Saturday, December 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Faculty seeks strict action against doctor
A virtual revolt in PGI’s Ophthalmology Dept
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
In what could snowball into a revolt of sorts at the PGI, the entire faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology has threatened to resign in case the Director, PGI does not take strict disciplinary action against Dr J.S. Saini, an Additional Professor in the department, who has allegedly been found guilty of writing a defamatory anonymous letter against his colleagues.

A PGI vigilance inquiry has reportedly proved that Dr Saini had authored an anonymous defamatory letter against his colleagues. This letter contained among other things statements to the effect that some of the department colleagues were involved in financial misconduct. Sources also state that the PGI took the help of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to check out the author of this letter. Mr Saini reportedly also went through some handwriting analysis tests during the investigations.

Following the inquiry report, sources stated that Director, PGI summoned Dr Saini and cautioned him on the matter. However, no written warning has been issued to Dr Saini.

Sources at the PGI have stated that the faculty of the department is virtually up in arms against Dr Saini after this revelation. The faculty is thus not satisfied with this action of the PGI Director and is demanding strict disciplinary action against Dr Saini.

Complicating the matter further is the decision of Dr Ashok Sharma, the faculty member against whom Dr Saini has written the letter, to resign. Although Dr Sharma denied that his resignation has anything to do with Dr Saini’s behaviour, sources clarify that Dr Sharma might have more than one reason to resign but certainly Dr Saini’s attitude is one of them.

The department’s head, Prof Amod Gupta has confirmed that Dr Ashok Sharma has handed over his three months’ resignation notice to the Director PGI. When asked if his entire team has in a written offer, threatened to quit in case the Director, PGI, does not take some strict action against Dr Saini, Prof Gupta refused to comment on the matter but added that there was not going to be any mass exodus of the ophthalmology faculty and he would ensure that the general public was not put to any inconvenience.

Another matter which has reportedly upset the rest of the faculty against Dr Saini is his “extreme possessiveness” for certain machines in the department which he allegedly does not allow other faculty members to use. Dr Amod Gupta, however, stated that all machines in the department are for everyone’s use and although some people are rather possessive about some machines, it really does not matter since many of these machines get obsolete very soon.

Prof S.K. Sharma, Director, PGI, denied any knowledge of the matter and said the Chief Vigilance Officer of the PGI who is also the Deputy Director Administration (DDA) should be asked about the matter. However, the DDA too refused to comment on the issue and Dr Saini could not be contacted for comments.



Why are cops serving themselves?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
While the Chandigarh Police continues to harp over inadequate force levels to deal with major events in the City, a large chunk of manpower continues to be diverted for catering to the needs of police functionaries.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that about 475 - 500 police personnel are either posted with police officials to help them with their official duties or are engaged unofficially to “assist” them in their day-to-day work or domestic chores. The trend of having additional staff and men at their disposal starts from the level of inspectors and station house officers and goes right up to the top.

According to information made available to The Tribune, two of the seniormost officers of the Chandigarh police have an estimated staff of over a hundred personnel, including security, at their disposal, both at their offices and residences.

Giving details, a source said that three orderlies, three cooks, two gardeners, three cleaning persons and three telephone operators were currently deployed at a top functionary’s residence. In addition to a permanent guard of 10 personnel and an escort of 12 policemen, including personal security officers and eight drivers. The office staff including personal assistant, writer, clerks, orderlies and runners does not include the posse listed above.

Sources put the figure of personnel available to the two SPs, including drivers, security guards, office staff and runners at their offices and residences to be around 20 each.

At the level of a DSP, sources say that the figure is anywhere between 11-15. While a DSP is authorised to have a driver, a gunman and an orderly as per Police Rules, officials tend to get additional manpower made available to them unofficially.

According to a police official, a DSP has, in addition to a driver, 2-4 security personnel escorting him and a guard of 3-4 constables at their residences. Sources add that some have also managed to avail themselves of 2-3 orderlies, additional office staff and a person, generally a home guard volunteer to serve water or tea.

Similar is the case with some station house officers or inspectors in charge of various units. An SHO, at times, moves with an escort of 3-4 constables, besides having additional manpower from his police station or unit available at his disposal. Even the munshi staff at police stations has additional personnel allocated to it.

Additional manpower is made available by drawing personnel from various units or police stations “unofficially”. On record they are however shown to be at their concerned places of duty, sources said.

The UT IGP, Mr B.S. Bassi, when contacted, however disagreed that the manpower deployed with police functionaries was unwarranted. “The deployment is as per our requirements,” he said, adding that officials having security were those who associated with combating terrorism. “Ten years is too short a time to take it easy. We cannot rule out anything,” he said.

On the issue of junior officers moving with escorts, the IGP was of the view that an SHO must have adequate back-up to intercede if a situation so arises.



Panchayats seek separate NAC
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 30
Members of the gram panchayat of Balongi and Balomajra have expressed their resentment over the local civic body’s opposition to the inclusion of their area in its limits. The issue came up for discussion in the general house meeting of the municipal council yesterday.

Citing the move by the government to abolish octroi, the councillors had unanimously opposed the proposal of the Punjab government to extend the limits of the civic body by including the area of two gram panchayats. On the other hand, the villagers have been demanding a civic body in their area so as to get the basic amenities. The two villages on the north-east fringe of the town have a population of over 4000.

Sources in the government said that acting on a demand by panchayts of the two villages to include their areas in the civic body, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had directed the Local Government to do the needful at the earliest. The Local Government had forwarded the letter of the Chief Minister to the civic body.

Dr Gurnam Singh Balongi, who had spearheaded a campaign to constitute an NAC in Balongi, comprising nine gram panchayats — Balongi, Balongi colony, Badmajra, Badmajra colony, Raipur, Jhujjhar Nagar, Daun and Balolpur — with an area of around 4000 acres, said: “If the government could not include the two villages in the SAS Nagar MC, it should constitute a separate NAC”.

Another alternative before the government was to increase the lal dora of the villages of the villages from 200 metres to 500 metres. All the villages falling in the periphery could benefit from the increasing the abadi area.

However, PUDA and the Town and Country Planning Department had opposed inclusion of the villages in the local civic body. A senior official of PUDA said including an area within the limits of the SAS Nagar civic body where planned urbanisation had not taken place, could disturb the planning of the region. Earlier the Punjab Town and Country Planning Department had objected to a move by the local civic body in June last to include area on the north-east fringe of the town.



Efforts on to expedite trial
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, November 30
Nearly six years after the former Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh, was assassinated in front of the Civil Secretariat in the bomb blast, efforts are now being made to expedite the trial in a disciplined manner.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed an application before the high court to set-up a special court for speedy disposal of the case. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs( MHA) has directed the UT Administration to take immediate steps to curb the indiscipline created by the accused in the Beant Singh assassination case.

Earlier, the high court had also directed the trial court to expedite the trial and conclude it as soon as possible on the petition filed by three of the accused in the case. Sources informed that the CBI was also deciding to drop about 100 witnesses in the case with a view to expedite the trial.

So far about 140 witnesses had been examined by the Central Bureau of Investigation and another 100 are yet to depose before the court. Sources said that the Ministry of Home Affairs also took note of the indiscipline created by the accused by boycotting the hearing and by observing a hunger strike.

Recently, three hearings in the case were disturbed as three of the accused in the case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, had raised anti-government slogans and boycotted the hearings.

Even in the month of September the proceedings were disturbed as an accused, remanded to custody in the case, Lakhwinder Singh, went on hunger strike after he did not get the chance to meet the UT Administrator, Lieut -Gen J.F.R. Jacob(Retd) during the latter’s surprise visit to the Model Burail Jail on September 24. The matter was later resolved after the UT administration accepted some of his demands.

Sources said that a few year ago one of the security personnel of the jail was caught redhanded in Punjab, while faxing a message of the one of the undertrials to a person abroad. The material to make countrymade liquor had reportedly been recovered from some foreign prisoners in the jail lock-up. The prisoners had also made an attempt to escape and there had been incidents where prisoners had beaten up the security staff deployed there.

The Superintendent of the Jail, Mr D.S. Ranna, informed that about 100 security personnel were taking care of the internal security of the jail and about 126 CRPF men were sufficient to take care outside. Mr Ranna added that they had specially been taking care of the accused who were involved in the Beant Singh assassination case. He added that the accused were kept apart from others and security personnel were deployed there to keep a watch on their activities.

The nine persons Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Balwant Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Nasib Singh, Navjot Singh, were facing trial for their alleged role in the assassination of the Former Punjab Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh.



Cricketers in for gastronomic bonanza
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Multi cuisine preparations sanging from the traditional roomali roti to the exotic Thai cuisine will be on offer to tickle the taste buds of cricketers from England and these will be served in true tradition of Punjabi hospitality.

Cricketers, officials, mediapersons, fans and visitors, who arrived for the first cricket Test match have a food treat on hands as cuisines on the platter can be from anywhere across the globe.

Chefs at Hotel Mountview will produce the best of mouth watering roomali rotis, the choicest of naans, and typically Indian vegetarian or non-vegetarian curries. Besides these options of the finest of continental, Chinese, Thai and even Mexican dishes are available. And to keep the cricketers in shape Mountview’s just renovated gym and the teams own physiotherapist, will be at hand.

Mr S.P. Singh Managing Director, Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO), said, “We have so far not received any specific request for a particular kind of food from the touring party, However, there is no such thing which our experienced chefs cannot produce to match world standards”. The chefs have been put on special duties to meet each and every demand, he said. By afternoon the team had arrived in the hotel. The team management was discussing various issues with the hotel staff and this included food options also, sources in the Mountview said adding that a list of do’s and don’ts is always there to follow while treating guests at the hotel.

CITCO has spent about Rs 1 crore in renovating its three hotels – The Mountview, Shivalikview and the Park view — All 328 rooms in these three hotels are booked at the moment. The Punjab Cricket Association and the television crews alone have booked close to 180 rooms spread across the three hotels. Both the teams shall, however, stay in Hotel Mountview.

The entire hotel has been renovated. This includes new furniture, the upholstery and flooring. The third and fifth floor of the Shivalikview has been re-done. The other floors were done up earlier.

Due to the security cordon around the players no non-cricketing guests will face any problem, Mr S.P. Singh asserted. All restaurants, coffee shop and other facilities will be open for guests.

Meanwhile, the president of the Chandigarh Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, Mr Manmohan Singh, said there has been a steady increase in the flow of incoming guests. Earlier, due to the uncertainty about the match the guest bookings were almost non-existent. There is no such thing as public reception at the airport or the railway station. A guest can walk into any hotel and if the rooms are booked he or she will be guided the other hotels of the association Mr Manmohan Singh added.

Cricket sidelights

* The English Cricket team led by the Chennai born Naseer Hussain, is scheduled for a practice session at the PCA stadium in SAS Nagar at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The team arrived at the Chandigarh Airport at 2.30 p.m. today. The game with India ‘A’ had finished in Jaipur yesterday.

* Sadly for the fans, due to security considerations, no one will be allowed to get even a glimpse of the practice session.

* Three members of Indian team also arrived on the same flight. Mumbai medium pacer Iqbal Siddique, Kerala youngster Tinnu Yohannan and Railways allrounder Sanjay Bangar were also on the same flight as the English team.



Confusion over dinner sparks row
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
A communication gap between the English cricket team management and the Punjab Cricket Association resulted in a minor controversy of sorts today.

Word spread among media circles this evening that the English cricket team had refused to attend a dinner hosted by the Governor of Punjab, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). Later, reporters called up the PCA to cross check and it turned out that no dinner had been planned and no one was invited.

The Governor’s office thundered “no one from the English contingent was invited by the Governor for any dinner.” Secretary, PCA, Mr Mohinder Pratap Pandove, said “No invitation was ever formally extended to the English.” As a matter of convention all visiting teams are hosted by the PCA.

According to sources a mediaperson had come to know about the issue.



Where creativity was the winner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
For everyone gathered in the Leisure Valley today, it was a virtual flight on the wings of joy. As the carnival spirit picked up from the colourful balloons released by the UT Administrator, Lt Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob, to mark the beginning of the three-day fest today, it soared high ....too high to be trapped.

In the series of close to 20 floats, the float executed by students of the Government College of Arts, Sector 10, was adjudged the best today. The idea of fun mobikes (in various shapes like beatles, tortoise etc) embarked upon by the creative students was appreciated highly. The float of Government Home Science College which denounced terrorist activities also won accolades and was rewarded today. A special mention in the list of creative stalls was made of the fairyland stall conceived by Government Home Science College. Perched in the middle of the Leisure Valley, this stall had kids of Chaitanya School dressed up as fairies, holding magic wands. General Jacob made a special note of the kites in the stall which had various kites on the display. He also flew a kite himself.

This day seemed like the real reveller’s day out in the Valley, which was all done up on the fairyland theme. And for once, everything happening around seemed quite in consonance with the theme chosen for the carnival by the UT Administration. With no holds barred on anyone’s participation in anything, creativity sure was the king today. So while on the one hand the high-flying Punjab Governor surprised the gathering with his gesture of painting a tree, on the other the charming little inmates of Government Institute for the Mentally Retarded, Sector 32, impressed the passers by with their dance on the hit Haryanavi number ‘Mane payal dila de re o nandi ke veera’. As joint director of the Institute, Dr B.S. Chavan, watched the dancing kids with an obvious apprehension, the kids succeeded in dispelling his doubts about them. They looked infirm, but they looked indomitable. As their music teacher Pushpa told us: “If only we pay attention to them, they can become one among us.” Perhaps interaction with normal kids during the carnival does the mentally challenged kids some good.

Balancing fun and creativity, the carnival offered the best it could. One could witness a sea of children from various schools participating in a host of contests like on the spot painting, mask making, clay modelling, mat making and hands on puzzles... There was also room for traffic in the carnival, with traffic police personnel educating children on rules and regulations. Camel rides, kite exhibition were other highlights. Yet another eye catcher was the play titled Seth Kallumal ki kahani staged by slum kids of Janata Colony. Directed by Ravi and Vijay, the play made a strong social statement.

Even as many UT Administration officials were busy following the Governor around during the festival, visitors to the valley seemed to be least interested in “official attention”. They made themselves comfortable around the mini Rock Garden created by Nek Chand at the carnival venue. Another favourite spot for the day was the Laxman jhoola, apart from the amusement corner, dotted with adventurous rides. Not to miss the nostalgia created by naqaals, saperas, behrupias, stick walkers and other charmers.

Colour to the already glittering venue was added by the various floats conceived by the government colleges of the city, as also by some societies like the Environmental Society of India, the Kalasagar, and the migrants from Multan area. The procession of these floats, led by the hop on hop off bus, was also flagged off by General Jacob today.

On the gourmet front, it was the carnival bistro — the village rasoi taking care of the visitors. The counters, laid out by CITCO’s Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management and the Food Crafts Institute, along with those by Chop Sticks 2, attracted the maximum rush. The rush at food joints was matched by the rush at Friends of Children’s corner where Centre for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA) had arranged puzzles which forced children and their parents to churn their brains in a big way.

At the carnival stage, the various folk dances of Himachal Pradesh (nati, beehu), Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana (ghoomer, bangra and giddha) kept the spirit going. In this entire razzmatazz, one silent and peaceful corner was that of the senior citizens. They kept busy reciting poetry and painting on the canvas.


No rift in BJP-SAD alliance: Mahajan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Claiming complete cohesiveness and unity among various factions of the local unit of the BJP and complete understanding with its alliance partner, the Akali Dal, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, the BJP chief told mediapersons that they were contesting the 20 seats of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in the forthcoming election.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Mahajan said the names of the candidates who had been fielded from different wards had been approved by the high commands of the two political parties.

Flanked by Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, Mr Purshotam Mahajan and Mr Neeraj Tayal, leaders of his party, Mr Mahajan said they had fielded the best possible candidates for the Municipal Corporation elections. He said six former Councillors, including three former Mayors, were contesting the Corporation elections.

He told mediapersons that this time they had introduced 10 new faces in the list of their party’s candidates.

Mr Mahajan said their candidates were highly educated and all their former Councillors enjoyed a clean image.

He announced that the BJP had formed a committee to draft its manifesto and to bring out a pamphlet of its achievements during the past five years. The committee has submitted its report to the party and “we shall release it formally within the next two to three days.

He claimed that the party had intensified its campaign in all wards and the whole party was united in contesting the election.

He announced that leaders of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh would come to Chandigarh to join the election campaign. He had a dig at the Congress which, Mr Mahajan alleged, had not done anything for the city. He said the local Congress MP did not use the full amount made available to him by the government under the “M.P. Fund”.

Regarding to the Akali Dal , Mr Mahajan said its high command had sponsored names of four candidates for Municipal election. These include Mrs Harjinder Kaur, Ms Paramjit Kaur, Mrs Amarjit Kaur Bhullar and Mr Sawarn Singh Dhiman.



Selja campaigns for Congress candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The All-India Congress Committee Secretary, Ms Selja, here today campaigned for the candidates in wards number 9, 11, 13, 17 and 19 while the BJP local leadership spread out to secure support for its candidates.

Independents and Janata Dal (U), Panthic Morcha, NCP and the Istri Wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal gave a thrust to campaign in support of their respective candidates.

The National Muslim Welfare Movement, Sector-22B, appealed to the community not to vote for the Congress and the BJP as they have not nominated even a single person from the community for the election.

The spokesman of the organisation, Mr Mohmmed Shakir, in a press note said the body appeals to the community to vote for the Samajwadi Party and JD-U candidates as only these parties have given Muslims representation.

The Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal and spokesman Mr Amarjit Sethi and the former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain, congratulated the people on the occasion of the Gurupurb. Party president, Mr B. B. Bahal, took out padyatras. The Youth Congress led by its president, Mr H.S. Lucky held meeting in support of the party candidates.

The Congress leaders Mr Naresh Kumar Nanda, Mr Chamal Lal Sharma, Mr Rampal Sharma, Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath, Mr Sham Lal Gupta, Mr Parampal Singh Matharu today attended various meetings.

NCP candidates Principal Gurbachan Singh, Ms Gurmail Kaur, independent candidate Ajay Jagga, Congress candidate Kanwaljit Singh Panchhi, BJP candidates K.K. Adiwal and Pankaj Mala, SAD candidate, Mr Swarn Singh Dhiman, Mr Rajesh Gupta, Ms Urmila Devi, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, SAD candidate, Ms Amarjit Bhuller, Panthic Morcha candidate Ms Kulwant Kaur, JD-U candidates, Mr Shamim Ahmed Ansari, Ms Saroj Devi and Mr Amrik Singh campaigned in their respective wards or meetings were held in their support.



Muslim Welfare Society supports Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Muslim Welfare Society has extended support to the Congress in the December 8 Municipal Corporation elections.

This was decided at a meeting of different Muslim organisations at Industrial Area, Phase-II, New Mosque, under the presidentship of Mr Khalil Ahmed, according to a press note signed by Mr Zahid.

Mr Mehmood of Maloya Colony, Mr Ibrahim Naz of Sector 18, Mr Khursid of Sectors 31 and 32, Mr Dilshad of Ram Darbar, M/s Abdul Hamid, Mehndi Hassan, Jeeta Khan, Nouria Khan, Mohmmed Azam from colony number 5, Sectors 44, 45 and Burail, were among those present at the meeting, the note said.

The BJP candidates from Wards Number 11 and 8, respectively, Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Mr Amritlal Mahajan went door-to-door in Sector 20-C rehri market and Butrela village.

The Congress Seva Dal organised a meeting in Colony Number 5 to shore up support for the party candidates.

The Rashtriya Raksha Dal candidate from Ward Number 9, Mr Jagdish Singh Batth, appealed to voters to seek their support and vote promising that their vote would go a long way in the upliftment of the ward.

Reports said candidates of political parties and those contesting as independents focussed on door-to-door campaigning in all wards, but on a subdued note due to the Election Commission’s restrictions.



MC campaign a low-key affair this time
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Don’t ignore a knock at the door or a bell ringing at an odd time, this may be a call from the one who will take care of roads, sanitation, water supply and parks in your area and not a salesman or a beggar who may come any time, but this man or a woman may take five years to visit you again.

With strict EC directions for the December 8 MC elections in force, candidates have adopted campaign tactics that a sales person does — knocking and ringing the bell door-to-door.

With almost a week having past without use of loudspeakers on vehicles, the candidates have not been able to voice their promises, performance and credentials through conventional means.

The contestants are visiting almost every house, knocking at the door, ringing the bell to call the voter outside and explain him about his candidature, problems of the area and their party, the BJP star campaigner and former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain told Chandigarh Tribune.

“With no permission to use loudspeakers, the candidates and their campaigners are organising corner meetings in which a maximum of 50 people could be addressed,” he said.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president, Mr B.B. Bahl, said, “The campaign is confined to personal contact but it takes a lot of time as you require more than five minutes to talk to one voter.”

Mr Jain and Mr Bahl said while the candidates had been undertaking padyatras during the day, state-level leaders of the two parties were addressing five to seven meetings every evening.

Candidates are avoiding putting up banners as it may attract the EC and the Chandigarh Administration’s attention, both for defacing the city and for calculation of poll expenditure of a candidate. The Administration allows putting up of banners only on a charge.

Loudspeakers may soon be in sight at some fixed places as the EC has allowed loudspeaker use and the candidates will only have to take permission from the DC for the purpose.

There are no slogans in the campaign as the issues for candidates of various wards are not common. Restrictions imposed by the EC have made poll campaign such a low-key affair that it is not even visible.

The low-key campaign has an impending danger that voter turn-out may be low going by the history of polling percentage in the last MC poll.

However, the campaign in colonies and villages is picking up and visible.



BJP officials discuss poll strategy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The BJP’s national poll in charge, Mr Pyarelal Khandelwal, and the national secretary, Mr O. P. Kohli, held a meeting with the local unit leadership to devise a poll strategy seen and to plug fissures in the BJP and the SAD.

The top BJP leadership asked the local leadership to send all 20 members of the campaign committee to all wards apparently to dispel the feeling that the BJP groups are trying to defeat each other. National leaders’ instruction will also help in minimising the possibility of different factions of the BJP supporting groups of their choice in the Akali Dal.

But the local SAD president rejected the BJP leadership’s call saying if the BJP supported the alliance (SAD-BJP) in ward number 9 (Ms Harjinder Kaur) and in ward number 20 (Mr Swarn Singh Dhiman), they would also support the BJP on only four seats.

The BJP national leadership clarified that the decision to leave four seats to the SAD was taken by the high commands of the two parties.

While Mr Riar continued to lead a campaign against the former BJP MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, the BJP said there was no need to attack any- body at the local level as the decision was taken at the national level.



RRD voices cause of ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD), a national party, is promising to discourage the settlement of migrant labourers in the city, a commitment that other political parties even shudder to think of for the fear of antagonising a large number of voters.

The party, which stands for sharing of power with ex-servicemen in managing the affairs of the nation, has put up two candidates in the MC poll.

“We have a symbolic presence in the MC poll, which night bolster our prospects in the February 2002, Punjab Assembly elections,” the RRD president, Col Harsharan Singh (retd) said here today at a press conference.



Pulse polio drive from Dec 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Chandigarh Administration, in collaboration with the Citizens Awareness Group, will launch the pulse polio campaign in the city from December 2. It will first be held for three consecutive days and then a repeat exercise will be held for another three days from December 20.

A total of 461 booths will be put up across the city, where vaccine administrators will be available from 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening. The Administration has made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the total of approximately 118,000 children of the city below five years of age are vaccinated during this campaign.

In a press conference held at the APC, PGI today, the UT Joint Secretary, Finance, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, along with Dr Rameshwar Chander, Director, Health Services, UT, Prof Lata Kumar, HoD, Department of Paediatrics, PGI, requested parents of all children in the city below five years to ensure that their child gets a dose of vaccine during this campaign.

‘‘The most important fact is that even if the child has had his or her vaccination at the individual level, then the child has to be vaccinated. Individual vaccination is one thing and mass vaccination is another,’’ stated Mr Sinha.

Dr Bhassin informed that the rationale behind mass vaccination was to try and ensure that the wild virus causing the disease was killed on not finding a suitable host in any human body. ‘‘So even if a child is getting his or her vaccination on time and parents think that there is no need to get the child to the booth for the campaign, it is wrong.

This whole exercise is being done to eradicate the disease and till everyone cooperates it cannot be done,’’she said.

Dr Rameshwar Chander stated that there was nothing like an overdose in this particular vaccine and children would have no side-effect even if they were vaccinated again and again. ‘‘Moreover, there is a myth that children once vaccinated cannot be fed till some hours. This is wrong. Children can be fed after the vaccination,’’ he said.

The Lions Club International will manage 78 booths in the city and mobile centres will also be managed by the club.



UTA programme from Dec 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The second phase of the University Talk AIDS (UTA) programme, launched by the NSS, is scheduled to commence on December 3, with the organisation of a three-day training workshop at the Youth Programme Asia Centre, Sector 12.

About 40 NSS programme officers representing Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Jammu University, Jammu and Jammu and Kashmir University, Srinagar, are expected to participate in the workshop.

The phase will cover about 250 colleges in this region and about 1.5 lakh youth will be made aware about HIV/AIDS and its preventive measures.



Talk on AIDS
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
Mr Keshav Chander Wadhawan, Deputy Director, Public Relations and Editor of Haryana Samvad, has urged educators to adopt a cautious approach while educating students on sexually transmitted diseases. This approach would save youngsters from being misled.

Mr Wadhawan was addressing a largely-attended conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases organised at the Government Senior Secondary School, Toda near Barwala. A large number of villagers, teachers, parents and students took part in the conference.



Boy crushed to death by bus
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 30
Thousands of commuters on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway were put to great hardship after irate residents of Mubarikpur village about 2 km from here, blocked the road to protest against the death of a child who was crushed by an allegedly speeding Delhi Transport Corporation’s bus this afternoon.

Traffic on the busy highway came to a standstill for over two-and-a-half hours, as irate residents blocked the road and even smashed the window panes of the bus (DL-1PA-3314). They were demanding an inquiry by the Deputy Commissioner.

Police said Gurjit Kumar (12) of Meerpur village was crushed to death by the bus when he was crossing the road after having langar organised at a local gurdwara on the occasion of Gurpurb at about 1.30 pm. The gurdwara is located adjacent to the highway. The bus was on its way to Delhi from Chandigarh.

Commuters headed towards Chandigarh have to take the Mubarikpur-Ramgarh-Panchkula road to reach Chandigarh, while traffic going towards Ambala was diverted via Bhankharpur-Isapur link road to rejoin the highway at Dera Bassi. Traffic headed towards Chandigarh was also diverted from Dera Bassi township on the same route.

Soon after the accident, residents, shopkeepers and villagers assembled at the spot and police was informed. Residents of the village assembled in hundreds and also joined the agitators.

Passengers of the bus were forced to vacate their seats as irate residents started pelting stones on the bus. They were to forced to take other buses headed towards Ambala and Delhi to reach their destinations.

Mr Kartar Singh, sarpanch and other villagers who assembled at the scene demanded compensation for the aggrieved family.

Mr P.S. Johal, SDM, Mr J.S. Khaira along with police force reached the spot and dispersed the agitators.

Mr Khaira claimed that the driver of the bus, Om Prakash, has bee arrested and a case has been registered against him on the complaint of Mr Raja Ram, father of the deceased.

The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura for a postmortem examination.



Residents for shifting of kisan mandis
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
Residents of the township are once again up in arms against the administration for the entire purpose of kisan mandis being defeated while rehriwalahs and phariwalahs selling non-agricultural products get the moolah.

It has been alleged that with the Agricultural Marketing Board allowing rehris and pharis in these mandis, non-agricultural wares are being sold and rates of vegetables and fruits are at least 25 per cent in excess of what is mentioned. There are also allegations of Haryana Mandikaran Board officials pocketing the fee being charged from sellers.

This has led to an increasing demand for the shifting of these mandis to the Vegetable and Grain Market in Sector 20. Troubled by problems of traffic congestion, law and order and refuse, the residents now want the mandis to be shifted from their venues in Sectors 4, 8, 14 and 16.

Said Mr S.K. Nayyar, president of the Citizens’ Welfare Association, “Residents of areas where apni mandis are organised are now anguished because of noise pollution, lack of cleanliness, stray animals, traffic blues, thefts and instances of eve teasing.”

Residents of Sectors 4, 8, 14 and 17 have submitted appeals to the Deputy Commissioner for the problems arising out of these mandis being organised in and around their sectors. Last year, the Deputy Commissioner had ordered to shift the mandis to the Sector 20 Grain and Vegetable Market, but residents were against this order as the food items were available in the vicinity of their residences.

Mr S.D. Daid, president of the Sector 4 Residents Welfare Association, when contacted, alleged that in spite of a man being killed in the Sector 4 mandi recently, when his patromax working on an overfilled LPG cylinder burst, the use of patromax on LPG continued despite being banned.



A joint for coffee and hot debates
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

If there is one place in the city besides a pub where people sit for hours over a drink, it is Indian Coffee House in Sector 17 (near Neelam Cinema). Of course, the drinks are non-alcoholic. But since this is one of the few popular joints without an air-conditioner, smoking is not banned here.

Ever since it came into being 26 years ago, Indian Coffee House has been attracting groups of friends and families, with many converging on it with religious regularity. In fact, many of their customers have greyed in front of them, recall some of the waiters. Not surprisingly, dosa lovers have developed a personal rapport with the Coffee House staff.

Mr S. Singh, a retired teacher, says that he has been frequenting this restaurant for the past 20 years as it gives good food at affordable rates. And, his friends agree with him on this point even as they disagree vehemently on the issue under discussion while they savour idli sambar and coffee. And the issue can be anything under the sun from corporation elections to POTO to the Afghan war to the BCCI-ICC dispute.

The eatery is managed by the Indian Coffee Workers Cooperative Society Ltd, Delhi. The society was set up 44 years ago. Since then, it has established branches all over North India, including Shimla, Ludhiana, Allahabad, Dharamsala and Delhi. But only the Shimla and Chandigarh branches are showing profit, says Babu, Assistant Manager. The employees are members of the society and shareholders. So, a staffer washing dishes today can rise to the position of manager.

Why has the place not been renovated for a long time?

“That is because there is a dispute with the landlord”, says Babu.

Reasonable rates and quick service bring many Sector 17 shoppers to the Coffee House even as they keep their shopping bags on vacant chairs, or even on the floor. It remains open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and at times, you have to wait for some time to get a seat. As waiters clad in white coats deliver trays of food, winding their way through closely packed tables, you decide your order from the menu list displayed prominently on the wall.

While Sheena swears by their special filtered coffee (you can have with or without cream, both hot and cold), it is the unique flavour of sambar that attracts Ravinder Singh to this joint. They even sell coffee powder at Rs 200 per kg.

Roohafza, chocolate milk, mango shake, jelly and Bournvita milk are the drinks available for those who shun coffee. The snacks that can double as meals include various types of dosa (sada, butter, masala, vegetable, egg and mutton), uttapam, idli and vada with spicy sambar. You pay extra for coconut chutney and sauce. Or, you may opt for sandwiches (cheese, egg, vegetable), toast (butter, cheese, jam), cutlets (vegetable, mutton), omelette, scrambled eggs, hot dog, burgers and chips.



Police-public interaction
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
As part of the ongoing Operation Sadbhavna launched all over the state by the police in order to project people friendly image, an interaction between residents of Sectors 14, 15 and 19 and the police officials was held at the Sector 15 police post yesterday.

The main purpose of the exercise was to exchange views on making Panchkula a safer place. The police, on its part, tried to create awareness among the residents on matters of safety and self vigil.

Speaking on the occasion, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, said the main concern of the Panchkula police was to curb the rate of burglaries and road accidents. He asked the truck and canter union leaders, who had gathered here about traffic rules and asked them to have valid papers for their vehicles. He also asked the residents to enhance the physical safety of their houses by installing grills, keeping their doors locked and installing simple devices like cat’s eye, door chains etc.




The director of ‘Missisippi Masala’, ‘Salam Bombay’, ‘The Perez Family’ and ‘Kamasutra’, Mira Nair’s new film ‘Monsoon Wedding’ (Piccadilly, Chandigarh) with a sterling performance by Naseeruddin Shah has been unanimously praised at the 58th edition of the Venice Festival.

The film bagged a ‘Golden Lion’ award after 45 years. The award last went to Satyajit Ray’s ‘Aparjito’ in 1957. Mira Nair is the third woman director to win the ‘Golden Lion’ at Venice.

This film is based on a traditional Punjabi wedding. The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Lillette Dubey, Vasundhara Das, Rajat Kapoor, Til Tilotma Shone, Shefali Shetty and Vijay Raaz.

‘Monsoon Wedding’ has a A.R. Rahman score. Produced by Carolene Warone and Mira Nair, the film has a story by Sabrina Dhawan and music by Micheal Daana.

* * *

Time Movies presentation ‘Ehsaas’ (Batra) is a film on emotions about a father-son relationship whose climax is based on sports. This is director Mahesh Manjrekar’s semi-autobiographical movie. Sunil Shetty has a very powerful role of an athlete father who wants his son to emulate him.

Pravin Shah is the producer. Neha also stars in the film along with Sanjay Narvekar, Kiron Kher, Shivaji Satam, Kiran Kumar, Shakti Kapoor and Master Mayank. Mahesh Manjrekar, singer, Sunidhi Chauhan and music director Anand Raj Anand also lend their strengths to the movie. — D.P.



Two held under Excise Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The local police has arrested two persons for allegedly consuming liquor at a public place. A rickshaw-puller, Ram Saroop, was apprehended from the Sector 20-21 lightpoint, while a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, Suresh Ram, was arrested from Darwa village. Cases under the Exise Act have been registered against them.

Woman held
A resident of Dadu Majra Colony, Kamla, was reportedly caught red-handed by a Sector 41 resident, Parmod Kumar, while she was allegedly attempting to enter his house. She was handed over to the police. An alarm clock was recovered from her possession.

Case registered
A resident of Colony No 5, Bacha Lal, has reported that Keshav has abducted his minor daughter from the colony. The police has registered a case.

One injured
A resident of Mauli Jagran, Pritam Singh, was injured and admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital after he was hit by a scooter near Defence Nursery on the Chandigarh-Panchkula highway. The scooterist fled from the spot, leaving his vehicle behind, which has been impounded. A case has been registered.

Theft cases
Sector 7 resident Sunil Mahajan has reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-W-5301) has been stolen from the Sector 22 parking lot. In second case, Sector 44 resident Kuldip Singh, has reported that his Tata Sumo (CH-01-718(T) has been stolen from his residence. The police has registered cases.



Scooterist crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
A young scooterist was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle in Chandimandir late on Wednesday night.

According to information availble, Kuldeep Kumar, a resident of Rihor, was going on his scooter (PB-11S- 0721), when he was killed in a road accident. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of IPC.

Woman assaulted: Ms Balwinder Kaur was reportedly assaulted with iron rods and lathis by Sanjeev Kumar and Shakuntala in Kalka yesterday. The police has registered a case of assault and criminal intimidation.

Two arrested: The police has arrested Lal Chand and Pala on charges of illegal mining from the Ghaggar belt. Their tractor trolley (No. HR- 49-6926), was also confiscated by the police.



PCR vehicle hit, cop killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
A Head Constable with the Chandigarh Police, Mange Ram, was killed on the spot when a car rammed into a Police Control Room gypsy near the Transport Chowk last night.

According to the police, Mange Ram, who was the gypsy in charge, was sitting in the front seat when a car proceeding towards Panchkula from the Tribune Chowk lost control and crashed into the police vehicle at about 2.05 a.m.

The police has arrested the car driver, Ranjit Singh Dhillon, a resident of Karnal. He was later released on bail. Mange Ram (35) is survived by his wife and three children.


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