C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Encroachments on prime land in UT villages
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Already faced with meagre resources, gram panchayats of different villages in UT are finding it difficult to free their prime land from encroachers.
Running in several acres, the panchayats could generate their own resources by leasing out the land for commercial activity, said a member of the panchayat samiti.

Sources in the Chandigarh Administration reveal that a number of encroachments were inside the ‘lal dora’ of respective village. Since there was no record of land falling within the lal dora, it was very difficult to free land from encroachers. In some cases, members of the gram panchayats were themselves involved in encroaching upon panchayat land.

To support the facts, a study conducted by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) has revealed that of the total 196 acres of panchayat land, 33.5 acres was under encroachments. At least 25 acres of prime land in Raipur Khurd village, located along the Ambala-Chandigarh highway, was under encroachment. The total panchayat land in the village is 95 acres.

Similarly, two acres of land in Mauli Jagran, another six acres in Daddu Majra and some pockets in Khuda Lahora and Behlana villages are under encroachments, reveal sources.

A number of members of the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti disclosed that several cases involving disputes related to panchayat land were pending with officers at a different level in the administration. In certain cases the pendency was between 10 years and 15 years.

In a specific case of Hallomajra village, the panchayat has been trying to free 30 acres of land. Against the action of the panchayat, the encroachers went to the high court and the court directed the administration to decide on the case. Then the SDM decided in favour of the occupants but the panchayat appealed before the Home Secretary. The appeal is pending before the Home Secretary.

The members of gram panchayat have demanded that there should be speedy disposal of cases related to panchayat land.



Cong bickering to the fore in Delhi
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Bickering in the Chandigarh Congress Territorial Committee has come to the fore in the national capital because of no unanimity over names of the CTCC delegates could be arrived at.

The war of words continues between the camps of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament and Mr B.B.Bahl, president of the local unit. Names of 25 block presidents were decided unanimously on Friday. Differences have cropped up over the ratio of representation from both groups as TCC delegates. Mr Bansal’s group proposed 17 names from their group against eight from all other groups. This is unacceptable to others and objections are being voiced by Mr Bahl.

The lists were likely to be filled by today afternoon before commencement of the process for nominations for the name of the national president of the party. In the absence of a consensus, the issue will now be taken up later this week. It could even result in an election. Reliable sources said a list of 25 names had been approved by the Bansal group. Sources in the Bahl group said there was no question of giving any list till the “real issue” of differences in the party was settled.

The differences at the moment are over the name of Mr Devinder Babla. Mr Bansal’s group has proposed the name of Mr Babla for “his unassailable support during the last parliamentary elections”. Mr Bahl’s group has supplied the party high command with a long list of incidents “which highlighted anti-party activities of Mr Babla.”

It maybe remembered that Mr Bahl and Mr Bansal had shared very close ties over the past many years. Things went wrong when Mr Babla joined Mr Bansal during the election campaign for the last elections. Mr Bahl said Mr Babla had burnt the effigies of Mr Moti Lal Vohra, party in charge for the city, in the past. Allegations are being levelled against Mr Babla for his involvement in a number of violent activities which included manhandling Mr Subhash Kataria, another office-bearer, recently.

Mr Bansal’s loyalists are camping in the capital over the past one week. They include Mr Subhash Chawla, general secretary, Mr H.S. Lucky, president of the Youth Congress, and Mr Bhupinder Badheri, president of the District Congress(Rural). Mr Bahl, who went yesterday is accompanied by Mr Sunil Parti, general secretary, Mr Chandermukhi, a former president of the Youth Congress and Mr Surinder Bhatia.

Certain names feature commonly on lists of both the groups, including Mr Chawla, Mr Ram Pal Sharma, vice president, Ms Shrestha Mehta, Mr Chandermukhi and Mr Parti. Mr Bansal’s group proposes additional names of Mr J.N.Shastri, Mr Babla, Mr Dharam Manchanda, Mrs Kamlesh, Mrs Lalit Joshi, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Mr Phool Singh, Mr Lucky, Mr Kamaljit Panchi and Mr Mehar Singh.

