Monday, October 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Taliban had it coming...
A .S. Prashar and Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
“It was long overdue,” was the most common comment in Chandigarh tonight on the US aerial attack on Afghanistan.

Most of the residents of Chandigarh had retired for the day when the news broke about the American attack on Kabul, Kandahar and other major cities of Afghanistan. Initially, there was a certain amount of disbelief among them because they had begun to believe that the USA would not carry out its threat of attacking Afghanistan so soon. But as soon as the news was broken by various TV channels, people began gathering around TV sets to watch the latest on the unfolding drama.

“Taliban had it coming”, said one resident when contacted by the TNS for his reaction to the development. “Taliban could not expect to attack the most powerful nation on the earth and get away with it. Americans took their time formulating their response. But now that they have begun it, let us hope that they would do a thorough job. All bases of terrorism nurtured by the Taliban must be destroyed and Taliban regime itself must be replaced by a new government which would not allow the Afghan territory to be used again as a nursery of terrorism”.

India had suffered a lot at the hands of terrorism and in a way, the USA was doing what India would have liked to do but perhaps lacked the will and resources to do so. The USA must not sweep under the carpet the role played by Pakistan in propping up the Taliban regime and its terror network for conducting its proxy war against India in J & K and elsewhere in the country. Therefore, the policy of the USA and the rest of the world should be ‘Taliban today and Pakistan tomorrow’.

Mr Justice N.K. Sud of the Punjab and Haryana High Court said Americans had struck at the right time after mobilising public opinion against the government of radicals in Afghanistan and isolating it from the other Muslim countries. “The objective of the delay was to psychologically pressurise Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden. The Afghans did not budge from their stand, so, they had it coming,” he said.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, Secretary of the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, said, “Since terrorism is affecting Indians as well, any attack against a fundamentalist regime supporting terrorism is welcome. Osama’s support to many Kashmiri militant outfits is no secret, nor is his jehad call against India.”

He said India should take this opportunity to tell the world that the September 11 attacks on America were no different from the proxy war in Kashmir by outfits supported by Osama’s Al Qaida network.

Mr Ravinder Chopra, President of the Chandigarh Club, said, since jehadis were the bane of modern society, any action against them was welcome.

Businessmen, however, were not too happy at the attacks. The recession gripping the markets worldwide, feared certain city businessmen, would only get worse after the war.

Mr Rajiv Gupta, Secretary of the Federation of Small Industries, welcomed the attacks as a world citizen, but said its repercussions would be bad for the business world. He said this war would spell doom for the business world that was already going through a rough patch.



Man drugs wife, gets her raped, two arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Nineteen year old Sheela, alias Geeta, was admitted to a hospital last night in a serious condition. She was reportedly being drugged and sexually exploited by her husband’s employer and her husband’s friend, with the connivance of her husband.

Sheela was married three months back. The police has arrested her husband, Arun Kumar Pandey and his employer, Prakash. The other accused, Shekhar, is still at large.

Surprisingly, the victim’s mother- in-law and sister-in-law, despite knowing the facts kept silent throughout the whole sordid affair.

Sheela was married to Arun Kumar Pandey on June 29 this year. ‘‘A fortnight after the marriage Arun started showing his true colours when he would invite his friends over for drinks and would force me to be more forthcoming with them,’’ said Sheela.

She alleged that when she resented this, he would beat her up. ‘‘Then he began drugging me and I would constantly be in a delirious state. He would get his friends, especially Prakash and Shekhar, home and they would make advances towards me, but I would somehow manage to avoid them,’’ she said.

Accused Prakash was a cable operator in Ram Darbar and Arun Kumar Pandey was working there. Arun was allegedly been enticed by Prakash, who promised him monetary benefits if he handed over Sheela to him.

Sheela was continuously in a delirious condition because of being given drugs. A fortnight back Arun invited Prakash and Shekhar over for drinks at his house. After they had liquor Prakash and Shekhar raped her, alleged Sheela. After Sheela was raped, her exploitation by the two accused and three other unknown men became a routine affair, she added. ‘‘Many a times I thought of running away to my parents house, but was threatened by my husband that he would eliminate my family. On October 2 my younger sister Saroj came to visit me and found me very frightened. She inquired if I was well, but I could not reply and began to howl. She just took me back to my parents house,’’ she added.

‘‘Once I was back in the safety of my parents’ house, I narrated the entire episode to them. My condition also deteriorated and I was brought to the hospital late last night for treatment,’’ she says. The police has registered a case under Sections 376, 506 and 34, IPC.


‘Moral erosion killing winds of change’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
“The objective of our education should be full and integrated development of a student’s personality, encompassing its physical, practical, ethical, moral and intellectual aspects,” said Prof J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor of Faridkot’s Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, in his address on the convocation of the Sector 32 Medical College and Hospital in Bhargava Auditorium of the PGI here today.

At the convocation, Dr N.K. Goel, Professor in charge of Academics, read out the names of 54 students who received the MBBS degrees. A few students who could not attend the convocation were given degrees in absentia. Prof Mann highlighted the achievements of the college in various fields of activity.

In his convocation address, Prof Gujral said moral integrity was of greater value than intellectual accomplishments. Our future depends more on our spiritual strength than our material wealth. “Value education should be included in higher education,” the VC said.

He said he regretted that increasing indiscipline was leading to doubts whether educational institutes could really contribute to the development of science and technology. Erosion of ethics and human values in society, including teachers and students, was responsible for the decline in the standard of education. “Work culture in research and teaching has been damaged beyond repair,” he said.

Prof Gujral, who served the PGI for more than three decades before his retirement, said the teacher-taught relationship was also not the same anymore. “Merit has been consistently ignored in most institutions. Non-recognition of talent, receding professionalism, entry of non-serious students, declining reading habits and backdoors for getting good scores have spoiled our education system. Political interference in academics, appointments, promotions and examination system is also a matter of concern,” Prof Gujral said.

“In spite of a tremendous development in medical science, the cases of tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, blindness and leprosy are still on the increase. Malaria and plague have returned in dangerous forms. AIDS is still a challenge for the medical profession. Health for all by 2000 remains just a slogan. Therefore we should update our knowledge of health sciences and advancements worldwide,” he said.

“Unsafe foods and medicines also pose a challenge to the medical fraternity. All teaching programmes should be reoriented to tackle the mutated forms of diseases. The use of modern investigation methods and super-specialty care in medicine can greatly help in delivering high-quality medicare to the people.

Prof Gujral congratulated the Director-Principal of the Medical College, Prof SBS Mann, for improving the quality of medical education and healthcare delivery systems. He said the college was doing rather well.


Two arrested in forgery case
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 7
Two Chandigarh residents — Vanit Kaura and Toni alias Sonu — were arrested in a case of forgery by the Panchkula police on Saturday.

According to Mr Vikas Arora, ASP, the accused were arrested while trying to transfer a sum of Rs 49,000 from the account of Mr Ved Mittar Mahajan, a resident of Chandigarh, from Sector 11 HDFC bank.

He said that Toni, a resident of Mauli Jagran, came to the bank with a ‘‘money transfer slip’’ and submitted it at the counter, while his accomplice, Vanit Kaura, a resident of Sector 21, Chandigarh, remained inside the car (CH-0Y-7329), which they used in committing the crime.

The bank officials got suspicious and inquired Toni, who is working with a Chandigarh-based advocate as clerk, about his residential address. Following this, Toni rushed to the car and narrated the episode to Vanit.

They fled from the spot towards Zirakpur. As all entry and exit points from Panchkula to Chandigarh were sealed due to a bandh on Saturday, they got stuck.

The duo came back on the same chute after two hours but could not escape from the police clutches. They were arrested under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

During interrogation they disclosed that they picked a carbon paper, which Mr Mittar had used in a money transaction at the HDFC bank in Sector 34 in Chandigarh. Besides, they also took some blank ‘‘money transfer forms’’ and applied for money transfer in favour of a Chandigarh-based finance company.

Son of a State Bank of India’s employee, Vanit has accounts in Sector 34 HDFC bank and HDFC Bank in Sector 11, Panchkula.

The police has also recovered some other documents and a fake stamp from the accused, Mr Arora said. He said Vanit was also involved in a similar forgery case in Chandigarh.

The accused were produced before a Panchkula court and were remanded to police custody for three days.



Firm dupes finance companies
Ambika Sharma

Baddi, October 7
The manner in which a local bulb-manufacturing firm has duped finance companies to the tune of crores and vanished with entire equipment has left behind a number of unanswered questions. The fraud came to light on the morning of September 25 when a lock was seen outside the factory premises here.

The suspicion of the bank officials who were first to detect the fraud proved correct when it was learnt that the owner of the firm had on the previous night hired two trucks numbered HP-12-2370 and HP-12-3475 from the local truck union and transported some machinery worth Rs 40 lakh from the factory premises on the pretext of getting it repaired. It was also learnt that he had also hired a crane from the bus stand here for lifting the machinery. Interestingly, he also transported entire household items as well as raw materials.

The company, registered as Woodland Lamps Private Limited here, had availed a loan of Rs 92 lakh from the Himachal Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (HPSIDC) for purchasing machinery and another sum of Rs 54 lakh from the local State Bank of India for purchasing raw materials in June last year. The firm had three partners namely Pankaj Khanna, his wife Anita Khanna and his mother Urmil Khanna who were also major shareholders along with 14 others with a total share value of Rs 96 lakh.

All hopes of confiscating the machinery of the factory and recovering some amount received a jolt when an inquiry team of the HPSIDC officials from Shimla which visited the place found neither machinery nor any trace of the raw material there. A case was thereafter registered with the police. A team of police officials sent to Saharanpur, Delhi and Yamunanagar in search of these three has till now yielded no result. The bank officials when asked about the guarantee pledged by the firm for procuring the loans refused to disclose it and added that monthly statements were duly received by the banks on the basis of which they were given money-drawing powers. The last statement was received in August and the statement for September was due for the last week. It was also learnt that a sum of Rs 5 lakh was withdrawn from the bank a few days ago and the firm had for sometime started accepting cash payment from customers instead of cheques. The bank officials had taken an exception to this and also informed Pankaj Khanna about the same. What is baffling is the fact that even the 30 odd labourers employed in the factory have also disappeared in the same manner, leaving nothing in their dwelling place.

