Sunday, October 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 Army men involved in mortar shell blast
Tribune News Service

The police conducted search operations at two other scrap dealer shops along the Panchkula-Kalka national highway, near the cantonment area. This follows the suspicion that the mortar shells were pilfered from the cantonment area were finding their way to scrap dealers here. However, no mortar shells were found at other shops. 

Arvind Chauhan, one of the two prime witnesses in the blast last night has gone missing. The deaf and dumb employee at the shop was rushed to the PGI, along with the other seriously injured employee, Chander Bahadur last night. While the latter is undergoing treatment, Arvind, who had escaped with minor bruises, managed to slip from the PGI. The police say that they will be able to locate him soon. 

Panchkula, October 4
The blast in a scrap dealer's shop in old Panchkula last night has exposed the pilferage of old and unused mortars and shells from the cantonment area.
Last night's blast in old Panchkula, which had claimed two lives, reportedly occurred when a mortar shell brought to the shop for sale, allegedly by two Army men, was being broken to ascertain the amount of brass. These Army men had died in the blast and have now been identified as Lance Naik Bhupinder Singh and Lance Naik Satwant Singh of the 22 Sikh Regiment.

Though the regiment has already moved from the Western Command Headquarters to Jammu and Kashmir, the rear party of the regiment was left behind and the two men were a part of this rear party.

The two had reportedly left the cantonment around 7. 30 last night. The colleagues of the victims informed TNS that their bosses were away on leave and they managed to slip out of the cantonment area.

However, how they managed to smuggle out the over one-foot-long mortar shell from the cantonment area still remains a puzzle.

It is learnt that while Lance Naik Bhupinder Singh, hailing from Majra Jatta village of Nawanshahr, had put in 10 years of service, Lance Naik Satwant Singh from Rampur Channa village of Sangrur, had been in service for the past 13 years. Their relatives reached here today and the post-mortem examination was conducted after the arrival of these relatives.

The police suspects that they had stolen the mortar from the cantonment area and brought this to the scrap dealer for selling the brass in the mortar. Police officers investigating the case say that the parts of the mortar found at the site showed that it was several years old, and the accused tried to sold it off thinking that the explosive device would have been inactivated after years of lying unused.

The police say that they have specific information of the two Army men having visited the scrap dealer's shop on two earlier occasions.

Two empty shells were also found in this shop today, during a thorough investigation of the shop by the bomb disposal squad, the explosives wing of Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban, and anti-sabotage team with the Chief Minister, which was accompanied by sniffer dogs trained in discovering bombs.

Though the scrap dealer, Ram Swaroop Tiwari and his two sons — Pawan and Lalit — are still untraceable, their missives sent to the police have claimed that they had showed reluctance at buying the mortar from the Army men. Top police officers in the district, while requesting anonymity, said that so far it was suspected that the Army men had themselves broken the mortar shell to quell the fears of the scrap dealer about the shell being explosive. “The way the bodies of the two Army men have been blown to pieces, proves that they were themselves breaking the shell,” he says.

On the other hand, the Army authorities say that there is no evidence to link these army men with the mortar shell blast in the scrap dealers shop. “They could have gone there for any reason.

However, the Station Headquarters is conducting a routine inquiry, which is done in the case of death of any personnel on active duty. We are trying to ascertain the origin of the mortar shell,” said an Army spokesman. “A rear party's function is purely administrative and it will not have mortars in its possession. So obviously the shell came from somewhere else,” he added.



Man kills son
Our Correspondent

Kulwant Singh, who allegedly shot dead his son, at Sector 39 Police Station
Kulwant Singh, who allegedly shot dead his son, at Sector 39 Police Station in Chandigarh on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 4
Thirty two-year-old Davinder Singh, a resident of Sector 40, was allegedly shot dead by his father, Kulwant Singh, when he returned home drunk late last night. It was a brawl between the father and son, which had become a “routine affair”, that cost the son his life. The police said Kulwant Singh was also drunk at the time of the incident.

People close to Kulwant Singh said he had called up the police control room and his relatives to inform them about the incident. A case under Section 302 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered on the complaint of Ms Gurbachan Kaur, wife of Kulwant Singh.

Davinder Singh was married in 2000 to Ms Raman Deep Kaur. After two months of the marriage, his wife went to her parents in the USA and gave birth to a girl child there.

According to the police, at 10.30 pm yesterday, when Davinder Singh returned home drunk, there was a heated exchange with his father. Seeing the situation getting serious, neighbours tried to pacify them and informed some of their relatives, who arrived at their house.

After midnight, the father and son started fighting again. Unable to control his anger, Kulwant took out his .12 bore gun (a licensed one) and allegedly shot at his son in the chest, who died on the spot. Apart from the father and the son, Davinder’s mother, Gurbachan Kaur, was the only family member who was at home at that time. She is a retired teacher from the Punjab Education Department.

According to the police and people close to the family, Davinder had taken to drinking as he was unable to get a visa to join his wife in the USA for the past three years. Kulwant Singh was today produced in the court of UT Duty Magistrate, Ms Sangeeta Rai Sachdeva, who remanded him in police custody till October 7.



The demons end up in flames
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad here today on Dasehra marked the conclusion of Ramlilas in different parts of the city.
Huge crowds could be seen at the Parade Ground in Sector 17, Sector 29, Sector 7, Sector 27, Sector 26, Sector 46, Bapu Dham Colony and several other places. Children had a fun time buying bows, arrows and maces.

The Dasehra celebrations at Sector 46 had an added attraction as Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor, was also present there.

