C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


30 surrender SBI credit cards, yet declared defaulters
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, August 21
Even after surrendering their credit cards, about 30 SBI account holders have been declared defaulters and issued conciliation notices by the bank.

Dr Kamlesh Chadha of MCM DAV College, was among 30 account holders, who was summoned to the conciliation camp organised by the SBI in Sector 35 today.

Dr Chadha, in her complaint to the local SSP, on March 5, 2005, mentioned that she was issued a SBI card in January, 2005. She said after a fortnight, she surrendered the card and other documents at the Panjab University branch. The bank was claiming an outstanding amount of Rs 91,000 on a purchase after her surrender of the card.

On March 3, she got a call from the bank informing her that Rs 90,957 was outstanding against her for purchases made through the credit card. She then visited the SBI branch in Sector 34 and procured a duplicate monthly statement of the card as she never received the original statement. She alleged that all bank payments were made after she surrendered that card.

Similarly, Mr Trilok Chand and Mr Parmod Kumar of Department of Geology, Panjab University, alleged that they were offered credit cards free of cost under a scheme by one of the direct selling agent of the SBI cards.As they did not use the cards they were surprised after receiving a bill of Rs 322.09 each. They were told by the bank that a cardholder was supposed to make a purchase of at least Rs 500.

They alleged in January 2005 they again received a bill amounting to Rs 368.78. After this, they decided to cancel their cards. They surrendered the cards at the SBI branch on the Panjab University Campus on January 7. 2005. On January 18, they received a letter from the Delhi office of the bank stating that though the bank had cancelled their cards yet Rs 20106.73 was outstanding against Mr Trilok Chand and Rs 29564.23 against Mr Parmod Kumar. Mr Trilok Chand replied that he had surrendered his card at 11:30 am on January 7. On the same day at 1:57 pm it was used to purchase a gold chain worth Rs 15000 from a jeweller in Sector 22 by someone.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurmohan Singh, a conciliator appointed by the bank, claimed that the account holders would have to pay the outstanding amount to the bank. However, issue of the amount of the purchases after the surrender of the credit cards would be verified by the bank and appropriate action would be taken against the guilty.



Uttaranchal youth commits suicide at Sukhna Lake
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
In less than 24 hours after a youth jumped to death in Sukhna Lake, another body was spotted floating in the lake this morning. The body of the deceased, a 25-year-old cook who was working in a house in Sector 18, was noticed floating near a peepal tree.

Sources in the police said Dinesh Singh Pawar hailed from Uttaranchal. He left his employer’s house on August 19 without informing anyone. His employer, Mr Jagbir Singh Sandhu, told the police that as they failed to trace Dinesh yesterday, they opened his room and found a suicide note on a pillow.

In his suicide note, addressed to no one, the deceased wrote that he was ending his life at home or at the lake and nobody was responsible for his act. He further wrote that his money should be handed over to his brother, Mukesh, and his body should be cremated at his native village.

Mr Sandhu informed the Sector 19 police station about the incident. When the body was recovered from the lake this morning, the police called Mr Sandhu and he identified the victim.

The police sources said the maternal uncle and brother of the deceased were informed about the incident. The body was handed over to them after a post-mortem examination, said the police.

Meanwhile, the police sources said that the youth who jumped to his death in the lake yesterday was today identified as Vikram Singh (27) of Tarn Taran in Amritsar district. He was working at a dhaba in Sector 28 here and was identified by his employer when a police party approached him with the photograph of the deceased.

His employer told the police that Vikram had taken Rs 300 from him on August 19 and had not come back since then.

Vikram, a married man, had come to the city about a month ago. His family reached the city today, the police said.



Woman jumps from 3rd floor to escape rapist
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
In a desperate bid to save herself from the clutches of a man trying to rape her, a 24-year-old woman this afternoon jumped from the third floor of a house in Sector 61 here. The victim was later admitted to a hospital with a broken leg and other injuries.

The police later arrested Jaspreet Singh, alias Raj (22), the suspect from Sector 35. A final year student of electrical engineering, Jaspreet belongs to Faridkot district. He was booked by the police for outraging the modesty of the victim and criminal intimidation on the basis of a complaint.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the police said, the victim, in her complaint, alleged that Raj, a resident of Sector 61, was constantly harassing her by making calls on her mobile phone. The suspect was repeatedly making friendship proposals to the victim, which she was declining. Fed up by his behaviour, today she went to his house to teach him a lesson at around 3 pm.

As she reached his house on the third floor, Jaspreet allegedly took her into his room. After bolting the room from inside, he allegedly tried to rape her. In a bid to save her honour, she ran out of the room through an open door in the backyard open space. When she failed to find a way out she reportedly jumped from the third floor and landed on the fence sustaining multiple injuries on her head and limbs.

She was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, where her condition was stated to be out of danger.

The victim was living with her brother in Sector 38-West and works in a private company in Sector 17. Her parents live in Gurdaspur district.



Punjab Roadways, CTU workers ignore passengers’ misery
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 21
Thousands of bus passengers going from Chandigarh to Punjab and coming from Punjab to Chandigarh continued to be inconvenienced at the Chandigarh-Punjab border with the Punjab Roadways and Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) impasse entering its fifth day today.

With the workers of both bodies remaining adamant on their demands, all hopes are now pinned on the high-powered meeting of the general managers of the two bodies scheduled for tomorrow.

While the CTU workers had initially stopped Punjab Roadways buses from entering Chandigarh, Punjab Roadways workers first stopped the passage of CTU buses from Chandigarh to Punjab and then stopped their own buses from plying in Chandigarh.

As a result, passengers boarding Punjab Roadways buses from across the state for Chandigarh get off at the Phase VI Punjab-Chandigarh barrier and board CTU buses (parked about a 100 metres on the Chandigarh side of the border). Similarly, passengers who want to go to various places in Punjab from Chandigarh board CTU buses only to be dropped off at the barrier where they walk to the Punjab side to board a Punjab Roadways bus (parked on the Punjab side of the border). Tickets to their destinations are given inside the bus.

With the problem now going on for five days, very few persons are boarding CTU buses from Chandigarh for Punjab. “We are charging them only till the barrier,” pointed out Mr Vijay Saini, a CTU worker. However, those boarding Punjab Roadways buses in various parts of the state are not being told that they would not be taken inside Chandigarh and would have to get down at the Mohali barrier. “We were charged a little less but not told that we would be dropped off at the barrier where we would have to walk and then take another bus for Sector 17,”complained a family from Batala.

While thousands of passengers have been, for the past five days, walking across the Mohali- Chandigarh border on foot, with children and families in tow, to be able to travel from the other side, there has been no respite for them. While the authorities decided to hold a joint meeting to defuse the situation only on Monday, the workers of both the bodies, having formed joint action committees, are unbending as far their demands are concerned.

Mr Jarnail Singh, general other than this, the CTU had set a circuitous route for Punjab Roadways buses to follow on their way out of Chandigarh. “From Sector 17, we go to Sector 39 via Sector 32 to get out from this barrier. However, the CTU buses getting out of Chandigarh come straight out via the Attawa chowk. Our buses as a result take 45 minutes extra to get out of Chandigarh and we lose both in terms of extra diesel and passengers to the tune of Rs 50,000 a day,” he said.

“Also the CTU starts its buses from Sector 17, but we have to start our buses headed towards Ropar from the Sector 43 bus stand. There is one set of rules for us and another for the CTU,” he added.

The Punjab Roadways workers also alleged that the CTU was allowed to run only 12 buses in Punjab but it was running 110 buses as part of special services and this had affected their business. Mr Jarnail Singh said that just by stopping the CTU from plying in Punjab, the Chandigarh depot of the Punjab Roadways was earning over Rs 1 lakh a day, more than what it did on normal days.

On the other hand, Mr Satinder Singh, general secretary of the CTU Conductors Union pointed out that the entire mess had been created by the Punjab Roadways. “We have not stopped Punjab Roadways buses from entering Chandigarh. It’s a lie that the Punbus buses are government ones since they are not registered in the name of the General Manager. These new buses cannot be allowed to enter Chandigarh. Also the routes that they follow in Chandigarh are also applicable to the CTU, including the new route and the Sector 43 bus stand usage rules,” he said.



Sikh coins depict Khalsa sovereignty
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Various displays of coins exhibited at the newly opened Numismatics Section at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh
Various displays of coins exhibited at the newly opened Numismatics Section at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, August 21
Coins have been crucial in deciphering history. In an endeavour to introduce to the public the significance of coins to the writing of history, the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, has opened a special section on Numismatics.

According to the director of the museum, Mr V.N. Singh, the 350 coins on display are the best of the 4,000 odd coins the museum has in its collection. “They are representative of the evolution of Indian coinage from the earliest times”.

Both literary and archaeological evidence confirms that Indians developed coinage sometime in the 5th or the 6th century BC, i.e., well before the Greeks advanced into India (Alexander’s invasion) in the 4th century BC.

The display begins with an explanation of how coinage originated from the barter system of ancient times. There are coins from the earliest silver punch-marked and copper cast coins going back to 500 BC to 250 BC to those minted during the British Raj, including the coins minted by the native Indian states from 1715 to 1947.

On display also are Larins, thin bars of fixed weight bent double and stamped on at one end on both sides. These were issued by two rulers only — Mohammad Adil Shah (1627-1657) and Ali Adil Shah (1657-1672) and were used for mercantile trade. Even commemorative coins (the first one was issued in memory of Jawaharlal Nehru to mark his 75th birthday in 1989) have been put on show so that a visitor has a complete overview of how coinage in India developed.

One of the prized collections of the museum is the display of Sikh coins, which, according to Dr Surinder Singh, a numismatic expert, is a largely neglected subject.

Banda Bahadur, a Sikh chieftan who ruled in the Punjab region for a few years, issued the first coins in the name of the Guru.

For every Sikh the coins were not only a symbol of sovereignty of their rulers but also of their Gurus. This practice was followed right till 1849 when the Sikh Raj was annexed to the British Empire. “No King or Sardar changed the legend that Banda Bahadur created,” avers Dr Singh.

He goes on further to explain that the coin on the obverse read, ‘Sibha zad bar har do Alam, Teg-i-Nanak wahib ast, Fateh Gobind Singh Shah-i-Shahan Fazal Sachha Sahib Ast’ which means ‘Coins have been struck for both the worlds, under the guarantee of Guru Nanak’s sword to protect the coinage and the Sikh sovereignty of the state which these coins represent. The victory of Guru Gobind Singh has been with the grace of God Almighty.’

On the reverse is inscribed, ‘Minted at the place of perfect peace, picture of a beautiful city, where the fortunate throne of the Khalsa is located’.

The display racks have been designed by the city’s College of Architecture.

“The glass sandwich technique has been used for the first time in an Indian museum. This enables the coins to be seen from both sides. This gives the display a proper perspective and visual impact.

It also preserves coins from atmospheric variations because coins sealed are sealed between two glass wedges’, he adds.

Art historian Dr B.N. Goswamy feels that it is important to constitute a section like this because it is only when you are exposed to such objects that you feel for them. “If you can excite a mind, then it serves a purpose and one never knows what may spark that interest off”.



HIV infected but not dejected
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Francis de Mello has been carrying the baggage of alienated affections for 14 years-for as long as he has been carrying the AIDS virus. When he contacted the infection, he did not know where to go for counseling or medication. Coupled with this confusion was the trauma of rejection by family and friends.

Fourteen years later, things haven’t changed much as De Mello, also an MSM (man having sex with man) says, “Those days AIDS awareness was just trickling in. I joined an NGO working in this area, but to my utter shock I was terminated when I became unproductive. I had only been hired to improve the NGO’s funding prospects. Later, I was shunted out.”

No lawyer fought De Mello’s case. He lost his job but not his zest. After a year, he founded the Love Life Society in Delhi, now associated with the Network of Indian People with Alternative Sexualities living with HIV/AIDS (NIPASHA). Today he has 75 partners in a struggle which is the struggle of infected people across India.

They all are unanimous in their demands: “right to medicine as part of right to life; doctors should be trained in medication and be made sensitive; regular supply of ARVs be ensured; travel discounts be offered to infected people who have to cover huge distances to collect doses and medical termination of pregnancy be allowed among infected women.”

Shocking though it is, four lakh infected people in India need ARVS, but only 35,000 get them. Those on dose are often asked by doctors to discontinue, leading to grave complications. De Mello was asked to discontinue ARVs by a senior doctor in a famous Delhi hospital. He recalls, “She knew it was like pronouncing death but she did not mind. I then developed a self defence mechanism through meditation. Now I depend little on ARVs.”

Brijesh Dubey from Jaipur also says the same thing. He had to close his school when his infection became known. “ARVs are still unavailable in villages. There are no syrups for infected children,” says Dubey who transports infected children to Delhi’s AIDS care units, besides cremating unclaimed bodies of HIV infected people.

In Chandigarh with 82 others for the all India meet of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS organised by the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), HIV+Daisy and PV Ramesh said the government deliberately avoided advertising ARV drugs. Colin Gonsalves, Director, HRLN, admitted, “The government has not yet advertised ARVS. Most infected people are suffering in the absence of awareness. Those on ARVs have to discontinue due to unavailability of drugs. The government should, under the Patents Law, declare a national emergency and manufacture ARVs to make them available and affordable. It should make ARV roll out centres hygienic and disclose fresh cases of infection annually.”

Though the government claims there are 23000 fresh cases every year, a survey in Bagalkot district (Karnataka) revealed 3000 fresh cases annually. Said Gonsalves, “Discrimination of HIV+people is very high in India but the level of litigation is very low. He now plans to file PILs demanding for infected people job security, discounted travel, sensitive treatment by doctors, ban on isolation in hospitals, social audit to determine where foreign funds meant for AIDS control went and installation of more CD count machines - the only test for HIV infected people.”



Passing Thru

Girish Ahuja
Girish Ahuja, Delhi-based income tax consultant

What is fringe tax benefit (FBT)?

It is an additional tax payable by the employers on the value of fringe benefits provided or deemed to have been provided to the employees. The tax is payable even where employer does not have any taxable income.

Who are covered under this tax?

The tax is payable by firms, an association of persons, a body of individuals and a local authority. However, the societies registered under section 10(23-C) or 12AA of the Income Tax Act are exempt from this tax.

What is Centre’s strategy for the taxation of the fringe benefits?

The Finance Act, 2005, has adopted a two-pronged approach. First,the perqui-sites which can be directly attributed to the employees are taxed. Second, the perquisites which cannot be directly attributed to the employees. For the second category, the government had levied FBT on the employer on the value of such benefits.

Can income tax laws ever be simple?

No. For subverting every tax law millions of minds are working overtime. Indians are experts in finding loopholes in the laws.

— Pradeep Sharma



Rag pickers rule the roost
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Garbage collection in the city remains unregulated as ever. From the time the Municipal Corporation did away with the system of collecting garbage from dustbins installed in individual sectors, the system of refuse collection has not been streamlined.

The situation is all messed up, with no regulatory authority to determine and declare who the authorised garbage collectors in Chandigarh are and what are the admissible rates they can charge for collection. No wonder rag pickers across the city have found a new vocation in collection of garbage from households.

They are charging arbitrarily and are accountable to no one. Even the police sources admit that some such garbage collectors could be responsible for thefts in various sectors. They have easy access to houses and can keep tabs on the movement of people therein, exposing them to the risks of burglary.

Right now there some sectors where resident welfare societies have engaged people to do the job of refuse clearance. In most other places, anyone can walk in and assume the role of a garbage collector, even while residents remain confused about how the system ought to work.

While MC officials admit the urgency of the situation that can lead to other social complications, they say they can’t do much about it. Incidentally, last year the MC under the charge of Mayor Subhash Chawla had tried to hand over the contract of garbage collection in Chandigarh to a private party. But they had to face stiff opposition from rag pickers already into the job. They staged a dharna outside the MC office and littered the complex in a blatant display of defiance.

Few years ago, some NGOs had taken charge of the situation, Yuvsatta being one among them. After spearheading the movement of waste collection in about 23 sectors, NGOs withdrew. They had, however, hoped the MC would come in and regulate the system of collection and clearance of waste.

But that never happened with the result the city today has at least 300 unauthorised garbage collectors who are a law unto themselves. They report to no one nor follow any disciplined timings with respect to waste collection.

Speaking to The Tribune about the problem, the Yuvsatta director, Mr Pramod Sharma, said, “The idea of making the city bin free is laudable till the time it works. But the system has not turned out to be as feasible as expected. There being no regulation of garbage collection from outside the houses, waste keeps rotting out in the open posing health hazards. The residents have no power over collectors, most of whom are rag pickers. The practice is not hygienic. The least that needs to be done is authorisation of garbage collectors, issuance of proper identity marks to them and fixation of waste collection fee”.

As of now, garbage collectors are charging varied fee from residents in varied sectors. Where residents of some southern sectors pay Rs 50 to 60 a month for the job, those in some others pay only Rs 20. The disparity, social activists say, is uncalled for and preventable provided the MC cares.



Forest reserve to be eco-tourism spot
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 21
The Forest Department, Haryana, has decided to develop the Bir Shikargah Forest Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary, 35 km from here, as an eco-tourism spot.

The Haryana Forest Development Corporation has recently accepted a proposal to develop the protected forest area outside the wildife sanctuary, located in the Pinjore-Morni forest division, as an eco-tourism destination. The proposal for setting up a tourism spot is estimated at Rs 1 crore, and has been sent to the state government for final approval.

The thick forest reserve, rich in flora and fauna, will now have trekking routes, cycle paths, log huts and camping sites and other avenues to attract nature lovers without interfering with the quiet and serenity in the forest. Identification of pug marks and bird watching will be some of the activities that visitors can indulge in. “The idea is to ensure that a select number of enthusiasts, including students, revel in the midst of nature and get a first-hand account of the wilds,” said a senior official.

A herbal garden will also be set up on a small portion of the protected forest land. The idea is to popularise the advantage of herbs, which are found in abundance in this forest reserve. Various trekking routes like a trek near Mallah will also be earmarked.

“A limited number of log huts and camping sites will be there for the visitors. However, tourism activity will be restricted to a few hours each day and no overnight stay will be allowed. There will be restrictions on the number of visitors allowed inside the protected forest area every day. Vehicles will not be allowed inside the protected forest and commuting inside will be allowed on bicycles only. Use of plastic will also be banned. Various trekking routes like a trek near Mallah will also be earmarked,” said a senior official.

The government had formally notified over 2,200 hectares of area falling in Panchkula district as a wildlife sanctuary in January this year. The wildlife sanctuary includes Jalan, Ambwala and Burj Kotian villages in the north side; Gumtala, Chowki, Ghaggar river and Nadda in the west, Mogi Nand, Naggal and part of Asrewali Reserve Forest in the south, and Mandana Forest area in the east.

Other than fruit trees, herbs, shrubs and other vegetative growth, the area has a good population of wild animals. Panthers, sambars, gorals, barking deer, wild boars, jackals, foxes, hares, pangolins, pythons and other snakes are found in abundance in this area. Wildlife officers say that the avi-fauna in the new sanctuary includes red jungle fowls, peafowls, khaleej pheasants, partridges and common birds like tree pies, barbets, bulbuls and doves.



Woman cop’s death: police to probe negligence angle
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
The investigation into the death of constable Jaswinder Kaur made headway today with the police questioning 22 persons, including relatives of the deceased. The crime branch will now question the engineers in the Public Health Department in the matter.

Sources in the crime branch said that during questioning, nothing incriminating against Gurnam Singh had surfaced as yet. They added that the family members of Jaswinder Kaur had not levelled any allegation or expressed suspicion against Gurnam Singh in the death of Jaswinder Kaur.

Inspector K.I.P. Singh of the crime branch said they had recorded the statement of the family members, relatives and colleagues of Jaswinder Kaur. The statements corroborated with the one given by Gurnam Singh. The police also questioned the priest of a Sector 20 temple. The sequence of events of that day was also verified as narrated by Gurnam Singh. The Inspector added that they would now probe the possibility of negligence on the part of engineers of the Public Health Department and others involved in the matter.

The sources said the statement of the head sewer man also confirmed the sequence of events narrated by Gurnam Singh. The sewer man in his statement told the police that he came to the spot after hearing cries for help. He reportedly saw Gurnam Singh crying for help and lowered his men into the sewer to locate the victim.

The sources further added that they were in touch with two other eyewitnesses, who also made efforts to save the woman. One of the youths also took his motorcycle near the manhole to light up the manhole to locate the woman. The eyewitnesses were out of station and efforts were being made to record their statements.

The Inspector said in the beginning they considered the possibilities of murder, suicide, accident or negligence on the part of the authorities concerned. However, he did not rule out the possibility of murder or suicide at this stage. They would now he working on possibilities of negligence and accident.



Residents list grievances at open darbar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 21
Issues relating to trenches along the roadsides, Congress grass menace, lack of footpaths on B- roads and encroachments in the corridors of Sector 7 market by shopkeepers and the infighting among Councillors, were raised by residents of Sector 7 here during an open darbar organised by the municipal council this evening.

The darbar was chaired by the President of Municipal Council, Mr Tarun Bhandari. Representatives of the Resident Welfare Association, Sector 7, led by President, Dr S.K. Chabbra, sought the help of the MC President to improve civic amenities in the sector.

Residents demanded that the sanitation services should be improved and vacant HUDA land which was being used as garbage dump be cleaned. “This land can be cleaned and developed into a green expanse,” they suggested. They also demanded that a number of trees which had been infested with termites should be removed, as these could fall any one, posing a threat to nearby buildings.

Mr H.R. Bhatia deplored the poor condition of parks in the Sector. “Sometime ago, lights, swings and benches were installed in the parks. But now, these lights are non-functional, making it difficult for people to go there after dark. Congress grass had not been cleared from these parks,” he lamented.

Mr Sham Lal Gupta, former President of the Panchkula Beopar Sangh, said roads were in a deplorable condition and the recrapetting work should be carried out soon.

Mr D.P. Piplani complained that sometime ago, a private telecom operator had dug trenches along roadsides for laying cables. “These trenches were not filled with earth. As a result, these are now filled with slush, and can lead to accidents,” he said. He also demanded that the MC take up the matter of opening the urinals in Vatika garden for public. These had remained closed after the eatery in the garden had closed down in November last year. Traffic lights should also be installed near the Sectors 7, 8, 17 and 18 roundabout as this had become a major bottleneck, he said.

Mr Tarun Bhandari assured the residents that the MC would start road repairs after the rains. He also said that the money for maintenance of all public parks will be released soon.



Postal department to introduce ATMs
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The Department of Posts is planning to get out of its traditional mode and considering the proposal of issuing ATM cards to its account holders.

A senior official of the department, Chandigarh Circle, said ATM cards were popular among the bank account holders. The availability of ATMs and its increased popularity have made it possible for the account holders to withdraw money without even visiting the branches. Keeping this in view, the Department of Posts has also prepared a national level plan in this regard.

He said the department was also chalking out a detailed plan to provide banking like services to its account holders. Even though the department was already functioning like a bank but the accounts being handled through its network come under the ambit of small savings accounts.

As many as 150 finmarts will be opened across the country by the department, of which 2 or 3 will be in Chandigarh. The banks are already using the facility of post offices for the sale of forms for the mutual funds and the deposits of other investment projects. They have already tied up with the western union in Punjab, including Chandigarh for providing money transfer facility to the NRIs in various parts of the world.



Railway station to be upgraded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
As part of an exercise to develop the Chandigarh Railway Station as a model station, the Northern Railways has announced several passenger-friendly facilities at the station.

The station is part of the 40 stations under the jurisdiction of the Northern Railways which has been chosen for being developed as model stations.

A spokesman of the Railways said in the light of the passenger traffic and new long distance trains being started from the station, it would be upgraded on the basis of certain parameters.

Without specifying the timeframe by which the facilities would be in place, he said priority would be given to National Train Enquiry System (NTES), which is based on the exact time of running of the trains.

Another facility would be an internet touch screen, a facility which would enable the passengers to know about the schedule of trains, reservation status and general enquiry. An interactive voice response system, coach indicating board, pay-and-use toilets , and circulating area lights are the other facilities.

For the physically challenged, there was a plan to build a ramp, connecting different platforms. The ramp would be built at the end of the platform towards the Kalka side.



Popularising cloud watching
Vishal Gulati

To sensitise environment-friendly minds, the Chandigarh-based Environment Society of India (ESI) has published charts on cloud reading. The charts explain types and properties of clouds.

According to Steve Zubrick, an American meteorologist: “Each cloud tells a story. You study clouds because they ultimately contain the basic ingredients that will form precipitation which is what we want to try to forecast.”

British scientist Luke Howard had developed the basis for the cloud-classification system.

Clouds are generally classified on the basis of characteristics such as altitude, appearance or origin. Altitude distinctions apply to those clouds that fit in various layers of the atmosphere as follows:

High clouds which have bases above 6,000 metres. These are primarily composed of ice crystals and include cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratusm clouds.

Cirrus clouds are usually quite thin and often have a hair-like or filament type of appearance.

Cirrocumulus are high clouds with a puffy, patchy appearance with small spaces between clouds. They often form wave-like patterns.

Cirrostratus are light grey or white clouds, often thin, with the sun or moon seen through the clouds. They usually cover much of the sky.

Middle clouds have bases between 2,000 and 6,000 metres. They can contain ice crystals and/or water droplets and may occasionally be associated with some light precipitation. These include altocumulus and altostratus clouds.

Altocumulus clouds are either in a patchy, scattered distribution or can appear in linear bands, while altostratus clouds have a more uniform and diffused coverage.

Low clouds have bases up to 2,000 metres. These include cumulus, stratus, stratocumulus, nimbostratus and cumulonimbus clouds.

Cumulus are low clouds. They appear puffy and look like cotton balls, popcorn or cauliflower, covering most of the sky.

Stratus are large, light or dark grey low clouds and are generally uniform in appearance. Fog is a stratus cloud.

Stratocumulus are low clouds with irregular masses of clouds, rolling or puffy in appearance, sometimes with space between the clouds.

Nimbostratus clouds are very dark, usually overcast, and are associated with large areas of continuous precipitation, while cumulonimbus are dark clouds of great vertical extent charged with electricity and associated with thunderstorms.

Regarding the condensation trail, the chart explains that when a jet aircraft flies through the portion of atmosphere having just the right combination of moisture and temperature, it forms a linear cloud.

Mr S.K. Sharma, president of the ESI, says: “The endeavour to print the chart is to motivate young minds to observe weather. Earlier people, particularly farmers, predicted weather conditions by watching the clouds.”

The ESI has set up a meteorological observatory on the campus of the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, Sector 26, to train children and their teachers to record temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and humidity.

For practical training in recording temperature and getting charts free of cost, contact: ESI, Karuna Sadan Building, Sector 11-B, Chandigarh. Phone: 2746832



Oil for luscious locks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
A secret ‘recipe’, hibiscus flowers, leaves, herbs-it all sounds like an infusion for longevity and it is precisely that-but, for luscious locks!

This is hair oil that promises to be different, but this is not about the oil alone, for its master brewer is a jack of many trades.

Sarita Vasudeva runs a boutique-Sarnai-of oddments with a difference. Of all her creative juices that flow, it is the hair oil that is gaining popularity.

A smiling Sarita, explains the antecedents of the oil. “This is a secret concoction which has been passed down in the family from my grand uncle, my grandfather’s younger brother.

He took to sanyas when we was 16 and wandered around Punjab meeting people from all over. To keep himself fruitfully occupied, he used to make ayurvedic medicines and give them out for free at gurdwaras where he used to stay during his travels. Towards the end of his life, he came to live with us and passed this blend on to my mother. We have used this extensively as children.”

With a base of coconut and almond oil and soaked with various herbs and leaves which Sarita collects herself, the process is exacting.

“It takes two days to make the oil because everything has to be cleaned and dried and mixed in appropriate proportions.”

Apart from the now prominent hair oil display, which occupies pride of place in the boutique, stacked neatly in cane baskets, the place also boasts of some reasonably priced, intricate, machine embroidered linen, unstitched suits, zardozi and tissue table cloths, runners and cushion covers, ponchos, kaftans and bric-a-bracs like tissue and dry flower braids to hang up in the house.

So if you want to rejuvenate the hair on your head with a makeover of home and hearth, then the secret potion it is with knick-knacks thrown in for good measure.



‘Thrown out of job’, daily wager alleges discrimination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
A former daily wager in the regional office of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Amar Singh, has approached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes alleging that he faced discrimination and was thrown out of the job of a peon by an Assistant Secretary (Administration) in March last.

It may be mentioned that the commission is also probing an year-old case in which a Class IV Dalit woman employee had levelled an allegation of sexual harassment against a former Regional Officer of the board.

In the complaint made to the chairman of the commission, Mr Suraj Bhan, the complainant has stated that he worked as peon from September 2003 to March 2005, before he was removed from the job as he refused to tow the bosses’ line. Stating that he was told by the Assistant Secretary that he was being removed as there was no need of staff he claimed that four more new persons were employed after that.

In the written complaint, he has stated that he was being pressurised to give statement in favour of a suspended assistant who had allegedly attempted suicide on the board premises by consuming phenyl. “On March 23, 2005, the assistant called me outside the office and threatened me to change my statement regarding the incident as I was an eye witness to it and had given statement to the police,” said the complaint.

Further alleging that the Assistant Secretary passed an unsavoury remarks regarding his caste, he has sought that he should be given back the job as there was no complaint against him. The chairman has forwarded the complaint to the officers concerned in the commission.



Residents foil burglary
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 21
A thief late last night took scores of residents of Sector 21 here for a ride after he was spotted by certain residents while committing theft in a house located in a densely populated area.

The incident took place last night when the sector was facing a power cut and the thief had broken into a house owned by Mr Madan Gopal Chhabra. The owners were out of station when the thief targeted the house.

A neighbour of Mr Chhabra got suspicious when he noticed a candle light inside a room on the first floor of the house. Being aware of the fact that the house owners were out of station, he informed other neighbours about the thief, who was breaking something inside the room. Scores of residents of the locality assembled outside the house and challenged the thief. Noticing the commotion, the thief went upstairs and escaped to the terrace of the neighbouring house. The drama continued for a long time as the residents kept chasing him atop one house or another. The thief finally managed to escape from the locality.

Certain residents informed Mr Chhabra and the family reached the house this morning. The police was also informed subsequently. A police team reached the spot in the evening and started investigations.



Financial aid for World War II veterans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Taking note of a large number of reports about World War II veterans being in dire straits, Headquarters Western Command has decided to provide financial aid to such soldiers.

In a recent case, Western Command released Rs 8,000 from the Command Welfare Fund to Karnail Singh, who had fought during the war, a statement issued here said.

It also issued instructions to all formations under its jurisdiction to disburse “distress grant” from the Army Central Welfare Fund to World War II veterans.

To facilitate the veterans, an ex-servicemen’s helpline has also been set up at Command Hospital, Chandimandir, and it can be contacted at telephone number 0172-2589624 or accessed on the Internet.



Remain alert, consumers urged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The Consumer Forum organised a consumer awareness camp at Balongi in Ropar district, near here, today.

Addressing consumers, the Kharar SDM, Mr Darshan Singh, who was the chief guest, urged them to remain alert and assert their rights.

The president of the forum, Col Sarwan Singh (retd), highlighted various activities of the forum. Mr H.S. Walia, a former member of the District Consumer Redressal Forum, spoke on applications of the Consumer Protection Act,1986. Mr H.S. Ahulwalia, the forum secretary-general, claimed that over 10,000 complaints had been settled by the forum through negotiations.



CTCC pays homage to Rajiv Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTTC) yesterday paid homage to Rajiv Gandhi, on the occasion of his birth anniversary.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local Member of Parliament, and Mr B.B.Bahl, president of the local unit of the Congress, were present at the function organised at the Congress Bhavan in Sector 35. Those present on the occasion included Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Chandermukhi, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Mr Sunil Parti and Mrs Shyama Negi.



Power supply disrupted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 21
Power supply to many parts of the town was disrupted after the high velocity winds led to snapping of power transmission lines. Trees came down on low tension power cables because of high velocity winds.

Transmission lines in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 16 and 17 and Budanpur village snapped. At several places, including Sector 12, though there was no major breakdown, but jumpers on the transmission lines burnt, leading to power disruptions. Throughout the day, residents in these sectors and in Sector 14 complained of voltage fluctuations.



Disabled can look for spouse at sammelan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 21
A “vivah parichay sammelan” is being organised for the handicapped by the Narayan Seva Sansthan at its headquarters in Udaipur on September 12. The aim is to provide an opportunity to the handicapped to find a suitable life partner.

While stating his here today, the in charge of the regional office of the sansthan, Mr Brij Lal Ganju said those desirous of getting married may send their details like monthly income, complete biodata and a photograph and a copy of horoscope to the sansthan office located at Hiran Mafri in Sector 4 in Udaipur.



Theft in businessman’s house
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 21
Thieves decamped with cash and gold worth Rs 3.5 lakh from the residence of a businessman in Sector 71 here last night.

According to the owner, Mr Balwinder Singh, the theft took place last night when the house was locked and his family was out to a religious festival in Ropar.

Balwinder told the police that the family had left for the festival and had also taken their dog along. “We returned at 6 this morning and found the main door of the house bolted from inside.

We had locked the door from outside on opening other doors, we saw that the outer bathroom door was open and the bolts broken.

The thieves had entered from the bathroom door and left from the kitchen door”, he said.

The steel almirahas and safes were opened with hammers. A sum of “Rs 1.5 lakh in cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 2 lakh, along with other valuables like watches and a camera are missing,” told Mrs Gurmit Kaur, wife of Mr Balwinder Singh told the police. The police has registered a case.


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