Thursday, February 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


3 police torture victims brought to city hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Three persons, Sanjiv Kumar, alias Shibbu (22), Vippan Kumar (20) and Roshan Lal, alias Raju (26), who were allegedly tortured by Jalandhar and Garhshankar police personnel and suffered multiple injuries were admitted to the Government Hospital, Sector16 here, late tonight.

The three were allegedly picked up by the Jalandhar police from Urban Estate, Jalandhar, on Tuesday evening and were taken to Garhshankar Sadar police station late in the night where they were tortured. They were later, produced before the SDM, Garhshankar, who released them on bail, this evening. One of their friends, Shimpu, brought them to Chandigarh to members of a local human rights organisation, Lawyers for Human Rights International. Later, advocate Navkiran Singh, general secretary of the organisation, along with other members got the three victims admitted in the hospital.

Giving the details of the incident, one of the victims, Rajan, alleged that all of them were picked up by Inspector Balkar Singh and two constables of Sadar police station, Jalandhar, from the urban estate area, last evening and taken to Sadar police station at Garhshankar in a private vehicle.

He alleged that three Jalandhar police personnel along with Inspector Jasbir Singh of Sadar police station, Garhshankar, tied them upside down and tortured them till they lost consciousness.

They were beaten with iron rods and sticks and suffered injuries on thighs, feet and back. When they regained conciousness, they were again beaten up with patas.

Mr Navkiran Singh told TNS that these three persons had earlier raised voice against some Jalandhar police officials who had allegedly kidnapped two children from outside a marriage palace and tortured one of them to death in the first week of January, this year.

Subsequently, Sub-Inspector Ravi Kumar, a Head Constable and a SPO were booked by the police after preliminary investigations on charges of kidnapping and murder.

"Annoyed at this the police later booked the three under Section 307 of the IPC along with a local human rights activist, Shashi, on a 'false' complaint.

Yesterday, they were picked up by the police in this case but instead of initiating legal proceedings they were illegally detained and brought to Garhshankar, where they were tortured", said Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, Press Secretary of the LHRI while talking to the TNS in the hospital.

He further said LHRI will file a writ-petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh on Thursday, demanding medico-legal examination of the torture victims and registration of an FIR against the guilty police officials.

Bhola, the child who survived police torture in Jalandhar incident and his grandmother Jaswanti Devi, are also reported to be missing LHRI has alleged that they have also been abducted by Jalandhar police.


Rape victim accuses MK Jain, Manoj Pal
Tribune News Service

She feared abduction

On February 7, the victim in the Shimla girl rape case had moved a plea in a local court for making arrangement for safe passage when she was to appear before the magistrate to record her statement. Giving details about the need for safe passage, the victim had stated that she apprehended kidnapping on the account that she was going to depose before the court on February 8.

Keeping in view the threat, the victim also stated that she would be escorted by her private security guards for making the statement. She appeared in the court well-guarded on February 8. 

Chandigarh, February 12
The case regarding the rape of a Shimla-based girl today witnessed another twist with the victim alleging that she had been drugged and abducted by Manoj Pal and M.K. Jain from Amartex Chowk, Industrial Area, Panchkula, on February 8.

Following the statement made by the victim in front of Panchkula Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) today, the Panchkula police again picked up Manoj Pal — who is already in police remand for allegedly committing theft on February 10 — for further interrogation regarding the matter.

It may be mentioned here that the police had arrested Manoj Pal, a relative of former Haryana Home Minister Mani Ram Godara, and two others on charges of theft and trespassing on February 10. They had then sought police remand for the accused in the case and the police remand was to end today. However, with fresh allegations of kidnapping, abduction, criminal intimidation and others, against Manoj Pal, the police today again picked up Pal for further interrogation.

The victim today appeared before the CJM and complained that Manoj Pal and M.K. Jain kidnapped her from near Amartex Chowk on February 8 and made her consume tea laced with some sedative. She further alleged that when she regained consciousness after two days, her jewellery was missing.

Earlier, on February 9, Manoj Pal had been booked by the police on the complaint of his landlord Manishwar Puri, a resident of Chandigarh. The latter has accused Manoj Pal of stealing goods worth Rs 30,000 from his house in Sector 6.

He was also accused of involvement in the murder of a PU student near Hotel Mount View in Sector 10, Chandigarh, in 1997. However, he was acquitted of these charges in 2001.

His name also figured in the rape case, involving senior IAS officer N.K. Jain. The Chandigarh police, in its investigation of the rape case, had said that Manoj Pal was also involved in hatching the conspiracy of implicating businessman M.K. Jain, with the IAS officer, while the two were lodged in Burail Jail. 


