Thursday, October 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Shopkeepers block traffic, hurl stones at MC staff
Allege harassment by civic body men
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Oct 25 — Utter confusion over the exact sites for putting up stalls for the sale of fire crackers prevailed in the town today as shopkeepers of Phase 7 hurled stones at the enforcement staff of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council and blocked traffic on the road leading to the Chandigarh-Sohana highway to protest against the alleged harassment at the hands of officials of the civic body .

An effigy of the officials of the civic body was burnt on the occasion. The traffic remained blocked for over an hour before the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr SS Gill, along with a strong posse of force reached the spot and pacified the shopkeepers. He assured the agitators proper action against the officials, if found guilty.

Lamenting that enforcement officials, led by a clerk, Amrit Lal had let loose a reign of terror, the shopkeepers said fire crackers worth lakhs were unauthorised by seized by the officials from different parts of the town. Showing the permission given by the Administrator-cum-Sub-divisional, Mr Jaipal Singh, the affected shopkeepers said the permission given by the local administration was ambiguous. In case of different phases, it was mentioned in the permission was being given to sell the fire crackers in the open space.

Mr Harpreet Singh and Mr Ram Gopal, who had purchased fire crackers worth thousands of rupees, claimed that they had put up stalls in open spaces. They said they were given no time to remove their fire crackers by the staff of the civic body. The shopkeepers led by Municipal Councillors — Mr Manjeet Singh, Mr Shayam Bansal, Mr Phool Raj and local Congress leaders,

Mr Jaswinder Singh Kaka — alleged that the enforcement officials had demanded bribe from the shopkeepers to carry on their business. They claimed that fire crackers could be seized by a Duty Magistrate appointed by the SDM. The Duty Magistrate was given police force for security reasons.

The SDM, when contacted, contradicted the claim of the shopkeepers that they had put up stalls in Phase 7 in the earmarked sites. He said the shopkeepers had been specifically told to put up their stalls in the open space in front of the council office in Phase 7. He said the enforcement officials were empowered to check the unauthorised stalls.

He said open spaces had been approved by the Deputy Commissioner in order to avoid any untoward incident.

Sources in the police said the clerk of the municipal council, Amrit Lal, was not traceable till late evening. The fire crackers seized by the enforcement staff from Phase 1, 4 and Phase 7 had been taken to the Phase Police Station but officials there refused to take their custody. The seized items were taken to the godown of the council in Phase 1. The police officials said the fire crackers were being returned to the shopkeepers concerned. A daily diary report (DDR) was lodged at the Phase 8 Police Station against the officials of the civic body on the basis of a complaint given by the affected shopkeepers.


Shopkeepers throw norms to winds
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Throwing all norms to the winds, stalls set up at different places in the city for sale of firecrackers are openly flouting the directions of the Department of Explosives. This can lead to serious incidents like explosions and major outbreaks of fire at certain places. These are the findings of an inspection conducted by the Department of Explosives during the last two days.

An explosives expert in the Department who was part of the team conducting the inspections said that any untoward incident could happen anytime as the directions were not followed by the sellers. The expert who did not want to be named said that many licence holders in the city were storing explosive materials beyond their capacity, starting from a minimum of 2 tons to even 10 tons against the permissible limit of 400 kg.

The expert further said that beyond this limit the licence for the storage was issued by the Department after making sure that the storage godown was located outside the city. But this time not even a single seller of the city applied for the licence from the department and they were all doing with the licence issued by the Administration allowing the storage of 400 kg of explosive material. He said that only two persons in Panchkula were authorised to store the material more than the limit prescribed by the Administration as they had the licence from the department.

The expert further said that Attawa, Sector 46 and Naya Gaon near the PGI were the places where these norms were being flouted with impunity. The sellers were storing the crackers in their small shops and even their houses that could prove to be dangerous.

He said the department could only inspect the stalls but could not do anything substantial except writing to the officers in the Police Department. “We cannot take any action ourselves and can tell the police only. But as during these days the officials are not easily found as they are busy with their work, nothing is done during the festival time. Then we make instructions for the next year and then pass these on to the police to enforce them,” said that expert.

He further said that not only storage but other conditions regarding the sale of the crackers were not followed. As per the directions the adjacent stalls selling crackers should have a distance of 3m but nobody was following these directions as the shops with a common wall were keeping the crackers. At certain places the cots were lined together outside the premises of the shops. The expert said that this could lead to a major fire anytime.

