C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Illegal colony razed in Mohali
Land worth Rs 60 crore retrieved by PUDA
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
In the first-ever operation of its kind, land worth crores of rupees was retrieved from illegal possession by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) by carrying out a demolition drive in Guru Nanak Colony in Phase X here today.

According to Mr Yashvir Mahajan, ACA, PUDA, the cost of land that had been retrieved was about Rs 60 crore. He said residents of the colony had encroached upon nearly 10 acres of prime land.

PUDA started its drive around 5.30 a.m. by issuing special slips to persons who were considered to be genuine claimants of plots being given by PUDA near Jagatpura village to rehabilitate the avacuees. As many as five JCB machines swung into action to demolish the illegal structures after giving time to the people to remove their belongings from the hutments.

Though PUDA had geared up to face any untoward incident, the demolition drive, which went on till the evening, remained peaceful. An ambulance and a fire tender were parked at the scene of action. Nearly 300 policemen were stationed at both the sites. The policemen did not allow any traffic on the roads leading to the colony. When The Tribune team visited the area, the demolition activity was in full swing and people were busy removing their belonging from the area.

Though PUDA authorities claimed that transportation facilities were provided to the affected residents, most of them were seen carrying their belongings on rehras hired privately by them. As many as 10 LCVs were hired by PUDA to help residents transport their belongings to the new site but none of them could be used by affected persons till about 1 p.m.

A driver of one of the vehicles said the LCVs were parked at the demolition site at 6 a.m. but a PUDA junior engineer had instructed the drivers not to load the vehicles till a special slip was given by PUDA officials for the work. It was only when this correspondent brought the matter to the notice of Mr Mahajan, that orders were given to PUDA employees concerned to make public announcement that residents could make use of vehicles hired by PUDA. The affected persons were provided food by PUDA authorities.

PUDA had made arrangements for water and power for the residents who were shifted to the new site. A mobile toilet van was also parked for the convenience of the affected persons. Each deserving family was provided a plot measuring 1.5 marla on a seven — acre plot which was part of the bulk material market. Each plot was brick — marked and numbered. It is learnt that according to the layout plan of the area, there are 448 plots meant for persons shifted from the Guru Nanak Colony.

Though PUDA at present was claiming that the plots were being given to the affected persons on a temporary basis, it is learnt that PUDA authorities were working on the line of finally allotting the plots on a permanent basis under the site-and-service scheme. But a final decision in this regard would be taken by the minister concerned.

According to PUDA officials, nearly 500 persons deserved to be given an alternative site for rehabilitation. Many persons living as tenants and shopkeepers have been kept out of the list of persons who needed to be rehabilitated. By the evening nearly 165 persons had taken possession of the plots from PUDA officials at the new site.

However, some persons complained that they had ration cards and voter I-cards and even then they were not being allotted alternative sites by PUDA.

Residents of Guru Nanak Colony who were living in the area for the past more than 20 years had got their voter I cards and ration cards made from Mohali as well as Chandigarh.

A government primary school was also running in the colony and PUDA officials were not very sure about the fate of that building.

Mr Hardeep Singh, SGPC member who was present in the gurdwara in the colony, said why should religious places be equated with the illegal colony. He said the gurdwara in the area was more than 25 years old and why had the authorities concerned allowed it to come up in the area if it was illegal. He said religious places in the colony should not be demolished as these could be used by residents of the colonies that would be constructed here.

About 60 per cent of the demolition work was completed today. The drive will be resumed tomorrow. A Junior Engineer of PUDA is l likely to face departmental action for failing to distribute slips to persons evicted from Guru Nanak Colony. Allotments near Jagatpura were made on the basis of such slips. 

Prayers at places of worship to avoid demolition

An ‘akhand path’ was today started at the gurdwara in the Guru Nanak Colony while a ‘Ramayan path’ was started in the mandir to avoid demolition. PUDA authorities, however, were adamant that even religious structures would not be spared in the demolition drive. A senior PUDA official said nobody was allowed to encroach upon government land in the name of religion. He said the management of the religious places had been asked to shift from the area.



Heat stroke: another ITBP trooper dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The ITBP lost its fourth trooper, Havildar Hari Singh, to heat stroke after he died at the PGI here today. He was among five ITBP jawans admitted to the PGI on June 22 after they had suffered severe heat stroke during training.

The mortal remains of Hari Singh, who belonged to Mahendergarh district of Haryana, was handed over to his brothers. He had been admitted to the respiratory ICU and, according to doctors, had suffered massive renal failure along with excessive bleeding which had led to multi-organ dysfunction. His heart had also been severely affected.

