Tuesday, September 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dream big, think right, Kalam urges students
Tribune News Service

Quizzing the Prez

  • On guidance for choice of profession: When I was in Class V, our teacher taught a lesson on flight. Unable to understand the topic, we were given a practical lesson by being taken to the field and showing the movement of flying seagulls. That is when I decided I had to join a profession which dealt with flight and I took up physics.

  • On the solution to the Kashmir problem: India has made the first move and offered to discuss the problem. However, we have the potential to protect our borders and life.

  • On what India has gained by becoming a nuclear power: We want peace in the world. It is necessary to possess nuclear weapons though we are committed to “no- first use”.

  • On corrupt and self-centred politicians: We can make any number of laws to remove corruption but the key lies in the hands of three persons — father, mother and teacher.

  • On how advancement in science could help the blind: In certain places, computers have been introduced. However, this is a challenge and I will work for it.

Chandigarh, September 29
During his one-an-a-half hour interaction with 850-odd children from select schools at Bhargava Auditorium, PGIMER, here today, the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, did what comes naturally to him — teach the students.

The interaction proved to be a great learning experience for these students as Dr Kalam taught them to dream big, think right and grow into enlightened citizens. Holding that the cost of education needed to be brought down, he emphasised on achieving a developed India by educating the girl child and creating employment opportunities.

Given a standing ovation on his entry into the hall, the First Citizen addressed the students as “friends” during the course of his multi-faceted interaction. He said, “Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter what ups and downs you come across in your life.”

Quoting names of Nobel Laureates Subramaniam Chandrasekar, Sir CV Raman and Albert Einstein, Dr Kalam explained that they had questioned the “why” of things, which led to inventions and discoveries. “Thinking is progress,” he said, persuading the students to repeat the line after him.

Switching to “Marvels of the universe”, Dr Kalam told the students that Mars would become a much-sought-after planet for human exploration for wealth and habitat, in a few decades. “India’s moon mission has to lead another purposeful mission to Mars,” he said.

Urging students to become job providers rather than job seekers, Dr Kalam was of the view that the educational system should equip the students with entrepreneurial leadership.

He said this entailed problem- finding and problem-solving in the context of development, the willingness to take calculated risks and the disposition to do things right. “The school curriculum may be changed in such a way that entrepreneurship is taught,” he added.

A great communicator with children, soliciting questions and answering these with earnestness and sharing experiences, Dr Kalam answered about 15 questions on themes ranging from brain drain and corruption to child labour and a solution to the Kashmir problem.

Referring to his visit to Kerala three days ago, Dr Kalam said a student of the Amrita Institute of Technology, S. Sreebala, asked him the “most beautiful question”. “She asked me to select one achievement for the reason that it satisfies and provides contentment the most and is the most fulfilling,” he said.

“After recalling all my achievements, I replied that the fitment of FRO (Floor reaction orthosis) calibre to a polio-affected child, which reduced the weight to 300 grams in place of 3 kg, gave me tremendous happiness,” he said.

Dr Kalam, during one of his visits to a hospital in Hyderabad, had found that many children were struggling to walk with an artificial limb weighing over 3 kg. Moved by this experience, at the request of Prof Prasad of NIMS, Head of the Orthopedic Department at that time, he asked his AGNI friends to use the composite material used for AGNI heat shield for fabricating FROs for polio-affected patients.

Patience being the hallmark of his interaction which followed the narration, Dr Kalam took a moment to understand questions before giving replies. Brain drain and measures to contain it seemed of prime concern to a number of students.

To this, Dr Kalam responded,“We have to accept movement even though all Indians are attached to their country umbilically. We produce nearly 300,000 engineers, scientists and doctors. It should not bother us. We should focus on building up research and development laboratories.”

To another question on merit being sacrificed at the altar of reservation, he told the students, “The Constitution has made certain provisions which have to be adhered to. However, merit will play an important role in the times to come. One thing I know is that the cost of education has to come down.”

Establishing a relation between the past, present and future, Dr Kalam held that it was important to learn from past experiences, to have a strong present to benefit future generations.

Given a choice between conquering the moon and poverty, Dr Kalam said people were the priority but it was also essential to make advances in science to ensure that India was not left behind.

In reply to a question on child labour, he said government and non-government agencies were working together to generate awareness on the issue.

Though students sighed when he announced that he was answering his last question, they were all around him as he came down from the dais, shook hands and handed them autographed cards.

He shrugged off security arrangements and mingled with the students before leaving, assuring them that he would answer every question if it was e-mailed to “www.presidentofindia.nic.in”.



Junior Kalpana Chawla’ hogs limelight
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, September 29
Holding a Tricolour in one hand and a rose in the other, Ridham Sharma, dressed up as astronaut Kalpana Chawla, reached the PGI auditorium along with her parents to see Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The schoolgirl was first disappointed as security personnel prevented her from going towards the main gate of the auditorium. But her joy knew no bounds when Dr Kalam’s car stopped before the main gate and a police personnel came to Ridham and accompanied her to the spot where the President was being given a welcome by top functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration and the PGI. Ridham Sharma presented the flower and the Tricolour to the President, who in turn greeted her.

After waiting for over an hour at the venue to welcome the First Citizen of the country, Ridham’s dream to see Dr Kalam and shake hands with him came true.

Ridham, a UKG student of Secret Heart School, Sector 26, while talking to The Tribune said, “Dr Kalam asked my name after accepting the flower and the flag. He shook hands and also blessed me by holding my cheeks with affection.”

“I am Kalpana Chawla from India. I wish to free the world from cancer. I love my India. Saare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara,” were her words when one asked her name.

Her mother, Sunita Sharma, an employee with the Punjab State Education Board, SAS Nagar, and her father, Ashwani Kumar, a chemist, accompanied Ridham to the PIG.

Ms Sharma said the dress was made on a special order since Ridham had to participate in an inter-school dance competition held at Bal Bhavan on August 16.

“We collected cuttings of Kalpana Chawla’s photographs and copied the design of her dress on a coloured cloth. The tailor charged Rs 350 for the stitching of the dress,” claimed Ms Sharma.

Residents of Sector 17 in Panchkula, the couple claimed that Ridham was impressed by Kalpana and aimed to do something unique. She is fond of collecting photographs relating to her since her childhood. The police had almost sealed the auditorium almost two hours before the President reached the venue at 1.15 pm.

Dr Kalam stepped out of his Ambassador car outside the main gate of the auditorium. He was received by the top brass of the UT Administration. Home Secretary R.S Gujral and other dignitaries escorted him inside.

Though the entire area around the venue was under tight security, yet the security arrangements around the buildings surrounding the auditorium were not so tight compared to the President’s previous visit to the PGI.



A tough day for police personnel
Tribune News Service

Traffic held up near the Tribune chowk to allow the cavalcade of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to pass through in Chandigarh on Monday.
Traffic held up near the Tribune chowk to allow the cavalcade of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to pass through in Chandigarh on Monday. — Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, September 29
The Chandigarh Police today heaved a sigh of relief after the President, Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, returned to Delhi in the evening after attending several functions in the city.

However, it was a tough day for police personnel, including senior officers, who were deployed on duty since 8 a m.

The police feels the people were troubled least with traffic being blocked at around 25 spots on the intersections for only three to four minutes.

Apart from the security duty of the President, police personnel were deployed to ensure the security of the people in Ramlila functions stretching till late in the night.

The President was seen off at the airport by the Governor Justice O. P. Verma, his Haryana counterpart Babu Parmanand, Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, Punjab Cabinet Minister Partap Singh Bajwa representing the Chief Minister, Mayor Subhash Chawla and local MP Pawan Bansal.

Chief Secretaries and DGPs of Punjab and Haryana were also present at the airport apart from Adviser to the Administrator R. S. Gujral.

The Chandigarh Inspector General of Police Rajesh Kumar and SSP Gaurav Yadav were also present.

The departure of the President scheduled at 6.55 was delayed by few minutes. The carvan of the President this time was smaller than the September 4 visit.



His simplicity impressed kids
Tribune News Service

An inquisitive A.P.J. Abdul Kalam interacts with a schoolboy in Chandigarh on Monday.
An inquisitive A.P.J. Abdul Kalam interacts with a schoolboy in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 29
His simplicity impressed the children from about 120 private and city schools, who enjoyed every bit of their interaction with Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Bhargava Auditorium here today. Most of them, however, were disappointed at not being able to ask questions.

A student of Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Neha Malik, said,”He truly represents simple living and high thinking. Though I had come prepared with my question, I was not lucky enough to get a chance.”

Happy with his possession of an autographed card of Dr Kalam, a student of Gian Jyoti School, Bharat, said he was able to touch the President’s feet.”It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I made the most of it. He is a great man,” he said.

High hopes from ‘Kalam Sir’

Two visually impaired students, Manglesh Kumar and Mandeep Singh, got an opportunity to put a question to the President. Elated at being allowed to ask a question from among the many present, these students returned to their institute satisfied, stating that their “Kalam Sir” would definitely do something for their cause.

“We found him very open and comfortable in the company of students. It was a golden opportunity for us and we were able to feel the presence of a very humble and noble soul in this hall,” they added.

Safai Gupta and Aditi Mehta, students of Carmel Convent, seemed very impressed after the “enlightening talk” of Dr Kalam.”We now know what goal we need to set for a developed India. It has to do with educating the masses,” they informed.

Armed with the hand-outs of inspirational lines circulated to the students before Dr Kalam arrived, Jatinder Sharma, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, said, “These lines will give me inspiration when I am feeling low. The 10-point oath for enlightened citizens would make me a better human being.”

A student of GMSSS, Sector 20, Prableen, was disappointed after the session.”I wanted to ask him about the high fee in education and what was being done to bring it down. Now I will mail to him and wait for a response,” she added.

Earlier, students were asked to submit their paintings and poems composed for the President. An official announced that the posters, paintings and poems would be sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan.



Red-letter day for NIPER students
Tribune News Service

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam awards the gold medal to topper Jaspreet Kaur at the second annual convocation of NIPER in SAS Nagar on Monday.
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam awards the gold medal to topper Jaspreet Kaur at the second annual convocation of NIPER in SAS Nagar on Monday. — Photo by Pankaj Sharma

SAS Nagar, September 29
It was a red-letter day for the 104 students of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research who got their degrees in the presence of the President of the country Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam here today.

But for the three toppers of the institute who received gold medals from the President himself, it was a historical moment. Alpesh Kumar, Aditya Kaushal and Jaspreet Kaur, received gold medals from the President at a glittering ceremony organised on the NIPER campus.

Welcoming the President to NIPER’s second convocation, Dr C.L. Kaul, Director of the institute, listed the achievements of the institute. He said the institute was one of the two centres in the world involved in major work on tuberculosis. ‘‘NIPER is a big stakeholder in the global alliance for tuberculosis control,’’ he said. He also informed that the institute had recently opened a Department of Pharmacy Practice in collaboration with an institute in Britain. ‘‘Starting from a four faculty institute in 1994, we have come a long way and we assure that we will contribute our best to the nation’s vision,’’ said Dr Kaul.

SP-SDM spat

The SP, SAS Nagar, had a minor spat with the SDM over the issue of allowing journalists to talk to the President. While the SDM said journalists could go ahead and talk to the President, the SP simply put his foot down stating that he cannot allow such a thing for security reasons.

The President in his convocation address highlighted the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry stating that NIPER should take the lead in documenting Indian traditional medicinal knowledge to prevent IPR piracy, in bio-informatics and stem cell research.

Mr Nityananad, Chairman of the institute also spoke on the occasion. Dr K.K. Bhutani, Dean of the institute proposed the vote of thanks.

The convocation took place amidst tight security, in fact the tightest ever in SAS Nagar. It was started over 40 minutes late than the scheduled time of 4 pm and the ceremony continued till 6 pm.

The President later inaugurated the technology development centre and also spend an enlightening 15 minutes with students who had received their degrees today.

In fact, the President showed his keenness in interacting with students even while they were receiving their degrees. He would stop some of them and enquire about their field of research.

The Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, was conspicuously missing from the function and the only political representatives of the state including the Minister for Health and the local MLA, Mr Bir Devinder singh.

Almost every senior officer from the Ropar administration attended the ceremony including the Deputy Commissioner Ms Seema Jain, the ADC Mr Vikas Garg, the SSP, Mr G.S. Bhullar, and the Divisional Commissioner Patiala, Mr C.S. Srivastava.

The administration and the police had made foolproof arrangements for the ceremony with Mr Gurcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, leaving no stone unturned to ensure the safety of the president and the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, ensuring that the protocol was followed to the minutest of details.

The President’s departure, however, did cause a chaos on the town roads with traffic jams.



They skipped exam to meet him
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
It was a proud moment for three students of DAV Model School, Sector 15, who performed vandana before Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the inaugural function today of the international legal conference organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Assocation.

Accompanied by their teachers, Kirandeep (9), Manisha (8) and Parganya (8) presented a dance number in praise of Goddess Sarasvati. The students skipped an examination to keep their date with the President. As one student put it, “We would have missed anything to ensure that we do not miss this once-in-a-life opportunity to perform before the President.”




“We wouldn’t have realised that we are in India, had we not seen so many Sikhs on roads and streets,” Pakistani Supreme Court advocate P.I. Malik asserted while commenting on similarities between Indian and Pakistani cities.

He was part of the 22-member Pakistani delegation in Chandigarh to attend the two-day international conference being organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

“There are Sikhs all over Pakistan, no doubt about it, but their numbers are limited. That is why their presence was a welcome sight. We stopped to interact with them and simply loved spending time at the Golden Temple in Amritsar”, he revealed.

* * *

The Pakistani delegates stopped at Khatkhar Kalan near Hoshiarpur for paying tributes to “Shaheed Bhagat Singh”. They raised slogans and prayed to the almighty for his immortality.

Mr Malik said, “Bhagat Singh did not belong either to India or Pakistan. He was the leader of the masses and led humanity through hard times towards freedom. I am sure the British would not have left, had he not struggled for the rights of the oppressed.”

* * *

Songs provided common frame of reference. The Pakistanis were aware of Hindustani film songs. The Indians, on the other hand, had complete knowledge about Pakistani marriage songs. “There was not even a single dull moment of silence,” a delegate commented.

* * *

“Pakistan has released Indian prisoners, now India should follow suit” claimed human rights activist-cum-chairperson of the Human Rights Society of Pakistan, Ms Nahida Elahi of Rawalpindi. She was the only woman delegate in the 22-member team. When confronted with her claims, she still insisted that the prisoners had been released, but could not give any detail.

* * *

It is not only the legal system that is the same in India and Pakistan. Even “corruption” among court staff is identical in both countries — at least this is what a Pakistani delegate claimed.

“In both Indian and Pakistani courts, we have peons accepting bribes,” the delegate asserted. “No, there are no secret pockets in their coats, for corruption is no more a hush-hush affair all over the world,” the delegate commented.

* * *

Everyone was full of praise for the president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, for organising the event so well. Even foreign delegates, unable to pronounce his name correctly, appreciated his efforts. It sounded funny as they pronounced his name in at least seven dialects.

* * *

Just as the escorts were clearing the way for the President to leave the venue after inaugurating the conference by recklessly pushing aside participants, a young boy stood right in the middle of the way. There were no signs of apprehension or fear on his face as Sashwat demanded an appointment with the President.

Moved by his gesture, the President froze in his tracks. Encouraged, he demanded a “card” with the President’s photograph. As the President obliged him, a smile of relaxation crossed his face. It was only later that his father, Hari Om Jindal, a shipping agent, revealed that Class III student Sashwat had come from Ludhiana just to meet the President.



Karisma’s wedding keeps city glued to TV
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, September 29
The unsurmountable walls decked up with flowers and a gate decorated with blossoms leading to a royal garden full of dignitaries — that is all that the disappointed city residents could see in the name of Karisma Kapoor’s wedding with businessman Sunjay Kapur.

For once the city residents, who are used to surfing the channels, did not press the remote control keys waiting for the channels to show the real action. But the “real thing” eluded them as the cameramen and the correspondents were not allowed in.

The action started at 11 am. Though the media was not allowed to enter the venue, different channels tried hard not to disappoint the viewers totally. At least, they showed the exteriors of Karisma’s house where the wedding bells were tolling. They also aired last-minute preparations.

Eager to watch the “fun”, most of the residents had switched on the television sets early. The newspapers had informed them about the wedding, but that was not the only reason for their enthusiasm.

Besides the wardrobe, the residents wanted to have a look at the menu of 126 dishes and 70 drinks. Moreover, all these days, they had been flipping through the magazines reading so many articles about her and Abhishek Bachchan. Hoping all the time to see the two of them walk up the altar together.

But then came the news that late cine star Raj Kapoor’s granddaughter Karisma was tying the knot with Delhi-based businessman Sunjay Kapur. And that the wedding was to take place in Mumbai as per the Sikh rites.

No wonder, the uncomfortable residents made themselves comfortable in front of the TV sets even though the wedding was being held miles away. They sat still just to have a glimpse of the gorgeous bride. Also, they wanted to see how the two looked together.

Among the viewers was city resident Tanya Jaspal. She was eager not only to admire her trousseau, but also to see how Karisma and Abhishek faced each other. It was only later that she came to know about Abhishek’s absence from the ceremony. In fact, no one from the family was present — at least this is what the channels told her.

Well, she could not see Abhishek, but was happy to watch Karisma in “ghoongat” wearing a bright red lehnga with heavy embroidery. 



80 commercial sites auctioned
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
This was one of the most successful auction of commercial sites in Panchkula over the past two years. More than 80 commercial sites successfully went under the hammer during the auction organised by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in different parts of the township.

The auction fetched about Rs 47 crore to HUDA, which had been reeling under successive failure in selling commercial sites in the township. Though the previous auction held in July had managed to bring in a profit of Rs 3.78 crore by fetching Rs 14 crore, two auctions prior to this one had failed to get a positive response.

This was a one-time attempt auction in all sectors of Panchkula. Over 300 bidders deposited money to participate in the auction. A total of 191 commercial sites like SCO sites, booth sites, service shops, show room sites and double storey shop sites in sectors 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10, 11, 12, 12- A, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 25 and Sector 5 Mansa Devi Complex went under the hammer today. The response was so good that the auction which began at 10. 30 am lasted for almost 11 hours. As compared to this, the auction of commercial sites in February had received a poor response and there were just 34 persons who had deposited the earnest money.

If the SCO sites in Sector 3 and 21 were the hot favourites in the previous auction in July , it was the SCO and booth sites in Sector 20 and the showrooms in Sector 11 that elicited a good response today. The showrooms in Sector 11 fetched upto Rs 2. 10 crore, as compared to almost Rs 1.50 crore in the previous auction. The booth sites in Sector 20 fetched almost Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh more than the last time they went under the hammer.

In previous auction, the SCO sites in Sector 3 and Sector 21 fetched anything between Rs. 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh more than the reserved price.



Rao against shifting of judges with practising kin
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Bar Council of India’s Chairman Mr D.V. Subba Rao, today clarified that the local judges could not be transferred just because their kin were practising in the same courts.

The statement comes in less than four months after the Bar Council of India (BCI) wrote a letter to the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana seeking information regarding the relatives of Punjab and Haryana High Court judges practising here.

Talking to The Tribune soon after the inauguration of a two-day international legal conference at Panjab University, the Chairman questioned, “If the children of doctors, actors, industrialists and politicians can adopt the profession of their parents, why can’t the wards of high court judges take up the legal profession? Why should they be targeted?”

Nevertheless, the issue required immediate consideration and introspection, Mr Rao agreed. “Earlier there were just 10 to 25 judges all over the country with relatives practising in the same courts. The number has now doubtlessly increased. In almost all the courts, you have judges with kin practising. The issue as such cannot be pushed under the carpet of secrecy. No, not anymore”.

However, a pragmatic approach was required to be followed in the matter. Speaking against the policy of “generalisation”, the Chairman asserted that finding ways and means of isolating the judges from external and internal influences was more important then merely identifying and targeting them”.

Giving details, Mr Rao asserted that a mechanism was required to be evolved for ensuring that neither the judges were pressurised nor were their relatives given undue benefit, instead of seeking their transfer.

He added that action was warranted only if there were individual complaints against the judges of acting under influence. As far as the action was concerned “it was for the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned to take appropriate steps in the right direction after looking into the matter thoroughly,” Mr Rao said.

Besides being the BCI Chairman, Mr Rao was also Visakapatnam Mayor for five years. He was also part of the Indian team that went to West Indies way back in 1997.

The development is significant as a section of the lawyers has been asking for the transfer of local judges on the ground that their relatives were practising in the High Court here. In fact, several representations had been addressed to different authorities in this regard.

After going through the letter written by the BCI, the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council’s honorary secretary, Mr C.M. Munjal had asserted that a decision had been taken to “place the matter before the general house meeting”



Indian Air Force retired officers’ get-together
on October 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The IAF is celebrating the 71st Air Force Day on October 8 and has issued an open invitation to all retired officers settled in and around Chandigarh for a formal get-together and dinner.

This time the get-together is being organised at the 12 Wing Officers’ Mess. For the past few years, IAF establishments here have started the practice of organising a joint get-together instead of hosting individual parties in their respective messes. Last year the get-together was hosted by No. 3 Base Repair Depot.

Besides senior officers from the Army, a host of civilian dignitaries in Chandigarh, including the two state governors are expected to attend the party, which begins at 7.45 pm. The local authorities have also requested that retired officers may confirm their attendance to the mess secretary, Sqdn Ldr Milind Kumar at telephone no. 638349.



Ministry directed to pay dues to MES Valvemen
Kiran Deep

The judgements passed by the court are not really judgements for an individual but for all others employees in similar circumstances. As a matter of fact, the department concerned should grant the same relief to other Valvemen automatically even though they may not have come to the court.

Chandigarh, September 29
In a significant judgement favouring thousands of persons employed as Valvemen with Military Engineering Services(MES) in various units of the Army in North India, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), has directed the Ministry of Defence and five other departments to pay them grants of grade of Rs 260-400 with all consequential benefits from October 16, 1981, notionally as given to other Valvemen.

“The benefit of the earlier judgements cannot be denied to other employees in similar circumstances. The earlier judgements are not really the judgement in person but they are the judgements in as much as a law had been laid down and the applicants in those cases were entitled to the relief claimed by them. As a matter of fact, the departments concerned should have granted the same relief to other person in similar situation themselves though they may not have come to the court”, the CAT further said in its order. While allowing the applications moved by the seven Valvemen against the Ministry of Defence, Chief Engineer, MES Pathankot Zone, Pathankot, Chief Engineer, MES, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, AGE Dharmasala, MES Himachal Pradesh, CWE Yol Camp, Kangra Hills Himachal Pradesh, the CAT further said. “Actual arrears shall be payable to the present applicants for the period which falls within 18 months from the date of the filing of the application ( March 10, 2003).The amount of arrears shall be paid to the applicants within three months from the date of the receipt of the copy of the order”.

Talking about the implication of the order, the counsel for the complainants, Mr Vikas Jain, said the order which had been passed earlier in favour of Valvemen also applicable to other “Valveman” in various units of the Military Engineering Services (MES).

The seven complainants had filed the case with the grievance that while other Valvemen working in the northern unit had been allowed to draw their salary in the pay scale of Rs 260-400 from October 16, 1981 on the basis of the judgement of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court as well as the Apex Court. But the benefit had been denied to them.

They alleged that all benefits had been denied to them even though they were in similar circumstances merely on the ground that the benefit of the various decisions of the law courts have to be extended only to those employees who have approached the court. The employees further added that they had made a representation to the authorities concerned but it had no effect.


Special arrangements for IT returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Special arrangements have been made in two nationalised banks in the city for residents to submit their income tax returns tomorrow.

A press note issued by the Income Tax Department said Sectors 7, 17 and 22 branches of the State Bank of India and Sectors 9, 26 and 34 branches of Punjab and Sind Bank would remain open till 3 pm.



The forgotten people of Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Sadly, none of the villagers whose lands were acquired more than 50 years ago for setting up Chandigarh have been invited to participate in the golden jubilee celebrations which begin next week. Villagers, who were evicted say the Administration does not care and it does not even have our addresses. At least some of us could have been called to narrate the history. 

Chandigarh, September 29
Talking among themselves a group of old men still think about villages like Rurki Parao, Sehzadpur and Gurdaspura. In reality these names do not exist. These are erstwhile villages which along with 14 others were acquired 50 years ago to construct Chandigarh. For these men, now in the seventies and eighties, sectors do not matter as they still talk as if some of them have just visited them.

For these men, who were eye witnesses to the creation of Chandigarh, identifying places like Rurki Parao (Sector 17) or talking about a place called Bhangi Majra (Punjab Raj Bhavan) comes naturally. Sectors came much later on. You sit with them and you realise it. If somebody says Sehzadpur the others nod their heads as they all know that they are talking about a place where the PGI stands now.

For them names like Bajwari (Sector 23), Gurdaspura ( industrial area, phase I ), Kalher (Sector 15) are a world existing in their memories.

However, soon this will also be forgotten as young Sartaj Singh of Badheri is not able to make out what his grandfather and his friends are talking about. “ I just cannot visualise what they are speaking.”

Their lands were acquired and today they stand forgotten by the Chandigarh Administration. Promises made in 1950 during the land acquisition process have not been met with. Mewa Singh, a resident of erstwhile village of Kaliban (Sector 8) now in his late sixties recollects “seven persons died in police firing in the winter of 1951. Nobody, just nobody, listened to us and in June 1952 the villagers were herded out.”

A compromise was worked out in which the young men were never given any reservation in jobs as promised. The residential plots were never given except those who owned vast tracts of land. All this never materialised.

“We have nothing in writing to prove as most people in this area were uneducated who knew nothing about written promises,”says Angrez Singh Badheri, who has been fighting for the rights of villagers. Karnail Singh , now in his seventies, recalls that his land at Rurki Parao village along the old Ropar road, was acquired and he was re-settled in Mani Majra. “I was given only 18 acres in lieu which was also acquired in 1985 at Rs 27,000 per acre.

Today the Periphery Act, which was meant to protect the villages, has become a problem. While encroachments abound in the city, villagers cannot even add a room to meet the needs of their expanding families, the villagers lamented.



Fire in kiosks creates panic at Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
Fire broke out in two kiosks near Mata Mansa Devi shrine this evening.

The incident happened at around 6.45 pm today, when a piece of cloth hanging near a gas chullah in a kiosk owned by Balak Ram, near the temple, caught fire. The fire spread immediately and soon the whole kiosk was in flames. This led to panic in the area and the policemen on duty rushed to the site.

It took a lot of effort on the part of the DSP Headquarters, Mr Desh Bandhu, and his team to control the huge stream of devotees that rushed towards the Shaktipeeth.

By the time the fire tender parked at the temple and another one from the Fire Station, Panchkula, and from the neighbouring Manimajra rushed to the spot, the fire had spread to the adjacent kiosk of Ms Sharda. The firemen controlled the fire within 20 minutes. Mr Balak Ram said cosmetic goods worth Rs 30,000, kept in his kiosk were destroyed in the fire. Goods worth Rs 6,000 were also destroyed in the other kiosk.

Meanwhile, a bhajan sandhya programme was organised on the temple premises this evening. Artists of the Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Department presented a combination of devotional and folk songs, which left the devotees spell bound.

The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Administrator of Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, informed that so far a sum of Rs 6.77 lakh, 10 grams of gold and over one kilogram of silver had been donated at the temple by devotees. Till now, over two lakh devotees have already paid their obeisance at the temple. 



MC House adjourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
It was a day of the Opposition at the General House meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. Led by BJP councillor Gian Chand Gupta, the Opposition almost cornered the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, on certain issues, before the meeting was adjourned without discussing the agenda items.

The Mayor said he had to be present at functions to be attended by the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and adjourned the meeting. The BJP councillors, however, said the meeting could have been advanced as there was prior information about the visit.

Mr Chawla, who went to see off the President at the Chandigarh airport in the evening, said it was well within his right to adjourn the meeting. He said he was not evading any queries of the Opposition and the agenda items would be discussed at the next meeting. He advised the Opposition councillors not to act as investigating policemen.

Mr Gupta said the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act allowed the Senior Deputy Mayor or the Deputy Mayor to chair the General House meeting in the absence of the Mayor. Within minutes of the House proposing certain changes in the guidelines to allow yoga classes in Community centres, the Commissioner pointed out that the Chandigarh Administration had objected to the manner in which the proceedings of meetings of the House were being recorded.

On a question raised by Ms Lalit Joshi on the development of parks in the city, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr P.C. Sanghi, Mr Gupta and Ms Harjinder Kaur demanded that a policy on the maintenance of parks be taken up at in the meeting. Ms Joshi said crores of rupee spent on the development of parks were going down the drain as no parks were being maintained. The Mayor suggested that the issue be brought in the House after discussing it in the Environment Committee meeting.

When the issue of parks was being discussed, Mr Gupta sought a reply from the Mayor on why his questions and agenda items had not been included. He said as per the rule, he had filed his questions and agenda items 14 days in advance. He demanded information on the status of the inquiry in the illegal recruitment of firemen in the corporation. He said for the past nine months, the committee looking in the illegal appointments had not met. Mr Gupta said the corporation was suffering losses due to a practice being adopted by councillors to reduce fine amount on challans issued by the enforcement staff. 


Worship to achieve nirvana, says
Sant Daya Parkash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Sant Daya Parkash, a 90-year-old saint from Nainital, yesterday called upon the masses not to worship just for the sake of religion but to achieve ‘Nirvana’. The saint, who was delivering a sermon at Yesu Satsang at Punjab Kala Bhavan in Sector 16 here, said all religions preached peace and harmony.

While the world was witnessing violence, all religions preached tolerance towards one another. He expressed dismay that while books had been written on religions, nobody wrote and talked about Nirvana. It was through meditation that hatred could be eradicated.

A gathering of at least 200 persons from different religious faiths immersed itself in bhajan and kirtan and heard teachings of Lord Jesus Christ.



Cop hurts self while servicing pistol
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A Head Constable of the Chandigarh Police today received bullet injuries in his stomach when his pistol went off accidentally while he was servicing it in his official vehicle stationed on the Dakshin Marg near the Sector 33 petrol station.

Head Constable Surinder Kumar (38), who received a shot in his stomach just below the heart in the right side, was admitted to the PGI where he was stated to be out of danger.

The Head Constable was in the highway medical van stationed on Dakshim Marg near the Sector 33 petrol station when the accident happened.

The Sector 34 police station has seized the pistol, four live cartridges and taken the vehicle for investigation.

Surinder Kumar was in charge and the driver of the van. His colleagues said the Head Constable had returned on duty yesterday after a visit to his home town in Haryana.

However, the officers who visited the accident site said it was surprising that the Head Constable was servicing his pistol in the highway security-cum-medical van. Moreover, the barrel of the pistol was not in the right direction.

They said the direction of the fire arm while being serviced should either be skywards or groundwards.

He was taken to the hospital by the Police Control Room van where the DSP of the PCR Vijay Pal also reached.



FIR registered on MC complaint
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
The ongoing feud between the Founder of Peoples Voice Gods Voice (PVGV) leader, Mr B.L. Tandon, and the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council got murkier, with the latter asking the police to book Mr Tandon for forgery and misrepresenting facts.

In his complaint to the police, Executive Officer, O.P. Sihag has alleged that Mr Tandon was trying to influence the council. He has alleged that Mr Tandon had been misusing the names of certain dignataries by showing them as being office-bearers of the PVGV.

He said Dr Tandon had mentioned the name of Justice (retd) Kuldeep Singh as the Chief Patron of the group and his address mentioned on the letter head was found to be false as a lawyer was staying in this house for the past three years. Mr Sihag also alleged that the other dignitaries, whose name was mentioned as Patron and Adviser- Lieut Gen (retd) J.L. Malhotra and former Engineer in Chief, H.S. Yadav respectively have also denied that they were associated with the PVGV.

The police, after seeking a legal opinion, has registered an FIR under Sections 468, 469, 474 and 471 of the IPC against Mr Tandon.

Mr Tandon, through the PVGV had demanded vigilance inquiry into the alleged “fraud of about Rs 6 lakh in the work of removal of congress grass from roads and vacant plots and alleged false payment of Rs 14. 40 lakh to the sanitation contractor. Mr B L Tandon, had claimed that the area affected by congress grass was about 225000 square meters , after excluding the area already maintained by residents.”

At the rate of Rs 0.75 per sq meter), the total cost comes out to be Rs 1.70 lakh, whereas the total payment made to the contractor is about Rs 6 lakh. Mr Tandon had also alleged that the sanitation contract was violated by the contractor, who had employed only 200 sweepers as against 295 sweepers, specified in the contract agreement.

The council had denied the allegations and threatened to take legal action against Mr Tandon. Inspite of repeated attempts to contact Mr Tandon, he was not available for comments.



Raising ex-militants’ battalion is not correct
Col. Pritam Bhullar (retd.)

THE Army has taken up a proposal with the government to raise a Territorial Infantry battalion of Jammu and Kashmir militants, who have surrendered and shown willingness to give up terrorism, said the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Shantonu Chaudhury, in New Delhi recently. The Army, according to General Chaudhury, is stepping up its efforts to win back the misguided youth and even get them to train guns on their former mentors and colleagues.

To quell militancy, it is essential to win over the misguided militants in order to bring them back to the mainstream. There are many ways to do this such as helping them in their school and college education, providing them with good job opportunities and protection from the militants. Sponsoring of 101 terrorism-affected children for education at Army Public School, Beas, near Amritsar, is a step in the right direction. Many more children from Jammu and Kashmir should be given free education in the schools in other parts of the country.

But it seems difficult to convince ones mind on recruiting former militants in the Army. The Army is too sensitive an organisation to be thrown open to them. This is not to say that they should never be trusted for the rest of their life. But what is needed is to give them time to become part and parcel of the mainstream and to reprove their credentials. It should only be then that the Army recruitment is laid open to them.


The history of the present Battle Honours’ mess in New Delhi, dates back to September 1970, when it was established in its present location at Sardar Patel Marg. It was then called SP Marg Officers’ Mess and was shared by the Army and the Navy.

When the Navy established its own mess in Kota House in 1985, this mess became the Army mess and was re-designated as the Army Battle Honours’ Mess in April 1986.

This mess has two wings. One is used for holding official functions on behalf of the Army chief. The other wing is used for holding social functions of various branches of the Army Headquarters. This wing also caters to the boarding and lodging of officers posted at the Army Headquarters. The officers who go to New Delhi on temporary duty are also accommodated in this wing.


Never has in the past so much good been done to the ex-servicemen, their dependents and widows by the Army in their pensionary and welfare problems as in the last one year. Thanks to the new experiment launched by the Headquarters Western Command of establishing a helpline in the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, on September 15, 2002.

In the last Army commanders’ conference, all commanders were told that they should also start this service.

When the new experiment was launched last year, many serving and retired soldiers were skeptical about its success. Since this was the brainchild of the Western Army Commander, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, even this writer asked the General in November 2002 whether it would succeed. His reply was: “It will be made to succeed”.


The 27th Infantry Commanders’ Conference was held at Infantry School, Mhow, recently. The conference, which is a biennial event, was attended by the Army chief, Gen N.C. Vij, three Army Commanders, a number of field commanders, heads of the training establishments and by Army Headquarters Principal Staff Officers.

The infantry is the most important fighting arm which physically closes with the enemy to destroy or capture him. The conference brought out the strengths and weakness of the infantry and emphasised upon its early modernisation through the presentation of papers and discussions.

Some of the innovative training aids, which are being used by Infantry School at present, were also put on display. Lieut-Gen K. Nagaraj, Director General, Infantry, moderated the deliberations.



Ex-Services League meets on Oct 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The annual general body meeting of the Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Ex-Services League will be held on October 19 at Giani Gurmukh Singh Bhavan, Sector 24.

According to a statement issued here today, issues related to the welfare of ex-servicemen and widows will be discussed during the meeting. All members have been requested to attend the meeting and forward the points they wish to be raised in writing to the league’s secretary-general at 1441, Sector 34, by October 10.



Senior citizens Mauritius bound
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A delegation of senior citizens from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula will be visiting Mauritius at the invitation of the Mauritius Government. The delegation will interact with the Senior Citizens Council.

The delegation will also meet the Mauritius Prime Minister on October 4 and call on the President of Mauritius.

Senior citizens of Mauritius will be invited to visit India for international understanding and greater cooperation amongst the senior citizens.

The visitors will fly from New Delhi on October 1. They will be joined by some members from other parts of the country and tour Mauritius for a week.

The delegation consists of Mr J.K. Kapur, Mrs and Col Jasbir Singh, Mrs and Mr J.K. Sarna, Ms Sharda Kama, Mrs and Mr Manmohan Singh Walia. Mr H.L. Dhammi, president, Senior Citizens Federation (North Zone) Member Council for Old People, Government of India, will lead the group.



Discussion on stress management

Chandigarh, September 29
The ways and methods to beat stress were discussed by experts and members of the legal fraternity during a work session on stress management organised as a part of the two-day international legal conference.

Addressing a gathering at Panjab University’s ICSSR Hall, speakers, including Brahmkumaris, spoke on the topic. They stressed upon the need to relax while taking steps for the eradication of stress caused due to the environment. — TNS



N.S. Rattan bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Manju Rattan, wife of Mr N.S. Rattan, Principal Secretary for Higher Education and Languages, Punjab, died on Saturday after a brief illness.

Kirtan and antim ardas will be held on October 2 between 12 noon and 2 pm at their residence, 168, Sector 33 A, Chandigarh.


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