C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bid to loot ATM; one person shot at
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 2
At least six unidentified youngsters armed with a gun, a country-made pistol and iron rods attempted to loot an automatic teller machine (ATM) of ICICI bank, NAC, Mani Majra late last night. They also shot at a man, mistaking him for a guard and also bashed up the security guard of the ATM cabin before leaving.

The injured, Karam Chand (53) from Nepal was rushed to the PGI, where his condition was stated to be stable. The bullet pierced through the side of his face and blew off a part of his cheek, said the police.

Mr Hast Ram, a brother of injured Karam Chand and a watchman in the building next to the bank, said he and his wife rushed out after hearing his brother cries for help. They found Karam Chand profusely bleeding on the floor. A part of his cheek was ripped off and the security guard Shadi Singh was also shouting for help.

Shadi Singh then informed the police and the cops shifted the injured to the Sector 6 General Hospital, Panchkula, from where the doctors referred Karam Chand to the PGI.

Meanwhile, taking into consideration the financial condition of Karam Chand the Chandigarh Administration has announced a relief of Rs 10,000 for his treatment.

Mr Hast Ram said his brother, who was here for treatment, had woken up to ease himself and had switched on the lights. Mistaking that someone had come to help the security guard, two of the accused waiting outside the cabin, had fired at Karam Chand and then they all ran away.

The local police has registered a case of attempt to murder, attempt to commit robbery and criminal intimidation under various provisions of the IPC in the Mani Majra police station on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Shadi Singh, the security guard at the ATM of the ICICI Bank, SCO 36, NAC, Mani Majra.

The SSP Gaurav Yadav, three DSPs and SHOs reached the spot. A hunt has been launched to nab the robbers. The police has rounded up several persons in this regard, sources in the Mani Majra police station said.

Mr Shadi Singh said in his complaint that at around 12:30 am two youngsters in their mid twenties came to the ATM cabin. Taking them as customer he came out of the cabin, a normal practice with the ATM security guards. But as soon as he opened the door the accused pushed him inside the cabin and switched off the lights. The accused demanded the keys of the ATM from him and also asked how much money was there in the machine. On being told that he had no keys the accused, who had been joined by two others persons armed with a gun and iron rod, took off his turban and gagged his mouth with it and started beating him.

“Meanwhile a gunshot was heard outside and believing that the police had reached the accused left me. Encouraged by this I pushed them back and ran out of the cabin crying for help, but no one was there to help me,” said Shadi Singh.

Shadi Singh told the police that the accused were in their mid twenties and all of them had dark complexion except one. They had covered their faces with blankets. The police has prepared sketches on the basis of description provided by him.

The UT DSP (East), Mr Vijay Pal Singh, said that it was act of an organised gang. He said the culprits were apparently novice and had no knowledge about the functioning of the ATMs.



Kalka bypass project to be ‘dealt on priority’
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 2
Haryana will be the first state to introduce Automatic Tax Collection Barrier System on the inter-state highways and enhance its revenue receipts for about 100 crores per annum, disclosed Randeep Singh Surjewala, Haryana Transport Minister, today.

Addressing mediapersons, he elaborated that all nine centers identified so far will be equipped with modern camera and computerised network which will be connected to head office.

Overloaded vehicles will be subjected to check. There will be fined Rs 3000 per ton of the overload material. The first centre is coming up at Jaisinghpur Khera in Rewari on the Rajasthan border. With the patronage of private sector, the project will be completed within the next 16 months.

The tricity IT hub of Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali will be the best in the country. Over 275 acres of land had been acquired in Panchkula for IT projects. The Chief Minister will soon announce the recruitment of police personnel.

He disclosed that CNG buses will run after the infrastructure at the busstands is available.

Revamping of civil aviation is high on the agenda as the government has decided to raise airstrip of Karnal and Hissar flying establishments to 6000 feet from the existing 4000 feet.

Another project to be executed on priority is the construction of the Pinjore-Kalka bypass which had been desired by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan.

Earlier 10 out of the 15 complaints were settled on the spot during the monthly grievances committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Taking a serious view of a complaint filed by Kuldip Aggarwal of Raipur Rani, the minister ordered action against officials for allegedly altering the 35-year-old revenue records with the connivance of a property dealer.



Drizzle leaves city wanting for more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
A cloudy sky, a light drizzle and loads of expectations — this morning when the city came to life, it seemed the rain god had finally turned cityward after a long dry December. However, rain remained elusive and the day went by on a dusty, windy note.

