C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

City chokes on rallies
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
It was chaos on roads leading to the Sector 25 Rally Ground. The Chandigarh-Ambala highway remained clogged throughout the day with Dalits, peasants and worker organisations from across Punjab holding two massive rallies in the city.

Activists of the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan (DDVA) from Punjab and 17 organisations of peasants and workers from began poring into the city since morning. The police had made arrangements to divert traffic on various roads leading to the rally ground. The situation was particularly grim in the morning with residents leaving for work.

Motorists on roads leading to Piccadilly Chowk and Kisan Bhavan Chowk were the worst-hit as the traffic there remained clogged throughout. In the evening, it took motorists more than 30 minutes to find their way out. Frantic calls to the traffic police helpline failed to provide any aid with the number busy most of the time. Even when the call got through, the officials on duty answered expressed helplessness.

The road leading to the cremation ground was shut to the public. Those going to the cremation ground had to meander their way through serpentine queues of buses, jeeps, trucks, tractors and horse carts carrying demonstrators.

Haphazard parking along the roads created bottlenecks, leading to a lot of inconvenience to road users. Dalit activists, who came on foot from the railway station and later joined other members at the Tribune Chowk, caused jams on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, even as one side of the road was thrown open to them.

The situation at Labour Chowk and Kisan Bhavan was the worse during the afternoon with the entire road stretch between the rotaries full of protesters, leaving no space for commuters. The traffic police failed to regulate the traffic at the rotaries. The situation on the road dividing Sectors 34 and 45 was no different where the traffic moved at a snail’s pace.



It was official laxity that spilled chaos
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
It was sheer official laxity that caused apprehensions of a "clash" between two groups today with the Chandigarh administration giving permission to Phillaur-based Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan and a political party for holding simultaneous rallies in the Sector 25 grounds here.

As a result, the andolan members were forced to shift the venue to a road in Sector 35. Andolan project coordinator Prabhjot Kaur said the last-minute change in the venue resulted in complete chaos.

Almost 4,000 Dalits from across the state had come to participate in the rally aimed at bringing to the fore issues like bonded labour, right to land and "atrocities”.

Earlier during the day, Prabhjot Kaur entered the courtroom of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Vijender Jain while he was holding a Bench with Justice Mahesh Grover. Presenting a handwritten petition, along with a copy of the permission letter issued by the authorities concerned in the UT Administration, she expressed apprehensions of a clash.

Giving details, she told the Bench that the police, under severe political pressure, had allowed the other organisation to occupy the stage, even though they had been granted formal permission for the rally.

After a patient hearing, the Chief Justice observed there was hardly any time to act. But, at the same time, the Chief Justice asked the UT counsel to immediately look into the matter.

Within minutes, the counsel informed the court that he had talked to the DC and the andolan members could go ahead with their rally. He said there was enough space for both organisations to hold their rallies.

Talking to The Tribune later during the day, Prabhjot Kaur said the decided to shift the venue in the interest of peace and harmony.



Lawyers divided on court boycott
Kanwal, two others quit Bar Association
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The issue of letter of Ashok Kanwal regarding withdrawal of boycott of a local court has led to fissures among different sections of lawyers a day ahead of the elections to the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council.

Advocates were seen in an ugly spat as they aired their differences on the boycott of the court of Balwinder Kumar.

Ashok Kanwal, whose father was assaulted, said he had written the letter under pressure from advocate A.S. Chahal, president of the District Bar Association. “Today, I have resigned from the post of executive member of the Bar Association as I am not happy with its working.” Elaborating further, he said: “The decision to boycott the court of Balwinder Kumar was of the Bar Association’s. So I am nobody to withdraw it.”

Kanwal said: “When I was arrested by the police not a single bar member was with me. Only a few junior advocates stood by my till the time bail bonds were furnished.”

Agitated with the decision of withdrawing the boycott of the court, the lawyers are contemplating a no-confidence motion against Chahal. Advocates Vinay Kashyap and Rohit Khullar, both were executive members, have also resigned.

Chahal said: “There is some misunderstanding. There was no pressure from me on Kanwal and he wrote the letter on his own.”

On the boycott, he said if the courtroom was boycotted, it would result in harassment to litigants. “We cannot bring the common man to harassment to protect a Bar member,” he added.

Meanwhile, the police registered an FIR against advocatesVikas and Surinder Kumar who had given a complaint that they were assaulteded by three accused from Ram Darbar in the court premises. Both were granted anticipatory bail by District and Sessions Judge K.K. Garg.



