Saturday, August 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


De-addiction centre inmates ‘tortured’
Thrashed by Director in the name of therapy
Tribune News Service

Inmates of the Amarjot Drug De-addiction Centre “re-enact” one of the many forms of torture they were allegedly subjected to by Director Amar Bedi at Phase IX, SAS Nagar, on Friday.
Inmates of the Amarjot Drug De-addiction Centre “re-enact” one of the many forms of torture they were allegedly subjected to by Director Amar Bedi at Phase IX, SAS Nagar, on Friday.
— Tribune photo Parvesh Chauhan

SAS Nagar, August 8
As if living with the trauma of being labeled a drug addict was not enough, the very place that is supposed to bring them back from the brink of death, is actually pushing them towards it. For the inmates of Amarjot Drug De-addiction Centre, Phase IX, death is an option preferred over life at the centre.

Allegedly subjected to extreme torture by the centre’s Director as part of their “treatment”, three of the inmates fled the centre two days ago and following a thorough bashing of three others who failed in the attempt, the remaining 18 were up in arms today, crying and pleading to be released from the centre.


Despite hearing the harrowing tale of the inmates, some relatives refused to believe them or take them back. “My son-in-law is at the centre. He is an advocate. He should have been thrashed more,” said a woman from Chandigarh. “It is better that my brother is beaten up here rather than be beaten up by the police. I have bailed my brother out for theft so many times that I prefer he lives here and is cured,” said a policewoman from Chandigarh whose brother has been in the centre for four months.

Ironically, while six of them were immediately taken back home by the parents, the family members of others refused to take them home despite their pleads. The police had to come to their rescue, which took 11 of them in its protection after sealing the centre and arresting the Director, Amar Bedi.

Two of those who escaped from the centre are still missing along with one of the three who were beaten up yesterday. Two others are in a private nursing home with a broken leg and a head injury.

A former drug addict himself, Amar Bedi was arrested by the police based on the statements given by inmates. They alleged that they were regularly beaten up by him with baseball clubs and a wooden log, besides being subjected to mental torture.

Denying the allegations, Amar Bedi stated that what the inmates considered as maltreatment was in fact part of their “therapy” and the inmates were behaving in such fashion simply because they did not want to be cured.

The centre was opened a year ago by Bedi and currently had over 20 inmates hailing from all over Punjab. Their parents were paying anything ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 20,000 a month for their treatment.

Two days ago, six of these inmates tried to escape the centre and while three managed to flee, three others were caught by the staff. “The six had caught Amar taking smack himself. They wanted to get out of the place and bring out the truth to the world,” said an inmate. But three of them were caught and then bashed by the Director. “Aroop received fracture in the leg, while Manpreet sustained head injuries. After five hours, Aroop was taken to a private nursing home where he is still undergoing treatment,” said Dilpreet, an inmate from Ropar, showing two bed sheets with stains of blood.

The matter came to light when one of the three inmates who had managed to escape called his parents. “He refused to go home but begged me to save the others. I came here with the police last night,” said Mr Saminder Singh, a resident of Phase IV, whose son is missing.

Other parents were contacted and by afternoon relatives of all inmates were at the centre asking for an explanation from the Director. “He never let us meet our patients. He would call them outside of the centre and let us see them for an hour once a month,” said the wife of an inmate.

Giving details of how they were tortured, an inmate said the Director would make them squat for hours in a corner of the room facing the wall. “We were made to bend our backs with knees straight and put water from one bowl to another with spoons. In case our knees bent, we were thrashed,” said Manjit, another inmate, showing wounds on his back and chest.

Amar Bedi however said the boys were lying as it was part of their treatment. He even denied that any of the inmates had been beaten up for trying to flee. “Aroop broke his leg when he fell trying to jump the gate and Manpreet fell on the road and injured his head,” he said.

According to the SSP, SAS Nagar, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, Amar Bedi and his fiancee Gurbani have been booked under Sections 323, 342, 506 and 420 of the IPC.


Jattana, 2 others surrender
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The president of the Students Organisation of Panjab University, wanted in the case of alleged assault on the president of a rival student organisation, Panjab University Student Union, surrendered along with two others at Panjab University today.

Sources said Khushbaz Singh Jattana along with Sarabjit “Sabi” and Ashwini Gupta, alias Lala, gave himself up to the police. Munish Bansal, another accused, has already been arrested by the police. Nawab, Raju and Pannu are still at large.

Malwinder Singh Kang and two of his supporters were brutally assaulted in front of the university market on July 30. Kang was pulled out of his car and attacked with batons. The three injured had to be admitted to the emergency ward of the PGI. Kang lost three teeth and is recuperating at the faculty house of the university.

Jattana had been sending regular messages to the police of turning himself in, sources added. Police teams had also been dispatched to different parts of Punjab. Sources said the students while on the run were at Sirsa.

The accused students had been booked under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 506 and 506 of the IPC.

