C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Concrete moves to kill the green
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The engineering departments of the Chandigarh administration as well as the municipal corporation have unanimity on at least one issue - replacing green tops of footpaths and road medians with pre-cast concrete blocks.

Continuous criticism of the shrinking green cover notwithstanding, the two departments appear to be in competition as to who paves more open space, footpaths and pavements with pre-cast concrete inter-locking blocks.

Take the case of the road dividing Sectors 22 and 23. After a couple of months, this would be left with no blade of grass, thanks to the unique “concretising” drive of the authorities concerned. While a major chunk of open spaces along the road were earlier utilised for constructing cycle tracks on either side of the busy Jan Path, now pre-cast blocks are also replacing the remaining portion of the green top.

Engineers seem to have had a love-hate relationship with the greenery in the Union Territory. Some years ago, the horticulture wing of the engineering department came out with a plan to green all major roads, including the Jan Marg, Madhya Marg and Dakshin Marg.

It started growing bougainvillea on medians of these roads. This was to quell criticism over barricading city roads with iron and steel grills or barbed wire. With the exception of the Jan Marg, especially from the Cricket Stadium intersection to the MLA Hostels’ intersection, other roads covered under the bougainvillea drive now present a sad story of neglect. Bougainvillea bushes have disappeared from several portions , leaving huge gaps. The drive, it appears, was discontinued with the change of the then secretary, engineering, and the chief engineer.

Earlier, the department had attempted another campaign against green hedges, saying these were not good enough as fence at the Sector 16 Rose Garden and the Sector 10 Leisure Valley. Instead, the department wanted to raise boundary walls not only at these two green spots, but also around other gardens, open spaces and remaining portions of the Leisure Valley. But criticism in the media and by some prominent citizens forced the department to give up its plan mid-way.

The engineers also thought of another way of greening the city. An experiment was made to hang potted plants from streetlight lamps, initially on the Jan Marg and Madhya Marg. But it also ran into rough weather because of the failure of the contractor to devise equipment for irrigating the hanging pots.

Unperturbed by past failures, now the corporation and the administration has embarked upon a scheme to build footpaths and pedestrians’ paths in almost all parks and gardens, including the Rose Garden and the Terrace Garden. The argument is that evening and morning strollers prefer concrete pathways to grass.

A couple of new parks being developed in southern sectors have already been provided with concrete pathways and steel and iron barricading. Civil works proceeding vegetation is also being justified by the engineers, who maintain that had planting been done before barricading, cattle would have wreaked havoc.

Now the latest move of the department is to target greenery on the Madhya Marg. Green open spaces would be covered to facilitate parking. Only small portions surrounding roots of trees would be left uncovered to provide “breathing space” for the shrinking tree line on the city’s prestigious marg.

A number of trees in the way of completion of “disputable” slip roads on the Dakshin Marg may be also be axed.

* Cement blocks for footpaths

* Trees in way of slip roads to be felled

* Parking sites to gobble green space

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Sec 16 stadium not for ICL
Kapil’s plans stumped
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Kapil Dev donates blood during a camp at the CLTA, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Kapil Dev donates blood during a camp at the CLTA, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 11
Giving a jolt to the ambitious plans of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) to rope in the cricket stadium, Sector 16, as a venue for its tournaments, the Chandigarh administration today made it clear that it was not interested in any kind of tie-up with the parallel body to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

ICL chairman Kapil Dev met with UT adviser Lalit Sharma and discussed issues pertaining to stadium upgrade.

Finance secretary S.K. Sandhu, chief engineer V.K. Bhardwaj and public relations director Vivek Atray were also present during the meeting.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Vivek Atray said the administration was upbeat over having an international tie after a gap of 14 years in the city and it would not do anything to jeopardise the interest of cricket in city.

It was being speculated that the legendary cricketer was meeting the authorities with an offer from the ICL.

On being asked whether Kapil gave any proposal in black and white on behalf of the ICL, Atray said the matter had been discussed verbally.

“Kapil offered to get floodlights installed at the stadium by the ICL but we refused,” said a senior official.

According to information, Kapil discussed the setting up of the ICL and its future plans with the authorities but he was told that the administration was in touch with the BCCI for the growth of the game in the city.

The administration is not ready to do anything that will hit the forthcoming one-day international match between Australia and India to be held on October 8 here.

“We will continue to correspond with the BCCI for matters related to cricket in the future also”, said Atray.

Meanwhile, Kapil appreciated the initiative taken by the administration and suggested that floodlights and corporate boxes should be added to the stadium.

Praising the facilities available here, Kapil said he could not have touched the heights in the game if he had not been born here.

Earlier, the cricketing legend donated blood at a blood donation camp organised on the premises of the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association in Sector 10.

He also interacted with budding tennis players and exhorted them to work hard in their game.

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B Ed Admissions Today
But course yet to get NCTE affiliation
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Counselling for admissions to the Bachelor of Education 4-year integrated programme begins tomorrow, but Panjab University has yet to receive the mandatory affiliation from the National Council of Teachers’ Education (NCTE) for the same.

The course, which begins this session, has received at least 80 applications for the 85 seats in the programme. According to Sween, director, department of adult and continuing education, who is the programme coordinator, the response has been largely from areas in and around Chandigarh since not many students are aware of the course.

In the meantime, the obligatory affiliation from the NCTE is yet to be received by the university which is required before the commencement of any education programme. However Vice-Chancellor Prof R. C. Sobti does not seem unduly worried. “I will not do anything that will put the students at risk. I am in touch with the NCTE and we hope to get the affiliation soon. The papers are being processed and I am positive we will get the affiliation shortly.

Meanwhile, there is also talk of the NCTE being dissolved.

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For driver’s licence, poll roll alone will do
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A voter ID card or ration card will not be admitted as proof of residence at the office of the registering and licensing authority (RLA).

Instead, those applying for a driver’s licence and registration of vehicle would have to submit a copy of the electoral roll, indicating their proof of residence in the records of the election commission.

This could mean harassment for those who rely only on the voter ID card or ration card as proof of residence. The new rules would be made applicable after forms are printed in a new format prescribed by the ministry of road transport.

Earlier, a voter ID card, ration card or an attested copy of voter list was accepted as one of the proofs of residence. The direction form part of a reminder sent to all states and UTs, asking them to implement the amendments to the motor vehicle rules.

As per the new guidelines, an electoral roll would be the only document (issued by the EC) acceptable. “Though there are other documents like passport, life insurance policy and pay slip, asking for the latest electoral rolls would ensure that the proof of residence was the latest,” an official said.

Applicants were often not residing at the addresses mentioned in the voter ID/ration cards. This defeated the purpose of accepting the documents as proof of residence. On the other hand, passport or insurance policy had the latest address of an applicant. But not all applicants rely on passport or insurance policy.

An official of the election department said those applying for a certified copy of the electoral roll have to apply as per the prescribed procedure. However, the electoral roll as per a survey of 2006 is already available on the website of the election department.

The latest electoral rolls would be published in August 2007 and then put on the website. The electoral rolls could be put on the system of the RLA so that the residence verification of the applicants could be done on the spot. R.K. Rao, deputy commissioner, said after the revised electoral rolls were published, the record could be made available to the RLA.

Officials in the RLA said the application forms for driver’s licence and registration of vehicles in the new format would soon be printed.

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NRI to invest $ 1 billion in Indian realty market
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Jaswinder Oberai, a successful NRI businessman of Swiss nationality, has returned to his native Punjab to start many real estate and other projects in the state. He is the founder and managing director of Synergy Asset Management, which manages over $ 1-billion assets of many major European and North American financial institutions and high-net worth individuals. Oberai is keen to invest $ 1 billion in India in partnership with Munchmeyer Peterson Capital (MPC), a German-based investment house.

“Our joint venture company - MPC Synergy- is highly motivated to invest in real estate, hospitals, hospitality sector and the education sector in Punjab and other parts of the country,” says Oberai. Talking to The Tribune, Oberai, who studied at Queen’s College, University of Cambridge, with specialisation in banking and credit, industrial and development economics, says that MPC Synergy has already signed any agreement with AKME projects limited for the development of residential projects in Bangalore, Mohali and Ludhiana with an estimated cost of $200 million.

“We expect that work will start on these projects in next three months,” he adds. Oberai was born in Patiala but moved to Geneva where his father was employed with International Labour Organisation.

“Punjab is one of the fastest urbanising state in the country. It needs a huge investment in real estate sector to build quality houses with best infrastructure and surroundings. We are here to invest in this sector in the state,” he says.

“We also have plans to invest in building airports in the state. “ My German partners and I have met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, chief secretary R.I. Singh and others concerned. We have explained our project proposals to them. And we have got good response from the state government,” says Oberai.

The real estate market is still a fragmented industry with a high transaction costs and an absence of openness. In India changing government policies and a focus on infrastructure are driving up the demand for housing projects, malls and offices. For investors seeking high returns that are no longer possible in the mature European and North American real estate markets, India and China are quite an attractive option, he says.

In the past, investors were wary of the opaque business practices in Indian realty sector. But these days, India’s $ 12 billion real estate market is expanding at annual rate of 30 per cent. Analysts at one of the largest investment banks in the World, Merrill Lynch, have predicted that the realty market will grow to $ 90 billion in 10 years. The real estate sector has the capacity to generate huge employment opportunities across the country, he asserts.

Oberai, who has been an European examiner for MBA, was honoured with ‘excellence in teaching’ award 1997-98 by Washington State University (Switzerland). He has served in the Citybank as direct adviser to Europe and Middle East, Africa and also as a global product manager, portfolio advisory, of Coutts Private Banking (Royal Bank of Scotland) from 1999 to 2002 before venturing into asset management business.

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Be fair, defence counsel tells GCM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The defence counsel, in a general court martial (GCM) trying a colonel here for alleged misappropriation of ammunition in the Kargil sector, today raised objections to the manner in which the trial proceedings were being conducted.

In a written submission defence counsel Col S K Aggarwal (retd) alleged that the trial was being conducted with a pre-conceived mindset, which was highly prejudicial to the defence.

He contended that the substantive law of evidence pertaining to relevancy and admissibility of evidence, proving the contents of the documents and inadmissibility of hearsay evidence was being ignored and provisions of the Indian Evidence Act and the Army Rules were being violated.

Whenever the defence raised objections regarding relevancy and admissibility, it was ruled as relevant and admissible even before the objection could be raised completely, the counsel contended.

The prosecution, on the other hand was being permitted to conduct examination-in-chief of witnesses as if it was a cross-examination even though questions were not remotely connected with the charges and that, too, despite repeated objections by the defence, he added.

The defence has sought that the prosecution should not be permitted to ask any questions to the witness under examination pertaining to the court of inquiry proceedings, including its findings, opinion and observations and the court, too, should refrain from asking such questions.

The defence has urged the court that the trial be conducted with an open mind as per law, prescribed procedure and practice, rather than giving added advantage to the prosecution over the defence.

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Army fears let-down in court
Promotes Brig
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
After keeping a brigadier waiting for about two years and promoting an officer junior to him, the Army today issued his promotion orders a short while before the matter was scheduled to come up for hearing before the Delhi High Court.

Brigadier G S Narula, an ordnance officer of the 1972 batch, was considered for promotion to the rank of major-general in September 2005 along with two other officers, one of whom was from the 1973 batch. The results of the other two officers were declassified in 2006 and they were promoted to the rank of major-general, but the result of Brigadier Narula was put on hold “pending a CBI inquiry”.

The promotion orders presented before the court, which refer to the petitioner’s empanellment for the selection board meeting held in September 2005, were signed by the deputy military secretary (X) at Army Headquarters today itself.

The counsel for the petitioner, Major K Ramesh (retd), told The Tribune that though the special anti-corruption judge at Srinagar had closed the said case on July 20, 2006, and the promotion results of others were declassified on June 30, 2006, yet the Army on one pretext or the other kept the result of the petitioner pending.

Thereafter the officer wrote several letters to Chief of the Army Staff to clarify the position on the matter and even sought an interview with the military secretary, who deals with officers’ cadre management, but received no response despite statutory provisions.

Aggrieved, he approached the Vacation Bench of the Delhi High Court on June 18, 2007, and the court, on June 20, 2007, directed the respondents to intimate what was preventing them from declassification of the selection board results.

The court, by another order issued on July 3, directed the respondents to file an affidavit for the cause of the delay especially when the CBI case had been closed last year. The court had also ruled that in case the needful was not done, the joint secretary, Vigilance, in the ministry of defence, would remain present in the court in person on the subsequent date of hearing.

Major Ramesh contended that in the CBI inquiry, which pertained to the loss of 23,000 shirts meant for troops in 1996, the petitioner was a witness and not an accused.

He added that after the court of inquiry was conducted into the matter, the petitioner was promoted from colonel to brigadier and was even selected for the prestigious National Defence College for which the necessary clearances were accorded by the Discipline and Vigilance Directorate.

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Mauled by Malls
Experts debunk admin policy
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Norms on adequate parking spaces, smooth flow of traffic and strict environment controls should be followed while allowing multiplexes in the city. Though multiplexes are welcome, they should not become a source of public inconvenience.

Demanding review of the project being cleared under the conversion policy, a cross-section of eminent residents feel that it is not the issue of parking alone, but also the adverse impact these multiplexes may have on environment, basic civic amenities and discharge of solid and liquid waste.

Another must, say experts, is accountability on the part of the administration. M.L. Sarin, a lawyer, questions the basics of the conversion policy, saying, “It is being implemented without any authorisation from Parliament. No objections from the public were taken into account before going ahead with the policy. On the one hand they are allowing conversions in Industrial Area, Phases I and II, and on the other hand they are floating Industrial Area, Phase III.”

“The concept is a complete disaster. It means changing the basic character of the city. One should be allowed to mix industry with commercial activity. The high density of four wheelers in the city has not been taken into account while planning parking in the new multiplexes,” feels J.K. Gupta, a former chairman of the Institute of Town Planners, Punjab and Chandigarh.

“If Delhi and other metros have not been able to solve the problem of parking at multiplexes, how can the administration claim to have solved it,” asks Gupta, holding that “allowing malls is more of a real estate exercise than to meet basic infrastructure requirements of the city.”

J.S. Kohli, a former chief engineer of Chandigarh, says malls are okay with the changing times and the administration is aware of the issue of parking. “The administration should have a proper concept of parking at the time of approving the plans,” he adds.

An industrialist, H.S. Mamik, feels that the administration should come out in the open to allow debate on the issue. “Someone should be held accountable for the planning so that implementation of the conversion policy does not end in a mess in parking areas and chaos in areas surrounding the multiplexes,” he says.

“Generating public opinion on the policy is a pre-requisite in any democratic society as it affects everyone in the city. It is ridiculous to create ‘alternative’ parking after serious flaws have been detected in the conversion policy,” he concludes. 

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Mohali IT Hub Plans
All noise, no funds
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 11
Two years ago, former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh announced at a mega conclave on IT that Rs 200 crore would be spent on the development of Mohali as a major IT hub.

The announcement, which was received with applause, remains just another announcement. Various development agencies of the township are yet to see a single penny of that promised money.

The sum of Rs 200 crore was to be distributed among PUDA, the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) and the municipal council for development works. Out of this amount, Rs 50 crore had been allocated for the development of Mohali as a super-economic corridor.

A sum of Rs 25 crore was to be spent on providing sewerage facilities and another Rs 60 crore was to be spent on Phase V of the Kajauli water works. Another Rs 50 crore had been set aside for the construction of an ultra-modern bus stand and Rs 25 crore on upgradation of the Civil Hospital and Government College, Mohali. None of the lofty plans were executed.

Even as these agencies wait for the money to come in, there has been hardly any infrastructure development in the district. The condition of roads in the industrial areas bears out this fact.

The announcement was followed by a high-level meeting chaired by Capt Amarinder Singh in October 2005 when it was decided that the first installment of Rs 66 crore be released immediately. Out of this, Rs 2.50 crore had been earmarked for rehabilitation of slum dwellers living on the roadsides; Rs 12.50 crore was to be used for external peripheral services and Rs 18.50 crore for internal services. None of the works were carried out as even this money was not received.

The fact that the money has not been released was discussed during the first meeting of the executive committee of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA). Sources said many reminders had been sent to the government by GMADA for release of the money but in vain.

A special committee had been set up under the chairmanship of the then chief secretary to prepare a comprehensive plan for spending the balance of Rs 134 crore and to suggest ways and means to provide modern infrastructure facilities at Mohali to make it an abode of multi-national giants, executives, technocrats and entrepreneurs. What came of that committee, no one knows.

“These were mere announcements to generate a hype. No money was sanctioned. Why would and from where would the government give money to agencies like PUDA or GMADA when it is these agencies which are funding others schemes of the government,” said a senior official.

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Cops suspended for chaining juvenile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab DGP today informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the two police personnel allegedly responsible for chaining a juvenile accused admitted to the PGI have been placed under suspension.

A departmental inquiry has also been initiated against them. In an affidavit submitted before the court, the DGP informed that directions had been issued with regard to handcuffing and police officials had been asked to comply with SC directions.

The police personnel had chained a 17-year-old undertrial to a bed for two days after he was admitted to the PGI on June 7 for the treatment of congenital heart disease. A Bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Rajive Bhalla on July 6 had issued a notice to Punjab, Haryana and UT on a petition by the World Human Rights Protection Council which had sought compensation for the juvenile. Contending violation of SC directions, the petition had also sought that magistrates and judges should be asked to put queries to the accused if they were handcuffed when they were produced before the court.

If it was found to be true, strict action should be taken against officials involved, the petition added. The hearing of the matter has been adjourned to August 13 after Haryana and UT sought time to file a reply.

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Former councillor attacked by SP leader
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A former nominated councillor, P.C. Sanghi, has accused the president of the local unit of the Samajwadi Party and the husband of a councillor, of manhandling him in a park in Sector 21-B here this evening.

According to Renu Bedi, an eyewitness, the incident took place at around 7 pm. She saw K.K. Beniwal, husband of Anju Beniwal, and Shivi Jaiswal, president of the local unit of the Samajwadi Party, accompanied by two others, came to the park in a black Accent car. They slapped Sanghi without any provocation and in full public view. In a bid to save himself, he rushed to her house as Jaiswal had picked up a stone to hit him.

They, however, fled before people assembled at the spot. The police was informed about the incident.

Sanghi, president of the citizen welfare association, said he was discussing the construction of a cycle track in the park with an architect, to which the other party had taken an offense.

On the other hand, Beniwal maintained that Sanghi was interfering in their work and was the first to pick up a fight today.

DSP (East) Devinder Thakur and SHO of the Sector 19 police station reached the spot.

Till the filling of this report, no case had been registered by the police but in a late night development, both parties reached a compromised.

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Legalise sting operations, says ex-CBI chief
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

 Joginder Singh, former director of Central Bureau of Investigation.
Joginder Singh, former director of Central Bureau of Investigation.

Chandigarh, July 11
Former Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Joginder Singh is a strong supporter of sting operations saying these should be legalised to strengthen democracy.

In an informal chat with newspersons here, he says such operations not only play a major role in unearthing the nefarious deeds of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats but also reaffirm the faith of masses in a free and vibrant media. Joginder Singh was here for the inauguration of a private school of journalism.

“If the CBI can trap culprits, why can’t the media is allowed to do so. The government should consider making such operations legal in public interest by endorsing it through legislation. There is need for empowering the media to play its role in the fast changing scenario as corrupt practices are on the rise,” he said.

Disagreeing with the view that the CBI had failed in taking the infamous Bofors gun deal case to its logical conclusion, the former CBI chief stated that it was the Indian government, which had not properly handled the case. He asserted that the CBI had carried out the investigations, putting in its best efforts. He said that he had himself collected documental evidence, which was proof enough to take the case to its logical conclusion.

When asked whether there was any political pressure on the CBI in the Dera Sacha Sauda case as it was going slow in its investigation, he held that it was lack of strong or corroboratory evidence, which was the reason behind tardy progress in the case. Disagreeing with the allegations of political interference in the probe, as the investigating officers of the case were changed in the recent past, he said there was no such thing. Citing the past record of the apex investigating agency, he added that it had proceeded against top politicians of the country involved in multi crore scams without any fear.

About failure of the Indian government in extraditing the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim from Pakistan, Joginder Singh said the Pakistan government would never admit to its Indian counterpart that he was staying there. He further informed that Dawood had been reportedly annually funding the ISI with about Rs 4,000 crore.

Appreciating the positive role played by the media during the coverage of Gujarat riots by raising the issue of minority communities, he was of the opinion that by and large the Indian media enjoyed the freedom of expression and used it in best possible manner for the betterment of the society. 

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Joginder underscores press freedom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The freedom of press is vital for democracy. This was stated by Joginder Singh, former director of the CBI, today. He was in the city to launch Green Apple Foundation School of Journalism and New Media. The school would be run with technical assistance from Drake University, USA.

Joginder Singh said by and large the media in India enjoyed freedom of expression, barring a few cases in which political parties intruded into its freedom.

Expressing concern over the media being influenced by the government and private advertisers which provided financial support, he said the right of the reader to know should be taken care of.

D.S. Gill, president of the school of journalism, said there was need to have a professional school that imparted education in a practical manner. He said the curriculum was divided into 70 per cent practical training and 30 per cent theoretical. 

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Beam Blues
Employees keep out of office
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Fearing that another portion of the beam supporting the roof in the estate office’s record room would fall, the employees spent the entire day sitting outside the room.

Yesterday, a portion of a beam at the top floor in the estate office-cum-deputy commissioner’s complex had crumbled.

Though there was no official confirmation about the structure being declared unsafe, officials in the estate office were given instructions to keep away from dilapidated portions. A survey of the roof was carried out by the engineering department. Repair of the damaged portion would soon be carried out, said an official.

A sum of Rs 20 lakh had recently been spent on providing ultra-modern cabinets for storing 32,000 files of the estate office.

While record maintenance has improved, no thought has gone into maintaining infrastructure.

The engineering department had been repeatedly approached for repair of the cracks in the beams and walls.

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Elusive rain pushes humidity to 85 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Chandigarh recorded the second sultriest day of July today, with the prevailing weather systems forcing humidity levels to rise. Absence of rain aggravated the situation.

The maximum relative humidity was 85 per cent while the minimum humidity settled at 45 per cent, causing extreme heat and humidity. The most humid day of the month, however, was July 8 when the maximum recorded humidity was 97 per cent, followed by 87 per cent minimum humidity.

As for the maximum and minimum temperatures today, it rose by over a degree each in comparison to yesterday. As against 35.2 degrees day temperature recorded yesterday, the city was hot at 36.8 degrees today. The minimum temperature also rose partially by 1.4 degree from yesterday. It was 28.8 degrees today as against 27.4 degrees yesterday. Even the humidity level rose considerably as compared to yesterday which saw 83 per cent and 51 per cent of maximum and minimum relative humidity, respectively.

Lack of good monsoon activity and trace of rain in July is being blamed for the prevailing conditions, which are likely to persist, Met says. For the month of July, rainfall recorded till today has been below the normal mark, contrary to the situation in June when the city received above normal rainfall.

Day and night temperatures have also been fluctuating due to the absence of rain, weather experts say. The maximum and minimum temperatures on July 9 was 35.4 degrees and 23.6 degrees, respectively.

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Entries invited for children’s bravery awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), New Delhi, has invited applications for Bravery awards for 2007. Children between 8 to 18 years, who have shown exemplary courage in a difficult situation or have to their credit a meritorious deed, can apply. The achievement must have been made between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007.

The applications can be forwarded to the Child Welfare Council, Punjab, at Karuna Sadan, third floor; Sector 11-B. Forms for nominations are available with the deputy commissioner offices in the respective states and also from the Child Welfare Council, Punjab. The applications must reach the office of Child Welfare Council, Punjab, by September 10 this year. The council will forward names of eligible children to the ICCW, New Delhi. 

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28-yr-old youth found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A 28-year-old man was found dead near Shahpur Chowk here this evening. Ruling out the possibility of foul play, the police said no visible injury mark was found on the body.

The victim has been identified as Amar Nath who lived near the chowk. He was working at a confectionary shop in Mohali.

His wife and children had gone to meet their relatives.

The death came to light at around 6.30 pm when his neighbours informed the police.

He was drunk and had a heated argument with his wife on telephone.

The police said the body had been taken to the Sector 16 Government Hospital.

Inquest proceedings have been started.

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176 traffic violators booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The traffic police today booked 176 motorists for violating rules. The police had set up seven checking points in various parts of the city.

Sources said they collected Rs 4,600 as on-the-spot fine and impounded four vehicles. As many as 66 motorists were booked for overspeeding, 30 for driving two-wheeler without helmets and 21 for jumping red light.

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Demolition put off

Chandigarh, July 11
A demolition drive to remove unauthorised structures in Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, was given up after officials realised that they did not have adequate force to remove the structures. A number of people had gathered at the spot. The drive would be continued tomorrow. — TNS

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Three hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

The scene of an accident between a motor cycle and a goods carrier in Mohali on Wednesday.
The scene of an accident between a motor cycle and a goods carrier in Mohali on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 11
Three persons were injured, one of them seriously, in an accident that took place on the road separating Phase V and IV here this afternoon.

Gurjeet Singh, reportedly a minor, was riding a motor cycle when it was hit by a three-wheeler goods carrier.

Besides Gurjeet Singh, three-wheeler’s driver Kashi Ram and his helper Ram Bahadur were injured.

Kashi Ram was stated to be in serious condition and was shifted to the Sector 16 hospital in Chandigarh.

The other two injured were taken to a nearby private hospital. The police is investigating the matter.

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Sec 11 showroom sealed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
In compliance of the Supreme Court orders, a team led by former Delhi High Court judge R.N. Aggarwal today sealed a showroom in Sector 11 after a 10-day reprieve.

The team, which included tehsildar Satish Singla and naib tehsildar Chander Mohan and two advocates, had sealed the first and second floors of the store a fortnight ago after the court had directed the sealing of the properties of Golden Forests till 1998.

Stating that they had orders of the court to seal and attach all property of Golden Forests sold after June 1998, the team members said the money from the sale of all such property would be used to repay the investors.

While the team had sealed the first and second floor of the showroom, where a number of offices were running, on repeated requests of the owners of the garments store, the team gave them a 10-day breather to shift out their items.

With the two floors vacated, the team sealed the entire showroom today.

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Carpenter run over by train
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
A 20-year-old carpenter, running a small business in Dhakoli, was crushed under a train at the Sector-19 level crossing this evening.

Police sources said Raju Yadav, hailing from Bihar, was sitting on the track with his friends when they saw the train approaching.

While his friends moved away from the track, Raju wasn’t quick enough and was crushed by the 2UCM train from Morinda to Ambala.

His body has been kept in the mortuary and will be handed over to his family after a post-mortem examination.

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Sec 16 resident alleges theft of Rs 80,000
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
A resident of Sector 16, Rajinder Pal Gupta, yesterday alleged theft of Rs 80,000 from his house while the occupants were away.

He suspected it to be an inside job as nothing except the cash was missing, pointing the finger of suspicion at their maid.

In his complaint to the police, Gupta maintained that he along with his wife left for Amarnath on June 29 while their son, Saurabh, stayed back to look after the family business.

“On the night of July 2, somebody entered the house and bolted Saurabh inside his room. He got up around 4 am to find himself locked inside. Suspecting trouble, he opened the backdoor and jumped over into our neighbour’s backyard. From there he called up one of our local relatives who reached our house around 5 am.”

Saurabh jumped back into his backyard and came into the house. However, he found nothing missing.

“I had locked all doors myself and nobody could have possibly gained access since nothing had been fiddled with in the house,” Saurabh said.

He added that he left for work as usual after taking extra precaution and locking every single door and handing over the keys to a neighbour.

“A friend who had borrowed my motor cycle for a few days wanted to return the vehicle. I asked him to leave it at my residence. He left the bike around 2 pm and said everything was alright at my house,” he recalled.

Saurabh returned home that night with a friend since he did not want to sleep alone.

“I opened the lock and went straight to the room where we keep our cash. To my shock, I found Rs 80,000 that I had kept the night before missing. No door or window was open, suggesting that the culprit had the keys to the house. Also, nobody else except the maid could have known where the cash was kept. We have told the police about the incident,” he said.

The police was informed about the theft after the Guptas returned from their pilgrimage.

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Living in fear of dog attack
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 11
Stray dogs have become a menace in certain localities here with the Municipal Council failing to launch a consistent drive to tackle the problem.

Residents have been complaining about stray dogs posing a threat, particularly to small children and pet dogs, but the civic body has failed to find a lasting solution.

Incidents like the one in Naushera Khurd in Amritsar district yesterday, where an eight-year-old girl was mauled to death by ferocious stray dogs, create a scare among parents who feel reluctant to send their children to play out in the open.

Narpinder Kaur, a resident of Phase III A, said her son could not go out to play in the park outside her house for fear of being attacked by dogs. She said one of the stray dogs was beaten up as he had attacked her pet dog and since then he attacked her son whenever he saw him. The number of stray dogs in the locality was increasing.

Former municipal councillor Manmohan Kaur complained that no steps were being taken to tackle the problem. She said stray dogs attacked those going on two-wheelers, which at times led to accident.

Dogs entered homes of residents whenever gates were left open. She said about two years ago many persons were bitten by stray dogs and she had to go and meet the Governor in this regard.

It is reported that in Phase XI children move in groups whenever they want to go the market for fear of being attacked by dogs. Even in Phase III B 1 some children ensured that they were accompanied by elders when moving out of the house.

However, in certain localities stray dogs are pampered by residents. These dogs become locality pets and dutifully guard the area, not allowing strangers anywhere near the locality.

The problem does not figure on the priority list of the civic government as no funds have been kept aside to sterilise or catch the animals.

The residents of the council could not be contacted for comment. However, executive officer J.S. Thind said some funds were lying with the civic body which would now be utilised to sterilise stray dogs.

He said animals would be caught on Friday and seterilised in a camp on Saturday. He said the civic body had been catching stray dogs now and then which were then dropped at far off places.

The drive could not be carried out on a regular basis as no staff was deputed for this work.

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Sec 22 rotary — A site for traffic chaos
Akash Ghai/Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The small rotary on the road dividing Sector 22 and Sector 17, opposite the ISBT, has made the area accident-prone. In the absence of any check, accidents, jams, and scuffles have become a routine affair here.

The flow of CTU buses at the bus stop is heavy as most of the buses for the PGI, colleges and Panjab University pick passengers from here.

A large number of rickshaws, autorickshaws and private vehicles can be seen standing on both sides of the road, resulting in traffic bottlenecks. Every time a heavy vehicle takes a U-turn at the rotary, the whole traffic behind the vehicle comes to a halt.

“The heavy traffic flow is the main reason for congestion on the road. The rotary should be removed and the crossing closed,” Namit Modi, an advocate, said.

Ankush Deep Singh, who uses the road daily to reach the university, said: “Everyday one can see traffic violations at the rotary and no one seems to bother about it. These violators, mostly rickshaw-pullers and autorickshaw drivers, not only put the lives of other motorists in danger, but also cause chaos. The only solution is that a divider should be erected in place of the rotary.”

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Fauji Beat

China was ‘provoked’ into waging war

The recently released US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) papers blame the Indian leadership for the 1962 war. The papers say that the Chinese adamancy (towards the border dispute) made Nehru vulnerable in Parliament and “more susceptible than ever (before) to the argument of Army leaders that the Chinese should be pushed back by force”.

It was India’s “forward policy” that provoked China to attack India. The blame for this should go to the Indian leadership. This policy of holding small forward posts with five to six men close to the border was the brainchild of Malik, the then Indian Intelligence chief. He had assured both Nehru and Krishna Menon that this policy would not instigate China. But the Chinese proved him wrong.

As for the Army, in April 1961, the Army Headquarters had sent a note to the Ministry of Defence stating that among other things, that if China tried a strong incursion, the Indian Army would not be able to hold. The note came back after having been seen by the defence secretary, the defence minister and the Prime Minister and without any remarks. In July, 1962, General K.S. Thimayya, the then Chief of the Army Staff, said: “Whereas in the case of Pakistan, I have considered the possibility of a total war, I am afraid I cannot do so in regard to China. I cannot even as a soldier envisage India taking on China in an open conflict on its own...”.

Punjab’s share in Army

There was a time when Punjab was known as “the sword arm of India” because it was contributing a large share of its youth towards the Army. After the government made the policy of recruiting manpower from states on the basis of the percentage of their population, the Punjab’s share in the armed forces went down. Surprisingly, Punjab finds it difficult to complete even its reduced quota of recruitment today. The reason for this is that the manpower that comes forward for recruitment does not meet the laid down standards.

Even in the officer rank, the share of Punjab has gone down, thanks to the unattractiveness of the Army service. The right kind of human material does not opt for the armed forces today. Many youths prefer to join the police in non-gazetted ranks than opting for commission in the Army as officers. What a fall for the Indian Class I Service!

NCC training

Lieut-Gen P.S. Chaudhary, Director-General, NCC, inspects the guard of honour presented by the NCC cadets at Chandigarh.
Lieut-Gen P.S. Chaudhary, Director-General, NCC, inspects the guard of honour presented by the NCC cadets at Chandigarh.

Lieut-Gen P.S. Chaudhary, Director General, National Cadet Corp’s (NCC’s), disclosure in Chandigarh on July 4 that the strength of the NCC would be raised from 13 lakh to 15 lakh cadets in the current year is encouraging but it does not meet the requirement of India.

Sadly, we are almost on top in corruption in the world. So much so that an honest and disciplined man cannot exist in any organisation. The only way to extricate the nation from this stinking morass is to start compulsory military training for the youth.

This reminds one of what President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said in November, 2004: “In my view, two years’ NCC training must be made compulsory for all eligible students, boys and girls, at the school or college level”. This, he added, would help to eliminate corruption from the society, promote discipline and help protect the environment.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Letters

Traffic rules don’t rule at night

As dusk turns into night and traffic cops call it a day, the traffic rules books also flung into the air. The other day, I had a narrow escape in an accident, when a Himachal Pradesh roadways bus made a wrong entry to the ISBT 17. The long-route bus driver decided to take a short route to the bus stand, not caring about those on the road.

At cross-points, where traffic lights signal yellow, we are expected to check for the traffic before crossing, when it is red, we should stop and when green, we can move. I think we know all these basic rules of traffic. But how many of us follow these if we know that we won’t be penalised. Certainly, many of us will care a damn about it, especially the younger lot.

In our city, this is the case during the late hours. One can see speeding vehicles crossing the signals without even bothering to slow down to see if some other vehicle is coming from other directions or not. The result could be serious.

We, the so-called civilised lot and traffic rules enforcers, ought to do something about it before things get worse.

Harbinder Singh, Chandigarh

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

Give way to traffic on your right

In a situation where the width of the two or roads are similar, then the basic rule of giving way to traffic to your right applies, and Car B has to give way to Car A. Car A, therefore, moves first.

‘Alcohol and driving, cocktail for disaster!’

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma

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Silverware stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Rajinder Singh of Sector 21 has reported to the police that a TV set and silverware were stolen from his unit in Phase II, Industrial Area, during the intervening night of July 1 and 2.

In another incident, Premwati of Sector 20-B reported to the police that her purse containing a gold chain and Rs 200 were stolen from her house on Tuesday.

Two cases of theft have been registered in this connection.

Vehicle stolen

Bhagat Ram of Sector 40-C has lodged a complaint with the police that his Scorpio (CH-03-U-6663) was stolen from in front of his house on Monday night.

A case has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.

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