Monday, March 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Four international awards for Nek Chand
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — It was a moment of pride as much for the city as it was for Mr Nek Chand, the humble man who has raised India’s prestige in the comity of nations. As eminent foreign artists ascended the stage in the third phase of the Rock Garden tonight to confer awards on Padamshri awardee Mr Nek Chand, the heads around were held high with pride — that they shared the soil of Chandigarh along with Mr Nek Chand, who was the cynosure of all eyes today. At the conclusion of the two-day silver jubilee celebrations of the Rock Garden, its creator had four prestigious awards to boast of from leading art institutions in the world.

Among those who conducted the award-giving function were the same people whose names have been featuring in these columns for two days now. But one feels like repeating them once more, for the love and affection they showered on a man of humility, as also for the sensitivity they portrayed in respecting his vision.

The function was commenced by Prof Tony Raijers of the USA, who swept the show by speaking in Hindi. It must have been a two-page speech which the American artist had written last night. He

said, “I spent two hours to write the speech, but I wanted to honour Mr Nek Chand in the language he is most comfortable with.” The professor, following the adorable speech, presented Mr Nek Chand with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Folk Art Society of America.

The second award in line from the Folk Art Museum of America was presented on behalf of the museum by Dr Cheryl Rivers, who spoke very high of Mr Nek Chand. Her speech was laced with genuine emotion “Nek Chand’s art represents what is best in the global culture of our age. He draws from the Indian culture to create universal art. The Folk Art Museum of America is pleased to confer upon him this award in appreciation of the artistic genius of this world citizen and world artiste,” she stated.

Dr Cheryl was followed by Charlotte Frank from the Port Authority, New York and New Jersey.

What she spoke in honour of the artiste in Mr Nek Chand drew a loud applause. “Mr Nek Chand, we are humble before you, despite our great accomplishments. Your creations are unique and staggering. What we have achieved with so many people and so many million dollars, you have achieved alone. Your accomplishment is greater than ours. Our construction is powerful, overbearing; your work embraces nature. Humanity of this garden reaches out to us. We bring to you an expression of our admiration and respect in the form of this certificate of recognition and achievement from the Port Authority,” she said.

The fourth certificate was presented to Mr Nek Chand by Prof Tony Raijers on behalf of the Envision Society of Folk Art. This ceremony was followed by Mr Nek Chand reciprocating the affection showered by the foreign delegates. He presented special tokens of thankfulness to the 15 members of the delegation.

Earlier during the day, the Rock Garden kept reverberating with activity. From the workshop conducted by Mr Nek Chand to folk music from Haryana and Punjab to the amusing acts of baazigars and behrupias, the day served as a perfect recipe for excitement. Not to miss the mention of that special gift which city-based comedian Jaspal Bhatti got for Mr Nek Chand. He gifted him scrap for the garden. The came the amazing naqauls, the party of Mehar Chand, which delighted the audience with its presentation.

The colourful day at the Rock Garden finally gave way to a peaceful evening, with the city-based artiste Subhash Ghosh using fusion music to cast a magic spell on the audience. Among those who helped him weave a wonderful web was Wavel Sharma, the man very comfortable on the flute.

Meanwhile, Eminent thinkers, architects, engineers and members of Nek Chand Foundation discussed the importance of Rock Garden at a seminar on “Creativity Through Waste Recycling Towards Nature Conservation” held here today as a part of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Rock Garden.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr M.N. Sharma, the first Indian Chief Architect of Chandigarh recalled how Mr Nek Chand had come to him and shown his concept of the Rock Garden years ago. He said the works of Mr Nek Chand spoke more than him.

Mr U.K. Bhanot, a journalist, said that Mr Nek Chand was a practical visionary and untutored genius. He was a person gifted with a common sense and one who had used this common sense to the highest degree of creation.

One of the speakers, Mr I.J.S. Bakshi, Principal, Government College of Architecture, said Mr Nek Chand was a great violator of Chandigarh Administration’s rules and regulations regarding construction of buildings and structures. He had not sought any permission from the administration to carry out his creative work. He also drew a comparison between Mr Nek Chand and Le Corbusier. A special invitee in the seminar, Mr M.S. Antakh from Ludhiana remarked Mr Nek Chand had created a “devatian dee duniya” in his Rock Garden. He called him a born architect and creator and commented that the Rock Garden could be called the eighth wonder of the world.

Mr Nek Chand was also present at the seminar along with members of the Nek Chand Foundation. Mr R.K. Jain, Chief Engineer, UT and Mr Kuldeep Singh, Superintending Engineer. Mr Anton Rajer and Mr John Margil were among those who spoke on behalf of the foundation.


Goel questions MC panel election procedure
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The procedure framed recently by the Chandigarh Administration for electing four members of the Municipal Corporation to the Home Minister Advisory Committee has once again been questioned by a BJP councillor, Mr O.P Goel. As per the procedure, the four members have to be elected one by one by show of hands.

In a letter addressed to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P Singh, he has pointed out that if more than four persons nominate themselves for election to the said committee, then election by show of hands is not possible. Thirteen councillors have filed their nominations, and it is impossible to elect them by show of hands.

Mr Goel has suggested that the election of the four members in this case has to be by secret ballot by proportional representation. Other councillors are not in favour of secret ballot and maintain the elections by show of hands is simpler and less time consuming.

Earlier a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs had directed the Administration to constitute the said committee , which was to include the Administrator, the local MP, two members from the Zila Parishad, the Municipal Commissioner, four members of the Municipal Corporation, one SC/ST member from the Zila Parishad and one woman member from the district panchayat.

The matter of electing members was taken up in the House in November, but was deferred on account of lack of clarity on the election procedure. Mr Goel had in a letter addressed to the UT Finance Secretary sought information regarding the eligibility criteria, tenure of members and election procedure. The Administration had recently notified the procedure as per which all members, including elected and nominated, were eligible for the election to the said committee. The term of the four members to be elected would be two years and they were to be elected by show of hands.

Sources reveal that the procedure does not once again clearly spell out the last day of withdrawal of these nominations, the date of election, the presiding officer and the problem of electing four members by show of hands if more than four file their nominations, but MC officials on their part maintain that elections of these members will be at the next meeting of the House and they can withdraw the same even when the election process is on.

Objections are also being raised by certain BJP councillors on the filing of nomination by Mr Prem Sagar Jain. His name is not among the three names finalised by the party high command.


A date with nature on Saturdays
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have decided to declare, “Saturday’’ as Environment Day in all high and senior secondary schools. The directors of secondary education have asked the District Education Officers to direct the principals of the schools to implement this scheme which has been launched by the Environment Society of India.

The awareness-cum-action programme through lectures and practicals for the schools has 27 lessons included in an illustrated book ;’’ Saturday: School Environment Day’’ written by Dr K.K. Garg, S.K. Sharma and Sawant Sharma and published by the Children’s Alliance for Protection of the Environment. The 27 Saturday lessons include pollution on land and air, biodiversity conservation, water and vector borne diseases, common trees, medicinal and religious plants. The Environment Society of India will ensure the supply of books to all schools through District Education Officers and NGOs.

The schools will adopt the area around these institutions to carry out practical field work such as cleanliness, filling of depressions, removal of plastics and congress grass, tree plantation, watering and protection of plants constitute environment committees/eco clubs, set up nurseries, kitchen gardens, vermi-compost pits, exhibitions and ban plastics in schools.

The schools will carry out census of trees and identify the birds in and around the school campus. The Commonwealth Youth Programme, Regional office Chandigarh, has decided to support the ESI by holding three workshops and honour principal or teachers for their outstanding achievements on the World Environment Day, World Earth Day and World Wetland Day every year.


Spring Fest concludes
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 4—The Town Park of Sector 5 here was a confluence of people on the concluding function of the Spring Fest here today.

The crowd increased gradually and, by the afternoon, troupes of artistes were all over the garden. Visitors were dancing to the beat of music by the ITBP and CRPF bands.

Besides the cultural programme, children had a good time at the Hasya Ras Sammelan in Yavnika, the open-air theatre in the park. A Veer Ras Sammelan was also appreciated by the audience. Earlier, a baby show was also organised at the venue, besides dances by school students.

The two-day celebrations concluded with the chief guest, Mr NC Wadhwa, Chief Administrator of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, giving away prizes to winners of various contests held during the festival.

Mr Wadhwa praised the students who had presented a cultural programme. While a team of Blue Bird School danced to the tune of “Dhol Baje’’ a team of Moti Ram Arya School presented a Rajasthani song.

He stressed the need for conserving the environment. The Administrator of HUDA, Mr Shrikant Walgad, and the other officials of the Administration were also present at the function.