Reliable sources said Mr Bahl wanted to include the names of Mr Jagat Sharma, Mr Parvinder Thukral, Mr Gisrish Kapoor, Mr Vimal Chander, Mr Ram Charan Gupta and Mr Mukesh Bassi.



Father of ‘criminal’ accuses police of torture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
The Chandigarh Police campaign to round up habitual offenders received flak today when father of a wanted criminal accused the police of torturing him, apart from making derogatory remarks against his caste.

The police, however, said Brijpal, father of wanted criminal Parveen Kumar, who has three cases of vehicle thefts registered against him, was concocting a story. The police added that Brijpal was not picked up to force his son to surrender.

Brijpal, lying in the trauma ward of the Sector 16 General Hospital, alleged that three policemen reached his house last evening to enquire about Parveen and asked him to present the latter before the police.

Brijpal reportedly told the police that Parveen had gone to work and as soon as he returns, he would send him to the Sector 24 police post.

Brijpal alleged that again a team of Balkar Singh, Jaspal and Gyarsi reached his house in Sector 25 and took him to the Sector 24 police post.

Brijpal (51), a former employee of Punwire in Mohali, was allegedly locked up at the police post and beaten up by the police post in charge Yashpal and others. He alleged that Yashpal was drunk.

Brijpal has injury marks on his right heel, right toe, thumb of right hand and on his chest.

Mukhya Sanchalak of the Bhim Yuva Parishad Dharamvir told the Chandigarh Tribune that tomorrow they would approach senior officers of the police and Administration. He added that the parishad would approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court against police torture.

DSP (Central) P.K. Dhawan said four cases against habitual offenders had been registered in Central Division since the campaign was launched.

Mr Dhawan said there was no need of calling Brijpal to the police post when his son had been arrested under Section 110 of the CrPC.

Parveen was produced before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Central) who sent him to judicial custody till May 26.

Mr Dhawan asserted that the story of Brijpal was concocted.



Law institute case: UT’s review plea dismissed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 22
In a severe setback to the UT Administration in its efforts to stall the implementation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement in the Chandigarh Law Institute case, the High Court has dismissed an application of the UT Administration, which sought a review.

The application sought review of the February 14 judgement of a Division Bench comprising the then Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, and Mr Justice Surya Kant. The UT Administration's plea for seeking review was based on its assumption that some directions given in the judgement issued by Mr Justice Surya Kant cannot be implemented without ignoring other directions in the same order.

It may be recalled that the High Court had set aside the allotment of prime land in Sector 38-A to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited on throwaway prices.

The Directors of the company include two sons of a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dr. V.K. Bansal, former Chairman of the Department of Laws of Panjab University and advocate Shailendra Jain, who is Central Government's Standing counsel for UT.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Surya Kant had directed the UT to take necessary corrective steps within two months. He had also directed that these corrective steps must be in consonance with Article 14 of the Constitution. The other two directions were that the UT Administration would take a policy decision for allotment of available institutional sites to ensure that allotments are made objectively and in a transparent manner and that the site whose allotment was challenged could thereafter be allotted by inviting applications through proper notice.

In its application, UT Administration had said that directions (1) and (11) could not be reconciled with directions (iii) and (iv).

"It is submitted that the corrective steps which are mentioned in para 60 of the judgement are (i) to cancel the lease of the land to the Chandigarh Law Institute forthwith or (ii) to require the institute to pay an enhanced rate for the land.. In case, corrective steps as directed in (ii) are opted for by the Hon'ble Governor of Punjab, and the Administrator, UT Chandigarh, then directions (iv) would not be capable for being complied with. Conversely, if direction (iv) is complied with, then directions (i) and (ii) are not capable for being complied with," the application said.