Though the minimum temperature rose by 2.6 °C from 7 °C of yesterday’s to 9.6 °C today, there is still a reason to cheer with weathermen predicting rain within the next 48 hours.

“While the city will have to wait for a heavy downpour, the rain ball got rolling this morning with 0.4 mm of rain. We are expecting a ‘better’ shower in a day or two,” Chatar Singh Malik, Director, Meteorological Centre, said.

After today’s hide and seek by the rain, gusty winds made way to the city. Kicking up a lot of dust all through the day, the wind went about snapping power lines and tree branches. The high-velocity winds swept across the city before finally relenting in the evening.

Virtually starved for rain, the city went through December without a drop, unlike the last year when 2.8 mm of rain was recorded in the month. In 2003, the city got the “heaviest” December rainfall of 15.2 mm in the past five years.

Just like 2005, the corresponding period in 2002 and 2000 went without rain also.

While queues outside OPDs in hospitals are expected to grow longer with complaints of cold and fever pouring in once the cold weather sets in due to rain, Dr Rohin Dhar, child specialist, says: “The rain will wash away all allergies caused due to suspended particles in the air. That’s the only relief the spells of rain are likely to bring to city residents.”

Going by the record, January has had a fair share of rain in the past five years and city residents can hope for rainy days in the coming weeks.

Though January of 2000 to 2002 received “substantial” rainfall compared to the December of these years, the same month of 2004 received a total of 103.9 mm rain, while 2003 also received 97.2 mm of rain.

While Air Deccan’s two flights, one from Delhi to the city and the other from the city to Delhi, were cancelled, other flights and trains were on time.

The highs and lows of January

Year Min Temp Max Temp Total Rainfall Highest rainfall
2004 2.6 °C 24.2 °C 103.9 mm 24.2 mm
2003 1.4 °C 25.2 °C 97.2 mm 76.4 mm
2002 2.6 °C 22.8 °C 10.4 mm  5.4 mm
2001 1.0 °C 26.4 °C 35 mm 26 mm
2000 2.6 °C 23.6 °C 38.2 mm  13.8 mm



Over 100 city students clear CAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Around a hundred students from the city have cracked the prestigious combined entrance test (CAT) for admissions to MBA courses in the elite management institutes of the country, including the six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

While students were still busy downloading results, according to the first set of reports, a majority of the successful candidates from the city are students of the Punjab Engineering College Deemed University here.

“There would be many students from the city who would have received these calls. As many as 13 students alone have cleared the test from our institute,” said Mr Hirdesh Madan of Bulls Eye.

These students include Abhishek Bali, Akash Singla, Ankur Bhatia, Anshuman Harjai, Arunjit Singh, Gaurav Sehgal, Karan Vashisht, Kenny Hsieh, Kunal Jindal, Namit Goel, Tanuj Chawla, Vipul Soni, Vishal Gahlaut and Akhilesh Negi.

Most of these students have got through in more than one of the IIMs. Kenny, a final year student of engineering at OPEC, received calls from all the six IIMs. “Personally I would choose Bangalore but let’s see,” he said.

IIM Bangalore seems to have been rather choosey since not many students have managed to find a seat there. Mr Madan said this was due to the fact that Chandigarh did not have many candidates with a work experience which had been made essential at IIM Bangalore this year.

Ms Guneet Singh of Career Launchers said more than 30 students of the institute had received multiple calls. “Some of these students had received calls from all six IIMs,” she added. These students include Sharan Bains, Gurjodh Pal Singh, Shipra Chadha, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Subodh, Kiranjot, Sumit and Karan Vashisth.

More than 8,500 students had appeared for the test on November 20, 2005. Chandigarh was the centre for examination for the northern region.



Passing Thru

Vinay Sharma
Vinay Sharma, senior consultant, Hanmer Reach, a subsidiary of Hanmer and Partners, Agra

What brings you to the city?

I am here with our client Western Union Money Transfer, who are sponsoring Chandigarh Dynmaos and Sher-e-Jalandhar for the upcoming Premier Hockey League scheduled to start this month.

How do you or your agency work?

We are a conduit between the media and the client and suggest our client about how to go about marketing their product and let them know the shortcomings in their product. Similarly, we give our report to the media about the genuineness of the product.

Do you only advise companies about their product’s marketability?

No, we play a vital role in convincing our clients to do something for the social cause also. For example, we surveyed and encouraged one of our clients to organise medical camps free of cost at Deva Shariff, a pilgrimage near Lucknow, where there has been a tradition of organising hockey tournament for the past 60 years. Besides, we encourage our clients to work towards securing the future of sportspersons like providing special PHL insurance schemes to hockey players.

