C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Rodrigues talks infrastructure, growth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Formally announcing the inclusion of five more villages under the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today highlighted the initiatives being taken by the administration to strengthen UT villages’ infrastructural facilities.

After unfurling the Tricolour during the Independence Day function at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, here, the Administrator declared that a specific ‘town plan’ for 18 UT villages was being prepared.

“After being exempted from the Periphery Control Act, the planning would provide growth and necessary resources, to be shared partly by the administration and partly by the MC, by levying conversion and development charges,” he said.

On the issue of housing and relaxations allowed to residents, Gen Rodrigues said by allowing the societies to take their own substitution decisions, about 8,000 families of 120 cooperative group housing societies would be benefited.

The administration has also allowed a maximum of 3-feet-long cantilever on the first and the second floors of marla houses in their front courtyard.

In the health sector, the construction of a five-storey Block-D building of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, would be completed by December this year.

It would house the departments of immuno-haematology and blood transfusion, radio-diagnosis, radio therapy, dentistry, central sterilization, hospital administration and other clinical laboratories.

Besides, the emergency block of the Government Multi-Utility Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, has been renovated at a cost of Rs 10 crore. The School of Nursing has been upgraded to a College of Nursing.

The administration proposes to make it mandatory for all private schools to reserve 15 per cent seats for the children belonging to the families of the low-income group.

Underprivileged students in the government schools are being given extra coaching for Class IX to XII and competition classes for JET, PMT, AIEEE, CET, and other competitive examinations after Class II.

For extending the mid-day meal scheme to the privately managed educational institutions, engaged in providing education to the children of 6 to 14 years of age, the administration has invited applications. New graduate and postgraduate courses were being added in the colleges.

The water supply to the city was presently being provided through 198 tube wells, generating around 23 MGD of water and through phases of the water supply scheme, based on canal water, making available around 64 MGD of water, said the administrator.

The Municipal Corporation has embarked upon a programme of renovation of the 121 existing public toilets of all markets of Chandigarh on Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) basis. By doing this, the corporation will also be able to save money.

For the management of solid waste, a garbage processing unit is being constructed on the BOT basis and will be commissioned by March 31, 2007.

With its commissioning, the quantity of garbage being dumped at the existing land-fill site will reduce by about 90 per cent.

On the issue of improving the infrastructural facilities in Sector 17, expressions of interest for construction of a multi-storied parking facility in the sector has been invited on the BOT basis.

The existing infrastructure in the market area of Sectors 9, 19 and 22 is being improved and upgraded. New community centres are being constructed in Sectors 21, 28, 30, 39 42 and Pocket No.7, Manimajra.

It has been decided to organise a Chandigarh New Year Festival every year.

A ‘Tourism Convention’ will also be organised in October this year in association with the CII.

Various strides in providing the IT infrastructure and the e-governance initiative were listed by the Administrator. The administration has also listed the steps to modernise its police force.



Patriotic fervour overwhelms tricity
Tribune Reporters

Slum kids take a CITCO-sponsored joy ride on a bus during a visit to tourist spots in Chandigarh as part of the Independence Day celebrations
Slum kids take a CITCO-sponsored joy ride on a bus during a visit to tourist spots in Chandigarh as part of the Independence Day celebrations on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, August 15
Schools, colleges and various institutions of the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali dedicated the day to the memory of freedom fighters who laid down their lives for the nation. At a number of places it was a combined celebration with the Independence Day coinciding with Janmashtami.

Students of Anee’s School, Sector 69, Mohali, celebrated the Independence Day and Janamashtami on the school premises. School children enacted the Independence struggle starting from 1857 to 1947. Tiny tots sang patriotic songs. Students danced and depicted scenes on Lord Krishna’s life. Sweets were distributed by the school Director, Mr Aneet Goel.

Nav Bal Niketan

Nav Bal Niketan School, Sector 29-B, celebrated Janamashtami with religious fervour. Students from lower Primary classes came dressed as Radha, Krishna, Sudama and Vasudev. The school also organised a special assembly to celebrate the Independence Day. Students waived small national flags to mark the beginning of the celebration.

Saint Soldier School

The Independence Day celebrations at Saint Soldier International School, Sector 28-B, started with the hoisting of the National Flag by the school Chairman Sardar Gurdev Singh Hayer. A saraswati vandana presented by the students of Class VII followed by patriotic songs, national songs, skits, speeches, etc. A play ‘Gaddah’ was presented to inspire the students to come forward as they are the future of India. The programme ended with a speech by Principal of the school Sudesh Choudhary.

MDAV High School

The MDAV High School, Sector 22-A, school celebrated Janamashtami with great fanfare. Students and teachers spoke about of Krishna’s life. Students were given sweets. Students also celebrated Independence Day. Mr B.R. Arya, senior member of the school managing committee, unfurled the National Flag.

