C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Short on cash, high on grit
In fray against oppression of migrant labour
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Of all candidates in the poll fray, Mohammad Ibrahim Siddiqui stands out for two reasons. One, his asset declaration form submitted to the Returning Officer shows a zero cash balance against his name. Two, “The number of votes I will get will be an expression of the people’s grievances against the governments in power, either here or at the Centre,” he says.

Siddiqui obviously nurses a lot of hurt against the current political system. He has been a Leftist but was disillusioned by their conduct. However, he still believes: “Politics is a big weapon for drawing a decent behaviour from the law-enforcing authorities. The police officer who came to me after I had filed the nomination papers repeatedly called me ‘Siddiqui sahib’. I asked him: “Am I not the same man whom you called ‘bhhaiya’ (derogatory expression for migrant labour) a few days ago?”

In fact, big dreams of making a strong political statement against the oppression of migrant labour is the reason for Siddiqui to file his nomination papers as an Apna Dal candidate.

According to his asset declaration, he has a zero cash balance against his name. He has jewellery worth Rs 6,000 and an ancestral house worth Rs 10,000. By comparison, other candidates are fabulously rich.

Siddiqui belongs to Buxar district in Bihar. He had worked for the National Thermal Power Corporation and shifted his base to the city 17 years ago. “I work in a factory of accessories for railways and tractors. I have taken leave for the elections”, he said.

“The biggest reason for my entering the election scenario is to ask the migrant labour to protest the exploitation they face in their daily lives. We face rebuke, oppression and corruption. Very derogatory language is used to address the migrant labour. I feel hurt”, he said.

Siddiqui said, “I did not have sufficient money to even file the security of Rs 10,000 for my nomination. My friends helped me. I do not loose anything in case I am defeated.”

This is not the first time that a candidate has entered the fray to highlight the cause of migrant labourers. Mr Shyam Bahadur Singh, another migrant labourer, has contested the elections on three earlier occasions.

“I am also endeavouring to ask the educated and the better-off classes in the city to see for themselves the extent to which different political parties have exploited them in the past. The City Beautiful is not really beautiful. Look at the colonies and villages and you will see the ugly side of the projected dream. Given a chance, I will make sure that equal facilities are provided to all residents”, he said.

Siddiqui is also not pleased with a large section of the migrant labour. “During panchayat elections they make rounds of our houses asking for votes in the name of ‘bhaiyyas’. During parliamentary elections they are yelling the names of the Congress, INLD and BJP. They are expecting small favours which is sad. They should know their actual problem and look for solutions”.

I want to tell my fellow beings that no country can prosper till the government ensures equality to individuals. “I do not expect change to happen overnight. But, I strongly expect my admirers to make a strong political statement by casting the ballot in my favour”.


First vote
I am against professional politicians

“I have decided to vote for a candidate who has not chosen politics as his profession. Educational and professional background would be my key parameters to select the candidate. The tradition of joining politics to mint money has to be discontinued. I am looking forward to vote for the first time for the progress and prosperity of the nation. I would ignore local issues for the sake of national issues.

The parties should field young candidates so that the first-time voters have the chance to vote for energetic and promising candidates. I favour the BJP for its prime ministerial candidate, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as he promotes young faces in politics. Mr L.K.Advani would not be favourable for his communal rhetoric. Mr Rahul Gandhi is certainly an attraction but the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi lacks leadership qualities. I want that the Centre should come clear on international issues like Indo-Pak relations, and position of the country as a world leader. TNS


City prepares ‘vision document’
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Now, it is the turn of the Chandigarh Administration to prepare a ‘vision document.’ A 25-year perspective plan is being readied that will take into account the changes that are required to manage the city, its resources and infrastructure. This is the first time that such a plan is being prepared for the city.

The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, has asked Mr V.K. Bhardawaj, Mr K.B. Sharma and Mr S.K. Jain, respective chief engineers of the Chandigarh Administration, Municipal Corporation and Chandigarh Housing Board to provide technical inputs. These inputs will be documented and compared with the needs of the city in 2030.

Requirement of water and power supply, road network, sewage disposal, storm-water drainage and most importantly how to prevent open spaces from the encroachments will figure in this ‘vision document.’ Also, the document will include an idea on what should be done on the use of open spaces for commercial purposes.

Some of the basic infrastructure, which seems enough today, may not be so in 25 years. Mr Karan Avatar Singh, Secretary, Finance and Planning, says the idea is to have a long-term plan detailing what is required on all fronts and then allocate funds and manpower. The people who come here from Mohali and Panchkula for work in the morning but use all infrastructure, says Mr Karan Avatar Singh.

The technical inputs of the Chief Engineers will focus on whether the city needs overbridges, flyovers and subways. Main crossing like the Aroma light point, Piccadilly roundabout, all exit routes of Sector 17 and 22 are already congested because the city has the highest population -vehicle ratio in the country.

The other critical aspect is the water supply. The city has an assured supply of about 63 to 65 million gallons a day (MGD) while the demand in summers touches 100 MGD. It will go upto 250 MGD by 2030. There is no way of increasing the water supply and the watertable has already gone down. Tubewells will be rendered useless within a few years of their operation.

The engineers have been asked to examine whether the city needs a dedicated canal from the Bhakra Main canal. At present, water is pumped from a place near Ropar and the power bill for pumping the water is about Rs 20 crore annually. A canal has been planned to bring water with the force. It may cost about Rs 200 crore but will bring in more water with minimal running costs. Though Chandigarh has adequate power, the demand is rising sharply. At present the demand goes up to 200 MW in peak of summer and monsoon. This is expected to triple and the city will require about 500 MW by 2030. An increasing number of air-conditioners will jack up the demand.

The planners say with more and more buildings and aspects like cycle tracks coming up, the rain water flow on the roads will increase. The same holds true for the capacity of sewerage which will fall short in the next two decades.

To prevent encroachments almost all land in the villages is under acquisition. This will be part of the plan to manage the villages that fall in the Union Territory. The open spaces will face pressure when the grid which forms the sectors is developed. How to deal with these problems will be detailed in the plan.


Kite incident: 2 years old dies of burns
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
Monu, a two-year-old child, who along with seven other children had sustained severe burns during a short-circuit accident, died at the PGI, Chandigarh, this evening. Monu is the second child to have died since the accident occurred on April 16. On April 21, Rajnish (12) who had sustained 75 per cent burns, had succumbed to his burns.

According to those attending on Monu, his condition had not improved since the time he had been admitted to the PGI with the rest of the children on April 16. His condition had deteriorated this morning and despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses in the emergency ward, Monu could not be saved.

Monu was the youngest of the group of children who got hurt in the accident. He had sustained
42 per cent injuries. Monu’s elder brother Anoop, who too had sustained burns, is still in the emergency ward in a serious condition. Their father, Mr Virender Kumar, is attending to Anoop at the hospital.

Meanwhile, some of the other children have shown improvement and have been shifted to the male surgical ward from the emergency ward.

On April 16, eight children of Ambedkar Colony were severely burnt while they were playing under high-tension electricity wires that short-circuited. According to eyewitnesses, the children were trying to disentangle the kite they were flying from the wires using a metal rod that led to short-circuiting. A blast followed and a shower of sparks and fireballs fell on the children below.

The children, all boys, between the age of two and 12 years, got trapped in the shower and received severe burns on their faces, arms and feet and were taken to the PGI.


City needs better connectivity to attract IT industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Chandigarh will soon be among the 13 cities which are being promoted as the most attractive destinations for the IT industry in the country. While the city has all the elements to be an attractive IT destination, it still requires better infrastructure and strong electronic and communication connectivity to attract major players from across the world, said Mr Kiran Karnik, President, National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), here today.

Mr Karnik, who is also the Forbes’ face of the year, was here to deliver the keynote address at the city’s first big IT/BPO Conference at Hotel Shivalikview. Mr Karnik, who travelled by the Shatabdi Express, while talking about providing better connectivity to the city, said to promote the IT industry in the region, the services of the Shatabdis were not enough; a fast train which could complete the Delhi-Chandigarh circuit in less than two hours was required.

The city should look at the neighbouring towns of Panchkula and Mohali, too, for collectively developing the IT business strategies to attract major global players here. The Chandigarh tri-city region already had the advantages of a salubrious environment, availability of trained and skilled human resources, good weather besides a fine quality of life. However, the area should be promoted as a region and not just as a transit route, he said.

Listing some of the impediments, which may pose hurdles in the growth of the region as an IT destination, Mr Karnik stressed on the need to convert the city’s airport into an international one, not only to stimulate the growth of the IT industry but also to give a fillip to the tourism sector. Strengthening of electronic connectivity will also provide easy international connectivity.

He urged the state governments in the region to provide better infrastructure and facilities in terms of mass transportation systems, which, in his view, would further boost industrial growth in the region. Plans should be prepared to have six or eight lanes in the Delhi-Chandigarh sector to facilitate movement of heavy traffic and the local transport system should be improved.

Speed, connectivity, high-band width, infrastructure, power and regulatory measures like incentives and taxes would decide the future prospects of the industry. He said Nasscom was making efforts to request the government to honour its commitment of extending full exemption from taxes on export profits to this industry till 2010 since investments and business plans were made on this basis alone. It has recommended to the government to exempt all taxable services provided in the software sector from service tax.

He also said that peaceful relations with Pakistan would encourage small and medium entrepreneurs to set up shop here. The Indian software industry had grown from a mere $ 150 million in 1991-92 to Rs 47,500 crore during 2002-2003.

Mr Jurgen Kurz, Executive Vice-President, Quark , Germany , said before coming to India , the US and German units of Quark were involved in 90 per cent of their global product development work, but after coming to India, 90 per cent of the product development was being handled by the Mohali unit.

Mr Jaswinder Ghuman, Country Head, Convergys Corporation, India, said better educational and training facilities and good infrastructure would be the key to attracting investments in the city and around. He said excellent opportunities existed for many small IT industries to grow and develop here.

Mr Chander Mohan, President of The Indus Entrepreneur (TIE), said IT was a tool for increasing efficiency and productivity of any organisation. He stressed the need for the young to set up their own enterprises.

Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, UT, formally inaugurated the conference and said the administration was making all arrangements to upgrade the infrastructure. He said the DLF was setting up the DLF Infocity and space would be available to the entrepreneurs by June this year.

In the plenary session on “Marketing Strategies and Value-Added Services,” Mr Manipal Singh Dhariwal, COO, Sebiz Infotech, pointed out that a good working environment, good human resources and infrastructure were necessary for the IT industry to grow.

Mr Avirag Jain of R Systems said the biggest challenge before the IT industry was to deliver faster, cheaper and better products without compromising on quality. In the post-lunch session, Mr Joydeep Datta Gupta, Executive Director, Price Waterhouse Cooper, said India was entering into the third phase of Business Processing Operations (BPO) movement in the country. The companies which could offer re-engineering solutions with consulting capabilities shall be able to survive in the highly competitive environment.

Ms Anita Perumbilavil, Vice-President (Transition), Wipro Spectramind, said the critical success factor to compete and succeed in the IT industry today was to move up the value chain. The need, she said, was to graduate from being just vendors to being partners.

Mr Partap Agarwal, Managing Director, IDS Infotech Ltd, provided practical operational insight into the entire BPO sector. He said great opportunities existed for the small entrepreneurs and individuals to get into the business successfully, which required street-smart business sense. Commenting on the current offshoring controversy in US, he said for each dollar spent on off-shoring, the returns for the US were much larger.

Mr Upendra Giri, founder and CEO of AstroWix Corporation, USA , underlined the need to have expertise and a disciplined approach to process management.

Mr Rajeev Shukla, head of IPG at Quark Media, Mohali, in his presentation on software product development in India, pointed out that the old perceptions and myths about quality had been rewritten.

Mr Anuj Kumar, Head Corporate HR, Computer Sciences Corporation, which is the third largest IT service company in the world with a turnover of $ 13.8 million, speaking on the session on HR Best Practices said values were the key drivers that could break or make any organisation.


HIV vaccine in 2 years, says Prof Bhan
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 24
Biotechnologists and researchers in the country are testing two vaccines for HIV and certain other diseases, including malaria, cholera and Japanese Encephalitis. The HIV vaccines are being tested in collaboration with the USA. Otherwise, biotechnology was being used in some countries for diagnosing diseases, including cancer. This was revealed by the Secretary to Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology Prof M.K. Bhan.

He was in Chandigarh to discuss the “future role of medical institutions of national eminence”. Addressing a gathering at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Prof Bhan said HIV vaccine was expected to hit the market within two years.

The doctor asserted that as of now they were not sure whether they would be able to control the disease with the help of vaccines, unlike in the case of typhoid and measles. Dr Bhan said biotechnology could also help in knowing the status of the disease like cancer as its spread could be monitored with the help of cancer scanner.

Talking about the latest research in stem cell therapy, the doctor said persons suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, joints pain and burn injuries, besides neurology patients, could benefit from it.

Giving details of the therapy, he said under it damaged tissues could be repaired in many cases. The therapy would be available in the country within the next five to seven years.

Regarding the benefits of the therapy, he revealed that a doctor in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) placed stem cells from bone marrow on burn scars in 30 patients with satisfactory results. Already about 15 centres in the country were working on stem cell therapy.

The technology was currently being taught in more than 70 colleges all over the country. The laboratories were also being equipped to conduct the tests. The guidelines for stem cell research, prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research, would be issued to the doctors after elaboration, he claimed.

The main focus of the Biotechnology Department was on public health and issues pertaining to the farmers. In about 15 universities transgenic varieties of rice were being tested. In another university, the researchers managed to increase the protein content of potatoes. Medical colleges and other institutes, he suggested, should also contribute in the research.

Dr Bhan added that basic science institutes should have molecular medicine departments. He added that molecular medicine helped in cancer therapeutics, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


Bansal grabbed land worth crores, alleges Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Mr Satya Pal Jain, the candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, today said the Congress nominee, Mr Pawan Bansal, was concealing his failures of the past 16 years by issuing baseless and false statements.

Mr Jain undertook padyatras in Sectors 22, 43 and 41 this morning. He was weighed against coins at Kesho Ram Complex, Sector 45, and also in Sector 37 market. He addressed the industrialists of Industrial Area in Ram Darbar and attended a function at Guru Harkishan Public School, Sector 40.

Criticising Mr Bansal, Mr Jain said during the past five years he (Mr Bansal) had worked only for the development of his family, which was evident from the formation of Heritage Society. Mr Bansal had grabbed land worth crores of rupees during his tenure as a Member of Parliament, he alleged.

Ms Shashi Bala Jain, the wife of Mr Jain, held meetings of women workers in Daddu Majra Colony, Colony No. 5 and in Sector 44. She appealed to the women that they should actively participate in political programmes.

Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, the president of the party’s local unit, alleged that the enforcement wing of the corporation had demolished the welcome gate of Digamber Jain Mandir in Sector 27 whereas Mr Bansal and the Congress councillors were unnecessary issuing statements against BJP leaders.


Demolition of welcome gates becomes political issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The controversy over the demolition of welcome gates raised for the Panchkalayank Pratishtha Gajrath Mahamahotsav of the Jains has taken a political colour with Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain accusing each other of using the incident as an election stunt.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Bansal accused Mr Jain of pressuring the local administration to pull down the gates. He claimed that Mr Jain was upset after Gupat Sagar Ji Maharaj of the Jains had blessed him with success.

Demanding an inquiry into the incident, Mr Bansal said he had taken up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner and the UT Administrator.

The Congress candidate accused the administration of siding with the BJP in threatening the Congress workers. He said the vehicle of a Congress Block president, Mr Satish Kumar, was impounded while he was campaigning while on the other hand campaign vehicles of the BJP were not being touched by the administration.

He alleged that the candidates of the BJP and the INLD were misguiding the voters. He had apprehensions that the BJP was planning electoral violence in Ram Darbar and Hallomajra, he added.

Meanwhile, addressing a separate press conference, Mr Jain said, “Mr Bansal seems to have lost his mental balance in accusing me of tying up with the administration to get the gates demolished. I have met Guruji and taken his blessings and am an old disciple of his. His allegation will not be digested even by his own supporters”.

Mr Jain said I have given in writing to the Governor to look into the matter and fix responsibility of the officers involved in the incident.


Cong to relaunch ‘garibi hatao’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Congress will relaunch its garibi hatao programme, first launched in the 1970s if voted to power, said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, party candidate, while addressing a rally here today.

Mr Bansal said that it was unfortunate that with advent of the BJP led NDA government, in the last six years the Herculean task of anti-poor programme launched by the Congress come to a stand still. The BJP programmes were only in favour of rich and the upper middle class.

Addressing a large gathering of the bank employees in Sector 10, Mr Bansal said nationalisation of banks was the need of the hour and it was an emotive issue for the Congress. “We want a major chunk of the capital to be invested in infrastructural development of the country and poverty alleviation programmes”, he said.

He said the Congress would oppose the BJP programme of privatising the nationalised banks, Mr Bansal was particular about the need for an increase in the income tax exemption, particularly in interest of employees.

Mr Bansal also addressed a gathering of the entrepreneurs and employees organised by Mr Jagdish Nagpal in Industrial Area Phase I. He said the BJP policies had led to the closure of hundreds of small scale industries which was unfortunate. Lakhs of persons were rendered jobless. Addressing a gathering in Sector 30 Mr Bansal said there was an urgent need for provision of housing loans to low income groups.

Mr Pardeep Chhabra and Mr kamaljit Pannchi, media adviser of the party, flayed the BJP for misleading the Sikh voters by exploiting their religious sentiments on the 1984 riots. The Congress nominating Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Jagdish Tytler could not be termed as anti-Sikh as neither the court nor the BJP could prove their guilt.


Errors in voters’ list not removed, says councillor
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 24
A municipal councillor of Phase XI, Mr Amrik Singh, has complained that there are a number of errors in the voters’ list which were not removed by the authorities concerned even though these had been brought to the notice of the district administration and the office of the Election Commission.

Mr Amrik Singh alleged that the voters’ list of residents of Phase XI had been prepared in an irresponsible way by employees put on duty. He alleged that voters linked to booth numbers 121, 122 and 125 would not be able to find their names in the list. Many of them would not be able to find the booths for voting. As such a number of people would not be able to cast their votes.

He said that he, along with some other municipal councillors, had personally met the local Returning Officer, the Ropar Deputy Commissioner and Election Commission on August 5 and February 19 and pointed out various discrepancies. A request had been made that errors be removed before publishing the final voters’ list. But unfortunately, the authorities concerned had done nothing in this regard, he added.

Mr Amrik Singh said that the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned was going to affect the percentage of polling on certain booths. He said that polling was going to be as low as 20 per cent on certain booths.

He said one polling booth had been set up in the community centre in Phase XI while another one was in the Government High School. But people living near the community centre would have to cast their vote in the school and those living near the school would have to come all the way to the community centre to poll their votes.


BJP for Bill to ban corrupt candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
“We are working on setting up a forum which will struggle for a Parliament Bill denying election ticket to all who have been chargesheeted by the court under an Act of corruption or any criminal case.

This was stated by Mr Denzil Atkinson, Member of Parliament, while addressing a press conference in favour of Mr Satya Pal Jain at the BJP office in Sector 33 here today. Mr Atkinson, a representative of the Anglo-Indian origin which is a minority in Parliament, defended various steps taken by the government of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government for the welfare of the minorities and safeguarding their interests.

Mr Atkinson said, “I would like to clarify that Dara Singh, the alleged murderer of Staines, a missionary in Orrisa, is not a member of the BJP. He can never be. There is no question of the party giving him ticket because the party has people with a very clean image”.

Mr Atkinson, national vice-president of the All-India Minority Morcha of the BJP, said Parliament always had 12 representatives of the minorities in Parliament since 1952. “No elected MP really took up the problems faced by people of the minority communities. Important Bills pertaining to diversity, succession, adoption and Dalit-Christians were pending until I was nominated to Parliament in 1999. We had cleared the Bills regarding adoption and succession. Mr Narsimha Rao during the concluding period of his tenure as the Prime Minister had tried to introduce a Bill pertaining to Dalit-Christians. This was a tool for getting votes. However, nothing happened on ground, he said.

He said all NGOs were required to advertise their funds earlier. This led to cases of looting and certain NGOs were even threatened by criminals. “I got the provision dropped through the Centre”, he added.


Dullo meets Mohali residents
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
The Congress candidate for the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today interacted with Mohali residents.

Mr Dullo reached Mohali at about 7 pm and met party workers and supporters at the Phase VI market. He was welcomed with garlands and ladoos. Mr Dullo later met the residents and his supporters at Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Phase II, following which he addressed a rally at the Phase VII market. He said he would provide a special housing scheme for the Dalits in the township. He added that the Akalis had never worked for the people of Punjab and had always encouraged nepotism and corruption within their ranks.


Dhawan’s wife joins campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the parliamentary candidate of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), today said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress and Mr Satya Pal Jain of the BJP had done “nothing” except making false promises.

Ms Satinder Dhawan also addressed a meeting in Daddu Majra where she gave details of different developmental projects initiated during the tenure of Mr Dhawan.


I am still in fray, says Arvind

Chandigarh, April 24
Mr Arvind Jain, an Independent candidate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, today said certain people were spreading rumours that he was withdrawing his candidature from the elections. This was absolutely false. “ I have taken a conscious decision to fight the candidates in fray for the seat based on my convictions. I will not withdraw”, he added. TNS


Party waste a nauseating affair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Having late night parties feeding several hundred guests and throwing the waste in front of the adjoining houses has become a way of life in Sector 33. The parties are being organised at Gulati Bhavan where these had been banned nearly five years back.

The Municipal Corporation has given no order for the function. However, the parties have official clearance by the Estate Office. A senior officer in the MC said the parties had been banned in 1999 and there was no order rescinding the earlier one.

Residents of the houses opposite Gulati Bhavan, which has several other bhavans, including the BJP office, are a troubled lot. A senior citizen said? “We traced the genesis of the problem and found that no other organisation except Gulati Bhavan was the culprit behind the litter”.

A visit by a Tribune team revealed that waste food material was lying in the open. There was also a dump of waste paper plates and other litter. There was burnt ash left over from the coals. Major-Gen H.C. Sachdev (retd) said that “on an average 40 bags of coal was burnt in the open”.

General Sachdev said that it was a common sight to see stray cattle on the open ground in front of the houses. The stench was nauseating. “ The residents had met Lt-Gen (retd) B.K.N. Chibber, Governor, in 1999 and got parties banned. There had been a case of murder and certain cases of thefts in the area”, he said.

General Sachdev met the Deputy Commissioner in this regard. The first function in the current series was held on April 22. The place is still littered and certain more functions at the bhavan are on the anvil, sources said.


Rally against land acquisition tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
Over 500 landowners of the Mohali subdivision will hold a protest rally at the Sohana Singh Sabha gurdwara on April 26 against the acquisition of their land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

This was stated by the president of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee president, Mr Tejinder Singh Jakhar, during a press conference here today. Landowners of Sohana, Lakhnaur, Landran, Bermpur, Raipur Khurd and Manak Majra also addressed the press conference. Explaining the problem, Mr Jakhar said PUDA had on January 24 advertised its first notification dated January 19, 2004, regarding to acquisition of approximately 690 acres of land in these five villages. According to the PUDA notification, over 170 acres of land will be acquired in Sohana village, another 209 acres will be acquired in Lakhnaur village, 21 acres in Landran, 124 acres in Bermpur and 162 acres in Manak Majra village. However, the landowners of these villages and five other villages — Maouli Baidwan, Raipur Khurd, Chilla, Manouli and Durali — had decided to protest against the acquisition.

Mr D.P. Singh, convener of the committee, stated that a memorandum against the acquisition of land was forwarded to the Punjab Government on March 19 but no action had been taken on it.

He pointed out that while PUDA bought land from villagers at a low cost, it developed the land and sold it at exorbitant rates.


Particles in soft drink bottle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Mr D.K. Anand, a resident of Sector 36 here, has alleged that he had found some solid particles in a bottle of soft drink. He ordered two crates of soft drinks through a home delivery system last month. The supplier, Aradhana Drinks and Beverages, supplied the crates and the Anands started consuming the drinks.

However, later they realised that there were some particles inside a bottle. Mr Anand claims that he asked the company for a replacement, but nothing has been done in this regard so far.


Youngsters line up for Pepsi musical talent hunt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The excitement at Sector 17 Plaza was hard to miss. Amid hundreds of youngsters gathered around the mobile stage set up in the heart of the commercial centre, Pepsi kicked off its much awaited musical talent hunt — “ Pepsi Banja Sitara Yaraa”.

Done up brightly, the stage attracted a spirited, young lot ready to put its musical skill to test. With the recording facilities available right there, it was not difficult for participants to put their best foot forward. The cassettes so recorded would be sent to the office of ETC Punjabi where the participants would be short-listed.

In presence at the Plaza along with a bunch of supporters was Amit Ghosh, a B.A-I student of D.A.V. College, who found the idea fairly exciting. “This ‘Banjaa Staara Yaraa’ contest is awesome. Pepsi and ETC have done a great job in providing the necessary platform for aspiring singers.” Although MTV does its bit every year by holding exhaustive audition sessions to select their “celebrity” pop bands, most youngsters feel that securing an entry into those sessions is quite challenging. For them, an open stage and an encouraging crew is better,” he added.

Gaurav Talwar, a 16 year-old student of St. John’s High School, was also around to try his luck. “ I was waiting for this contest to start in Chandigarh and in spite of the heat, I brought my elder brother with me to participate today.”

“Pepsi Banja Staara Yaraa” contest is open to all aspiring singers, aged between 16 and 35 years. Those who wish to participate can send a recording of his/her song in Punjabi, either on a cassette or a CD. One can also call up a central number (309) and record the song.

The soft drink company is also coming out with a number of “Pepsi Banja Staara Yaraa” floats and attractively decked up buses which will visit youth hangouts such as malls, cinema complexes, and college campuses in the city. So just hang out and keep a watch.

Interestingly, the short listing process has been kept transparent. A panel of judges, consisting of well-known artistes, will select the contestants. Successful contestants will then be divided into four groups and they will get to perform live at four concerts to be held at Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Jammu.

The winners will have a chance to sing with famous Punjabi pop singers. Moreover, the finalists will perform at the final live concert, to be held at Ludhiana. The process will culminate with the selection of two winners, one each in male and female category.


Joti is GM of Upper India Grand Lodge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Bro Kapil Dev Joti was installed as Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Upper India at an impressive ceremony held at the Grand Plaza in Chandigarh by the Founder Grand Master Dr Narender Vasishta.

The meeting was attended by many eminent and senior freemasons, including Dr O.N. Kapoor, Grand Master of GL of Eastern India, Dr K.S. Thnd and Grand representatives of the Grand Lodge of South India, The Grand Lodge of Western India and also Freemasons of Northern India.

In his address Bro Kapil Dev Joti said: “Freemasonry is spread over the globe and is the world’s largest fraternal organisation of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. Freemasonry is a charitable, educational and religious society”

Dispelling a common misconception of non-freemasons that Freemasonry is a secret society, he said Freemasonry is a science by which morality is taught through symbols and traditions associated with the creation of King Solomon’s temple 3000 years ago.


A Clarification

The UT Traffic police on Saturday said that a part of the report “Price of being honest,” published in the Chandigarh Tribune today was based on wrong and exaggerated statements made by a Mohali resident, Ms Jaspreet Kaur. She had claimed in the report that she was harassed by policemen on Friday.

The police, giving its version of the incident, said Ms Jaspreet Kaur was driving the car without proper documents. She was holding a learner’s driving licence and was not being accompanied by a person (in the car) holding a valid driving licence, which is mandatory under the Motor Vehicles Act. She was not even carrying the registration certificate (RC) of the car and said it was lying in her house at Mohali.

She was asked to either arrange for the RC to be brought there or to pay the fine on the spot. After sometime, Ms Jaspreet Kaur made a call on her mobile to the SDM, Mohali, and made the Sub-Inspector Mr Chander Mohan (the challaning officer), speak to him. The SDM was told that the compounding fee for the traffic violation was Rs 600. The SDM told the SI that he was sending the compounding fee through his gunman. The police did not agree to her request to drop her at Mohali in the challaned car till the money was received. It said she was offered an alternative conveyance but she did not accept it and voluntarily remained sitting in her car.

The police has claimed that Ms Jaspreet Kaur was not harassed at all. Rather, by adopting an adamant attitude, she wasted precious time of traffic policemen.


Antim ardas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The antim ardas of hawker Sardar Hari Singh, who was killed on April 19, will be held tomorrow at Gurdwara Sahib, Sector 30-B, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. He was a member of the Samachar Patra Vikreta Sangh, according to a press note issued by the sangh.


A clarification

In the news item “Woman gang-raped ” appearing on Page 1 of the Chandigarh Tribune on Saturday, it was wrongly mentioned that the rape took place in house number 447, Sector 61. As per the police records the incident occurred in house number 457-B, Sector 61. The error is regretted.


3 cops among 6 held for duping people
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 24
Three constables of the Chandigarh Police have been arrested for allegedly luring people to circulate fake currency and then duping them. They were operating along with three other persons, who have also been arrested.

The policemen who have been arrested are Krishan Kumar (Band staff of the police), Parladh Singh (Police Lines) and Satish Kumar (PCR division). As per the police, Darshan Verma, Sanjay Kumar and Satish Goyal, used to choose a person and then convince him to circulate fake currency. They used to fix a place to deliver the same. At the time of the delivery, the three constables used to make their appearance. Afraid of being caught with fake currency, the victims either used to agree to the demands of the cops to pay money or flee from the spot.

Actually there was no fake currency involved but original currency notes on top and bottom of a wad of coloured blank papers. The timing of entry of the cops was so planned that before the victim could check the wad of “fake currency”, he was already in the “police net”.

Acting on a tip-off, the police laid down a trap and arrested all six persons. Five of them were arrested from near the K.C. Cinema hall in Sector 17 last night, while the sixth was arrested later.

Darshan Verma is a resident of Mohali, Sanjay Kumar of Panchkula and Satish Goyal of Mauli Jagran village.

All of them have booked under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC. A local court today sent them to two days police custody.

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