Monday, December 31, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



New Year bash to beat 2001 blues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Live ‘ghazals’, ‘sufiana kalam’and ‘bhangra’ rap mixed with techno beat, artificial smog bellowing out of giant machines descending on polished dance floors illuminated by colourful blinking lights, invigorating golden elixir in sparkling cut-glasses and barbecue chicken along with grilled cheese — are all being offered in city clubs, restaurants and discotheques on the New Year’s Eve.

If you not planning to surf channels from the comfort of your sofa on December 31 and want to be footloose in the evening, buy the passes now.

You can drive down to Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17 in your jaunty Jalopy for a cool party. A Delhi-based disc jockey of Entertainment Planet has been specially summoned to play some cool music for you to tango. For Rs 1,400, your partner and you will also be offered snacks and drinks. Every single accompanying you will have to pay another Rs 800.

The back-lawn celebrations of the Sector 10 Hotel Mountview are comparatively expensive. For drinks, dinner and dance, the two of you will have to pay Rs 2,200. A single person is welcome to accompany you, but he or she will have to pay Rs 700 more. Anyway, they will have a Chandigarh-based Italian DJ for your entertainment.

Hotel Sunbeam in Sector 22, too, is organising a party. Pay Rs 950 and the two of you can dance, drink and eat to your heart’s content. You also stand a chance of winning a prize, thanks to scores of contests there.

If you want to enjoy live ghazal performance, Hotel President in Sector 26 is the right place for you. The best thing about the deal is that you will not be asked to pay anything extra for the melodious tunes savoured along with the food.

In the Sector 35 Hotel Regency, you will have to pay Rs 1,200 per couple for three hard drinks, along with soft drinks, besides vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks. A DJ will also help you forget your blues.

Maya Palace in Sector 35 is also holding a DJ dance party. After pulling out Rs 1,200, you and your partner will be offered a “lavish” food, including eight snacks and mocktails, besides Indian, Chinese and continental cuisine.

‘Real Millennium Bash’ is being organised in 2001 by Hotel Himani Residency in Sector 35. A professional dance group of New Delhi, ‘Chaos’, has been called to give a performance.

If you want to chill out in a club, you can visit the Chandigarh Club or the Golf Club, where good arrangements are being made for the occasion and the charges are nominal.

In the Sector 27 Chandigarh Press Club, a “gala evening” is being organised. The programme includes performances by London-based Safry Brothers and troupes from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The performances will be followed by a bumper tambola. Gidha, ‘bhangra’, ‘Jhoomar’ and ‘Nati’ will be chief attractions.

In SAS Nagar, the New Year celebrations will take place in the Mohali Club, the Country Club and the PCA Stadium. Known for their soulful music, Wadali brothers will regale the audience at Rai Farm on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, about 2 km from Zirakpur.

The Wadalis will present their hit numbers, including the ones from their album ‘Paigaam-e-Ishaq’. To make your evening memorable, bonfires will be lighted all around the farm to create a cosy ambience. Fun games for children, besides delicious cuisine, will also be offered by Polka Caterers.

Couples can buy tickets at Rs 900 for a welcome drink, two cocktails, vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks and dinner. Family tickets can be purchased at Rs 1,600. Entry of children below the age of 10 is free. A single person accompanying a couple will have to pay Rs 500.



Canada notifies new immigration rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The Canandian Government has now published the proposed new Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations in the Canada Gazette. The regulations will be implemented along with the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Bill C-11, on June 28, 2002. The selection system for skilled workers in the new regulations will be different from the present criteria.

Some individuals will benefit, while the others may not. Importantly, many occupations considered ineligible under the skilled worker programme are now considered eligible. Many closed occupations are now open.

Col. B. S. Sandhu, CMD, WWICS, pointed out here today that in the past when major changes in immigration rules had been brought in, prospective immigrants who already had application in the system, had their files processed under the old regulations. But the immigration officials had clarified that they won’t have two systems operating in parallel — while one operating under the new rules, the other under the old rules.

