Monday, March 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 killed in bus-car collision
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 18
Two persons were killed and two others sustained severe injuries in two separate accidents on the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway during the past 24 hours in the Dera Bassi subdivision.

Two persons died on the spot and one sustained serious injuries in a head on collision involving a Haryana Roadways bus and a Delhi bound Indica car in Singhpura village on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway at 2 p.m. near Zirakpur on Sunday.

Sources said that the bus (HR-37-8718) and the car (DL-2CM-1778) collided head on while the car was overtaking a rehri which was loaded with iron strips on the highway. The car was on its way to Delhi when it collided with the bus approaching from the opposite direction. The bus carrying over 50 passengers was on its way to Shimla from Saharanpur.

Two car occupants, Jaswant Kaur (55), an advocate of the Delhi High Court, and her driver, Mr Rakesh Kumar (25), died on the spot, while their third companion, Mr Avtar Singh, sustained injuries. Ms Jaswant Kaur was a resident of Kailash Colony of New Delhi while the driver belonged to Paharganj in New Delhi.

The seriously injured, Mr Avtar Singh (55), who is also an advocate of the Delhi High Court was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Where his condition is said to be critical.

Eyewitnesses said due to the collision the rehri was overturned and its rider fled from the spot. The car was completely damaged.

The passers-by and local residents extricated the body of Jaswant Kaur while that of Rakesh Kumar was extricated by the police personnel after breaking open the door of the car. The impact was so intense that the right side of the car was completely smashed and the driver’s body got entangled in the ill-fated vehicle in a badly mutilated state.

An eyewitness said that the bus was moving at a very high speed and the collision was so forceful that the car bounced off the road after being hit by the bus.

Following the accident, vehicular traffic on the highway was disrupted for over one-and-a-half hour. The commuters have to opt the alternative routes to reach their destinations.

The police has arrested the driver and the conductor of the bus and after impounding both the vehicles a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against them.

Meanwhile, another person sustained injuries in another accident involving a Swaraj Mazda (Canter) and a multi axle vehicles on the diversified stretch of the Bhankharpur-Dera Bassi of the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway near DAV School, Dera Bassi, on Saturday night.

Sources in the Police Department said, Mr Naresh Kumar, the Canter (PIP-5799 driver sustained head injuries when the multi axle vehicle (HRE-5657) which was coming from the opposite direction collided with it.

Injured Naresh Kumar, a resident of Mubarikpur village, was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. While the driver of the other vehicle reportedly fled from the spot.

After the collision the Canter, carrying about four tons of desi ghee over- turned, which resulted into the scattering of the ghee tins on the road. Traffic on this road was also affected adversely.

A case has been registered. 


Panel recommends fee hike for PU students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Hundreds of students in colleges affiliated to Panjab University this year will pay Rs 5 per month as a contribution for upgrading the library facilities at the Extension Library at Ludhiana.

Although still unclear about the details, it is recommended that the amount will be collected “ by the respective colleges”.

This year Panjab University seems to be bent on making pockets of students lighter with increase in fee on more than one account. The students are already likely to contribute Rs 100 each annually for the construction of a sports hostel. There are also indications of increase in fee for entry in the NRI quota in certain departments.

A high-level committee under the chairmanship of Prof K.N. Pathak has decided “that Rs 5 per month be collected from each student and handed over to the Librarian, Extension Library, Ludhiana”. The decision will be conveyed to all Principals for necessary action from the forthcoming session.

The committee included S. Verma, Dr Amarjit Singh Dua, Mr A.R. Sethi, Harmit Kaur, Jaswant Singh Gill and Prof Satish Kumar Sharma.

It was pointed out that the “library auditorium needed early renovation. Due to constant use, the auditorium had become unservicable and needed replacement”.

A senior fellow said, “the university needed to clarify what colleges were included in list of “respective colleges”.

It was also recommended that “ rates for the booking of the auditorium be enhanced by 100 per cent in order to earn more revenue”. The current rate of use of the hall for seminars and meetings has been increased to Rs 2000 from the existing Rs 1,000; for purpose of plays to Rs 4,000; and for functions on non-working days and those beyond 10p.m. there will be an extra levy of 25 per cent.

Rates have also been doubled up for tea, light refreshment, lunch and for the use of generator.

The recommendations will come up for a formal nod before the university house in the forthcoming meeting.

The fee structure for foreign, NRI and NRI-sponsored students for the MCA and BE ( chemical) courses will be $ 4000 instead of the existing fee of $ 3000. For the rest of the courses in the same quota the fee will remain the same, sources said.

The proposed rate of tuition fee for BA, B.Com and B.Sc classes is Rs 57 per month; Rs 63 for MA. The late fee with the permission of the principal will be Rs 125 and with permission of the VC Rs 625.


Students made to pay for PECFEST concert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Against existing practices, students of Punjab Engineering College also had to pay money for entering the show area of the ‘Euphoria’ concert held on the college campus and organised by the campus students themselves here today.

Heated arguments were witnessed during the day which forced the organisers to cut down the entrance fee by half. When contacted by The Tribune, an organiser said, “There were minor differences which had been sorted out.”

When asked about the money being charged, he said the money was being collected on donor’s card. The event, however, did not mark any issue (social or academic) as the reason for which the donations were needed.

It was said the students who were participating in other events, including declamation, debate and quiz besides informals, also had to pay the entry fee. “This is unheard of in such college events. Not even a mention has been made in the information booklets regarding the fee for the programmes,” a student said.

The programme started well over an hour behind the scheduled time. The rush was tremendous and the mood clearly upbeat. The crowd was swinging on the tunes right from the word go.

With the PECFEST at the Punjab Engineering College, Sector 12, concluded here this evening.

As many as 40 engineering colleges from other parts of the country had taken part in the fest and over 150 students of various colleges were stationed at the college campus. The results of the various competitions held during the PECFEST were also declared today. Damini Puri of PEC was declared best speaker.

In the debate Ashutosh Bhardwaj and Manu Prabhkar stood first in the boy’s section while Damini Puri and Simarpreet were first in the girl’s section.

Quiz competition results: Vivek Ghai (PEC) and Siddharth Chauhan (DAV College, Sector 10) were first, while the team of Kamal and Gaurav of DAV College, Sector 10, was declared second. In the extempore speech contest Vikram Saini, Siddharth Chauhan and Nitesh Sharma were decleared first, second and third, respectively.

In the Wordsworth poetry contest the first position went to the team of Mohit Jolly, Vivel and Arushi. The second position was bagged by Ashish, Deepti and Vivek. The team of Amit, Sachin and Padam were declared third.

The following were the results of the Hash competition: First — Sachin Kataria, Simran Kaur and Anuj Sharma (PEC); Second — Mohit, Padam and Damini (PEC) and Third — Anirudh, Manav and Kartik (IITT).


Water shortage to continue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The onset of summer months brings along with it the problems of water shortage in the city. Though the season is yet to start, but the residents of Sectors 29, 21 and 22 have already reported of low water pressure in their areas.

This only indicates that the problem if not tackled properly may assume graver dimensions in the coming months.

Few residents of Sector 29-D have pointed out the problems being faced by them on account of inadequate supply and low water pressure. According to them, the water supply in the morning is from 5.30 am to 6.45 am and the evening supply is from 7 pm to 9pm. Infact, the top storeys of most of the houses in the area are not getting any water supply. The same is true of residents of Sector 21 C and D and 38, who get water for just about two hours in the morning.

The Superintending Engineer (Public Health), Mr Manmohanjit Singh, when contacted, said the problem is due to two motors of 450 HP lying burnt in Sector 32 water works, which feeds these areas. The small motors which presently functioning at the water works, was not able to pump enough water to feed the top storeys. However, the problem is likely to be sorted out once the motors are repaired within the next two days.

Mr Singh has further appealed to the city residents to use water carefully as problems largely arise because of their indiscriminate use of water.

Giving figures he disclosed that already the demand has touched 75 million gallons per day (MGD) against the available supply of 64 MGD. He advised the residents to exercise restraint while using hose pipes for washing cars, driveways and watering lawns.

Meanwhile, the residents should also check their overhead tanks for leakages. Civic officials have urged people on the ground floor in particular to save water, so that people on upper floors do not suffer.


