Monday, April 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Badal links development with decentralisation
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 9 — The Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today stressed on the decentralisation of power for better development in states. He was speaking after laying the foundation stone of Shaheed Udham Singh Bhavan in Phase 3 A here.

Mr Badal said provision of more powers and financial autonomy to the states would help restructure the system at the national level. He informed that various at a recent inter-state council meeting, had voiced their concern over the scarcity of resources at their disposal. The central government had given a favourable response to the issue.

Paying tributes to Shaheed Udham Singh, the Chief Minister said the martyr had glorified the name of the country but his dream of seeing a prosperous and a peaceful nation was yet to be fulfilled. The evils of poverty and unemployment still loomed large over the country. He called upon the masses to work collectively and fulfil the dream of Shaheed Udham Singh and other freedom fighters.

Lauding the Shaheed Udham Singh Educational and Charitable Trust for undertaking the construction of the bhavan at a cost over Rs 2 crore, Mr Badal assured help in the project.

Mr Balramji Dass Tandon and Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, both Cabinet ministers, Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Mr G. S. Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, and Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, were also present on the occasion. Wg Cdr Baldev Singh ( retd), Chairman of the Shaheed Udham Singh Educational and Charitable Trust, said the bhavan would house an orphanage, an auditorium and other facilities of general interest.

'You got everything but cleanliness'

The state of sanitation in SAS Nagar came under focus when the Chief Minister during the foundation-stone laying ceremony of Shaheed Udham Singh Bhavan said, "An NRI, who wanted to set an IT industry in SAS Nagar visited the town and told me that sanitation in the town was not good." The Chief Minister was stressing on the need to keep the cities clean and create a healthy environment.


Le Corbusier’s buildings need facelift: Blew
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — Clean up and make more presentable the key Corbusier government buildings in the city — this is the message given by Mr John C. Blew, a Director of the Society of Architectural Heritage (SAH) headquartered in Chicago (USA).

Mr John C. Blew, in a letter addressed to the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob (retd), suggested a three-point programme to welcome more international tourists to the city. He was in the city and interacted with faculty and students of College of Architecture last month.

Mr Blew says Corbusier buildings — the Secretariat, Assembly and High Court — and the spaces in between should be cleaned up and made more presentable. The crude fences should be removed, landscaping improved and menacing guards toned down.

These buildings should be made more accessible to tourists and should be open for tours on six to seven days a week. The tours should permit much wider access within the buildings and the tourists should be permitted to take photographs. He says he understands the security issues but there need to be compromises and innovative solutions to handle the security aspect.

Mr Blew also wants that Chandigarh should develop and train a group of local tour guides who understand and can explain the planning and architectural significance of Chandigarh and who can identify the buildings throughout the city and who their architects were. He suggests that relevant literature and maps should be made available in all hotels which cater to tourists.

The SAH, he says, is a 60-year-old international body which has over 3,500 institutional and individual members, including scholars, architects and preservationists. It conducted a study tour of India from December 27, 1999, to January 20, 2000. There were 32 members on the study tour, which was led by Prof Michael Meister of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr Blew was also a member of the study tour.

The SAH tour, which focussed on architecture of India, did not include Chandigarh. That was why, he said, after the end of the study tour, 10 members of the group found their way independently to Chandigarh and were lucky to be in the company of the distinguished American Professor of Architectural History, Mr H. Alen Brooks, a leading authority in the world on Le Corbusier.

On a suggestion from Mr Blew, the Administration has given a green signal to Mr I.J.S. Bakshi and Ms Kiran Joshi of College of Architecture to go ahead with the second volume of Documenting Chandigarh: the Indian architecture of Pierre Jeannert, Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Beverly Drew. The first volume of this highly authentic book on Chandigarh, its concept and plan, was released last year during the Chandigarh: 50 years of the idea conference.

"Appropriate organs of the Chandigarh Administration should develop and aggressively implement a comprehensive programme to market the city of Chandigarh as a primary tourist destination for the multitude of foreign tourists who visit India each year. It appears that most tour operators and visitors to India, quite frankly, either have not heard of Chandigarh at all or fail to appreciate what a rich and rewarding visual experience awaits them in Chandigarh. This is a great tragedy — for the visitors — who miss seeing what must surely be one of the largest and most successful modern planned cities in the world," Mr Blew says in his letter.


City gets new Bishop
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — Thousands of Catholics from all over North India poured into the grounds of the Sector 26 Sacred Heart School here today to participate a seldom-seen ceremony nearly as old as Christianity itself.

