Tuesday, February 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC okays changes in auction rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
At a significant meeting, the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the municipal corporation today approved changes in procedures for auction of commercial property, giving out of a parking lot in Sector 17 for computerisation and the sinking of three tubewells.

The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, instructed that fresh bids should be invited to provide land to a private entrepreneur at the dumping ground in Dadumajra for floriculture.

The F&CC revised the terms and conditions for disposing of commercial property. This comes after a controversy regarding the auction of an SCO in Sector 9. Earlier, if a person had made a bid for a property and deposited the initial sum, it was deemed to have been sold off.

Now a working group led by Mr P.C. Sanghi and comprising Mr Ashok Vashisth, Mr V.K. Bhardawaj, Mr H.S. Sood and Mr K.K. Monga will approve the sale of all commercial properties within a few days of the auction.

The group may approve or disallow the sale if it finds anything wrong in the auction.

The committee also changed the rules for the booking of a community centre. Under new rules, if a person changes the date or venue of the booking, he will have to forfeit 25 per cent of the booking amount. The committee also resolved to get the community centre in Sector 21 vacated.

It approved the estimates for the boring and installation of three tubewells — one each at Palsora Colony, Pipliwala, and Sector 26.

It was also decided to allow a private party to handle the computerisation of a parking lot in Sector 17.

This will be given on a trial basis for a year. The issue of leasing out mango orchards along Purv Marg was discussed and a working group will formalise the conditions. Posts of lineman, helper and electrician for the newly created electrical division have been created.

Lastly, 54 acres will be acquired by the MC from the Chandigarh Administration in Manimajra.


Low grants hit college functioning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Government-aided institutes are struggling to bridge the gap between the grants and expenditure with government grants to private colleges failing to keep pace with the expansion in academic activities.

As per information, the difference between the actual expenditure of government-aided colleges in the city and the financial aid allocated by the UT Administration is stated to be around Rs 5 crore. While the staff has increased, the grants have not, leaving college managements to generate the funds. There are seven government-aided private colleges here.

The grants by the government are meant to pay the salaries of the teaching and the non-teaching staff as per the number of posts sanctioned by the government. As much as 95 per cent of the expenditure on salaries is met through grants while the remaining 5 per cent is provided by the respective college managements. The funding of academic activities and the day-to-day expenditure is borne by the college managements out of their own funds.

The root of the problem lies in the fact that the staff strength forming the basis of the release of grants was fixed by the government in 1981 and so far there has been no revision in the sanctioned staff structure. Since then, there has been a monumental expansion in the scope of academic and related activities.

Over the past few years, the colleges had begun to offer additional subjects which made the appointment of additional lecturers imperative. The strength of students in various streams also soared, requiring additional faculty.

The consequent expansion of infrastructure and academic facilities including laboratories, computer rooms, libraries, etc., also required the recruitment of assistants, technicians and office staff. To meet the requirements of the students, several vocational courses have also been introduced by some colleges.

The college authorities are also peeved over the fact that while the university is charging fees for registering candidates enrolled in the colleges, which has been increasing, constantly, the grants from the government are not keeping pace with the changing scenario.

According to sources, the UT Administration’s total outlay for education is about Rs 25 crore, which includes the budget for all government-run schools in the city. The share for colleges comes to about Rs 10 crore out of which the entire expenditure for government colleges has to be met.

Faced with such odds, the managements of private colleges are finding it difficult to work out their budget. The hard option is to hike fees while rationalising the expenditure in other areas.


Engineer shot in Mohali
Tribune Reporters

SAS Nagar/Chandigarh, February 17
Two scooter-borne youths shot V.K.Chopra (42), an Executive Engineer with the PWD of the Chandigarh Administration, from point blank range, pumping in nearly four bullets into his neck as he was about to enter the venue of the marriage of his colleague’s son.

The incident occurred in front of Mehak Palace, a marriage hall in Phase V around 9:30 p.m. An injured Chopra was rushed to the PGI where he was declared ‘brought dead’. Chopra’s driver Amrik Singh witnessed the incident.

It was the quirk of fate that Chopra reached the marriage reception. There were two marriages he was scheduled to attend and had reached the venue in his private car being driven by his driver Amrik Singh. The assailants fled in the cover of darkness towards Phase IV. For long, Chopra had been in the eye of storm. And there were complaints pending against him in the Chandigarh Administration regarding the allotment of various multi-crore projects. Due to this, he had earned the displeasure of a powerful lobby among the contractors.

According to the police, Chopra, a resident of Sector 19, had gone in his private car, a Maruti Zen, to the venue. He had started from home at 6 pm and was scheduled to attend two wedding functions, Chopra reached SAS Nagar at 9.30 pm and got off the car at the market parking. Two youths who had apparently been following him from Chandigarh on a scooter stopped their vehicle next to the car. One of them got off the scooter and shot him as many as four times on the neck. Chopra died on the spot.

According to the police, there is no immediate indication of a possible motive behind the murder, they are depending on the driver’s version of what happened. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

A number of policemen, including the SP, reached the scene soon after the crime. There were blood stains in the parking area in front of the hotel.

Strangely, the police said other guests who had come to attend the reception claimed that they had not heard any firing. Music was on in the banquet hall. The guests came to know about the crime later leading to disruption in the reception.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, said the driver told the police that he shouted for help, but when no one responded, he took Mr Chopra to the PGI, Chandigarh, in the car.

It is reported that the Ropar SSP had also reached the scene and took Mr Chopra’s driver with him for questioning.


Jain seeks bail
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
Pleading that he is being implicated by a Shimla girl in a case on the charges of abduction and rape for the second time, Chandigarh businessman M.K. Jain today filed an anticipatory bail application in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge here.

Giving details about his implication in the case, M.K. Jain claimed that this was the second time he was being charged of abduction and rape by the girl. He pleaded that it was only with malafide intentions that the girl had charged him, alongwith three others , of abducting her, especially after the Chandigarh police had absolved him of similar charges made against him there in August last year.

The applicant said Haryana IAS officer N.K. Jain had conspired with the girl to frame him in the case and thus settle an old score. He pleaded that the girl had changed her statement at least four times in Chandigarh, before she approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court accusing the Chandigarh police “ of not investigating the case properly.”

He pleaded that even here the girl had changed her statements three times. In her statement to the police, she had said while she was coming to Panchkula from the Chandigarh bus stand in an autorickshaw, she was abducted by two persons who were following her in a black car. She said two unknown men picked her up and took her in to the car, where he and Manoj Pal were seated. She had said on February 11 all four accused, including Manoj Pal, released her on a deserted road.

However, Manoj Pal was in the police custody in a separate case on the charges of theft from February 9 to 12. Interestingly, in the statement made before the CJM under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C., the prosecutrix had said Manoj Pal was not present when she was released.

On February 15, after Manoj Pal was sent to the judicial custody and M.K. Jain’s arrest was stayed by a local court till February 18 , the girl again made an allegation of rape against her captors. Subsequently, the police added Section 376 (rape) to the earlier FIR registered at Sector 19 police station here.

The Judge, after hearing the arguments, reserved his judgement till tomorrow. The arguments in the other case under Sections 364, 392, 506 and 34 of the IPC registered against Jain will come up for hearing tomorrow.


Tight security in view of Sonia’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Chandigarh police has carried out a special operation to identify anti-national elements to prevent any untoward incident from taking place in view of the proposed visit of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to Himachal Pradesh via Chandigarh.

According to a circular issued by the Chandigarh police headquarters to all SHOs and the crime branch, the Congress President is likely to have a brief halt at Chandigarh on February 18, February 19 and February 22.

The DSP (Operations) of the UT police carried out a special operation to identify the anti-national elements. However, no arrests have been made so far.

The police has asked all hotel/restaurant and guesthouse owners to keep a list of guests staying with them and their addresses. The SHOs have been asked to maintain a record of outstation persons staying here this week.

Additional force has been deployed at all entry points of the city and around the airport to carry out a random check of vehicles coming to Chandigarh.

A senior police official said there was a possibility of Ms Sonia Gandhi staying for a night here as it was a “more safe place” than Himachal Pradesh. Her stay, however, had not been confirmed.


Arranging audience for CM’s function
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, February 17
The visit of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the inauguration of the Child Protection Unit of the Phase XI here today led to an amusing situation at the Municipal Council office.

The council began receiving SOS messages, from worried officials, to make arrangements to send more people to the function where the CM had to address a gathering.

Telephonic messages were received from officials of the SDM’s office, the Police Department and the council officials present at the site.

Council employees were also transported to the venue of the function, but they reached the venue late and had to come back without listening to the CM’s speech.


Commonwealth Secy-Gen calls on Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Secretary-General of Commonwealth Secretariat, London, Mr Donald C. McKinnon, today called upon the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob.

The Governor told the Secretary-General that Punjab was a frontline, progressive and vibrant state which had made a mark especially in the agriculture sector. He said there was an urgent need to harness the full potential of this sector. He said the Commonwealth countries could help Punjab in technology relating to food processing and agro-processing, besides post-harvest techniques.

The Governor said with a large human resource base, especially in the information technology sector, Punjab was a promising state for IT firms of the Commonwealth countries to set up their bases. He also invited units of the Commonwealth to set up their bases in the upcoming technology park in Chandigarh.

Mr McKinnon stressed upon the need of increasing employment avenues for Punjabi youth. He said Punjabis settled in the Commonwealth countries were contributing a lot towards the economy of those countries.

General Jacob said Chandigarh was emerging as the IT hub of North India. Internet linkages with the rural areas was also being planned, he added.


Sri Hemkunt Sahib to felicitate Panchhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Mr D.S. Panchhi, former Chief Fire Officer of Chandigarh, and Honorary Fire and Security Adviser to the Tribune Trust, will be felicitated during the 25th annual day function of Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust to be held at Rishikesh on February 20.

According to Mr Gurbax Singh, President, Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust, eminent raghis, including those who received their training at the Gurmat Bal Vidyalaya run by the Trust, will participate in a special kirtan darbar to be held on February 20.

He said Mr Panchhi, who performed yatra to Sri Hemkunt Sahib for 31 consecutive times, will be felicitated at the annual kirtan darbar.

Among those expected to participate in the kirtan darbar include Bhai Sadhu Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Kulwant Singh, Bhai Jarnail Singh, Bhai Karan Singh, Bhai Varinder Singh, Bhai Devinder Singh, Bhai Rai Singh, Bhai Gurbachan Singh (USA), Mr Gurmail Singh (Milwaukee), Bhai Tarsem Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, Bhai Som Singh, Bhai Randhir Singh, Bhai Baljit Singh, Bhai Gurbachan Singh, Bhai Angpal Singh, Bhai Jaswinder Singh, Bhai Kanwaljit Singh, Bhai Surinder Singh, Bhai Malkiat Singh, Bhai Attarpal Singh, Bhai Onkar Singh, Bhai Bishan Singh, Bhai Tilak Singh, Bhai Karamjit Singh, Bhai Jasbir Singh and Bhai Amarpal Singh.

He said other alumni of the Gurmat Bal Vidyalaya are also invited to participate in the kirtan darbar.


Chandigarh experiences rain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Day-time temperatures in the city dropped following widespread rain in the city and it also slowed down business activity as a squall with a wind speed of about 55 km per hour forced people indoors.

On the other hand, the minimum temperature rose by a couple of degrees celsius. The local Met office said conditions like this would continue for the next 24 hours. Today the day-time temperature was recorded at 21°C, about 3° below the normal average for this time of the year. This was 7 °C less then yesterday’s temperature of 28 °C.

Interestingly, the minimum temperature was 14.2 °C. This was 5 °C above the normal average for this time of the year. The Director of the local Met office, Mr S.C. Bhan, said the rain, recorded at 1 mm had been caused due to western disturbances.


Fire in Sector 44 house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Household goods worth about Rs one lakh were gutted in a fire that broke out in a Sector 44 house late this evening. The occupants of the house were present in the house when the fire broke out.

Fire officials said the fire broke out possibly due to a short-circuit. The owner of the house, Mr Ravinder, who is posted as a deputy manager with Bharat Petroleum, said two double beds, one generator set and few other items lying in the room were gutted.

Meanwhile, a camera of a photo-journalist, working with an English national daily was allegedly damaged by some residents of Sector 44. The photo-journalist had gone there to click the pictures of fire. The journalist has lodged a complaint with the police.


PSHRC opens Child Protection Unit
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 17
The first round-the-clock Child Protection Unit (CPU) of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) was inaugurated by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh here today. The unit set up by the PSHRC in association with the British Council will provide requisite services to the children in need or at a risk of abuse.

Anyone who thinks that a child has been abused can personally contact the CPU at House No 2307, Phase XI, SAS Nagar, or telephone at 0172-231088 any time of the day or night even on Sundays and holidays.

Inaugurating the facility, the Chief Minister said similar units would be established all over the state and the smallest and farthest of villages would be covered by these units. He stressed the role media could play in ensuring that everyone was aware of the facility. He appealed to the non-government organisations (NGOs) to support the project.

He pointed out that the success of the unit would depend on how fast they could react to a given problem ‘‘The reaction should be both effective and immediate,’’he said.

Giving details of the establishment of the unit, the ADGP, PSHRC, Mr S.K. Verma, said the unit was conceptualised by the British Council, which then contacted the West Mercia Constabulary, UK, to prepare a functional model of the unit. This was followed by a two-week training programme attended by senior PSHRC officials and members in the UK in November 2002.

Stating that there is need to protect children and promote their welfare, Mr Verma stressed the responsibility of protecting children did not entirely fall on one agency, but other agencies could also play a major role.

Mr N.K. Arora, Chairman, PSHRC, said the commission had been performing very well for the past five years. The number of cases registered by the commission had gone up from a meagre 90 to 9,000.

The Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Y.K. Ratra, stressed the need to focus on the unreported cases of child abuse.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, said in the coming session of the Vidhan Sabha, a social legislation to the effect would also be passed. ‘‘There is a need for social legislation to complement the Indian Penal Code,’’he said.

The unit will be starting a mass contact programme and a large-scale awareness campaign by organising meetings/seminars with the local community, media and schools. It will be taking medico-legal action depending on the nature of the offence and making arrangements for the rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection through referral to government and voluntary organisations and agencies.


Cops to hold meetings with prosecution officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Chandigarh Police today decided to hold meetings with prosecution officials at regular intervals for speedy investigation in criminal cases. This follows a direction issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up a review committee for the quick and proper investigation of cases.

At a meeting of the official of the prosecution and police officials, which was chaired by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, it was decided that the meetings would be held on a monthly and quarterly basis. The DSPs have been asked to hold meetings with the District Attorney (DA) on a monthly basis.

To benefit a large number of litigants aggrieved by the failure of prosecuting agencies, probing criminal cases in the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the setting up of a review committee under the chairmanship of a Home Secretary. The order had been passed in July last year.

The directions were significant as in a large number of cases, the accused were being granted bail even in cases of heinous offences following the failure of the prosecuting agency to file the final report within the stipulated period.

The orders were issued on a petition filed by a resident of Hisar seeking directions for handing over the investigation of a case registered at Adampur police station under Section 304 of the IPC to an independent agency. Mr Justice Goel also directed the committee — with the head of the investigating agency as one of the members — to look into the “speed of the investigation in light of the facts and figures”, besides “the working of mechanism for the redressal of grievances”, along with “the working of the investigating agency at the lower level and its monitoring at the higher level” and areas requiring further review.

In his detailed order, Mr Justice Goel had observed: “It appears that the states of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, are satisfied with the mechanism laid down in the police rules, but the actual working is to the contrary evident from thousands of petitions being filed in this court with a grievance that the investigation was not being completed for long periods or the grievances raised were not being considered at any forum”.

The judge had also directed the filing of affidavits by officers not below the rank of Secretaries for ascertaining the mechanism being followed in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.


‘Service tax provisions assessee-friendly’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The recently introduced service tax provisions were assessee-friendly with simple registration and assessment procedures. Though the Act was still in its infancy, it would go a long way in enhancing the revenue of the Central Government, said Mr G.S. Narang, Commissioner, Department of Excise and Customs, here today.

Participants at a seminar on service tax organised by the ICWA in Chandigarh
Participants at a seminar on service tax organised by the ICWA in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

He was speaking at a seminar on service tax, organised by the Chandigarh-Panchkula chapter of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWA). He said though the revenue collection under these provisions had increased manifold, but there were number of services that were yet to be brought under the tax net . He urged professionals to educate the common people about the applicability of the Act on various services and friendly approach of the Act so as to encourage voluntary registration and compliance.

Earlier, Mr Balwinder Singh, secretary, ICWA, introduced the theme of the seminar. He observed since the contribution of the service sector in the GDP of the country was increasing at a much higher rate than that of the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, it could help the government achieve revenue targets.

Mr Anil Gupta, Joint Commissioner, Department of Excise and Customs, Chandigarh, said at present 46 services were covered under the service tax, including financial services, beauty parlours, cargo handling, dry-cleaner services, event management, fashion designing and rail travel agent services.

Among others, Mr Rakesh Bhalla, chairman, ICWA, Mr Ashok Goyal, executive director, Spice Communications Limited, and Mr D.C. Arya, chairman, NIRC of ICWA, New Delhi, also expressed their views on the occasion.


27 models to vie for honours
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 17
Twelve girls and 15 boys will participate in the Mr and Miss North-2003 contest to be held at Tagore Theatre here tomorrow. The first round of the contest was held today.

The contest is being organised by the Western Group, the All Art Cultural Association and the City Entertainment Network.

The show will be choreographed by Mr Mukester Mellone and Ms Manvean.


Aussies snuff out Indian challenge

ON the afternoon of February 15 the Australian juggernaut speeded along the World Cup road steamrolling the Indians on the way. Indian Cricket reached its all-time low when the team collapsed for 125 runs inside 50 overs. It sent shock waves in the minds of millions of diehard Indian fans who had gathered around the TV sets hoping for a quick turnaround by the Indian team after their disastrous New Zealand tour. But that was not to be. The Indian superstars were like a rudderless ship that sank very fast. Critics and cricket pundits were left aghast at this abysmal performances and found it very hard to digest. India’s continued run of disappointing performance raises a pertinent question as to whether the present Indian squad can be salvaged from the quagmire or it needs total transplant.

Ten dismal performances on a trot and not been able to bat the total of 50 overs cannot be condoned by even the diehard Indian supporters. Cricket is a team game and only a cohesive unit with all-round abilities can call the shots in the one day version of the game. Indian team’s confidence is at its lowest ebb. The New Zealand tour should have acted as an eye-opener for the cricket administrators and they should have made the World Cup hopefuls play the domestic Ranji Trophy matches instead of allowing the team the so-called rest, which in fact was misused by most of the players by running around the country for shooting TV commercials for their respective sponsors.

It was a pathetic sight to watch Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag fish at almost wide deliveries without any foot movement and end up in the safe gloves of Adam Gilchrist. Apart from Tendulkar’s short but sweet innings and a brief cameo of 28 by Harbhajan, the entire Indian batting caved in. The much heralded Mohd Kaif continued his poor form with the bat scoring a total of 75 runs in the last 10 innings. Bowlers on the other hand never got a decent total to defend. But pace bowler Zaheer Khan struggled to keep the line and length and conceded extra runs in terms of wide balls.

Everything is not lost as yet but Indians have to fire on all cylinders and each player has to compliment the other in batting, bowling and fielding. One slip from here and the dream of winning the World cup may fade away. The team management has to do a lot of re-thinking in terms of team’s composition. The entire nation wishes, prays and hopes for a turnaround of Indian fortunes in their quest for the World Cup.

—Sushil Kapoor



Unit celebrates 160 yrs of battle honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Scinde Irregular Horse, one of the oldest and highly decorated regiments of the Army, celebrated 160 years of battle honours “Meeanee to Malakpur”, somewhere in the western sector today.

According to a press note, the regiment was raised on August 8, 1838 in Hyderabad (Pakistan) to resist the sporadic onslaught of Baluchi marauders that left communication between the British Indian Army and Southern Afghanistan haywire.

The regiment vanquished the enemy in the battle of Meanee on February 17, 1843. During the action the regiment killed a large number of enemy soldiers and captured the principal standard of Mir Nusseer Khan which is today proudly displayed in the officers’ mess of the regiment.

The unit today boasts of 26 hard-earned battle and theatre honours. In its glorious history spanning over a century, the regiment has participated in the two World Wars and the wars of 1965 and 1971 with Pakistan. After 1971 war the officers and men of the unit were decorated with three Sena Medals, two Vishisht Seva Medals, five Chief of Army Staff Commendation Cards and Seven Army Commander Commendation Cards.

Lieut-Gen T.S. Shergill, Colonel and Commandant of the unit, addressed the gathering which comprised serving as well as retired officers , men and their families.


One rank, one pension a mockery

THE Lok Sabha MP and Chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Defence, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, said at Dharamsala on February 8 that one rank, one pension issue, hanging fire for decades would soon be resolved as the recommendations of his committee had been accepted in principle by the Ministries of Finance and Defence. Knowing the track record of all political parties and their broken promises, ex-servicemen can accept Mr Khurana’s announcement only with a grain of salt.

In 1986, ex-servicemen resorted to hunger strike in front of Parliament House. It was only then that they were granted an interview with the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. One of the several recommendations of the “high-level committee” appointed by him was the placement of ex-servicemen in civil organisations until the age of 58. But no action was taken on this.

On assumption of office as Prime Minister in 1989, Mr V.P. Singh said in his TV address to the nation that his government “stood committed” to one rank, one pension demand. The then President, Mr R. Venkataraman, had also made a similar commitment in his TV address in December, 1989. Later “Jaffa Committee” was appointed, which gave a bureaucratic burial to this demand.

The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, said at Anandpur Sahib on April 10, 1999 that one rank, one pension scheme had been accepted “in principle and its implementation was a matter of a few days”. The rest is history.

Himachal ex-servicemen

The ex-servicemen in Himachal Pradesh (HP) are sore over the state government not giving them the vacancies reserved for them in government jobs. Sub-Maj Rakesh Kumar (retd) from Kangra says: “The BJP had promised in the last elections to provide 15 per cent reservation for ex-servicemen in government jobs but they have not fulfilled this commitment”.

Another grouse that the ex-servicemen in HP have is against the “faujis” who forget them after joining politics. “Ex-servicemen after being elected as MPs and MLAs, get embroiled in party politics. Watching the interest of ex-servicemen is no longer a priority for them”, says Havildar Ram Singh (retd) from Jawalamukhi.

Coming from the JCOs and NCOs as it does, this feeling shows that the ex-servicemen are totally disgusted with the politicians. No wonder then that the ex-servicemen in HP have started thinking that unless they all unite to form a pressure group in the state, they would not be able to achieve anything. In HP, there are around 3,00,000 ex-servicemen and more than one lakh serving soldiers. And they constitute more than 10 per cent of the total electorate.

The Hajipir hero of 1965 war, Lt-Gen R.S. Dayal (retd), strongly feels that the political power should be in the hands of ex-servicemen. This can, undoubtedly, happen if the ex-servicemen unite all over the country.

Seminar on security

The Centre for Defence and National Security Studies (CDNSS), Panjab University, Chandigarh, held a two-day seminar on “Dynamics of India’s security in the north-western region: challenges and responses” on February 13 and 14. Though this was the first ever seminar held by the CDNSS, it proved to be a great success.

While inaugurating the seminar, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh, said our force levels should be decided after taking into account the likely threats to the country. In his keynote address, Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd), Adviser, University of Jammu and former Deputy Director, Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, gave his assessment of the security environment and its effect on India.

About 20 papers by defence analysts and academic experts were presented at the seminar on regional security environment, military and non-military threats, contribution of security forces in north-western region, armed forces and society and the role of media in security of the country. Two points that need mention are that while discussing our water policy management, a research scholar, Mr Dilbag Singh, suggested that in order to prevent Pakistan from cross-border terrorism, India should stop the flow of water of its rivers into Pakistan. In her paper on “problems of war widows of Ludhiana and Ropar Kamalpreet from DAV College, Chandigarh, brought out with examples the shabby treatment that they were getting from the government.

Pritam Bhullar



Leaf from history
And quiet flows the Sarasvati.....
Chitleen K. Sethi

THERE are times in history when that which does not exist calls for the historians’ attention. So when historians debate about non-existent entities, the disagreement between them becomes even more complex to the lay person.

Another view of the river bed
Another view of the river bed. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

For long historians had wondered about the mighty river Sarasvati that had been mentioned in the Rig Veda and the Mahabharata. Ambitambe, Naditambe, Devitambe, Sarasvati [the best of mothers, the best of rivers, the best of goddesses, Sarasvati], this is how it was venerated. But where did it exist? One bit of contemporary mythology held that it was the river, which made a tri-junction at Tirtharaj Prayag, contemporary Allahabad with the Ganga and the Yamuna.

Another insisted that it was the river Ghaggar, which flows next door to Chandigarh. Arising from the Shiwalik ranges it wends its way through Haryana to Ganganagar in Rajasthan and then it gets lost into the desert sands.

When F. Eden Pargiter of the ICS compiled the king-lists of the Puranas (Oxford University Press, 1922) and traced the list of kings back to 120 generations before the rule of Chandragupta Maurya, he noticed that Madhyadesh, the area west of the kingdom of Ayodhya, up till the river Sarasvati in the north-west was ruled by Yayati, the great grandson of the great Pururava who had founded the Lunar dynasty, the Chandravansha. The Bhargav rishi Ushanas-Shukra, the one who supported the asuras, was said to have his ashram on the banks of the Sarasvati.

Charting the course
Charting the course: The map, based on satellite data, delineates the old channels of the river which is supposed to have originated at Adi Badri, Haryana, and dried up near the Rann of Kutch (Source: Dr Baldev Sahay, former deputy director, Space Application Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad.

As historians of assorted hues tracked down its presence in ancient literature the riddle of the river became increasingly confounding. The river Sarasvati was said to be the mightiest of the mighty rivers. As broad as 10 km in some places, this river was the centre of civilisation and life-giver. Could the Ghaggar be this river at all? The mightiest that it did was to wash away a little mud from some spur on its banks or flood a few villages for a little while, and that too only after the heaviest of the monsoons. For most part of the year it remained a small rivulet, drying up even before summer had peaked. But as another Britisher, Oldham had discovered in the late 19th century, the Ghaggar flowed over a riverbed that was far larger than what the Ghaggar could occupy. Perhaps the larger bed was that of the Sarasvati?

With the discovery of Harappa and Mohenjodaro by archaeologists in the early 1920s, the text-based search for the Sarasvati waned considerably. The new discoveries, supported by materiel evidence that was far more tangible than mere textual descriptions, shifted the interest of historians away from the mythology of Sarasvati. The people of Haryana, though continued to believe that the Ghaggar was the Sarasvati.

Unknown to mainstream historians, though, scientists continued to take the textual references to Sarasvati seriously. A Ghosh, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, during the years soon after independence, began the trend of exploring the Rajasthan region for this river. Investigations which also included areas of Punjab, Haryana, western UP and Gujarat, as also across the border in Pakistan seemed to suggest that a mighty river did flow through this region, draining the water from the Siwaliks into the Arabian sea. Extensive human settlements were discovered along this river.

Then since 1972 topographical, hydrological and national remote-sensing investigation done by the Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and the Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, brought out evidence for the existence of a mighty river in the region over which the Ghaggar flows today. Tectonic disturbances around 1800 B.C. which raised the Aravalli ranges in Rajasthan, it was said, changed the directions of the important rivers flowing down the Shiwaliks. The Yamuna turned east and went on to join the Ganga, making that river the mightiest in the subcontinent. The Sutlej began to shift westwards towards the Indus. Thus the once mighty river was swallowed up by mother earth. A small seasonal rivulet was left behind which we now know as the Ghaggar.


Non-Punjabis have ‘usurped’ Akademi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
A number of Akali MLAs, in a signed statement, said today that artists from Punjab were upset following the handing over the management of Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi to non-Punjabis by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. They said the wife of a senior bureaucrat said to be close to the Chief Minster had been calling the shots as far as managing the affairs of the Akademi was concerned.

Expressing surprise, they questioned as to how who neither wrote nor read Punjabi could be associated with the management of the Akademi. They said one person who represented Haryana at the National Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, and was a sitting representative of that state at the NZCC, Allahabad, had been given an important position in the Akademi.


Regularise houses, BJP urges Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Leaders of the local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan and a former local MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, said here today that they had written a letter to the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), requesting him to regularise the houses already constructed in Darshani Bagh of Mani Majra.

In a press note issued here, the BJP said General Jacob had said the Administration was not in favour of demolishing the houses already constructed. The BJP leaders urged the Administrator to restrain the officials at the lower level from harassing persons who live in these houses.

“A delegation of the party will soon call upon the Administrator and plead with him to save Darshani Bagh” a spokesperson of the party said.


MC chief learns about colony’s plight
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, February 17
Residents of the EWS houses in Sector 57 met the Municipal Council president here today in connection with the numerous problems being faced by them.

Residents said a number of ‘jhuggis’ had come up on the government land next to the colony, which had created a problem of stray animals for them. They said sanitation there was in a state of neglect, as ‘safai karamcharis’ hardly cleaned the area. They complained that they also faced the problem of pollution, as some waste material dumped in the rivulet near the colony was often burnt.

Mr Kulwant Singh, council president, said he had written twice to the PUDA officials earlier to get the ‘jhuggis’ removed from the area, as it was an encroachment, apart from being a source of nuisance for the residents, but PUDA had failed to take any action. He said, now, a DO letter was being sent to the Chief Administrator of PUDA in this regard. He assured the complainants that the problems linked with the civic body would be removed in the next few days and he would personally visit the colony on Sunday.


Ex-Mayor against shifting of dairies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
A former Mayor and sitting councillor of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, said here today that he had reservations on the decision of the MC to shift all dairies from four villages.

He demanded that these dairy owners be allotted alternative dairy sites by the MC or a special dairy complex be carved out in Chandigarh. Mr Gupta said this was a shocking decision, as these dairies had been running here for the past five decades and providing the city residents with milk. He said he would raise this issue in the coming meeting of the House.


Hit by truck, mobiker dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
A motorcyclist, Lal Dev of Manimajra, was hit by a truck (HR-02-A-9195) yesterday and rushed to the Sector-32 Government Medical College and Hospital in a serious condition, where he succumbed to his injuries. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered at the police station of Sector 34 against the truck driver, Harpal Singh, who has been arrested.

Scooter stolen: Wakeel Chand, a man of DM Colony, has reported that someone has stolen his new Bajaj Chetak scooter (chassis no. CRCBJK-276509 and engine no. CREBJK-25972. The theft happened last night. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered at the police station of Sector 39 in this regard.

Jewellery stolen: Anil Kumar, a man of Kumhar Colony of Sector 25, has reported that someone has stolen a gold ring, a gold chain, a gold mangalsutra, a gold nath, a gold tikka, a silver set and Rs 5,000 cash from his house. The theft happened on Sunday. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at the police station of Sector 11 in this regard.

Computer stolen: Akshay Goswami, a man of Sector 15, has reported that someone stole a computer set and Rs 500 cash from his house yesterday. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at the police station of Sector 11 in this regard.

Caught red-handed: Sanju, a man of Kajheri village was caught redhanded last night, stealing 3 litres of Mobil oil from the Sukhna petrol pump. A case under Section 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered against him.


Five held: The police has arrested five persons, Sailesh Kumar, Dev Kant, Prahlad, Bindu Ram and Baijnath, from near the Surajpur bus stand on charges of disrupting public tranquillity.

Three arrested: The police has arrested three persons under the Excise Act. While Annu has been arrested in Badona Kalan village and 10 bottles of liquor have been seized from him. Shayam Lal and Ram Nath have been arrested in separate cases on the charges of drinking at public places.

Rash driving: The police has arrested Mukhtiar Singh on the charge of rash and negligent driving near the Madhanwala naka and booked him under Sections 279 and 336 of the IPC.


PepsiCo meets stringent EU norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
PepsiCo has carried out extensive tests this week for its bottled water “Aquafina” against yet another quality benchmark – the European (EU) norms and methodology specifying the most stringent limits for individual.

According to an official announcement here today, the test results indicate that Aquafina meets the EU norms for residual pesticides in bottled water. The company had entrusted an independent laboratory with the tests to confirm Aquafina’s quality.

Results of the available current tests conducted as per the most stringent EU norms and methodologies show that Aquafina meets the EU permissible individual pesticide norm and total permissible pesticide level. Testing of one last location will be available next week.

PepsiCo had said Aquafina had consistently met the existing Indian BIS norms and was produced to meet the highest USEPA-recommended, WHO-prescribed standards. It uses the state-of-the-art purification system in the country. The stringent purification process includes chlorination, sand filteration, activated carbon purifier, five micron polisher, ultraviolet, reverse osmosis, one micron polisher and ozonation. Reverse Osmosis, using the best membrane technology is at the heart of the purification process.


Another LG showroom opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
LG Electronics has opened another showroom in the city at NAC Manimajra. Mr Jeevan Gupta, Director of the company, said the showroom would have a complete range of LG products, including television sets, washing machines, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens and air-conditioners.

Casio products

The Casio Gallery in Sector 17-A, has added a new range of products. Mr Harmeet Singh, owner of the gallery, said a new series of digital diaries (256 KB, 512 KB, 1 MB) and digital cameras (QV-R3, R4 to mega pixels) besides electronic dictionaries, portable pocket colour TV, pocket viewers and electronic encyclopaedia, had been added.

The company has announced to launch electronic musical keyboards. Other new products included 14-digit desktop calculator, printing calculator, multi-functional wrist watches and digital answering machines.

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