manufacturing unit, was supplying detergents to Murthy’s distribution chain.



2 booked for theft
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 10
The police today booked two Zirakpur residents, along with 30 others, for dismantling and stealing items from a house at Mosul village here.

According to police sources, Ms Karnail Kaur, of Mosul village alleged that Bhagwant Singh and his son Dilraj Singh came to her house at night on November 8 and started dismantling her house. She added that the duo even broke the lanter of her roof with the help of labourers following which they took away 40 bags of cement, iron rods and household goods. The estimated cost of the stolen goods was Rs 25,000, she claimed.


Jail inmate dead: An inmate of Model Jail Burail died in GMCH-32 here today. The police said Kushal Chand, alias Shukla, was brought to the hospital after he complained of stomach ache on November 5. He had been undergoing treatment in the hospital since then.

He was lodged in jail in a case registered in the Sector 34 police station against him under Sections 304 and 387, IPC, in 1994.



1 dies in mishap

Chandigarh, November 10
A Ram Darbar resident was this evening crushed to death by a CTU bus on a busy road dividing Sectors 32 and 33.

Ramnivas, alias Teeta was taken to the GMCH where he was declared brought dead.

Ramnivas and Sonu were riding a scooter. Sonu escaped unhurt.

The driver of the bus, Purushottam, has been arrested. TNS



2832 pirated CDs seized in raids
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 10
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh police today seized 2,832 pirated compact discs (CD) from two persons in raids conducted at two different places in the city.

The police said Hemant, Deputy Director of T-Series, and Mukesh Sharma, who has the authority letter of the company, made a complaint that Sanjiv Sharma of Phase 1, Mohali, was selling pirated CDs at his shop in Sector 35. During the raid, the police seized 2,526 CDs. A case under Sections 51, 52-A, 63 and 68-A of the Copy Right Act-1957 has been registered against the accused. The police said the accused would be produce in the court tomorrow.

In another incident, Raju, a resident of Sector 22, was arrested today with 306 pirated CDs from his shop in Sector 22-B. The raid was conducted on the complaint of T-Series officers. A case has been registered in this regard.



High prices dim shoppers’ spirit
Swarleen Kaur

DIVALI shopping has been low key this year as compared to previous years. Shopkeepers ascribes this partly to the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices which had already burnt a hole in the pocket of the consumer. High prices of most consumer goods, despite the discounts have also kept potential buyers away from the market.

The prices of crackers and dry fruits have gone up by 10 per cent as compared to the last year.

Some of the new type of crackers this year are also costly. A big-sized “anar” which lasts for a long time cost up to Rs 200 for a single piece. For the big size “Phuljhadi” you may have to pay Rs 50 and a pack of four is available for Rs 200. Magical crackers which gives different color are available from Rs 150 to 1000 and more.

Naresh who has been putting up a stall for the past four years said, “I have a lesser stock of big crackers this year because of the hike in the prices. I have received a cold response from the buyers as compared to the last year. Now a simple big “anar” cost Rs 25 while it was available for Rs 20 last year”.

The prices have upset the budget of the middle class people. For many heads of families, high prices during festival season has meant additional burden.

Sanjiv Verma, a teacher said, “With the prices of crackers going up, I find it hard to fulfil the demand of my three teenaged children this Divali. Moreover, as is the custom I have to offer gifts and crackers to many relatives, including my three married sisters. Few years back I used to buy crackers for Rs 500 only and now one has to spend in thousands”.

Divali and Id are falling in the same week this time and this double celebration has increased the prices.

This is also prime season for dryfruits and the sale of almonds, apricot, pista, cashewnuts and kishmis increases manifold. The price for these boxes ranges between Rs 200 to 400.


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