C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fear of demolition haunts villagers around ammunition depot
10 villages likely to fall under no-construction zone
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dappar (Lalru), January 18
Hundreds of houses in 10 villages located in the vicinity of the Dappar Ammunition Depot are likely to fall under the proposed ‘no construction zone’ that the Ministry of Defence has decided to declare around the depot.

The district administration on the request of the Union Government has prepared a comprehensive report and a plan about the exact area will be affected from the proposal.

Keeping in view the security requirements of the Dappar Ammunition Depot, the Defence Ministry has asked the Punjab Government to submit a comprehensive denotification plan for the villages in the vicinity of the depot.

In its latest communication to the government, the ministry has proposed that no construction be allowed “within a distance of 1,200 yards from the crest of the outer parapet of the depot”.

In fact, the lower and middle rung officials of the Revenue Department have already compiled a list of land records of the villages concerned and submitted these to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi. The Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, is likely to submit the detailed plan to the higher authorities soon, sources told Chandigarh Tribune today.

The villages, where the construction activity will adversely be affected, include Dappar, Gholu Majra, Chandiala, Baroli, Ber Majra, Amlala, Isapur Jangi, Hansala, Janetpur and Gajjopur. It may be recalled that hundreds of concrete structures had already come up in certain villages, including Dappar.

Over 200 structures, including residential houses have come under the proposed limits in these 10 villages.

Once notified, these constructions are likely to be pulled down as per the provisions of the Works of Defence Act, 1903. The Act says that the land in the vicinity of an ammunition depot may be kept free from buildings and other obstructions from the date of publication of the notification.

It may be mentioned that the depot authorities had reportedly held a meeting with the elected representatives of the 10 villages a couple of months over the issue. The representatives did not file any objections to the proposed denotification plan of the authorities.

Meanwhile, panic gripped the residents as revenue officials went about their jobs of demarcation of the land in the villages in the past two days. The officials had a tough time explaining to the villagers that it was only a preliminary survey and there was no move yet to demolish the structures falling under the proposed “denotified zone”.

Surprisingly, scores of houses dotting the area have regular water and electricity connections released by the Punjab Government. Whether they will be excluded from proposed new limits of the depot, would be keenly awaited by the residents.

The expansion of the outer limits of the depot is likely to face strong opposition from the villages. In the recent years, the construction outside the “lal dora” of the villages have grown by leaps and bounds in wake of the industrial growth in the areas and rise in population.

Mr Narinder Sangha, SDM, confirmed that a preliminary survey report (with khasra numbers) had been prepared by the revenue officials, led by Mr Sanjeev Bansal, Tehsildar. The report would be submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, tomorrow, he added.



Father of 3 challenged kids fails to get home
Even Kalam’s recommendation leaves babus unmoved
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Mozahir Hassan is not as much a victim of fate as he is of official apathy. As if the trauma of rearing three challenged children — two mentally challenged and one physically disabled — was not enough, the hapless father has been suffering for many years at the hands of a system that just doesn’t care. Why else would he go begging from place to place for allotment of a house, which the law of the land guarantees?

The irony appears more brazen, given the fact that the President of India has referred Hassan’s case to the officers concerned for allotment of a house under the special housing scheme for the disabled. The recommendation came earlier last year. The action never came.

Over the past, Hassan has been surviving on the mercy of his brothers who gave him a room to stay in their own house. But the help was withdrawn when the hosts found it difficult to cope with Hassan’s son Sarfaraz’s violent and embarrassing ways.

Diagnosed with 100 per cent mental retardation, Sarfaraz has no sense of existence or pain. His condition is so miserable that he has to be chained in his own house, lest he kills himself or hurts others. He once jumped from the first floor of his house and marginally escaped death.

The child needs special care, which is far from available. Born into abject poverty, he must sleep in a single room with his two disabled sisters. All that Hassan has in the name of a house is a pigeonhole in Sector 32, courtesy his father, a barber. He rues, “The Administration had allotted 59 houses under the special scheme in 2003, but I was not lucky in the draw of lots. My case can be treated on compassionate grounds, if the UT Administrator wills. I faxed him the case details on December 16 last year, but I have not been given an appointment yet.”

Hassan has hopes from the many special quota houses lying vacant in the city. There are three in Sector 47-D, not allotted for the past 20 years. There are some in Sector 51, Ram Darbar and Sector 38-West, but none for Hassan.

While the man awaits God’s mercy, his son’s condition continues to deteriorate. Sarfaraz yells to attract attention as his father talks to Chandigarh Tribune. A hapless father gives more details, “The doctors have told us to make Sarfaraz’s living comfortable, but we are too helpless to do that. With no space to move around, Sarfaraz vents out his anger on the walls. He has made holes into the walls. We cannot even use a cooler because he plunges his hand into it. Sarfaraz has been like this ever since he contacted typhoid as a nine-month-old baby.”

Experts at the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded, Sector 32, have offered to accommodate Sarfaraz, provided he comes with an attendant. But his mother can’t spare time, given the disability of her other two children, Rubina and Nagma. While Nagma is 75 per cent mentally retarded, Rubina is hearing impaired. The two are, however, less violent than their brother. Nagma recently enrolled for speech therapy classes at Prayas in Sector 38. Rubina is attending school, although she has failed in Class VIII three times in a row. 



MC to resume sites of habitual encroachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The Municipal Corporation is to resume the sites of habitual offenders in cases pertaining to encroachment of the commercial sites in various markets of the city. The MC is gathering documentary evidence against the offenders, both documentary and photographic, to initiate administrative proceedings at the earliest.

The drive is aimed at ensuring a complete cleansing of the city markets. It is a known fact that a few days after the anti-encroachment drive by the MC, certain markets in the city are once again full of encroachers. The Municipal Corporation had carried out an extensive drive last week but encroachments have been reported back in the city in certain areas during the past couple of days.

