Friday, May 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


12 city students clear Civil Services exam
Tribune News Service

‘It’s a dream come true’

Ritu Singla"For me it is a dream come true", said Ritu Singla, who has secured the 21st position in the final merit list of the All-India Civil Services examination.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune over telephone, she attributed her success to hard work, cooperation of parents and friends and above all, the blessings of God.

In reply to a question, Ritu said the challenges involved in the profession has inspired her to choose this field. "I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve a large section of people by implementing policies of the government", she remarked.

Regarding the issue of corruption among bureaucrats, she said: "The real endurance lies in better performance".

Chandigarh, May 1
It was celebration time for around 12 civil services aspirants who crossed the final hurdle of the All-India Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, the final merit list of which was released today.

More than 12 candidates, who are directly associated with the city or came here for coaching in their respective subjects, have been successful in the exam.

Ritu Singla, who had appeared for the interview twice earlier, made it to the final list of the selected candidates this year. She ranks 21 on the merit list. Ritu completed her engineering degree from Punjab Engineering College here. She had opted for sociology and psychology as optional subjects for the main examination.

Sanjay Goyal has been ranked 23rd. He is already working with the Customs Department. Sector 38 resident Aman Puri has been ranked 37th. A dentist by profession, his options for the main were sociology and psychology.

Sukhchain Singh, an MBBS, has been ranked 42nd. It was his third attempt, for which he had opted for geography and psychology in the main exam. Sector 19 resident Jaishree Sharma, a practising lawyer who had opted for law and political science in the main exam, has been ranked 43rd.

Nitin Deep Blaggan, a doctor who has cleared the exam in his second attempt, has been ranked 61st. He is followed by Pinky Jowel, a dental surgeon working with the Haryana Government, who has been ranked 78th.

Monica Sharma has been ranked 107th. Sector 40 resident Padma Mahto made it in her fifth attempt after completing her M.Com. She had opted for commerce and public administration as optional subjects for the main examination.

A large number of successful candidates from the city are associated with the IAS Study Circle. Commenting upon the success of the candidates, Prof Anil Kumar, director of the circle, said there was no alternative to hard work and diligence.


Servant had planned murder: cops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
Achint Bahadur, alias Sanat, the Nepalese domestic help in the Bishnoi household for the past over two years, had planned the murder of Suresh Bala. The police presumes that he was upset over being rebuked time and again for not doing his job properly.

Seventeen-year-old Achint Bahadur had bludgeoned and stabbed Suresh Bala Bishnoi and then shot himself last evening. Police investigations reveal that there was no immediate provocation for the crime, rather the servant had been planning to club either Mr Bishnoi or his wife to death.

It is learnt that one of the immediate neighbours of the Bishnoi’s told the police that he had seen the servant ruthlessly hit a wooden baton on a bundle of clothes for two consecutive days a fortnight ago. The neighbour said he had even joked with him and asked him if he was practicing how to hit someone. “After this incident, we never saw him repeat this act,” he said.

Other neighbours, too, told the police that the servant was often scolded by his employers. In fact, the victim had scolded him yesterday for not performing one of the chores properly.

Mr Bhoop Singh Bishnoi, husband of the victim and an HCS officer, when contacted by Chandigarh Tribune, was dumbfounded with grief and expressed ignorance at how the servant could have taken such a drastic step. Recalling instances of disagreement, he said his wife had sometimes scolded Achint , but it was never serious. He also recalled an instance when he had refused to hand over Achint’s savings to his uncle two months ago. “Since I would always pay his dues to his ‘mausa’ who had brought him here, I had refused to give the money to an unknown person. But this was for his (Achint’s) benefit only. This could not have been reason enough for taking such a drastic step,” he said.

“When the victim came home, she must have again rebuked the servant, who attacked her with a knife. The victim could have picked up the baton in self defence and he may have snatched it from her and bludgeoned her to death. When she ran outside, bleeding profusely and crying out for help, the servant, who had covered his face with a handkerchief, followed her. He, however, retreated into the house after dropping the baton when he saw the neighbours had gathered outside,” said the SP, Mr Ranbir Singh Sharma.

