Sunday, January 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Power seekers teargassed, lathicharged
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Provoked by offending slogans and reported manhandling of a cop, the Chandigarh Police today lobbed teargas shells and lathi-charged over 500 residents of Bhagat Singh Colony, seeking regular electricity connections after they blocked the road dividing Sectors 45 and 46 in the afternoon today. As many as 20 protesters reportedly sustained minor injuries.

According to sources in the Police Department the crowd, seeking regular connection following the removal of kundis by the Electricity Department earlier during the month, gathered near the barrier at about 9 a.m. and blocked the road.

The irate crowd, said sources, not only prevented the vehicles from plying on the road, but also stopped an Army truck from entering the area. A senior police officer, when contacted, said the mob even manhandled a cop after he tried to intervene.

“It was then that we realised that the crowd had to be dispersed,” the officer said. Denying the allegations of lathicharging the residents, the officer maintained that the protesters were “merely caned”. He added that none of the protesters was injured as per the information available with the Police Department.

Claiming to have been lathi-charged without any provocation, the colony residents, on the other hand, asserted that they were mercilessly beaten by the cops. They added that serious injuries were sustained by some of the dwellers.

Residents added that they were attacked even though the road blockade had already been removed by them following assurance regarding regular connection by a senior officer of the administration.

They further alleged that some of the protesters were even rounded up by the police but were later released after certain members of political parties intervened.

It may be recalled that the UT Electricity Department had removed all kundis in the colony on January 24. 


SGPC files reply in Gurbani telecast case

From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — In a case pertaining to stay on the telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple and other shrines, the respondent — the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) — filed its reply in the court of the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, here today.

The UT District and Sessions Judge also reserved the order today on the application moved by ETC channel, which was telecasting Gurbani from the Golden Temple, for becoming a party in the case, for January 30, and adjourned the case for the same date.

The petitioner — North India Television Limited — through its director, had filed a petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, before the court to issue an ad interim injunction, restraining the SGPC from interfering with the execution and performance of the contract and functions assigned to it and from allotting the contract, awarded to it for six years, to any other, pending the arbitration proceedings.

It was stated that the SGPC had an agreement with the North India Television Limited (NITL), dated August 18, 1999, as per which the petitioner had exclusive rights of taking photographs, recording material for telecast and telecasting live Gurbani kirtan from the Golden Temple and other shrines. As per the terms of the contract, the SGPC had agreed to give full cooperation and coordination and make available Ragis, Jathedar, and necessary infrastructure, human and material, to the petitioner. It undertook to pay, from the second year of the beginning of the telecast, amount and fees as specified therein. It was stated in the petition that the petitioner had a contract with Channel Punjabi for live coverage and the first telecast was shown on October 1, 1999.

It was also alleged in the petition that the SPGC and its office-bearers, instead of providing cooperation, had started causing obstruction and hindrance by stopping to provide the necessary facilities and locking the machines and apparatus of the petitioner. It was also alleged that the SGPC was going ahead with inviting offers for telecast. The petitioner apprehended that the SGPC, in breach of the contract with the petitioner, might enter into an agreement with others and forcibly throw out the petitioner from the premises of the Golden Temple and of other shrines, detaining its machines and apparatus.

The SGPC, in its reply before the court, stated that the agreement between the SGPC and the petitioner had been cancelled on December 9, 1999, as the petitioner had failed to conduct itself as per the terms and conditions of the agreement. The SGPC reserved the rights to terminate the agreement if it felt or came to the conclusion that the company was failing in fulfilling any conditions of the agreement. It was also stated in the reply that the NITL had sold its rights, as per an agreement on August 8, 1999, to Surya Mangle and Surya Mangle had entered into an agreement with the SGPC to record and telecast Gurbani kirtan.

It added that the petition was not maintainable under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act and ETC was recording and telecasting Gurbani kirtan from the Golden Temple from April 1, 2000. The report of the Local Commissioner, appointed by the court on January 23, 2001, had proved the fact.Back


R-Day functions held in UT, nearby towns
From Tribune Reporters

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — The UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F. R. Jacob (retd), hosted the traditional ‘‘at home’’ at the Raj Bhavan while his Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, unfurled the tricolour and inspected the guard of honour at the parade ground in sector 17 on Friday to mark the 52 nd Republic Day in the city.

