C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Illegal religious structures razed in Dadu Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
In a largely peaceful operation, all illegal religious structures surrounding the dumping ground in Dadu Majra were razed to ground as part of the anti-encroachment drive of the Municipal Corporation and the UT Administration here today.

Fourteen religious structures, including temples, gurdwara and a church besides a school and shops of scrap dealers, bit the dust. The entire area wore a fortified look, as nearly 1000 cops were deployed at the site to prevent any untoward incident.

The authorities carried out the bold operation, which had hung fire for the past several years. Despite orders earlier, there was slow progress in the matter because of public opposition and also no approval from the Corporation. The operation was supervised by Mr O.P. Popli, Additional Commissioner, and Mr Kulwant Kalson, Secretary of the Corporation.

There was a mild resistance from the local residents, seventeen of whom were arrested by the police. Mr Kewal Krishan Adiwal, a former Mayor, who showed his protest was arrested. Ms Shyama Negi, a Congress councillor, also visited the venue. A number of influential Congress councillors were in Delhi busy settling the turmoil in party politics.

The controllers of the religious structures tried hard to salvage the left-over property from the ruins, mainly iron doors. A number of residents, too, took away the left-overs in the drive, which could be sold to scrap dealers.

Mr Chetan Verma, a resident, said the Administration was justified in removing the illegal structures. The area would be more open for common traffic. Local residents would now see a green cover in the area dividing inhabited area from the dumping ground. “We can breathe freely”.

Mr Ram Acharya, another resident, said the structures existed at the site for the past more than 20 years. The Administration turned a blind eye for so long and when people had accepted them as part of their life they have been removed.

Official sources said the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation would complete the boundary wall to the south-east of the dumping ground. The move would also facilitate in completing the work related to providing a buffer-zone of green trees between the habitation area and the dumping ground as required under the provisions of Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.

The matter was pending with the Corporation following a petition in the Punjab and the Haryana High Court. Official sources said the court while dismissing a Civil Writ Petition in its order on March 4 earlier this year said “ admittedly the structures in question, which are a gurdwara, private school, church, temple and some residential houses, have been built up unauthorisedly on the land belonging to the Administration. We also find that a green belt is proposed to be constructed between Dadu Majra and the dumping ground. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed.”



Sheltered orphans once again homeless
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Nature was unkind enough to 40 orphans residing in the gurdwara of Dadumajra away from the lap of their mothers and support of their fathers.
The rule of the land dealt another severe blow to them today when a bulldozer trampled upon their temporary site of refuge as part of the anti-encroachment drive.

Innocent faces of children gazed into infinity as one muttered “where will we go now”? “I don’t know. The God gave us this place to live for four years when we had no doors to knock for help. He surely will have ordained some alternative for us,” said Ms Baljinder Kaur, a widow engaged in taking care of the children.

“We were taken to the Old Age Home in Sector 15 where we were given some food. There was no place to house us. We are once again back on road,” she said.

A sevadar said, “There are so many gurdwaras in the city and a majority of them are flooded with donations in cash and kind. I hope they are concerned enough about the fate of the tragedy-stricken children. We are sitting on the road since morning. However, no one has volunteered help.”

The gurdwara, built more than 20 years ago, also housed four caretakers for children. One of inmates here was a girl, who has been rendered a “vegetable” because of the failure of her nervous control over her body. She is here for the past three years. She cannot speak or communicate any of her needs.

Rajbir Kaur was studying in a school on the encroached area, which, too, has been demolished. “I am a student of class IX. I belong to Dhaliwal Beth village in Kapurthala. I don’t have my parents so I came here about four years ago”.

Manpreet Kaur, a 10-year-old, does not know which place she belongs to. “I am told that I was left here by my paternal aunt, who lives in Patiala. I don’t have any dreams. I am sure that we will find some place to hide our heads. I have many friends with me who will be my pillar of strength through any ordeal.”

Kuldeep Kaur said, “I belong to Gurdaspur and am told that my father died in a police encounter. I have never seen my mother. I pray that the God should never separate children from their parents.” Amanpreet Kaur, who belongs to Amritsar district, said, “I don’t remember my parents. I am studying to be able to stand on my own. I will always remember my struggle in case I am successful. I will definitely do something for children who are suffering on account of no family support”.



Bansal, Bahl meet Sonia separately
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The two warring factions of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee today had an audience with Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president of the All India Congress Committee, in New Delhi.

The meeting assumes importance in the light that the elections for the president of the local unit are on the anvil and largely the exercise conforms to the name being dropped from the Centre.

Mr Bahl was accompanied by Mr Chandermukhi, a councillor, and Mr Surinder Bhatia. The group presented the working report of the party in the city. The group highlighted the differences with the rival group over recent developments in the city, particularly the campaign against the Deputy Commissioner, sources said.

The other group comprised members associated with the group of Mr Bansal. The team included Mr Ram Pal Sharma, vice president, Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, a former senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a former chairman of the market committee, Mr H.S. Lucky, a councillor, and Mr D.D. Jindal, a senior party worker. This group presented their side of the story and the alleged functioning of the city president against principles of the party.



In Parliament
2,659 unauthorised houses built outside lal dora
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
A total of 2,659 houses in Chandigarh have been built without any prior sanction or approval. These houses fall outside the lal dora of the villages in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and are out of the municipal limits also.

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr S. Regupathy, told Parliament today about these illegal constructions in Chandigarh. He was replying to a question posed by the local MP Mr Pawan Bansal.

The minister also said that these people had purchased land through general power of attorney or through documents like affidavits or agreements to sell for evading stamp duty. All these are illegal transactions and a large number of these are in violation of the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the minister said.

The list of houses is: Dadu Majra (60), Maloya (75), Dhanas (55). Sarangpur (4), Khuda Lahora (90), Jassu (65), Khuda Alisher (75), Kaimbwala (150), Kishangarh and Bhagwan Pura (155), Shastri Nagar - Mani Majra (250), Hallo Majra (250), Palsora (100), Makhan Majra (10).

The minister disclosed that most of the people had purchased land through general power of attorney and other documents. The administration was contemplating to demolish these illegal structures.



Preserving the fading tradition of rudra veena
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The mother of stringed instruments is dying. And only a few are keen to save it. Among the most celebrated custodians of the fading rudra veena tradition is Ustad Asad Ali Khan, the last surviving exponent of Khandarbani school of Dhrupad. Dhrupad has four schools called "banis".

For his part, Ustad Asad Ali represents the legendary Jaipur Beenkar gharana and traces his genius to his grandfather Ustad Rajab Ali Khan who was a royal musician in the court of Alwar. Being from the seventh generation of rudra veena players in the family, Ustad Asad Ali realises his responsibilities well - well enough to persevere against odds.

Today, he is the sole practitioner of rudra veena, the instrument which has borne the brunt of those who dismiss it as a "museum piece". But Ustad Asad Ali dares those who deride the instrument as inflexible in the fast changing times. He draws one's attention to scriptures that laud "rudra veena" for its divine origins.

Had it not been for Ustad Asad Ali, who was in Chandigarh for a SPIC MACAY performance today, one would not have known the rudra veena is the first of all stringed instruments. It was born out of Lord Shiva's urge to create something that he could use to measure swaras and shrutis (micro-notes).

The maestro told The Tribune, "Rudra Veena is representative of both Shakti and Shiva. Lord Shiva created it after he was inspired by Goddess Parvati. The very foundation of this instrument is feminine.

How can it be inflexible? It has the softest, the subtlest and the tender most sound."

In structure, however, the rudra veena is stout. It is equally mystical and ethereal, as its exponent explains, "It has many secrets and definitions. There is a reason why people call it inflexible. In theory, this is the most difficult instrument to master. The practitioner can only handle it within a given system."

To begin with, a rudra veena presenter must be seated in the "Vajrasana" to create the desired impact. He must then place the instrument on his shoulder, and play it using the breath as a modulator for notes. Ustad Asad Ali demonstrated the pattern in his recital at the Bhavan Vidyalaya, Panchkula, today. He added, "The sounds will be lost if you change your posture. The rudra veena is the best within the prescribed system. Out of the system, it falls flat."

Deep and intense, the rudra veena can well overshadow its lesser cousins like sitar and santoor. It is unfortunate though that many celebrated instrumentalists have chosen to push the veena into obscurity while settling for better, commercially more viable options like a sitar. Another challenge for the rudra veena is lack of official patronage. Not a single Indian university has a class in rudra veena. Scholarships are here, but they are too frugal to be noticed.

Strangely, Ustad Asad Ali still awaits the country's civilian honours, though he has already been decorated with the President's medal and Sangeet Natak Akademi award.

The exponent is, however, least ruffled by government apathy. His only concern is the vanishing tradition. "If attitudes don't change, India will have to import foreigners to teach its students the nuances of rudra veena."

Ustad Asad Ali has more western disciples than Indians. Also, there is a handful of Indians who can create this 10 kg veena which costs not less than Rs 75,000.



NCC to set up shooting clubs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
To tap talent and encourage potential shooters, the National Cadet Corps is setting up shooting clubs for its cadets across the country. The matter is expected to be deliberated by the concerned Parliament consultative committee early next month.

