Monday, March 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman, son run over by Shatabdi, killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/SAS Nagar, March 16
A woman, believed to be in her mid-thirties, and her seven-year-old son, was run over by the Chandigarh-bound Shatabdi Express near Mauli Jagran on the Chandigarh-Ambala section here today.

According to the railway police, both legs of the woman, Vandana Bhama, a resident of Phase 9 in SAS Nagar, were severed and she was rushed in a critical condition to the PGI, Chandigarh. She died at the hospital .

The boy, Rohin, was declared brought dead at the hospital. The boy apparently died on the spot after being hit on the back of his head. The woman and her son were noticed by some passerby, who informed the Police Control Room (PCR).

The woman was identified from a driving licence found in her wallet. Some other documents and Rs 150 were also found in her possession, said an official of the railway police. Though the police is yet to ascertain whether it was an accident or suicide, people known to the family termed it as an accident. The parents of the woman have been informed.

The police was trying to ascertain as to how the woman reached Mauli Jagran. The railway police was waiting to record the statements of the husband of the woman and her parents.

A railway police official said there was no thoroughfare at the spot where the woman was run over by the train. The husband of the deceased, Mr Maneel Bhama, could not bear the shock and had to be admitted to the General Surgery OPD at the PGI. He was reportedly discharged in the evening. A family friend of Mr Bhama, Mr H. Verma, who was attending on the latter, told TNS that Mr Bhama, who ran a plastic parts manufacturing unit in Industrial Area, Phase 7, here, was in a state of shock.

According to the neighbours of the Bhamas, the three lived alone and had shifted from Phase 1 three months ago. Vandana’s parents are settled in Nasik in Maharashtra and have been informed. Vandana was a housewife and was happily married for the past eight years to Maneel. 


Man dumps wife to marry NRI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Farzana (not her real name) had never thought that her husband, who had converted religion to marry her, would leave her in the lurch for his lust and greed. Having faced the brunt of social disgrace at the time of marriage, she was hardly left with any energy to face the unexpected hardships of the coming days in her life.

But leaving behind the tradition of Indian female psyche, she has now decided to fight a legal battle to give father’s name to her four-year-old child who has missed out on affection, love and emotions of his father.

Narrating her tale of woes, she said six years ago, she entered into marriage with a handsome boy, despite initial opposition from both families.

Life was going on smoothly and they were blessed with a baby boy. But all of a sudden, fate took a twist for the worst and even before she could come to terms with the unexpected pain inflicted upon her, her husband had already left the country after marrying an NRI girl, she said.

Before leaving, he emotionally blackmailed her by promising that he would give divorce to his second wife after reaching abroad and return back to her after earning money sufficient enough to run a business here.

Going by his false promise, she waited for his return for almost four years. But she got no response from her husband. Sheltered by her parents, she got a job in a private firm at a meagre salary of just Rs 1,500 per month.

One day, she was shocked to hear from someone close to her husband that the man was living happily in a Commonwealth nation with his second wife and their child and that he had no plans to return back to her. She tried to contact him, but could not do so.

Now she has decided to fight a legal battle against her husband. She has managed to locate his address and phone numbers.

A woman advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, has come out to the rescue of Farzana by providing her free legal aid. “I have drafted the legal notice that would be sent to her husband in a day or two and also to the embassy concerned,” said the advocate.


Special chance for Hons students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
All undergraduate students, who had taken Honours subjects but could not clear it in the first attempt, will now get a special chance to clear the same.

This decision of the Panjab University Syndicate yesterday will, for the first time, bring cheer to thousands of such students, who otherwise had secured 50 per cent marks in the aggregate of B.A/B.Sc/B.Com (General).

This decision will benefit all those undergraduate students who had opted for Honours courses in all 110 affiliated colleges of Panjab University.

It is mandatory for any undergraduate student opting for an Honours course to have secured at least 50 per cent marks in BA-part I, BSc-part I and BCom-part I. In the Science and Arts streams with four additional papers, two each in part II and part III, the minimum pass percentage in Honours is 45 per cent and in Science and BCom classes, 50 per cent.

Professor Chawla told TNS that students who did not get these percentages, 45 and 50, were denied the Honours degree, whereas, in the case of elective subjects of all three streams, if any student failed in one subject and got 20 per cent or more marks, he/she got a compartment and also a chance to improve the marks. But in the case of Honours students, there was, so far, no such provision for improvement.

As per the decision, “The students who could not pass BA/BSc/ BCom. part II and part II Honours subjects but had at least 50 per cent marks in the aggregate of the course, be given only one special chance, which is to be availed by them only in the immediate April-May annual examination, after passing the BA/BSc/BCom. (General) part III course securing at least 50 per cent marks in the aggregate with an examination fee of Rs 5,000 per exam form and late fee, if applicable, as per Panjab University rules’’.


In need of money to save son
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, march 16
Despite the death of her husband and younger son within a span of four years, Sazda has still not lost faith in the Almighty, as she feels that God cannot be so unkind so as to take away her elder son as well.

With no money left, Sazda and her daughter have spent the past two years in and out of hospital as her elder son, Pappu Muhammad (19 ), after a failed kidney transplant, is battling for life at the PGI. “It is not a question of one life as after him both of us will be virtually on the road as there will be none to earn or take care of us,” explains Sazda, dreading what destiny has in store for the family from Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

“It was two years ago in April that I underwent a kidney transplant, but within no time I developed complications and remained in the ICU for two months,” said Pappu, as despite breathlessness, dizziness and severe body aches he is running from pillar to post to arrange money for his treatment. The family, which is dependent on agricultural income, is under a heavy debt and there is no way it can afford expensive treatment.

It was Pappu’s mother who had donated the kidney for his transplant. Suffering from chronic renal failure, he can keep going on only with the help of dialysis. “His condition is so critical that he has to undergo three dialysis daily for which we have to spend Rs 1,500 and due to financial crisis he has even stopped taking tonics,” says Sazda.

It was five years ago that misfortune struck the family when due to a liver ailment, Motiur Rahman died. “We had barely been able to come to terms with the loss that tragedy struck again and my 17-year-old brother died after an unsuccessful kidney transplant,” says Pappu’s sister. They have been living in the Janta serai at the PGI as they are trying to raise money through donations.

While Pappu’s father died at Indira Gandhi Medical Institute, Patna, the younger son underwent kidney transplant at the PGI, Lucknow. Ruling out the scope of kidney transplant, doctors at the PGI’s Nephrology Department, say that the only solution is to undergo dialysis all his life.

“The monthly cost of peritoneal dialysis will work out to be Rs 22,000 and under a package being offered by a medical company after paying Rs 3.25 lakh, the facility will be free till he is alive,”explains Sazda.

Those wanting to help can get in touch with the PGI Public Relation Office on 747585- 6003.


College girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
A 22-year-old-girl of Sector 27, Harmeet Kaur, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself in her house here this evening. The victim is said to be a final year student of a college in Sector 27. The police is inquiring into the matter.




With just a month to go for the Punjab Governor and Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), to end his tenure, talk is on if the Governor, one of the heroes of the 1971 war with Pakistan, will be given an extension. People in Chandigarh want him to stay on as his style of governance has changed everything in the city. To name a few of his achievements, he has simplified various local laws; made the city lively; and has worked hard to propel the city in national focus in the field of education and Information Technology. The night life has changed; the health system has improved; parks have been developed in various places for entertainment and relaxation.

The Governor during his three and a half year stay as Punjab Governor has left his mark. He started off his tenure here with a series of surprise checks. Hardened bureaucrats called it “ naya naya shauk ” (New passion). Well, the passion still continues and keeps everyone on his or her toes. City residents have become so used to his surprise checks that they dart off letters inviting him for surprise checks to places which have been neglected by the Chandigarh Administration. In normal talk his checks are now known as “ Governor saheb ne chaapa marr diya hai” ( The Governor has raided the place).

He will be long remembered for his work. Though the list of changes initiated by him is far too long to be produced here, the General, if he goes away will be missed sorely by everyone. He is quick in decision-making and that helps everyone, points out a senior IAS officer. For long Governors have been cocooned in their Raj Bhavans. The General changed all this. During his surprise checks he talks to even the youngest in the crowd and encourages them to speak out. Truly a people’s Governor. But will the Government of India listen to the people’s demand and let him stay on in the best interest of the city?

Still cool

Weather conditions in Chandigarh have been changing almost daily. Even though it is the middle of March, at night and in early morning hours, one cannot venture out without a pullover. People riding two wheelers can be still seen wearing pullovers even during the day-time.

In the last week of February it had seemed that summer would set in early. In the first week of March, the Shimla hills were lashed with snow while rain vent its fury for more than three days in the plains, making the conditions change.

This was followed by a few days of sunshine but the chill remained in the air. In the past two days clouds have been building up once again making residents pull out their light woollens.

Well, everybody is happy about the delay in summer as the fans, the coolers and the airconditioners still seem to be away by a few weeks. The fans will, naturally, come on first and it seems a possibility within the next few days, at least during the day.

“Mind your mind”

Swami Tejomayananda, the spiritual head of Chinmaya Mission worldwide will hold talks in Panchkula and Chandigarh from March 18 to 20. As head of the Chinmaya Mission since August 1997, Swamiji has carried his master’s vision to all corners of the world. His talks not only convince the intellect but, also move the heart.

On March 19 and 20 Swamiji will be talking on how to “Mind your mind.” Mind can make one’s life a heaven on earth, or it can take us to the depths of despair. Potential of the human mind is unlimited. The quality of a person’s life and future birth depends on his mind. But very few of us know it. In his talks, Swamiji will unfold the nature of mind: How to change your future mind, and, finally how to go beyond it to live a life of total freedom.

Hoardings galore

Now visitors to Punjab, even the ones heading towards Himachal Pradesh, will get to see the smiling visages of the All-India Congress Committee President Sonia Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The state government in its zeal for massive publicity has put up a hoarding right under the road signboard (indicating distances of various cities) at the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar border on Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21 (see photo on top of the page).

By erecting huge hoardings along the highway not only at SAS Nagar barrier but also in other parts of the state, it seems that the government wants to go in for publicity in reported violation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders on hoardings, signboards and glow signs along the national highways.

After a year of rule the state government has enlisted its achievements and developments.

Kundli milan

Some of the pandits in the city temples have started a new social service of arranging marriages of young boys and girls. Even after finding suitable match through newspaper matrimonial advertisements, the parents want to ensure that their kundlis should also match “for the well being of their future.”

Till recently, the pandits used to charge Rs 51 to 500 for making the kundli or for studying them to ensure the proper alliance of boy and girl. Now some of them have started a new service — they would note down the address and details of boys and girls in their diaries, whenever someone visits them for the “kundli milan”. In case, the kundlis do not match, they would tell the addresses of other match from their diary.

Unique software kit

A Sector 20 resident, Devinder Singh, has come up with a computer software kit to provide computer-aided personalised learning assistance to provide a “sharp edge” to students keen on embarking on an engineering career.

Referred to as Smart Testing environment, the software kit is used to perform tests online. Students can take tests on the topic and level of difficulty of their own choosing and at the time they want. They can judge their performance themselves as the computer evaluates their score, highlights mistakes and gives the correct solution.

Every student gets a permanent ID after filling in individual particulars as well as photographs. Whenever a student wishes to take a test, he or she is required to feed in the time of his continence as well as the level and topic. Tests can be repeated. An interesting aspect is that if, for some reason, the computer terminal malfunctions or stops working, the test can be resumed later from the same point.

“Piece of art”

The castiron manhole cover with the map of the city, seen on Chandigarh’s sewerage system, designed by the first Chief Architect, Pierre Jeanneret, has become an attractive piece of art among the architects, town planners and environmentalists.

The Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) recently hosted a four-day UNESCO Second Regional Conference on the theme “modern heritage”. It conceived and published handbags, file covers, writing pads with the logo of the manhole cover.

This innovative attempt was highly appreciated by the delegates at this meet.

Incidentally, the Environment Society of Chandigarh (ESC) whose motto is “The environment is our heritage” used the manhole cover as its emblem about 26 years ago. The ESC also produced paperweights with the logo to create love and care for this city among the citizens.

Environment awareness

This year 33 army units under the Western Command and Air Force — as against 20 during last year — have been selected by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for participation in the National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC). This is the first time that two units of No 3 Base Repair Depot of the Air Force have come forward to join the campaign. The theme for this year’s drive is “Water: elixir for life”.

All the formations will launch awareness-cum-action programmes on rain water harvesting, vermiculture composting-cum-waste management, tree transplantation in their respective areas. The unit personnel are being trained by the Environment Society of India (ESI) on all topics.

Besides, the ESI supplied geese and ducks to some units which have been released in the ponds around the unit areas to create love for nature among jawans and their families. Sacred plants, including lotus saplings, will also be supplied.

— Sentinel


Cong plan on Panchayati Raj bodies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Congress representatives of the local bodies here today approved a party prepared draft action plan 2003-2008 envisaging a direct allocation of Rs 31,000 crore by the Central Government to these bodies bypassing the states.

This was revealed here today by the Chairman of the Political Training Department of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr Mani Shanker Aiyar. The draft was approved by the party sarpanches, panches and other leaders at a meeting chaired by the AICC General Secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai.

Addressing the party representatives, Ms Kidwai said the track record of the Congress governments in states was far better than those ruled by other parties. She said the party would soon direct the state governments to implement the 9th and 10th schedules of the Constitution to transfer powers to the Panchayati Raj institutions.

Mr Aiyar said the government must come out with a specific plan for the transfer of the powers enshrined in the schedules to implement the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in letter and spirit.

He said the dream of Gram Swaraj the Father of the Nation could not be realised if these institutions were not made economically independent. Mr Aiyar said whenever it was thought of empowering these bodies, more powers were transferred to IAS officers.

The Congress leader said the State finance commissions should help the panchayati raj bodies overcome their financial problems.

He lamented it had been more than 10 years that these institutions were still struggling for their rights, which had not been transferred to them in most cases.

The local MP and secretary of the AICC, Mr Pawan Bansal, said the responsibilities of the three-tiers panchayati raj had not yet been made clear. He also said the states should come out with codes of conduct for the elections of these institutions.

Mayor Subhash Chawla said the responsibility of transfer of powers and punitive actions against certain officers, who were dragging their feet on the transfer of powers, should be taken up by Parliament through a legislation. He said Parliament would do well to monitor it and even guilty officers could be impeached for their reluctance to transfer these powers.

The local unit president of the party, Mr B. B. Bahl, highlighted the problems being faced by the local bodies in the city.

The draft approved by the local unit would be discussed by the central party leadership to give it a final touch.


Need for regional cooperation stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
A two-day conference on “Industrialisation of states in the northern region” concluded at the CRRID here today. The participating states were Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The conference was chaired by Dr S.P. Gupta, Member, Planning Commission.

The theme of this conference was based on the fact that industrialisation of the states was isolated and an integrated approach was required. Since each state tended to view its economic development in isolation inter-linkages with neighbouring states was mooted. Also the development of states in the northern region required interdependence and interconnectivity to optimise the benefits of development.

Dr Gupta provided overview of the “Vision of India 2020” stressing on regional cooperation issues among states. The regional imbalances , he said, could not be addressed solely by macro-economic policies and should address the people’s aspiration. He also underlined the need for dealing with unemployment on the basis of demographic analysis.

The conference appreciated the Punjab industrial policy.

The conference moderator was CRRID Director Rashpal Malhotra.

Among the distinguished participants were Prof S.S. Johl, Dr S.K. Bijlani, Prof M. Satyapal, Prof H.S. Shergill, Dr M.J. Zarabi, Prof S.C. Vaidya, Prof G.S. Dhaliwal, Dr Vikram Chadha and senior representatives of the Governments of Punjab , Haryana and Himachal.Back


Property owners to approach Prime Minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
The Property Owners’ Welfare Association (POWA) will approach the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to hand over the appeals of property owners seeking the removal of Rs 1,500 ceiling for the operation of the Rent Control Act.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the POWA held here yesterday.

A resolution was passed in the meeting to forward the communications of the property owners directly to the Prime Minister’s Office and to apprise him about the “plight” of the property owners having rented out their precious properties at a meagre rent of Rs 1,500.

It was also resolved to highlight the revenue loss to the government due to the existence of the Rs 1,500 ceiling.

Signatures of the property owners have been collected during a number of campaigns for the purpose.

The organisation also resolved to call a meeting of all allied bodies to chalk out an action plan to step up its struggle against the Rs 1,500 ceiling.

The POWA vowed to continue with its non-political character unlike the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal which is divided between the BJP and the Congress.

It, however, said the organisation would throw it weight behind those political forces which work for the removal of Rs 1,500 ceiling.


Four thefts reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Four separate cases of theft have been reported in the city in the past 48 hours. According to the information available, Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Sector 22, was caught red-handed while stealing a spare wheel of an Ambassador car from the MCTS Taxi stand in Sector 22. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

In another case, Rs 21,000, a one tola gold ring, a gold chain and silver jewellery were reportedly stolen from a jhuggi in Colony No 4 here.

Sanjay Khanna, a resident of Sector 18, complained that his Maruti car was stolen on the night of March 14 from outside a house in Sector 45. In another case, Rajiv Dusal, a resident of Sector 15, complained that his Maruti car was stolen from the Shivalik View hotel parking in Sector 17 here.

Liquor seized: As many as 102 pouches of liquor were seized from four persons from different parts of the city. Cases under the Excise Act have been registered at Sectors 31 and 39 police stations.

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