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


Six resolutions passed at World Punjabi Conference
Patiala calls it a ‘tamasha’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 25 — The five-day World Punjabi Conference concluded at the Punjab University here today with the passing of, among other resolutions, the establishment of a World Punjabi Foundation resolution despite opposition.

Mr Pritam Singh Patiala, in his concluding speech, called the conference a big tamasha and flayed the organisers and the Punjab Government on various points.

Out of the six resolutions which were passed at the conference today, only the one dealing with the establishment of a World Punjabi Foundation met with any serious opposition.

The Chandigarh resolution, besides resolutions on cultural policy, Indo-Pakistan friendship, Punjabi language and NRIs' demands for facilities in India, were declared passed, though most of the delegates felt that the resolutions had not been discussed enough and the process was hurried through.

This was obvious from the fact that the discussion on the issue of the World Punjabi Foundation was stopped by the coordinator of the session, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, saying that he did not want to rake up any past controversies by allowing any more discussion on the matter.

The resolution was introduced by Mr Santokh Singh Mander from Canada regarding the establishment of a foundation which would act like a central agency to unite the Punjabis of the world and organise their activities.

Mr Gulzar Singh Sandhu, ex-chairman of the Punjab Arts Council, requested the delegates not to pass the resolution as this could lead to a neglect of the Punjab Arts Council, which was in a dire need of funds. He also mentioned that a major part of the Council’s funds had been lost with Punwire. His speech was met with applause from the delegates present.

Mr Deepak Manmohan Singh did not allow any more discussion on the matter and assured the opposing members that the funds for the council were safe with the council and were meant only for its activities.

Earlier in the day, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, president of the Punjab Sahitya Akademi, stated that the council was facing a major financial crunch and it was in need of funds. She appealed to the delegates that the Punjab Arts Council was a dream of the builder of the city, M.S. Randhawa, and had been playing a major role in getting together the Punjabis of the world. She also stressed that there was no need for another central body like the council to function and instead, the council should be strengthened. Ms Harjinder Kaur supported Ms Tiwana.

After this, the Chandigarh Declaration was done, which stated that Punjabi culture was a world culture and there was growing need to internationalise the language and its script both in Persian and Gurmukhi. It was also demanded that there should be a Punjab search engine to unite all the websites dealing with Punjabi culture.

The resolution on cultural policy, introduced by Dr Gurbhagat Singh, stated that the Punjab Government needed to frame an appropriate cultural policy, which should prioritise translation and publication of eminent works of Punjabi literature in both Gurmukhi and Persian scripts, documenting the creations of traditional Punjabi artists. It also stated that there should be training centres for the development of Punjabi dances and the establishment of a Punjabi cultural museum.

Dr Kesar Singh Kesar, added that this resolution be passed with an amendment, saying that all these institutions could be created as supplementary but autonomous bodies to the Punjab Arts Council, which could remain as the central organisation.

The resolution dealing with Punjabi language, introduced by Dr Joginder Singh Kairon, attracted enthusiastic discussion and support from the delegates. The resolution stated that Punjabi language be made the first language in schools of Chandigarh.

The resolution dealing with Indo-Pak friendship was introduced by Mr Fakhar Zaman and declared passed after a unanimous feeling on the issue.

Ms Tahira Mazhar Ali, daughter of Sir Sikandar Hyatt Khan, the first Premier of United Punjab, spoke on the occasion and stressed the need to give proper meaning to the words freedom and democracy.

Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal, Advocate-General, Punjab, said Punjabiat had, over the years, come to mean humanity too and it was important to preserve Punjabi culture.

In the open session later in the day, Mr Tirlochan Singh, vice-chairman, National Minorities Commission, appealed to all Punjabis that in the 2001 census, every Punjabi must mention Punjabi as his mother tongue. He stated that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was one of the few secular rulers in India and the 200th anniversary of his coronation as king fell on April 13, 2001. He suggested that this day be celebrated in Lahore at a special function.

Mr Tarlochan Singh also declared that he would donate Rs 1 lakh to his school in Dodial village, Jhelum district, Pakistan.

Mr Pritam Singh Patiala, stated that the conference did not deserve the status of an international conference as its participation was limited to just a few NRIs and Pakistanis and said other than Dr Daljit Singh, none of the ‘Punjabi of The Millennium’ awardees deserved the title.

He also condemned the Pakistani delegates that although they spoke so much in favour of the language, none of them had raised their voice against the ban of use of Punjabi in Pakistan’s parliament. He also noted that by teaching English in rural primary schools, the government was making the state dumb.

Dr Pran Sabharwal, a theatre activist, stressed the need for strengthening Punjabi theatre in India and abroad through the art councils and with the help of NRIs.

Dr Harcharan Singh, chairman, Punjab Arts Council, thanked the members and the delegates


Bouquets, brickbats for conference
By Kiran Deep

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — The World Punjabi Conference, organised by the Punjab Art Council in Panjab University, ended here today with mixed response from the delegates. Some of them felt that it was a wonderful experience and they had got very good response from the public and such conferences help to bring people of different countries together and also helps to promote ideas of great intellectual among masses. The conference helped them to know about Punjabi literature and they got chance to meet great writers from different domains.

But large section of the delegates from India and abroad, who were disappointed and complained that there were lack of arrangements, and they were treated like outsiders. They also complained that they have not been given chance to convey their message to the audience.

Mr Mangal Dhillon, a well known actor, said, “I appreciate the efforts of the council, and it is doing wonderful work to bring such great people on a single platform, I got here a chance to interact with a number of great personalities”.

Mr Anjum Saleemi, the editor of the quarterly Khayal and publishers of Hum Khayal publication from Pakistan said, “We got very good response and appreciation from the people and we would like to come here again. Mr Saleemi said that the people of the India and Pakistan can do a lot through art, culture and literature to bring the people of the two countries together.

Mr Fakar Zaman, a well known Pakistani writer, said that I am greatful to the council, who has awarded me the Punjabi of the millennium award. It is a great effort of the council to bring people of the two countries together.

Such conferences help to promote ideas of the writers and to solve their disputes and added such conferences must be organised as they bring the people from different countries together on a single platform. “I came here to interact with a great writer, and the conference is the only place where you can get a chance to meet with the great writers and to listen to their view,” said Amarjyoti, a journalist from Holland.

Mr Feica, a cartoonist from a Pakistani newspaper Dawn said that we got homely treatment here, and the conference helped me to share my views with people from different regions and I learnt a lot from their experiences. He made cartoon collage showing the power of the journalism. Mr Feica further added that he had been in journalism profession for more than 20 years and had got many chances to visit different countries but this was one of the best experiences.

Mr Ninder Gill from Sweden said that “he came here with many expectations but was greatly disappointed by the arrangements. No one is here to guide you and I have not got proper meals from the last three days here and even no arrangements for the water for the delegates has been made by the organisers.

Dr Tilak Verma and Dr Harsh Mehta from Hoshiarpur complained that the council had charged Rs 1,000 from them, although maximum number of the delegates had paid Rs 500 as fee. They also complained that they neither got proper food nor a place to stay.

But when Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, the coordinator of the conference, contacted said that they had got good response from the delegates and had arranged everything for them. He further added that they had got tremendous applause from the participants for their efforts to promote Punjabi culture and thus who are working for the promotion of the Punjabi. 



Truck, goods worth lakhs stolen
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — Having been robbed of his truck and the goods being transported in it in Rajasthan, a local truck owner has been running from pillar to post to get back his stolen goods.

Mr Rajinder Gupta , the owner of a truck (HR-019A-1046), in a written statement, alleged that the driver and the cleaner of the truck were drugged by four unidentified persons on the night of December 15 near Kotputli subdivision of Jaipur in Rajasthan. The miscreants fled with the truck and the medicines being transported in it from Ahmedabad in Gujarat to Rohtak and Zirakpur.

Mr Gupta informed that the truck driver, Ashok Kumar, and the cleaner, Amar Nath, were also thrown out of the truck at separate places on the Kotputli-Narnaur road by the miscreants after the duo were drugged.

Giving details, Mr Gupta said his truck was brokered by Balaji Transport and was hired by ABC Cargo Movers on December 14 for transporting medicines. The miscreants, who were also truck drivers, befriended the two victims when they had stopped for a while at Bhilwara.

The miscreants, who were also travelling in a truck, took the duo for a ride by convincing them that the two trucks travel together on the highway. The unsuspecting victims agreed to this and together the two trucks covered a distance of about 300 km till they reached Kotputli.

The miscreants then allegedly drugged the victims while they stopped by at a roadside eatery for a cup of tea, put them back in the truck and threw them out of the truck at two separate places.

Mr Gupta informed, “While the driver of the truck informed me of the incident on the morning of December 17 upon his regaining consciousness, we received no word from the cleaner. The finger of suspicion was automatically pointed towards the latter till he reached Chandigarh on the morning of December 19. It was then that the two victims sat together and could reconstruct the sequence of events leading to the theft”.

Mr Gupta added that he went to Rajasthan in search of the stolen truck and the goods, but his efforts were in vain. A First Information Report was registered by the Kotputli police on December 20 on the basis of the complaint made by the driver, Ashok Kumar, under Section 379 of the IPC.


MoD scraps special lifetime allowance
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — When Shyam Lal, a disabled soldier with no other means of income, applied to the government for financial assistance to meet his medical expenses, he was in for a rude shock as his existing allowances were reduced.

Paralysed below the neck and bed-ridden for the past 20 years, he had been injured in April 1978, when the service vehicle in which he was travelling met with an accident near Kirkee. Enrolled in the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) in September 1968, he had then been serving with the EME workshop in Kirkee at the time of the mishap.

Unable to even feed himself as his hands have lost the power to grip, he said that he had written to the Ministry of Defence through Zila Sainik Board in September for an increase in his financial assistance to make his both ends meet. However, just two weeks later, he was forwarded a hand written letter from the Kendriya Sainik Board stating that as per facts mentioned in his financial condition report, his condition was assessed as “sound” and the special lifetime allowance sanctioned earlier was being scraped.

Speaking to TNS here today, he said that his entire body felt totally numb and devoid of any movement as he tried to get out of the vehicle. He was taken to the Military Hospital in Kirkee. After remaining there for 6 to 7 months, he was referred to the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, where he remained admitted for about one and a half years, before being boarded out of the Army with a meagre allowance of Rs 90 per month.

Then started the battle for existence. Army authorities maintained that his injuries were not attributable to military service, depriving him of his disability pension and other allowances. His parents had expired and his wife, with whom he had been married for three months when the accident took place, divorced him. Since then his brother, who had to seek pre-mature retirement from the Army for the purpose, has been looking after him.

A 11-year struggle resulted in disability pension finally being granted to him. Currently, he is getting Rs 3,600 per month as pension and disability pension. Though he says that he needs an attendant to help him perform his daily needs, there is no way he can afford to hire one. What pension he gets goes towards medical care, food and rent.

Stating that his medical expenses vary between Rs 1,500 to 2,000 per month, he added that owing to his disability, he cannot visit the Command Hospital. A taxi has to be hired and atleast two persons are required to carry him. Calling a civilian doctor at home is equally expensive, he said.


Dry spell worries farm scientists
by Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — Farm scientists are worried over a virtual dry winter spell through out north and central India.

In fact, weather has failed to keep its date with Christmas as there has been hardly any snowfall in the Shivalik ranges during the past few days.

There has been virtually no rain in the post-monsoon season in the entire region. According to the India Meteorological Department, for the period between December 1 and 20 this year, the actual average rainfall recorded in the country has been 59.6 mm against the actual average of 117.2 mm, showing a deficit of 49 per cent.

The worst hit by the current dry post monsoon spell are Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Telengana, Bihar and Jharkhand.

“If the present trend of dry spell continues until middle of January,” caution farm experts,” the country may be heading for a serious drought.”

For example, against an average of 43.9 mm of rainfall in the post monsoon season, Chandigarh has been without any rainfall since the beginning of October this year. In case of Amritsar, against average rainfall of 35.7 mm, only 2.2 mm of rain has been recorded during the past three months.

In Patiala, against the average of 32.5 mm, only 1.7 mm of rain has been recorded this time.

Many towns like Ambala, Gurgaon, Hissar and Rohtak have no rain so far this season.

The Director of Chandigarh centre of the India Meteorology Department, Mr S.C. Bhan, says the “prolonged dry spell is nothing new in the region. Last year, too, it was a prolonged dry spell and it started raining only in the second week of January. In 1997,” he says,” it was raining throughout October in Haryana.

“Though this dry winter spell does not affect the onset and progress of winter in the region as the temperature has been more or less little less than the average normal temperatures, no rain may affect agriculture in a big way. The impact will be more in rain-fed areas,” Mr Bhan said maintaining that absence of typical winter instruments like western disturbances bringing in loaded cyclonic pressures have been missing so far.

“In the absence of western disturbances and cyclonic pressures, there cannot be winter rains. But this prolonged dry spell or unusual dry winter has nothing to do with the green house effect,” he added.

No rain or delayed rain would affect first irrigation of wheat crop sowing of which was mostly completed in the last week of last month. Since in Punjab and some parts, irrigation is either through canals or tubewells, the impact may not be that much but it will be severe in states like Rajasthan where most of the agriculture is dependent upon rain.

After a bumper paddy crop, the farm experts do not rule out an average to normal wheat crop in the coming season because of abnormal meteorological trends.

Deficit of rainfall in the post monsoon season has been 73 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir, 87 per cent in Himachal Pradesh; 94 per cent in Punjab, 98 to 99 per cent in Uttar Pradesh; 82 to 96 per cent in Rajasthan; 77 to 92 per cent in Gujarat; 84 per cent in Bihar and 75 per cent in Orissa.

Dry spell may also put additional pressure on power supply with the progress of the current crop season.


Woman commits suicide
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — Manju, a 23-year-old woman of Kajheri village, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself, this afternoon. She left behind a one-and a-half-year-old son and her husband. The cause of the suicide could not be ascertained.

According to police sources, Manju hanged herself from the hook of a fan using a cycle tube, after bolting the doors from inside. At the time she committed suicide, at about 11.30 p.m., her son was also in the room. Mr Jeet Singh, her husband, is a waiter at an S A S Nagar-based-restaurant. He had reportedly left for his job in the morning.

Hearing the cries of the baby, the neighbours got suspicious and knocked at the door. When there was no response, they reportedly forced opened the door, only to find the woman hanging. They immediately called the police.

Sources in the police department pointed out that the couple belonged to Tehri Garhwal, Uttaranchal, and had moved to the area about a month ago. They were living in a rented house. Sources added that the woman was a bit moody.

When contacted, Mr S C Sagar, Deputy Superintendent of Police (South), said they were looking into the matter and would be able to determine the exact cause of death after receiving the post-mortem report. The body has been sent to the General Hospital, Sector 16, for post-mortem.


‘India should plan use of its resources’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — “Liberalisation and modernisation have reduced the world to a global village. The time has come when we cannot remain aloof of the developments taking place in other parts of the world. In order to have a radiant future, we must keep an eye on the happenings in all other countries,” said by Dr V. Seshan, Professor of Management and Coordinator, International Management Studies, Pepperdine University, California, at a seminar on global trends in strategic management, organised by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends ( ITFT) here yesterday.

He added that the USA, Europe and Japan were now turning into ageing societies whereas India, China and Latin American countries would now occupy the centrestage of their socio-economic development in the future. These countries, particularly India, would have to embark upon strategic planning to have optimal use of its natural and human resources, he emphasised.

Dr Seshan said the key area in the overall planning process of India should be tourism, where resources were mostly derived from the natural and cultural environment. Tourism, if properly developed could be a major profitable sector of the economy. He was of the view that tourism could be given a boost in India because of its immense potential on account of its myriad attractions, ranging from its ancient civilisations, colourful cultural mosaic, archaeological monument, mountains, beaches, deserts, adventure sports and hospitable nature of people. He emphasised that tourism planning should be conducted according to a systematic process of determining objectives, conducting surveys, formulating plans and policies, based on planning principles and specifying implementation techniques, and action plans.

Dr Seshan said India needed to upgrade its tourism to attract visitors. He emphasised on the need to tap the middle class market and not just the elite market by providing more facilities for them. He recommended that a destination centre be developed with additional attractions to satisfy the visitors. Cultural activities should be organised on regular basis and hotel stay should be packaged alongwith the ticket, he suggested. The means of transporation should also be improved for assuring quality to the middle class people, he added.

According to Dr Seshan, the main reason for the tardy growth of tourism in India was not only the inadequate infrastructure, but lack of commitment and willingness on the part of the country’s leadership. India’s share of world tourist traffic was just 0.4 per cent, while its share of international receipts was 0.7 per cent, he claimed. Domestic tourism, which was the base of international tourism, should also be encouraged, he said.

Dr Seshan said in a competitive world, the country did not develop and promote facilities, it would lose the market. The need to evolve the concept of best management system by taking into account the product, process and service was recommended. He suggested that public and private sectors should synergise their efforts to promote tourism in the country. They should also enter into strategic alliances with their counterparts in other countries to work out affordable packages, he stated.

Dr A.S. Marwaha, president of the India America Society and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation in Los Angeles, California, was the chief guest. Earlier, Director of ITFT, Dr Gulshan Sharma, welcomed the chief guest.


Uncertified heating gadgets galore
By Binny Sharma

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — Winter is here, and heating gadgets cannot be far behind. The safety of these appliance is important but very few consumers think of safety while making the purchases. This attitude encourages the manufacturers to ignore safety norms.

A survey in the city shows that many ignorant consumers end up paying for gadgets that do not conform to safety standards set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). There are only 10 companies in the UT which are certified by the BIS. Seven of these manufacture geysers, two room heaters and two plugs and sockets.

‘’More than 60 per cent of the electrical gadgets such as heat convectors, geysers, immersion rods and heaters in the Chandigarh market are without safety certification. The number of consumers using locally manufactured electrical goods has been rising in recent years. This has obviously resulted in a rise in business.’’ said Mr Avtar Singh who an electrical appliances shop.

Mr Rajinder Singh, who produces ISI certified products, says the quality marked products are carefully tested by a team of experts and these meet world standards in all respects. Even if the customers do not bother about the quality of the product, I do. So I have certified my products to ISI norms’’ he says.

Under to the BIS Certification Marks Scheme, manufacturers are permitted to use the ISI mark on their products after assuring their conformity to the relevant standards under a well-defined voluntary scheme of testing and inspection.

The Government of India has made BIS certification mandatory for electrical appliances such as electric stoves, heat convectors, immersion rods and electric irons. Products like switches, plugs and sockets do not follow the mandatory certification but they come under safety control measurers of the BIS.

A survey of the Industrial Area shows that safety rules in the manufacture and sale are followed by only 30 per cent of the manufacturers. The rest are conducting their business without caring for the rules.

Most of the manufacturers who do not care even to apply for the mandatory certification state numerous reasons for this neglect. Mr Harpal Singh said they were offering a better guarantee than those who had the ISI mark. “Our products carry a guarantee of five years whereas the ISI marked ones offer a guarantee of one or two years.”

Another manufacturer says they have their products tested at the Electronic Testing Development Centre (ETDC) at Mohali. He is not interested in any other certification.

According an official of the District Industries Center (DIC) , it is not mandatory for the units to get themselves registered with the DIC.

The hands of the BIS are also tied since they do not have the power to act on their own. They can only act on a complaint and that too if the company concerned is registered with them.


Residents hire private firm for security
Tribune News Service 

PANCHKULA, Dec 24 — Expressing disillusionment over the present security by police in the city, 25 residents of Sector 10 have joined hands to provide for foolproof safety by hiring services of a private security agency.

During a demonstration of the latest in security systems, they have installed a guard monitoring device and have provided for burglary alarms in houses whose occupants are away.

“Considering the deteriorating law and order situation in the city, we have decided to become self-sufficient as far as security arrangements are concerned. All of us pooled in money and hired services of a private agency to keep a tab on crime in our locality,’’ the convenor of the association, Mr KC Gambhir, informed.

Not limiting the scope of arrangements to vigilant guards, they installed a guard monitoring device which would ensure the guards on duty do not go off to sleep during work hours.

“Under the system, the device will beep hourly and in case the guard fails to turn it off, he will be marked absent. In the morning, we will have a complete picture of his performance and scrutinize his work,’’ he added.

The president of the association, Mr Ashwini Dyal, stated that the move of hiring private services had been necessitated with the Haryana Urban Development Authority refusing to regularise the installation of gates in sectors for security. “We explored this angle for the safety of the residents and are satisfied with the services being provided since December 1,’’ he contended.

Meanwhile, the president of the Residents Welfare Association of Sector 8, Mr RP Malhotra, has demanded action against growth of unauthorised colonies in view of rising instances of thefts, burglaries and robberies. He said there was a need to regulate the entry of migrant labour and allow residents welfare associations to install gates for security.


NGO forms kranti workers cooperative
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — To enhance motivation, inculcate spirit of service and amelioration of working and living condition of rag-pickers engaged in door-to-door collection of waste and garbage from households, a kranti workers cooperative under the auspices of Yuvsatta was formed today.

A ten-member working committee of Mr Isam Singh, Mr Dharamveer, Mr Karamveer, Mr Babli, Mr Joginder, Mr Raju, Mr Rajesh, Mr Suresh, Mr Ishwar and Mr Jagdish will look after the affairs of the co-operative. The safai sahayaks will get active assistance from the sector residents and the Municipal Corporation in their effort.

The NGO, with the active assistance of the MC, started door-to- door garbage collection in Sector 15. The project received a boost when Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, agreed to provide one mini-truck from his MP Local Area Development Fund.


Apni Mitti telecast from January
By Parbina Rashid

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — The background was the picturesque Sarangpur village, where villagers gets lured by the bright lights and easy money of America, after their own lad Jimmy (played by Ashok Bali) makes it big out there. The desperation to get there, drives a few families of the village to take up drastic steps. This was the story of the new Punjabi serial “Apni Mitti”, which is being shot in and around Chandigarh these days.

The story which is written by Kripal Kajak, beautifully projects the shady side of human nature and women’s tolerance and sacrifice in our male dominated society. The main character, Hardeep (played by Gurvinder), who fulfills his desire of going abroad by marrying to a village girl for a huge dowry later gets married to another Spanish girl in the USA to gain material comforts out there.

Deception in human relationship is not the only theme of the story. The serial has also captured the realistic angle of exploitation of the gullible villagers at the hands of travel agents along with the hardships one has to face in an alien nation.

The serial is being directed by Krishna Lamba and produced by Suman Lata. The music has been composed by well known poet Surjeet Pattar. The main characters have been played by Shabinder Mahal, Gurkirtan, Vijay Tendon, Ashok Bali, Meenu, Gurvinder, Jonita Doda, Nirmal Rishi , Parminder Pal Kaur and Sahib Singh. The first phase of shooting is on, and second phase is to commence soon in various locations in the USA. The serial is going to be telecast from January on Alpha Punjabi.


Extension of lal dora urged
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — The Pind Bachao Committee has urged the British Columbia Premier, Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, and the delegates attending the World Punjabi Conference to help end the “discrimination” against original inhabitants of Chandigarh and its surrounding areas by the authorities concerned.

In a strongly-worded memorandum to the delegates, the committee alleged that the Chandigarh Administration was “forcibly” acquiring land in 22 UT villages under the Land Acquisition Act,1894, just to rehabilitate the migrants and no fresh development projects had been taken up for the villagers and the city residents.

If the Punjabi villagers and employees build houses outside the “lal dora” in these 22 UT villages where the Periphery Control Act,1952, exists, these are bulldozed. Such residents are not provided basic amenities and the right to vote, while on the other hand the non-Punjabi migrants, who had encroached upon the prime government land, are given the right to vote and housing benefits on a priority basis in one city.

The memorandum says that recently the Chandigarh Administration has started the construction of 10 new colonies for 33,260 migrants in Sector 56 by spending an amount of over Rs 200 crore just to secure the non-Punjabi vote bank.

“There are a number of instances where the migrant people had repeatedly encroached upon the government land within the planned sectors and they were rehabilitated and given property rights. But they sold the houses at hefty premiums and encroached on other areas and the process still continues.”

Demanding the rehabilitation of the Punjabi oustees of the UT villages, the memorandum demanded the repeal of the Punjab New Capital Periphery Act,1952, and an end to the misuse of the Land Acquisition Act.

It also demanded the extension of “lal dora” of 379 villages covered under the Act on the pattern of Delhi. Besides, a compensation for the residents, whose houses had been demolished, was also demanded.


Ms India Worldwide is a woman with mission
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — The freshly crowned Ms India Worldwide 2001, Ritu Upadhyay, is wedded to a cause — that of preventing blindness or at least of helping the blinds regaining sight. That is perhaps why she has started her mission from home. Ritu has donated her eyes for the cause and she has also convinced her family members to donate eyes.

The beauty with brains was in town today on a personal visit and she interacted with a select gathering on what she feels after being crowned Ms India USA and then Ms Indian Worldwide.

Talking about her plans for the future, this journalist with the New York-based Times magazine, said that she had never been into modelling. ‘‘Nor do I plan to be into any such profession. I am using my titles to further a cause. I am currently working with the National Society for Prevention of Blindness.’’ Ritu, who hails from Uttaranchal, has been now living in the USA for about 30 years, but she is very proud to be an Indian.

‘‘I only wish we were a little healthier as a nation. It pains to see the suffering here. I have been working for the cause of blind and from here I am going to Una for the same purpose,’’ she added. It looked a little strange when the journalist girl was being interviewed today. Said Ritu, ‘‘It feels as great to be on the other side of the line.

This experience is very enriching. After a month I will go back to work as a mature person, and the first thing I do on returning to New York is write an article about India.’’


750 road-users educated
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Dec 25 — As many as 750 road-users were educated about traffic rules by members of the Rotract Club Blue Moon, Dera Bassi (City), to mark the ‘‘road safety day’’, here today.

Stickers were pasted on the headlights of vehicles crossing the Chandigarh-Ambala highway from the township and drivers were asked to follow the rules so that mishaps could be averted. Students were also educated about the usage of zebra crossing, according to Mr Mohan Lal, president of the club.


Seminar for budding journalists
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — ‘Communication Beyond 2000’, a media seminar-cum-workshop for budding journalists and media aspirants will be organised by The Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune, in the museum auditorium, Sector 10, on December 27 at 10 a.m

It is part of a series of seminars being held across the nation every year. The famous personalities from TV and print media attending the function include, actors Jaspal Bhatti and Savita Bhatti, Associate Editor of The Tribune Mr K.P. Sinha, UT IT Director Vivek Attrey, Uppendra Upadhayay of Zee News, Chetan Bhattacharya of Star News, Museum Director V.N Singh, D.S Cheema and Charanjeet Singh. Mr Vijay Kapoor from Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services will explain the immigration procedure to the aspirant reporters who wish to settle abroad.

The seminar is being sponsored by Emmtel. Com, Atec Computers, Hotel Monarch, Pepsi Foods, LG consumer products, Archies Wardrobe, CIPA, IT Department and the space is courtesy V.N Sinha.


Doctors celebrate Christmas
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — Festive mood prevailed in the IMA Complex, Sector 35-B, where the members of the IMA Doctors Club and their families celebrated Christmas on Monday. Greeting the members on this occasion, ‘Santa Claus’ distributed gifts to the children and the members. Various games and camel rides for children and dance competition were the major attractions of the party.

A host of competitions added excitement to the evening. Results of various competitions are as follows — colouring competition — Vanshika Chugh 1, Rishabh Nagarkar 2; candle lighting — childrens category — Mitika; adults’ category — Dr GS Kochhar; basketball — children — Abhishek; adults — Dr Nitin Jain; fastest apple-eating — Dr Poonam Kumar; table tennis — children — Aditya Singh; adults — Dr Ashok Sharma; blindfold walking — children —Tanu; adults — Mrs Usha Chawla.


Meet-the-Press cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 25 — The meet-the-Press programme by Ms Harbans Kaur Dhillon, the first woman of Asian origin who have been appointed as judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, Canada, to be hosted by the Chandigarh Press Club tomorrow, has been cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances, according to Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, President of the club.


Woman thief caught
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — A woman was caught by the crowd at the Sector 15 market when she was trying to run after snatching a purse here this afternoon. She was later handed over to the police.

According to sources in the police department, Mr Sanjay Choudhary, a Panchkula resident, had come to the market for shopping along with his wife. His wife had kept her purse in the front dicky of the scooter. Meanwhile, Shobha, a beggar, who was strolling around, picked up the purse and ran away. The incident happened at around 3.30 p.m.

The very moment she picked the purse, a Sector 15 resident tried to catch hold of her, but she reportedly managed to run. Hearing the hue and cries, the crowd ran after her and got held of her.

The alleged thief was a gypsy and was staying somewhere in Sector 24. The purse was later returned to the owner. Police sources said they were looking into the allegations and would be in position to give more information after interrogating the woman.


300 pouches of liquor seized
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 — The local police arrested three persons from different parts of the city and seized about 300 pouches of liquor from their possession, here yesterday. Those arrested are Raj Kumar and Vinod, both residents of Haryana, and Munshi Lal of Uttar Pradesh.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them.

Theft reported
Mr Chhering, a resident of Sector 11, has reported that a stereo, an air bag and Rs 2,000 were stolen from his residence, here.

A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Vehicles stolen
During the past 24 hours three vehicles, including a car, were reportedly by stolen from different parts of the city. Mr Ashok Verma, a resident of Sector 44, reported that his Esteem car (CH-01-0266(T)) was stolen from his residence. In another incident Mr Jitender Singh of Sector 41 reported that his Yamaha motorcycle (CH-01-L-1823) was stolen from his residence. Ms Raj Rani of Sector 40 reported that her Kinetic Honda (CH-01-F-2789) was stolen from her residence.

In all the three incidents the police has registered cases under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

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