AKSIPS, Sec 41-B

The auspicious occasion of the birth of Lord Krishna was celebrated on the school premises of AKSIPS, Sector 41-B. The tiny tots of the school visited Radha Krishna Temple, in Phase 2, Mohali’. The students also celebrated the Independence Day with great fervour. Mr Jasdeep Kalra, executive director of the school, unfurled the Tricolour. Mr Jagjit Sekhon, Principal of the school, reminded the students about their role as future citizens. A teachers vs students basket ball match was held.

Shivalik Public School

The Independence Day was celebrated with fervour by the students of Shivalik Public School, Sector 41. The National Flag was unfurled by Director Principal of the school D.S Bedi. A march past was held by students. Harsimran Kaur, Shruti Sharma and Yadwinder Singh were presented cheques of Rs 6,600 each, awarded to them by the Sports Authority of India, for excelling in swimming.

Harkrishan School

Students and staff of Sri Guru Harkrishan Model School, Sector 38-D, celebrated the Independence Day on the school premises. A skit ‘Swatantra Ki Kahani’ and a play ‘Nehru Ki Wapsi’ revived the sacrifices of the gallant martyrs. To keep the spirit of Janamashtami alive, students presented ‘Sri Krishna Gobind’. The evergreen Bhangra lured the hearts of all. The chief guest was Prof Kaushal of the Botany Department, Panjab University.

Ryan International

The students of Ryan International School, Sector 49, presented a colorful cultural programme. The Tricolour was unfurled by Principal of the school Poonam Sharma. The function began with a prayer service. A solo song dance performance, “maa tujhe salaam” was greatly applauded.

KV, Sector 47

At Kendriya vidyalaya, Sector 47, the Tricolour was hoisted by the toppers of the school under the guidance of Principal Daljeet Kaur. This was followed by a patriotic group song. Sweets were distributed among the students.

Saplings planted

The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research held a function where Prof K.K. Talwar, Director of the PGI, unfurled the National Flag and paid rich tributes to Sardar Partap Singh Kairon and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who had conceived the institute.

The nursing staff presented patriotic songs. In view of the ongoing Van Mahotsava Week celebrations, the Director planted saplings in Married Doctors Hostel and Teachers Flat Complex.


Meanwhile, amidst great patriotic fervour K.V. No.2 3 BRD, held a programme, which began with flag-hoisting by the Principal, Smt Ranjana Bassi, followed by a small cultural presentation, including a patriotic group song, a speech on the declining nationalism by Anil Goel, of Class X-C and a poem, imbued with a new zeal for the nation. The programme concluded with a speech by the Vice-Principal motivating the children to realise the vision and dreams of future India. Sweets were distributed among the students.

Team hoists flag at Marshmik La

Ten-member team of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Adventure Association, which geared off for world’s highest motorable road on August 10, has accomplished their long-cherished desire — hoisting the “tricolor” at that height.

The team, along with their supporting crew, reached 18,604-foot Marshmik La on Tuesday. The flag-hoisting ceremony was also attended by the jawans of the Army.

The team comprised Mr Surinder Singh (team leader), Mr B.S. Rawat (team coordinator), Mr Sanjay Mishra, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Deepak Arora, Mr Gurdeep Singh Rana, Mr R.K. Pubby, Mr Gurdarsan Singh, Mr Harbagh Singh. Expedition will return on August 20.

GMHS, Sec 29-A

At Government Model High School, Sector 29-A, Mr Gurdeep Singh, President of PTA, unfurled the National Flag and presided over the function. Schoolchildren presented a cultural programme. Drawing painting, essay writing, slogan writing competitions were organised.

Lions Club

The local Lions Club hoisted the Tricolour at the Lions Bhavan in Sector 18. It was unfurled by the president of the club, Mr H.S. Thakur. A colourful cultural programme was presented by the students of the school for deaf and dumb children.

Students of Adarsh Academy perform a group song during the Independence Day celebrations on the school premises in Chandigarh
Students of Adarsh Academy perform a group song during the Independence Day celebrations on the school premises in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

Adarsh Academy

Students of Adarsh Academy, Sector 47, presented a variety of programmes comprising songs, dances, poems and speeches at the school. Dr Jatinder Singh hoisted the Tricolour.

SBI head office

A function marked the Independence Day at the local head office of the State Bank of India. Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager, unfurled the national flag. Students of Government High School, Sector 24, played the band and sang patriotic songs. Sweets were distributed among staff and their families.

UCO Bank

The Deputy General Manager, UCO Bank , Mr B R Chauhan, hoisted the national flag at the regional office of the bank in Sector 17. Personnel of the Punjab police and the banks armed guards paid the guard of honour.

Panjab University

Delivering the Independence Day function speech, Prof R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, stated that the responsibility of connecting the younger generation with the ideals, thoughts and deeds associated with freedom movement rested with the teachers. He unfurled the National Flag on the university campus.

Former Vice-Chancellor R.P. Bambah and Prof M.M. Puri, along with Professors Emeritus, were felicitated.


Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, Mohali, celebrated Independence Day with enthusiasm. Ms Harbhajan Kaur Chandhok, wife of late Col. Harnam Singh Chandhok, a senior citizen of Mohali, unfurled the National Flag. Students of Vidya Niketan High School, Mohali village, sang patriotic songs.

DAV College, Sec 10

Mrs and Mr Neeraj Vats, proud parents of Major Navneet Vats, who laid down his life for the nation, unfurled the National Flag at DAV College, Sector 10, here. Major Navneet Vats was a student of the college, said Dr S. Marriya, Principal of the college. Navneet was awarded Sena Medal.

Shivalik Public School

The Director-Principal of Shivalik Public School, Mohali, Mr D.S. Bedi, unfurled the Tricolour to the accompaniment of the National Anthem and took salute of an impressive march past. Students delivered speeches, sang patriotic songs, recited poems and danced to the tunes of patriotic numbers.

Ankur School, PU

The Independence Day function at Ankur School started with a patriotic song sung by tiny tots. The programme ended with a Haryanavi folk dance.

The British School

The spirits of gaiety and pride was evident at British School. The initial prayer service was followed with an exuberant display of the acting abilities of the little ones in the Foundation Years.

Shemrock School

The Principal of the school, Air Commodore S.K. Sharma, hoisted the National Flag. A speech was delivered by Nitsimar of Class VI, followed by a cultural show and poetry recitation.

Govt College, Sec 46

The function began with the unfurling of the National Flag by Principal Usha Jindal. The three wings of the NCC unit of the college presented an impressive march past.

Govt College, Sec 11

Dr A.N. Garg, Principal of Government College, Sector 11, unfurled the National Flag. Dr Garg exhorted the young generation to do one good deed each day and develop values and build character. He also released a news letter-print journo on the occasion.

Golden Bells School

Tiny tots of the school attired themselves as national heroes and presented a colourful show through patriotic songs, plays, speeches and a fancy-dress competition. Principal Gurjeet Bawa spoke about the life of freedom fighters.

MOHALI: A colourful function was organised here.

Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, unfurled the national flag and took the salute. A parade comprising contingents of the Punjab police, Home Guards, NCC and schoolchildren was organised. The parade was led by Mr Arun Saini, DSP (Traffic). As many as 1,200 students from government and private schools and the government college took part in a cultural function.

Prof Darbari Lal announced a special grant of Rs 1 lakh for Government College and Rs 21,000 for the welfare of the children who participated in the function. He also declared August 17 as a holiday in all government schools in the district as well as the college.

Two newly elected municipal councillors — Mr Amrik Singh and Mr P.S. Kahlon — boycotted the function saying that special sitting arrangements had not been made for councillors.

Flag hoisting delayed

The Flag-hoisting ceremony at the office of the local Municipal Council got delayed by hours. According to the schedule, the flag was to be hoisted around 8 am. Employees of the council kept waiting till about 9.30 am and then left the venue. The flag was finally hoisted around 11.30 am by the Administrator, Mr Sandeep Hans.

It is reported that the ceremony got delayed because officials of the civic body were busy making preparations at the venue where the district — level function was to be held. The rain last night had upset the arrangements there.

PANCHKULA: Independence day celebrations at the district-level function held at the Parade Ground, Sector 5, here.

Speaking at the function, the Haryana Industries Minister, Mr Lakshman Das Arora, recalled the sacrifices of soldiers and leaders who fought the British tooth and nail.

Earlier, he inspected the parade comprising 17 contingents drawn from the Haryana police, Home Guards, NCC and schools of the city. He was accompanied by the Balbir Singh. A cultural programme, comprising songs and dances, was put up by school students. Manav Mangal bagged the “best cultural item” trophy and a cash award of Rs 5000 while the Principal of the school was also honoured for his contribution to furthering IT and education.

Meanwhile, members of the Bharatiya Valmeki Dharam Samaj boycotted the Independence Day celebrations by lodging a protest at the Sector 16 crossing. Waving black flags and wearing black badges, they said even on the 60th Independence Day they were slaves and that there lot was still plagued by unemployment and poverty.

Sahitya Akademi

The Haryana Sahitya Akademi organised “kavya sandhya” at Red Bishop here to mark Independence Day. Twentyeight well-known Hindi poets of the region, who virtually outnumbered the scant audience, recited their verses on diverse subjects. Former director of the akademi Chander Trikha won applause for his poetic vision of next decades. Akademi director Radhe Shyam Sharma expressed gratitude to the poets. Dr Naresh was the chief guest.

Saupin’s School

Ms Upasna Babuta, Headmistress, hoisted the Tricolour at Saupin’s School, Sector 9. An inter-house group song competition, based on patriotism, was organised. The names of the school captain and school vice-captain, the captains and vice-captains of the four houses were also announced. Sweets were distributed among the students and the staff.

Shishu Niketan

Municipal Council President Manveer Kaur Gill and area councillor Renuka Walia presided over the function at Shishu Niketan Public School, Sector 5. An inter-house declamation contest was organised on the theme Independence Day followed by an inter-house patriotic solo singing contest. The winners were given certificates. The most interesting item was the fancy dress competition.

Satluj Public School

At Satluj Public School, Sector 4, the programme started with the flag-hoisting ceremony followed by the national anthem. The Principal of the school, Mr Krit Serai, congratulated all students.

The cultural programme by students started with a patriotic dance performance “Vande Mataram”. Smriti Chandel (Class XII) our International roller skater was felicitated.

Blue Bird High School

Independence Day was celebrated on the campus of Blue Bird High School, Sector 16. The campus was decorated with colourful balloons, flowers and rangoli. Students delivered speeches on the freedom struggle and sang patriotic songs. The Principal of the school, Ms Bhatnagar, highlighted the significance of the day.

AMBALA: Haryana minister Savitri Jindal unfurled the national flag at the district level Independence Day function here. Ms Jindal took the salute of an impressive march past held at War Heroes Memorial Stadium, Ambala Cantt. She said to improve education in the state, the Rajiv Gandhi education city was being established. In each district, one model senior secondary school would be opened and Rajiv Gandhi scholarship programme had been started.

ROPAR: The state-level function to mark the Independence Day witnessed patriotic songs and a skit by schoolchildren of various schools at Nehru Stadium here. Students of Netaji Model School presented a skit on the freedom struggle. Tiny tots presented various cultural items reflecting Punjab culture.

Punjab Transport Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri, unfurl the Tricolour. He, along with Deputy Commissioner Alok Shekhar, SSP Kapil Dev, took salute from contingents of the Punjab police. The presentation of Shivalik Public School was adjudged the best while Netaji Model School stood second. Adarsh School and Blue Bird Public School were declared joint third.

Meanwhile, at the Municipal Council office, its president Ashok Bahi, unfurled the national flag. At the Congress Bhavan, district Congress president Ramesh Dutt Sharma did the honours while at the Lions Club, its president Satish Jagota hoisted the national flag.

A cultural programme marked the Independence Day celebration at IET, Bhaddal.

PATIALA: The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) held a function at its headquarters here. The national flag was hoisted by Mr Anurag Aggaral, member (finance and accounts) in the presence of the top brass of the Board, including Mr J.S. Sekhon, member (distribution), Mr Kumar Rahul, secretary of the board, Mr A.K. Aggarwal, adviser (finance) and Mr R.P. Pandove, Director (Industrial and Public Relations).

Similar functions were held by Diesel Modernisation Works (DMW), a production unit of the Railways, at the DMW headquarters; the Lions Club (Patiala Central), in collaboration with the State Bank of Patiala, Jakhwali branch, at the Government Elementary School, Guni Majra village, near here; the Patiala District Bar Association on the District Court complex; the State Bank of Patiala at the bank’s head office here; the Northern Regional Languages Centre, a subordinate office of the Central Institute of Languages, on its campus; the PRTC at its headquarters, on the Nabha road; and the All-India Pingla Ashram, Sanaur road.



‘If you are married, ignore this’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
If you were wondering that in spite of the renewed nationalism in the youth — post Rang De Basanti — you found the usual excitement about Independence Day missing, check your mobile and e-mail account. The netizens are certainly not removed from Independence Day as would prove the increased sms traffic today.

From messages like “31 states, 1,618 languages, 6,400 castes, six religions, six ethnic groups, 29 major festivals and one country! Be proud to be an Indian! Happy Independence Day!” to fun sms like “If you are married, please ignore this. Happy Independence Day,” everybody seemed to be exchanging greetings on the big day.

Those who were not sending these, were exhorted by sms like “Bulund Bharat ke nikkamon, agar Valentine’s Day ya Friendship Day hota, you would have sent 100 sms. Get up and wish your loved ones on this great occasion” or this one “Independence is not a matter of choice and not chance, it is not a thing to be waited for, but a thing to be achieved.”



Rape case: lacunae in FIR, medico-legal report mar probe
Tribune News Service

Police to send report to ministry

The Chandigarh Police will be sending a report about the status of the case to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Since Chandigarh is administered by the MHA, the report pertaining to the alleged case has to be sent to the ministry.

A copy of the report was also being sent to the Punjab Government, said sources in the police.

Chandigarh, August 15
The Chandigarh Police has written to the Director, Health Services, Chandigarh, seeking some clarifications about the medico-legal report (MLR) of the maid, who was allegedly raped by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Dhuri, Gaganjit Singh Barnala, at his Sector-3 MLA flat on Saturday.

“Ambiguity and some goof-ups in the medico-legal report (MLR) by the General Hospital authorities are hampering the investigations.

“It would ultimately help the investigation agency to know how the injury happened,” said a senior official of the Chandigarh Police.

It may be mentioned that the victim was bleeding before she was operated upon at the hospital.

In the light of facts and statement given by the victim in the FIR, the police has sought an opinion on the approximate time when the bleeding started, extent of blood loss, whether the injury can be due to forced sex or by a sharp-edged weapon.

In the letter written to the health authorities, the police has also sought an opinion on whether the injuries could be self-inflicted and if it is the case of forced sex, can the accused also suffer injuries?

“The MLR signed by the lady doctor on duty does not mention the duration of injury.

“It does not clarify some facts in light of the circumstantial evidence. The time of examination is also not mentioned,” said the officer.

The police said serious discrepancies in the MLR and the FIR had surfaced. While the FIR mentioned that the victim named the accused as ‘Kaka’, the MLR categorically stated that the victim had been brought by the “unnamed” driver and maid of G.S. Barnala, son of Mr S.S.Barnala, at noon on August 12.

While the hospital authorities have given their version about the delay in treating the patient, the police is now investigating the reason behind the delay and the specific reason for not informing the police in time as per the legal provisions.

“This would help the police to know whether any pull or pressure was exerted in favour of the accused or against him,” said an official.

Even the FIR has certain lacunae like it does not mention the room in which the victim was allegedly raped.

Lack of circumstantial evidence

A police official said since the CFSL experts had not found traces of struggle, blood stains or victim’s movement within the house as described by her in the FIR, a reconstruction of the sequence of events after she started from her home at about 7 am would be done.

“The victim massaged the mother of the accused at S.S. Barnala’s house in Sector 7. Then she went to the Sector-18 residence of the sister of the accused and thereafter to the flat of the accused at about 12.45 pm. “All those persons whose house she visited and the telephonic messages which were passed on to her are being investigated by the police,” the official said.



Rape victim being kept isolated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Even after four days of the incident, the rape victim in the Barnala case has been lying isolated in the labour room of the General Hospital, Sector 16. Though she is on the recovery path with mild fever, the hospital administration has not shifted her to the female ward. This is being reportedly done to avoid any type of influence on the victim.

Though the UT police has deployed a woman constable (on a rotation basis), on the victim’s bedside in the hospital round the clock, no additional security arrangements have been made by the hospital management in and around the labour room.

Meanwhile, certain members of the fact-finding committee constituted by the Lawyers for Human Rights International visited the hospital, but were denied entry to the area. The victim’s sister and other well-wishers were also barred from meeting her by the hospital staff.



Facelift for Tagore Theatre on the cards
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Going to the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, for a play may become a more pleasant experience with the UT administration finally considering a proposal to give the nod to an overhaul of the city’s centre of cultural activities.

On the cards is a new, up- graded and more spacious theatre and that too, hopefully, in a record time of less than four months. A proposal regarding this is pending for the final nod of the Governor, S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

According to the proposal, the outer structure of the theatre will be the same, as it is a landmark of sorts. However, the interiors will be renovated. The theatre currently, has a seating capacity of 578, which is proposed to be increased by another 320. Also proposed is a better car parking, including one in the basement. Currently, the theatre has a parking space for 163 cars. An improved entrance, better facilities and a newe stage, which will not only be bigger and better but also face in the opposite direction of the current one, has also been proposed.

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj Chief Engineer. UT Administration, said the proposal had been sent for approval and they were waiting for the nod.

City based architect Namita Singh would handle the work, if the proposal is okayed, the work is expected to start by October. Tagore Theatre was opened to the public in November 1961. However, according to the manager, it was not before 1963 that events started being staged here.

Mr P.S. Thakur, manager of the Tagore Theatre, said they had written to the Admnistration many times regarding its upgradation.

Though renovation work did take place in the theatre in 2003, according to the manager the work had to be wrapped up soon as bookings were too heavy and the work was taking too long to complete.

Over the past 10 years, the city has emerged as a major cultural centre but no efforts have been made by the authorities to upgrade the theatre.



Punjab, Haryana face milk shortage
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The delayed monsoon in Punjab and Haryana has led to a shortage of milk in this “land of milk”. As a result, Milkfed, the Punjab and Dairy Development Cooperative Federation, Haryana, have recommended a rationing in milk supply to their regular customers, and are putting their growth plans on hold.

Officials in the dairy departments of Punjab and Haryana informed TNS that there was a 10-15 per cent shortage in milk supply.

Because of scanty rainfall this monsoon, the green forage is not available, leading to a reduction in the yield of milch animals.

The milk procurement, inform officials, has decreased sharply because of the heat stress in animals.

They said though they were aiming at a two-digit growth in the milk supply, all growth plans had been put on hold, even though both states have supplied 8 to 10 per cent more than the previous year.

“It is after a gap of almost 13 years that we are facing a shortage of milk and a similar situation had arisen in 1993.

Though there was also some shortage of milk three years ago, it was not as bad as this year,” said an official in Milkfed.

The two states have been facing a shortage in milk supply for almost a fortnight now.

The shortage was further aggravated in urban areas of Punjab and Haryana around the festival of Raksha Bandhan last week, as milk was being procured by the sweet-meat shop owners.

Officials in Milkfed informed TNS that the daily demand for Verka milk in Punjab and Chandigarh was to the tune of 6.40 lakh litres.

“Comparatively, the procurement of milk through the 6000-odd village cooperative societies across the state is just 5. 10 lakh litres.

Though we are doing some reconstitution of milk at the milk plants by using milk powder, there is definitely a shortage,” said a top procurement official in Punjab.

He added that all Verka retailers had been asked not to give bulk supply of milk to sweet-meat shops and instead try and maintain a regular supply of milk to the regular customers.

Similarly, in Haryana, as compared to a demand of almost four lakh litres a day, the supply from 4000 odd cooperative societies to the Dairy Development Cooperative Federation is just 3. 25 lakh litres a day.

Officials, however, said calving season had now set in for the milch animals, and within the next 10 days the milk supply could improve.



City-Ambala travel set to get costlier
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bridge open to light traffic

The Ghaggar bridge, which has developed a technical snag, is open for light traffic, including cars and two-wheelers. Whether the bridge is to be closed permanently for repairs or light traffic would continue to ply on it, would be decided on August 19, sources said.

Dera Bassi, August 15
The closure of the Ghaggar bridge for heavy traffic is all set to make the commuting between Chandigarh and Ambala costlier.

With heavy vehicles, including buses, run by the state transport corporations, being diverted to longer routes, a hike in the bus fare is being mooted. ”The hike becomes inevitable as the buses would travel more distance, besides consuming more time,” a senior functionary of the Haryana Transport Department, which runs a majority of the buses on this road, told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

The details of the hike would be worked out once offices opened on August 17 after the Janmashtami celebrations, he said, adding that the hike would be nominal. Other state transport corporations would follow suit, official sources said.

Currently, the buses travel a distance of 53 km between the two cities and a one-way fare of Rs 26 is being charged from passengers. However, after diversion of the buses to the Zirakpur-Banur-Tepla road from today, the buses travelled a distance of about 15 km more, necessitating the fare hike, the sources highlighted.

The sources said a corresponding increase would also have to be worked out for the Ambala-Panchkula route as the traffic for this route was being diverted to the Dera Bassi-Ramgarh road.

The National Highway Authority of India(NHAI) and GMR Private Limited had decided to close the bridge for heavy traffic last night following a technical snag. The bridge, which was built in the 1950s, has virtually outlived its utility and a parallel bridge is being constructed as part of the four-laning project of the Zirakpur-Ambala highway to be completed in November 2008.



Puja again pollutes Sukhna Lake
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
A large number of devotees of Sheetla Mata this afternoon converged on Sukhna Lake and performed religious ceremonies despite a ban imposed by the Administration on such ceremonies. Besides taking a holy dip, they immersed puja material into the lake, thus polluting the stagnant waters of the lake. Most of the devotees, who participated in the ceremony, were from the South.

They not only performed rituals, but also immersed flowers, fruits, grains, diyas, straw baskets and hawan material. These were seen floating on the water after the ceremony. Prof M.S. Johal, a member of the Ecological Management of Sukhna Lake Committee, says this is not a healthy practice. He says the puja material not only pollutes the water body but also threatens the existence of aquatic fauna.

He says the committee has asked the Administration to strictly enforce the ban on such ceremonies on the banks of the lake.

Surprisingly, the Administration has installed a number of hoardings along the lake, warning the visitors against taking a dip into the lake. Even a penalty of Rs 500 could be imposed on the violators, but in this case no action was taken despite the presence of police personnel and lake staff.

Prof Johal says since most of the puja material contains starchy items, this results in pollution and growth of micro-organisms in the water body. The pollution depletes dissolved oxygen in the water, thus suffocating the organisms. Even the foodstuff enables the growth of parasites that are one of the main causes of fish deaths.

Since the lake is rainfed, the chances of pollutants getting dissolved in the water are bleak. Moreover, this year the water level is low due to scanty rain in the lake catchment. The lake supports a good aquatic fauna with 30 fish species. It’s home to Indian major carps and a few exotic carps. The exotic species include the common carp, the silver carp, the grass carp, the mosquito fish and the goldfish.



Assembly poll: booth-level officers to be deputed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 15
Under the new directions issued by the Election Commission of India for the intensive revision of electoral rolls for the coming Assembly elections, for the first time booth-level officers (BLOs) have been deputed to check and update the voters’ list.

The aim of adopting a new system is to bring transparency in the electoral process and also to fix responsibility for any kind of lapses.

The BLOs, who have been drawn from various government departments, are expected to cover all matters relating to the polling booth concerned, including keeping the electoral roll updated by tracking those voters who may have died or migrated. Their other duties will be to ensure that the physical infrastructure of the polling booth was in satisfactory condition and bring all problems to the notice of authorities concerned for corrective action.

They will be working under the supervision of the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) or the Assistant-Electoral Registration Officer concerned.

Deputy Commissioners were asked to avoid deployment of too many teachers as BLOs as it would adversely affect the education of students in schools .

In view of the directions of the Election Commission of India as many as 182 BLOs have been appointed for the 69 Kharar Assembly constituency who will be working under the supervision of Mr Sandeep Hans, ERO.

Letters of appointment were issued to them here yesterday. They have been asked to attend a training-cum- rehearsal programme which will be held in the auditorium of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation on August 17 .

The Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Registration Officer, Mr Tejveer Singh, said 100 per cent verification of the voters’ list would be done by BLOs. Voter identity cards have been made mandatory for the Assembly elections.

He said the BLOs would be identifying those residual voters who did not have Electoral Photo Identification Cards ( EPICs) . A special programme for getting the EPICs made will be launched soon the dates of which will be published for the information of the public.

Mr Tejveer Singh has appealed to the people that when programmes for making EPICs were organised they should get the cards made. The aim was to achieve 100 per cent EPIC coverage.

The Deputy Commissioner said he would be holding a meeting with representatives of political parties to apprise them of the latest guidelines and also to seek their cooperation.

During the meetings with the representatives of political parties , the DCs and the SDMs are expected to explain the BLO concept and suggest that political parties consider the identification of “booth-level agents” who will function as the BLO’s political counterpart and bring problems and suggestions to the latter’s notice so that the necessary action could be taken.



Martyr’s frustrated family contemplates refusing Sena Medal
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
After months of staying gracious in the face of their son’s loss, Lieut-Col Rajeev Bakshi’s parents wept their hearts out today. Contrary to what they had hoped, this year’s list of I-Day Presidential Awards held no pleasant surprise for them.

What it held instead was a distressing news — one that broke their hearts and shattered their faith in the rightness of the gallantry awards and the process that led to their selection.

Shocked at the contents of the telegram received from the Ministry of Defence yesterday, the martyr’s father, Lt-Col J.M.L. Bakshi (retd) told the TNS at his Panchkula home today, “No one in the North Block knows what the insurgency in North-East is like. They have decided to confer a Sena Medal on my son posthumously, but we were expecting nothing less than a Kirti Chakra. Had my son died fighting the militants in Kashmir and not in Manipur, he would have certainly got his due. I wish he had died in Kashmir.”

The family is contemplating to refuse the award.

Barely managing to digest the news, Lt-Col Bakshi, his wife Usha and daughter Ranjana demanded to know the basis of selections for the awards. Ranjana said, “My brother’s act was of supreme gallantry. He died liberating Parbung, a Manipur village from the clutches of the ultras. Before he fell, he killed two ultras.

But his sacrifice has been belittled and we are pained at the turn of events. Our information was that Rajeev’s name had been recommended for a high gallantry award which certainly means nothing less than the Kirti Chakra.”

The martyr’s mother Usha Bakshi is most perturbed, as she says, “Rajeev was the officiating CO of his unit when he was leading the operation. He could have easily sent his men forward instead of bearing the risk himself. But he marched on courageously and killed two ultras.”

The operation was won on January 20 this year and for the first time in nine years the Indian flag was hoisted on the soil of the village. Only Lt-Col Rajeev was not there to see it unfurl, though his spirit was kept alive by the villagers.

They named the hill where the operation took place after Rajeev. It is now called the Bakshi hill.

Back in Chandigarh, however, this consolation does not seem enough for the martyr’s father, who says, “There is a clear bias in favour of the soldiers posted in Kashmir. This is the result of our government’s Pak-centric policies. In any case the awards are decided by glorified babus who know little about the severity of the insurgency in North-East.”

Thirty two years ago, Lt-Col J.M.L. Bakshi led the same battalion as his son Rajeev who belonged to the 13 Dogra Regiment. His family has been devoted to the armed forces for years. But not any more, as Ranjana Bakshi has decided that her son will not enter the forces. And she has her reason for it:

“My brother died for the country. But the country did not recognise his sacrifice. He was put in the same bracket as a man who rescued a child from a pit in Kurukshetra.”

As for the I-Day, the family celebrated it with the parents of martyrs Major Rohit Sharma (Shaurya Chakra) and Maj Sandeep Sankhla (Ashok Chakra).



City boy is this year’s Shaurya Chakra awardee
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Lt Amarjit Singh Aulakh has done the city proud. Easily among the youngest recipients of this year’s Independence Day Presidential Awards, he is shining at the top in the list of Shaurya Chakra awardees for this year.

The achievement is commendable considering he has less than two years service. He will complete two years of his service in September this year when he will also be promoted to the rank of Captain.

Rewarded for his act of bravery while fighting militants in Kashmir, Lt Aulakh has been in the valley for two years since he got commissioned. He joined the Forces from the Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Chennai.

As the news of his reward was flashed in the papers this morning, Lt Amarjit’s family was upbeat and gratified. When the TNS team met his father Darshan Singh this afternoon, he had this to say, “My son was always enthused about the Armed Forces. As a child, he knew where his calling lay. And he consistently worked towards his goal, conquering one milestone after the other.”

An officer in the 4th Parachute Regiment (Special Force), Lt Amarjit Singh Aulakh always wanted to join the Parachute Regiment. Now a decorated officer and a brilliant NCC cadet, Amarjit made it to the Army out of the NCC quota. Earlier, he completed his graduation from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

Interestingly, his mother who was not too keen on his joining the Army and being posted in Kashmir is now happy about her son’s choices. The formal decoration will take place at the investiture ceremony, which will be held later.



President’s Police Medal for SP
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 15
Mr Varinder Pal Singh, SP ( City), has been awarded the President’s Police Medal for meritorious service on the occasion of Independence Day.

Mr Varinder Pal Singh joined the Punjab Police as Inspector in 1988 and was promoted as DSP in 1992. He served as DSP (Headquarters) in Patiala and DSP in charge Samana sub division. He played a major role in a number of anti-terrorist operations. He was awarded the “Disc of Honour” during his operational deployment in Assam.

He was promoted as SP in 2002 and posted as SP (Headquarters) in Ropar. He was also sent to attend the India-UK Police Conference held at Liverpool in 2003. He was posted as SP, Mohali, last year and with the creation of the new district he was given the charge of SP (City).



Magician casts spell
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Have you ever seen an elephant disappear into thin air from the stage in a theatre? Believe it or not, it is actually taking place not once but three times in a day at Neelam theatre, Sector 17, where spellbinder Satya Parkash Sharma has been performing since last month.

Apart from elephant item, the spectators are experiencing over 20 unbelievable items like a girl hanging in the air without any support, things coming out from vacuum, magician lifting his body in the air, transformation of girl into chimpanzee and above all the cutting of human body into two pieces.

While talking to TNS here, the Kanpur-based magician Satya Parkash, who did mechanical engineering, reveals: “All these mind-boggling things are based on the formulae of science and maths. The forte of all magicians is just deftness and swift actions which are too fast to be caught by the naked eye.”

Satya Parkash, who also seemed impressed with the well-behaved and educated people of the city, said that the purpose of the show is not only entertainment but also to educate people against superstitions and other social vices. “Besides, we also try to imbibe patriotism in the children through our items”.

After watching the show, awe-struck brothers Bhavya and Shaurya said: “It was amazing to see pigeons and rabbits along with other things coming out from empty boxes”. They were also trying to figure out like other spectators that how a girl was changed into a monkey and why she did not fall down when the magician lifted her up in the air without any support. Even, the aged people seemed spellbound by the magic. Briefing about their shows, Mr Dwarka Sharma, official spokesman of the group, said: “So far we have performed over 30,000 shows in the country and abroad, including America, Australia, Japan, Dubai, Muscat and Nepal. For the success of show, over 140 persons work”.



Student held for hoax bomb calls
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 15
The police has booked a Class XII student of Mani Majra on charges of making hoax telephone calls about a bomb having been planted at the Spice Telecom call centre here today.

The hoax caller, Sukhwinder Singh, alias Johny, a resident of Mani Majra, was traced within five hours and arrested by the police. The suspect is a student of Government Senior Secondary School.

The police said the Spice Telecom call centre here had received three threatening calls between 8.52 am and 9.30 am. The caller, who was making the calls from a mobile phone, allegedly threatened the operator, saying that a bomb was planted in the call centre and “if you want to save your life run away from there otherwise you will be blown off”. The caller also allegedly used abusive language. The matter was immediately brought to the notice of the local police.

A team of police officials comprising Mr Ashok Kumar Sharma, DSP, Mr Satnam Singh, SHO of the Phase I police station, Mr Rajinder Singh Sohal, SHO of the Central police station, and other police personnel reached the call centre. The premises of the call centre was searched but nothing objectionable was found there. And then began the hunt for the hoax caller.

To begin with, the police tried to detect the calls made to the mobile phone of the suspect. Soon some of his friends were rounded up for questioning and the police got to know that the mobile phone used allegedly for threatening the operator of the Spice centre belonged to Sukhwinder Singh. The police said by this time Sukhwinder Singh had switched off his phone. He then went to Kalka in a bus where his aunt lived. On the way, he threw the SIM card of his mobile phone out of the bus.

After the arrest of Sukhwinder Singh, the police took him to the place where the SIM card had allegedly been thrown but somehow the SIM card could not be traced.

The police has registered a case under Sections 294, 506 and 507 of the IPC in this regard.



Biz Clip

ISI mark must for pump manufacturers

CHANDIGARH: All small-scale industries manufacturing power driven pumps designed to handle water have to take the BIS Standard Mark. The deadline for the same expired on July 31, 2006. An official press note said failure to comply with this regulation will result in withdrawal of benefits given to SSI units like tax relief and lower bank loan interest rate. The Chandigarh office of the BIS has given just 29 SSI units with the ISI mark on their product and only five new applicants have been registered by the BIS. — TNS



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