C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Who cares for safety of students in school buses?
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Chandigarh Traffic Police and the state transport authorities are apparently giving two hoots to the safety of students travelling to school by buses and vans.

High Court directives at a glance

School buses should be painted yellow.
Drivers and conductors should have valid driving licences. They should attend refresher courses.
Buses should have first-aid kits.

Even though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued specific directions for ensuring their well-being over six years ago, the powers-that-be have done little.

Nothing else can explain injuries sustained by six school students on Tuesday morning. They were on their way to the institute in Sector 26 when the bus — being driven in a rash and negligent manner — turned turtle in Sector 11.

Though senior officers refuse to comment on the issue, sources in the police headquarters claim that the mishap could have been avoided had the cops been challaning the drivers for over-speeding.

They add that the accident is not the “only one of its kind”. In July 2003 also as many as 23 students were hurt in a collision between a senior Punjab Police officer’s car and an Army truck ferrying the little ones. Yet lessons were not learnt.

They add that soon after the incident, special challening drives were launched. Several drivers were fined. A number of vehicles were also impounded. But after a few days, the “policing was back to normal”.

The result is there for all to see. A random survey reveals that so many drivers and conductors have not attended refresher courses in violation of the High Court directives. They are dressed up in casuals, instead of uniform.

In a large number of cases, the conductors do not possess driving licenses. Worse, some of the drivers do not cruise within the prescribed speed limit. In so many buses, the first-aid box is missing, or has medicines that have outlived their utility.

The state transport authorities deny allegations of inaction. They claim raids are conducted and violators challaned. Regarding the adoption of precautionary measures, they shift the onus on school authorities. “They have to conduct the refresher courses,” a senior officer says. The school staff, on the other hand, assert they have nothing to do with the buses. “The vehicles belong to contractors,” they assert. Contractors say they are “poorly paid”. As a result of the blame game, the violations continue.

Quoting the High Court orders, the sources assert that the Judges while delivering the verdict in the traffic regulation and pollution control case, had directed that “all school buses shall carry first-aid boxes duly containing the minimum requisite of medical items”. It was also directed that the buses would not “exceed the speed of 50 km per hour”.

Pronouncing the orders on the civil writ petition number 7639 of 1995, Mr Justice Swatenter Kumar and Mr Justice Sat Pal had also ruled on page 21 of the judgement that the school’s name should be properly displayed, along with the route and the timing.

Moreover, “the authorities concerned should prefer that all the school buses have yellow colour”. This condition, the Judges had added, could be introduced gradually “but the compliance must be ensured within a reasonable time”.

The Judges had added that the drivers should have a minimum of five years’ experience and should not have been challened for over three times for “jumping red lights, improper parking and unauthorised lane changing”, besides being challaned for causing death due to negligent driving.

The drivers and conductors were also asked to wear “proper uniforms and nameplates”. Furthermore, it was mandatory for them to attend refresher courses conducted by the state transport authorities. Earmarking of “proper bus stop” for halting the buses on the main road as well as the inner roads was also ordered.



Rainwater poses problems
Phone services remain disrupted in Industrial Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Heavy rains in the past 24 hours left several telephone connections disrupted in the city today. With rains continuing in the city for the second day in succession, residents in several sectors complained that their phones were dead or the reception was extremely poor due to disruption in telephone cables.

The worst-affected area was Industrial Area I where the telephone cable joint was washed away in the rivulet near Daruya. village. Officials of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) told The Tribune that 200 telephone connections were not working due to the damage to the cable joint.

“The heavy rains has affected a number of telephones in Industrial Area I since yesterday. We started the repair work today and expect all disrupted connections to be functional by tomorrow,” said a senior official.

The services in Sectors 7, 26 and 34 among other places in the city were also affected. Senior officials, however, said even as a few isolated areas experienced problems, there was no major breakdown in any of the sector in the city.

A portion of the telephone cable was damaged with water from dug-up holes in Sector 7, which had led to poor services.” A lot of digging is going on in the sector which has resulted in a number of potholes. Water has entered the exposed cables after rainwater filled the trenches,’’ said an official.

Meanwhile, rains continued to pose parking problems for residents in Sectors 7 and 8. Haphazard parking outside SCOs led to a number of traffic jams. Cable connections, too, remained disrupted at many places in Sectors 30 and 29.

Water has entered low-lying houses in city colonies, which remain surrounded by slush. In a few houses in Sector 10, the water has entered the rooms.

Meanwhile, two minor fires were reported in the city. In Sector 48, a transformer caught fire but did not cause any damage. At Sector 21, a minor fire was caused due to short-circuit in the underground cable.

A grey cloud cover continued throughout the day, although the city and its neighbouring areas of Mohali and Panchkula received only 2 mm of rainfall today. The drizzle and dreary weather kept most people indoors.

