C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT set to launch ‘Apni beti, Apna dhan’ scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
For improving the status of the girl child in the families living below poverty line in the city, the Chandigarh Administration has chalked out “Apni Beti Apna Dhan Scheme-2005” under which Rs 5000 shall be deposited in the name of the girl child on her birth in the children career plan, which will be payable after the girl completes the age of 18 years. The scheme shall come into force from April 1.

The beneficiaries under this scheme shall be a girl child born on or after April 1, 2005, in the families living below the poverty line provided that either of the parents should not be an employee of the government or government, board or corporation or any public sector undertaking or organisation, having class I or class II status.

Either of the parents should not be an income tax payee. Parents of the girl child should be living below the poverty line as prescribed by the government of India from time to time, if either of the parents is not covered under the above two sub-clauses. The girl child should be either the first or second child of the family. Family having more than two children will not be eligible. However, if the second and third child are twins, the benefit shall also be available to the third child.



Tribune Impact
DC seeks report on mining operations in Ghaggar
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, has sought a report from the District Mining Office, over the taking over of mining operations in Ghaggar and other rivulets of Panchkula by the contractors owing allegiance to the Congress.

A report on how mining contractors affiliated with the previous Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government have lost control on mining of river bed material (RBM) to supporters of the newly elected Congress government was published in these columns on Tuesday.

Official sources say that the Deputy Commissioner has sought a report on how the Congress-supported contractors have taken over the firm, Maa Shakti Royalty Company, which had been awarded the contract in 2002, even as the contract period was on till March 31, 2005.

The mining operations in various river beds are generally controlled by men close to the political leadership in power in the state. One of the previous contractors was close to a former minister in the INLD government and another partner to the top brass in the then INLD government. A senior INLD leader was also a minor partner in this firm.

There were 34 partners in Maa Shakti Royalty Company. But after the contract was awarded to the firm, the partners owing allegiance to the INLD top bosses refused to share the profits with some partners, who collectively had a 40 per cent share in the firm. These partners, who were chucked out after a few months of the contract being awarded in year 2002, later joined hands with Congress leaders after the parliamentary elections last year.

After the results of the Assembly election were announced on February 27, after a few minor clashes, the control of all mining in river beds now rests with contractors enjoying the support of Congress leaders. There are 55 stone quarries in the district and mining contract is given for a period of three years. For the first time in year 2002, the Department of Mines and Geology had clubbed 44 quarries as a single unit, saying that this was economically viable. The remaining 11 quarries falling in the Barwala and Raipur Rani area were auctioned in 2001 and this contract expired on March 31, 2004.

The mining in these 11 quarries is being done on permits, and these were being awarded to contractors owing allegiance to the INLD till the party suffered a defeat at the hustings. After the election, the permit issued on March 11 has been awarded to the contractors enjoying the support of the present Congress regime. They have formed a separate company by the name of Ramgarh Royalty Company.



20 sarpanches elected unopposed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
As many as 949 panches, 20 sarpanches and six panchayat samiti members have been elected unopposed.

Deputy Commissioner Mr Brijendra Singh, said that 393 panches in the Pinjore block, 211 in the Barwala block, 217 in the Raipur Rani blockand 128 in Morni block have been declared elected. Amongst the sarpanches who have been unanimously elected, eight are in Pinjore block, seven in Morni, four in raipur Rani and one in Barwala.

The DC said that there are 52 wards for Panchayat Samiti - 19 in Pinjore, 13 in Barwala, and 10 each in Morni and Raipur Rani. Two Panchayat Samiti members in Pinjore, three in Morniand one in Bawala have been elected unopposed. 



CAT restrains Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has restrained the Chandigarh Administration from declaring the result of the selection process to appoint regular wardens in the Burail Jail.

The contractual employees, who had been working in the jail, had moved the tribunal against the move by the administration to appoint regular 19 wardens. After the Burail jail break episode, the administration has sought permission from the Centre to appoint regular employees.

While hearing the plea of the applicant, the tribunal did not stay the process of selection but directed the respondents not to declare the result. The case would come up for hearing on March 30.



Problems beset people living outside lal dora
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Can the guardian of law be its violator at the same time? The answer could be affirmative if the case of Hallomajra village is considered.

While the Chandigarh Administration has been browbeating the occupants of houses living outside the lal dora of the village, few years back it allowed industrial sheds adjacent to lal dora.

Highlighting the fact, the Joint Action Committee, a forum of residents living outside the lal dora, said the administration can not adopt two parallel set of rules while planning the area outside the village pherni.

Over 800 houses have come up outside the lal dora and the issue of demolition is like a Damocles’ sword hanging over their heads.

Instead of sorting out the basic issues like water, electricity and cleanliness, the officers prefer to discuss the issue of encroachments, said Mr B.S. Rawat, a resident of Deep Complex in the village. A visit to the village reveals that cleanliness has been a major causality there.

A low-lying chunk of land, overrun with wild growth, is being used to dump garbage. Being located alongside the Ambala-Chandigarh highway, the site paints a shabby image of the city beautiful. During rains, storm water is also collected in the low lying area allowing mosquitoes to breed.

Not to mention that the village panchayat was spending thousands of rupees on private safai karamcharis. The employees collect the garbage from open drains and dump it on the outskirts of the village.

Mr C.P. Mittal, another resident complained that as integration of the basic services like sewerage system for population inside and outside the lal dora had not been done, the sewerage is often chocked. Not a single penny can be spent on providing amenities to those living outside the lal dora, said a member of the village panchayat.

Inability on part of the panchayat to remove encroachments in front of shops and houses has resulted in narrowing of the lal dora. There have been instances when fire broke out in the heart of the village and fire engines could not reach the spot.

The suffering of those living outside the lal dora are innumerable. “There is no regular water supply. The power cable being used by a private contractor to give bulk power supply hangs precariously over wooden poles”, said Mr Rawat.

He added that the concept of lal dora had out lived its utility.



Passing Thru

What does disability and human rights mean to you?

Anuradha Mohit
Anuradha Mohit,
Special Rapporteur, National Human Rights Commission

A disabled person is one with special abilities and human rights is about respecting this diversity.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I lost my sight in a car accident when I was 10. At that time it was believed that people with my disability could only learn music so I did and became a lecturer of Music at KMV College in Jalandhar. After seven years I decided to work for the rights of disabled people with the National Association of the Blind.

Call it my curiosity or a coincidence that Justice Verma (former Chairman of the NHRC) asked me to get associated with the NHRC. I am also involved with the UN International Coordinating Committee on drafting a treaty on the rights of the disabled.

What is your work like at the NHRC?

I have been with them for three years incorporating disability perspective and encouraging the government to see disability in the policy part of planning legislation.

What are the three biggest causes of disability in the world?

It would be wars and civil conflicts, occupational hazards and road accidents.

— Gayatri Rajwade



Phase I residents demand adequate facilities
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 24
Occupants of shop-cum-flats in the Phase I, Industrial Area, have demanded proper development and adequate facilities in the area.

They said the area from where the development of the town had started was being given a step motherly treatment. Complaints in this regard had been made over the past 30 years at various levels but to no avail.

Mr Gurdarshan Singh Bal said according to the original plan, 24 SCFs and 124 booths were to be constructed in the area under the Jawahar Rojgar Yojna. But the authorities allotted sites only for the SCFs. He said commercial activity was adversely affected in the area due to non development. He said the residents came to the area in 1975 but the department concerned had so far not been able to solve their problems.

Residents said many allottees had moved out of the area after putting a lock on their units to start business elsewhere.

Residents demanded that the area be developed according to the lay out plan, registration documents be given to those allottees who had made all the payments and allottees who had paid all the instalments should not be charged penal interest.



Holi celebration organised
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
It was a fight over water... but of a different kind. The children at Bal Niketan, Sector 2, ran after one another with water filled pichkaris, and holi colours in their tiny fists trying to splash colours on their playmates.

Holi celeberations were organised here by Spice Telecom. Ms Monica Bajpai, Head — Human Resource Department of Spice telecom, said that they decided to celebrate Holi with the children of Bal Niketan — a home for destitute children, in the hope of bringing cheer among these children.

Children between the ages of 5 to 15 years were having a time of their lives as they played with water and dry holi colours.

They were also served refereshments and given gifts. As they came to receive their gifts one by one, the Spice team greeted them a Happy Holi by putting some colour on them, and the children reciprocated the gesture.

After this ceremony, it was a free for all and it seemed a difficult task to get the children out of the fun mood.

Ms Bajpai informed that Spice has launched a special scheme on Holi. “Subscribers can download ring tones and dedicate holi songs and even send a Holi greeting at a nominal rate of Rs 5 per minute,” she said.



Probe youth’s disappearance, police told
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Gulab Singh today ordered the police to inquire into the alleged disappearance of a youth from Gumthala village in Kalka in June 2003.