Water costliest in SAS Nagar
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 18
Despite a 25 per cent roll back in water tariff by the local municipal council at its recent meeting, the domestic consumers in the town continue to pay more their counterparts in Chandigarh and Panchkula. 
Water supply tariff comparison
  Domestic Commercial
  (per KL) (per KL)
SAS Nagar  Rs 1.80  Rs 5 
Chandigarh  Rs 1.40  Rs 6 
Panchkula Rs 1 Rs 2 

However, the commercial consumers pay (Rs 5 per kilo litre) less as compared to the neighbours.

Before the roll back in the tariff, an over 100 per cent hike in the water and sewer rates was effected in November last by the civic body on the directives of the Local Government Department. Not satisfied with the roll back the residents say that if the water and sewer rates were not hiked in the past seven years, it was the fault of the civic body and they should not be taxed in one go. Voicing residents views, Mr SS Patwari said the water rates should have been brought down by at least 50 per cent.

The hike and then 66 per cent roll back in the sewer rates was not justified, he said adding that the earlier sewer rates should be implemented.

The council officials on the other hand said it was not possible to roll back the tariff any further as with each passing year the expenditure by the Public Health Department — responsible for supply and maintenance of the water supply — was rising as compared to the income.

They said even after the roll back in the tariff the civic body was expected to face a deficit of Rs 1. 40 crore by the end of the current financial year.

They said to avert public resentment the earlier elected civic body did not raise the water and sewer rates in the last seven years despite the Local Government Department repeatedly directives in this regard. Mr N.K. Marwaha, municipal councillor, said with a view to cutting the expenditure on the maintenance of the public health works in the town the Council was contemplating to take over the water supply and the sewerage from the Public Health Department, Punjab. The civic body expected to save a “wasteful expenditure” of around Rs 1 crore annually.

A proposal in this regard was in the pipeline. The officials of the engineering wing of the civic body have already prepared a rough estimate of the expenditure the civic body would save by either taking over the public health works or privatising it.

The civic body is shelling out around Rs 3.50 crore annually to the Public Health Department for the maintenance of water supply, storm water and sewerage. This includes 14 per cent departmental charges being levied by the civic body.

The extra expenditure from March 1993 till November 2000 was around Rs 3.36 crore. 


OPD services at new PGI block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
All OPD services of the PGI, except radiotherapy and dental, will start operating from the New OPD block from 8 a.m. tomorrow. According to the PGI authorities, the registration timing and days of the OPD will remain the same as before, from 8 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. on Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. on Saturdays and gazetted holidays. The OPD will remain closed on Sundays.

According to the PGI authorities, all the routine blood and urine tests, besides X-Rays and ultrasound, will be carried out at the new OPD block. Meanwhile, the UT Administration and the Department of Telecommunications have already extended their services to the new OPD block.


‘Widespread’ mental disorders in Ladakh
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Army doctors engaged in providing assistance to the civilian population in Ladakh have discovered “widespread” mental disorders prevailing among tribesmen and rural inhabitants of that district.

Under the ongoing Operation Sadbhavna, which was launched about two months ago, Army doctors and paramedics have been engaged in providing treatment in far-flung areas. A number of patients have also been airlifted to the Western Command Hospital, Chandimandir, for specialist treatment.

“Our medical teams have noticed that the percentage of the population suffering from mental disorders is higher than that in other parts of the country,” the Commandant, , Major-Gen Partap Dayal said.

Doctors believe that the prevalent custom of marriage within the family could be one of the reasons for the higher level of mental disorders in that area. In such a situation, doctors say, a person or family suffering from any disorder can communicate it genetically to others.

According to observations, such disorders have resulted in the mental age of the affected persons being lower than their physical age, besides impairing their physical development as well as the functioning of their limbs.

Though the exact statistics and symptoms are yet to be recorded, General Dayal said that medical experts at Leh were being asked to carry out a pilot project to study this aspect. Based on the findings of this project, the matter might be taken up in a bigger way, he added.

Although nearly 45 civilians from Ladakh have been airlifted for specialist treatment at the Command Hospital, no person suffering from mental disorders has been brought here. “Such disorders cannot be corrected,” General Dayal said. “Only curable cases such as those involving burn injuries, those requiring artificial limbs or those needing treatment for a longer duration are being brought here,” he added. Currently, 17 such patients, including women, were admitted here. All expenditure, including airlift and medical expenses and board and lodging, were being borne by the government.

