Saturday, December 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


special story
Fresh plans to tap tourism potential
By A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — Despite the emergence of Chandigarh as a favourite tourist destination over the past years, the tourism potential of the City Beautiful and its surrounding areas remains largely unexploited.

Absence of a well-thoughtout strategy on the part of the UT Administration to attract tourists and keep them busy and entertained seems to be one of the major stumbling blocks increasing tourist flow to the city.

As the only planned city in this part of the country, Chandigarh remains unrivalled as regards its architectural beauty, planning, neatness, landscaping and, above all, the quality of life it offers to its residents.

It offers so many places of tourist interest like Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Shopping arcade besides a number of other aesthetically planned buildings. In its neighbourhood are places like Chhat Bir zoo, historic Mughal gardens, Pinjore, Timber Trail complex at Parwanoo, to name only a few.

A little further are located famous hill stations like Shimla, Chail, Kulu, Manali and other exotic destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Chandigarh is also a gateway to religious places in the region.

Chandigarh has a fairly well-developed hotel industry. The city hotels have more than 900 air-conditioned rooms while another 200 are under construction. Besides these, the city has ample accommodation available for budget tourists.

But the sad part of the story is that despite all the attractions Chandigarh has, its hotels seldom enjoy more than 50 per cent occupancy.

Chandigarh is fortunate in having a fairly active hotel association which is led among others by experienced hoteliers like Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu, Mr B.B. Bahl, Mr Paramjit Singh Tung and Mr Ashok Bansal. The association is of the view that the UT administration must plan a clearcut strategy involving government bodies, hoteliers and travel agents in order to usher in a new era of tourism in the UT. Such a strategy should be simple, transparent and practical which should give full value for money to the tourists and offer attractive reward to the hotel industry on its investments and endeavours.

To begin with, the UT administration should fix a monthly average target of visitors after working out a professionally planned, fixed tour packages involving leading travel agencies and CITCO’s tourism wing. For instance, a three-day Chandigarh-Shimla tour, a five-day Chandigarh-Kulu-Manali tour, a three-day Chandigarh-Mansa Devi and other Himachal centres of pilgrimage tour, a three-day Chandigarh-Vaishno Devi tour and a four-day Chandigarh-Nada Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, Golden Temple and other historical gurdwaras tour can prove to be attractive to a wide section of tourists.

Other permutations and combinations can also be worked out. But one aspect which remains to be worked out is to offer full value for money to the tourists. In 31 hotels of Chandigarh, the room tariff for a deluxe AC room varies between Rs 800 and Rs 2000 per day on a twin sharing basis. So one person has to spend between Rs 400 and Rs 1000 a day. If travel agencies take care of the local sight-seeing and transportation coupled with a comfortable and assured accommodation with breakfast thrown in, there is no reason why tourism in City Beautiful will not take off.

Some of these suggestions were put forth at a meeting of the UT administration held here the other day to formulate various package tours for the promotion of tourism in Chandigarh. The meeting, which was presided over by the Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, was attended among others by Mr Ashok Sangwan, Joint Secretary, Home, Mr Gurmel Singh, Director, Tourism, Mr S. P. Singh, Managing Director, CITCO, Col H. S. Sandhu and Mr Ashok Bansal, office-bearers of the Hotel Association of Chandigarh and Mr Vijay Kumar, Tourist Officer, reviewed the present arrangements being made by CITCO for conducting local sight seeing and conducted tours for the tourists, visitors, residents as well as persons availing of L.T.C.

It was decided that CITCO would run local sight seeing tours daily at fixed hours on regular basis and the timings as well as the halting points of tourist buses would be intimated to all local hoteliers to get maximum tourists from the hotels for local sightseeing.

The Managing Director, CITCO would work out some incentives for the individual hotels on the booking of seats for tourist buses for Local sightseeing to encourage the participation of hotels in the same. CITCO would bring out colourful posters to promote sight seeing tourists and conducted tours.

The Managing Director would work out an introduction to guided tours to places of tourist interest around Chandigarh, and would also work out to deploy students and trained guides for this purpose.

Efforts would be made to promote fishing tourism to attract tourists at Sukhna Lake in coordination with the Director, Fisheries, UT, Chandigarh. Fishing permits would be issued to tourists on priority.

CITCO would also work out to introduce the package tours proposed by the local hotel industry in coordination with them and also by tying up with the adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh by working out some reciprocal arrangements with them. Tour operators and travel agents would also be involved in the exercise. 


Chandigarh cops to be in compromise gear today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — The Chandigarh police will be officially doing what it loves doing the best — help contending parties reach a compromise. Only this time there will be no pressure on either of the sides. For amicable redressal of complaints, it has called the complainants, the accused and the witnesses to the offices of the sub-divisional police officers tomorrow.

The police hopes to take up as many as 100 complaints in a day. The grievances are either against landlords or tenants, even against brothers and sisters. There are complaints alleging white collar crime also. Property disputes too will be heard.