With not even the correct forwarding addresses given by the trio, there is little hope of recovering any money. This gives credence to the fact that the entire fraud was well planned.

Meanwhile, locals have not ruled out the connivance of the authorities in the execution of the fraud. The episode has left behind a number of unanswered questions. Both the bank and the HPSIDC officials are tight-lipped about the guarantee pledged for the loans. Though the HPSIDC has taken over the factory premises, there is nothing except the empty building in its possession, with even the auction rights resting with the Industries Department, which leased the said piece of land.

Well-informed sources point out that the antecedents of the individuals were not verified and it was being alleged that they had been using similar modus oprandi elsewhere to dupe finance companies. Same machinery was reportedly shown to have been purchased elsewhere and large sums of money extorted from finance companies in other places. Inquiry into the entire episode could unravel the involvement of many others, opined the locals.


PU panels to study exam-related issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Leaving aside a quantitative improvement in quick declaration of results, Panjab University has moved a step forward towards a qualitative improvement in terms of ensuring a fair system of evaluation and better check on unfair means cases.

The Vice-Chancellor has constituted separate committees to study the examination-related issues individually. One committee will study exclusively the system of evaluation and another committee will study ways to check using unfair means in examinations. Yet another committee will dwell on the issue of tampering with the answer-sheets. Interestingly, a panel will meet soon to discuss the issue of continuous evaluation of a student which means marks of house tests and attendance can also be added to the total. The university has asked for suggestions of the Fellows on the issue of giving third chance to students who could not clear compartment examinations in first two chances.

A senior faculty member pointed out that a common problem faced during evaluation was that there were very few teachers who were willing to come for the evaluation duty. Certain senior teachers did not offer their services. In fact, the evaluation work should be made a mandatory part of the job-related assignments.

Sources in the examination branch pointed out that ‘‘Sometimes teachers refused to take up the evaluation job when the answer-books were sent to them. This was not a generalised statement but still affected a sizeable number of students’’. A senior Fellow of the university Senate said that ‘‘The university should carry out a thorough exercise in getting the list of papers that a teacher teaches in class. It would be better that a teacher teaching BA (I) got related papers. Very little work had been done on this front’’.

One strange situation was that papers were not separated in the medium they were attempted at the examination centers. This resulted in a English medium evaluator getting a Punjabi medium copy. The answer-sheets were ‘‘generally returned’’, there had, however, been a case where a teacher was found to have checked a bulk of copies in Punjabi medium when he did not even know how to read.

Another Fellow said that a difference of 0-5 marks in the re-evaluation was understandable but each year there were scores of cases when the differences were more than 30. This was an unpardonable mistake on part of one of the separate evaluators. The university should be sincere in its effort of pulling up non-serious teachers.

Apart from the controversial case decided by the university where a teacher had been penalised from five increments for increasing marks of a candidate from 0 to 42, another case of the engineering college had come to light. It had been discovered that in a number of cases the increase in marks on re-evaluation had been more than 40, official sources in the examination branch said.

PU Senate had, in the past, accepted a UGC proposal of showing the answer-sheets to interested students on payment of a special fee. This had, however, not been put into actual practice. A teacher said that if student could see their answer-books, then teachers would be under a natural pressure to ensure serious work.

Another teacher said that university was often following three to four sessions in a day to ensure a quick pace of result declaration process. The UGC had proposed two sessions at the maximum. The university should try to stick to the UGC-recommended work principles.


‘India must take war to doorstep of enemy’
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
“When the USA lost nearly 7,000 people in one of the worst-ever terrorist attacks on September 11, the whole world started talking about a global war against terrorism. What about India which has lost as many as 53,000 people in terrorist violence in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir during the past 20 years?

“Terrorism is the gravest problem facing the world today. And I am convinced unless we take the fight to the doorstep of our enemy, it will not stop. Since it is a proxy war against India and it is our domestic problem to ensure the security of people besides maintaining our territorial integrity, we have to do something on our own rather than look for help from outside.

“We are not going to get anything but lip-service from the USA. And the best thing will be to tell Pakistan to stop or else face the music,” feels Air Marshal P.P. Singh, one of the most decorated IAF officers, now living a retired life at SAS Nagar, near here, maintaining that the USA will avoid direct participation in any action against the Taliban as even a single casualty of an American soldier will create a ruckus back home.

“Instead, the USA’s gameplan will be to use the Northern Alliance or any allied force in its operations against the Taliban in particular and Afghanistan in general. That is why it has resorted to delaying tactics rather than taking the war to the doorstep of the enemy. What prevents the USA, with one of the world’s best surveillance and intelligence networks, from locating Osama bin Laden or his men.

“On the one hand it says that it wants to weed out terrorism from the globe while on the other hand, Pakistan-based terrorist organisations have stepped up their activities in Jammu and Kashmir. And the man we released in December, 1999, has owned responsibility for the attack on the J&K Assembly. He is in Pakistan,” says the Air Marshal claiming that air power has become lethal and the most effective weapon in modern-day warfare.

“We must take a leaf out of Israel’s book which has been fighting the entire Arab world.

“Th e USA may not go beyond telling Pakistan to stop abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. But there is a lot of difference in telling and compelling it to stop its support to terrorist groups. I do not see any reason why the USA will compel Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism.

“India should not fear any nuclear retaliation from Pakistan as it cannot afford to do so,: he says admitting that there has been a big change in air warfare tactics since he went bombing various Pakistan air force bases in the 1965 war for which he was awarded the Mahavir Chakra.

“We were far superior then,” he says maintaining that an operation like Kargil will be enough to destroy the training camps of terrorists in Pakistan. “Unless we take the war to their doorstep, the problem of terrorism will continue to haunt us and many more innocent lives will be lost. Are we prepared to accept our innocent people being killed? If not, then we have to do something,” he says disclosing that at present the image of the IAF is pretty good because of its successful operations in the recent past.

“When I went to ferry a new aircraft in 1963, hardly anyone bothered about us. But when I went again in 1966, people wanted to talk to us and hear our success stories of the 1965 war. So after the Kargil operations, the image of the IAF has gone up,” he adds.

Air Marshal P.P. Singh, who has been a keen sportsman, says that he has been “impatient about certain things. If we have to have AJTs, we must have them quickly. The present-day world is changing rapidly. And our projects remain on drawing boards only. The threat perception has changed. Warfare has changed and we are still debating or still not able to decide about things which are mandatory.

“Another thing which has been worrying me the most is the deep degeneration in our commitment to our work and our duty. National pride is missing. We must do something about these things urgently,” he says.

He says he is not aware of the circumstances which forced the Air Force to postpone the Presidential Review scheduled for October 17.


12-yr boy crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A 12-year-old cyclist was crushed to death by a speeding truck on the dividing road between Sector 31-Industrial Area this morning.

Mohit was cycling down the road when he was hit by a half-bodied truck (HR-68- 0623) this morning.

He was killed on the spot. The truck driver escaped.

The police has impounded the truck and a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.




SEPTEMBER has come and gone as one of the drab months of the calendar. The gardens were without colour, the trees did look washed after the rains but the open spaces were replete with foliage, most of it unwanted.

The Engineering Department has been making half-hearted efforts to clear the road berms of the monsoon growth. Even if the sun moved across the equinox on September 23, as it does every year, it appeared as if the seasons had forgotten the normal cycle of change. The sun was hot, the fans continued to whirr and in affluent homes the ACs kept up their monotonous hum.

But one day things changed suddenly. Early morning walkers found a thin cloud cover on the sky and a refreshing, cool breeze blowing into their faces. And they knew that autumn had arrived after all.

The inauspicious period of "Shradhs" is long over but the "Navratras" which normally follow this period are yet to set in. This year, things are a bit different in that there is a full month between the end of "Shradhs" and the beginning of "Navratras". This month, which comes every four years and falls between Ashwin and Kartik, is intended to offset the difference between the lunar and the solar year. The Indian calendar is based on the movement of the moon and the lunar month falls behind the solar month which is exactly one-twelfth of the time taken by the earth to complete its revolution around the sun. The backlog thus accumulated is covered by adding an extra month every four years and it is known as "Malmas".

But this astronomical adjustment also delays the advent of the festival season, and prolongs the inauspicious period. People avoid making any purchases in this month and prefer to wait for the "Navratras".

This superstition of the orthodox seems to be showing its effect on the market. Shops have been stocked in anticipation of the festival-time shopping spree and many have announced discount sales. But the shoppers seems to be holding back. However, it will not be for long. If "Malmas" has come, "Navratras" won't be far behind. They begin on October 17 and then will follow the festivals of Dasehra and Divali.

Another change

With the Haryana Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary, Mr S.Y. Quraishi, reportedly going to the Centre as Director General of Doordarshan, speculation is rife in bureaucratic circles on the choice of the new incumbent for the hot seat. While names are being weighed, all agree that a lobby of influential people led by a managing director of a corporation, a junior officer in the Chief Minister’s office and an outstation head of an educational body will play a pivotal role once again in the selection of the new incumbent.

Incidentally, this will be the fourth change in two years among the officers in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat after Mr Chautala took over on July 24, 1999. After Mr Vishnu Bhagwan who was Principal Secretary from July, 1999, to August, 2000, was elevated as the Chief Secretary, Mr Quraishi had taken over. In December, 2000, Mr Chautala had eased out his Special Principal Secretary, Mr S.C. Choudhary, and Additional Principal Secretary, Mr Sanjeev Kaushal, without any replacement. About five months later the second HCS officer in CM’s office, designated sometimes as OSD to the Chief Minister and subsequently as Chief Staff Officer, Mr Jagtar Singh, was also shifted out.

Mr Quraishi will be remembered by his colleagues for his "fair" dealings, several brainstorming sessions every day, and his penchant for getting new "policies" announced by different departments. Known to shy away from controversies, Mr Quraishi was sometimes blamed by his detractors for being selectively indecisive. Bureaucratic circles also confide that the new incumbent in the hot seat will have to galvanise the bureaucracy to take steps to remove the general impression that the Chautala government is losing ground level support very fast. Journalists covering the Haryana beat will remember him for his soft demeanour although he even missed several press conference of the Chief Minister in spite of being the Secretary Public Relations.

Conspicuous by absence

The 17th Balraj Sahni Memorial award ceremony held at Tagore Theatre on October 4 saw many absent marks. To begin with, Madeeha Gauhar, one of the awardees based in Pakistan, did not turn up to receive the award. She was supposedly accompanying her husband to the USA. Next in the line of absentees were Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to UT Administrator, and Mr Arun Grover, managing director, Amartex Industries.

Interestingly, both the guests mentioned in the invitation cards which were circulated by the Punjabi Kala Kendra people (organisers for the show), were conspicuous by their absence. The invite mentioned Ms Nanda as the president for the function and Mr Arun Grover as the chief guest for the function.

When none of the two turned up, Mr H.S Bhatty, on behalf of organisers said: "We have among us Sardar Natha Singh Dalam, Minister for Public Relations, Punjab. He is the chief guest for the evening." May be next time before taking the liberty of mentioning the names of guests on the invitation cards, the organisers will confirm their arrival to avoid embarrassment to themselves as also to the awardees.

Acting hassles

Children's theatre festival organised by Centre for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA) at Sukhna Lake did a lot of good to the little ones. Such was the power of their performance that not even one visitor to the lake walked ahead without noticing what they had to say. So the children were appearing to be real heroes and heroines with the entire gathering paying undivided attention to them.

While the performing children had a great time, the others who watched them win accolades appeared quite insecure. One of the parents was heard telling his nine-year-old child: "Did you see how well he acts and how well she emulates Amitabh Bachchan? Have you ever acted like that?" The child, failing to convince his father, answered back: "When I tell you that I want to act you don't let me act. And when you see children of others being appreciated, you want me to act. Can you please decide what you finally want?"

Message of love

The students of most convent schools in the city are busy doing something very humble and generous these days. A strange gesture it might sound, but an American company headed by an Indian has invited messages of affection, peace and harmony from the students of the city, as also from students of some other cities in the country. The said company already has a website called for providing help to victims of attacks and also their families. It will now be arranging free airlifting of the collected messages which will pile up in Delhi.

As representatives of the company in the city get busy meeting up school principals to get the idea of messages mooted, the children already seem excited about the entire affair. Some of them from Carmel Convent have already penned down five to six messages each conveying their affections for their friends abroad.

Forgotten Kairon

Ever thought about the late Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon, the dynamic Chief Minister of Punjab and also the man who has worked in making of Chandigarh into a modern city we know today? It was Kairon who formulated various policies during the late fifties and early sixties, remember Chandigarh became a UT only in 1966?

Well, no one in the Chandigarh Administration also thought anything about Kairon when his 100th birth anniversary fell on October 1. Not even a token sense of gratitude for the man who worked tirelessly to nurture the city.

The PGI, one of Kairon’s several projects for the city is the only place which has a block named “Kairon block”. This houses the administrative offices of the PGI and is fondly referred to as Kairon block.

Social activist Mr Narinder Singh ‘International’ is seething with rage. He says the Government of India could have at least released a commemorative stamp to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Kairon. A stamp has been released in memory of former Bihar CM B.P. Mandal and several others but none for Kairon whose stature as freedom fighter and his role in shaping modern-day India are equally if not more prominent.

Gandhiji and Jews

During the Gandhi Jayanti celebrations, Punjab Governor, J.F.R. Jacob (retd) narrated a few anecdotes quoting modern history. First he talked about the role of the Jewish community in Indian Freedom struggle and association of the community with the Father of the Nation.

When Gandhi started his struggle from South Africa, it was a person by the name of Kallenpach, a Jew, who donated his farm for the cause as the Indian freedom movement was born while Gandhiji was in South Africa. It was another Jew by the name of Pollock, who was Gandhiji’s lawyer as he faced trial in South Africa, also ruled by the British, general Jacob went on.

Another interesting anecdote narrated by the Governor was that a four-volume collection of correspondence between Gandhiji and Kallenpach was about to be auctioned by a private collector a few years ago. It was due to the efforts of the then Indian High Commissioner, Mr Singhvi, who persuaded the private collector to donate the correspondence to Indian Archives, where the correspondence is now placed.

Strike goes on

Agitations and dharnas at the Housing Board chowk, what is popularly called Matka Chowk, are a daily occurrence. Even the passersby do not fail to take note of these demonstrations by different political parties and trade unions of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. However, an agitation being launched by PWD Public Health Department employees of Punjab appears to have not been noticed by many, including media persons and photographs. This is, perhaps because of lack of resources and strength of the agitationists. Readers will remember the prolonged agitation by the BSP workers who publicised their wrath against the government with huge gas filled blue coloured balloons in the shape of the BSP mascot, an elephant.

The agitation of these employees has gone beyond the 95th day. Red coloured paper flags fluttering in the cool breeze of October indicate that these agitationist are followers of the CPI. Their main grouse is that the Punjab Government has not regularised the services of daily wage employees.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sadhana and Mr Amrit Pal Mari, President and Joint Secretary of the PWD Workers Joint Action Committee, respectively, said that they were determined to continue their agitation until their demands were met by the government. They regretted that the government had earlier announced that they would hold a meeting with the agitating employees on October 6. However, now they have been told that the Government would discuss their demands with them on October 10.

— Sentinel


Labelling non-veg food products made compulsory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
In order to protect veggies, the Government of India has made it compulsory for manufacturers to label non-vegetarian food products.

Informed sources here say that it is a well-known fact that a large number of food items passed off as vegetarian contain some ingredients of non-vegetarian origin, which consumers do not know and purchase in unknowingly, which is not a fair trade practice. In order to make the purchaser aware of this fact before hand and also to enable him to make an informed choice, the government has now come out with an amendment in the relevant rules which have become effective from October 4.

The salient features of the new amendment are as under:

* A new provision has been added to rule 32 (b) to PFA rules to provide for a declaration by the manufacturer by a symbol in the form of brown filled circle that the product is non-vegetarian food.

* The symbol should be in the size of 3 mm diameter to 8 mm diameter, depending upon the area of principal display panel.

* The symbol should be prominently displayed on the package having contrast background on principal display panel, just close in proximity to the name or brand name of the product.

* The symbol should also be prominently displayed on the labels, containers, pamphlets, leaflets as well as advertisement in any media.

The amendment will save the vegetarian from embarassment caused due to lack of such information earlier, and thus protect his interest and sentiments, and as such enable him to make an informed choice.

* The government also proposes to make the printing of green symbol for vegetarian products, milk and milk products mandatory after issue of final notification.


Lack of funds came in my way
Tribune News Service

Promises Performance

Roads: Lot remains to be done.

Water: Improved, needs further improvement.

Greenery: Additions have been made but insufficient.

Sanitation: Same as at other places in the city but requires improvement

Electricity: There have been few street light arrangements made

Chandigarh, October 7
Mr Om Prakash Goel, representing ward number 12 comprising Sectors 18, 19 and 21, was Deputy Advocate-General of Haryana. His frank opinion on certain issues has caused embarrassment to the BJP. Following are the excerpts of an interview with him:

Question: What have been your achievements during the term?

Answer: The Community Centre of Sector 19 was built and that of Sector 18 was renovated and made functional. Except for certain V-6 roads of 19-C and 19-D, all these roads have been recarpeted. Almost all V-4 and V-5 roads, barring a few, have been re-laid. Around 15 parks in the ward were developed. Green belts near the church and Sector 19 community centre are getting developed. The water problem in Sector 18 and 21 has been improved to a great extent.

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

Answer: The things I could not do because of lack of funds were: development of a dhobi ghat, for which I even offered Rs 4-5 lakh; development of Gandhi Market the green belt encircling whole of Sector 18-B, C and D; removal of encroachments; green belt near Gandhi Market and putting tiles in markets.

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

Answer: I took up problems of the people at every level — administrative, political and on the floor of the House. I accompanied people to solve their problems, sent recommendations and did correspondence for solving these problems.

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

Answer: I promised to make efforts to solve problems of the people, apart from improving conditions of roads, sanitation, electricity, water and green spaces.

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

Answer: The party's attitude towards problems of ward residents was fairly good. Even rivals in the party were very supportive in this regard.

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

Answer: It was supportive but delivery was not satisfactory.

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

Answer: I will not re-contest the election but on the basis of performance, I would not withdraw from the contest.

Question: What will you suggest to your successor, if you do not contest this time? What must he do for the electorate overcoming the party and bureaucratic hurdles?

Answer: I would request my successor to be a whole-timer, as part-timers cannot do service to the people, which requires pursuing public matters to their conclusion.

Question: Why should the voter vote for you?

Answer: Voter could again have faith in me for my truthfulness and straight-forwardness.

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

Answer: I got public recognition and judgement of my merit has gone in public domain.


Agitators disrupt traffic on highway
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, October 7
Traffic of the Chandigarh- Ambala highway remained suspended for over half an hour following a dharna by members of the Gurmat Chetna Joint Action Committee, Zirakpur, this morning.

A number of committee members assembled in Akali Kaur Singh Colony in Lohgarh and organised a rally which ended near the office of the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The rally was addressed by the various speakers, including Mr Gian Singh, general secretary of the committee, Mr Narinder Sharma, a former sarpanch of Lohgarh, and Mr Sunehari Lal, president of the Zirakpur Market Welfare Association.

The agitators were demanding registration of cases against the followers of Baba Piara Singh who allegedly burnt the holy book in different places recently. The protesters also burnt the effigy of the government.

Later, the agitators submitted a memorandum to Mr Pritam Singh Johal, SDM, Dera Bassi, who had reached the spot.


BJP calls workers’ conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to call a workers conference on October 28 in its office in an effort to galvanise them for the Municipal Corporation elections.

This was decided at a meeting of the newly formed ad hoc committee headed by Mr Yashpal Mahajan here today.

The party is planning to call many central leaders for the conference being organised on the eve of completing 50 years of existence of the Jana Sangh.

The meeting was attended by Mr Satya Pal Jain, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Mr Desraj Tandon, Mr Neeraj Tayal, Mr Jairam Joshi, Mr Purshottam Mahajan, Ms Savita Sethi, Air Marshal R. S. Bedi and Mr Bachan Singh.

The outgoing president of the local unit, Mr Dharampal Gupta, who has been replaced by Mr Yashpal Mahajan as the convener of the committee, was conspicuous by his absence.

The preparations for the conference will start tomorrow under the supervision of Mr Neeraj Tayal and Mr Purushottam Mahajan and they will organise preparatory meetings in all the four districts and 20 mandals.


Ex-servicemen raise pension issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
During a well-attended meeting of the Indian Ex-services League, Chandigarh, its president, Brig Sant Singh (retd), drew the attention of the house to some vital problems of the ex-servicemen and their widows.

Seeking one rank one pension, they lamented lack of proper medical care in the evening of their lives, adverse effect of 33 years of service condition on the pension of JCOs and other ranks and, in turn, family pensioners.

The other points brought out were the discriminatory treatment meted out to pre-1996 disabled personnel and backing out of the government from giving benefits to pre-Kargil war and insurgency casualties from the left-over Kargil war funds of hundreds of crores of rupees which are suspected to have been used for purposes other than intended and promised.

With their heads bowed in reverence, the members observed a two-minute silence in memory of those members who had died after the last annual general body meeting.

The house was handed over to the two election officers — Lieut-Col Sarfraz Singh and Major Dalip Singh — for conducting the triennial election of office-bearers of the IESL, UT, Chandigarh. Votes were cast through secret ballot and the following elected unopposed: Brig Sant Singh (president), Sub-Major Ram Kumar (vice-president), Major Prem Singh (secretary) and Lieut-Col Birbal Sharma (publicity secretary).


49th day of agitation
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 7
A dharna by officers of the agriculture and horticulture departments of Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh units of Punjab at Matka Chowk entered in the 49 day today. The farm technocrats are demanding parity in pay scales with their counterparts.

While addressing the members sitting on dharna, Dr Ranjeet Singh Brar, asked the government to give equal pay to the agitating technocrats as is given to their counterparts in other departments.

Dr Satwant Singh Dhillon, president of the local unit of the AGTAC, demanded withdrawal of ‘‘false’’ cases (regarding irregularities in distribution of fertiliser) against certain officials of the Punjab Agriculture Department.

Dr Devinder Thakur, vice-president, and Dr I.D. Gupta, general secretary of HIMAHSA, respectively, also addressed the agitating officers. The two were speaking on behalf of farm technocrats from Himachal Pradesh and pledged their support to their counterparts in Punjab.

The officers have been sitting on dharna since August 20 on a call given by the Agriculture, Horticulture Technocrats Action Committee, Punjab.


Tibetan youth festival
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 7
The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) and the Tibetan Freedom Movement (TFM) jointly organised the 32nd Tibetan Youth Day at Valmiki Bhavan, Sector 24, here today. About 150 Tibetan students from the various educational institutions of the city participated in the function.

The chief guest, Mr Yeshi Karma, former vice-president of the TYC (Centex), said that Tibet was never a part of China as claimed by the latter. Mr Ragba, president of the TYC, was also present on the function.

The TYC, a worldwide organisation, claims itself to be the largest and most active non-government organisation working for the liberalisation of Tibet. The day is celebrated to commemorate the foundation day of the TYC.


Lions Clubs celebrate World Service Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Lions Clubs of Chandigarh organised various service programmes to celebrate completion of 84 years of the lionism movement here today.

The clubs celebrated the day as World Service Day.

The Lions Club Chandigarh Central, Chandigarh Classic, Chandigarh Grace, Chandigarh Host, Chandigarh Lotus, Chandigarh Nithtingale organised a langar for residents of the PGI Serai and nearby colonies.

Around 600 people were given food.

The Lions Club Supreme distributed lunch among the inmates of Bal Niketan, Sector 15. The Lions Club Chandigarh Rose and Manimajra Modeltown spent an evening with inmates of Old-Age Home, Sector 30, and served them food.

The Lions Club Chandigarh Plaza distributed clothes and food among residents of Bal Sadan, Sector 21, Panchkula, and donated electrical fitting to their building. 



Sector 40 residents list problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, and the BJP Councillor, Mr Kanhaia Lal Sharma, were confronted with poor sanitary, street-light and traffic conditions of Sector 40 here today.

These problems, along with a charter of demands, were brought to the notice of the two by the president of the Residents Welfare Association, Mr G. S. Palia, during their unscheduled visit to the sector.


Fire in godown
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A godown was gutted in a fire in Kajheri today causing a loss of about Rs 30,000.

Four fire engines were rushed to extinguish the fire, which could be brought under control after around four hours. Nobody was injured in the fire.


Youths snatch woman’s chain
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 7
Two unidentified motorcycle-borne youths snatched a chain from Ms Sunita Jain, a resident of Sector 9 here, last evening.

The incident happened when Ms Jain was going to market. The youths reportedly approached the victim on a pretext of asking her about directions to some place.

They snatched the chain from her neck and escaped. A case has been registered.

2 booked:
Two employees of a local Indian Oil agency in Sector 32 were caught on charges of pilfering liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Ram Anchal and Sanjeev were caught while they were filling the cooking gas from filled cylinders in empty cylinders. They have been booked under Sections 120-B, 420 of the IPC and Section 7 of Essential Commodities Act.

Poppy husk seized: The police seized 24 kg of poppy husk in two separate incidents during the past 24 hours. A resident of Palsora, Ashish was arrested from Kisan Bhavan and 14 kg. of poppy husk was seized from him.

In another incident, Surjit Singh was arrested from Attawa Chowk past midnight and 10 kg of poppy husk was seized from him. The police has registered FIRs under Section 15 of NDPS Act in both cases.

Dowry case: Ms Kavita has accused her Ludhiana-based husband, Rinku of harassing her for bringing insufficient dowry. A case under Sections 406 and 498-A of IPC has been registered.

Man assaulted: Ashwani Khosla was reportedly beaten up and threatened by Parjmod Kumar and Amit Kumar in Mauli Jagran on Saturday. He received injuries on his left arms. A case under Sections 323, 324 and 34 of IPC has been registered.

Burglary: A washing machine, sewing machine, two gas cylinders and a radio were stolen from the Sector 15-D residence of Mr Sandeep Kumar, a junior engineer on Saturday evening. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of IPC has been registered.

One held: Ragunan was caught red handed while stealing Ashok Kumar’s rickshaw rehri from Sector 11 market. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of IPC has been registered. 


Woman alleges harassment by in-laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A married woman suffered a miscarriage after she was allegedly subjected to mental and physical harassment by her in-laws for bringing insufficient dowry.

According to an FIR registered under Section 498-A of IPC here yesterday, Ms Ritu Malhotra (23) accused her husband Sanjay Khanna, father-in-law Prem Nath Khanna and mother-in-law Prem Lata Khanna of maltreating her leading to stress and subsequently her miscarriage.

Ritu was married to Sanjay Khanna in January this year. Ritu claimed dowry worth Rs 45 lakh was given at the time of marriage. She stayed with her husband for three months, before she managed to escape to her parents’ house in April.

She alleged that she was often harassed by her mother-in-law to get more gold jewellery and ask her parents to buy them a two kanal well furnished house in her name. She was also reportedly forced to ask her parents into starting a business partnership with her in-laws.

Ritu got pregnant in February but because of continuous harassment, she had a miscarriage next month. She was forced out of her husband’s house barely three months after marriage and has since been living with her parents. 


‘Govt policies behind slump in real estate’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Recession and sluggish market conditions prevailing since last more than five years in the real estate sector in this area are not due to the demand-supply criterion but mainly due to the faulty and outdated government laws and policies governing the trade. So the reform process, in order to free the real estate and housing sector from the government retailing and suffocating clutches of the outdated laws for a proper growth, is the need of the hour.

These are the recommendations contained in a study conducted by a team of experts deputed by Samadhaan, a pressure group for social justice, which was released here today by its president, Mr R.P. Malhotra. The study has further emphasised that the construction sector, being the second largest employment generator next to agriculture only, has the tremendous potential of giving a kick-start to boost the sagging economy of the nation.

Irrationally high rate (as high as 15.5 per cent) of stamp duty, various taboos on resale of property, cumbersome documentation, highly commercialised attitude of the government sponsored housing bodies and adhocism in the government departments dealing in real estate matters and many more are a number of hurdles in the way of desired growth of the sector in spite of it’s having tremendous avenues of contribution to the national growth.

Rational (maximum up to 3 per cent) and uniform rate of stamp duty, investor’s friendly, simplified, reformed and balanced rent act besides providing affordable accommodation on competitive rates shall also attract private investment.

Privatising the colonisation, by putting an end to government retailing, besides giving boost to the construction sector shall provide affordable and quality accommodation at competitive rates to the consumer. However, a vigilant check to safeguard the consumer interest is simultaneously required.

A simplified transfer of ownership policy, freehold ownership and a suitable Apartment Act for providing affordable and smaller accommodation to low budget buyers is the only mantra for housing for all, says the report.

The report has discussed about the adhocism and red-tapism in the government departments in length with a special mention to the estate offices of HUDA, PUDA and UT, Chandigarh. An immediate need to minimise and simplify the existing cumbersome documentation in order to eradicate red-tapism and corruption in the government departments has also been emphasised in the report.

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