Tuesday, September 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Royal apple makes growers poor
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Hundreds of apple growers of Himachal Pradesh, who have been camping here at the grain market in the hope that they would recover their costs are being offered by traders Rs 5 to Rs 7 per kg, which is less than even that of a kg of potato.

A large number of farmers in far-flung areas of Himachal Pradesh have already dumped the crop in the open since they were finding it difficult to recover transport costs.

Those here are contemplating throwing away low-grade apple in the open as there are virtually no takers in the market.

Mr Rajinder Thakur, former vice-chairman of the Aani Panchayat Samiti, Kulu district, who is camping in the market, lamented that they were being forced to sell the crop at less than half the price than what they got last year despite drought. He said, “The traders in the market are offering just Rs 150 to Rs 300 per 20-kg pack, which was sold for over Rs 700 per pack last year. The bumper apple crop has proved a disaster for us as we are finding it difficult even to recover the costs.”

Enquires revealed that about 200-225 trucks are daily coming to the local market. The good quality royal apple is being stored in the cold stores by the traders to be sold on Divali at higher rates. Interestingly, the traders are buying the best variety of apple at Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kg but in the retail market the customers have to pay Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kg.

Mr Om Nath, a trader, admitted that there was virtually a glut in the market, and consequently the rates had crashed. But due to poor quality of packaging, he said, “We have to suffer a loss up to 20 to 30 per cent on normal packs. Due to wide use of low-quality cartons and trays the quality of apples would decline substantially within two-three days,” he added.

The market was closed today on account of the weekly Monday holiday and the customers complained that they had to pay up to Rs 20 to 22 per kg even in the fruit market.

A customer said,“Can’t the Administration arrange the sale of apples at apni mandis.” But the farmers said they were barred by their commission agents from selling in the open market.

Mr Puran Chand, another farmer from Jhupal, near Shimla, said,“If there had been adequate cold stores and good packaging material available in the market in addition to financial capacity of farmers to keep the stocks then the customers and farmers would have gained without letting the middlemen earn profits.” 



PU Students Council poll on Sept 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Elections to the Panjab University Students' Council (PUSC) and students' bodies in local colleges, both government and private, would be held on September 12. However, a formal notification of the election date would be made on September 4.

This was decided at a meeting of college principals, chaired by the Dean University Instruction (DUI), Dr R.J. Hans Gill, here today. The meeting was also attended by the Dean Student Welfare, Mr Nirmal Singh.

At the meeting, Dr A.C. Vaid, Principal of GGDSD College, Sector 32, pointed out that the college principals had not been involved in the fixing of election dates and this meeting had been held to merely convey the election date to them.

The principals were also given copies of the permission given by the Chandigarh Administration for conducting elections in the colleges. A code of conduct, issued by the Home Secretary, Mr R S Gujral, stating that electioneering was to end 72 hours before the election day, was also circulated among the principals.

“The election date has been fixed for September 12. This would be sent to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, for his consent after which the date would be formally announced,” Prof Nirmal Singh said. It was also conveyed that the university might not have an autumn break this year. Instead, the winter break would be stretched to host the Indian National Science Congress, scheduled for January, next year.

With 6,000 delegates expected to attend the congress, the university might require hostels to accommodate the participants. However, a final decision would be taken only after the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, returns from his visit abroad.

Course introduced

The Panjab University has introduced a certificate course in Vivekananda Studies through correspondence from the academic session 2003-2004. The course would be offered by the Department of Correspondence Studies and is open to all persons who have passed plus two examination from a board, a university or a council recognised by the university or a higher examination.

Students and teachers of colleges and universities would also be eligible for admission to the course. The last date for enrollment without late fee is September 30. Admission with late fee of Rs 150 would be allowed till October 28. With a late fee of Rs1000 and the permission of the chairperson, admission would be allowed till November 17.

Meanwhile, the Department of Correspondence Studies has decided to extend the date for all courses without a late fee to September 30, keeping in view the rush for admissions. The prospectus containing an admission form and other details is available at the SBI counter, Sector 14, and the Panjab University Extension Library, Ludhiana.

Result declared

The result of joint entrance test of M. Phil and PhD, held on August 9, was declared on August 26.

Result cards of qualified candidates have also been dispatched. Those who have qualified the test may apply to the chairperson of the department concerned by September 5.



Chandigarhians' income highest, say figures
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Union Territory of Chandigarh continued with its run of having the highest per capita income in the country at current prices for the year 2001-2002 at Rs 48,974 followed by Pondicherry Rs 34,680. The all-India figure is Rs 17,978. For neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana it is Rs 25,652 and Rs 24,575, respectively, a booklet on State Domestic Product which was released today said.

At constant prices calculated at 1993-94 level, Chandigarh has the highest per capita income with Rs 28,271. Once again Pondicherry is second at Rs 18,820 and for all-India it is Rs 10,754. For the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana it is Rs 15,255 and Rs 14,075, respectively.

The UT Administrator, Chief Justice O.P. Verma (retd.), today released a publication titled “State Domestic Product and Per Capital Income at Current and Constant Prices for the year 1993-94 to 2002-2003” (New Series 1993-04). It contains information of State Domestic Product (SDP) and per capita income and composition of GSDP and NSDP both at current and constant prices. This information will also be made available on the web site of Chandigarh.

The State Domestic Product (SDP) and Per Capita Income (PCI) in respect of UT Chandigarh is being prepared annually both at current and constant prices (1993-94) since 1997-98. These estimates are also compared annually with the National Accounts Division, Central Statistical Organisation, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. These figures are an economic barometer to measure the changes in the level of the economic performance of UT and standard of living of the people.

The estimates of SDP at current prices are obtained by evaluating the product at current prices prevailing during the year. The estimates of SDP at current prices, over time do not reveal the actual economic growth because these contain the combined effect of firstly the changes in volume of goods and services and secondly of the changes in the prices of goods and services. In order to eliminate the effect of price changes/inflation, the estimates of SDP are also prepared by evaluating the goods and services at the prices prevailing in a fixed year known as the base year (1993-94) and are known as the estimates of State Domestic Product at constant prices.



Village land-use being planned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The city is going to get a facelift soon. Use of lands in villages for targeted development is being planned. The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today asked his Adviser, Mr Virendra Singh, to prepare a blueprint for development of the area falling outside the sectoral grid of Chandigarh.

This means that land in 22 villages which are prone to illegal and haphazard development will be targeted for planned development.

Directions in this regard were issued at a meeting of senior officers held here today, Justice Verma said the Administration should plan this area for future development and make all preparations, keeping in view future projections of population, service sector growth, industrial growth, business growth, entertainment and leisure sector growth. The Administrator said the planning of this area was required to save it from unplanned growth in the peripheral area of the city.

Already major projects like the Information Technology Park located in Kishangarh village and Botanical garden in Sarangpur village are coming up outside the sectoral grid. The plan is to have major private hospitals in earmarked institutional areas and also multi-storeyed shopping plazas like those in Gurgaon, Noida or Delhi. The Administration had thought about shopping plazas in the belt south of Sector 46 and 47, However, developers may not be keen on this as the land is narrow and building bylaws do not permit a good external facade.

Since specialised services like broader roads, water supply, assured power supply and parking are required fresh planning needs to be undertaken. Leading private educational institutes for higher education will also be invited to open centres here. All this, if carried out, can make the city move into the league of newage cities where growth has propelled economy, opine planners.

In the same meeting Justice Verma also instructed the health department to launch a concerted drive against spurious drugs being sold in the city especially in the periphery areas and slums. He said “we have to keep a strict check on the sale of spurious drugs in the city and vigilance machinery has to be tightened”.

Justice Verma asked the Finance Secretary to tone up health department and to conduct periodical raids on suspected chemists and take samples of various drugs periodically. He said drug inspectors must be made accountable and they should submit their weekly and monthly progress report to the Administration.

The Administrator also asked the Adviser to prepare a plan for constructing a “dharamshala” for attendants of patients admitted at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. He said with the proposed inauguration of C-Block the number of beds would be doubled to 500 and we must have a place for attendants in the GMCH complex.”



Farmers lay siege to Janmarg
Nishikant Dwivedi

Farmers from Punjab relaxing under the shade of trees in and around the Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden in Chandigarh
Farmers from Punjab relaxing under the shade of trees in and around the Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, September 1
The Janmarg leading to the Punjab and Haryana Secretariat is again under a siege from agitating farmers from Punjab who are camping near Rose Garden and Shanti Kunj.

The farmers will remain in the city for another three days. They have set up temporary “chullahs” and branches of trees have been chopped to be used as fuel. Huge vessels have been brought by them for cooking.

This morning, the walkers at the Rose Garden were greeted by hundreds of Punjab farmers, who are here to press the Punjab Government to accept their demands. A large number of cops have been deployed and the stretch has been closed for commuters.

The farmers were spotted relaxing under the trees and playing cards. Some of them thronged the nearest liquor shops to buy the ‘daily quota’.

However, unlike the previous years, the farmers were avoiding taking a shower in the pond and fountain of Rose Garden and were bathing with the water supplied by the municipal corporation in tankers. “The Administration has mixed some medicine in the water and that’s why they were not bathing in the fountain”, said Mr Lakha Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union.

Residents of the city especially the morning walkers to the Rose Garden, may face unpleasant moments during the next three days, as three farmer unions of Punjab — the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), the Punjab Kisan Sabha and the Kisan Sangharsh Committee — have set up their tents at the Matka chowk to hold dharna against Punjab and Central governments.

The farmers are protesting against the move to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board, and are seeking free power to small farmers and waiving of loans to these farmers who were not in a position to pay back the amount.

This March, when the farmers were here in connection with their demands, the corporation urged the Chandigarh Administration to take up with the state governments the issue of providing compensation to the UT administration and municipal council for the losses incurred due to the farmers’ agitation. Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor of the MC, had proposed that holding dharnas and rallies was a basic right in any democratic society, yet the state governments should foot the bill of dharnas and rallies.

Mr Chawla said he would like the venue of the rally to be shifted to Sector 39 for agitators from Punjab and to the Dhillon cinema side for those from Haryana, so that the city remained unaffected from agitation.

Earlier in the day, the farmers started trickling in the city in trucks, buses and tractor trailers. A rally was also held at the ground adjacent to the Hotel Shivalikview, Sector 17.



Battalion of surrendered terrorists on cards
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
A Territorial Army (TA) battalion for Jammu and Kashmir comprising only mercenaries who have laid down arms before security forces, is on the cards. A proposal by the Ministry of Defence to raise such a battalion is awaiting formal sanction.

Termed as “Ikwan”, the battalion will be among six other TA battalions being raised on a “home-and-hearth basis” for Jammu and Kashmir.

Two battalions will be based in and around Srinagar, while four will be stationed in the Jammu region. The unit’s structure, area of operations and mandate are being worked out.

The idea behind the move to raise a battalion comprising surrendered terrorists is to merge such persons with the mainstream and give an impetus to counter insurgency operations.

Besides providing them gainful employment, it will also prevent them from returning to anti-national activities.

The battalion will also have the advantage of a first-hand knowledge of the strength and weaknesses of mercenaries, their psychology and method of operation.

A section of the officers, however, are of the view that in the given circumstances, the command and control of such a battalion could be a challenging task and needed to be deployed in a careful manner.

The officers said during militancy in Punjab, a large number of the surrendered terrorists were recruited as special police officers, a move which produced some good results, even though the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was different and required handling in a different manner.

In fact, a government report dated July 29, 2003, states that due to the prevailing security situation and the ongoing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, very little reduction in the commitment of the regular Army towards counter insurgency operations can be made, though measures like raising additional forces have been instituted.

Apart from the aforementioned seven TA battalions, the report states that six additional Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalions and a counter insurgency force headquarters are being raised during the current financial year.

While 12 RR battalions along with their supervisory formations were sanctioned during the past two years, 12 more RR battalions are proposed to be raised during the next two financial years.



Hour-long sermon by eight-year-old
Gaurima Yadav

Chandigarh, September 1
An eight-year-old child draped in saffron robes is generally guessed to be an ordinary disciple of one of the many sadhus. But the similar appearance of Aakash Kumar Mishra has not been able to conceal his unusual talent. He can be termed as a child prodigy who can deliver an hour long sermon to thousands of people anytime anywhere. Aakash is well-versed with several Hindu mythological scriptures, including the Bhagvadgita, the Hanuman Kavach, the Shri Sukt Pujan Vidhi and can recite each one of them flawlessly, both in terms of content and pronunciation.

Aakash and his father were in the city to visit Mr Anand Abhilash, President, Arya Vanprasth Ashram, Hardwar. Aakash hails from Champaran district, Bihar. Presently he is pursuing his fourth standard in Gurukul kaangri Haridwar. “As a three-year-old, Aakash used to mumble shlokas and mantras in an unclear, childish diction which was difficult to understand, but later on when we got to know about his extraordinary ability, I took him to Hardwar for formal theological education,” informed Dhruv Narayan Mishra, Aakash’s father.

Progressing well, Aakash mastered the art and by the time he was four, he was called in by the then District Magistrate of Champaran, for hearing sermons. “He can recite the Bhagvadgita with explanation in Hindi. In addition to this, he has 10 more granths on his tips” told Mr Abhilash. During the havan ceremony held at Mr Abhilash’s home today, Aakash left the crowd wonderstruck by his fluent chanting of “shlokas”. “He remembers all this since childhood even though he has never learnt them. May be he has carried this spiritual knowledge from his past life,” Mr Mishra said. Concluding the “puja”, Aakash delivered an interesting discourse on the ideal way to start the day and managing the routine work.

His pronunciation is getting better with age. He sits in “padmaasana” posture while delivering his words of wisdom.

After getting up at 4 am everyday, he meditates for an hour. He devotes his maximun time to reading the enjoys being called as “bal pandit” by his admirers.

Aakash had mesmerised 25,000 persons by his talent at the Jalandhar Arya Samaj Pratinidhi Sabha, where he exhibited his talent through perfect rendition of the “mantras”. Aakash wants to acquire more knowledge to establish himself as a theologist. He would also like to serve the masses, perform religious rites, and finally he dreams of making an ashram. Ask the young one what makes a difference in life and he explains in his philosophical tenor: “Money is a farce, a worthless element which keeps us away from God, who is the only embodiment of reality.”



Panchkula Diary
House tax recovery to expedited
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 1
The Municipal Council has decided to expedite the recovery of house tax from various defaulters. A sum of Rs 70 lakh is due from various individuals, institutions and government offices.

It is learnt that the MC has issued about 700 notices to defaulters and asked them to pay the house tax, failing which the MC would recommend their case to the administration, who would initiate resumption proceedings against them. Simultaneously, the MC would also proceed against the defaulters under the Haryana Municipal Act, if the dues were not cleared within a month.

It is learnt that while a cinema house in the township owes Rs 6.23 lakh as house tax, at least 15 schools, too, have not paid the house tax for the past two years. A number of government owned buildings, too, owe a sum of Rs 8 lakh.

MC officials say that the total target of house tax collection for the year 2003- 2004 is Rs 2. 80 crore. They say that a number of people have already paid their house tax.

4-cr for better bus stand

The state transport department has sanctioned a sum of Rs 4 crore for the improvement of bus stands in the state. This was stated by the Transport Minister, Mr Ashok Arora, while addressing a press conference here today.

He said the construction work at the bus stand at Kalka would be completed within the next three months and it would be made operational by the year end. He said the department had a target of including 3,500 new buses in its existing fleet of buses, and 2,000 new buses had already been added, while 250 other buses would be added soon.

Mr Arora, who was here to preside over a meeting of Punjabi Sabha, said all buses that had been plying on the roads for over seven years, had been withdrawn and replaced. “Because of the steps taken by the department, the incidents of road mishaps have reduced. We have also provided check posts at a distance of every 30 kilometers where passengers are provided different facilities,” he added.

Employees found absent

The Chief Minister’s Flying Squad today raided the offices of Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) in Industrial Area Phase II, Urban Subdivision, Cooperative Societies Department, Sugarfed and HouseFed and found 10 employees absent from duty.

The flying squad led by DSP Phool Kumar conducted surprise checks on these offices from 9 am to 11 am. While three employees of UHBVN were found absent, two of Urban Subdivision, one from Cooperative Societies, three from Sugarfed and one from HouseFed were found absent.

Tourism Day

Red Bishop celebrated Haryana Tourism Day by illuminating the tourist complex in Sector 1 here tonight. Banners on promoting tourism in the state were displayed all over the complex. The management of Red Bishop also gave a discount of 10 per cent to all guests and of 15 per cent to senior citizens, who visited the restaurant tonight. Children were also given gifts and sweets by the management. Special South Indian delicacies were served for the day, informed Mr M.M. Goswami, Divisional Manager, Red Bishop.



Senior citizens plan celebrations
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
The Chandigarh Senior Citizens’ Association will be organising free medical camps, besides debates, picnics, walks and other programmes, during the month-long celebrations to be organised in connection with the Senior Citizens’ Day. The day falls on October 1.

According to the association president, Brig Keshav Chandra (retd), the programmes will be aimed at addressing medical, sociological and physical concerns of the senior citizens, besides giving them an opportunity to display their caliber, capabilities and talent.

Association secretary general V.S. Sodhi adds that UT Administrator-cum-Punjab Governor Justice O.P. Verma is expected to be the chief guest at the concluding function at Tagore Theatre to be organised on October 1. Justice Verma is also expected to honour the senior citizens and release a souvenir.

Giving details, the chairman of the Seniors Day Organising Committee, Col S.S. Bedi, says a team of highly qualified doctors, under Brig (Dr) M.L. Kataria will provide free consultation and carry out tests, including ECG, X-ray and ultra sound.

A get-together will be organised at Government Museum in Sector 10 on September 13 at 10.30 am. On September 17, a seminar “Senior Citizens and Democratic Values” will be held at the same venue at 10.30 am.

A debate will be held at DAV College in Sector 10 on September 20 at 10 am. The association will also organise a brisk walk at Sukhana Lake on September 26 at 7 a.m, followed by an interaction with the police on the same day. “Picnic with the residents” will be held at Old Age Home in Sector 15 on September 27 and the Senior Citizens’ Day function will be organised at Tagore Theatre in Sector 18 at 9 a.m.



A tale of broken promises

Pritam Bhullar

THE grant of “one rank, one pension” to the armed forces personnel has again been “strongly” recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PAC) on Defence to the Inter-Ministerial Committee. In India, such mock exercises are always held before every election.

The result of the Internet poll in The Tribune on August 22 shows that 74 per cent people support one rank, one pension for the armed forces. But in this country, unlike the USA, the public thinking has no meaning. It is the bureaucrats’ thinking that dictates all decisions. So the way to one rank, one pension runs through the minds of bureaucrats. Any benefit that is not given to them first cannot be given to any other service.

Incidentally, the one rank, one pension was twice accepted in the past. Once by the V.P. Singh Government in 1989. But after that the same government gave it a bureaucratic burial by appointing “Jaffa Committee”. The second time, it was Defence Minister George Fernandes, who announced on April 10, 1999, that one rank, one pension demand had been accepted “in principle and its implementation was a matter of a few days”.

Knowing that one rank, one pension issue unfolds a tale of broken promises by all political parties, the ex-servicemen should not pin any hopes on the outcome of the Inter-Ministerial Committee. The government, which does not give 50 per cent of their pay as pension to the defence personnel, would never grant them the benefit of one rank, one pension.

A historic statue

The statue of meditating Buddha, which now lies in the Jat Regimental Centre mess at Bareilly, has a history behind it.

It was on September 1, 1900, that 1 Jat (Light Infantry), now 2 Mechanised Infantry 1 Jat (LI), arrived at Hong Kong to suppress the Boxer Rebellion. The unit was posted to the 3 Brigade of the Chinese Expendionary Force for this task. During its operations in China, Capt William Carr (Medical officer) of the unit, removed this statue from a temple.

NCC in Punjab

The Punjab Government seems to think that any money spent on the NCC training is wasted. Surprisingly enough, this thinking has come to grow in the state, which is famously known as “the sword arm of India”. And that, too, at a time when its Chief Minister is a former Army Captain.

A few months ago, the strength of the Punjab NCC cadets had to be reduced to about 25 per cent because the state was not prepared to pay its share of funds for them. Later on, 260 NCC cadets from Punjab almost missed the National Integration Camp held from June 17, near Ludhiana, because the state government did not release a sum of Rs 1.25 lakh sanctioned by it for this camp till quite late after the commencement of the camp.

Now it is learnt that no NCC cadets from Punjab will take part in the Republic Day Parade in January 2004 due to the paucity of funds.

The NCC cadets in Punjab are totally demoralised because of the non-allotment of funds by the state. For, if they are not trained they would not get ‘B’ and ‘C’ NCC certificates which entitle them to an added advantage for admission to the professional colleges. Nor would they be eligible for the NCC direct entry scheme for commission as officers.

Sainik boards and helpline

For all their problems, the ex-servicemen and defence widows should approach their respective Zila Sainik Boards and Rajya Sainik Boards. But what has been seen in the last few months is that most of the ex-servicemen come to the Helpline service established at Chandi Mandir, Jalandhar, Ambala and Bathinda to seek help in their pensionary, medical and other welfare problems.

What they need to remember is that the very purpose of establishing the sainik boards is to help the ex-servicemen in all their problems. They should, therefore, not bypass this important channel and come to the Helpline first without even referring their cases to the respective sainik boards.

The Helpline services have been established only in one command of the Army, that is, in the Western Command and that, too, purely under the local arrangements to help those ex-servicemen and widows who do not succeed in getting their due from the other agencies. The ex-servicemen should also know that court, family and property dispute cases should not be brought to the Helpline services.

(The error in Lieut-Gen B.S. Thakur, GOC 2 Corps’, name in the last column on August 26 is regretted).



Steps to promote Delhi as ‘world book capital’
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, September 1
The National Book Trust of India will be opening a “string of bookshops” throughout the country, including Chandigarh, for encouraging the habit of reading. The books shall be offered at reasonable rates. One such shop is already functioning at the New Delhi airport.

The trust will also be taking measures for projecting Delhi as “a representative city of the Indian publishing industry”. It will be opening a “book mall” in the Pragati Maidan. The project is expected to see the light of the day by February next year before the Book Fair.

The trust has also expressed willingness to help organisations in opening bookshops in other states also. For the purpose, the trust will be rendering its services to the organisations willing to offer their books at reasonable rates.

Confirming the information, Chief Editor and Joint Director of National Book Trust, Dr Baldev Singh Baddan, said the trust would also be setting up “more and more book stores, shops and permanent stalls” at other places. He was in Chandigarh to attend an exhibition organised by the trust at the State Central Library in Sector 17.

He added that an informative database of books would be generated for the benefit of the readers. Periodicals on Indian book publishing would be brought out and circulated widely. Moreover, awards would be instituted to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of publishers.

Giving details, Dr Baddan revealed that they would be making efforts to upgrade and set up a user-friendly-cum-modern library network throughout the country. The libraries would offer the latest books, CDs and micro films, he added.

An extensive awareness campaign would be launched. A wide range of publicity as well as promotional material would be mailed to all 15,000 publishers, 259 universities and nearly 9 lakh other educational institutions in India, including schools and colleges. The trust would further approach the organisations to spread the message of books as a means to build up a harmonious society based on mutual regard and affection by organising book exhibitions and other book-related activities, he asserted.

The trust would also appeal to the newspaper organisations, besides All India Radio, Doordarshan and news agencies, to spread the message regarding Delhi being declared the “world book capital”.

Regarding the response to books in regional languages, he said compared to other languages the sale of books in Punjabi, Urdu, Assamese and Orriya were less. “Media, even internet, cannot be held responsible for the dying tradition of book reading,” he said. “Internet and books, both are different. They compliment each other”.

Dr Baldev Singh is a Sahitya Akademi Award winner and author of around 40 books in Punjabi, including literature on criticism. He has also come out with a dictionary from Punjabi to Punjabi named, ‘’National Punjabi Kosh’’, besides another dictionary from Hindi to Punjabi.



Book exhibition opened
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
A six-day exhibition of about 1000 books on literature, science and other subjects, organised by the National Book Trust, was inaugurated at the State Central Library, Sector 17, by UT Joint Secretary (Finance) Dilip Kumar.

Prominent Punjabi writers, including Dr Jagtar and Mr Mohan Bhandari, were the guests of honour. As many as 12 books, including one by Amrita Pritam, were also released.

Besides the library in Sector 17, the exhibition is open to public at the State Central Library, Sector 34, DAV Public School, Sector 10, the Central State Library, SAS Nagar, and the Sood dharamshala, Sector 10, Panchkula. These will continue till September 6.

After Chandigarh, the exhibitions will be held simultaneously in different cities of Punjab and Haryana. Two mobile exhibition vans will accompany the team which will cover major schools and nearby rural areas. Exhibition will remain open from 10 am to 7 pm.

According to a press note, the exhibitions will be organised at Patiala and Ambala from September 9 to September 12, followed by displays at Barnala and Kurukshetra from September 15 to September 18. Exhibitions will be held at Sangrur and Rewari from September 22 to September 25 and at Bhatinda and Narnaul from September 27 to September 30.

The exhibitions are being organised with an aim to increase reading habit among the people. The note added that a book fair will be organised in November at Ludhiana with about 150 book publishers participating in it. The National Book Trust has already organised 44 exhibitions in Delhi and seven in Kolkata.

About six neo-literate books were released, including “Yaar Di Chithi”, “Chandan Pani”, “Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni”, “Lal Patel Di Library” and “Bahadur Bachhe”. Another book, “Jhandon Ke Rang”, was released in Hindi.

In Urdu, about three books, including “Jangi Qaidi” by Kesar Singh, “Na Radha Na Rukmani” by Amrita Pritam and “Trishna Di Samundri Yatra” were released. Three books were released in English.



Probe into premature condemnation of vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The municipal corporation of Chandigarh is inquiring into the case of premature condemnation of 20 vehicles causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the local body. The role of certain employees in the vehicle maintenance section for the negligence is being investigated by a two-member committee of municipal councillors.

The issue came to light when the vehicle maintenance staff sought approval for an estimate of around Rs 15 lakh for repairing the “stranded” vehicles parked at different stores of the corporation. Sources in the corporation said the vehicles were yet to complete the prescribed kilometer run.

In some cases it has been observed that the vehicles remained stranded for want of spares and maintenance. As the vehicles could not be auctioned as per the rules, so the estimate for repairing the vehicle went sent for approval to the higher authorities. The sources said the Mayor along with other officers paid a surprise visit to the stores.

Two councillors, Mrs Geeta Rani, Deputy Mayor and Mrs Harpreet Kaur, have asked details of nine such vehicles from the officers concerned.



Man roughed up at toll post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
An employee, Mr R.L.Bhasin, who works at the toll collection post on the railway overbridge at Dera Bassi was reportedly beaten up by Army personnel last evening. He received injuries on his head.

According to eyewitness, the toll attendants had stopped an Army bus bearing a civilian registration number and demanded the toll. They were told that Army personnel do not have to pay toll even if travelling in a civilian vehicle, but the former did not agree. A slip for Rs 26 was issued to the Army men.

When the vehicle went past the barrier another attendant reportedly abused the soldiers, which angered them, leading to the fracas. Lakhwinder Singh, another employee at the toll collection post, and Bhasin were roughed up by the Army men. Bhasin got a hit on the head by a belt.

A report was lodged with the police in this connection.



Hotel MD denies charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Mr Darshan Singh, Managing Director of Hotel Monarch, Sector-35-C, has denied the allegation levelled against hotel employees that they had beaten up youths. Chandigarh Tribune had published a news item in this regard on August 26 under the headline “Students meet IGP over hotel brawl”.

Clarifying his stand, Mr Darshan Singh said that none of the hotel staff had beaten up the youths, Sikander Deol and his friends.

Rather, the youths had picked up a quarrel with hotel staff when its waiter demanded the bill for the liquor and other articles they consumed.

He added that in order to avoid the payment of the bill, the youths who were heavily drunk, tried to run away without paying the bill and on being demanded payment, Sikander called his other friends and hit the glass of the front door of the hotel.

As a result of that a waiter of the hotel as well as the assailants suffered some injuries with the broken glass. Mr Darshan added that he had reported the matter to the PCR of the area and they took the attackers to hospital for a medical examination and also our staff member who was also injured in the attack.



Sector 38 residents seek better deal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Joint Action Committee of Sector 38 (West) organised a function at which the residents of the area aired their grievances before the Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Bansal, the Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla and the area councillor, Ms Syayama Negi.

In a memorandum submitted to the MP, the residents demanded that the development of internal parks, provision of a green belt for the sector, recarpeting of roads, construction of civil dispensary, shifting of dumping yard and entertainment centre for senior citizens.

The MP announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the development of parks in the sector from his Local Area Development Fund.



Reiki workshop
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
At least, 300 persons suffering from stress, depression, migraine, heart disease, lower back pain and allergies participated in a two-day reiki workshop held at Ramgarhia Bhavan in Sector 27.

“The healing is done with the hands. Medicines are not required. The process relaxes the mind and gives universal life force energy to the body,” informed Reiki GrandMaster Sonika.

She said many residents who learnt reiki during the previous camps helped her. ‘’We have been conducting healing camps and spreading awareness about Reiki in the city. Mass healing and free reiki healing camps have been a part of the programme’’, she added.



Workshop on nutrition
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
A state-level workshop on ‘nutrition and national development’ was organised to mark the National Nutrition Week at the Community Centre in Sector 32 today. It is being organised by the Food and Nutrition Board, Union Department of Women and Child Development.

Inaugurating the workshop, the Adviser to UT Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, said the main objective was to create awareness about the magnitude of problems of malnutrition and its consequences.

He said malnutrition was so acute that citizens were in a grip of silent emergency. As much as 50 per cent of the population was malnourished. He added that poor were not the only ones who were malnourished, but many youngsters from affluent families were also affected due to dietary preferences and the seductive lure of fashion.



PFA activities
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
The People for Animals (PFA), Chandigarh chapter, was started in 1995.

Since then the PFA has been active in the city and its satellite towns. It runs an Animal Hospital-cum-Shelter Basera, 24-hours animal ambulance service — Jeev Rakshak Seva. The PFA hold mobile veterinary camps in slums and villages, vaccination and sterilisation projects, first-aid training workshops, Animal Laws awareness workshops with the police and general public, free horse cart treatment camps. It organises PFA clubs in schools.

Call Jeev Rakshak Seva on 749080 and 749211and contact Basera for adopting animals free of cost.

Two male kittens (six week old), 1 black with golden eyes, 1 tabby colour are available for adoption. Interested, contact 749080 and 749211 between 11 am and 1 pm.

The PFA has found a mixed breed male dog, 3-4 years old, brown colour, from Sector 20, Chandigarh.



HAU help sought for dog sterilisation
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 1
Following an increase in the number of stray dogs in the town the Municipal Council here has decided to tackle the problem through sterilisation and not by killing them.

The civic body has sought the help of Haryana Agriculture University in this regard. It wrote to Dr A.K. Sharma, Professor and Head Department of Animal Reproduction and Gynaecology, HAU, Hisar, about two weeks ago for assistance in sterilisation.



7-yr-old raped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
A seven-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her uncle at Maloya village. A complaint was lodged by the mother of the girl. She came to know about the incident when she saw her daughter weeping and enquired about it.

The girl told her mother that Ram Karan (whom she calls chacha) had asked her not to tell anybody about this. Ram Karan is said to be a distant relative of the girl’s family.

The girl stated that Ram Karan had taken her to his room on the pretext of viewing television and then bolted the door and committed the crime. Ram Karan, who sells vegetables, has absconded. The police got the girl medically examined. The Sector 39 police station has registered a case under Sections 376 (rape) and 342 of the IPC.



Theft in Army officer’s house
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 1
Thieves decamped with cash, gold ornaments and other items from the house of an Army officer in Sector 70 here today.

Mrs Paramjit Kaur, wife of Lt-Col Balwinder Singh Chahal and teacher at Government Senior Secondary School, Lalru, said that when she returned home around 3.30 p.m. she found that two locks had been broken and thrown near the door.

When she entered she saw that belongings were lying scattered in two bedrooms and a store.

She then rang up her husband, who is posted at Ambala. He came and complained to the police that the thieves had taken away Rs 15,000, gold ornaments weighing four or five tolas, three pearl sets, three watches, a CD player, a cordless and imported pens. He said earlier a theft had taken place in his house two years ago and that too in September.


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