The Saraswati Dasehra Committee celebrated Dasehra at the Sectors 23, 24, 36 and 37 roundabout. Mr Jai Ram Joshi, chief coordinator, spoke on the occasion Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, was the guest of honour.

PANCHKULA: The festival which marks the victory of good over evil was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety at various places in the district.

The main function was organised by the Sanatan Dharam Sabha at the Circus Grounds in Sector 5. Mr V.K. Sood, councillor from ward No. 4, was the chief guest on the occasion. Huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad were set afire as hundreds of people cheered at the destruction of “evil”.

Functions were also organised in Sector 15, Sector 4, Ramgarh, Barwala and Kalka. The local police had a tough time controlling the crowds as they gathered on the roads after the celebrations.

Dasehra tomorrow: Dasehra will be celebrated at Ambala City and Cantonment tomorrow. The main function will be held at the Dasehra grounds. Residents of Lalru, Zirakpur and Dera Bassi will also celebrate Dasehra tomorrow. Residents said they were following the religious calendar. Pt Hans Raj Gautam from Dera Bassi said Punjab was observing “pachang” tomorrow as per the calendar so Dasehra was tomorrow.

Girls hurt: Two girls sustained burns during Dasehra celebrations near Raghunath temple in Sector 15, Panchkula, when a cracker from the effigy of Ravana fell on the two. While Ram Devi (11) sustained 40 per cent burns, Gudiya (12) escaped with minor injuries. The girls were taken to General Hospital, Panchkula, but Ram Devi was later referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.



Dasehra celebrated at Missionaries of Charity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The NSS volunteers of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, visited the Home of Missionaries of Charity, Sector 23, here today, to celebrate Dasehra with the inmates.

They distributed sweets and interacted with the children. The NSS unit also donated money and clothes to the home. The NSS Programme Officer of the college, Ms Neelam Rathee and Ms Cheena Gambhir, said the volunteers also visited the old-age Home in Sector 15 and the adopted village, Khudda Jassu.

Informative lectures on nutritional value in food and drug awareness were arranged for the villagers and volunteers. The volunteers also led a literacy and cleanliness campaign in the village and involved the residents with them.

Contests: Drawing and poetry contests were held for the children of Burail village here today. These were organised by the NSS volunteers of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45. The volunteers organised embroidery, dance and singing contests for women of the same village.

The volunteers presented two skits about the pulse polio immunisation campaign and female foeticide. Prizes were distributed by the volunteers among winners of various contests.

Later, the NSS Programme Officer, Ms Ramandeep Mann, explained to the villagers about waste management through vermiculture. She talked about utilising kitchen waste and cow dung to make manure.

In the post-lunch session, a class on pot painting was held. The volunteers also helped in raising money for Sahayta Charitable Trust for the treatment of cancer patients.



Dasehra turns private, public not allowed in
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 4
Mismanagement marred Dasehra organised by the Dasehra Committee, Phase VIII, here this evening. The function, which was supposed to be a public festival, turned into an ‘exclusive screening’ for card holders with the committee’s musclemen having a field day elbowing and pushing the public, stopping them from entering the arena.

The festival was in fact ‘hijacked’ by the organisers, some of them municipal councillors of the township, and turned into a show of political power. The organisers had cordoned off the 15 acres of Dasehra Ground and deployed musclemen to man the various entrances. Shouting, abusing elbowing and pushing all those who did not have the invitation card, the musclemen misbehaved with everyone, including women and children. The police, which was supposed to be in charge of security arrangements, remained a mute spectator and so did the President of the Municipal Council and other officers of the administration.

The public, forced to move on to the main road, led to a massive traffic jam and it was only then that the police intervened and asked the public to be allowed into the ground. But by this time hundreds of people had already perched themselves on a semi-constructed three-storey hospital building.

Minutes after the three effigies were burnt the committee members decided to let the public in, leading to a sudden rush with people falling over each other.

One of the residents said, ‘‘They have let in my son who had the card and now this man here at the gate Jagdish Singh is not allowing me and my wife to enter. He pushes us physically everytime we try to get near the gate to explain him the situation,’’ said another resident.

People perched on a semi-constructed hospital building in Phase VIII to witness the burning of effigies, following refusal by the committee to allow anyone without cards into the pandal.



Chaos on city roads
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
With little presence of the traffic police there was chaos on roads around major venues of Dasehra celebrations. Traffic jams were reported on the roads leading to Sectors 17, 19, 22, 34, 37, 45, 46, and Panjab University campus for more than an hour. Vendors along the roads at Dashera venues only added to the chaos.

Barring several minor accidents, no major mishap was reported from any part of the city. There was total chaos in Sector 17 as people had parked their vehicles in the markets of Sector 22, facing the bus stand, and near Shivalikview hotel. At the Sector 22 Aroma traffic light point, traffic policemen were busy in chasing youths driving two-wheelers without helmets. No effort was being made to regulate the traffic.

There was traffic jam opposite gate No. 2 of Panjab University at around 6.30 p.m. and motorists were seen jumping traffic lights.



Foreign policy not Pak-centric, says Sibal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
The Foreign Secretary, Mr Kanwal Sibal, tonight gave an overview of India’s Foreign Policy in the 21st century and identified the challenges and strategies that formed the contours of such a policy.

The focus of his address to the joint meeting of the Rotary Clubs of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, was India’s relations with its immediate neighbours vis-a-vis international geo-political equations with other countries. The underpinning factors that determined a country’s foreign policy were shaped as much by internal or domestic policies —political, social and economic—as strategic geographical location, resources and bargaining strength in the international arena.

