C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major fire in substation
Blackout in Dera Bassi-Lalru belt
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, June 5
A major fire in 220 KV power substation resulted in a total blackout in entire Dera Bassi-Lalru belt here this evening bringing industry to a halt besides affecting the lives of more than 30,000 families. There have been no reports of anybody getting injured in the incident.

It was expected to take several hours to restore the power supply in the area. A team of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB ) engineers reached the spot and was assessing the situation.

Sources in the power sector said it was too early to pinpoint the cause of the fire. A drum of transformer oil has been saved and this could be used to restore supply. The PSEB also has mobile transformers.

The fire that damaged the substation erupted around 5:30 pm and was controlled three hours later after local fire authorities requisitioned foam-based fire extinguishers of the Air Force. Fire engines from Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Rajpura, Ambala besides the Air Fore Station, Barwala, and Dappar rushed to the spot.

Besides affecting the entire industrial belt all along the Chandigarh -Ambala highway, the fire meant all areas right from Zirakpur till Lalru near Ambala were without power. This created problems for road users while shops closed down early. The railway network was, however, not affected.



Depot fire: cause still a mystery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
A day after a major fire broke out at the Haryana Roadways Depot, questions about the cause of fire remain unanswered and different theories are making the rounds. Yesterday’s fire in the depot had resulted in a loss of Rs 5 lakh to the department.

The station fire officer, Mr S.K. Gosain, maintained that the accident was the outcome of a carelessly thrown cigarette butt at some condemned tyres lying in the open.

“The version that the cigarette butt came from over the boundary walI doesn’t hold to good. It was around lunch time that the accident took place. We are, however, yet to identify the exact cause,” he stated.

Another theory making the rounds is that some repair work was underway at the ministerial car section in the depot. The accident, employees of the fire department, said was the consequence of welding and painting being undertaken in the section. It is being presumed that the painting work was being done near a heap of dry leaves. Sparks from welding caused a fire in the leaves which spread to the condemned tyres lying in the backyard.

However, the exact cause will be known only after thorough investigation. The Commissioner, Haryana Transport, Mr Ramendra Jakhu, had marked an enquiry into the accident and the report is likely in a week’s time. Today, however, he was not available for comments.



Making a living by donating blood, stealing mobile phones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The local police today claimed to have arrested two persons who made their living either by donating blood or stealing mobile phone sets and two-wheelers.

The duo, professional donors from Haryana, earned their livelihood by donating blood at hospitals in the city, Ludhiana, Delhi and Agra. And when they were hard-pressed for money, they resorted to stealing mobile phones mainly from the hospitals.

They reportedly had donated blood for over 150 times and were paid Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 for each donation. Usually they donated blood after about every fortnight, sources said.

A team of the Operations Cell, led by Mr Satbir Singh, Inspector, arrested the duo, Ravinder Pal Singh and Shiv Lal, and recovered seven mobile phone sets and two motor cycles from their possession.

While six of the mobile phones were stolen from the PGI, General Hospital, Sector 16, and the GMCH, Sector 32, another set was stolen from the Sector 26 grain market.

The motorcycles recovered from them included a Yamaha (CH-03-D-5683), stolen from near the Pal Dhaba in Sector 28, and a Hero Honda (CHJ 7978) stolen from Sector 21 here.



Underground parking at PU library?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Driven by paucity of space and the ever-expanding needs, Panjab University mulls going underground to look for solutions for parking blues. This is at least true for the AC Joshi Library at PU where the increasing vehicular traffic has forced the authorities look for additional parking space, and the option of underground parking is not ruled out.

“There is acute shortage of space in front of the library and the existing parking needs to be extended. We are thinking about the option of underground parking to accommodate the rush. Otherwise, we will make use of the green lawns in front of the library to create additional parking space,’’ says the PU Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak. The one aspect that the university is closely looking at is the total cost of the underground parking, and whether it could fit in the university’s budget. “We have been discussing various proposals and studying the cost factor. In any case the lawn in front of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology will be utilised to serve the need,’’ adds the VC.

Initially planned for a meagre inflow of traffic, the small parking space in front of the library is too inadequate for the students who come in cars and two wheelers to the library to study. As the parked vehicles choke the area around the small roundabout between the library and Gandhi Bhavan lawns, campus residents insist that the traffic pouring over the roads makes the area unsafe and accident-prone. Sometimes, students have to park their vehicles right up to the Students Centre.

Sources say it is not parking alone, but extension of the library which have been discussed but alterations in the original plan of the university were the main bottleneck in the plan. Many on the campus say the PU must think about utilising the campus area in Sector 25 to meet the increasing space demands of the university library. In fact, most of the new construction at PU, including the building of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) and the new dental college are being constructed in Sector 25 only.



Mohali students shine in Class X exam
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
Students of Gem Public School, Phase 3B2, Mohali, have scored the top positions in the town in the Class X examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board. Neetika of the school has topped in Mohali and is 25th in the state. Jasleen of the school is 26th in the state and second in the town followed by Amanpreet Kaur who is third here and 31st in the state.

Harmeet Kaur of Nav Jyoti Model High School is 33rd in the state and IV here. Gurleen Kaur of Gem Public School is 37th in the state. Her class fellows, Harmeet Kaur and Prabhdeep Kaur, are 42nd in the state. Sumel Singh Brar and Jasmeet Kaur also of the school are 44th and 45th in the state.

Gurbaksh Kaur of Government Senior Secondary School, Matour, Sector 70, has scored 46th position in the state. Anvinder Kaur of Shastri Model School Phase I, Mohali, has scored the 47th position in the state. Navjot Kaur of Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, is 49th in the state.



Anu of Ropar tops district in Class X exams
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
Anu, a student of DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Ropar, has topped the district in the Class X examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board. She is third in the state. Arvind Kumar of GGSSTP High School, Noohon (Ropar), is second in the district and seventh in the state. Divya Rani, a private candidate, is third in the district.

Mandeep Kaur, another private candidate, is fourth in the district and twenty second in the state. Archit of Bhai Nand Lal Public School Anandpur Sahib, and Preeti Sharma of DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Ropar, are twentyfourth in the state and fifth in the district. Nitika of Gem Public School is sixth in and Ravneet Kaur of Sant Baba Piara Singh Senior Secondary School, Chamkaur Sahib seventh in the district.

Payal Mehta, a private candidate from Ropar, is next in the township. Jashanjot Singh of Bhai Nand Lal Public School, Anandpur Sahib, is thirtythird in the state.

Jaspreet Kaur of DAV Public School, Ropar, Swati Tayal of Sant Baba Piara Singh Senior Secondary School, Chamkaur Sahib, Ravinder Singh of GGSSTP High School, Noohon (Ropar), Smriti Sharma of Guru Teg Bahadur Public School, Nangal township, Amandeep Kaur of Himalaya Senior Secondary School, Mujafat (Ropar), Anjali Arora and Sahil Saini of Government High School, Mukari (Ropar), are some of those who have made it to the merit list from Ropar.



Networking of all lower courts on the anvil
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has chalked out an ambitious plan to computerise all district and subdivisional courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

As part of this project, all district and subdivisional courts will be networked and litigants and lawyers will be able to access details and progress of cases online.

However, to begin with, all branches in the Punjab and Haryana High Court will be computerised and the plan is to make the interim and final judgements available to the lawyers and clients online on a daily basis.

"The physical movements of files will be reduced to a minimum," is how a High Court official put it.

When completed, this project will facilitate speedier justice, centralised monitoring of cases in lower courts, which will, in effect, also speed up justice delivery system.

The Bangalore High Court already has this system operational for the past few years and reports say that a lot of positive changes have taken place since then.

The Supreme Court has also set up a team to oversee computerization of various High Courts and district courts. One such team, headed by a retired Judge, was in Chandigarh recently to give a preview to the Judges of this High Court.

The High Court too also constituted an e-society headed by the Chief Justice for the purpose. Apart from some sitting Judges, the society comprises Director-Secretary, IT, Punjab, Director, IT, Chandigarh. Advocate-Generals of Punjab and Haryana, Managing Director, Hartron, and Director- General, National Informatics Centre (NIC).

The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is currently testing the software that will be installed to monitor progress of cases online.

Sources say that with the present speed at which things are moving, it would take over one year to implement the scheme.

Majority of the High Court staff on the judicial side is working overtime to process data about lakhs of pending cases in various courts, including the High Court.

Sources say that networking of courts in Patiala and Ambala districts has already been completed and the daily cause list and disposal of cases will be available online soon.

"What will finally happen is that everyone will be able to follow the progress of cases in various courts. In fact, the Chief Justice and Administrative Judges of various districts will also be provided reports of disposal of cases in districts on a daily basis. But, this could take some time," said a High Court officer.



Landmark judgement on Army disability pension
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that there is no rationale behind discriminating between a regular army officer and an emergency commission officer for grant of disability pension.

The judgement is significant as emergency commission officers are not being given the benefit of disability pension as admissible to regular officers by counting the entire period of commission service as qualifying service. In case of emergency commission officers, the diasbility pension is calculated by taking into account service till the date of sustaining injury or disability.

In fact, the “rate of service element” for calculating disability pension is different in case of emergency commission officers and regular officers, if the disability is less than 80 per cent.

Rather, the instructions issued by the Union of India and other authorities in April, 1965, clearly state that it is same in both the case only if the officer’s disability is assessed at 80 per cent or above.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by ex-Capatin Pokh Raj of Yamunanagar, Mr Justice S.S.Nijjar of the High Court has ruled: “There is no rationale as to why an officer suffering from 80 per cent or above disability should be more favourably treated than a person suffering from 70 per cent or above disability”.

In his petition, Capt Raj had earlier sought directions to the Union of India and another respondent to count the entire period of commission service rendered by him from August 30,1964, to July 15,1970, as qualifying service for grant of service element.

Going into the background of the matter, the petitioner had asserted that he was enrolled in the Army on January 13, 1953, and was granted emergency commission on August 30, 1964. He was released from the Army on July 15, 1970.

He suffered disability between August, ‘64 and July, ‘70. Rather, he had become 70 per cent deaf. Arguing on his behalf, chairman of the All-India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association Bhim Sen Sehgal added that the disability pension was, however, granted by taking into account commission service for one year from 1964. The entire service from 1965 to 1970 was ignored.

After hearing arguments, Mr Justice Nijjar ruled: “In the present case, it has been stated by Mr Sehgal that the disability of the petitioner has been assessed at 100 per cent from 1990 onwards. Even earlier, the disability of the petitioner had been assessed at 70 per cent. I see no justification in declining the benefit of disability pension to the petitioner as admissible to PRS (regular) officers by counting the entire period of commission service as qualifying service merely because the petitioner had been assessed at 70 per cent disability”.



Bill on management of defence lands recommended
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence has recommended the enactment of a separate Bill for management of defence lands other than cantonments While cantonments are governed under the Cantonments Act, there is no statute to cover the management of defence lands lying outside the cantonments.

The committee’s recommendation assumes significance because defence land outside cantonments account for almost 90 per cent of the total land holdings by the defence establishment. Out of the 17.31 lakh hectares owned by the Defence Ministry, only about 2 lakh hectares of land lying within 62 cantonments comes under the purview of the Cantonments Act.

Apart from the 62 cantonments in India, there are about 600 military stations spread across the country. Besides, there are training areas, ranges and other land holdings. These areas are regulated by executive instructions issued by the central government from time to time under provisions of Acquisition, Custody, Relinquishment, etc, of Military Land in India Rules, which date back to 1944 and are non-statutory in nature.

Military stations differ from cantonments in the sense that there is no resident civilian population at military stations. Chandimandir, for example, is a military station while Ambala is a cantonment. Cantonments are establishments under the Constitution and are governed by a Cantonment Board which includes elected office-bearers. Military Stations, despite having a large resident population of armed forces personnel, their families and limited commercial establishments, are not governed by any Parliamentary law.

In fact, in an earlier report, the committee had noted that the government had been operating military station without the sanction of law. “These were left to have a precarious existence in the midst of the perpetual fear of being struck down by the courts,” the committee’s report stated.

The central government had maintained that the need for providing a statutory cover to military stations arose because of the 74th Constitutional Amendment, which required a municipal body in every urban or rural area. This also opened the possibility of military stations being brought under the control of respective state governments.

The government had further stated that to ward of this situation, either the provisions of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution would be extended to military stations or a new provision would be incorporated to the Cantonments Act to define military stations as a new category of cantonments.

Further, an exercise for formulation of a new Cantonments Act is already underway and the Cantonments Bill 2003 was referred to the committee for its comments and recommendations.

Urging the Defence Ministry to bring out a Bill on management of non-cantonment lands at the earliest, the committee, in its latest report released a few days ago noted that the nature of management of the two types of holdings was totally different and the management of non-cantonment lands should be excluded from the new Bill.

The committee has stressed that the new Act should provide for greater democratisation, better financial management and extension of centrally sponsored development schemes in cantonments.



Mercury rises further
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The mercury soared even higher today as the day time temperature was recorded at 43.6 degrees Celsius. This is 4 degrees above normal and 1 degree higher than yesterday when the mercury was 42.6 degrees Celsius.

The day time temperature has been rising in the past five days. It was 39.6 degrees on May 31.

The local met office said even the minimum temperature was higher than normal. It was recorded at 26.4 degrees Celsius which as 3 degrees Celsius above the normal for this time of the year.

All through the day warm gusts of wind scorched the city. A large number of city residents headed to nearby water amusement parks to beat the heat. Also the swimming pools of the city in various clubs were packed to capacity.



Introduce crop insurance, says Rajnath Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Demanding the introduction of the crop insurance scheme for the farmers, the former Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, said today that the farmers did not need free power but continuous power supply.

Addressing the BJP’s inter-state farmers meeting at Kisan Bhavan,Mr Rajnath Singh claimed that if certain incentives, including minimum return per acre of land, were assured there would be no need for other incentives like free power to the farmers.

The BJP leader claimed that five years after the minimum return on land was assured, over 70 per cent of the total population comprising farmers would taste economic prosperity and India would emerge as a developed nation.

During the NDA government’s rule, an ambitious Rs 6,400 crore insurance scheme was envisaged under which 75 per cent of the premium was to be borne by the Central Government. If implementated,the comprehensive insurance scheme would free the Indian farmers from the vagaries of nature, he added.

Calling for “nature compatible” development, he regretted that in Punjab about 180 kg of chemical fertilisers were being used for every acre, playing havoc with the productivity of land and environment.

Stressing the need for organic farming, he said as part of a strategy to bring more land under cultivation, over 4 crore acres barren land could be handed over to the farmers and the ownership of the half of that land handed over to them.

There was a need for intensive capital investment in the farming sector to make it a remunerative profession and the rate of interest on the farming should not be more than 5 per cent, Mr Rajnath Singh asserted.

Earlier, talking to reporters, Mr Rajnath Singh said the BJP’s alliance with the SAD would continue in the 2007 Punjab Assembly elections.

He, however, refused to comment on the remarks of the BJP president, Mr L.K. Advani, on Jinnah in Pakistan, saying that only Mr Advani could clarify on this issue on his return to India.



Mining contractors violate labour laws
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 5
Even as the Department of Mines and Geology, Haryana, has insisted on an Environment Management Plan for allowing quarrying of minor minerals from riverbeds here, the mining contractors seem unconcerned about implementing labour laws applicable for over 10,000 workmen employed here.

From child labour (children as young as seven years of age are employed in the industry) to no provision for safe drinking water in the colonies, or medical facilities at any of the 55 quarries in the district — the workforce that churns out thousands of truckloads of building material for the construction industry each day is living in the most inhuman conditions.

This in spite of the fact that ensuring labour safety and adherence to labour laws is an important clause in the auction notice. The rules lay down that provisions of all state and Central labour laws are applicable to the mines and quarries projects. These provision relate to drinking water, rest shelters, dwelling units, toilets, first aid and medical facilities.

However, a visit to these quarries along the Ghaggar by the Chandigarh Tribune team revealed that none of these conditions is being adhered to. Most of the quarries have employed children as young as seven years of age for quarrying. Labourers say the children are employed only for lifting stones and gravel, and not for the digging work. These children sit huddled near the edge of the quarry and sift through the gravel. In eventuality of a cave in, these children could be the worst affected. Pushpa, 7, and her friend, Kanta, 8, who were working at one such mine said they came to work at 7 am and worked till 7 pm.

The labourers are staying in deplorable conditions — small hutments with insanitary conditions. Because of the filth, these hutments are the breeding grounds of mosquitoes — often leading to malaria epidemic.

Near Fatehpur Dewanwala quarry, only one tap has been installed for drinking water supply to almost 100 labourers, but the water supply is restricted to a few hours a day. “For the remaining day, we fetch water from the river. Though the river water is muddy, we have no option if we need water for drinking or cooking.

There are no toilets and labourers defecate in the open. Om Prakash, a labourer employed at Jallah quarry, says because of open toilets, the menace of flies has increased in the area. Since flies are carriers of various infections, an epidemic is waiting to break out in the area.

There are no rest shelters for the labourers in any of these quarries. Moreover, contractors here are indulging in exicssive digging (as deep as 25 to 30 feet) in violation of rules specified by the Department of Mines and Geology. The rules say the riverbed material (RBM) can be extracted only by digging trenches, and these have to be dug in steps so as to avoid caving in of the material. This has often led to deaths of labourers, but the new mining contractors, too, seem not to care.

Officials in the Mining Department, say they have been conducting regular checks at quarries. “We will now ensure that all labour laws are adhered to,” they say. 



Concern over decrease in forest area
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
Jan Shikshan Sansthan Mohali celebrated World Environment Day today at its field office in Chintgarh, Majri block. The objective was to create awareness among the students and common people about the need and relevance of the World Environment Day and to sensitise them on various issues which are affecting our environment.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, programme officer, JSS, said the rapid increase in human population had put a tremendous pressure on our natural resources. Ruthless exploitation of natural resources by man to fulfil his greed had led to a deterioration and pollution of soil, water and air.

Mr Anand expressed concern about the rapidly decreasing area under forest cover throughout the world. Forests are the basis of natural environment and maintain ecological balance that provided an important link in the water cycle in nature. The cutting of trees has upset the climatic balance which has resulted in erratic rainfall, drought and floods.

Mr Anil Kumar Gupta, assistant programme officer, said over exploitation of ground water has led to a steep decline of water table in Punjab. He emphasised on the need to harvest rain water to re-charge the ground water. Mr Gupta expressed his concern on the excessive use of chemical fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides by farmers.

In another programme held at JSS field office, Bangian village in Morinda block, Mr Anand Mohan Sharma emphasised the importance of involving the community in the management and conservation of environment.



City to have Paryavaran Bhavan
Will house all environment-related offices, advanced pollution control lab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
In another two years, Chandigarh will have a full-fledged building dedicated to environment-related studies and research.

Christened “Paryavaran Bhavan”, the structure will come up in Sector 19, adjacent to the Old Architects Building. The first move in this direction was made today when, on the occasion of World Environment Day, UT Administrator and Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) laid the foundation stone of the building.

The significance of this structure lies in its concept that envisages a space comprehensive enough to address every environment-related issue. The bhavan has been designed to house all important offices working in areas critical to environmental sustenance.

It will have the Forest Department, the Science and Technology Department, the Pollution Control Office and a special cell for Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Not just that it will also make space for a state-of-the-art pollution control laboratory that will revolutionise the process of data collection in the area of air pollution.

Exhibiting keen interest in the building the design of which was displayed by Chief Architect Renu Saighal, Genenal Rodrigues sought innovative landscaping for its spaces.

The work was assigned to Dr Satish Narula, who recently landscaped a garden in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The idea is to enrich the building and its spaces with as many natural elements as possible.

Laying the foundation stone of the five-storey building, the Governor spoke about the significance of environment-related measures. Naturally, the bhavan will have all such measures, including water harvesting and energy conservation.

As for the layout of the building, it will be spread in 80,000 sq ft area and will be four storeys to begin with. The fifth storey will be kept vacant for other uses, which will be planned later.

The Rs 6 crore project is expected to take two years to mature. Among those present at the function were the Director, Environment, UT, Mr Ishwar Singh, the UT Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, the DC and the Finance Secretary.



Save environment, says Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Exhorting residents to be at the forefront in the efforts to save the environment from degradation, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor, Punjab, said, “We have to start from the basics by forming partnerships to achieve environment-friendly activities. There is a need for protagonists and resource persons to come together and make a difference. There are so many self-declared custodians of environment who are ready to give advice but do not do much when it comes to action. We must understand that our inadequacy will effect our future generations”.

He was speaking at a at a function organised by the CII and Environment Department, Chandigarh Administration, to commemorate World Environment Day here today.

The Governor presented city schools with the Green Award under the Green School Project, an ongoing initiative of the CII, Chandigarh Administration and Yuvsatta (an environmental NGO) for undertaking environment conservation activities.

Vivek High School received the award for best eco-clubs. Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33, and the Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, received consolation prizes. Twelve other schools were presented commendation certificates. A cultural programme on environment was presented by school students.

The Governor also released a booklet on Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, published by the Department of Forests and Wildlife, UT, Chandigarh. Highlighting the Kumaon (Garhwal) example where people participated to conserve trees, he stated, “The industry should run business in a harmonious and environment-friendly manner. We need to find Indian solution to Indian problems. We also have to work together to achieve these goals”. He congratulated the winners and expressed hope that all schools in Chandigarh would join the campaign.

Stressing on individual participation, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Secretary, Environment and Forests, UT, Chandigarh, said, “We take pride in technology which has made life luxurious, but we should take care of adverse consequences not only on our life but also that of future generations. Individuals have to play a significant role to preserve the environment”.

Earlier, welcoming the participants, Mr Krishan Goyal, chairman, CII, Chandigarh council, said, “Many of the schools have made a good beginning. Yet a lot more still needs to be done. In the third year of the project scheduled to begin in July we will continue our efforts towards establishing effective channels of communication and awareness raising through a series of inter-school competitions”.

Over 300 students and teachers from various city schools participated in the programme.



World Environment Day observed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 5
In its endeavour towards environment protection, Coca Cola India today announced a series of eco-friendly initiatives across the country.

In Panchkula, the company celebrated World Environment Day by organising a painting competition at SOS Children’s Village — Bal Niketan.

About 20 under-privileged children participated in the competition based on the theme of environment conservation and protection. Balram Singh, Anchal and Vijay won the competition. All participants were given memorabilia like T-shirts, caps besides refreshments and other goodies.

A sapling plantation drive was also launched on the occasion.

World Environment Day celebrations were also held at the Police Lines here. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, the SP, Dr R.C. Misra, and forest officials planted saplings. They also decided to plant 50,000 saplings this year on the Police Lines premises.

Residents of Sector 16 observed the day in a unique manner by cleaning park No 1606 in Sector 16. The residents also planted saplings and flowers in the park.



Girl child scheme to check poor sex ratio
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
As part of measures being taken up to combat the declining sex ratio in Chandigarh, the Department of Social Welfare has renewed its efforts for the implementation of the Balika Samridhi Yojna for those below the poverty line through the integrated Child Development Service Schemes (ICDS).

A Central Government programme, it provides several benefits for the girl child in the form of a post-birth grant of Rs 500 along with an annual scholarship when she starts going to school for each successfully completed year of schooling.

The annual scholarship is as follows: For Classes I to III Rs 300 per annum for each class

For Class IV Rs 500

For Class V Rs 600

For Class VI Rs 700

For Class VIII Rs 800

For Classes IX to X Rs 1,000 per annum

The amounts are required to be deposited in an account to be opened in the name of the beneficiary and an officer designated on this behalf by the UT in the nearest bank.

Headmasters/principals of each school are required to issue the certificate to girls belonging to these families and studying in their schools as and when approached by the functionaries concerned.

Director Social Welfare Madhvi Kataria has urged the ICDS functionaries to popularise the schemes.

The scheme entitles two girls from each below the poverty line family, born after August 15, 1997, to be a beneficiary.



Overbridge sought near Mani Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The local unit of the BJP yesterday demanded the construction of an overbridge on the Mani Majra level crossing on the Chandigarh-Kalka Railway Line.

In a letter to the Union Railway Minister, a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, urged him to sanction the project for the convenience of the general public. Over 25,000 persons, who visited Chandigarh from Mani Majra daily, were inconvenienced and had to wait for long time at the crossing.

Though the residents of Mani Majra have been demanding the construction of the overbridge for a long yet to no heed had been paid to their genuine demand. The construction of the overbridge would go a long way in solving the problems of the residents and overall development of the area.

The BJP workers have decided to launch a “signature campaign” to press for the acceptance of the demand.A memorandum containing the signatures would be sent to the Railway Minister soon, Mr Jain added.



Applications for bravery awards invited
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 5
The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), New Delhi, has invited applications for Bravery Awards for the year 2005.

Children between the age of six to 18 years, who have shown exemplary courage or have some meritorious deed to their credit during the period from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005, are eligible for nominations.

The applications of such children can be forwarded to the Child Welfare Council, Punjab (Karuna Sadan, third floor 11 B, Chandigarh, 160011).

Candidates can obtain form from the Deputy Commissioner’s office of their respective districts. The applications must reach the office of the Child Welfare Council, Punjab, by September 15.

Thereafter, the names of the eligible children will be forwarded to the ICCW, New Delhi, by the council.



Robbers decamp with computer equipment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
In a daring day-light crime, burglars broke into the office of an advertisement firm in Sector 30 here and decamped with computer equipment worth over Rs 1 lakh before setting a portion of the office on fire.

According to the information, the theft and the fire was noticed around 8.15 a.m. when Mr Dheeraj Kumar, an employee of Mr Suraj Mukhi, the proprietor of the De Graphics, opened the office. Mr Suraj Mukhi is the younger brother of a Congress councillor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, Mr Chander Mukhi.

However, a major tragedy was averted as Mr Dheeraj Kumar, extinguished the fire in time.A CPU, a scanner, printer, keyboard besides certain papers, were taken away by the burglars from the creative wing of the agency.

Sources said professional rivalry could not be ruled out as the burglars targeted the creative wing.



Child succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 5
A four-year-old child was killed and an 11-year-old child was injured in two separate incidents at Kheda Sita Ram village. Both children had fallen from the terrace of their houses. While Neeraj (4) fell down yesterday morning and died in the evening, Vijay (11) was seriously hurt after he fell down from the terrace of his house today.

Found: It was a God-sent wish for NRI, Ms Eesh. The woman, who arrived at Kalka by the Shatabdi train today, somehow left her handbag at the station. The handbag contained a few hundred dollars, thousands of rupees, her passport and other documents.

Ms Eesh had come to meet her family at Kumarhatti and went away in her car. However, after she travelled for a few kilometers, she realized that she had left her purse behind. She again went back, and Mr Anil Jain, contractor of the canteen at Kalka railway station, who had found the unclaimed purse, returned the same to her.



Immigration firm employee booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The police has registered a case against Bharat Teja of a Sector 8-based immigration firm for allegedly taking Rs 6,000 from two persons on the pretext of sending them abroad.

Mr Vineet Chariles and Mr Satinder Singh had complained to the police that Teja took money from them. He neither sent them abroad nor returned the money, they alleged.

Arrested: The police yesterday arrested Surinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 46, and seized 5 gm of smack from him.


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