Police remand for the three

The students who surrendered before the UT police in the morning were produced in the court of the UT Judicial Magistrate, Ms Sangeeta Rai Sachdeva, in the afternoon. The Magistrate after hearing the police plea, seeking police custody of the students for recovering weapons used in the attack and arresting other students, remanded the three students in one-day police custody.

The police argued that at least three more students were involved in the case. So, the arrested students could give a lead to their whereabouts.

On the other hand, the counsel for the students opposed the police demand arguing that the students were falsely implicated in the case and that victims had sustained minor injuries during the clash. Therefore, the students could not be booked for attempt to murder.

While coming outside the court, Jattana said the police had implicated him along with others with a view to creating hurdles for him during the forthcoming student elections in the university.


Information sought on PU clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The inquiry commission appointed by Panjab University to look into the student clash of July 30 has asked students to directly approach the commission, an official press note said here today.

The note read: “Justice S.K. Jain has been appointed as the one-man commission to enquire into the clash between students that took place in front of the Sector 14 market on July 30.”

The note added: “All persons interested or acquainted with the facts relating to the incident are invited to file their affidavits duly attested by a Magistrate, notary public or an oath commissioner along with a photocopy.”

Students have been asked to send their papers to the office of the commission, second floor, Students’ Centre, PU, on any working day till August 19.


Bandh bares chinks in traders’ unity
Tribune News Service

A parody on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and General Pervez Musharraf, which was part of the protest rally by traders threatened to derail the protest itself. Mr Ram Jethmalani, who was sitting on the stage was visibly upset as he sent out an aide to stop it even as the first few lines were being spoken by the actors playing the role of the Prime Minister and the Pakistani General, respectively. Later, when Mr Jethmalani started speaking, he made it clear that freedom of speech and expression was a right but this was not correct. He brushed it aside laying the minor furore to rest.

Traders who were raising slogans likening Mr Jethmalani to Hindu god Lord Rama and also to veteran of “Mahabharata,” Bhishma Pitamah, were snubbed. “Neither am I Lord Rama not do I have any liking to die like Bhisham Pitamah,’’ a visibly angry Mr Jethmalani added. 

Chandigarh, August 8
The divide among the city’s trading community was exposed as traders observed a very selective bandh today even as the former Union Law Minister and leading legal expert, Mr Ram Jethmalani, while addressing traders protesting against the rent Act notification promised all help, including fighting a legal battle. ‘‘You have a strong case,’’ he told traders and their families who were participating in a protest rally in Sector 17 here this afternoon.

While addressing the protesting traders Mr Jethmalani assured that he would talk to the Union Urban Development Ministry to work out a solution. In case this was not forthcoming then “we will go to the court,” he added. When we will go to court we will go with bang and with a solid case. However, he also warned the traders that court cases could take a long time to be decided.

Favouring a balance on the Act, he said ‘‘ I am not in favour of taking away everything from landlords.’’ They also need to get good returns on their investment. The argument has to be fair for all. Rents prevailing in the 1940’s and 50’s do not match with today’s prices. Neither are all tenants poor and nor are all landlords very rich thus some kind of balance is needed to protect everybody’s interest, Mr Jethmalini said. In the past traders bodies have made it clear that they would want some authority to decide on what should be the ideal rent.

Further in his argument Mr Jethmalani said the limit of Rs 1,500 monthly rent for a rented space set by the Administration was wrong. This virtually means the rent Act has been done away with as very few buildings would be getting rents less than Rs 1,500. It may be recollected that on November 7, 2002 the Chandigarh Administration had amended the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. In this amendment all buildings getting a rent of less than Rs 1,500 per month have been kept within the purview of the rent Act while all others are now out of the Act.

Later while talking to mediapersons he said Administration could have imposed the new law from a cut-off date like the formula adopted in Delhi and Mumbai. In both the metros a cut off date had been declared and all contracts between tenants and landlords have been kept out of the ambit of the Rent Control Act.

As there has been no discussion on the matter before bringing out a notification it seems incorrect. The notification should have come after a thorough discussion by economists. The issue needs to be decided by making both the warring parties — tenants and landlords — sit and decide about, what should be the amount of rent that should be permitted and what should be the amount of increase, in it.

Meanwhile, the divide in the city’s trader community showed up today as the several shopkeepers did not close their establishments as part of the bandh. Only the markets in Sector 22 and 17 were completely closed in response to the bandh call.


Book tenants' body chief for calling PM
a traitor: POWA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Property Owners Welfare Association (POWA) today criticised the use of word ‘‘deshdrohi’’ ( traitor) for condemning the Prime Minister ,Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during a stage show organised by the Commercial Tenants Association today.

The association said Mr Jethmalani should have walked out of the show.

It also demanded that an FIR should be filed against the leader of the association who publicly projected Mr Vajpayee as ‘‘a traitor’.

A request letter in this connection has also been faxed to the UT Home Secretary.


Jethmalani for give and take policy on Kashmir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A former Union Law Minister, Mr Ram Jethmalani, who is active in ‘‘track II’’ diplomacy over Kashmir, today said India and Pakistan have to climb down from their stated positions to adopt a policy of ‘‘give and take’’ to come up with a solution for peace over the vexed problem of Kashmir.

Pakistan should understand ‘‘ what it could not get through three wars with India cannot be given in totality to them over a table while negotiating peace. Also the wars have not helped them.’’ India should realise that it will have to negotiate on Kashmir one day, he said. ‘‘ We (India) should also think that status quo on Kashmir will not help as there was no escape on the Kashmir issue during peace initiatives, ’’ opined Mr Jethmalani was speaking to mediapersons in the city after addressing a congregation of traders in the main commercial area in Sector 17 today.

If both nations do not shun the route of hatred and war they will be destroyed, advised Mr Jethmalani, who was here today just a day ahead of his visit to Pakistan as part of a delegation comprising MPs and mediapersons.

When asked if accepting the existing Line of Control (LoC) as the international border between the two countries, was what he was hinting at as a climbdown from stated positions, Mr Jethmalani replied in the affirmative. This theory of LoC being the border has gained acceptance in the USA and also in the United Kingdom. Intellectuals in Pakistan have slowly veered towards the idea of making the LoC as the border. Later when asked what was the stance of the Hurriyat Conference on this, Mr Jethmalani, who has been in close touch with Hurriyat leaders, said it would be disclosed soon as it was not appropriate for him to reveal the stance of the Hurriyat now.

He derided the hypocrisy of Indian politicians, who have overlooked the fact that Parliament had passed a resolution in 1962 saying we will not rest till we take back every inch of land grabbed by China. ‘‘Till date about 50,000 sq km of land is under the Chinese control and we have all forgotten about it while we keep on saying Kashmir was an inseparable part of India. Does it mean the areas with China were a separable part of India. ’’ On his visit to Pakistan he said it was organised by the South Asia Free Media Association.


HP police returns empty-handed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Himachal Police today attempted to “arrest” the Slaughter House Superintendent, Dr M.S. Kamboj, and Police Sub-Inspector Om Prakash attached with Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh in connection with the case of the death of 22 cows in Paonta Sahib.

The police had also come to seize a Gypsy (CH01 G 1424) of the Medical Officer, Health Department, but failed to do so as the vehicle was not available.

SHO Paonta Sahib Khazan Singh indicated that he would come back on Monday armed with warrants to make arrests, seize the vehicles and seek answers to fresh queries.

The names of Dr Kamboj and Om Prakash, according to the Himachal Police, feature in the FIR registered in the case of death of 22 cows, which were found in an area falling under the Paonta Sahib police station. The police had registered a case under Section 429 of the IPC (causing injury) and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animal Act. It is also believed to have added charges under Sections 153 (causing communal disharmony) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the IPC.

The Himachal Police had to return empty-handed with the Sector 17 police station officers informing that the arrests could not be made unless warrants were produced. Khazan Singh, while talking to reporters, said he was told during a meeting with local police officials that arrests could not be made till there were warrants against them.

The Himachal Police is, however, believed to have slapped fresh charges of offences that are non-bailable.

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh today provided the Himachal Police with answers to the queries it had made accepting that 47 stray animals, including cows, had been shunted out on the night of July 25 on orders of leaving them in Kalamb. The Himachal Police on the basis of the statement of a forest ranger had said that the cattle had been shunted out at the site where 22 of them had been found dumped in a gorge.

The MC also accepted that the vehicles whose registration numbers had been provided by the Himachal Police were used in the shunting out of the cattle.

The police today inquired about Darshan Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Bhajan, Roshan and Sucha Singh along with their addresses from the Municipal authorities.

It also sought details of five more vehicles that the corporation had allegedly engaged in ferrying the cattle. Officers of the corporation told the police that more information could be made available on Monday, as the person who might have engaged the trucks was on leave.

Sources in the MC said vehicles had not gone to the area where the Himachal Police said had dumped the cattle and denied that the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, had made any statement against the death of cows, which had reportedly been attributed to him.

They alleged that the Himachal Police was trying to frame up the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh and had not even provided the copy of the FIR.

They said the corporation had shunted out 13,000 stray animals during the past seven years and no allegation of mishandling had been levelled against them. The MC also denied the allegation that it was not cooperating in the investigation, saying information had been provided even without seeing a copy of the FIR.


Rejecting babudom for the love of art
Roopinder Singh

“Anonymity in Indian art is an accident,” says Dr Brijinder Nath Goswamy, having devoted several years of research in his bid to put a face to Indian miniature artists of yore. While doing research, he asked a panda if his records had any reference to painters. The panda allowed him to browse through the ancient texts and, after three days, Goswamy came across an entry about a painter. Conscious that he was on to something spectacular, he devoted the next three years to visiting various places of pilgrimage in order to find such references, and thereby establish a base for further work.

