C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tribune Exclusive
UT power dept losses mount to Rs 323.63 cr
Officials debunk figures of Ernst and Young report
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Believe it or not, the Electricity Department of the Chandigarh Administration is suffering heavy losses — a whopping Rs 323.63 crore to be precise. And worse still, officials in the Electricity Department are unwilling to admit this. And worse still is that the loss is accumulating at the rate of about Rs 63 crore annually. To top it all, the losses of the Electricity Department are not from ‘theft’ as is the case in other states, but from the department’s own ‘inefficiency’ in terms of transmission losses, which are put at around 25 per cent.

Ordinarily the department should have tried to put its house in order, but on the contrary, it has started rubbishing a report prepared by Ernst and Young, a consultancy appointed by the Chandigarh Administration on ‘corporatisation of electricity’. After careful examination, the final report submitted to the department put the losses up to the end of financial year 2004, at Rs 323.63 crore. The report said the “loss up to the year” had been increasing at about 20 per cent over the past five years.

An official of the Electricity Department, when confronted with the report, which The Tribune has procured, refused to be quoted, but said the “figures were incorrect”.

However, the UT Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, under whom the department falls said he was fully aware of the report. He added “we are implementing the suggestion in the report on restructuring, tariffs have been restructured and the losses have been brought down from 26 to 21 per cent this year”. Mr Sandhu said the figures mentioned in the report were correct to the extent that the department was running in a loss, but the city was no exception as almost every state had a similar situation.

It is learnt that the report has been put in the “top secret” category and released to only three offices on the Electricity Department namely those of Secretary (Engineering), Chief Engineer and the Superintending Engineer with clear instructions that it should not be made public.

Interestingly, the report says that “Chandigarh Electricity Department (CED) has not been regular in preparing and declaring its financial statements. The report reads “annual accounts of CED have not been prepared since 1998-99, the current assets of CED such as stores spares and bank balances have not been reconciled for years. CED does not have a fixed asset register or even a consolidated list of assets in its possession”.

Most facts in the report have been denied by officials, who at the same time are unwilling to be quoted. One such official said “the Electricity Department has one of the best maintained accounting records which are regularly scrutinised by the AG office. The figures on the losses in the report need a correction. During the past one year, the department has been able to reduce 2.5 per cent of the losses which amounts to over Rs 3 crore. At the same rate of progress, we anticipate about 4 per cent increase in the coming two years”.

The report also mentions that the department does not maintain any register of fixed deposits. The department also has no regular record of profits and losses. ‘These components, actually calculated, show a significant loss’, the report says.

The report on “Corporatisation of the Electricity Department” was sought for “assistance in the process of privatisation”. The final report clearly says that “non-preparation of a profit and loss account may actually prevent any significant effort for the improvement of the distribution operations”.

The report underlines a need for restructuring through corporatisation. “If the CED continues as a government department, it is unlikely that its operation will improve”, the report says.



Rodrigues for taking government to people through IT
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Computer and the Internet will no longer remain the domain of the rich and the powerful. Come July 14 and one man that will press the most to take the IT and IT-enabled services to the realm of a common man will be the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory of Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd). He will use the forum of ‘E-revolution” scheduled from July 14 to 16 to take the opportunity to tell hundreds of delegates from national and multinational corporations to promote the use of “IT for changing the life of the man on the street”.

“IT for Society” is his new vision and he will deliver a lecture on the subject. But what he really plans is to highlight the project “e-sampark”, launched in the city eight months ago. Set up as the Single Window Citizen Services at six centres in Sectors 10, 15, 18, 23, 43 and Mani Majra, over 70,000 city residents’ benefit from these services each month. “The Administrator’s idea is to take the government to the people rather than make the people travel to different offices in the city”, explains Mr Vivek Atray

General Rodrigues is waiting to tell IT giants that economic development is unachievable unless the benefits trickle down to the lowest rung of society. “We have done it through “e-sampark” with remarkable success and we will expand it through Jan Sampark that will have 50 centres set up across the city, virtually eliminating the need for people to travel to different offices.” There is hope in this message that the benefits of the IT will translate to the lowest level of society and people such as rickshawala, dhobi, etc will not have to spend endless days for getting their ration cards or a birth certificate.

Project “e-sampark” has won the Chandigarh Administration the Golden Icon Award for e-governance from the Government of India. Under the existing “e-sampark” project, six departments have been put under a single window where taxes can be paid for the Excise and Taxation Department, CTU bus passes can be made, births and deaths can be registered, tenants, servants can be registered with the Chandigarh police and even sticker and postal challans can be paid. Besides, the “e-sampark” also accepts electricity and water bills. This is being run with the help of UTI Bank and SQL and IT company with the coordination of the UT Department of IT.

Under the proposed Jan Sampark project, kiosks will be set up at 50 places in the city that will be open from 8 am to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday. The Chandigarh Administration is looking for operators for this project and the Governor is likely to appeal to the IT giants to collaborate with the UT Administration to take the benefits of the IT to the common man. Though it is yet to be decided, the Jan Sampark centres will be located at central places like the post offices or maintenance booths. The persons running these kiosks/centres will be equipped with a fax, telephone and the Internet facility for quick communication with different departments of the Administration.

