C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Red tape wrap on right to information
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Not all is well with the implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act at Chandigarh. In several cases, sanctity of the law is being lost in bureaucratic rigmarole.

Also, not all departments have made the 17 proactive disclosures mandatory under Section 4 of the Act. The disclosures, such as “which officer has what responsibility, what is the department’s complaint disposal system etc” were to be made within 120 days from June 15 last year when the Law came into force. The period has expired.


Estate Office: Asked where it had installed boards highlighting “no smoking zone”: 30 days over; appeal pending.

Sports Department: Asked to give details of fund utilisation, dietary provision for athletes, use of stadium: unsatisfactory information given; appeal pending.

Health Department: An enforcement agency for the Tobacco Act, asked if it had installed boards required under the Act; appeal pending.

Home Secretary Office: Asked if it had installed boards stating “smoking here is an offence”; PIO replied that the matter pertained to the Directorate of Health.

On another front, the disposal of applications under the RTI Act has been, in many cases, half-hearted. Enquiries made into the status of applications filed under RTI since January by a person associated with a single NGO show that of about 30 applications, not even one has been disposed of satisfactorily.

Most of these applications have been filed to seek information from UT Administration with respect to the implementation of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 which makes it mandatory for departments to display in their offices 30 cm by 60 cm boards stating “No smoking area. Smoking here is an offence.”

Hemant Goswami of NGO Burning Brain Society applied to the UT Police Department under the RTI Act and asked for a disclosure regarding locations where such boards had been installed and copies of bills against the purchase. “The then Public Information Officer (PIO), SSP Gaurav Yadav, told me to apply afresh as the PIO had changed.” Never mind the police website still shows Gaurav Yadav as the PIO. The case is in appeal as 30 days have expired.

Another application Goswami filed to enquire about the details of Chandigarh Film City and Amusement Park is pending in appeal with Chief Information Commissioner, Delhi. The application sought details of the project, how it was conceived, what feasibility study was conducted, copies of electronic communication’ if any, among other details. The project is worth crores.

Despite appeals to the Departments of Information Technology and Tourism satisfactory information was not forthcoming. “We addressed our query to whoever officer was concerned. Meanwhile the film city part of the project was transferred to Department of Tourism. Under the RTI Act, such a transfer should have been intimated within five days, but it was not. The IT Department did not reply within 30 days. So we appealed and received partial information. They also told us to contact Tourism Department for other queries,” Goswami said, showing documents.

He had to apply afresh to Tourism Department which allowed him to see the file briefly, but denied him copies of documents saying file notings could not be shared.

The appeal was filed in Delhi as Chandigarh has no state commission, being a UT.

Anther such case about the functioning the Shivalik View Business Centre is pending with the CITCO Managing Director, who wrote back saying “an NGO was not authorised to seek information under the Act.” Goswami had however filed the application in individual capacity to find out rules that CITCO followed in allotment of business to different parties.



Estate Office gives wrong info on Fun Republic, alleges NGO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Forum for Public Affairs has filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority of the Estate Office, under the Right to Information Act, stating that information provided to it regarding the Fun Republic, Mani Majra, was incorrect, incomplete and misleading.

Mr Girish Kapoor, general secretary of the Forum, said firstly the information was not provided in the stipulated period of 60 days and when it was provided, it turned out to be incorrect.

Thus, the Right to Information was denied. This warranted action against the officials concerned, he added.

“Though its actual area was 93705.98 sq ft, the information officer said it was 93293.91 sq ft. The information about the floor-wise area for recreational use, corridor, stairs, toilets, restaurant and theatres was either not provided or was incorrect,” claimed Mr Kapoor.

Commercial activity was going on at the place meant for public corridor at the ground floor and the second f0loor, he added.

As per the notification of the Chandigarh Administration, dated January 24, 2006, the use of basement and other areas designated as parking could not be changed. But there were violations in the multiples, said the general secretary of the Forum.

In the information supplied by the building branch of the Estate Office, it had been stated that no space meant for public and office use was being used for commercial activity. The factual position was that temporary kiosks had been set up on the public space.

At the entrance to the cinema, some kiosks had been allowed and a restaurant had been allowed on the fourth floor against the approved office space. The revised plan for restaurant was separately submitted, the appeal said. “In reply to our query about prescribed conversion charges, the Estate Office said the fact had to be verified from the Municipal Corporation.