Traffic jams continued as the city limped back to normalcy after yesterday’s severe waterlogging and heavy showers. The temperature rose by more than two degrees to a maximum of 28°C. The minimum temperature recorded was at 19.2°C, a drop of more than a degree from yesterday.

As the cloud cover lightened in the evening, people emerged from their homes. Sector 17 was particularly crowded with shoe-shine boys making hay sprucing up muddied shoes and “bhutta” sellers doing brisk business.

A few spells of rain are expected tomorrow as well.



Forensic report in Tehelka case submitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Government Examiner of Questionable Documents (GEQD), Shimla, has handed over the report of the forensic examination carried out on certain documents pertaining to the Tehelka controversy, to the Army.

The additional summary of evidence (SOE) pertaining to the trial of Brig Iqbal Singh for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case, had been sent to the GEQD to determine whether the documents had been tampered with.

The report is to be placed before the general court martial trying the brigadier when it re-assembles at Patiala on July 11.

During his deposition before the GCM last month, former tehelka.com staffer Aniruddha Bahl had maintained that he had given answers to certain questions in the SOE only as “yes” or “no”, but certain words and sentences had been 
added to them.

He had blamed a serving brigadier, who had recorded the SOE, of manipulating the statements

On examination of the SOE, the court had observed that the fullstops in the statements had been converted into commas and the colour of the ink and the size of the handwriting after the commas was different.

The court had, thereafter, directed that the additional SOE be sealed and sent to the court’s convening authority, in this case, the General Officer, Commanding 2 Corps, for investigation.

The officer who was blamed for manipulating the statements is presently commanding an artillery brigade in Western Sector and the Army had placed restrictions on his movements.

He has been directed not to leave his station of posting or proceed on leave with permission from the court’s convening authority.



British Indians cheer IOC decision
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, July 6
The decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today to allot the 2012 Olympic Games to London brought cheer not only to British nationals but to British Indians and Indian nationals.

It is for the third time since the inception of the Olympic Games in 1896 that London will hold this biggest sporting event. It had the honour of hosting the games in 1908 and 1948.

The IOC’s decision to give London another chance to play the host has sparked jubilation worldwide. Closer home, The Tribune caught up with some of the personalities who rejoiced in the London’s victory.

Raja Randhir Singh, Executive member, International Olympic Committee and Vice- President, Commonwealth Games Federation, called up from Singapore to share his joy over the London’s feat — the wresting of the 2012 Olympics!

He said out of five cities in the bid panel , London, Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow, there was only one Commonwealth country which won the vote of confidence. “It will boost the reputation of the Commonwealth comity”.

He said it was for the first time after the 2000 Sydney (Australia) Olympics that a Commonwealth nation was getting a chance to hold the mega gaming event. Before 2000 it was in 1976 that Montreal (Canada) hosted the Olympics.

While Raja Randhir Singh talked of the technical success, Brian Rogers, a British national employed with Mohali-based Sigma Freudenberg Nok responded emotionally to London’s accomplishment. “It is a fantastic achievement for Britain. I wish by 2012, England would become a giant sporting power. Earlier not much investment was made on the sports front, but now with the latest success, the coming seven years should see massive infrastructural support coming from the government. Youngsters would also take sports seriously and bring laurels to their country.”

Rogers, originally from New Castle in North England, said he came to India this January on a two-year contract. He, however, remained apprehensive that the “strained” transport system of England might hamper smooth hosting of the Olympics unless the government cared to stem the rot.

Parminder Bains, an NRI based in Slough, England, immediately sent an SMS and called this correspondent expressing his happiness over London’s winning the 2012 Olympics bid.

Bains said for the past three years, the British Government, especially Prime Minister Tony Blair, and its sports bodies were making frantic efforts to make the country the top sporting nation by 2012. Bains, who belongs to Nawanshahr in Punjab, used to play state-level soccer. He said the allotting of games to London would also add a new dimension to the country’s economy.

Sarita Manuja, Principal of DAV Public School, Sector 8, and a keen sport lover who had been to London in April this year to attend a conference, said she could notice banners, supported by large involvement of people for this cause. She said now with Indian gearing up to hold the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, we must also make our people aware of the importance of sports. Ms Manuja hoped if India could do well with the 2010 games, it could one day well host the Olympics.

Former renowned shooter Gurbir Sandhu, Arjuna Awardee and Joint Secretary of the Organising Committee for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was also happy with London winning the 2012 Olympic bid. Gurbir said it was really heartening and both Britain and India enjoyed good sporting relations being Commonwealth nations.

He said even Indian sports and its sportspersons would benefit from London’s experience of organisational competence and training athletes for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The cities, which have so far hosted Olympics since 1896 are:

Athens 1896, Paris 1900, St. Louis 1904, London 1908, Stockholm 1912, Antwerp 1920, Paris 1924, Amsterdam 1928, Los Angeles 1932, Berlin 1936, London 1948

Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972. Montreal 1976. Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988,

Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijings 2008 



Getting to know Punjab in its entirety
Nirupama Dutt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
It is time once again for scholars from different universities abroad to be here for six weeks in a unique summer camp that is being organised for the past eight years by Gurinder Singh Mann, a former Kapany Professor of Sikh Studies in the University of California, Santa Barbara. The aim of this programme is not just to know Punjab but know it rather well.

A group of 21 scholars has arrived for the Summer Programme in Punjab Studies that started here in the city on Monday morning. The group includes young people of Indian origin who were born and brought up abroad or those who are studying abroad as well as many foreigners. The programme is designed to explore and learn the history, geography, language, literature and culture of Punjab and is not to be mistaken for a holiday. It is study time and Mann makes sure that it be so from the very first day.

However, such has been the merit of the course that John Williams, Professor in Principia College in US, says, “It is a fantastic course and I attended it a few years ago and this time I am back here with three of my students for so much is to be learnt here.” Miranda Miller, a student of Environmental Studies, Principia College, shows her keenness for the programme, saying, “I am here because I love India. Earlier, I had spent some time in Sikkim. So when I learnt of this programme on Punjab Studies I was very excited. I think I will be able to learn a lot here.”

Mann has planned this programme very intensively and he explains his reasons for doing so thus, “I wanted to introduce Punjab Studies in a structured and organised manner and create conditions where scholars would find it comfortable to work and gain an insight into the region.” Although a professor of Sikh studies, yet Mann has enlarged the scope of this course to cover much else and give a total picture of Punjab ranging from the Indus Valley civilisation to the present times and in the processing covering many religions and the multicultural composition of what was once known as the Land of the Five Rivers. Of course this programme, which will have been imparted to some 100 scholars, including this batch, is restricted to actually seeing and visiting this our Punjab of two rivers and a half.

The programme begins early morning with the students learning the Gurmukhi script and Punjabi phonology. Scholars who hear their parents conversing in Punjabi are thrilled that that they will now be able to talk back in the same language and this includes Kohl Gill and Natasha Behl. The first day historian J.S. Grewal started with an introduction to the historical geography of Punjab. The students were introduced to the city of Chandigarh in a lecture by former principal of the Chandigarh Architecture College Aditya Prakash. And so the labour of love continues day after day with some of the best scholars, artistes and writers interacting with the students.

There is no rest at weekends too for that is the time the students will travel to different destinations in Punjab as well as Dharamsala too in Himachal Pradesh. “The hills have played a major role in shaping the culture and history of Punjab and so the students must get a feel of them and also mull over all that they have been exposed to in their quiet repose,” says Mann.



Passing Thru

What brings you to the city?

Mohit Narang, Director and Chief Therapist
Mohit Narang, Director and Chief Therapist, Spa One Academy, New Delhi.

I am organising a workshop on Thai massage in collaboration with the Headmasters. The city has a lot of potential as it is a fast-growing economy where lifestyle is undergoing a change. People are stressed and looking for alternatives to relax.

What is the concept of Thai massage?

It is a massage therapy committed to restoring and maintaining optimal health and pain-free functioning of the body. In the field of natural healthcare, massage is fast-becoming a growing field enjoying a new-found popularity in our ever-increasing health and fitness culture.

What is the agenda of the workshop?

Our programmes are unique and provide excellent opportunity to pursue a career change, acquire a new skill or generate second income. Our goal is to bring education and raise the standards of massage therapies and reflexology in India.

— Rajmeet Singh



Land prices hiked but development nil in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
It seems the administration does not want Mohali to develop in a proper way. Even when the town lacked the basic facilities, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has hiked the property rates in Mohali to a new high.

These were the views expressed by representatives of the Mohali Property Consultants Association at a press conference here today. Mr Harjinder Singh, president of the association, said according to the new rate list of PUDA land would now be available to the public in Mohali at Rs 7,200 per sq yd.

He said the prices of land fixed by PUDA in case at Mohali were the highest in the state. The price of land in the old, more important and more thickly populated towns of Punjab were lower than that of Mohali. The price of land in the industrial town, Ludhiana, was Rs 6,700 per sq yd. In the case of Amritsar and Bathinda the price was Rs 4,800 and Rs 3,750, respectively, while the land price in Patiala was Rs 3,200 and in Gurdaspur it was Rs 3,400.

Mr Baldev Singh Jhajj, chairman, said while the land price in the town was being hiked nobody was bothered to give the town the status of a district. Mohali had been made a subdivision in 1995 but even after 10 years the residents had to go to Kharar in connection with judicial cases and work related to the treasury. The SDM here did not have an office of his own and the tehsil work was being carried out from rented accommodation even when the town was earning the maximum revenue in the entire Ropar district.

He said property here was being registered at the rate of Rs 6,000 per sq while in Chandigarh it could be got registered at the rate of Rs 5,800 per sq yd. He said in the case of other towns a conveyance deed was done on the basis of the allotment price while in Ropar district it was being done on the basis of the market price.

Mr Karnail Singh Mann, general secretary, said land around the town was being purchased by colonisers in violation of the Periphery Act and the authorities concerned were taking no action. Quoting one case he said a developer sitting in Delhi had sold about 7,000 plots near Mohali and PUDA was not aware of this.

Mr Mann said if colonisers purchased the entire land around the town, it would adversely affect the very existence of PUDA. He said only the urban estates in Mohali and Phagwara were earning profits for PUDA, all others were going in losses. If such a trend was not checked then PUDA would become another Punwire and its employees would have to protest for getting their salaries.

The association appealed to PUDA to strictly enforce the Periphery Act and develop new sectors at its own level instead of encouraging colonisers.

The association thanked the government for notifying the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulations Act, 1995, as it would help the buyer as well as 
the seller.



Tribune Impact
Anju Kohli death case: probe marked to crime branch
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, July 6
In less than 72 hours after attempts by the Chandigarh Police to pass off an unnatural death as suicide were highlighted in these columns, UT Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav has entrusted the inquiry relating to Anju Kohli’s death to the crime branch.

The Chandigarh Tribune had brought to the foreground the plight of her dejected father on July 4. He had approached the UT Administrator demanding a probe by the CBI into the matter.

Anju Kohli (30) was found hanging at her Sector 38-West residence on June 1. The police registered a case of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of the IPC against her husband Ajay Kohli and his mother Sawaran Kohli on June 1. They were remanded in judicial custody later by a local court.

Mr Jagan Nath Arora, aggrieved father of the deceased woman, alleged in his complaint that the Chandigarh Police was not investigating the case regarding to many unanswered questions relating to her mysterious death.

In his letter to the UT Administrator, Mr Arora maintained that it was not a case of abetment of suicide but the accused had indulged in the heinous crime of murdering her as the circumstantial evidence indicated. He also added that despite the fact that he had met the UT Inspector-General of Police, Mr Satish Chandra, on June 13 and provided certain material pertaining to the case, the police did not examine the material facts properly.

Mr Arora, while alleging police inaction, said that he had met the SHO of Sector 39 police station many times and informed him about the alleged involvement of Bawa, alias Urvershi, a cousin of Ajay Kohli, in torturing Anju. Mr Arora said his daughter had written letters to him about the alleged role of Bawa. He also named another person, Vinod Verma, a neighbour of Ajay Kohli, for his alleged involvement in his daughter’s death. Mr Arora alleged that the police did not arrest them and added that Vinod had allegedly manipulated the material evidence. Besides, the police had not picked the fingerprints from the telephone receiver and other items till date.

The aggrieved father, in his complaint said he had “little faith” in the police and added that the police had not till date sealed the house where the crime took place. It has only locked it. Interestingly, the police had allegedly handed over the keys of the house to Vinod Kumar.



Child sexual abuse continues: book
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Although much has been said about disability, child abuse and child marriages in India, a world of reality about these realms still waits to be bared. And hardly any of it is pleasant.

At least that is what one derives from the three pieces of literature which NGO Human Rights Law Network has put together in public interest. Each work is path breaking as it bares the “unsavoury details” about the above mentioned fields.

Some such details include — Lambada tribals in Andhra Pradesh sell their babies for sacks of grain, 3 per cent of Rajasthan’s children are married before the age of five; railway station at New Delhi still has no sign language interpreter to facilitate the disabled; and despite apex court’s 13 landmark judgments to prevent child sexual abuse, the same continues unabated.

This and more forms part of the books — “Disability and the Law”, “Supreme Court on Children” and “Child Marriages and Law in India” — which the NGO will release in Chandigarh on July 9. Prepared in public interest, the books deal with specific issues at human as well as legal level.

It raises issues like poor implementation of the 10 year old Persons with Disabilities Act. Unlike in the US and Europe where a person heading institutes for the disabled must be one from them, India has allowed a government officer to be a Disability Commissioner.

Priyanka Chirimar, a coauthor, told The Tribune today, “We want to disseminate information about this sector. In the book we examine factors behind the poor state of disabled, and also cite judgments concerning them.”

For the first time, court judgments have been compiled with the objective of benefiting this “special” sector. The latest judgment cited pertains to facilitation of voting rights of the disabled. It talks about provision of voters’ cards to the disabled and installation of Braille signs on EVM machines to facilitate the same. The book has been coauthored by Shruti Pandey and Deepika D’Souza.

“Child Marriages and Law in India” edited by Aparna Bhat, Aatreye Sen and Uma Pradhan also raises critical issues, including UPA government’s clandestine drafting of the “Prevention of Child Marriage Bill 2004.” The Bill will repeal The Child Marriages Restraint Act 1929. Speaking to The Tribune Aparna Bhat said, “The book compiles critical data like the one in which UNICEF reported that less than 89 prosecutions every year were done under the defunct 1929 Act. Ironically, 65 per cent Indian girls are marrying before 18 years of age.”

The last of these books — “Supreme Court on Children” elaborates SC’s decisions passed to protect children from child labour, sexual abuse, trafficking and malnourishment. Besides listing judgments for general awareness, it details cases that changed the future of child rights in India.

In Chandigarh the books will be released at ICSSR complex, Panjab University.



Airport terminal parking under water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
While the Air Force seems to have solved its problem of perpetual waterlogging during heavy rains, it is now the civil terminal adjoining the airfield which gets inundated every downpour.

The parking lot of the civilian terminal was totally submerged under water yesterday with water entering the building and the Punjab Government hangar housing its VIP aircraft. Access to the civilian airport was restricted with no flights being able to operate.

The airfield is situated in a low-lying area and rainwater from adjoining areas flow into it. A large number of structures around its periphery, most of them unauthorised, further compound the problem. There is no outlet for water for drainage.

Last year the Air Force replaced the barbed wire fence around the station with a concrete security wall. Earlier, rainwater from adjoining areas like Behlana and Bhabhat villages used to enter the airfield through the fence, leaving the civil terminal by and large unaffected.

The security wall blocks the flow of water through the station, resulting in water accumulating in the airport premises. Though there is some provision of drainage through the security wall, it is apparently not enough to cater to the volume of water flowing into that area, airport officials said.

According to an Airports Authority of India officer, the matter has been taken up with the UT Administration as well as the Air Force. 



CAT comes to aid of retired employee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has come to the rescue of a retired employee of the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) who had claimed interest on the amount of disability pension for a delay of seven years in release of the payment.

The tribunal comprising Mr L.M. Goyal, Vice-Chairman, and Mr Jasbir. S. Dhaliwal, Member (Judicial), after hearing the applicant imposed a cost of Rs 2,000 on the concerned authorities at the institute for seeking adjournments in filing the reply. The next date of hearing is August 2.

The case had been filed against the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Director, IMTECH.

The applicant, Mr P. S. Chopra, who was working as Technical Officer in the office of the Director, IMTECH, pleaded that he had been victimised for raising his voice against corruption.

As a member of an organising committee, he had refused to sign a false contract document of Rs 2.75 lakh and exposed alleged financial irregularities by a senior scientist and the then Director.

Due to this reason, his cases were being delayed and he was being harassed even after retirement.

He said while organising a national conference, he had met with a road accident on September 30, 1995, and suffered multiple fracture injuries in both legs.

The mishap had resulted in 35 per cent permanent disability as certified by the Medical Board, General Hospital, Sector 16. As per the rules, he was entitled to the disability pension. But the case was delayed.

When the applicant approached the tribunal, the amount was released after seven years but without interest.

During the course of hearing of the case, the defendants repeatedly sought adjournments.



20-hour power for farm sector in Kandi area
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 6
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is supplying power for 20 hours a day for the agriculture sector in the backward Kandi area of Ropar district, said Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr H.I.S. Grewal, today during his interaction with the Chief Minister Punjab, through video-conferencing this morning.

In a press note issued here today, the Deputy Commissioner said only three to four hours power cuts were being imposed on the agriculture sector in the Kandi area of the district in view of the requirement of the farmers there. The Deputy Commissioner also said that out of about Rs 1.24 crore received by the district from the state government for various pensions, including old-age, and widow pensions, Rs 1.13 crore had already been disbursed among the beneficiaries till June 30 while the remaining pension amount of Rs 11 lakh would be disbursed soon.

He said there were a total of 643 link roads in the district having a length of 2,048 km out of which 22 roads of 55.77 km length had been repaired at a cost of Rs 2.14 crore under the phase-3 of the road repair programme. Similarly, the work for the repair of 18 roads having length of 74.20 kms under Phase-4 of the road repair programme had also been completed at a cost of Rs.2.86 crores, the Deputy Commissioner added. Mr Grewal further said the work for the repair of 58 link roads having length of 157 kms under phase-5 and for the repair of 48 roads having a length of 133 km under the phase-6 had been also been undertaken, which would be completed by October 31 this year. He also said that out of 339-km-long plan roads of the district, 71.81 km-long roads were being repaired at a cost of Rs 11.24 crore under the Nabard-assisted RIDF-5 programme while 108.84-km-long roads were being repaired at a cost of Rs 25.90 crore under RIDF– 8 and 9 programme.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said that the law and order situation in the district was well under control and the police was keeping a close watch on anti-social and separatist elements.



Structures razed in Kishangarh
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, July 6
Coming down heavily on unauthorised structures in Kishangarh village, the enforcement wing of the UT Administration pulled down 17 structures, including five farmhouses on the Information Technology Park road.

A majority of demolished farmhouses were owned by top bureaucrats, including police personnel and renowned personalities of the city and surrounding areas.

The owners had constructed swimming pools and fitted air-conditioners and other commodities of comfort in their farmhouses.

The structures that were pulled down today included five farmhouses, sprawling in acres along the IT Park road, 12 temporary structures and one nursery.

According to officials, the demolition drive was launched following a court verdict. Earlier, the UT Administration had acquired the land 
for setting up of an IT Pak here.

The eight-hour-long drive was completed under an enforcement team comprising Mr DS Baloria, Tehsildar, Mr Suresh Kumar, Sub-Divisional Officer (Enforcement), Mr Ashok Kumar and Mr Praveen Mittal, Inspectors.

A team of 100 police personnel was deployed at the site.

With the completion of the drive, the authorities claim to have got re-possession of 250 acres of land.

The Administration had earlier pulled down over 175 structures that had come up in violation of the Punjab New Capital Periphery Control (Regulation) Act, 1952, on February 4.



City public toilets stink
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Almost nine years after the formation of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), over 100 public toilets continue to be in a state of drift putting thousands of the shoppers to the city markets to inconvenience.

With the MCC facing a resource crunch, the condition of the public toilets is going from bad to worse with each passing day. In fact women seem to be discriminated against as several of the ladies toilets have been converted into store rooms by the sanitation staff.

Sources said the condition of the toilets is set to get worse with the MCC recently deciding to cancel the contract of the Delhi-based company, which was entrusted with responsibility of maintaining the toilets.

A random survey of the toilets revealed that power to them had been disconnected due to the failure of the MCC to pay the electricity bill. For want of proper maintenance, the toilets stink. Some of the ladies toilets like in Sector 34 and Sector 22-B were closed.

It is learnt that a variety of items had been stored in these toilet and they had become a favourite place for the anti-social elements during the night time.

“With no power and proper maintenance, these toilets are good for nothing. We are helpless as complaints from women customers about the lack of toilets in the market are a routine affair,” complains Mr Pradeep Bansal, president of the Nehru Shastri Market Association, Sector 34.

Over two years ago, the MCC had given the maintenance of the toilets on contract to a Delhi-based company. Besides maintaining the toilets through collections from the public, the company was paying Rs 80,000 per month to the corporation.

However, as months passed by, the maintenance of the toilets continued to get worse with the result that MCC was forced to cancel the contract, leaving the toilets to the mercy of the sweepers.

Meanwhile, the chairman of MCC’s Sanitation Committee, Mr Pradeep Chabbra, said the committee was in favour of formulating a comprehensive policy for the maintenance of the public toilets with a view to provide facility to the general public. A meeting of the committee will be held later this month to take a decision on the issue, he added.

On the other hand, Mr J.P.S. Kalra, spokesman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, an apex body of the city markets, demanded proper maintenance and the construction of more toilets on the build operate and transfer (BOT) basis in the markets. The stinking toilets give a bad name to the City Beautiful as thousands of visitors come to the city daily from the neighbouring areas, he added.



Dalai Lama’s birthday spurs tree plantation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Dalai Lama’s 70th birth day did not go unnoticed in the city. In fact, some of NGO activists devised an interesting way of rejoicing in the long life of the Buddhist spiritual head. They did so by going on a tree plantation spree.

At the heart of the celebrations was an NGO, Yuvsatta, which, of late, has been genuinely promoting the cause of environment in and around the city. Their decision to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday by planting trees was indeed well received, with some government officials including the Deputy Conservator of Forests, UT Mr Ishwar Singh, joining the unique celebrations.

The interesting part of the effort was that it was an extension of Yuvsatta’s ambitious ‘Campaign for peace-city Chandigarh’ programme wherein maintenance of ecological balance is a primary objective. Tree plantation on the birth anniversary of the Dalai Lama was just a way to reassert interest in ecological wealth of the city.

Organised at Government Middle School, Sector 46-D amidst a drizzle, the drive ended with 70 trees being planted by students, staff members and prominent persons of the city who had gathered on the school compound to mark the occasion. The chief guest, Mr Ishwar Singh, also the Director, Environment, UT took the occasion to address the students and urged them to ‘think globally and act locally.”

He did not miss the chance to laud the Dalai Lama and his massive contribution to world peace. “He symbolises the eternal philosophies of live and let live, love and universal brotherhood - the elements which also form the core of all religions. And tree plantation is the best way to celebrate his birth anniversary and also to remember that our beautiful mother Earth, capable of life, beauty and love, is now filled with pain and suffering as it is being destroyed by ignorant, greedy people.”

Mr Sham Lal Sharma, Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, motivated the students and stressed plantation as a healthy practice. “Planting trees is like planting life and now it is upon the staff and students of the school to protect and nurture the trees planted today,” he said while also requesting Mr Ishwar Singh to help him set up a Herbal Garden to promote the knowledge about rich biodiversity of this region among the school students.

Mr Pramod Sharma, Coordinator, Yuvsatta, spoke of how the Tibetans across the world were celebrating their spiritual head’s birth anniversary by planting as many as 70,000 saplings.

Mr Nirmala Deshpande, Member Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and a senior Gandhian peace activist is coordinating the programme at the national level. And in Chandigarh this programme was organized at Government. Middle School, Sector 46-D.

Those who took part in today’s tree plantation drive included Mr Mohd Abdi from Foreign Students Association, PU, Mr Vikramjit Singh, in charge, Greentire programme for promoting biking, Tsering Dolkar and Lhakpa Dolma, members of Regional Tibetans Youth Congress, Chandigarh.



Bank employees hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala posted at the local branches/offices held a demonstration in front of the main branch (Sector 17-C) at Chandigarh and demanded immediate acceptance of their demands, including holding of Welfare Committee meeting, recruitment of watch and ward staff and revocation of the decision of the management to close 23 extension counters across the country.

Mr Davinder Singh, president, All-India SBOP Employees Federation, warned the management that in case their demands were not met forthwith, the federation would be compelled to intensify the agitation.

The regional secretary, Mr Vijay Tiwari, addressed the employees and condemned the “callous” attitude of the management.

Meanwhile, employees of the State bank of Patiala posted at Panchkula also held a demonstration in front of the Zonal Office, Haryana, in Sector 5 Panchkula in protest against the “adamant” attitude of the management towards their demands.

The All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation proposes to hold a dharna in front of the bank’s head office building at Patiala on July 20.



Security around religious places beefed up
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
Less than 24 hours after terrorists attacked the high- security makeshift temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site, the local police today beefed up security around religious institutes, here.

The local police has also sounded an “alert” and intensified police patrolling around the religious places and other vital installations, including the airport.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, 
UT Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav said the police had stepped up vigil around the “possible target areas”. Security personnel had been deployed at these places.

Source in police headquarters added that there was no need for the city residents to panic in the absence of intelligence reports regarding militant strikes.

They agreed that the city, with porous borders on almost all sides, was susceptible to a strike by militants.

Giving details, they said Chandimandir, the Air Force Station and the airport in the city’s vicinity made it vulnerable.

However, they added that as of now there was nothing to suggest the possibility of a strike by terrorists. But the police was leaving nothing to chance.



Interactive session with retired officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The All-India Defence Brotherhood, while appreciating the Western Army Commander’s decision to hold an interactive session with retired officers in Chandi Mandir later this week, has urged the Army to invite retired personnel below officer ranks for the meet also.

The association feels that 90 per cent of ex-servicemen are personnel below officer ranks, it is they rather than officers who face the maximum post-retirement problems. The meet has been organised to discuss various issues affecting ex-servicemen like post-retirement rehabilitation, medical care and other welfare measures. 



Employees resent transfer order to MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Employees of the UT Administration, who have been ordered to be shifted to the Municipal Corporation, showed opposition to the orders in the UT Secretariat here today.

Reliable sources said nearly 300 employees of the administration were likely to be shifted to the corporation. Employees were resenting the transfer to the corporation.

The employees were likely to call upon the Advisor to the UT Administrator tomorrow.



4 vehicles stolen; 2 held for eve-teasing
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
A woman was caught with 24 nips of illegal liquor and in a separate incident two persons were held for indulging in eve-teasing. Meanwhile, four vehicles, including two cars, were reportedly stolen from the city. In another incident a house was burgled in the city.

The sources in the police said Sita, a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, was arrested from her residence on Tuesday for allegedly possessing illegal liquor. The police recovered 24 nips of liquor from her and registered a case under the Excise Act.

About the vehicle thefts, the police said Mr Suresh Kumar, a resident of Sector 45-D, reported to the police that his Santro car (CH-03-R-5572) was stolen from Sector 37 on Monday night. Similarly, Mr Ravinder Singh, a resident of Sector 44, lodged a complaint to the police that his Scorpio jeep (PB-12-T-5712) was stolen from in front of his residence on Monday.

In a separate incident, Mr Sunil Kumar of Railway Colony in Chandigarh filed a complaint that his Hero Honda motor cycle (CH-03-H-9076) was stolen from the backside of a Sector 9 market on Tuesday. Another person, Mr Bavneet Singh, reported that his motorcycle TVS Victor (CH-03-L-1634) was stolen on Sunday night. Four separate cases of thefts have been registered in this regard.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday a house was burgled in Sector 15. Mr J.C. Goyal lodged a complaint to the police alleging that Rs 7000, three gold chains and six pairs of earrings were stolen from his residence during daytime. A case has been registered.

The police arrested Harinder Singh of Ludhiana and Karamjit Singh of Patiala for indulging in eve-teasing from in front of Fun Republic in Mani Majra on Tuesday. Two separate cases were registered against them.

A scooterist reportedly sustained injuries on Tuesday morning when a three-wheeler (HR-68-3855) hit the scooter he was riding near NAC, Mani Majra. Mr K.N. Singh, the victim, was shifted to the PGI.

The three wheeler driver allegedly sped away from the spot. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the unidentified three-wheeler driver.



2 youths held for car thefts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
With the arrests of two youths, the local police claims to have solved five cases of car thefts and recovered a stolen car from their possession. The accused are drug addicts.

Sources in the police said working on specific information, a team of Sector 17 police station laid a trap near Samrat Hotel in Sector 22 on Monday. The team signalled a Maruti car (CH-01-J-2748) to stop.

After verification, the car turned out to be a stolen one and the police arrested its driver, Parkash, alias Pachhi (24), a resident of Sector 37. A case was registered.

Parkash was produced before a local court which remanded him to three days of police custody. During interrogation, Parkash told the police about his accomplice, Sukhwinder Singh, alias Tota, a resident of Sector 37.

Later, the police arrested Tota. They reportedly admitted to the police that they had stolen five cars in the city. They would abandon the stolen cars after taking out the spare-parts and accessories, which they later sold to buy drugs.



Man hangs himself to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
Suffering from an ailment, a 45-year-old man hanged himself to death at his Sector 37 residence here this morning. No suicide note was found on the body and the family members did not suspect any foul play behind the death, said police sources.

Madan Lal was found hanging by his neighbour around 11 am. The sources in the police said the deceased was suffering from an ulcer and was seeking consultancy from the PGI.

The suicide came to light when Ms Santosh, the wife of Madan Lal, made a phone call at her residence but did not get any reply. Ms Santosh is working as a peon in the BSNL office in Sector 34. As her repeated phone calls went unanswered, she rang up her neighbour and asked her to check why no one is picking phone. The neighbour went there and found Madan Lal hanging from a ceiling hook. She informed Santosh about the incident.

The police was called which took the body in its possession and sent it to the General Hospital for post-mortem. The police has initiated the inquest proceedings under section 174, CrPC.

Madan Lal is survived by his wife, a 10-year-old son and three married daughters. He was into property dealing business but had left it about one-and-a half-year ago. He was depressed due to his ailment, the family members of the deceased told the police.



Car thief brought from Tihar
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
A car thief was brought on production warrant by the local police from Tihar Jail for questioning. The suspect, Harpinder Singh, was produced in a Kharar court today and was remanded in police custody for a day.

According to the police, Harpinder Singh had allegedly stolen an Icon car from a house in Phase IV last year. An FIR was got registered by Mr Jasbir Singh in this regard on August 26.



MC proposes advertisement fee
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
A proposal to impose fee for putting up advertisement banners at various places in the town by companies and others has been moved by the local Municipal Council.

The council plans to charge a fee on the Chandigarh pattern at the rate of Rs 3 per sq ft for a period extending up to one week and Rs 4 per sq ft for a period after one week. The proposal is to be cleared by the general house of the council.

It was brought to the notice of council authorities by employees who were put on duty to remove banners that the work was endless. New banners kept adding each day and the council wasted its manpower apart from machinery on removing the banners hung unauthorisedly at various points.

The problem was brought to the notice of the SDM and the SP but no action was taken against the offenders.

It was then suggested that a fee should be charged from those putting up banners so that the council employees did not waste their time on such work. Moreover, the civic body would earn income.



PSIEC to auction commercial sites
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 6
The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) will auction commercial sites in the upcoming 600 acres IT City in Industrial Area, Phase VIII A and VIII B, here. Other than the traditional shop-cum-offices, booths and bay shops, the PSIEC will also be auctioning multiplex and shopping mall sites in the area.

Sources stated that the upcoming IT City was a unique mixed use focal point deviating from the traditional focal points developed by the PSIEC earlier. While over 130 residential plots had already been sold in the area by the PSIEC, the IT City would also have distinct recreational, business and corporate components, besides the main industrial component.


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