Mr Sibal said with the decision to go nuclear in 1998, world opinion about India had changed. And its voice began to be heard with respect. Mr Sibal dealt on India-Pakistan problems at length and sought the co-operation of the media in projecting the ground realities in the proper perspective. He ridiculed those who believed that relations between the two countries could improve by either ‘’lighting candles at the Wagha or people-to-people programmes or dialogue’’. These were misplaced concepts, he added.

‘’One should not be taken in by Gen Pervez Musharraf’s oft-repeated offer of a dialogue. It is like trading bonds with fake currency. There cannot be any dialogue unless cross-border terrorism is stopped all together. The fact of the matter is that even war is just an option, not a solution. The very existence of India is a problem for Pakistan, which perceives it as a historic grievance’’.

Mr Sibal added that it was wrong to suggest that India’s foreign policy was Pakistan-centric. It was the other way round. Can India insulate itself, if Pakistan, as epicenter of terrorism, continues to export terrorism and support terrorists’’? Any action against Pakistan had to be viewed in the context of the presence of 140 million Indian Muslims, he emphasised.

Speaking about relations and the foreign policy, Mr Sibal explained that besides critical and strategic partnership, India had also to keep economic and trade relationship in view as the world had become a global village.

Since the world was now unipolar after the collapse of the USSR, the presence of and policies of the USA cannot be ignored on the world scene or for that matter the diminishing role of the UNO which, too, needed to restructure and reform.

He expressed concern over difficult relations with Bangladesh, which was denying India access to the North-East and also allowing Pakistan’s ISI and other insurgent groups to grow roots on its soil. But he warmed up to India’s developing equation with the USA, China, South Africa, Latin America or India’s lead-role at WTO meeting at Cancun. India, he went on, could not act as a ‘’big brother’’ or a ‘’big bully’’ to its neighbours, as that would be perceived as interfering in a country’s internal matters.

On the USA, he said certain obstacles in the way of strategic relationship still existed like on dual technology exchange. Similarly, the unmarked 4,000-km border with China was peaceful despite irritants, including China supplying nuclear knowledge and equipment to Pakistan.

Yet, India and China were getting closer. He talked of the India-China-Russia axis as also the Indian Ocean rim countries or India’s opening a window to the Gulf Co-operation Council or its growing proximity with Brazil and South Africa or trade ties with Mexico, all aimed at strengthening economic and trade ties.

He referred to India-Israel ties which had blossomed.He also talked of the collapse of old concepts of international relations and diplomacy and the emergence of the concept of ‘’right to intervention’’ in other sovereign countries eversince the Gulf war. “We have today intrusive diplomacy.”

Thus, for any foreign policy to be successful, it must have strong economic support, internal strength, steadfastness and stability as domestic policies detained any foreign policy.



Kashmir one of the issues with Pak: General Oberoi
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Kashmir need not be the focal point to improve Indo-Pak bilateral relations. Instead initiatives can be made in a host of other areas and the Kashmir issue can be tackled side-by-side.

Stating this while talking to The Tribune here, former Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi, who was recently on a visit to Pakistan, suggested an approach similar to that adopted with the Chinese. There has been a noticeable improvement in bilateral trade, commerce and exchange of delegations with China. “We have a much larger border issue with China, but despite this there has been improvement in relations in several fields,” he said.

The general, along with Lieut-Gen Satish Nambiar (retd) and two officials from the Ministry of External Affairs was the expert member in a large delegation comprising parliamentarians, journalists, social scientists and literary figures engaged in “Track-II” diplomacy. Besides interacting with their counterparts, retired military officers and the common Pakistani, the delegation also had a session with the Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraff.

General Oberoi said that after meeting a lot of people at all levels, his conclusion is that at the level of the common man, there is a lot of desire for peace. “They want peace and opening up of the borders with simple visa regulations. Most importantly, they want bilateral trade and commerce to begin,” he said.

However, at the level of the government, things are different as each side is reluctant to budge from its present position, the former Vice Army Chief said. While Pakistan wants bilateral dialogue to begin, India’s stance is that unless cross-border terrorism stops, there can be no dialogue.

“Pakistani Government’s public stance is that it is abating cross-border terrorism and that the Kashmiris are involved in a freedom struggle, while on the other hand it says that if a dialogue begins, they will be able to influence militants,” General Oberoi said. “This is somewhat of an admission that they are involved,” he added.

Now the question is whether Pakistan changes its stance or India agrees to a dialogue regardless of the status of cross-border terrorism. At present he does not see any “change in heart” in the Pakistani leadership, the general clarified.

General Oberoi said that Musharraf, with whom he used to speak regularly when both were serving as the Directors General Military Operations in their respective armies, has a one-track approach and thinks that whatever he is doing is right for his country. “He also has to look at his domestic problems and issues. He cannot change his Kashmir policy, which has been handed down to him by successive governments,” he said. “Also, Musharraf is the head of the Pakistani army and it does not suit the army to have an entirely peaceful situation,” he added.

Stating that the common Pakistani is well aware of his government’s support to militants in Kashmir and admitted it during interactions, General Oberoi said that a Pakistani journalist admitted that he had visited several training camps and further commented that militants in Kashmir would give up violence only when ordered to do so.

General Oberoi said restoration of airlinks is another issue. While Pakistan agrees to point-to-point flights between Indian and Pakistani cities, they are reluctant to allow overflights. “Overflights through Pakistani airspace will give us easier access to Afghanistan, something Pakistan is uncomfortable with,” the former Vice Army Chief said. “Indian influence in Afghanistan has grown considerably as the Afghanis are fonder of Indians. Pakistan feels that Afghanistan is its backyard and Indian influence would spoil its chance to control it,” he added.