Anointed with holy oil and blessed by an archbishop and 15 bishops representing other dioceses of India, the bishop-elect Dr Gerald John Mathias, took his episcopal oath to serve God and the church and received the insignia of his office -- the cross, mitre, ring and crosier.

Mathias' ordination is the first to take place in Chandigarh. When his predecessor, Gilbert Rego, was ordained in 1971, the cathedral church and diocesan headquarters was in Shimla.

Preceding today's ancient ritual was a Sarva Matha Sammellan attended by local leaders of the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities. The ordination itself was part of a Mass offered by Delhi Archbishop Alan de Lastic with the assistance of the other bishops. De Lastic is also president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.

The three-hour-long event was a visual feast: a lavishly decorated altar set with candles and vessels containing holy wine and bread, the bishops in their long, heavily embroidered brocade robes and mitres (their characteristic headgear), the altar attendants in red and white and a full choir backed by an orchestra.

Vows and blessings completed, the newly commissioned bishop was seated on his throne and, one by one, all the priests of the diocese, knelt before him and kissed the episcopal ring as a token of respect.

The religious service was followed by a reception attended by UT Advisor Vineeta Rai, Chandigarh Mayor Shanta Hit Abhilashi, Maj Gen George Lasrado (representing Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, GOC in C Western Command), Punjab DIG C.S.R. Reddy, UT SSP Parag Jain and other prominent citizens.

Speaking on the occasion, the UT Advisor praised the many works of charity and uplift undertaken by the diocese among the region's most needy and disadvantaged. "We will miss Bishop Rego who has retired but look forward to new projects which Bishop Mathias will launch," she said.

The 47-year-old Mangalore-born Mathias was previously parish priest of the cathedral church of Lucknow and a professor at the Nagpur Seminary. He holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Lateran University, Rome.

He is the fourth man to head the Shimla-Chandigarh Diocese since it was carved out of the Delhi-Shimla Diocese in 1959. The diocese consists of six districts of Punjab, 11 districts of Haryana, eight districts of Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh; it has a Catholic population of 16,000.


Truck crushes mother, child
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, April 9 — A mother and her 9-month-old child were killed and the child's grandmother received serious injuries when a truck overturned after hitting a carriage protection wall (pulli) on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road at Rampur Sainian here this morning.

According to eyewitness, Ms Harbanso Devi was sitting at the pulli with her son Raman in her lap, and waiting for a bus to Jaolly village at about 9 a.m. when a truck coming from the Dera Bassi side rammed into the pulli and overturned, killing the mother and child on the spot. Ms Mani Devi, mother-in-law of Ms Harbanso Devi, received serious injuries and was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, with serious head injuries and multiple fractures.

Mr Jai Singh of Hasanpur, an eyewitness, said, "I heard a thud and cries while was watering the wheat fields in the morning. I saw a truck falling in a ditch after breaking the pulli. I rushed to the spot and noticed that an infant and a woman were breathing their last. A seriously injured old lady was lying unconscious at some distance."

"In no time, passersby gathered and arranged to send the injured to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, along with her son, Mr Ram Karan, who had a narrow escape in this accident," said Mr Jai Singh.

Another eyewitness said that the truck driver and the cleaner fled soon after the mishap.

The bodies were lifted by the police after a long time. They were lying on the road even when The Tribune team reached the spot at about 4.30 pm. Though a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code was registered by the Dera Bassi police, the bodies had not been sent to Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for the post-mortem examinations.

Mr Ghasita Ram, father-in-law of Harbanso Devi, said that the family was returning after paying obeisance at a temple in Trilokpur village to thank the Goddess for blessing the young couple with a son. "God had snatched its gift Raman," he said, while controlling tears.


In search of eateries that serve a pious menu
By Monica Sharma

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — These may be good days for the soul, but they're bad days for restaurateurs. With many people observing the Navratra fast, the city's normally packed eating houses are seeing slow business.

No meat, no booze, no garlic, no onions ... and for those who are obverse the vrat really strictly, not even normal wheat-atta or rice. That doesn't leave much for the menu.

Said Vivek, a young man who fasts on every Navratra: ''I eat more fruits and lots of milk. Actually, I feel this is good for health -- light but nutritious. It keeps me moving and I don't feel hungry.''

As Radhika, another person on fast, pointed out "It's really no great sacrifice to keep this fast because I eat many other things. The dishes prepared during Navratra are different from routine menu and taste good."

During the fast the people eat fruits, makhane, paneer, special rice and breads made from water-chestnut dough. Potato dishes such as French fries usually form the main element of any Navratra meal.

But what about eating out? Suppose you must accompany your friends to a restaurant or you just feel like going out to enjoy a meal. Can you eat out and still fast? You can order just French fries -- they're available at every eatery, but other specialities such as kuttu-ka-paratha are not seen.

Very few hotels cater to people on fast. One hotelier explained the reason: "We would have to arrange not only a separate menu but also separate cooks and utensils. That would add too much to our costs."

Nevertheless, a few hoteliers manage to solve the problem. Like the Sindhis -- they certainly take the fast seriously. For special Navratra meals the places to go are The Sindhi in Sector 37, The N ew Sindhi in Sector 17D and The Sindhi Rasoi in Sector 17 C. Of all the hotels in the city, only these hotels have a menu geared to the devout.

For instance, Sector 17's Sindhi Sweets serves a special Navratra thali of zeera alu, alu raita, rice, fruit chaat, two paranthas and kheer -- all for just Rs 60. Say Sindhi Sweets manager Sanjay Mohindra: ' We prepare the Navratra fast meals with proper hygiene and cleanliness and keep the utensils used for cooking separate.''

The Mountview Hotel kitchen also provides meals for the fast "if somebody specifically asks for it". Executive Chef Vijay Kumar recalls; "Last year we cooked Navratra meals for more than 100 members of a group on special order. We love to provide Navratra meals because they challenge our imagination. We have proved that it is possible to give a variety of dishes." For regular diners, Vijay Kumar and his fellow chefs prepare dishes without onion and garlic on request.

For the devout who do venture out and manage to find a restaurant that caters to their special dietary needs, the experience is rewarding. Neelima Jain, a diner at one of the Sindhi establishments, was enthusiastic: "The Navratra fast means we avoid certain foods but not all foods. I enjoy eating out in a relaxed atmosphere and sampling new dishes. The thali I've ordered here is perfect."


Few cops, porous border ... Mohali is thief-haven
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 9 — In just the past ten days, thieves have struck at seven houses and shops in and near this township. To refresh the memory, here's a list of the dates, the targets and the swag:

April 6: Phase X house -- thieves get cash and three tolas of gold;

April 4: Phase IV house -- thieves get cash, gold and expensive utensils.

April 1: Phase 3B 2Show-room-cum-flat and Sector 71 shop -- the loot is electronic goods worth over Rs 33,000

March 29:, Phase 3B-1 house -- thieves get cash and jewellery worth over Rs 10,000.

March 28: Nayagaon house is -- the take is more than Rs 18,000.

March 3, Phase 3B 1 house -- thieves get electronic goods worth more than Rs 40,000.

That is not the end of list. During the current year, police have registered at least 13 cases burglary and theft from residential and commercial premises here. This does not include cases of vehicle theft (also common -- at least 12 in the past three months) which come under a separate crime head.

Burglars appear to be striking at will. Part of the problem is the very poor police-to-population ratio: roughly one policeman for every 1100 persons. For a fast developing urban conglomerate having porous borders with Chandigarh, this hardly qualifies for the term "skeleton staff".

While the township's police talk of a plan for sealing the town and conducting surprise checks at nakas, citizens complain that the anti-theft measures are still "just talk ... burglaries and vehicle thefts continue unabated".

Police sources say that although some measures like speedy registration of First Information Report (FIR's) and a better police-public coordination had been initiated, shortage of police force and inadequate infrastructure is crippling the efficiency of the men in khakhi.


Cruel handling injures animal
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 9 — In a case of cruelty against an animal, a stray cow was injured after it fell while being pulled by a tractor-trolley by staff of the local municipal council. The poor animal, tied behind the trolley with a rope around its neck, was dragged for few yards before being noticed by residents of Phase 5 here.

The incident took place at around 9 p.m when staff of the local Municipal Council was carrying out its drive to round up stray cattle in the town. At least six teams, each headed by a municipal inspector, was given different areas and the team in charge of Phase 5 was able to round up at least three cows. In the ensuing moments one of the animals was injured.

According to eyewitnesses, the cow, which fell on its right side, was writhing in pain. Its belly was bloated apparently to due to some undigested material. Some good samaritans on noticing it came to its rescue and a private veterinary doctor was called who gave some injections to relieve the animal of the pain. Two scribes, living in the area also reached the spot, called up the Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr O.P. Poli, who directed the government veterinary doctor, Mr Ram Singh, to reach the spot.

An incision was made in the belly of the cow to puncture the bloat. Undigested material like plastic bags and other waste material was removed from its stomach. The next morning the poor animal was evacuated to the rehabilitation centre of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) in Sector 38, Chandigarh.

Ironically some policemen from the Phase 1 police station did not take any action against the council officials under applicable sections of the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act in spite of directives of the SSP, Ropar, in this regard.

Dr Y.P.C. Mehta, attending to the cow at SPCA, said the bloat in the cow’s belly had not been properly punctured. While describing the condition of the cow to be serious, he said a surgery had been done. He said generally an animal was exhausted before being rounded up. A delegation of the local unit of the SPCA led by its president, Mr N.S.Gill, met the SDM after the incident.

Mr Popli said he had warned the council staff to more cautious while rounding up the stray cattle. He said special equipment like cattle catchers would be requisitioned from Nabha. In future a volunteer of the SPCA would accompany the persons rounding up stray cattle. To dissuade the cattle owners the fine on a grown-up animal had been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 1000, and on a calf it had been increased from Rs 300 to Rs 500.

The Executive Officer of the council, Mr K.S. Brar, said the incident was unintentional. The staff of the council had no formal training in rounding up the animals, he said, promising that in future a better technique would be used.


'Implement Nanakshahi calendar'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — The Institute of Sikh Studies has appealed to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to implement the Nanakshahi calendar with immediate effect and put an end to all confusion and controversy in the matter. The unanimous adoption of the calendar by the general house of the SGPC should be implemented without any further delay, it said.

A resolution to this effect was passed at a seminar on the RSS Agenda and the Sikhs organised by the institute at Gurdwara Kanthala Sahib here today.

In another resolution, the institute said it was unfortunate that the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was playing a second fiddle to the BJP which had always opposed the vital issues of the Punjab river waters, inclusion of Chandigarh and Punjabi speaking areas in Punjab and more autonomy for states. The institute appealed to the Chief Minister of Punjab to put an end to this "propaganda" of the RSS so that it might not lead to the 1978 situation with the Nirankaris.

In yet another resolution, the institute called upon the Sikhs everywhere to express strong faith in Guru Granth Sahib as the only living Guru of the Sikhs and the only scripture. It also urged them to reject the so-called Dasam Granth as "it was irrelevant to the Sikh thought, doctrine, faith or practice".

To the Sangh Parivar, the institute said "its attempts at gaining the Sikh sympathy were likely to boomerang and eventually lead to the alienation of the Sikhs in a big way". The institute also called upon the RSS and Sangh Parivar to desist from"false propaganda" regarding the "Dasam Granth".

Earlier, during the seminar, those who spoke included Dr Gurdarsahn Singh Dhillon, Mr Gurtej Singh, Dr Sukhjeet Kaur, Prof Nirbhai Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Prof Harkishen Singh Mehta.


Transfer of the Kundras

The transfer of the Kundras, a young IAS couple belonging to the Union Territory cadre, has come as a major surprise. It is the timing of the transfer orders, received by fax minutes after the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, left the city, that came as a rude shock to the administrative circles. The Kundras came here a little more than a year ago on a normal three-year posting.

Initially, there was some confusion whether the transfer was linked to grant of Senior Scale to them or not. But since the fax message did not specify any such thing, including grant of Senior Scale, the orders have been viewed as a link to the recent case of corruption registered against the Home Secretary of Chandigarh.

Interestingly, the Home Minister admitted during a press conference at Punjab Raj Bhavan that someone from the ruling party had spoken to him about the Chandigarh’s Home Secretary but maintained that this could not be construed as “political pressure”. Every individual has a right to have one’s own opinion, Mr Advani said.

Mr Ashish Kundra, Subdivisional Magistrate, South, had recorded the confessional statement of K.B. Goel, a suspended Office Superintendent of the UT Secretariat, who is also facing the corruption case along with the Home Secretary.

Mrs Geetanjali Kundra, wife of Ashish, who is also an IAS officer, was posted as Subdivisional Magistrate (East) and also Joint Secretary, Capital Project. The Kundras are known for their “uprightness and dedication to duty”. But their transfer to Mizoram is being viewed as a “fallout” of the N.K. Jain-K.B. Goel corruption case. The Kundras were popular not only in administrative circles but also among general public for their good and friendly behaviour, integrity and efficiency.

The city would miss them.

Rare praise

It is difficult for industrial establishments and banks to get appreciation from their auditors in their annual reports. The reason? Auditors are trained to point out technical irregularities committed by managements in compiling their accounts and to exhort them to strictly maintain the guidelines set by the government.

Mr S.C. Dhall, an officer of the State Bank of Patiala, who had received three awards from three successive Managing Directors of the bank, has been appreciated by auditors of the bank for efficiently running the Sanawar branch.

Impressed by the audit report for the last financial year, the Assistant General Manager of the bank, Mr R.K. Rattan, has lauded Mr Dhall’s efforts for earning the “highest audit rating of efficiently running the bank branch he manned”.

A letter that Mr Dhall has received from Mr Rattan says: “While it speaks volumes about the sincere efforts put in by one and all at the branch, it also shows that your branch has performed well under all the functional areas. I appreciate the good work done by you and all your staff.”

Mr Rattan has asked Mr Dhall to send him a group photograph of his staff members so that it could be published in the bank’s house magazine, “Apka Apna”.

Tree plantation

During March, the Children Alliance for Protection of the Environment (CAPE) carried out a useful conservation exercise. It launched the spring tree plantation campaign in schools and colleges. The main focus was on a native and medicinal plant, the neem, which is rare in the city. During this month-long campaign pits were dug, manure mixed with soil and about 300 saplings were planted in 15 educational institutions in the city.

These saplings have been planted on assurances by the Principals/Headmasters that the plants will be looked after by a team of teachers and students, especially during the summer vacations when young plants need water.

The CAPE is also starting another project, “vermi comfort in schools” shortly, so that the fallen leaves, cow dung and other biodegradable waste could be turned into useful manure for plants.

Death traps

Telephone boxes in various parts of the city are a shambles. They have their doors broken and wires hanging lose from them.

In some parts of the city, the department is busy laying new underground cables to strengthen the existing telephone network. The new cables are being laid independent of the ducts constructed a couple of years ago.

Though the linesmen and Junior Engineer of the Department frequent the areas, no action has been taken to get the broken doors, junction boxes and telephone boxes repaired. There are some pole-mounted boxes also which are in similar plight.

The picture on the top of the page was taken by Manoj Mahajan on the road dividing Sectors 7 and 8 last week.


The Chandigarh Administration is once again running short of officials to man top positions. At present, the Home Secretary has been asked to proceed on long leave. There is no Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board and now two young IAS officers, Mr Ashish Kundra, and his wife, Geetanjali, have also been transferred to Mizoram. A few other positions have also been lying vacant after repatriation of a couple of HCS officers during the past some weeks.

As a result, the Finance Secretary has been shouldered with the additional responsibility of looking after the work of the Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board. Similarly, the Commissioner of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has been given the additional charge of the Home Secretary. The additional charge of the Chairman of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation has gone to the Adviser to the Administrator who also gets the additional work of looking after the work of the Chief Vigilance Officer of Chandigarh.

Though the Kundras are yet to get formal orders of their posting to Mizoram, they have not even completed two years here. If the crisp fax order received by the Administration is any indication, their Senior Scale, too, has not come.

Of late only one new officer, Mr Vivek Attri from Haryana, has joined the Administration on deputation. The position of the Chief Engineer, too, has to be filled from within soon afterwards as the files of both Mr Puranjit Singh and Mr V.K. Bhardwaj would go to the Union Public Service Commission. This may take a couple of months.

Then the post of the Superintending Engineer, Electrical, is also vacant as Mr V.P. Dhingra, a senior Executive Engineer of the Electricity Wing, is holding the current charge of SE, Electrical.


Wheelchairs needed

I AM sad to read that the PGI is going to spend Rs 5 crore on a state-of-the-art catheter laboratory when it needs to spend heavily on other services.

I am a doctor in the USA and my wife is a senior resident at the Sector 32 hospital. Last month, we took my mother to the PGI to see a rheumatologist because my mother was in a lot of pain and could not walk a single step without a walker. There was not a single wheelchair available.

After waiting for a while, I argued with the person on duty who was chaining up about 10 wheelchairs, which according to him were all broken. I managed to take the one that looked good, but, after a few yards, it started swaying. We gave it up, got our card back and took 25 minutes to go to the rheumatology OPD and my mother was out of breath and in a lot of pain. We were almost in tears.

There was another person hopping on one leg and some others whom their relatives were carrying in their arms. The next day, the laboratory tests were another problem because without the card, they did not accept the charges. Wheelchair persons keep your card as a security deposit.

What good is Rs 5 crore for one laboratory when one cannot even get a wheelchair, forget the reception and a guide to help you get to the desired OPD the shortest way. I will never go to the PGI again. Mera PGI Mahan

Received via e-mail
Indianapolis, USA

Phone out of order

My telephone (no. 651919) is out of order since March 30 and I made a complaint in this regard. The telephone connection has not been restored till now.

I enquired repeatedly from the SDO. He simply said “Phone jaldi theek ho jayega ji, cable down hai”. I do not understand what Jaldi theek ho jayega ji means. Could you help me in that.

Bhushan Malhotra



A ‘drive’ against terrorism
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — To spread awareness among the masses about combating terrorism, a Head Constable with the Tamil Nadu Police is traversing the country on a motor cycle.

Talking to TNS while passing through the city on his way to Shimla and thereon to Kargil, N Sivaji, presently posted at the Vangal police station in Karur district, said that it is his own idea to encourage people-police cooperation and spread awareness about the type of information which would help the police in combating terrorism.

Sivaji plans to traverse the country from Tamil Nadu, eastern coastal states, the North-Eastern states, Kargil, Delhi, Rajasthan, western coastal states and back, in 90 days. His expedition was flagged-off from Coimbatore by the City Police Commissioner, Mr K Radhakrishnan, on January 31.

Apart from his home state, he has already covered Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana.

He also visited the neighbouring country of Bhutan, where he was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the Chief of Police, Colonel Wangdi Tshering. His scrap book is already full of certificates appreciating his venture. Among those who have encouraged him in his venture are the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam as well as the Commanding Officers of 5 Grenadiers, 78 Road Company of GREF and 4 Corps Provost Unit.

While he is carrying his luggage along with him, Sivaji says that logistical support en route is also being provided by various police organisations. Petrol and accommodation during night halts is provided by police stations en route.

He says that he is travelling on his personal Yamaha motor cycle and the company is also providing technical support and maintenance service where required.

His return journey will take him through Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Sivaji says that he also plans to meet the Prime Minister on his return journey and has already tied up with his security officials for the same. He hopes to reach Delhi within eight days after touching Kargil.


'Link women to development'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — Poverty, population and women power (three Ps) needed to be linked to the intervention in development in a deteriorating national scenario, said Mr R.K. Mishra, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, at the concluding ceremony of a regional training workshop organised by the Commonwealth Youth Programme here on Friday.

"As women constitute half of the world population, they cannot be kept away from the development scenario," he added. Participants came from Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka, besides India.

Dr Devendra Agochiaya, a former head of the CYP, stressed the need for making further progress in the CYPs.

Mr Laxmidham Swan of the Xavier's Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar, proposed a vote of thanks. Dr Bhagbanprakash, acting Regional Director of the local centre, said development was a dynamic concept which needed continuous reassessment.


Open drain claims child
From Our Correspondent

LALRU, April 9 — Manpreet Singh, alias Harry, a student of UKG, died after drowning in a drain carrying sullage of the town in the local market on Friday.

The 4-year-old drowned in the open drain while playing in front of his house in Sardarpur Mohalla. His parents, on noticing his disappearance, started searching for him.

About two hours later, the boy was found in the drain. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, where he was declared brought dead.

The body was cremated last evening.

Holding back tears, Mr Harvinder Singh, father of the deceased, said that his son was brilliant and had stood first in his class this year.

Meanwhile, resentment prevails among residents against the open drains in the area. They have demanded proper cleanliness and covers for the drains in the township.


PUDA flayed for razing mandir
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 9 — The Chandigarh unit of the Vishav Hindu Parishad and the local unit of the Shiva Sena Bal Thakre have in separate statements criticised the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for demolishing parts of Pracheen Shiv Mandir in sector 69 (Kumbhra village) here recently.

Col Dharam Vir, President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Mr Sunil Jindal, President of the Bajrang Dal, have urged the authorities not to disturb the ancient temple.


Scribe bereaved
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — Tripta Devi, sister-in-law of Harish Chander, a freelance journalist based at Morinda, died while her husband sustained serious injuries in a head-on collision between two scooters near Shambhu barrier last night.

According to information available, Mr Rajinder Kumar, brother of Harish Chander, was seriously injured while his wife was taken to the Civil Hospital at Rajpura, where she died shortly afterwards. They were on their way to attend a kirya ceremony at Shambhu. A case has been registered against the driver of the other scooter.


Fire in Markfed unit
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 9 — Fire broke out at a local unit of Markfed, manufacturing insecticides and pesticides, in Industrial Area here today.

According to the information available, the fire broke out in the unit after one of the tanks being used to store some chemical started leaking and caught fire. It took over one hour for fire tenders to control the fire. No loss of life has been reported.


Sandhu's death mourned
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — The Union Minister for Sports and Secretary-General of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today mourned the death of Jasdev Singh Sandhu, Chairman of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board, and described him as a great patriot and a popular and veteran Akali leader who always fought for the welfare of the masses.

Jasdev Singh Sandhu had made sacrifices for the cause of Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, participated in morchas of the dal and was jailed many times, Mr Dhindsa said.


Supreet crowned Baby Princess
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 —Supreet Gill from Haryson Public School, SAS Nagar, was crowned as the Baby Princess in the category 'A of the' mega- baby- prince'' show in aid of poor and needy students.

A press release of the City Beautiful Club said that Tushar from Nuts and Berries School, SAS Nagar, was chosen as the Baby Prince.

In the category ' B', Aarushi from Gem Public School, SAS Nagar was crowned the Baby Princess while Shubnam from Saupins School, SAS Nagar, was crowned the baby prince.

More than 100 participants from local schools and those in SAS Nagar participated in the event.

The club president, Vishal Sharma, gave away the prizes. This was followed by a common dance session much to the delight of the participants.


Saket inmates get books
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, April 9 — The local unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad organised its annual function here today.

Free stationery and books were distributed among needy and deserving students and inmates of Saket Hospital.

A colourful cultural programme was also presented. Mr R.L. Kataria, MP, and Mr Taran Dass Kamboj, an NRI, were the guests of honour. They announced special donations of Rs 51,000 and Rs 21,000 to the parishad.

Earlier, Mr Kamal Awasthi, Secretary of the parishad, highlighted the achievements of the body in his annual report.


60 whisky pouches seized
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — The police on Friday arrested Darshan Lal of Burail village and recovered from his possession 60 pouches of whisky. A case under Sections 61,1,14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Eve-teaser held
The police on Friday arrested a resident of Ram Darbar, Mukesh from near the Government Press Chowk on the charge of teasing girls. A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered.

Mr O.P. Sahni of Sector 16 was injured when the scooter he was riding was hit by another scooter in Sector 36. He has been admitted to the PGI. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

The police on Saturday arrested Surinder Kumar of Sector 35 and Lakhwinder Singh of Sector 15 for allegedly creating nuisance at a public place under the influence of liquor.

Six held
The police on Saturday arrested six persons from Industrial Area for apprehension of breach of peace. Four of the arrested persons belong to Industrial Area Colony No 4 while the remaining two are from Kaimbwala village.


ATMs prove attractive 'bait' for low-cost deposits
By Akanksha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9 — Do you have a magnetic five-by-four-inch wallet that doesn't bulge in your pocket? More and more people have acquired this plastic key to the bank vault, known as the ATM card. "The cards are not yet common," a senior official of the State Bank of India conceded, "So far not much effort has gone into popularising them."

But that may change soon. He disclosed that: "Soon our ATMs will be installed not just in our banks but in markets, on campuses, offices or other secure places. They will all be online and linked to the main branch which in turn is linked to the regional headquarters," said a senior official of the State Bank of India zonal head office here.

According to revised SBI instructions, all salary account-holders are to receive ATM cards.

SBI offers three kinds of ATM cards - Regular, Standard and High - Value Card -- the Regular is for the salaried class earning between Rs 5,000 and 10,000 per month (maximum withdrawal per day -- Rs 3,000), the Standard is for persons earning between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 (maximum withdrawal per day-- Rs 5,000) while High Value is for those earning in excess of Rs 15,000 (maximum withdrawal -- Rs 9,900 per day) .

Since 1997 when the machines first came in, they have spread rapidly and now a bank isn't "competitive" unless it offers its depositors the ATM facility. An ATM card is like a permanent token issued by the bank; it allows the holder to walk in any time and inject themselves with a dose of Vitamin M.

However, the banks insist on certain requirements to hedge their risk. For instance, IndusInd bank requires the potential ATM holder to have a Fixed Deposit of Rs. 10, 000 for a minimum period of one year. The bank has two ATM centres and has issued as many as 3500 cards. The bank limits the maximum withdrawal to Rs. 5,000 in a day. The ATM goes offline when banking hours end -- that point of time when banks are exposed to higher risk of over-drafts.

IDBI bank requires a minimum balance of Rs. 5,000 in the savings account and Rs 10,000 is the maximum per-day withdrawal. "ATM is the additional facility we offer to attracting low-cost deposits said the bank's official. Around 95 per cent of the transactions that take place on the ATM card are withdrawals, Most of those using the ATM facility are retired people," says an officer of the bank.

HDFC and Times Bank grab a large chunk of the ATM customers. The total cards issued by this bank are approximately 10,000 . The maximum amount that one can withdraw in a day is Rs 10,000.

Punjab National Bank ( PNB) has two ATM centres in Sector 17 and 22. Rs 10,000 is the minimum savings account balance needed to avail of the card. PNB has two kinds of ATM-holders, Online ones who hold accounts at either the Sector 17 or 22 PNB branch, and offline ATM customers -- those who hold accounts in other PNB branches. Maximum withdrawal per day is Rs 6,000 for the on-liners and Rs 3,000 per day for the off-liners.

In case of overdraft on weekends, the saving accounts are debited on Monday and the customer is informed about the overdraft. In case of non-payment the card is cancelled. Should the customer inform about a delayed repayment, he is charged interest on the overdraft at 18 per cent per annum. "We want to discourage overdrafts," said an official, stating the obvious.


ATMs ... so far so good

Banks, public and private are continuously improving their ATM facilities to the customers. Primitive model ATMs were only for quick deposits or withdrawals. New state-of-the-art ATM machines do that and on request they can roll out full account statements, mini-statements of transactions over the past ten days and provide cheque books.

ATM machines have three trays in which normally three currency notes of denomination 500, 100 and 50 are placed. Tray capacity is 30 packets. For effective ATM services, banks need to be interconnected nationwide and worldwide. This makes banking highly convenient for customers. HDFC & Times Bank, IndusInd and the IDBI banks have a good nationwide computer networks enabling their customers to withdraw or deposit anywhere in the country.

A lost card is a problem -- one must inform the bank immediately and the bank hot-lists it nationwide. If the person forget the PIN number of the card, the ATM allows three chances to get it right. After that, the machine "swallows" the card and the holder must retrieve it from the bank manager. The customer can easily change the password but the machine is programmed to protect itself against fiddling.

Money still doesn't grow on trees but thanks to the machines, one can lay hands on it "automatically".


Marketing of IT products 'weak'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — The two-day national conference on data communication concluded here with a panel discussion on several aspects concerning the information technology (IT) scenario in the country.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities in integrating computer systems, communication and artificial intelligence as well as the thrust of various segments of society like private sector, government, educational institutions and students was the focus of the discussion.

Experts from Punjab Engineering College, Panjab University, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation and members of the Computer Society of India participated in the discussion. Earlier, several papers concerning IT and data communication were presented in three technical sessions.

It was felt that the effort of Indians in the development of data communication is by and far individual, but the companies are now slowly becoming more involved in developing new structures and systems.

It was also felt that while Indians have been doing quite well in the development of IT-related products, these are not being marketed profitably.

Packaging of IT-related products and services is another area where more work needs to be done. It was pointed out that Indian products and efforts are customised and application-specific, but lack a broader and larger perspective. While Indians are good in their individual capacity, the collective output fails to come up to the requisite standards.

The participants were of the opinion that there is always a wide gap between an idea and its realisation, the reasons being access to technology and harnessing available technology. While knowledge is available, there is often a lack of systematic approach to use it, giving arise to the need for adequate human resource development in this area.

The option of an indirect approach to available technology and knowledge where direct approach does the desired results was also suggested. Indians, it was pointed out, are doing well in the IT arena by using non-conventional approaches.

While scientific manpower, inflow of ideas and opportunities are available, lack of investment, infrastructure, government support and long term planning is hindering the growth of IT. Also data security has become a major issue in the IT world.


EEFI flays Govt’s economic policy
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 9 — Delegates from various parts of the country flayed the present economic policy of globalisation and liberalisation and disinvestment of the PSUs being pursued by the government. They were speaking on the opening day of the three-day fourth national conference of the Electricity Employees Federation of India (EEFI) being held here.

The participants criticised the cut in subsidies and said that the the fiscal deficit was on the rise and steps should be taken to stop it. Not only this the WTO policies were anti- farmer and against the working class. The WTO was working as an agency of USA.

They also dwelt at length on the privatisation of banks and the decision to set up the Labour Commission which would take away their fundamental right to organise and fight for their livelihood.

Commenting on the power sector reforms, he said the results were there for everyone to see. After Enron, the rate of supply of power by the Maharasthra State Electricity Board power rate would be Rs 6 per unit. How could a common man expect to buy power at such exorbitant rates, they questioned. Even Haryana and Orissa were reviewing their decision to privatise the power sector.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |