C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Dead fish in Sukhna waters
Ecologists alarmed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The fears of ecologists are coming true. Towards the regulator end of the Sukhna Lake, officials of the UT forest department today found dead fish floating on muddy water.

Ecologists attribute the phenomenon to increasing pollution. “A small number of fish have died apparently due to pollution. The possibility of the fish dying of a disease is remote

The number in that case would have been large,” said an official.

Deputy conservator of forests Ishwar Singh and other officials visited the far-end of the water body this evening. It appeared that the organic matter at the bottom of the lake was decaying, resulting in a stench.

Ecologists feel that time is running out for the administration to save the lake from an ecological calamity. Trash dumped at the lake is spelling doom for the aquatic fauna in the water body, promoted as a tourist destination.

The waste material degrades the quality of water, thereby harming the ecological balance and making the survival of aquatic flora and fauna difficult.

It also adds to the silt and reduces the lake’s water retention capacity. Waste material like earthen lamps, coconuts, fruits, flowers, and other bio-degradable waste is harmful to migratory birds.



Mumbai CBI team takes away PNB official
R.K. Gupta’s name figured in a multi-crore scam after he helped a prime accused in the case get loan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
A team of CBI officials from Mumbai today took away R.K. Gupta, regional general manager of Punjab National Bank, reportedly in a corruption case.

Though local CBI officials refused to confirm the development, they said a team from Mumbai came to search lockers of a PNB official.

They also said they had not been informed about any raid or arrest.

Servants at the Sector 2 residence of Gupta told TNS that some persons came in the wee hours today and searcheded the house.

The took away Gupta. After a while, Gupta’s wife also left the house.

It is learnt that Gupta’s name figured in a multi-crore scam after he helped someone procure a loan. The loanee was a prime accused in the case.

It had sealed bank lockers of Gupta in Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. 



Meanwhile, another cop arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Sleuths of the CBI today caught a sub-inspector of the Chandigarh police while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a woman near the Sector 19 police station here.

Satwinder Singh Bhatti
Satwinder Singh Bhatti

Sources said Satwinder Singh Bhatti had been threatening Manpreet Kaur of Ropar and her brother that they would be implicated in a case if they did not meet his demand for financial favours.

The CBI officials laid a trap was. Manpreet reached the Sector 19 market at the instance of Bhatti where the latter was caught accepting bribe and taken to the police station.

Manpreet had found a mobile set from the Sector 19 market a few days ago. Her brother began using the phone. Meanwhile, the police traced the missing cell phone. Satwinder contacted Manpreet and she came to the police station to return the phone. But Bhatti allegedly demanded that she paid him Rs 5,000. 



CITCO eatery to be shut for four months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Here’s bad news for regulars at the Mountview coffee shop. Come February 25 and the eatery will be closed for renovation for four months. CITCO has allotted a tender of Rs 2.85 crore for major renovation works at its flagship hotel, Mountview, to Delhi-based Vivek Oberoi Interiors.

Sources in CITCO said the work involves the renovation of the coffee shop, construction of a new bar and revamp of lobby and porch areas. The task will be handled in two phases - the first targeting the coffee shop whose capacity is set to increase to 85 from the current 65.

Accommodating hotel guests for breakfast at the coffee shop had become a big issue with the hotel authorities, the capacity being meagre.

Besides getting additional space, the coffee shop will also get a new décor, furniture, flooring and more kitchen area to meet the rising demand. A fully furbished coffee shop is expected to re-open within four months, said CITCO officials.

The task of renovation of lobby and porch will be undertaken in the second phase. The entire task is expected to finish by December 31 this year.

CITCO had been calling tenders for this work for a year. It returned all for want of quality.



2 youths held for snatchings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
At last, the Chandigarh police today arrested two brothers involved in snatching incidents in the city.

According to in charge of the Sector 22 police post, SI Charanjit Singh Virk, the suspects — Gautam and Siddarath — were nabbed near Gurdial Singh Petrol Station. They are both drug addicts.

The suspects had snatched a purse containing Rs 1,000 and some documents from a woman in Sector 21-D from near Neelam Cinema in Sector 17 on February 15. The victim gave scooter number of the attackers to the police. This helped to nab them. The police said the youths had spent the money in purchasing smack from a resident of Sector-38 West.

Their father owned a Verka Milk booth. 



