Tuesday, September 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dalit protesters canecharged
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, September 15
Several persons, including two women were injured when the police cane-charged stone pelting and traffic blocking protesters agitating against police atrocities on a Dalit youth, here this morning.

The clash took place in Sector 25, opposite the Prayas building, in Sector 38 on Dakshin Marg, when a mob started pelting stone on a PCR gypsy. The mob had blocked traffic at two places - on the road dividing Sectors 25 and 38 and the other on the road dividing Sectors 24 and 25 — for over an hour. The protesters also used sewer pipe as blockades.

The protesters accused the police of using force on the protesters marching to the Administrator to seek action against sub-inspectors Neeraj Sarna and Narinder Patial for allegedly torturing Ashok Kumar, a Dalit, on August 15.

The police arrested five protesters for rioting and causing obstructions to traffic. The police picked five women protesters and later, released them from Sector 11 police station.

Mr Samay Singh, an agitator, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune alleged that the police used force on peaceful protesters. ‘‘The police even slapped women protestors’’, claimed Mr Samay Singh and added, ‘‘no women cops were present when our women were taken to the police station”.

The police said the marchers, including children, allegedly pelted stones on the police vehicles in the morning. Reinforcement was called. After regrouping the police resorted to a “mild cane charge.”

Later, senior police officials, including DSPs Mr S.S Randhawa and Mr S.C. Sagar, also reached the spot.

Protesters alleged Rinu and Bala of Sector 25 Kumhar Colony were among the injured.

The police dissuaded protesters from marching to the Sector 22 Nehru Park. A number of protesters were also detained at Sector 19 police station. The police denied this statement.

The marchers, being supported by Dalit bodies like the Valmiki Jan Chetna Parishad, Valmiki Sabha, Adi Dharam Samaj and Rishi Dharam Samaj, proceeded to Matka Chowk to meet the Administrator Justice O. P. Verma. They were not allowed to move on.

The protesters burnt an effigy of the Chandigarh Police and Administration at Matka Chowk. Later a delegation of five persons was allowed to hand over a memorandum to the Administrator.

Dharamvir from Sector 56, Ranjeet and Shiv Kumar from Sector 24, Vikas from Sector 38 (West) and Vijay Pal from Daddu Majra were arrested and later released on bail for allegedly rioting and causing obstruction to traffic.

One of the leaders of the protesters Ghulab Singh was booked by the Sector 39 police station. All of them have been booked for rioting and causing hindrance to the flow of vehicles.

The memorandum given to the Administrator has demanded justice from the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani against the alleged atrocities committed on Ashok Kumar on August 15 by the two sub-inspectors.

Ashok Kumar had earlier alleged that he was tortured by the two to avenge his efforts to get Sub Inspector Gurmukh Singh trapped by the CBI in a corruption case. Ashok Kumar was a registered bad character in police records, the police said.

The delegation also met the Inspector General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar to demand a fresh inquiry and rejected the one being conducted by DSP S. S. Randhawa for a month.

The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, said that Mr Randhawa had recorded several statements but the complainant had not joined the inquiry.


Vigil order at General Hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
With growing concern over the safety of newborns and other infants under treatment at General Hospital, the nurses, ward boys and other hospital staff have been directed to be more vigilant and identify the person properly before handing over a child.

The Director Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, today held a meeting with the heads of the paediatrics and gynaecology departments and the Nursing Superintendent, to review the existing security arrangements to ensure that no child goes missing from the hospital.

Following the disappearance of 10-month-old Jyoti, from the children’s ward at the General Hospital yesterday, questions are being raised over the safety of children in the hospital wards. In the past also there has been a case when a newborn was picked up by a woman from General Hospital, only to be recovered by the police later.

Dr Bansal, has directed the hospital staff, especially the ones in the paediatrics and gynaecology departments to be vigilant against the movement of any stranger or suspicious looking persons in the hospital. He asked the doctors to ensure that the staff should ascertain the identity of the parents before handing over the child.

It is reliably learnt that the hospital might soon be seeking permission from the UT Administration to hire more people for manning the security of the hospital, which is spread over an area of almost five acres. A similar file had been moved a year ago by the former Director, Dr Rameshwar Chander, but there was no headway.

“Though I have directed the staff to be more vigilant but I still feel the child is the responsibility of the parents and there is little the hospital authorities can do,” he remarked.

He said it would be rather difficult to have security in all four gynaecology wards, nursery and paediatrics ward.

Interestingly, despite majority of the deliveries taking place at the General Hospital and small children being brought here for treatment of minor ailments, the security here is most inadequate. There are only 16 persons, who too work in three shifts so at any given time there are only five security personnel in the entire hospital complex.

“How do you expect five security personnel to look after the hospital and seeing the crowds it is just not possible for the doctors and nurses to start verifying the identity of people entering the wards and OPD,” remarked a senior doctor.

He added when PGI can have 400 security personnel and Government Medical College and Hospital 200, the figure of 16 seems like mockery of the security system.


Western Command celebrates Raising Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Western Command celebrated its 56th Raising Day at Chandimandir near here today. The celebrations began with a solemn ceremony at the war memorial, Veer Smriti, to pay homage to the martyrs.

The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, laid a wreath at the memorial on behalf of all ranks of the command. Wreaths were also laid by former Western Command chiefs, Lieut-Gen P.N. Hoon, Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi and Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh.

In the evening a social get-together and an Army band concert were organised at the Shivalik Officers’ Institute, Chandimandir.

Felicitating all ranks, civilian employees and their families on the occasion, General Mehta said, “The foundation of the command was laid by the sacrifices of our veterans. They have built a citadel, which is the cynosure of all eyes.”

He reaffirmed the commitment to provide all possible help to the veterans.

General Mehta also appreciated the contribution of the people along the borders with Pakistan, who had provided selfless support during “Operation Parakram.”


Screw removed from man’s lung
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 15
A team of doctors of Fortis Heart Institute and Multi-Speciality Hospital, Mohali, led by experts, Dr Amandeep Singh Gill, Associate Consultant Pulmonology and Dr Mohinish Chhabra, Consultant Gastroentrolog, removed a 1 cm long screw from the right lung windpipe of a patient in a 30-minute surgical procedure.

The patient Dalbir Singh, a farmer from Ropar district, had accidentally aspirated a screw, during the repair of his tractor stereo two months back. Since then, he was suffering from recurrent cough and ill health. Chest X-rays showed the screw in the right division of his windpipe. Dr Amandeep Gill MD and Dr Mohinish Chhabra MD, DM, decided to perform endoscopy of the lungs rather than a major operation and were successful in removing the screw.

Speaking about the case, Dr Gill said, “Earlier such a foreign body would have to be removed by a major operation or a Rigid Broncho - Endoscopy, both requiring complete anaesthesia. However, due to the recent advancements in the field, we were able to undertake a non-traumatic procedure called Bronchoscopy (Endoscopy of the lungs) and were able to successfully remove the screw. The procedure lasted 30 minutes and was carried out under mild sedation without general anaesthesia.”

Dr Mohinish Chhabra, Consultant Gastroentrology added, “Most people who swallow or aspirate foreign bodies are either children or mentally challenged individuals. Removing foreign bodies from the stomach can be tricky, however, similar procedures done in the windpipe or lungs are even more difficult as the patient is usually coughing during the procedure, which can result in the working field moving to and fro.”


PUDA sells open spaces to schools
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 15
Residents of a pocket of Phase XI have criticised the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for allotting space reserved for parks in the area to private schools.

They said by doing this PUDA was leaving no open space for children to play and for residents to hold functions.

Ms Taaran Gujral, a Punjabi writer who is also the senior vice-president of Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Chandigarh, said a vacant piece of land next to her house had been allotted to the managements of two schools. While one of them had already constructed the building, the second owner had started the digging work in the area. She said the residents had been told that as the school site was located on a C-road, the footpath would have to be removed for widening the road. The gates of the school were to be located on this road which would cause inconvenience to the residents of the area.

Ms Gujral said residents had held a meeting today to discuss the problem. They wanted that PUDA should allot another site to the school and let the present site remain as a park.

The matter had already been taken up at the highest level but to no avail.

She said residents had again planned to bring their problem to the notice of the PUDA, the local MLA and the Punjab Human Rights Commission.

Mr Hardev Singh, another resident, said they had also met Mr Birdevinder Singh and showed him the location.

He had agreed that PUDA had adopted a wrong policy.

Mr Hardev Singh said PUDA had allotted six sites in the area to private schools which was totally wrong.

Auction put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has deferred the auction of commercial sites scheduled to be held on September 18. The auction will be held on September 26. The time and venue of the auction has not been changed. Back


Water level in Pong, Ranjit Sagar dams still below mark
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The water level in major dams in this part of the country is better than the past few years. However, the position is being termed as “just good enough” and it can in no way be termed as a “surplus”. The filling season will end in the next five days and engineers expect just a couple of feet of water to be added.

A good rainfall this season meant the dams were filling at a fast pace. However, the backlog or depletion of water from the reservoirs in the past few years was so huge in volume that the water will remain below the optimum level. Of the three major dams — The Bhakhra, the Pong and the Ranjit Sagar — the last one may be the worst hit. Today, the level was 1695 elevation feet (506 elevation metres ). This is about 44 feet below the optimum. As on date, the level in the Pong Dam is at 1363 elevation feet which is 27 feet below the optimum.

It is the level in the Bhakra dam that had brought smiles back on the faces of irrigation engineers. The level in the mammoth 140 sq km reservoir was at 1668 elevation feet. This is projected to go up to atleast 1672 elevation feet. This is the best since 1998 when the level was 1682. At Bhakhra, it is not just a question of the reservoir falling short from the brim by a few feet. The reservoir is V-shaped and the filling of the upper portion takes a long time. A shortfall of about 10 feet near the brim can translate into a huge amount of water. It can meet water requirements for about 45 days.

Interestingly it will be the fifth year in succession that the Bhakhra and the Pong dams will not be full to the brim while the Ranjit Sagar dam , located on the Ravi river had never filled to the brim since the filling started late in October, 2000.

Starting from the winter of 1998-1999, the cycle of snow and rain during the monsoon has not been smooth. It has either rained less than expected or the snow has been insufficient. The two dams are fed through glacial snow melts and rain during the summer and the monsoon, respectively.

The three dams contribute in a major way to meet the irrigation requirements of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. There has not been such a long successive period when the dams have not filled since the Bhakhra came up 40 years ago and since the Beas was tamed by a dam at the Pong almost 30 years ago.


Rising star of Mohan Veena creator’s family
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, September 15
Perhaps for the first time, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the creator of Mohan Veena and India’s first Grammy award winner, was totally eclipsed by someone else’s talent. But considering the fact that the star attraction at the Press conference at Pracheen Kala Kendra in Sector 35 was none other than his own five-year-old grandson Satvik Bhatt, there were no hard feelings — least of all from Pt Bhatt or his son, Salil Bhatt.

In the city to perform at the classical dance and music bonanza organised by Pracheen Kala Kendra at its newly inaugurated SAS Nagar branch, Satvik, the eighth-generation Bhatt of the great musical family of Jaipur, who has entered the Limca Book of Records as the world’s youngest Mohan Veena player and identifier of Indian classical ragas, was the star attraction at the Press conference.

As both Pt Bhatt and son Salil kept throwing difficult ragas at Satvik for identification, the youngster proved his worth by answering them correctly, forcing both his grandfather and father to admit that none of them possessed this kind of confidence and knowledge at that age.

Pt Bhatt’s career graph is now touching a new high. “For the first time, I will be acting in a film,” says the Grammy Award winner. Produced by Kerala-based filmmaker Sharad Kapoor, this untitled film is based on Pt Bhatt’s life, beginning with his meeting with a German lady who comes to learn sitar from him and introduces him to guitar that led to the birth of Mohan Veena.

“It was in 1967 that I met this German lady who introduced me to guitar and learning this instrument kindled my interest in creating something that can emit a loud and dominating sound which later took the shape of Mohan Veena — a 20-stringed instrument blending Hawaiin guitar, sitar, sarod and veena techniques. It was his ability to play “Tantrakari Ang” and incorporate “Gayaki Ang” on Mohan Veena and create a limitless supply of melodies, that him the Grammy Award in 1994 along with Ry Cooder for their album “A Meeting by the River.”


Canadians are here to explore business avenues
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The strength of the Indian diaspora in Canada coupled with the emergence of a powerful political and economic India has lured the Canadians to explore new business avenues and projects in India.

Doing so is a Canadian team headed by the Special Policy Adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr H Raj Chahal, particularly enthused about this renewal of a relationship between the two countries and especially chosen for the assignment because of his Indian roots.

Affable Mr Chahal’s business, on a recee before the Prime Minister of his country sets foot on Indian soil, during his four-day visit to the country, has been to identify new channels of trade and areas for investment. Hinging on this visit are the Indian hopes of attracting investments not only in power generation, health and housing but in many other sectors.

“We are looking at the entire north-western India for investment. Our mission is to look at the logistics of projects, the set-up, the infrastructure et al before the Prime Minister arrives,” he informs, before addressing a seminar at Panjab University, here today.

Speaking to The Tribune about the challenges the Northwest region presents from the foreign perspective, Mr Chahal says,” Marketing the state holds the key to its fortunes. Mumbai or Andhra Pradesh or Chennai have become synonymous with investment and business. Nobody is looking at the Northwest where tremendous potential lies untapped and the difference lies only in the marketing of their unique selling points (USPs).”

He adds that these states need to increase the confidence of the investors, provide a framework for investment and have well-established legal and state machinery. “If all these are provided for, the state will undoubtedly attract business. It is the mindset that requires a change,” he holds.

Referring to the deadlock at the WTO summit at Cancun, Mexico, he said international agreements needed time and required a consensus.

On the role Canada could play in giving a fillip to developing nations, he said that Canada had a strong focus on bilateral ties and was known to work on an NGO basis through the Canada International Developing Agency (CIDA).

“CIDA has worked in collaboration with citizens and local governments. It has brought a water well to Nigeria and worked with women cooperatives in Bangladesh. In fact, in India, during our last visit, we paid for training ragpickers of Delhi in a particular skill. We paid their families the amount earned by the children as ragpickers to ensure they were spared to learn a skill,” he recalls.

Born and brought up in England, Mr Chahal has been the Adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister for 10 years. Yet, he is an Indian at heart. 


Man stabs wife, commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 15
A 30-year-old resident of Issanpur village stabbed his wife to death and later committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on the Kalka-Ambala railway track near here, today.

Jasbir Singh repeatedly stabbed his wife Gurmeet Kaur in the neck, face, chest and abdomen, leaving her critically injured in their bedroom. She later died of excessive bleeding. On the pretext of going out to call an ambulance he went to the railway track and committed suicide.

The train stopped for a while.

Members of the family said the couple along with two daughters and a son were staying in a house for the past over five years. Jasbir Singh was running a PCO, adjacent to the railway-level crossing at Dera Bassi. He had been allegedly taking narcotics for the past couple of years leading to regular fights.

Their neigbours informed the family of Jasbir Singh. His grandfather, his sister and a sister-in-law reached the spot and found Gurmeet Kaur lying dead in a pool of blood in the verandah.

The neighbours also informed the police.

According to the police, Jasbir Singh bolted the room from inside, stabbed his wife and then hit her on the head with a pressure cooker. A visit to the spot revealed that the room was ransacked and there were blood strains on a bedsheet.

The bodies have been sent to the Civic Hospital, Rajpura, for a postmortem examination. A case has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC.


Audit report indicts MC officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Officers of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh have failed to adjust temporary advances and made provisional payments in crores, says a report of the Chief Auditor of the corporation. Non-adjustment of the advances and the payments are in violation of the rules. Audit objections raised in the audit and inspection report till March 31, 2001, is being tabled before the Finance and Contract Committee meeting on September 18.

Till March 31, 2001, temporary advances to the tune of Rs 15.73 crore had not been adjusted. A para of injudicious expenditure by three officers, who went to Singapore to study the water supply, roads and gardening system, is also pending for the past few years.

Sources in the corporation said in the general house meetings of the corporation, the audit objections were being shown as pending in the past. A number of councillors have raised objections to the audit objections, following which the matter is being referred to the Finance and Contract committee for a detailed review. Mr P.C. Sanghi, a councillor, said the audit objections, which had crossed the time limit, would become redundant as per the Limiting Act. The sources said an audit objection pertained to an irregularity by the Engineering Wing in fulfilling the road specifications.

Over the years, officers concerned have been reluctant to give a reply to the audit objections pertaining to the Engineering Wing, the administrative section, the Fire Department and the Health Wing. Inquiries reveal that a recovery of arrears of house tax, amounting to Rs 43.25 lakh, for the period of the erstwhile NAC is also pending. After the formation of the corporation, the recovery of the tax was stopped and the arrears are being shown as pending.


Shivalik Vihar residents assault Corporation staff
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
An assistant engineer with the Municipal Corporation’s Public Health Department, Mr B.K. Dhawan, and three other employees of the Department were allegedly assaulted by a resident of the Shivalik Vihar Cooperative Society, Sector 49, while they had gone to conduct “a survey” of water meters in the society’s complex this afternoon.

On the other hand, Vihar residents alleged that the MC employees had come to disconnect water supply to their homes despite a pending court case. Mr Dhawan was allegedly hit with an iron rod by Harjit Singh a resident of the Society.

Later, a large number of workers and some senior officers of the Department, including the Executive Engineer, Mr R.C. Raina, reached the Sector 34 police station and demanded registration of a case against Harjit. Mr Ramesh Kant, the Convener of MC Employees Coordination Committee, was also present at the police station. The employees also raised slogans against the police.

The employees were pacified only after a case under Sections 323, 506 and 353 of the IPC was registered against Harjeet. Sources in the Public Health Department said there is a dispute between the Department and the Society regarding water connections and the matter was pending in a local court. The MC employees had gone to conduct a survey and not to disconnect water connections, they added.

Mr Rakesh Mahindra, president of the Shivalik Vihar Residents Welfare Association, claimed Mr Harjit Singh had written a letter to the police and the UT Administrator, about 10 days ago, apprehending that he may be implicated in a false case and his apprehensions came true this evening.


Admn seeks Rs 102 crore for 3 projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The Chandigarh Administration put forward a demand for Rs 102 crore for three important projects while presenting a case before a team of the Planning Commission and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs here today.

A demand has been made for Rs 12 crore for finishing the fourth phase of the Kajauli water supply scheme works. Another 20 crore has been sought for the augmentation of the sewerage treatment plant while Rs 70 crore are required for completing blocks D and E of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

Sources said at least the funds for the water supply scheme will be given within the revised Budget estimates approved in October. If this gets delayed till the next financial year then it will not finish within time.

The team comprising Joint Secretary, Planning Commission, Rajan Katoch and Financial Adviser to the Ministry for Human Affairs(MHA) N.A.Vishwanathan were told about this.

From Chandigarh the entire officialdom was present and the team was led by the Adviser, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral.

Mr Vishwanathan expressed satisfaction on the expenditure and fund utilisation with regards to major projects. He refused to comment if he would recommend any hikes in the financial allocation for Chandigarh, saying that “funds in the plan allocation are limited.

However, Chandigarh has a good case.” In case of GMCH a separate proposal will have to be sent, which will need a nod from the Union Health Ministry. The two blocks need about Rs 35 crore each for completion.

Besides this, the team was also shown the 5-mgd treatment plants under construction. The team from Delhi asked the Administration to reduce line losses in the power sector. In the morning the team was taken to see the Kajauli waterworks and also to the GMCH.

Mr Katoch said the purpose of the visit was to study the progress of various projects.


Junk fetches good price
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The vehicles damaged during the 1989-1990 anti-Mandal Commission agitation have fetched the police a hefty price from junk dealers because of a fierce competition.

"Junk dealers agreed to buy eight vehicles burnt during the anti-Mandal Commission agitation at the rate of Rs 15 a kg a person involved in the disposal of old vehicles in Sector 17 told the Chandigarh Tribune today.

Normally, rusted iron has been fetching a price between Rs 4 and 6 per kg. The junk dealers offered high price not because of historical value of the vehicles but due to competition during the bidding process.

When the police and authorities demanded Rs 40,000 for the vehicles, junk dealers allegedly formed a cartel to bring down the price but authorities scuttled their "pooling" by selling the vehicles by weight.

The bid on per kilogram kept on soaring to Rs 15 a kg in an atmosphere of a fierce competition amongst bidders to reach a price which is just one rupee below the market value for fresh iron.

These five vehicles were amongst 35 offered by the Sector 17 police station for auction yesterday. In the absence of a weighing machine, it was decided that the vehicles will be cut to pieces to be weighed later on. The junk dealers have deposited the guarantee amount for the deal.

The police succeeded in selling off 28 old mopeds, scooters and motor cycles put up for auction yesterday. Seven vehicles, including five cars and one scooter and motor cycle, each could not be sold as they did not invite bids of expected prices. These vehicle will be put up for sale afresh.

The auction brought the Administration an amount more than Rs two lakh for the vehicle that had been lying in the Sector 17 police station for a period stretching between 10 and 15 years.

The police ways delaying the auction thinking that the owners of the properties would approach it.

However, the trend of getting old vehicles released is getting reduced as the owners recover a large part of the damage through insurance claims.


Physically challenged children honoured
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 15
As many as 21 physically challenged children were honoured at the Angheen Bal Tratibha Samagam organised by the National Handicapped Welfare Council here today.

The children, who were visually impaired and physically challenged, were honoured for their achievement in the field of academics, sports and art and culture. The aim of holding the function was to recognise their talent and capabilities.

As many as 250 children from all over Punjab came to attend the samagam. A cultural function was also presented by disabled children. The programme started with a song “Itni shakti hame dena data”. Children from Deaf and Dumb School, Ludhiana, presented an action song “Give me a song to sing”. Mentally retarded children presented bhangra and visually impaired children sang songs.

Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, who was the chief guest, was impressed by their preformance. He said the board would reserve two prizes for physically challenged children excelling in academics. He said he would present a proposal for providing additional benefits to physically challenged in the board meeting.

Mr Ajit Salani, director secretary of the council, said the government was doing nothing for the welfare of the disabled children. Many of them could not attend school due to shortage of facilities.

Children who were honoured today are Honey Saini (mentally retarded) who had won a gold medal in badminton at the special olympics held in Dublin, Sunil Kumar, (visually impaired) won a gold medal in discus throw at the national level games, Arun Kumar (deaf and dumb) achieved distinctions in sports, academics and art, Kavita (visually impaired) brass medal in shot put at the national games, Harvinder Kaur (deaf and dumb), sports, academics and art.

Gurpreet Singh (physically challenged) got distinction in sports, academics and art, Kirti (visually impaired) in music and academics, Pardeep (deaf and dumb), sports, academics and art, Avtar Singh (visually impaired) music, Mohit (deaf and dumb) 80 per marks in VIII class examination, Rajesh Kumar (visually impaired) 76.8 per cent marks in class XII examination, Anudeep Singh (physically challenged) 71 per cent in Class X examination, Mandeep Singh (visually impaired) 81.3 per cent marks in class X, Pardeep Rana (deaf and dumb) 70.8 per cent marks in class XII, Ankit Kapur (visually impaired) 76.8 per cent marks in class XII, Vivek Monga (visually impaired) stood first in BA I in the college, Anu Monga (visually impaired) stood third in BA I in the college, Sanjiv Lalta (visually impaired) 74.4 per cent marks in class XII, Sanjiv (visually impaired) 81 per cent marks in class X, Baljit and Neetu (deaf and dumb) for achievements in academics and dance, respectively.


IT survey at Sec 23 shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The Department of Income Tax, which has failed to meet the income tax collection targets so far, is conducting income surveys and raids regularly to boost its revenue collections. As part of the move, a team of income tax officials conducted a survey at the super market shop in Sector 23 here today.

Officials were tight-lipped about the findings though the survey team led by ITO and IT inspectors continued its inspection of records and stocks for the whole day.


No media policy for Army

Saragarhi Memorial Gurdwara at Ferozepore.
Saragarhi Memorial Gurdwara at Ferozepore.

THE Army liaison cell at the Army Headquarters is revamping its perception management wing by posting a Major-General to it to head media information issues. This decision has been taken due to bad PR management of the Operation Sarp Vinash in Rajouri and terrorists’ attack on Tanda camp in Akhnoor.

No doubt, there is a better understanding between the Army and the media today than what it was about a decade ago. But then, the Army officers are still very cautious while divulging even the routine matters to the media. Not only that, the Generals are also reticent with the media on defence issues.

It will not be correct to blame them for this. For, if you go strictly by the rules, they cannot even open their mouth to the media so long as the archaic Army Rule 21 is suitably amended. Of the several examples, only a recent one is quoted here. When the former Army Chief General S. Padmanabhan said during Operation Prakaram that if Pakistan launched a nuclear attack on India, it would get a befitting reply, he got an official snub for this from defence Minister George Fernandes.

Surprisingly, even after 56 years of Independence, the government has not laid down any public information policy for the Army. In the absence of which, the Army cannot decide what should/should not be communicated to the media.

Saragarhi memorial

At Ferozepore stands the Saragarhi Memorial Gurdwara in the memory of 21 soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment, who fell fighting heroically against 10,000 tribals (Pathans) at the Samana Ridge in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) on September 12, 1897.

The British Parliament gave a standing ovation when this act of unparalleled bravery was narrated to it. The Saragarhi Day on September 12 continues to be celebrated by the Sikh Regiment to commemorate the memory of these gallant was heroes.

Pension hurdles

Mr Ashok Kumar, son of the late Subedar Hazaru Ram, has written to this writer from Fatehgarh Sahib that his father who joined the Army in 1928, and retired from the Dogra Regiment in 1956, was getting a sepoy’s pension until he died in May, 1999. And now his mother, too, is getting a sepoy’s family pension.

He further states that after two revisions in pension in 1986 and 1996, his father was getting a monthly basic pension of Rs 375 and Rs 1,275, respectively, which is a sepoy’s pension. Though his father, as mentioned by Ashok Kumar, brought this irregularity to the notice of the Dogra Records and the DPDO Mandi in Himachal Pradesh several times, no action was taken by them.

The same struggle, he mentions, continues to get his mother and widow of Subedar Hazaru Ram’s family pension revised since 1999, but nothing has happened so far. In dejection, Ashok Kumar says: “Should I continue to make efforts or drop the issue finally”?

Mr Ashok Kumar since you have stated in your letter that you read this column regularly, we advise you to bring the case of your late father to the notice of Col Subash Chander (retd), Director, Western Command Ex-Servicemen Helpline, Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir (Tel nos. 589624, 867624).

If the pensionary documents of your late father are found to be in order, then the case will be taken up for the revision of the family pension of your mother as well as for all arrears of pension.

Anti-mine equipment 

To provide protection against mines, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed anti-mine boots and body protection suit.

While body protection suit provides protection against splinters and fragments of anti-personnel mines, boots are meant to protect troops during the breaching and assault operations. Since the boots for breaching of mines are different to the boots required for the assault operation, both types are being developed by the DRDO. The boots for breaching of a minefield have already undergone successful trials.

Both these items have been introduced into service by supplying 1550 body protection suits and 1070 mine breaching boots to the Western and Northern Commands. What needs to be considered is that this equipment should also be made available to those civilians who work in close proximity to the Army on the border during the operations.

Pritam Bhullar


Bank guard assaulted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 15
A guard at a bank in Sector 10 was reportedly assaulted by four drunk men claiming to be close to an influential politician on Friday night, when their unsuspecting victim failed to give them the address of a person who had abused them.

Incidentally, though the matter was reported to the police, two of the men were let off the hook. This in spite of the fact that other than the victim, at least four cops, posted at Haryana police lines telecommunications unit, were witness to the event, and had themselves called the local police.

The incident took place at 10.30 pm on September 12. The men were reportedly consuming liquor in their silver coloured Balero jeep (CH- 03J- 3417), parked outside the bank. Just as they were busy consuming alcohol, they noticed a man passing by their vehicle. They asked the man, who has a juice bar nearby, to provide them with a glass, however, the man abused them.

The four men then followed him and assaulted him. Seeing this, the guard of the bank, Amrik Singh tried to intervene. As the juice bar owner ran away, the four men began showering blows on Amrik and asked him for the juice bar owner’s name and address.

As Amrik cried for help, another guard at the bank, Mukhtiar Singh, rushed to his colleague’s rescue. “The men were threatening us and saying that they were the contractors for river bed mining in Ghaggar and were also close to the powers that be in Haryana. We somehow managed to free ourselves and rushed for help to the Haryana Police Lines, Telecommunication office, located on the top floor of the bank,” he says.

The four men followed the guards to the police lines office, unaware that it was a police office. Even as the cops posted here tried to intervene, the four men threatened the cops and said that they could get the cops transferred. By this time, the local police was called in and all four men, and Amrik were whisked away.

The guards at the bank allege that when they were all taken to General Hospital, Panchkula, for a medical examination, two of the accused were let off. Only two persons — Sushil Sharma and Amarinder Sharma — were booked under Sections 332 and 352 of IPC.

Chain snatched
A 44 year old morning walker was seriously hurt when a scooter borne chain snatcher dragged her for a few feet, while trying to pull her gold chain near Topiary park this morning. The victim, Krishna Devi, had come for a morning walk along with her sister when the incident took place. The police say the snatcher tagged at her gold chain (weighing 36 grams), but was unable to pull it in one go. As he refused to let go of the chain, the woman was dragged along the road and got injured.

A similar incident took place near Shakti Bhavan yesterday morning. A resident of Sector 6, Mrs Bimla Devi, was going for her morning walk when a scooterborne youth snatched her gold chain.

A 27-year-old-Nepalese resident of Barwala committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance. The victim, Ishwar, was reportedly under depression. He consumed some poison and was rushed to General Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.


5 held for robbery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
An apple grower and Shimla resident, Mr Anil Kumar, was robbed of Rs 7,600 at knife-point in Bapu Dham Colony here this morning. The five youths, allegedly involved in the crime, were arrested tonight, claimed the police.

Ravi, Chottu, Goldi, Anil and Shakti, all residents of the colony, were arrested by the Sector 26 police after Mr Anil Kumar provided vital information.

As per the police, Mr Kumar, after spending night in the colony, left for Sector 38 at about 4 am today. While he was nearing the government school of the colony, the five youths stopped him and took away the money from his pocket. The youths reportedly used knives as a threat.

They will be produced in a local court tomorrow.


20-year-old crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
A 20-year-old motor mechanic, Bhaiya Lal, riding a scooter without a helmet, was crushed to death by a truck near Dhillon Cinema Complex, Mani Majra, while Tarun Kumar, 30 who was pillion riding with a helmet, was injured seriously, here this evening.

Tarun, also a motor mechanic, was taken to the PGI, where his condition was said to be critical. The two were returning to their Hallomajra village residence, when the accident took place.

The street lights in the area are non-functional for quite sometime and several accidents have been reported at the spot in the recent past.

The truck driver, Randhir Singh, was arrested from the spot under Sections 304A, 337 and 279 of the IPC.


6 booked in land dispute case
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 15
In a land dispute case, six members, including three women of a family, of Sarseeni village have been booked for taking possession of a piece of land forcibly.

On the complaint of Bhagu Ram, a resident of the same village, the police has booked Bachna Ram, Gurmeet Singh, Binder Singh, Rama Devi, Manjit Kaur and Ajmero Devi of the same village under Section 447 of the IPC.

In his complaint to the police, Mr Bhagu Ram alleged that the six tried to take possession of the common land by planting saplings on it, he alleged.

An enquiry has been marked to the Revenue Department regarding the ownership of the disputed land.

Two injured
Two persons were injured in an accident involving a car and another vehicle on the Kalka-Ambala highway at Lehali village, about 2 km from here, late on Sunday. According to sources, the injured have been identified as Balwinder Singh and Baljinder Singh of Dera Bassi. They were taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, where their condition is said to be stable.

No case has been registered in this regard. 


HMT bags national award
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, September 15
Hindustan Machine Tools Limited, (HMT), Pinjore, has bagged the Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Shield in the category of Public Sector Undertakings for the ‘C’ region. Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, presented the shield to Mr M.S. Zahed, CMD of the company, at a function held at New Delhi yesterday, said Mr S.K. Sharma, Group Manager (Tractors) of the HMT, here today.

Speaking at a function organised on the factory premises to celebrate the Hindi Divas, he said Hindi was a link language that could promote inter-state business and trade. On this occasion, a cultural programme, general knowledge and Hindi grammar quiz were also organised for students of HMT Employees’ Education Society High School and Saint Vivekananda Millennium High School.

Kyocera smartphone launched

Reliance Infocomm Limited today announced the launch of the next generation Kyocera 7135 smartphone for the Reliance IndiaMobile services.

The phone is a fully loaded wireless communication solution, giving the user the benefit of a CDMA digital phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), portable computer and entertainment centre. Customers wishing to subscribe to one of the Reliance IndiaMobile plans can opt for the Kyocera 7135 at a cost of Rs 35,000. An easy payment option, comprising an upfront payment of Rs 15,000, followed by six equated monthly installments is also available.

Smallest ECG machine

An SAS Nagar-based firm, Clarity Medical Private Limited, has launched a four channel, multiple-user setting Electrocardiograph (ECG) machine, claiming it to be the smallest and lightest machine in the portable category.

The Chief technical Officer of the firm, Mr S.P. Rangi, claimed that the machine, weighing 1.50 kg, had a number of unique features like single operation, multiple-user setting, reporting with interpretation facility, high resolution print outs and could be linked to a PC. He claimed the indigenous equipment, costing Rs 55,000, was at least cheaper by Rs 10,000, than the ones made by other companies.


Bank introduces new facilities

The Corporation Bank has come up with a new services for employees of government departments and public limited companies. It would enable them to avail themselves of an over draft facility of up to 50 per cent of their net salary at a competitive rate by opening a salary account, said Mr S.P. Das, Branch Manager of the SAS Nagar branch of the Corporation Bank, today. Addressing a customers meet, he said with a customer base of 3,500 customers, the branch had deposits of Rs 11 cr and advances of Rs 28 cr. The net non-performing assets of the bank ‘at 1.65 pc’, were lowest among all public sector banks.

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