Sunday, February 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Panel upholds charges of sports funds misuse
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Allegations of major financial misappropriation in the Sports Department of Panjab University have been upheld by a one-member commission appointed by the university.

Sources said a senior-level committee appointed by the university had further upheld the charges levelled by the commission. The matter is likely to be discussed in the coming meeting of the PU Syndicate.

The committee members included Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor; Prof S.K. Sharma, Dean University Instructions; Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean Student Welfare; Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Dean of the Law Department, Dr S.S. Hundal, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Mr S.C. Marriya and the PU Registrar. Certain committee members could not attend the last meeting. It has been said that the financial matters pertaining to the department in the past couple of decades need a relook.

A committee member said it had been found that there existed a virtual “parallel administration” in the department regarding key financial matters because budgets in the past two years had not been cleared by the university. Incorrect figures have been detected even in the current budget.

The committee has also recommended that the department should be told about ways of taking a better care of its funds in future.

The university, in the absence of a regular Director Sport gave temporary charge to Prof S.K. Gupta from January 13, 2002.

He continued in the office till September 30, 2002, during which, he claimed to have detected several cases of financial misappropriation between 1997 and 2002.

A one-member commission appointed by the university under Mr H.L. Sharma, a former Financial Development Officer and Registrar of the university, submitted an 87-page report, revealing several cases of financial misappropriation. The committee has also challenged the role of the auditor who kept records of spendings.

Dr Gupta is learnt to have levelled more charges, like more than Rs 1 crore was kept in the current account against the norms. A huge expenditure is learnt to have been made on “entertainment”.

It was said that the university should go into details and study each charge separately before presenting the final report. It should avoid attributing personal motives, at first, and probe the matter keeping in mind the long-term interest of the department, sources said.



Elections in HP, hassles in UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
As poll fever is catching up in Himachal Pradesh, providing security to the politicians stopping over in the city, en route to Himachal Pradesh, is telling on the health of the Chandigarh Police. The city police is already grappling with the shortage of force.

Officials, however, feel that as compared to the deployment pattern in neighbouring states, the deployment of force in the city was on a scientific pattern. Different units of the city police were equipped with sophisticated gadgetry that decreased dependence on personnel.

With an ‘effective’ strength of around 70, the worst-hit is the traffic wing that has to manage the routine duties apart from manning traffic diversions along the routes taken by the cavalcades of VIPs. The VIP security wing of the city police has a posted strength of 370 personnel, including the office staff.

For the past few days, most of the cops had been on the roads manning the VIP routes. A rehearsal was held for yesterday’s Prime Minister brief stopover at the Chandigarh Airport. The Prime Minister halted for about 10 minutes to change the aircraft on his way to Himachal Pradesh. When the PM flew back, force was again posted along the VIP route.

A similar security arrangement was made for the brief stopover of the Congress chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, who changed the aircraft on more than two occasions, while flying to and from Delhi to different parts of Himachal Pradesh. Tomorrow, the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, was scheduled to have a brief stopover at the city airport, while on his way to Himachal Pradesh.

“A VIP cavalcade passing through the city means putting in addition personnel”, said a police personnel. Additional personnel of paramilitary forces have posted along the VIP route. The VIP wing was headed by a Superintendent of Police, he said.

Not just that a substantial strength of force, drawn from different police stations, is on a regular duty at the venues of various cultural and business events in the city. Additional force is often detailed to escort various processions and dharnas, especially at the Matka chowk.

“In the absence of any separate set-up to deal with dharnas, rallies and processions, policing in the city suffers. A proposal to have a battalion of the Chandigarh Armed Police has not been approve by the Union Home Ministry.

The city being the capital of Haryana and Punjab, personnel have to be deployed along the route of the visiting dignitaries, said a senior police official “To ensure that the regular policing in the city does not suffer during visits by VIPs, dignitaries and senior officials, the top brass of the Chandigarh Police is learnt to have stressed on minimum deployment of force when not required.

The deployment has to be as per the laid-down criteria for the protected person concerned, said a police official.



Chopra was shot with ‘service revolver’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
As the killers of the UT executive engineer, V.K. Chopra, continue to elude the police, the channel through which the assailant(s) procured the weapon may solve the mystery.