“The fact is that a committee headed by the Estate Officer calculates conversion charges at the time of approval of plan,” said another office-bearer of the Forum.

The query about the charges deposited with Estate Office for each earmarked area as per the site plan, verification of the misuse of any area and any deviation or alteration or misuse from the original site plan had been answered incorrectly.



Railway reservation system collapses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Hundreds of passengers in the region were harassed after the Public Reservation System of the Northern Railways collapsed this morning.

Confusion prevailed among passengers scheduled to travel by trains in the morning as they were unable to find out their reservation status. It, especially, affected those who were on the waiting lists.

According to officials, the snag in the system occurred late last night, when the system was being re-booted. The system was finally restored at 2:50 pm.

The timings of the railway reservations were also extended from 2 pm to 6 pm to help facilitate the people. As an additional measure, Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel were also deployed to ensure no outward incident.

Mr Rajiv Saxena, Chief Public Relation Officer, Northern Railways, said the problem occurred due to a software snag, which took place when the system was being re-booted late last night. We had been trying to resolve the problem ever since. The officials concerned were informed and the reservation system was shifted to manual mode."

E-ticketing also failed as reservations could not be made on the Internet. According to officials, trains were running as per schedule and announcements were made on the railway stations to ensure that the passengers were informed of their travel status. Alternative arrangements were made by putting up hand-written charts to apprise passengers about their reservations status.

However, confusion prevailed as many passengers could not check their reservation status. "I was on the waiting list for the Dadar-Amritsar train, which leaves Ambala at 4 pm, and I have no way to find it out," stated a harassed Dalbir Singh.

"I have been in line since morning for a reservation for the evening Shatabdi to Delhi from Chandigarh for my mother, thankfully the system has now started working," stated Gaganjit Singh.

Mr R.K. Tandon, Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala, said, "We did our best to ensure that passengers were put to minimum inconvenience. We ensured announcements were made and more manpower was also put to help out.



Hotels fall short on cleanliness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
On the second day, the Administration carried on with its drive to inspect hotels for cleanliness. The surprise inspections conducted by Mr Ankur Garg, SDM (South), presented an unsatisfactory picture of some of the premiere hotels as far as cleanliness standards are concerned.

Those inspected today included Hotel Orange, Sher-e-Punjab, Khyber, Maya Palace and Gopal Sweets and Restaurant in Sector 35.



14 societies excluded from HUDA draw
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 20
Of the 4,769 applications of group housing societies received by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for the draw slated for August 25, 14 societies have been rejected by the office of Chief Town Planner on the ground of not fulfilling the criterion laid down by the authority. The final list of eligible societies has been received by the Estate Office, which will conduct the draw.

Interestingly, while all societies headed by the state’s top Congressmen have passed the eligibility test laid down by the authority, the Pavilion Group Housing Society headed by former Finance Minister Sampat Singh is out of reckoning in the MP/MLA category.

In the final round, Indira Gandhi Housing Society headed by Dr Raghubir Singh Kadiyan, Capt Ajay Yadav’s Haryana MLAs Society and Mr Chhatar Pal Singh’s MLAs Unique Society will contest for the two plots earmarked under the category. The HUDA had received 12 applications in the category, of which nine were found ineligible on the ground that the members were not sitting MPs or MLAs.

On August 25, 4,755 societies will try their luck in a draw to be held at the office of the HUDA, Sector 6.

Of the total sites available, 27 sites are for the general category, four for the economically weaker sections, seven for cooperative societies of Haryana and the Central government, two for defence and paramilitary forces, two for welfare housing societies of Haryana and Central Governments and two for the MP/MLA category.

Sources said while the half acre plots would be allotted by draw of lots, those who have applied for 1 acre would be given the adjoining plot. “We will try to give the adjoining plot in ascending order. If a society gets plot No. 4 and has applied for 1 acre, we will try that he gets plot No. 5. In case it is not possible, we will give it plot No. 4. In case both are not available, a fresh slip will be pulled out and a similar scheme will be followed,” an official said.



Society gives notice to HUDA

Even as HUDA is readying for the draw for housing societies, the State Bank Employees Welfare Organisation (SBEWO) has alleged that the Haryana Employees Welfare Organisation (HEWO) is at an advantage as compared to the rest of them.

The general secretary of SBEWO, Mr S.R. Khatry, said they had served a notice upon the HUDA for the draws of societies carried out in Rewari and Panipat last week. “We have despatched a notice and will be going in for a writ. Everywhere, the HEWO has applied as HEWO 1, HEWO 2 and so on. They have as many as 20 applications which obviously puts them at an advantage over us and they end up getting all plots in the employees welfare category,” he said.

Mr Khatry reasoned that while other societies had paid fee and got themselves registered, HEWO was registered as one body, paid registration fee only once, but was allowed to put in many applications, which is unjust.

The MD, HEWO, Mr S.C. Kansal, however, said the number of employees were too many to be registered under one HEWO. “They will apply with different members under the employees welfare organisations category. While I don’t know the legal status, I do know that HUDA must have checked everything before recognising them as eligible for the draws,” he said.



Prestigious award for Sanskrit scholar
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, August 20
Wisdom, rationality and humanistic vision are the essential ingredients in the literary work of this Panchkula-based Sanskrit scholar, Dr Mathura Dutt Pandey, who has won the coveted Sanskrit Award that will be personally given to him by the President of India at a special function to be organised in New Delhi later this year.

According to a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique, Dr Pandey will be entitled to a life long cash incentive of 50, 000 per annum besides a citation, a shawl and a memento to be presented by Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Awards and honours have flowed freely for this intellectual, an author of 21publications in Sanskrit, Hindi and other languages. Just a year ago Dr Pandey was honoured with the Uttaranchal Sanskrit Akademy Samman (2004-05) by President Kalam, which followed the Punjab Government’s Bhasha Award, both making him rich by a lakh.

Twice winner of the Kalidas Samman he was bestowed with the national Balraj Sahni Award for his contribution to diverse subjects and different languages with equal expertise.

Holding a doctorate from Panjab University, a former Principal, Dr Mathura Dutt Pandey, first realised of the creative potential of a writer in him and in his formative years he sculpted and directed his Sanskrit plays in India and Nepal, and taught Sanskrit in Holland as a visiting professor.

Seized with the low propagation of Sanskrit language in the modern context he favours modernity and innovation in concepts and treatment of all literary creations in Sanskrit. His drama ‘Kalgiri’ (Kargil) eloquently which represents the modern national psyche, is a testimony to his new universal vision.

Neither a mystic nor a dreamer Dr Pandey has amply enshrined and projected the morality and value-based themes in his works. His poetic creation — ‘A poet’s entreaty for formation of a global government’ — reflects his secular ideology of International amity and brotherhood. A university scholar was recently awarded PhD. for research on Dr Pandey’s writings.

Young in spirits at 78 Dr Pandey is an avid reader and devoted to his pursuits of research and writings in Sanskrit with a firm resolve to bring back the glory of the mother language. He plans to produce 25 more short plays in Sanskrit, all intertwined with contemporary issues and holding all-time relevance to the socio-economic and cultural life of the society.



Police fails to register case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The law of the land is that whenever a citizen makes a complaint to the police regarding a criminal offence, the police has to act on the complaint swiftly and start investigations by registering an FIR.

However, the mandarins of the Police Station, Sector 17, here have not bothered to act on a complaint filed by a Chandigarh resident, Mr Adarsh Kumar Sharma, seeking registration of a case against his tenant, Mr Sushil Kumar, for having allegedly stopped the supply of water to the upper stories of the house.

In his complaint submitted to the police on August 11, Mr Sharma, who is employed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has alleged that his tenant, who occupies the ground floor of the house owned by him at Sector 22-B, has alleged that the tenant had got the supply disconnected on his own without even bothering to inform him.

Denied water, Mr Sharma has been daily paying hundreds of rupees to a private water tanker operator for supplying water to the house.

When Mr Sharma approached the office of the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), Water Supply, he was informed that the department has not stopped the supply. It was revealed that the tenant had prevented the water from reaching the upper stories by simply closing the valve.

“When I along with the some other tenants in the house approached Mr Sushil Kumar, he told us that he would not release the water till seepage of water from the upper stories stopped. However, when Mr Sushil brought a mason to check the blockage of water on the upper stories, nothing was found,” says Mr Sharma.

Incidentally, Mr Sharma has already filed an eviction petition against his tenant. The petition is pending in the court of Mr Balwinder Kumar, Rent Controller, Chandigarh.

“What is surprising is that despite passage of over nine days since the complaint was made, the police has not bothered to register a case. It has even not intervened to ensure that water supply, a basic amenity, is restored,” rues Mr Sharma.

When contacted, an official on duty at the Sector 17, Police Station, claimed that the complaint had been forwarded to the Sector 22 Police Post and that further action would be initiated only after the completion of investigations.



Fate of Deep Complex uncertain
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A year after the Chandigarh Administration decided to complete the process to acquire around 33 acres on which Deep Complex, a residential colony has come up on the outskirts of Hallomajra village, about 800 families are still in the dark about the future of their illegal structures.

A recent populist initiative by the Administration to exempt hundreds of unauthorised structures outside the lal dora of UT villages from the domain of the Periphery Act has given them no relief. The reason is that the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act for the land had been issued in 1999 and subsequently, the land compensation award for the land was announced. A similar problem existed for some pockets in Mani Majra.

In 1999, the Land Acquisition Office had calculated the compensation for 31.81 acres at around Rs 2 crore. The value of the structures had not been added and it has been pending since then. A number of letters written by the office of the LAO to the office of the Finance Secretary to decide on the issue has yielded no result.

Sources in the Administration said a separate case to withdraw the acquisition notifications had to be approved by the Central Government. Though the process to include Hallomajra, along with four other villages in the municipal corporation had been started, Deep Complex could only be included in the MC after the hurdle was cleared. “There is no reason to cheer for the MP if illegal structures like Deep Complex are not included in the MC,” Mr B.S. Rawat, a resident of the complex, said.

In light of the recent initiative by the Administration to exempt structures outside the lal dora, a proposal to notify nine villages had been sent to the Finance Secretary. “Now five villages have been notified. The remaining would be notified later. The densely populated areas have been left out in the notification. The others would be left out under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act,” the sources added.



Badal threatens to disrupt session over Lalru incident
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 20
The Lalru incident is threatening to snowball into a major confrontation between the Amarinder Singh government and the opposition SAD ahead of the February, 2007, Assembly elections.

A day after the Patiala MP and the wife of the Chief Minister, Ms Preneet Kaur, announced a package for the victims of the alleged August 11 police brutality, SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal today threatened to disrupt the Assembly session starting from September 14 over the issue.

Mr Badal, who had first visited the alleged victims of the police brutality to have a first-hand account of the incident, termed it as "barbaric", alleging that it was "a blot on the face of the Congress government."

He said to diffuse the situation the Chief Minister should have apologised to residents. However, the top functionaries of the government only visited the township yesterday, Mr Badal said, adding that the party would make it a statewide movement.

Former Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh, while rejecting the package of the MP announced yesterday, alleged that it was a "cruel joke" with the Lalru residents. Demanding the withdrawal of the cases against 276 persons, including 12 persons in Patiala jail, he wanted the guilty police personnel to be booked for assaulting the residents.

He alleged that Finance Minister Surinder Singla was trying to divert the attention of the people from the issue by making such statements as announcing Rs 30 lakh grant for the sport stadium.

"Ours is the battle for the restoration of our honour and dignity and it will continue till the guilty, who assaulted the senior citizens and women, were brought to the book," he added.

Earlier, Mr Badal visited the affected families. Mr Shish Pal (70) told Mr Badal that he was sleeping in his house on the night on August 11 when Punjab Police personnel broke open the door and starting beating him up.

It may be recalled that the agitating residents were lathicharged by the police when they blocked the Chandigarh-Ambala highway on the night in protest against the alleged bias in power supply to the villages. However, the police claimed that it had only resorted to a mild lathicharge when the mob turned violent and burnt a police gypsy.



Barnala victim of conspiracy, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 20
SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today termed the alleged rape case against Gaganjit Singh Barnala, party MLA from Dhuri, as a "deep-rooted" conspiracy to tarnish his image.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Badal, however, refused to name the persons behind the conspiracy. He also alleged that the police acted in haste arresting the party MLA.

The police should have established a prima facie case against the MLA before arresting him, Mr Badal added.



Coming, a grand building to end Admn’s space woes
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
With many of its departments facing acute space crunch, the UT Administration has given nod to the construction of a new ‘Secretariat-type’ grand building in Sector 9 here.

The UT Finance-cum-Engineering Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, told the Chandigarh Tribune that the administration had decided to go ahead with the construction of the new building keeping in mind public convenience and infrastructural demands of various UT departments.

The USP of the state-of-the-art building, to be equipped with hi-tech facilities, will be its modern ‘open-plan’ no-walls design.

The design will offer the flexibility to alter the interiors of a given office to suit its space as well as aesthetic needs.

Sources in the Administration informed that the building site had already been chosen and was said to be located near Sector 9 UT Police Headquarters.

They expressed hope that work on the project would begin early as the drawings related to the building had been prepared by the UT Chief Architect’s office.

The drawings would be handed over to Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj’s office soon, they added.

The building, once completed, will be able to meet the long-pending demand of various UT departments for quality work space.

In fact, some of the departments like Sales Tax, Election Commission, Town Planning, Social Welfare etc are really in pathetic shape, being located in dingy buildings with thick layers of soot ‘adorning’ the walls.

In some of these departments, the situation is so bad that there is no place to put files even.

And to compound the problem, there is no proximity of distance between these departments which spells more trouble for members of public as well.



Punjab & Haryana Ratan Awards conferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, today called upon the youth to accept challenges and work with dedication and sincerity to make India a leading power in the near future.

He added that a greater challenge rested upon the teachers of this nation who have on their shoulders the responsibility of producing students of calibre. Dr Kidwai was speaking after conferring the Punjab and Haryana Ratan Awards on a host of intellectuals at the silver jubilee celebrations function of the All-India Conference of Intellectuals here today.

The intellectuals included Maharishi Dayanand University Vice-Chancellor Prof R.S. Dhankar, Hisar Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Dr J.C. Katyal, Kurukshetra University Technical Education Director Dr O.P. Bajpai, Mrs Suman Raheja of Parag and Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, LT Overseas Limited Managing Director Vijay Kumar Arora and Mindarika Pvt Ltd Managing Director Nirmal K Minda.

Advocate Arun Walia, HSF of Coop Sugar Mills Technical Advisor Ashok Kumar Nanda, Rock Garden, Chandigarh Director, Nek Chand Saini, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Dr Ranbir Chander Sobti, SGGS, Mohali, Principal and Secretary, Bharpur Singh, were other awardees. Head of Oral Health Sciences, PGI Harpinder Singh Chawla, Panjab Engineering College Director Dr Vijay Gupta, Nishaan Media Pvt Ltd Chairman Ranjit Singh Derewal, Ind Swift Group Chairman Gopal Munjal and DAV College Chandigarh Principal S. Marriya were also honoured.

The Governor congratulated the awardees and lauded the efforts of the organisation in recognising the services of the intellectuals, industrialists, entrepreneurs and business women for the contributions in their fields.



Rs 3,500 crore to be pumped in to generate 765 mw
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 20
The Department of Renewable Energy Resources will make an investment of Rs 3,500 crore in various projects to generate 765 mw. This was stated by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, at a state-level function held at Red Bishop to observe Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas here today.

He said the department had received 94 applications from private parties for investment in renewable energy resources in response to bids floated by the department. He added that a number of schemes to popularise alternative energy sources were in the pipeline while the department had also prepared a policy on alternative energy resources.

Mr Chander Mohan emphasised the need for promotion and adoption of renewable energy technologies in future. The Deputy Chief Minister added that the state government had doubled the funds available with the department.

The Director, Ms Sumita Mishra, said they had managed to provide electricity through renewable resources where it was practically impossible to connect the villages to the grid system.

Stating that the department had made many products using renewable energy available to the panchayats at subsidised rates under the Integrated Rural Energy Programme, Ms Mishra said they were working on setting up village energy committees for the maintenance of installed equipment and taking the concept to the people. “Morni too has benefited a great deal where we have provided light in 45 villages,” she said.

Earlier, a run to observe the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was held in the city. It was flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh. School students also participated in a painting and slogan-writing contest.

State-level awards

Kamalpur-Rewari village was awarded a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, Ganga-Sirsa won Rs 1 lakh while Gheer-Karnal was awarded Rs 50,000. Prizes comprising Rs 25,000 and Rs 10,000 each were given to villages doing outstanding work at the district and block level. 



Correction fluid — new way to get a high
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 20
Something as innocuous as the typing correction fluid is being used by substance abusers for intoxication. A popular brand of the correction fluid is selling like hot cakes in Mohali and the buyers are young children who are sniffing it to get a few hours of a ‘high’ !

These children, aged between 5 to 15 years, are mainly ragpickers and beggars who also indulge in petty thefts to get their daily dose of the fluid.

The Chandigarh Tribune team found a group of these ragpickers behind the Phase IX market where they gather at least once a day.

The group is headed by an 11-year-old boy, Amitesh, who prepares the correction-fluid fix and sniffs the mixture thus formed, “teaching” the younger lot how to do it.

Some boys in the group are already hooked but still “can do without it” till they have the money. But Amitesh is now an addict.

He uses his mouth to suck on the fumes of the liquid mix which he prepares in a plastic bag and his face and neck is already showing signs of abnormal swelling.

With obvious harmful effects, however, there is no control on its sale from stationary shops.

The two bottles in a pack of the correction fluid cost Rs 22 and its something these children can easily afford after a days work.

“Some of us beg and in a few days we have enough money to spare,” pointed out Rohit, a resident of Kumbra village.

However, a small girl from the same village was quick to point out that some of them also indulged in theft.

“I used to sniff this but now stationary shop does not give the fluid to us,” admitted Rohit.

The owner of a nearby stationery shop said, “This started just few months ago. And we wondered why these beggars want correction fluid. We realised that this is a drug addiction and have now stopped selling the fluid to children.”

“These boys look for whatever they can get to get their daily dose. Sometimes it is the rubber glue and now this is the new thing,” said Subhash Sharma, a resident of the area, adding that these children had also been beaten up by the residents.

“It seems to have worked on some of them but those who are beyond the stage of being stopped are going elsewhere and doing it,” he said.

The disease is now spreading to the more well-off and older children. “Almost a week ago, two teenaged boys, who were from good families, came asking for the correction fluid and we gave it to them.

“Within a few hours they came asking for more. We had only a single pack left and we offered to sell the correction pen but they insisted on buying the bottles.

“When we refused, one of the kids asked us did we think he needed it for sniffing? That set us thinking and after a few queries we realised it was a new form of addiction which was spreading from the slum areas to the bigger households,” said Mantar Singh, a shopkeeper in Phase-11, adding that they have stopped stocking the fluid now.



Leopard cats for Chhatbir zoo
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Here is good news for animal lovers. The Mahendera Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir, will soon play host to new species of mammals. The Central Zoo Authority has given the green light to zoological parks to exchange their surplus species of wildlife with each other to add variety and colour to their wildlife wealth.

The Chhatbir zoo is exchanging animals with the Chamrajendra Zoological Park, Mysore, and the Sepahijala Zoological Park, Tripura.

The zoo will get the Indian bison (one male and two females) from the Chamrajendra zoo. For this, it has to give the endangered Himalayan black bear (two females).

For the exchange of one pair of majestic royal Bengal tigers, the Chhatbir will get two pairs of leopard cats, one pair of pig-tailed macaques and one pair of Himalayan palm civets from the Sepahijala zoo.

While the Indian bison (gaur) is a huge herbivore endangered animal, the leopard cat is a solitary and nocturnal animal. The Sepahijala zoo is home to 24 leopard cats.

Confirming this to The Tribune today, Dr Kuldip Kumar, Director, Chhatbir zoo, says the animals will be transported after the monsoon. He says arrangements are on to provide natural environment to these animals so that they can further boost the breeding programme.

The Indian bison, the Himalayan palm civet and the leopard will be the new attractions at the Chhatbir zoo while a male companion has been arranged for two female pig-tailed macaques already housed in the zoo.



Festival of Gardens is Rose Festival again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to call the Festival of Gardens by its original name — ‘Rose Festival’.

During the Rose Festival, natural heritage walks, tree and bird identification walks will be held .

The City Museum will be now called the Chandigarh Architecture Museum (CAM). The museum has rare original drawings, records and archives of immense international value, especially to architects and planners all over the world. It has also been decided to host its independent website.

For putting the CAM on the map of world architecture museums, it will be registered as a member of the International Confederation of Architecture Museums.

For preserving its priceless original drawings, documents and archives from getting spoiled, the CAM will be fully air-conditioned.

Publicity material on tourism and books on Chandigarh will also be made available at the reception counter of the CAM so as to make it more visitor friendly and informative.

For showcasing heritage tourism, it has been decided that the entrance to Sector 10, alongside the Leisure Valley and opposite to the Bougainvillea Garden, will have display boards, giving information about prominent trees and bird species visible in the garden along with their illustrations. Name plates will also be put on the trees.

Special nature-awareness events, workshops and festivals will be periodically held for celebrating and identifying flora and fauna of the City Beautiful during their prime seasons.

It has also been decided to put display boards at the Sukhna Lake promenade to showcase illustrations of prominent bird species that are spotted at the Lake.

A telescope will also be fixed at the Sukhna Lake and at its regulator end to view migratory birds and important mountain ranges visible from there.



Rajiv remembered
Tribune News Service

Students of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 22-A, Chandigarh, take out a rally here to celebrate the Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas on Sunday.
Students of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 22-A, Chandigarh, take out a rally here to celebrate the Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 20
Various functions marked the birth anniversary celebrations of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi here today.

Mr Sunil Parti, general-secretary of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) and Mr Surjit Chaudhary, president of the Chandigarh District Congress Committee (Urban-I) described Rajiv Gandhi as the “architect of modern India, who put India on the world technological map”.

Tree-plantation drives were organised by the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) in several sectors, including sectors 19 and sectors 44.

The minority cell of the CTCC, Mahila Congress and the Seva Dal organised a function in Sector 29.

Various leaders, including the Deputy Mayor, Mr H.S. Lucky, Mr Lalit Joshi and Ms Kamlesh, both former Mayors, and Mr Mohammad Sadiq, chairman of the minority cell of the CTCC, lauded the services of the late leader in nation building.

The Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghathan also celebrated the birth anniversary of the late leader.

Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology organised a state-level function to celebrate the “Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas” at the Plaza, Sector 17, here today.

Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Public Relation, Chandigarh, who was the chief guest, addressed the gathering of school children.

Mr P.J.S. Dadhwal, Additional Director, Department of Science and Technology, was also present

As a part of the state-level celebrations, the activities begun with a ‘renewable-energy run’ of school children in various schools of the city.



Is anyone bothered about parking chaos?
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Chandigarh Traffic Police seems to be not interested in stopping illegal parking of four- wheelers along a narrow stripe in front of the Mehfil restaurant in Sector 17, which was originally auctioned for parking of two-wheelers.

This despite the fact that the Municipal Corporation (MC) has put the onus of removing the wrongly parked vehicles on the traffic police.

They have installed boards in the parking lot warning the violators that wrongly parked vehicles would be towed away by the traffic police, but no action has taken place so far. Frequent traffic jams and bottlenecks are a routine affair on this road putting other motorists to inconvenience.

The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP-traffic), Mr Dinesh Bhatt, said, “We are looking into the problem and violations will not be allowed in future.”



Idols consuming milk?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Devotees thronged temples in various parts of the city tonight after rumours of Ganesha and Shiva idols drinking milk started filtering in. Temples were especially kept open till late in the night to allow the worshippers to come in till late at night. City residents could be seen taking pictures and filming the scene on their mobiles.

Talking to TNS, Devi Charan, a priest at the Sanatam Dharam Mandir, Sector 22-B, stated that they had especially kept a part of the temple open to allow the devotees to come in. Mr Pardeep Chabra, a councillor, who came in with his family to the temple stated that it indeed was a miracle.

While some believed that the phenomenon was a miracle, others shrugged it off as a rumour.



Protest against non-allotment of plots
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August20
Members of the Sector 76-80 Plot Allotment Sangharsh Committee today protested against the non-allotment of plots by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority. The members had gathered this morning at Phase 3B1 Rose Garden. They raised slogans against the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), demanding that the authority should allot them the area which was not under litigation.

In a press note issued by the president of the committee, Mr Sucha Singh, PUDA had allotted 3,950 plots in these sectors five years ago but had not given them the possession of the plots till now.



Residents gherao councillor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 20
Residents of various colonies and slums of the city today gheraoed Mr Pawan Mittal, a councillor, for making "objectionable remarks" about them in a section of the Press.

It is learnt that he had allegedly said criminal elements resided in the clusters of jhuggis which dotted the city.

However, Mittal denied having made any such statement and demanded an inquiry into how such a statement was published under his name. Also, at an emergency meeting held with other councillors, he apprehended threat to his life from jhuggi dwellers.

The jhuggi-dwellers have decided to approach the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, to seek an apology from the erring party.



Relief material for Lebanon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
An IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft from 25 Squadron here left early yesterday on a humanitarian mission, carrying about 25 tonnes of relief material for Lebanon. The aircraft captained by Wg Cdr N.V.M. Unnithan made a halt in Delhi to pick up the relief material, which includes medicines, 275 tents and 3,200 blankets. The aircraft is scheduled to return on Monday and is expected to evacuate Indian nationals from Lebanon.

The airlift is a gesture of friendship to the people of Lebanon, where several innocent civilians, including women and children, have become victims of the recent clashes.



Bank strike tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The two-day nation-wide strike of the Central Bank of India will be deserted from August 22.

The call for the strike has been given by the United Forum of Central Bank Unions. Mr B.S. Gill, general secretary of the Central Bank of India Employees Union (INTUC), said the strike had been called in protest against the alleged autocratic attitude of the bank’s chairperson.

The employees are protesting against the alleged violation of existing norms on industrial relations and delay in settling retirement/terminal benefits.



2 nabbed for snatching
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The local police today nabbed two engineering diploma holders minutes after they allegedly snatched a mobile phone and a purse from two girls in Sector 19, here, tonight.

Giving details, the SHO of the Sector 19 Police Station, Inspector Sukhdev Singh Bhullar, said the incident took place near the Arya Samaj Mandir when two girls, Simran Kaur and Balwinder Kaur were on their way home.

They were riding on a scooter when suddenly two youngsters, who were also on a scooter, intercepted them. The miscreants asked them to part with their belongings and threatened them with dire consequences. The girls handed them over their purse containing Rs 295, some documents and a mobile phone. After that miscreants fled the spot the girls raised an alarm.

The SHO further said hearing their cries a cop at the police station rushed for help. The girls informed him about the incident at which he flashed a message on wireless. Hearing the message a police party at a naka nearby spotted the miscreants and nabbed them.

The police said accused have been identified as Mandeep Singh of Kalianwali village in Sirsa district and Himanshu of Malaout. They had done their diplomas from an engineering college in Longolwal in Punjab and have come to city for taking further coaching.

They had concealed the registration number of the vehicle.

In another incident, two persons snatched a mobile phone from a woman in Sector 46 last night.

The police said Ms Rajni Ghai of Sector 32 lodged a complaint, alleging that two unidentified youths riding a motorcycle snatched her phone from near a temple in Sector 46. A case has been registered.

Last night the local police arrested two Ram Darbar residents allegedly involved in mobile snatching.

The police claimed to have recovered six mobile phones from their possession.

The SHO of the Sector 31 Police Station, Inspector Har Sahai, said Kamal ,alias Dimple and Kamaljeet Singh, both residents of Phase II, Ram Darbar, were arrested on Saturday.

He said the suspects had snatched six mobile phones from various parts of the city. They would twist the registration number plate of their vehicle, to avoid being identified.

Both the accused, in their mid-twenties are unemployed and drug addicts . Dimple had been involved in 11 incidents of thefts and snatching in the city and was booked for the same. Besides this, two criminal cases are against him in Ambala .

They were produced before a local court which remanded them to police custody till August 21.

Cars stolen: Mr Kuljeet Singh of Sector 33 has lodged a complaint, alleging that his Maruti car was stolen from outside his house late last night.

In another incident, Mr Deeraj Jain of Sector 26 alleged that his Maruti van was stolen from the grain market yesterday. Two cases have been registered.

Theft: Mr Vishal Prabhakar of Sector 44-B has filed a complaint, alleging that two mobile phones have been stolen from his house. A case under Sections 454 and 380, IPC, has been registered.



Man steals wife’s scooter, held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
In a bizarre incident, the police today arrested a newly wed Mohali resident on the allegation of stealing a scooter belonging to his wife and also threatening her at her house in Sector 36 last night.

However, the man claimed that the scooter was registered in his name and he had given it to his wife.

The police said the woman had been living separately in a paying guest accommodation in Sector 36.

The SHO of the Sector 36 police station, Inspector Ishwar Singh Mann, said a case of theft, misappropriation and criminal intimidation had been registered against Mr Gurjit Singh of Sector 70, Mohali, on a complaint filed by Ms Narinder Kaur, an employee at the Punjab Technical Education Department, Sector 36.

She alleged that he had come to her house last night and started threatening and abusing her. Before leaving, he took away her scooter in which she had kept Rs 25,000.

The SHO said the scooter was recovered from Mr Gurjit Singh’s house. He told the police that he had bought the scooter for his wife when they were living together and since it was in his name, he took it back.

Ms Narinder Kaur told the police that they had married about eight months ago but differences had developed between them and the matter had been reported to the woman and child support unit of the police.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |