C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


First pre-monsoon showers
Not down the drain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
After a long sultry spell, the skies opened up last night, providing the sun-scorched city denizens with the much-needed cool respite.

As it rained heavily, the city recorded 32.6 mm of pre-monsoon showers, the first this season and the highest in this metrological zone. Only Kasol in Himachal Pradesh, with 38.5 mm, recorded more rainfall than Chandigarh, which beat all other places in the region, according to the Met department.

Following Chandigarh on the rain graph were Panchkula with 15 mm, Kalka at 20 mm, Ambala at 2.9 mm, Jagadhri at 7 mm, Patiala at 0.2 mm and Amritsar at 4 mm.

The city recorded yet another spell of pre-monsoon showers late this evening.

The showers also bared chinks in the city’s drainage system, which has failed the residents quite regularly. Almost all southern sectors were heavily water-logged for the larger part of the day, with the drainage system unable to take the load of the very first showers.

Accompanied as the rains were with strong winds, cables were damaged at several places, causing breakdowns in the telecom and power services. Water supply was also adversely hit in some areas in the south of the city, where locals complained of muddy fresh water supply.

The already-dwindling green cover was not spared either. At many places throughout the city, rains left its mark.

At some places in Sectors 36 and 34, 45, 47 and 48, portions of roads were damaged in the first rains of the season.

Damages apart, the authorities had not arranged to clear the roads till late evening today.

On the weather front, the first pre-monsoon shower was quite generous by all standards, said weathermen. Last year, the city had recorded just 66.5 mm of rain in entire June. However, this time 32.6 mm has been recorded in a single shot of rain.

“Today’s rain will be welcomed by farmers. It is a good for the sowing of kharif crops,” said Chattar Singh Malik, director, Met department.

For the third day in a row, a cool weather accompanied by rains helped keep the day temperature within tolerable limits. The maximum temperature today was 37.8°C while the minimum was 23.8°C. The day temperature was, however, higher than yesterday by 1.6 °C.

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Sleepless in City, courtesy power cuts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
City residents continues to suffer unscheduled power cuts that, too, at odd hours. Even sporadic showers have not lessened their problem as the UT electricity department is resorting to unscheduled rotational cuts because of power shortage.

Due to the unscheduled power cuts, the water supply in sectors 16, 17, 18, 22 and 24 was also affected in the past 24 hours.

Even last night, a fault in the sector 39 sub-station led to disruption of power supply to sectors 12, 14, 15,39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44. The supply was restored only around 2 am.

Complaints were also received from Mani Majra, Sector 38 west and Dadu Majra where residents said the water supply had been badly affected due to the frequent cuts.

An official at the complaint centre of sector 43 sub-station said, “The transmission system is overloaded during summers. We have to resort to short-cuts to relieve the burden of heat. We were having services of only one transformer from the past couple of days. The second one has started working today and the things should improve”.

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PU students clash, one in PGI
SOPU chief among 12 booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
With the admission season barely taking off at Panjab University, student organisations are already at each others’ throats.

A clash took place today between activists of Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), following which a student was admitted to the PGI with serious injuries.

Taking cognizance of the incident the police has registered a case of attempt to murder, rioting and causing injuries against at least 12 persons, out of which five have been identified.

They include president of SOPU Harpreet Multani, Amanbir Singh of Sector 33-A, Varinder Dhillon, Nimar and Gurpartap Singh Mann.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident took place at around 3 pm on the campus, where Ajay Pal Singh Gill of Sector 16, a BA final student of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, was thrashed by a group of at least 12 youngsters, armed with swords, rods, and hockey sticks. Gill had come to the university to fill an admission form for physical education course. He was accompanying, Ravinder Nath Salhotra, a law student of the university, when they were pounced upon by the assailants.

Sources in the police said on seeing the activists of SOPU coming towards them, Salhotra ran toward police beat box and was thus saved.

Gill ran toward the library, but was intercepted by the group and was thrashed there. After beating him black and blue the assailants escaped in two vehicles, a Scorpio (CH-03-X-7581) and a black Maruti Zen.

SHO of the Sector 11 police station inspector Puran Chand said Gill was rushed to the PGI. He had injuries on both his legs and an arm besides sustaining head injuries. He also suffered a fracture on his leg.

The SHO added that raids were being conducted to arrest the accused.

