Sunday, August 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Has UGC forgotten it’s year of Sanskrit?
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The plan of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to promote the learning of Sanskrit in this ‘year of the language’ seems to be getting nowhere in local colleges at least.

With the academic session well into its second month, this ambitious project of the UGC to introduce free Sanskrit classes in colleges from this session has failed to take off.

In most colleges where the authorities had decided to go ahead with the scheme, Sanskrit classes are yet to begin and it is the UGC that should be blamed for this. Though managements of all colleges had written to the UGC that they were ready to introduce the course, the UGC had given them no response. The UGC had written to the colleges about the course early this year.

The classes were to be held in month-long batches and continued for at least 10 months every year. The UGC also wanted that the course be made open to everyone.

“The college is ready to set up a centre to impart free education of elementary Sanskrit, but the UGC has not told the college how the centre is to be run,” says Ms Vikaylakshmi, Principal of the Sector 11 Government College for Girls.

The UGC was to sanction a special grant for introducing these classes and some of the colleges had already written to the UT Administration seeking more teachers for this purpose. “The UGC seems to be having a problem as it has not been replying to even routine correspondence. Regarding this scheme, it has not issued any instruction so far on what to do next,” says Ms Mohini Sharma, Principal of the Sector 42 Government College for Girls. “This is the only college in the city where almost 80 undergraduates have received national scholarships for being high scorers in the subject, so, we are rather keen on introducing these classes,” she says.

Principals of the other local colleges have similar views on the issue. “The UGC should tell us how to implement the scheme at the earliest. The colleges have been open for almost a month and as these are, to be just month-long batches of elementary reading and writing, these can begin with a minimum of infrastructure as soon as the UGC gives us a go ahead,” says another principal of a local college.


Cops beat me up: lifeguard
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 4
Mr Preet Bhupinder Singh, a lifeguard at the PUDA-run swimming pool in Phase VI here, alleged that he was beaten up when he was in the Phase I police station lock-up in connection with the death of a boy due to drowning.

Karanbir Singh (13), a school student, had drowned on August 2 and his body was found in the pool later.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, in a written complaint to the SDM yesterday, said he had surrendered before the SHO of the Phase I police station and a case under Section 304 A, IPC, was registered against him on August 2. He said he was told to remain in the lock-up for the night. At around 3.30 a.m. he was forced out of the lock-up by Assistant Sub-Inspector Surinder Kumar and alleged that he was beaten up by him.

Mr Bhupinder Singh said later that he was again beaten up. He said he vomited twice and had severe pain in the lower abdomen. He was denied medical help at the police station despite repeated requests. He alleged that the ASI said, “There was police raj in Mohali and no help could be given to him”.

The SDM, Mr Jai Pal Singh, made a noting on the complaint, asking the Medical Superintendent of the PGI, Chandigarh, to conduct an examination of Mr Bhupinder Singh to ascertain the extent of damage inflicted, as alleged by the complainant.

Mr Bhupinder Singh then went to the PGI. On the out-patient ticket the doctor concerned wrote that there was soft tissue injury over the “chest and back”. Among the nothings were “tenderness over chest on back”, “no external injury marking” and “tender lower abdomen”.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Bhupinder Singh said the capacity of the pool, which measured 25 m by 12.5 m, was 40 swimmers at one time. Despite this, up to 80 persons used to turn up. The PUDA authorities, he said, had not bothered to restrict the membership of the pool and nearly 600 persons were made members.

He said for some time he was responsible for changing the water in the pool and claimed he used to do it after short periods on a regular basis. This meant that the pool used to remain closed for at least three days every time this was done. Complaints were made by pool members that the number of days for swimming was being curtailed. Later, a PUDA junior engineer was made in charge and the water was often not changed for long periods and it presented a dirty look. He alleged that the PUDA authorities did not provide bleaching powder, alum, etc, for use in the pool.Back


Airmen’s career dashed to the ground
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Air Headquarters has put a large number of airmen, who were aspiring for a more promising career, in a fix. As a consequence of a recent amendment in the existing policy, airmen opting for a career in banks as probationary officers have now become ineligible for pre-mature release from the IAF, even though they have qualified in the written tests and interviews.

According to some of the affected persons, the Air HQs has raised limit of the minimum basic salary of the post for which airmen can apply to seek premature release. The basic salary for posts of probationary officers, applicable currently, is lower than the minimum salary limit prescribed by the revised IAF regulations.

In a policy, which dates back to 1992, Air HQs allowed airmen, irrespective of their terms of engagement, to apply for Group-A posts in Central and state governments as well as other departments or undertakings controlled by them. This includes Group-A posts of probationary officers in public sector banks and successful airmen could seek premature release from the service.

As per the rules in vouge earlier, airmen could apply for posts which carried a minimum basic salary of Rs 4,000 per month or above. As per revised regulations, which were issued recently, airmen cannot apply for posts which have a basic salary less than Rs 13,400 per month. The basic salary for probationary officers, on the other hand, is stated to be Rs 12,540 per month. Several of the affected persons were contemplating legal recourse.

The sharp increase while setting the revised limits is based on the service pay scales prescribed by the Fifth Pay Commission, which significantly enhanced the salaries of the government employees.

