Sunday, October 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dasehra celebrated with gaiety
From Tribune Reporters

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — Rich and poor, old and young, all dressed in their best clothes, showing the festive mood, ventured out in large numbers to celebrated Dasehra here today.

As the Saturday sun went down the horizon, the effigies of the ‘’demon-trio’’ went up in flames, much to the cheer of the crowd. The festivities began in the morning, with special prayers to celebrate the return of Rama to Ayodhya after killing Ravana and his associates and freeing Sita from their captivity. In the evening the effigies of the demon-trio — Ravana, Meghnada and Kumbhkarna were set ablaze.

Colourful jhankis were taken out in procession to grounds where effigies of the trio were erected by various ram lila committees. A large number of people thronged at least 30 venues to see the demons on fire, which was preceded by the war between Rama, symbolising good, and Ravana, representing evil.

The police had made eloborate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident. A number of roads were sealed. The city residents were put to inconvenience and had to use alternative routes to reach their destinations.

It was a festive atmosphere in the Parade Ground in Sector 17, where huge effigies were burnt. A fourth effigy of General Parvez Musharraf, the dictator of Pakistan, was also burnt. Mr MP Singh, Commissioner, Chandigarh Muncipal Corporation, was the chief guest.

In the Sector 22 Nehru Park, organisers also torched a fourth effigy, here of Veerappan. The chief guest was the Advocate-General of Punjab.

The celebrations at law ground, Panjab University, also attracted huge crowds. Mr Parag Jain, Senior Superintendent of Police, was the chief guest at the celebrations in Sector 46.

While huge effigies of the demons went in flames at a number of places, the children in some sectors had their own way of celebrating the festival. Going in for cheaper options, they erected small effigies only of Ravana. At one place in Sector 22, the children pooled money to erect all the three effigies. The effigies were consigned to flames by the children in the presence of their parents and other elders.

There was a great rush in the Sector 17 and 22 commercial centres, apart from sector markets. The crowds returning to their homes, found time to do shopping at the stalls lined along the roadside near the venue. Roadside stalls selling bows and arrows and clubs, did brisk business and were a special attraction for children. Chat and gol gappa walas attracted the maximum customers.

It was an evening for sweet shops to mint money. People returning home were seen carrying jalebis. A shopkeeper in Sector 19 said on this day, the sale of jalebis was the maximum.

The visitors faced inconvenience in the Parade Ground, Sector 17, Parade Ground, due to lack of proper arrangement. Even those carrying passes had to literally force their way in, while many were left out. One of the organisers said the number of passes issued exceeded the number of chairs.

Many women and childern complained to The Tribune that they were harassed by the Ramlila Committee members and the security personnel. Some of the parents were seen searching their kids who were lost in the huge crowd.

For the inmates of Burail Jail, Dasehra meant special food. An official at the jail said there could be no celebrations here because of security reasons.

Pomp and gaiety marked Dasehra celebrations in the city as the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnatha went up in flames at the Sector 5 parade ground at sunset, here on Saturday.

The forces of good represented by the army of Lord Rama clashed with the forces of evil led by Ravana and the “battlefield” resounded with war cries. The grand finale came with the bursting of crackers and lighting of the 68-foot-tall Ravana whose eyes popped out first in the form of rockets and he himself spat fire.

Earlier, a cultural programme was held at the venue. Local singers presented songs in praise of Lord Rama and Haryanavi and Punjabi folk numbers entertained the crowd. The singers included Sunil Rawat, Pawan Bittu and Baljit Sandhu.

Along the road berms sat small-time vendors selling posters of gods and goddesses, eatables, balloons and toys. Children present at the venue bought masks of Lord Rama, Ravana and colourful bows and arrows which were available aplenty around the ground. The tableau and procession of Lord Rama proceeding towards Lanka, the parade ground, passed through various sectors of the city before clashing with the enemy at the ground.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr SK Monga, was the chief guest.

The on-going Durga Puja celebrations saw the devotees at the Gauri Shanker Temple in Sector 17 participate in the pujas which went on during the day. The immersion of the idol of the goddess will take place at 2:30 pm tomorrow.

A dazzling display of colourful fire crackers marked the religious festivity associated with the victory of the good over the evil, as Dasehra was celebrated at three different places in the town. At sunset the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnada went up in flames amidst cries of ‘Jai Sia Ram’.

The mood of festivity was all pervasive as people bedecked in their best thronged the venues of Dasehra celebrations. Despite strong police arrangements there was chaos at Phase 8 grounds as Dasehra was celebrated adjacent to the site where tents for holding a circus show had been pitched.

The traffic on the all the main roads leading to the Phase 8 ground was diverted. There was also problem of parking.

Enthusiasm and devotion marked the Dasehra celebrations organised by Shiv Mandir, Phase I, at a ground near the old barrier in the area.

Hundreds of people gathered at the venue. There was a display of fireworks and cultural programme was also presented which included items like singing, bhangra and a display of gatka by the Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Akhara.

A former MP, Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, presided over the function. Among those present were Mr Harinder Pal Singh Billa, a former Municipal Council President, Mr Indu Sehgal, Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, Mr Sham Bansal, Ms Deep Kaur, Mr Kulwant Singh and Mf Phulraj Singh, all Municipal Councillors, and Mr Yogesh Gupta, a member of the District Grievances Committee.

The celebrations culminated in the traditional burning of the effigies of Ravana, Meghnadh and Kumbhkarna.


Cops booked on NHRC direction
From Shashi Pal Jain

KHARAR, Oct 7 — The Kharar police has registered a case under Sections 342, 325 and 323, IPC, against Inspector Didar Singh (then SHO of Kharar), ASI Malhi and others on the directions of the National Human Rights Commission, on a complaint of Mr Rajiv Bhardwaj, who alleged that he was illegally detained and tortured for 13 days in 1995.

According to information, Mr Bhardwaj, clerk-cum-cashier of Shivalik Kashetriya Gramin Bank at Sahoran village, complained that he was taken from his residence on March 6, 1995, by Didar Singh, SHO, Kharar, and others in connection with a theft case in the bank and detained him for nearly 13 days. He complained that though he was on leave from February 21, 1995, after handing over the charge to the Manager, yet the police had arrested him. He has written that he was tortured and sustained grave injuries that culminated in the fracture of the neck and the femur bone. The commission has written in his order that it received an interim report from the Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, in August 1996 which suggested that the fracture sustained by the complainant could have been caused due to an accidental fall in the bathroom. According to this report the complainant was produced before the SHO on the same date and he was let off on the same day.

According to information, the commission directed the DGP, Punjab, to investigate and submit the report on July 9, 1999.

Meanwhile, Inspectors of the NHRC carried our investigations between August 9 and August 13, 1999, and submitted the report that the Ropar police had illegally detained and tortured the complainant by which he sustained grave injuries.

The commission has written that the Government of Punjab in their reply on August 19, 1996, has attempted to cover-up the action of the police brutality by suggesting that the complainant might have suffered much before the police had called him for questioning.

The commission has recommended that the Punjab Government should pay Rs 2.50 lakh as interim compensation to the complainant and conduct an in-depth inquiry and initiate criminal proceedings against the officers responsible. The commission has recommended that the Punjab Government should send compliance report within four weeks.


Slum remains despite rehabilitation
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — The Chandigarh Administration has failed to demolish the slums in Sector 31. The slum colony remains intact as ever, mocking the controversial rehabliatation scheme. Even after spending crores of rupees in the name of social rehabilitation of slum dwellers, the Administration has been unable to make them vacate the prime land in Sector 31.

Almost five months after the demolition, more persons have moved in there to illegally occupy vacated jhuggis and kiosks. It has created a fresh problem for the Chandigarh Administration. It is suspected that some politicians are protecting the interests of the slum dwellers. Residents of the city want to know why the slum cannot be removed.

Sources said the situation was fast slipping out of the hands of the authorities concerned. They had given time to the families living in the slum to move out by the end of winter past year. Some families could not move out and some time was given to the plot allottees as well. Otherwise, the slum would have been bulldozed by December past year. With the Administration failing to recover its land from the slum dwellers, the number of kiosks on the road dividing Sector 31 and Industrial Area Phase II have increased in the past three months. Several of the vacated jhuggis have been reoccupied. Several of the allottees have left behind a family member in the jhuggis or rented these out.

This correspondent, posing as person looking for a jhuggi for his labourers, approached a shopkeeper on the roadside. An unauthorised roadside-kiosk can be had at a monthly rent of Rs 500 and a jhuggi at Rs 700 per month.

By stealing power to operate televisions, refrigerators and fans, the slum dwellers are also putting pressure on the power supply to Industrial Area. They have also raised some brick-and-mortar structures. Removing these will be an uphill task for the Administration.

After allotting free plots to slum dwellers who have arrived in the city from UP and Bihar, the Administration amended its much-criticised rehabilitation policy in December. Under the new scheme, jhuggi dwellers who were not on the electoral rolls before December 8, 1996, will not get any plot. Officials have been saying for the past five months that they will get the land in Sector 31 vacated soon.

On the other hand, about 50 per cent of the 2,565 plots in the second Phase of the Mauli Jagran rehabliatation colony that were allotted less than an year ago, have been sold out on premium. The underhand sale of plots in Mauli Jagran was already known to senior officials. Plots of 220 square feet each were given on rent to jhuggi dwellers of Sector 31. The Estate Office allotted each of these at a rent of Rs 100 per month for providing the peripheral services. The collection of rent was left to the Municipal Corporation. The colony is spread over more than 20 acres.

In the past few months, the Administration carried out a survey of the Mauli Jagran rehabilitation colony. There, the Estate Office, the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh have allotted 971, 3417 and 2565 bare sites, respectively, to slum dwellers. A survey of these sites revealed that about half of these had been sold. Illegal structures had been raised on about 14 per cent of the sites. Besides this, about 13 per cent of the sites were still vacant.


Festival sale of dry fruits picks up
By Binny Sharma

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — In view of the forthcoming festival season, people are thronging dry-fruit shops to buy gifts. Does it mean that sweets are no longer the first choice for the purpose? Dry fruits last longer, look like a royal gift and cost almost the same as most sweets.

A survey shows that the stores that sell dry fruits are earning good profits due to the increased demand in view of the forthcoming festival season.

People have begun using dry fruits as alternatives to sweets for Diwali gifts. “Everybody wants to be different. Moreover, after the rise in the prices of various sweets, dry fruits are the best option,” said Mr Jaswant Singh, who sells dry fruits in a Sector 18 shop.

Mr Mohit Gawri of the Sector 19 Peshwari Super Market, said, “As dry fruits are high-calorie diet, these can be consumed only in winter. Diwali is the right time for it. Dry fruits are popular with persons of all classes. Earlier, persons used to gulp down two to three pieces of sweets together, but now, they consider one more than enough. On the other hand, dry fruits do not harm unless consumed in excess. This year, for the first time, we have received orders from corporate clients. They, too, want to give dry fruits instead of sweets as gifts on Diwali.”

Mr Satnam Singh, another dry-fruit seller, said, “Dry fruits are more popular in north India. In this month, the sale of dry fruits here has increased by 30 per cent. This season, dry fruits will cost almost the same as sweets. Dry fruits make attractive gifts because people think that these are expensive. However, the prices of dry fruits and sweets are similar.”

Ms Suman Lat, a housewife, said, “I like dry fruits because these are more nutritious than sweets and friends and relatives are happy to receive these as gifts.”

Sweet sellers do not consider dry fruits a threat to their business. However, increase in the prices of some other items has affected their sales. As a result of this, they have been forced to increase the prices of various sweets.

Mr Gausham Joshi, another sweet seller, said, “Nothing can replace sweets as festival gift. Dasehra and Diwali are nothing without sweets. Dry fruits can not take the place of ladoo or rasgoola.”

Mr Varinder Arora, owner of a sweetshop, said, “Every Hindu festival begins with the distribution of sweets. Persons who are health conscious can buy sugar-free sweets. Customers should ensure while buying sweets that these are free of colouring agents that are harmful for health.”

Mr Raj Kalia, a sweetshop owner, said the demand of dry fruits had increased and it had affected the sales of sweets. “We are selling dry fruits at only one of our outlets. If the demand increases, we will keep these in our remaining outlets as well. However, we will sell dry fruits only in the festival season.”


Gutkas, pictures removed
Tribune News Service 

PANCHKULA, Oct 7 — The gutkas lying at the entrance of the Nada Sahib Gurdwara following the clash between vendors and the SGPC task force were picked up by the vendors and placed on the tables at the entrance, here this morning.

The move comes following assurances by the district administration that the matter would be resolved and the two-member committee constituted to look into the matter would give its verdict on October 12. However, though the gutkas and pictures have been picked up, the other items remain strewn just the way they were scattered on the day of the clash, October 1, when the shops were razed to the ground by members of the task force.

The villagers contend that the rest of the items will be picked up only when the administration discloses its decision on the clash and the possible solution.`Till then we will keep up the pressure in the form of the kadas and scarves on the floor to remind the devotees of the injustice meted out to us,’’ a villager said. 


Honour for Punjab Regiment
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — The Punjab Regiment, the oldest and most battle-seasoned of the Indian infantry regiments, will honour the next of kin of its battle casualties belonging to Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh by presenting a welfare package during a regimental rally at Chandi Mandir on October 15.

An official release said 272 war widows or next of kin and 45 battle-disabled soldiers of the regiment would be the beneficiaries at the function. Major-General S.K. Awasthy, Colonel of the Punjab Regiment, would present cheques ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh to each beneficiary, it said. Many distinguished retired and serving soldiers and officers were expected to grace the occasion.


Shooting for Sa Re Ga Ma from October 10
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — The shooting of the third schedule of Sa Re Ga Ma (Punjabi), a musical programme on television, will begin in Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, on October 10.

A team of Zee Network, led by Jagmeet Bal, director of the programme, and Krunesh Upadhyaya, production manager, is in the city to shortlist 16 male and 16 female singers for the five-day competition. For Jagmeet, a local boy, who has made it big in Mumbai, with over six serials on Alpha TV under his belt, it is a dream come true. "I had a long-standing wish to shoot a major entertainment programme in my home town, which could provide a platform to upcoming Punjabi singers," Jagmeet said in an informal chat with Chandigarh Tribune here today.

He said the competition would be exciting if the response to the previous two schedules was any indication. The audition was conducted in Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Ambala, Patiala and Jalandhar.

Bollywood crooner Jaspinder Narula will set the ball rolling by judging the first two quarter-finals on October 10. Her brother Micky Narula, who shot into fame with Aa Ja Nachle Punjabi Style, his maiden album, will be the new anchor. The first two schedules were anchored by Naresh Dhiman.

Top names in Punjabi music like Dolly Guleria, Manpreet Akhtar, Barkat Sidhu, Surinder Bachan, Varinder Bachan, Mohammad Sidique, Ranjeet Kaur, Wadali Brothers, Sardool Sikandar, Hans Raj Hans and Sarbjeet will judge the episodes. Finals will be judged by K.S. Narula. Efforts were on to rope in Surinder Kaur to be the judge in the finals, added Jagmeet.


Gurmat katha, kirtan samagam
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Oct 7 — A gurmat kirtan and katha samagam will be organised on Tuesday from 6.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. and on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Gurdwara Sahibzada Ajit Singh in Phase 2 here. Among those scheduled to participate in the function will be the well-known katha vachak, Giani Sant Singh Maskeen (Alwarwale).


Pedestrian dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — A pedestrian and a resident of Colony No 5, Sita Ram, was hit by a scooter (HR-04-116) at the Sectors 20, 21, 33 and 34 chowk on October 4 and injured.

He was rushed to the PGI and discharged after treatment. However, he later died yesterday. A case has been registered against the scooterist.


A child aged about four years and a resident of Palsora Colony, Mange Ram, was hit by a truck (HR-38-A-0015) on the Palsora-Chandigarh road on Friday. He was injured and rushed to the PGI.

The driver, Parminder Kumar, a resident of Sanama village in Nawanshehar district, has been arrested. A case has been registered.

Assault case

Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 20-A, reported that Pritpal Singh, his wife, Gurpreet Kaur, Angrez Singh and certain other persons assaulted her.


Mr Abdul Ali of Sector 11 reported that someone has stolen household items from his house. A case has been registered.

Liquor seized

The police has arrested three persons under the Excise Act and seized 185 pouches of whisky from them.

In the first incident, Jagan Nath of Naya Gaon was held with 40 pouches of whisky from near the Sector 22 market.

Jaswinder Singh of Kurukshetra was arrested with 75 pouches of whisky from Sector 17 and 70 pouches from Harsimran Jit Singh, also from Kurukshetra, from Sector 17.

Suicide bid

Ashwani Kumar of Sector 29 allegedly tried to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance. He has been shifted from the Sector 16 General Hospital to the PGI.


Amartex outlet in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 7 — Amartex Group of Industries opened its outlet in Sector 9 here today. The outlet was inaugurated by the General Manager of the State Bank of India, Mr T.S. Bhattacharya.

The Chairman of Amartex, Mr Amar Grower, promised to provide to the city residents the same quality and variety of textile material at the same price as was available in the showrooms in Panchkula and SAS Nagar. 


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