Tuesday, February 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Spy ring busted, 2 ISI agents held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
An espionage network, funded by Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and being operated from the city, has been unearthed by the Chandigarh Police. Two spies, including a Pakistan national living under an assumed Hindu name, were yesterday arrested from the city sub-centre in Sector 34 here while exchanging money for classified defence documents from another ISI agent, dealing in hawala transactions.

The spies communicated with their superiors in Pakistan only through the e-mail. The spies have been identified as Aabid Mehmood, alias Nihal Chohan, originally hailing from Liakatpur in Raheemyar Khan district of Pakistan, and Mohammed Aarif of Gulampur in Muzzfarnagar of Uttar Pradesh. More arrests are expected on the basis of information given by the spies.

The documents, including a fake voter identity card issued by the Election Commission of India in 2000 from Kairana (Muzzafarnagar) asserting the assumed identity of Aabid, were prepared soon after he arrived in the country.

Several incriminating secret documents, including maps of the Survey of India, details of defence formations, pictures, deployment of Army units of the Western and the Eastern Commands and a fake school-leaving certificate, have been seized from the possession of Aabid. Central intelligence agencies have reportedly been informed about the arrest. Acting on a tip-off, a team of the CIA staff began to watch the spies. Aabid Mehmood, who was living in a rented accommodation at Burail village, came to India via Dhaka and Kathmandu in the second week of January, 2003. The Deputy Superintendent of Police (South), Mr SC Sagar, said from Lucknow, he boarded a train to Delhi, reached Kairana and then Chandigarh via Panipat.

During the police interrogation, Aabid said he was a computer professional and his father was a homoeopath. His two brothers were serving in various government departments in Pakistan. He was picked up by Zaffar NIaz, a Pakistani military intelligence officer posted at Bhawalpur. He was indoctrinated with fanatic Islamic ideology and anti-India feelings. He was also taught secret writing, surveillance, photography, observations and spying techniques.

The spy was trained about the military formations and rank structure of the Indian Army, with specific reference to Western Command, Chandimandir, and Second Corps, Ambala Cantt. In his contract, he was promised Rs 6,000 per month apart from the expenses incurred in gathering classified information. His parents in Pakistan were to be paid Rs 15,000 per month. The total amount of the two-year contract was Rs 10 lakh. Major Aggah of the ISI, who was his boss, had promised a handsome remuneration to Aabid if he succeeded in his mission.

The second spy, Mohammed Aarif, who worked as a courier person for the ISI to exchange money for classified documents since 2001, was running ladies garments business in Shimla, Delhi and Ambala. Previously, he ran a cloth shop at the Lal Quilla area in Delhi. He used to get Rs 500 of every Rs 15,000 delivered to the spies.

Both were arrested when Mohhamed Aarif was exchanging money for the classified documents with Aabid. Both had been given a code to communicate with each other. A dress code had also been given to enable them to identify each other.

Meanwhile, he was produced before the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr K.K Goyal, in the afternoon, who remanded him in police custody until March 6. The police has sought the custody of the accused for 14 days.

During questioning, the spies disclosed that they had been strictly told not to talk with their superiors over open the telephone.

They had been given special e-mail ID’s. The messages received were saved in different files and folders to evade attention of the intelligence agencies. The ISI managed Aabid’s entry at the Dhaka (Bangladesh) airport from Pakistan. An air ticket worth Rs 26,000 was seized from his possession.

Aabid said he was trained to update the ISI’s information about the changing deployment pattern of the Indian Army units, especially of the Western Command, Chandimandir and the units stationed at Ambala.



MC levies 2 per cent tax on commercial buildings
Tribune News Service


* Annual plan increased to Rs 64.57 crore

* 2 per cent tax imposed on commercial buildings and property and 1.5 per cent tax on Government buildings.

* Pawan Bansal promises 1 crore for sanitation projects.

* Anu Chatrath elected as F&CC member.

* Heated exchange between opposition and treasury benches on the inquiry report of auction of hotel site.

* Jatinder Bhatia of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch demands special funds for development of southern sectors.

* Former Mayor Harjinder Kaur stresses upon emergency funds for repair of roads.


SUBASH CHAWLA (Mayor): Claimed that the budget was most 'realistic' and said major thrust is on development works and generating resources.

PAWAN BANSAL (local MP): Termed it as a well balanced budget but stressed upon the need to increase funds allocation for sanitation projects.

GIAN CHAND (BJP): ‘‘Nothing more than a figure work with hardly any details of development works to be initiated in the next financial year’’.

PRADEEP CHABRA (Congress): ‘‘One of the best budget presented in the past few years with complete focus on development works in all the areas’’.

HARJINDER KAUR (SAD): ‘‘Funds were not adequately allocated as per the requirement of the areas’’.

JATINDER BHATIA (CVM): ‘‘Southern sectors were neglected in development works’’. 

Chandigarh, February 24
The annual plan of the Municipal Corporation pegged at Rs 64.57 crore and non-plan estimated budget of Rs 183.48 crore for the financial year 2003-04, adding a burden of 2 per cent tax on commercial buildings and property and 1.5 per cent tax on all Government buildings was passed unanimously here, today. Meanwhile, two important bylaws — amendment in the existing Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (sanitation and public health) bylaws - 1999 and draft proposal of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (parking of vehicles) bylaws - 2002 were deferred to the next general meeting.

Member Parliament Pawan Bansal, who is the ex-officio member of the MC promised to reserve a sum of Rs 1 crore apart from the annual plan of the MC, from his contingency fund during the next financial year especially for sanitation projects.

Annual plan passed: The Municipal Corporation today, unanimously passed the annual plan of Rs 64.57 crore for the next financial year. Although, the annual plan of Rs 57.47 crore was earlier laid before the councillors for approval but during discussion amount for certain plan head allocations was increased to about Rs 7.1 crore as demanded by councillors.

The proposed budget allocation for electricity division was increased from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore, construction of roads in Mani Majra from Rs 50 lakh to 1 crore, public health division expenditure in Mani Majra from Rs 60 lakh to 1.5 crore, development works in colonies from Rs 1.5 crore to 3 crore, development works in four villages from Rs 30 lakh to 1 crore and Rs. 2 crore especially for initiating development works in southern sectors. However, the Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, clarified that this increase in the amount was subject to the increase of grant-in-aid demanded by the Corporation from the UT Administration.

Two bylaws deferred: The Municipal Corporation today deferred the enactment of two important bylaws after discussion to the next meeting, as majority of the councillors pointed out many errors in the draft resolution.

The amendment of the existing Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (sanitation and public health) bylaws - 1999 was deferred to next General House meeting of the corporation. It was proposed to add three clauses relating to the prevention of burning of garbage, prohibition of throwing garbage in public places and at places other than the designated sites and the imposition of fine for violation of these two clauses. Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, argued that certain flaws in the draft proposal of these amendments may lead to complications in future. Majority of the councillors stood by the argument given by the MP. Going by the decision of the house the Mayor deferred it to the next meeting saying that the proposal of the amendment would be redrafted in accordance with the suggestions of the councillors.

Similarly, the draft proposal of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (parking of vehicles) bylaws - 2002 was also deferred to the next meeting for certain amendments.

No increase in councillors’ allowance: It was brought to the notice of the members that the Chandigarh Administration had rejected the proposal of enhancement of allowances of councillors. The local councillors had earlier demanded enhancement of allowances as per the existing rules in Punjab but the Secretary, Local Government, in his orders (dated-January 23) rejected the proposal. Thus the proposal regarding this that was brought in the meeting was deferred.

Kajauli project: The resolution of transfer of operation and maintenance of phase-I and II of augmentation W/S scheme Kajauli from Punjab Government to the MC was moved by Chander Mukhi Sharma. However, it was deferred to the next meeting for proper discussion.

Two committees approved: The General House of MC unanimously approved the constitution of two committees - Enforcement Committee and Resource Generation committee for smooth functioning of the corporation. Resolution regarding this was moved by Sohan Lal Vaid.

Anu Chatrath declared elected: The Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, declared Ms Anu Chatrath elected as member of the vital Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) in the House. She was elected unopposed for the post as no other nomination was filed for the post. The post fell vacant after the election of Mr Chawla as Mayor.

Referred to LR: After hearing the arguments of councillors, the Mayor referred the inquiry report of Secretary, Local Government, in regard to the auction of SCO site (No. 176-177 and 178-179) in sector-9C to the Legal Remembrancer for legal opinion. Earlier, the auction of these sites was cancelled on the demand of Rajesh Gupta and Gian Chand of the BJP on the complaint that certain irregularities were committed by the authorities concerned during the auction process that ultimately led to heavy loss to the MC. The opposition disrupted the proceedings for few minutes demanding action against the officials involved for loss to the MC. There was even heated exchange between the Treasury and Opposition benches.

Review petition moved: Mr M.P Singh, Commissioner, MC, brought to the notice of the councillors that they had filed a review petition before the division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to review the earlier decision of the apex court directing the MC to pay Rs 15 crore to the owners of a hotel site who had not been handed over the possession even after the auction for the past several many years. Earlier, after heated exchange of words and discussion among the councillors there was a common refrain that such lapses that lead to financial burden should be avoided. 



Over 50 ‘bonded labourers’ rescued
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 24
Twentyseven years after the Union Government banned bonded labour in the country, a Chandigarh-based NGO, in collaboration with the Ropar district administration, on orders of the Punjab Labour Commissioner, today got “released” over 50 labourers reportedly working in bondage at a brick-kiln situated at Lakhnaur village in SAS Nagar sub-division.

These labourers wanted to leave their workplace but were allegedly not allowed to do so by another group of workers employed in the same place. The labourers, according to members of the NGO, Volunteers for Social Justice, had been ‘‘brought from Jammu by the head of a group of labourers on the promise of better wages, but were not paid by the brick-kiln owners for months. And when the labourers came under debt, they were stopped from leaving the premises.’’

The SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, along with members of the NGO and a legal adviser, visited the brick-kiln and after talking to the labourers, ordered that they be allowed to leave.

On this, the brick-kiln owner said this action was unfair as the labourers were not under any bondage, nor were they being stopped from going away. “These labourers owe us more than Rs 50,000 which they had taken as advance and for this, they still have to work,” said Mr Dilpreet Singh, son of the brick- kiln owner.

The labourers, however, alleged gross exploitation by the other group of workers whom they considered to be permanent employees of the owner.

Stating that they had not been paid a single penny since December, 2002, these labourers alleged that they had no money to feed their children. The labourers also alleged physical atrocities by the other group of workers.

According to Ms Prabhjot Kaur, a member of the NGO, the labourers had approached the Labour Commissioner, Punjab, through a union leader. The Commissioner then marked the enquiry to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar.

When contacted, the Labour Commissioner, Punjab, Mr Sanjay Kumar, confirmed that an immediate release of the labourers had been ordered. ‘‘The fact whether the labourers were in actual state of bondage or not will be ascertained after a complete inquiry is conducted in the matter,’’ he said.



Spring from Belarus

Chandigarh, February 24
Spring came a little early to Chandigarh. When the Kappanika troupe from Belarus danced and sang with spring in their step and wearing flowery headgears the troupe made the audience at Tagore Theatre forget the winter chills. Organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations the group presented 22 folk numbers on the spring and love. The songs and dances are part of Kupalle — the summer celebration rituals.

The programme started with a song called “Pradivesna”. A few marriage songs gave a glimpse of the Belarus customs. OC



Conditional tests find favour with students
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
There has reportedly been an increase in the number of students appearing for conditional tests in city colleges this year as compared to the previous years. While conditional tests began in some of the colleges today, these will be conducted in other colleges shortly.

When asked about the reason for this teachers said the main reason for the increase in the number of candidates appearing for the conditional tests could be an effort on the part of the students to improve the aggregate marks obtained in the house tests, which will be counted towards internal assessment in the final examinations to be conducted by the university.

Conditional tests are held for those students who are unable to secure the minimum aggregate of 25 per cent marks in the two house tests conducted by colleges during the months of September and December. Panjab University regulations stipulate that a student needs to secure a minimum of 25 per cent marks in aggregate to be eligible to appear in the final examinations conducted by the university.

As far as internal assessment is concerned, 10 marks out of 100 in the final exams are devoted to these house tests. The written exam is of 90 marks. Of these 10 marks, four marks will account for the assessment of September tests, while six marks will account for the assessment of December tests.

‘‘The increase in the number of students appearing for conditional tests sends a message that they are getting serious about the academic performance,’’ Prof Charanjit Chawla, a lecturer in one of the colleges where conditional exams began today, commented. As many as 300 students took the tests today.

Teachers say this would improve the overall results of the college, which would benefit the institute as well as the students, even if it meant that teachers would have to mark a few extra answer sheets.

While some students concerned are unable to secure the minimum required aggregate marks, some are unable to appear for the house tests on account of participation in various extra-curricular activities, sports, youth festivals or on medical grounds.

In some colleges, appearing in conditional tests is also counted towards the number of lectures attended by a student. This has also given rise to another issue. Since shortage of lectures becomes an important issue virtually every year, some lecturers suggest that tests should also be made mandatory in university departments and be counted towards the number of lectures attended.



PU not to accept “care of” forms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Panjab University has decided not to accept examination forms of private candidates who have given their address under "care of" of institutions instead of their actual residential or permanent address.

According to a statement issued here, candidates who have submitted their forms without actual address have been advised to send their actual residential or permanent address to the Joint Controller of Examination, Panjab University by March 7.

Candidates who fail to submit their actual address will not be issued roll numbers under any circumstances.

support withdrawn: The Haryana Students Association (HSA) in a press note issued here on Monday decided to withdraw its support from the Panjab University Student Union alliance . The association has decided to withdraw its support due to the alleged misuse of power by council president Malwinder Singh Kang during the Gurdas Mann nite on Friday. Satinder Dahiya, general secretary of the council, has also criticised the "attitude" of the president, the press note added.



Surjewala denies report on beef eating by Vajpayee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The All-India President of the Indian Youth Congress, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, today denied that his party had ever accused the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, of eating beef.

Reacting sharply to the demand of a former Union minister, Ms Uma Bharati, that the Congress should apologise for levelling baseless allegations against Mr Vajpayee, Mr Surjewala said Mr Vajpayee, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and Ms Bharati herself should apologise for launching a “completely false smear campaign” against the Congress and its youth wing to get political mileage in the Himachal assembly elections and for vitiating political atmosphere in the country.

“Political battles are not won by creating issues out of non-issues. They are won by winning the hearts of the people,” Mr Surjewala said at a press conference here. He said the BJP leadership had been unnerved by the attacks launched against it by one of its own kin, the VHP, which had openly accused Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani of using the Ayodhya issue to get power. “Today the BJP is gheraoing the BJP,” he remarked in obvious reference to the VHP-sponsored gherao of Parliament by saints in Delhi today.

Mr Surjewala said it was strange that when many of the RSS and BJP leaders had used abusive language against the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, during the Gujarat assembly elections, the Prime Minister did not intervene and stop the vicious campaign against a woman.

He said Mr Vajpayee should take the lead in establishing certain minimum norms of decency and morality in politics as the leader of the nation. He should not encourage the “lumpen elements in his party” in launching malicious campaigns against their political rivals.

Mr Surjewala gave figures to show how the export of beef from India had gone up from about 1.60 lakh metric tonnes in 1995-96 to about 2.43 lakh metric tonnes in 2001-02. This year, he said, the export had crossed the 3.50 lakh metric tonnes mark. These figures, he said, had been provided by a government agency, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority.

He said the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh had a policy to protect the cows, and the Youth Congress was supporting it. He admitted that the Youth Congress in Madhya Pradesh had coined certain slogans in support of cow protection but it never alleged that Mr Vajpayee was a beef-eater as claimed by Ms Bharati.



Modi stops over in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi, briefly stopped at Chandigarh Airport while on his way to Himachal Pradesh for election campaign.
At the airport, Mr Modi was welcomed by Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, President of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former local MP, Mr B.K. Kapoor and Mr Purshotam Mahajan, both state General Secretaries of the BJP and Ms Kamla Sharma, a former Mayor and at present Leader of Opposition in the local Municipal Corporation. In a statement issued to press today, Mr Mahavir Prasad, in charge of media cell of the local unit of the BJP, said hundreds of party workers including district presidents and BJP councillors, were present on the occasion.

BJP leaders and workers present at the airport also prayed for BJP’s victory in Himachal Pradesh following wins in Gujarat. After his brief stop over for about 15 minutes at the airport, Mr Modi flew to Banikhet in Himachal Pradesh on board a private helicopter.



2 file papers
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February, 24
The process of filing the nomination papers for the coming municipal elections of Kharar has started and two candidates filed their nomination papers in the office of Kharar, SDM, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, here today.
Meanwhile no nomination paper have been filed for the Kurali MC.

Mr Om Prakash Aggarwal (president BJP Kharar) has filed his nomination papers from ward no 14 as independent candidate and Mr Vikas Aggarwal as his covering candidate.

Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, a rebel Congress leader who also contested as independent in the last Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections has announced the formation of Kharar Vikas Morcha and would field candidates from all 15 wards of Kharar. February 27 is the last date of filing nominations.



Encroachment on govt land?
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 24
A private Company of New Delhi which had purchased a piece of land measuring 8.28 acres from Kharar Textile Mills, a unit of National Textile Corporation, owned by the Union Government, of India, has allegedly encroached upon a piece of land measuring 2 acres.

The NTC had sold the land on February 14, 2003. The land, which touches National Highway No. 21 as well as the Bukhri road, was sold for Rs 1 crore and 37 lakh. The possession of the land was given to the company on the same day.

The company allegedly constructed a boundary wall and in addition to 8.28 acres, it also took illegal possession of 2 more acres, sources said.

The mill authorities have written to the company and asked it to demolish the boundary wall. They have also warned of legal action in this regard.


An old library in a new city 
Chitleen K Sethi

The Lalchand library team
The Lalchand library team. — Photos Parvesh Chauhan

The written word has been the most democratic and the cheapest form of transmitting knowledge. It also has the added advantage of having a longer life, being relatively fixed in time and available to the recipient without any interlocutor. No wonder that historians, master memory makers that they are, involved constantly in creating, recasting, evaluating and transmitting memories from the past, give so much importance to the written word and the institutions that preserve the word. Ask a historian where he works and he begins to provide a list of libraries and archives. Equal importance in history, therefore, is given to those who set up libraries and preserve them.

In Punjab we have had the marvellous example of the Lalchand Research Library that was set up in Lahore in 1917, currently housed at the DAV College in Sector 10, Chandigarh. Created out of a handsome support from Lala Lalchand, the first President of the DAV College management committee, this library was set up with the express aim of promoting the learning of the traditional texts of the Hindu religion. The early 20th century was a time when denominational learning was given much priority by the social leaders of modern India.

A handpainted image from one of the manuscripts
A hand painted image from one of the manuscripts

Over the next three decades the library, under the leadership of its founder director Pandit Bhagwat Dutt, collected a large body of texts. Printed books, palm leaf manuscripts, hand-written texts, folios of various sorts were collected from all over the country and made available to scholars on the premises of the DAV College in Lahore. It had some 9000 books, many of which were already out of print then and are rare to find today. In addition the library was able to collect over 8000 manuscripts in various scripts. Devanagari was the script for 6462 of its manuscripts. In addition there were 919 manuscripts in the Grantha script, 404 in Andhra, 290 in Malyali, 46 in Nandi nagari, 15 in Tamil, 197 in sarda, 17 in Utkala, 7 in Banga and even 1 in Vartula. All these were in the Sanskrit language.

The riots of 1947 brought their own quota of trouble for the library. Dr. Vedprakash Vachaspati recounts in his recollection on the journey of the library to Chandigarh, that initially it was hoped that the library would remain in Lahore even after partition. However, in July 1947, Acharya Vishwabandhu, the then director of the library, came to know that the marauders would target the library. He then decided that the library should be shifted to India. That, however, was easier said than done. In the following days Acharya Vishwabandhu along with s/sh. Ved Prakash, Devdutt and Raghunath personally supervised the packing of the books, manuscripts and records in discarded ration sacks and had them transported to Amritsar. Books and such like were not high priority items for being rescued by the military in those days. Yet, with considerable Punjabi perseverance and tact the library-in-sacks was shifted to Amritsar where under the guidance of Capt. Dr. Tulsidas, a renowned opthalmologist who went on to become the founder-director of the PGIMER, Chandigarh, they were stored. Subsequently the entire collection was shifted to Hoshiarpur to the Sadhu Ashram of Lala Dhaniram Bhalla. In 1959 Acharya Vishwabandhu had a detailed catalogue published of this collection. In later years the Panjab University also allotted a sum of Rs. 80,000 for the microfilming of the rare books and manuscripts. Still later the DAV College management thought that shifting the library to Chandigarh would make it more easily accessible to scholars. Here its priceless collection has been used by scholars working on the history of medicine as also various indological subjects.



Centre for defence studies needs faculty

THE Centre for Defence and National Security Studies (CDNSS) of Panjab University, has been facing difficulty over the past few years to get teachers with the requisite qualifications. As a result, the posts of a professor and a lecturer are lying vacant.

Though a large number of retired senior defence officers with professional expertise in security and strategic studies are available in this region, they do not meet the requirement laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of possessing a Ph. D degree and of having passed the National Test.

To overcome this difficulty, the university is preparing a project report to seek funds from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to fill the post of a professor by a serving or a retired defence officer of the rank of Lt-Gen/Maj-Gen or equivalent from the other two services by relaxing the UGC qualifications. The tenure of each incumbent will be two to three years.

The Honorary Coordinator of the Centre, Dr T.R. Sharma, says that some universities have been given funds by the MoD for Defence Studies Centres. These include Pune and Chennai universities.

Recruitment rules

A recruitment rally was held by the Army at Nawanshahr (Punjab) on February 6 to carry out recruitment for the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment. The composition of this regiment is composed of Sikh Scheduled Castes i.e. Mazhbi and Ramdasia Sikhs, unlike the Sikh Regiment which recruits Jat Sikhs. Some of the youths who did not have caste details mentioned in their certificates could not be recruited.

Some of them said there was no caste division in Sikhism. However, recruitment to each infantry regiment is done according to specified class composition.

IMTRAT’s raising day

It was four decades ago that India undertook to train the Bhutanese army and sent its training team, Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT), to Bhutan on the request of the late King Jigme Wangchuk, the third King of Bhutan. The training institution established by the Indian Army has not only trained the Bhutanese army, but also helped in fostering a lasting friendship between India and Bhutan.

The 40th raising day of imtrat was celebrated recently and the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Dr Kinzang Dorji, was the guest of honour.

Kargil on air map

The Kargil airfield has been developed for the landing of a fixed wing aircraft. With Kargil having come on the country’s air map, the IAF flew its first AN-32 flight with 18 civilian passengers on board from there to Srinagar. The IAF will operate a regular hopping flight for civilians a from Kargil to Srinagar, Jammu and Chandigarh.

Pritam Bhullar



Blots on the face of City Beautiful

THERE are certain blots on the face of the City Beautiful which need to be removed immediately by the authorities. Repeatedly, the issue has been brought to the notice of Municipal Corporation, but there has been no result so far. Stray cattle and dogs continue to roam the roads and streets. We seem to have the largest number of dog bite cases. Uncollected garbage and filth is found all over the city. A large number of pet dogs are daily taken out for strolls on city roads, and the animals urinate and defecate on roadsides. This is over and above the “bottle brigade” of the labour that descends on the open spaces in the mornings. Steps must be taken to curb this evil. Roads are not uniformly lighted, and are thus an indirect cause of avoidable accidents. Uncontrolled and unregulated traffic takes a heavy toll of life and limbs of citizens, besides causing avoidable loss of property and burden on insurance companies. All this is a terrible national waste. The city requires a concerted drive on education of the public at large and stricter enforcement. The traffic police of the city is a miserable failure. We might consider following the Bangalore patron of a citizens’ traffic police, to assist the regular police organisation.

Uncontrolled use of the loudspeakers at social and religious functions is a terrible nuisance. People insist on having loud music at their celebrations. This is something that can easily be controlled by a vigilant police. However, they also seem to be deaf or indifferent to the nuisance.

COL BIS CHEEMA, Chandigarh

Preserve aviation history

Apropos ‘Work on digging out plane wreckage ends’ (Chandigarh Tribune, February 9, 2003). More than 20,000 English Supermarine Spitfires were built during World War II. With a wing span of 36 feet, and able to achieve a maximum speed of 656 km/hour, these flying machines were primarily lightweight, small, monoplane, single-piston engine, fighter planes used for dog-fights against the German air power. As one of the most famous war planes of the World War II, Spitfires played a significant role in air combat.

One only hopes that this chance find of the almost intact vintage aircraft and its recovery do not end up at some scrap dealer’s place. It would be a shameful waste to lose this part of aviation history. If the Air Force Museum or some other government institution are not interested in keeping it, I hope they at least restore it as far as possible, and then put it up for auction for interested private parties to bid.


Approach roads in poor shape

While the main roads of Chandigarh are reasonably in good shape, the ones leading to Mohali apart from the main highways are in real bad shape. One example should suffice. The road from Sector 41-42 is good up to the roundabout near Beant Singh Memorial. But after the roundabout, it suddenly becomes extremely bad, full of potholes and rough surface up to the octroi post of Mohali. The stretch of this bad patch is just about a kilometre or so but it is a real torture to traverse this short distance. One is a witness to the fact that this stretch of the road has not been maintained or repaired, leave aside carpeting it, for the last six years. Being a small stretch, monetary considerations do not seem to be valid. Perhaps the Chandigarh Administration is just not aware of its existence, or it is just an oversight on its part since it is meant to be used mostly by Mohalites. Will the authorities kindly take notice of this and do something about the roads that have been neglected for so long, may be by default?




Baba Hardev Singh birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 24
The local unit of the Sant Nirankari Mandal observed the birth anniversary of Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj as 'Guru Pooja Divas' here yesterday.
The samagam started at Nirankari Satsang Bhavan, Sector 30. A Seva Dal rally was attended by hundreds of devotees and several items of socio-spiritual values were performed by Seva Dal volunteers. This was followed by a mass congregation highlighting the need of love, peace, tolerance, fellow-feelings and brotherhood.

In a taped message played during the samagam, Nirankari Baba Ji referred to the prevailing tendencies that were threatening the country's unity, integrity and social harmony. The best source to harness the mind was to link ourselves with the God, the supreme source of all values, he added.



Employees plan march to Delhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Joint Action Committee of the Punjab and UT Employees, at a meeting today decided to march to Delhi on Wednesday to press for the acceptance of their demands.

The committee said fixing of 75 year as limit for pension was against the interests of senior citizens. The lowering of interest rates on amounts of the General Provident Fund accounts was a big blow to the employees who have no other source of income 



Amarinder to meet Press
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Chandigarh Press Club will organise two meet-the-press programmes here tomorrow.
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, will address a meet-the-press programme at Chandigarh Press Club tomorrow at 12 noon.

Earlier met-the-press programme scheduled to be addressed by Mr Pramod Mahajan, BJP General Secretary, at 9.30 a.m. has been cancelled. Only regular and candidate members are allowed in the programmes.



Prasad appointed BJP spokesman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The President of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, today appointed Mr Mahavir Prasad, the spokesperson of the party. Mr Prasad is presently the media in charge of the party. 



Underweight Verka pouch

Chandigarh, February 24
Mr Ashok Kumar, a shopkeeper in Ram Darbar, near Industrial Area Phase I here, brought a 500 ml pouch of Verka milk to The Tribune. The pack weighed only 410 grams whereas it should have weighed 455 grams. TNS



Burglary in Panchkula house
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, February 24
Cash and jewellery worth Rs. 30,000 has been reportedly stolen from the Sector 12-A house of a Zirakpur businessman, Harinder Kothari, while the family was away to Sirsa.

According to information, the Kotharis had gone to Sirsa on Saturday and returned this morning to find that their house had been broken into.

The miscreant(s) had reportedly decamped with gold and silver jewellery worth Rs. 20,000 and Rs 10,000 cash.

The family suspected the hand of labourers employed at a nearby house and the police has rounded up four persons.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested Gurdial Singh from a bus stand in Pinjore on charges of pick pocketing and recovered Rs. 130 from him.



Body sent for autopsy after 24 hrs
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 24
After a delay of 24 hours, the body of Joginder Sahani, a 19-year-old labourer from Amsaar village in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh who was electrocuted to death in Shalimar Enclave Colony at Dhakauli village, near here, on Saturday, was sent to Civil Hospital for post-mortem examination yesterday.

A team of police personnel headed by ASI Jai Kishan reached the spot and took the body. Joginder’s brothers Mr Ganesh Sahani and Janardhan Sahani and friends accompanied the police team.

Joginder Sahani was electrocuted, while he was working at the terrace of the house in the colony. The high-tension electricity cables crossing over the house touched his head killing him on the spot.

A case has been registered with Lohgarh police post on a complaint filed by Joginder’s brothers.



Charas seized
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, February 24
At least 19 grams of charas was seized from Shiva ,alias Shalu, in Sector 25 here on Monday. The suspect, a resident of Sector 25, has been remanded in judicial custody. A police official said he was involved in at least five cases of theft, snatching and assault.

In another case, Harish Abdul was arrested and eight bottles of country -made liquor was seized from his possession in Sector 25.

Raju, a resident of Sector 25, was arrested and 26 bottles of country-made liquor was seized from his possession. Both have been booked under the Excise Act.

Brought dead: Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 33, was declared brought dead at the Sector 16 General Hospital hereon Monday. The victim had complained of pain in his chest.

Sewa Singh has accused Devinder, Seeta Devi, Ravi and Sapna Rani of duping him of Rs 4.65 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. A case under Section 420, 406, 323, 342, 506 of IPC has been registered.



MIA forms TQM foundation
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, February 24
The Mohali Industries Association (MIA) has formed a Total Quality Management (TQM) foundation, the governing body of which will comprise of seven members.
Stating this at a press conference here today, Mr B.S. Baidwan, the president of the MIA, said the step was taken to promote the culture of TQM, modern R&D design, world-class management and environment conservation for raising the acceptability of their products.

He said the need for the formation of the institution was felt in view of global competition fuelled by turbulent market conditions, which were forcing even the established organisations to restructure and maintain their leverage.

Mr Baidwan said Dr Y.S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, and Adviser, Science and Technology, Government of Punjab, was the Chairman of the foundation while Mr Chander Mohan, a former Managing Director of Punjab Tractors Limited, Mr Satish Bagrodia and Mr Arun Anand, both industrial unit owners, were its trustees. Three members of the MIA would also form part of the foundation.

Meanwhile, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI)-organised a two-day seminar on “Productivity and Profitability through Six Sigma” began at MIA Bhavan here today.

In his keynote address, Mr Chander Mohan, Chairman, 21st Century Batteries Limited, said in an era of globalisation, quality was the only tool which could help organisations have a competitive edge.

The two-day seminar would prepare the participants to come up with an action plan targeting 99.997 per cent accuracy by eliminating defects from every product, process and transaction in their respective organisations. Mr Ashok Khanna, past president, PHDCCI, presided over the function.



Max Insurance projects threefold growth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Max New York Life Insurance Company expects its premium income for the current year to increase threefold compared to that of last year. The company had last year earned a premium income of Rs 38 crore. “We are doubling sales and tripling revenues,” said Anuroop ‘Tony’ Singh, the CEO and Managing Director of Max New York Life (MNYL), in an interview here yesterday.

Life insurance in India had traditionally been sold and bought in India for tax-saving purposes. “Our effort has been to sell life insurance for protection against possible death,” he said. In 21 months of operations, the MNYL has had Rs 4,400 crore as sum assured and sold in excess of 118,000 policies.

“While other players were launching investment products, we were among the first players to present the true value of life insurance by launching Whole Life policies. Over 70 per cent of the company’s business comprises protection-oriented Whole Life policies,” he added.

The company has over 3,100 life insurance agents. Emphasis is laid on the selection process for the agents. Once selected, the agents are trained in-house to ensure optimal control on quality. Each agent is trained for 152 hours as opposed to the mandatory 100 hours stipulated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. The company has amongst the highest agent pass rate in IRDA examinations. Last year, 26 agents of the company had qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).



Indian oil check and win draw
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Indian Oil held a lucky draw for its customers who had participated in ‘‘Check and Win Campaign’’ at its retail outlets in the city from February 10 to 16. Mr Sanjay Kumar, Labour Commissioner, Punjab, distributed the prizes among winners. The first prize of Samsung Plano, 53 cm digital flat screen TV was given to Mr Navjot Kaur.

Five mobile phones, under second category were given to Mr Sultran Singh, Darshan Singh, Mr Satish Kumar, Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Amrit. Mr Shyam Lal, Mr Sandeep Sheghal, Mr Krishan, Mr Kul Mohan, Mr Santram, Mr Shiv Dayal, Mr Aman Thakur, Mr Kamal Singh, Mr Chottey Lal.



LPG project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Energy Infrastructure India Ltd has set up an LPG project targeting distribution of domestic, commercial and industrial LPG in the western and northern region of the country, said Mr Arun Sharma, Director, Arshya Agencies, Mani Majra, here today.

He claimed that the quality of gas was better than other companies, as the ratio of butane and propane was 60:40 as compared to 80:20 in case of other companies. The company would provide 12 kg of gas cylinder for domestic supply at Rs 252 in Chandigarh and at Rs 258 in Panchkula. In case of commercial supply, the company was offering 17 kg cylinders whose rates were lower than other companies, he claimed.


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