Tuesday, January 1,
2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chill fails to freeze New Year thrill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Winter chill and dense grey smog, enveloping the city for the past three days, failed to fog the festive spirit of city residents on New Year’s Eve.

Punjabi pop singer Babbu Mann dances with old persons to celebrate New Year at Old Age Home, Sector 15, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Punjabi pop singer Babbu Mann dances with old persons to celebrate New Year at Old Age Home, Sector 15, Chandigarh, on Monday. — Photo Pankaj Sharma

As the sun bade goodbye to the first year of the new millennium, tearing passion broke loose on the city streets. Wild shrieks and desperate honking rattled the showroom windows as teenyboppers, even grumpy big brothers and cool daddies, in leather jackets over regular fits, drove through a curtain of fog towards 2002 in their jaunty jalopies with cheerful red and yellow balloons sticking out of the windows.

They stopped cars in front of hotels and the restaurants in Sector 35 to shake, rattle and roll under brilliant mercury lights as high wattage car stereos blared out bhangra music. Their sweaty hands removed the pullovers before tying these around the waist.

The streets leading to paying guest accommodations were the venues for “prime-time celebrations”. On their single cylinder flying machines, the wild and wacky hunks zipped down streets as pretty damsels waved enthusiastically from the balconies.

As the hands of the clock kissed each other, the city was rocked by a tremor of excitement. Year 2001 went crumbling down just as 2002 rose from its ashes, encouraging the crowd to break into a frenzy. Jackets went up the shoulders and “Happy New Year” filled the air as everyone greeted everyone without discrimination.

Hooligans too, did not miss the opportunity. In Sector 35 and in Sector 11, they tried to stop young couples cruising on their two-wheelers but disappeared as soon as they spotted men-in-khaki.

For dealing with them, the Chandigarh Police had deployed a massive force all over the city. Barriers had also been set up at strategic places. Police vehicles patrolled the length and breadth of the city.

Meanwhile, dazzling flames illuminated the night sky on the Panjab University campus as young revellers danced away their blues around a bonfire while portable stereos blared out some of the Boney-M’s still remembered hits.

At Hotel Shivalikview, a Delhi-based disc jockey mixed “some cool music” for the enthusiastic revellers to tango, while the back lawns of Hotel Moutview in Sector 10 were converted into an impressive open-air discotheque as couples danced their way to 2002.

A bash was organised in Hotel Sunbeam in Sector 22 also. The chill failed to freeze the thrill as the couples jived at the terrace. For ghazal lovers, Hotel President in Sector 26 was the right place. Along with sumptuous food, they savoured melodious tunes.

DJ dance parties were also held at Hotel Regency and Maya Palace in Sector 35, while “Real Millennium Bash” was organised by Hotel Himani Residency in Sector 35. Sweat trickled down the brow as the youngsters danced to the tunes of a Delhi-based group “Chaos”.

As synthetic smog, bellowing out of electronic gadgets, descended upon the ramp, dames in sarees with their heads covered with ghungats vied with one another for the top position during a fashion show at Marc Royale in Zirakpur.

The Chandigarh Club, the Golf Club and Golf Range were, however, the hot favourites among city students and young executives. Hundreds of balloons fluttered in the cool breeze at the Chandigarh Club as members, along with their guests, thronged the venue for “real fun”. As the music blared out from impressive speakers placed all over the lawn, the crowd went berserk with excitement. Pushing back the chairs placed around bon fires, they left their seats “for some action”.

At the Golf Club also, there was no stopping for the crowd as their excited feet thumped the ground. A “gala evening” was organised at the Chandigarh Press Club in Sector 27. As the evening trudged towards the New Year, the members, along with their guests, enjoyed performances by London-based Safry Brothers. Troupes from Haryana, Himachal and Punjab also performed. Giddha, bhangra, zhoomar and Nati were the highlights.

Known for their soulful music, Wadali brothers regaled the audience at Rai Farm located on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway about 2 km from Zirakpur. The brothers presented their hit songs, including the ones from their album ‘‘Paigaam-e-Ishaq’’.

At discotheques, exhilarated figures, illuminated by blinking intelligent lights, swayed wildly to DJ’s techno beat on the polished dance floors as synthetic smog changed hues.

Heaven is a place on the earth was the impression as earth angels in glittering minis and sleeveless tops descended on the polished dance floors despite the cool winter breeze.

Outside many discotheques, angry young men in unending queues shrieked and screamed at the security guards impatiently as they were refused entry.

Meanwhile, As the New Year spirit goes soaring high in every nook and corner of the city, the excitement touched even the inmates of Old Age Home who braved the chilly winter and matched steps with pop star Babbu Mann in the Old Age Home, Sector 15, here today.

Babbu along with the members of Future Plus, an event management company who had organised the event, wished the New Year to 18 old people and 17 orphans from Bal Niketan by distributing fruits, sweets and gifts.

The celebration continued as Babbu Mann joined the young and the old in a dance party.

In another event, a group of amateur artistes under the banner of “Sanyog Arts” presented a cultural programme called “Manoranjan 2001” at Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, here today. About 50 children from the city participated in the programme that included a variety of dance items and songs. The programme was sponsored by the Department of Public Relations and Cultural Affairs.

To round-up the year, the Payal Musical Club organised a dance competition in which three groups and about 15 children presented solo items at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, today.

The programme started with 15 boys and girls from “Total Package Group” presenting a patriotic song titled “Sabse aage honge Hindustani.”

Among the solo performers Juhi Soni presented a gyrating number on a hit song “Nahi milega aesi ghagra” while Neha and Nidhi Sood performed semi-classical dance on film-based songs.


Jacob greets people
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Punjab Governor and Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), has extended heartiest felicitations to the people on New Year’s Eve.

In a New Year message, General Jacob said that let the New Year promote compassion, love and communal harmony ushering in an era of prosperity and progress. General Jacob said that in the New Year “let us renew our pledge to protect the unity and integrity of our country and work for improving the quality of life of all sections of Society.”


City may face power cuts in New Year
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The New Year brings in some unpleasant news for the city residents. The Chandigarh Administration has been forced to impose rotational power cuts in the city to keep the drawl of power within the specified limits or face action from the Northern Region Electricity Board (NREB).

Today’s cold which resulted is excessive use of blowers and heaters, sent alarm bells ringing. The city withdrew about 160 mw of power as against its allocated peak winter load of 137 mw. Immediately the Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre, Delhi, sent a message to cut down power withdrawal and maintain grid discipline. The NRLDC controls and monitors the power load drawl of each of the states in the region.

If the grid fails, it will bring to a halt hundreds of trains across the country and will plunge large parts of the country in darkness. The last grid failure had occurred nearly a year ago on January 2 this year.

Keeping in mind the needs of the power grid, some measures have to be taken, well placed sources told Chandigarh Tribune tonight while adding that a final decision is expected tomorrow morning. One of the first steps will be to remove kundis , or switch off the feeders (power lines) on which large number kundis are drawing power. The next step will be to have rotational power cuts.

Under this system, the city is divided into 12 zones and power supply is switched off in each zone for a specified time. The cycle in repeated in all the zones thus controlling power drawl and keeping it within the allocated limits. In the past three days, the city has been overdrawing power. The Administration has the approval of the Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), to impose a cut as and when required keeping in mind the grid discipline.

The Administration is also inclined to issue an appeal to members of the public suggesting better timings to use geysers and blowers. These can be switched on after 11 p.m when the power demand goes down.


BJP, SAD keen to avenge defeat
Mayoral poll today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance, with the help of an understanding with the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM), will tomorrow in Mayoral poll try to avenge its recent municipal election defeat at the hands of the Congress.

The December 7 municipal elections returned 13 members of the Congress, 3 each of the CVM and BJP and one Akali out of 20 elected members of the corporation in a 30-member House.

The oath-taking of all members was completed today with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramasekhar, administering the oath to Brigadier (retd) Sant Singh, who could not do so on December 26 when 28 members became part of the house. The local Congress member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Bansal, is also an ex-officio member of the House.

The Congress number of 13 is insufficient on its own for its nominees to the posts of Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, Senior Deputy Mayor Surinder Singh and Deputy Mayor Balraj Singh, to easily romp home.

The situation leaves them to bank upon nine nominated members .

The first Mayoral election meeting of the second House will be presided over by Major General (retd.) A. S. Kalhon.

However, there may be problems for the anti-Congress forces with the CVM supremo Harmohan Dhawan expressing reservations against the BJP strategy, saying mandate seems to be in favour of the Congress despite it being fractured and that it should be respected. He is holding a meeting of his party’s three members tomorrow.

The BJP had been able to rope in Mr Dhawan’s lieutenant Devinder Singh Babla whose wife Ms Harpreet Kaur, has been assured support from the BJP-SAD alliance for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor, apparently as a quid pro quo for BJP’s Mayoral candidate, Ms Kamla Sharma, and for Deputy Mayor Rajesh Gupta.

Sources in the BJP said if everything went as per its strategy, “anything can happen”.

The Congress campaign is being led by Mr Bansal and former Union Minister Vinod Sharma, while former BJP MP Satyapal Jain and local unit President Yashpal Mahajan are working for the success of its panel.

The number, however, tells a different story with the Congress having 14 votes requiring only two votes. Mr Bansal has decided to cast his vote.

Mr Bansal told the Chandigarh Tribune that he was expecting all nine nominated members to go along with the Congress as the BJP was the party which had been favouring stripping them of their voting right in the house.

The MP said that he was expecting a resounding victory as nominated members would certainly respect the mandate given by the people.

Unless nine nominated members decide en-mass to vote to one set of candidates, the Congress seems far ahead of the alliance.


Second coldest day in city’s history
Chandigarh, Patiala, Ambala colder than Shimla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The winter chill and plunging temperatures broke all records today. The city recorded the second ever coldest day in its history. During the day the mercury dropped to 9.6 degrees Celsius. The coldest day was on December 31, 1990.


* Chandigarh records second coldest day ever at 9.6 degrees Celsius.

* Chandigarh, Ambala and Patiala colder than Shimla.

* Only the second time day temperature dropped below 10 degrees Celsius.

* Conditions to continue for the next 48 hours.

* Less fog today meant trains and buses were not very late.

* Going by records, all first three record cold days in the city have fallen on New Year’s eve — in 1990 (9.4), 2001 (9.6) and 1989 (10.2).

Today’s temperature was 11 degrees below the normal average for this time of the year. On the other hand, the minimum temperature was recorded at 6.4 degrees Celsius which is well within the normal range. This means the difference between early morning temperatures has been little, thus making residents feel the cold more than before.

The chill forced people indoors and nearer to blowers and heaters. Shopkeepers reported low sales as shoppers just did not move out. Places selling non-vegetarian food, soups, hot jalebis, pakoras and samosas made brisk sales. A supplier of meat, fish and chicken said in any case due to New Year’s eve parties, sales are high and the weather has added to the upswing.

In government offices the attendance was low because of the cold and also it was the last working day of the year, and several of the staff preferred to opt for leave and utilise the day staying indoors.

Foggy conditions continued today. Thankfully, the visibility was better today than in the past few days. Later in the evening, the fog started descending. The Director of the local Met Office, Mr S.C. Bhan, explained that the fog had not lifted in the past four days. The overcast conditions were not clouds but was fog, which lifted up to few hundred metres and remained there, thus giving the feeling of clouds to the naked eye. The present conditions will persist for the next 48 hours, he predicts.

As the fog was not allowing in any sunlight, Chandigarh (9.6 degrees Celsius), Ambala ( 11 degrees) and Patiala ( 13.4 degrees) were colder in the day than Shimla ( 14 degrees). This despite the fact that Shimla is located at a height of about 7000 feet above sea level. This happened as Shimla had bright sunshine today while fog did not allow temperatures to rise in the plains.

In Chandigarh the last time it was so cold was on January 7, 2000, when the temperature was 10.2 degrees Celsius. The same was recorded on December 31, 1989.


WTC incident ‘brought out the best’ in Americans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
‘‘The World Trade Center incident has brought out the best in Americans. Their tolerance and their ability to stand together in moments of crises. But at the same time there is also a danger of curtailing the civil liberties of people living there’’, said Prof Robert Engler, Professor Emeritus, City University of New York, while interacting with mediapersons at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here today.

‘‘When the excitement dies down, people in America are going to start protesting about being rounded up and constantly questioned. There is a serious apprehension about this among people who are living in America but not Americans.’’added his wife, Inea Bushnaq, accompanying Professor Engler on this trip to North India. Professor Engler, who is a political scientist, has been lecturing across the region for the past three weeks along with his wife, visiting various universities and interacting with students and teachers of political science.

Professor Engler, best known for his theory of “The Politics of Oil” (1961), also his major publication, has been now for years documenting the structure, activities and radius of impact of the private government of oil on America and the world’s political economy.

Credited with sparking congressional investigations in the USA, probes and reports by government agencies, the Press, television and political action by consumers besides environmental, labour and nationalist movements in many countries, Professor Engler referred to the government of oil as the “first world government”. ‘‘As long as the average American driving on the road is sure that Gasoline is available at the next petrol pump, he is really not bothered how much the interests of the oil companies in the USA are dominating the country’s policies.’’ he said.

Stating that the post WTC-attack scenario had a strong oil dimension to it, Professor Engler felt that the USA had been presented with a wonderful opportunity in terms of having a hold among the oil-rich Arab nations. “Certainly, if one looks at the map, America will not lay pipelines through Russia to reach oil but now with Afghanistan open, we have the right of way.’’

A sharp critic of the politics of oil, Professor Engler’s next work, “The Brotherhood of Oil” (1977), continued the analysis and focused on the counterforces as environment protection, OPEC and the new economic order of the developing regions. In 1980 he brought out “America’s Energy” which was a collection of reports on 100 years of struggle for the democratic control of resources.

Asked whether the CIA itself had engineered the attack on the WTC to gain control of the Arab world, Professor Engler replied: ‘‘The USA has the largest military and intelligence budget in the world, and to think that the CIA is an independent body would be wrong. The CIA does get ‘enthusiastic’, but then comes back to be in line with the government policies.’’ Professor Engler is currently working on the multinational corporation and human rights essays on political reconstruction . ‘‘A lot of work has gone into the collection of information about Arabs in New York. The first Arabs to reach the city can be traced back to the 1840s and, of course, the Arab geographers, too landed in America with Christopher Columbus.’’ she said. Born in Palestine, Inea has been educated in England and translated many works on Arabs. She has collected, edited and translated traditional stories in Arabic into a book of Arab folktales. Her latest venture, “A Community of Many Worlds: Arabs in New York’, is being published by the Syncrase Univ. Press.


Cultural hungama to welcome New Year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Markfed Club, Chandigarh, organised a colourful cultural programme tonight to welcome the New Year. Members of club left no stone unturned to make the function a grand success. Children danced and sang to foot-tapping music. Dhola and bhangra were performed by the employees of Markfed. Bhupinder Babbal entertained the audience with his melodious songs while B.M. Sharma entertained the audience with hilarious jokes.

Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director, Markfed, while presiding over the function, appreciated the efforts put in by the members. Wishing a happy New Year to the employees, he said Markfed would continue to arrange such programmes in future as well to promote cultural activities. These functions provided an effective platform to exhibit talent.

Mr Bains also highlighted various problems in storage and handling of surplus foodgrains in the state as well as in the country. There were huge stocks of foodgrains lying stored in the state and these stocks were becoming a financial liability for the state government. The stocks had also adversely affected the financial position of the farmers.

The Managing Director said Markfed was all set to enter into a joint venture with an Australian company for providing silos for bulk storage and handling of surplus foodgrains. Markfed had also taken a lead in arranging export of wheat and already despatched substantial stocks from the state and earned more than Rs 200 crore.

Speaking about the welfare schemes, Mr Bains assured that all the demands of Markfed employees would be fulfilled including the pension scheme. He assured that the matter would be taken up with the higher authorities for the implementation of the scheme at the earliest. He also distributed prizes on the occasion.


Chandigarh a hot spot for revellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Singing sensation Sonu Nigam could not do in Ludhiana what disc jockeys from Delhi did in Chandigarh.

Though ‘Bijuria’ Nigam’s performance in the garment town of Punjab was a success, and the tickets were sold well in advance, Chandigarh was the “place to be in” for some of the tycoons on the New Year Eve.

Little wonder, they drove down to the city in polished semi-limousines to twirl around dance floors illuminated by colourful lights on December 31.

The effect was there for all to see. Some of the perpetually vacant rooms in city hotels, even guest houses, remained littered with luggage as captains of industries checked in hours before the programmes were to commence.

This was not all. Barons from boomtowns all over the region, including Bathinda, Patiala, even Abohar, also arrived. Along with their families. Not only in cars, also in tourist buses that remained parked along the road outside guest houses till the celebrations concluded well past midnight.

For revellers from other cities, special arrangements had been made by owners of these guest houses. Rooms were spruced up and carpets cleaned.

The tariff, too, went up, along with the excitement. Instead of Rs 300 for an ordinary room, Rs 500 were charged from thrill-seekers. For “executive class rooms with double beds”, Rs 800 were charged which was Rs 300 more than the normal charges.

“Why shouldn’t we charge more?” questioned Raghu, manager with a Sector 21 guest house. “After all our tourist season begins with the New Year Eve and ends soon after the celebrations are over”, he said.

Revellers do not mind pulling out extra bucks from their wallets either. “The reason is not very hard to see,” claimed a Ludhiana-based computer dealer, Mr Vijay Dutt, soon after checking in a classy hotel in Sector 10 here. “If we can pay Rs 2,200 for cutting foot loose on the dance floors illuminated by crazy lights at the techno beat of bhangra music played by a live band, why should we mind spending another Rs 3,000 on our stay in Chandigarh. New Year Eve is the only time we indulge in ourselves. I think it’s justified”.

But what about the programmes at Ludhiana and other cities in the region? Aren’t they worth the money being charged by the organisers? “Oh, they are fine. It’s only that we want to celebrate the occasion in style,” Dutt asserted. Well, folks, Chandigarh or Ludhiana, we hope you had a nice time.


Club bids farewell to 2001
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Scintillating fireworks and sizzling performances from various artists welcomed the New Year at the Mohali Country Club. The club bid farewell to 2001 with memorable and musical events from Bobby Yash Entertainments, an entertainment group called from Mumbai for the occasion.

The evening was full of music masti and dance as audiences were enthralled by Indi-pop and Punjabi songs. The singer Divya and Sanjay Nigam sang foot tapping Hindi and Punjabi pop songs that suited the occasion.

Persons from all ages were present and enjoyed the evening surrounded by the festive mood. The club also presented a well choreographed fashion show. The event attracted the young audience and was also well received among the old as it was very well organised. The fashion show really set the trend for forthcoming events. Bobby and Yash Entertainments presented a live orchestra with sizzling music and a combination of old and new numbers from Hindi films.

Though the evening was really cold, the audience felt completely comfortable enjoying various events and the bonfire kept the evening going in warm and cosy way. Along with the fun, music and masti, the mouth watering cuisines were served. The whole evening was well received by around 1,500 strong crowd.


Home comfort outweighs club glitters
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 31
Most of the residents celebrated New Year Eve at home with their families, while others ushered in the New Year at clubs or hotels here and in Chandigarh. The lucky few who could afford it, made it to Kasauli and other areas in the nearby hills for the grand bash.

A majority of local hotels, as was the case last year, had little attraction for revellers, most of whom preferred to go to Chandigarh. At least three clubs had made arrangements for members and their guests to ring in the New Year with lively music, dance and colour.

The prestigious Punjab Cricket Club in Sector 63 had invited DJ Bhanu and Rock Band to make members dance to their favourite numbers. To make children enjoy themselves and leave their parents free to take part in the festivities, a kids’ corner, with a special arrangement of various games, was set up. A variety of cuisine, including Indian and Continental dishes, was the highlight of the gala dinner. The club had also announced a lucky draw with attractive prizes to be won.

The Country Club had invited an orchestra from Mumbai to liven up the evening along with two up-and-coming singers, Divya and Sanjay Nigam. A fashion show was also organised in which boys and girls from colleges in Chandigarh took part. Choreography was by Neeraj Kumari of the club.

Mr K.S. Cheema, manager (administration) of the club, said fireworks and bonfires were part of the celebrations. The cuisine, he said, included Chinese, Continental and Indian dishes.

The Mohali Club had also made arrangements for a DJ. It was the first New Year Eve celebrations at the recently inaugurated club.

The club president, Mr Arvinder Singh, said dance troupes from Jalandhar had been invited to entertain members. He said since these were the first New Year celebrations of the club, subsidy had been provided to the members. The cuisine, he said, included Indian and Mughlai items.


End menace of stray cattle
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 31
As the time inches towards the New Year, residents of Mohali look upon the elected members of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council to implement more public-oriented schemes in the town. Periodic maintenance of the basic amenities is among the priorities of the residents.

People want that the MC should put an end to the menace of stray cattle and improve the sanitation. “The year 2002 should mark a period when the name of the town figures among the clean cities in the country,” says Mrs Manjit Kaur, an NRI from Nairobi, who has settled in Phase 4.

She wants that the road berms should be cleaned regularly. Her feelings are shared by Mr Baldev Singh Mann, a resident of Phase 6, who seeks that the civic body should spend more funds on repairing the damaged roads, blocked storm water gullies, broken footpaths and inoperational streetlight.

Mr Karnail Singh Mann, a resident of Phase 4, says that the system of redress of grievances of the residents through the complaint centres needs to be strengthened. Voicing his concern about the unhygienic conditions around the villages, Mr Manmohan Singh Langh, councillor, demands that the municipal councillors, irrespective of their political loyalty, should actively be involved in development and maintenance activities in their respective wards.

Mr Manjeet Singh, councillor from Phase 3B2, says, “Due to increased vehicular traffic there was an urgent need to widen certain roads”. He demands that the civic body should get liberal funds from PUDA as it was looking after the maintenance of the basic amenities. A better coordination between the civic body, PUDA and other government departments concerned was required.

The president of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, says the sanitation would further be strengthened. He promises to build a cattle pond, a gaushala and a office complex of the civic body in 2002.


Gate meeting by powermen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The UT electricity employees today held gate meetings outside various electricity offices in the city in preparation of their proposed four-hour pen-down strike on January 9 for which the Federation of UT Employees and Workers and the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation have given a call in support of the demands of employees.

According to Mr Bhag Mal Rana, general secretary of the UT Powermen Union, the demands of the employees include grant of bonus for the past four years, treating employees of the UT working with the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on deputation, grant of dearness allowance arrears to daily-wagers, appointment to next of kin of the deceased employees, filling of vacant posts in all cadres and implementation of the PSEB circular and grant of four, nine and 14 years promotional scales to all employees.


Switchover to freehold good’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Mr R.P. Malhotra, chief of Samadhaan, a pressure group, welcomed the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to switchover from leasehold system to freehold system for the property here. He said it had evoked a good response from consumers at recent auctions.

Besides a huge revenue in the form of stamp duty, the Administration had also seen a considerable increase in the auction price of commercial and residential properties.

The Samadhaan anticipated a better market sentiment after this, he said. Intending seller, having long-struck deals in hand, would come out in the hope of getting a fair deal from the otherwise dull market. At the same time, intending purchaser, looking for a further decline, would like to have a hasty bite.


Rallies by road, public workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Roads Workers Union and the Public Health Workers Union organised rallies to mobilise employees for the January 11 strike in support of their demands.

Road workers held rallies in Sectors 38 and 10 and health workers in Sector 4.

They are demanding four years’ bonus, treating transferred employees from the Administration to the MC on deputation, grant of HRA and CCA as per Supreme Court order, filling vacant posts and a fixed local travel allowance.

The rallies were addressed by Mr Rakesh Kumar, Mr Bal Kishan, Mr Rajinder Katoch, Mr P. Kamraj, Mr Kaka Singh and Mr Ram Lal.


3 employees of Tribune retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Three employees of The Tribune Trust, including a Deputy Manager, retired today.

Mr Lalita Prasad, Deputy Manager (Press), served the institution for 35 years.

Mr Sher Bahadur Pun, Head Security Havildar, served the Trust for 19 years, while Mr Mani Ram Tewari, Head Daftri, had put in 31 years of service.

All of them were given a warm send-off by their colleagues. Prominent among those who attended the farewell function were Mr R.N. Gupta and Mr O.P. Arora, General Manager and Additional General Manager of the Trust, respectively.


Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Mr Hamir Chand Dhiman (75), father of Mr Ramesh Dhiman, Executive, Advertisement Department, The Tribune, died at his ancestral village, Paragpur, in Kangra district (HP), this afternoon. He was ailing for some time. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.


221 complaints settled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 31
As many as 221 complaints were solved during an “alternate complaint resolution” organised by the police at five nodal points for redress of public grievances here yesterday. The nodal points were the police stations of Sectors 17, 34 and 26, EOW and CAW office in Sector 17 and Crime Branch, Sector 11. Mr S.S. Randhawa, Mr S.C. Sagar, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr B.D. Bector, Mr S.C. Abrol, respective Deputy Superintendents of Police, besides SHOs, Inspectors and in charge units, were present at the nodal points.


Miraculous escape for car occupants
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 31
Occupants of a Maruti car (CH-03-2117) had a miraculous escape when the car suddenly caught fire near the Press Chowk traffic light point here this evening. According to sources in the Fire Department, the fire was caused due to short circuit and as a result the engine of the car was damaged. Occupants of the car, including Mr Navneet Singh of Sector 45, escaped unhurt.


Vigilance Bureau harassing Syals?
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 31
The Punjab Vigilance Department had registered six cases against the Golden Forest India Company on the behest of the Punjab Government based on the evidence from the inter-department correspondence done by the Vigilance Bureau of Punjab before the inception of the cases against the company, alleged A.L. Syal, father of R.K. Syal, Chairman of the Golden Forest India Limited, in a reply filed by him before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC).

A.L. Syal, who was presently confined in the Burail Jail, had also filed two secret letters written in Punjabi before the commission which reveal the communication between the Punjab Government and the Vigilance Department. The photocopy of the letters are in the possession of Chandigarh Tribune.

The complainant, A.L. Syal, had filed a complaint against the State of Punjab through its Home Secretary, UT Civil Secretariat and Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, through its IG (Vigilance), alleging human rights violation.

Sources revealed that on December 23, 2000, the Vigilance Department, Patiala, had registered six cases against the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the company, R.K. Syal, Director, A.L. Syal, and others for allegedly cheating and defrauding investors under Sections 420, 406, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

The Vigilance Department had registered cases on the ground that the company purchased land in various parts of Punjab — Dera Bassi in Patiala district, and Mukerian in Hoshiarpur district — and took money from the public, to purchase land for building hotels, in the shape of fixed deposits. It was alleged that the registery of the land was made at a much higher value than the price that was paid to the owner of the land. The land was left barren and no development carried out. Moreover, no investor has been given right to ownership of the land.

On the other hand, the complainant had alleged that the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, had been entirely responsible for crumbling the financial position and administration of Golden Forest Limited. The complainant also alleged that there had been no sufficient evidence for registering FIRs.


Minor girl abducted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The local police has booked Ajmer Singh, a resident of the Sector 25 Janata Colony, on the charge of abducting a minor girl of Dadu Majra Colony. A complaint against the suspect was lodged by Mr Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Ram Darbar. A case has been registered against the suspect. The girl has been recovered from the possession of the suspect.

Theft case: Mr Satish Chander Sharma, a resident of Sector 19, lodged an FIR that one front wheel of his car was stolen on the night between December 29 and 30. The car was parked outside his house. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

Mr Vinod Kumar, a resident of Sector 35-B, told the police that someone broke the ventilator of his SCO, on the December 29 night and decamped with some computer items. A case has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

Whisky seized: The local police arrested Mr Indora, a resident of DM Colony, and seized 12 pouches of whisky from his possession.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.


25 rickshaw-pullers held, bailed out
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 31
The police arrested 25 rickshaw-pullers on the charge of causing danger on city roads as part of a special drive to make roads safer, here yesterday. The arrested included residents of Nepal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

According to a senior police official, the rickshaw-pullers were booked under Section 283 of the IPC, as action cannot be taken under the Motor Vehicle Act which is applicable only to motorised road users. Section 283 of the IPC deals with causing danger and obstruction in public way.

The rickshaw-pullers were arrested for pulling rickshaws on wrong side of road or not obeying traffic signals. All the accused were later released on bail.


Villagers held for beating up youth
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 31
The police today arrested three residents of Sarangpur village for beating a labourer of the village.

As per police sources, Suresh, a labourer, was beaten up by Dalvinder Singh, Bhadur Singh and Charndeep Singh, last night in the village. Suresh’s cycle met with an accident with a scooter on which the three were riding. Following this the trio reportedly beat up Suresh. The victim was admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16.

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