Dr Goswamy does not need any introduction. He is familiar to the readers of The Tribune through his popular column, ‘Art n Soul’. He is known the world over for causing a paradigm shift in the way the world looked at schools of art in India. The western model associated places like Florence or Vienna with various schools of art. The same model was applied to India by early scholars, though in this part of the world, art was more like a gharana in music.

Dr Goswamy carries his knowledge as lightly as he carries his 70 years. He is a man who is comfortable with himself, and puts a visitor at ease. He has written the only book on any Indian painter of the past. Nainsukh of Guler: A Great Indian Painter from a Small Hill State is a classic, as is Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India, which identifies the hand of 12 master artists for the first time.

Dr Goswamy was recently in the spotlight because of his involvement in the exhibition called Piety and Splendour: Sikh Heritage in Art, which also resulted in a book by the same name. He is also active as a consultant to the National Institute of Design on the Anandpur Sahib project, where he will help “recover the texture of the time — the cultural context and visual references,” for the proposed museum.

Dr Goswamy’s artistic roots draw sustenance from the culture of the region he has spent most of his life in. He studied in Punjab, in towns where his father, B.L. Goswamy, served as District and Sessions Judge. He did his intermediate from Hindu College, Amritsar. There his batchmate, former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, and he topped their respective disciplines. His strong liking for history saw him bagging top honours at the graduate and post-graduate levels and also set a new university record,

He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1956. Two years in Bihar were enough to convince him that this is not what he wanted to do, even though he was the seniormost in his batch. The seed of studying art had already been sown in his mind while he was travelling in a train from Delhi to Patna to join his new assignment. He read Dr M S Randhawa’s book on Kangra paintings, and was fascinated by it.

He came back to Panjab University and expressed his desire to Vice-Chancellor Dr A.C. Joshi who told him: “I can give you a readership or a lecturership, but get a doctorate first, or you will be at a disadvantage.” Dr Goswamy took the advice seriously.

He resigned from the IAS and worked on a doctorate under the legendary historian, Hari Ram Gupta. On a Rs 300 per month scholarship he worked on the social background of Kangra valley paintings. His thesis was examined by A.L. Basham of The Wonder That Was India fame and eminent British art critic W.G. Archer.

Even before he was awarded a PhD in 1961, Goswamy had begun teaching in Panjab University where he spent his entire career, with short stints in universities of Heidelberg, California and Zurich.

Asked why he always came back and not settled abroad, or even out of Chandigarh, Dr Goswamy says in his typically mater-of-fact manner: “I have never seen myself settling down abroad, since you are never at home. I value my cultural roots and the positive things in them pull me. I am at home with the cultural mindset.”

Married to Karuna Goswany, an art historian and critic in her own right who retired as a Professor in the Department of History, Panjab University, the couple have two children, Apurva Goswamy, who works for Bosch and Lamb in Scotland; and Malavika Goswamy-Sharma, who is with Roche group in Switzerland. They also have a granddaughter, Damini.

After more than 20 scholarly works and hundreds of articles and papers published worldwide, what is next? Dr Goswamy wants to devote himself to the task of popularising art. “All that an art historian can do is bring a reader into close contact with his subject,” he says. For this, he has been holding workshops in India and abroad to make Indian art more accessible. In this endeavour, designers like Rohit Bal and Ritu Kumar also help when they acknowledge the contribution of Goswamy’s seminal Indian Costumes in the Calico Museum of Textiles in their works. Old patterns woven with new threads? You will have to find it out for yourself.


CBI files fresh chargesheet against judicial officers
Kiran Deep

Main points

* The CBI filed chargesheet against Bhardwaj within the stipulated period of 60 days after receiving sanctions from the competent authorities of the Punjab Government.
Interview of Bhardwaj that appeared in Aaj Tak news channel will be used by the CBI as evidence against him.
A photographer and reporter with a local Hindi daily and a reporter with Aaj Tak were also mentioned as witnesses in the chargesheet.
The CBI had seized photographs and negatives from the office of the local Hindi daily to prove the presence of Bhardwaj during a raid at his residence.
Gupta has already been released following CBI’s failure to file chargesheet within the stipulated period of 60 days on July 11

Chandigarh, August 8
A chargesheet filed by the CBI against two judicial officers in the court of the UT CBI Special Judge, Mr R.S Baswana, was today returned by the court on ground that it was incomplete as the statements of some important witnesses were missing.

The judicial officers against whom the chargesheet was filed include suspended Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta and Judicial Magistrate(First Class) S.S. Bhardwaj.

The Judge did not accept the chargesheet and directed the CBI to file a complete chargesheet. Thereafter, the DSP (CBI), Mr R. Upasak, along with other officials, filed a complete chargesheet in the afternoon. This morning, the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, marked the chargesheet to the CBI Special Judge’s court. Yesterday, the CBI had filed a chargesheet in a local court.