General Dayal discounted the possibility of mental disorders prevailing among troops hailing from Ladakh. “Troops from that area are limited and so far there have been no such reports,” he said.


Hope for 6,000 physically challenged
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 18
At least 6,000 physically challenged persons in the Ropar district would benefit under a pilot project of the Union Government to rehabilitate the physically challenged. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr G.S. Grewal, said this while addressing a state-level disabled awareness camp organised by the Physically Handicapped Association here today.

The camp was organised on the occasion of the 42nd World Disabled Day. Mr Grewal said the beneficiaries under the project would be provided loans, technical training to enable them to earn their livelihood. Medical help to rehabilitate the handicapped would also be provided and infrastructure was being set up for this at the district Red Cross office. A grant of Rs 64 lakh was being released for the project. He said though a survey to ascertain the total number of handicapped persons in the district had been conducted but he urged the members of the handicapped association to make sure that no one was left out.

Mr Ajit Salani, Chairman of the association, said at least 80 per cent of the handicapped were living a miserable life. The Social Security Act of the disabled had not been implemented effectively.

Mr Balwant Singh Dardi, another senior member of the association, said the handicapped needed more respect in the society.

Mr Avtar Singh Gharuan, secretary of the association, said under the awareness campaign seminars, camps and rallies were being organised in different cities of Punjab. Mr Jaipal Singh, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the civic body, were also present on the occasion. 



The expose by Delhi-based website seems to have revived the political activity in the otherwise politically ‘dead” Chandigarh. Leaders of various political parties, including the ones which hardly have any presence in the city, vied with one another in issuing press notes demanding the resignation of the Vajpayee Government for its role in the “shady” defence deals.

To top it all, the press notes were followed by telephone calls to not only one reporter but several reporters requesting them to at least publish the names of the political leaders. The names must appear in major newspapers as the press clippings are sent to the party headquarters in Delhi as the work done for strengthening the party base.

Sentinel only hopes the so-called leaders did something worthwhile to get their names printed in the newspapers than issuing the press statements.

More the merrier?

With the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) scheduled to be held later this year, another party has entered the already-crowded and confused political scene in Chandigarh. The latest entrant is the Lok Jan Shakti Party of Communication Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

When asked whether such a large number of political parties can survive in the well-planned city, this is what an office-bearer of the party had to say the other day:”When so many newspapers can ‘survive’ in the city why not the political parties”.

Well, he had a point but it remains to be seen how many parties or newspapers ultimately survive in the long run.

Civil service indeed

A senior colleague is so anti-civil servants that it is virtually impossible to argue with him that there is the odd black sheep in every profession. In his book they are cold, aloof and insensitive.

However, last week he went to Mauritius with the President of India and has returned a changed man. He is willing to concede that at least Mrs Monika Mohta, Director, External Publicity, is not the archetypal civil servant. She was in charge of the Press party during the four-day visit to what is affectionately called Chhota Bharat.

Pressmen are notorious for being absent-minded and careless about personal finance. One scribe found himself carrying only $300, not enough to cover even the room rent for three nights.

Mrs Mohta noticed that he was not his usual cheerful self. She invited him to the lobby, beyond the prying eyes of fellow-travellers, drew him out and forced $ 200 in his hands with the request not to share the information with any one. But the scribe was so touched by the gesture that he narrated the entire story to our colleague.

There were other incidents which explained her popularity. A gesture which improved her rating was the decision to surrender her official car and travel in the luxury coach with other members of the Press team. The car was placed at the disposal of Mr Ved Pratap Vaidik, the seniormost member of the team. He branched out on his own to meet old friends and acquaintances he had made during earlier visits to Mauritius.

The short trip made our colleague realise the meaning of Ghalib’s little-known verse which runs as follows:-

Hasad say dil agar afsurda ho, garm-e-tamasha ho,

kay chashm-e-tung shayad kasrat-e-nazzara say waa ho.

Its loose translation means:- when your heart is assailed by petty thoughts and jealousy, set out and see the world; perhaps a surfeit of what you see may change the narrow view of life.