MC staff halt work
Allege senior dy mayor manhandled official

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Work at the municipal corporation came to a standstill this afternoon after a heated exchange of words between an employee of the estate office and the senior deputy mayor.

The incident occurred at 2.30 pm when Jatinder Pal Singh, senior assistant at the estate office, was approached by a resident of Burail regarding an NOC. On being told that the case would take time, he approached the senior deputy mayor.

Jatinder Pal Singh informed senior deputy mayor Ravinder Pal Singh Pali that he would have to ascertain facts of the case. Eyewitnesses said the next thing they saw was an agitated Pali hurling abuses at the employee.

The employees alleged that Pali not only used unparliamentary language, but also manhandled Jatinder Pal Singh. At this, A.K. Dadwal, president, MC Employees Union, demanded immediate apology. The agitated employees stopped work and assembled at the MC building’s main gate amid sloganeering.

The employees demanded that Pali publicly issue an apology, which he refused. Eventually, members of the union filed a DDR at the Sector 17 police stations.

DC R.K. Rao, who is also MC Commissioner, later in the evening came to the MC along with ADC Inderjit Sandhu and met councillors and senior MC functionaries. It was decided that the issue would be looked into after the conclusion of the mayors’ conference. Members of the employees’ union said they would get back to work only after Pali rendered an apology.



School Games
CTU bus carries players to Delhi
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A day after The Tribune highlighted the story of table tennis and judo players having been left out of the National School Games in Mizoram because the authorities had failed to confirm their railway tickets in time, the UT education department sent the children on a special CTU bus to New Delhi this afternoon.

The department had yesterday announced cancellation of their trip. Today,

in association with a political party, it made arrangments for a “special rail coach,”, which would be attached with the Brahmputra Mail (Train No. 4056) from Delhi, which would carry these players to the games venue.

The tickets, which could not be confirmed till late yesterday, were got cancelled by the department.

“Due to lack of communication, we did not know that the Sports Authority of India had already paid Rs 10,000 for a ‘special coach’ as a standby arrangement,” said the DPI (schools).

It was on intervention of president of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress H.S. Lucky that things got moving.

Lucky contacted Pawan Kumar Bansal, union minister of state for finance, who is in Delhi. Bansal did the needful.



‘Living heritage’ proposal for City Beautiful
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
In a rare honour for Chandigarh, UNESCO has invited the city to be part of the network of Indian sites on “living heritage”. This is separate from the UNESCO move to confer world heritage status on Le Corbusier’s works that mainly pertain to Chandigarh.

Other cities on the list of “living heritage” network are Agra, Jaipur and Cochin. UNESCO will provide the Chandigarh administration with advice and consultancy with regard to the maintenance of the city’s heritage. The plan will entail no financial or other obligation for Chandigarh. It will mainly focus on modern heritage and planning concepts.

The matter has been discussed among officials of the administration and they have agreed to be part of the network of Indian cities of “living heritage”. “Chandigarh’s claim of being a city of universal value is being recognised for its modern heritage,” said a senior functionary. The administration has already initiated talks with the India office of UNESCO. It has been decided to sign an agreement in this regard during a three-day workshop to be held at Chandigarh from December 18.

The activities of the network include setting up and maintaining a "cultural knowledge databank for cities", establishing an electronic communication network linking each member-city through the internet, facilitating partnerships and knowledge exchange with other cities, both in India and abroad.

Once Chandigarh is on the ‘living heritage” list, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, field trips and awareness drives will be conducted. UNESCO will also provide technical expertise to cities in developing conservation and development strategies, municipal planning and legal and regulatory framework for heritage protection and conservation.

It will offer assistance in planning interventions for heritage-based sustainable urban strategies. UNESCO will also have city-to-city partnerships between Indian cities and those abroad to exchange experience and good practices in urban conservation and development.



Thousands raise slogans to halt privatisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Thousands of members of 17 peasants and workers organisations from across Punjab today staged a rally at Rally Ground in Sector 25, here, protesting against the privatisation of public sector units, including the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

The rally was also seen as a challenge to established trade union organisations, representatives of the Anti-Privatisation Coordination Committee, Punjab, admitted in a clandestine manner, when confronted. The representatives maintained that all ruling political parties, when in power, never supported the cause for the poor people. Those, which claimed to be the representatives of the working class and poor, also failed to make any difference. The representatives alleged that the coordination committee would provide an alternative to trade union movement in Punjab.

Activists of the organisations had started assembling at the Sector 25 Rally Ground since morning and kept on coming to the venue till in the afternoon. Not only the workers and peasants, but women and the young children were also participating in the rally holding placards in their hands reading stop privatisation move of the PSEB and abolition of the Electricity Act, 2003, to do away with toll tax plazas and stop commercialisation of health services.

Talking to TNS, Hardev Singh Sandhu, president of the Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab, said except for those in power, the committee had decided to bring all other organisation on a platform to fight against the menace of privatisation.

Mangat Ram Pasla of president of the Centre Trade Union, Punjab, said the state government was bent upon selling the state resources to private hands. Even the state government was dragging its feet away from providing basic amenities like education, health, clean drinking water and electricity. As the ground water in Punjab was rapidly getting contaminated, the state government was all set to give the task of providing clean water to private hands, putting the health of people in jeopardy. To top it, all various new taxes in the shape of toll tax plaza were being imposed on debt-ridden people.



Patwaris on indefinite strike
Protest against govt’s indifference towards demands
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 6
The patwaris of the district went on an indefinite strike from today to protest against the indifferent attitude of the government towards their demands. The patwar khanas across the district remained closed through the day and would not open till the demand of the patwaris were met.

The patwaris staged a dharna outside the deputy commissioner’s office also this morning and gave a memorandum to the DC.

Balwinder Singh, president of the Revenue Patwar Union, Mohali, said the government had not issued their seniority list and had also not given them their increments. He added that all other patwaris across the state had got their increments except the ones posted at SAS Nagar. He said the strike would continue tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the strike affected the working of the administration. Residents were a harassed lot as the patwar khanas remained closed. Those who had come to collect their revenue records had to go back empty handed. The patwaris did not go for any file work either.

The Patwar Union members also objected to the suspension of the patwari of Manakpur Sharif village Parkash Singh who was suspended a month back. Balwinder Singh said Parkash was suspended without being given a prior notice. They demanded that he be re-instated.



Fraud in disability sector mounting: Expert
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Faking of disability is becoming commonplace, with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) routinely detecting frauds in the sector. Very recently the council’s rehabilitation professionals refused a disability certificate and hearing aid to a Delhi-based person who had managed a recommendation from the office of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

“When he came to us for a disability certificate and hearing appliance, we conducted on him an audiometry test to detect the level of hearing impairment. He was giving false responses in the test. When we engaged him in a normal conversation, he responded normally. This was confirmation enough that he was normal. We counselled him and sent him back,” Sonia Narang, rehabilitation professional with the RCI, today told The Tribune.

In Chandigarh to review the progress of the National Programme on Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) of which she is national programme officer, Narang admitted to the mounting fraud in the disability sector. “It is easy to fake hearing disability which is an invisible form of disability. That’s why we recommend a series of tests including objective and subjective to ensure that the certificates and hearing aids and appliances go only to the deserving cases,” she said.

Audiometry test, generally conducted in government hospitals to detect hearing disability, is a subjective test that might not yield correct results. A combination of audiometry, BERA (to test the functioning of brain) and auto acoustic emission tests (to study the functioning of outer ear) is the best to confirm the actual degree of disability.

Narang added: “Under the Persons with Disability Act, anyone unable to hear a sound of 60 decibel and above (the limit was recently raised a little) is considered hearing disabled and may be issued a disability certificate.” There, however, are medical institutions that issue such certificates to people that can’t hear sounds measuring 40 decibel and above. The matter, Narang says, can at best be sorted out at the level of medical and rehabilitation professionals qualified to test disability.



Pinjore fest begins today
Kapil Dev to lead ‘Run for Heritage’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
‘Run for Heritage’ led by Indian Cricket League (ICL) chairman Kapil Dev will be the highlight of the three-day Pinjore Heritage Festival beginning tomorrow at Yadvindra Gardens, Pinjore, near here.

Kiran Chaudhary, tourism minister, would flag off the run at 10 am from Government College, Sector 1.

The runn would conclude at Red Bishop tourist complex, Keshni Anand Arora, commissioner and secretary, tourism, said today.

The second heritage festival promises fun, frolic and shopping even as the visitors would be treated to illuminated gardens. Besides, a street bazaar, reminiscent of the Mughal times, would be created with shops and clusters of food stalls, tented pavilions and amphitheatre for cultural performances, he said.

A large variety of cuisine will be the hallmark of the food court at the festival.

The evening of December 7 would see dance-drama "Krishna" by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi.

Similarly, a qawwali muqabla by Nizami brothers and Chanchal Bharti would be the highlight of December 8 and Kuchipudi by Raja-Radha Reddy would be the main attraction on December 9.

While rangoli competition would be held on December 7, face painting, sketch making and photography competitions would be held on December 8 and senior citizens’ walk would be held on December 9, Satwanti Ahlawat, managing director, Haryana Tourism Corporation, added.



Use Corbusier’s legacy for future planning: Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Advocating the need to harmoniously employ Le Corbusier’s legacy according to the changing needs of modern society, Punjab Governor and UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) today asked senior officers of the Chandigarh administration, architects and academicians to retrieve the letters and correspondence by the founder architect to different quarters and to micro-film the entire record for the use by researchers and students of art and architecture.

After inaugurating the exhibition of Le Corbusier’s works titled ‘From Marseilles to Chandigarh’, General Rodrigues said the endeavour must focus on the various aspects as to how Le Corbusier conceptualised the city and how he proceeded with his dreams to make Chandigarh.

He said all these facts must be brought on record for using them in future planning and growth of the city.

He asked the PU authorities and the department of fine arts to coordinate this endeavour with the help of all concerned, who strived to carry forward the vision of the architect.

General Rodrigues said the administration had already initiated steps to preserve the building, the furniture and artifacts used by Le Corbusier for executing his planning and other model structures of various projects conceived by him for the state capital. He added that the administration had also prepared a concept paper for Museum of Knowledge.

This institution would be assigned the task of undertaking investigative studies on various relevant issues.



Chandigarh chapter of NIFAA opens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 6
The National Integrated Forum of Artists and Activists (NIFAA) opened its Chandigarh chapter here today. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Chandigarh Press Club.

Kamal Aswal, coordinator, Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre, NIFFA, said cultural and social activities would be undertaken by the new chapter under the care of its president Gurav Sharma, a noted drama director, and general secretary Mukesh Kumar.

The occasion was graced by the H.E. President of Mauritius, Annerood Juguanath at NDRI, Karnal, claimed Kamal Aswal.

To mark its launch in City Beautiful, the NIFAA would organise an Indo-Japan friendship cultural concert on December 10 at 6.30 pm at Punjab Kala Bhawan here in collaboration with the International Institute of Perfect Arts and Embassy of Japan.

The event will feature the world fame ‘arpa’ maestro Elena Tomioko from Japan.

Besides Elena Tomiko's arpa recitals, an Indian singer Vibas Arora would also perform. Similar concerts would also be performed at Delhi on December 8 and at Karnal on December 13.



Signboards being relocated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Reacting to a recent new item in the Chandigarh Tribune regarding the wrongly placed signboards across the city, the UT engineering department has started relocating the signboards.

A senior official in the engineering department disclosed that tree branches obstructing the view of the overhead signboard were being pruned.

Similarly, the engineering department had relocated some of the signboards. These would be shifted away from the rotary.

It had been highlighted that the misplaced signboards were drivers’ nightmare.



Ex-DGP opens detective agency
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
The ever increasing crime graph, shortage of manpower in police and an aim to increase efficacy in dealing with white collar frauds has prompted former DGP of Punjab Sarabjit Singh to open an investigative agency - New Age Investigators - at Swastik Vihar here.

Inaugurated today by Joginder Singh, former director, CBI, the detective agency caters to the people living in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

With Capt Gurdip Singh Ghuman of Merchant Navy as partner of the agency, mercantile frauds including shipping frauds will also be tackled by it.

With plans to rope in retired police officers ranging from SP to constable ranks, the detective agency is one of a kind.

Moreover, the agency also has links with Association of Private Detective Agencies to enable it have a nationwide reach.



’84 riots: Panel demands death for accused
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 6
Members of the 1984 Danga Pirat Welfare Society, Punjab, yesterday staged a protest outside the deputy commissioner’s office demanding death penalty for those who were involved in the killing of Sikhs in 1984.

Kashmir Kaur, president of the Mohali unit of the organisation, said they were protesting against a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler who, they alleged, was actively involved in the crimes committed during the riots.

She added that the riot victims had been waiting for justice for more than two decades and they would not tolerate any injustice.

She demanded that the red cards issued to the riot victims be issued on the basis of later investigations and not according to the survey conducted in 1985.