— G.S. Paul



Chandigarh Calling

Hybrid Culture in the City Streets

A student of a local college wanted to know what multiculturalism was and what was meant by a hybrid culture. The professor, one knows how professors are used to speaking uninterrupted for at least forty-five minutes, went into a long-winded explanation. All very well but hybrid culture or multiculturalism is there to see in its simplest forms in the city streets. At a corner of the road a vendor sits tossing Chinese noodles while his neighbour is hawking chana-bhatura. And for those who come to India wanting to escape America, there is just no escape for even our poor folks have developed a taste for burgers and the picture is a witness to burgers being pedaled around for just Rs 5 each.

Goddess promise

The newly elected Deputy Mayor wants providential interference in verifying which Congress councillors did not vote for him in the in house election for the posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor conducted on the first day of the New Year. Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky secured 14 votes against 13 secured by Mr Vijay Rana of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch. One vote was invalid. The result clearly means that some of the 16 councillors, including the Member of Parliament, who owe alliance to the Congress, did not vote for him. Independent queries reveal that at least five nominated councillors have cast their votes for Mr Lucky. This means a greater division in the Congress. Mr Lucky said in front of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the MP, that all councillors should be taken to Mansa Devi temple and made to swear that they voted for him. One has heard of God promise but this is a case of Goddess promise!

Lights out

Big packs of money, spent by the New Year revelers on the tickets of ‘Chimney Heights’ a renowned discotheque at Zirakpur, returned a little less than expected joy as the light went off on 12.10 a m, immediately after the arrival of 2006. The dancing steps and enthusiasm of the revelers came to standstill and the mood was dampened. Many frustrated young couples tore off their passes and started breaking glasses and other objects. The reason was that generator had conked off much to the dismay of the organisers as well.

Banking biz

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India directed all private and public sector banks to offer no-frills savings accounts with zero balance or with low minimum balance accounts. The idea was to bring a larger number of persons into organised banking, and to counter a trend in banking, targeting only affluent clients. However, while most of the public sector banks in the city have introduced the scheme, the private banks have not done so. Mr S. C. Dhall, Senior Manager of State Bank of Patiala, says that in spite of the stiff competition from private and foreign banks, public sector banks have been initiating these customer friendly services, while private banks are not doing so.

Talent hunt

Good news for hockey lovers of the region. More than six-decade-old PEPSU Hockey, later named Patiala Union Hockey Association (PUHA) decided to have hunt talent in public schools. In a meeting held earlier this week at Patiala, the  association members led by new office bearers Raja Malwinder Singh as President, accompanied by Raja Randhir Singh as life President and Dr Prof Man Mohan Singh as secretary of the PUHA all gave a serious thought to work in order to bring back lost glory of hockey in this region. Earlier PEPSU state used to have only Patiala, Sangrur  Bhatinda and Ludhiana but with carving out of two new districts Mansa, Fatehgarh Sahib, the PUHA now hopes to concentrate have larger base. It may be recalled that PEPSU was the first association affiliated to Indian Hockey Federation and its teams like other states play under PUHA banner in the National Hockey meet.

Young saviours

Two students have made City Beautiful proud by participating in the 14th National Young Environment Conference organised by the National Bal Bhavan from December 24 to 29 in New Delhi. Nearly 175 students from all over India participated in it. The students — Nitin Saundle and Abhimanyu Jhingan — also presented a paper “Save our beautiful heritage — the birds”. Nitin is a student of DAV Model School, Sector 15, while Abhimanyu is of KB DAV Centenary Public School, Sector 7. They also organised exhibitions at the Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, and the Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Wazirabad. A 12-minute film, “Nature Camps”, made by the Children Alliance for the Protection of Environment (CAPE), was also shown to the participants. CAPE is a group of schoolchildren supported by the Environment Society of India, Chandigarh.

Ode to winter

Poets will be poets and thus will celebrate seasons. So while others grumble about the cold, poet Randeep Wadehra writes: Aaj ek sweater aur pehan lo, Aaj ek muffler aur lappet lo, Aaj do moze aur pehan lo, kya pata kal thand ho na ho! So make the most of the cold days.

Contributors: Sanjeev Singh, Bariana, Ruchika M. Khanna, Vishal Gulati, Akash Ghai, Arvind Katyal & Nirupama Dutt



Mayor warns dissidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Taking a tough stand on the very first day of his office, newly elected city Mayor Surinder Singh stated that he would not tolerate tarnishing of his image by vested interest.

