Friday, May 25, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Top honours for YPS in ISC Class XII exam
Our Correspondent
Hard work, discipline and diligence is the mantra for success in the examinations. 

Anil Sofat of St Kabir who is among the first four toppers of Chandigarh in the Indian Council of Secondary Examination, and Jatin Arora who stood second in St Joseph School with 91.33 per cent marks say that there is no substitute for hard work and perseverance. Of course, help and guidance from teachers, support from parents and other members of the family and tuitions also play an important role. Incidentally, most of the toppers said that they had been taking private tuitions to ensure that they came out with flying colours.

Similar views were expressed by Supreet Singh Bagha of St Kabir who bagged 94.83 per cent marks.

Anil Sofat wants to become a doctor from AIIMS, while Supreet wants to be an aeronautical engineer. Jatin wants to join some IIT.

Chandigarh, May 24
In addition to St Kabir Public School, Chandigarh, students of Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, have also fared very well in the Class X and XII examinations conducted by the Indian Council of Secondary Education and Indian Secondary Certificate.

According to details available here today, 126 students of YPS, SAS Nagar, took the examination. Of them, 113 students secured the first division. Fourteen students have scored more than 90 per cent marks and 48 students have got more than 80 per cent marks.

Gautam Mehra of Class X of St Joseph’s School, Sector 44-D, has scored 90.5 per cent marks and Paramveer Singh Dhillon got 90 per cent marks.

Amanjot Bhullar of Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, scored 93.5 per cent marks in Class X. Agamjot Singh, Mayank Singla and Udeep Singh of Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, have scored 91 per cent marks in Class X. Ruchira Khosla, Harmeet Singh, Geetika Singh, and Kamalpreet Kaur scored 89.6 , 86.4, 86.16 and 85 per cent marks, respectively. Yadvinder Singh scored 84 per cent marks.

Other students of the school who fared well are Tanveer Singh (84 per cent), Amanvir Singh (83.5 per cent), Manveen Singh Anand (83.5 per cent), Aarti Gupta (81 per cent), Bimal Preet (81.16 per cent).

Amanleen Singh Anand of Yadavindra Public School scored 77 per cent marks in class XII.

Anshul Mittal of Chaman Vatika Residential Public School, Ambala, scored 89.4 per cent marks. Chizy Valecha, Harshit Puruwar, Chetan Garg and Vipin Jain scored 88.75, 88.20, 87.6 and 85.6 per cent marks, respectively. A total of 15 students of the Class XII commerce stream scored more than 75 per cent marks.

Other students of the school who came out with flying colours are Sameer Chopra (86.8 per cent), Mohd Saef Sajjad (84.75 per cent), Arun Batra (83.75 per cent), Lancelot R. Fernandes (81.5 per cent), Rahul Gulati (81 per cent), Sahil Mangla (81.75 per cent) Nishant Patni (81 per cent) and Gagan Mittal (79.25 per cent).



Major fire in Industrial Area
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 24
A major fire broke out in three adjoining factories in Plot No. 11 of Industrial Area, Phase II, in the late hours here today. Property worth lakhs was reportedly destroyed in the fire. However, no loss of life was reported.

The factories which were engulfed in the fire were a battery manufacturing unit and two factories manufacturing cooler kits. Sources revealed that a printing press was also functioning in the compound.

Chief Fire Officer G.S. Bajwa said flames rose up to 10 to 12 feet. At the time the fire broke out, there were 10 persons working in the battery factory. However, he maintained that combustible material was stored near a furnace in the factory. He said, ‘‘Had the material not been stored in an illegal manner, the fire would not have been so massive’’.

Five fire tenders controlled the fire in an about an hour.


Many lose rupees in chasing dollar dreams
This Australian firm might be cheating you, too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Hundreds of residents of the city and Panchkula are being lured by an Australia-based company to participate in an international lottery that has Australian $ 23 lakh at stake.

A large number of persons have already suffered for disobeying the Reserve Bank of India guidelines on not using remittances for lottery. They have had to lose their credit cards after paying the fee for participating in the lottery. Various private and public sector banks in the city and Panchkula are receiving inquiries from such anxious customers.

It all begins with an unsuspecting person receiving a letter from Australia, announcing that he has won a lottery. It announces that the prize money will be sent to the winner at his or her residence within 72 hours. It also says that the personal secretary of the Chief Award Officer of the company, World Wide Winners Search Centre, will contact the winner.

However, the letter also mentions that if the receiver of the letter is interested in winning the prize money, he should send the company a reply form with US $ 19 ($ 16 for the stake and $ 3 for free plays in three Australian Lottery games).

Financial institutions in the city warn residents against falling prey to this stunt because it may well be part of an international racket.

Mr Pankaj Sood, Manager of the Panchkula branch of IDBI Bank, said “Recently, many of our customers have approached us to inquire about the ways of making the payment to the company. When we tell them that the RBI does not allow money transactions for gambling and lotteries, they begin to explore other ways of transferring the money.”

He said, though the money for the purpose was not being sent out directly from the banks here, aspiring millionaires might be doing it by showing that the funds were being remitted for another purpose. No prize money has been transferred to any bank here.

When contacted, an official of Times Bank who takes care of international transactions, said, since the stakes were not being allowed to be sent out, there was no question of receiving any prize money — as stipulated in the RBI guidelines.

Persons here are receiving such letters for the past six months. When the letters arrived for the first time, a large number of persons, in their ignorance, even made the payments through their international credit cards. The cards were seized when the banks concerned found this out and reported the matter to the RBI.

A defence personnel, on the condition of anonymity, said he had paid the company $ 19 through his Citibank credit card because he had been unaware of the RBI guidelines. His credit card was later cancelled.

“I did not realise that I would lose more than I had bargained for. My family received many more letters from the company, asking us to make further payments. We realised that it might be part of an international gambling racket,” he said.

Most persons who have received these letters wonder how does the company get their names and addresses. They suspect that the company has a local associate who is helping the company cheat unsuspecting residents.



Admn reserves 3 pc CHB flats for disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Chandigarh Administration under a new scheme,“ Chandigarh Allotment of land to the persons with disabilities scheme 2001” shall reserve 3 per cent of the dwelling units for disabled persons in all housing schemes of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). Similarly 3 per cent reservation will be made in all schemes for allotment of commercial rehabilitation sites like rehri markets and commercial booths.

The Chandigarh Administration, in its recent notification, has also said that STD booths,fax machine booths, photostat machine booths, fruit and juice bars in public institutions like hospitals, government offices, schools, colleges, among other places shall be earmarked for allotting the same to the persons with disability under the scheme on such terms and conditions as may be specified by the Administration.

Under this scheme a person with disability shall be eligible for allotment of land if he is a bona fide resident of the Union Territory of Chandigarh for the last three years preceding the date of application. For this, the applicant shall have to give sufficient proof like having a voter’s identity card, ration card, electricity connection, water connection.

The applicant should not be owning any site of land, dwelling unit ,house or a flat either residential or commercial or agriculture land in his or her name or in the name of the spouse at Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, or a radius of 25 km from Sector 17, Chandigarh.

The extent of disability will be judged according to a certificate issued by the disability board constituted for the said purpose by the Chandigarh Administration. In all housing schemes, the CHB shall reserve 3 per cent of the dwelling units to be disposed of through allotment to the persons with disability and their mode of allotment, payment of premium shall be regulated as per this scheme. The rates to be charged will be the same as applicable to the general allottees.

For those desiring land for institutional purposes, allotments shall be made to societies having dedication and a track record of having worked for at least 3 years preceding the date of application towards the general welfare of the persons with disability.

A 3 per cent reservation shall also apply in case of industrial sites.

The procedure for STD booths, photostat machines and kiosks within the premises of public institutions will be specified separately. 




Building completion certificate will
not be necessary now
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Completion certificate which was mandatory in Chandigarh for owners to prove that their residential or commercial building had been completed in all respects, will not be required now. The date of sewerage connection will be treated as a certificate of completion. A notification in this regard is to be issued within the next few days, sources in the Chandigarh Administration confirmed today.

At present these certificates were required for converting property from leasehold to freehold. A demand had been pending for long about the need for accepting the sewerage connection as the completion certificate.

A decision in this regard had been taken by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and the same was being carried out.



KA Singh’s name cleared for FS post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The name of Mr Karan Avtar Singh, a 1984 batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, has been cleared by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for appointment as Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration.

Now a final approval from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is pending, sources confirmed here today. His appointment may come through even before the tenure of the present Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, comes to an end on June 12.

Mr Karan A. Singh and Mr S.S. Channi were the two officials to be informally interviewed by the Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). Another officer in the panel of four officers, Mr R.C Nayyar, had shown his disinterest in the post.

Mr Singh is presently posted as Secretary, Expenditure, with additional charge of the Managing Director, Infrastructure Development Board, in Punjab. He has a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Michigan, USA.



Sale of drugs still goes on unchecked
Nishikant Dwivedi

Kurali (Ropar), May 24
Malkit(18), belonging to a village in Ropar district, has a permanent hole in his upper thigh in which he injects a fatal drug everyday. He has to inject himself in his thighs as his arms have become insensitive to these injections. He says he started taking injections at the age of 12. Today, he cannot do without his daily fix.

Rs 50 and a promise of a set of injections of opiates and his fellow villager Kuldeep Singh, a 26-year-old drug addict, talks about the way drugs are freely available at the periphery of Chandigarh. Kuldeep said he was ready to do anything for a drug injection. This correspondent had to pay him off before he told anything. “I have been taking injections for past eight to ten years,”he added.

Callousness on part of the Punjab Police and officials of the District Drugs Department in checking the open sale of banned drugs in form of injections by various chemist shops in Ropar district is ruining the lives of thousands of youths. Reportedly a chemist—cop—health authorities nexus is responsible for sale of such drugs.

There are 10 to 15 drug addicts in almost every village of the district. Most of them are consuming the Schedule-H drugs or opium.

On Sunday Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the problem of the open sale of drugs on the periphery of Chandigarh. But the authorities had not take any action against the erring chemist shops of the area till today.

According to Punjab Police sources , no raids were conducted on any of the shops. Today when a Chandigarh Tribune team visited the chemist shops which were selling such injections on Sunday, these shops were doing business as usual. Any body could walk in to these shops and purchase the drugs.

Numerous medical shops dot these areas which openly sell Schedule - H drugs ( these drugs otherwise require a doctor’s prescription). Easy availability of drugs seems to be attracting more and more youth. As a result Chandigarh’s periphery has turned into a virtual haven for drug addicts.

The Chandigarh Tribune team today again bought four ampules of drugs (without any doctor’s prescription) taken by addicts. Decoy customers were used —one each in Nayagaon, Mullanpur-Garibdas, Kurali and Khara.

Reportedly there exists a nexus between the police, chemists and officials of the drug department as these medical shops openly sell selling the Schedule H drugs without prescription.

Some of the chemists, who were selling these drugs, while talking to this correspondent, informed that a fixed sum was paid by them to the area’s police personnel.

The Chandigarh Tribune team also persuaded three addicts of the area to show the places where they go to inject themselves. They took the Chandigarh Tribune team to one of the rivulets, along the village’s canal along with some other places. Everywhere the scene was similar with seven to eight addicts lying around. Empty bottles of the injections and cough syrup were lying by their side.

The team visited a dozen villages of Ropar district, including Nayagaon, Mullanpur-Garibdas, Phlari, Panjoli and Sanjoli. Shockingly in each village the team met drug addicts. A majority of them were in the age group of 15 to 25 years. Their illiterate and poor parents were finding the situation beyond control as most of these addicts seemed beyond help.



Tribune survey
It’s workshops, special courses

The concept of summer camps or workshops is still new in the Doaba and deep Malwa belts. Certain institutions, however, have introduced this Western concept there by offering both young and old alike some useful courses, workshops and other positive options to keep them occupied during the long summer vacation.