While maintaining that the fixation of the salary limit was incorrect and unreasonable, the affected airmen were contending that the new policy would prevent them from career advancement or applying for a higher post, which was unethical on the part of the authorities.

According to informed sources, there have been at least 15 such cases in the past two months alone, where airmen who have qualified in the written tests and subsequent interviews held by the bank recruitment authorities cannot get release from the service.

They are of the opinion that since the nature and the status of the job they are aiming for has not changed, pay should not be the criterion for release in such cases. They add that the policy which was devised for the betterment of the airmen and to give them an opportunity for advancement in life is now working out to be against their interests.Back


Negligence’ kills two peacocks
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, August 4
Two peacocks died in Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, apparently due to the “negligence” of the zoo staff in shifting these from one enclosure to another, here today.

Highly placed sources said the birds had crashed into the walls of the enclosure when two zoo employees had tried to catch these without giving these any tranquilisers.

Sources said these employees — a veterinary compounder and a zookeeper — had tried to shift the birds without the permission of their superiors. They had even not followed the proper procedure for catching the birds. They had tried to shift the birds without informing the zoo inspector, the Deputy Director of the zoo and the Additional Chief Wildlife Warden. The birds were reportedly buried after the incident and no postmortem was conducted, according to the sources. The zoo authorities have been renovating and cleaning up the enclosures and they have already shifted some of the animals and the birds to new enclosures.

Mr R.K. Luna, Additional Chief Wildlife Warden, when contacted, said, “I was present in the zoo at the time and I received no information about the incident.”


Pangolin sent to Nandankanan
Other died of ‘negligence’
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, August 4
Close on the heals of the death of a pangolin at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park due to the authorities’ alleged negligence, the authorities yesterday sent the other pangolin to the Nandankanan Zoo in Orissa as the the climactical conditions here were not conducive to their upbringing here.

Death of a cheetal (deer) today evening in the Dear Safari gave another setback to the wildlife preservation in the zoo. Sources revealed that a 15-year-old male deer succumbed to its injuries which it sustained in a fight with some other male dear in the safari about a week ago. The zoo authorities confirmed the death of the animal and said that the animal sustained deep injuries on its stomach while fighting with another male. 

The zoo authorities said that the animal had been sent to the Nandankanan Zoo in Orissa on the directions of the Central Zoo Authorities. The authorities had also sent two zoo keepers to Orissa to learn the upkeep of such animals.

One pangolin out of the two, both of which were missing from a special enclosure, reportedly was killed by accident when the zoo employees were digging the land to trace out the scaly ant-eater animals here on Monday night.

Sources in zoo revealed that the a pangolin sustained injuries while the zoo employees were digging land in an enclosure during night. The zoo authorities had kept both the scaly ant-eaters in an enclosure and the animals had disappeared from there.

To locate the disappeared animals, the authorities had started digging the earth and in the process one animal sustained injuries and died. The dead animal was noticed on Wednesday morning by the zoo keeper.

After the disappearance of the animals, the authorities had launched a search operation for the female animal, which was pregnant. In the process one of the pangolins, which was hiding underground, sustained injuries and died. While the another one was extricated alive, sources said.

Mr R. K. Luna, Additional Chief Wildlife Warden, however, denied the allegation that the animal had died due to injuries. He said that the exact cause of death could be entertained only after the reports of the postmortem.

It may be recalled that a female pangolin was found in Majitha near Amritsar in a well-digging operation on June 29 and was brought to the zoo a day later.

After a gap of over two weeks another creature was found in the compound of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sector 27, on July 12. The animal was caged into a drum by labourers, who found the creature during a digging operation. The school authorities later sent the animal to the Chhat Bir Zoo for a safe custody.

As the zoo authorities were unaware about the upkeep and the diet chart of the animals, the first animal remained without food for two days. Later, the animal accepted a feed of eggs and milk for survival.

Highly placed sources disclosed that taking a serious view over the unawareness of the zoo authorities about the diet chart of the animal, the Central Zoo Authorities had asked the Chhat Bir Zoo authorities to sent the animal to the Nandankanan Zoo in Bhuvneshwar. In its letter, the CZA had also told the zoo authorities that the animal were in large number in the region and were breeding in the Nandankanan Zoo there.

Following which Mr R. K. Luna, had replied to the CZA saying that the animal had accepted eggs and milk and had gained weight. 



BJP gen secy to instruct leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The BJP national general secretary, Mr O.P. Kohli, will here tomorrow personally instruct the party leaders and councillors to abide by the decision of the party high command regarding not participating in the forthcoming mayoral election scheduled for August 10.

Mr Kohli will hold separate meetings with the office-bearers and district presidents at the UT Guest House and later with the councillors at 1 pm. He will explain at length the party’s rationale of staying away from these elections and also seek party and councillor’s adherence to the high command’s order, party sources said.

The party high command had yesterday issued directions regarding not fielding, proposing, seconding and voting for any candidate in the mayoral elections. Following this, a resolution was moved by the BJP-SAD councillors seeking the dissolution of the House.

The visit of the general secretary assumes importance in the wake of a section of BJP councillors and party airing their resentment against the high command’s decision.