While two jawans had died on the spot after suffering heat stroke while participating in a 10-km run at the ITBP Basic Training Centre in Bhanu on Wednesday, Inspector Jaswinder Singh had breath his last at the PGI yesterday.

The DIG, Basic Training Centre, Mr M.S. Hyanki, said such training activities were being organised regularly in the past and this was for the first time that such an incident had occurred. Regular training activities, however, were continuing as normal in the centre, he added.

Meanwhile, the ITBP Inspector-General based at Mussourie, Mr S. Nayyar, visited the training centre to investigate the incident. He left for Mussourie today after taking stock of the situation and collecting the necessary information and facts.



Defence officers battle over park
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
A public park in Sector 33-C has become a bone of contention for families of senior Army officers. The “battle” among the families has been reported in a DDR against children playing in the park for indulging in “rowdyism”.

One group wants that children be allowed to play cricket and football in the park by uprooting trees, planted by the other party. The other party is against children playing cricket and football in the park and uprooting of trees.

One group has assembled in an association led by Lt-Gen G.S.Goraya as the president and Lt-Col G.S.Sandhu as the vice-president. The other group informally has Brig Sukhdev Singh and Maj-Gen M.S.Dhillon in the lead.

General Goraya along with Mr J.P.S.Brar and Mr Vikramjeet have got together and formed an association against “capturing of the park by Ms Parminder Kaur, wife of Brig Sukhdev Singh”. Ms Parminder Kaur says she developed the park on her own and will not allow games like cricket and football in it.

The park has rows of trees planted about four years back by Brig Sukhdev Singh and his wife. Mr J.P.S. Brar and Mr Vikramjeet Singh allege that Ms Parminder Kaur consider the park her own property and does not allow children to play.

“We have passed a resolution to uproot the trees and plant them at an alternate place keeping in mind the environmental concerns. We cannot allow a public park to be occupied by someone on the pretext of greening,” they say.

Ms Parminder Kaur said, “These people have seen the problem today. Where were they when I started the greening of the park about four years back? It was a barren land. I planted trees with the help of the municipal corporation. I water the plants from my water connection”.

Mr Brar said, “The complaint against children playing cricket or football is baseless. These children play with tennis balls which are harmless”. Ms Parminder said, “I want to erect a placard saying children can play all games, except cricket and football. This is because senior citizens sit here. In case they are interested in playing football or cricket, they can do so in bigger fields”, she said.

Brig Sukhdev Singh said , “Gardening is my hobby, so I developed the park. Children can play any game except those causing public nuisance”.

Mr H.S.Lucky, area councillor, said he was aware of the problem and would try for an early resolution of the problem.

Another problem area is the park near the residence of General Dhillon. The rival group is levelling allegations that General Dhillon disposed off “malba” in the garden in front of his house. This was ridiculed by General Malik.

Ms Parminder said if the trees were uprooted she would take up the matter with the ministry concerned. Mr Brar and Mr Vikramjeet said the matter could be solved after mutual discussions. “We ignored the matter for years only because of the defence background of our families. We can still decide on the use of the park on a common platform,” they added.



Novel BJP protest against petro price hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Protesting against the hike in petroleum prices, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Punjab unit rode on horse driven carts, bullock carts and bicycles here today.

Led by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, workers marched from the party office in Sector 37 towards Raj Bhawan.

Enroute, they were stopped at the designated protest point - the Matka Chowk on the Madhya Marg. The police arrested the protesters in apprehension of breach of peace when they broke through the security cordon. They were let off after an hour or so.

The protest was in consonance with a call given by the National unit of the BJP to launch a nationwide weeklong protest against the price rise in general and petroleum price hike in particular, from June 24 to June 30.

While addressing his partymen Mr Khanna said the (UPA) government had increased the prices of petrol and diesel for the fourth time in the past one year. The price hike will further push up the general price line.

Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, who had also joined in the protest, said in the past one year starting June 1, 2004, price of petrol had gone up by Rs 10.20 per litre and diesel price has been increased by Rs. 7.17 per litre. This is a net increase of 25 per cent, he added. The increase is unprecedented in any single year after Independence, added Prof Dhumal.

As on today, the duty on petroleum products stood at nearly 55 per cent which is unparalleled in the world economy. The government should have rationalised the duty structure instead of hiking prices, the BJP leaders added.

Among those to be arrested included Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, Prof Dhumal, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, former Health Minister, Punjab, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, general secretary, BJP, Punjab, Mr Vineet Joshi, Member, National Executive, BJP youth wing, and in charge, organisational affairs, J&K, Mr Khushwant Rai Gigga, Mr Ashwani Sharma, Mr Rajesh Bagga and Mrs Lakshmi Bhadu.



Sending woman to US will defame Pak: Rana Ijaz
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
A vocal spokesperson for human rights in Pakistan, who was instrumental in getting a case registered against rapists of Pakistani woman Mukhtaran Mai, feels if the woman presents her case before an audience in the USA it will be like defaming Pakistan.

Rana Ijaz Ahmad Khan was the inquiry officer when Mukhtaran Mai was raped almost three years ago. He spoke to The Tribune here yesterday on the subject. Rana Ijaz Ahmad Khan, who is Advisor (Law and Human Rights) to Chief Minister of Pakistan Punjab, is presently leading a unique all-religion delegation to India. The delegation has Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians.

About the present status and advocating against sending the woman to the USA, he said Pakistan was taking total care of her. The Prime Minister had met her twice and assured her of justice. She was a free citizen allowed to go anywhere she desired. However, if she spoke before audiences in the USA about the gang rape it would only defame Pakistan. “ Such a speech will not help anybody,” said Mr Khan, while advocating restraint. The media had blown the case out of proportion.

The case grabbed headlines globally after it was revealed that the woman had been gang raped on the orders of her own village elders as punishment for her brother allegedly befriending another girl. Her brother was barely 12 years then and the girls’ family is a powerful landlord family in Pakistan’s Tribal belt. The rape had been committed in June, 2002.

Telling about the rape of Mukhtaran Mai, Mr Khan said the law was taking its due course, the men who raped her were behind bars and the case would go before the Supreme Court of Pakistan at the end of this month.

Pakistan’s state Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr Shazaad Wasim, had recently informed the Assembly that the raped woman had now got about Rs 16 crore by way of aid as sympathy from worldwide NGOs, said Mr Khan.

The village of Mukhtaran Mai, Meerwalla near Multan has been adopted as a model village by the Pakistan Government where roads have been provided. Also an education and health system is provided for, Mr Khan added. Earlier, this was not the case as a kutcha pathway was the only connection of the village with the outside world.



Passing Thru

Kevin Jungbauer
Kevin Jungbauer, member of Association International for Students in Economic Science and Commerce Science from Germany.

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am a fellow with Association International for Students in Economic Science and Commerce Science, and came to Bal Niketan, Panchkula, to get the inter-cultural exposure. I have been teaching computer literacy and English speaking to the children in this SOS Children’s village. I have also helped develop the website of Bal Niketan.

-What was it like working with under privileged children in India?

I am very impressed that private organisations like Bal Niketan here take the onus to look after underprivileged people. In Germany, the responsibility of dealing with such children rests with the government. Its been a learning experience here, as I dealt with children who want to move ahead inspite of their circumstances.

- What is the best part of your visit to Chandigarh?

I learnt a lot of bhangra and freaked out on the barfi and halwa. I also travelled a lot in Punjab and Himachal, and have some of the best memories while teaching the children. — Ruchika M. Khanna



Zila Parishad poll
Suspense over political affiliation of candidates
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Suspense looms large over the fate of the candidates contesting the forthcoming Zila Parishad elections in the city. Keeping the cards close to their hearts, the candidates have so far not revealed their political affiliations to the major political parties like the Congress and the BJP.

Though the major parties have not come out openly in support of the candidates, the rivalry in the local unit of the Congress is likely to cast its shadow over the elections as the two rival factions were contemplating to support their own candidates, said sources in the local unit of the Congress.

A spokesman of the BJP said the party was not fielding its candidate but would soon finalise its strategy for the Zila Parishad elections. The party was taking the elections seriously, he said.

Politicians associated with rural politics said the elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions hold relevance as it was the Panchayati Samiti where its former chairman, Bhupinder Singh Badehri, was ousted by a rival group in December, 2004, before he had vacate his position in the Market Committee also.

Mr Badehri, however, denied there were any rival groups who could field its candidates in the elections. In his view the party would support the candidates who had a clean image.

The composition of the Zila Parishad and Panchayati Samiti is such that the Congress backed candidates are supported by the BJP-supported candidates and vice versa. “Once the candidates win the elections, a hefty money is paid by the members who aims to become the Chairman”, said a member of the outgoing Zila Parishad.



UT may miss July 1 VAT deadline
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Even as the other states gear up to implement the ambitious Value Added Tax(VAT) for a uniform tax regime in the country, Chandigarh is again set to miss the reported July 1 deadline.

In fact the implementation of VAT seems to be caught in the legal wranglings with the Central Government yet to repeal the Punjab General Sales Tax(PGST) Act, 1948, which was to be replaced by VAT.

Under the Reorganisation Act, 1966, the PGST Act has been extended to Chandigarh and both the PGST and VAT could not be implemented simultaneously in the city, officials sources said here today.

While the Punjab Assembly had repealed the PGST Act and implemented the Punjab VAT Act, the lack of a democratically-elected Assembly in Chandigarh seems to have been blocking the implementation of VAT, intended to enforce uniform tax regime all over the country.

In case of Chandigarh, the PGST Act will have to be repealed by Parliament which will not be possible before the ensuing monsoon session. Given political insignificance of Chandigarh, the repeal of the PGST Act may not be taken up during the session on a priority basis, a functionary of the Chandigarh Administration said.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM), the apex body of the city traders, has urged the Chandigarh Administration to get the PGST repealed immediately to pave the way for the enforcement of VAT in the city.

“Currently, there is a lot of confusion on the implementation of VAT in the minds of the traders and the customers. The new uniform tax regime was intended to put an end to the plethora of taxes all over the country to integrate the Indian economy to the world economy,” the CBM spokesman, Mr JPS Kalra, said.

To effectively implement the new tax, the administration should make efforts to educate the general public and the traders so as to make it “hassle-free”. Also the Central Sales Tax should go to pave the way for the VAT implementation, Mr Kalra demanded.



A killer road despite tall claims by police
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Three days, as many accidents

  • On June 22, bank employee Pradeep Kumar, riding a motor-cycle, was killed after being hit by a truck in Sector 26 near the grain market.
  • The next day, a retired employee of The Tribune, Satinder Nath Amar, made his final exit after the scooter he was riding was hit by an unidentified car near the Mani Majra traffic lights.
  • On the intervening night of June 24 and June 25, a truck rams into traffic lights, pulling them down before overturning, near Housing Board crossing.

Chandigarh, June 25
One road. Seventy two hours. Three accidents. Two fatal. No exaggeration. Chandigarh-Panchkula highway continues to be a killer road, despite tall claims to safety by the local police.

Though senior police officers hate to admit it, the sources in the local police claim that everyday at least two or three accidents occur on the road, especially around the area in front of the grain market in Sector 26 and the Housing Board crossing.

The sources also refute the claims of senior officers regarding reduction in the accident rate on the road. They insist that only mishaps involving slow moving vehicles, including cycles, and mopeds, have registered a decrease since the installation of railing on the median. Still, the number of accidents is far to high.

They assert that statistics offered by the police, in any case, do not provide the real picture as a large number of non-fatal accidents go unreported due to complicated legal procedure. Otherwise, a substantial number of 396 accidents — that took place last year — occurred on the highway.

They add that the highway prominently figures in the list of killer roads drawn by the Chandigarh Police’s traffic wing. Yet nothing concrete has so far been done to arrest the number of accidents.

Giving details, the sources assert that in a majority of the accidents taking place now-a-days, scooters and motorcycles are hit from the rear by speeding buses, trucks and even cars. The victims are hardly in a position to react as they are caught unawares.

Elaborating upon the reasons behind the failure of Chandigarh Police to check accidents on the road, the sources assert that so far little has been done to ensure the removal of liquor vends dotting the highway, in violation of the directions issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the traffic management and pollution control case.

The sources say that in at least three places liquor vends are situated dot on the road, even though a minimum specified distance from the highway has to be maintained, according to the judgement issued by Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Sat Pal.

This is not all. The sources allege that the Chandigarh Police is also not challaning reckless drivers for overspeeding with required vigour and zeal. This is despite the fact that so many accidents are taking place due to overspeeding.

A senior police officer, however, claims the adoption of stringent measures to check the rate of accidents on the road, including the deployment of cops on every intersection, besides the installation of traffic lights with timers.



Admn asks depts to prepare action plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The UT Administration has directed all its departments to prepare an action plan to implement the recommendations of the sub-groups constituted by the Administrator’s advisory council to address important issues. The issues included building by-laws, clearance of slums, garbage disposal, amendments in the Municipal Act and development of villages.

The advisory council consists of representatives of various NGOs and eminent citizens of the city. All six sub-groups have studied the problems and issues concerning their field and made recommendations. The recommendations were sent to all political parties with a request to send their comments on the recommendations. None of the political parties offered their comments to the Administration. The recommendations were later discussed and decisions were taken to take further action for implementing the recommendations.

In relation to the recommendations made for the development of villages, a special emphasis has been given by the Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), for the preparation of micro-plan for each and every village after taking a holistic view of the problems of the villages. The progress made by the departments will be reviewed periodically to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in a time-bound manner.

Having deliberated on all the issues, the advisory council has decided to convene another meeting shortly and the sub-groups will be entrusted with some other important issues concerning the city.



Celestial treat for sky gazers
Tribune News Service

The location of the three planets in the western skies as would be visible through a binocular for the next few days
The location of the three planets in the western skies as would be visible through a binocular for the next few days. Courtesy: Department of Astronomy, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Mohali, June 25
The celestial spectacle of the Saturn, Venus and Mercury coming close to each other from tonight would be a treat for sky gazers and a phenomenon to study for astronomers, but for city-based astrologers it means only one thing…the air is going to be thick with romance!

Mr Tejbir Singh, observer at the Punjabi University’s Department of Astronomy says: “From June 25 to 27, if one looks towards the western sky, one would get a rare opportunity to see the conjugation of Saturn, Venus and Mercury. For the next few nights, all planets should be visible with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.”

The planets would be barely 1.5 degrees apart from each other and on Sunday, Venus and Mercury would be only 0.5 degree apart from each other. The situation on June 27 would be the best when Saturn will be nearby and Mercury and Venus will be less then 1/10th of a degree apart. “This would be a rare photographic evening depending on the sky conditions,” said Mr Tejbir who would be capturing the celestial event using special cameras and telescopes.

“This is the closest and the brightest gathering of three planets since 1970 and one would have to wait till 2030 to see such an event again. But by that time we might be too old to see all this,” added Mr Tejbir Singh.

Astrologers, too, are excited about the event though for different reasons. “This period is going to be very gainful for women. Also since Saturn is not retrograde right now it is not likely to have any harmful effect. But with Mercury and Venus close to each other, one can only expect love sparks to fly all over,” said Mr Ravi Sharma, a Panchkula-based astrologer. “This event is very positive for the youth, especially students, who are appearing in competitive examinations. They should work hard and they would be blessed with very good results,” he added.

Mr Prem Kumar Sharma, another city-based astrologer, however, had a different thing to say about the conjunction. “This year is ruled by Saturn and his main minister is Mercury. On June 26, all the three plants would fall in the constellation of Saturn. This could lead to major political changes and is likely to affect the onset of monsoons also. At the individual level, Saturn depending on the placement of the planet in the kundali would be either positive or negative,” he said. 



Power supply hit in Punjab, Haryana
Ruchika M. Khanna & Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Power supply in Punjab and Haryana was adversely affected today after the power generation stopped at the Nathpa Jakhri project in Himachal Pradesh — one of the main contributors to the Northern Grid.

Normal life was thrown out of gear as the region sizzled because of long power cuts. With both states losing about 1,000 MW of power from Nathpa Jakhri from last night, seven to eight hours of unscheduled power cuts were imposed in both states. While Haryana imposed Power Regulatory Measures on all categories of consumers by dividing the state into four zones, Punjab, prolonged power cut on urban domestic consumers and reduced the power supply to the agriculture sector from eight hours to seven hours a day.

Officials say most of the hydro power generation plants in the North — including Chamera in Himachal Pradesh and Salal in Jammu and Kashmir — are forced to carry on flushing operations (to flush out silt coming into the dams along with the melting snow), thus reducing their generation capacities. This is likely to affect the situation till the monsoon arrives in the region and the demand of power in the agriculture sector goes down.

The Northern Grid again came under pressure as most of the states continued to overdraw power. While Haryana has been overdrawing 40 to 50 lakh units a day on an average, Punjab has been overdrawing 50 to 60 lakh units daily. Mr Param Hans Singh, Chief Engineer, Systems Operation, Punjab, said all constituent states were asked not to indulge in grid indiscipline by overdrawing power at low frequency, thus putting pressure on the grid. “Today Punjab drew 26 lakh units from the grid through unscheduled interchange,” he said.

In Haryana, the power crisis worsened as the 250 MW eighth unit at the Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Plant at Panipat closed down for the second time this week. The unit was revived only two days ago. The seventh unit (250 MW) remained closed along with the third unit (110 MW) for maintenance purposes.

Officials in the Haryana Power Utilities admitted that the power crisis was likely to continue till the monsoon arrived.

“Today, arrangements have been made with Uttaranchal to buy additional 25 MW of power, besides getting 150 MW of additional power for six hours a day, through the Eastern Grid. We are also hopeful of reviving the seventh and eighth units at Panipat soon, which will further ease the situation,” a senior official in Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam said.

He said that from July 1, additional 100 MW of power through Power Trading Corporation would be available.



Residents go without water, power
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 25
For the second time this week, the industry in Panchkula remained off for an entire day. The domestic consumer’s too, bore the brunt because of erratic power supply. This adversely affected the water supply in parts of township and residents were forced to remain without water.

With the power generation capacity of Haryana going down due to the closure of power generation at Nathpa Jakhri, the power supply to industrial units remained closed from 4 am to 2 pm. Though two phase supply was started in the Industrial Area, the industry could not function and all work remained suspended.

The domestic power supply was also cut from 6.40 am to 7.30 am, which affected the water supply in the township. Even after the power supply was restored, the water pressure was very low. Overhead tanks in most houses could not be filled.

Mr Neeraj Gupta, a resident of Sector 11, said there was no water in the morning at his first floor house. “I had to lift water from the ground floor,” he complained. It was only in the evening that the water supply was normal and residents heaved a sigh of relief.

Though the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has made arrangements to enhance the water supply for township, these arrangements failed to meet the increasing demand. As of now, the total water availability in the town is to the tune of 28 MGD. The authorities have increased the water supply capacity by three MGD this year, by installing about 15 new tubewells.

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

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

Meanwhile, the power supply to Baltana, too, was adversely affected. In Baltana, Lohgarh, Bhabhat, Dhakauli and Bishnupura low water pressure and frequent power cuts ensured that residents continued to reel under low water pressure and power crisis.



Power cuts dropped, imposed again
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 25
The decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board not to impose power cuts in the town was rolled back on the first day of the implementation today.
Most parts of the town had no power cuts till afternoon.

The first cut of the day came at 4.20 pm after the power cut control authorities in Patiala decided to roll back the decision of no power cut in the town.

Sources in the board said a message was received by various power grids in the town that uninterrupted power supply be given to various urban feeders. Most Mohali residents, as a result, had a respite from power cuts till 4pm. “At 4.20 pm we received a message from the power cut control station in Patiala asking us why we were not imposing power cuts in Mohali. When we explained that we had instructions to this effect they cancelled those and asked us to impose routine power cuts. So an electricity cut was imposed till 6.20pm,” said a PSEB employee.

Interestingly, the grid supplying power to Phases I, 2, 3A, 3B1, 4 and 6 did not get any message to exempt the residents from power cuts. “Its strange. First the board discriminates among its consumers through microfeeders and now its on the basis of grids,” said Mr Manjit Sethi, a local councillor and resident of Phase 3A. However, grids supplying electricity to Phases 3B2, 5, 7, Sectors 70, 71, Phases 9, 10, 11, Sectors 66, 67 and 69 did not impose power cuts for at least half the day.

“We really don’t know how this happened. We will enquire into the whole incident,” said Mr B.K. Bindal, member (operation), PSEB. For tomorrow routine power cuts have been ordered. This means that there will not be any electricity from 12 noon to 2 pm and 4pm to 6pm tomorrow.

While most residents who got uninterrupted power supply thought that the board had finally declared Mohali a no-power cut zone, but by the evening they realised that a final decision on the matter is still pending. “No communication regarding this has been received from the chairman’s office. So I believe we will wait till Monday,” said Mr Bindal.



Governor for crusade against drugs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Punjab Governor, and UT Administrator, today called for launching a crusade against drug abuse and drug trafficking.

In a message on the eve of ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’ General Rodrigues said drug abuse was one of the major concerns for the governments and society at large, as it causes social disorders and results in various infectious diseases and criminal activities.

People of different ages and groups, especially youth, fall prey to this menace. Despite stringent measures, this global problem is growing.

The Governor appealed to the people of Punjab and Chandigarh, especially the youth, to stay away from drugs. “Healthy choice” is not only about saying no to drugs but also about choosing healthy lifestyles, sports, music, theatre, social service, and other positive activities.

General Rodrigues called upon the various social and voluntary organizations to spread awareness among people, to check drug abuse.



Women drug addicts mostly from urban areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
A study on female drug addicts conducted by the Drug Deaddiction and Treatment Centre of the PGI here has revealed that they were mostly dependent on pentazocine injection.

The study, conducted on socio-demographic and clinical profile of substance dependence in women, adolescent and elderly subjects, was based on out patient records over a period from 1978 to 2005.

Talking to mediapersons, Prof P.Kulhara, Head of Department of Psychiatry, said in the study involving female drug addicts, 55 subjects were identified. At least 63 per cent of the women addicts were married and a majority were from urban background.

In the study involving adolescent drug addicts, 85 subjects were identified from urban background and 75 per cent were dependent on nicotine and a majority were school drop outs and had started taking the drugs out of curiosity. Nearly 94 per cent had dropped out during their treatment.

In the study involving elderly drug addicts, 64 subjects were identified. Of these 78 per cent were married and had started taking drugs at the age of 33.5 years. Of the total subjects, 60 per cent were using alcohol while 60 per cent of them were having mild impairment in family and marital domains. 



‘Counselling must to check drug addiction’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
In order to control the trend of drug abuse among youth, the Mohali Chemists’ Association organised a function to mark the World Drug Deaddiction Day here today.

The function was part of the programmes chalked out by the WHO with a motto “Value yourself and make healthy choices”.

Dr Rana Harinder, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, who was the chief guest at the function, stressed that the youth should be provided counselling against evils of addiction.

Mr Pardeep Mattu, Licensing Authority and District Drugs Inspector, Ropar, highlighted the adverse effects of drug addiction on the human body.



Army officers scouting land for sports academy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Army is exploring the possibility of establishing an academy in the city to train football and hockey players. Army officers are scouting for a suitable land for the purpose, it is learnt.

The move to set up the academy evolves from a suggestion given in this regard to senior officers in Headquarters Western Command by former Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). During his tenure in the Eastern Command earlier, General Jacob had started a similar venture, but it closed down after he left.

The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman also visited the Sector 42 Sports Complex recently to study the functioning of sports training academies. The Chandigarh Hockey Academy and the Chandigarh Football Academy, both founded by General Jacob, are located in the complex. The academies have about 35 trainees in their early teens.

Speaking to media persons during his visit to the 1101 Railway Territorial Army (TA) Unit here, General Pattabhiraman said that the Army would also consider recruiting good sports persons from these academies.

“Once they reach the age 16 or 17 years, many of them find that they have no meaningful outlet,” he said.

“The Army can tap their talent and provide them an opportunity to nourish their talent,” he added.

General Pattabhiraman was also briefed about the TA unit’s role and activities by its Administrative Officer, Lieut-Col P. Sakhalkar. A specialised unit, it is responsible for maintaining and running railway services during times of need.



Major Sandeep Sagar remembered
Tribune News Service

Children pay floral tributes at the memorial of Major Sandeep Sagar on his martyrdom day at Panchkula on Saturday
Children pay floral tributes at the memorial of Major Sandeep Sagar on his martyrdom day at Panchkula on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, June 25
Rich tributes were paid to Major Sandeep Sagar of 1 JKLI Battalion, on his martyrdom day at the Sandeep Sagar Memorial near the Sector 7 and 8 roundabout today morning.

People from different walks of life, including family members of other martyrs in the region, assembled at the memorial and paid floral tributes to the martyr. Major Sandeep Sagar had attained martyrdom during the course of his duty, fighting militants in Operation Vijay in 1999.

Col Om Singh of JK Light Infantry, posted at Chandi Mandir, paid his respects to the martyr. Though the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Ms Monica Malik, was present on behalf of the administration, the Zila Sainik Welfare Board and Rajya Sainik Welfare Board failed to make any representation.

Born in Hoshiarpur on May 10, 1973, he was a fine cricketer and a fun loving youth. He was selected as an Army officer and joined Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun in January, 1994. He was also selected for the academy cricket team to play cricket tournament at the Sandhurst Academy of Officers. He was later posted in the Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. It was while the officer was performing a very important military duty near the LOC when he was killed in a mine blast.

His father, Prof Harbans Lal, while remembering him fondly says that his son lived up to the true sense of Army motto — “The welfare of the country comes first, the welfare of the men you command comes next and your own welfare comes last”.



Rotary Dist awards function today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
More than 500 Rotarians from 76 clubs of District 3080, comprising parts of Punjab, Haryana, western UP, Himachal and Chandigarh, will assemble for “Alankaran Utsav” being organised by the Rotary Chandigarh Central at the Himachal Bhavan here tomorrow.

Chief guest PRIP Raja Saboo will give away the awards to Rotarians and the clubs that have done exemplary work during the year. District Governor Pramod Vij will hand over the charge to the incoming Governor, Rtn Ranbir Singh.

The Rotarians have collected a record $ 2.56 lakh towards the Rotary Foundation. Through this contribution, the district is performing polio corrective surgery, besides eye surgeries. The Rotary Chandigarh Central has undertaken a project of giving medicines to drug resistance cases of TB in Chandigarh, apart from providing education to street children.

An orphanage has been constructed at Dehra Dun and the “Gift of life” project for children is undertaking corrective heart surgeries. A blood resource centre is coming up at Hardwar.



Tough yet feminine
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, June 25
Very tough but yet feminine. This describes Harjit Kaur, a Sub-Inspector in the Chandigarh police, who is the first woman cop of the region selected for a UN-mission in Kosovo last year to curb insurgency.

She very easily cleared the test conducted for the selection of this mission. In all, 118 persons chosen from all over India, were in her group. Meeting people from other countries in Kosovo gave her the varied taste of togetherness.

One year of experience in a strife-torn country has given her an experience and an exterior which is hard to come across. The rough terrain of the country and prevailing violence there exposed her to extreme harsh condition. “Since 1999 Kosovo is rocked by internal rebellion. I experienced a different side of investigation, patrolling and policing there.”

Since her working hours were fixed she got to know about her job very well. Moreover, things were more organised. The only thing which she missed in Kosovo was Indian food.

“The work was organised in such a way that everyone of us was very clear about what was being expected from us and what we had to deliver. The computerised system made the work more simpler there,” she said.

Giving a comparison of the work culture, she averred: “Here the working conditions are loaded with stress. There are no fixed hours of work. In Kosovo I knew my duties a month before. But here you don’t know what you might have to do the next day. Though the policing system of Chandigarh is far better than the other cities but a more systematic approach can do wonders. The work should be divided in such a way that one could gain mastery over it. Here most of the time many job areas get mixed up which results in lackadaisical approach towards the job.”

At present, Harjit Kaur is posted at Police Station, Sector 3 here and she holds the charge of Sukhna Lake too.



Exhibition at Press Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh June 25
The Chandigarh Press Club in association with ModiCare is organising an exhibition-cum-sale camp at Press Club on June 26 from 12 noon onwards for its members and their families.

ModiCare products will be displayed at the venue. For a purchase upto Rs 500 the buyer can avail a free facial by an expert from the company during the camp, according to Mr Balwant Takshak, secretary general of the club.



Political Secretary to CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Haryana Government has appointed Capt Chattar Singh Political Secretary to the Chief Minister for the Kiloi constituency with headquarters in Rohtak. This was stated in an official release issued here today.



Car, jewellery stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
In separate incidents, a car and jewellery items were stolen from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours. Cases of dowry demand and kidnapping were also registered by the police. Besides, illicit liquor was allegedly recovered from the possession of a Sector 25 resident.

Sources in the local police said a Scorpio CH-03-R-8297) belonging to Rajesh Dahonwal was stolen from Sector 45. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Case of subjecting a married woman to cruelty and criminal breech of trust was registered under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on a complaint by Naginderjit Kaur of Sector 16. In her complaint, she had accused husband Sukhdeep Singh and other relatives of harassing her on the grounds of bringing insufficient dowry.

The sources added that a case of kidnapping was registered under Section 363, 366 and 506 of the IPC on a complaint of a Sector 27 resident. She accused one Jorawar Singh of abducting her daughter.

Shiv kumar of Mouli complex in Mani Majra informed the police about the theft of jewellery. Acting on his complaint, a case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.

A spokesman of the local police added that Janta Colony resident Vinod Kumar was arrested under the Excise Act on the allegations of possessing liquor. He was later bailed out. 



Two booked in cheating case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Two persons have been booked for cheating and criminal conspiracy by the local police on the allegations of accepting money from a Sector 20 resident on the pretext of sending him abroad.

In his a complaint to the police, the resident, Mr Daljit Singh, had earlier claimed that Mr Jarnail Singh Gogi and Mr Gurdeep Singh accepted Rs 5,50,000 in cash, but they neither returned the money, nor initiated steps to send him abroad.

The sources added that a case under Section 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code had been registered at the Sector 26 police station. 



Chain-snatchers nabbed
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 25
Two chain-snatchers landed in the police net within hours of snatching a purse from Ms Neelam Khullar, a Sector 25 resident, on the Sector 11-15 dividing road, here today.

According to the police, Sonu (18) a resident of Sector 4 and his accomplice, snatched Neelam’s purse containing a mobile phone, a set of ear-rings, a sum of Rs 2,400 and some documents. The duo later went to a shop in Sector 7 to sell the jewellery.

As they approached the jeweller Mr Varun, a brother of the victim, identified the jewellery and quietly informed the CIA staff of Panchkula police. A team of the police reached the spot and nabbed the snatchers. 



One booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
A resident of Kumbra village was booked by the police on the charge of voluntarily causing hurt. According to the police, Mr Ajay Kumar, a clerk working in the office of the Punjab Chief Minister, complained that Jaswinder Singh had allegedly attacked his brother with a wooden plank causing an injury on his head. His brother owned as STD booth and Jaswinder Singh had come there.

Old enmity is reportedly to be the reason behind the attack. Jaswinder Singh was booked under Sections 323, 324 and 341 of the IPC and produced before the SDM. He was granted bail.


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