He said circumstantial evidence pointed that the accused went inside, wiped the blood-stained knife with the handkerchief and went upstairs. The police felt he had taken out the point .32 bore revolver of Mr Bishnoi earlier, and could have used it to threaten the victim. Once inside, he rushed upstairs and after firing four shots aimlesslessly, shot himself in the temple.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem examination of the victim and the servant was conducted at the Sector 6 General Hospital today. The post-mortem report revealed that she had been beaten with a baton on the forehead and there were 10 stab wounds on her face, neck and upper abdomen. Excessive bleeding led to her death. The body was later cremated at the Bishnoi’s farmhouse.

Achint Bahadur’s relatives had arrived here from Ismailabad near Ambala to take away his body.


2 more kidnappers held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
The police has arrested two more persons in connection with the kidnapping of 18-year-old Sachin Garg and recovered Rs 38.5 lakh from them.

It is learnt that while Gaurav Bhalla was arrested from his house in Sector 10 here and Rs 18.5 lakh had been recovered from the house, Munish Bhalla was arrested in Ambala. A sum of Rs 20 lakh were recovered from him.

The accused, along with two others, Gaurav Mani and Suresh Nai, had conspired to kidnap Sachin Garg, grandson of a local businessman and philanthropist, Mr Sham Lal Garg, on April 2. They had released him on the night of April 3 after a ransom of Rs 1 crore had been paid to them.

The police has so far recovered Rs 55.5 lakh from six of the seven accused. A sum of Rs 17 lakh had been recovered from Gaurav Mani on April 29. Three youths Pankaj Bansal, Amit Verma and Govind, had been arrested on April 29 on charges of harbouring the accused.

It was after the boy was released that the police got to know of the kidnapping and got into action. In spite of the complainants refusing to get a police case registered, the police began investigations. After checking telephone records, the police zeroed in on two mobile phone numbers from which frequent calls had been received at the Garg’s telephone on April 2 and April 3.

The police found that the two numbers were of a cash card and the same had been discarded after April 4. It found the IME number (identity code of the mobile handset) from the cellular operator and began tracing the accused through new cash cards installed in their cell phones.

The police finally zeroed in on Gaurav Mani and Gaurav Bhalla and began to follow them.

The youths were, however, alerted and Gaurav Bhalla, Munish Bhalla and Suresh Nai escaped to Mumbai. By the time a local police team reached Mumbai, they fled to Delhi and from there to Ambala and Panchkula. The police is now on the look out for Suresh Nai.


Black films’ misuse: 42 challaned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 1
The traffic police challaned 42 vehicles for misuse of black films here today.

A month-long special drive was launched to check the unauthorised use of black films and on the first day, the police had set up four nakas in different parts of the city. Sources said the challaning drive would be intensified in the coming days.

It is also learnt the police was in the process of acquiring special instruments to gauge the visibility level of the films used in vehicles (authorised users of black film) as per laid down standards. Chandigarh Tribune had carried a story today regarding misuse of black films on vehicles by a large number of people including VIPs.

Meanwhile, the police set up special checkpoints at several places in the city this evening to check incidents of snatching.


Admn seeks ministry’s help
Report on PGI patient’s death
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

The controversy over the headship of the Department of Surgery at the PGI is likely to be settled as the issue of redesignating the Kidney Transplant Centre as a separate Department of Renal Transplant Surgery is likely to be approved by the governing body on May 12.

The Head of Surgery, Dr J.D. Wig, had approached a court against the orders of the Health Ministry that Dr M. Minz, being senior, should be made the head. The court had directed the PGI that the entire process of the creation of a separate department be completed within three months. The next court hearing is scheduled for May 27. 

Chandigarh, May 1
The UT administration has sought the help of the Union Health Ministry to obtain a copy of the PGI inquiry report in the case of the death of a patient, allegedly due to doctors negligence, so that after ascertaining the culpability of the doctors the issue can be settled.

Despite repeated requests by former UT Adviser, Neeru Nanda to the PGI for a copy of the Dr J.S. Chopra inquiry report regarding the death of a patient, Mohinder Kaur, allegedly due to negligence, the PGI failed to provide the same. The matter will come up for discussion at the governing body (GB) meeting of the institute, scheduled for May 12 at New Delhi.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a letter dated February 7 had directed the PGI to present the inquiry report along with the comments of the Director before the GB.” Whether a copy of the inquiry report is to be given to the UT Adviser, as per her request, or not would be decided after the matter is placed before the GB,” wrote Mr S.K. Mishra, Under Secretary, Ministry of Health.

Ms Neeru Nanda, in her letter dated October 14, 2002 , to the Secretary, Health, had requested for a copy of the report along with the views of the Health Ministry, regarding criminal or departmental culpability of the doctors concerned so that the Chandigarh administration could take the matter to its logical conclusion in compliance with the orders of the high court.

Mr H.S. Tuli, husband of Mohinder Kaur, had also filed a complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, UT, for compensation claim.

Even though the PGI sent a copy of the inquiry report to the Health Ministry on June 13, 2002 followed by the comments of the PGI Director on December 28, last year, the report has till date not been placed before the governing body.

Mr Tuli, had made a complaint to the UT administrator regarding the death of his wife allegedly due to the negligence on the part of PGI doctors.


Common man ‘hit’ by TRAI policy
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
“Interests of common household consumers have been put at stake by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its latest tariff/connectivity policy for different service providers, to be implemented from May 1.’’ This is the key finding of a survey conducted by a Jaipur-based civil organisation, Jan Chetna Evam Samajik Vikas Sansthan (JCSVS) in eight selected cities of North India, including Chandigarh, Delhi and six cities from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Elaborating the findings of the survey from Jaipur, Mr Aditya Kumar, Director of the sansthan disclosed that regulator’s decision to reduce long distance call rates (more than 500 kms) at the cost of short distance call users had hit the common subscribers, as 96 per cent of the respondents termed the decision ‘bad.’ Since average ratio of short vs long distance calls was 77:23, the increase in short distance tariff rates would affect the lower end users. According to BSNL officials, about 60 per cent of the subscribers were not even using the free incoming calls (125 per month in rural and 75 in urban areas), the cut in free calls to 50 in rural and 30 in urban area would hit them hard.

Mr Alok, programme coordinator of the survey team, said the majority of respondents felt that TRAI was biased towards business class customers in hiking monthly rental, cut in free incoming calls and in offering discounts to them at the cost of common consumers. He said 70 per cent of surveyed consumers felt that TRAI was also biased in favour of mobile telephony as its recent policy promoted mobile users with major discouragement for landline users.

He said TRAI’s decision of raising effective charges by sixfold for calling from landline to mobile would adversely hit the consumers who were using coin box phones installed at public places. They would not be able to call the WLL and mobile users by dropping Rs 1 coin in these box phones.A large section of daily wage workers, students, patients at hospitals were using these phones, he added.

At least 52 per cent of total surveyed consumers, he said, had only landline telephones, 30 per cent used mobile phones as sole communication medium, while 18 per cent used both. When asked which connection would they opt in case of applying for another connection, 65 per cent favoured mobile and 29 per cent favoured landline phone. Only 6 per cent voted in favour of WLL, a clear indication of upward graduation of telephone market.

Interestingly, 86 per cent of surveyed consumers were unable to understand the tariff structure, inter-connectivity user charges announced by the TRAI. Frequent changes in the tariff, they felt, eroded their confidence in TRAI, and increased risk perception of players.

However, 82 per cent of the respondents recognised the role of TRAI as a responsible body to judiciously balance the interests of all stake holders. But 96 per cent of the surveyed consumers were of the view that unlike telecom operators, the consumer rights organisations were lobbying to take care of their interests. Mr Kumar said this was a ‘wake up call’ to all consumer bodies/organisations to make joint efforts to bargain for the interests of the consumers before the TRAI.