He said he was in fact considering legal action against those who had made mountain out of molehill during yesterday’s election process to make their political ends meet.

“That was no case and was just the dirty side of election politics and now it’s over. I am considering legal action and in future if such a thing happens to tarnish my image I will not spare them,” he said in conversation with Chandigarh Tribune.

Sanitation, he said, was his main priority. Secondly, he wanted to ensure that “malba” was thrown in an organised manner. “Overall development is our priority, but I have noticed that ‘malba’ is thrown everywhere in the city and we would ensure that this changes.”

Commenting on the more than mandatory number of committees of the MC, he said these were not yet enough and talks of reducing the number was out of the question. “They should in fact be increased.”

He further said the funds for the MC were not enough and they would ensure that they worked on it.

Meanwhile, the issue that dominated the day was the question of cross-voting in yesterday’s election for the post of Deputy Mayor wherein Harmohinder Singh Lucky finally won.



Fauji Beat
Will jawans get justice?

IT is sad that our jawan gets less pension than that of a peon of the Central Government. A jawan gets less pension because he retires in his 30s and cannot, therefore, complete the “unfair stipulation” of 33 years’ mandatory service to get 50 per cent of his pay as pension.

In a discussion with the then western Army Commander in 2001, he said: “The point of granting 50 per cent of pay as pension has been taken up and is likely to be accepted in the near future”. To keep the Army young, a soldier had to retire earlier as compared to his counterparts in the civil services.

Can anyone dispute the genuineness of granting 50 per cent pay as pension to a jawan, who serves the country with his sweat and blood? If the answer is no, then the fault lies with the top brass who cannot convience the government on this issue.

A unique relationship

This is what Lieut-Gen Sir Reginald Savory wrote when he came to India in February 1968: “Besides professional competence, the only other secret to command men with dignity and respect is to hold them in high esteem. The main memory of my life in the Indian Army is one of relationships between officer and man, which has seldom, if ever, been achieved in the history of any army.

“Only this morning (February 8), Lance Naik Bhola Singh of 14 Sikh who was wounded in Gallipoli in 1915, came all the way from his home to call upon me. I was deeply touched not only at having the great pleasure of seeing him again, but also at the thought of all the trouble he had taken to come and see me. When he was wounded, he and I were both young men. Now he is a “chitti dariwalla” and I am old and bald. Though we have both grown so much older, yet our affection for each other and our mutual pride in our regiment, stays as young as ever. Long may this continue”.

It is this affection that brought British officers to attend reunions of their regiments in India. Those who are still around and fit to travel, make it a point to visit their regiments on such occasions. A few of them were present at the last reunion of 1 Gorkha Rifles at the 14 Gorkha Training Centre in Sabathu.

Entitlement for admission

Flight Lt J.S. Bindra (retd) from Mohali says that when he became member of the ECHS in 2004, he was entitled for admission to semi private ward in empanelled hospitals, as mentioned in the ECHS card. But now, according to the changed rules, he is entitled for admission to a private ward. When Fortis Hospital, he says, did not agree to his entitlement for admission to a private ward, he went to the Regional Director of the ECHS in Chandimandir with the request that a change should be made in the ECHS card. He did not agree to this.

According to the change in rules, all officers, irrespective of their ranks, are entitled admission to private wards.

Some more members have also come up with similar complaints about empanelled hospitals. Since the change in the rules was intimated by the ECHS to all the hospitals, the latter should abide by the new rules.

— Pritam Bhullar



UT invites applications for house allotment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The House Allotment Committee, Chandigarh Administration, has invited applications from the eligible government employees for the allotment of higher and lower categories of houses under the Government Residence (Chandigarh Administration General Pool) Allotment Rules, 1996, which will be received in the office of the committee till the end of January.

According to a release of the Chandigarh Administration, for eligibility, he/she should be an employee of the office of the Governments of Punjab, Haryana or Chandigarh Administration and of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, working on regular basis in an eligible office or on foreign service at Chandigarh, Panchkula or Mohali as long as he or she retains lien on a post.

Similarly the Eligible Office means an office of the Governments of 
Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh Administration and Punjab and Haryana High Court located at Chandigarh, Panchkula or Mohali, the staff of which has been declared by the Chandigarh Administration to be eligible for accommodation under these rules, the release said.