Bodies of ITBP men reach city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The bodies of two Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel killed in an avalanche during a mountaineering expedition last month were received here with full service honours and sent to their native places in Himachal Pradesh.

The body of Yog Raj of the 24th Battalion has been sent to Rohru, near Shimla, while the body of Tasi Ram Negi of the 1st Battalion has been sent to Jangi village in Kinnaur district.

The bodies were airlifted from Barailley to the ITBP’s Transport Battalion here this afternoon. A ceremonial guard reversed the arms as a mark of respect, while a bugler sounded the last post. Wreaths were laid on the caskets by the DIG, ITBP, Mr P.P.S. Singh, the Additional DIG, Mr Paresh Jha, the Commandant, 6th Battalion, Mr A.S. Pattial, and other officers.

ITBP officers told The Tribune that the two were part of the eight-member team returning to the base after scaling the Pancha Chuli peak in the Kumaon-Garhwal Himalayas when they were buried under a massive avalanche on September 20.

Though rescue operations were launched by the IAF and the ITBP immediately, bad weather hampered the progress. “We had spotted the bodies a few days ago, but could retrieve them only on Wednesday,” an ITBP officer said. “The body of the team leader, Mr S.D. Sharma of the 15th Battalion, has still not been found, though there are reports that a water-bottle bearing the letters ‘SD’ has been recovered,” he added.

The bodies were brought from the forward location to Barailley this morning, where they were received by the ITBP Director-General, Mr R.C. Aggarwal, and given full service honours before being despatched to various locations.



Tu hi re... Hariharan
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

HariharanChandigarh, October 4
There is something intensely imaginative about Hariharan’s musical style that reflects the richness of Carnatic and the subtlety of Hindustani traditions. Literally born into music, he did not take long to master the art of song. Well before he started dotting the light musical concert circuits, he had won the All-India Sur Singaar contest in 1977, assuring himself a place among the stars. And even before he could realize what professional singing was all about, he had in hand the state award of the Uttar Pradesh government for his melodic rendering of a ghazal in “Gaman”, which had Jaidev’s music.

The self-effacing singer, who is now ready to act in two films, does not fail to mention his celebrated tutelage. “My father H.A.S. Mani was a Carnatic singer. I picked up nuances of the South Indian tradition from my mother Alamelu, who is now passing on the heritage to my sons.” From Carnatic, Hariharan went on to learn Hindustani classical music under Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan of the Rampur Seswan gharana. That was where he imbibed the finer elements of khayal, dadra, thumri and ghazal. Even today despite the fame films give him, Hariharan yearns for a sabbatical so that he can revert to khayal gayaki, his first love.

In Chandigarh on an invitation from the CII to present a concert meant to celebrate 50 years of city’s inception, Hariharan talked about the grim musical scene in India and about Colonial Cousins, the band he formed with composer Leslie Lewis in 1996. The singer began by mentioning “Pawa”, the South Indian film by Jaya Devi in which he is acting. “I play a feminist male opposite Khushboo. I am also doing a Hindi film for Deepak Khetani.” About music, Hariharan recalled his student days in Mumbai, which was loaded with musical influences.

“There was a range of western and Indian styles to choose from. We were already singing fusion. I was quite influenced by the hippie culture and I had the advantage because of my understanding of two styles of music,” informed Hariharan.

It’s little known that Hariharan, who renders most songs in Maniratnam and A.R. Rahman’s films, has sung many jingles. “I used to sing jingles for Leslie. It was by a sheer luck that we discovered our harmonious connection. That was when Colonial Cousins was born. We made music by blending Indian and western elements. I am now working towards a ghazal album. Besides, Colonial Cousins will shortly release a remix. That because the market demands beat oriented music.”

Confirming a drastic decline in music standards, Hariharan said, “People are being fed with all kinds of music. Why should they buy albums? Commerce is ruling the roost. I, however, don’t play to the gallery.” With versatility in his armour, Hariharan has released several successful ghazal albums, for which he also wrote lyrics. One of them, Gulfam, fetched him the Diva Award for Best Album of the Year in 1994.

The musician, however, is better known for his rendition of “Tu hi re…”in Maniratnam’s “Bombay”. The rendition of” Uyire uyire,” in the original South Indian version of “Bombay” earlier fetched him the Best Male Playback Singer awared in the Tamil Nadu State Government Film Awards, 1995. Considering ingenuity his asset, Hariharan explained, “My range pays, so does knowledge of two traditions.”

While films go on, Hariharan loves to fuse music. No wonder he, along with Leslie took Colonial Cousins to great heights. Colonial Cousins was the first Indian act to be featured on MTV Unplugged. 



Hariharan’s ingenious style to fore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Once in a while, it pays to take time off the daily rut and soak in the timeless melodies rendered by people wedded to music. This evening brought in its fold one such rendezvous with a musical style that peculiarly defines the genius of Hariharan, who is known to dress up melodies with awesome liberty and commanding them as if they were born to him.

The audience and the ambience at the lush green lawns of the Confederation of Indian Industries, which hosted the musical evening today, complimented the show which bared Hariharan’s distinctive and ingenious style to the hilt.

After a long drawn introduction of the singer and his accompanists — sarangi player Ustad Liaqat Ali Khan, Pradeep Pandit on harmonium, Rajeev on tabla, Chintu Singh on guitar and Santosh Bajpai on the keyboards — the evening was handed over to Hariharan, who rolled it on the wheels of eternal melodies and purposeful lyrics.

The first presentation of the evening came from Hariharan’s album, “Kaash”, which won him an award recently. Weaving meaningful statements on the state of affairs in the country into his musical offerings, the presenter made every ghazal relevant to those seated in the venue. “Kaash aisa koi manzar hota....mere kaandhe pe tera sar hota...came as the maiden presentation of the concert, held to mark 50 years of Chandigarh’s birth.

The show, however, went on without any loss of energy on the part of performers and without any lack of attention on the part of the listeners. After doling out a soulful number from his album, Hariharan went on to sing ghazals in quick succession. From Shakeel Azmi’s, “Galat hai muskarana chahta hai...woh apna gham chupana chahta hai...” to Muzaffar Warsi’s narration of life in “Jhoom le hans bol le, pyari agar hai zindagi...Saans ke bas ek jhonke ka safar hai zindagi”, Hariharan sculpted life on stage, using music and rhythm as tools for creation. Naturally, he evoked tremendous response.

As the audience began joining hands for the singer, he loaded them with rich music by offering one film hit after another. In line came Khamoshi’s “Baahon ke darmiyaan”, the title song of the latest film “Dhoop”, the blockbuster song from film “Roja” and finally the ultimate it “Tu hi re” from Bombay. As the show wrapped up, the singer also informed the audience that he was visiting Chandigarh for the first time and that its open and free spaces inspired him a lot.

The event marked the conclusion of the three-day celebration of Chandigarh's golden jubilee, arranged by the CII, along with media sponsors, The Tribune.



Treacherous trench irks villagers
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, October 4
Unfinished work on a sewerage line has become a nightmare for residents of Bartana village and a number of colonies that have come up in this part of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. Courtesy the civic body, a deep trench has been dug on the village link road in Govind Vihar Colony, work on which was abandoned after a day, and left uncovered.

Residents of the area complained that the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat authorities had started the work on laying the sewerage line in the area after a long time but that too was left unfinished.

The deep trench dug with the help of an earth mover is posing a great threat to the lives of road users.

Moreover, the authorities have not placed any warning boards on either end of the road so that motorists could opt for an alternative route to their respective destinations. Besides, the heaps of loose soil piled along the trench have caused road congestion. A cloud of dust is formed each time a vehicle crosses the spot. This is not only causing inconvenience to road users but also becoming a cause of concern for residents of the surrounding houses as well as shopkeepers.

Mr Jaswant Singh Sandhu, a resident of Bartana village, complained that minor accidents at the spot have become a routine feature. The problem aggravates during night as speeding vehicles ram into the heaps of the soil piled amid the road.

The residents claim that heavy vehicles heading towards Panchkula, Industrial Area Panchkula, Mauli Jagran in Chandigarh and Chandigarh railway station have been using the streets of various colonies, thus putting the residents to great hardship.

When contacted, Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, admitted that the residents were facing great hardship because of the unfinished work on the sewerage line. He, however, said the matter had been brought to the notice of the Executive Engineer of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. The contractor has also been directed to speed up the laying of sewerage line in the area.



A stranger in the city
David M. Thangliana

Every city has its own contradictions and Chandigarh is no different, so it would seem. When I first arrived in the city a week or so ago, I was told by the man who met me at the railway station, Dr N.K. Sharma from the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends that this city used to be known as a “city of long roads and high winds”. This, subsequently, changed to a “city of retirees” as retirees from the government sector seemed to prefer to live out their lives in this city.

Coming across a brochure that explained the city’s existence, I again was informed that Chandigarh was known as the “City Beautiful” because Le Corbusier had taken so much pain to see that it became a city of infinite rectangles. However much I would have liked the acronyms to end here, I am sad to say this was not the case. I have also heard it being called “The Faceless City” and “The city without landmarks”. So from the many acronyms, as a first-timer to this city, cannot but come to the conclusion that Chandigarh is not at all what it is painted to be in the tourist brochures.

My landlord, the kind and helpful Mr Vinod Bali is adamant that my conclusions are wrong. “The city does not go to sleep at 8 O'clock” (as I have been told at some point), “The city is not of retirees", "You have been given the wrong impression by the wrong people” so on and so forth he goes in defence of the city he loves so much. So, I said to myself that I needed to go out on a fact-finding mission.

I must, reluctant as I am to say it, mention that at this juncture, I would be completely lost without a local guide, as I cannot find street names in the long roads except at the bigger round-abouts! Since I cannot find prominent signs that designate the different localities known as “sectors” in this planned city, I also find it quite a bit problematic (a non-existent one for the locals, but a major problem for a stranger) moving from one place to another. So, the definition given by a colleague in the journalistic world that this city was a city without landmarks is greatly justified, from my point of view as soon as I stray away from my familiar surroundings.

I am privileged to be in this city at the time it is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I never knew my visit here would coincide with this. Therefore, being a journalist and having been attached to the oldest and most prestigious of newspapers in these parts — The Tribune — for a short while, I thought “Why not let the readers of this newspaper get an insight of what a complete stranger feels about this city?” The result is this short summation of a city that created purely out of necessity in the late 1940s and completed in the early 1950s.

Chandigarh is a very complex city being the seat of three governments. This could have resulted in the high crime rate of 64.46 per cent here recorded in 1999, way above national average from the latest statistic that was available to me at short notice. The crime rate, however, seems to have declined according to the yearly round-up report in The Tribune last year. Nonetheless, the report said there were more and more people arrested for carrying knives, guns and other lethal weapons and that the number of people caught dealing in drugs was on the rise. A report as recent as September 25, 2003, in The Tribune said cars were being stolen from the streets and gold ornaments and cash were taken from residential houses during the daytime.

So this very modern city maybe a tad unsafe for the law-abiding but unwary persons going about their legitimate business. On the upside, I heard in my home state Mizoram that the Chandigarh police is the most polite and helpful of all police force in the country. Should you be out in the streets a bit late in the night, they will escort you home and deposit you on your doorstep. If you have been partying a bit louder than usual, they will knock on your door and politely inform you to turn down your volume as you are depriving your neighbours of their sleep. Could it be that politeness has been so deeply ingrained in them that they are cordial even to the anti-social elements to such an extent that they (the-socials) think they can have a free hand?

Anyway, inquiries have revealed that you need have no fear of the police if don’t go about breaking the laws. Hopefully, this will not apply to those people who have no intention of earning a living legitimately.

As for the people, what else can I say but that they are one of the most hospitable in the country? They are polite and despite my limited Hindi, I can get across to them what I want and most of the time, they take great pains at what I am trying to convey to them. This cuts across all section of society.

As for the other aspects that are to be found anywhere in a city, Chandigarh is also no stranger to the drug and prostitution problems that have burdened the human race all across the globe. Inquiries into these areas have led to information that may be shocking, but nevertheless true, to those who are more sheltered to these facts than others. However, I will not go into details since this may be stale news to the people of Chandigarh. If not, then the authorities need to sit up and tackle the problem.

If I were asked to give some advice on how Chandigarh could be improved, I would say that it needed more signs that are prominent, more wayside amenities like public toilets and public conveyance stands. For those who may want to walk instead of taking some sort of conveyance, these are most necessary.

For the moneyed stranger, there may not be problems. However, for ordinary people who are not as fortunate in amassing fortunes, Chandigarh can be a very costly city with most of the money going towards conveyance, lodgings and food.

The writer is a journalist from Mizoram who is currently with The Tribune on a fellowship from the National Foundation for India.



Tell your kids to play safe this festive season
Monica Sharma

Do’s and dont’s

  • Parents should discourage children from buying bows and arrows, they can prove to be “dangerous”.
  • If children insist, they should be allowed to play, but only under the supervision of adults.
  • A safe way is to tell the children to stand in a line not facing each other.
  • They should not be allowed to aim at one another.
  • In case of a mishap, the victim should be immediately rushed to the hospital.

Chandigarh, October 4
It happened last year. A Class X student was rushed to a private clinic in Sector 23 with an eye injury. He, along with his friend, were playing with bow and arrows when a misdirected shot left him bleeding.

For over a month, the 14-year-old student had to walk with a bandage over his eye. Even after the bandage was removed, Raman Sharma suffered from blurred vision for over six months. In fact, he still cannot ride a bicycle without the apprehension of misjudging the distance. Today, studying arts in a school, he has just one message to convey: “Do not play with bows and arrows unless some elder is around”.

Rahul’s case is not an isolated one. Every year, a large number of young innocents are wheeled into the hospitals and clinics all over the city with eye injuries sustained while playing with bows and arrows during the festive season.

Confirming the information, a senior doctor with the PGI says that the number of such patients increase manifold around Dasehra.

He says: “The rest of the year, you hardly find balloon-sellers and such vendors selling bows and arrows, so, kids are not tempted to buy the stuff. However, during the festival season, most vendors start selling these things. Falling prey to temptation, the children either pull out money to buy the stuff or force their parents to do it.”

Giving details, the doctor says, “Just before the Dasehra celebrations, you see a number of vendors all over the city, selling this stuff in front of the venues. Children, thronging different grounds to see Ravana go up in flames, are easily lured into buying bows and arrows. So used to watch Ramlila or arrow fights in mythologicals on the small screen. They force their parents to get them bows and arrows.”

Regarding the precautionary measures, the doctor says that the parents should be more careful if children insist on buying these not-so-safe toys. “Parents should discourage children from buying the stuff, but if children cannot be persuaded, they should be allowed to play, but only under the supervision of the adults.”

Parents, as such, should always remain with the kids when they are playing with bows and arrows and make sure that they do not aim at one another. A safe way is to tell the children to stand in a line not facing each other.

In case of a mishap, the child should be immediately rushed to hospital. Self-medication is not recommended in such cases. The doctor adds, “An eye injury can lead to permanent loss of sight, which is why parents should not take chances. In case of permanent loss of sight in one eye, chances are that the child will go completely blind due to sympathetic reaction. The precautionary measures should not end with Dasehra, these should continue till after Divali”. 



Polio is no handicap for him
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
“After stealing Rs 5 from my house in 1976, I reached Chandigarh. Since I had topped the entire Ropar district in the matriculation examination, my aim was to get best education and establish myself in life despite my physical limitations,” says Mr Virender Sood with a sense of pride.

Dressed in a plain shirt, trousers, and a pair of spectacles with a never-ending smile, Mr Sood (42) is the embodiment of determination and human will power with never-say-die attitude. Born in Ramgarh village in Ludhiana district, ill fate struck him at the tender age of two when he suffered polio. Since then he has been giving a tough fight. With 70 per cent permanent partial disability, the right side of his body is affected by polio resulting in poor eyesight in one eye and fumbling voice whenever he turns right. However, his left eyesight is normal and the voice also becomes normal when turns towards left.

Currently working as a senior assistant with the State Bank of India at the SAS Nagar branch, he had to forego his promotions since otherwise he would have been transferred to out stations under the promotion policy. But he has no grudges against the bank and is rather all praise for his colleagues. “He is one of the most efficient workers and always ready to help anyone in need,” says Mr Anil Sharma, one of his colleagues. Mr Sood takes keen interest in community banking service. Always ready to take toughest assignments in the bank, he is considered an asset by branch employees.

Mr Sood says he has always desired to do something special in life for the physically challenged, who face lot of problems in day-to-day life. “Currently I am engaged with the Pasricha Foundation, which I expect would be registered soon. With a corpus fund of Rs 6 crore donated by Mr Mohan Singh Pasricha, we plan to set up an international standard school and a law college, most likely near Dera Bassi,” he adds. Students from economically weaker sections would be given special facilities there.

Do you face problems in your day-to-day life? “Initially, I was hurt whenever people made fun of my disability and felt jealous of my success, but I was determined to succeed through hard work and honest living,” he says. Remembering the contribution of his teachers, he says: “I was lucky that my Principal, Mr O.P. Bhardwaj, helped me get free education at the college. After graduating from Government College for Boys, Sector 11, I was selected as clerk in the State Bank of India in 1980 and have never looked back ever since.”

A writer by nature, he got his first book on poetry “Kshitis” published in 1984. Another novel “Biti Vibhabari' and a poetry book “Panthini” are ready to hit the market. He takes keen interest in social activities and has participated in “International Contact Camp and Conference-1983” held in Norway on behalf of the Indian Red Cross Society.

Married to an able-bodied woman in 1988, he is blessed with a smart daughter now studying in Class IX. A great lover of driftwood collections and other art works, he is happily settled. 



Narrow escape for schoolchildren
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
It was a narrow escape for over 30 children returning back from a picnic at Tikkar Taal, near Morni, after their school bus rolled down 15 feet in a gorge.
The children , students of Police Public School, Ambala, were returning when the bus driver lost control of the vehicle while manoeuvring a sharp turn on the Morni- Raipur Rani road and the bus rolled down the gorge. The bus came to a halt when it reached a relatively flat gradient.

The police was informed and a number of local persons, too, rushed to their rescue. The children , teachers and other accompanying staff was rescued. Later, a crane was called in from Police Lines, Panchkula to pull out the school bus. The students and the staff were taken back after the Police Public School sent another bus from Ambala.



Teach according to interests of students

Gone are the days when students used to be sent to gurukuls for higher education. Now people prefer convent schools though government schools too attract many. Schools help in socialisation of the children and teachers groom their personality and polish their intellectual skills. Education should be according to the interests of the students and by taking into account their capabilities and levels. Forcible teaching invites only trouble.

The recent thrashing of students by a teacher from Amritsar shows the bitter content of teacher’s administration and that too for not bringing the desired geometry boxes.

Teachers should be frank and friendly with students rather then inducing forcible teaching in students. It also depends how faithful and loyal a teacher is towards his vocation and students. Make subject more interesting and flexible and an ideal teacher is the one who even makes a illiterate understand his subject and does not make levels of students or discriminates between intelligent and weak students. Beating, thrashing or verbally accusing a child in front of his classmates would only generate hatred among students than gaining respect. An ideal teacher is the one who carries an intelligent and diligent advises them periodically like a parent.

Radha Saini, Patiala

Ailing education system

Kudos to the Editor-in-Chief and his associates at The Tribune for highlighting the poor state of affairs at universities. Nehru once said the universities were the health of nation. Surprisingly, little attention has been paid to its periodical check-up and therefore they have been inflicted with many dreadful practices like politicisation, loss of autonomy, inefficiency, corruption, financial mismanagement, malpractices, money-making, besides other.

Kurukshetra University is the prime example. The Vice-Chancellor being meek and weak and too ready to appease his political masters, has virtually surrendered to the officiating Registrar, who boasts of being close to the Chief Minister, in order to exert more power.

In spite of being linked and directly responsible in his official capacity (as Controller of Examinations) for the paper leakage scam, the person was given the charge of the post of Registrar. One of his ACRs (1998-99) during his previous appointment, which was assessed as ‘below average’ and was later expunged, says,“integrity-doubtful — takes liberty with girl students. His conduct is unbecoming of a gentleman, unfit for women colleges.”

He not only has had a negative impact on the present university system but will also affect the future of the university as his alleged role in the recent controversial appointments of the teachers has also been widely criticised.

If the university, a symbol of morality and education, values are represented by a symbol of corruption, indecency, malice and deceit, what could be the health of our nation. But who is there to think and bother?

Rajni, Ambala Cantonment

Gift for Jugraj

By winning the Asia Cup in hockey, our boys have given a befitting gift to their injured team-mate Jugraj Singh, who had asked the team to win it for him. It may help him to recover fast. It is also heartening to note that various government bodies have volunteered to bear the expense of his treatment aboard. Many cricketers, after getting their injuries treated abroad returned stronger, making the team a winning combination.

So should be in the case of Rajiv Tiwari who got injured in a practice match, comes to mind. If I remember correctly, he was declared the best player of the under-19 hockey tournament. Now he is working as a ticket checker in the Western Railway. The government, the IHF and Sahara India should also rehabilitate this young player, getting the best treatment for him. Who knows that he may also prove to be another Jugraj Singh, whose absence was felt at league stage matches in the Asia Cup tournament. If the government can increase the number of Arjuna awardees, rendering help to a player like Rajiv Tiwari should not stand in the way. Sooner done the better it would be.

Manohar lal, New Delhi

I-Day function

A news item published in Chandigarh Tribune on August 16 with a Dera Bassi dateline said, “Independence Day was celebrated with much fanfare by the administration and residents of this subdivision here on Friday. Students of different government and private schools, a Punjab Police contingent, Home Guards, NCC and NSS volunteers from local schools participated in a marchpast. The function was held on the premises of Government High School, Dera Bassi.”

It is submitted here that NCC cadets did not participate in the parade as mentioned in the said news. This misinformation has brought us under disciplinary action by the NCC authorities.

Headmistress, Government High School, Dera Bassi

CITCO should revive camping site

In the news item “CITCO may run Panchayat Bhavan” on August 21, it was stated that Panchayat Bhavan in Sector 18 is to be handed over to CITCO to be run as a budget accommodation for tourists.

CITCO (Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation), several years ago, set up a Yatri Nivas in Sector 24 to cater to the needs of low-budget tourists, but later converted this place into a posh hotel, “Parkview” where the tariff rate of a room is so high that it is beyond the reach of low-budget tourists.

Panchayat Bhavan was set up by the late chief Minister of Punjab, Sardar Partap Singh kairon, for the rural people who cannot afford to stay in hotels to give them accommodation at cheaper rates and food at reasonable price. If this place is taken by CITCO, then Panchayat Bhavan would also be converted into a posh hotel.

The immediate need for CITCO is to revive camping site near the Sukhna Lake. Many a years ago CITCO started a camping site for tourists near the lake. It put up tents there and foreign as well as Indian tourists stayed there. After that this place was taken up by the Central Reserve Police Force. But now this place has been vacated by them. So the CITCO should revive the camping site as early as possible to give a boost to tourism.

Narinder Singh, Chandigarh



Residents face water shortage

Chandigarh, October 4
Residents of Modern Housing Complex are up in arms against the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh for not dealing with the problem of water shortage. Residents living on first and second floors have not received a single drop of water for the past week.

Today residents living on the ground floor woke up to find the taps dry. It was only when the residents rang up the Chief Engineer that water tankers were sent. TNS



Cash, jewellery stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
Cash and jewellery worth over Rs 3 lakh were stolen from a house in Sector 2, while the house owner was out of station for two days. The miscreant(s) broke into the house after breaking the grill of a window.

According to the owner of the house, Ms Satinder Mangat, cash worth Rs 1 lakh, 1,500 US dollars and gold jewellery were stolen from the house. She said she was away to Ambala, along with her sister for a nature cure treatment.

Her sister, an NRI, was here for some shopping for her son’s wedding. “She had just sold off some property and the money was kept in the house for buying jewellery,” she said.

It is learnt that Ms Mangat and her sister were away since October 1. However, her daughter, Dr Rishi, had come here on the night of October 2 and spent the night in the house. The police was called in and a case was later registered at the Sector 2 police post.

Suicide: A 16 year-old -girl, Seema Devi, from Parwala village reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poison last night. She was rushed to the Raipur Rani hospital, and later to General Hospital, Panchkula, but she died on the way.

Body found:
The police has found the body of a youth near Rambagh road at Ambala cantonment on Saturday. The body has not been identified so far.

According to the police, marks of injuries were found on the head of the deceased. The police suspect that some might have hit some blunt weapon on his head to kill him. The Superintendent of Police, Mr Mohamad Akil, and the DSP reached on the spot. The body was sent to the local Civil Hospital for postmortem.



Man found dead

Chandigarh, October 4
Fortyfive-year-old Rajinder Singh ended his life by allegedly hanging himself from the ceiling of his house in Burail late yesterday. The reason behind the incident was not known.

Rajinder Singh was living in Burail for the past 10 years and employed as a tailor in a shop in Sector 17.

According to the police, the body was noticed hanging by a woman with whom Rajinder Singh had an affair and it was she who called up the police. The post-mortem examination was performed today. OC



Herbal products draw crowds at CII Fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Herbal and beauty-enhancing products are attracting a large number of customers at the CII Chandigarh Fair. Customers say that though most of the stalls are offering the same products, counters of herbal products and those holding some sort of a lucky draw are a major attraction.

Since offices, schools and colleges were closed on account of Dasehra, people came in large numbers today. A performance by the TaanTrikz band, games for children and a one-minute contest for young couples were the highlights of the fair today. Stalls of various banks, telecom companies, household items, readymade garments and handicrafts also attracted visitors.

The State Bank of India had installed a special networked ATM to help customers “get cash and spend at ease”.

The bank had put up a special counter to sanction retail loans on the spot. The SBI, which has slashed interest rate on housing loan to 7.75 per cent, is wooing customers with special offers like free credit card.

Officials at the counter claimed that the bank was offering car loans at 9.5 per cent rate of interest for a three-year period. However, the personal loan is available at 13 per cent rate of interest.

Despite the problem of parking and consequent traffic jams, there was no lack of enthusiasm among the buyers. Said Ms Rashi Bajaj, a schoolteacher, “Visiting the fair is a must for us not only to have an outing but also to see if there is anything new in the market.” However, some people complained that the fair had become an annual ritual, and there was nothing special in it.

Marketing agents and salesgirls at the North India Auto Show and Infocom 2003 were busy attracting customers and getting different forms filled by promising

A lucky draw tomorrow. Counters of Maruti, Kinetic, Spice and others attracted a good response. Dew had organised a special show for kids. Stalls of Sagar Ratna and other eating joints were full. The fair will continue till tomorrow. 


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