Deputy Director-General, Brig D S Dhillon, told reporters here today that the NCC Directorate- General in New Delhi had forwarded the proposal to the Parliamentary committee and it was expected to be taken up for consideration when it met on May 3-4. The matter was required to be sent to the committee for ratification and budgetary sanction, he added.

Brigadier Dhillon said the proposal envisioned clubs to be equipped with a range of imported high grade sporting weapons, including rifles, pistols and shotguns for skit shooting.

"The move is aimed at tapping talent and produce shooters for participating at the national and international level," he said. "We already have instructors, ranges and other infrastructual amenities available with us, he added. The project envisioned the clubs at the level of Group Headquarters. This implied that there could be more than one club in a state.

The NCC is also considering constructing underground short ranges for firing .22 rifles. "There is hardly any land available for setting up firing ranges," he said. "Since we are now switching over to .22 rifles for normal firing practice, we feel that underground ranges in basements would be sufficient," he added. These ranges will be set up in institutions which have NCC or other places where area is available. Shooting will be done from a distance of 25 metres.

A study done by him revealed while the NCC has a large variety of weapons, including 7.62 mm rifles, .303 rifles, pistols, sten guns and mortars, these are hardly used. In fact, just about one-third of the ammunition sanction to the NCC gets expended every year, resulting in huge stocks piling up.

"We are now doing away with most of these weapons as these are not required. Only 10 per cent of the existing holdings of these weapons would be retained at Group Headquarters for use during attachment training with the regular forces," he said.



Passing Thru

Amanpreet Wahi
Amanpreet Wahi, Gladrags Mega model.

What brings you to the city?

I have come to inaugurate a day spa, beauty and slimming centre at Mohali. Though I am from Delhi, a majority of my relatives are based in Chandigarh.

You were crowned Ms Photogenic at the Gladrags contest, do you have any plans to shift to films?

I definitely do not want to be a Bollywood item girl. I have had numerous offers for music videos and Hindi films but I have refused. I do not want to do one hit wonders in which I get labelled as an item girl. I would rather stick to modelling, which I found more fulfilling.

But isn’t modelling a short lived career?

Modelling is not a short lived career. We have many examples where modelling careers have lasted more than 20 years.

Why don’t we see Indian models in many international fashion shows?

Indian models are good enough for international modelling assignments but Indian culture, however, works against them. At Paris for example, Indian models, including me, refused to change in a big hall full of men. We had to create a makeshift changing room in one corner and work from there.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Move to regularise power supply ends in a naught
Slum-dwellers remove meter, snap cable
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
The Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) maiden experiment to deploy private contractors to “collect” power consumption charges from slum-dwellers in the township seems to have ended in a naught.

Residents of the illegal Amb Sahib colony here have “removed” the high-capacity electricity meter installed by the board for the use of the contractor. The slum-dwellers have also snapped the cable that the contractor had put in the area. This action of the colony residents has forced the electricity board officials to complain to the police and also ask for help in reviving the experiment.

The PSEB had initiated the move to reduce losses on account of power theft by the slum-dwellers. Following a nod from the PSEB Chairman, the first contractor had been shortlisted by the board’s office here. The contractor has taken over supply of electricity to over 300 jhuggis in the Amb Sahib Colony where work had started on April 22.

The contractor was given a single-point meter connection outside the colony and he was to pay the board according to the meter reading. The private contractor was to give electricity connections down the line up to the capacity limit.

“However within hours of having installed the meter outside the colony, we were informed by the contractor that the residents of the colony had got together and removed the meter. The meter was considered stolen for some time but it was found to be lying on the nearby road. The residents also removed the cables he had laid to give connections in the colony,” said Mr A.K. Sharma, SDO (Technical), PSEB, Mohali circle.

Mr Sharma added that while a formal complaint had been lodged with the police regarding the incident, the board had also requested the police to help them in installing the meter again. “We have asked to police to help our officials in educating the colony residents. If it is made clear to them that they would not be allowed to have kundi connections and if they want electricity in the homes they will have to pay the contractor, then our job would be easier,” he said.

The contractor had been asked to convince slum-dwellers to take “connections” from him and he was to charge them at rates fixed by him. The contractor would earn a profit by charging a rate a little higher than what he has to pay to the board, said a source in the board.



Estate Office goes online
Records of encroachments will also be on website soon
Tribune News Service

Even as Mountview is in the process of getting the five-star status for itself, a five-minute power breakdown when the power backup did not start automatically put CITCO and its arrangements to embarrassment. The general manager of the hotel was seen making hurried arrangements as the presentation of the Administration stopped while the Administrator and his team of senior officers waited for power supply to be restored.

Chandigarh, April 26
Using the launch of the website of the Estate Office as a forum to announce the resolve of the Chandigarh Administration, the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), said all records of encroachments would also be computerised. He asked the Deputy Commissioner, who is also the Estate Officer, to ensure that the list of encroachments and the names of the people behind this malpractice was also put on the website.

