Sunday, March 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Why is UT spending crores to rehabilitate migrants?
Cops call the scheme an invitation to crime
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Does the Chandigarh Administration need to reconsider its highly populist scheme to rehabilitate unauthorised slum dwellers by spending crores to build houses which are anyway sold off on a premium, and indirectly drive locals out of the city ?

Beat level cops opine that slum dwellers are only adding to the crime graph as most of them do not find any work but are lured to the city by the promise of free housing being constructed from tax payer’s money.

A rising crime graph, a drain on the tax payers money, ugly scars on the landscape and the inability of the Administration to clean the slums even after having rehabilitation schemes, have so far not moved the Chandigarh Administration to do a re-think. Laxity in enforcement has once again led to government land being encroached in Sector 31 in Industrial Area, Phase I, and north of the Sukhna lake among other places. All these slum colonies are thriving on stolen power. Beat level cops say policing these colonies is becoming a problem due to the criminal bent of mind of the migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

All this does not bother the Administration which has planned to build about 16,000 flats for slum dwellers in 10 rehabilitation colonies. The total expense, including land acquisition, is whopping Rs 160 crore , all taken out of the tax payers kitty. Actually an amendment was made in the policy about six months ago. Now, irrespective of the fact if anyone figures on the voter’s list or not, all slum dwellers who may have proof of residence of having lived in Chandigarh before December 8, 1996, will get a flat from tax payers money.

Sources said that no one can understand the reason behind such a scheme as the Chandigarh Administration just cannot allege it is political interference. Estate office authorities, as well as senior officials, are aware how crores have been spent in the wrong direction to rehabilitate migrants from UP and Bihar by allotting free plots or sites.

Within official circles it is on record that a survey conducted in Mauli Jagran — the last such scheme — showed more than 50 percent of the 5919 families who were allotted plots or built-up sites have sold out their allotment letters on a premium. Several of the allottees have violated the terms and conditions of the scheme while almost 400 cases are pending in various courts or before various appellant authorities relating to old and new rehabilitation schemes.

Close to 1000 families have carried out major violations. Another 1200 sites are lying vacant. Probably the allottees are waiting for the premium to go up. More than a 100 plots meant for residential purposes are being used as shops. However, the Administration is still thinking about the nature of action that can be taken against the violators.

A large number of slum dwellers of Sector 31 were rehabilitated under this scheme last year and then The Tribune highlighted the story how migrants moved into the newly set up colony in Mauli Jagran while the slum was left as it in Sector 31. This resulted in several of the huts being re-occupied Today most of these huts are available on rent from the original encroachers of government land.

Sources said action was slow in coming, thus allowing the slum dwellers to sell off their allotments. In a large number of cases the administration has no record of the building plans, the sale letters or the owners and allottees. .

With the failure of the Administration to evict the slum dwellers in Sector 31, it shows that an ambitious scheme of the Chandigarh Administration to rehabilitate jhuggi dwellers — largely migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — by providing them with alternate, organised and planned housing on the outskirts of the city has seemingly fallen flat on its face. 


All smiles as rocks turn 25
Tribune News Service

The Creator-Director of Rock Garden, Nek Chand during a procession to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the garden, in Chandigarh on Saturday.
The Creator-Director of Rock Garden, Nek Chand during a procession to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the garden, in Chandigarh on Saturday.
 — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, inaugurated the silver-jubilee celebrations of Rock Garden here today. While the morning programme expected to be some what subdued, it turned out to be otherwise. The UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, and the Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr Vivek Atray, were also at the venue. Folk singers of Punjab entertained the gathering.

The famous Been Baja Group of Patiala danced around the team of 20 participants of the inaugural function and Nek Chand.

After appreciating about 70 mementoes that Mr Nek Chand had received, the Adviser, along with the others, walked towards the third phase, where the rest of the functions were held. The Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, praised Nek Chand and thanked the visiting foreign artists for showing sensitivity towards the garden’s preservation.

Three senior foreign delegates also spoke in praise of Nek Chand. One of them, John Maizels, said the Nek Chand Foundation would help preserve the garden. The others who spoke included Tony Raijers and Dr Cheryl Rivers, instructor in the Museum of American Folk Art Institute.

Speakers shared their concerns on the preservation of Rock Garden. It was followed by the inauguration of the 10 laughing mirrors and host of cultural events like camel rides and folk dances, besides performances by marasis, bazigars and Behrupias. A puppet and magic show was held in the evening and Guru Rajinder Gangani and his troupe performed kathak.

The carnival was led by police horses from Rock Garden to Sector 17, Jan Marg, Sectors 21 and 22, Sarovar Path and Sukhna Lake. Eight police horses led six tableaux and five carts.


* Honours were conferred on Mr Kulbir Singh, first Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, under whose tenure the work on Rock Garden had begun. This has perhaps reduced the pain that Mr Kulbir Singh felt when a stone with his name on it was removed from outside Rock Garden. Mr M.N. Sharma, first Chief Architect of Chandigarh, was also honoured.

* The Been Baja and bhangra party hails from Ajnauda Khurd village. Over half of the residents of this village can play been. In this village, enunuchs are included in troupes without any hesitation.

* Three third phase of Rock Garden, that is undergoing expansion, has about 40 new creations of Nek Chand. He has attired these new figures in rural outfits. Nek Chand said, “I miss my village and for me, these figures are my villagers.”

