Sunday, October 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Bandh, blockade cut off city
Tribune Reporters

Khalsa Panchayat blocked the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in protest against the burning of Birs at Zirakpur on Saturday.
 — Tribune photo Karam Singh

Chandigarh, October 6
Chandigarh and SAS Nagar today remained inaccessible from Punjab and Delhi sides due to a three-and-a-half hour blockade called by the local Khalsa Panchayat and Gurdwara Coordination Committee of Mohali to protest against the alleged burning of ‘’Birs.’’

‘’The blockade, coinciding with the ‘Punjab bandh’ call given by the Panthak Morcha, was successful, ‘’The Khalsa Panchayat convener, Mr Rajinder Singh, claimed here today.

The inter-state buses were not seen on the city roads during the blockade time as the protesters did not allow these to enter or leave the city. Vehicles were seen lining-up in long queues at all major entry and exit points of the city especially on the Chandigarh-Ambala road.

The blockade did not affect the city internally, but entry into the city from Punjab and Delhi side was completely affected between 9.30 a.m. and 1 p.m., The Superintendent of Police (City), Mr Baldev Singh, told Chandigarh Tribune.

The ‘seal city’ call was given by the panchayat and the committee represented by 18 gurdwaras and 12 Sikh religious organisations and was opposed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) local unit president Gurpartap Singh Riar-led co-ordination committee representing remaining 23 gurdwaras.

The major protest in the city was held at the railway station crossing where hundreds of the panchayat activists tried to stop traffic coming from Panchkula between 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m., but police diverted traffic to allow entry and exit from the city, the SP (City) said.

The daily commuters were left stranded on the outskirts of the city putting them to great inconvenience, a daily commuter from Banur, Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, said.

The panchayat claimed that eight main entry points were blocked at Zirakpur, Chandigarh Railway Station Chowk, Mullanpur, Maloya, Balongi, Jagatpura, Sohana and Phase II in Mohali completely cutting off the two cities.

The police said the protest remained peaceful.

The protesters, however, allowed schoolchildren, patients, essential services and fire brigade vehicles to cross over. Despite that, Mr S.K. Nair from Panchkula complained that his relative could not reach PGI in time due to the traffic blockade.

The panchayat claimed that two girls’ and all boys’ colleges and a number of schools in the city remained closed today on the call of the Sikh bodies.

The convener of the panchayat, Mr Ranjinder Singh, said the Chandigarh Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, was amongst those who were present with the protesters at Zirakpur. The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) activist and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) member, Mr Amrider Singh, participated in their individual capacities in the protest.

The protesters moved, to put up blockades, from Sector 34 gurdwara in Chandigarh and Gurdwara Amb Sahib in SAS Nagar reciting Gurbani and slogans against Baba Piara Singh Bhaniar whose effigies were burnt at different places.

The panchayat disassociated itself from any political party saying they had nothing to do with the Panthak Morcha which had given a Punjab bandh call today.

The protesters were demanding that the government should take steps to prevent sacrilegious attempts and culprits should be punished. They also demanded those defiling religious books should be given death penalty and special courts should be set up to dispose of these cases in three months.

The panchayat warned that if immediate action was not taken, they would be forced to take harsher measures.

The convener of the panchayat told Chandigarh Tribune that to create an atmosphere against these acts, nine in the recent past, a seminar would be called with participation from all religions.

The local SAD president, Mr Riar, lashed out at his rivals saying instead of putting the people to inconvenience on the issue they should have concentrated on better security of gurdwaras so that ‘’evil’’ elements did not get opportunity to engage in destructive acts.

He said the calls for Punjab bandh and the sealing off the Chandigarh and Mohali were given keeping an eye on elections and to defame the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The SHSAD general secretary, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, the Punjab State Communist Party of India, the local unit of the BJP and the Anglican Church of India, Missionary Diocese of Chandigarh had condemned the burning of ‘Birs’.

While the CPI said the events posed danger to the secular fabric of the country and might result in caste wars and criticised Mr Badal for failure to handle the situation, Mr Chandumajra sought to implicate those near Mr Badal saying they had been followers of Baba Piara Singh.

Demanding action against perpetrators of these acts, the BJP said it was a handiwork of anti-national forces.

The church authorities while condemning the alleged burning of Guru Granth Sahib said religious books of all religions should be respected. Attacks on Sikhs in the US were also criticised.

Mr Chandumajra said the ‘’success’’ of bandh was an indication of all-round ‘’failures’’ of Mr Badal.

MULLANPUR-GARIBDAS: The market at Mullanpur-Garibdas remained deserted as the shopkeepers joined the bandh call against the alleged burning of “Birs” and kept the shutters down. Several vehicles were seen lined up at the Mullanpur - Chandigarh barrier and local residents were forced to use alternate routes to reach Chandigarh.

Shops at Naya Gaon village also remained closed. The residents later took out a procession to the Sector 34 Gurdwara. However, no blockade was put up on the Naya Gaon barrier.

People used link roads of the villages falling in Punjab to enter the city.

A large number of Punjab villagers who come to the city for their jobs and other works either reached the city before the start of dharna or preferred to remain indoors.

Milk supply to the city, however, remained unaffected as the bandh started after 9 am and the milk delivery work was almost over by that time.

SAS NAGAR: Roads were blocked and almost all shops remained closed here today in protest against incidents of sacrilege at various places in Punjab and the state government’s alleged failure to take action against the culprits.

The call for the statewide bandh was given by the Sarab Hind Youth Akali Dal, the All-India Sikh Students Federation, the Youth Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the Dal Khalsa. The call was endorsed by SHSAD President Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The police had been deployed at various places to prevent any untoward incidents. Its personnel were seen diverting traffic.

Queues of vehicles formed on roads and vehicle drivers were seen trying to find alternative routes to reach their destinations.

Almost all shops were closed for most of the day. Some private schools at SAS Nagar also responded to the Bandh call.

Protesters blocked traffic at various points, including Sohana, the Balongi barrier, the Phase IX, Industrial Area, Ambwala Chowk and PCL Chowk here. They sat in dharna on the road, disrupting traffic. At certain points slogans were raised against the Badal government and Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

At Balongi, children from the Guru Ram Asra Trust here squatted on the road. Many of them were holding placards asking the Badal government to “wake up” and demanding action against those responsible for the sacrilege. The protesters, including women, were chanting “Satnam Waheguru”.

At Sohana there was a total bandh and the road going towards Chandigarh was blocked by agitated protesters. Some women sat on a durrie on the road reading from the ‘Gutka”. Many protesters stopped vehicles even before these could reach the scene of the dharna. Mr Manjit Singh Sethia, a municipal councillor from SAS Nagar, said the dharna had not been organised by any political party but was a protest by all who condemned the incidents of sacrilege.

The blocking of the road at Ambwala Chowk here began around 11.30 a.m. instead of the scheduled 9.30 a.m. and was not as effective as at other points. A municipal councillor, Mr Manmohan Singh, Lang, said there was some confusion as the protesters had earlier been asked to go to Sohana.

In the Phase IX Industrial Area a shamiana was put up and the road was blocked by parking vehicles. The protesters raised slogans against the state government’s failure to take action against those behind the sacrilege.

ZIRAKPUR: Traffic on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway No. 22 came to a standstill for over five hours today as irate people from nearby villages blocked the road to protest against the burning of Bir by followers of Baba Pyara Singh Bhaniara in various parts of the state.

On a call of the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and other Sikh bodies, a complete bandh was also witnessed till 2 p.m. by shopkeepers of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and surrounding townships of Banur and Rajpura. They lifted the shutters of their shops in the afternoon.

All exit and entry points to Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru townships were blocked by the protesters. They parked tractor-trailors, autorickshaws, trucks, canters and buses across the roads.

More than 350 men and women from the Sector 34 gurdwara also joined the agitation under the leadership of Ms Harjinder Kaur, Mayor, Chandigarh, and demanded that cases under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code should be registered against the accused.

Various schools, colleges and other educational institutions also remained closed in the subdivision. Those who had to join their offices in Chandigarh and Panchkula were delayed for two to three hours.

Thousands of passengers who had to catch the train from Ambala and Chandigarh railway stations were left stranded on the railway station because of the delay.

The long-route buses coming from Shimla and heading towards Delhi and those on the reverse route opted for the Panchkula-Barwala-Saha road to rejoin the highway ahead at Ambala.

After being informed about the bandh, a large number of commuters opted for various kutcha link roads passing through villages to rejoin the highway at Ambala.

Hundreds of commuters remained stranded on the way to their respective destinations.

Commuters of Zirakpur and surrounding areas opted for the Zirakpur-Panchkula road and then took the Sahajadpur link road to reach Ambala.

Commuters from Dera Bassi opted for the Kurli-Jharmari link road to reach Dera Bassi. Passengers also preferred the Dera Bassi-Joli link road to reach Ambala.

The traffic was diverted from Tribune Chowk, Transport Chowk and Airport Chowk by the Chandigarh Police. The road users were also seen arguing with the cops on duty.

The agitators in Lalru burnt the effigy of Baba Pyara Singh on the highway.

Apart from the agitators, the Dera Bassi police had deployed a number of cops to seal all link and main roads on the Haryana border.

Though the bandh ended peacefully and no untoward incident was reported in this part of the state, the police had a tough time in controlling the crowds.



New twist to students’ row
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
In a new twist to the election controversy of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, the university has appointed a panel to look into the issue of a group demanding a no-confidence motion against the elected president.

A breakaway faction of the winning Students Organisation of Panjab University led by Bhupinder Beniwal, chairman during the elections, who was removed from the post after the victory, has demanded resignation of Santokhwinder Singh Nabha, the president. Nabha supported by Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa, a former president of the student council, meanwhile, claims to have expelled Beniwal from the party.

PU has constituted a committee comprising Prof Bal Krishna, Department of Laws, Dr Tankeshwar, department of Physics and Prof M.M.Sharma to look into the controversy. A committee member said he had received a copy of the election constitution, however, papers of the two parties in question were still awaited.

Beniwal had given a copy of his representation of a notice of no-confidence, claiming signatures of 25 elected members of the student council. The university authorities, however, sought representation from a regular university student. Ankur, general secretary, has submitted the representation seeking ouster of Nabha, which has finally been taken up for consideration.

It may be remembered that Nabha had called a press conference the day following the oath-taking ceremony, saying that Beniwal had no right to comment because he was not a student in the first place and that he had been removed as the chairman. Beniwal, however, said that when he could be made a chairman for the elections under the same circumstances, the opposite party had no right to make the opposite claim now that their purpose of victory had been served.

Interestingly, Nidhi Puri (vice-president) and Nishu Dubey (joint secretary) had on the day of elections put their signatures on a stamp paper, claiming support of Beniwal and seeking resignation of Nabha. Minutes later, at tea, after the oath-taking ceremony, Nidhi Puri told reporters that she was with Nabha.

Another 5 minutes later she was addressing a press conference with Beniwal saying she stood with Beniwal and had thought about the change “only two minutes back”. Later in the evening, she visited The Tribune office and said she had re-thought about the matter and was determined to support Nabha. She maintained her stand next day at a press conference.

Beniwal at the same press conference said that two persons deciding against supporting him made no difference because he had signatures of more than 40 persons.

Nabha maintained that much of the present confusion had arisen due to the fact that there was no written constitution. Earlier, all decisions on the party matters had been taken by an executive. SOPU will come out with a written document soon after things are sorted out.


No barriers at Grain Market
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
A projected loss in crores of rupees notwithstanding, the Chandigarh Administration has reportedly developed cold feet over the issue of having barriers at entry points to the Grain Market in Sector 26. The powerful lobby of traders based in Sector 26 is seen behind the move, as setting up of barriers would have stopped evasion of market fee.

Sources in the Chandigarh Administration said the Administrator may even be unaware that the barriers had not started functioning.

These barriers were set up two months ago. However, they have not started functioning, allegedly under pressure from grain market traders. The traders closed the ‘‘mandi’’ as a protest when the barriers were set up. The Administration buckled.

Had the check barriers been functional, it was expected that revenue collection from market fee would have doubled from the present Rs 3 crore. All deposits into the market fee were presently on a voluntary basis by the traders. Market fee is imposed on all trucks bringing in produce into the mandi.

And today the contract between the market committee, an elected body, and a private security agency to provide security at the six check barriers ended. The committee paid up Rs 3 lakh to the security agency even as the barriers were not made functional. Now the market committee is also up in arms. Member of the committee Bhupinder Singh Badheri told The Tribune that a meeting was held where the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Kesar Singh, was present. It was decided that the committee will function on its own and not tolerate any interference from the Administration.

The Administration first asked the committee to set up the barriers to check evasion of market fee. All calculations were made. This included that wholesale traders, who buy items like rice, pulses or sugar in bulk from Delhi for further supply to Punjab and Himachal, were the biggest evaders of market fee. Under this segment collections were just Rs 70 lakh last year. In the wheat, paddy, vegetable and fruit segment fee collections were higher Now the Administration has been verbally asking the committee for a report on the ‘‘ what has been the use of barriers’’. 


City could have been just another Model Town
But Corbusier didn’t let that happen
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
“Without Le Corbusier, Chandigarh may have been just another Model Town in an Indian city”.

This was the most telling comment made by Mr Balbir Verma, president of the Indian Institute of Architects, when asked to comment on the frequent criticism of Le Corbusier for his alleged failure to provide housing for the poor and foresee other problems facing the City Beautiful.

“This criticism is not valid,” said Mr Verma during the course of an interaction carried out by TNS today with several leading architects of the country who had gathered here today to attend the 114th birth anniversary of Le Corbusier. “He was a visionary who planned every project in minute detail. Le Corbusier’ greatest contribution to the Indian architecture was in the form of a sense of discipline instilled among the people. He laid down plans in meticulous detail which could not be changed according to the whims and fancies of the citizens.

“But for this discipline, Chandigarh would have rapidly deteriorated and become just another model town available in any Indian city. The problem, if any, lies not with the architecture, but the governance of the city”.

Mr M.N. Sharma, former Chief architect of the erstwhile Punjab and Chandigarh, who was associated with Le Corbusier in the planning and execution of Chandigarh, said that Le Corbusier was way ahead of his time with feet firmly rooted in the past culture and its values depicted in the works of art and architecture. He learnt from history and , in turn, made the architectural history rich and inspiring.

Space, light and volumes were always there as basic elements in Le Corbusier’s creations. He remained a great sculpture in his paintings as well as architecture. Since the advent of modern architecture, in the early 20th century, Le Corbusier had been considered one of the its founding fathers, and today, he must be regarded as the one who endured as this century’s greatest architect. His architecture had been proven to contain more than what was characteristic of the period. What was fascinating about Le Corbusier was that, as the time went by, his works appeared more meaningful and ageless.

He said Corbusier’s philosophy and ideals were becoming increasingly valid today and had stood the test of time. “Speaking purely in the context of Chandigarh — with passage of time — we have lost our bearings and are struggling to keep pace with the changing conditions for true understanding and forthright actions....It was sad that the Museum of Knowledge and the Capitol Complex had not been completed till today”.

Mr Jeet Malhotra, former Chief Architect of Punjab and a long-time resident of Chandigarh, says that one learns about the importance of Chandigarh only when you go to another city of India. “After living for so many years in Chandigarh, I shifted to Delhi to practise in the National Capital. But whosoever I ran into said that I must be crazy to leave a place like Chandigarh and settle down in Delhi. So now I have come back to Chandigarh to stay here”.

Mr Malhotra said that nobody could foresee the needs of a city all times to come. Therefore, it was possible that Le Corbusier, too, could not foresee and provide for the poor in Chandigarh. But some of the ideas like building duplex houses was way ahead of his times. “We could not understand why one should have duplex houses and keep on shuttling between for kitchen and drawing room on the ground floor and bedrooms on the first floor. But now we realise that this is the best plan, offering you total privacy and segregation on the first floor...”

Mr S.N. Kohli, Chairman, Punjab and Chandigarh Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects, also echoed similar sentiments, emphasising that Le Corbusier’s contribution could not be belittled. It was not correct to say that he did not provide for housing for the poor. As a matter fact, he planned for two-bedroom houses for peons and other low-paid employees at a time when such a concept was unheard of. One could not plan for everything for all times to come because needs of the people and the city keep on changing. And there was nothing to prevent the administrators from changing the relevant bye-laws to provide for new contingencies.


Corbusier remembered on World Architecture Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The annual celebrations of the Le Corbusier Day and the World Architecture Day, jointly organised by the Chandigarh College of Architecture and the Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects at Chandigarh College of Architecture were held here today.

Major highlights of this function, which was attended by a large number of architects and student architects, including many from outstation, were the memorial lectures delivered by Mr M.N. Sharma, former Chief Architect and secretary of Chandigarh Project. He recalled the life and works of the great visionary architect of the 20th century in his address and spoke with great emotion to sensitise the audience on the multifacitated personality of Le Corbusier and his unique contribution in the architecture and planning of Chandigarh.

Mr Balbir Verma, President of the Indian Institute of Architects who was the chief guest, also spoke on the occasion and gave away various awards and academic prizes to the alumni of the Chandigarh College of Architecture.

The Sanjiv Bhandari Scholarship was given to Shweta Munshi (1996 Batch ) and Swati Dutta ( 1997 batch); the H.S.Kohli Award was given to Swati Dutta ( 1997 batch) and Anjali Ahuja ( 1998 batch ); the Sarita Chadha Memorial Award was given to Preeti Chatwal ( 1966 batch ) and Ikroop Kaur ( 1997 batch ); the Principal A. R. Prabhawalkar Award was given to Samdeep Nandwani ( 1999 batch ); Government Silver Medal was given to Shweta Munshi ( 1996-2001); Best Design in 8th Semester Design was given to Somit Jain; Certificate of Honour was given to Kratma Saini.

Earlier, in the function, Prof I.J.S Bakshi, Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, welcomed the guests to this unique collaborative function and spoke on the significance of the two events that had been celebrated in the college. He also spoke about the various awards given to the students. Later Mr S.N. Kohli, Chairman of the Chandigarh- Punjab Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects, presented the vote of thanks.


Couple get life-term for murder
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 6
Mr S.K. Kapoor, District and Sessions Judge, Panchkula, has sentenced a Pinjore-based couple to life imprisonment for setting their son-in-law on fire. A fine of Rs 10,000 each was also imposed. In case they failed to make the payments they would have to undergo further imprisonment for two years.

The accused — Kishan Lal and his wife Banto Devi — had set afire their son-in-law Sushil Kumar.

The victim was set afire by the accused when he had visited his in-laws’ house on March 23. He was admitted to the PGI in Chandigarh with serious burn injuries, where he breathed his last on March 29.

A case had been registered against the accused under Sections 307, 34, 120-B and 302 of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of the victim’s dying declaration.


Workshop on new trends in automation begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Emerging trends in automotive power, both in the aviation field as well as automobiles were discussed at a workshop organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in collaboration with the Aeronautical Society (ASI) at Punjab Engineering College here today.

In his key-note address, Dr Kirpal Singh, principal of Shri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi described various types of automotive power plants and discussed improvements in the performance and emission levels of automobiles during the past half century. He also gave a brief description on the concept of future source of automotive power such as fuel cells.

Giving an overview of the Euro emission norms, Mr Lakhinder Singh, Chief Manager (R&D) of Swaraj Mazda, also discussed Indian emission norms and the technologies required for diesel engines to meet the stipulated norms. He said to achieve respective norms, changes in combustion chambers, fuel injection system and other related engine components were introduced.

In his talk on “Aiming at Perfection : The jet engine”, Wg Cdr D.P. Sabharwal, secretary of ASI, said low fuel consumption and easy maintainability were two areas where the jet engine had seen a lot of improvement over the years. He said modular design, electronic engine control and engine condition monitoring concepts, that were just ideas floated till recently, had become a reality today. Demand for higher performance, he added, had led to the development of newer materials and production technologies.

Speaking about the role and functions of SAE, Mr A D Sidwani said the society had about 80,000 members concerned with various branches of engineering, spread over 90 countries. Dr Sukhbir Singh, Senior Manager (R&D), Maruti Udyog Limited, spoke about the multi-point fuel injection system in automobiles.

Engineering students also presented several technical papers on solar and electric powered cars. A quiz contest on “Automax” was also organised on the occasion.



Keeping accounts for the forces
Tribune News Service

As the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) celebrates its golden jubilee this week, it looks back at a tradition spanning several centuries of disbursing pay to the armed forces as well as auditing defence accounts.

The roots of the organisation can be traced to the “Articles of War”, adopted by British Parliament in April, 1747. Regulation 17 of the Article empowered the government to adopt a Military Pay Master for disbursing pay and allowances of officers, NCOs and other ranks. The department has been referred to as Military Pay Master General Purser General and Pay Master-General through the ages.

Audit of payment of military stores, contracts and all bills for military charges were given to this department in 1773. Day by day, the department faced increasing challenges, according to military needs.

The Accountant General of Military Department was re-designated as Controller General of Military Expenditure in 1865. In October 1913, Financial Adviser Military Finance was created in place of the Military Finance Branch. In 1920 military accounts were transferred to the Military Accountant General, while Controller of the Royal Air Force was formed at Ambala and Controller of Marine Accounts was formed at Bombay (now Mumbai). Four regional controllers were assigned the task of maintaining accounts for respective commands.

On October 1, 1951, the Military Accounts Department was redesignated Defence Accounts Department and as such Controllers of Military Accounts were redesignated Controllers of Defence Accounts, and the Military Accountant General was re-named Controller General of Defence Accounts.

The history of the Defence Accounts Department has been closely linked with the growth of the armed forces in India, and the department has come a long way since the days of the East India Company.

Today, the Defence Accounts Department is responsible not only for payment accounting and internal audit of the three services, but also that of the ordnance factories, research and development organisations, Border Roads Organisation, Canteen Stores Department and the Coast Guard.

The department pioneered automation of accounts with the induction of computers as early as 1969 and considerable qualitative improvement in the maintenance of accounts has been achieved. Pilot projects have also been undertaken for developing a system of audit through computerisation of the inventories held by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.


Traffic blues at Majri Chowk
Bipin Bhardwaj

The intersection of the Panchkula - Naraingarh and the Kalka-Ambala highways, known as Majri Chowk, has become one of the most accident prone points here. A heavy flow of trucks and other heavy vehicles, apart from the regular traffic, has become a threat to human life.

This intersection is manned by traffic lights as well as traffic policemen. The District Administration has set up a police post at this point but senior police officers admit that when the lights fail, a single policeman cannot cope with the heavy rush of vehicles.

The bridge on the Ghaggar on the Panchkula - Naraingarh road is another accident-prone point, say those who frequent the area.

Mr Sher Singh, of Sector 12, Panchkula, who crosses the bridge regularly to visit the gurdwara, said that he had to be “extra cautious and parking of trucks has further narrowed the road”.

Vehicles have to pass through curves and no indicator has been put up to warn the motorists.

The road becomes more crowded on full moon days (Puranmasis) and other special occasions when thousands of devotees from Chandigarh, S.A.S. Nagar and the surrounding areas throng the gurdwara. Though there is ample parking space in the gurdwara, yet many devotees prefer to park their vehicles on the road. Trucks parked on the road add to the traffic confusion.

However, an officer of the traffic wing of the police said that they had posted policemen in front of the gurdwara to check those who leave their vehicles on the road before entering the gurdwara.


Concern over rise in number of accidents
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
The Chandigarh Parents’ Association has alleged that the local traffic police has failed to control traffic in the city and has demanded proper control of traffic on city roads so that the number of accidents could be reduced. In addition, the association also demanded some proper arrangements of carrying the accident victims to the hospitals.

In a meeting held here today, the association expressed concern over the increase in the number of road accidents and accused the traffic police for it. The members alleged that the police was only engaged in issuing challans and was not trying enough to regulate the flow of traffic.

The Police Control Room gypsies standing on the various roundabouts also came under attack during the meeting. The police personnel post at these PCRs were accused of engaging in unnecessary checking of documents of the commuters and thus causing chaos on the roundabouts.

According to the association members, the PCR gypsies are either parked in the middle of the roads or on other wrong places. They also accused the city VIPs of violating traffic rules. This was stated in a press not issued by Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the association.



Mogambo halts for ‘sarson da saag’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
For die-hard Amrish Puri fans, this news will come as some sort of a dampener. The star villain of the big screen was on a fly-by visit to City Beautiful this afternoon. He had to head further for Manali, where the shooting of “Jaal” (a Sunny Deol-Tabu starrer) is in progress. When he alighted from the Indian Airlines flight around 12.20 pm, he was accompanied by actor Shahbaz Khan and the mother of producer Goldie Behl. But from there, all actors separated.

After a lot of difficulty (due to road blockade in the morning), the reel-life Mogambo reached the Platinum Honda showroom in Sector 35 and placed himself in a comfortable corner to savour his favourite lunch: “sarson da saag” and "makki di roti". Simple living seems to be in his grain.

Had it not been, he would not have especially called up his friends in Batala from Mumbai yesterday and asked them to meet him up in Chandigarh the next day over a humble lunch!

Satinder Singh told Chandigarh Tribune today, “Amrishji told us that he would be halting at Chandigarh for a while. He requested us to prepare some ‘sarson da saag’ and ‘makki di roti’.”

So there was Satinder with a packed lunch, which the star savoured for quite some time in the showroom where he also launched the latest blue Honda Activa scooter.

Another issue of conversation was the highly-stylish dress code of the legendary actor. He sported a trendy look, furthered by his trade-mark hat which had a partridge feather on it. As Amrish Puri went around the showroom, the entrance was obviously blocked by people who were desperate to catch a glimpse of the cine-star.

He, however, did not stay for long. Around 3 pm he left for Manali by road. 


Tasting the luxury of limousine
Monica Sharma

A DATE WITH LUXURY: Mr Raghbir Singh along with family members after a free ride in a limousine in Chandigarh on Friday. 

Chandigarh, October 6
Little did Mr Raghbir Singh, a government employee, know that getting petrol filled his scooter for Rs 100 would entitle him to a free ride in a limousine. It was a dream come true for him, a regular customer of a petrol filling station in Sector 21, and his family when they were informed that they had been declared lucky winner of the scheme.

“We are feeling excited after having a ride in the luxury car. We came to know last evening that my husband had emerged as the winner in the draw. Had we got to know little earlier we would have invited our friends also”, exclaimed, Ms Jasbir Kaur, his wife.

“The dream ride started at 10.30 in the morning. We went straight to Nada Sahib gurdwara and Mansa Devi temple to thank God for giving us this moment of pleasure. Then we went around the city, at the lake and to other places,’’ she added.

“It is unbelievable that we have had a ride in limousine car. If God is kind enough, we will buy the car some day. The best part of the car is that it has spacious seats and is equipped with cellular telephone, television and VCD player. We will share our experience with our friends,’’ said their son and daughters .

The campaign offers two parameters into one. In the first one, the customer is served a coupon. The customer has to fill in personal details in the coupon. He has to guess the approximate amount at which the vehicle will get fuelled upto auto cut-off. If the guess is within permissible limits, the customer gets the fuel free of cost.

In case the customer guesses it midway he or she pays half the price for the fuel. The coupon is dropped in the draw box from which a single draw is taken out every evening. It has to be filled in by the customer and put in a draw box. Every evening a draw is taken out and the winner is entitled to a 12-hour ride in a limousine with driver.


Coaching centres galore
Shashi Pal Jain

There is has no good government school at Kharar but there has been a mushroom growth of coaching centres, particularly those that provide coaching for entrance tests such as pre-engineering and pre-medical tests. As the dates of the entrance tests are approaching, each institute is claiming to be the best for students preparing for these tests.

A large number of students from Kharar commute to Chandigarh for their schooling but are unable to join the coaching institutes there because of their timings as well as their heavy fees. Taking advantage of this situation, some teachers from Chandigarh have started their coaching classes in this town. Some others have hired the services of lecturers from Chandigarh.

Most of these coaching centres cater to the needs of the 10th and +2 students, charging a student anything from Rs 400 to Rs 800 per subject. They also provide coaching for pre-engineering and pre-medical tests. These centres are run on the pattern of those in Chandigarh, with printed notes and other study material.

The coaching centres defend the tuition culture, saying that tuitions are necessary because of the high teacher-student ratio in schools because of which the weak students are not able to get due attention. ‘‘We provide them with condensed study material such as printed notes and hold regular tests for revision,’’ says a teacher who runs a coaching centre. Most of the teachers here feel that the students of Kharar require extra coaching as they are not exposed to competition.

The students call tuitions a necessary evil. They feel that they are unable to compete with the students of Chandigarh and Mohali without extra coaching. ‘‘When we complete our matriculation from a school in Kharar and join a school or a college in Chandigarh, we find ourselves at a disadvantage. We understand Hindi but schools in Chandigarh offer only English medium,’’ they say. They have no choice but to seek admission in Chandigarh schools as 85 per cent of the seats in Panjab University are reserved for students of Chandigarh schools.

In any case the tuition culture has come to stay in Kharar, pushing classroom teaching to the back seat.


From openness to seclusion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The sun gives way to darkness, but the ensuing gloom fails to disturb advocate Rajvinder Singh Bains as he, exhausted after a day’s work, strolls past the palatial bungalows in Sector 2. What makes him uncomfortable is that he does see bright and cheerful faces of neighbours peeping across low boundary walls.

“Even though I go out for a walk every evening, I have stopped enjoying it lately”, he asserts. “The residents have increased the height of the boundary walls to make them insurmountable. They have been drawn into the protective seclusion of their closed, claustrophobic, houses in the process”.

He recalls: “In the days that are no more and will, perhaps, never return, the unimpressive walls permitted you to interact with neighbours while walking down the street. Not only this, you could look at the brightly lit houses and feel the presence of life even without spotting a single face”.

“In the 80s, we would stop in front of every house while out on a walk and exchange pleasantries with the youngsters. Or else, wish the elders, reposing in comfortable chairs in verandahs”.

That was years ago. “In fact, in the last century, the scenario has undergone a complete metamorphosis,” Mr Bains recalls. “The walls have been raised to the height of 10 feet. Today, you get the impression that you are walking through narrow corridors, instead of sauntering on the streets. This is not all. As soon as the sun goes down, you start feeling that the city has been abandoned, or perhaps bombed”.

The reason for this disconcerting trend, Mr Bains, feels, is the projection of crime. “The coverage of crime has increased in the city due to the competition created by the presence of so many newspapers. As a result, even minor thefts are being reported. This has led to fear among the residents”, he observes. “You will always find them discussing crime. Little wonder, the walls have been raised and grills installed. Even the service lanes in the northern sectors now have gates’’.

He concludes: “Crime has definitely gone up in the city. Instead of eight murders in nine years, we now have over 20 killings annually. A murder was committed even in a peaceful place like Sector 10,. something unimaginable until a few years ago. But the residents should also realise that the city’s population has increased. I can understand the people’s anxiety of making their houses secure, but in the process, city’s character is being destroyed”.


A multi-faceted personality
Tribune News Service

Creativity does not wait for opportunities. Mrs Neelam Gupta of Di Plast is an example of this. She has been associated with Di Plast for almost eight years and has become indispensible for the company where she looks after internal co-ordination, advertising, designing, public relations etc.

She joined her husband in the business which involves manufacture of PVC pipes, water storage tanks, dustbins and the recently launched mobile toilets. She is also an active social worker and has delivered several talks on women entrepreneurship at different places.

‘‘In a conventional set-up like ours, I was married off when I was doing my post-graduation course. I always had the urge to establish my own identity, and after the children had grown up enough to take care of themselves, I decided that I should work, and opted for our own business to make a beginning.

Advertising was the first thing she thought their business needed the most and she started looking after this aspect. Her sphere of work spread slowly and today she handles most of the operations. Di Plast Chowk in Mohali has been designed by her.

A major project that manufactures mobile toilets is being entirely handled by her. ‘‘Right from the concept to sales, I have looked after everything and it has been very successful’’, she says with a sense of pride.

She also listens to the grievances of the employees, handles internal co-ordination and also travels to conduct meetings of dealers, architects, plumbers etc. ‘‘The employees have immense confidence in me and when they have a problem, they come to me for a solution’’.

Not that things came to her easily. Her position today is the result of much hard work. She did a woman entrepreneurship course and some other short-term and orientation programmes including courses in environment studies. ‘‘I always want to keep myself abreast of the latest in our industry and work hard for it’’.

She attributes her success to her family, but her managerial qualities, creativity and the desire not to be a part of the crowd have contributed a great deal to her success.


Paswan to open convention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Union Coal and Mines Minister and Lok Jan Shakti party chief, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, will open the National Balmiki Convention on October 14.

The convention will be opened at 11 a.m. at Nehru Park in Sector-22 and will be attended by many intellectuals and leaders. The convention will discuss various economic, political and social issues.

The national president of the Bharatiya Balmiki Dharm Samaj, Mr Vir Chandrapal Anarya, will participate in the convention along with other office-bearers and executive members.

The programme of Mr Paswan is being seen as an attempt to test waters for his party’s scope in the forthcoming municipal corporation elections.

The election campaign has already been launched by the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram.



CVM announces poll panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) today announced a 15-member election committee to be headed by Padma Shree Dr Sardar Anjum.

This was announced here by the manch convener, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, and Dr Anjum in a joint press conference.

The committee was asked to receive applications of ticket seekers for the Municipal Corporation election by October 20.

Mr Dhawan also announced a 22-member youth wing of the manch, with Mr Rajesh Sharma and Mr Devinder Singh Aulakh as its heads.

Mr P. S. Lamba and Mr Rakesh Gupta were appointed chairmen of Employees Cell, and Sports and Cultural Cell, respectively.

Mr. M. P. Kohli was made vice-chairman of the election committee. Mr Rabinder Dhillon, general secretary, was made spokesman of the wing.



Row over cable charges ends
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 6
The dispute over cable charges was settled at a meeting of representatives of Panchkula Cable Network, Panchkula Cable Services and city welfare societies headed by Mr M.S. Yadav, SDM, here today. It was decided that cable operators in the city would charge Rs 165 per connection for airing all channels. If a customer wanted another connection he or she would have to pay Rs 60 more.


Three held for stealing chopper parts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
The local police arrested three persons for stealing helicopter parts from the 3 BRD gate here yesterday. The three were reportedly caught red-handed by Air Force officials.

The complaint was lodged by warrant officer K.S. Virk. Those arrested were Raj Kumar, Viru Ram, residents of Raipur Khurd village, and Karamvir, a resident of Mauli Jagran, under Sections 379 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code.


Arrested on trespassing charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
The police has arrested Manoj Kumar, a resident of Khuda Lahora, for trespassing into nurses hostel in the PGI here yesterday. The accused was caught in the Navedita Hostel and Ms Tshring Dolekar, Warden of the hostel, called the police. The accused was booked under Sections 448 and 452 of the IPC.

Vehicles stolen: Mr Jawant Singh, a resident of district Sangrur has reported with the local police that his car (PB-23-B-4647) was stolen from Sector 17 parking lot yesterday. Dr Sikander Singh, a resident of Sector 15, also reported with the police that his car (DL-3-CD- 6242) was stolen from his residence on Thursday night.

Three held: Three persons were arrested from various parts of the city and 166 pouches of liquor were seized from them. Those arrested were, Joginder Singh of Dadu Majra Colony, Jagan Nath Patel of Naya Gaon and Mrario of Sector 15.


2 held for poisoning animals
Our Correspondent

Lalru, October 6
In a case of poisoning more than 800 animals for their skins and bones, the police arrested two persons — Laxman and Haria — from nearby villages here today.

Sources in the police said the accused had been active in this part of the state for the past couple of years and had been poisoning the animals. Hailing from Saharanpur, Haria used to poison the animals while Laxman, a resident of Handesra village, used to collect the dead animals. The duo use to remove the skins of the animals and sell these in other states at high prices.

A press note issued by the SSP, Patiala, said the duo were active in Ambala, Handesra, Yamunanagar, Jagadhri and other adjoining areas.


Bank registers 16.4 pc growth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Mr N.K. Puri, who joined the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur as Managing Director recently, began a tour of branches of the bank in Haryana, Chandigarh and Punjab today to assess the potential available at the centres and to explore the opportunities to expand business.

The bank has registered a growth of 16.44 per cent in gross profit during the quarter ended June 2001 over the previous corresponding quarter. The net profit as on June 30, 2001 stood at Rs 30.70 crore against Rs 29.23 crore as on June 30, 2000. Total income rose to Rs 380.37 crore (Rs 350.28 crore), representing a growth of 8.58 per cent. Net interest income has gone up from Rs 103.64 crore to Rs 121.99 crore registering a growth of 17.71 per cent during the quarter as compared with the quarter ended June 2000.

Aggregate deposits of the bank crossed Rs 10,385 crores as on June 30, 2001. Year to year growth in deposits is 14.13 per cent. Bank’s total advances as on June 30, 2001 stood at Rs 5348 crore.


Awareness caravan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
A week-long awareness caravan by Tupperware, a US-based plastic food storage containers manufacturing company, concluded here in Sector 17 today. The caravan which focussed on creating awareness on the use of eco-friendly tupperware products and generating employment without any investment , covered prime locations in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

“The products manufactured from virgin plastic are eco-friendly, carry a lifetime warranty and are exchangeable free of cost in all the countries where Tupperware is present”, said Ms Nishu Bhatnagar, local distributor of the company.

The products displayed included dry storage containers, liquid storage containers with tight seals and containers for microwave ovens. The company which had a network in 120 countries said Ms Bhatnagar.

The company has tied up with Whirlpool. Buyers of Whirlpool products like refrigerators get Tupperware products free of cost. A special kids hamper has been introduced which includes a sipper with double seal, which ensures that the liquid does not spill out of the container. Other new introductions are tiffins, tumblers etc.,” she said.

The company has around 10 distributors and more than 1,000 sales persons in the region. “To start selling Tupperware products on which 25 per cent dealer margin is available, no initial investment is required”, said Ms Bhatnagar.


IBM’s retail store inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
IBM India will shift its focus from the corporate sector to the small and medium enterprises and the home segment, according to Mr Shashi B. Mal, country manager, Personal Computing Division.

He was here to inaugurate IBM’s retail store, ‘Think World’, here yesterday. IBM would open more such retail stores across the country in conjunction with its partners, he added. 

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