It is General Rodrigues’ dream that “services and information is accessible to the common man anywhere, anytime through a one-stop shop ensuring efficiency, transparency and reliability to meet the basic needs”. He places a lot of hope on the “e-revolution 2005” starting this Thursday, but only time will tell if any IT giant helps him in furthering his dream for the City Beautiful.



Governor to address delegates at IT conclave
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Chandigarh is making big strides in IT. The perception of Chandigarh as a bureaucratic city is changing with its growth as a knowledge hub — at least this is what the hosting of so many events, including the IT conclave and events like Agro-tech suggests.

The city has been rated a “leader in e-readiness’’ by the Centre and also ranks first in the country in the human development index.

To quote an example of IT growth in Chandigarh and its neighbouring satellite towns, leading IT companies will be here shortly in the upcoming Chandigarh Technology Park ( CTP) near Kishangarh here. Quark City in Mohali is expanding, Infosys campus, perhaps the second biggest after Bangalore, is nearing completion in the CTP. While Wipro and Convergs are almost here, IBM,Tatas and Microsoft are also active in this direction. Six other companies, including Outer Bay, Renal, IBM Daksh, Net Solutions and Versa will soon be moving into the IT park within two months and have already tied up with DLF-Info City, said Mr Vivek Atray, Director IT, Chandigarh Administration. Construction was going on about 123 acres of land and 250 acres more would be needed for the Habitat Park.

IT entrepreneurs and CEOs of multinational companies, who are willing to move to north, may follow in the footsteps of many others who have already set base here. A few others will use this opportunity to explore funding and investment opportunities in Chandigarh and around. The forthcoming e-Revolution show is all about `` attracting projects and investments to the region and creating employment and export opportunities.’’ said Mr Pankaj Nath, event manager from CyberMedia.

Nearly 50,000 to 60,000 jobs will be created for the youth of this region, who are known to be industrious and hardworking. A number of other companies are also vying for space in the upcoming IT park because of its proximity to Delhi and provision of good infrastructure.

Besides, the big wigs, a few others who would be participating in the sessions on the first day will be Mr Dan Sandhu, CEO of Vertex India; Mr Sanjiv Bhikchandani,

CEO, naukri.com; Mr Ashish Gupta, COO Evalueserve; Mr Anil Bakht, Chairman and Managing Director, Eastern Software Systems; and Ms Supriya Kapoor of Hewitt Associates. Their discussions would centre around the IT and BPO trends, emerging opportunities and challenges, mapping the right skills for the right jobs and emergence of new cities as preferred IT destinations, beyond the metros. The second day would focus on ICT for society. People-related issues such as change management, retraining and man power development will also dismissed.

While the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F Rodrigues, will be addressing the delegates on both the days, the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana will also be participating in the conclave along with the IT secretaries of both the states.

While the main venue, Taj GVK , will have the Wi-fi connectivity in the Conference Hall for the benefit of the delegates and 100 per cent back up for power, CITCO’s Hotel Mountview has shifted its business centre to a more spacious location near the reception area on the ground floor from the existing congested space on the first floor. It will also offer state-of-the-art facilities to its guests with a proper sitting area and conference room in place. They also have plans to offer special discounts to the guests who stay with them. They also have six royal suites and four deluxe suites ready for the guests and these can be rented at Rs 7,000 and Rs 6,050 per day, says the General Manager, Mr Ram Singla.

The invitees will also be taken on a short guided tour to the Chandigarh Technology Park and the Quark City on the evening of July 14.

With only three days to go, hectic activity has begun and the organisers are all out to make the conference a big success.



Two Hawara accomplices held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 11
Four days after Babbar Khalsa International’s alleged chief Jagtar Singh Hawara was brought to Chandigarh for questioning, the city police today claimed a major breakthrough in busting a module controlled by him with the arrest of two persons.

The police had all along been claiming that they had zeroed in on persons associated with Hawara, but the arrests were carried out this afternoon from near the football stadium in Sector 17. They were allegedly keeping tabs on the movements of Haryana’s former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal in Panchkula.

Addressing a media gathering at the Operation Cell in Sector 26, Inspector Satbir Singh said acting on any information, a police party arrested Joga Das, alias Joga Singh, alias Joga, a resident of Sidhwan Bet in Ludhiana district and Samir, alias Toni, of Kacha Malik in Jagraon.

The police claimed that they seized a US made 9 mm pistol, one magazine and 10 cartridges from Joga’s possession. One Chinese made .30 bore mouser pistol with one magazine and six cartridges were also recovered from Samir. The police added that they came from Jagraon.

Mr Satbir Singh said the duo had come to the city with the purpose of carrying out recce. He added that during the preliminary interrogation the accused told the police that they were directed to target VIPs in the city. They had planned to carry out a bomb blast in order to create terror.

About their targets, they revealed to the police that Baba Piara Singh Bhaniaranwala, Ashutosh Maharaj, Jagdish Tytler, former Director General of Police, KPS Gill and Bhajan Lal were on their hit list. They reportedly admitted that Hawara had motivated several persons to become human bombs. He was also providing arms and explosives, along with monetary assistance, to “recruits”. They also told the police that Hawara obtained a number of vehicles for his operational purposes.

