C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Market Committee director, 5 others arrested
Violation of Periphery Control Act 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
A former sarpanch of Daria village and a Director of the Market Committee along with four Sector 17 traders were arrested late last night for allegedly selling agricultural land in violation of the Periphery Control Act.

Market Committee Director Bhajan Singh, who returned from Manali last evening along with other Directors to participate in the committee elections scheduled for April 28, was arrested as he reached the city.

Former sarpanch Kulwant Singh, Rajinder Jain, Parveen Kumar, Rakesh Kumar and Deepak Kumar, sons of Nand Lal of Sector 15, were also arrested and sent in judicial custody by a local court. The Jains own SCO 8 in Sector 17.

The arrests were made by the Mani Majra police and the Industrial Area Police after they were booked on a complaint of the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) S.K. Setia.

According to the complaint, the land was sold to migrants through a general power of attorney (GPA) in violation of the registration procedure as per the Transfer of Property Act and a High Court order with a promise that they could build houses as it was free from all encumbrances.

Kulwant Singh and Rajinder Jain allegedly sold plots and constructed shops and godowns in Daria village.

Mr Setia got complaints from the purchasers of the land that they had been cheated by the sellers of the land. The Chandigarh Administration is also confirming if they had also sold a part of the forest land in Daria village.

The Administration has launched a three-pronged attack on violators of the Periphery Control Act by getting a criminal case registered, booking them under Section 12 of the Periphery Act and dragging them to the court for the contempt of the court.

The Administration has also avoided booking purchasers this time to prepare them as witnesses in courts to ensure conviction of the accused in such cases, the sources said.

The Section 12 of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act 1952 stipulates two years of imprisonment. This Section has been invoked for the first time in this campaign which began in September last year by registering 10 other cases.

The sources said the registration of cases would continue for the next 15 days. All GPAs in the fresh cases were attested by the Sub-Registrar of Nalagarh.

Bhajan Singh sold land to four persons in plots of 2.5 marla, .4 marla, .5 marla and .8 marla. The LAO had also recommended registration of cases against witnesses few of whom were from Nalagarh.

The report of the patwari and kanungo said the Jains were constructing 12 shops in Daria village and sold 5.5 marla of land to a person for construction of a house.

Kulwant Singh sold land to Ram Dass and Jagat Singh. He also allegedly gave possession of forest land to Jagat Singh and later returned the money. He has also contructed six godowns on agricultural land and sold land to at least six persons. Rajinder Singh sold land to Kala and two godowns to a wholesale stockist Pawan Goel.

Bhajan Singh sided with a group of six directors, including Sita Ram, who deposed Bhupinder Singh Badheri from the Chairmanship of the Market Committee. The removal of Badheri snowballed into an open spat between Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar and MP Pawan Bansal.

However, another Director of the Committee Ramvir Bhatti, who is associated with the BJP, alleged that Pawan Bansal got Bhajan Singh booked to influence the Market Committee elections which the Bansal supporters reject saying the 
DC and Bansal are not on good terms.



Tactical retreat by councillors
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Councillors of the Municipal Corporation have withdrawn all questions which were posed at nothing more than creating an embarrassing situation for the Commissioner. The Congress councillors thought that it was best to retreat on this front as its frontiers were flooded with confrontations with the UT Administrator and the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Subhash Chawla and Mr H.S. Lucky, both councillors from the group of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, had sent two questions each for the inclusion in the meeting of the corporation. The most significant question was related to the recent official trip of the Commissioner to Finland which was without the permission of the corporation house.

The questions had no solid ground for uncovering any scandals as the facts were openly known. Mr P.S.Aujla, the Commissioner, is a government servant and is required only to inform the UT Administration and the Home Ministry for his trip abroad which he had done, sources said. He is not answerable to the house.

Reliable sources in the Congress said the questions were aimed at the commissioner to register their protest against the anti-encroachment drive in Sector 22 where Mr Pardeep Chhabra, the area councillor, had a heated discussion with the senior corporation officials.

Senior party leaders did not approve of this development of taking on the Commissioner. “The party thought that there are already too many fronts open for opposition against the UT Administration. The UT Administrator and the Deputy Commissioner are already engaged in exchange of difference of opinion so it was not wise to start a new debate”.

Mr H.S. Lucky, a Congress councillor, had put certain questions related to the official trip of the Commissioner to Finland recently. The paper submitted to the Mayor reads “whether any report has been prepared of the inspection and what is the report? Whether any official having full knowledge of the working of the hydraulic machine accompanied the team? Whether permission for the trip was taken from the local authorities? What are the details of expenses involved? Whether there are any CVC guidelines regarding the hospitality to be taken from private firms?”

Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, had submitted questions to the Mayor for inclusion in the corporation meeting agenda. The first question is “what is the total amount spent on the whole sanitation drive recently(March 1 to April 19), give details ward wise from the plan and non-plan heads? Whether any private agency or contractor was involved in the drive, if so, what expenses were incurred?”

Another question reads “whether any material was purchased for this drive and what are the expenses of total purchase? Detail of the total expenditure involved and material purchased wing wise?”

Mr Lucky had raised certain questions pertaining to the dumping ground in Manimajra. The questions pertain to a garbage processing unit in the city dumping ground which is pending from the past over nine years. The garbage processing unit has been pending since 1996 so the Commissioner was a pointless target. The question on the dumping ground also has no grounds of complaints against the Commissioner singularly.

Mr Lucky said he was not aware about the current status of his questions. The posers had been formally withdrawn, official sources said.



Adviser dismisses row between Admn, elected representatives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Dismissing the talk of any confrontation between the Chandigarh Administration and the elected representatives, the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, today said that there was only one side of the issue, and that was the well-being of the people of Chandigarh.

