C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Indian stars fail to shine again
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 20
As the Indian cricket team struggled through the day to save the country from disgrace on the last day of the Test match against New Zealand, for the fans at PCA stadium here was yet another day of fallen idols and dashed hopes.

Unlike yesterday, the stadium today saw a thin turnout of cricket buffs with most people preferring to watch the last day of the match on TV. Most of the stands remained virtually empty till the post-lunch session of the game when fresh crowd started entering the stadium knowing that India has not been able to avoid a follow on and the Indian stars will be at the crease again to bat.

However, the Indian players could not attract more than a 3,000 strong crowd back into the stadium. What was worse that this crowd too left the stadium at the end of the day wishing that they had not come in at all.

With Sachin, Dravid and Sehwag were out before they could even make their presence felt, for the fans it was time to shift their loyalties. Cries of Sachin Sachin shifted to Lakshman Lakshman and by the end of the day two new heroes were born — V.V.S Lakshman and Aakash Chopra. Yuvraj who would have wanted to undo yesterday’s abysmal performance, however, did not get much time before the day’s closure to impress his fans.

Summing up the five-day match, Mr Bagga who had been watching the match all through the five days said, “I really don’t know whom to blame. The pitch or the bowlers. Its been a boring five days and the Indian team’s approach has been non-serious and casual.”

For the spectators, who were out to enjoy the match regardless of the results continued to paint posters in favour of India. When nothing else could match the situation in the ground, the fans would break into shouting ‘Pakistan hai hai’.

For the police, the day remained more or less relaxed though many of them were clearly showing signs of fatigue after being on duty for over five days. “It’s been very difficult here and tiring since at the gate one has to simply stand through the day. But since it is a part of our duty we have to be here,” said Mr Bhupinder Singh, an inspector posted at Ropar.

“The police here has performed their duties very well. And everyone has put in a lot of hard work to maintain security during these five days,” said Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, SAS Nagar.



The chosen few among schoolchildren
Tribune News Service

YPS Mohali students as ushers at the terrace pavilion of the PCA Stadium, SAS Nagar, on Sunday.
YPS Mohali students as ushers at the terrace pavilion of the PCA Stadium, SAS Nagar, on Sunday.

SAS Nagar, October 20
Not many schools in Chandigarh can boast of this. Ten students of YPS Mohali are chosen for special duties inside the PCA Stadium whenever there is a match here. A highly coveted task for the students, the students of Class XII are generally given a chance to be at the stadium.

“It is fun as one gets to see the players from close up and even at times get photographed with them. Plus the cricket fever is on and we enjoy every minute of it,” said Jujhar Singh, who is one of the students chosen for these duties, while interacting with Chandigarh Tribune today.

And how are the students chosen? “I am the school prefect and that is why I have been chosen. The others are House captains but some could not make it to the stadium as they had their examination,” explained Jujhar singh.

With most of them being boarders, it is a big change from the life at the school and the hostel for them. “We are enjoying ourselves and the duties are fun too,” said Sandeep.

Spread all over the stadium, these 10 students — Samvit, Dipin, Vikram, Vijender, Vijaypal, Harsh and Kanishka, besides the other two — were at the stadium for all five days, dressed in the school uniform complete with blazers and flashing duty cards and according to them having the “time of their life”.



BCCI observer

Chandigarh, October 20
Mr G.S. Walia, treasurer of the Punjab Cricket Association, will be the BCCI observer for the one-day match between India and Australia to be played at Mumbai on November 1. This match is part of the three- nation tournament involving India, Australia and New Zealand starting on October 23. TNS



Wailing kin lay siege to police station
Tribune News Service

Maan Singh, who was arrested on Monday in connection with murder.
Maan Singh, who was arrested on Monday in connection with murder. — A Tribune photo

Chandigarh, October 20
Khuda Alisher residents today gheraoed Sector 11 police station for allegedly failing to uncover the conspiracy behind the macabre murder of Avtar Singh.

A large number of protesters from the village marched to police station demanding that the investigation of the case be handed over to the CBI.

The protesters were initially stopped by the police led by DSP S. C Sagar in the village but were later allowed to proceed to the police station.

Hours after the protest, police arrested Maan Singh, a person wanted in connection with the murder of Avtar Singh. Maan Singh presented himself before the police in the Sector 11 police station.

Protesters turned emotional when the wailing mother of the deceased, Nasib Kaur, and the wife Bhupinder Kaur, virtually collapsed.

A large number of women in the protest were demanding handing over the alleged murderer, Makhan Singh, to the people of the village to avenge the murder.

Addressing the gathering, former sarpanch of the village Gudial Singh sensationalised the issue saying that the police had not laid hands on those who allegedly “ate flesh” of Avtar Singh in Naya Gaon after his murder on September 25.

While making these allegations speakers started crying.

The protesters including former sarpanch Hukum Chand and present Sarpanch Jasmer Singh, BSP leader Balbir Singh Jangra said the police had not yet arrested those who were allegedly behind the conspiracy.

Without naming anybody villagers said a group from the village was allegedly involved in the murder of Avtar Singh. They said the torso of the victim had not yet been recovered and the police wanted to go ahead with the post-mortem of the body without one part of the body.

They alleged that the police was dealing with the main accused with kid gloves as a result of which it has not been able to get the names of the “real” culprits during the interrogation.

The villagers alleged that wife of the main murder accused Makhan Singh had not yet been arrested by the police while she was present at her house when her husband was arrested. They said the real culprits had kidnapped the wife of Makhan Singh to prevent her from revealing their names.

The siege was lifted when DSP S.C. Sagar held a meeting with a group of protesters and assured them that nobody would be spared against whom evidence was found.

Mr Sagar immediately constituted a special team of 30 to 40 persons to look for the remaining part of the body.

The DSP was also told by the family members that they would allow post mortem examination of the body on October 26.



No sites fixed for crackers’ sale at Mohali yet
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, October 20
With only four days left for Divali, persons intending to sell crackers are still making frantic visits to the offices of the SDM and the municipal council here to know whether any sites have been earmarked for sale in the town and the type of crackers they will be permitted to sell.

Till this evening, the SDM was awaiting orders from the Ropar Deputy commissioner in this regard and the civic body office, in turn, those of the SDM.

Sources say that a letter had been written by the office of the SDM to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, on September 22 asking her to earmark five more sites for the sale of crackers as only three sites had been earmarked last year.

Later, keeping in view the large area of the town, arrangements were made at the local level increasing the number of sites
to nine.

It is learnt that about two weeks ago, the SP had written to the SDM calling for a ban on high-intensity crackers under Section 144, CrPC.

The letter was forwarded with a recommendation of the SDM to the Deputy Commissioner.

The SDM also requested the Deputy Commissioner to allow the former’s office to give the necessary permission for the sale of crackers to all those interested.

Last year, the Deputy Commissioner, after sidelining the office of
the SDM, had permitted persons to sell crackers in the town merely by paying ground rent to the
municipal council. The receipt was treated as the licence to sell.

However, this decision led to safety norms being thrown to the wind with neither the SDM’s office nor the council responsible for any checks on the sellers or the quality of the crackers.

There was no official in the town who could be held responsible in the case of a mishap. Fire station personnel were told to make rounds of the sale sites to ensure that safety norms were adhered to by the sellers.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, Additional Executive Officer of the council, said today the council had approached the office of the SDM for a decision on the matter.

The time was short and if the administration failed to take a decision by tomorrow, the council would at its own level allot the same sites for cracker sale as were earmarked last year.

Mohali faced no such situation last year.

The sites fixed last year were the Dasehra Ground in Phase I; opposite King’s supermarket in Phase II; opposite the Phase V Bougainvillea Park; opposite Hot Millions in Phase 3B2; opposite the municipal office in Phase VII; opposite Silvi Park in Phase X; opposite house number 1371 in Phase XI; near St Xavier’s School in Sector 71; and the ground opposite Yadavindra Public School in Phase VIII.



Ad hoc appointment part of regular service, says HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
An interruption between two spells of service rendered under the state government is to be treated as automatically condoned except where the break has been caused by resignation, dismissal or removal from service or participation in a strike, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled.

The judgement is significant as the state government, in a large number of cases, was claiming that ad hoc service could not be counted for calculating the qualifying service for pensionary benefits as the employees were “relieved on the last working day prior to the summer vacation, but were given work after the expiry of the holidays”.

The orders were pronounced by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, on a petition filed by JBT teachers. They had challenged the rejection of their applications for “counting continuous ad hoc or temporary service, followed by regular service, towards qualifying service for pensionary benefits”. The petitioners were initially appointed JBT teachers in 1996 on an ad hoc basis. Their services were regularised in 1970 as per the government policy. They retired on attaining the age of superannuation between 1996 and 2000.

