Wednesday, December 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Private luxury buses to Punjab may operate from ISBT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — A scheme to allow private luxury buses to operate from the Inter-State Bus Stand (ISBT) to select destinations in Punjab is likely to be finalised by the Chandigarh Administration on a reciprocal basis.

Transport authorities in Punjab have been pressing for such a scheme for about eight months, which will allow private air-conditioned buses having route permits from Punjab to enter Chandigarh legally. At the moment, all such buses terminate in SAS Nagar, from where passengers are ferried in jeeps or other vehicles to destinations in Chandigarh or Panchkula. This not only results in evasion of passenger tax but adds to needless problems for travellers, who have to shift with bag and baggage from one vehicle to another.

Now the Chandigarh Administration is all set to finalise a scheme to allow the private buses to operate from either the ISBT or a fixed destination, with all the legal trappings. This will include an insurance cover for passengers, proper seat numbers and fixed arrival and departure timings for destinations. The fare structure will be controlled partially, according to sources. A final approval is pending at the highest level.

A committee comprising the Joint Secretary, Home, and the Secretary, State Transport Authority, has invited objections to the scheme. These have been studied and incorporated in the main scheme. Inviting of objections is an important part in any decision of the government.

The issue of private luxury buses in Chandigarh had resulted in a major row between the Administration and the bus operators. The Administration ordered the impounding of private buses operating from the city. This triggered off a reaction from Punjab authorities, which impounded Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses. Punjab has issued route permits for operations till Chandigarh. This was contested by the Administration, saying that Punjab had no right to issue permits for operation in Chandigarh.

Explaining the need for such a scheme, officials said the demand for such luxury buses was growing everyday as people were getting used to the comforts of Shatabdi trains and luxury cars. It made no sense for the government to invest heavily in such routes and so private bus operators could be allowed in a controlled manner.

Meanwhile, on the issue of local buses, the scheme of the Chandigarh Administration to run electric trolley buses, is to be studied by a technical team from the Union Ministry of Surface Transport. The team is expected to visit Chandigarh shortly. This team will report if the proposal of trolley buses is sound and viable or not for a city like Chandigarh. 


Bureaucratic control, inquiry panels feature at PU Senate meeting
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — Bureaucratic control over Panjab University finances was decried by the Senate at a meeting of the newly-constituted House here today. Collapsing economy of the campus was also highlighted.

Prof P.P. Arya, a former president of the Panjab University Teachers Association, said the government had sanctioned a Rs 43-crore grant. The Punjab Government would give Rs 16.6 crore and the UT Administration Rs 27 crore. There was a deficit of more than Rs 30 crore, which was likely to increase in the next financial year, he added.

Prof Charanjit Chawla said the government structure was not supportive. Dr A.C. Vaid, Principal of SD College, said the autonomous structure of the university should be maintained. Ms Madhvi, DPI (Colleges), said the bureaucracy would not be exclusive and would try to be a part of the team.

Mr Lajpat Rai and Mr Bhatia, MPs, said they should be given data of the aspects related to the case, which they would take up at higher levels. On another issue, Dr Deepak Manmohan said they could pray to the government not to interfere too much. Mr Pawan Bansal, the local MP, said the university had the right but the bureaucracy took the privilege. Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath also mentioned the stranglehold of bureaucracy.

The university budget once again came in for strong criticism. Mr H.C. Malhotra said the university fund for higher education had been blatantly misused. Misappropriation cases, salaries and buildings were brought forward. Dr R.D. Anand gave facts and figures on several questionable projects.

Dr S.P. Gautam said the criteria used by the government was not consistent in cases of retirement. Professor Chawla, in a related case, said two principals were not allowed to continue after attaining the age of 60 years while one had been granted permission.

The Senate also proposed inquiry committees and other high-level bodies on certain issues, one of which was a committee to study current aspects of higher education and future plans in the changed academic and job scenario. Another committee was proposed on the status of employment, particularly with reference to pay structures in colleges.

Another committee was proposed to study the case of financial irregularities being pointed out in several quarters, which had occurred over the past few years. The topic generated several facts and figures. The Vice-Chancellor decided to form a committee to check the exact nature of irregularities where the name of Prof M.M. Puri, a former Vice-Chancellor of the university, figured repeatedly. Yet another committee figured in case of the examination branch. The report of an inquiry committee on the case of Dr B.B. Goyal of the Department of Public Administration was postponed.

Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, in reply to questions, said the university was keen to study aspects of placement of students. No one talked about quality of teaching, he said. He added that the High Court observation would not make it possible to have Syndicate elections at the moment. It would lead to certain problems in the case of regulations, UMC cases and syllabi, he observed. The House observed that the Vice-Chancellor should be conferred with the powers to manage the affairs, with the powers of the Syndicate subject to approval of the Senate. Mr Satya Pal Jain proposed and Professor Chawla seconded the move.

The day started with discussion on zero hour and question hour. The issue consumed over an hour of the proceedings. Mr S.P. Dang said zero hour was different from question hour. Regarding the pending court cases, Mr Dang mentioned an out-of-court settlement. A prayer should be made to the court for an early settlement, he added. Justice Seghal said the court was always keen for an early decision. Sometimes there were certain related questions which needed to be answered before any decision was taken.

Mr Satish Kumar came down heavily upon the universities for not looking into the problems of teachers. They were sitting on a dharna and the problem was not addressed despite a long period, he said. He supported zero hour. Mr Lajpat Rai, MP, said zero hour was an important item. Mr P.S. Sangha said this was probably for the first time that the Vice-Chancellor was being conferred so many powers. Mr S.S. Hundal highlighted a case where a demonstrator, who had been disallowed by the government twice, was promoted to teacher.


Cops to hold meeting with hoteliers
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — For preventing dancing revelers from stepping in the shoes of others after getting drunk during the New Year celebrations, the Chandigarh Police is issuing a list of “do’s and don’ts” to the restaurant, club and hotel owners.

The instructions on serving of liquor and parking of vehicles, besides other “vital issues”, will be handed over to the owners during a “special meeting” being convened by the police. It is expected to take place within a day or so.

The meeting assumes significance as hooligans, in past, have been harassing couples, and indulging in eve-teasing, after getting drunk during parties where liquor is served illegally. Cases of drunken brawls in parking lots in front of the restaurants and hotels have also been reported to the police.

The cops this year will be asking the owners not to serve liquor during the bashes without valid licenses. Temporary licenses, officials claim, will do. “The violators”, says a senior police officer, “will be booked under the provisions of the Excise Act”.

The owners are also being asked to install electricity generator. “Tipplers, taking advantage of the darkness due to electricity failure, have reportedly been indulging in bottom pinching and other such offences,” reveals another senior police officer. “To prevent them from outraging the modesty of women, we are asking the proprietors to make alternate arrangements”.

The police is further directing the hoteliers to ensure proper parking of vehicles. They are being asked to keep a strict vigil and to inform the police about any “unclaimed vehicle” parked in front of their joints.

For averting “fire tragedy from striking”, the men-in-khaki are asking the owners to ensure “the presence of proper fire-fighting equipment”. They are being told to report the matter to the fire stations “without delay”.

The intention behind the directions, clarifies the Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh Police. Mr Parag Jain, is not to throw a spanner in the celebrations but to ensure against any untoward incident.


Police for supervised parking
Tribune News Service 

PANCHKULA, Dec 26 — A theft of music systems from cars parked in front of hotels in Sector 5 where two marriages were in progress, was reported last week. While cases were registered by the police, it is learnt that no personnel were on duty there at that time.

To check such instances at public gatherings and social get-togethers, the local police has decided to take up the issue of having ``supervised parkings’’ with the district administration in the city.

“We will persuade them to employ persons to issue passes at all such parking places constructed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Though special instructions are given to the police personnel to man such parkings, they cannot be expected to post all their men at one place,’’ the Superintendent of Police, Dr C.S. Rao, said.

The police department claims that though the number of personnel has been increased at such places, it certainly does not suffice to keep tab on all vehicles in the spreadout parkings. Moreover, functions are in progress at a number of places simultaneously, especially during the marriage season, which makes the job all the more difficult.

“Besides, it is easier for thieves to target unmanned parkings since no tokens are issued. For this purpose, we plan to issue passes to all vehicles parked during such functions to put a check on such incidents,” Dr Rao added.

