Saturday, November 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

 

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

 

 

Court puts brakes on regularising structures
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Acting on an application filed by a city resident, Dr B. Singh, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the operation of a notice issued by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority for regularising all structures in the periphery of Chandigarh. The notice was issued, following a decision by the Punjab Government to regularise all structures raised upto November 3.

In an open court here today, the Bench comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar directed: “No construction shall be carried out or continued in the area covered by the notice.”

The Judges told Punjab, the Union of India, Chandigarh Administration and the other respondents: “The Government of Haryana and its functionaries are also restrained from regularising structures in the periphery falling within its jurisdiction that have been erected in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952.”

In their three-page order, the Judges also directed PUDA to inform the public through notices in newspapers that construction in the periphery without obtaining permission from the competent authority was illegal.

The Judges further asked the petitioner to handover the copies of his application to the counsel of the Government of India, the Chandigarh Administration, the Government of Haryana and the Punjab Advocate General.

In his application, Dr B. Singh had asked for restraining respondents from regularising or permitting illegal construction in view of the notice.

The petitioner had also sought directions to the respondents against granting permission, exemption or licence in the periphery control area plan of Chandigarh. The case will now come up for further hearing before the Bench on November 26.
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A shortlived euphoria
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 9
The order of the Division Bench has come as a setback to the Punjab Government. With elections in sight, the government had extended the cut-off date for regularising illegal structures in the periphery to November 3. The people had been demanding that the deadline should be extended to December 31, which would have given them enough time to raise structures. It was said that the Akali Dal government had made this move to woo voters of the Kharar and Morinda Assembly segments where dissident Akalis had a strong hold on them. Voters of Banur, Nabha and Rajpura Assembly segments would have benefited from the move.

The euphoria among residents of the periphery was shortlived as the High Court stay order came within six days.

However, the High Court order would not come in way of the move of the state government to constitute a Notified Area Committee at Naya Gaon and Kansal. This means that influential persons in Naya Gaon need not bother anymore. The number of unauthorised structures in the other parts of the periphery were, comparatively, less. It would allow those who had land in Kansal to undertake change of land-use even after the High Court stay order.

Though officials of PUDA said no copy of the High Court order had been received, the decision left PUDA with the option of implementing the demolition orders. Cases under the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act of 1952 that have been going on in courts would also continue.
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MCC elections on December 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) and 15 Panchayat members, first time since 1966 for panchayats, will be held simultaneously on December 8.

The decision on the date of counting has not yet been taken.

This was announced here today by the Joint Election Commissioner to the Municipal Corporations and Panchayats, UT, Chandigarh and Delhi, Mr. D. N. Khaneta, while talking to reporters.

The UT Administration which was required to inform the date to the Election Commission has communicated December 8 as the date for the elections.

The call upon notice to the people and the notification would be issued on November 13, the day when nominations for the elections will start.

The model code of conduct designed to check efforts to unethically influence the voter either by political parties or the government, will come into force from November 13.

The last date of nomination will be November 20 and that of withdrawal November 24.

The scrutiny of nomination papers will be on November 21.

The date for the start of nominations for panchayats has yet not been decided as the minimum campaign period for the corporation and panchayat elections differs.

The minimum campaign period for the corporation is 14 days, while that of panchayat samiti is seven days.

The Election Commission will hold a meeting with officials on November 12, where the Election Commissioner, Mr S. Malaichamy, will take stock of the preparations for the elections. Mr Malaichamy will reach here on Sunday.

He will hold a meeting with political parties the next day when the model code of conduct and preparations for the elections would be explained to them.

The campaign for the elections will end at 5 p.m. on December 6.

The date for the beginning of nominations for the panchayats is likely to be notified after Mr Malaichamy has held meetings with officials and political parties by November 13.

The elections will be supervised by five returning officers and 10 assistant returning officers.

The election to 15 panchayat samiti members will be held through a direct vote by around 1,00,000 electorate zone-wise as per an amended Punjab Panchayat Act.

The act has been amended recently after the Punjab and Haryana High Court held the last elections null and void due to failure to complete the election process.

As per the provisions of the original Punjab Panchayat Act, six panchayat members were to be elected from constituencies, while remaining nine from among 17 sarpanches.

The provision left no seconders and proposers for all candidates, which resulted in the elections not being held for nine seats.

In the situation, elections of six constituency-based members were also not notified and the panchayat samiti was not formed.

The last and the first MCC House was constituted on December 23, 1996.

It had 13 members of the BJP, two of its alliance partner, the Akali Dal, three of former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan-led Samajwadi Janata Party, one of the Congress and one Independent.
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POLL REFORMS
Coalition politics ‘impedes’ consensus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
With the emergence of coalition politics, reaching a consensus on poll reforms among the constituents often becomes difficult delaying decision-making. But the Election Commission and the government, on the one hand, and the government and the political parties on the other hand, are ever in a dialogue, both formal and informal, on the need for having a relook at the existing poll legislation to bring about possible and necessary changes in the electoral process.

These views were expressed by the Election Commissioner, Mr T.S. Krishnamurthy at a press conference here today, where he talked about the discussions he had had with the Punjab officers, the Chief Electoral Officer, Mr G.S. Cheema, and the Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Ms Usha Sharma, on the issue of the electors’ photo identity cards (EPIC).

Among several pending issues before the government were the criminalisation of politics, the size of the family of a candidate and providing a level playing field to the political parties in power and in the opposition. ‘’The sooner poll reforms are introduced, the better it will be’’. At the informal level, the Commission had even raised the issue of the poll expenses incurred by the contestants and the loopholes in the present legislation regarding the ceiling on expenditure. The money pumped in by friends and political parties was excluded from the expenditure.

The Election Commission was an independent and neutral body working as per the Constitution. Any amendments to the election legislation approved by the government would be implemented. A dialogue with the government and the political parties to arrive at acceptable reforms through consensus would provide ‘’teeth’’ to the commission. But he would not say that the government was ‘’slow’’ in accepting its suggestions on poll reforms.

Mr Krishnamurthy said it would be desirable if President’s rule was imposed for a limited period, simultaneously with the announcement of elections in a state. Such a step would project a non-partisan attitude at the time of the formation of a government. There was always scope for improvements in any system, including the conducting of elections, he added.

The experience of five state assembly elections, held recently, showed that the use of the EPIC and the electronic voting machine, EVM, had a desirable effect ensuring smooth, peaceful, orderly and transparent polling. Even the number of incidents of ballot snatching and booth capturing was minimised. The system turned out to be cost-effective. The use of the EPIC and the EVM also saved on time for conducting the poll and counting of votes. Consequently, election-related petitions had been few.

Mr Krishnamurthy defended the use of the EVM. Its efficacy and efficiency having been proved beyond doubt by independent technical experts as also the Supreme Court. It could not be tampered with but human error was not ruled out — genuine difficulties in operation. The demand from other Asian and African countries for EVMs only showed how successful these were, he added.

There were about 600 registered political parties in the country and at least 100-odd were national or state level.

Referring to Punjab, he said the commission would hold simultaneous elections in the state, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. The term of the Punjab Assembly would end on March 2 and of Uttar Pradesh on March 26. Therefore, the announcement will be four to six weeks prior to that. The commission would prefer a one-day poll.
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Stop demolition of fences: HC
Tribune News Service

Demolitions stopped

The Chief Administrator of PUDA, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, said although the authority was yet to receive a copy of the high court order staying removal of encroachments, the drive had been stopped till the legal position was clear. Ever since the drive was launched, the demolition squad of PUDA had cleared encroachments from Phases 1 to 7.

Chandigarh, November 9
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta issued a notice of motion for December 14 here today on an application filed by 111 SAS Nagar residents for permitting fences around “beautified areas”, staying demolition for the meantime.

The applicants had, earlier, sought directions to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority and the PUDA Administrator to permit the setting up of railings and fences, similar to the ones used by the authorities, for protecting public parks and open spaces in SAS Nagar.

The applicants — Manjeet Singh and others — said they feared the demolition of fences by the PUDA authorities. They said fences were not traffic hazards or encroachment on public land.

The counsel for the petitioners had also sought directions on the behalf of the residents for quashing a notification of September 24, 1998, The notice required corner-plot owners to pay 50 per cent of the current market land rate for using small green spaces.

Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar had, earlier, directed PUDA and the other respondents to issue inform the public through newspaper advertisements, asking residents to remove encroachments within a specified time or see these be removed by the authorities concerned.

The Judges had fixed November 20 as the next date of hearing in a case filed by the SAS Nagar Anti-encroachment Committee through its chief, Mr N.S. Minhas and told the PUDA counsel to tell the officials concerned not to destroy the greenery. Only obstructions were to be removed, the Judges had said.

In its petition, the committee had sought directions for the removal of encroachment and obstructions. Mr Minhas had also sought directions to the government agencies for “enforcing the provisions of law to remove the encroachment”. He had also said the VIPs had taken the lead in encroaching upon public land due to leniency on part of PUDA and the other residents had soon followed their example.
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Panel moots inclusion of over 2,000 acres in
Naya Gaon NAC
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
A committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, has recommended inclusion of at least 2,010 acres of land in the proposed Notified Area Committee in Naya Gaon area. Land of four villages, Nadha, Kansal, Naya Gaon, Karoran (Choti Karoran and Baddi Karoran) would form a part of the NAC.

However, to include the land of Nadha, Karoran and Nadha villages, protected under various sections of the Forest Act and the Land Preservation Act, the Local Government Department has been asked to get clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Showing its concern for the environment and at the same time not compromising with the aim of the ‘powers that be’, the committee has kept the forest area covered under thick plantation out the proposed limits of the NAC.

The vast tracks of agricultural land covered under the forest Act have been recommended for inclusion in the NAC. The committee, consisting of Regional Director of Local Government, Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Kharar, Tehsildar and officials of the Town and Planning Department, have been forwarded to the Local Government.

Earlier the state Local Government Department and the Town and Country Planning Department had objected to the inclusion of Kansal and Nadha in the NAC. The objection of Kansal being landlocked by UT’s land, including forest area, has been set aside.

Sources in the government said the committee had found that the basic annual from the area came to around Rs 10 lakh and could be hiked to Rs 15 lakh by way of imposing certain tax fees on development and for providing basic amenities. Income from fee imposed of commercial establishments could jack up the resources of the NAC.

However, there was apprehension among the villagers of Nadha and Karoran (residing in the area for the past many years and well within the abadi area) that for generating resources to fund the NAC, the government might put undue burden on them.

The gram panchayats of the villages proposed to be included in the NAC have reportedly filled affidavits giving their consent. The gram panchayats would not get funds once they were included in the NAC. Manjit Singh, a resident of Nadha asked, ‘‘Why should we pay for the taxes as only the influential people having stakes in the area would be benefitting’’. 
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Petrol price up by 24 paise, diesel by 16
Industries’ panel flays hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The price of petrol in the city will rise by 24 paise to a litre and diesel will go up by 16 paise to a litre, following a hike affected by the Government of India today.

At present the cost of petrol in Chandigarh is Rs 29.02 per litre, while diesel costs Rs 16.69 per litre. The new price will be Rs 29.26 and Rs 16.85 per litre for petrol and diesel, respectively.

 

Chandigarh

Panchkula

S.A.S. Nagar

 

Old/New

Old/New

Old/New

Petrol

Rs 29.02/29.26

Rs 28.65/28.87

Rs 29.60/29.84

Diesel

Rs 16.69/16.85

Rs 16.46/16.61

Rs 16.70/16.86

*The price in Chandigarh has been rounded off to the last paise, while the prices in Panchkula and Mohali are on an approximate basis.

The hike has come about as petroleum dealers have been demanding an increase in commission. At present commission on total sales is 1.50 per cent. With the hike it will go up to 2 per cent. However, Mr Amanpreet Singh, general secretary of the Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association, said: “We were promised something else as we were given to understand that dealer's commission will go up to 3 per cent of the sales.”

On August 20 dealers had called a countrywide strike following a promise by the Union Petroleum Ministry to increase the commission of petroleum dealers across the country.

Criticising the hike Mr Rajeev Gupta, general secretary of the Federation of Small-Scale Industries, said this was no time to hike the cost of petrol and diesel as it will have a cascading affect on the industry, which is already reeling under recession and competition from multinational companies.
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Lok Adalat settles 360 cases in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 9
As many as 360 cases were settled, while Rs 44-55 lakh was awarded as compensation amount to the litigants in MACT cases in a Special Lok Adalat organised at the Sector-17 District Courts here today. The lok adalat also settled 1,048 summary cases and also realised Rs 86, 250 as fine.

Justice N.K. Sodhi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, and the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, visited various courts and discussed the aims and objections of holding lok adalats. They also participated in the proceedings of various adalats.

Mr B.C. Gupta, Member Secretary of the State Legal Services Authority, stated that the adalat takes up all categories of Civil cases, including matrimonial disputes, bank disputes, service matters, landlord-tenants controversies, MACT cases, compoundable criminal cases etc. For the first time, the lok adalat also settled a number of cases relating to the violations of building lying pending with the Estate Office. The cases lying pending with the Executive Magistrates were also taken up and settled by the lok adalat.

Mr B.C. Gupta said two special hoardings were being installed on the premises of the District Courts on which various benefits extended to the public under the Legal Service Authorities Act would be displayed in Hindi, Punjabi and English for the general public.

The adalats began in the morning. For the convenience of litigants, two make-shift reception-cum-enquiry counters, with details of the cases fixed before the various adalats, were also set up near the main gate of the District Courts. Literature to impart legal awareness and information about the available legal services, besides persons eligible for free counselling, was also distributed by the local State Legal Services Authority.

Meanwhile, Justice N.K. Sodhi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, inaugurated the Legal Aid Cell, in the Model Jail. The cell has been set up to provide on-the-spot legal assistance to the inmates of the jail. A law officer will be available on all working days to render the legal services and assistance to the inmates of the Model Jail. The President of the District Bar Association, Mr H.S. Hundal, thanked the advocates.
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CTU strike has little impact
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The four-hour pen-down and tool-down strike by the UT and the MC employees here today did not have much impact on normal life in the city. There was only a partial “chakka jam” when the CTU buses went off road for two hours today.

The Administration deputed officials like the Director Public Relations , Joint Secretary Home and the OSD to the Home Secretary to make a physical verification of those who were present in the UT Secretariat. Senior officials were asked to make similar checks and report to the Administration.

The Administration had told employees of various wings of the MC and the Administration, who were on strike today, that it would be “no work no pay” for them.

The coordination committee of the employees’ unions had said the strike would be complete as the Administration was not meeting its genuine demand of bonus.

The CTU commuters were affected to an extent by the strike, as they had to depend on rickshawpullers and autorickshaw drivers in the morning.

The Administration had said all genuine demands of the unions had been discussed in detail at an October 19 meeting attended by the UT Home Secretary. 
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Raid yields 38 kg of recycled polythene
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
In order to ensure that the ban on polybags was implemented, a team of MC officials today raided a house in Sector 19 in the wee hours of the morning and seized 38 kg of recycled polythene. The Executive Officer of MC, Mr O.P. Sihag, said that they had launched a special drive to check that the ban on polythene was implemented strictly.

Meanwhile, it had been decided to set up an environment committee in order to ensure that the city maintained its eco-friendly image.

This was decided at a meeting called by the Panchkula Municipal Council here yesterday. The meeting was presided over by the SDM, Panchkula, Mr M.S. Yadav. The Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Mr Sihag was also present on the occasion. Representatives of all residents welfare associations, beopar mandals, traders’ bodies and representatives from administration were also present in order to discuss the ban on polybags.

Those present at the meeting pledged not to use recycled polythene bags and also assured that they would try to ensure that others too stopped its usage. It was also suggested that a treatment plant for used polythene be set up in the district.

Other than the issue of ban of polybags, the issue of keeping the city clean and green was also taken up. Congress grass menace, problem of sanitation, solid waste management and stray cattle in the township, were also discussed. Residents said that congress grass was widespread in the vacant land of HUDA and even the road berms were unkempt. The officers assured that all possible steps would be taken in order to solve these problems. After the meeting, Mr Yadav, accompanied by Mr Sihag visited the Sector 4 Apni Mandi to check if recycled polybags were being used. They reportedly did not come across the usage of such bags.

Among others present on the occasion were scientists from Environment Department, Mr V.K. Garg and Mr M.R. Manchanda from the pollution control department.
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Scrapping of Anandgarh project welcomed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
An announcement by Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to scrap the Anandgarh project has been welcomed by Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, president of the Pind Bachao Committee, a body of villagers who were uprooted to house the city of Chandigarh.

The committee had put its best efforts by submitting a mercy petition on July 5, 2001, seeking justice for the people of the 29 villages which were to be acquired for the proposed township of Anandgarh. Mr Badheri urged Mr Badal to implement the Municipal Act in all the 407 villages which form part of the periphery of Chandigarh.
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Jacob opens Chandigarh Fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Governor of Punjab and Administrator of UT, Chandigarh, Lt-Gen JFR Jacob, today inaugurated a four-day Chandigarh Fair 2001, an annual event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry at Parade Grounds, Sector 17, here.

In his speech, the Governor congratulated the CII for taking the initiative of organising the fair which was the fifth in the series. He noted that the Indian industry was currently facing a difficult phase. At this particular time, consumer fairs gained significant importance as they could be seen as a vehicle for better and closer interaction with the consumer. CII had appropriately organised the CII Chandigarh Fair during the festive season.

The Governor said that many cities had become known because of trade fairs. Hannover was one outstanding example. Chandigarh had the potential to grow into a trade fair and convention city. CII had put forward a proposal on this. It would indeed be an opportunity for the Administration and the CII to work on this together. The CII fair was quite different from the various business and sectoral Fairs, which are organised by CII. This fair had a focus on the consumer directly. It was important for manufacturers to have a direct networking with consumers.

Earlier, Mr Hari S. Bhartia, Chairman, CII (northern region), welcomed the Governor. Accompanied by the officials of the CII, the Governor also went round the fair.

A high point on the City Beautiful’s event calendar, this year’s trade fair keeps up with the changing times with two new special pavilions covering infotech and finance. With the participation of over 100 companies, the fair also is an umbrella for four other concurrent exhibitions.

The new innovation ICE 2001 is an exposition on infotech, communication and entertainment, showcasing the products of top companies like BSNL, Sharp, Spice, Intel and HP, Pugmarks, Apple Computers and Maya Academy, among others. Finmart 2001 presents a window to the world of banking and finance.

The other expositions at Chandigarh Fair 2001 are: consumer fair 2k1: everything for the consumer; good health 2001: for healthy minds and healthy bodies; the North India Auto Show: automobiles plus…; Décor 2001: accessories for smart and stylish homes and offices. 
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Residential complex for medicos inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Lt. Gen. JFR Jacob (retd.), today formally inaugurated the Residential Complex for Group C and D employees of the Government Medical College and Hospital at Sector 32, Chandigarh. This residential complex, having 120 three-storeyed flats of Types I, II and III has been constructed at a cost of Rs 3.30 crore in a record period of one-and-a-half years.

“Good work done in time”, is how the administrator summed up his impression of the residential complex in the post-inaugural speech. Stressing the fact that Chandigarh Administration aimed to provide residents with high class medical facilities and improve their quality of life, the administrator informed the audience about the status of various health projects in the city.

He said that on the completion of the C block, the Medical College would have 500 beds. In addition, PGIMER was already providing excellent health facilities and the Sector 16 General Hospital was also posed for expansion with the addition of an extra floor and a hundred beds. The Tuberculosis Hospital would be inaugurated within two months and the existing polyclinic in Sector 45 was also being upgraded to provide indoor services.

Speaking about the Medical College Project, General Jacob said that the Medical College and Hospital was the biggest project of Chandigarh Administration with total outlay of Rs 225 crore. The hospital was being equipped with latest equipment to make it the most modern hospital of the region.

He said that the construction of the Special Residential Block fulfils the long pending demand for constructing houses for Group C and D employees. The staff of Medical College and Hospital has to perform emergency duties and their presence was essential in the vicinity of the Hospital. The Chandigarh Administration has earmarked 22 acre of land in Sector 48 for building residences for the staff of GMCH, planning of which has been finalised by the Architecture Department.

On this occasion, Chief Architect, Mr Sarabjit Sandhu, gave a project report. The 36 Type I houses have the provision of two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a WC and a scooter garage. The 54 Type II houses have the provision of a drawing room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a WC. Similarly 36 Type III houses have the provision of two-bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, a WC, a verandah and a scooter garage.

Earlier, the Director Principal, GMCH, Dr S.B.S. Mann, welcomed the guests and talked about the earlier visits of the Governor to GMCH. Dr Raj Bahadur, MS, GMCH proposed a vote of thanks at the end of the function.

Adviser to the Administrator, Miss Neeru Nanda; Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral; Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh and Director Health Services, Dr Rameshwar Chander were also present on the occasion.
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Rally against use, sale of crackers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
To bring about awareness among children and public, about 1400 students and all staff members of Government Girls’ Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18-C, led by the Principal, Ms Rajesh Minhas, today took out a rally to give wide publicity to the anti-crackers campaign.

Ms Minhas administered the oath to the students who pledged not to use crackers during Divali.

The chief guest on the occasion, Mr S.K. Sharma, president, Environment Society of India, flagged off the rally, which went around the entire sector. The students raised slogans and displayed banners and placards. Mr Jagdish Kumar, coordinator of CAPE, inspired children about this noble cause and said that the campaign against the use and sale of crackers would continue till Divali. 
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City artists decry war on Afghanistan
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 9
The artist community of city beautiful gathered under the umbrella of the Sahit Chintan and Chetna Manch and lashed out on the USA for waging war on Afghanistan which was affecting the of lives of thousands of innocent persons.

A statement released on the occasion said that this war had blurred the ethnic divide in Afghanistan and made the regressive Taliban regime spokesperson for Afghanistan nationalism.

As the war continued, Muslim zealots from Kashmir to Kuala Lumpur are turning into Osama colones, it said. And while the main suspect of the September 11 bombings in America , Osama bin Laden remained holed up in caves, thousands of Afghans had been killed, maimed and rendered homeless, it added.

It was not about Bin Laden or America but it was about hatred, read the placards and banners as about 20 members of the community gathered in the ground of Sector 17 here today. Expressing deep sympathy for the war victims and demanding a complete cessation of hostilities by America, the members recited Sahir’s anti-war poem

“Khoon apna ho ya paraya,

Nasl-e-Adam ka khoon hai Akhir

Aap aur hum sabi ke aangan mein, Shama jalti rahai to behtar hai”

Picking up the threads from the same theme, playwright Gursharan Singh and his troupe members staged ‘Aurat’- a play that depicted the social injustice meted out to women in the name of religion. The story was based on the life of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen and was directed by Gursharan Singh.

Lead character of ‘Aurat’ was played by Preetma Manohar and the male characters were enacted by Gurjit Singh Kang (maulvi I), Mahinder Mohan (maulvi II), Sunil Bhardwaj (pandit I), Gaurav Sharma (pandit II) and Jai T Singh (youngster).
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‘God is in heart, don’t renounce world for Him’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
The four-day discourse by Anandmurti Guru Maa started here yesterday. It has been organised by the Rishi Chetanya Katha Samiti, Chandigarh.

Anandmurti Guru Maa has selected ‘lust’ as the topic of the discourse. Speaking on this occasion, she criticised the so-called modern saints who were selling God in name of religion and deceiving people by promising ‘moksha’. She said there were various kinds of saints in this world. The first kind were those who had become saints for money, food and shelter. It was very easy to become a saint by wearing black, white or saffron clothes and by reciting Sanskrit shalokas, according to her. There was no dearth of disciples also for these saints as Indian people had great respect for such people, wearing such clothes.

The second kind were those who had become saints out of frustration and loneliness, after the death of spouse. As nothing worthwhile had been left or them in life they had chosen this path.

The third kind were those who had become saints in search of God, truth and reality of life and death. These were the real saints.

The fourth kind were those who have chosen this path out of love for the third kind of saints and had left every thing for this love.

The last two kinds of saints were very beneficial for the society and the mankind. Guru Maa emphasised the need for change of thought and heart, rather than changing the clothes. She said that God was within one’s heart and one need not denounce this world to find him. Guru Maa also criticised the popular belief that only men could become saints. She said that women were as powerful and intelligent as men were. It was sad that they had been suppressed by the society for ages.

She also criticised female infanticide and opined that this practice was disturbing the sex-ratio in the society, which would have serious consequences in future.
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FLAVOUR OF THE WEEK
Festivity yet to grip city

After the Karva Chauth blues, it is time for the real festive spirit to take over the city soul. Although this time around, the Divali fervour does not seem to be as great as it has always been, shopkeepers and showroom owners did put in their bit to trap the revelers.

No wonder then that all big showrooms are out to offer not just heavy discounts on bulk sales but also a number of games wherein the participants stand a chance of winning a prize as big as ticket to Las Vegas. The kids have also been taken care of, for there is a ticket to Disneyland for them. This would sound exciting for kids.

The real spirit of Divali is, however, missing. Courtesy, stringent orders by the court of law, crackers will be seen on the city roads for a very less time. If that was less, various city-based groups have been holding “say no to crackers” rallies to further dampen the sprit of the adventurous lot. Meanwhile, Punjabi singers kept up to their tradition of visiting Chandigarh. So Shankar Sawhney was here again to perform in the Chandigarh Club. Ashok Mastie, who has failed to win over the public despite repeated attempts, also surfaced on the city scene again this week.

The most talked-about celebrity was the high-flying director Lawrence D. Souza, who shot to instant fame with the love triangle Saajan. Only a fortnight ago, director Harry Baweja was here to look for fresh faces for his new venture. Now it is Lawrence’s turn to take his pick. He is supposed to select the hero and heroine for his new venture from Chandigarh.

Now about the halwais. They have been experimenting with the best in order to win over people. So the stalls at all leading sweet shops in the city are decked up with different kinds of sweets — some which one has not seen before.

On the film front, depression dominated, especially in the much-awaited Tabbu starrer Chandni Bar, whose climax spelt doom for the bar dancer. A well-made film that it was, it bared the ruthlessness of life. 
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EATING OUT
Combine eating with shopping
Harvinder Khetal

CHANDIGARH, It’s Divali mela time. A time looked forward to by most Chandigarhians. It means a visit to one or all big grounds of the city — Parade Ground , Circus Ground and Shivalikview in Sector 17 (from November 9 to 12), Nehru Park, Sector 22 (from November 9 to 14) and the Sector 34 park (from November 6 to 14). And you cannot get into the true mela spirit unless you top it with a good meal, punctuated with snacks and drinks. Rest assured. All venues offer a huge range of eatables.

Let us start with the biggest fair of them all — the CII Consumer Fair in Parade Ground. If you enter from the Shivalikview side, the tables laid out in the open space attract your eye. As you near it, the aroma of freshly baked and South Indian delicacies envelopes you. The stall of Mr Mandeep Singh of Oven Pizzaria, Sector 9, promises “taste that speaks.” You can savour their fresh grilled sandwiches, burgers and pizzas (veg and non-veg) along with hot coffee. The adjoining stall of Sagar Ratna, Sector 17, offers South Indian fare of sambar dosa, idli, vada and dahi vada.

Further down, after you have gone through umpteen stalls of consumer goods with everything from a spoon to a car, beginning with a ‘use me’ bin (I think more of these are needed), and when you are ready for another bite, spring up more eateries. There is a stall offering biryani. Mr Gurdeep Kohli of Nathu Sweets, Sector 35, is offering chana-bhatura, sambar-vada, dosa and gulab jamuns.

For the children are kiosks of ice-cream, popcorn and cold drinks. The elders can soothe their nerves (frayed by looking at too many items and the frustration of slim wallets) with vended tea and coffee.

Towards the District Courts is Domino’s Pizza and Mahajan Fast Food displaying appetising tikkis, bhel puris, Amritsari kulchas, nariyal pani , makki di roti. Their sister concern — Amritsari Chajju ka Food — has the biggest food stall in the Sector 34 ground. Mr Surinder Mahajan, who introduced the Amritsari kulcha made by his forefather Chajju in Amritsar, to the Chandigarhians at a Citco festival recently, and has been a regular at the melas, says, “We prepare food in desi ghee.”

The stalls at the beautifully lit Sector 34 ground are lined up on the right side, with their backs to the furniture Market. And Chajju Ka Food occupies a major area. The other goodies offered are noodles, juices, and some more fast food items. Same in the Circus Ground.

Shirdi Sweets dominate the Sector 22 mela. Kulchas, samosas, chaat, makki ki roti and saag, pao bhaji, bhel puri , besides sweets are their attractions. Mr Atam Parkash and Sufi of the stall have an interesting offer for their customers. As has been the practice for the past five years or so, those who make purchases are given a coupon. Then through a lucky dip, as many as 101 coupon holders are taken to a pilgrimage of Shirdi and Hazoor Sahib, free of cost. Not a bad Divali gift.

The other stalls lining the periphery of the venue offer karhi-chawal, chana-bhatura, noodles (at Ishwar’s joint), chaat, tikki, samosa, noodles (at Mahesh Chand Gupta’s stall), besides other snacks and drinks. 
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Messengers of peace
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 9
Sikhism teaches the kind of love that transforms people, cleansing them and enlightening them, thereby providing the strength and desire to serve fellow human beings, said Taissa Bondar, Editor of the “Magazine of World Literature” in Belarus and Slavic world in Moscow, who along with five others visited Chandigarh yesterday.

The six-member Russian delegation, enroute to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, stopped in Chandigarh to address mediapersons and talked about their mission of spreading love and peace.

Bondar, author of about 20 books in Russian, said that through her magazines she had tried to acquaint readers with personalities like Guru Nanak, Kabir, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatama Gandhi. Bondar has translated 40 of Kabir’s dohas into Russian language.

Natasha Chatchenva of the International Association for Peace Through Culture, Ekterinaberg, said the teachings of Sikh Gurus have great practical value. Mr Gerald Shahgedanov and Mrs Lena Shahgedanov who have translated Jaap Sahib and the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib into Russian also accompanied the group. Other members of the delegation were Galina Ermolina, Lyubova Basurmanova and Mary Pat Fisher.

Meanwhile, Lyubova Basurmanova mesmerised mediapersons with her rare and ancient stringed instrument “gusli”.

The “gusli”, with two row of strings, which Lyubova carried with her holds a unique importance in the world of music as only three such instruments are left in Russia, two in possession of the government museum and the third one with Lyubova.

“The “gusli” was passed onto me by my teacher Damitri Lokshil,” said Lyubova. “I was charmed by the soul-searching sound created by it and started learning to play it since 1997,” she said.
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Suicide case: husband held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
The local police has booked husband of a 30-year-old woman, who had committed suicide last week by hanging herself at her Sector 8 residence, on charges of abetment to suicide. A case under Section 304-B of IPC was registered against Sanjay Jain at the Sector 5 Police Station yesterday.

The case was registered on a complaint lodged by Pallav Gupta, a brother of the deceased. He accused his brother-in-law of harassing his wife Neelu Jain and forcing her to get money from her family.

He said that the couple was married in 1993. About two years ago, the accused decided to buy property in Mani Majra . The down payment was made by the family of the victim and she was also forced to arrange for the installments. 
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Cyclist crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
A cyclist was crushed to death by a Tata Sumo near Sector 12-A late last night. According to information available, Nanhe Lal was going home on his bicycle when he was hit by an unidentified Tata Sumo from behind. The accused driver fled the scene.

A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of IPC has been registered.

Burglary: Cash and valuables worth several thousands of rupees were stolen from a shop near Majri Chowk on the night of November 8. In an FIR registered under Sections 380 and 457 of IPC, Mr Arun Kumar has alleged that the burglary took place after he had locked the shop and left for the day. 
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Held for driving without helmet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
A resident of Sector 22, Hans Raj Malik, was arrested after he tried to escape when a traffic constable stopped him in Sector 22 for driving his scooter without a helmet. He was later bailed out. The police has registered a case.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested a resident of Nijjar village near Amritsar, Kartar Singh, from the bus stop near the Sector 17 Parade Ground and seized 17 bottles of whisky from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Students hurt: Two students of Panjab University were reported to be seriously injured after their motor cycle collide head-on with a Maruti Esteem car near Panjab University library on Friday.

The injured, identified as Anil and Ashok, have been admitted to the PGI. The police said that they were not in a condition to give a statement.

The car driver has reportedly absconded, while the car has been impounded by the police.

Purse snatched: Sector 35 resident Gurmeet Kaur has reported that some occupants of a red Maruti car snatched her purse containing her driver's licence, two ATM cards and Rs 1000 while she was crossing the road in the same sector.

In another incident, Sector 43 resident Sunita has lodged a complaint that her purse containing Rs 7,500 was snatched by a Maruti-borne person near her house during the afternoon. The police has registered a case.

Theft: Sector 11 resident Raj Kumar Sood has lodged a complaint that his house was broken into and his fax machine and cash amounting to Rs 300 were stolen. Police have registered a case.

Car recovered: The police has recovered a car (CH-01-H-7052) belonging to Sector 43 resident Aruna Nanda, which was found lying unclaimed on the Panjab University campus. The complainant had reported the car to have been stolen from outside the Sanatan Dharma Temple in Sector 24.
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MARKET PULSE
Home decor store opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The festive season is in and it’s that time of the year when you go an extra mile to decorate your houses.

Seasonal Dekor, a decorative home product store, has launched some exquisite gift items for this Divali in the city. One can embellish one’s home with splendid wrought iron and wooden benches, tables and chairs with intricate cast iron work. The other hot-selling products this season are beautifully done table lamps, porcelain statues, garden torches and designer curtain rods, and they are quite cost-effective too.

The store in Chandigarh is a unique addition to the existing home stores in the city. The merchandise is stored on racks like in a warehouse and the customers walk through the warehouse selecting and picking products, as in IKEA and Home Depot stores abroad.

It plans to build customer confidence by offering same low prices at all their future outlets throughout the country and by offering, “Be 100 per cent satisfied scheme”, wherein a customer could return merchandise with in seven days for full refund, if not satisfied.
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MCC rejects traders’ demand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) here today finally rejected the demand of a section of Sector 17 traders who yesterday asked the UT Administrator to direct the MCC to allow them set up temporary stalls during the Divali festival.

“The MCC on October 14, 2000, decided not to allow temporary stalls, pharis and rehris in the entire Sector 17 during Divali, which was also not rejected by courts,’’ an official release said here today. The release has come a day after the Sector 17 traders’ association asked the Administrator, to direct the corporation to allow them set up stalls.

The injunctions sought on the decision of the House had earlier been rejected, the release said. 
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