Tuesday, September 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU gives in to students’ demands; stir called off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
College students led by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) finally tasted victory here today with the Panjab University authorities giving in to their demands, if only temporarily, and postponing “the already scheduled September internal assessment tests till further orders/consideration”.

In response to the decision taken by the university, the on-going boycott of classes as well as the indefinite fast by the secretary ABVP, Mr Saurabh Joshi, was also called off.

A press note issued by the Dean, College Development Council, Dr Ramesh Kapoor, said the decision was taken at a meeting of the principals of local colleges, under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, and some members of the Senate held with the representatives of the ABVP.

Sources said the tests had been postponed and a final decision would be taken at the Senate meeting scheduled for September 22. The decision had been approved by the Senate, which made it the only competent body to reconsider the issue.

However, the university authorities refrained from making any comment on the demand for reducing 75 per cent attendance requirement to the earlier 66 per cent limit. This, sources said, could not be changed since the Supreme Court had also upheld the UGC directions to the colleges received by the university.

Meanwhile, the day began on the usual note of boycott of classes by college students. The ABVP activists gathered at the MCM DAV College, Sector 36, where they were joined by students from Dev Samaj College for Women, SD College and the GCG-42.

A gate rally was held to inform the students of the plan of action for the day. They then marched towards GCG-11 where boys of the GC-11, DAV College and students from Khalsa college had gathered. Raising slogans, they went on to Panjab University, blocked traffic at the PGI-PU roundabout as also at gate number 2 on the dividing road of Sector 14 and 15.

At the Students Centre, Saurabh Joshi began an indefinite fast, while four other students — Karanbir Singh, Jashan Jakhar, Yajvinder Yadav and Arun Diwan — began a relay fast.

In the afternoon, a meeting of principals of city colleges was held to decide the issue of September tests. Representatives of the ABVP were also invited to put across their point of view. Later, a decision to postpone the examinations was conveyed to them.

After the decision, Dr Kapoor offered juice to the fasting students and the strike was called off.


Rajdhani mishap victim dies
Relatives blame Gaya doctors’ negligence
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 16
A 43-year-old city-based geologist, who was injured in the Rajdhani Express mishap at Rafiganj ( Bihar), died at the PGI here this evening. The victim, Satinder Prashar, was admitted to the PGI in the wee hours this morning after he developed complications due to some internal injuries.

Grieving family members of the victim rued that lack of proper diagnosis by doctors at Gaya, where he was evacuated after the mishap, had led to his death.

The family lamented that his body is lying at the PGI’s mortuary and the post-mortem was to be performed only after cops from Rafiganj reach here. It may take them more than two days to reach here. The family members of the victim, meanwhile, demanded that the body should be released immediately. The PGI authorities could not be contacted in this regard.

Satinder was a Class I officer at the Geological Survey of India and had gone to Kolkata on September 1 to attend a conference. The victim is survived by wife, Ms Sujata Prashar (38), and 9-year-old daughter, Sugandha Prashar.

Injured Satinder Prashar was brought to the city on September 14 by his two brothers-in-law, Mr Rakesh Sharma and Mr Yogesh Sharma. After that he was examined by two Panckula-based doctors.

Ms Prashar was not in a position to talk and so were two sisters of the victim. Mr Yogesh Sharma informed that Satinder was travelling in coach no. A1 of the ill-fated train and they came to know about the accident on the evening of September 10. Satinder was first treated by army doctors at Gaya.

Relatives of the victim alleged that the doctors at Gaya did not bother to carefully examine Satinder, who had received injuries in his both arms, hips and backbone. ‘‘The seriously injured victims in the accident should have been airlifted to minimise the casualties,” opined Mr T.R. Sharma, father-in-law of the victim.

According to relatives of the victim, Satinder’s condition was not stable from day one. ‘‘His condition was not good and his stomach was upset. So we took him to a doctor in Panchkula and then again to another doctor, who performed various tests and examinations. The latter advised us to take Satinder to the PGI’’, informed Mr Yogesh Sharma. 


Rape ‘victim’ points finger at ex-minister
Our Correspondent

* Three suspects in the case — Surinder Sharma, Ram Lal, Baldev — have already been arrested in the case and presently remanded in judicial custody in Burail Jail.
* An anticipatory bail plea moved by M.K Jain, another suspect in the case, will come up for hearing on September 19 in the court of UT Additional and Sessions Judge.
* A head constable with the UT police, Narveer, arrested by the police in the case, has already been remanded in police custody till September 17.
* An anticipatory bail plea moved by the victim girl and regular bail by the suspect, Ram Lal, will likely to come up for hearing in a local court on Tuesday.

Chandigarh, September 16
Claiming that under the garb of providing police protection at her residence here, her liberty and freedom had been totally curtailed and she was being illegally detained at her place by the UT police, the Shimla rape case victim today moved an anticipatory bail in a local court today.

The victim has also dragged the name of a former Haryana minister in the case. She has given clean chit to two other persons — Surinder Sharma and Ram Lal — both suspects in the case. The girl stated that she had not been subjected to any sexual intercourse by Surinder Kumar Sharma or Ram Lal.

She said she had no objection to the transfer of the case to the CBI for fair investigation and then fair trial on the basis of such investigation. She alleged that the former Haryana minister came to her house at her native village and offered substantial amount of money to allure her and to force her to withdraw the charges of rape against the main suspect in the case. She added that after having withstood all pressure and threats, she now apprehends serious threat to her life.

An affidavit of the girl was also attached with the anticipatory bail, which was signed by her and attested by the Oath Commissioner on September 14.

She alleged that the UT police has been constantly and continuously pressurising her to withdraw her allegation of rape by M.K Jain and the police was also favouring him. She had been taken to the court of UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class) twice after having been mentally tortured and threatened to get her statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC stated in the plea.

She also alleged in the plea that no friend or relative was being allowed to meet her and share her grief and sorrow at this hour of crisis. Rather she was being victimised and harassed and mentally tortured to stay alone, and representatives of the UT police, including senior officials, had been pressurising her to withdraw her allegation of having being raped. She added that it was being obviously done to shield the culprit who was stated to be a man of influence and resources.

She has sought the bail in the case to avoid harassment “as the UT police has threatened her with arrest in case she dared to level allegation against the main suspect.” Meanwhile, the other suspect in the case, Ram Lal, has also filed regular bail in the case. Ram Lal stated in the plea that his anticipatory bail application, pending for September 19 before the court of the UT Additional and Sessions Judge, has become infructuous on his arrest on September 11. The application of M.K, Jain is also pending for September 19 before the same court. He stated that the version of the UT Police to be accepted then only he could be booked under bailable offences.


Cheat committed forgery worth 50 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The 42-year-old cheat arrested by the operation cell of the Chandigarh Police last night was involved in cases of forgery and cheating amounting to over Rs 50 crore committed during the past 10 years.

Gurdip Singh was arrested yesterday while trying to sell a stolen the car in car bazar of Sector 7 here yesterday.

A team of the Chandigarh Police will leave for Delhi to recover more stolen vehicles feared to be in possession of the cheat and his accomplices. Though a case of forgery and cheating, involving selling of fake share certificates, Indira Vikas Patras and National Saving Certificates, had been registered in Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar in the past, the cases are under different stages of trial, said an official of the Chandigarh Police.

Efforts are also being made to find out the nature of criminal activities he was indulging in.

The Superintendent of Police( Operations), Mr HGS Dhaliwal, said more facts about of the modus operandi of the cheat were likely to come forward during the course of his further questioning.

A green-card holder, Gurdip Singh, had jumped bail in a case of selling stolen Indira Vikas Patras worth Rs 10 lakh registered by the Punjab Police in Amritsar. Stolen property worth Rs 2 lakh had been recovered from him.

In the case of possessing fake share certificates worth Rs 9.5 crore, registered in year 1992 by the Delhi Police, and another case of possessing fake share certificates of multi-national companies amounting to over Rs 35 crore, registered by the Mumbai Police in 1994, the cheat had been granted bail. The police fears that the fake certificates sold by him could be in circulation in different cities of the country.

Incidentally, the Chandigarh Police had arrested members of an inter-state gang for possessing counterfeit stamps papers, revenue stamps and insurance stamps worth Rs 2.16 crore in July last.

The gang members were escaping to Delhi after winding up operations in the city. Clients of the company, Quick Services included insurance companies and other private institutions in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The entire operation of selling the stamps was being run under the aegis of Karim Bahi.


72 protesters held, released
Tribune News Service


* The protesters were demanding regular power connections before removing the illegal ones.
* The Administration had launched a campaign to remove ‘kundi’ connections but residents had resisted it, saying there was no propriety in removing connection of those who had been applying for regular connections.
* The Mayor, who is also a representative of the people of Colony Number 4, said the police had behaved “undemocratically” with the people who want to be honest.

Chandigarh, September 16
The local police today arrested 72 protesters, including 31 women of Colony Number 4, for “blocking” a road in Industrial Area, Phase I. They were demanding regular power connections before removing the illegal ones.

The protesters, led by Mr Ram Avadh Yadav of the Colony Kundi Connection Action Committee, raised slogans against the Chandigarh Administration and the Electricity Department and staged a dharna on the road leading to the 66 kv station in Industrial Area. The police is reported to have requested the protesters not to stage the dharna, which they did not accept. The protesters were let off after a warning.

Nearly 80 agitators initially sat on the dharna but within an hour the number of the people started swelling.

Mr Yadav said: “The protesters were not going to be cowed down by the undemocratic behaviour of the Administration and would carry out their peaceful protests in the future till they were not provided with meters.

The Administration had already launched a campaign to remove ‘kundi’ connections but residents had resisted it, saying there was no propriety in removing connection of those who had been applying for regular connections.

The issue had already taken a political colour with Mr Yadav calling a jan adalat on September 2 when the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, and the Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, had lent their support to the movement of the committee.

When asked the Mayor, who is also a representative of the people of Colony Number 4, said the police had behaved “undemocratically” with the people who want to be honest.

The protesters were released by the SDM of the area after a warning.


Warrants against YAD leader
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 16
Mr Ravinder Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ropar, has ordered summoning of Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president of Shiromani Youth Akali Dal and SAD candidate from Kharar in the Assembly elections, and others accused through non-bailable arrest warrants on September 20 following a criminal complaint filed regarding the murder of two minor Dalit children of Siau village in Kharar block.

The compliant was filed by Mr Dhani Ram against Mr Kang and eight others under Sections 302, 201 and 120 B of the IPC. Mr Dhani Ram is the father of Bikrampreet Singh and uncle of another minor child Ramanpreet Singh, who were murdered, allegedly under a criminal conspiracy. The complainant said the bodies of both children were found floating on June 22, 2001, in a pond of Siau village and an FIR was registered at Sohana police station. The complainant alleged that the Sohana police did not investigate the case and made an attempt to distort the facts.

He said the police issued a challan against seven accused but the name of Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang did not figure in the same.

The complainant alleged that it was a case of double murder and there were circumstances to show that a criminal conspiracy had been hatched in connivance with Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang.


New bus routes demarcated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Keeping in view public safety and inconvenience caused to road- users, the Chandigarh Administration today prescribed routes for incoming and outgoing buses originating from the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) in Sector 43 here.

These routes and will be in force between 5 am and 8 pm.

In the past, the arrival and departure of buses from the Sector 43 ISBT had been creating confusion to people. The routes of incoming and outgoing buses from the Ropar side to the ISBT in Sector 43 are as follows:

For incoming buses from the Ropar side, buses coming from SAS Nagar on National Highway -22 shall take turn towards north-west, V-2 road dividing Sectors 39-56, 40/55, 41-54, 42/53 and terminate at the Sector 43 ISBT.

The route of incoming buses from Phase VII SAS Nagar: Buses coming from the SAS Nagar side will follow the road dividing Sectors 61-62, 51-52, 44-43 and at the crossing of Sector 44-43 will turn left and reach the Sector 43 ISBT.

Buses from the Ambala side going to the Ropar side shall ply straight on Dakshin Marg between Industrial Area Phase-I, Phase-II Sectors 29-31 and will turn left from the roundabout of Sectors 29, 30, 31, 32 (near the GMCH Sector 32) towards the dividing road of Sector 31-32 and shall ply on road dividing Sectors 31-32, 47-46 and will turn right from the roundabout of Sectors 48, 49, 47, 46 to road dividing Sectors 49-46, 50-45, 51-44. The buses will again turn right from the roundabout of Sectors 51, 52, 44, 43 to road dividing Sectors 43-44 and turn left from Sectors 43-44 to V-4 road of Sector 43 and shall reach the Sector 43 ISBT.

For buses coming from the Kalka-Shimla side and going to the Ropar side, the buses will turn left from the Transport Area traffic towards the Tribune Chowk. From

The Tribune, the buses will turn right and go straight till the next crossing near the GMCH-32 before turning left. Buses will travel straight till the crossing at Sectors 46, 47, 48 and 49. From here, the buses will turn right and travel till the roundabout of Sectors 51, 52, 44, 43 to road dividing Sectors 43-44 and turn left from the roundabout of Sectors 43-44 to V-4 road of Sector 43 and reach the ISBT-43.

For buses leaving the ISBT-43 and headed towards Kalka, Shimla and Nahan side, Ambala-Delhi-side: From the ISBT-43, buses shall turn left from the crossing of Sectors 43-44, 50-51 and ply on the road dividing Sectors 43-44 and shall turn left from the crossing of Sectors 43-44, 34-35 and ply on the dividing road of Sectors 35-43. From the crossing of Sectors 36-35, 42 and 43 (Attawa village chowk), the buses will turn right and use the road dividing Sectors 35-36 and 22-23 till the cricket stadium.

The buses will then turn right towards the ISBT-17. To exit from the ISBT-17 the existing routes to go to the Delhi-Ambala side and Kalka-Shimla, respectively, will be used.


Tug of war over child
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 16
It’s been five years, but his tale of woes sees no end. From losing his father at the age of five to being given up for adoption to a rich but indifferent family, and finally fleeing his paternal uncle’s house now, Daksh Gautam has had a tumultuous life so far.

This 9-year-old boy was picked up by the Railway Police at the Chandigarh railway station on the night of September 13 after he fled from the house of his foster paternal uncle in Delhi. Forcibly taken away from his foster grandmother’s (nani) custody here by his father, in order to lay claim on the property willed in his name by his foster mother, he says he was subjected to physical and mental harassment by his uncle and aunt in Delhi.

Following this, a bitter tug of war has begun between his real family members and his foster father over his custody. The child was presented before the Guardian Magistrate here today to record his statement. His own grandmother and uncle — Ms Krishna Devi and Mr Sandeep Bhasin of Solan —and his foster father — Mr Prem Avtaar Gautam, an NRI, were also present, each side demanding for his custody.

It is learnt that Daksh was 4-year-old when he was given for adoption to Mr Prem Avtaar Gautam, an NRI settled in England and his wife, Devinderjit Kaur. Informed his grandmother (dadi, Ms Krishna Devi, “After my elder son passed away and his wife remarried, we were approached by Mr Gautam for giving Daksh for adoption. We thought since they were wealthy NRIs , the child’s life would be made and agreed.”

Initially things went on well as the child stayed here with his foster mother at the latter’s parental house, while Mr Gautam stayed abroad. He would occasionally visit his wife and Daksh or his wife would visit him in England for a few months each year, while Daksh stayed on here.

However, Devinderjit died of a heart ailment almost six months ago. She had willed her property in Chandigarh, worth lakhs of rupees, in Daksh’s and her husband’s name, while making her own brother executor of the will. It is then that things went from bad to worse for the child.

A few months ago, when Mr Gautam came here a few months ago, he discreetly took away Daksh, and after leaving him in his brother’s custody in Delhi, and himself went back to the UK.

However, Daksh alleged that he was maltreated by his paternal uncle. Their only aim was to ensure that the property in his name should not be taken away from the family and that is why they kept him, said Ms Krishna. When he was unable to bear the maltreatment by his uncle and aunt, he came back to Chandigarh. However, Mr Gautam, who, too, returned from England in the meantime, got an FIR of kidnapping registered in Delhi.

When the child was discovered by the Railway Police on September 13, he was presented before the SDM, Panchkula on the next morning, who ordered that the child’s statement be recorded by the Guardian Magistrate on September 16, while sending him to Bal Bhavan.

However, a team of the Delhi police, too arrived here today and presented its case before Guardian Magistrate Kamal Kant and said that Daksh’s statement should be recorded in Delhi as an FIR had been registered there. Subsequently, the magistrate gave the custody of the child to the Delhi Police, so that it could get his statement recorded there. 


Condition of ex-panchayat secretaries deteriorates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The condition of two ex-panchayat secretaries, Mr Ravinder Singh, and Mr Baljeet Singh who were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, on Saturday by the police, deteriorated today. They have reportedly declined to take any food till the demands were met by the government.

About 300 ex-panchayat secretaries are sitting on an indefinite strike at Sector 17 for the past 10 days. Mr Malkeet Singh Mallan, general secretary of the Punjab Congress, met the delegates today and assured them that he would take up the matter with the state Chief Minister. The protesting leaders told him that the Congress government in Punjab had failed to fulfil its promises to reinstate the panchayat secretaries. Though it had promised at the time of election, that the services of all 460 panchayat secretaries would be restored who had been wrongly terminated by the previous SAD-BJP government on August 12, 2001.

The leaders of the panchayat secretaries union said they were recruited by the previous government in 1996. Their services were later on terminated after the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared their recruitment null and void after a few candidates approached the court. In fact the government failed to plead “our case strongly in the court and rather preferred to terminate the services.”

About 300 panchayat secretaries had been agitating for the past one year, but without any result. A number of Congress candidates, in their constituencies had promised to find a way out to take them into service, once they came to power. However, no one was even ready to lend his ear, he said.

A number of trade unions have already joined the protesting secretaries. Among other trade union leaders, Mr Hari Singh Tohra and Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Ajaib Singh, president, Gram Sewak Union and Mr Sucha Singh of the PWD Employees Union also assured their support to them. A meeting of the union leaders had been called for tomorrow to chalk out the next course of action, said Mr Desh Raj, press secretary of the union.


Order on UT pensioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs, in an order faxed to the Chandigarh Administration, today said that UT pensioners who retired before April, 1, 1991, will get the same benefits as those allowed for retirees after the cut-off date.

The MHA said it had been decided to extend notional fixation of pay to the applicants with effect from January 1, 1986, and revise their pensionary and retiral benefits as per directions issued by the Central Administrative Tribunal (Chandigarh Bench) on May 29, 2002. The pensioners, H.R. Dogra, and others had won the case in CAT regarding pension.

The order of the MHA, however, says the benefit will be extended only to the applicants in the original application and not to all. This means the others will have to again approach the court claiming to be similarly situated and thus claim for similar benefits.

Interestingly, when the pensioners were not given the benefits they moved CAT for contempt of court and the matter was listed for hearing at the CAT today. The retirees before the cut off date of April, 1, 1991, had originally moved CAT saying they got a medical allowance of Rs 100 while those who retired after this cut off date got a medical allowance of Rs 250. Similarly, there is no re-imbursement for indoor treatment, no scheme to grant old-age pension and no scheme for leave travel concession. Those who retired after the cut-off date enjoyed all such benefits.


Local BJP unit to have new look
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The newly appointed BJP local unit president, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, today set a target of completing the reconstitution of the party by the end of this month and creating around 600 booth committees in the next six months to prepare for the next general elections.

“I will form remaining nine ward committees and around 200 sub-sector-level committees by the end of this month,” Mr Mahajan said today after being formally made the president of the unit. Mr Mahajan had been virtually functioning as president in the capacity of the convener of the 16-member ad hoc committee since October 1, 2001.

The president, who has launched a public awareness campaign to expose the “betrayal” by the Congress in the Municipal Corporation by levying taxes “despite promises” to the contrary, said he would continue the campaign. Mr Mahajan had already formed 11 ward committees and four district units as convener of the adhoc committee.

He said his immediate focus was now to make the “Gaon Chalo Abhiyan” from September 25 a grand success. He said activists would visit 22 villages during the period. The name of the village from where the programme would be launched would be identified tomorrow.

The BJP had unsuccessfully contested the Municipal Corporation elections in December last year under the leadership of Mr Mahajan as convener of the committee.

Earlier during the day, Mr Mahajan was greeted by party workers and important leaders for his elevation.

Workers assured Mr Mahajan their cooperation and thanked the national secretary, Mr Om Prakash Dhankar, who is also in charge of Chandigarh, and the national executive member, Mr Satyapal Jain, for their cooperation to Mr Mahajan.

A meeting was organised to congratulate him. Mr Jain, former Mayor Gian Chand Gupta, BJP leader in the Municipal Corporation Kamla Sharma, former councillor Desraj Tandon, former Mayor K.K. Adiwal and a senior leader Purushottam Mahajan, among others, addressed party workers.

A section of the SAD led by former Mayor Harjinder Kaur and Mr N.S. Minhas called a meeting of the party executive to welcome his nomination and assured him full cooperation in the next Lok Sabha elections.


Mullanpur-Garibdas to get grant
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur-Garibdas, September 16
A BJP MP (Rajya Sabha) from Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai, has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh from the MP Local Area Development Fund for development of this village. Earlier, a UK-based NRI, Mr Nathu Ram Puri, constructed a school building at a cost of Rs 1.20 crore in the village. The village is the birthplace of both donors.

The money will be utilised for laying a half kilometre link road and the construction of a sports stadium in the village. While talking to this correspondent, Lala Lajpat Rai said: ‘‘I was born in Mullanpur but as we had a large family, we shifted from here. I wanted to do something for my birthplace and I approached villagers for the purpose’’. The MP, who is also a nominated member of Panjab University Syndicate, will be in the village on September 23 to officially announce the amount.

Commenting upon the functioning of the Congress government in the state, he claimed that the SAD-BJP government had contributed a lot towards the development of the state but the present government had failed to deliver in its five- month stint. ‘‘The present government has same resources as that were with the Badal government but the Congress government is not carrying any developmental work’’, claimed Mr Rai.

Mr Arvind Puri, vice president of the Morinda unit of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, said the link road between the school and the main bazar would be laid from this grant. Mr D.D Puri, president, Puri Development

Trust for Mullanpur, and the village sarpanch, Mr Dewan Singh, had met the MP at his Ludhiana residence with the projects and got the amount sanctioned.

It is worth mentioning here that the Punjab Government had earlier sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for construction of the stadium but the amount lapsed as it could not be used in the stipulated time period. 


Seminar on sexual harassment at workplace
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Single young women, those employed in lower-level jobs, and women employed in non-conventional jobs are more likely to face sexual harassment at workplace. This was the issue discussed at a seminar at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women in Sector 26, here today.

Dr Sherry Sabarwal, Reader at the Department of Sociology, PU, said sexual harassment implied focussing on a person as a man or woman and not as an individual.

Citing reasons for sexual harassment, she said poverty, ignorance, faulty socialisation patterns, show of power and show of strength were reasons behind its growing “influence” in modern society.

Urging students to report all cases of sexual harassment without fear of shame, she claimed that solutions to this problem were to be found at the individual level and the level of society.

A psychologist, Dr Vidhu Mohan, spoke on the different types of sexual harassment, how it emanates and how women should handle it. She motivated students to shed their fears of social boycott and stand up against sexual harassment and protect themselves.

She said women needed to be alert in the set-up around them and guard against any harassment, be it in public places or workplace and bring the culprits to book to discourage its spread.

The seminar was chaired by the DPI (Colleges), Ms Varsha Joshi, who addressed the students and urged them to shed all inhibitions and face this challenge head-on. The Principal, Ms Harinderjit Kaur, was also present at the seminar.


Guest-house owners rent rooms to students
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, September 16
“Rooms available here’’ — the boards have either been pulled down or painted. Ever since Chandigarh Administration started implementing the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, guest-houses have been closed. But now, some of the owners have come up with an ingenious idea of earning their “livelihood”. They are now offering paying-guest accommodation to students.

“Well, there is nothing wrong in it,” says a Sector 21 landlord who used to run a guest-house at his residence. “The High Court orders were only against the running of guest houses in residences. No reference was made to letting out the room to paying guests”, he says.

Agreeing with him, another landlord, also residing in Sector 21, says: “I do not see why anyone should be objecting to our renting out the rooms to students, or to anyone else as a matter of fact. We are just allowing the students to stay at our residences. No one, I am sure, is getting disturbed in the process”.

He adds, “Actually, it is very convenient for us, and also for the tenants. We already have rooms on the first floor which are separate from each other and even have separate entrances.

This causes no inconvenience either to those staying in the rooms or to us. The tenants can come and go as they like without disturbing us or even the neighbourhood by knocking at the doors or banging the gates”.

Giving details, a former guest-house owner, now just a landlady, says, “Ever since my husband died in August, 2000, we had no source of earning livelihood. That is the reason why we initially decided to convert our residence into a guest-house. But after the High Court orders, we found ourselves in a fix. Actually, there was some talk about providing us with alternative accommodation, but we were not in a position to accept the terms and conditions”.

She adds, “For a few months, we just did not know what to do. Then some one suggested that we could rent out our first and second floors. The idea was not appealing. We had heard about people filing cases in court in an attempt to get their premises vacated from tenants that we were scared of taking chances. It was then that we decided to keep paying guests at our residence”.

Regarding the charges, she says, “It is very nominal for the students. We are charging just Rs 1,800 from girls and in return are offering them breakfast and tea. As we have five girl students staying with us, we earn enough to ensure that both ends meet. I do not see why anyone should object to it.”

Some of the neighbours, however, are not very happy about the “entire affair”. “The High Court had ordered the closure of guest-houses to ensure that disturbance was not caused to those living in adjoining houses. But now, it is a nuisance of a different kind. Throughout the day, we have boys honking horns in front of the houses with girls staying as paying guests”, they complain.


Faulty transformer has villagers fuming
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, September 16
Erratic power supply with low voltage has been putting residents of Ramgarh Bhudda village, 3 km from here, to great hardship since September 4 when a transformer was damaged.

Residents complained that PSEB employees had replaced cables a week back but they neither replaced the damaged equipment nor repaired it. To meet the needs of villagers living in almost half of the village, the department had given a temporary connection from a transformer. This, too, had failed to provide uninterrupted supply.

An elderly villager, Mr Sajjan Singh, complained that their efforts to replace the transformer proved futile despite repeated requests to the PSEB authorities. “A senior official of the department had assured to change the transformer but no official turned up,” added Mr Sajjan Singh.

“The voltage is so low even refrigerators and TV sets are not working properly. Even water booster are not lifting water,” rued Mr Avtar Singh.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, sarpanch of Chhat village, alleged that the PSEB authorities had turned a blind eye towards their demand.

However, the PSEB authorities were not available for comments.


J&K needs more commandos

Until 1972, there was only one corps in Jammu and Kashmir. In 1972, the Northern Command and another corps were raised to take over the same responsibility that was earlier shouldered by one corps. Then after the Kargil war, another corps was raised for Ladakh. And now yet another corps is being planned for the Jammu region.

What we are fighting in Jammu and Kashmir is not a conventional war, but a low intensity conflict (LIC), which call for having commando-type of sub-units with highly trained, dedicated and determined troops. These company-size and self-contained commando sub-units should be trained to live off the land under most trying conditions. Commando companies should be put under specially designed sector headquarters. Each sector headquarters, it is suggested, should have six companies under it.

We already have enough troops in Jammu and Kashmir to man the Line of Control (LoC) and meet the requirement of offensive operations. Rather than making the Army top heavy by raising more corps, what we need now are more crack sub-units to beat the insurgents in their game.

Command turns 55

The Western Command was raised in Delhi on September 15, 1947, and Lieut-Gen Dudley Russel, a British officer, was appointed as its first GOC-in-C. At the time of raising, it was designated as Delhi and the Punjab Command. In January 1948, the late Field Marshal K.M. Carrippa replaced Lieut-Gen Russel and the command was re-designated as the Western Command on January 18, 1948. In 1954, the command moved from Delhi to Shimla and then in February 1985, it shifted to Chandimandir.

The Western Command is the only command in the Indian Army which has taken active part in all wars that India has fought from 1947 to 1971. Not only that, this was the only command having a vast operational area extending from Rajasthan to Ladakh until 1972, when the Northern Command was raised in Jammu and Kashmir.

With the troops still deployed for “Operation Parakram” at the border, the celebration of the Command Raising Day on September 15, was a low-key affair. Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, GOC-in-C Western Command said the other day that despite their continued deployment at the border since December 2001, the troops had high moral and were not at all tired. “I visit them twice a week and stay for a night with one of the battalions to assess the state of readiness myself”, he said.

Married accommodation

There is an acute shortage of married accommodation in the Army, resulting in the Army men staying without their families. Realising the hardships of soldiers, former Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain, who retired on June 30, got a married accommodation project (MAP) worth Rs 18,000 crore sanctioned for the Army.

With the sanctioned amount having already been released by the government, the construction of accommodation in certain cantonments has already started. And the second phase of the construction will commence next year. Since this construction can only come up on defence land, the requisite space for it has to be created in the cantonments by demolishing the old leasehold bungalows.

This move has already started creating difficulty for the Army authorities. Take the example of an old cantonment like Ambala, where 85 large bungalows spread over 250 acres of land, and some constructed on plots measuring more than five acres, are owned by civilians. No doubt, the Army will give freehold plots of 500 sq yards and compensation for the existing bungalows to the owners. But the Cantonment Bungalow Owners’ Association has opposed this proposal. Most probably, they will go to the court, which besides delaying, will create hurdles in the project.

Saragarhi Day

The Sikh Regiment celebrated Saragarhi Day on September 12, by paying rich tributes to its 21 soldiers for their unmatched bravery. Saragarhi, a small communication post on the Samana ridge on the North-West Frontier, was held by 20 men under the command of Havildar Ishar Singh.

Tribal attacked the post on September 12, 1897. Fighting valiantly, Sikh soldiers repulsed several charges by the tribals and preferred to fight to the last man. Finally, when only Sepoy Gurmukh Singh was left, he, too, fought like a tiger till he fell to join his comrades in death.

British Parliament gave a standing ovation to this act of unprecedented bravery. Each of the Saragarhi heroes was awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM), which was the highest gallantry award of those days. The dependents of these war heroes were given an award of Rs 500 (a big amount in those days) and two “morrabas” of land each. There memorials, one each at Ferozepore, Amritsar and Saragarhi, were raised in their memory.

Pritam Bhullar


Enriching experience for bikers
Our Correspondent

The members of an expedition team from Reunion Island (near
The members of an expedition team from Reunion Island (near 
Mauritius) who arrived in Chandigarh on Monday. 
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 16
It was quite a thrilling experience for the18-member group, including 15 from the island country of Reunion Island, that covered hilly terrains on their motor cycles. They arrived in the city this evening at Hotel Sheronz, Sector 35. The group, with most of its members being French nationals, was jubilant after visiting the places they covered on Bullet motor cycles. The entire expedition was organised by “Venture on Wheels”, a company based at Pune and managed by Anji Mehra and son Ashish Mehra.

It had been their first experience with people from Reunion Island. Ashish, a product of Lawrence School, Sanawar, said though these people were basically natives of France, they later settled in the island.

The group had earlier come to Chandigarh on September 6 and left for Chail, stayed there, visited Sangla valley, where they stayed before reaching Rampur, Bushahar and Raison. He said the expedition members also met with apple orchardist at Raison. He further said they attempted to go to Kaza but due to heavy snow they got stuck and could not move further, so they took the route to Manali.

Ashish said they biked to Rohtang Pass and passed through Grampho, Chatru and Choti Dhara before coming back to Manali. Few of them interacted with schoolchildren on the outskirts of Manali. After making a two-day halt at Manali, where they visited Naggar village and few temples, they finally set off for Chandigarh.

The group had three female members. Benjamin, a group member, said it was an enriching experience as he managed to explore the real India and its people living in the hilly areas. Fanny, a female member, said they had different impressions about India, its people, but after visiting the beautiful scenic places like Sangla Valley they were more in love with this country. Similar were the views of two couples Joel and Nathalie and Dominique and Francisca, who seemed overjoyed by the experience.


Routine check-up of Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), was briefly admitted to the PGI this morning for a routine check-up of a uro-surgery carried out on him by the PGI a few months back.

Noted urologist and Director of the PGI, Prof S.K. Sharma, personally examined the General, who was later discharged at 1 p.m. sources confirmed. 


Retired Army officer missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Lieut-Col Surinder Singh left his Sector 16 residence this evening for visiting relatives, but failed to return. Worried, his family has approached the Sector 17 police station.

According to his daughter-in-law Manpreet S.B Singh, 76-year-old Colonel, suffering from temporary memory loss, was wearing brown trousers and maroon turban. His relatives can be informed about his whereabouts at 548945 and 600276.


Gujjar parishad president dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Mr Amrik Singh, president, Gujjar Samaj Kalyan Parishad, Chandigarh, passed away on Saturday here. He was 87 and had been keeping unwell for the past two months.

His cremation was attended by people from all walks of life yesterday. Wreaths were placed by Mr Hoshiar Singh, new president, on behalf of the parishad. In the afternoon, the executive committee of the parishad passed a condolence resolution to convey sympathies with the bereaved family and observed a two-minute silence. 


Two Sec 32 residents hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 16
Dhiraj and Pankaj, both residents of Sector 32, were injured when they were reportedly hit by a Maruti car on the dividing road of Sectors 32 and 33 last evening. The two were admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, and their condition is said to be stable. The car driver managed to escape. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered against the driver.

Theft cases

The police has registered four cases of theft, including two thefts in Sector 18, during the past 24 hours.

A sound amplifier and four copper plates have been stolen from Arya Samaj Temple, Sector 18, on Sunday. Mr Harishvardhan reported the theft to the police. A Sector 18 shopkeeper, Mr Sandeep Saluja, reported that computer parts were stolen from his shop on the night of September 14.

Ms Rita Goel of Sector 15 reported that a stereo and tools were stolen from her car, which was parked at her residence on the night of September 14. Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, a resident of Sector 37, reported that his Kinetic Honda (CHL 349) was stolen from his residence on September 9.

Held for gambling

Three persons, Gurmit Singh, Parmod Kumar, both residents of Sector 38, and Raj Kumar, a resident of SAS Nagar, were arrested for gambling at a public place on Sunday. A case under various sections of the Gambling Act has been registered.

One held

Rickshaw-puller Neepar was arrested for pulling his rickshaw on wrong side of the road and thus causing danger and obstruction in public way, here on Sunday. He was booked under Section 283 of the IPC and was later released on bail.


Liquor seized

The police arrested Dhyam Singh, a resident of Dhakauli village, for possessing 48 pouches of country-made liquor from the traffic light point, here on Sunday.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.


Five arrested

The police has arrested five persons in different incidents during the past 24 hours on charges of speculation and recovered Rs 4020 from them. All accused — Sushil Kumar, Subhash Chandra, Sunil Kumar, Sunny and Uday Veer — have been booked under various sections of the Gambling Act.

Illicit liquor seized

The police has seized 18 bottles and 180 pouches of illicit liquor in two separate incidents. While bottles of illicit liquor were seized from Banarsi Dass and Bhag Singh and the police seized pouches from a scooter (PB -39- 3521) , which was deserted by Shiv Raj and Kamlesh near Burj Kotian on Sunday night.


Kendriya Bhandar plans expansion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The profit-making consumer co-operative and one of the largest retail chains in the country, Kendriya Bhandar, which operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, has made a blueprint for further growth and expansion.

Kendriya Bhandar was set up in 1963 with one outlet in Delhi and now has 119 outlets nationwide. The co-operative retails consumer goods, groceries, stationery, office equipment and furniture and its turnover in 2001-02 was Rs. 261.60 crore.

The bhandar has 119 outlets with a total floor space of about 70,000 sq. ft. There are 76 outlets in Delhi, 12 in Tamil Nadu, 11 in Uttar Pradesh, four in Andhra Pradesh, three each in Kerala and Haryana, two each in Karnataka and Chandigarh and one each in Maharashtra, Daman, Goa, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. A unique feature of these outlets is that they are located in residential colonies and are within the reach of the customers living there.

The total organised retail market is estimated at Rs 24,000 crore with an expected growth rate of 20 per cent per annum. According to a survey conducted by Kendriya Bhandar, 48 per cent of its sale of consumer and grocery items comes from government employees and 52 per cent from other customers. In the stationery, office equipment and furniture segment, over 99 per cent of its sale is to the government sector. With Central Government employees constituting around 1 per cent of the total population of India and the vast untapped corporate sector, there is a great potential for the bhandar to improve its share in the non-government business. Keeping this in mind, Ms Vasundhara Raje, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, has made a vision plan for Kendriya Bhandar through which it can become a dominant player in the retail industry.

Based on the feedback received from customers in its survey, Kendriya Bhandar is upgrading the ambience and internal layout of its stores. For this purpose, the entire chain of consumer and grocery stores is being categorised into three layers – gold standard, silver standard and copper standard stores. All stores would be equipped with the state-of-the-art retailing facilities and the basic difference would be the range of products available at the gold, silver and copper stores. For the first time, lifestyle products would also be available at the gold stores and the first modern store will open this month in New Delhi. Based on customers’ response, the rest of the national network of stores would be converted in the next few years.

Kendriya Bhandar is also planning to set up its own corporate office and the office building is likely to have a super mart of office stationery of about 15,000 sq ft. Other growth plans include setting up of shopping malls of 50,000 to 1,00,000 sq ft area in major metropolitan cities in the future.

Aao Bune contest

Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Ltd has taken the initiative to revive and promote the concept of hand knitting among masses, especially children, by launching Aao Bune, a ready to knit kit for children here today.

Mr V.K. Goyal, Chief Executive, VSGML, said, ‘‘The contest will be held during 2002-03 covering five states, including 500 towns, 1100 schools and above 2,00,000 participants in Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Uttaranchal Pradesh and UP from September 2002 to February, 2003 period.’’ The contest had been already included in the Limca Book of Records, he added.

Regarding the contest, he said the students from Classes VI to Class IX shall be eligible to participate in the contest. Accordingly, there will be 5 categories of participants, who would participate in contest in three parts — Intra School, Zonal Inter-School levels and finally at the state-level. The top three selected entries in each category in each state shall be awarded with a cash prize of Rs 5,100, Rs 3,100 and Rs 2,100 for the first, second and the third prizes, respectively, he added.

Advt campaign by self drink co

Pepsi is set to usher in the cricket season with the “cup fever” and its “Men in Blue” campaign. With the commencement of the much-awaited Champions Trophy Cricket Tournament at Colombo. It has launched “cup fever” campaign on the television.

Made by HTA and directed by ad film-maker Sunhil Sippy, the two 30-second slots not only have cricket lovers from different walks of life, but also feature stars as cricket lovers. Shah Rukh Khan, Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor come together as die-hard cricket fans in the two spots, which will lead up to the World Cup 2003.

The campaign captures the insight that even though the “dil” of millions of cricket fans crave for the World Cup, they don’t want to put too much pressure on the Indian team.

The company is also set to launch its “Get your men in blue gear” consumer campaign across the country, offering cricket fans the opportunity to collect cricketing gear. Consumers can exchange three Pepsi crowns or any PET label and a certain amount of cash for like gear caps, T-shirts, sling bags and sunglasses.

The consumer campaign will run till the end of October. In the words of Ms Vibhas Rishi, Executive Director (Marketing), Pepsi Foods Pvt Ltd: The company has been associated with cricket and cricketing stars for the past decade. With the Champions Trophy and the World Cup 2003 coming up, it is time to refresh brand association and ownership”.


Fresh order to fair price shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
All fair price shop owners in the city will be required to obtain a fresh licence within 60 days from now as part of a new order issued by the Chandigarh Administration.

This is part of the Food and Supplies Department’s promulgation of a new Control Order, namely, the Chandigarh Public Distribution System (Licensing and Control) Order, 2002.

In view of this, the existing fair price shop owners would have to apply on the prescribed format for the conversion of the agreement into a licence in the office of the District Food & Supplies Officer, Sector 17, Chandigarh, during the normal working hours.

After the expiry of 60 days, no application for conversion would be entertained and the agreement executed between the District Food and Supplies Department and the fair price shop owner would be null and void, a spokesperson said.

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