Moreover, the sellers were not bothering to keep fire-extinguishers and buckets filled with water and sand. If any mishap occurred, there would be no provision at all to put off the fire in the absence of the required extinguishing material.

The directions also suggested not to allow more than four customers at a time in the stall but in almost all shops many people were found gathering in the shops. He said loose crackers were also being sold again in violation of the directions. The department had also directed sellers not to use the platform or open space outside the shops to put up stalls. But the sellers were leaving no place outside the shops and had put up cots to display the crackers.

He said that any violator of the directions could be sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or could be fined Rs 3000 under the Explosive Substance Act, 1908, and Explosive Act, 1884.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers selling crackers in the city complained that they had already paid licence fees to the Chandigarh Administration, still the Municipal Corporation was charging a fee Rs 600 per day per shop from them.

The following are some of the safety conditions for the crackers shop-owners:

— No two fireworks shops and stalls will exit within 15 metres

— Licensee shall keep 25 sand bags at the site.

— Licensee shall keep one water tank of 200-litre capacity at the site.

— Licensee shall keep at least one fire extinguisher of 10 kg or two fire extinguishers of 5 kg each.

— Licensee shall not keep more than 15 kg of fireworks.

— There shall be no naked or loose electric wires inside the shop.

— Fireworks will not be kept on the shuttering made of wood.

— No other business will be conducted in the shop.

— A ''smoking strictly prohibited'' board shall be displayed inside the shop.


Kidnapped boy freed
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Oct 25 — In less than 30 hours of being kidnapped, Sector 8 schoolboy Himanshu Singla was released by his kidnappers this afternoon, near Gulah in Kaithal, today.

The Superintendent of Police, Mrs Kala Ramachandran, said Himanshu escaped when he was left unguarded by his abductors near an STD booth where they went in to make a telephone call. It is learnt that the two were constantly shifting him from one place to another on a scooter before realising that it was not serving any purpose and planned his escape.

The boy was on his way back with the police party who had gone in search of him to Pehowa, taking them to all the places he was forced to accompany his abductors. The scooter used in the crime was recovered and it belonged to Gurnam Singh, another accused in the case, the police added.

Family sources said that the boy had called up at his home in Ambala and told his parents to relax police pressure since the abductors were shifting him frequently owing to the police hotting up on their trail.

Sources said that the police got in touch with the sister of one of the accused and the lambardar of the village, Rattan Singh, in Pehowa. They were asked to convey to the accused the futility of the kidnapping and seek the release of the boy.

It was added that the abductors who barged into the house to kidnap the boy belonged to the same family and had taken the extreme step out of desperation in a bid to recover their sunken amount pending with the boy’s father, Surinder Kumar.

Police sources further informed that a number of cases of cheating had been registered against Surinder Kumar following false promises of providing visas to individuals interested in going abroad. While he had been unable to do so, he had charged hefty sums from them and had been unable to return these. In his statement, he informed the police that he was presently on bail, according to informed sources.

Meanwhile, the police is conducting raids on various places to nab the accused and four police parties are on the job in separate areas.


14-yr-old judoka crushed by bus
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Deepti, 14-year-old judoka, was crushed to death under a CTU bus near the Sector 20 dispensary today. The mishap occurred when she was returning home from school on bicycle.

She was rushed to the PGI where she was declared dead on arrival by the doctors on duty.

The bus driver escaped from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against him for causing death of a person by rash and negligent driving. Further investigations are on.

Deepti’s father, Mr Sangat Ram, is the PA to the Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. Deepti’s mother is an employee of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.

Deepti had insisted on going to the school, though her brother and sister had decided to stay at home in Sector 30. She had to fill up the forms for the Class VIII examinations.

Her tutor, Mr S.C. Sharma, was struggling to control his tears. In a chocked voice, he said, “In school, Deepti had wished every teacher a happy Divali and presented cards to them. She was intelligent and active, but a reserved person. She wanted to become a national-level player after growing up. Today morning, she had requested her parents to take her for Divali shopping.”

At Deepti’s home, disturbing silence unnerved the neighbours who had come to console her family. Her sister Parul was busy pressing telephone keys to inform friends about Deepti’s death. “She expired in an accident today, why don’t you believe me,” she was screaming in the mouthpiece.

She jumped from the bed to show a certificate that Deepti had received. “Deepti had participated in the Public School National Judo Championship in Delhi recently and had also won a silver medal in the inter-school tournament here,” she said. Too young to understand the loss, she smiled innocently and said, “Which paper are you from?”