Arguing before the court, counsel for the petitioners had claimed that their ad hoc service, being continuous, was required to be “counted towards qualifying service for the grant of pensionary benefits”. Their representation was, however, rejected by Amritsar’s District Education Officer. He had held that the petitioners were not entitled to pay for the vacation period after 30 years. Appearing before the court, state counsel had “denied that the ad hoc service could be counted towards qualifying service for the grant of pensionary benefits as interrupted service on ad hoc basis was not countable”.

After going through the arguments, the Bench held: “The interruption in the petitioners’ case was neither on account of resignation, dismissal or removal from service nor due to participation in a strike.... In view of the provisions as explained by a Division Bench, the ad hoc service rendered by the petitioners prior to their appointment on regular basis is to be counted as qualifying service for pensionary benefits”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Gupta concluded: “There was no wilful absence from duty by the petitioners prior to their appointment on regular basis. The break in service was a unilateral act of the state government. The claim of the petitioners is not for pay for the vacation period, but to count the period spent on ad hoc basis towards pensionary benefits. This aspect has not been addressed by the District Primary Officer. Consequently, the impugned order is set aside. The state government is directed to count the days of actual ad hoc service of the petitioners towards their qualifying service for the pensionary benefits”. 


Cycle rally reaches city
Our Correspondent

21 NCC cadets from different schools of Amritsar along with 10 employees of the 11 Punjab Battalion who visited The Tribune office during the “Sadbhavna Cycle Rally” in Chandigarh on Monday.
21 NCC cadets from different schools of Amritsar along with 10 employees of the 11 Punjab Battalion who visited The Tribune office during the “Sadbhavna Cycle Rally” in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photo

Chandigarh, October 20
Conveying the message of national integration, “Sadbhavna cycle rally” organised by 11 Punjab Battalion reached the city today.

The rally, in which 21 NCC cadets from different schools of Amritsar along with 10 other employees of the battalion are participating, reached The Tribune office this evening.

After starting their journey from Amritsar on October 15, the members of the rally visited various places like Kartarpur, Jalandhar, Banga, Garhshankar, Una, Anandpur Sahib, Naina Devi, Nangal and Ropar and educated public about national integration and unity and diversity before reaching Chandigarh.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Chief Officer Vijay Kumar Vinayak, who is also leading the rally, said the cadets would visit Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Leisure Valley, DPI (colleges) Punjab office and other places in the city before their way back to Amritsar.

The cadets and battalion employees — Chief Officer Vijay Kumar Vinayak, first officer Pawan Kumar, third officer Ashwani Kumar Awasthi, subedars Satvir Singh and Ram Naresh, and naib subedar Ramesh Kumar, hawaldars Ramesh Kumar and Rajbir Singh, Driver Ajit Singh and Larker Pradeep Kumar — were visibly impressed after their visit to The Tribune office.



Awareness camp on safe drinking water
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 20
Over 200 villagers participated in a one-day awarness-cum-training camp organised by the Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Mohali, on safe drinking water, water-borne diseases and the need for vocational skills, at Milkh village in Kharar subdivision here.

Twentytwo members of different self help groups (SHGs) were imparted training with the aim to inform them about the formation, function and advantages of SHGs on the occasion. The training was provided in collaboration with the Department of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Kharar.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, Programme Officer, stressed the need of safe drinking water and talked about various water-borne diseases. Mr Kamran Wasey, Assistant Programme Officer, told the gathering about various vocational courses being run at the JSS. Any person above 15 years is eligible to join the vocational course.

The village sarpanch, Mr Jaswinder Singh, and Mr Dildar Khan, director, in charge, JSS, Mohali, also spoke on the occasion.



In gratitude to God for gift of Mother
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The portrait of Mother Teresa reflecting her benign expression and humble mien lent the right amount of warmth to the celebrations at her “city home”, the Missionaries of Charity, in Sector 23, here today, following her beatification at the Vatican.

The young, the old, the rich and the poor, the needy and destitute, in one voice, thanked the Lord for giving them the gift of the Mother, during an inter-faith prayer service held this morning at Shantidan to mark the beginning of the celebrations.

Clad in their typical white sari with a blue border, the nuns at the Home were visibly elated and enthusiastic, began to pour in much before the celebrations took off. The Home reflected happiness and joy which was almost infectious as the prayers began.

Priests from all religious sects offered prayers before Rev. Father Thomas, Vicar General of the Diocese of Shimla-Chandigarh Diocese took over the session. Together they expressed gratitude to God for the gift of Mother Teresa to humanity a portrait, gifted to the nuns, was unveiled by Father Thomas on the occasion. Flowers were offered and a candle was lit by Sister Suniti, Sister Superior at Shantidan. The fragrance of joss sticks filled the air, lending a mystic touch to the festivities.

A few from the public took the opportunity to say express their feelings on Mother Teresa’s selfless service for the destitute and her association with the city.

This was followed by a thanksgiving mass by the congregation. The strains of the hymns in Hindi rent the air at Shantidan and were followed by distribution of prasad and a community kitchen for people from all faiths who had thronged the Home to share the joy of elevation of Mother Teresa to sainthood.

With food prepared by the nuns themselves, the guests were catered first while the inmates awaited their turn patiently. The Sister Superior was the last to have her food in the evening even as a special prayer session was held by the inmates of the Home for Mother Teresa.

Posters and pictures of Mother Teresa in her various moods with the people she loved to serve, adorned the walls of Shantidan along with short messages which was the very essence of her life and work.

Nuns, priests, people and children from all over the region descended at the Home and witnessed the prayers, joining in the singing and merry-making on the occasion.

On October 26, a mass would be offered by Bishop and priest at the church. This would be followed by an inter-religious prayer service at the church and a talk by Mr M.G. Devasahayam, closely associated with the Shantidan project of Mother Teresa.



Cops thrash lensman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Policemen allegedly bashed up an Amritsar-based photographer of the Associated Press in Hotel Mountview here today.

The photographer, Aman Sharma, was reportedly called by ace spinner Harbhajan Singh and when he tried to reach him the Chandigarh Police personnel posted there prevented him from doing so.

When the photographer pressed for going to Harbhajan Singh, the police personnel allegedly beat him up.

The photographer sustained injuries on his lips, neck and back and was taken to a hospital for first aid.

The police and Aman Sharma later reached a compromise when DSP S. Sagar intervened and "apologised for an unfortunate incident."



3 senior citizens honoured
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 20
Three senior citizens, Dr K.L. Anand, Mr Hem Chandra, Dr Ved Chugh, were honoured today for their “invaluable services to the society” by the Rotary Club, Chandigarh, in association with the Inner Wheel Club.

The awards were presented by Past Rotary International President Rajendra K. Saboo. The prorgamme was a part of the Divali celebrations held at Sector 18 Rotary House. On the spot games were also held.

A renowned skin specialist, Dr Anand, has been treating patients free since his retirement way back in 1953. On the other hand, maintenance engineer from Indian Air Force Mr Chandra has devoted his life serving poor patients at the Seva Bharati in the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). He distributes free medicines to the patients, along with bedding for their attendants.



Residents threaten to gherao PUDA officials
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, October 20
Residents of Kumbra, near here, have threatened to gherao PUDA officials if they failed to sort out the problems of Sulab Sochalaya in the village.

Mr Gurmukh Singh, husband of the sarpanch of the village, Ms Surinder Kaur, said today that the four Sulab Sochalayas had been non-functional for the past few months. The power and the water supply to these public toilets had been cut. Insanitary conditions had been created around the village as residents were forced to use open spaces.

He said that PUDA authorities should clear pending payments for these toilets. Efforts would be made by the panchayat to make these functional.



...Lest we forget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
National Police Day is celebrated on October 21 every year but very little emphasis is laid on the historical aspect of this day.

When talk of ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai was in the air and when principles of Panchsheel were taking shape, China surprised us on this day in 1959. A police party led by D.S.P. Karam Singh, which was on routine patrol 40 k.m. within Indian Territory in the Hot Springs area, faced unprovoked firing from the Chinese entrenched on hills and scattered on other side of Chang Chenmo river.

This party comprising 18 police personnel was attacked with mortars and automatic weapons. Fire was returned boldly, but lack of heavy arms and too small a number of police personnel and strategic handicaps were factors which went heavily against the Indians. At least nine of the men died defending the motherland.

By sunset, Karam Singh, along with the surviving men, were overwhelmed by Chinese from all sides. Seventeen persons, including Karam Singh, were declared missing or dead after the clash. Survivors also stated having seen the officer in charge killed by Chinese fire.

The then Defence Minister of India, Mr Krishna Menon, expressed the hurt felt by the Indians at China’s action. Chinese Army immediately disclosed that Karam Singh along with 10 others were being held by them as prisoners of war.

They all were got released on November 14, 1959. Most of them, including Karam Singh, had lost their toes and fingers due to frostbite.

This act of valour and courage of the Indian police vis-a-vis of regular Chinese Army was a lesson enough to strengthen our borders in the eastern states.

The big blow came when Chinese army attacked our eastern borders in 1962. The Indian Army felt betrayed by the Chinese aggression.

The ‘Himalyan Blunder’ should not to be forgotten in the present-day context also. Chinese aggression on India’s eastern borders seems relevant in view of the fortification by Chinese army and air force installation with sensor radars and missiles.

Expanding Chinese influence in Burma, Indonesia and Pakistan is undoubtedly another warning for India.



A highly decorated soldier remains unsung

OUR first war with Pakistan soon after Partition in 1947 reminds us of one of the highest decorated Indian soldier, Naib Subedar (then Jamadar) Nand Singh. He won a Victoria Cross in World War II in Arakan in March, 1944, and a Maha Vir Chakra (posthumously) in Uri sector in J&K on December 12, 1947. Nand Singh was killed when an LMG burst hit him in the chest after he had killed a large number of the enemy.

Naib Subedar Nand Singh’s widow Joginder Kaur, who died in 2001, had told the writer at a seminar in 1993: “My husband was a valiant warrior. I am proud that I am the widow of a decorated soldier of the Indian Army. But I am sorry about the state of affairs and the humiliation that I had to suffer after the death of my husband.”

Surprisingly, even in the eighties, Joginder Kaur, was getting a measly family pension of Rs 196.50 per month. Leave alone the government apathy towards Joginder Kaur, even the war hero’s brothers at his native village Bhadurpur in Mansa grabbed the land given to him in recognition of his gallantry. Joginder Kaur had been living with her daughter, Amarjit Kaur, at Mohali during the last few years of her life.

Sadly enough, very few at Nand Singh’s native village know today that their village had produced a highly decorated soldier. It is time that the Punjab Government immortalised Nand Singh at least at his native village.

Ghatak school

To prevail over the enemy an infrantry man should be highly trained, lightly equipped and well-motivated. Besides, he should be bold, witty and light-footed so that he can create terror in the enemy ranks. All infantry battalions have a “ghatak” platoon in which selected infantry men are trained for special missions.

For the training of “ghataks” some of the divisions are running ad hoc schools. The Golden Arrow Division started this school a few years ago. The motto of the school is “maximum destruction with minimum effort.”

A barrack in this school has prop-up targets depicting friends and foes in different rooms to give a feel of actual operations. This quick reflection range is called “kill house.” Apart from this, a model room depicts possible situations and targets that a “ghatak” is likely to face. For practical training there is a course comprising 26 obstacles in the school complex.

The school has become so popular that after it trained the “ghatak” platoons of the infantry battalions in the division a demand was made to get platoons of the corps also trained here.

PBG in disrepute

The rape of a college girl allegedly by four jawans of the President’s Body Guard (PBG) is despicable and has brought disgrace to the elite Horse Cavalry.

The Army chief, General N.C.Vij, who felt highly perturbed over this unfortunate incidence, said in New Delhi the other day that “the Army action would have been severe if the crime had been committed in an Army area.”

The court martial could have awarded not only severe but also quick punishment. But unfortunately, the offence committed by a person subject to the Army Act against a person who is not subject to the Act, cannot be court martialled at a peace station, according to Section 70 of the Army Act. Hence the Army lacks jurisdiction over the case.

Since the Army personnel were not on duty when they committed the offence they can be convicted through a court martial and imprisoned for up to three years for absence without leave. But this case deserves severer punishment. The Army should, therefore, hand over these personnel to the civil police for trial by a civil court.

There is a feeling of regret and shame over the incident among the serving and retired Army personnel. The incident also points a finger at the efficacy of the leadership in the unit. Perhaps, some heads will roll.

Lastly, to condemn the entire force for a few black sheep is unfair.



Hanspal should apologise, says minorities front
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, October 20
The President of the Indian Minorities and Dalit Front, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, condemned the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief for saying that the world ‘Singh’ should not be added to the name of Banda Bahadur.

Mr Sekhwan, who is also a former Punjab minister, said while talking to mediapersons here today that the Congress had always tried to hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. He said the world ‘Singh’ was added to the name of Banda Bahadur by Guru Gobind Singh after he partook of “amrit”.

He demanded that Mr H.S. Hanspal should take back his words and apologise for making such a statement.

He said the Akalis would be opposing the world Sikh convention being held at Dara Studio here on October 26 by the Editor of Spokesman magazine. He alleged that the magazine was presenting history in a distorted way. Even Akal Takht and Jathedar of Akal Takht had been challenged which amounted to challenging the entire Sikh community. He said Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, a local municipal councillor, had been made the joint secretary of the Indian Minorities and Dalit Front.

AMBALA: The Shiromani Akali Dal, Haryana, has criticised the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, for his statement in which he stated that the word ‘Singh’ should be deleted from the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

The President of the Haryana Akali Dal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Gobindgarh, and the chief general secretary, Mr Kartar Singh Takkar, in a joint statement said Mr Hanspal at a function organised to celebrate the birth centenary of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Barnala had recently stated that ‘Singh’ word should be deleted from the name of the Baba.

The Akali leaders said this move would not be tolerated at any cost as it tarnished the sacrifice of the Baba. They demanded that Akal Takht should summon and punish Mr Hanspal for his statement hurting the followers of the Baba. They urged the Punjab Chief Minister to remove Mr Hanspal from the post of the PPCC chief.



Ex-servicemen’s plea to accept demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Progress reports on decision taken by the Ministry of Defence concerning ex-servicemen’s welfare will be submitted by the ministry to the Parliament every three months.

Stating this, during the annual general body meeting of the local chapter of the Indian Ex-services League (IESL) here today, its president, Brig Sant Singh (Retd) said the major demands of the ex-servicemen pending before the ministry was one rank-one pension and the removal of the condition of 33 years service to be eligible for getting full pension.

He said though the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence had recommended that the government accept these two demands, it had not been done so far.

He said the service conditions of armed forces personnel was vastly different from civilian employees and the government setting up an inter-department committee to re-consider the demands indicated that the government was not prepared to accept the fact.

Armed forces personnel below the officer rank retire after completing 15 to 17 years of service to keep the age profile of the forces young and hence cannot fulfil the government stipulation that they complete 33 years of service to earn full pension.

He said the terms of reference of the committee that it examine the raising of similar demands of civilian employees was unreasonable.

During the meeting it was also brought out that there was a big discrepancy in the scales of disability pension of pre-January 1996 pensioners and post-January 1996 pensioners. The scales put the former at a disadvantage.



ASI suspended in building collapse case
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, October 20
Taking a serious view of the Gulmohar Colony (Part II) building collapse case, in which one worker was buried alive and four others had sustained injuries, the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Patiala, has suspended an ASI besides ordering an inquiry into the case.

Mr Shashi Kant, IGP, said ASI Maam Raj has been suspended for not bringing the actual facts of the case to the notice of his superiors and allowing the coloniser to remove the rubbles from the site. The DIG had also been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter, he added.

An electrician was buried alive and four others sustained injuries when a newly constructed building in Gulmohar Colony (Part II) at Dhakauli village came tumbling down near here on Friday.

Hailing from Sadi-Panchgawan area in Amritsar district, Gurmail Singh, died while Shukat Yadav, Mangru, Shaifal and Lal Muhammad, all from Bihar, sustained injuries.



4 cattle charred to death
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 20
Four cattle were charred to death in a fire that broke out in a cattle-shed in Haripur Kuran village located on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, about 2 km from here late last night.

According to Krishan Lal, owner of the cattle, the fire broke out in the cattle-shed on the backyard of his house at about 1 a.m. He said a cow, a buffalo and two calves were charred. The exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained yet.

Mr Karam Chand, sarpanch of the village, said the fire has caused huge losses to Krishan Lal and has demanded compensation from the administration.



Bhagwati jagran

Chandigarh, October 20
Religious singer Lakhbir Singh Lakha crooned bhajans during the 25th Bhagwati jagran organised by the Tribune Youth Club in Sector 29-D. The prachand jyoti was lighted by Mayor Subhash Chawla.