Land, he said, was practically the only large resource of the Union Territory to sustain the quality of life associated with Chandigarh. To improve the quality of life in the Union Territory for which it was inescapable to tackle the problem of encroachments. 

* HUDCO will help develop 22, 000 flats for slums-dwellers.

* 20 officials have been booked so far for abetting encroachments.

* 160 illegal structures came up in Mani Majra after notification.

* People whose houses are demolished will have the option to buy a CHB flat. 

Explaining the approach, the Adviser said the Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today was in discussions with the Chairman of HUDCO to expeditiously draw up plans for the construction of upwards of 20,000 housing units where the jhuggi-dwellers would find shelter with dignity. At the same time, the ownership would not be transferred to prevent any influx.

Referring to the case of Mani Majra, he said the problem had aggravated over a period of time and the Administration knows those who had contributed to the problem. Refuting charges that no action is taken against officials involved in encroachments, he pointed out that criminal cases had been registered against more than 20 officials of the Estate Office during the past two years. Arrests had also been made. The continuing effort to deter law breakers had to be seen in this context, he added.

Elaborating, he pointed out that when Section 4 notification for the acquisition of Mani Majra land was issued, there were only 124 structures in the three affected pockets. After the issue of the Section 4 notification, 160 additional structures have come up. This is a clear case of wilful attempts to defeat plans for the development of the city.

Not ruling out the possibility of some innocent persons having been duped into the construction of these illegal structures, the Adviser said the Administration was willing to consider the exemption of the some structures in accordance with a clear principle.

Questioned about the fate of those whose properties would get demolished the Adviser said there was a stock of houses available with the CHB which could be put on market rent or for purchase to address the situation.

The Adviser also spoke of the plans being made for the southern sectors. The dumping ground in Dadu Majra would be covered with soil and either converted into a green area.

A training course for panchayati raj functionaries is being organised in CRRID.



Parties look to draw mileage from today’s demolition drive
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
A confrontation between political activists and the Chandigarh Administration looms large over a demolition drive scheduled for tomorrow in Daddu Majra.

Intelligence sources suspect with this being the first anti-encroachment drive involving 13 religious structures and 30 other buildings after an open spat between the Administration and local MP Pawan Bansal, political activists may try to show open defiance to the Administration apparently to win the support of the colony residents.

The BJP may also try to wrest the issue from the Congress on standing by the poor.

Sources in the Administration also suspect that not only the Congress but even the BJP might try to show its presence against the encroachment drive apparently to indulge in competitive politics.

However, there is a feeling in the Chandigarh Administration to go ahead with the drive at any cost despite intelligence reports of chances of confrontation. The Administration wants to send out a strong message that it would not budge on unfair demands of the politicians.

Suspecting that there could be violence in the drive as had happened in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony a couple of years ago, the Administration had made unprecedented arrangements asking the police to arrange between 800 and 1000 personnel to smoothly carry out the drive which has acquired importance in the wake of a recent tussle between the Administration and a ruling Congress party faction, led by Mr Pawan Bansal. Several persons, including police personnel, had been injured in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony when the mob sought to lynch the police and government officials.

The sources said the Administration would videograph the entire drive apparently to book the members of the crowd who might indulge in violence. The sources said the Administration could move court for contempt of court by the protesters apart from booking them under Sections 353 and 358 of the Indian Penal Code. Videography will be used as evidence against those who either indulge in violence or obstruct public servants from performing their duty.

The anti-encroachment team has also asked for three loudspeakers to warn people before they seem to put hurdles in the government campaign.

The anti-encroachment team has acquired helmets, cane shields, hand and wrist bands to protect it from any possible violence.

The police has been asked to arrange tear gas and water cannons.



OPD timings to remain same at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
The OPD timings at the Postgraduate Institute (PGI) here will remain unchanged in summer when half of the faculty is on vacation.

Addressing the mediapersons here today, the Deputy Director, Administration (DDA), Prof Sarala Gopalan, Chairman of the Public Relations Committee Prof Amod Gupta and Dr D. Behera said unlike previous years, the timings of OPDs during vacations starting from May 7 to July 6 would not be advanced. The OPDs would start at 8 am and will close down after the last patient was examined.

“The OPD timings will remain the same throughout the year. This has been done keeping in mind the convenience of the outstation patients, who do not get to know the change in the timings in summer,” said Prof Gopalan. This is in deviation from the practice followed every summer at the PGI where the OPDs timings were advanced to 7 am during the season.

“The timings for the OPD registration will remain the same, from 8 am to 11 am and the reporting time of the consultant will be at 9 am. The timings of the special clinics that are run in the afternoons will also remain unaffected in summer,” said Prof Gopalan.

Though the duration of summer vacation of the faculty remains the same, its commencement has been advanced from this season. Instead of beginning from May 16 and concluding on July 14, the period this year is from May7 to July 6.

“The institute opens early so that we are able to celebrate our Foundation Day on July 7,” added Dr Behera.



Mohali hospital hotline link makes no headway
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 25
The provision of a much-needed 24-hour power hotline to the Civil Hospital here hangs fire as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the hospital continue to indulge in the blame game.

Despite the temperature beginning to rise and power cuts expected in the coming weeks, no efforts are being made to provide the facility. In fact, the hospital and the PSEB have been busy shooting off letters to each other over the past few months on the hotline project as patients suffer. The request for the hotline was made by the hospital in October last year.

The hospital faces power cuts, especially during the summer, leading to a disruption in work and inconvenience to patients. The generator set available at the hospital in unable to provide power for all facilities on the premises.

