Monday, April 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GMCH-32 security left high and dry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
More than 240 security guards working at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 were relieved from their services when they reported for duty today morning, allegedly without any prior notice from either the hospital authorities or the contractor who had employed them.

These employees staged a rally outside the hospital premises in the evening and raised slogans against their contractor and the hospital authorities. According to these employees, the term of their contractor ended yesterday and the new contractor brought in his own people to replace them today morning. Sources also state that the new contractor had not been able to muster enough people to provide security to the hospital premises today and the hospital and college will be running on skeletal security tonight.

The employees allege that although a new contractor has the right to keep his own people, traditionally even when the contractor changes, the employees remain the same in GMCH. ‘‘Some of us have been working with the hospital for seven years now. Today we arrive on duty as usual and are told to depart. This is not fair’’, they say.

The hospital authorities on the other side state that they have a limited role in the whole affair. ‘‘The current contractor, Royal Punjab’s contract ended in July last year and since then he has been on an extension. He knew that the new contractor, Nova Securities, would be taking over from today. If the old contractor has not informed his employees, then we are not to be blamed.’’ says the Medical Superintendent, Dr Raj Bahadur.

But the employees also allege that the contract has not been given to the lowest bidder and that the new contractor has been given undue favour as he is related to one of the hospital's administrative officer. According to these employees, the old contractor, Royal Punjab, who had employed them outbidded Nova Securities, since the latter had allegedly given in writing that he was out of the process in the middle of the tender sealing process.

These employees also allege that in the past few months since a new security in charge took over at GMCH, more than 50 employees had been thrown out of service on the flimsiest of pretexts. ‘‘One employee was actually thrown out because he was unkempt and not wearing a uniform.’’ they allege.

The hospital authorities have however stated that the contract has been given to the lowest bidder, which was Nova Securities without any favour. Neither is anyone in an administrative position in the hospital related to the Nova Security Contractors, they say.

The employees have decided to continue with their rally tomorrow also and claim that the 200 sweepers of the hospital have also threatened to be joining them.



Man kills neighbour, injures self
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
A resident of Sector 44, Naveen Bhatia (33), succumbed to multiple stab injuries at the PGI where he was rushed to in a critical condition after being stabbed repeatedly by his neighbour, who is reported to be mentally upset, today afternoon. Naveen's Mr Nand Kishore (65) was also injured in the melee. The accused, Girish Kumar alias Bobby (24), later stabbed himself with the same knife.

Naveen, who works in an insurance company, died at about 7.45 p.m. He had suffered about 25 stab injuries on various parts of the body, including the neck and abdomen. Naveen and Girish are staying on opposite apartments on the first floor of the same house.

According to the police, the accused was staying alone for the past few days and was depressed as he was unemployed since he passed out from class XII.

Yesterday evening, a survey agent had visited Naveen's place and after completing his business, rang Girish's bell on the opposite side.

Naveen, however, had signalled the agent not to ring Girish's bell as he knew about his state. The agent descended the stairs without waiting for Girish to answer the door. On coming out, Girish saw Naveen standing outside and thinking that he had rung the bell, began to abuse Naveen despite his repeated clarification. A full scale argument ensued between the two and the police was called by the neighbours. Later, a compromise was reached between them.

Today afternoon, Naveen had some guests at his place and when he was returning upstairs after seeing them off, he was spotted by Girish, who attacked him with a kitchen knife, chasing him and slashing at him a number of times.

When Naveen's father rushed out to save him on hearing his screams, he was also attacked by Girish. His arm was slashed and he received six stitches. He was discharged from hospital after the first aid.

Later Girish also stabbed himself, apparently to prevent himself from being arrested. He has been admitted to the Sector 32 Government Hospital. He is reported to be out of danger. The knife used by Girish has been seized by the police.


Where mud flows from taps
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 21
Muddy water supply from the tubewells of the local civic body in Industrial Area, Phase IX here, has added to the woes of the residents. The water becomes muddier when the supply is restored after a power breakdown, lament the residents.

As the mercury rises, complaints of low water pressure have started coming in from certain pockets. With two tubewells, one working to half its capacity, feeding the entire area, complaints of low water pressure have started coming in from the extension area. Two tubewells, one at the focal point and another at the extension area have failed. The motor of the extension area tubewell was recently repaired, said an official of the Public Health Wing of the civic body. They do not deny that the discharge from the tubewells had been decreasing.

Mr Amardeep Sharma, an entrepreneur, said on Saturday, the water was so muddy that it could not be used even for washing clothes. Some residents have to go to their acquaintances in other sectors for their daily needs. Mr Kulwant, a resident of the area, said due to continued muddy water supply, potable water had to be brought in from Phase XI. In many cases, entrepreneurs are being forced to hire tractor trollies to fetch drinking water on a daily basis.

A few months ago, tubewells in the extension area had been handed over to the civic body by the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC). But as the tubewell in the extension area has failed, water supply is being routed through a sluice valve, connecting the water supply of the main focal point area with the extension area in the industrial area. 


Chemical-free foods introduced at Kala Gram
Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

Now available in city

Vermi compost: An organic product derived from cowdung and green biomass in the form of body excretions of earthworms. Its manurial value is 8 to 10 times better than ordinary farm yield manure. The same can be used in cereals, vegetables, fruit trees and lawns.

Vermiwash: It is a leaf spray ideal for cereal crops, vegetable crops and leafy ornamental plants. It is prepared from the body excretions of earthworms.

This Rishi Krishi product is mixed with cow urine to enhance effectiveness. If the crops and plants are affected by pests, add 15 gm of astefodia (heeng) to one litre of this mixture.

Chandigarh, April 21
Indians have the highest traces of the DDT in the blood in the world. Nor is this fact coincidental that limit of toxics in the breast milk of Indian mothers stands beyond ‘medical tolerance limits’ set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). These maladies have stemmed from chemicals used intensively for increased food production during the post-green revolution period in India. The result has been intake of medically unsafe food which we eat everyday on account of ignorance over the matter.

This can be remedied in Chandigarh now, which got Rishi Krishi Organics, its first-ever organic food counter at Kala Gram’s Baithak along the Chandigarh-Shimla road today. Brought to the city by Manthan, an NGO with membership of 85 farmers belonging to Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the counter was inaugurated by social activist Anna Hazare, who is credited with the success of water-shed development in India. Provided by CITCO, the counter is already stocking non-perishable food items, including pulses, flour, spices and rice. Soon the UT Administration also plans to market organic vegetables produced by farmers associated with Manthan. Meanwhile, samples of organic food at Baithak will be open to chemical analysis.

To further facilitate the availability of pure food products, Lake View Chef will also stock organic food samples soon. The Adviser to UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, has further proposed that if Manthan so desires, it can plan the development of organic products in a Sector 45 cattle shed. Not to miss upon the fact that the coming up Botanical Garden on the Chandigarh-Kurali road will also have provision of organic food plantation.

That this effort by the Manthan will prove to be a boon for the city as is evident from statistics available with regard to food production and consumption in India.

Talking to the Tribune, Dr Arun Sud from the Ministry of Rural Development today revealed startling facts. He said that Indians ate 20 to 40 per cent more traces of the DDT than an average Britisher. Not just that, even washing and boiling cannot provide purified vegetables, they still retain 40 to 80 per cent pesticides.

Endorsed by the visiting social activist Padmashree, Padmabhushan Anna Hazare, who is presently Adviser, planning matters, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Orissa, the organic farming technique will promise healthy future to the residents of Chandigarh.

Mincing no words about the significance of rural production techniques, Mr Hazare said that chemicals had jeopardised the fertility of Indian farmlands.

‘‘Unless administered heavy doses of chemicals, our lands refuse to yield. But now that our blood is sporting high levels of toxics, it is time to take up organic farming. The first few years will result in decreased production, but finally things will come round for the better,’’ he said. Engaged in a model village project involving 300 Maharashtra villages at present, Mr Hazare is the man who managed surplus water and food by managing natural resources available in Maharashtra villages.

He told The Tribune, ‘‘A Rs 75 lakh project involving water management, organic farming and marketing is under way in Maharashtra. We are working to strike a balance between natural and social environment.’’ Recalling the Indo-Pak war of 1965 when he fought from the Khemkaran border in Punjab, Mr Hazare said, ‘‘The land of Punjab inspired me on my path of service. I started from my village. Today I belong to every Indian village.’’

Mr Hazare stressed the need of marketing organic food products well. "This is where the role of NGOs like Manthan becomes vital,’’ he said. The objective behind Manthan was clarified by Dr Arun Sud, who said that traditional production technology was the need of the hour. ‘‘Green revolution stamped extensive use of chemicals to increase production. But we never realised were we were reaching. Between 1980 and 1990, cancer incidence in three metros increased by 7 to 13 per cent, and the major cause was intake of toxics in food.’’ Dr O.P. Sangwal, who has been working with Manthan, said that Indian farmers could enter international markets by improving the quality of their products through organic farming.

Conceived by Navneet Virk, the programme has the support of 23 NGOs. Gradually, Manthan will also produce organic vegetables on a large scale. ‘‘We are ready, so are our farmers. The only constraint is space for storage of vegetables,’’ said Navneet.

With promise of further support from the UT Adviser and also the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, the organic food project is sure to take a concrete shape in near future. Punjab will also offer support to the mission. An assurance to this effect was made by Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and research.



Railways ‘not paid’ for gauge conversion
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Non-recovery of the cost of gauge conversion and maintenance charges of defence sidings in the western sector by the Northern Railways administration has resulted in a loss of over Rs 5 crore to the railways.

“Despite lapse of six years, the railway administration failed to collect extra cost of Rs 3.42 crore from the defence department and Rs 1.78 crore for the interest and maintenance charges of the sidings,” the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the performance of the Railways has revealed.

The Railway Board, in April 1994, decided that in cases of conversion of metre gauge (MG) sections into broad gauge (BG), the existing private MG sidings also be converted into BG, if warranted on traffic considerations, on “assisted siding terms”. The zonal railway authorities were also directed to revise the maintenance charges for the converted sidings. The board further clarified that gauge conversion of defence sidings should also be done on assisted siding terms.

The works for gauge conversion of sidings was taken up during 1994-95. The defence authorities requested the Northern Railway administration in September, 1994, for gauge conversion of defence sidings also besides providing additional facilities at some of the stations in north-western Rajasthan. and to send estimates for the same.

The final estimated cost amounted to Rs 5.34 crore. Out of this, the share of the defence department worked out to Rs 3.42 crore. These works were completed and opened for traffic during April, 1995, to October, 1996, without getting any deposit or even a formal acceptance of the defence authorities to bear the cost.

Later, in August, 1996, when the Northern Railways requested the defence authorities to deposit Rs 3.42 crore towards their share of cost, they did not make the payment. Thereafter, the Railways did not pursue the matter.

Further, out of six stations where facilities were provided, interest and maintenance charges for only two stations were recovered. For the other four stations, for reasons not on record, the railway accounts department did not raise any bill for recovery of maintenance charges. The total interest and maintenance charges due for recovery from the defence department in respect of these four stations from the date of their opening worked out to Rs 1.78 crore.

The Railways have not taken any action to raise debits (Rs 1.78 crore) for interest and maintenance charges for defence works at four stations (March 2001).

“The decision of the Railway Administration to start the work without getting any deposit from the defence authorities and its failure to raise debits towards interest and maintenance charges for these works at four stations resulted in non-recovery of Rs 5.20 crore. The matter was brought to the notice of the Railway Administration and Railway Board but a reply has not been received,” the CAG report concluded.



Nova Satellite to map North Indian forests
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Trilokpur (Panchkula), April 21
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to link the Forest Survey of India at Dehra Dun with Nova Satellite to map forests in North India, susceptible to forest fires through satellite imagery.

This was revealed by Mr V.K. Bahuguna, Inspector General of Forests, Forest Protection Division, Ministry of Environment and Forests, in an interview with TNS here today. He was here to participate in the inaugural function of Forest Fire Prevention Week, being organised by the Haryana Forest Department, today.

This linkage, at the cost of Rs 1 crore, will help forecast forest fires in the entire Northern belt, comprising Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal and UP. Forests in these states are threatened by fires, especially during the summer season, because of biodiversity and being covered by chir, sal, khair and bamboo trees.

The Forest Department in each of the above mentioned states will now have a remote sensing centre, linked to the Forest Survey of India. The Meteorological Department in these states will help the Forest Survey Of India in forecasting the dry and hot summer conditions, which aid the forest fires, he said. This was being done as part of a Rs 500 crore nation wide project, to be implemented during the 10th Five Year Plan.

It may be noted that forest cover in the country extends to 640 lakh hectares. Officials maintain that more than 300 lakh hectares of this forest cover ( almost 50 per cent of the total area under forests) is susceptible to forest fires during the dry summer months. Ravaging fires destroy several hundred hectares of forest area, turning them into a virtual tinderbox, especially in the states of Himachal Pradesh, UP and Uttaranchal.

Mr Bahuguna, while stressing the need to strengthen the level of preparedness, informed that the Ministry of Environment and Forests had prepared a proposal of Rs 500 crore in order to prevent, detect and control forest fires. He said the proposal would deal with forest fire control and management; providing state- of-the-art fire fighting equipment and other infrastructure; and draw up a working plan for the forests.

Talking of the on -going Rs 5 crore project for the state to prevent and detect forest fires, the Inspector General said delay on the part of the state government to release the Central Government grant for the project was affecting its smooth implementation. He said while Rs 40 lakh were released in the first year of the project in 1999- 2000, and Rs 36 lakh in the next year (2000-2001), the state government had failed to release the money on time.

It may be noted that under this project modern fire fighting equipment is being introduced and locals are being educated about the damage caused by forest fires. Creating and maintaining fire lines, employing fire watchers, training forest staff, construction of fire observation towers, fire engines, mobile wireless sets, vehicles etc are also part of the project. The involvement of locals by constituting fire-fighting squads in the form of Hill Resource Management Society is also planned.



PGI gets new serai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
A new serai, Hans Raj Dharamshala, was inaugurated on the PGI campus here today. Prof S.K. Sharma, PGI Director, was the chief guest. The serai, which will provide accommodation to attendants of patients being treated at the APC, has come up with the efforts of the Hans Raj Trust in collaboration with the Head of the Peadiatrics Department, Prof Anil Narang. The chief trustee, Mr Om Prakash Singhal, inaugurated the dharamshala.




CHANDIGARH Municipal Corporation House was on fire on the issue of alleged irregularities in recent recruitment of firemen, theft from the store and the people’s perception about the efficiency of the department.

With all parties showing unanimity on the issues, the House set up three separate committees to look into specific issues.

The formation of the committee on recruitment is being seen as a victory of politicians over bureaucracy as despite the Commissioner having absolute powers in recruitment and dismissal, the House has been able to snatch the authority to inquire into the matter.

The unity of politicians is, however, fueling speculations whether their recommendations were honoured or not.

Paid parking

The BJP, opposing the paid parking system in the city, was surprised when one of its first time members toed the Congress line unwittingly in the Municipal Corporation meeting.

Opposing the paid parking in Sectors 17, 8 and 9, Mr Rajesh Gupta said why there was so much of hue and cry over the paid parking when the city was suffering from lack of development due to deployment of corporation staff in the parking areas after the contractor left the contract mid-way.

Mr Gupta said, “Why not decide the paid parking terms and conditions fast to relieve the people of this recurring problem.”

The Congress found an opportunity in Mr Gupta’s comment and brought a resolution to accept Mr Gupta’s suggestion.

The other BJP colleagues of Mr Gupta were left high and dry despite stoutly opposing the paid parking system.

Water shortage

The shortage of water in the City Beautiful affected its supplier, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh — though in a different sense.

The corporation has banned washing of cars, floors and watering of lawns in the mornings of summer.

While attending a meeting, a nominated member, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, requested Mayor Ms Lalit Joshi to arrange a bottle of water along with a glass in the House meeting, which have started extending for long times since the Congress assumed charge in January.

Congress Leader in the House Subhash Chawla was heard saying it would be better if tumblers were of plastic: probably meaning that if the violent culture of different assemblies is transported to the Municipal Corporation danger of tumblers becoming missiles could be prevented.

Total control

The visiting Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism for Malaysia, Dato Paduka Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir was quite impressed with the media gathering at Hotel Mountview the other day. The Minister, who was in the city along with his team to promote Malaysia as a tourist destination, had called a meeting of local travel agents, representatives of the industry as also the media persons.

On the day of the conference the Minister was greeted by a packed house. Extremely happy with the turnout, he first requested travel agents sitting in the room to raise their hands and enable identification. Only three hands went up. A little upset, the Minister asked the industrialists to raise hands for identification. Only two hands went up. Finally, it was time for him to acquaint himself with the press people present in the hall. When it was the turn of press persons, almost the entire hall raised hands. The Minister as well as his colleagues were impressed with the great media hold in Chandigarh.

One of his colleagues could not help remarking: “For the first time we have seen such a great presence of press persons. We are honoured.”

Late comers

The Malaysia— truly Asia show, organised in Tagore Theatre on April 17 did not begin on a very heartening note. Aimed at familiarising the Indians with the multi-cultural land of Malaysia, the show did not take off even after one hour of the scheduled presentation time. The reason: the Malaysian Culture, Art and Tourism Minister did not turn up till 7.40 pm as against the scheduled time of 6.30 pm when he was expected to arrive and welcome the potential Indian tourists to Malaysia. The guest for the evening, the Minister for Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Punjab, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, was also nowhere to be seen for an hour. Reports have it that he was busy attending some meeting regarding the reconstitution of the Punjab Arts Council in Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16.

While the main guests remained evasive, the gathering, most of which comprised senior citizens, kept getting impatient. Further trying their patience was a compere for the evening show, who time and again walked upon the stage only to say: “Please bear with us. The Minister is expected in 20 minutes.” His second statement was: “Please have patience. The Minister will be here in 10 minutes. He has left the hotel.” His third statement was: “Thanks for bearing with us. The Minister has almost arrived.”

When he was about to make the fourth announcement, some senior citizens sitting in line, started clapping. One of them remarked: ”Thank you very much. This is a great style of attracting tourists.”

Bonsai charm

The Bonsai show organised in the city last week had a great response. Not meant for sale, the vibrant displays of the Japanese living art more than won over the visitors.

The venue was filled with happy vibrations, thanks to over 200 varieties of bonsais decorating the room. So taken in were most of the visitors to the show that they could not help feeling jealous of the people who could actually create forest bonsais and other varieties sitting at home.

As they could not buy any displayed variety, they offered to become learners. The result was that the Bonsai Club of India received at least 60 such visitors who were willing to pay Rs 2,000 and become members of the club so that they could learn the art form.

Inspiration galore

For the many slum children who study in Aashiana School on the Government High School, Sector 24 campus, the past few days brought a lot of hope and inspiration. After three shoeshine boys cleared their class V exam, the rest in the brigade were thoroughly inspired to work hard despite hardship. Yet another cause of encouragement for rest of the children who have not yet taken class V exam was the fact that they would also be rewarded by top officials of the UT Administration.

No wonder while the other day the Adviser to UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, and the MD, CITCO, Mr S.P. Singh, were busy honouring the five kids who sat for class V exam this year, the rest of the slum students were busy discussing their future prospects, sitting in the back seats. “Wo dekh vo kaise kaise achhe kapde laaye hain saab log inke liye (just watch how the good clothes these officers have got for our friends). Ab to hamme bhi kuchh soch hi lena chahiye (now we must also start thinking something.”

Someone has rightly said: the quality of reward often determines the quality of effort.”


Overheard at the traffic light points in Sector 17: Senior citizen to a boy on the bike behind him: “Stop shouting you fool!” Boy: “But I am not shouting at all.” Senior citizen: “Are you any different from your horn which is shouting?”

Hype ends

The much-awaited results of Channel V popstar auditions which saw a Chandigarh girl make it to the final 25 failed to bring hope for the city in the final rounds. The only city girl in the fray was Kushboo Kochar, who made it to the final 15, as shown in the various episodes of the event being aired on Channel V every Thursday evening, Friday night and Sunday afternoon for the past month. The final rounds, which attracted the attention of many people all across the city were aired about a week back. It was in this very round that one saw Kushboo make it to the final 15, but succumb in the last but second round of elimination at the hands of judges like designer Manish Malhotra, music maker Sandeep Chowta, vocalist Shubha Mudgal and model Sushma Reddy.

While the other girl earlier selected, Sukhmani Singh, had come back quite early, Kushboo had kept the city’s hope alive. But as luck would have it, she could not keep the stars settled for her. The chirpy girl, however, is not in the least dejected, for she has a couple of modelling assignments lined up with Manish Malhotra.

As regards the popstars, the city may have better hope next time! Channel V is going to make Pop Stars an yearly event! Their punchline will remain: Kiska band bajega.

Menopause Helpline

Dr Meenal Kumar, a senior gynaecologist at Government Menopause Clinic, Sector 22, Chandigarh, is spearheading a movement to provide public health education, prevention and succour to women approaching or passing through the long phase of painful menopausal zone.

In recognition of her dedication to the cause of menopause and her capacity to offer holistic and comprehensive care to such women, whose number is over one lakh in Chandigarh city alone, she was directed by the Director, Health Services, UT, to head the first menopausal clinic of UT. It is expected that a colposcope will also be installed at this clinic for early detection of genital cancer.

A book entitled Woman’s Health After Menopause written by her and with a foreword by Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the Administrator of Chandigarh, was released by Dr Rameshwar Chander, Director, Health Services, recently.

A club with the name Menopause Helpline Club, has been constituted with Ms Lalit Joshi, Mayor of Chandigarh, as the President, Dr Rameshwar Chander as the senior vice-president and Dr Meenal as the secretary. There is no membership fee. The applicant can fill in a form and she is enrolled as member there and then. The club has already held two meetings so far.

Lucky on all fronts

Chandigarh residents seem to be lucky on all fronts when compared with residents of other places in the region. The weather gods have been kind enough. Last weekend was a rainy day and the temperatures dropped appreciably with people even switching off fans. Besides the natural causes residents are lucky on the power front. The city does not generate power but manages to provide better power supply than what is supplied in cities in adjoining states and also makes a profit by just distributing power. The rates of power are lower than in Haryana and almost at par with Punjab.

Probably due to this the city has been chosen as “model city” for power development in the country. On the drinking water front water timings are regulated and supply is fairly regular and punctual. But if this generates any envy among others, it should be curbed as residents of Chandigarh pay one of the highest taxes.

Income tax collections have been soaring. Sales tax collections stand at close to Rs 200 crore. The fiscal management has been lauded by the Government of India which has been generous in sanction of various schemes and also grants of additional budget from time to time.

— Sentinel


Discourses, bhandaras mark Ram Navami
Our Correspondent

Swami Ram Naresha Nand gives a discourse on the occasion of 
Ram Navami in Sector 38, Chandigarh, on Sunday.

Chandigarh, April 21
On the occasion of Ram Navami, a recital of Ram Charit Manas was organised at the Ram Krishna Mission Ashram in Sector 15. Reciting the epic, Pt Bansi Lal Chibber appealed to the audience to follow the path of truth and be dutiful, as was illustrated by Lord Rama.

Similar discourses were organised at various temples of the city on the occasion. In Sri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 38, Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Peeth and Swami Ram Naresha Nand held discourses on Ram Charit Manas.

Celebrating the festival, many of the city temples, that include Sri Lakshminarayan Mandir, Sector 20, Sri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 32 and the Sector 45 temple organised ‘bhandaras’.

ISKCON devotees celebrate Ram navami

ISKCON devotees perform ‘Nauka Vihar’ ceremony on the occasion of Ram Navami in Sector 36, Chandigarh, on Sunday.

The local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), celebrated Sri Ram Navami festival with great enthusiasm at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today. Thousands of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, president, local unit of the ISKCON.

The programme started with mangal aarti at 4.30 a.m. in the morning, followed by sringaar aarti and harinam sankirtan. Mahabhishek of Lord Rama took place at 11.30 a.m. 108 bhogs were also offered to Lord Rama and same were distributed among those present on the occasion.

The main attraction of the programme was a play titled “Bharat Milaap” which was staged by the children of ISKCON devotees at 5 p.m., followed by Nauka Vihar at 7.30 on the temple premises.

‘Palki Utsav’ of Sai Baba

‘Palki Utsav’ of Shirdi Sai Baba was organised here today to coincide with the Ram Navami celebrations. Devotees began gathering early today at the Sector 29 Shirdi Sai Temple, where a cavalcade was being decked up for the celebrations. The programme began at 6 am with ‘Mangal Sanan’, followed by ‘Jal Paan’.

The procession began at 7 am from the temple. After passing through The Tribune Colony, Sectors 28, 19, 18 and 27 and Mani Majra, it reached Panchkula. The ‘Dhuni’ was also inside various houses during the procession and devotees also came out of their houses to pay obeisance to Shirdi Sai Baba. Devotees sang bhajan all through.

After a ‘bhandara’ in Sector 16 of Panchkula, the procession began towards Chandigarh, where it covered Sectors 40, 41, 37 and 38. It was followed by another ‘bhandara’ in Sector 44. Later, the president of the Shirdi Sai Samaj, Mr Vijay Kumar, said the Ram Navami Utsava would be organised in the Sector 29 temple on April 25.

Discourse on Lord Rama

Swami Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj 

Swami Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj addressed hundreds of devotees in the Sector 20 Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math as part of Ram Navami celebrations and the 78th appearance festival of Swamiji here today.

Devotees gave offerings to Swamiji before his lecture on the ‘Appeareance of Supreme Lord Ramachandra’. Later, at a special function, Swami Narasimha Maharaj of Russia and Srila Achaaryadeva delivered a spiritual discourse on ‘Ram Navami from Srimad Bhagavatam’.

The annual function of the ‘math’ to be held tomorrow will be presided over by Prof V.K. Kak, Director Principal of the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh, Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will be the chief guest.


Withdrawal of police creates chaos at Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 21
The ninth day of the ‘Navratra Mela’ began with chaos after the Superintendent of Police at Panchkula withdrew the force from the shrine without taking the local administration into confidence.

Sources in the local administration said over 800 personnel on special duty for the nine-day ‘mela’ had been withdrawn on the orders of the SP today. Hundreds of devotees created a mad rush at the gate, which the security guards there found difficult to manage.

According to a senior official in the administration, it was only after the Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board officials spoke to the SP that some of the force was restored and the situation was brought under control.

In spite of repeated efforts to contact the SP of Panchkula, she was not available for comments.

Meanwhile, fewer devotees than earlier visited the shrine on the concluding day the ‘mela’, on Ram Navami here today. About 10 lakh devotees visited the shrine in these Navratras.

A number of gold and silver items, cash amounting to several lakh rupees, fans, utensils, suits and ‘sarees’ were offered at the temple.

The shrine board had also organised a ‘Bhajan Sandhya’ by Sharma Bandhus here today. The group presented hymns in praise of Lord Rama and tales from Ramayana, which left the audience spellbound. Mr M.K. Miglani, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Haryana, was the chief guest, while Mr Pardeep Chaudhary, Chairman of CONFED, presided over the function.


Forest fire prevention week begins
Tribune News Service

Trilokpur (Panchkula), April 21
Forests are the basis for sustenance of life and all other forms of life are inter-dependent. Trees are the guardians of ecological security as they play a pivotal role in maintaining ecological balance.

This was stated by the Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary to Government of Haryana, Mr Naseem Ahmad, while inaugurating the Forest Fire Prevention Week here today. He said that ‘back-to-nature’ was the need of the day and we should adapt our lives to make all our activities environment friendly.

He said that forest fires caused irreparable damage to environment, as a small fire in the wilderness could destroy the work of generations. Scrupulous fire protection in forests would, therefore, benefit the whole range of bio-diversity.

Mr J.P.L. Srivastava, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Haryana, while speaking on the occasion said that the loss caused by forest fires was incalculable. He said that forest fires damaged young seedlings, they render the soil sterile and killed wild animals and their young ones.

He said that the Haryana Forest Department was determined to manage forests with the active participation of local people. He said that for this purpose, the Hill Resource Management Societies had been constituted, which were actively participating in the Joint Forest Management of 20, 679 hectares of forest area. Mr Bahuguna, Inspector General of Forests, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Mr Sultan Singh, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, members of Hill Resource Management Societies and various Village Resource Management Committees were also present here.

Earlier, a painting competition had been organised. Anshul of Chaman Lal DAV School, Sector 11, won the first prize , while Shivani Gupta of New India Secondary School, Sector 15, won the second prize. In the second category, Prem Chand of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 6, Sanju of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, and Sonia of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, won the first, second and third prizes.

The chief guest, Mr Ahmad, also gave away prizes to the Hill Resource Management Societies of Trilokpur, Lohgarh, Sukho Majri, Fezpur and Thaska, for their commendable work in fighting forest fires.


Rally on environment awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, organised a rally at Palsora as part of the National Environment Awareness Campaign, 2002.

More than 200 children of Government Primary School, Palsora, participated in the rally. They walked down the streets of the village holding placards made by them and raising slogans.

The campaign, which started in the city yesterday, will include a series of other activities in the coming days. The aim of the campaign is to create awareness among the community regarding safe water and proper treatment of refuse by involving local leaders, women groups, students and teachers.


Brahma Kumaris plan to teach spirituality
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 21
The Prajapati Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwavidalaya has planned to give spiritual knowledge and translate it into a spiritual lifestyle through the practice of Rajyoga during its Goodwill Year-2002 celebrations. This was announced at the inauguration of the celebrations at Rajyoga Bhavan, Sector 33, here today.

Mr Amir Chand, vice-chairman, Social Service Wing of Brahma Kumaris, said a three-point programme had been formulated to make the celebrations effective. Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, inaugurated the celebrations. Ms Lalit Joshi, Mayor, MCC, B.K. Anita, Rajyoga teacher and Ms Achal Behn, zonal chief of Brahma Kumaris were present on the occasion.


Lord Mahavira Jayanti celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Prominent Jain citizens of the city, including the Chandigarh SSP, Mr Parag Jain, and a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, celebrated the 2600th birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira here today. Although the Mahavira Jayanti falls on April 25, the Jain Mahasangh organised a cultural evening to mark the celebrations at Tagore Theatre today.

The cultural evening lasted over an hour. It commenced with a bhajan recital on Lord Mahavira followed by an enlightening religious discourse on the life and preachings of Lord Mahavira by Sadhvi Sangeet Shree. Going into the basic tenets of Jainism, Sadhvi Sangeet Shree bared the essentials of Jain faith, which draws its inspiration from satya and ahmisa (truth and non-violence).


Seminar on agri-electronic instrumentation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Electronics and information technology in agriculture, post-harvest technology, water management, energy in agriculture, management of inputs, fertiliser, pesticides and soil evaluation technologies will be discussed in the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here during a national Hindi seminar on agri-electronic instrumentation on April 23 and 24.

Around 70 scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Council of Indian Agriculture Research will present their papers on these issues.



Sodium lamps for streets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Streets of the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, would have sodium lamps and its park would be developed with the allocation of Rs 2 lakh from the councillor’s fund for streetlights and Rs 1 lakh from of the Mayor’s fund for the park, said MC Mayor Lalit Joshi and Deputy Mayor Balraj Singh at a sapling plantation ceremony at the complex.

The function was organised by the Residents Welfare Association, Category-I, and presided over by Mr Balraj Singh, who is also the area councillor.

The association’s technical adviser, Mr Deepak Khosla, presented a plan showing the beautification proposal of the central park in and around the blocks.

The association president, Mr H.S. Nagra, urged the Mayor to improve the condition of footpaths.


Diljang Singh Jauhar remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Prominent literary personalities of the city paid tributes to Sardar Diljang Singh Jauhar (1908-1998), a pioneer citizen of Chandigarh, who had played a pivotal role in promoting art and culture in this region for more than half a century.

His son, Mr Tej Bans Singh Jauhar of Tejee’s Studio-17, who is walking in the footsteps of his father, hosted the meeting.

Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, Mr N.S. Rattan, Punjab Education Secretary, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Dr Harnam Singh Shan, a former head of the Punjabi Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Dr K.L. Zakir, Dr Virender Mehndiratta, a noted Hindi writer, and Mr Shiv Singh, a renowned artist, formed the presidium.

A trilingual poetical symposium was the main attraction of the function. Outstanding among the poets present were Bhagwant Singh, Prof Gurdial Singh Bhatia, Dr Jagmohan Chopra and others.


Amusement park coming up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Thunder Zone, an amusement park, is coming up on the Chandigarh-Sirhind road. The park, which is about 1 km from Landran and situated in an area of 11 acres, promises amusement games of international standards with 12 dry and 14 wet rides.

The park is likely to be inaugurated in the last week of this month.



Osho meditation camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
A three-day Osho meditation camp concluded at Mullanpur near PGI here today.

Swami Satyarthi, a former Hisar Agricultural University Professor, who now runs an Osho Academy on Meditations at Fatehabad, said a restless mind could not meditate. Everyday we accumulate thoughts and information from various sources. This burdened the mind and created tension. Catharsis was required to throw out all negative influences and emotions.

Swamiji, who is also a reikei master, told a group of 15 girl students who had came from Dehradun that everybody had the potential to live life creatively and Osho-devised techniques were very effective to cope with routine stress and strain.



Woman booked for defrauding bank
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 21
The police has booked Ms Anjana Kapila, a resident of Sector 2, on the charge of duping the Bank of Baroda, Sector 11, of Rs 85,000. The accused had reportedly got a loan of the said amount for buying a computer. However, she did not return the money and disposed of the computer. A case under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered in this connection.

Gamblers held

The police has arrested three gamblers from different parts of the district during the past 24 hours. A sum of Rs 1,085 has been seized from them. While Bhuru Singh and Kishan Lal were arrested from Old Panchkula last night, Mahendra Pal was arrested from near Railway Bridge, Kalka, last evening. All of them have been booked under different sections of the Gambling Act.

Trespass case

The police has booked three persons, Som Pal, Khayali Ram and Bilaso, on the charges of assaulting and trespassing in the house of Daya Ram in Devi Nagar on March 5. They have been booked under various sections of the IPC on the order of a local court.

Liquor seized

The police has arrested a rickshaw-puller operating from a Sector 25 rickshaw stand, Manga, alias Mulla, and seized 40 pouches of liquor from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Knocked down

A resident of Mauli Jagran, Pritam Singh, was injured after he was knocked down by a motor cycle near the local bus stop on Madhya Marg in Sector 9 while he was crossing the road. He has been admitted to the PGI. The motor-cyclist fled, leaving the motor cycle (CH-03-E-7516) behind, which has been impounded by the police. A case has been registered.

Thieves held

Two persons were caught red-handed while trying to steal elevator parts from the premises of the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The accused have been identified as Ram Parshad, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, and Narsing, a resident of Bihar. They were handed over to the police which has arrested them and registered a case against them.

Pocket picked

Sector 21 resident Anil Kumar has reported that his purse containing about Rs 15,000, driving licence and identity card was picked from his pocket near the new OPD Block in the PGI. The police has registered a case.

Vehicle thefts

A resident of Burail, Kulwinder Singh, has reported that his Tata Suma (HR-29-A-7979) was stolen from Sector 34. A case has been registered. Sector 41 resident Krishan Veer Singh has reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-P-5792) was stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.

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