Monday, December 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



PCA seeks restrictions on flights during Test
Tribune News Service


The Mohali stadium lies in the airfields “funnel”, that is, it is situated in the flight path of an aircraft taking off or approaching to land. The height of an aircraft landing is around 200-300 feet above the ground at that point. The IAF had earlier objected to floodlights being installed at the stadium on the grounds of flight safety. Consequently, the height of the light poles was reduced and their number increased.

SAS Nagar, December 2
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has written to the IAF authorities in Chandigarh to restrict air operations during the India-England Test match beginning here tomorrow, it is learnt.

“We have asked the IAF authorities to minimise their operations during the period,” said a source with the PCA. Officials of the Punjab Police manning the PCA stadium, however, said the request, if any, had not been routed through them. “The players of the England team practised at the stadium yesterday morning and this afternoon but did not make any request in this regard to us”, said a senior police official.

The aircraft taking off from runway-29 or landing on runway-11 fly directly overhead the Mohali stadium at a low height, which creates disturbance and affects concentration of players.

Restriction on air traffic also has implications for the IAF. All air maintenance to the northern sector is undertaken from Chandigarh. With the Leh-Srinagar highway closed due to snow, all supplies and casualties are dependent on the IAF.

IAF sources say that while the flying of fighter aircraft could be severely restricted during the duration of the matches, they add that transport operations would generally be restricted to early morning sorties. Transport aircraft have a relatively low noise level vis-a-vis fighters.

Another option with the IAF, depending upon the wind direction, is to use runway 11 for take off, where aircraft would be taking off in the direction of Zirakpur instead of Mohali. Similarly, for landing they would use runway 29, whose approach is from the direction of Zirakpur.

It may be recalled that during the last Test series held in 1999, flying operations by the IAF had created a controversy. The IAF did not suspend flying, which led to protests by the players. It was only after the then Punjab Governor’s, Lt Gen B.K.N. Chibber, intervention and threat to approach the Ministry of Defence that the IAF suspended flying.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police would undertake an intensive anti-sabotage checking within the stadium and in the parking lots around it. The ASP, SAS Nagar, Ms Kalpana Nayak D, said cops would be deputed on all high-rise buildings (at least eight) within a certain radius around the stadium. A survey of houses around the stadium had already been done. She said there would be no traffic diversions.

The gate no. 7, 10 and 12 would be for students and general public. The entry through the gate no. 14 would be for the PCA members. The old cricketers and members of the BCCI would be allowed to enter through gate no. 4 and 9. The entry for the VIP would be through gate no. 5. The gate no 1 and 2 would be for the VVIP’s. The Governor and the UT Administrator, Lt Gen JFR Jacob (retd), would be present at the closing ceremony. 


Silken tents, brocade vedis... mark the decor
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Thanks to the warmth that spills from the timeless ceremony of wedding, the chill this season is refusing to surface. Wedding bells are ringing in the city and these are ringing louder than ever before. There is spirit everywhere — right from the bedecked showrooms which promise the best of apparel for the soon-to-be couples to the counters of florists, which spread the fragrance of love all over the marriage venues in the City Beautiful. The not-to-be-missed commercial icing on this cake of spirit comes from loads of money pumped into a wedding to make it last long in social memory.

Given all this, it would be no exaggeration to mention that Chandigarh is going the Delhi way when it comes to the matter of tying the nuptials. The city is surely leaping forward from the age of simplicity to the age of ostentation and as it is taking the commercial path, the character of marriages being arranged here is also changing .....Not only are weddings in the city becoming a hugely-elaborate affair consuming any amount of money between Rs 75,000 and lakhs, these are also becoming the centres of changing fashion statements in the region.

A random survey of prized venues for marriages in the city revealed that 50 marriages took place last month. And since the venues do not number over 15, there were occasions when three marriages took place on the same day at the same venue. Competing in the slot of the hottest venue for weddings are three CITCO spots, Hotel Mount View, Shivalik View and Lake Club on the one hand and the sprawling private resorts dotting the Chandigarh-Zirakpur road on the other. The clientele is, however, fixed. While Mount View, with its professional wedding set-up, continues to top among CITCO hotels, the preference for private resorts as wedding venues varies widely.

There are a host of resorts in this category, including Panchvati. While Jujar Singh of Panchvati resorts refrained from talking about his packages, market reports tell that his arrangements are bought despite their heavy cost. Jujar Singh admitted, “We specialise in creating the right kind of ambience. That is our only hallmark.” The arrangements range between Rs 80,000 to any amount the prospective party is willing to spend. Bhinder Farms follows closely with a starting package of Rs 75,000, which includes sitting, decor, tents, lighting and security.

Seating arrangements are now costing anything between Rs 30,000 to lakhs. There is a wide variety to choose from, right from normal sofas to velvet and wrought-iron arrangements. The latest concept is that of food counters, all done up with flowers. A normal wedding has about 10 such counters, with well-laid-out snacks and multi-cuisine gourmet stands. More lavish weddings can even have 30 such counters.

Interestingly, the farm houses, which have normally been leased out by owners, take care of the entire wedding arrangement. Right from tents, catering and lighting to music and decor, the farm managers rush to people’s rescue, provided people are willing to pay. No wonder many non-resident Indians are returning home to marry off their wards. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune about the “expanding business of wedding”, manager of a private farm along the Zirakpur road said, “There are no-holds-barred for people, especially NRIs. They are willing to pay because they feel there is value for money. They want deejays and fabricated dance floors. Sometimes they also ask for folk singers who can sing ghoris and doli. The performers ask for big money and people are paying.”

Recently Manmohan Waris was called in for a wedding. Reports have it that he charged Rs 1.5 lakh for the night. The demand for deejays has been gradually decreasing, while that of established performers is increasing. Another farm house manager informed, “We can even get Sarabjeet Cheema. It is all about the paying capacity which seems to be increasing with every passing day.” The depressing part of some high-flying weddings these days is the performance of soft cabaret dancers, who are generally brougth in from Ludhiana.

To ensure better arrangements, most farm house owners have tied up with local tent houses. The tent house owners, in turn, have a liaison with caterers and music arrangers in the city.

Dr Randhawa of Bhuraich Farms informed that tent house-owners are well-connected in the market and they are thorough professionals. Apart from providing tents of good quality (from water proof to silken tents) they even arrange for ghoris and bands. An interaction with the tent house people revealed another interesting trend. They informed that people’s choice is shifting from civilian bands to Army and even police bands. “The well-connected ones can manage to get such bands. Civilian bands are generally engaged by middle-class and lower middle-class people. They have even reduced their prices from Rs 3,000 to about Rs 2,000 on a per day basis.”

There has also been a change in the fabrics used for horse’s decoration. Now the zardosi which embellishes the bridegroom’s costume is even seen on the mat placed on the horse’s back. Intricately-embroidered pieces of silk cloth are being bought for adoring the groom’s horse. Many shops in Sector 22 are into this business.

With more and more NRIs coming back for wedding purposes, the demand for six-door vehicles is increasing. Venue managers inform that they have been receiving queries about limousines and about places from where these can be hired. Said a tent house-owner, “We have some hiring facilities in SAS Nagar and in Patiala and Ludhiana. We arrange the Limousines from here. The cost is Rs 11,000 for the day.”

(To be continued)


Study centre for weaker sections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Panjab University has decided to set up a “Centre for Socio-Economic Studies for Weaker Sections of the Society and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”.

A decision with regards to setting up a centre had earlier been taken by the senate in a meeting on September 30. The decision was taken following the acceptance of a proposal put forth by Prof K.C. Shenmar, a fellow of the university house.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice Chancellor, in a recent communique has appointed Prof Manjit Singh, Department of Sociology, to work out preliminary details for setting up of the centre. The department is not likely to make any fresh appointments.

At the preliminary stage, faculty from other departments is likely to be goaded on to make contributions towards the centre for study on the economically weaker sections of the society. Regular appointments would be made later on.

When the proposal of Professor Shenmar was accepted, in principle it was also decided that the university would look into more details regarding the centre before a formal opening.

The centre proposes to build a database of facts and figures on the life of the related sections of the society. It has been pointed out that the university data could also be used by leading government and private agencies and research institutes for preparing any programmme for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society. The data can also be used to carry out research.

As a related activity, the centre is being seen as an important organ in keeping a tab on the university’s adherence to the reservation policy in matters of governance. 


Over one lakh children administered polio drops in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
More than a lakh children of the city between the ages of 0 and 5 were immunised against polio on the first day of the pulse polio campaign launched here today. More than 5,000 children above the age of five were also immunised.

The total number of children immunised today is marginally higher than the last campaign’s day one figures. ‘‘eighty five to 90 per cent of the total population of the city’s children between 0-5 years have been immunised today. The rest will be covered in the door-to-door campaigning which will start tomorrow,’’ informed Dr M.P. Minocha, Director, Family Welfare, UT.

The Joint Secretary (Finance), Mr K.A.P Sinha, UT, along with Dr Rameshwar Chander, Director, Health Services, and Dr Satbir Singh, District Immunisation Officer, visited Colony Number 5, Colony No.4, Mauli Jagran, Vikas Nagar, Indira Colony, Mariwala Town, Pipliwala Town and Modern Housing Complex to supervise the functioning of the pulse polio campaign.

Dr M.P. Minocha visited the Kumhar Colony where the last case of polio was detected in October, 2000, Janata Colony and Sector 25 and supervised the working of the health employees and volunteers.

The maximum number of children came from these colonies today to get themselves immunised. However, a large number of city residents were also seen visiting the booths set up for the purpose.

A great rush has been reported at the SAS Nagar barrier where volunteers of the Citizens Awareness Group and health workers stopped all the buses and vehicles going into the city and immunised children between 0-5 years.

The Chandigarh Administration has appealed to the public in general that all those who did not get their child immunised today must ensure his or her immunisation tomorrow. Other than the door-to-door campaign which will start tomorrow, permanent booths at the various government hospitals of the city and polyclinics will be administering the polio vaccine.

As for as 461 booths had been put up across the city today for the first day of the campaign.

Meanwhile, in tandem with the UT Health Department and anganwari workers, the Lions Club Rose Chandigarh today organised pulse polio camps in eight booths of Palsora Colony, Vishkarma Colony, Ranbaxy Colony, Kamal colony, Peer Colony and Balmiki mandir Colony where 2,840 children were administered free polio drops.

Ms Kailash Seth, president of the club, said anganwari workers and club members would go door-to-door to administer the polio drops to the left out children.

The Lions Club Chandigarh Nightingale today took part in polio camp at Sector 20 government dispensary as part of the ‘pulse polio mukti abhiyan’. A large number of children were administered the polio drops. The club also distributed biscuits and sweets among the children and arranged lunch and tea for the organising staff, acording to Ms Pritpal Benipal, president of the club.

The State Bank of India Treasury Branch, Sector 7 and Sector 41 branches and Lions Club, Mani-Majra, in collaboration with the Health Department organised pulse polio immmunisation campaign at Civil Dispensary, Sector 42, Government School, Sector 43, Attawa, Furniture Palace Chowk, Sector 7, informed the District Chairman Lions International-321-F, Mr K.K Monga, here today.

Mr Monga added that more than 3,000 children were administered the polio drops at 13 centres and special care was taken to administer polio drops to migrant labour.

SAS Nagar

As many as 7,630 children up to five years of age were immunised during the pulse polio campaign (2001-2002) in the area covered by the 47 immunisation posts of the Phase VI Civil Hospital, the Ranbaxy Community Healthcare Society and volunteers of the Rotary Club.

The SMO, Civil Hospital, Phase VI, Dr Satpal Singla, said at the 42 posts set up by the hospital, 6,200 children were immunised against a target of 11,000 children. The remaining children would be covered in the door-to-door campaign on December 3 and December 4. A team led by Dr Singla went to the Amb Sahib colony in Sector 48, where a one-and-a-half year old child was found to be positive case of polio.

The second round of the campaign is to begin on January 20, 2002. At the Ranbaxy Community Healthcare Society, as many as 1,430 children were immunised at three posts set up at SAS Nagar-Chandigarh barrier, Mohali village and at Palsora village.


As many as 55,000 childern between the age group of 0-5 years were administered polio drops during the national-level pulse polio immunisation campaign launched from today.

The campaign began with the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, administering drops to a child in Rajiv Colony this morning. It is learnt that 48 booths were set up in the township and 305 booths were set up in the entire district.

An official press release from the Civil Surgeon, Dr. B.S. Chaudhary, said two mobile vans were also administering polio drops and six NGO’s were also assisting the district health authorities. He said that while 60 booths were set up in urban areas in the district, 245 were set up in rural areas. As many as 1,225 personnel, assisted by 60 doctors ,were on the job for the polio immunisation.

In Panchkula, nine centres were established for distributing the medicine at General Hospital, Primary Health Centre, Pinjore, Old Panchkula, Morni, Barwala, Kot and Hangola, Kalka and Raipur Rani.

It is also informed that a team of doctors will administer drops to children by carrying on a door- to- door campaign.


As many as 3,424 children were given pulse polio drops against the target of 3,280 here today. According to Dr H.S. Obroi form the Civil Hospital, Kharar, and Mr Karam Singh Mundi, president, Rotary Club, Kharar, as many as 11 teams were deputed for this purpose including a team at the local bus stand.

Dr Obroi said the programme would continue tomorrow also as the absentee children would be given these drops by visiting their residences.


Prestige valued by Suneet Batra

This Amritsar girl will not make compromises with her attitude. At 21, Suneet Batra is flying high with a line of achievements to back her. A final year student of electronics engineering at Guru Nanak Dev University, Suneet is taking a chance in this year’s Miss Lashkara contest. But she did take some time to make this decision which does not quite gel with her academic field. Somewhere along the line, however, Suneet knew modelling would happen to her sooner or later (infectious as it has become these days). The real break came when she did an advertisement for woollen wear with handsome Bollywood star Priyanshu (of Tum Bin fame). For general information, the ad was done in a Ludhiana hotel.

After that assignment, Suneet has been striking good deals. She has in her kitty many assignments with Femina, Image and other magazines. Despite the glamour, this vibrant girl has her priorities right. Reading is her first love, Robert Sculler being her favourite writer. All her life she has been swearing by his famous quote: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” She is all set to last through the December 5 Ms Lashkara contest, to be anchored by Gul Panag. But she tells in the same vein: “I am not the one who will do anything to be in this field. The day my prestige is at stake will be my last day as a model.”



The city is going to have it second municipal polls on December 8, sans posters and loudspeakers.

With the Election Commission going by the city bye-laws on defacement, rallies, public meetings, ban on mobile loudspeakers, posters and banners, the election campaign did not pick up till the last date of nominations on November 24.

Political parties are worried that if they paste posters and hang banners they could be charged at commercial rates. These charges can cross the upper limit of expenditure by a candidate.

The Election Commission says other cities had been providing a common space for pasting posters at nominal rates but the city does not have that facility.

Fixed loudspeakers are, however, allowed till 10 pm.

The first Municipal Corporation of the city was constituted in December, 1996.

Rearguard action

A political party that lost deposit in the last Lok Sabha elections is proud of being ahead of 10 candidates out of 16 in that election, but is finding itself helpless in not contesting this MC election because its self-styled chief is unwell.

The New Congress party says had it been able to contest the election, the party could have bagged more than half of 20 MC seats.

The ground of the confidence of the party is that it could be ahead of 10 candidates in the last Lok Sabha elections despite being “new”.

Those who lagged behind the party included national parties, the New Congress Party chief, Principal Rampal Hans, claimed.

Winter bonanza

Punjab and Haryana employees stationed at Chandigarh and posted at the Secretariat, departmental headquarters or boards or corporations are looking forward to festival winter this time.

The reason? The Punjab employees will have little to do once the Election Commission declares the election schedule for the State Assembly elections scheduled to be held in early February. Already much of their time is spent discussing possibilities of one party or the other coming to power.

For Haryana the reason is interesting. With the ruling INLD gearing itself up to create a niche for itself in the UP elections, most of the ministers, MLAs and chairmen of boards and corporations are going to be away in the coming fortnight. Already, most of them have divided areas among themselves for mobilisation of masses for public meetings slated to be held at half a dozen places in UP.

By that time real electioneering would have commenced and in any case the Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues will be busy garnering votes in both Punjab and UP. The election to the Yamunanagar seat, fallen vacant because of the death of the Congress legislator, Dr J.P. Sharma, is also expected to be held along with Punjab and UP elections. A true bonanza indeed.

From Kashmir

Hundreds of menfolk from Kashmir valley have started migrating to plains, specially Chandigarh and adjoining areas. After Diwali when Kashmir valley becomes snowcovered, the inhabitants of rural areas are forced to leave their home in search of bread and butter for their families. In the City Beautiful, they do petty jobs like labour, loading-unloading of goods in sabzi mandi/transport areas, plying of rickshaws besides selling woollen/readymade garments in the streets.

They remain here from November to March and then start leaving the place in April. Most of the labourers are regular and have permanent destination in transport/vegetable market. The main problem they face is of residence.

Hoping against hope

Not everything about the Chandigarh carnival was heartening. While the visitors were busy having fun, they did not care to take any time off for the less firtunate ones. The sad thing about the festival was a meagre visitation at the stall put up by the Government Institute for Mentally Challenged, Sector 32. Even while the mentally challenged kids did their best to attract the gathering by dancing on folk numbers and even making clay models, people did not seem much interested in sharing their time with them.

One could see gloom writ large in eyes of institution’s inmates, who were being consciously ignored by most normal children. Surprisingly, even the parents of these children were not seen making any efforts to sensitise them about the problems such children face.

Notwithstanding meagre visitation, the stall put up by the institute had a charm of its own. It spoke of the children’s determination and hope against all odds. It thus succeeded in attracting anyone who had the feeling heart.

More awareness, please

While everything is going well with Kalagram, what is desperately lacking is the zeal of authorities to reach out to the public at large. That is perhaps the reason why Kalagram on the Chandigarh-Simla road has not been attracting the kind of gathering it should. So while active publicity continues to lack, people of the city remain ignorant about some great aspects of the sprawling complex which presents a pretty picture. There are beautiful sculptures lined up all along the periphery of the Kalagram garden. Executed in various mediums like granite, marble, clay and so on, these works of art are truly amazing.

It is sad to state that most art lovers of the city are still unaware of these sculptures which were created during a regional sculptors’ meet organised recently on the Kalagram campus. Similar is the case with the beautiful art gallery of Kalagram, which has not been publicised much. Even Baithak — the restaurant on the complex — has just about 10 visitors a day. After all the money the government spent on this ambitious project, it would be better if it spent a little more in making it more attractive and also more advertised for general public.

Thanks, PCA

Residents of southern sectors would silently be praying that the Punjab Cricket Association keeps on hosting more cricket matches at its stadium in neighbouring S.A.S. Nagar’s Phase IX. At least this brings in some kind of development for the much-neglected southern sectors. Cricket matches mean working streetlights, painted pavements and, if required, even re-laying of roads.

One such example is the busy road between Sectors 45 and 46 leading up to the stadium. In the past one year travellers had been complaining of faulty streetlights which was resulting in several minor accidents. No one bothered. About a fortnight ago everything fell into place, as if by magic. Now all streetlights on the entire 1.5 km road are functional. Same is true for the road passing in front of the marble market joining near YPS junction in phase VIII in S.A.S. Nagar.

Old timers remember how roads were re-carpeted and all infrastructure was built within days when the World Cup semi-final was played at S.A.S. Nagar in 1996.

Now residents of southern sectors and S.A.S. Nagar can take a tip: Approach the PCA if you want better facilities. If the PCA organises a match everything will be done automatically. No need to bother the Chandigarh Administration or the Punjab Urban Development Authority.

Wedding bells

The ongoing marriage season had an unlikely effect on the functioning of Punjab Raj Bhavan. The ADC to the Governor, Capt Piyush Mishra, got married in a typical ceremony in his native place. The reception was in Delhi and even the Guv made it a point to attend the reception of his ADC.

Along with him all the officers and employees posted at Raj Bhavan also went, bringing everything to a standstill but for good cause. The reception was planned over the weekend. So not many working hours were lost

The coincidence in the marriage is that the young ADC is from among the ‘Gunners’ in the Army, his wife is a daughter of a ‘Gunner’ and the Captain’s present boss, the Governer, was also “Gunner.”

Parking lots

The authorities have finally risen up to the impending problem of parking in the Sector 17 commercial area. Where earlier the scooters and cars used to be lined up in the same parking lot, now there is a clear provision which has eased traffic flow in the prime market area (see photo on top of page). Since about a week now, separate parking lanes for scooters and cars have been provided and police has been deployed in the lots to see that the visitors park their vehicles properly.


Hotels need constant upgradation. CITCO has spent about Rs 1 crore in renovating its three hotels — Mountview, Shivalikview and Parkview. Regular visitors will find the decor pleasing. A gym at the Mountview has also been renovated.

The entire old block in Hotel Mount view has been renovated. This includes new furniture, upholstery and flooring. The third and fifth floors of Shivalikview have been re-done. The other floors were done up earlier, says Mr S.P. Singh, Managing Director, CITCO. A similar effort has gone into Parkview, formerly known as Yatri Niwas. The change of name has helped, say CITCO insiders as Yatri Nivas was considered too downmarket by the spending class.

This renovation came at time when the English cricket team was to arrive. Such was the rush due to the cricket that all the 328 rooms of CITCO were booked. The Punjab Cricket Association and the television crews alone have booked close to 180 rooms spread across the three hotels. Both the teams are, however, staying in Mountview.

B.P. Pal award

Prof R.K. Kohli, coordinator of the Centre for Environment and Vocational Studies, Panjab University, has been selected for the B.P. Pal National Environment Fellowship Award on biodiversity for the year 2001.

An official communication in this regard has been sent by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The highest award given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests is for a term of two years. It covers full salary drawn by Professor Kohli plus Rs 10,000 per month or Rs 26,000 basic plus usual allowances, whichever is higher.

The fellowship includes expenses of Rs 1 lakh per year and the salary of a research associate or a senior research fellow.

Professor Kohli during the tenure of fellowship will work on the impact of invasive plant species on the biodiversity of Himachal Pradesh.

Incidentally, he and his team have already bagged three national young scientist awards in recognition of their work in the field of ecology and environment.

Best poster

The Indian Society for Radiation Physics has awarded the best poster award to N.K. Puri, a research scholar in the department of physics, Panjab University.

He has been awarded for his paper presented during the 14th national symposium on Radiation Physics held at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

The paper entitled “PIXE analysis of 10-14 century AD Indian coins” was presented by Puri who is working under the supervision of Prof I. M. Govil (physics department) and Prof M. L. Garg (bio-physics department). The certificate has been awarded by Dr A. R. Reddy, president of the Indian Society for Radiation Physics.

— Sentinel


Congress releases manifesto
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mr Venod Sharma and Mr B.B. Behl, CTCC president, today released the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee manifesto for the coming Municipal Corporation elections.

Addressing the electorate in Sector 20 and 21 and also at Mauli Jagran, Mr Sharma urged the electorate to reject BJP-Akali alliance nominees as their past performance was abysmally low during the past five years.

Mr Bansal and Mr Behl also addressed the electorate of the Sector 25 Labour Colony, Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Palsora village and Mauli Jagran urged the people to judge the candidates by their performance. He said the BJP-Akali Dal candidates had failed to serve the people in the last term of Municipal Corporation. He urged them to vote for Congress nominees to give the people a clean and efficient administration. Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath said if Anu Chatrath was elected from ward No 2, she would work for the welfare of the ward.

Among others who addressed the rally were Mr Subhash Chawla, Mrs Shreshta Mehta, Mr Naresh Kumar Nanda, Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, Mr Sunil Parti, Mr Mohinder Singh Lucky, Mr Kamaljit Panchhi, Ms Manjit Kaur, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Ms Uma Wadhera, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Balraj Singh.

The campaigning in ward No 17 was temporarily suspended in the memory of Mr Harish Kapoor, Congress candidate, who died after a massive heart attack. Meanwhile, the Congress today displayed pragmatism jettisoning its poll build up promise of a tax-free Municipal Corporation.

The party manifesto released at a press conference today did not mention ‘a tax-free corporation’ which Mr Bahl had promised at a couple of public meetings.

The local MP, Mr Bansal, explained that the party would design service-oriented taxes (taxes should match quality of service) and the people would not feel the pinch while paying them.

The Congress’ bold step comes in sharp contrast to the BJP move which last time promised ‘a tax-free corporation’ starving the local body of funds.

The Congress manifesto under heads of beautification, roads and transport, community services, buildings and bylaws, electricity and water, trade, commerce and industry, rehri markets and day booths, information technology and e-governance, health, tourism, art and culture, women, among others, has given the slogan, ‘Clean city — clean municipal administration’’.

The manifesto has promises for children, students, youth and sports, senior citizens, freedom fighters, ex-servicemen, Scheduled Castes, employees, road-side footpath workers, colonies, villages under MC and above all how administration will be asked to straighten procedures.

The manifesto alleges no effort was made to get the corporation its due share in the revenue of the union territory saying even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has commented on the financial mismanagement of the Corporation.

The Congress has pledged that it will provide a stable, responsible and a responsive Municipal Corporation for a full period of five years achieve the tasks set out in this document either through the corporation or Administration.

The reference to stable and for a full period of five years is an apparent dig at the BJP which could not keep its flock together and sought dissolution of the House before time.The Congress pack also followed the same past.

The party has promised special malba removal squads which will provide assistance on a call from the residents, promotion of vermi-culture, adequate parking facilities in markets, carpeting of all V-6, V-5 and V-4 roads within six months, pollution-free buses, construction of taxi stands, more community centres and involvement of residents welfare associations.

The community centres will also provide reading facilities, obstacles in conversion from lease-hold to free-hold will be removed, the exorbitant minimum power charges will be taken up, water and power bills will be collected door-to-door, the city will be promoted as an important commercial centre, rehri markets will be converted in aesthetically built day booths in all sectors.

It also promises to strengthen school and health network, promotion of the city as a tourism hub, promotion of academic and cultural organisations, preference will be given to local domiciles in corporation jobs, senior citizens and ex-servicemen will be nominated to ward committees, freedom fighters will have a quota in housing schemes, SC certificates will be available without any hassle and their backlog will be cleared speedily.

MC employees will be accorded deemed deputation status, service rules for MC employees will be framed, employees will have a special quota in housing schemes and free parking for them. Daily wage workers will be regularised.Back


Canvassing picks up for MC poll
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 2
With the polling day for the Municipal Corporation elections less than a week away, electioneering in the city picked up today with the Congress and the BJP-Akali Dal alliance intensifing their election campaign. Other political parties and independent candidates are also putting in their best efforts to book their seats in the corporation.

Mr Vinod Sharma, former MP and a Congress leader, today held public meetings at Mauli Jagran, Sectors 21 and 20 and appealed to vote for the Congress as the BJP-SAD combine had failed to fulfil the dreams of the city residents.

Ms Anu Chatrath, Congress candidate from ward no. 2, while speaking at a public meeting in Sector 15, criticised the administration for not setting up any school in Sector 14 and on the PGI campus. The meeting was also addressed by Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Ms Neeru Manchanda, candidate of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch from the ward no. 2, today went on for a door-to-door campaign in Sector 15 and on Panjab University campus.

Mr Kewal Krishan Addiwal, BJP candidate from ward no. 19, took to ‘pad yatra’ in Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, Railway Colony and Mauli Jagran. The BJP-SAD alliance took out a rally from Colony no. 4 to Sector 29 in support of its candidate from ward no. 15, Ms Anita Tewari.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress MP and Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the local unit of the Congress, held public meetings at Labour Colony, Sector 25, Palsora, Maloya, Mauli Jagran and in Sector 15 and appealed the voters to give a “massive mandate” to the Congress.

The Congress Seva Dal took out a cycle rally from Sector 35 that passed through different parts of the city. Mr Chandramukhi Sharma, Congress candidate from ward no. 1, also took out a cycle rally in his ward and tried to woo voters by going to their doors in Sectors 11, 7 and 8.

Ms Poonam Sharma, an independent candidate from ward no. 5, has claimed support of various leaders of different social and welfare organisations. Mr Bikram Singh, an independent candidate from ward no. 10, today released his election manifesto in which he has promised to struggle for the bonafide demands of the inhabitants of his ward and to put a complete check on anti-social and immoral activites in the area.

Ms Balbir Kaur Sabhrwal, who is contesting the election from ward no. 5 as an independent candidate, today undertook a door-to-door campaign in the Sector 25 labour colonies. She promised to the voters that she would ensure proper drainage systems in the colonies, more taps for drinking water and mobile toilets in the colonies.

Ms Pushpa Sharma, Congress candidate from ward no. 16, at a public meeting in Sector 46 promised her prospective voters that she would be readily available for solving their problems.

The Lions Club Chandigarh Supreme, District 321-F, has decided to support Mr Prabhjot Singh Lamba, Samta Party candidate, from ward no. 9. He claimed the support of a section of BJP Sector-35 samiti. Mr Divakar Pathak, independent candidate from ward no. 4, who claims to have the support of various social and religious organisations, also moved door to door in Sector 23 and 24 to amass vote for himself.


SPO posts sought to check immoral trafficking
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 2
The Panchkula police, through the office of the Director General of Police, Haryana , has urged upon the state government to issue a notification for creating posts of Special Police Officers all over the state to tackle increasing cases related to immoral trafficking of women. According to information available, the local police, through the Director General of Police, Mr M.S. Malik, has urged the Haryana Government to issue a notification under Section 13 of the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act. This would allow the Haryana Police to take legal action against those indulging in immoral trafficking all over the state.

Senior police officials here informed that the police department has sought that police officers of the rank of Inspectors be assigned this job of checking immoral trafficking in each police district of the state. It may be noted that as of now the Haryana Police does not have the powers for proceeding legally in such cases.

A senior police official, on condition of anonymity, revealed that as of now the police only has the executive powers to deal with such cases. He said the area residents have been asked to inform the police in case they detect any such clandestine activity in their area.

“The police could only ask the landlords to throw out tenants indulging in prostitution and ask them to leave the area under its jurisdiction. However, cases under immoral trafficking could not be registered by the Haryana Police because the government has so far not issued the notification, “ he informed.

Meanwhile, with the Chandigarh Police and police of the neighbouring township of SAS Nagar cracking down on those running these rackets in their respective areas, Panchkula is reportedly showing signs of turning into a major nodal point for the world’s oldest profession.

A large number of pimps are reportedly operational in Sectors 7, 8,15, 12-A, 19 and Mansa Devi Complex. In September this year, a pimp, Ajmer Singh, was allegedly murdered by one of his workers with the connivance of her two paramours . Though he had shifted his operations to Chandigarh since July, ever since his racket was busted by Panchkula police, his body had been thrown in a sewer in Sector 12-A here.

It is learnt that he had taken a room on rent in Sector 8, Panchkula, and had housed two to three of the women employed with him there.

While, the police emphasises that with most of the sex workers from the various parts of Haryana having chosen the township for their operations, it is also learnt that a number of women from Orissa, West Bengal and Nepal too are in the business. Also, with the police here not being able to take legal action, business, especially in Sector 19 is flourishing.

A senior police official, said on condition of anonymity that the township had a lot of floating population and it was difficult to curb such crimes. “The migrants from different parts of the country are staying here without their families and the sex workers are catering to their needs,” he added.


Yashwant Sinha’s assurance to UT staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
BJP leaders today claimed that the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, assured them that he would consider the major demand of UT employees, including grant of bonus for the past four years, regularisation and grant of house rent allowance and CCA as per decision of the Supreme Court to more than 5,000 daily-waged workers and pension to employees of private educational institution.

According to a press note, this assurance was given by Mr Sinha while talking to senior BJP leaders at the residence of Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, BJP president. Among the present were Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, and Dr Pankaj Mala, BJP nominee for Ward No 2.

The press note said a delegation of the Panjab University employees led by Dr Pankaj Mala, met Mr Sinha and urged him to grant approval to the pension scheme for the university employees which had been pending with the Union Government for the past several years.

She said almost all universities in the country had started the pension scheme for its employees but the scheme for Panjab University had not been granted approval. It is claimed that Mr Sinha assured them that he would get the entire issue examined.

A delegation of the coordination committee of the government and municipal corporation employees submitted a memorandum of their demands to Mr Sinha. They told Mr Sinha that all Central Government employees in various union territories except Chandigarh had been paid bonus.

The Supreme Court had already ordered regularisation and payment of HRA and CCA to daily-waged workers of the Union Territory, but the actual release of these benefits was still pending with the Union Government. They urged him to get these demands accepted immediately.


Truckers refuse to ‘oblige’ cops
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 2
It is not always the policemen who call the shots. Today when a police party went to the truck union office in Phase VI to get three trucks to ferry six horses from the Ludhiana Police Lines, the union refused to fulfil “forcible obligation”.

A trucker on the condition of anonymity said the policemen claimed that they had orders from senior police officials to get the trucks. While the policemen were withdrawing, they allegedly locked the office of the union, a fact denied by police officials.


Child workers surveyed for drug abuse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
An exploratory survey on drug abuse among child workers conducted by a team from Panjab University has warranted a larger survey among male and female child workers besides working out a consolidated strategy by central and state governments as well as non-governmental organisations to stop the exploitation of children.

A total of 200 drug abusers and 200 non-users were surveyed in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar over a period of three and a half years. Rural and agricultural workers were excluded from the survey.

Data for the study was collected with the help of a systematic interview schedule filled in by researchers on the basis of the respondents’ verbal disclosures.

The study has concluded that children work due to poverty for the sake of survival and are exploited by their employers and families. Work conditions, wages and work itself are not all satisfactory and create an atmosphere of drift or behaving like adult models, the study adds.

Talking about the study, the project director, Prof Jitendra Mohan, said drug abuse by child workers is a reality and can be ignored at its own peril. “Removing or preventing a drug-abuser from work is not the solution to the problem.

Instead efforts should be made to provide them part-time education or vocational education,” he added. It was the number of working hours which need to be controlled, he opined. Stating that there is a need to actively involve the government at various levels as well as NGOs, Prof Mohan said children involved in drug abuse need emotional support.

For this, he felt that NGOs, with support of the government, need to form groups at the local level for interaction with affected children.

Education, recreation as well as sports are the topics they should involve themselves with in order to get the affected children back into the mainstream. The study also reveals that the general awareness about their future, even among older children was absent.

Parents and friends are the main initiators of pushing children into drug abuse, implying that the socio-cultural environment is conducive to bad habits, the study notes. It is an “in-thing” to smoke, drink or take drugs in the group to which the children surveyed belong.

While laws, both national and international, are important, the study states that more than their enactment, it is their adherence, knowledge and accompanying social action which is necessary.

The study has suggested that since the issue of drug abuse is multi-dimensional, it should be tackled at different levels with the joint collaboration of various agencies by pooling resources, manpower and knowhow so that a meaningful social action can be taken up.

The study has been forwarded to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the Department of Social Work, Delhi University, and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).


Charges against BJP, Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The Samajwadi Party here today alleged that the BJP and the Congress are ‘’hand-in-glove’’ as the Congress candidates are being supported by one or the other factions of the BJP and that of the BJP by the Congress factions on seat-to-seat basis.

‘’Where the Gupta group candidates are contesting, the Jain group of the BJP is supporting Congress candidates and vice versa and the Venod Sharma faction is supporting the BJP where Bansal supporters are contesting and Bansal supporters are supporting BJP candidates against the Sharma group,’’ The Samajwadi Party president, Mr Shivi Jaiswal, said at a press conference here today.

Mr Jaiswal said the voter who wants the Congress out and may be thinking of supporting the BJP to do so and similarly the one who wants to support the Congress only to keep out the BJP, will be fooled because of this understanding between the two parties. He said both parties had humiliated the Muslims by not giving a single nomination amongst candidates. They are ‘’anti-Dalit and anti-Muslim parties, he said.


Pratap Sangwan supports CVM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The Haryana Employees Coordination Committee Chairman, Mr Pratap Singh Sangwan, claiming influence over 46,000 votes across the city, here today extended support to the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM).

This was announced by Mr Sangwan at a press conference in the presence of the CVM supremo, Mr Harmohan Dhawan.

Mr Sangwan said that about 100 employees would start campaign in favour of the CVM from Sector 20 from today.

Mr Dhawan said he had launched an intensive campaign today.

He said: “The BSP which is supporting us in lieu of support to them on two seats, has been convinced that the candidate from Ward 12 was only an Independent and was not an Akali nominee as per a letter of the SAD leader, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar.

Mr Sangwal had emerged a strong leader when he led more than a month-long strike in the city against a Haryana Government’s decision not to implement a Supreme Court decision on promotion opportunities.


Labourer’s body found
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 2
The body of an unidentified labourer was found lying at an isolated place along a seasonal rivulet, near Jagatpura village, here last evening. The face of the victim had been partly eaten. According to information available, tablets of sulphos and a bottle of water was lying along side the body. 


Scooterist crushed to death by truck
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 2
A scooterist was crushed to death by a truck on the Pinjore- Panchkula road this evening.

According to information available, 35-year- old Suraj was coming to Chandigarh on his scooter ( CH-03- 9457) when he was hit by a truck. The accused driver ran away from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of IPC has been registered.

In another case, an Indica car was hit by a truck ( DL-IGA-9379) near Nadha Sahib Gurdwara . The occupants of the car escaped unhurt. A case under Section 279 of IPC has been registered.

Burglary: Unidentified miscreants reportedly broke into the shop of Mr Mugal Hussain on the night of November 29 and stole some utensils. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of IPC has been registered.

Stolen Car recovered: The police has recovered a car (CH-01C-2017) stolen from outside Yavanika, Sector 21.

PO arrested: A proclaimed offender, Sudhir Kumar, in a case of rash and negligent driving, has been arrested from Panipat. He was declared a PO four years ago.

Three arrested: The police has arrested Raj Kumar, alias Mintu, Raj Kumari and Algu from Indira Colony. They had earlier been booked on charges of assault and rioting.


Held: The police has arrested a resident of Colony No 4, Daya Ram, from the Industrial Area for allegedly consuming liquor at a public place. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Assault: A resident of Zeera village, near Ferozepore, Rajesh Sharma, has reported that he sustained injuries and was admitted to the PGI after he was assaulted by six persons in the Sector 15 market. The police has registered a case.

Theft cases: The owner of Plot No 67 in the Industrial Area (Phase II), Naresh Kaushal, reportedly caught his servant, Madan, while the accused was trying to steal copper and foam pieces from the plot. The accused was handed over to the police, which has arrested him and registered a case against him.

Sector 37 resident Jasbir Kaur has reported that her servant, Amarjit Singh, has stolen 10 mikes, a buster, an amplifier, a sewing machine and a scooter (PB-26-9379) over the past 10 days.

The police has registered a case.

Sector 33 resident P. S. Randhawa has reported that his house was broken into and cash worth Rs 2,500 and some jewellery has been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Panchkula resident Sandeep Rishi has reported that his LML Vespa scooter (CH-01-Q-8030) has been stolen from the parking lot in Sector 22-B.

The police has registered a case.

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