While the PSEB is harping on its demand for an undertaking from the hospital authorities that they would pay for the cost of the facility, the latter say that they have already given an assurance in writing that they would deposit the estimated amount when asked to do so by the PSEB. One of the reasons why the PSEB is dragging its feet on the project appears to be the unpaid power bills of the hospital that had accumulated to Rs 8,89,468 recently. At the end of March, the hospital had paid only Rs 3,85,215 of the pending bill amount.

Three days ago, on April 22, the Senior Executive Engineer, Distribution, of the PSEB here wrote a letter to the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the hospital. The letter said: “It is again requested to send an undertaking for depositing the cost of the independent feeder and also to deposit Rs 5,58,594 as outstanding amount against the hospital on account of unpaid electricity bills.”

The same day the hospital authorities wrote back to the PSEB official stating that the hospital had already submitted an undertaking that the hospital would pay the cost of providing an independent feeder from the user charges. “Now again an undertaking is submitted that as and when the actual cost of an independent feeder is submitted, we will deposit it on approval of the higher authorities (if the amount exceeded the already sanctioned amount of Rs 2.99 lakh), the letter said. It further said that as far as the payment of power bills was concerned, the hospital would pay all outstanding bills as and when the budget amount was allocated by the government.

The hospital had through a letter dated October 18, 2004, requested the PSEB authorities to provide a hotline connection to cater to the needs of emergency cases and other special services being provided by the hospital.

The then Additional Superintending Engineer of the PSEB got an estimate prepared for the provision of a hotline facility to the hospital. The hospital was then informed in a letter sent on December 29 last year that the tentative cost of providing the facility was Rs 2.99 lakh.

On January 17, the SMO of the hospital wrote a letter to the Managing Director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation requesting for the approval of the tentative cost for the independent feeder. The approval in this regard was soon given and the hospital authorities were informed about it in a letter dated January 31. The letter gave permission for making the necessary payment for the hotline facility to the PSEB after ensuring that the facility would provide a continuous supply of power to the hospital.

The SMO then intimated the PSEB authorities through a letter dated February 2 that the cost of providing the hotline facility to the hospital had been approved by the PHSC. He requested the PSEB for an early provision of the facility, saying that the necessary amount would be deposited “as per future guidelines and directions”.

Six months have already passed since the hospital made its request for the hotline. How much longer will patients, their attendants and the hospital staff suffer?



Passing Thru

What brings you to Chandigarh?

M.Venugopalan, Chairman and Managing Director, Bank of India

I am here to lay the foundation stone of the bank’s zonal office in Sector 31-A.When completed in the bank’s centenary year by September 2006, the seven-storeyed building, to be built at a cost of Rs 4 crore, will house a currency chest, besides having a fully-computerised branch.

How do you compare the performance of public sector banks vis-a-vis private ones?

The private sector banks will never be able to replace the public sector banks, as the latter have a wider reach, particularly in rural areas. Besides, the private banks charge for every facility which make them out of the reach of a majority of customers.

Tell us something about the non-performing assets (NPAs) of the bank?

The bank has a network of over 2,600 branches in India and abroad. During the last financial year ending March 2005, the bank recovered NPAs amounting to Rs 900 crore.

— Pradeep Sharma



Chandigarh Calling

UT police sure loves its job. Why else would a policeman dutifully stop a car moving at a fairly normal speed at night, declaring it was his birthright to stop any car that moves on the city roads beyond a certain decent hour? So last week in Sector 36, a car was stopped an hour past midnight. The cop asked the family driving home: “Kithon aa rahe ho ais vele?” The driver wanted to know why he was being questioned thus. A senior officer soon rushed to the rescue of his junior, “Tuhanu pata nahi aithe kini chorian hondiyaan ne?” At this the driver said that while thieves were left alone, gentle folks were being troubled. Humbled, the cops stepped back from the car and returned to their beats, especially after they realised the family was well connected. Their parting words were, “We are on duty, sir. Kindly adjust!”

Reverse gear

A police vehicle was seen zipping through the city chasing chain-snatchers. But suddenly to the surprise of the onlookers, it started moving in reverse gear. People wondered why the change of heart, and was the chase given up in fear? It was later revealed that there was some problem in the gearbox and with the change of gear the vehicle started reversing. Whatever be the case the chain-snatchers happily made away.

Duck’s day

Earth Day celebrations at the Nature Park in Sector 26 played host to a petulant visitor! A field trip started off with a bundle of laughs when Mr R.K. Sharma from the Environment Society of India, who was the eco-awareness guide, came with a huffy duck tucked under his arm!

The duck, a resident of Sector 12, had been running around nipping children. To arrest his strident habits, the duck was brought to the Nature Park and was hoisted into a large pond. However, to hope that he would live in peace with his own kind was perhaps too much to ask for! He tussled with the other birds, throwing them all out of the water pool before dunking himself in —puckish duck!

Zara hatke, zara bachke

Long ago a Bollywood song had sung of the traffic travails of Mumbai in a memorable number — ‘Ai dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, zara hatke, zara bachke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan!’ It seems a song needs to be invented for new, young Chandigarh with its famed wide roads. Traffic travails have started here too with the ever-growing number of vehicles. Rickshaws, motorbikes, scooters, cars, vans, buses and trucks seem to be jostling side by side. Tribune photographer Manoj Mahajan clicked this picture in the city of a giving a shove to a rickshawala right under the nose of the Gypsy of the Chandigarh Traffic Police proclaiming ‘We care for you’.

Art and life

Ramesh peers into glitzy shops in the city selling ornamental statues for ‘inspiration’. On his way back to Phagwara, he is one of 25 migrant artisans who make the yearly sojourn to their homes in Pali in Rajasthan spending the rest of the year wandering through Punjab selling artifacts. A severe water shortage 10 years ago, forced him to leave his land untended and to move across the country in search of a livelihood. Time seems to have lapsed in struggling to earn enough to try and educate his children. His children, illiterate, now work with him and the mud craft, learnt from their forefathers, are no longer the ‘cool’ medium. Instead, cheesy parrots, ‘renaissance’ figurines and ungainly laughing Buddhas cast in cement and PoP crowd the fringe of the road bearing mute witness to the vagaries of poverty. 

Unwanted visitors

The doorbell rings. You have just found time for the afternoon siesta but the bell rings on. Finally with eyes half shut you get up mumbling little curses to receive the guest of honour at this time of the day. And there you find a salesman waiting for you with the goodies. Your polite refusal to buy anything will not let him down and so finally you end up getting angry and the blood pressure rises. With more companies opting for direct marketing, there has been a spurt in salespersons coming at odd hours. However, people have found a unique way to deal this problem. Some paste a signboard in front of their homes “No salespersons please”. And as if to reinforce this, there is another warning beneath this: “Beware of dogs.”

Donate your time

Care to donate some time for others? Here is what you have been looking for. On the lines of the famous website “Samarthya.org” floated by a Delhi-based NGO which works in the area of making metros disabled-friendly, this new website serves several purposes at one time. Call www.timedonation.info and it provides links to NGOs that are looking for specialised volunteers. Listed also are details of the nature of volunteer jobs and the qualities of good volunteers. At another level, the website offers the facility to register online, if at all you wish to invest your time in the service of others, especially special children. At the launch function of the website, someone asked the man behind the mission — Yuvsatta’s Pramod Kumar — why he had not kept any provision of fund donation on the website. He aptly replied, “Special children get money all the time but rarely do they get caring time. Money can never be a substitute for time.” For the record — Chandigarh has 30,000 special children.

Dear doctors

The PGI at Chandigarh is a hospital that caters to the super-speciality needs of the entire region. The doctors here are as busy as they can be for the queues of patients never end. In spite of this, specialists of this institute along with some others from the region found time to go and give their services at a charity medical camp in Abohar, organised last week by the Seth Shankar Dass Daulat Ram Nagpal Charitable Trust. Some 2000 patients were examined in the three-day camp. Among the doctors from PGI who participated were Dr S.B.S. Mann (ENT) and Dr Jaswant Rai (orthopaedics). Doctors from other hospitals included Dr Raman Arora, Dr Shikha Chawla, Dr Feroze Pasha, Dr Jatinder Arora and others. Well-done dear doctors!

Story telling

Story telling is undisputedly one of the best ways of education as well as entertainment. So it is heartening that Poonam Singh, editor, Preetlari, who is a great one for dramatic reading of the short story has decided to go and read a story at the weekend cultural programme at Kala Gram in Chandigarh. Poonam, who has made a name for herself reading stories from stage in Delhi, Lahore and other places, says that she would like to begin with Tagore tales for the young. A graduate from the Department of Indian Theatre, Panjab University, Poonam also studied a while at the National School of Drama in New Delhi.

Missing papas

A lot has been said in the media about the new avtar of man as a caring husband and concerned parent in the new millennium but proofs of this are hard to come by. It was sad to see that at a seminar held to create awareness among parents about understanding and helping their children with learning difficulties, most of the participants were mothers. These concerned parents, many of them working, had taken time off from their work to attend the seminar from 9 to 4 and interact with experts to find out the best way to help their children. But few fathers could find time to learn more about their children’s problem. Mothers, of course were there in plenty.

Ownership rights?

The people who bought dwellings from the Chandigarh Housing Board are at a state of loss for they feel that their ownership rights are being trifled upon. The reason for this is that they made need-based alterations and their campaign for regularisation of these changes has run into trouble as the Administration is insisting on a uniformity of design. Now that the changes have been made already, this demand is just a stumbling block in the assertion of their ownership rights.

Laugh and labour

May 1 is celebrated all over the world as Labour Day. But now some laughter has been added to labour. The Laughter Club celebrates this day as Laughter Day. So a special laughing marathon will be held at the Fragrance Garden on the evening of May 1, which happens to fall this time on a Sunday.

— Sentinel



P’kula civic amenities virtually non-existent
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 25
For the past five months, the state of civic amenities in Panchkula have gone from bad to worse. Defunct streetlights have not been replaced for months; no drive has been launched against stray cattle for the past seven months; and, sanitation services have been dismal for the past three months.

With political uncertainty in Municipal Council since October, and contracts for streetlights maintenance and sanitation having expired, the residents are being forced to suffer. The 18 Congress-supported councillors and three BJP councillors have recently removed the Indian National Lok Dal supported president, Ms Seema Chaudhary. But no consensus on the next president has yet been reached, and the Budget meeting for the year 2005-06 has not been held. The MC coffers are empty, and a small monthly budget towards establishment cost is being released by the Commissioner, Ambala Division for the past two months.

Driving on the city roads after dark is a risky preposition because hundreds of streetlights have become defunct. Since the contract for maintenance of about 8800 light points in town expired, the HUDA authorities have been given the task to switch on or switch off these lights, but the defunct tubes are not being replaced.

The contract for removing stray cattle had been cancelled by the Municipal Council last year, and in October 2004, the council proposed to do the job on its own by employing 20 persons. However, the scheme never took off and hundreds of stray cattle can be seen on the roads and grazing on the road sides and berms, besides vacant plots. They not only spoil the aspect of the town, but are also a traffic hazard. Only last week, a scooterist, Mr Gobind, died in an accident after his vehicle ran into a stray cattle at night.

The less said the better about sanitation services in town. Piles of garbage can be seen everywhere, and the sanitation contractor is allegedly using only 50 per cent of the sanitation workers ( about 250) that he is required to use as per the contract (417 workers should be employed) — which means that most of the internal roads in town are not being cleaned.

This fact was also highlighted by the sanitary workers when they went on strike three days ago. Though the contract for sanitation expired on March 9, the contractor has been given an extension till April 9.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh appointed the City Magistrate, Ms Vandana Disodia as the acting president of MC. Talking to TNS, Mr Brijendra Singh said though he hoped that a consensus would be reached on the MC president soon, but the acting president had already been asked to get things moving in the MC.

“The tenders for a new sanitation contract and for maintenance of street lights have been floated and will be open on May 3 and May 9 respectively. Once the new contractors get going, things will definitely improve,” he assures.



Four shops gutted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 25
A fire broke out in four shops in the Scooter Market in Sector 43-B this evening damaging goods lying in the shops. The cause of fire was said to be a short circuit.

According to the fire officers, a fire broke out in shop numbers 55, 56, 57 and 58 in the Scooter Market of Sector 43-B at around 9:15 pm. The fire was suspected to be caused by a short circuit. The fire was brought under control soon. People called the Fire Brigade and two fire engines were sent to the spot. As the roofs of the shops were made of fiber they completely burnt down.

An eyewitness told Chandigarh Tribune that had the fire broke out a little later then it could caused a big loss. He said the moment the fire was noticed by other shopkeepers they rushed to the shops and tried to douse the flames. He said a major tragedy was averted as there were drums of oil kept in other shops.



The death trap of Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 25
The road separating Phase 3B2 and Sector 71 has aptly earned the epithet of the “killer road”. In the past three months at least four persons have died following accidents on this road, while many others have been injured. Many others have had a close shave with death here.

The road, barely 12-feet in width, is one of the narrowest roads where heavy traffic like trucks and buses are allowed. Surrounded by residential areas on both sides, the road leads to these sectors and phases through even narrower link roads. The entire road does not have a single red light to either slow down or direct the traffic.

Vehicles, specially two wheelers coming from the residential areas, get on to this road from both sides carrying heavy traffic through the day.

Since this road joins the Kharar-Mohali road to the Phase VIII bus stand, bus drivers use this road to enter Mohali.

Similarly trucks, which are not allowed to enter Mohali during most of the day hours, also use this road to cross the township.

Although the Municipal Council, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and the police are aware of the problems, nothing has been done to widen the road or to direct traffic.



Teacher killed in accident

Chandigarh, April 25
Primal Kaur (55),a resident of Urban Estate in Patiala, was killed when a train hit an autorickshaw at an unmanned level-crossing in Bhadoli village, near Rajpura, this afternoon. According to reports received here, the deceased, who was working as a teacher at Government Senior Secondary School, Bhadoli, was on her way to Ganda Kheri village in the three-wheeler(PB-11-P-4916) when the vehicle was hit by the train.

She was to board a bus to Patiala from Ganda Kheri village. The driver of the three-wheeler, Harmesh Singh, who was also injured in the collision, physically removed Primal Kaur to Ganda Kheri. She died on way to hospital in Patiala. The driver has been admitted to a hospital in Patiala. TNS



1 killed, 5 hurt in Sumo-bus collision
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 25
One person was killed and five others were injured when the Tata Sumo in which they were travelling was hit by a bus near Chandi Mandir today morning. The deceased was identified as 35-year-old Desraj.

The Police said all victims were employees of a subsidiary of Vardhman Spinning Mills at Baddi and were on their way to Ludhiana. Their Tata Sumo (HP-12A-3527) was hit by an HMT bus coming from the opposite direction. Mr Anil Gupta sustained serious injuries and has been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Other victims — Bijender, Pranav, Rohit and Naveen — managed to escape with minor injuries.



Unique NGO which provides security at religious fairs
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 25
Running an NGO (non governmental organisation) is very much a fad in the region as it is elsewhere and can mean a lucrative income also in these days of paid social work. However, this was not the case some 50 years ago, where Dr Chanan Ram arrived in Chandigarh.

Working with the Capital Project, then as a government homoeopath, Dr Chanan initiated the people of the city into voluntary action by forming the All-India Janta Sewa Dal. It was a maiden effort in this sector and a unique society of about 20 men came up. They offered free security services at the annual religious fairs that were held in the vicinity of the city.

A low profile organisation, the Janta Sewa Dal now has a team of 100 dedicated volunteers. They have been serving sans making a show of it. An entirely charitable endeavour, the dal members are engaged in various professions across the city.

However, they take out time and can be seen standing guard with dandas in their hands, maintaining discipline and peace among the hoards visiting these fairs.

“These fairs had become easy targets for pickpockets, eve-teasers and thieves. The idea occurred to me when I along with a group of friends visited the Mansa Devi temple during the annual fair. I saw some men were drunk and misbehaving with women who had come to attend the mela.

We decided to try and stop this as a sewa. Some people provide langars at such places, other give money, but for us this was the way to serve,” said Dr Chanan Ram.

Religion is no bar for their service either. It could be the Daon Sahib or the Jayanti Devi mela, the Anandpur Sahib or Mata Mansa Devi, the Shiv Mandir fair at Saketri or the Phalgu mela in Haryana, the solar eclipse mela at Kurukshetra and the Naina Devi mela, you will find the Dal members there in full force.

“We ensure that there are no incidents of pockets being picked or jewellery being snatched. We keep in touch with the police all the time and inform them when we catch someone who is trying to disturb the fair. We also mind the queues and try to make sure that everyone who is in the queue is able to have darshan of the deity. After all these people have come from long distances and struggled a lot to reach the fair,” said Mr Raj Kumar the senapati or the head of the team.

“Recruitment” to the Dal is however, conditional. “We verify the antecedents of all those whom we take in. It is important that these persons are above board upright and brave. Once we have taken them in we train them also. We have 10 women in the dal too,” said Mr Chanan Ram.

“But times have changed. In the 50s and 60s we had hundreds of men in the city wanting to join the dal. Now there is a dearth of good men who want to dedicate sometime from their busy schedules doing sewa. It is very sad. I and Mr Ram Murty, president of the dal, now only wish people were more of believers than cynics,” he said.



Fauji Beat
Glorious tradition of 15 Punjab

No unit of the Army has won eight Maha Vir Chakra awards in a single operation so far as was done by 15 Punjab (1 Patiala) in the battle of Zoji La in 1948. So impressed was the late Field Marshal (then General) K.M. Cariappa by the performance of this unit that he expressed his feelings thus: “I want to congratulate this magnificent battalion on the show put up in J&K. It was always a joy and morale booster to come and see this unit”.

While talking about the Zoji La battle, one cannot help mentioning the name of the then Commanding Officer of the unit the late Brig (then Lieut-Col) Sukhdev Singh who was the winner of the military Cross and Vir Chakra gallantry awards. The description of the Zoji La battle by this down-to-earth soldier always gave one the feeling of being in the battle scene. He always attributed success in any operation to his jawans. Lucky are all those who are serving in 15 Punjab (1 Patiala) on this historic occasion of its tercentenary, which was celebrated on April 13.

When a new set-up called “the war decorated” came into being in the late 80s, Brig Sukhdev Singh was persuaded by all to become its president. Even in his twilight years, he worked untiringly to get the gallantry-award winners their due.

Kaman bridge

The Kaman bridge on the historic bus route from Uri to Muzaffarabad has been much in news in the past few days. Besides this bridge, a post on the LoC, which dominates the road, is also called Kaman post.

It was the late Lieut-Col Kaman Singh Pathania, Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), after whom this name came to be given. He took over the command of 3 Garhwal Rifles in the Uri sector in February 1948. His unit fought a series of battles in the Uri sector. It captured large areas north of Jhelum and in the Kupwara sector. It also captured the Trehgam ridge and won the battle of Tithwal. For Lieut-Col Kaman Singh’s rare bravery, he was awarded the MVC. And his battalion was awarded 18 Vir Chakras and 19 Mention-in-Dispatches for their heroic deeds.

Col Kaman Singh was born at Ladori village in Kangra district in April 1917. He started his Army career as a sowar in the Hudson’s Horse in 1935 and was commissioned into 5 Dogra in December 1940. He was awarded Mention-in-Dispatches in Burma Campaign during World War II.

This gallant soldier belonged to a family of soldiering. His father had fought in Mesopotamia in World War I. His two sons have retired as Lieut-Cols. His daughter is also married to an Army officer.


The Government of Punjab has revised the scholarship scheme for the Punjab domicile students studying in the Sainik School, Kapurthala, from the financial year 2004-2005.

Before this financial year, the scholarship up to the yearly income of Rs 30,000 Rs 35,000 and Rs 40,000 was Rs 5,500, Rs 4,562.50 and Rs 3,625, respectively. But now up to the annual income of Rs 96,000, Rs1.20 lakh, Rs 1.44 lakh and Rs 1.80 lakh, it is Rs 26,000 Rs 19,500, Rs 13,000 and Rs 7,500, respectively.

The All-India Sainik Schools Entrance Examination is held on the second Sunday of January each year. The application forms for this are required to be submitted to the school concerned by the first week of December 2005. The prospectus can be obtained from the Kapurthala school by hand for Rs 300 or by post against a demand draft of Rs 355 in favour of the Principal Sainik School, Kapurthala.

— Pritam Bhullar



Shopkeepers block road
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 25
The irate shopkeepers of Sector 15 market today blocked the road in the market and raised slogans against the UT police for more than two hours. The agitating shopkeepers alleged that the police had falsely implicated Vijay Kumar and his son in an attempt to murder case three days ago.

The agitators demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter along with the suspension of the SHO of Sector 11 police station, Mr Jaswant Singh Khera, for his biased role.

The protesters were alleging that it was a matter of property dispute as a property dealer had recently purchased the SCF and he was threatening Vijay Kumar to vacate the same. Jagtar was unhurt when he left the shop. It was only later that he inflicted injuries on himself and reported the matter to the police. They also held it that the property dealer and Jagtar were known to each other as they both belonged to Bathinda district.

The Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, assured the protesters that the matter would be thoroughly inquired by high officials. She made a phone call to the Home Secretary from the spot asking him to send the SSP.

It was later in the evening the SSP sent DSP S.S. Randhawa to meet the protesters and assured them action on behalf of the SSP. Mr Randhawa told them action would be taken against the guilty.



BJP to organise dharna outside MC office on April 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
With a view to highlight various problems being faced by Chandigarh residents, the BJP will organise a dharna outside the office of the Municipal Corporation (MC) in Sector 17 on April 29.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the state office-bearers of the party held here yesterday. According to the speakers at the meeting residents had been at the receiving end of the Congress-controlled MC and the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting included Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, local party president, Purshottam Mahajan, Ms Kamla Sharma, Mr K.K. Adiwal, Mr Bal Krishan Kapoor, Mr Ramvir Bhatti, Mr Davesh Moudgil, Mr Kanhya Lal Sharma, Mr Naushad Ali and Mr Sachin Lohtiya.



Sale of non-ISI helmets banned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 25
The Chandigarh Administration today, in an order, banned the sale of non-ISI helmets in the city for a period of 60 days.

Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar has promulgated an order under Section 144 CrPC, prohibiting the sale of non-ISI helmets in public interest in Chandigarh from today for a period of 60 days. The District Magistrate informed that anybody violating the orders shall attract action under Section 188 of the IPC and is punishable with an imprisonment for a term, which may extend to six months.



Eco Notes
Vermicompost gaining ground in city
Vishal Gulati

Organic farming is the current craze among environment-sensitive people everywhere. So organic legumes, sugar, grains, etc are becoming popular among the health conscious. Organic manure is also being preferred by horticulturists as it is environment friendly and healthy for plants.

A number of NGOs in Chandigarh, including the Environment Society of India (ESI), are playing an important role in disseminating information about vermiculture that deals with culturing of worms and managing cattle dung. Decomposing vegetable waste or garden waste through the use of earthworms is vermicomposting.

The Prakriti, an environment society of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh, has been dealing with it for the past few years. Dr Kum Kum, in charge of the society, was declared a resource person to educate teachers and students of different colleges of Chandigarh on vermicomposting.

A few units, including AD Brigade camp, in the Chandimandir cantonment have also adopted vermicomposting with the assistance of the ESI. Now, some of the units have expertise even in breeding worms and are also encouraging other units to adopt vermicomposting.

Explaining the concept of vermicomposting, Prof R.K. Kohli of the Centre for Environment and Vocational Studies, Panjab University, who is also dealing with vermiculture and vermicomposting, said these were very simple techniques that converted biodegradable waste, agro waste or leaf litter into pest-free manure in three months. The red earthworms play a significant role in the whole process.

For vermicomposting, the first requirement is the availability of a sufficient number of red worms. A shady area away from the common ground and an elevated place are ideal for building worm beds. One can even set up worm beds in a kitchen garden or even in earthen pots.

Earthworms feed on kitchen garden or farm waste. They can consume organic material equivalent to their body weight. After consuming 5 to 10 per cent of the feed, the worms excrete the mucus coated with undigested matter. The nutrients present in the worm-casts are a rich source of macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins and antibiotics.

Professor Kohli says studies have shown that the growth of radish, spinach, coriander, etc improved markedly with the use of organic manure. Similar observations were made in potted plants of chrysanthemum.

Regarding the misconception that worm pits are breeding grounds for houseflies, Professor Kohli says the pits neither attract nor allow any flies or mosquitoes to breed.

After a few months the number of worms in the bed multiplies. For this regular harvesting of manure as well as worms is desirable. On an average, a pair of earthworms can produce over 200 worms in a year. One can also gift the manure and the worms to his friend for vermicomposting or sell them in the market. Earthworms are also a good nutritious feed for the poultry.



Search Within
People of India, Pak need to be complimented

An army general praying at the Khwaja Moinuddin Chisiti's shrine in Ajmer is a statement akin to that: "Peace hath her victories no lessrenowned than war." It is reasonable to presume that his desire for peace reflects the yearnings that has found expression through numerous exchange visits of army generals, MPs, opinion leaders, lawyers, human rights activists, writers and journalists in the past few decades.

The striving for the healing of old wounds and reconciliation has come about through a realisation of the futility of cold war and violence. It is significant that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had confessed that he became a changed man after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the twin trade towers of the World Trade Centre in the US. The futility of violence had been proved again and again; use of brute force did not benefit anyone, neither the aggressor nor the victim. The world wars had proved that there are no real winners in a war.

In the past, religious identities and demonisation of the enemy played havoc, creating a divide between India and Pakistan. The spirit of revenge and not one of repentance over inhuman violence pervaded over the people in the subcontinent. This had only one effect: precious resources were diverted to purchase of arms and development of more and more destructive weapons. The arms race finally ended up in the testing of nuclear weapons even though peace lovers in both countries had lamented it all.

Credit should be given to the people of both countries, particularly the civil society, for voicing their will and then prevailing over the hawks who were always dwelling on the rivalry and wickedness of the other side. No doubt the memories of mass murders, inhuman cruelty, rapes and humiliation had affected the psyche of those directly affected by the partition bloodbath.

Then there was the patriotic spirit totally erasing from memory historic realities binding the two nations. Instead, the media in both nations delighted in magnifying the evil manifested in the other.

Rajmohan Gandhi, historian, writer and philosopher, in his book, ''Revenge and Reconciliation''has delightfully portrayed the course of Indian history, bringing out in tragic detail, how the spirit of revenge had prevailed over the players of the political game. The interlude was provided by Emperor Ashoka, who was heartbroken after seeing the widespread destruction and loss of lives caused by the Kalinga war. Gautam Buddha, too, renounced power, touched by the misery and sorrow of ordinary lives. Mahatma Gandhi fought and won against the mighty British by the weapon of non-violence.

Post-partition leaders of India and Pakistan have much to confess for fostering a spirit of rivalry and violence.They invoked the spirit of patriotism to create a wall of hatred and suspicion between India and Pakistan. Gandhi and Jinnah were assailed as demons in each other's territory. As against such blindness, it is heartening to see wisdom dawning at last: a recent book by Prof Asiananda released in New Delhi the other day sought to throw new light on the personality of Jinnah and the cause of the India-Pakistan divide. It must be admitted, in the final analysis, that blunders had been committed on both sides, blinded by age-old prejudices, hatred and enmity.

The greatest of this blunder is the diversion of precious resources from developmental needs to arms race. As a former US President and war veteran observed, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

Now both India and Pakistan stand to benefit from the dawn of peace and improved business and political relations between the two countries. Yet vigilance is needed to ensure that nothing impedes the peace process.

Deepak Chopra, eminent author and philosopher, maintains, "the approach of personal transformation is the idea of the future for ending war.It depends on the only advantage that people of peace have over war-makers: sheer numbers. If enough people in the world transformed themselves into peacemakers, war could end. The leading idea here is critical mass. It took a critical mass of human beings to embrace electricity and fossil fuels, to teach evolution and adopt every major religion. When the time is right and enough people participate, critical mass can change the world."

— MPK Kutty



Man held with 5 kg ganja
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 25
The local police today arrested a person carrying 5 kg of ganja from the ISBT-43 here.

According to the police, Nathu Jha of Samastipur in Bihar was arrested from the ISBT following a secret information. The police seized 5 kg of ganja worth Rs 40,000 from him. Nathu was earlier booked by the police after 148 grams of ganja was seized from him. A case under Section 20 of the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused.

Judicial remand for hawker

Narinder, alias Mattu, was arrested following a complaint by Mr Dalbir Singh, Inspector, Encroachment Staff, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, yesterday. Mr Dalbir Singh alleged that Mattu, a hawker, abused him and threatened to eliminate him, when he was performing his duty by removing encroachments in Sector 22. A case has been registered under Sections 353, 186 and 506, IPC. The accused was today produced before a local court, which sent him to judicial remand for 14 days.

Two held for stealing cycle

The local police arrested two persons who were caught red-handed while stealing a bicycle from Sector 38, by Mr Sane Alam of Maolya Colony yesterday. Abhitosh and Nitin Sidhu of Sector 38-D were caught red-handed while stealing a cycle.

Two held

The local police arrested two persons for allegedly carrying 32 bottles of liquor illegally yesterday.

Munna of Colony Number 4 was arrested with 28 bottles of Director Special whisky from Phase I, Industrial Area, while Bhola Mahanto of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, was arrested with four bottles of Gulab Country wine from the same locality. Two separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered.

Mobile phone stolen

Mr Gurmail Singh of Sector 48 reported to the police that his mobile phone was stolen from his residence on April 16. A case of theft has been registered.



Stone-pelting accused identified

Panchkula, April 25
The police claims to have identified the trio involved in yesterday’s stone-pelting incidents. All three are reported to be residents of Burail in Chandigarh.

The police reportedly recovered the motor cycle used by the accused yesterday from near Rajiv Colony, though the accused managed to flee. The registration number of the mobike was found to be fake but the insurance papers of the vehicle revealed the address of the accused.

The police today rounded- up some suspects and they were reportedly taken to the houses of some the victims whose cars or windowpanes had been smashed by them for identification. Till the filing of this report, no arrests have been made. — TNS



Youth held for kidnapping minor girl
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 25
The police today arrested a youth accused of kidnapping a minor girl from the city about six months ago. The accused allegedly married the girl despite her being a minor.

According to the police, Sanjiv Kumar (20), a resident of Sector 52, was arrested with the girl from ISBT-43. The police laid a trap for the accused following information that he was coming to the city. The police had sent the 16-year-old girl for the medical examination today.

The SHO of the Sector 36 police station, Mr Jagbir Singh, said the accused had taken the girl to Bhagpat district in Uttar Pradesh. He married her and had, also procured a marriage certificate from Bhagpat.

The accused told to the police that he took the girl to Delhi and they both lived there for about one-and-a-half-month. Later, he decided to marry her and took her to Uttar Pradesh. He also told the police that the girl had taken Rs 1,500 with her when they ran away from the city.

Earlier, a case was registered after her father made complained to the police and the accused was booked under Sections 363, 366 and 120-B, IPC. The police said as the girl is pregnant, charges for raping minor would also be slapped on the accused.



Banks try to woo women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Banks are vying with one another to attract more women depositors. After introducing special credit and debit cards for women, several banks are now offering special deposit schemes targeted at them. The UTI Bank, the latest to join the bandwagon, recently launched Smart Privilege, a savings bank account designed for women.

Smart Privilege includes features such as an international debit card, personal accident insurance cover of up to Rs 2 lakh and free minor account for children. Through the scheme, the bank aims to encourage women account holders to manage their own money. The bank is also offering facilities such as invester advice and systematic investment plans, to enable women to invest in equity or mutual funds.

ABM Amro’s Shakti account, for instance, offers what is called a royalty programme. This programme rewards the account holder with points for every transaction. The points can then be redeemed for gifts. Apart from the special deposit schemes, women can also use various other credit facilities extended by the banks.



OBC staff observe strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Employees of the Oriental Bank of Commerce observed a strike today against the follow-up public offer of shares of the bank through book-building method with a price band of Rs 235 to Rs 260. The issue opens today and closes on April 29. The employees were protesting against the dilution of government stake in the equity capital of the bank which shall come down to 51 per cent from 67 per cent after this issue.

The agitated employees raised slogans against the government policies and demanded that in privatisation of public sector banks must not be resorted to as it shall affect the social development of the nation. No banking transactions were conducted in any of the branches of the bank in Chandigarh and nearby places and the employees staged a dharna outside the Sector 17 branch to register their protest.

Mr T.K. Datta, secretary of All India Oriental Bank Employees Federation in his address alleged that the current move of the bank to offer equity to public is due to the reason that the bank has to shore up its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) which has come down due to the merger of loss bearing Global Trust Bank Ltd ( GTB) in August 2004 and the OBC has been made to make good for the losses of GTB Ltd. 


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