Reliable sources pointed out that a list of names was being drawn up to ensure a proper follow-up on the drive. “Concerned authorities in the MC are gathering incontrovertible and legally sustainable documentary as well as photographic evidence against the habitual offenders. The MC will launch proceedings against the habitual offenders who are still found encroaching upon verandas in front of their shops”, an official note says.

“The corporation will resume the sites of the violators. This will lead to them paying heavy amounts (could be in lakhs) in fines. Such a move was necessary to secure a permanent vacancy of the encroached municipal lands. In routine these offenders were fined nominally which encouraged them to restart their old practice of occupying municipal land”, the official said.

The warning letter says that “all habitual offenders are warned that they should in future restrain from encroaching the verandas in front of their shops failing which the corporation will invoke provisions of law against them and they will themselves be responsible for playing hide and seek with law of the land”.

Under Rule 20 of the Chandigarh Leasehold of Site and Building Rules, 1973, the UT Administration “by issuing notices can cancel the lease of any site or the building both on the ground of default, breach or non compliance of any terms and conditions of allotment”.

The MC had recently requested the shopkeepers to vacate the encroached portions in front of their shops.

The offenders have been reminded of the relevant terms and conditions of the sale and lease letters of their sites.

It is clearly said that “the lessees will not be allowed to place empty packing cases, baskets or any other material on the roof of the building or on the open site around it.

The concerned veranda in front or on the sides of the building will not be encroached or used for any purpose other than public passage,” the note of the MC added.



Pay power, water bills online
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The city went hi-tech today as the Department of Information Technology launched its online payment of power and water bills through credit cards over the Internet.

The online payment facility was inaugurated today by the Secretary IT, Mr S.K. Sandhu. He also opened the fourth Sampark centre ( e-governance centre) in Sector 15.

The online payment system will enable VISA and Master Card Credit Card holders to make payments relating to electricity and water bills through the online portal http://chandigarh.nic.in. The debit card facility for UTI debit cards has been made operational from today at the website. Credit holders will able to make payments from next week.

The debit cards for all other banks would be allowed shortly, said Mr Sandhu.

Mr Sandhu said the Sampark project provided single window facilities for the benefit of the residents and eliminated the requirement of visiting government offices for certain services.

The online payment facility, he added, would enable the residents to pay their bills and avail of other services from their homes or through Internet cafes.

The fourth Sampark centre is located at the bill payment centre of the Engineering Department, Sector 15.



Exemplary punishment sought for Munjal
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
The woes of Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Chairman C.M. Munjal refuse to end. The ongoing proceedings initiated against him by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the matter his informing the police that an accused in a criminal case had been granted oral bail by the High Court though no such thing happened today took yet another twist when the court-appointed amicus curiae submitted documents to buttress his claim that this was not the first such incident for Mr Munjal.

During hearing today, Senior Advocate Suraj Prakash Gupta informed the court about an earlier case, heard by the Commissioner, Ferozepur Division, in 1990-91 where Mr Munjal, who had previously represented one of the sides, appeared for the other side.

As per the documents submitted by Mr Gupta, Mr Munjal first appeared for Mr Madan Gopal and Mr Mohan Lal in a civil case. Later, he filed an appeal on behalf of one Subhash Chander where Mr Madan Gopal was the respondent.

Since Mr Munjal had remained counsel of Mr Mohan Lal and Mr Madan Gopal, in a revenue executive appeal/revision filed by Subhash Chander, he was reportedly legally barred from filing appeal on behalf of Mr Subhash Chander against Mr Madan Gopal.

During hearing, the Commissioner was told that Mr Munjal could not have filed the appeal. It was also stated that the memorandum of appeal before the Collector had been signed by Mr Munjal and not the appellant (Mr Subhash Chander). The appeal was then dismissed on these grounds.

Mr Gupta made a pitched request to the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy to give exemplary punishment to Mr Munjal for the simple reason that he also is the Chairman of Bar Council that deals with cases for taking disciplinary action against advocates under the Advocates Act. He also prayed that directions be issued to the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana as also the Bar Council of India to initiate disciplinary action against him for professional misconduct.

The amicus also prayed that a complaint be lodged through the High Court Registrar under various sections of CrPC and IPC against Mr Munjal.

Earlier, Punjab Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh informed the court that he had marked the bail matter of Anil Midha to Mr Munjal.

Senior Advocate R.S. Cheema, appearing for Mr Munjal, told the court that his client was related to the accused whose bail plea was fixed for hearing before Mr Justice M.M. Kumar but was not taken up for hearing. After hearing all sides, the Bench adjourned the hearing to January 25.



Decomposed body of labourer found
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
A highly decomposed body of a Bihari labourer was found today under mysterious circumstances inside his locked rented room in Hallo Majra village. From the appearance of the body it was suspected that the person was murdered a week back.

The body was identified to be that of Baleshwar (25) who had taken the room on rent just a month back and was working in a factory in Industrial Area, Phase II, Ram Darbar. There is suspicion that he might have been murdered and locked in the room but the police is awaiting the post -mortem report to confirm the cause of death.

A preliminary examination of the body or the room did not provide any definitive clues about the cause of death. The room was in order and there were no signs of a struggle. The body was lying on a cot in the room.

The body was discovered when the owner of the house, Nirmal Singh, today noticed foul smell emitting out of the house and informed Sukhjit Singh, the sarpanch of Hallo Majra village. They called the police and the police recovered the body.

Initially, the police had problems in identifying the deceased as Nirmal Singh expressed his ignorance about the name and other details of the dead man. He also did not know where the man was working.

He told the police that the deceased used to bring his brother’s two children to his house. The brother has not yet been identified by the police. Baleshwar was also married but living separately from his family.

The SHO of Sector 31 police station, Mr Kewal Krishan, said the body was sent to the General Hospital for post-mortem.

“We can not say whether it was a murder or not till we get the post-mortem report,” said the SHO while replying to a query. He further said the police is working on many theories as the room might have been locked by some one before leaving for his job as factory workers work in shifts.

