Sunday, May 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



10-year-old raped, murdered
Tribune News Service

Barwala, May 5
In an act of sheer barbarism, 10-year-old Aasia was raped and murdered last night, allegedly by a drunken neighbour and two accomplices at a poultry farm. Later, they left the body in a discarded sewerage pipeline in a nearby field.

The girl had reportedly stayed up till past midnight to cook food for Rakesh (25), who had “guests’’ last night and insisted on her serving the food for the trio. This evening, her petite shrouded frame lay at the farm premises beside her mourning father, Alamgir Ansari.

A labourer at the farm for nearly two years, Ansari’s only reaction was, “Agar kisi ka bhala karo to usse yeh umeed to nahin karte.’’ Recalling the sequence that led to the murder of the minor, he said, “Last night, Rakesh, a gardener at the farm for the past five months, asked a neighbour, also staying in one of the rooms at the farm premises, to cook a chicken for him since he was expecting guests.’’

The neighbour, Madina, said, “We are four families here. Since Ansari’s wife was away, his daughter cooked for him and she also cooked for Rakesh, as he was all alone. We would help each other while cooking at night and his request sounded normal. After the first chicken was cooked, he wanted another and asked Aasia to cook it for him, asking me to go and rest.’’

This being the normal practice and not even slightly suspicious, Madina went to her room to sleep. Ansari also went off to sleep in his room while his daughter, Aasia, cooked a chicken in Rakesh’s room while he, along with his “guests”, consumed liquor. That was the last anybody saw of her.

This morning, her father woke up and found her “missing’’. Unable to find her anywhere around the house, he presumed she had gone to get water. “I waited for nearly 20 minutes and woke up Rakesh to inquire about her, he being the last to have seen her. After he pleaded ignorance, I reported her ‘missing’ to the local police and even threatened to beat him up if I was unable to find my daughter,’’ Ansari added.

While the police began looking for her, the villagers who had gone scouting, found her dupatta with a bunch of keys tied to one end in a field some 100 yards from the farm. “While we were still looking around, one of us spotted her feet from one end of a sewerage pipe lying in the field and immediately told the police,’’ a villager said.

The police pulled out the body of the minor from the pipe this evening after thorough investigation by a dog squad and senior police officials. The girl’s throat was slit and she was lying in a pool of blood when the body was discovered. Sources said that a blood-stained vest had been found from Rakesh’s room as well and an axe, probably used to slit her throat, was also recovered.

Sitting beside his daughter’s body, Ansari said that his wife had left with his four sons for their native village, Gazipur in UP, and he was expecting to get approval for a holiday in a couple of days. “She had left Aasia to cook for me and we were supposed to leave in a couple of days to get them back. Now, I have informed them of the incident and they are on their way back,’’ he added.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, who took charge this afternoon, said that the police had rounded up a number of persons in connection with the case, though no arrests had been made so far. “Investigations are on and we are hopeful of arresting the accused by tomorrow. At this point, we are only looking into all aspects and tying up all the loose ends,’’ he explained.

Meanwhile, a case under sections 302 and 376 of the IPC has been registered at the Chandimandir police station.



7 injured in clash between jhuggi-dwellers
and police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
In a clash between the police and the jhuggi-dwellers protesting against the demolition of their dwellings in Phase-I of Industrial Area, seven persons were injured, including two members of the anti-encroachment staff. One of the injured boy has reportedly been taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

Those injured include Area councillor, Mr Rajinder Kumar, Sambhu, Gautam, SI Inder Pal Singh , constable Ram Singh and a young boy. While Rajinder Kumar and Inderpal Singh sustained injuries on their hand, Sambhu and Gautam suffered injuries on their legs during the lathi charge.

Over 200 families residing at the Kabari Market colony near the Fire Station had barely recovered from the shock of their jhuggis being reduced to ashes in a major fire a month back, when they had to face another round of demolitions during the anti-enforcement drive today. The drive was marked by stiff opposition by the dwellers, following which the police had to resort to mild lathi charge.

In a joint operation undertaken today by the staff of the Estate Office and the Municipal Corporation with the help of police personnel, nearly 250 jhuggis were razed to the ground. They reached the spot at 9 a.m. and ghearoed the area under the leadership of SDM (central), Mr Prithi Chand. They gave the dwellers an hour’s time to remove their household belongings from the jhuggis. The dwellers, meanwhile, continued to raises hue and cry against the authorities for undertaking the drive but were not successful. The area councillor, Mr Rajinder Kumar, who reached the spot also tried to negotiate with the authorities and to dissuade them against the demolition, but to no avail.

The drive, led by Enforcement Magistrate, Mr Ishwar Singh and MC Secretary, Mr Ashwani Kumar finally began at 10.45 a.m. and the illegal dwelling in the area were demolished in the next two hours. Two bull-dozers, a few trucks 40-50 labourers and 60-odd police personnel were used in the drive. Halfway through the drive, tension build up when a boy hurled a ‘wooden stick’ at the bull dozer driver when they were about to demolish his jhuggi. While the driver was not hurt due to the glass enclosure around him, the boy was immediately caught by the police and caned. He reportedly got injured and was taken to the hospital as he sustained head injuries.

The drive was carried out under the supervision of SDM (central), Mr Prithi Chand, Enforcement Magistrate, Mr Ishwar Singh; Secretary MC, Mr Ashwani Kumar and DSP Surjit Singh.

Meanwhile the area councillor, Mr Rajinder Kumar, criticised the officials for undertaking the drive without giving sufficient notice and time. BJP councillors including former Mayor Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Mr Des Raj Tandon and the area councillor later met the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda and urged her that dwellers who had been rendered homeless following this demolition should be rehabilitated at the earliest. They also denied the allegations regarding these jhuggis being sold to the dwellers on payment of money, following the fire incident and that their number had swelled.

Ms Nanda, they claimed, had assured them that the jhuggi dwellers would be rehabilitated near the Milk Colony, Dhanas, within the next 10 days. However, as a temporary arrangement they would be shifted to the nearby community centre in Industrial Area, Phase-I. The police officials, on their part, maintain that they had to resort to lathi charge because the dwellers had turned violent.

Later, they also removed the illegal encroachments of the kabariwalas nearby and seized two truck loads of material while challaning them.

Meanwhile, in a special drive, the local police today removed the rehriwalas and phariwalas who had encroached upon the corridors in the Sector 17 plaza, near the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, and the corridors and parking slots in Sector 22 here.

The drive, which was carried by the police personnel of Sector 17 police station, started at around 10 a.m. and continued till late in the evening. The drive was likely to be continued in the near future. The police would soon remove all encroachments near the PGI and in front of General Hospital, Sector 16.

When contacted, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Central), who supervised the drive said the police would not allow the rehriwalas and phariwalas at the above places in the future. He claimed that the drive went off peacefully. A large number of vendors used to sell tea, paranthas and cigarettes near the bus stand and opposite it in Sector 22. The corridors in the Sector 17 plaza were encroached upon by vendors selling balloons and fruits.

According to sources in the police department, a case of rioting and assaulting public servants has been registered in the Industrial Area police station against municipal councillor Rajinder Kumar and a few other persons. However, till the time of going to the press, no arrests were made.

The persons named in the FIR, had reportedly tried to obstruct the anti-encroachment drive in Colony number 4 this morning. A case under Sections 147, 149, 332 and 353 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Meanwhile, work of clearing of malba was going on till late in the evening and the process of fencing the area had started. Sources in the MC revealed that the cleared space would be used as a store of the corporation.



More sops for physically challenged students
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
Coming to the aid of physically challenged students, the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, has decided to grant additional concessions to them, including one-hour extra for attempting the question paper.

The additional concessions will be granted to such candidates from the next academic session. The schools here will implement the decision as soon as it comes into force. As many as 150 students are expected to benefit from the move.

The concessions are being given in compliance with the provisions of the Disabilities (Equal Opportunity, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

According to a circular issued to the UT Education Department, the candidates will be given additional one hour for each paper, instead of 30 minutes.

Necessary instructions are being issued to all government schools and private schools to adopt the norms of the CBSE and liberalise the examination scheme for disabled children in all types of school examination for all classes. The instructions will be implemented for the internal school examinations as well, informed, the Director, Public Instructions Schools, UT, Mr D.S. Saroya.

The instructions will also be given to the centre superintendents for making arrangement to conduct the examination for such candidates at the ground floor, as far as possible.

The admit card will also specify whether the candidate is physically challenged. The candidate will also be required to carry medical certificate and other documents in support of their claim.

The answerbooks of such candidates will be evaluated by the regional officer at a nodal evaluation centre where the evaluator will be informed that the answerbook belongs to special category of the candidate.

For this purpose a separate performa will also be designed in which the center superintendents will certify the category of the disabled candidate .In lieu of questions requiring special skills based on visual, alternative questions be provided for blind candidates of class X and XII in the subject in which there is no such provision as on date.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Secondary Education and Higher Education, Government of India, has requested various state governments to adopt these norms and further liberalise the examination scheme for disabled children.

The UT Education Department will be extending these concessions to all examinations for all classes conducted locally at school level as well as the common UT Middle Standard Examination.

Currently, the CBSE is granting following concessions to spastic, blind and physically handicapped children:

* Exemption from studying third language up to middle standard.

* Additional half an hour for each paper in examination conducted by the CBSE.

*Amanuensis to such candidates whose writing is illegible or are very slow writers.

* Permitted one compulsory language as against two as per Rule 24 of the examination bye-laws of the CBSE. 