* Foreign delegates were amused by saperas, Behrupias, and Baazigars, so much so, that they did not know where to focus the camera. The moment they turned towards the beenwala, another artiste started playing the Sufi dadi, forcing them to turn around. The Foreigners dressed themselves as sadhus and sanyasins for the carnival. All of them joined Nek Chand in the bhangra.

* The word about laughing mirrors in Rock Garden spread so fast today that, by about 2 pm, the parking lot was jam-packed and visitors were heading straight for the laughing mirrors. Vehicles had to be directed towards the High Court parking lot.


Scuffles mar club polling
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Acrimony and scuffles among members marked the polling to elect the new set of office-bearers and executive of the Chandigarh Club here today.

Polling which was due to start at 12 noon could not commence till well past 12-30 p.m. because, the Returning Officer, Mr S.C. Nagpal, complained that he was not provided with necessary equipment and staff to conduct the polling. He had not been provided with rubber stamps as also with seals for the ballot boxes before the commencement of the polling. Even the vehicle sent to fetch him from his residence in the morning reportedly arrived late.

As soon as polling commenced, a controversy erupted over the failure on the part of the Returning Officer (RO) to inspect and properly seal the ballot boxes in which the votes were to be cast. A large number of candidates and their supporters virtually invaded the polling area, leading to arguments, high tempers and scuffles among them. This forced the RO to suspend the polling for some time.

This was followed by another argument and scuffle among members in front of the RO’s table over the alleged casting of bogus votes and other malpractices on the part of certain members. Candidates and their supporters accused each other of canvassing inside the polling enclosure right under the nose of the RO. Appeals by him over the public address system to desist from canvassing inside the polling area fell on deaf ears. The secretary of the club was allegedly “caught” with a blank receipt book, duly signed by him near the polling booths to issue ‘no dues certificates’ to the members which entitled them to take part in the polling. Another employee of the club was reportedly caught with a rubber stamp.

This led to another round of shouting among the presidential candidates, Mr R.S. Sachdeva and Mr Ravinder Chopra, and their supporters. There was also a scuffle among some members in front of the RO, who continued to plead in vain for order. Since the situation continued to remain out of control, the RO ordered the suspension of polling for yet another time. Finally, the police moved in to push out all those present in the polling enclosure.

Several members demanded that since the polling process had been vitiated, voting held today should be cancelled. Other members, however, said that there was no need to cancel the poll which should proceed on schedule. Mr Nagpal threatened that he would be left with no option but to cancel the polling if members continued to misbehave in the polling enclosure.

Mr Nagpal also declared that he had made a careful record of all that had happened today during the polling which he would be presenting to the Court. He also made a request to the court that the counting of votes should be conducted by an officer appointed by the court.

The turnout at today’s polling was heavy. A large number of outstation members too turned up to exercise their right to franchise. Among those who came to cast their votes included Lt-Gen BKN Chhibber (retd), former Governor of Punjab and Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former Chief Minister of Punjab, besides a large number of serving and retired officers of Punjab and Haryana governments and of the UT administration, businessmen, traders, university dons and PGI doctors.

Counting of votes has been stayed for the next two months by a UT court till it decides about the fate of more than 400 new members enrolled by the outgoing team.


Provisional liquidator for Punwire Mobile
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Mr Justice J.S. Khehar in a joint order in separate petitions moved by Titan Industries and by the official liquidator of Punjab Wireless System Limited ordered that the Official Liquidator be appointed as the provisional liquidator to forthwith take charge of all the properties and assets of Punwire Mobile Communication Limited during the pendency of the winding up proceedings pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which were ordered to be admitted.

Titan Industries contended through their counsel, Anil Malhotra and Ranjit Malhotra, that cheques worth Rs 43 lakh issued by Punwire Mobile Communication to Titan Industries had been dishonoured and the admitted liability accruing interest remained undischarged till date. The watches so purchased from Titan Industries were given away by Punwire in consumer offers to new paging subscribers and the proceeds received were not reimbursed to Titan Industries despite repeated reminders and consistent follow-up and there was no hope of any payment.

In response to the winding up petition earlier moved by Titan Industries, despite being duly served and having sought seven adjournments from March, 2000, onwards, Punwire Mobile had neither settled the claim nor furnished a formal written reply in court to contest, deny or rebut the claim made. In respect of the main company — Punjab Wireless Systems —in view of the mounting losses and absolutely no possibility for revival, the High Court had already appointed the official liquidator as the provisional liquidator to take charge of its assets and affairs on July 27, 2000.

It was further averred that Punjab State Corporative Bank Limited, Chandigarh, had in arbitration proceedings before the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, secured an ex-parte award dated August 19, 2000, against Punwire Mobile for recovery of Rs 30,01,98,734.47 plus interest @ 19 per cent per annum till realisation. In furtherance of these proceedings, the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, had ordered attachment of the accounts and assets of Punwire Mobile and to secure the awarded amount, receivers had been appointed to take over Punwire Mobile.

The court came to the conclusion that Punwire Mobile was not in an effective position to discharge its debts. The court, however, still permitted Punwire Mobile to file an effective reply on or before July 6, 2001 to oppose the winding up orders and affirm that it was in a position of profitability and that it should not be wound up.

On the question of appointment of provisional liquidator the court held that two directors of Punwire Mobile were absconding and one director had resigned. The Board of Directors was not in existence and no one was holding the reins of the company for its effective management. No payments had been released by Punwire Mobile and the company was not being cared for.

With regard to the reply filed on behalf of the receivers appointed by the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, the court came to the conclusion that the receivers were unauthorisedly holding the reins of Punwire Mobile and the receivers would only recover the debt of Punjab State Cooperative Bank Limited in exclusion to all other creditors. Even though only stock in trade in hand was secured by the bank, the receivers were stated to be in total control of all assets and were managing the affairs of Punwire Mobile. This, the court held was contrary to spirit of the Companies Act and against the interest of other secured creditors and workmen of the company.

In the above circumstances, the court came to the conclusion that the appointment of the Official Liquidator as Provisional Liquidator would prevent the disintegration of Punwire Mobile resulting in prevention of unauthorised removal of material and equipments since it was in the best interest of one and all that affairs of Punwire Mobile are managed by the Official Liquidator.

The court further directed the provisional liquidator to provide effective management to run Punwire Mobile if the records revealed a favourable financial position. The court set aside the orders of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, ordering the attachment of property and assets of Punwire Mobile and also quashed the orders appointing receivers in this regard.


PU cheque bounces
Publishing house still awaits payment
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Panjab University which has driven a publication house from “pillar to post” for nearly two years and is yet to give its rightful claim of Rs 510 could soon be entangled in a legal soup if the house goes ahead and does what it said.

The Chief Executive of Siddharth Publications, Delhi, Mr Arun Raj Malhotra, says endless time has been spent on seeking direct redressal. The university has not bothered to even respond to several communications of the publishing house after the bouncing of the cheque.

“Cheque bouncing is a legally questionable act for the side which fails to deliver the amount to a claimant. It can have serious legal implications.” Sources said paucity of funds on the university account in the outstation bank branch concerned at the time of submitting it was the main reason for the cheque being dishonoured.

It has been pointed out that the “university should have bothered to at least check its amount after receiving information of cash in its account. It is not a question of Rs 510 being a very small amount for the university to harass a person. More than the amount it was a case of ‘neglect and care in handling audience”.

The then Assistant Registrar (Accounts) has retired from service. A letter of Siddharth Publications to PU reads: Your cheque dated February 22, 1999, for supply of books to the library has returned unpaid from your bank with the remarks ‘refer to your drawer’. It is a pity that you do not have even Rs 500 in your account and you are running such a big university. We would request you to let us have a demand draft latest by April, 1999, failing which we shall take legal recourse for recovery of our amount”.

However, nothing happened in favour of Siddharth Publications. The university was told “We could have scandalised your university as bankrupt by sending photocopy of the returned cheque to various newspapers. We are requesting you to remit our amount and take appropriate action against the staff responsible for this act of negligence. We look forward to your immediate response and your assurance that the university is not that bankrupt”.

University records reveal that the cheque amount till date remains to be honoured.

A senior official of the finance branch said: “In Delhi and Ludhiana centres sometimes the amount used to expire which was usually taken care off. The publishing house concerned seemed to have lost contact with the office.”

“There is official record available of the particular cheque that was dishonoured. The university has ascertained pendency of the delivery of the amount and it will be done immediately. The party should communicate and contact us with the dishonoured cheque.”

A senior fellow said the university should take such cases very seriously. “These cases with legal implications carried on causing public inconvenience”.

The publishing house has requested: “Please let us have our payments and it will be appropriate if necessary action is taken against those concerned for tarnishing the image of your university.”


Rev Thomson to call on Dalai Lama
May discuss Taliban act
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — When the Chairman of the Council of the Parliament of World Religions, the Rev Robert Thomson, calls on the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala on Monday, the agenda of the meeting is likely to change from discussion on holding the next meeting of the Council to the shelling of statues of the Buddha by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Rev Thomson, accompanied by certain other members of the Council, including Dr Trevis Rejmen and Prof Harbans Lal, arrived here today and left immediately for Dharamsala.

In a statement issued in Dharamsala yesterday, the Dalai Lama while condemning the Taliban action said : “I am deeply concerned about the possible destruction of the Bamiyan statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan at a time when there is a closer understanding and better harmony amongst different religious traditions of the world. “Even though the destruction of the statues may be for religious reasons, I believe they are of historical importance not only to the people of Afghanistan but also to the world at large. Finally, as a Buddhist, I feel it is unfortunate that these objects of worship are targets of destruction,” the statement said.

The visit has assumed tremendous importance in the wake of developments in Afghanistan and the strong reaction of the world community.

“The delegation will call on the Dalai Lama on Monday mainly to discuss the venue for the next meeting of the Council of the World Religious Parliament. When this meeting was fixed we were not aware of the developments in Afghanistan. It is a very disturbing news and will probably figure prominently when the meeting is held with the Dalai Lama,” says Dr Harbans Lal.

The last meeting at Cape Town in South Africa was attended by 7,000 delegates. Of these nearly 400 were elected to the council.

After meeting the Dalai Lama, the team will visit the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

The next conference of the Parliament of World Religions is due to be held in 2004 and several offers to host it including those from India and Spain, have reportedly been received. It has agreed in principle to dedicate a one-day session to Guru Granth Sahib. Dr Harbans Lal said two international awards were also proposed to be instituted. While the Sri Guru Teg Bahadur award for religious freedom was proposed for a world leader, Bhai Kanhayia Award was proposed to be given in recognition of service to humanity. 


Concept of ethics ‘under attack’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — The Editor of The Tribune, Mr Hari Jaisingh, today regretted that in the present market-oriented Indian Press the concept of ethics itself seemed to be under attack as in many newspapers, commercial establishments had begun to call the shots.

The saddest aspect was that in many cases, even the placement and priorities of news and comments were decided by marketing persons.

Inaugurating a two-day meeting of the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Journalists (India), Mr Hari Jaisingh said a newspaper was much more than a product. It was a live medium of communication, information, analyses and opinions, and not a commodity like a toothpaste.

Apart from the threat posed by the market forces, he said the most serious challenge to the freedom of the Press was the visible erosion in the authority of the Editor as an institution. “There may be sizeable money; there may be fabulous perks and facilities. But ultimately what matters in public perception is the freedom to think freely, fearlessly, critically and objectively,” he added.

Quoting Mr L.K. Advani’s famous remarks on the behaviour pattern of the media during the Emergency, Mr Hari Jaisingh said journalists, particularly editors, were not supposed to bend, what to speak of crawling. “It will be a pity if we reduce ourselves to four-legged personalities”, he said.

He said “our strength was our ability to write truthfully, logically, critically, objectively, freely and fearlessly on matters of public interest and in the interest of the people.” This was the essence of the freedom of the Press.

However, he cautioned that the freedom of the Press was not an end in itself. It had to be practised with a sense of responsibility. Attached to this profession, he said, was the concept of social responsibility and equally crucial was the courage of conviction to say things freely and fearlessly.

Talking about the future changes which were inevitable in the world of media, Mr Hari Jaisingh said it would be worthwhile to see that in the process “we were not driven by forces which diluted the ‘maryada’ of the profession”.

The President of the NUJ(I), Mr Shyam Khosla, said while the union played a significant role inside and outside the Wage Board for Working Journalists, regrettably the same could not be said of another so-called trade union that claimed to represent the journalists. Its leader, he alleged, betrayed the cause of the journalists on more than one occasion, particularly on the issue of parity in annual increments of the journalists and the other employees. The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) too played a negative role in the mistaken belief that the delay in the submission of the board’s recommendations would help the employers. As a result, the board took a long time to finalise its recommendations, which suffered from several infirmities, highlighted by the NUJ (I) in its note of dissent as well as in a representation to the Centre.

Castigating the Union Labour Ministry for its anti-labour stance, Mr Khosla said it was due to the efforts of Mr Advani, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Mr Pramod Mahajan and Mr Shanta Kumar that the Cabinet rejected the proposal of the Labour Ministry and restored the parity in the annual rate of increments. However, the Labour Ministry interpreted the Cabinet decision to mean that the parity would be applicable only up to a maximum of the comparable pay scale of non-journalist employees. As a result, senior journalists would draw lower annual increments than their juniors.

The NUJ (I) had approached the Prime Minister to ask the Cabinet Secretariat to clarify the decision. Mr Khosla said the Working Journalists Act should be amended to provide a fine and imprisonment of six months to those employers who did not implement the wage board’s recommendations. He demanded that the part-time correspondents should be made staffers in a phased manner. A law should be enacted to ban contract journalism to ensure that the freedom of expression was not violated.

The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, said the media alone could keep the nation united and take it on the path of progress. It should lead the country’s fight against corruption. He announced a grant of Rs 30,000 for the Chandigarh Journalists Association (CJA) out of his discretionary grant.

The M.P. from Chandigarh, Mr Pawan Bansal, who is also the chairman of the reception committee, said the Press played an important role in the dissemination of information. He opposed the entry of foreign media in the country. He said the journalists were an institution to exercise the people’s right to freedom of expression.


Car prices low, where are the buyers?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 —The expected spurt in the car demand following the decline in the prices has not been witnessed in the car market on the first and the second day of the implementation of new prices. The industry is expecting the impact to be felt in about a week’s time, only after the holi festival.

While Maruti, which sells around 300 to 400 cars a day in the region, has been able to make sales of around 200 cars a day during the first two days, dealers in Hyundai and Daewoo too have not witnessed the “expected” rise. “We expect at least a 40 per cent rise in demand as compared to the last two months which were exceptionally well, only after holi”, said Mr Vikram Mehtani, Regional Manager, Maruti Udyog Limited.

Following the cut in the special excise duty proposed in the union budget, and the car makers opting for reduction in prices, cars in the region are available at new prices from immediate effect. The dealers are clearing old stocks at new prices too. This, it is expected, will give a new lease of life to the flagging automobile industry in the coming days.

For the customers, it could not have been better with the entry class Maruti available at as low as Rs. 1,98,6999 (ex-showroom, Chandigarh) .

Maruti cars in the region have seen a cut or nearly Rs 22,500 white Hyundai cars are low by nearly Rs 18,500 to Rs 22,500. Mercedes also expects a low of around one lakh on E-class model and nearly three lakh on the S-class model.