“There are more than 5,00,000 immigration applications in the pipeline right now with all the Canadian visa posts and the largest number being from India and about 60 per cent of those involve independent applicants who want to go to Canada in the skilled workers category and must go through the point system. The other 40 per cent are family class applicants who are chosen for their family ties, not their skills, so they will not be impacted by the point system changes,” clarified Colonel Sandhu. But the 3,00,000 applications under the skilled worker category — many of those filed months and years ago at visa posts around the world — will be directly affected.

Applicants who had their interview waiver and medicals and were awaiting landing papers would not be affected at all. Applicants who got their interview waiver or interview call prior to June 28, 2002 would benefit by a five-point grace scorer. However, cases filed after December 17, 2002, shall be strictly subjected to the new system.

The new point system puts much emphasis on education, language skills, work experience and ties to Canana or a job offer. It eliminates the old practice of giving points for certain occupations. Under the new system the pass marks would be 80 points out of 100, up from 70 out of 100 in the old system. Obviously, the 80-point threshold is high and may bar many good applicants. And for most cases the new rules would be retroactive.

The age of sponsored dependent children is up from 19 to 22 years and parents will be considered members of the family class through provisions contained in the Act as opposed to the regulations. A new “in-Canada” landing class allows spouses and children to apply for permanent residence from within Canada. Sponsored spouses, partners and their dependents will not be refused admission to Canada on the grounds that they create an excessive demand on the medical system.

Implementation of Bill C-11 is presently scheduled for June 28, 2002. The Regulations that will accompany the Act have been published and will be opened to public discussion for 90 days. Immigration consultants and lawyers and the public is going to provide their inputs to the Immigration Minister, Canada. If anyone has been thinking of filing his or her case for Canadian immigration, it has now become a matter of urgency, more than ever. Those assessed as qualified under the current Immigration Act may not qualify under the new Act, in light of new changes. In order not to lose the chance of starting a new life in Canada, the best bet is to file an immigration application without any further delay.



GH-16 computerisation plan okayed 
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
All is set for the computerisation of services at General Hospital, Sector 16. Scheduled to begin within a month, the multi-lakh project of the Government of India has been okayed by the UT Administration.

This project, which is being taken up by the CDAC (Centre for the Development of Application of Computers), a Government of India concern, will entail other than computerisation of registration of patients and internal networking of the entire hospital data for reference.

The General Hospital Deputy Medical Superintendent has been made the nodal officer for the project by the Chandigarh Administration and once the computerisation of the hospital is completed, computerisation of its attached polyclinics will also be initiated.

Sources in the hospital stated that all the doctors will be given terminals and a database prepared.

The patients will be registered and their record maintained from day one. Sources state that the whole process of getting a file out the next time one visits the hospital will also be done away with all the data on a particular patient available to the doctor for reference on their terminal.

The various laboratories of the hospital along with other testing facilities are also being computerised. All reports of the patients will be put in one place for ready reference of the patient and the doctors.

The project, which is likely to cost anything between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh has been approved by the UT Administration following a proposal of this variety sent by the hospital. the CDAC had earlier proposed to the UT Department of Information Technology, regarding computerisation of government hospital services in the city. The DIT had forwarded the proposal to General Hospital for consideration of feasibility. With the computerisation of General Hospital, both the city's government hospitals run by the Chandigarh Administration will be working with the help of computers.

However, sources state that the computerisation in General Hospital is going to be more user-friendly than the level of computerisation in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. ''Only the bare minimum maintenance of records and registration of patient is being done through computers in the GMCH-32, but in the GH-16 all records are being made available online,’’said a General Hospital employee. The proposed computerisation is likely to facilitate many other related functions of the hospital being a provider of both primary and secondary healthcare to city residents. Complete records of all OPD patients will also mean an automatic surveillance operation of various diseases slated to be specially recoded for the incidence in the city as part of national programmes.

The hospital will also be able to provide a complete record the various post-mortem examinations carried out and their reports to the city police.

''Considering the fact that General Hospital has improved its extent of facilities and infrastructure this year, it was just a matter of time before the day-to-day routine functioning of the hospital and its services are also made more efficient,'' said a source.



Take heart! You are not alone
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Wanted a partner for twirling around the polished dance floors in a discotheque on the New Year Eve. Age, caste and complexion no bar — the desperate stags, anxious to cut foot loose on December 31, would have gladly advertised in newspapers, but no one would have taken them seriously. So the forlorn lovers, raving about their admission into `entry-for-singles-strictly-prohibited’ zones are pressing the backlit keys of their mobile phones with tired fingers for arranging partners.

Little wonder, the bell of young Tanya’s phone has been shattering the Sunday morning calm.

No, she is not “lovely as the day”, “fair as is the rose in May” with “long on looks all set to take your breath away”.

In fact, the under-grad is “homely enough to stop a clock”, “not fit to be seen with”, just another “unadorned grim-visaged dame”. Nevertheless, she is in great demand today as everyone believes “she is available for the evening”, is the “key that will open all doors”.

The reason behind their nervousness is not very hard to see. Last year, even though so many tall, dark and handsome hunks in leather jackets over regular denims had managed to swipe passes to merriment; they were not permitted to enter.

Had to wait with hope against hope in Chandigarh’s winter chill for hours together. Why? They were “divorced from the world of affection”. Not surprising, they are bitter about the “entire episode”.

“It is nothing but pure simple discrimination between the haves and have-nots of the society,” sobs Danny Dahonaya, a partner-less college student. “Just because there is no damsel to hold my hand on the New Year Eve, the doorway to celebrations is closed for me. This is just not fair”.

Danny is not the only one cribbing about “policy of intolerance towards unfortunate creatures thrown into this uncompassionate creation”. His best chum Ashu is also facing a similar situation.

“It’s a tough world for singles,” he cries. “Charles Lamb was right in his essay on bachelor’s complaint against the behaviour of married men. Throughout the year, people eye us with suspicion. And now, as the sun is about to set on 2001, the doors are being slammed on our fraught faces.

Tell us, please tell us, some place where we can go and loose our blues”.

Well, Ashu, you can arrange a cocktail party in the backyard of your house with blazing bonfire and some good music just as Harman is doing.

“For the evening, impressive high-wattage speakers have already been placed all over the yard. A DJ friend is also coming to mix the latest music,” claims Harman. “Now tell me, do we actually need damsels with silky tresses to take us into the New Year?”



‘Tourists can return to Heaven on Earth’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Mr M. Ashraf, Director General Tourism of Jammu and Kashmir, at a press conference here today, said the Jammu and Kashmir government had taken a number of steps to revive tourism in the state.

He said the government had held a number of international and national seminars and conventions at Srinagar and diverted pilgrim traffic from Vaishno Devi to the other religious places as well.

He said places of tourist interest like Patni Top and Manasar Lake were also being promoted. Mr Ashraf said tourism industry in the state had suffered a lot in the past decade of militancy, with arrivals dropping from 7.2 lakh in 1988 to 6,000 in 1991.

However, 2.17 lakh tourists, including 17,000 foreigners, visited Kashmir in 1999 and 1.11 lakh tourists visited the state in 2000. He said 51 lakh pilgrims had visited the Vaishno Devi shrine in 2000, generating a turnover of more than Rs 500 crore. The profits had reached down to the Kashmir Valley as well, in the form of remittances from the sale of handicrafts and the other products. Up to December 15, 48 lakh devotees had visited the shrine, so far, this year. The three-lakh decline in the number was due to the earthquake in Gujarat, area from where most pilgrims came.

He said pilgrimage circuit of Vaishno Devi, Katra, Shiv Khori and the other circuits were being developed with a view to lengthening the stay of visitors to generating employment for the local people. He said 95 per cent of the state was safe for tourists.

Mr Ashraf said private sector was being encouraged to contribute to this revival. The strategy also includes improvement of infrastructure like tourist resorts, hotels, restaurants, areas for recreation and promotion and of travel trade.

He said that the state government sponsored tours for foreigners to see the ground reality themselves. It also sponsored visits of local travel agents to participate in tourism expos and conventions in the metros.

He said, after the September 11 attacks on America, India should concentrate on promoting domestic tourism by improving facilities. He said about 17 crore Indians travelled within the country every year, while only 2.6 million foreigners had visited India in 2001. He said, instead of regions, destinations should be promoted. Mr Ashraf said here today that the local Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends had his support for organising a north-India seminar on ‘Synergy of Tourism and Aviation With a Special Reference to Jammu and Kashmir’ in March 2002 at Jammu.

The seminar, the first major activity of the Northern India Forum for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism set up in June, was aimed at bring states if north India on a common platform to encourage private participation, secure cooperation from the NRIs and create opportunities for investment in the tourism and airline industries.



Year that saw development, controversies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The multi-crore five-storey PGI OPD block was finally inaugurated in April this year bringing much-awaited relief to the over-crowded Nehru Hospital building. Laced with state-of-the-art facilities, the OPD building had been awaiting inauguration for the past more than one year.

In March, the Rajya Sabha passed the PGIMER Chandigarh Amendment Bill seeking to ensure that a member of the House (elected or nominated) ceases to be a member of the governing body of the institute on assuming certain key posts.

The CBI raided the PGI in June. Surprise checks on the PGI Cath Lab found stents worth more than Rs 1 crore. While the CBI continued to press for an inquiry into the complaint which led to the “raid”, the PGI faculty questioned the propriety of the CBI action . In August, the CBI also conducted searches on the premises of eight medical stores in the city in this connection.

In July, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sanctioned Rs 30 crore to the PGI for replacement of its condemned equipment and PGI’s standing finance committee (SFC) approved a grant of Rs 10.6 crore for computerisation of the institute.

On the patient negligence front, an inquiry committee investigating the death of Mohinder Kaur, allegedly due to negligence, indicted two PGI doctors. However, no action was taken against them as the year ended. The deaths of Kashmita, a 3-yr-old city resident, Pradeep Virk, Seema, Vinod Kumar, Subhash Bhagat and Varinder Kaur too were allegedly caused due to hospital negligence.

In June, the Union Health Ministry initiated an inquiry into the PGI’s refusal to conduct post-mortem examination of the bodies of AIDS patients.

The PGI authorities also furnished the action taken note on the CAG five-yearly report of the PGI. The CAG report had brought to light gross financial mismanagement in the institute.

A mid-term reconstitution of the PGI’s standing committees was done in October this year by the institute body.

In March, the PGI got a new Deputy Director Administration, Mrs Meeta Rajivlochan. She replaced Mrs Sahi as the DDA.

The PGI also got a new dean after a period of three years in July 25. The orders of the appointment of the new dean were, however, quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, whose orders were then stayed by the Supreme Court in December.

The PGI employees Union and PGI director remained at loggerheads throughout the year with the employees union.

During the year, the PGI hosted national conferences on rheumatology, diabetes, telemedicine, liver diseases, radiation oncology, paediatric gastroenterology. CME’s on oral health, digital imaging technology, arthoscopy, preventive cardiology, pulmonary medicine, surgical pathology were also held along with many other workshops.



Girls do proud whilst fathers serve nation
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
“Send me newspapers as soon as you can,” was the response of two elated army officers posted in border areas, miles away from their families, while speaking to their daughters on telephone this morning.

For once, they were not interested in the build-up by Defence forces at the Indian border amidst mounting tension. Instead, the father in them took over and it was time for jubilation for their daughters had done them proud.

While Anmol Gill, a student of engineering, was chosen as “Face of the Year-2001”, her neighbour and friend, Poonam Sharma, pursuing her bachelor’s degree at GCG-11, was declared second runners-up.

While family members were agog with excitement and celebrations were on at their homes, the separated family quarters for Army personnel in Sector 28, they spared a thought for their fathers and continued the revelry. “Our dads are only a call away” is a great consolation to them.

“We have learnt to live with ‘phone dads’—they join us in happiness and in sorrow, guide us and promise us an early visit every time they call. We have taken it in our stride and it has only added to building up our personalities,” quips Anmol.

“While learning to take on responsibilities at an early age, we have developed our own immune systems to fighting our way through trying times and our mothers are always their to prod us, prompt us and cheer us when we are feeling low. All this and our dads prayers saw us through,” adds Poonam.

This is the way of life for the 80-odd families staying in the vicinity where mums are clearly the role models children look up to and learn to emulate. While there is no remorse for not having their fathers around, there is only a feeling of pride in the fact that they are in some inhospitable terrain, watching over the country and its interest.

“While our husbands are away, it is up to us to encourage them and keep them going, never letting them feel that things would have been different if they had their dads around,” says, Ms Lakhwinder Kaur, mother of Anmol.

She recollects that her husband had come home on leave till January 13. “While he was following contests for sub-titles very closely, he had kept all excitement reserved for the night he would see his daughter take to the ramp. However, destiny wanted otherwise and he was asked to report on duty yesterday morning. He went without flinching once and the distance between us failed to wane the excitement in his voice this morning when he called to know the results,” she said.

For Ms Salochna Sharma, mother of Poonam, all homes of personnel are a part of an extended family. “We are always there for one another and go all the way to keep such bonding strong. The fact that their families are together and safe is enough consolation for our husbands to keep their spirits soaring, the phone calls being the high point of week,” she explains.



Bima Lokpal to redress policyholders’ grievances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Have a grievance against an insurance company and you do not know what to do and whom to approach? The problem now stands solved as the Bima Lokpal or the Insurance Ombudsman has been functioning at Sector 17 in Chandigarh for the past 18 months.

The Lokpal has decided more than 160 cases of grievances of policyholders against the insurance companies in this period. In more than 80 per cent of the cases, original decisions of the insurance companies were modified to the advantage of the policyholders following intervention of the Bima Lokpal.

The Lokpal has jurisdiction over the offices of insurance companies situated in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh. With more and more awareness coming in, it is expected that the number of cases coming to the Bima Lokpal will increase significantly in the coming months.

In the past, a widow of an insured person who had died in February, 1996 and the claim was hanging fire ever since, got relief of over Rs 7 lakh within six weeks of her approaching the Lokpal. In a case of motor accident claim relating to an accident which had taken place in March, 1998, the insured person was paid Rs 96,000 within two months of her approaching the Lokpal.

A person while approaching the Lokpal need not bring along intermediaries like consultants, advisors or advocates. Another obligation assumed by the Bima Lokpal is to ensure that the cases of complaints, involving financially weaker parties, sometime even illiterate, or the handicapped, are looked into.

A unique feature of the scheme is the power vested in the Lokpal to award exgratia payments in deserving cases.



PU Syndics elected
Members express dissatisfaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
There were loud voices of dissatisfaction with the election process despite unanimous elections to the Panjab University Syndicate here today.

Elections were held in the faculties of arts, science, law, languages, medical and combined for 15 seats.

The proceedings of the day went on smoothly till the elections in the combined faculty came up in the afternoon. Mr M.G. Gandhi said: “the total process had not been fair with a number of deserving names not even coming up for consideration”. The issue started with a dissatisfied candidate Mr S.S. Hundal saying that he was withdrawing but the proceedings should be recorded.

Justice D.V. Sehgal reacted to the statements saying that he was willing to resign from the syndicate. Reliable sources said he reacted against a statement that “if he was projected as the convener of the election process then he himself should not have been a candidate”. A large section of members, however, expressed their confidence in Justice Sehgal.

Dr S.S. Hundal and certain other members also expressed their dissatisfaction with the process. However, the results were formally announced and there was no official note of dissent on the election.

Principal Tarsem Raj Bahia, Principal H.R. Gandhar and Mr Satya Pal Jain were elected from the arts faculty; Dr R.K. Kakkar, Mr Rajinder Bhandari and Dr Tankeshwar Kumar from science faculty; and Dr Amarjeet Singh Dua and Dr Deepak Manmohan were declared elected from the languages faculty.

Justice D.V. Sehgal and Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath were declared elected from the law faculty; Dr S.S. Gill and Principal A.C.Vaid from the medical faculty; and Principal Harmeet Kaur, Prof M.M.Sharma and Prof Satya Pal Gautam were declared elected from the combined faculty.

The syndicate has been constituted after nearly a year after the elections of the new senate. The matter was pending because election to the graduates constituency in the university senate could not be held due to a court case against candidature of a candidate.



At home and away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Believe it or not, city businessman Dr A.S. Bindra is calling his favourite cook all the way from Dehra Dun to his Delhi residence for preparing “some special dishes” for the New Year bash.

“This year, we are not going out, but celebrating the occasion at our home,” says Dr Bindra over telephone from Delhi. “Our close relatives, including my sister, her husband and nieces are coming from Canada to join us for the party, where some intimate family friends will also be present.”

Sethi family

The day, he says, is special for them as Olympian Abhinav Bindra will leave for Germany soon after the party. “We have arranged for some nice soft music and special dishes for the get-together. After the function, we will go around wishing our friends in Delhi a happy New Year,” Dr Bindra says.

A former president of the Chandigarh Club, Chaman Lal Sharma, too, will stay home on December 31. “All these years, I have not been able to relax on the New Year’s Eve due to my responsibilities as the club president, but, this year, I want to spend this time with my family.”

Sharma family

He says, “Some relatives and close family friends are also invited. We will listen to some good music, savour hot spicy dishes and step into the New Year together.”

Amarjit Singh Sethi, advocate and real-estate consultant, is, however, not staying home. A former member of the Advisory Committee of the Union Home Minister and the local Advisory Council, Mr Sethi plans to visit the Chandigarh Club in the afternoon with his family and, later, to the Golf Club.

“The grand finale will be at a friend’s place in Panchkula,” he says. Earlier in the day, Mr Sethi, who is also a former member of the Telecom Advisory Committee, will seek the blessings of his mother before visiting a gurdwara “to pray for an equal status in society for women”.



BJP’s membership drive from today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 30
The district unit of the BJP will launch a month-long membership drive in the district tomorrow. This was stated by the senior vice-president, Mr Atam Prakash Manchanda, at a press conference here today.

He said that while there were nearly 10,000 members associated with the party, the target was to double the number during the drive.

The state vice-president, Mr Kanwar S. Singla, criticised the voluntary retirement scheme for the employees of Hindustan Machine Tools. He said that the management was imposing retirement on its employees which was unethical.

He said the police and the administration should be more vigilant in checking the crime graph in the district, while threatening to hold dharmas to express their dissatisfaction for the way it was being handled.



Uncle Jacob dons Santa’s cap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 30
For the roadside dwellers of the city, the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob, (retd) turned out to be no less than Santa Claus this evening. He distributed over 500 blankets and sweet packets among them in various parts of the city. He was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M Ramshekhar.

The cavalcade of the Administrator first stopped in the market of Sector 19-C where he gave blankets to over dozen rickshaw-pullers who were sleeping in the corridors. The doctors accompanying him also distributed medicines among the people suffering from cold and other minor ailments. The doctors also detected 14 cases of suspected tuberculosis.



Lions Club’s ‘special fortnight’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 30
The Lions Club International Distt 321A is organising a “Special fortnight of service projects” from December 30, 2001, to January 13, 2002. Mr M.R Shrama, District Governor, inaugurated the fortnight by distributing stationery among the inmates of Bal Niketan, Sector 15, here today.

This project was organised by Lions Club Panchkula central—the home club of District Governor. Thereafter, he attended various projects organised by the clubs of Panchkula, Ambala, Shahbad, Kurukshetra city heart, Karnal central, Panipat-Smalkha, Sonepat and Delhi Vishal and New Delhi East, according to Mr Om Datt Sharma, Public Relation Officer of the International Association of Lions Clubs.

He further stated that the Lions Club of Panchkula central shall organise various projects, including eighth Parkash Memorial inter-school competition, blood donation and dental care and check-up camp during this fortnight. All clubs of Distt 321A2 comprising parts of Himachal, Haryana and Delhi shall undertake various service projects like eye operation camp, blood donation, traffic awareness, etc.



Businessman with a mission

At the age of 29 years, Ravi Sharma is a successful businessman with a social cause. Having risen from a humble family of a subedar in the Army, he has established himself as a coloniser with his business spread across Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Having won accolades like the best artist in Central School, Chandi Mandir, and the best physique during inter-college contest during his days in DAV College, he wanted to fulfil the dream of his father to become an Army officer. But a visit to Allahabad to appear in the CDS interview changed the course of his life.

"I could not become an officer in the Army. I enrolled myself with different libraries and started reading books about astrology. Making unsuspecting people to shell out their hard-earned money by making them believe in superstition hurts me," he says, adding that certain checks could be put on the fake astrologers. TNS 




THE entire northern region has been under the grip of a cold wave and foggy conditions. Chandigarh and its surrounding areas are also under a thick envelope of fog. Within the city visibility during the late evening hours has been reduced to just a few metres thus forcing cars and other four wheelers into a crawl with speeds no more than 15 or 20 kmph.

Fog lights are required. Yellow lights allow much better visibility. In case you have a problem in finding good quality yellow lights, a bright yellow cellophane paper will do. These are available from shops stacking stationery items. The paper can be pasted on the existing headlights. It will provide a better view than before.

A local resident who recently purchased a small car said manufacturers should provide foglights as standard equipment for at least the cars being sold in Delhi and in the North where each year fog plays havoc.

Due to the fog several long distance trains buses and planes had to be re-scheduled. Going by practical wisdom people postponed their trips. Those in emergency planned trips keeping in mind a few hours extra due to fog.

Beware of cards

If you are busy sending New Year greeting cards, hold them back, read this and then decide. Mr R.K. Sapra, Conservator of Forests, Ambala City, says greeting cards require paper which is made from wood . This puts a strain on dwindling forest resources.

About 1 per cent of the total 103 crore Indian population uses greeting cards. Given a scenario that every person uses 150 cards and each card weighs 10 grams the total requirement of paper pulp would be 15.45 lakh tonnes. A whopping 46.53 lakh tonnes of wood is needed and 15.5 lakh trees are cut annually just to meet the requirement of sending cards.

On the other hand each tree produces natural oxygen worth Rs 5.5 lakh and controls pollution worth Rs 10.5 lakh. Air pollution is already causing 25 lakh premature deaths in the country each year. Mr Sapra advises members of the public to use e-greetings on the internet, telephone, radio or the television and also plant a tree each on the arrival of New Year to compensate for the loss. Still wondering about the greeting card ?

High cops

Cops never lag behind in boozing out. The service uniform certainly comes in between the drinking binge and the duty. But the cops find out the way.

At a recent cultural evening organised by Mohali Club, the cops positioned themselves behind the main shamiana to avoid attention of their highups and deputed a waiter to fetch drinks for them.

2002 square

Look at the 13 x 13 Square. Numbers from 70 to 238 have been taken to fill 169 small squares. The beauty of the square is that the sum total of numbers, rowwise, columnwise and diagonalwise is the same i.e. 2002 without repeating or missing any number. This is a new year gift and greeting from a reader, Prof I.K. Chandna of Hisar. May 2002 bring prosperity, happiness and peace.


The notification of general elections in Punjab on Wednesday saw officials close to the ruling regime holding close-door meeting with their political masters to enable the last minute approvals of the populist schemes . A confident bureaucrat of the ruling regime did not rule out the possibility of approvals in back dates.

Slum kids enjoy

One hundred and twentyseven slum children getting education in the Sector 25 Pustak School could not have asked for more. They had a ride on the CITCO bus which brought them to the Sukhna Lake. Then followed some boat rides on the placid lake waters.

But there was more in store for them. After all it was Christmas eve and soon Santa Claus came riding a motorboat with a bagful of gifts. Big helpings of choclates, icecream, popcorn and sweets followed by gifts from Santa Claus was the right bash for these under-privileged courtesy CITCO. Carrying colourful gift packs of plastic crayons, the slum children mingled with the other children, who were in their festival best.

The slum children seemed to enjoy every bit of the two-hour festival time, before it was time to say goodbye to Santa Claus. As they boarded the bus back to their slums, there was a glimmer in their eyes, the hope that this event will be repeated next year.

Sporting CM

Last Sunday, more than 200 sportspersons converged on the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to receive the cash awards in recognition of the highest number of medals won by Punjab in the just concluded national games. The function was organised in haste so that it could be gone through before the code of conduct likely to be enforced by the Election Commission, in case the assembly elections were announced, came into force. Sportpersons were fortunate indeed, as on December 26, the elections were announced. Mr Badal was in a spirited mood despite his injury. His speech was full of wit and humour. He said: Dosto tusi tan national khedan wichon medals jit le aye, par sadiyan khedan panz salan bad andian ne. Te je gold medal jit laya tan aese kothi which awange nahina te pher.......(Friends, you people have won medals in the national meet, but our games are round the corner which come after every five years. If we win, we will remain in this bungalow, otherwise......

In another instance, he said: “Main wi sathiyon tuhadi taran hammer throw da khidari hunda si, te bahut josh hunda si mere wich. Jadon mere pichle mahine satt lagi si, udon mera man bada kharab hoya si, te main roz jadon haspattal wich TV te tuhanoo medal jitda dekhda si, tan mein hor takda hunda jadan si (I like you people remained a hammer thrower and used to be in high spirits. When I got injured, then while in the hospital, watched you people winning medals and it made me stronger.

Old ties

Old memories buried deep in hearts were revived when the 1979 batch MBBS student old alumni association of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMC) spent an evening in a hotel in SAS Nagar recently. It was time for warm hugs and handshakes for long departed friends. Amidst the sea of cherished memories of the youthful days, some were happy to get a glimpse of their ex-flames.

The alumni observed a two minutes silence in the memory of four batch mates who were no more in this world.

The man behind the reunion was Dr Jaiwant Singh Cheema, who spent two months in contacting the batch mates. The meeting ended with the pals deciding to meet often to discuss the professional obligations of the medical faternity. The old students decided to form an association.

Desi Santa Claus

The Christmas celebrations in city saw a virtual invasion by men dressed as Santa Claus. The demand for the costume of the santa was in demand as different clubs, events organisers, social organisations and hoteliers had “hired” the Santa to add colour to the celebrations.

At a Christmas mania organised at PCA stadium, a man dressed as the santa danced more to the tune of hit Punjabi pop numbers. A reveller observed that the desi version of the Santa Claus was here to stay.




Assault case against Sec 27 resident
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 30
A case of assault, causing hurt, a criminal breach of the trust and obstructing a public servant in the discharge of public function under the Indian Penal Code was registered against Anil Kumar, a resident of Sector 27. He allegedly misbehaved and took away the identity card of Mr Daljit Singh, a process server at the District Courts, who had gone to serve him summons of the court of Ms Gurwinder Kaur yesterday morning. The accused also took away the summons from the complainant.

Case registered: A resident of Ram Darbar, Mr Mukesh Verma, complained to the police that the girl he married in April this year was already married to some other person. Acting on his complained the police registered a case under various sections of the IPC against the girl, Ms Mamta Verma, and Ram Niwas Verma, Tej Pal Verma, Jai Kishan and others, all residents of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.

Bag stolen: Ms Shukla Kumari, a resident of Sector 37, complained that her bag was stolen from the basket of her scooter, while she was getting petrol at a petrol station in Sector 22 yesterday. In the complaint, she said that the bag contained Rs 1,500, a pair of gold ear-rings and a cheque book, besides other documents. A case of theft was registered.

Theft cases: B.S. Sandhu, a resident of Burail, and three other persons were alleged of entering the house of Rama Nanda in Burail by breaking the lock. A case under Sections 448, 147 and 149 of the IPC was registered.

An Executive Engineer with the Electricity Department, Mr M.P. Singh, reported to the police that the AC and SR conductors valued at Rs 6,300 were stolen from a poultry farm in the Industrial Area, Phase I, on Friday night. A case of theft was registered.

Ms Narveen Suri, a resident of Mill View, Kishangarh road, reported to the police that her mobile phone was stolen from a shop in Sector 17 yesterday. A case of theft was registered.


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