A woman living in a house in front of the deceased’s house told the Chandigarh Tribune that the deceased used to come late in the evening and she did not know much about him. She also said couple of unidentified persons used to visit the deceased. 



Disillusioned with poll predictions
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
From a star psephologist to a social worker, the transition might sound as different as chalk from cheese. However, for Yogendra Yadav, a popular face on television during elections, the transition happened easily, following the disastrous performance of political scientists in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Disillusioned with the poll predictions going haywire, Yadav says he has not only quit psephology for good but even found a new calling in the Jan Chetna Abhiyan of the Sampooran Kranti Manch (SKM) to teach the electorate to watch their interests. He was in the city for a lecture on "Making Sense of Indian Democracy" at Panjab University, here today.

"Politics is pure business in Haryana. One party goes, another comes in without ushering in any change as far as policies are concerned. The common man's fate remains unchanged. His agenda doesn't figure on any party's list of priorities. So, we have made the common man's interest our priority at the SKM. We dabble in politics without participating in elections. Educating the voters is more of a social service and we do it in the name of politics," he explains.

The Jan Chetna Abhiyan, his new engagement, is taking him places, to the heart of villages and to the electorate in Haryana even as the state readies for a change of government. "It doesn't take a psephologist to make such a prediction. I am just spelling out the writing on the wall," he asserts.

Speaking of the abhiyan which keeps him on the roll, Yadav states,"Our aim is to build a movement in Haryana, awaken the voters about what the governments and politicians are doing and what they should be doing. It's very sad that no government has ever thought of appointing a Lokayukt in the state, it still does not grant the right to information to its public and doesn't have anything in the name of human rights. All this matters to the common man and yet it finds no mention in the election manifestoes," he rued.

Stating that falling education standards, poor state of government hospitals and non-viability of agriculture plague Haryana, he maintains, "We do realise that governments will not do anything for the people. However, what is more shocking is that the Opposition has been silent when it comes to raising people-centric issues,"

Touring the state during elections as part of the exercise to educate the voters, Mr Yadav admits the SKM has a small base and people are a little apprehensive to join hands with them. "There are some who laugh at us, others just dismiss us or just discourage us. However, what keeps us going in the face of adversity is the support that trickles in now and then," he adds.

Yadav also feels the media should be more alive to the problems of the common man and question those in the corridors of power. "A man from Sirsa dared to ask Haryana Chief Minister, Mr OP Chautala, on how safe the common man was in the state during a live show on television. In reply, the CM threatened him openly, and later, he ended up in bed with two broken legs. Sadly, it didn't become an issue in the media at all," he lamented. 



UK Councillor seeks transparency in local bodies
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 18
Mr Balwinder Singh Gill, Ludhiana-born Councillor of the Warwick District Council, UK, is one of the few Indians who, having overcome racial inequality in foreign nations, went a step ahead and became a representative of the local population. "It was not easy," said Mr Gill talking to The Tribune at his Mohali residence today. "When I went to the UK in 1966, Asians were looked down upon as illiterate people who had come to do menial jobs. Other than racism, Asians suffered from substantial amount of violence here. But now things have changed. Indian are doctors, teachers, scientists and command respect."

For over 10 years, Mr Gill remained the charter trustee of Royal Leamington Spa, a town in the Warwick district and became the Mayor in 1998. "The one thing that I found missing in the local bodies here is that the government does not insist on transparency of functioning. There every Councillor has to declare his assets and sources of income to the House of Commons. More importantly, Councillors have to make public, all the allowances that they receive from the Council," he said.

Stating that the working of the local government in the UK was better than what we have here, Mr Gill pointed out that a successful councillor was one who is approachable.

"We make announcements and meet residents regularly, listen to their problems and also take it as an opportunity to tell them about our achievements," he said.

Mr. Gill also served as the Chairman of the Warwick District Council in 2002. "I had four Mayors working under the District Council. Councillor once elected hands over a mission statement to the executive of the Council which ensures that the mission statement programme is carried out. Before 2001, councillors worked through committees, similar to the system here. Now a new system has been introduced there. A set of seven councillors forms a cabinet, each one holding a specific portfolio. The working of the cabinet is monitored by four scrutinizing committees. The executive agenda is discussed at meetings and progress of works regularly monitored," he said.

A student of Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, Gill taught Mathematics in Sangrur for three years before he left for the UK. "There, I worked as a despatch inspector, then educated myself further and became a school teacher.

I taught till 1986 after which I started running a news agency in Whitnash," related Mr Gill.

Mr Gill is also on the board of governors of various schools in the town. "School education is free in the UK till the age of 19. Interestingly every government school headmaster is free to choose the courses, the books and even the examining boards for his school.

That is, the same school can have a different examining board for English and another for mathematics. A school can also focus only on dance and another on music. It is amazing the way education is imparted in a completely stress-free environment," he said.



Passing Thru

Dr Satinder Dhiman
Dr Satinder Dhiman, Professor of Business, Woodbury University, USA.

What according to you are the most important requirements for top management jobs across the world?

Not just management jobs, any job requires three basic qualities in the candidate:emotional intelligence, creativity and analytical reasoning, this is according to New York Times, May 12, 2004.

But does management studies curricula in Indian business schools ensure that these qualities are inculcated in the students?

Business curricula should not only include business studies but also a component of general education should be introduced, which should include subjects like psychology, politics, philosophy, history, literature etc for a broader information base of the students.

What is the biggest lacuna that you see in the Indian education system.

There is a distinct lack of practical orientation, which needs to be taken care of. Second, there is no financial packages for students to proceed in the studies. So if you have a poor student who is bright he cannot do much here because of no grants.

Any suggestions?

I suggest industrialists should create a pool of money to help needy and bright students. They should be helped monetarily with scholarships and grants so that they are able to complete their education.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Dalits most oppressed in W. Bengal: Rajshekar
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Hunger for political power among Dalit leaders has crippled Dalit movements in the country, says Mr V.T. Rajshekar, a famed Bangalore-based Dalit protagonist.

Talking to The Tribune here today Mr Rajshekar said that most of the Dalit leaders, who initiated movements for the emancipation of Dalits from exploitation persisting for long, had been swallowed by the mainstream political parties. Such Dalit leaders had been “corrupted” in the political system being dominated by upper castes, he added.

Mr Rajshekar, who has been publishing a magazine Dalit Voice from Bangalore, said that by sharing political power, one could make some money but cannot bring up one’s community. “ Rush for power among Dalit leaders derailed the Dalit movements”, he added. Mr Rajshekar, who had been invited several times by Babu Kanshi Ram, to join his party, said that Kanshi Ram sincerely struggled hard to bring a new awakening among Dalits. “Mr Kanshi Ram is a tallest leader of Dalits”, he said.

Dalits should follow the path shown by Dr B.R. Ambedkar to free themselves from their ongoing exploitation. The three commandments of Dr Ambedkar for Dalits had been to educate, agitate and organise for achieving the desired goals. “Political power would automatically come to Dalits if they started following these commandments”. Political power was always “ taken” and not “demanded”, he asserted.

Asked about the future of Dalit movements, Mr Rajshekar said that he was certain that Dalits would be future rulers of this country. The parliamentary democracy being practised in India had brought the strength of various castes to the fore. Rise of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Laloo Prasad Yadav was proof of it.

They had emerged top leaders because of the strength of their castes in the political system.” It is only a matter of few years when the strength of Dalits as a caste would dominate the Indian political system”, he added. Of the total young population of the country, at present 20 per cent were Dalits and 10 per cent are tribals. No other single community in the country could match their strength, he claimed.

He said that Marxist Government in West Bengal, Kerala etc had miserably failed to improve the lot of Dalits. “Marxism has taken the shape of Brahminism and Dalits should not expect wonders from such governments”, he added. Dalits were most oppressed in West Bengal where Communists had been ruling for the past three decades”, he said. Leaders of three upper castes representing only 8 per cent population had been ruling in the West Bengal for years.

Dalits had no adequate participation in West Bengal Governments. “They are new capitalist Marxists and business tycoons who rule West Bengal”, he added. While they welcome foreign investment and world bank loans and grants in West Bengal, they oppose such investment and loans in other parts of the country, he said. Even the leadership of Naxalites was from upper castes and their cadres were from tribals and Dalits.



Goods destroyed in pharma unit fire
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 18
Goods worth lakhs were destroyed in a fire that broke out at a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit, Instant Remedies Pvt Ltd, located along the Kalka-Ambala highway at Gholumajra village today.

Mr Muni Lal, a watchman of an industrial unit adjacent to the unit, noticed the flames and smoke billowing from a ventilator on the first floor of the building at about 6 a.m. He informed Mr Madan Lal, watchman of the unit, who was asleep in a hut nearby.

The news spread and labourers putting put in other industrial units called up the Dera Bassi fire station and Lalru police station. Mr K.D. Arora, a Chandigarh-based proprietor of the unit, was also informed..

A fire brigade from the Dera Bassi fire station reached the spot but finding the situation going out of control, fire brigade staff from Ambala, Rajpura and Mohali were also called for help. The firemen had a tough time controlling the fire.

A firemen from Dera Bassi fire station, Gurdial Singh, sustained injuries after he fell from a wall while climbing up to the first floor of the building.

Police personnel and the workers of the nearby industrial units swung into fire extinguishing operation. The flames were brought under control at about 11.30 a.m.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire engulfed the first floor of the building. Inflammable item stored inside the building and their packaging material might have proved as fuels to the fire, said Mr RS Vashistha, manager of the unit.

With the result of the fire, the plaster of the walls was peeled off and the slab, the floor and the walls developed cracks.

Mr Arora, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune, claimed that the fire had destroyed raw and finished goods besides machinery and other electronic goods. Established in 2001, the unit was insured, he claimed.

He suspects an electric short circuit to be the cause of the fire.



Governor flayed for attending bravery award function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
A local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Burning Brain Society (BBS), has criticised the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), for participating in the Red & White Bravery Award ceremony yesterday.

Last year when Justice O.P. Verma (retd), the then Governor of Punjab, presided over the function the society had raised its voice and brought the issue to public notice. The chairperson of the BBS, Mr. Hemant Ramtirth Goswami, said, “It is a well known fact that Red & White is nothing but a registered trademark of a cigarette and any sponsorship, prize, award or function organised with the trade name of the same tobacco product backed by the same tobacco company is nothing but a surrogate way of promoting the cigarette brand.

Quoting section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003; which reads that “No person, shall, under a contract or otherwise promote or agree to promote the use or consumption of cigarettes or any other tobacco product; or any trade mark or brand name of cigarettes or any other tobacco product in exchange for a sponsorship, gift, prize or scholarship given or agreed to be given by another person” Mr Goswami questioned the very legality of holding such a award in the name of a tobacco product. 



Statement of Kinger’s daughter recorded
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 18
A police team today recorded statements of the daughter of District Congress General Secretary Hemant Kinger and some of his employees.

The police recorded the statement of a maid employed at the Kinger household, and another employee at his neighbour’s house. They have reportedly informed the police that Mr Kinger was not at home, when his wife Namrata Kinger consumed some poisonous substance.

The police also recorded the statement of Mr Kinger’s daughter, Girja, who said they were not on good terms with her maternal grandparents and that they were trying to fabricate false charges against her father. Girja was married in the USA four months ago, and came here on January 14.

Ms Kinger had died on January 13 of suspected poisoning. 



Delay in allotment of plots resented
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 18
Members of the Allotment Sangharsh Committee met at the Phase 3B1 Rose Garden yesterday in protest against the delay in the allotment of plots in Sectors 76 to 80 in Mohali.

The committee had been formed from the 3900 allottees who had been given letters of intent by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for the allotment of plots in these sectors in 2000, but have not been given the physical possession of plots.