The move is significant as in a substantial number of cases — “wherever a cognizable offence has been committed” — the complaints are converted into first information reports finally leading to long legal battles and endless rounds of the courts.

The meeting, on the pattern of Lok Adalats, will not only save the complainants and the witnesses the inconvenience of going through the legal rigmarole, it will also help the police in disposing of the complaints, that also on the spot.

Cops admit it is not going to be easy. In several cases “large number of documents” are involved. Records too will have to be studied. But the police is determined.

“First, both the sides will have to be convinced that the police is trying to help them out,” says a senior police official. “After gaining his confidence, we will make them sit face to face for sorting out their problems”.

Giving details, the Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, Mr Parag Jain, says, “The DSPs have also been asked to join in, along with the investigating officers, for imbibing a sense of confidence among the parties and to remove all kinds of apprehensions. I will also be visiting the offices”.

He adds: “The meetings are being held for the first time in Chandigarh. If the experiment is successful, we will be organising more such meetings, at least one in a month”.


Postal staff resume duty in Haryana, UT: claim officials
Tribune News Service

AMBALA, Dec 15 — “Postal services in four postal divisions — Sonepat, Karnal, Rohtak and Faridabad — have become normal as the striking staff has joined duty in large numbers. The position in other postal divisions is also improving fast.” This was stated in a press note issued by Mr T.R. Sharma, Chief Post Master General, Haryana circle.

“Remaining staff on strike is advised to resume duty to avoid penal consequences,” Mr Sharma said.

“The Central Government has declared the strike illegal. The state government is already giving all possible help for restoration of normalcy,” the release added.

However, the postal employees have denied that in some postal divisions, the employees on strike have resumed duty. They would continue to be on strike till such time their demands were not met.

Mr Gopal Krishan Dhiman said despite the strike being declared illegal, the postal strike continued for the 11th day today. The employees held a demonstration outside the Ambala city main post office. The employees were addressed by Mr S.P. Goyal, Mr Pahwa, Mr Ramesh Kumar, Mr Ashok Sachdeva, Mrs Vohra and Mrs K. Gupta.


The Chief Postmaster-General of Punjab and Chandigarh Circle, Mr A.S.I.S Paul claimed that 28 per cent staff attended duty today. He said the striking post masters and treasurers, who failed to resume duty, had been served notices and action would be initiated against them.

The sorting of ordinary mail had been done with the help of trainees and the Home Guard jawans in all sectors of Chandigarh and important towns of Punjab. Today, 820 of the 3,900 post offices opened partially and rendered essential services.

Meanwhile, a press note of the Joint Council of Action termed as wrong and misplaced the stand of the government declaring the strike as illegal under the Industrial Disputes Act. If the strike was illegal, the government should have declared it so before the start of the strike and not after 10 days, it said, adding that the notice of the strike was served on November 6.

The alleged tactics of postal authorities to force the employees to resume duty were condemned by various speakers at a rally organised by the striking staff in front of the GPO in Sector 17.


The All-India Postal Employees Union president, Mr Amar Singh Vakil, levelled serious allegations against the Senior Superintendent of Posts, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, that her claim of maintaining booking of registered letters, parcels and speed posts was wrong.

In a press note, Mr Amar Singh said Ms Sukhwinder Kaur claimed that postal services in Patiala division were in order were false as the entire mail was still dumped at the head post office. Mr Amar Singh alleged that Ms Sukhwinder Kaur’s efforts to get mail distributed through students proved to be counter-productive as the mail did not reach the right persons at the right addresses.

The action committee of the union claimed that there was 100 per cent strike in Patiala division and appealed to the public to bear with them till their demands were not met.Back


35 youngsters challaned on geri route
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — Love on the fast track came to a screeching halt in the afternoon today as the men-in-white and khaki clipped the wings of youngsters hovering over the geri route on macho-bikes and jaunty jalopies. As many as 35 “guys and gals” were fined for traffic violations. Four others were arrested for rash and negligent driving.

The cops had set up the barriers in Sector 10 and Sector 11 markets, as well as in front of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11. Patiently, they waited for the unsuspecting youth.

During the four-hour-long drive conducted under the supervision of Assistant Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, Mr. H.G.S. Dhaliwal, Joginder Gill of Rohtak, Swani Pupneja of Sector 38, Tandeep Singh of Sector 15 and Jaswal Singh of Naya Gaon were apprehended under Section 279 of the IPC for endangering life by rash driving.

The action against the violators assumes significance as a large number of accidents were taking place on the geri route. Though statistics were not immediately available with the police, sources confirmed that everyday at least four to five mishaps were being reported. The number of unreported accidents, sources revealed, were much higher.

Not only were the youngsters creating traffic problems, sources asserted they were also indulging in eve-teasing. They added that guys without helmets on bikes, or gangs of ruffians in cars, were hooting and honking at pretty damsels.

Senior police officials, when contacted, said the focus of the drive, undertaken by officials of Police Station West and North, was to reduce the number of traffic violations, besides coming down heavily upon the eve-teasers. Such drives would be carried out in the future also “to totally curb the menace”, the officer said. 


CET paper pattern to be changed
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — In a significant decision affecting thousands of admission seekers to professional courses, Panjab University has decided to change the paper pattern for the Combined Entrance Test based only on “objective-type” questions for drawing up the final merit list.

The proposed change is directly in opposition to the current scheme of “essay-type” questions being included in the entrance papers. Essay-type questions will continue to be a part of the question paper of the entrance examinations for the Master of Mass Communication and Department of Law courses, reliable sources said.

Under the proposed change, the entrance tests for admission to the honours school, Master of Computer Applications, Postgraduate diploma in computer science applications, M.Sc (honours), Bachelor and Master of Library Science, the course in physical education, besides others, will be based on objective-type question papers.

The decision was taken by a committee which met under Prof Ashok Sahni, Dean, University Instructions. Mr Ashok Bhandari, Joint Controller of Examinations, is the convener. A few of the prominent members include Prof B.M. Deb, Dr Satya Prakash, Prof R.C. Sobti, Dr Harinder Singh, Dr R.D. Anand and Prof C.M. Behl.

The decision is significant for a large number of students in the entire region. Approximately 20,000 candidates are expected to take the CET.

Informed sources said the number of students definitely mattered in selecting the pattern of the question-papers. The single style paper helped save time. One major point in favour of the change was that theory papers were subject to criticism on account of “subjective” evaluation.

There were certain points of criticism relating to objective-type papers, but still they were understood to be better than the “theory type”. One drawback pointed out was that “theory papers” gave a better opportunity for expression, sources said.

It is learnt that the style of question papers for the Bachelor of Education courses is yet to be decided. The Punjab Government Education Department is one likely participant in the final decision.

The CET is scheduled for May 19. In a little change, all five papers relating to the three streams are scheduled on the same day. The examination courses include medical, non-medical and architecture courses.

All entrance examinations except CET will be conducted between June 9 and June 14.

The decisions of the committee would go to the Vice-Chancellor for a final look, sources said.

The shift to objective -type questions is in fact the revival of a practice which started during the time of Prof T.N. Kapoor as Vice-Chancellor. The practice was reintroduced in the 1998 papers during the term of the previous Vice-Chancellor, Prof M.M. Puri.


Pensioners lose out on special allowance
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — Due to lack of publicity about a rule which permits for two slabs of special allowance for pensioners after attaining the age of 70 and 80, respectively, is resulting in financial loss for the retired employees.

A letter of the UT Finance Secretary dated August, 29, 1992 bearing number FII (7)-92/9776, has not been implemented uniformly and across the board thus leaving out hundreds of pensioners, some of whom may have even shifted out of Chandigarh, and are not even aware that they are entitled to a special allowance.

A circular issued by the Punjab Government in 1989 and adopted by the Chandigarh Administration with effect from April, 1, 1991 says : ‘‘The pensioners and family pensioners, who completed 70 years and 80 years of age shall be granted with effect from the month succeeding the month of which they attain 70 or 80 years of age, special allowance to compensate them for the higher expenses attendant with old age at the rates given below.’’

On the allowance the circular says 5 per cent of the basic pension on attaining the age of 70 and 10 per cent of the basic pension on attaining the age of 80 will be given as special allowance. The circular also added that pensioners and family pensioners who have completed 70 or 80 years of age by August 31, 1989 shall also be eligible for this allowance with effect from September 1989. The allowance, shall, however, not count for the purpose of grant of dearness allowance.

In 1992 the letter was forwarded to the Accountant Generals of Punjab and Haryana, respectively, but the implementation was not automatic and hundreds of people never came to know about it, said a pensioner.

Some of the pensioners, who are aware of the letter have claimed benefit and also got arrears. Dr B.L. Minocha, is one and he says he did not even know about the rule but came to know about it through a friend who was getting the special allowance. He says ‘‘I have got it and now I wish that all pensioners, who may be in the evening of their lives get the benefit and those who have died their widows may be passed on the allowance’’. The matter needs to be taken up seriously. 


Move to shift main bus stand opposed
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 15 — The local ex-servicemen cell of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal has opposed the move to shift the main bus stand here to a location near the Verka milk Plant as it will put residents to inconvenience.

The general secretary of the cell, Lieut-Col S.S. Sohi (retd), said in a letter to the vice-chairman of PUDA yesterday that the milk plant area was at an extreme end of SAS Nagar. He said people would rather catch a bus from Chandigarh than from the proposed location.

Opposing the reported plan to build a five-star hotel in the existing bus stand area, Colonel Sohi said a clientele for such a hotel did not exist here. It might only be a ploy to grab commercial land in the heart of the town, he alleged.

He said better services were needed in the spheres of health, hygiene, education, railways and IT. He felt that the three-star (deluxe) hotel would be adequate, which could come up anywhere else. He was against uprooting an existing asset and the wasting of money. A judicial and DC office complex could come up near the present bus stand, he suggested.

The general secretary of the cell said to reduce the traffic rush in the long run, a bypass bus stand could come up for some fast buses, but only after meeting the basic transport needs of the residents. He said SAS Nagar was likely to be connected direct to the Zirakpur-Patiala road and Chandigarh from Phase XI, which would be another bus traffic route, putting the present bus stand to more use.

Colonel Sohi favoured more stress on a regular flow of buses through the hub of the town on the main routes, which needed to be increased during the peak hours. Early morning, late evening and night bus services should touch the present main bus stand so that women, children, old persons and tourists with luggage coming at odd hours did not face problems, he added.Back



Cops on wild goose chase for union leader
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Dec 15 — Panic gripped the residents of Sector 7 as personnel of the Haryana police cordoned off a house suspecting it to be the hideout of a union leader of the striking state employees here this morning.

According to eyewitnesses, over 300 cops encircled house number 418 and a couple of others in the same locality, suspecting it to be the hideout of Mr Des Raj Lamba, President of Haryana Government Employees Union, at about 8.15 a.m. The cops came in two trucks and a bus besides five Gypsies and some cars carrying senior police officials.

The cops climbed to the roofs of the neighbouring houses before Dr C.S. Rao, Superintendent of Police, stepped into the targetted house to enquire from Mr Ashok Kumar Goel, who is working as superintendent in Haryana Education Department, as to who were the tenants staying in the house.

The police informed the family members that they had the arrest warrants of Mr Lamba and had information that he was hiding in the house.

Seeing so may cops around the house, the family members of Mr Goel hid him in another room and locked it from outside, further strengthening the suspicion of the raiding party. The cops, in mufti, also raided the adjacent house and asked the occupants about the presence of any leaders of the striking employees.

The high drama ended two and a half hours later when the cops failed to find Mr Lamba inside the suspected room where Mr Goel was hiding. The local was broken by the police. A cowering Mr Goel, along with his wife, was taken to the SP’s office in the District Secretariat Complex in Sector 1, for interrogation. The couple was, however, released later on.

Hundreds of residents and passerby’s gathered in the house’s vicinity which resulted in a traffic block for quite some time. Resentment prevailed among the residents who said the harassment was unwarranted and had created fear in the minds of the people.

Commenting on the raids, the SP said they had orders to arrest 31 leaders of the striking employees and as many as 10 have already been taken into custody. “Today, we arrested Mr N. K. Sharma, another leader. We will do whatever is necessary to carry out our brief and such raids would continue till the strike is called off ,” he added. 


Poor response to CHB auction
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 —The auction of the commercial property in the MIG housing complex of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in Sector 61 here today evoked poor response.

Only three of the eight built-up shops and booths put under the hammer were auctioned earning a revenue of Rs 46.80 lakh for the Board. Of the three booths two were auctioned while out of five shops only one shop could be auctioned.

The highest amount fetched by the booth was Rs 10.70 lakh and lowest Rs 8.50 lakh. The shop was sold off for Rs 27.60 lakh. There was poor response from the bidders from the very beginning, so auction for rest of the commercial property was withdrawn. 


Govt offices turned into business centres

The intensity with which various television channels and a new tribe of ‘business houses’, are tempting people with the lure of easy money by launching programmes like “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, “Sawal Das Crore Ka” and offering easy business propositions like “easy and a permanent source of income”, has the potential to corrupt society and the system in a big way. Such propositions try to cash in on the unfulfilled dreams and ambitions of people by offering them an easy way to prosper without having to work hard.

These so-called ‘business houses’ of dubious distinction promise to pay attractive commission and other incentives to promote their interests. They have been especially targeting a large number of government officers at all levels. Some of these officers become easy preys to such tempting offers and are doing business in the name of their spouses or some other members of their families. They use their influence to build and expand their business network and charge a hefty commission. They even go to the extent of enlisting their subordinates in government offices as their “business partners” who, in turn, exercise influence at their level to further their and their bosses’ (“business partners”) interests. This reminds me of what a Western thinker has said: I wonder why people resort to illegal ways of making money when there are so many legal ways to be dishonest.

With the pecuniary interests of these government officers and their subordinates becoming common, one can find them discussing business strategies to expand their bases and income—all during office hours. Since they now belong to “one family”, they protect and promote one another’s interests and the name of the game becomes “compromise and reciprocity”. It would be foolhardy to expect such officers to discipline their subordinates for slackness of work or for any other reason when the more important target is to make as much money as possible while in service. Even if they try to enforce among their subordinates a modicum of discipline and regularity in discharging their official duties, it cannot be with the same degree of authority and sincerity with which an officer of independence and integrity can function. Official work has to be sacrificed at the altar of “business interests” in this situation. Such dubious practices have only sharpened the cutting edge of corruption, already so rampant in our society, and burnt gaping holes in an already sick political, social and administrative system.

Urgent steps need to be taken to check the growth of this menace right under the nose of the government lest government offices turn into business centres for all practical purposes, and “official tours” turn into “business tours”, organised to take care of the business prospects rather than official work, with all the official machinery at such officers’ disposal.


Nehru Arts Building

I wish to draw the attention of the Chandigarh Administration to the Nehru Performance of Arts Building which is lying incomplete and is a shambles. The Central Library building adjacent to this building is also lying incomplete and is surrounded by congress grass and other wild growth. The whole area gives the appearance of a jungle.

Representations to the Administration that this area be cleared of the wild growth and developed according to the Master Plan so that the residents of the southern sectors can make use of it have not yielded any result. I seek the attention of the Chandigarh Administration to solve this problem which has been pending for a long time.

Chandigarh Back


Gen Jacob reminisces about ’71 war
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — Had the then Pakistani President, Z A Bhutto, in a fit of anger, not torn up the UN resolution calling for a ceasefire during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the Indian Army would have found itself in a very difficult situation.

Recalling his memoirs of the 1971 operations on the eastern front on the eve of Vijay Divas, which led to the creation of Bangladesh the Punjab Governor, Lt Gen J F R Jacob (retd) said the UN had already called for a ceasefire several times, but these had been vetoed by the erstwhile Soviet Union.

“On December 15, a UN resolution for ceasefire, this time however supported by the Soviet Union, was once again put forward, but Bhutto, in a fit of anger tore it up and walked out,” Gen Jacob recalled. “Had a ceasefire then been implemented, it would have been disastrous as we had captured only Jessore. This act really saved us as we had not yet captured Dhaka, “ he added. A gunner then, Maj Gen Jacob was serving as Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and was closely involved in the planning and execution of the Bangladesh campaign.

A day before, on December 14, a critical development took place. A signal intercept revealed that a meeting of the Pakistan top brass was to take place at Government House. The Air Force was contacted and within two hours an air raid was launched. “The attack was successful and the Governor of Pakistan resigned. Lt Gen A A K Niazi, the military ruler of East Pakistan went to the US Counsel General, proposing for a ceasefire and that the Pak military brass be allowed to go back to Pakistan,” Gen Jacob recalled.

Gen Jacob said on December 13 he had spoken to Gen Niazi, trying to persuade him to surrender. Similar appeals were also made by Gen Sam Manekshaw. On December 15, Gen Manekshaw asked him to go to Dhaka to arrange for the surrender.

“Fighting was still going around Dhaka. The surrender had to be negotiated and signed within four hours,” Gen Jacob said. “There were tears in the eyes of Gen Niazi when the draft surrender document was read out to him and he learnt that it was to be an unconditional surrender. He had expected something on the lines of his proposal to the US Counsel General,” he said.

Gen Jacob added that the surrender had to be in full public view. Though Niazi was initially reluctant, he eventually agreed. “It was a stressful atmosphere and I was very worried. The whole aim was to reason with the Pak general and get the surrender document signed,” he recalled.

The Mukti Bahini was also hell-bent on attacking Niazi’s headquarters and had stopped Gen Jacob’s car in which he was travelling with the defeated Pak general. Gen Jacob said Niazi also had to be saved from the violent mob which was determined to kill him.

Attributing the Indian victory to clear intelligence inputs and a sound logistical system, Gen Jacob said that six-month build up period had ensured that all bridges, ammunition and stores were in place before the Army went in. Infrastructure was established in Tripura with roads and airfields being built and the capacity of the Railways being doubled, he said.

With Dhaka as the prime objective, the Indian strategy, he said, was to by-pass towns and instead hit communication centres enroute. “Our action entailed drawing Pak troops to the border, thereby leaving gaps in their defences,” he remarked. “Our troops fought magnificently in the most difficult terrain and by December 13 we were on the outskirts of Dhaka,” he added.

There were, of course, other problems. “The USA was tilting in favour of Pakistan, while the Chinese attitude was not clear. Though no Chinese movements were spotted in Tibet, I personally felt that they would not interfere,” he said.

On December 4, the Indian Army had officially moved into East Pakistan. The Pakistani rulers’ atrocities on the local population pushed millions of refugees into India, leading the Indian leadership with no option but to sort out the problem militarily.

What followed was the biggest surrender in history, with 93,000 Pakistani troops laying down their weapons and subsequent talks between the then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Z A Bhutto at Shimla.

Pointing out that the Army was not consulted during the talks, Gen Jacob commented :”We had a very strong hand during the Shimla talks and held all the cards. We could have got much more.” 

Vijay Divas function today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — The 29th anniversary of Vijay Divas is being celebrated at Western Command headquarters at Chandi Mandir Cantonment, near here, tomorrow. The occasion is celebrated every year on December 16 to commemorate the most spectacular and complete victory achieved by India in the 1971 war with Pakistan, resulting in the birth of Bangladesh.

To mark the historic occasion, a homage paying ceremony will be held at the Veer Smriti War Memorial. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-General Surjit Singh, and veterans of the Indo-Pak war of 1971 will lay wreaths at the memorial.

Names of all martyrs since Independence who made the supreme sacrifice on the western front have been engraved in gold on black granite making an impressive backdrop to the monument.

On the occasion, Mrs Deep Surjit Singh, President of the Western Command unit of the Army Wives Welfare Association, will also be playing host to wives and kin of those who recently achieved martyrdom and are living in and around Chandigarh.Back


Book on Bhagat Puran Singh released
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — For the Delhi-based writer Reema Anand, writing a book on the life and history of Bhagat Puran Singh, the man who embodied a great mission, was a daunting task indeed. But it was her urge to highlight the selfless spirit of Bhagat Puran which saw her through the various difficulties that came in the way of realisation of this dream. After two years of emotional and mental investment, the book, His Sacred Burden, was presented to the public at a formal function held in the Chandigarh Press Club today.

The book, which was released in Delhi on December 3 and then in Amritsar, the centre of Bhagat Puran’s activity, on December 13, finally came to the city today. It deals with the legacy of Pingalwara which Padmabhushan Puran Singh has left behind, and also with the chequered past of the man who had no qualms about begging alms for the sake of the crippled and the destitutes.

In the 20 chapters, the writer juxtaposes various experiences with her own impressions to create a photo illustration. “The attempt has been to keep off the traits of a biography. I have been closely associated with Bhagat Puran Singh whom I used to call Baba. I grew up with letters and small notes from him. So I have strong memories of his personality. My effort has been to bring out the significant events in the life of Bhagat Puran in the shape of a story which is engrossing for the reader.”

For research on the project, Reema could not bank on any written material, for there is hardly any. Some cue emerges from the documentary on the life of Bhagat Puran Singh which Reema made in 1992. That happens to be the only living record of the activities of this man who gave birth to an organisation for the helpless people. Said Reema, “I travelled a lot in order to gather material on Bhagat Puran. I went to the village in Khanna where he was born and got in touch with two of his contemporaries. The anecdotes they narrated throw light on the childhood of Puran Singh, and are quite interesting.”

The book also talks about the lesser know aspects of Puran Singh’s character, his passion for environmental preservation, his criticism of over consumption, his attempts at initiating the process of recycling paper during those days. Introducing the writer and the book itself, former Editor of The Indian Express, Mr Prem Kumar, said that the book is an apt reflection of Bhagat Puran’s life and his works. He added, " It takes a lot of sensitivity to even think of writing on such a topic.”

About how she thought of writing this book, Reema said, “It had been on my mind since long. I had been freelancing for newspapers but I felt that my creativity was declining. Then I thought of taking to prose. This project has been nurtured for long and a lot of emotion has gone into it.”

The book shows the humble man that Bhagat Puran was. “I am a servant of people,” he used to write again and again. And he was a beggar all his life. The only institution he depended on for donations were sangats. In the shape of Pingalwara, he gifted to Punjab a self-sufficient niche which has become a haven for the lesser-fortunate ones. The book by Reema Anand reinforces the significance of humanity and comes across as a homage to the great accomplishments of the human called Bhagat Puran Singh.


Bordering between hope and despair
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — Renu Chawla has forgotten how to smile. Caring for her ailing husband and mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day, her eyes swell with tears.

“Till about a couple of weeks back, he could manage to look after himself,” she says, pointing towards her husband Mr Vyas Dev Chawla. “With his spine getting affected, he is now unable to stand. I am hoping for a miracle now. I look after him myself but at times I feel he will be better off with expert nursing help and care , “ she says.

It was barely a year back, in November, when her husband, an officer with the Oriental Bank of Commerce in Dehradun, came down with slight fever. “ Except for a slight swelling in the neck, there was no other indication that he could be suffering from a cancerous growth.”

Chawlas started with homoeopathic treatment. When his condition deteriorated, he was put on the allopathic treatment. The tumour kept increasing while all tests showed that it was benign. On March 17, he was referred to the PGI.

The couple moved to the city with their two teenaged daughters. In July, this year, Ms Chawla, was told that the parotid tumor in her husband’s neck was malignant and there was no hope besides regular pain killers and palliative care.

Thus started a long journey, bordering between hope and despair, joy and sorrow. “I have learned Reiki, which provides me with hope, despite all odds. The palliative care builds up the confidence of both me and my husband,” says Ms Chawla.

