Wednesday, January 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



The down-to-earth star is moved by Punjabi warmth
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

It’s your Dharam

* Sahnewal, the village where Dharmendra spent his childhood, is still the closest to his heart. So much so that when some days back he landed on its soil, he actually bent to kiss it. “My body was shivering. I knew my motherland was happy to have me back just as I was happy to have her back”, he said.

* Dharmendra made a mention of his family friend Sadhu Ram, who used to cut his hair when he was young. He talked very fondly about the fact that Sadhu Ram gave him a ‘shagan’ of Rs 101 when he went to see him about three days back. “It was a great gesture, so peculiar to Punjab,” said the actor.

* Dharmendra did not fail to give the credit of his success to the media. “I am a product of the media and I can never thank the then editor of Filmfare, L.P. Rao who is responsible for what I am today. Along with the media, I am a handiwork of diligence and perseverance,” he said.

Chandigarh, January 8
He has had thoughts that have filled him with terror and dreams whose memory still fills him with pride. But even with his share of harsh destiny, Dharmendra never squandered the gold of his days. Swearing by the lessons in culture his father Kewal Krishan Deol gave him in the sleepy Punjab village of Sahnewal, Dharmendra trailed hardship to finally conquer it.

And having done all that his genes required him to do, the man, no less than a legend, is back to the land of his belonging after 26 years to see if time has outraced him or otherwise. Finally, however, he found out that the world still belongs to him for all seasons ....

As he sat in reminiscence of childhood days at his friend S.S. Brar’s Sector 16 residence this afternoon, the sun quietly streaming into his eyes as if to mirror the bygone years. Suddenly, all episodes that made a legend of Dharmendra began to trickle before us, just as they had occurred in the cycle of time.

Dharmendra’s selection in Filmfare’s 1958 talent hunt, his apprehension of going to the filmcity even after receiving a first-class fare ticket sponsored by Filmfare, his uneasiness in the five-star hotel where he was lodged and the final break with Bimal Roy’s ‘Bandini’ — every event came in spurts of emotion to the man who appeared too grounded to ever fly.

He looked like a child who had suddenly rediscovered his moorings and who wanted time to halt where he directed it to. Pain and pleasure spilled simultaneously from his talk, which centred on his relative Nikka Singh who showed him pictures of his father at Sahnewal, on Reiki Cinema where he used to stand in queues for tickets of films, on Jaan Mohammad, the photographer who did pictures which were selected on Filmfare’s behalf by Nargis and Sunil Dutt and also on Ludhiana’s railway platform from where he boarded the train to Bombay.

Drowned in memories, Dharmendra narrated to us several encounters during his travel through the Punjab villages, especially Sahnewal. The tree that dotted the road to his school still stood tall, much to the pleasure of Dharmendra, who took lessons in vibrancy from its yellow leaves. The Grand Trunk Road had, however, changed from the time he last remembered. “It was wide open and I could trace Dhandhari and Ludhiana alongside. I was trying to locate the spot where, way back in 1958, my friend had handed over the communication of Filmfare to me. The chill that had choked my spine years ago seemed to have returned for a moment. It is strange to realise that while time had left its marks everywhere, memory had still been spared of wrinkles.” For Dharmendra this was a blessing enough. “My motherland had been accusing me for not having returned. But now I can go back with a heartfull of roses,” he smiled.

Returning to Punjab after 26 years means a lot to Dharmendra. It means reliving an era in a day. As he said: “Warmth in the air of Punjab is very familiar. I was overwhelmed by the fact that many people recognised me and considered me worthy of affection.” As of struggle, he does not remember much. The initial two years in Bombay and stints of experience under Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt helped Dharmendra tide over the crests fast enough. He recalled: “I had to struggle a lot to keep my name in tact. They suggested strange names. Gradually good scripts happened, like “Bandini”, “Phool Aur Pathar”, “Anpadh”, “Satyakam”, “Anupama and Pratigya”. Then came Sholay, which took us to the zenith.

With absolutely no formal training in acting, any other man would have collapsed in Bombay. But Dharmendra went by instinct, as he mentioned today: “When the script suggested a complete and powerful role, one did not have to make effort to be natural. Acting is required only when the role is not strong enough. Those days the music was also great. Madan Mohan, Kalyanji, Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Roshanji had great stakes in films. Music was about melody, not about permutation and combinations, as it is today.”

The ability to make others laugh also came handy to this man, who was given different names in different eras. Once he was son of the soil, then he was the he-man and finally “garam Dharam”. In “Chupke Chupke” his skills as a comedian were revealed at their best. So comfortable was he with comedy that he never really needed a parallel comedian in his films. With such qualities as his, no wonder he worked with the most respected heroines of all ages. From Madhunbala and Meena Kumari to Mala Sinha and Sharmila, Dharmendra had the chance to assimilate the best of everything and grow further from there. “I remember how girls used to frequent Bombay to get a chance in films. My mother felt very strongly about their safety so much so that we often kept an eye on such girls and arranged for their safe return. We did that for very long,” he said.

Having acted in innumerable films, Dharmendra received the Filmfare lifetime achievement award only some time back. He is looking forward to some quality roles now and is also writing scripts himself. He is currently working on a script which will star Bobby Deol and himself.



Anti-parking fee: traders to observe bandh today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Traders of Sector-17 today gave a call to observe a two-hour bandh in the market tomorrow and authorised “heroes” of 1998 anti-paid parking movement and Congress councillors Subhash Chawla and Pradeep Chhabra to get the implementation of the paid parking scheme deferred till the next MC meeting from the city government.

Political activists, traders and employees lie on the road at Dr Sahib Singh Chowk in Sector 17 to protest against paid parking in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Political activists, traders and employees lie on the road at Dr Sahib Singh Chowk in Sector 17 to protest against paid parking in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph.

The Sector-17 Traders’ Association and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal threatened to step up stir and are planning to spread the movement through out the city with an ultimatum of couple of days either to withdraw paid parking or face a bandh in the city markets.

This was decided after a two-hour dharna and squatting on the road by traders, employees and politicians.

Today’s agitation was joined by the former Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, her supporter and party general secretary N. S. Minhas, BSP local unit president Mata Ram Dhiman, Nationalist Congress Party President Principal Gurbhachan Singh, Samajwadi Party president Shivi Jaiswal and Janata Dal (U) president Surinder Bharadwaj.

Mr Minhas said the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, being a lawyer by profession should have taken a lead in approaching the Supreme Court to get the paid parking annulled. Ms Harjinder Kaur said she did not allow paid parking during her term even as the court order had come by then. She urged the Mayor to take a lead in joining the movement to establish the institution of Mayor and the Municipal Corporation vis-a-vis Chandigarh Administration.

She said unless she was able to do that Ms Joshi will find herself incapacitated before the Administration.

However, traders today refused to be part of the Mayor, and Municipal Commissioner’s delegation to talk to the Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, to convey their opposition to paid-parking scheme.

The traders also authorised the Chandigarh Vikas Manch Councillor, Mr Jitender Bhatia, to negotiate along with Mr Chawla and Mr Chhabra on their behalf. The traders expressed full faith in the three.

The trader-Congress mistrust today resulted in non-materialisation of the meeting of the Mayor and Commissioner with the Adviser as traders did not come for it and Mr Chawla and Mr Chhabra refused to represent traders.

A traders’ association spokesman, Mr Subhash Kataria, said the Mayor and the Municipal Corporation were capable of getting the implementation stalled till the next meeting of the House.

The Congress, caught in a precarious situation, today offered traders to come for negotiations and offered to form a committee of three former Mayors Ms Harjinder Kaur, Ms Kamla Sharma and Mr Gian Chand Gupta to suggest what the Mayor could do but traders refused to oblige it.

The Punjab PWD (B and R) Ministerial Services Association president, Mr Manjit Singh Kamboj, today announced that it would be organising a protest tomorrow to at Sector-17 between 1 PM to 2 PM to oppose.

The Punjab State Ministerial Services Union has also decided to join the struggle from tomorrow, a Sector-17 Traders Association release said.

The Sector-17 D Traders’ Association led by Capt Mohanbir Singh also decided to launch an anti-paid parking movement.

The BJP councillors Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Ms Kamla Sharma and Mr Rajesh Gupta today urged the Mayor to urgently call a meeting of the House to discuss the issue as the last meeting of the old House which was held in November 2001 had left it to the new House to decide.

The councillors and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morch a president Satinder Singh warned the Congress to resist from playing a double game by not calling the House meeting while sending its area councillor in the protest.

The three BJP councillors sought an inquiry into the change of conditions of parking contract allegedly to benefit the contractor. They demanded that responsibility should be fixed.

Bank employees led by Mr B. S. Gill today submitted a memorandum to the Adviser through the Municipal Commissioner to provide free parking in the Bank Square. They opposed paid parking in the sector.

The Chandigarh Auto Rickshaw Union president, Mr Kamla Kant, said they were facing harassment at the hands of the contractor. He said the contractor had not allowed them to enter without giving parking fee. Rickshaw pullers also complained of the same.

Mr Kant said Auto drivers would join the protest tomorrow after taking a decision in their meeting.



School admission is not a child’s play
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
Two-and-a-half-year-old Arsh, usually a bubbly toddler, has turned into a cranky child for the past one month. His parents are surprised that he throws tantrums whenever they try to make him learn his lessons in preparation for interviews for seeking admission in pre- nursery.

His day begins with his parents forcing him to listen to a latest CD of nursery rhymes. At every given opportunity, his parents, and even his grandparents, try to quiz him on numbers, colours, functions of various body parts, et al. "We have no option but to make him learn his lessons, so that he is able to get admission in a good school . Even if our son hates to repeat his lessons several times over during the day, we persist as nothing can be left to chance. After all, one has to work hard for getting admission in one of the coveted schools here," says his mother Ms Madhu Sharma.

Arsh is not the only one facing the woes of getting admission in the ‘best schools’. Hundreds of other tiny tots like him in the township are facing the ordeal, with their parents leaving no stone unturned for ensuring that their wards get admission in the ‘right schools’.

From buying the latest volumes of encyclopaedias for toddlers, parents make them mug up everything and anything (science, geography, mathematics and the nuances of English phonetics ). Special sessions on etiquettes are also given to them by their parents.

With most of the schools here opening their registration from the beginning of this month, parents are queuing up in various schools. Most parents are getting their child registered for admission in at least three to four schools to ensure a seat in at least one. This irrespective of the expenses borne in registration alone, which varies from Rs 100 to Rs 500 in each school.

Parents do not mind spending this money. Says Mr Amit Gupta, a local businessman, who is trying for admission for his son and nephew, "Money is the least of the concerns. It is important to spend a few hundreds extra than to cry later on. You can never be too sure if your ward will get admission in a particular school. So one has to apply in at least three to four schools."

The situation is so bad that in schools like Hansraj Public School, Bhavan Vidyalaya and Little Flower Convent, the registration is open only for a few hours on a single day.

While most schools take interviews of children to assess their mental development, there are others like Hansraj and Gurukul, which have introduced an ‘informal interaction with students’. "From checking their cognitive and motor skills to checking their reactions after receiving instructions is what is now being assessed to give admission.

“We prefer children with a uniform IQ level and this helps us in dealing with them in upper cl;asses," says Ms Rajni Thareja, Principal of Hansraj Public School.

A few harried parents are also ready to pay hefty donations for securing admissions. However, most of the schools deny that donations are being accepted. Mr Pritam Singh Serai, Director of Satluj Public School, say they believe that educating a child is an important asset to the nation and no capitation fee is being charged by any of the schools.

From air conditioned buses with wireless connectivity to state-of-the-art multi-media theatres and from electric joyrides to lessons being taught on CD-ROMs, schools in the township have indeed come a long way.

Says Mr Sanjay Thareja, chairman of the trust of Gurukul in Sector 20, "The idea is to mix tradition with modernity. We provide the best of facilities and also ensure that the children imbibe the inherent values of our own culture."

Name of School Seats Date for registration Date for interview Registration fee Admission fee Expected registration



Jan 21

Feb 1-3

Rs 500

Rs 6000


Bhavan Vidyalaya


Jan 7-11

Jan 18-19

Rs 500

Rs 6000


Little Flower


Jan 5

Jan 5, 12, 19

Rs 100


Manav Mangal


Whole of Jan

Whole of Jan

Rs 350

Rs 1650

D. C. Model


Whole of Jan

Feb 8

Rs 100

Rs 4200


The Gurukul 50 Jan 28 Feb6-8 Rs 350 Rs 5000 220



Theft of wood continues as fencing remains a dream
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, January 8
It seems the UT forest belt along the Patiala ki Rao choe will continue to be a haven for firewood collectors from the nearby villages and colonies as the fencing of the belt may take another 10 years to become a reality.

Chandigarh Tribune in its December 25 edition had highlighted the theft of wood from the area by felling trees, resulting in the thinning of the forest cover.

Mr Ishwar Singh, Chief Wild Life Warden and Deputy Conservator of Forests, however, claimed that the green cover appeared to be thin because the department had recently removed weeds from there on a large scale.

The Tribune team, however, saw that a number of villagers collecting wood and carting it away either on rickshaws or manually. Sources and senior residents along the forest belt believe that fencing of the belt could go long way in checking theft of wood from the area.

The Central Government had given a grant of Rs 18.50 lakh to the UT Forest Department for fencing of the wild life sanctuary adjacent to Saketri village (Panchkula). “The villagers adjacent to the sanctuary were complaining that wild animals from the jungles were creating problems for them and hence the department gave priority to fencing in that area”, said an official of the department. Over 5 km of the 7.5 km circumference of the sanctuary has already been fenced and the remaining is likely to be completed by March 31.

The official said owing to lack of finances the fencing of 33 sq km stretch of the UT forests could not be fenced at one go. The priority of the department is to protect the forest land from being encroached. So after the completion of fencing of the sanctuary area the department will take up fencing of the forests between the Sukhna choe regulator end and Raipur Khurd village along with Punjab border. Fencing of the forest belt along Patiala Ki Rao belt will be the last to be taken up as forest officials see little chances that the land here will be encroached upon. “Fencing of the whole UT forest belt could take about 10 years, thanks to the lack of funds”, said the forest official.

Sources in the UT Forest Department said the department priority was to protect the forest land from grabbers. The Deputy Conservator claimed that not an inch of the forest land in the UT had been encroached upon. On the theft of wood from jungles, he maintained he had not come across any case of felling of trees.

“A forest guard was suspended as two eucalyptus trees in his area was found axed”, he said.



Herb: no date fixed for visa consulate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
“No date has been fixed as yet for upgrading the Chandigarh Business Office to a full-fledged visa consulate,” says Mr Herb Dhaliwal, Canada ‘s Federal Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, maintaining that after clearance from the Government of India, the Canadian Government was working out the modalities on the financial and manpower aspects on the first visa office outside four metropolises in India.

“We are keen that it should be done at the earliest. We have already started hand service at the Chandigarh office to facilitate applicants for immigration. Instead of travelling to New Delhi, the applicants from Punjab and nearby areas can come here for the interview. This will save them a lot of time, money and effort,” he said maintaining that a woman applicant was being interviewed in the office today.

Visas in such cases would be issued by the Delhi office.

Mr Dhaliwal, who arrived here on an official visit, drove down to the Sector 17 Candian Business Office and interacted with not only members of the staff but also visitors and applicants who had come to make enquiries about the status of their aplications. Mr Dhaliwal was part of the official delegation that came here in 1997 when this business office was opened. Since then there has been a lot of pressure on the Liberal Government in Canada to upgrade this office to a full-fledged visa office.

Initially, the Government of India did not agree on the plea that its existing policy does not permit any visa office outside New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In September last year, the Indian Government relented and allowed both the British High Commission and the Canadian High Commission to open their offices in Chandigarh and Jalandhar, respectively.

Mr Daliwal said that there was a lot of potential for Canadian cooperation in power generation in India. Canadian companies, he said, were already working on power projects in India, including Chamera I and II. It was in this area that Canada could help India, including. Punjab, in overcoming the shortage in power.

Mr Dhaliwal said that during his stay in the Union Capital, he held meetings with various Union Ministers, including those for Agriculture, Power and Foreign Affairs.

“During my meeting with the Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Omar Abdullah, I conveyed the stand of the Canadian Government. We want de-escalation of the tension on the border and finding of a solution to the Kashmir problem through dialogue and diplomatic channels,” he said.

Talking about the “Think Canada” programme, which got scuttled following the September 13 terrorist attack in the USA, Mr Dhaliwal said that his visit was to engage India in a positive trade and business dialogue.

“The cancelled October visit of the Trade Minister was being rescheduled. A few other Federal Ministers are also expected to visit India. There is a big scope for the promotion of trade, business and tourism between the two countries. Punjab has tremendous potential,” he said, maintaining that the upgrading of Rajasansi airport in Amritsar was a positive development. This could pave the way for promoting both tourism and business.



Dhaliwal visits Puncom
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 8
The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Peter Sutherland, and the Federal Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, Mr Herb Dhaliwal, today visited Punjab Communications Limited (Puncom) to identify areas for further improving Indo-Canadian ties.

The visiting dignitaries were shown the ongoing development activity for a 400 MHz GSM Will System.

The Canadian minister was told that the existing 800 MHz GSM system covered a range of 5 km, whereas the system being developed by Puncom would cover a 100-120 km range.

An official of Puncom said the BSNL had nominated Puncom on the committee to finalise the specifications for the 400 MHz GSM WILL long-range system.

He said the company, manufacturing a complete range of telecom equipment, had set up facilities with ISO 9001 and ISO 9002 certification. Mr Dhaliwal showed a keen interest in the Puncom’s surface mount technology production line.

The company offered to supply complex electronic equipment to Canadian companies.

Mr Dhaliwal said he would work for a tie-up between Puncom and leading Canadian telecom giants like Nortel.



Smokers, beware
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
Keeping in view the directions of the Supreme Court, the Chandigarh Administration today passed an order prohibiting smoking at public places in the city.

Exercising the powers conferred under Section 144 of the Cr. PC, the District Magistrate Mr M Ramsekhar, said the orders had been passed to prevent danger to the public health .

Smoking has been strictly banned at auditoriums, hospital buildings, health and educational institutions, libraries, court buildings, public offices and public conveyances, including railways.

The orders come into force with effect from zero hour on Wednesday and will be effective till March 9.



‘Royal inmates’ in miserable state
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, January 8
At the Mohindra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhat Bir, scores of lions are kept in cages for more than seven months before and after being sterilised. Veterinary experts claim that three to four months is enough for achieving the desired results.

Sources revealed that the zoo authorities, in a bid to contain the growing lion population, had decided to go in for en masse vasectomy of lions. All 22 male adult lions were caged in August last and of these only nine had been sterilised.

The lions would still have been in captivity, had it not been the visit of Lt-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob, Punjab Governor, on January 5. The animals had been released just two days before his visit to the zoo.

Because of inadequate space to accommodate over 80 lions in the park, the animals had been stuffed in the houses. Some caged lions had paralytic attack recently.

Sources said the authorities had locked the lions in the houses since the first week of August during the weed eradication drive in the lion safari. Since then, the zoo authorities had released only the lionesses and cubs.

A visit to the zoo revealed that most of the lions had become weak in captivity and hardly raised their heads.

Employees claimed that the lions literally had to be kicked out into the open. The condition of some was miserable and all showed sings of lethargy.

Insiders claimed that the authorities had not learnt from their previous experiences where in the lions caged for vasectomy had developed spinal problems, swollen feet and other ailments.



4-hr strike by civic staff today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
There will be a four-hour pen-down and tool-down strike by employees in offices of the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation from 10 am tomorrow. The strike call has been given by the Central Organisation of UT/MC Employees and Workers, comprising the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation, the Federation of UT Employees and the Workers and Services Federation UT (INTUC).

The organisation will also hold a rally near hotel Shivalik View in Sector 17 during the strike period. Gate rallies and meetings were held at various waterworks, electricity offices and horticulture offices, beside other places, today to mobolise employees for the tomorrow’s strike. The employees’ unions are accusing the Administration of not accepting their long-pending demands.

Responding to the strike notice, the UT Administration has urged the unions to refrain from the strike. The Administration, in a letter to the unions, had claimed that heads of various departments had been directed to address their demands, which could be done at Administration level. The Administration also claimed that it was regularly taking up certain issues at the Central Government level. The strike period will come under the no work no pay rule.



Councillor with artistic bent of mind
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 8
Ms Harjinder Kaur, former Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, is the lone Akali Dal Councillor. Religiously inclined Ms Harjinder Kaur is also a good musician, folk dancer and theatre artiste, apart from being a good shooter.

Soft-spoken and well-mannered, she was the only woman who represented India at the Women Empowerment Conference held in UK in which 40 countries took part. She has travelled the entire world. She was honoured by the Wricken Council in Talford and Eailing Council in London.

An M.A., B.Ed., she runs a private school in Sector 37-A. She also runs a computer centre where as many as 84 girls are imparted training free of cost. She has also represented Punjab at the World Punjabi Conference held in Lahore and was declared as “genuine daughter of Punjab” .

Her husband Mr Man Mohan Singh, a former Lecturer, provides ample support to her in her work and also assists her in running the school. She is blessed with two children. While her daughter, Kamalpreet Kaur, is doing M.B.A. in the U.K, her son, Puneet, is a Class X student.

She is the president of the Punjab Sangeet Natak Academy, president of Sikh Nari Manch, an NGO and former member of Dharam Parchar Committee and Nagar Kirtan Committee.

She was the best athlete of Kapurthala Government College and represented Punjab on Republic Day Parade and at Prime Minister’s rally.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Kajheri, the Congress Councillor from ward number 8, preferred politics to education, getting elected as a panch in 1977 when he was less than 18 years of age and had just completed his matriculation.

Mr Kajheri, who will complete 43 years on February 9, has a vast experience in politics and also takes keen interest in sports and social service. The ward Number 8 councillor was elected the sarpanch of the Kajheri village in 1983 and occupied the post till 1999.

A farmer, Mr Kajheri remained a Director of the Marketing Board for three years before being elected a member of the Zila Parishad. Later became vice-chairman of the Marketing Committee.

Mr Kajheri is presently the Chairman of the Judo-Boxing Association of Chandigarh. He is also vice-chairman of the Kabaddi Association. He is also associated with Sports Promoters Club and Government High School Kajheri Parents’ Teachers’ Association. He is a member of the Rural Advisory Committee of the UT Administration.



City gals sit up, VJ Sushma is on a hunt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Glamorous and hip, Sushma is a veejay on Channel [V] and has brought her own personal sense of style and energy to her show Late Night [V]. The results are obvious with the steadily rising ratings and popularity of the show.

Sushma is in town in connection with the selection of the country’s first all-girls Hindi pop band by Star TV network. Sushma is a member of the jury which makes the final selection.

Sushma Reddy definitely has lineage! As super-VJ Meghna Reddy’s sister, Sushma is no novice in the world of music television. Though to describe Sushma only as VJ Meghna’s sister does not do justice to this fiery gal.

Sushma has marked her space in the hugely competitive modelling circuit and music videos with assignments that include brands like Benneton, Ceat Shoppe, Lipton Taaza Tea and Lakme. And her decision to join Channel V as a VJ seems like a natural progression from being an assistant producer in the channel (yes she was an AP with the channel some years back), to her foray into modelling world.

VJ Sushma is a multi-talented person; coached in western classical singing she plays the piano, is an avid reader and is a trained acupuncturist. Combine this with itchy feet that take her all over the world backpacking on her own. Every journey has a story!

Glamorous and hip, VJ Sushma hosts the Late Night (V) on the channel and has brought her own personal sense of style and energy to the show. The results are obvious with the steadily rising ratings and popularity of the show. With a high profile celebrity guest on every show, VJ Sushma and Late Night (V) offer the ideal mix of the glitzy event and living room comfort.

Talking about comparisons with sis Meghna she says “Megs is God but we wear different shoes”. And about her future plans she intends to work hard on her new company that she has recently set up. But Channel (V) will always remains her first love.



It’s lohri and business for Channel V
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
It was surely a star-struck afternoon. As students of National Institute of Fashion Design, Sector 8 danced to the vibrant tunes of the hottest charbusters, the road outside NIFD campus kept pulsating with loads of energy — being doled out by the team of Channel V, which is in town to kick off the propaganda for India’s number 1 all-girls band, auditions for which will take place at Hotel Mount View on January 12.

Coordinating the show for channel V is veejay Yudhishthir, known better as UD. With a string of talents to back him right from theatre to modeling to anchoring, Yudhishthir is particularly excited about the fresh assignment. As he danced around the Lohri fire with students, he could not help remarking: “Channel V is launching the hunt from Punjab, especially Chandigarh. We cannot ignore the beautiful women of this region.”

As for the audition which sounds as novel as it actually is — it will take place in the presence of a celebrated jury comprising Shubha Mudgal, Sandeep Chowta, Manish Malhotra and Sushma Reddy. The audition is open to any girl above 18 years of age.

Talking about the show, spokesperson of the channel, which has bought the rights of Zeal International (the company which did this show at the world level), said: “The hunt is being kicked off in Chandigarh and will culminate in Goa. We will go through Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Bangalore. At least 24 girls will be picked up from all over and later flown to Mumbai. They will then be shortlisted to five. The final jury will have Shobha De and Seymour Stein, the man who discovered Madonna. For audition the girls can sing any of the following songs — “Chura liya”, “kambakht ishq”, “bhumro”, “Jaane jaan“ and “dholi taro”. There will be no music base available.

Interesting to note is the special attention that Channel V has paid to Punjab. The channel believes that Punjab has had a history in rhythm. “We want to offer platform to the music talent Punjab boasts of. Once the girls are selected, they will be groomed at a voice culture session. They will work with the best music directors, including Jatin Lalit, Anu Malik and Sandeep.

The lyrics of the album to be made will be written by Javed Akhtar. The whole process will take about five months. All events during the hunt will be captured in 14 episodes to be telecast on Star Movies, Star Gold, Channel V and Star Plus. “Gaurav will host the show,” said the Channel spokesperson.

After dancing to the spirit of Lohri with NIFD students, the Channel V team today went to SD College, besides several other sites in Sector 17.



Police move scares landlords
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, January 8
Curtainless windows, half-torn posters on to outer wall with peeling whitewash and impressive locks on the weather-beaten door — all signs indicate that the first floor hall is vacant. Even though there is no ‘to-let’ board hanging on the gate, you walk up to the door and ring the bell. The haggard housewife returns your greetings but refuses to rent out the accommodation, point blank.

No, there is nothing wrong with you or your credentials, or your looks. Or even with your conduct which suggests that you will get emotionally attached to the property as if it was your own. It is just that the landlords now-a-days hesitate in renting out the accommodation, especially to strangers.

The reason for this is not very hard to see. In the recent past the Chandigarh Police has come down heavily upon landlords for not informing the police about the antecedents of the tenants even though the same becomes mandatory following the on-and-off issuance of prohibitory orders by Chandigarh District Magistrate under 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“It is not that the landlords do not want to inform the police about the tenants,” says Mr D.N. Sharma, member of a sector-level welfare association. “Sometimes they are just careless. In some cases, the owners are booked by the police within days of offering the premises on rent. All this act as a deterrent. Little wonder, the landlords are scared of renting out their houses,” he added.

The police, on the other hand, has its own reasons. Action against erring residents, according to sources in the police department, is taken in the interest of maintaining law and order in the city.

“The provocation behind such action,” reveals a senior police officer, “is the increasing number of offences involving bad elements who win confidence of the neighbours before striking”.

This is not all. In some of the recent acts of terrorism in and around the national capital, the militants had been staying as tenants. Cops do not rule out the possibility of militants hiding in city as tenants too.

Giving details, the officer says, “As a consequence, we have to keep a close tab on the activities of fresh settlers in the city. The chances of terrorist striking roots in Chandigarh by setting up their own business to avoid suspicion is a possibility that can not be ruled out. We also have to look out for militants storing arms and ammunition in their office godowns”.

The procedure of informing the cops, say Chandigarh Police officials, is simple. “All you have to do is to fill up the forms being distributed by the beat constables. If you need more forms, go to police stations. You can get as many as you want,” says the officer.

Even though the police claims that the ‘original settlers’ are not being harassed, the effect is there for all to see. A large number four-bedroom sets on the first floor in Sector 8, 9, 10 and 11, earlier on rent for as much as Rs 10,000, are still lying vacant. “Money is not worth the mental tension,” concludes a sector 10 resident.



Party for city migrants formed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
In order to give voice to city migrants, a political party — Chandigarh Mukti Morcha — was formed today. It will soon be registered as a regional party.

Some of the aims of the newly formed party are maintaining and improving the beauty of the city, fighting for the rights of labourers and regularisation of colonies. Dr Arvind Kumar Mishra, chairman of the party, who earlier resigned from the local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party, said the party would contest elections on its own.

The office -bearers are: Chairman — Dr Arvind Kumar Mishra, Vice Chairmen — Mr Naresh Yadav and Mr Putul Yadav, Spokesman — Mr Ram Milan Dwivedi, General Secretaries — Mr Gautam Tiwari and Mr M.P Chauhan, Advisors — Mr Manikant Mishra and Mr Banshi Lal Yadav, Cashier — Mr Jaswant Singh, Organisational Secretary — Dr Umashankar Chaudhary and Secretary — Mr Ashok Singh.



Revision of voters list
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 8
On the directives of the Election Commission, the Electoral Registration Officer-cum-Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) has issued instructions for revision of the voter list of ward no 14 of the SAS nagar civic body. Byelections for the ward are to be held as the Late Gurmohan Ram, who had won from the ward, died last year.

According to information available, the exercise of revision of the voter list of ward no 14, which began today, will continue till January 16.



Minister to open conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, will inaugurate a regional conference on “Micronutrient fortification of foods; improving profile through fortification of processed foods” being organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on January 11.

The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana have been invited to attend the conference which is being held in association with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, the International Life Sciences Institute and Micronutrient Initiative.



A clarification
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
Regarding a news item that appeared on November 27, 2001, chairman of the Batra Group, Mr Naresh Batra, today clarified that as per the police challan and court documents intense transfer of shares was done by way of mutual exchange from 14 persons to four Dr Naresh Batra and his family) in 1993 and vice-versa shares amounting to more than Rs 15 lakh received.



Scribe bereaved
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
Punjabi Tribune’s Patiala-based correspondent Darshan Singh Kokhar’s mother, Mrs Surjit Kaur, has expired. The bhog ceremony will take place at his ancestral Kokhar village in Sangrur.



on road safety
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
The local police organised various seminars in different schools of the township on the second day of the Road Safety Week for creating awareness about road safety norms here today.

Students of Motiram Public School were deployed at various crossings and roundabouts in the township. These children were creating awareness about road safety so as to bring down fatal accidents and accidents causing damage to property. At several places, the children stopped violators and told them the about road safety rules.

The DSP Headquarters, Mr J.P. Dahiya, along with several officials, went to the Mattawal Chowk and ensured that 1000 vehicles were installed with reflectors so as to avoid accidents. During this week, no violator would be challaned, but given guidance on measures for road safety.

The drive would continue till January 13. The Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, sought the cooperation of the public in making the drive a success.



‘Cops should educate and not just challan’
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 8
The traffic police should stress more on educating motorists about traffic rules instead of issuing challans. These views were expressed by a cross-section of speakers at a seminar organised by traffic police on “traffic awareness” here today.

Mr KBS Kang, a Youth Akali Leader, said traffic cops often signalled truck drivers to stop their vehicles in the middle of road, leading to accidents. A former education officer, Mr Dalwinder Singh, said students should be taught about traffic rules. Commenting on the participants, he said : “Members of the public take little interest in learning about traffic rules. Students had to be called to fill vacant seats at the venue of the seminar”. Barring Mr Dharam Singh , SP (HQ), Ropar, no senior official of the local police was present.

Mr VK Vaid, District Traffic Inspector, also spoke. The seminar was organised as part of the ongoing Traffic Awareness Week.



Patients vs VVIP

THE report “Patients suffer due to Barnala’s visit” (Dec 10) underscores the imperative need for corrective measures to help patients. The report that the patients of general hospitals were virtually ignored for five consecutive days not because a VIP was hospitalised or needed immediate medical attention but to comply with protocol provisions is a shame on those who formulate such rules and regulations. Either the government should have regular separate teams for such purposes or the existing medical professionals should be deputed in such a way that it doesn’t endanger the lives of common patients for want of basic medical facilities.


Whose dispensary?

The Panjab University dispensary is in a mess. No remedial measures are being taken to save the hospital. Outsiders take advantage of the medical facilities available here at the cost of the varsity employees. There is no proper security to check the entry of outsiders into the dispensary. Tight security and identity cards for employees could help check this menace.

The surroundings of this dispensary are very unclean. Even the premises are so unhygienic that this causes illness instead of curing a patient. Hospital waste is disposed of in an open space at the entrance of the hospital. Heaps of garbage attract flies, dogs, birds and rats. This has become a breeding ground for germs for deadly diseases like hepatitis, cholera, diarrohea, dysentery and so on.

The less said the better regarding the condition inside the hospital. The worst are the injection and dressing rooms. These have become sources of infection. This dispensary still uses recycled syringes. Even disposable syringes and needles are boiled and reused. This is not the end of woes. Medicines of inferior or doubtful quality are purchased. The purchase committee hardly meets and even otherwise, it discusses anything except purchase of medicines. All this calls for a high-power probe to rectify the shortcomings and punish the guilty.

M.S. GILL, Chandigarh

Passengers’ woes

My daughter, grand-daughter and many other passengers were put to inconvenience when they boarded 4096 Himalayan Queen Express at Chandigarh for New Delhi on December 15, 2001. Though my people had reservation by A/C Chair Car (C1 coach), there was no C1 coach. As they boarded the HC1 coach, they were asked to vacate the seats by passengers who had reservation in that coach. Later, I was given to understand that the fault was because of the wrong numbering of the C1 coach by the railway staff at Kalka.

Why should we pay hefty fare for deficient service? We buy tickets by A/C class for comfort and convenience. Clearly, the purpose of buying A/C tickets was defeated with the kind of hardship my people had to face on Dec 15. The services rendered by the Railway become deficient if correct and timely information is not provided to the passengers. This is not just a complaint but it is the voice of those who suffer unnecessarily and silently for the fault committed by others.

Mrs D.K. BHAMRAH, Chandigarh



5 held on bootlegging charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The local police has arrested five persons in different cases from various parts of the city for bootlegging and seized 13 bottles and 247 pouches of liquor from their possession.

Mauli Jagran resident Raj Pal was arrested with 200 pouches of country-made whisky, while Raju and Om Parkash were arrested with 25 pouches and 22 pouches, respectively. Both are residents of Sector 38.

Rajiv and Shanni, both residents of Bapu Dham Colony, were arrested with six bottles and seven bottles of country-made wine in their possession. Separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered against all five accused.

The police has arrested a Sector 21 resident Ajay Sharma for allegedly breaking in the home of a CRPF officer, Sukhdev Singh Cheema, in Hallo Majra camp complex. The officer had reported that a gold necklace, a gold tikka, four pairs of gold ear rings, three gold rings and Rs 4000 in cash were stolen.

Five rickshaw-pullers were arrested near the Transport Chowk, for plying rickshaws on the wrong side of the road. The arrested persons have been identified as Prem Chand, Shiv Kumar, Pappu, Bikram and Raju. All are residents of labour colonies in Panchkula.

Held for eve teasing
The police has arrested a resident of Zirakpur, Amanpreet Singh, for indulging in eve-teasing near the local bus stand in Sector 47. A case has been registered.

The police has arrested a resident of Dhanas, Ashok Sharma, for knocking down and injuring a cyclist, Rajiv Kumar, near the Sector 14-15-24-25 chowk. A case has been registered.

Case registered
The police has registered a case against several unknown persons for attempting to get a car registered by using fake documents. According to a complaint filed by the State Registering and Licensing Authority, two persons produced fake documents to get a car (engine no 1315830 and chassis no 2037139) registered in the name of a trading company in Mani Majra in September 2001. The accused sneaked away while the officials were trying to verify the facts. After initial inquiry by department officials, a case was registered on Tuesday.

Purse stolen
Patiala resident Varinder Kaur has reported that her purse containing Rs 9000 in cash, gold earrings, driving licence, PAN card, identity card and pass book was stolen from her car parked in Sector 17. The police has registered a case.

Maruti stolen
Mani Majra resident Subash Chander has reported that his Maruti car (PIP 0903) has been stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen
Sector 23 resident Dharam Pal has reported that his Maruti car (CH-03-E-2817) has been stolen from Sector 17. The police has registered a case.

Vehicle stolen
Sector 15 resident Gurjit Kaur has reported that her Maruti car (CH-03-C-1959) has been stolen from near the Piccadilly chowk. The police has registered a case.

Mani Majra resident Dinesh Kumar has reported that his shop had been broken into and cash worth Rs 500 and karyana items worth about Rs 10,000 had been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Moped stolen
Sector 19 resident Birbal Singh has reported that his moped (HR-31-A-0359) has been stolen from Sector 34. The police has registered a case.



Body exhumed after arrest of accused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
In a major breakthrough, the Operations Cell of the local police today arrested two persons reported to be involved in four murder cases dating as far back as 1996. The accused have been identified as Raj Kumar, a welder by profession and Karnail Singh, a daily wager. Both are residents of Raipur Khurd village.

Seven other persons involved in the cases are, however, still at large. They have been identified by the police as Surinder, a resident of Hoshiarpur, Rajkumar, and Beeru, both residents of Madhya Pradesh, Lakhi, a resident of Behlana, Lakhbir Singh, Chandrika Parsad and Chand, all residents of Raipur Khurd.

Based on their interrogation, the police today recovered the body of one of their victims, Satpal Sharma, from the forest area adjoining Raipur. Satpal, a resident of Kambala village in Mohali, had been killed by the accused on December 6 last year. He was clubbed to death with a spade. The murder weapons are yet to be recovered.

The highly decomposed body was exhumed in the presence of the SP (Operations), Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal and the SDM, Mr D.S. Mangat. The deceased’s wife, Shakuntala was also present at the site.

The police said Satpal, who was a mechanic by profession, owed about Rs 50,000 to Surinder. According to Satpal’s wife, he had left home on November 30, saying that he had got a contract to undertake some work. He used to often stay away from home for 10-15 days because of work, so a missing person’s report was not lodged with the police.

Giving details, the police said the accused had murdered a chowkidar, Rameshwar in 1996, while another person, Vijay Kumar was murdered in 1997.

The murder of an unidentified elderly person in 1998 is also attributed to them. All murders had been committed in the vicinity of Raipur Khurd and were related to property disputes.



Juveniles stealing to ‘live it up’ held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
The CIA staff of the local police has succeeded in busting a gang of juveniles involved in stealing car stereos. Six car stereos worth Rs 60,000 have been recovered from them. The accused were reportedly in the business for making more money for “living it up.”

The accused were arrested from near Raily village late last night. The CIA staff had reportedly got information that this three member gang of juveniles was involved in stealing car stereos and would be passing by the village. The cops laid a naka and arrested all three persons — Upkaar, Jitendra and Gaurav. A bicycle was recovered from them. The police maintain that of the seven incidents of car stereo thefts that occured in the recent past, they have been able to solve at least five cases with the busting of this gang.



IDBI opens offsite ATMs in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Ms Vini Mahajan, Special Secretary, Finance, Government of Punjab, today inaugurated an IDBI ATM at Sector 37. With this, the bank’s network in the region (Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula) has grown to four branches and nine ATMs. The bank has a wide presence through its offsite ATMs at Sectors 22, 32, 37 and Shivalik Enclave.

IDBI has been rated as a bank with the fourth largest online ATM network in India. It is aggressively moving ahead to cross the 350 mark by March 31, 2002. The bank has also been rated as the fourth largest private sector bank in terms its presence in city .

According to a bank official, “Punjab has come up as the major focus area in the retail strategy chalked out by IDBI and the trendlines are quite encouraging. Customers in Chandigarh have already witnessed a new world of experience in service levels and quality standards of banking. We have launched the ninth ATM in order to provide more value-added services to the residents of Chandigarh. It would act as one of the touch points for them, along with mobile banking, Internet banking, phone banking and the branches,”.

The past few months have witnessed IDBI launch a host of innovative retail initiatives such as launch of “better than the best” awareness drive on all products. The bank has a tie-up for insurance products of Tata AIG through select ATMs, a landmark strategic alliance with India Post to make available widely, both organisations’ products through each others’ distribution channels, launch of Internet banking, launch of tie-up with Visa Electron for Debit cards etc. Retail customer accounts have grown to 4,00,000 and the outstanding financial performance of IDBI for the half year, which ended on September 30, 2001 reflects this.

For the half-year which ended on September 30, 2001, IDBI has reported a net profit after provisions and taxes of Rs 32.95 crore, which is a major upward shift in profitability compared to net profit of Rs 1.80 crore in the half-year of the previous year.

IDBI is India’s youngest and one of the fastest growing new private sector banks. Over the past one year it has launched a blitzkrieg of initiatives which are different and are aimed at providing superior service and value for money to the Indian consumer.



Grewal felicitated
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 8
The Mohali Industries Association organised a function to felicitate Mr Darshan Singh Grewal, president of the largest real estate company in the USA, at Mohali Industries Bhavan in Industrial Area, Phase 8, here today.

The Non-Resident Indian (NRI), who hails from Sahuli village in Ludhiana, was in the town today. Mr BS Baidwan, president of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA), said Mr Grewal migrated to the USA in year 1980 and worked in various fields before attaining the present status.

Dr Sukhbir Singh and Mr Jagdish Kumar, a Punjab police officer were also present.


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