Copying season

What is fast becoming a rage with the college students of the city is to get notes of various subjects xeroxed. One can see a crowd of these students outside the photostat shops asking for copies of the notes of their classfellows who attended the classes while they played truant. (See photo on top of the page).

What is also being noticed is that many of the teachers too are unable to finish their syllabus and ask the students to get their class notes xeroxed at the end of the session.

Rings hollow

The World Consumer Day celebration brought embarrassing moments for a senior telephone department official in a “khula darbar” organised by the Chandigarh Consumer Forum.

The president of the forum gave a practical demonstration of the poor services being provided by the telephone department. He dialled 197 “inquiry service” from his mobile in the presence of the officials but there was no response till the end of the “khula darbar”. The official for once, had no answer in place of the routine “we will do something”.

Farmers’ garden

These days Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is facing a threat to its very existence, as hundreds of farmers are using it to answer the call of nature. They had started an indefinite agitation at Matka Chowk, against the “antifarmer” government policies. They are blaming the administration for not making appropriate arrangements for them.

Captive audience

Reporters are at times taken for granted by the organisers in the press conferences. This is what happened with the reporters of two English dailies, in a press conference organised by Institute of Engineering and Technology at Chandigarh Press Club.

As the time of the conference happened to coincide with the time of the morning meeting of all the newspapers, there were only two reporters. But as there were five dedicated speakers, they never let the reporters to leave the conference for an hour.

Beyond call of duty

Mr R.S. Gujral, UT Home Secretary has been the chief guest at many, or rather most, of the city colleges’ annual prize distribution ceremonies. And unlike most other chief guests who behave like pretty ducks at these ceremonies, Mr Gujral made it a point to congratulate each student while he gave away the prize and asked them details of the achievement they were getting the award for.

Then when the employees’ turn came to receive the prizes, Mr Gujral again advised each one of them to take care of the college children. It was certainly a welcome change to watch one of the city’s rather busy persons go about this commitment in an unhurried manner making every student feel special.

In his speeches he advised the students to not relax after having achieved high positions in the December examinations. Relating a personal experience Mr Gujral said that although all his life he had been a first divisioner, in his second year of college he lost the first division by a single mark. He got 419 marks while the first division was at 420 marks. “All my life I regretted having slackened at that stage as I realised the importance of that one mark. I was simply not eligible for so many jobs as it was clearly stated in the advertisements, ‘Only first divisioners need apply’.”

Matter of choice

The city’s Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), did seem to be very happy at the MCM DAV prize distribution ceremony where he was the chief guest. He was visibly upset by the choice of books being given to the students as prizes.

Even after having been informed by the Principal that it was the students who chose these books to be given as prizes, our otherwise jolly Administrator did not look too impressed.

Biba Bakshi

It was a sad day at the MCM DAV College, Sector 36, when one of their faculty members, Ms Biba Bakshi, passed away. A favourite of her students this teacher had served the institution for more than 25 years. She had been also the editor of the college magazine and had been one of the most caring persons in the college for the students and employees both. She died last month leaving behind her two daughters and her husband.

Traffic hazard

These days it is a pleasure to drive on the recently metalled road dividing Sectors 46 and 47. Earlier , this route was full of potholes and not easily motorable. However, now another problem is being faced by those using this road.

Since a lot of heavy vehicles are plying on this road which joins the road to Ludhiana further on, it has become a traffic hazard. An intersection is needed to avert collision between vehicles moving in the opposite direction. As it is, a number of cars and trucks remain parked in front of the ahata located at this turning at night. They further hamper the free flow of traffic.

— Sentinel


Defencegate: protests by Cong, BJP
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 18
The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress yesterday protested against involvement of the government in defence scandal, in front of BJP office in Sector 33. Large number of Youth Congress activists took out a procession from All India Radio Chowk carrying an effigy of the Prime Minister. The procession was led by Mr Rajesh Sharma, general secretary, CTYC. The effigy was burnt at Sector 33 and 34 Chowk.

A large number of BJP and Akali workers, led by Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, also gathered at the Sector 33 and 34 Chowk and raised slogan against the Congress and the president of the Congress. They also burn the effigy of the leader of the opposition, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

Ms Ranjana Shahi, the official spokesperson of the BJP Chandigarh unit, demanded resignation of Ms Sonia Gandhi as the leader of opposition and the president of the Congress. A large number of police personnel were deployed at the roundabout of Sector 33 and Sector 34 to avoid any untoward incident.

The local constituents of the Peoples Front will hold a protest march from Poultry Farm in the Industrial Area, Phase 1, to Tribune Chowk on March 20 in protest against the alleged involvement of the establishment in shady defence deal.

The constituents today unanimously decided to give proper political shape to the issues concerning the masses and direct the discontent among the people of the region against the corrupt and communal ruling BJP-led ruling NDA government.

In a statement, Mr Rajinder Mohan Kashyap, secretary-general of the Janata Dal(Secular), Mr Inderjit Singh Grewal, secretary of the CPM, and Mr Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary of the CPI, appealed to the like-minded secular and democratic parties to work for the triumph of the Indian people. They were under threat from the imperialist WTO countries and their corrupt and communal agents in India, they alleged.


R. K. Gupta clarifies on tehelka tapes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, who has been named in the “tehelka tapes” today claimed that the contents on tape are nothing but rubbish. “I have made no such statement which have been attributed to me” Mr Gupta, who hails from Chandigarh, said.

If a deal of even Re 1 is proved I shall be read to face any punishment deemed fit by the government. He further clarified that he was not an office bearer or a trustee of the RSS as claimed in the tapes. He claimed that he had never dealt with defence or any other department.


Seminar leaves kisans no wiser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The echo of the likely impact and implications of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reverberated at a one-day seminar on the subject organised by the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) at Jat Bhavan here today.

The audience, comprising BKU delegates — all farmers — was no better educated at the end of the day. Their mind seemed elsewhere, thinking about what the minimum support price of wheat would be, when it would be announced and if the government would procure the golden grain as in the past years.

While official procurement commences on April 1 next and the price of procurement not known yet, in another part of the city thousands of farmers are on an indefinite dharna airing their collective problems and grievances, including apprehensions.

At the seminar, the all-India BKU president, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, introduced the subject and spoke about the fear psychosis that grips the kisan. It was, however, left to the chairperson of the Task Force on Agriculture, Mr Shard Joshi, to explain in simple terms what the WTO was all about. He took pride in the fact that what the WTO now spoke of had been advocated vociferously by the BKU for decades.

To him, as well as other speakers —Dr G.S. Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Dr Pardeep Apte, Professor at Ferguson College, Pune, Mr B. Mitra, Liberty Institute, Mr S. Chakraborty, Editor, The Economic Times and Dr Deepak Kapoor — it appeared that the WTO would act as a catalyst and a panacea for solving the problems of farmers and farming.

The refrain of the speeches made was that kisan should have a free run to sell his produce within and outside the country, get direct subsidies and be freed from bureaucratic shackles. Dr Kalkat, who spoke in the idiom of the kisan, was forthright. “The WTO is neither an illusion nor a monster. There is nothing to fear. It is a reality. All one needs to do is to conserve our sources and improve the quality for competition in the world market”.

The kisan was talked to in terms of ‘’free trade’’, ‘’free market’’, economics of demand and supply, etc. But, by and large, the speakers ignored the problems of Punjab and Haryana farmers who made the Green Revolution possible or how small and marginal farmers, who constitute the bulk of the farmers, were to survive when the implementation process begins and the WTO rules become effective.

The questions that should have been asked and answered but were not raised pertain to the day-to-day problems the kisan faces in terms of viability of farming on small holdings, the spiralling prices of inputs, the lack of quality of inputs — quality seeds, quality fertilisers and plant protection chemicals — the unremunerative price of produce, marketing and storage problems, poor response to diversification in the absence of assured price and market, etc.

But a cross-section of the farmers was certainly baffled. On the one hand were their own leaders, who presented a pro-WTO case to them, and on the other hand was the Akali Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who has gone to town calling the WTO the ‘’death warrant’’ of the kisan.

The kisan was equally puzzled to hear Mr Chakraborty say that, ‘’self-reliance has destroyed India in the past 50 years’’ as well as his lengthy discourse on free trade and ignoring problems of the kisan. The seminar seemed too academic.