Gallantry awardees sore with govt
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — A cultural programme marked the end of the two-day triennial national convention of the War Decorated India (WDI) today. Besides election to the WDI’s executive committee, the convention served as a forum for gallantry awardees to highlight their problems.

According to a statement issued here today, gallantry awardees belonging to Punjab have expressed their dissatisfaction with the state government for not fulfilling the promises made and rendering only lip service to gallant soldiers of yester years and their widows.

After the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the then Chief Minister of Punjab had announced a reward of 10 acres to recipients of Maha Vir Chakra during a public rally at Jalandhar. These benefits were extended to recipients of Vir Chakra in 1981, who were to be allotted five acres. The statement added that when the awarded claimed land, they were told that suitable land was not available in the state and sanctioned monetary grant of Rs 30,000 and Rs 15,000 in lieu of 10 acres and five acres, respectively. The statement alleged that by discriminating against the awardees, the Punjab Government had cheated them and backed out of their promises, thereby rendering their achievements and sacrifices worthless.

The statement pointed out that the state government had repeatedly been amending the policy of allotting land by inserting new clauses and changing the date from which the policies were effective from to ensure that only vested interests were taken care of.

From the land allotment letters and from the available revenue records, it was evident that land was available in the state before, during and after the letters were despatched to affected soldiers and widows. This was willful and knowingly falsifying information, the statement added.

Further pointing out that land was even now available in the state, the statement added that agitated awardees had decided to meet the Chief Minister to bring this default of the government to his notice and seek justice.


THE Punjab Government had tied up with HDFC Bank for online donation for the Anandpur Sahib Foundation engaged in the construction of the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur in January last. However, sources in the Punjab Government reveal that till date not a ‘‘single donation’’ has come through the website.

The reason, sources say, is that the Punjab Government never bothered to inform the public about the website. When contacted Mr R.K. Verma, Additional Secretary to the Chief Minister, said: “When newspapers will carry the news about the website then only donations will pour in.’’ Interestingly, a press note about the website was sent to The Tribune office last week — after almost two months of the tie-up with the bank.

Anyhow, the interested persons can send online donations for the Khalsa Heritage Complex at

Locked doors

The next time you go to the Estate Office of Chandigarh and find a lock on the door of the officer you want to meet, do not get depressed. The officer might be in the room!

It is learnt that some of the officers in the Estate Office put lock on their rooms in order to ‘‘keep the visiting public off’’.

On Friday last one of our correspondents went to the office to meet a Superintendent and found a lock hanging on his room’s door. So the correspondent asked another employee in the office where to find him.

The employee told him that the Superintendent might be in his room but the correspondent informed him about the lock. He said: “Go from the back side. Actually the officers here at times put lock on the door to keep off the public.”

However, when the correspondent went in the room from backside door, the Superintendent was not in his room, but another colleague of his was there.

“Funny” plates

The plates in which the meals are served in some of the girls hostels in the Panjab University resemble those which you will “find in the PGI or any other hospital”. Meaning, plates with inbuilt katoris.

So what’s the problem? The girls reportedly face difficulty in picking dal and curd from the shallow bowls of the plates. And of course, the spoons provided to them are not the regular table spoons but tea-spoons.

On the other hand, in the boys hostels the meal is served in proper katoris and thalis. A university authority when asked why the girl residents are not given the proper thalis and katoris, remarked (though jokingly): “Actually the girls eat less, so small katoris for them. Boys consume more and so the bigger katoris for them.”

The inmates say that they have now got accustomed to the plates but when their visitors come during the lunch or dinner time, they find the plates ‘‘very funny’’.

Land offer

The Anandgarh Development Authority has offered between 50 and 100 acres of land to Infosys Technologies Limited, a software company, to set up its campus in Shingariwala village. The village is to be acquired for the Anandgarh project.

When one of our correspondents asked an official in the Authority about the response of the Infosys, he said: “We are waiting for their decision but the anti-Anandgarh Samiti people did come to us protesting against the offer the day news about the proposal to Infosys was published in the Chandigarh Tribune.”

Picture of neglect

Water storage tanks for Panjab University hostels show leakages and portray a picture of neglect.

Several of the tanks built on the ground floor level with enhanced storage capacity as compared to the earlier ones are showing constant problems. A student said that “we are not complaining of water problem alone. Cleanliness and better sanitation will not be a bad change.”

Several old water tanks on rooftops of the hostel block are empty, littered with garbage and filled with insects at places. Cleaning up will not be a bad exercise even if the university raises its hands and asks the students to help it.

