Sunday, September 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Katrina serves notice on NIFD
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, September 6
By serving a legal notice on the city-based National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) and asking it to tender an unconditional apology, model-turned-actress Katrina Kaif has cleared the air over the controversy regarding the cancellation of her contract with the designing institute for performing at its Nagpur fashion show.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune from Mumbai, Reshma Shetty, Director of Matrix, the firm hired by Katrina, confirmed that a legal notice had been served on NIFD for causing damages to Katrina. Ms Shetty confirmed that Matrix Entertainment, the company that represented Katrina, had faxed a copy of the legal notice to the NIFD authorities, apart from also sending it through a reputed courier firm. Ms Shetty said the notice had been received by NIFD, even though the latter continues to deny it.

Regarding NIFD’s claim that tickets and Rs 35, 000 had been received by Katrina, Ms Shetty said the amount and tickets had already been returned to NIFD. Ms Shetty said Katrina had not yet received any legal document or legal notice from NIFD. She said Katrina had no knowledge of any case against her.

Although NIFD is denying having received the legal notice from Katrina’s company, it is learnt that it has actually received it. In the notice, Katrina has stated that if NIFD fails to tender an unconditional apology, she would seek damages to the tune of Rs 5 crore. Katrina claimed that by approaching a section of the Press, she had been defamed by NIFD without any fault of hers.

Officials of NIFD remained silent over the issue and denied having received any legal notice from Katrina so far. The officials said they learnt about the legal notice only after reading about it in the news columns. They said the institute would decide the future course of action on Monday.

The controversy had arisen after NIFD had filed a civil suit against Katrina and three officials of Matrix in the district court, Chandigarh, seeking damages of Rs 1 crore and pleading to restrain her from performing in India or abroad on September 10 if she failed to attend the scheduled fashion show in Nagpur on the same day.

Katrina and three officials of Matrix Entertainment had been issued notice by the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Sanjay Sandhir, for September 9 to file reply in the case, acting on the suit filed by NIFD.



Activists work overtime to convince girl hostellers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

In order to maintain the law and order prior to the Panjab University Campus Students Council elections on September 12 the UT Police on Saturday raided the PU hostels and tents installed by students’ bodies for election campaigning. A team of more than 50 police personnel checked the identity cards of the hostelers in the presence of wardens late on Saturday.

Chandigarh, September 6
Panjab University directions on campaigning are being flouted with impunity by student organisations who do not stick to the norms on timings.

Girl hostels are favourite campaigning grounds for all organisations because girls account for more than 70 per cent of the total population on the campus. Moreover girls are not very forthcoming in the election activity and no girl has contested for the post of the president till date.

The university has fixed 7 p.m. as the time for campaigning to end in girls' hostel. But on the very first day slogans rented the air till about 9 p.m.

The rallies are supposed to end after 9 p.m. However, tents of some student organisations buzz with activities late into the night. The number of cars and two wheelers on the campaign trail is amazing. Open jeeps are hot favourites among them. The university directions are clear in saying that the use of threatening or coercion measures by the candidates or supporters will amount to misconduct. There have been several incidents to this regard in the past but the university has never set an example of punishment to this regard.

The university has clearly stated that there should be no campaigning in the classes. But this norm is also being flouted.

The university has very clearly announced that there should be no guests in hostels without the permission of wardens and that too will be allowed only in special cases. A casual perusal of the hostels and student camps reveals the presence of visitors even during the night. During the day time the rallies are full of outsiders.

The student organisations have been asked not to put placards and paste posters on buildings, trees, walls and roads. The varsity campus, however, is full of notice boards and walls where the organisations have pasted their posters. Students on their part say there are very less boards for them to stick their posters.

Mohit Sareen, press secretary of PUSU, said in routine the campaigning continued till about 9.30 p.m. daily. Since the affair was an internal matter for the university management, very rarely were any objections raised.



ABVP, HPSU form alliance
Tribune News Service

Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad take out a procession with the Himachal Pradesh Students Union after announcing an alliance for the forthcoming elections
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad take out a procession with the Himachal Pradesh Students Union after announcing an alliance for the forthcoming elections at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Chandigarh, September 6
The Panjab University Campus Student Council elections witnessed its first alliance today. The elections are scheduled for September 12.

The Himachal Pradesh Students Union has aligned with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Declaring the alliance at a joint rally, Deepak Rawat, president of the HPSU, said the outgoing student council was not able to safeguard interests of the student community and its only agenda was to project the image of an individual and never took their allies into confidence before taking any decisions.” Himachali students come from far-flung areas and their only interest is studies and their career. In this light, the series of violent incidents on the campus were deterrents for the HPSU to strike an alliance with certain groups”, he said.

Saurabh Joshi, presidential candidate of the alliance, said students of campus had given different organisations a chance to work for their welfare but none had performed well. He said what to talk about fulfilling big election promises, these organisations had not even assured basic amenities like clean toilets and clean drinking water.

The Panjab University Student Union also opened its camp office today. Malwinder Singh Kang, the presidential candidate, said the day being a holiday most of campaign activity today was carried out in the hostels through personal contacts. The Student Organisation of Panjab University also carried on their campaign in the hostels.Back


PU forms panel to restudy fee pattern
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Panjab University has constituted a high-powered committee to restudy the fee structure on the campus and more than 100 affiliated colleges. It has been constituted following the university rejecting the mammoth fee hike suggested by the Punjab Government.

The members of the committee which will meet under the chairmanship of Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, include Mr R.S.Verma, Principal P.S.Sangha, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Mr S.S.Virdi, Dr Keshav Malhotra, Mr Dhirender Tayal, Mr Radhey Shyam, Prof S.L.Sharma, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal (local MP), Mr Satya Pal Jain (former MP), Mr K.C.Shenmar, the DPIs of Punjab and UT and Prof Paramjit Singh, Registrar. It will suggest the fee structure for the current session.

Students in a sizeable number of affiliated colleges had paid the hiked fee before the rollback was announced on July 22. When the Punjab Government hiked the fee on May 12, the colleges had no option but to increase the fee because of the grants from the government. The rollback also followed a government decision. Clause X of granting affiliation to colleges mentions that universities would determine the fee.

The committee has been constituted following a decision of the special Senate meeting on July 6 where a majority of the members had rejected the government decision of the fee hike.

The Punjab Government had given directions for a fee of Rs 750 as admission fee for undergraduate classes and Rs 1,000 for post-graduate classes. The tuition fee was recommended as Rs 350 per month for under-graduate classes and Rs 500 for post-graduate classes.

The UT Administration ordered an admission fee of Rs 500 for under-graduate classes and Rs 750 for post-graduate classes. The tuition fee was Rs 200 per month for under-graduate classes and Rs 400 for post-graduate classes.

While the colleges in Punjab have announced a rollback following the decision of the Punjab Government, the colleges in Chandigarh have not rolled back the hiked fee structure.

A committee member said an attempt would be made to have a uniform fee structure in all affiliated colleges of the university. The vast difference in the fee patterns of the government, aided and non-aided colleges was also pointed out at the Senate meeting.

It was also pointed out that the university had in 1999 decided to go in for a 10 per cent fee hike each year or 20 per cent biannually.Back



Southern sectors to be spruced up
Tribune News Service

Roads to be relaid
  • Paschim Marg between Sectors 39 and 40

  • Vidya Path between Sectors 40 and 41
  • Udyan Path between Sectors 41 and 42
  • Chandi Path between Sectors 46 and 47
  • Purv Marg east of Sector 47 would be strengthened

Chandigarh, September 6
The Chandigarh Administration today okayed a plan to re-carpet roads, augment stormwater drainage system, besides construct cycle tracks, in southern sectors of the city. The Chandigarh Housing Board will be carrying out this integrated development.

The UT Administrator, Chief Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today laid to rest all speculation about whether the Chandigarh Administration or the Municipal Corporation was responsible for sprucing up the southern sectors. Matters have come to just a collision that one agency lays the road where its jurisdiction ends while the rest of the road remains as bad as ever.

Once the monsoon is over, a massive exercise is on the cards for one-time upgradation of infrastructure of southern sectors, a spokesperson for the Administration said.

In a detailed plan to upgrade the infrastructure of southern sectors, it has been told to the Chandigarh Housing Board that its properties are in most of the southern sectors, especially from Sectors 39 to 47. Thus the board has been assigned the task of upgradation of infrastructure of these sectors

It may be recalled that a few weeks ago, Justice Verma went on a bus ride in the southern sectors from Sectors 39 to 47 to see deficiencies in the infrastructure of the sectors following a downpour.

The comprehensive improvement of the road will also include providing center verge with railings and streetlights, wherever necessary.

The Chandigarh Housing Board would also upgrade and provide storm water drainage system, wherever deficiency was detected during this monsoon. All road berms on sector-dividing roads would be levelled and wherever required plantation would be carried out. Footpaths and cycle tracks, wherever necessary, will be laid out.



Couple killed as car, scooter collide

Eleven month-old boy Mahipal with his relatives at phase-6 hospital in S.A.S Nagar on Saturday after his parents died in an accident. — Tribune Photo Pawan Sharma

SAS Nagar, September 6
A couple was killed when a car and a scooter collided near Sector 68 here today.

H.K. Singh and his wife Kiranjot Kaur, who were on the scooter, died on the way to hospital, according to the police. An 11-month-old baby, Mahipal, who was with them had a miraculous escape.

According to the police, there were three persons in the car which collided with the scooter. They left the car at the scene and fled. The police suspects that the driver of the car, Charandeep Singh, was a resident of Narottam Nagar in Khanna.

Relatives of the deceased claimed that the car driver was undergoing treatment at a hospital at Sohana. This was, however, denied by the police. A brother of Kiranjot Kaur said she was working as a clerk in the middle cell of the Punjab School Education Board here. Her husband was a sectional officer at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research here.

Mrs Kulwant Kaur, sister-in-law of Kiranjot Kaur, who was given the custody of the child by the police, said the victims were coming to her house at Sawara village to celebrate the birthday of her son Amitoj when the mishap occurred.

A case has been registered. OC



City rail station to get better facilities
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Following the increased revenue from passenger traffic, especially by the Shatabdi Express trains, the Northern Railways has okayed the expansion and upgradation of Chandigarh railway station. It includes a ‘budget hotel’ by the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

The Chandigarh railway station will be developed as a model station, having facilities which the Railways claims are the latest and user-friendly.

A second foot bridge, inter-linking all five platforms, including two proposed ones, would be constructed on the Ambala side of the station. The existing foot bridge links platform nos 1, 2 and 3.

A senior officer of the Northern Railways said the priority was to give user-friendly facilities like the passenger reservation system. A separate car parking, a ramp and low-height booking window for the disabled would be provided at the station.

The reservation counters, at present housed in a clogged space at the entrance to the station, would be shifted to a new building which is under construction adjoining the parking area. The new passenger reservation facility is expected to be functional in a few months. Reservation on the Internet has already been introduced for Chandigarh.

The space created by shifting the booking windows would be used for a VIP lodge and a post for the ticket checker. To ensure a better upkeep of the station, senior staffers have been directed to supervise the jobs of maintenance and cleaning of the station.

Mr Keshav Chander, Divisional Railways Manager (DRM), Ambala, said after the announcement of a link express between Chandigarh and Chennai, the length of platform nos 2 and 3 would be extended to 600 metres to accommodate a 24-coach train. The length of platform nos 4 and 5 would be 525 metres. On the completion of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail ink, the Railways expects a phenomenal increase in the passenger traffic.

On the big chunk of land owned by the Railways around the station, the construction of a coaching complex is under way. After commissioning a washing line, a sick line shed to repair and maintain locomotives and coaches has been constructed at the southern end of the station. A ‘shunting neck’ to enable locomotives and rakes to switch tracks is being laid. The ‘power cabin’, a room housing the signalling room of the Assistant Station Master (ASM) is also under construction.

Revenue generation earns user-friendly facilities for Chandigarh railway station. Statistics reveal that around 5,900 reservations are done daily at the counters in Chandigarh. The reservation counters include the booking done at the Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus.

Apart from the revenue generated from the advertisements displayed at the station, ticket booking at Chandigarh generates around Rs 17 lakh per day.



Robbery at petrol station

Chandigarh, September 6
Four youths reportedly looted Rs 70,000 from a petrol station in Sector 52 at gunpoint late last night.

As per sources, four youths reached the pump in a Maruti gypsy (with a Punjab registration number) and asked the two employees, Sanajy and Surinder, at the station to put fuel worth Rs 900 in the vehicle. After fuelling, they asked for the receipt. Then two youths came out of the vehicle and one of them positioned a pistol against the forehead of Sanjay and snatched a bag containing Rs 70,000 from him. Later they ransacked the office in search of cash and also broke window panes. Before fleeing, they took away the telephone installed in the office. OC



Don’t expect justice, NMC chief tells ’84 riot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Referring to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the limited powers of the commissions appointed by the government to probe them, Chairman of the National Minorities Commission (NMC), Mr Tarlochan Singh, today said that the victimised families should abandon all hopes of justice in this regard.

In the city today to release “Satchandrama”, the 101st book by eminent Punjabi litterateur, Dr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Tarlochan Singh said that in the existing set up, the 1984 riot victims should not expect any justice either from the government or from the judiciary. Making a mention of the Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Government of India to look into the 1984 killings of the Sikhs, Mr Singh said that the commission had no power of execution, hence it could not deliver justice to any of those victimised in 1984.

“Even when the Nanavati Commission submits its findings to the government, nothing much will come out of them because they are not binding on anyone. They can be challenged in the court of law,” said Mr Singh, adding that if the government is seriously interested in delivering justice to the victims of riots and punishing the guilty, it should set up special court and grant it full powers.

“The findings of such a court should be binding and should not be open to challenge in any court of law. Also such a court should have the power to call in witnesses for speedy disposal of the proceedings,” said Mr Singh. Ruing over the judicial system in which witnesses are of paramount importance, Mr Singh said that it is very difficult to reconstruct what happened 20 years ago. Mr Singh said that in most of the cases the police also impeded the progress of cases.

He said, “More often than not the police delays the deliverance of justice by hampering court proceedings. That is how many criminals go scot free.” Speaking during the book release function organised at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh by “Kalman da Kafila”, Mr Singh emphasised the need to have a special court to deal with all cases of riots.

Saying that the Punjabi language was fast losing popularity he added that he had forwarded to UNESCO a proposal to translate Guru Granth Sahib in all languages of the world. He said that UNESCO had sought details in the matter.

Earlier many experts spoke about the epic creation of Dr Gurcharan Singh, who has explored the life and teachings of Guru Nanak afresh. His Mahakavya, “Satchandrama”, underlines the lasting message which Guru Nanak has left for the world — “truth is supreme.” The book has been published by the religion promotion committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

Referring to the few epics in Punjabi literature, Dr Sharanjit Kaur said that Dr Gurcharan Singh has presented all aspects of Guru Nanak’s life with great literary perfection. Earlier, Dr Sahib Singh Arshi said that Dr Gurcharan Singh had enriched the world of Punjabi literature by making this literary offering. He referred to gurbani, janmasakhis and Bhai Gurdas’s ‘waars’, which Dr Gurcharan has used extensively in his present creation. Also present during the book release function was eminent Punjabi playwright Dr Harcharan Singh.



Exploring nature with puppets
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Those who have watched this group of eight puppeteers from Kolkata perform Shakuntalam on stage would know exactly what they stand for. Putting the romantic overtones of Kalidasa’s creation behind them, these practitioners of contemporary puppetry have based their entire interpretation of the master’s work not on the pangs of separation suffered by Shakuntala, the heroine, but on her sensitisation towards environment.

As the saga unfolds in the medium of contemporary puppet theatre, presented under the banner of Dolls Theatre, all you see is a stage set to green tones, enhancing the presence of two main puppet characters — the benevolent Shakuntala who is busy admiring flowers and birds and streams on the one hand and the self-possessed Dushyanta, who is out to target nature. The underlying message is “supremacy of nature, which needs to be preserved at all costs.”

While you see another viewpoint in Shakuntala, Sudip Gupta, the founder-director of Dolls Theatre who was in the city for a presentation for SPICMACAY today, helps you understand the concept behind his modern puppet theatre movement. “Traditionally puppetry has been all about mythological themes, presented in styles invented ages ago. I was working with one such puppet company in Kolkata, when I realised the tremendous potential of this medium which could easily be used to raise outstanding issues and share common concerns. I snapped ties with the system that revelled in routine presentations. That was when Dolls Theatre was born. All of us are trained puppeteers, who love to create an awareness for environment through our medium. Our most successful production has been “Taming of The Wild” where we use rod puppets to create larger-than-life storks, which fight men all set to capture them.”

Having presented five beautiful puppet theatre productions that redefine the role of man in relation to his environment, Sudip, with his group, is now all set to create history by taking up the challenge of translating Satyajit Ray’s “Sujon Harbolla” in the medium of puppets. Like “Shakuntala”, Sujon Harbollas will be the second production by Dolls Theatre, where dialogues will be used. Until now, the group has handled dramatisation by music alone. As Sudip informed, “Using the medium of modern theatre, we create an elementary language. The dramatisation of content is done by non-verbal means, by precise movement of puppets, by playing with form and colour and by loud and soft sound effects.”

Sudip makes extensive use of western and Indian classical musical scores in his productions. He adds, “Music is our forte. We blend melodies to create spells.” Practising this experimental genre, Dolls Theatre has already earned tremendous appreciation, not only at home but also abroad. Having represented the country thrice in international puppet festivals, the group bagged the first slot during the Iran festival in 2000. Last year, they attended the international puppet festival in Israel. They have also been regulars at the national puppet festivals organized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi.

Inspired by master puppeteers like Dadi Pudumjee, group members Shantanu Kundu, Palashi Vased, Supata Haldar, Sukanta Deb, Suparna Gupta, Narayan Das and Sapu Chander, have been collaborating at the international level, besides returning to traditional puppetry and giving it a modern touch. Their prime concern is nature and their style of narration is classic. It tells volumes on the ecological imbalance which man has brought upon himself.



Erosion of zeal in media lamented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The president of the Editors Guild of India, Mr Hari Jaisingh, today emphasised the role of media in informing the public on the emerging trends in various sectors of society.

Mr Jaisingh, former Editor of ‘The Tribune’, who was in the town to participate in the PN Haskar Memorial Lecture programme at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here, spoke at length on the people’s right to information and the media serving as “extended eyes and ears” of the public.

Commenting on the scenario in the Indian media, he said it no longer represented the missionary zeal that was once visible. The changing social, political and economic priorities of society had affected the media, he said. A healthy relationship between the media and public could be evolved as the main client of the press was the public.

Among the areas of concern listed by Mr Jaisingh were the growing tension between the editorial and marketing sections, erosion of the role of the editor, pressure on the freedom of expression posed by the contempt of court and defamation laws. Professor V.N. Datta, a well-known historian, chaired the session and Professor R.P. Bambah proposed the vote of thanks.



Flies, flies everywhere
Tribune News Service

Kakrali/Toda, September 6
Thousands of villagers of the Raipur Rani block are facing a potential health hazard because of swarms of houseflies in the area.

Flies at Kakrali, Toda, Jaaspur, Natwal, Mauli, Baabalpur and Golpura villages , which fall in the second largest poultry belt of the country, have made life difficult for the residents.The unhygienic conditions in the 50-odd poultry farms in the area and the open transportation of hen waste (to be used as manure in fields in neighbouring areas of Punjab) is stated to be the source of these flies.

Villagers here are virtually living under a constant threat of epidemic for no fault of theirs. They accuse the administration of turning a blind eye to their problems. Residents of Kakrali village allege that already a number of cases of gastroenteritis have been reported from the area. During a visit to the area, The Tribune team saw that because of the flies even visibility in the area was affected. Says Mr Purshottam Ram, a resident of Kakrali, “Men folk go away to the fields during the day and return only during night, when the flies settle down.”

So it is the women who are left to suffer all day long. Kalawati of Kakrali says that it is very difficult to cook food. “We are more concerned about the health of our children as a number of them are suffering from skin allergies,” she says.

Dinesh Kumar of Toda says that one finds it difficult to perform the daily chores because of the flies. “One cannot take bath, eat, or sleep during the day.

It is only for the past three days when over 200 villagers had staged protests that the poultry farmers have now begun spraying insecticides, but even these are of little help,” he says. He adds that the erratic power supply only aggravates the problem as flies tend to enter a room when an air cooler or fan is not functional. The problem is also affecting the social life of the villagers. Ms Santosh Devi of Baabalpur says,“Relatives have stopped visiting us because of the flies.”

The villagers say that last year the district administration had been very strict with the poultry farmers here and forced them to mix fly repellant in the feed. But this time because of the slackness of the administration the poultry farmers do not bother to mix some fly repellant in the feed.

Also, the waste of hens being a good manure is transported without being covered, leading to an increase in the fly population,” alleged Rajesh Kumar of Kakrali.

The villagers have been assured by the administration that the menace would be controlled by the end of this month.



Inflated bills for mobile subscribers
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Hundreds of mobile subscribers in the city are shocked every month when they get inflated bills from mobile operators. Apart from alleged manipulations by the companies, the customers have to pay higher bills as they have to pay roaming charges while making calls from border areas of the city neighbouring with Haryana and Himachal Pradesh telecom circles.

Enquiries reveal that Spice, Airtel and even the BSNL mobile subscribers are charged roaming and STD charges of up to Rs 3 per minute while receiving and making calls from areas such as the Sukhna lake, PGI, hostels of Punjab Engineering College, Mullanpur, Saketri, Mani Majra and Zirakpur areas. Says Mr Rishi Pal, one of the regular visitors to the Sukhna, “ I daily go for a morning walk. But I am surprised when my Spice mobile starts catching Himachal signals. Sometimes I get important calls from my family staying at Delhi, but I have no option but to receive calls and pay roaming charges.”

Mr Anil Kumar, one of the employees working at Government Medical College, Sector 32, complained that he had to pay over Rs 5000 for his post-paid Airtel connection (98153-88475) since he was charged up to Rs 300 for about one hour mobile to mobile connection to UP. He wondered,‘‘When the company claims to offer mobile to mobile calls for Rs 1.99 per minute, how could I be billed such an amount.” He said most of his calls had been made from Chandigarh itself, though sometimes from the lake and Mani Majra as well.

Mr Mandeep Bhatia, a senior official in the marketing division of the company admitted that he had been charged roaming and STD charges. But he countered either he had made calls from outside the Punjab and Chandigarh circle, or he had made calls from the border areas of the city like the Sukhna lake and Mani Majra. In that case, said Mr Bhatia, “ we would have to bill as per the roaming and STD charges. These are the flaws of the technology and not a fault of the billing department.”

Elaborating the problem, he said, “ In the border area of any circle the signals of different circles overlap with each other. The problem becomes acute especially during the rainy season.” Is there a way out? When asked, a senior official of the BSNL said,” The customers can shift from automatic to manual roaming on their handset. In that case, they would be able to make the calls from their own network even if the company offered weak signals or they got no signal at all.’’

He disclosed that the BSNL customers also faced such problem in some areas especially near the Sukhna lake and Mullanpur. He said the radio waves of Base Transmission Station (BTS) at Kasauli often reflected from the water of the Sukhna resulting in that problem. But with the cut in roaming and mobile tariffs, the difference between local and roaming charges have declined. But the companies can not do any thing except to set up more towers in border areas that would mitigate the problem to some extent, he added.



200 jhuggis demolished
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 6
The PUDA authorities demolished at least 200 illegal jhuggis near the cremation ground here today.

It is reported that no notice was given to the encroachers before the demolition. However, time was given to them by PUDA officials to remove their belongings from their jhuggis.

The encroached area, which falls in Sector 57, was cleared and handed over to the Horticulture Wing. The area had been earmarked for the setting up of a park by PUDA.

Officials of PUDA said the encroachers included persons who had earlier been evicted from the “Tower Colony” area here.

The PUDA authorities had earlier removed encroachments from the area, but some time later illegal structures had sprung up again.



Commonwealth Asia Centre to women’s rescue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
A social organisation, the Commonwealth Youth Asia Centre, based on the Punjab Engineering College campus, is now into promoting self-help groups of rural women. The project which started under the Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative (CYCI) in June 2003 was reviewed by Mr Ignatius Takawira, Head of Youth Affairs and Ms Virginia Goodings, Head of Human Resources, from the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, who were in the city today to witness the success of the project.

Women from Janata Colony, located near the PEC, have become economically independent and self-sufficient through loans offered by the Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative. The Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre trained 17 NSS student-volunteers and three faculty members from Punjab Engineering College to implement this project. Student volunteers are providing opportunities to women from urban slum areas of Chandigarh to become economically independent and self-sufficient. These women are generating an income of their own to lift out of the poverty-cycle.

The CYCI is a micro-finance programme that encourages entrepreneurial skills development of young people to establish their micro-scale enterprises. This is done by providing micro-credit to disadvantaged young people who do not have access to the formal sector financial institutions. The project was launched in Gujarat in 1996 in partnership with the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), Ahmedabad. It became self-sustaining after three years and operational self-sufficiency is 98 percent. Over 2,500 young persons in India were trained and provided with small loans. The CYCI project is already under adaptation in other Commonwealth countries.

The women from Janata Colony are mainly housewives in the age range of 20-30 with working husbands and schoolgoing children. They were formed into three self-help groups called Shakti (Power), Prerna (Inspiration) and Abhiyan (Movement) with five members each. These groups tailor uniforms for different institutions. Another self-help group called Pragati (Progress) of 10 women makes seasonal pickle and retails it at a profit. This summer, they made 500 kgs of mango pickle and 50-60 kg of medicinal pickle. They are now waiting for carrots to come into the market and plan to make up to 1000 kg of pickle for retail.



Most TA battalions in J&K
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Even several months after Operation Parakram, was declared to be over, Territorial Army (TA) battalions continue to remain embodied. Besides, a majority of the battalions have been sent to Jammu and Kashmir for undertaking counter-insurgency operations for which they are neither equipped and nor do jawans have the requisite insurance cover.

Sources told The Tribune that all 31 TA battalions continued to be embodied ever since the entire force was mobilised at the beginning of Operation Parakram in December, 2001. In fact, it was the first time since the 1971 war that the TA was fully mobilised. Even during the 1999 Kargil conflict, when the forces had moved to their operational locations along the international border, the TA had not been called out.

Although TA units have been pulled back from their operational locations, there have been few cases where individuals have been disembodied on professional or compassionate grounds. The sources confirm that no orders for disembodiment of units have been issued.

According to the sources, about 20 battalions, 65 per cent of the TA’s strength, have been moved to J&K over the past few months, where their task has come under fire from critics.

The sources said TA units were replacing the regular Army in first line duties and undertaking duties such as road opening parties (ROPs). “This is a complete reversal of concept. The TA was raised and trained for performing second line of defence duties and is supposed to relieve the Army from static duties in the rear echelons,” a TA officer said.

The more hotly debated issue is the low insurance cover for TA jawans. The insurance of a TA jawan in just Rs 75,000 while that of a regular Army jawan is over Rs 3 lakh. Officers at the TA Directorate said since TA requirements called for embodiment for two months in a year, the insurance cover of TA jawans is based on the contributions pertaining to a two-month period. A section of officers, however, was of the view that since the TA was performing the same tasks as the regular Army, the insurance cover should be the same.



Sanjivani holds IT camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
A non-government organisation (NGO), Sanjivani, today organised an income tax (IT) camp for senior citizens, women assessees and the salaried class. And the response was overwhelming. Around 700 queries were answered by Sanjivani volunteers.

Acting as facilitators between the Income Tax Department and the assessees, representatives of the NGO replied to queries ranging from filing of returns to PAN cards. The camp was inaugurated by Mrs Manju Lakhanpal, Commissioner, Range-II, Chandigarh, in Sector 17, piaza.

A representative of the NGO said the main focus of the camp was filling of application forms for PAN. At least 100 application forms were filled on the spot.

During the camp a large number of people sought clarification on the age of a senior citizen as described under the IT Act. A number of aged women assessees wanted to know whether they could avail the rebate of Rs 5000 and at the same time seek the benefit of a senior citizen.

A number of senior citizens informed that they were filing their returns through professionals. Some young women assessees asked about the system of tax deduction at source (TDS). Mrs Lakhanpal in her address urged such organisations to come forward to hold such camps.

The NGO promised to provide all possible help to the assessees free of cost.



Woman scooterist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
A Panchkula resident, Neena Manchanda, 31, died in an accident here yesterday. She was not wearing a helmet when the accident took place.

According to police sources, she sustained serious head injuries, when her Bajaj Chetak scooter was allegedly hit by another scooter near a traffic light points of Sector 28 and 29. She was on her way to Government Polytechnic College, Khuni Majra, Kharar, where she was employed as a lecturer of mathematics, when the accident took place.

Neena was immediately admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital. She was declared dead at 9.15 pm by doctors attending upon her.

She is survived by her husband, Mr Ashish Manchanda and four-year old daughter, Preksha. Mr Vijay Bansal, elder brother of the deceased, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune, urged the women to wear safety helmets while driving or riding pillion a two-wheeler.



BJP city chief’s election on Sept 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
BJP Secretary O.P. Dhankar today said the election to the post of the president of the Chandigarh unit of the party would be held on September 21. Mr Dhankar said the president would not be appointed as had been done for the past three years.

Addressing a press conference, he said elections for 18 out of 20 mandals and 400 of 615 block committees had been completed. The representatives of the four main district units would be electing the city president. Evading queries on groupism within the city unit, Mr Dhankar said there were no groups. He said that from September 25, the party would be launching its door-to-door campaign.



Mahajan listens to grievances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, President of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former Member of Parliament, and Mr Kewal Krishan Adiwal, a former Mayor, listened to the grievances of Sector 24 residents. The President of the Cheap Houses Welfare Association, Mr Sunil Khanna, acquainted them on the problems of the residents.

The residents urged the BJP leaders to press upon the UT Administration to allow the construction of half portion on the second floor. A demand to allow the opening of doors at the back courtyard and construction of cantilevers was also made.



Power shutdown
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 6
The power supply to Rampur Sainia, Kuranwala, Behra , Fatehpur, Kheri Gujran and Bhagwas villages will remain suspended tomorrow.

According to the local authorities of the Punjab State Electricity Board, electricity to some parts of other villages being fed by a power feeder at Rampur Sainia village will also remain suspended from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday due to the repair of the feeder.



Man duped of cash, mobile phone
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
A man was duped of some cash and his mobile by a motorcyclist in Industrial Area at about 8.30 p.m. A local businessman Laxmi Narayan, was going to Zirakpur in his car (HR-49-C0050) when the incident took place. He had stopped the car near the Indutrial Area petrol station to ease himself when a motorcycle-borne youth approached him. The youth reportedly gave him some papers and said these had flown out of Narayan’s car.

As he got busy examining the paper, the youth took out seven notes of Rs 500 denomination and a mobile from his car and fled. The Sector-19 police has registered a case.

In another incident the Sector-5 police arrested a jeweller from Mani Majra late tonight on charges of duping Benny Parshad of jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh.

According to the FIR registered under various sections of the IPC, Parshad had pawned jewellery with Ashu, who had lent him Rs 55,000. However, when Parshad went to return the money and get his jewellery back he learnt that Ashu had sold it to another jeweller in Ambala.

Meanwhile, in order to maintain the law and order prior to the Panjab University Campus Students Council elections on September 12 the UT Police on Saturday raided the PU hostels and tents installed by students bodies for election campaigning.

A team of more than 50 police personnel checked the identity cards of the hostelers in the presence of wardens late on Saturday.



Girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
A 16-year-old girl committed suicide by hanging herself in her hutment in Indira Colony this evening. The victim, Neetu, was reportedly under depression because of her ill health. Her father, Raj Kumar, said she had a breathing problem and was under depression. She locked herself in the hutment this evening and hung herself.

One arrested: The police arrested Shamsher Singh from the Sector 17 and 18 naka late last night, after he was trying to escape after stealing a bicycle. He was presented before a local court and remanded in police custody till September 7.



Biz clip
Mahindra Show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Mahindra and Mahindra and its authorised dealer Swami Automobiles, Chandigarh, today organised a show at Waraich Farms, Zirakpur for its Bolero and Invader customers. Under the Bolero Bollywood Masala Show, TV and film star Nitin and his dance troupe entertained the customers.

In a press note issued here today, the company management said Mahindra had been successful in providing quality products to customers over the years.

Two newly launched vehicles — Bolero Sportz and Invader — were also displayed during the show.



Now designer wear for expectant mothers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Pregnant women here have something interesting to see, which has travelled all the way from Delhi. Conceptualised by a Delhi-based corporate consultant, Jhilmil Breckenridge, who graduated into designer wear for expectant mothers. The two-day unique exhibition, which opened in the city today, features special garments for pregnant women.

Having the experience herself of falling out of shape, Jhilmil, now a mother of three sons, decided to bring in stylish wears which expectant mothers can use. From maternity jeans that make space for swelling bodies right through the nine months of pregnancy to special party dresses, the exhibition at Mum’s Mall in Sector 9 has everything.

Jhilmil says, “In the fast-moving times when no mother has enough time to care so much, the practice of breast feeding is declining. The general reason is that the apparel is too uncomfortable. Our store has tackled the problem by concentrating on how to contain the unhealthy trend whereby mothers depend extensively on feeding bottles. We store special clothes stitched to promote the practice so that pregnant women sheds excess calories through feeding even as the child grows.”


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