Seats in MCA to be increased
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 5
The Minister for Technical Education and Research, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, yesterday said the seats in Masters in Computer Application (MCA) would be increased in different professional colleges in the state.

Mr Garcha was speaking at the annual day celebrations of the Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology at Tangori near here. He said the seats would be increased in over 15 engineering colleges in Punjab. Stating that the engineering colleges in the state had increased from 5 to 16 in the past four years, he said the government was inclined to promote technical education in the state.

He said certain vested interests were spreading false propaganda about the Punjab Technical University. Dr H.S. Gurm, Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab Technical University, said there was a need to give more attention to hardcore engineering disciplines. He said computer science and Information Technology (IT) were the tools of the hardcore engineering disciplines.

Dr J.S. Dhaliwal, vice-chairman of the governing body of the college, highlighted the contribution of the state government and Punjab Technical University in spreading professional education in the state. Dr J.S. Sandhu, chairman of the college, and Dr D.S. Kumar, principal of the college, also spoke on the occasion. Prof Jagir Singh Bhullar, Industry Minister, was also present.


Tehelka claims ARTRAC chief’s posting?
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandi Mandir, May 5
If reports reaching here are true, the Army is contemplating moving a top officer from his newly appointed post as a fallout of the Tehelka expose.

It is understood that Lieut-Gen S. S. Mehta, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC), is being shifted from his present appointment. He assumed charge last month.

Though General Mehta, who was then posted at the Army Headquarters, did not figure anywhere in the Tehelka expose, he was, in his capacity as Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS), heading the now-tainted Weapons and Equipment Directorate.

If true, the reported move could raise another issue. As per his present status as Army Commander, General Mehta can only be appointed as a GOC-in-C or Vice-Chief of Army Staff.

The government has not issued formal orders in this regard so far. The Army Headquarters’ official spokesman, Col Shruti Kant, when contacted, termed the reported move as a rumour. But a highly placed source, who is understood to have interacted with the new incumbent on official matters, has confirmed the move and the supposed reason behind it. He added that certain government agencies were already probing and documenting some irregularities in the procurement process brought out by Tehelka.

General Mehta, a highly decorated cavalry officer with a good service profile, had proceeded to Shimla in April to take over as the ARTRAC chief. Before being elevated as Army Commander, he was DCOAS (Planning and Systems), looking after the functioning of various Army HQs directorates. Among other matters, his work was to identify future requirements as well as evaluation and procurement of equipment. He had spent about two years in this position. As DCOAS, he had also conducted a press briefing in Delhi in March, where he had gone to great length explaining the Army’s procurement process.

On March 13, the Tehelka tapes had exposed several prominent persons, including politicians, Army officers and some Defence Ministry officials accepting bribes.

The tapes had shown senior Army officers, including Major-Gen S. P. K. Choudhary, Additional Director-General (ADG), Weapons and Equipment, Major-Gen M. S. Ahluwalia, ADG Ordnance Supplies, Brig Iqbal Singh, Prospective Procurement Officer, and Brig Anil Sehgal, Deputy Director in the Directorate General of Ordnance Supplies, accepting illegal gratification in exchange of favouring particular weapon systems for procurement.

A total of 27 persons connected with this episode were listed on the Tehelka website. Following subsequent action, several senior officers were either suspended or attached for inquiry. A Director in the Home Ministry's Organisation and Management Desk, Thomas Mathew was also suspended in this regard. He was alleged to have been privy to some developments exposed by Tehelka.

A parallel one-man fact-finding mission comprising Chief Vigilance Officer R. P. Bagai was also set up by the Defence Ministry. The inquiry had sought explanations from four officials — Additional Secretary L. M. Mehta, Staff Officer to the Ordnance Factory Board H. C. Pant, Assistant Financial Adviser Narendra Singh and Office Assistant P. Saini.


Female foeticide unchecked in Mohali
Doctors hail Supreme Court direction
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, May 5
Hung up at one of the private hospitals here is a poster, showing a letter from an “unborn girl” addressed to a doctor:

Dear Dr Uncle,

My dear parent will get me killed on knowing my sex through ultrasound scan done by you. Respected doctor, you have sworn by Hippocrates to maintain the utmost respect for life. I request you not to become a partner in the crime. I promise after birth I will be your regular patient and will make up the loss of Rs 450 for not doing “ladka-ladki” ultrasound.

Your loving

Unborn girl

Yesterday, the Supreme Court, disturbed over the misuse of technology for effecting female foeticide and the sharp drop in the female-male ratio, had directed the Centre and the state governments to strictly enforce the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act (PNDTA) and even amend it, if necessary, to remove the shortcomings. On the same day the Union Health Minister, Dr C.P. Thakur, had, in a statement in Delhi warned doctors that their names would be struck off from the register of the Medical Council of India if they were found guilty of indulging in female foeticide. Will the situation change for the better?

The malaise has affected large parts of the country and SAS Nagar is no exception. Sex determination through the ultrasound method is going on unchecked, notwithstanding the law. For certain local doctors it has brought rich dividends, though some of their colleagues have expressed opposition to the unethical practice. The modus operandi is simple: no written information on the matter is provided to the parents concerned, who take the “vital decision” on what the doctor running the scan centre tells them by “word of mouth”. The foetus, if “unwanted”, is usually aborted at one of the nursing homes here.

At present, doctors say, the town does not have the facility for sex determination on the basis of the amniotic fluid, as is available at certain medical centres in Chandigarh. Besides, the facility for pre-natal genetic diagnosis is also lacking. This method involves the processing of sperm in a laboratory so that the relevant chromosomes are separated and the birth of a boy ensured.

Dr Jasmer Singh, head of the local Medical Practitioners Association, who owns a private hospital here, said he was totally against female foeticide. Akal Takht, too had issued a directive against this practice. Both parents and the doctors concerned, he said, were at fault. The relevant law existed but its implementation posed problems.

He favoured an amendment to the law making it illegal for any doctor to reveal the sex of the foetus. He said nature often maintained its own balance, and cited the case of a couple who went in for abortion on being told that the foetus was female, only to find out far too late that it was male.

Dr Rana Harinder Brar, CMO in charge of the local Civil Hospital, who has two daughters, said the latest technology was brought in to detect abnormalities in the foetus, but now doctors were misusing it. Hailing the Supreme Court direction, she felt going against nature would seriously disturb the sex ratio. No mother would voluntarily go in for female foeticide. It was great mental torture for her.

She said during the past seven months, three abandoned female babies had been brought to her hospital. The abortion rate in the town was also high. The practice of female foeticide could only be curbed if doctors became more duty conscious and ethical in carrying at their professional duties.

Dr Gurnam Singh Ahluwalia, a former Director of Health Services, Chandigarh, who stays in Phase VI here and runs a medical centre, also welcomed the Supreme Court direction but said what was important was the actual implementation of the law by the government. Politicians were busy fighting elections. The law was not being strictly enforced because of vested interests. Female foeticide was taking also place under the garb of family planning.

Dr Ahluwalia said the adverse effects of the change in the female-male ratio would be felt in the next 20 years. He was of the opinion that matters could improve if girls were given equal rights, in actual practice, with male children in the matter of property and also an equal status.

Dr Manmohan Kaur, a former Director of Health Services, Punjab and resident of Phase 3 BI here, said it was very difficult to implement the relevant law. However, after the ban on sex determination tests, the signboards announcing the facility put up outside medical centres had disappeared, though everything was going on inside as before.

Dr Manmohan Kaur, who also has two daughters, said mothers in general were helpless and could not put their foot down and say that they would not abort the female foetus. At least women doctors must refuse to be a part of the vicious practice of female foeticide. Male domination must end and girls should be given an equal share in the family property. Perhaps then things might change for the better.



BJP councillors’ houses gheraoed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Members of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch today “gheraoed” the houses of two BJP councillors against their alleged role in stalling the proceedings of the House of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

The members, led by Mr Devinder Singh Babla, assembled at the Sector 22 Nehru Park in the evening and marched to the house of Mr Des Raj Tandon, leader of the opposition in the MCC, and sat in a dharna in front of his house. Various speakers urged Mr Tandon to let the House function smoothly so that the decisions regarding developmental works, which had virtually come to standstill, could be taken.

Later memorandum was submitted to Mr Tandon by Dr O.P. Verma urging the political parties not to make the House the political battleground.

From there, the protesters marched to the office of Mr Gian Chand Gupta, a former Mayor, in Sector 30. There also various speakers pleaded with councillors not to disrupt the proceedings of the House. The disruption of the proceeding was having an adverse impact on the functioning of the MCC with the result that civic amenities were going from bad to worse.

A number of senior leaders of the BJP, including Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, BJP chief, Mr Tandon, Mr Kanhya Lal, Mr Bachan Singh, both councillors, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan and Mr Purshottam Mahajan, were present at Sector 30 to listen to the speakers.

A memorandum was also submitted to Mr Gupta by Mr Balwinder Cheema urging the councillors to take up developmental works instead of disrupting the House.

Prominent among those present were Mr Sandeep Singh, Mr Davinder Singh Aulakh, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Sujit Chaudhury, Ms Krishna Rani and Ms Narinder Sandhu. The manch president, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, was, however, conspicuous by his absence.


Time to visit thorny beauties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
For anyone who has been fascinated by the cacti in Panchkula’s National Cactus and Succulent Botanical Garden, it is difficult to resist the temptation of growing these. The species, which belongs to the succulent group of plants, has survived for long on account of its amazing water storage capacity and other features which lend resistance to it.

The plant flowers during summer and though it stays for two to four days, the pleasure it brings is worth waiting for throughout the year. Many flowering cacti currently adorn the Panchkula Cactus Garden, which houses over 3000 exquisite species of the plant over seven acres. For information on the history, favourable growing conditions, flowering and other aspects, Chandigarh Tribune today contacted the creator of the garden, Dr J.S. Sarkaria.

The plant evolved only in North, Central and South America. This is strange as other succulents can be found all over the world, including India. The exact time of the origin of cacti has not been ascertained as there are no fossils to show the long process. It must have happened few millenniums earlier.

The cacti has features which make it endure the toughest weather conditions. They can survive water shortage and long periods of drought. The general misconception about these plants is that they grow only in deserts, but that is not the case. They can grow in all those areas where water does not stay for long. The most striking quality of the cacti is that they absorb water quickly. They grow in places where the maximum temperature does not rise above 112°F and the humidity does not exceed 56 per cent. The maximum growth of this plant is found in Mexico.

Most cacti and succulents have a dormant period in winter, when their water need reduces. There should be no stagnation of water in potted plants. Water should be allowed to drain freely. The maintenance of cacti is easy in comparison to other foliage plants. They can be grown any time of the year.

Cacti flower on maturity and the period of maturity varies between three and ten years. Some of the cacti will flower only once a year. Most of these flower after a long period, especially during summer, but the period of flowering is short. With their waxy sheen, they look delightful during the flowering stage. These are surpassed in beauty only by orchids.

As far as storing cacti inside home is concerned, no foliage can be kept inside for over three days. Factors like temperature and moisture have to be taken into account. If kept inside for a long period of time, the cacti lose texture and beauty, start elongating and begin looking for light. The cacti should be potted in a moist mix and not watered for a few days. These need to be cared for like any other potted plant. The plant should not be shifted in position, or else it will develop sunburns.

These plants can grow in harsh and dry conditions, but will not flourish. Like other plants, these require fresh air, sunlight and plenty of water. To ward off the incidence of disease, these have to be sprinkled with pesticides. Low fertiliser doses have to be used. Anyone who wants to grow cacti should prepare a highly porous soil mix. The ingredients of a cactus garden are very coarse sand (one part), garden loam (one part) and leaf mould (one part). Small doses of bone meal can be used. For better growth, a small shelter with polythene or fibre glass cover should be built for allowing light to filter by. Large number of cacti can be grown under the open sky, but have to be watered more frequently, especially during summer.


Irregularities in flat allotment
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Mr Banta Ram, a veteran of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, has alleged irregularities in the allotment of dwelling units by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) under its special scheme for handicapped former soldiers, widows of martyrs and widows of those killed during terrorism and insurgency last year.

Narrating the sequence of events to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Banta Ram said he had applied for a middle income group (MIG) flat on February 9 last year, along with an earnest money of Rs 30,000. The Punjab Governor, and the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), handed over the possession of flats to 43 persons on October 23 last year.

Five more persons were to be allotted flats on February 27 this year, but his name was deleted at the last minute and only two persons were allotted flats, he alleged. Mr Gobind Prakash Singh, who had applied for the lower income group (LIG) flat, was offered the MIG flat, he alleged. Mr Banta Ram was offered an LIG flat, which did not suit his requirements.

He had never agreed to take an LIG flat.

He received a letter from the board on April 9, informing him that he could be allotted a house in the proposed scheme in Sector 51. On the other hand, the board auctioned MIG houses in the West of Sector 38 on December 20 last year.

His representation that he be allotted a flat in the West of Sector 38 fell on deaf ears.

Mr Banta Ram also alleged that he had made six representations to the office of the Administrator to bring to his notice all the facts. He was yet to hear from the office, he further alleged.



IAF begins airborne operations in city on May 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
As part of the ongoing Exercise Poorna Vijay, airborne operations would be conducted from the Chandigarh Air Force Station on May 7.

According to sources, elements of the Parachute Brigade would be launched from 12 Wing here and would be para-dropped, along with their equipment over the exercise area in Western Rajasthan. It is learnt that a portion of troops who were to take part in the exercise had already arrived here. A demonstration of the assault equipment and the manner in which troops and their paraphernalia is prepared for undertaking airborne operations would also be conducted here. The IAF was conducting regular transport sorties as part of the exercise. Operations at night were also being carried out.


Soft porn movies rule the roost
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Soft porn movies rule the roost in majority of the cinemas here and in nearby areas as the screen-world faces a severe drought of new releases. The price difference between a regular movie and a cheap film could be as high as seven times for the theatre runners.

Gone are the days of off-season replacements with past hits of Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan times to fill up the dry season. Instead of ‘Sanyasi Mera Naam’, ‘Jalta Badan’, ‘Night in Water’, and ‘Rani Mera Naam’ pasted in cinema halls.

In a casual conversation, majority of the cinema hall managers accept the ‘horrendous’ scenario. “We are not to be blamed. The Censor Board, which cleared the film, is first to be questioned. Cinema halls are no takers of past hits. The cable television has brought majority of the hits to homes. We do not want empty cinema halls,” said Mr Sant Singh, KC Theatre.

The list of ‘crowd-attracter’ currently on screen includes ‘Emma’, ‘Vatsyayan Kaamsutra’ and ‘Muthu Maharaj’.

Loads of cheap movies assure ‘a typical audience’ and at least assure theatres to break even the costs of maintenance, he said.

Mr R.B.Sharma of Neelam Theatre, said that the Gujarat earthquake was one of the major reasons for a severe drought in new releases. “Gujarat happens to be a very big market for Bollywood releases. The fiasco which ended up with arrest of Bharat Shah for underworld funding for ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’ had also brought down shutters on several releases,” he said.

Kiran Theatre is among the exceptions which has particularly from the past couple of years stuck to display of major Hollywood releases. Most of them are already released internationally, but the presentation is a novelty for the city cinegoers. Mr Harjinder Singh said the general movie scenario was “very poor”. “The theatres are finding it tough to sustain crowd strength. However, we are attempting not to compromise on quality,” he added.

Kamal, Manager, said that the satellite television had made a big impact on crowd attraction. The night slot is a sold out for the ‘home-theatres’ as reflected in the media as response to television serials. ‘‘Cheap” movies were available at cheap rates also which was an attraction for theatres.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, said the obscene posters had a negative impact on young minds of children. “It is not surprising to find college-going students in such shows. The district administration needs to wake up to a disturbing scenario that was building up as a permanent feature,” he said.

Mr Sanjay Raghave, a cinegoer, said, “There were only a handful of worth noticing releases in a year. I would prefer going on an outing to cinema hall with my friends to old hits, but that is a bygone era. These ‘cheap’ movies did not hold any attraction, yet they seemed popular with the theatre runners.’’


Welfare schemes at your doorstep
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
The Social Welfare Department, along with the Chandigarh Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Minorities Finance and Development Corporation and the Chandigarh Child and Women Development Corporation organised a camp for taking various schemes of assistance right at the people’s door step at Guru Ravidas Mandir in Dadumajra here yesterday.

The camp was aimed at providing better reach of the various schemes of the Social Welfare Department as well as a scheme of loan at reasonable interest rate.

According to a press statement issued by the administration, a team of doctors from the Director, Health Services, conducted medical examinations on a number of people from nearby areas who attended the camp. Apart from it, a representative from the Estate Office and a public notary were also present for on-the-spot verification.

The loan schemes for women under the Chandigarh Child and Women Development Corporation which offered loan of Rs. 5,000 on a personal bond, evoked a great response. Besides this, cases for higher loans under bank-tie-up schemes were also covered.

Ms Madhvi Kataria, Director Social Welfare, urged the women to ensure non-discrimination between girls and boys and stressed on providing education, especially to the girl child. She also thanked Ms Oshima Reikhi, Ms Sheila Didi and Mr Mohinder Samber and other bearers of various NGO’s for making the camp a success.


Over 8 lakh spent on welfare
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 5
The District Administration has spent over Rs 8.60 lakh for the welfare of persons belonging to scheduled castes, backward classes and other economically weaker sections of the society in the district, during the last year under various welfare schemes of the state government.

This was stated by Ms Jyoti Arora, Deputy Commissioner, here yesterday. She said that Rs 2,95,800 has been provided to 58 families below poverty line belonging to scheduled castes under the Kanyadan Scheme. Apart from it, Rs 1.70 lakh were also provided to 17 widows for the marriage of their daughters. In a similar way, Rs 1 lakh had been given to 20 persons belonging to scheduled castes as ex-gratia grant for construction of houses, disclosed Ms Arora.

She further said Rs 75,252 had been provided as a stipend to the 80 destitute widows and poor girls for the cutting and tailoring training. The government also provided free interest loan amounting to Rs 800-2000 to the students belonging to scheduled castes studying in Class XI and higher classes for stationery. Under this scheme, Rs 49500 had been given to 58 students of these communities.



Shramdan begins at Sukhna Lake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Central Government has decided to allocate an additional sum of Rs 6.11 crore for various development works in the city, including the slums and villages. This was stated by Dr P.D. Shenoy, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, here today.

Speaking to reporters after inaugurating “shramdan” at the regulator end of the Sukhna Lake here this morning, Dr Shenoy also pledged Rs 5 crore for the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC). “The Centre will also provide a grant equivalent to the property tax earned by the corporation, he said while answering a question on the imposition of property tax, which had been hanging fire for the past over three years.

Dr Shenoy, who was here to monitor the plan and non-plan expenditure of Chandigarh, said the ministry wanted to retain the city as the prime educational, medical and engineering centre and with that end in view the Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, would be provided state-of-the-art equipment including CAT scan and MRI, besides upgrading of the operation theatres.

Dr Shenoy said by the next year the power cuts, which were the order of the day, would be a thing of the past. Similarly it would be ensured that nobody remained below poverty line in Chandigarh. At present five per cent of its population lives below the poverty line.

Answering a query on sanctioning of new posts like Additional DC for the city, he said the matter was under consideration. Stressing the need for “rightsizing” various departments, he said that 313 vacant posts of teacher in the UT would be filled soon.

Earlier, Dr Shenoy inaugurated the annual “shramdan” at the lake. Accompanied by the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, and senior officials of the Administration and the MCC, he took part in the “shramdan”.

Prominent among those, who took part in the “shramdan” were Mr Rakesh Singh, UT Finance Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, UT Home Secretary, Mr Bhim Sen Bassi, IGP, Mr M. Ramsekhar, DC, Mr M.P. Singh, MCC Commissioner, Mr Puranjit Singh, UT Chief Engineer, and Mr Manmohanjit Singh, MCC Chief Engineer.

For the first time in the history of “shramdan”, it was delayed as Dr Shenoy arrived about 45 minute late of the scheduled time of 7 a.m. Old-timers said, the “shramdan”, which had traditionally been inaugurated by the UT Administrators and Advisers, was always inaugurated on time in the previous years. By the time, Dr Shenoy arrived, school children had already “started” the “shramdan’ and they were restrained from doing so by UT officials before the formal inauguration.




Awareness camp
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
The Consumer Forum, Chandigarh organised a Rural Consumer Awareness and Environment Education camp in Kajheri village today. A number of problems were put forward by the villagers, such as extension of Lal Dora, Link Road to Phirni, old age and widow pension, below poverty line ration cards, a post office, filling of ponds and regular water supply to the village.




It has been a custom to send’s and receive red roses on Valentines Day. This has 
caught up in India also. Red roses have always symbolised romance, love and affection. According to Feng Shui, dark red flowers usually carry a negative vibration. In Feng Shui, it is considered very unlucky to send red flowers to somebody who is lying ill in the hospital. For lovers also, dark red roses have negative vibrations. Usually indicates a premature end to the relationship. Red roses with thorns are even worse. The red colour combined with thorns double the negative connotations. Here, it should be understood that we are not talking about roses. Yellow roses are considered to be very lucky in Feng Shui. All other yellow flowers are also lucky. In Feng Shui, it is considered better to send yellow roses if you want to increase your love. Other lucky colours are pink, peach and violet. Another important thing to remember is not to give artificial or dried flowers as gifts to anybody.


Address your Feng Shui queries to:
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



Hanks shines in Castaway
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

‘Castaway‘ (Kiran) is a dexterous amalgamation of the ‘never say die’ human spirit struggling alone in the background of a picturesque ‘lonely’ island.

Robert Zemeckis has lent masters touch in authenticity of moulding the hero’s life adaptable to the natural settings beginning from a scratch. Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), the lone survivor of a shipwreck, carries effectively the bulk of the film’s fate on his shoulders.

The film ‘is a unique opportunity to explore the blessings and cruelties of fate and survival of the human spirit. Zemeckis, an academy award winner, and Tom Hanks, two-time Oscar winner, have lived up to the critics’ expectations.

A systems engineer, Noland runs his life to match the hands of the clock. He is an exceptional team manager and keeps himself focused to a fixed schedule matched with his compulsive personality. He quite naturally manages very little time for Kelly (Helen Hunt), his girl friend.

On one of his expeditions he is marooned on an island. There is no sight of any human population. He has to eat coconuts, but even to break the first one he has to undergo an ordeal. Slowly, his life changes and he carves a human face on a ball that is his only friend.

The blue serene waters often turn turbulent giving gory pictures. Hanks manages a caveman’s life for his security. Hanks discovers the method to create fire. His food changes from coconuts to fish, which he kills with a master’s agility. Hanks also makes a boat for the final escape back to civilisation.

Hanks has an “all time great” role executed with an “all time great” performance.

* * * *

‘Uljhan’ (KC) is a much-delayed Pahlaj Nihlani production and holds little promise. Puru Raaj Kumar in the lead is supported by Deepti Bhatnagar.

Rajan Johri is the director of the film, which also stars Shakti Kapoor and Sashi Kala. Aadesh Srivastava is the music director.


Case of assault registered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
A Sector 34 resident complained with the local police that he was assaulted by two persons, Tony and Navdeep, here yesterday. According to police sources, the complainant, Mr Gursimran Singh, also reported that the duo snatched his gold chain and mobile phone before fleeing. Police sources said that the address of the accused was not yet known.

A case under Sections 356, 379, 323, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Three held:
The local police arrested three persons allegedly for assaulting a shopkeeper of Sector 20 market here. According to information available, Mr Ravinder Kumar was assaulted by Gurcharan Singh (Sector 40), Raju Rajinder and Dharam Singh, both residents of Sector 44 yesterday evening.

The three were booked under Sections 147, 149 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code.

Two caught red-handed:
The local police arrested two persons, Narinder Kumar and Naseem Ahmad, both resident of SAS Nagar for stealing wrist-watches here yesterday. According to police sources, the duo were caught red-handed by the complainant, Mr Samsulhuk, resident of Colony No. 4

A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Bricks stolen:
Mr Shiv Kumar, engineer and contractor and resident of Panchkula, reported that bricks were stolen from Kumhar Colony and Janta Colony, where construction work was in progress.

The local police registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

Woman held with liquor:
The local police arrested Shushila, resident of Indira Colony, Mani Majra and reportedly recovered 15 pouches of liquor from her residence late in the evening here yesterday.

She was booked under the Excise Act.


Robbers held:
The CIA staff of the district police busted a gang of robbers which had committed robberies in temples and homes. The SP said acting on a tip-off, a naka was set up at Manav Chowk on Saturday morning. Three robbers was nabbed at the naka. During questioning, the robbers admitted that they had committed robberies at different temples. They had also committed robberies in five houses in Mahesh Nagar, Ambala Cantt, and burgled a shop in Badshahi Bagh. A number of stolen goods were recovered from them.


Booked for fraud:
The police on Friday registered a case against an unidentified person for allegedly collecting money from people in name of HFCL, a telecommunication company, for providing telephone connections. According to the police, the suspect was issuing fake receipts to applicants by pretending to be a representative of the company. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered .



Deos, perfumes come to the rescue of damsels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Deos and perfumes, the cool fragrance of roses and musk compressed in translucent vials, are being picked up from sparkling glass shelves to drown the malodour of muggy weather and overcome water scarcity.

Glittering under the high-wattage lights, the fragile phials are the “prized possession” of every damsel bathing with “just four mugs of water” ever since the taps started hissing in the summer of 2001.

The testimony of the ever-increasing requirement of perfumes is there for all to see. Go to the posh departmental stores in the city and you will find so many eager eyes desperately searching for “something strong”. To fight fetor enhanced by “too little bathing”.

Nikhad is among the seekers. She has just purchased two bottles of perfumes from a Sector 35 drugstore and is holding them tight in a designer paper bag. Passing dull, suntanned, fingers through bleached tresses, the under-grad sadly utters, “They wouldn’t last for more than two weeks”.

Gently pushing her aside, her chum Zarish chirps in, “It’s true. In the absence of water on the third floor, we both are literally bathing with aroma oils and perfumes. We have no option. Either we smell bad till the time we wash ourselves at night or spend dad’s hard-earned cash on scents. The second choice is better, isn’t it!”

In days when aqua pura gushed out of brass taps, the two showered twice a day. Those times are history. “I used to simply dust powder after a nice refreshing shower. Perfumes, even deos, were for parties and marriage receptions,” asserts Dharkan, a plustwo student residing on the second floor in one of the worse-hit southern sectors. “Otherwise also, original ones were not available. We used to get them from friends abroad. Once-in-a-while, that is.”

Today, catering to the needs of the odour-struck, sweat bathing, thirsty-for-a-nice-scrub maidens are cosmetic stores all over the city. Displayed in their windows are exotic varieties from tangy citrus, sweet florals, zesty spices to fragrant jasmine, ylang-ylang and traditional sandlewood.

“To mask body odour, they are asking for all kinds of perfumes. Fresh lime and gentle balsam to name a few. Sales too have shot up. Now-a-days we are selling upto 25 to 30 bottles a day as compared to three to four in the previous season,” says Dhiraj Kaushal, owner of a Sector 20 booth. 


Industrialists demand amenities
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 5
Members of the Dera Bassi Industrial Focal Point Association have criticised the authorities for the non-development of the area and for not providing basic civic amenities to various industrial units here for the past over 10 years.

Mr R.C. Bhargava, chairman of the association, said that various industrial units within the limits of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, the civic body had been charging octroi from them for the past many years. “The association has given several representations to the authorities for the maintenance of the focal point, but no action has been taken so far,” he alleged.

He said that the focal point was under the control of the Punjab Small Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) and had not been handed over to the council. The civic body was charging octroi from these units as they fall within its limits.

The MC authorities, however, refuse to maintain the focal point as the industrial units were being controlled by the PSIEC. On the other hand, the PSIEC authorities said that as the municipal council was charging octroi from them and it was the responsibility of the civic body to maintain the focal point.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, president of the association, said that the civic body was charging octroi on the incoming as well as on the outgoing goods from jurisdiction of the council. Obviously, the octroi was being charged twice on one item. This had affected the development of the focal point adversely, he said.

The association has urged that the charging of octroi should be suspended till the focal point was not fully developed and the industrial units were not provided with basic civic amenities.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |