Wednesday, May 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


To strive, to seek, and never to yield... Working against time... They finally made it... Keep up the good work
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — Hard work and diligence has seen them through and all of them are telling almost the same story. The ICSE toppers are happy today and they look forward to a happier future, with about 98 per cent of them seeing themselves somewhere in the software engineering sector. Non-medical is the most sought after stream, and as against the last year, commerce has taken the back seat, with the information technology bug biting them all. We begin to download information on how they all worked through the year, what factors contributed the most to their success, and what are they heading for:

It would not be an exaggeration to start with Rakesh Kumar Maurya of St Xavier’s who has not been deterred from the path of success by his adversity. Rakesh, son of a gardener, employed in the same school, has come out with 91.33 per cent, but was still not happy. He said: “I wanted to score 94 per cent plus. I’ll manage it next time.” Rakesh, a resident of Rajiv Colony, Sector 17, Panchkula, was inspired to study by his father who was working as a mali at St Xavier’s School. “My mother Parvati Devi has high expectations from me. I have to become an engineer, “ says a confident Maurya.

Now about St Kabir’s Sahil Mohan Bansal, who tops the city with 94 per cent marks: “I am a strong exception from the normal software engineering trend. I am crazy about mechanical engineering and that’s what I want to do. For me it has been a smooth sailing. I have been consistent with studies but to be frank I was not expecting this. It just happened to me. Also, I think I don’t deserve the attention media is paying to me. I think anybody could have done it,” Sahil brims with energy as he stands flanked by his proud parents.” His hobbies include watching TV and reading autobiographies. “I have read Gandhiji’s autobiography and it inspires me a lot.”

Sahil’s father Brij Mohan has taken special care with his studies and has rented a house in Chandigarh especially for him. He says: “Sahil’s mother stays with him while I am at Sonam in district Sangrur.”

Arshdeep Bahga who scored 93.8 per cent, is quite at home with Maths with 99 per cent marks in the subject. But Arshdeep for whom this could not have been possible but for the support of his parents, extra-curricular stuff is also very important. He has been playing taekwondo and has won a bronze in the state championship in 1995. His aim: computer engineering. “Nothing less than IIT will satisfy me.” His hobbies: “playing stunts and studying,” he laughs, as his architect father Sarabjeet Bahga adds: “I had not expected this miracle. I can’t tell you how proud I am feeling.”

Kiranjyot Kaur of YPS is happy with her 93.6 per cent marks. She has been a consistent hard worker. Says mother Ravinder Sarpal: “This girl never misses revising her lectures and that is what has seen her through”. Kiran loves reading the Reader’s Digest and India Today. She is also famous for the best child award presented to her by Indian Institute of Environmental Sciences. “I was just 12 years old then,” she says. She also wants to get into engineering but the branch is yet to be decided.

Another YPS student Umang Preet Kaur scored 93.5 per cent marks and is aspiring for a career in computers.

Gurpreet Virdi, grand daughter of Mr N.S. Lamba who was chief town planner, and part of Chandigarh’s planning, scored 93.3 per cent. She is also from YPS and is all set for computer engineering. “I will take up non medical to achieve my dreams.”

Anmol Partap, 93 per cent scorer says, “It is best to work hard and leave the rest to God. If you have worked earnestly, results are sure to come.”

Yet another successful candidate from YPS is Amaneet Singh who scored 92.6 per cent marks. Happy he indeed is, but he said he was expecting a little more. As for the career, it would be in computer sciences which offers a wider scope and a brighter future.

For Aftaab Kharbanda, who scored 93 per cent, it was not a very easy go, but his hard work paid off. “I was very consistent towards the end. I knew I had to slog it out if I wanted to be any different.” He has also been active in debates, declamation and other literary stuff. Music also drives him a lot, especially Aerosmith and Backstreet Boys. His aim: mechanical engineering. Says his mother Kumkum Kharbanda: “This is the only field his father differs with him, but he loves automobiles too much.”

Sundeep Singh of YPS (92.8%) was all the time aware of what is in store for him “I had been so guided by teachers and parents that success had to happen. “I will get into an IIT and than specialise in software.” He also loves squash, and if he is still free, he reads.

Gaurav Mittal with his 92.5 per cent marks was more than jubilant. “I always knew I could do it,” said a confident Gaurav who said he was expecting this result. “I took a little coaching for class X but now I will get into a very strict schedule as I am preparing for IIT. Proper guidance is a must to get through IIT. Study hours don’t matter much. It is only a question of quality reading,” he said.

Mohit Goyal (92.5 per cent) who tops his school St Xavier’s, however, did not know that he was worth so much. “I am highly indebted to my vice principal V.V. Rozerio and also to my parents who always supported me. I want to be a software engineer and I am confident of my bright future.” Mohit also plays very good badminton and has participated in nationals once.

Sachit Grover, who was school captain at St Kabir’s, feels that paying attention at school was enough to score a high of 92 per cent. “Our teachers are amazing in the sense that they work along with us.” He adds that coaching is a must for the future. “IIT is no joke. One must get a proper channelisation.” He loves music and football and dedicates his success to “his teachers and dear parents.”

Uday Vir Singh Dhillon (92 %) is satisfied with the way he has fared. “Now I can look forward to going abroad. I will get a degree in computer engineering and then seek a fortune abroad.” Computers fascinate him a lot and so does music.

Tanuj Bansal who scored 92 % was the only boy from the city favourite subject is Maths. His second love is quizzing. His chartered accountant father Rajinder says: “I have never forced my views on him. I knew he was good at Maths and he wanted to be an engineer. So I have let him be.” Tanuj finally aims at the IIM.

Divyam of St Xavier’s attributes 91.8 per cent to the teachers and consistent studies. “I was very particular about my schedule. I never studied long, but whenever I studied, it was with concentration. “My aim is the computer branch of engineering.”

St Kabir’s Nipan Juneja has been able to come up to the expectations of his family and friends with 91 per cent marks. He says: “As for the dream, there is just one—computer engineering.”

Samir Bajaj (90%) of St Kabir has done it all himself. “I took no coaching. It was not required. Our teachers helped us immensely.” He also wants to get into the IT sector with computers as his forte. His hobbies: tennis and music.

St Joseph’s Amit Singh has topped his school with 92.5 % marks. He, for a change, owes his success to his uncle Vikram Singh. “Papa has also encouraged me a lot. I am working for the IIT and I have already joined coaching classes.” His hobbies are playing cricket and writing essays.

Ankur Luthra credits his 90 per cent marks to his school St Kabir. “Inspiration to study never lacked with good parents and teachers around. I am going for IIT. Let’s see if I get through there too” says Ankur who loves surfing the net.

St Stephen’s Gurpreet Chahal smiles with his 90 per cent. He is going into medical for a change. “I am working hard because UT quota is very little in Punjab colleges.” I love playing basketball.

Varun Patnaik, again from the same school, has a tremendous IQ — 157. Informs his mother, Snehal: “He also got the best reader’s award from Chandigarh Library Association in 1998. Varun is also going for computer software.

St Kabir’s Jai Goyal (90%) is not yet decided about what branch of engineering he wants. But he is sure that he wants it in IIT. Two YPS lads namely Amandeep Singh Sethi and Nav Bhardwaj also scored 90.3 and 90 per cent, respectively.

Girl toppers: Bulbul Shukla (90%) of St Stephen’s wishes to be a neurosurgeon. Her hobbies are sketching and drawing.

Preeti Grover of St Stephen’s (90 %) has already started with her coaching for IIT. Preeti hardly plans her days. She loves taking one day at a time and putting her soul into each new day. Her hobbies are reading and playing basketball.

Jessica Choudhary of St Kabir’s scored 90.5 per cent and she credits her success to the never ending support from her parents. She is also into volleyball in a big way. Her strong points are her perseverance and diligence.

Class XII toppers

Namrata Handa (YPS) topped the medical stream with 80 % marks. She says the news came as a shock. “I studied but not with this expectation in mind. Actually I think my school has a lot to do with my success. It had not only honed my academic skills. It has also groomed me into a better human being.” Namrata wants to be a journalist.

Ivneet Jaur of YPS topped Commerce stream with 87.6 per cent marks: I want to be a CA and I am confident that I will become one. She attributes her success to the comprehensive schedule at school and her hard work. She loves watching TV and talking on the phone.

Honey Kang of YPS topped the Non-medical stream with 81 per cent marks. She is aiming to enter the Thapar Institute of Technology. Her hobbies include Kathak and music. 



Kapurthala tops in pass percentage, closely followed by Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 23 — In the middle class examinations of the Punjab School Education Board declared yesterday, Kapurthala district has topped the list with an average pass percentage of 80.43. It is followed by Chandigarh and other states, clubbed under one head, with an average pass percentage of 80.37.

Bathinda, with the average pass percentage of 77.68, is third in the list. As per the date of this year's middle class results, the poorest performance has been of the students of Moga district, which has an average pass percentage of 69.30. The pass percentage of regular students has been better than private students.

In case of Amritsar district, which has an average pass percentage of 86.38, the pass percentage of private students is 85.76 and that of regular students is 87.01. Interestingly, of the 47,687 candidates, both regular and private, who appeared for the examination in Amritsar district, at least 4,870 candidates failed.

In case of Jalandhar district, only 26,289 candidates of the total 33,581 candidates cleared the examination. In case of Patiala district, with an average pass percentage of 75.95, 32,074 candidates, both regular and private, sat in the examination and 6,804 of them failed.

The poor performance has been by students of government schools. Of the 34 students of Government High School, Samlah (Ropar), 29 students failed. In case of Senior Middle School Balali (Ropar), 16 students of the total 22 students who sat in examination failed.

As per the data, the average pass percentage of other districts is Ropar — 73.22, Mansa — 64.23, Ludhiana — 82.41, Sangrur — 74.13, Nawanshahr — 71.45, Muktsar — 72.39, Fatehgarh — 74.17, Hoshiarpur — 74.06, Gurdaspur — 72.99, Faridkot — 72.22, and Ferozepore — 75.66.

The general pass percentage of the middle class examination registered an improvement as compared to last year. The pass percentage of regular candidates this year is 79.63, as compared to last year's 76.05. In case of private candidates, this year the pass percentage is 74.47, as compared to 73.77 last year. A look at the pass percentage during the last five years reflects a fluctuating trend.


Boys outshine girls in region ICSE merit list 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — Strive, seek, never yield, move on to will be at your feet — Every topper of the city seems to have lived up to this saying. Ask the 30-odd students who have come out with flying colours (scoring 90 per cent and plus) in the ICSE class X and XII results declared here yesterday, and one answer which finds commonality is: “We just concentrated on our work. What we got was willed by God.”

Notwithstanding the fact that girls have outshined boys at the national level (with 96.82% success as against 91.82% by boys) , the story of this region is a little different with boys dominating the toppers’ list. From about 27 students of the seven ICSE affiliated schools of the region, near about 20 are boys. Seven schools of Chandigarh and vicinity affiliated to ICSE are St Stephen’s, St Kabir’s High School, St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, St Joseph’s School, Tender Hearts School (all Chandigarh), YPS (SAS Nagar) and Minerva Academy.

As far as pass percentages of various schools is concerned, St Stephen’s, St Kabir and YPS have managed a 100 per cent result. St Xavier’s result got 94.3 per cent for class X and 92 per cent for class XII. Meanwhile, Mr Harold Carver, convener, ICSE results, informed that the results of St Joseph’s School and Minerva Academy, who were still in the process of downloading the same from the net, had not reached him till the evening.

Coming to toppers, St Kabir had dominated the scene this time, as also in the past with Sahil Bansal (94%) and Arshdeep Bagha (93.8%) bagging the first and second slots all over the region. Beginning from the third slot, YPS rules the roost (see table).

Individual toppers school-wise are: Sahil Bansal (94%, St Kabir), Aaftaab Kharbanda (93%, St Stephen’s), Amit Singh (92.5%, St Joseph’s), Kiranjyot Kaur (93.6%, YPS), Mohit Goyal (92.5%, St Xavier’s).


Ranjit Bajaj ‘arrested’ from his house
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — After days of playing hide and seek with the police, Ranjit Bajaj was “arrested” by the police in the evening from the Sector 16 residence of his father here this evening, even as his parents claimed that he had “surrendered”.

According to the police sources, Mr B.R. Bajaj, reportedly, rang senior officials and told them that his son was sleeping in the house and that they could come and take him into custody. He later told newspersons that Ranjit had come home at about 6.15 pm and was exhausted.

He and a family lawyer advised him to surrender before the police. Mr Bajaj said he had called up Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, Central SDPO, while Ranjit had gone to sleep. He was arrested by Mr Satbir Singh, SHO, and a team of officials of the central police station at about 7.15 pm.

The officials went to his room where he was sleeping and shook him up. Reportedly, in deep slumber, he was initially apprehensive after seeing the policemen, but, later accompanied the police party at the advice of his parents. Also present there were a family friend and a lawyer.

The son of Mr B.R. Bajaj and Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj, senior Punjab IAS couple, Ranjit was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital for a medical examination before being taken back to the police station for interrogations. The motive behind all the incidents is yet to be fully established. Sources said more arrests were likely at night.

Senior officers were present in the police station for questioning the accused. Newspersons were debarred from meeting the accused or taking his photographs.

The arrest was kept a closely guarded secret and once the word spread, journalists could be seen calling up senior officials who confirmed that Ranjit had indeed been arrested. He will be produced in a city court tomorrow afternoon.

Efforts were already on to arrest him after he had injured two cops who had tried to intercept him the day before. The police had alerted all major airports and sea ports.

Prior to his arrest, rumours were being spread about his reported failure to apply for a bail in a case of kidnapping and illegal confinement. Sources said he had reportedly, not even applied for a bail in the High Court, following the rejection of his anticipatory bail a couple of days ago.

A case under Sections 392, 364, 342, 323 and 506 of the IPC was registered at the central police station here today.

On May 22, he managed to give a slip to a police party which fired a shot at him while he was in a Maruti van near the Sector 16 Punjab Kala Bhavan.

Since he tried to flee by ignoring the signal to stop, two ASIs — Harinder Singh and Paramjit Kaur — pursued the vehicle on a motorcycle, upon which, the accused swerved the van to one side and banged into the mobike, injuring the officials. Harinder, reportedly, fired in the air in an effort to make him stop.

A case under Sections 332, 353, 186 and 34 of the IPC has also been registered against Ranjit at the central police station. “Ranjit will be produced in a city court tomorrow afternoon,” the sources added. 


Rupan: He’s safer inside 

Claiming to have “enemies”, Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj said her son Ranjit Bajaj was “safer inside”. “Even if all the cases, including the false ones, are proved, there is no question of a death sentence being pronounced,” she said.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune soon after his surrender, she said, “Yesterday’s incident scared us. It was an attempt to eliminate him. He was shot at and a case was registered against him. We decided the surrender was in the interest of his safety.”

She added, “It is better to have the police taking care of his safety rather than having them pursue him. It will not be possible for anyone to take advantage of the situation. He is my son, which has been working to his disadvantage,” she said.


Heated exchanges mark the inaugural Advisory Council meeting
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — Heated exchanges over rehabilitation schemes and construction of dismantleable sheds for roadside workers marked the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted Administrator's Advisory Council meeting here today. The Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), presided over the meeting which was attended by 41 non-official members, including the Mayor, Mrs Shanta Abhilashi, and former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain.

The local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, along with two former MPs and Union Ministers - Mr Jagan Nath Kaushal and Mr Harmohan Dhawan — and five other Congress leaders, however, boycotted the meeting.

General Jacob, while welcoming the non-official members, said that he did not visualise council to be a political forum but a body where broad consensus on vital issues pertaining to the further development of the city and its upkeep could emerge.

Highlighting some of the priority areas, he said that maintenance of a healthy environment and quality of life was paramount. There was a need to expand and maintain the facilities available in the health, education and sports sectors for which the city had already emerged as a zonal centre.

Cautioning members against the large-scale migration into the city and the existence of over three lakh slum dwellers posing a serious challenge to the planned character, quality of life and civic infrastructure of the city, the endeavour of the Administration, he said, should be to ensure that everyone had access to basic minimum services, including drinking water, sanitation, education and health care.

Introduction of night schools in slum areas, upgradation of water supply, sewerage, streetlighting and road repairs were major areas where work had been expedited. He said that though there was often talk of “North-South divide”, efforts were to eliminate this feeling for all times to come.

For greening Chandigarh and setting up of a botanical garden, steps have been initiated. The Administration has also taken up the matter for long-term purchase of power from neighbouring States in order to ensure availability of adequate power to consumers in the city.

He appealed to members to spread the message of water conservation. He also talked about city’s ideal location for hi-tech and knowledge-based industry for which all necessary assistance would be provided.

The Adviser to the Administrator, Mrs Vineeta Rai, said that the Administrator has decided to constitute seven subcommittees on law and order, road transport, rehabilitation and encroachment removal, education, industry and tourism, health and urban development and civic infrastructure. Indicative terms of reference for consideration of these sub committees have been drawn up.

She said that during the last meeting of the council held in January,1999, three issues — policy regarding conversion from leasehold to freehold; provision of services to houses constructed in villages outside the lal dora and policy regarding roadside workers — were discussed and on each of them.

The Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, made a presentation on leasehold to freehold conversion of property. The major hurdle in the successful implementation of the policy was that the GPA holders could not get the properties transferred to their names directly.

He said that a committee was earlier set-up under the then Chairperson of the Chandigarh Housing Board, Mrs Meenakshi Dutta Ghosh, which held that since the legal status of the GPA holder was somewhat debatable, the provision regarding allowing of GPA holders to get leaseold property converted into freehold be deleted. The Administration found this recommendation to be retrograde and, therefore another committee under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary was constituted in August, 1999, to reconsider the matter. The committee recently submitted its recommendations and has favoured allowing GPA holders to get the leasehold property converted into freehold.

These recommendations would require prior approval of the Government. While generally agreeing with the recommendations, members referred to several procedural problems are faced by the residents which include affidavit on no violation of building byelaws and misuse of property.

The members said that the basic issue was conversion of piece of land from leasehold to freehold, bringing in building constructed over it in focus was unnecessary and was nothing else but harassment of general public.

General Jacob intervened to say that building byelaws were archaic and restrictive and a committee has been constituted to undertake a comprehensive amendment of building byelaws He wanted that the committee to make recommendations about residential, commercial and industrial properties within six months.

Heated exchanges took place when the item about issuing photo identity cards to roadside vendors came up. The Finance secretary made a presentation saying that it had been decided at the last meeting of the council to give 2274 cards on the basis of a survey conducted in June,1998. The issue was subsequently examined and it was realised that such a step would be in violation of certain provisions of the Municipal Act as extended to Chandigarh.

The Administration, he said, evolved an alternate proposal to construct pre-fabricated dismantleable service booths in each sector to be given to beneficiaries on monthly rent basis and the rent so collected would go to the Municipal Corporation. Each booth, as per plan, would cost around Rs 9,000 each and total project cost would be Rs 2 crore.

Considerable discussion followed. Mr Satya Pal Jain, Mrs Kamla Sharma and some other members wanted that earlier decision should be implemented. On the other hand, Mr G S Riar, Ms Ranjana Shahi and some others questioned the basic rationale of such a scheme.

Mr Riar referred to general misuse of rehabilitation schemes, both residential and commercial and cautioned that introduction of such a scheme would further encourage further influx of migrants.Mr BS Ojha stated that this issue is of vital importance and should be decided after careful deliberations. After considerable debate, it was decided to refer the matter to the sub committee on rehabilitation and encroachment removal to give its recommendations within three months.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, made a presentation on regularisation of structures outside village ‘lal doras’.He said that since abadi areas varied, it was not possible to have a uniform policy for all the villages. The recommendations of the earlier committee were also discussed and it was observed that the recommendation may not withstand judicial scrutiny.

The council members were informed that development charges and conversion charges should be taken from the owners of the buildings that fall in the regularised zone. Civic infrastructures like roads, schools and hospitals would be provided in the regularised area. To decide the extent of area to be regularised, it was decided to refer the matter to the committee on rehabilitation and encroachment removal. General Jacob wanted the committee to give its recommendations within three months.

Several other suggestions, including clubbing of labour and culture with industries and tourism subcommittee were also accepted by the council.



NCC cadets’ visit to Leh, Kargil
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — To motivate NCC girl cadets to join the Army as commissioned officers, the NCC Directorate is organising a visit to Leh, Kargil and Srinagar from May 24 to June 1.

The Commanding Officer of No 1 Chandigarh Girls NCC Battalion, Lieut-Col Harjit Singh, said here today that the aim of the visit, in addition to motivation, was to create awareness among the cadets about the socio-cultural differences peculiar to the Leh and Srinagar region as well as the conditions prevailing in that area.

The contingent strength is one NCC officer, one woman associate NCC officer, two NCOs and 32 cadets. The cadets have been selected so as to represent every state in the country. The cadets reached Chandigarh on May 20 and 21 and as per schedule they were lectured about the historical perspective of Jammu and Kashmir. They were medically examined at Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir. They were also lectured about precautions to be taken while moving on the road and against fire.

A sight-seeing programme was also organised for them today. 


Harrowing time for commuters
By A Correspondent

PANCHKULA, May 23 — It is nothing less than torture for commuters plying between the township and Chandigarh. Minutes roll into hours as the poor office-goer waits for bus to arrive and finally when it does, there is no place for him to sit. It is too crowded or the seats are broken.

Even though 150 buses bump on the roads of cobbled stones, the commuters find it difficult to “relax and travel”. The buses either “miss the rounds” or arrive late.

All is well is how the authorities describe the bus service. They claim that there is a bus every 20 minutes. “The public is satisfied. However, a full depot here, instead of existing half, can avoid whatever little inconvenience the passengers face,” commented the Station Supervisor, Mr M.L Dhanija.

The commuters do not agree. “The buses seldom leave on the scheduled time. The problem is worse during the busy hours when the number of commuters far exceeds the space in buses”, said Mr Ravi Kant, a Chandigarh- based shopkeeper.

But the public faces a number of other problems to which the roadways has still not given a thought. “Being a woman travelling in a bus is a real nightmare, especially because many men in our country have a serious problem. They are always passing cheap comments and trying to get close” rues Monica Gadroo, who travels daily by these buses.

The bus service begins at 5 am and continues till 10 pm. “At times, the service is so infrequent that we stand waiting for long as these buses have no fixed time. Added to that is the rudeness of the roadways employees. There are times when they don’t even give a ticket when we pay for it,” informs Balwant Singh, a regular commuter.

According to a businessman Kimti Lal Jain, “The bus services are bad, really bad, and it is tough to travel by these. The seats are very uncomfortable, besides the dirt all around. The authorities really need to improve the services and the public should also cooperate by not contributing to the litter.”

However, what has kept the bus service going are the economical charges. All it takes is Rs 9 from the Panchkula bus stand to Sector 17 in Chandigarh.


‘Grant statutory status to board’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — Statutory status to the Central Social Welfare Board and state boards should be accorded by enactment of Parliament. This was one of the recommendations made during the All-India Conference of Chairpersons of State Social Welfare Advisory Boards and field officers of the Central Social Welfare Board held at Bhopal recently.

Among other recommendations were revival of the Holiday Home Camps scheme, enhancement of the creche programme. It was also recommended that the annual grant programme with new activities such as rural library, health centres, yoga kendra, centre for blind and leprosy patients recreational centre should be revived.

It was pointed out that the Central Social Welfare Board should follow the norms fixed by the Department of Women and Child Development while sanctioning vocational training programmes to NGOs. The salary/honorarium to the instructor should be enhanced from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 and may be fixed trade wise. The provision for purchase of non-recurring items/equipment should be enhanced and it should be made trade wise.

Mrs Kamla Sharma, Chairperson of Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board, who attended the conference from May 16 to 18 raised issues relevant for implementation of the programmes of the Board for the welfare of women and children in the city.


Majlis cheque for Jacob
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — A cheque of Rs 21,000 was presented by the Majlis Journalists Association to the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), towards night schools started by the Administration. The money was collected by the association at Mohammed Rafi Nite at Tagore Theatre on May 21.

Office-bearers of the association, accompanied by the lead singer, Brajesh Ahuja, called on General Jacob and presented the collected amount for use towards education of slum children. During the Nite, the association had auctioned songs to collect money. The organisers collected Rs 18,040 on the spot while the remaining amount was contributed by Majlis.

General Jacob assured the association that the contributions would be used to provide pure and cool drinking water to the children attending night classes. He also appealed to other NGOs to extend their support to provide meals to the children of night classes.


Congress boycotts Advisory Council meeting
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — Congress party members, part of the Administrator’s Advisory Council, boycotted a meeting of the council today. Giving reasons for the boycott, Mr Pawan Bansal, the Congress MP, alleged that the council was functioning in an undemocratic manner, while the Chandigarh Administration was not responsive to the needs of the residents.

He also asserted that the Congress would oppose the reported move to private distribution of power supply in the city. The employees had to be promised job security and various other issues related to such a move would have to be discussed before the Administration took any step, Mr Pawan said, while addressing a press conference here this morning. All the eight Congress members — Mr Pawan Bansal, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, Mr Jagannath Kaushal, Mr Rampal Sharma, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Kulbhusan Gupta, Dr Mohammed Khalid and Ms Satinder Dhawan — boycotted the council meeting today.

Mr Bansal said this time the Chandigarh Administration had deviated from its past practice and did not invite members of the council to submit agenda items for discussion during the meeting. This meant the agenda would be of the choice of the Administration and this was not acceptable to the Congress, he added. “The meeting should carry on for a few days like a session of Parliament, where members discuss agenda items put forward by others and suggest solutions, while the media be allowed to cover the events for information of the public in larger interests,” opined the MP.

The present system of the meeting was incorrect, he claimed. Another reason for the boycott by the Congress was that the Administration was carrying out amendments in the building byelaws without consulting the elected representatives. “A previous committee formed in 1991 had me as the elected MP and Mr Satya Pal Jain and Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the then leaders of the opposition parties.”

Criticising the committee on building byelaws, Mr Bansal said the officials of the Administration were amending the byelaws while sitting in their rooms and without being in touch with the requirements of the residents. Giving an example, he said the partitioning of bigger showrooms had been allowed but the fee, Rs 20 lakh, fixed by the Administration, was high.

Among other objections raised by the Congress on building byelaws was for the rights of the General Power of Attorney (GPA) holders. Most property in Chandigarh had been sold on GPA, while the Administration was saying a GPA holder could apply for conversion from leasehold to freehold, but the transfer would be carried out only in the name of the original allottee.

The second issue was the calculation of property value on the basis of prevailing market rates. Mr Bansal said, “In my opinion the rates should be on the basis of value in 1987. At the moment, the Administration is playing havoc with the scheme. Mr Bansal also said the Congress was not in support of any kind of encroachment in the city. He said that the Administration should order a review of all allotments made under the rehabilitation scheme for jhuggi dwellers. Any allotment made wrongly should be cancelled, he asserted. 


Rains keep May heat under control
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — So far the month of May has not been as hot as it normally is. Normally, during May the mercury remains above 40 degrees Celsius mark on almost all days and some of the hottest days are recorded in May. However, this year on several days the day time temperatures have been less than 35 degrees Celsius as rains have lashed the area frequently.

Such a phenomenon, when the heat has been on such a low-key during the ongoing month, has not occurred in the brief history of the city. All this has only provided the much-needed relief for the residents from the oppressive heat that is known to hit the north western plains during May and June.

With the first three weeks of May having passed, records of the meteorological department show that 10 days during this month, day-time temperatures have been below the normal average for this time of the year while it has been exactly normal on five days. Surprisingly, the 40 degrees Celsius mark has been crossed only on days.

Western disturbances have resulted in 70 mm of rain in 22 days this month. This is much above the normal average of 56 mm for the entire month. Periodic western disturbances have also led to drop in day time temperatures. The humidity has been more as the Easterly winds have been blowing strongly, bringing in moisture, met authorities explained.

The lowest day time temperature for May was recorded on the 7th, at 29.4 degrees Celsius or 8 degrees below the normal average for this time of the year. The normal average changes after every one or two weeks depending on the mean temperature in the place during the period.

The hottest day of the month was on May 3, when the mercury touched the 42.6 degrees Celsius mark. Met authorities said the only plausible explanation was the rainfall during the month that led to a drop in temperature.


Ashok’s legs found in nullah
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 23 — The local police today recovered the severed legs of the Sector 46 Chandigarh jeweller who was murdered by four persons in a Phase VII house here on Sunday night. The legs were found in a seasonal nullah near the Papri village at some distance from where the torso had been recovered yesterday. The arms and the head were yet to be recovered.

The body parts were recovered on the basis of an information given by one of the suspects, Kulvinder Singh, who was today remanded to the police custody by a Kharar court till May 25. Sources in the police said interrogation of the suspect revealed the sequence of events leading to the murder.

The victim was brought to the house by the suspected assailants — Kulvinder, who works at a petrol pump in Sector 10, Chandigarh; Gurvinder Singh alias Gary, a resident of Phase 3B1 here who owns a hotel in Sector 45, Lakhvir and Ranbir. They had brought a spade and an axe from Balongi to execute their nefarious designs. After stabbing Ashok Kumar, the assailants cut the body parts, put these in a black Maruti car before dumping these at different places. The head, placed on the front seat of the car, was dumped the last.

The sources said the investigation was pointing towards the involvement of another person of the field of magic. Meanwhile, injury marks on the back of the torso recovered yesterday have made the police believe that the victim was beaten severely before being murdered. At least 10 police personnel led by the Station House Officer of the Phase VIII police station, Inspector Pritam Singh, have been on the hunt for the body parts since yesterday.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr S.S. Gill, said an additional police team would be put on the search mission tomorrow. He said the recovered body parts had been sent for the chemical examination to Patiala.



Liquor kiosk raided
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — A team of the UT Excise Department tonight raided a place in Mani Majra, where two persons were running their liquor shop.

The duo used to procure liquor from Haryana and sell it in Chandigarh from a temporary kiosk, evading excise and using the lowered sales tax structure in Haryana. This was leading to a loss of revenue to Chandigarh and the practice was going on for several days.

Acting on secret information, a party led by Inspector Bhupjit Singh raided a kiosk on the Chandigarh-Haryana border and took into possession 72 bottles of liquor, more than 250 pints and nips of various brands of whiskies, 60 bottles of beer and a case of country liquor pouches. Two persons have been arrested and booked under the Excise Act.

According to sources in the Excise Department, the modus operandi of the duo was to stock about 100 to 200 bottles, besides beer and small quantities like pints and nips, on daily basis to sell at much lower rates than notified in Chandigarh, resulting in loss of business to nearby vends. 


NRI dies after taking injection
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 23 — A 27-year-old Non-Resident Indian (NRI) woman died after she was given an injection to control her blood pressure (BP) at a private nursing home in Phase 2 here yesterday. The victim had been admitted at the nursing home to get treatment for ailment.

According to the information available, Daljinder Kaur, who had come to India on January 29 along with her husband, Sukhbir, was given an injection by a doctor at the nursing at 11 a.m. and after three hours later she died.

The Station House Officer of the Phase 1 police station, Mr R.S. Sohal, said the victim’s family had lodged a complaint in this regard with the police. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr.P.C. The report of the autopsy which was conducted at the civil hospital in Phase 6 here is yet to come.


Bus driver arrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 23 — The police has arrested a Himachal Roadways bus driver for injuring a Patiala resident near the Sector 29/30 traffic lights.

According to police sources, Mr Rur Singh of Sanour, Patiala, was travelling along with Mr Jaswant Singh, a friend in a mini-truck when the bus rammed into them, injuring Mr Jaswant Singh. He was admitted to the PGI, while the bus driver, Prem Singh, a resident of Kangra, was arrested.

Dowry case: The police registered a dowry case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the complaint of Ms Gurmeet Kaur of Sector 46 against her in-laws who were harassing her for bringing inadequate dowry. Those named in the complaint are her husband Raghbir Singh, father-in-law Pritpal Singh and brother-in-law Charanjit Singh.

Gambler nabbed: The police arrested Sarwan Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony for gambling at a public place. A sum of Rs 1140 was seized from his possession.

Liquor seized: The police arrested Jai Pal of Kumhar Colony and seized 40 pouches of country-made liquor from his possession. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Eve-teaser held: The police arrested Ashwani Kumar of Sector 25 for eve-teasing from near the Home Science College in Sector 11.

Worker dead: Vijay Kumar, an employee of Cooper Automotive Ltd, died at the PGI, here today. He had sustained a serious head injury on May 18 in the factory. According to the complaint lodged by Ms Uma Shanker Shukla, the mother of the deceased, he had been put on a job he had not been trained for. The complaint added that he sustained injuries while he was cleaning a machine in the factory. It has blamed the management for the death.


City sunars: aestheticians par excellence

IT has been observed that during the period spanning about a decade and a half the sunars in the Union Territory of Chandigarh have grown in a fairly large number. Its reason could be ascribed to the increase in demand of gold and silver jewellery among the people. So much so that fascination for the exquisite ornaments among the city’s womenfolk prompted a large number of shopkeepers which include karyana merchants, confectioners, book-sellers, stationers and even chemists, to switch over to occupation and trading in the gold and silver jewellery. As a result, a major portion of the Sector 22 market has a chain of both big showrooms and small booths, dealing exclusively in the ornaments, including diamonds. It is indeed amazing to record as to how a bookseller, a karyana merchant and a chemist could take to such an occupation which requires professionals viz. highly skilled workers in the sphere of jewellery. Such a situation defies the earlier impression that the sunars belong to a particular clan, caste and class, skilled in the art of making ornaments. But in practice it is absolutely not so. A sunar in the real sense of the word is the one who inherits the skill from his ancestors.

During the past few years it has been noticed that a large number of skilled sunars operating in the private houses of the city’s Sector 23 are Bengali youths who hail from Calcutta and the Parganas. Doubtlessly, the ornaments made by them have proved worthy of the choice of the ladies belonging to the high strata of society in Chandigarh. A young Bengali sunar Mr Su Kumar of Sector 23, is quite popular for his unique skill in making bangles, rings and necklaces in all the prevalent designs. He confides that though he and his associates learnt the art in Calcutta, their craftsmanship has been accorded due recognition by the Punjabis in Chandigarh. The Bengali sunars of Sector 23 are adequately skilled in making mauli, kundan, tikka, bala, chaunk, jhumka, laung, chandanhar, bazuband, taviz, churi, kangan, gajra, anguthi, and pahzeb.

The art of making ornaments was hitherto confined to the Punjabi sunars because it was felt that “their touch is perfect and they are skilled to handle a variety of ornaments — embossed in stones”. Now, the jewellers of Delhi and Chandigarh are dependent upon the sunars of Bengal to a large extent. In such a situation the Punjabi sunars shall have to prepare themselves for more and more perfection in this art so as to enable them to face the tough competition set out by their Bengali counterparts.

Mr Sheetal Kumar Daloi, a Bengali sunar of Sector 23, admits that the jewellers in Chandigarh prefer to engage the services of the Bengali sunars mainly because they have the art of giving the best possible finish to the ornaments. The Punjabi sunars are expert in making ornaments through the process “dye”, he says. Although most of the city jewellers meet the requirements of the Chandigarhites by placing orders with the wholesale dealers of Ambala and Amritsar, yet there are some who entrust the work to them for which handsome labour charges are paid. At present there are about 1,000 Bengali sunars in the city; he adds.

An impartial opinion, however, establishes that both Punjabi and Bengali sunars of the city are aestheticians par excellence. Their contribution towards heralding beauty and grandeur among the Chandigarhites is of a very high merit.

A survey of the sunars in Chandigarh confirms that they are mostly engaged in the sale and purchase of ornaments. Besides, they are to a large extent the money-lenders, taking jewels in pawn and making advances on them. And practically, the ornaments are made by the niyarias who melt the leavings and sweepings of the sunar, extract the precious metal from them and mould them into winsome ornaments.

The Punjabi as well as Bengali sunars take pride upon being one of the twice-born and a large number of them wear the Janeo (the sacred thread). Despite the fact that the sunar of today is held in high esteem by the lovers and admirers of art and crafts, his social standing is still rated as inferior among the mercantile communities of the North. Although in the entire northern region the sunars are divided into the dase who do and the deswale who do not practice karewa. In Chandigarh this division doesn’t exist and the sunar doesn’t rank immediately below the baniya as in other parts of the region. The sunars in the real sense of the word are also available in Kalka, Patiala, Rajpura, Zirakpur and Mani Majra.

Mr Manik Banerjee, another Bengali sunar, admits that residents of Chandigarh, especially the Punjabis, have a very high sense of aesthetics and that is why they have fascination for gaudy dresses and exquisite ornaments. They are prosperous enough to buy the best and costliest jewellery, he adds.

On occasions of marriage, birth and wedding anniversaries as well as on festivals of Teej, Karva Chauth, Baisakhi, Dasehra and Divali both men and women wear gold and silver ornaments which lend beauty and enchantment to the atmosphere of festivity.

While not going into the details it would be sufficient to mention as recorded in history that it was for the first time in the 17th century that the sunars, both Hindus and Muslims, received royal patronage of Nur Jehan, wife of Mughal Emperior Jahangir. She was widely known as an excellent designer of garments and jewellery. The designs introduced by her not only amazed officers of the East India Company but also the Egyptian goldsmiths who were known the worldover for their mastery and rare skill in the art of making gold and silver ornaments of wonderful designs. During the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb a statutory ban was imposed on the community of sunars. During British rule the sunars received encouragement and patronage from the British whereafter they returned to the northern region in large numbers.

On one side the significance of jewellery among the Chandigarhites lies within its amplitude, in both aesthetics and variety, on the other it is an inseparable part of the Punjabi culture, a facet of its social pattern having deep religious overtones.

— J.S. Bedi

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