Monday, January 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Paid parking from today, despite opposition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
While various local political parties are gearing up to oppose the paid parking introduced in the city for the first time, parking contractors flexed their muscles to enforce the paid parking in Sectors 17, 9 and 8 from tomorrow.

Addressing a joint press conference this morning, the contractors (Rakesh Singla-Jagtar Singh and Company) said the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had given them the contract for the implementation of “regulated” parking scheme in these sectors.

Speaking on behalf of the contractors, Mr Sat Pal said the regulated parking scheme involved three types of parking — free, passes and paid. He said the parking fee had been notified for all three sectors where any one could park his vehicle. The “pass” parking is meant for traders, employees and other regular visitors to the markets and offices in these sectors so that financial burden on them is minimum. The monthly pass for cars, two-wheelers and cycles are available at the rate of Rs 50, Rs 25 and Rs 10, respectively.

There will also be paid parking for visitors to the markets and offices. A visitor coming to the markets or offices for a short duration in his four-wheeler will have to pay less than half the rate fixed for full-day parking. A car owner will be charged only Rs 2 for up to four hours as against Rs 5 for the full-day parking pass. Two-wheeler owners will pay half the price for up to four hours with charges being Re 1 for up to four hours and Rs 2 for full day. Cycle owners will uniformly pay Re .

Mr Sat Pal said they had made arrangements for deploying personnel at these parking lots for the purpose of helping the vehicle owners. The parking staff will be posted in proper uniform with their name badges so that any one having any complaint can report to the contractors for prompt action

Mr Sat Pal said the contractors had exempted vehicles of fire brigade and of postmen delivering mail in these sectors from paying any fee. Similarly, ambulances bringing in patients to various laboratories in these sectors would not be required to purchase parking tickets.

Mr Sat Pal said the rates of the paid parking had been fixed by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. The contractors were merely implementing the decision of the Corporation He, however, added that they would look into any suggestions from the public and necessary action taken. The suggestions may be delivered at their control room in Sector 17 or on telephone number 381352.

Interestingly, the Akali Dal-BJP alliance is accusing the Congress of implementation of the paid parking system in the city and the Congress is holding both the Akali Dal and the BJP responsible for taking a decision to introduce paid parking in the city. Mr Gian Chand Gupta, former BJP president, who has been elected councillor for the second time, says the BJP had at the last meeting of the corporation deferred the decision in this regard and it was being implemented by the Congress.

Congress councillors, however, maintained they had launched an agitation in the city for opposing the paid parking.

Chart of paid parking fee

The following is the chart of the paid parking fee to be charged by contractors from tomorrow:

The monthly pass for cars: Rs 50

The monthly pass fee for scooters: Rs 25

The monthly pass fee for cycles: Rs 10

Full day parking charges for car: Rs 5

Full day parking charges for scooter: Rs 2

Full day parking charges for cycle: Re 1



Traders form action panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Meanwhile, traders have formed a 20-member joint action committee to oppose paid parking and have invited all councillors to oppose the MC decision. The Congress has allowed its councillor from Sector-17 Pradeep Chhabra to participate in the agitation.

The former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain, said the majority party, which has been in the forefront to oppose the move, has options of either annulling the earlier resolution, or getting the corporation to file a review petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court or going to the Supreme Court to get a stay on the implementation of the paid parking scheme. Mr Jain expressed surprise over the fact that the Congress had not shown alacrity on an issue which was its poll plank.

The Congress Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, yesterday explored the possibilities of options on the matter getting a status report from the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh.

Ms Joshi, however, was disappointed because the fact sheet seemed to suggest that there was no option available.



PGI nod to research on wheat grass for thalassaemics
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
For the 340 children suffering from thalassaemia and receiving blood transfusion every three weeks at the PGI’s special ward to sustain life, even a small ray of hope is reason enough to smile.

Parents of 70 of these children, suffering from one of the deadliest blood diseases among children, are part of a low profile but important study going on at the thalassaemia ward of the PGI. These parents have high hopes from this research, which if one particular case of a Ludhiana-based patient is to be believed, may revolutionise the control of this disease in children.

A type of anaemia, passed genetically, thalassaemia is one of the more common hereditary problems among children in north India. The child’s haemoglobin falls to very low levels and if there is no medical intervention, leads to death.

The child is given regular transfusions of blood, but this is an alternative not without its side effects. Regular transfusion causes iron overload in the bodies of these children. Since the body has no mechanism of removing the extra iron, oral medicines and injectibles called iron chealators are used. These chealotors also partially effective and very expensive.

The only known cure, bone marrow transplant operation, is not available anywhere beyond Delhi in north India and has only a success rate of 70 per cent. The complete operation costs above Rs 10 lakh.

If the study shows positive results, the frequency of blood transfusions among these children can be reduced drastically by maintaining the haemoglobin levels high, reducing the iron overload in the body.

The study is right now at a very early stage and according to the doctors working on it, it may take another year and a half before some initial results are available.

Based widely on the Ann Whigmore concept of green grasses useful in many common diseases, the study was started after a parent in Ludhiana, at one of the thalassaemic children’s parents’ meeting with doctors organised by the thalassaemia Society, stated that his child had responded positively to wheat grass treatment.

The idea was picked up for systematic study by the PGI’s thalassaemia ward and in July last year, 70 children were enrolled. The parents of these children follow the various standardised rules of growing wheat grass and checking iron count etc regularly by the doctors working there.

“Right now, only data is being collected and no analysis has been done. The tentative data has shown a mixed bag of results. Some children are responding positively to the wheatgrass treatment and some are showing no change at all, but none of them are being harmed with this treatment, which is supplementing their normal routine blood transfusion treatment”, says a doctor at the thalassaemia ward, PGI.

Dr R.K. Marwaha, Additional Professor, Department of Paediatrics, PGI, who is also the overall in charge of the study, states that it is too premature to give out any straw of hope to the parents whose children are suffering from thalassaemia.

“It may be a dead-end study, but then we are going about checking out what has been said with so much of conviction by that parent from Ludhiana. Since the therapy does not have any harmful effect it has been cleared by the PGI’s ethics committee and we have got a go-ahead for it”, he says.



Draft paper on health policy ignores pharmacists
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The draft paper of the National Health Policy, 2001, does not refer to the services of pharmacists in healthcare delivery and management which is tantamount to ignoring a very big segment of actual healthcare managers in the country.

Prof S.K. Kulkarni from the department of Pharmacy of Panjab University, talked to The Tribune here today, mainly on presidential address at the recently concluded Indian Pharmaceutical Congress in Delhi.

Professor Kulkarni is a former Dean and Chairman, Pharmaceutical Sciences, PU. He is a fullbright visiting scholar of the US Education Foundation. Professor Kulkarni has been honoured with the Ranbaxy Research Foundation award, Acharya P.C. Roy Gold medal, Prof G.P. Srivastava Memorial National Award, Prof B Uvnas prize and IBRO Asia Fellowship.

The issue is important because the National Health Policy has come after a gap of 18 years. It is to be tabled in Parliament and there is ample scope for incorporation of new suggestions.

The Pharmaceutical Congress in Delhi attracted more than 4000 participants not just from India but also leading pharmaceutical agencies abroad. The exhibition had more than 200 stalls showing the state-of- the-art pharmaceutical apparatus and analytical equipment, besides other related material.

Some of the leading speakers at the congress were Prof A.T. Florence, Dean of the London School of Pharmacy, Mr R.A. Mashelkar, Director-General of the CSIR, Mr D.S. Brar, CEO, Ranbaxy, and Mr Roger William, chief of the Food and Drug Administration (standards of drugs), USA.

One big thrust area of deliberations centred around the social relevance of the subject, more so in the Indian context. Pharmacist is the first person a vast majority of the Indians approach in case of emergency and common ailments like fever, headache and stomachache. They definitely need to be well equipped, it was pointed out.

It is a well-known fact that there exists a wide gap between urban and rural public health facilities.

It was pointed out at the conference that “biology has entered a new era. We are beginning to understand the genetic basis of out individual existence. The sequencing of the human genome is a triumph of biological science and a milestone in the history of mankind. The description of the human genome sequence represents a major step towards complete understanding of human biology”.

In the same context it was said: “Historically the discovery of novel drugs has been led by chemistry and pharmacology. With the coming in of genomic sciences, biology is going to be the main driver.”

Prof Kulkarni said “nutraceuticals (food or food ingredients) have not only gained considerable acceptance but have also found use and application. Nutraceuticals are considered to provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases.”

It was pointed out that the Medical Council of India was contemplating teaching the concepts of the Indian system of medicine as part of the undergraduate curriculum to medical students.

The congress expressed concern on the falling standards of pharmaceutical education and training, particularly in pharmacology.



Universal Film Academy gets going
Auditions for first DD serial on Jan 12 and 13
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
When the Indian wing of the Union Financial Corporation of the USA, the house that funds international films, promised an active launching-pad for the city youth some time back, the belief in its commitment did not come easy. There were apprehensions — the kind that invariably shroud projects related to establishment of film academies. The convincing job was tough, especially in view of the fact that the two “film academies” already existing in the city were not promising anything great.

About a month of verbal commitment and the team of the Universal Film Academy is back in Chandigarh to give shape to verbatim. While the work on the big-budget academy is on in full swing in the Sector 34 commercial area, people involved in the project are in town, promising a break of sorts to the city youth.

The academy promoter, Mr Raman Tandon, who was in the city today, informed that auditions and screening tests for the first TV serial titled “Jagruti” (to be aired on DD) will be held in CITCO hotel Park View in Sector 24 on January 12 and 13. As the story revolves around the young and the energetic, the call of audition is being made mainly to those between 14 and 35 years of age. On both said dates the audition will take place between 10 am and 5 pm and the candidates will be required to report with their portfolios and biodata.

Being the first project of the academy, “Jagruti” is slated to have the best silver screen production talent. The script of the serial is being written by Zafar Nayyar, who wrote the script for DD’s “Tipu Sultan”. In the director’s and the assistant director’s chair will be Vinay Dhumalay and Anil Agarwal, respectively.

While this is all about “Jagruti”, the maiden project of the academy, there are hosts of courses to be offered once the academy building is inaugurated formally. The budget of Rs 1 crore will be used to create sensitive infrastructure, including the audio-visual library. Apart from acting, the academy will also offer courses in script writing, newsreading and make-up, along with direction, cameramanship, sound recording, video-editing and finance.

Promoters of the academy are planning to strengthen the faculty. They have already roped in the support of Kirti Jain, Chairman, National School of Drama, A.S. Kanal, Director, Film Institute, Pune, and Sunit Tandon, ace DD newsreader and anchor. Mr Raman Tandon informed that talks were going on with other experts in the field.

With a view to making the academy accessible, the promoters have already announced that those selected to play in the TV serial will be offered 25 per cent discount if they prefer to join the academy courses later.



Cut tree, install stone, remove...
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, January 6
A full-grown tree was sacrificed just eight days ago to make space to lay down the foundation stone of the Centre for Defence and National Security Studies on the Panjab University campus. But it seems that the sacrifice too went waste as the stone, according to sources in the PU, was removed and has been kept at a ‘safe’ place.

‘‘Traditionally, the foundation stone is included in the building of the structure which comes up later’’, said sources in the PU. However, in this the case, the PU authorities would have to make some other alternative so that the building which will come up and remain there for several years carries the tag of the date of stone laying ceremony and the name of the personality connected with it.

Prof Mohan Maharishi, Dean University Instructions (DUI), was, however, ignorant of the fact and said, ‘‘I am not aware of about it and hence I am not in position to comment’’. However, he agreed that the foundation stones are normally accommodated in the buildings. Even in the PU, entrance point of several buildings are displaying the foundation plaques.

Prof T.R Sharma, Co-ordinator of the Centre was also ignorant about the removal of the stone. ‘‘If the stone has been removed I am not aware of the reason’’.

It may be mentioned here that the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd), had laid the foundation of the centre adjacent to the Arts Block 3 on December 28. Sources revealed that a “kathal” tree was uprooted for building a platform on which the plaque bearing the Centre’s name, date and name of the person who laid the stone was raised. However, the structure was demolished yesterday afternoon and two persons were busy removing the debris today when this correspondent visited the site.

Another thing worth mentioning here is that several hundred trees on the PU campus are unmarked. So, if some of the trees in the campus are chopped off illegally it may go unreported. Sources add that a number of times trees have been axed in the campus over the past several years for construction purposes or for some other reasons. A visit to a depot of the university adjacent to the Indian Theatre Department revealed that several logs had been stored in it.



Traffic safety week from today
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 6
The Ropar traffic police will be observing traffic safety week from tomorrow. Inspector V.K. Vaid, District Traffic In charge said on the first day, the traffic cops would distribute material related to traffic awareness at different traffic junctions in the town. The motorists would be educated about traffic rules.

Mr Vaid said on January 8, a seminar will be organised at Indus Ind Bank in Phase 3B 2 here. On January 9.


Much to the relief of the general public, employees of the Chandigarh Administration will be deprived of at least seven holidays during this calendar year. This means a little more work for the babus besides reducing the number of closed days from 23 to 16. This is other than the weekend closure on Saturday and Sunday.

Five gazetted holidays fall on Sunday. One falls on a Saturday while Good Friday and Holi – both of which are separate holidays – are falling on the same date, March 29.

Employees will feel the first loss of holiday on January 26. It will be on Saturday. Holidays on Sundays are Dr B.R. Ambedkar Jayanti, Baisakhi (both April 14), Ram Navami (April 21), Budh Purnima (May 26) and martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur (December 8). After several years Baisakhi has fallen on April 14 thus clubbing it with Dr Ambedkar Jayanti. In Punjab employees will experience fewer holidays as martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh falls on a Saturday (March 23).

On the other hand, a few of holidays will fall on Monday, giving rise to extended weekends with three consecutive off days. Holidays on Mondays will be the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (January 21), Muharram (March 25), birthday of Maharishi Valmiki (October 21) and Divali (November 4). Closed days on Fridays will occur on Holi/Good Friday (March 29), Janmashtami (August 30) and Id-ul-fitr (December 6).

New Year and cold wave

Chandigarh, it seems has a cold relationship with New Year’s eve. The city welcomed 2002 in biting cold setting a record of sorts. It had the second coldest day in its history on December 31. The mercury did not rise above 9.6 degrees celsius during the day making it the second coldest day after the record breaking 9.4 degrees in 1989.

Interestingly, the record for the first three coldest days in the history of Chandigarh has been set on December 31. The first was 9.4 on December 31, 1989, followed by 9.6 on December 31, 2001, and 10.2 degrees celsius on December 31, 1990.

Still, this did not deter residents from celebrating the day as before. If dance parties were hosted in nightclubs or nearby resorts, late night sessions were on in major hotels. Various clubs held their own functions where there was plenty to drink and eat besides dance floors to shake off the drinks and the old year.

Power cuts

The New Year brought in power cuts for city residents. The biting cold on December 31 resulted in a huge jump in use of blowers, geysers and heaters. Engineers were cautioned by the controlling authorities in Delhi that the all-important northern grid may collapse due to overdrawal.

To bring down the drawal of power within sanctioned limits power cuts have to be imposed, Chandigarh Administration told residents before finally enforcing the cuts on a rotational basis throughout the city. Under the system a cut is imposed for 30 minutes in a specified area. The same process is then repeated for another area and so on. With this the cuts are imposed in all areas, including the VIP sectors. This system could be tried out with tremendous success in neighbouring states.

Last winter and summer also the Administration had resorted to the same practice.

Bedecked buses

The New Year brought a new look to most buses of Haryana Roadways. Interesting to note was the fact that all buses of the roadways which left Chandigarh bus stand on January 1 and even the ones which reached the Chandigarh bus stand from other stations were bedecked with colourful buntings.

So heavy was the decoration on some of the plying buses that one could hardly see the passengers sitting inside. Thanks to zeal of Haryana Roadways, even the commuters seemed to be living the wonderful feeling of boarding a heavily embellished bus. Where most of the buses were done up with silken and even paper buntings, some even had flowers all round the window panes. The level of decoration served the Haryana Roadways people well, with most of the commuters wanting to board the “beautiful buses”.

One only wonders if the New Year zeal will last!

To strike or not to!

The election of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has reversed the role of the Congress . While in Opposition, some of the Congress activists joined the Sector 17 Traders’ Association and employees of the Chandigarh Administration in protesting against the move of the Corporation to introduce paid parking fee in the city. The paid parking fee decision taken during the BJP-Akali Dal regime will be introduced from this week. No wonder residents are now anxiously watching the attitude of Congress Councillors who are now members of the ruling party.

When the agitation was launched the local police had registered cases against Mr Subhash Chawla and Mr Pradeep Chhabra, both now Congress Councillors. Both these cases are now pending in court for trial. What would be their attitude towards this demand of the Sector 17 Traders Association and employees of the Administration?

Mr Chawla says that he will continue to support the demand of the Traders Association and would oppose the paid parking fee. He, however, accuses officials of the Corporation for getting this decision enforced. He asserts that the Corporation ought to have kept this decision in abeyance till the elections were held. He says that he would try to persuade Councillors of his party to arrive at unanimity and have a fresh look at this decision.

Claiming that Mr Chhabra would also oppose the introduction of paid parking fee, Mr Chawla says that Congress leadership never stopped its leaders from launching an agitation against the wrong decision of the Administration. He is hopeful that even now the Congress high command would not stop them from joining the agitation, if launched by the Traders’ Association and government employees. After all, it would be a recurring burden on them for all times to come.

Una connection

Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s Mayoral fight had a different aspect as both the Congress and the BJP had pitted two women hailing from Una district in Himachal Pradesh.

The victorious Congress candidate, Lalit Joshi, and the loser, Ms Kamla Sharma, who was the first Mayor of the city from the BJP in, 1996 had an Una connection.

While Ms Joshi was born in Una district Ms Sharma was married in the district. This was revealed by Ms Sharma in a courtesy visit to Ms Joshi to congratulate her on her election.

But Una had a larger presence than imagined in the present 30-member house as two of other Congress Councillors, Chandermukhi Sharma and Pushpa Sharma, also hailed from the district.


With increased awareness on the adverse effect caused by the chemical fertilisers and pesticides on human and soil health, several institutions and individuals with the support of the Environment Society of India (ESI) have put up vermi compost units in their areas. The aim is not only to carry out research and training but to use the vermi manure in their gardens and farms.

Prominent among them are the Commonwealth Youth Programme Secretariat (15 beds), International Society for Krishna Consciousness (15), Panjab University (3), Technical Teachers Training Institute (3), Nursery MCC (8), Khuda Ali Sher (45), Karuna Sadan (6) etc.

Vermi beds do not create smell. It ensures weed and pest free manure. Besides, it contains essential nutrients in right proportion which helps in the productivity of the soil.

Vermi-compost and earth worms are available from the Environment Society of India (ESI) Phone 746832, on a no profit-no-loss basis.

In the dark

Services provided at the PGI have improved in the recent past, but scope for improvement is always there. Large parts of the institute are on continuous electricity arrangement with the help of several backup generators. One place which could also do with continuous power supply is the fee section on level 1 in block C of the PGI. The computers on which the fee is calculated have Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) backup. However, this does not help.

The fee section room is located at such a place that lights are required even during daytime. If power fails the computers can run but the staff can virtually see nothing. And if it is cloudy outside it gets pitch dark in the fee section. Maybe the lights in the fee section can be connected to the UPS or some other arrangement can be worked out. This fee section is the most important for in-patients and their attendants.

Carry on, doctor

As a doctor, Mrs Chetana Vaishnavi gets to see pain from close quarters. Perhaps that is why she is able to perceive joy also in everyday events which may not be noticeable to an ordinary person. She pens these thoughts as middles in The Tribune and other papers.

She has now brought out a slim book, “Hilarious Moments”, which is a collection of 35 such pieces. As she says, “while enjoying the mirth generated by people in my life, I have myself willingly become the butt of people’s laughter”. The book contains many such incidents. That is laudable, because laughing at oneself is the most difficult thing to do.

Interestingly, she has simultaneously come out with another book, “Fragile Realm”, which is a collection of eight tragedies written in the form of plays that have been “versened”. These are a product of her teenage fantasies which she has published decades later in the original form, even though it is a bygone world that she is depicting.


On January 1, an elderly couple went about the city in their Fiat car, flashing a unique New Year message across a placard, which the lady in the car was holding out of the window. It read: “Let us feed the hunger of politics very scarcely this year. Some hungers become more ravenous when fed.”

— Sentinel



‘Sahayta’ to cancer patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
“There is a limit to cure, no limit to care” This is the motto of 40 men and women of the city. Sahayta, a city-based charitable society caring for cancer patients is an emotional support group which has been working for the past five years with cancer patients at the PGI.

With the aim to spread the message that diagnosis of cancer is not the end of the road, Sahayta works like an informal gathering of like-minded people who have decided to do their bit for those suffering from this deadly disease.

Other than providing support, understanding, information and practical help to cancer patients, the organisation provides counselling during the special cancer clinics held at the PGI and Command Hospital, sponsoring patients for treatment of cancer, facilitating interaction between people fighting the disease and arranging for visits by professional psychologists.

Sahayta was started by Ms Neelu Tuli, a resident of Sector 36, who saw her elder sister and brother-in-law suffer from the disease, fight it and come out winning against all odds.

“That was the time we realised that cancer is not the end of the world. There is life after cancer and it is meaningful. And only if the patient and his or her relatives could be made to understand and help see the brighter side, it can make a lot of difference,” says Dr Poornima Sehgal, younger sister of Neelu Tuli working in the Punjab Secretariat dispensary. In May, 1997, nine friends and family members of Ms Tuli established the Sahayta Charitable Welfare Society.

Money, time, whatever it takes, each one of the members are with Sahayta because of the belief in what their aim is and what they have to achieve. Most members have their families involved in the mission.

Trained as a psychologist, Sheena, one of the younger members of the group, says: “I have been working with Sahayta since the past two years at the PGI cancer clinics, counselling patients and their relatives. These are people who are totally stressed out and need emotional support more than anything else. It feels good that we can make a difference”.

Sahayta is actively involved with taking care of children suffering from cancer. “A toy bank at the Oncology Department of APC for use of the children who come there for treatment and regular painting and drawing competitions for children visiting the special cancer clinics are some of the activities for these children”, says Mrs Swatantar Kapoor, one of the founding members of Sahayta teaching in DAV College, Sector 10.

Sahayta is one of the few organisations in the city whose silent but substantial contribution to the cause of helping cancer patients is commendable. Senior doctors working in the Radiotherapy, Pediatric Oncology and Heamatology Departments of the PGI are all praise for their volunteers.

Always on the look out of educated volunteers who can spare a few hours once a week or more in hospitals, the Sahayta family works through its own network of members. “But we would love more people to become part of this family, some can help us raise funds to help treat needy patients. Someone can adopt a child for treatment, donate toys for the toy bank and others can simply spread the message,” says Ms Neelu Tuli.



Congress Councillor in tight spot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Mr Balraj Singh, is a graduate. He joined the Congress during the Emergency in 1975 and by 1983, became Joint Secretary of the Youth Congress of the local unit.

He remained chairman of the SC and ST cell of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee for 10 years apart from being joint secretary and general secretary in the District Congress Committee.

Mr Balraj Singh (44) has been a member of the education, sanitation and health advisory committee of the Union Territory apart from being a director on the Board of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Board.

The Congress leader, however, seems to be in a tight spot after his assuming the charge of Deputy Mayor as his wife, a Municipal Corporation employee, is facing an inquiry for alleged bungling.

Tallest among all women councillors of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Mrs Harpreet Kaur Babla for the first time contested and won the election of councillor from ward No 13 consisting of Sectors 27 and 28.

Daughter of a Colonnel, Mrs Babla is a disciplined woman. She feels that councillors should sink differences and work together for the development of the city.

She says she has become councillor because of the motivation and help provided by her husband, Mr Devinder Singh Babla, a leader of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch. She feels politics is the best platform for serving the people.

Mrs Babla is a highly educated woman. She had her school from the Convent of Jesus and Mary at Dehra Dun. She did her graduation from the Sector 11 Government of Girls and M.A. in English from Panjab University. She is equally fluent in English, Hindi and Punjabi. Highly enthusiastic and optimistic, Mrs Babla has been a housewife. It does not mean that she did not take part in social activities.

Mrs Babla is a former vice-president of the All-India Human Rights and now general secretary of the Mahila Nayay Morcha. She had contested the election of Senior Deputy Mayor but lost. She says the Chandigarh Vikas Manch has only three councillors and yet she got 13 votes. It means she got 10 votes from either nominated or councillors of other political parties.



Air Cmde Prasher heads AeSI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 6
The Air Officer Commanding No. 3 Base Repair Depot, Air Cmde S. B. Prasher, has been elected chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI).

The elections to the society’s executive committee were held during the annual general body meeting held at the Air Force Station here today.

Other office-bearers are Gp Capt H. S. Padam (vice chairman), Wg Cdr D. P. Sabharwal (secretary) and Sqdn Ldr T. Manoj (treasurer). Air Cmde K. J. S. Sohanpal, Cdr R. P. S. Josen, Mr R. P. Gupta, Gp Capt P. P. S. Sandhu and Wg Cdr S. C. Chaudhary have been elected members of the executive committee.

Giving details of the AeSI’s performance during the preceding year, Wing Commander Sabharwal said 10 new members, including four students of the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) and two officers of the Army Aviation Corps, were enrolled with the branch.

The society had also introduced an award of Rs 3,000 for the best academic student of 3 BRD Air Force School. Besides, essay writing contests, painting competitions, aero-quizzes and caption contests were also organised during the year. A workshop on “Emerging trends in automotive power” was also organised at PEC.



UT staff to strike work on Jan 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
In response to a call from the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation, the Federation of UT Employees and Workers and the Federation of the UT (INTUC) employees and workers of the Chandigarh Administration and Municipal Corporation will go on a four-hour pen-cum-tool-down strike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 9 in protest against he alleged dilly-dallying attitude of the UT Administration and the Union Government towards their demands.

The demands include grant of four years’ bonus, and privatisation of the public sector, treating the MC employees as on deputation, withdrawal of orders declaring UT press staff surplus and their deployment in other departments, filling of vacant posts on compassionate grounds and payment of DA arrear to the daily-paid workers and grant of better promotional scale.

Announcing this here today, Mr Ramesh Kumar Chandolia, Mr Bhag Mal Rana, Mr Sant Singh Saini and Mr Payara Singh Kang, leaders of the federation, alleged that the employees had deferred the strike on October 30, 2001 following an assurance by the Chandigarh Administration at meetings held on October 22 and 29. But the Administration had failed to meet the demands of the employees and they had been left with no other alternative but to resume their agitation.

Gate rallies had been held by several organisations and unions to mobilise the workers and employees for their participation in the strike. Major unions like the JAC of CTU workers, the UT Powermen Union, the Government Press Karamchari and Employees Unions, the Public Health Workers Union the Qualified Workers Union, CITCO, the ICCW Workers Union and that Education and Social Welfare Departments Union, would participate.



Doctor with passion for music

WITH your feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars — with this maxim in mind, Dr Ashwani Kumar, after doing his bachelor’s degree in ayurvedic medicine, is all set to release his maiden Punjabi pop album “Sajna”.

“My near and dear ones cannot understand why I — a doctor — should be spending his time, money and energy on a music album though I am well settled in life,” he asserts. “They do not know what it means to live with a dream and not making any efforts to realise it”, he added.

Dr Kumar, alias Azi Ash, says, “Hans Raj Hans was my senior in college. Like him, music was a passion for me too. TNS



16-yr-old duped of ornaments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Two unidentified persons reportedly duped a 16-year-old schoolboy of several gold ornaments belonging to his mother. According to sources, Arun Sharma, a +1 student of Government Model School, Sector 16, was proceeding to Sector 22 on foot from his residence in Sector 23 when a person accosted him asking for directions. Soon he was joined by another person, who referred to him as “guruji” and requested him to predict his future. Pretending to be impressed he offered him five rupees.

Apparently convinced that the person was a fortune-teller, Arun asked him about his future. He somehow convinced Arun to bring his mother’s ornaments to reverse his ill fortune.

Subsequently, he brought three gold necklaces, four gold bangles, three gold rings, four gold chains, and gold pendent and handed them over to the duo. They then asked him to get some food and while Arun was away to get the food, the duo escaped with the ornaments.

The police has registered a case and prepared sketches of the two persons based on the description provided by the victim.

One held:
A resident of Puralia, West Bengal, Vinod Kumar, was reportedly caught while entering a Sector-16 house with the intention to commit theft. He was later handed over to the police, who took him under arrest and registered a case against him. The accused had been employed as a servant in the house, but had left the job about a years ago.

Scooter stolen:
Sector 38 resident Gitash Pandey has reported that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-F-2855) has been stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.

Car-stereo stolen:
Sector 38 resident Joginder Lal has reported that a sterio in his car, which was parked at his residence, has been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Another Sector-37 resident Amit Gupta has reported that a stereo in his car, which was parked at his residence, has been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Wheels stolen:
Sector 34 resident Rakesh Gupta has reported that two wheels of his Maruti car parked at his residence have been stolen. A case has been registered.


Eight held:
The police has arrested eight persons in two separate incidents on charges of indulging in satta in a public place.

While four persons — Domi, Jallaluddin, Anil Kumar and Sailendra were arrested from Labour Chowk in Sector 16, a sum of Rs 550 was recovered from them. All accused have been booked under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

In another incident, the police arrested Babu Ram, Dharam Pal, Ajay Kumar and Nand Ram from behind the Sector 16 branch of Canara Bank and Rs 500 were recovered from them.

Two Arrested:
The police has arrested two persons in separate incidents of rash and negligent driving. Bansi Lal, driver of Tata 407 vehicle (HP-15-1078) was arrested yesterday, while Kishan Lal, a resident of Kalka was also arrested for rash driving yesterday. Both the accused have been booked under Section 279 of the IPC.

Mr Harsh Kumar was injured when he was hit by a truck (UP- 76-C- 4976) . The truck driver, however fled from the spot. Mr Naveen Kumar’s motorcycle (CH-24- 2293t) was hit by a car (CH-01Q- 6121) on the Ghaggar bridge in Sector 25. FIRs under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC have been registered in both the cases.



Ropar resident held with opium
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 6
The police has arrested a person from near the Johluwal bus stand in Pinjore and recovered 10 gm of opium from him. This brings into focus the fact that the township as well as Chandigarh are becoming the gateways for drug trafficking from the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh.

It is learnt that the border state of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, from where the drug trafficking racket is being run on a large scale, find Panchkula and Chandigarh as nodal points for onward drug trade into Punjab.

Ram Pal Gujjar was arrested by the Pinjore police yesterday. It is learnt that he is a resident of Jayanti Majri in Ropar and was bringing the opium from Himachal Pradesh for its distribution in his village.

According to information available from police sources, all narcotics in the region reach the three states and Madhya Pradesh through the city. It is from here that poppy husk and opium find their way to the city not just for local consumption, but most importantly for consumption in inner rural reaches of Punjab.

While opium is brought to the city from the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh, the major supply of poppy husk is from Rajasthan.

Sources say poppy husk is smuggled in to the country from Pakistan in a big way and from Rajasthan, it finds its way into Haryana and ultimately the city.



Theft in shop near Aroma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Thieves decamped with between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh and belongings from the premises of Mr Naresh Malhotra, the owner of Malhotra Stationers, near Aroma Hotel here. The exact amount of the theft can only be known after Mrs Malhotra arrives. The Malhotras had gone to Amritsar when the incident occurred.

Mr Malhotra came to know of the incident this evening around 7 pm when he arrived from Amritsar. He found to his surprise that there was no lock on his shop and it was locked from inside.



Marketing services unit opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Mr Surinder Singh, Senior Deputy Mayor, inaugurated Sky Baz Marketing Services, which will provide items of household needs at discounts as high as 50 per cent to its members.

“Apart from the facility of buying products on discount, our members can also join us in our business plan whereby making more members they will be able to avail themselves of other benefits like gold and even heavy cash concessions”, said Mr Ralhan Manish, managing director of the company.

The company, which has opened its showroom in Panchkula, plans to expand its network to areas around shortly.

At Rs 2,000, the membership entitles a person to get free or concessional professional consultancy services on various doctors, advocates, astrologers, business and property consultancy estates, he said.

The other plan that works on a single line system will help the members earn commission on introduction of members. The company has already introduced 300 products including grocery items, garments and cosmetics.



BP’s tick and win contest concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The month-long tick and win contest organised by Bharat Petroleum at its various outlets at Chandigarh, Panchkula and Ambala concluded today. The mega draw for scooter, refrigerator and other prizes was held at BP-21 in the presence of a large gathering. Over 320 prizes were given which included 100 petrol cards, 100 cross-road memberships and 100 Parker pens.




New store

Presto Industries has decided to set up a chain of exclusive showrooms for its roots combs and brushes in major cities of the country. The first such store will be opened in Chandigarh shortly.

The first such store in Chandigarh will soon be followed by similar ones in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. TNS

Ladies’ bags

The Hidecraft has launched a diversified range in ladies’ bags spanning many leathers like PU coated split, Italian foils, shrunken grain and much more. The bags come in wide range of designs and are also reasonably priced. Hidecraft’s latest introduction on the demand of the customers is a computer laptop trolley case. The company will soon have it’s exclusive showroom in the city. TNS


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