C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Traders divided over course of action on VAT
Mixed response to bandh call
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 30
Peaceful protests by traders of the city today marked the first day of protests against the implementation of VAT from April 1. Dharnas were held though shops remained open in most markets.

It was business as usual in most markets, including Sector 17, where the shops remained open and shopkeepers didn’t participate in any protest. The Beopar Mandal held a demonstration at the Madhya Marg and businessmen burnt an effigy of VAT. All members of the mandal displayed black flags outside their shops. They also appealed to traders to close their shops tomorrow as a mark of solidarity.

Meanwhile, on a call by the Vyapaar Sadan, the Sector 22-D market and booths observed a complete bandh while the Sector 18 market was partially closed. The sadan has given a call for a 72-hour bandh which will continue tomorrow and on April 1.

The grain market also remained closed following a decision of the Grain Market Association. Members of the association demanded that VAT should be more “consumer-friendly”.

However, the traders are divided over the course of action against VAT. While the Vyapaar Sadan gave a call for a “maha bandh”, the Beopar Mandal, the apex body of city traders, urged the shopkeepers to hold protests without closing the business establishments.

Petrol stations to remain open

The Vice-President of the Petroleum Dealers Association, Col H.S. Kapoor (retd), said they were not participating in protests and all petrol stations would remain open irrespective of the bandh call by traders. He said the Chandigarh Administration had been receptive to their demand for the modification in VAT and the closure of petrol stations only be used as a last resort.

MOHALI: The bandh call given by various organisations against the implementation of VAT evoked a mixed response here. Markets in many areas remained closed in the first half of the day but started opening as the day progressed.

Some shops were seen functioning normally even in the morning. Some of the shopkeepers had lifted only half the shutters. Confectioners and fruit and vegetable sellers remained open in many areas.

It is alleged that members of two traders’ associations forced some shopkeepers to close their shops. However, shopkeepers argued that as the bill in connection with VAT had already been passed there was no use of resorting to a bandh.

A shopkeeper of Phase V said some additional taxes had been imposed on certain items which were not there in Chandigarh. As such various items were going to be costlier in Mohali as compared to Chandigarh. This would adversely affect the business in the town.

Mr Sham Bansal, president of the Kiryana Merchants Association, said that shops in Phase III B 2 and VII remained open as the association of both the markets had refused to join the bandh.

Mr L.D. Jindal, president of the Mohali Vyapaar Mandal, said that the response to the bandh call was nearly 75 per cent in the morning. He said that the two organisations had to intervene to get the shops closed as the police was allegedly asking shopkeepers to open their shops.

Chemists’ shops in the town remained closed.



Waiting for a theft to take place
Many govt houses sans boundary walls
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
It may come as a surprise but close to half of the 15,921 government houses in the city do not have basic facilities like boundary walls or entrance gates leaving the occupants under a perpetual fear of theft and sense of insecurity.

Interestingly,when a person is building his house he cannot even get a completion certificate from the Estate Office.

The latest data of the UT Administration says besides the boundary walls, there are no drive-ways coupled with absence of entrance gates and pucca courtyards.

Most occupants have installed some of these facilities like gates on their own.

The data was put up before the House Allotment Committee recently. Sources in the Administration say residents have been ruing the lack of these basic amenities.

The boundary walls are missing in small houses in Sector 22, 19 and 23.The worst sufferers are the houses which are smaller than type-IX. These are type X, XI, XII and XIII. The type-XIII are the smallest houses in the city.

In the absence of boundary walls, residents have grown hedges which give a haphazard look to the sectors thus spoiling their beauty.

Close to 80 per cent of government houses have ordinary flooring while the tile-terracing has outlived its life, says the data.

Meanwhile, government employees are in for a windfall as the UT Administration now plans to provide the very latest in government houses.

Following a letter of the Union Urban Development Ministry, the office of the Chief Architect is in the process of approving upgradation of the Type-X houses to Type-XIII.

The bathrooms in these houses will have kota stone or ceramic- tiles flooring. The kitchen will also have kota stone and ceramic tiles besides wooden cabinets.

To ensure safety, mesh doors and iron grills will be provided. All this work is intended for the next financial year starting April 1.

For the bigger houses, that is Type-IX to Type-I, the entire flooring will be replaced. The idea is to have a ceramic-tile flooring in all such houses so as to give a uniform look. Flooring has been allowed in certain Type-V and VI houses.



Eateries allowed to use open spaces at night
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Markets in the city are all set to adorn a new look in the evenings. Marked as an attempt to make markets more lively, the Municipal Corporation has decided to allow eating joints to use the open space in front of their shops for making seating arrangements in the evenings.

Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, while addressing a press conference here today, said the eating joints would be allowed to use the open space in front of their shops after 8.15 pm till 10 pm. The shopkeepers would be expected to mark the planned area for eating activity with nylon ropes.

Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, said those running business in booths and shops would be allowed to use the tiled space between the verandah and the parking. Shopkeepers would be expected to pay Rs 1,000 per month for the space adjoining a booth and Rs 2,000 for the space adjoining a bay shop.

Those running eatries in booths would be paying Rs 2,000 per month in case they used the space in front of an adjoining booth and shop owners using space in front of the adjoining shop would be required to pay Rs 4,000 per month, Mr Aujla said.

Mr Aujla said, “the concept for allowing eateries to use open spaces at night was a popular concept in Western countries. Once the shopping areas were closed for normal activity, eateries could make use of the available space and make it more lively and colourful”.

Ms Chatrath said the MC could cancel the permission in case the eateries were found not taking care of garbage disposal.



Festivals, exhibitions allowed in city’s open spaces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Open spaces in the city will be put to better use. The Chandigarh Administration today allowed holding of various festivals, exhibitions, rehearsals, performances and get-together of artistes at Chandigarh Lake, Rock Garden, Leisure Valley, Sector 10, Bougainvillea Garden, Sector 3, Sector 17 Plaza, Rose Garden, Nehru Park, Sector 22, Market Square, Sector 35, Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, Fragrance Garden, Sector 36 and Market Square, Sector 19.

Kalagram at Mani Majra would be the nodel place for all activities.

At the initiative of the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), the Chandigarh Administration has decided to give exposure to upcoming professionals, amateur atristes and students for encouraging talent and to promote art, culture, visual and performing arts as well as aesthetic integration of various art forms. The capability and calibre of the students and professionals will be exposed to the audience of the city at different places as the city has a lot of potential areas where regular cultural activities can be sustained. This will create a healthy atmosphere not only for the local citizens but also for the tourists visiting the city from various parts of the country and abroad.

Besides organising cultural programmes, quiz programmes related to music, dance and general knowledge etc. will also be organised for greater participation of the audience. Regular painting, sculpture and other visual exhibits will be displayed at various locations where young students of fine arts will be provided space and exhibition material for display of their work. All the three akademies of Chandigarh will be asked to organise mushairas, kavi darbars of writers and poets, workshops, exhibition and sponsor cultural programmes. The Education Department, UT, Chandigarh will explore the availability of groups of students of various schools, colleges and institutions to perform their art so as to provide them exposure, inspiration and confidence in taking up challenges relating to the field of performing art.

In this connection, the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) will be asked to organise potters’ and craftmen’s exhibitions, professional workshops on theatre, dance, painting, sculpture etc. for children and amature artistes at Kalagram. It will also be requested to organise annual festivals of Teej, Holi, Basant, Baisakhi, food festivals and festivals of classical music and dance and hold annual inter zonal theatre festival on permanent basis, a spokesperson said.



CAT stays order on KV Principals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The move by the Central Government to revert the Principals of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) has once again been delayed with CAT staying the operation of any such order for at least two weeks.

Issuing a notice to the Commissioner for April 5, the tribunal after hearing the plea of the applicants said a similar relief had been offered by the Mumbai Bench of the tribunal in a similar case.

The applicants had in their plea stated that the sangathan had issued a show-cause notice to them asking why their services as Principal should not be cancelled.

Recently, the KVS Commissioner, Mr Ranglal Jamuda, had issued show-cause notices to the applicants. In an order dated December 3, 2004, the sangathan amended the KVS (Appointment, Promotion, and Seniority) Rules, 1971, by passing the basic rules of promotion thus making the Vice-Principals (with one-year experience) eligible for the post of Principal. The amendment affected the legitimate right of the applicants who had been working as Principals for around five years and there was no adverse report against them.

The applicants stated that the rules had been amended with some ulterior motive to accommodate the Vice-Principals who had completed one year of service. The ground taken by the respondents was that the regular appointment of Principal was beyond the mandate prescribed by the Board of Governors and exercising of powers by the then Commissioner was unauthorised.

The applicants were initially appointed as Principals on a deputation basis on May 19, 2000, as they were already working as PGT teachers and were subsequently appointed as such on a regular basis on May 29, 2001.

In an earlier case, the tribunal in an order dated February 9, 2005, gave liberty to the respondents to proceed against the Principals in accordance with the law and quashed an impugned order of reversion of the applicants from the post of Principals to PGT teachers.

In the previous case, the Principals had contended that no show-cause notices had been issued to any of them to explain their point of view.

Since they had been directed to hand over the charge to the Vice-Principals and senior most PGTs, an ambiguous situation could emerge as they would have to work under “junior teachers”, they said.



British Police, Punjab Police join hands on forced NRI marriages
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
With around 250 cases of forced and forged marriages involving NRIs, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis surfacing in Britain, the British Police and the Punjab Police have decided to jointly deal with menace through social awareness campaigns and legal means.

This was disclosed here today by Inspector Karpaul Siotha, Community Officer Ramesh Kumar and Senior Project Manager and Indian Police Liaison Officer Harvinder Singh Rai, representatives from the British Police. They have had interaction with Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi police to "nip in the bud" the growing menace since they reached India on March 20.

Inspector Siotha said the Indian and British Police forces would now try to protect the rights of those young persons who were married off without their consent by their parents. He, however, distinguished a forced marriage with an arranged marriage saying that arranged marriages had consents of the girls and boys who were getting married. The British officer said though complaints of forced marriage were amongst Europeans also, yet the number was high amongst Asians. He hinted that Britain could even think of a law to protect the rights of the young persons.

The British officers have forged an alliance with a non-governmental organisation, Roshni, run by an IPS officer D. J. Singh from the Phillaur Police Academy in this regard. The two police forces will launch campaigns in India to spread the message that forced and forged marriages are socially unacceptable.

The effort has followed the British High Commission getting around 250 complaints of forced marriages.

The British officers said apart from this effort, the two police forces would enlarge their engagements in other policing fields. The British team even went to colleges in Amritsar and Jalandhar to interact with students about forced marriages.

The British Police has opened victim support units for the purpose.

They said the highest Indian police officer in Britain Anil Pathani would visit India in this connection.

The British Police officers said the British Police was now recruiting a large number of minority Asians in the constabularies and their number in the West Midlands police had risen to 6.9 per cent.

Inspector Siotha is also Chairman of the Black and Asian Police Association (BAWA). The British Police officers said teams would be sent to Bangladesh and Pakistan also to spread awareness about the phenomenon that was unacceptable in any civilised society, including the British.

They said the number of Asian personnel in the British Police had increased rapidly during the past 20 years.

The British Police officers said the respect for human rights was utmost in Britain as the accused was always under observation through close circuit cameras and interrogation was recorded. They said despite avoiding third-degree methods, the detection rate in Britain was 71 per cent and conviction also very high because of resorting to scientific investigation.

They said the community policing efforts in Punjab were praiseworthy and specially separate cells for visitors who met police officers in plain clothes.



Passing Thru

Upen Patel, fashion model
Upen Patel, fashion model

What is keeping you busy these days?

It has been two years in modelling now and life has been a roller coaster. I was busy shooting in London and received offers to work in India. So I am here now.

Modelling is considered a short- lived profession?

I am too young right now and I have not thought about it. I have received offers from Bollywood also and I have done musical videos .I am brand ambassadors of many products. There are many awards to my credit. I am cherishing to be the biggest model of India.

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here to sashay down the ramp, displaying the spring summer collection of fashion brand. They have paid me very well.

— Swarleen Kaur



Raingods can end your water woes
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Water Harvesting System At Home

A rain barrel is an ordinary storage drum available in the market. The catchment area is the roof which has to be cleaned regularly once before the monsoons begin.

The roof is connected to the drum by way of pipes. The rain that falls, reaches the drum through these pipes, which flows through entry points on the roof connected to the pipes.

The rain barrel is placed a little above the ground and has a tap attached at the bottom.

The first rains are generally let off as it contain pollutants but thereafter rain water is considered to be the purest form of water that can be collected.

A filter is fitted on the drum to reduce impurities in the water collected. This could be small perforated stainless steel basin with two layers of sponge or clean muslin cloth folded over a few times. This filter can be cleaned regularly.

Chandigarh, March 30
According to the runoff calculator on rainwater harvesting, a 50 sq mt rooftop in Chandigarh can yield 24,680 litres of water annually. This quantity is adequate to meet the drinking water needs of a family of four for nearly two years.

More than 80 per cent of rural and 50 per cent of urban, industrial and irrigation water requirements in the country are met from ground water. As the digging deeper for reservoirs of water continues the rainwater is allowed to ‘drift’ away without harnessing its full potential.

Although Punjab and Chandigarh do not have legislation to implement water harvesting, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has made rainwater harvesting mandatory in all new buildings and the building plans are not approved by the Estate Office unless provisions for water harvesting are made in the plans.

The rooftop-water harvesting system developed at the Bhujal Building in Sector 27 was completed a little more than a year ago at the cost of Rs 3.74 lakh.

Engineers with the Water Board in Chandigarh firmly believe the payoffs to the level of ground water are very encouraging when water harvesting systems are brought into place.

“The difference is seen in one rainfall. The water level rises immediately. Every government building in the city should have a rooftop water harvesting system. Although these are expensive for individual houses to install but collective housing societies, apartments, government buildings can install these facilities,” they say.

The water is collected through pipes running down to collection pits from the roof of the building and, after a process of filtering, is directed through a bore well to the second aquifer layer (porous, water bearing layers of sand, gravel and rock below the earth’s surface; reservoirs for groundwater) and is finally absorbed by the earth.

There are several buildings and installations that have water harvesting systems in place in Chandigarh although individuals are yet to adopt this.

The Central Ground Water Board holds regular training programmes for the Central Government employees, government teachers, schools and colleges and also conducts awareness programs three times a year.

The DAV Public School at Police Lines in Ambala is playing a host to one such awareness programme on March 30.

Despite a growing interest in such sessions, people do not seem to be adopting these water management systems in their homes.

Some are unsure about using rainwater either for drinking or in their households like Mrs Kanta Chopra, a housewife, who was categorical in her refusal to collect rainwater and reuse it or to channel it back underground.

“Rainwater is dirty as it contains all the pollution collected in the air,” she says.

“The easiest form of rainwater harvesting for people at homes is to connect a rain barrel to the roof using a pipe,” says S. Vishwanath, water activist and founder of ‘rainwaterclub.org’ in Bangalore.

“The ‘club’ is a virtual forum where people can share their knowledge and experiences on water management.”

This water can be used for domestic purposes, for washing, cleaning or even for drinking water by attaching the outflow to a water purification filter.

The overflow can be used to recharge the ground water thereby preserving a natural resource that needs attention.



SDM office staff asked to vacate building
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 30
Officials of the enforcement wing of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today visited the SDM office here and asked employees to vacate the building.

A team of four persons, headed by a junior engineer, reached the office of the SDM and told the staff that they had come to get the offices and the verandahs vacated as the building was to be sold by PUDA through auction. The JE was accompanied by four employees of the security wing. The SDM was not in the office when the PUDA team visited. He had gone to attend a meeting at Ropar.

The PUDA employees, however, returned without taking any action, when they were told by the staff that a letter in this connection had been written to authorities concerned.

In the absence of any judicial complex in the town the offices of the SDM and the Tehsildar are running in a rented accommodation owned by PUDA. The verandahs have been encroached upon by typists, lawyers and others linked with both the offices.

According to sources, PUDA had written two letters on November 5 and December 4 last year to the SDM office asking them to shift SDM’s, Sub-Registrar’s, and Tehsil offices to showroom number 1 and 2 as the building was to be auctioned.

A letter was sent by PUDA to the SDM on March 23 in which it was stated that the three offices had not been shifted as was requested earlier. The PUDA authorities once again requested for the vacation of the building.

It is learnt that the SDM’s office had written a letter to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner in which it was mentioned that the Divisional Engineer— Civil I, PUDA, had requested the SDM to shift the offices to showroom numbers 1 and 2 as PUDA wanted to sell the building. The SDM pointed out in the letter that the shifting of the offices would involve an expenditure of about Rs 2 lakh. The amount would go waste as the offices had finally to shift out of the PUDA building. The Deputy Commissioner was requested to give her suggestions in the matter. But no letter had been received from her office till now.

When contacted Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, said his offices would immediately be shifted from the PUDA building once alternative arrangements were made by the authorities concerned.



Pak Communists oppose sale of F-16s
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Echoing the sentiments of their Indian counterparts, Pakistan Communists from today opposed the US offer to sell F-16s to India and Pakistan saying this would intensify arms race in South Asia.

Both Pakistan and India should reject the US offer aimed at derailing the peace initiative in the wake of people-to-people contact between the two countries,” Mr Imdad Qazi, general secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan(CPP), told The Tribune here today.

The Pakistani leader, who is here in connection with the 19th Congress of the CPI, said disarmament in the South Asia was the need for the hour for better India- Pakistan trade ties.

He urged the leadership of the 1200 countires to put the Kashmir issue on the backburner and pursue an “open border” trade policy. An end to the visa restrictions in each country would go a long way in cementing current bonhomie between the two South Asian neighbours.

The Communist movement in Pakistan was gaining ground and it had 18 Nazims(Mayors) in the country.The party,which remained banned from 1954 to 1986,was functioning through a well-defined tehsil, district and state level committees. In fact, it even contested the prime ministerial election by fielding Mr Jameel Malik.

Another member of the Central Committee, Mr Rana Mohammad, said the Partition separated thousands of families and an end to the visa restrictions could renew the separated families’ contact with each other.



Exhibition on revolutionary movements
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
It is an exhibition with a difference. Organised as part of the 19th congress of the CPI at the Kisan Bhavan, the exhibition offers a peep into the revolutionary movements and struggles that culminated into the present-day Communist movement. In fact, the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Exhibition Hall transports the visitors to an era of the past when revolutionary movements challenged the authoritarian and feudal regimes. It gives snapshots into various movements that ultimately realised people’s dream of free and sovereign nation.

The struggles of the Ghaddari Babas, the martyrs of Kamagata Maru, the Hindustan Socialist Republic Association of Bhagat Singh, people’s struggles against the princely states and kisan uprisings find a prominent place in the exhibition, organised for over 750 delegates all over the country and about 30 foreign delegates from fraternal parties and the general public.

Besides the exhibition sketches the history of the CPI from its infancy about 80 years back to its present stature. The formation of the Communist government in Kerala in 1957, the first communist government in the world, reflects party’s moments of glory.

“A majority of the leaders of these struggles later joined the Communist movement and emerged top leaders of the CPI. While Sohan Singh Josh and Baba Singh Bhakna enriched the movement with revolutionary traditions, Ajoy Ghosh, an associate of Bhagat Singh, rose to become the general secretary of our party,” Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, said.

Punjab — the land of revolutionary struggles — has played an important role in disseminating the ideas of socialism and Marxism-Leninism. Keeping in view the contribution of the intellectuals and writers, under the banner of Progressive Writers Association and Indian Peoples Theatre Association, to the freedom struggle, they have been given the place of pride in the exhibition, a CPI leader remarked.

The idea is to disseminate information to youth to remember the sacrifices made by revolutionaries and create a secular, democratic and equitable world order, organisers said.

And keeping in view the valiant fight put up by CPI workers against the Khalistani movement in Punjab, the sacrifices of over 200 activists have been acknowledged.

As a mark of respect to the martyrs in Punjab during terrorism, the venue of the 19th congress—Kisan Bhavan—has been named as the Comrade Darshan Singh Canadian Nagar. Comrade Canadian was one of the first leaders, who was gunned down by the separatists at the height of militancy in Punjab.



Councillors join hands for removal of MC chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
A meeting to decide the course of action for removal of Ms Seema Chaudhary as President of the Municipal Council was held at Yadvindra Garden, Pinjore, here today.

At the meeting chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, and attended by 21 councillors, including two of the BJP party, it was decided that they would all work towards the removal of Ms Chaudhary who owes allegiance to the Indian National Lok Dal.

Held for over an hour at Pinjore, it was also resolved that the name of the next President of the Municipal Council would be finalised only after Ms Chaudhary was removed from her post. At present, there are a total of 31 councillors, including Mr Chander Mohan, who is the local MLA also.



Life ragged him to death
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
In a cranny near the door lies a stack of rotis, uneaten. The room inside is forlorn, a grandfather clock lying on its back, with its hands frozen at 10:40 pm. This is the home of Amar Singh, the rag-picker who died on Holi leaving behind his four young children, Harvinder Kaur, Ravneet Kaur, Navjot and Navdeep, in Maloya Colony in the city.

Amar Singh, a postgraduate in political science from Panjab University, was forced to work as a rag-picker as he was unable to find a job.

The son of an Army officer, Amar Singh tried to get into the IAS “three times”, according to his acquaintances in the colony but failed to do so. He had also started a business of “magnetic belts, but even this did not really take off,” says Mr Pawan Kumar a neighbour.

Mr Jaskaran Singh of the Maloya police post says the public support towards the orphaned children has been overwhelming. “At least 30 to 40 people called today wanting to help in some way,” he says.

The colony witnessed a flurry of activity when Ms Rodrigues visited the young ones promising all support and help. She asked the Home Secretary and Director of Social Welfare to house the orphaned children in the Bal Niketan and to make necessary arrangements for their proper living and education.

Mr Babu Singh Jhandiala, president of the Residents’ Welfare Society, took the children to his home yesterday giving a written commitment to look after the children till they are moved.

He got in touch with the children’s maternal uncle who lives in Amritsar, but he refused to come. It has been four years since the children visited him and that was when their mother was alive.

The children’s mother died three years ago following burn injuries.

Residents say, Amar Singh had to sell his house to feed his family.

The one-room tenement where the family lived, was taken on a monthly rent of Rs 400.

Mr Pawan Kumar says Amar Singh was despondent on Holi. “Someone had stolen his cycle that morning and he had to go to temple with his youngest son. He had been tense for a while because of his economic condition.”

Thirteen-year-old Harvinder Kaur, the eldest of the four siblings, comes out with a quiet dignity to meet the colony residents gathering around her. Her eyes look solemn, sad, “I just want all of us to be together. I am going to look after my sister and brothers,” she says with maturity far beyond her meagre years. Her pretty face wears a slight smile, albeit, momentarily when asked about her ‘best friend’ in the area. “Jyoti” she answers shyly. “But she does not go to school as her parents are poor and can afford to send her school. I teach her whatever I learn,” she says.

The children are waiting for their exam results that will be declared on March 31 and in the meantime worry lines are evident only on Harvinder’s face as expression only she comprehends the situation.



Need to amend law on homosexuality: expert
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, March 30
The homosexual population in India is no longer small. It is growing rapidly with more and more ‘couples’ coming out of the closet. According to data collated by an NGO, Family Planning Association of India, Panchkula branch, more than 500 couples are officially reported every year in the country. Even in the city, the helplines received about a 1000 queries in the recent past.

“It is time that Section 377 of the IPC should be repealed. The section dealing with rape cases should also cover homosexuals. Homosexuality should not be viewed as an offence,” Sumanyu Satpathy, professor, Delhi University, who was in the city to attend a conference, told Chandigarh Tribune.

Prof Satpathy said homosexuality had been prevalent in our country since ancient times. He said Article 377 which had been adopted from the British Constitution had invited a lot of flak from homosexual activists because of it had ‘inherent loopholes’.

Terming the Indian society as ‘homo-phobic’, he said it was intolerant toward the homosexuals. Though the solution to these kinds of cases is a heterosexual marriage but in most of the cases this cannot be done because of numerous psychological problems and genetic disorders in such couples. Forced to put up double face, such couples live in a ‘hiding’.

According to Ashwini Kumar, project coordinator of targetted intervention for MSM, SSWS, IVDU of city-based NGO, Chandigarh, who handles queries from such couples, said, “Homosexuals, population is multiplying. Every year around 500 new homosexual pairs are recorded all over the country”.

City-based counsellor for AIDS, Dr Avinash Jolly, who has received around 1,000 inquiries from such pairs, revealed that most of their queries referred to AIDS, STDs and related psychological disorders.



Chairmen of three akademis nominated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Dr Naresh, Kamal Tewari and Aditya Prakash, eminent personalities in their respective fields, have been nominated as Chairmen of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi and Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, respectively.

The UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), nominated the three. Office-bearers of these akademis are reconstituted every two years.

Dr Naresh, is a renowned writer and poet who also has a teaching experience of 35 years. Besides, being honoured with several awards, he has authored 61 books in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. He has also represented the country at mushairas in Pakistan and at the international conference of progressive writers in the UK.

Kamal Tewari is a well-known theatre personality in the city. He is also a member of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi. Last year, he was awarded with Haryana Gaurav Samman. He has attended cultural seminars and workshops organised in the country and abroad.

Aditya Prakash is an architect and is a member of the Royal Institute of Architect. He had worked with Le Corbusier and had designed the Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh, and the PAU, Ludhiana. He has also served as Principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture. He was awarded a gold medal by the Indian Institute of Architects, besides being honoured by the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society.



Rs 11 cr to be spent on recarpeting of roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Happy with the over double grant for city roads this year, the municipal corporation today announced its programme to recarpet all roads constructed in 1999 and before.

Mr P.S. Aujla, MC Commissioner, said earlier the grant for recarpeting was Rs 5 crore annually but this time it was Rs 11 crore. All eligible V4, V5 and V6 roads will be covered under the scheme.

In routine, the roads are supposed to be recarpeted after five years. Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, said the roads constructed in 1999 were to be recarpeted in routine, however, there was a sizeable length of damaged roads that dated to an earlier period.

The total length of roads to be recarpeted has been put at 280 km.



Proposed hike in water, sewerage rates flayed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 30
The consumers Protection Forum today condemned the government proposal to hike water and sewerage rates in the town.

Mr P.S. Virdi, president of the forum, said the step would amount to another blow to residents who already faced problems like water shortage in the town for about eight months. He said the department concerned should try to plug the loopholes like theft and leakage of water instead of putting a financial burden on the residents by hiking charges.

He said lakhs of rupees could be saved if the work of water supply and sewerage was handed over to the Municipal Council as the civic body would be able to save 14 per cent departmental charges which it was paying to the Department of Public Health to get the work done.



Residents decry poor water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The Residents Welfare Association of the CHB Complex (category II), Sector 51, in a press note here today have deplored the supply of water in the area.

Mr R.S. Chauhan, president of the association, said a tubewell supplied “muddy water” to residents of the area. Even the tubewell has been non-functional since yesterday. Residents have demanded the immediate restoration of water supply.



Registration of labour made mandatory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
District Magistrate Arun Kumar today made it mandatory for employers and other residents of the city, who engage contract labour or labourers on daily wages for petty services, to provide details of the labourers to the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station under whose jurisdiction they are situated.

The magistrate clarified that any breach of the order should attract penal action under Section 188 of the I.P.C. and was punishable with an imprisonment, which may extend to six months.

The Department of Information Technology will assist by providing registration at all 5 e-Sampark Centres at Sectors 10, 15, 18, 43 and Manimajra.



Socio-spiritual camp at Panchkula
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 30
The ‘ Sathya Sai Seva’ organisation of Haryana and Chandigarh is organising a five-day socio-spiritual camp-cum-service exhibition from April 1 to April 5 in Panchkula at three places.

The programme commences with the DC, Panchkula, Mr Brijinder Singh, inaugurating the function at 8 am at DC Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 7.

The activities will shift to the Shiv Temple in Sector 9 from April 3, when Capt Ajay Singh, Irrigation Minister, Haryana, inaugurates the second part of the function at 8 pm.

The Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, will grace the last phase of the function at Pracheen Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, on April 4 at 8 am. It will conclude on April 5.

The five-day exhibition and deliberations on spirituality, education, pristine ethical values replete with divine blessings of Sathya Sai Baba will be the hallmark of the spiritual awakening programme.

Prem Rath Yatra will also be taken out from Lakshmi Narain Mandir, Sector 6, to DC Model School, Sector 7. It will pass through various sectors.



Seminar on Islam and peace
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 30
The Mujaddidi Educational Society, Jama Masjid, Mani Majra, organised a seminar on Islam and world peace at Mani Majra here today.

Muslim dignitaries from across the country participated and aired their views. The speakers were unanimous on the role of Islam in maintaining peace in the world. The society urged the people to stop discriminating between rich and poor and treat everyone on equal terms.



Encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
A demolition squad of the Haryana Urban Develop-ment Authority (HUDA) and PWD led by the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Panchkula, Mr Virender Dahiya, today cleared the Old Mansa Devi road of all encroachments.

The team reached the site in the morning, along with a posse’ of police force. Over 50 rehris, pharis and small kiosks had come up here and were selling prasad and other items. The land belongs to HUDA, and a part of it to the PWD.

The SDM, Mr Dahiya, issued a warning to the encroachers, and threatened to use force in case they did not remove encroachments on their own.

The encroachments were removed by the men themselves and the operation was peaceful.



Housing society to hold draw on April 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The draw of lots for all categories of the Progressive Cooperative House Building Society will now be held at Tagore Theatre at 10 am on April 16 under the supervision of an IAS officer, Mr Amit Singla.

Assistant Estate Officer, N.S. Brar will be an observer for the draw of lots, which will be held under videography, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Registrar Cooperative Societies Arun Kumar said here today.

Earlier, the draw of lots on March 26 was suspended following complaints of cheating.



Woman commits suicide, cremated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 30
The body of a woman, who allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a running train at Sirhind yesterday, was cremated by members of her family here today.

The body of Arvinder Kaur was brought to her parents house in Phase III-A late in the afternoon. Then it was taken for cremation. The grief-stricken parents blamed the in-laws of the deceased for allegedly compelling her to take the drastic step.

Arvinder Kaur was a divorcee and her second marriage to Ravinder Singh was a love marriage. She had got married on April 9 last year and soon after her in-laws allegedly started making demands.

It is alleged that the in-laws demanded Rs 6 lakh from Mr Surjit Singh Batra, father of Arvinder Kaur. A sum of Rs 4.50 lakh was then deposited by Mr Batra, who works in the Punjab School Education Board, in the names of her daughter and son-in-law. This did not please the mother-in-law of Arvinder Kaur as she was allegedly unable to lay her hands on the cash. A complaint had recently been made to the Women’s Cell here in this regard.

It is reported that the deceased had left a suicide note in which she had blamed her mother-in-law and brother-in-law for harassing her. Nothing much has been written by her against her husband, Ravinder Singh.

The deceased had left Mohali around midday yesterday on a scooter. She told her mother that she was going to get her scooter refeuled but did not come back. The incident came to the notice of the members of the family only when the Sirhind police contacted them in this regard.



Financier duped of loan money
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 30
A city resident has reportedly duped a financier of loan money taken for a car, which he sold to another person by preparing forged documents.

Mr Vishal Sharma, financier of Ashoka Leyland Finance Company, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that one Balwinder Singh of Sector 38 had taken a loan of Rs 4.5 lakh for buying a Ford Ikon car on July 1, 2004. The price of the car was Rs 6, 44,181,and Balwinder Singh deposited Rs 1.9 lakh with the company as down payment and obtained a cheque of full amount. Balwinder Singh died on July 20, 2004. Soon after his death his son prepared forged documents and sold the car to one Mohinder Singh.

The company came to know about the fraud as the installments did not come after the month of July, 2004. No arrests have so far been made in this regard, said the police.

In another incident of cheating, the local police has booked a Mani Majra-based travel agent for duping two residents of Hoshiarpur of Rs 23 lakh yesterday.

Mr Puran Singh and Tarsem Singh of Hoshiarpur lodged a complaint with the local police alleging that they had given the money to C.K. Raina and Sukhwinder Kaur of Mani Majra for sending their son and son-in-law to the US. They alleged that the accused did not return their money and the passports of the applicants. The police booked the couple on the charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy.



Two boys arrested for duping woman
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 30
The police had arrested two minor boys for duping a woman of her gold chain in Sector 20.

Harmeet Kaur, a resident of Bita Passi village in Hoshiarpur district reported to the police that two minor boys of Saharanpur in UP had duped her of gold chain weighing 40 grams on the pretext of cleaning it, last evening. She had come to her parent’s house in Sector 20. The accused came to her house and told her that they were experts in cleaning the gold ornaments. She handed them over her gold chain and they put the gold chain in a pot containing some chemicals. After some time they gave her a golden chain. After taking the chain in her hand the woman realised that the weight of the chain had become less. She raised the alarm and called the police.

The police after investigating the case arrested the minors and booked them in a cheating case under Sections 420, 379 and 34 of the IPC.

The boys were later sent to the juvenile custody.



Thief caught while breaking into house
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 30
The police today arrested a thief while he was breaking into a house and another one person accused of carrying 75 grams of charas from Sector 21, today.

According to the police the accused, Mohammad Naeen, who originally hailed from Muzafarpur in UP was caught red-handed by the public and beat staff in Sector 7. The accused had broken the locks of the house (1747) in Sector 7 around 12.30 pm. He had collected gold chains, ear rings, bangles and other articles. The police recovered stolen property from him and registered a case against him.

The investigating officer said the police was verifying whether the accused was involved in the other cases of thefts committed in the region.

Charas seized

The police today arrested Suresh Kumar of Sector 20 from a picket laid at Sector 21 with 75 grams of charas.

The police said the accused was going on his scooter and the police noticed his suspicious movements. He was stopped and after a search the police recovered charas from his helmet. The police said the accused had a cigarette shop in Sector 9 and is also into the drug-peddling. He was booked under the NDPS Act.


Ms Gurbhachan Kaur of Sector 44-D, suffered injuries after she was hit by an unidentified motorcyclist in the same sector, yesterday. She was admitted to the PGI. A case of negligent driving has been registered against the motorcyclist.

Car stereo stolen

Mr Ravi Aggarwal of Sector 34 filed a complainant with the police that a car stereo, speakers and some cassettes were stolen from his Maruti car which was parked at his residence on March 26. A case of theft has been registered.


The local police has arrested Baldev Singh and Ravinder Singh from Sector 22 on charge of gambling, yesterday. The police recovered Rs 205 from them and registered a case under the Gambling Act.


The police has registered a case against Sham Lal Dhanwanti, president of Sweeper Union for threatening Mr Hazura Singh, supervisor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh. The police said the complainant reported to the police, yesterday that the accused had made threatening calls on his mobile phone.


Mr Om Parkash of Charan Singh Colony, Mauli Jagran lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Ramesh Kumar, Parlad and Raj Kumar — all residents of same locality assaulted him and inflicted injuries on him, last night. The police has registered a case under Sections 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC and arrested the accused.



Chain snatched
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 30
A woman was injured when she resisted the attempt of two snatchers to take her gold chain away in broad daylight in Phase III B-1 here today.

Mrs Sandeep Kaur was returning from rehri market in the area around 4 pm and saw two youths following her on a motor cycle. She did not get suspicious as they were pretending to trace some house in the locality. She said as soon as she reached a T-point near house No 82, they accousted her. She was asked to remove all her gold jewellery and hand it over to them. She said when she tried to raise the alarm, they snatched the gold chain she was wearing and injured her with a sword on her left leg before fleeing from the area.


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