C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students’ stir against fee hike fizzles out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Barring a mild protest by students of Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 42, which fizzled out in an hour, students adopted a wait-and-watch approach with regard to yesterday’s announcement of a hike in fee.

The students of GCG-42 protested on the college premises before members of the students’ council went to Panjab University to seek help from the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council to protest against the fee being charged from them.

At the university, in the absence of the president of the PUCSC, Mr Malvinder Kang, no protest was lodged, though, the joint secretary of the council, Mr K.S. Bains, said the office-bearers would meet shortly to discuss the hike.

“The university goes about hiking funds and fee without giving any additional facilities. This is a matter of concern and they are making education an expensive affair. The university can’t get away with this.”

Meanwhile, the grouse of students studying in government colleges of the city is that they are being charged the hiked fee proposed by the UT Administration since the session began while other colleges are awaiting a decision of the university.

Protest against VC’s decision

Protesting against the decision to suspend two employees of the examination branch, taken by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, the executive body of the Panjab University Staff (Non-Teaching) Association marched to the VC’s office here today.

Demanding withdrawal of the suspension orders, the union said it amounted to victimising employees without giving them a proper hearing.

A memorandum was submitted to the Controller of Examination and Joint Controller of Examination in this connection.


The ecstasy of conquering pain
Chennai karate champ allows 111 cars over his hand and then paints a portrait
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Shihan paints the portrait of a Sikh gentleman with the same hand soon after breaking his record at the Government Art College campus
Shihan paints the portrait of a Sikh gentleman with the same hand soon after breaking his record at the Government Art College campus.
— Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, October 29
The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of the final moment. And though the world takes a while to understand and respect that, there are people, like the Chennai-based Shihan Hussaini, who live to uphold the courage of the final moment.

The karate champion, who has been challenging his own endurance power sometimes by getting stung by cobras, sometimes by setting himself ablaze for over 10 seconds, today surpassed himself by breaking his own record of allowing 101 cars to pass over his hand and then painting an instant portrait with a nearly crushed hand. Established in 1994, Shihan’s record of withstanding the pain caused by cars as they passed over his hand, today crumbled under the weight of his enhanced determination. His drive, as he said, was “I just want to prove that fine artists are fine artists, whatever the pressure and circumstances. This is for the first time that I am attempting a feat outside my state.” Shihan took up this challenge after being inspired by his coach at Bodyscapes, where he has been working out during his stay in Chandigarh.

The risk Shihan run

Dr Narula from Sohana Hospital said apart from the obvious risk of fractures of the soft hand and wrist bones, Shihan also risked his life. He could have collapsed due to pain. We call it vagal phenomenon. Yet another possibility was that of Shihan’s contracting the crushed syndrome in which there is a high probability of multi-system failure. Shihan, however, had a strong resolve and tremendously increased his threshold of pain.

As the fine arts student from Chennai, currently attending a group study exchange programme at Government College of Art, Sector 10, announced the decision, thousands of youngsters from all over the city converged on the Arts College campus to cheer him through the feat. Parked in one corner were five cars of various descriptions — from Santro to Ceilo, which were to be driven over Shihan’s hand one after the other for 111 times. In yet another corner was parked a fully equipped ambulance from Sohana Hospital. A team of doctors also stood in a state of high alert to prevent any damage to Shihan, who was running a high risk of life while attempting the feat.

In an atmosphere surcharged with emotions of all hues, from appehension and tension to fear and hope, Shihan took over the mike, explaining reasons behind his seemingly foolish commitment. “People often dub me as foolish, wondering why I have to attempt strange feats. But I am a firm believer of the supremacy of mind over matter. I am a karate teacher, who has understood karate as an art of conditioning the mind to succeed. When I first allowed 101 cars to pass over my hand, I sustained six fractures, but did not withdraw. Today I am undertaking the feat with a fresh resolve. While I do this, I run a high risk to my life. I request you to support me and allow me the liberty to withdraw in case I am unable to bear pain. I need your love if I succeed. I need greater love if I don’t.”

By establishing an emotional connection, Shihan won over every heart. The most excited among the students who cheered Shihan were his 13 colleagues from the Government Fine Art College Chennai, who are accompanying him during the exchange programme in Chandigarh. In their support of Shihan, they beat steel drums. The idea was to distract Shihan’s attention from pain which grew with every passing car. The first car was flagged off by the Principal of Art College, Prof Brahm Prakash.

As the moment of trial arrived, Shihan gathered his resolve and withstood the first 101 cars. Putting pain behind him, an evidently hapless but hopeful Shihan surprised his admirers with his forbearance. Amidst loud cheers that ended only when the 111th car had passed over Shihan’s hand, the karate champ rose loaded with ecstasy and rushed to a barren canvas and raised his crushed hand to draw a portrait of the first Sikh gentleman he saw.

Later, he held a long personal session with students and taught them some basic elements of karate and inspired them to defend themselves.


Subhash Marriya is Administrator of Hansraj school
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
Mr Subhash Marriya, Principal of DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, and Manager of Hansraj Public School today took over as the Administrator of the school.

The Principal of the school, Ms Rajni Thareja, who was yesterday granted status quo on her transfer order by a local court, however, today took a day’s leave. She insisted that she still had the charge of the school and was taking leave “ for personal reasons.”

There were many apprehensions regarding the power tussle in the school this morning, with Ms Thareja claiming that the court order had been in her favour and the DAV College Managing Committee maintaining that the court had only granted status quo on her transfer and that she had not been granted relief on the issue of her suspension.

The school had closed down on October 23 for the Divali break, while Ms Thareja was ordered as transferred from this school to DAV Senior Public School, Surajpur, on October 22. Mr Vijay Kumar, Principal of the school at Surajpur was transferred here. The next day she was placed under suspension “ on charges of insubordination for failing to take her transfer orders.” She had then approached a local court on October 27 and sought a stay on her transfer and suspension orders.

A fallout of this controversy between the management and the Principal was that computer education in the school had to be abruptly stopped today. The school, known for its excellence in studies, faced another problem with the sudden disappearance of terminals from the computer room. The room remained locked as most of the computers, which were hired from a private company on a three-year contract, were taken away after the controversy took place.

Mr Marriya was accompanied to the school by Justice Amarjit Chaudhary, the Chairman of the local DAV Managing Committee. As mediapersons approached him, he abruptly asked them to leave the premises and “not dabble in the affairs of the school.” Before he left, he warned Mr Marriya and Ms Monica Madan, school coordinator,” to refrain from issuing any statements to the Press. Or I will report the matter to the Delhi Managing Committee.”

Sources in the local DAV Managing Committee informed that Mr Vijay Kumar had been delegated the powers to operate all bank accounts of the school.


Show-cause notices issued to 2 cinema houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The Chandigarh Administration today issued show-cause notices to two cinema houses in the city for not complying with basic set directions which were agreed upon about three weeks ago.

The Administration issued a notice to Piccadily in Sector 34 and Batra cinema in Sector 37 asking to show cause as to why their licence should not be cancelled. A team of the Administration conducted a study in all cinema houses. It was found that toilets in Piccadily cinema were not upto the mark and the fire fighting system was obsolete. In Batra cinema the seats were not proper and the gents toilet was not in order.

The cinema owners and managers can respond by even rectifying these defects. The Administration had hiked the rates of cinema tickets but had imposed riders for improvement.


Spy struggles for compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
You would have dismissed it as just another incredible story fit for a soap opera. A flag-waving chauvinist, full of enthusiasm and love for the Motherland, joins the Intelligence Bureau as a double agent. Crosses the border into Pakistan several times to get valuable information for the Indian defence forces. Is caught by the Pakistani Rangers before being awarded death sentence. Manages to come back only to find his family in a state of utter neglect.

But if allegations in a writ petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court by a Faridkot resident are to be believed, then fact is actually stranger than fiction.

In his petition against the Union of India, besides the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Central Intelligence Bureau, Om Kar Nath Budhwar has alleged that the sacrifices made by him and his family were simply not recognised by the Indian Government.

The “spy” of yesteryear has further alleged that his family was left unattended in his native land, while he was being tortured by the enemies in Pakistan after being caught.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner has claimed that he was recruited as an agent by an inspector in the Intelligence Bureau, Parkash Singh Bajwa, in October 1968.

Soon after, he went to Pakistan a number of times for spying and was able to get valuable information for the defence forces. But unfortunately on December 24, 1968, the petitioner was caught while crossing into India at Jajjar Sarhu checkpost by the Pakistani Rangers, the petitioner’s counsel said.

Budhwar was later interrogated for about 18 months at Lahore Shahi Fort. His trouble did not end here. In October, 1972, the petitioner was awarded death sentence at Sahiwal in Mintogomery. He was, however, lucky enough to return in the general exchange of spies by both the countries in December, 1974.

Back home, Budhwar was astonished to know that his family had not been given any salary by the government during his absence. A number of representations, too, were addressed to the authorities concerned seeking compensation for all the sufferings he had to undergo for the nation. A representation was even sent to the Punjab Chief Minister, counsel asserted.

He concluded: “In the circumstances, it is just and fair to issue a direction to the respondents to recognise the services of the petitioner and pay him compensation for his sufferings. It is also just and fair that a suitable job should be given to the petitioner’s son.”

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Saron, has issued notice of motion to the defendants.


Reunion of Gorkha Rifles in Nov
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The 14 Gorkha Training Centre at Sabathu, near Solan, is organising a reunion of serving and retired officers and men of First Gorkha Rifles (1GR) and the Fourth Gorkha Rifles (4GR) next month.

The reunion of the 4GR is scheduled to be held at the centre from November 7 to 9 and that of 1 GR from November 14 to 16. The reunions are held once in five years.

Invitations have been extended to as many as 30 British officers who had once served the regiments during the pre-Independence era, though only a handful are expected to turn up. About 300 guests, including pensioners from Nepal, are expected to attend the reunion. The Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Ashok Chakki, who is the Colonel of 1 GR and the Deputy Quarter Master- General at Army HQs, Major-Gen Basant Singh, who is the Colonel of 4GR, would be attending the respective reunions.

A host of activities have been planned for the events. These include an attestation parade by 4 GR, honouring of war widows and award of badges of sacrifice to next of kin of those killed in action, wreath laying at the centre’s war memorial, interaction with ex-servicemen, sainik sammelan, sports activities, barakhana and a reunion dinner. The highlight of the functions will be a symphony band concert by a 105-member band formed by amalgamating the centre’s three military band, pipes and drums and jazz band.

1 GR was raised on April 24, 1815, at Sabathu by the British by merging the remains of Gen Amar Singh Thapa’s forces, which had captured areas of Dehra Dun and Kumaon.

The relatively younger 4 GR was raised on August 6, 1957, near Pithoragarh with its regimental centre at Dharamsala. The centre was subsequently shifted to Chakrata and then Dehra Dun before finally being moved to Sabathu in 1960.

Both the regiments are highly decorated and boast of an envious number of battle honours and gallantry awards. 


VIP farewell for Jain
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, October 29
After spending more than 10 months in Model Jail Burail, former UT Home Secretary and senior Haryana Bureaucrat, N.K Jain, today got a “VIP farewell” when he was released from jail in the evening. Three cars including two Honda City, a Zen and a large number of his relatives were allowed by the jail authorities to pick him up from inside the jail all in violation of the jail rules.

Surprisingly, while other undertrials are usually released late in the evening by the jail authorities and no vehicle is allowed inside the jail premises to pick them up for Jain his release from jail turned out to be family function. As Jain wearing a white safari suit moved out of the inside gate of the jail, he was greeted by his relatives and family members who were present inside the jail premeses. Later at about 4.15 p.m Jain along with his family members sat in a Honda City car bearing a Haryana number while the rest of his relatives sat in other two cars that were parked inside the jail premises.

Jain was ordered to be released by a local court on furnishing bail bond of Rs 50, 000 with two sureties of same amount at about 3.20 p.m. Immediately after getting the court order, Jain’s relative rush to Burail Jail. Most of his relatives came the jail in cars bearing Haryana numbers. Jain had been granted bail by the Supreme Court on October 27 in the case.

Jain had been sharing a barrack with three other senior officials, including the Suspended Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S Bhardwaj. He was getting B class facility in the jail.

Jain was arrested by the UT police on December, 23 2002, for his alleged involvement in the infamous Shimla girl rape case and he had been in jail since them. However this was not for the first time when Jain was in jail earlier, too, he had remained in jail for several months in connection with a case of corruption registered against him by the CBI.

When the Chandigarh Tribune contacted, the Superintendent of Model Burail Jail, Mr D.S Rana, he said Ms Jain’s car was allowed in the jail as she has been facing health problem and was not aware of other two cars parked inside the jail. Mr Rana added that he had remained busy throughout the day in one of the cases in the High Court. “ I had reached office at around 4 p.m and thereafter completed all formalities to release Jain as per the court order.

Jain had joined Chandigarh Administration on May 19, 1999 following the repatriation of Ms Anuradha Gupta. Earlier, Jain was suspended and arrested on corruption charges in 2000, he was, however, reinstated in his parent cadre of Haryana Government on April 30. 


Conduct probe in Mohali: councillors
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, October 29
Eight municipal councillors, who had been called to Ludhiana today by the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, in connection with a probe against an octroi contractor refused to join in the investigations and demanded that the official concerned should come to SAS Nagar in this regard.

They said they saw no justification in going to Ludhiana as the complaints were linked to the octroi contractor who had been allotted work by the civic body at SAS Nagar and taking witnesses to Ludhiana was not possible.

Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, one of the complaints, said some months ago when the eight municipal councillors had been called to Ludhiana in connection with another inquiry, a written request had been sent to the office of the Deputy Director to hold the inquiry here since the complaint was linked to the town and the entire record was lying at the local civic body office. This time again they were unnecessarily being called to Ludhiana.

Mr Sethi alleged that the Deputy Director was not interested in conducting the inquiry as he wanted to “help” the contactor. He said that five persons had given to him in writing that they had been harassed by employees of the contractor and they were ready to present themselves before the Deputy Director to give their statements in case the probe was conducted here. He lamented that such an indifferent attitude of the official concerned could not give just to the affected persons.

Mr Amrik Singh, municipal councillor, said the complainants did not have the time and money to go to Ludhiana each time an inquiry was marked. The letter issued by the office of the Deputy Director last month had asked the complainants to bring along the relevant record or witnesses in connection with the complaints. This was not possible. “Why should the councillors, who had complained to the authorities on behalf of the people who had elected them, be harassed?”, he asked

Mr Amrik Singh said they would wait for 20 days and if the probe made no headway they would meet the Principal Secretary, Local Government, in this regard.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, who had also been called to Ludhiana today, said it had been decided by the eight councillors not to go to Ludhiana in connection with the probe as these should be conducted here. She said at least four inquiries had been conducted by the Deputy Director in the past and evey time he tried to call councillors to Ludhiana it could not materilise.

Eight municipal councillors had lodged a complaint with the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, on June 26 in which they had alleged that the octroi contractor was fleecing and harassing residents of the town and also imposing penalities in violation of the rules. The Principal Secretary had then asked the Deputy Director to conduct an inquiry in this regard.


Victim fighting for ban on crackers
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 29
It was in October 1995. After igniting a cracker class IX student Gagandeep Singh Bal retreated about 10 to 15 feet. A safe distance, he presumed. He was wrong. Within seconds a piece of the cracker ripped his eyelid before hitting the eyeball.

The victim was rushed to a Sector 34 hospital. He was administered first aid before being referred to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) “as the injury was serious”.

He was, subsequently, operated upon at a Chennai hospital after the doctors at the PGIMER ‘’expressed their inability”. The victim’s eye was, subsequently, declared permanently damaged by the doctors at Chennai.

Nearly eight years after the incident, 18-year-old Gagandeep sees the world with one eye. The other one is artificial. Undeterred, he is struggling to save the eyes of other hapless victims of Divali crackers.

“You just cannot turn a blind eye to the menace,” the Sector 30 resident asserts. “Something concrete has to be done real fast so that the residents do not suffer from such injuries every year around Divali”.

No wonder, he is still struggling for a ban on dangerous crackers and to bring the alleged culprits to the book. A complaint filed by his relative advocate G.S. Bal, seeking the summoning, trial and deterrent punishment for the authorities of a cracker manufacturing company, is still pending before a local court.

In his complaint before the court, Mr Bal has termed the act of manufacturing and selling the cracker ‘’illegal’’. He has claimed that the respondent company had ‘’committed an offence as defined under the provisions of Section 3 and 4 of the Explosives Substances Act, 1908, and Sections 9-B and 9-C of the Explosives Act, 1984’’.

He has added that ‘’crackers of this quality’’ should be confiscated during the pendency of proceedings ‘’so that loss of the same nature could be avoided in future’’.

Mr Bal stated that the cracker “fell under the definition of explosives substances’’ as it contained ‘’material which could act as missiles and was dangerous to human being’’.

Claiming to have approached a forensic science expert for his opinion on the composition of the ‘’ cracker in dispute”, the advocate had further added that the report had stated that the “mini missiles” could not only “destroy eyes, but in some cases could prove far more dangerous even at unbelievable ranges’’.

The case will now come up for further hearing on November 22.


Seventeen eye patients still critical
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
With no fresh case of Divali-related eye injury being reported at city hospitals, doctors at the PGI and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) are closely monitoring the condition of those who are already under treatment.

Twentyfive patients are still under treatment at the PGI's Ophthalmology Department. "The condition of about 17 of these patients continues to be critical and we cannot be sure whether they will be able to regain normal vision or not," said Prof Amod Gupta, head of the department. Many of these patients have lost almost 95 per cent vision.

He did not rule out the possibility of a normal eye getting inflammation due to injury caused by crackers. Five cases from outside the city were admitted to the eye ward at the PGI, yesterday.

Only one such case was admitted to the GMCH today. The head of Ophthalmology Department, Dr Sunandan Sood, said the condition of two children admitted with serious eye injuries continued to be critical. He added that majority of the patients had been discharged as they had minor injuries.

Interestingly, majority of those who have sustained eye injuries were not bursting crackers and were mere bystanders.


Panchkula Diary
Ekta Shakti promises to remove discrimination
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
The Ekta Shakti, a newly formed political party, today launched itself in Panchkula. Claiming to represent the voice of the people in north Haryana, the party aims to “remove all discrimination between north and south Haryana.”

Addressing a press conference here today, the state general secretary of the party, Mr Mahipal Rana, said the party gave an option of rejecting the politics of three Lals in the state Bhajan Lal, Bansi Lal and Devi Lal; son Om Prakash Chautala. He alleged that whenever these leaders became chief ministers, they discriminated against north Haryana in terms of employment opportunities, agriculture, water sharing and development works.

Assisted by the newly appointed chief spokesman of the party, Mr Ravi Sharma, party members said while south Haryana (Sirsa district) was getting a sports stadium and a university, only statues of Devi Lal were being installed in north Haryana.

Pulse polio campaign

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, called upon all officers of the district administration and NGOs to extend full cooperation for making the Sub-National Pulse Polio Immunisation programme, scheduled for November 9, a success.

She was presiding over a meeting to review the arrangements of the pulse polio campaign by the district health authorities. She directed that slums and labour colonies and brick kilns and migrant labourers be given more attention.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Satvir Chaudhary, said nearly 69,400 children, would be administered polio drops. All children between the age of 0-5 years in the district would be given the drops in 299 fixed booths. Five transit teams and 13 mobile teams will also be involved.

The polio drops will be administered from 9 am to 5 pm and bus stands and railway stations will also be covered. Around 1232 workers, including health workers, ICDS workers, teachers, NSS workers and 54 supervisors from the Health Department will be employed for the effective implementation of the programme. Wide publicity will be given to the programme by distributing pamphlets and arranging group meetings. A number of government vehicles have also been requisitioned for proper distribution of vaccine under the cold-chain system.

Night patrol sought

The district administration has ordered all able bodied men in peripheral areas and villages of the district to conduct theekri pheras (night patrol) till March 31, next year.

An official press note said keeping in view the aprehension of damage to public life and property, gram panchayats have been asked to conduct patrolling at night. The SDM, Panchkula, the SDM, Kalka, and Block Development and Panchayat Officers of Barwala, Raipur Rani, Pinjore and Morni have been asked to see that the orders were followed.

Lok adalat on Nov 1

A Lok Adalat will be held on the District Courts premises here on November 1. An official press note today said the District Legal Services Authority would organise the lok adalat from 10 am.Back


Readers Write
Sub judice case affecting studies at PU

The case of superannuated teachers of Panjab University, Chandigarh, regarding retaining or insisting on retaining 62 as the age of retirement has been sub judice in the Punjab and High Court for the past more than a year. The court is surprisingly finding it difficult to decide as to which way it should go. It is also rumoured that since most of the decision making bosses are students of the Department of Laws of Panjab University, they are under “psychological” or “obligatory” pressure to decide the case in favour of teachers.

The senior most professor in the department takes hardly one or two classes a day and remains busy in non-academic activities. No doubt they guide research scholars but they guide these “helpless” students at their sweet will — barring some exceptions. If new appointments are made the university can employ more than four lecturers against one post of professor. This will generate more employment opportunities for the young unemployed who are otherwise eligible and need employment.

Professors at the age crossing 60 hardly have any liability (with exception of fractional percentage). As such the retirement age of 60 should be accepted by professors gracefully so that they could pave the way for young unemployed but qualified youths.

If a survey is conducted, one will find that in big “kothis” only two elderly people live i.e. a professor and his spouse. This clearly indicates that they have performed their liabilities of marrying their offspring(s) and have no compulsion to cling on to their posts. This point should also be taken into consideration by the courts and decide the case on “merit” accordingly.

It is said: “Justice delayed is justice denied”. Now that over a year has passed, the decision is yet to be made. Each time a case comes up for hearing it is postponed for next date on one pretext or the other. This way precious time is lost besides causing financial losses to “cash-strapped” Panjab University.

The court has to make a decision sooner or later. Then why not soon. Right now a professor crossing the age of 60 is not serious about taking his/her class because of the indecisiveness on the part of the court. Once the decision is made, things will emerge clearer. The best course would be to make a decision at the earliest so that the uncertainty among teachers is laid to rest and serious teaching work is started.

Manjit Kaur, Chandigarh


Apropos of the news published in these columns on October 21 under the headline “SBI pensioners resent termination of scheme”, I wish to point out that the news of office-bearers omitted the names of Mr J.C. Bhatia who was elected vice-president (two vice-presidents are elected and not one) and Mr D.K. Sharma as organising secretary of the SBI Pensioners Association in the election conducted on October 19. This has created confusion among members of the association. Kindly also note that Mr N.S. Dhamoon has been elected deputy general secretary and not deputy general manager as mentioned in the news.

J.C. Bhatia, Ambala City

Train stopover

Every Friday, the 2425/2426 Rajdhani Express, which starts from New Delhi at 9 pm, passes through Ambala Cantonment, a main junction of the northern region i.e. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, UP and Chandigarh, but does not make a stopover there. As a result, the residents of the area are deprived of the facility of travelling to Jammu or New Delhi and back by the train. Moreover, Ambala Cantonment is a base for Air Force and para military forces. The railway authorities should make necessary provisions to make Ambala Cantonment a permanent stopover for the Rajdhani Express. This will not only facilitate the people of the region but also go a long way in increasing the revenue for the Railways.

Ashwani K. Kapur, ChandigarhBack


13 jhuggis gutted
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 29
Over 13 jhuggis in Udham Singh colony here were gutted in a fire that started in the wee hours today. Four fire tenders controlled the fire which spread within minutes from one jhuggi to another.

Although there was no damage to life the meagre property of these jhuggi dwellers was totally burnt in the fire.

According to the fire officer, the fire started after 2 am possibly due to a small piece of smouldering polythene that had flown from a camp fire which had been made by the colony dwellers to keep warm.

Since none of the telephone STDs nearby could contact the fire station on 102, a resident had to go to the station to call the tenders.


Chennai-city train soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The train from Chennai to the City Beautiful will finally chug along on November 2. The maiden journey to link the two cities by rail will begin on October 31.

The train will run from Chandigarh to Chennai every Monday, starting at 7. 10 am, reaching Saharanpur at 9. 20 am, and finally in Chennai at 4. 30 am on Wednesday. En route, it will stop at 12 stations, including New Delhi.

The train will have 20 coaches — two AC two- tier, AC three-tier, eight second class sleeper coaches, and four luggage vans. From Chennai, half the of the coaches will be detached at Saharanpur to proceed to Dehradun. The remaining 10 coaches will come to Chandigarh. 


Police crackdown on tantrik
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
The police has begun tightening its noose around a tantrik in Sector 11, here, who has allegedly been duping innocent people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of “solving their personal problems by use of tantra vidya.”

A special investigating team, under Inspector Ashok Bakhshi, has been formed by the Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir S. Sharma, to look into the complaints against the tantrik.

The police had earlier booked the tantrik, R.K. Sharma, on charges of cheating a medical practitioner by promising to send him abroad by using black magic. A case under Section 168 and 420 of the IPC was registered against him on the orders of a local court.

Acting on a complaint filed by Dr Akash Goyal, the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) had directed the police on October 13 to register the case against the tantrik. In his complaint, Dr Akash Goyal, an ayurvedic doctor, had alleged that the tantrik took Rs 15,000 from him for performing a yagna in early 2002. The tantrik and his disciple assured the complainant that after the yagna was performed, he would get a call from the visa issuing authorities within two months. However, after several months, nothing came up and the victim approached the court.

Now, as the police has started investigating the case, they have come across at least three other complaints against this tantrik. Mahindra Bansal, a resident of Sangrur district, has alleged that he was cheated of thousands of rupees by the tantrik on the pretext of curing his ailing mother. In another complaint, Mr Chander Mohan Bhalla, a resident of Sector 19-A in Chandigarh, also complained that he had been duped of over Rs 1 lakh by the tantrik on the pretext of curing his wife.


Revolver found from record room

Chandigarh, October 29
An imported revolver with two ‘seemingly misfired’ cartridges has been found from the record room of the criminal branch of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to the police the .32 bore Smith and Wassan revolver fell off from the document files when one of those was picked up yesterday. The revolver is reportedly worth Rs 2 lakh in the arms market.

The police has registered a case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. The FIR lodged in the Sector 3 police station was registered on the complaint of the Joint Registrar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The police is investigating the case. TNS


Customers for joint mandis by vendors, farmers, but with checks
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Customers’ demand

  • Joint body of the MC and the Mandi Board to look after apni mandis.

  • Checking of vegetables and fruits by the Public Health department.

  • Arrangements for parking, lighting, security and amenities.

  • Vendors and farmers should be allotted proper space.

Chandigarh, October 29
Political parties and farmer organisations are raising a hue and cry over the decision of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) to allow local vendors in apni mandis the weekly vegetable markets organised in different sectors, along with farmers. However, a large number of farmers, vendors and customers feel that if implemented with adequate checks the decision will go a long way in reforming the mandis, besides checking corruption in the Enforcement Wing of the MC.

A visit to different apni mandis in the city revealed that presence of local vendors has become a reality over the years. Despite a large number of challans issued by the Enforcement Wing, the local vendors are doing a brisk business. They sell fruits, vegetables, spices and other items, giving a tough competition to the farmers. The customers say they come to these weekly markets not only to buy vegetables but fruits and other items, sold by these vendors.

Mr R.D. Mehta, a bank employee purchasing vegetables in the Sector 15 apni mandi, said” The farmers may complain against the MC’s decision but we will benefit from it provided the vendors are brought under the control of a body that can check the quality of product and ensure proper measurement by them.” He said though the vendors charged lower prices a large number of them tampered with the weights.

Officials of the Punjab Mandi Board, manning apni mandis, claimed that these mandis, started in 1987 by a former Election Commissioner, Mr M.S. Gill, in Chandigarh and Punjab, were being run on a no profit-no-loss basis. About 3,000 farmers from the adjoining areas of Punjab and some nearby villages of Himachal Pradesh were coming to these mandis to sell vegetables. These were sold at about 30 to 40 per cent lower rates than the market price. But the prices were slightly higher when compared to the Sector 26 wholesale vegetable market. About 3,000 local vendors also come to these mandis.

Mr Vijay Kumar, a vendor selling vegetables and fruits, said,” We are selling those vegetables and fruits which are not even produced by the farmers. They should not forget that they also get hundreds of customers daily because of us as we offer these items at a reasonable rate.” The vendors alleged that till now, they were doing business by paying hefty bribes to staff of the Enforcement Wing besides penalty, but the MC’s decision would allow them to do business without any fear.

Mr Rajinder Singh, president, Farmers Association of Apni Mandi, said,” No doubt, the apni mandis were started as a platform for small farmers to sell vegetables to the customers at a their doorstep at a reasonable rate. But over the years, the presence of local vendors has become a reality, who sell vegetables at a lower rate.”

Insiders in the market admitted that a section of farmers were already selling vegetables by purchasing in bulk from their villages to the vendors and were themselves working like traders. Mr B.K. Sood, a resident of Sector 15, said, “In view of changed circumstances, the Punjab Mandi Board and the MC should set up a joint body to look after the apni mandis. Both the farmers and the vendors can co-exist, and the emphasis should be on providing better facilities like parking, lighting, water and public toilets.” 

Olive pomace oil for cooking launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Dalmia Continental, a company of the Dalmia group, launched olive pomace oil under Leonardo brand name here today. It will be sold as a new cooking oil.

Till recently, the olive oil was sold as a beauty and hair oil, but now it will be promoted as a healthy cooking oil due to its inherent qualities to fight diabetes, obesity and heart problems, said Mr Naryanan Rajgopalan, President and COO, Olive Products Division of Dalmia Continental Pvt Ltd here today.

Launching the product, he claimed that olive oil was used extensively in the European, Middle East and other developed countries as the best cooking oil.

Since it is mostly produced in Italy and Spain, the company would import refined olive oil (without any taste or odour) directly from Italy.

The company has plans to invest over Rs 100 crore in the next few years, to promote it in the country. By the end of next year, he said, the company has plans to set up a bottling plant in the country.

Mr Rajagopalan added that olive pomace oil was obtained by heating the olive residue with solvents to extract oil.

This form of oil loses most of its flavour and odour but retained all the benefits of virgin olive oil. Hence it would prove the most suited oil for Indian household.Back

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