Thursday, October 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Noida bridge takes toll of Okhla sanctuary
R Suryamurthy & Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
The rapid and unbridled urbanisation in the Capital has claimed yet another ecological victim, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary connecting the city with Noida in Uttar Padesh.

According to ecological experts, the culprit this time is the recently constructed Noida Toll Bridge, which meanders through the natural habitat of exotic and rare species of migratory birds.

“It is the concrete clovers of the Noida Toll Bridge that are proving to be the ecological shackles. The bridge is a symbol of development, greatly needed. But it snakes around the area, posing a threat to the winged creatures as thousands of motorised vehicles disturb their tranquillity and pollute the air with carcinogenic fumes, exhausts and particulate matter,” an animal protectionist said.

Birds are delicate creatures, which withdraw when there is an intrusion into their habitat. That is most likely the reason why the Bristled Grassbird, spotted in the adjacent reed beds, has not been seen since 1997.

What aggravates the threat is the large-scale planting of tree saplings, undertaken by the Toll Bridge authorities. The scheme has apparently been cleared by the Ministry of Environment and the Delhi Urban Art Commission. The second body keeps its eyes on aesthetics while the first one mostly keeps them closed. Only this can explain why the trees selected are the familiar ornamental species seen in Delhi, and not the eco-sensitive trees, a decision that mocks at the birds.

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, which comes under the administrative jurisdiction of Uttar Pradesh, is home to several migratory species, including the Mallard (Anas Platyrhynchos), Garganey (Anas Querquedula), Common Teal (Anas Crecca), Tufted Duck (Aythya Fuligula), Red-crested Pochard (Rhodonessa Fufina), Common Pochard (Aythya Ferina), Greylag Goose (Anser Anser), Bar-headed Geese (Anser Indicus), Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus Asiaticus), White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia), Black Bittern (Ixobrychus Flavicollis) and short-eared Owls (Asio Flammeus). A large number of waders also home in on the area. The very rare Bristled Grassbird (Chaetornis striatus) also has been sighted here.

“Yet, the area where the Bristled Grassbird was found has been destroyed by the Noida Toll Bridge. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has declared both the UP and the Delhi side of Okhla an "Important Bird Area" in view of its bird life and the presence of the Red Data, a globally threatened species such as the Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus Philippensis), the Sarus Crane (Grus Antigone), the Bristled Grassbird (Chaetornis Striatus), the Great Spotted Eagle (Aquila Clanga) and Indian Skimmer (Rynchops Albicollis),” an ornithologist associated with Northern India Bird Network, a Delhi-based NGO, said.

“In November, 2000 more than 450 Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus Ruber) were observed and there have been sightings of large flocks of flamingos throughout last year as well as this year,” he said.

“Considering that people go all the way to the Rann of Kutch to see this exquisite bird, it is indeed ironic that few know that the species is found in such large numbers in the heart of Noida and Delhi,” he said.

Bird-watchers and conservationists point out that the water sources are extremely undependable. Often, the barrage is opened and the water drains out, leaving a flummoxed group of flamingoes struggling across the bridge.

Another natural habitat of birds like peacocks -- the Delhi Ridge -- today witnesses very less number of birds. While no exact figures are readily available, Forest Department officials admit that the population of birds has dwindled and attribute the phenomenon to growing urbanisation.

“Earlier, land in the periphery of Delhi was used for agricultural cultivation. Birds survive on food such as bajra. With rapid urbanisation, prime agricultural land was giving away to concrete structures. Consequently, birds are flying away to greener pastures outside Delhi,” a Forest Department official said.

The inability of civic authorities to provide green parks within residential colonies is another reason for the flight of the birds from the ridge.

“The northern ridge, for instance, falls under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The DDA has opened the ridge for people to take strolls and walks. Hundreds of people visit the forest area every day for taking walks and for general leisure activities. This also has forced the birds to flee,” the official said.


Most samples in wholesale drug market turn out fake
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
Spurious drugs and injections, including life-saving drugs, analgesics and antibiotics, of leading brands are being sold in Bhagirath Palace, the largest wholesale drug market of northern India. The practice came to light after 49 of the 76 samples lifted recently from the market on the directions of the Drug Controller of Delhi were found to be spurious. Some of these drugs are prescribed during pregnancy and for anthrax fever.

However, Dr V. K. Monga, president of the Delhi Medical Association, said that only four of the 53 samples lifted from Bhagirath Palace were found to be genuine. He told newspersons here today that although the seized samples were sent for verification and comments of the respective manufacturers such as Ranbaxy, Cipla, Glaxo, Hoechst and Rounepoullac, the pharmaceutical companies had already dismissed these drugs as duplicate.

“Since they have dismissed these drugs as duplicate, it is difficult for us to identify the culprits. Of the 49 samples which were found to be spurious, nine did not have any medical component, four had medical ingredients varying between two to 10 per cent while the remaining had inferior ingredients which varied between 10 to 100 per cent,” he said.

Stressing the gravity of the situation, Dr Monga cited the example of Ciprofloxacin, samples of which had negligible medical ingredients. He said that the drug is prescribed for anthrax fever. The samples differed in packaging, appearance and chemical assay (analysis and composition), he said.

Mr Ravi Kant, Assistant Drug Controller of the Delhi Government, told TNS that of the 49 samples which were found to be spurious, 25 had negligible active ingredients. He said that five persons including a drug manufacturer from Sonepat had been arrested under the provisions of the Copyright Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

A person held guilty of manufacturing and selling spurious drugs had to pay a fine up to Rs 5,000, he said. The violation under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act constitutes a non-bailable offence and can attract penalty between three to five years’ imprisonment and the aforesaid fine.


When MLAs have their cake and eat it too
Parmindar Singh

Noida, October 24
A 9,750 square metre plot, allotted to Uttar Pradesh Legislators Cooperative Housing Society (UP Vidhayak Sehkari Avas Samiti) for construction of flats on the instructions of the government, has become a thorn in the flesh of the Noida Authority.

First, the plot was allotted bypassing established norms. Second, the society has not deposited 40 per cent of the total value of the land -- Rs 2.87 crore -- with the authority, even though the October 15 deadline has passed.

Now, a “powerful” minister in the Rajnath Singh Cabinet, a key figure behind the society, has questioned the rate at which the authority allotted the plot. The society, too, is dragging its feet, pleading for an extension of the deadline till December 15, 2001. All these developments have landed the Noida Authority officials in a tight spot.

The state government is exerting pressure on the Authority to hand over the plot to the society, to enable it to build residential flats for 50 MLAs. On an earlier occasion, the society had lost in an open draw for the plot.

On prodding by the government, the Authority finally complied with its “wishes” and allotted plot No. F-3 in Sector-50, even though it had not received any layout plan. The government approval for the allotment was conveyed by Industrial Development Commissioner Pratap Singh. The Noida Authority Board also put its seal of approval on the allotment at its meeting.

An allotment letter, which quoted a rate of Rs 6,000 per square metre, plus Rs 600 location charges, was issued by the authority to the society. The total value of the allotted land was quoted at over Rs 6.43 crore. The authority, it is learnt, requested a minister, who is a key player in the housing society, to deposit Rs 2.87 crore - 40 per cent of the amount due for the plot – within 90 days of its allotment, which was on October 15.

According to sources in the authority, not a single paise ha s so far been deposited by the housing society.

Meanwhile, a UP minister, Mr Amar Mani Tripathi, has sought an explanation from the authority for fixing the rate at Rs 6.,000 per sq metre. He points that "the authority has pegged some other plots in the sector at Rs 5,250 per sq metre”. The Authority had also promised that it would make available only developed land. But the society officials have found that this is not so. In such a situation, how could the MLAs’ society start construction on the plot?” the Minister asked in a letter to the Authority.

The society has now asked the Authority to reduce the rate to Rs 5,600 per sq metre. It has also sought an extension of the deadline till December 15, 2001, for depositing money for the purpose.

A senior official, who did not want to be identified, said that the authority was seriously considering cancelling the allotment. Officials of the authority fear that if the attitude of the MLAs’ society, so far, is any indication, it would make their life miserable. The officials are in a bind because they have already rejected a similar plea from entrepreneurs to allot them a plot in Sector 62.


Kidnapped boy rescued
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 24
An attempt to kidnap a minor boy for ransom was foiled by alert parents and vigilant cops in Sector 29 here. The boy, son of a garment manufacturer, was rescued within two hours; the four culprits have been arrested.

According to SSP Ranbir Sharma, four car-borne youth kidnapped Anmol (11), son of Mr Rajan Chopra, from his house at gunpoint. The family members could not resist the abductors as one of the accused threatened them with a gun. The kidnappers also demanded Rs 20 lakh as ransom.

The police was informed about the incident around 2 p.m. The police control room immediately informed the Sector 28 police post, which asked a team of sleuths to ferret out the abductors. The police traced the number of the Zen car (6566) used in the abduction and alerted the nakas at various points. Meanwhile, the car was spotted near Mavi village and, one person, identified as Tarun, was arrested.

Tarun, said to be the ‘gang leader' and a resident of Etmadpur village, led the police party to the Tilpat Range jungle, where two of his associates and the boy were found. The two culprits were arrested and a loaded country-made revolver was seized.


Malviya Nagar residents on the warpath
Bone of contention opposite a temple
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, October 24
The residents of South Delhi’s Malviya Nagar are up in arms against a meat shop that is situated barely 15 feet away bang opposite a Hanuman Temple in the main market and today they threatened to move court if the authorities did not relocate the shop.

“It is pathetic,” said Mr S.P. Malkani, president of the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) of Malviya Nagar, referring to the sight of a meat shop opposite a religious place. “The problem has been there for about a decade now. Inaction on the part of the authorities has left us with no alternative than to move court,” he added.

Residents said that all their complaints to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had fallen on deaf ears and that the MCD was quite happy with the meat shop being there as the owner of the shop paid Rs 5,000 every month to this governmental agency.

The MCD Standing Committee member and councilor of the area, Mr Jeetender Kumar Kochar, denied the allegation and said that it was absolutely “baseless”.

Mr Kochar said, “We are trying our best to sort out the matter. If the residents say that we are not doing anything, I will not believe it. This meat shop earlier would remain open even on Tuesdays. We made it a point to have the shop shut at least on Tuesdays. The meat shop owner has a licence, we just can’t remove it from there.”

However, Mr Kochar said that the MCD was trying its best to relocate the shop. He went on to add, “But the shop had been there much before the temple came up. Whatever be the religious sentiments, in all fairness if anything should be relocated it is the temple and not the meat shop.”

After Independence, Malviya Nagar was one of the colonies founded in South Delhi to rehabilitate refugees who had fled home and hearth in areas across the border in newly formed Pakistan.

Mr R.L. Suri, senior vice-president of the RWA, said: “In 1950s, some residents of Malviya Nagar had installed a statue of Hanuman where the temple stands today. The temple has increased in size in 50 years. But the meat shop was about 50 meters away till recently until the owner shifted his shop bang opposite the temple.”

Mr Suri remarked, “The sight is disgusting. Imagine someone coming out of temple after praying and sees dead animals hanging in front of him. There are sentiments involved after all.”

The owner of the shop, Nanhe Khan countered: “My shop has been here much before the temple. Why did they have to build a temple in front of my shop if they find the food we eat so disgusting? I hold a proper licence of the shop.”

Khan admitted that the sight might be disgusting for people who come out of the temple but said that he had no problems in shifting if he was provided with another place.

“It is not easy to get a shop these days. If this shop closes down, where my children will go? I won’t let them die from hunger. I only sell what people eat. What is so disgusting about that? But if they have such a big problem, would they give me another place to open a shop?” he said.

The Mandir Committee president, Mr K.L. Bhatia, admitted that the temple had grown in time, but said, “Whatever it is, it is a temple – a religious place. We can’t have dead animals hanging opposite it.”

Mr Bhatia said: “If something cannot materialise soon, the shop owner should at least cover his shop so that people cannot see it. Temple or no temple, the sight of dead animals is not pleasing to the eyes of anybody.”


Dubious use of park in question
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, October 24
Even as Food and Civil Supplies Minister inaugurated a by-lane of a park here today, the ‘park war’ in South Delhi’s Malviya Nagar continues in full flow. And this park between Block G-11 and G-12, the by-lane of which was inaugurated is no ordinary park, at least for the residents. They call it a ‘win’.

This park has been encroached upon for at least 30 years by a few persons of Hauz Rani Village, which is situated opposite Block-G of Malviya Nagar, residents said. “It is a matter of pride for us that we got the encroachments removed in 1997,” said Mr Naresh Malik, secretary of the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA).

While inaugurating the by-lane, the minister said that it was a great ‘achievement’ of the residents that they had made this park, which had slum huts on it, into such a “lush green and beautiful park”.

There are three parks in Block-G that divide Hauz Rani Village, which has 100 per cent Muslim population from Malviya Nagar. All three of them, the residents said, face the risk of encroachments. “This park (the one between Block G-11 and 12) is the only one we can sit in and walk in. Hauz Rani residents have completely taken over the other two. And we dare not enter them,” said R.L Jhingan, vice-president of the RWA.

An MCD park situated in front of Block G-11 was dug up last year to build an underground water tanker for Village Hauz Rani. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) dug up the park before taking formal permission from the MCD, which the DJB admitted when the matter was taken to court. “But nothing came out of that too.

The court asked the DJB to take permission from the MCD and the MCD gave it. So one of our parks is gone. But the court ordered the DJB to maintain the greenery over the underground tanker. Nothing has been done yet,” said S.P. Malkani, president of the RWA.

Residents alleged that the DJB dug up the park on recommendation by some well-connected people of Village Hauz Rani. “No wonder they dug up a park which lies within the boundary of Malviya Nagar to build a water tank for Hauz Rani,” said a resident, who did not wish to be identified.

Then there is a park in front of Block G-14, which is practically a ‘nightmare’ for the residents of Malviya Nagar, with a large number of anti-social elements frequenting it virtually round the clock. This Malviya Nagar park is “under siege,” the residents said.

In the evening, the park is filled with white ‘kurta pyjama and topi’ clad boys and men – not 10 or 20 but at least 500 _ Many of them from the near-by Madarasa school. The park is there only in the name – not a blade of grass, neither hedge nor plantation – just a dusty ground with a fence around it.

“On Fridays it is worse. There are hundreds of Muslims reading namaz in this park. Come summer, it becomes a sleeping ground for more than 100 people every night. Can anyone of us dare pass that side?” asked a resident.

Residents said that they felt as if they were living on the “Indo-Pak border”.

“Is this any less than the border? Hauz Rani people have tried their best to capture all three parks, which come within the boundaries of Malviya Nagar,” said Naresh Malik.

Mr Malik said that once he tried to enter the park in front of Block G-14 but was stopped by men guarding the park. “They don’t let us enter. We can’t go and fight with them. They have nothing to lose and we have everything to lose,” Mr Malik said.


Even nostalgia is not what nostalgia used to be
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

IT has been accepted by most of the people that Punjabis are go-getters. Credited with being the most progressive, adaptive and resourceful of all communities, they carve out a niche for themselves wherever they go.

At the same time, they cannot break away from their home state which is rich in culture and cuisine and long to return to its green surroundings. Their attitude to life is enviable yet inimitable.

The Tribune contacted a galaxy of luminaries who have had connections with Punjab and Chandigarh to share their feelings of nostalgia. The question `What I miss most about Punjab/Chandigarh?’ evoked a mixed reaction. While super cop K. P. S. Gill says that people in Chandigarh waste time on salacious gossip, Additional Solicitor General K. T. S. Tulsi would like to move to Chandigarh provided the Supreme Court is moved there.

‘I miss the morning breeze’

Mr K. T. S. Tulsi, Additional Solicitor General

I came to Chandigarh in 1957 when I was 10 years old and lived there till 1990. I grew up with Chandigarh, which was also a baby at that time. I saw the city growing along with me. I got married when I was in Chandigarh. My children were born there. All my struggles were launched in that city. There is no city like Chandigarh in the world. It is a city, which you can traverse on foot or on bicycle from one end to another.

The green belt stretches across the city unhindered except at a few locations. No other city in the world caters to pedestrians as much as Chandigarh does. Delhi treats its pedestrians and cyclists with contempt.

It is a city where there can be no congestion of the kind, which is endemic to all other cities. Green patches and trees between the houses and the main roads create a buffer for noise and pollution. The houses are numbered in a scientific manner and roads turn at right angles. The moment you are facing the hills, you know you are facing east, whether it is day or night.

I find the comments about Chandigarh as being a soulless city very uncharitable. I had a very exciting childhood and it was fun growing up there. It radiates a lot of warmth and activity. This was reflected in the concern shown by residents in disilting the Sukhna Lake in late 1980s. We use to participate in blood donation camps and were very proud of the fact that Chandigarh had a voluntary blood donation bank.

What I miss the most about Chandigarh is the morning breeze and the chirping of birds. Even today, when I go to my house in Chandigarh, I find a distinct change in the quality of air. Commuting in the city is not difficult and this puts one at ease.

I have chosen to live in Sainik Farm so that I can cycle every morning. Most accidents here involve pedestrians and cyclists. Apart from pollution, the risk factor discourages one from bringing the cycle on the main road.

The only thing that I don’t miss from my good-old Chandigarh days is my law practice. This is one of the reasons that I live in Delhi. I shifted here in 1991 on my appointment as the Additional Solicitor General. After experiencing what legal practice is like in the apex court, I cannot think of moving back to the High Court in Chandigarh. Of course, if the Supreme Court moves to Chandigarh, I will go back anytime.

‘Amritsar gave me my motto’

Ms Kiran Bedi, Jt Commissioner, Training, Delhi Police

Amritsar is my hometown where I was born, brought up, schooled and educated. I learnt tennis from the lawns and hard courts of Amritsar. The city gave my three sisters and me a school run by Belgian Catholic nuns who taught us values of life. The motto of our school was Excelsior, meaning of which I continue to discover. Chandigarh gave me higher education and additional learning with abundance of resources. I studied in the Department of Political Science, Panjab University from 1968 to 1970.

I learnt to debate, compete and excel in many areas of student life. I would cycle up and down as much as I wanted, with occasional skirmishes, however, with the boys! My parents would take us (my sisters and me) to large marriage pandals. This was their way of telling us what could happen to us if we do not come first in our classes. The images of the pandals kept us alert and over a period, it became a habit.

Amritsar and Chandigarh are healthy and safe cities. While one is a holy city, the other is academic. Both are inhabited by people who love to live well. I am very emotional about both the cities. For, it is there that I got my parents, teachers and Mr Bedi. I am ever grateful to both these cities of my birth, growth, education and work.

‘I am looking for mountains’

Ms Davinder P. S. Sandhu, IRTS Chief Public Relations Officer, Northern Railway: 
I left Chandigarh in 1987 for a career in the Civil Services and joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service. For some time, I stayed in Railway Staff College, Vadodara as a probationer under training. Every morning, I used to wake up with the excitement of a new job but I would feel terribly depressed the moment I stepped out of the hostel. This continued for many days but the cause was inexplicable. I began realising that the feeling was associated with a heavy pang of missing something... something almost expected to be there.

One day, as I came out of the hostel, I found myself turning my eyes to the left and scanning the horizon. It was as though I was looking for a familiar sight, almost a part of me. And then it struck me - I was looking for the mountains, seen from everywhere in Chandigarh. The majestic blue Himalayas and the Shivalik foothills with the jewel of Kasauli, visible to the naked eye by day and embedded in a necklace of lights every night.

I stood there, and missed my hometown, and images flashed in my moist eyes — a solitary boat on the Sukhna Lake, the Harsingar trees in the university and their dew-fresh petal carpets, the rivulet in Leisure Valley, the kind face of Nek Chand and his Rock Garden. And reading about people you actually know, in The Tribune. You can take a man out of Chandigarh, you cannot take Chandigarh out of the man.

‘For a whiff of Chandigarh air’

Ashok Pahwa, Secretary, Department of Chemicals and Fertilisers

I began my career in the IAS as Assistant Commissioner and was attached to Mr B. S. Grewal, the then Financial Commissioner (Revenue) at Chandigarh, in 1987. After a brief stint as the SDM, Jhajjar, I was posted back to Chandigarh and remained there for almost 16 years. During this period, I served in various capacities in the health, cooperative and industry sectors.

I served as the Director (Tourism) and was the first MD of Haryana Tourism. Later I served as the Commissioner and Secretary, Tourism, Industries and Public Health. I lived in private houses and later in a government house in Sector 16. I went back to Chandigarh as the Commissioner and Secretary (Housing) from 1993 to February 1995.

Chandigarh of earlier years meant beautiful accommodation, good friends and excellent shopping in Sector 17. During my second stint, I found that the traffic had increased and there was a lot of congestion in the city.

The pristine beauty of Chandigarh, with its modern architecture, however, remains in tact. The long walks and unpolluted air that we inhaled during those pleasant evenings spent with friends are my fondest memories of the city which has a proximity to the hill towns of Himachal Pradesh. At the very end of my career in the civil service, I look back at my stay in Chandigarh as the most peaceful, quiet and pleasant. I wish it were possible to play a quiet round of golf and visit the shopping malls there regularly as a post-retirement benefit.

‘It’s a cyclist’s paradise’

Vivek Menon, Founder and Executive Director, Wild Life Trust of India:
I had been in Chandigarh for over five years (from 1978 to the early eighties) and studied there till Class X. My father, an automobile engineer, was posted there while my mother was a pediatrician at the PGI.

Having moved from Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram, at the age of 14, Chandigarh was a hell of a change. Apart from the change in vegetation, Chandigarh was very different. In Thiruvananthapuram, we had a house with 36 coconut trees. Our house in Sector 10 in Chandigarh had a couple of litchi trees in the backyard.

Moving to Chandigarh was also a change in language from Malayalam to Punjabi. I sometimes think I’m more of a Punjabi than a Malyali.

I had spent memorable days in Yadavindra Public School (YPS). The school’s stress on trekking created interest in wildlife and egged me on to my professional career. The school taught us not to overburden ourselves with worries. I still remember that the school principal, Colonel Satsangi, asked me whether children should make noise. When I replied in the negative, he said, “Of course, children should make noise. If children do not make noise, who else will?”

I liked the Punjabis’ attitude to life and completely identified with the Punjabi way of life. But skating and cycling are what I enjoyed most. I enjoyed the wide roads and it seemed as if they had been made only for skating and cycling, not for traffic.

On holidays, I would cycle throughout the day, sometimes to Sukhna Lake. I also remember having played cricket with Navjot Singh Siddhu who was in YPS, Patiala. I would love a posting in Chandigarh. Unfortunately, it is not feasible as Chandigarh does not have much of wildlife.

‘Missing the trees and books’

K. P. S. Gill, Former DGP, Punjab

I remember my old days in Chandigarh (1983-’84) when my father was posted there and I went home during leave from the northeast. Security was not a problem then and I enjoyed long walks in the city. My father’s family, sisters and friends are in Chandigarh and I visit the city once in two months. The traffic has now increased and lots of cars are parked on the side lanes in the residential areas.

But Chandigarh is getting a seedy and rundown look and unpicked garbage is a reflection of the sloppy municipal work.

Since I moved to Delhi in 1996, I’ve missed the trees and greenery of Chandigarh. The city has some lovely trees in some avenues especially when it’s autumn and you have leaves under the foot. Chandigarh also has some good book shops where one can browse at leisure. There are not many restaurants to write home about.

I also miss my days in B M College, Shimla and remember having played the role of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice staged at Gaiety Theatre.

Shimla has changed entirely. It has a lot of pollution and traffic on Cart Road.

‘It’s a civilised, friendly place’

Reva Nayyar, Member Secretary, National Commission for Women

I was posted in Chandigarh for a few months in 1985-1986. The most beautiful thing about Chandigarh is its natural beauty and location at the foothills of the Shivalik, its open and non-polluted atmosphere and the architectural features and aesthetics of the buildings. There seems to be a magic in the land and soil of Chandigarh. It has a very fertile soil and benign and healthy climate ideal for the growth of all natural things. Inter-spacing of greenery with urban growth, especially in the Industrial Area, is very unique. The ornamental trees and flowery bushes make one feel as if one is surrounded by nature. The wide roads and avenues remind one of being in a European city.

Surrounded by PGI, Rose Garden, Secretariat and university, one feels one is in the midst of a civilised place. It is a city with a lot of cultural synthesis. The academic atmosphere permeates the city life. The location of the PGI and Sector 16 Government Hospital inspires confidence.

All sectors are self sufficient. Despite religious differences, the city has a cosmopolitan and friendly atmosphere. It is a compact city which has been designed very rationally. It is easy to find your way there. It is not as big and sprawling as Delhi where you sometimes spend three hours on the road in a traffic jam.

Commuting is easy and one can reach from one end of the town to another in no time in Chandigarh. It is perhaps the most unique and well-built city in the entire country in terms of location, architecture and academic institutions. It is a class apart.

‘Longing for Shivalik view’

Kaushal Banerjee, CEO, India Solutions, Escorts Groups

The Chandigarh I knew and miss is the small, beautiful city of the sixties and the early seventies. I miss waking up each morning to the majestic mountains seen clearly without the slightest signs of any haze or smog, to the bitterly cold north wind that used to blow down in winters while we stood doing PT on the main field at St John’s. I also miss the twinkling lights of Kasauli in the night, perched as if in mid-air with a sheer black mass forming the rest of the mountain, and the spectacular show of light and shadow on the green slopes as clouds flitted across the sky in the monsoons.

I miss the monsoons and those rare days when St John’s would declare a rainy day holiday and all of us would troop towards the railway station to see the swollen nullah carrying the excess water discharged from the Sukhna Lake.

There were no television sets and the high point of the week used to be the Wednesday afternoon or the Sunday morning English movies. Ever so often, we would go there to learn that the film had not arrived from Delhi. I remember that once the talk of the town was the 150-feet high antenna that someone put up to receive the first TV signals in Chandigarh. I miss that small town where, if one walked into Picadilli or Lyons, one was sure to know at least 80 per cent of the crowd. 


SAD presses for probe into sacrilege
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
The Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi today stated that a religious committee formed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee should probe the Guru Granth Sahib burning issue as it is a matter concerning the Sikh community.

“The three-member committee proposed by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Jathedar Jagdev Singh should be the sole body to probe the incident,” Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi said.

The party held a meeting at its Punjabi Bagh office also demanded that the Punjab a Government should register case of murder (Section 302 of Indian Penal Code) against those who denigrated the Guru Granth Sahib.

Pointing out to the burning of Guru Granth Sahib in Tanda, Hoshiarpur district, this week, Mr Sarna said that the inaction by the state government has resulted in the repetition of such incidents in the state. The burning of the holy book had snowballed into a major controversy . A number of demonstrations were taken out throughout Punjab. The reverberations of the issue have been felt in the Capital.



Sedative used to rob family
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
The Delhi Police have launched a hunt to trace down a domestic servant who escaped with valuables worth over a lakh of rupees after administering a strong sedative to the employer, Mr R. C. Kapoor, and his family in the Paschim Vihar area of West Delhi yesterday.

The police said that none of the family members was seriously injured.

The suspect was identified as Rudra Prasad, a resident of Nepal, who was hired by the family only a fortnight ago. There was no police verification of the servant before he began to work in the household.

According to the police, the servant reportedly mixed the sedative in the lunch served to the family.

Those affected included Mr Kapoor, his wife, Usha Kapoor, aunt, Shakuntla and another servant Tribhuvan.

The crime was discovered when Mr Kapoor’s son, Mr Shailesh Kumar, an advocate, who returned home from Tis Hazari courts and found his entire family lying unconscious and the house ransacked.

They were taken to a nearby hospital. All the victims were discharged after sometime except

Tribhuvan, who is now stated to be out of danger, police said. The description of the suspect has been flashed to all the police stations.

Murder solved

The Delhi Police claimed to have worked out a murder and kidnapping case of Haryana, with the arrest of five suspects from Sultanpuri area of North-West district.

The suspects, Dinesh, Krishan, Sulan, Sombir and Raghuvinder, allegedly murdered an old lady Channo Devi and her daughter-in-law, Sonia in Gannaur. They had earlier kidnapped and physically assaulted Sonia.

The police have claimed
that the law and order has improved lately.


Woman tortured for dowry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
A 23-year-old woman, Sushi Garg, who was married three years back to a businessman of Delhi, was allegedly given tranquillisers to kill her when she did not yield to the dowry demands of her husband and in-laws.

The torture had begun barely 15 days after the marriage of Shashi, daughter of a government employee. She was allegedly beaten up by her husband, Arun Garg and her in-laws several times.

She lodged an FIR against them on September 26 at the Tilak Marg police station and the Crime Against Women Cell of the Delhi Police.

The victim, who has a two-year-old daughter, alleged that on September 26, she was forcibly given an overdose of tranquillisers. She was also threatened that her daughter would be killed if she did not take the dose.

She was bolted inside her bedroom. Luckily, when Sushi was slightly unconscious, she received a call from her father on a cordless phone to whom she narrated the entire story.

Her father informed her uncle who lived in Krishna Nagar area. By the time her uncle reached the residence of Sushi on Todar Mal Road, she had become completely unconscious. He informed the police but it was alleged that the police did not make any effort to help the victim.

Her uncle took her to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

The medical report said that Sushi was “unconscious and was responding poorly. She was in deep pain. She had allegedly consumed some unknown substance,” the medical report said.

When contacted, the police said that a case had been registered and further investigations were on to verify the allegations against her husband and in-laws. Their statement was being recorded.


Heroin worth Rs 5 cr seized from Nigerian
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
The police today claimed to have seized heroin worth Rs 5 crore in the international market with the arrest of a Nigerian national at the Indira Gandhi International Airport The Nigerian national, Bata, who had reportedly links with the drug cartel of Delhi’s cocktail circuit, had kept the consignment in his bag. He was trying to fly to Mumbai when he was offloaded from a Air Jet Flight (NW352) at the airport shortly before it was to depart for Mumbai at 2 pm yesterday. He planned to leave for Lagos, his native place, from Mumbai, Deputy Commissioner of Police Arvind Dep said.

The airport police received a tip-off that a Nigerian who is in possession of three kg heroin, was about to leave for Mumbai by Air Jet Flight. Description of the suspect was also given by the informer. 

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