In Jalandhar, the famous Apeejay College of Fine Arts, as usual, is offering special courses in flower arrangement, sculpture painting, toy making and computers with the fee ranging between Rs 300 and Rs 600 per course.

Dr Suchitra, Principal of the college, says the response to these courses has been overwhelming. “We get 40 to 50 students for each course.”

Dr K.C. Mahindroo, Principal, Saint Soldier Divine School, expects 500 students to join special coaching classes in English speaking, judo, karate, swimming and dance in the school. Dayanand Model Senior Secondary School has planned summer courses in English speaking, art and craft, dance and applying “mehndi”.

Mrs Neena David, Principal, KCL Public School, Jalandhar, says that because of the demand, the institution will focus on painting, art and craft and dance classes.

Some holiday revellers, however, have altogether different plans. These include drives or visits to places like Kangra or places of worship in the region. For some college girls, including Shally, a B.Com student, McLeodganj in Himachal has been their favourite spot for the vacation.

In Patiala, various schools and organisations are introducing a number of short-term crash courses or workshops. The aim of these workshops is to give practical training to children in things which they would not only enjoy doing but which would also help them in developing their overall personality. These summer camps move beyond normal classroom teaching and lay stress on widening the horizons of children and increasing their capacity to innovate.

Mr Sukhminder Singh, executive manager of the Scientology Centre, said their plans included the holding of drawing and painting camps, theatre workshops, Western and classical Indian dances and programmes on communication skills.

The centre aimed to bring about confidence among children, who were normally shy in front of elders. It also aimed to help children make a lot of friends. Mr Sukhminder Singh said he would welcome expert faculty members so that unique concepts were taught to children at these summer camps.

Ms H. Sandhu, Principal of Budda Dal Public School, Patiala, said they planned to introduce a workshop on handwriting from June 10, apart from various painting and dance camps.

Mr S.M. Devgun, Principal, DAV Public School, said the institution would organise a week-long workshop on theatre, music drama and fine arts. The school would also conduct a four-day “vedic chetna shivir”, which would end on May 27. About 100 DAV Public School girls from Punjab would participate.

Mr Devgun emphasised the need for developing confidence among girls and laying more stress on “philosophy and cultural and more values’. He said they would also invite Yoga experts who would teach the girls how to take care of themselves physically as well as mentally.

In Sangrur, while boys are opting for computer courses, girls are making a beeline for dance and music classes. Many of those who are keen on sports are joining swimming classes.

In the absence or proper infrastructure and facilities for specialised camps, some schools are using the vacation period to prepare students well for the next board examinations.

Says Mr Sajjan Singh, Principal of General Gurnam Singh Public School, Sangrur: “We are holding special classes during the summer vacation for Class X students so that they can do well in the board examinations next year. We are also organising training camps in various sports”.

Mr Kuldip Singh, Principal of Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, plans to take a group of students to a hill station, both for recreation and education.

With inputs from Varinder Singh (Jalandhar), Anita Tayal (Patiala) and Sushil Goyal (Sangrur).




Indo-Canadian jv for sewer cleaning
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
“There is immense potential for municipal cleaning systems,” says Mr Hemant M. Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Cubex, a Winnipeg-based company, maintaining that the systems are “cost-effective clean-up solutions for some of India’s most important environment challenges”

Accompanied by Mr Jason Hannah, Divisional Manager, Municipal and Construction Equipment, Mr Shah interacted with a number of officials in Chandigarh and Punjab, including the Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, Mr Puranjit Singh, and the Commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Dr S.S. Sandhu. The company offers street sweepers, sewer cleaning systems and highway maintenance equipment.

Now when the government as well as the civic bodies are talking of downsizing these machines could come in for the manpower to maintain the basic essential civic services.

“We came to India on a probe mission almost a fortnight ago and have visited Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi before arriving here. We already have Cubex-KLR International Inc, a manufacturing facility in Hyderabad, under an Indo-Canadian joint venture,” he said.

“Encouraged by the response to our world-class maintenance systems and equipment from various civic bodies, we are keeping our options open, which include setting up our own manufacturing unit in joint sector in and around Chandigarh, giving licence to a partner to manufacture and maintain these cleaning systems or entering into partnership with a local contractor to provide the services in case civic bodies go for privatisation of the cleaning services,” Mr Shah added.

“Keeping in view the Indian requirements, including street sweepers and sewer cleaners for narrow lanes in old cities, we can modify our equipment to meet the requirements. These clean-up machines can be tractor or trailer- mounted and basically run on diesel,” said Mr Shah.

Mr Hannah said, “provincial governments and municipal bodies face the issue of cleaning up their communities’ air, water and roads. Our line of street sweepers, sewer cleaning systems and highway maintenance equipment can help them cost effectively achieve their environmental goals.”

“With 24 years of international experience in maintenance equipment sales, training and service, Cubex delivers the highest level of industry expertise to Indian communities. We’re committed to helping solve India’s environmental challenges,” he said.

“We are overwhelmed by the response. Most of the civic bodies want to see demonstration of our machines. We hope to be back in India by September or October this year. On our return we would submit feasibility and viability reports,” Mr Shah said.

Mr Hannah said that “while Cubex is a global company it has a solid reputation for local service and training support. We are dedicated to equipping, training and servicing our municipal customers.”


Another case of negligence at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
In yet another episode in the series of unsavoury incidents that have been rocking the PGI during the past couple of months, relatives of 80-year-old Surjit Singh have alleged that he died in a private hospital in Delhi yesterday, following negligence by the doctors in the PGI emergency on Tuesday last.

“My father’s condition deteriorated after being left unattended for over three hours in the PGI emergency,” said Mr Shyam Sunder, the only son of the deceased.

Surjit Singh from Kaul, village of Kaithal District had been suffering from various complications including heart and skin problems. According to Mr Shyam Sunder, despite being admitted to a reputed private hospital in Delhi, the family decided to shift him to the PGI keeping in mind the good reputation of the institute. “ It was with lot of hope that we had decided to get my father here for treatment,” he said.

Relatives of the deceased met the PGI Director today to formally lodge their complaint in this connection. Later they told Chandigarh Tribune that they have been assured by him that the mater will be investigated by the acting Medical Superintendent, Dr D. Bahera, and a report submitted by next Saturday.

Recounting details of the harrowing experience, Mr Shyam Sunder said his father was wheeled in a semi-conscious condition to the PGI emergency at around 12.30 pm. “The team of attending doctors failed to take note of my father’s serious condition and left him unattended for over three hours.”

After spending these precious hours on paper work., when Mr Shyam Sunder urged the attending doctors to attend to his father he was in for a rude shock. “Doctors told me to do whatever I could , he added. And all this happened despite Dr D. Bahera personally asking the Senior Medical Officer on duty to attend to his father.

Seeing his condition deteriorating further, the family requested the doctors to discharge their patient. “Another 45 minutes were wasted in doing some more paperwork and my father was finally discharged at 3.30 pm,” says Mr Shyam Sunder.

But then another ordeal to locate an ambulance ensued for the already harassed family. “It took us an hour to convince the driver of an ambulance parked in front of the emergency to drop us at least till Kurukshetra. It was only after we paid him as per his demands that we finally managed to go back to the private hospital in Delhi. But by then it was too late,” says Mr Shyam Sunder.



Probe into Khanpur clash
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 24
The District Magistrate, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the police excesses reported during a clash between the police and villagers of Khanpur on May 21.

According to official sources, Mr Daljeet Singh, Subdivisional Magistrate, has been appointed inquiry officer. He will inquire into the conduct of some police officials during that clash.



A crossing known for accidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Transport Area light point on Madhya Marg is not only the busiest intersection in the city but also one of the most accident-prone.

According to official records, two or three minor accidents take place at this junction every day. Figures maintained by the traffic police show that so far four serious accidents have taken place at this point this year. One of these accidents has resulted in the death of a youth and injuries to four persons.

At any given time during the rush hours ( 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.) 50 to 75 vehicles pass through the road junction. These include heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses and cars, three-wheelers and two-wheelers, besides cycles and rickshaws.

This junction forms the beginning of the highway to Ambala on one side and Shimla on the other. Vehicles approach this point at a high speed— unmindful of the fact that they are now entering the city, which has its speed limits. This at times leads to accidents. Heavy vehicles often do not give way to faster moving cars which also causes traffic problems and accidents.

Policemen are permanently positioned here along with a police control room vehicle to ensure that the traffic rules are observed. But many a time, the rule breakers do manage to give the policemen the slip, which often leads to accidents.

Most of the accidents at this point are caused when the drivers try to jump the red light. Also, the failure of certain drivers to choose the right lane results in accidents. Cyclists, rickshaw-pullers and cart men, who are not familiar with the traffic rules and the lanes meant for different kinds of vehicles are also responsible for the accidents.

The traffic police has created slow carriage ways on Madhya Marg, these join the main road at this light point.

Moreover, the slipways from Purv Marg to Madhya Marg are also accident-prone. Often, the drivers on the slipways do not take into account the heavy flow of traffic from the opposite direction when the light turns green and collisions take place.



PGI seeks specific orders in Munjal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Regarding the reinstatement of the dismissed union leader, Mr Ashwini Munjal, the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, urged the Union Health Minister, Dr C.P. Thakur, today to issue specific orders under the Central Civil Services Classification Control and Appeal Rules (CCS CCA Rules).

The Union Health Minister had asked the PGI authorities on April 22 to allow Mr Ashwini Munjal, General Secretary of the PGI Employees Union, to resume duty from September 5, 1997. Earlier, after a dismissal order on April 26, union leaders had approached Dr Thakur to get a stay on the order. They had even threatened to proceed on mass casual leave, but had withdrawn this threat later.

Mr Munjal had been accused of serious misconduct, coercion and physical duress and failing to maintain devotion to duty. He had also been disqualified for serving the government as per Rule 11 (IX) of the CCS CCA Rules. These rules are applicable to the employees of the PGI as per regulation 38 of the PGIMER Regulations of 1967.

According to a press note issued by the PGI Director today, not more than 50 members of the employees’ union attended its general-body meeting. Moreover, even the Punjab and Haryana High Court has not issued any censure to the PGI for terminating the services of Mr Munjal.

Prof Sharma said the PGI had excellent employee-employer relations and it had not acted in a vindictive manner.

Meanwhile, the PGI Employees Union, has said that the termination of the services of another employee, Ms Saraswati, under Rule 5 (1) of the CCS (Temporary Service) Rules of 1965, is illegal. “The PGI Director has no authority to terminate the services of any employee unless he or she is proven guilty by an inquiry. The termination orders were passed without holding an inquiry and the Union Health Minister, in his capacity as the President of the institute, has rightly stayed the orders,” said union leaders, in a press note issued here today.



CHB’s decision condemned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, today condemned the declaration of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) that it would demolish the illegal additions and alterations in the flats from August onwards.

Terming the declaration as “undemocratic and anti-people”, Mr Dhawan warned the demolition drive would be resisted by the people. Before notifications, the board differentiate between the “need-based” and “greed-based” violations.

A perusal of various amendments revealed that these were loaded with such conditions and riders so as to render them redundant. He urged the Chandigarh Administration to take into account the ground realities into mind while framing amendments.


Bachpan bachao march in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Hundreds of children participating in an all-India march organised by the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude, New Delhi, to focus the attention of the nation on the need of free primary education for all children, passed through the City Centre today.

“Equal education is essential for creating an equal and exploitation-free, just society,” said Mr Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, as this march was named at a press conference here today.

Explaining his argument, he said that unequal education created inequality in society.

The march, which started on January 21 from Thiruvananthapuram, will continue till June 19 and end at Delhi, covering a distance of 12,000 km. The rally includes more than 100 students who were earlier child labourers.The march also organises street plays, corner meetings, etc.

The officials accompanying the march are also busy in identifying districts where people vigilance committees will be established to gauge the status of education in the districts. The andolan is also enrolling educated men and women who have some spare time and can volunteer to go and teach those who need help.

These children marched from Sector 22 to Sector 17 today and will be going to areas of Punjab tomorrow.


Honour for TA battalion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Army Commander Banner for the Best Territorial Army Unit of the Western Command for the year 2000-01 has gone to the 112 Infantry Battalion (Dogra). The 126 Infantry Battalion (Jammu and Kashmir Rifles) is the runner-up. These units will now compete for the Chief of the Army Staff Trophy for the best Territorial Army (TA) unit in the country.

The banner was received by Lieut Vedavrat Vaidya from the GOC-in-C of the Western Command, Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh, at a ceremony in the command headquarters at Chandi Mandir today. The battalion’s Commanding Officer, Col Gurbaksh Singh and the Western Command TA Group Commander, Brig Rakesh Mehta, besides senior Western Command officers were also present there on the occasion.

Raised at Jalandhar on August 16, 1942, the battalion saw action in World War II. The unit was merged into the Army after the war and reraised on August 22, 1949. The unit has won the Army Chief Trophy thrice and the Western Army Commander Banner 10 times since its raising. The battalion is shortly moving into Kashmir Valley for counter-insurgency duties. The Army Chief Trophy and the Army Commander Banner have been instituted to sustain enthusiasm and promote efficiency among the TA units.


Scribes protest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 24
Journalists and the other employees of ‘Desh Sewak’, a vernacular daily published from here, went on a lightning strike today against the termination of the services of a journalist by the newspaper’s management body yesterday. So far, the services of six employees of the newspaper have been terminated.

The workers want reinstatement of these employees, implementation of the wage board recommendations and an termination of the contract system. Members of the Chandigarh Journalists Association also joined the protest.


Kashmir: lasting solution can be found ‘only through talks’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Terming the BJP-led NDA government’s invitation to Pakistan’s Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf, for peace talks as a “positive step”, a cross-section of the people has expressed the hope that the initiative could go a long way in resolving the vexed Kashmir issue.

Talking to The Tribune, Brig Sant Singh (retd), a highly-decorated soldier, said it was the right time for talks as “practical settlement” must be made with Pakistan. A lot of spadework must have gone into extending the invitation to General Musharraf, he said.

It was always better to talk to Pakistan than marginal players like the Hurriyat. If Pakistan stopped aiding militants, militancy would slowly die down in the troubled-state, he opined.

Endorsing the views of the Brigadier Sant Singh, Prof S.K. Sharma of Panjab University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, said dialouge must continue for a practical solution to the Kashmir problem. Hundreds of lives had been lost and meagre resources of both the countries wasted over the years and ultimately a solution to the problem will emerge through talks.

Terming the calling off of ceasefire as a “correct step”, he was of the opinion that hardline against the militants and negotiations with Pakistan would bring about best results.

Mr Lawrence Malik, president of the Christian Front, Punjab and Chandigarh, said the initiative, if reciprocated in the right spirit by the Pakistan government, could usher in an era of peace and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir. Already both the countries had stretched their resources to the limit by sticking to their respective stands and it was the right time for talks.

An executive chef with Essex Farms Private Limited, Mr Pradeep Asawa, while welcoming the Indian gesture, was of the opinion that talking direct to Pakistan, the main sponsor of terrorism in the valley, was a better proposition than various terrorist outfits, which primarily worked at cross-purposes. Ultimately, a compromise had be to worked out and that is possible through talks inspite of the form of government in Pakistan, he added.

Dr Surendra Singh, a school lecturer, however, wanted that Pakistan should also reciprocate in a positive way so that a negotiated settlement could be worked out. The calling off of the ceasefire was a step in the right direction, he quipped.

However, Mr Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Wholesale Cloth Merchants Association, cautioned the government as Pakistan’s record at the negotiating table had been bad in the past. “We must also involve Indian secessionist groups for a durable solution to the problems, he added.



Mother, son booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 24
A resident of Phase 3B 2 and his mother were today booked by the police for allegedly cheating the Income Tax Department by getting an income tax clearance certificate of Rs 16 lakh by posing owner of an industrial plot in the Industrial Area, Phase II, here. The suspect, Manjit Singh Sandhu allegedly forged the stamp and signatures of the Income Tax Officer posted here.

According to information available, the suspect , owner of an industrial plot in the Industrial Area, Phase 1, had sold a one-acre industrial plot (C-26) in the Industrial Estate, Phase II, to Astra Agro Food Ltd. Even as the suspect did not own the land, he finalised the deal for the plot at Rs 60 lakh through Col T.S. Bakshi. Then the suspect filed an income tax clearance case against the sale deed. When the purchaser found that Sandhu was not the owner of the plot, the latter promised to get a income tax clearance certificate in the name of his mother, Gurcharan Kaur. As he had already applied for an income tax clearance certificate against the plot, he forged the signatures of the then Income Tax Officer, Mr Sumer Chand (SAS Nagar ward).

The police has registered a case under Sections 420, 465 and 468 of the IPC.



Lawyer, family members booked
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 24
The Ropar police has booked a Chandigarh-based lawyer, Mr Hari Singh and his family members for allegedly purchasing land of a private company at Desumajra village through cheating and forgery. The case has been registered on a complaint by Mr Ravneet Singh, director of M/s Falcon Breeders Limited.

According to information available, an agreement between Mr Kuldeep Singh Gill , a major promoter-director of the company, and Ms Harbans Kaur , owner of the land, to purchase 4 acres of land in Desumajra on March 1, 1991, was got executed by the suspect, Hari Singh. The three promoters of the company, Kuldeep Singh, Paramdeep Kaur and Guravtar Singh, son of Hari Singh, had contributed Rs 3.50 lakh in favour of Harbans Kaur. Another 8 kanals of land owned by the woman was purchased at the rate of Rs 1.90 lakh per kanal and the sale deed was executed on July 29, 1991.

The complainant, in his statement, said that when the phase of militancy was over in Punjab and the land prices escalated, the suspect and his family members fraudulently purchased another 2 acres of land in the name of his family members. The land was to be purchased in the name of the company. Another 1 acre of land already owned by the company was also transferred in their name.

As three civil suits against the suspects and his family members were pending adjudication at Ropar court, the suspects forged the receipts issued by the original land owner The forged receipt was used in the court to falsify the genuine agreement.

The suspects have been accused in the first information report (FIR) of grabbing land of the company valued at around Rs 1.5 crore. A case under Sections 420, 465, 468 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against seven persons, including the lawyer at the Kharar police station.



Rickshaw-puller found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The body of a 35-year-old rickshaw-puller was found by the police near Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 27, this morning.

It is learnt that Sri Ram, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, was a TB patient. He had a bout of cough an also vomiting before he parked the rickshaw on the road side. After, a few minutes he was found dead. The police established his identity from his belongings.

2 cases of burglary: Two cases of burglary were reported in the city during the past 24 hours. While Rs 300 was stolen from the house of Mr Parmod Gupta in Sector 15-D, a gold stead and a wrist-watch were stolen from the room of the warden of Navditya Hostel in the PGI on the night of May 22.

Theft: A mobile phone, an ATM card, some cash and documents were stolen from the bag of Ms Simrat Sahi yesterday at Neelam cinema. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Smack recovered: Fifteen gm of smack was seized from Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Burail, at the PGI chowk last night. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered.

Accident: The Maruti car of the SMO, General Hospital, Sector 16, was damaged when it was hit by the official Ambassador car of an Executive Engineer, Mr Daljit Singh. The accident took place at the Sectors 15-16 light point. The police said that the car was being driven by the driver, Baldev Singh.


Imposter held: A resident of Kurali, Surjit Singh, who was posing as a non-resident Indian (NRI) and owner of a plot in Phase 7, was handed over to the police by a local property dealer.

A police official said the suspect posing as Beant Singh Channa, owner of the plot (2006), approached a property dealer to sell the plot and the deal was almost finalised. To clarify the ownership of the plot, the property dealer approached the local Estate office of PUDA to verify the documents. It was found that the power of attorney of the plot was in the name of another person. The case was being investigated.

Theft: A Maruti car was stolen from a house in Phase 5 here yesterday.


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