About the involvements of Joga and Samir in terrorist activities, the police said they along with Hawara and other six-seven accomplices carried out an ambush on a railway bridge on Landran-Banur road on November 24, 2004 on a convoy carrying Baba Piara Singh Bhaniaranwala. They reportedly used long range weapons including a GPMG (general purpose machine gun) and four AK 47 rifles. The bid was, however, thwarted by the tight security arrangements.

They also allegedly attempted an assassination bid on former CM of Haryana Bhajan Lal in Sirsa in February this year by using a human bomb. The Punjab police has already arrested several persons in this regard. Hawara had reportedly prepared one Tarsem Singh, a human bomb, for this purpose. Tarsem Singh and two other accomplices Bhim Singh and Sukhdev Singh are still at large.

In February this year they along with Hawara fired at a police party on the Lopon-Jagroan road, when they were intercepted by a police party for a routine checking.

Besides, the police said Joga and Samir were part of the conspiracy to revive terrorism in Punjab and had harbored Hawara after his great escape from Burail jail in January last.



Chandigarh Police in a fix over Hawara’s ‘memory games’
Saurabh Malik
and Ramanjit Sidhu

Chandigarh, July 11
Babbar Khalsa International’s chief Jagtar Singh Hawara reportedly told the Chandigarh Police late last night that money made him part ways with his accomplice Paramjit Singh Bheora.

Hawara — during his interrogation — said he and Bheora were in touch with each other until six months ago. But then, they argued over some financial matter, resulting in acrimony between them.

The duo, along with Jagtar Singh Tara and another accomplice Devi Singh, had tunnelled their way out of the Model Jail in Burail village some 18 months ago. Though Hawara was caught by the Delhi Police in connection with the twin blast case in the Capital, the other three are still at large.

Giving details of the interrogation, a senior Chandigarh Police official said Hawara told them that they were getting money from their sympathisers in India and abroad for “their movement against state oppression”.

“It was being utilised for buying arms and ammunition, besides training and encouraging youngsters all over the state to take up arms against the oppressors,” he said

Hawara, however, did not divulge the details of the persons helping him out as his diary containing phone numbers and other relevant information was in possession of the Delhi Police, the officer said. He added that the Chandigarh Police was feeling utterly helpless in the absence of the diary. Quoting Hawara, the officer said his memory has been failing him.

The officer added that progress in the case was being hampered in the absence of the diary. “We are making attempts to get hold of the document from the Delhi Police,” he claimed.

Even though the Chandigarh Police was attaching so much of importance to the diary, the sources said the cops were just trying to conceal their inability to extract information from Hawara by blaming the Delhi Police.

They said Hawara was apparently taking the Chandigarh Police for a ride by faking poor memory. “One can understand the slipping out of a few names from the memory. But to say “I do not remember anything’ is carrying things a bit too far,’” they assert.

Sources added that the story about parting ways with Bheora had apparently been cooked up by Hawara in an attempt to shield his alleged accomplice. “It is so easy for him to say `I do not know where Bheora is because we fought over money’”, the sources asserted. “Money for them was of no consequence. It was the mission which mattered”.

Hawara, they said, apparently wanted the mission to continue even in his absence. “That was, perhaps, the resason why he was not divulging anything..... He is a hard nut to crack,” remarked a senior Punjab Police officer on the condition of anonymity.



Bitta seeks probe into Hawara’s escape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF), Mr M.S. Bitta, today demanded a high-level probe into the alleged role of the politicians, police officials, human rights activists into the escape of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara and his associates from the Burail jail last year.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Bitta alleged that a few days before the jailbreak, dry fruits were reportedly provided by a human rights lawyer to Hawara and others, which they carried along during their escape. They reportedly survived on the dry fruits for a few days as Hawara had admitted to police in recent interrogation, he added.

After the jailbreak, a few human rights activists reached the jail in the morning well before the news was flashed in the media How did they came to know about the escape, Mr Bitta asked.

The AIATF chief demanded that the sedition charges should be slapped on the suspended jail officials again.

Recent incidents of attacks in Delhi, seizure of large quantity of arms and ammunition, arrests of terrorists and human bombs motivated by Hawara proves that he was working constantly to revive terrorism in Punjab and wage war against nation, he alleged.



Left to corner UPA govt on job Bill, labour reforms
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The monsoon session of Parliament, scheduled to start later this month, will certainly be a litmus test for the Manmohan Singh government as Left leaders have serious differences with his government not only on disinvestment in BHEL but also over the Employment Guarantee Bill, the Pension Bill and the proposed labour reforms.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had recently given an assurance on passing the employment Bill in the coming session.

While BHEL disinvestment has already become a thorny issue between the Manmohan Singh government and the Left parties supporting it from outside, the think tank of the Left parties has even greater (than that on disinvestment) objections with regard to the proposed draft of the Employment Guarantee Bill and the Pension Bill and labour reforms.

Revealing the mind of the Left parties in this connection, the CPM leader, Mr Chittabrata Majumdar, who is a member of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Finance and also a member of the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, told The Tribune in an interview here today that the Employment Guarantee Bill, was at present with the Standing Committee of Parliament on Rural Development. It was a vague document devoid of any concrete guarantee on employment.

Mr Majumdar, also the general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions(CITU), who has read the Bill, said that there was no provision to allocate funds for employment under it. The UPA government wanted that the states concerned should bear the financial burden. But the states were already facing a financial crisis. They had no funds to meet their routine fiscal requirements not to speak of guaranteeing employment.

This Bill was silent on the guarantee of employment in urban areas. Besides, there was no guarantee on at least one job per family in the Bill. Already the existing schemes of employment such as food for work were to be brought under this Bill, thus closing the existing opportunities for employment, said Mr Majumdar. Then the employment guarantee programme was to be implemented first only in 150 select districts. The norm of the 100 working days in a year was also not there.

“It falls far short of the expectations of the Left parties”, he added. It could not be accepted in its existing form. “We will certainly propose several significant changes in the draft of the Bill to guarantee employment and not make vague promises”, he added.

Talking about the Pension Bill, which was with the Standing Committee on Finance, Mr Majumdar said that the government wanted to privatise the pension scheme.

“It wanted to give pension funds to corporate houses which would invest the money in the share market”, he added.

“Such a provision offers no guarantee of pension to the workers and employees concerned”, he added. “ We want that the existing system of pension should continue because it gives guarantee of pension to all concerned”, he added. The government did not consult trade unions and workers while framing the Pension Bill.

While the Prime Minister favoured sweeping reforms on the labour front, the Left parties say that they will oppose such reforms, which they describe as having been dictated by the World Bank and the IMF.

“Even the UPA government is not sticking to the norms framed by the International Labour Organisation to which India is a signatory”, he added.

Mr Majumdar said the UPA government was not sticking to the Common Minimum Programme and it would have to face the consequences of violating it.

He said for the trade union moment, it was a difficult period.



Kerala establishes railway link with Chandigarh
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
History was created at the local Railway Station here tonight with Kerala, God’s own country, getting a direct railway link with the City Beautiful. With the Kochuveli-Chandigarh Kerala Sampark Kranti Express chugging into the city, the long-cherished dream of the South Indian population in the region was finally realised.

In fact, a wave of happiness spread among the predominantly Malayalee persons, who had come to receive their near and dear ones when the train touched the station around 7.35 p.m.Hours of tiredness evaporated as bear hugs and smiles from the gathered motley crowd greeted the passengers.

And the passengers did not hide their happiness in what some of them called their being “part of the history”. “Three days of tiredness is nothing before the fantastic journey,” said Rashmi Ramakrishnan, a BBA student of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, as she hugged her father, Mr Ramakrishnan.

A Punjab Tractors Limited (PTU) official, Mr Ramakrishnan, was equally excited, saying that the introduction of the train fulfilled a long-pending demand of the South Indian population.

“It is a dream come true as I never expected to travel direct from Kerala,” quipped Mr Babu Vergeses, a Hind Motors employee, terming the journey and comfortable and fine.

“I am a lucky lady to be part of the train’s first run,” added Ms Shobha.

However, while certain passengers were satisfied with the frequency of train, Mr NM Kutty demanded that it should run at least thrice a week in view of ever-increasing South Indian population working in the region and tourist rush to South India.

Meanwhile, the train will be flagged off from here by the Union Power Minister, Mr PM Sayeed, on July 13 at an impressive ceremony, Mr KM Jayachandran, convener of the Kerala Samparak Kranti Express Flag-off Organising Committee said.

Terming it as boon for the Keralites living in the region, Mr Jayachandran hoped that it would bridge the cultural gap between the North and the South as the tourists from the North would have a direct link to far-off places in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.

The Kerala Samajam, Sree Ayyappa Samajam, the Kerala Shastra Kala Manch, the Malyalee Samajam (Mohali), the Chandigarh Malayalee Association, the Panchkula Malayalee Association and the Ayyappa Seva Samiti, Mohali, have welcomed the introduction of the train.



Passing Thru

Anil Potphode
Anil Potphode, General Manager (Sales), Sprint CD-R

What brings you to the city?

We are here to launch a new concept, that of customised CD-Rs. In an expansion mode, we are carrying out a recee of various cities which suit our needs.

What are customised CDs and what are the benefits accruing from them?

Customised CDs have company logos printed on them. It is the latest in the CD industry and we are pioneers in this field. Customising a CD serves a three-fold benefit of providing value for money by checking pilferage, providing free publicity wherever it is sent, checking misuse in organisations since CDs from outside can be identified. Besides, having the company’s name printed on the CD is a status symbol for the company as well.

Are there any other new innovations taking place elsewhere?

Shortly, we will be coming out with double guard CDs which can be stored for longer periods without the fear of losing data. The double guard will offer protection against rough handling, giving longevity to the CD-R.

What is the scope for new players in the CD industry?

The industry is open to new entrants since the requirement is much more than what the five-odd companies are producing. We are planning to increase our capacity from producing 25 lakh CDs to one crore. The requirement of CDs runs into 60 crores.

— Geetanjali Gayatri



Chandigarh Calling

EATING a warm, melt-in-your-mouth gulab jamun is a truly luscious experience. And chomping on one of these delicious sins in the rains is truly divine! A kitty party of 12 chortling women decided to celebrate their monthly get-together in an unusual way. Instead of sitting in a restaurant eating chilly garlic noodles, they decided, the best way to spend the blissfully overcast drizzly day, walking in the rain. With their childhood memories of carefree days brimming over in their minds, they laughed and chattered like unfettered birds and ended their glorious day eating hot freshly made gulab jamuns, soaking in its syrupy splendour, straight out of the tawa and into their mouths — golguppa style!

Not so Uttam

A favourite celebration haunt for the Punjabi literati in town is Uttam Restaurant in Sector 46. Almost every other week there is eat-and-drink event there all in the name of literature and usually funded by a writer of the NRP (Non-resident Punjabi) variety, who is here with a newly written book or a new magazine to launch. The poor guys away from their land and language make every effort to keep in touch with the Punjabis in the mainland. But the dollars and pounds do not seem to have made them any courteous and often they appoint a local scribe to gather freebies by invitations being sent third-hand. And one brave one had a middle-aged newswoman aghast when he attempted to entice her on the telephone saying, “Anaji, you will get the ‘kitab’ and the ‘sharab’!”

Crime and curiosity

After the weather report and the sports scores, crime reporting enjoys the greatest readership in newspapers. Many may be the reasons for this but perhaps the first that comes to the mind is curiosity. Who dunnit? This is what everyone wants to know. This picture clicked by Tribune photographer Manoj Mahajan on Friday the July 8 proves the point. Large crowds gathered outside the district courts to catch a glimpse of Babbar Khalsa International chief Jagtar Singh Hawara. Such is the human curiosity on which crime thrillers thrive so let it not be taken for hero worship.

Large as life

Forget Macy’s abroad and start your day with a smile for the people who believe ‘Big is beautiful’, ‘Just My Size’, a new clothing retail store in Sector 35, is ready, with innovative ‘ready to wear’ prêt line for this hitherto ignored segment of people. The styling is ‘hip’ and the lines are clean, with detailed attention to “fashion, fabric and fit”. So what we get are spiffy, sporty designs, chic cuts, tiny prints, lots of stripes and an array of colours with classy whites for women and fashionable cargos, shorts, semi-formals and pleated pants, up to waist size 52 for men. Brand director Gurvinder Singh asks “What is wrong in being big. In fact we change our styles every eight to ten weeks to give the very best fashion trends to our customers”. The clothes sure seem to be suited to every palette!

Helping hand

The local Income Tax office deserves a pat on its back for starting a help centre in the city for small taxpayers. The centre is located at the head office of the State Bank of India in Sector 17-B and functions from Mondays to Fridays. On an average 25 to 30 people visit the centre every day seeking guidance on tax returns.

Brave heart

People gathered at a book release function organised by the Human Rights Law Network, when local social worker Shareshta Mehta made a public appearance after many days. The lady had met with a very serious accident a few months ago and was bed-ridden. Even now she walked into the function with people supporting her as she is just getting back to walking. By participating actively in the function she showed that where there is a will, there is always a way.

Shop at Zirakpur

While the elite of the city is patronising swanky stores, people who have to survive on a budget are finding ways and means to cope up with prices that know only to rise. Some of the common folks have started buying their groceries, utensils and other necessities at Zirakpur. They say things are cheaper out there because most of the shopkeepers own the shops and do not have to pay rent. But one wonders for how long because this small town is all set to become a super satellite of the city and the next best place to be in after Panchkula. The old order is bound to change here too.

Heard this one?

Teacher: “Can anybody give an example of a coincidence?”

Student: “Sir, my mother and father got married the same day, same time.”

— Sentinel



Centre to electrify 45 hamlets in Morni belt
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
The 40 km from Panchkula, referred to as the “Paris of India”, 211 dhanis (hamlets) are still without electricity. In spite of the advancements made by the Haryana Government in the power sector, these villages are without power supply as Haryana Power Utilities does not electrify villages having less than 20 households.

But there is hope in sight for the 788 families residing in these dhanis. The Union Ministry of Non- Conventional Energy Sources had given its consent for the electrification of 45 dhanis at a cost of Rs 1.82 crore. The Haryana State Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) will be the executing agency for the electrification of these villages. HAREDA has already invited tenders for carrying out solar electrification of these villages. These will be allotted next month.

Officials say that while 90 per cent of the total cost of electrification is to be borne by the Ministry of Non- Conventional Energy Sources, the remaining 10 per cent is to be borne by the villagers. However, keeping in mind the poor financial status of the villagers in the Morni belt, it is proposed that this 10 per cent cost be borne by the Shivalik Development Agency.

Once the electrification work is done, each household in these 45 villages will no longer be enveloped in darkness after dusk. Though fans, too, can be installed at a later stage, most of the dhanis will initially be allowed to have tubelights only. As of now, life in these dhanis, located in the forests of Morni Hills, comes to a virtual standstill after dusk. Since the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has a policy not to undertake electrification projects in case the number of households is less than 20, the state government had approached the Ministry of Non- Conventional Energy Sources for their electrification.

While 38 of these dhanis, which have less than 10 households, will get a homelighting system each, this system will allow them enough load to have four tubelights or run a fan with two tubelights. The remaining seven hamlets — Babarwali, Khedi, Nangnansu, Dhandut, Kohlan, Dudhla and Kamrari — will be electrified by installing a common solar power plant of 5 kilowatt each. The power generated will then be transmitted and distributed to the houses in each village. The power plants are being installed only in hamlets which have 10- 20 households each.

Officials say that they will now send a proposal for electrification of the remaining 166 dhanis here, that have not been undertaken now, so that HAREDA could also adopt these.



Rs 2.24 crore earmarked for development works
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will spend a sum of over Rs. 2.24 crore on various development works in Panchkula Extension during the next eight months.

Giving details of the development works to be undertaken, a spokesman of HUDA said that a sum of Rs. 55.25 lakh would be spent on widening of external roads in sector 25, 26, 27 and 28, and a sum of Rs. 52.85 lakh on providing internal storm water drainage and sewerage scheme in sector 32.

Similarly, a sum of Rs. 51.92 lakh would be spent on providing protection of bunds of Nandana choe and Nadha Choe and down the stream of new Ghaggar bridge. Officials say that a sum of Rs. 18.94 lakh would be spent on construction of nine spurs (No. 19 to 28) along the river Ghaggar and Rs. 12.72 lakh on providing and fixing of C.I. wire fencing with M.S.angle along the released land of village Nadha in Sector 31. A sum of Rs. 7.15 would be spent on providing water supply in Sector 27, he added.



Fauji Beat
Ex-servicemen bodies have lost credibility

Maj-Gen (Dr) Jaswant Singh (retd)
Maj-Gen (Dr) Jaswant Singh (retd)

No one brings more discredit to the ex-servicemen community than their own organisations, which have mushroomed over the years. Like the political parties, they miss no opportunity to criticise each other on non-issues. Most of these bodies of self-seekers are deceiving the ex-servicemen in the name of their welfare. The sole aim of their leadership is to gain some position of strength or at least start figuring among the people who matter.

Two recent examples make this point apply clear. The Governor of Punjab, General S.F. Rodrigues (retd), called a meeting of the ex-servicemen at Punjab Raj Bhavan in December 2004, with the intention of bringing them all on one platform. Unfortunately, the meeting was not attached the importance that it deserved. Instead, the allegedly malafied intention of the functionary who invited the ex-servicemen came under severe criticism for gathering his own favourites at this meeting.

Yet again when the Western Army Commander, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, invited the ex-servicemen on July 9, to meet them and know their problems, some leaders of the ex-servicemen criticised the functionary who nominated the ex-servicemen to attend this gathering. One of the leaders of an ex-servicemen body went to the press against the unbalanced composition of this gathering. Why can’t the leaders of the ex-servicemen bodies decide these issues between themselves before each of such events? It is time these ex-servicemen bodies realise that they are bringing themselves down in the public eye by playing this shoddy game.

A saint soldier

Sudden passing away of Maj-Gen (Dr) Jaswant Singh (retd) last week has left a void in the hearts of the Chandigarh citizens, who will miss him for long for his untiring service for them. The mission of this saint soldier and doctor, as he was called by most, was to help the needy. Besides being very actively involved in social service, he went to the veterans’ polyclinic at Mohali to treat the patients every Wednesday.

Born at Sargodha in Pakistan in April 1934, he did his MBBS from the Medical College, Amritsar, in 1958. He did his master of surgery as well as master of urology from the PGI, Chandigarh, and was the first urologist in Armed Forces Medical Services. General Jaswant Singh was a recipient of the Chief of the Army Staffs Commendation Card. For his distinguished services, he was awarded the Atti Vashisht Seva Medal (AVSM). He retired from the Army as Deputy Director of Medical Services (DDMS) Headquarters, Western Command, in April 1993.

Strides by AEC

The Army Education Corps (AEC), which celebrated its 58th Raising Day last month, has made great strides in the field of providing higher education to the troop and in their personality development.

For quite sometime now, the AEC Training College and Centre at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh has been catering to the aspirations of the troops through the Departments of Education Technology, foreign language training, computer training and IT, map craft and military music. Troops from 17 friendly countries also come to the centre to learn military music, English and Hindi languages.

Besides, The AEC has undertaken IGNOU-Army Education Project (IAEP) to popularise adult education among the troops as well as their family members.

Career counselling cell

The Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) Headquarters Central Command, Lucknow, has recently opened a career counselling cell in the Lucknow Sub Area. The cell was inaugurated by Ms Meera Subramanyam, President, AWWA, Central Command at Surya Auditorium in the Lucknow Cantonment. Lieut-Gen Ram Subramanyam, GOC-in-C Central Command and a number of senior officers, JCOs, jawans and students were present at the time of inauguration.

— Pritam Bhullar



Water shortage in industrial area
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 11
Industrial Area, Phase VII, here is facing an acute shortage of water creating problems for employees working in the area.

Industrial unit owners said that the supply of water to the area was negligible and water was being supplied with the help of tankers. But the water supplied this way was not fit for drinking. The tubewells sunk by the Municipal Council were not functioning but the civic body was not making any effort to set them right.

The industrial area was being looked after by four agencies, namely the Municipal Council, the PSEIC, PUDA and the Department of Public Health. None of the departments was doing the work properly but kept passing the buck to other agency while the residents of the area suffered.



Jain for providing breakfast to Burail Jail inmates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A member of the national executive of the BJP and former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, today demanded the provision of breakfast to the inmates of Burail Jail here.

The demand was raised at a meeting of the Jail Advisory Committee here today. Currently, the prisoners are being provided with meals twice a day. In a large number of jails in the country, breakfast is provided to the prisoners and the local jail being a model jail should follow this pattern, Mr Jain added. Mr A.S. Dhillon, Jail Superintendent, who presided over the meeting said he would take up the matter with the Chandigarh Administration.

Demanding the deployment of more staff in the jail, Mr Jain said at least two doctors and five pharmacists should be posted in the jail.



Jean Rodrigues visits anganwari centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of the UT Administrator, today visited the Anganwari Centres of Sector 38 and 41 to review the arrangements. Ms Madhvi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare Department, also accompanied her on the occasion.

Mrs Rodrigues interacted with anganwari workers and children during the visit and she suggested several measures for bringing qualitative changes in the centres. She said one of the fundamental element of education was physical development of the children, therefore, play way method should be adopted as essential part of curriculum of anganwari centres and children should be allowed to play freely and more frequently in the open spaces of the centres.

She directed that stones and pebbles be removed from the ground and it should be levelled for safe playing of children. More fruit-trees should be planted in the centres, she suggested.

She also emphasised the need of taking the children to zoos and other picnic spots so that they could have awareness of the world around them. She urged the workers of the centres to be more helpful for the growth and development of children. Children should be involved into learning process in order to enable them to apply their own minds in understating the things, she added.



Rodrigues calls for women empowerment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, in a message, on the occasion of World Population Day here today called for a major effort at the national level for the empowerment of women and to work towards achieving greater gender equality.

General Rodrigues said the theme chosen by the United Nations, “Equality Empowers”, emphasised that each woman was entitled to equal opportunities and universally adopted human rights. It was, therefore, our responsibility to put gender equality at the top of our socio-economic agenda and create a congenial environment for women to grow and achieve excellence in every sphere of activity, he added.

General Rodrigues further said that there was a need for a special focus in the key areas like checking the unethical practice of female foeticide, promoting education among girls, removing barriers to women’s equal participation in the work force and recognising their contribution.



TUC, AISECC flay Punjab move
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 11
The local Trade Union Council (TUC) and the All-India State Employees Coordination Committee (AISECC) in joint statement criticised the move of the Punjab Government to hand over the work of the preparation of electoral rolls bearing the photographs of voters to a private company.

Mr Karnail Singh, general secretary, TUC, and Mr Ranbir Shillon, secretary, AISECC, said that the move of the government was against the instructions and guidelines of the Election Commission of India. They said that this work was handled by Electronics System Punjab Limited (ESPL), a state level agency, since 1998 and as per the instructions of the Election Commission of India ESPL was recognized for executing election work up to March 31, 2006.

The two leaders said that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned the Punjab Government and the ESPL to sell any property and retrench any employees of the unit. Even then the management had allegedly resorted to a lock out of ESPL and retrenched 46 employees to make way to hand over the work to a private company. They said that their organization would organise a people’s movement in this regard.



Mini bus operators to launch stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Mini bus operators in Punjab have decided to launch an agitation against the state government by holding a protest rally at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh on July 20.

The president of the Mini Bus Operators Association, Mr Harvinder Sharma, said they had met the Chief Minister and the Transport Minister several times seeking relief but to no avail. The operators threatened to burn the registration papers of their vehicles and also the route permits during the protest.

The operators are demanding a scheme to grant permits for buses; curbs on checking by the traffic police; rollback of the increased permit fee; representation on the State Transport Advisory Committee; a minimum fare of Rs 5 ; and exemption from “adda” fee at bus stands.



Foundation day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Mani Majra, July 11
The Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, a unit of Bharat Vikas Parishad (BVP), celebrated its foundation day with great enthusiasm, here on Sunday.

Officer-bearers of the newly formed unit took oath at a function chaired by Dr KL Passi, national vice-president of the BVP, Mr KL Chauhan, zonal secretary and Mr KMS Nambiar, state president of the BVP, Punjab, were also present.

Dr Santosh Gupta, president BVP, Jammu and Kashmir, who was the main speaker on the occasion, claimed that the Parishad had come into existence with only 20 members in Delhi on July10, 1963. At present the organisation had more than 1200 branches in the country and abroad.

Mrs Geeta Tandon, president of the local unit welcomed the gathering.



Dalits to stage protest in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Dalits living in the city will stage in dharna in front of the residence of Mr Shivraj Patil, Union Home Minister, in New Delhi on July 25 in case their demand regarding issue of Scheduled Caste certificate by the UT Administration was not met soon.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Mukesh Kumar, president of the Chandigarh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, said the SC certificates had not been issued in the city since 1995. “Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, had given assurances during the election campaign but nothing has been doen till now”, he said.



FCI Mazdoor Federation holds rally
Tribune News Service

Members of the FCI Mazdoor Federation organise a rally in Chandigarh
Members of the FCI Mazdoor Federation organise a rally in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 11
Members of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) Mazdoor Federation organised a rally here today in support of their demands.

In a representation to the FCI Chairman, the federation demanded the abolition of the contract system and regularisation of the services of the employees, who had completed 240 days’ service.

The representation also demanded an end to the privatisation of the FCI and strengthening of the public distribution system in the country.



Renu Poswal chairperson, welfare board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Ms Renu S. Nagar Poswal has been appointed chairperson of the Haryana State Social Welfare Board, Chandigarh, by the Haryana Government. She is the 14th chairperson of the board.

Ms Renu Nagar Poswal is the daughter of the late Mr K. L. Poswal, ex-MP and ex-Home Minister of Haryana.

She is holding the prestigious post of Secretary in the All-India Mahila Congress.

She is also a member of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) and incharge, Mahila Congress for Maharashtra and Kerala.



TDS filing date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the last date for filing the annual return of tax deduction at source (TDS) for the financial year 2004-05.

The new date will be August 31, according to a press note issued here today.



Man consumes pesticide, dies
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 11
Three persons lost their lives in separate incidents in the city in last 24 hours. After struggling for life for over 36 hours, Mr Rajat, alias Gaurav Kumar, a resident of Sector 11, who allegedly consumed some pesticide on Saturday, breathed his last in the PGI, Chandigarh, today.

Aged about 26, Rajat had consumed the pesticide following a family disputed on Saturday. He was later taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6. The doctors had referred him to the PGI when his health deteriorated.

The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem examinations this afternoon. The police has started investigating the case.

In another incident, Mrs Sumita Gupta, a resident of Sector 4, was electrocuted this afternoon. The woman sustained a major electric shock when she was washing clothes in an electric washing machine.

Wife of Mr Ashok Gupta was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where the doctors declared her ‘brought dead’. The body was handed over to the family without any post-mortem.

Four-year-old Shalu succumbed to her injuries in the PGI last night after she was admitted there with critical head injuries. A resident of Sector 15, Shalu was crossing the road in Sector 15 market when an unidentified motorcycle knocked her down leaving critically injured. The motorcyclist reportedly sped away from the scene after the accident.

Daughter of Mr Satya Dev, an employee of a saw mill near Ramgarh, was first taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, and was later shifted to the PGI.

The police has registered a case.



Man, parents booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 11
The local police has arrested one person on the charge of stealing and in a separate case a man was booked along with his parents for allegedly demanding dowry.

Sources in the police said Ajay Singh of Sanjay Colony, Chandigarh, was caught while stealing spare parts from a workshop in Phase I, Industrial Area. The yardmaster of the Haryana workshop, Mr Randhir Singh, reported the matter to the police.

The police arrested the suspect and registered a case against him.

In a separate incident, Ms Madhuri Kapoor of Sector 46-A here lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her husband, Rakesh Kapoor, his father, V.K. Kapoor, his mother, Raksha Kapoor, and his brother, V.K. Kapoor, all residents of Amar Colony in Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi, were harassing and maltreating her to bring dowry. A case has been registered in this regard and the police is investigating the matter.

Mr Randhir Singh, a resident of Phase I, Ram Darbar, filed a complaint with the police that Tirlok, Gulab Singh, Sompal and others persons, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, here had allegedly beaten him up. He reportedly sustained injuries and was admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, here. A case has been registered.



Company executive assaulted
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 11
A senior executive of Godrej company was injured after he was attacked by a number of persons here today.

According to information available, Mr Sachin Mittal, was attacked by 12 persons with rods when he came out of the factory. He sustained injuries on his back and his right hand got a fracture. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital from where he was referred to the General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh.

However, three of the assailants were nabbed by the security personnel of Mr Narinder Bhargav, SP, who happened to pass that way. They were sent to the police station.

Mr Mittal reportedly told the police that out of the three persons nabbed, one was an employee of the factory who was removed from job. He had probably got more persons who attacked on him.



Industrialists seek review of conversion policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
She Industrial Associations of Chandigarh and Plot Owners today urged the UT Administration for an immediate review of the conversion policy announced recently. More than 200 industrialists participated in a rally of the industrialists which concluded at the Matka Chowk. A delegation led by Mr M.P.S. Chawla later met the Adviser to the UT Administrator and the Finance Secretary.

The industrialists want the review to be done in an open manner. “They gave a written representation to the officers giving their logic and emphasised that the administration should include the IT sector in the industry”, a press note said.

Members of the delegation who accompanied Mr Chawla included Mr H.S. Mamik, Mr Pankaj Sehgal, Mr Pankaj Khanna, Mr M.S. Chadha and Mr Mohinder Singh.

The industrialists said that the city will develop into a world class city faster in case the industrialists were taken into confidence.

Industrialists pointed out that “the mathematical formula of the administration to arrive at the conversion rate has a glaring defect and seems to have been done in undue haste. The cost of land as existing and belonging to the industrialists has not been deducted in the formula which is Rs 12000 approximately”.

Industrialists pointed out that conversion rates fixed were very high and that the rates of conversion were even higher than the rates of land. “How can we be paying more than the costs of the land when we ourselves were the owners”, an industrialist said.

The UT Administration in a press note said that “conversion charges had worked out of a mathematical formula. There was no coercion on anyone to convert from industrial to commercial”. The press note added that “it has been made clear to them that there was no scope for reduction in the conversion charges and that there will be no extension of validity of scheme which was two years”.


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