Monday, October 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Demolition spree continues unabated
Over 300 encroachments removed
Kulwinder Sangha

* The first day of the anti-encroachment drive had the desired impact across the town as residents started removing iron grills, barbed wires, fencing and car sheds, raised in front of their houses. With apprehension writ large on their faces, residents equipped with hammer, saw and chisels, could be seen removing the structures. Those who had planned a weekend holiday on account of Dasehra had to cancel the same for removing the encroachments.

SAS Nagar, October 28
The anti-encroachment drive of PUDA following a high court verdict continued for the second day today without any noticeable resentment among residents.

The drive started around 9.30 a.m. and the enforcement staff was able to cover a large area in Phase I as over 90 per cent of the offenders had removed the encroachments themselves.

PUDA’s hammer fell on various parts of Phase I including HL, HB and HM type of houses. Heaps of debris could be seen lying at various places with residents standing in groups watching the demolition.

However, complaints that PUDA officials were adopting a pick and choose approach were received. Concrete portions outside the boundary walls had been broken, though here and there one could see some of them intact, including those in house numbers HL 121 and HL 108. The concrete portion in front of a one kanal house (No 539) had also not been touched, when the same type of violation in front of other houses in that row had been demolished.

The senior vice-president of the Mohali mandal of the BJP, Choudhary Basta Singh, said though the drive was justified, residents were often compelled to resort to encroachments to keep away stray animals in the town. He wanted to know who would take the responsibility of keeping the town free from the stray cattle menace.

A resident of an HL house in Phase I, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said when the planning of the town had been done, future expansion should also have been kept in mind. Families were growing, he said, and encroachments had become a necessity for people living in houses of a smaller size.

Residents of HL houses said there was a problem of flooding in the area during the monsoon and often the fire brigade had to be called in to help. As such, residents were compelled to raise the level of pavement in front of their houses which the PUDA enforcement wing officials had broken today.

By evening, the enforcement staff of PUDA had moved on to Phase II to carry out demolitions. In this phase too, the drive had started from House No 1, which belonged to a senior police officer of the rank of ADGP. Though the fence erected illegally had been removed, but a kennel constructed outside the boundary wall remained untouched. The second team started demolition work from House No 122 in Phase II. As many as 35 houses were surveyed and demolitions were carried out in eight houses.

Mr Chander Gained, Estate Officer, told mediapersons that Phase I had been cleared except for a pocket comprising HE and HB houses. The houses in this pocket had been constructed under the build up housing scheme.” The enforcement wing was not clear about the building plans, hence maps had to be consulted to get a clear picture of the boundary wall. The Senior Town Planner would clarify the position tomorrow. This was being done to avoid unnecessary harassment to residents. The demolitions in this area would definitely be carried out tomorrow.

He said team I was headed by Mr Paramjit Singh, Executive Engineer. He was assisted by two SDOs, four JEs and eight supervisors. He had been provided with one JCB, four tippers and 50 labourers. Till today this team had surveyed 657 houses and carried out demolitions in 84 houses. Even the commercial area in Phase I had been covered today. As many as 36 showroom had been surveyed and demolitions had been carried out in five of them. The encroachments were in the rear side of the showrooms.

Mr Gaind said that team II had been headed by Mr Amarjit Singh, Executive Engineer. He had also been provided with the same type of paraphernalia. So far, this team had surveyed 825 houses and carried out demolitions in 220 of them. The team carried out a survey of 61 commercial establishments, out of which eight were demolished. Atleast 12 structures in Phase II were also removed at the end of today’s drive. 


Sarai that needs intensive care
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The state of the Nehru Hospital Sarai at the PGI reflects the callousness of the authorities towards the plight of those who accompany patients to the PGI and exposes their inefficiency in maintaining a single-storey 30-room structure and providing basic amenities.

The sarai, built beside the Nehru Hospital, is almost as old as the hospital itself. Built lower than the surface level, the structure lacks windows and the only little natural light than seeps into the dark dingy corridors is through ceiling windows. These are broken and have large stone slabs to keep out the rain.

Both inner and outer walls of the sarai are damp and water is seeping in through the walls. Most of the rooms are poorly lit and the corridors have no bulbs or tubelights. Most fans are old and not working. The damp walls of the corridors have live electricity wires hanging out from boxes.

The rooms are furnished with broken beds and almirahs that stink of dampness. At least five of these otherwise highly coveted rooms are either store rooms or given out to NGOs.

Relatives of patients live here day in and day out, sometimes for months, with a few options available. The maximum they can do is ask for a change in the room given to them for a slightly better room.

The other Sarai, the Rotary Sarai, is an inconvenient one kilometre from the main hospital. Most of the relatives of patients prefer to stay at the Nehru Hospital Sarai rather than walk from the new sarai each day.

Living here comes for a price — Rs 10 per day. A ‘highly subsidised’ Rs 300 per month proves to be not so subsidised once you compare it with the Rs 175 per month room rent Panjab University hostellers pay for their much better rooms.

The sarai has had better days. There are water coolers and geysers which do not function any more. The fans are broken, but working. The reason for this highly deteriorated state is simple, there is not an iota of maintenance going on in this place.

Some years back, a former director of the institute had inspected the sarai and proposed that the place be brought down and rebuilt into a multi-storeyed sarai for relatives of patients. After he retired the project was shelved, said a PGI employee. 



PU institutes award for best researcher
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Panjab University has instituted an award for best researcher in organic chemistry. The award also applies to related disciplines like biochemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry and dairy chemistry.

Instituted during the time when the university had scores of scholarships which had negligent takers because of poor scholarship allowances, the Bhagayatara Award promises a handsome amount of Rs 50,000 annually.

The award is applicable to any distinguished researcher of the country. The award has been instituted by Prof Megh K. Jain, a distinguished alumnus and former faculty member of PU, in memory of his parents. Professor Jain is currently a resident of the USA.

Professor Jain has also instituted a meritorious scholarship for a girl student of the B.Sc. I (honours school), including pharmaceutical sciences. This scholarship will also be applicable to all eligible Indian nationals. The awardee will have to be on the rolls of the university during the term of the scholarship. Merit will be determined on basis of the common entrance test conducted by the university for that particular year. The scholarship of Rs 500 per month will be given to the girl student for first year in the honours school.

The Bhagayatara Award for research will normally not be shared and the nominees should be maximum 50 years of age. The award will be formally conferred at a formal presentation ceremony to be held at PU. The awardee will have to make a presentation of his work before the students and the faculty.

The research work done in the preceding 10 years shall receive special attention. The nominations are expected on a prescribed proforma. The applicant is expected to send a complete bio-data along with list of publications, awards received and patents. The applicant should also send 10 best research papers published during the past 10 years. One should also submit a summary of work on which nomination for the award is based. Also needed are a 200 word citation and a consent letter from the nominee.

Panjab University will constitute a ‘standing committee’ of five eminent persons. The committee based on the evaluation received from various experts will recommend the name of the scientist to the VC to make the announcement for the award and the schedule of nomination will be announced by the university.


MC’s putting price on parking; do you mind?
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The move by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC) to introduce paid parking in some of the major markets of City Beautiful may have invited criticism from traders and shopkeepers who fear loss of business, but a careful scrutiny of their objections show that their apprehensions may be exaggerated.

Traders fear that paid parking will put off potential buyers who may prefer to shop where they don’t have to paying anything extra for buying necessaries of life. This will result in a loss of business for them which they can ill afford, especially during the current festival season.

But a study of their objection shows that their apprehensions may be misplaced. As a matter of fact, advantages far outweigh the disadvantage as perceived by the traders and the curbs on parking imposed by the CMC have already begun to show results.

For the first time, the traffic chaos and congestion witnessed throughout the day in front of the 17 Bays Building in Chandigarh’s posh Sector 17 has vanished. And also for the first time, underground parking constructed in the area is being put to use it is meant for. Instead of the place being used for urinating, defecating and sleeping by the beggars and the homeless, it is being used for the purpose it was intended to i.e. for parking vehicles.

Since all this is being done under the supervision of police constables, there are no incidents of car lifting and thefts of valuable from the parked vehicles. In the process, the cash-strapped CMC, too, is able to raise some money by way of parking fee.

However, an economist has come out with a suggestion to the CMC following a study on “how to win friends among the citizens and make some money too without unnecessarily irritating any section of the society of Chandigarh.”

The study shows that there are an estimated 4.5 lakh registered vehicles in Chandigarh and by imposing a modest monthly or yearly parking fee on these, the CMC can raise up to Rs 20 crore by way of revenue every year.

The expert, Mr Ashok Bansal, has suggested.

a) a fee of Rs 25 per cent i.e. Rs 300 per annum for two-wheelers.

b) a fee of Rs 40 per month i.e. Rs 480 per annum for four-wheelers.

c) a fee of Rs 60 per month i.e. Rs 720 per annum for six-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

He suggests that the collection of the fee can be trusted to local petrol pumps on the basis of a nominal commission or collection charges, say up to 5 per cent. Every year, there is an increase of 10 to 15 per cent in number of vehicles in the city. This will result in a corresponding increase in the revenue to the CMC, he argues.

He is of the view that the vehicle owners of the City will have little or no objection to parting with a nominal amount for using the well-maintained city parking lots.



Hospitals flout waste disposal norms
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 28
Hundreds of tonnes of biomedical waste generated by various hospitals and nursing homes here continues to be disposed of in an unscientific manner. This is posing a serious environmental problem.

According to information available, there are more than 150 hospitals and nursing homes in the township. Sources reveal that most of these medical centres do not following the rules prescribed by the Ministry of Environment for disposal of hospital waste such as used bandages, empty blood, glucose or medicine bottles, surgical equipment, syringes and at times even surgically removed body parts. These are often thrown away in plastic bags in garbage bins. These are picked up by safai karamcharis, who in turn face a health hazard.

It is learnt that only a few hospitals, including the General Hospital, are following other methods of safe disposal of biomedical waste such as burial method.

It may be noted that an incinerator was installed at the General Hospital here in the year 1997. Several local nursing homes and hospitals had tied up with the hospital for disposing of refuse generated by these through the incinerator. However, the authorities could not regulate its functioning. This was installed under a World Bank Project at a cost of over Rs 11 lakh and had a capacity of burning 30 kg of refuse in an hour.

Initially, the incinerator remained lying unutilised for a couple of months because the cost of running was very high. Electricity bill for running incinelator once a week cost the department Rs 10,000. In fact, the three initial runs of the machine had cost the department Rs 30,000 as electricity bill. Even the residents of the area had objected to the installation of incinerator near a residential area.

About one year ago, the incinerator developed a snag and has remained defunct since then. According to sources, the local health authorities had taken up the matter with the Director Health, Haryana, several times. However, with the whereabouts of company that was given the contract for its maintenance no longer known to the authorities, the incinerator cannot be repaired. The estimated cost of repair of the incinerator quoted by other firms is also quite high. 


Shops are the answer, not star nites
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, October 28
Chandigarh today boasts of big infrastructure in terms of sports complexes. Despite the new technology and more marketing avenues, UT sports complexes still present the same environment.

The vast sports complex in Sector 42, spread over hundreds of acres, has a worn-out astroturf for hockey players, a football ground and a badminton hall with three wooden courts. A new indoor hall for judo, weightlifting, wrestling and boxing will be completed next year. Chandigarh is now a centre of hockey players, but they still play at the six-a-side hockey ground.

Sports stadiums, which have not been renovated due to laxity on the part of officials concerned, are being used for star nites. Experts feel the badminton hall may also host similar shows. The cricket stadium, in Sector 16, also hosts shows and carnivals.

The UT Sports Department has the sports complex in Sector 46, which has facilities for a few outdoor sport events, under its purview. The sports complex in Sector 7 has an athletics track crying for a synthetic track, besides the poor wooden surface of its indoor hall for gymnastics.

None of these sports complexes have been made a source of revenue for the authorities. In South India, sports complexes have shops which are a permanent source of income. If the UT follows suit, the money generated can be utilised for sports-persons and infrastructure.

A former sportsperson opines that in foreign countries, club system prevails, wherein people pay more for playing.

This cannot materialise in India since people do not like spending lavishly on sports. Here the only solution can be to form a policy whereby revenue is earned by partly renting out such sports complexes. Allowing sports complexes to be used for shows will not serve the purpose.


Another animal dies in Chhat Bir Zoo
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, October 28
Yet another death, this time of a female mithun, in Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, has given another setback to wildlife preservation here. Sources disclosed that the mithun, a wild buffalo, died due to prolonged illness on late Saturday night. Health of the animal deteriorated on Friday evening.

The zoo authorities administered glucose and other medicines, but the animal could not be saved. The carcass was buried after conducting post-mortem examination at the park, here this evening.

With this incident the number of mithuns has reduced to three. This is the fourth death of a captive animal in Chhat Bir zoo in a month. Earlier, two lion cubs and a neel gai calf had died on October 16 and 17.

The zoo authorities had earlier procured manipuri deers from Delhi Zoo in exchange for mithuns and tigers.



NOT all VIP roads are in good shape. It may be surprising but true that the road leading upto the Chandigarh Golf Association’s Golf Range located just north-east of the Sukhna Lake may be as bad as roads in one of the southern sectors.

With so many people, who are often referred to as VIPs, travelling on this road, one expects the condition to be in top shape. However, what one encounters are potholes which spread to half the size of the road.

The entire ride is bumpy and the road is not in proper shape. Probably the Administration is missing one important aspect that the same road also connects Kishangarh village with Chandigarh. Several employees live here. In the morning the road is full of two wheelers and it becomes hazardous and difficult to even wriggle through in a four-wheeler.

A witty resident asked if any of the Administration’s senior officers were members of the golf range or not? Had it been the case then the road would have been re-carpeted religiously.

New BBMB chief

It is time for change at the top in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB). A new chairman, Mr Rakesh Nath, took over as Chairman of the BBMB. This was for the first time after two decades that a power generation engineer is heading the BBMB, the country’s biggest hydro-power producer. In the past 20 years the post has been held by irrigation engineers. The last power engineer to head the BBMB was Mr P.C. Alva.

In all these years the BBMB chairman has been an army man — usually of the rank of Maj-Gen. But while appointing the 51-year-old Mr Nath the Power Ministry was probably impressed by his 28 years of experience in the power sector in different organisations like the Central Electricity Authority, Power Trading Corporation, Northern Regional Electricity Board, Western Regional Electricity Board, National Thermal Power Corporation and the Rajasthan State Electricity Board.

Travel memorabilia

Mr Ravi Mann, a prominent photo artist and an art lover, has taken upon himself the onerous task of organising the city’s first ever exhibition on “travel memorabilia”.

“No one has perhaps ever done it before not only in Chandigarh but anywhere in this part of the northern region. Once I floated the idea, the response has been overwhelming,” says Mr Mann, who has his telephone ringing all the time with frequent travellers, holding travel memorabilia for 50 or more years wishing to participate in the exhibition to be held from Nov 5 to 10 at his studio in Sector 17.

“What we want the participants to exhibit are a number of items connected with travel and tourism,” says Mr Mann , maintaining that prospective participants could display a large number of items free of cost at the travel memorabilia.

Some of the probable items could be travel brochures, boarding passes, motel, hotel and tourist resorts information, city maps and guides, lifejackets from ships and aircraft, posters, hotel directories, menu cards, Atlas of London, picture postcards, hotel bills, ABC guides, classic bus tickets, anchors, ship stationery, bus timetables, inflight stationery, and even airline, rail and bus tickets of early 20th century or even older.

“Everyone who travels has some souvenir or memorabilia with him,” believes Mr Mann who also plans to organise a quiz on travel for school and college students on November 11, Sunday, the last day of the exhibition.

For further information, Mr Ravi Mann can be contacted over the telephone at 712597 or 741082.

Alumni association

The doctors of Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, practising in and around Chandigarh, have got together to form an Alumni Association. The purpose of forming this association, they say, is to provide a common platform for a cause.

Members of the association are specialists and super-specialists. To begin with 40 of them were together here in the first week of October when they organised their first meeting and debate on a sensitive issue of deteriorating doctor-patient relationship.

Following were elected office-bearers of the Association : Patrons — Dr Charanjit Singh, Dr S.K. Bansal and Dr Neelam Meta; President — Dr J.S. Cheema; Secretary — Dr S. Malhotra; Treasurer — Dr K.S. Dhillon and Executive committee members — Dr R.S. Bedi and Dr Ajay Sarna.

Jaggery flavours

With the winter season setting in, jaggery can be seen everywhere. Though there are many vendors selling jaggery, Sewa Singh has a special way of going about his business. He has a cart which is larger than many normal carts selling the product in town. Loaded on the cart is jaggery in about six to seven baskets (see picture), costing about Rs 20 to 30 per kg. There are about eight different flavours. Every morning he starts from Peer colony in Karsan village to head for the city. And every evening he returns satisfied after selling “at least one quintal of jaggery.”

Select band

Mr Ashok Gupta has joined the select band of bureaucrats who take time out from their officialdom to venture into creativity and take to writing books. His maiden book, “A Billion is Enough,” was released by the Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), at Punjab Raj Bhavan recently.

Mr Gupta, who is known for his love of Punjabi literature and poetry, ventured into serious writing and has proposed a thesis for solving the problem of population explosion. This book gives an analytical view of the problem of the growing population and its impact on the country’s socio-economic life.

General Jacob, while complimenting the young IAS officer, also appreciated the hard work put in by Mr Gupta in compiling his book, which he felt, could serve as a guideline for policy makers. He has not only talked about the problem but proposed a solution also.

His proposal of linking the birth control with social security and poverty alleviation is a new concept that needs to be given a serious consideration.

When humility performs

Last week the city witnessed a brilliant performance by Manganayars, SPIC MACAY’s guests, who had come all the way from Jaisalmer. On the day of their show, everyone in the gathering was surprised at their humility. It so happened that while they were at the best of their performance, the electricity supply went off. The time was the most crucial as the accompanying kalbelia dancer, Rekha, was just about to show the gathering how she would bend backwards to pick up ghungroo beads with her eyes.

The gathering did not, however, know that it was in for something better which could not have happened with electricity supply on. With no signs of frustration over the fact that there was no power back-up, the group continued with the feat. At first the lamplight was brought in for some brightness over the performance space. In the dim light provided by lit up flames, Rekha picked up the beads she had already placed on the floor. Then came her turn to lift three currency notes — two with her eyes and one with her lips. Now while the lamp remained placed on the stage, the group asked for another emergency tube. And just as it arrived, Rekha dazzled the visitors with her feat and charms.

While the show was in progress, someone from among the gathering remarked, “Had some big time star been performing, he would have created a fuss over the fact that there was no generator. But look at them. They are so devoted to art that power does not matter to them.” Later Anwar Khan Manganyar reacted to the entire situation by saying, “Hamare gaon mein kaunsa bijli hoti hai. Hamare asli hunar to bijli ke bagair hi ubarta hai.” After hearing this statement, one knew the real worth of these artistes. Now food for fast!

The city is getting smarter by the day. And whether we realise it or nor it has an answer to every problem. The latest solution which the city women lapped up during the last nine days of navratras was the special “vrat ki thali” introduced this season by a famous food chain in the city. Where earlier the housewives had to spend hours deciding upon what to cook during the days of fast, this time they had it easy with a thali awaiting them every day. Available at a reasonable price, the thali sold like hot cakes. Cooked as this special vrat food was in pure desi ghee, the women had no qualms eating it. No wonder on all the nine days of the festival, the food joint remained heavily packed up!

Invalid votes

The counting for the graduate constituency of the Panjab University Senate recorded a very high percentage of invalid voting. The count of invalid votes was nearly 10 per cent.

In a lighter vein, the high figures of invalid voting is a reflection on “illiterate voters” for a seat governing issues of literates, a fellow says.

As many as 8585 votes were registered invalid in the total of 55,554. The number was shown as high as 9050 in the first count. Then another 254 votes were discovered invalid during counting.

The high figures of invalid votes raised doubts among several candidates and they demanded a recount. On a recount as many as 719 among these were found valid. Candidates and candidates pointed several flaws in the existing norms which led to doubts during the process.

MI Room

The Army’s MI Room, presently functioning in Sector 8, is being shifted to Sector 21. Since the MI Room here caters to ex-servicemen, it was thought that the new location is more centrally located and hence more convenient.

The new MI Room will be located in the premises of the UT Sainik Rest House, which is opposite Hotel Aroma. Repair and renovation works are going on, for which a grant of Rs 1 lakh has been sanctioned by Headquarters, Western Command.

Meanwhile, the CSD canteen located on the Rest House’s ground floor is being moved to the basement in the adjoining building which houses the offices of the Punjab Sainik Welfare Department. While all grocery items will soon be available from the basement, which will be air conditioned, the liquor counter will remain in its present location.

— Sentinel


Govt land abuse continues
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, October 28
In the past four months, over two dozen unauthorised jhuggis have come up on vacant government land in the residential area of Sector 40-B resulting in problems for residents. The jhuggies were erected by the labourers working at a unit which was laying concrete slabs and manholes. The unit is believed to be supplying the output to a private telephone company laying underground telephone cables.

Enquires revealed that for the past several years, the land had been used for such jobs, but the cluster of jhuggies had come up only recently.

When contacted, Mr Gyanesh Bharti, Subdivisional Magistrate (South and East), said he was not aware of the unit. However, he said that any such unit in the residential area and jhuggies was “unauthorised” and added that he would look into the matter. The Delhi-based contractor was said to be out of the city and hence could not be contacted.

Residents of the area are demanding removal of the jhuggies as well as the unit. They complain that the noise coming out of the gravel and cement-mixing machine as well as the generator of the unit had become a headache for them and was also effecting the studies of their children.

Mr Gopal Mahajan, an advocate and Honorary Secretary of the Housing Welfare Association, Sector 40B alleged that the labourers defecated in the open and caused nuisance for the residents.

When this correspondent visited the site this afternoon, over 20 workers were engaged in manufacturing slabs and other concrete items. He was told by the employees that they were doing “government’s job”, but they later admitted that it was a private contractor’s unit supplying slabs and manholes to a private telephone company. A hand pump fitted with electric motor had also been dug adjacent to the unit.

However, employees at the unit claimed that they were not causing any trouble to the residents and would be winding up the unit in the next few months.

The unit is adjacent to Mr Vijay Kumar Mittal’s house. He claims that he had approached the authorities concerned several times, but to no avail. He also said that on several occasions, the residents had to call the police when workers at the unit tried to carry on their work in the adjacent park.

Mr S.S. Chatha, President of the Welfare Association, who himself is a contractor said, “We demand that the authorities remove the unit and the jhuggies”.

Recently, the Welfare Association send a memorandum to the Advisor to the Administrator-cum-Secretary, Environment and Pollution Control Chandigarh, Ms Neeru Nanda, to intervene. 


“Factionalism is every party’s bane”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Mr O.P. Kohli, National Secretary of the BJP and in charge of Chandigarh BJP affairs, today said the Congress Party did no have any concrete issue for contesting elections.

Speaking at a function organised by the local unit of the BJP to celebrate its golden jubilee, Mr Kohli said the Congress could only criticise the National Democratic Alliance.

During his half-an-hour speech, Mr Kohli said the BJP did not believe in the politics of confrontation. On the contrary, they believed in cooperation and understanding. It was for this reason that there was an alliance of 24 political parties at the Centre. He claimed that there were no allegations against their MP and ministers. “All of them know that they are under strict surveillance of the public. Therefore, they must devote themselves to the welfare of the public”, he said.

“The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, not only holds consultations with partners in the alliance, but also with Opposition parties. It is for this reason that there has never been any misunderstanding,” he remarked.

Mr Kohli, who apparently came here to bridge the gulf between different factions of the party, said the BJP had launched various welfare schemes for ameliorating the lot of the poor. With the intention of helping the poorest among the poor, the party had started a scheme to provide foodgrain at the lowest rates. He said the Union Government had also enhanced the Defence Budget with a view to improving national security and introduced crop insurance for helping farmers.

Dwelling on the past history of the party, he said the BJP came into being a little over 50 years ago, Successive failures of the Congress became the gains of the BJP. In the 1952 parliamentary elections, the BJP bagged only three seats and polled 3 per cent of the total votes. Now the total number of seats that the BJP got in the last parliamentary election was 160 and it polled 25 per cent of the votes. At the same time there was a decline in the number of seats that the Congress got. Its vote bank also dwindled, said Mr Kohli.

He hoped that in the forthcoming elections of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the BJP would get all seats.

Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal. Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, who was also invited to speak at the Golden Jubilee function of the party, praised the leadership of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. He said the BJP laid emphasis on sacrifices, contentment and renunciation.

During his two-year rule, Mr Vajpayee has proved to the world that India would not compromise on self respect. He declined the invitation of the USA to visit that country and hold dialogue with the Pakistan President. He said until all infiltrators were withdrawn, he would not hold a talks with Pakistan.

Again, when Mr Parvez Musharraf came to Agra for a summit, said Mr Dhumal, Mr Vajpayee told him that there would not be any compromise on Kashmir. He also laid emphasis on cross -border terrorism.

He said during the Congress rule, there was hardly any respect for those who were killed in war. However, during the BJP regime, all jawans were extended full respect. Their bodies were handed over to their families and they were cremated with full national honour.

Pointing out the factionalism in the local unit of the party, Mr Dhumal said factionalism would ruin any political party. He requested on the local leadership to sink its differences and work for the progress of the party unitedly.

Earlier, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, Convener of the local unit of the BJP, said he was assigned certain duties by the party high command. These included reorganising the party, bringing different groups in the party together and to gearup the party for the forthcoming Corporation elections. By arranging a massive show of the workers, he told his leaders, he had succeeded in achieving his goal. Different factions of the party assembled at the Golden Jubilee function and spoke on the occasion.

Prominent among others who address the workers were, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former M.P., Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, Mr Jai Ram Joshi, Mr Des Raj Tandon, Mr Purushotam Mahajan, Mr Neeraj Tayal and Mr Prem Sagar Jain.

Earlier, certain old workers of the BJP were honoured with shawls.



Hold ward-wise meetings: Kalita
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Mr Bhuvneshwar Kalita, Secretary, All-India Congress Committee and in charge of the affairs of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, today visited the city and held a meeting with office-bearers of the party and gathered information about the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and Panchayat Samiti elections.

Addressing Congress leaders, Mr Kalita asked the workers to convene ward-wise meetings in the city. He said those office-bearers who were not contesting the elections would be made in-charge of the campaign of wards.

He also asked district presidents to hold sector-level meetings and to prepare a charge sheet against the BJP for its five-year rule in the corporation. He told the workers that senior Congress leaders would visit the city during the corporation elections. He said loyalty of the workers and their winning prospects would be taken into account at the time of issuing tickets.

Earlier, Mr B.B. Bahl, President, CTCC, told Mr Kalita that the party was fully geared up for the corporation election. He said during the BJP-SAD rule no developmental work was done in the city.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, Chandigarh, told Mr Kalita that there was a strong wave in favour of the Congress and the BJP would be routed in the corporation elections.

The CTCC has constituted a campaign and manifesto committee. The committee would take up local, national and ward-wise issues during the elections. Mr Bansal and Mr Venod Sharma, a former Chandigarh Territorial chief, said the CTCC would jointly contest the elections and would field the candidates who enjoyed good image.



Sukhi condemns police action
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 28
A former President of the local civic body, Mr Sukhjeet Singh Sukhi, today condemned the police action of allegedly implicating him in a false case of gambling. The name of the former councillor had been mentioned along with six other property dealers for allegedly indulging in gambling at Majestic Hotel in Phase IX here on October 26.

It is alleged that the police had not booked some property dealers close to certain police officials, who were part of the raiding team. Talking to mediapersons, Mr Sukhi claimed that when the police raided room no. 104, he was sitting with the Managing Director of the hotel. He said the police officials held some grudge against him, due to which his name was added to the police records. “The FIR mentioned that they were gambling on the roof of the hotel, whereas the property dealers were sitting in room no 104 of the hotel”, he said. A hotel room was a private place, he claimed.

Mr Harminder Bajaj, former President of the Mohali Property Dealers Association, who was among these sitting in the room when the police raided the hotel, said around 10 property dealers were attending a private party when SI Gurcharan Singh entered the room. He did not deny that the persons had gathered in the room for gambling. After that, some of the property dealers were asked to sign blank papers and were released on bail. Mr Preet Inder Singh, one of the property dealers named in the case also said that he was made to sign a blank paper.

Mr Bajaj said no money was lying on the table and the persons sitting there were asked to take out money from their pockets. The police has recovered Rs 46,000 from the possession of the gamblers. The raid was conducted owing to rivalry between two groups of property dealers.

The other persons booked were Shalinder alias Anand, Preet Inder Singh, Devinder Pal Singh, Harbhajan, Sanjay Oberoi alias Sanju, Sunil Kumar while one of the property dealers was yet to be arrested. Last evening the police had raided Majestic Hotel in Phase 9 here.

It may be mentioned that the police had kept the names of the persons indulging in gambling a closely guarded secret on the night of the raids. Officials were also not forthcoming with the details.


Rajesh Pilot remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Gujjar Samaj Kalyan Parishad today held a series of programmes in memory of Rajesh Pilot, former Union Minister, on the Rajesh Pilot Memorial Gujjar Bhavan Complex.

Ms Rama Pilot MP and the wife of Rajesh Pilot, released a Gujjar Samaj directory and launched a website on the occasion. A blood donation camp was also organised in which 42 persons donated blood. A PGI team conducted the camp.

Mr R.P. Singh, Mr Nirmal Bhatian and Mr Bhagat Ram Chauhan, members of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, also spoke on the occasion. The function was also attended by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Mr K.P. Singh, DIG (CID), Haryana, and Mr Mohammed Mustafa, DIG, Punjab.

A large number of Congress leaders, including Mr P.V. Narsimha Rao, Mr V.P. Singh, Mr I.K. Gujral, all former Prime Ministers, Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr Karan Singh, both Congress leaders, Mr Suraj Bhan, Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Mr M.S. Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner, and Mr K.P.S. Gill, former DGP, Punjab, sent messages to the Gujjar Samaj Kalyan Parishad on the occasion. Mr Amrik Singh Gujjar, President of the Parishad also addressed the audience.


Kirtan darbar concludes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 28
The seventh kirtan darbar in Sector 40 in connection with the birthday celebrations of Guru Ram Dass Ji, concluded here today.

Recital of Gurbani by prominent ragi jathas which started at five last evening concluded this morning. Thousands of devotees from various parts of the city and adjoining townships listened the kirtan.

The darbar was organised by the management committee of Gurdwara Arjan Dev, Sector 40, and Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji Gurmat Sangeet Academic Trust.


Final rounds for Grasim Mr India
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 28
About 124 young men will be competing for the final phase of the coveted title “Grasim Mr India” at the northern regional round of the eight “Grasim Mr India” contest at hotel Mount View here tomorrow.

The final contest which will be held in Bangalore on February 23, has been divided into four regional level zones namely, North, South, West and East. From about 12,000 entries from all over the country, a special committee shortlisted about 752 participants for the regional rounds, the North having the maximum number of 380 contestants.

“Grasim Mr India” was conceptualised as a tribute to the Indian male, and organised by the Aditya Birla Group, one of India’s largest business conglomerates. The contest today ranks foremost among male personality pageants in the country.



Shobha yatra organised
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 28
Thousands of members of the Valmiki Samaj today took out a shobha yatra in connection with the Pragat Divas of Lord Valmiki (November 1) from Dadu Majra Colony to Sector 20-C Prachin Valmiki Mandir today.

The convoy of trucks, two-wheelers and bicycles was flagged off by Mr Babu Lal, director of the Social Welfare Department. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local MP, was the chief guest at the function held at the termination of the yatra in Sector 20. Mr Bansal said he would take up the matter of the lifting of ban on issuing of Schedule Caste certificates in the winter session of Parliament.

Mr Banarsi Dass, Principal Conservator, Haryana, and Mr Balraj Singh, patron of the Chandigarh Pradesh Valmiki Sabha, highlighted the problems being faced by members of the samaj. A cultural programme was also held.

A two-day mela at Dadu Majra would also be held in connection with the birthday celebrations from October 31. During the period, a Valmiki jagran and satsang on Valmiki would also be held.


Resident gets anthrax scare
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Sector 8 resident Rajiv Bali has reported that he has received an anonymous letter containing a note that the letter contains anthrax. The police has sent the letter to the PGI for laboratory analysis. A case under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Sector 3 police station.

Woman arrested

A resident of Benaras, Manju Singh has been arrested by the police after she was caught red-handed while trying to sell fake gold items to Mr Vipin Kumar, a booth owner in Sector 35. A case has been registered.

House burgled

Sector 22 resident Nazar Nawab Singh has reported that his house was broken into while he was out of station. A video cassette player, a telephone set, gold jewellery, two wrist watches, a Parker pen and cash amounting to Rs 15,000 has been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen

The theft of a Maruti car (CH-01-T-9695) from outside his residence was reported by Sector 46 resident, Amit Gupta. A case has been registered.

Mobile phone stolen

A resident of Darwa Village, Munish Sharma, has lodged a complaint that his mobile phone was stolen from his car (CH-03-A-1121) while it was parked at the Grain Market, Sector 26. A case has been registered.


4 booked

The police booked four persons namely Raj Kumar, Balkar Singh, Saminder Singh and Balbir Singh in the Ramlila artiste beating up case, here today.

The accused were charged with trespassing, rioting and beating up of Ramlila artiste on Friday after the Dasehra celebrations. A case has been registered under Sections 506, 451, 427, 149 and 147 of the IPC.

Earlier, Mr Ravinder Vaishnav, head of the Ramlila Committee, Dera Bassi, had complained to the police alleging that some armed persons had trespassed the Ramlila stage, beat up the artiste and damaged goods.

The police has impounded two scooters which the accused had left at the spot before fleeing.



A couple was seriously injured when the scooter on which they were travelling was hit by a vehicle near Majhri chowk, on Sunday. M.S. Sodhi and his wife, Jaswinder Kaur Sodhi, were reportedly hit when they were coming from Pinjore. They were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6, and are stated to be in a stable condition.



A 16-year-old girl committed suicide by consuming poison here on Sunday. The girl, Sunita, was rushed to the PGI, where she died. The police has registered a case.


Body found

The body of Rajbir (35), a labourer, was found lying near PUDA flats in Sector 66, here today.

According to information, he has been identified by labourers working in the area. Though the cause of the death will be ascertained after the autopsy, there was reported to be minor marks on his head.


Coir mattress launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
JJ Foams launched coir mattresses here today.

Speaking about the product, Mr J. K. Khandelwal, Managing Director, said: “The mattress is made of rubberised coir and has a firm, thick base to support the body weight without sagging.

The porous configuration inside facilitates free flow of air and assures anti-stress effect”.

A dealers’ meet was also organised here.

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