C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Strike by MC, UT Admn staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Employees of the Municipal Corporation (MC) and the UT Administration staged a day-long strike here today.
Employees working in the field in different departments of the CTU, public health, electricity, horticulture, housing board, general hospitals and sewerage staged a dharna and took out a rally at the Sector 17 Matka Chowk to press for their demands.

At least 100 employees of the CTU courted arrest when they were being addressed by the convener of the co-ordination committee of government and MC employees and UT workers at the bus depot in the Industrial Area.

They were kept at the police station in Industrial Area, Phase I, and released later in the afternoon.

The MC and UT employees had been staging a protest for the past 15 months and their chain fast today entered the 479th day. The employees had been demanding Central Government service conditions and bonus.

Addressing the rally, CITU vice-president Ragunath Singh urged upon Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal to get approval of the Home Ministry.

The rally was also addressed by leaders of unions of various departments supporting their cause.

Despite the strike, work in various departments was not affected badly as the employees who went on strike were field workers.

The MC had made arrangements to ensure that the strike had minimum effect on its functioning.



Zakir, Surinder Kaur do city proud
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
The city sat up and rejoiced as two of its eminent artistes - litterateur Kashmir Lal Zakir and folk singer Surinder Kaur - were honoured with the Padma Shri by the President of India today. Announced earlier, the awards were given away at a glittering ceremony held in New Delhi.

While Zakir, the eminent educationist and literary icon from Chandigarh, was selected for the coveted award for his unparalleled contribution to the field of literacy and Urdu, Surinder Kaur was rewarded for enriching the world of Punjabi folk singing with her rustic presentations and repertoire.

For K.L. Zakir, the award is recognition of his crusade against illiteracy. As Chairman of the Janshikshan Sansthan and secretary of Haryana Urdu Akademy, octogenarian K.L. Zakir continues to add to his literary corpus.

He has over 100 literary classic creations to his credit and his charm lies in his equal reputation on both sides of the border - i.e. both India and Pakistan.

An established poet and a fiction writer par excellence, Zakir has nurtured the world of Urdu to his best ability. He continues to commission translations of classic works of poets like Maulana Hali to fulfill his commitment to the promotion of Urdu. His literary temper dates back to his formative years when he was a student at Partap High School Srinagar and Prince Of Wales College Jammu.

Soon after basic education, Zakir fell in the company of great writers like Rajinder Singh Bedi and acquired a taste for literature, which he is keeping till date. A poet, playwright, teacher, scholar, administrator and above all a man with a humanistic vision, Zakir is known in social and literary circles for his social as well as literary pursuits. His writings prominently represent the aspirations, constraints and ethos of the common man and reflect his passionate concern for the poor and downtrodden.

His novel "Karmanwali" was adapted into a play for Doordarshan, besides being produced by the National School of Drama. Of the galaxy of awards like the National Ghalib Award, Nuqoosh award from Pakistan, Nehru Literacy Award, Zakir marvels marvels most at the Padmashri which, he thinks, is the true reward for his acts.

Where Zakir regards the Padma Shri as the ultimate honour so far, Surinder Kaur, the Panchkula based recipient of the same remains humble in her achievement. Without even once voicing a grudge that the award came so late, Surinder Kaur, the queen of timeless Punjabi melodies accepted the same with love and affection.

Recalling the era of 1940s her daughter Dolly Guleria, also an accomplished singer, says her mother and aunt Parkash Kaur had been pioneers in the field of 'ritual' singing. "They gave a face to customs by singing them aloud and popularizing them." She said, adding that under their care Punjabi folklore grew from strength to strength.

Besides this, Surinder Kaur also gave respectability and popularity to literary compositions of Amrita Pritam, Mohan Singh and Shiv Kumar Batalvi. Endowed with a rustic charm which seems timeless, Surinder Kaur is the most revered of all musical geniuses across the world. Not many people know that the legendary Surinder Kaur started her career singing Urdu and Hindi songs from Radio Lahore. After the Partition and her marriage to litterateur Joginder Singh Sodhi, she remained in the Bollywood from 1948 to 1953, giving playback scores to 25 Hindi and Punjabi films including "Nadia ke paar", "Pyar ki jeet" and a Dilip Kumar- Kamini Kaushal starrer "Shaheed". But her love for pure Punjabi folklore forced her to return to the Punjabi mainstream, and record some great songs with sister Parkash Kaur. Together the duo scaled new horizons taking Punjabi folk to the world.



Cops bring Bheora to city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh police brought Paramjit Singh Bheora, one of the prime accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, to Chandigarh late tonight.
In charge of the operation cell, Inspector Vijay Kumar, said Bheora was produced before Duty Magistrate Atul Marya soon after he was brought in the city and he was sent to one-day police custody. He was also medically examined before being sent to lock-up. He would be produced in a local court tomorrow for further police remand.

Earlier, a team of the operation cell was despatched to Delhi after they managed to obtain production warrants of Bheora, on the basis of which he was brought from Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari Courts, New Delhi, today. The Chandigarh police reportedly left Delhi after getting transit remand of Bhoera in the evening. A police officer said the team was fully equipped to bring Bheora back to the city.

Bheora was arrested by the Delhi police on March 20 along with his associates Jasbir Singh and Bhupinder Singh from north-west Delhi. Bheora, Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and their accomplice Devi Singh had tunnelled their way out from Model Jail in Burail village here in January 2004.

Earlier, the Chandigarh police had to return empty as they went to Delhi court without having the production warrants. Following this Bheora was sent to judicial custody. The Chandigarh police has also faced difficulty when the counsel of Bheora objected to his production warrants on the plea that they were not informed beforehand by the police.

Sources in the police said more arrests were likely following the arrival of Bheora. The police said he would be interrogated regarding the places where he took refuge after escaping from the jail and the persons who harboured him.



Five emu chicks born in captivity
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Five emu chicks have been born in captivity for the first time at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir.
The emu is a member of the flightless bird family, which includes the ostrich, rhea and the kiwi. A swift runner, it is similar to the ostrich but smaller in size. Its height can be up to 6 feet. At the Chhatbir zoo, the male is 4.5 feet tall and the female 4 feet.

A native of Australia, its habitat ranges from coastal regions to high mountains. These days emu farming is popular in the USA.

The emu chicks at Chhatbir were born in an enclosure where their father and mother have been living since 2001. The pair was procured from a Pune-based dealer.

The emu begins breeding at the age of 25 to 30 months.

“The initial 21 days are crucial for the chicks. So they are not being kept in an open enclosure for public viewing,” said Mr Neeraj Gupta, Wildlife Warden, Chhatbir.

When the Tribune team visited the zoo this morning, the male emu was busy taking care of the cream-coloured chicks with dark brown stripes.

Explained Mr Gupta: “The female dominates the male during pair formation. Once incubation begins, the male becomes aggressive towards others, including the mate. The female leaves the place and the male does incubation and rearing of the chicks. In the zoo, the female was shifted to a nearby pen.”

The male sits on the dark green eggs for days together without drinking, feeding and defecating.

Mr Gupta said the first egg was laid on November 17, 2005. Within a few days a clutch of 16 eggs were laid. The incubation started on December 31. The first chick was born on March 8. Out of the 16 eggs, six chicks were born, but one died on the same day.

In 2004, the female laid 29 eggs, weighing between 410gm and 530gm. At that time the male showed no interest in brooding, resulting in no natural incubation.

The chicks have been given special care. Their diet includes minced cabbage, carrot and spinach.



CBI books Protector of Emigrants in graft case
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, March 29
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today booked the Protector of Emigrants (POE), Chandigarh, along with a clerk and a peon in his office in a corruption case.
Giving details of the incident, sources in the CBI said Sohan Lal, a peon in the office of the POE, was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 75,000 as bribe from a local travel agent on behalf of PEO K.L. Gandhi in the office premises.

The office is located in Kendriya Sadan, Sector 9, here. The travel agent has alleged in his complaint lodged with the CBI that the officer had demanded money to clear the backlog of cases.

Another employee of the POE, Noor-ud-Din, a clerk, was also nabbed for allegedly directing the peon to accept the bribe. The clerk and the peon reportedly told the raiding team that the money was being accepted on behalf of the POE. The bribe had reportedly been demanded for giving the mandatory clearance in some cases forwarded by a recruiting agent.

CBI sources said a case under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against the trio. Interestingly, in all there are four persons in the office of the POE.

This is for the fifth time that the POE, Chandigarh, has been arrested for accepting bribe to give clearance to those seeking employment overseas. Earlier, the Protector-General of Emigrants, New Delhi, was forced to close the Chandigarh office for about a year owing to public pressure, the Chandigarh office was opened again.

Mr Gandhi joined last year. He has yet to complete a year in office. The previous POEs to be arrested by the CBI were JK Sahu, PC Bhardwaj and Ranbir Singh.



Media also ignoring issue of poverty, says UGC Secy
Tribune News Service

Mool Chand Sharma
Mool Chand Sharma

Chandigarh, March 29
“No other disaster compares with the devastation of hunger. Yet because we view poverty and hunger in the background of life, this terrible toll does not enter our headlines, nor, for most of us, our concerns,” said Prof Mool Chand Sharma, Secretary University Grants Commission, delivering the sixth Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan Memorial Lecture at Panjab University here today.

He said poverty was the world’s most pitiless murderer and executioner and the main cause of human suffering.

Speaking on “Poverty as violation of human rights”, Prof Sharma, who has also been Senior Adviser, National Human Rights Commission, pointed out that for those adequately fed and for whom food, shelter, clothing, education and healthcare were available, it was virtually impossible to imagine the horror and pain of hunger.

“These issues do not enter our daily concerns,” he said, adding that the media, too, was responsible in a way for blocking this reality, simply because it was not news.

“With the exception of news-making events such as farmers committing suicide en mass or a famine in which the human disaster is so acute that it cannot be ignored-poverty and hunger are seen as processes,” he said.

Poverty often continued from generation to generation, making escape increasingly difficult.

“It is asserted that people live poorly because they are not thrifty, because they are lazy and do not want to work, because the welfare system takes care of them and because they do not have much ability. The reality is that most impoverished people live poorly for structural reasons, very few of which have to do with motivation skills or other personal traits,” he explained.

“Yet their circumstances, notwithstanding, hungry and poor people are far from helpless victims, they are remarkably self-reliant, productive and skilled at surviving. And they are doing the lion’s share to end hunger and poverty. If all activities taking place in the world to end hunger and poverty could be measured, the finding would be that the poor and hungry themselves are doing nearly all the work,” he added.

He confined today’s lecture to conceptual poverty. He will continue with the theme tomorrow in his second and third lectures on human rights.

Earlier, Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, talked about Mehr Chand Mahajan who was Chief Justice of India for about a year.



City roads to be strengthened in time-bound manner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh Administration has chalked out an extensive schedule for further strengthening the network of roads across the city in an efficient and time-bound manner for the convenience of the city commuters.

Realising the need for providing a better infrastructure to the people of Chandigarh, especially in view of the setting up of the IT Park, the Administration has focused its attention to provide a new look to the city roads. To redress the common complaint about potholes, bumpy and narrow roads, the Engineering Department has prepared a time-bound schedule to strengthen, widen and carpet V-3 roads (sector dividing roads) and National Highways passing through the city.

As per the schedule, the Engineering Department will complete the road up-gradation work of Chandi Path up to April 15, Madhya Marg upto April 30, Paschim Marg up to May 31and Udyan Path up to May 31.

Similarly, the work of Vidya Path, Udyan Path, Sukhna Path, Udyog Path, Dakshin Marg and Paschim Marg between Sector 56 and 55 will be completed by June 30.

The work of road construction of Himalaya Marg (Sector 4 and 5, Sector 8 and 9, Sector 17 and 18 and Sector 21 and 22), Sarovar Path (between Sector 5 and 6 and Sector 7 and 8), Sukhna Path (between Sector 7 and 26, Sector 19 and27, Sector 20 and 30 and Sector 32 and 33), Vidya Path (between Sector 55 and 54), up to October 31, besides others.

Work on the Udyan Path (between Sector 15 and 16), Sector 23 and 24 and Sector 36 and 3 will be completed by November 30 and the Outer Paschim Marg by December 31.



Liquor stocks vanish as prices crash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Euphoria over the crash in the prices of liquor in the city was short lived. Within a few hours of the liquor vends "announcing" stock clearance sales, none of the popular brands of liquor and beer was available at most of the vends.

The drop in the prices of different brands of liquor varied between 30 per cent and 50 per cent. In the run up to March 31, the stock-clearance-sales are an annual feature.

Since all the liquor vends are controlled by the liquor cartel, headed by the Liquor baron, Ponty Chadha, the announcement of crash in the prices was made simultaneously at the vends.

Enquiries at different vends revealed the liquor contractor did not add fresh stocks in the past one day. "We are offering whatever leftover stocks we have", said an employee at a vend in Sector 52.

None of the popular brands like Aristocrat Premium, Royal Challenge, Royal Stag, Peter Scot was available at any of the vends in the southern part of the city. A bottle of Royal Stag sold for Rs 150, a bottle of Officers Choice for Rs 80 and other brands like Royal Challenge and Aristocrat Premium for Rs 250 and Rs 90 , respectively.

The expensive brands like Teachers, Black Dog and 100 pipers sold at Rs 900 , Rs 1200 and 700 , respectively.

Light beer sold at Rs 30 and the strong at Rs 40 per bottle. But most of the vends had limited stocks.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh Administration has attracted 15 applications against 68 left out vends. The draw of lots would be held tomorrow.

Meanwhile,residents of Palsora have announced to block the Chandigarh-Palsora road in protest against the location of a vend on the panchayat land . Ms Mohinder Kaur, Sarpanch , said it was being opened adjacent to a health centre. Similar protest has been received from the 30 -D market and managements of the Krishan Bhagti Ashram, Mandal Maha Kali Mandir, Nirankari Mandir and Yog Divya Mandir against the opening of a vend in the Sector 30 -B market. They have threatened to hold protest against the location of the vend.

The increase in the number of vends from 78 to 215 is being cited the reason for protest. The affected residents lament that the Administration should have carried out a survey of the areas before locating the vends. 



Fake riot-affected allottees to be evicted
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
Police action will be taken against persons who have occupied PUDA houses on the pretext of being riot-affected. This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, during a meeting held in the community centre in Phase XI today. He was listening to the grievances of the riot-affected persons.

It was brought to the notice of Mr Bir Devinder Singh that some persons were living in houses given by PUDA to riot-affected even when these persons had not actually suffered during riots.

The MLA assured that he would get a verification done to find out who were the genuine riot-affected persons and only these persons would be allowed in PUDA houses.

Others would be asked to vacate the houses and even police action would be taken against them for wrongly occupying the houses.

He said a committee would be constituted under the supervision of the local SDM, Mr Mohan Lal Sharma, which would be carrying out the verification drive after April 14 to find out the real position.

Some persons complained that they had not been given even the red card so far and as such faced problems to get power connections for their houses.

Various other problems were brought to the notice of the MLA who assured an early solution.



Summer fruits hit market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
If you have already started feeling the summer heat, the city offers you a healthy way to feel the “chill”. With a variety of summer fruits hitting the market, city residents have a lot to choose from. While watermelons, mangoes and lukat are readily available, muskmelons and plums still are a rare sight.

According to Rajinder Pal Singh, a wholesaler and retailer of fresh fruits in Sector 20, watermelons from Uttar Pradesh have arrived and are being sold at anything between Rs 12 -15 per kg. “The watermelons from the region would be available by April-end but even those being sold are of good quality and in great demand,’’ said Mr Singh. He added that Parri and Alphanso mangoes are also being sold between Rs 300 to 500 per box.

The fruit merchant informed that other summer fruits like lukat (Rs 40-60 per kg) have flooded the market but muskmelons, plums and khurmani would be easily available only after a week, though some big shops and supermarkets have some supply.

Meanwhile, the fruits, though dearly priced, at the moment, have enough buyers. “My entire family is very fond of watermelon and for the past few days we have been regularly consuming it for breakfast,” said Ritesh, a businessman. Others like Jaswinder Kaur procured the fruit from the Pinjore-Kalka highway, where huge heaps of watermelon line the roads on both sides.



No hang-ups at the royal dinner
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The British royal family no more arouses any antipathy in those who are patriotically inclined and take pride in their families' connection with the struggle to free India from British control.

Ms Asha Hooda, wife of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, found the visiting royal couple from Britain charming and devoid of snootiness normally associated with the British aristocracy.

Ms Hooda was born in a family of staunch Gandhians and then got married to a person who too hails from a family of distinguished freedom fighters. She accompanied her husband in the dinner hosted on Monday evening at the Moti Bagh Palace by the Patiala royal and Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, in honour of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles.

“It was all very congenial and friendly. There was no sign of either the Prince or his wife having any hang-ups about India being a former colony of Britain”, Ms Hooda, who flew to Patiala to attend the dinner, said.

“Diana was prettier than Camilla Parker”, Ms Hooda said, and added she had seen Lady D only on TV. While saying she felt sorry for the Princess of Wales when she died in an accident Ms Hooda, however, added that she found the Prince's second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, a fine and a very down to earth person. “ There was no affectation or pretensions. We chatted about Indian customs, marriages, etc”, she said.

The Prince was even more outgoing and freely mixing with people in the gathering. “After all Britain and India did not part ways on a bitter note”, she said and added, “it is better to let the bygones be bygones”.

Ms Hooda said the Patiala MP and wife of Capt Amarinder Singh, Ms Preneet Kaur, too comes from a family of freedom fighters. Her mother was arrested and sent to prison by the British authorities.

Ms Preneet Kaur was the hostess and managed the dinner smoothly without betraying any sentiment her mother may have felt for Prince Charles' ancestors in the bygone days.



Kashmiri shikaras for Sukhna Lake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Sukhna Lake will soon have magnificent “shikaras” from Kashmir Valley to enhance its beauty.
Confirming this, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Managing Director of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation(CITCO), said we have studied the project details and would be floating the tenders, seeking expression of interest very soon.

Replicating the expressions of the Dal Lake will be an additional facility to the existing boats, including those in the shapes of birds and pedal boats, he said.

Mr Arvind Malhotra, General Manager (Tourism), and Mr P.K. Rekhi, Executive Engineer of the CITCO, recently returned from a trip to the Dal Lake. They have studied the “shikaras” and the houseboats and submitted a feasibility report to the office.

CITCO was also studying the feasibility of houseboats at the lake. “The houseboats will be an interesting addition. However, there are certain financial details, which need to be studied before any decision is taken. A ‘shikara’ costs about Rs 1 lakh and a houseboat costs nearly Rs 1 crore.” It has been pointed out in the report that “shikaras” were suited to Sukhna Lake. “It is not very costly and easy to manufacture. The life span of a ‘shikara’ is about 20 years, which makes it financially a viable commercial option.

The “shikaras” and the houseboats are carved out of Deodhar wood, which is grown in the valley. A “shikara” is about 30 feet long and about 5 feet wide. A houseboat varies between 120 and 145 feet in length and about 20 feet in width. 



BIS launches food safety system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Bureau of Indian Standards has published IS/ISO 22000 to allow all types of organisations in the food chain to implement a food safety management system. These range from feed producers, primary producers, food manufacturers, transport and storage operators and subcontractors to retail and food service outlets. Service providers have also been included.

The standard has become necessary because of the significant increase in illnesses caused by infected food in both developed and developing countries. This standard is backed by international consensus which harmonises the requirement for systematically managing safety in food supply chains and offers a unique solution for good practice on a worldwide basis.

According to Mr Chandra Shekhar, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Indian Standards (Northern Regional Office), “Food reaches consumers via supply chains. One weak link can result in unsafe food. Adequate control throughout the chain is essential.” 



Awareness camp for women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
An awareness generation camp for rural poor women and young girls was organised by the Indian Council of Social Welfare (ICSW), Punjab state branch, with financial assistance of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, UT, at Sector 25, Bhaskar Colony, Chandigarh, for 8 days from March 20.

Resource persons from different departments of the Chandigarh Administration and social workers informed participants about the different aspects of the life and welfare of women The main topics discussed in this programme were health, sanitation, nutrition and food environment, social status of women, women empowerment, care and education of the girl child, social ills like dowry drug-addiction, foeticide, devastating diseases like T B and AIDS.



Flights rescheduled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Indian Airlines have temporarily changed the schedule for their flights operating from Mumbai to Delhi and Chandigarh.
According to a press note issued here, this has been temporarily done due to operational  reasons.The new schedule will be effective from March 28 to April 24. 



Youth missing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
A youth living in Sector 68 here has gone missing since the past two days.
Mr Bachan Singh, father of Shingara Singh, complained to the police that his son had gone to Sector 40, Chandigarh, on March 27 to take classes in shabad gayan but did not return. The police is investigating the matter.



DC pays tribute to Bansi Lal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
The Ropar Deputy Commissioner today paid homage to the mortal remains of former Chief Minsiter of Haryana Chaudhry Bansi Lal.
“He was my Godfather. My father B.S. Grewal and Bansi Lal were the best friends. His death is a personal loss to me and my family,” he said here on his way back from Bhiwani.



11 cartons of liquor seized from woman
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
The police today arrested a woman from Sector 29 on the charges of possessing 11 cartons of illegal liquor. In another incident, a Panchkula resident reported to the police that Rs 1.90 lakh and jewellery were stolen from his scooter. Besides, a scooter was stolen from the city.

According to the police, Krishna of Sector 29-B was arrested from her residence following a secret information.

The police recovered 11 cartons of country-made liquor and registered a case under the Excise Act in this regard.

Theft: Mr Vinod Kumar of Sector 15, Panchkula, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Rs 1.90 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 30,000 were stolen from the glove box of his scooter, which was parked in NAC, Mani Majra, on Tuesday. A case of theft was registered in this regard.

Stolen: Mr Balwant Singh of Sector 48 reported to the police that his scooter (CH-03-N-0241) was stolen from apni mandi in Sector 46 on Tuesday. A case of theft was registered.


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