According to a note issued by the press secretary of the committee, Mr Harbhajan Singh, 3950 plots of various sizes in the new sectors were approved and the draw of lots held in March, 2001. The successful allottees had also paid 25 per cent of the allotment price to PUDA and it was promised that physical possession of the plots would be given by the end of December, 2002, but so far the plots had still not been allotted. It was also pointed out during the meeting PUDA had in its free possession over 1200 acres in these sectors but it was not allotting the plots.

The members alleged that PUDA had granted a large chunk of land in these sectors to the Judges and Officers’ Enclave, the Radha Swami Satsang and the Housefed Punjab, but not to the allottees. Members warned that in case their demand was not met, they would gherao the PUDA Bhavan building and stage a dharna there.



Search Within
Islam and spirit of sacrifice

THE Id-ul-Azha or Id-ul-Zuha, which falls on Friday, like all festivals, has a philosophy behind it and the chief value implied in it is that of sacrifice. Self-preservation is the first law of nature; its opposite, self-sacrifice, is the virtue that believers are expected to practice in their lives.

This festival commemorates the ordeal of Hazrat Ibrahim, who had been put to a test by God when he was asked to sacrifice whatever was dearest to him and he decided to sacrifice the life of his son. As he was on the point of applying the sword to his son’s throat, it was revealed to him that this was meant only to test his faith, and it was enough, if instead he sacrifices only a ram in the name of Allah. This is celebrated on the tenth day of Zilhijja, when the Haj celebrations at Mecca are rounded off by the sacrifice of goats or camels. In India, too, goats and sheep are sacrificed all over the country and prayers are offered.

There are Islamic commentators who maintain that God would not have demanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his own son Ismail with a knife, because it contradicts God’s nature. There is for instance the commandment: “Thous shalt not kill.” Muslims believe Ibrahim had this dream of killing his son and thought it was from God, but God stopped him.

The Muslims believe the son to be Ishmael rather than Isaac as told in the Old Testament. Ishmael is considered the forefather of the Arabs. According to the Koran, Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son when a voice from heaven stopped him and allowed him to sacrifice a ram instead.

According to the teachings of Islam, the sacrifice of animals is not offered to appease offended deities nor to win their favour as an atonement of sins. The Holy Koran states: “Neither the flesh nor the blood of your sacrifices reaches God, but it is the righteous motive underlying them that reaches Him.” (22:37)

In other words, the slaughtering of animals is a symbolic expression whereby a Muslim declares his readiness to lay down his own life and everything he owes for the sake of God Almighty. The animal that is sacrificed really stands for the animal in man

“No one should suppose that meat or blood is acceptable to the One True God. It was a pagan fancy that Allah could be appeased by blood sacrifice. But Allah does accept the offering of our hearts, and as a symbol of such offer, some visible institution is necessary. He has given us power over the brute creation, and permitted us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life, for without this solemn invocation, we are apt to forget the sacredness of life. By this invocation we are reminded that wanton cruelty is not in our thoughts, but only the need for food ...” (Yusuf Ali commentary)

The feast re-enacts Ibrahim’s obedience by sacrificing a cow or ram. The family eats about a third of the meal and donates the rest to the poor. It is not permissible to give a portion of meat or the skin of the slaughtered animal as wages. They should instead be given to the needy in charity. Even the rope and cover of the sacrificed animal should be given away as charity.

Some even maintain that the main purpose of allowing Muslims to continue with animal sacrifices was to turn this tradition into an institution of charity. All the verses of the Koran Majeed which deal with the subject wind up with the proviso that the meat be fed to the poor, the needy, those who are too modest to beg as well as the mendicants - those who beg openly (The Koran 2:196; 22:28; 35-37).

Khurram Murad, founder of the UK-based Islamic Foundation, has this to say regarding the importance of sacrifice for a Muslim: “Sacrifices contribute to the success of our struggle in two ways. Firstly, they strengthen our inner spiritual and moral resources and develop qualities of character which are essential to our struggle at every level. Secondly, they develop and reinforce cohesion and discipline within a collectivism, giving it the strength and resources to conduct Jihad at the wider social level.

“Every act of sacrifice nourishes and increases your Iman; for it transforms a verbal confession and a mental conviction into a living reality. It confirms, and thus increases, your love for Allah; for at every step you give up something for the sake of this love (al-Imran 3:172-3). It reinforces your loyalty and fidelity to Allah; for all other loyalties become secondary as they are sacrificed for the sake of this loyalty. In short, sacrifices bring you nearer to Allah. The process is mutually interactive: the stronger the faith, the greater the will and capacity to sacrifice; the greater the sacrifices, the more internalised and deeper the faith.”

— MPK Kutty



Eco Notes
Exotic trees outnumber native species in PU
Vishal Gulati

THE lush green environs of the Panjab University campus make it one of the greenest campuses in the country. Trees of all shapes and sizes can be seen here. But very few know that exotic trees have the edge over native trees on the campus.

This was revealed in a study for the PhD degree conducted by Aruna Saini, a senior lecturer of GGSD College, Chandigarh. Of the 211 species of trees identified on the campus, 118 are exotic.

The campus, spread over 155 hectares, has 8,923 trees belonging to 60 families. Of these, 944 trees were recorded in the botanical garden, which is spread over 6.6 hectares, and 206 trees in the 1.5 hectare pharmaceutical garden. The overall tree density on the campus is 57 per hectare.

The trees on the campus have various uses, ranging from medicinal, ornamental and landscaping to timber yielding. As many as 133 species have been identified which have medicinal properties.

Of the exotic species, Mysore safeda, silver oak, asoka, gulabi tun and Buddha’s coconut recorded the maximum density.

Among the indigenous species, mango, amaltas, kusum, sisham and kadam were the top five trees. As many as 1,369 safeda and 988 mango trees were recorded in the university.

The study shows that Eucalyptus tereticornis, commonly known as Mysore safeda, a native of Australia, has the maximum cumulative growth. This species grows under a wide range of climatic conditions, ranging from warm to hot, sub-humid to humid.

The annual increment in diameter was recorded the maximum in a native tree, sisham. On the other hand, an exotic species, Buddha’s coconut, showed minimum increase in height and diameter.

Mango trees showed the maximum crown cover area. The least was measured in asoka trees.

In the botanical garden, silver oak was calculated to have the maximum relative density. The other species are khair, chikoo, dhak and tal. In the pharmaceutical garden, safeda trees outnumber others. The other species are simbal, amaltas, gular and mango.

The study also records 49 species of young trees, most of them ornamental.

Even though the number of exotic variety trees is much more, Ms Saini’s study reveals that native trees support better biomass of the floor vegetation than exotic trees. Mango, sisham, kusum and amaltas support maximum number of plant species under their canopy.

Even the physico-chemical status of the soil under dominant trees on the campus shows that native species are far better than exotic ones.

Besides trees, the university has 139 types of plants, including shrubs.

“There has been a lot of discussion worldwide over on the impact of non-native species on the ecology of the invaded area. Alien species once established in the new area are hard to suppress. Therefore, the ecological damage and changes in the ecological system becomes serious. These species affect the food chain and the soil characteristics and thereby the whole dynamics of the area,” says Prof R.K. Kholi of the Department of Botany, Panjab University.

According to him, there is need to lay more stress on planting trees of native species on the campus. That way the green cover will bloom in the real sense.



MC’s vermiculture project inspected
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 18
The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, today inspected the vermiculture project of the local municipal council at the Phase X Silvi Park here today.

She had earlier directed the council to expand the project as the trail had proved to be successful. The Deputy Director had come to participate in a workshop organised in connection with vermiculture at SD College in Chandigarh today.

The Executive Officer, Mr Harbhagwan Garg, said presidents of the civic bodies of Ropar and Ludhiana districts had attended the workshop, apart from officials of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology. Training about vermiculture was given at the workshop. He said that the Deputy Director had asked the heads of various civic bodies to start vermiculture projects in their areas.

The local council had started the project with five beds in the Silvi Park on a trail basis. The project is now being expanded. Another 26 beds in the green belt falling in the Phase V industrial area are being prepared and the expansion project is going to cost about Rs 1 lakh.

The project was started by the council with the help of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Sector 26, Chandigarh, which provided worms to the civic body. The worms had multiplied and now the council will manage to expand the project at its own level. The manure prepared under the project was being used for potted plants by the council.



No headway in theft case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 18
The police seems to have made little headway in the sensational theft at Sector 12- A, where cash, foreign currency and gold and diamond jewellery amounting to lakhs of rupees was stolen.

The thieves had struck at the residence of Mr D.L. Jindal while the entire family was away for the wedding of Mr Jindal’s younger son, Dr Pawan, at Gymkhana Club, on the night of January 15. The thieves had struck from the rear entrance of the house, decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs. However, the family has not yet submitted a list of goods stolen from the house.

The investigation was handed over to the CIA staff yesterday. So far, the police has been questioning employees of the caterer working at the house. However, a cook employed at the house has not been traced as yet. The police says they could get possible leads in the case with the arrest of the cook.



Torchlight procession by employees
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
A torchlight procession was held today by employees of the Municipal Corporation and the Union Territory Administration.

The protest was organised to draw the attention of the Administration and Municipal Corporation towards their various demands which included the regularisation of daily wagers and parity of their service condition with those of Central Government employees.

Speaking on behalf of the employees, Mr Rakesh Kumar, convener of Coordination Committee, said the agitation had started last month with a relay hunger strike which was still continuing.

He announced that a mass rally would be held on February 1.

He threatened that the employees would be forced to go on strike if no heed was paid to their demands.



Relief for tsunami victims
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
The Theatre Arts, Chandigarh, staged its 15th consecutive show of the play ‘Mitti ka Aadmi’ at the NAC, Market Complex, Mani Majra, near the Housing Board chowk on Monday to raise funds for the tsunami victims. The artists of the Theatre Arts enthralled the market members and general public with their performance.

Meanwhile, the Sampark Senior Citizens Welfare Committee, Sector 15, has collected Rs 27, 650 for tsunami victims. The donors include O.P. Mehta, S.R. Sharma, Gurdial Singh, Chaman Lal, Suman Chatrath, M.R. Malhotra, Pritam Kaur, H.S. Bawa, Amar Rajinder Singh, Kultar Rai, Santosh Bansal, Jagdip Chawla, Bhajan Singh, Swaran Khanna, Kashmir Singh, R.L. Talwar, Satish Kapur, O.P. Bhandari, Inder Pal, Harpal Singh, Major J.S. Sodhi, Amar Singh, S.S. Kumar and Nalina Arora.

The Director of Chandigarh Coaching Centre, Dr Vinod Khera, staff and students of the centre have donated Rs 87, 960 for tsunami victims. The donors are include: Dr Shasti Bala, Dr J.M. Sehgal, Balwinder Singh, S.K. Bhudiraja, Uma Kant Moudgil, Kiran Saini, Suneel Gupta, Parmod Kumar, Jagdev, Ashwani Ohri, Ambika Saini, Leena Arora, Manju Pahuja, Bhupinder Suddan and S.C. Gopal.

Mr Ram Murti Mahajan, president, Mahajan Sabha, Chandigarh, presented a draft for Rs 52100 for Tsunami relief fund for onward submission to Prime Minister National Relief Fund on behalf of the Mahajan Sabha, Chandigarh.



Children’s contribution to tsunami relief fund
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 18
Students and staff of Mount View Public School have collected Rs 33,500 for the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the rehabilitation of tsunami victims.

They went from house to house in the area and collected contributions from the public for the tsunami victims.

The members of the staff also donated their two-day salary towards the fund, while the students contributed from their pocket money.

A cheque for Rs 33,500 was given to The Tribune Tsunami Relief Fund by the school management in Chandigarh today.



Sector 17 shopkeeper gives Rs 5,000 to Sunaina
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Sunaina, whose two sons were allegedly murdered by her husband on Saturday, was today given Rs 5,000 and a quilt by a Sector 17 shopkeeper. Harwinder Singh of Sector 17 read about the tragedy in the Chandigarh Tribune and approached the police offering to help her.

Meanwhile, residents of Kishangarh village are also collecting money for her and are planning to open an account in her name in a bank in Mani Majra.

Kamleshwar Paswan was today remanded in police custody for 14 days. 



Road safety cell gets free phone
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
The road safety cell of the Chandigarh Traffic Police, housed in Children Traffic Park in Sector 23, has been provided a free telephone connection by Connect.

The police said any educational institution or other social organisations, willing to organise road safety exhibitions or lectures, could call the Chandigarh Traffic Police on telephone number 5060888.

It also added that any information regarding the study of road accidents would be made available to the social organisations and media by the cell on this number.



One held for forgery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
The police today arrested Kulbhushan Singla, a resident of Sector 16, Panchkula, for allegedly duping a private financing company of Rs 1.25 lakh by submitting forged documents to avail loan for a truck.

According to the police, Mr Shyam Sunder of Anu Kirti Leasing and Export Company private Limited in Sector 35, filed a complaint that the accused took a loan to purchase a second-hand Tata 407 mini truck. He submitted the forged documents of the non-exiting vehicle. The matter was reported to the police.

After preliminary investigation the police registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC in the Sector 36 police station. The accused would be produced in the court tomorrow.

In another incident, the police has arrested one Vinay Kumar, the alleged verifier in connection with the BSNL cheating case.

Sources at the Economic Offence Wing of the Chandigarh police confirmed the arrest. 



Conman takes bank for a ride
Raises loans from various banks against same vehicles
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, January 18
The Union Bank of India (UBI), Sector 35, filed a fresh complaint against Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal, a resident of Sector 28-A, against whom the Economic Offence Wing of the Chandigarh police is conducting an inquiry into alleged frauds committed by him with this bank. The earlier complaint was made in October last year.

The bank in its complaint to the SSP, Chandigarh, filed on January 11 alleged that Bharat Bhushan had committed a forgery on the basis of the registration certificate of a Maruti Zen car (HR-03-E-1270) financed by the UBI, Sector 35. The bank officials complained that he had raised loans from four other banks for the same vehicle.

Further the bank related the misdeeds of Bharat Bhushan, who had also got his Maruti Esteem car (HR-43-A-0004) financed by other three banks.

His modus operandi was to defraud the banks on the basis of the same registration certificate of vehicles, which otherwise were required to be registered in the name of the bank.

The bank officials also gave details of loans raised by him for a billiards centre at Sector 32-D. He took a loan of Rs 2 lakh from the State Bank of Patiala but the centre was closed and the loan was raised on nil assets. He had also taken a loan of Rs 50,000 from the same bank to purchase a computer by submitting fake bills.

Further the bank official also discovered from the Registering Authority, Panchkula, that the registration record of the Maruti Zen car financed by the bank did not show the UBI as a financing bank. The bank also alleged that Bharat Bhushan availed of a housing loan from the bank and did not repay even a single penny.

The bank also mentioned that he had not joined the investigation and did not turn up before the investigating officer.



Foods and beverages unit raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
A team of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has raided the premises of Penguin Foods and Beverages Private Limited at Nabipur village in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

According to a press note issued here today, the firm was engaged in the packing of the packaged drinking water in bottles and cups under the brand names Adipsa and Sip ‘n’ Sip, with the ISI marks.

Since the firm was not having any ISI certification marks and violating the BIS Act, 1986, a huge quantity of packaged drinking was seized during the raid, the press note added.



UK national’s bag stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
Three incidents of thefts were reported to the police while a case has been registered of attempted burglary in the city in the past 24 hours, the local police said here today.

Ms Sahara Elizabeth Lister from Buckingham Shiks, UK, reported to the police that her bag containing $ 30, debit cards and a direct bankcard were stolen from her room in Hotel Sunbeam, Sector 22.

The police said Ms Lister came to the city on January 16. She was on a business trip and was accompanied by a friend. She told the police that on January 17 she went to the city and came back in the evening. She was found her room ransacked and her bag missing.

A case of theft, under Section 380 of the IPC, has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

Meanwhile, Ms Lister has left for Amritsar early this morning.

In another incident, Mr Swinder Singh of Sector 8, reported to the police that his handbag was stolen from the City Club in the same sector. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 3 police station.

In a similar incident, Ms Anu Dasai of Sector 15, Panchkula, filed a complaint that her bag containing one gold chain, a pair of earrings, two credit cards, one Visa Card, a Mangal sutra, Rs 8000 and some other articles were stolen from Fun Republic in Mani Majra. A case of theft has been registered in the Mani Majra police station.

Mr Roshan Lal, the owner of a shop in Mauli Jagran, Mani Majra, reported to the police that the locks of his shop were broken during the night of January 16. The police said no loss of property was reported to them. A case under Sections 457 and 511 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 31 police station.


The local police has arrested five persons on the charges of gambling in the public place from the various parts of the city.

The police arrested Inder Kumar, alias, Bittu, of PGI Colony, Sector 12, from Sector 22 and recovered Rs 2200 from him. A case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered against him in Sector 17 police station.

Mathu Soami of Phase III and Vicky Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony were arrested from near public toilets in Madrassi Colony while gambling. The police recovered Rs 270 from their possession. Surinder Sharma and Daal Chand-both residents of Bapu Dham Colony, were arrested from the same locality. The police recovered Rs 240 from their possession.

Two separate cases were registered in Sector 26 police station under the Gambling Act in the Sector 26 police station.

Scooter stolen

Mr Raj Pal, a resident of 4162, Sector 37-C, reported to the police that his Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-01-Y-9562) was stolen on January 16 from a garage of the house number 4125 in the same sector. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.