The higher category of house include houses from Type 3 to 9 (old) and Type V and VI (new). Lower categories of houses includes houses from type 10 to 13 (old) and type I to IV (new).

The employees of those departments of UT Administration, who have their own departmental Pool, are not entitled for the allotment of houses from Chandigarh Administration.

For higher categories houses, there is no such bar and any Eligible Employee working in eligible office may apply for the higher category of houses i.e. for type 4/5 (old) and V type flat.



Devotees take part in nagar kirtan
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 2
A large number of devotees participated in a nagar kirtan procession organised to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh here today.

The procession started from Gurdwara Angitha Sahib in Phase VIII and was led by Panj Piaras. After passing through Phase IX, X, XI, 
Kambala and Kambali villages, the procession culminated at a gurdwara in Rurka village.

Vehicles carrying devotees moved along while “gatka” artistes displayed their skills.



Website of lensman launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Haryana Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, Mr Sanjay Kothari, launched the website of city-based lensman, Mr Subhash Sapru, here today. The website can be viewed at www.subhashsapru.com. Mr Sapru, a Public Relations Officer with Haryana Public Relations Department, has been pursuing photography as a hobby.

The website also has pictures of religious places like aerial view of illuminated Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara on the historic occasion of tercentenary celebrations of birth of Khalsa, illuminated Golden Temple in Amritsar on the occasion of celebrations of installation of 400 years of Guru Granth Sahib.

It also has pictures of religious places at Kurukshetra and Faral in Haryana, besides pictures of Katasraj complex in Pakistan.



MC steps to ensure cleanliness
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 2
Residents creating public nuisance are going to have a tough time ahead as the Municipal Council is gearing up to take strict action against them. Residents demanding roads, littering public places with garbage, disposing of malba wherever convenient and parking vehicles at wrong places will soon be facing action.

Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, Administrator of the civic body, said here today that residents indulging in public nuisance would be booked under Section 109 of the CrPC. Residents who damaged public property would be asked to pay the cost for setting the damaged property right.

However, he said that to begin with he would make an appeal to all such residents not to indulge in activities which became nuisance for others. If the civic body finds out later that residents were not cooperating with the council, it would be compelled to issue notices to them to mend their ways failing which they would be booked.

He said that he had received complaints that residents were parking their vehicles on footpaths in many areas of the town. By doing so they not only damaged footpaths but also created problems for residents who used them for walking.

Mr Sandhu said that he had asked the engineering wing branch to prepare a list of all the pending works in various areas of the town so that these could be completed after fixing priorities. PUDA would also be asked to complete all the pending works in various phases. He said that he was holding meetings with representatives of various welfare bodies so that the problems of residents could be solved.



Open manhole – a virtual deathtrap
S.D. Sharma

PANCHKULA: “Nearer the church farther from God” veritably applies to the sewage treatment plant authorities at Panchkula in particular and the Haryana Urban Development authority in general.

Around 15-foot-deep uncovered sewerage manhole of five-foot diameter is escaping the attention of the officials concerned. The manhole lies near the main gate of Panchkula’s sewage treatment plant in Sector 20 here.

Mr Harihar Yadav, an official, said the manhole cover was stolen and an RCC cover was put on it, but that had been broken.

However, many people claim the manhole has been without a cover for the past over three years.

Mr Krishan Kumar, a mechanic, said despite several requests to the plant and HUDA officials none had bothered to attend to the problem. A woman constable had lost her life due to the uncovered manhole last year, he added.

Mr Mohammad Mustafa Sidiqui, a tea stall owner, said every now and then vehicles get stuck in the manhole.

However, some truck operators from Punjab and Delhi, who regularly use this road, have now become aware of this manhole. A Mohali resident, Mr Sanjiv Arora, had a miraculous escape recently. He brought the problem to the notice of many officials concerned, but to no avail.

The Executive Engineer, HUDA, Mr K. Somal, expressed ignorance about the lapse on the part of his staff. He said the problem would be rectified soon.



Readers Write
Tampering with city's master plan

Denial to savour open spaces has been rightly observed as a denial of freedom. Its violation is said to have an unhealthy effect on the physical health of a city. No doubt any effort to reclaim it from the clutches of the encroachers has overwhelming public sanction.

Le Corbusier never planned this city with any bias. His green belt are phenomenal that run from north to south all through the sectors. It is the essential feature of the master plan of the City Beautiful. Its existence is not optional nor dependent on the whims and caprices of the bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the administration is turning them into pockets, reducing them in size, converting them into sites for raising buildings and using them as reserves for various purposes. Much against the court's caution that no damage should be done to the concept of planned development as enshrined in the master plan, the administration has allotted green belts to some schools.