However, the plea did not find favour with the Bench of Mr Justice SS Nijjar and Mr Justice Surya Kant, which dismissed the application.

In its order, the Bench said if paras 53 and 54 of the judgement is read together with the directions, particularly direction number (ii), then it becomes obvious that no further clarification is required.

Paras 53 and 54 of Mr Justice Surya Kant's judgement expressed concern over the allotment of land without following any criteria or policy. The two paras also stressed the need for all allotments of public property to be in consonance with Article 14.

Incidentally, the UT Administration and Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited have also moved two separate applications, seeking handing over the case to a third judge in view of the "difference of opinion" in the judgements delivered by Chief Justice Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant. 



Three to be court martialled for laying mines without fuses
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
The Army had left tracts along the international border virtually defenceless during Operation Parakram by laying mines without fuses. Without fuses, mines do not explode if men or vehicles pass over them and the purpose of laying them is rendered useless.

Sources said that the area where the mines were laid was just about 7 km from known enemy positions in the Rajasthan Sector.

Had things taken a turn for the worse during the 11-month stand-off, ineffectual minefield would have failed to deter or delay an enemy advance in that sector.

Three officers, including a colonel commanding a mechanised infantry battalion at that time, face trial by court martial for their alleged acts of omission and commission. The commanding officer had allegedly ordered his subordinate officers not to “arm” the mines by fixing fuses.

The case, which is stated to be the first of its kind in the history of the Army, is being viewed with grave concern by the top brass.

Sources said the matter first came to light after dogs and other animals digging up mines in the area concerned went unhurt. In other places mines were blowing up when animals dug them up or trod over them. Soon villagers, on noticing this, began to dig up mines themselves and started selling-off the components in the local market.

This activity came to the attention of the intelligence and Army authorities and a court of inquiry (COI) was ordered into the matter. The COI, presided by a brigade commander under 24 Infantry Division, held the commanding officer and two other officers blameworthy for laying mines without fuses.

Though the commanding officer had maintained before the COI that he had not issued any orders to lay mines without fuses, two company commanders of the battalion testified to the contrary, sources said. Thereafter, the General Officer Commanding, 24 Infantry Division, ordered that the officers be tried by a general court martial. The trial is expected to begin in a few days.

Though the exact charges against the officer are still not known, sources said the commanding officer was liable for professional impropriety in the face of the enemy, lapses in command and control and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

Even if the officer contends he did not issue such orders, sources said the officer was responsible for the professional conduct and discharge of responsibility of his unit.

Sources have not ruled out the inclusion of Section 34 of the Army Act in the charge sheet. This section deals with offences in relation to the enemy and punishable by death.

Intentionally compelling or inducing persons to abstain from acting against the enemy or doing an act calculated to imperil the success of military forces are the relevant clauses, if applied, in this case.



Security beefed up in cinema halls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Security around cinemas, bus stands and the railway station was beefed up today following reports of blasts in two theatres in Delhi, injuring several persons.
In a special drive teams of Chandigarh Police stood guard at cinemas and frisked cinema-goers.

The blasts in Delhi were carried out at cinemas where the controversial movie “Jo Bole So Nihal” was being screened. The screening of the film had been discontinued in the city in the wake of protests. The movie is still being screened in Suraj theatre in Panchkula.



9 ‘gamblers’ nabbed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 22
The Mohali police and CIA staff Ropar today arrested nine alleged gamblers from Phase I who were engaged in computerised gambling.

The high profile ‘gamblers’ were operating from SCOs, booths and even houses.

Three of them gave the police the slip. The police claimed to have recovered more than Rs 80,000 from them apart from the computerised gambling chits.

Preetam Singh, Dalbir Singh, Balbir Singh, Ravinder Singh, Dinesh Kumar, Pardeep Kumar, Om Prakash Bhalla, Sarvinder Singh and Dharminder Singh were booked under Sections 120 B, 420 and 7 (3) of the Gambling Act 1988.