Meanwhile, PUSU president Abhishek Puri, while condemning the incident, said some miscreants, who were not the students of the university, had been indulging in such activities. He said he had met the vice-chancellor and the dean, student welfare, in this connection and apprised them of the incident.

The vice-chancellor said he had told the police to take action against the accused.

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No Frills Cheap Thrills
Air Deccan passengers left stranded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Passengers of the no-frill carrier Air Deccan flight from New Delhi to Jammu were harassed today, when the aircraft after a four-hour halt in the city, had to head back to New Delhi, with many of its passengers making their own arrangements to reach Jammu.

Talking to TNS passengers alleged that the air conditioner on the Air Deccan flight from New Delhi to Jammu was not functioning since they took off from the Delhi Airport at 12:20 pm. The flight landed in the city at about 1:20 pm.

Passengers said that airline officials asked the passengers to disembark to let technicians repair the AC. “We were told it will take 20 minutes. But till 4 pm there were no signs of the flight taking off,” stated Sanjiv, a passenger.

Worried passengers were seen making enquiries to reach Jammu. Passengers added that airline officials here refused to reimburse their ticket amount and asked them to collect the same from New Delhi. “The airline was also not even ready to provide any alternate mode of transport,” added another passenger.

Talking to TNS Nadim-ul-Hassan, a teacher based in Jammu, said that the passengers had not even been provided with any lunch. “I was on training in New Delhi and there is no reason for me to head back, but the airline officials are not prepared to make any alternate arrangements to take us to Jammu.”

31 passengers were on board the flight. According to sources only about half of them took the flight back to New Delhi.

Suneel Dutt, airport Director, told TNS that it was the airlines’ responsibility to take care of the passengers. “However, they had tried to do their best.” Air Deccan officials refused to comment on the situation. 

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Death of NCC Cadets
Education institutes’ role under scanner
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The recent death of two NCC cadets who had attended summer adventure camps in hills has raised concern over the role of education institutions in ensuring medical fitness of the cadets.

Though medical fitness certificate is one of the chief requirements for students to attend NCC training camps, this aspect is apparently not being given due consideration by the authorities.

According to regulations, it is the responsibility of the associate NCC officer (ANO), who looks after the NCC activities in his or her respective institute, to ensure that the cadets fulfil pre-requisite formalities, including medical fitness and permission of parents, before forwarding their names to the NCC unit. Svapnil from Nagpur died due to respiratory system failure, while Rajat from Chandigarh died three days after returning from the camp.

NCC officers, however, expressed helplessness over lapses on aspects where NCC authorities had no jurisdiction, such as issue of medical certificates from civilian doctors.

“Education institutions and parents have a major responsibility as we have to rely on documents we receive from them,” NCC deputy director general, said.

DPI (S) S.K. Setia said he was issuing instructions to education institutes to ensure that cadets were medically fit before being sent to camps.

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Roof Collapse
Who to blame, admin in a ‘fix’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Pinpointing the official responsibility for the Sunday’s roof collapse in sector 26 grain market could prove an arduous tough task for the Chandigarh Administration.

The three structures (including the one which collapsed) used by arhtiyas for auction of fruit and vegetables were never handed over to the mandi board or the market committee by the UT engineering department.

While the collapsed structure was raised in 1979, the two other auction platforms (popularly know as ‘gada’ sheds that have been declared unsafe) were raised around 1957. As per the code of manual, the drawings and specifications of the structures should have been handed over to the client department. In this case the market committee, which looks after the affairs of the sector 26 mandi, has its own technical wing headed by an SDO and a junior engineer.

Sources reveal that the market committee building (which has been declared unsafe by the chief architect in a communication to the deputy commissioner in May 2006) had also not been handed over to the former. There was some dispute over the payment to be made to the contractor and possession was never handed over to the market committee. In place of the market committee office, the architect department had proposed a parking for 300 cars.

Following the incident, the old record regarding the three structures has been dug out and being studied by the experts looking into the reasons behind the collapse. The committee is looking into design, construction, execution, repair and maintenance.

Not ruling out the role of the engineering department, a senior official said since the market committee was collecting market fee from the traders and was carrying our repairs of the structures, technically it was the responsibility of the committee.

Adding to the problem were different agencies - the municipal corporation, Chandigarh housing board, engineering department, executing different development works in the mandi. Apathy on part of the officials concerned was also compounded by the powerful trader lobby which forced the officials to keep off the violations.