Environmental degradation cannot be approved on the basis of procedural propriety. Its rationale cannot be justified nor its legality established. All administrative moves which tend to justify or condone the degradation are nothing but offence. If the public outcry cannot be transformed into relief for the green belts even in the courts then there must be some flaw in our system which limits our vision and awareness. The whole purpose of going to the courts is defeated if the offenders do not stop building activity while the case is still under consideration. Those complaining against the misuse of private premises have unwittingly caused incalculable harm to the city. For the remedy is proving to be worse than the disease. In their effort to redeem the private premises their plea has become instrumental in putting the green belts in peril resulting in irreparable loss.

Dr HM Saroj, Chandigarh

Senior citizens' woes

The Administration has opened samarak offices for various purposes, including issuing a senior citizen card. To get a senior citizen card issued one has to produce residential proof the photocopy of which is to be submitted along with the application. It is a herculean task to get the photocopy attested by a gazetted officer as none is not available near the offices. If the government has entitled a person to issue the senior citizen card, then he must also be authorised to verify the photocopy of a original document i.e. passport, voter card, ration card etc produced by the applicant.

Kartar Singh Neeldhaan, Chandigarh

Vague tariff system

With the introduction of new electricity tariff for domestic consumers, the charges for consuming 150 units per month are Rs 1.65 per unit, the rate applicable is Rs 2.90 (almost double) if one consumes more than 150 units. Since the department bills the consumer bi-monthly, the bill for first 300 units is Rs 495 (300 x 1.65). If the consumer consumes 302 units the bill amount is Rs 872.90 (302 x 2.90). The fallacy is that extra one unit per month will cost him Rs 200 approximately. The slab system has been abolished and the department has started charging flat rate for the entire consumption. This extra penalty could be even on the lapse of meter reader, who may choose to come a day later than the two month cut-off. Since the entire process of meter recording is manual such a cut-off is unjustified. It is, therefore, requested that the slab system as prevalent earlier be restored and small domestic consumers be saved from this harsh monetary loss.

Prof. R.L. Bagga, Chandigarh

Uncovered trenches pose threat

A telephone company has inconvenienced the residents of Sector 40 by digging a large number of trenches at unspecified and unmarked places in the entire sector. It is not known whether the company has the permission of the authorities concerned. On enquiry, their representatives failed to produce any documentary proof in this regard. No body knows as to where the company is authorised to lay the cables and for what purpose they are digging up the land.

In view of this piquant situation, the Residents Coordination Committee, MIG-I Houses, Sector 40 C, has demanded an enquiry in this regard and requested the MC and the UT Administration to direct the company to fill up the trenches after the work is over. Presently the ditches pose serious threat to the lives of the residents.

S.K.Khosla and S.S. Negi, Chandigarh

Housing societies harass members

So many house building societies are coming up in Sector 48, 49 and 50. Some are complete and some near completion. But the inside story is very painful. I particularly cite the Universal Society, Sector 48-B, where 60 per cent members are so-called "substitute members." The members were given share certificates in 2002 and had paid all land and construction costs. Now when the time of draw has came, the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, is not allowing the members to get house allotted saying that the policy about the substitute members is under consideration. How long the policy will be under consideration and who is responsible for the delay? The story of other societies is not different.

S.K. Sharma, Chandigarh

Poor facilities for tourists

This is with reference to a news item published recently in Chandigarh Tribune regarding visit Chandigarh drive to be launched soon. I am deeply connected with the promotion of tourism in the city and has been helping and assisting tourists from abroad from the past several decades. The immediate need for attracting tourists from abroad is to setting up a tourist camping site. The site, earmarked near Sukhna Lake as tourist camping site, has been given to a horse riding society at a very nominal rent. The site should be restored to its original status. Very little has been done for low-budget tourists.

The Tourist Information Centre of Chandigarh Tourism located at Inder-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, is supposed to remain open daily from 7 am to 7 pm, but its in charge does not care for the timings.

The priorities of the drive, therefore, should be a camping site for tourists, a big hotel for low-budget tourists and proper functioning of the tourist information centre.