Tribune Special
Caught in Cobweb of Neglect
Le Corbusier’s tapestries in danger of being lost
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Five years after they were removed from the Haryana Vidhan Sabha chambers, the classiest of Le Corbusier’s tapestries are yet to be restored. Right now, replicas are shadowing for the masterpieces, languishing for attention in the store of UT administration’s engineering department.

  Corbusier created 12 tapestries for Chandigarh

  Nine are hanging in the courtrooms of Punjab and Haryana High Court and are in need of urgent restoration

  Two largest tapestries were removed from Haryana Vidhan Sabha five years ago and are still lying in UT engineering department’s storeroom

  One tapestry meant for the entrance hall of Punjab Vidhan Sabha was disposed of by UT administration in 1994 after it was defaced and damaged out of neglect

Hammering the need to restore these works, Kiran Joshi, nodal officer for Chandigarh Heritage City project, today submitted to the UT administration a nine-page assessment report on the condition of 11 tapestries Le Corbusier created exclusively for Chandigarh. All works, including the tapestry currently adorning the court of chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, are in desperate need of conservation. Although restored recently by a team of National Museum, Delhi, the tapestry appears far from fit; its body scarred with holes punched to make way for air conditioning ducts.

The priciest of the 12 Corbusean tapestries (one of these was disposed of in 1994 after it got damaged) created for Chandigarh, however, are the two that once adorned Haryana Vidhan Sabha chambers. These are the largest -each measuring 155 square metre - and were woven in 1950s by special weavers from Kashmir.

These days the works are suffering from the loss of wool fibre -- a fact Joshi highlighted in her assessment report submitted today as also in her letter to the UT Administration last year. Joshi’s February 1, 2007 letter to Director Tourism, refers in detail to the extraordinarily high prices at which Pierre Jeanneret-designed Chandigarh furniture was sold by some Paris-based dealers of antique furniture. The same letter mentions Haryana Vidhan Sabha tapestries “in need of urgent care”.

It states: “A mention also needs to be made of the most valuable movable heritage properties that need urgent care. These are the two large tapestries, which were removed from the Haryana Vidhan Sabha over four years ago and are since lying in a store of the Engineering Department. Considering that an ordinary library table, several pieces of which exist, was sold at Euro 92,500.00, the market value of these two unique tapestries can be well imagined.”

The problem with these two tapestries is an increasing loss of wool fibre over the years. Experts say immediate fumigation and other preventive actions are needed by trained professional to arrest further decay of the classic heritage pieces. A decision, they say, also needs to be taken whether to just consolidate the tapestries, leaving “lost” areas as they are or restore them as per the original design. The latter option needs very sensitive work, with the help of highly skilled workers and scientific investigations about the nature of material to be used for restoration -- something Joshi has recommended in her report.

She terms the Haryana Vidhan Sabha tapestries as “art heritage of outstanding cultural value to the city”. The works are part of a unique series, exclusive to Chandigarh, very unlike Corbusier’s other tapestries. They add depth to the understanding of his artistic work, and have been designed and woven especially for a particular setting. Special looms were set up to weave them because of their extraordinarily large size. 



Army moves against Lt-Gen in ration scam
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The Army has ordered that summary of evidence (SoE) be recorded in the case of former Director General Supplies and Transport Lt-Gen S.K. Sahni for various irregularities allegedly detected in the procurement of dry rations for troops. This indicates that the Army has found substance in some of the charges made out against him during the hearing of charge, which calls for further action.

Chief of Staff, 11 Corps, Major-Gen T.P.S. Shergill is recording the SoE in New Delhi, sources at the Army Headquarters revealed. There are five charges on which the summary of evidence is to be recorded. The SoE is a prelude to a possible trial by a general court martial. A decision to convene a court martial or take administrative action or close the case depends upon the outcome of the SoE.

General Sahni had retired in September 2006 and was recalled from retirement. He was attached to the 11 Corps, Jalandhar, for disciplinary action, where the hearing of charge - reading out charges made against him and seeking his reply hereon - was done by the corps commander, Lt-Gen S.S. Kumar. Sources said the tentative chargesheet against him during the hearing of the charge listed 14 acts of omission and commission in procurement of supplies, misappropriation of funds and other irregularities during his tenure as Commandant Army Service Corps Centre, Bangalore, and later as the DGST at AHQs.

CoI against Army legal chief

The court of inquiry ordered by the Army to ascertain several charges against the Judge Advocate General, Major-Gen Nilendra Kumar, has commenced at Lucknow. Chief of Staff, Central Command, Lt-Gen Gautam Dutt is the CoI’s presiding officer while Major-Gen P. Singh, Major- Gen, Artillery, Western Command, and Major-Gen S.K. Das from the Signals Directorate at the Army Headquarters have been detailed as members.

The CoI held a preliminary sitting on February 6 and was scheduled to examine its first witness today. Brig R. Bahuguna from the Discipline and Vigilance Branch, Col V. Nagia legal attaché in the Military secretary’s Branch and Col S.K. Aggarwal (retd) are among a number of witnesses being summoned by the CoI. The CoI today also summoned Brig A.K. Srivastava, Deputy JAG, Western Command.



Tribune Impact
Bird sanctuary:
Admn, MC told to switch off lights at sunset
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The UT chief wildlife warden has asked the UT administration and the MC authorities to switch off the bright light on high poles in the Sector 21 Chandigarh Bird Sanctuary at sunset if those cannot be removed immediately.

Sources in the wildlife department said the chief wildlife warden-cum-director, environment, has written a letter to the deputy commissioner, R.K. Rao, and to the MC commissioner, seeking the removal of lights immediately.

The warden said the installation of these lights was a violation of the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The chief warden told the authorities concerned that they should switch off the lights with immediate effect.

The chief wildlife warden, Ishwar Singh, said he had taken up the matter with the MC commissioner and asked them to switch off the lights before 8 pm.

Residents of the locality said the action would provide respite to birds which were losing their natural habitat.

As per law, no visitors are allowed to the sanctuary after 8 pm and before 6 am. According to information, the sanctuary spread in 2.9 hectare was notified as a bird sanctuary in 1998. Some of the area came under the adjoining government school, but still it is being regulated under the wildlife Act.

Some residents had demanded the installation of lights in the sanctuary to deter anti-social elements. They had also taken up the issue to de-notify the sanctuary, which was rejected by the wildlife department.

Sources in the department said the lights were installed without taking permission from the department. They said if the authorities kept the lights off, chances were that the birds which had left would return. 



Building work to be bifurcated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
With the posting of K.D. Batra as SDO (building), estate office, the decision to bifurcate the work of the building branch has been set in motion.

To avoid doubling of work and reduce unnecessary litigations, the estate officer, R.K. Rao, had decided to redefine the areas of the field staff in the building branch and the enforcement staff.

Sources said the city would be divided into parts. Under the proposed arrangement, a junior engineer would be given independent charge of a specific sector and would be accountable for checking building violations.

The respective SDO would be in charge of the field staff. At present, the JEs of the building branch and the enforcement wing work parallel to one another and there is doubling of work.

Meanwhile, the estate officer today transferred Sandeep Kumar, a draughtsman in the building branch was today transferred a complaint was received against him. The official had been in the building branch for a long period.



Pathania Murder
BJP demands fair probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
A delegation of the local unit of the BJP today met the UT IGP and submitted him a memorandum demanding a fair probe into the murder of Naresh Pathania, a Panjab University employee, by a government agency.

Kamla Sharma, state president of the BJP, led the delegation consisting of Satya Pal Jain, former MP, and others.

They said as per residents of Dhanas, the accused seemed to be an associate of a gang and had twisted facts. The delegation also expressed concern over the increase in incidents of chain snatchings, accidents, suicides, murders and the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.

The residents said a liquor vend in the locality had become a source of nuisance as it was being visited by “anti-social elements” and demanded its closure. 



One injured as jeep hits car
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 19
Amardeep Sharma, former president of the Phase-IX industrial area suffered injuries when his Indica was hit by a speeding jeep belonging to Milkfed. The accident took place on the Phase-IX and X dividing road leading to NIPER this morning. Amardeep Sharma’s car was badly damaged when the jeep coming from Chandigarh hit it.

This is the fourth accident on this part of the road in the past one week. Though, there are traffic signals on the junction here but these are not manned when the electricity goes off.

“The electricity in this part of the city remains off for over five hours a day. During this time the traffic signals do not work. There is no traffic police either to regulate the traffic manually. Accidents are taking place everyday here,” said Narinder Singh a resident of the area.



Reward honest government employees

it is sad to note that in many government departments, a majority of employees do not work sincerely and I attribute it to a flaw in the government system.

This is because neither is an efficient employee awarded nor a non-efficient employee penalised. Policy of annual confidential report is just a formality on paper. I would like to highlight the example of a renowned doctor posted in Phase-1 dispensary, Mohali, for the last 3-4 years.

