C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Law institute: UT told to take corrective steps
HC gives two-month ultimatum
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 14
In a judgment that is sure to leave many top officials in the UT Administration red-faced, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today termed the allotment of a prime piece of land in Sector 38-A to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited as “arbitrary, unjust, clandestine and illegal” and opposed to Article 14 of the Constitution.

Asking the UT Administrator to take “necessary corrective steps within two months”, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant also directed the Administration to ensure that allotment of public property conformed to Article 14, which dealt with equality before law.

It may be recalled that the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), had acknowledged that “corrective steps” were needed to be taken in the matter.

In a communiqué addressed to the Chief Justice, General Rodrigues had said that after going through the record of allotment of land, he had come to the conclusion that under the present circumstances, there were two options open to the Administration. These, he said, were to either cancel the allotment or let the allotment stay but charge enhanced market rate from the allottee.

This stopped the Bench from giving any clear-cut direction on the allotment of land and the onus is now on the UT Administrator to correct the wrong.

Incidentally, the judgement also referred to the audit report about the allotment, which said that the Administration suffered a loss of over 139 crore due to the irregular allotment.

However, the two judges differed on the question of locus standi of the petitioner, Mr Neeraj Sharma of Jalandhar, in filing the PIL challenging the allotment. However, Mr Justice Surya Kant, who held that the petitioner could not be held as a public spirited person at whose instance the PIL should be entertained, noted that events did not let the Bench stop proceeding further in the matter in spite of the question of locus standi.

The Chief Justice, however, held that the petitioner had locus standi and was bona fide in filing the PIL.

The Bench also said that it had full hope and trust that the UT Administrator would find out the persons responsible for the apparent act of commission; whether the act calls for disciplinary action and if it requires launching prosecution.

What had brought the case in the limelight was the fact that the directors of the private limited company that was allotted the land at “throwaway prices” included two sons of a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dr V.K. Bansal, former Chairman of the Department of Laws of Panjab University, lawyer Shailendra Jain, who is the Central Government’s standing counsel for UT.

In its detailed order, the Bench also directed the UT Administration to take a policy decision for allotment of available institutional sites to ensure that allotments were made objectively and in a transparent manner.

It also ordered that the site, the allotment of which was challenged, can be allotted by inviting applications through proper notice. But, in a major directive, the Bench ordered that the UT Administration would enforce clause 18 of the “Allotment of land to Educational institutions (Schools), etc, on leasehold basis in Chandigarh Scheme, 1996”. This means that all allottees of school sites would be required to give an undertaking within three months and in the event of their failure or reluctance to give the undertaking, the Administration can cancel the allotment.

The Bench also expressed regret over the fact that the screening committee constituted by the UT Administration “comprising senior and responsible functionaries” directly entertains applications and allot institutional sites “without following any objective criteria or policy and that too in a manner contrary to principles laid down by the Supreme Court”.



Maid jumps to death
Relatives cry foul, protests make situation tense
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 14
A maid allegedly jumped to death from the third floor of the Haryana Environmental and Public Health Officer's Co-operative Group Housing Society, Mansa Devi Complex, in Sector 5, here, this afternoon.

A resident of the Surajpur locality, Rani (40), who was serving as a part-time maid at three flats of the society, reportedly jumped from the balcony of a flat no 303 on the third floor of a block of the society at about 12 noon.

The woman had been to the flat for a second time today. The flat was owned by Ms Kaushal Varmani. Mother of two, Rani reportedly told her mistress that she was not feeling well and going to die.

The incident occurred when Ms Varmani and her son Mr Saurabh Varmani, a car financer, were at home.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mrs Varmani said, "Rani opened the door of a room and rushed towards the balcony. She climbed upon the iron railing at the balcony and while was about to jump I caught her."

“I called my son, who was in another room, for help. Saurabh caught her from her clothes but Rani slipped and fell on a concrete surface at the ground floor as her clothes failed to bear her body weight,” claimed Ms Varmani.

According to the security guard at the main gate of the society, he rushed towards the spot after hearing shrieks of the woman.

He revealed that Saurabh was trying to save the lady by hold her from shoulders of her clothes.

"Hardly had I reached right underneath the balcony to catch her, Rani dropped from the third floor and died on the spot, " he claimed.

According to residents of the society, Rani had been working as a maid at flat nos 101 and 401 also of the same society. She had recently started working with flat no 303.

The residents of the area subsequently called the police. Mr Ashok Bakshi, Station House Officer (SHO), Sector 5 police station, reached the spot and inspected the site after taking the body in custody.

The body remained lying at the site for over four hours as it took a long time to locate the home and family members of the deceased.

The situation outside the society became tense as scores of residents from the Surajpur locality reached the society and protested against the Varmani family. The family members, including Mr Rajan, husband of Rani and Mr Harbansh Lal, brother, alleged that Rani was murdered.

They also alleged that Rani was forcibly pushed off by her masters and demanded a case of murder to be registered against them.

Mr S.P. Ranga, Superintendent of Panchkula police, had to deploy additional force under the supervision of Mr Vijinder Singh, DSP, at the spot to avoid any untoward incident.

The body was later sent to the General Hospital, Sector 6, for postmortem examination.

Mr Ranga said the SHO of the concerned police station had been asked to investigate the matter properly and registered a case on the complaint of Rani's family members.



Another sleazy MMS doing rounds
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
While the Chandigarh Police is groping in the dark about the origin of a sleazy MMS, another has come into circulation apparently featuring a city-based student.

The 19-second porn MMS clip shows the disapproval of the girl who seemed to have been filmed in the act without her knowledge. The girl is shown angry as she apparently came to know that she had been caught on a camera.

The sources claimed that there were a few people in the city who could recognise the girl. This clip has also been doing rounds simultaneously with the one that was earlier reported by the media.

Inquiries from the video parlours revealed that a large number of MMS clips are coming from CDs made for foreign markets. These CDs are made with a promise that they would not be shown in the domestic market. The sources said the amount offered for porn films to couples and lovers was usually very hefty along with a promise that they would not be shown in India.

The amount offered to Indian couples in the international market is increasing by the day as porn films featuring Indian girls are attracting a very heavy market price in the Gulf countries. A CD featuring an Indian girl could fetch upto Rs 1,200 in the Gulf, sources told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.

Porn CDs featuring amateur couples are prized higher than those showing professionals. These CDs travel back to India either through porn websites or are smuggled from Gulf countries. Their shooting is done in India but dubbing and editing is done abroad, the sources said.

Surprisingly, these CDs made for foreign market come back to India apparently because of their capacity to generate money in the local market and if these get a mention in the media, ratings of such CDs go high and a spurt in demand is communicated to Delhi, which makes more copies of such CDs immediately. Interestingly, the CD of Jammu beauty queen was also sold in Chandigarh passing of her as a local girl. Two years back, this CD was sold for even Rs 500 in Chandigarh.

Sources in the video parlours say that as per information level there are boys who woo girls, spend lavishly on them to win their confidence and shoot them in the act subsequently. These CDs are sold in lakhs. The boys in this trade are relatively safe as their identity is not disclosed in such CDs.



Chandigarh seeks Rs 202 cr in Budget
Infrastructure to handle flooding, power supply to be improved
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The growing demand for power and the impact of floods in the last monsoon has forced the Chandigarh Administration to seek more funds under the next year’s Budget to add infrastructure to handle flooding and streamlining the power supply system in the city.

The demand is part of the ‘plan budget’ which is meant specifically for development and upgrading. In all, Chandigarh has sought Rs 202 crore for the coming financial year. The amount is around Rs 14 crore more than that for the ongoing year. The demand has been sent to the Union Finance Ministry and is likely to be accepted as Chandigarh is a revenue-surplus state.

Out of Rs 202 crore, the Administration has sought Rs 3 crore for upgrading power supply and Rs 4.35 crore for flood control. In the ongoing financial year, money sanctioned was Rs 2 crore and Rs 1.54 crore for power, and flood control, respectively.

Flood control is a major challenge. It may be recollected that on August 3 last year, the army had to be called in and boats were used to rescue people in low-lying areas of Chandigarh like Mauli Jagran.

A portion of Rs 4.35 crore will be used for the laying of a treated water supply network which is expected to reduce the use of drinking water for irrigation purposes.

Another major demand made by the Administration relates to funds needed for roads and bridges. With this, the capital outlay for the new urban project will jump from Rs 34.90 crore to Rs 45.50 crore. About Rs 18 crore have been sought for roads and bridges.

Since major roads in southern part of the city need to be widened, there was a need for money, explained sources. Moreover, new roads, like the one leading to the Information Technology Park, have to come up.

The demand for more money has also been made for education. The demand is about Rs 2 crore more than what was given this year. The Administration has asked for Rs 18.73 crore for general education (for schools and colleges). A sum of Rs 4.97 crore has been sought for technical education.

The only major reduction in demand is under the water supply and sanitation head. The amount sanctioned under the head for the ongoing year was Rs 32.94 crore, while this year only Rs 15.09 crore have been sought. The reduction has been made as this year a sum of Rs 11 crore had been specifically passed on as payment to be made to Punjab for the ongoing work on drawing more water from the Bhakra main line canal.

For the next year, a sum of Rs 14 out of Rs 15 crore has been earmarked for upgrading the water supply system. This will also include the ongoing work of phase IV of the drinking water supply from the Bhakra main line canal. The work on this is on and is expected to be completed in the next six to eight months.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation has reportedly proposed a budget of Rs 152.11 crore under the head of non-plan expenditure for the coming financial year.

The matter comes up before the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) for detailed discussion on Wednesday. The proposal cleared will be taken up by the House later this month before being forwarded to the UT Administration.

The members of the (F&CC) include Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, Mr Subhash Chawla, Ms Lalit Joshi, Mr Vijay Rana, Brig Sant Singh and Mr P.C. Sanghi, all councillors.

The planned budget has asked for Rs 58.32 crore under the planned expenditure head.

The city wants...

  • Rs 4.35 crore for flood protection and upgrading of storm water system.
  • Rs 3 crore for power supply infrastructure.
  • Rs 50 lakh for high-powered fire fighting snorkel.
  • Rs 18 crore for widening roads.
  • Rs 18 crore for education.



Forensic science can help nab ‘VIP’ criminals
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
With criminalisation of politics and politicisation of crime taking toll on criminal justice system, the newly acquired forensic science knowledge has armed the investigating agencies with latest techniques to deal with ‘VIP’ criminals whom policemen dare not touch.

Brain fingerprinting (a more sophisticated tool than polygraph test) and narco analysis (drugging the suspect with truth serum to extract truth) are now admissible in courts as evidence and could be effective against ‘VIP’ criminals who could not be handled with conventional interrogation, Dr Jogi Ram Gaur, a three-time national forensic science award winner, told The Tribune here recently.

The acquisition of new forensic weapons assume importance in the wake of even the Government of India showing its helplessness in dealing with the situation in an affidavit filed before the apex court of the country.

Dr Jogi Ram, who has handled 11000 forensic cases and examined hundreds of crime scenes, said there were world class brain fingerprinting facilities available in Bangalore and for narco-analysis, the Ahmedabad lab has earned a reputation.

The Director of the Himachal State Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Dr. Gaur said while polygraph test was admissible as a corroborative evidence, narco analysis (a kind of sedative-induced hypnotism) was admissible as evidence.

Dr Gaur said an international forensic science journal had reported a case in which the suspect admitted to the crime, narrated the sequence and even went into his past life to reveal most hidden facts of life.

Corruption and wrong framing of the suspects could easily be stopped with the help of forensic science as the VIPs would now fear collection of evidence even without their arrest and questioning. Even investigating agencies may feel constrained as unless evidence is supported by scientific opinion and something on shady witnesses may not prove its point in the courts.

The forensic expert said that unfortunately, the investigating agencies were referring only between 10 and 12 per cent of cases to the laboratories in the best scenario and in case of the worst situation only 2 to 3 per cent cases were handed over to the forensic experts.

He said that as the police found it difficult to rope in witnesses in the wake of a poor police-public relation, forensic science could boost the rate of success of prosecution and there were very few chances of miscarriage of justice.

Dr Gaur said forensic science was a powerful tool against cyber crime which had a global dimension as well as against sophisticated criminals as crime in these fields could conclusively be detected by forensic science.



BJP councillors to quit MC panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Alleging discrimination in the constitution of committees of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) by the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, the BJP councillors today decided to resign from the committees.

Announcing the decision here today, the president of party's local unit, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, and former Mayor Kamla Sharma, alleged that the councillors were not taken into confidence by the Mayor before being nominated to various panels.

Moreover, no criteria had been followed in the formation of the committees with the result that while a majority of the Congress councillors had been included in three committees, the Opposition councillors were part of only one or two panels, Mr Mahajan added.

Ms Kamla Sharma, leader of the Opposition in the MCC, said she had been included in the Environment and City Beautification Committee and the Fire Services Committee.

Being a former Mayor, her services could have been utilised in a better way after her consent.

Similarly, though the BJP was opposed to the property tax yet the name of the party councillor, Mr Rajesh Gupta, figured in the House Tax Assessment Committee. The BJP leaders demanded that the committees should be reconstituted in a transparent way.



New drug molecules cleared for clinical trials
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 14
Indian pharmaceutical units have discovered 15 new drug molecules in the past one year. These molecules have been cleared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for the first phase of clinical trials.

Dr N.K. Ganguly, Director General, ICMR, who is heading the New Drug Application Committee that grants permission to pharmaceutical companies to go ahead with clinical trials, said the four phases of clinical trials would end in the next five years and drugs based on these molecules can be expected to be in the market in seven years from now.

The new drug molecules discovered include anti-tuberculosis, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic molecules. One is for psoriasis. It would be made available by the company both in the herbal and chemical forms. Another molecule would be useful in lipid lowering in cardiac patients. All these drugs have great potential and have been patented,” he said.

Dr Ganguly said the Government of India had ventured into partnerships with international pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the anti cancer and the anti HIV vaccines were made available to the Indian patient whenever these entered the international markets.

Dr Ganguly stressed that the Government of India was putting a large amount of effort in making available drugs at affordable cost.

“We are trying to make sure that new drugs are made available to the Indian markets at the same time as these are made available abroad. Secondly, the drugs that are available abroad but are expensive to get in India should be brought to the Indian markets. We are also trying to access global funds like the Bill Gates Foundation for various TB and HIV programmes,” he said.

Dr Ganguly informed The Tribune that the Bill Gates Foundation would be funding provision of drugs for kala azar patients in India.

“A new but very expensive drug Miltofocin which was earlier available only in select nations would now be given to our patients. Other than this, two back-up or rescue drugs for these patients are also being made available,” he said.

Stating that it was a matter of pride for the indigenous pharma industry, Dr Ganguly added that the industry had been, in the past five years, managed to create an environment that had encouraged indigenous drug discoveries.

“Also it won’t be long when the Indian pharmaceutical companies would penetrate the globally competitive pharmaceutical world,” he said.

Dr Ganguly was here to participate in a workshop organized at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) today.



Dr Karan Singh expresses concern over erosion of values in society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Girls have far outdone boys in number of medal winners at the 54th annual convocation of Panjab University here today. More than 75 per cent of the total 139 medal winners were girls.

Out of 329 students who received their degrees, as many as 226 were girls. The university conferred three D Litt (honoris causa) degrees on outstanding personalities in their respective fields. These included Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Vice-Chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board, Mr Ashwani Kumar, a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Mr T.N.Chaturvedi, Governor of Karnataka. Dr Karan Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, delivered the convocation address. Prof Paramjit Singh, Registrar, proclaimed the conferment of degrees while Prof K.N.Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, conferred the degrees.

As many as 190 students were conferred the degrees of PhD. The faculty of languages topped the list of doctorate degrees with 61 scholars and the faculty of Engineering and Technology had only two. Dr Ram Sharma, a physically handicapped, was the only one to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature.

Delivering the convocation address, Dr Karan Singh said “ I am not worried about external forces. Punjabis and Dogras are sufficient to defend the barriers of the country. I am concerned about the erosion of values in our society from within. There is too much of negativism around and the factors of casteism, communalism and corruption continue to push our country backwards.”

Dr Karan Singh said” our nation was supposed to be based on principles of truth as told in our religious texts. At the moment the country is sinking in a morass of corruption”.

Education has a very big role to play in the reversal to good values and students graduating today should consciously take over the reigns of tomorrow. The time calls for an invigorated renaissance.

Dr Karan Singh spoke extempore unlike the usual scripts of convocation addresses being circulated well before the speaker took to the dais. He quoted Upanishad and other religious texts at random to support his arguments.

Dr Karan Singh had earlier delivered the convocation address in the university in 1971.

The MP said instead of delivering “a long lecture on what you should do I will like to ask you six questions which you need to answer yourself. The meaning of my talk will be conveyed.”

He asked “has your education developed your physical strength? Has your education developed you intellectually? Has it helped you in developing emotional stability? Have you developed aesthetic beauty? Have you absorbed socially desired values? and have you identified or developed your spiritual centre?”

Dr Karan Singh explained in brief that “ if you are strong your mental faculties will be stronger. One should be open to new ideas and develop the faculty to sieve the best. Emotional stability is greatly missing in the current world of a rat race.

Aesthetic sensibility is a rare quality among humans. One should learn to be answerable and feel responsible for society around. Developing spiritual sensibility will explain why life should be more than merely a journey from womb to tomb”.

For parents who could not find entry inside the auditorium,. the university installed television sets and speakers in the block of the University Business School and Arts Block IV.



Passing Thru

Pradeep Medhi
Pradeep Medhi,
a devotional singer
from Maharashtra

Where are you based and for how many years you have been into devotional singing?

I am based at Shirdi (Amednagar district), Maharashtra, which is a famous pilgrimage place. I have been into bhajan singing for nearly two decades.

Have you sung for Hindi films also?

I am restricted only to spiritual singing and till date I have recited only bhajan related to Shirdi Sai Baba. The music for bhajan have been rendered by Sudarshan of Mumbai.

How many cassettes of yours have been released?

Till day, more than 11 solo and duet cassettes of various bhajan and aarti have been released by different music companies which also have singers like Anuradha Paudal and Suresh Wadkar. Another cassette in Telugu with singer B.S. Balasubramanium will be released shortly. A few of my cassettes like “Sai ke Charno Mein” sold a few lakhs.

What do you think of future of devotional cassettes?

Not only in India, but abroad also people have asked for cassettes and CDs of bhajan, mainly NRIs in the USA, UK.

What was the purpose of your visit to Chandigarh?

I came at the invitation of Shirdi Sai Samaj, Sector 29, for reciting bhajan. This was my first visit to city.

Arvind Katyal



Chandigarh Calling

THE spring showers over, the city got ready for a sunny Basant Panchami on Sunday. The festival is symbolised by the flying of colourful kites to mark the end of a harsh winter.

However, with changing times kites seem to have vanished from the nooks and corners of the city and is no longer popular with the youngsters. So one has to really go looking through the Janata markets for the guddis, as the kites are called in Punjabi. Some old Punjabi song have celebrated the kite and the kite-flying: Ni tu patli-patang/ Tera peela-peela rang/ Gudiye ni gudiye... Trust the Indian imagination that feminises an object like the kite to bring it alive or takes it up to great philosophical heights. A Hindi film song of yesteryear sang of the kite as life while the kite-flyer was given the status of God_ Yeh duniya patang, Nit badale yeh rang, Koi jaane na udaane wala kaun hai…

However, the city folk rose to celebrate the festival, of course not with the same enthusiasm as it is done in Lahore, in their own small ways. A petrol station in Sector 21 was bedecked with kites and the Basant Utsav in the Leasure Valley was quite a draw. Several religious functions also marked the festival in temples and gurdwaras where havans were performed and langars held.

Happy coincidence

It was a happy coincidence that Basant Panchami fell on the same day as the birthday of famed Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Using the ornate metaphor of the Urdu tradition he conveyed the sentiments of a revolution to change the unequal social order and bring attention to the plight of the downtrodden. Sahir Ludhianvi was greatly inspired to pen his verses in the progressive tradition established by Faiz.

Recalling this Aquarian poet who had dreams of changing the world, some of the old-time city journalists recalled his visit to the city in the late seventies. The journalists had organised a special evening at the Press Club, where among others young Ratnika Tewari sang his ghazals.

Faiz used to be at his witty best and when someone asked him about the influence his poetry had on Sahir, pat came the reply, “Well you said it but recently in Bombay people told me that my verses were inspired by the film songs of Sahir.” This because Sahir had become a famous lyricist.

Touch of class

The 54th annual convocation of Panjab University on Monday had to it a touch of class. This because of the presence of Dr Karan Singh, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). Students and teachers took delight in listening to him. He showed his flourish at oratory by delivering an extempore speech instead of the usual practice of a typed out convocation address distributed well before hand. Dr Kartan Singh’s speech was most inspiring as he laid emphasis on the total personality development of the youth. In the process he quoted liberally from the Upanishadas, the Bhagvadgita and other religious books. He had earlier delivered the convocation address at Panjab University way back in 1971. Interested listeners could be seen watching television sets specially installed in classrooms of blocks adjoining the auditorium.

Learning and earning

Here is a little story that pampered children of affluent homes could learn a lesson or two from. See the picture above of five-year old Nitish doing his homework out in the greens by the roadside. Nitish is a student of N.S. Tagore Model School in Kajehri. His father ekes out a living by selling sweets and cigarettes on the pavement. The poor man has no one to help him. So after school Nitish lends a helping hand to his father. This gives a chance to Nitish’s father to go and attend to some other work or take rest. Nitish then does the business and when there are no customers he opens his books and completes his homework. Nitish says, “Sunday is the most busy day for me. We get more customers and I get no time to play marbles with my friends,’ he says with a smile. However, this business of learning and earning at the same time is making him a happy and confident little boy.

The same story

The false tales that beggars fabricate to draw sympathy and money have made the people of the city a bit wary. Here is a first-person account from a man who had this strange encounter. Walking through Sector 35, a beggar woman came to him pleading for money as according to her an older relative had died. Just 50 steps away he came across another woman with the same story. He did not believe it and walked away. But when a third woman came to him begging again in a few minutes, he asked her to show him the corpse. The beggar were not prepared for this and slipped away. After a while he saw all three trying to extract money from another person. This time he lost his patience and scolded them. The women fled in fear. So when someone tells a pitiful tale, it makes sense to get to the truth of the matter so that someone who is actually in need of money is not turned away.

Stray dog menace

Sector 20 is one of the most crowded sectors in the city. However, the human beings there seem to be outnumbered by stray dogs. These dogs, who come out in the night to take over the streets, have made it difficult for the residents to move about after dark. Pedestrians have a tough time as the dogs bark at them menacingly. Those driving vehicles too are given a tough chase by the hounds. A number of accidents have also occurred because of this. The residents of the sector have made several complaints to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) but nothing has been done so far to check the menace. Well, it certainly is a dog’s life here.


People have a way of making jokes of abbreviations and their full forms. The abbreviation for the word ‘mad’ by those who like a method in madness is ‘My Adorable Darling’. That for the commonly hurled insult of ‘stupid’, a few hours away in the Capital, is Smart, Talented and Unique Person in Delhi. And now hear what a local SMS message says: Kuch bhi karo ab yeh desh SMS ke bina nahi chalega.

SMS bole to S=Sardar, M=Manmohan, S=Singh. So now we are getting politically savvy in mobile times!

— Sentinel



Age no bar, it is Valentine’s Day
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, February 14
Hundreds of couples, youngsters and the aged celebrated Valentine’s Day with zeal which was unmatched in many senses. Dressed up in their finest clothes, they tried
to enjoy every moment of the day. City hotels, pubs discotheques were tastefully decorated.

More than one lakh roses and thousand of bouquets were reportedly sold in the city, resulting in hike in the prices of flowers.

Gift shops also did a roaring business. Strict security arrangements were made at several places in the city to avoid incidents of molestation and harassment, especially near girls colleges. Policemen in khaki and in plain clothes kept an eye on street Romeos.

However, many youngsters were be seen on the ‘geri route’ as the day progressed. Gardens of the city hosted lovers who were hunting for space to be on their own.

It was fun time for Panjab University students as no classes were held today. The Student Centre was full of lovebirds, but as usual outsiders were seen more.

Many girls of MCM College were seen regretting that the Valentine’s Day fell on Monday as they were constrained to wear white suits, their dress code on Monday. Their wish to be at their glamorous best remained unfulfilled this year.

Many couples had to stick to chatting through the internet. SMS was another common mode used to convey love.

Meanwhile, the police, which had vowed to check Valentines, had to relent before the mounting pressure from businessmen today.

The Chandigarh Police had made an elaborate bandobast to check cupid's dart arrows but later had submit to a protest from shopkeepers who were badly affected by the police arrangements.

As many as 200 police personnel had been deployed on the 'geri route' (between Mountview small roundabout and the new PGI OPD). Colleges, schools and university too wore a look of cantonment.

The policemen had been deployed at 7 am at the route but they had to buckle under pressure from the shopkeepers of Sector 10 market who almost came to streets at 10 am.

DSP (Central) S. C. Sagar had to reach the spot and lift the ban on the movement of traffic.

The pickets put up to block the road were then utilised into random checking of documents and youths who were carrying balloons.

The police impounded a car bearing a West Bengal registration number and a mobile. Nintysix persons were booked for violating traffic rules.

Though the businessmen got a reprieve from the police but the market still could not do a roaring business apparently because of the police announcement of blocking the road.

Inquiries from florists and balloon vendors revealed that they could not do much business in the market otherwise considered to be most active on the Valentine's Day.

True to their character, lovers, however, gave the police and the skeptics a slip and gathered in large number in the Rose Garden and Shanti Kunj apart from the Sector 17 Plaza where florists and balloon vendors did a brisk business. 



MLA’s Valentine’s Day gift to school
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 14
It was a unique Valentine’s Day. The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, handed over a cheque of Rs 10 lakh to the students of Government Senior Secondary Girls School, Sohana, here today.

Thrilled students and teachers could not believe that such a generous amount would be coming their way during the annual prize distribution ceremony held at the school today.

Quoting a poem pasted on a self-made card, the MLA said: “As your valentine, I wish you all to carry forward this legacy of love and affection that we all share. That when you, my daughters, grow up as strong successful and loving adults, you should be the pillars of strength and courage for the ones who yearn for it.”

Stating that he had visited the school last year on this very day, Mr Bir Devinder Singh pointed out that it was then just a matter of chance. “But I adopted it as my valentine. Valentine is the one you have love and affection for and for me this school is special. I have always been moved by the qualities like sacrifice and fortitude which our daughters imbibe from the Indian culture and I beseech the blessings of God to enable me to do my bit in improving the conditions they live in,” he said.

Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, Mohali, also spoke on the occasion. 



Students celebrate Valentine’s Day
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 14
Students and staff members of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology celebrated Valentine’s Day here today.

The students danced to Punjabi songs. The college authorities gave titles to the best students on the occasion, Ms Gurpreet Kaur, Dean, Cultural Affairs, said.



City Park ready for inauguration
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 14
This year, spring in Mohali is bound to be special. Come March and the much awaited City Park, spread over 18 acres of land in Sector 68 would be thrown open to the public. Already blooming with a thousand flowers, the city park is an undertaking of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and one of its kind in the state.

The Phase I of the park is ready for inauguration includes a host of facilities for the visitors.

An open air theatre with stage and green rooms having a sitting capacity of 400 persons has been constructed in an area of 8000 sq ft. Other than an open theatre, an open circular amphi-theatre has been constructed with a circular stage in the center and sitting arrangement all around for holding musical concerts, dances etc. The capacity of this amphitheater is 300.

A water body complete with lights and fountains is the main attraction of the park. Two fountains each going up to 60 feet high and some low fountains are now functional. Located within water channels which are laid with water coloured mosaic tiles, these fountains give a rainbow effect.

The main gates of the City Park have been provided with a 20 feet high arched roof beautifully laid with ashler stone masonry to give a majestic look to the park. Eight feet wide serpentine concrete pavements have been laid all across the park for walkers. The PUDA Logo in black granite and red stone has been put at the entrance of the park.

The foundation stone of Phase II of the park was laid down recently. Phase II would have among other facilities, a lake and a waterfall.



Damaged railings: no action yet
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 14
Even after a week of Chandigarh Tribune highlighting the gross violation of traffic rules by motorists at the illegal opening along the Chandigarh-Zirakpur stretch of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, the authorities concerned have hardly woken up from their slumber.

While the officials of the UT Administration, the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) and the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat have been ignoring this problem leaving the motorists and the general public at the mercy of God, some private companies, however, have come forward and replaced some damaged barriers and railings on the road dividers.

They have got an opportunity to display their advertisement boards at these spots after the problem was highlighted by the Chandigarh Tribune on February 8 in a photo feature.

These illegal crossings have become death traps on the highway and have claimed number of lives in the past one year.

Interestingly, the PPWD authorities have put a zebra crossing at an opening on the highway which was used by vehicles.



Discount shop raises police’s eyebrows
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
The police has started flashing warning signals to public on the local cable TV network against a shopkeeper in Haripur, Sector 4, who is selling electronic and other household goods at 50 per cent discount.

Claiming that they could not take any other action against the accused as he had filed a civil suit in a local court, seeking restraint on the police from arresting him, the police have started running a notice on cable network.

The notice warned public that they were buying things at their own risk, as he was selling goods at prices less than material cost.

Police officials said that action could be taken only if there was a complaint of fraud committed by the company.

The shop, Ganesh Home Appliances, Haripur, had been selling household items at a 50 per cent discount. The shop was offering washing machines of a reputed multinational company for Rs 4000, while Nokia 6600 mobile hand set was available for Rs 6800. A glass top table was available for Rs 850.

The visitors to the shop were asked to deposit the money as booking amount and the delivery of items would be made after 18 days. Because of the heavy discount offered, a large number of people were making a beeline for the shop.

The shopkeepers said the discount on the goods was for a limited period till March 20, and only for publicity of the shop.



TRIPS may lead to drug monopoly: expert
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 14
“A major cause of concern for the developing countries was that in view of technological advantages of the developed countries and protection offered under trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS), public health issues would be seriously affected as drugs would be monopolized and their prices would rise,” said Dr P. Rama Rao, Director, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here today.

Dr Rao was speaking at a workshop organised at the institute to seek inputs on the impact of TRIPS with specific focus on pharmaceutical prices in India. The workshop was held under work plan of the WHO Biennium 2004-2005 and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

With effect from Jan 1, 2005, the product patents have come into force in India. This marked the culmination of a 10-year transition period, which began when India signed the TRIPS agreement in 1995.

A systematic study is being conducted by NIPER, under which it is proposed to study the various aspects of the TRIPS agreement, analyse its impact on the pharmaceutical prices in India and suggest remedial measures, if any.

This workshop marked the beginning of the study by NIPER. The present workshop is an input workshop whereby experts from all over the country are invited to give their suggestions and views on the subject.

Prominent speakers on the occasion were Dr N.K. Ganguly, Director-General, ICMR, Dr Nityanand, Ex-Director, CDRI, Dr H.R. Bhojwani, Advisor to the Minister of State for Science and Technology, New Delhi, Dr Amarjit Singh, Sun Pharma, Dr H.P.S. Chawla, Unimark Remedies, Dr Dinesh Abrol (NISTAD), Dr Amitava Guha (FMRAI), Dr A.D. Damodaran, IPR Consultant, Dr G. Wakankar (IDMA), Prof A.K. Gupta (PGIMER) and Dr Amit Sengupta, Delhi Science Forum. Concluding remarks were delivered by Dr Naresh Kumar, IMTECH, Chandigarh.

The workshop also had participants from related ministries, pharma industry, drug procurement agencies, policy makers, IPR professionals, legal personnel, regulatory authorities and others.

As part of its efforts to stimulate discussion on the subject, key background reference literature covering IPR/medicines/drug pricing related issues was made freely available to all participants and experts.

It was not possible to immediately provide a judgement as to whether the TRIPS agreement is having a positive, negative or no effect on the pharmaceutical prices in India.



SAD (L) protest rally on Feb 25
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
The SAD (Longowal) will be organising a protest in Ludhiana on February 25 in connection with various issues faced by the state.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the party, said issues like imposition of taxes on traders and farmers in Punjab, two toll tax barriers at a distance of 70 km, privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board, hike in power rates, compensation for damage caused by hailstorm, etc would be highlighted at the rally.

He said a plan would be drawn up to stage a protest against the privatisation of sugar mills. Opposing the new purchase policy of the Central government, Mr Chandumajra said the government was conspiring to wind up the FCI which would result in unemployment.



Fauji Beat
War widows’ relief of misery

WITH the bodies of soldiers coming from Jammu and Kashmir regularly, the number of war widows is increasing in the country with every passing day. The number of was widows in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, which was 70 at the end of the Kargil war, has swelled to nearly 400 now.

Financial relief to the widows was substantially increased during the Kargil war. It ranges from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh from various sources. This has added to the woes of the war widows. The in-laws, in most cases, want that this money should remain in their family.

To ensure this, they force the widows to marry the younger brothers of their husbands against their wishes. In some cases, widows had to marry brothers-in-law who were several years younger to them.

This problem had accentuated during the Kargil war, resulting in unending family feuds. There were many parents of war heroes who complained of being totally ignored by the government while giving the financial benefits due to their martyred sons.

In some case, where parents were not self-sustaining, a percentage of the benefits was given to them. But such cases keep coming up as more and more casualties occur in the proxy war. This problem needs to be solved by the government.

Duping in Army recruitment

Corruption is rampant in almost all spheres in the country. Even recruitment to various organisations is affected by this menace. Army recruitment, too, has a share of this malady. There have been cases in the past where the recruiting staff at many stations had been caught accepting money from touts. The Army has tried hard to plug all loopholes in recruitment.

This effort has shown good results. However, incidents of duping of Army aspirants are still coming to notice off and on.

The Pathankot police had arrested two civilians the other day who tried to hoodwink Nishu Kumar and Rakesh Kumar. After being selected in the physical test at Mamun cantonment, they went for medical examination to the Military Hospital, Pathankot. It was there that one of the two cheats asked them to pay Rs 45,000 each, if they wanted to get selected. Subsequently, they appeared for the written test at Ferozepore. Thereafter, the cheat came to their home, repeated his offer and took away the cards issued to them by the Army.

When both of them got selected, the trickster refused to return their cards unless they paid Rs 45,000 each. One of the selected recruits paid Rs 30,000 to him, but he refused to return his card until he paid the entire amount. It was then that both recruits contacted the police and got him arrested while accepting the balance amount.

Navy Queen contest

Armed forces officers’ daughters have been leading in beauty contests in India as well as abroad. At a Navy Queen contest organised by the Indian Navy in Mumbai recently, 42 women took part. It was an impressive show. The judges shortlisted 10 finalists after a hectic competition.

The finals were held at the Naval Command Officers’ Mess in Colaba, at which Sonia Suri was crowned the Navy Queen. Zaver Shroff and Daljit Kaur were the first and second runners-up, respectively.

Cars from CSD

Earlier, buyers of motor cycles, through the Canteen Stores Department (CSD), had complained that dealers were asking them to pay Rs 1, 000 as their commission. Now purchasers of cars through the CSD have comp up with a similar complaint that dealers were asking them to pay Rs 10,000 as their charges.

Defence personnel are once again reminded that they do not have to pay anything to the dealers.

— Pritam Bhullar



Basant Panchmi celebrated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 14
The Department of Music, Panjab University, organised a colourful function today in connection with Basant Panchmi.

Prof Pradeep Kumar Dixit, a scholar and a former professor in the faculty of Performing Arts, Banaras Hindu University, was the chief guest.

Mr Harjit Singh performed on the tabla while raga bahar and hindola-bahar were presented by Hemraj, a research scholar.



Eminent litterateur dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
Eminent litterateur, Dr Govindnath Rajguru died of cardiac arrest at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, last evening. He was 84.

Born in 1924, Dr Rajguru had served as Chairman of Central College for Women, Lahore, and as Principal of Daryakha Sanskrit College, prior to Independence. Post Independence, he served in various colleges at Punjab and later taught Hindi at Panjab University, Chandigarh. He had written papers in Hindi, Punjabi. 



SAD leader bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Sant Singh Minhas, father of the president of the local unit of the SAD, Mr N.S. Minhas, died here today due to cardiac arrest. He was 84.

At a meeting here, the local SAD unit paid tributes to him. He is survived by his wife, a son and three daughters.

His cremation was attended, among others, by the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain.



500 cases of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
The Panchkula Excise Department has seized 500 cases of liquor which were being transported in a Hisar-bound truck.

The truck driver, Kirpal Singh, has been arrested. The truck (PB12B 8047), according to sources was coming from Mohali and going to Hisar. It was checked by officials of the department near Ramgarh this evening.

A case under various sections of the Excise Act has been registered.



Fortythree arrested for loitering
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
As many as 43 persons moving about in the town under suspicious circumstances were arrested by the police. They were remanded in police custody for one day by the local SDM today.

The SP, Mr Rakesh Agrawal, said the arrested persons were neither living in Mohali or Chandigarh nor working here.

So it was suspected that they were moving about only with an aim of committing a theft. They have been arrested from different parts of the town.

He said they had been booked under Section 109 of the CrPC. The police is questioning them.



Thief held with iron plates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police has arrested an iron shuttering plates thief who has reportedly admitted to having stolen 32 plates from Sieuj village in Himachal Pradesh and planning to sell them in Chandigarh.

Ram Kumar Thakur, a resident of Himachal Pradesh, was caught along with a vehicle (HP-63- 0844) while keeping the plates in a deserted area behind the PGI.

He also admitted to more thefts but the police had to abandon its recovery of the stolen property as there was heavy snow in the upper hills of Himachal where Thakur had hidden the stolen material.



Insurance policies to be available at post offices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Insurance policies, which could be procured from the offices of the insurance companies or the commission agents will now also be available at the counters of various post offices just like stamps and post cards. The Department of Posts has entered into a partnership with the Oriental Insurance Company for the sale of non life insurance policies through the post offices.

Inaugurating the counter at the GPO, Chandigarh, the Chief Postmaster General, Punjab and Chandigarh, Mr L.K. Puri, said as many as 11 products of Oriental Insurance would be available at these counters.

The network of outlets at the designated post offices will help reach maximum number of people, he added. The Department of Posts will get commission at the rate of 15 per cent of the premium collected.

The purchasers of 11 policies for insurance of vehicles were issued cover notes by Mr L.K. Puri on the spot and a premium of Rs 5,497 was collected against the issuance of these policies.

The scheme was initially started in the Amritsar Head Post Office on experimental basis on January 11, 2005, and a premium of Rs 2,889 was collected against the issue of 22 policies. Keeping in view the good response, the scheme, he said, was being extended to 10 post offices simultaneously. These are Ropar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Batala, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Jalandhar Cantt, Nawanshahr, Ludhiana and Patiala.

Mr Puri said the remaining head post offices and post offices located at tehsil headquarters will also be covered soon.

Mr G.C. Gaylong, Regional Manager, Oriental Insurance Co Ltd and Mr Nirmaljit Singh, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Chandigarh, were also present on the occasion. 



A stitch in time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
A stitch in time not only saves nine but can also be a sincere expression of love by women who have through the ages been embroidering dreams on fabric. A fine example of this can be seen at an exhibition of Arpana handicrafts at Chandigarh from February 16 to18 of handicrafts fashioned by the rural women.

The exhibition named ‘Stitches of Love’ at house number 34, Sector 9, will be followed by a two-day sale at SCF 41, Sector 7, Panchkula, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on February 19 and 20. All the proceeds from the sales will go to charity.

Arpana is a charitable organisation situated at Madhuban in Karnal. It is engaged in a variety of voluntary activities in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi.



No dearth of coins, says RBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clarified that there is no dearth of coins of any denomination and people should not accept other goods in return for the balance amount due to them, says press note.

It has also reiterated that coins of all denominations are legal tender.

The RBI has come across reports and has also received complaints that traders and shopkeepers are reluctant to return change on grounds of the non-availability of coins, particularly, of 25 and 50 paisa denominations.

The RBI is facing the problem of reverse flow of coins, ie people are returning coins, it says.


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