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Now, pay & park at Sec 22-B
MC okays master plan for Palsora
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh today accorded approval to the introduction of the paid parking system in Sector 22-B, opposite the bus stand, Kiran cinema and Piccadilly cinema. The reserve price for the same has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs. 2.25 lakh, respectively.

The committee also accorded approval to the draft master plan for Palsora village. The corporation plans to acquire 4.03 acres of vacant private land in the area for the purpose of making a community centre, a primary health centre and a parking lot.

It has also been proposed to have a proper plan for the village in order to provide basic amenities such as water supply, sewerage, road network, street lights and public conveniences.

According to the draft plan, the network of water supply and sewers would be changed and laid according to the projected population because the existing water supply lines will not meet the requirement of the future. Similarly, electricity lines will be laid and the existing street lights improved.

According to the draft plan for the village, an area of 1.44 acres will be acquired by the MC to develop a parking lot. An area of 0.77 acre, belonging to individuals, shall be acquired for the construction of the community centre while 0.69 acre on the north side of the village will be acquired for the development of a green belt. An area of 1.17 acres shall be acquired for the construction of the primary health centre, which will also be useful to the residents of Sector 55.

It is also proposed to build 12 shops. The committee has also approved the agenda item to fix the reserve price for seven water tenders.

Besides, three supplementary agenda items — the rough cost estimate for carpeting of parking lots and roads in pocket No.1, Mani Majra (front side area), for Rs 31.39 lakh, the estimate for augmentation of water supply in Palsora village and realisation of water charges from various housing societies — were also granted approval.

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The Cupid’s arrow which struck terror
Couple alleges harassment from cops, bride’s family
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
As the cliché goes love transcends all boundaries and caste barriers. This is precisely what Cupid-struck Himmat Singh and Gurpreet Kaur did. Himmat (26) Gurpreet (23) tied the knot on May 29, 2007, despite opposition from the girl’s family. The day they got married the girl’s father got an FIR registered against Himmat on charges of kidnapping.

“What is surprising is that the police has registered the FIR without verifying the facts”, avers Himmat, a practising lawyer, who is currently out on an interim bail till July 5. The couple alleges a threat to their lives from Gurpreet’s family and has moved the High Court seeking police protection. Gurpreet said that she has already recorded her statement before the magistrate under Section 164 of Cr PC.

Narrating the sequence of events, Gurpreet, an international rover, who has just finished her master’s degree in physical education from Panjab University, alleges, “The problem began in March this year when my family got to know about us. They were against the match from the very beginning. After I finished my exams in May this year, I was taken to Ludhiana on May 12 on the pretext of meeting my cousin, who was unwell at that time. On May 13, I was forcibly taken to Amritsar and was made to stay at my maternal uncle’s place, who is an ASI. Somehow, I managed to contact Himmat and he brought me back on May 28.” “We got married the very next morning in Sirsa,” states Himmat, who hails from Kaithal district in Haryana.

When contacted, the SHO of Sector 17 police station, Kulwant Singh Pannu, said, “Given the gravity of the charge, we had no option but to register the FIR, we are duty bound”.

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25 m NRIs, but no law on child custody disputes
Vishal Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
For a country so proudly enamoured of its diaspora and which celebrates ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas’ with elan, it is shocking that no legislation exists till date to cater to a burgeoning list of inter-country family disputes, especially in the realm of interparental child custody matters.

To put things in perspective, India has nearly 25 million non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in as many as 110 countries abroad. Of late, there has been a spate of cases relating to broken cross-border marriages, multi-jurisdictional matrimonial disputes and child custody or child removal matters, thus necessitating the need for a law to address these issues.

The child custody disputes arise when NRI parents remove their children to India in violation of a foreign court’s custody order or when one of the NRI parents so removes the child as to infringe upon the parental rights of the other parent.

Anil Malhotra, a reputed NRI affairs lawyer, emphasises that the existing family law legislations which were enacted 30 years ago, are becoming increasingly obsolete and are unable to meet the challenges of a new crop of international matrimonial and child custody disputes.

Incidentally, Anil Malhotra and his brother Ranjit Malhotra, who is a lawyer too, have presented a paper on the ‘Conflict of Jurisdictions in Interparental Child Custody Disputes-The Indian Postition’ at the 20th Biennial LawAsia conference in Hong Kong on June 7.

“We have revived the family law section of the conference which was lying dormant for the past five years or so. It is our mission to create a pressure group so as to prod the Indian government to sign the Hague Convention, thus ensuring speedy disposal of child custody or child removal cases,” he says.

Malhotra says that child removal is defined as the removal of a child from his environment where the removal interferes with parental rights or right to contact. The removal in this context refers to removal by parents or members of the extended family and not the removal by strangers.

As many as 76 countries are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Surprisingly, India with a vast NRI population is not one of them.

The convention defines the parameters of wrongful child removal and stipulates that the child so removed be immediately restored back to his country of habitual residence i.e the country from which he was wrongfully removed.

The gravity of the problem is still to sink in with the Indian government, Malhotra asserts, saying that till date no statistical data is available as to how many child removal or custody disputes have come forth and how they have been addressed. Ruing the piecemeal approach to such a major issue, Malhotra says that Indian courts have no uniform pattern of decisions on such matters. Generally, Habeas Corpus writ petition is the only way out and it often results in delay.

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IMA motorcycle expedition flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
A motorcycle expedition, comprising five officers and 17 cadets of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun, was flagged off from Chandi Mandir this morning by the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt-Gen A.N. Aul.

Led by Major D.S. Patwal, the 22-member expedition, which includes two women officers, had arrived at Chandi Mandir last evening.

The expedition is being undertaken from Dehra Dun to Siachen as part of the platinum jubilee celebrations of the IMA.

Spreading the message of peace and harmony, the expedition, after passing through Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, is scheduled to return to Dehra Dun on July 5.

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PSEB Class X
Girls lead the way
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
Students from Ropar, Patiala and SAS Nagar have made a mark in the Punjab School Education Board Class X examination, results of which were declared today.

Anureet Kaur Tiwana of Young Farmers Public High School, Bhadson, (Patiala) and Pinki of DAV Public School, Ropar, are bracketed at the 8th position in the state and have topped their districts. Harsimran Kaur of National Model High School, Kharar, is 11th in the state and topper of the district. Her class fellow Heena is 2nd in the district and 14th in the state. Kiranjot Kaur of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Kharar, is 16th in the state and 3rd in the district.

Harsimran, daughter of a shopkeeper in Kharar, says she owes her success to her parents and teachers. “I used to wake up at 4 am during examinations and would study till 11 pm. I always paid attention to what was being taught in the class. I do not believe in tuitions as I think self-study is always better. I want to become an engineer and have taken non-medical in class XI.”

Heena, daughter of Anwar Ali, a CTU conductor, is thrilled with her result. Heena says, “I remained regular in studies and paid attention in what was being taught in the class. I never left homework pending and did not take any tuitions. I want to become an engineer.” She loves to read books of every kind, she adds.

Amandeep Kaur of Sant Isher Singh Senior Secondary School, Sector 70, Mohali, is 20th in the state and 4th in the district. Gurpreet Kaur of National Model High School Kharar stood 21st in the state. 

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8 habitual traffic offenders disqualified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Registering and Licensing Authority, Chandigarh, has disqualified eight habitual traffic offenders from holding a driving licence for a certain period following recommendations made by the Chandigarh traffic police.

Sources said six persons had been disqualified for two months while the remaining two had been disqualified for three months from holding a driving licence.

According to the information, Sukhdev Singh Bedi of Sector 23-D, Sander Singh Pathania of Sector 7-C, Ashok Kumar of Sector 32-C, Abhishek of Phase I, Mohali, Rachit Bansal of Sector 36 and Raj Kumar of Sector 56 had been disqualified to hold a driving licence for two months. Besides, Rahul Bedi of Sector 9, Panchkula, and Joginder Singh of Sector 52 had been disqualified from holding a driving licence for three months.

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191 motorists booked

Chandigarh, June 13
The Chandigarh traffic police today booked 191 motorists for violating various rules and regulations. The police collected Rs 9,500 as fine from the offenders on the spot.

The police said 78 motorists were booked for overspeeding, 25 for riding two-wheelers with wearing safety helmets, two for high-pitch music and two for using mobile phones while driving. Besides, the police impounded six vehicles for not having proper documents. — TNS

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Preserving the warmth of sunset years
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Somewhere in the nondescript surroundings of a Chandigarh slum, 45 women are scripting change. Fed on the diet of indifference and rebuke, they are getting used to the pleasant flavours of life — flavours of love, joy and pride, never earlier served up to them.

But at the community centre in Mauli Jagran, these flavours are theirs’ to savour, when they meet twice every month to celebrate life and honour the memory of Gangadevi, whose name inspired this unique fellowship. Abandoned by her sons, 90-year-old Gangadevi, a widow, lived and died on a cart outside her own house. It was one chance meeting with the woman that led activist Veena Wig to form a club that promised the loveless a sense of belonging.

“Gangadevi was our founder member, the driving force behind all our endeavours,” says Veena, Bonny Sodhi, her partner in the project, nodding in agreement. Being run as part of Youth Technical Training Society’s (YTTS) project “Atma Vishwas”, Gangadevi club is the only one in Chandigarh that caters to the poor old. That it is successful is clear from the requests the management has been receiving from old men of the area.

“They also want a club. At times, they sit at the entrance to the community centre hall while our meeting is in progress. They enjoy watching the women play all the way. Ours is a small fellowship, where pain is meant to be buried under heaps of laughter and joy. We start by engaging the women in breathing and relaxation activities. Next, they sing, dance and comb each other’s hair. Everything is designed to make them feel wanted,” says Bonny, who ensures that the child in every granny feels free to laugh and cheer.

In the gathering are all kinds of women — some old as 80 years, some visually impaired and some physically disabled. Binding them is the sense of togetherness in pain and abandonment. “I am a burden to my children. But here at the club everyone loves me. I feel like living,” says Kamla Devi, a 70-year-old who depends on her sons for survival. Most club members have similar backgrounds; some even worse than these, like Chandravati who is visually disabled.

But in the latest meeting of the club, she was the winner of the game Veena and Bonny made the members play. And she felt grateful for the prize she got. In fact, every club members has something or the other to feel good about. Some have seen spectacles for the first time in their life; others have been treated of lasting gynaecological ailments. But there’s something they collectively enjoy — the monthly kitty of Rs 50, which has empowered them in many ways. It’s another matter that even this money goes into buying gifts for grandchildren. For, that’s how life is — cyclic and stubborn.

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Unholy nexus
GCM defence wants judge advocate changed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The defence in the general court martial (GCM) trying a major at Tibri for allegedly molesting a woman officer has challenged continuation of the judge advocate in the trial, citing that he had an “unholy nexus” with the prosecution.

In a lengthy written submission before the court, the defence counsel, Col P. N. Chaturvedi (retd) questioned under what provisions did the judge advocate, Maj A. K. Panwar, forward copies of the court martial proceedings of the major’s commanding officer to the prosecution.

The commanding officer’s trial, on similar charges, had preceded this court martial. The copies of the aforesaid documents were made available to the complainant woman officer, who has already deposed before this GCM and raised some fresh allegations.

Maintaining that the judge advocate was not supposed to have copies of proceedings of a related case and nor was he supposed to give them to parties associated with the trial, the defence contended being privy to the proceedings of the commanding officer’s case, made the judge advocate’s mind biased.

Citing various Supreme Court judgments and provisions of Army Rules 39, 40 and 102, which deal with ineligibility and disqualification of officers in courts martial, the defence contended that under the present circumstances the judge advocate could not continue with the trial.

The defence also contended that the judge advocate could not sit in judgment over his own case and he could not render advice to the court on matters pertaining to his continuation in the trial.

The defence also alleged that during her deposition, the complainant officer was directed by the court not to interact with anyone till her statements were complete, but she disobeyed the order and met the prosecution counsel. The matter was also bought to the notice of two members of the court.

The court will now reassemble on June 15 for further hearings.

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Smoke-free plan gathers steam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Chandigarh will become a smoke-free city from July 1. Preparations to meet the deadline were today reviewed by UT home secretary Krishna Mohan.

All departments of the administration are engaged in doing the groundwork to ensure the implementation of the smoke-free plan for the city.

From July 1, the city will have designated smoking areas at all public places and buildings to ensure that smoking is restricted and the general public is not forced to passively inhale smoke. “Besides protecting children, women and non-smokers from the harmful effects of tobacco and smoking, such an initiative will improve the global image of Chandigarh,” said the home secretary.

The UT administration has in principle agreed to allow sub-inspectors to compound offences under the Act. The policemen will be able to recover the challan amount on the spot rather than making the violator appear before SDMs to complete the procedure.

Officials said the decision would make the implementation of the Act easier. The process of notification of section 5 as a cognisable offence had been initiated and a formal notification would be issued soon.

A Chandigarh tobacco-control cell is also being created. A campaign will be launched to ensure that no one sells tobacco products to children below the age of 18. It has also been decided to take action against tobacco vendors selling their products within 100 metres of educational institutes.

Letters have been sent to trader organisations and auto and taxi unions for complying with the provisions of the law as per which nobody will smoke publicly except at the designated smoking zones.

It was also decided that the UT administration will request the Punjab and Haryana governments through their chief secretaries and all public sector banks to display warning boards, prohibiting public smoking.

Logos are being developed to mark smoke-free Chandigarh. Buses and other public conveyances will also display warning boards against the use of tobacco.

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Fill vacancies, say protesting staff
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Employees of the irrigation department and the Karamchari Mahasangh of Haryana yesterday organised dharnas to press for their demands.

While employees of the irrigation department from all over the state protested at the headquarters of the department in Sector 5, members of the mahasangh sat on a token fast outside the deputy commissioner’s office in Sector 1.

In a rally outside Sinchai Bhawan, class III and IV employees raised slogans against the Haryana government. President of the employees’ association J.P. Pandey said the government should fill vacancies and regularise field employees.

Meanwhile, outside the DC office in Sector 1, 35 members of the mahasangh observed a day-long hunger strike in protest against their pending demands.

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Land Acquisition
Govt studying schemes prevalent in other states
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 13
With farmers up in arms whenever there is a move to acquire land, the government is now grappling with the ticklish issue of the land pooling/land exchange scheme. Systems prevalent in other states have been studied to decide which scheme will prove the most beneficial in Punjab.

Teams had been sent to Gujarat, Jaipur, Karnataka and Maharashtra to study the development schemes prevalent in those areas. Reports from these areas have been submitted to the government. Permutations and combinations are being worked out to come out with a policy that would suit the government and also protect the interests of the farmers.

A two-member team from Gujarat, comprising an official from the Department of Gujarat Urban Development and Urban Housing Department (GUDUH) and a town planner, visited the GMADA office here for giving a presentation. The presentation was made by U.S. Mehta, a retired town planner, who was assisted by K.B. Pankhania, OSD in the GUDUH.

Senior officials from the industry and revenue departments were among those present during the presentation.

According to sources, it was revealed that no land pooling/exchange scheme existed in Gujarat and by following the procedure under the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976, planned development had been achieved statewide.

Under the Gujarat pattern, whenever a town planning scheme is drawn up, 40 to 50 per cent of the area comes under government occupation for the provision of infrastructure and public facilities. However, the rest of the area goes back to the owner for development or sale at his level but in accordance with the government policy and the approved scheme. The farmer is not given any compensation.

The area with the government is utilised in five different ways. Fifteen per cent of that area is reserved for roads and 5 per cent for parks, playgrounds, gardens and open spaces. Further 5 per cent of the area is kept for social infrastructure such as schools, dispensaries, and public utilities. Also the government keeps 15 per cent of the area for sale for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, depending on the nature of development.

Around 10 per cent is kept for houses for members of socially and economically backward classes. However, the percentage of land allotted for roads, parks, playgrounds, gardens, open spaces and social infrastructure can be varied depending on the nature of development.

According to sources, officials concerned had found that the Rajasthan scheme was simpler comparatively and easier for implementation. But many factors like the cost of land, development costs had to be studied before finalising any policy to be implemented in Punjab. The final decision has to be made by the government.

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Mohali Fire
Janta Market traders get relief
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 13
A sum was Rs 1 crore was distributed today among 377 traders of the Janata Market in Phase IIIB1 whose shops got destroyed in a major fire on June 1.

Deputy Commissioner H.I.S Garewal gave cheques for Rs 25,000 each the affected shopkeepers. Garewal was accompanied by SAD leader Jasjit Singh. However, a few cheques had to be withdrawn as disputes had arisen between landlords and tenants over the availing of the interim relief. These cheques would be given later after a proper verification.

Jasjit Singh told shopkeepers that efforts would be made to provide adequate compensation to the affected shopkeepers soon.

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Non-functional streetlights
MC’s ‘negligence’ invites criticism
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Non-functional streetlights in the city have invited the wrath from the public and the Haryana Punjabi Mahasabha.

Addressing a press conference here today, president of the mahasabha Hemant Kinger said he had recorded the state of streetlights in the city to expose the Municipal Council which only awarded contracts and forgot about them.

Showing a CD on the issue, Kinger said all streetlights were off on the roads dividing Sectors 4 and 12, 11 and 14, 14 and 12 A and Phase I of the Industrial Area.

“On the roads dividing Sectors 9 and 10, 8 and 9, Mansa Devi and the markets of Sector 8, 9 and 10, one-odd streetlight is in working condition. All others are off because of fused bulbs, faulty wiring or some other reason. The MC is paying so much to the contractors for maintenance work. Seeing the state of affairs, the contractors must be,” Kinger said.

Quoting from the contract, Kinger stated that as per the terms and conditions any non-functional streetlight should be rectified within 24 hours, failing which a penalty of Rs 50 would be imposed on the contractor on per day basis till the fault is rectified. “However, the MC seems to have forgotten that it ever awarded the contract. Till date, no fine has been imposed on any contractor, indicating that the MC officials are hand in glove with them,” he said.

Mentioning another violation of the contract, Kinger explained that the contractor had not provided an office at two places for public to lodge its complaints. “According to the contract, the office is to be open seven days a week, including all holidays. However, no such office exists here,” he said.

Kinger said he had shown the CD to Deputy Commissioner Neerja Shekhar and submitted a complaint against the MC for violating its own norms as also against the contractor for his indifferent attitude to the public.

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Residents go without power

Panchkula, June 13
Following heavy downpour late in the evening, residents in most sectors had to go without power for two to four hours. While no major snag was reported from any feeder, the electricity department switched off power supply to most sectors.

Residents alleged that none of the numbers of the complaint sectors could be accessed all through the period of power failure. The phone numbers of all the officials, including the Xen and SDO were switched off.

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Power dept clears the air, says bill amount correct
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh June 13
Following the Tribune story on inflated power bills, the UT electricity department today said though the total amount payable by the consumers has been correctly reflected in the bills, some confusion was reported among the residents about the recent electricity bills in some parts of the city.

The department has requested the consumers to make the payments mentioned against the total amount by their due dates so that no late payment surcharge is levied as the total amount is correct.

The job of generation of electricity bills is with M/s Doeacc Centre. The agency has informed that while running the computer programme for generation of electricity bills for this cycle, an inadvertent error occurred due to which the amount equivalent to fixed charges got deducted from the energy charges column. Rest of all columns except the energy charges column is correct.

The consumers are requested to bear with the inconvenience and ensure payment of the bills by due date, as per amount depicted in the column amount payable by due date, said the department. 

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BEL employees protest suspension of 3 workers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Agitated employees of BEL factory today gheraoed the management to protest against the suspension of three employees. Raising slogans against the management and manager R.L. Goyal, the employees said the management was indifferent towards their genuine demands and had been sitting over these for months.

Union president Subhash Malik, general secretary Naresh Malhotra and senior vice-president Harbhajan Singh had been suspended following a decision of the management board.

“The manager sent a report to the management saying that the three office-bearers had beaten him up and misbehaved with him when they went to see him in his office about redressing their grievances. He has concocted the story. Our only demand is that the three should be reinstated,” the protesters said.

They said their demands included making the water cooler and air conditioners at the factory functional, stationing the recently withdrawn ambulance for the use of employees and other meeting such small requirements. However, instead of addressing these, the manager had leveled the charges of manhandling against the union leaders, they added.

“We have now decided that the dharna will go on till the employees are reinstated and our demands are addressed,” a spokesperson said.

Goyal, however, refused to comment in the matter.

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Pension clerk held for graft
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Mahavir Singh, a pension clerk working with the Cooperative Building Society, was allegedly caught red-handed by a team of the Haryana Vigilance Bureau while accepting a bribe of Rs 500 from Arjun Das Gupta, a retired superintendent.

Following a complaint by Gupta, the vigilance team, including DSP Karnail Chand and inspectors Babir and Simru Ram, raided the place of the deal between Mahavir Singh and the complainant. The clerk was caught red-handed.

Gupta had alleged that the clerk was asking for a bribe to release his pension benefits.

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Fauji Beat

It’s a raw deal, not welfare

THE Congress government’s claim in New Delhi on May 22, that it has done a lot for the welfare of ex-servicemen can only be accepted with a grain of salt. For the government to say that it has removed the anomaly in the pension of personnel below officer rank (PBOR) and brought their pension “close to full pension” is a clear acceptance of its inability to grant them their full pension. What is the justification in not giving them 50 per cent of their last pay drawn as pension as all other central government employees get?

The Congress government has done the least for the armed forces during its rule. Whereas in 1947, there was compensatory pension for the truncated career in the armed forces, today there is a punishment for being retired earlier. For, you cannot complete 33 years of service and do not, therefore, get 50 per cent of your pay as pension.

The successive pay commissions have exhaustively reviewed the terms and conditions of service of the civilian employees but no such examination in totality has been carried out for the armed forces. Their pay scales have been determined by mere extension of civilian scales based on arbitrary relatives, very often distorted.

In 1949, the Armed Forces Pension Revision Commission eliminated compensatory pensions for early retirement. In 1959, the Raghuramiah Committee had recommended that a comprehensive examination of the terms and conditions of the armed forces be carried out at a time convenient to the government. The government has not found a “convenient time” to consider this important aspect in the last 48 years.

Conference Hall

A model of the Conference Hall complex at headquarters, Western Command, Chandi Mandir.
A model of the Conference Hall complex at headquarters, Western Command, Chandi Mandir.

Headquarters, Western Command, often conducts briefing of senior serve officers, civil dignitaries and foreign delegations. Apart from this, it also holds civil and military liaison conferences of all the states, which fall in its territorial jurisdiction. The necessity for a spacious state-of-the-art conference hall, having advance technology conferencing and briefing aids, was felt since long for this purpose.

To meet this requirement, a double story building has been sanctioned. The foundation stone of the building to be called Conference Hall-cum-Operations Room Complex was laid at Chandimandir by Lieut-Gen Daljeet Singh GOC-in-C Western Command, the other day.

Bed and Breakfast Scheme

The Directorate General Resettlement (DGR), Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, had launched the Bed and Breakfast Scheme (also called Home-stay Scheme) in Kerala in May 2006. Having met success there, the DGR has now decided to extend this scheme to other cities in the country.

The necessity of this scheme has arisen because of the hotel accommodation in India for the tourists being short and expensive. The DGR is working on the premise that a large number of serving and retired service personnel have rooms available in their private accommodation. Such rooms, after being suitably furnished and classified under Gold and Silver category, can be made available to the foreign tourists who visit India and like to stay with the Indian families to know about their culture.

This scheme, the DGR feels, will give a unique opportunity to the house owners to earn extra money while staying at home. Those who want to join this scheme anywhere in India may write to the Self Employment Directorate, Directorate General Resettlement, West Block-IV, R.K. Puram, New Delhi-110066. — Pritam Bhullar

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Letters

Water woes

I am a resident of House No. 585 Phase II, Mohali, and would like to draw your attention towards the problem of muddy water being supplied here for the past few days. Water is a basic need, but consumption of this water is dangerous for human beings. Everybody can’t afford water purifiers. Officials concerned must be brought to book for the negligence.

Pawan Kumar Sharma, Mohali

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Tips for safe driving
Attitude

The most basic factor contributing towards good and safe driving, as with most things in life, is attitude. Attitude consists of:

  • Being sensitive to the needs of other road users. Be positive and treat others, be they pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers, as you would wish to be treated.
  • Ensuring at all times that you are maintaining the correct separation from other vehicles and not following too closely. Close driving can feel threatening to the driver in front.
  • Understanding that everybody else may not have as clear an idea of priority of vehicles on the road as yourself. So be aware that all rules on priority won’t always be followed by other road users. Be calm and tolerant when other drivers break rules.

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Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
A 35-year-old man, Satbir Singh, allegedly ended his life by hanging from a ceiling fan hook at his Dhanas residence this morning. Quoting the family, the police said Satbir Singh was under a depression for the past over three days.

A father of two, Satbir Singh was found hanging from the ceiling fan hook by his wife at around 12.30 pm. She had gone to the market for some work when her husband took the extreme step, said the police.

SHO of the Sector 11 police station Puran Chand said the family told the police that Satbir Singh was an alcoholic and had been taking treatment at the PGI.

The police said Satbir Singh’s wife informed it about the incident. Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection.

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