Helping hand

Help from social and nongovernment organisations in disciplining the road users in Mohali appears to have found little favour with the local police. While the police is going all out in implementing traffic rules, some social organisations have been knocking at the door of police for their contribution for the cause.

After receiving no assistance one such organisation, Rotary Club of Mohali, has launched a unique project of erecting traffic road signs along main roads in the town without any assistance from the police. Rotary Club is providing beautifully designed road signs at a cost of Rs 4 lakh along a main road in the town. The club is also taking upon itself the responsibility of disciplining the bus and truck drivers through motivation.

Single door

For hundreds of advocates, litigants, staff employees of the District Courts, there is only one gate through which they can enter or leave the court premises. There used to be two entrance gates but one was recently closed down after a bomb rumour. This has led to confusion and chaos and number of traffic jams every day.

For art’s sake

An artist’s sensitivity is often reflected in more ways than just through his works. This was affirmed after meeting the illustrious Prabal Pramanik, the master artist of paper cutting, who has assumed many responsibilities upon himself. It was way back that he came and settled in Bhamlad, a village in Himachal Pradesh, located about 40 km from Pathankot.

That was the time when there was no power or water supply in the village. But Prabal chose to stay there, along with his wife Priya who is a doctor. They have both been in Bhamlad for 17 years and interestingly, every year they went on building a room each. So today Prabal has 17 rooms in his house and each one spills art in its own special way. He teaches the art of paper cutting to villagers free of cost and has helped many of them earn a living through this art.

His wife Priya treats villagers all for Rs 20. More than that, Prabal also actively participates in the development of the village. Thanks to him, the sleepy village is now not just advanced, but also famous for the fact that it houses world-renowned Prabal Pramanik who owns 6,500 original art pieces in his gallery and 8,500 classic books in his library!

Odd quiz

In a inter college quiz held at the local Government College for Girls, Sector 11, students in their enthusiasm thought of a novel idea to put questions to the participants. They acted out a personality accompanied by a song in the background as clues to detect which personality was being asked about. Starting with Jhansi ki Rani to Maharaja Ranjit Singh to Guru Gobind Singh, the round was highly enjoyed by the students.

But many of the audience thought differently about the round. They felt that songs like “ankh mare oh ladka ankh mare” for Maharaja Ranjit Singh and “Munda toon hai Punjabi Sona” for Guru Gobind Singh were not in good taste.

That’s history

History students may or may not learn about the past but they definitely excel in telling stories, even when writing their exams. In the recently concluded MA semester examination of a neighbouring university students wrote many creative things about Indian history completely bypassing commonly understood facts as a university teacher told us.

The Permanent Settlement was attributed to Robert Clive. Clive’s origin in a padre’s family was considered to be of tremendous significance for his military exploits in India.

Aurangzeb was considered to be the destroyer of the Mughal empire rather than one who spent all his life in military camps trying to save the empire. The people of India were said to have benefited considerably under the rule of the East India Company.

Gen JBS Yadav

Maj Gen J B S Yadav, serving as Major-General, General Staff (MGGS), at Headquarters, Western Command, Chandimandir, has, on promotion to Lieutenant General, been appointed as General Officer Commanding 16 Corps at Nagrota near Jammu.

An infantry officer belonging to 11 Gorkha Rifles, he has earlier commanded a division deployed in counterinsurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He is decorated with the Vir Chakra for gallantry.

CDA online

The Central Defence Accounts (Officers) has gone online, making it accessible at anytime and from anywhere. The CDA website,, provides complete information on pay and allowances of defence officers as well as other topics of direct interest. Forms can be downloaded and queries can be referred via the Internet. Officers can also send e-mail at

Back to cycle

In this individualistic world, where community welfare has taken a backseat, Sub-Inspector R.C. Pannu, posted at the Sector 17 police station, has decided to set an example for society by reverting to a bicycle as a mode of transport so as to save the depleting oil resources and to avoid contributing to the air pollution.

The police officer, who had joined the UT police as a constable in 1976, came upon this idea of saving fuel almost one and a half years back, when he read a news report regarding the country’s oil pool deficit. “In our village, it is believed that a person under debt cannot live with his head held high. Since our motherland is deeply under debt, how can a true son of the soil enjoy luxuries like cars and scooters and further add to the debt? So I decided to lessen the burden on my motherland and decided to use a bicycle as a mode of transportation, ” he says.

He claims that he has also been able to influence a few other individuals and they too now prefer using a bicycle as a mode of transportation, including a police constable, a cook and a school headmaster. He says that using a bicycle has also proved to be light on his pocket. “By not using a scooter, I save as much as Rs 600 a month and I am now keeping aside this money for getting a classroom constructed in the government school in my native village, Thurana in Hisar,” explains the good samaritan.

Best campus

The hard work put in by the staff of the Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, Sector 32, finally bore fruit when its campus was declared the “best college campus”, contests for which were held as part of the “Festival of Gardens” recently.

The achievement was all the more credible as the campus has been transformed into a lush lawn from a virtual jungle in a span of only one-and-a-half years, claimed Mr B. Kishore, a member of the faculty.

The campus was awarded the second prize last year.

Sick hospital

Recently, Mr Man Mohan Moudgil from Sector 4, Panchkula, went to Government Hospital, Sector 16, to visit a friend and was appalled to see the poor sanitary condition there. The washbasin were broken and leaking, bathrooms were unhygienic and stinking and the staff was as uncourteous as ever.

Infact, the leakage from one of the washbasins was so bad that the mattresses of the patients were getting soaked in the bargain.

Mr Moudgil says that this was the condition of the hospital on the day when the UT Administrator, Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob, was on a visit and the authorities had supposedly made the best attempt to be presentable.

Wonder what the sanitary conditions are like on any other normal day , he adds quizzically. Obviously bad, very bad, Mr Moudgil.

Way to go!

Gurpreet Singh despite being mentally challenged is a special boy. The 15-year-old student of Government Institute of Mentally Disabled , Sector 32, has been chosen for the national floor hockey team to participate in the special olympics to be held later this year in Alaska.

The youngster, after a two year course in cookery and baking in the institute, is managing the newly opened juice bar at the Chef Lakeview , the restaurant complex run by the CITCO at Sukhna Lake. Way to go Gurpreet.

Roses all the way

Where there is will there is the way, seems the motto of Aman Gupta, a city based photographer who put up an impressive photo exhibition called “my rose garden” during the festival of gardens.

An electronics engineer, Aman who remained in coma for a couple of months following a serious road accident virtually came out of the jaws of death - a triumph of indomitable spirit over disability.

Sentinel wishes Aman many more such exhibitions. Amen!

— Sentinel



Bansal seeks BBMB membership for UT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, yesterday urged the Centre to accord membership in the Bhakra Beas Management Board to Chandigarh.

Mr Rajiv Sharma, a spokesman of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee said Mr Bansal made this demand while taking part in the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Electricity Regulatory Commission (Amendment Bill). He asserted that this was the right time for Chandigarh under the Punjab Reorganisation Act.

Mr Bansal also assailed the hike in the minimum charge for domestic consumers. On the one hand the administration exhorted the people to save power while on the other people were penalised for saving power, he said.

Mr Bansal urged the Union Minister for Power to keep the interest of the people in mind while talking about nationalisation of electricity tariff. In his effort to bring about reforms the Centre should not ignore the poor people. “Progress and development would have meaning only if every citizen enjoy the fruits of Independence,” he added.


Complete justice not done to journalists’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The National Union of Journalists (India) today described the modifications made by the Central Government in the recommendations of the Justice Manisana Singh Wage Board for journalists as “inadequate”.

In a resolution adopted by the national executive committee of the union on the second day of its two-day meeting here, it regretted that despite assurances by several Cabinet Ministers the Central Government had not done complete justice to working journalists.

While appreciating the Centre’s intervention, the NUJ (I) expressed its dissatisfaction over the modified dearness allowance (DA) formula. The resolution said while the government did raise the level of neutralisation of DA at the upper level of pay scales, it ought to have implemented the just principle of full neutralisation for all, followed by the Fifth Pay Commission.

The union felt that the different level of neutralisation for different levels of basic pay tended to condemn senior and more skilled workers to a permanent disability. The formula was not only anti-merit but had also failed to recognise the sound principle of giving better remuneration to persons with higher responsibilities in an organisation. Besides, it condemned all those who were in the upper income bracket because their pay packet would continue to diminish as inflation would rise, both in current value and constant value. However, the Centre’s decision to restore the All-India Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the base for calculating DA, as against the regional factor that the board sought to introduce, was welcomed.

The NUJ(I) said the government should have reviewed the entire pay scales and restored the parity of journalists with university teachers that successive wage boards had done. It said the partial review of the pay scales to remove the discrimination in regard to increments had resulted in a number of anomalies. Journalists at the lower level would get more than those at the higher level.

It regretted that the Union Labour Ministry had taken a narrow view of the government’s decision regarding the removal of discrimination in the annual increments resulting in this serious anomaly. It should be corrected by immediate revision of the scales, giving the same level of increments all along the scale instead of confining it to an artificial cut-off level.

The union also demanded that the pay scales recommended by the board for the lowest four classes of newspapers should be reviewed.

The resolution said while the government upscaled compensation for part-time journalists from 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the benchmark basic pay, it had not extended any benefit other than the basic pay and DA. Nor had any scheme been devised to protect this section of journalists which was the most exploited lot in this profession.

The resolution pointed out that the gap in the CPI benchmark and the actual date of implementation of the wage board recommendations had created confusion about the payment of annual increments due in that period.

Expressing concern over the absence of any follow-up action on the notification issued by the Centre to enforce the modified recommendations, the NUJ(I) regretted that several newspaper establishments had dared to disregard the notification even though it was legally binding on them. Certain newspapers were openly announcing their refusal to implement. As a result the threat to job security had increased and working journalists were under increasing pressure to turn themselves into contractual workers or face unemployment.

The NUJ(I) demanded that the Union Labour Minister should take immediate take steps to constitute a Central tripartite committee to oversee the implementation of the wage board recommendations. Similarly, the Prime Minister should intervene and ask the states to constitute such committees in the respective states also.

It also demanded an amendment to the Working Journalists Act to provide for a meaningful penalty for those managements which failed to implement the wage board recommendations.


Press Club poll on March 25
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The elections to the Governing Council of the Chandigarh Press Club will be held on March 25 in the club premises. A decision to this effect was taken at the Annual General Body meeting of the members held recently.

According to the election notice issued by the Honorary Returning Officer, Mr Surinder Singh, elections will be held to fill the posts of president, senior vice-president, two vice-presidents, one secretary general, one secretary, two joint secretaries and a treasurer.

As per the election schedule, the list of voters will be displayed by 4 pm on March 15; the candidates can file their nominations between 3 pm and 5 pm on March 17 and 18.

The scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on March 20 till 4 pm and the final list of candidates will be displayed after scrutiny by 5 pm. The candidates can withdraw their nominations papers on March 21 between 3 pm to 5 pm and the candidates lists after withdrawals will be displayed on March 21 by 8 pm.

The polling, if necessary, will take place on March 25 between 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. 


Mission renders yeoman service
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — Supply of need-based relief material at the doorstep of the quake victims in 32 villages around Rapar has made members of the Vishav Ruhani Gurmat Mission a household name in Gujarat.

A team of 150-odd volunteers of the mission is back here after spending three weeks in Rapar.

The quake victims and the Speaker of the Gujarat Assembly, Mr Dhirubhai Shah, not only appreciated the “selfless spirit” with which volunteers of the mission reached each and every remote corner of the quake-ravaged area assigned to them but also the manner in which they conducted a survey before the disbursement of relief material besides organising a community kitchen for 10,000 persons a day for three weeks continuously.

The relief was disbursed in accordance with the status of the victim. Families which were poor and had lost all their breadwinners in the quake were given more as compared to those who were either slightly better off or were lucky to survive with lesser damage and losses.

Sant Waryam Singh, founder of the mission, said that relief material worth Rs 1.27 crore was disbursed by the 150-odd member teams from the mission which spent more than three weeks in the quake-torn Gujarat towns.

“Each quake-hit family,” he said,” was given a minimum of 42 items, including sufficient supply of wheat flour, rice, cereals and pulses, sugar and gur, match boxes, candles, tarpaulins, tents, new clothes, blankets and other items of daily use.”

The mission teams in Gujarat, he said, had divided themselves into three groups. One group conducted a survey of the quake-ravaged villages and made an assessment of the immediate requirements of people. The second team would go to the village concerned with relief material the next day and supply all 42 items to each family. The third team managed the headquarters and organised the community kitchen where people from even upper castes, including Patels, had started taking food regularly.

“We were able to win them over. They were impressed with the manner in which volunteers of the mission conducted themselves. This included their recitation of Gurbani in the morning after a bath and observation of the strictest norms of personal hygiene, cleanliness and method of cooking about which Gujaratis are very particular. Once they realised that the volunteers of the mission had come to them with the sole aim of selfless service, they accorded them all respect, help and cooperation. This, in turn, made our access to remote areas quicker and smoother. They provided us with some additional vehicles besides extending other help to us,” members of the mission team who have returned from Gujarat, said.

Sant Waryam Singh said that after detailed news of the devastation caused by the January 26 quake started reaching here, a meeting of the mission was held on February 2 where it was decided to get a report from the affected areas before sending any relief teams there. It was also pointed out that volunteers going there should be properly immunised as there was every possibility of an epidemic breaking out.

“But I could not sleep the whole night and the very next day decided to send relief and a team of volunteers to help people in distress. Nineteen truckloads of relief material were despatched on February 4. Subsequently, 11 more trucks were sent.

“We not only sent 5,000 tents and nearly 30,000 blankets but also supplied each and everything needed by the victims for their immediate relief and rehabilitation,” Sant Waryam Singh said. He appreciated the role of The Tribune in disseminating information about the relief material being sent to Gujarat and also in contributing its share in raising donations for the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Because of the reports in The Tribune and its Internet edition, many of the followers of the mission settled abroad volunteered to contribute for the relief and rehabilitation programmes, he said referring to offers made by an NRI family from Canada to send tents to Gujarat.

He felicitated the Editor of The Tribune, Mr Hari Jaisingh, at the weekly samagam of the mission at Ratwara Sahib, near here, today.

Sant Waryam Singh said that during major floods in Punjab some years ago, the mission had disbursed relief material worth Rs 1.25 crore among the victims.



Wheat-paddy rotation ruinous: Kalkat
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — Wheat-paddy rotation is harmful to Punjab agriculture as it is depleting the underground water resources significantly.

This was stated by Prof G.S. Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, at the XXIV Indian Social Science Congress at Panjab University here today. This was a special session organised by the local chapter of the Indian Political Economy Association on ‘ Agricultural development in India; Retrospect and Prospects’ with special focus on the north-west region.

Professor Kalkat said that diversification was the need of the hour. He also said the country imported Rs 7,800 crore worth edible oil annually, which could be arrested only through diversification of crops to seeds. He underlined need for minimum support prices.

Dr H.S. Sidhu spoke on the acute indebtedness of farmers in Punjab. The major highlight of his talk was that the commission agents had hegemonic control over short-time credit markets.

Dr V.K.Nayyar, a senior soil chemist from PAU, expressed concern over soil degradation in the state in relation to the sustainable agricultural production. Increasing biotic pressure due to rapidly increasing human and livestock population had been the major cause of loss of vegetable cover.

Dr P.S. Rangi said an economically viable land holding in Punjab was five hectares. Farmers below this were living in a critical condition.

Dr M.S. Sidhu, an economist, said the migrant labour constituted 10 per cent of the total agricultural labour force in the state. They were mostly from Bihar and a small proportion from Uttar Pradesh.

Dr H.S. Mehta said one of the solutions to the present agrarian crises was opening the Pakistan border. This would open lot of opportunities for marketing their produce of the farmers.

Prof K Gopal Iyer, the local organiser of the Indian Political Economy Association, said Indian agriculture was going through adverse terms of trade. One of the characteristics of the social change of the last five decades had been process of pauperisation and proleterianisation, which was reflective in the percentage of cultivator and the increase in the percentage of agricultural labourers.

Dr Iyer said Indian agriculture faced negative subsidy. The USA and many European countries continued to give high subsidy to farmers, he added.

Dr Dolly Arora introduced the subject. The basic thrust of the seminar was to understand the nature of agrarian crises and agrarian problems faced by Punjab agriculture, she said.



Nanaksar samagam concludes
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The week-long “samagam” at the Sector 28 Nanaksar Gurdwara concluded today with the completion of Akhand path of Guru Granth Sahib, of Japuji Sahib and Sri Sukhmani Sahib. The completion of Sampat paths was followed by a special congregation in which eminent ragis and Sikh scholars participated.

The “samagam” was held under the aegis of Sant Baba Sadhu Singh Nanaksar of Kaleran.

Sant Baba Sadhu Singh and his group were joined by several other eminent ragis, including Bhai Harbans Singh Jagadhriwale, Bhai Chaman Lal of New Delhi and Bhai Daljit Singh of Delhi and others, in a special kirtan darbar held on the penultimate day of the samagam.

A continuous community kitchen was organised throughout the “samagam” was attended by which followers of Sant Baba Ishar Singh of Kaleran and Nanaksar from the US, the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and Canada.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was among those who attended the concluding congregation this morning. 


Pandit Lek Ram remembered
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — A function was held at the Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 16, here today to commemorate the death anniversary of Pandit Lekh Ram, a stalwart of the Arya Samaj in the late 19th century.

Prof Rajender Jigyasu, spoke on the occasion and highlighted the achievements of Pandit Lekh Ram, his life and philosophy.

Justice D.V. Sehgal was the chief guest.


Students’ clash: two held
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The police arrested the president of the DAV College Students Central Association, Gurpreet Singh Brar, and another student, Surinder Shokal, here today for breach of peace, threatening and causing serious injury with a blunt weapon.

According to the information available, the student leader, along with a few other boys, beat up two youths — Narinder of DAV College and Himmat Singh — in Sector 15 last night while they were returning home from the university hostel number 1, where they had gone for dinner. The police has booked them under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC.

Last night’s clash was a sequel to the clash that took place between two rival groups of students on the day of the hostel function on March 2. Sources pointed out that trouble was brewing between the two groups since council elections held in October last year.

The accused allegedly first went to the college hostel in search of a few other students of the rival group. They reportedly came across one youth, but the latter ran away. The accused later met their rivals in Sector 15 and a clash broke out.



One killed in road mishap
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, March 4 — One person was charred to death and another injured when a canter in which they were travelling plunged into a ditch on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, 3 km from here, on Saturday night.

According to sources, the deceased — Mr Surjit Singh of Mahiwal village, near Dera Bassi, and his 20-year-old son, Rajinder Singh, were coming from Chandigarh. The canter rolled down when it was being overtaken by another vehicle.

The ill-fated canter rammed into trees crushing the driver, Surjit Singh on the spot.

Rajinder Singh was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. The body was sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem.

Meanwhile, the Dera Bassi police has registered a case.


Thief arrested, 3 cars recovered
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 4 — The Sohana police has arrested Chamkaur Singh, a member of the inter-state gang of car thieves, and recovered three cars.

A car stolen from Patiala which was being driven by the suspect while on the way to Saneta from Banur has also been recovered. Mr GS Chauhan, SP, SAS Nagar, said the SHO, Sohana, received a tip-off that the suspect, a resident of Gobind Colony in Rajpura, was coming towards Saneta in the car (CHK 6792).

On being questioned the suspect confessed to having stolen two cars from Chandigarh and Patiala. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.

Meanwhile, the local police has intensified patrolling in view of the Holla Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib.


Car driver booked:
A woman car driver was arrested by the police after her car hit a rickshaw-puller, Ravi, near the Sector 32 fire station yesterday. Ms Prem Aneja, a resident of Sector 41, was arrested by the police under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC after her car (PB-10-8707) hit the rickshaw-puller and seriously injured him. The victim was admitted to the PGI.

Theft reported:
In yet another incident of burglary, two wrist watches and some gold ornaments were reportedly stolen from a house in Sector 29-A, while the owner, Mr Chinmai Sarkar, was away from the house.

According to the FIR registered under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC at the Industrial Area police station, it is learnt that someone broke in the house and decamped with the valuables.

Illegal sale of liquor:
The police has arrested two persons for selling wine from their residences without any licence. An FIR under sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against Sunil Kumar and Sunna Ram, both residents of Dadu Majra. While four pouches of wine were recovered from Sunil Kumar, seven pouches were recovered from Sunna Ram.

Booked for assault:
A resident of Kajheri village was reportedly beaten up at his residence by Prem Singh and his three sons, Gurnam Singh, Jasbir Singh and Balkar Singh, yesterday afternoon. The police has arrested Prem Singh and booked him under Sections 323, 452 and 34 of the IPC.

Impersonators booked:
The police booked Prabhkar Pandit and Rajesh Kumar Roshan, residents of Parghari village in Banka district of Bihar, under Sections 419, 467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC on charges of impersonation and criminal conspiracy for appearing as candidates in place of two others in the railway recruitment examination at Government Model School, Sector 10.

Prabhkar Pandit was appearing in the examination in place of Vasdev, while Rajesh Kumar Roshan was impersonating as his younger brother, Rajiv Kumar Roshan.

One injured:
Prem Chand was seriously injured when he was run over by a bus near Banur this afternoon. He sustained injuries on his head and was admitted to the PGI.


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