From despair to cheer
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, February 11
Cricket buffs, high on the World Cup spirit, today travelled from hope to despair, and back to hope, while reposing on comfortable sofa sets in front of their television sets and giant screens. In the end, the triumphant feeling of success was doubled by the fact that the match was snatched from the jaws of defeat with the help of “local boys” — Yuvraj and Dinesh Mongia.

Eager to witness the team in action for the first time during the World Cup, the residents rushed back home before the clock announced 1.30 pm. Some were on furlough. Others had taken the afternoon off.

Executives and businessman, who could not make it to their residences, poured in the bars and restaurants with giant screens to celebrate Ganguly’s big knock, or to drown their sorrow after he got out.

The students too bunked classes for reaching home on time. Some even stayed back after complaining of stomach ache. Others, studying on the Panjab University campus, walked up to the Student’s Center for watching the men in blue hit the ball real hard.

In Sector 17, the shoppers stood in front of the picture windows with television sets to watch India win the toss. Thunderous applause filled the air in the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association room as India elected to bat. “It’s going to be a cakewalk with Holland on the other side”, everyone was dead sure.

But as the game progressed, hope gave way to despair. With five down and score just over 110, victory was hope against hope. Disgusted with the team’s performance, some walked out of the bars and pubs. Others got up yawning to do “something constructive”.

Only the students refused to budge. Confident about Yuvraj’s performance, they remained seated in front of the sets with prayers on their lips. As the score crossed the 200-run mark, they breathed a sigh of relief. At least the score was “not so bad” on that particular pitch. Mongia and Yuvraj had played their part. The residents were somewhat relieved about the fact.

Then the team from Holland descended on the field, confident so it appeared. But they did manage to loose some quick wickets, much to the delight of the residents. Once again, the interest in the game increased. Television sets were switched on as the buffs returned to their seats to watch the bowlers in action. Others called up from the cell phones to inquire about the score. As the entire team crumbled, they pushed back the seats to stand up and clap.

Finally, when the entire team went back to the pavilion at 136, busting din of crackers filled the air as the residents took to the streets for celebrating India’s victory.


PU campus council chief no longer student
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Malwinder KangChandigarh, February 12
The president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council is no longer a regular student on the university rolls, which raises a question mark over his continuing in the office of the council.

Malwinder Singh Kang, the controversial president, has not been given admission to the second semester by the Department of Laws. His case is not singular as there are more than 40 students in the same category. Kang was allowed by the department to appear in the first semester examination following a “liberty” granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, the case is still pending.

The case is interesting at this juncture because normal classes commenced on January 24 and a department circular says that lectures will be counted from the first day onwards when the final roll numbers are given at the end of the semester. So, even if the university decides to allow these students to join as regular students, what will be the status of lectures they cannot attend?

Kang said he was being “harassed due to ego problem of certain faculty members”. He said at least other students should not be harassed because of him. “I have not been allowed to continue as a normal student right from the first day I joined the department because I did not suit the political tastes of certain members”, he added.

It may be remembered that the department had earlier objected to Kang’s admission when he was alleged to have not attended the required lectures in the first 15 days. This was followed by a student agitation. Kang also spent about a fortnight in the jail following a scuffle on the campus in which he was allegedly involved.

Certain students from his camp who have now left the core group said Kang had failed to deliver the expected results in his office. His tenure in the campus council had been a total failure and he should tender his resignation or the university should remove him.

Another section, however, said: “Kang should not have been allowed to join the department after the earlier controversy. He was denied the roll number and he had to approach the court. Now even the court had allowed him to appear in the examination. So there was no justification in the department not letting him to continue in the second semester”.

A senior faculty member on a note of anonymity said Kang was no longer a student and the department had no official communication from university’s higher authorities as regard to further course of action. Kang’s admission has been “stage-managed by bending the rules” which has led to the current situation. The university should take a clear stand on the issue because one wrong action has to be supplemented with several other wrong steps, he added.


Paramdeep, Shivani bag Valentine titles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The Valentine Day spirit reigned high all this day, with the students of National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) refusing to call it a day even well past 6.30 pm.

The occasion was the Valentine day bash organized by the NIFD at a discotheque in Swastik Vihar, Panchkula. The best part of the show was the Mr and Miss Valentine titles which were bagged by Paramdeep Singh and Shivani Dham, respectively, after a very close contest. The theme for the party was Valentine and the theme was highlighted by doing up the venue with an innovative display of hearts and yards of red and white cloth. The whole place was decorated with huge coconut hearts, fresh flowers in valentine shades like red, pink, white and with many heart shaped balloons.

The students dressed to the theme, wearing as they were stark red, soft pink shades. The interesting part of the pre-valentine bash was the contest. In the preliminary round the students were selected on the basis of their confidence and body language after which the selected students went through a proposal round. In this round the students had to strike upon fresh, good ideas of forwarding friendship proposals.

Alongside the contest went on the dance party which was alive even until the evening.


Defending love and its symbols...

Ban the celebration itself

There is nothing much in this day which we have come to talk about so much. The very celebration of this day should be done way with as soon as possible. I say this because the very concept involved here is Western in nature and in consequence. Let us not get mired by such affairs. The point is that something that is not part of our culture cannot be with us for very long.

The Day, its spirit, its celebration is against our culture. The police should conduct strict patrolling to see that no untoward incident takes place on the Valentine's Day.

Sukhdev Singh

Keep vigil throughout year

Here comes Saint Valentine’s Day and with it the deployment of more than 1000 cops on the famous [or notorious?] geri route. It seems to me that the cops of our City Beautiful wait for the V-Day more eagerly than the youngsters, waiting to go on their dates.

What is the purpose of sealing the geri route? Whom are they trying to save and from whom? If they are doing all this for the safety of girls then it must be mentioned that the girls are not completely innocent. You go to any disco or a hotel where V-Day celebrations are going on and you’ll find more girls than guys there. Even girls are not in favour of sealing the geri route.

The cops say that they do all this to tackle hooliganism. But my dear friends hooliganism is not something which is noticed only on V-Day. All 365 days a year you go to any sector and you’ll find bikes and cars exceeding the speed limits, playing music in such a way that one feels that a mobile deejay is on the road.

Confusion prevails daily in the city and nobody can deny that. Chandigarh police says that “We care for you" and we all agree to whatever they say. But friends we need this care of yours for the whole year. Rather than showing your concern for us by closing the geri route for one day why don’t you give such an environment to the youth that they feel that there is someone who is keeping a vigil on what they are doing.

The need of the day is to make not only youngsters but also every citizen believe that hooliganism and rash driving are banned forever in the City Beautiful. Then as I feel there will be no need to make special arrangements on any particular day. Everyone will enjoy.........HAPPY SAINT VALENTINE’S DAY TO ALL.

Ravi Shankar

"Why not debate over India's condition?''

It's amazing to see the amount of interest the Valentine's Day is generating. Not that this interest is peculiar to this year alone, it happens every year and every time. Before we debate the issue in question, let us first try and understand what is the point behind all this. We live in a country which is facing a political crisis of the worst possible level. Everyday we read about lives being lost, about people being killed and about morals being compromised.

But never is such a debate raised then. Actually, may be it is raised also, but to no avail. In these times when life has become cheap and very unsafe, let us not shun our responsibility to talk about the bright future of our country. Youth of today are the future of the nation. We have often heard such cliches but never have we really paid heed to what they mean or what they imply.

I am no one to denounce the day which, by all means, is sacred. But as one of those who will enter into the future to inherit the legacy of India, I would please like to submit that "let us have a debate on how to make our India worthy of what it always was — peace and prosperity."

Let us, for once, leave the arrangements of Valentine's Day to the West, which engendered the concept, thereby infecting the gullible world with it.

Kamal Arora

Please don't make issues

I have always wondered over this issue of geri. Personally the concept does not mean anything to me, because it makes no sense at all. A geri route is a jargon we created for our use. It has, however, now become almost synonymous with the favourite haunts of the youth in the city.

Now that we have a geri route, passing which is a passion for youngsters, why did the city police react so strongly to the issue. What is anyone's problem if a certain route is accessible on a certain day? Why make such a fracas over nothing at all? Please let the routes remain open on all days, without exceptions. We live in a free country and freedom of movement is our fundamental right. Don't block that right.

As I write all this I wonder if it makes any difference to anybody. The decision to seal the route has already been taken. Nevertheless, decisions can always be reversed until they are executed.

Smita Gupta



Don’t ignore ITIs, says Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Regretting that industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics are being ignored, the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Lieut Gen. JFR Jacob (retd.), said “we must work for the development of ITIs and polytechnics because students coming out of these institutions formed the base of every industry.”

Speaking after inaugurating a seminar on “Importance of Training in Changing Global Economic Scenario organised by the National Productivity Council to mark the National Productivity Day, here today, General Jacob said the traditional engineering trades should not be ignored at the expense of information technology and bio-technology, as these are the foundations of the industry.

Stating that the requirement of age-old traditional jobs and careers are giving way to new IT and technology-based innovative work, the Governor added that changes in the economic environment due to opening up of industry because of economic reforms undertaken by many countries under the WTO agreement have removed barriers to trade and investment.

Pointing out that individual work and performance is changing to an integrated approach through teamwork, he said “in order to meet the requirements of the new global environment, we need to have new skills, job rotation, enrichment, enlargement and sharing.”

“In the new environment”, General Jacob said “we need motivated, disciplined and highly devoted professionals and a workforce which should be highly achievement oriented.”

Delving upon the role of managers in the new economic scenario, the Governor said the manager should aim at change in the traditional mindset from confrontation to growth, service and respect and focus on employee morale. Training of the workforce should be for multi-skills, developing a positive attitude and building good organisational culture to ensure better customer satisfaction. We must encourage innovation for process improvement, better workplace environment, higher output and quality control and reduced rejections, he added.

Giving an overview of the global economic scenario, Mr I S Paul representing the Confederation of Indian Industries stressed upon the need for more foreign direct investment inflow into the country. Quoting examples from China, Malaysia, South Korea and the USA about strategies adopted there to improve economic output, he expressed confidence in India emerging as a major force in the present environment of globalisation and liberation.

The general secretary, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Dr B.P. Dhaka, gave a detailed explanation of various strategies to be followed in the country to increase productivity in the face of odds such as high population growth and a low rate of change. Mr A.K. Singh from the National Productivity Council spoke on aspects of training in a competitive environment.


Kalagram Utsav begins tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Over 200 craftspersons will participate in the 10-day Kalagram Utsav, which will be held in the city from February 14. Some of the best artistes and artisans from different parts of India will showcase various crafts and arts of the country.

The festival is being organised in the city following a decision of the Department of Culture of the Union Government to rope in the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) for conducting a craft fair in the city as part of the ongoing Republic Day celebrations. This fair is organised all over the country on a rotational basis.

During the festival, folk dances will be performed from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The NZCC will provide purified drinking water to the visitors, apart from installing two special PCOs for them.

Mr R.T. Jindal, Director of the NZCC said medical facility would also be at hand in case of need, adding that they had asked for six acres of land from the Railways. This land will be made available for parking of visitors’ vehicles.

Preparations for the festival are going on in the ground adjacent to Kalagram. Entry fee to the festival will be Rs 10 for adults and Rs 5 for children. There will be a special concession for schoolchildren coming in groups (Rs 2 each). The parking fee will be Rs 5 for cars and Rs 2 for scooters.

The attractions of the festival include tribal and folk art forms like rai and badhai dance (Madhya Pradesh), kalbelia (Rajasthan), bihu, bodo, sataria (Assam), siddhi dhamal, mewasi, barsane ki holi (West Bengal), bhangra and ghoomar.

Swings have been arranged for children. There will also be cuisines from Punjab, Rajasthan and south Indian states for gourmet lovers. For those inclined towards literature, there will be a poetic symposium on February 21 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Apart from this, the art gallery of Kalagram will exhibit works being brought in for display by the Rajasthan Lalit Kala Akademi.

The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), will inaugurate the festival. 


Naval band to play at Lake Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Indian Naval Central Band consisting of 72 musicians will perform at Lake Club here on February 16. It is for the first time that the band will perform in the city. The band will also stage an open air performance for the public at the Sector 17 piazza on the February 15 from 5 pm to 6.30 pm.

The band, established in the late 1940s, is based in Mumbai and consists of 100 musicians under the director of music, Cdr P.G. George. Under his music direction, the band has toured numerous countries like the USA, the UK, Portugal, Russia, Cuba, the Carribean Islands besides countries in the Far East.

It has also held stage concerts in major cities in India and has won the reputation of being India’s one of the finest symphonic bands.

The band will also perform in some other cities in north India prior to moving to the southern cities.

The band has a wide repertoire ranging from western classical, contemporary, jazz, martial and Indian fusion music. The band also effectively uses sophisticated electronic instruments along with the traditional military band equipment.

The theme of this year’s concert is “sounds of the sea” and the highlights of this concert will be some special pieces depicting the “sounds of the sea” and patriotic vocals being performed in synchronisation with visuals on large screens.


Prayer, feasts mark Id celebration
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 12
Excitement broke loose outside the Sector 20 Jama Masjid and other mosques in the city today as enthusiastic Muslims, immaculately clad in colourful dresses, hugged each other warmly on the occasion of Id-ul-Zuha.

Chandigarh’s Administrator-cum-Punjab Governor Lt. Gen. JFR Jacob also extended heartiest felicitations to all the people on the occasion. Nationalist Congress Party’s local unit president Jaspal Singh also extended wishes to the residents on behalf of the party during a Id-Milan programme.

The excitement had started to build early during the day. Even before the time scheduled for offering namaz, the believers of the faith started to gather outside the mosques. They could be seen wishing “Id mubarak” to each other. After bowing their heads towards the holy Mecca, they offered namaz.

Besides the Sector 20 Jama Masjid, namaz was also offered at the Noorani Masjid in Sector 26, Manimajra Idgah, the Faridi Masjid at Dhanas, the Jama Masjid at Baltana, Sector 31 mosque, Phase XI in SAS Nagar, at the Batela mosque in Sector 42 and at the Sabri Masjid in Sector 45. Namaj was also offered at the Maloya Colony Masjid, Masjid in Kajehri and at Masjid Shahi Majra in SAS Nagar.

At home, special arrangements had been made not only for the members of the Muslim community, but also for the “near and dear ones”. As they thronged the residences decked up with buntings, the hosts offered sumptuous delicacies.



Of 5 children abandoned, 4 are girls
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 12
Despite government legislation and social awareness for equal affection towards girl child, the society continues to show contempt towards her, a fact proved by the increasing number of baby girls being abandoned by their parents.

Over the past six months, as many as four baby girls have been abandoned or surrendered in the Shishu Greha — the adoption centre of Bal Niketan here. As compared to this, only one boy was surrendered in this home during the same period. At the same time, while the number of applications received from infertile parents for a girl child are eight, there are as many as 30 applications for a male child, while 10 would like to have a child from either sex.

Of the four female children, who arrived here during the past six months, three had been abandoned. Two of these babies had been left in the crib near the gate of Bal Niketan, hours after they were born and the third child, who had been abandoned in a train on January 24, was brought here on February 1.

Officials at Bal Niketan admit that a large number of female infants are abandoned, though the same is not true for male child. Of the 35 children surrendered / deserted since 1996 at the Shishu Greha — 28 were girls. Dr Madhu Sharma, Honorary Secretary of Bal Niketan says, “The economic strata of the parents who abandon the girl child is very different from that of those willing to adopt a girl child.” The trend, say officials at Bal Niketan here, “is the same in other adoption centres of the state. The state government has so far notified three institutes in the state as adoption agencies — Shishu Greha at Bal Niketan, Panchkula; Child Welfare Council, Chachrauli near Yamunanagar; and, Bal Gram at Rai near Sonepat.”

It may also be noted that 11 of the 12 children adopted from the centre here during the same period are girls. They say that the main reason for more number of girls being adopted was the availability factor. For every 10 female infants who are either surrendered or abandoned at the adoption centres, only one boy reaches here. However, they maintain that the adoption centres have themselves been promoting adoption of female children.

“The fact is that most boys who end up at homes for the destitute children or at adoption centres are not abandoned as hardly do parents ever abandon boys on account of poverty or ill health. This shows widespread preference for male child. On the other hand, a large number of girls are surrendered by the parents for these very reasons. At least nine girls were handed over at Shishu Greha by their parents for similar reasons, “ says Dr Sharma.



Fighting adversity with fortitude
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, February 12
Opportunities arise in the midst of adversity.
We seldom hear of sayings coming true. But in the case of Capt Ram Sarup, this saying acquires a greater meaning. Blinded while defending the country during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, Capt Sarup ensured that physical handicap did not alter his destiny.

He fought it with determination and today he has overcome his disability and has learnt to live life the way he always wanted.

War veteran Ram Sarup now reads, writes and does all other things just as any normal person would do. With strong will power and faith in God, he has even created sources of income for his family members and is now helping many others.

‘‘After immense struggle I am independent and am handling my daily affairs. I am good at typing and can even write official letters. I can read a lot of books (Braille). I have subscribed many books from Dehra dun centre related to various topics. Education help me to get rid of everything. Now I have a petrol pump agency and let me tell you that I myself went through various files and met officials to get the same.

The Defence Ministry helped me in getting the petrol pump agency but only after a two-and-a-half year-long struggle. The officials should constitute a committee which can help in financially empowering Army personnel injured in accidents,’’ he says.

In an interview with the Chandigarh Tribune, Capt Ram Sarup said he was more confident and knowledgeable than he was earlier.

‘‘After class X, I joined the Army in 1947,’’ he said. Giving details about his experience, he said during the Indo-Pak war he was serving as Quarter Master of 165 Field Artillery Regiment and was posted in Khalra Sector.

While he was on duty of supplying ammunition to Indian Army suddenly a group of Pakistan soldiers attacked him. ‘‘I suffered bullet injuries on my face and lost my eyes. The area was already captured by Indian soldiers. I sustained permanent disability in this attack.’’

All other family members were disappointed but I accepted it and prepared myself to face the challenges. If you have faith in God and will to do something then nothing can be stop you. I have no regrets. I have achieved what I wanted to".

Education is one thing that keeps me alive and gives strength to fight any kind of difficulty. I meditate for two hours in the morning then take a walk. Thereafter, spend two to three hours reading (in Braille). I am more knowledgeable than I was’’.

‘‘I have gone through difficult times after I lost my eyes in 1965. The next two years I spent in a hospital in Delhi for treatment. During these two years I got enough time to think about several things deeply. After that I was shifted to Dehra Dun Rehabilitation Centre.

During my stay there I had to go through various problems due to financial insecurity as I do not belong to rich family and had to worry about looking after my family in the face of my disability. I had no bank balance and was retired from the Army in 1968. But I took it as something that can happen to anyone.’’

Narrating the difficulties faced by him, after retirement, Capt Ram Sarup said ‘‘Life changed as there was complete darkness all around. But it was my faith in God which sustained me. I went through the worst phase. I also had to struggle to get pension. But today I can say that I am empowered.’’


INLD factions vie for MC chief’s post
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 12
Following the notification of Municipal Council election results by the district administration yesterday, the race for the presidentship of the council has begun.

With the ruling Indian National Lok Dal all set to gain an absolute majority in the Municipal Council here, with the crossing over of at least five councillors from other parties, the two factions within the local unit of the party are now all set to fight it out over the post of president. It is learnt that the final decision in this regard will be taken by the party high command by February 16.

Though one of the factions, led by the president of INLD, Panchkula (Urban), Mr Randhir Mallik, had given up its claim on the post of president two days before the township went to polls on January 19, the said faction is now reportedly back in the race, but with a different candidate. Sources within the party say that this faction is now raising the demand that a Punjabi president should be elected so as to break the Punjabi votebank of Congress MLA, Mr Chander Mohan. It may be noted that Punjabis comprise over 45 per cent of the total electorate here.

On the other hand, the other faction, in favour of Ms Seema Chaudhary, wife of the state secretary of INLD, Mr Amardeep Chaudhary, has mustered enough support in its favour. They now claim that they have an absolute majority with the support of over 17 councillors.

It may be noted that the INLD-supported candidates had themselves won 12 of the 31 seats (including two seats by rebel leaders/ kin), but were short of obtaining the two thirds majority required for staking its claim to the post of president. With the switching of sides by five councillors, owing allegiance to the Congress, the party now has won simple majority.

The BJP, which was the only party to contest on the party symbol, won a mere three seats, while Congressmen, who had defied the diktats of party high command to contest the elections when the party had boycotted the elections, had won 16 seats. With the BJP declining to have a truck with the INLD here, the ruling party was left with little option than to pull the councillors aligned with the Congress. In fact, the Congress had received quiet a set back when two other councillors, Ms Sharda Gupta from Ward No. 22 and Ms Renuka Rai Walia shifted their loyalties towards INLD.


Roopa Saini, Kiran Bedi honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Olympian Roopa Saini, police officer Kiran Bedi and Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, were presented the ‘great daughter of India’ award at a function for internationally recognised talented Indians (FIRTY 2003), organised by the SAS Academy at Ropar, near here, yesterday.

Sant Baba Daljit Singh, founder and chief, Guru Nanak Sikh Mission of America, was the chief guest. He presented the awards. Besides Dr Roopa Saini, Dr Kiran Bedi and Ms Seema Jain, Dr T.S. Kler, a known heart surgeon , Dr Mehar Singh Gill, professor of geography at Punjabi University, Patiala, and Mr G.P. Gupta, national president, ISFI, were honoured with the ‘great son of India’ award. Mr Daljit Singh, SDM, Ropar was given the ‘officer of the people’ award.

Dr Roopa Saini and Ms Seema Jain distributed prizes to some outstanding students of the academy.

The students handed over a cheque of 11,000 from their savings to Mata Gujri Sukh Niwas which arranges education for the orphans.

The academy also honoured Mr Ashwani Sujati for his outstanding contributions and achievements. The band master of the academy, Mr Ajit Singh, was also honoured.

Sant Baba Daljit Singh exhorted the students and their parents to spread the message of brotherhood throughout the world. He laid the foundation stone of Mata Swaran Kaur Simran Hall.


Sumptuous sixers on offer
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service


Café Coffee Day, one of India’s largest chain of retail cafés, did a clean sweep winning the first, second, third, fourth and fifth positions at the India Barista Championship organised by Speciality Coffee Association of India (SCAI) on February 8. The winner of the championship, Mr Vikram Khurana from Café Coffee Day will represent India at the World Barista Championship to be held in Boston in April.

Mr Vikram Khurana mesmerised the gathering with his Signature Coffee - ‘Coorg Sunset’. He won last year’s IBC championship as well and the silver medal at the world championship.

The India Barista Championship is an annual affair organised by SCAI to promote Indian Coffee and Coffee making in the world market. This year’s event was judged by experts from the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe. Every contestant needed to prepare four Cappuccinos, four Espressos and a Signature Drink in just 15 minutes.

The five winner signature drinks were made with the following ingredients:

Coorg Sunset — Orange flavour, espresso, cream, a triple layered drink.

Himalayan Moksha — Egg yolk, cream, espresso.

Panchendreya — Ginger, nutmeg, coconut, espresso, milk.

Kera Cremo — Cream, espresso, coconut flavour.

Madhumati — Honey, cashew, vanilla ice-cream, espresso.

See if you can mix these ingredients to a yummy formula!

Chandigarh, February 12
It’s virtually a theatre at Hotel Sunbeam’s restaurant-cum-cocktail lounge. A theatre of the World Cup 2003. A huge screen (60’’ by 80’’) brings alive the action off the South African fields through the 2400-lumine state-of-the-art Sharp projector that the hotel has acquired specially for the Test series. And on days that India are playing, Sunbeam has offered a 20 per cent discount on your bill. So, enjoy Sachin and Sehwag smash sixers and Harbhajan spin the magic as you gulp the sumptuous fare.

It’s a whole new experience as all guests get into the spirit of the game and let out oohs and aahs in tandem, or divide into rival camps with their respective loyalties.

A new taste seems to seep into the Indian, Chinese and Continental khazanas as well as the special drinks from the bar, when the surround system speakers blares out the flirtings of the bat and ball on the pitch for those engrossed in the ups and downs of the star cricketers, food becomes almost incidental — it tastes better with a score and gets stuck on the throat with a miss. But, a great experience, nevertheless.

Similarly, a number of restaurants in Sector 35 (Maya Palace, Classic, coffee shops etc) and Sector 17 (Blue-Ice, Moti Mahal, etc) have set up TVs and screens for the guests. They also promise to add to the excitement with such offers as a free beer for every sixers or a dish named after a cricketer.

While you’re watching the World Cup and munching foreign food, how will you get the feeling to cheer your desi team on the TV set in the Pizza Hut restaurant? Well, you need not worry any more. Bite into their six new exciting pizzas and feel a surge of patriotism.

Whether it is veggie tama-tam or aloo attack or panir Punjabi for the vegetarians or Murg mazedar, jhinga zabardast and supreme tandoori for the non-vegetarians, you cannot miss the distinct Indian flavour in the toppings of the pan pizzas. They are available in personal, medium and family sizes for Rs 65 to Rs 415.

But will somebody please tell me why this new range has been called the ‘tandoori’ range when an Indian clay tandoor, as one would except, is nowhere in the picture or the recipe?



Celebrating life, the spiritual way
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
I asked of life: “What have you to give me? The answer came: “What have you to offer?”

How often are we inspired to think so heartily about life and its blessings? Mostly we go about our days seeking comfort in the complaining routine and brooding over what we have not got. It’s this very negativity which the monks of Chinmaya mission seek to counter.

They talk not of “how to seek spiritual bliss by renouncing the world but of how to experience the joy of spirituality by taking the material aspects of life in one’s stride.” Advocating self realisation as a means of spiritual attainment, the monks of Chinmaya mission inspire people to take on life with a specific mission in mind. Service to humanity is the top most on their priority and they talk about service as a means to attain peace.

Swami Mitrananda, head of the all India youth wing of the mission, embodies all elements which the mission stands for, the best among them being “Detachment is a mental, not a physical process. It does not mean detaching from the world, but from the worldliness in the mind.”

In the city to hold lectures on Gita’s verses 54 to 72 (at Rajasthan Bhavan, Sector 33), Swami Mitrananda yesterday spoke to Chandigarh Tribune about how the mission was embarking upon a fresh mission titled youth empowerment programme. Through this programme the mission will prepare the youth to serve the country for 20 months. From September 22, about 50 young persons from all over the country will be chosen to attend a four-month-long programme which will ground them in all elements related with healthy mind and body. “We will teach them some Sanskrit, some chapters of the Gita, the art of yoga and other such things,” said Swami Mitrananda, adding that the idea is to inspire the youth towards empowerment in literal sense of the word. Interestingly, after the programme is over, the mission will ask the trained youth to dedicate 20 months to the service of the country.

Apart from this, Swami Mitrananda also talked about the book he is all set to compile and get published. Titled, “Awakening Indians to India”, the book will be a storehouse of knowledge on India. After intensive study and research, Swami Mitrananda has zeroed in on some of the fascinating facts about India which we, as Indians, are not aware of. “It is sad that we are unaware of our celebrated past. We don’t know that we have actually masterminded great concepts in science, mathematics and so on. We treat ourselves as “incompetent” when faced with so you can open any page and start reading up, thus ridding yourself of that very common inferiority syndrome most of the Indians suffer from.”

In fact the book would be handy for the students (between class X and graduation) who can participate in the national level quiz contest which the mission is organising from September this year. The quiz, to be held at various levels, will see the culmination in Mumbai on January 26 next year. To see a monk in a reformatory role is indeed a pleasure. Ask the Swami what it means to be a sanyasi and he tells you, “You see me as a sanyasi. I see myself as a karmayogi, discharging the duties I am supposed to.”


Beopar mandal, POWA meet Naidu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and the Property Owners Welfare Association (POWA) separately met with the BJP President, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, this morning.

Both the bodies claimed to have got a favourable response from the BJP Chief on the issue of amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1948. Ever since the Chandigarh Administration amended the Act in November last year, the mandal has been opposing the amendment, while POWA has welcomed the move.

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal in a press note claimed that a high-level delegation today called on Mr Naidu at the UT guest house and apprised him of the poor state of commercial tenants after the November 7 notification.

Copies of eviction notices from landlords were also shown to Mr Naidu along with a detailed memorandum. The delegation explained the various aspects of the notification, calling it unjustified, and added that it had resulted in a burden of crores of rupees as rentals on tenant. The city has more than 20,000 families as commercial tenants.

Mr Jagdish Arora, president of the mandal, demanded to hold back the notification till a balanced Rent Act, suited to particular conditions of modern states like Chandigarh, was brought in.

The mandal claimed that Mr Naidu immediately called up the Union Urban Development Minister and having talked to him assured the delegation of taking up the matter at the Centre on a priority basis.

On the other hand, POWA claimed that Mr Naidu at a meeting with its delegation said: “Tenants cannot keep the occupied properties at the old rents for ever. Investor’s interest has to be safeguarded.” POWA said its deputation, comprising various welfare bodies and social groups of the city, met him today at the Press Club here. The members of the deputation told him that nothing less than a level playing field was acceptable to city property owners.

On the call given by POWA, hundreds of property owners as members of various welfare bodies had gathered near the Press Club in support of the notification and to present a memorandum to the BJP leader. Finally, a four-member team met with the BJP leader.

The representation, besides welcoming the Rent Act notification, demanded that the ceiling of Rs 1,500 be removed.

It said for the purpose of assessing the market rent, the rent charged by the administration from traders for its shops could be taken as a benchmark. A formula should be evolved that was applicable to all properties, it added.


Naidu calls for cordial Centre-State ties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, national president of the BJP, today called for cordial Centre-State relations to help the country become a developed nation by 2010.

‘‘The politics of confrontation by Congress chief ministers like Ajit Jogi and Captain Amarinder Singh will not help in stablising the national polity”, he said at a Meet the Press at Chandigarh Press Club. ‘‘The politics of dharnas before the Prime Minister’s residence will not help’’, he added.

Calling for consensus on what he described as national issues of religious conversion, cross-border infiltration, distortion of history and POTA, he urged the Congress and other opposition parties to stop playing ‘‘divisive’’ politics. He asked why the Congress opposed POTA when its own party governments in Maharashtara and Karnataka had similar laws.

He asserted that there could be no dialogue with separatists and talks were possible only with those who had faith in the Constitution and believed in national unity and integrity.

The BJP leader asserted that ‘‘we will not be soft on terrorism and not hesitate in using POTA’’ Let the Opposition enter into a meaningful debate instead of creating ruckus, he said, adding ‘‘human rights are for human beings not terrorists’’.



3 complain against SP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Paramjit Singh Sahota, of SAS Nagar, Jaspal Singh, of Kharar and Dharam Singh Sandhu, of Chandigarh had jointly complained to the ADG (Crime), Punjab, that Mr S.P.S. Parmar, SP (Crime) was distorting the facts of investigation against Resham Singh, a warrant officer of the Air Force who had duped them of Rs 17,40,000 promising to send them to the USA.

Two separate FIRs had already been lodged against Resham Singh in Kharar police station. The case is under investigation.

They had demanded legal action against the SP for allegedly distorting the facts of the case. They had also alleged that the SP was pressurising them to compromise with Resham Singh. 


Samarpan Divas observed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 12
The local unit of the BJP observed the martyrdom day of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhaya as Samarpan Divas at the party’s office in Sector 33 here yesterday.

Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the unit, in a press note issued here today said as per the directive of the Central Office of the party, the ‘Aajiwan Sehyog Nidhi Scheme’ was also started on the occasion and an amount of Rs 1.20 lakh was collected on the spot.

It is being claimed that hundreds of party workers, which included state office-bearers, executive members, district presidents, morcha presidents, mandal presidents, presidents of BJP cells, BJP councillors, former BJP presidents and members of karyakarnies of all district morchas, mandals and cells took part in the programme.


Mayor impressed by Greater Noida sanitation scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Chandigarh is studying the mechanised sanitation arrangement of the future benchmark city of the country, Greater Noida. Mayor Subhash Chawla visited the city recently and was impressed with the arrangement. He said garbage could not be seen in the city anywhere even in villages falling under the periphery of Greater Noida.

Mr Chawla said the corporation would be interested in providing similar kind of sanitation arrangement to the city but the cost of the operation seemed to be higher than what Chandigarh spends. He said, “while Chandigarh spends around Rs 3.5 lakh per month for a population of 9 lakh, Greater Noida is paying a private company more than Rs 5 lakh for a population of around 1 lakh.” He said the cleaning of Greater Noida started at 2 a. m. and ended by 6 a.m. Mr Chawla said on each road in Greater Noida there was a mobile team of sweepers having wheel carts and a sweeper who picks up the garbage as soon as it was littered.

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