Since land was the only major source of revenue the quality of life in future would suffer on account of any wastage of land, the General added. He termed the launch of the website as a move to eliminate the troubles of the common man. The website of the Estate Office www.sampada.in will hold records of property ownership among other things. In what seemed as a show of strength to back the Deputy Commissioner, the Administrator said the team had done well and ask him to carry on the good work.

The General went on to add that the plan was to totally eliminate the need of sifarish or influence. The system would be brought to such a level that the requirements of the common man would be met when he completed the documents.

He called it a major information technology initiative and a tool for good governance through participatory, transparent and accountable system for the evolution of new India. He said that the launching of this new experiment of Sampada was in consonance with this resolve.

General Rodrigues said that Chandigarh had already introduced IT in public dealing departments by providing various services through e-Sampark Kendras. The Administration, he said had plans to give speedy and efficient access to information through e-governance efforts.

The computerisation of various departments was already underway, he added.

Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, said that for people who do not have computers at home the Administration would provide the facilities at the Sampark centres to see the records available on the Estate Office website.

The website would provide complete information about 11,000 out of a total of 65,000 properties in the city, to begin with, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, said.

The availability of information on the website would help the Chandigarh Administration market properties of the city globally and prevent delay in information sharing and corruption related to procedures. The website would also take care of the shortage of staff in the Estate Office and reduce human interface in the dealings.

The website provides introduction to the Estate Office, its branches, citizen charter, formalities, list of resumed sites, list of structural engineers, list of approved plumbers, types of trades, collector rates, helpdesk, rules and regulations and more than 11,000 property records.

The original owner, the current owner, their shares and the basis or source of their share and the source of their transfer — by way of Registered Will, Unregistered Will, death, sale deed, gift deed, relinquishment deed or court decree and other relevant details are available on the website.

There is a detailed summary of Colony No. 5, the largest slum of Chandigarh on the website.

Mr Amit Singla, an under-training IAS officer, had been working on the project for developing the website and was appreciated for his effort.



All-India Bar assn to intensify stir against govt move
Amendment to Tribunal Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Continuing with its protest against a move by the UPA Government to amend the Tribunals Act 1985, which would empower the government to abolish the tribunal and its parallel outfits in the states, the All India CAT Bar Association has threatened to intensify its stir.

While the Allahabad Bar Association has started its dharna, members of the Lucknow chapter have gone on an indefinite fast.

On a communiqué from the national level body, the Chandigarh chapter of the association today extended its strike till April 29. ‘‘The strike may be extended further if the government did not stop the move’’, said Mr A.K.Bhardwaj, a former president of the All-India CAT Bar Association.

The issue was expected to be raised during the question hour in the Lok Sabha, as the members of the association had taken up the matter with some of the MPs. The all-India association has also sought appointment with the Prime Minister and the Law Minister.

Mr Bhardwaj said the Chairman of the Tribunal at a conference held recently in Delhi had stated that 25 per cent more work could be given to the tribunals by extending its jurisdiction.

The entire issue has cropped up as the CAT was under the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) instead of the Law Ministry.

‘‘On one hand the government was contemplating to set up a tribunal for paramilitary and armed forces personnel, and on the other hand it was moving ahead with abolishing the existing tribunals’’, added Mr Bhardwaj.

Keeping aside the issue of CAT employees and the practicing advocates, thousands of employees would have to approach the High Courts where the pendency of cases was high, said members of the Chandigarh chapter of the Bar Association.

Depending on the out come of the talks at Delhi, the General House meeting of the Bar Association here will to decide on the future course of action, said Mr DR Sharma, a member of the association.

Members of the association said the UPA Government had initiated the move as the bureaucracy was hell bent on abolishing CAT as in some cases the bureaucrats have been pulled up in different cases. It was the bureaucracy which did not like being summoned by the tribunal Bench. 



Summer Woes
Water problem looms large
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 26
Come summers and residents of Panchkula are all set to face water shortage again. Though the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has made arrangements to enhance the water supply to the township, these seem unlikely to meet the increasing demand of water.

As of now, the total water availability in the town is to the tune of 24 MGD. The authorities have increased the water supply capacity by three MGD this year, mainly by installing about 20 new tubewells. Though the present water requirement in the town is to the tune of 22 MGD, the demand is likely to go up by at least six to eight MGD as the summer advances .

The town has three main waterworks in Sector 1, Sector 8 and Industrial Area. Two other water-works — in Sector 20 and Panchkula Extension — are also catering to the needs of Panchkula residents, besides the partially constructed waterworks in Sector 16.

The authorities agree that alternative sources of water need to be tapped. Though they have initiated a scheme to lift water from the river Ghaggar, the scheme will take some time to finally come through. Also, not much headway has been made in getting Panchkula’s share of water from Chandigarh Water Supply Augmentation Bhakra Main Line Kajauli. Under the scheme, Haryana is to get three MGD of drinking water in each phase. The district of Panchkula is to get a total of 18 MGD of drinking water when all six phases of this scheme are complete.

At the present rate of ground water consumption, water is estimated to last only for the next 20 years. It is not possible to augment this shortfall by installing more tubewells — which could further deplete the underground water, lead to overdrawal and lack of charging. The township has also been facing the problem of low water pressure for quite some time. The problem is more severe in two and three-storeyed houses, where storage tanks are constructed on the top floor. Because of the low pressure of water, the storage tanks cannot be filled on a regular basis and thus the inconvenience to people.

Meanwhile, the power supply to the township is expected to be much better than the water supply. The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) hopes to meet the demand of 80 MVA for the township.

With the UHBVN authorities having successfully commissioned the sub station at Sector 3 last year, the total availability of power for the township is 100 MVA. Presently, there is one 220/ 66 KV sub-station at village Madanpur, two 66/ 11 KV sub-stations in Sector 1 and Industrial Area Phase II, and one at Mansa Devi Complex, besides the Sector 3 sub-station.

The UHBVN staff has plans to bifurcate five feeders and augment the 11 KV transmission line conductors at five other feeders in order to do away with the problem of voltage fluctuation.



Row over awarding financial help to research projects
Names of 2 selection panel members in final list
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, April 26
There is a row over the issue of awarding financial assistance to university’s research projects to certain scientists with a member of the project screening committee resigning over the issue. Objections are being raised over the fact that persons whose projects have been cleared include the two members of the screening committee.

Panjab University’s Biomedical Sciences, which was given the status of ‘Potential for Excellence’ by the University Grants Commission. UGC, had received a grant of Rs 5 crore for research. According to information, a portion of the amount was spent on improving the infrastructure of the pharmaceutical centre and the remaining amount was meant for buying research-related scientific instruments.

According to the sources, applications were invited from scientists of different departments of Panjab University for submitting research projects. Projects of 15 candidates were shortlisted by experts and those selected were informed in December, 2004, that their projects had been cleared and funds would be earmarked to them.

However, Prof S.K. Kulkarni, co-ordinator, sent letters to all selected scientists on March 30, 2005, saying that as per the instruction of the Vice-Chancellor, these projects would be evaluated again. On April 6 they were informed that they should present their projects before the selection committee on April 16. The Vice-Chancellor then constituted a selection committee to review the projects headed by Dean University Instructions J.K. Gupta and other members, including coordinator S.K. Kulkarni, his deputy D.D. Bansal and a Senator Akhtar Mehmood. Two doctors from AIIMS, Dr Lalit Kumar and Dr R. Gupta, were outside members of the committee.

However, five scientists refused to present their projects again and remaining 10 scientists presented their projects to screening committee this time. Out of these the projects of Professor Kulkarni, D.D. Bansal, both members of the committee only, and R. Sinha were okayed.

When contacted, Prof J.K. Gupta, Dean University Instructions, said funds for projects of Mr Kulkarni and Mr Bansal have been okayed. But they were not present when the final decision was taken, he added.

According to sources, a member of the selection committee, Mehmood Akhtar, has resigned in protest against the decision of the committee. He has submitted his resignation to the Vice-Chancellor. He has expressed his distrust in the functioning of the selection committee and had raised a question that Dr S.K. Kulkarani and Dr D.D. Bansal, whose projects have been cleared, were the members of the screening committee for project evaluation.

Another scientist, Prof P.D. Sharma, whose project has not been considered for funding, has objected to the selection criteria of the committee. He has also written a letter to the VC and has said claiming that his project was good.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said, “I can’t comment on this issue at this time. Till now no complaints have come to me. But I will look into the matter and justice will be done”.



Health Dept to outsource disposal of bio-medical waste
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 26
The Haryana Pollution Control Board (HPCB) has pulled up the Health Department, Haryana, over its failure to comply with provisions of Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules. The Board has observed that most of the government- run hospitals and health centres were not disposing off hazardous bio-medical waste properly.

After the Pollution Control Board gave the Health Department a 15-day ultimatum to get its stock in order last week, the latter has decided to outsource the disposal of hazardous bio- medical waste from all government hospitals, Community Health Centres (CHC), Primary Health Centres (PHC) and dispensaries in the state. This decision comes as most of the 14 incinerators installed by the Health Department in various districts of Haryana have been rendered defunct. At places where the incinerators are in working order, they do not have air pollution control device (because it is expensive at Rs 25 lakh).

As a result, there has been no proper disposal of bio- medical waste including human anatomical waste, animal waste, microbiology and biotechnology waste and cytotoxic medicines. Officials in the Pollution Control Board say that though only 15 per cent of the total bio medical waste is hazardous, but if this is not segregated and disposed off scientifically, the entire waste becomes hazardous. “In several hospitals, disposable syringes are being thrown away after use without breaking the needles. These are later picked up by rag pickers, washed, recycled and repackaged. This is of grave concern to the health of the public,” says the official.

The Health Department authorities say that because of the high cost of running incinerators at government hospitals, inability to buy shredders (for breaking all waste sharps like needles, syringes, scalpels) and autoclaves, and high cost of setting up effluent treatment plants, they have now decided to outsource the disposal of bio-medical waste.

The Pollution Control Board has recently notified four private companies for disposal of bio-medical waste in the state — HAT Waste Management, Karnal; Synergy Waste Management, Hisar, EAM Solution India Limited, Faridabad; and, Vulcom Waste Management, Gurgaon.

It may be noted that there are 49 government hospitals in Haryana, including five ESI hospitals, 410 PHCs, 72 CHCs and 39 dispensaries. It is estimated that about 3000 kg of hazardous bio- medical waste is generated per week from various government hospitals and health centres.

Senior Health Department officials say that they are now ensuring that the bio-medical waste is properly segregated at the hospital/ CHC/ PHC level, before it is disposed.



Short-staffed police seeks people’s participation
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 26
The short-staffed Panchkula police is now seeking people’s participation in security, saying that security is not just the concern of the police.
While asking residents to put up gates at all entry and exit points in various sectors, the local police authorities are now claiming that the crime graph in the district can be brought down only with people’s support in building community security.

With only 500-odd cops posted in the district as against a sanctioned strength of 650 cops, no wonder the top brass in police is looking towards people for ensuring security.

With population here increasing manifold ever since it came into existence more than 25 years ago, the strength of the police has remained static. The fact that the township has highly porous entry and exit points goes to the advantage of miscreants, who can reach Chandigarh on one side and Punjab on the other within 10 minutes of committing any crime in the township. Other than this, the escape route to Uttaranchal via Kala Amb or to Himachal Pradesh is also an hour’s drive from the township.

At present, the total sanctioned strength of the district police is around 650 cops. But around 100 cops are on duty with VIP’s outside the district, though they are drawing their salary from here. Of the remaining 550 cops, only about 150 are available for routine patrolling and investigating duty, after those employed as munshis, readers, office staff in police stations/police posts /Central Police Headquarters and in establishment branch, on court duty; as VIP security within the district, traffic and as police reserves, are taken out.

It may be noted that the Chapter II of Punjab Police Rules, also applicable to Haryana, clearly states that the police to population ratio should ordinarily be one constable for a population of 450, in towns with a population above 30,000. However, the police to population ratio in Panchkula is one cop for a population 818 persons (the population of district is 4.5 lakh).

The Superintendent of Police, Dr R.C. Misra, says that an effective way to sort out security problems would be to allow residents to erect gates at all entry points in sectors. “We have called a meeting of HUDA officials and resident welfare associations to discus the issue. We hope that HUDA will relent on its bylaws and allow residents to build gates,” he says.



9 Corps comes into existence today
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The Army's newest formation, 9 Corps, will formally come into existence at Yol Cantonment tomorrow when Chief of the Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, presents the formation flag to its General Officer Commanding, Lieut-Gen Anup Singh Jamwal.

This will be the Army's 13th corps and the second to be raised in the past five years. Following the Kargil conflict, the Army had raised 14 Corps at Leh to manage the Line of Control, east of Sonamarg.

Though 9 Corps comes formally into existence tomorrow, it will be several weeks before it becomes fully operational. Sources reveal that the designated formations will begin functioning under the operational control of this corps by the end of June.

According to sources, Yol will be the Corps Headquarters' interim location and will later be moved to its designated location at Mamun, near Pathankot, once permanent accommodation become available there.

The new corps has been raised to ease the burden on Nagrota-based 16 Corps, which till now was the largest formation of its kind in the world. Its responsibilities included operations in plains along the Pathankot-Jammu axis, management of a certain stretch of the Line of Control and counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two divisions, 26 Infantry Division and 29 Infantry Division, along with a few independent brigades and other establishments have been removed from 16 Corps Order of Battle to create 9 Corps.

"The area of responsibility and operational tasks of the two divisions remain the same," a senior officer said. "The raising of the new corps does not add on to the force strength in that sector but rationalises the command and control, operational planning and administrative management of the troops," he added.

This corps will be part of Western Command. While Western Command gets a new corps and consequently additional area, north of Pathankot to guard, it will be handing over the Bathinda-based 10 Corps to the newly created South Western Command headquartered in Jaipur. Areas of north-western Rajasthan, which were earlier the responsibility of Western Command will now be looked after the South Western Command.



Guilty to be punished in electrocution case: Governor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
Members of the Saint Johns Old Boys Association (SJOBA) met the Punjab Governor, General S.F. Rodrigues (retd), here today in connection with the death of a fellow member Sanjiv Sud. Sanjiv Sud, who was aged 35 and a resident of Sector 21, had died on April 20 following electrocution while he was walking on the extended roof top of the restaurant “Ice and Spice” in Nayagaon. Sanjiv had gone to the restaurant for dinner with two of his friends.

The SJOBA delegation, led by Mr M.L. Sarin, former Advocate-General Punjab, related the incident to the Governor. According to a press note issued by Mr Pranav Gupta, president, SJOBA, the Governor said he had visited the area and was appalled to see the mushrooming of irregular construction around Chandigarh. He added that the guilty would be punished as per the law.

He expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and said the government would try its best to rehabilitate the family of the deceased.

The owner of the restaurant, Mr Mahavir Sharma, had been booked on charges of death due to negligence (Section 304 A).

Meanwhile, sources added that the autopsy report received by the relatives of the deceased today confirmed that Sanjiv died due to electrocution and burn injuries on the forehead.



Rain brings respite from heat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
After scorchling heat during the past few days the city received rain, bringing down temperature. The rain is said to be the result of western disturbance over northern Himachal Pradesh. Shimla received the maximum rainfall of 8.4 mm today. Chandigarh received a little less — 6.6 mm—but enough to break the cycle of heat.

Met officers have forecast some traces of rain tomorrow as well, and they have cautioned this spell not be mistaken as monsoon. We are way far from the monsoons, said an officer, adding that the day temperatures fell considerably today. Technically, the temperature was 1 degree below normal, and this was what made the pleasant difference!



Sugarfed staff hold gate meeting
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
Employees of Sugarfed, Punjab, along with representatives of sugar mills and Common Cadre Officers’ Association held a gate meeting on the seventh day of their protest in front of the Sugarfed office here today.

They raised their voice to impress upon the Sugarfed management and the state government against their decision to unilaterally wind-up Sugarfed and liquidate/sell all cooperative sugar mills and hand them over to private hands at throwaway prices.

Though the outcome of the meeting of the core group on disinvestment held on April 22 could not be known, sources in the union maintained that the government had decided to go ahead with the closure of Sugarfed and sale of cooperative sugar mills.

An official release here today state that cane growers (farmers) registered with cooperative sugar mills and being the shareholders were owners of the mills. They had condemned the move of the government to sell cooperative sugar mills in the state to private parties on the ground that they were suffering from heavy losses and that their cane dues were pending. 



Bank computer network suffers loss in fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The computer network in the State Bank of Patiala (SBP), Sector 26, suffered a major loss when a fire broke out here today. It took three fire tenders 45 minutes to extinguish the fire. The exact cause of the fire was unknown till late evening.

The loss included computer network files, two air-conditioners, servers, printers, ATM data net, UPS set, chairs and tables. Sources said, however, all files in the accounts section were saved. 



Two cars stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 26
In several incidents of theft reported from the city during the past 24 hours two cars were reportedly stolen while one person was arrested for stealing a mobile phone.

Mr Vishwas Shrivastwa, a resident of BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, reported to the police that his car (HR-02-E-2712) was stolen from near Police Headquarters, Sector 9 on Monday. In another incident, Ms Sharda Devi, a resident of Sector 46-A, filed a complaint that her car (CH-01-R-1251) was stolen from outside her residence on the night of April 20. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered in the different police stations of the city.

Arrested: The local police arrested Deepak, a resident of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, minutes after he stole a mobile phone from a shop in Ram Darbar, yesterday. Mr Ram Saneh of Shop No. 8, Phase II, Ram Darbar had filed a complaint to the police that the accused had stolen a mobile phone from his shop in the evening. The police later arrested the accused from his residence and recovered the stolen property. A case has been registered in this regard in the Sector 31 police station.

Two VCDs stolen: Mr Suresh Pal of Romi electronics in Maloya village reported to the police that two VCD players were stolen from his the corridor in-front of his shop, yesterday. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.

Liquor seized: The local police arrested two persons from various places while carrying 25 bottles of liquor illegally on Monday.

Shiv Nandan of Hallo Majra village was arrested with 21 bottles of whisky from near Phase I, Industrial Area. In another incident, Mohindro of Colony No. 4 was arrested from near a slaughter house in Phase I, Industrial Area. Two separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered in this regard in the Industrial Area police station.

Dowry case: Ms Sunita of Sector 40-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her husband, Rajinder Joshi and mother-in-law were harassing her and had demanded more dowry. A case under Sections 406 and 498-A IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Prevention Act has been registered against the accused. No arrests have been made in this regard so far. 



1 killed, 2 hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 26
One person was killed and two others were seriously injured in separate road accidents. Sanjiv Kumar, a motorcyclist, was killed when a tractor hit him near Alipore village, Barwala, late last night.

In another case, a couple was injured when their scooter was hit by a car near Ramgarh today. The victims, Dinesh and his pregnant wife, Vijay , were seriously injured and were rushed to the General Hospital, from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Their three- year-old child, however, escaped unhurt. They were on their way to Dehra Dun from Kalka.

Dead: Mystery shrouds the death of a 50-year-old officer of H MT, Pinjore, whose body was found hanging from a tree on the Pinjore- Nalagarh road today. The victim, Sudesh Kumar, had left home yesterday and not returned. The police has initiated inquest proceedings. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

One dead: Unable to bear the loss of her brother, 55 -year -old Joginder Kaur died of a heart attack at the Parade Mohalla, Kalka today. Her brother, Trilok Chand, had died yesterday, and she came to his house from Dehra Dun this morning. As she was mourning his loss, she suffered a heart attack and died, informed the police. The police also said that while Mr Trilok Chand was cremated here, the body of his sister was taken to Dehra Dun.

Two arrested: The police has arrested two persons — Mandeep Singh of Lohgarh near Dera Bassi, and Navjot of Dhakauli- who were involved in the stone pelting incidents in Sectors 4, 12, 12-A and 11 on Sunday. The duo were arrested by the police late last night.



Chandigarh IT park may get SEZ status
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
Even as the Punjab Government continues to make public announcements regarding the proposed grant of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status to industrial areas in Mohali and Amritsar, it might just be Chandigarh that takes the lead in getting the SEZ status by the Government of India.

The issue of granting of the SEZ status to the Information Technology (IT) Park in Chandigarh was discussed at length at the crucial meeting of the Board of Approvals held at the Department of Commerce and Industries, New Delhi, today.

It was learnt that the granting of the SEZ status to industrial areas in Mohali and Amritsar, however, did not form a part of the agenda of the meeting. Sources added that the Central Government also gave a clear signal that the SEZ status to parts of Punjab might not be possible at least in the near future. This, they said, was mainly due the fact that the Punjab Government did not have a policy on SEZ and till that was formulated requests for granting the SEZ status to any industrial belt could not be considered.

Interestingly, however, Quark City, the industrial park spread over 45 acres in Mohali’s industrial area, was in the process of applying for the SEZ status for its park. The application has to be first given to the Chief Secretary of the state and following which the case is forwarded by the state government to the Department of Commerce and Industries, Central Government. Setting up of product specific special economic zones in the private sector is allowed by the Centre. Though normally, the SEZs are allowed for areas above 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) in case of product specific ventures, the SEZ status is granted for areas less than 1,000 hectares.

Sources added that the result of today’s meeting would be known very soon. With an SEZ policy in place, the UT Administration officials, who attended the meeting in New Delhi today, are hopeful that an approval should not be a problem. However, they said that nothing could be said with surety till the minutes of the meeting were out.

In case the 111 acres Chandigarh IT Park gets the SEZ status approval from the Department of Industries and Commerce, various units in the park would get full exemption in electricity duty and tax on sale of electricity for self generated and purchased power. The units would also be exempted from state sales tax, octroi, mandi tax etc. Also for units inside the zone, powers under the Industrial Disputes Act and other related Acts would be delegated to the Development Commissioner and the entire zone would be declared as a public utility service under the Industrial Disputes Act.

The Central Government’s final approval for the SEZ status is valid for a period of three years within which time effective steps shall be taken by the developer to implement the project. The validity period may be extended by the Department of Commerce on a case to case basis. The Central Government can also withdraw the approval given to an undertaking for setting up a unit in the SEZ if the undertaking fails to comply with any of the conditions of approval.



Now Verka lassi, raseela in 1-litre packs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Verka is reaching out to families by making some changes in its packs and prices.
The popular sweetened lassi will now be available in a larger pack of one litre also, so will their mango drink `raseela’, while kheer will come in smaller sizes.

The Managing Director of Milkfed, Mr Vikas Pratap, said one-litre tetrapacks of lassi and raseela would be launched by month end to reach out to more families in the coming summer months. These would be available for Rs 35 and 28, respectively. Kheer is also now available in a pack of 125 ml for Rs 5, besides the 200 ml pack for Rs 8. This has again being done to tap consumers with smaller appetites. 


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