Acting on a complaint filed by Rachani Devi, the CJM directed the police to file their report by May 9, 2005. Rachani Devi had alleged that Mr Gurmail Singh of Dera Bassi and Sita Ram of Moginand village had taken away her son, Amarnath, in June 2003 on the pretext of getting him employed. However, till date his whereabouts of are not known.

The petitioner alleged that though she had made many representations to the police but no action has been taken so far.



Anganwadi workers sensitised on gender issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Anganwadi workers of the city were provided ‘training in gender sensitisation’ at a programme organised by the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development at Panjab University under the aegis of the Social Welfare Department, Chandigarh Administration.

Earlier the Centre had been asked to conduct an evaluation of the ‘Apni Beti Apna Dhan’ scheme launched by the Administration in 1997 with a view to stem the decline in the sex ratio of women vis-vis the men. One of the recommendations emerging from the study was that, for better operation of the scheme, there was a need for gender sensitisation of the anganwadi workers who are the main functionaries at the grassroots level for its implementation.

As a result, all 300 anganwadi workers received training in five ‘gender sensitisation’ programmes.

Inaugurating the programmes, Ms Madhavi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare, Chandigarh, referred to anganwadi workers as her “fauj” who could make a positive difference in the status of women in the city.

Prof Aruna Goel, Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies emphasised concerted efforts were needed to improve the situation. The present training programmes were a step in that direction.

During the course, anganwadi Workers were made aware of sex and gender, gender role stereotypes in addition to women’s issues and how to deal with these. How anganwadi workers can act as catalysts for the empowerment of women and how the scheme ‘apni beti apna dhan’ can be better implemented. Self-help groups, basic entrepreneurship, empowerment of women, legal awareness and health of women and children were some of the other subjects of the training.

The programme concluded today at seminar hall of the Department of Sociology, Panjab University. Ms Madhvi Kataria hoped that the programmes would lead to a “silent revolution” in the status of women.

Prof Aruna Goel also emphasised upon the need to involve men in all efforts for promoting gender equality.



Mayor of Surrey on friendship mission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, the Mayor Ms Anu Chatrath, and her councillors, played host to the Mayor of Surrey (British Colombia in Canada) and his 12-member team, in the city as part of their visit to Punjab, today.

The Mayor, Mr Doug McCallum, said they were here on a friendship mission. “We are here to exchange ideas and interact on cultural and economic issues with the people of Ludhiana and Jallandhar, something on the lines of the concept of ‘twin cities’. You have shown us you grow wheat better than we do, we hope to take that technology back,” said Mr McCallum with a smile.

He attributes this visit to his “team of 12 members who are all from the Punjab and all of them are very close to their roots. They persuaded me to come and see Punjab they all talk of.”

In Surrey, out of a population of four lakh citizens, nearly one lakh are of Indian origin and most of them have their homes in Punjab. Although none of their eight elected councillors are Indian, their city manager, Mr Umentra Mital, is and he is part of the delegation of 12 citizens who have come visiting India.

Chandigarh has left a lasting impression on Mr McCallum. “You have a very, very beautiful city,” he said explaining that even Surrey is referred to as the ‘City of Parks’ as 50 per cent of the area of land is reserved for projects such as parks and the natural vegetation is carefully preserved. He believes that the Sukhna Lake, which he visited yesterday “is a reflection of the mission to make this city a beautiful place for the dwellers.”

Mr Gurinder Singh Gill, one of the 12 delegates with Mayor McCallum, lived in Moga till 1984, after which he moved to Canada. As part of the ‘friendship’ contingent, Mr Gill believes a move like this is only the beginning. He hopes that the outcome of this visit will result in more interaction and participation of Indians living abroad. “All of us visited a college in Raikot, in Ludhiana District, where our Mayor donated some money to the college. We hope to do some concrete work soon in our own hometowns or villages.”

The councillors at the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation believe this is only the first step to increased communication and awareness of systems from outside that could be adopted for Chandigarh.

The Mayor of Surrey is elected by popular vote by the people with a three-year tenure. Mr McCallum has been in office for nine years now and he runs a debt-free council. The revenue of the city comes primarily from property tax, which has been frozen for the last nine years now. The revenue for the year is to the tune of 180 to 200 million Canadian dollars a year of which a lot of emphasis is laid on building amenities for the youth like playgrounds, swimming pools and other sporty facilities that will keep them away from destructive influences like drugs.



Search Within
Holi celebrates the warmth and beauty of spring

Spring is here. So too Holi. Bright sunny mornings and boisterous children going around with their water-filled balloons are the first sign of this festival of joy and mirth.

Holi heralds the arrival of Spring - the season of hope and new beginnings - and marks the rekindling of the spirit of life. Flowers are in full bloom in the gardens. Mango trees, with their yellow blossoms are a delight for the eyes. In gardens, meadows and lawns, nature presents itself in a riot of colours and imparts to us the beauty and freshness of the whole of creation. Out of the cold dullness and darkness of winter emerges joy-giving spring. That is Holi. The celebration is held on the last day of Phalgun

Many legends are associated with Holi. The killing of Putana by Krishna when he was still an infant is one. This tradition identifies he with Holika. Kamsa, who wanted to murder Krishna, gets her to go and offer the infant her poisoned breast. Krishna sucks her very life out of her. The villagers burn her body on a pile of wood. Scholars are of the view that Putana is a personification of diseases afflicting children.

The Narada Purana links the celebration to the commemoration of the burning of Kama by Shiva or the burning of Holika who was a terror for Prahlada.

Prahlada’s egoistic father Hiranyakashipu ordered his people to worship him as god. His son Prahlada, defying his father’s orders, continued his worship of Lord Vishnu. The king, wanting to kill Prahlada, and wipe out the very name of Lord Vishnu, dispatched his sister Holika, for achieving his sinister purpose. She had a boon that she will never perish by fire. She took Prahlada on her lap and entered into a blazing fire. Surprisingly, she was devoured by the flames while Prahlada remained unscathed.

The Sikh community celebrates Holi with much feasting and merriment and call it Hola Mohalla. Rangapanchami is the name given to this festival in Maharashtra. In South India, specially in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the legend that is popular is of Kamadeva, the love-god. In spring he moves through woodlands and hunts birds, beasts and men. Once in his foolish pride, he aimed his arrow at the mighty Lord Shiva who was in deep meditation. Lord Shiva opened his third eye and burnt him to ashes. Grief-stricken Rati, Kamadeva’s wife, besought the Lord to take pity on her and restore her husband to life. Shiva relented and granted her the boon that she could see her husband but he would remain “anang”— without the physical human form. Holi is also seen as a funeral of the old year and the beginning of the new.

One of the features of the Holi celebration is the obscene talk and behaviour indulged in by members of both sexes. This has been seen as a piece of “sympathetic magic” to induce fertility. Just as before fecundation can take place, man needs to be aroused, so too nature needs to be aroused before it gives fecundating rains. Further the obscene behaviour is interpreted as a form of psychological purification. There is a lot of suppressed passions in man and the Holi revelry serves as a catharsis.

However, of late, there has been strident criticism of the wild and unrestrained manner in which the festival is celebrated causing problems of law and order. The habit of daubing strangers’ faces with coloured dust and throwing water on unwary passengers and teasing of women had often led to unpleasant consequences.

Perhaps an interesting feature is the Holi-milan during which people greet each other and even strangers with warm embraces. The exchange of the kiss of peace and the applying of colour ignore all social distinctions based on caste, religion, wealth, or status. Holi is a call to man to free himself from a narrow understanding of religion.

This coming together of neighbours is the need of the day. As man turns inward with selfish pursuit of wealth and power and becomes more and more individualistic, he must lose his joy of relationships in the larger community. Festivals like Holi, regardless of the legends and mythology surrounding them and the rituals accompanying them offer excellent opportunities for renewal of relationships in the community.

— MPK Kutty


Gesture for tsunami-hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
The Chandigarh club has offered to provide help in bringing up children orphaned by the tsunami tragedy.

The club will set up a “ Chandigarh Club Social Welfare Trust” and will invite senior members and former presidents to get involved in the project. The club has asked the SOS children’s village — an NGO — and offered help. 



Row over school buses in housing complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Controversy over plying of school buses inside the Pushpac complex in Sector 49-B by the Chandigarh Administration refuses to die with certain residents now coming in favour of the administration’s decision.

Reacting to a news item published in these columns yesterday, Mr GR Kalra, a resident, termed the decision of the president of the society, Mr BD Agnihotri, to stop the plying of school buses inside the complex as “arbitrary and illegal”.

The society has a huge complex having 590 dwelling units spreading over 22 acres, and a ban on the entry of the buses will put the school-going children to a lot of inconvenience, he added.

Mr Agnihotri, resigned in protest against the decision to allow the plying of buses inside the complex.

The decision would lead to accidents in the complex, he had argued.



Six held for clash

Panchkula, March 24
The police has arrested six residents of Pinjore for their alleged involvement in a brawl held at Pinjore Garden on March 16.

The suspects Harjit Singh, Vinod Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Rakesh, Amit and Sikandar has assaulted on the complaint of Mr Satish Kumar of Ambala Cantonment area. His complaint to the police Mr Satish had alleged that Harjit Singh, Vinod Kumar along with five others had assaulted his brother-in-law Mr Rakesh Kumar. The assailants were occupying a Tata Sumo when the incident occurred.

The police today produced the six in a court and were remanded to judicial custody. OC



Suicide bid by villager
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 24
A resident of Lambian village tried to commit suicide here today.

According to the police, Amarjit Singh had allegedly poured kerosene on himself and was about to set himself on fire when the police nabbed him. His nephew, Jagtar Singh, was stopping him to take the ultimate step but Amarjit Singh refused to listen to him. Jagtar Singh then informed the police which soon reached the house of Amarjit Singh.

The police has registered a case under Section 309, 506 and 511 of the IPC in this regard.



House burgled in Sector 40
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 24
A house was burgled in the city, while the police arrested one person accused of stealing a mobile phone here today.

Mr Prem Nath Sharma of Sector 40 reported to the police that eight tolas of gold ornaments were stolen from his residence between March 14 and 23. The complainant was out of station for the period and noticed the locks of his house broken on his arrival yesterday. A case was registered under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC in the Sector 39 police station.

Arrested for stealing

The police has arrested Manoj Kumar of Sector 38 for stealing a mobile phone. The police said the accused had stolen the mobile phone, belonging to Mr Rakesh Kumar of Sector 37, from his shop about 20 days ago. The accused came to the shop of the complainant last evening and the complainant recognised his phone. He reported the matter to the police and subsequently the police arrested the accused.

Smack seized

The local police arrested Ajay Singh of Sector 40 with 4.50 gm of smack from near 3 BRD road, Kali Bari Mandir, Sector 31, yesterday. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act was registered in the Sector 31 police station.

Liquor seized

The police arrested Sanjay Kumar of Sector 19 with six bottles of Officer’s Choice whisky from near Rehri Market in Sector 19 last night. The police said the accused was selling liquor illegally. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act was registered in the Sector 19 police station.

Motor cycle stolen

Mr Gaurav Marwha of Sector 44 reported to the police that his Yamaha Motor cycle (CH-01-K-3209) was stolen from his residence in December last year. A case of theft under registered in this regard in the Sector 34 police station.

Scooter stolen

Mr Jeet Singh of Sector 39 reported to the police that his Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-01-P-6584) was stolen near Neelam Cinema parking lot. A case of theft was registered.



Traders’ bandh from March 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Vyapaari Sadan of the city has given a call for a three-day bandh beginning March 30 and extended support to the All-India Udyog Beopar mandal and the Confederation of Traders of India to protest against the implementation of VAT.

The sadan appealed to all traders and industries of the city to observe a 72-96 hours bandh against the implementation of VAT, claiming that VAT was not a solution for the development of the Indian economy.

The sadan has urged all traders to keep their establishments totally closed on March 30 and 31 as also on April 1 in support to the call given by the All-India bodies. The president of Vyappar Sadan, Mr Arvind Jain, challenged the government to hold an open debate on VAT.

Meanwhile, senior officers of the State Excise and Taxation Department of the Chandigarh Administration, including the ADC, Mr Inderjeet Singh Sandhu, held a seminar on VAT in collaboration with the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries today at Community Centre, Industrial Area Phase I, here today.

More than 300 industrialists attended the seminar where officers explained the concept of VAT in details and the mode of implementation of VAT in Chandigarh. The Chamber of Chandigarh Industries opposed the move of implementation of VAT in the present form.



Fun City to celebrate Holi in style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Fun City is all set to celebrate Holi with vigour. This is the fifth consecutive year when the Fun City is organising a gala event to celebrate the festival of colours.

More than 20 top Punjabi singers from the region will be present at the venue to regale the audience. Arrangements have been made for 4000 visitors, who will get to listen to artists like Surjit Khan, Meet Malkit, Jassi Jaspal, Jinder Jinda and others.

Also present will be Romy Gill, Sunita Bhatti, Ashu Punjabi among others. Deejay Honey from UK will mix music for fun lovers.


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