Friday, February 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops catch out cricket bookies
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — Acting on a secret information, the Chandigarh police has arrested six “bookies” for being allegedly involved in betting on international cricket matches.

These six men — Gian Sarup, Satish Kumar, Bhushan Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Vinod Kumar and Bhadur Singh — were arrested from a Sector 22 hotel past night when they were “calculating the stakes” soon after the match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The police party that caught them was led by Inspector Arjan Singh Jaggi.

All the accused are residents of Sirsa who were here on “a causal trip”. They allegedly operated through mobile telephones. Six mobile telephones were also seized from them. Cases have been registered against these men for cheating and gambling.

Initial interrogation of these men has reportedly revealed that five or six city residents, along with some residents of Delhi, Patna, Indore, Bathinda, Sri Ganganagar and Kolkata, were also involved in betting on cricket matches.

The stakes, according to sources in the police department, ranged between Rs 5,000 and Rs 60,000. The odds were fixed in Delhi and communicated to the “bookies” on mobile telephones. Bets were placed on the eventual winner, runs scored in specific overs and even runs made by certain players. Punters could place more than one bet as a match progressed.

Sources said if Rs 33 was the rate of a bet, a person putting Rs 100 on stake could get Rs 133 if he was lucky or lose the entire amount. The accused used to receive a 1 per cent commission from the winner and 2 per cent on every bet.

Sources said the accused had been maintaining a regular ledger, containing names of punters and the stakes played. The ledger has also been seized.

Four of the accused who have been sent to the police remand for two days by UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sant Parkash, are being interrogated about their possible links with bookies who were earlier caught by the Delhi police in the match-fixing case.

The Assistant Superintendent of the Chandigarh police, Mr. H.G.S. Dhaliwal, said new clients could contact these “bookies” only after they were recommended by their present clients. The money was adjusted against the names of clients living in the same area. In case of non-payment, the client was blacklisted.

The ASP also said cases of cheating had been registered against the accused because they had also duped some of their clients. He said the circumstantial evidence against these men was strong.

Phoney friend

AS the Assistant Superintendent of the Chandigarh police, Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, was addressing a press conference at the Sector 17 police station here, a mobile telephone seized from the accused buzzed.

“What about my 10,000 bucks?” a voice asked. “Where are you calling from? I am a friend,” replied Mr Dhaliwal. “No, you do not sound like his friend,” said the suspicious voice before cutting the communication.



Massive aid pouring in for quake-hit
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1— Panjab University today saw hectic campus activity in teaching and non-teaching departments besides hostels in an effort for collecting funds and material for earthquake victims of Gujarat.

Students organise an akhand path as part of their endeavour to raise funds for the Gujarat quake-hit people, on the Panjab University campus in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Students organise an akhand path as part of their endeavour to raise funds for the Gujarat quake-hit people, on the Panjab University campus in Chandigarh on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph
The All-India Sikh Students Federation in collaboration with the Panjab University Campus Students Council have organised an akhand path which commenced this morning. Meanwhile, the function also expected collection of funds and relief material as part of the solemn occasion.

Samarjit Singh Sandhu, an organiser, while giving details of the programme said that the AISSF group had collected about Rs 10,000 from residents of Hostel No I alone. There are also reports of similar activities elsewhere.

Gagandeep Virk, chairman of the AISSF, Harpreet Bhatti and Harman Deol were prominent among others who were co-ordinating activities and collections for a ‘noble purpose’. Dr A.S.Ahluwalia, warden of Hostel I, was also overseeing the relief activity.

Samarjit Singh Sandhu said that there were also residents of local areas who were contributing material for the relief purposes. One resident of Dhanas yesterday gave two sacks of sugar. Nearly five quintal wheat has been added.

A PUCSC group today was taking rounds of the teaching departments. Student response for the activity was a heartening one. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, also attended the akhand path.

The teaching and the non-teaching sectors of the universities have also made their share of contributions for the cause. Sandhu said that casual students from far off places like Malout on a trip to the campus had also come forward to contribute their shares for the cause. Dayscholars are also contributing money for the cause.


Punjabi University has decided to mobilise resources for the collection of donation for the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund to help the victims. Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor of the university, will lead a procession  from Sheran Wala Gate, which would pass through the main bazars and localities of city, seeking donations. The procession would comprise teachers, students and general employees of the university on February 3 at 10.30 a.m.

Meanwhile, the PCMS Association has also offered to send a team of doctors to the quake-hit regions of Gujarat and has urged the Punjab Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, to interact with the Gujarat Government on this issue and make arrangements for help required as the fear of epidemic problems which may break out there in a next few days. The association has decided to collect all medicines and sent it to the quake-hit areas. The association members have also decided to donate their one-day salary.

The Red Cross Society is also collecting donations from people of all walks of life to contribute to the Gujarat victims. The ITI staff has collected Rs 21,050 and Girl’s School, Model Town, has collected a sum of Rs 35,900.

The NSS, NCC and the scouts of the Government Senior Secondary School, Samana, have donated Rs 29,000. They have also collected blankets, warm clothes and other eatables for the victims.

The office of the Civil Surgeon has made arrangements of medicines worth Rs 3 lakh with the cooperation of different chemist associations of the district which will be sent to Ludhiana from where the consignment will be transported to various places in Gujarat.

The Punjab Ayurvedic Medical Services Association have donated one-day salary to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund through the state Chief Minister. Dr Harmanjit Singh, president of the Association, said that a team of nearly 100 ayurvedic doctors will be sent to the effected area to provide help.