Women join stir with farmers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 18
Hundreds of women owing allegiance to various Punjab unions have joined the agitation of the BKU as it entered fourth day here today. The farmers were addressed by their leaders and it was decided that if their demands were not fulfilled by the Punjab Government, they would hold an indefinite strike.

However, a large number of farmers today complaint of various health ailments such as viral fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain, etc and went to the General Hospital, Sector 16, for check up.

According to Dr G. Diwan, Deputy Medical Superintendent, General Hospital, Sector 16, “a mobile van has been sent to the spot along with a team of doctors and medicine”.


25 residents bodies form front
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 18
A joint action front was formed at a meeting of all 25 residents welfare associations (RWA) of the city at a meeting held at the Arya Samaj Mandir in Sector 9, here today.

Comprising presidents and general secretaries of all associations, the front has been constituted with the purpose of identifying problems faced by the residents of the city.

While the president of RWA, Sector 8, Mr RP Malhotra, was chosen convenor, the rest of the joint action committee would be formed later to put up the problems of residents to the local administration and the Chief Minister.

Earlier, the members of the 25 RWAs presented a memorandum to the General Secretary of the Indian National Lok Dal, Mr Pradeep Chaudhary, who suggested the formation of a committee.

Their demands included setting up of a library, construction of community centres, removal of encroachments which was creating sanitation problem for the residents of Sector 21.

Taking up the issue of “unsatisfactory” law and order situation in the city, the RWA suggested measures which included issuing of identification cards to migrant labour, public awareness programmes, involvement of welfare associations and other NGOs in community policing schemes.

Committing himself to taking up the cause of the public with the administration, Mr Chaudhary said the joint action committee of a few members would be more effective in addressing the problems of the public at large.


Imam’s support to Taliban flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Jan Shakti, a social organisation, organised an open discussion on “Taliban’s assault on world cultural heritage” at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan, here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Swami Pitambrananda, secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Chandigarh, said the hate culture generated by the Taliban regime would destroy them as the religious fundamentalists did not understand the fundamentals of religion.

Dr Des Raj Bhangi, a freedom fighter, while terming Taliban’s assault as barbaric vandalism, said there was no idol worship involved in Buddha’s statute as these were the lighthouses of spiritualism and ethics.

Dr Rajiv Lochan of the Department of History, Panjab University, wanted the security forces and the police to check terrorism. Mr Onkar Chand, secretary of the Servants of the People Society, condemned Shahi Imam’s support to the Taliban.

Prominent among those who spoke were Prof PP Arya, convener of the Jan Shakti, Maj-Gen Rajinder Nath (retd), Mr Jai Gopal Kochhar, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr SR Sharda and Prof Dhanraj Sharma.


Papers filed for Press Club poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Following candidates filed their nomination papers for the executive body of the Chandigarh Press Club on the last day of filing nominations today. The elections will be held on March 25.

For the post of President, only one candidate namely Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, who is also the present president of the club, filed the papers, while Mr Sarabjit Singh Pandher, the present General Secretary filed it again for the post of General Secretary. Both are likely to be elected unopposed following scrutiny of the papers.

For the newly created post of senior vice president, three candidates namely Mr Ashok Kumar Puri, Mr Raveen Thukral and Mr Sanjeev Chopra filed their papers.

And for the two posts of vice president, five persons namely Mr Upendra Nath Pandey, Mr Ashok Kumar Puri, Mr Nand Lal Gupta, Mr Nalin Acharya and Mr Sanjeev Chopra have filed their papers.

For the single post of Secretary, Mr Anil Kapila, Mr Nalin Acharya and Mr Nand Lal Gupta filed their nomination papers. And for the two posts of Joint Secretary, six persons filed their papers. They are Mr Upendra Nath Pandey, Mr Satish Kumar, Mr Pratap Singh Dhammi, Mr Nalin Acharya, Mr Nand Lal Gupta and Mr Anil Kapila. Mr Satish Kumar and Mr Anil Kapila filed nominations for the single post of treasurer.

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 on March 25.

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


2000 challaned in past two months
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 18
Under a concerted drive of the traffic police, at least 2000 persons have been challaned under different offences in the past two months. Disclosing this here today, Mr Gurmit Singh Chauhan, Superintendent of Police, said due to increased presence of traffic cops on roads, 15 road accidents had taken place till today as compared to 19 accidents in the corresponding period last year.

