Monday, October 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

 

 

No improvement test in Sept: PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A panel of Panjab University has turned down the demand of students that improvement examinations be conducted along with compartment examinations every September.

The decision affects scores of candidates who want to take the improvement examinations.

Sources said the panel had considered a reply of the PU examination branch where it had expressed the problems of such an examination system. Earlier, the university Syndicate had approved the discontinuing of improvement tests in September. The proposal in this regard had been moved in 1995.

Representatives of students had sought that improvement tests be conducted twice a year — in April and September.

The university told them that the present system of conducting only compartment and re-appear examinations had worked well in the past seven years, since the September improvement examinations had been discontinued. “This not only saves the conducting time, but also helps in expediting evaluation and declaration of results,” was the university’s reply.

The PU authorities also said, once the request of conducting improvement examinations in September was accepted, more such demands would be raised by students covered under the semester system.

The committee members included Mr Ashok Raj Bhandari, Controller of Examination, Mr Paramjit Singh, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Prof M.M. Sharma and Prof S.S. Kumar. Prof Mohan Maharishi was the chairman of the panel.

Sources said it was very difficult for the PU to conduct improvement tests in the same week when compartment examinations were conducted. The conducting of improvement examinations would take at least 30 days or so.

Sources said the university would have to obey the UGC regulation of having at least 180 teaching days in a year. It is, however, well known that reality is nowhere near the expectations. The PU has enhanced the total number of lectures to 194 in a year.

It was observed that, going by the number of papers and candidates for improvement tests, conducting these tests would become as big an exercise as the one in April every year.

The problem is going to be further aggravated if the PU decides to begin giving a 10 per cent weightage to scores of internal examinations in final results. Then, colleges will have to conduct house tests in September and December. Presently, there is no house test in September.
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Only 10 colleges send replies
List of governing body members
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The reconstitution of the governing bodies of non-government colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh seems a step closer with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, releasing his list of nominees last week.

The DPIs of UT and Punjab, however, still have to name their respective nominees to the supreme decision-making bodies of the colleges even as the Registrar, on behalf of Panjab University, has invited lists of members on these bodies.

Hanging fire for nearly two years now, the regulation of the Panjab University calendar was amended by the Government of India to include the representatives of the Vice-Chancellor and the DPIs in 1999 and incorporated in the calendar.

Following inaction at the level of various colleges, Professor Pathak constituted a high-powered committee in May. At the meeting of the committee, it was decided that the Registrar should write to the affiliated colleges of the university asking for the revised lists of the members of the governing body.

However, after the colleges failed to respond to the query a reminder was sent to them, but replies from only 10 of the 80 affiliated colleges have been received so far.

Meanwhile, the university, after releasing the list of nominees to the bodies, has decided to seek the approval of the Senate at a meeting scheduled for December, a decision which has not found much support among of the college staff.

“The naming of nominees is the prerogative of the Vice-Chancellor. There is absolutely no need to involve the Senate and cause further delay in the reconstitution of the bodies,” says Prof Charanjit Chawla, Senator.

The nomination of members and the reconstitution of the bodies assume greater significance since Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University follow the Panjab University pattern in matters concerning administration and academics.

With the reconstitution of the governing bodies, the university will be able to crack the whip on some of the women colleges in Punjab where the bodies are practically non-existent or have no representatives of teachers.

At present, only two Chandigarh colleges — MCM DAV College, Sector 36, and DAV College, Sector 10 — fit the bill of the amended calendar regulation. In the remaining colleges all decisions taken by the present governing bodies could be termed as invalid since these do not conform to the norms prescribed by the calendar.

Each body comprises the Principal of the college, two elected representatives of confirmed teachers, one academician nominated by the managing committee of the college, nine elected representatives and two members nominated by the Vice-Chancellor and the DPI.
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‘Sexual harassment going unpunished’
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 21
A year ago, a steno-typist in the office of the local civic body had alleged that she had been sexually harassed by two of her colleagues. Now, she has alleged that no action has been taken against the two persons. She denied that she had withdrawn her complaint.

She said the Human Rights Commission was hearing the case and it had not accepted the report of the Additional Director General of Police, so far. According to her, the accused were to be absolved of the charges by the commission. She alleged that the ADGP had not been given all the facts in the case.

However, the accused, Bhupinder Singh and Suresh Kumar, both junior assistants in the office, said the Local Government had asked the civic body to solve the matter at its own level.

Earlier, the department had chargesheeted the two under Subsection 8 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules of 1970. The charge sheet had been issued on the basis of an inquiry conducted by an official of the department.

The woman employee, Ms Satwinder Kaur, said she had also filed a case in the Punjab Vigilance Department against these men. Recently, the civic body chief had called a meeting of the employees concerned to solve the matter.

Meanwhile, no complaints committee has been formed in the civic body. It was to be constituted after the Supreme Court had given a judgment on sexual harassment. At least half of the members of this committee headed by a woman have to be women.

In July 2000, the Personnel Department of Punjab had asked the heads of all department, Deputy Commissioners and Subdivisional Magistrates to constitute such committees. The authorities concerned had been asked to involve representatives of NGO that know how to deal with issues related to sexual harassment. This is supposed to prevent the possibility of an undue pressure from senior officials.

Besides, officials concerned are supposed to provide employees with appropriate work conditions, generate awareness on the rights of female employees and make rules to prevent incidents of sexual harassment. In the local civic body itself, there have been at least four cases of alleged sexual harassment.
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Civic body looks the other way on rahdari
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 21
While the issue of abolition of octroi in Punjab is under review by the judiciary, the local civic body appears to have already lost interest in collecting the rahdari on the goods entering Punjab through the town.

For the last over six days, the receipt books for the rahdari ( transit fee) were not available at the octroi collection posts, located on the roads leading to the town from Chandigarh. Sources in the civic body said the civic body was losing thousands of rupees daily on account of the transit fee. The transit fee was imposed on the goods passing through the limits of the civic body.

The sources said maximum goods moved through the octroi post no. 2, located on the Chandigarh- Ludhiana road. Around Rs 10,000 was collected daily at the octroi post alone. Another busy post was near YPS school in Phase 7, along the Chandigarh-Sohana road. It is learnt that the receipt books come from a printing press at Sangrur. The Executive Officer, Mr Harbhagwan Garg, said he would inquire into the matter.

Meanwhile, officials of the local civic body are keeping their fingers crossed over the outcome of the High Court case as the civic body sources at least 90 per cent of its income from octroi collection — the town being an industrial hub and a projected IT destination. Sources in the civic body say that of the projected Rs 21 crore income during the current financial year, over Rs 17 crore was on account of octroi collection.

The civic body does not levy other types of taxes like house tax, commercial tax and fee to clear the lay- out plans of houses. A move by the council to earn around Rs 2 crore by imposing tax at the rate of 10 per cent of the rental value of the property concerned has already been declined by the government. “ If the octroi was abolished, the civic body would be left with an income of around Rs 3 crore, which includes income of Rs 1.60 crore from excise duty on liquor and on electricity duty.

“Even if we have an income of around Rs 3 crore we would not able to pay the salary of 250 strong staff of the civic body”, said an official. Around Rs 5 crore was annually spent in disbursing salaries of the employees.
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Leave the woman alone: court tells parents
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 21
A local court has come to the rescue of a woman who eloped with her lover and, later, married him. The court has admitted a complaint filed by the woman, a resident of Milk Colony of Dhanas, against her parents, restraining them from interfering in her married life.

The woman, Pinki, had moved a complaint in a local court to counter an FIR filed by her parents against her husband, Avtar Singh. Pinki’s parents had filed a case of abduction against Avtar Singh in Ludhiana.

The Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sadar police station of Ludhiana and Pinki’s parents and relatives had appeared before the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), where the SHO had said he would not interfere in the matter.

The magistrate had adjourned the hearing in the case and parents of girl had filed a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Pinki’s husband in Ludhiana.

The complainant said she had to run away from the house of her parents to save her life and marry her lover. Avtar Singh is a resident of Sangawal village in Ludhiana district and it was in this village on October 9 that the marriage was solemnised according to Hindu rites. After their marriage, Pinki and Avtar have been living in Chandigarh. The woman alleged that her parents wanted to sell her to an old man for Rs 5 lakh. Pinki, born on April 5, 1992, was legally an adult and held a Punjab School Education Board matriculation certificate.

Allegedly, the SHO of the Sadar police station of Ludhiana had also threatened the couple before their marriage that if they disobeyed the woman’s parents, they would be shot dead. When the parents of the girl came to her house here in a police Gypsy on October 11, the woman reported the matter to the Dhanas police, but it took no action.

The woman had also alleged that an SGPC member of Ludhiana had also tried to create trouble for her and the defendants had threatened to kill her if she did not agree to their demands.

According to the plea, the complainant was pregnant and her family members and the police had no right to interfere in her married life. The woman had sought relief and favour for the couple from the court.
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INTERACTIVE
‘Work, not promises, is my motto’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Deputy Mayor, Mr Mahender Singh, representing ward No 13, comprising sectors 27 and 28, who was defeated for Mayorship by his party rival, Ms Harjinder Kaur, recently, is known as a ''doorman'' councillor who goes virtually door-to-door to ask people for suggestions. The Chandigarh Tribune has interviewed him as part of ''Question your Councillor'' series. The interview is reproduced here:

Promises Performance
Clean politics Image has been unsullied.
Roads Certain roads remain to be completed, or repair is due.
Streetlights Situation at all places is not comfortable.
Parks Green belt has taken years to be made usable.
Standing by the people Promise has been kept.

Q: What have been your achievements during the term?

A: Backlanes in sectors 27 and 28 were not made since the city was constructed. Most of these have been made, while allotment of funds for the rest has been made. So, they will be completed. Traffic lights between sectors 27 and 28 were installed. There were lot of accidents on this point but nobody adhered to appeals. The problems arising out of concentration of mechanics were handled by getting them booths in different sectors. A road in sector 27-C was made after 35 years. Streets were made to fight water-logging problem during monsoons. Parking space for 27-C market was made concrete. Green belt will be ready in November. Janata Market proposal has been sent for clearance. Railings, benches and playing equipment have been installed in parks.

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

A: Community centre for Sector 27 could not be rebuilt and that of Sector 28 was not at all approved by the administration. Street lights could not be installed on V-5 and V-6 roads.

Q: How did you use the corporation forum to redress the grievances of the people?

A: I directly approached the official concerned, breaking the long bureaucratic chain in government to expedite work and pursued the matter till its completion.

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

A: Civic amenities and clean political life. My manifesto is to accomplish work than make promises.

Q: How responsive has been your party towards grievances of the electorate?

A: My model of development is not based on party and the party is not required to carry out these works.

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

A: Supportive. However, system is slow to respond to developmental needs.

Q: Would you like to contest the election again in view of your performance?

A: Yes. But, I will not, as the people are asking my wife to contest from the ward after it was reserved for women and I cannot afford to contest from some other place as the action would be seen as an effort to run a family business.

Q: What will you suggest your successor, if you do not contest this time?

A: I will be happy to share my experiences with him or her.

Q: Why should the voter vote for you?

A: For my clean politics, efforts to knowing and solving their problems at their doorsteps and of course, performance.

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

A: Lot of people started knowing me personally.
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Police remembers its martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A ceremony was held at the Sector 17 police station here to observe the Police Commemoration Day. It was on this day in 1959 that a contingent of police was attacked by Chinese troops, which resulted in 10 policemen getting killed. Since then, the day is observed in all states and union territories to pay homage to policemen who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The UT Inspector General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi, chief mourner on the occasion, read out the names of 1,120 police officers and jawans who were killed in the line of duty past year, remembering their sacrifice.

The IGP, along with other serving and retired police and paramilitary officers, also laid wreaths at the police memorial. Police contingents of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana reversed arms as a mark of respect to their fallen comrades.

Panchkula
The Police Commemoration Day parade was held here on Sunday on the premises of the District Police Office to pay tributes to those police officials who lost their lives in the line of duty during the past one year.

Mr C.P. Bansal, Inspector-General of Police (Modernisation and Welfare), took the salute and paid floral tributes to police martyrs. The parade was attended by senior Haryana police officials posted at the Haryana Police Headquarters here and the state CID.

A police contingent from the Panchkula Police Lines, headed by Inspector Subhash Chandra, reversed arms and observed a two- minute silence in memory of their colleagues who had laid down their lives for the country.

Between September 1, 2000, and August 31, 2001, a total of 1,065 police officials from different states and Union Territories and Central police forces have lost their lives while performing their duty.

Ambala
A wreath laying ceremony took place on the occasion of the Police Shahidi Divas at Police Lines in Ambala today.

The wreaths were laid at the Police Shahidi Smarak. Among others, Inspector General of Police, Ambala range, Mr H.S. Ahlawat; SP, Mr Sandeep Khirwar, and Comandant First Battalion of HAP, Ms Charu Khirwar, laid wreaths at the samarak. Wreaths were also laid by a number of police personnel.

Police personnel turned their arms upside down and bugle was sounded as a mark of respect for those who laid down their lives in the line of duty. Mr Sandeep Khirwar read out the names of the martyrs since 1959.
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CVP office-bearer joins Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Congress here today indicated withdrawing of taxes levied by the BJP government if voted to power in the forthcoming municipal corporation polls. The party got a boost at the outset of the campaign for the MC elections due in mid-December with the Chandigarh Vikas Party (CVP) senior vice-president, Mr. N. K. Nanda, joining the Congress today.

“The Congress will withdraw all taxes levied by the BJP and keep the city tax free,’’ the party general secretary, Mr Subhash Chawla, told workers at a conference of the Chandigarh Congress Committee, Urban-II. The MP from the city, Mr Pawan Bansal, attacked the BJP government for imposing heavy tax burden on the people of the city but did not mention tax free regime if voted to power.

Mr Chawla convincing workers about party’s prospects of winning large number of seats, gave them slogan for the electioneering: ‘’BJP teri neeyat buri, muh mein Ram bagal mein chhuri’’. He also said property tax, increase in rates of power and water, fee on holding religious functions and charges on community centres would be withdrawn and this message had to be conveyed to the voter.

Mr Bansal attacked the Atal Behari Vajpayee government on the reinstatement of Mr George Fernandes as Defence Minister only four days after his contention of the Tehlka tapes being ‘’forged’’ having been dismissed by the Venkataswamy Commission, which is probing the Tehlka expose.

Mr Bansal also alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was selling the public property in the public sector undertakings through alleged underhand dealings at throw-away prices.

Mr Pawan Sharma, DCC President, Urban-II, and organiser of the conference, said the presence of such a large number of workers showed that the Congressmen are geared to overthrow the BJP from the corporation. He also announced that the block Congress committees and booth-level committees would be constituted within a few days.

Mr Nanda, who left the CVP to join the Congress, attacked the CVP leader, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, for “individualism, opportunism and having truck with those involved in a rape case’’.
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Girl, you can be Harry’s heroine
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
There is a good news for Bollywood aspirants. Usually, a debutant in the Hindi filmdom cannot expect a decent role, but now, there’s a chance to have it. News has it that director Harry Baweja, who has strong connections with Punjab, is searching for a fresh face for his new film.

Though the film is still untitled, Harry of ‘Imtihan’, ‘Diljale’ and ‘Deewane’ fame is all set to begin his hunt for the lead actress. Being a diploma holder of the Panjab University Department of Indian Theatre, it is natural for Baweja to make a stopover here during his search for an ideal heroine. His team will be here on October 25 to hold auditions for the role in the banquet hall of Hotel Shivalikview between 9 am and 4 pm.

Harry wants aspirants to meet him personally and the selection depends on an aspirant’s personality, grace, determination and acting talent. The last part, however, is not an eligibility criterion and the audition is open to all, so, grab your portfolios.

The director says, “Sometimes, a director wants to introduce a face that has no image or expectation associated with; a face that gels with the character. The innocence of the character must reflect. Established heroines have a set image, so if you want a character to reflect freshness, it is important to cast a new girl.”

He also says, “It’s a search all over north India. If we do not find a suitable girl here, we will go to east, west and even south India.”
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CHANDIGARH CALLING

ALLURING offers on various items of daily use continue to flood city markets. On buying a pair of trouser length, you get six shirts free. Buy a particular brand of tea and get a medium-sized stainless steel bowl. You romp home with one extra cake of bathing soap on buying three. One paid talcum powder pack bags one free. And 5 kg of washing powder brings home one plastic bucket. Going in for bigger items, like fridges, TVs, washing machines, water coolers, CD system and even mattresses, brings bigger gifts.

Even the newspapers and magazines have joined the bandwagon. They, too, have come out with countless exciting offers to lure their readers. Ever since certain English and Hindi dailies have launched their publication from Chandigarh and SAS Nagar, a kind of marathon has begun. They are vying with one another to boost their circulation and achieve the targeted ad business, by offering exciting gifts, like pens, purses, calculators, cutlery and crockery items, bags, watches, wallclocks and so on, for subscribing under the quarterly, half-yearly and yearly schemes. Some even offer free movie-viewing for the subscribing kids, while others have substantially slashed their rates to suit every pocket.

A premier English magazine with a circulation of lakhs of copies, has gone a step ahead to tickle the taste buds of its casual and regular readers with its recent edition, it had one pouch each of garlic and garlic-ginger paste. You may look forward to more exciting offers in near future.

Wildlife week

“Stop caging the birds, instead put up bird nesting boxes...” “Save the sparrows and weaver birds...” These were the main slogans raised by the students at the rallies and exhibitions organised by the Children’s Alliance for Protection of the Environment (CAPE) as part of the National Wildlife Week celebrations. In addition, audio-cassette on the recorded calls of 169 birds and bird baths were exhibited.

Eight types of nesting boxes were put up in an exhibition at the Haryana State level wildlife week celebration inaugurated by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, Haryana at Chhachrauli.

The Department of Environment, Haryana, has advised all the school eco-clubs in the state to put up at least two bird nesting boxes on the trees and bird baths in the school campus.

Potential death trap

The new OPD at the PGI may have served a genuine purpose, but it has also added to the traffic chaos outside the main gate. With no visible parking area having been allotted by the authorities, the auto rickshaw drivers conveniently place their vehicles anywhere along the road and create confusion. At a time there are at least about six to seven vehicles piled up along the entire breadth and length of the road. The situation is further worsened due to traffic chaos created on account of the new rehri market in Sector 11. It is high time the authorities did something to clear this traffic mess lest the spot should turn into a potential death trap.

Smart with words

Hans Raj Hans surely has a way with words. So whenever faced with a dicey question or situation, his Sufi inclination always comes to the rescue. When he was performing at YPS, SAS Nagar, under SPIC MACAY’s Virasat series on October 18, he was posed a host of questions by the students. One of the questions stemmed from his dancing style. It went: “You say Sufis are close to God. How have you shifted to pop singing? Do you feel you should dance the way you dance in video albums these days?”

The singer smiled at the child and replied: “Abhi junoon ko samahjne ke liye tum bahut chhote ho bachhe. Nachna vi ibadat ban jaanda hain jadon nachan da chaj hove.” He added: “Baba Bulle Shah ne apne mehboob Khuda ko nach kar hi to manaya tha. Phir mai kyon nahi naach saktaa?”

Another self?

Punjabi folk singer Gurmeet Bawa, who was in the city to give a performance some days back, was also accompanied by her husband. Interestingly, right from the word go, the husband took charge of the entire situation. So much so that when the scribes posed questions to Gurmeet, her husband came forward to give answers. Saying that he was a singer himself, he talked of a great couple that the two made. The conversation progressed like this, with Gurmeet doing very little talking, until one of the organisers intervened and asked Gurmeet’’s husband to come near the stage. From there, he got busy managing the stage for Gurmeet. So while she sang, he kept examining the mike throughout the show!

Hoteliers all

Many hoteliers of Chandigarh have found themselves on the wrong side of the law in the past one year or so. The last straw has been the infamous rape case of a minor daughter of a woman advocate. Those involved are the owners or scions of families owning hotels. Newspapers from the region have reported the case and its sidelights for more than a week digging up the colourful past of the accused in the case. The case also threw up interesting political background of one of the abettors from the fair sex, who was allegedly an office- bearer in two political outfits of Chandigarh. The names of two prominent politicians of Haryana were also thrown up as benefactors of the lady in the past. Not used to adverse media attention, one of the accused assaulted and abused some reporters also. This resulted in further adverse reporting.

Not so long ago the son of another prominent hotelier-politician of Chandigarh was nabbed for the murder of a model-cum-bar tender at a trendy joint in Delhi. The son is still languishing in jail and undergoing a widely reported trial with one after another celebrity deposing in the matter. Perhaps, the hoteliers will consider organising a yajna to remove the bad vibes.

Parking order

The hero approaches the haunted house kept locked for decades. Once the rickety doors are opened, the hero is daunted by the sight of cobwebs, sawdust and dirt strewn all around. Alas, this is no ghost story that will keep you riveted to the chair like one of the Ramsay Brothers horror films. This is an apt description of the many underground parking lots kept closed by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh and the Administration before the former came into existence.

Once the underground parking areas were thrown open to the public in Sector 17 and then Sector 8, most of office and shopgoers were wonderstruck. Some people even wondered if they had come inadvertently on a holiday. For the first time the parked vehicles were not eating into pathways. All two wheelers were literally tucked away neatly in the basement parking and the cars were also parked in an orderly manner in the ample space vacated as a result.

Several offices of the Punjab and Haryana Governments located in Sector 8, notably the Police Housing Corporation and the Urban Development Department, had to vacate the pavement where their cars were being parked. The resultant space led to a fresh and open look to the entire area.

The owner of a software company remarked that now nobody will mind even payment of car parking charges. Kudos to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

“Fauj Hai Mauj”

A locally based Territorial Army officer, Lt Navdeep Singh has brought out a book titled “Fauj Hai Mauj”, which is a compilation of military humour. The 110-page book contains real life incidents, jokes as well as some adaptations collected from all types of strange and weird sources.

A number of anecdotes listed in the book are accompanied by illustrations prepared by an artist in Sector 18. The author is now working on the book’s second edition.

Beautiful, really?

City Beautiful seems to be competing with the national Capital in emulating scenes like people defecating along the roadside in certain sectors.

Queen Elizabeth during her visit to India had termed Delhi a filthy city, specially mentioning public defecation by people along the road and rail tracks.

Probably the city Administration wants somebody like her to comment on the city — what if that may be uncharitable.

The Sector 25 colony is witness to pigs loitering around and children easing themselves out in the open. Pigs have been a cause of worry for the traffic with danger to road safety looming large.

Thousands of people who commute daily between Chandigarh and various adjoining towns in Punjab for their work are a harassed lot thanks to some loose ends in planning and operation of long route buses from the two inter-state bus terminus’ in Chandigarh.

Between 5 a.m. and 7.30 p.m. all buses destined for Punjab and Manali side originate from the new ISBT in Sector 43. Daily commuters park their two wheelers at the ISBT and board a bus. On the return journey in the evening the bus drivers do not touch the ISBT in Sector 43 and the commuters are forced to get off at the Furniture market in Badheri village or the Attawa chowk at the junction of Sectors 35,36, 42 and 43.

From both these places the ISBT is a walk of about 1.5 km. It is a particularly difficult when it is very hot or it is raining. Hence the daily passengers have to hire rickshaws which charge up to Rs 10. And several buses like those coming in from Punjab, Himachal or those run by the private syndicates do not pass through the ISBT Sector 43. This reduces the options available to daily passengers. Already several commuters have complained to the Local Transport Department.

“Brown Sahib”

In the good old days the Britishers who ruled India were called the ‘‘Burra Saheb’’. The Indians who joined the Indian Civil Services were referred to as the ‘‘brown saheb’’. A Punjab civil servant has used just this phrase to make his e-mail address which reads as ‘‘thebrownsahib@hotmail.com’’

Winter chill

The winter chill is slowly setting in. To begin with fans need to be switched off during the early morning hours. The coolers were long packed off and in the past fortnight the airconditioners have been given the formal bye bye for the next six months.

Two-wheeler riders who work in the late evening have pulled out windcheaters to beat the nip in the air. Residents who are habitual for post dinner stroll have pre-poned by anything between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. The timings have changed from the average of 9.30 pm to about 9 pm. As the chill sets in the timing will be pre-poned further.

In the reverse the morning joggers and walkers have been forced to postpone their morning activity due to the chill and the change in the daybreak time.

Sentinel
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COMMUNITY

IN FOCUS
Battling drug addiction
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar
Naveen Disha, the only drug deaddiction-cum-rehabilitation centre here, run under the guidance of the Punjab Red Cross Society, has not attracted the attention of the state government even when there are reports of an alarming rise in drug addiction in the state.

The centre, which receives a 90 per cent grant from the Union Ministry of Social Welfare and the rest from the Red Cross, has been functioning in a rented building for about 10 years. The number of patients has been gradually rising, but the staff strength has been decreasing. Besides, the grants are usually received late, affecting the functioning of the centre. Medicines often have to be purchased on credit.

At one time the centre used to have, among other staff, six nurses and ward boys, three doctors and one part-time psychiatrist. At present, it has only two doctors and two nurses and ward boys apart from three social workers, one yoga instructor, one chowkidar and one safai karamchari. The 15 beds at the centre remain occupied most of the time. Besides, it receives 25 to 35 outdoor patients daily. In 1998-99 it catered to 324 indoor and 105 outdoor cases. The number rose to 423 and 564, respectively, in 2000-01. During the same period the number of follow-up cases shot up from 3,536 to 6,300. In the current financial year, 626 cases have been registered so far with follow-up cases totalling 4,378.

To keep the centre going, the staff contributes money to pay four additional ward boys and one social worker.

Naveen Disha has also been facing opposition from neighbours. They complain that often the behaviour of patients becomes a source of annoyance to the residents. Besides, vehicles keep coming and going at odd hours. They have demanded that the centre should be shifted out of the residential area.

Despite an unsympathetic neighbourhood and staff shortage, the centre is continuing its battle against the menace of drug addiction. About 60 per cent of its cases come from areas other than Ropar district and Chandigarh. Patients also come from the neighbouring states.

Dr J.S. Lamba, Project Director-cum-Medical Officer, says the centre is “here to stay” as it is catering to the needs of a large number of addicts who require urgent help. He says the centre should be provided with government accommodation or PUDA should allot a plot where it can construct its own building.

Dr Lamba regrets that the work being done by the centre is being “neutralised” to a large extent as harmful drugs are freely available. The police has failed to stamp out drug trafficking. In fact, in many cases police officials themselves are hand in glove with drug peddlers.

One of the patients at the centre said the police usually “clips the branches but fails to strike at the root” to check trafficking. Most of the time, he said, the police arrested addicts caught while buying drugs but let the sellers go scot free. In several cases, he said, drug traffickers deliberately got the addicts arrested to provide an opportunity to policemen to demand illegal gratification for letting them off. He also condemned the role of certain chemists who were more than keen to sell drugs to the addicts.
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Samridh wins healthy baby contest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 21
Fun and frolic for the kids and the youngsters marked the final day of the kids and youth carnival organised by the Balaji Event Organisers at a city hotel here this evening.

The spirit of competition was at its best as the organisers arranged for a numbers of competitions including best kids dance, Britannia healthy baby contest, arm wrestling, tied hand ice-cream eating contest, gol guppa eating contest and well dressed kid and well dressed lady contest and many more.

But the healthy baby contest drew a large number of contestants. Samridh Raheja , Devsaya and Siya were adjudged as the first second and third prize winners, respectively, by a panel of judges that comprised of Dr R.S. Bakshi, Chief Medical Officer, Ranbaxy Ms Satvinder Bakshi, a teacher, and Ms Rupinder Kaur from the Education Department.

Master Govind won the first prize for fancy dress competition while Parul, Saya and Nikita were announced as the first, second and the third prize winners in the well dressed kids category. Amrinder enthraled the audience with powerful dance performance and won the best dancer title.

Though the carnival was organised mainly for the youth and children, women and elderly couples accompanying them were also not neglected. They were made a part of the fun-filled atmosphere as the organisers announced prizes for the best oldest couple and the best dressed lady. Mr Raghbir Singh and Ms Swaran were declared as the best oldest couple while Ms Sunyna Verma won the best dressed lady award.

Earlier, a beautiful baby contest was also held which was won by Isha followed by Sadgi and Ismant, respectively.
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Residents face water shortage
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
Residents of Sectors 14, 15 and 12- A were forced to remain without water till about 8 in the morning.

Irate residents of these sectors said water shortage and low water pressure had now become common. They complained that for the past five years, water supply position in the entire township was poor.

Mr S.K. Nayar, president, Citizens Welfare Association, said though HUDA was approving the plans for three-storey houses, it had failed to provide adequate water.

It is learnt that a meeting of various welfare associations was held recently with the Deputy Commissioner and Administrator of HUDA wherein the latter had confessed that they were unable to provide water beyond the first floor for the next three years. 
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CITCO organises trip to Kansal forest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
To mark the launch of its eco-tourism project, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) organised a trip to Kansal forest for children today. Today’s trip was organised in association with the Go Banana Kids Club.

Around 35 children between 4 -14 years who went for the excursion, participated in various activities including an interactive session on environment conservation.

“The idea of our campaign is to generate awareness in the residents in such a manner that they not only know about the importance of these things, but also implement them in their daily life”, said a CITCO official.

The children were taken in CITCO’s hop-on-hop-off bus from hotel Shivalikview to the Sukhna Lake from where they were taken to Kansal forest.

Children collected feathers to identify the birds, insects from the forests and even frogs. They were told about importance of eco-friendly things, hazards of plastics and also how to avoid their usage in our daily routine by Ms Anu Vala, Director of the Go Banana Kids Club, and Ms Payal Sodhi.

The eco-tourism project by CITCO will involve not only kids, but people of all age groups. “We have already contacted various schools and even several companies, banks have shown interest in taking their employees to such excursions”, the official said.

Next on CITCO’s cards are trips to Nalagarh and Ropar Museum . CITCO will also provide batches, sunshades, sweat shirts — all made of eco-friendly material to the participants in such excursions. Experts will accompany the excursions for interactive sessions. For the Nalagarh trip, an arrangement with the Nalagarh Heritage Resort has been made where free food will be provided to the participants and will include a walk-in to the resort orchards followed by visit to the forests.

CITCO also gave souvenirs to the children.
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Demos of bridal make-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Live demonstrations of bridal make-up techniques are on in Sector 8 under the event ‘Solah Shingaar Utsav’. The six-day event begins tomorrow. The demonstrations will be conducted between 4 pm and 6 pm every day.

The organisers offer two kinds of looks — traditional bride and contemporary bride. A special workshop is also being conducted for brides-to-be. There will be individual counselling sessions on aspects of skin care hair care and make-up products to suit the skin type.

There shall be packages related to bridal-stage and pre-bridal-stage services. These packages have been called ‘shaguns’. Those who are interested in attending the workshop can register their names with the VLCC outlet here.
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Rotaract meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Rotaract Club, Chandigarh, organised the first-ever multi-district inter-city meet titled “Aamantran”, here today at the Food Craft Institute, Sector 42.

It was the biggest event ever to be hosted by any Rotaract Club in the region. Four districts of Rotary participated, district 3070, 3080, 3090 and 3100 from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal with over 700 delegates. The one-day meet consisted of an informative session for exchange, stimulation and production of new ideas and programmes. The Rotaractors who were in the age group of 18-30 years attended a sumptuous breakfast, lunch and tea organised by the Rotaractors of the Rotaract Club, Chandigarh, and catered by the Food Craft Institute. 
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CRIME
 

Three held for murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
With the arrest of three persons, the police here today claimed to have solved a murder case dating back to March 3, 1999. The police today apprehended Inderjit Singh, a resident of Colony No.4, Prem Kumar Yadav of Bapu Dham Colony and Rakesh Kumar, alias Nikki from Darua village here in this connection. The arrested men have been accused of murdering Satbir Singh on the above mentioned date in the same village. Another accused Rattan Lal is still at large.

Theft: A senior lecturer from National Polytechnic, Jammu, has reported that his bag containing Rs 30,000 and a Kodak camera have been stolen from the Technical Teachers Training Institute, Sector 26. The police has registered a case.

Arrested: The police has arrested Piara Singh, a resident of Janata Colony, Sector 25, and recovered 20 pouches of Hero whisky from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Injured: Mauli Jagran resident Mohamad Mohsin has complained that he sustained injuries after being beaten by Kalu, a resident of the same colony. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen: Sector 46 resident Ajay Sharma has reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-V-5563) has been stolen from his residence. A case has been registered.
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BUSINESS

MARKET PULSE
‘Balanced portfolio must for better returns’
Tribune News Service

Kasauli, October 21
To get the benefits of security as well as returns on investments, one should have a balanced portfolio, that is investment across a number of sectors. In today’s environment when the market is at the lowest during the last decade, portfolio management assumes even greater importance, said Mr Iqbal Singh, investment adviser, HDFC Bank . He was addressing the Merchant Navy Officers Association, Chandigarh, at a presentation organised by the HDFC Bank at Kasauli Resorts today.

The bank, which is the only bank in the region to provide specialised investment advisory services in 10 cities across the country, frames separate investment strategies for separate customers depending upon their income levels and requirements, he said. “The investor today has various options from keeping cash where the return is nil to venturing into the stock market where risks are the maximum. We provide them all balanced solutions to manage their funds and get the maximum returns”, he added.

Talking about the specific investment plans being offered by the bank, he spoke about the Investible Surplus Plan, Regular Surplus Plan Goal Oriented Plan, etc. The bank has 25 expert investment advisors.

In case of equities, he said the adviser frames portfolio of the customer according to his risk-return profile with a focussed approach. He emphasis is on right timing, that is, the entry and exit levels so that he is able to earn the maximum. The bank also advises the customers on details about the companies, market stories etc.

He also spoke about other investment options from low risk bank savings to mutual funds, bonds, debentures etc.

Ms Neena Singh, vice-president and regional head, HDFC Bank, and Capt Bhagat Singh, president of the Merchant Navy Officers Association were also present on the occasion.
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PCO owners’ plea on IT deduction
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
The STD/ PCO Union, Panchkula, has said that the deduction of income tax from commission earned by PCO/ STD owners at the rate of 10.2 per cent is unjustified.

In a letter sent to the Chief Commissioner, Income Tax Department, Mr SN Dhingra, the honorary secretary of the association has said that the PCO owners get commission of around Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 per month. “After covering the expenses incurred on establishment, the saving is not more than Rs 2000, which is not taxable.

He has said that only 2 per cent income tax deduction at source or on submission of return was invoked in the past , but was later discontinued as majority of PCO/ STD owners were not falling in this category.

He has pleaded that survey report on commission earned by them may be asked from the Telecom Department before the deduction rate is fixed. 
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