A motorcyclist, Mr Aman Mehta of Sector 7, was hit by an Indica car in the market of Sector 10, yesterday. He suffered injuries in the accident and was admitted in the Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC against the car driver Neeraj Sharma from Karnur village in Ropar district in the Sector 3 police station.


Rakesh Kumar, alias, Babla (33), a resident of Sector 3229/I, 45-D, has gone missing since March 23, 2001. He is 5 feet 4 inches tall and has dark complexion. He has an injury mark on lower part of his right leg. 



Police remand for car thieves
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 18
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Panchkula, Mr Gulab Singh today remanded Lakhwinder Singh and Ashwani Sethi to police custody till January 27. The police claim that the two are members of a car stealing gang.

While Lakhwinder Singh was arrested by the police on January 8 and was in police remand till today, Ashwani was arrested yesterday. The police today booked Lakhwinder Singh in another case of car theft, wherein he had allegedly stolen two cars from a house in Sector 7 in September, 2004. The judge extended the remand of Lakhwinder till January 27, on the plea of the state that more cars had to be recovered from him.

The police also said Ashwani had given one of the stolen cars to a relative of a former MLA from Muktsar. As many as six cars were in his possession.

Six held guilty

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr L.N. Jindal today held six persons — Lakhwinder alias Lucky, Sukhwinder alias Kala, Babu Ram, Lokesh, Ajay and Rakesh alias Chuha — guilty of a robbery near Pashupati temple in Mansa Devi Complex. The accused had committed the robbery on March 10, 2002.

They had first knocked at the door of Ram Niwas, claiming that they were from the police. They then made him call out his landlord Sohan Lal. Once Sohan Lal opened the door, the accused barged in and attacked him and his two sons, Mahesh Kumar and Pawan Kumar. They snatched the jewellery worn by the three women in the house and decamped with Rs 5,000 cash. The punishment to the accused will be announced on January 20.

Five arrested

As many as five persons were arrested in separate incidents under various sections of the Gambling Act, and Rs 3,780 were recovered from them.

In another case, Harwinder Singh was arrested from Raipur Rani on charges of speculation, and Rs 2,170 recovered from him. 



Project to develop hi-tech night-vision devices
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
To meet requirements of the strategic sector in a rapidly changing, technology-intensive environment, the Semiconductor Complex Limited (SCL) has initiated a project to develop night vision devices incorporating revolutionary technology.

These devices, based on the micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) -- the new buzzword in the scientific community, would be significantly economical, smaller and lighter that the present equipment being used in the country, particularly the armed forces.

"We have completed the groundwork for the project and have sent project reports to the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister as well as the Department of Space," Dr M.J. Zarabi, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of SCL said.

A special conference to discuss various aspects of the project was organised by SCL here a few days ago, which was attended by senior representatives of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

SCL has also received technical specifications from the OFB which would be the guiding factors for the design and performance of the equipment. Dr Zarabi said that the design and development process was expected to take around three years. The technology to be used in the equipment was so far available only in the United States and France.

Though the armed forces and ISRO would be the primary users as the main application of these devices would be for surveillance, in-sighting devices mounted on weapons and armoured vehicles and space-based sensors, these can also be used for vegetation or agricultural monitoring, meteorology, fire-fighting cameras and predictive maintenance of electrical and mechanical equipment.



City ready to welcome IT companies
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Chandigarh’s expected leap into the select band of Information Technology destinations in the country is just a few weeks away. Swank glass-faced buildings, built by DLF, are ready for IT companies to move in. IT giant Infosys is getting ready for a start in March with at least 600 employees in the first phase.

Infosys has signed a MoU with the Chandigarh Administration to have a campus with the capacity of 5000 employees on its 20-acre site here. Infosys is the main anchor site of the IT Park located in Kishangarh village.

DLF, which is offering ready built spaces to IT companies, is scouting for takers for its massive floor space. Talks are on with the leading companies of the world to have offices here. “The names cannot be given due to obvious reasons”, said Mr Yogesh Verma, Chief Executive of DLF in Chandigarh.

The buildings with distinctive white background are ready with about 6 lakh square feet of space having cooling, fire fighting, water supply, power supply, power back-up and parking for 1200 cars in the basement.

The secretary, IT, Mr S.K. Sandhu said the companies would start moving in by March. “At the moment the outside infrastructure is being upgraded. This include building of six-lane roads from the railway station traffic light point to the IT Park,” he said.

World-class street light fittings are being put up for the entire route from the railway light point to the IT Park. The same high quality lights will also be installed within the IT Park. The area, where top companies of the world are locating themselves, has to stand out in all respects, argued Mr Sandhu. All wiring would be underground and infrastructure would be of high standard.

A confident Mr Yogesh Verma of DLF added: “Any time between April and May we will have our clients move in. Our buildings are ready.”

The company has already invested more than Rs 100 crore out of its expected Rs 160 crore target for Chandigarh. A few global companies have seen Chandigarh, which has been rated highly in the recent survey. Neo IT, a USA based firm, has ranked Chandigarh at sixth spot higher than Delhi and Mumbai.

The Director IT, Mr Vivek Atray, who has put in five years in the job, has a childlike glee on his face as he sees the project taking fledging steps. “This will change the perception and showcase Chandigarh as investment friendly destination,” he said. “We are ready to welcome the companies and some of them will move in soon,” he added.

The project had started from scratch while cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad were established centres by that time. Today Infosys has announced that Chandigarh would be its biggest campus after Bangalore, he added. Besides NEO IT, a survey by NASSCOM/KPMG rates Chandigarh among the top eight investment destinations in the city.

“Apart from the giants of the IT world, the IT Park will also accommodate small and medium companies and seven 1.5 acres build-to-suit sites are being auctioned soon”, said Mr Atray.

“The administration is also building an Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC)”, he added.

DLF has started work on its commercial area, which would house banks, retail stores, food outlets and the works, said DLF’s Yogesh Verma.


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