C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Protest at HUDA office
Draw for housing societies suspended for 3 hours
Tribune News Service

Successful societies

Fab Square, Mystic Apartments, Salasar, West Wood, Spiti, Queen Land, Divya Apartment, Angels Apartment, Savvy, Nav Prerava Vihar, New Ashirwad, Morning Star, Anandamahima, Jahanvi Cooperative, Unique Cooperative, Lamba Apartment Cooperative, New Jiwani Niwas Cooperative, Adhi Cooperative, Golden Palm, Subheshni, House Lay His Apartment, New Krishna, Alps, Shree Hari Partap, New Sahdev EWS, Lot Pot, Nada Sahib EWS, Azad EWS, B.E.Officer Coop Group Housing Society, Little Home Employees, Haryana Apex Bank’s Employees, Lord Vishnu Group, Himalayan Employees, Glory Feri, Blossoms, Khusian, Vishal Bhavan, HEWO Panchkula S 4, HEWO Panchkula DU 22, and MLA ‘s Unique Cooperative Society.

Panchkula, August 25
Protests, heated exchanges between the public and officials, slogan-shouting, bedlam and confusion ruled the day at the much-awaited draw for group housing societies by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), here today.

The draw for 44 sites in six categories remained suspended for nearly three hours as officers tried to pacify the irked crowd demanding draws according to the size of plot opted rather than holding of draws for various categories irrespective of the size of plot. The curtains, however, downed with the HUDA officers having the last word and holding the draws according to the policy of categorywise draws laid down by planners.

There were indications of trouble even before the draw began with self-styled leaders repeatedly addressing the public and asking them to be wary of HUDA officials, draw all slips out of the drum themselves and not to be scared of reading the slips before handing them over to the staff for repetition. Also, after the Estate Officer, Mr S.P. Arora, read out the rules that would guide the draw, there were voices of dissent raised against offering one acre and 1.5 acre plots to societies.

Real trouble started after draws for three categories were over and those of the fourth category, the general category, were almost through. During the draw for the 24th site in the general category, after the slip of the Aashirwad Cooperative Society and the size of the plot was pulled out from the two adjacent drums, the officials ordered that slip bearing the size of plot should be put back into the drum and a fresh slip be pulled out because the society was for a half-acre plot while the slip pulled out was that of a one-acre plot.

As soon as this suggestion came from the officials, hell broke lose. Within no time the public was around the drums, on to the dais where the entire HUDA officialdom was seated, demanding that the draw should be scrapped. People scrambled on to one another, jostled and pushed to get ahead demanding to know how justified HUDA was in clubbing all plot sizes and holding draws categorywise.

Speakers, who pulled the mike, said the draw should be held afresh on the basis of the size of plot opted instead of category under which the applicants had applied. Accusing HUDA of looting people by filling their coffers from interest on public money, they turned nasty and spoke crudely to officers.

After a good hour and a half of arguing and repeated attempts of the Administrator, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and the Estate Officer to pacify the crowd, they paused for a while to listen. Ms Kasni explained to them that the officers conducting the draw were bound to follow the policy and could not deviate.

Dissatisfied with the reply, the public charged to the dais a second time, asking them what they would do if the last slip pulled out was for a society which wanted a 1.5 acre plot or if the last society pulled out wanted a half acre plot as there were only one-acre plots left. A lot of "ifs" and "buts" followed and the standoff between the public and the officials continued as the former raised slogans against HUDA.

Finally, as a last ditch effort, Ms Kasni went to her office to consult the higher authorities on the issue and announced that the draw would be held as per the policy. "If you cooperate, we can finish the draw today. It can also be deferred for a later date if you don't cooperate. The choice is yours," she said.

By then, the hassled public became a divided group with some demanding that the draw should be held while others demanding that it be deferred. Encouraged by the handful of voices from the public wanting a draw, Ms Kasni announced that the draw would continue.

The police stepped in and pushed the public away from the drums and the dais. The process resumed after three hours of disruption and, beginning from where they left, a second slip to decide the plot for the Aashirwad Cooperative Society was pulled out. In about 10 minutes, the draw for the general public was over.

This was followed by a draw for the economically weaker sections category and ended with a draw for the Haryana and Central Government Employees Cooperative Housing Society category.


The draw was delayed by nearly two hours because of rain. While the HUDA had made arrangements in the open, the venue had to be shifted to the basement of the HUDA office after the morning showers.

However, after the sun came out and people began pouring in, the authorities found the basement inadequate to handle the surging numbers. The venue was again shifted to the open.

  • Skeletal police staff was deployed for the draw. Though the DSP was present when the draw began, when the trouble arose, there were only a handful of cops to control hundreds of agitated people. Just before the draw resumed after three-hour interruption, more staff was pressed into service.
  • The officials showed exemplary courage in holding fort when the public came charging at them, demanding change in the way the draw was being conducted. The Administrator, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and the Estate Officer, Mr S.P. Arora, particularly, refused to give in to the crowd as the public hurled abuses at the HUDA for looting them.
  • While only some self-styled leaders from the public led the protest against category wise draws, others took the opportunity to eat and drink at the canteen. Packed like sardines in the tent while the draw was on, they sat in the open for a whiff of fresh air while others fought a losing battle against the authorities.
  • Representatives of successful societies tried to strike a bargain immediately after the draw, offering membership in their societies for Rs five to eight lakh, depending on the sector they were allotted the site. Those in Sector 23 and 24 were priced higher than those in Sector 27 and 28.
  • The draws were conducted in utmost transparency. People from the public were picked up to draw out slips. The HUDA officials made everybody drawing a slip out of the drums write their name and address behind the slip for reference. On the demand of the public, the slip was first read out aloud by the person drawing out the slip. The entire draw was videographed.



Police haste dilutes Sobti case
Industrialist gets judicial remand
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu and Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Chandigarh Police appears to have acted in haste while booking a Jalandhar-based industrialist, Sandeep Sobti, on charges of forgery and criminal conspiracy.

It seems the case has fallen flat even before the real investigation got started.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Mr Y.S. Rathore, sent the accused in the judicial custody on the very first day, denying the police remand.

The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police had sought the police remand as more cases of vehicles, registered on fake addresses, were to be investigated.

Yesterday, the police had claimed that the Sobti was involved in manufacturing and sale of bullet-proof jackets and vehicles to mafia dons and other criminal elements.

While listening to the Public Prosecutor, the CJM said he could not term it as a case of forgery.

The defence counsel said documents of the Ford Ikon car, seized by the police, were registered at SCO no 89-90, Sector 34-A, and the accused had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Punjab Ex-servicemen Corporation.

“No wrong has been committed by fabricating bullet-proof bodies of the cars as it was a improper permission,” said the defence counsel who produced copies of intimation of fabrication of some bullet-proof cars sent to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Intelligence), Punjab Police.

Also though the police had accused Sobti of manufacturing and selling bullet-proof jackets and vehicles to mafia dons, there was apparently no law in the country that barred manufacturing and sale of such protective gear, sources in the police said.

Unhappy with the manner in which junior police personnel decided to go to the Press without doing homework, senior officers admitted that the police had landed itself in an awkward situation.

Police officers questioned the seriousness of investigating officers in the case saying the man had been booked on a minor charge of forgery, while suggesting that he was a threat to the national security.

A police officer, preferring anonymity, said there was no law prohibiting anyone from manufacturing such material.

If the police really believed or had information that Sobti was in touch with anti-national elements then he should have been booked under some law pertaining to the national security.

Sources in the police said in the absence of any clear policy or law defining that the manufacturing and supplying of bullet-proof jackets and cars was a crime, it would be difficult to take the case to its logical end.

However, the issue has stirred a debate in police circles as some police officers maintained that some officer acted in haste that had made the case rather weak.

It is pertinent to mention here that had the state governments and other security agencies concerned about the national security paid heed to a letter issued by the Union Home Ministry way back in 2003, the Chandigarh Police would have had got a direction in the case.

The letter, expressing concern over the absence of any policy for imposing restrictions on manufacturing and sale of protective gear by private sector, emphasised the need of formulating a policy after instances of some criminals 
using such protective gear came to light three 
years ago.

The ministry, after discussing the issue with various agencies pertaining to the national security like the Ministry of Defence, government and non-government agencies, police officials and state authorities, had said an appropriate regulatory regime was needed to be created to regulate the manufacturing and sale of protective gear.

It also highlighted the issue saying that the authorities concerned should ensure that such materials should be used only by those who were under a genuine threat and did not fall into the hands of anti-national elements.



UT shortlists 6 names for film city
30 acres earmarked at Sarangpur
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Chandigarh Administration has shortlisted six names, including those of Subhash Ghai and Sippy brothers, two leading lights of Bollywood, for the prestigious multi media-cum-film city project to come up at Sarangpur village. The administration has earmarked an area of 30 acres for the prestigious project.

Reliable sources said that that Mukta Arts, the Subhash Ghai camp, has tied up with E-City ventures of Zee and Funcity for the project. Another important bid has come from the KRBL Group which is backed by Ramesh Sippy, another leading name in the Bollywood. The KRBL is tied up with the Fashion Technology Park.

Interestingly, two leading builders, including the DLF and the Parsvanath, also feature in the list drawn up for the six bidders in the project. The DLF has tied up with Graphiti and Parsvanath is working with the Real Good Film. Unitech and Turner International and Emmar clubbed with village road show are the remaining companies vying for the project.

The administration will be viewing the technical presentation of all the interested parties next week to select the final list of companies for the financial bid to hand over the project implementation. As many as 14 companies had applied initially.

UT has expanded the work area of the film city from a mere site for film and television shooting. Besides a small portion in the park developed exclusively for shooting, the park will have detailed infrastructure for completion of a production(film or a documentary) with specialised laboratories and related technical infrastructure. It is a well known fact that acting and capturing action at the spot of a scene is a small component of the final product that hits the screen. The centre will have little meaning without support of the editing, sound recording, special effects, mixing and other related substructure.

The ‘multi media-cum-film city’ will have four components, including Multi-media park (just like IT companies for post and pre production work); entertainment centre (for children and visitors); film city; and a multi media college.

The college, the first in the region, is planned for a capacity of 200 students. “There are negligent training facilities for technicians needed in film production, at least in our region”, a senior official said. Animation, games and special effects have become an inseparable part of the film production.



Rs 300 cr spent, track ready to run trains
Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link waits for VIP
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Overshooting cost

The Chandigarh-Ludhiana route had been planned in 1997. Due to the delay in the implementation of the project, the overall costs of the project have shot above Rs 400 crore against the initial cost of around Rs 377 crore.

A sum of Rs 300 crore had been spent so far of the total amount sanctioned by the Railway Board for the project. 

Chandigarh, August 25
After spending over Rs 300 crore on constructing the Chandigarh-Morinda rail section, the long-pending promise to connect Chandigarh with Punjab still remains like a pipe-dream.

Officials do not want to commit when train services will actually commence while certain portions of the track have started rusting due to lack of use.

Interestingly, the Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS), Mr Bhupinder Singh, has already given clearance for running traffic on the section. Well-placed sources confirm that it is the long wait for a VIP which is delaying the opening of the track.

‘‘It will be opened soon. Nothing can be said beyond this,’’ said a spokesman of the Northern Railways.

On being asked about the reason behind the delay on part of the Ambala Division in taking over the line from the Construction Division despite the clearance by the CRS on April 4, 2006, a senior official in the Ambala Division of the Northern Railways said he could not cite the reason.

It is learnt that neither the Railways nor the Punjab Government has been able to get a confirmed date of the Prime Minister’s visit to Punjab.

It could be next month or even after that, said a senior official looking after the construction work on the track.

‘‘We are ready. The line is ready to run trains. The gazette notification for to give ticketing codes for the rail fare has been issued.

The new stations at Mohali, Kharar and Morinda are being given final touches,’’ said a senior official of the Construction Wing.

The sources said while a giving conditional clearance, the CRS had pointed out that passenger train services were to be introduced only after the maintenance of the track between Chandigarh and Morinda junctions was taken over by the Ambala Division.

‘‘Though most of the anomalies pointed out by the CRS have been removed, the opening of the line will be timed with the Punjab elections. Otherwise there is no reason for the delay,’’ said the sources in the Northern Railway.

As per the clearance given by the CRS, the railway authorities will have to first run goods trains for seven days (a minimum of two goods trains daily) to stabilise the signaling system on this route and make the railway staff conversant with train operations and track maintenance before any passenger train is introduced.

The sources said the non-electrification of the track was an operational problem which would hamper the speedy movement of trains.

As a result, the connectivity for the electric locomotive-pulled coal rakes between Chandigarh and Morinda would be a problem. It would mean the changing of a locomotive from electric to diesel either at Ambala or Chandigarh and then at Morinda.

Since there was inadequate berthing space at the Chandigarh railway station for the full-length rakes which bring coal to the Ropar thermal plant, the rakes would have split in two parts before changing from electric to diesel, meaning that a lot of time would be wasted.

For changing the locomotive from electric to diesel, it takes about an hour.

The same exercise will have to be repeated at the Morinda junction.

A senior official said due to non-electrification it would not be possible to divert any long-distance train presently running on the Ambala-Rajpura-Ludhiana section to run on the Ambala-Chandigarh-Ludhiana section.



Non-insurance against crop damage hits farmers
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Farmers in the food cradle of North India are suffering losses because of the failure of banks to insure farmers for crop damage / failure, under the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS).

The data available from the Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AICI), shows that only 15-20 per cent of the banks in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, are insuring the farmers who have availed loans from them. Of the 183 nodal banks of Haryana, only 20 - 25 banks have been submitting proposals for crop insurance to the AICI. In Himachal Pradesh, only 25 of the 125 nodal banks have been submitting the proposals for farmers having availed loans from them.

During the kharif season of 2005, for which insurance has just been settled by the AICI, proposals for only four of the 18 blocks in Himachal Pradesh affected by crop damage were received. In Haryana, proposals for only 14 of the 25 blocks affected by crop damage were received, while in Jammu and Kashmir insurance claims for only three of the 14 notified districts were received. Farmers in the remaining blocks/ districts had to suffer losses because their crops were not insured.

The situation is no different in Jammu and Kashmir, where only three of the 22 nodal banks have been insuring the loanee farmers. Says Mr K. K. Mahapatra, Regional Manager, AICI (for Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir), ‘‘We have been repeatedly sending reminders to all Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), Cooperative Banks and Scheduled Banks, urging them to insure all farmers who have availed Seasonal Agricultural Operations Loans (SAOL), as it is mandatory under this national scheme. The issue has also been taken up in the state- level bankers committee meetings’’.

It may be noted that the NAIS is also applicable to those farmers who have not availed any loan under the SAOL. These farmers can approach the bank branch located nearest to their land, and get the crop insurance done.

But lack of awareness created by banks has ensured that not many farmers are availing this insurance cover. This even as these banks get service charges at the rate of 2.5 per cent of the gross premium.



Labour goes awry, negligence alleged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
He died even before taking birth though his mother was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, and was under observation of gynaecologists in the labour room for over eight hours.

Being in labour for a long time, Mrs Shekh Hassina, a resident of Bhabhat village in Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, lost her baby boy in her womb due to alleged negligence of doctors.

The family members alleged that Ms Hassina remained unattended for over-an-hour after she was admitted to the hospital labour-room at about 10 pm on Saturday night.

Mr Saudagar Ali, husband of Ms Hassina, claimed the family was not clearly told that the delivery would be normal or they would have to perform a surgery.

“At about 2.30 am the doctors demanded a unit of blood and after an hour they told us that baby’s heart beat had stopped and later conducted the delivery,” claimed Mr Ali.

He alleged that the doctors handled the case with sheer negligence that lead to the death of their son in Ms Hassina’s womb and that too after remaining admitted for almost eight hours in the hospital.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr Ali alleged that the hospital staff did not permit any member of their family even after delivery and kept her isolated in the labour-room in pain.

He further alleged the doctors told them on the eleventh hour that baby’s heart beat had been declining and that they were helpless.

Moreover, the doctors lost Ms Hassina’s registration card after she was admitted to the hospital. After over an hour they had to re-register Ms Hassina and in the process precious time was also wasted because of the negligence of doctors, alleged Mr Ali.

“The doctors took it casually but we lost our son,” lamented Mr Ali with choked throat.

A senior gynaecologist said birth of a baby depended upon three main factors - passage (pelvis), passenger (baby) and force (uterus). Weakness or abnormal functioning of any one of these at the time of delivery might cause problems. Moreover, many other facts played a major role in a safe delivery.

Mr Bains, Director Health Service, Chandigarh, expressed his ignorance about the incident. He said that no such complaint had been received by his office yet.

He assured to conduct an inquiry would be conducted in the case to find out the alleged negligence by the doctors.



UT to rehabilitate slums
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to rehabilitate and shift the slums of Bapu Dham and Kumhar Colony, an official press note issued here said today.

This will be done as per the biometrics survey already conducted by the Administration. A draft rehabilitation policy is being prepared for the project.

The decision was taken at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary. The meeting was also attended by the chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board, Mr Mohanjeet Singh, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, Mr R.K. Rao, Chief Executive Officer, Chandigarh Housing Board, Mr Amar Nath and other senior officials of the administration.

As per the proposal approved, it was decided to shift about 800 slums families on the road side of Bapu Dham Colony to the vacant one room tenements of the Chandigarh Housing Board in Sector 56 and Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh. Rest of the slum families will be shifted to Sector 49 and Sector 38(West) where the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is constructing about 2,000 one room tenements.

The Estate Office will identify slum families and issue them identification slips. The slips will help them in getting recognition and the allotment will be made by the CHB accordingly. It will be ensured that the slum families are shifted within a framed time period. 



City air not so clean
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Even as the ‘Vatavarn-06’, an eco- awareness film festival, comes to the city aiming to educate masses on a gamut of issues relating to environment, the UT Pollution Control Committee has come out with data painting a grim picture of the air we breathe.

According to findings of the committee, the suspended particulate matter (spm) has exceeded the stipulated maximum limit of 140 microgram/m3 in the city’s residential areas, touching as high as 215 microgram/ m3.

Similarly, in industrial areas, the spm is hovering around 430 microgram/m3 which is much above the stipulated maximum limit of 360 microgram/m3.

To make matters worse, the quantity of respiratory particulate matter (rpm) is also much higher than stipulated standards.

It is 111 microgram/m3 in residential areas which is far ahead of the max limit of 60 microgram/m3. Industrial areas are no better with the rpm touching 150 microgram/m3 whereas the limit is 60 microgram/m3.

The committee notes that it has been more than a decade, since 1993, that both the spm and the rpm have recorded a steady increase.

The committee has placed air pollution measurement instruments at five places in the city — Sector 17, Industrial Area, PEC, GCG and kaimbwala village.

The committee findings show that both rpm and spm have increased in every area but the quantity of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide (SO2) has remained within the stipulated limits of 60 microgram/m3.

Nitrogen has been recorded at 25 microgram/m3 while SO2 is at 5-6 microgram/m3.

Increase in population, construction activities, rise in the number of motor vehicles are some of the factors leading to the situation, the committee findings say.

The real cause of worry is the consistent increase in the spm and the rpm levels which have serious repercussions on the health of city residents, leading to a spurt in diseases like asthma and other bronchial ailments. 



Special allowance for intelligence personnel
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Central Government has introduced a special monthly ‘‘security allowance’’ for personnel working in the intelligence organisations. The allowance will be equivalent to 15 per cent of a staffer’s monthly salary.

According to sources, the allowance is applicable to all personnel of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) who are engaged in the collection and analysis of information as well as providing technical support.

Those on deputation to the IB and RAW will also be entitled to the allowance.

The allowance was introduced two months ago. Depending upon their pay-scale, intelligence personnel would benefit by a few hundred rupees to several thousand rupees per month.

According to a senior Home Ministry official, the allowance has been introduced to bring in some parity between the remuneration of intelligence officials and the allowances and benefits applicable to personnel of para-military forces.

‘‘For example, paramilitary personnel are entitled to ration money, free uniforms or uniform maintenance allowance and other allied benefits, while those in the intelligence establishments did not enjoy any such privilege even though the basic salary structure was similar,’’ an officer remarked. ‘‘The security allowance will now offset the financial disadvantage being faced by intelligence personnel who too are engaged in field duties and get posted in difficult areas,’’ he added.

Till now, intelligence personnel were not entitled to any other allowance except those applicable to postings in high altitude. This allowance is the same as applicable to other Central Government employees.

An officer revealed that the proposal to introduce the allowance is over two decades old and was first mooted when Mr Arun Nehru was the Minister of State for Internal Security. Over the years the proposal was placed on the back burner by successive governments.



Lions Club holds seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Lions Club Chandigarh (Host) yesterday organised a seminar for women at Kharar.

Ms Nimmi Sandhu of Lions Club International District 321-F addressed the gathering and asked the participants to come forward to serve the poor and society.

“Problems relating to slum children, senior citizens and physically challenged can be dealt with in a much better way by the women activists. The club is waiving entrance fee of women and giving them incentives to join the club,” she said.

As many as 12 clubs, which participated in the seminar, pledged to induct more women members.

Ms Renu Bali, district PRO, said more such camps would be organised in the future in Punjab.



Protest against cutting of hair
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 25
A march was organised here today by various religious and social organisations in protest against the cutting of hair of a student in Jaipur.

The march began from Gurdwara Sacha Dhan Sahib in the morning and went on till Phase VII from where the protesters moved on to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tajveer Singh.

Before presenting a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner the protesters squatted on the road opposite his office staging a symbolic protest.

The march was led by Mr Hardeep Singh, SGPC member. Among others who took part in the protest were representatives of Sikh Missionary College, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Gursikh Naujwan Sabha, Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Istri Satsang organisations.



Sikhs decry Jaipur incident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 25
As many as 200 Sikhs from various gurdwaras and political parties gathered at Nada Sahib to condemn the Jaipur incident in which a Sikh student ‘s hair was cut by his seniors.

In a memorandum sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijender Singh, they sought action against the culprits. The meeting was attended by manager of Nada Sahib Gurdwara, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Singh Sabha Pradhan of the Sector 7 gurdwara, Mr Kuldip Singh, sevadar of Gurudwara Shaheedan Dharam Singh, president of the Istri Akali Dal, Bibi Kuljit Kaur, among others.



Film fest ends with save environment message
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The three-day Environment and Wildlife Travelling Film Festival ended today on a note of caution: “Save environment for future generations.”

The festival drew hundred of viewers, especially young minds, and helped them understand about nature and the assaults on it.

Some of the films like “The Last Flight” and “A Brush with Death” were real eye openers.

Nutan Manmohan’s “The Last Flight” showed how the number of vultures in India has plummeted over the past 15 years. Three of the nine species of vultures — white-backed, slender-billed and long-billed Gyps — are almost extinct.

It also highlighted the worries of the Parsi community, which faced a crisis as their funeral rites involve leaving the body for the vultures to eat.

“Should we sit idle and wait for the last wild vulture to vanish” was the message of the film.

Another investigating documentary, “A Brush with Death” of Sayed Fayaz showed how the common mongoose was poached for its hair. The hair is used for making drawing and paint brushes.

“Let art not wipe out the species” was the theme of the documentary.

“Save water, save life” was the message of Sanjay Barnela and Vasant Sabrwal’s “Hunting Down Water”, Anand Thakur’s “Do Your Bit” and Nandita Das and Saumya Sen’s “Rainwater Harvesting”.

With the rise in population, change in lifestyle and urbanisation, the groundwater is sinking to new depths.

“Don’t let the rainwater go waste. Store it.” was the message of these films.

Krishnendu Bose’s “Elephant God or Destroyer” and Praveen Singh’s “Indian Leopards — The Killing Fields” brought into focus the animal-human conflict.

The flims attributed the rise in conflicts to shrinking habitat, shortage of food and development around national parks and sanctuaries.

It’s time to forget the phrase “Humans versus wildlife” and manage wildlife, conveyed the films.

The fest also highlighted the plight of the Yamuna, once revered as mother goddess. It has now been reduced to a sewer.

The documentary, “Yamuna”, directed by Nandan Saxen, focused on the present state of the river.

Rupin Dang’s “A Shivalik Monsoon” took a close look into the life of the paradise flycatcher in the Shivaliks.

For those who visited the fest, an exhibition of photographs highlighting various aspects of wildlife and enviornment put up right at the entrance to the venue served as a “mood-builder” and gave them a taste of what was there for them to see on the big screen. The works of Pradeep Tewari of The Tribune, Mr Prabhat Bhatti, Mr Jessu Jaskanwar Singh, Mr Navtej Singh and Mr R.S. Kwatra were showcased.

“If we don’t show urgency about the need to protect wildlife, there might not be enough wildlife to worry or protect later,” says filmmaker Fayaz.



Dam on Ghaggar gets nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Haryana Government will construct a dam at a cost of Rs 20 crore over the Ghaggar near Chhamla village in Panchkula district to conserve rainwater for providing potable water to the people living in Morni.

This was revealed at a review meeting of the Shivalik Development Agency which was presided over by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, here today.

Mr Chander Mohan said the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, had already approved the proposal.

He said the Haryana Government had also sanctioned Rs 3 crore for augmenting the potable water supply in the villages of Panchkula district. He said water would be made available to people 70 litres per capita per day as against 40 litres per capita per day.

The Commissioner, Ambala Division and Chairman of Shivalik Development Agency, Mr Mahavir Singh, said the government had also released funds for construction of houses under the Indira Awas Yojana.The modalities were being worked out.

He said 62 motorable fire-lanes had been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 96.3 lakh in the Morni area so that in case of fire in the forest, rescue operation could be taken up promptly.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Parveen Kumar, said during the current financial year Rs 31 lakh had been sanctioned for construction of individual and community toilets in Panchkula district. Work on these toilets would be completed within the next six months, he said and added that about 2000 toilets had already been constructed.

The Chairman of Zila Parishad, Panchkula, Mr Birender Bhau, former chairman and advocate Vijay Bansal and Senior Congress leader, Ravinder Rawal, were also present at the meeting.



Amarinder gives cheque to Sandeep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh visited the PGI and said expenses on the treatment of hockey player Sandeep Singh would be borne by the Punjab Government.

Prior to his meeting with Sandeep, he handed over a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to Mr Gurcharan Singh, father of the player.

The Additional Professor Orthopaedics Dr Raj Bahadur, explained to the Chief Minister that Sandeep needed no surgery for spinal injury. He said he would be treated conservatively.

“I wish to see Sandeep back in action and will leave no stone unturned for providing him the best medical facilities,” the Chief Minister said. Consoling his parents, he promised to get the incident investigated.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, and Mr Pargat Singh, Director Sports, Punjab, were accompanying the CM.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Raj Bahadur said complete rest would heal the minor spinal injuries suffered by Sandeep. It would take about three to four weeks for him to recover.

Comedian Bhagwant Maan also visited the player yesterday.



Signal Officer-in-Chief visits Western Command
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Signal Officer-in-Chief and Senior Colonel Commandant of Corps of Signals, Lt-Gen Davinder Kumar, was today apprised of the existing and proposed communication infrastructure in the Western Command Zone.

He was briefed on various operational and administrative aspects pertaining to the Corps by the Chief Signal Officer, Western Command, Major- Gen D.V. Kalra. 



Property worth lakhs gutted

Dera Bassi, August 25
Property worth several lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a major fire on the premises of a chemical factory on the Dera Bassi-Ramgarh road here this morning.

According to sources, the fire broke out around 8.15 am when the stock of the chemical used in the manufacture of drugs caught fire. The local fire station was sounded which sent its vehicles to extinguish the fire. As the fire could not be controlled, fire engines from Dappar, Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh were requisitioned.

The fire engines struggled for over three hours to put out the blaze. Senior subdivision officials visited the spot. TNS



Lineman electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
An Assistant Lineman of the UT Electricity Department was electrocuted in Sector 38-West, this afternoon.

Sources said 35-year-old Parvesh Prashad of Sector 52 was repairing a feeder pole when he accidentally came in contact with live wires.



5 chemist shops raided
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 25
Raids were conducted on five chemist shops in the town by a team led by the Civil Surgeon here today. Habit forming drugs were seized from some shops.

Raids were conducted on Singh Medicos in Phase III B2, Gaur Medicos and Bawa Medicos in Phase VII and two shops in Phase XI.

Dr M.S. Toor, Civil Surgeon, said habit forming drugs being sold illegally were found only from shops in Phase VII and III B2.

He said 7,752 capsules of proxyvon, and 13 bottles of cough syrup were seized from Singh Medicos, 197 capsules of proxyvon, 518 tablets of phenotil and 15 bottles of cough syrup from Bawa Medicos and 362 capsules of proxyvon and 48 bottles of cough syrup were seized from Gaur Medicos.

He said the shop owners could not produce bills and prescriptions.



Warrants issued against NRI woman’s husband,

Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 25
Non-bailable arrest warrants have been issued by a Kharar court against the husband and in-laws of a woman who has charged them with cruelty and harassment and making demands for dowry.

Mrs Rupinder Mann, a resident of Phase X here and now living in the USA, had earlier lodged an FIR with the police here alleging that despite her and her parents doing their utmost to save the marriage, her husband and in-laws had tortured her mentally and physically because she had given birth to a baby girl and her parents could not meet the demand of Rs 20 lakh as dowry.

Mrs Mann said in the FIR that her parents had given a lot of “istridhan” by way of cash and articles after spending a huge amount on her marriage in the year 2001.

Mrs Mann also alleged that her husband, Mr Gurparatp Singh Sidhu, and her in-laws, Mr Baldev Singh (father-in-law) and Mrs Balbir Kaur (mother-in-law), had vitually thrown her and her minor daughter out of their house at Bathinda.

They had also allegedly kept all the “istridhan” and articles, including jewellery, which had been with them from the time of the ‘shagun’ ceremony and wedding, apart from gifts and items brought from time to time by her from the USA.

She further alleged in the FIR that since her parents were unable to fulfil the demand of Rs 20 lakh as dowry and she had given birth to a girl child, her husband had filed a petition for divorce and ‘equitable distribution of my cash and other assets in the USA” so that her husband could monetarily benefit from her cash and other assets even though her husband had not contributed a single paise towards her income.



5 stolen bikes, 8 mobiles recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Chandigarh Police today claimed to have recovered five stolen motor cycles and eight snatched mobile phones with the arrest of two city residents. The police has also arrested a Burail-resident, an acquaintance of the accused, for allegedly threatening and making obscene calls to girls from the stolen sim cards.

Giving details of the arrests, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP South), Mr KIP Singh, said Nitin alias Seetu of Burail and Vijay alias Raka of Ram Darbar were arrested from a naka in Sector 46. He added that a special team was constituted after the recent rise in the incidents of thefts and snatching in the south division.

Elaborating over the sequence of events that led to the arrest of the accused, the DSP said Nitin and Vijay used to snatch mobile phones from the gullible persons and hand over the sim cards to their friend Dheeraj of Ram Darbar. Dheeraj used to make cranks calls to girls by using the sim cards. The police put these sim cards of snatched mobile phones on surveillance after the complainant told them they their phone numbers were being used. The call details revealed some frequently called numbers and the police short-listed a Sector 20 based girl. When contacted the girl told the police that she was being harassed by an unidentified man.

The police took the girl in confidence, who thereby joined hands with the police to trace the accused. The girl then talked with the boy and called him to a place and noted down his motor cycle number. The information was given to the police, which ultimately led to the arrest of Dheeraj and the other two accused.

Ms Sonu Verma of Sector 32-C , who also received crank calls from Dheeraj, told Chandigarh Tribune that two unidentified motorcyclists snatched her mobile phone from near her residence on Wednesday night. Later she rang up her number and one person responded. When she asked him to return her phone, the man began hurling abuses.

The police said Nitin and Vijay had been arrested for robbery and snatching while Dheeraj had been booked for criminal intimidation and using obscene language to outrage the modesty of a woman.



Conversion policy finds takers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The conversion policy introduced more than a year ago back by the Administ-ration has finally found larger acceptance with at least four city industrialists applying for the conversion to the Chandigarh Housing Board here today.

Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, deposited Rs 18.18 lakh for his two kanal plot in Industrial Area, Phase II. Mr Chawla is going in for construction of a hotel. Interestingly, the spot is located on the main road entering the city from Ambala.

Mr Vikram Joshi from the Joshi Auto Zone has opted for conversion in plot number 67 in Phase II. Mr Deepak Joshi, his brother and also president of the Automobiles Dealers Association, was also present on the occasion. A sum of Rs 39.16 lakh has been deposited to set up a car dealership outlet which will be in addition to the existing business in Phase I.

Mr Manmohan Singh Chadha has applied for conversion in plot number 195, Phase II, by depositing Rs 18.12 lakh. The two kanal site will be developed as a commercial retail outlet. Mr Chadha has already opted for conversion of a plot in Phase I earlier.

Mr Subhash Chand and others have deposited Rs 8.10 lakh for conversion of a plot into a furniture mall, an official press release said.



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