Monday, August 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Money’s a bar even behind bars
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, August 26
The Burail jail here has been reportedly discriminating between high profile and common prisoners with the former getting unheard of comforts and latter even deprived of common necessities in violation of the Supreme Court directions.

The Supreme Court said in its order in a case of Rakesh Kaushik Vs Superintendent of Central Jail, New Delhi, ‘‘The court stressed the reformative approach to prisoners and suggested transcendental mediation, self expression through work, facilities for studies and artistic development.’’

About B class status for certain prisoners, the court said that ‘‘Going by petitioner’s statement, it was a pampering process much abused by officers and in a class culture, obnoxious to the Constitution. Equality before the law cannot co-exist with affluent blackguard being looked after with luxury and solitude and lowly indigents being treated as pariah inside the prison,’’ the court observed.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also recently passed a order that all prisoners should be treated equally and there should not be any class of prisoners.

At present there were prisoners whose living standard had remained same as if they were living in the comfort of their own homes although they were lodged in the jail. They were getting good food and better living environment and other facilities in alleged connivance with the jail authorities.

The Tribune team, after interacting with the persons who had spent years at the Burail jail and were on bail now, found out that the jail rules and official orders were meant only for poor prisoners, while those having good source of income and better connections had nothing to worry about.

Their relatives could even meet them even before or after the affixed meeting time. And provide them with anything which the prisoners wished for. The sources added that there was group of undertrials facing serious charges enjoying best facilities and none of the official dared to stop them.

The sources also revealed that for many years the contractors, who had been supplying provisions to the jail, had not been changed. Despite the fact the items supplied to the prisoners were not of good quality.

The sources also informed that there were loopholes in the internal security arrangement and many of the criminals belonging to well-off families were getting best of facilities. Some of the undertrials, who were involved in cases of cheating and criminal breach of trust, had a good time shopping whenever they were taken to be produced at courts in different cities.

The authorities informed that the some of the undertrials were getting B class facilities after the court order and all prisoner were treated equally in the jail. As per the Punjab Jail Manual there was a provision of the B class facilities for undertrials.


Malayalees celebrate Onam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Malayalee community in and around Chandigarh today created a “mini Kerala” at Bhanga Bhavan when they celebrated their traditional harvest festival Onam with gaiety. The Punjab Governor Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who is also Administrator of Chandigarh, was the chief guest at the function. Describing Malayalees as vibrant and active members of the Chandigarh society, General Jacob said Malayalees of Chandigarh were dominant in every sector of the economy.

Exhorting the Malayalees to work for education in slums to make Chandigarh a fully literate union territory, the Governor said the people of Kerala should set an example in this field for others. A colourful rangoli and a feast of traditional Kerala dishes were the other highlights. It is believed that the legendary Kerala king, Mahabali, visited Kerala to bestow blessings on the people on this day. Meanwhile, the five-day Ganesh puja concluded here today. The main function was held at Maharashtra Bhavan in Sector 19. An idol of Lord Ganesha was taken to the Ghaggar river and immersed there by the devotees.


Minhas, Sahni expelled from SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal today expelled two general secretaries, Mr N.S. Minhas and Mr H.S. Sahni, from the primary membership of the party.

According to Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, president of local unit of SAD, the decision was taken following the recommendation of the disciplinary committee meeting of the party held here today.

The meeting also authorised Mr Riar to hold negotiations on seat sharing with other parties, excluding the Congress.

He said he would demand at least eight seats in the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh from its present alliance partner, the BJP, failing which he would approach the other parties.

He criticised the reported statement of Ms Harjinder Kaur on the Chandigarh issue.


Principals differ on astrology courses
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Proposed University Grants Commission courses on Sanskrit, ‘ jyotish vigyan’ (astrology) and ‘karamkand’ have kicked up a controversy even before their introduction as regular subjects at Panjab University.

A large number of principals have questioned the relevance of these traditional subjects in the current education scenario.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice Chancellor, said that the UGC had proposed three new courses in the university and affiliated colleges. One of them was a simple Sanskrit- speaking course. This envisaged no formal degree. ‘Jyotish vigyan’ had been planned as an honours degree course. ‘Karamkand’ intended to be cover all walks of life and more than one religious practices. The course was intended as a vocational subject.

Principal Janmeet Singh, DAV College, Hoshiarpur, said that Sanskrit was a dead language. During present times when we were looking towards development in future management, courses on the intended lines in astrology were not encouraging. The courses did not suit the local requirements of the university areas, he said.

The proposal for introduction of these courses did not find favour in the conference of the principals at the campus recently.

There were already organisations and institutions, which were dedicated solely to these purposes and there were sufficient avenues for interested persons, Principal Janmeet Singh added.

Principal Tasem Bahia said that they already had enough institutions dedicated to the line of religious thoughts and practices. The university should not hurry through any decision. Instead a seminar or discussion should first be organised before a formal decision should be taken.

Another principal said that university should instead contemplate changing and upgrading the course contents of the existing courses in all fields on lines of the contemporary developments in the subjects and social relevance.

Dr R.D. Anand, a senior fellow, said that the subject of astrology and related aspects was very interesting. The subject covered major unexplained aspects of life where a lot of work could be done, academically and even in research.

Dr Keshav Malhotra, another fellow, said that astrology was a subject directly linked to the Indian civilisation. Instead of routine practitioners, a formal degree or vocational degree holders in the subject only lent more grace to the profession which was an accepted social ‘truth’ of today’s life.

A research scholar said that subjects like astrology and ‘karamkand’ did not suit the general academic temperament. There were sufficient avenues at religious places and even independently for those wishing to pursue related subjects. 


GMCH faces funds shortage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Faced with acute shortage of funds for purchasing essential equipment, the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) authorities have decided to press upon the UT Administration to revise the budget for the hospital. The matter is likely to figure at a meeting to be held at the end of this month, said sources.

It is learnt that the UT Finance Department has sanctioned Rs 1.10 crore to the GMCH for the purchase and maintenance of equipment during this financial year, as against the requirement of Rs 3 crore which the hospital authorities have regularly been asking for.

Sources said that maintenance of existing equipment at the GMCH itself would require around Rs 30 lakh this year. “The amount left with us to procure the necessary equipment required for the hospital is hardly sufficient,” the official said.

When contacted , GMCH Director Principal Prof SBS Mann said the hospital was facing a paucity of funds and was planning to ask for more money.

It may be mentioned that keeping in mind the limited availability of funds, private parties had been invited to install and operate CT scan machine in the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Sector 32. It may be recalled that there have been cases in the recent past when accident victims could not be helped due to lack of a CT scan in the GMCH.

Meanwhile, sources said that the GMCH is in the process of opening a tender for the purchase of a CT scan — first such machine for the hospital. Eight companies, including Wipro GE, Siemens and Hitachi, have already bid for the tender.

The GMCH officials said the hospital would require another two months to complete the construction and provide space for keeping this new machine. The necessary arrangement to make the water and electricity connections available would also be completed within the next couple of months, sources added. The firm which would be awarded the tender would also decide about the rates of CT scan diagnosis after consultation with the hospital administration and the authorities concerned.


Police remand for Ravinder Gill
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 26
In the murder case of Satwant Singh Gill, owner of Gill Estate, the Duty Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded the deceased's 23-year-old son, Ravinder Singh Gill, in police custody till tomorrow. He was arrested by the police yesterday for murdering his father.

Sources in the police said the suspect confessed that taking cue from the medical detective episodes on Discovery Channel, he had purchased the knife from a rehri-phariwala in Sector 22 and the baseball bat from a sports shop in Sector 22. The leather gloves were, however, purchased from the Sector 19 rehri market. He had started procuring the "weapons" about a month ago.

A police official said the suspect during sustained interrogation said he had picked the weapons which were shown in a specific episode of Discovery Channel and had tried to follow the method shown to have been used by the murderer in the episode. However, the boy under pressure faltered on a number of accounts.

But the selection of the baseball bat proved lethal as autopsy had revealed that the skull had been badly crushed.

The boy visited the room of his father on more than three occasion after hitting him for the first time — each time to remove any clue left behind.

Though the boy confessed having committed the crime during police interrogation, he surrendered through a property dealer of Nayagaon who was known to the family. The sources said that he confessed when the suspect realised that interrogation of his mother and sister would follow. 


MTV dares, they accept, four records go
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The next time you surf channels, switch to MTV because you might catch highly charged college students of the city in action. Four city colleges have made it to a whacky MTV programme called ‘Record Tor’ where they make and break records.

In a typical MTV style, the challenges that the MTV crew headed by VJ Nikhil set for students were products of creative thinking and got the best out of students. The city students rose in unison to the occasion.

Boys of Punjab Engineering College were asked to set a record for the longest chain of pillion riders on motor cycles. Then, this “chain” was to move 200 m without breaking a single link.

The PEC students did it on 184 motor cycles with two students on each vehicle, where the pillion riders held hands tightly. A big crowd of the college staff and students had gathered around those who took up the challenge. “The action took place on the college football ground. “We did it, but in the third attempt.” says Jitin Talwar, a third-year student of the college.

“Each time a pillion rider broke the chain, there were shouts from the crowd and girls, too, cheered us up, which was rather encouraging. We couldn’t let them down,” says Ashish Goyal, one of the pillion riders.

Students of the Chandigarh College of Architecture were asked to do a much more creative task. They were asked to set a record for building a seven-foot high habitable structure using only newspapers and Cello tape. Students asked for three days before they attempted the task and they were ready with the design and game plan in this time. “In three hours flat, we had the structure ready. We made it nine-foot-three-inch tall — much bigger than what they had asked us to build,” said Monika, a third-year student of the college.

“Our seniors whom we were assisting, worked really hard. We rolled a large number of newspaper sheets together and entwined them together to make the three side beams of the pyramid because a pyramid is one of the most stable structures. Then, we filled these three beams with criss-crossing newspaper pipes. We used newspapers to cover the whole thing, so that, it was also habitable. One of our seniors actually took a chair inside and sat on it, reading (no prizes for guessing) a newspaper,” said Samdeep, a third-year student of the college.

Students of the Government College of Art were given a task women are thought to be good at — putting a thread through needles, not one, but a hundred of these. The challenge for a group of 25 students was to put a single string of thread through a hundred needles in a record time. They did it in 3 minutes and 22 seconds.

“Massive arrangements were made for the attempt. Tables were laid outside in a line and 100 needles were stuck into these in a row. The 25 students were divided into two groups and the task began from the middle of the row of tables. Each of the two groups had 50 needles to handle and all worked in unison. Karan, one of our seniors, had the scissors and kept nipping off the split ends of the thread,” says Dahiya, a final-year of the college.

The task for students of the Sector 10 DAV College was probably the toughest. MTV asked 25 students of the college to do a simultaneous headstand for two minutes. College sportsmen, gymnasts and body builders were roped in for the task, but even after three attempts, the maximum they could do was 47 seconds of headstand. However, like Nikhil said later, “A record is a record; and till someone breaks it, it belongs to DAV College.”


Couple crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 26
A couple was crushed to death when a truck runover the scooter which they were riding on the Kandwala-Raipur Rani road, about 25 km from here.

According to the police, Kishan Kumar and his wife Chinto Devi were riding the scooter (HNT 3685) when the truck (HNF 8815) runover them. Both of them died on the spot. Driver of the truck is said to have fled from the scene. The police has impounded the truck and the bodies have sent to the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, for postmortem.

A case under Sections 279 and 304 of the IPC has been registered.



The directions of the Supreme Court to all States and Union Territories to fill all vacant posts reserved for physically handicapped persons so as to clear the backlog notwithstanding, the Chandigarh Administration has not only missed the earlier deadline but is still going slow in the matter.

A number of eligible handicapped persons who applied for various positions have been anxiously waiting for the outcome of the applications, written tests and even interviews they have given over the past more than a year. So far, there has been no news.

For example, there was one post of clerk in the education department, applications for which were invited last year. Then there was another job in the College of Architecture. The third one was in the engineering department of the administration.

None of these posts has reportedly been filled though the recruitment process started more than a year ago.

Award for all!

The National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) held its annual award distribution ceremony on the NIFD campus in Sector 8 last week. Interestingly, each of the 15 collections which formed a part of NIFD’s annual design show held in Dara Studios on July 23, won some award or the other.

For the first time perhaps, one saw each ensemble bagging some prize. The jury had perhaps chosen to get over the routine of awarding the first few prizes, and instead categorising each ensemble under some title. So while one collection was awarded as the “most appealing”, another was awarded as the “most sizzling”. Names of other awards were also interesting: the most elegant collection, the best constructed collection, the best craftsmanship, the most creative collection...and so on.

That’s not all. The institute also presented viewer’s choice awards to two collections (said to have been selected on the basis of viewers’ response on the day when top models of India displayed the creations)!

A pricey problem

Art is becoming costly by the day. In a city where art products hardly have buyers, here is an exhibition which really tests your artistic inclinations. City-based artist Ajay Sohi has put up his first exhibition of oil paintings at the Indus Ind Bank Art Gallery and he has priced his works very dearly: not less than about Rs 40,000 per work. The artist, however, talked confidently about this issue. He was aware that his works were powerful. Even at the time of inauguration of the show by UT IGP Mr B.S. Bassi, many people were heard discussing the cost factor. One person looked quite dejected: “These are such good paintings. But I wonder who will buy them”.

The remark reflected the irony of the situation. Where as in Delhi and Mumbai, art has umpteen takers, here is a city where art lovers attend the inaugural shows of three exhibitions in a week on an average, but hardly ever come back to buy a piece for their collection.

Keeping busy show

With the IAF’s Presidential review less than two months away, hectic activity is on at the Chandigarh Air Force Station. Adding to the work pressure of local authorities is the frequent visits of high-up from Air Headquarters as well as the Western Air Command (WAC).

According to sources, a team from the Directorate of Air Staff Inspections paid a visit to inspect the ongoing works here, while the AOC-in-C, WAC, Air Marshal V.K. Bhatia, is a frequent visitor, who lands up “whenever he can spare some time”.

Officers and airmen too are spending long hours at the station because of additional duties and responsibilities assigned to them. Transport aircrew, in addition to their routine operational flying, are carrying out additional sorties related with the ongoing preparations.

With Rs 4 crore sanctioned for the preparations, the entire station is getting a new look. Roads are being widened and buildings and other structures are being renovated or repaired.

No policy

Members of the Paramilitary Forces Retired Officers Association have condemned the decision of the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments to reduce compensation to next of kin of soldiers killed on duty. They have also condemned the decision of the Haryana government to keep personnel of para military out of purview of such compensation.

The compensation has been reduced from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh.

At a meeting held here last week, members of the association said that at this stage and under the circumstances, there is an urgent need to have a permanent national policy for martyrs and disabled soldiers, including paramilitary personnel. They added that if a policy announcement in this regard is not made by the Central Government by October 21, members will observe a fast.

Pointing out that the number of paramilitary personnel who have sacrificed their lives in the last five years is five times more than the number of defence forces casualties, members also demanded that the President or the Prime Minister should issue firm instructions to all states, public sector undertakings and other institutions concerned to offer uniform treatment to all martyrs, disabled soldiers and gallantry award winners of all security forces.

That sinking feeling

photo by Manoj MahajanDespite tall claims by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), civic amenities continues to be a shambles. A case in point is the “caving in” of underground sewerage pipes and a portion of the road in Sector 45 leading to Dev Samaj College for Women and St Stephen’s School.

Hundreds of students of the two educational institutions face a lot of difficulty in reaching their destinations. The foul smell emanating from the place makes things all the more difficult, allege residents.

It is not that the authorities had not been informed of the problem. Repeated requests to the officials concerned have failed to evoke any response.

Jacob repartee

The UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, otherwise ready with the right things to say at the right time, had to bow to the master of quick wit, the Punjab Governor, Lt Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd), the other day. At a function organised in the Indian Institute of Hotel Management Mr Gujral addressed the students: ‘‘Lovely boys and girls...’’.

When the Governor started his speech he was quick to correct the HS, saying: ‘‘It’s the girls who are lovely. As for the boys they are smart...’’

Sight to behold

The city’s latest fancy is CITCO’s hop on hop off tourist bus. Even after a month of the bus having been on the roads, it continues to turn heads. The skyblue double decker is indeed a sight as it moves around stopping at its special bus stops.

Even the signboard for this bus is a beautiful blue painted wrought iron curved structure.

Shopping time

The best time to shop in the city is now. Almost every big name in the city’s shopping hub is hosting 50 per cent discount sales. So in case you had to keep back the shocking pink T shirt you wanted to buy after reading the price tag, check it out now. Before the typical middle class city residents who are on major shopping spree these days empty the shops.


The launching of School Eco-clubs under the National Green Corps (NGC) on August 24 at Panchkula was a memorable day in the history of environment movement in the country. It was also on this day that Mr D.S. Dhesi, Commissioner and Secretary, Environment, Haryana announced that each school eco-club will be named after a bird, animal or tree.

As a list of common names of flora and fauna of Haryana prepared by the Environment Society of India (ESI) was released, several teachers in charge of eco-clubs got up to tell the organisers on their first and second choice. Mr Sarban Singh, Director, Environment, Haryana, again clarified that names of birds, animals, trees etc shall not be repeated by the eco-clubs in the same district.

The Chamanlal DAV Public School named its club “Sparrow Eco-club”. Principal Paul said that sparrows are becoming extinct in Panchkula and other towns. Hence he selected this shy bird.

Government High School, Sector 6, and a school in the Mansa Devi Complex selected Red Bishop and Jatayu as these schools are close to Haryana tourist complex. “We will ask Haryana Tourism to sponsor our activities” a teacher said.

Government High School, Pinjore, named its club after “Vulture”. An international vulture conservation centre will be set up at Pinjore.

Dusty roads

The City Beautiful has been witness to an unusual phenomenon with monsoons turning roads dusty.

Two-wheeler riders have been exposed to dust brought on the road by rainy water getting logged.

A Union Territory engineer, blames the Municipal Corporation saying that as the drainage system was earlier used to be cleared by heavy boosters before monsoons to ensure full flow of water, mud did not turn dust on the road. The exercise seemed to have been abandoned now, resulting in so much dust gathering on the roads.

Warring factions

The two warring factions of the Chandigarh unit of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which by default captured the post of city Mayor have been quoting the Punjab Finance Minister and party General Secretary, Captain Kanwaljit Singh, to support their contrary claims.

The new Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, and her supporter local unit General Secretaries Mr N. S. Minhas and Mr H. S. Sahni, have been claiming that the Captain had said that they could not have been suspended from party membership by their rival and local unit chief, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar.

Mr Riar has also quoted Mr Kanwaljit Singh to support his authority as the local unit president.

The SAD high command, however, has not clarified its position officially leading to contrary and confusing claims by both groups.

Mr Riar refuses to accept Ms Kaur as a party member saying she had formed her own unit of the SAD and had been flouting the party dictate in Mayoral elections.

Ms Kaur bypassing Mr Riar draws her strength claiming blessings of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.



Include Panchkula, SAS Nagar in UT: Cong
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Rebel Akali Dal’s city Mayor, Harjinder Kaur’s assertion that Chandigarh should go to Punjab and supporting Punjabi has ruffled political parties’ feathers, with the Congress demanding that even Panchkula and Mohali should be included in the UT, while the BJP condemned Ms Kaur.

The BJP at a meeting of its office bearers, frontal organisations, cells, district chiefs and executive members passed a resolution moved by party councillor, Ranjana Shai, condemning Ms Kaur for seeking to ‘’change the cosmopolitan character of the city’’.

The BJP also passed another resolution on Ms Kaur’s reported remark of not accepting Hindi and dared the Congress to own responsibility of the Mayor’s utterances as the party had supported her in the election.

The local Akali Dal President, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, also criticised the Mayor for first asserting the party line and then retracing her statement.

The Akali Dal faction supporting Ms Kaur, however, said that she never disapproved Hindi and she only asserted the party line on the status of Chandigarh, general secretary N.S. Minhas said.

The BJP and the SAD today blew the bugle for the corporation elections with Mr Riar authorised to strike an alliance with non-Congress parties and securing at least 10 seats in the elections.

Mr Riar said that the party would at least demand eight seats from its alliance partner.

The BJP at its meeting decided to launch the worker mobilisation programme at the Mandal and zila levels from the beginning of September and a meeting has again been called on September 10 for worker mobilisation.

Mr Riar today expelled two of Ms Harjinder Kaur’s supporting general secretaries, Mr N.S. Minhas and Mr H. S. Sahni.

The BJP meeting today witnessed unruly scenes with two factions of the party almost coming to blows and abuses hurled at each.

A section protested that the ad hoc president, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, could not be allowed to fill vacancies of office-bearers for which the faction led by Mr Gupta sought clearance.

The party general secretary, Mr Mahavir Prasad, opposed to Mr Gupta, challenged the rationale of calling today’s meeting without any agenda.

Former Mayor, Mr K.K. Adiwal, questioned the propriety of the party president to appoint a backward class person as president of the Scheduled Caste Morcha.

The appointment of the minority cell president, Mr Salim Mohmmed Salim, was also condemned considering his background of party hopper.


They tower in their own way
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Each member of the visiting “trio” from Pakistan — Ms Nusrat Jamil and her daughter Nadia Jamil and Ms Nasreen Rehman — who are guests of Col Kartar Singh Jawanda, their “Sikh chacha” and friend of their late father, Brig Faiz-ul- Rehman Khan, is a towering personality in her own way.

Brigadier Khan had worked as the official spokesman of the Ayub Khan regime before he developed differences with the military dictator and quit the job. Subsequently, he was picked for the “prized diplomatic assignment in London” where he worked for three years before he died in office.

Brigadier Khan was married to the daughter of Rao Usman Ali Khan, an ICS officer, who, after retiring from the civil service, migrated to Pakistan where he died some years ago. His wife had migrated to Pakistan in 1959.

“My mother’s family came from an ardent Muslim League supporter family of Meerut. My uncle — Mammu — was an MLA. But my mother’s family neither supported Partition nor Pakistan.

“We have very strong bonds with India. Both our parents and their families were deeply connected to their Indian ancestry. That is why we always feel attracted to India,” says Ms Nasreen Rehman, “Chinni” to her friends.

It was she who did the script of a popular Pakistani TV serial — “Aur Zindagi Badalti Hai” — besides doing the language version of Deepa Mehta’s “Earth”. “I came to know Deepa Mehta through Shabana Azmi and Javed and we have been good friends for a long time,” says Nasreen, who became a member of the Arts Council of England besides working there as a research economist. At present, she is writing scripts and some TV serials in Pakistan.

“Both India and Pakistan have been facing the same problems — poverty, lack of education, lack of development, an inadequate health care system and poor infrastructure. Instead of addressing these problems, we have been spending too much on deepening the hatred,” says Nasreen, whose daughter, Mariam, is studying Sanskrit at Oxford.

“That is why after my sister, Nusrat, gave up her job as Managing Editor, Frontier Post, she joined an NGO to work for peace. She frequents India and has been actively associated with the strengthening of peaceful coexistence between the two neighbouring nations, “ she adds.

Young Nadia Jamil, who remained obsessed with Partition, did her dissertation on the subject at Hampshire College. Born in London, she moved to Lahore as a tiny tot for her early schooling.

“But I was not much of a success at school as I did not like to study. I think I was born a theatre artiste. At the age of 13, I did a play, “Lappar” in Lahore. Seeing my interest and potential in theatre, I was sent to Hampshire where I did a Bachelor’s double — in theatre and creative writing and a minor in dance (odissi).” The Punjabi play —”Lappar” — was about female infanticide .

“I was always confused about the hatred that had engulfed both India and Pakistan after Partition. I could not find any valid rationale for this hatred, which has been multiplying over the years.

“Now when fundamentalism has been on the decline the world over, it is still the same, or even getting stronger, in South Asia,” says Nadia, who returned to Pakistan in 1996 after finishing her studies in the USA.

“Since then I have worked in seven TV serials and 13 full-length plays. Now I have floated my own company, Ravi Entertainments, and plan to produce a film on relationships next year. I myself will do the lead role in the film,” she said.

Nadia said that she had been receiving offers both from Pakistani and Indian producers to act in films. “But none of the offers has been attractive enough to make me sign up. I want to work in an issue-based convincing film. Now I want to put Partition behind and focus on women empowerment and women emancipation. I would love to work with Indian directors and in India.”

Nadia felt that it would take a long time before the people of South Asia, who were still holding on to the traditional value system, got assimilated into the “westernised lifestyle which is very individualistic”.

“I am keen on having a family. But I do not want to have monsters as my children who are brandname crazy, self-centred individuals,” said Nadia.

Nadia, a great lover of animals, has one ambition: to have a big farmhouse with a lot of animals in it. “I feel there are not many good veterinarians around. Animals need proper care.”


Working for common man vital
Tribune News Service

Question your councillor

The five-year term of the Municipal Corporation is drawing to a close. It is time for stock-taking. What did the councillors promise at the time of elections? And, what has been their performance? Have they been able to deliver? Have they been able to come up to your expectations?

Today, we publish sixth interview in the series Interactive in which a councillor has been questioned as regards his promises vs performance. You are invited to question your councillor by 8 p.m. on Wednesday either through e-mail: or at phone number 680345 for one-and-a-half minutes of recording on the Tribune interactive voice response system (IVRS).


Chandigarh, August 26
Air Marshal Ranjit Singh Bedi (retd), represents ward no: 6. He was drawn into the BJP by the then MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, offering him party nomination for the MC elections.

A decorated officer, he served the Indian Air Force for nearly 37 years. In an interview to Chandigarh Tribune, he claimed, “I tried to be as responsive to people’s demands and requests, and took these up very sincerely most of the times.” He, however, admits that some work could not be accomplished due to paucity of funds. Excerpts from an interview:

Question: What have been your achievements during the term?

Answer: Recarpeting and strengthening of all V-6 roads in my ward has been done after 20 years. Besides, all V-5 roads, V-4 road in Sector 31 and the V-3 road dividing Sectors 36 and 37 have also been recarpeted.

The parking areas in front of the booth markets in Sector-36 and 37 have also been spruced up. Clearance for the Sector 37 parking lot has come and I am making funds available for the same. Passages in the EWS Society houses in Sectors 37 and 38 have also been strengthened.

One of the major achievements was the development of Fragrance Garden in Sector 36, which was also made possible with the efforts of the nominated councillor, Maj-Gen Rajinder Nath (retd). Besides, number of parks have been developed in front of houses in these sectors. Another green belt was developed in Sector 38.

The community centres in both Sectors 37 and 38, which had been in a dilapidated condition, have been made functional.

Question: What do you think you could not do for the electorate?


* To work for the development of southern sectors.
* To improve the condition of internal V-6 roads and parking areas in the ward.
* To provide clean and green surroundings in the area.
* To provide better sewerage and storm water drainage facilities.
* To make the community centres functional.


* All roads are still not up-to-date. * A large number of roads repair but some are left; parking lots still need attention.
* Water drainage problem persist.
* Community centres have improved.

Answer: Sanitation has been one of the major sore points, and mainly because of the lax attitude of the staff. Even though the main market parkings of Sector-36 and 38 are in bad condition and need immediate recarpeting, I was not able to do so from my fund. The approach roads to facilitate people’s access to mini-markets in Sector-37 and 38 could also not be made. Certain V-6 roads in Sector 36-C are yet to be done.

The green belt of Sector 37 could not be developed due to paucity of funds and I have already spent all the ward development fund allocated to me during these five years.

Question: How did you use the Corporation forum to redress your grievances?

Answer: I methodically pursued the people’s work till its completion and invited problems on letters. I was lucky to get cooperation from the officials.

However, this year the works did suffer due to lack of policy guidelines, non-formation of sub-committees, no proper business meeting of the MC during the tenure of the Congress Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal.

Question: What did you promise to the voter during your election campaign?

Answer: My basic promise was regarding the development of southern sectors so as to eliminate the stark North-South divide. I had promised better roads and parking areas, drinking water and sewerage facilities.

Question: How responsive has been your party towards your electorate’s grievances?

Answer: The party left it on councillors to get the manifesto implemented. The party leaders did not interfere in the work.

Question: How supportive has been the bureaucracy in your role as a councillor?

Answer: Very cooperative and supportive.

Question: Would you like to re-contest the election in view of your performance?

Answer: I have yet to make up my mind about this. I also partly leave the decision to the party.

Question: What will you suggest to your successor if you do not contest this time?

Answer: Play less politics and do more work, liaise with the bureaucracy and the public to achieve results.

Question: Why should the voter vote for you?

Answer: I have performed to the best of my ability and I leave it to the voter’s choice whether to vote me or not, if at all I re-contest this time.

Question: What have you gained personally by being a councillor?

Answer: No personal gains whatsoever as my social status was already established. I accepted the BJP offer since working for the common man is dear to my heart. 


Work on 2001 Consumer Price Index completed
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Major survey work on the new 2001 Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the industrial labour series, on the basis of which Dearness allowance of 90 per cent of country’s organised sector working class is decided, has been completed but is at least three years away from implementation.

“The base 2001 series which will replace that of 1982 is progressing well and data processing is being done at the Regional Computer Centre (RCC),” sources in the Indian Labour Bureau told The Tribune here today.

The new series is, however, not likely to be implemented before 2004 denying the Central Government and industrial employers an opportunity to remove the in-built pro-employee bias in the old series and save thousands of crores of rupees.

Explaining the pro-labour bias, sources say as price fluctuations are calculated on the base year of 1982, the fluctuation in the current prices are higher resulting in the employer ending up paying higher DA.

The survey of price collection countrywide has been done, pilot survey has been completed, data collected has been given to be completed in a year and tabulation has begun for the new series, sources said.

According to the sources work on the series is scheduled to be completed by June 2003 but it might see the light of the day only in 2004, which is at least 12 years behind the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommendation of replacing a series every 10 years.

Completion of the series which is a massive and transparent exercise is still to be made acceptable to the tripartite committee comprising the employer, employee and the government.

The series has wide implication on the economy affecting country’s majority of labour force and the employer who decide DA on the basis of this series, which is also acceptable to those for whom this series is not made.

The sources say the new series is made to reflect present day consumption pattern of country’s labour force, which changes drastically after a certain period of time as expenditure keeps varying on different items.

The flaw in the old series is that the weightage on different expenditure items remains constant despite the reality otherwise resulting in the employer paying more.

Data processing is scheduled to be completed in a year due to computerisation and persuading the RCC to complete it within one year as against the period of two years demanded by them.

They said along with processing, computer programming for tabulation was also going ahead.

They said the house rent survey decided on the basis of chain method was going on at present.

The sources said the house rent calculated through the chain of rents every six months basis was known as chain method.


Sapling plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
Continuing with the on-going tree plantation drive as a part of the project of greening the city, the Residents Welfare Association of Sector 12 planted saplings, here today.

The plantation, confined to open spaces and along the nullah running through the sector, was inaugurated by Mr Dhruv Guleria and his mother, Mr Poonam Guleria, family members of Kargil martyr, Capt Deepak Guleria, in the presence of members of the association.

With a target of planting as many as 2,000 trees, the members involved in the task had completed plantation of over 500 saplings by noon.

The president of the association, Wg Cdr H.L. Ratta, said the association had taken 2,000 plants from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to begin with.

“The idea is to have green surroundings all around and if government agencies are providing the plants, all the mission requires is caring for the plants. If there is still more open space in the sector after these saplings are planted, we will take more plants to cover the entire area,’’ he stated.

Wg Cdr Ratta said various species of trees, flowering and non-flowering, including jamun and neem were planted during the drive in the sector.

The administration has invited residents welfare associations and individuals to come forward and contribute to the sapling-plantation drive in the city. While work is on in full-swing in the villages, the drive has also been taken up in the Industrial Area and a few other sectors.


Radhashtami celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), celebrated Radhashtami at the Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36, here today. Thousands of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, president, local unit of ISKCON.

The main attraction of the function was charan darshan of Radha followed by mangla aarti, nagar kirtan, sringaar darshan and mahabhishek of Sri Radha Madhav.

A special programme of nauka vihar by Lord Krishna and Radha was also organised.


Membership drive of Bajrang Dal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The local unit of the Bajrang Dal launched its membership drive in Sector 30 here today.

Launching the drive, Swami Rameshwar Dayal urged every Hindu to become member of the Dal as it subscribed to the doctrine of “live and let live” as propounded by the Vedas.

The convener of the local unit, Mr Naresh Arora, said that 30 lakh activists would be given training by the Dal all over the country. It was informed that during October 500 Dal activists would be given training to wield the “trishul”. The local unit had fixed a target of recruiting 3,000 members.


Plea for presidential form of govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
With a view to eradicating corruption, the newly-formed political outfit, Bharatiya Suraj Manch, has advocated introduction of the Presidential form of government at the Centre.

Addressing a press conference here today, the President of the manch, Mr Krishan Garg, alleged that the present system of government was the fountain head of corruption. The presidential form of government was a much cheaper and effective option for the nation, he added.

He claimed that the party, which was formed about two months back, had already enrolled over 4,000 members and the membership drive would be launched soon. The main objective of the party was to make people aware of the corrupt government system, he claimed.

The Vice-President of the party, Mr Bhaskar Arya, regretted that the present system was too costly for a nation like India as was evident from the fact that over Rs 21 lakh per year was spent on each MP.


Woman drowns
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 26
A body of 20-year-old woman was found in a water tank in the backyard of a house in Sector 2 here today after noon.

Sources said hailing from Nahan in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, the deceased, Raksha Devi, and her husband, Raju, were staying in the house of Mr N.D. Chhabra for the last over four months.

While the house owner was staying in Shimla with his family, he has kept the couple to look after his house. Mr Chhabra was at his Panchkula-based house when the incident occurred.

The couple was staying in a separate room in the backyard of the house. After taking lunch together, Raksha Devi went outside and reportedly drowned in the water tank. She was noticed by her husband after over 20 minutes when she did not returned.

The body has been sent to the General Hospital, Sector 6. 


Former Tribune employee dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, august 26
Mr Krishan Dutt Sharma, (61), a former Chief Copy Holder with The Tribune group of newspapers, died at Shahabad this morning after a brief illness.

He is survived by a son.


4 arrested for bid to rob taxi driver
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Sector 11 police led by Inspector Satbir Singh has achieved success by foiling a robbery attempt near the Dhanas forest last night.

According to information available, five youths, all below 20 years of age, tried to rob Gurdial Singh. It is learnt that Gurdial Singh, a taxi driver operating from the PGI taxi stand, was returning home in Dhanas late last night when the incident took place.

The police informed that as Gurdial Singh was travelling on the road dividing Panjab University and the Dhanas forest, he was accosted by five youths who were on two scooters. It is alleged that one of the accused took out a knife and threatened Gurdial Singh to give all his possessions.

However, Gurdial Singh managed to give them a slip and sped away with the accused following him. Soon he reached the naka put up by the Haryana Armed Police and stopped there. The four cops posted at the naka came to his rescue and nabbed three of the accused on one scooter (CH-01U-5401), Sandeep, Gurvinder and Rajneesh Kumar. The police later recovered sharpedged weapons from them.

In the meantime the Sector 11 police was also alerted. A special team formed under Inspector Satbir Singh raided different places and arrested the other two accused, Nazim Khan and Ravinder Singh. Iron rods were also recovered from them.

It is learnt that while one of the accused Ravinder Singh has been sent to judicial custody on account of his being a minor, the other four have been remanded in police custody.


Schoolgirl ‘raped’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
A schoolgirl was allegedly raped by her neighbour in Rajiv Colony of Panchkula yesterday. The police has registered a case under Sections 363, 366, 342 and 376 of the IPC.

The neighbour, Mukesh, a rickshawpuller, allegedly took away the girl with him on the pretext that he was taking her to her mother who had been admitted to a hospital.

The police says that the girl is a student of Government School at Mauli Jagran. At about 11 am yesterday, she came out of the school to drink water at a nearby ‘dhaba’ and met Mukesh, who allegedly took her to his ‘jhuggi’ in Rajiv Colony. There, the girl was raped and let off only at about 8 pm. In the meantime, her family became worried on finding that she had not returned from school and began looking for her.

When the girl returned, she told her parents what had happened to her, at which, her father, Mewa Lal, approached the police and a case was registered against Mukesh.


Held with 15 kg of poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Crime Branch of the city police arrested Mohammad Kajim from the bridge near Dadu Majra Colony and seized 15 kg of poppy husk from him.

A case under Section 15 of the NDPS Act has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.

Burglary: Miscreants allegedly committed a burglary in the Sector 38 house of Mr Rajnish Gupta yesterday. A sum of Rs 20,000, gold jewellery and a colour television set were stolen by the accused after they broke into the house. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Car stolen: A maruti car (CHK-7552) was stolen from the Bridge market parking in Sector 17 yesterday. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

One killed: Two employees of Punjab Roadways — conductor Kuldeep and bus driver Amrik Singh — were hit by a Maruti van (HP-02-3926) near the local bus stop in Sector 17 late last night. They were rushed to the PGI where Amrik Singh later died.

The police arrested the driver of the van, Anil Sharma. It is alleged that he was in an inebriated condition. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

Two arrested: Deepak Kumar and Bajinder were arrested from different places in Sector 39 yesterday and 13 bottles and 14 pouches of whisky were seized from them. They have been booked in separate cases under the Excise Act.


Scooterist killed
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 26
A scooterist succumbed to his injuries soon after he was hit by an unknown vehicle near Ramgarh this afternoon.

The police said the victim, Yad Ram, was rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead. A case has been registered at the Ramgarh police post. 

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