C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Transfer mess between MC, Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
A piquant situation has arisen for the employees of the Municipal Corporation, who became senior as per the seniority list up to 2005, and were subsequently transferred to the Chandigarh Administration.

Now, the administration has decided to send back around 30 of these employees in the engineering wing. On the other hand, the corporation has sought around 11 persons.

It may be mentioned that few months back the administration had asked the employees to give their options to get transferred to the corporation. But a number of employees approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) against the move.

The employees of the corporation, who became senior as per the seniority list up to 2005, were relieved from the corporation and they joined their respective departments in the administration. On the other hand, the employees of the administration who had been asked to give their options to get transferred to the corporation were still holding their office after they got stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court had directed the tribunal to decide on the applications of the employees.

Now, the hearing in the tribunal has been fixed for August 22. Since the employees had sought transfer of the case, another Bench, would hear the proceedings.

Sources in the administration said the employees who had come from corporation were not been given any work and were marking their attendance in separate registers. As a result, the employees in the administration have become surplus.

Leaders of the employees union lamented that the main dispute was only of 88 employees of the administration who had gone to the corporation at the time of formation of the civic body in 1996.



’84 riots: ‘register’ cases against Congress leaders
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
Representatives of the Akali Dal — 1920 have demanded registration of criminal cases against Congress leaders whose names figured in the report submitted by the Nanavati Commission.

Various leaders, including Mr Harbans Singh Khandhola, member SGPC, Mr Gurnam Singh Sidhu, president of the Chandigarh unit of the party, and Mr Jaspal Singh, general secretary of the Mohali unit, said at a press conference here today that the apology sought by the Prime Minister in connection with the Delhi riots had pacified Sikhs to some extent. But there was a need to take action against the alleged involvement of the Congress leaders so that justice could prevail.

The leaders appreciated the role of Left parties for pressing upon Ms Sonia Gandhi to take some action. They also demanded that “innocent” persons who were arrested in connection with the Hawara case should be released.

Meanwhile, Ms Manmohan Kaur, Municipal Councillor belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), held a meeting with party workers. It was pointed out that an apology should be tendered by the Congress president.



I-Day dress rehearsal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
The Chief Secretary, Mr G. Madhavan, will unfurl the National Flag on the Independence Day celebrations to be held at the Sports Complex, Sector 3, on August 15.

The final dress rehearsal for the official function was held today. It will be the usual fare at the official celebrations - march-past by the security forces and a plethora of cultural items by various schools.

The Haryana Armed Police, district police, Home Guards, NCC and students of various schools will present a march-past. Children from various schools of the district will perform cultural programme.

Almost a 100 persons will be honoured on the Independence Day for their contributions in various fields. A number of officials, including the Panchkula SDM, will be honoured for their role in the census operations.

Physically challenged students of Saket School, Chandimandir, will present a cultural function at the Saket Institute, Chandimandir.



Flyash is poison for us, say brick-kiln owners
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur-Garibdas/ Chandigarh, August 13
Flyash, coal and VAT—together they are spelling disaster for 2700-odd brick kilns spread across Punjab and in the periphery of Chandigarh. Averse to the use of flyash and troubled by the rising prices of coal and imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT), the brick kiln owners maintain they have their back to the wall.

And, that’s why the Punjab Brick-Kiln Association (PBKA) has decided to close down all kilns till December 31, 2005. It’s its way to lodge a protest against the indifference of the Punjab government to its demands.

While the PBKA goes out hammer and tongs at the Punjab Government and works out its protest strategy, all is quiet at the brick kilns. The trucks that ferry bricks are parked in a corner and dejected labour is looking for ways to manage two square meals.

Sitting at his kiln in Mullanpur, all Mr Dilbagh Singh can say is that the government is being unjust in pestering them to use flyash.

