Monday, December 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos rules evening OPDs’ start today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Even as the PGI administration is all set to start evening OPDs with the help of its faculty from tomorrow, confusion prevails over the finer details regarding its venue, registration, laboratory tests and other investigations, making it appear as a mere formality in namesake.

The resident doctors, who remain firm in their resolve of keeping away from the evening OPDs, are holding an emergency governing body meeting of their association late tonight, to discuss the post-December 2 situation, where the authorities might initiate action against them. ‘‘It is for the first time that we are demanding justice from the PGI authorities and as such we must remain firm and united in our stand,’’ read the posters pasted all over the campus PGI by the Resident Doctors Association.

Even though less than 24 hours are left for starting of evening OPDs there is utter confusion, as the resident doctors, whose names figure on the duty roster, have not been intimated about it. ‘‘As per the duty roster for paediatrics, signed by Head of Department, Prof Anil Narang, one senior resident doctor, on alternate evening OPD duty and two junior resident doctors, would be present daily, but we have not received any intimation as to who all have been put on duty,’’ remarked a senior resident doctor.

‘‘While there is a complete confusion as to who all have been put on evening OPDs duty, the authorities, too, seem to be non-serious about the whole affair,’’ remarked a senior resident doctor. With no information about the venue, registration area, treatment of old cases and retrieval of their records, laboratory tests and other investigations to be done, being passed on to the public, some of the PGI employees are also unaware about it.

When contacted, the PGI authorities said today being a holiday, they would issue a press release tomorrow, whereas the fact is that being so busy in trying to meet the deadline the authorities have not taken the pains to inform the public about the facility. ‘‘With uncertainty prevailing over the issue of starting evening OPDs right till the last minute, even the authorities are not prepared for it,’’ admitted a senior doctor.

Though the names of faculty members, who have reluctantly given in to PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma’s, request of helping him to start the facility, are on the duty roster, it remains to be seen whether they will be joined by nurses and other technicians. ‘‘We even deliberated on the idea of going to the evening OPDs duty wearing black badges, to protest against it being imposed on us, but finally the idea did not materialise,’’ said one of the faculty member.

With the evening OPDs, which the PGI is itself terming as a screening one, starting tomorrow it remains to be seen how successful it proves to be, with practically nobody wanting to take on the job.



Police ‘washes out’ Youth Cong protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The police today resorted to use of water-cannons against Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) activists to prevent them from approaching former BJP MP Satyapal Jain’s house in Sector 15 here as part of their agitation to demand a CBI probe against Mr Jain.

The police had to use force when the CTYC activists made an attempt to remove barricades put up to prevent them from approaching Mr Jain’s house.

Issuing a warning to the protesters, the police earlier threatened to use water-cannons but a section of protesters led by CTYC president Harmohinder Singh Lucky refused to withdraw from the site. They braved water-cannons though a section of protesters made a retreat when threatened with use of “force” by the police.

The protesters began a march towards Mr Jain’s house from Sector 24 shouting “Jain, Mahajan kiya tumne zurm sangeen, vidhwa aurat ki li zameen” and “Takht badal do taaz badal do, beimanon ka raj badal do.”

They were also carrying placards and banners.

The police had put of barricades about 50 metres ahead of the residence of Mr Jain on all sides. Mr Jain was not at the residence when the protest was held. He had gone to airport to receive Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

A few protesters took shelter in the Sector 15 gurdwara when the police used water-cannons.

Police officers present on the spot said as many as 150 personnel had been deployed to contain the crowd to ensure “safety of life and property of a person.”

The protest is being seen as a counter-offensive against the BJP having earlier protested against the allotment of land to Delhi Public School, management of which comprises Political Adviser to Sonia Gandhi Ambika Soni and local MP Pawan Bansal.

The BJP had been accusing the two Congress MPs of allegedly using their official position to get a piece of land for DPS, which was meant for the rehabilitation of those who had to be removed from residential areas as per a court order.

Addressing activists, Mr Lucky alleged that the CBI inquiry was required against Mr Jain and local BJP President Yashpal Mahajan for their involvement in shady deals.

He alleged that the two BJP leaders had allegedly got a piece of land of Derabassi DAV Society transferred in the names of members of Mr Mahajan’s family for a song with an allurement to the Principal that he would be made Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University. Mr Lucky alleged that even the registration charge was paid by the management of the society.

The protesters wanted an inquiry into the alleged consideration being demanded for the rehabilitation of marble market shopkeepers, appointment of Mr Mahajan as Chairman of the governing body of the Technical Teachers Training Institute (TTTI) and a recruitment scam in the institute.

They demanded the probe to go into the role of BJP leaders in lobbying for retention of a tainted Haryana cadre IAS officer in UT and their alleged hand behind eviction of people from houses and shops in the city.

Narinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh Bhupi, Shambhu Banerjee, Anil Goyal, Pappu Wadhawan, Nirman Titu, Shripal Verma, Dharamveer, Atul Arora, A.S. Gujral, Sumit Chawla, Gurpreet Gappi, Ram Awadh, Janardan and Babli addressed protesters.

Senior Congress workers Subhash Chawla, Pardeep Chhabra, Pawan Sharma, Shyama Negi, Balraj Singh, Surinder Singh, Pushpa Sharma and Geeta Chaudhary were also among the protesters.



Cong diverting attention, accuses Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Former BJP MP Satyapal Jain here today accused Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her political adviser Ambika Soni and local MP Pawan Bansal of getting the youth wing of the Congress to stage a protest in front of his house to divert the attention of the people from the “misconduct of these two MPs in getting land for themselves using their official position.”

Reacting to the protest staged by the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress activists in front of his house to demand a CBI probe into his alleged role in land scams, Mr Jain said the Congress was trying to be personal while the issue BJP raised was of code of conduct of Congress MPs who allegedly made a deal for themselves instead of pleading for those schools which were to be displaced.

He said the BJP was not going to be caught in a trap laid by the top Congress leaders to provoke the BJP into launching a counter protest on a personal issue to divert the attention from the main issue.

Mr Jain said none of MPs from Chandigarh had earlier taken any benefit from their positions in the past.

He said the protest had shown that Mr Bansal himself had forgotten to respect the judiciary by getting a political reply given on a matter pending in the court.

Mr Jain also said Delhi Public Society chairman Salman Khursheed was allegedly trying to befool the people of the city that the land was for the DPS despite the fact that it was a franchise of the school to be run by the Heritage Society which did not have any experience of education.



PU to improve evaluation process in practicals
External examiners mooted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Panjab University proposes to appoint at least one external examiner for conduct of annual examinations in practical classes of the science streams in affiliated colleges.

Currently, the entire examination process is handled by internal examiners alone. The issue will come up for detailed discussion in the forthcoming Syndicate meeting of the university. If the external examiner is unable to report for duty at the respective college, the principal will have to inform the university for making alternate arrangements.

The work of paper setting and preparation of instructions for the practical examinations will also be done by an external examiner which will also be handled by the university.

The committee has proposed that inspection teams of experts be sent to the affiliated colleges periodically for checking the laboratories for the science subjects to ensure that these are well equipped and that adequate facilities for the conduct of practical examinations existed there.

The university also proposed that names of all candidates, who cleared their examinations at least 20 days before the convocation, would be eligible to participate in the convocation and get their degrees there. The university was being informed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) that the date of doing the refresher course had been extended till December 31, 2004. The course that made teachers eligible for promotion to the senior and selection grades was earlier required to be completed by December 2000.

The university was considering recommendations of a special committee constituted by the university to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission. One of the proposal was that female employees living alone at the place of posting be given a preference for housing facility. An affidavit was required to be taken from the employee that she lived alone.

The committee had suggested that female employees be given an adoption leave of three months for those who adopt a new-born child. The employee should have no earlier child of their own. The university was considering giving 1 per cent grace marks to students of MFC to enable them to secure 55 per cent marks in case possible in individual cases.

The syndicate would consider request of certain teachers who had sought that ‘teachers who are working at their own risk and responsibility after crossing the age of 60 years be replaced or not appointed for the position of head or chairperson of any department’. The university had decided not to comment on the case as the matter was subjudice in the court of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Principal Tarsem Bahia, in a resolution had sought that ‘all possible steps should be taken by the university to ensure representation of elected or nominated representatives of the student community from the campus and affiliated colleges on the university Senate’

Prof P.P. Arya had ‘resolved that colleges affiliated to the university be allowed to permit students of first degree course to study diploma course along with their normal degree course’. This would facilitate students to get a professional qualification along with their first degree qualification.



‘HIV status report should replace horoscope’
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Should a general health profile of a prospective groom, declaring his HIV status, not replace horoscopes in India?

City girls strongly feel that instead of matching the horoscope of the prospective bride and bridegroom, as is the practice in our country, a woman should have the right to know the HIV status of the person she is tying the knot with to save her from contracting the killer disease, AIDS?

As per a study conducted by the Institute for Development and Communication, on behalf of the UT AIDS Control Society, in the year 2000, college-going girls in the city feel that seeing the high risk factor and the alarming proportion the epidemic was assuming there is no reason why they should not have this right. “With majority of the HIV-infected women contracting the disease from their husbands after marriage, if interested girls should be provided the HIV status of their prospective grooms,” says Sonia, a college student.

Majority of the girls feel that even if the woman has contracted AIDS from her husband, she is the one who faces the brunt of not only her in-laws, but even society at large. “With gender bias being so pronounced in our country it is essential that a woman should have this right rather than risking her life by marrying an infected man,” support doctors. “If we Indians, especially Hindus, can be so superstitious about matching horoscopes, what is the harm in giving the right to a woman to ensure that she is not marrying an HIV-infected person, they add.

The Project Director, UT AIDS Control Society, Dr N.M. Sharma, says as per the Supreme Court directions, the spouse in case of an adult and the parents in case of a minor are informed whenever an individual tests positive for HIV. “In order to minimise the chances of transmission of AIDS from mother to child, we will be starting a programme on February 1, as it has been globally proved that a single dose of anti-retroviral drug given to a pregnant woman before delivery can reduce chances of transmission,” he says.

Under a project for ensuring prevention of ‘mother-to-child transmission’, a pregnant woman will have to undergo HIV test and if positive, she will be counselled to have the delivery in the hospital so that she can be administered the single-dose drug at the time of delivery. It has been globally established that this can reduce the chances of transmission of AIDS from 40 to 8 per cent. The new born baby also needs to be given the drug within 24 hours after birth.

In order to identify the risk groups in the city, mapping will be undertaken within a months time. This is being done to review and evaluate the current projects and to see if any changes need to be brought about.

Even though the number of HIV-infected persons in the city is less than that in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal, the two AIDS helplines have received 5.51 lakh calls during the past three years. Seeing the response of the public, the UT AIDS Control Society has decided to start two new helplines, with one of them being online, where all queries will be answered. The two AIDS helplines receive more than 400 calls every day.

The UT AIDS Control Society also plans to extend the Target Intervention Project, currently being run in five colonies, including Indira Colony and Mauli Jagran. A total of 35 schools will be included in the School AIDS Education Programme during the next year.



Sensitisation workshop

Chandigarh: On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the UT State AIDS Control Society, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Social Welfare, today organised a sensitisation workshop for leaders of various political parties. The workshop was organised to focus their attention on AIDS and to mobilise support for effective implementation of the AIDS control programme in city. Mr M.P. Singh, Municipal Commissioner, who was the chief guest, stressed on the role of political leaders in the crusade against AIDS.

The project director, Dr N.M. Sharma, spoke on initiatives being taken by UT AIDS Control Society. These include implementation of projects in slum colonies, awareness camps, rallies, telecounselling and control of sexually transmitted diseases. An awareness-cum-treatment camp on AIDS was organised by the Family Planning Association of India, Mohali branch, at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony. A camp was also organised by the Sanjeevan De-addiction Centre at Maloya village. TNS



‘Don’t call me a politician’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Politics seems to have become a bad name and terms ‘politician’ and ‘political leaders’ are considered even worse.

This was demonstrated here today at the meeting of the UT State AIDS Control Society when nominated councillor Amar Kulwant Singh refused to attend a meeting called to sensitise politicians about AIDS.

Ms Amar Kulwant told Chandigarh Tribune that she became a councillor on the basis of her background as a social worker and she would object to her being categorised as a political leader.



PM’s stopover in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee here today made a brief halt at the airport enroute his journey from Delhi to Solan.

Mr Vajpayee’s plane landed at the airport around 11.25 am, half an hour late than the schedule time.

The Prime Minister was received by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator. Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob (retd), Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh representing the Chief Minister, Punjab Chief Secretary Y. S. Ratra, his Haryana counterpart L. M. Mathur, Mayor Lalit Joshi, former BJP MP Satyapal Jain and local BJP president Yashpal Mahajan, among others.

The Mayor handed over a bouquet to the Prime Minister who met the dignitaries at the airport before taking an airport vehicle to reach the helicopters waiting for him.



Role of PCR teams under a cloud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
After the controversy relating the role of a Police Control Room (PCR) vehicle in the sensational burglaries at 10 shops in markets of Sectors 34, 35 and 45 on last Thursday, the murder of six-year-old Nihal has once again exposed the role of another PCR vehicle in the case.

A police team manning the PCR vehicle stationed at the Tribune chowk was informed about the presence of a child’s body in Sector 29 along the Dakshin Marg. But the informer, Rustam Amid, a dargahgir at a Sector 29 mosque, was told to find out the body and call the control room on a toll-free telephone number.

Rustam did exactly the same. The entire exercise took him an hour which, otherwise, would have been done by the policemen in the PCR vehicle in a few minutes.

Investigations by the TNS revealed that on November 27, the day the boy went missing, some children saw the body lying in bushes in Sector 29. The next day when Rustam heard the children murmuring he went to look for the body but returned empty-handed.

He then tracked down the body in the wild growth on November 29 and called up the control room from a shop in Sector 29. While Rustam did the job of informing the police, the policemen in the PCR vehicle did not move from the spot saying that they did not have the orders to leave the location. Normally, the PCR team should have moved immediately to find out the body. However, the informer was told that they did not have directives to move from the spot.

Interestingly, when a police party from the Industrial Area and Sector 34 police stations reached the spot, two PCR vehicles also reached the spot.

The role of the PCR had also come under fire from the Chandigarh Parents Association. The association had said the presence of PCR vehicles was only for name sake and those deployed on them were seen playing cards. The beat boxes placed in various markets and along sector roads were locked most of the time. Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the association, said long stay of police personnel at one place since the time of their enrolment was responsible for the rise in crime. The move for creation of a UT cadre would check the crime rate.


Museum to make World Disability Day special
To offer creative experience to 400 disabled kids
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
For the first time the city will celebrate World Disability Day in the real sense of the word. With the Government Museum, Chandigarh, coming forward with a novel project of organising a variety of special tours for over 400 disabled children from various institutions in the city, the occasion this time will sure have a meaning to it.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune today, Director, Government Museum, Mr V.N. Singh, said that all the idea behind the entire project, which will run on the museum campus on December 3 under the title of Anubhuti 2002, was to help children experience the joy of creation. Structured as a special show for disabled kids, Anubhuti will offer them a world of experience by taking them through a touch tour of the museum, a sign language tour and also a photographic tour of all the three sections of the museum. All sculptures in the museum verandah have been detailed with Braille inscriptions so that the blind kids can touch and know what the art work is all about.

This is for the first time in the history of the region that special arrangements have been made for special children, in order to make them feel wanted and loved. The purpose is to offer an ambience which does not reiterate the handicap of these kids, instead helps reinforce confidence among them. For a change rhetoric will score over action, with the students from the Institute of Blind, Sector 26, the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 32, the Aasha School for the Handicapped, Chandi Mandir, the North-Western Zone Special Olympic Society, and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sector 27, indulging in a whole lot of creative activities.

Supported by the Chandigarh Administration, the programme will be sub-titled “the joy of creative experience” as the various children will even compete in different categories of art works. Mr Singh informed, “The activities will begin in the morning on December 3 and will include on the spot painting, clay modelling, photographic tour of the museum, clay creations on potter’s wheel, touch tour and sign language tour.”

Not only will special care be taken to help the kids try their hands on various categories of contests, they will later be awarded participation certificates. Where as of now, the figure of participating kids is touching about 400, the museum authorities informed that any disabled kid, who is not studying or instructing with a certain institution, is also welcome to participate.

Participation certificates will be given to all kids, and outstanding works will be especially rewarded.




The Agrotech Fair-2002, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), seems to be attracting good crowds. However, the crowds are from unusual quarters. Newly married couples, schoolchildren, college boys and girls could be seen in good numbers.

In addition to adequate media coverage, the organisers have to make extra efforts to bring in farmers. The Public Relations Department of the UP arranged free transportation to farmers to ensure sufficient crowd, when Mr Hukam Singh, Minister for Agriculture, UP, inaugurated the pavilion of the state. Even Milkfed and some other farmer cooperatives of Punjab and Haryana had to make extra efforts to bring in farmers. One of the farmers was heard saying: ‘‘What is new in the fair except polishing on old models? Who would have bothered to come here if we had to pay for the transportation and tickets out of our pockets?’’

Mega show

The fair is the fifth in the series of agri fairs which began in 1994. And it promises to be the biggest of them all in terms of visitors attracted and business generated.

According to figures available here, the first fair, Agrotech 1994, attracted 200 business enquiries worth $ 200 million, generated business worth $ 25 million, and resulted in 17 joint ventures and collaborations. In Agrotech 1996, business enquiries worth $ 265 million were generated while business generated was $ 37.5 million. The number of joint ventures and collaborations signed were 23. In Agrotech 1998, business enquiries worth $ 340 million were generated while business generated totalled $ 73 million. The number of joint ventures and collaborations were 31.

In Agrotech 2000, business enquiries generated were worth $ 391 million while business actually generated totalled $ 90 million. The number of joint ventures and collaborations signed at the fair :45.

Real hero

Some people become heroes in real life and one of them is the late Capt Vikram Batra, one of the bravest and who has been awarded the Paramvir Chakra , the country’s highest battle honour, for his raw courage in capturing the famous Tolloling Heights and also the Tiger Hill. Bollywood movie director of ‘Border’ fame, J.P. Dutta, is making a movie “Line of Control” (LoC) with the 1999 Kargil conflict being the main theme. Young Abhishek Bachchan who has grown a beard to look like Batra will portray the life of Captain Batra, who graduated from DAV College (Sector 10) in 1995 and later studied English in Panjab University before being selected for the Army.

Mr Vishal Batra, the identical twin of the late Captain, has had meetings with the junior Bachchan to apprise him of his famous brother’s lifestyle. Vishal knows the respect his brother has with portraits of the Captain staring out of the walls at the DAV College. Now comes the movie. Vishal while talking about his famous twin refers to him as “Batra saheb” although Vishal is just 14 minutes younger to the late Captain.

Airconditioned Tractor

The Punjab Government may be pleading with the Centre to sanction grant to the state on account of drought. While it is arguing that the state farmers have been badly affected due to drought like situation, one must not be surprised if the tractor companies are thinking otherwise. The Tafe Tractors Ltd, which is selling about 30,000 tractors annually, has launched an airconditioned tractor, specifically for the Punjab market.

Mr Vijay Kumar Browning, Deputy General Manager (Product Manager), who launched this model at the Agrotech fair, said,‘‘ After an extensive survey of the state, our marketing team has discovered that a large section of farmers do not need just a functional machine for farming, but a tractor with comforts of Maruti. We see a great scope for this model that is launched for the first time in India.’’

A delight to watch!

It was a great sight at the Chandigarh carnival to see how some of the students from the Institute of Blind were busy experimenting with clay on the especially installed potter’s wheel. Along with other children many physically disabled kids stood in line to try their hand at the creative experience. Installed by the Chandigarh Museum, the potter’s wheel attracted many children and the best part was that it proved to bridge the gap between normal and other kids.

It was heartening to see how children were helping some of the blind kids put clay into proper form so that they could create better forms and images. Apart from that, many slum children from the city were painting away to glory in the Friends of Children corner put up by Centre for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA).

Mother dear mother!

Hema Malini appeared extremely protective of her daughter Esha, who was in the city for the shooting schedule of ‘LoC’. The mother kept the daughter company wherever she went. Not just that she normally also takes care of Esha’s shooting dates, apart from accompanying her on outdoor shoots as and when necessary. When asked about Esha and her choice of films, Hema was quick to remark that Esha had the genes of legends. “We have enough film stars these days, but very few among them have the substance to carry on. We hardly have star material. I, however, see hope in Esha and Kareena for sure. Their families and their grounding will take them far, no matter how much slow their pace of progress is in the initial phase.”

Even while one was communicating with Esha, Hema often came to her rescue whenever needed. Often the two would start communicating in Tamil to sort out confusion, if any. Then suddenly Hema would reply on her daughter’s remark, saying in the end, “I have full faith in her.”

Dogs in Kalagram?

Kalagram authorities need to check all entry points to the complex. Only a few days ago, a dog was seen sleeping very close to the office compound in Kalagram. The most disappointing fact was that the animal had made itself comfortable right next to a beautiful scuplture installed near the office area.

This is not the first incident of callousness on the part of those on entry duty. The place where art objects have been placed is a sacred place, at least for the artist whose work has been installed in the said area. The entire Kalagram compound is full of beautiful stone sculptures, which are lying out in the open and need to be cared about.

To begin with, animals should be kept not just out of the art gallery and exhibition hall area, but also out of the whole complex.

Old friends

“Moscow never forgets its old friends and always welcomes them with an open heart”, assured the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in India, Mr Alexander M. Kadakin, in a letter addressed on October 10, to Mr W.R. Rishi, a Padamshri awardee who has devoted a lifetime to the study of Roma, the so-called gypsies of Europe.

But Mr Rishi, who is also a Russian language scholar, feels that Russia has forgotten its old friends.

The letter to Mr Rishi goes on to say that “We in Russia highly appreciate your selfless service to the cause of strengthening and promoting friendly ties between our countries. I would also like to mention that your fascinating work, India and Russia — Linguistic and Cultural Affinity “ is one of the most valuable books in the collection of the embassy’s library and is very popular among our diplomats”.

“We all know and highly value your contribution to the development of friendly ties between our countries”, says the ambassador in another letter dated February 18, 2002, to Mr Rishi. “Personally, for me, it is a great honour to become acquainted with an eminent scholar, diplomat, writer, interpreter and true friend of Russia”.

But Mr Rishi feels that despite such warm feelings expressed towards him by the Russian Ambassador, his contribution to the strengthening of ties between the two countries is yet to be publicly acknowledged by the Russian government. Perhaps, the opportunity provided by the forthcoming visit to India by the Russian President, Mr Vladimir Putin, will be utilised by the Russians to set the record straight.

A Punjab prayer

Here is a poem by Prof Y.S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, on Punjab.

I have seen my Siva dancing,

With snakes around his neck clinging;

A dance of destruction and creation,

A dance of preservation and proliferation

With music divine and wisdom cosmic

Spreading within the minds that seek!

Here I find my Saraswati sitting

With snakes all over her body crawling;

The tune in her veena gets disturbed

But she sits pretty and undisturbed!

The hansa is frightened and starts squeaking;

With the poison around the lotus is wilting!

O! Saraswati what is your message?

Pains of parents’ n children will you assuage?

Are you testing your tiny little son

For his mettle and courageous action?

What is it, you get from this play?

People of Punjab, don’t you dismay!

A land blessed by ten great Gurus,

And a symbol of valour’n action prosperous!

Rise as Shakti because you are One!

Drive all poisons and sit on your throne!

We need you Saraswati to raise us high

In the competitive world that came from you!

Knowledge, skills and creative thoughts,

All merge so well in the new markets!

Bless our people with all your love,

We need you Mother for a greater life!

French Furniture

Opening up of the economy and permitting the winds of competition to blow through the Indian landscape is benefiting Chandigarh in more ways than one. It has become the destination of every major player in consumer goods in the country. The latest to register its presence in the City Beautiful is Gautier French Furniture, a K.K.Birla group company with the largest furniture retail chain in India with over 50 showrooms in the country.

According to Mr Arun Mahajan, Managing Director of the company who formally opened the showroom in Sector 34, the furniture is being manufactured in a sophisticated state-of-the-art factory near Chennai, which is one of Asia’s largest and most modern plants. Uniform, consistent product specifics allows the consumer the option of adding on modules even after years and still get the perfect match and fit. A unique varnishing process ensures that every piece looks fresh for years.

Mr Aman Arora, the city franchisee for Gautier, says that the range includes furniture for both homes and offices and includes single and double beds with storage options, bedside tables, chest of drawers, mirrors, dressers, wardrobes, computer tables and TV units, elegant and comfortable sofa sets. However, Gautier’s star attraction is its in-house developed range which offers “creative furniture solution for metro apartments”. This range comprises individual units which can be used either independently or added up vertically or laterally to create the type of furniture required for one’s home.




VIP duties affect city’s law & order
Tribune News Service

Uncalled for VIP duty

Last night cops of the Chandigarh Police were deployed along a route being taken by cavalcade of some VIP which was part of vehicles going for a marriage party from Sector 37 to Baltana in Zirakpur. Cops at different roundabouts enroute manned the traffic to allow the cavalcade to pass. 

Chandigarh, December 1
Already grappling with the spate of murders and burglaries in the city, the VIP duties are telling on the health of the personnel the Chandigarh Police.

With an effective strength of around 60, the worst hit is the traffic wing which has to manage the routine duty, apart from manning traffic diversions along the routes taken by the cavalcade of the VIPs.

For the last two days most of the cops were on the roads manning VIP routes. For two consecutive days rehearsals were held for today's Prime Minister brief stopover at the Chandigarh Airport. The Prime Minister halted for eight minutes to change his aircraft on way to Solan. When the PM flies back, force would again be posted along the VIP route for emergencies. Additional force is often detailed to escort the daily processions and dharnas, especially at the Matka Chowk.

In absence of a separate set-up to deal with VIP duties, dharnas, rallies and processions, the policing is the city is suffering. A proposal to have a battalion of Chandigarh Armed Police has not been given approval by the Union Home Ministry. The city, being the capital of Haryana and Punjab, police personnel have to be deployed along the route of the visiting dignitaries, said a senior police official

Presently, the Chandigarh Police has six companies of SSB and three companies of PAP — both are on fixed duties. An earlier request by the Chandigarh Police to the Union Home Ministry to compensate it for the six withdrawn companies of the CRPF has been rejected. 



SAS admn officers homeless
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 1
Majority of the local administration officers are homeless these days. While many of the senior officers serving the township live in their own houses or rented accommodations in Chandigarh or Panchkula, a sizeable number of junior officers have no official accommodation whatsoever.

This is despite the fact that in at least two cases, official accommodations in the township are lying unoccupied despite allocation. And in another case, a Chandigarh-based official is occupying an accommodation meant for an SAS Nagar officer.

The list starts with the Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) here who has no official accommodation in the township. He lives in Chandigarh and has been looking for an accommodation here for some time now. The Estate Officer, PUDA, also does not have a house here and he, too, lives in Chandigarh. The Superintendent of Police, too, lives in his own accommodation in Chandigarh pending construction of his allotted residence.

The Municipal Council story is no different. The council has its colony where it houses its officers and employees. The Executive Officer, MC, has been given an accommodation in the colony but according to sources the erstwhile EO is yet to vacate the house even after four months of transfer orders making the present EO commute between Rajpura and SAS Nagar every day.

Then there is the other side of the story. The Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, has an official accommodation in the township but he lives in his own house in Panchkula. The Chief Engineer, PUDA, too, has an official accommodation in SAS Nagar but prefers to live in his own house in Sector 70.

According to sources, PUDA, despite having planned the complete township, has not kept any space for its own employees. ‘‘Other than the two houses for the ACA and the Chief Engineer, there is no space for houses for other officers. There are scores of Superintending Engineers, town planners, architects employed by PUDA who are living in rented accommodations in Chandigarh or even in farther areas, who would be only too glad to have official houses.’’ says a PUDA employee.

It also seems that these two PUDA residences, which are lying vacant, have become bone of contention among those who do not have houses here.

In any case the two political heads of the township, the MLA Kharar and the President of the Municipal Council have no accommodation in the township. While the Kharar MLA lives in the MLA flats in Chandigarh, the President, Municipal Council, lives in his own house in Phase X. Sources also inform that the President’s house in the Municipal Council colony is now being used as the EO accommodation as the original EO’s accommodation is being used by a Chief Town Planner from the local Government Directorate, a Chandigarh-based office.

When contacted, most officers agreed that residences in the vicinity of the workplace was a boost to efficiency, and demanded an accommodation here, some others stated that they found it more convenient to live in their own houses in Chandigarh and Panchkula rather than rented accommodation in SAS Nagar. 



Gorge on dosas, pay for charity
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
For once you could eat to your heart’s content without making a dent in your pocked or feeling quality. For the South Indian Food Festival at St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, had been organised by the church committee at its premises in Sector 46, today, with a noble a purpose - to help the poor and needy.

About 5000 persons from Chandigarh and nearby areas visited the venue to avail this unique opportunity to taste authentic home-made Keralite food prepared by the church members. The festival was inaugurated by Dr. John V George, Inspector General, Haryana, this morning.

The festival came as a part of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Syrian church. About 78 Keralite families associated with the church, dished up specialities from their part of the country which included tapioka with fish curry, masala dosa, vada sambar, palappam curry, porotta with chicken — with exotic names and heavenly taste. Even the familiar biryani and soups came in so many different flavours, which spoke volumes about the state’s cuisines.

Besides, a huge collection of fruits, home made items were also displayed at the festival. Right from Keralite variety of pineapples to plantains which look like banana, but were a speciality to only the coastal state, bread fruit, tapioca, arec nut etc. were brought fresh from Kerala for this purpose.

“The festival has been organised in a charitable spirit and all money collected through this festival will go to different charitable causes like buying winter clothes for the poor slum people and medicine and treatment for people living in lepers colony”, said Father Saji Yohannan.



British Library enrols 750
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
The long wait to procure membership of the most prestigious library of the city - the British Library, was finally over. A serpentine queue comprising nearly 1,500 aspirants began to form in front of the library even before the Sun started shining on the horizon.

“A long queue was already in the offing when I walked in the library at 6 am but later I was informed by our security personnel that quite a few over enthusiasts had come at about 7 pm the previous night and decided to sleep on the library veranda braving the cold night, just to be in the forefront,” said Mr. Sushant Banerjee, Manager of the library, here today.

About 750 lucky ones actually made it today while others had to go back disheartened. However, as the Library would add 1,500 new members this year, the rest of the applicants will be accommodated tomorrow, according to information available here.

Meanwhile, the Library authorities provided coffee and water to membership aspirants. “This is the least we can do for them as their overwhelming response has assured us once and for all that our Library has been held in high esteem by all sections of society,” said Mr Banerjee. 



Mirpur oustees seek land
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
The Mirpur (J and K) Welfare Association has demanded that displaced residents of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) should be treated as oustees on the pattern of West Pakistan refugees and adequately compensated.

The association has also sent a memorandum in this regard to the Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

At a meeting held in Rose Garden here today, the association also demanded that the Mirpur refugees who were living outside Jammu and Kashmir should be given grants. ‘‘A large number of Mirpur oustees have not been yet allotted land and they should be settled in Jammu,’’ demanded Mr Bal Krishan Gupta, general secretary of the association.

The association has alleged that for the past 55 years the government had been promising that the Mirpur oustees would return to Mirpur.

‘‘Mirpur city in now under the water of the Mangla dam and hence the erstwhile residents could not be settled in the city,’’ he said.



Allegation of harassment for dowry
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 1
Within six months of the marriage, a Panchkula girl, Sunita Sharma (24), has alleged that her husband and in-laws are harassing and maltreating her to bring more dowry. She was married to Zirakpur-based Dinesh Kumar Sharma on June 21, 2002.

On a complaint of Sunita Sharma, the Dera Bassi police has registered a case.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Sunita Sharma alleged that last Friday she was beaten up by her husband and pushed into the kitchen. “My father-in-law and mother-in-law were also present.

They were about to turn on the LPG cylinder knob when I managed to escape”. She reportedly took a refuge at a police post at Zirakpur.

Mr Ratan Chand Bhardwaj, father of the girl, alleged that he kept meeting the dowry demands of his son-in-law even after the marriage. “More recently they had started demanding a car.

My daughter was once turned out of the house by her husband”, alleged Mr Bhardwaj.

Girl abducted:
A minor girl was alleged abducted from her house in Bapu Dham Colony on Saturday. According information available, the girl was abducted by two youths, Pappu and Lalla, both residents of the colony. A case of abduction has been registered under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on the basis of a complaint lodged by Jawan Singh, father of the girl.

Vehicle theft: Three vehicles were stolen and a mobile phone was snatched in four separate incidents in the city during the last 48 hours.

According to information available, two scooter-borne youths snatched a mobile from Sumita near the road dividing Sectors 21 and 22. A case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC has been registered.

In another case, Lakhbir Singh, a resident of Sector 43, reported that his Maruti Car (CH-03-J-5276) was stolen on the night of November 29 from outside his house. A Bullet motor cycle and a Kinetic Honda scooter were stolen in two separate incidents in the city. Separate cases under Sections 379 of the IPC have been registered.



Uttaranchal invites investors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
“Limitations can become strengths with the right perspective and approach” said Mr Madhukar Gupta, Chief Secretary, Uttaranchal. He cited the example of his state, where the small size of land holdings has encouraged farmers to innovate in terms of crop diversification and commercialisation. Likewise, the limited use of fertilisers in hill areas positioned Uttaranchal favourably for organic farming, he said.

Mr Gupta was addressing a session on “Investment opportunities in food and agri business in Uttaranchal” on the second day of the four-day Agro Tech 2002 here today.

Uttaranchal, which is a partner state at Agro Tech 2002, invited the industry to translate technical expertise to land, converting the state’s inherent advantage into viable business opportunities. Besides agriculture, agro processing and food-related business, the state has identified power, IT, biotechnology and other eco-friendly industries as thrust areas for development, he said.

“The Government of Uttaranchal is keen to act as a matchmaker to get opportunities and business together in a viable marriage” said Mr Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary, Horticulture and Rural Development, Uttaranchal. The state is looking for agri investment in sectors such as its four export zones for floriculture, basmati rice, fruit and medicinal plants, developing Uttaranchal as the seed capital of India, setting up food parks, besides biotechnology and organic agriculture. The young state has the twin advantage of biodiversity and biotechnology, he pointed out. The development of medicinal and aromatic plants, moving from collection to cultivation to ensure standards and quality, as well as tissue culture and horticulture are the other key areas, he said.

Stressing the advantage of Uttaranchal as a good investment destination, he assured potential of prompt decisions, grants matching those offered the government agencies such as the National Horticulture Board, Apeda and the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, with an upper cap of Rs 20 lakh, stamp duty for agri-loans, etc. “All you have to do is send us an e-mail” he said.

Mr Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman, Agro Tech 2002 and Vice-President, CII, described the initiatives being undertaken by CII Northern Region in Uttaranchal such as a formal “ CII- Government of Uttaranchal task force” to promote investment in the state in several areas including food, agri business and horticulture. He said immense opportunities were open for private enterprise in fruits and vegetables, especially litchees and citrus fruits, tea plantations, commercial floriculture, horticulture and herbs, medical and aromatic plant cultivation.

Mr V. K. Dhawan, Chairman, CII Uttaranchal State Council, observed that as a newly formed state, Uttaranchal welcomed change and innovation in food, agri and horticulture sectors, and urged the industry to come forward to strengthen the hands of the state government in a mutually beneficial partnership.



Safed Musli — a ray of hope for 
agricultural diversification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Punjab Government may be asking the Centre to grant at least Rs 1280 crore to shift one million acres of agricultural land towards other crops from the traditional wheat-paddy rotation, but Nandan Agro Farms Pvt Limited, a Hyderabad-based agro firm, has claimed that the plantation of Safed Musli — a food supplement plant — can turn the fortunes of lakhs of farmers.

Mr B. Jaya Kumar, Director of the company, claims that the medicinal plant can be grown in those soils that are fit for potato. Some of the farmers in Patiala district are already reaping the crop. It was declared as an endangered plant about six years ago. Today, it is on its way to becoming a commercial crop.

Along with Nandan Agros, another company from Maharastra has put up its stall at the CII Agrotech Fair-2002. Mr Kumar claimed that clinical tests have shown that Safed Musli has various properties like stress busting and anti-aging.

It also helps to check hypertension, to increase reproductive system. The farmers can earn up to Rs 400 per kg by growing the crop, which has a large number of buyers in the domestic and international market.

Incidentally, Reliance Life Sciences (RLS) is also promoting this crop, besides other medicinal plants. Estimates indicate that global spending on natural medicines is more than $ 15 million, including Rs 600 crore in domestic market.

The crop is said to be potent in treating, he said, a whole range of ailments, including diabetes, pre-natal and post-natal ailments and arthritis. Pharmaceutical companies are looking to exploit another property of the crop— said to be a natural aphrodisiac and being promoted as a no-side-effect herbal replacement for viagra.

Mr Raj Kumar claims that company has already sent the samples of Safed Musli to international experts to verify its effects. The company is promoting its plantation with buy-back guarantee. The farmers can earn more than Rs 1 lakh per hectare by growing the crop. They can also avail themselves of up to 30 per cent of the project cost as subsidy with a maximum of Rs 9 lakh from the National Medicinal Plants Board.



Indian dairy industry poised for growth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The international dairy industry is passing through a critical phase. While farmers in the USA have recently won a legal battle, resulting in the continuance of subsidy to the dairy sector, the overall production of milk in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has registered a decline since 1990.

However, the demand and production of milk are continuously increasing in India.

The milk processing industry is, however, facing the challenge of demand constraints and changing consumer behaviour. Unhygienic milk collection practices, inefficient processing techniques and growing concern for environmental aspects regulations have posed a major challenge for the growth of the industry, said Mr Animesh Banejee, president, Indian Dairy Association, here today.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Perspective Planning for Dairy Industry,’ organised by the CII as part of the Agrotech Fair- 2002, he lamented that more than 40 per cent capacity of the milk processing plants had remained unutilised, resulting in higher production costs. Dr N. Balaraman, Director, National Dairy Research Institute, felt that the future of the Indian dairy industry lay in the organised sector. The industry would have to organise itself keeping in view the global demands. It would require strengthening of linkages among milk producers, animal health system, pricing and quality aspects.

Speakers felt that though the Indian dairy industry enjoyed locational advantage in the international market, it would have made milk products as per the specifications of the major market. The demand for milk products was also witnessing an increase in the South East Asian market.

They said since India was the lowest cost producer of per litre milk in the world, at 27 cents, compared with the US’ 63 cents and Japan’s $2.8, it should make efforts to tap the world market. India’s dairy sector was expected to triple its production in the next 10 years in view of the expanding potential for export to European and other nations.

Mr Pavan Malik, CEO, Britannia New Zealand Foods Ltd, disclosed that like the mineral water industry, the milk processing industry would also witness an exponential growth in the next few years. The advertising budget of the industry had already reached about Rs 15 crore annually against Rs 30 crore of mineral water.

Mr N.S. Kumar, General Manager, School Programme, Tetra Pack, called for the exploration of non-traditional milk channels to boost the domestic demand, such as the supply of flavoured milk to educational institutes, airlines and factories.



Scorpio to head for Russia
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Mahindra and Mahindra plans to export its latest multi utility vehicle (MUV) offering, Scorpio, to Russia.

This was disclosed here today by Mr Anand G. Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Rs 4000-crore company, in an interview with TNS. He said he had already tied up with Khemka group, which had been operating in Russia for a long time and, therefore, had an intimate knowledge of the Russian market. “We have also done a feasibility report about the exports of Scorpio which we hope to present to the Russian President, Mr Vladimir Putin, during his forthcoming visit to India.”

Mr Mahindra is in the city for attending the ongoing four-day Agro Tech fair organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Mr Mahindra said he would also be studying the prospects of exports to Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Latin America where a large market existed for vehicles like Scorpio, offering value for money. In India, Scorpio had proven to be a runaway hit. Launched less than three months ago, it had already sold 4,500 units. There was a two-three month waiting list for the vehicle. The production of the vehicle was now being increased up to 1,700 units a month.

He said Scorpio was a totally Indian vehicle. Its design, drawn up by a 36-year-old engineering graduate from IIT, had become its main asset. This had belied the widely held belief that only foreigners were competent and qualified to design vehicles. It also had a powerful turbo-charged engine, which not only lent power to the vehicle, but also made it safe and manoeuvrable on highways. The third important feature of the vehicle was the value for money it offered. Comparable vehicles from Japan and other countries cost much more.

Despite the large investment which the Scorpio project required, it was not a “make or break” project for the Mahindra group. Mr Mahindra pointed out that his was a Rs 4,000-crore group and out of which only Rs 600 crore was earmarked for the Scorpio project. Even in this, Rs 350 crore was invested on common facilities like paint shop. Thus only Rs 250 crore was spent on the Scorpio project, which was not such a big amount for a Rs 4,000-crore project.



French delegation visits Agrotech-2002
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
“India has immense opportunities in the field of Agro Food Processing,” said Mr Thlerry Boisseaux, Commercial Attache at the Economic, Trade and Finance Commission, Embassy of France, during an interactive session with progressive farmers at Agrotech-2002 here today.

The members of the delegation said their priority would be to explore and identify cooperation possibilities in the field of agricultural techniques, production organisation, storing and preservation conditions, marketing and distribution techniques and product value addition. They pointed out that Europe had a very large export and import market. The imports included tomato, cabbage, apple, tropical fruits like guava, banana, avocado, litchis, baby corn and sweet corn.

Among others, Mr Jaques Dasque from the Marseille High School of Commerce at the Fruit and Vegetable Institute of Avignon, Agro Engineer Giles Recour, Purpou Toulouse, J.F. Runel Belliar, Director of Promotion and Communication of Agen Agropole, Michel Boulat, Consultant Vice-President of IFCCI (Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Francois Lafibble, Chairman Interfel-National Agency, France and Chairman of BGSO and Yves Bertand, member of BGSO board were also the members of the delegates.

Later they attended the question-answer session which focused on subjects like apple export, packaging material and orange exports to France. The delegation will be here till December 3.



‘Poultry industry needs radical changes’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The poultry industry must undergo radical changes to compete with international competitors. The WTO is not a threat to the industry but a challenge which should be met successfully, observed Ms Nita Chowdhary, Joint Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India while speaking on the Indian poultry industry at the International Food and Agriculture Conference, organised on the occasion of Agro Tech 2002 here today.

She stressed on the need to modernize abattoirs and processing plants.

Dr B.S. Maur, Managing Director, Venkateshwara Hatcheries, said eggs and chicken meat were among the cheapest sources of protein and could be of immense help in fighting protein malnutrition in India. The per capita consumption of eggs in the country is only 43 eggs and poultry meat 922 gm against a recommended consumption of 180 eggs and 10.8 kg poultry meat per person per annum. He suggested that eggs be included in the mid-day meal scheme in the country. Mr Maur wanted that the poultry industry be given the same status enjoyed by the agriculture sector by exempting it from income tax.

Mr Shyam Kuldeep Singh, General Manager, Venkateshwara Hatcheries, suggested that India should have a food authority to include and cover all food standards and food-related issues. Speaking on “New challenges in poultry concerning market access, SPS measures and food safety”, he said the proposed food authority would end multiplicity of agencies doing similar work in different directions haphazardly. This would ensure food safety and hygiene in the country, he opined.

Dr S.L. Anaokar, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet Limited, said the livestock sector accounted for nearly 7 per cent of the Indian GDP while the agriculture sector accounted for 25 per cent of the GDP. He said the livestock sector would have to grow at 8 per cent to achieve 4 per cent overall growth. He said a comprehensive maize policy was needed to streamline maize shortages in the long run, suggesting that duty-free imports be allowed to actual users.

Mr Gordan Butland, Industry Specialist , Poultry, of Rabobank International, the Netherlands, talked about the huge growth that the poultry sector had seen in the past decade.

Mr Bharat Tandon, Managing Director, Provimi Holding BY, described his company as an international global animal nutrition company aimed mainly at solving farm problems through nutritional solutions, with a focus on neonatal nutrition. Opportunities existed in poultry, dairy, pet food and aquaculture, where issues of biosecurity, probiotics, toxin binders and nutritionals were some of the areas of focus for vetcare in India, he said.

Mr Paul Van De Ven, Area Manager , Hendrix Poultry Breeders BV, another Dutch company, observed that egg production had augmented the world over, with Asia producing the largest share, followed by Europe. With the world becoming a global village, human health and animal welfare were the important market trends. Today’s consumer demanded a high quality of eggs, he said. With the layer industry growing particularly in Asia, more layer breeding companies were required, calling for genetic solutions to breed hens according to requirements. 



Eating eggs at Agro-Tech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Ever wondered how many eggs you can eat in just 90 seconds ? Four was the figure that won the Egg Eating Competition at Agro-Tech 2002. Organised by the North Zone Breeders Association, the competition drew a mammoth response from exhibitors and visitors alike.

With a record-breaking four and a half eggs in just 90 seconds, R.S. Jaiswal walked away with top honours and a plaque. Vincent Singh, here all the way from Allahabad Agricultural Institute deemed university, came second, with a score of three and a half eggs in the stipulated 90 seconds. Kulwant Singh from Venky’s India came third, with three eggs to her credit.

“The objective here was to promote the consumption of poultry products and broilers,’’ said Mr Surjeet Singh, president of the Association.

Incidentally, the Indian poultry industry is ranked fifth in the world and boasts of an annual growth rate of 20 per cent, the highest in the world. Agro-Tech 2002 will see the Poultry Expo 2002 exhibit a range of equipment and accessories, management techniques, products and services. Participants in this expo are poultry specialists like Allansons, Avian Remedies, CIBI Enterprises, Devee Biologicals and Jubiliant Organosys.



Air & water cooled tractors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Eicher Tractors claims to have launched the first-ever air and water cooled tractors in India. Formally launching the new models, Mr R.C. Jain, CEO, Eicher Tractors, at the CII Agrotech-2002, here today, said the company was enjoying the status of largest seller in the 24 hp segment for the past four decades.

He said that the Eicher 485 (45hp air cooled) and 368 models (35hp air cooled) tractors are getting good response, especially due to their pulling power and fuel efficiency.


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