He is performing his duty very sincerely and checks around 200 patients everyday. He even checks patients after his duty hours.

However, I feel he is doing it for his own personal satisfaction and the government agencies are not recognising this doctor’s effort.

If such honest workers are rewarded, at least other people will be goaded to work better.

Raheim Bakash, Mohali

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PU Notes
Blood donation camp at ‘Cyanide’ fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
As part of the ongoing annual festival, ‘Cyanide’, of the department of chemical engineering, a blood donation camp was organised today. Many volunteers came forward and donated blood for the noble cause. Meanwhile, students were also shortlisted for various dance items including giddha, bhangra and others, as part of ‘Jhankaar which is a part of the four-day event.


The Panjab University department of chemistry will organise Prof Ram Chand Paul Fourth National Annual Symposium on ‘Recent Trends in Chemistry’ from February 19 to 20. This will be in association with the department of science and technology, UT administration. Researchers from BARC Mumbai, IIT Mumbai, IIT Kanpur and the University of Delhi are invited for the symposium.

The faculty and research students of the department of chemistry, neighbouring universities and institutes will also attend the symposium.


Dr Kanwaljit Chopra, reader in pharmacology department, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been awarded the Chandra Kanta Dandiya prize in pharmacology for the year 2006-07 by P.C. Dandiya trust.


To mark the diamond jubilee year of the varsity, the Panjab University department of anthropology will organise the third inter-Congress meet of the Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists from February 21 to 23 on the theme ‘Man and Environment: The South Asian Perspective.’

Eminent scientist Prof Yash Pal, former chairman of the University Grants Commission, would inaugurate the event. Dr K.K. Chakravarty (IAS), member secretary, Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts, and Prof K.K. Basa, director, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalya, Bhopal, would be the guests of honour. 



No suitable car for judge hearing Beant Singh case
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
It appears that the cash-rich Chandigarh administration does not have enough “suitable” cars to cater to the requirement of judicial officers.

To provide security cover to an additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ), who is hearing the assassination case of former Punjab CM Beant Singh at the high-security Burail Jail, the administration chose to provide an old vehicle to ferry him from the district court to the jail and back.

Significantly, the security has supposedly been beefed up on the directions of the Central Government and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but the administration could not find a suitable car for the ADSJ.

When the car of Housefed was requisitioned by the district magistrate, R.K. Rao, from January 1 to February 15 for the purpose, work at Chandigarh State Federation Cooperative House Building Societies Limited came to a standstill as it was the only car with the apex body of the cooperative house building societies. Much to the anguish of federation officials, the administration is asking the federation to foot a bill of around Rs 10,000 incurred on the official duty performed by the judicial officer.

The chairman of Housefed, Jaidev Verma, had approached the home secretary and the DC several times to resolve the matter, but every year the car is attached for some other purpose.

In 2006, the car was attached by the DC to the excise and taxation department for eight months. The salary of the driver was given by Housefed, even though he did not work for the organisation during that time.

The district magistrate refused to comment on the issue. Housefed’s sole car made multipurpose

The only car of Housefed is usually requisitioned for attachment to other departments. Much to the anguish of officials, the administration is asking the federation to foot a bill of around Rs 10,000 incurred on the official duty performed by the judicial officer.



Sector 17 to get bigger, better
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Sector 17 is going to get bigger and better. The administration and the MC has chalked out a Rs 4.14-crore plan to spruce up the sector.

To be implemented by March 2009, the plan envisages the beautification and maintenance of the infrastructure from the bridge market to Madhya Marg. Tenders for the works have been invited and the administration and the MC have decided to share the project cost equally, sources told The Tribune here today.

The decision seems to have been a result of complaints of step-motherly treatment by non-plaza area shopkeepers.

To attract visitors, MNCs and tourists, a mini amusement park is planned between the New Town Hall Building and the GPO. Renovation of fountains, a toilet block and renovation of the inter-connecting passages have also been proposed.

The plan, an initiative of the mayor who represents Sector 17, forms part of the phase II of the overall development plan for the commercial hub of the city.

The phase I of the plan, executed at a cost of Rs 2.46 crore, had seen the renovation of fountains, installation of granite benches and installation of electricity poles.

This, coupled with the coming up of the TDI shopping mall-cum-multiplex in Sector 17-B, will provide a boost to the commercial activity in the area, Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, president of the Traders Association, Sector 17 (A and B), said.



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