Reduced price of Zen LX which cost Rs 3,27,951 (pre-budget) is Rs 30,9964, while the diesel model price is Rs 3,79,690. Baleno Altura price has reduced by Rs 45,521 and it is available for Rs 7,84,493 . The much popular Alto has been cut by Rs 20,668 for LX and Rs 17,004 for the VX model. Matiz -SS reduced price is Rs 2,89,203 and that of the SD model is Rs 3,41, 257. Hyundai Accent GLS which was earlier priced at Rs 6,46,956 is now priced at Rs 6,12,216. Santro LE (metallic) can be bought for Rs 3,34,157, while GS( metallic) , pre- budget price of which was Rs 4,20,257, is now available for Rs 3,97,806. While prices in Chandigarh (due to the taxation factor ) are slightly lower than those in Punjab, in Haryana too the prices are a little low.

Hind Motors, an authorised dealer of Tata Engineering, today announced that with the lowering of Excise Duty on passenger cars from 40 per cent to 32 per cent in the Union Budget the full benefit of 8 per cent would be given to customers with immediate effect.

A press note issued by Hind Motors said there would be a reduction of Rs 18,000 in the price of Indica V2 DLF and Indica 2000 MPFI. The press note added that sales of Indica at 3651 in February had registered a sharp 23 per cent growth over January. The new Indica V2 launched in February had an excellent market response.

The automobile industry which has been facing a recession for the past more than one year, hopes to look up now. There will be more of first time buyers in the region, where cars have still not been able to enter the list of necessities in the common man’s budget. Now, when car prices are back to almost what they were nearly three years ago back and one can dream of buying a car by shelling out less than Rs 2 lakh, car penetration is expected to increase. More important, the industry thinks that the cuts will prod those who want to trade up.








Omni 5str.
















































LE (solid)



LE (metallic)



LS (solid)









GS(met) 4,20,257 3,97,806

These are ex-showroom prices in Chandigarh.



PM’s city visit cancelled

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — The Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee’s programme to inaugurate the new OPD of the PGI here on march 6 has been cancelled, according to the PGI Medical Superintendent, Mr A.K. Gupta.

He, however, gave no reason for the cancellation of the programme, which was to coincide with the prime minister’s visit to kurukshetra, where he is to dedicate kurukushetra panorama and science centre to the nation, besides laying the foundation stone of a project of the holy brahmahasarover. When contacted, Mr Parag Jain, Senior Superintendent of Police, confirmed the cancellation of the Prime Minister’s visit and said, “I am not aware why the PM has cancelled the visit”. According to him, the city police was fully prepared for the visit, adding that the city police could provide security cover to VVIPs on a very short notice.

Earlier, sources in the PGI had claimed that an intimation regarding the inauguration of the OPD by the Prime Minister on March 6 from the Prime Minister Office had reached the institute yesterday.


National convention of ex-servicemen begins
Tribune News Service

Brig Narinder Singh Sandhu addresses the National Convention of the War Decorated India at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Brig Narinder Singh Sandhu addresses the National Convention of the War Decorated India at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Saturday. 
— A Tribune photograph

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — The two-day triennial national convention of the War Decorated India (WDI) was inaugurated by the Punjab Minister for Defence Services Welfare, Mr Ajit Singh Kohat, here today.

The WDI is an association of ex-servicemen from all three services who have been decorated for gallantry in war. It was formed in 1991to further the interests of gallantry awardees and serve as a forum to highlight and look for solutions to problems faced by the recipients or their next of kin.

An estimated 250 recipients of Param vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra as well as next of kin of posthumous or deceased awardees attended the convention. Among them were Lt-Col Dhan Singh Thapa (retd), who was decorated with the PVC during the 1962 Chinese aggression and widows of two other PVC winners, Jamadar Nand Singh and L/Nk Karam Singh. Both had been decorated during the 1984 Kashmir operations. Jamadar Nand Singh had earlier been decorated with the Victoria Cross during World War II.

Speaking on the occasion, the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt-Gen Surjit Singh, said that the three services are coordinating with the government on the utilisation of the Kargil fund. Listing out the concessions and benefits extended by the Army to decorated soldiers, he assured them that HQ Western Command will always be available to extend any kind of help to ex-servicemen. He also pointed out that two sectors in the upcoming township of Anandgarh have been reserved for defence personnel.

In his address, Director Sainik Welfare Punjab, Brig K.S. Kahlon (retd), elucidated various schemes initiated by the state government for ex-servicemen, gallantry awardees and their dependents. He stated that among all other states, Punjab is giving maximum benefits to ex-servicemen or their next of kin.

Speaking on the occasion, Brig N S Sandhu, an MVC recipient, demanded that allowances and benefits extended to gallantry awardees should be at par with civilian honours such as the Arjuna Award. He also pointed out that the son of Lt-Col D R Rai, recipient of the first Maha Vir Chakra, is handicapped and needs help.

Earlier, in his welcome address, WDI president, Brig Sant Singh (retd), who, with two Maha Vir Chakras is the highest decorated surviving soldier, said that there should be transparency in the utilisation of funds generated during the Kargil operations. He also stressed that the monthly allowances for gallantry awards be enhanced. Achievements of the associations since its inception were also listed out by him.

Later, in an open session, WDI members listed out problems being faced by them, which were redressed or solutions suggested to them by the WDI’s executive committee. The most common grouse was that benefits and allowances have not been granted by state governments even after several years.

Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal hosted a dinner for all those attending the convention. A lunch is also being hosted for them by the Western Army Commander at Chandi Mandir tomorrow.


Spring Fest — a feast for the senses
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 3 — The colours of spring came alive at the Spring Fest, which commenced at the flower bedecked Town Park in Sector 5, here today. Two marigold elephants ‘lifted’ from the Topiary Park, holding garlands, stood at the entrance as part of the reception committee, while more such animals dotted the park’s landscape.

Performances at the festival included the spirited Haryanavi dance with the girls swaying to the folk music playing in the background. Other local dance troupes performed on the occasion making the palatial lawns resound with musical notes and merry-making. However, the dances lasted only till the VIPs were around, after which most artists were hardly seen. The `nihangs’ added vigour to the whole show with a ‘gatka’ show, which was quite an attraction though they also chose to relax most of the time.

While the ITBP and other bands played in the background all through the day, the artistically arranged flowers for the flower arrangement contest attracted a lot of people and won a lot of appreciation. There were orchids, asters, gladioli, roses, sweetpeas, dahlias and many more varieties arranged on the tables in a special enclosure.

A judge at the contest, Mr Satish Narula, informed that the verdict at the flower arrangement contest had been based on the bloom on the stems, the variety and the number of flowers in the arrangement.

Meanwhile, at the open-air theatre, contests for painting and mehndi were held. Rangolis in bright colours adorned the parking place within the premises of park. The fancy dress competition was an entertainer all the way and was the only item which saw the theatre packed to capacity.

Robots, Daler Mehandis swinging to the pect of their songs, pundits chanting mantras, Gandhis doling out messages of non-violence and Punjabi girls performing ‘giddha’ in front of the amused audience were a treat for everybody who thronged the venue.

The festival concludes tomorrow with a baby show, Hasya Ras Sammelan, Veer Ras Sammelan and folk dances. A prize distribution for all winners will be held in the evening at the venue.

Earlier, the festival was inaugurated by the State Minister for Town and Country Planning, Mr Dhir Pal Singh. He said that a new Gymkhana Club was on the cards on account of the growing number of members.

The results of today’s contests are as follows: Open to all exhibitors: Fresh Flower Arrangement: Ms Kavita Kansal (1), Mr Gurbax Singh (2); Dry Flower Arrangement: Anil Kansal (1), Alka Kansal (2); Mixed Flower arrangement: Ms Alka (1), Ms Swaran Lata Bansal(2); Arrangement for dining tables: Palwinder Kaur Bains (1), Simran Chopra (2); Arrangement for a corner: Veenu Gupta (1), Heena (2).

Open to children upto 15 years: Fresh flowers: Arjun (1), Sunny Kansal (2); Dry Flowers: Ankita Kansal (1), Arjun Chopra (2); Open to maalis: For central table: Ram Shankar (1), Shiv Prasad Mauriya and Suraj Mukhija (2); Artiostic boquet: Gurmeet Singh (1) Chaman Lal DAV (2), Artistic garland: Harish Chand (1) Ram Saran and Ram Saran Verma (2).

Cut Flowers: Open to individuals: Gladiolus: Mr Ram Chander (1), Mr Jaswant lal (2); Dahlia: Mr Ram Sunder (1), Ms Monica Madan (2); Carnation: Deepshikha Garg (1), Harsimran Kaur (2); Antirrhinum: Mr Ramshankar (1), Deepshikha Garg (2); Lupin: TL Eashwar (1), UD Kapre (2); Stock: Mr Deepshikha Garg (1), Rama Shankar (2).

Aster: Mr UD Kapre (1), Ramsunder (2); Sweet Peas: Director, PGI (1) Bhaiya Ram (2); Pansy: Ram Milan Moriya (1), Ms Deepshikha Garg (2); Rose hybrid: Mr Chanderma Singh (1), Ms Rajender Kumar (2); Rose flouribunda: Mr rama Shanker (1), Ms Sham Lal (2); Any other flowers: Mr Ram Chander (1), Mr ram Chander (2).

Painting competition: Below 6 years: Gurpret Kaur (Satluj Public School)-1, Saransh Chaufla (Hansraj School)-2; From 6 to 12 year: Chetna Goyal (Blue Bird)-1, Meenu Bhoria (Nav Bal Niketan School)-2; 12 years and above: Harsh (Haryana Model School)-1, Manu Goel (DC Model)-2; Open category: Anuj Goel (1), Akshit Malhotra (2); 6 to 12 years: Shivani Pathania (1), Varinda (2); 12 to 16 years: Neha Garg (1) Anand Sharma (2).

Best garden in schools: Hansraj Public School (1), Bhawan Vidyalaya (1).Back


Cylinder bursts in stall
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 3 — A minor mishap was reported at the Spring Fest when a cylinder burst in one of the stalls put up outside the Town Park, causing injuries to the stall owner this afternoon.

Gas leakage was stated to be the cause of the cylinder burst. No loss was reported and the stall owner was also discharged after administration of first-aid.


Trade unions flay Budget
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Leaders of several trade unions affiliated to the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation today described the 2001-2002 Central Budget as anti-working class.

A press note issued by the federation said during the discussion, several trade union leaders, including Mr Ramesh Kumar Chandolia, Sant Singh Saini, Mr R.S. Sandhu, Mr Narain Singh, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Ram Sanjeevan, Mr Satish Mittal and Mr Naranjan Singh condemned the Budget for not raising the income tax limit. They also denounced the Centre’s move for privatisation and a 10 per cent reduction in staff strength.

They flayed the NDA government for not providing relief to the working class. They added that all the benefits stated in the Budget were meant for big industries.

These leaders denounced the failure of the government to pay them bonus for the past three years.

The press note added that the subordinate staff of Chandigarh Administration would join the proposed massive rally to be organised in Chandigarh by the Punjab and UT Action Committee on March 22.


PUNSUP donates 11 lakh for quake victims
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Mr S.S. Rajput, Managing Director of PUNSUP, today presented a cheque for Rs 11,04,205 to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for relief to Gujarat Earthquake victims.

A press note issued by PUNSUP said the amount constituted two-day salary of all employees of the PUNSUP. The press note added that the PUNSUP also despatched 13 truck-loads of ration for community kitchen set up in Bhuj.

The Sector 47-D Welfare Association today presented a cheque for Rs 20,100 to the Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R Jacob, who is also Administrator of Chandigarh for earthquake victims of Gujarat.

A press note issued by Mr Nirmal Dutt, president of the association, claimed that the Governor appreciated the efforts of the people, most of whom were retired personnel from the Indian Air Force for collecting this amount from the low income group of the people to help their unfortunate brothers.


‘Help us help quake victims’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — A former local MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, today urged the Chandigarh Administration to take public representatives into confidence about the contingency plan prepared by it to meet any eventuality, which might arise because of an earthquake here.

Mr Jain was addressing an all-religion prayer meeting in the Palsora Colony, organised by the Ekta Rehri Market Welfare Society, Sectors 55 and 56, to pay homage to those killed in the Gujarat earthquake.

The local administration should not take anything for granted in the wake of the catastrophe in Gujarat and include the political and non-political representatives in the three-member committee, he added.


3 die as truck falls into khud
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 3—Three persons were killed at Nidana village this morning at around 6 a.m. when a truck, on its way to Derra Bassi, fell into a khud.

While the truck driver, Kabu Ram (35) and Babu Ram (30) died on the spot, the third person, Bhola (25), died in hospital later. The bodies of all three were brought to hospital where post-mortem was conducted.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the driver lost control of the truck, (PB-12-A-2389), causing the mishap. A case has been registered at the Chandi Mandir police station.

Meanwhile, the owner of the truck informed that the truck was on its way from Morni to Derra Bassi and was to be loaded with stones. 


NSS annual function
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — The NSS units of Guru Gobind Singh College Sector 26, organised their annual function here today as part of the weekly World Women celebrations.

The Chief Guest on the occasion was Mr C.L. Narang, Coordinator, NSS, Panjab University, who talked to the students on gender justice and the importance of educating the girl child. He also stated that population explosion and environment were two issues that required deliberations by the coming generations.

The principal, Ms Harjit Khanna welcomed the guests and motivated the students to carry on the mission they had taken up. A cultural programme was also presented.


Boy killed in mishap
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — A 2-year-old boy Mohd Jaid of Sector 47 reportedly died in the PGI after he fell from the roof of his house here today.

It is learnt that the boy climbed the railing on the roof while playing and slipped on the ground. He was rushed to the PGI. At the time of the accident, his parents were inside the house. The body of the boy was handed over to the parents after they ruled out any foul play, according to the police.


Body chooses office-bearers
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, March 3 — The following have been elected the office-bearers of the Zirakpur unit of the Hind Sangram Parishad: Chairman — Lieut-Col Babu Singh (retd); Organising Secretary — Wg Cdr Ravi Pabby (rtd), President — Ms Kulwant Kaur Sodhi; Senior Vice-President — Mr Manjit Singh Sabharwal; Vice-President — Mr Satish Bala; General Secretary — Ms Rani Rajdan; Joint Secretary — Ms Renuka Bahuguna and Press Secretary — Mr Ajay Bhagat.


Death traps on divider

Some time ago openings were made in the divider from the Railway flyover to Housing Board Chowk to drain out water which used to accumulate on both sides of the divider. While it has solved this problem, it has created another hazard which is more serious.

The openings are so wide that these offer easy passage to scooters, rickshaws and cycles. Several of these are seen crossing over to the other side of the road unmindful of the fast traffic. There is always a rush at these openings as they offer a short cut and there is no traffic police at the spot to check this practice.

It would have been better if these openings were smaller in size and more in number so as to prevent such illegal road crossing. These openings should be covered with cement slabs and the height of the divider should be raised. This will go a long way in preventing mishaps on this road. 

SP Mittal, Chandigarh 

Unfair step

It is strange that on one hand we keep harping about national integration and on the other work towards national disintegration. Even admission to professional courses are restricted to favour students from particular regions. It is ironic to talk of national integration and at the same time permit only those students who pass their 10+2 from Chandigarh to seek admission to the medical college at Chandigarh. Keeping students from Panchkula and Mohali out of the Chandigarh Medical College is a retrograde step, besides being highly unfair. Does it not violate the spirit of the Constitution which guarantees equal rights to all citizens of India?

I would appeal to the authorities concerned to think over it and make it clear to the public at large the position regarding other courses such as computer and information technology courses, being offered by the University and various colleges in and around Chandigarh.

Shashi Khanna, Panchkula 


A few weeks ago, a report in Chandigarh Tribune mentioned the beautification of Patiala’s Leela Bhawan and Baradari garden. As far as the beautification of Leela Bhawan is concerned, it has been done because some top bureaucrats are living there. It has hardly anything to do with the common man. Light and sound systems installed in the Baradari also create problems. Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner of Patiala had banned the use of high volume loud speakers. Now loud music in the Baradari garden disturbs the peaceful atmosphere besides distracting the students in the adjacent colonies from their studies when their annual examinations are round the corner.

Vijay Madan, Patiala 

Rose photographs

A major attraction at the Rose Festival in the Rose Garden was the set of photographs of roses. Visitors flocked to see these enchanting photographs. It would have been in the fitness of things if the young, physically handicapped lensman was given a suitable award for producing these colourful photographs. He is the only lensman (since the creation of the Zakir Husain Garden) to have photographed individual roses in such large numbers.

His contribution to enhancing the attraction of the Rose Festival should not go unnoticed by the UT administration.

VP Mehta, Chandigarh 


Bootleggers nabbed at different nakas
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, March 3 — The police arrested four bootleggers and recovered 1,650 pouches (396 bottles) of countrymade liquor from their possession, here today.

In a press statement issued by the Deputy Superintendent of Dera Bassi police, Mr H.S. Bhullar said that the accused were arrested at different nakas put in the subdivision.

He said, of the four accused, two, Ramesh Kumar and Satpal, residents of Ambala, were nabbed by a police party at a naka near Jawaharpur village when they were going in a jeep towards Ambala from Chandigarh. The police claims to have recovered 1,200 pouches (288 bottles) of countrymade liquor from their possession.

In another incident, Bikram Singh of Nasirpur village in Ambala was nabbed on the Amlala-Baroli road while he was carrying 250 pouches (60 bottles) of liquor while Suresh Kumar of Mahesh Nagar in Ambala cantonment was arrested, along with 200 pouches (48 bottles) on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road.

After registering cases under the Excise Act, the accused have been sent to the Central Jail, Patiala.


One hurt in clash
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — A fight broke out between students of the Sector 10 DAV College here during the annual-function of hostels late in the evening yesterday. A hostler reportedly sustained injuries, but no case was registered, according to police sources.

The trouble began at about 11 pm when a group of about 25 boys attacked a hostel resident with hockey sticks and baseball bats. However, some other students present there intervened and stopped the fight. The hostel resident, reportedly, sustained injuries on his head. The reason for the fight could not be known.

According to students of the college, the attackers also included some outsiders. The Principal of the college was not available for comments.


PGI’s photostat room raided
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — The local police reportedly raided a photostat room of the Kairon Block of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research and Education and arrested five persons for allegedly violating the Copy Right Act, here yesterday.

According to the sources in the Police Department, the raid was conducted after a Delhi-based publisher complained that his books were being photocopied and sold at much lesser prices by a few persons in the PGI.

It is learnt that the five persons arrested were photocopying books and were selling the copied ones for Rs 100 to Rs 200. Those arrested include, Charanjit Singh, Ram Bali Yadav, Davinder Singh, Ajay Kumar and Sonu. The police was said to be investigating the matter.


14-day remand for Food and Supplies Inspector
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 3 — District Food and Supplies Inspector, Pritpal Singh, was sent to 14 days judicial remand following registration of a case under Sections 420 and 120 B of the IPC, here today.

It was alleged that the Inspector, alongwith two assistant inspectors of the department, Onkar Sharma and Dilbagh Singh, had reported that the Indian Oil owned petrol station in Sector 14 was under-measuring petrol and diesel in supply short by 40 ml and 70 ml respectively for 5 litres after a raid. Subsequently, their sale units had been sealed and a case under Section 7, 10, 55 of the Essential Commodities Act was registered against the owner.

However, yesterday the trio broke open the sealed units, declaring that the fault in the units had been rectified, and the sale was resumed. Since no mechanics from the company had come, the correcting of the machine was suspected and the Deputy Commissioner asked the police to look into the matter.

When checked, Pritpal Singh was found to be drunk and was taken into custody. The other two assistant inspectors, however, managed to escape. The two are yet to be arrested and action against the petrol pump owners to be initiated.


Cyclist hit by truck, dies
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Harchand Singh was declared dead at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after the cycle he was driving was hit by a truck, near the Poultry Farm Chowk here yesterday. According to police sources, he was hit by a truck with only a chassis at about 1.30 p.m.

The driver of the truck (number not known) sped away alongwith the truck. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A was registered in the police station of Sector 31 and was said to be under investigation.

Rs 39,000 stolen
The local police registered a theft complaint, in which Rs 39,000 was reported to be stolen, here yesterday. According to police sources, Mr Santosh Kumar, of SCO No 82, Sector 38 complained that the amount was stolen from the cash box of the shop.

A case under Section 380 of IPC was registered.

2 scooters stolen
Meanwhile, the local police received two complaints of vehicle thefts from different parts of the city in the past 24 hours. Mr Dalwinder Singh of Phase III, SAS Nagar reported that his scooter (PB-12-D-2175) was stolen from a parking lot at the Panjab University Campus yesterday. Ms Minakshi Agnihotri, resident of APC Building, PGI reported that her scooter (CH-01-M-1794) had been stolen from in front of her residence yesterday evening.

Two cases under Section 279 of IPC has been registered.

Bootleggers held
The local police arrested two persons under the Excise Act and reportedly recovered 62 pouches of whisky from their possession, here yesterday. Ram Lota of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, was arrested from the colony, while Parlad Kumar was arrested from Dadumajra Colony. 

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