Sources said there were 46 important witnesses mentioned in the chargesheet but the CBI had not attached the copies of their statements with the chargesheet in the morning. After getting directions from the court, the CBI attached the required documents concerned with some important witnesses, including Deputy Manager, Spice Communication, Junior Engineer, BSNL, SHO, Kartarpur, a peon of Bhardwaj, a reporter with Aaj Tak and photographer and reporter of a Hindi daily. The CBI had submitted copies of the recorded telephonic conversation of the accused in the case. It also attached a permission letter sought by the CBI from Principal Secretary, Punjab, to file challans against Bhardwaj and Gupta.

The CBI had registered a case against Bhardwaj and Gupta on May 9 this year on the basis of a written complaint lodged against them by Gurvinder Singh Samra. The FIR was lodged against Gupta under section 120-B of the IPC and under section of 7, 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI had stated in the FIR that Bhardwaj had allegedly demanded and accepted Rs7 lakh for himself and on behalf of Gupta to show favour in an anticipatory matter of Gurvinder Singh Samra in a complaint pending against him before Gupta in Jalandhar.


500 sorties failed to locate AN-12, says engineer
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
It was a battle against odds for IAF personnel involved in the search for an AN-12 aircraft which disappeared on February 6, 1968. A treacherous terrain, inclement weather and high-altitude disorders stretched their professionalism and determination to the limit.

Recalling the arduous operations undertaken 35 years ago, Mr V.K. Mehra, then posted with 116 helicopter unit (HU) as an engine maintenance engineer, said the IAF had launched a vigorous search operation but after about a week, all hope of survival was lost.

116 helicopter unit, though based at Sarsawa, maintained a four-aircraft detachment at Chandigarh for airdropping supplies to forward positions. It operated the Mi-4 chopper then. “A base was set up at a helipad in Singtri, near Keylong, and two choppers were positioned there at all times,” he said. Ft-Lt P.K. Vaid, the unit’s flight commander, was in charge of the search operations.

After undertaking sorties for a few days following the crash, the IAF had to suspend operations due to heavy snow. “The search operations were resumed in May-end or early June and continued till November, but the aircraft could not be found,” he recalled.

The IAF must have undertaken about 500 sorties, he said. Five sorties were undertaken in a single day. The weather conditions and available daylight permitted flying operations to be undertaken for just 4-5 hours in a day.

“The sun used to rise from behind a tall, snow-clad peak. So it was as late as 10 am before there was enough light to take-off,” recalled Mr L.K. Mahajan, another engineer with the same squadron who spent considerable time at Singtri during the operations. The sun used to drop behind the mountains by 3.30 pm.

Both engineers recalled an instance when a chopper developed a technical fault during a sortie and required engine replacement. The then AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command, Air Marshal Shivdev Singh, who also visited the base, insisted that the engine be replaced immediately so that the search operations were not hampered. An engine was airlifted from Chandigarh and engineers replaced it on the remote helipad.


Verma launches sapling plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Governor of Punjab and Chandigarh Administrator Justice O.P.Verma today officially dedicated the green belt of Sectors 46-C and D here to the residents to mark the opening of the sapling Plantation drive.

On the occasion, Justice Verma appreciated the efforts of the officials of the Forest and Horticulture Departments, as well as the people of the City Beautiful to maintain its greenery and cleanliness.

The green belt, spreading in 6.5 acres and widest in the city, has a 3 km-long footpath. The municipal corporation spent Rs 6 lakh on the development of the green belt, the work on which, according to officials, was undertaken this year.

However, former Mayor Gian Chand Gupta said exactly five years back he had inaugurated a part of the green belt opposite the road in the same sector and a plaque put up at that time had been removed.

The function saw a thin attendance of residents and the nominated councillors were conspicuous by their absence. A resident, Mr R.A. Prabhakar, said a drinking water pipeline had been leaking for three years just near the green belt.

Students of Government Senior Secondary Schools, Sector 46 and 33-D, gave a band performance to the Administrator and planted saplings.

The Administrator was shown photographs of different parks by municipal corporation officials. Justice Verma planted saplings of peepal, neem and burr in the green belt.

The function, was organised by the local municipal corporation. Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor, Mr M.P. Singh, Commissioner, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, Mr I.S. Sokhey, Superintending Engineer (B&R), and Ms Pushpa Sharma, area councillor, along with other Councillors and officials planted 135 saplings of camphor, cassia bael, putranjiva, neem, burr, amla. harar, jaman, peepal, mulberry and moulsary.

During this season, 9987 saplings of cassia, biflora, ixora, hibiscus, kachnar, raat ki rani, motia and bougainvillaea have already been planted.