The General's ‘‘at home’’ was attended by among others the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, senior Army and Air Force officials besides IAS and IPS officials of Punjab and Chandigarh Administration. Several of city' s politicians, religious leaders, businessmen and other prominent persons attended the function.

The day was also celebrated with much fervour and gaiety by various social, financial and educational organisations and political outfits in the city and the surrounding townships.

Reports reaching The Tribune over the past two days reveal that the city and its satellite towns were enveloped in the vibrant hues of the tricolour with the spirit of nationalism running high. People from different walks of life participated in the celebrations and the national flag was hoisted at all functions.

The Bhartiya Janata Party celebrated the day by organising a function at the party office in Sector 33 with the president of the party’s city unit, Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, unfurled the national flag. A large number of party workers and activists attended the function and sweets were distributed among them.

Mr Harmohan Dhawan, former Union Civil Aviation Minister and senior Congress leader, presided over the function organised at Kajheri village. Later, he also presided over the celebrations at the Bapu Dham colony in Sector 26, Colony No 4, Colony No 5 and Sector 7. He was accompanied by senior Congress leaders like Dr. O.P. Verma, Mr Devinder Singh Babla, Mr Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy and Mr R.K. Rathore.

The Chandigarh Territorial Mahila Congress also celebrated the Republic day with a lot of enthusiasm at Block-16, Adarsh Colony. The function was presided over by Ms Lalit Joshi, President CTMC, Chandigarh, who highlighted the supreme sacrifices made by the country men in order to gain independence from the British rule.

At another function organised at Darshini Bagh, Mr M.R. Dhiman, president of the local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party, said this day was important for Indians as they had been provided with the privilege of enjoying equal rights and responsibilities. Ms Harjinder Kaur Chopra, Ms M.K. Bains and Ms Maya Gupta, office-bearers of the Mani Majra Mahila Mandal alongwith 200 others, including members of the Darshini Bagh Residents Welfare Society announced their decision to join the BSP. Celebrations were also organised at the Urdu Primary School, Govindpura, Mani Majra, by the Janata Dal, Chandigarh unit.

Functions were also organised at the the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. At PGI, resident doctors, administrative staff, nursing and technical staff and Class III and Class IV employees participated in the function. Dr S.K. Sharma, Director, PGIMER unfurled the national flag and took salute of the parade presented by the PGI security staff. Students of the College of Nursing at PGIMER presented a colourful cultural programme and enthralled the gathering with their presentation of patriotic songs.

Members of the Lions Club Rose celebrated the Republic Day at Labour Colony, Sector 31. The president of the club, Ms Renu Bali ,acquainted the slum children with the importance of the day for common man and exhorted them to stay away from bad habits. The club members also distributed toothbrushes and toothpastes among the children on the occasion.

While some city colleges did not have any function to mark the republic day some others celebrated the day with gaiety and patriotic fervour. DAV college, Sector 10, hostelers organised a havan and a cultural function on the occasion. While patriotic songs and self composed poems were the flavour of the day, the chief guest, Mr Vikram Viveky, Chairman, Dayanand Chair, Panjab University, hoisted the tricolour at the college premises. Guest of honour, Acharya Naresh also spoke on the occasion and stressed the need for students to realise that individual actions matter in society.

The national flag was also hoisted at GCG-11 by the Principal. At GCM-11, the Vice-Principal, Mr J.P. Garg hoisted the national flag and the national anthem was sung by a group of students. At GC-46, Mr Ram Avtar, care taker of the college and president UT employees Welfare association hoisted he tricolour. The students presented a cultural programme and sweets were distributed to the hostelers.

A parade by the NCC, NSS and hostelers of GDSD college, Sector 32, was held to mark the Republic day. the principal, Dr A.C. Vaid, hoisted the national flag on the occasion.

Celebrations were also organised by Canara Bank, Sector 34, Department of Public Relations and news magazine, Mazdoor Ekta Welfare Association, Mohalla Sudhar Samiti, Sector 30-B, Punjab University, MRD Model School and the UT Employees Welfare Association at Government College. The Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 20, also celebrated the day with the principal, Mrs Ravinder Kaur unfurling the tricolour.

Mayor Raj Kumar Goyal unfurled the national flag at the MC building on the occasion of Republic day on Friday.

Addressing the audience, Mr Goyal emphasised that he ‘‘does not want to burden the common man with any new taxes, but he will try to streamline the collection system of the taxes which have already been imposed’’. He said he was aware of the ongoing financial crunch in MC, but he would try to generate resources by auctioning commercial property or through the disposal of other land.

Earlier, after unfurling the flag, he lauded the supreme sacrifices of all those who had played a significant role in the freedom struggle and added that the nation as a whole is indebted to them.

Later, the mayor presided over various republic day functions and unfurled the tricolour in math mandir, Sector 11; Mani Majra Shastri Nagar; Deep Public school, Mauli Jagran. Presiding over the 7th annual function of Deep Public school, he distributed prizes


The sub-division level function to celebrate the Republic Day was organised at Government Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, here on Friday. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Jaipal Singh, who unfurled the tricolour, urged the countrymen to work for the prosperity, peace and communal harmony of the nation.

The president of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh and local political leaders were also present on the occasion. A number of schools of the area presented song and dance programme.

Meanwhile, the tricolour was unfurled at the local civic body office in Phase 7 here by its president, Mr Kulwant Singh. The Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Dr Kehar Singh, hoisted the national flag in the board premises. Republic Day celebrations were also held at Government College in Phase 6.


The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K Monga, unfurled the national flag on the 52nd republic day. It was followed by parade by the a contingent of the Haryana police, Home Guards, NCC Cadets and schoolchildren at the Ramlila ground in Sector 5, on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Monga recalled the sacrifices made by the defence personnel during the Kargil crisis. He said everyone must take a pledge to work towards a stronger and more united country.

He urged the youth to come forward and help wipe out illiteracy from the country and appealed that the martyrdom day of Gandhiji on Jan 30 be observed as “Cleanliness Day” in the district.

He honoured 39 persons for outstanding work in different fields at the function. Those honoured on the occasion included Amar Singh of Government High School, Sector 19, Sandeep Dhamija of Noble High School, Pinjore, for winning a gold medal at the Science Congress in Calcutta, Ms Rita Rani, Ms Leela Kaushal, Ms Savita and Ms Samridhi for educating 12 illiterate women under the Adult Literacy campaign and Mr Kuldip Singh for starting 160 classes under the programme.

Bronze-medalists in badminton at the games organised in Gujarat, the team of Saurabh Kapoor, Pratik Mittal, Kanupriya Aggarwal and Shruti Mayor was honoured along with the gold-medal winners in the yoga contest held at Tamil Nadu, Rudra Mukherjee and Sonika Sharma. Ankan Gupta of DC Model School for winning a trophy at the CBSE Badminton contest, Mr Ganesh Dutt, District Information Officer, for his role in computerisation of jamabandi, ASI Krishan Kumar for acting promptly in shifting the injured to the general hospital following an accident, Mr Ashok Goyal, Ms tara Devi, Ms Shashi Gupta, Mr Anish Arora for their services under the small savings scheme.

In the parade, DC Model, Sector 7, and Satluj Public School, Sector 4, were placed first and second respectively. The tableau of the Forest department won the first prize while that of the Health department was declared second.

The flag was unfurled at Aashiana, a home for the destitute in Sector 16, by a local industrialist, Mr M.M Aggarwal.


The Republic Day was celebrated in the police line ground, Ambala City on Friday. The Commissioner, Ambala Division, Mr Maha Singh, unfurled the national flag and took salute. An impressive march past was presented by contingents of Haryana Armed Police, General Railway Police, district police, Home Guards, NCC cadets, scouts guides and schoolchildren.

The District Administration honoured families of eight Kargil martyrs and 28 others were also honoured for their distinguished services. Those honoured included Mr Rajinder Nath, Capt Baldev Singh (retd), Col B N Bali (retd), Mr Bharat Bhushan, Ms Alka Ghai, Mr Y.P Das, Dr Jaidev, Mr G.D Chhibber, Dr Deshbandhu, Dr Swarnlata Sharma, Dr P.C Sharma, Mr Akash Deep, Mr Jasdeep, Mr Arvinder Jot Singh, Heena Bakshi, SI Jaipal, ASI Sushil Kumar and HC Balbir.

Republic Day functions were organised at different institutions under the management of Punjab Wakf Board. Sahibzada Akhlaq Ahmed Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Punjab Wakf Board, unfurled the national flag. The day was also observed as “Pledge Day” in the board where employees of the board pledged to re-dedicate themselves for the well-being and prosperity of fellow countrymen.

The Bharatiya Janata Party state president and MP, Mr Ratan Lal Kataria, unfurled the national flag in SD College and a parade was held by NCC and NSS cadets. Mr Kataria inaugurated the newly set up computer lab and announced that he will donate two computers to the College.

Sanskritik and Samaj Kalyan Sabha, Lal Kurti Bazar, Ambala Cantt celebrated the Republic Day in Swaran Jayanti park. Noted social worker, Dr Jaidev, was the chief guest.

In P R Memorial High School, PR Educational society chief patron, Mr Om Prakash Malik, unfurled the national flag. A cultural function was organised by the school students.

A special function was organised at GHS Fatehgarh alongwith the village panchayat and a cultural programme was also presented. The chief guest was Mr Maheshwar Sharma, SDM, Naraingarh and Dr Bharat Bhushan, district president of the BJP, was the guest of honour.


A function was organised at the local Christian High School . Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Kharar, unfurled the national flag.


The Republic Day was observed in a sober manner by various governmental institutions and social organisations in the city on Friday.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann, Administrative Member of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) unfurled the National Flag at a function organised by the employees of PSEB on Friday.

Army School, Kendriya Vidyalaya-I and Kendriya Vidyalaya-III observed the Republic Day under the aegis of Primary Wing of the Army School. The parade was followed by a colourful cultural programme presented by the students of the participating schools. Baba Farid Islamia Public School organised the Republic Day function at the school. 


UT to better water, power supplies
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Listing out the tasks and the future plans of the Chandigarh Administration, the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, said supplementary arrangements would be made for building underground and overhead parking lots at Sector-17 bus stand and steps had been taken to improve the availability of power and water supply. Besides, a bulk market was also coming up and housing scheme for HIG and MIG category was to be launched soon.

This was part of her speech during the Republic Day celebrations at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, on Friday. She said, ‘‘The construction of a 220kv grid sub-station has been started in Mani Majra. At the same time a feeder line would be installed from the 400 kv sub-station, Nalagarh, to augment availability of power.’’

‘‘The fourth phase of water supply augmentation has also been initiated. A 10 mg filtration plant is being constructed in Sector 39. The capacity of the pumping machine is being increased and an underground 3 mg water resource centre has been built. In Sector 32, a 3.5 mg water resources centre is being set up,’’ she added.

She further said the Municipal Corporation was developing green belts and parks in various sectors. Recarpeting of roads had also been taken up on priority in various sectors of the city.

‘‘Building byelaws in the city have already been substantially modified. Some other modifications are being examined. In order to improve educational facilities for children living in slums, nine night schools have already been made functional and two more are likely to be opened in the next few months,’’ she said.

The Administrator has allotted 95 houses of the Chandigarh Housing Board to families of martyrs who sacrificed their lives either in terrorists attack or in defending the country. During the last year, 1692 houses were allotted to people of various sections of society in Sector 38 and another 504 EWS and LIG houses were allotted in Sector 52.

Construction work for booths for displaced shopkeepers of Sector 46 Rehri Market, which was destroyed in fire, began in June and would be completed by June this year. About 2000 booths were being constructed for the rehabilitation of registered rehriwalas/phariwalas. Over 4000 members of 57 cooperative societies were being allotted 137 acres of land in the Phase-III Sectors.

‘‘The construction of the second phase of ISBT Sector-43 is now planned. We are already on course towards making Chandigarh a wired city within six months and this will be the first city in the country to have complete connectivity leading to a complete revolution in communication, entertainment and e-governance in the city,’’ Ms Nanda added. ‘‘Soon Chandigarh will be on the IT map of India and of South Asia. The project of setting up IT towers will create jobs for the youth of Chandigarh. E-governance is being implemented in all public dealing departments and a large amount of data useful to the public has been computerised so that citizens may access this information at their convenience through the Internet,’’ she said.

‘‘A local area network is already functional in the UT Secretariat and a wide area network connecting various important offices of the Administration is being set up. Kalagram is coming up on the Chandigarh-Panchkula road. It will provide a cultural platform for artists of the regions to showcase their talents,’’ she said.

The Environment and Forest Ministry under its Lake Protection Scheme has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the de-siltation of the Sukhna Lake. Arrangements are being made to preserve the lake area. A total of 177 acres of land has been acquired for the botanical garden in Khuda Lahora and Sarangpur.

‘‘In the west of Sector 56 a bulk material market would come up to provide space to marble, furniture and waste material dealers. To meet the housing demand of city residents, a scheme for HIG and MIG houses will be launched shortly in Sector 51-A by the Chandigarh Housing Board,’’ she said.


Plea for a Vidhayak Nagar

IN view of the threats to MLAs and former MLAs in Punjab, and on the recommendation of the DGP, the state government has decided to earmark a location in Mohali where plots of various sizes would be given to MLAs for constructing their houses. This decision was taken because the security cover provided to the MLAs at times created problems for their neighbours. Moreover, when all MLAs are housed in one area, it will be possible to provide them with effective and efficient security.

For this, the price of land and other terms and conditions of allotment had to be decided by PUDA under the Minister of Housing. Some MLAs objected to certain conditions regarding transfer of plots etc. which PUDA agreed to change. Since the personal interest of the policy-makers was involved, the modifications were made without any loss of time.

The number of legislators seeking plots may increase after every election as some of the existing MLAs may or may not retain their seats and new faces will appear on the scene. Keeping in view the requirements of the next two decades, the state government, instead of allotting land to MLAs in Mohali, should set up a new city for them, and call it Vidhayak Nagar.

A.P. Bhardwaj

Road manners

Accidents on Chandigarh-Panchkula road are distressing. The administration is doing its bit, but the public is not disciplined and careful. We feel pleasure in breaking the law and most of us lack traffic discipline. The most common violations of the rules of traffic are overtaking from the left, and overtaking at round-abouts.

At every round-about there should be a policemen with a motor cycle, who should stop or follow the violators and challan them. The penalty for such offences should be heavy. Secondly, there should be policemen on motorcycles, patrolling the roads, especially the highways, to challan traffic offenders. Thirdly, the police and the administration should educate and discipline the people through advertisements in newspapers to teach road manners to the people.

Jyotsna Khanna

The PM’s advice

The Prime Minister, in his address to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry observed that 10 per cent of the higher posts in government departments should be abolished. While the Chandigarh Administration has not cared to pay heed to this advice, it has taken no time to enhance the local bus fares on the plea that there has been an 18 per cent increase in the prices of diesel.

In a welfare state, the interests of the common man should be supreme, but the Chandigarh Administration cares little for such niceties.

Under the British, the Governor of Punjab (which then comprised the present states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, besides Pakitstan’s Punjab province) had only one ADC. The present Governor of Punjab and administrator of Chandigarh UT, has three ADCs. Besides, he has a full-fledged secretary, a private secretary and a large number of supporting staff. The British Governor used to have a limited personal staff and he moved about with one escort car. The present Governor has several escort cars in tow whenever he ventures out of Raj Bhavan. It is time the Prime Minister’s words had some effect on the Chandigarh Administration.

Narinder Singh



A slick romantic thriller
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana

AASHIQ (Piccadilly, Chandigarh, and Suraj, Panchkula) bears the stamp of quality and beauty and appears an attractive commercial package.

Bobby Deol and Karisma Kapoor in Aashiq.Indra Kumar has to his credit a series of box-office successes like Dil, Beta, Raja and Ishq. The pace of a typical box-office entertainer with the familiar love theme set to lilting tunes is appreciably handled with slick editing. A fast-paced plot with moments of laughter and tension is sustained with frequent change in mood to break the monotony.

Rahul Dev, a brothel-owner, has played his role convincingly. His impressive dialogue delivery is supported by a suitable setting and costumes. The inspector, with his subordinate Ashok Saraf, apart from Anupam Kher, fit the characters of a thrilling story-line.

One can raise questions about authenticity, possibility and correct line of action, but success stories are usually determined by their appeal to the heart than to the mind.

Bobby Deol is a college-going lad with a lovable gang of youngsters who support the poor. The inspector gets after his life for getting his sister married at a place she wanted which was against her wishes. Karisma Kapoor, girl of a rich household, is picked up by Rahul Dev and sold to an Arab.

Bobby Deol starts searching for her with the support of his gang, only to discover that a friend of his had sold off Karisma. Rahul Dev plans the flight of Karisma abroad with the Sheikh while Bobby pursues them an endeavour to save his beloved. Karisma has a good performance.

Musical numbers seem a little more than necessary. The choreography is attractive. Exotic sites of Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany and Australia provide grace to the twists and turns of the plot.

Anil Sharma has produced the film. Lyrics by Sameer have been set to tunes by Sanjiv-Darshan. Cinematography by Harmeet Singh has a technical finesse.Back


Cops to proceed against hawkers on red lights
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Believing hawkers offering face tissues, newspapers, incense sticks and balloons to be a traffic hazard, the Chandigarh police has decided to proceed against them.

Though the modalities are being worked out, senior police officers say action can be taken against them for obstructing the free flow of traffic. “Initially, however, we will not be booking them. Efforts will only be made to dispersed them for ensuring the free flow of traffic,” says an officer.

He adds that the police is also planning to act against the beggars tapping the car windows, besides urchins jumping to mop the windshields of the cars even before they come to an halt.

The decision to act against the hawkers, according to sources in the police department, is significant as they are “responsible for a large number of unreported accidents”.

Informal studies conducted by the traffic wing of the Chandigarh police and visits to the sensitive spots have revealed that “the hawkers and beggars step in the way of the vehicles just as the drivers-in-hurry release the clutch to rush past the signal before the lights change”.

The studies add that the urchin is saved if the driver is fast enough to apply the brakes but in the process the vehicle preceding invariably hits the car from behind, but if the driver fails to react in time, injuries are sustained by the peddler.

The officers visiting the spots, particularly the signal near the Sector 18 Government Press, have also found that the traffic came to a standstill as certain drivers ignore the wild honking of car to fish out money for the beggars. The problem is worse on Saturdays, the officers observe.

Sources also refuse to rule out the possibility of snatchers disguised as beggars looking for an opportunity to strike. “Though such a case has not been reported so far, the possibility of it in the near future cannot be ruled out”. 

52 vehicles challaned, impounded
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — A total of 52 vehicles, including, Maruti vans, Tata Sumos, Maruti cars, Matadors and autorickshaws were challaned and impounded for various violations under a special checking drive initiated by the local State Transport Authority here this morning.

The drive was launched at 6 am. The vehicles plying illegally for carrying passengers were specifically checked. Autorickshaws were challaned for want of fitness certificate and conversion of petrol engines with diesel engines. Owners of three vehicles fled during the checking, leaving their vehicles behind. The vehicles impounded and towed to police lines with the help of cranes.Back


J.S. Randhawa dies in London hospital
TRibune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, a distinguished career diplomat belonging to the 1971 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, breathed his last in a London hospital on January 25, family sources said here today. He was hospitalised with serious illness. His wife, daughter and two sisters were by his bed side when the end came.

Currently posted as India’s Ambassador to Cambodia at Phnom Penh, Mr Randhawa, (53) had earlier served in Mexico, the Philippines, Switzerland and had two stints in West Germany. He was cremated in London on January 26 where his funeral procession was joined by members of his family, members of the Indian High Commission in London.

Mr Randhawa is survived by his father, Mr Balbir Singh Randhawa, an IAS officer belonging to Joint Punjab cadre, wife, son, brother and five sisters. His family would be arriving here with his ashes on January 29 at his residence, 564, Sector 8 B, before they are taken to Kiratpur Sahib on January 30 for immersion there.


Cold wave claims fifth life
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — The cold reportedly took its fifth victim yesterday. Mohan Singh, a rickshaw-puller residing in Dadu Majra, died due to the prevailing cold conditions in the city.

According to sources in the Police Department, the 35-year-old puller had reportedly consumed liquor before sleeping out in the open. His body was found in the morning.

It may be recalled that Joginder Singh, employed with a dhaba in Sector 37, had died on January 6 due to “the sudden chill in the air”. Sources had added that Joginder Singh used to wash utensils in the dhaba located in the rehri market.

Earlier, an unidentified beggar was found dead in Sector 17 market on January 2. The death, senior police officers had maintained, was also due to natural reasons.

Three days before this, a rickshaw-puller was found dead outside a showroom in Sector 22 in the morning. According to police sources, Rajinder was suffering from tuberculosis. He was also “in the habit of consuming liquor”.

On December 9, the body of an unidentified beggar was found in the Mani Majra motor market. Police officials had claimed that the death was due to cold weather.


Testing time for Mayor tomorrow
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — The special meeting of the MC House on January 29 is going to be a testing time for the first Mayor of the Congress. The fate of the nine sub-committees constituted by the Mayor is likely to be decided in this meeting.

Resentment prevails among the BJP councillors over the constitution of these committees, who have through a resolution demanded that the same be dissolved in the special meeting on the alleged under representation to certain BJP councillors and that the powers of the Mayor to constitute these committees, given to him by the House be withdrawn. The 15 BJP-SAD councillors will most likely submit their resignation from various committees tomorrow as they feel that the Mayor has violated the norms of constituting these committees.

Sources reveal that on the issue of dissolving the committees, if the BJP-SAD councillors collectively raise their hands, then on account of the majority the Mayor will be forced to dissolve the same. In fact, few nominated councillors, who are not too pleased with the working of the Congress councillors may also join hands with BJP-SAD on this issue. If this happens, then the fivemember sub-committee constituted by the House will renominate the members to various sub-committees.

Mayor Raj Kumar Goyal dismisses these allegations to be totally laseless and claims that due representation has been given to the BJP councillors in most of the committees. He plans to disclose in the House the constitution of these very committees in the last four years and give a copy of the same to all present in the House for information.

Giving details of the committees constituted by him on January 5, Mr Goyal points out that of the total 29 councillors in the House, there are only five Congress councillors. Hence, BJP and nominated councillors have been included in every committee. In five of these committees, there are 3 BJP councillors, while in the remaining four there are two each. He has further clarified that by way of an amendment last year, the House has authorised the mayor to nominate members to these committees and has asked him to give due representation to each of the councillor. The process of electing chairman and deputy chairmen of eight committees has been completed.

If the proposal seeking the dissolution of committees and withdrawing the power of Mayor to constitute these committees is passed before the House is adjourned, which is quite likely, the existing committees will be dissolved. The members will subsequently be nominated by the five members of the sub-committee.If this happens, BJP will also play a role in their fresh constitution of these committees. Appointment of a special observer has also been sought to ensure that the proceedings of the House are conducted peacefully and the same is not adjourned under any pretext. A letter in this regard has been given to the Deputy Commissioner.


2 Home Guard volunteers hurt
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Two Home Guard volunteers were injured in a scuffle while three persons, including two women, were hospitalised following accidents during the past 24 hours in the city.

Over 125 pouches of liquor were reportedly seized after four persons were arrested. The theft of a car was also reported by Deputy Superintendent of Punjab Police Jaspal Singh.

According to sources in the Police Department, two Home Guard volunteers were brought to the Sector 16 General Hospital with injuries following a scuffle in the Sector 26 police lines. The two were later discharged, said the sources.

Asha Rani of Bapu Dham was also admitted to the Sector 16 hospital after being hit by a motor cycle. She had reportedly gone to the Sector 16 market for purchasing medicines when the mishap occurred.

Laxmi of Maloya Colony sustained injuries after the cycle she was riding was hit by a scooter in Sector 40 today morning. She was also admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Welson of Sector 46 was, meanwhile, admitted to the PGI after the motor cycle he was riding was hit by a Maruti car on Friday evening. His condition was reported to be stable. The car driver was booked under the Sections 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code.

In his complaint, DSP Jaspal Singh alleged that his Maruti car was stolen from the parking lot of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Taking up his complaint, the police registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC.

The police also arrested Gurpreet Singh, a Dadu Majra resident, for allegedly stealing a bicycle belonging to Kulwinder Singh, here yesterday.

Four persons, including two Dadu Majra Colony residents, were booked under the Excise Act. As many as 128 pouches of liquor were reportedly seized from them.


Food fest inaugurated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27— “If the private sector comes into tourism in a big way, we (public sector) are ready to withdraw,” said Mr M.P. Bezbaruah, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune. He inaugurated the Food Fest 2K1 here today.

“Safety, security, maintenance of historical places will always remain the responsibility of the government. But now we have many historical buildings and monuments being maintained by the private sector.” He also stated that all donations to the National Culture Fund are tax free.

Mr Bezbaruah informed that the tourist traffic to India last year was 2.62 million and is expected to be more this year. He also stressed the importance of inland tourism.

“Indians prefer to go abroad. The amount they spend, for example, going from Delhi to Madras is approximately the same as they spend on a visit to Singapore.” The number of outbound tourists has increased manifold in the last years, he added.

Talking about the reasons due to which the position of India as a tourist destination had remained static over the years, he stated that the tourism budget of India was very low as compared to many other countries. “Even the individual state budgets for tourism are very low. Then our air seat capacity is not sufficient to cater to tourist traffic”.

As far as Chandigarh is concerned, he stated that Chandigarh being a well maintained city near Delhi, efforts should be made to link it to the religious circuit of Punjab and Haryana.

The Home Secretary, UT, Mr R.S. Gujral, added that he had requested the Government of India to make the celebration of the silver jubilee of Nek Chand’s Rock Garden as a national celebration.

The three-day festival organised by the Ambedkar Insititute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Sector 42, has nine stalls offering exotic specialities of the region. Mr Bezbaruah, accompanied by Mr Gujral and the Principal of the institute, Mr Navin Kumar Nanchahal, visited each stall and tasted the dishes.

Mr Manmohan Singh, President, Tourism Promotion Society of Chandigarh presided over the inauguration function. Mr Bezbaruah and Mr Gujral planted trees on the institute campus. 


Cong, BJP ‘anti-farmer’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, has said the stand taken by the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, on the WTO clearly indicates that both the Congress and the BJP are opposed to the interests of both producers and consumers.

Addressing a rally at Rajpura, 35 km from here, yesterday, Mr Chandumajra said the new programme of his party to save Punjab by creating public awareness had evoked overwhelming response from people of the state. He said both the Congress and BJP were supporting middlemen or commission agents. He asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Pakash Singh Badal, to clarify his stand on the WTO publically.

He said people were conscious of the dual policies of the Shiromani Akali Dal, BJP and Congress and could not be fooled any further. Accusing the Punjab Chief Minister of polluting the state politics, he said ‘‘his interest was projection of his own family members’’. He also held the Chief Minister responsible for the present power crisis in the state.

The SHSAD general secretary said the state had not benefited at all from any of the so-called special packages announced by the NDA government at the Centre.

Mr Karnail Singh Panjauli, general secretary of the Youth Wing of the SHSAD, also criticised the SAD-BJP government and said even those languishing in jails for years could not be freed. Instead the state government was maintaining a silence on the issue.

Several other leaders addressed the rally which was organised by Mr Nishawar Singh, Sarpanch of Gopalpur village.


Scuffle at club
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — A scuffle reportedly broke out between the gunman of a senior Punjab politician and security guards posted at the Chandigarh Club late in the evening here today.

According to sources in the Police Department, the scuffle broke out when the gunmen tried to force enter the club. The sources added that the politician was sitting in the maroon coloured Tata Safari at the time of the incident.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said the incident lasted for about 10 minutes after which the gunmen left the club premises. He added that the police was looking into the matter. 


Seminar on Dalit works
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Participants from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal have attended a two-day international seminar on “Dalit literature organised by Dr Ambedkar Study Circle, here. Mr P.R. Keede, president, Ambedkar Study circle, welcomed the guests.

The seminar was inaugurated by Dr Vimal Kirti, head of the Pali and Prakrit Department of Nagpur University. Dr Kirti emphasised the need of development of an egalitarian society and Buddhist culture which would be the solution to the Dalit problems.

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