Sunday, September 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU pension scheme rejected
Varsity employees threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Union Government has rejected the pension scheme for employees of Panjab University, according to what sources have said here today. All bodies of teachers and the non-teaching staff of the PU had an emergency meeting here today, where employees condemned the decision of the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development to reject the revised pension scheme of 1998. The university had approved the scheme.

The Joint Action Committee of all bodies of the PU decided to ask the Vice-Chancellor to approach the MoHRD, seeking the withdrawal of the communication to the university in this regard. The committee said, in case the university failed to get it withdrawn by October 8, employees would launch an indefinite agitation.

The JAC said the responsibility of the implementation of the scheme lay with the ministry and the university. Prof P.P. Arya, a former president of the Panjab University Teachers Association, said: “The rejection of the scheme has affected the teachers’ social security. All central universities have a pension scheme. Even Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University in Punjab had such schemes. The number of benefitting universities is at least 224.”

Professor Arya said the interest rates of banks had gone down and the Provident Fund was no longer an attractive proposition for employees. He said the VC should forward the demand of the employees, as dissatisfaction among employees was not good for any institution.

During the tenure of the previous VC, Prof M.M. Puri, the university Senate had decided that the scheme would be implemented from April 1, 1998, onwards.

The payments were to be made from the date the scheme had been announced. The university had also decided to pay Rs 20 crore from the Fund for Higher Education and Research as guarantee money.

A meeting of the coordination committee of the universities of Punjab was held in late 1980s, where the issue of pension had come up. During the tenures of former VCs, Prof R.P. Bambah and Prof T.N. Kapoor, various dates of the launch of the pension scheme had been proposed, but none could be finalised.

During the tenure of Prof Kapoor, the university was considering to give a cut-off date as far back as 1986, but it was unacceptable to the non-teaching staff. Teachers had also sided with them, later, sources said.



Patient care in PGI to cost more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
With the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) of the PGI favouring the proposed hike in hospital charges at its meeting held here today, the patients coming for treatment would now have to pay more for the tests and other laboratory examinations held at the institute.

The proposal on making the increase in hospital charges was put up before the Standing Finance Committee meeting, chaired by the Union Health Secretary, Mr S.R. Naik, at the PGI. ‘‘After discussing the issue at length, the committee is in favour of the hike in hospital charges, but it is the Governing Body of the institute which will finally give the approval ,’’ said Mr Naik, after the five hour long meeting.

He said that the culture in India needed to be changed as those who could afford, must pay for the specialised medical services. After preparing the minutes of today’s SFC meeting , the matter would be put up before the Governing Body for final consent. ‘‘It remains to be seen whether the minutes will be put up before tomorrow’s Governing Body meeting or will be taken up at the next meeting of the apex body,’’ remarked a PGI source.

Mr Naik, said that all other agenda items were discussed by the SFC at length and the recommendations would be put up before the Governing Body meet. ‘‘It is the Union Health Minister, Mr Shatrughan Sinha, who will be here for the Governing Body meeting tomorrow, who will brief you about the major decisions taken about the PGI,’’ he said, giving no details.

Other important issues discussed at the SFC meeting included granting of financial powers to the Director PGI, for leasing out commercial sites within the PGI campus. Till now these financial powers rested with the SFC and a proposal had been brought to give these to the Director so that there was no delay in allotting these commercial sites, up to Rs 2.50 crore, in each case. Another important agenda item included grant of contract for construction of the Trauma Centre and sanction for creation of over 300 posts for the Advanced Paediatrics Centre-II.

Apart from the Union Health Secretary, six other members who were present at the meeting included Mr Rakesh Bihari, Joint Secretary, Finance, Mr S.K. Rao, Director, Ministry of Health, Prof Vimla Isaac, Dr S.K. Sharma, Director, PGI, Mrs Mita Rajiv Lochan, Deputy Director (Administration) PGI and Dr Harneet Singh, PGI, Financial Advisor.

The meeting, which started at 3 p.m., lasted for five hours as each of the 52 agenda items put up before it was discussed at length. However, it was the increase in hospital charges which was of paramount importance, as it would directly affect thousands of patients who come from entire North India and even other distant states for treatment.

‘‘The discussion has come in for a lot of criticism as it is being felt that the increase in charges should be proportionate to the medical facilities,’’ remarked a senior doctor.

While there is a little focus on patient care and upgrading facilities, the priority seems to be on construction of new centres as the old ones are in need of repairs.



Fake visas: woman holds the key; 
remand for suspects
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
A 22-year-old woman may give a vital lead in the fake-visas case. The Operations Cell of the Chandigarh police had busted the racked here yesterday. The woman, Priyanka, was arrested from her house in New Delhi late yesterday.

The arrest was made on the basis of disclosures by Harish Sharma, a 35 year-old man who lived in the Army flats of Mansa Devi Complex, who had been arrested yesterday. The woman who had joined a fashion-designing course in New Delhi, reportedly, used to take a Rs 1 lakh commission from every person who paid Rs 3.5 lakh to obtain a visa for entering European countries. Harish Sharma, allegedly, had a Rs 50,000 share in each transaction.

During his interrogation, Harish told the police that he was the deputy general manager of Sahara Resorts, who had learnt the tricks of this illegal trade from the owner of the resort. He had established his own network for supplying fake visas with the help of two other persons. He said he had met the woman twice in New Delhi.

Police teams had conducted raids in New Delhi to arrest the other suspects. The police is trying to find out the modus operandi of the gang and the number of persons who had gone abroad on fake visas. Harish had, reportedly, taken money in at least four cases.

Harish had been arrested yesterday delivering a passport with a fake European visa to Pawan, a man who belongs to Himachal Pardesh, at Kishangarh village. Harish had allegedly taken Rs 3.5 lakh for getting him the fake visa.

Meanwhile, Harish and Priyanka were sent to the police custody here today. The police had sought their remand to know the names of their accomplices and the other details of the case. Harish was produced in the court of the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Pushvinder Singh, who sent him to the police custody till September 30. Harish and Pawan had been arrested under Sections 420, 468, 471 of the IPC and various Sections of the Immigrants Act. The woman has also been charged under the same Acts.



Family tractor crushes 4-year-old
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
A four-year-old boy, Daljit, was crushed under the wheels of a tractor near a transit camp in Hallo Majra village here this evening. The driver of the tractor fled from the spot.

Though the reason behind the mishap would be ascertained only after the arrest of the driver , the police suspects the child could have fallen from the tractor.

Soon after the incident, a large number of persons gathered, however, as per Mr Niranjan Singh, a resident of the village, efforts to catch the driver proved futile.

Ironically, the tractor is owned by the victim's family and the driver was hired today morning. The victim, a student of nursery class in a village school, and youngest among the three children of Mr Darshan. The victim's father is an employee of a Panchkula-based factory.

This was the second such incident within the past four days. On Wednesday, a seven-year-child, Rajan, was crushed to death by a canter near the PGI sarai.

As per information available, the accident took place at around 6 pm. Villagers and police sources said there were no eyewitnesses to the incident. Either the child was riding the tractor and fell or he was run over by the vehicle.

Mr Darshan told this correspondent that he was at his workplace when the accident took place. The family had hired the new driver since their previous driver had gone on a leave, he said.

Ms Lakhwinder Kaur, mother of the victim, was not in position to talk. The body was later taken to a morgue and a post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow.



Kulbir Singh dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Kulbir Singh, a former Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, died here today. He was 84. He held the post for 16 years (1962-1978). Later he was secretary of the department for 12 years.

A staunch supporter of the Rock Garden, Kulbir Singh inaugurated it on January 24, 1976. A keen sportsman, he was the founder of the Chandigarh Women’s Hockey Association, the Chandigarh Roller Skating Association, and the Squash Racket Association. He also served as a president of Chandigarh Club and a captain of the Golf Club. Kulbir Singh was also associated with various educational institutions like Dasmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib, and Guru Nanak Public School, Chandigarh.

He is survived by his wife Surinder Kaur, son Baljit and daughters, Anita (Niti) and Purneet (Kitty).



Infant kidnapped from PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
A one-and-a-half month old baby boy was kidnapped from the Nehru Hospital on the premises of the PGI here this afternoon. The infant, Sonu, who was suffering from diarrhoea, had been brought by his mother from Indira Colony, Mani Majra.

The infant’s mather, Maya, was approached by two women to help her in getting the child examined and admitted to the PGI. In her complaint to the police, the woman said soon after she entered the PGI premises, the two woman in their later thirties, who were speaking chaste Punjabi, approached her and took her to the X-ray department located on the ground floor of the Nehru Hospital.

The mother was told to wait for the call to collect the X-ray report of her child while the two women, claiming to be social workers, told her that they were taking the infant to the third floor to get him examined. After waiting till 3 pm for the report, the mother, sensing something was wrong, approached the X-ray department only to be told that no such child had been brought to them.

After searching for her baby, she approached the PGI police post and a case of kidnapping was registered. A police officials said from the description of the two women given by Maya, they appeared to be from well-to-do families and were wearing gold jewellery. The police is getting computer-generated sketches of the kidnappers.

The mother of the infant was accompanied by her another 10-year-old son. She has five children, including the infant. Her husband, Hari Om, works as a labourer.

Though no such incident has been reported from the PGI in the recent past, a new-born infant had gone missing from the Sector 16 General Hospital in January last year.



Sunil Babbar takes ‘Ants’ to the top
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
Sunil Babbar-directed English feature film “Ants” bagged the Best Foreign Feature Film Award in the Yellowstone Film Festival held in Montana, while Sunil Babbar, who was also the producer of the film, was given the Producer of the Year Award. The three-day festival which concluded on September 22 had about 69 entries from all over the world.

About 11 foreign films had contested for the title in the foreign film category, including Mrinal Sen’s Bengali film “Aamar Bhuvan” and Anjan Das’s “Stokes and Silhouettes” from India. However, Sunil Babbar got the Best Producer Award by beating all 69 entries in the festival.

Sunil Babbar is excited at the success of his very first production. He is planning to organise its Indian premiere show in the city by the end of October this year. This 91-minute film has already had a world premiere in Ben Dears Cinema, Montana, during the festival.

The film has an exclusive Chandigarh flavour as its producer, director, star cast and technical experts belong to the city, he says. The film is based on a bus journey that starts from the national capital and ends at Devprayag, thus taking the audience from the modern India to various phases of cultural amalgamation.

The film has been produced under the banner of Pomy Films. Screenplay and dialogues are by Bharati Babbar. It is also the first Indian film to be made in the super-16 medium, the latest in film-making. About 43 old and new faces from the city, including Sunil Babbar, Karishma Randeva, Vijay Vashisht, Navtej, Vijay Kapoor and other, have acted in the film.

Sunil Babbar is already planning his next production in collaboration with the Montana Film Office. “Though my next venture will be an Indo-American one, the subject matter will remain purely Indian with 70 per cent of shooting locales being in Chandigarh, while the remaining film will be completed in Montana,” he says. The shooting for his next project will start by the end of December this year.



Efforts on for economic improvement: Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Chandigarh Administration was making efforts to remove bottlenecks that impede creation of jobs and for overall economic improvement. The Administration was also laying emphasis on upgrading skills of youth to benefit from the demand for soft skills, said the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). He was addressing a national-level Indian Labour Conference in New Delhi today.

“As part of changes, relaxation has been given in number of working hours to employees working in shops and establishments with provision for adequate compensation for extra work,” he said.

Flexible working timings were allowed to owners of shops and establishments. To increase employment opportunities for women in specified sectors, including information technology (IT), restrictions on number of working hours for women had been withdrawn. Corresponding responsibilities had been cast on the employers to provide for security and transportation of women employees beyond the regular work schedule, he added.

A proposal to declare IT and knowledge-based industries as public utility services, thereby creating an enabling environment for promoting Chandigarh as an IT destination was at an advanced stage. Building bylaws had been liberalised in Chandigarh to optimally exploit the available resources for additional production capabilities and consequent employment generation, he added.

Besides this the Administration had taken up the issue of according deemed university status to Punjab Engineering College with the UGC and the matter was at an advanced stage of consideration, he said. Panjab University had started an Engineering College ‘Punjab University Institute of Engineering and Technology’ from the current year in four disciplines: software engineering; microelectronics; telecommunication and biotechnology.

Government Polytechnic College had been upgraded into a full-fledged engineering college, Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, from the current year, he said. The Administration’s pro-active policy had helped Chandigarh in becoming a wired city with the laying of optic fiber cable network in the city.

Earlier, the General said he was hopeful that the conclusions arrived at the conference would prove useful in framing national policies on labour and industries.

“Existing labour laws, as experience has shown, are very complex, confusing and vague. The multitude of labour legislation, despite the pious intentions of the framers, are difficult to implement and are often contradictory to one another,” he opined.

Labour laws should mirror the contemporary needs of the society and aspirations of the people. Economic globalisation and technological advancement were making a profound impact on human relations and industrial and labour relations were no exception, he said.



Farmers to block rail traffic today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) and other farmer unions have decided to stop trains here tomorrow in protest against the Union Government’s decision not to increase the paddy MSP announced on Thursday.

A large number of farmers have been camping at Matka Chowk here for the past six days. Addressing the farmers, here today, the state general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), Mr Gurmeet Singh Dittupur, said, “The farmers of Punjab have rejected the Centre Government’s decision not to increase the MSP of paddy. We have decided to intensify our agitation as the government has failed to start procurement of paddy and to announce any relief for the drought-hit farmers. We will stop trains on September 29 as part of our protest against the Punjab and the Centre Government.”

Addressing farmers, he said, “The farmers in Punjab have been feeling over-burdened over the past five years due to increase in cost of production and decrease in productivity. The government has not proportionately increased the MSP of paddy or wheat during all these years.” He said five other farmer union in the state had also agreed to participate in the joint-struggle against the government’s decision. He said a joint meeting in this regard would be held on October 3.

Mr Ruldu Singh Mansa, senior vice-president, said supply of substandard pesticides and insecticides in the Malwa belt over the past few years had caused severe loss to the farmers. Earlier, the protest got intensified today, when women groups from Mansa, Sangrur and other districts joined the agitating farmers. The Punjab Milkmen Union and farmers from neighbouring villages are already providing meals to the agitating farmers.

Regarding the allegation of damaging the Rose Garden and neighbouring areas, the farmers alleged that despite their repeated requests, the UT Administration and the MC had failed to provide them the necessary facilities, like public toilets etc.



BJP claims credit for probe in auction issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The local unit of the BJP today claimed credit for the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh ordering a probe into the controversial issue of the auction of an SCO.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP, said a CBI inquiry should be ordered into the matter and credit be accorded to Mr Rajesh Gupta, BJP councillor, who had raised the issue.

He said officials had misled the Finance and Contract Committee to reduce the price of the site by saying that no bid was received on the day of auction, a claim later contradicted by the Phulkari Estates.

Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, the president of the local unit of the BJP, alleged that the Congress, The UT Administration and the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, took unusually long time to take cognizance of the situation.

Yesterday the entire House , including Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, had came to its feet showing contempt while the matter was being debated.



‘Dhabas’ serving drugs to city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Chandigarh police is concerned because the city is fast becoming a hub of narcotics trade. Huge consignments of narcotics arrive here from neighbouring areas of Haryana and parts of Rajasthan.

The police was keeping a close watch on some roadside ‘dhabas’ of Shahabad, the owners of which were reportedly supplying drugs. Any drug — smack, opium, ‘charas’ and poppy husk — is said to be available at these roadside ‘dhabas’. Sources said the owners of the ‘dhabas’ enjoyed political patronage and stored their consignments at a nearby village. The Chandigarh police had taken up this issue with the Haryana police.

The city is fast becoming a gateways for drug trafficking from neighbouring states. Sources in the police said, in the past six months, southern sectors had become a hub of drug supply. Drug peddlers are learnt to have shifted their operations to Burail village and the police knows about it.

Enquires show that a group was bringing drugs from Shahabad in Haryana and selling these to addicts here. The sources said addicts came to Burail from neighbouring towns. To evade police action, the suppliers kept small packets of smack in the houses of their “contacts”. The police has prepared a list of the persons involved in the business.

A senior official of the Chandigarh police said chemists’ shops in Naya Gaon, SAS Nagar and Panchkula were also important sources of the sale of H-schedule drugs.



HUDA gives sanitation, streetlights to MC
Tribune News

Panchkula, September 28
The Municipal Council (MC) of Panchkula is finally getting a share of the pie. Come October 1 and the Haryana Urban Development Authority ( HUDA) is delegating powers for sanitation and maintenance of streetlights to the council.

According to information available the Estate Officer, Panchkula, has written to the Executive Officer of the council asking him to take over sanitation and maintenance of streetlights in developed sectors as per an agreement between HUDA and the MC dated December 12, 2001.

The Estate Office said the MC can take over 43 posts, 37 of the sanitation wing and six of the electrical wing, from HUDA as and when the posts for the MC were sanctioned by the Finance Department.

It has also been decided to give two refuse collectors and a tractor trolley to the MC, along with a staff of 10 persons of the sanitation wing. Similarly infrastructural support for maintenance of streetlights will also be given to the MC.

It may be mentioned that dispute over transfer of HUDA staff to the MC was resolved after the Chief Administrator, HUDA, agreed to transfer two departments to the council on a conditional basis.

Mr N.C. Wadhwa, Chief Administrator of HUDA, had earlier this month ordered transfer of sanitation work and work on maintenance of streetlights to the council within the MC limits here. However, he said issue of transfer of staff for these two departments, a total of 43, would be discussed only after the posts for the MC had been sanctioned.

HUDA and the council had been at loggerheads for the past few weeks over the issue of transfer of staff. While HUDA wanted a total of 37 employees of the sanitation wing and six of the electrical wing to be transferred to the MC, the latter said that no posts had been sanctioned and thus it could not accept this staff.

Municipal Council officials had argued they wanted to privatise sanitation work and maintenance streetlights, so staff would not be required. Moreover, of the 549 posts originally sanctioned for the MC by HUDA authorities, only 104 posts were given approval by the Finance Department. The MC officials said they planned to privatise most works within its limits to make optimum use of staff.



Four mortar shells defused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
A three-member team of the bomb disposal squad of the National Security Guards (NSG) yesterday defused at least four mortar shells at the Police Firing Range in Sector 25 here last evening. The shells had been kept in the malkhana of the Industrial Area Police Station here.

The shells had been found lying unclaimed. The bomb disposal squad also dismantled a country-made pistol. The three-member team led by Naib Subedar R. Shekhar had come from Delhi. According to the information, the shells were taken to the firing range by SI Karnail Singh of the Industrial Area Police Station and were defused amid tight security.

An NSG team, during its earlier visit to the city last year, had defused seven sticks of RDX and shells at the firing range. The explosives, stored at the Sector 36 Police Station, were disposed of after the suspect in the RDX case last year had been acquitted by a court. A disposal team of the Army had also visited the city to dispose of explosives lying with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) here.

Since the Chandigarh Police doesn’t have bomb disposal squad, the help of the NSG was sought in disposing of the explosives.



City tourism through the eyes of slum kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
As part of World Tourism Day celebrations, children of Indira Colony were taken by the Durga Das Foundation’s Social Advisory Cell, on an education-cum-joy ride of the City Beautiful. Coming from a background where world tourism figures practically nowhere in their dictionary of survival, this excursion has thrown up enormous vistas in their mind’s eye. The children who had earlier felt an intimate sense of belonging with their city now positively felt pride running through their veins. In the hop-on-hop-off luxury bus brought out by CITCO, 50 boys and girls in the 6 to 14 age-group were taken with a teacher guide from Shivalikview to the Sukhna Lake and back.

These children attend one of the schools run by the Durga Das Foundation as part of its community initiatives. For the last two decades they have been contributing to society helping create a more congenial and harmonious way to live. Education, health and literacy have been their key thrust areas. They have adopted three night schools to impart different literacy programmes. During the day there are fully operational rural creches, which are a boon for the labour community. Here they can leave their infants in the safe custody of teachers and be assured of not just their security but also the hope of their picking up the elementary 3 R’s. The foundation also runs night schools in Hallo Majra and Bapu Dham colony.

Four stitching and embroidery centres are also being run in Khuda Lahora, Kaimbwala and in Government Schools in Sector 24 and 29 with the objective of providing girls from an underprivileged background to earn a livelihood for themselves. Mr Walia, fondly called Dadaji has been associated with the philanthropic activities of the Foundation since its inception. He is the chief coordinator and the soul behind the social advisory cell’s endeavours. He arranges sponsorships and donations in the form of clothes, toys, books and eats as also administering the day-to-day activities.

Support has come in the form of individual and collective donations. Well-known people of the city have given their time and shared their experiences by conducting informal workshops and interactions. Some time back Governor Jacob interacted with the children of Bapu Dham School, encouraging the efforts of the Foundation and the sincerity of the children. On World Tourism Day, the Managing Director of CITCO readily agreed to allow children complimentary usage of the bus. Refreshments were provided and the outing was a grand success as children returned glowing with joy, pride and good feelings for their very own city.



Ex-servicemen panel seeks hike in pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association in a meeting, demanded a fair deal for the retired armed forces personnel, war widows and disabled soldiers who have been neglected since long.

The Central and state governments had failed to look after the welfare of ex-servicemen and in fact all welfare programmes policies existed on paper only and in actual practice nothing was being done. The successive governments were only shedding crocodile tears regarding the welfare of ex-servicemen, war widows and disabled, with a view to win the sympathy of the armed forces personnel, the association added.

The association passed resolutions calling the immediate attention of the authorities concerned and demanded that the minimum rates of basic pension should be increased to Rs 2500 per month instead of Rs 1275 per month in respect of the lower ranks of the ex-servicemen and widows.

There should be no discrimination in the disability element of pension on the basis of ranks. All disabled soldiers be given the disability element of pension at the same scale irrespective of date of retirement and rank held, as the disability suffered by the officer and jawans was the same. The present scale of disability element for the officer was Rs 2600 per month where as for the jawan it was only Rs 1550 per month for 100 per cent of disability. All disabled soldiers with 10 per cent disability should be given the disability element at the rate of Rs 2600 per month, it demanded.

The Government of India and the state governments should fill up the employment quota in the services and provide better avenues of promotion of the ex-servicemen who were re-employed with the central/state and undertakings.

The Sainik Welfare bodies, such as Director Sainik Welfare in the states and the Sainik Welfare Offices in the district be abolished as these bodies had failed to work for the welfare of ex-servicemen, widows and disabled soldiers and these were liability of the central/state exchequer, said the chairman of the association, Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal.



Life pattern of senior citizens discussed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
Various physiological and sociological problems related to senior citizens and their probable solutions were discussed by a panel of experts during a one-day seminar on “Senior Citizens and the Nation” organised by the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association in collaboration with the Directorate of Field Publicity at the Government Museum and Art Gallery Auditorium in Sector 10 here today.

The seminar came as a part of the month-long Senior Citizens’ Day, 2002, celebrations which will conclude on October 1, a day celebrated by the entire world as International Senior Citizens’ Day.

Talking about how the life pattern of the senior citizens has changed over the years with the break down of the joint family system in Indian society, Dr (Ms) Rajesh Gill from the Department of Sociology, Panjab University, emphasised that the informal support system for the senior citizens needs to be strengthened as the changing value system and younger generation’s preference for privacy have alienated the older generations from society.

Delivering a talk on resource management for senior citizens, Mr Ashwini Luthra, Commissioner, Income Tax, said specially the service class people should be wise in investing their pension money in order to have financial security during old days. Advising the gathering to have full control over their money, he discussed about various health and property insurance programmes for the benefit of the senior citizens.

Painting a gloomy picture on the increasing crime rate in Chandigarh, SSP Parag Jain talked about the neighbourhood watch system and the beat system through which the Chandigarh police is trying to make a personal rapport with the citizens, not only to provide a sense of security to all but also give companionship, specially to the senior citizens. “Since the trend of crime in Chandigarh shows most of the crime like murder and robbery have been committed by first-timers who enter the city as a part of the floating population, one should be conscious about admitting a new servant or tenant in their house,” he said.

Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was also one of the penalists in the seminar, said the policy makers have to devise special means to ensure financial and physical security to senior citizens.

Others who spoke on this occasion were Mr Onkar Chand, a noted social worker, who represented the Servants of the People Society, and Ms Navneet Arora, who has been teaching Government College, Sector 11, as a guest. Mr V. K. Sharma, Chief Commissioner, Central Excise and Custom, was the chief guest. Maj Gen J. S. Bhullar presided over the meeting. Earlier Brig Keshav Chander, president of the society, welcomed the guests. The seminar concluded with a vote of thanks by General (retd) M. S. Kandal, chairman of the organising committee of Senior citizens’ Day 2002. 



Senior citizens visit Pinjore
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 28
Founder members of Senior Citizens Federation of India (SENFED) had a good time in Yadvindra Gardens, Pinjore, as part of community service project of Satluj Public School.

About 25 senior citizens , over 70 years of age, received warm hospitality of SENFED , Satluj Public School and the Haryana Tourism. All arrangements for the picnic had been made by Satluj Public School.

The group was first taken to Rang Mahal Complex for snacks.

Later they had an interactive session, discussing the problems of old age, shared jokes and sang songs.

They later went for a round of the gardens and returned back in the evening. 



Regiment’s 175th anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Regiment of Artillery commemorated its 175th anniversary in the Western Command today. The regiment has come a long way from the day it was named the “5 Bombay Battery,” now part of 57 Field Regiment. The regiment was raised in 1827.

While the thunder of Kargil operations is still afresh in the minds of people, the gallant Gunners are again committed for “Operation Parakram”. The Gunners have time and again proved their mettle in the on-going proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and in the anti-insurgency operations in the North-East. Everywhere, they have lived up to their motto of “Sarvatra Izzat-O-Iqbal”. Commemoration of this day enables the Gunners to rededicate themselves to exhibiting greater professional and operational competence.

The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt General S.S. Mehta, and Maj B.S. Pawar conveyed their warm felicitations to all Gunners and their families. However, due to the commitment in “OP Parakram,” the usual celebrations and festivities were not held this year.



DGQA anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Senior Quality Assurance Establishment (Electronics & systems), a defence organisation under the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) celebrated the DGQA anniversary here yesterday.

A cultural programme was presented by artists of the Song and Drama Division. A message from Lieut-Gen K. Chari, Director-General Quality Assurance, was also read out. Several senior retired officers and other ranks from the DGQA attended the function. Senior officers from various defence establishments located at Chandigarh were also present.

Col Susheel Kumar, Senior Quality Assurance Officer, lauded the role played by various wings of the establishment in ensuring supply of high quality equipment and stores to the Army. He highlighted various measures taken by the establishment to keep pace with the latest technological developments in the field of defence equipment.

Maj-Gen J.S. Kapoor (retd) honoured 20 employees of the organisation for their work in the field of quality assurance. Prizes were also given to staff members who contributed to the promotion of Hindi in official work.

The Senior Quality Assurance Establishment (Electronics & systems) is responsible for quality assurance of electrical and electronic equipment and components manufactured for defence forces by various ordnance factories as well as public and private sector units in Chandigarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.



Employees union flays govt
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
Members of the Nav-Niyukt Mulazam Tal-Mel Committee (SSS Board), Punjab, has criticised the Punjab Government for cancelling about 4,700 appointments made by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board during the Badal government.

Addressing a protest rally at the Matka chowk here today, Mr Najar Singh, general secretary, Diploma Engineer Association, Punjab, urged the government not to cancel the posts as ‘‘most of the appointments were made on merit basis’’. Though most of the leaders, who addressed the gathering, supported the government for its ‘‘anti-corruption’’ crusade.

The president of the Kisan Union (Ekta) Punjab, Mr Pasora Singh, pledged supported the employees cause. Among other who addressed the rally included Mr Ranbir Singh Dhillon, Mr Karamjit Singh, Mr Satnam Singh Sidhu and Mr Bhupinder Singh, general secretary of Punjab Subordinate Federation, president of Field and Workshop Union, Punjab, president and general secretary of tal-mel committee, respectively.



Liquor vends in unauthorised structures

I do not know how and why the Excise Department officials of the Chandigarh Administration are allowing mushrooming of liquor vends in temporary structures. It is also amazing as to how the contractors concerned are able to hoodwink the officials and get electricity and sewerage connections.

Apparently, some vested interests have an unholy nexus with the officials and are able to succeed in their ventures, oblivious of the danger caused to public interest. The officials do not seem to understand that these ugly liquor vends in unauthorised structures are a blot on the City Beautiful.

Ironically, even though the excise rules do not permit change in locality, a liquor vend of Sector 35, which has been functioning for the last four years in the market, has also started to operate from a temporary construction in Sector 34. As a result, this makeshift vend has blocked the slip road from the roundabout of Sectors 22, 21, 34 and 35 and the roundabout of Sectors 35 and 34. This stretch has become very congested.

The authorities should rise to the occasion by withdrawing the licences of all the unauthorised liquor vends and restore order in the city.

SATYA PAL, Chandigarh

A public nuisance

This has reference to the report (Chandigarh Tribune, September 10) regarding the opening of liquor vends on the roadside. These vends not only cause traffic chaos, but are also a threat to the life of the common man. No decent person would try to pass by such vends where you find drunkards talking at the top of their voice and calling names during their so-called discussions.

One can also find drunkards lying on the footpath in an unconscious state. This has become a nuisance and causing irritation to the passersby. Also this has become a health hazard because dirty water and filth near the vends emit foul smell. The Chandigarh Administration should immediately demolish these vends. The million-dollar question is why is the government increasing the number of vends when it seeks to propagate prohibition?

A.K. KAUL, Chandigarh

Cable problem

I am a resident of Sector-2, Panchkula. As you are aware, Sony and its alliance channels are currently off the air in entire Panchkula since 25 days. We have been told that Sony has increased its rates and that’s why the cable operators are not showing it.

We are already paying a high subscription fee of Rs 190. On the contrary, the rates in Chandigarh are comparatively very low and all the channels are on the air. Some people are even paying Rs 100 there. I asked our cable operator about the same and according to him this is because Chandigarh has Siti cable. Before shifting to Panchkula six months back, I was a resident of Sector 43, Chandigarh. We never had any problem like this there.

Now, it has been a long time and a solution to this dispute should come up. Just because Panchkula doesn’t have Siti cable as in Chandigarh, the citizens here should not suffer in the tug of war going on between the channel authorities and the cable operators.

We were deprived of the opportunity to watch the ICC Champions Trophy matches. The residents are irked over the matter but they don’t know what to do and how to record our protest for prompt redressal. Therefore, we look to the media — print and electronic — with the belief that with its intervention, an early solution to this problem can be sorted out.


Avoidable harassment

This has reference to the report “Give same relief in identical cases” (The Tribune, July 26). In the cases of identical facts and points of law, the Punjab Government has instructed all the departments concerned to implement a court judgement. The departments also have been asked to examine all such cases which are identical in nature. But the judgement is not being implemented by one department i.e the Punjab State Electricity Board. Ironically, the petitioners are being harassed by approaching the court time and again. The LPA lies in the court waiting for hearing.

Can the judiciary be helpful in preventing such type of unwanted harassment in implementing the identical cases? And what will be the fate of directions issued to the departments which are rendered by the High Court in deciding the identical cases of employees?


Police inaction

The motto of Chandigarh Police is “We care for you” but nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, it should be “Harass the victims of crime”.

On two occasions in the last six months, the windscreen of my car was smashed outside my residence in Sector 43. On both occasions, I made complaints to the police station in Sector 36, but the police has failed to take any action. Instead, I am called to the police station time and again. The police is not even issuing me a DDR report which will help me obtain an insurance claim.

I am a teacher and have an institute in Sector 34. I cannot waste my time running after the police officers. On September 2, I filed a complaint with the Public Window System of the police but it was an exercise in futility and no follow-up action has been taken.

I wonder why the police even tries to put up a friendly image and has slogans like “We care for you”. One bad incident, as it has occurred with me, and you realise that the claims of the police ring hollow. The media should highlight such problems so that the authorities will open their eyes. It should also bring to the fore how victims are made to suffer and run from pillar to post. The police bureaucracy seems to exist for itself and the common man suffers no end.

DINESH KUMAR, Chandigarh



Hundreds listen to preachings
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 28
Hundreds of devotees today gathered in Sector 5 to listen to the preachings of Bapu Asa Ram, on the second day of his congregation today.

The Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, president of State Congress Committee, Mr Bhajan Lal and the State Election Commissioner, Mr T.D. Jogpal were among those who listened to his discourse.

Delivering his discourse, Bapu Asa Ram said human life was a unique gift. It was after a number of rebirths that one got the gift of being born as a human being. “So, one should not waste life in mundane things. We have to be thankful to God for giving the gift of life and spend some time in His aradhana,” he preached.

He said men must rise above kama, krodh, moha, lobha, ahankar and instead take the path of moksha.



Tribune Assistant Manager bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Shingra Singh, father of Mr Kulwinder Singh, Assistant Manager (Press), The Tribune Group of Publications, died at his native village, Sidhwan Burj (Malout), after a prolonged illness. He was 72. He is survived by three daughters and two sons.

His cremation at his village in the afternoon was largely attended.



Hindi fortnight
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
A cultural programme and prize distribution marked the concluding function of the Hindi fortnight of the Divisional Office of Life Insurance Corporation of India here today.

The chief guest, Dr (Ms) Indu Bali, former Principal of Government College for Women, Sector 11, said that we should all make Hindi an integral part of our life. Mr Tejinder Singh, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, said Hindi should be accepted in totality. Employees of the LIC participated in the cultural programme. Prize winners (in order of position): Hindi essay competition — Ms Neelam Singal, Ms S. Jeet Kaur and Ms M. Kaushal; Hindi gyan pratiyogita — Ms A. Rastogi, Ms N. Singal and Mr V.K. Verma.



Ambala resident commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
A 28-year-old resident of Ambala allegedly committed suicide by consuming an insecticide, in front of his in-laws' house in Sector 22, here this morning. The victim, Hari Mohan, died at the Sector 16 General Hospital where he was admitted in the morning.

According to the information available, Hari Mohan had got married six years ago and was a father of two children, a boy and a girl.

Yesterday night, he had a fight with his father-in-law Jagdish Lal, who later also called a Police Control Room (PCR) vehicle. He was in an inebriated state. However, the cops went back after his father-in-law told them that it was a family problem. This morning when Mr Jagdish Lal had gone to Hari Mohan's residence in Ambala to discuss the problem, the later went to his in-laws' Sector 22 house and started knocking at the front door.

When his wife, who was at her parents' house for the past 15 days, did not open the door, he threatened to commit suicide and consumed the insecticide. He rushed towards the Sector 22 market and collapsed after a few metres.

He was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital where he died at about 6 pm. The victim had called up his family in Ambala at about 11 am to inform them that he had consumed a pesticide. 



One held under Gambling Act
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 28
The police arrested Manpreet Singh from Sector 4 on charges of speculation and seized Rs 460 from him. A case under various sections of the Gambling Act has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has seized seven bottles of illicit liquor from Leklh Singh near Morni on Friday night. A case under various sections of the Excise Act has been registered.

One held: The police has arrested a dhaba owner, Joginder Pal, on charges of illegally turning his dhaba into a tavern. He was allegedly promoting drinking at his dhaba. He was arrested late on Friday night and booked under various sections of the Excise Act.



Kidswear launched 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Weekender Kids brands, in association with Warner Bros Consumer Products, today launched their new range of kidswear with cartoon characters here today.

Launching the new clothes at Weekender Showroom at Sector 17, Mr Govind Mirchandani, CEO & president of the company, said, ‘‘We are the sole licensee to market this merchandise in the country. Targeted at boys and girls between 4 and 10 year of age, the apparel would feature cartoon characters like Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck etc”.

He said the company was selling readymade garments worth Rs 40 crore, and the sale was expected to touch Rs 50 crore, by the end of this year.

In the kidswear market, he said, the company had share of about 15 per cent out of Rs 100 crore annual market in the organised sector. 



Innovative scheme on magazines
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
Doorsteps, a Manimajra-based book store, has come up with an innovative scheme to provide magazines at people’s doorsteps. Subscribers of this scheme will avail 15 magazines of their choice every month following an exchange rule.

The book house has all the latest and most popular magazines in its list, according to information given by Sandeep Singh Khara of Doorsteps. “The subscriber can also retain a magazine for a longer period by using the option of not taking the next delivery,” he added.

Doorsteps does not charge any security or delivery charge. This service is available in Chandigarh and Panchkula.


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