“The labour doesn’t want to work with flyash. Anyway, it is preposterous to think that flyash can be mixed with earth to mould bricks with hands. It’s impossible. Then, we are also expected to bring in our own flyash from thermal plants. This will jack up the cost of bricks considerably and the consumer will be hit ultimately,” he rues.

At the G and C Kiln along the Mullanpur-Garibdas road, jobless young men are whiling away their time. While one lies on a charpoy, another dusts the horse carts and yet another spends time with his little ones.

“Some men have gone to look for work. I help out the farmers in the nearby field and earn some money. I don’t even have enough to return home. There are nearly 100 of us at this kiln and it’s the same story in every home,” says Ram Sharan, a labourer from Rajasthan. Those from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Nepal nod in unison as Ram Sharan spells out their plight.

With the closure of kilns, three lakh labourers have been rendered jobless while acute shortage of bricks is expected in about two month’s time given the stocks available at the kilns. Then, the use of flyash, if it is done, will increase the price of bricks by nearly 25 per cent but will also increase breakage losses from 2 per cent to 15 per cent.

The President of the PBKA, Mr Sarabhjit S. Makkar, maintains, “There has been a hike in the rate of bricks from Rs 1700 to Rs 2000 per 1000 bricks on account of coal becoming expensive. It’s not that the price of coal has increased steeply. The fact is that we buy coal from the open market from agents who sell coal worth Rs 3500 per tonne coal for Rs 6000 per tonne. The net result is that the burden of our payment passes on to the customers. If we use flyash, the cost of bricks is bound to go up to nearly Rs 2600 per 1000 bricks.”

“The government policies are acting like slow poison for our kilns. Death is imminent. It’s high time we took a stand. The Punjab Government, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Finance Minister Surinder Singla—they just don’t have time to hear us out. We had no other option,” says the vice-president of the PBKA and president of the Chandigarh periphery kiln owners association, Mr Kuldeep Singh Makkar.

The kiln owners are demanding exclusion from the VAT net, being charged a lumpsum as was being done previously and is still being observed in adjoining Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, fixing a coal quota for kilns and rolling back the order on use of 25 percent fly ash in the making of bricks.



Passing Thru

Viren Rasquinha
Viren Rasquinha, member of the national hockey team.

Are you satisfied with the proceedings of the training camps in Patiala and Chandigarh?

Yes. In the camps stress was laid on technical skills and fitness level. Video sessions were held to check weaknesses and shortcomings of players. Besides this, these training camps also help in building team spirit.

What are the chances of the team in the forthcoming tournament?

We have worked hard in the camps. The fitness level of all players is very good. We are sure to do well in the tournament.

What should be done to raise the popularity graph of the game in the whole country?

Firstly, the national team must win big international tournaments. The matches at the domestic level should also be telecast on television to raise the graph. Besides this, every city should have the facility of astro-turf grounds.

— Akash Ghai



Probe Kandi project irregularities: BJP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
The Haryana unit of the BJP has demanded an independent probe against the alleged irregularities of funds that were sanctioned under the Kandi project.
Addressing mediapersons here, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, state treasurer of the BJP, alleged that the Kandi project was being closed, even though the targets of the project had not been achieved. “A large number of senior officials working on the project, have amassed wealth by siphoning off money from the project,” he alleged.

Mr Gupta said 80 per cent of check dams constructed in the area have become redundant because of excessive silt deposition. “Even the plantations have been carried out only on paper. In reality the forest cover in the Kandi belt has not increased,” he alleged.

The BJP leader also lambasted the Deputy Chief Minister and local MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, for failing to put up problems of Panchkula before the Chief Minister during his recent visit here. “Mr Chander Mohan had promised that he would dissolve the Municipal Council after the Congress came to power and no house tax would be levied. But he has not kept his promise,” he added.

Answering queries regarding the three BJP councillors backing the Congress-supported councillors, Mr Gupta denied that the BJP councillors were supporting any faction of the Congress. “We are also voicing our dissent on issues like corruption along with Congress-supported councillors,” he said.



Cleanliness drive a non-starter
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
The ongoing 15-day cleanliness and awareness campaign has failed to have a significant impact on the town. The drive was launched on August 1.
Residents in general have expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of cleanliness despite the special campaign, which was launched by Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh. There has been hardly any improvement in sanitation whether in green belts, markets, road berms or vacant plots.

Ms Manmohan Kaur, municipal councillor, said she had not noticed any improvement in her area during the campaign, adding that she instead started getting complaints from residents. She said garbage was dumped near a bus queue shelter on the main road near Phase II community centre. Garbage could also be seen at various points in Phase IV.

Mr Phoolraj Singh, former senior vice-president of the council, said no municipal councillor or any representative of residents welfare associations in the town actively participated in the drive. He said the MLA had not taken municipal councillors into confidence before chalking out the plan. Councillors were told about the drive during a monthly meeting of the civic body which was attended by Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

He said he got telephone calls from the heads of two government schools in Phase III-B1 and VII to provide a tractor and shrubmaster to cut wild growth on the school premises. He said the civic body did not have budget for such provisions, adding that before announcing the drive the MLA should have created sources for carrying out the work.

However, DSP Harpreet Singh, said the cleanliness drive was carried out in the police stations of the town. Dumped vehicles were set in order and buildings got whitewashed and painted.



Residents reel under power cuts
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
The residents of the township had to brave the heat and humidity with unscheduled power cuts being imposed here today. The industry got two-phase power for just two hours last night, and faced a complete shutdown till today morning. Domestic consumers had to face one-hour scheduled power cut in the morning and frequent power interruptions throughout the day.

Officials say following an increase in power demand in the agricultural sector in Haryana, the power supply to domestic and industrial consumers was affected. Though the urban domestic consumers in the state have so far been saved from power cuts, today a scheduled one-hour cut from 10 am to 11 am was imposed in all sectors.

Later in the afternoon, a technical snag in the transmission system led to frequent breakdowns from 2 pm to 6 pm. Most of the sectors getting supply from the Industrial Area substation — Sectors 16, 17, 18, 11 and 15 — went almost without power for these four hours in the afternoon.

The industrial consumers have been reeling under a power crisis for the past over one month. Daily 12-hour light load restrictions (two-phase supply) is imposed on the industry. However, last night, light load restrictions were imposed for two hours — from 11. 25 pm to 1. 30 pm — following which there was a complete power cut till 4 am. Only two-phase supply was made available till 6 am. From 5 pm, 13-hour light-load restriction was again imposed on the industrial consumers.

Even in Pinjore and Kalka, residents continued to reel under power cuts. Mr Abhilash Gautam, a resident of Pinjore alleged that though the power supply in the town remained dismal, today there were three power cuts till 8 pm, each ranging from 30 minutes to one hour. “Because of no power, even the water supply in Pinjore was affected,” he said.



MC again fails to check congress grass growth
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Like every year, this time also the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has failed to check the menace of Parthenium hysterocarpus, popularly known as "Congress grass". It is also known as "Gajar ghas" because its seed resembles that of "carrot".

The lack of coordination between the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation seems to be the manure of this weed. Be it open spaces, road berms or parks, it is spreading like wild fire and the failure of the civic body to check this menace has led to the aggravation of allergy and asthma among those who are vulnerable to it, especially children.

The officials of civic bodies claim that the drive to check the spreading of 'Congress grass' is carried every year but a visit to some of the northern sectors like 7,8,9 and 10 as well as the southern part of the city i.e. Sectors 40 to 45, belies such claims.

The weed has completely gripped the service lanes in Sectors 21, 22, 19, 18, 16 and 15.Vacant plots, undeveloped open grounds and so called green belt "parks" have been gripped severely with this 'deadly' grass. (See picture).

Charanjit Kaur, a housewife in Sector 45-C, complained, " The open space in the area, which was earlier being used as a playground by children, has been virtually abandoned , since it is not possible even to walk, what to talk about playing on it."

"The grimness of the situation in our sector has been brought to the notice of our area councillor several times but the civic authorities have turned a deaf ear to it", rued Kanwal Bedi, president of the sector's Residents' Welfare Society.

The growth of this grass is so fast that it grows back within two weeks. This grass can be seen in different growth stages like seeding or germination stage, plant stage, flowering stage, shrub stage or the bush stage. It chokes fields and is difficult to exterminate. The plant proliferates mainly during summer and monsoons. It grows in undisturbed areas.

The situation becomes more severe for asthmatic children as well as for those who are more prone to contracting skin diseases. Exposure to this plant causes thickening of skin and itching and its pollen causes asthma and respiratory problems.

Government hospitals report 15 to 20 per cent increase in the number of cases of sneezing, allergic rashes etc. on account of this weed.

A doctor of the Botany Department of Panjab University said, "When humidity increases, the seeds start gemmating. The seeds require more relative humidity than other plants. So, it should be removed during non flowering stage."

A dermatologist says skin allergy from Congress grass is common and it appears on the face, below eyes, neck, under knee joints, elbow and other exposed parts of the body. However, he clarified that the skin disease from this weed is not contagious.

The need of the hour is to strengthen the drive to eradicate parthenium especially during the rainy season, and should be removed in its vegetative stage as it grows in abundance in this season.



Another honour for Nek Chand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Nek Chand, creator-director of the world famous Rock Garden here, has added another feather to his cap. The Swiss Commission for UNESCO has decided to hold the “the realm of Nek Chand” exhibition from October, 2005, to February, 2006, in Switzerland, Italy, France and Belgium.

In fact, Nek Chand has been invited to inaugurate the first exhibition at Lausanne (Switzerland) on October 6. The exhibition, to be organised in collaboration with the Indian Embassy, will be attended by reputed artists and personalities from Europe. And for the first time, a 50-minute documentary by renowned French filmmaker Philippe Lespinasse will be shown at the exhibition venues simultaneously.

Besides, a 170-page book entitled “Le Royaume de Nek Chand (The Realm of Nek Chand) will be published by Flammarion (Paris) in both French and English. The first monograph devoted to Nek Chand contains 150 colour photographs.

When the exhibition of Nek Chand’s sculptures ends in February, 2006, the works will be presented in the permanent collections of Collection de l’Art Brut (Switzerland) and La Fabuloserie (France). It will be a great honour for the Indian artist to get international recognition on this scale. During the exhibitions sculptures of the Rock Garden will be displayed and it would be a big European event, a communication from the organisers said. “The exhibition, as well as the accompanying monograph and the film, contributes to the promotion of cultural diversity, one of UNESCO’s most-important priorities,” it said.



Stray dogs vaccinated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
As many as 72 stray dogs vaccinated against rabies and three minor surgeries were performed at an animal welfare camp organised by the SPCA in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry, in Phase III B 2 here today.

Dr R.M. Sharma, president of the society, lamented that the local administration and PUDA were not responding to their request to allot land for constructing a shelter-cum-hospital for stray animals. Fatal accidents causing injuries to animals were a matter of routine in Mohali.

Dr Kanwarjit Singh, honorary general secretary, appealed to various welfare associations to join hands with the SPCA to locate stray animals in their areas and get them immunised against communicable diseases.

The camp was inaugurated by Dr Ram Singh, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Ropar.



Over 40,000 IT jobs to be created: Singla
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
Various IT companies will be creating more than 40,000 jobs for people by setting up units in Mohali. Land prices have gone up and the town will see prosperity in the near future. This was stated by Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here today.

He had come to attend a cultural function organised by the Malwa Women Social Welfare and Cultural Society.

Mr Singla said TCS, Satyam, Infosys, Wipro, Dell and Oracle wanted to set up their units in the town. He said adequate infrastructure had to be set up in this regard. It was in this regard that the Chief Minister had announced a package of Rs 200 crore for the upgradation of infrastructure.



Khadi exhibition from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Office of the Commissioner for Khadi and Village Industries, Government of India, will organise a state-level Khadi Gramodyog exhibition from August 14 to August 29 at Panchayat Bhavan, Sector 18.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, at 11 am tomorrow. Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, former MP and chairman, Punjab Khadi Board, will preside over the function. Special rebate of up to 25 per cent will be provided on cotton, woolen and silk khadi during the exhibition.

The khadi and village industries institutions from Punjab and Chandigarh will take part in the exhibition.

The exhibition is being organised by the State Office of the Commissioner for Khadi and Village Industries, Chandigarh, in association with Punjab Khadi Gramodyog Institution Federation, Chandigarh.



Milkmen object to Verka ad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Chandigarh Periphery Milkmen Union has objected to an advertisement published by the Verka Milk Plant, accusing milkmen of supplying adulterated milk.
The milkmen have decided to hold a rally outside the milk plant in Mohali on August 17.



Women tricksters nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
A gang of women who allegedly exhorted money from people by hypnotising them was nabbed by a resident of Phase VII here today.
According to information, the resident stopped the women and called other people of the area for help. The police was called and they were handed over to it.

It is learnt that Jasmine, a resident of Phase VII, was robbed of Rs 9,000 on June 21. The women had allegedly hypnotised her and she handed over the cash to them. The gang again came to the area today and Jasmine was able to recognise two of them. As her father was home, he stopped them and called the police.



“Project Swades” to spice up subscribers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Spice Telecom will launch a special “Independence Day Bonanza” for its subscribers on August 15. As a part of this, the company announced its participation in “Project Swades”, a social initiative programme for subscribers to participate in rural electrification of villages by sending an SMS donation to the national “Project Swades Fund”.

“Project Swades” is managed and supervised by STAR and Ashutosh Gowarikar,director of film “Swades”. It has been inspired from the film in which Shah Rukh Khan leads villagers to come together and generate electricity for their village.

This project will, therefore, give people across the country, an opportunity to participate financially in the rural electrification of the country, thus bringing alive the concept of community development.

Subscribers need to SMS the keyword “SWADES” to 7827. Each SMS you will send will donate Rs 10 on behalf of the subscriber to the “Project Swades Fund”.

Apart from this, Spice is also introducing a slew of services like patriotic picture messages, ring tones, logos, wallpapers and songs which can be accessed by the subscribers through platforms ranging from USSD and GPRS to juke box and caller songs.

Spice has also erected a graffiti message board for visitors on Independence Day. The company will award a special prize, in the form of a holiday package, to the most-inspiring expression on the wall.



BSNL gets into marketing mode
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched attractive schemes for its subscribers in the Punjab circle. It will concentrate on expanding its network in Punjab to include additional data services. Announcing this here today, the BSNL AGM, Mr Harbhajan Lal said several schemes would be introduced keeping in mind the spectrum of the subscribers.

“There is something for everyone ranging from those using BSNL mobile phones to students wanting to surf the worldwide band through a broadband connection,” a spokesperson for the BSNL said. To promote its Cellone service, the BSNL has announced that it would waive the activation fee of Rs 200 for all those who register for a new connection till September 15.

The BSNL has adopted marketing methods of private telecom operators by introducing what it calls “sone ki barsat, excel ki saugat”.

It has launched a special range of recharge coupons for subscribers, who have utilised their talk time but still have extra validity period. Such customers can now use top-up recharge coupon and avail the benefits of full talk time without any change in the validity period.

For students, it has launched a special learn and earn scheme where they can get attractive commission on the sale and instalation of broadband connections.

It has also launched mobile STD / ISD PCOs and has decided to give the franchisee commission of up to 32.5 per cent. It has invited applications in this regard.


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