RTI: Babus sitting on info

I filed an appeal No. PA/Jt CMC/RTI/ 07/73 on November 1, seeking some information from the CPIO, municipal corporation, Chandigarh. H.S. Kandhola, PCS, joint commissioner-cum-appellate authority, municipal corporation, Chandigarh, vide order No.PA/Jt CMC/RTI/ 2007/8270 on November 5 directed the CPIO to provide necessary information within two working days.

But I have not received the information till date in spite of a reminder emailed to the appellate authority.

The officialdom is putting city residents to hardship.

The order issued by the joint commissioner is not being followed. The authorities are taking the RTI Act leisurely. Let us work to ease the system a bit.

R.K. Garg

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



2 councillors booked for road block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Taking a serious note of yesterday’s road blockade, the police today booked 10 persons, including two councillors for blocking the Chandigarh-Ambala highway and causing inconvenience to the general public.

The road was blocked for over two-and-half hours on Wednesday when the residents of the Ram Darbar, led by their area councillor Ram Lal and councillor of Dadu Majra Colony Kamlesh, along with others.

The police said taking a preventive action, councillors Kamlesh and Ram Lala, along with Satpal Sattu, Kamlesh’s husband Banarsi Dass, Lila Dhar, Mata Ram, Vijay Kumar, a shopkeeper Harmohan, a jeweller from Ram Darbar, Inderjit and Ishwar Singh were booked under Sections 107 and 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code for yesterday’s incident.



Mohali man killed in Darjeeling accident
Was on honeymoon

Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 6
A 30-year-old newly wed resident of Sector 70 died in an accident at Darjeeling yesterday. The victim, Sourabh Kapila, had gone to Darjeeling with his wife Ginni for their honeymoon when the jeep they were traveling in, fell into a 60-feet ditch.

Sourabh, son of Col Anil Kapila, had got married to Ginni on November 25 and the two had left for Darjeeling on December 2. There the couple borrowed a jeep from their father’s friend. The jeep was being driven by a driver when the accident took place.

Sourabh was sitting in the front seats with the driver when the jeep, traversing a hilly terrain, lost balance and fell into a ditch. Sourabh was reportedly killed on-the-spot. The driver was critically injured. Ginni was sitting at the back of the jeep and had a miraculous escape. She climbed out of the ditch and on reaching the road, she called out for help. Two Army trucks stopped to help the couple. Sourabh and the driver were rushed to the hospital where the authorities declared Sourabh brought dead. The driver is said to be in coma and is admitted to the hospital.

Souabh’s body was brought back from Darjeeling to his residence this morning. The deceased was a software engineer and was working with a company in Hyderabad. His wife Ginni also works in the same company.



Man found murdered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
An unidentified man, in his early 30s, was found brutally murdered on the Saketri-Panchkula road here today.

The body, whose neck had been slit with sharp-edged weapons, was first noticed by villagers in the morning, who later informed the police. However, the identity of the victim and the motive behind the alleged murder could not be ascertained immediately.

Senior police officials, including SP Sandeep Khirwar, visited the spot. A dog squad and forensic team were also pressed into service, police sources said.

The police was working on several theories, including that the murder must have been committed at some other place and the body dumped here.

The area along the Saketri-Panchkula usually bears a deserted look during night. In fact, due to faulty streetlights, darkness engulfs the entire stretch, making the area unsafe for pedestrians as well as motorists after dark, residents alleged.

Meanwhile, the body was sent for a postmortem examination to the general hospital, Sector 6. A case has been registered.



Sec 40 man defrauded of Rs 2 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A Sector 40 resident alleged that he was defrauded of Rs 2 lakh he had given as earnest money to a Sector 49 resident, who later refused to sell the property.

According to the police, Kamal Kumar of Sector 40 reported to the police, alleging that Raman Kapoor of Sector 49, Chandigarh, had signed an agreement to sell a plot in Kansal village after taking the earnest amount of Rs 2 lakh from him. He refused to sell the plot. A case of cheating has been registered.



Bike hits pregnant woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A road mishap led to miscarriage of a woman, who was knocked down by a motorcyclist in Phase II, Ram Darbar, here, this morning.

According to the police, 28-year-old Nisha was on her way back home from dispensary in the locality, when a motorcycle hit her. She fell on the road and sustained injuries. She was rushed to the Sector 32 hospital, where the doctors treating on her said her unborn baby had died in the womb.



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