Narinder Singh, Chandigarh

Bitter experiences with banks

We always thought banks, at least, were efficient as they dealt with accounts. I do not know if only I am the unlucky one to have so many bitter experiences. I will quote only two of recent experiences (within eight months or so). I deposited three cheques with a bank, which were termed lost by the bank. Even though I had initials of an employee on the deposit slip the bank refused to take the responsibility. Six months later, the manager of the bank informed me that the cheques had been found from the drop box which some months back they were toying with the idea of introducing but withdrew later. They had no answer when confronted with the fact that from where did the signatures on the counter foil of the deposit slip come from.

The other instance is of another bank where cheque drawn on my post office account was returned to the bank with remarks "insufficient balance". The post office concerned, which was recently computerised, returned the cheque in spite of sufficient balance. The bank in turn refused to hand over the cheque personally by saying it would be sent by registered post as per rules. The cheque was finally lost in transit.

Kareena, Panchkula



Setback to Bhandari
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
In a major setback to Mr Tarun Bhandari, president of Municipal Council, the Director, Urban Development, Haryana, has declared as invalid the General House held on October 19 to pass a no- confidence motion against him.

Earlier, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Praveen Kumar, while presiding over the meeting, had said that the no confidence motion had failed on the grounds that a letter for withdrawal of no-confidence motion by the 10 Councillors was submitted after the meeting had begun. This meant that the Councillors could not initiate another no-confidence motion for six months.

However, with this meeting being declared as null and void, under Section 252 (2) of Haryana Municipal Act, the Councillors are likely to initiate a new no- confidence motion against Bhandari.

When 10 Councillors of the Congress, owing allegience to Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan had moved the motion against him, the eight Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Councillors bailed Mr Bhandari out by abstaining from attending the no-confidence motion. As the Congress realised that it did not have sufficient strength to pass the motion, they decided to withdraw the motion.



Rally by riot-hit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 2
A large number of riot-affected persons organised a rally in support of their demands here today.

The protesters who had gathered in Phase XI started moving towards Phase VII raising slogans against the government. They, however, could not hold a dharna as planned because of a nagar kirtan procession in the area.

Some of the protesters later went to the office of the SDM in Phase I and presented a memorandum to Mr M.L. Sharma. They demanded that the government should provide land for houses and their bank loans should be waived. They also demanded strict action against persons responsible for the riots.



Citizens’ panel flays power cuts

Panchkula, January 2
The Citizens Welfare Association has decried the erratic power supply in the town. They have demanded that Panchkula should be kept on a par with Chandigarh when it comes to water and electricity supply and other infrastructure.

In a press release, Mr S.K. Nayar, president of the association said that Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam had imposed unscheduled power-cuts in the city for the last over a month, which was creating a lot of inconvenience to the public. TNS



Extend portage services to help mentally challenged kids, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Indian National Portage Association (UNPA) president today stated that portage and early intervention services be extended across the country so as to help include disabled children in mainstream education.

Dr Tehal Kohli, INPA president, was talking to mediapersons following the inauguration of a five-day continuing rehabilitation education course on the “Community-based rehabilitation and independent living skills” at Panjab University here today.

Stating that INPA needed government support to extend its services to mentally-challenged children, Dr Kohli pointed out that such children had shown a marked improvement in IQ following an early intervention through portage. “There is not a single child who has failed to respond to the portage system of intervention among the disabled,” she said.

Explaining the concept of portage Dr Kohli said INPA was dedicated to helping normalise children with or at risk of development delays, learning disabilities and mental retardation as well as helping their families and also offer special need-based education and training for other segments of society.

“Portage derived its name from a small town in Winconsin where the first home-teaching scheme began in 1969 a place which was portage or a crossover body of water of land. This is how it is used as a crossover or bridge, a way of transferring knowledge skills from professionals to para- professionals and non-professionals,” she said, adding that over 20,000 persons had already benefited from portage services.

Prof B.N.S. Walia, former Director of PGI, Chandigarh, inaugurated the course. Dr Walia said a realistic attitude was needed to develop and promote equitable opportunities for disabled people. He further added that most of the surveys by the authorities were not realistic that was why planning for the disables failed. He stressed that the needs of disabled children were more and different than the normal children and unless these were fulfilled, the concept of inclusive education could not be thought of. He called for NGO support along with government to organise community-based programmes for rehabilitation. He raised the slogan, “Not charity, but dignity’ is required in favour of the well-being of disabled children”.

Dr Satinder Dhillon, Principal, Dev Samaj College of Education, Chandigarh, and also Dean Faculty of Education, stressed that community support and community involvement was the only way to help disabled. She said without family and community support, the disabled could not be served.

Dr Tehal Kohli said community-based rehabilitation was a strategy for enhancing the quality of life of disabled people by improving service delivery, by providing equitable opportunities and by promoting and protecting their human rights. To achieve this goal, special training was needed for teachers and trainers.

Dr (Mrs) Raj Gupta, Reader Department of Education, Panjab University, deliberated on community-based rehabilitation scope and issues. Mr Raj Kumar and Dr Sanjay Kumar Mishra also spoke on, “Person with disabilities and role of society”

More than 40 master trainers are attending the course to upgrade their professional skills in the field of rehabilitation and special education. The workshop is being organised by the Indian Portage Association in collaboration with Department of Adult Education, PU.



Short film on traffic hazards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Jasraj, a student of local DAV College, is out to prove that he is the chip of the old block. He is a son of Jaspal Bhatti and will turn a film director when the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, will release a short film directed by Jasraj tomorrow.

The film, “Ladla Driver”, is on traffic hazards posed by minor drivers. In a comical manner the film sends a message to those irresponsible parents who take pride in encouraging their minor children(below 18) to drive vehicles.



Man flees with Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
A young man was today duped by a youth of Rs 10,000 outside State Bank of India in Sector 10. The youth took his money for depositing in the bank, but he ran away with the money.

The incident took place around noon, when Chunchun Panday of Kishangarh village in Chandigarh had gone to the bank to deposit the money. He approached a youth standing outside the bank, asking him to help him fill the money deposit form. Chunchun handed over the money to him.

The latter, however, said that he wanted to ease himself and would fill the form afterwards. When he did not return after a few minutes, Chunchun grew suspicious and went looking for him. But by this time, the accused had fled with the money. 



4 hooligans held

Mohali, January 2
Four persons were arrested by the police on the charge of indulging in hooliganism at a marriage function here last evening. According to the police, Satvir Singh, Kamal Bimra, Rajender Singh Sodhi and Loveleen Kumar gatecrashed into a marriage function. After consuming liquor, they allegedly started misbehaving with the guests. A case has been registered. OC



16 rounded up on gambling charge

Chandigarh, January 2
The Chandigarh Police arrested 16 persons from various parts of the city on the allegations of indulging in gambling yesterday.

UT police teams arrested Satish Kumar of Burail, Varinder Kumar of Colony Number 5, Bhagwan Dass of Bapu Dham colony, Surjit Singh of Mani Majra, Sanjay Kumar of Mauli complex and Vijay Kumar of Basti district (Uttar Pradesh) from different parts of the city for allegedly gambling at public places. The police seized Rs 30, Rs 100, Rs 190, Rs 245, Rs 1050 and Rs 720 from their possession, respectively.

Similarly, Sunil Kumar, Ganga, Rakesh and Guddu of Kajheri, Rahul and Bhajan Lal, Mohammad Majim, Shankar and Bajinder of Bapu Dham Colony, Mohammad Aslam of Sector 26 Grain Market were picked up from various places in the city for gambling. The cops seized Rs 1075 from their possession.

The police has registered nine cases under the Gambling Act in this regard.



Steep hike in prices of poultry products
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
With decline in production of poultry and fish, and increase in demand during the winter, the prices of almost all these products have increased substantially during the past two months.

Sources in the poultry industry say that prices of chicken have risen by almost Rs 15- 20 a kg. since November, while the prices of eggs have increased by Rs 50 per 100 eggs. As compared to Rs 75 a kg in November, chicken prices have risen to Rs 90 a kg. Eggs which were priced at Rs 140 - 145 per 100 eggs, are now being sold for Rs 194 a kg.

“The reason for price hike”, says Mr Pawan Deedsonkar, a poultry product wholeseller in the city, “is that there has been a decline in production of poultry products. Because of the bird flu scare, a number of poultry farmers had killed their young birds”.

“Another reason for the price hike, informs Mr Paramjit Singh Chawla, of Non Veg Gallery, Sector 46, “is that the demand for poultry products increased by 25-30 per cent in the winters, which has contributes to the price rise”.

Other than the poultry products, the prices of various categories of fish like Rohu, Katla, Singhara and Saul, too, have increased by Rs 40-Rs 50 a kg. As compared to fish being priced at Rs 100 a kg in November, the prices have gone up to Rs 140- Rs 150 kg.

Mr Deedsonkar says that because of less fish coming in from Bangladesh, and the decline in fish production (less fish are caught in winters than summers) the fish prices, too, are high.

“Fish delicacies are more preferred in winters, so the rising demand has also led to price rise,” he said. 


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