However, HUDA officials feel that there is no need for the police to push the panic button and contend that employing persons to guard parked vehicles would be an additional burden on the department. Any deployment by HUDA would mean additional hands at a number of places and no source income to support them, which is uneconomical,’’ Mr Shrikant Walgad, Administrator, HUDA, said.

However, sources in the Administration said that an effort to involve all three departments to bear the costs of manning HUDA-constructed parkings would be made during the rush season. They are confident that the matter would be worked out in due course of time.


Nominated councillors hold the key in MC
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 27 — The nominated councillors are likely to play a key role in the functioning of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, in the coming year, keeping in view the minority of the ruling Congress councillors. Infact, most of them will feature prominently in the sub-committees of the MC and will also have considerable hold in the Finance and Contract Committee ( F and CC), it is learnt.

The MC has a total of nine sub-committees including the F and CC. Each committee has a total of seven members, which are nominated by the Mayor. But the Mayor will have to assert himself to get the authority of the constituting the committees. These members in turn decide on the chairman of the committee either unanimously or by voting. It is pertinent to mention here that according to a resolution passed in the MC house, these committees are to be constituted within one month of the Mayor taking charge. The new Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, who assumed charge on December 23, was soon after declared elected in the House and hence the committees are to be constituted by January 23.

Of the total 29 councillors in the House, 13 are from the BJP, five from the Congress, including the Mayor, two from Akali Dal and nine nominated councillors. Of the nine committees, eight are constituted every year. These include six statutory committees; Electricity Committee, Road Committee, Water Supply and Sewerage Disposal Committee, Arts, Culture and Sports Committee, House Tax Committee and Slum Development Committee. The two non-statutory committees are the Apni Mandi Committee and legal Affairs committee.

Sources reveal that the nominated councillors will also be very effective in decision making in the F and CC, the most important committee of the House. The committee, which has been constituted for a period of five years, has the Mayor as the chairman, two BJP councillors, three nominated councillors, besides the Commissioner. Since the Mayor is from the Congress party this year, he alongwith the nominated will be in the majority even if the BJP councillors have the support of the Commissioner on various issues. Hence, the nominated may have a final say in getting various proposals cleared. The committee has the power to pass proposals upto Rs 20 lakh and all their recommendations are subsequently taken up in the House later.

Sources further disclose that even though BJP has suffered a serious setback in the elections for the post of Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor, many BJP councillors are aspiring to be the chairman of these committees. Since the Congress has only four Congress councillors, the BJP councillors and the nominated will be heading many of these committees. The nominated once again will have lot of say in the committees they preside over. The BJP councillors, particularly those owing allegiance to the Jain group, will head some of these committees, not because of any alliance but because of the minority of the party.

Sources further maintain that even getting certain controversial proposals through in the MC house is going to be difficult for the Congress in view of their minority of the Congress. The BJP has a two third majority in the 29 member House and can stall the proceedings on certain issues. This is likely to hamper the functioning of the ruling Congress, if they do not have the support of all the nominated councillors.

Few BJP councillors maintain that they will press upon the House not to dissolve the committees of last year and let them continue in view of the minority of the Congress. The Mayor in this case will not be authorised to constitute these committees. However, Mr O.P Goyal, a BJP councillor, is of the view that the party should rise above party politics and as per the tradition ask the new Mayor to constitute the committees afresh. The Mayor, on his part should give due representation to the BJP, Congress and Akali Dal while constituting these committees. This in turn will facilitate the smooth working of the House, he adds.

Sources add that even if the committees are constituted afresh, the BJP councillors will get to head atleast 4 to 5, while two each can be headed by the Congress and the nominated councillors. Going by figures, if Congress and nominated councillors join hands they will be 14 including one Akali councillor, while 13 BJP councillors alongwith the Akali Dal councillor are also 14 in number.

It may be recalled that the nominated councillors have played a significant role in the recent elections to the top posts of the Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor.


Cross-voting to be investigated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — The issue of alleged cross-voting, which is said to be responsible for the defeat of the party candidate, Ms Ranjana Shahi, for the post of Mayor will be thoroughly investigated. This was disclosed by Mr Ram Dass Aggarwal, in charge of the Haryana and Chandigarh BJP unit in a telephonic conversation with Chandigarh Tribune shortly before leaving for Taiwan.

He said that as of now the party candidate has polled 13 votes, which tallies with the number of BJP councillors. But if cross-voting is proved, disciplinary action will be taken.

Both the factions of the local BJP unit have put forth their view points on the issue. The state party president, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, was reportedly called to Delhi today to apprise the senior leaders at length of what all had happened here. A committee, as decided in the executive committee meeting, is yet to be constituted to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, few party workers led by Mr Hari Shanker, president of the BJP labour cell unit, have also reached Delhi to express their resentment over the role played by traitors, owing allegiance to the Jain group in effecting the party candidate’s defeat on the floor of the house, despite two third majority.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, when contacted, dismissed most of the allegations as baseless. He said that the BJP is a disciplined party and he will explain his view point to the party leaders and not through the press. Infact, he has appealed to the other party leaders also to do the same. 


Goel, Kala meet Governor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — The new Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, and the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, today gave a courtesy call on Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), Administrator, UT; Ms Vineeta Rai, Adviser to the UT Administrator, and Mr Bhim Sen Bassi, IGP.

During their meetings, they sought full co-operation from the Administration. It is learnt the officials assured them full co-operation. Even though the Mayor assumed charge on December 23 following the declaration of election results, it was his first effective working day today.

Sources reveal that Mr Goel by not taking along the other three Congress councillors has violated the earlier practice. While Mrs Satinder Dhawan was asked to accompany, Mrs Kamlesh, who was in the MC, was not even asked to do so. But Mrs Dhawan also did not go. This according to some is the beginning of differences within the party. The Mayor was not available for comments.

It is further learnt that during a Congress get-together organised to celebrate their victory, the Mayor reportedly had some arguments with the husband of one of the Congress councillor, who eventually said that he might be forced to withdraw his wife from the party.

Earlier, members and representatives of various social and voluntary organisations, besides residents welfare association congratulated the new Mayor and apprised him of their problems on various fronts.

Mr Goel said no development work would be stalled for want of funds.


Employee leaders held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 26 — Mr Desraj Lamba, president of the Haryana General Category and Backward Classes Employees Welfare Organisation, and Mr Sube Singh Yadav, also a prominent leader of the organisation, were today arrested by the Panchkula police. Mr Lamba and Mr Yadav were reportedly picked up by the police from a house at Sector 34, here, where they were holding a meeting. They have been booked under Sections 506, 323 and 353 of the CrPC and relevant section of the ESMA Act. The two leaders would be produced before the magistrate tomorrow, official sources said.

The employees organisation, it may be stated, is spearheading the pen-down strike by the Haryana Government employees, which has crippled the functioning of various state government departments here.

The strike, demanding reversion of Scheduled Caste employees promoted after March 1, 1996, started on October 17, which was subsequently withdrawn on November 9, as the state government managed to convince the employees to wait for the outcome of a contempt petition filed in the Supreme Court by the SC employees challenging a state government order reverting the SC employees promoted after March 1, 1996.

The employees resumed the strike from November 16 accusing the state government of being reluctant to carry out its earlier order despite dismissal of the contempt petition by the Supreme Court.

Mr Lamba and Mr Yadav, even after they went underground, had periodically surfaced amidst the striking employees at their meeting ground in Sector 17 here, but the police had failed to arrest them. 


Ailing film industry needs a miracle
By Parbina Rashid

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — “The ailing film industry needs a few miracles to get it’s feet back on the ground and reviving subsidy is certainly, not one of them”, feels the Mumbai-based director, who is in town for directing a few Punjabi serials like Do Akal Garh, Kissa Puran Bhagat, Jawar Bhata and Naye Musibat Ayee.

Even when the government used to give Rs 12 lakh to film producers as subsidy, no one came up with any good production for the past 20 years, said Mr Sharma, adding that even the much hyped Shaheed Udham Sigh was not a ‘pure Punjabi’ production. It was made in Hindi and then dubbed in Punjabi, he said.

Today, in order to produce a successful Punjabi movie, one has to make it at par with Hindi movies, said Mr Sharma. The audience of Punjab is used to the glamour associated with Bollywood productions and refused to be charmed by shabby village life or bearded heroes, which are a hallmark of Punjabi movies, he added.

Ravi Sharma left his native place for Bombay way back in 1977 because Punjab had no place for a newcomer in the industry. “The film industry used to be controlled by a handful of people, and was too closeknitted for any newcomer to enter,” said the director. “I left Punjab out of vengeance, “he said.

After making his mark in Bollywood, by associating himself with productions like Mirch Masala, Holi and Kasturba Gandhi (where he worked as assistant to Ketan Mehta) and various Hindi and Marathi serials, including the much controversial Marathi serial on sugar barons, Tanda Chalala, he is back to promoting Punjabi TV. “This is an emotional comeback for me,” said the artist.

Ravi Sharma happens to be the first director to have directed two Sanskrit serials Mrishhakatikam and Swapna Vasav Dattam, for which he awarded with Best Director’s Award. His first Sanskrit serial, Mrishhakatikam, also bagged the award for the first Sanskrit Serial and award for the Best Indian language Serial. Mr Sharma has also been awarded with Best Director’s Award in Maharashtra for his play Katha Nandan Ki for the year 1984.

Giving his opinion about the Punjabi TV scenario, Mr Sharma says the small screen has started doing better only since the past one-and-a-half years, but in comparison to other states Punjabi TV is still in it’s infancy. It has to grow conceptually, technically and attitudinally, he added.

The need of the hour is to unite all creative people on a common platform and make a refreshing attempt to revive the sick film industry and also improve the TV media. Since budget was the main hindrance, private producers should come to the rescue of our film industry, the director concluded with a note of optimism.


25 pc of wasteland in northern region
By Ruchika Mohindra Khanna
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — The increasing pressure of population and an excessive demand of land for agriculture as well as for non-agricultural pursuits has resulted in the four states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir contributing to almost a quarter of the wasteland in the country.

According to the data available through remote sensing, of the 638518.31 sq km of wasteland in the country, the four above-mentioned states account for 1,03,065.62 sq km (16.42 per cent of wasteland and 21.64 per cent of degraded land to the total geographical area) of wasteland.

Although more than 1.20 lakh sq km of Jammu and Kashmir’s area was not mapped and hence not considered for calculating the percentage, it still has the largest area of wasteland in the country (with 64.55 per cent to the total geographical area). The next to follow suit is the hill state of Himachal Pradesh with 56.87 per cent degraded land to the total geographical area. It is learnt that both these states have more than 50 per cent area under wastelands.

Though the percentage of the wasteland to the total geographical area in Haryana and Punjab is substantially lower (8.45 per cent and 4.42 per cent respectively) than in most other states, scientists feel that the degraded lands in the two most well-developed states need to be substantially reduced and fruitfully utilised.

It may be noted that a primary responsibility cast upon the Department of Land Resources in the Ministry of Rural Development in the 80s was the evolution of a data base on degraded land in the country to ensure that such land may be put to productive and sustainable use. The data later gathered by the Ministry of Rural Development in collaboration with the National Remote Sensing Agency in the Union Department of Space found that no less than 37.5 million hectares of wasteland in the country are currently expected to be available for treatment.

It was as part of this project entitled “Identification of Wastelands in India” that all the degraded land was mapped through remote sensing to provide for wide-ranging use in the identification of priority areas for appropriate land use planning along with suitable treatment measures for their restoration and development. This exercise was carried out using data from Landsat and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellites.

The various government agencies working on the project categorised the 6,38,518.31 sq km of wasteland of the 31,66,414 sq km of the total geographical area of the country considered for the project into 13 types: Ravenous land; land with/without scrub; waterlogged or marshy land; saline or alkaline area; shifting cultivation area; degraded notified forest land; degraded land under plantation crop; degraded pastures; sands-Inland/Coastal; Mining/Industrial wastelands; barren rocky area; steep sloping area; and, snow/glacial area.

The remote sensing data shows that maximum wastelands in Jammu and Kashmir is barren rocky area (32821.50 sq km) followed by the area under snow or the glacial area (21904.97 sq km). In Himachal Pradesh, too, the main wastelands are because of around 12559.42 sq km of the area being covered under snow followed by the area under degraded notified forests (4589.98 sq. km.) and the area rendered as wastelands because of it being degraded pastures (4278.17 sq km).

In Punjab, most of the wasteland is sandy (619.97 sq km) and the next category is land under degraded notified forests. The state also had a substantial area of waterlogged/marshy wasteland (352.01 sq km) and the saline/alkaline area (339.44 sq km).

Though the Haryana has similar topography, the land with or without scrub forms the major share of wasteland (988.42 sq km) followed by the degraded notified forest land (732.52 sq km) and degraded pastures (721.65 sq km).


Establish new front: Swamy
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — Pleading for a new beginning in Indian politics, Janata Party president, Dr Subramaniam Swamy, suggested the establishment of a new front, which he said should not be led by the Congress, BJP or the Communists.

The agenda of the suggested front, he said, would be programme-based and some negotiations in this regard were going on, but it was still premature to disclose details.

He was in the city after addressing a public gathering at Fategarh Sahib, in support of Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He said that the Janata Party would extend full support to Tohra during the next elections in the state, scheduled for February 2002. He added that the only other significant political leader in the state was Parkash Singh Badal, but since he has a tie-up with the BJP, his party cannot support him.

Coming down heavily on the BJP led government, Dr Swamy termed the ceasefire in Kashmir announced by the government as a sign of weakness and its further extension as a wrong step. He demanded immediate withdrawal of the ceasefire.

He said that the Indian state had progressively weakened under the present regime. Terming the Kargil episode as “surrender”, he said that the Government had failed to bomb Skardu, Muzzafarnagar and militant camps across the Line of Control.

He said that Indian troops should have crossed the LoC, but the government crumpled under US pressure. He added that eight mountain peaks had still not been recovered from the hands of Pakistani intruders. A UN resolution passed in April, 1992, permits crossing borders in pursuit of terrorists, he said, adding that the areas across the LoC were Indian territory. He stated that Home Minister L.K. Advani’s earlier statements of going in for a pro-active approach and hot pursuits now only appear to be hot words.

The government’s handling of the hijacking of an Indian Airlines Airbus last year was another failure. 50 million dollars in gold had been paid to the Taliban. He stated that pointing out that Bin Laden’s hideout was just 50 mile away from Kandhahar airport, he stated that India should have threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons on the hideout.

Dr Swamy also questioned the Indian government’s attempts to initiate talks with cross the border terrorist outfits, while at the same time refusing talks with Pakistan, which he said was a recognised State.

Targeting the Congress, the Janata Party chief said that it had failed to carry out its responsibility as an opposition party. He also demanded a probe into Italian businessman and prime accused in the Bofors scandal, Ottavio Quattrochhi’s connections with the LTTE, because he is reported to have helped the LTTE living in Malaysia. The LTTE had been responsible for former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

Pointing out that Sonia claimed that Quattrochhi to be a close friend, he said that Sonia should resign from the party post till the cloud of suspicion over her cleared.

He also questioned Sonia Gandhi’s reported request to the Delhi Chief Minister to allot five acre of land and grant Rs 5 lakh to an organisation known to have been involved in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, when some of its members were among those convicted in the case.


Vyanjan 2000 organised at Ambedkar Institute
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 26 — The Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Vaneeta Rai, who was the guest of honour at the prize distribution ceremony, was curious at a cookery competition which was organised at the Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management and Catering here today.

As she gave away the prizes to the top three who had won the first prizes in the various cooking categories, she inquired about the ingredients of dishes and how it had been cooked. Earlier she lauded the role of Bharat Gas in educating the customers on the safe use of LPG through innovative ways.

Ms Rai was the guest of honour at the prize distribution ceremony of Vyanjan 2000, sponsored and presented by Bharat Gas. The cookery competition’s preliminary rounds were held from December 19 and the finals were held at the Ambedkar Institute today.

Ms Indu Pardal won the first prize in the Indian Rasoi category while Manpreet and Varinder Kaur were the 1st and 2nd runners up. Ms Manjit won the first prize in the Chinese category while Inderjit Sandhu and Veena Goel were the 1st and 2nd runners up. In the Halka Fulka category, Ms Pearl Chimny won the first prize while Vashthi Talwar and Balwinder Kaur were the 1st and 2nd runners up.

Deepti, Ramneek, Manju Gupta, Harjinder, Jaswinder, Arbindu Walia, Bindu, Sukhraj Chauhan, Gurdeep Kaur, Neetika, Arvind Lehal, Ramandeep, Neetu Kapoor, Baljit Kaur and Kalindi Shulka won the consolation prizes in the three categories.

More than 220 consumers of Bharat Gas from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula had participated in the competition. Also present at the ceremony were Mr Y.K. Gupta, LPG Coordinator, North, Mr Navin Kumar, Principal, Ambedkar Institute, Mr S.K. Kudaisia, Regional LPG Manager, North, Mr M.C. Khurana, Territory Manager, LPG, Lalroo and Mr A.K. Gupta, Area Marketing Manager, Mr Balwinder Singh, Territory Coordinator, LPG, Lalroo thanked the guests.


Police official injured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — A police official was reportedly injured in an accident which occurred during security rehearsals being carried out for Vice-President Krishan Kant’s visit to the Panjab University campus tomorrow.

The mishap reportedly took place after an official Gypsy banged into another vehicle in the afternoon today. Sources in the Police department added that the Deputy Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, Mr. B. D. Bector, was sitting in the Gypsy when the accident took place. They added that Mr Bector escaped unhurt while the official sustained minor injuries.

The accident, according to sources, occurred after the vehicle in front of the Gypsy abruptly applied brakes. The driver, sources added, tried to avoid the mishap but failed.

The Vice-President-cum-Panjab University chancellor, Mr. Krishan Kant, is visiting the campus for the convocation ceremony scheduled for tomorrow.


Lala Achint Ram Memorial Lecture
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — Lala Achint Ram Memorial Lecture is being organised by the Servants of the People Society at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15.

Mr Krishan Kant, Vice-President of India, and the President of the society will preside over the lecture to be delivered by Dr A.S. Anand, Chief Justice of India, on ‘‘Protection of human rights: judicial obligation or judicial activism’’.


Woman dies of burns
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — A Panchkula resident, admitted to the PGI with burn injuries, was declared dead in the evening on Tuesday. Another Panchkula resident Sunita of Sector 19 was also admitted to the institute with burn injuries.

According to sources in the Police Department, the deceased has been identified as Seema. The sources added that the victim was a resident of Old Panchkula.


Dr R.K. Behl honoured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 26 — Dr R.K. Behl, a well-known educationist, was presented with the World 2000 Human Rights Protection Award yesterday at New Delhi. The board of governors of the Indian Institute of Human Rights, on the recommendation of the search committee constituted by the Human Rights Initiative for Lifelong Learning and the Human Rights Umbrella for Social Transformation under the Human Rights Education, Awareness and Development Programme for motivating human right promoters, activists and educationists, has lauded the efforts of Dr Behl to promote the noble cause.


Three duped of Rs 7000
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 26 — A truck driver and two others were duped of Rs 7000 by unidentified men who stole the cash lying in the truck and left behind the vehicle in Phase II, Industrial Area.

In his complaint, Mr Satpal, the driver, said the two men, one lean and tall and the other stout and short, riding a scooter, asked them to load items and furniture from a house in Panchkula and deliver them to Bhiwanigarh in Sangrur.

Accompanying them, they arrived in Panchkula, where the truck was parked and one of the scooterists, leaving the other near the truck, asked the driver to come with him. In Sector 12, he asked him to wait near an STD and returned to the parked truck. He asked the cleaner to come with him as Satpal needed help with the clearance from the truck union.

He returned and asked the third person to accompany the scooterist on the pretext of getting a television for loading on to the truck. The second scooterist, meanwhile, fled from the site with the truck.

The driver reported the case of being duped to the police, which found the truck parked in Phase II of Industrial area and the cash missing. A case under Sections 417 and 379 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 19 police station.


TV stolen
The theft of a colour television was reported to the police by an Industrial Area resident. Taking up the complaint of Mr Pawan Aggarwal, the police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC.

Theft case
In a complaint before the police, Dhanas resident Sanjay Kumar alleged that his moped was stolen. According to sources, a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered. 


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