Wednesday, December 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC Administrator transferred; code violation alleged
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The state government is alleged to have violated the code of conduct for elections to the Municipal Council here by transferring Administrator, Municipal Council, Mr Arun Kumar Gupta.

The 1992 batch IAS officer was transferred by the state government vide its order number 1/9/2002-ISII issued yesterday as Secretary, Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission. The said officer was posted as Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority and Municipal Council here since May 2001.

The order comes at a time when the State Election Commission has already announced elections to the local body here, scheduled for January 19, 2003. The notification for the elections will be made by Deputy Commissioner here on December 5.

It may be noted that elections to the Municipal Council were announced by the State Election Commission here on November 27 and the code of conduct for these elections had come into force from the same day. According to the rules, no officer associated with these elections can be transferred, except under exceptional circumstances and, that too, after taking the requisite permission from the State Election Commission.

Sources in State Election Commission, when contacted by Chandigarh Tribune, said the transfer was a violation of code of conduct and also maintained that they had not been intimated by the government about this transfer.

An official, on condition of anonymity, said that the code of conduct was the same as in case of the Vidhan Sabha and Parliamentary elections. The official, however, declined to comment if any action would be initiated against this violation.

It may be noted that this is the first ever election to the local civic body. Though no political party, be it the Indian National Lok Dal, the BJP or the Haryana Vikas Party, are directly participating in these elections- but there is a lot at stake for these parties. Sources do not rule out a political game plan behind the transfer of the said official. 


Rajesh Kumar is IG; Yadav replaces Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The confusion over the appointment of the new SSP for Chandigarh ended today with the appointment of Mr Gaurav Yadav, a 1992-batch Punjab cadre official of the IPS.

Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs today also cleared the name of 1979-batch UT cadre IPS officer, Mr Rajesh Kumar, for posting as the IG to Chandigarh, replacing the present incumbent, Mr Bhim Sain Bassi.

Mr Gaurav Yadav replaces Mr Parag Jain, a 1989-batch officer of the Punjab cadre. Well placed sources in the MHA confirmed that a formal order to appoint the new IG would be out in the next few days. Mr Bassi had joined in July 2000.

Meanwhile, on the issue of appointing the SSP, the MHA finally issued an order this evening which was received by the Chandigarh Administration.

The appointment of Mr Yadav ends the political manoeuvring for the coveted post of the SSP. The other contender for the post was Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu. While Mr Sidhu is the SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Yadav is AIG (police headquarters). Earlier, when the panel for the post of the SSP was received, the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd) had recommended Mr Sidhu's name. But sources said that Mr Yadav was politically well connected at the Centre. 


Evening OPDs progress, despite hiccups
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Within a day of the introduction of the evening OPDs, the number of patients seems to be increasing as 62 persons availed themselves of the latest facility offered by the PGI here today.

As compared to 33 patients on the inaugural day, today the number doubled with office-goers dropping at the OPDs for treatment on their way home from work. “ The concept of the evening OPDs is good as now I will not have to seek leave whenever someone in the family is sick,” remarked an employee of the Punjab Secretariat who had come to the ENT department.

Majority of the patients, while appreciating the concept of the evening OPDs, felt it would be of help only if samples for laboratory tests were taken the same day.

In some departments, like internal medicine, there was very little that a doctor could do till an investigation was not done. A total of 16 patients were examined in the Internal Medicine Department, with majority of them being asked to get tests done, the next day.

The number of patients who came to different faculties included 16 in Internal Medicine,15 in ENT, 14 in ophthalmology, 8 in general surgery, 5 in gynaecology and 4 in paediatrics. There were also a few students who came to get their eyes tested, as with the evening OPDs they could do so without having to miss their classes.

Even though the public was appreciating the facility and PGI authorities drawing solace from the fact that they had been able to start the evening OPDs, many faculty members observed that with an increase in the number of patients, they would face problems. “In case resident doctors do not join evening-OPDs duty, PGI Administration should either reduce the registration time from 6 p.m to 5.30 p.m or appoint separate medical officers,” said a senior doctor on the evening-OPDs duty.

The increasing number of patients at the evening OPDs was giving anxious moments to faculty members who had reluctantly agreed to take on the responsibility with the resident doctors deciding to stay away.

Meanwhile, the resident doctors today alleged that some of the faculty members were pressuring them to start attending the evening OPDs.

The faculty members said that unless the resident doctors join in, it would be difficult for them to carry on for too long. As with more and more patients coming in, they might have to sit beyond 7 pm. 


Murder in woods near Secretariat
Suspected drug addict stabbed, burnt
Tribune News Service


* The PAP personnel should have reacted to the distress call of the watchman.
* The mangrove forest being near the high-security Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat, any saboteur can easily hide there.
* It is the 29th murder in the city, this year.

Chandigarh, December 3
A charred body of a youth was found lying in a mangrove forest near a high-security zone behind the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat early here today. The youth, suspected to be a drug addict, had been stabbed before being set ablaze.

The youth, said to be in his mid 20s, could not be identified till late today. His intestines were protruding out of a deep wound in the lower abdomen. The circumstantial evidence showed signs of struggle before the death. A police official said it appeared that an attempt had been made to disfigure the body to keep the youth’s identity a mystery.

The private parts of the youth had been burnt completely, which indicates that he might have been physical intimate with someone — a liaison the attackers might be resenting. The lower part of the body had received severe burns, but the face was charred only slightly, not beyond recognition.

The mangrove forest where the body was found is maintained by a contractor, Manoval Hussain. The contract was given by the Horticulture Department. A watchman, Nand Kishore, who was camping in the forest, told the police that two youths had come there on a green scooter at about 7.30 pm yesterday. In the light from the scooter, he had seen one of them injecting a drug near his private parts. The watchman, however, could not see the faces of the youths clearly.

“After about 15 minutes, I heard shrieks coming from the spot where the youths were sitting. Then, one of the youths left the place on the scooter, only to return soon, after which, I saw a fire, but could not muster courage to go near it,” he said. He, then, ran to a nearby post of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), set up for the security of the Secretariat. When the policemen offered no assistance, the watchman called up the contractor, who, then, informed the police.

The forest is a usual hiding place of drug addicts. The Senior Superintendent of Police in Chandigarh, Mr Parag Jain, said it appeared that the youth had tried to escape from the clutches of someone. There were blood spots under a mango tree. There were also traces of the body having been dragged for few metres before being set ablaze. He said it appeared to be a planned murder.

The Superintendent of Police (City), Mr Baldev Singh, said the youth, apparently, belonged to a middle-class family. The reason of the death was suffocation. The stabbing might have punctured his lungs.

The police said a syringe used by the youth to take a dose of morphine had been found near his body. The trousers of the youth had been pulled down, apparently, so that, he could give himself a shot. A pair of battered slippers was also found near the body.

The police suspects that the attackers, too, were drug addicts. The trousers and the shirt of the youth had been completely burnt and there was a snake tattoo on the right arm of the youth. The police is looking for missing drug addicts in the city and a case of murder has been registered at the Sector 3 police station.


Construction around IAF installations: panel formed
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 3
To take up the issue of prohibition of construction within a radius of 900 m from defence installations in the area, Ms Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala, has constituted a six-member committee.

Under the chairmanship of Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, Deputy Director, Planning Board, members of the committee would hold a meeting with the Secretary, Department of Local Government of Punjab, the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Indian Air Force authorities to find out a permanent solution to the problem being faced by residents of 30 villages.

According to Mr Bhardwaj, Ms Sheelam Sohi, Mr Krishan Pal, both members of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, Additional Advocate-General, Mr Jaspal Singh, a former Sarpanch of Zirakpur village, and Mr Sunehari Lal, president of the Market Welfare Association, Zirakpur, have been nominated as the members of the committee.

He said that the committee would apprise the government of grievances of the affected people. The members would first hear public opinion and grievances and then discuss the issues to find an alternate solution, he said.

Taking a serious note of a representation of the Ilaqua Zirakpur Bachao Committee, Ms Preneet Kaur assured them that she would ask the Secretary, Department of local government of Punjab, and Chief Secretary to hold a meeting with the IAF authorities and members of the Ilaqua Zirakpur Bachao Committee to chalk out a plan which could tackle the problem without posing a threat to the national security.

The members of the committee postponed their protest against the prohibition of constructions, for a fortnight, after the assurance.


Two PSEB men held on bribery charge
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 3
Two employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board were caught red-handed on a charge of taking bribe by officials of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau here today.

The employees, Chander Parkash, a lineman, and Gian Singh, a work charge, were caught after they had allegedly taken Rs 1,000 as bribe from Mr Pavitar Singh, a resident of Ballomajra village under SAS Nagar tehsil.

When contacted Mr Zora Singh Brar, DSP, Punjab Vigilance Bureau, said the raid had been conducted on the instructions of Mr Jaskaran Singh, SP, Vigilance Bureau.

He said Mr Pavitar Singh had complained that PSEB officials were not installing the power meter which they had removed some months ago due to non-payment of power bill. The complainant had recently cleared the pending dues and wanted that the meter be installed but officials were allegedly demanding Rs 2,000 to do the job. However, they agreed to accept Rs 1,000 when Mr Pavitar Singh told them that he could not afford to pay Rs 2,000.

Mr Brar said marked currency notes were handed over by Mr Pavitar Singh to the employees which were later recovered from them by officials of the Vigilance Bureau.

He said the amount was recovered from the employees in the presence of Dr H.P. Kainth and Mr Balbir Singh, a senior clerk, both from the Civil Hospital, Ropar, who were taken along as witnesses. A case had been registered against the employees who would be produced in a Kharar court tomorrow.


Beopar Mandal to block roads today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal said here today that its members would block roads all over the city tomorrow in protest against the amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restrictions Act of 1949.

The body says that traders of all markets are prepared to block roads tomorrow. At a meeting of the body here today, Mr Jagdish Arora, president of the mandal, urged traders to keep the protest peaceful. In a press note issued here today, the body said it had the support of the Ex-servicemen Commercial Tenants Association of Chandigarh. Members of the body will also meet the UT Administrator, to urge him to withdraw the amendment.

Meanwhile, the chain fast by traders entered its ninth day today with a new batch of protesters — Mr Sewa Singh, Mr Hazara Singh, Mr Harjit Singh, Mr Manoj Goyal and Mr Lekh Ram Joshi — replacing the overnight batch of Mr Bansarsi Lal Bajaj, Mr Ramesh Kumar, Mr Gurdial Singh, Mr Kishan Kumar and Mr Karan Kumar.

The mandal is also planning to organise a 72-hour bandh.


MSP for farm sector to stay, says Ajit Singh
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, today strongly defended the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism for wheat and paddy and said this was necessary if the progress in the agriculture sector was to be maintained.

In an interview with TNS on the sidelines of Agro Tech 2002 which concluded here today, the Minister said a great hue and cry had been heard in different parts of the country against the MSP. There had been talk even in government circles that the MSP should be discontinued because an assured return to farmers on their produce could not be guaranteed in a free market economy.

"Where is free market?" asked Mr Ajit Singh. "It is does not exist anywhere in the world. Do the advocates of dismantling the MSP mechanism know that the USA heavily subsidizes its agriculture. So does the European Union. As a matter of fact, the amount of subsidy the USA spent on its agriculture last year exceeds the entire farm production of India. So tell me, where is the free market".

The Minister was of the view that if the country was to maintain its progress in the field of agriculture and if the farmers' interest were to protected, MSP would have to continue. "The indispensability of the MSP for the Indian agriculture is clear from the fact that when there was a delay of a couple of weeks in the announcement of MSP for paddy a few months ago, there was distress sale of paddy all around. I feel that MSP and other farm subsidies are here to stay in same form or the other..."

Later, speaking at the valedictory session of Agro Tech, the minister said Indian agriculture needed the efforts of both cooperatives and corporates to face the challenges of global competitiveness in a WTO regime. Mr Ajit Singh proposed constitutional amendments for the cooperative law to make the cooperative movement more farmer-friendly. Only cooperatives could provide the spread and reach in the contemporary scenario where 80 per cent of the holdings were less than two hectares in size and the average holding size was just 1.55 hectares. Procedural reforms were urgently required in the agriculture sector, which governed the lives of 65 per cent of Indians, and was now recognised as the backbone of the economy.

Welcoming the fact that agriculture was now on the radar screen of industry, he said there was a big market for private initiatives in providing awareness, information and extension services for farmers.

While a key driver for the sector was marketing, where corporates could offer productive support, testing of farm inputs and outputs and agri-clinics were other service areas where private enterprise could play a useful role, said Mr Ajit Singh.

Agriculture credit was a key input, he said, holding that most cases of farmers suicides were due to credit problems. Even today, the farm sector relied on moneylenders for as much as 40 per cent of its credit needs, he said.

Mr Ajit Singh lauded the competitiveness of the Indian farmer despite all odds. In fact, India had emerged as a world power in agriculture, though the Indian farmer was still poor.

WTO, said Mr Ajit Singh, had many provisions, which could be used to protect our farmers, seeds etc. He said that India had negotiated entry to the WTO on far more favourable terms than China.

Calling for agriculture to get its due place in policymaking and Budget allocations, Mr Ajit Singh saw a hopeful future for this growing economy.


Farm sector ‘needs more credit’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Indian agricultural sector is facing a serious credit crunch. The government must initiate reforms to open the agricultural commodity market, as the monopoly of certain government institutions was affecting the growth of the agricultural sector. While the Indian food market is set to grow to Rs 5,00,000 crore by 2005 out of which the share of value-added products was estimated to increase to Rs 2,25,000 crore, but due to negative mindset, legal hurdles and high risk, bankers were not ready to provide the necessary credit.

These views were expressed by experts in the banking sector at the international conference on ‘Crediting Agribusiness’ organised on the sidelines of the Agrotech 2002. Speaking at the conference, Mr YC Nanda, Chairman of the National Bank of Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD), said: ‘‘The share of agriculture and allied sector to GDP for the year 2000-01 has been around 24 per cent, the credit of Rs 95,589 crore deployed in agriculture as a share in total bank credit of Rs 5,64,088 crore was around 16.9 per cent. As against this, the industrial sector contributed 25 per cent of GDP but availed 48 per cent of total bank credit.’’

He felt that lack of “forward, future and hedging” market mechanisms, infrastructural constraints and restrictions on entry of private trade in foodgrain marketing responsible for this scenario. He said licencing and locational requirements in the processing sector were posing entry barriers.

Mr Bruce Tozer, head, Customer Solution Farm Products, Rabobank International, chairing the session, argued for the opening of the commodity market to tap the potential of the sector. He said though there was a large scope in the development of agro-processing sector, as India was adding just 7 per cent value addition to the farm produce, against 20 per cent value addition in most of the developed countries.

Mr Brahmananad Hegde, Chief Manager, Agri Business Group, ICICI Bank, said lack of access to inputs and credit was impacting agri-productivity. Further, lack of post-harvest infrastructure support was resulting in huge wastage and high cost to the consumers.

Mr DG Prasad, CGM, Exim Bank, said that globalisation and liberalisation had become reality in the post-WTO regime. Indian companies should promote ‘Made in India’ label as a symbol of quality, competitive price and reliability to consumers. Mr RM Khanna, Chairman, Economic Affairs Sub-Committee, CII, Northern Region, urged the state and central governments to initiate reforms to develop the agro-processing sector.


Agro Tech-2002 generates $ 140m business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
“Agro Tech-2002 has yielded many good things”, said Mr Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman, Agro Tech-2002 and Vice-President CII, while “summing up” the four-day agro technology fair that closed here today.

Agro Tech-2002 generated direct business worth $ 140 million and business enquiries worth $ 500 million, he said. The four-day fair was witnessed by 1.75 lakh visitors (till noon on December 3) of which 35,000 were business visitors and over 60,000 were farmers. Close to 1.10 lakh persons also visited CII’s model village which was set up as a “dynamic template” to serve as a pointer to the Indian village of tomorrow. Over 2,500 farmers participated in the informal technical workshops or ‘Kisan Goshtis’ held at the model village.

The fair also served as the platform for the launch of different models of tractors by big players. New technology demonstrated at the exhibition included rain gun irrigation, rice colour sorter machines, state-of-the-art silos and grain driers, new concepts in green houses, vertical deep freezers, visi coolers, roof maintained refrigeration units, cold chain C doorway systems, a new range of multi cylinders, high speed compressors and coffee machines and friers, among others.

Uttar Pradesh also launched a toll free “Krishak Helpline “ for farmers at the fair. The first such service in the country, the helpline would update farmers on new farming technologies, crop specific pesticides et al. Another scheme announced by UP at the fair was for the sale of farm produce to Mandi Parishads. Each year, 450 farmers would receive awards by a lottery system.

While five International food and agri business conferences saw a host of international and national industry experts, policy makers and academicians discuss issues ranging from food retail to poultry and dairy technologies and agri credit. Unique interactive ‘Kisan Ghoshtis’ held for the first time at the model village saw farmers articulate their concerns and queries to a panel of experts.

Mr S.K. Bijlani, Chairman, CII, Northern Region, said Agro Tech-2002 had been positioned as a catalyst towards making the food and agri industry more competitive. The CII, Northern Region, saw the food and agri sector as key drivers of the economy, he said.

Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Mahindra and Mtr Gokul Patnaik, Chairman, Food and Agriculture Sub–Committee, CII (NR) gave away awards for displays at the various expositions at the fair. The first and second prize winners are as follows.

Agri Expo — 1. Rallis India 2. NRB Bearings; food expo — 1. Hindustan Lever 2. Blue Star; dairy expo — 1. Britannia New Zealand Foods 2. milkfed; farm tech — 1. Mahindra & Mahindra 2. HMT; poultry expo — 1. Venkateshwara Hatcheries 2. Tavsen Trade State and pavilions — 1. Uttaranchal 2. Haryana.


PEC, CSIO to play role in defence research
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Rapid yet silent strides are being made to integrate the research and technological strength of various defence and research establishments in the city and its surrounding areas. The Punjab Engineering College and the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) plus various other research and defence organisations will be part of this platform which is all set to transform the way intellectual property is being shared in government circles.

As a first step to check such lacunae 3 Base Repair Depot, 12 Wing, Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness, CSIO, Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited, PEC, and various other wings of the Defence Research and Development Organisations (DRDO) will participate in a high-level seminar on ‘‘Technological development in aeronautics and its impact on maintenance’’.

The Aeronautical Society of India, which is organising the seminar next year in the city, is a professional body devoted to the advancement of aeronautical sciences and engineering in India. It has more than 6000 members, drawn among from scientists, engineers, operators, government departments, armed forces, research and development organisations, corporates and manufacturers. The society propagates its aim and objectives through 14 branches spread over the entire country.

The idea is to replicate the experience of South India where Bangalore is emerging a major air centre. North India, despite having the largest operational area, lags behind in such technological inputs which are critical in a war situation and for operation of machines. Studies on various aircraft and their spares reveal a story of their own.

The objective of the seminar is to share the achievements in the ‘‘aero field’’ with the operators and to bridge the gap between designers, developers, manufacturers and users to derive maximum benefit out of the achievements of each organisation for national cause.

Technological achievements related to design, development, upgrades, life extensions, certification, induction of military aircraft, engines, missiles, avionics, flight controls, armaments, electronic warfare, unmanned aircraft, materials and other allied fields will be main topics of discussion at the seminar.

Among the points to be discussed would be the impact of technological growth on aircraft and equipment maintenance; software developments for military; operational needs of IAF in current war scenario and integrated approach to mission effectiveness.

Informing about the seminar, Mr R.P. Gupta, Regional Director, RCMA, said organisations and institutes like PEC, CSIO and other such research organisations would be involved. He pointed out that a lot of research work was taking place within each organisation but there was no system of an organised sharing of information. 


World Disability Day observed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
The World Disability Day was observed at the Prayaas Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped Children, Sector 38, here today. About 150 children from different organisations for the disabled took part in a function organised to observe the day.

Events, including painting, race and fancy-dress competitions were held. A poem-recitation contest was specially organised for hearing impaired children. Participants included students from Vatika Deaf and Dumb School, St Soldier International School, the Sadhna Institute for Mentally Retarded, YTTS, and the Institute for Blind. Competitions were held in different categories for mentally challanged, physically challanged and hearing impaired.

Dr B.N.S. Walia, in his presidential speech, applauded efforts of the organisers. Describing various facilities and therapies available for special children, he said parents played an important role in such children’s life and required training to handle their child’s disability. Prof Vidhu Mohan, honorary secretary, ICCW, welcomed the guest.

Following were declared winners of the contest: painting (age group 5 to 8 years) — Sudhanshu from Prayaas (I), Chhavi Kamboj from Prayaas (II) and Mahima Kaur from Prayaas (IV); (8 to 15 years) — Ashish Rathore from Prayaas (I), Suman Rani from Vatika (II), and Manish Jain from Prayaas (III).

Race (5 to 8 years) — Bhupinder from Vatika (I), Kuldeep from Vatika (II), and Akshay from Vatika (III); (8 years and above) — Jaspreet from Vatika (I), Sanjay from Vatika (II), and Manish from Prayaas (III).

Poem recitation (5 to 8 years) — Vasvi from Vatika (I), Sudhanshu from Prayaas (II), and Ekta from Vatika (III); (8 years and above) — Ashish from Prayaas (I), Manish from Prayaas (II), and Harinder from Prayaas (III).

Fancy dress (hearing impared) (3 to 5 years) — Priyanka Thakur (I), Palak (II) and Kamlesh Rani (III); (5 to 8 years) — Sudhanshu (I), Monica (II), and Tritika (III); (8 to 14 years) — Himani Sharma (I), Kalu Singh (II), and Manpreet (III).

Mentally challanged (below 5 years ) — Aditya; (5 to 8 years) — Dinesh (I), Meritya (II), and Nagina (III); (8 to 14 years) — Neha (I), Saurabh (II), and Lokesh (III).

Physically challanged (3 to 5 years) — Geetika; (5 to 8 years) — Sunam (I), Anurag (II) and Jaspreet (III).


Disabled experience joy of creation 
Tribune News Service

A student of The Institute of Blind, Sector 26, carves out the figure of Lieut-Gen J.F. R. Jacob (retd) out of clay
A student of The Institute of Blind, Sector 26, carves out the figure of Lieut-Gen J.F. R. Jacob (retd) out of clay during Anubhuti-2002, organised by the Government Museum, Sector 10, on the occasion of World Disability Day. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 3
For the 400 disabled children, who converged on the campus of Government Museum in Sector 10 to celebrate World Disability Day, the occasion literally turned out to be a special one. After being greeted by Home Secretary R.S. Gujral in the morning, the children went through a host of special activities conceived and created for them by the museum authorities. Many non-school going disabled children also participated in Anubhuti-2002, as the occasion was titled.

Among the activities were on-the-spot painting, clay modelling, sign language tour, photography tour, touch tour and potter’s wheel corner. The entire activity pan was overseen by the Director of the museum, Mr V.N. Singh, who informed that all the works of art created by children today would be exhibited by the museum in March, 2003.

This will be for the first time that such an activity will take place in the gallery of the museum. In March, about 300 works created this morning will be displayed in the museum gallery. Also, awards will be given to the children whose works have been adjudged as outstanding.

Participating in the joy of creative experience were students from the Institute for Blind, Sector 26, Lions School for the Deaf, Sector 18, Vatika School for Deaf, Sector 19-B, and Aasha School, Chandi Mandir. The Home Secretary took a round of all the corners where the children were busy in creative pursuit.

The works of following children were acknowledged: clay modelling — Narender, Pawzan, Drajinder, Dineshwar, Israil, Ankur, Rajest, Chattar, Halima and Kuljeet. In the category of on-the-spot painting, following will be awarded: Swaran Singh, Reena, Kamali, Sonia Saini, Niman Preet, Nishu Sharma, Vikram, Vinod Kumar, Rishi Rana.


Disabled children put up spirited show
Our Sports Reporter

Mentally challenged children display their medals
Mentally challenged children display their medals during North-West athletic meet organised to mark the World Disability Day at Sector 46 Sports Complex in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — Photo Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, December 3
The North-West athletics meet for mentally retarded children was held here today at the Sector 46 Sports Complex. The event was held to mark the World Disability Day. Teams from Pathankot, Ropar, Ludhiana, Panchkula, Delhi and Chandigarh took part in the meet.

The children showed their lively spirit and enthusiasm by participating in different events. These included races, jumps, throws etc. Mr G.K. Marwaha, Secretary, Social Welfare, was the chief guest. Prof B.S. Chavan, Joint Director, Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children, (GIMRC) welcomed the chief guest. Mr Marwaha stressed on the importance of such events and applauded efforts of the participants. “He also congratulated the GIMRC for organising such events.

The GIMRC won the athletics championship while second position went to Asha Awwa, Pathankot.

Gurpreet, Captain of the GIMRC cricket team, received the championship trophy for winning the North Zone cricket tournament last evening. The various other winners are, girls;8-12 yrs:100 m: Lovepreet; 200 m: Mary; softball throw; Lovely; 12-15 yrs-100 m: Honey; 200 m- Honey; Discus throw; Navjot; shot put- Rajinder; above-16 yrs: 100 m- Anu; shot put: Richa;

Boys:8-12 yrs: 100 m ; Ashish John; 200 m: Ashish John: discus throw: Abhinav; softball throw; Ashish; 12-15yrs;100 m-Randeep; discus throw: Vijay; long jump: Deepak Singh; above-16 yrs: 400 m :Jagtar; three km walk: Sidharth; shot put; Bijoy; Long jump: Gupreet Hosts St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, and St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, surged ahead in under-14 age group by winning the respective matches in the Emily Memorial Inter-School Basketball Tournament-2002 played here today.

Earlier, the five-day tournament was declared open by chairman of the school, Mr Andrew J. Gosain. The meet is being held in the memory of Ms Emily Gosain, founder of St Xavier’s School.

Today’s results: (under-19) — St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, b St Stephen’s School, Sector 45 (40-30); and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33 b Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary School, Sector 27, (26-22); under-14 — St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, b Guru Harkishan Public School, Sector 38, (18-12); St Xavier’s School b Government Model High School, Sector 26, (14-07); and St Stephen’s School, Sector 45 b MRA Senior Secondary School, Sector 27, (23-17).


Blankets for leprosy patients
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 3
As many as 40 blankets, 20 sweaters and 16 shawls were distributed to leprosy patients of Kusth Ashram, Mubarikpur, by the local unit of the All-India Human Rights Watch, near here, today to mark the World Disability Day.

Ms Arvinder Kaur, general secretary of the unit, said more than 40 leprosy patients, including women and children, had been residing in the ashram since 1986.

Mr Anil Kaushik, president of the All-India Human Rights Watch, who was the chief guest, distributed the items among the patients. He also criticised the government for not giving proper attention towards those suffering from leprosy.

He said the disease was curable and the patients should take medication instead of seeking mercy of others.

Among others who attended the function included Mr Tarsem Singh, president of Punjab unit of the organisation, Mr Dharam Singh of Haryana unit, Mr Ramgopal Walia of Panchkula unit, Mr Pradeep Swami of Chandigarh unit and Col S.S. Sandhu, president of Dera Bassi unit.


Rally to create AIDS awareness
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 3
Tableaux, focusing on different aspects of AIDS and how the disease is spread, were flagged off by the Health Secretary-cum-Project Director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS), Mr A. Didar Singh, here today.

The tableaux, prepared by NGOs working with the PSACS, started from the Civil Hospital in Phase VI. The vehicles were taken to various truck union offices and through the main markets.

The vehicle rally was aimed at spreading the message of “live and let live” and was part of the AIDS Awareness Week, which began on World AIDS Day (December 1). The main objective of the campaign is to ensure greater community participation and generate awareness on HIV/AIDS related issues.

The Secretary said there were 40 lakh HIV positive cases in the country with 40,000 of these being in Punjab. It was, therefore, important to create awareness to stop the spread of the disease. Functions were being held at district levels in this connection.

He said only by confronting stigma and discrimination would the fight against HIV/AIDS be won. It was the duty of the medical staff to look after those 40,000 people who were suffering from the disease. Only one had to adopt methods of treatment carefully. If proper precautions were taken the disease would not effect any staff member or the hospital.

Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services, said that the disease in 80 per cent of the HIV positive cases had been transmitted through sexual interaction. He said one had to protect himself from the anger of AIDS. There were four reasons that led to the spread of the disease and if people became more aware about this aspect, it would help in controlling the situation. he laid stress that blood, whenever needed, should only be taken from a licenced blood bank or from relative.

Dr Rana Harinder, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, said that people suffering from AIDS should not be socially boycotted.


Rotary against violence: Rattakul
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Rotary International is against all forms of violence and terrorism. Instead, it wants to promote peace and conflict resolution in all parts of the world.

These observations were made by Mr Bichai Rattakul, World President of Rotary International, during the course of an interaction here today. Mr Rattakul arrived here on a two-day visit to Chandigarh during which he addressed a largely attended meeting of Rotarians from the three Rotary Districts 3070, 3080 and 3090. He is scheduled to visit various projects undertaken by the local Rotary Clubs tomorrow before departure by the afternoon flight.

This is his third visit to Chandigarh and he is, therefore, no stranger to Chandigarh. “I love the city and Mr Raja Saboo, past World president of Rotary International who is like my younger brother. I am going to spend the night at his residence”, said Mr Rattakul.

A former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr Rattakul has remained a member of Parliament for nine terms since 1969 and as leader of the Democrat Party, he has served as Foreign Minister, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Parliament.

In reply to a question, Mr Rattakul acknowledged that there was a conflict zone in India in the form of Kashmir issue but it was a political problem and he did not see any role for Rotary International in this regard. He, however, recalled that when Rotarians from India and Pakistan gathered in Kuala Lumpur a couple of years ago, Mr Raja Saboo had brought the two sides together where it was decided to promote of exchange of visits and strengthen cultural ties.

He disclosed that to help prepare the next generation of diplomats and future leaders, Rotary had teamed with eight universities around the world to establish new centres focussed on peace and conduct and would annually award scholarships to promising leaders.

“Today, there are still far too few mediators who are experienced practitioners in conflict resolution. There is an urgent need to produce another generation of people who can play a mediating role in the future,” he said.

This programme was the most significant development in graduate work in conflict resolutions in decades. He said that the end of the Cold War had brought increased attention to conflicts currently raging throughout the world. Since 1945, over 100 million people had been either killed or seriously injured due to national and international struggles. There was a major shortage in trained mediators, who were an essential element of any peace process.

“Rotary World Peace scholarship supports students seeking a two-year master’s level degree at one of the Rotary centres for International studies. This inaugural class of 70 Rotary World Peace Scholars was selected from thousands of applicants worldwide. The scholars are from 32 countries and represent a wide range of occupations including lawyers, educators, diplomatic staff and former international peacekeeping soldiers.

The universities that have been chosen to host the Rotary centres are: Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; International Christian University, Tokyo; Institute of Political Institutes, Paris, Universidad del Savador, Buenos Aires; University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, University of California-Berkeley, California and University of Queensland, Brisbane. Later, addressing the special multi district meet of the Rotary at the Bhargava Auditorium at PGI, he expressed concern over the increase in the number of polio cases, especially in India and Nigeria. He called upon Rotarians to help in eradication of the disease by the year 2005, which had resurfaced in the recent years.


W. R. Rishi dead
Tribune News Service

Mr W.R. RishiChandigarh, December 3
Mr W.R. Rishi, founder President of the World Romani Congress, who devoted a lifetime to the study of the Roma people, the so-called Gypsies of Europe, Russia, Central and Middle Asia, died here yesterday morning. He was 87.

He is survived by two sons and a daughter. His wife, Mayawati, died last year while a son passed away two years ago. Both his surviving sons live in London.

The funeral procession will start from his residence house number 3290, Sector 15-D, Chandigarh, at 11.30 a.m. on December 5.

Mr Rishi was the author of the first ever Russian-Hindi dictionary with a forword by Jawaharlal Nehru and published by the Indian Sahitya Academy. He also wrote many other books on the Russian language and literature. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970 for his contribution in the field of linguistics.

He was given the Soviet Land Nehru Award for his book “India and Russia — Linguistic and Cultural Affinity”, copies of which were presented to the Russian President, Mr V.V. Putin, by the Prime Minister of India and also by the Russian Ambassador, Mr Alexander M. Kadakin, during Mr Putin’s visit to India in 2001.


Seminar on domestic workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Samaj Seva Kendra of the Catholic Church, Sector 19-A, organised a seminar on ‘Domestic Workers Movement’ and training programme for the domestic workers recently. Eighty workers employed in different houses in the city attended the training programme. These workers belonging to Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, had come to the city for employment.

Dr Amarjit Kaur, Head of the Department, Home Science, Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, was one of the resource persons.

Most of the girls (domestic workers) were working as baby sitters and 60 per cent of the girls were between the age group of 15 to 20 years. So Dr Amarjit Kaur gave them information about the care of new-born babies, breast feeding advantages, bottle feeding, methods of feeding and how to prepare feed in a hygienic manner. She also talked about the symptoms of pregnancy, physical care, medical care and need of medical examination during pregnancy.

since the employers demand a trained worker, the second session, therefore, was on food and nutrition by Mr S.K. Mehta from the Department of Food and Nutrition, Sector 23, Chandigarh. He demonstrated to the participants about how to prepare various nutritious dishes.

Mrs Monika, in charge, Domestic Workers Movement, plans to organise more such training programmes so as to train the workers successfully.


Hike in water charges: BJP files objections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The BJP yesterday formally filed objections to the hike in water charges before the Chandigarh Administration that had invited objections to draft water charges bylaws within 10 days of the notification.

BJP president Yashpal Mahajan, former BJP MP Satyapal Jain, councillor Kamla Sharma, general secretaries Purushottam Mahajan and Bal Kishan Kapoor in their objections filed before the Administrator have sought withdrawal of the hike in water charges.

The notification was issued on November 21. The BJP had pleaded that the residents of the city, mostly of colonies, were already over burdened due to the hike in power charges.



No S4 coach in Kalka-Jodhpur train!

The passengers who had got reservation in the Kalka-Jodhpur train from Kalka to Jodhpur had to face a lot of difficulty at Chandigarh railway station recently. When they did not find the coach — S 4 — in which they had reserved their berths in the train, they had to run hither and thither. Old and sick passengers had to face a lot of inconvenience when they were told that the S 4 coach had not been attached to the train. The affected passengers had to board the train without seats or berths for themselves.

The Station Master did not bother to display any notice in the railway station informing the passengers about the position. Nor was any announcement made in the public address system in this regard. The station staff did not bother to guide the passengers. Of course, the stranded passengers were told that a coach would be attached at the next station.

The affected passengers are now contemplating to approach the Consumer Court against the railway authorities for providing faulty services and for the undue hardship they had to undergo. The senior railway officials of Ambala Division and the Northern Railway Headquarters in New Delhi are also requested to take action against those employees responsible for the inconvenience caused to the passengers.


Officer on Special Duty & Deputy Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister

Incorrect report

The report “Builders face residents ire” (The Tribune, Oct 28) is factually incorrect. The Industrial Cables (I) Ltd has never forced the residents to purchase parking areas. The residents of the Ivory Towers have voluntarily purchased covered parkings for the safety and security of their vehicles.

The company has earmarked enough open space for the vehicles of those residents who did not purchase covered parking. There is enough free parking space in the open for the benefit of those who have not purchased covered car parking. As regards the community hall, no one has ever made such a promise to us while purchasing the flats.

SAS Nagar

Corruption in Punjab

I am an NRI and was on a short trip to India for some important jobs. I read through newspapers that corruption is being rooted out from Punjab, but I would like to share my experience with your esteemed readers of The Tribune.

I went to Mohali Tehsil for registration of power of attorney of my house to my brother-in-law. We got all the documents ready as required, but the Tehsildar refused to sign the necessary papers on the plea that this tantamounts to giving the power to sell the house. I was told to remove the clause. But I asked him many times why should I do so. Moreover, I said as it’s my house, I can give any power in this regard to whosoever I want, and that’s the only thing I want him to do in my absence. I was harassed by the authorities, apparently in anticipation of some bribe to get my work done. They have their touts who just negotiate with you and get the work done. I asked him what was to be done, but he did not talk even properly as he was smelling some money in his pocket.

Ultimately, a tout approached us and demanded money for the work. Once we said okay, the same tehsildar signed the documents without raising any question. Obviously, these people have no character; they will do anything to make money. This is how they cheat people.

Amazingly, in our government offices, there is no one to guide or help us on how we can file a complaint against corrupt officials. I had gone through all the pages of the Punjab Government’s website but I did not get any information about this.

I suggest massive general awareness among the people on these corrupt practices; phones should keep ringing at all places if any citizen is harassed by the officials. It is a shame that there is no information available on whom to contact in such a situation.

I feel little relaxed after having shared my bitter experience with the readers of The Tribune. I request the readers to expose these abnormalities in the system so that our leaders would open their eyes and rectify the functional drawbacks.

(On e-mail)


Rape victim dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Two persons died in two separate incidents in the city today. According to information, a pregnant 16-year-old girl, who was admitted to the PGI with 90 per cent burns yesterday, died today.

The girl had yesterday set herself ablaze. In her statement before the magistrate, she had said that she had tried to commit suicide after being raped two times by a person with whom she was employed at a handloom shop in Mani Majra. She had said the youth, Sonu, had refused to marry her and had threatened to kill her if she told her parents about the pregnancy.

The police had registered a case of rape and threatening for life against Sonu. The suspect is on the run. Meanwhile, after the autopsy of the girl, a blood sample of the foetus in the victim’s womb was sent for DNA sampling to establish the statement of the girl.

In another case, 20-year-old Jasbir Singh, who was admitted to the PGI with multiple injuries after falling from a roof top, died today. He was referred to the PGI from Sector 32 GMCH after he fell when a fibre glass roof top caved in. He along with his father Harbans Singh, both residents of Sector 19, and another person was replacing the fibre glass roof top at unit (No. 185) manufacturing steel pipes when the incident took place. The police has registered a case against the owner of the unit, Mr Kashmiri Lal. 


One more ‘car thief’ arrested 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The police has arrested yet another member of the inter-state gang of car theives, which was busted last week. The accused, Vikas, has been arrested by a team led by DSP Desh Bandhu.

Earlier, three members of the gang — Sarit, Himanshu and Mohan, were arrested from near Sector 16 and remanded in police custody. A large number of luxury cars have been recovered from this gang and the police is expected to recover more cars.

This gang was involved in stealing luxury cars and then selling them after preparing forged registration papers, at a lower price. The gang was active in Delhi, Panchkula and Chandigarh. A case under Sections 379, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B, IPC, was registered against them.

During interrogation, the accused confessed to have stolen various luxury cars from this region and selling them in Delhi and those stolen from Delhi were sold off here. These persons were presented before a local court and remanded in police custody till December 7.

Bail granted: A local court today granted bail to all five accused in the attempt to loot Sector 5 petrol pump here yesterday. The accused- Bony, Jayant Kaushal, Varinder Rana, Pradeep Kumar and Rahul, were presented before the JMIC Mr P.K. Yadav, and were granted bail .

Burglary: Gold ornaments, Rs 1000 and other valuables were reportedly stolen from the house of Mr Sheesh Pal in Railley village yesterday. A case under Section 454 and 380, IPC, has been registered.

One held: The police has arrested Amit Kumar on charges of eve teasing in Sector 15 last night. A case under Section 294, IPC, has been registered.

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