Thursday, January 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Greetings, flowers on New Year day
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The foggy and chilly weather conditions notwithstanding, festivities combined with exchange of greetings, flowers and telephone calls marked the New Year day in most of the offices of the Punjab and Haryana Governments and the Chandigarh Administration today. In spite of the inhospitable weather, the attendance was much above normal in almost all offices.

“My telephone has not stopped ringing since midnight last night,” remarked a senior officer as he had an unending queue of visitors, almost each one of them carrying a bouquet.

It was the same story everywhere. No business cards or slips were required today to visit any officer, irrespective of his status or workload that otherwise keeps him or her buried under files or busy in meetings.

Courtesy calls were brief and generally restricted to greeting or wishing senior officers with bouquets or otherwise. Official work was relegated to the background.

A senior BSNL functionary told The Tribune that traffic on landlines between midnight and nine in the morning was almost five to 10 times than that on normal days. A mobile cell company executive corroborated his statement saying that traffic on mobile phones since midnight yesterday was three to five times more than normal. The only difference was that calls were “brief” and continuous. Even the long-distance calls traffic was more than double.

The gates of Punjab Raj Bhavan were open today for the visitors to come and greet the Governor-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), who had issued clear instructions against the presentation of any bouquets to him. Instead most of the visitors came carrying just one flower each, mostly rose buds, to wish General Jacob a happy New Year.

“New Year greetings was a low-key affair at Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s residence at Patiala where he spent the day,” sources in the CM Office said. “The Chief Minister does not like any unnecessary wastage of flowers. He acknowledged visitors and their greetings by offering them sweets”.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who turned 68 today, was not in town. He was probably in his native Chautala village to receive both New Year and birthday greetings. He hosted a dinner for officers and media at Haryana Niwas last night with hardly any guest realising that his birthday was just a few hours away.

The sale of flowers started late last night. In many cases, flowers were delivered early in the morning with New Year greetings from senders. But in the case of officers, junior officers preferred to greet their seniors in person with bouquets. 

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