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


Top MC posts go to Congress
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — The ruling BJP-SAD alliance suffered a serious jolt when the minority Congress opposition wrested the top posts of Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in a keenly fought contest today. Both the posts had been held by the alliance for the past four years.

The Congress candidate, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, defeated Ms Ranjana Shahi, the BJP candidate for the post of Mayor, by just three votes, while Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala of the Congress defeated the BJP veteran, Raghubir Lal Arora by a solitary vote to bag the post of Senior Deputy Mayor. Mr Mohinder Singh of SAD, however, managed to bag the post of Deputy Mayor for a record third time by defeating his rival, Mrs Suneeta, of the Congress by nine votes. The votes of all the 29 councillors were found valid.

While Mr Goel polled 16 votes, Ranjana polled 13 votes; Mr Kala polled 15 votes and Mr R.L Arora polled 14 votes; and Mr Mohinder Singh polled 19 votes to defeat Mrs Suneeta who polled only 10 votes.

There were many red faces in the BJP as the verdict was announced, while the Congress activists could be seen celebrating the unexpected turn of events, both inside the House as well as outside. This victory will have a bearing on the Municipal polls scheduled for next year since Congressmen maintain that “It is a united Congress versus a divided BJP’’.

Slogans in favour of the party president and other senior Congress leaders rent the air as the presiding officer, Mr Harish Bhanot, declared Mr Raj Kumar Goel elected as the new Mayor of the city at 12 noon. The local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was present in the assembly Hall, former Unions Ministers, Mr Venod Sharma and Mr Harmohan Dhawan were among the first few to congratulate the Mayor followed by his supporters. The Congress leaders were instrumental in seeking support for their candidates from the nominated councillors also, it is learnt. Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, the party president, was the only BJP leader present there.

Following the elections of the Mayor, the elections to the other two posts were conducted by Mr Goel and the process was completed peacefully by 1.15pm.

Mr Bhanot was the presiding officer for the fourth consecutive year. While Mr Prem sagar Jain and Mrs Satinder Dhawan were the polling agents of the respective parties for the Mayor’s poll, Mr K.K Adiwal and Mrs Kamlesh were the agents for the Senior Deputy mayor and Deputy mayor’s post.

The assembly hall was jam packed and the supporters and partyworkers of the Congress were present in much larger numbers at the venue.

The victorious candidates were garlanded by the supporters as soon as they were elected and served ladoos as they posed for photographs. Soon after the election process was over, the name of Mr Goel was pasted on the Mayor’s board before he assumed office.

In a house of 29 councillors, the BJP has 13 votes, SAD has two, while the Congress has only five votes. The remaining votes are of the nominated councillors. What has really stung BJP loyalists is the fact that the victory comes at a time when they have 3/4th majority in the house. All that the BJP candidate needed was 15 votes, including that of just one nominated councillor.

Meanwhile, jubilant new Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, after assuming office, told mediapersons that his priority would be ‘‘not to levy any new taxes on the city residents this year and also try to reduce the hike in water tariff in consultation with the officials and other councillors. Even the property tax passed by the House earlier may not be imposed at all.’’

He will also strive to concentrate on providing basic amenties to the people, besides augmenting sewerage systems, recarpeting of roads and beautifying the city. For doing this, we shall try to tap some other sources to generate revenue.

Mr Goel attributed his victory to the support of the nominated councillors besides party councillors. He refused to name the BJP councillors who had voted for him.`` They have done it purely of their own accord.’’

For, Mr Goel, a matriculate, hailing from Kaithal District making it to the coveted post has been a dream come true. A trader by profession, he has been actively involved in politics since 1979 and has been in the city since 1964.

He promised that efforts will also be made to curb wasteful expenditure so that the same can be spent on development works. Meanwhile, the parking fee will continue in the areas where it has been imposed earlier but no new parking fee will be imposed including Sector 17, the new Mayor added. Mr Goel went to Mata Mansa Devi temple to offer prayers soon after celebrating his victory at the Congress Bhavan, Sector 35. 


Setback to BJP-SAD alliance
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — The victory for Congress is a let down for the BJP-SAD since the local party president, Mr Dharampal Gupta, had issued a whip yesterday directing all the BJP councillors to vote for the party candidates fielded by the high command. On the other hand, it is a turnaround for the Congress which was routed in the 1996 elections. The party had only one councillor in 1996.

The cross-voting in today's polling only proves that efforts by the in charge of the Chandigarh and Haryana unit of the BJP, Mr Ram Dass Aggarwal, to unite both the warring factions had been in vain.

Sources in the BJP speculate that at least four councillors owing allegiance to the former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, had cross-voted. A final strategy to this effect was reportedly chalked out at Mr Jain’s residence early this morning, alleges a politician from the rival the BJP group. It was decided that they would obey the whip and vote in such a way that their candidate has a minimum of 13 votes. But they did not took into consideration the two Akali Dal votes.

This strategy also entailed sacrificing the post of Senior Deputy Mayor just to show that the cross-voting had also affected the prospects of their candidate. It was a humiliating defeat for Mr R.L. Arora, an old BJP worker, who lost by a solitary vote. It is being widely speculated that at least three councillors of his own group had cross-voted. In the BJP circles the choice of candidate as Mayor was also being disputed with some sections claiming that veteran Mr Prem Sagar Jain should have bee the natural choice.

Sources reveal that the election results were on account of large- scale horse trading. Allegations of money having changed hands are rife. The resentment shown by some BJP councillors against nominated councillors is also said to have gone against the party candidate.

On the other hand, It was a marvellous performance by the Congress, which had only one vote when the house was constituted in 1996. Ms Kamlesh was the sole Congress councillor, followed by Mr Raj Kumar Goel and Gurcharan Dass Kala who joined the Congress following a split in the SJP. Ms Satinder Dhawan joined the Congress just before the Lok Sabha elections last year. Ms Suneeta was the only independent candidate who later on joined the Congress. It is pertinent to mention that the party won the post of vice-chairman in the recently held UT market committee polls. While Mr Kesar Singh of SAD bagged the post of chairman, Mr Kuldeep Singh Kajehri of the Congress bagged the post of vice-chairman.

Regarding voting by the SAD councillors, the local party president, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, maintains that his councillors had voted for the party candidates and the defeat was on account of the nominated councillors. He strongly opposed the voting rights of the nominated councillors.

The local BJP president, Mr Dharmapal Gupta, while accepting defeat of the alliance claimed that cross-voting had taken place by a suicidal group of four Councillors. Following the debacle, the BJP analysis says the party candidate for Mayor got five votes of the Dharampal Gupta group, four of the Satya Pal Jain group, one of the Akalis and three nominated councillors. While Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr R.L Arora, got five votes of the Jain group, which includes his own, five of the Gupta group, one Akali and three nominated councillors. The same has been sent to the party high command also.

Meanwhile, the Akali Dal candidate got all the 13 BJP votes, says the BJP analysis, alongwith five nominated councillors and his own vote.

Ms Ranjana Shahi on her part said, ‘‘It is not an individual defeat for me. The BJP-SAD alliance had come with three fourth majority in the house, four years back. The party could not have been lost on the floor of the House.

Meanwhile, former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, said, “It is unfortunate that the party had lost in the elections and it is indeed a matter of concern for the party. This is the second major setback following the defeat of the BJP candidate, Mr K.L Sharma, in the Lok Sabha elections. He claimed that the party candidate had got all the 13 votes, in line with the party president’s direction. However, without blaming each other for the defeat, the party should collectively sit and analyse the causes of the defeat and do some introspection so as to remain united. ‘’

“Mr Jain pointed out that only four years back, the party had won the seat of local MP as well as the MC Mayor and both have now slipped out of their hands. The groups opposing the BJP seem to have become active and the need of the hour is to nip them in the bud”, he added”. 


‘Credit goes to 5 councillors’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — Jubilant Congress leaders while sharing a common dais at a Sector 26 Hotel, said the party would do in its one-year term what the BJP had not been able to do in four years. The choice of their candidates for the posts of Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor shows that the Congress is becoming popular.

Addressing a joint press conference soon after winning the elections, a former union minister and Congress leader, Mr Venod Sharma, said winning the elections seemed impossible in the beginning, but the party pulled it off. He said the Mayor did not belong to the party, but to the city.

The local MP , Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, gave the credit of the victory to the five Congress councillors of Bapu Dham Colony and Ram Darbar. He said he would try to get more funds for the MC from the State Finance Commission. He said the money sanctioned to the MC was much less than required. The Mayor will also get a part of the local MP fund for undertaking development works.

Earlier, Mr Bansal said though he was not in favour of voting rights for nominated councillors in local bodies, the number of elected members should be increased from 20 to 30.


Panel recommends changes in building bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 23 — Major changes were recommended in the building bylaws governing commercial and residential buildings in the city, a spokesperson of the Chandigarh Administration said today.

The Building Bylaws Amendment Committee was constituted by the Chandigarh Administration to effect need-based amendment in building bylaws pertaining to various categories of buildings in Chandigarh. The committee is headed by Mr Sarbjeet Singh Sandhu, Chief Architect and Secretary, Chandigarh Administration. The committee had sent its sixth set of recommendations to the Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, on some major suggestions/demands received from the public relating to the residential and commercial buildings in the city. Some of the amendments and relaxations recommended for the residential buildings are: In supersession of the existing provisions, floor area upto 2.5 per cent of the site or 6000 square feet, which ever is less, be allowed for construction for community needs such as community centre, recreational hall, society office, with in the existing floor area ratio (FAR) in all co-operative house building societies.

100 per cent of the total permissible ground coverage may be allowed for basements in all residential buildings in a uniform manner and the restriction in the existing rule for having only square and rectangular shape doors and windows in frame control houses may be deleted, said the spokesperson.

Various alternate finishing materials in addition to brick faced finish on outer wall of Cooperative House Building Societies to be permitted subject to the condition that overall colour scheme and texture is got approved in the concept plan.

The proposal for extension of gates beyond front boundary wall in marla houses not found acceptable. Also rejected was a proposal for providing an additional room in the rear courtyard in economically weaker section (EWS) tenements. The proposal for amalgamation of residential properties was also not found acceptable.

In case of commercial and institutional buildings the following changes have been made. Shops in all the sectors may be allowed on upper floors of the SCOs on uniform basis as has already been in the case of Sector 17.

* Community centre, recreational hall or society office allowed in group housing      societies.
* Bigger basements permitted in residence
* Restriction on having only square or rectangular doors in houses goes.
* Administration rejects proposal to allow extension of gates beyond boundary wall in marla houses.
* Partitions allowed on upper floors of the shops with certain restrictions.
* Shops allowed on upper floors in all sectors on the lines permitted in Sector 17. 

Partitions have been allowed in shops on upper floors subject to the provision of atleast 6’-0” wide public corridor, if shops are provided on one side of the corridor, and at least 7’-6” wide public corridor if shops are provided on its both sides. This is subject to the condition that it shall conform to the fire safety norms, building bylaws and the number of partitions and other conditions shall remain the same as that for the ground floor of the same SCO.

Full height partition may be allowed on upper floors of the SCO for functional requirement of office space provided the minimum size of the room or cabin is 8’-0”x 8’-0” and the air conditioning scheme is sanctioned in the plans. This relaxation will not be applicable to areas which are not air-conditioned.

Relaxations recommended for stairs in all categories of buildings including residential buildings are : A variation of 1/2” in the riser/tread may be compounded. Maximum number of extra two risers in a single flight of stairs may be compounded on payment of heavy compounding fee.

However, the benefit of compounding shall be restricted and in no case both the items are to be compounded together in a same staircase.



Envoy unaware of MEA policy change
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — There has been no communication from the Union Ministry of External Affairs about any change in its policy of allowing any foreign mission to extend consular facilities beyond New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.

In a chat with The Tribune at the Chandigarh Press Club here today, the High Commissioner of Canada to India, Mr Peter Sutherland, said that though he had read in a section of the Press that the British High Commission was contemplating the opening of visa offices in two more cities, including Jalandhar, beyond the existing consular sections in the four cosmopolitan cities, he was not aware of any change in the policy of the Ministry of External Affairs.

“At least we are not aware of any change in the policy of the Indian Government on the subject. It may also be possible that the British Government may have asked for permission to open additional consular offices without knowing the existing provisions,” Mr Sutherland said.


Rash driving to be checked
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — ‘‘Chase them if they run’’. With this motto in mind, the city traffic police yesterday launched a special drive to check the menace of rash driving, and to challan those who break traffic rules during night.

The intention behind the drive was to come down heavily on those violators who try to escape the clutches of law by whizzing past the cops, instead of stopping when asked. A senior police official said that the idea behind the special drive is mainly to reduce the number of accidents during the night hours.

Those who drive with high beam, or the two-wheeler drivers who do not wear helmet during the late hours are going to face the wrath of the traffic police. A senior police official said that it has been a practice among the youth to drive without safety helmets during the night hours. ‘‘They think that challans are not issued during that time but now they cannot move without safety helmets’’. Last night alone in the two-hour drive as many as 165 vehicles were challaned under various Sections of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The police official said that in recent times the number of road accidents has increased during the night hours. He said the irresponsibility on part of a vehicle driver is not only dangerous for himself but can prove fatal for the other road users.

Last night from 9 p.m. to11p.m; the traffic police used the services of 11 ASPs and DSPs as well as an equal number of SIs and ASIs. The police personnel on motor cycle were provided with wireless sets. And they were all ready to chase any ‘‘dare devil’’ who did not pay heed to the “stop signal” of the cops. The drive was supervised by Mr B S Bassi, Inspector-General of Police, Mr Parag Jain, SSP and Mr Balbir Singh, SP Traffic.

The police was on vigil at the Madhya Marg, Udyog Marg, Dakshin Marg, Purav Marg, Chandi Path, Sukhna Path, Lok Path and Himalya Path, besides road intersections of the Sectors 47, 48, 37 and 56 and at Sectors 31, 47, 38 and 40. The offenders were chased and 165 vehicles were challaned. Three T S R and one scooter were also impounded.

In a press note by the SP Traffic it has been said that such drives would continue and next time the whole of the city would be brought into the net.


IAS officer’s car towed away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 23 — The official car of a senior IAS officer posted in the city was towed away by the traffic police as it was reportedly found to be wrongly parked in the driveway of the UT Market Committee here this morning.

According to sources, a director of the committee asked the driver of the car, CH-O-G-0063, to remove the vehicle since it was blocking the entrance of the office. The driver did the bidding but again backed the car, locked it and went to purchase vegetables.

When the director came out he found the car wrongly parked, and could not take out his car. He waited for nearly 45 minutes and informed the police who towed away the vehicle. 


World Punjabi Conference

Dosanjh for Indo-Pak talks
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — The British Columbia Premier, Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, today said negotiations were the only way India and Pakistan could sort out their conflict.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme at the Chandigarh Press Club, he said Canada was prepared to extend any assistance to see peace in the region. “We wish you the best”.

A familiar face with the Chandigarh press corps, for the visiting Premier it was like “homecoming” to the club. “I have no worry about fielding difficult questions since I have not to contest any elections here”, he remarked.

He gave a brief resume of the history of migrants, both Indian and Chinese, to Canada and how they eventually grew roots despite all odds and eventually progressed in a multi-cultural and multi-racial country. Today, Indians and other communities were well entrenched in Canada’s socio-economic, administrative and political milieu because society there had grown and developed.

Answering several questions related to his own rise to become Premier and how Indian girls were being cheated by Canadian migrants after marrying them and what possible solution could be there, Mr Dosanjh said those keen to migrate to Canada must develop skills that fitted into the fast-changing economic system because society there had procured for itself a system of government which gave an individual an identity of his own, liberty and protection of the law.

Mr Dosanjh said it was for India to devise a mechanism to see that girls were not cheated. The people had to be educated. “Whatever we can do, we will,” he assured. In fact, greed and poverty made people do anything they normally would not do. “People here if educated should investigate on their own and stop the dowry system”, he added.

He attributed his success to his work experience with people and said honours bestowed were an acknowledgement of all those who migrated to Canada as simple folk and perceived themselves as slaves till India acquired freedom and quoted the Kamagatamaru incident.

Mr Dosanjh admitted that the Punjabi community in Canada had progressed backward in terms of adherence to casteism and religious beliefs against the progress made by the community back home in Punjab.

But he added that peace had finally settled and terrorism was not acceptable to anyone. Even the concern over the Khalistan issue was over.

The British Columbia Government gave top priority to health and education. The two together consumed 13 per cent to 14 per cent of its total $ 22 billion budget.

Canada today was the best country to live in. This title had been bestowed on it six times now. It was a compromise between the USA and the UK.

Mr Dosanjh turned nostalgic while referring to his visits to India and shared some private thoughts.

The Canadian High Commissioner was also present on the occasion along with the wife of Mr Dosanjh. They were presented with a club memento by the president, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, who announced honorary membership of the club for Mr Dosanjh.

Later, he made a courtesy call on the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, who felicitated him on his becoming the Prime Minister of British Columbia.


It was nice to see old friends again: Sagar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — Ramanand Sagar was here yesterday. The name of the producer of Ramayana and Sri Krishna has become synonymous with spirituality on screen. It was not surprising to see a number of his admirers at the World Punjabi Conference here touch his feet.

He talked to The Tribune today before leaving for Ambala. “I have to board a train to Delhi from Ambala. I wish I had enough time to spend with my old friends from Lahore who are to attend the conference.

Sagar says that living away from friends has been tough for him. Wounds of the Partition are still fresh in my mind. I can still feel that pain,” he said. After the Partition, Sagar sought asylum at Gulmarg in Kashmir, where he recorded the history of India’s Partition in his book titled Aur Insaan Mar Gaya. This book is one of the rare accounts of the Partition. Sagar said “Faiz Ahmad Faiz used to visit me to narrate the events. His narrations told me what was going on across the border.”

Sagar also talked about his association with a former Prime Minister of India, Mr I.K. Gujral. “I was so happy to see him. We have spent some good times together in Lahore. The conference has helped in reviving many old relationships. We thought that we had been alienated from each other, but we were wrong. My friends are all here and they have not changed a bit,” Sagar said.

He does not like to deliver speeches. He said, “I let my work speak for myself. What is the point in delivering lectures. People will admire you if you are worth it” Sagar is right because he has created masterpieces like Ramayana, Sri Krishna, Ma Durga, Brahma Vishnu Mahesh, Ganga Maiya, Bikram Aur Betaal, Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyaan and Alif Laila.

“I have been a scriptwriter,” said Sagar. Who can forget the script of Barsaat. After that, Sagar directed many great films like Ghoonghat, Arzoo, and Aankhen (the film that made Dharamendra a star. Sagar said, “In my films, villains always have a minimum role to play. That is because I want to emphasise the positive part of every character. I have often used the nature as the villain, as in Ghoonghat and Arzoo.”


Theatre buffs relish four Punjabi plays
 Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — The second day of the World Punjabi Conference saw some powerful performances from theatre artists who presented four classic plays in succession. Among productions staged today before a distinguished gathering were Kewal Dhaliwal’s direct Loona, the legendary composition by Kedar Yaar, Sudesh Sharma’s direction of Shubh karman vichhon, the story about travails of freedom fighter Maharaj Singh, Ajmer Singh Aulakh’s Begane bohd di chhan and Bhag Singh and Nindi’s Heer Ranjha.

Although the productions have been staged for sometime now, there was some kind of freshness in the performances today. Perhaps some more efforts had gone into preparations given that they had to be staged in front of the reputed people from different countries. All the four plays were well received, but more emphatic was the production Shubh karman vicchon which saw Narinder Nina play a great part as Maharaj Singh. To add realism to the story, Sudesh Sharma also presented a sequence of martial dance which was very much a part of the victory celebration in Maharaj Singh’s camp. The story was about how the English cheated upon one of Singh’s generals Sher Singh (played by Kapil Kalyan) to win a lost battle. Parvesh Sethi played another general named Chattar Singh. In the martial dance sequence featured Simarpal, Gurpreet, Balkar Singh, Harpreet and Inderpreet. Rajiv Mehta and Yogesh in the roles of English officers were also quite convincing.

Kewal Dhaliwal’s Loona also left quite a deep impression on the mind. No matter how many times this folklore is interpreted and enacted its relevance continues to last forever. The team of actors was from Amritsar. In main roles were Hardeep Gill as king Salwan, Sukhwinder as Loona, Pawel Sandhu as Puran, Sukhwinder Virk in the role of Loona’s friend Hira and Sarbjit Singh in the role of Loona’s father.

The other two plays staged today were Begane Bohd di chhan by Ajmer Singh Aulakh and Heer Ranjha by Bhag Singh and Nindi. While the performances were powerful, the only disappointment was that the productions had to be cut down to half on account of paucity of time. 


Sharing moments of the past 
By Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — Meeting Anwar Ali is an experience which stays with you, like visiting the post-partitioned world across the border, memories flashing through the 78-year-old face and words failing to keep up with them. In Chandigarh, for the World Punjabi Conference, this cartoonist and short story writer from Lahore shared some moments of his life.

Q: Tell us something about your early life.

A: I was born and brought up in Ludhiana and was educated in Government College there. My father was a clerk in the post office there. After my education, I joined as a clerk in an office in Lahore, got married and had a son.

Q: You have relived many experiences of partition in your latest work, “Guachiyaan Gallan”. Are they autobiographical?

A: Yes, most of them have been my personal experiences during those days of bloodshed. But I have, like a historian, simply told the stories. My aim is not to make the reader cry but to think.

Q: You have been the top cartoonist of Pakistan for many years. Do you still draw?

A: I worked with The Pakistan Times for more than 30 years. In the middle, the government took over the newspaper and the political cartoon column was changed to one dealing with social themes. It was one of the most popular parts of the paper. But then the cartoon world has changed a lot and not many editors realise a cartoon’s significance now.

Q: But there are cartoons in most papers.

A: Yes, but the space given to a cartoon has been greatly reduced. Earlier the paper’s editorial page had three columns of space just for cartoons but now we have single-column cartoons only. Also, the cerebral element is missing in cartoons now.

Q: How come you ended up writing?

A: It was a matter of chance. Some of our friends had got together and were trying our hand at writing. I wrote this short story, “Gud di Bheli”, which was liked a lot. Then one thing led to another and this one is now one of my most famous short stories. The first collection of my short stories is “Kaliyan Ittan Kale Rorh” and the next is called “Noorie”. It is basically a collection of a few long stories. I write in Punjabi in the Persian script. But now most of my works are being translated.


‘Conserve Punjabi culture’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 23 — Intellectuals of Punjabi literature worded their views and fears on the challenges being faced by Punjabi culture and suggested plans for the spread Punjabiat and to make Punjabi an international language using all modern trappings like computer softwares and the Internet.

This was part of a seminar on the second day of the World Punjabi Congress Conference being held at Panjab University here today.

Saying that Punjabi culture is now transnational and crosses geographical boundaries, Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal from Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, asserted that Punjabi culture is all along absorbing newer cultures and also disseminating its own. The absorption will help Punjabi grow. Today Punjabiat connects the world as Punjabis are settled all across the globe, Dr Grewal added.

Punjabiat cannot be narrated as it has shades which vary and today the culture has spread across multiple boundaries. Speaking on how the Internet can be used to spread the culture , Dr Grewal suggested that search engine listing all Punjab connected sites is the need to the hour. The Internet will save the language from dying. He also dispelled notions that a global village scenario will kill minor cultures.

Commenting on how Central Government has killed Punjabiat since Independence, Prof Harbhagat Singh, formerly of the Punjabi University, Patiala, said Haryanvi, Kangri and Dogri speaking areas were given to Haryana, Himachal and J& K, on linguistic lines despite the fact that these languages are dialects of Punjabi. The real challenge is to see that culture flourishes in this scattered Punjabiat, the professor added. In his opinion Punjabiat had a special psychology and culture.

Prof Azfal Tauseef from Lahore said due to the influx of non-Punjabi people, the culture had suffered a setback in Pakistan. The same seems to be true in India also. As such there is no Punjabiat left in Pakistani side of Punjab. It is high time the two governments did something about it, she said.

Prof Ranjit Singh Rangeela, from the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, opined that methodology to teach Punjabi varies and some kind of common methods should be devised. He suggested that efforts should be made to teach the Punjabi script to children through the Internet.

During public time to speak after the discussion , Justice Ajit Singh Bains said that Persian was influencing Punjabi in Pakistan while Sanskrit was influencing Punjabi in India. 


Of tears, warmth and lighter moments
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — Punjabis of the world got together here today at the ongoing World Punjabi Conference at Panjab University.

Many visitors had arrived reading the wide coverage the local papers had given to the Pakistani delegation and for most part of the day someone was looking for someone or the other. Chandigarhians came out in large numbers to find someone their parents and grandparents, back in Pakistan knew. "Is there any writer from Sargodha," asked an anxious visitor.

Mr Abdullah Mallik, a member of the Pakistani delegation, met his long- lost friend in Mr I. K. Gujral. With tears streaming down their faces as the two hugged each other, many of those in the audience who had left many such friends on the other side of the border wiped their eyes too.

Then there were some lighter moments when the stage conductor would get confused and forget which award was being given to whom. The Punjabi of the Millennium Awards were named after some historical personality.

Also looking for each other and exchanging notes were the local Punjabi writers with their counterparts from Pakistan. Mohan Bhandari, Chandigarh's own short story writer, spent the whole day yesterday looking for Anwar Ali, Pakistan's famous cartoonist-turned-short story writer, to tell him how inspired he had been with his first story. There were also a large number of visitors looking for Fakar Zaman, the famous Pakistani poet.

In the morning function, the centre of attraction from among the audience were the Canadian Sikhs, followers of Harbhajan Singh Yogi, who graced the stage in his flowing whites. These Canadian Sikhs stood out in the crowd, busy clicking photographs and recording the event in their video cameras.

Every awardee, when he left, was greeted with crowds surrounding them, wishing and congratulating them, asking for autographs and clicking their photographs. Warmth spread like the rays of the sun and touched every heart.

Locals were there today to see the top Punjabis of the world get these awards. Diwan Manna too got time out of his exhibition

Punjabi poets from Canada, Pakistan and Holland were also present on the occasion. Darshan Gill from Vancouver recited an emotional Na Bhule Haan Vaaris Nu, while Shaista Nuzhad from Pakistan recited Jad yaar manane painde ne.

Spreading warmth in the otherwise chilly evening was the 500-strong audience. Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, ex-Cabinet minister, presided over the function. Harbhajan Halwarvi conducted the stage.


One held for selling photos of terrorist at conference
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — An SAS Nagar resident was nabbed in the afternoon today by the Chandigarh police on the allegations of selling photographs of an alleged terrorist during the World Punjabi Conference being held at Panjab University here.

Sources in the Police Department said Gurmeet Singh was taken into custody by the cops on duty while he was selling the snaps. Gurmeet Singh, sources added, was arrested under “preventive action”, and 40 to 50 such photographs were recovered from his possession.

A senior officer of the Chandigarh Police, when contacted, said legal opinion was being sought into the matter. He added that the photographs had holy shloakas printed on them but had nothing against the government or any other state agency.

He added that further investigations into the matter were on and the SAS Nagar police had been contacted. His antecedents were being verified, the officer added.


‘Harassed’ in India, successful abroad
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — His success story may not be fit for a novel but is interesting to hear. Tired of constant “harassment” at the bank where he worked as an Assistant Manager, Mr Bhagwan Dass Ahuja left the country to become the director of an America based IT company.

His journey to success started with a bitter note. “In 1995, I exposed some officials who were accepting bribe from the borrowers here. As a result, my salary was stopped without assigning any reason”, alleges Mr Ahuja. “To break free from all the tensions I went abroad for 40 days on a visitor’s visa”.

Sitting on a comfy sofa in his Sector 23 residence, he continues: “My worries did not end upon my return. I was transferred to another branch here, then to another branch in Lohar Ghat near Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh. It continued till I left the country for America again on duly sanctioned leave”.

He adds; “The bank officials, however, accused me of abandoning the service and after issuing an advertisement in a newspaper in India retired me illegally without giving me an opportunity of hearing. The retirement benefits too were not paid to me”.

The story, he alleges, did not end here also. “They asked me for the repayment of house loan. I had posted them two cheques, but they were not accepted for reasons best known to them”.

All the harassment, he claims, “proved to be a golden spoon in my mouth. In America, the professionals acknowledged my capabilities, backed by my 25-year experience and my educational qualifications. Soon I was able to rise to the post of a director. These days, I am delivering lectures at colleges in and around the city”. 


Without any helping hand
By Binny Sharma

Chandigarh, Dec 23 — Even after the blades of a chaffer chopped off his hands in 1986, Mahendir Singh Gorya did not lose hope. Before the accident, he was a safai karamchari in the office of the Medical Officer (Health). Today, he pulls a rickshaw to support his family. He has a seven-year-old child and a wife who is crippled.

Besides him, 50 other temporary workers had also lost their jobs, but some of them were reinstated after they won a case in a labour court. “I could not fight my case as I had no money to hire a lawyer,” he said.

He decided not give up and obtained a Rs 30,000 loan to open an STD PCO, but the venture failed, leaving him deep in dept. This made him hire a rickshaw.

With hard work, he learnt how to drive a rickshaw without his hands. “Everyone used to be afraid of taking a rickshaw that was driven by a man like me, but things have changed now. Students no longer doubt my ability to drive a richshaw,” he said.

“I want to educate my son, but it seems difficult under the present circumstances,” he said. He also records his experiences at work. He holds the pen between his elbows.

He says, “There is job reservation for handicapped persons, but even after approaching the Chief Minister, the only job that I have got is of a sweeper.” In the morning, he works as a sweeper in a lawyer’s house, but is searching for a permanent job.

His wife, Sushila, says, “There are some healthy persons who beg for a living, but we want to live with dignity.” She is worried because the health of her husband is failing and she can’t help him. As tears roll down her cheeks, one thinks how long will Mahendir’s courage last.


Chandigarh Carnival inaugurated
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — The much awaited Chandigarh Carnival started with fervour and gaiety which was inaugurated by the Governor, Punjab, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, at Leisure Valley in Sector 10 here today. Marking the inauguration ceremony, Gen Jacob gave an eco-friendly message by painting a tree in oil on the canvass meant for the senior citizens.

In a colourful cultural programme organised by the North Zone Cultural Centre, various states performed folk dances. Tasty cuisines prepared by the students of Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management and Food Craft Institute , Sector 42, were one of the major attraction of the carnival.

Besides hosting a number of competitions including face painting, mask making and clay modelling, an awareness programme on information technology was also conducted by the IT Centre during the carnival.

Following were the results of today’s events — Face painting: first — Daisy and Ranjeet Dahiya from the Government College or Arts, Sector 10; second—Renu Rana and Vinay from SD College, Sector 32; Third — Harsimran Singh and Sriram from Government College, Mohali.

Mask making — In the group 1 (from 6 to 9 years) first —Harmandeep from Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27; second — Abhinav Bhatnagar from St Anne’s School, Sector 32; third — Saurabh from Shishu Niketan, Sector 22.

In the group 2 (from 9 to 12 years) First — Kamelsh Kumar from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22; second Gauri Shankar from Govt. Senior Secondary School, Sector 20; third — Ravi Shankar from Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 20.

Clay Modelling: Group A (from 6 to 9) — first—Tipu from Sishu Niketan, Sector 22; second —Sonal from Shishu Niketan, Sector 22; third — Rupa from GM Sr Sec School, Sector 33.

Group B (9 to 12): first — Shivani from Govt Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18; second — Govt. Senior Secondary School Sector 47-D; third — Neeru from Govt. Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 20-D.


Journalist association office-bearers
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Dec 23 — Mr P.P. Verma from Punjabi Tribune was unanimously elected as the president of the Panchkula Union of Journalists, here today. Mr Yoginder Gupta, a special correspondent with The Tribune, and Mr Radhey Shyam, a former editor of Dainik Tribune, were chosen as the advisors.

The meeting was held at Hotel Red Bishop where the elections were held. Interestingly, the elections witnessed a unanimity on selection of office-bearers. The union leaders have asked the working journalists of the district, who either reside in the district headquarters or those in the adjoining areas of the district, to join hands with the union.

Besides the head panel, the following have been elected the office bearers of the union: Vice-President — Mr Vipin Garg (Rashtriya Sahara); General Secretary — Mr Gautam Dheer (Indian Express); Joint Secretary — Ms Priya Yadav (Times of India); Financial Controller — Mr Sandeep Kumar (Panchkula News Line); and Secretary — Mr Vinod Sharma (Janta Ki Khabar).

Mr Rajesh Moudgil (Hindustan Times), Mr Kedar Nath Sharma (Punjab Kesari), Mr Kapil Chaddha (Dainik Bhaskar) and Mr Rajesh Kumar have been elected as the executive members of the union.

Mr P.P. Verma, President of the newly formed union, said that the union will be associated with the apex bodies at the state and national levels to chalkout a broad framework for functioning. 


Zonal convention of NCP on Jan 7
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 23 — The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will release a 21-point programme at its zonal convention scheduled to be held at Patiala on January 7. The convention would be addressed among others by Mr P.A. Sangma, general secretary, NCP.

Mr Swaran Singh, president of the Punjab unit of the NCP, who was talking to mediapersons here today, said that in view of the coming Punjab Assembly elections Mr Sangma, would be visiting Chandigarh and Patiala on January 6 and 7 respectively.

He said earlier Mr Sangma had planned to visit Hoshiarpur on January 6. As he was now coming to Chandigarh on that day he would be visiting Hoshiarpur and Amritsar later.

A party meeting was held by Mr Swaran Singh here today to discuss the visit of Mr Sangma.

Mr Swaran Singh said that at the Patiala convention the NCP would like to know from the gathering whether the promises made by the state ruling party at the time of elections had been fulfilled or not. Issues like generating more employment opportunities, improving the lot of farmers, the future of the present day system of education would also be taken up.

In Punjab, he said, even though the government was providing free power to farmers, they were not happy as power shutdowns were too long and frequent. He claimed that the farmers were ready to pay bills provided they got power for adequate number of hours.

He claimed that the NCP at no stage would join back the Congress I. In fact, he said, workers of the Congress, who were not happy with their party were joining the NCP. The aim of the NCP was to raise the number of workers instead of leaders. He claimed that the party's position had become quite strong in the Malwa belt.

Ms Manjit Kaur Sandhu, president, Punjab Pradesh Mahila Nationalist Congress Party, said Mr Sangma would be addressing party workers from various districts of the state. 


Ms India Worldwide 2001 to visit city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — Ritu Upadhyay, the freshly crowned Ms India Worldwide 2001, will be in town on December 25 on a personal visit. Ritu, who is currently working as a journalist for the Time magazine, New York, was declared Ms India Worldwide on November 26 at a glittering function held at Tampa Convention Centre in Florida. She was on a visit to India earlier during December. Now a days she is busy travelling and meeting eminent Indians Both in India and abroad. Her sister Ruchi Sharma, who is based in the city, today said that Ritu would be meeting the press on her visit to the city.


Website launched 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — A website on the city beautiful was launched here today at a cybercafe in Sector 9.

The website,, which has been developed by Mr Rajiv Khosla, Manager, (Operations) of City Beautiful Online, provides news from more than 15 sources, free POP mail service, instant messenger service, exclusive city chatroom, information on horoscopes and astrology, e-greetings, discussion forums, online shopping and several other facilities.

Mr L.H. Naqvi, Deputy Editor, The Tribune, launched the website.


Harassment charge against cop
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — A city resident was allegedly harassed by a cop in plain clothes late in the evening yesterday. His gold chain was allegedly snatched before he was taken to a police station. The chain was later taken back by the “victim”.

According to Mr Harpal Anand of Sector 52, he was talking to a friend near The Tribune office in Sector 29 when a cop, probably an Assistant Sub Inspector, caught hold of him from his neck and took him to the police station on a rickshaw after accusing him of carrying drugs.

Mr Anand added that at the police station, the cop was rebuked by a senior officer for implicating an innocent resident. He added that an entry was made in the daily diary report.

The officials at the police station, when contacted, expressed ignorance about the incident. They said that the matter would be looked into and action would be taken in accordance with the law.


Four held for assault
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — The police arrested four persons for allegedly assaulting and threatening a shopkeeper in the Sector 26, grain market, here yesterday. The shopkeeper, Mr Ravinder Kumar, alleged that Ram Krishan, Jai Parkash, Sanjay Kumar, Shyam Sunder and the others assaulted him at about noon yesterday. All the accused are residents of the grain market.

A case under Sections 147, 149, 323, 452 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

Six arrested
The police arrested six persons in the past 24 hours from different parts of the city for drinking at public places. Three persons — Raju, Tarsem and Sahib Singh, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony, were arrested from the colony. Baljinder Singh, Yash Pal and Jagua were arrested from near the Inter-State Bus Terminus. Cases under Excise Act have been registered.

Bootleggers held
The police arrested two persons, including a woman, for allegedly carrying liquor, here yesterday. Rajinder and Jimi Devi were arrested and six bottles of wine and 19 pouches of whisky were seizes from them.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them.

Vehicles stolen
In the past 24 hours, two cases of theft of Maruit car have been reported here. The police has also arrested Raju Khan of Colony No. 5 for stealing a moped.

Mr Yadwinder Singh, a resident of Sector 46, reported that his car (CH-01-L-1049) was stolen from near a Sector 34 parking lot. Mr J.L. Bhasin of Sector 32 reported that his car (CH-03-6108) was stolen from the Sector 17 parking lot.

Cases have been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

Groups clash in discotheque
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — A fight broke out between two groups at a discotheque of a Mani Majra hotel late in the evening. According to sources, the fight broke out between the groups during a party which was going in the disco.

The reason behind the fight could not be ascertained. However, a hotel employee said that the fight started on a minor issue, which he was not ready divulge. According to sources, no one received any injuries.

The hotel staff immediately called the police party which reached there immediately. A senior police official confirmed the incident. Till the filling of the report no arrest were made and the police was investigating the matter.


Colony kids used for smuggling liquor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — They are into liquor smuggling. At an age when they should be into academics, young innocents are carrying “cool” yellow liquor in school bags.

If you find it hard to believe, read this: Till November 30, over 106 bottles were reportedly recovered from children. The increase has been astronomical. In 1999, just six and a half bottles were recovered.

The number of kids taken into custody was also more than the previous year. In 1999, just one child was arrested. This year, three were apprehended. The arrested children included a girl.

"It's disturbing," says Superintendent of Chandigarh Police Baldev Singh. "Children are being used for smuggling liquor just because additional hands mean additional income".


Children arrested   




1999  --  6.5 bottles
2000  106.5 bottles*
Detail of cases till November 30, 2000. 

This is not the only reason. Another motive behind involving kids in smuggling racket is that they arouse little suspicion. Chances of their getting away with the liquor are more, believe police sources.

The delinquents, another officer in the Police Department discloses, are active mostly in the city colonies. "For their parents, studies have little importance," he asserts.

Liquor smuggling is "very profitable". SP Baldev Singh reveals, "After every case of whisky purchased by the smugglers, something like Rs 200 is saved. The bottles are then sold loose to the customers".

He adds: "For the tipplers, buying liquor from the smugglers is very convenient as they get the bottles on a nominal discount, that also at their doorsteps."


Hawker duped 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 23 — A Sector 29 newspaper hawker was reportedly duped of Rs 280 by a scooterist posing as a subscriber in the morning today.

According to Kaku, the scooterist offered him Rs 500 for subscribing three newspapers, took Rs 280 from him as balance, but sped of on the scooter before handing over the currency note to him.

Talking to The Tribune, Kaku said the scooterist was standing in front of a house in Sector 20 before he duped him. He added that a complaint regarding the incident was handed over to the authorities in the Sector 19 Police Station.

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