Thursday, December 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Breakthrough in burglary cases, 10 arrested
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh\SAS Nagar December 25
The joint operations by the police of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar seemed to have worked this evening as the police claimed to arrest 10 persons who were part of a 12-member gang involved in the recent serial burglaries in the city and SAS Nagar. More arrests are likely to follow. The gang is said to have been operating for the past six months.

With the arrests, the police also claimed to have solved at least 12 cases of burglaries in Chandigarh and 15 such cases in SAS Nagar. A country-made pistol, four cartridges besides knives and iron rods have been also recovered from them. Besides, these other tools believed to be used in the burglaries have been recovered from their possession. As per police sources, the arrested persons, all in their early twenties, were part of the 12-member gang.

The persons who have been arrested are migrants from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, working as waiters in catering teams of various restaurants and hotels. According to sources in the Chandigarh Police, those arrested have been identified as Ram Chander of Sector 52, Rakesh, Vikas, Murari of Nehru Colony and Vicky of Hallomajra village.

The SAS Nagar police has also arrested five persons from the vicinity of the Leisure Valley, near the YPS chowk, in SAS Nagar. According to the SAS Nagar SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, those arrested are: Pramod, Vinod, both residents of Palsora, Babli of Khatri village, UP, Deepak, a resident of Sector 52, and Rocky. While, a sixth member of the gang, Ajay Kumar managed to escape. He also informed that the gang was responsible for burglary that took place in Sital Department Store in Phase IIIB-2 on December 16. The accused have also admitted to having committed 10-15 thefts and burglaries in SAS Nagar alone.

The SP added that the six were planning a major burglary in SAS Nagar when they were nabbed.

About the modus-operandi of the burglars, the police sources said they used to assemble after night shows of various cinema halls and commit thefts. At times they used to commit the burglaries after returning from their respective jobs.

Stung by the recent spate of burglaries, the UT and SAS Nagar police decided on December 17 to launch a combined combing operation and also carry out joint patrolling. Subsequently, four police teams consisting of personnel from both the forces were formed.

Besides the combing operations, the teams were also keeping a check at the night shows in various cinema halls. The police was also keeping an eye on former convicts.


A day of Santa, cakes & celebrations
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, December 25
Christmas trees and candles were not enough. Parties yes, but all were not invited. Little wonder then that something more was required for celebrating the occasion. That’s the reason why the residents made a beeline for shops selling Christmas cakes.

As the day progressed, they rushed to the cake and pastry shops in Sectors 35, 22, 11, 10 and 8 to buy the “delicacies”. Rum cakes and muffins were a passe. Ones with special chocolate toppings were much in demand. Inside the shops, the residents could be seen looking at the special cakes placed strategically on the glass shelves. The prices no doubt were high, but then no one seemed to mind.

The confectioners too had made special arrangements for Christmas. Cheerful balloons were taped to the decked up walls, along with plastic bells and Santa cut-outs.

This was not all. Twinkling silver and golden stars — were what the residents saw through-out the day hanging on nice, alluring Christmas trees as tall as eight feet at some places.

In markets, Santas waved excitedly at the shoppers. Visitors to Sector 10 market witnessed at least seven or eight Santas travelling on rickshaws, instead of their sleigh.

Interestingly, it was not just the markets falling on the geri route in the posh northern sectors that had “trees, bearing stars instead of fruits”, along with other decorations. Even shops in Sectors 20, 29 and 30, besides 45 and 46 were well stocked with Christmas gifts. “That’s the reason why you saw green synthetic trees instead of just flower pots and nighsuits hanging from rusted iron stands,” businessman Ramesh Talwar commented.

To an outsider coming to the city for the first time, it appeared that the city had a substantial number of Christians. The excitement in the air bore a testimony to the fact. Little did they realise that Christmas fever had gripped the entire city regardless of faith and religion.

Youngsters in Chandigarh need opportunities to celebrate occasion, be it Divali, St Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, or even Halloween,” said socio-psychologist Nidhi. “Moreover, the parents here are also encouraging. They inspire their little ones to celebrate all festivals. In the process they not only allow them to be a part of the elite crowd, but also show how modern they are in their approach”.

Whatever be the reason, in Sector 11, car after car stopped in front of cards-and-gift shops for purchasing trees and other decorations. The occupants could be seen pulling out hard cash from their pockets before asking the helpers to carry the stuff for placing it in gently on the back seat of the vehicles.

Trees were not the only stuff the residents were looking for. Willingly they took out money for buying the decorations also, including red ribbons, colourful fairy lights, besides bells with chains attached and small gift boxes. Major attraction was, however, the electronic Santa that had arrived in city all the way from China via Mumbai last month.


Festive spirit marks Christmas
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 25
The city celebrated Christmas with religious fervour and enthusiasm here today. Midnight mass were, held at churches throughout the city. Christmas cakes and tea were served to those who attended the mass.

Bishop of Chandigarh, Dr Javed Massey, in his message said God had sent Jesus for the salvation of mankind irrespective of colour, creed, religion and faith.

Holy Communion was served to all community members. Rev Fazal Masih assisted the Bishop. Prizes were distributed among carol participants and children who took part in games.

Rev Fazal Masih preached the word of God during the midnight mass and the programme concluded with last prayer and benediction by the Rt Rev Dr Javed Massey.

PAEDIATRIC CENTRE: The cancer patients at the PGI Paediatric Centre got a pleasant surprise when volunteers of a local NGO, “Sahayata “, came in singing Christmas carols to wish them.

Distributing sweets, stuffed toys and gifts to the children, the volunteers brought a smile on the face of the children. The Sahayata volunteers said they visited the Paediatrics, Oncology and Radiotherapy departments regularly and their orgnisation had been sponsoring the treatment of cancer patients.

Apart from spending time with the 20 children admitted to the Cancer Ward at the Advanced Paediatric Centre (APC), they went to other wards.


CHUNMUN CLUB: The Chunmun Club celebrated Christmas by distributing gifts among children in Ambala Sadar today. The club director, Mr Ashok Sharma, said a procession led by Santa Claus started from Vijay Ratan Chowk and a number of gifts, including chocolates, biscuits, toffees, baloons and sweets, were distributed among the children in the area. The procession culminated in Subzi Mandi.

Among others, Roop Pal, Sunil Goel, Arvind Aggarwal, Monika Sharma, Kanupriya, Muskan, Sunakshi, Meenakshi, Simran, Saloni, Divya, Chetna, Suresh Trehan and Shubhi were present.


CAREER ACADEMY: Career Academy School situated on the Bhadson road and Government Senior Secondary School, Lachkani, celebrated Christmas.

Students of Career Academy were told about the importance of Christmas by Father F. Loudoswamy. The Principal, Mr Kamal A.D. Singh, also spoke.

Scouts of Government Senior Secondary School participated in a prayer. The Principal, Ms Veena Behl, spoke on the occasion.

NARAIN PUBLIC SCHOOL: Narain Public School organised a cultural function on the eve of Christmas. The vice-president of the school, Ms Tejinder Kaur, stressed the need to celebrate important functions of different religions so as to create a feeling of oneness among the students.


GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH: Good Shepherd Church celebrated Christmas with fervour at Bal Bhavan here today. A drama was presented by the children who also sang carols. Balbir Sufi, Punjabi folk singer, enchanted the audience with his songs. Christmas service was conducted by pastor Vijay Kumar.

Students of Dashmesh Preparatory School in Phase 3B1 organised Christmas Day celebrations in the school here today. Santa Claus distributed sweets to the children and two children were given the best couple award. The children also sang Christmas carols and songs.


Christmas celebrated with fervour
Tribune Reporters and Agencies

SHIMLA: Christmas was celebrated with religious fervour and enthusiasm in Himachal Pradesh. In Shimla, people braving chilly weather, celebrated Christmas in the absence of snowfall. A large number of tourists thronged the capital town which has been given a facelift for the occasion. The Governor, Mr Suraj Bhan, and the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, extended greetings to the people, especially the Christians.

AMRITSAR: Students of Citizens Forum Vidya Mandir, a school for children of drug victims, got a unique opportunity to celebrate the Christmas eve when they were taken to a local farmhouse on the outskirts of the city by the Rotary Club, Civil Lines, which adopted the school a few months ago.

BATALA: Christmas was celebrated with great enthusiasm in churches here. The priest at the church of Baring Union Christian College here, Mr R.M. Choudhary, led the prayers along with staff members of the college.

HOSHIARPUR: Christmas was celebrated with great-enthusiasm at Mona Memorial Church here. Christians offered prayers at the church. Members of the Inner Wheel Club, Hoshiarpur, led by its president Mrs Madhu Sud, celebrated Christmas in a unique way. They went to the jhuggies on Old Bharwain Road and distributed sweaters to the poor.

PHILLAUR: The Punjab Social Welfare and Social Justice Minister, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, visited Kushat Ashram here and cut a Christmas cake. He donated Rs 1 lakh for the construction of rooms in the ashram. Later, Chaudhary Santokh Singh visited the Phillaur church and greeted Christians. He announced Rs 50,000 for the construction of pastor rooms in the church.

JALANDHAR: Christmas was celebrated with fervour at the St Mary’s chruch in the cantonment area. Thousands of Christians thronged the church and offered prayers. Children, clad in beautiful dresses, visited different stalls put up outside the church complex. Bishop Simphorian Keeprath urged the people to follow the path of peace shown by Jesus Christ.


White Xmas eludes revellers
Amritsar wettest in region

Chandigarh, December 25
Light to moderate rains notwithstanding, the weather god belied the hopes of traditional white Christmas today as Amritsar border district in Punjab turned out to be the wettest place receiving 14.8 mm rains in the past 24 hours.

A large number of holiday-makers thronging Shimla and other stations in HP to enjoy snowfall were a disappointed lot. Despite forecasts, there was no snowfall in and around Shimla in the past 24 hours. Kufri slopes and Narkanda, beyond Shimla, however, had a brief spell of first snowfall late last evening.

Chandigarh, Mohali (Punjab) and Panchkula (Haryana) received 0.4 mm rains. As the sun shone brightly today, the day temperature rose to 22.6°C, one degree above normal and against yesterday’s 17.4°C.

Amrtisar received 14.8 mm rains, the highest in the plains followed by Nangal Dam (5.4 mm), Patiala (2.9 mm), Ludhiana (2.00 mm). Amritsar today had the maximum temperature of 19°C while Ludhiana and Patiala reported the highs of 20.8°C and 21.9°C, respectively.

Rohtak (5.6 mm), Ambala (0.7 mm) and Hisar (0.5 mm) in Haryana reported rains. Hisar had a high of 19.3°C while Ambala stood at 22.6°C.

Safdarjung((3.8 mm) and Palam (3.2 mm) received rains yesterday, breaking the prolonged dry spell for the Delhiites.

People in and around Shimla, after braving icy winds under an overcast sky yesterday, today basked in the sun, which shone brightly. The minimum temperature in and around the state capital town last night had plummeted to 2.7°C, one degree below normal.

However, northern reaches of the Himalayas were experiencing fresh spells of snowfall for the third day today. Weathermen here have forecast isolated light to moderate rains over higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, besides overcast conditions in the rest of the region over the next 48 hours.

Kahu, Nadaun, Guler, Nagrota Suria, Gamrur, in the catchment of the Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh reported having received 0.5 mm to 1.2 mm rains. Solang Nullah and Dhundi received 1 cm and 6 cm snowfall in the past 24 hours.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, reported a low of 2.5°C following 2 mm rains in the past 24 hours. Jammu, the winter capital, recorded 8 mm rains. UNI


AICC secretary to visit city
Decision for mayoral candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The All-India Congress Committee secretary Satyajit Gaekwad will consult party members and councillors this week for deciding the mayoral candidate of the party for the January 1 annual elections.

The last date for filing the nomination papers for Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor is December 28. The secretary is likely to visit the city on December 26.

He will first hold a meeting of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee and then separately with councillors to ascertain their views as to who should be the party candidate.

The Congress circles indicate that the leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla is a front-runner for the candidature to the post. However, groups identified with former Indian Youth Congress president Manish Tiwari and former Union Minister Vinod Sharma may not leave the candidature of Mr Chawla uncontested at the party forum.

A Sharma follower Kuldeep Singh may be given the Senior Deputy Mayor’s post and an SC councillor, Ms Geeta Chaudhary, may be made the Deputy Mayor, sources said.

The number of councillors with these groups, going by group identities, are not sufficient enough to force a candidate from an individual group. Local MP Pawan Bansal who has a substantial number of councillors in the Municipal Corporation can tilt the balance in favour of any candidate.

Mr Bansal, when asked who could be the party candidate, declined to comment, saying it had to be decided through a procedure in the meetings of the AICC observers.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee President Mr B. B. Bahl said none of the councillors had yet staked claim for the post. Mr Chawla’s candidature is likely to be opposed by Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, who is also being considered a candidate in the party circles. Mr Sharma had been kept out of important committees in the municipal corporation and had performed as a “delivering” councillor in his ward.

There had also been moves in the corporation to blame Mr Chawla and road committee chairman Pardeep Chhabra from within the party for slow development in certain wards. The corporation work had almost come to a standstill in the entire city for the past couple of months due to shortage of funds. Mr Chawla had to bear the brunt for being close to Mayor Lalit Joshi, who reportedly takes the leader of the Congress’ advice very seriously. Mr Chawla’s claim has, however, got strength due to a possible attempt by the BJP to play the Modi card in the city.

The leader of the Congress has also been able to effect a virtual split in the Chandigarh Vikas Manch with the expulsion of the CVM general secretary Devinder Singh Babla and Vijay Rana. Mr Babla’s wife Harpreet Kaur is a councillor.

Mr Chawla, as a member of the Finance and Contract Committee, has proved to be a major check on officials in conjunction with Mr P. C. Sanghi and has finally made the corporation councillor centric instead of bureaucracy-driven.


Mumbai pros to train NCC cadets
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
In a novel method to break the “jinx” of poor performance of cadets from the region at the annual Republic Day Camp (RDC) in New Delhi, the National Cadet Corps has roped in professionals from Bollywood to coach cadets in the finer aspects of stage performance and cultural activities. Besides, creator of the Rock Garden Nek Chand is also helping the cadets to create the theme for an impressive “line area” display.

A total of 126 cadets, including 34 girls from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate have been selected to represent the directorate at the RDC next month.

“This is for the first time that this directorate has brought in professional artistes to coach cadets,” said Lt Col B.P.S. Cheema, the contingent commander. “With about 1,800 cadets from all over India converging on the camp, the competition in every sphere is very tough. In the past, the performance of this directorate has left a lot to be desired,” he added.

Among those currently here to coach the cadets is Vijay Giri, episode director of noted tele-serials “Kutumb”, “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bhau Thi”, “Kusum”. Giri has also worked as an assistant director in Bollywood films like “Mohabbat” and “Ishq”.

The NCC officers here had approached the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, in search of choreographers and music directors after learning that some other directorates too were training under professional guidance. The Mumbai group had, for example, roped in noted Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan for composing its cultural routine, while Tamil cinema icon S. Ramesh Kumar is guiding cadets from the southern state.

Cadets selected for cultural activities spend 8-10 hours a day at rehearsals, which often run late into the night. Besides traditional songs and folk dances, a special presentation depicting the culture and heritage of the three states has also been prepared under the guidance of experts.

To design the “line area” display, a highly artistic and fiercely competitive arena, inputs and materials provided by Nek Chand are being used. The theme is to depict the three states as agricultural states. Nek Chand has provided the cadets with a number of figurines of birds, animals and people as well as models of items commonly found in a village for the purpose. “It is surprising that no one had earlier thought of approaching Nek Chand for assistance,” an NCC officer here commented.

“This time we are aspiring to come up among the first five directorates. The general perception is that cadets from this region are not well disciplined or fully prepared for various competitions. We are hoping to change all that and set a precedent for the following years,” Colonel Cheema remarked. “The cadets have the ability and the ambition to perform well, but lack of support and incentives from the state government proves to be a damper,” he added.


When kin keep patients alive
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
If you happen to be the attendant of a patient admitted to the PGI Emergency, you can be in for a rude shock when, in the absence of a ventilator machine, you will be expected to pump the ambu bag to help your loved one breathe besides doing other odd tasks like putting in the food pipe.

Though majority of the patients brought to the PGI are in critical state, it is surprising that the life support system here is in shambles. “With not even a single ventilator in the Neurosurgery Ward at the PGI Emergency, we have to sit and pump the ambu bags in turns to help our patient breathe, even though critically ill,” remarks the attendant of a 25-year-old patient who underwent head surgery a few days back.

The situation is no different in other wards of the PGI Emergency. One can see a number of attendants pumping the ambu bags, an art taught to them by the nurses, who too are helpless since in certain wards four of them have to attend to 80 patients. “Instead of jeopardising the patient’s life due to shortage of staff, it is better that we teach the attendants to manage these small jobs,” admits a nurse posted at the PGI Emergency.

The PGI authorities, while claiming that a ventilator is immediately repaired as soon as it stops working, said a total of 60 ventilators were being used in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and other recovery areas of the hospital. On the contrary, PGI staff at the emergency said some of the ventilators had been lying out of order for the past several months, leading to its acute shortage. As such they are left with no option but to depend on ambu bags, which the PGI justifies by saying that it is an alternative used all over the world for ventilatory support.

Moreover, the attendants whose patients have been in the hospital for some time are even expected to change the food pipe of their patients. An attendant, whose wife has been undergoing treatment for brain tumor for the past six months at the PGI, says with a handful of nurses, he is compelled to undertake the task of changing the food pipe of his wife.

Doctors, while admitting that there is a shortage of ventilators in practically all of the hospitals, say the situation at the PGI is bad as repair of the faulty ventilators is not undertaken regularly. They agree that making the attendant of a patient to pump an ambu bag could prove to be serious for the life of the patient, but express their helplessness owing to limited staff.


Ravi’s arrest changed the image of judiciary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
It was on an evening in March when a ghost caller informed reporters about the “picking up” of Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu by the Punjab Vigilance Department from his residence in Sector 39. At that moment, no one could have envisaged that his arrest would trigger a series of events that would alter the image of judiciary and bring to the fore the role of media in generating public opinion on sensitive issues.


* March 25: Case is registered against PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.
* May 3: Mr Justice K.S. Garewal puts a stop to information flow in the case by a summary order on a petition filed by Sidhu.
* May 6: Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association members launch an attack on judicial aberrations.
* May 23: Lawyers are informed about a letter to Bar Association President by the then Chief Justice stating that he had taken up an inquiry into the reports published in the newspapers, casting aspersions on sitting Judges.
* June 29: Work was ordered to be withdrawn from three Judges by the Chief Justice.
* August 27: Work is restored to Judges.
* August 29: `Tribune Special’ report reveals that the final inquiry report has been submitted by the then High Court Chief Justice to the Chief Justice of India.
* December: Confusion ends with then Chief Justice of India clarifying that one of the Judges had been “exonerated”, other had been warned, while the third Judge had proceeded on leave. 

In less than two months after his arrest, Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court put a stop to information flow in the case by a summary order on a petition filed by Sidhu.

Taking up his petition seeking directions for holding an independent inquiry into the unauthorised, premature and selective disclosure to the media regarding the material collected by the investigating agency, Mr Justice Garewal had “completely prohibited” the state of Punjab, the investigating agency and other respondents from disclosing the details of the statements and confessions of the accused, besides the contents of the case diaries.

Mr Justice Garewal had ruled: “It is in the interest of fair and impartial investigation, besides trial, that the respondents are completely prohibited from disclosing the contents of the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or the contents of the statements and confessions, if any, recorded under Section 172 of the Code”.

Soon after the orders were passed in May, The Tribune came out with a front page editorial “No, My Lord” on people’s right to information, freedom of the press to disseminate information and the need for transparency in the conduct of investigation in the sordid affairs of PPSC.

Hours after the editorial appeared, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association launched an attack on judicial aberrations. In a meeting, agitated association members resolved to meet the then High Court Chief Justice, Mr Arun B. Saharya, for conducting an inquiry into the allegations against certain judges reportedly involved in the scam.

The advocates also resolved to ask the then Chief Justice to withdraw work from the Judges whose names had surfaced during the investigation. They passed another resolution to challenge the orders of Mr Justice Garewal. Transfer of local Judges was also sought. The Vigilance Bureau would also be requested to disclose the names of the Judges so that they could be passed on to the press, they further resolved. The association members also unanimously passed a resolution appreciating The Tribune’s efforts.

Subsequently another editorial “Do respond, My Lords!” appeared in the print. The Tribune also became the first newspaper to name the Judges. More meetings followed. The authorities reacted. Association members were asked by the then Chief Justice for evidence regarding the involvement of Judges in the scam. Inquiry into the allegations was initiated soon after by the then Chief Justice.

It was only later that the readers came to know from The Tribune that the inquiry into the reported involvement of the Judges had been initiated on the instructions of the Chief Justice of India in May itself as the matter was grave in nature and credibility, besides the honour of judiciary, was at stake.

On June 29, work was ordered to be withdrawn from three Judges by the Chief Justice. Meanwhile, in another meeting, the association members accused the Punjab government of pushing the PPSC recruitment scandal under the carpet of secrecy and demanded that the officers transferred out of the intelligence wing should be shifted back immediately. They added that the officers, honest to the core, were transferred soon after they provided “relevant material” to the then Chief Justice which facilitated him to take action against the Judges.

Even as the meetings were being held, city advocate, Dr Surya Prakash, filed a petition challenging the withdrawal of work from the Judges. He claimed that the “Chief Justice of a High Court or the Supreme Court had not been empowered by any provision of the Constitution, any Act or Rule in existence to conduct an inquiry into alleged misbehavior by the High Court Judges and punish him by way of withdrawal of work resulting into a dent on the independence of judiciary”.

A few days before the case was to come up for hearing, the then Chief Justice announced the restoration of work. In just over 24 hours after the work was restored, the Bar Association unanimously resolved to boycott the court of the Chief Justice. The decision was reversed on September 6 only after The Tribune, in an exclusive report dated August 29, revealed that final inquiry report had been submitted by Justice Saharya to the Chief Justice of India.

Before calling off the boycott, the members, in a requisition, quoted another editorial which appeared on page one of The Tribune on September 1 stating that “image and credibility of the judiciary was at stake and a lot depended on how the CJI reacts and acts keeping in view the fact that in a democratic system, institutions are bigger than individuals”.

Then in December all kinds of rumours, regarding the action by the then Chief Justice of India G.B. Pattaniak, started doing the rounds. The confusion came to and end with Justice Pattaniaik clarifying that one of the Judges had been “exonerated”, another had been warned, while the third Judge had proceeded on leave.


RUN-UP TO MC POLL: WARD NO 29, 30 & 31
Residents pin hopes on candidates
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 25
The 10,000 odd residents of Sectors 3, 21-28, Devi Nagar, Azad Colony, Mattu Ram Colony, Maheshpur and Nadda Sahib, in Ward No. 29, 30 and 31, hope that their representative to the Municipal Council will ensure a veterinary clinic for their animals, public toilets near the slum colonies and help improve the condition of roads.

The voters of Ward No 29, (Sector 3, Devi Nagar, Azad Colony and Mattu Ram Colony) Ward No 30 (Sector 21, village Maheshpur, Madrasi Colony) and Ward No. 31 ( Sector 22- 28, Nadda Sahib and Jai Sanghpura ( H. No 1- 131) say that other than ensuring proper and clean water supply, sanitation and proper drainage facilities will be the main issue for these elections.

Residents of these wards, especially those of Sector 21, 25, 26 and 27, mainly Panchkula Extension, feel that they are being treated as poor country cousins of the rest of the township. Development activities — be it repair of roads, the removal of Congress grass, regular removal of garbage or maintenance of streetlighting, are often ignored by the authorities.

All these three wards are reserved wards-with Ward 29 reserved for Scheduled Caste category, Ward No 30 reserved for women and Ward No. 31 being reserved for Backward Class category. 


Partnerless party boys at sea
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Forlorn eyes of city guys, filled with mortification, searched the horizons of their lives for “part-time affection” outside the discotheques and night clubs, in vain. The reason behind their anxiety was not hard to find. In the absence of “dancing queens”, Christmas parties were “simply out of bounds” for the “have-nots” of the world.

They had managed to “beg borrow or steal” the “much desired” invitation cards with “strictly for couples” neatly printed at the bottom from “influential relatives”, even from DJ friends. Choreographers and fashion designers were also approached.

Little wonder, the young enthusiasts were all excited about the afternoon bash. Had woken up early and shaved real hard for the occasion with special “imported” gel before applying moisturising lotion.

Clad in cheerful bicep-revealing T-shirts over torn-at-knee denims faded with much care and affection, they had reached the venue much before the scheduled time “to go boldly where no man had gone before, alone”. Had forgotten all about the baton-yielding hunks posted at the decked up entrances, looking for the cards, and the partners.

They tried their best. Requested the guards, coaxed them, even tried to bribe them. Nothing worked. Disappointed, but not defeated, they started looking for partners-in-rhyme. Silent minutes boisterously rolled by. They shifted weight from one leg to another till the party crowd began to surface.

Claiming to be “helpless victims of uncompassionate creation”, they approached pretty damsels, with peroxide blond tresses, in glittering tank tops over minis with twin tantalizing slits on either sides, as soon as they descended from their jaunty jalopies. Issued a fervent appeal. Pleaded. Were rejected by Belindas of 2002. Undeterred, they moved on, hunting for willing preys.

As the thumping beats of rhythmic music escaped the closed doors of the discotheques, they cursed their luck. Standing in the parking lots with their backs resting against the stranded cars, they ultimately tore the invitation cards before throwing them up in the air.

“This is nothing but discrimination on the basis of sex,” under-grad Rahul commented in an agitated voice. “The gals can enter the clubs and discotheques without guys, we are not allowed to go in. This is not all. The guards also make it a point to act rudely. Just because we are unhooked, should everyone be looking down upon us?”


Human rights workshop
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 25
The local unit of the All-India Human Rights Watch will organise a workshop at Mahavir Complex in Zirakpur on Saturday.

Ms Arvinder Kaur, general secretary of the unit, said various topics, including the rights of women, soldiers, students, doctors and patients, apart from functioning of the Human Rights Commission, would be taken up.

Mr Anil Kaushik, chairman of the organisation, will address the meeting.


Video camera stolen from car
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 25
During the past 24-hours two cases of thefts from cars have been reported.

Lt. Cdr. U.S Thakhur, Naval Unit, NCC CPC Hostel No 2, Sector 6, reported with the police that a video camera and a bag had been stolen from his car that was parked in Sector 17 yesterday.

A resident of Shimla reported that a blanket, clothes, his identity card and Rs 3,000 had been stolen from his car yesterday. The alleged theft took place in a Sector 22 parking lot. The police has registered two cases of theft under Section 379 of the IPC.

Accidents: The police has also registered two cases of rash driving and causing hurt under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

As per sources, Mr Ashok Arora, a resident of Sector 55, was injured and admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, allegedly after the scooter he was riding was hit by a car near Kajheri village here.

An auto-rickshaw driver, Mr Manvir Singh Rawal was injured after his rickshaw was hit by a Maruti Gypsy near Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat here yesterday. Mr Rawal, who is a resident of Kansal village, Ropar district, was taken to General Hospital, Sector 16, after the accident.

The accused drivers in both the cases fled from the spot after the accident.

Held: The police has arrested Rajinder Parshad of Sanjay Colony, Industrial Area, Phase I, from Sector 28C allegedly for carrying liquor. Two residents — Suresh Kumar and Jaspal Singh, were arrested allegedly for consuming liquor at a public place in Burail village.

Locks broken: Mr J.S Anand of Toor Kang Associates, SCO No. 447-48, Sector 35C, has alleged that some persons trespassed into his shop after breaking locks here yesterday morning. He further alleged that ‘‘his shop’’ had been ransacked. The police has been informed but no case was registered till the filing of this report.


Body found: The police found a body in the Ghaggar, near Ambala city, on Wednesday. The police has sent the body to the Local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination. OC

Man killed: One person was killed in a road accident on the G.T. Road near Ambala City on Tuesday. The deceased has been identified as Krishan Lal of Panjokhra village. He was running a dry-cleaning shop in the city. On Tuesday evening, when he was on way to his village on his scooter, a Tata-407 vehicle hit him and he sustained serious injuries. The driver fled from the scene. Two passers-by of Patrehri village took him to the local Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The police has registered a case in this regard.

Car stolen: A car was stolen from Anaj Mandi in Ambala Cantonment on Tuesday evening. Mr Nitin Rastogi, in his complaint lodged with the police, said he had parked his car at Anaj Mandi and went to meet somebody. When he came back, he found that his car was missing. The police has registered a case.

Arrested: The Mulana police has arrested a satta operator, Jai Ram, near Kesri railway station and seized Rs 540 from his possession. In another case, the city police booked Inder Raj for satta operation in Ambala City.


Four arrested: In an alleged case of molestation of a woman, four residents of Tofanpur village — two brother-in-laws and two nephews of the women — were booked by the Lalru police here on Wednesday.

In her complaint, the woman had alleged that her brothers-in-laws — Gurcharan Singh and Karam Chand — along with her cousins — Dilwar Singh and Sukhpal Singh — had barged into her house on Monday afternoon and tried to outrage her modesty while she was alone.

On her complaint, a case under Sections 354 and 452 of the IPC has been registered against the four but no arrest has been made so far.

Denying the allegation, the four said the woman had implicated them in a false case due to some rivalry.

Two held: Two residents, including a former sarpanch of Jaroth village, have been arrested by the police in connection with a clash between two groups over a piece of land at the villages a week ago.

Sources in the police said former sarpanch Jaipal Singh and Ram Karan had been arrested for rioting.

On a complaint of the other group, a case under Sections 324, 379, 506, 148 and 148 of the IPC was registered against the accused some day ago.


Booked: The police has registered a case of rape and criminal conspiracy against three residents of Chandigarh — Narinder Pal Singh, Manu Bajaj and Sukhwinder Singh Bajwa, here yesterday. As per a press note issued by the Panchkula police today, a Sector 5 resident had earlier complained to the police that the accused had trespassed into her house and assaulted her. However, after investigations it was revealed that the three had allegedly raped the woman and had also threatened to kill her. On December 19, a case under the Sections 452, 323 and 506 was registered against the three on complaint of the woman.

Arrested: The police has arrested Mahinder Singh, Phool Chand, Baljeet and Surinder Kumar of Garhi Kotaha allegedly for gambling at a public place in the village here yesterday.


In the forefront of trade politics
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

This segment of the market, which has produced various trader leaders, including Mr Vinod Sharma who became a Union Government Minister, is now changing its character to become a semi-industry.


* Lack of cleanliness despite the presence of a hospital.
* Presence of beggars and hawkers.
* Trees are not pruned timely.
Lighting arrangement in the market needs to be attuned to modern needs.
Fluctuation in voltage and low voltage.
Parking planning is faulty.
Cattle gather at the garbage bins in the market.
Shop identification is almost impossible in the huge market requiring display of proper maps.
* Sitting arrangement is not there for shoppers.
* The corridors along the market are unkempt with tiles broken at few places.
Market requires its say in decision making about the area through the revival of the sector level committees which used to be there during the Chandigarh Administration's times.

This area has around 1000 tailors living upstairs, cheap and popular ‘chhola bhatura’ and sweets shops, besides shops selling stamps and name-plates, jewellery, cloth, icecreams and tea. An estimate suggests that there are around 10,000 trading businesses running from this market, making it possibly Asia’s largest market in terms of number of operators.

Around 20 businesses are running from one SCO in around 500 shops in the market. The whole of Sector 17 attracts around 1,50,000 vehicles on a week day.

This market has been in the forefront of politics of traders of the city with some representation from this part of the market. Businesses are running from basement to all three stories.

Mr Subhash Kataria, president of the Sector 17 Traders’ Association (registered), who has been running Delhi Jewellers shop since 1970, has been active in the traders’ politics for two decades in some or the other position.

Hyderabad Pearls’ Jeweller, Shiva Jewellers, Society Cloth, Emm Ell, Bansal Cloth, Bangalore Silk, Kohinoor, Lucknawi Chikens, India Coffee House and corner softy and popcorn shops, Bhatura King and Sethi Tea shop, couple of publishers and book sellers give the market a composite character. The Bridge Market of the this segment is known for cheap eateries.

The growth of the market has seen turbulent times with most of the shops except Delhi Jewellers changing hands at least thrice during three decades of its presence.

The maximum number of shops were vacated by the traders during terrorism days in 1983. One shopkeeper who took advance for the sale of his shop took it back giving double the amount after the deal reflecting the confusion about the viability of business.

Except for the corner on the Piazza clustering Emm Ell, Lacoste, Lee Cooper, Bansal, Kohinoor, Bangalore Silk and Sarees, the rest of the market has been shorn of glitter. The presence of a prestigious hospital, CMC, has also led to the largest number of chemist shops operating in the market.

The presence of tailors who live upstairs had been noticed by the Chandigarh Administration since the Mandal Commission agitation days with the city authorities having to make arrangement of food for these people when curfew was imposed in the city.

The Oriental Travel Agencies, Lufthansa World Travel, Asia Travels, Chadha Travels and courier services have been adding a variety to the unique character of the market. It also has the largest number of computer maintenance shops and a number of C&F suppliers of big brands.

A journey down the memory lane would suggest that the market had emerged from virtually nowhere with the Piazza not even conceived when the shops were given away during early seventies.

Mr Katiaria remembers that such was the deserted look in the market that he and his brothers used to sleep in turns ward off the threat of theft in the jewellery shops. Wild animals could be seen just near the fountain of the Piazza was there. Just across there were Chief Shoes and a couple of more shops and between Neelam Cinema and Jagat Cinema.

Mr Kataria said the Chandigarh Administration once put up a barricade between C and E blocks of the market causing loss to both markets.

Traders had to fight for the removal of the barricade as it was causing inconvenience to lady shoppers who could not have visited both the markets at a time.

The elevated platform of the Piaza was a ground of sand at that time and there was a bus route across Neelam cinema from where buses going to and coming from Sector 19 used to pass through. The bridge over the bridge market was another route passing through the prime market.

The coming of Piazza resulted in the routes being designed outside the Piazza. The market which has 1.5 lakh vehicles visiting it had 3 cars and as many telephones in the seventies.

Association office bearers: President — Subhash Kataria; Chairman — J.S. Sodhi; vice-president — Rajender Manocha; general secretary — Jagdish Pal Singh; and Treasure —K.L. Jain. President of the Bridge Market of this part — J.K. Khanna.


Jacob inaugurates Rustles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The Governor of Punjab and Administrator of UT, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today inaugurated Rustles, a swank new restaurant in Hotel Mountview, renovated at a cost of more than Rs 50 lakh.

The Governor cut the cake at a simple ceremony which coincided with X’mas today. Accompanied by Mr G.K. Marwaha, Secretary, Industries, Mr S.P.Singh, Managing Director, CITCO, and other officers, he later went round the restaurant which can now seat 156 persons at a time against 100 earlier. Designed by Rajiv and Sabeena Khanna, an architect couple from New Delhi, the restaurant has now been given a totally new look. Yet it retains the old flavour that its regular visitors liked.

The restaurant has been provided with a separate bar and an independent executive dining. The etched glass portals, with the typical “Rustles” leaf in place, open to a new eating experience. The wooden paneling on walls and columns, appears warm and welcoming. The stone flooring its motifs, lends a feeling of vastness to the space. The focus of attention in the restaurant is the central dome, with its diffused lighting.


Mahipal wins Bajaj contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Mahipal created a record of sorts today as he achieved an unbelievable mileage of 98 km per litre at the Bajaj Chetak 4S Mileage contest organised by Bajaj Auto Ltd, here today.

The event was flagged off by Mr I.S. Sandhu, ADC, Chandigarh, at Hind Motors. In the contest, all participants were provided with 200 ml of petrol and the participant who stretched the two-wheeler to the farthest distance on the pre-marked route was declared the winner. Mahipal was followed by Mr Jasmeet Singh (91 km pl mileage) and Mr Sudesh Kumar Sharma (90.9 km pl). Interestingly, all participants managed a mileage of over 75 km pl.

Later, winners were awarded prizes at a function organised at Partap Auto, Chandigarh. Mr R.M. Prajapati, Regional Manager, Bajaj Autos, distributed prizes.

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