According to a press release, devotees in large numbers attended the jagran. OC



Plea to withdraw book

Chandigarh, October 20
Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, a wellknown Sikh scholar and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, has sought withdrawal of an NCERT textbook “Medieval India-class XI” which described Guru Gobind Singh as a “devotee of Goddess Chandi.”



Servant held for theft, Rs 90,000 recovered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 20
The police today claimed to have solved a theft case by arresting the domestic help of a house in Sector 40. The servant, Harkesh Singh, was arrested from Amritsar and the stolen amount Rs 90,000 has been recovered.

According to the police, Harkesh Singh, alias Rakesh had stolen the money from the house on the night of October 18. A case was registered on the complaint Mr Tarsem Kumar the following day. Before fleeing from the house with the stolen money, Harkesh also tore away the page from a dairy on which Mr Tarsem Singh had written Harkesh’s address and other particulars. The police also said Mr Tarsem Kumar had hired the servant through an acquaintance and his police verification was not done. Harkesh was arrested after the police tracked down his father. Harkesh was resident of Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh.



‘Tantrik’ booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 20
The police has booked a “tantrik” on charges of cheating a medical practitioner after promising to send him abroad by using black magic.

A case under Sections 168 and 420 of the IPC has been registered against the “tantrik”, R.K. Sharma, on the orders of a local court. Acting on a complaint filed by Dr Akash Goyal, the Judicial Magistrate had directed the police on October 13 to register a case against the “tantrik”.

In his complaint, Dr Akash Goyal, an ayurvedic doctor, had alleged that the “tantrik” had taken Rs 15,000 from him for performing a “yagna” in early 2002. The “tantrik” and his disciple had assured the complainant of receiving a call from the visa issuing authorities within two months of performing of “yagna”.

When the complainant did not receive any such call, he approached the tantrik again, who asked him to shell out more money to perform another “yagna” in the cremation ground of Old Panchkula. When this also did not yield results, Akash was again asked to give money for a third “yagna”.

This went on till May this year, after which Akash asked the “tantrik” to refund the money. But the latter threatened him with dire consequences.

Man injured: Maj T. R. Sharma, posted at Western Command headquarters here, was seriously injured while avoiding to hit a cyclist at the T-junction of the Sector 12/12- A road and the Panchkula- Zirakpur highway. The victim was riding a scooter (JKS- 9512) when a cycle careened on the wrong side.

Major Sharma received injuries to his head and was taken to a nearby hospital.



SBI pensioners resent termination of scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The State Bank of India Pensioners Association has expressed its resentment on the sudden termination of medical benefit scheme and introduction of a new scheme with much higher contribution from the employees. The association claimed that increase in contribution would badly hurt the retirees.

Following office-bearers were elected in the association election for the year 2003-04: president— Mr Jai Ram Gupta; vice-president— Mr S.C. Verma; general secretary— Mr M.M. Singh; deputy general manager— Mr N.S. Dhamoon; treasurer— Mr T.R. Gupta, and assistant treasurer— Mr R.K. Negi.

The newly elected body urged upon the management to introduce travel concession and higher allocation of funds for bank’s dispensaries at various centres. It called for establishement of dispensaries where beneficiaries were up to 150.

Mr M.M. Singh called upon the government to increase pension with every revision in wages and improve in family pension scheme. He said the management should not treat VRS retirees different from normal retirees.

The government should also remove anomalies in DA paid to pensioners besides calculation of pension on the current scales applicable to present employees.



Dravid unveils new range of footwear
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, October 20
Rahul Dravid unveiled the Reebok’s top end performance footwear DMX Reflex in the Classic Centre in Sector 17, here today. Clad in red T-shirt and light blue jeans, Rahul was the darling of the select crowd which gathered outside the showroom. As part of the latest global marketing campaign the DMX Reflex boasts of the newest and most advanced cushioning system technology. Vikas, proprietor of the showroom, said Chandigarh was the first city in the country where the DMX Reflex was launched. When asked about his views on the city, Rahul responded by saying, “Han bahut acha laga aur log bhi ache hain” (Yes, it is nice and people are also good).

Later, when few newspersons tried to ask questions, Rahul stopped them by saying, “Yaar, already press conference mein sab kuch to bata diya tha” (Friends, everything was already discussed in the press conference).


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