It may be recalled that the councillors had at a meeting held a few days ago decided to contest these elections and field a candidate for the post of the Mayor. However, the decision to officially nominate the candidate was left to Mr Kohli, who had taken a feedback on the issue during his previous visit to the city.

A section of councillors owing allegiance to the former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, had then maintained that it does not behove a majority party to stay away from elections in a democractic set-up. The Congress will stand to gain by the BJP’s move to seek the dissolution of the House.

Meanwhile, the Congress is also scheduled to hold a party meeting tomorrow to decide a strategy on the mayoral poll.


Dhawan launches attack on BJP
Bid to prevent BJP from hijacking CVM’s agenda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM), spearheading the campaign for dissolution of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) launched a scathing attack on the BJP here today for taking to the same path and attributed motives to the decision in an apparent bid to prevent the BJP from hijacking its agenda.

The CVM chief and former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, said at a press conference, ‘’An after-thought decision of the BJP betrays duplicity, hollowness and lack of political wisdom as the party has failed as a majority party to serve the people and has ditched the mandate given by the people.’’

He said the party which along with the Congress failed to run the House due to factional fight, had again betrayed the people by not taking up the responsibility of serving the people not because of a concern for the people but due to fear that their official candidate might be defeated.

Mr Dhawan, however, justified Ms Satinder Dhawan’s resolution seeking dissolution of the House as “intra and inter-party feud in both the BJP and the Congress has deprived the people of development.’’

He said Ms Dhawan’s resolution is borne out of the CVM’s concern for the welfare of the people unlike that of the Congress and the BJP which only kept themselves busy in settling personal scores unmindful of their responsibility towards the people.

Mr Dhawan announced that the CVM, a non-political body as yet, will boycott the Mayoral election, not withdraw its resolution for the dissolution of the House and force the House to take it up first ahead of the BJP as Ms Dhawan moved the original resolution.

The CVM has not yet decided that whether it will field its own candidates or adopt good non-political candidates, he added.

Mr Dhawan said the Congress and the BJP have failed in fulfilling aspirations of the people to the extent that dangerous voices of doing away with the corporation are gaining ground.

He ruled out any possibility of aligning with any political party if the CVM decided to contest the election and said that there was no question of a third front in the corporation election.

He asked the BJP what made it change its mind from contesting the Mayor’s election to seek dissolution of the House, who helped the Congress to win despite minority, who kept on defeating official candidates in the past, why the BJP did not bring no-trust motion against the Congress Mayor and what deal they have with the Congress to allow its acting Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, to remain in the chair?Back


Body criticises BJP tactics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, president of the Pind Sudhar Committee, and Mr Kuldeep Singh Kajheri, member Zila Parishad, today strongly protested against holding of Panchayat Samiti and Municipal Corporation elections simultaneously.

Mr Badheri said the State Election Commissioner, under pressure from the BJP was holding the samiti and corporation elections simultaneously. As the elections to the Panchayat Samiti were due much earlier then the corporation elections, the BJP, apprehending a loss to the Congress in the samiti elections, had made this move.

The results of the samiti elections would definitely have an impact on the corporation elections. For this reason, they had pressurised the State Election Commissioner to hold elections simultaneously.

Mr Badheri and Mr Singh today warned the BJP that it would face the wrath of the people (electorate) in the ensuing elections as it had been stalling the elections to panchayat samiti since 1996 as it had no candidate or base in the village to contest samiti elections. 


Tribute to the joy called ‘friendship’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
There may be scores of days which this city has especially borrowed from the West just to further its spirit of mirth and joy. But the best part of the game is that each and every young boy and girl who dots the happening circuit of the City Beautiful does complete justice to each so-called Day, be it the St Valentine’s Day, which has managed a mass following or simply the more humble Friendship Day, which is still in the process of making a mark as solid as St Valentine’s Day.

Whatever the case may be, the city is all decked up for the Friendship Day, which falls today. A little known day as it is, there is very little information available on how it came into being and why, at all, is it celebrated. The very first reports on the International Friendship Day go back to the year 1935 when the American Congress sanctioned the National Friendship Day as a special day to celebrate the wonderful spirit of friendship which begets trust. Not just this, even the United Nations cared to involve itself in making the day a little more famous by naming Winnie the Pooh as the world’s ambassador of friendship in the year 1997.

The declarations to these effects, however, did not serve to prevent the confusion which always kept enveloping the issue of which day is to be celebrated as the real Friendship Day. Consequently, different friendship days took birth, and the beauty of the entire exercise was that each such day was celebrated with constant zeal, confirming the fact that man, by origin, is a fun lover, a fun seeker. All he needs is a cause to celebrate.

As of today, February is the Friendship Month. The Friendship Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in August. So this year since the first Sunday falls today, the Friendship Day falls today. There also is a day by the name of Women’s Friendship Day, which is celebrated on the third Sunday in every September. This year it would fall on September 16, 2001. If that is not all, you have another special day titled the “Make A New Friend Day”, which falls on February 11 every year. There, however, seems to be strong consensus on the International Friendship Month, which is February. Now about the International Friendship Week — it falls every year between February 15 and 21.

All these days must have been evolved by affectionate people to honour the special meaning of friendship.


Demand to hold civic body poll on time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The demand for the dissolution of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) and immediate elections notwithstanding, the political parties, residents’ welfare associations and traders’ bodies have demanded that elections to the civic body should be held on schedule.

The idea of the immediate election did not find favour with the representatives of these associations contacted by the Chandigarh Tribune. Instead they were of the opinion that the corporation should complete its five-year tenure and last till December 23.

The president of the Janata Dal(United), Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, said though the Acting Mayor would not be able to accomplish much in the remaining term of the civic body, the election should be held on schedule so as to give various parties time to prepare for the election.

Terming the functioning of the corporation during the past four-and-a-half-years as ‘fruitless and aimless’, Mr Bhardwaj said the public participation was a must for the welfare of the people and with that end in mind the election should be held on party basis.

The House should be dissolved immediately as it was a burden on the State Exchequer, demanded Mr Gurbachan Singh, president of the Nationalist Congress Party. In any case, the elections to MCC would be held after a couple of months of issuing of the poll notification which meant that elections would probably be held on schedule, he added.

Demanding the completion of the tenure of the civic body, Mr Jagdish Arora, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), was of the view that even the Acting Mayor could take the pending developmental works. Since the CBM was a ‘non-political’ body formed to redress the grievances of the traders, it would expect the House to last its full tenure and work for the welfare of the residents in general and the traders in particular.

Saying that the dissolution would not serve any purpose, Mr Nirmal Datt, chairman of the CHB Residents’ Federation, an apex body of the 35 residents’ welfare associations, pointed out that what was wanted was sinking of the egos by the leaders of various political parties. If this was done only then the developmental works could be undertaken, Mr Datt said.


Question your councillor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Municipal Councillor, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, representing ward number 2 has been posed several uncomfortable questions by residents of the ward expecting him to act through the “Question your Councillor’’ series. Sanjay Sharma and Poonam Batth seek answers to the questions of the people. Questions of residents and Mr Jain’s answers are reproduced here:

Question: Sector 15 market faces an acute parking problem. Encroachments removed earlier have resurfaced. Garbage in the PGI remains lying there. Sweepers are not regular in clearing the mud on roads after the encroachment drive, and the proposed fountains in parks have yet not been installed? (Satish Bhasker, Sector-15 resident).

Answer: The proposal for money for the fountain was recommended to the Chief Engineer on July 27 by the Councillors Ward Development Fund. The PGI management is autonomous. Still I have asked the MC to send its garbage collection vehicles at least once a week. The parking problem still remains as the number of vehicles has dramatically increased.

Question: A lot of unauthorised rehris and pharis have come up and the number of rickshawpullers has gone up, leading to Sector-15 becoming dirty. These people are also having a bad effect on students. Is there any plan of underground parking? (Avtar Krishan, Sector-15 resident).

Answer: I led the campaign to remove these people with the authorities’ help but they resurface. It is for the police and the administration to constantly keep a watch on these elements.

Question: A Sector 15-D road has not been repaired for 22 years. The chowkidar is never seen. There has been water shortage during the summer, Manipuri students create nuisance and Punjabi students indulge in intoxication and create a ruckus. A lot of rickshawpullers have been given licences and at certain places narcotics are told to be available? What can you do for checking this menace. (Mr Balwinder Singh).

Answer: The complaint about the road could be brought to my notice, and about the cultural menace, I am ready to join the people for bringing order in the ward, but the people should either come to me or approach the police for these problems.

Question: Footpaths should be removed to create space for parking and subsequent traffic jams. The untended encroachment cleared areas are bringing mud on the road and garbage collection is not swift. (Mr K.K. Bandlish, former general secretary of the All-India State Bank of India Employees Federation).

Answer: Parking is really a problem but it is as good as in other sectors. I led a campaign for checking animal menace and approached the people of the Sector 25 not to send their animals to the sector. The problem of traffic management will be looked into. Question: The tubewell in Sector 15 to ensure regular water supply to the green belts was installed by the Municipal Corporation. How does Mr Jain take credit for the same? Similarly, the majority of the residents have got backlanes made in the sector and not the councillors? Many are still to be completed and gates are also not installed What does he have to say? (Mr Sat Pal Sewak, president of Welfare Society, Sector 15).

Answer: It was only following my efforts that the resolution regarding the installation of the tubewell was passed in the Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC) meeting. The same was essential for the maintenance of parks in Sectors 15 C and D.

About 10-12 lanes were cleared and made pucca by the area residents voluntarily, but I have been instrumental in getting as many as 35 lanes made during my tenure, and gates will also be installed shortly. The delay in installing the gates was caused as they were not approved by the Architecture Department. But now tenders have been called. Infact, I only motivated the people to get the back lanes cleared.

Question: You have been by and large creating obstacles in various development works. The most recent being the development of a playground adjacent to the DAV school in Sector 15? Why so? (A resident of Sector 15).

Answer: The said playground was to be developed from the money allocated by the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, I am grateful to the MP for donating Rs 3 lakh for the same. But I was definitely opposed to the idea of having a playfield at the site of apni mandi, which not only benefits the consumers of this sector but also the adjoining sectors. But subsequently, it was decided that both can co-exist. While apni mandi is held only on one day, the other days children can play there. The money has been utilised to put grills and make pucca pathways in the said green belt.

Question: Sanitation in the sector and adjoining areas is not very satisfactory. The filth in the area is due to the proximity of the area to the Sector 25 colonies. What have you done in this regard? (A ward resident).

Answer: Even though I have been personally taking up the complaints of the people in various parts of my ward with the Medical Officer of Health ( MoH), the problem worsens during the monsoon months. Further, ragpickers and stray animals from the two neighbouring colonies land there, creating more mess near the garbage bins. I admit sanitation could be much better. But the authorities concerned should start sustained campaigns to catch stray animals, and officials should visit the areas with their staff regularly.

Question: Encroachments from across the road berms have been removed on a large scale. But the areas have not been spruced up as promised earlier. (Dharam Vir Narad — a youth activist).

Answer: The said encroachments were removed by the roads wing of the MC following a resolution passed in the House that the encroached area beyond 6 ft on either side of the road will be cleared. However, the same should be removed systematically and uniformally under proper guidance. I will take up with the authorities the need to spruce them up so that the area looks clean and the mud does not flow back into the road gullies, thereby blocking the stormwater drainage at various places. Further, I will also ask them not to adopt a pick and choose policy while removing the same.


Northern Railway told to compensate passengers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 4
Taking serious note of the harassment suffered by passengers due to negligence and deficiency in services on part of the railways authorities, a local consumer court has directed the Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, New Delhi, and others to pay compensations to passengers and refund the cost of their tickets.

Acting on a complaint filed by a city resident, Mr Sanjeev Kakar, a bench of the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum comprising Mr R.P. Bajaj, Mr H.S Walia and Ms Urvashi Agnihotri observed. “Where a passenger holding the ticket with or without reservation misses train at any junction station owing to late running of train by which he had travelled, fare for the un-traveled portion shall be refunded without charging any cancellation charges at such junction-station”.

The complainant said that he had obtained advance reservation from Bangalore to New Delhi and then for Chandigarh for himself and his family. On July 4, 1998, as per schedule, the complainant travelled in Karnataka Express from Bangalore to New Delhi, scheduled to reach New Delhi on July 6, 1998 at 12.10 p.m. but they train reached seven hours late at 7.05 p.m at New Delhi.

The complainant alleged that he missed the train bound for Chandigarh at New Delhi due to the negligence and deficiency in service on part of the railway authorities. He said that he had given a number of complaint letters to the Station Master but the officials did not refund the cost of tickets.

He was offered to refund 50 per cent of the amount of the fare which he refused to accept. The complainant had to hire a taxi for himself and his family by paying Rs 2000 from New Delhi to Chandigarh, thereby mental agony and harassment.

The consumer court directed the Northern Railway to refund an amount of Rs 990 towards the cost of tickets of Shatabdi Express from New Delhi to Chandigarh to the complainant.

The railway authorities were also directed to pay Rs 1000 towards the cost of the case and compensation for the harassment suffered by the complainant and his family members. The amount is to be paid within a month of the receipt of the copy of the order with interest at the rate of 12 per cent on the amount of Rs 990 from the date of filing of the complain till actual payment.


Adored in war, forgotten in peace
Tribune News Service

“In times of war, God and soldiers are adored. When the war is over, God is forgotten and the soldiers are slighted”. Extreme sadness fills his eyes, as the president of All-India Ex-servicemen’s Welfare Association, Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal, speaks of the plight of soldiers in a voice chocked with emotion.

“They are the real heroes who patrol treacherous terrains, man guns with frozen hands and fire at unseen danger lurking behind bushes along the border. They fight for the country’s honour while the countrymen sleep comfortably, in their warm cozy beds. But despite their sacrifices, they are ignored.”

Mr Sehgal, who now practises law in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, recalls the days when the soldier was respected not only by his seniors but also by the civilians.

“When I was in the Air Force about two decades ago, things were different. In those days, even a Deputy commissioner would offer a chair to a jawan back home on leave. He would make the warrior feel comfortable, listen to his problem and solve it to the best of his ability. A clerk was deputed in his office exclusively to deal with the problems related to jawans”.

Everyone in the civil administration would go out of his way to help a jawan. “Whether it was a cement permit or essential commodities on ration cards, a soldier was given top priority. All he had to do was to flash his identity card and in minutes the job was done to his satisfaction.”

Even in trains and buses, soldiers were a “privileged lot”. “Passengers used to offer seats to jawans, exhausted from hours and hours of travel,” Mr Sehgal recalls. “People would even insist on carrying their baggage.”

This was a long time ago. “Today, tilak is put on the soldier’s forehead only in movies. In real life, people gladly stand in queues for hours to watch fake heroes fight mock battles in the movies. Few have the time or inclination to attend seminars held by gallantry award winners.”

In buses and trains, no one is bothered. “On rolled-up beddings placed in the narrow passage between berths, the soldiers sit, while daily passengers play cards,” he laments. “In offices, they are made to wait for hours before the administrator gives them an impatient hearing. As for the promises made by politicians during a crisis, these are conveniently forgotten. Kargil is a classic example”.

Even within the forces, retired jawans are not being given the kind of attention they once received. A discharge certificate alone is not enough. For hospital, and for the canteen, they now need separate cards.

“All this is sad, very sad,” he concludes. “While the British are showering praise and respect on jawans who had served with the Royal Indian Army, we, the Indians, have forgotten the oft-shouted slogan ‘jai jawan, jai kisan’ and ‘des ke fauji zindabad’.”


Easy loans for SC, BC candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Chandigarh Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Minorities Financial and Development Corporation is offering easy loans for self-employment. Prospective beneficiaries, can obtain these loans from the corporation for setting up for small businesses under a national self-employment schemes, for which, employees of government, semi-government or autonomous bodies can be sureties. The loans can also be obtained against property.

Every applicant is required to contribute 5 per cent of the cost of the project. The corporation introduced these loan schemes in the year 1998-1999 and, till March 31 this year, it had given loans to 53 beneficiaries under various schemes. Besides, the corporation provides members of the backward classes with free training in tailoring, stenography beauty culture and information technology.

For obtaining the loans and training, an applicant should belong to a backward class here and posseses a certificate of it issued by a competent authority. He or she should be in the age group of 18-65, a resident of Chandigarh for the past three years with a proof of residence; and having a family income below Rs 31,952 in rural areas and Rs 42,412 in urban areas. In case an applicant requires a commercial vehicle he or she should have a valid LTV licence.

The minimum qualification for the tailoring training is that a candidate should be literate. For the stenography course, the criterion is matriculation, for IT course, it is matriculation; and for beauty-culture course, the candidate should be literate.


Festive spirit takes over the city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
For brothers and sisters, it was a perfect morning. After a heavy shower towards the wee hours today, the weather was just right to get into the festive mould. No wonder the spirit of celebration travelled beyond households and reached the city roads, where the last-minute risers were seen buying sweets and rakhis.

The traditional celebrations took over almost every other place in the city, including houses and even the headquarters of political parties. The Brahmkumaris chose the occasion to visit the Raj Bhawan and tie rakhi on the wrist of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob.

Brahmakumari Achal and Kanchan initiated the celebrations by first tying the thread. The Governor was also invited by Brahmkumaris to visit their headquarters at Mount Abu in Rajasthan.

The Chandigarh Mahila Congress also celebrated the day under the guidance of Lalit Joshi. The workers tied rakhis on the wrist of MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and talked about the significance of the festival. Mr Bansal said the day belonged exclusively to sisters and that no brother should ever forget his responsibilities towards his sister. He also extended his thanks to all women workers.

On this occasion, Lalit Joshi, Pushpa Sharma, Sudesh Chaudhry, Mohinderjit Kaur, Mohini Sharma, Sulochna Ahuja, Urvashi, Indu, Rano Devi tied rakhis.

Following this, a celebration was also organised in Sector 26 by deputy vice-president of the Mahila Congress, Ms Sudesh Chaudhry. A celebration was also organised on this occasion by Brahmkumari Ishwariya University. On this occasion, the significance of the festival was underlined and it was stated that there was a need to develop a spirit of responsibility and duty. Tying rakhis on the wrists of their soul brothers, the Brahmkumaris urged them to cast away their bad habits on the pious occasion.

The Brahmkumaris also went about tying rakhis to many government officials, including the Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, the Haryana CM, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, among others.Back


Raksha bandhan celebrated
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 4
Raksha bandhan was celebrated with enthusiasm by the local circle of the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. The celebrations began on July 31 and several programmes were organised.

Today Brahma Kumaris tied rakhis on the wrists of Mr Harnek Singh Gharuan, a former minister, and Mr Joginder Singh, Director, Health Services, Punjab.

In the evening a special programme was organised in which Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Punjab Minister, was the chief guest.

Yesterday Brahma Kumari sisters went to the Paraplegic Home in Phase VI here and the Punjab Red Cross Society-run deaddiction centre, Naveen Disha, and tied rakhis to the inmates and staff members.

They also went to the Punjab Commando Complex here and the Police Lines, Ropar, and tied rakhis to officers and other police personnel. They also tied rakhis among other members of the Rotary Club.

The Brahma Kumari sisters told them about the spiritual significance of raksha bandhan and inspired them to shun at least one vice or weakness.


Residents allege discrimination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
It seems that the Chandigarh Administration’s Electricity Department has been selective in registering cases of power theft against 59 persons of Raipur Khurd village.

Residents who have been named in the first information report (FIR) allege that it was more like a pick and choose policy to register cases. A resident who has been named in the FIR registered under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), alleged that about 500 kundis had been installed in the village by people living within the lal dora and outside it.

It was surprising how cases were registered only against 59 of the residents and not against all the people indulging in theft. Kundi connections of others were just removed while police action was initiated only against a selected few.

There is no plausible explanation as to how persons were selected to be booked were picked up and cases registered in their names. On what basis did the department come to know who owns the house, where power was being stolen, is the question being asked by local residents. One reason may have been that names of persons may have been drawn from the list of the Telecom Department which indicates the name of the telephone owner in the same house.

Sources the lower-level field staff of the Electricity Department prepares lists of power thieves, the higher authorities, even if they know that more kundi connections may have existed have to go by the lists provided by the staff.Back


Forgotten village in urban setting
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar
Madanpur village stands out like a sore thumb in the midst of urban surroundings and is treated like a pariah by the authorities.

Without piped water, streetlights, paved streets, sewerage, sanitation, a school or a veterinary hospital, the village has virtually been left to its fate.

All land belonging to the village was acquired in 1975 for the township, though some of the residents maintain that they have not got any compensation from the government. PUDA had offered them plots in the area so that it could be planned on modern lines, but the residents have turned down the offer, demanding better facilities without disturbing the existing lay-out.

Mr Didar Singh, a former panch of the village, says that Madanpur has a population of about 8,000 with 700 voters for the Municipal Council. In spite of this block of votes, the village has remained neglected. Even the compensation for the acquired land was paid at the rate of just Rs 7,000 per acre.

Mr Amrik Singh, a resident, says that they have to depend on water from hand-pumps, which doctors have declared unfit for drinking. No effort has been made over the years to provide them with potable water. The streets are in poor shape and become worse during the rains. In the absence of a drainage system, the streets of the village get flooded and water enters a number of houses.

The drains often overflow and the residents have to clean these since the safai karamcharis engaged by the Municipal Council avoid entering the village and clean only the outskirts.

The 70-year-old chowkidar, Mr Ram Nath, laments that there used to be a government primary school in the village but it has been merged with the school in Phase II. This school is located on a busy road and small children of the village face difficulty in reaching there. There is no civil dispensary in the village.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab’s Finance Minister, visited this village recently and told the authorities concerned that the villages should not be uprooted and basic amenities should be provided to them. However, the villagers do not have much hope as they have been fighting for these facilities for long and all their pleas have been ignored.

Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, municipal councillor representing the ward, says that arrangements have been made for safai karamcharis to be sent to the village, but unfortunately they merely clean the outskirts. The Municipal Council, he claims, is reluctant to spend money on the village because of a case pending in a court. He feels that the area will develop only if the Punjab Government declares it a “model gram”.


Tubewell installation mired in controversy
Geetanjali Gayatri

Panchkula, August 4
A tubewell bored in Pinjore recently has created trouble for the Executive Engineer of the PWD (Public Health) who ordered its installation, the case being hotly pursued by the Vigilance Department following a tip-off.

Sources in the PWD said that the department ended up paying double the cost required for boring the tubewell when the XEN in question was in charge, leading to suspicion over the allotment of tender.

“In the same period, between 1999-2001, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) got 20 tubewells drilled at a cost of Rs 8.50 lakh. The Public Health Department got the same done for Rs over Rs 15 lakh from a particular firm,” an official of the PWD said.

It is learnt that while HUDA paid less for a depth of 190 m using the percussion rig method, the PWD ended up paying as much as Rs 15.70 lakh for 150 m by the same method.

In the particular case of boring the tubewell in Pinjore, it was first allotted by the XEN for Prem Pura village at a cost of Rs 13. 10 lakh. However, due to non-availability of water, the idea of boring a tubewell in the area was abandoned.

Using his discretion, the same company was directed to carry out the task in Pinjore without calling of proper tenders. In addition, the cost was enhanced to Rs 31.40 lakh for two tubewells, each ultimately costing Rs 15.70 lakh, almost double in comparison to that of HUDA.

Also, sources pointed out that another tubewell was bored at an adjacent site for Rs 8.30 lakh, whereas the XEN recommended the enhancement case for this particular tubewell.

When contacted, the present incumbent at the post of XEN, Mr Sarvinder Singh, refused to comment on the case. “The Vigilance Department is carrying out a detailed inquiry into the case. We will wait for the final report. I have only told them of the technicalities involved in the case,” he said.

He, however, explained that the cost of boring of the tubewell was determined by the strata of earth, a rocky surface requiring greater investment and costing much more.

Sources said that officials of the Haryana Vigilance Department had visited the PWD office in Sector 19, Chandigarh, twice and begun its probe into the allegations against the officer. 


Tap rural market: Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab Minister for Local Government, Mr Balmiji Das Tandon, has called upon management professionals to tap the rural market which is growing five times the rate of urban market.

Mr Tandon was addressing the Chandigarh Management Association at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Public Administration at the installation function of Mr S.K. Duggal, who took over as president from Prof S.P. Singh.

Mr M.J. Zarabi, Chairman and Managing Director, Semi Conductor Complex, in his keynote address said management education had assumed greater significance in the wake of liberalisation and globalisation, which had triggered restructuring process in the country. He emphasised the need to develop economic reforms suited to Indian conditions instead of relying on western countries.

Earlier, the outgoing president of the CMA presented the president’s pin to his successor, Mr SK Duggal.

Those who were installed office-bearers of the Chandigarh Management Association were Mr Duggal president, Dr P.K. Vasudeva vice-president, Mr Vikram Hans secretary, Dr R.N. Nauhria joint secretary, and Mr P.R. Singhania treasurer.


Cable subscribers form body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Against the recent decision of local cable operators to hike subscription charges, a five-member committee of representatives of 14 local residents welfare associations was formed here today. Wg Cdr (retd) H.L. Ratta was appointed the convenor of the committee.

The committee criticised the hike and demanded that no additional charges be levied for additional connections on the same premises. It sought an improvement in the services and that the cable operators should provide customers with all the channels for which they are paying, respond to complaints promptly, and not hike the rates every month.

“Representatives of all associations wanted that the cable operators should charge the rates as these existed on March 31 and there should be no change in it afterwards”, said Mr Ratta.

Tomorrow, the committee will take up the matter with the district administration at a ‘khula darbar’ programme of the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora. “The monopolies of cable operators should also be broken”.

Consumer products on display
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
‘Best Home Show’, an exhibition of consumer products that was organised in a hotel here today, attracted a large number of persons. Leading brands of consumer goods were seen at the exhibition. Most of these companies were selling their products on discounts and easy loan schemes

According to Mr Pradeep Chhabra, organiser of the exhibition, said the show had provided companies with an ideal platform for launching new products and services. The exhibition featured an English tea company and handicrafts of Orissa and Gujarat, besides elegant furniture and designer cutlery. Lucky draws were also held on the occasion. There were also stalls of computer institutes, immigration consultants and cosmetics as well at the exhibition. Mr Chhabra said the exhibition would continue till August 6.Back


Lord Balram’s birthday celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The local unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) today celebrated the birthday of Lord Balram at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today. Hundreds of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, president of the local unit of ISKCON.

A week-long jhulan yatra which was started from July 29, as a part of celebration of Krishna Janamashtami, would be concluded tomorrow. This time the throne in which Lord Krishna and his consort were placed during jhulan yatra at the temple hall, was made of sheesham wood coated with over 25 kg of silver for the Lord. Generally the chariot is made of iron for the yatra.

This is the first silver swing jhula of this size in this part of the country. Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, temple president, said our institution have similar type of swings in some of the temples all over the world so we decided to install a chariot with a difference for the Lord in the temple hall. During jhulan yatra thousands of devotees thronged the temple to have a glimpse of Lord sitting with his consort on this unique throne. 


150 saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
As many as 150 saplings of neem, jamun and arjuna were planted by members of the House Owners Association, Sector 20-A, with the cooperation of the Horticulture Department, Municipal Corporation, in the green park being developed in the sector.

Inaugurating the Vana Utsava programme, former Mayor, Shanta Hit Abhilashi, who is also the area councillor, assured the representatives of this thickly populated sector that the park would be unique in beauty and would also attract residents of adjoining sectors.

The president of the association, Mr N.S Mitha, expressed his gratitude to Mrs Abhilashi and officials and staff of the horticulture wing for their keen interest in developing the park. He further said that house owners association had decided to organise a free eye check-up camp at Community Hall in Sector 20 with the cooperation of Sri Harkrishan Sahib Eye Hospital, Sohana, on August 10. 


Gyan Yagya from today
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 4
The Bhagwat is not tied any religion and according to it God is described as “satya ” and “satya” lives forever. Stating this at a press conference here today, Swami Sureshwaranand Puri (Panchkulawale) said the Bhagwat made a man “nirbhai” (fearless). If a man was “nirbhai”, then even if aspects like social status, family, honour and money were lacking, it would not trouble him. Such a man would not even be afraid of death.

The swami is here in connection with the Srimad Bhagwat Katha Gyan Yagya being organised from August 5 to 11 at Sri Snanathan Dharam Mandir in Phase IV by the local Bhagwat Katha Prachar Samiti. “He said bowing to the will of God in all circumstances constituted the Bhagwat dharm. It happily accepted “satya” in spite of adverse circumstances.

The swami said one had to adopt “satya” to wipe out hatred and evils in society. Discipline, he said, was important and whenever it was not maintained, there was tension and strife. By adopting the way of the Bhagwat, one would begin to share the pain of others, he added.

The programme includes the taking out of a “kalash yatra” tomorrow from Sri Hari Mandir in Phase V to the Phase IV mandir.


Ironing gives them a living
Our Correspondent

Roadside dhobis or washermen engaged in ironing clothes are among the most sought after persons in the city. Unlike other roadside entrepreneurs, they enjoy the patronage of the colony in which they operate. This may the reason why they do not complain of being harassed by the Estate Office.

They do not attract a crowd of customers around them and hence do not pose the problem of chaos on the road. They create no waste product. The modus-operandi is simple — either they go round the houses in the area and collect clothes for ironing or the people themselves bring the clothes to them. In the evening, the clothes are dutifully returned after ironing.

Even if almost every household has electric irons, still dhobis are always in demand. Their importance is felt most in hostels, where the rules prevent the residents from keeping irons in their rooms. As a result, the residents solely dependent on them.

These dhobis are mainly migrants from Uttar Pradesh and have organised themselves in various unions. These unions have, however, failed to persuade the Administration to accept their demands, said a dhobi in Sector 20. They have been for long demanding identity cards and permanent booths but have failed to impress the Administration.

Mahesh Kumar, a dhobi on Panjab University campus for the past 20 years, said that the rains were a great dampener. Most of them have raised tarpaulin sheds to protect themselves from rain and sun but “the tarpaulin sheds are sheds only in name.”

Their works starts at about 7 am and continues till eight in the evening. The job of ironing clothes is not easy. All through the day they work with a 5-kilo iron stuffed with burning coal. Backache has become a permanent complaint with most of them.

Sita Ram, a 50-year-old dhobi who shifted his workplace 10 times before settling in Sector 22, said that the customers did not create much fuss if their clothes were damaged while ironing. But, according to him, at the end of the day a dhobi rarely returns home with more than Rs 100 in his pocket.

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