Since now her husband is too ill come to the Radiology Department in the PGI after every 15 to 20 days, a team of volunteers of the UT Red Cross, trained by the Department, visit their home, to give palliative care treatment. She says, “As the disease is progressing, he is feeling more and more dejected, but when volunteers speak to him, he feels better and brighter, even if only for next two hours. I share my problems with them. I am told to be bold and accept the situation. But with his advanced stage, he needs continuous looking after. I have extremely cooperative relatives in the city who are ready to help me at any hour. But living with two young daughters, I need some help. At times, when I have to go without sleep for days all together. I do wish there was a hospital where he could get 24-hours nursing care and attention”, adds Ms Chawla.

Dr Firuza Patel from the Department of Radiology at the PGI agrees that there is need for an advanced palliative care hospice in the city. She says, “At any given time, there are at least 10 end-stage patients of cancer in the city who are too sick to be brought to the PGI. For them, in association with the UT Red Cross, we are providing home care. But time comes when the patient becomes too sick to be looked after at home”.

“Even if we want to, we cannot admit these patients as we have only eight beds. Moreover, acute care patients and those requiring palliative care cannot be clubbed together. The doctors and nurses tend to give more attention to the acute care and palliative care patients feel even more neglected and isolated, “ she adds.

At a time like this, it is the advanced palliative care hospice which gives all important respite to the patient, as well as care givers. She adds, “We give so much attention to the patient that we forget about the family. When the family finds it difficult to manage at the end-stage and the care givers become stressed , a hospice run by trained nursing staff can provide the much needed respite.”

In India, there are hospice for end-stage palliative care in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bangalore and Delhi. But for the people of this region, there is no such set-up. Sources add that the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, is quite keen to set up a palliative care centre in the city.

Dr Patel stresses advanced palliative care is not possible in a government hospital. “ Here we have to follow certain rules and regulations. But a hospice should essentially have the atmosphere of a home and care of an institution. Patients should be free to move about at will and be able to have their pet visit them. This can happen only with the help of the government, together with an NGO or a business house. Hospice admissions are free and mean equal care to equals. We can provide the technical expertise. There are a lot of people in India who want to donate and do social work. If a house is allotted for the purpose, the donations for its upkeep will automatically pour in,” she adds.


Cremation ground to be beautified
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — The Environment and City Beautification Committee, recommended proposals to the Municipal Corporation for a face-lift to the cremation grounds in Sector 25, here today.

According to sources, members of the committee have also recommended a proposal to install a new electric crematorium in the cremation grounds.

Besides, members of the committee which also included Mr Harish Bhanot, Air Marshal (retd) R.S. Bedi, Mr Des Raj Tandon, Mrs Kamala Sharma, Mrs Harjinder Kaur and Mrs Saudamini Bambah cleared the proposal for beautification of the cremation ground in all possible ways.

The existing electric crematorium, installed in 1973, has been out of order for quite some time now. The members felt that it needed to be replaced and not repaired while adding that repair would cost Rs 18 lakh while a new crematorium could be installed in Rs 30 lakh.

The members advocated for a new electric crematorium as cremation by this method caused minimal pollution to the environment, besides being less time consuming than the traditional method.

To ensure that equipment was always in working condition, an electrical junior engineer would look after the functioning of the electric crematorium. To review its functioning , a five member committee would be constituted.

The proposal also has plans for a face-lift of the premises in the cremation ground To ensure that people are not fleeced by unscrouplous elements, a pandit would also be appointed to look after the religious ceremonies.

Since the entire plan will approximately cost around Rs 30 lakh, the committee has decided to contact various government agencies, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal and other councillor besides voluntary organisations like the Rotary Club to contribute for the installation of the electric crematorium.

For those opting for traditional cremation, free havan samagri would be made available on the premises. A couple of volunteers have decided to distribute free samagri, however those wanting to pay for it can also do so.

Besides, the committee has also forwarded the proposal for yearly contracts, based on tenders, for the wood required for a traditional cremation. A board on the premises will give cost estimations of all these items

The committee, today, also recommended proposal for development of the green belts in Sector 41 and 42. The meat shops located on the green belts will subsequently be shifted.


‘Segregate residential area from commercial areas’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — After bearing for long with the nuisance created on account of chicken shops in Sector 18 which also allow liquor consumption without any qualms, the residents have finally decided to spill their anger. In a strongly-worded letter against this illegal occupation of the area, as also the flouting of civic laws, the residents have demanded immediate segregation of the residential area from the commercial rehri market.

Following residents’ resentment, the Chief Engineer is likely to concede to the demand of erection of a six-feet wall to separate residential from the commercial area. It’s further learnt that the wall will allow one entry and exit point to the market thus easing the situation a little.

In this letter addressed to the Chief Engineer, MC, Mr Puranjit Singh, by the Sector 18 Social Welfare Society, the focus is on the filthy fallout of the problem spurred by the chicken shops functioning from the rehri market located adjacent to the residential area.

The president of the society, Mr Sunil Chopra, pointed out that the four odd shops selling cooked meat and other non-vegetarian products are existing illegally in the rehri market area. He alleged that each of them has taken the area on rent from the rehri wallahs in violation of the existing norms and are now busy flouting all civic rules by serving the food items in the vehicles. The free flow of outsiders, who come to these shops in the evenings and consume liquor, had led to hooligansim in the area. Most of the visitors park their vehicles well inside the gates of some of the residences and keep drinking till late at night much to the annoyance of the residents, he added.

The chairman of the Society, Mr Rakesh Arora said. “They not only dirty the surroundings of the residences by leaving bones and dirty plates here and there, but also create nuisance.” Of late, there have been instances of lawlessness following any attempt by the residents asking them to move out from there. In one such incident few days back, Mr Arora was attacked by a group when he objected to their presence in the area and he had sustained serious injuries.


Five hospitalised following mishaps
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15— Two city residents were admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research with injuries after falling from roof tops. Three others were admitted to the institute after sustaining injuries in separate road accidents.

According to sources in the police department, Sonia sustained injuries after falling from the roof of her house in Sector 43. Her condition was reported to be stable. In the other case, Babita also fell from the roof of her house in Bapu Dham.

Ramneet Singh of Sector 22 was admitted to the hospital after the three-wheeler he was riding on overturned in Sector 39 in the afternoon today. Rohit of Modern Housing Complex was rushed to the institute after his hand was partially crushed in a printing press. Saroj of Colony number 4 was injured when she was hit by a scooter.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said further investigations into the accidents were on. He added that the statement of the witnesses was being recorded.Back


Cops’ recruitment
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15— Direct recruitment for 96 posts reserved for ex-servicemen will begin from December 20 at the District Secretariat, Police Lines, at 9 am, according to a press note issued by a spokesman of the police department.

Giving details, the Superintendent of Police, Dr C.S. Rao, said three posts had been given to Panchkula district. One post was reserved for the B category of the scheduled caste while the other two have been given to the general category.

He said all those candidates who report before 5 pm that day would be registered and called for a test.

He added that ex-servicemen who had retired after December 1, 1998, were eligible to apply.


A clarification

Ms Kamala Khanna, an employee of LIC, has clarified that the remarks in the article 'Yes, Boss!' of Interface published in Chandigarh Tribune on December 15 should not have been ascribed to her. She clarifies that she did not say anything disparaging about the institution. Also she does not know the author of the article

BJP MP in city today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — The in charge of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Ram Dass Aggarwal, MP, will be in the city tomorrow. During his stay he will meet party workers and leaders besides addressing mediapersons at the UT Guest House at 3 p.m. Back


12 residents cheated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — In a complaint before the police, a city resident has alleged that three Sector 21 residents took Rs 25.11 lakh from him and 11 others on the pretext of sending them to Italy.

The complainant, Ved Krishan Dixit of Sector 22, added that neither was the money returned, nor were they sent abroad. Taking up the complaint, the Police has registered a case of cheating under Section 420 and 120-B of the IPC, besides Section 24 of the Immigration Act.

House trespassed
On a complaint filed by Sector 11 resident Satinder Pal Singh alleging house trespass, the Chandigarh police has registered a case. Satinder Pal Singh, in his complaint, had alleged that Amandeep Singh had trespassed his house on December 13 at about 9.40 p.m.

Charas seized
The Chandigarh police has reportedly recovered 250 grams of charas from the possession of Munshi Aggarwal. According to sources, the accused was arrested from Maloya Market on December 14.

Forgery case
Acting on the complaint of a Bank Manager alleging forgery of a demand draft (DD), the Chandigarh police has registered a cheating case. The complainant, Mr T.S. Ahluwalia had alleged that Ashok Kumar of Delhi had deposited a demand draft of Rs 4.9 lakh. The draft, after verification, was found to be forged, he added.Back


Rs 45,000 stolen from vehicle
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — In yet another case of theft from vehicle, Rs 45,000 were allegedly stolen from the tool box of a scooter parked outside a bank in Sector 35 today afternoon.

According to sources in the Police department, the money had been kept in the tool box after being withdrawn by Mr Sukhpal Singh from a bank in Sector 34. The money was stolen at about 2.15 p.m.

Sources added that Mr Sukhpal Singh had reached the Sector 35 parking after visiting the showrooms in Sector 9.

A senior Police officer, when contacted, said further investigations into the allegations were on.


60 ragpickers challaned
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — The enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh today, challaned as many as 60 ragpickers in Sector 35. The drive led by Mr Ashwini Sharma, Secretary, Municipal Corporation and Mr Kashmira Singh, Inspector, Enforcement, confiscated the belongings of the ragpickers and cleared the land belonging to the MC near Hotel Kapil.Back

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