Monday, March 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sikh panel appeals for Akali unity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
A meeting of the Chandigarh Chapter of the Sikh Core Group (SCG) held here today appealed to the Akali factions to learn a lesson from the drubbing they had received at the hands of the electorate of Punjab. The group asked them to unite after sinking their differences.

The meeting was attended by Principal Gurbax Singh Shergill, Dr Gurbaksh Singh, Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Mr Gurdev Singh, Brig (retd) Gurdip Singh, Dr Gurmit Singh, Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr M.S. Rahi, and Mr Tarsem Singh Purewal.

Reviewing the post-election scenario in Punjab, the members opined that the SAD debacle in the Punjab Assembly poll had not surprised anybody. The result was predictable and the Akali leaders of both major factions had been warned that unless they closed ranks, their rout was certain. Unfortunately, the leaders failed to heed the warning.

The post-election scenario demanded a mature and statesman-like approach and faith in the future of the state, prosperity of its people and an honourable role for the Sikhs in national affairs. Fretting over the past failures could be suicidal. The verdict of the electorate should be accepted with grace, and the Akalis, forging unity among themselves, should prepare to play the role of a strong and effective Opposition committed to the welfare of the state. The economy of the state was in a shambles, and was marked by a declining growth rate, large-scale unemployment, unprecedented degree of rural indebtedness, suicides by farmers, lack of quality education etc. Rehabilitation was possible only through a united effort. Opposition should force the government to take up programmes aimed at prosperity of the people of the state. Any agitational approach and opposition for the sake of it would only harm the interests of the masses already groaning under poverty, ignorance, ill health, drug addiction, etc. Policy decisions should be based on sound judgement and consensus in the party and never on the whims of an individual.

Destiny had provided a great opportunity to the Congress. It would be wrong to assume that they had been voted to power because of their election manifesto or their track record. The Congress victory was clearly a negative vote against their rivals. However, the electorate had decided to try the Congress alternative so that there was a golden chance for them to improve their image and undo the damage associated with the party. They must prove themselves through positive initiatives, development programmes and welfare projects to ameliorate the conditions of the masses and by providing a clean administration responsive to the needs of the people.

Capt Amarinder Singh had indeed a difficult role as Chief Minister. For success, he had to inspire the masses and take the Opposition into confidence on major issues. For a start the Congress Legislative Party must regret for such policies that had been detrimental to Punjab. They were decried by the saner elements even among non-Sikhs. For rehabilitation of the state economy and financial health of the state government, a large number of technical experts available in the state should be involved.

In the end, the Core Group appealed to the leaders of various groups among the Akalis to sit together and chalk out a common agenda as a base for their unity. This should include, besides unsolved problems of the state like the river waters, Punjabi- speaking areas which were left out, Chandigarh, etc., a war on apostasy and drug-addiction among youth.

The process for election to the SGPC had already been initiated and enrollment of voters was going on, and the elections were likely to be held before the end of this year. Experience showed that elections on political party tickets placed the SGPC in the hands of one party and reduced it to a wing of the party, so that the so-called parliament of Sikhs, lost its independent character. It was necessary, therefore, to evolve a consensus to conduct the SGPC elections on non-party lines. Only competent Gursikhs with commitment to the cause of gurdwaras and no political ambition should be nominated.


Earthquake rattles city residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
A large number of the residents today came out of their houses when the city rocked at 5.40 pm for 20 seconds by an earthquake measuring between 6.3 and 6.7 on the Richter scale with its epicentre 840 km towards the north-west in Hindukush.

The police, Fire Department, city hospitals and Railways have not received any reports of loss of property and lives. While the seismic observatory in Delhi recorded the earthquake at 6.7 on the Richter scale, the Central Scientific Instruments Institute (CSIO) observatory in the city registered 6.3 on the Richter scale with a duration of 20 seconds.. A Panchkula resident said one of her chandeliers fell off due to the impact of the earthquake. A large number of people were seen outside their houses after the earthquake as doors and windows of their houses rattled.

Mr Vinay Malhotra, living on the third floor in Mani Majra said windows and doors felt tremors for around 30 seconds and the people ran out. Mr Malhotra said he felt as if the building was swinging.

The audience at Tagore Theatre watching a cultural programme started looking back, feeling as if somebody had pushed their chairs.

A Sector 23 resident, Mr Jasbir said he jumped out of his bed when he felt that the it was trembling. The people in Burail felt cattle and animals showing uneasiness, sensing the destructive natural phenomena. Newspaper offices received a large number of calls, enquiring whether there was any earthquake in the city.

Railway sources said traffic was not affected and there were no reports of derailments. The police control room and Fire Department said they did not receive any requests for help and no loss of life and property were reported. Hospitals of the city did not receive anybody injured due to collapse of buildings caused by the earthquake.


No takers for poor scholarships
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Less amounts in financial aid lead to a few applicants for a number of academic scholarships offered by Panjab University.

Senior academicians concede that an amount of Rs 100 per month or less is too paltry to attract students. Students feel that the procedure for application and sanction is slow in many cases.

There is no information available in the prospectus about the scholarships. Many students complain about lack of knowledge as one of the reasons for less applications. It is felt that a proper list of scholarships should be included in the prospectus or displayed prominently at the Students Centre or the library.

The papers which come up during discussions of the Board of Finance have a list of scholarships, which have low sums in certain cases. Those offering Rs 100 for 10 months include Sri Thakur Datta Sharma Trust Stipends, Bishan Chand Mahajan Scholarship, Wing Commander S.L. Malhotra Scholarship and Mrs Kamal Gupta Memorial Scholarship.

Certain scholarships have been earmarked for poor and deserving students. These include Shivcharan Singh Scholarship, Bishan Chand Mahajan Scholarship (Poverty and merit basis), Dr and Mrs V.S. Puri Scholarship (merit and financial circumstances), Prof I.S. Gupta’s Subsidies (two deserving poor students amongst the wards of a teacher) and Justice G.R. Majithia Poor Students Welfare Fund (for needy students to be given by the Vice-Chancellor).

Certain scholarships provide decent amounts in financial aid. These include Prof I.S. Gupta Subsidies (Rs 500 per month), Rajinder Mohan Kumar Memorial Scholarship (Rs 500 per month), Durga Devi Ram Dass Merit Scholarship (Rs 600 per month), Mons P. Jeannert Fund (Rs 500 per month), Mrs Udham Kaur Menon Educational Scholarship (Rs 1000 per month) and two Late Hari Ram Luther and Ved Kaur Luther Memorial Scholarships (Rs 9000 annually).

One senior research scholar says instead of giving small amounts, the university should hold a scholarship for certain years till the amount increases. He says another option is to club two or more scholarships to increase its worth financially.

Another student says many scholarships are only a matter of honour, without any financial attraction. The university’s list of special lectures include Prof Brij Narain, Dr Bawa Kartar Singh, Prof D.C. Sharma, Panjab University Pharmaceutical Sciences Oration, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr V.N. Tewari, Chief Justice Deshpande and Prof O.P. Vij Endowment Lecture.

The university has 43 medals for merit in various academic fields. Certain medals, including Pritam Devi Rampal Memorial Gold Medal, Seree Doongaji Silver Medals and Sudershan Pal Sidhu Memorial, are only for girl students. 


Spring Fest over
Tribune News Service

Children dance during the 16th Annual Spring Fest at Panchkula on Sunday. 
— Tribune photo Parvesh Chauhan

Panchkula, March 3
The two-day 16th Spring Fest organised by HUDA at the Town Park concluded here today.

Though the incessant rain spoiled the inaugural day of the festival yesterday, the sunny day today attracted a large number of visitors.

Speaking on the prize distribution function, the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr M.K. Miglani, said Panchkula would be made one of the most beautiful places in the world. Mr Miglani appreciated the various cultural performances, martial arts and the flower show.

The Chief Administrator, HUDA, Mr N.C. Wadhwa, said 2,500 entries had been received for the various competitions. People from Chandigarh, parts of Punjab and Haryana have come to participate in the festival.

The results are: Healthy baby show; six months to one year (boys); Aryan (1) and Radhav (2). Six months to one year (girls); Samridhi (1) and Ayushi (2). One-and-a-half-year to three years (boys); Akshat (1) and Aashman (2). Girls: Noor (1) and Muskan (2); Three to four years (Boys); Sartaj (1) and Kabir (2); Girls; Alisha (1) and Bandagi (2); Solo dance below 10 years; Gobind Arora (1) and Chandani (2); Ten years and above; Vijeta (1) and Somriti Mitra (2). Painting contest; below six years; Arshita Sharma (1) and Shubham Aggarwal (2); Six to 12 years; Harish Papneja (1) and Vineet Kharab (2); 12 years and above; Poonam Sharma (1) and Deepika (2). Open category; Surya Raj Senna and Sagun Sharma (1); and Shivam Pathania and Seema Rani (2).


Traffic chaos at District Courts
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, March 3
Lawyers and the litigants are not the only ones facing inconvenience due to the paucity of parking space around Sector 17 District Court complex. Haphazardly parked vehicles, right in the middle of the road in front of the courts, are creating difficulties for the other commuters also.

‘‘Initially the problem was not so bad,’’ asserts a lawyer. ‘‘The reason for this is not very hard to see. The number of advocates practicing in the District Courts was almost half in the past. And most of the lawyers used to come on cycles. The number of scooter owners was quite small. Very few — hardly one of two — used to drive cars’’.

Now the number of visitors to the courts has also increased. ‘‘In those days, the number of cases filed was far less,’’ he adds. ‘‘As a result the pendency too was less’’. But today, the situation has undergone a complete metamorphosis. There are more cases being filed in the courts then can be comfortably handled. The affect is there for all to see on the infrastructure, including the parking space,’’ he adds.

Now vehicles are parked everywhere. In the paid parking lot, even outside. On footpaths, sometimes even in the middle of the road, creating traffic bottlenecks.

Driving across the sea of vehicles parked on both sides of the road is not easy. Little wonder, most of the residents avoid driving around the complex, at least if the car is not already dented or scratched.

‘‘I had to go to the courts for the hearing of a bounced cheque case, says a city businessman Dinesh Kumar. ‘‘And I committed the mistake of driving down to the court complex in my car. For over 15 minutes, I tried in vain to find a place for parking. Finally, I left the car along the roadside as that was the only place available. When I came back after half an hour or so, I found the car badly scratched on the driver’s side."

He is not the only sufferer. A Sector 33 resident, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, also got his car damaged while passing through the road separating the courts from the police station.

‘‘I was going to Hotel Shivalik View for attending a conference,’’ he says, ‘‘when all of a sudden a driver, trying to reverse his car from the parking lot, banged into my vehicle. I had to spend good Rs 5,000 for getting the dent removed’’.

The problem does not end here. In fact, it becomes worse when exhibitions are organised in the Parade Ground or during the evenings when some singer or the other is performing.



As the talk about allocation of portfolios to newly elected MLAs in Punjab hotted up, the social circuit in Chandigarh could not have been oblivious to the developments. Local resident, Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, had a simple solution: ‘‘Make them ministers on a rotational basis’’.

Well, this means keep on shuffling them otherwise it results in lopsided development. Ministers pay more attention to their own constituencies. If the portfolios are changed then there is no problem. It seems logical, however, but is it possible to do so in the fragile world of politics. And is Capt Amarinder Singh listening to what the common man wants?

Going back

UT Joint Finance Secretary K.A.P. Sinha goes back to his parent cadre of Punjab after putting in three years of service with the Chandigarh Administration. The silent bureaucrat that Sinha is, he had come to be known as the man who balanced the budget and planned it in detail, putting each point of the UT to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and seeking funds on basis of performance.

This 1986 batch official of the IAS cadre goes as Deputy Commissioner of the border district of Gurdaspur. In official circles he was fondly referred to as ‘‘KAPS’’. The name was coined by his seniors using his initials KAP and joining the ‘S’ from Sinha to make it KAPS.

A keen player of badminton, Sinha is known to go by the rule book.

Waste management

Local man Ajay Sehgal of the Indian Forest Service cadre will be presenting a novel paper on indigenous rural low cost waste treatment technology of cowdung use in the country. He will be going to participate in the IVth international livestock waste management symposium and technology expo in Penang, Malaysia. The five-day expo begins on May 19.

He admits he will be talking about biogas, which is not a recent technological input. But , this is the only answer to save the forests from degradation. Managing cowdung will result in earning from it, besides proving clean fuel in rural areas.

The Punjabi spirit

The Punjabis have always been committed to their faith. Be it the question of offering sewa at gurdwaras or the question of rising together to further the cause of faith, they have never remained lagging. History is replete with examples of their unity. And even if one was not to go by history, many events that fill normal days would confirm this basic element in the Punjabi’s character.

It was a wonderful sight at the Rose Garden the other day. The occasion was the folk dance contest going on around 2 pm on the inaugural day (February 22) of the Garden of Festivals. Many folk dances were presented. Finally, it was the turn of Sikh martial dance — the gataka. Men, dressed as soldiers, ascended the stage only to be greeted by the gathered Punjabis. The best part was, however, yet to come. One was amazed to see that every time the performers recited : Bole so nihal, thousands of Punjabi visitors to the garden recited back: Sat Sri Akal. For those 25 minutes, the air of Rose Garden kept resonating with sounds from Sikh scriptures.

Poetic bankers

The evening of February 27 saw employees of various city-based banks displaying their poetic talent. For once, the poetic symposium did not begin with recitations from established poets. In fact, many renowned poets like Som Thakur and Madhav Kaushik remained seated on the stage, listening to bankers and their poetic satire. It was only later that they took control of the stage.

Poems recited by most bankers were greatly appreciated not just by the audience but also by all the poets invited by Bank Town Official Language Implementation Committee which organised the function. When it was the turn of celebrated poets to recite their works, the comperer announced: “The fact that bankers can recite such wonderful verses is surprising.”

Clarifying the misconception, city-based poet Madhav Kaushik said: “It is a little known fact but many among highly rewarded personalities of the world have been connected with finance or economics, be it Karl Marx or Amartya Sen. Not just that one of the greatest poets of his times T.S. Eliot also sought lessons in economics.” He wrapped up the issue beautifully, saying: “Shaayad arth ki vyarthata ko arth ke nazdeek rehne wala hi jaan sakta hai.”

Cheap attention

While all was well with the Rose festival held between February 22 and 24, the one thing that pinched the heart was insensitivity shown by some people. Many ropewalkers dotted the garden during the festival, trying to impress the visitors and earn some words of praise, as also some money from those who were willing to give. While most passers-by took some time off to stand by and watch the feats being performed by small girls and boys, hardly anyone had the grace to acknowledge the art and praise it.

Contrarily, many youngsters were seen laughing as girls performed feats. Some of them even passed unsavoury remarks at them.

No crime

Seminars and lectures on serious subjects become dull unless interspersed with cultural activities. Therefore, to break the monotony organisers usually introduce songs and poems to make the atmosphere lively.

On March 2 the Punjab Human Rights held a conference on the release of a report on female infanticide and foeticide in Punjab. A young girl of eighth class at the Ludhiana Sacred Heart School recited a thought-provoking poem titled “Larki Hona Paap Nahin Hai” befitting the occasion. The poem said:

“Khandaan ki izzat larki,

Khandan ki raunak larki,

Par jab larki paida hoti

Kyon maatam-sa chha jata hai?

Kyon mukhra kumlha jata hai?

Ab to yug bhi badal gaya hai,

Badal gai yug ki paribhasha,

Ab to larki kul ka hai deepak,

Ab to larki desh ki aasha.

Ab vah sab kuchh ban sakti hai,

doctor, barrister, minister,

Phir kyon uskey paida hotay ,

Khaandaan ghabra jata hai?

Research grant

Dr Pankaj Kaul, a doctor in the Experimental Medicine at the PGI, is the only person from India to get IBMS Research Grant from the UK.

He has been paid £ 1500 from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the UK. He has been asked to complete the research on pre and post treatment antigen detection for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) using specific monoclonal antibody.

Dr Kaul has already received many awards for his scientific work/presentation during various national conferences. He has got the second best scientific presentation award at the recently concluded lab-con II held at All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The research Dr Kaul has undertaken will help in early detection of kala-azar in addition to assessing cure and seroconversion in post-treatment patients, the technique may prove useful for epidemiological studies.

Open day

In Chandigarh shops remain closed on Sundays. However, a few of them, free from any fear of being challaned, remain open in various sectors. Some remain open till lunch time. A visit to the Sector 26 Grain Market would prove this. Grocery and some other shops carry on their routine business on Sundays. Even showrooms in Sectors 17, 9, 35 etc remain open on Sundays, holding seasonal clearance sales.

With no holiday on Sundays, the employees of these establishments face a paradoxical situation. A readymade garments dealer at the Sector 17 Bridge Market said that the employees prefer a free Sunday to an enticing offer of Rs 200 per day to perform Sunday duty.


Written on the top of menu list of a food stall in Sector 17 commercial area: “Ek saal ki roti par bhaari chhoot” (heavy discount on one year’s food).

— Sentinel


Community lunch: 36 fall ill
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 3
As many as 36 guests suffered from food poisoning, after they ate sweet rice at a community lunch at Old Panchkula today.

The incident occurred around 12 noon at the residence of Om Prakash where as many as 50 persons had gathered for a community lunch organised to celebrate the birth of a grandson.

As soon as the guests ate the rice, they started vomiting. A few them vomitted three to four times and also complained of severe chest pain.

It was then that Mr Om Prakash rushed all his guests to the local Civil Hospital . Except his daughter, Sukko, who has been admitted to the hospital, the other guests were discharged after sometime. Only seven of these persons had to be given primary first aid.

The rest of them were kept under observation for three hours and then asked to leave. Doctors at the hospital said none of the guests had complained of stomach ache and vomitting for three hours, while in the hospital. They said even Sukko had been administered saline water intravenously in order to calm her down. 


Bumpy roads jolt motorists
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 3
The dividing road between Sectors 38 and 40 and Sector 38 (West) or the dividing road between Sectors 40 and 39 are dotted with potholes. The dividers and the small roundabouts are broken. Stray cattle also adds to the woes of the drivers.

The roads are bumpy and in rainy days the roads become more dangerous as silt gets deposited on the roads, said Mr Sukhchain Singh, a commuter. According to him the roads are causing damage to the vehicles plying on them. These roads lead to the Punjab Government Officers Flats and the newly developed Sector 38 (west) houses and flats.

The divider at the turn near the small roundabout adjacent to the Sector 38 gurdwara has been damaged for quite sometime now. The roundabout itself is in no better condition. The white paint on the dividers and the roundabout has also faded thus causing great difficulty to those driving at night. Nearby residents told this correspondent that often motorists dashed into the dividers or the roundabout.

The motorists have to slow down to a crawling speed if they want to use the road from the roundabout towards the cremation ground.

The road near the roundabout has been lying damaged for the past many years. Mr Rajinder Singh, who uses the road for going to Sector 39 for his tuitions. says that he prefers ‘‘not use the road’’ during the rainy seasons. ‘‘I have to be extra careful while using the road as my motorcycle could skid’’, said Mr Rajinder.

Residents of the area demand that the roads should be re-carpeted on a priority basis. No official concerned could be contacted.


Residents clean garbage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Sector 27-D Residents Welfare Committee has taken upon itself to clear the sub-sector of garbage and waste material as a precautionary measure to check plague.

The drive was started today from the park in front of house numbers 3117 to 3162 and 3062 to 3189.

Bricks, pebbles and garbage were collected and dumped in ditches, a press note said.

It said the drive would continue till parks and backlanes were cleared in the sub-sector.

A Chandigarh Vikas Manch leader and area councillor Harpreet Kaur Babla’s husband Devinder Singh Babla assured the residents that the parks would be fitted with railings, swings and benches.


Mother-in-law booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 3
The police has booked a woman on charges of burning her daughter-in-law under Sections 498-A and 304-B of the IPC.

The incident took place on February 27 when the victim, Praveen, was making tea on a stove. In her dying statement, she had accused her mother-in-law of immolating her. Her husband, Nayab Singh, was off to work at that point of time. The victim, who had been admitted to the PGI, died yesterday.

Two killed
Chaman Lal was killed in a road accident here on Saturday. According to information, the victim was driving a scooter (HR-03B- 2176) when he was hit by a car (HR-03D-0511). In another accident, a pedestrian, Sanjay Kumar Gupta, was killed when he was hit by a vehicle near Housing Board Colony at Kalka. In both the incidents, the police has registered FIRs under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC.

One arrested
The police has arrested Bajinder Singh, a resident of Bir Ghaggar, on charges of playing satta at a public place and seized Rs 1,100 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered.


Pedestrian killed
A pedestrian was killed after being hit by a CTU bus near the local bus stop in Sector 21. He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital in a serious condition, where doctors declared him dead. The police has registered a case against the bus driver.

Five held
Five persons have been arrested by the local police from Sector 17 on charge of consuming liquor. The accused have been identified as Sanjiv Kumar, Jai Bhatia, both residents of Panchkula, Subodh Kumar, a resident of Kajheri, Anil Kumar, a resident of Sector 52, and Om Parkash, a resident of Naya Gaon. They have been booked under the Excise Act.

Trespassing case
Sector 45 resident Nirmla Devi has reported that several persons, all residents of Thaneshar, near Kurukshetra, trespassed on her house and quarreled with her. The complainant alleged that she was also beaten up and threatened by them. The police has registered a case under Sections 147, 149, 323, 452 and 506 of the IPC.

Theft case
Sector 43 resident B.M. Chopra has reported that two LPG cylinders have been stolen from his residence. A case has been registered.


Liquor seized
The local police arrested Parminder Singh here on Saturday and seized 12 boxes of liquor from his possession. The police has registered a case.


Consumer fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
A four-day consumer fair will begin at the Nehru Park, Sector 22, here from March 14 to make the people aware about consumer rights, measures to monitor anti-consumer malpractices and registering complaints.

A ‘khula manch’ will be organised to bring complainants face to face with the authorities concerned in food and supplies, telecommunications, public health, sanitation and environment. The Consumer Forum Chandigarh will operate its special complaints registration counter and information centre in the fair. 

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