C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Villagers to move court on UT decision
Say handing over of 5 villages to MC wrong as they are rural areas
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The UT Administration's decision to hand over five villages to the Municipal Corporation may be held up in litigation, as residents, panches and sarpanches of Maloya, Dadu Majra and Hallo Majra villages have decided to challenge the inclusion of their villages in the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The villagers are pointing out that the area, which is being merged, is not an urban area under Section 2 sub-section 60 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act as applicable to Chandigarh. An area is required to be declared as an urban area to be merged in the MC. However, the villagers state that this has not been done in their case. Secondly, they argue that theirs is an agricultural land and they are living on a daily basis, and also they have animals. "Where will we take our animals?" questioned a villager.

Talking to TNS, advocate Chetan Mittal, representing residents, panches and sarpanches of the villages of Maloya and Dadu Majra, stated that the notification seems to be a mere formality, which has been done with a "pre-determined mind".

"Consultation and views, as required u/s 3, have not been done and also we have not been given any reply to the objections raised by the villagers," he stated.

It may be mentioned here that a draft notification dated August 17 proposing to take these five villages within the municipal area of the MC Chandigarh was given by the Secretary, Local Government, to these villages. Fifteen days' time was granted to file objections and suggestions. The villages filed their objections on August 29.

Also as per rules for initiation of notification u/s 3 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, the Administrator has to consult the MC and the MC is required is to send its views within a period of three months from the date when it was first consulted.

"Along with the objections which were filed on August 29, a copy of the consultation and views filed was demanded. The documents were not supplied. We also wrote a separate letter on September 1 again for the supply of these documents and we also asked for the extension of time after the supply of these documents. However, without supplying the documents and also without giving an opportunity of hearing, a final notification was issued on September 19," stated Mr Mittal.

Talking to TNS, Mr Ashok Bhardwaj, representing Hallo Majra, stated that he would be filing a case tomorrow. "The merger is in violation of Article 40 of the Constitution of India and Article 243 N of Constitution of India, Section 15 of the Punjab Panchyati Raj Act 1994 and also the notification has been issued without regard to the Section 3(1) of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976. Moreover, when the Panchyati Raj Act is running successfully in the villages, there is no need to merge them."

The villagers have been opposing the merger since the very beginning. Besides staging various protests, they have already submitted a memorandum to the President of India, Prime Minister and Home Ministry.

Mr Tarsem Pal, Sarpanch, Dadu Majra village, clearly stated that they were not interested in going to the Municipal Corporation. "We and also the other villagers are very angry. We don't want to go to the MC, the system of the MCC is not liked by us. Without the existence of a panchayat, the village gets handicapped. We have our independence, which will get lost. Moreover, our vote is only 2000, not something that will help the councillors also," he stated. Questioning the condition of the other villages with the MCC, he stated, "four villages were merged with the MC 10years ago and see there condition today".



J&K sex scandal accused shifted to Burail Jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Thirteen accused in the infamous Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal were today shifted to the high security Burail Jail here. They are to be produced before the District and Sessions Judge here on September 25.

The accused, including two former ministers G.A. Mir and Raman Matto, a suspended BSF DIG K.C. Padhi, DSP Mohd Yousif Mir, and former Additional Advocate-General Anil Sethi, were among those brought in two groups, amidst high security arrangements.

“Since some of the accused were VIPs, extra care had been taken. On an earlier occasion the accused could not be brought to Chandigarh due to security reasons,” said an official of Jammu and Kashmir police accompanying the accused.

A jail official disclosed that arrangements to lodge the accused as per their status had been made well in advance. However, there was no confirmation whether the trial could be held on the jail premises.

Others brought to Burail Jail were the alleged kingpin of the sex racket, Sabeena, her husband, Abdul Hamid Bullah, advocate Shabir Ahmed Laway.

Sources in the Chandigarh Administration and Chandigarh Police told Chandigarh Tribune that no request had so far been made for beefing up security at the courts. “Additional police force would be put at the courts whenever the case would come up for hearing,” said a senior police official. Arrangements for lodging the accused at the jail had been made.

On September 4, the Supreme Court, while taking note of the hostile atmosphere prevailing against the accused in the Valley, had transferred the cases of 14 persons to Chandigarh.



Passengers protest as trains run late
Tribune News Service

Passengers at the Chandigarh railway station stage a protest at the delay in the departure of the 2UC Chandigarh-Ambala train.
Passengers at the Chandigarh railway station stage a protest at the delay in the departure of the 2UC Chandigarh-Ambala train. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 22
Chaos prevailed at the Chandigarh railway station today evening when agitated passengers staged a protest against the delay in the departure of the 2UC Chandigarh-Ambala daily passenger train. The incident occurred at about 7 pm and lasted about an hour.

The passengers alleged that the train was scheduled for departure at 6.30 pm. However, there was no sign of the train till 8 pm.

The passengers, who were mostly residents of Ambala, alleged that they had no prior information of the delay and despite asking the railway authorities, they were not given any information.

“I have to cycle for an hour after reaching Ambala station, before I can reach home,” said Raju, who works as a typist in Sector 17.

“Had we been informed earlier, we could have taken the bus home,” said Ms Sharma, who works as a clerk in the city.

Agitated passengers raised slogans and were finally pacified when they were informed that alternative arrangements had been made.

They were accommodated in the Chandigarh-Lucknow Sadbhavana Express, which was scheduled to depart at 8.30 pm.

“We have taken special permission for the train to stop at Ambala station,” informed Mr R.K. Dutta, Railway Superintendent.

Meanwhile, other trains coming to Chandigarh station in the evening were also delayed. The Mumbai-Kalka Paschim Express was delayed by over three hours and finally arrived at about 7.30 pm.

The New Delhi-Chandigarh evening Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi were both delayed by half an hour.

Mr Dutta said that the delay occurred due to the interlocking of the Ambala-Chandigarh track at Dappar railway station. “Due to some work at Dappar station, rail traffic had to be stopped for about three hours.”



Waiting for VIP to inaugurate bridge
Motorists inconvenienced
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, September 22
Almost three weeks after the strategic Dera Bassi-Ramgarh bridge on the Mindkali river was completed, its wait for inauguration by a VIP continues putting thousands of commuters to inconvenience.

In fact with the bridge inauguration postponed at least twice, there seemed to be no immediate relief for the harassed commuters, who have no option to but to put up with long traffic jams and use the alternative “kutcha” road.

In a bid to get political mileage ahead of the next Punjab Assembly elections for development works, the Punjab Government had announced that Punjab PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur would inaugurate the bridge on September 13.

However, on September 12, Mr Bajwa, along with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, survived a helicopter crash in Gurdaspur district and the inauguration was apparently put off to suit the minister. And if the officials are to be believed, the exact date of inauguration is yet be finalised.

The bridge assumes importance in the wake the closure of the Ghaggar bridge on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near here for heavy vehicular traffic last month. The closure has forced the heavy vehicular traffic and the traffic bound for Panchkula from Ambala to use the Ramgarh-Dera Bassi road. And clearly, the “kutcha” road is not designed for heavy vehicular traffic.

Besides, the heavy vehicular traffic, thousands of people from the nearby villages, including Ramgarh, Kakrali, Mor Thikri and Daffarpur are an inconvenienced lot as they are not able to use the newly-built bridge costing about Rs 4 crore. It may be recalled that the foundation stone of the bridge was laid by Preneet Kaur in May 2005.

Meanwhile, the commuters are up in arms against the delay in the opening of the bridge. When the project is complete, the authorities concerned should not have waited for a VIP to inaugurate it, said Mr Manjit Singh, a commuter, who passes by the bridge daily.

“It is nothing short of public harassment. The bridge should have been opened to traffic much earlier and formal inauguration could have been done any time, said Mr Ram Kumar Sharma, another motorist. However, right now the pleas of the general public seem to be falling on deaf ears.



Beware of kids throwing stones on car
They decamp with valuables after distracting you
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Beware of kids throwing pebbles at the windshield of your car. Chances are that they will decamp with your valuables after distracting you.

The gang has become active once again in the city after a gap of six months. The miscreants pulled a wallet from the car of a Panjab University’s Senate member in Sector 15 last week. Residents say that similar incidents have occurred in other parts of the city.

The gang was active in the city early this year and was busted after a young boy was caught red-handed in Sector 35 by an alert woman. She raised the alarm after being targeted by the gang and people nabbed the miscreant and handed him over to the police.

The police then said the kids hailed from Orissa and were staying at Chandigarh railway station.

Narrating his experience to the Chandigarh Tribune, the son-in-law of former President, Giani Zail Singh, Mr S.S. Virdi, a Sector 16 resident, said, “I was sitting in my car in the Sector 15 market last Saturday, as my wife had gone to buy something from a dairy shop. Suddenly, I heard some pebble hitting my car and damaging it. As I turned back, I saw a boy aged about 10 years, who was behaving as if he was dumb and not mentally fit. I opened the door of the car and shouted at the boy in order to shoo him away. At which, the boy ran away and vanished in the crowd.”

In the meantime, his wife came back and they drove towards their home. On the way, he found his wallet had gone missing and came back to the same place. The people there told them that it was becoming a common occurrence in the market, with street-smart kids decamping with articles from passer-bys by distracting their attention.

The next day, the person in charge of Panjab University security came to Mr Virdi’s residence and handed him over his empty wallet. The wallet contained Rs 7,000 and some ID-cards. The wallet was found lying in the university by some cops, who handed it over to university security staff after finding an ID-card issued by the university.

Mr Virdi said he did not report the matter to the police to avoid tedious proceedings. Similarly, a senior citizen, Ms Inder Grewal, a resident of Sector 9, said she was targeted by such kids in the Sector 35 market in March this year. They had decamped with her purse containing Rs 15,000. The gang struck at another woman at the same place within a gap of a few days, but that time one 9-year-old-boy was caught red-handed, as the woman raised the alarm.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the SHO of Sector 36 police station said the boy during preliminary questioning named his mother and aunt, who were subsequently arrested from the railway station. The police recovered stolen articles from their possession.

Sources in the police said the same gang could be involved in the recent incident as they might have been released from jail after six months. The modus operandi and the description of the boy also resembles to that of the gang busted. They have become so smart over a period of time that they dispose of the bags after taking away cash from it.



200 acres allocated in Mohali for science institute
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 22
Adding another feather in Mohali’s cap Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would lay the foundation stone of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, a first in the region.

The Planning Commission has approved in principle the setting up of an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Punjab. The institute would be one of three such institutes in the series and would strive for global-level excellence in science research. “This institute will actively forge strong relationships with existing universities and colleges in their neighbourhood, and share faculty, resources and infrastructure to give a definite push to the endeavour of science education. It is envisaged that this institute would strive for global level excellence in state-of-the-art research,” said the MLA Kharar Mr Bir Devinder Singh today.

The total requirement of land for this project is 200 acres and the total project cost, other than cost of land, is Rs 500 crore. The Punjab Government has decided to allocate land measuring 200 acres in Sector-81 at SAS Nagar, which is being developed by PUDA.

Earlier, the President of India in his address to Parliament on February 16, 2006 had indicated that the Government of India had decided to create new centres of excellence in basic sciences, on the lines of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and these institutes would be in Kolkata, Pune and one in Punjab.

The institute shall have main academic programmes in major areas in physical sciences, chemical sciences, mathematics, material sciences, environment and earth system sciences, life sciences and computer science. In addition to the above programmes the institute would also admit post doctoral fellows. When fully established, the total strength of the Integrated M.Sc. programme in each Institute would be 1,000 and of the doctoral and post doctoral programme a little over a thousand.

According to a note made available by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, this institute would also integrate under-graduate education, post-graduate education and research under the same umbrella. The institute shall also interact with National Laboratories and other research institutes to develop a synchronous environment for research that would transcend rigid administrative structures and also encourage inter-disciplinary research.



No set criteria yet on admissions to new college
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Though the UT Administration has gone to town announcing the opening of a new Government College of Commerce and Business Administration in the city with classes to commence from this session, the administration is on a sticky wicket regarding the mode of admission to this college.

It had last week said the new college would admit 140 students for the Bachelors of Commerce (B.Com) and 40 students in Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) courses and classes would begin from the current academic year (2006-07).

The current academic year began two months ago in all colleges of the city but new admissions even with the permission of the Panjab University Vice-Chancellor are now not allowed.

The administration as a result now intends to admit students through correspondence studies before the last date of admission which is September 29 without late fee, but it is not clear if the students thus admitted would be regular students or students of correspondence studies.

Also, with less than 10 days to go for the last date of admissions, the administration might already be too late to admit students without the students having to pay late fee. Besides, even if the students are admitted, the students would be starting classes after more than 40 teaching days have elapsed in other colleges.

The DPI, Colleges, Mrs Raji P. Srivastava, said the department was leaving no stone unturned to get affiliation for the college and a request to this effect had already been sent, Panjab University officials, however, said affiliation of the two courses is bound to take at least a month and till affiliation is complete, classes cannot begin.

The administration had further stated that the new college would initially function from the old DEO’s office building, near the main market in Sector 19B. This building had earlier housed the Government College, Sector 42, before it was shifted to its own building. However, sources added that even if it was a makeshift arrangement, there were not enough facilities available immediately for students to start attending classes.

Mrs Srivastava added, “It is no doubt a challenge since time is short but we are making all efforts to make sure that students are in classes by the next month. However, a lot will also depend on timely affiliation from the university.”



Watch out

Parveen Kumar When the Kingfisher ATP Mumbai Open starts at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai on Monday, City’s Praveen Kumar, a white badge official, will be there to supervise matches of some of the well-known tennis players of the world.

Parveen will be in the chair when qualifying matches start on Saturday. Top 20 ATP ranking players from world over will take part in the ATP Open. Besides Rohan Bopanna and Karan Rastogi of India, Tommy Robredo (Spain), Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic), Mario Ancic (Croatia), Carlos Moya (Spain), Fabrice Santoro (France) and Greg Rusedski (Great Britain) are among the big stars participating. Parveen has officiated in the Wimbledon 2006, Davis Cups, several international and national tournaments.



Stage set for Navratra mela at Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
The Mansa Devi shrine is being decked up yet again and scores of small shops lining the approach road to the shrine are preparing to cater to the thousands of devotees likely to throng the temple during Navratra mela from September 23 onwards.

The temple complex too is brimming with activity as floors are getting a last-minute scrub and efforts are on to complete pending works before the eight-day mela begins. Shrine board officials are checking and cross-checking the arrangements for darshan and langar.

The Haryana Chief Minister’s wife, Ms Asha Hooda, will inaugurate the mela with a puja ceremony and will later participate in a havan at the yajnashala in the temple complex. As a part of the various devotional programmes to be organised every evening, a bhajan sandhya by Wadali brothers will be held on September 24, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, said.

A Bhagwati jagran by Punjabi folk singer Sardool Sikander is slated for the evening of September 26 while a bhajan sandhya and folk dance programme will be held on September 27 and 28. A bhajan sandhya by Devki Anand, Ashok Chanchal and Asha Kiran will be organised on September 29 and another by Ustad Neele Khan on September 30.

The Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr Chander Mohan, will be the chief guest on September 29 while the curtains will come down on the mela on October 1.

Three bhandaras will be held in the complex and will continue throughout the day. Fair price shops have been set up and vendors have been given permits to sell their wares along the road leading to the shrine.

Arrangements for devotees have been given top priority and adequate arrangements have been made for drinking water supply and two dispensaries with two doctors each and two paramedics have been set up. Two ambulances will be stationed, one at Patiala mandir and the other at the entrance of the main temple.

For the first time, the Health Department will set up a food lab to test the quality of food items being sold at the temple complex. The lab will test parshad items being sold by vendors and would also carry out tests on food prepared for langars and bhandaras. Dr M.L Garg has been appointed mela officer by the Health Department and fogging of the venue has been completed.

In addition to this, 10 beds have been reserved in the General Hospital, Sectors 6, to meet any exigency and special arrangements have been made to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity during the Navratra celebrations.

Police sources said nakas would be set up for the mela and magistrates had been appointed for maintaining law and order situation in the area. The police has combed the entire area for miscreants and said special vigil would be maintained in the VIP parking area.



Indian English dictionary mooted
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Prof M. L. Tickoo of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad today mooted the compilation of an Indian English dictionary as a first step towards recognising that Indian English was different from British and American English.

In an interview to TNS here, Mr Tickoo, who is in the city to attend an international symposium on English language teaching being held at DAV College, said the time had come to recognise Indian English as a language in itself since it had over the years created its own flavour embedded in various cultural contexts.

He stated that there was still overwhelming ‘awe’ of British English among Indian English language teachers which was also the one big factor why Indian English was not getting the respect it deserved. “David Crystal, the author of ‘Language revolution,’ has stated that Indian English is as accepted around the globe as American or British English and the future belongs to such a core switching.”

Ruing that even the English media, including print and electronic, had a problem in moving away from British English, Mr Tickoo said: “The use of British and American English by the media is very influential and also hurting.”

“While there is an overbearing mental block in diverting from British English usage in India, the fact also remains that Indian English users do not feel confident about their own English,” he said, wishing that Indian English users had the courage to defend good, standard Indian English language. Mr Tickoo added that there was a need to come up with not just a dictionary but also a grammar of Indian English which also incorporated the nation’s cultural nuances.

When asked if British English needed spelling reforms, he said the Americans tried to do it “but succeeded only in a few words. The reason that British English continues to be the way it is, is because it does not have an academy which can introduce changes. Can the Indians do it? The answer is no. Even the models of research on the English language in India are dictated by similar research being done in the UK.”



Speaking Out
City shocked at harassment of Virk’s daughter
Tribune News Service

Monica Chibber
Monica Chibber

Renu Gandhi
Renu Gandhi

Dr R. K. Trigotra
Dr R. K. Trigotra

Rajaydeep Singh
Rajaydeep Singh

Chandigarh, September 22
The news that a DGP’s daughter was allegedly being harassed by her husband and in-laws for dowry has sent shock waves among city residents. “If it can happen to a police chief’s daughter, then it can happen to any one,” is what everyone thought.

Even as Jasleen Kaur, Punjab DGP S.S. Virk’s daughter, took recourse to law and filed a case in the Pune High Court against her husband Vikramjit Singh, an IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre, what many residents found equally appalling was the fact that dowry demands are becoming common even among the affluent and highly educated classes.

Here’s what a few of the residents of this highest per capita income city have to say about this issue.

Mrs Monica Chibber Sharma, a practising lawyer in Punjab and Haryana High Court, observes Jasleen’s case as one which fortunately was highlighted by the media. “There are thousands of similar cases which don’t come to light. If we look at the lower section of society, many girls are suffering at the hands of greedy in-laws. Sometimes trials for these court cases take years. It’s actually NGOs along with legal fraternity who can work together and bring the culprits to book. There are cases wherein girls are burnt alive or are forced to take up extreme steps like committing suicide,” she said.

However, 25-year-old Shivani Sandal waiting to get married believes that such incidents can happen to anyone. “Owing to a rise in such cases, it is the safety of girls, irrespective of the section of society they belong to which is under threat. Enough has been said in this regard. Its high time some concrete action is taken. The constitution of a special “anti-dowry” squad set up on the lines of the special task force answerable directly to President and the Prime Minister of India could be one solution.”

Dr R. K. Trigotra, a homoeopath running a clinic in Sector 22 and father of two young girls, views the incident as a shameful act by a person of such a high stature (referring to IPS officer Vikram Singh, husband of Jasleen Kaur). “Anybody who is disrespectful towards females, who are equivalent to God, should be severely punished and booked under more stringent laws,’ he said.

Mr Bhupinder Minhas, married for the past five years and in his early thirties, believe: “We first need to find out the truth behind the incident. Under the present laws anyone can just go and complain. If the incident is true then the culprits should be booked. But in reality cases like these differ from person to person. Some people for their own vested interests misuse the laws made to protect them. So this entire issue needs to be investigated first before being decided upon,” he said.

Mrs Renu Gandhi, Senior Project Officer, Punjab University, and a well-known social activist in the region, avers: “Although dowry should not be given or taken in any form but these days it’s the girls themselves who insist upon it. And later they have to face the problems of bringing insufficient dowry. Also in many cases girls’ family doesn’t support them and want them to adjust with their in-laws and adhere to all their demands. The whole family system needs to be strengthened and there has to be a social cohesiveness to evade such incidents in future”

Ms Jaishree Thakur, another practising lawyer in Punjab and Haryana High Court, opines: “Inheritance laws need to be changed. If that is done then there is no question that dowry would be asked for.

Also Indian weddings need to be simplified. It’s the grandeur of weddings shown on idiot box that lures all of us,” she said.

Mr Rajaydeep Singh, a law graduate from Panjab University, said while the dowry laws were supposed to empower married women, in reality it is being misused. “The women who need these laws to protect them are still not in a position to use these while those who know about them often use these to harass the men folk,” he said.



Enforcement of noise Act lax
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Noise generation in public places and residential complexes no longer seems to be a forbidden task. Notwithstanding the safeguards against noise pollution which the law guarantees, loudspeakers, music systems and sound amplifiers are in use causing damage to public health, though in subtle ways.

Concerned with maintaining ambient air standards in respect of noise levels, Chandigarh Pollution Control Board recently gave noise metres to all the 11 police stations in the city. The idea is to encourage and equip police officials to check and regulate noise levels in areas under their jurisdiction and also to ensure proper implementation of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, of the Ministry of Environment.

So subtle is the damage that even law enforcement agencies seem to find it hard to detect. That explains why during the last year, the police had registered only two cases under the Punjab Noise Control Act, applicable to Chandigarh.

This year too, records show there has hardly been a violation of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, which prohibit the use of loudspeakers and public address system during the day without prior permission of the district magistrate. Chandigarh DC’s office gets over seven such requests daily.

As for Rules, they state punitive action must be taken against those who use loudspeakers and public address systems at night (between 10 pm and 6 am) except in closed premises for communication within (as in auditoria, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls). The relaxation is made only in special cases like Ramlilas which are allowed to run in Chandigarh till 12 in the night instead of the usual limit of 10 pm.

But Rules are being violated despite official claims to the contrary. Music is still played in prohibited hours at marriage palaces, private halls and commercial shopping centres. There have also been cases of silent zones (area within 100 metre of hospitals/educational institutions) being violated without punitive action. This year too until August 31 only two cases had been registered under Punjab Noise Control Act. The Act, a police official says, is enforced only when someone uses a loudspeaker between 10 pm and 6 am.

Rules offer provisions and powers wider than assumed. They even addresses noise pollution resulting from sounds caused by playing, beating, clashing, blowing or use in any manner whatsoever of any instrument including loudspeakers, public address systems, appliance or apparatus.

The enforcement of these Rules, framed following the Supreme Court’s directions with respect to control of noise pollution levels remains lax. Perhaps the Rules are too vast to memorize. More often than not, they are forgotten.

Small wonder “jagratas” often go on through the night, much to the discomfort of residents. In matters of faith, even police officers find it difficult to take action. Invariably they admonish the organisers to reduce the pitch — something that just doesn’t happen.

Even high-Watt music systems are being openly used at nights. One of the recent complaints was made to this newspaper office by residents living opposite to Sukhna Lake and next to Haryana Raj Bhavan. Music was being played with impunity at a private wedding ceremony around the Lake. No action was taken.



Enhance retirement age: officers’ body
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Several officers’ organisations have come together and formed the Federation of Punjab Government Officers to press the state government to increase the retirement age from 58 years to 60 years.

Convenor of the federation, Mr Roshan Lal Goel, said today that it would be a failure on the part of the state government to implement the recommendations of the fourth Pay Commission if it did not enhance the age of retirement.

He said that following the pattern of the Union Pay Commission, the fourth Punjab Pay Commission had recommended enhancing the retirement age of all employees from 58 years to 60 years. However, this recommendation had not been implemented.

He said that a deputation of the federation would meet the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, on the subject.

He said that the government would save Rs 870 crore in two years by enhancing the retirement age.

He said that employees above the age of 55 years did not cost the government a single penny. “We can prove this point by presenting relevant facts and figures to the government,” he added.

He said that states like Rajasthan, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand had enhanced the retirement age to 60 years following the pattern of the Union Government.

“In Punjab, life expectancy is the highest,” he said. “And, if the IAS, IFS and other Central Government employees could remain in service till 60 years of age why can the same be done in case of state government employees?” he added.

In Punjab, all class IV employees retire at the age of 60 years. All IAS officers retire at this age. Only middle rung employees retire at the age of 58 years, he added.

He said that at the last meeting of the employees called by Ms Bhattal, only certain leaders representing a section of the employees opposed the enhancing the retirement age. He said that all engineers, doctors, PCS officers and others were in support of the demand with regard to enhancing the age to 60 years.

Mr Goel said that certain officers were misleading the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, on the issue of promotional scale on completion of four, nine and 14 years of service.

He said that the annual expenditure on giving this promotional scale would only be Rs 182 crore and not Rs 700 crore as was being projected by certain officers.



A concrete solution for better roads
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, September 22
The Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration has come out with a “concrete solution” to the problem of bouncy roads in the city. It has decided to lay at least two more roads of concrete in the near future.

These include the stretch between Sector 39 and the waterworks in the same area, besides the road stretching between the junctions of Sectors 37 and 52. The department hopes to replace “all regular roads with a heavy traffic flow” once the experiment of laying concrete roads at these places proves successful.

Besides this, the department has decided to identify five roundabouts in the city. The approach roads to these rotaries will also be carved out of concrete. The Government Press roundabout in the city had a concrete approach to it, but the rotary was replaced by traffic lights several years ago.

The work of laying one such road dividing Sectors 31 and 32 is already under progress. It is scheduled to be over by December 31. The Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, inspected the site this morning.

The sources in the Engineering Department assert that concrete roads have been successfully carrying the traffic on the Delhi-Mathura freeway, besides in Mumbai and Pune. Not only do the roads require zero maintenance, they also have better night visibility.

Giving details, UT Chief Engineer V.K. Bhardwaj said the concrete roads are hard-wearing. Compared to regular roads that have a comfortable lifespan of about four years, these roads do not require maintenance like renewal and strengthening for a good 25 years. As such they prove cost-effective in long run.

He adds that the 1.2 kilometer stretch between Sector 31 and 32 is being laid at a cost of Rs 284 lakh, but is worth the cost. The road, he asserts, was chosen keeping in view the heavy flow of traffic. “Basically, the road was being used extensively by trucks going to Punjab after passing through the city. That is why it used to wear off easily.”

Inspecting the site, Superintending Engineer (Construction-II) Krishanjit Singh added that the department had laid stringent quality standards for itself to ensure against any lapses and the work is being carried out under constant supervision. “In fact, we have set up a full-fledged laboratory at the site itself for testing road samples on a daily basis.”

Also present at the site, Executive Engineer N.P. Sharma said the process of laying the road was being carried out with the help of a semi-automatic computerised plant that basically controls the quality of mixture. After preparing the base of 12 inches, the road is topped with four inches of dry lean concrete before laying the top layer with 14 inches of pavement quality concrete. In all, the crust is of 30 inches.



Honour for city lensman from US photo journal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Photographic Society of America (PSA) has aptly acknowledged the well-known city-based lensman Subhash Sapru “for generously sharing knowledge with other photographers through the journal” of the PSA.

The Chairman of the PSA Editorial Awards Committee, Mr Leroy Lambright has, through a written communication addressed to Mr Subhash Sapru, forwarded to him the first PSA Editorial Awards Bronze Star for his support to the PSA Journal. While congratulating Mr Sapru, the Chairman “greatly appreciated” his support and also inspired him to work for achieving a new goal.

“What else better reward I could get for expressing thoughts through camera and pen and sharing knowledge with others than getting acknowledgement from the PSA?” was the response of Mr Sapru. “I am pursuing the hobby of photography as a passion, because for me it appears to be my driving force that keeps my spirits high. Therefore, getting recognition for my features from the Photographic Society of America is very satisfying and inspiring,” says Mr Subhash Sapru, who is working as a Public Relations Officer with the Haryana Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Department in Chandigarh.

It is for the second time that recognition has come his way from the world’s premier photographic organisation. Earlier, it was in 2003 that he got two stars from the PSA for his photographs accepted or awarded in international exhibitions of photojournalism category approved by the PSA. It was during the same year that he was awarded another international distinction, the Associateship of the India International Photographic Council, again for his works in the field of photojournalism. His photographs reflect his passion for capturing the element of human interest.

Although photography is not his profession, his pictures have bagged many awards and certificates of merit, in addition to about 200 acceptances, in many international and all India-level exhibitions within the country and abroad.



Noise can cause permanent hearing impairment
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Continuous exposure to noise (80 decibels and above) for five hours daily can cause permanent hearing impairment. Factory workers, people residing near airports, railway stations and bus terminuses, police personnel controlling traffic on busy roads and discotheque-loving youngsters are the worst affected.

The consequences of exposure to noise pollution can be seen among discotheque-loving youngsters after they attain 35 years of age. The problem develops among Indians after 50 years of age, but growing number of vehicles and changing lifestyles have brought this age limit down.

Youngsters are exposed to noise (110 to 150 decibels) at discotheques playing music systems on very high volume. Noise caused by aircraft affects eardrums and causes deafness among employees posted at airports and helipads.

According to Dr Naresh Panda, Head of the ENT Department at the PGI, doctors had carried out a survey on noise pollution a couple of years back and found Sector 17 highly noise polluted. As per records of Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, Sectors 22 and 9 were most noise polluted sectors on Divali.



Personal accident insurance for old vehicles questioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
For getting a car 15 years old insured, the owner has to shell out an extra Rs 100 in the name of personal accident insurance and for a two-wheeler, the amount is Rs 50 per annum. This puts extra burden on vehicle owners who go in for third-party insurance.

Mr Narinder Kumar, who owns a 1986-model Maruti car, said in light of depreciation of the vehicle, there was no point in paying the extra Rs 100. The personal accident insurance should be optional and not forced upon vehicle owners, he said.

Owner of a Bajaj scooter 20 years old, Mr Sukhwinder Singh said it was pointless in demanding an extra Rs 50 from a scooter owner. “I am maintaining the scooter as a hobby and every year, I have to pay extra Rs 50”, he said.

Mr Atul Behl, an insurance agent, said personal accident insurance was being done since 2002 following a directive from the Insurance Registration Development Authority. For insuring a vehicle 15 years old, a fitness certificate of an authorised dealer was required.



New chief of city’s Canadian consulate

Chandigarh, September 22
Ms Helen Economo Amundsen will be the new Consul-General of the Canadian Consulate in Chandigarh.

She is, at present, the acting Director-General in corporate services in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration in Ottawa.

Canada had opened its Consulate-General in Chandigarh in October, 2003, when former Prime Minister, Mr Jean Chretien, visited the city. His government had nominated Indo-Canadian journalist Bhupinder Liddar as Consul-General.

Her appointment, however, become a subject of controversy as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service did not give him security clearance. Liddar, however, continued to receive his annual salary of Rs 50,31,400.

Since the appointment of Mr Liddar was held in abeyance, the name of Dr Gulzar Cheema was mentioned as a likely successor. However, no appointment was made till now. After a lot controversy, Bhupinder Liddar was given the security clearance. He is now serving as the Canadian Representative to the UN Environment Programme and the UN Human Settlements Programme (HABITAT) in Nairobi. — TNS



Construction of Sec 23 park begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Chandigarh Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) today launched the construction of a park for residents of Sector 23-A, according to a press note. He checked the progress of work on the housing project for the relocation of slum-dwellers in Sector 52 and the construction of a concrete road between Sectors 31 and 32.

He also met delegations of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and the Chandigarh Industries Association.

The park would have a stone-pitched water channel, children’s play structures, tree houses, earthen mounds, footpaths and tracks, flowerbeds, food kiosks, shelters, a milk bar, restaurants and a library.

It would have an additional structure, to be constructed by the National Mission for Bamboo Applications free of cost as a pilot project under the Centre’s scheme.

The project would take about six months to be completed, at an approximate cost of Rs 3 crore.



Review of conversion fee promised to Beopar Mandal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The UT Administrator today assured the delegate of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal that the administration would have a sympathetic review of the conversion fee being charged for change of trade on the upper floors of shop-cum-office (SCO) and shop-cum-flats (SCF).

The issue was raised by traders during a meeting with the UT Administrator at the UT Secretariat here today. The traders had been demanding nothing should be charged for general trade on the upper floors of showrooms. It was urged that since small time traders were doing business from the upper floors, they could not afford the conversion charges.

The issue of beautification of markets in the city was also raised during a meeting called by the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Subash Sethi.

A long pending demand of Chandigarh industrialists for transfer of ownership rights for leasehold industrial plots was raised by Mr MPS Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association.



Plan to pump canal water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The municipal corporation has prepared a plan to pump canal water to the Water Works in Mani Majra at a cost of Rs 509 lakh.

Aimed to provide equal drinking water facility, the project is likely to be completed within the next 18 months.

It consists of laying concrete-lined pipes from the Water Works in Sector 32 to the Water Works-II in Mani Majra and further to the Water Works-I in Mani Majra.

At least 1.2 lakh residents of Mani Majra are presently dependent on tubewells for drinking water.

Since Mani Majra falls in a non-perennial zone, the underground aquifer has been depleting fast, resulting in a rapid fall in the spring level.



Jet flight late by 3 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Jet Airways flight from New Delhi to the city arrived three hours late today. The flight which was scheduled to arrive at 1.40 pm from New Delhi reached at about 4.45 pm.

Sources at the airport attributed the delay due to a “technical snag”. No official of Jet Airways was available for comment.

Harassed friends and relatives of the passengers had to wait for three hours to pick them up. Passengers who had to board the Jet airways flight at 2:10 pm from the city too were delayed as it is the same plane, which comes to the city that goes back.



Fire at petrol pump brought under control
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A major tragedy was averted today when a fire at the electricity junction at Hindustan Petroleum petrol pump in Sector 15 was brought under control. The incident occurred at about 4: 30 pm. Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot alongwith a DCP tender and one motorcycle with AFT.

The fire occurred in a room situated at the rear of the petrol pump. Officials of the fire department, however, stated that the fire, which was caused due to a spark, was brought under control and a major tragedy averted.



Indo-Kazakh team scales Mount Nun
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A joint Indo-Kazakhstan Army mountaineering expedition scaled the 21,400 foot-high Mount Nun in the Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir two days ago. Located 80 km from Kargil, this is one of the highest peaks in the Western Himalayas.

The 34-member team was led by Lt-Col A.B. Goth, former Vice-Principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, according to a statement issued here today.

The team included six Army personnel, including officers from the Kazakhstan Army, who trained at the Army’s High Altitude Warfare School near Gulmarg, prior to undertaking the expedition.

Other members are instructors in Kazakhstan Army Mountaineering School.

The Indian Army’s team primarily comprised personnel drawn from the Rajputana Rifles.



Police trekking expedition

Chandigarh, September 22
A team of the Punjab Police Adventure Sports Club (PPASC) will organise a trekking expedition to the Spiti valley in memory of the founder president of the club, the late Dr P.M. Das, an ADGP rank officer, who along with two others perished in a mountaineering expedition in Sikkim on September 24 last year.

The expedition starts tomorrow and will conclude on October 2. It will be led by Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, Majitha, who is also the general secretary of the club. — TNS



Anniversary observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Second Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry has commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Hussainiwala battle victory.

A sainik sammelan, a regimental band display, Maratha cultural items, a ‘barakhana’ and a reunion were organised.



148 vehicles challaned

Chandigarh, September 22
The traffic police today held a drive to curb underage driving and nine nakas were put up here. As many as 148 vehicles were challaned and three vehicles impounded for traffic violations. — TNS



Dera Bassi land fraud case registered
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, September 22
A day after a major land fraud involving the alleged selling of the land belonging to an NRI to the Noida-based ATS Infrastructure Limited through fake GPA by a Chandigarh resident was detected, the police today registered a case in the matter.

Sources said the case was likely to be shifted to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mohali police for a thorough probe. The police does not want to go soft on the perpetrators of the crimes in the real estate sectors as this would send wrong signals to the major real estate players setting up mega projects in Chandigarh’s periphery, a senior police official told Chandigarh Tribune this evening.

Meanwhile, Mr Ratan A.S. Bhullar, Vice-president (Administration) of the ATS Infrastructure Limited, informed that a case under Sections 120-B, 405, 420, 406, 423, 463, 464 and 465 of the IPC had been registered against Inderpal Singh, a resident of Kaimbala in Chandigarh, who allegedly forged the GPA of the NRI, Mr Mohinder Singh.

Claiming that the company strictly went by the revenue records while entering into transaction with Inderpal Singh, Mr Bhullar said the company would fully cooperate with the law-enforcing agencies in bringing out the truth.

Acting on a communication from the Dera Bassi Sub-Registrar, the local SDM, Mr Narinder Sangha, yesterday wrote to the police to investigate the matter and take appropriate legal action against the alleged accused Inderpal Singh.

In his communication, the Sub-Registrar informed the SDM that Mr Rajbir Singh, counsel for the NRI, claimed that Inderpal Singh produced an impersonator, who posed as the NRI, Mr Mohinder Singh, and got the GPA registered in Chandigarh on September 13.

Sources said on the basis of the fake GPA, Inderpal Singh allegedly entered into an agreement with the ATS Infrastructure through its General Manager, Col Gurbinder Singh (retd), for the said land measuring 16 bighas and 19 biswas for Rs 2.96 crore.

However, when Mr Mohinder Singh, who never reportedly visited India, came to know about the land deal, he approached his counsel and also reportedly brought the matter to the notice of the local Naib Tehsildar on telephone.



Fight in jail over toilet use
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A fight over who would use the common toilet in a house in Burail last night led to a clash between two groups, and several persons getting injured. The trouble began last night when Irfan Khan and Vinod, who were staying in the same house got into a verbal duel as to who would use the toilet first. The heated argument between the two led to their friends joining in, and the two groups came to blows.

It was then that some neighbours intervened and stopped the clash. The injured persons were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 16, and the police was informed. A cross case has been registered by the police against both parties on charges of causing hurt, rioting and criminal intimidation. The police has arrested 12 persons, including Irfan Khan, Vinod, Manu, Narinder, Sarwan, Ashok and Chintu.

Tantrik arrested

The police has arrested a self-styled tantrik, Iqbal Sidhguru, on charges of defrauding and duping people.

The police says that he was involved in several cases of fraud, and would dupe people of money and other material possessions by asking them to perform pujas.



Two chain snatchers held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police today arrested two youths near Gurdwara Shahpur, Sector 38, here, who were allegedly involved in several incidents of robbery and snatching.

The police claimed to have solved a case of robbery. As the gang has many members, their arrests might lead to the solving of many cases.

Giving details of the arrest, Inspector Satbir Singh said a team led by sub-inspector Amanjot Singh nabbed the two youth.

Both youngsters, who are in their twenties, have been identified as Raj Kumar alias Raju and Jaswinder Singh alias Bobby. They are residents of Kumhar colony, Sector 25. A gold chain has been recovered from their possession.

During preliminary interrogation, they, along with another boy, confessed to robbing Mr Rajinder Singh of Sector 37-D of his gold chain and purse at knife point in Sector 37 on the intervening night of September 18 and 19. A case had been registered in this regard.

Sources in the police said the duo have said that their gang consists of five-six youths and they have two motorcycles. They even confessed to being involved in at least 12 incidents of robbery and snatching.

The police said efforts were on to trace the remaining members of the gang.



Motor cycle, taps stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Mr Umesh Mittal of Sector 20 reported that his Hero Honda passion motor cycle (CH-03-J-4069) was stolen from his residence on the night of September 20. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.


Mr Anil Kumar of Sector 20 lodged a complaint that taps and fountains were stolen from his factory premises in Phase I, Industrial Area, on Wednesday night. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.

1 held for gambling

The Special Crime Investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested a Mani Majra resident on the allegations of indulging in gambling at a public place. According to the police, Sham Bhadur of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, was arrested from near Main Market in Mani Majra for gambling on Thursday night. The police recovered Rs 27,000 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered in this regard.

Ganja seized

The crime branch of the Chandigarh Police arrested Upinder Yadav of Daria Village from the same village on Thursday for allegedly carrying 8 kg of ganja. A case under Section 20 of the NDPS Act has been registered in this regard.



Cops find body of man
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 22
The body of a middle-aged person found by the police this morning. It is suspected that the man was murdered.

According to the police, the body of Sajjan Singh, (42), was found from near Kahne ka Wahra and had injury marks on his face. The body was sent for a postmortem examination to the Civil Hospital. Sajjan Singh was a resident of Nayagaon village.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against unknown persons on the complaint of a son of the deceased, Mr Harinder Singh. He told the police that his father had left the house around 6.30 p.m. yesterday but nobody knew where he had gone.

The police said that it was in the morning that the family got to know that the body of Sajjan Singh was lying a few kilometres away from the village. The family has not raised any suspicion regarding the murder of Sajjan Singh.



Man held with 400 pirated CDs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Chandigarh police seized over 400 pirated CDs from a video parlour in Sector 22 here tonight.

Giving details, the in-charge of Sector 22 police post, Charanjit Singh said Mr Joginder Pal, an employee of Indian Music Industry, G 11, Nizamudin, New Delhi, reported to the police that a video parlour in Sector 22 known as Video 22 had been dealing in pirated CDs .

Acting on the complaint, the police raided the premises of the parlour located in cabin no 107, Ist Floor, Sector 22, and recovered 2150 MP-3 CDs and 2196 VCD and DVDs . The police arrested the accused and registered a case under Sections 51, 52, 63 and 68 A of the Copy Right Act 1957.

In another incident, two motor cycle-borne youth snatched a gold chain of an elderly woman Charan Kaur outside her residence in Sector 22. A case has been registered in this regard.



PHD Chamber to bridge North-South trade disparity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The northern block, comprising 10 states and one Union Territory, represents 44 per cent of the geographical area but contributes only 30 per cent of the industrial output of the country.

While it accounts for 40 per cent of the total exports of the country, it lags in almost all critical indicators like infrastructure, investment climate, consumer market and the technical education sector.

This was stated by the President of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms Sushma Berlia, while releasing a policy paper titled "The North Versus the Rest: Where do we stand? Where do we go from here?"

"While the North accounts for 44 per cent of India's geographical area and 56 per cent of the agricultural production, its contribution to the industrial output is only 30 per cent. The reason is that in the bulk of North India (Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, MP, Chhattisgarh), there is a serious education problem, including a lack of vocational education and skill-formation infrastructure. South India has almost double the number of engineering seats than the North, the same holds true for management institutes, with less than half the number of management institutes being located in the northern states, as compared with southern states," she said.

She pointed out that even the law and order situation in the North was critical, and was moderately serious in Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh and extremely serious in Jammu and Kashmir and UP. In terms of the size of the consumer market (which reflects the growth and prosperity of the people), other than some pockets of wealth in the North, there are considerable pockets of deprivation. "The worst off states are Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and MP, while UP and Uttaranchal are marginally better. Infrastructure is a serious problem in Rajasthan and MP and an extremely serious problem in UP and Chhattisgarh," she said.

According to the PHD Chamber, unless specific step are taken to check this trend, the North-South disparity will continue to increase. It is thus that they have initiated the concept of NICE-North India Common Economy, based on the success seen from similar economic blocks, especially the European Union. In the first stage, NICE will aim to remove the barriers to inter-state trade and in the next step will address itself to promoting a dialogue between the stakeholders on how to up the scale of industrial and economic development in this region. "It is our estimate that if these barriers are removed, and if NICE is attained, collective State domestic product in the North will increase by 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent," informed Ms Berlia.

Mr Sanjay Bhatia, vice-president PHDCCI, suggests that states should carry forward the agenda of economic reforms on the basis of a 'Common Minimum Programme'. In this connection, procedural and structural adjustments would encourage free flow of goods and services, which will accelerate economic growth in the North.



City to celebrate Tourism Day in a big way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Chandigarh administration will celebrate World Tourism Day on September 27 in a befitting manner, an official press release.

A major function will be held at the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, (earlier known as FCI), in which the Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, will be the chief guest.

City Beautiful will display welcome banners prepared and supplied by the Tourism Department. A complementary ride on the Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus will be offered to tourists on that day.

A traditional welcome to the tourists will be extended at the railway station, airport and tourist spots by the students of the Institute of Hotel Management.

The ‘Centre for Carnival Arts’ with the help of UT Public Relations Department will also organise a musical programme at the Sector 17 Plaza. There will be fireworks in the evening at Sector 17 on the same day. Canopies will also be set up at Sector 17, Rock Garden, Lake, Rose Garden, airport and railway station.

The Chandigarh administration has requested all private and CITCO-run hotels for special discounts and attractions to mark the occasion.



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