C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Punjab, Haryana nod must on desilting Sukhna
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Governments of Punjab and Haryana have to be consulted by the Chandigarh Administration on the de-silting method for Sukhna Lake.
A high-level meeting of officials from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana was held recently following orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

It was decided that any plan to de-silt the Sukhna Lake would be conveyed to the Punjab and Haryana Governments, respectively, to obtain their views on desiltation of the lake.

It may be re-collected that the de-silting plan suggested by the National Ship Design and Research Centre (NSDRC), Vishakhapatnam, has not been discussed with Punjab and Haryana. The plan has been finalised and tenders are expected to be floated soon.

In response to the Public Interest Litigation filed on the Sukhna Lake, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed that “a joint meeting of the concerned Secretaries of Governments of India, Punjab, Haryana and the Adviser to the Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, assisted by the concerned Chief Engineers and appropriate Forest authorities be held” to consider the suggestions vis-à-vis Sukhna Lake.

In compliance with the directions, a meeting, under the Chief Secretary, Punjab, was held in February last year. It was decided “unanimously” after deliberations, that, “the UT Administration will prepare a composite plan specifying clearly the measures which could be taken to tackle the problem in as short a time as possible and obtain the views of Punjab and Haryana”.

According to the Finance Secretary, Chandigarh, Mr S.K Sandhu, “we were not aware of the details of the directives issued by the High Court but if it is one of the conditions there is no problem whatsoever, of bringing the plan to the notice of the two governments”.

The sub-committee appointed to coordinate the execution of work with NSDRC met on September 9, 2005, for the first time and told the members about the finalised plan.

According to a member of the sub-committee, Dr G.S Dhillon, Consulting Engineer for Water Resources Development Projects and formerly Chief Engineer, Research and Director Irrigation and Power, Amritsar, the normal mode of wet dredging, known as hydraulic mode, in which the bed material is churned up and water-silt mixture is pumped out, was found to be unsuitable for the Sukhna. This can cause loss of excessive water. “ The new technique proposed by NSDRC was adopted in which a grab crane would be mounted on a pontoon and the silt-water mixture would be dumped onto boats to be taken to the bank. The loss of water in this method is expected to be limited to 20 per cent or so”.

Dr Dhillon has expressed his reservations about the method saying that this kind of wet dredging of water bodies has not been tried or tested so far.

Meanwhile the finalised plan says the work is expected to be completed in 5 to 6 years for which the estimated cost is approximately Rs 70 crore. It is to be executed on a turnkey basis. The plan is to bring the level of lake-bed level from the present bed level of 1151.64 elevation feet to 1143 elevation feet in two phases.



UT tourism to go professional
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Chandigarh Tourism Department has initiated a complete overhauling of the existing facilities and tourism packages to fully explore the potential of the under utilised tourism industry in the city.

The administration is hiring a private agency for the promotion of the tourism covering sites, stay and shopping in package tours. Confirming the development, Mr Vivek Attray, Director of the department, said there was nothing denying the fact that the projection of city as a very important tourist destination, in context of its unique modern age architectural design and strategic location, had not been adequately handled. “The subject needs a professional touch,” he said.

The unique features of the city, including its creation, outstanding architectural features, history and the location of the city as a doorway to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and even Jammu and Kashmir need to be incorporated in the total tourism plan. It is felt that tourists prefer packages which cover two or more places and knowledge about facilities available. Relating the city with the tourist places in the adjoining states will be a welcome step.

The department will have a new logo to give it a fresh look, said Mr Attray, adding that the department has already advertised for an agency to make a 10-minute film on tourism promotion. A photography contest on Chandigarh is also being organised. The best photographs will be awarded and will be included in a pack of postcards on the city.

Mr Attray said, “A professional team is required to make the Chandigarh tourism website as people friendly as possible. Tourists these days, particularly from abroad, always like to have complete knowledge about their destination to make adequate plans before their journey. They prefer making advance bookings.”

“There have been certain communications from the concerned quarters of Punjab and Haryana. The department is working out the details of the packages. The city will soon have a North India Information Centre,” he added.