Sources in the police say that Chopra was shot with a .38-bore service revolver.

At least two cases of the prohibited weapon having been stolen from policemen in Chandigarh have been reported in the past.

Two such cases were registered in SAS Nagar in the past. Though it could not be ascertained who were the complainants, a source said it was possible that the weapons had reached the assailants.

The police was trying to ascertain who gave the prohibited weapon to the suspects — Anil ‘Tota’, Brij Mohan ‘Bhupa’ and Nitin.

A local businessman, Devinder Singh ‘Kukka’, whose name had figured in the case for his association with Bhupa, said today that he had no link with the shooting.

He said Bhupa, who had been looking after his cable TV network in SAS Nagar, had run away with Rs 40,000.

He said the SAS Nagar police had visited his house two days ago and asked him about the licenced weapon in his possession.

“I showed it the documents of my licenced .32-bore pistol and appeared before the investigating officials to clear my stand,” he said.

He said the role of Tota and Nitin in the plot needed to be probed.



Traffic rules go out of window
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 22
Traffic rules and regulations in this satellite township of Chandigarh have been thrown to the wind — thanks to skeletal staff and lack of scientific equipment.

Overspeeding, triple-riding on two-wheelers, underage driving, driving without seat belts (in cars) and helmets (on two-wheelers), use of mobile phones or smoking while driving or drunken driving are quite common here. With the traffic police failing to make its presence felt in most parts of the township on a regular basis, the commuters, once they enter the township from neighbouring Chandigarh, feel free to drive as they please.

The vehicular population in the district is over 50,000 with around 350 new vehicles being registered each month. As against this, the traffic wing consists of only 27 cops. It is from amongst these 27 cops that staff has also been deployed at Pinjore and Kalka. It is learnt that the traffic wing consists of one Sub-Inspector, six Assistant Sub-Inspectors, one head constable and 18 constables and upgraded constables. The District Inspector has been given the charge of Traffic Inspector. While the only Sub-Inspector is posted at Kalka, all six assistant Sub-Inspectors (who are eligible for issuing challans) are deployed in the township.

This puts a question mark on the challans being issued at Pinjore and at several places in the township. A large number of residents allege that at most places in the township constabules are issuing challans to traffic violators — which is against the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The traffic police also lacks in infrastructure and is way behind the highly modernised Chandigarh traffic police. Though the traffic police continues to challan vehicles for overspeeding by its own assumption, it does not have a speed radar to confirm that the vehicle was overspeeding. A senior police officer informed Chandigarh Tribune that they preferred to book commuters, who they “felt were overspeeding”, on charges of rash and negligent driving.

Even drunken driving goes unnoticed here, with the police having insufficient breath analysers. Though the top brass of the police defend these deficiencies by saying that they regularly have traffic-checking drives, they admit that they lack infrastructure and staff in comparison to Chandigarh. The police has now sought funds from the Police Modernisation Fund to improve its infrastructural facilities by purchasing a speed gun, breath analyser, colour television and VCR for training cops, high-cross belts, nose mask, hand gloves and night-safety jackets for the traffic wing.



Gurdas Mann sets stage on fire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
Gurdas Mann lived up to popular expectations and set the stage on “musical fire” at a jam-packed ground opposite the Students’ Centre during “Jhankar 2003”, the ongoing youth festival of Panjab University (PU) here tonight.

The mood was upbeat even before the star ascended the stage. The Punjabi folk star did not keep his audience waiting and took charge of the crowd on time. In tune with his inimitable style, Mann began the concert with a religious number.

One greatness of Mann’s musical class is handling of the crowd psychology which is surely not an easy task in front of the crowd of youngsters. His “Dil da mamla hai” and “Apna Punjab howye” were some of the foot-tapping numbers which had the audience clapping and even singing at the top of their voice. Had there been a dance floor, the scene would have been entirely different. However, the PU students did not miss chance and found ‘‘enough’’ space to sway themselves to the Punjabi numbers one after the other.

Mr Randeep Surjewala, president of the All-India Youth Congress was the chief guest. Among others who were present on the occasion included Mr Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council.

The UT police had made an elaborate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident at the concert and the cops were seen posted in and around the venue.



Sepoy struggling for disability dues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
In 1948, he fought against the enemies for his country’s honour. Today, 55 years later, Sepoy Dalip Singh is struggling against the government for his rights. Even though he received a letter in November, 1999, from the Army authorities claiming the payment of substantial compensation to the families of Operation Vijay martyrs and their subsequent decision of paying ex-gratia to the old soldiers, he still has not been paid disability pension.

Dejected, but not defeated, he has now moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Union of India, Chief of Army Staff, Defence Pension Disbursing Officer and other respondents for paying disability pension from August 1952.

Taking up his petition, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has admitted the same. Pronouncing the orders in the open Court, the Bench has also ruled that the petition would be heard within six months “after the completion of service”.

Dalip Singh, in his petition, had earlier claimed that he was admitted to military hospital for treatment after being wounded on July 11, 1948, while taking part in the J & K operation. He further claimed that the Medical Board, after examining him, had found him to be “permanently unfit for military service due to a bullet injury”. He was boarded out of service on medical grounds in July 1949 after his disability was assessed at 30 per cent “permanent for life”.

Initially disability pension for two years was released after the Medical Board recommendations were sent to CMA (Pension). “The disability was extended from time to time and the petitioner was granted pension, consisting both of service and disability element, from July, 1949, to August, 1952”, Chairman of the All-India Exservicemen Welfare Association Bhim Sen Sehgal contended on his behalf. On November 5, 1999, he was sent a letter saying “old soldiers were not paid enough amount in the past, so the government and the Army had decided to pay concession out of the Army Central Welfare Fund”. Ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh was also handed over in 2000, Mr Sehgal added. He concluded that the action firstly in reducing the percentage of disability to less than 20 per cent and then completely stopping the pension from August 1, 1952, was “wholly illegal, null and void”.



Indo-Pak solution lies with people’
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 22
‘‘As part of our foreign policy, India needs to ensure that it gets the importance it deserves in the world. We are constantly ignored, rarely informed about anything and never consulted,’’ stated Mr Salman Khurshid’ a former Union Foreign Minister, in an interview with The Tribune here today. He was here to attend a school function.

Stating that a small but significant change is required in our policy towards Pakistan, Mr Khurshid added that a solution to the problem was possible if people of both the nations build stronger bonds with each other, ‘‘Strong enough for the people of Pakistan to go against their armies who are anti-India.’’he said.

Mr Khurshid felt that this is one aspect of the Indo-Pak relations which had not been tried out. ‘‘The visit of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to Pakistan was received very well by the people of Pakistan but when it was followed by the Kargil war, instead of going on the defensive, the more diplomatic reaction would have been to say that it is the Pakistan army that has failed India not the people of Pakistan.’’

He pointed out: “The Gujral doctrine had suggested this shift in policy towards the people of Pakistan, but the doctrine barely lasted for a few months and could not have the impact it was supposed to. Give the Pakistanis a special reason to feel bonded with Indians and they will not support the Pakistani army against India. Instead of succumbing to internal compulsions of being jingoistic and competitive we should be accommodating also.’’

Replying to a query whether he was satisfied with the country's foreign policy, Mr Khurshid stated: ‘‘Firstly, India's profile to the world is not clear and secondly, we will have no voice in the world if we are economically weak. We are the eighth largest market in the world but we are still struggling at five per cent growth rate and China has achieved a 12 per cent growth rate. We have to go the China way and convert our weaknesses into our strengths by using our population to gain economic strength. ’’

‘‘Moreover, a clarity of vision is required on what India has to follow internationally. We are a nuclear nation and we cannot tell Iraq not to have nuclear weapons. Agreed that Iraq's use of weapons is not justified but on that issue our reaction is very mild. We have to have our independent positions on these issues and ensure that they are heard and registered properly across the world,’’ he added.



Husain paints slum kids with praise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The legendary M.F. Husain wore a new mantle this morning. Where as for the past two days he had been in his virtual “masterly” form, today he was more of a learner and less of a perfectionist.

As he interacted with over 100 kids from various labour colonies from Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar, Husain looked happier than he normally does. And the reason was not too far to seek. Looking at the images created by the young ones, Husain could not help recalling his own days of absolute freedom when he began to understand the real meaning of art.

Not only did the painter in the company of Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Lt-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), go around meeting all the slum kids gathered in the lush green lawns of the Raj Bhawan, he also showered words of praises on them. “This is real art. As children, you are very much a part of God’s original scheme, translating his many manifestations into colours on your small drawing book. As you grow old and start attending colleges of art, you start moving away from the realm of art. Little do people understand that art is not a stream to be taught or mastered. It has to be felt right from birth. There is art in the minutest elements of creation, but few have the eye to see it.”

As for the kids, who came from Sector 25 Janata Colony slums, Labour Colony, Sector 21, Panchkula and Guru Nanak Dev Colony, Phase X, SAS Nagar, many of them did not know who they were interacting with. They just looked at the grey haired man in awe, knowing little of nothing about what worth he carries.

A happy Husain commented, “There lies the beauty of children. They relate with feelings and not with people. For them I am not a Husain that I am for the world. For them I am just another man and the gesture I show to them is the only worth I have when I am talking to them. I have seen their images. They are beautiful. They are so much real, sans pretensions which has crept into the modern art scene.”

Later the kids were treated to refreshment and were also give school bags.



Councillors form pressure group
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 22
The Bharatiya Janata Party councillor from Ward No. 3 (Sector 7), Mr C.B. Goel, has accused the administration of not giving charge of the council to the elected representatives, even as 11 other councillors have joined hands to form a pressure group.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Goel said: “It was against the wishes of the public that the MC was made operational here in January 2001 through an Executive Officer and the public was subjected to various taxes. Now, a month has passed since the elections, but, with the elected representatives not being given charge, the development work has come to a standstill.”

Meanwhile, Councillors — Ms Kuljit Waraich, Ms Renuka Rai Walia, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Sunil Talwar, Mr Om Prakash, Ms Anjala Kataria, Ms Sharda Gupta, Mr Pawan Mittal, Mr Gomnti Prasad, Ms Kasturi Devi and Mr Amar Singh — met in Bhainsa Tibba village today to form a pressure group — the Panchkula Development Group.

The councillors had, earlier, pledged support to Ms Seema Chaudhary, wife of the INLD state secretary, Mr Amardeep Chaudhary, for the post of the MC President. With the ruling party still not giving any indication of its candidate for the post, these councillors have decided to form this pressure group for the development of their wards.

At today’s meeting, it was decided that, through the policy framework would be decided at the next meeting, any decision would be taken unanimously.



Paswan for ‘united alliance’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Lashing out at the NDA government, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, President of the Lok Janshakti Party and former Union Minister, said Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was one of the ‘weakest’ Prime Ministers in Indian history. Advocating a ‘united alliance’ as an alternate to the NDA at the Centre he also demanded immediate dismissal of the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Paswan said the NDA government had failed on all fronts. There was no sound foreign policy and even diplomatic relations with friendly nations were witnessing a downfall. The NDA government had failed to keep cordial relations with Bangladesh, a country that got independence with our military intervention and even could not sympathise with Yasser Arafat when he was detained by the Israeli forces’, said Mr Paswan. He said the internal policy of the nation was being influenced by the BJP alone that was playing the ‘Hindutva’ card at the behest of the RSS, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and other fundamentalist forces.



Flesh trade racket unearthed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 22
The Kalka police has unearthed a flesh trade racket and arrested four persons, including a young girl, from a guest house in Kalka last night.

The police said that two persons — Jaskaran Singh and Ashok Kumar — were running the racket who arranged for girls from outside as and when they got customers. The police said they raided the guest house last night and arrested the two, along with the girl and her client, Sukhwinder Singh. The police has booked them all four under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.


Cases of snatching
Two incidents of snatching were reported from the city in the past 48 hours. Three motor cycle-borne youths snatched a purse from Kiran Arora, a resident of Delhi, from Sector 35 last night. The purse contained Rs 20,000 in cash.

In her complaint to the police, the woman said she had put up at Regency Hotel and was going to attend a marriage at Pallavi in Sector 5 of Panchkula. Last night, when she was going with the marriage party to a Sector 35 mandir, the youths riding on a motor cycle (HR 21 C 3193) snatched her purse. The youths — Rajinder, Prabhu Dyal and Dig Vijay Singh — were finally apprehended near Classic Hotel. They have been remanded in police custody.

In another case, Ms Divya Malhotra, a resident of Sector 18, complained that an unknown person snatched her purse containing a mobile phone set, a walkman, Rs 2,000 in cash near house No. 557, Sector 18.

Scooters recovered
Four stolen scooters and a cylinder have been recovered from Narinder Singh, an addict, by the officials of the Sector 39 police station. According to the information available, the scooters were stolen from Sectors 22 and 34. The suspect has been remanded in police custody till February 23.

Vehicles stolen
Two vehicles were stolen in three separate incidents in the city in the last 48 hours. Ram Phal, a resident of Sector 11, Panchkula, reported that his Maruti car was stolen from outside Anand complex in Sector 17. In another case, Arun Kumar, a resident of Sector 38, complained that his Maruti car was stolen from outside his house on the intervening night of February 19 and 20.

A woman of Ram Darbar received injuries after being hit by a constable in Ram Darbar here today. The woman, Bhagwan Devi, had gone to the Sector 31 police station to lodge a complaint. However, a compromise was reached between the woman and the constable this evening.


Opium smuggler arrested
The Ambala police today arrested an opium smuggler from the bus stand in Ambala City and seized 500 gram of opium from his possession. He was also involved in several illegal sales of narcotics.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Hardeep Singh Doon, said the person had been identified as Baljit, a resident of Ambala City. He said earlier in 1999, 40 kg of opium was seized from his possession and a case under the NDPS Act was registered against him. In another case, the city police had seized charas from him and in one of the case Baljit was declared a proclaimed offender by a court.

Mr Doon said two other persons, Sukhdev and Rattan, were also arrested from GT road along with 100 gm of charas each. The persons had purchased the charas from Baljit, the police said. Sukhdev is employed with the Excise and Taxation Department, Patiala.

The SP said the police had been receiving complaints that some persons were selling charas and narcotic substances to school and college students.

It is noteworthy that the principals of a degree college and a public school had made complaints to the Superintendent of Police a few months back in which they had alleged that some of the miscreants had been openly selling charas close to their institutions and a number of students has got addicted.


Labourer electrocuted
Joginder Sahani, a 19-year-old labourer from Amsaar village in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, was electrocuted to death while working on a newly-constructed house in Shalimar Enclave Colony in Dhakauli village here this morning.

According to Mr Ganesh Sahani and Janardhan Sahani, brothers of the deceased, Joginder was electrocuted to death at 11 am while he was working at the terrace of the house. A high-tension electricity cable crossing over the house touched his head leaving him dead on the spot.



Kerala woos tourists from North India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
After having been established as nation’s best tourist destination, Kerala has decided to attract domestic tourists, particularly from North India. As part of its extensive marketing efforts, the Kerala Tourism Department organized a road show in Chandigarh yesterday, besides presenting documentary films and distributing booklets/brochures on tourist destinations of Kerala.

Talking to the mediapersons here today, Mr Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Director, Kerala Tourism, said tourism in Kerala had recorded a growth of 11.37 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals and 6.2 per cent in domestic tourist arrivals. Over 2.33 lakh foreign tourists arrived in 2002 as compared to 2.08 in the year 2001.

“Kerala has established itself as India’s best tourist destination and carved a prominent niche for itself on the international tourist map. It had brought in foreign exchange worth Rs 525 crore in the year 2002,” he said.

Mr Sharma said tourism in Kerala had attained success through carefully planned development of its inherent strengths focussing largely on quality sustainable eco-friendly tourism.

He said Kerala gave prime importance to “synergy” or private-public partnership that was evident in all tourist activities, from conceptualisation to project execution. The state was focussing on building of infrastructure, marketing of destination and creation of an environment where the private sector could invest for profits.



Fardeen to visit city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The reigning heartthrob of Hindi film industry, Fardeen Khan, will be in the city February 25. The current Provogue ambassador will visit the region, including Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. This will be Fardeen Khan’s maiden visit to the city.


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