Former Mayors and councillors Kamla Sharma, Gian Chand Gupta, Harjinder Kaur and Lalit Joshi were present along with councillors Surinder Singh, Sohan Lal, Vijay Rana, Harpreet Kaur Babla, Pardeep Chhabra and Rajesh Gupta.

Meanwhile, residents of government houses Ramesh Chandolia and Malkiat Singh demanded that the streetlight should be provided in the green belt, benches be fixed and garbage bins placed near the belt should be removed.


Remembering Ravinder

You cannot believe that something real bad can happen to you till it actually takes place. Sharing jokes with him or discussing serious issues in the corridors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, I had never thought that one day his smiling face would not be there.

When president of the Chandigarh Club and advocate Ravinder Chopra passed away at the PGI this morning, a pall of gloom fell on the intellectual community in the city.

He had complained of uneasiness at night. That’s when the family decided to shift him to the hospital, for treatment but then God had something else in mind for Ravinder’s family, and his friends. He was declared dead.

The word sounds so odd when used for referring to Ravinder. How can a person who was always so full of life make his final exit so silently?

The events took me by surprise. I just could not believe my ears when the caller informed me about Ravinder. Nothing could have happened to Ravinder, I was so sure of it. He was hale and hearty and there seemed to be no problem with him. But slowly, as the news sank in, I froze at the enormity of it.

Ravinder was a nice friend. Much more than a friend.... He was a part of my life. I knew him since long. In fact I have known him for more than two decades, knew him from the time we worked together for the Chandigarh Club. I have no hesitation in saying that I had the privilege of working with him as the Director of the Club.

I think every one will agree with me when I say he was a compassionate person, besides being an understanding human being. He was always ready to help people in overcoming their problems.

I remember tense clients coming to him and going away relaxed after their first meeting. I know scores of people whom he helped in retaining their jobs by contesting their cases.

It was his jovial nature which made his presence felt everywhere, be it the club or the courts. He would always come out with innovative ideas and solutions to problems pertaining to club’s administration, or any other matter. He would not wait for you to call, but pat your back even before you could say hello.

During his tenure as the club President, many new facilities were added. It was his hard work and sincerity which gave the club a new face. As President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, his services to the advocate community cannot be explained in words. He gave a new abode to the advocates as a new Bar Complex was created. The coming generations of legal fraternity would always remember him for that. Words are inadequate to describe his unique personality and accomplishment.

— Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, President of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association


Farmers told to cultivate medicinal plants
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 8
A two-day workshop-cum-personal contact programme on cultivation of medicinal plants began at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here today.

Prof K.S. Aulakh, Vice Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, inaugurated the workshop. The workshop aimed to educate farmers about the need to grow medicinal plants along with agro techniques of cultivation of herbal crops.

In his inaugural address Prof Aulakh underlined the need of producing alternative crops and said farmers needed to change from high volume crop pattern to high value crops to meet the worldwide demands for agro products. We have to develop species of our plants in view of the commercialisation and industrialisation.

Dr C.L. Kaul, Director, NIPER, in his presidential remarks emphasised upon the changing traditional crop pattern and said there was a silent revolution in the agriculture sector specially in Punjab as the farmers are shifting to three-crop cycle discarding their dependency upon wheat and paddy only. “Moving towards cash crops is an indication of second green revolution which is beneficial for the financial status of the farmers as well as commercialisation.”

Earlier, Dr K.K. Bhutani, Dean, Department of Natural Products, NIPER, in his welcome address informed that NIPER had more than a lakh herbal plants to supply to farmers at the cost of Re 1 for the general species and Rs 5 for the rare species to set up their own nurseries.

These include Brahmi, Tulsi, Shatavari, Anatmool and Dashmool. More than 500 farmers from Punjab Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are participating in the two day workshop.


Deputy Director records statements of 6 councillors
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 8
Statements of six municipal councillors were recorded by the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kler, at the Municipal Council office here today in connection with a regular inquiry into a case of octroi evasion which had resulted in the suspension of a superintendent of the civic body last year.

Mr Kler recorded the joint statement of Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, Mr Manmohan Singh Langh, Mr Amrik Singh, Ms Manmohan Kaur and Ms Harbans Kaur.

It is learnt that the statements were recorded in the presence of Mr Tarlochan Singh, who had been suspended after a preliminary inquiry. Mr Kler even asked the suspended superintendent to say something in his favour but the latter preferred not to give any statement.

It is learnt that the councillors did not make any new statement today but stood by the complaint that had been made by them in connection with a case of octroi evasion detected last year.

Mr Manjit Singh Sethi said the councillors had made a complaint to the secretary, Local Government, last year in which they said a truck carrying cement bags had entered the town without paying octroi amount of Rs 3,000. The evader was imposed a penalty, 20 times the octroi amount, which came to Rs 63,000. It is alleged that the council staff accepted only Rs 6,300 from him and let him off.

Mr Sethi said the secretary had then asked the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Local Government to hold a preliminary inquiry into the complaint on the basis of which Mr Tarlochan Singh was suspended.

Ms Manmohan Kaur said earlier the councillors had been receiving letters from the Deputy Director requesting them to reach Ludhiana as their statements had to be recorded. She said each time the councillors appealed to Mr Kler to come to SAS Nagar in connection with the inquiry as the relevant record was lying at the local office.


5 VHP, Bajrang Dal men held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The police today picked up five VHP and Bajrang Dal activists from outside the office of Municipal Commissioner M.P. Singh while they were protesting against his reported statement following the death of cows in Himachal Pradesh.

The Sector 17 police picked up VHP pradesh sachiv Satinder Singh, its village unit president Shashi Shankar Tiwari, prachar sachiv Shakti Dev Shali, Bajrang Dal chief Raj Kishore and an activist Sanjeev Rana while they were staging a dharna in front of the Municipal Commissioner’s office.

The VHP activists demanded that the Municipal Commissioner should be removed and booked for hurting the sentiments of Hindus. The VHP activists were let off after some time.

Mr M.P. Singh’s denial issued on the letterhead of the Mayor and signed by Mr Chawla said statements trivialising the death of cows, held sacred by Hindus, could not be imagined to have been issued by any official of the Municipal Corporation.


Scientist alleges harassment by roadways staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A junior scientist of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) had to face the inhospitable attitude of a Haryana Roadways employee at the Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus here.

The ordeal of the scientist, Dr C.P. Singh, began when he went to the terminus to board a deluxe bus for Delhi along with his father on July 30. He approached the newspaper office after the roadways officers failed to take any action on his complaint.

The scientist alleged that on the night of July 30, he asked a roadways employee for two tickets and handed over a 500-rupee note to him. The roadways employee at the ticket counter, however, began talking to another passenger. When the scientist again asked for two tickets, the employee asked about the money. On being told that a note of Rs 500 had been given, the employee claimed that he had been given Rs 100.

The scientist then approached the police post at the bus stand. When a policeman from the police post intervened, the employee refused to give the tickets and returned the money. “I was told to get tickets from the conductor in the bus”, said Dr C.P. Singh, who has lodged a complaint with the General Manager of Haryana Roadways, Chandigarh, in this regard.


Homage paid to Major Shankla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Homage was paid to Maj Sandeep Shankla, at a solemn ceremony held at his memorial in Panchkula, near here, to mark the 12th anniversary of his martyrdom today. He had died fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and was decorated posthumously with the Ashok Chakra, the nation’s highest peacetime award for gallantry for displaying the highest quality of leadership and most conspicuous courage and valour in the face of grave personal risk.

A guard of honour from Major Shankla’s unit, the 18th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment reversed the arms and a two-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the fallen soldier. Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, laid a wreath at the memorial followed by Lieut-Col J.S. Kanwar (Retd), father of Major Shankla. Maj Gen J. K. Mohanty, GOC 28 Division, who had commanded the 18 Dogra at the time of the action, also laid a wreath. Station Commander, Chandimandir, Brig Kuldip Singh and several soldiers also paid homage at the memorial.

On August 8, 1991, the battalion had carried out a search and cordon operation at Zafarkhani village. During crossfire with the militants, a soldier was injured and Major Shankla, unmindful of enemy fire crawled out and dragged the wounded soldier to safety and killed one of the militants. The militants then lobbed two grenades at the officer. Major Shankla picked up one and threw it back at the militants. In the process he received splinter and bullet injuries, but kept on fighting before losing consciousness. 


Soft drink samples sent for testing
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
In wake of the reports on tests conducted by the Delhi-based, NGO, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), suggesting the presence of high level of pesticides in soft drinks, the district health authorities collected samples of different brands of cold drinks from Kalka, Surajpur and Pinjore.

A team led by the District Health Officer, Dr MP Singh, Food Inspector, Dr K Sharma, collected the samples.

The samples have been sent for testing to the Haryana State Laboratory at Chandigarh, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr BS Chaudhary, said.



With regard to the news item "Coke, Pepsi bottles seized" appearing in Chandigarh Tribune dated August 8 the State Food Laboratory, Haryana, has clarified that it has already got one Gas Liquid Chromatograph (GLC) for testing purpose and one more GLC is being procured under the modernisation scheme with the aid of World Bank. According to the rules, the test reports are to be made within 40 days. The error is regretted.


Titanium trophy for defence lab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE) a Defence Research and Development Organisation laboratory has received the Titanium trophy for the best science laboratory for the year 2002 for its contribution in the field of avalanche forecasting, warning and control.


Tributes paid to Tagore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The local Bangiya Sanskritik Sammilani, an association of Bengali in Chandigarh, paid tributes to Rabindranath Tagore on his 63rd death anniversary in Sector 35 here this evening.

Members of the sammelani remembered Tagore through his songs and poems. The evening started with the garlanding of Tagore’s portrait by the president of the sammilani and was followed by an inaugural song. 


Jhoolan yatra inaugurated at Gaudiya Math
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
“Jhoolan yatra mahotsav” — the festival of swings of Sree Sree Radha Madhav Jiu — was inaugurated with religious fervor at the Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math in Sector 20 today.

Devotees participated in the mahotsav. It will continue till August 12 from 7 pm to 10 pm. Sree Krishna Janamshtami festival will be held on August 20. Prabhat pheri will be taken out at 6 am on the same day.


Girl drowns

Chandigarh, August 8
An eight-year-old girl drowned in a water body near Maloya village here today. The girl, Meena, was going along with her brother when she accidentally fell into the water body created by the recent rains. TNS


Interstate gang busted, 13 members arrested
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 8
The Ropar police has claimed to have busted an inter-state “kale kachhe wale” gang with the arrest of its 13 members. In a press note issued here today, SSP Ropar GPS Bhullar said the gang members were arrested from Gurgaon district of Haryana.

The arrested members of the gang include Gudham Singh, Pukraj Singh, Mustlal, Ristam Lal, Tejkawar, Kailash, Shaster, Chiter Singh, Hansilal Kampanchi, Lalo Singh, Minaklease and Kirshan. All accused belonged to the Pardhi tribe of Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh.

During interrogation, the gang members admitted to committing robberies in Ropar, Sangrur, Patiala, Khanna and Ludhiana districts of Punjab and Faridabad, Rewari, Sonepat, Panipat, Panchkula and Kurukshetra districts of Haryana.

Explaining the modus operandi to the police, gang members told the police that initially one of them used to survey an area by begging or selling some articles.

He then used to call other gang members to the town in which the theft was to be committed.

They reached the place in different groups carrying weapons in begging bags. One person was left to watch as others went to strike. If members of a family resisted them, they used to be beaten up by iron rods. The gang leader later distributed the loot among the members.

Jewellery worth Rs 40,000 and weapons have been recovered from the gang members.


PPCB concessions for industrial units
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 8
The Punjab Pollution Control Board has decided to grant sufficient time to defaulter industrial units before disconnecting their power connections. In addition the board will also permit the willing industrial units to increase their power load by 10 per cent soon. This statement was made by Rana K.P. Singh, chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), while talking to media persons after hearing the grievances of industrialists in Mubarikpur village, about 2 km from here today.

Mr Rana disclosed that a coordination committee comprising the industrialists of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Mubarikpur and Lalru and some officials of the board would be formed soon. The committee members will hold monthly meetings to discuss their problems and issues. He claimed the committee will prepare a report on their problems and submit the same to the board for necessary action.

Mr Rakesh Rattan Aggarwal, general secretary of the association, submitted an 11-point memorandum to the chairman regarding the problems being faced by them. They complain that the industrialist have to face great hardships while getting a no-objection certificate before running a new unit. To get an NOC one has to cross many barriers which cause them huge losses.

The industrialists demanded a specific time period for obtaining NOC, clearance and consent letter. Besides this, they also demanded immediate construction of hazardous waste dumping yard to prevent spreading of slide polluted waste in the vicinity. The inspection of industrial units should the conducted by chartered engineers as per the government policies.

Earlier, Mr Kewal Garg, president of the Dera Bassi Industrial Association, complained that board officials often threaten them saying that their units would be locked when they visit the area instead of solving their problems.

He criticised the government for ignoring the industrial sector in the state. This attitude of the government had turned a majority of the industrial units sick. Besides certain local prominent persons, Dr Babu Ram, Superintendent Engineer , and Mr Karunesh Garg, Environment Engineer of the PPCB, were also present on the occasion.


Market Pulse
‘Spicy Seven’ made more exciting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
True to its tradition of offering highly innovative products and providing world-class services to its subscribers, Spice Telecom, on Friday launched a promotional campaign for its highly successful game — ‘Spicy Seven’. During the campaign all Spice subscribers taking part in the game can win exciting daily prizes like Philip Walkmans and free airtime. In addition to these mega prizes like Phillips music system, DVD players and VCDs could also be won. This campaign will run till August 15 and the subscribers will have to pay a nominal charge of Rs 10 for playing the game.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Swarn Bajaj, General Manager (Marketing) Spice Telecom, said, “The company is continuously focussing on offering innovative services. This is yet another endeavour to enhance our value added services.”

To play ‘Spicy Seven’ a subscriber will have to simply dial 770 from his spice mobile. After dialing the subscriber will have to choose a number that is above seven, number 7 itself or a number below seven. A draw will be taken out at every half-an-hour and accordingly subscribers with corresponding bets will win. 



Chandigarh, August 8
Former Mayor and BJP councillor Gian Chand Gupta has been appointed convener of the Northwest Region of Akhil Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal. He has been authorised to appoint state units of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Chandigarh by the National President of the Mandal Sandeep Bansal. TNS

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |