Thursday, October 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Visually challenged protester falls from building
Fighting for life at PGI; Netraheen Sangh suspects foul play
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, October 1
A visually challenged man, Bishan Singh, who was taking part in an agitation by the Netraheen Jagriti Sangh, Haryana, is fighting for life in the PGI after he fell from the fourth floor of a building in Sector 17 this morning under mysterious circumstances.

Bishan Singh, 23, hailing from Jhajhar in Haryana , was among the sangh activists demanding job reservation for the visually challenged.

His fellow activists alleged that Bishan was pushed from the fourth floor by a person. According to sangh activists, Bishan and two others were allegedly taken to the fourth floor by someone who promised to arrange a meeting between Mr Roshan Lal, Director Secondary Education, Haryana, and the agitating blind unemployed youth. As Mr Roshan Lal had been transferred to the Health and Medical Education Department yesterday, meeting him was out of the question.

Mr Roshan Lal said he did not know about the incident as he had handed over the charge of the post yesterday following his transfer.

On the other hand, sources at the 30 Bays Building in Sector 17, where the incident occurred, claimed that it was an accident. The sources said Bishan Singh, along with two other blind persons entered the ladies toilet on the fourth floor of the building. They said Bishan Singh accidentally stepped into a duct made for drainage pipes and landed onto the ground floor of the building.

Bishan Singh was reportedly found lying on the ground floor with his clothes smeared in dirt. He was later taken to the PGI with severe injuries. Efforts by this correspondent to speak to him in the hospital this evening proved futile as he was not in a position to narrate the incident.

The victim is a student of MA (political science) at GMN College, Ambala and is staying at SD Blind Institute, Ambala. Till the time of filing this report, no case had been registered. The UT SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, said the police had received a complaint and was trying to corroborate the statements of the activists.

Sangh activists later marched to the Matka Chowk here and demanded that the Haryana Chief Minister should visit them to listen to their grievances. The sangh and the National Handicapped Welfare Council, Haryana, has demanded a judicial inquiry by an officer not below the rank of Sessions Judge. The two organisations have also asked the Haryana Government to bear the treatment expenses of Bishan Singh.

Bishan Singh and two other visually challenged persons, Mangal Sen Kapoor and Ram Niwas Verma, were allegedly taken to the building by a person on the pretext of arranging a meeting with theofficer concerned around 9.15 a.m.

‘‘We heard Bishan shouting for help. Later, we were told that he was lying in a sewer on the ground floor’’ claimed Kapoor. Members of the sangh alleged that Bishan was pushed into an duct pipeline.

The sangh activists are sitting in dharna opposite the 30 Bays Building demanding one per cent reservation in all government departments for visually challenged persons.

Jagjit Singh Saini, general secretary of the sangh, said the incident was a deliberate act aimed at discouraging them continuing from their agitation. ‘‘In July, 1999, a sangh activist, Sanjay Kumar Lamba of Bhivani, had mysteriously disappeared and Sat Pal Singh of Sirsa met the same fate in March, 2002’’.

Meanwhile, general secretary Shyam Sunder Shukla, talking to Chandigarh Tribune, demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident by a judicial officer.


Fake documents used to get admission
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Panjab University has detected 11 cases of admission using fake documents to various undergraduate courses. Of these, at least five have been detected in affiliated colleges at Ludhiana. Six cases have come to light in which students had applied as private candidates.

Following a report in Ludhiana Tribune on August 20, pointing out the use of a forged stamp of the Controller of Examinations, teams of the examination branch including Dr Sodhi Ram, Controller of Examinations, visited colleges in Ludhiana and detected the cases. These were reported from Kamla Lotia SD College, Guru Nanak Girls College and Government College, sources said.

During investigations, it was found that certain students from Bathinda and Faridkot, who were appearing as private candidates, had also submitted fake documents. "This may be just the tip of the iceberg and I do not rule out more cases", a senior official of the examination branch said.

Meanwhile, the university has constituted a committee to go into the details of the case. The committee comprises Prof Ramesh Kapoor, Dean, College Development Council, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Dr Sodhi Ram, Mr Ashok Bandari, Joint Controller of Examinations, and Prof R.D. Anand. Students who had failed in the university examinations procured fake papers using fake stamp of the Controller of Examinations to show themselves as having passed the earlier examination and secured admission in the higher class.

The university teams took along the official records and compared these to the ones submitted with the admission forms. The university committee called for principals of the colleges concerned and the students.

The principals of the colleges turned up for the meeting. However, the students did not come. The university has decided to give them another chance.

Two years ago, a number of cases of fake admissions had come to light. Interestingly, a majority of those cases also pertained to colleges in the Ludhiana region. In the cases, students had got "provisional degrees" made. This time they went a step ahead and forged "actual marks cards".

The stamps were even used for making fake admit cards for various university examinations. Students, during a talk with the Tribune correspondent in Ludhiana, had revealed how they had got fake stamps prepared from local vendors. Students had said, "It is mostly used in supplementary examinations. We choose the best students in the subject, buy a form, remove the admit card slip and paste a new picture".

It is worth mentioning that the university intends to improve the preparation of marks cards in future. The marks sheets will be marked with secret logos or water-marks to give each one a distinct identity.


PGI Director plans power decentralisation
Tribune News Service

First decision

One of the first decisions taken by Prof Ganguly on assuming charge was the appointment of Prof S.B.S. Mann, Head of the ENT Department, as officiating Superintendent Hospital Engineers (SHE). The post of SHE had fallen vacant with the retirement of Prof R.J. Dash yesterday. 

Chandigarh, October 1
Even if it is for a short period of three months, the stop-gap arrangement of giving the additional charge of the Director, PGI, to Prof N.K. Ganguly could see the senior doctors being given more administrative powers and additional responsibility as part of the decentralistaion policy envisaged by the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“I am of the opinion that each one of us here at the PGI will have to take on additional responsibilities, and I would want that every individual is given total freedom to take decisions in discharging his duty,” remarked Prof Ganguly, while interacting with mediapersons, after assuming charge today. He has been appointed officiating Director, PGI, for a period of three months during which an inquiry will be conducted against Prof S.K. Sharma, who has been asked to proceed on leave.

As part of his decentralisation plan, Prof Ganguly interacted with senior faculty members who, he felt, were capable of shouldering additional responsibilities. Being the DG of the ICMR, Prof Ganguly intends devoting Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week to the PGI. “Though the PGI is far more important than the 26 institutes and 100 centres that are under me, I do not feel work here will suffer in any way because of my shuttling between Delhi and Chandigarh,” he opined.

Prof Ganguly, who was Head of the Experimental Medicine Department at the PGI, when his appointment as DG, ICMR, came through, has spent almost 35 years at the PGI, which, he feels, will make the task easier for him. He added that with senior administrative powers already delegated to officials like the Medical Superintendent, the Dean, the Deputy Director (Administration) and other faculty members, even in his absence no work would be delayed or hampered.

Dismissing apprehensions that the four-decade old institute was going through a difficult phase, he termed the latest controversy as a “small gap” which the PGI was capable of resolving. “There should be no doubt on this account as the PGI has not lost the prestige and name it has earned for itself, not just in the region but in India,” he said.

While clarifying that even though he had additional charge for a brief period, nonetheless with his passion for research, this is one area where he would want more work to be done. “I want to ensure that the ongoing projects and programmes under the 10th Plan should not be hampered for want of finances,” he said.

To ensure that the PGI continues to be a centre of excellence, Prof Ganguly discussed all possible areas of critical patient care with doctors and senior faculty members.


George’s remarks irk ex-BSF officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Upset over Defence Minister George Fernandes’ remarks that the influx of Bangladeshi nationals into India is due to corruption in the paramilitary forces, retired Border Security Force (BSF) officers are taking up the matter with the force’s Director-General, asking him to get the matter clarified.

“The remarks made by the Defence Minister were inconsistent and improper,” Mr P.S. Bedi, former DIG, BSF and president of the Paramilitary Forces Retired Officers Association, told The Tribune. “Corruption, if any, in paramilitary forces guarding borders can only be limited to smuggling contraband. Where is the scope for corruption where an influx of such a large number of people is involved,” Mr Bedi questioned.

The Defence Minister, in his inaugural speech at a seminar on “integrated management of national security” organised here on September 27 and 28 had stated that it was due to corruption in paramilitary forces that about one lakh Bangladeshi migrants were entering India illegally every month and settling down in the border areas.

Terming the Defence Minister’s statement to be a cause of concern, another former DIG, Mr J.S. Bakshi, said that a large part of the force had been deployed on counter-insurgency duties in Jammu and Kashmir, leaving the borders thinly guarded. This point too was being raised with New Delhi.

Mr Bakshi said that they were also highlighting the peculiar alignment of the international border with Bangladesh where the demarcating line passed through villages, and in some cases over buildings and houses whose doors opened into either country, which made cross-border trafficking easy.

“Interference from local political outfits is also responsible for this problem,” Mr Bakshi said.

Stating that as in any other organisation, the BSF too had its share of “black sheep”, Mr Bedi said that there had been instances of personnel being court-martialled for dereliction of duty or wrongful acts. “But it is an outstretching act to shift the blame on to a single force over this issue,” he added.


He was the first to report Gandhi’s assassination
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The news of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination was first reported by a retired city journalist from Birla House, New Delhi.

R.A. Prabhakar (83) remembers having sent messages on the telephone to his Associated Press of India (API) office, which was then owned by an international news agency, Reuters.

“Gandhi shot at three times”, this was the first flash sent at 5.23 pm. At 5.26 pm he sent second telephonic message, “Worst is feared.” At 5.28 pm, he sent the third message, “Doctors have been called in.” And at 5.30 pm came the fourth and last message, “Bapu is no more”.

Prabhakar said he was not sure whether Gandhi’s last words were “Hey Ram” or “Hare Ram”. However, he believed that these must have been “Hey Ram”.

Prabhakar said when he rang up the then API Deputy General Manager, Thomas Fernandes, to give the information, the latter could not hear the message clearly. He asked if Prabhakar had said, “Gandhi shot dead”. Prabhakar said “no no no” and repeated the message, “Gandhi shot at three times”. This time Fernandes heard it right.

He remembers when Gandhi came down from the dais after the evening prayer. When the Mahatma was proceeding towards his room in Birla House, a dhoti kurta-clad person bowed before him and immediately fired three shots. Prabhakar said he saw each of the shots hitting the Father of the Nation.

Prabhakar’s journalistic instinct made him run towards the only telephone available in Birla House and hang on to it for the seven-minute between the firing of the shots and the death of the Mahatma.

The former journalist said the other reporters on the scene kept on pestering him in vain to leave the phone for them. He said after the shots were fired, the rest of the information came from other reporters who were fighting for grabbing the telephone and shrieking that doctors had been called in and Bapu had died.

Prabhakar said he had been covering Gandhi’s prayer meetings in Bhangi Colony, near Panchkuian Road, before the scene shifted to Birla House a few days before the assassination.

He does not remember what happened after the assassination saying that he immediately went to the office of the news organisation.

Prabhakar was also an eyewitness to the hearing of the appeal of Nathu Ram Godse against his death sentence. He had been posted for six months at Shimla to report the proceedings of the appeal being heard by a Bench of the Punjab High Court, then known as the Lahore High Court. He said Godse used to keep a towel and a glass of water during four hours of his almost daily statement in the court.

Though this is claimed to be the first official information of Gandhi’s assassination conveyed to the world, PTI, the reincarnation of the Associated Press of India, neither denied nor confirmed the claim.

The PTI General Manager and Editor-in-Chief, M.K. Razdan, when asked if he could confirm the claim, said, “I won’t know. I was a schoolgoing kid then.”


Durga Puja celebrations begin
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 1
The rhythmic notes of aarti filled the air as members of the Bengali community thronged different temples in the city and the surrounding areas for celebrating the first day of the Durga Puja.

The venues of prime celebrations were Banga Bhavans in Sector 35 and 37 and Kalibari in Sector 31. The devotees, dressed up in their festive best, also visited temples in Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

The celebrations started with Maha Shasthi. According to the temple authorities, Kalparambha was organised at 8 am followed by Bodh amantran and adhiwas. A cultural programme was also held in the evening.

Maha Saptami puja, chandipath and pushpanjali will be performed on Thursday. Mahashtami puja will start early in the morning on October 3 followed by chandipath and pushpanjali. Sandhi puja will also be organised on mahashtami. 


Land grabbed in connivance with police,
says civic body
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, October 1
The Nagar Panchayat authorities have alleged that members of the land mafia have connived with the local police to grab a piece of prime land adjacent to the Lohgarh police post. The land (shamlat) has been earmarked by the civic body for sinking a tubewell.

The civic body authorities alleged that police personnel threatened workers with dire consequences and directed them to suspend sinking of the tubewell. Abandoning the work, the contractor has left the borer at the site.

In a complaint to the civic body, contractor Banu Ram said police personnel from the Lohgarh police post came to the spot and directed his men to suspend the work. The contractor said construction material and machinery had been lying unused on the spot since Tuesday, causing him huge losses.

Mr Sharma had alleged that Satinder Singh Dhaliwal, a resident of Chandigarh, had been trying to grab the land. The police had registered a case against Dhaliwal on the directions of the SSP, Patiala.

Mr Prit Pal Singh Thind, DSP, Rajpura, visited the spot and asked the civic body to go ahead with the sinking of the tubewell as it was in public interest. Interestingly, sinking of the tubewell was stopped by the police after 20 days.

On the other hand, Dhaliwal had also got a case registered against Mr Sharma, alleging that the latter, along with a government official and at least three others, trespassed into his office at Modern Housing Complex and thrashed and abused him. Boards and other goods in the office were damaged and he was threatening with dire consequences, Dhaliwal alleged.

Talking to The Tribune, Dhaliwal said the Nagar Panchayat had no right over the land which was under his possession. He said no construction activity could be carried out as a case relating to the land was pending with a Rajpura court.

Mr Sharma, however, said the Nagar Panchayat had brought the matter to the notice of the Secretary, Department of Local Government, Punjab, Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, and the Subdivisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi, and a comprehensive report relating to the present status of the land had been sent to each of them.

When asked about the involvement of the police in restraining workers from sinking the tubewell, the Rajpura DSP said,‘‘I had been given additional charge of the Dera Bassi police. As Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, DSP, Dera Bassi, has rejoined duty, I am not aware of the case. ’’

Mr Brar was not available for comment. Mr Tajinder Singh, SHO, Dera Bassi, expressed his ignorance about suspension of work by the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. 


Suspended HC Additional Registrar surrenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The suspended Registrar (Additional) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Tara Chand, surrendered this evening before UT Police DSP S.C. Sagar in his office in Sector 17 after keeping the police on their toes for nine days. The police yesterday had procured an arrest warrant against him from the Area Magistrate.

Tara Chand was booked on September 22 for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income.

DSP Sagar said he would be produced before a court tomorrow to seek his remand for the verification of his properties allegedly owned by him and his wife.

Tara Chand seemed to have given in to the pressure of the Chandigarh Police mounted by securing an arrest warrant against him. Sources said Tara Chand quietly came to the Sector 17 office of the DSP inquiring into the case registered by the Registrar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 22 in the Sector 3 police station.

He had said the verification of the properties allegedly owned by him and his wife was still continuing. Mr Sagar said the documents seized from the Sector 40 residence of Tara Chand were still being studied.

The police had initially said that nothing “incriminating” was seized from the residence of Tara Chand. During the search operation in the house of Tara Chand stretching between 12 am and 3 am, Tara Chand was not found by the police on September 23.

Mr Sagar, who is investigating the matter, had got the house of Tara Chand videographed to gather evidence against him.

Before he surrendered, the police had also raided the Sector 51 residence of a relative of Tara Chand. Tara Chand and his wife allegedly owned properties in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Punjab, Gurgaon and Dharuhera.


Air Cmde Virk takes over as Air Officer Commanding
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 1
Air Cmde S.P.S. Virk, on promotion, assumed charge as Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Base Repair Depot, here today. He took over from Air Cmde S.B. Prashar, who retired from service yesterday after 34 years with the IAF.

Prior to assuming his present charge, Air Commodore Virk served as Chief of Aircraft and Chief of Planning at the depot. Meanwhile, Mrs Manjit Virk took over as president of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Local) from Mrs Santosh Prashar.

Addressing officers, airmen and civilian employees of the depot, Air Commodore Virk exhorted them to put in their best to achieve excellence in all fields. He wanted innovation and indigenisation of aero-spares to be the key focus areas.

Air Commodore Virk’s past experience includes serving as the chief engineering officer of a premiere Mirage 2000 base during the Kargil conflict, where he was instrumental in the adaptation of numerous new weapons which enhanced the operational capability of the Mirage fleet. He was specially selected to undergo training on Mirage 2000 maintenance in France. He has also served as engineering officer with several MiG 21 squadrons.

Ambala : Air Cmde L.K. Malhotra assumed command of the Air Force Station, Ambala, on Wednesday.

A ceremonial parade was held at the airbase to mark the occasion. The outgoing Air Officer Commanding, Air Cmde S.K. Sofat, has moved on promotion as Air Vice Marshal to Chandimandir.

Air Commodore Malhotra is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Defence Service Staff College and College of Combat, Mhow. He was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1973 as a fighter pilot. He has a total of 3800 flying hours on various fighter aircraft.

In his 30 years of service, Air Commodore Malhotra has held a number of important staff and field appointments such as Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron, Chief Operations Officer of a forward airbase in the Western Sector and senior staff appointment at Air Headquarters.

Meanwhile, Mrs Anu-radha Malhotra took over as president of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Local).


MNS celebrates Raising Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The Military Nursing Service (MNS) celebrated its 78th Raising Day in Chandimandir Cantonment, near here, today. A statement issued here said the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen N.C. Vij, GOC-in-C Western Command, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, Director-General, Armed Forces Medical Services, Director-General Medical Services (Army), and the Additional Director-General MNS, Major-Gen Usha Sikdar in their respective messages have extended their greetings and appreciated the high quality of nursing care provided by MNS officers.

Felicitating nursing officers, Brig L Pichu, Deputy Director, MNS, Western Command, said they would always stand in the forefront in providing care for the sick and the wounded.

Raised in 1927 as the Indian Military Nursing Service, its members were granted ranks matching those of Army officers in 1945. It was re-designated as MNS after Independence and occupied a pivitol role in the care of ailing troops and their families.

Officers of the MNS have proved their mettle and lived up to the expectations of the clientele in providing excellent nursing care in difficult terrains and uncongenial climates. Their deployment in disaster management in India and as members of the health teams in United Nations peacekeeping missions abroad has received wide appreciation.


Navratras ‘thali’ in, chilly chicken out
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 1
Even though Chandigarh’s sizzling chicken business has turned stale due to the on-going Navratras, restaurants and fast food joints in the city have come up with special thalis for those fasting and to remain in competition.

Little wonder, the Navratras no more signify long hours of going without food and surviving on just fruits. “Gone are the days when all you had to eat were apples and pears, besides potatoes,” says Sector 34 resident Neerja Prabhakar. “Now you have a choice.”

If you are having any doubts about her assertion, just drive down to the market. Everywhere you look, there are eating joints advertising special thalis. As soon as you step inside, you are offered “rotis” rolled out of “vrat” flour, besides dishes made of potatoes, including “alu-zeera”.

In case you are not against the consumption of milk products, there is "pineapple riata”. You can also have “vrat” rice, specially prepared for the occasion. Fruit salad is an added attraction.

If you wish to savour sweet dish after a sumptuous meal, there is “kheer” made of “sabutdana”. Fast food joints, on the other hand, are offering “alu-ki-tikki”, besides “papads” prepared of “sabutdana”. The price varies from place to place, but most joints are charging between Rs 40 and Rs 80.

Meanwhile, shops selling non-vegetarian products continue to wear a deserted look. “As a large number of residents are observing fasts for the Navratras, there are hardly any buyers for non-vegetarian food products,” says Shankar Sharma, a manager with an eating joint in Sector 35. “Even restaurants and bars rooms in the hotels and clubs are wearing an almost deserted look.”

This is evident from a visit to Sector 18 and rehri markets, besides other joints frequented by city residents, for savouring chilly chicken, besides the fried one. The business is “just not smooth” for liquor vends. “We had people purchasing bottles of liquor from our vend before parking their vehicles in front of the eating joints,” says Raman, working at a vend next to an eatery in Sector 35. “Now, they do not buy chicken and do not ask for the liquor bottles.”

Things are also very different in hotels, clubs and restaurants. There are very few people asking for beer. “The business has gone down,” says Dinesh Khaurana, working with a restaurant-cum-beer bar in Sector 17. “While every other shopkeeper is happy the sale of garments and other stuff, including jewellery, very few people are coming to us. Even our regular customers were staying away.”


2 cr being spent on old-age homes, says MLA
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 1
Old-age homes are being constructed in all villages of the state from the party fund of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the MP Area Development Fund.

This was announced by Mr Abhey Singh Chautala, MLA from Rori, while presiding over the International Elders Day celebrations at Day Care Centre here today. The function was organised by the Senior Citizens Council of Panchkula. Mr Chautala said a sum of Rs 2 crore from the MP Area Development Fund was being spent for setting up old age homes in Panchkula. He announced that an old age home would be set up at the rate of Rs 60 lakh near the Day Care Centre in Sector 15.

Mr Chautala said former Prime Minister, Devi Lal and the Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, had initiated pension schemes for the aged as a social security measure. On behalf of the Senior Citizens Council, he also honoured 10 old persons. They are — 102-year-old Himmat Bai, 90-year-old Amir Chand, 87-year-old-Dhanwant Singh, 86-year-old Tara Singh, 87-year-old JD Taneja, 86-year-old Jaswant Rai Gupta, 87-year-old Pushpawati, 85-year-old Roshan Lal Malhotra, 87-year-old KL Sethi and 95-year-old Banwari Lal.

Mr T.D. Mishra, a senior citizen, also enthralled the audience with a ghazal programme. Wg Cdr. H.L. Ratta, president of the council, highlighhted the achievements of the council. The Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Satwanti Ahlawat, SP Ranbir S Sharma, and other officers of the administration were also present.

Mr Chautala also inaugurated a public park constructed by the municipal committee, Pinjore, at Rattpur Colony in Pinjore. The park has been made at the cost of Rs 3 lakh and named as Chaudhry Devi Lal Park. The total area of the park is 1000 square yards. Swings have been installed for children in this park and walking tracks created for the elderly.

Mr Chautala later inaugurated the musical fountain constructed in the Mansa Devi shrine complex, near the puja sthal. 


Age for issuing I-cards to senior citizens lowered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The age for issuance of identity cards for Senior Citizens had been lowered from 65 to 60, announced the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), at the conclusion of senior citizens month here today. He said keeping in view the specific problem of senior citizens, the Identity card Section of the Social Welfare Department had also been shifted from the IVth floor to the ground floor.

The Administrator made a series of announcements to make life easier for senior citizens of Chandigarh at a function organised by the Chandigarh Senior Citizen Association at Tagore Theatre. Justice Verma said in future, LIG and EWS housing schemes of the Chandigarh Housing Board would have 10 per cent reservation for the senior citizens, over and above other reservation.

Justice Verma said instructions had been issued for showing regard to the senior citizen, approaching any public-service window in UT Administration offices. He said all OPDs of dispensaries and hospitals would give preference for check-up to the senior citizens. In the Estate Office and the Vehicle Registration office, there was a provision for separate queues for the senior citizen. Besides this, the Senior Citizens were being provided old-age pension of Rs.200 per month. The CTU had also acquired new low floored buses so that the senior citizens do not face any problem in commuting.

Earlier, Brig Keshav Chandra said the association proposed to launch a helpline for the senior citizens in the near future. A pilot project to this effect would be started shortly. The association, in line with their theme for the next year, namely senior citizens for the nation, planned to play a proactive role in fighting corruption, instilling democratic values, protecting environment and other socially relevant areas.

Other who spoke on the occasion were Maj-Gen J.S. Bhullar(retd), chairman of the association, Mr P.H. Vaishnav, a former Chief Secretary, Punjab, and Col S.S. Bedi (retd), vice- president and chairman Seniors’ Day Organising Committee.


Retired but not relieved from post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Jaspal ChandEver heard of a retired person not being relieved of charge for months as his department fails to find his replacement.

Seems strange. But this exactly has happened with Mr Jaspal Chand, a Junior Engineer, who has been running from pillar to post to seek his pension benefits from the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. Representations to the Chief Engineer of the Corporation has failed to bring justice to the Junior Engineer.

Depressed for not getting his post pension benefits, he told the TNS that since no official of the Corporation was ready to be posted as Section Officer (SO), Store, Public Health Division no.1, he was not being relieved of his charge. The JEs who were posted against the post of SO got themselves transferred.

The problem for Jaspal Chand started when he retired on January 31 this year. As per rules, an employee has to hand over his charge on retirement. But this did not happen with Jaspal Chand. A JE, Mr Jaspal Singh, took only 80 per cent of the charge. As a result the no-dues certificate could not be issued to the victim.

Explaining his problem, Mr Chand said on September 6, 2001, he was transferred from Public Health Division no. 1 to Division no. 2. In his place , Mr Amar Singh, was posted. But soon he was transferred and Mr Jagjit Singh was posted in his place. “Mr Jagjit Singh refused to sign on the balance material in the stores as he was going to be promoted as SDO, alleged Mr Jaspal Chand.

Due to delay in taking over the charge I am not being issued the no dues certificate and my monthly pay with effect from October, 2001, to January, 2003, and the due increments had not been paid. Narrating his woes, the JE said due to delay in release of his pension benefits, he could not transfer to a private accommodation.


Repeal of periphery Act sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Hundreds of persons hailing from the villages within the union territory and also from adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana gathered in Sector 17 today and demanded the repeal of the Periphery Control Act and asked for the rehabilitation of families which were uprooted in 1966 from 11 villages to make way for the southern sectors of the city.

The Pind Bachao Committee , a body of villagers, also praised the efforts of the UT Administration in first getting a vast slum cleared and then doing away with the controversial rehabilitation policy for slum dwellers. Now the committee says the Administrator should intervene and help rehabilitate the villagers, who are all Punjabi and not migrants from UP and Bihar.


SMD (Central) to issue international driving permits

Chandigarh, October 1
The Chandigarh Administration has empowered Sub Divisional Magistrate (Central) to carry out the duty of issuing international driving permits to applicants provided they have a valid Indian driving licence, a travel ticket, passport and visa. The fee for the grant of international driving permits shall be charged at the rate of Rs 200.

The international driving permits shall be signed by the competent authority and not by any other official. TNS


Draw of lots for 200 plots held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 1
The draw of lots for over 200 plots in Sectors 12- A, 19, 25 and Mansa Devi Complex Sector 4, was held at the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) head office today. Almost 13,000 applicants had applied for the plots in varying size- four marla, six marla, 10 marla, 14 marlas, one kanal and two kanals. The draw of lots began at 11.30 in the morning and continued till 2. 30 pm in the afternoon.


Action against traffic offenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The Licensing Authority, Chandigarh, has taken action against two habitual traffic offenders on the recommendations of the Traffic Police.

According to an official note of the police, the action has been initiated under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. The offenders are: Hemant Sharma, a resident of 1499, Sector 42, who was challaned 10 times between February 12, 2000, and May 2, 2003, and Gagandeep Singh, a resident of 3136-A, Sector 39, was challaned 16 times between September 14, 1998, and December 18, 2002. 


Teenager kidnapped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
A 16-year-old girl of Daddu Majra was allegedly kidnapped by her cousin Vicky, a resident of Dhuri village in Sangrur district.

The Maloya police has registered a case of kidnapping under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint of Sukhbir, the father of the girl.

The father of the girl had reported that the teenager was missing since September 20. But yesterday he approached the police saying Vicky had allegedly kidnapped the girl.

The father of the girl said Vicky allegedly used to frequent their house and it was suspected that he might have taken away the girl.

The complainant said Vicky had not been seen since the girl disappeared.


SBOP opens new branch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Mr J.R. Devgan, General Manager, State Bank of (SBOP) Patiala, today inaugurated the 741st fully computerised branch in Sector 34 here with ATM facility. It will be the 31st outlet of the bank in the city.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Devgan said the bank had made significant strides in technology and was the first public sector bank in the country to achieve 100 per cent computerisation. The bank had identified resource officers, who would handle the financial needs of the various segments of society and explore the needs of personal finance products, including mutual funds and insurance products.

Mr Salil Misra, Deputy General Manager, Chandigarh Zone, Mr P.K. Goyal, Assistant Manager, and Mr V.A. Ghai, Assistant General Manager, were also present.

IndusInd Bank: The Panchkula branch of the IndusInd Bank celebrated the World Elders Day with prospective and existing clients. On the occasion, a quiz contest was held for senior citizens. Mr Ramesh Dingley of Sector 11 and Mr S.N. Verma of Sector 15, Panchkula, were declared the winners.


Shopping hungama from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
There is a good news for shoppers. Beginning from tomorrow, the Market Welfare Association of Sector 22-D, is organising a one-and-a-half month long ‘shopping hungama’. The widow of Dr M.S. Randhawa, the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, has been invited to declare the tomorrow’s inaugural function.

Apart from lighting of the buildings, special flower arrangements would be a treat to the eyes. The event being organised on the lines of the event held last year, organisers of the mega event today announced that the prize this time was a Maruti Esteem car along with three Maruti 800 cars. Addressing a press conference, Mr Arvind Jain, President of the market body, said this time a unique concept of mid-night shopping on selected weekends had been introduced.

Participating members of the market will open their shops till 11.30 pm to allow those to shop who could not spare time in the day. On Sundays, the shops would remain open from 2 pm to 9 pm. To blend the business activity with the golden jubilee celebrations of the city, the organisers today announced that events to highlight the heritage of the city were being organised.

Mr Jain said so far no communication had been received from the Administration or the municipal corporation to participate in the celebrations. He claimed that the requisite permission to hold the event had been sought from the Administration and corporation.

He said the idea of allowing weekly draw had not been finalised. The other prizes include washing machines, refrigerators, audio systems, TV’s, microwaves, computers and other items.


Jewellery exhibition from tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 1
Adding business sense to a woman’s favourite possession, Sercon presents Swarn Sambandh, an exhibition of jewellery, which is going to be inaugurated at Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17 from October 3. This four-day exhibition is sponsored by the World Gold Council, an apex organisation promoting the sale of gold.

The exhibition will showcase works of jewellers participating from various parts of the country, including Vishal Jewellers known for their ethnic range of accessories with a contemporary touch, Ornafine Jewellery for glittering diamond jewellery, Deepak Brothers and Mohak Jewels for rare kundan and polki collection from Jaipur.

The council supports Swarn Sambandh in its endeavour to provide a networking platform to jewellers who wish to develop their markets beyond their immediate cities and make the people aware of latest trends in jewellery.

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