In an interesting development, the department is seeking cooperation from the French Embassy this time for featuring in the carnival during the rose festival. Mr Attray said, “It is being felt that virtual repeat of the events in each year's festivals needed a change. I am in touch with the Alliance Franchaise and we will also be corresponding with embassies of other countries to give a fresh look to the festival each year.”



Truck kills morning walker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
A morning walker was killed when a truck hit him on the road dividing Sector 46 and 49 while panic broke lose around Fragrance Garden in Sector 36 when a Maruti Zen rammed into another vehicle before coming to rest on a divider. In another accident, a senior citizen living in Mohali was hospitalised after his scooter skidded near the Mataur Chowk.

Sources in the local police said Kamaljeet Singh of Phase X, Mohali, was taking a walk with another person when the truck hit him. The victim later succumbed to his injuries.

Giving details of the Sector 36 mishap, eye-witnesses said the Zen first rammed into an Indica car near a small rotary on the road dividing Sector 34 and 35 after the driver lost control of the vehicle.

As the car rushed wildly on the road in front of the garden, evening strollers scurried in all directions for safety. The car then banged against a divider, injuring the driver in the process.

The driver, a student belonging to Nawanshahr, was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. His condition was reported to be serious. He was reportedly in Chandigarh for attending a party.

While in the third mishap, the victim, Tej Singh, was helped by the Chandigarh Police and the CRPF personnel. His condition was stated to be stable.



Energy security vital for India, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The present state of relations with immediate neighbours is "most worrisome" and the biggest challenge to India's security. The whole area is on the boil and we are not able to influence them.

Stating this while delivering the keynote address at a two-day seminar on India's Foreign Policy and National Security, organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security here, a former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V P Malik, added that the tendency of these countries was to look up to China whenever India was perceived as weak.

"We pursue relations with neighbours with a superiority complex and tend to neglect them. This portrays a lack of confidence and defencive stance on our part while dealing with them," he said. Normalisation of relations with Pakistan, settling the border dispute with China, developing economic and technological capabilities and contributing to multilateralism and issue-based coalitions are other challengers faced by the nation.

Stating that energy has become one of the most potent instruments of foreign policy, Prof S.K. Sharma, Member, National Security Advisory Board, said energy security transcended political, ideological and at times even strategic considerations. India, whose oil and gas imports could rise up to 85 per cent of its requirements by 2012, was the only country with no energy planning, he rued.

Pointing out that all major present conflicts are taking place in areas directly associated with oil production, he stressed that energy security was vital for India as it was the lifeline of all socio-economic sectors.

A former Director of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Mr Vikram Sood, delved on the "New Great Game" being played out by world powers in their quest for energy security and listed India's position and possible options in this regard.

Energy and water, he said, are what civilisation depends upon and India is short on both. Stating that the US, Russia and China are the major players in the great game, the prize for which is oil and gas, he remarked that so far India was only an "add-on" in this arena.

The West Asia and Central Asia, he said, continues to be the playing field for the great game for the past two centuries and oil has become an instrument for national security and foreign policy, the implementation of which has seen military interventions. Unstable regions and conflict zones would continue in the near future, he added.

He also pointed out that emergence of the Euro as an alternate reserve currency to the US dollar was also influencing American foreign policy. The real reason for the United States attacking Iraq for the second time, he opined, was Saddam Hussein converting his foreign reserves from dollars to euros and not the presence of weapons of mass destruction of terrorist groups. Iran, he said, was doing the same as a result of which the US was threatening was on similar excuses it used with Iraq.

Stating that India has no standing policy on dealing with Pakistan, Mr P. Sareen, Editor, Public Opinion and Trends, listed two possible options for India. The first, he said, was to accept that a strong and stable Pakistan was in India's favour, work out a solution for the Kashmir dispute and develop friendly relations with it.

The second, he said, was to accept that Pakistan would continue to pose a challenge and a weak and unstable Pakistan would be in India's favour. In this context, he added India should work on a policy to contain Pakistan on all fronts.



PGI performs open-heart surgery on another Pak boy
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Transcending the territorial boundaries and battling with not one but two holes in the heart, Mohammad Shoiab from the Sindh province of Pakistan was sure that the journey back home would be a happy one. Completely entrusting his life in the hands of the doctors at the PGIMER, the prayers of his father in the holy month of Ramzaan were duly answered and rewarded. After an open-heart surgery, his son, now in the recovery period, looks forward to a new and promising life.

With an anxious mother and nine other siblings eagerly anticipating the return of Shoiab, back at the PGI the entire team of doctors who operated on Shoiab on October 13 is leaving no room for any inconvenience. And as if this was not enough, Babbi Harbhajan Singh of the Rotary Club provides the healing touch in her own special way. Giving Shoiab constant company coupled with mother-like affection and care, Babbi makes sure that even his father Islamuddin does not face any hardships, being miles away from home.

A primary teacher by profession, Islamuddin is a content man though he credits his happiness not only to the doctors but also to the Rotary Club in Pakistan.

“This would not have been possible had the club not helped me,” said Islamuddin. He adds that except for the travel the entire expenses have been borne by the Rotary under its Rotary Heart Line Project.

For Dr R.S. Dhaliwal, Head of the Department, Cardiac Surgery, it’s just the start. With five Pakistani nationals operated on in 2004, he is already going through the medical records of many others waiting to be the cured.

“We have been performing cardiac surgeries on patients from Uganda as well although at times we have to refuse some due to medical reasons,” said Dr Dhaliwal.

As for the Rotary Club, Chandigarh, four other such cases are also being recommended and things are being worked out. According to Kewal Seth, the project co-ordinator, the entire pre-and post-operative care is taken care of by the club. The club works in close association with the Rotary Club of Nawab Shah Sind and the PGIMER. 



Tribune employee killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Pawan Kumar Malik, who was a senior clerk with The Tribune, was killed after a motor cycle rammed into his scooter near the Kiran cinema in Sector 22 late last night. He was returning home from the office when the mishap occurred.

The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination. A gold chain and a bracelet, which he was wearing at the time of the accident, “could not be found”. A senior police officer said a probe had been ordered to ascertain whether the same had been taken away by the cops.

The motorcyclist, identified as 26-year-old bank employee Kuldeep Singh, has been arrested for causing death due to rash act under Section 304-A of the IPC.

Claiming that the investigation into the accident was on, the officer said the accused, in all probability, was riding the bike at a breakneck speed even though the streetlights were not functional at that time.

Still trying to come to terms with the tragedy, his family said the motorcyclist, riding the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner, collided head on with the Malik’s scooter after swerving to the wrong side.

His brother Mohan Lal said the accused, instead of helping the victim, fled the spot leaving his motor cycle. Malik was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where he succumbed to his injuries. They were informed about the tragedy at about 1 am, said Mr Mohan Lal.

Thirtyfour-year-old Malik is survived by mother, two brothers and a sister. His cremation, held this afternoon, was largely attended by members of the media.

The Advertisement Manager of the Tribune Trust, Mr Vinay Saini, and the president of The Tribune Employees Union, Mt Jagtar Singh Sidhu, laid wreaths on the body. A condolence meeting would be held at Muni Ji Ki Dharamshala, Sector 23-D, on October 17 at 2 pm. 



Dhawan’s party falls on bad days
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Once a major force in the local politics, the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM), headed by a former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, seems to have fallen on bad days.
With the expulsion of a party councillor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), Mr Vijay Rana, from the party for “anti-party” activities, the strength of the political outfit has been reduced to just one in the 30-member civic body. And even the remaining councillor, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, has been issued a show cause notice putting a question mark over his continuation with the manch.

During the 2001 civic body elections, the CVM had emerged as the second largest political party in the MCC after the Congress by winning three seats. The BJP, which had ruled the civic body in the previous tenure, could only manage two seats.

However, with Mr Devinder Singh Babla, former general secretary of the CVM throwing in his lot with the Congress faction, led by the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the allegiance of his councillor-wife, Ms Harpreet Kaur, is largely seen with the Congress. Even Mr Rana is considered close to a section of the Congress.

And with the corporation elections due next year, the drifting away of councillors one by one bodes ill for Mr Dhawan, who is still considered to be commanding substantial “personal support base.”

It may be recalled that after remaining in the background, for months together, Mr Dhawan recently addressed a press conference. However, while on the one hand Mr Dhawan trained his guns on his bete noire, Mr Pawan Bansal, on the other hand, he came in support of the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd), for his “vision for the city.”

He, however, failed to announce any agitational programme, which could revive the CVM and rally round his supporters ahead of the civic body poll next year. Mr Dhawan will have to hurry if he wants to make his presence felt in the next corporation elections.



Bansal apprised of bad roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Social Welfare Association (Ward Number 16) gave a memorandum of demands to Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local Member of Parliament, here today at a special function pointing out deplorable condition of the roads.

The association has members from Sectors 30, 32 and 46. Residents have sought provision for a Community Centre in Sector 32, toilets in green belts, a sampark centre and revision in the electricity tariff.

Mr Jagdish Singh, vice-president of the District Congress Committee, and Capt K.L. Sethi also spoke on the occasion.



Residents bodies flay water charge hike
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 15
Three residents welfare organisations of the town have condemned the authorities concerned for hiking water and sewerage charges and installing electronic meters in the town.

Mr B.S. Tej, president of the Citizens’ Welfare Federation, said at a press conference here today that injustice was done with the residents as the revised water and sewerage rates were being imposed on them without taking them into confidence. He said that Mohali was different from other towns of Punjab as infrastructure here was developed out of funds collected from the residents. 

Development charges had already been paid by the residents at the time of purchasing plots in the town. He said that the Municipal Council had been saying that there was a 10 per cent hike in the rates, which was totally wrong. The hike varied from 80 per cent to 200 per cent. Moreover, why different rates were being imposed for different types of houses.

He demanded that the hike should be withdrawn, failing which the residents would be compelled to launch an agitation. Mr P.S. Virdi, president of the Consumers Protection Forum, said that electronic meters were installed by the Punjab State Electricity Board even when the board officials themselves had found such meters to be running fast. He said that the forum was getting complaints from residents, who were getting inflated power bills. The board failed to plug power theft but was burdening residents by hiking power tariff and installing electronic meters.

Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti of the Senior Citizens Pensioners Council said that cable operators were trying to monopolise services and charging different rates in different areas. He said that at a meeting held in the office of the SDM it was decided that Rs 200 per month would be charged but now they were charging upto Rs 250. About 300 residents of Phase VI, who unitedly took a stand against the cable operator, were being provided services at the rate of Rs 60 per month.



Women dairy farmers a happy lot
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
From dusk to dawn, their lives were only about a lot of chullha smoke, cooking and staying with in the four walls of their house. This was before the milk cooperatives happened in their villages.

From giving them a new identity to inducing a sense of independence, the cooperative have re-shaped their routines and, most importantly, brought in much-needed income for the family. And, it’s a universal truth as far as women from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are concerned.

Staunch supporters of the cooperative movement, Bhupinder Kaur from Lakhnaur in Kurali (Punjab), says,”My life revolved around cooking and bringing up children. The cooperative in my village has made a working woman out of me. Now, I begin and end my day by pouring milk with the cooperative and bring home money in return. It feels good to be earning.”

Whether it is Neelam from Ludhna village in Jind, Savitri from Gudian in Sirsa or Leela Verma from Bandal in Mandi, they all vouch for the way cooperatives have changed their lives.

“Before the cooperatives came in, we were forced to consume the entire milk from our cattle since it was not possible to market small quantities and next to impossible to ferry it for long distances. The cooperatives have eased all that,” explains Nirmala from Ramgarh in Pipli (Haryana).

While they are euphoric about the fact that they can now sell their milk and earn money in return, there are some bottlenecks which need to be fixed for the movement to become a thumping success.

“We must be paid more for the milk we supply at the cooperatives. Buffalo milk brings in Rs 12 per litre while cow’s milk is dirt cheap, no matter how good the quality. Then, value addition raises the price by about four times on an average. So, we should be given a share in that bounty if our interest is at the heart of various government agencies,” holds Kamla from Kaithal.

The dairy farmers from Punjab are also keen on the introduction of a loaning scheme extended by the State Bank of India to farmers of Haryana. Gurmeet Kaur of Padiala village in Kurali maintains,”We ought to extended as many facilities as our counterparts in Haryana have access to. It will give a further boost to the cooperative movement in the state.”

Champa Thakur of Bulali in Mandi adds, “The various government agencies should check synthetic and spurious milk to ensure our interests are not compromised on. Also, the feed for cattle available in the market should be closely monitored through surprise checks.”

So, while dairy farmers, essentially women, are upbeat about the change in their lives consequent to the coming of cooperatives, they are seeking redressals to minor problems being faced at the ground level and are hopeful of some quick-fix solutions at the government level.



Fire breaks out in Rose Garden
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 15
A fire broke out in the Rose Garden, Phase IIIB1, here today, creating panic for those present in the garden and around the area.
There were high-rising flames and a lot of smoke had engulfed the area. The fire could not be brought under control by employees on duty in the garden and the help of the fire brigade had to be taken.

Mr K.C. Sood, sub fire officer said two fire tenders were pressed into service and it took more than an hour to bring the situation under control. Even the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, visited the spot.

It is reported that someone had tried to play mischief by setting a creeper, which had risen up, on fire. 



Book on cacti to get funds: Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The 28th annual show of the National Cactus and Succulent Society of India was organised at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15, here today. The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, inaugurated the show.

The Governor said the garden created by the late Dr J.S. Sarkaria would be brought on the tourist map.

He said funds would be provided for publishing a book for the beginners in the field of cacti and succulents.

The winners of the various contests held on the occasion were:

King of the show: Brig C.S. Bewli

Queen of the show and best flowering succulent: Ms Ravi Lal

Best flowering cacti: Mr S.E. Huda

Best euphoria of the show: Mr Ramji Lal

Sarkaria trophy for highest points: Mr Ramji Lal.



War widows honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
As many as 13 war widows were honoured at a function held to commemorate the silver jubilee of the 15th battalion of the Garhwal Rifles at Chandi Mandir today. A special sainik sammelan was also organised, which was attended by a large number of serving and retired officers, JCO's and other ranks.



Halo Majra man commits suicide

Chandigarh, October 15
A Halo Majra resident, working in an Industrial Area factory, hanged himself to death this afternoon. In a suicide note, he said no one should be held responsible for his death. The police is yet to ascertain the reason behind the extreme step.

In another incident, three of a family, including a woman, were taken in custody by the local police for allegedly kidnapping a minor. The girl was reportedly kept at different places by the accused after her abduction. The girl was medically examined. The report is yet to be received.

Sources said the police was informed about Ram Sanjeevan’s death by his relatives. The cops broke open the locks of his room and find him hanging with a rod fixed across the ceiling.

They said 22-year-old bachelor Ram Sanjeevan, working in the night shift, was putting up in Halo Majra’s Deep Complex with his brother and his wife. The sources added that Ram Sanjeevan in his suicide note wrote that he was ending his life on his own and his brother and his wife should not be harassed for the same. TNS



Deaf woman’s rapist arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Less than three days after a deaf and dumb woman of Colony Number 5 was allegedly raped, the Chandigarh police today claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of the second accused.

Sources in the local police said three-wheeler rider Santosh Kumar, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, was taken in custody following intensive search by the cops. They added that 25-year-old Gopi, alias Shibu had been arrested.

The sources said the accused were “eying” the victim for quite some time. They forced their way into the victim’s house in her husband’s absence and repeatedly raped her during the night of October 11.

The accused, living in the same locality, knew that the victim was alone at home as her husband, working in a private factory, was out on the night shift. 



Gold chain snatched
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 15
Two scooter-borne youths allegedly snatched a gold chain of a resident of Phase IX here this morning.
Mr Rajnish Jain said that his mother Satya Wati Jain had gone for a walk to the Leisure Valley. When she was coming back around 8 a.m., two youths approached her and immediately fled after snatching her chain. He said a complaint was made to the police in this regard.


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