A team of doctors, 13 trucks of relief material worth Rs 15 lakh and an ambulance arranged by the district administration was flagged off for Gujarat, here today. Also, 20 employees were sent along with the consignment to help in carrying out the relief work.

The men and material was flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Monga, from Sector 8 this afternoon to Ambala.

Mr Monga added that besides the doctors and accompanying staff, the 20-member team sent to Gujarat included two generator set operators, one plumber, an electrician and a Junior Engineer among others.

The UHBVN has sent two generator sets, 25 lamps, 40 diesel lighters besides other items. The Chemist Association has jointly donated 2.16 quintal of dried milk. Other items sent include steel glasses, plates, 60 kg ghee, clothes, slippers, blankets, towels, cotton, flour and 1 lakh eggs.

Contributions have come by way of individual and joint contributions as well. A resident of Sector 15, Mr Gian Chand Goel, donated 10-days pension to the District Red Cross Society while the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 8, despatched a draft of Rs 21,000 to the Gujarat Chief Minister Relief fund.

The President, Mr R.P. Malhotra, appealed to the residents to contribute generously for the cause and added that much more was expected to be contributed in the second round of collection of funds.


The Vikas Parishad, Ambala Cantonment led by MLA Anil Vij, today handed over a truck carrying 3,000 blankets and a draft for Rs 80,000 to the district administration for sending relief goods to Gujarat.

The truck was handed over at Sadar bazar this afternoon. “We have collected the blankets and the money in a four-day camp” Mr Vij said. He emphasised that people must come forward in this time of natural calamity and donate liberally.

Meanwhile, the Ambala division today contributed to the relief efforts in Gujarat by despatching 27 trucks laden with goods, medical supplies and other necessary items.

The trucks were flagged off by the Haryana minister, Mr Risal Singh, at the War Heroes Memorial Stadium, Ambala Cantonment. The trucks were from Ambala, Panchkula and Yamunanagar, with trucks from Kurukshetra and Kaithal to join en route to Gujarat.

Among other things, the trucks carried utensils, blankets and eatables. The team to Gujarat led by the City Magistrate, Mr Dahiya, and the Deputy Director, Dr Rajbir Singh, is also accompanied by personnel of different trades like electrician and plumber.


The Kurali Chemists Association has donated medicines worth Rs 30,000 for victims of Gujarat earthquake. A huge quantity of clothes and blankets has also been donated by residents of Kurali. According to Mr Rajesh Goyal all goods have been handed over to the SDM, Kharar.

Similarly, 100 bags of clothes collected by the Lions Club, Kharar, and 27 bags of clothes collected by the Rotary Club, Kharar, were sent to collection centre in Chandigarh today. The members of both the clubs today collected money from shopkeepers in Kharar.


Employees of the local JCT Electronics Ltd have decided to give one day’s gross salary each, amounting to about Rs 8 lakh, for the Gujarat quake victims.

Mr Rajiv Sahdev, DGM (Personnel and IR), said today that the factory had also sent 15 large boxes containing relief materials such as blankets, quilts, jackets, shoes, utensils, soap and candles to the Mohali Industries Association for onward despatch to the victims.

The local Municipal Council at a meeting held today decided to give Rs 5 lakh as donation for the quake-hit. A two-minute silence was observed before the start of the meeting for the victims.

A councillor, Mr Sham Bansal, proposed that all councillors should donate one month’s honorarium each for the cause.


‘An experience which no media can project’
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — For the team of 17 doctors, two nurses and three helpers, the Gujarat visit has been more than a mere professional experience. For the team, including seven faculty members, which returned to the city by an Indian Airlines flight in the afternoon, here today, it was a totally sad and a traumatic experience.

The team leader, Prof Y.K. Batra, Department of Anaesthesiology, PGI, says’ “It was a pathetic sight. Something which even with our experience with blood has been truly unimaginable. People buried under the rubble, their feeble cries asking for help, and those alive, totally helpless. Of course, with the passage of time, the immediate concern of the health authorities, in the coming days, has to defuse the possibility of an epidemic, cholera, gastroenteritis and other viral diseases from breaking out. Now the focus has to shift on retrieving and disposing the decaying bodies and restoring clean water supply and other basic amenities and facilities”.

Dr Aditya Aggarwal, Assistant Professor, Orthopaedics Department and member of the team, agrees: “Clean water and food has to be the prime priority now. As we saw in Bhuj, there are plenty of medicines and equipment. What perhaps is lacking is coordination between various agencies, quite natural in a calamity of this magnitude. Moreover, another major concern in future would be the survivors who, following the earthquake, had fled to safer places. Having lost their families and homes, these people might have psychiatric problems in future. Establishing communication facilities too has to be a top-most priority right now. We had one mobile phone with us which also stopped working when we reached Bhuj.”

The PGI team landed at Bhuj airfield at 3.30 a.m. on the morning of August 27. “There was no power supply and it was totally dark. With the help of air forces authorities we reached Bhuj. One team from the AIIMS was already there. With the General Hospital reduced to a rubble, the Army authorities were coordinating the health services. We helped primarily with health care, dressing and cleaning wounds and relieving the pain of those injured,” said Professor Batra.

Patients were being referred to the neighbouring towns. The local authorities directed the PGI team to reach Ahmedabad where they contacted the health authorities and various hospitals. The team finally reached Sundernagar, about 130 km from Ahmedabad on January 29.

“The hospital at Sundernagar was working with two operation theatres but they required specialised care. There we performed as many as 30 major and 50 other surgeries and gave post-operative care and provided resuscitation to patients,” said Professor Batra.

The work of the PGI team was highly appreciated by the local administration at Sundernagar.

“Sitting here one cannot imagine the kind of misery the people of Gujarat are undergoing at this moment. In fact no news channel or newspaper can project the enormity of the situation. After finishing our work we have come back but with a heavy heart,” said Prof Batra.

Dr Aggarwal adds, “It was quite tough for us too, with little or no sleep, and total lack of basic amenities and facilities. But seeing entire villages and families wiped out was such a moving experience, that we forgot our misery and dedicated our time and efforts to whatever we could do to help.”

More contributions for quake victims
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — The Chandigarh Administration today procured 200 tents from the manufacturing centres of various jails in the Punjab and they would be airlifted to Bachau tomorrow.

One of the collection centres set up for Gujarat earthquake victims in Sector 20 of Chandigarh on Thursday.
One of the collection centres set up for Gujarat earthquake victims in Sector 20 of Chandigarh on Thursday.
 — A Tribune photograph

Besides the 26 tons of tents and shelters, 12 tons of mineral water and 50 solar lights will also be airlifted by the IAF from here tomorrow.
Meanwhile, various organisations and people kept on responding to the appeal of the Chandigarh Administration by donating generously for the Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund, Gujarat. 
Students of various colleges and teachers trooped to the Punjab Raj Bhavan with a bunch of drafts collected by them amounting to Rs 10 lakh.The volunteers of the Anti-Terrorist Front, led by Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, presented a draft of Rs 51,000 to the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (Retd).

Earlier talking to reporters, Mr Bitta, urged the Central Government not to accept the Pakistani aid for the quake victims. He regretted that the politicians had not come forward to mobilise the people to help the victims.

Similarly, Mr Walter Kissinger. MD of the Groz Beckert Asia Limited, presented a draft for Rs 1.5 lakh. And the shopkeepers of the Shastri Market, Sector 22, gave a draft for Rs 1.01 lakh.

Similarly, a private unit manufacturing solar lights, donated 50 solar lights costing around Rs 1.5 lakh and the Cooperative Companies Limited a draft for Rs 1 lakh.The HSEB Pensioners Welfare Association has contributed Rs 13,500 to the fund.

The Punjab police personnel have decided to donate one-day salary in the aid of the earthquake victims. The employees of the KRIBHCO posted in Haryana contributed two-day salary amounting to Rs 75,000 to the fund. The surfers of ApnaPunjab.Com contributed Rs 30,000.

The staff of the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur donated Rs 5,252 to the fund. The draft was handed over to The Tribune office by the Chief Manager, Mr Rajesh Gupta. The employees of the Ranjit Sagar Dam and Shahpur Kandi have decided to donate one-day salary for the fund. Besides donating blood for the earthquake victims, the Punjab Financial Corporation Employees Welfare Association has also decided to contribute one-day salary to the fund. The staff of the NIPER, SAS Nagar, also contributed one-day salary for the fund.

Apart from sending material to the Red Cross in Karuna Sadan in Sector 11, various social organisations, market welfare associations and political parties had set up collection centres at different places. Mr Shivi Jaiswal, President of the Samajwadi Party, which has set up a collection centre in Sector 20, appealed to the residents to send contributions through cheques/ drafts and in kind.

The Freedom India, an NGO, will pay shradanjali to the departed souls by organising a candle light procession tomorrow night at the Nehru Park, Sector 22.


An emergency meeting of the Punjab Engineering College Old Students Association held on January 28 resolved to postpone its annual general body meeting which was scheduled to be held on February 4 in view of the earthquake in Gujarat.

A press note issued by the general secretary of the association said a sum of Rs 21,000 had already been donated by the association towards the earthquake relief fund.


The Technical Teachers Training Institute today decided to donate Rs 1 lakh to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for Gujarat by way of one-day salary, said Dr J.S. Saini, press adviser of the institute.

Meanwhile, responding to the appeal of the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd) who is also administrator of Chandigarh, students of various colleges and teachers trooped the Punjab Raj Bhavan with a bunch of drafts collected by them. These drafts are said to be of the value of Rs 10 lakh.

Volunteers of the Anil-Terrorists Front led by Mr M.S. Bitta presented a draft of Rs 51,000 to the Punjab Governor. Mr Walter Kissinger, Managing Director of Groz Beckert Asia Limited, gave a draft for Rs 1.50 lakh to the Punjab Governor. Shopkeepers of Sector 22, Shastri Market, presented a draft for Rs 1.01 lakh. A private unit manufacturing solar lights donated 50 solar lamps costing Rs 1.50 lakh to the Governor. Cooperative companies limited also gave a draft for Rs 1 lakh to the Governor.


A meeting of the Central Executive of the Haryana Veterinary Association was held here on January 31.

Dr O.P. Chitkara presided over the meeting. Members of the association condoled the death of several thousand people who died in Gujarat earthquake. They expressed their sympathy to those who lost their lives and property in the earthquake.

The association decided to donate a one-day salary towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Dr Ashok Mantro, general secretary of the association, said that veterinary surgeons from Haryana were ready to go to Gujarat.Back


Transmission media to be increased: BSNL
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — The number of transmission media, which work to enable better connectivity between phones within the local dialling system of 200 km radius, are to be increased, a high level meeting of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) held here today decided.

This has followed a review of congestion on telephone lines after the introduction of local dialling facility within a radius of 200 km. The number of transmission media will be increased in all the states and Chandigarh, said Mr Prithipal Singh, Director (operations), BSNL. The meeting was attended by the Chief General Manager, Telecom (CGMT), Punjab, CGM Northern Telecom Region, CGM, Haryana Telecom Circle and other senior telecom officers.

Field officers reported that the scheme has been largely appreciated by the public and calling traffic has increased manifold. It was reported that such increase was anticipated and accordingly advance measures were taken before the introduction of level 95-scheme.

But in spite of the steps taken before the introduction of this scheme, the increase in traffic has been more than anticipated on certain routes and, therefore, such routes need further augmentation of the transmission media.

Another reason for the rush was attributed to traffic from different cities following the earthquake in Gujarat. However, this spurt in traffic is getting reduced now. It was, therefore, decided to immediately increase the number of circuits to such directions where substantial increase in the traffic for level-95 has been reported based on observations in different exchanges, Mr Prithipal Singh added.


Stretching resources of IAF
Aircrew working against all odds
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — Between maintaining the Army's forward positions in the northern sector and airlifting relief material to Gujarat, it is a long haul for the IAF's transport wing. While the task has multiplied manifold, the fleet size and aircrew strength remain the same, thereby stretching the IAF's human and material resources to the limit.

To cater to the dual requirements, both of which require heavy commitment, the IAF has resorted to carrying out sorties to Leh and Thoise in the morning, and flying to Bhuj at night. While the aircraft are the same, the crew are rotated. Also the sorties to the northern sector are being carried out by AN-32, while the IL-76 strategic freighter has been deployed for relief operations.

‘‘We are ensuring that forward areas are not suffering. The task carried out by IL-76s is being undertaken by AN-32s. For example, where two IL-76s were required, we are sending six AN-32s,’’ Chief Operations Officer, 12 Wing, Gp Capt N.S. Kadian said. ‘‘However, we are ensuring that all safety standards are met and the crew is not fatigued,’’ he added.

With the strategic Srinagar-Leh highway closed at this time of the year, air maintenance to the northern sector assumes a priority in winter. On an average, the IAF airlifts about 23 tonnes of fresh rations daily. Besides, airlift capabilities are also essential to rotate troops deployed there as well as to evacuate casualties.

According to IAF sources, each crew flies at least two shuttles each day, involving a minimum flying time of 10 hours. This may stretch up to 20 hours and in cases has gone as high as 27 hours.

The strain on the aircrew, as this correspondent saw at Bhuj, is visible. At the Bhuj airbase, which has never before witnesses this level of activity, there is virtually no infrastructure to cater to the needs of the aircrew. In a makeshift operations room at the airbase or in aircraft cockpits, aircrew try to get what little sleep they can before embarking on the next sortie. Apart from water, biscuits or roasted gram, there are no eatables available at Bhuj and aircrew have to carry food-packets with them.

To ensure that stipulated safety measures are being met, the IAF is flying out relief aircrews in outgoing sorties to take over aircraft operating from different stations. ‘‘This ensures that no time and effort is wasted in the aircraft flying back to its home base for a change. Since the aircraft does not has to return to base, it can carry out a greater number of commitments,’’ Gp Capt Kadian explained.

Already, 12 Wing here has airlifted about 1,595 tonnes of relief material to Gujarat, involving 45 IL-76 sorties and 76 AN-32 sorties, besides two sorties of the Mi-26 choppers carrying another 26 tonnes.

In addition to routine commitments tasked by Air HQs, 12 Wing is also airlifting relief material from Chandigarh, Adampur and Amritsar, besides undertaking shuttles between Bhuj and other towns in western and central India to evacuate casualties and to ferry in men, equipment and food.

It is also noteworthy to mention that the first night landing at Bhuj airbase by heavy aircraft was undertaken by 12 Wing, when an IL-76 carrying relief material landed there on the night of January 26, without any navigational aids. With the ATC having being damaged by the quake, communication with the ground was only through two officers sitting in a parked helicopter. 


Bhatnagar case
Court of inquiry proceedings ‘inadmissible’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — The general court martial trying Maj Maneesh Bhatnagar has ruled that court of inquiry (COI) proceedings are not admissible in court as evidence. The accused officer had today produced a copy relating to the COI, among other documents, in support of his “plea in bar”.

He had also sought a copy of the directions of the GOC, 3 Division, on the COI, which the court also said could not be produced as evidence. The court, however read out the directions of the GOC, which stated that it was evident that the accused officer had wilfully disobeyed lawful command and that strict disciplinary action should be taken against him.

Major Bhatnagar started with the examination of the first witness in support of his plea seeking a bar on his trial by general court martial.

Major Bhatnagar quizzed Col G.S. Ranawat, Commanding Officer of 503 ASC Battalion, on his role in the recording of the summary of evidence in respect of charges levelled against him. He asked the witness on what basis he had taken cognizance of the charges. The witness replied that he had done so on the basis of the court of inquiry and the directions of the GOC, 3 Division.

Major Bhatnagar also asked the witness to produce a copy of Army Order 24 of 1994, which concerns the examination of witnesses during court of inquiry proceedings. However, two copies were produced before the court, in one of which some paragraphs had been scored out in pencil, while in the other there were no cuttings.

Major Bhatnagar also contended that Colonel Ranawat’s reply to two different questions were contradictory. In one of his replies, Colonel Ranawat had stated that he had taken cognizance of the charges on the basis of the court of inquiry while in a subsequent reply he had stated that he had examined three witnesses, including an officer and two JCOs, for the purpose. Later on, being asked if he had dispensed with the witness during the hearing of charges, Colonel Ranawat stated that he had taken cognizance of the offence on the basis of the court of inquiry as well as the examination of witnesses.

Major Bhatnagar also wanted the witness to produce a copy of the directions given on the court of inquiry by the GOC, 3 Division, which the witness said was not in his possession. After the court directed the prosecution to procure the document, the prosecution contended that it was a confidential document dealing with affairs of state and hence, under provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, could not be given to the accused and it could only be brought for the inspection of the court.

The defence, in reply, contended that when the proceedings of the court of inquiry were not classified and were already on record, how could a document based on these be secret.


Shopkeepers resist enforcement staff
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — An altercation between shopkeepers and anti-encroachment staff today led to the closure of shops in the Sector 19 Sadar Bazaar here for more than three hours. The dispute was resolved only after the intervention of the police and the Enforcement Magistrate.

Earlier, while carrying out the anti-encroachment drive, the personnel on duty had to face angry shopkeepers who were supported by representatives of political parties and traders’ associations. Shopkeepers picketed them shortly after they had begun removing things kept in corridors.

The trouble began when the staff tried to remove a box containing tools for repairing stoves that had been kept in the corridor by some shopkeepers. Shopkeepers said it was dangerous to repair stoves inside the shops. Mr Harjit Kumar, a shopkeeper, said persons like him had been allotted these shops so that they could safely carry out their business in the open.

The head of the market body, Mr Amrit Pal Singh Pali, said a former Enforcement Magistrate, Mr H.S. Sohal, had given shopkeepers an assurance that no encroachment within two feet on both sides of the nine-foot-wide passage would be removed. He said the Enforcement Wing personnel were continuously targeting the Sector 19 market, even as encroachments in the other parts of the city continued. Shopkeepers also alleged that the enforcement staff had not issued them receipts of challans, but officials denied this charge. The drive was carried out with the help of the police.

The Enforcement Magistrate, Mr Ishwar Singh, and the SHO of the Sector 19 police station met representatives of shopkeepers and told them that they could use two-foot space on both sides of the corridor, provided it did not obstruct the movement of shoppers.

Earlier, the anti-enforcement staff visited the Sector 34 furniture market to remove things that had been occupying corridors outside the shops. Some of the shopkeepers there had occupied the space till road berms, which was causing inconvenience to passers-by.

Shopkeepers of Sector 34 led by Mr Sewa Singh and head of the traders’ association, Mr Subhash Kataria, met the Mayor. They demanded that they be allowed to keep their wares in corridors as before or given an alternative site for the purpose.

Traders said if the matter was not resolved, they would be forced to close all markets. The enforcement staff maintained a peaceful vigil in the sector all through the day. The staff also removed encroachments by the Tempo Union on plot 799 in Phase II of the Industrial Area here.

The staff also went to Palika Bazaar and the nearby shops to remove obstructions from the public passages.


Akademi awards for Raj Babbar,
Gurdas Mann, Shobha Koser
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1— With the day for the annual award distribution ceremony by the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi drawing closer, officials concerned today put an end to the speculation about who would bag the prestigious awards in respective categories of performing arts.

Not surprisingly, distinguished actor Raj Babbar has been chosen in the category of films, for his “unparalleled contribution to the field of Punjabi cinema.” In the category of music, the contest seemed quite tough with veterans Gurmeet Bawa, Gurdas Mann, Puran Chand Wadali and Bakar Hussain, among others featuring in the nomination list. Finally the award was given to Gurdas Mann depending on the number of nominations in his favour. Selecting the awardee in the third category of dance was not a problem, with only one nomination coming from all quarters — that of kathak exponent from the region Ms Shobha Koser. The awards will formally be given away at an elaborate ceremony to be held at the Tagore Theatre on March 11.

Interestingly, the Akademi, this year not only altered the mode of selection of awardees, but also changed the categories in which the awards are to be administered. Where last year the awards had been instituted in sections of theatre, folk dance and music, this year the awards are being given in categories of film (in place of theatre), classical dance in place of folk dance. Music category, however, is constant.

As for the mode of selection, general secretary of the Akademi, Prof Rajpal Singh, informed that this year instead of selection by the committee members, nominations were invited from people from distinguished walks of life. “I wrote personally to heads of music departments, youth welfare departments of universities of Punjab, apart from other prominent people in the field of culture. Out of the received nominations, these three chosen names figured on lists of most people. Hence they were chosen.”

It would serve to list the names of others nominated in different categories:

Film/Theatre: Gursharan Singh, Raj Babbar, Ajmer Aulakh, Kewal Dhaliwal, Harpal Tiwana, Vijay Tandon, Divya Dutta, Pran Sabbarwal, Charan Das Sidhu, Sudershan Maini, Tony Batish.

Music: Gurmeet Bawa, Gurdas Mann, Puran Chand Wadali, Sarabjit Kaur, Singh Bandhu, Barkat Sidhu, Pushpa Hans, Bakar Hussain, BS Narang, Yashpal and Madan Pal Sindhu.

Classical dance: Shobha Koser.

Added Prof Rajpal, “Raj Babbar was chosen for his major contribution to the field of films. Where he gave us three national award winning pictures (Chan Pardesi, Marhi Da Diva and Shaheed Udham Singh), he is also known for working in a Punjabi film every year without demanding any money.” Last year the three awards in categories of folk dance, theatre and music went to Manohar Deepak, Bhag Singh and Hans Raj Hans, respectively.

Giving away further information, president of the Akademi, Ms Harjinder Kaur said that the award will comprise a citation, a shawl and Rs 11,000. Apart from this, portraits of all awardees will be made and preserved in the art gallery of the Akademi. Their biographical sketches will also be made.

It was added that a folk art festival will be held in Sangrur towards February end. “It will be a festival of traditional music, dance and the whole programme will be documented on the video,” said Prof Rajpal. Also in the pipeline of Akademi’s projects is the release of a book on theatre personalities of the Punjab titled Rang karmiyaan nal samvad. The book will be released during Punjabi theatre festival which the Akademi will organise on March 24 and 25.


Time to revert to organic farming
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — With the challenges of the WTO Agreement staring the agrarian economy of the country right in the face, the national agriculture policy needs to be amended so as to ensure good quality crop production and without the residual chemicals sprayed on them.

These views were expressed by a large number of agriculturists and agricultural scientists participating in the three-day National Training Workshop on Organic Farming organised by the Environment Society of India which concluded yesterday. The seminar was sponsored by the Regional Committee of CAPART.

The participating scientists and farmers felt that reverting back to organic farming was the best option left for the farming community in order to compete with the imported better quality and cheaper foodgrains, vegetables and fruits that are likely to flood the local markets after the opening up of economy as well as to find a standing in the export market. They said the government policy of supporting the farming with excessive use of chemicals and ignoring organic farming for the fear that it would decrease production would cost it heavy in the long run.

It is learnt that of the total area under cultivation in the country, only 5 per cent of the area is organically cultivated. Although most of the organically cultivated area is located in the deep tribal areas which have escaped the influence of chemical fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, a large number of marginal and big farmers have begun adopting various cultural practices in order to produce a healthy crop.

Scientists claim that the crops produced through use of chemical fertilisers had some residual chemicals left in them and were considered unfit for human consumption. It is learnt that the DDT residues in various crops produced in the country were two and a half times more than the permissible level recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, while the Endosulfan residues were 10 times more than the permissible levels.

It is also estimated that while 20 per cent of the chemicals sprayed on the crops was directly consumed by humans, 4 per cent of these also appeared in mother’s milk meant for the neo natals. “Various researches over the years have also shown that excessive intake of these chemicals leads to diseases like cancer, kidney stones, diabetes and especially juvenile diabetics ,” informed Dr K. Vijayalaxmi, Research Director, Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, Chennai.

Both scientists as well as farmers lament that the agricultural policy makers in the country have so far been concerned with increasing the quantity of the produce alone. As a result, the quality took a back seat, laments Dr Tarak Kate, Director of Dharamitra, an NGO at Wardha, Maharashtra. He said the government had always fixed quotas for each state and the states concerned were expected to produce at par with this quota. He says now is the right time to shift towards organic farming when the stocks of all the crops are exceeding the buffer crops.

“As a result, the state agricultural departments too became more concerned with producing more in order to meet the quota set for their respective states and excessive use of fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides were recommended to increase the yield per acre by killing all insects/pests. In the process, the ecological balance got spoilt and the soil also lost its vital macro and micronutrients,” he explained.

He informed that Dharamitra had adopted some 400 farmers in 22 villages of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra and they were practicing organic farming. The non chemical package was introduced for black gram, green gram, soyabean, sorghum, cotton and pigeon pea and the production in yield per acre was comparative to the yield of crops produced by chemical methods.

When contacted, Mr Ramphal Kandela, General Secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, who has been associated with the 4000 acre Kisan Jagriti Shikshan Sansthan, Ladwa that has been successfully experimenting in organic farming, told TNS that more than 3000 farmers of Haryana and the nearby states were given training in organic farming.

He said excessive use of fertilisers had also played havoc with the soil health. “The four nutrients — Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium and Zinc — that form the basic components in the various fertilisers were now in excess while the remaining 12 macro and micro nutrients were being lost,” he said.

Both farmers and scientists claim that the notion regarding organic foods being expensive is a myth. “The fact is that there is still a limited produce and clientele and little awareness of the benefits of consuming organic foods over the other crops. This coupled with the fact that the government is not providing with adequate channels for the marketing makes the price higher than the normal crops,” says Mr Vivek A. Ahuja, a progressive farmer from Fazilka, who has begun organic farming of various citrus fruits, gooseberries, peaches, plums and ber in 11 acres of land.


New Cong executive may be delayed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — The Gujarat earthquake has cast its shadow on the Haryana Congress also. The national tragedy is likely to delay the constitution of the new Executive Committee of the party.

In an informal talk with newsmen, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was re-elected as the president of the state Congress on December 14 last, said here today that though there was no difficulty in the formation of the new Executive Committee, the constitution was likely to be delayed because the party’s attention was currently focused on providing relief to the victims of the earthquake.

He said several new faces would be included in the Executive Committee and representation would be given to all sections, including the youth and women.

Meanwhile, lobbying is on by various party leaders for a place in the Executive Committee as well as for the four posts of vice-president and six of general secretary. It is believed that even supporters of former Chief Minister, Mr Bhajan Lal, bete noire of Mr Hooda, and those of a former Haryana Congress president, Mr Birender Singh, are putting pressure on their leaders for a “respectable” place in the new team.

Though as a balancing act, representation will be given to all groups, it is certain that the Hooda camp will have the upper hand in the Executive Committee, which will have more than 40 members.

Speculation is also on about the possible members of the Congress Working Committee from Haryana. In the outgoing CWC, Mr Bhajan Lal had been made a special invitee. Naturally, he would be interested in joining the highest decision-making body of the party this time also.

His detractors, however, have come out with a theory that the state presidents and the leaders of the legislature parties should not be included in the CWC. In such a situation, another Haryana Congress leader may emerge as the claimant to the CWC post.

The AICC secretary, Ms Selja, is considered to be a hot contender for the CWC membership, if the party chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, turns down Mr Bhajan Lal’s claim. She has already been authorised by the state units of the party to constitute the CWC as per her wishes.

Regarding the proposed public meeting by Mr Bhajan Lal at Hisar on March 4, Mr Hooda said no leader, irrespective of his or her status, would be allowed to hold any parallel rally.

In view of the letter received from the AICC general secretary, Mr Moti Lal Vora, all rallies had to be organised under the banner of the Pradesh Congress Committee.


35,000 without sewerage facility
By Nishikant Dwivedi

NAYA GAON (Kharar), Feb 1 — For over 35,000 people living in three villages of Naya Gaon, Janata Colony and Kansal, there is no sewerage and garbage disposal system. Residents dump garbage in the streets and have built septic tanks. The residents apprehend that if the Punjab Government does not come out with any plan to develop the area, it will soon turn into a big slum.

The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) is reportedly not developing the area in the absence of any clear cut policy. The authorities in PUDA say that the government has not yet formulated any policy on the development.

Officials say that all the houses were constructed in violation of the Periphery Control Act. Later the government regularised all those constructions which were made on or before December 9, 1998, though modalities for the regularisation were yet to be worked out. “When our constructions have been regularised and electricity and water connections given to us, then why the government is not developing the area?” residents ask.

It is learnt that in 1998 a proposal was sent to the Punjab Government to collect development charges from the residents and develop the area. What action was taken on the proposal cannot be know.

When contacted, Mr Dapinder Singh, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, said, ‘‘Until the area becomes an approved estate of PUDA, we cannot spend even a single rupee on the development of the area.’’ When asked whether there were any future plans, he said: “On papers the land belongs to the Forest Department and a case is pending in the Supreme Court. It is only after the case is decided, that we can make plans.”

Mr Gurbash Singh Dhillon, Special Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, who is staying in the village for the past 50 years, said, ‘‘I remember there were only five houses in the red line of Naya Gaon in 1952.’’ According to him, the population in the area increased because of its proximity to Chandigarh. People who worked in institutions like the PGI, the Secretariat and Panjab University bought land here and build houses.

Mr Dhillon said that now the solution was that the area should be declared as notified area committee on the pattern of Zirakpur. Mr Bhupinder Singh, a coach with the Sports Authority of India and resident of the village, also feel that the area should be made an NAC.

The demolition of unauthorised constructions in the area was a complicated task, complained PUDA officials. When contacted, Mr Hardev Singh, General Manager (Regulatory), PUDA, said, ‘‘The Punjab Government makes a policy and PUDA only implements it’’.


5 injured in accidents
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — In separate road accidents, at least five persons were admitted to the PGI with injuries during the past 24 hours.

Raghbir Singh of Ropar district sustained injuries after he was hit by car on the road dividing Sector 11 and 12 in the morning today. According to sources in the Police Department, his condition was reported to be stable.

Bhagat Ram Bhardwaj of Rohtak was rushed to the PGI after he was found unconscious in Sector 7 by a passerby. Doctors on duty said the condition of the 50-year-old victim was reported to be stable.

Gurdip Singh and Balwinder Singh, both residents of Saketri, were hospitalised after the scooter they were riding skidded on the road near the Sukhana Lake. Jogeshwar Dutt of Sector 38 sustained injuries, after the cycle he was riding, was hit by a scooter near the Sectors 20-21 traffic lights.Back


Hectic campaigning at Chandigarh Club
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — Hectic campaigning has begun at the Chandigarh club for the elections to the executive committee of the club, scheduled to be held on March 3. The polling will be held for the posts of president, vice-president and eight other members of the executive committee.

According to information available, the contestants for the post of president are Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, Mr G.S Sachdeva and Mr Ravinder Chopra and Mr Anmol rattan Sidhu. But for Mr Sachdeva, all other are advocates by profession. The advocates constitute a major part of the membership of the club. For the post of vice-president, Mr Sunil Gupta and Mr Sunil Khanna are in the fray.

The club has a total of about 4800 voting members.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi has served the longest on the executive committee of the club, by putting in seven years of service. Mr Sachdeva is the present vice-president of the club. While Ravinder Chopra served for two terms on the executive, Mr Sidhu, though an old member of the club, has never been a member of the executive.

The present president, Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, cannot contest for the elections to the club this year, for he has already contested for it for two consecutive years. Back


Child gets new lease of life
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 1 — An 11-year-old slum-dweller, Varinder, has got a new lease to life with the efforts of Upkaar Society, a social welfare organisation, after he was found to be suffering from a heart ailment, at a health camp organised by the society.

The president of the society, Ms Prem Kohli, and an executive member, Ms Preeti Chawla, made enquiries from his family and found that he had been unable to get the required treatment for want of funds, the operation fee being Rs 1 lakh. The members began collecting funds and the Rotary Club, Chandigarh, chipped in. Pre-operation tests were conducted and Mr S.P. Gupta, a chief engineer with PWD, Haryana, helped the association by fixing appointments with doctors and accompanying Varinder to hospital.

“We were satisfied when the heart surgery was carried out and Varinder was able to run around and play with children of his age group,” Ms Preeti Chawla said. The society has been involved in social work and has been helping poor patients who cannot afford the cost of treatment.


Animal welfare fortnight function
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — There is an urgent need to provide proper care and shelter to promote our animal wealth as the estimated value of the work output of draught animals is Rs 36,500 crore each year. Besides, the total contribution of Animal husbandry section in India to improve our national economy stands at a staggering Rs 1,83,305 crore annually.

This was stated by the Governor of Haryana, Babu Parmanand, while speaking at the Animal Welfare Fortnight function organised at the Haryana Raj Bhavan here. He was the chief guest at this function, organised jointly by the Animal Welfare Board India, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Haryana Urdu Akademi.

The Governor said that man is a social animal , both by nature and by need, and so should follow the principle of “live and let live” in order to protect the animals, birds and other creatures from cruelty and violence of any kind as propounded by the great men of our civilisation.

He also stressed the vegetarian meal system so as to prevent cruelty towards animals and birds. Law alone cannot stop the cruel treatment being meted out to the animals at the hands of man. A social and cultural awakening has to be created amongst the people, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, the former Chief Justice of India and Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Mr Guman Mal Lodha, condemned cow slaughter in particular and cruelty towards all living organisms in general. He said that inherent values of our culture have been love, compassion, piety and sympathy towards the animal world.

He informed that the Animal Welfare Board of India was making sincere efforts to protect the animals that were injured during the Gujarat earthquake by raising a fund of Rs 25 lakh. Mr Lodha condemned the cow slaughter in the country and demanded that a Cow Protection Commission be constituted in the states of Punjab and Haryana and protection of cows should be made one of the fundamental rights of the citizens of our country.


PUDA decision on parking
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Feb 1 — In a decision taken at a meeting of officials of the Punjab Urban and Development Authority (PUDA) and the local Municipal councillors here today, it was decided that the parking in developing sectors will be constructed by the civic body instead of PUDA.

It was also decided that no trees and saplings will be planted on concrete footpath laid along the kerb channels. The issue of wild growth on plots was also taken.


Income tax camp at Baddi
From Our Correspondent

BADDI, Feb 1 — The Income Tax Department will hold a camp at Baddi (Nalagarh) on February 12 to facilitate the income tax payees of the area to file income tax returns. This was started by Mr S.P. Gupta, Income Tax Officer, Parwanoo. Mr Gupta said that staff of the department would also guide the public in filling the tax returns. The department would also entertain applications for PAN.


IT Dept conducts survey
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — The local Income Tax Department today conducted the survey of certain big showrooms in Sector 17 here. Terming the survey as a step “short of raids”, sources said, inventory of various shops, including readymade garment shops, were made. However, no material or documents were reportedly seized.

Till late in the evening the officials of the department, along with the police officials, were on the job. The names of the shops could not be ascertained immediately.

Founders day celebrated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — Rishi Ashram, Marhanwala, situated on the Pinjore-Nalagarh highway celebrated founder’s day on Thursday. A jagran followed by bhog of Ramayan path was held to mark the occasion. The founder, Anant Vibhushit Swami Balyogi, while exhorting his disciples to donate liberally for the Gujarat earthquake victims, announced that all offerings made on Thursday would be sent to the Prime Minister Relief Fund.

He also gave away blankets to 10 children belonging to poor families. Langar was also organised. Back


15,000 stolen from Sec 29 temple
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — The local police received a complaint that Rs 15,000 was stolen from the cash box of Sai Baba Mandir, Sector 29, here yesterday. Mr Vijay Kumar of Sector 45 told the police that the incident happened early in the morning of Wednesday.

A case under the Sections 380 and 457 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Maruti stolen
Mr Pardeep Mahajan of Sector 16 reported that his Maruti car (CH-01- Q-2540) had been stolen from parking near the Passport Office, Sector 34, on Monday evening, here. A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Thief caught
The local police arrested Mohan Lal of Ram Darbar, Phase II, for allegedly stealing a rickshaw rahri of Mr Bathu Singh, here yesterday. He was booked under the Sections 379 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code. The rickshaw rahri was reportedly recovered from his possession.

Gamblers held
The local police arrested four persons for gambling at public place from near Chuna Bhathi, Mauli Jagran, here yesterday. Two accused belong to Panchkula and the remaining belonged to Mauli Jagran.

They were booked under the Gambling Act. The police also arrested Joginder Pawal of Ram Darbar, Phase I, under the Excise Act for carrying liquor pouches, here yesterday. The police also claimed to recover 10 pouches from his possession.Back


Student attacked with kirpans
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 — A student was reportedly attacked with kirpans by members of a gang in front of a fashion designing institute in Sector 8 late this evening. The reason behind the fight was yet to be ascertained.

The victim, a resident of Sector 15, was reportedly rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where he was given stitches before being medically examined. He was reportedly discharged after treatment.

According to sources in the police department, today’s fight was the outcome of an argument which had taken place between the injured and the members of the other group three days ago. Sources added that the gunman of a local politician was also involved in the incident.

A senior police official, when contacted, described the incident as a fight between students. He added that the medical examination and the X-ray report of the victim had revealed injuries with a blunt weapon.

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