He said four Gypsies had been provided to traffic wing for effective control of traffic in the town. At least 25 more personnel had been sought to manage the growing traffic on the roads in the town. Presently there were 25 traffic personnel, including the NGOs, with the local police. 


Inspector put on job
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 18
The confusion over the cause of death of seven cows in Phase X here continued with the local police authorities deciding to wait for the postmortem report of the animals before taking any action.

The police officials said no action against the Sanitary Inspector could be taken as sought by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), as the former had been directed by the president of the civic body to move the carcasses to a dump.

Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the civic body, also said that he had directed the inspector to move the carcasses as it was creating foul smell in the area. 


Photographers strike work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Photographic services in the city and the surrounding areas were crippled yesterday following a one-day strike by professional photographers against the imposition of service tax on them.

Hundreds of photographers from the region assembled in Sector 22 in the morning. Carrying placards demanding the withdrawal of the tax, they marched in procession towards Punjab Raj Bhavan for submitting a memorandum and they were stopped by the police midway.

Later, a delegation of the Chandigarh Photographers Association submitted the memorandum at Raj Bhavan. The memorandum demanded the immediate withdrawal of service tax, Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar, spokesman of the association, said. He said the photographers of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh would observe a bandh on March 27 and a massive rally would be held here that day.


22 persons booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The police has arrested 22 persons for committing various offences under different sections of the law during a special drive to check anti-social activities in the East Subdivision.

The two-day drive, which was launched under the supervision of the ASP, East, Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, concluded today. During the drive, the police searched places like hotels, dhabas, pubs, guest houses, parks etc and the suspicious elements were questioned about their movements during the late hours.

While nine persons were arrested including a thief, during the intervening night of March 16 and 17. It is learnt that the police had laid a trap to arrest Swaran, alias Bhola, a notorious darra satta kingpin. However, he managed to escape but his four accomplices were arrested. A sum of Rs 10,000 was recovered from their possession.

Last night, the police arrested 18 persons on charges of creating nuisance under the influence of liquor at a public place and booked them under Sections 34, 5 and 61 of the Police Act, four persons were booked under Sections 41.2 and 109 of the Cr PC while they were roaming under suspicious circumstances.

Besides, various suspicious elements were asked the purpose of their movements during late hours and 126 such persons were rounded up. They were, however, let off after due verification and preparation of stranger rolls.


Woman robbed of ornaments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
A 60-year-old woman was allegedly duped by two persons at the Kisan Mandi on the pretext of doubling her gold ornaments.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC, the complainant alleged that she met a sadhu and a woman in the mandi on March 17. The two convinced her that the sadhu could double her gold ornaments.

The woman reportedly gave them two gold bangles, one gold chain and a pair of earrings after tying these in a piece of cloth. The conman pretended to recite some mantras and handed over the bundle back to the woman. She was told that she could open the bundle once she reached home. When the complainant reached home, she found that the ornaments were fake.

House burgled

In the second case of daylight burglary in Sector 21-D in a week, Rs 2,000 was stolen from the house of Mr Ashok Ahluwalia, yeterday. The family members were away at the time of the burglary. The miscreants reportedly broke the lock of the steel almirah and decamped with the cash. The burglary came to light only when the couple returned home from work at around 3 p.m.

Three injured

Two women, Ms Monica and Ms Sonia, were injured when the cyclerickshaw on which they were travelling was hit by a scooter (CH-01J-3658) near the Sector 15-24 dividing road, last evening. The scooter driver, Nissan Singh, fled from the spot. The injured were admitted to the PGI.

In another accident, a pedestrian, Sohan Singh, was hit by a Haryana Roadways bus ( HR- 07B-8774) at about 3.45 p.m. yesterday near the Sector 21-22 dividing road. He was admitted to the PGI.

Husband booked

Ms Rajni has accused her husband, Gopal Krishan, of severely beating her up and causing injuries. The police registered a case under Sections 325 and 323 of the IPC after a medical report was obtained. The accused was later arrested and granted bail.

Two arrested

Dila Ram and Joginder Kumar were arrested on charges of criminal trespass and issuing threats to Avinder Singh at his Industrial Area, Phase I, office yesterday. A case under Sections 452, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

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