Advisory Council panel’s do’s and don’ts
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Telling comments and suggestions have been made by subcommittees formed by the Administrator’s Advisory Council. Reports of the sub-committees were submitted in the council meeting yesterday.

The report of the committee on law and order says that liquor was being sold unauthorisedly in slums and rehabilitated colonies, sometimes even by small children. People indulging in this practice should be dealt with strictly under the law. Members observed that VIP kids tend to become law unto themselves, while asking for countering such behaviour with strict action under the law.

Members have said that there was an increased tendency among students towards drug abuse. Peddlers and vendors need to be dealt with a heavy hand, with intelligence be generated about their activities and movements. The committee attributed a large part of the crime to migrants, settled in slums. Verification needs to be carried out regularly. The migration is having an overall impact on the crime situations.

Similarly verification of tenants, domestic and commercial servants, vendors, salesmen, chowkidars, dhobis etc. should be made and they should also be kept under police surveillance. To tackle thefts, snatching and burglaries, better co-ordination needs to be had with neighbouring districts. Also a list of do’s and don’ts be made and circulated among city residents through residents welfare associations.

On senior citizens, the committee says that the beat staff should remain in touch. The elderly should be provided with telephone numbers of the control room, police stations and senior police officials.

As far as public complaints go, all inquires should be completed within a time-bound manner, with the complainant being intimated about the outcome of his complaint. A behavioural change, especially at the cutting-edge levels of the police, is required. Frequent training and workshops were required.

The committee also advised that police should not interfere in landlord-tenant disputes. The SHOs and area DSPs should be available on telephone at a specified time of the day while another suggestion says that public meetings be held at places other than police stations with the invitees coming through residents welfare associations, municipal councillors, retired service officials and market associations. The meetings should be once a week with the SHO and once a fortnight with the DSP.

The committee also wants a system whereby information is collected daily from various beats in the city. On the issue of crime against women, the committee wants that specially trained women police officials be posted as visiting complainants do not easily confide in male cops.

On traffic, the need to regulate the number of rickshaws has been highlighted in the report. Rickshaw-pullers should be issued licences and the rickshaws should be registered. The use of underground parking area has been suggested. Interestingly, the committee has noted that vehicles bearing outside registration numbers, especially trucks, are subjected to harassment and exploitation by the police.

The school managements should on their own curb minors who drive to school without valid licences.

(To be concluded)


Middle-class Divali gifts
Dry fruits take precedence over sweets
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — With the market flooded with an array of gifts in colourful packs, sweets are gradually giving way to other items as Divali gifts.

A random survey of city markets, pointed towards a trend whereby dry fruits seem to be emerging as the major alternative to the sweets. Gifts of dry fruits, which used to be the domain of upper class and upper middle-class till now, are now also being increasing exchanged by middle-class families.

And this is not only because of the “craze” for gifting dry fruits, as economics also comes into play. With the prices of the dry fruits remaining “almost” stable, a box of dry fruit is only slightly costly than that of a box of sweets.

Mr Parmod Kumar, a shopkeeper, informed that with prices remaining stable, the dry fruits came out to be cheaper than sweets. While the price of almond was quoted at about Rs 300 per kg, that of raisin was quoted at Rs 240 per kg. Pistsachio and cashew were priced at around Rs 350 per kg.

Apart from dry fruits, new trends seemed to have caught the fancy of residents. Small gifts like chocolates, cakes, namkeens and stuff like “sohan papri” and daily-use items priced anything between Rs 150 to Rs 350 are being lapped up for gifts by the “budget” Divali revellers. Apart from this, a large number of customers went in for small household items. A new trend witnessed was the gifting of the books by certain city residents.

A shopkeeper of Sector 22 informed that a majority of the people visiting his shop went in for the moderately-priced items. The trend has been for the other gifts apart from sweets. “Why should I prefer sweets when I can get dry fruits and other daily-use items almost at the same price. The “mithai” is certainly not the in-thing even health-wise,” said Ms Shivani Gupta.

But as far as corporate gifts are concerned, the big houses went in for watches, suit-lengths, gold and silver coins, readymade garments and electronic appliances.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers selling crackers in the city complained that they had already paid licence fees to the Chandigarh Administration, still the Municipal Corporation was charging a fee Rs 600 per day per shop from them.


City witnesses traffic jams
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Impatient honking of car and two-wheelers filled the air as vehicles came to a standstill in front of the city markets on the eve of Divali this evening. The roundabouts too were chocked with overflowing traffic, refusing to budge for hours together.

The shopping crowd shifted restlessly in the seats as car after car lined up along the road sides in Sectors 15, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 34. Minutes rolled into hours as the drivers pressed and released the accelerator pedals to cover every inch of the vacant road. In the process, getting pushed here and there were the two-wheeler riders struggling to find space.

The situation was worse near the roundabouts with passengers coming out of their cars to fight. In certain areas, the commuters took upon themselves the task of managing traffic in the absence of cops to man the crowd.


Youths run away with necklaces
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — In a complaint lodged with the police, proprietors of Akshay Jewellers of Sector 37 have alleged that two clean-shaven men, aged about 25 and 30, have stolen some gold necklaces from their shop.

The men came to the shop in a car and requested the proprietors to show some gold necklaces. They took some necklaces outside the shop on the pretext of examining these in natural light and escaped. They took away jewellery worth Rs 25,000.

The police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC. Sources said the efforts to arrest the culprits were on. They also said this could be the work of some youngsters who wished to present the jewellery to their girlfriends on Divali.


Jacob’s Divali with orphans
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Any of the children who have dreamt of being invited to the glittering palace of a king and made to feel like his most special guest, should have been at Raj Bhavan today. For the 39 orphan inmates of Bal Niketan, Sector 15, the eight hostellers of the Institute of the Blind, Sector 26, and the 12 inmates of Savera, a short stay home in Sector 43, it was an experience they had never even dreamt of.

These children were specially invited by the Governor, Punjab and Administrator, Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd.) to Raj Bhavan and all arrangements had been made to make them feel special and cared for. The children were indulged to the core by the Governor who went around talking to them, wishing them a Happy Divali, got sweets, gifts and goodies distributed, played the band keeping in mind the blind children and to top it all the evening ended with a merry-making session with all the crackers one can think of bursting at the children’s fingertips. For the next 10 minutes the already shimmering Raj Bhavan was illuminated with the children playing with phooljhadis and anars.

The inmates of Bal Niketan of the ages 4 to 12 were glad to be there and all they knew that they were at “Governor uncle’s” house and were having a lot of fun. Three of them, all sisters, were from a village in Fatehgarh Sahib. The village panchayat had come to the Governor in December when these three girls had been left at the mercy of the villagers when their mother eloped. Their father had been killed by terrorists many years back. The Governor made immediate arrangements for their schooling and stay and they have been in the Niketan since.

The Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, Mr M. Ramshekhar, was also present on the occasion. “What is important to notice is the fact that now society as one is rising to the demand of giving a helping hand to the less fortunate,” he said.


Divali eve bright as ever
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Living upto the tradition, clubs and restaurants of the city were tastefully illuminated as ever on the Divali eve. The collective brightness made the city seem like it was wrapped in a beautiful package of lights.

A stroll past the Punjab Raj Bhavan was not to be missed today. The residence of the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob, had been attractively illuminated. The two CITCO hotels were not far behind in this regard. Those who hosted celebrations in these hotels today, received bouquets, discount and various other gifts.

Clubs have also done well to make this Divali special for members. The Chandigarh Press Club has already organised a Divali bumper tambola and a starnite featuring Usha Uthup and Hans Raj Hans. The Chandigarh Golf Club has not organised a Divali bash this year. Brig A.J.S. Behl, General Manager of the club, said the club office-bearers were too busy in organising an ongoing tournament. “This is a professional club, so, celebrations come later. We want Divali to be everyone’s private affair. Members can look forward to a dinner and dance on November 3, the day of the inauguration of a new project of the club.”

An amazing display of fireworks and a bumper Divali tambola for members were organised in the Sector 3 Chandigarh Club. The President of the Club, said, “We have tried to cater to everybody’s requirement. The idea is to make the evening memorable.” Divali celebrations in the club had already begun a week ago when Sabri brothers had entertained the members with a qawwali performance. Soft music could be heard at Sukhna. It was soothing, but also in a festive spirit.

Restaurants of the town, despite the glamour associated with these, were unable to attract the crowds. The reason is not far to seek. Persons who shopped today stopped at sweetshops, ice-cream parlours and pizza joints for eating. Tomorrow, restaurants will remain closed as employees have to celebrate Divali with their families.

The North Zone Cultural Centre and the local Carnival Society put up a fabulous show for about 2,500 persons at the Sector 17 piazza. Punjabi beats gave an impetus to the festive spirit. The evening saw dance buffs have a ball. Folk tunes of Gujarat and Haryana were also played. This is the first here that no stalls have been put up at the piazza. Ms Ranjana Shahi, a municipal councillor, had suggested that the festival should be enjoyed with a touch of culture. “Putting up stalls is no festivity, holding a cultural programme is,” she said.


Homage paid to Jodh Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — The bhog and antim ardas ceremony of Flying Officer Jodh Singh was performed at Gurdwara Gursagar here this morning. The 23-year-old Flying Officer was killed on October 16, in a mid-air collision between two MiG 21 aircraft near Tezpur during a training formation flying sortie.

This accident abruptly ended the career of the young and promising fighter pilot who had got his commission in June, 1999. “Having a natural flair for flying Jodh wanted to become a test pilot”, says his mother, Paramjit, trying hard to hide tears.

Son of an Air Force officer, this quiet and ever-smiling officer had a passion for flying and had wanted to become a fighter pilot since childhood. “He was also one of the select few cadets to get Wings in the NDA”, recalls his grief-stricken sister, Navjot.

Many senior Air Force officers, including Gp Capt S.P. Singh, attended the bhog ceremony and paid homage to the young officer. His mother while putting up a brave front said she was proud that her son had died while performing his duty. This was a death he had wished for, she said recalling his almost prophetic words, “I would be proud to die while flying”.


Manchanda cremated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — The body of Sanjay Manchanda (35), Public Relations Officer of the Chandigarh Administration, who had reportedly committed suicide by jumping before a train last evening, was consigned to the flames this afternoon.

His cremation was largely attended by sportspersons as he was a keen tennis player, Chandigarh Administration officials and his friends. Wreaths were placed on the body on behalf of the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, and the Chandigarh Administration. A wreath was also placed on behalf of the Chandigarh Press Club.

Officials of the Public Relations Department condoled the death of Manchanda, who served the department for 12 years. Kirya will be held at Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 19, on Friday at 3 p.m. family sources said.


Traders call on Jacob
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — A delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM) today called on the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), in connection with the demands of the traders.

According to a press note, the delegation brought to the notice of the Administrator the issues relating to the permission of small divisions and commercial use of basements and first floors for small traders. 


Skanda Shasti from Oct 28
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — An eight-day Skanda Shasti celebration will begin in the Sector 31-D Sree Karthikeya Swami Temple from October 28. The celebration is an annual event after Divali. It will include a number of cultural and religious functions, according to the Lord Murugan Bhaktha Samaj, organisers of the event.

The daily function at the temple will include abhishekam and saharsanama archana, besides a recital of Skanda Shasti Kavacham in praise of Lord Karthikeya, known as Murugan in Tamil Nadu.

A highlight of the celebration will be a procession Soora Samharam on November 11. The procession will begin from Sri Aiyappa Swamy Temple in Sector 47-D.

The celebration will conclude with Sri Anjaneya Uthsavam on November 4 after annadhanam (langar), according to the organisers.


Milkfed gesture
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — Mr K.S. Janjua, Financial Commissioner (Cooperation), Punjab, under whose administration Milkfed is functioning, has ordered the Milkfed management to gift a pack of milk and milk products to each inmate of all the dumb and deaf, blind, physically handicapped, mentally challenged, leprosy and old-age homes in the city like Karuna Sadan, Sector 11, Nari Niketan, Bal Niketan and Shanti Dham, Sector 23, which are run either by the government or voluntary organisations. Each gift pack contains one juice drink, one sweetened milk packet and 50 gm of milkcake.

Mr Janjua has also asked the Milkfed management to arrange a visit of local school children to milk plants.


8 children get blankets
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 —The President of the Indian Revenue Service (Custom and Central Excise) Ladies Association, Ms Nishi Soni, yesterday distributed blankets among eight children adopted by the association at Manauli village, near here.

According to a press note, a sewing machine was given to a girl who is undergoing vocational training. Besides, sweets were distributed among the staff of the government dispensary.

The IRSLA also gave a cheque for Rs 11,000 to the North India Deaf and Dumb Society.


Woman’s purse snatched
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — In yet another incident of snatching, a Sector 35 resident today alleged that a scooterist took away her purse containing Rs 900 and a ring from near Government Model School in Sector 35. Taking up the complaint of Ms. Janak Narula, the police has registered a case of theft under Sections 379 and 356 of the IPC. According to sources in the police, further investigations into the incident were on and arrest was likely to be made soon.

Harassment alleged
A Mani Majra resident, Ms Sunita, has alleged that her husband and in-laws were maltreating her for dowry. The police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on her complaint and further investigations were on.

Scooters stolen
Theft of two scooters has been reported to the police. In his complaint, Dilbagh Singh of Hostel No, 4 in Panjab University alleged that his two-wheeler was picked up from the campus. In the other complaint, Mohali resident Paramjit Singh alleged that his scooter was stolen from the Sector 19 Palika Bazar. Acting on their complaints, the police has registered cases of theft under Section 379 of the IPC. According to sources, further investigations were on.

One injured
A scooterist was injured after being hit by a car near the crossing of Sector 27 and 28. According to sources, the injured has been identified as Harminder Singh of Sector 28. The car driver, sources add, fled the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC has been registered and investigations were on, say sources.



PO rearrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 25 — A proclaimed offender, Gurinder Singh, accused of possessing 100 gm of smack, has been arrested by the Chandigarh police.

The police had registered a case against him under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act after arrested him on August 1, 1990. He was, however, declared a proclaimed offender in December 1990, after he failed to appear in the court. He was rearrested on October 24.


Woes of reserved category

THIS refers to the write-up “University Education — Ivory Towers Despite Reservation” by Suresh Kumar (The Tribune, Sept 30) and a letter to the editor “Ill-treating the quota category” by Bhajan Dass Kajal (The Tribune, Oct 11).

The authors have commented incisively on the non-implementation of the reservation policy and the maltreatment and humiliation meted out to the students belonging to the reserved category. This inhuman treatment is akin to untouchability practised in the past. Not only students, but senior officials and lecturers belonging to the reserved category are also victimised and humiliated in colleges.

At present, persons from the reserved category are occupying some of the highest positions in the country like the President of India, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the President of the BJP and the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. They should take effective measures to remove discrimination against students and teachers belonging to the reserved category and put an end to untouchability being practised in a new form.


Curse of gambling

With Divali round the corner, gambling has started in Chandigarh as in almost all other cities. Whether it stems from a desire for gain or for thrill, gambling ruins one’s disposition and causes depression. Coeton says, “Gambling is the child of avarice, but the parent of prodigality.”

Women are also falling prey to this “vice of aristocracy.” It is often argued without any consideration for the law that if “sensible” people (men or women) decide to risk their money at a card-table, it is their business. Far from being a “private affair,” it is very much a public issue, as any lawyer will tell you. That explains the police raids on gambling “addas”.

The lure of easy money makes people parasitical. It encourages them to make quick money without putting in hard work. In many cases, it leads to crimes like theft and embezzlement with violence as their outcome. The end of such gambling addicts is sad if not tragic.


Sale of crackers

While granting licences for the sale of crackers on the occasion of Divali, shopkeepers are issued certain guidelines which are mandatory. These include sufficient storage of water and sand and an adequate area for movement etc. Selling crackers at shops and without a permit is prohibited. In reality, these rules are hardly followed. The number of unauthorised sellers of crackers in Chandigarh is high. The authorities do not pay attention to enforceing the safety measures and rules in this regard. Crackers of poor quality which can be dangerous, especially to children, are found in abundance in the market. These burst in a fraction of a second after to being lit.

Another malpractice seen during Divali is weighing of the sweet box along with sweets by sweets sellers. Every year, the Chandigarh Administration warns these sellers to charge for the box separately. If a customer insists on this, the shopkeepers start misbehaving. Divali being a holiday, one cannot report such violations to the authorities.

I suggest that the authorities concerned should publish their telephone numbers in newspapers to enable people to report such violations to them.



Chandigarh Tribune in its issue of October 17, carried a bold headline “Kak removed as Secretary Medical Education”. It gave the impression that Dr Kak had committed some wrong. A medical administrator, teacher, and neuro-surgeon of his calibre deserved a better language from The Tribune. I, as one of the seniormost medical educationists of this area, protest against the use of such derogatory language for a great medical man.

Dr Indarjit Dewan

Wrong description

This refers to “How rich and famous will celebrate Divali” (Chandigarh Tribune, Oct 25). In this report, I have been described, among other things, as the CEO of Groz Beckert. I am not connected with this company and my association with it ceased almost nine years ago. I am chairman of Kamla Dials and Devices Ltd.

Rajendra K. Saboo

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