Monday, January 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fog hits train services
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Six trains were cancelled and as many as 37 trains got delayed by 1 hour to 15 hours due to fog on the first two days of the New Year.

On January 1, Shan-e-Punjab (2497) , which runs between New Delhi and Amritsar, was cancelled. Also cancelled yesterday was Sriganganagar-Haridwar Intercity Express (4712).

Today, both Up and Down Intercity Express between Sriganganagar and Haridwar were cancelled. Similarly, the Intercity Express between New Delhi and Ludhiana (4681) has been cancelled. Even the Down Train of this Intercity Express will stand cancelled tomorrow.

The worst hit by thick fog are Shatabdis. Almost all Shatabdis — Amritsar Shatabdi, Chandigarh Shatbadi, Swaran Jayanti Shatbadi — have been running more than 2 to 4 hours behind schedule in this sector.

The Himalayan Queen, which normally arrives ahead of the Shatabdi Express, was still nowhere in the picture as the Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi Express left here for Delhi, around 1.30 p.m., one hour and 10 minutes behind the scheduled time of departure.

It is not only the Shatabdi, but almost all trains criss-crossing Ambala Division have been running one hour to several hours behind schedule. The exception, perhaps, are the short-distance shuttle services, which operate late in the forenoon and afternoon. For example, trains from Kalka to Shimla have been mostly on schedule.

It is not only the rail traffic which has been affected by fog that envelopes the entire region from late in the evening until forenoon but also the road and air traffic. Most of the flights originating from Delhi and touching airports in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh have been running behind schedules because of reduced visibility due to thick fog.

"Inversion", below normal temperatures both late in the evenings and early mornings and a high percentage of moisture or humidity are the factors which are conducive for fog formation.

"Inversion", explains Mr S.C. Bhan, Director of the local Meteorological Centre, is a condition where the temperature keeps on rising as one moves up to a certain height from the sea level against the normal phenomenon of temperature coming down as one goes higher.

In and around Delhi, climatic conditions have always been more conducive for fog formation and, as such, the problem is much more serious than other places in the region.

Mr Bhan maintains that though there has been no rain in the region since October 1, a drizzle or intermittent showers alone may not be enough to prevent fog formation. All will depend upon other climatic conditions.

Warmer temperature and lesser moisture or humidity are a must to cut down fog formation. Also, the stillness must go. On windy days, fog formation is almost negligible.

Talking about the moisture in the air, Mr Bhan says that there have been strong winds from across the Bay of Bengal which have brought in lots of moisture. In case the moisture level is high and lift mechanism is available, it leads to cloud formation and rain. "But this time, there has been no lift mechanism to take this moisture in the air up to the skies for cloud formation," he adds.

Against a normal rainfall of 53.2 mm between October 1 and December 31 in Chandigarh, the city recorded only 8.5 mm of rain and that too on October 1 only. Since then, there has been no rain Chandigarh.

The day temperature in Chandigarh on Sunday morning was 5.4 Celsius against a normal temperature of 7 Celsius, 1.6 Celsius below normal. The maximum temperature — 20.6 Celsius — was almost normal (21 Celsius).

Though there is not much fog in the city, a thick blanket of fog envelopes its peripheral areas. The problem is more in the areas criss-crossed by canals and irrigated fields where visibility is considerably reduced to slow down vehicular traffic on almost all national and state highways in Punjab and Haryana.

Besides, all major trains, including Sealdah-Jammu Tawi Express, Muri Express, Howrah-Amritsar Express and Udyan Abha Toofan Express, have also been running several hours behind schedule. The worst is Udyan Abha Toofan Express, which was late by 15 hours and 35 minutes yesterday and by 9 hours 45 minutes today.

Similarly, Malwa Express was late by 10 hours and 15 minutes yesterday and was delayed by 5 hours 25 minutes today.

The chart below gives details of trains cancelled or running behind schedule on the first two days of the New Year.Back


Gold, cash stolen from house
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — Ms Brij Lata, a resident of Sector 12-A, reported that seven tolas of gold and Rs 5,000 were stolen from her residence while she was out of town. Though a complaint has been entertained in this regard, a case is yet to be registered by the police.

Ms Brij Lata who stays alone at her house, went out of town on December 29 and returned on the afternoon of December 31. She said, "There was nothing suspicious when I unlocked the door on arrival. After unlocking my bedroom door, I put my luggage there and took the dog out for a walk. Everything was as I had left it.''

She said on returning from the walk she tried to open her steel cupboard. "The lock was free and just would not open with the keys I had. Also, it was then that I noticed the slight shift in the position of the cupboard. I tried to unlock it again but it failed to do so. Then, I turned to my neighbours for help,'' she said.

She said with their help, she managed to pull open the door and create enough space so that she could pull out the purse which contained the jewellery. However, it was missing along with Rs 5,000 cash. Some silver glasses and a little change in the same cupboard were surprisingly not taken, she said.

It was then that her neighbours told her that she had a "visitor'' while she was out of town. A neighbour said, "On December 29, the night she left, my son saw her bedroom light on from our backyard. He also heard a noise, probably of somebody trying to open the cupboard forcibly and brought it to my notice.''

She said they went to the house, rang the doorbell and returned to their house in the hope that somebody would come out. However, nobody came out of the house. After over five minutes, the tenant of the lady, Dinesh Guleria, came out of his room on the first floor and inquired if they had rung the bell. He said that he was watching television and could not properly hear the bell ring.

On hearing the story, he checked the house and told the neighbour that all was well. "That was the end of it and we decided not to tell Ms Lata about it if she found nothing missing. However, when she came to us for help to open her cupboard, we told her what had happened and the police was called in,'' the neighbour said.

Ms Lata said, ``If nobody went in and came out of the room, the tenant is the only suspect. He has the access to the house, with only a grill, about three feet high, separating him from the main part of the house. He can jump over and get into the house anytime. Again, he took time in opening the door when the neighbours rang the bell that night and justified the delay by saying that he was watching television. This is very suspicious.''

Though she has not registered the tenant with the police, she says that the tenant has been evasive. "I asked him to give his photographs to me but he kept putting me off for one reason or another. What made me more suspicious of his activities was that his friends would come around midnight and would stay on till morning. All through the night, the light would remain on. I even asked him to put an end to this but it continued,'' she said. Dinesh Guleria has been her tenant for just over a month.

Police sources said the boy was taken to the police station for interrogation but let off later since nothing was found on him, though a khukhri was seized from his room. Also, no locks in the house were broken open by the thief and latches of all doors and windows were intact. They also said further investigations in the case were on.Back


Hectic campaigning for poll
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The newly formed Deepak Manmohan-Ram Prakash-Gopal K. Chatrath front for the forthcoming Syndicate elections in Panjab University has support for a possible clear majority.

The rival Deepa group is going ahead with hectic campaigning even outside the city and is hopeful to have support because of its activities for the uplift of the academic scenario.

It had support of the Deepak Mannohan group in the last election.The break-up between the two and subsequent alignments emerge as central issues.

The science faculty has three candidates each from the two groups. The contestants from the Deepa group are Prof Charanjit Chawla, Mr Pawan Valecha and Dr I.M.Govil. The rival group is fielding Ms Sneh Mahajan, Mr Mukesh Arora and Mr V.P. Arora.

The languages faculty has Mohammad Khalid as the main contestant from Deepa front while Mr Paramjit Pammi is from the rival group. Mr Raghuvir Singh, earlier associated with the Deepa group, is now close to the Deepak Manmohan group.

The combined faculty has Dr R.D. Anand, Dr S.S. Hundal and Prof Joginder Yadav on one side, while contestants from the Chatrath group are Principal H.L. Gandhar, Principal Nirmal Kaur and Dr M.L. Sharma.

These are 40 voting members in science faculty, 21 in languages, 81 in combined, 45 in arts, 17 in medical, and 19 in law.The medical faculty usually witnesses rotation of seats.However , this time there are hushed voices about possible elections, where Dr O.N. Negi, Dr Kehar Singh, Dr K.S. Chugh and Dr J.L. Joshi figure as important names. Sources also point out a possible election in the law faculty, which has been witnessing Chatrath group dominance.

The elections have also witnessed change in faculties by members. Members have to opt for particular faculties, which they can change once after at least two years. The elections for faculties of science, languages, combined, law and medicine will be held on January 6. The deans of various faculties will be chosen on January 7.

The Deepa group says its main agenda is ensuring a clean academic atmosphere without making compromises.Back


Carnival over, but where's the artists' due?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The artist fraternity of the city has always lamented the step-motherly treatment meted out to it from society. But when even Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi (CLKA) does not give the artists their due, it becomes a valid reason for most to cry hoarse. It was in the first week of December last year that City Carnival was hosted in which the CLKA organised an artists' workshop for which the artists are yet to be paid.

Not only have the 14 participating artists not been paid, but for the workshop the artists were also asked to get their own paints and brushes, since they were provided with only canvases.

According to Shiv Singh, Chairman of the CLKA and a renowned sculptor-artist, "I had prepared a budget of Rs 90,000 for the workshop, for which I have been sanctioned only Rs 55,000. Earlier, the artists were told that they would be paid Rs 5,000 each, but now the artists would be paid Rs 3,500."

On the non-disbursement of this money to the artists, Shiv Singh said that some works were still lying incomplete. "Like the work of Mr Jodh Singh is yet to be completed. Otherwise, the artists would get the promised amount in about a week's time."

Meanwhile, the sum of Rs 65,000 raised as funds for the Kargil issue, from an exhibition held July last year, titled 'Homage to Kargil Heroes', at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, is also yet to be sent across. "We will do it soon enough," said Shiv Singh.

In fact, some of these artists, who do not want to be named, are not only crying hoarse for not having got their due but are also complaining about the mismanaged workshop. An exhibition of the works produced at this workshop was also announced, which, according to the Chairman, "would now take place in about 15 days' time."

"For starters, no written invitation was sent across and everything was done verbally. There were no arrangements for food or even tea for these senior artists. A couple of years back, when the then Chairperson, Mrs Alka Pande, had conducted a workshop not only were they paid a decent sum but a letter was also sent to them from the Administration that their paintings were worth much more, giving us honour and recognition which they deserve, said one of the artists.

Meanwhile, the sculptor-painter who designed the Sanchi Stupa at the carnival, which was executed by Saathi, added that the budget for the same was Rs 4.50 lakh, for which he has been paid Rs 3.75 lakh.Back


Rs 93 lakh for tackling 2m child labour
By Gobind Thukral
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The Union Government has allotted a measly amount of Rs 93 lakh to those voluntary organisations which are supposed to look after over two million child workers in the country. In addition, the government claims to be sparing another Rs 26.42 crore for the National Child Labour Projects Scheme.

According to Labour Ministry officials, the government is committed to ending child labour at least in the hazardous industries in order to stand in the comity of nations and sign the convention on prohibiting worst forms of child labour. This worst form was defined in June last year by the International Labour Organisation as child labour of all forms of slavery, such as sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage, serfdom and forced compulsory labour.

Each day newspapers report sale of children in some corner of the country. The worst is the condition of children working in chemical and carpet industry. In the salt making industry in Gujarat, where children work, the life expectancy is not more than 40 as against the national average of 65. India is the largest producer of salt and exporter too. Other conditions spelt out by the ILO are that children should not be used in armed conflicts or kept in bondage. The use of children in prostitution or for pornography, drug trafficking, and any other work that could harm the child's mental or physical well being should be banned. But can this be countered by the meagre allocation? Ask any official, and pat comes the reply:" It is a token effort".

An official yearend note by the Labour Ministry conveniently forgets the lambasting of those countries who allow exploitation of children in industry at the World Trade Organisation meet. It, however, asserts that India is committed to putting an end to the savage way of treating children. The note admits the number of such children to be two million. But non-government organisations put the number at over four million.

The elimination of child labour continued to be one of the major focus areas of the Labour ministry. A tripartite delegation led by the Union Labour Minister Dr Satyanarayan Jatiya, participated in the 87 Session of the International Labour Conference in June,1999. It played a key role in the deliberations of the conference committee and was able to achieve the objective of adoption of an acceptable and ratifiable text of the convention to prohibit worst forms of child labour, the government claimed.

On other labour issues, the Central Government allocated Rs 1,735 crore in the current financial year, mainly for payment of salary and wages to the employees of sick public sector undertakings. This is Rs 253 crore more than the allocation made in 1998-99 for the purpose.

The Indian Labour Conference has reiterated its commitment to tripartism and exhorted the central and state governments to implement in letter and in spirit the ethos of tripartism. The conference recommended a minimum floor level wage of Rs 35 for rural areas and Rs 39 for urban areas. It asked the Central and state governments to review and revise minimum wages at regular intervals, corresponding to changes in the labour market and revision of the consumer price index from time to time. The ILC recommended that the advisory committee under the Equal Remuneration Act should take a holistic view of all aspects of employment in wages for women in totality instead of confining itself to limited issue of equal wage for women as those of men for same or similar nature of work.

The ILC wanted that industrial sickness should be defined so that it could be detected at incipient stage itself when revival is possible. There should be a monitoring mechanism to identify sickness in the initial stage. The ILC suggested that the labour laws in their application should be streamlined to increase job opportunities. It also emphasised the need for proper interaction between skill training institutes and industry to ensure quality and sustainability of vocational training in the labour market . It called upon sector-wise skill training needs and job potential in order to ensure proper human resource development and equipping the existing manpower with updated modern technology.

Efforts to promote the welfare of the labour force in the country and elimination of child labour as far as possible were some of the features of the Ministry of Labour in 1999. These include setting up of the second national commission on labour and working on an omnibus provision that would help ratify of the ILO's new convention on worst forms of child labour," the note said.

The second national commission on labour was set up under the chairmanship of a former Labour Minister Mr Virendra Verma. It has been asked, among other things, to suggest rationalisation of the existing laws relating to labour in the organised sector and to suggest an umbrella legislation for ensuring the minimum level of protection in the unorganised sector. While making its suggestions the commission will take into account the emerging economic environment, report technology changes requiring response in terms of change in methods, timings and conditions of the work in industry, trade and services, globalisation of economy, liberalisation of trade and industry.Back


250 compete in ‘rehra ghoda race’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The road dividing Palsora Peer Colony and Sector 39 was today host to an activity of a different kind. Horse- and mule-driven carts scrambled on the metalled road to compete for a tournament organised by the Social Welfare Committee, Peer Colony at Palsora village here on Sunday.

The tournament, "Rehra godha race", being organised by the committee for the past four consecutive years this time saw over 250 participants from Ludhiana, Faridkot, Khanna, Gurdaspur, Yamunanagar and Ambala. The participants were divided into three categories. There was a horse race also.

People queued up on both sides of the 1.5 km long stretch of the race. It was a pleasant sight to see the poor animals — otherwise used to cart heavy loads— getting an extra care from their masters. Those who managed to win the race got pats from their masters while others made a resolve to make it the next time.

An organiser of the tournament, Mr Kirpal Singh Punia, said the main aim of the event was to encourage the owners of the horse and mule driven carts to take care of their animals.

The animals have to be fed properly prior to a race so as to give a better performance in the race, said Balbir Singh, one of the participants.

The police had a hard time keeping curious onlookers at a distance from the "race track". Adequate arrangements were made to divert the traffic during the seven-hour long event.

The participating animals were divided into three categories depending on their size. While the race was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramshekhar, the prizes to the winners were given by local Congress leaders Subash Chawla and Ram Avtar.

The winners of different categories were:

First category — Sukha Singh from Shahi Majra, SAS Nagar, who logged 1.59 minutes took the first prize. The second and third positions were bagged by Gulzar Singh from Burail and and Neela Kaushal from Sector 52, who logged 2.02 minutes each.

Second category — Pama Singh from Madanpur, SAS Nagar, with 2.5 minutes bagged the first position. He was followed by Mustak of Sector 41, Chandigarh, who recorded 2.12 minutes.

Third category — The first, second and third positions were bagged by Prem Singh ( 2.60 minutes), Sukha Singh( 2.9 minutes) and Bhadhur Singh ( 2.12 minutes), respectively.

In the horse race, Balbir Singh from Faridkot won the first prize. The second and third positions were bagged by Kaushal Paswan from Sector 52 and Sukha Singh from Sector 41-D.Back


Lack of follow-up fails HUDA drives
From Gautam Dheer

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — In the past one year, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has undertaken various drives and development projects in the township. However, most of these have failed to yield results due to the alleged slackness of the HUDA to review the status of the drives.

Drives against encroachments, hoardings, cattle menace, patch work on roads etc were begun with great hype. Almost all these drives are today facing a dead-end due to ineffective methods of control, monitoring and feedback .

Following directions from the high court, HUDA had launched an extensive drive to remove encroachments and hoardings. A large number of rehriwalas, jhuggi dwellers and vendors in open spaces and along road sides were removed. The process carried on, at a slow pace, from one sector to another. Lack of review on the work undertaken has today brought the situation back to square one, with encroachments cropping again at most of the places from where they were uprooted.

Similar is the situation regarding hoardings in the township, many of which were removed following directions of the high court. The drive also included removal of banners and glow signs which fell under the violation zone.

More number of hoarding, banners and glow signs are, however, today seen in almost all violation zones. "HUDA has hardly imposed a penalty or adopted a legal recourse against violators, especially when their whereabouts are well displayed on the hoardings and banners,'' argued Mr S. K. Nayar, President of the Citizens Welfare Association, Panchkula.

The problem of encroachments by vendors and rehriwalas cannot be solved without a durable and permanent policy to support the drives undertaken by HUDA, he added. There is no system of licensing nor a local licensing authority in the town, to issue licenses to the vendors to sell goods .

In the absence of any such system here, all are free to lay their vends in open spaces and along roadsides, contradictory to the rules under the Prevention of Food and Adulteration Act, 1955.

The drives to check the cattle menace and to bar the extension of the villages in the town, has met with similar ends. Flocks of cattle can be seen almost everywhere. The purpose of these drives is defeated in the absence of cow sheds at distant places along with perpetual follow- up by the HUDA.

Efforts of the HUDA to stop the ongoing extension of the villages failed to gather momentum and this problem has become a source of constant misery for the residents, with open spaces and even green belts not spared. ''This has led to an irreparable situation as the villagers dot garbage at these places, '' said Colonel Vohra of Sector 12.

The quality of patch-work repair on the inner roads of sectors is questionable. There has been no review of these works by the authorities to ensure durable results. At most of the places, the patch-work repairs have become mini speed-breakers, aggravating the problem of waterlogging on roads, especially when water leakages surrounds the undulating surface of these patches.

Inefficient follow-up procedures, coupled with slackness in the upkeep mechanism have contributed towards failure of the drives in removing congress grass and checks in regard to defacement of public property in the township.Back


‘Translate religious scriptures for common man’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Mr Kirpal Singh Gill, President and Spiritual Consultant of the World Spiritual Foundation (WSF), has stressed the need for translating religious scriptures of the world for the benefit of common man.

Talking to reporters here recently, Mr Gill said most of the religious scriptures had been translated “academically and literally”, with the result that the common man had not adequately understood the meaning of religion. In the absence of simple translation, religious dogmas ruled the roost, which was harmful to society.

Answering a question on inter and intra-religious wars in the history of mankind, Mr Gill, a former Deputy Director-General of the Radio and TV Malaysia, said the custodians of religions had zealously guarded the preachings of their religions, resulting in man not fully understanding religion and occurrence of wars.

Mr Gill led Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Movement for 10 years. Earlier, Mr Parneet Sachdev, said after 20 years’ arduous research, Mr Gill had discovered vibrant celestial meditation (VCM) and Naam-Ri-Healing — an effective technique of meditation.

It is hoped that through VCM type of universal worship and meditation, barriers of religion will one day become largely nullified, thus bringing about more hope and harmony in the world.

The VCM not only transcends the ritualistic and doctrinal dogmas but also goes beyond word, image and thought. Also we encounter and imbibe the true spirit of the Creator.Back


Non-removal of rehris flayed
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — The Citizens' Welfare Association has come out strongly against the Estate Office for not removing the rehris and pharis on the road-side and condemned the inaction on the part of the department which has failed to check their growth in spite of receiving directions from the high court.

The President of the organisation, Mr S.K. Nayar, in a press note issued today, said that the rehri owners are doing brisk business, while the officials turn a blind eye and resort to the excuse that the people are poor and can't earn a livelihood if action is taken against them.

He was critical of the fact that within two months of the drive initiated by the department on the basis of directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the rehris, pharis and hoardings are back in place. He points out that most of these shift towards the housing board colonies where the enforcement wing of the Estate Office has no jurisdiction.

The association has urged the Haryana Government and HUDA to take action against unauthorised rehris on roadsides without discrimination against and favour to anybody.Back


'Terrorists should not have been released'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The hijack drama that engaged the nation for eight days finally ended with the release of three terrorists in exchange for the safe release of more than 150 passengers on board the Indian Airlines plane on Friday. However, after the crisis has ended, people are busy in the post-mortem of the incident. They are also trying to find answers to the unsolved and disturbing questions. The TNS team spoke to some ex-army officers to get their view on the various security measures or steps to be taken to thwart such incidents in the future.

These experts provided solutions like better security checks and improved vigilance. They also said the exchange of terrorists "could have been avoided with quicker decision-making" and had projected the country in a bad light.

Lieut-Gen Dipinder Singh (retd), who had led Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, said the exchange of the terrorists was "disgraceful". He said, "As a nation, we seem to lack the initiative and the willingness to take an action. Everybody here seems to be always waiting for a written order, even during emergency situations. Someone could have thought of deflating the tyres or some other quicker response. We as a nation need to be trained for all such situations."

He called for strengthening the airport security. He said, "It surprises me why more such hijacks have not taken place in our country, with the kinds of chinks in our security check systems. Citing the example of the recent LTTE attack on Ms Chandrika Kumaratunga, now re-elected the President of Sri Lanka, he said, "It was only because of two dedicated security guards that her life could be saved. Those commandos lost their lives in the process, but, this is the kind of security force required in our country today, especially while we have a neighbour like Pakistan."

Col K.D. Pathak (retd), who has been a commando in the special forces said many issues would have to be dealt with carefully and intelligently. "The security at all airports will have to come under one authority. The policemen one finds at airports, consider airport duty a punishment posting. There is an urgent need to have all our security and surveillance checks under tight controls. When we always knew that terrorists were operating from Nepal, why did we not become alert on time? There should be simulated exercises for everyone from the sweeper to the person who refuels the aircraft to deal with such situations. He also said all persons, irrespective of their cadre or rank, should be checked to provide a better security at airports.

On the issue of having sky marshals on board aircrafts, Col Pathak said, "Why does the country feel shy while facing the entire world on this issue? Of course, some money will be spent, but for the sake of a better security, these marshals will have to be inducted."

Lashing out at the crisis management group and its lackadaisical approach to the entire incident, Brig Manjit Singh (retd), who has commanded a brigade at Jaffna in Sri Lanka, said, "As a nation, our response has never been coherent. After this episode, the first thing which should be done is that some heads in the bureaucracy should roll. This should be done to give the message that such goof-ups should not happen in the future. The question why the services chiefs were not taken into confidence, beats me."

Lieut-Gen B.S. Randhawa (retd), said, "This issue calls for a deep introspection, because I believe that people must be accountable somewhere. This issue has caused embarrassment to the nation, and therefore, some legal action must be taken."

He, however, also said there was no need of appointing a commission or an inquiry committee in this matter. He said if it happened, the matter would just gather dust. "We all know that lapses have occurred and we must accept these," he said. He also said security and surveillance needed to be beefed up and we needed to show to the world that we meant business. He also said special forces should be used in such hours of crisis.

Brig Manjit Singh also called this incident, a "mockery of the state machinery". He said, "A child dies at an escalator at an international airport and nobody is blamed for that. Even in this issue, the whole episode will be forgotten till a similar hijack happens."

Brig Sant Singh (retd), who had captured Lieut-Gen A.A.K. Niazi in the 1971 war called this operation "an easy way out". He said talks, negotiations or even plans to make the hijackers surrender themselves were difficult options for the government.

He also said like in Germany, aircrafts should have policemen on board to deter any hijacking plans.

Showing his dissatisfaction at the way this episode has been handled he said, "Why can't we train our people to be smart and clever in such crisis situations. The captain could have outwitted the hijackers at Amritsar itself and maybe declared that a snag had developed in the aircraft and it could not fly. I think that the caption lost his nerve. The exchange was a very easy deal."Back


Mashaal procession taken out
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The Chandigarh chapter of the Art Of Living Foundation celebrated the New Year yesterday with a prayer meeting and satsang. Later, lighted mashaals were taken out in a procession, starting from Sector 34 and ending at the Plaza Square in Sector 17.

The procession went through Sectors 34, 21, 23 and 18.

Later, students of the NCC, NSS and NYK together took a millennium pledge to serve the country. The pledge was administered by Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuria (retd), the 'hero' of Longowal.Back


Rashtriya Raksha Dal flays cops
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The Rashtriya Raksha Dal criticised the role of the local police in shielding some unscrupulous elements, who allegedly under political patronage, had assaulted an ex-serviceman with an intention to occupy land at Kumbrah village here on December 25 last.

The ‘dal’ at a meeting of its local unit held at Paragon school, sought attention of the Punjab Government in this case. Lt Col D.S.Virk, Secretary of the dal, said the assailants, who came armed in tractor trolleys, had brought construction material to raise their structure on the land owned by Cpl Jaswant Singh Kumbrah (retd).

Alleging that due to patronage given by a local politician of the ruling party in Punjab, the local police had failed to register a case. Air Vice-Marshal G.S.Punia, Lieut-Gen Kartar Singh Gill and Lt-Gen B.S.Randhawa also spoke on the occasion. The Rashtriya Raksha Dal also plans to start an awareness drive in this regard in the township.Back


Club welcomes new year
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — A colourful cultural programme was organised today by the Markfed Club at Markfed House in Sector 35 to usher in the new year.

The programme began with a welcome address read by Mr Jagmohan Singh Brar, Senior Vice-President of the club. This was followed by bhajan and shabad recital by Sunil Dhyani and Prabhkirat. Rajinder Goriya presented Punjabi songs. Anil Sharma, a renowned television artiste, entertained the audience. Bal Mukand Sharma was the compere for the evening.

The programme concluded with a bhangra item presented by the Markfed bhangra team. Kids also performed at the function.

Mr D.S. Bains, MD of Markfed, was the chief guest and Mr S.K. Patra was the guest of honour.Back


ISKCON holds function
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — To welcome the new millennium, a three-day religious function was organised with great fervour and enthusiasm by the local unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, which concluded here today, according to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, President of the local unit.

Thousands of ISKCON devotees, along with people from all walks of life, while chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra presented an ecstatic midnight mass kirtanam and dance. They pledged to preserve the Vedic culture of India by adopting the path of spiritualism , which was the real source of peace and contentment, and to know the relevance of the Bhagwadgita’s sacred message in today’s national and global context. Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu, while delivering a lecture on the Bhagwadgita, said Gita gave a message of action which transformed the self and society.

The colourful function began with arti-kirtan at 6.30 p.m., followed by Krishna Lila by the children, a classical bhajan sandhya and ecstatic midnight mass kirtanam by temple devotees. After midnight, packets of sweets were distributed. The next day’s programme included arti-kirtan, and Sri Radha Kund appearance by children. Discourse on Srimad Bhagwadgita was held and prasadam was distributed. On the third day, a play on Krishna was staged, followed by distribution of prasadam.Back


NSS volunteers repair village road
From Our Correspondent

LALRU, Jan 2 — A 10-day NSS camp organised by the local Government Senior Secondary School in collaboration with the panchayat in the school premises concluded here on Saturday.

As many as 110 NSS volunteers, including 56 boys and 54 girls, and residents of the village repaired the road leading to the village cremation ground and refilled potholes on the Lalru-Dharamgarh road. The polluted nullah, about 2 km long, crossing Sardarpura, Sundernagar and Saini market was cleaned. Besides eradicating weeds from the school premises, the NSS volunteers also cleaned Baba Prithvi Singh Azad Memorial Hospital during the camp.

Special lectures were also given to the volunteers by experts in different fields during the camp.

Mr Sudhir Chauhan, Deputy General Manager of a local industrial unit, who was the chief guest on the concluding day encouraged the students to do social service. He also advised them to be good citizens.

The Principal of the school, Mrs Neelam Rehan, thanked the panchayat for making the camp successful.Back


Carving a niche in USA
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — This man was fascinated by the United States when they put a man on the moon. He was in awe of the highly technologically advanced Americans. With just 18 dollars in his pocket, he went to America in 1969.

Meet Chain Singh Sandhu, Chief Executive Officer and owner of NYX Inc., a Detroit ( Michigan) based supplier of interior products to the auto industry. Sandhu’s company which reports a turnover of nearly 100 million dollars, manufactures glove boxes, latches and other products.

Mr Sandhu was in the city recently with the aim of setting up a design centre in SAS Nagar to encourage and absorb engineering graduates. He has opened an office in Sector 34.

A product of the Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, he plans to do something for his old college. Expressing dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs, he said, “We want it to be self supporting, and for that we plan to give out a sizeable amount as the first instalment from Guru Nanak Engineering College Alumni of North America.’’

“My goal was to see how the best country did things,’’ said Sandhu. He spent 16 years with General Motors Corporation. His first job was testing crash dummies for the automotive industry. In 1986, he left GM to run NYX, which had 80 employees and sales of 1.6 million dollars. He left NYX after a couple of years to run a larger company, but came back when he was offered ownership of NYX.

Sandhu believes that there is a certain amount of honour reserved for those individuals who are willing to continually put themselves at risk in order to accept opportunity. “We call them entrepreneurs and I am proud to stand among them,’’ he said.

Today, NYX ships over 2.5 million vacuum harnesses per year. With 14 million plastic latches in circulation and four patents protecting its designs, NYX is the largest global supplier. It keeps in constant contact with customers with state-of-the-art EDI communication systems. It uses computer-aided drafting systems — Catia (Chrysler),

PDGS (Ford), Unigraphics (GM) and Pro/E ( Engineering). Its clients include Chrysler, Ford Motors, Mazda, Nipondenso and Subaru. Since more than half of the company’s employees are Indian, it makes it the largest employers of Indians.

His message for the youth of today who want instant success is, “you must be very confident of your capabilities and if you work hard you can attain your vision or goal. Do not make money your goal. Make learning your goal and money will come with it.’’ Back


15 roads to be improved
From our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Jan 2 — The Punjab Government will modernise 15 main link roads of the Banur constituency by adopting the repair pattern of Rajpura-Jalandhar Grand Trunk Road, said Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab.

The Finance Minister said this while addressing the residents of the surrounding villages on the conclusion of the akahand path bhog ceremony which was organised by the Punjab Fire Brigade Wing of Dera Bassi today.

The link roads which will be repaired and then modernised on priority basis, include the Bhankharpur-Ramgarh Road, College Road, Sarseeni Road, Lehli Road and the road leading to Panjgrami upto Chadiala.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh greeted the residents of Dera Bassi and its surrounding villages on the new year and urged them to maintain peace and brotherhood.

While appreciating firemen of the Dera Bassi brigade, the minister said they had shown great courage in controlling the fire which had broken out in Zirakpur last month. He also gave mementoes to the firemen and praised them for quick and better services.

Besides the residents of the surrounding villages, Mr Sher Singh Sidhu, SDM; Mr Jagjit Singh Dalli, President of the local Municipal Council; and other municipal councillors were also present.Back


Crime rate went up in 1999
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 2 — Almost all types of crime registered an increase during last year when compared to 1998. As per the figures released by the police, burglaries , theft of vehicles and incidents of snatching in the township kept the local police on its toes.

Efforts by the police to nab chain snatchers did result in some success, but sporadic incidents of snatching continued unabated. Residents lament that in spite of claims made by the police officials to plug unauthorised entry points neighbouring Chandigarh, continued incidents of snatching speak for themselves about the alertness of the police.

A barbaric incident of gangrape by Punjab Police commandos at Commando Complex in Phase XI shook the township. At least four cases of rape were registered in 1999 as compared to three cases in 1998. Atrocities against women was another area which saw a rise. If official figures were to be believed, over 12 cases under the Dowry Act were registered in 1999 as compared to 9 cases in the corresponding year.

The cases of murder increased from 4 in 1998 to five in 1999. The main cases to hit the headlines were the murder of an unidentified migrant labourer, whose body, with the head severed, was found lying in a government nursery in front of the Phase 1 police station. In another case, a Nepali couple was found dead in a factory here.

In another case, the local police registered a case of murder of a 45-year-old safai karamchari of Lakhnour village, whose body was found near a nullah here on September 15. Initially, the police, stating it to be a natural death, had initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC. It was only after an inquiry was conducted into the case by Superintendent of Police (Detective), Ropar, that the case of murder was registered against the wife of the deceased and her paramour.

The case of burglaries and thefts of vehicles increased from 60 in 1998 to 73 in 1999. Road accidents, however, decreased from 68 to 52.


Five arrested with whisky
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The police arrested five persons yesterday and seized a huge quantity of whisky from their possession.

According to the police, 23 bottles of Officers' Choice and Winner brands whisky, 30 pints of Bonnie Scot whisky and 89 pouches of Hero whisky were seized from their possession.

While 30 pints were seized from Vijay Kumar, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, from Grain Market, Sector 26, 12 bottles were seized from Dharam Pal of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, from near the Sector 20 masjid.

As many as 47 pouches were seized from Om Pal, a resident of Janata Colony, Sector 25, the police said, adding that Sham Lal, a resident of Main Bazar, Kharar, was arrested with 11 bottles from near a temple on the Maloya road. Raghbir Singh, also from Kharar, was held with 42 pouches from near Maloya.

Separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered against the five accused.

Charas seized
The police has arrested Madan Lal, a resident of Bathinda, from near the local ISBT and seized 1.5 kg of charas from him.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered.

Sat Parkash, Ram Avtar and Dharam Singh, all residents of Ram Darbar, Phase II, have been arrested by the police for gambling at a public place.

In a separate incident, Gopal, Sat Pal and Hira Singh, also from Phase II of Ram Darbar, have been nabbed while gambling at a public place.

Separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered.

Car stolen
Mr Pritpal Singh, a resident of Sector 35-D, in a complaint to the police alleged that his car (CHK 206) has been stolen from his house between December 12 to 30 when he was out of station.

The police has registered a case.

Two persons, who were injured in separate incidents, have been admitted to the PGI.

Gurbhej Singh, a resdient of Faridpur village, near Rajpura, was injured when his bicycle was hit by a truck near the Patiala bypass.

In another incident, a resident of Gharounda town, Narinder Singh, was injured when his scooter was hit by an unidentified vehicle.


Liquor seized
The police has arrested three persons in three separate cases of theft in the township. Bari Lal, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, was arrested with 12 bottles of country liquor on the Mauli-Sohana road. In another case, Karnail Singh of Palsora Colony was arrested with eight bottles of IMFL.


Telephone wire recovered
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — The CIA branch has recovered telephone wire worth Rs 16000 from Tota Ram, hailing from Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh and a resident of the Indira colony in the township.

His “area of operation” was Raipur Rani, Pinjore and surrounding areas.With the arrest, the police is hoping to solve other cases of theft of telephone wires.


Mishap toll rises to 5
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Jan 2 — The death toll in the accident involving an Ambassador car and a Coca Cola company truck went up to five as another injured, Minni, succumbed to her injuries at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, late last night.

Four passengers who suffered serious injuries have been shifted to the PGI in Chandigarh.

According to police sources, the deceased was admitted to the hospital with serious head injuries. All bodies have been handed over to the families after conducting the post-mortem examination at Civil Hospital in Rajpura.

A case has been registered under Sections 279, 337, 427 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.

Earlier, four persons of a family, including two children, were killed and five others injured seriously as a truck (CH-01M-5018) rammed into a car (DL-1C-5601) near Nabha Sahab village on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway last evening. The car,with nine persons, was on its way to Chhat Bir Zoological Park when the accident took place.Back


Service lanes

FROM service lanes, it is now open spaces adjoining corner houses. The recommendation or suggestion of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to hand over the possession of service lanes to owners of adjoining houses has evoked mixed response. Though the corporation has proposed to charge a token sum for this leasehold of the service lanes land, some have opposed it while a few others have appreciated the step.

Mr H.S. Sawhney, an ex-EME officer, in a letter to Sentinel, says that once the service lanes land is given to owners of adjoining houses, it will save Municipal Corporation Rs 13 lakh a year on their maintenance. At the same time he suggests that after land transfer, the owners of houses should not be forced to maintain them as green spaces but should be allowed to use cement concrete, marble or stone to extend their backyards provided it does not interefere with underground services.

He further says that since property in first 30 Sectors is mostly freehold, the charging of token lease money may not be in accordance with government guidelines and rules. Instead, the land should be sold to the house owners.

In case this recommendation is not accepted than the corporation should erect steel gates at all entry points of service lanes and hand over their control and maintenance to Residents Welfare Associations.

Similarly, he suggests that open spaces in front of corner houses should be transferred to house owners for maintenance and for growing of flowering plants, fruit trees and other things in accordance with government guidelines. The guidelines should also regulate fences of these open spaces.

These steps will bring sufficient funds to the State besides saving the civic body and the Administration the botheration of maintaining these spaces.

Some others, however, oppose it saying that maintenance of some of the essential services laid in service lanes would become difficult once their possession is given to house owners. Further, once additional land is available, the subsequent demand will come for permission to use it as per covered area rules. Even otherwise the beneficiaries would make all sorts of structures on this land to spoil the grandeur and architectural controls.

Honour to the city

Two doctors have brought honours to the city. Dr Ashok Gupta, Assistant Professor, Department of ENT at the PGI, has been chosen for gold medal by the Neuro-Otological & Equilibriometric Society of India for his work on "Effect of Streptomycin and Gentamycin on Cochleo-vestibular sensory endorgans — a histopathological study in rabbits". The gold medal and the award will be presented to Dr Ashok Gupta at the fourth NES Conference to be held at Bangalore on January 5.

The other doctor to bring laurels to the city is Dr J.B. D. Castro, a homoeopath, who has been honoured with Dr Madhu Rastogi award for devoted service to uplift the homoeopathic education in India by the Homoeopathic Medical Association of India at a ceremony organised by the West Bengal branch at Calcutta on December 24. Dr Castro has been associated with homoeopathy for the past 30 years.


Three hundred and sixtysix needy students of vocational education studying in various universities and other recognised institutions have been awarded scholarships by the Guru Harkrishan Educational Society of Chandigarh. The scholarship amount for this year comes to Rs 5.88 lakh and would be disbursed among beneficiaries in three instalments through principals of their respective institutions.

According to Mr A.S. Rawel, Secretary of the Guru Harkrishan Educational Society, a decision to award these scholarships was taken at a meeting of the governing council of the society. The scholarship scheme was introduced by the Society in 1986 and since then it has disbursed Rs 21.42 lakh among 2061 needy and deserving students without any discrimination of caste, creed, religion or domicile.

In service of humanity

For Brig Partap Singh Jaspal (retd), reaching people through information technology, is perhaps the most convenient and effective way. Author and designer of a couple of websites like and, he has now come out with this third website,

All these websites he says, are an endeavour to reach out to every nook and corner of the world with the loving gift of the millennium — a gift of mighty love force, which is more powerful and forceful than all forces of evil and destruction put together.

This humble appeal or message was initially flashed in April this year — the closing year of the millennium on the sacred occasion of the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa. Subsequently, the divine message of the greatest Sikh saint of the millennium was globally unveiled in October on a colourful website on Baba Sant Isher Singh. Presentation of this humble tribute, he says, stands completed with the end of millennium with yet another colorful website on Sri Guru Granth Sahib.


Chandigarh will continue to be a city of conferences and conventions in 2000 and the subsequent 21st century. Beginning in January will be the 25th annual conference of oral and maxillofacial surgeons of India. This conference will be held from January 13 to 16.

It is going to be a mega conference with marathon multi-subject pre-conference courses, including hands-on programme, besides a well organised, educative and clinically oriented scientific programme.

A special session for original research, free papers, panel discussions on separate topics or oral and maxillo-facila trauma, infection, head and neck oncology, oral pathology, congenital and developmental cranio-mandibular disorders, orthognathic surgery, temporo-mandibular joint disorders are also scheduled.

A trade exhibition will be held simultaneously.

Among the eminent members of faculty invited for the conference are Dr Khursheed Moos (UK), Dr Eric Carlson (USA), Dr GE Ghali (USA), Dr Stewart K. Lazow (USA) and Dr Lewis Clayman (USA).

Bhai Kanhaiya Award

Mr Bhagwant Singh Dilawari, a diplomat, who quit his IFS post in 1979, to dedicate his life to the service of suffering humanity, has been chosen for the Bhai Kanhaiya Award. The award was announced last week after a meeting of the Bhai Kanhaiya Award Committee which comprises Justice R.S. Narula, Bhai Mohan Singh, Mr Bhag Singh, Mr Satyajit Singh Majithia and Dr Manmohan Singh.

Mr Bhagwant Singh Dilawari has dedicated his life to serve about 1200 leprosy patients at Maharogi Seva Mandal "Topovan", Amravati in Maharashtra. The first recipient of this award was Bhagat Puran Singh while the second was Baba Amte. The award carries a citation, a memento, a shawl and an amount of Rs 1 lakh.

Cost of security

Militancy in Punjab and Chandigarh might be a thing of the past. But the expenditure on security of the protected persons (PPs) runs into several crores. In Chandigarh alone, the annual expenditure on the security of 102 PPs, including 81 officers, is a whopping Rs 13 crore.

This interesting information was provided by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, during a press conference recently.

But the question is can't the security be pruned or altogether withdrawn in case of at least those PPs for whom it is mere a status symbol? Over to the Protection Review Group of the Chandigarh Police!

Back to profession

Dr B.K. Sharma, who retired recently from the PGI as Director, after 33 year’s of service, is once again professionally active. He is consultant at the Chandigarh Medical Centre (CMC), Sector 17.

A physician and nephrologist of national and international repute, he was chiefly interested in hypertension. He was Secretary of the Indian Society of Nephrology for 11 years and finally its President in 1994.

Member of the Tirlok Tirath Vidyavati Chhuttani Charitable Trust which manages the CMC, he will be available for consultations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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