Tribune staff seek new wage board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Tribune Employees Union (regd) demanded immediate setting up of a wage board for the newspaper employees. Speakers said that a new wage board had fallen due in view of the rising cost of living and the increased profits of the newspaper houses. The demand was made at a rally organised in connection with May Day to pay homage to the Chicago martyrs.

The union also demanded intervention by the Central Government to help end the contract system in the newspaper industry so that all employees could get benefited from the wage boards. It was felt that the contract system was nothing but a handle to harass and exploit employees in the newspaper industry.

The president of the union, Mr Balbir Singh Jandu, said that there was need to guard against the influence of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on our economy. Paying tributes to the Chicago martyrs, Mr Jandu said it was the result of their sacrifice that the working conditions were improved for the labour class all over the world.

The general secretary of the union, Mr Anil Gupta, gave a brief account of the martyrs who shed their blood in Chicago for the sake of the working class. The senior vice-president of the union, Mr Haresh Vashishth, listed the achievements of the union.

The Union honoured its around 350 members with mementoes for donating blood at various camps organised by the union. The mementoes were presented to the blood donors by a former president of the union, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu.

The others who paid homage to the Chicago martyrs were Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr A.S. Sekhawat and Mr Mohan Verghese.


Gate rallies, demonstrations on May Day
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 1
Lack of enthusiasm, archaic jargons and a lurking fear of adjusting to a competitive, privatised, globalised market and a changing paradigm of ‘hire the productive one and fire the unproductive’ loomed large over the May Day functions in the city today.

A number of labour unions today observed Labour Day by organising gate rallies and demonstrations and paid homage to the martyrs of Chicago, killed in the police firing in the USA in 1886. Majority of the trade unions and Leftist leaders made speeches condemning “globalisation and capitalism” and blaming “policies of the IMF and the World Bank for all the problems of labour class.” But another section of leaders tried to re-evaluate the “importance of trade unionism” in changing economic scenario.

Most of the rallies were attended by ‘committed’ cadres of the trade unions, and the young workers were conspicuous by their absence. The workers present at rallies looked directionless, depressed and confused over the ‘repeated speeches’ of their middle-aged leadership. Mr Bihari Lal, a labourer participating in a rally at the industrial area, said innocently, “Our unions leaders are making same speeches every time, but they have failed to protect our jobs and we are feeling orphaned now.”

What is the importance of labour day in the changed economic scenario? Dr Manoj Sharma at the University Business School in Panjab University, said, “I feel despite sanctity of that day for the working class, it has lost its importance. Trade unions have no relevance in an era of hire and fire and globalisation. The need is to promote companies like Reliance, Ranbaxy, Infosys which are taking due care of their workers.”

While the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and other unions announced one-day strike on May 21 “to protest against the privatisation move of the government,” a section of the bank employees expressed unhappiness over tomorrow’s bank strike as they would have to surrender a day’s salary varying between Rs 600 to Rs 1,000 for each bank officer.

After paying homage to the martyrs of Chicago at a rally of MC employees, Mr Y.D. Aeri, local general secretary of CITU, said, “The administration of the one of the most rich cities is threatening its workers either to opt for the MC or face retrenchment. There is no way except to struggle and fight for rights and strike on May 7.” Members of the joint platform of mass organisations organised a massive rally in sector 17.

Addressing a rally of labourers in industrial area, Mr Malkiat Singh, all-India secretary of the All-India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU), wondered how could Centre and state governments think about anti-labour laws, when the labour departments have failed to ensure even minimum wages for the workers in the factories of the champions of economic reforms.

Organisations like the Mazdoor Sudhar Sabha and the Godwin Education Society organised camps in labour colonies to encourage workers to educate their children and abstain from intoxicants to improve their standard of living.

PATIALA: City Mayor Vishnu Sharma today assured various employee associations that he would convey their demand for grant of compensatory city allowance (CCA) and institution of the 4-9-14 year promotion policy in government jobs to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Mr Vishnu Sharma was presiding over a meeting of employee associations, including District Congress (INTUC), PRTC Employees Federation (INTUC), Food and Supplies, PSEB, Irrigation and PWD (Building and Road) held in front of the railway station here to mark May Day.

Seminar on workers’ status held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
To mark May Day, a seminar on “Workers’ Status in Society” was organised by Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, in collaboration with the Traders Union, here today. Nearly 200 persons from the Sector 25 Labour Colony, along with social workers, teachers and students participated in the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr C.L. Narang of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education said the common worker was suffering due to over-population and ignorance.

He added that in case of mishap or tragedy, workers were not compensated properly. He also said the wages of women were not on a par with those of their male counterparts.

The college Principal, Mrs Satinder Dhillon, said child labourers were also being exploited at their places of work. She lamented that children begin earning a livehood at a tender age, ignoring their studies and health.

Meanwhile, members of the Government Classical and Vernacular (C&V) Teachers Union observed May Day as “demands day”.

According to a statement issued here today, their demands include the appointment of headmasters of elementary schools from among C&V teachers having adequate experience, bringing posts of C&V teachers on a par with vocational teachers, grant of two special increments and restoration of pay-grade parity.Back


Post office queues disappoint residents
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, May 1
“I came to withdraw money from the post office in Phase I under the monthly income scheme (MIS) but went back after seeing a long queue. I came again the next day but went back disappointed as the position was no better. Then I had to approach the postmaster to help me in withdrawing the money as the queue was long”.

Mr Ardaman Singh, a resident of Phase IV holding account no 489030, said he was suffering from a servical problem and could not stand in the queue for too long.

Similarly, Mr O.P. Dahuja, a resident of Phase IIIA holding account number 489095 too, had to take the help of the postmaster for withdrawing the money.

Mr Dahuja told this correspondent that he was suffering from arthritis and could not stand in the queue for too long. He said he had deliberately come around 12.30 p.m. for withdrawing the money thinking that around that time there would not be too much of rush. “But after seeing the long queue I was compelled to take the help of the postmaster,” he said.

Out of five counters in the postoffice, queues were seen in front of three counters almost every day. These dealt with MIS, savings bank and registered letters. The postoffice has around 10,000 account holders under the MIS and at least 300 letters were sent through registered post daily. The postoffice had only 12 employees to handle all types of accounts — savings, recurring deposit, PPF, NSS, NSCs, MIS — and various other types of work. Out of the 12 employees three to four remained on leave on an average in a month.

After the upgradation of the post office on August 1 last year most of the work is being handled independently, including claim cases relating to the deceased. Earlier the post office was working under the Ropar branch but since January 1 last year it came under the Chandigarh branch.

People going in for payments above Rs 20,000 are asked to wait as the cheques in this regard is issued by the Head Postoffice in Chandigarh which takes three to four days.

The postmen at the postoffice say that they were overburdened with work. There was no postman for sorting the letters. There were only three postmen for delivering the speedpost letters. There were eight postmen and two extra-departmental employees for distributing “dark” in Sectors 55 and 56 falling in Chandigarh and Phase I, II, VI, Sectors 55, 56 of SAS Nagar and Phase I to VII of the industrial area here. Postmen say 40 to 45 bags of “dak” reached the postoffice daily and they had to work even after office hours to distribute it.


Cops trying to bail out accused’
Chopra’s family writes to CM
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 1
A few days before the SAS Nagar police is to file a challan in the Kharar court against the five men accused of killing the UT Executive Engineer V.K. Chopra, his family has written to the Chief Minister that a move is on within the crime branch of the Punjab police to get two of the three main accused out on bail. The crime branch has, however, said that the request for another inquiry has been received from the CM’s office itself.

V.K. Chopra was shot on February 17 by some scooter-borne assailants, following which, three persons — Ravinder Sharma, P.S. Matharu and Brij Bhushan Sharma — were arrested. Two other accused remain untraced.

In the letter to the CM, Ms Neerja, wife of late V.K. Chopra, has alleged that Ravinder Sharma and P.S. Matharu have got an inquiry marked into the case through Mr K.K. Attri, ADGP (Crime) Punjab. “Since the file is pending with the inquiry officer appointed in the case, the SAS Nagar police will not be able to file the challan within 90 days of the incident, which will enable the accused to obtain a bail,” she says.

Mr Attri, when contacted, refuted the allegation and said no inquiry had been marked by the crime branch in this case. “We have not received any complaint through any lawyer and the charge is false. The complaint has been forwarded by the CM’s office, at which the file has been sought back, but, according to my information, no inquiry has been marked as yet by the crime branch,” he said.

Regarding the possibility of a delay in filing of the challan if the file remains with the crime branch, Mr Attri said, in such cases, the SSP concerned seeks the file back in time for filing the challan.

The family has also alleged that it has been receiving threats from one of the main accused, Ravinder Sharma, and asked the CM to provide it with security.

The Superintendent of Police at SAS Nagar, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, could not be contacted, but sources in the police here said all preparations for the filing of the challan were over and it would be filed in the court on the due date before the stipulated 90 days get over in mid-May.


Tankers supply water to colonies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Residents of Colony Number 5 and adjoining areas have been facing drinking water shortage forcing the municipal corporation to supply water through tankers. The shortage was caused after supply lines developed cracks following construction of a road a week ago.

The supply through lines has been restored but tanker will keep supplying water an official spokesman said.

The corporation has also started water supply through tankers in other colonies where permanent tanks have been created for the purpose.

Around two water tankers were sent each day to each of these rehabilitation colonies, the spokesman said.

He claimed that this season water supply had been better than the past year due to the installation of several new pumps.


Death of 8 stray cows confirmed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Amidst a hue and cry over the recent deaths of stray cows in the Sector 45 gaushala and initial denial terming them as routine deaths, the authorities have confirmed deaths of eight of them in the past seven days.

However, the authorities have denied deaths due to any disease including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) as had been alleged by BJP councillor Gian Chand Gupta and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The authorities have sent a carcass for a postmortem to exactly know the cause of deaths.

“Diseased, old, ill-nourished and discarded cows are bound to meet their inevitable fate when they are stuffed in a gaushala beyond its capacity,” an attendant in the gaushala told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

A veterinary doctor said the earlier postmortem of animals had revealed that animals had eaten polythene. Apart from these problems, it was found out that there had been a lack of coordination amongst three agencies involved in the affairs of the gaushala. The Chandigarh Animal Welfare and Environment Development Society, the Municipal Corporation and the Animal Welfare Department of the Chandigarh Administration are involved in the management of the gaushala.

Due to shortage of staff and space, the necessary segregation of the weak and strong animals was not done to prevent a fight for the survival of the best. The quality of fodder supplied by a donor was told to be even better than that was used by dairy owners.

Contrary to the condition in the gaushala, there have not been unusual number of deaths reported from the cattle ponds. Even last year, the gaushala which was a cattle pond last year, did not see as many deaths during the last summer as this year.

With the deaths being given Hindutva colour, a decision to only take cows at its capacity of 250 in Sector 45 gaushala and 125 in the Sector 25 has been taken which is likely to aggravate the already existing problem of stray cattle on the roads.

Information received today also revealed that the animals of dairy owners have started coming back to Burail as soon as the municipal corporation deciding to halt the campaign to drive out animals of dairy owners, which was also likely to bring more animals on the road.


Capt Tomar cremated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the Manimajra cremation ground where the mortal remains of pilot Kishan Tomar, who was killed in a copter crash near Manali, was consigned to the flames this morning.

The last rites were performed by the victim’s six -year- old son, Kshitij, and father, Mr. S.S. Tomar. The child, oblivious of the tragedy that had befallen on them, performed the last rites as his grandfather helped him consign the body to the flames.

The funeral was attended by a number of Air Force personnel, who had arrived from Leh, the last posting of Mr Tomar, before he opted out of the Air Force.

Friends and colleagues of Mr. S.S. Tomar from the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation also attended the funeral.

Mr Harsh Vardhan, a Director of Himalayan Heli services, where Mr. Tomar was employed, also attended the funeral.


Stamp in honour of journalist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A commemorative postage stamp is being released tomorrow by the Department of Posts in honour of well known journalist Durga Dass (1900-1974). In Chandigarh, it will be released at Philatelic Bureau, GPO, Chandigarh.

Hailing from Jalandhar district of Punjab, his career spanned over 55 years. As a journalist. Durga Dass was fair and objective in reporting and a supporter of the voice of disent as a political columnist.

He was chairman of the Press Gallery Committee of Parliament; President of the All-India-Newspaper Editors Conference, founder-President of the Press Club of India and member of the Press Council.

Durga Dass authored two important books India and the World (1958) and India from Curzon to Nehru and After (1969).

His love for the profession found culmination when he founded the Durga Dass Ratan Devi Trust in 1969 to give five annual Durga Ratan Awards for excellence in Journalism. 



From pillar to post in search of wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A resident of Vikas Nagar in Mauli Jagroan, Ashwani Kumar, is running from pillar to post to trace his missing wife, Kulwinder.

The complainant, who runs a small business in Mani Majra, in his complaint at the Mani Majra police station, alleged that his in laws had kept his wife at their house in Nagal Ambia, Shahkot (Jalandhar).

He alleged that his in-laws had lured his wife to send her abroad through a travel agent. “My father-in-law works at the Jalandhar passport office and has liaison with some travel agents.

My wife is living with a person named, Kaka in Talwandi Mado”, said Ashwani.

He also said that he had been threatened that a case would be registered against him under the Dowry Act if he raised any objection in this case.

The complainant has a five year old daughter, Akanshna and old parents to look after. 


The SARS threat

Jaspal Bhatti’s Friday humour

The other day I saw a man wearing a mask, passing in front of my house. The sight of the mask troubled me and I nervously asked him: “Bhai sahib, is there a SARS victim in our mohalla?” He replied: “No! but around the corner there’s a heap of garbage with mosquitoes breeding and dogs somersaulting on it. I’m sure it can lead to the outbreak of any serious disease!” I warned him sternly that a mask should not be worn for such inconsequential reasons. After all, if another 10 or 15 persons like him disturbed by the dust and dirt decide to don the mask, there would be panic in the city. City tourism would crash.

We need to fight rumours of the SARS disease with the same force as the disease itself. If the word spreads that the groom has just returned from Hong Kong, chances are that the girl’s father will suddenly declare in a filmi style: “Yeh Shaadi nahi ho sakti!”

Air-India pilots have started an agitation calling for greater protection for flying to SARS-affected areas. I’m sure within a few days even the autowalla and rickshawalla will ask for a ‘SARS-free’ medical certificate before boarding a passengers.

China’s economy has been severely affected by the high count of SARS victims. All entertainment and business centres have been closed. In India, if people get to know that a SARS victim has been to a theatre, they’ll stay away from the hall for weeks. The poor producer will not know if his film was badly made, or it was just the scare of SARS!

Defence Minister George Fernandes is a troubled man these days. The crowds at the gate seem to be thinning. The invitations to political dinners are lessening. He worriedly asked his PA: “Am I using my popularity?” His PA reminded him: “Sir, you have just returned from China!”


Aeronautical Society meeting today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The National Executive Council of the Aeronautical Society of India will hold its meeting here tomorrow.

The meeting will discuss various issues relating to development and growth of aviation in the country. Amongst other things, the society will discuss events that will take place to mark the centenary of aviation including the Air Race — 2003. After Independence, this will be the first time that such an air race will be held. This race is to start from four different regions of the country and culminate at Nagpur. Chandigarh is the place selected for the take-off for the northern region.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be hosted by the Chandigarh branch of the society. Mr N.R. Mohanty, Chairman of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, who is also the president of the society. 


LPG supply to resume today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Even as the LPG Distributors Association observed a day-long strike today, the oil industry assured the distributors that their issue of the allotment of godown sites would be sorted out at the earliest. 

Following the assurance, the association decided to open their establishments tomorrow. 


Dairy owners’ issue: BJP team meets Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The BJP, which had been training its guns at the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation for the rehabilitation of dairy owners, here yesterday met the UT Administrator Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) to demand the allotment of an alternative site for dairy owners.

The delegation went to the Administrator reportedly after the Kisan Morcha representatives yesterday met the Union Minister State for Home I.D. Swami in Delhi to demand the same.

The delegation comprised BJP president Yashpal Mahajan, dairy owners from Burail, Attawa, Badheri, Butrela and Manimajra, BJP general secretary Bal Krishan Kapoor, secretary Ramveer Singh Bhatti, Mr Harbhajan Singh Mr Gurdeep Singh, Mr Bahadur Singh, Ram Singh, Karnail Singh and Mukhtiar Singh.

Municipal Commissioner M.P. Singh and Deputy Commissioner Ram Sekhar were also present at the meeting.


Man hurt in attack
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 1
A resident of Sector 47, Ajay Kumar Sharma, was injured after four persons allegedly attacked him here last night. As per information, Ajay received injuries on his head and was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

His condition was said to be out of danger.

A relative of the victim, Mr Devi Dyal Sharma told the police that Gian Singh of Sector 47 hit Ajay with an axe, while Singer, Sunny and Khanna attacked him with batons.

No arrest had been made till reports last came in. A case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Injured: A resident of Sector 15, Panchkula, Mr Kewal Sahni, was injured after a truck (registration number not known) hit his car near the Transport Chowk traffic light points, Sector 26 here yesterday. He was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Ms Sarbjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 33 reported to the police that her car (PB 14 8860) was stolen from near DAV College, Sector 10, here yesterday.

Yamaha motorcycle (PB 03F 9059) of Mr Pushpan Dass, a resident of Sector 47, was reportedly stolen from Kisan Mandi in Sector 46 on April 28.

Two cases of theft have been registered.

Held: The police has arrested Rakesh of Khuda Lahora village and Harbans Lal of Attawa village here yesterday allegedly for smuggling liquor. The two have been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act. 


Attack on lawyer’s house, vehicles smashed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 1
Two persons “attacked” the Phase VII house of Mr Hardayal Singh Hundal, former president of the District Bar Association, who is now, practicing in the Chandigarh District Courts, here late yesterday. The elder son of Mr Hundal, Mr Harpreet, District Courts lawyer and treasurer of the District Bar Association, barely escaped the assault, but the intruders damaged the vehicles parked outside the house.

The police has registered a case in this regard and is on the lookout for the Maruti Esteem (HR-51-D-7645) used by the attackers.

According to the information given by a member of Mr Hundal’s family at about 11 pm yesterday, the doorbell rang and Harpreet went to open the door. The moment the door opened, two persons standing outside raised a baseball bat to hit Harpreet, who immediately shut the grill and locked the doors before running inside and raising an alarm.

The intruders, then started smashing the vehicles parked outside — the family car, two motor cycles and three scooters.

Mr Hardayal Singh Hundal said the assailants were Raju and Rinku of Phase IV. “They had come to leave a repaired inverter in the neighbourhood about a month ago and got involved in a spat with us after they had parked their car in front of our house,” said Mr Hundal. The police says that the two have absconded.


REVA to be launched today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The pollution free battery-run car, REVA, will be formally launched at 4 p.m. tomorrow by the Secretary Science and Technology, Mr M.P. Singh.

REVA is a zero emission vehicle. Its running cost is less than 28 paise per km and the cost of maintenance is 60 per cent less as compared to other small cars. It is very easy to charge the batteries of the vehicle by plugging into a household 15 amp plug. REVA is a stylish car with two-door hatch back. The body of the car is made up of ABS polymer which is dent proof. The chassis is mild steel space frame. The bumpers are energy absorbing. The main advantages are economy, safe and environment friendly. The engine has no gears or clutch. REVA is ideal for stop and go city driving. It provides for quick acceleration and small turning radius. It is easy to manoeuvre and park on crowded roads.

The ex-showroom price of REVA standard is Rs 2,40,777. The Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources is providing a subsidy of Rs 75,000. This vehicle is first of its kind on the city roads. 

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