C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn losing crores in ‘illegal’ sale of flats
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Chandigarh Administration is losing crores of rupees as managing committees of various societies have taken over the ‘illegal’ sale and purchase of flats of various societies in the city. There are a few takers of housing loans in the city and prices of houses in other areas are increasing because the Chandigarh Administration continues to follow the archaic lock-in period of 15 years on the sale and purchase of the society flats.

Panchkula and Mohali have gained as the Chandigarh Administration continues to stick to the rules regarding the sale of flats despite suffering a huge loss. People have started investing their black money in these houses as banks are not providing loans to buyers of these flats.

It’s a no-win situation for all parties involved – buyer, seller, government and above all the local populace. Mr Vikas Vajpayee, HDFC Manager, said a few people were taking loan for the society flats.

The discord within these societies has forced 5 to 20 per cent of original house allottees to run societies “dictatorially” without even completing quorum in the regular meetings.

The occupants of these houses and the management committees are constantly at loggerheads. Recently the situation became so tense in a housing society in Sector 48 that its president had to be arrested for allegedly beating up an occupant of the house for organising a party without inviting him.

The government, however, shows helplessness with the Registrar of Society, Mr Arun Kumar, saying that the government had set the lock-in period because the houses were given on a highly subsidised rates and it will have to honour its promise to original allottees. The transfer of membership of these societies is barred in the city. Mr Kumar said situation was similar in certain areas of Delhi too. Despite the government’s effort the illegal sale and purchase of these houses had been on a premium, which the government wants to stop.

According to property dealers of the area, none of these societies have more than 20 per cent original allottees and those who occupied houses on General Power of Attorney (GPA) are at the mercy of the old guard. Vishwanath, a property dealer, said the government had a vested interest in not doing away with the lock-in period as it was creating artificial shortage of houses in the city. The Housing Board was making a lot of money by offering flats on free-hold basis. Another property dealer, Jagdish Sethi, said earlier people used to get their GPAs from Punjab and Haryana but now such GPAs were not being recognised for the past two months. As registration of these houses has stopped, the government was not getting any revenue out of its transfer thus losing crores of rupees.

This situation had arisen due to the policy that was framed in 1981 to construct housing sector at reasonable rates but liberalisation has led to the drastic change in the situation. 



Schoolchildren create awareness on water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Students of different schools in the city have a piece of advice for the city residents. Ensure drinking water, especially in slum areas and villages was free from bacteria and fungus.

While preparing their project on “Harness water resources for a better future” for the two-day state-level Children’s Science Congress which began today at St Kabir School, Sector 26, the students of different schools collected the water samples from different areas. Revelations were not very pleasant.

Students from St Kabir Public School gathered eight samples from Burail village and found traces of bacteria and other water-borne infections. To check the level of awareness among residents, around 100 residents of the area were questioned on their level of awareness on the issue. The results were not encouraging.

Another team of Junior wing of Vivek High School, Sector 38, showed the traces of bacterial infection in water samples. The water samples were taken from three different places in the city. Through their models the students explained that the sewerage water and sewerage pipes should be replaced at regular intervals to check the contamination of potable water.

The students of Senior wing of Carmel Convent, on collecting samples from swimming pools in city found that the water did not contain residual-free chlorine or copper sulphate, which was necessary to disinfect pool water.

These findings were part of the models displayed by students of different schools at the venue of the Children’s Science Congress. As many as 18 entries in the junior and senior categories were received for the event. Mr M.P. Singh, Secretary, Science and Technology, inaugurated the event. Mr J.P. Singh, Principal of the host school, urged the teachers and students to think over the shortage of water.

Mr G.S. Bains, Project Director, Department of Science and Technology, Chandigarh Administration, said the projects were prepared after a field survey. The projects were also shown in form of charts, pictures and CD’s.

The sub titles for the congress were rainwater harvesting, treatment of saline water, water and health, water need efficient use and economy, treatment of sewage water and pattern of water born diseases in rural areas.

Two teams from the Junior and senior categories would be selected to represent Chandigarh at the 12 National Children’s Science Congress-2004, to be held at Guwahati from December 27 to December 31. The winners of the two-day event would be announced on December 4.



Special dept for physically challenged
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Offering a ray of hope to the physically challenged in the city, the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, is planning to set up department of physical medicine and rehabilitation soon.

The hospital is among the four centres in the country, including Lady Harding’s College, New Delhi, and Medical College, Lucknow, which have got the Union Health Ministry’s approval for setting up the department. It will be first of its kind in the region.

“The department would cater to the disabled who could be cured by physical means, including exercise, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy. At present it is only the department of Orthopaedic surgery here which is looking after the patients with disability. But once the new department is established, expert physiotherapists would take care of the physically challenged patients,” said Prof Raj Bahadur, Head of Department of Orthopaedic surgery, GMCH.

The existing State Resource Centre for the disabled too would be merged into the new department which is likely to come up near the Sarai building of the hospital. An inspection team from the Union Ministry of Health has visited the hospital for assessing the viability of setting up the department.

Four areas of physical medicine would be provided at the new department. Only AIIMS and the Sajdarjung Hospital of New Delhi are providing such specialised services in the single department in the North India.

Two faculty positions, a reader and a senior lecturer, have been sanctioned for the department which would also have a team of social workers and physiotherapists. 



World Disabled Day celebrated in schools for deaf, dumb
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Vatika High School for Deaf and Dumb and the Chandigarh Chapter of Haemophilic Federation of India today celebrated the World Disabled Day in the school campus today.

A prabhat pheri was organised from society office to Vatika High School in which 128 students and 30 members of the society took part by holding placards in their hands.

A function was also organised in the school campus in which Dr Gurvinder Singh delivered a detailed lecture on the personal hygiene to the students and explained the precautions from various communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Mr R.P. Yadav, explained the various policies including reservation for the handicapped students.

Dr Maghar Singh, finance secretary of Haemophilic Welfare Society, Chandigarh, informed that the Haemophilic Federation was constituted in 1983 and it has its chapters in 63 cities throughout India. The Chandigarh chapter of the federation has more than 500 members in Punjab and Chandigarh. He said the aim of the federation was to create awareness amongst haemophilic and to make arrangements for the treatment of poor patients because the treatment of this disease was very costly.

Various competitions including sports, fancy dress and painting were organised and the winners were awarded prizes by Ms Kamal B.J. Singh, the chairperson of Punjab IAS Officers Wives Association.

Eye care: Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar stressed on the need to create awareness among the public, especially among the poorer section of the society so that blindness could be controlled.

Speaking at the function organised by the National Association of Blind to mark the World Disability Day today, the DC said all help would be extended to the NAB for its newsletter. He also talked about informing people about the importance of Vitamin A in curbing the blindness.

On the occasion, the visually impaired children presented an impressive cultural programme. NAB also announced the rehabilitation of 120 blind students in various employment generation activities.

The president of Chandigarh chapter of NAB, Vinod Chadha said, “There are 7 to 8 crore disabled people in the country of which around 90 lakh are blind and 20 lakh are school going children among them. The need of the hour is to provide these people with fair opportunities”.



Governor lauds welfare schemes for disabled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, appreciated the efforts made by the state government in floating several welfare schemes for the physically disabled persons.

He was addressing a gathering at the state-level function organised by the National Handicapped Welfare Council at Bharat Vikas Parishad Bhavan here today.

Some physically-challenged children, who had presented a cultural programme comprising of songs and dances, enthralled the audience. The Governor appreciated the programme, and later honoured persons who had worked for the upliftment of physically-challenged persons.

Those who were honoured were — Mr P.N. Verma, Mr H.L. Dhami, Mr Kuldeepak Lal, Mr C.L. Malhotra, Mr Vasudev Arsi, Mr T.N. Rai, and Mr Sudhir Bhandari.

The Financial Commissioner and Secretary, Social Justice, Mr D.S. Dhesi, Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, and Superintendent of Police, Ms Mamta Singh were also present here.

SPORTS DAY FUNCTION: Dr A.R. Kidwai presided over the 35 th Sports Day function of Haryana Saket Parishad, Chandimandir. The physically challenged children of the school presented a cultural item, and various sports events like carrom, dart competition, wheel chair race, relay race and tri-cycle race was held for the children. The Governor also announced a grant of Rs 20,000 for the school.



Library, press to open soon for visually challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
What would come as a boon for the visually impaired persons in the city, the largest NGO working for the blinds in the country, the National Association of Blind (NAB) is in the process of setting up the city's first Braille library-cum-computer centre.

The NGO is working towards setting up the Braille press for the printing of the books needed by the visually impaired and expects that the much needed facility would come up within next six months.

The NGO, which is working for the visually impaired in the country since 1952, has 22 state branches, 65 districts branches and 11 institutions for blind welfare across India.

The NGO also promises to offer free corrective eye surgeries to the patients through a tie up with the doctors in government and private sectors.

“In Chandigarh, out of the estimated 16,000 disabled persons, the visually impaired are around 10,000. The figures indicate that the blindness is the leading cause of disability in the city. Out of them merely 2-5 per cent are engaged in some income generating activities. Through our activities we will try to target those visually impaired persons who are yet to find an outlet to be independent,'' says Mr Vinod Chadha, the president of the NAB, Chandigarh. 



Tribune Impact
Probe ordered into burning of dry leaves
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, December 3
Taking a serious view of the practice of burning of dry leaves in the city, the Chandigarh Administration has constituted a two-member committee to enquire into incidents of foliage burning. The Finance Secretary, Mr S.K Sandhu, has appointed Chief Engineer V.K. Bhardwaj and Director Environment Ishwar Singh as members of the committee.

The committee has been asked to prepare a comprehensive report on the issue and submit it immediately so that suitable action can be taken to prevent degradation of environment. The Administration earlier too has issued instructions to completely ban the practice of burning of leaves and grass and initiated stringent action against those found defying the ban.

Superintendent Engineer Kishanjeet Singh today inspected the area and found remains of burnt grass on the road linking Madhya Marg to Golf Club. It could, however, not be ascertained as to who issued the orders to the labourers to burn the grass and also who supplied them with a can of diesel.

Several trucks were pressed into service toady to transport the grass adjoining a cycle track to the dumping site in Dadumajra. Even though Mr Bhardwaj and Mr Ishwar Singh are yet to complete their inquiry and visit the spot, remains of the burnt grass were dug up and taken away in a truck of the PWD Department. This was apparently done to cover up the act of omission committed yesterday.

Two employees of the Municipal Corporation had to face action two years ago for burning foliage. A driver was chargesheeted for asking a sweeper to burn leaves and the latter was suspended.



Pawar promises more funds for horticulture
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Horticulture would be promoted in the country to break away the farmers from the two-crop cropping pattern.

Disclosing this here at the inaugural session of the Agro Tech 2004, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, said that the Centre was prepared to spend a lot of money for the induction of technology to stimulate agriculture productivity, but before the money was passed on to the states, the states would have to ensure some changes in their policies concerning agriculture.

The Union Agriculture Minister disclosed that the Union Government would be spending around Rs 15,000 crore on promotion of horticulture after the National Horticulture Mission was launched in a month’s time.

“Any state government that wishes to avail the benefits must do three things. These include reduction in mandi tax, reforming the APMC Act and grant legal sanction to contract farming”, Mr Pawar said.

He revealed that keeping in view the free market trade regime, the Indian Government would promote and support development and import of good quality seed and fertiliser, encourage import of semen to improve livestock and encourage entrepreneur’s promoting diversification. He said that the government was committed to bringing down the lending rates on the agriculture sector somewhere between 8 to 9 per cent by next year.

Anyone state adopting new technology like drip irrigation and promoting watershed development programmes that reduced dependence on erratic monsoons would receive encouragement in the form of subsidies, etc.

He added that there was a need to expand agriculture credit at a faster rate to step up agriculture growth to generate surplus for exports.

Speaking on the occasion the Haryana Finance Minister, Mr Sampat Singh, highlighted the problems of the farmers in the state and demanded a reduction in the rate of interest of farming credit.

He also suggested a modification in the crop insurance scheme to make it more beneficial for the farmers.

The Punjab Finance and Planning Minister, Mr Surinder Singla too urged the Centre to give state government necessary funds to be passed on as subsidies to the farmers to help and motivate them in switching on to crop diversification from the present two-crop pattern.

Mr Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman, Agro Tech 2004 and Vice President CII, threw light on the aims and objectives of the Agro Tech 2004 in his welcome address.

The Principal Secretary, Agriculture, with the Government of Rajasthan, Mr. Rajeev Mehirishi highlighted the fact that contrary to the impression of Rajasthan being a desert state, it was the biggest producer of bajra in the country and Kota and Ganganagar rice were accepted as the best quality brown rice in the country.



Agro fair fails to draw visitors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
For a large number farmers marching up and down the Parade Ground, cheerful red tractors were not the only attraction. As they stood in the afternoon sun near the stalls in Agro Tech — 2004, damsels standing behind the counters caught their eyes, and fancy.

No wonder, they made excuses for approaching them. Again and again. They asked for brochures. Turned them around. Questioned them about the “horse power”. And the “top speed”. Besides the price. Still not satisfied, one of them asked whether the “alien” looking tractor could actually plough Indian fields.

The reason behind disinterest of some was not hard to see. They were not there on their own. But were, in fact, “sponsored”. In other words, they had been brought by the banks and other organisations for “looking around”.

Among the farmers packed in a bus and ferried to Chandigarh were Padam Singh and Rawal Ram of a Farmers’ Club in Johdpur district. They went around the place without stopping at stalls to know about the details.

No wonder, “agri theaters” remained empty throughout the day. It had been set up by the CII in the “Argi Service” pavilion for airing films about latest in the field of agriculture. But hardly anyone came to see the films of 15-minute-duration on natural resource management, farm management and post-harvest management. The films were being continuously shown in the three agri theatres set up there.

Poultry farmer Gurmail Singh of Ambala had his own explanation. “The films being show contain just the basic knowledge”, he asserted. “I was expecting something better from the CII”.

In the circus ground, a model village was established for the first time in a special pavilion. The ambiance was there. But visitors were missing. You could see a bed with a dummy enjoying hukka. Even cow dungs were all around the place, adding a touch of realism. But farmers were no where to be run.

Even “e-chaupal” — set up ITC Limited — proved to be a non-starter. Hardly any one came forward to acquire information even though the organisers were promising computers at houses of farmers so that they could know more about market trends at the click of the mouse.

“Kisan harialli village” — or one-stop-shop offering everything from sickle to the latest in pesticides and equipment all under one roof — did not draw much crowd. Though the concept is good, but such shops are yet to be set up in Punjab and Haryana. Interestingly, a few sons of soils from areas around the city could be seen.

However, not all farmers were “indifferent” toward the fair. Some volunteered to answer questions being shot by a quiz master about technical aspects of tractors and other equipment. And walked away with loads of prizes.

For delegates at the CII complex, it was a long wait. Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Chief Minister (West Punjab Pakistani) Pervaiz Elahi were scheduled to arrive at 10 am. But they did not turn up till 12 noon. Among those who shifted uneasily in chairs was Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla.

Even Jahren and his wife Bente, who have come from Norway since their company had displayed a milking machine at the Dairy Expo-2004 said,`` there was nothing latest and new at the exhibition. Even the latest was outdated or else was a copy of the farm equipment being used in other European countries.

You could tell the difference in the stalls set up in the international pavilion from the ones set up by the other states without even reading the logo. Most of the international stalls were bedecked with flowers or potted plants. In the local stalls, mostly grim faces could be run.

Among the visitors were NRI farmers who wanted to know how advanced was the technology in India and the areas in which India was ahead.



Swiss solution for better milk yield
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Jean Louis with a cross-bred cow in Switzerland.
Jean Louis with a cross-bred cow in Switzerland. — A file photo

Chandigarh, December 3
Swiss professional Jean Louis has come all the way to India with a solution for not-so-high milk production and cows that are less resistant to vagaries of weather.

In fact, Louis is offering to get native Indian cows cross-bred with “Red Holstein” and “Brown Swiss” bulls of “foreign origin” for calves that yield three times more milk after growing up.

“We are losing too many cows to diseases in India. That’s the reason why India need breeds that are tougher. This is not all. As India is largely an agrarian country, the need of the hour is cows that give better yield”, the “genetic distributor” asserts.

In Chandigarh for attending Agro Tech — 2004, Louis claims that the cross-bred cows have “bigger udders and smaller teats” which make the process of milking much easier. “Otherwise also, mechanised milking is possible only if the size of teats is uniform,” he asserts.

Louis claims that the offsprings can withstand high temperatures and humid weather, besides insect bites. “That’s the reason why they are preferred over pure bred cows or embryos”, he explains.

Quoting an example, Louis asserts that several “Brow Swiss” cows were brought to Kerala on experimental basis in the early 70s, but they faced problems due to weather and insect bites. “The experiment was not such a big success. But cross-bred Brown Swiss are doing fine in Kerala. As of now, we have over two million of them in the state alone,” he asserts. “In Punjab, it is just the beginning”.

Showing you the pictures of the cross-bred cows, Louis smiles, “The yield more than doubles after the first cross. It increases further after second generation is crossed”.

Louis adds that attempts are made all along to ensure that the cows retain at least 40 per cent characteristics of the native breed. “Otherwise they will acquire the qualities of pure bred cows and will face the same problems,” he says.

As far as the procedure is concerned, Louis says that the cows are artificially inseminated. “Bringing the bull all the way to India would not only prove difficult, but also an expensive affair,” he says. “Artificial insemination is lot more cheaper. One dose of semen is costing just $ 20”.

Giving details, he says that the “Red Holstein” bulls are more suited for the states of Punjab and Rajasthan. On the other hand “Brow Swiss” are better suited for Rajasthan and Gujarat keeping in view the weather conditions.



Doubts about degrees of top Army law officers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Army’s Judge Advocate General’s branch (JAG) is amidst a major controversy. Questions are being asked over the manner in which some its seniormost officers obtained their professional qualifications. The matter is reportedly under investigation at the Army Headquarters.

In the eye of the storm are the JAG branch’s head, Major-Gen Nilendra Kumar and three other brigadiers. The JAG branch is the legal wing of the Army and is responsible for rendering legal advise to commanders at all levels on various administrative and disciplinary matters, conducting military trials and depositions in civil courts on military related matters.

In a signed letter-petition, supported by documentary evidence, sent to the President and the Chief Justice of India, a city-based lawyer, whose son is an officer in the JAG branch, has alleged that for a significant part of the duration the general was supposed to be pursuing the law course, he was posted elsewhere, including attending a military training course and a field posting.

The petitioner has also alleged that a brigadier in the JAG branch holds a two-year academic degree (BL) instead of the mandatory three-year professional degree (LL.B), which makes him ineligible for entry into the JAG branch. Aspersions have also been cast upon the qualifications of two other brigadiers on the grounds that their record of service does not reflect that they could have pursued the law degree course as regular students. All these officers are “convertees”, that is, they had served in other arms before doing law while in service and then joined the JAG branch.

A communique received by the petitioner from Rashtrapati Bhawan stated that the complaint had been forwarded to the Ministry of Defence for appropriate action. It is learnt that Army Headquarters has directed the Discipline and Vigilance branch to probe the matter. According to highly placed sources, an explanation has been sought from the general.

Army Headquarters has confirmed that the Army had received a complaint against the Major-General, but denied any complaints being received against any other JAG officer.

In a written reply, the Army Headquarters spokesman stated that General Kumar had acquired a three-year law degree from Lucknow University as a regular student, where classes were held in the evening. The officer cleared first two years while serving in Lucknow and then secured admission for the third year. Prior to the third year examination, he was posted out in 1980. Having met the requisite criteria, then in force, he was allowed by the university to appear for the third year exam in 1982.

The reply, however, was silent on the question of the matter being investigated by the Army Headquarters.

Major-Gen Nilendra Kumar, said that there were certain issues involved which could be explained, but it could not be done over the telephone.

The controversy initiated after the officer, who was then posted in the Southern Command, was denied study leave to pursue a law course on Human Rights under the British Chevening Scholarship. A letter bearing the signatures of the then JAG, Maj-Gen S K Sanan was sent to the Deputy Army Chief, stating that a criminal case was pending against the officer and that he could not be granted leave. The letter was found out to have been forged.

A statutory complaint on similar lines was also then made by the officer and the Headquarters Southern Command, forwarded it to the discipline and vigilance branch of the Army Headquarters.

The spokesman for the headquarters said that the officer had made several complaints against senior officers in the past, which were found to be false and baseless. Sources said that under Section 56 of the Army Act, any person making false accusations was liable to face disciplinary action. However, no action has been initiated against the officer.



Govt okays A.V. Singh panel report
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
In a step that will rationalise Army promotions and benefit a large number of middle rung officers, the government today gave the final go-ahead to implement the A V Singh Committee report on restructuring the officer cadre, it is learnt.

Highly placed sources told The Tribune that the much awaited recommendations of the committee would be implemented with effect from December 15. The orders to this effect were signed at New Delhi today evening, reports reaching here said.

The last major hurdle to the recommendations’ implementation were some objections raised by the Finance Ministry, which, sources said, were resolved last month. Following this the ball was in the defence ministry’s court. The Finance Ministry had raised 12 objections on various technical grounds which were discussed when the committee had met about two weeks ago.

Implementation of the recommendations, which involves creating a large number of additional posts and moving more number of officers into a higher slot has significant financial implications. According to some estimates, it would cost the exchequer about Rs 30 crores annually as current rates.

It is learnt that the government has delinked the recommendations pertaining to advancement of officers upto the rank of full colonel on a time scale basis with the recommendations pertaining to officers in the higher bracket. Only the part of the report applicable to the rank of colonel is being implemented so far.

One of the most important aspects of the committee’s recommendation is that promotion to the rank of colonel would be on a time scale. Earlier, promotion to the rank of colonel was only on selection and lieutenant colonel was the limit for officers who could not make the grade.

Under the new scheme, lieutenant colonels would get more chances of promotion to colonel. It has been recommended that lieutenant colonels be given a change to appear before selection boards after every two years, till they complete 26 years of service. On completion of 26 years, they would automatically be promoted. Under current promotion policy, lieutenant colonels get three chances to make the grade for promotion to colonel and thereafter there is no further chance of promotion. Lieutenant colonels become eligible for appearing for selection boards on completion of 18 years of service.

According to some reports, the committee had also recommended the creation of 1,400 posts of colonels, 160 brigadiers, 80 major generals and 20 lieutenant generals to ensure upward mobility. While the defence ministry’s stand of creation of additional posts at the level of brigadiers and above is still not clear, the government had approved 750 additional vacancies at the level of colonel.

Also on the cards is the reduction in the service period required for the next promotion. Lieutenants would become eligible for promotion to captain after two years instead of the present four years, Captain to major after six years instead of ten and major to lieutenant colonel after 13 years instead of the present 16 years.



Gen J.J. Singh visits forward areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J J Singh, today visited forward areas under the Chetak Corps in the Western Sector to review operational preparedness and meet soldiers deployed in the field.

The Army Commander addressed the commanders and troops and later interacted with soldiers over a cup of tea, a statement issued here today said.

Emphasising the vital importance of remaining operationally fit, he said that at no time must the armed forces let their guard down. He stressed upon the need to carry out terrain and operational task familiarisation, training and maintenance of weapons and equipment.

While reviewing operational plans, he urged all commanders to periodically carry out reviews.



Kashmir operations hero Gen Kalkat dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Major-General Onkar Singh Kalkat (retd), who led operations in Jammu and Kashmir, immediately after Partition, died here today after a prolonged illness. He was 86.

General Kalkat, a postgraduate in Economics from Delhi University, had joined the Army at the age of 24 and would have retired as Lieutenant-General but for voluntary retirement he had taken at the age of 54 in 1972.

General Kalkat, who went to National Defence Services Staff College, also worked both as an Instructor and Commandant at Infantry School, Mhow. He was also Commandant, College of Combat, Mhow.

General Kalkat saw operations in difficult and hazardous conditions in the Naga Hills, Tithwal sector in Jammu and Kashmir and then the Kashmir operation in 1947-48. He was twice mentioned in despatches for his leadership role both in Burma (1939-45) and Kashmir operations.

He commanded 14 Infantry in the Western Sector to recapture 32 posts from Pakistanis in Mamdot and Jalalabad sectors in the 1971 hostilities.

He also worked as Chief Military Intelligence Officer in the Cabinet Secretariat for two years. Though he was approved for promotion as Lieutenant-General, he sought compulsory retirement.

He leaves behind his wife, two daughters and a son. He will be cremated tomorrow at the Sector 25 cremation ground at 11.30 a.m.



Naib Tehsildar Malik suspended
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The Sub Registrar-cum- Naib Tehsildar, Mr D. N. Malik, has been suspended for his alleged involvement in registering a sale deed of a showroom owned by a sister concern of Golden Forests.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P Kasni, had withdrawn all powers from Sub Registrar-cum-Naib Tehsildar, and Tehsildar, Panchkula, for registering the sale deed of the showroom, after the case came to light on December 1.

Meanwhile, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today cancelled the transfer agreement for the showroom in Sector 11, which was sold off by Golden Projects — a sister concern of Golden Forests. 



Excise Dept to widen service tax base
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Central Excise Commissionerate has intensified its efforts to widen the service tax base and is targeting 30,000 assessees by the end of the current financial year.

Buoyed by the initial success of its registration drive, the department has initiated the “street-to-street” survey from November 15 for tracking taxable service providers.

However, the main emphasis is on voluntary compliance with minimum use of legal powers, the Chief Commissioner, Customs and Central Excise, Chandigarh Zone, Mr S.S. Bedi, said here today.

Claiming that a total of 25,020 service providers had registered with the department by November 30, Mr Bedi said it had only been possible on account of the sustained campaign by the department. On September 30, the number of assessees stood at 16,660 and the increase has been to the tune of 8,420.

It may be recalled that the department had launched two special schemes namely the “extraordinary scheme for instant registration of service tax providers” and the “fast track disposal camp for service tax adjudication”.

The Chandigarh zone comprised the Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar commissionerates and had jurisdiction over areas falling in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Officials informed that the increase had been due to the special camps organised in various cities for guidance to the assessees and dispel doubts of service tax assessees and highlight the simple procedures and assessee-friendly face of the service tax regime.

The Excise and the Income Tax Departments are working in tandem to identify the tax evaders. The information about the unregistered service providers is also being collected through the internet and the surveys conducted by the department, it was highlighted.

For the time being, the enforcement officials were being told to go soft on the service providers, who register after the November 30 deadline, Mr Bedi asserted.

However, the unregistered service provider would be dealt with sternly by the department, sources added.



Ghaggar river bridge to open to traffic today evening
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 3
Even as the Ghaggar river bridge on the busy Kalka-Ambala highway in Bhankharpur village would be opened for the traffic tomorrow evening, the Buildings and Roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD), has decided to enforce speed limit of 20 km per hour on the vehicles crossing the bridge.

The PPWD (B and R) would also construct rumble strips on approach roads on either sides of the bridge besides displaying warning boards, listing speed limits for the vehicles crossing the bridge.

The third span of the bridge that sank because of dislocation of bearings was repaired this evening. Three new bearings were inserted under the third span and four others were replaced by a Yamunanagar-based construction company with the help of hydraulic ‘elevators’.

Besides inserted one new bearing, the authorities also repaired other bearings that had developed defaults under the fifth span of the bridge.

A team of over 20 workers of the company was pressed to the repair service since morning under the supervision of senior officials of the PPWD including Mr Ashok Sood, Chief Engineer, Mr Har Ashok Sharma, Superintending Engineer, and SubDivisional Engineers of the circle including Mr PK Kalia, Mr A.P.S. Brar, and other experts.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Ashok Sood, claimed that the bridge was over 50 years old and required repair. The department has been planning to rehabilitate the bridge which would increase its life span for some more years, he claimed.

Mr Har Ashok Sharma said the bridge would be opened for vehicular traffic tomorrow evening. “The bearings under the third and the fifth spans were replaced today. Some repair works, required at the surface of the bridge, including placement of warning boards for motorists would be completed tomorrow,” added Mr Sharma.

“Construction of rumble strips on either approach roads would help in slowing down the speeding vehicles thus minimising jerks to the spans of the bridge. This would ultimately help in reducing traffic congestion on the bridge and increasing its life,” claimed Mr Kalia.

To ease the repair work, owners of two wheelers were restrained from riding their vehicles across the bridge and commuters trudged to reach the either ends.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, chairman of Rotract Clubs, Dera Bassi, opined that the PPWD authorities should have completed the recarpeting work of the highway as well as on the surface of the bridge since there was no vehicular movement on the highway for the past three days.



SE threatens to take action against agitating employees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 3
The Superintending Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), here today issued a warning to the agitating employees that disciplinary action would follow if they continued with their protest.

Members of the Technical Services Union of the Board have been for the past two days ‘gheraoing’ the SE’s car preventing him from entering his office. The employees are protesting against the decision of the board to privatise meter reading and bill distribution services within the circle. Today, the S.E. had to change route to reach office even as the employees waited outside the main gate ready to stop his car.

In a press note issued by the Board today, S.E. S.C. Aggarwal pointed out that according to a stay order issued by the Kharar courts, employees of the board could not stage a dharna or protest within 50 metres of the boundary wall of the office. He added that in case the employees did not desist from breaking the law, disciplinary action would be initiated against the ring employees.

The Board had decided to privatise meter reading and bill distribution operations in the township and adjoining villages falling within the PSEB Mohali circle. In the first phase, work was to start on trial basis in 35 villages including Nayagaon, Kansal and Mullanpur. These villages have approximately 10,434 connections. A private company ‘Meeting Point’ was given the contract for a period of one year. According to board officials the contractor would get an amount of Rs 10.50 per connection, which would include meter reading and bill distribution charges. Board officials added that no additional charges would be levied to the consumer following privatisation of these operations.



NCP submits memo to minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) today submitted a memorandum of demands to the Union Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

In the memorandum, copies of which were also sent to the UT Administrator, the party demanded the withdrawal of closure notices to the schools by the Chandigarh Administration. The formation of mini assembly in Chandigarh and constitution of the subordinate service selection board were also demanded.

The regularisation of the services of the employees working for the last over 20 years, LIG scheme for the poorer sections of society, and proper maintenance of the dumping ground by the civic body were also highlighted in the memorandum.



Pak Punjab CM offers Friday prayers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Chaudhary Pervez Elahi, Chief Minister, of Pakistan Punjab today offered Friday prayers at the Sector 20 Jama Masjid here.

According to a press note, the Chief Minister was welcomed by the Chairman of the local Wakf Board, Mr Mansur Ali, by presenting him with a shawl. He donated Rs 15,000 to the Wakf Board, it added.



Healing with scientific prayer
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Jer Master has spent a significant part of her life understanding and perfecting the art of scientific praying. A quintessential element of spiritualism and Christian Science, scientific praying has extraordinary healing powers, the kind that even traditional medicine can’t offer.

Though the idea of healing through prayers seems a little misplaced, the fact is that this discipline has been tested and tried for ages. Had it not been for the power of this phenomenon, Jer Master, a qualified pediatrician with 25 years of experience, would not have abandoned her practice to heal infants and adults across the world, out of traditional medicine systems.

In Chandigarh today on invitation from the Christian Science Society, Master who is member, Christian Science Board of Lecturership, Boston, spoke to The Tribune about her initial encounter with spiritual healing and her permanent involvement with this scientific art.

The philosophy of spiritual healing, as Master practices and promotes, is based on the international bestseller “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. At the heart of the treatment is the consciousness that God is all around and he is all good. As Master studied the book, she experienced the healing herself.

Her recurring migraine was gone and her perspective changed. She did not look at misery, sickness and poverty as hopeless conditions but learned about God who is good and caring. “Whenever I saw a desperately ill child I took help from God. At home I opened the Bible and Science and Health book and prayed with pertinent passages, till I was sure of God’s presence. Healing followed,” explains Master, a renowned speaker who has addressed several conferences and colleges across the world.

As for the discipline, it is accurate and scientific. Master reasons, “Healing cannot happen by chance, nor can it happen in a haphazard way. There is an absolute science to it. I have used this science to cure children who have found no treatment in traditional medicine. We have handled diseases like severe diarrhoea and dehydration, lack of vision, deafness, even tuberculosis.”

Strange though it may sound, there are case histories to prove that spiritual healing has cured people of rheumatism, astigmatism, hernia, fibroid tumour, spinal troubles, cataract and even Bright’s disease. Through her skill, Master has also addressed concerns like financial insecurity, unemployment, acute lack of harmony in families, unfair business practices, and political confrontation in the countries leading to uncertainties.

She adds, “We practice and teach Christian Science not only to fix the body but to make people see what they are - images of God. And since God is kind, there can be no hard thoughts in His images. That explains how spiritual healing cures kidney problems. Hardness of stones is taken as an error and a spiritual idea can have no single element of error. As consciousness takes over, disease retreats. It has happened.”

Tomorrow Master will deliver a talk on “What decides your future” at the Government Museum Auditorium, Sector 10 between 11 am and 12 noon. After that she will answer queries.



Fear of isolation keeps HIV patients indoors
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The fear of isolation and discrimination after being identified as an HIV positive is so compelling for the patients suffering from the disease in the city that none of them have come forward to form ‘Drop in centre’ for positive people, a community-based organisation, which is aimed at promoting the rights of the HIV patients.

National AIDS Control Organisation’s (NACO) proposal of setting up the `Drop-in centre’ for the People Living With HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) has not been able to take off here in the last six months as no HIV positive person has come forward to become its president or general secretary. The city alone has 44 AIDS patients while the region has 1,027 persons infected AIDS and more than 4,000 living with HIV.

“The proposal of setting up the community-based drop in centre, which are to be managed, controlled and owned by the HIV positive patients was floated in July this year. Despite making several efforts, we are unable to start any such centre in the city as no one is coming forward to be its president or general secretary. The patients fear that once the confidentiality of their status is lost, stigmatisation would be inevitable, ‘’ says an official of the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh here.

As per NACO’s guidelines, the PLWHA group should be a registered organisation with a minimum of 10 numbers who are HIV positive.

Sources say that nearly 40 HIV affected persons in the city have signed and expressed their willingness to be a part of such organisation but are reluctant to grab the top position for the fear that their status could be revealed which so far is protected.

“People are ready to work for the organisation on the number of posts that would be created on the formation of the centre. But the initial step cannot be taken without choosing the leader of the group,” revealed an official.

The incentive offered to the organisation, by exempting it from 10 per cent NGO contribution, too, is not attracting any infected person.

“The disease is surrounded with so much of stigma and discrimination that so far no one is ready to come out in the open to disclose that they have contacted the disease. People are willing to work towards the common cause of protecting their rights but they want to remain anonymous,’’ added the officer. 

NACO’s drop in centres

The object of the drop in centres is to promote positive living among the infected persons and improve their quality of life, to build their capacity to cope with infection, to link them with existing health services and other NGOs and to protect and promote their rights.



Protest to mark 20th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
To mark the 20th anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, the Greenpeace and its supporters in Chandigarh held a silent protest and candle light vigil at sector Plaza, sector 17 today. They prayed for those souls who died in the disaster.

Rampati Kumar, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace said, “Even after the twenty years of the devastating accident at Bhopal, the site still remains contaminated with highly toxic chemicals. There is lax of security and children regularly play there.

Dangerous chemicals have spread in the local area and it is affecting the drinking water. According to a study by the Greenpeace the local ground water supplies is highly contaminated with a cocktail of dangerous chemicals”.

He said the now the Indian Government has called for a survey of the Bhopal disaster site to access the extent of the contamination on the factory site. The Greenpeace, as a part of international campaign for justice in Bhopal is calling now the Dow Chemicals to take responsibility for the disaster.

It should also raise some funds to clean up the highly contaminated site.

It would be a great help to those people who are still suffering the after effects of the disaster.

Activists across the globe are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the disaster as a 24-hour Global Day of Action. In India there will be candlelight vigils in seven cities, organised by Bhopal supporters including the Greenpeace and International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB).

They are also calling for international corporate accountability legislation to make sure disaster like Bhopal never happen again.



Accident due to stray cattle, woman hurt
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
A woman and her son had a narrow escape today evening when the motorcycle they were riding on collided with a stray cattle near Sector 37-38-40-41 roundabout. Harleen Kaur who was riding pillion got fractured her arm and foot.

According to the police, Harleen Kaur (43), a resident of Sector 36 was going on a motorcycle with her son, when a stray bull hit their motorcycle from behind near the roundabout. She was rushed to the General Hospital immediately. Where the doctors say that her condition is stable.

Earlier also on November 21, an ASI of the Chandigarh police Thoru Ram lost his life after being hit by a stray cattle. Three persons from Dadu Majra Colony were admitted to the hospital after being hit by the stray cattle, one of them a former employee of the Municipal Corporation later succumbed to the injuries.



3 hurt as mini-truck hits Qualis
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
Five persons were injured, two of them seriously, in three separate accidents in various parts of the city, the local police said today.

Three persons were injured when a Tata 407 hit a Qualis near the Sectors 27-28 light point in Sector 26 last night. The mini-truck hit the jeep so hard that it overturned.

The police said the driver of the mini-truck (PB-07-D-1912) fled after hitting the jeep. Deepender Chauhan of Sector 19 was travelling with his friend, Kapil, in the Qualis. He along with another injured, who was in the mini-truck, were admitted to the GMCH-32. Their condition is stated to be normal now. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.

Meanwhile, the police today traced the owner of the mini-truck, Mr Bhag Singh. He assured the police that he would produce Jaswinder Singh of Balachaur, who was driving the Tata 407.

In another incident, a man was hit yesterday by a vehicle near Durga Nursery in Manimajra. The man was seriously injured in the accident. He was admitted to the PGI in an unconscious state. A case has been registered under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC at the Manimajra police station.

Another person, Mr Rajinder Sura, was seriously injured while pillion riding a scooter when a car hit it near Government Museum last night.

Mr Rajesh Sura of Phase V, Mohali, reported to the police that Swaran Singh who was driving a car (CH-03-D-5219) hit the scooter he was riding. Mr Rajinder Sura was unfit to give his statement to the police today.

A case was registered on the complaint of Mr Rajesh Sura under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC at the Sector 3 police station. The police arrested Swaran Singh and later released him on bail.



Shopkeeper duped of Rs 5,000
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
Four unidentified youths duped a shopkeeper of Rs 5000 by paying him through the fake currency notes of Rs 50 denomination today evening in Burail.

The incident came to the light; when the shopkeeper, Mr. Sajan Kumar reported the matter top the police. Sajan Kumar told the police that four boys among them two were turbaned came to his shop to buy six tyres, four for Esteem car and two for Zen car. The deal was settled at Rs 5000 and the boys paid the amount in Rs 50 notes. Mr Sajan Kumar took the money and put the same in the safe. He said, he did not even remember whether they came in Esteem or Honda City car. The number (DL-4C-2---) that he gave the police was also incomplete.

The police said, he did not want to file the complaint. The police in the meanwhile seized the fake currency notes. The police further said that they would investigate the matter and send the notes to the reserve Bank of India for verification.

The police said, they have sounded an alert for the car. The Sector 34 police is investigating the case.



Stolen goods worth Rs 45,000 recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The police has recovered stolen goods worth Rs 45,000 from Pramod and Chet Ram, who were arrested by the police on November 30.

The two accused had confessed to their involvement in the Industrial Area, Phase I, and in another theft in Sector 20. The goods stolen by them in these two cases have been recovered.

Two arrested

The police has arrested Rakesh Kumar and Mange Ram from Kalka on charges of speculation and recovered Rs 760 from them.

Held for cheating

The police arrested Krishan Lal, after he duped his friend on the pretext of changing currency notes worth Rs 5,000. Dhan Bahadur was going to deposit Rs 5,000 in a bank, when the accused approached him and offered to exchange his loose notes with a wad of notes. When Dhan Bahadur gave him the money, Krishan reportedly ran away.


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