The joint operation was led by Inspectors Jagdish Singh, SHO, Phase I, and CIA Ropar Circle Inspector Satnam Singh.



79.66 pc cross Class XII hurdle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
The results of the CBSE’s All India Senior School Certificate Examination (Class XII) will be declared tomorrow at 8 am. The CBSE, Regional Office, Chandigarh, is the authority declaring the results covering the states of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the UT of Chandigarh.

A total of 65820 students were registered for the Class XII examination. The pass percentage for Class XII examination in the Chandigarh region is 79.66.

Students can also get their results on their e-mail address by registering themselves on the following web sites.:






Dissent in dist Cong unit comes to fore
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 22
The divide in the district unit of the Congress came to the fore during a meeting of Congress leaders with the returning officer appointed by the Congress high command for elections to various posts of the District Congress Committee (DCC).

Congressmen, who claim to be supporters of Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and MP, Selja Kumari, today alleged that they were deliberately not informed about the meeting so that the faction led by Mr Chander Mohan, MLA and the Deputy Chief Minister, could gain hegemony.

Mr Krishan Nanha and Mr Umesh Sood said they had heard that returning officer, Vidya Sagar was holding a meeting to decide on the elections of the DCC and the block Congress committee chiefs and they thus forced their entry.

Raising a banner of revolt against Mr Chander Mohan, they alleged that he and the president of the district Congress chief, Mr R.S. Chauhan, had fudged membership records of the local unit to get control over the DCC. They alleged that the names of many members who were supporters of the local MP had been deliberately deleted from the list of active members provided to the returning officer. Mr Chauhan, however, denied these allegations.

Mr Nanha and Mr Sood said they had met Ms Selja Kumari in Chandigarh today and had apprised her of “Mr Chander Mohan seeking the help of the INLD-supported zila parishad members so that his supporters could gain control over the parishad. “She has assured us that suitable action will be taken,” they said.

Meanwhile, Mr Vidya Sagar conceded that there was dissent among members over their not being informed of the meeting. “But we would like to elect a leader unanimously. In case, this is not possible, elections will be held for block Congress presidents, who in turn will appoint the district president,” he said.

He also said he had earlier held meetings with Congressmen at Kalka and Pinjore and maintained that there was no dissent there.



HUDA market or beggars’ den !
Tribune News Service

Beggars have taken over the unalloted booths in Mansa Devi Complex
Beggars have taken over the unalloted booths in Mansa Devi Complex. — Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma

Panchkula, May 22
A market developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in Mansa Devi Complex has remained unoccupied for the past many years. All thanks to encroachers.

After having spent lakhs of rupees on developing the market near the Mansa Devi shrine here, HUDA's failure to remove the unauthorised kiosks near its own market has spelt doom for business.

A large number of kiosks have come up near the HUDA market. So even as the booths in the HUDA market remain vacant, these kiosks are doing a brisk business.

There are about 250 booths in the HUDA market out of which only 117 have been allotted.

The remaining booths have remained unalloted and are in a state of neglect.

Some of these have been illegally occupied by beggars, who have made this prime HUDA property their homes.

Some of the kiosk owners too have broken the locks of these booths and are using these as store rooms.

Though the unauthorised kiosks et have been repeatedly removed by the Enforcement officials of HUDA, they sprung up again after each drive.

It may be noted that this illegal market was earlier located near the shrine.

But these shops were demolished following orders of the Supreme Court last year.

However, the kiosk-owners later established their illegal shops on the HUDA land, a little farther from the site reclaimed last year.

Mr Deepak Rai Walia, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex and deputy spokesperson of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, says that these illegal kiosks are detrimental to the development of HUDA market.

He wants the HUDA authorities to take immediate action and remove the encroachments. 



PGI laxity delays justice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Relatives of Rajinderjit Singh, a resident of Gurdaspura Reruana village in Ropar district who was allegedly tortured by the Ludhiana police in February this year, today alleged that the PGI authorities were delaying the release of the post-mortem report.

Talking to reporters here, the brother-in-law of the deceased, Mr Nirmal Singh, alleged that the Department of Forensic Sciences was delaying the report as a result of which the Magisterial inquiry being conducted by the Dera Bassi Duty Magistrate was being hampered.

The post-mortem examination was conducted by a team of doctors on February 12. Despite a written request sent to the PGI Director last month nothing had been done so far, he alleged adding that no doctor from the department concerned appeared before the Duty Magistrate on May 10.

Rajinderjit, who along with two other persons Amarjit Singh and Kala went missing on February 2, were shown as arrested by the Sunder Nagar policemen in Ludhiana, on February 5, under the Arms Act.

While Amarjit and Kala were later released, the deceased was allegedly tortured in the police custody and was given electric shocks when he resisted the police attempts to implicate him in another case.

As his condition deteriorated, he was remanded to the judicial custody and admitted to Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, on February 6.

Later, he was referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala and was subsequently shifted to the PGI here where he died of acute renal failure, PGI sources said.



Power, water supply dips as mercury rises
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 22
With the mercury rising sharply, residents of Panchkula, Kalka, Pinjore and Barwala blocks are facing a severe water shortage. Though the power supply has remained static in the urban areas, rural areas in Barwala and Raipur Rani blocks are reeling under unscheduled power cuts.

In Panchkula residents are up in arms against Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for failing to ensure regular water supply. In many areas, residents are complaining that water pressure even on the ground floor is very low. The problem is more severe in multi-storey flats in Sector 14 and Mansa Devi Complex. They say that if HUDA had approved the building plans of multi-storey houses, it should ensure that there is adequate water supply.

In Kalka, residents complain of a severe water shortage.

The authorities say that the shortage here is to the tune of 3 lakh gallons a day. Mr Ghanshyam Das of the Broad Gauge Colony at Kalka says that they have to get water through water tanks because the local public health authorities have failed to meet the demand for water.

At Mauli village of Barwala block, residents are complaining of unscheduled power cuts for most part of the day. Mrs Kusum, a resident of the village, says that for the past one week the village is getting just one hour of power supply in the morning.

“We have to do without water and power in this weather.

To add to our problems there is the fly menace because of the poultry farms,” she says.



Grills do the vanishing act
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 22
After the grills on the central verges of various roads here went missing, it is now the turn of grills on the boundary walls of green spaces and parks to disappear.
These grills were installed to protect the green areas from stray cattle menace and their removal by stealth is causing concern.

In almost all sectors of the township, grills installed to secure green spaces left by HUDA between two residential plots as well as around various parks in the township are disappearing.

In many parks and green spaces, these grills were installed a few months ago only when these green spaces were being developed by HUDA.

Residents complain that certain unscrupulous elements have been stealing portions of iron grills and then selling these as scrap.

Mrs Anita Middha, a resident of Sector 16, said that she has noticed that iron bars of grills around the parks went missing at night.

"I go for a walk in the park every day. One day in the morning, I realised that the top bars of the iron grills were missing. Some one must have come here at night and removed the bars," she alleged.

In Sector 16 only, portions of grills installed around a green space near House No 100 went missing one by one and now there is no sign of grill having been installed here.

It may be noted that the grills installed on central cverges of main roads in the district had also disappeared similarly. Though these were installed on almost all main roads but only few remain now. 



Artistes protest against Tagore Theatre officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
A day after Chandigarh Tribune highlighted how Tagore Theatre was being let out to two parties on the same day, several theatre artistes from the region held a massive agitation against those responsible for the mess.

Gathering on the theatre premises around 9 am today, about 50 theatre directors raised slogans against the UT Chief Engineer and the XEN concerned who have been allowing the practice to go on unabated. They mocked at the Administration that has failed to recognise the spirit behind building the Tagore Theatre.

“They are letting out the hall to two parties because they want to make money. They hardly realise the hall was meant for the promotion of art and not for commercial benefits. They give the hall to schools and theatre people simultaneously. Because they make more money from schools, they allow them a free hand,” said a protesting director. The agitators also forwarded a complaint against the management to Punjab and Haryana Governors, along with the UT Home Secretary. They further threatened to move court if the theatre management did not stop harassing them for petty monetary gains.

All those who assembled for the protest have, at some point or the other, suffered on account of management’s indifference towards theatre practitioners. The management has been allowing two bookings on the same day, putting the parties concerned to inconvenience.

Today’s agitation was sparked off when director Zulfiqar Khan, who had booked the hall for May 21 and 22, was asked to leave the venue with the sets after he had presented his play last evening. Caught unawares, Khan, who had booked the hall on April 3 by paying an advance of Rs 3,306, had to dismantle his sets to make space for Lawrence Public School authorities that had been permitted to occupy the hall from 11 am to 2 pm today.

Khan could finally occupy the hall only at 2.45 pm today. With a show scheduled for 6.30 pm, he could hardly set up his sets, lights or arrange the make up of his 40 artistes featuring in the production “Ek Safar Dard Ka”. In his letter to the Home Secretary, he has raised the point of authorities’ sensitisation levels.

Highlighting the activities of his group that does theatre with slum children and also imparts education to them, he has demanded that someone sensitive to the needs of artistes be made in charge of the Tagore Theatre.

“Tagore hall is the only space we can use for play presentations. It was built for people like us. It was not meant for commercial benefits. But now the management has started giving parallel bookings to theatre people and school authorities. They charge schools at the rate of Rs 7,700 per session. We pay only Rs 1,650 per day. That’s why the discrimination,” said Khan, who was joined in the agitation by other theatre artistes, including famous director Umesh Kant, Rajinder Sharma, Sudesh Sharma, Sanjeevan, Rajinder Sharma and Anita Shabdish.

Several theatre directors had to cancel their shows in the past because they were asked to share the venue with someone else. But Khan could not do that simply because invites had been sent out long ago.



Stevia safe alternative to sugar
Tribune News Service

Mr Narinder Singh with his Stevia plants
Mr Narinder Singh with his Stevia plants. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, May 22
Narinder Singh, an NRI from America, believes he is an innovator and risk taker. Back in the country after a 12-year hiatus, he hopes to be here permanently and the reason is simple. He has found his passion in herbal agriculture, nurturing Stevia plants.

What started out as a hobby to keep him occupied while dealing with a personal problem in his hometown Chandigarh, has turned into a permanent venture for Mr Narinder Singh.

“While surfing the Internet, I came across details on the Stevia plant and decided I wanted to take a shot a growing these on my one-kanal plot in the city. I searched for information and places to buy the plants and seeds and finally found someone in Ludhiana who sold me 200 plants at Rs 10 per piece,” says a visibly delighted Mr Narinder Singh.

He believes that the plant will be as useful as “growing tulsi at home” because, Stevia is the plant with a reputation to protect. As sweet as sugar and without the calorie additions, the plant extract is being strongly considered as the safe alternative to sugar and other sweetening agents.

Dr Amritpal Singh, MD (Alternative Medicine), says although studies and research are still being done on Stevia, “countries like Japan and Israel are cultivating it and getting 40 per cent returns on the plant.”

In fact, Japan uses the plant extract in its own version of the sugar-free chewing gum, yogurts and soft drinks.

The plant extract is being researched as a sweetening option for diabetics and according to Dr S. Narula, Senior Extension Specialist (Horticulture), Punjab Agriculture University, the patent for the plant is in the pipeline.

Mr Narinder Singh wants to work as a consultant to farmers who want to grow this plant for an additional income. He has cultivated his Stevia plants without any additional fertiliser or additives to the soil.

“The plant does not like too much water, does not attract insects or pests and has proved to be hardy, growing in the extreme climate of Chandigarh with its hot summer and cold winter. I have tried to maintain the temperature for the plants at around 30°C, especially in the summer and in the six months I have already grown two cycles of plants.”

So, experimental mode in motion, the next endeavour planned is to grow amla plants.

“These can grow in hot conditions, ideal for this part of the country,’’ says Mr Narinder Singh.

It is the Internet again which has prompted him down the second herbal plant route.



Training institute for disabled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 22
The National Disabled Institute is being set up at Sector 12-A here. The construction of the building is being undertaken by the National Handicapped Welfare Council of the state.

The roof slabs of the ground floor of the building were laid in a ceremonial manner today.

Mr Keshav Chander Wadhawan, senior vice-president-cum-secretary general of the council said the construction would cost Rs 60 lakh. He said physically challenged would be imparted vocational and technical training here. “The project is the first of its kind in northern India, he said.

Almost all money being spent on the construction of the building has been collected from local philanthropists, social activists and disabled volunteers. No financial grant or aid has so far been given by the Central or state governments.

Mr J. L. Verma, chairman of the fund raising committee, has appealed to people to donate generously for the noble cause.



Cars, scooter damaged in fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Two cars and a scooter were charred here today morning in a fire that broke out in the basement parking of Pushpak Society in Sector 49.
The fire gravely damaged an Esteem (CH-03M-0373), a Maruti 800 (DL-3CF-7349) and an Activa scooter (CH-O3S-1796). At least two more vehicles suffered partial damage.

The smoke engulfed the entire parking lot and even spread to the flats on the first floor. Although no fire was reported in the residential area, yet, the walls and the floor were blackened with the smoke. At least two fire tenders were sent to the spot and the fire was brought under control.

Another fire was reported in a showroom (SCO-369), in Sector 35-B in the evening. Sources in the Fire Department said the incident was a minor one.



Readers write
General studies paper lacked Indian texture 

The aim of question papers is not to assess what students know, but much beyond that. They reflect the mission and goal of the examination for which it is conducted. Whatever may be the objective, it is the prerogative of the paper setter to decide on the scope and structure of the paper. But if the question paper is not able to meet the minimum basic requirements for checking the required talent for that job, the system fails to deliver goods eventually leading to multiplicity of problems.

This is what has happened in the general studies paper of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination conducted by the UPSC last Sunday. If this paper is used as an index, it negates the entire exercise of the UPSC in selecting civil servants, precisely IAS.

The question paper looked more like a test of general knowledge rather than general studies. For instance, the evaluation is virtually based on just 350 pieces of information for 26 per cent (39) of the questions. A still deeper analysis of the paper reveals that it fails to reflect the socio-economic and cultural texture of India. In fact the paper looked more like a test to select elite for international services or to select “steel frame of India” rather than persons with “fragrance of the soil for the soil.”

With two questions each related with the US, UK and Pakistan, the paper seems to be yet another attempt towards CBMs. Striking a balance with the UK and the US, the paper asked about not only former UK PMs and their political parties, but also about US Presidents father-son combination.

Nonetheless, there were less than 50 per cent questions related with the Indian scenario. There were more questions on “world geography” than “Indian geography.” Ironically, the scope of the paper was limited to few dimensions. For instance: of the three questions related with sports, two were related with lawn tennis and in the third question “tennis” also figured as a partial answer.

In my opinion the stress should be more on conceptual understanding of various subjects and current happenings rather than objective information. Though the civil services aspirants should know everything occurring around the globe, greater emphasis should be on the social, economic and cultural conditions in India.

Dr Ravi Mahajan, Former Coordinator, IAS Centre, PU, Chandigarh

Bad road

I am a daily commuter from Mohali to Chandigarh. The road next to the Sector 52 petrol station towards Mohali and near the CRP picket is in a dilapidated condition. The daily commuter who comes to Chandigarh drive on the wrong side of the road due to the bad condition and potholes in the road and this has resulted in many accidents.

Kulwant Singh Turk, Mohali

Congress grass menace

I am staying in Panchkula for the past eight years. Every year I see that the Panchkula MC allows the congress grass to grow to a stage when it has flowered to the full. Contract is given for cutting this grass in May/June every year.

Flowers will now spread seeds all over the place and congress grass will grow again next year and another contract will be given. This un-ending cycle continues.

If congress grass is cut in February/March when plants are young, seeds will not spread this menace. This can also save people from the hazards of ill health and save the taxpayer’s money.

Will the Panchkula MC pay any heed to this aspect, please?

Lieut-Col G.S. Dhillon (retd), Panchkula

From cynosure to only sore

Panjab University, Chandigarh, has been in news frequently for all the wrong reasons. There were scandals involving the sports department, finance department, health department and various other scandals. No remedial measures were taken and the matters were hushed up by forming committees, and then committees over the former committees. The recent one was the examinations bungle. Roll numbers were not issued or not issued in time, overlapping date sheets, new exam dates which again seemed to have been reached without proper thinking. Further there was mass copying which went unchecked or went ahead with connivance of the supervisory staff appointed from colleges itself.

Many a times examinations were out of syllabus. In the whole process, as usual the honest students suffered.

R.K. Garg, Mohali

No more slums please

Chandigarh is the city of the service-class people. Let its citizens decide whether they want any more slum settlements in the limited land resources of Chandigarh. It was a beautiful city but over the years this paradise has become a haven for drug peddlers, snatchers, criminals and petty politicians who should well remember a law abiding citizen is nation’s biggest asset.

An extension in the residential area, without the prior permission of the Estate Office calls for demolition. But are the officials sleeping, when overnight, the immigrants are busy pegging tents on the UT property? Are their pockets being lined so well that they look the other way while a wrong is being committed.

The residents have spent their life long earning and tried to create their own paradise. The city is unique. Let us maintain its individuality. Let the city be surrounded by progressive and cultural institutes without diluting the initial concept of green-lung areas. We have, over a period, settled enough slum dwellers. The way it is going we will soon have layers of slum settlements making the life of erstwhile citizens miserable — art and culture be damned. Do we, the citizens want this ??? Be vocal lest the short term gainers take you for a doormat.

Asha Prem Singh, Chandigarh

Is 13 unlucky?

Apropos of the news item, “Wither superstition? courtroom 12A again changed to 13” (April 8), whether superstitious or not, number 13 is indeed considered unlucky by many.

Chandigarh does not have Sector 13. Air Force doesnot have 13 Squadron nor 12 Wing. Army does not have 13 Corps. Some hotels and hospitals do not have room no 13.

However, in many cases number 13 is considered auspicious. Lohri and Baisakhi festivals mostly fall on January 13 and April 13, respectively. Kirya is generally solemnised on the 13th day after death. “Chola” ceremony for the new-borne child is normally held on the 13th day after birth.

In any case, why get unduly agitated over a harmless matter? Instead, why not raise one’s voice against some other beliefs and practices like, for example, issuing of edicts by the clergy which also defy logic, scientific temper and spirit of reform?

C.L. Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar



Labourer crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
A 22-year-old labourer from Rajasthan, riding a bicycle, was allegedly crushed to death by a truck at the Transport Light Point, this evening.
The accident brought the traffic to a standstill at the Transport Light Point.

The truck (HP-12A 5839) was heading towards Bapu Dham from the Tribune Chowk when it allegedly crushed Kailash, a marble worker, who was the resident of the Rally village in Panchkula.

The driver of the truck, Gurmail Singh, hailing from Raipur in Ropar District has been arrested.



Vehicle stolen
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 22
Thieves struck at a house in Sector 2 and took away a Balero jeep, in broad daylight, here today.
According to the police, the jeep belonged to a manager of a Baddi-based industrial unit. The police has registered a case.


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