Tuesday, March 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Govt rejects demand for free power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Thousands of farmers in Punjab have been on agitation for the past over one week on the one hand, on the other, city residents are facing great inconvenience as a result of blockade at one place today, at another the next day. To cap it all the Punjab government has declined to accept the demands of the farmers. It is claiming that it could not make any announcement during the Budget session. Ironically, the state government had made promises in the past to implement most of these demands.

The Chandigarh traffic police is also having a tough time in controlling the traffic, due to the presence of hundreds of farmers and tractor-trailers around Matka Chowk. Farmers have put up tents on both sides of roads, and the traffic is being diverted to other roads. City residents lament that due to the Punjab Government’s “stubborn” attitude, the Rose Garden, James Plaza and Sector 17 have had to face the ire of the farmers. Farmers are also finding it difficult to sit on roads with the rise in temperature.

Six farmer unions holding the protest are agitated over the government not making serious efforts to resolve the deadlock. Observing the ‘Shaheedi Divas’, to commemorate the death anniversary of Jaimal Singh, the first president of the Kirti Kisan Union, leaders announced that they would launch a decisive battle against the dilly-dallying tactics of the state government. Jaimal Singh, a farmer union activist of Kapurthala district, was killed by terrorists in 1983.

Reacting to the Punjab Government’s argument that it was unable to clear the Rs 80 crore payment for sugarcane, farmer leaders proposed to take sugar in lieu of the payments. They asked Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab to instruct sugar mills to pay Rs 30 per quintal, pending with them. Mr Satbir Singh, general secretary, Kirti Kisan Union, said,‘‘ Instead of resolving the deadlock, the Centre and the state government are passing the buck on each other. We are simply asking for the release of sugarcane payment, compensation to farmers in the border areas for the loss of their crops due to laying of mines in over 40,000 acres of agricultural land and free supply of water and electricity as promised in the Congress manifesto before the elections.’’

The leaders disclosed that farmer unions of Haryana and other states had also announced their support to the agitation.

Among others, leaders of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the Kirti Kisan Union, the Democratic Farmers Sabha, the All-Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha, the Agricultural and Farmers Development Front and the Punjab Kisan Sabha addressed the meeting.

The farmers are demanding free electricity and irrigation water, payments of sugarcane procured by sugar mills at Rs 100 per quintal, compensation to border-area farmers for loss due to laying of mines in their fields, and restoration of electricity connections to government tubewells in Kandi area.

The government says there are no funds for free electricity or water and has laid the blame for the mess in sugar mills on the Centre.


Farmer succumbs to injuries

The mood at the dharna site was charged today, after the death of a farmer, Mukhtiar Singh, last night. Speakers lamented that no one from the state government came today to mourn the death of the farmer. He had succumbed to injuries last night, after being hit by a car while crossing a road near Matka Chowk, the venue of the farmers’ agitation, on March 13. An activist of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), 65-year-old Mukhtiar Singh breathed his last late last night, after lying for four days in the intensive care unit of the PGI here.

Paying tributes to Mukhtiar Singh, hundreds of farmers announced to intensify their agitation. The body of the farmer was later sent to his native village, Bhainibagha in Mansa district. He is survived by his wife and three children. Comparing the death of the farmers with freedom fighters, leaders asked the protesters to be prepared for a long agitation.Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, president, Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), lamented that the State government was forcing the farmers to stay on roads at a time when they were supposed to be in fields for the harvesting of wheat. He asked the state government to announce compensation equivalent to that of a martyr for the farmer.Back


PU moots semester system for colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
A proposal has been mooted to introduce the semester system in colleges affiliated to Panjab University. The matter, which was raised in the university Syndicate meeting held here on Saturday, has been referred to the forthcoming conference of college principals by the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University for further discussions.

Though introduction of the semester system in colleges was recommended by the University Grants Commission's (UGC) Examination Reform Committee some time ago, this is for the first time that such a proposal has been mooted in the university.

The matter was raised by Prof Charanjit Chawla, who pointed out that since the university was already following other norms stipulated by the UGC, the semester system too should be followed. Sources said the UGC norms were binding on educational institutions.

He was of the opinion that the semester system would bring in more seriousness and accountability on the part of the students as well as the faculty members. He pointed out that as per the present system, students tended to remain irregular in attending classes and mugged up the study material at the fag-end of the year.

Under the semester system, students would be studying and appearing for examinations after every few months.

The proposal was initially opposed by the university's Registrar, the Controller of Examinations and the Joint Controller of Examinations, who said that the examination branch was already overworked and the semester system in colleges would further increase the branch's workload. Some college principals present at the Syndicate meeting had also opposed the proposal, saying that it was impractical.

During discussions among Syndicate members, it was felt by some members that if the first year examinations for BA, BSc and BCom are conducted internally by the colleges themselves, introduction of the semester system in colleges could be a viable option. It was also pointed out that a number of colleges in Chandigarh and Punjab had already adopted the semester system as far as MCom classes were concerned.

It is also learnt that the Vice- Chancellor, while presiding over a meeting to work out the university's academic calendar a few days ago, had reportedly suggested that the first-year degree course examinations be conducted by colleges internally and that the university should be concerned only with the second and third-year examinations. Such a system was in use in the university a long time ago.


Mystery shrouds Vandana's death
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 17
The mystery surrounding the death of Vandana Bhama and her son Rohan after being run over by the Shatabdi yesterday deepened today, with the railway police — under whose jurisdiction the woman died — investigating the death on various theories.

While the police is yet to record the statement of Vandana’s husband Maneel about the incident, Vandana’s in-laws as well as her brother, Rajiv, have clearly stated that they suspected no one and that she and Rohan had an accident while they were on their way to the railway station to catch a train to Delhi.

The police recorded the statement of Vandana’s brother, who arrived from Delhi last night. They could not talk to the husband as he, according to family members, is still in a state of shock. He was admitted to the PGI today and was discharged in the evening.

According to information provided by Mr Satish Verma, a maternal uncle of Vandana’s husband Maneel, Vandana and Rohan had left their house in Phase IX here early in the morning to go to Delhi. ‘‘Rohan had just finished his exams on the 14th and Vandana wanted to go to Delhi to see a study table which her brother had purchased and she wanted to get a similar one,’’ he said. She, according to him, ‘‘left early in the morning and Maneel did not see her off at the station as he had a meeting to attend at 9 a.m.’’

The police is, however, still working on the possibility of Vandana having committed suicide along with her son.

Sources in the police state that a large number of questions still remain unanswered. “How did Vandana and her son reach the spot where they were found?’ ‘Did she use public transport or did someone drop her?” And “If someone dropped her then that person would know what happened”. “If she was travelling to Delhi, where is the luggage? And with Rs 150 in her wallet how did she expect to buy tickets for herself and her son?” These are some of the questions which the police states are likely to be answered when the doctors allow the police to talk to Maneel.

Vandana, a PhD in economics, was a housewife and according to her neighbours, was an extremely friendly person and was having no problem with her family life. ‘‘She had been married to Maneel for eight years and they were an ideal couple’’, said a close family friend. ‘‘It’s shocking. She used to talk to me almost everyday. I saw her last on Saturday night,’’ said a next-door neighbour. The neighbours also informed that Vandana and Maneel had a car, a Maruti van and two scooters. ‘‘The scooters were used by Vandana. Three vehicles are still at home. Maneel used the car to reach the railway station,’’ they said.

According to a close family friend, Mr I.S. Chabra, the couple was well settled and had shifted to Phase IX in November last year. ‘‘In fact, his business too, had picked up and he was doing well. He had bought his own house and there was no monetary problem that I know of Maneel and I have our houses and workplaces close to each other. He is a very sensitive person and had barely gotten over the death of his father two years ago,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Vandana’s parents arrived from Nasik today along with her mother-in-law, who came from Bhopal. The bodies of the mother-son duo will be cremated tomorrow at Sector 25, Chandigarh. Vandana and Rohan were run over by the Chandigarh-bound Shatabdi Express near Mauli Jagran on the Chandigarh-Ambala section yesterday.Back


SP submits probe report on pool joint raids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The city SP, Mr Baldev Singh, today submitted the report of an inquiry into the raids on various pool joints in the city to the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav.

Though Mr Baldev Singh refused to comment on the findings in the report, he said he had forwarded the report to Mr Yadav. The SSP is expected to hand the report over to the IG, Mr Rajesh Kumar.

Sources in the police said the inquiry had indicated the wrong handling of the raids by the former SHO of Sector 34 Police Station, Mr Dhan Raj. It had reportedly been pointed out that the SHO overstepped his powers while taking the persons playing at the pools to the police station. The sources said the SP had cross-examined at least 11 witnesses, including four pool joint coaches.

However, the report had not pointed to the role of the previous DSP, South, Mr SC Sagar, in the raids. Interestingly, Mr Sagar had been transferred as DSP, Central, by the UT Administration following the pool raids controversy. It is learnt that a strict action against Mr Dhan Raj, who is now posted in the Police Lines, was on the cards.

The inquiry by the SP was a fact finding exercise and a strict action could involve opening of a regular departmental inquiry or a departmental action. It may be pertinent to mention that the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen JFR Jacob (retd), had directed the IGP to conduct an inquiry into the complaints of the police high-handedness.

The IGP on March 6 had asked Mr Baldev Singh to find out the lapses and fix responsibility on the police officials concerned within a period of five days.

“The officials could have taken the owners of the pools into confidence and verified the antecedents of the visitors at the pool itself. Exactly this was done by some of the police officials yesterday”, said a senior official.


Kalpana’s husband to visit PEC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Mr Jean Pierre Harrison, husband of India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla along with other members of her family is scheduled to visit the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) here on March 20.

Three astronauts from USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be escorting the family members.

According to information made available here, the family members of Kalpana will interact with the students of the college. Kalpana’s husband as well as the American astronauts will also be addressing the students of PEC.

It may be recalled that Kalpana Chawla had died along with seven astronauts when the space shuttle Columbia had exploded while returning to Earth from a 16-day space mission on February 1.

Kalpana, who was born in Karnal, was an alumnus of the Punjab Engineering College, where she had obtained a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1982. A girls’ hostel in the college where she used to reside, has been named after her.


Tight security for Holi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Already hard-pressed following the deployment of around 700 cops at the dharna site of Punjab farmers at Matka Chowk, the different dates of holiday on Holi declared by the UT Administration and the Punjab and Haryana governments has forced the Chandigarh Police to deploy around 800 cops on two consecutive days — March 18 and 19, to check hooligans on city roads.

"Confusion over Holi celebrations has forced us to deploy the force for two consecutive days", said a senior police official.

A tight vigil will be kept on the "geri route". The field staff was today directed by senior officials to keep a watch on speeding vehicles. Orders have been issued to check eve-teasers and those who forcibly throw Holi colours on others. Special nakas will be set up outside hospitals, women institutes, and important junctions in the city.

The police has identified at least 16 points, where police personnel on PCR vehicles will be deployed. Police stations will put up nakas in their respective areas from 8 am to 4 pm.

The DSP (Traffic) has been asked to challan overspeeding and overloaded vehicles. An additional reserve force has been kept standby at the Police Lines. All DSPs have been asked to supervise the law and order situation in their respective areas.


UT Holi-day tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Confusion prevailed in the city over the declaration of holiday on Holi. With the Punjab Government declaring holidays on March 18 and 19, it was being speculated that the UT, which normally follows Punjab, will also announce another holiday. Till late at night, the Administration had not carried out any change.

The UT Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, clarified that the holiday in the UT would be on Wednesday, March 19, as declared earlier. There was no change, he added. In Punjab, holidays have been declared for two days — March 18 and 19. In Haryana, the holiday is on March 19. The same is true for banks. Banks located in Punjab will, however, remain closed on March 19 and not on both days. Banks in other places will also remain closed on March 19.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has followed its usual system of having a Holi break. A vacation bench started functioning today and will carry on till March 22. The courts will resume normal functioning on March 24.

Schools in the city will also remain closed on March 19. The Tribune was flooded with phone calls from anxious parents wanting to ask if the Administration had declared a holiday for tomorrow or not. 


BIS norms for sale of meat products
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The Municipal Corporation has kicked off a new controversy on hygienic conditions essential for sale of meat for human consumption.

It comes in the wake of last week’s raids on meat shops in the city, leading to seizure of ‘unstamped’ meat that was probably prohibited for human consumption as per the existing meat by-laws.

Since, there is a large consumption of meat in the city, with estimates of around 1,200 animals per day, the significance of quality of meat can well be judged.

Most of the super markets in Chandigarh are selling salami sausages and processed meat in the form of achaars and marinated chicken and fish. Therefore, “code of hygienic conditions for processed meat products”, as laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards, is applicable on them.

Meat products provide a good medium for rapid proliferation of micro-organisms which degrade and alter their composition, thus reducing their keeping quality and making them unfit for human consumption. Contamination with micro-organisms can lead to food poisoning. Therefore, meat should be protected from all sources of microbial contamination at various stages of slaughter, handling, processing and distribution.

According to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), no meat products should be accepted by an establishment unless these have been derived from animals subjected to ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection.

Meat and meat products should be handled, stored or transported in an establishment in a manner that will protect these from contamination and deterioration.

Apart from this, the operation of boning and trimming should always be carried out as rapidly as possible, and meat should not be allowed to accumulate in rooms used for boning and trimming.

Entry should be restricted to personnel necessary to carry out operations efficiently. Doors should not be left open for extended periods and should be closed immediately after use. Chilling room, freezing room or freezer store should not be loaded beyond its designated capacity. And more important, a record should be maintained of all meat placed in or taken out of the chilling room, freezing room or freezer store at the end of a working day.

Floor drains should be kept in good condition. All rooms used for boning, preparation, processing, packing of meat and meat products should be equipped with adequate facilities for washing hands. All facilities for cleaning and disinfecting instruments should be fitted with suitable means for providing water hot up to not less than 82°C.

Every person employed for meat handling in a factory should be medically examined by an authorised registered medical practitioner and the examination shall include examination of sputum and X-ray of the chest for tuberculosis. Subsequently, the employee should be medically examined once in a year or more frequently, if necessary. 


Dangling bridge collapses
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

TOKA (Panchkula), March 17
A key bridge across a seasonal choe near this non-descript village, linking Panchkula through Mattanwala with Naraingarh and beyond, has sagged in the middle after dangling dangerously for over one year.

This bridge, which allows a short-cut of eight kilometres to travellers to Naraingarh, Kala Amb and subsequently to Uttaranchal before Barwala, was merely 20 years old. Officials say the bridge may have been damaged beyond repair and will have to be reconstructed. This structure has collapsed in one fourth of its estimated lifetime (which is about 80 years), thus forcing the Public Works Department (Bridges and Roads) authorities to institute an inquiry into the reasons for its damage.

Senior officials in the PWD (Bridges and Roads) told Chandigarh Tribune, today that they would call in experts from Roorkee to assess the damage to the bridge and the reasons for its sagging. The structure is about 100 metres in length, 14 feet in breadth and has five spans. The water in this choe was earlier passing through all the spans, but now flows through only one span.

The bridge was reportedly constructed at a cost of Rs 50 lakh almost two decades ago, and the cost of constructing a similar structure would be almost double now.

A visit to the spot revealed that the middle span (third span) had collapsed two days ago and deep cracks had appeared on the adjacent span. Officials in the PWD, while ruling out any anomalies in the building material used for the construction of the bridge, said the bridge could have been damaged because of a large number of heavy vehicles plying on it.

An estimated 500- 600 vehicles, including about a 100 heavy vehicles carrying bricks, River Bed Material etc., ply on it daily.

It is learnt that this structure had been dangling dangerously for the past one year. The entire road metalling had been destroyed barring the iron bars over the spans. The danger posed by using the bridge had been looming large for quite some time and frequent representations made to the PWD authorities had fallen on deaf ears, complained residents of Toka and Shiamtu, who had been affected by the damage to the bridge.

Since the repair and maintenance work of the Kot-Khangesara road here was transferred to the Marketing Board in 1999, the complaints of the villages were referred to the Marketing Board authorities. The board authorities, however, turned them back to the PWD authorities on the pretext that the structure was constructed by the latter.

Interestingly, the Marketing Board had, in papers at least, shifted the charge of maintenance of the road to the PWD a fortnight ago.

However, since a notification to this effect had not been issued because of the Assembly session in the state, the board was now creating a temporary brick support on the damaged span (middle span) so that the bridge could be used by light vehicles only.

The district administration, it is learnt, had sent a report of the bridge collapse to the Commissioner, Public Works Department.


Parents’ body exposes admn claims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Criticising the functioning of the Registration and Licensing Branch of the Chandigarh Administration, the Chandigarh Parents Association said today that the cumbersome procedure adopted for the registration of vehicles and obtaining new driving licences was causing inconvenience and harassment to visitors.

The dealing staff level frivolous objections on files and people have to come again after getting the objection removed. The objections are raised with a view to harass people. The lower staff do not entertain people properly and their behaviour is very rude and rash, alleged Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the association.

A team of the association visited the office to see the problems personally. Mr Sehgal alleged that the team found that visitors were being put to lot of harassment and inconvenience and they had to stand in the queue for hours. The staff levelled objections forcing them to come again and again. Some of the visitors complained that they had been coming here for the past four days but their job had not been done.

Several affidavits and documents are required to be annexed with the application without any lawful justification. Even ration cards are not accepted as proof of residence. People wanting to get their licences renewed have to refurnish their age proof and the one mentioned on the existing driving licence is not accepted by the dealing clerks. A number of affidavits are required to be filed with each application and one affidavit costs anything between Rs 40 to Rs 50, if it is required to be attested by a notary. The cost goes up to Rs 100 in case it is required to be attested by an Executive Magistrate.

The clause requiring presence of the owner of the vehicle which is to be registered or transferred is causing a lot of inconvenience to residents. This is being done to harass as there is no such requirement under law which says that an agent cannot present the papers.

The association said many touts were operating in the registering and licensing branch who openly demand Rs 400 to Rs 700 for getting vehicles registered. The association urged senior officials to look into the matter.


Patent rights for circus sought
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
Circus industry, unlike any other entertainment industry in the country, enjoys no government patronage. This has brought the circus industry on the brink of extinction.

This was stated by Mr. Ajay Shaker, proprietor of Jumbo Circus, while addressing a press conference here today. He said at least seven to eight biggest circuses, including Old Bharat Circus, Oriental Circus and Komal Circus, had closed down. The daily expenditure of running a circus was about Rs 50,000 and most circuses would barely cut even, he said.

He also lamented that though the government had instituted awards for all kinds of entertainment industry, be it films or music, nothing had been done in this regard “to honour the only live source of entertainment.” Jumbo Circus is currently showing three shows in Panchkula daily , with each show lasting for about two-and-a-half hours.

“Films are based on illusion, whereas circus shows reality. Our artistes perform in front of hundreds of people and what the audience sees is not a special effects creation,” he said. He also lamented that the government had not extended the patent rights to circuses, thus the acrobats and other items shown in some of the bigger circuses, like Jumbo Circus, were being copied by others.

Speaking about his circus, he said there were at least 300 persons employed in the circus, with 100 artistes, and 52 animals. He said they had introduced special items like Akash Yatra (which uses modern lighting by acrobats), rope balance (which has been perfected by circus employees after training under Russian artistes); doll dance, fire dance, and chair acrobatics.


Land acquisition: BJP hits back at Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Hitting back at the Congress for demanding the resignation of the BJP councillor, Ms Kamla Sharma, on the acquisition of the Darshani Bagh land, the BJP today sought resignations of MP Pawan Bansal, Mayor Subhash Chawla and Congress councillors for allegedly misleading the people on the issue.

The land acquisition process for pocket No. 7 and 8 in Darshani Bagh was initiated by the Chandigarh Administration on January 3, 1992, when Mr Bansal was Member of Parliament from the city and the Congress had the government at the Centre, BJP spokesman Mahavir Prasad said in a statement here today.

He alleged that Mr Bansal then did not do anything to stop demolition of houses constructed on the land to be acquired as per a notification issued then.

Mr Prasad alleged Mayor Subhash Chawla at the finance and contract committee meeting held on February 17, 2003, had made a query as to “who would remove structures on the land.” He said the Law Officer had informed the Mayor that the Land Acquisition Officer of the administration would do the same and hand over the land to the Municipal Corporation.

Quoting the F&CC proceedings, he said the meeting had decided to make a payment of Rs 3 crore to the administration and Rs 2.64 crore had been deposited with the administration through a cheque on March 3, 2003.

Defending Ms Kamla Sharma for the June 25, 1997, decision to reportedly approve the acquisition of the land, Mr Prasad said the then Mayor ensured that the houses constructed on the land were not demolished. 


Check sale of liquor to minors, cops told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The Chandigarh Police has been advised to issue directions to check sale of liquor to persons below 21 years of age, close discotheques at 10 pm instead of 12 pm and launch a special drive from tomorrow against their use of mobile phones while driving.

Recommendations to this effect were unanimously made at the maiden meeting of the Administrator’s Law and Order Committee here today. The committee members, Mayor Subhash Chawla, former MP Satyapal Jain, BJP leader Purushottam Mahajan, Samajwadi Party president Shivi Jaiswal, Major General K. S. Bajwa (retd) and SSP Gaurav Yadav, unanimously elected a former IAS, officer, Mr Sadanand, as the Chairman of the committee. Mr Yadav is the convener of the committee.

The members expressed their opposition to the excise policy saying a report should be prepared on rise in crime due to liquor in the city.

The committee also decided that it along with the SSP would go to each police station in the city to give the people of the area a hearing on a particular day every month.

It also decided that the Station House Officers would hold a monthly meeting with prominent residents and the Residents Welfare Associations of respective areas on every last Saturday of the month.

Mr Yadav informed the members that he would discuss the matter with the District Magistrate to change the time for discotheque closure.

The issue of pool joint raids also came up for discussion and a suggestion of Mr Jaiswal for a polite spot identification was well accepted.

The police was advised to be polite while carrying out special drives to check identity of migrants.


Armoured Corps hit by promotion scheme

THE Army officers will be promoted on pro rata basis. The percentage of promotions in each arm and service from Colonel to Lieut-General will be based on the total number of officers in that particular arm of service.

This gives a distinct advantage to bigger arms and services having a larger number of officers such as Infantry, which also includes Mechanised Infantry, and Artillery. They will be allotted more vacancies for promotion in each rank than the Armoured Corps, a smaller arm, irrespective of the comparative merit of officers.

The decision taken during the tenure of the former Army Chief, General S.Padmanabhan, has dismayed the Armoured Corps officers. Even the officers of the other arms and services, including two corps commanders that this writer has spoken to, feel that this decision is not fair and hits the Armoured Corps officers hard. It is also learnt that a second thought is being given to this decision.

Fire power demonstration

A two-day demonstration to display the fire power and mobility of the Indian tanks and BMPs was jointly conducted at the KK Ranges, in Ahmednagar by the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACCS) and the Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre (MIRC), the other day.

About a dozen tanks, including Vijayanta, T-55 and T-72 and three BMPs from the mechanised infantry took part in the demonstration. The targets comprised derelict tanks and a number of other soft targets. After an intense firing by the killer crew led by Capt Rohit Bhatia of 67 Armoured Regiment, the devastating effect of the fire was highly appreciated by over 1000 spectators. Thereafter, as per the tactically painted situation, a combat team attacked the objective.

The ACCS and the MIRC at Ahmednagar, besides training our officers and men, also train officers and men from Artillery, Air Defence Artillery and Engineers from a number of foreign countries.

Sainik Schools expedition

Recently, for the first time, a 25-member all India Sainik Schools mountaineering expedition, successfully climbed 6183 metre high Stok Kangri peak in the Leh sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

The team of young students camped at Stok village for two days for acclimatisation. Then, after a night halt at Mankarmo (14,200 ft), the team established a base camp at Sakshu at an altitude of 16,000 ft where the team members were given snow and ice-craft training. During the assault on the peak and after a climb of three hours at night, the team reached the main glacier at the base of the Stok Kangri peak. The subsequent climb was quite hazardous with loose rocks, knee-deep snow and icy winds.

In the final assault, 14 students led by J.S. Gulia, Havildar Naresh Singh and Madhu Sharma conquered the Stok Kangri peak and stayed on top for 30 minutes. The team on return called on the Governor of Haryana , Mr Babu Parmanand, at Raj Bhawan, Chandigarh, who congratulated the team.

Army War College

The College of Combat founded in 1971, and located at Mhow, was re-designated as the Army War College on the Army Day i.e. on January 15 last. The reason was that similar institutions in most other countries are designated as such. The USA has two such institutions, that is the US Army War College and the US Naval War College.

The erstwhile Army College of Combat in India, was started to promote the concept of joint warfare. It has developed over the years into an institution of great repute and has been interacting with the other armies of the world. The scope of the War College has now been extended to include national strategy, operational art, leadership, logistics and information warfare.

Pritam Bhullar


Cabinet panels defer decisions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
As a prelude to the countdown to the budget presentation on March 24, the Cabinet subcommittees that were scheduled to meet here today deferred discussion-making on all items. Only the tourism policy was taken up but for want of more inputs and information no final decision could be taken, say sources. Even the committee on fiscal management did not take up matters concerning the imposition of user charges in respect of urban water supply/sewerage, rural water supply and fee hike in higher education.

The key items on the agenda had included anti-theft legislation on power, proposal on a one-time voluntary disclosure scheme for building violations within municipalities and settlement, thereof, and of course the tourism policy.

Sources said that paucity of time and auction of liquor shops in the state had eclipsed the proceedings of the subcommittees, which had several other pressing issues to debate. ‘’These meetings would now be rescheduled during the course of the Budget session and decisions taken’’, said a source.Back


Holi bonanza
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Funcity, one of the pioneers in leisure industry, is all set to offer a bonanza to the visitors on Holi. At a press conference organised to give information about the forthcoming events, the organisers said that a host of Punjabi singers had been roped in to make the Holi bash a success.

The event will be marked with special presentations by the following Punjabi singers — Sarabjeet Cheema, Romey Gill, Bali Amarjeet, Azzi Ash, Sunita Bhatt, among others. The event will be held on March 18 and 19 and the entry will be strictly for couples and families.

Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Mrs Jaswant Kaur Syal (82), mother of Mr Hardeep Singh Syal, an Executive Officer with The Tribune, died at a nursing home in SAS Nagar in the early hours of Monday morning. Her cremation this afternoon was widely attended. She leaves two sons and a daughter.Back


Imposter arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
The police arrested a person on charges of appearing for the Jail Warden examination being conducted by the Short Service Commission here, in another person’s name. Vikas Gupta, was appearing for the examination at Jainedra Public School here yesterday, in the name of Suresh Kumar of Chattarpur village in Jind district. He has been sent to judicial remand.

Woman dead: A woman was crushed to death by a car near Mattanwala bus stop on Sunday. The driver of the car sped away. A case has been registered.


Snatchers’ gang busted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
The police today claimed to have busted a gang involved in incidents of snatching in the city with the arrest of five persons. The modus operandi of the gang was to throw ‘chilli powder’ in the eyes of their victims before snatching their valuables. The police was also on lookout for a Panchkula-based woman, Ms Kiran Sethi, who is said to be one of the ‘ring-leaders’ of the gang. 


2 held with porno CDs
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 17
Sanjiv Kumar and Harish Kumar were arrested from Kalka on charges of making pirated CDs of Hindi films and possessing porno CDs under different Sections of the Copy Right Act.


Beopar Mandal seeks probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) here today sought to impute motives to the Administration’s decision to withdraw the Rent Control Act by demanding a high-level inquiry into the income of commercial property owners, the before notification purchases made by them and the role of property dealers.

In a statement, the mandal expressed surprise why the Property Owners Welfare Association had never reacted to a former Chief Minister’s charging the highest ever rent in the world from his old tenant in Sector 17.

The mandal said commercial buildings could not be equated with residential buildings, a balanced act was required to ensure that tenants were not evicted and a rational and affordable rent appreciation was allowed.

The Traders Association, Sector 17, in a separate statement, accused the BJP of adopting double standards and took note of the silence of the top leadership of the Congress on the issue. It expressed surprise that no political party, particularly the BJP which is ruling the country, had not bothered to call a meeting on the Rent Act issue. In a veiled warning, it said mere lip service would not work now.

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