Saturday, October 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Day 2: High on frustration, low on reward
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 17
After a dull beginning on the second day of the Test match between India and New Zealand at the PCA Stadium here, Indian fans had something to cheer about in the evening. Thanks to Kumble, Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh, who finally managed to breach the Kiwi defence in the post-lunch session, the 10,000-plus crowd in the stadium left a happy lot, expecting to watch the Indian team bat tomorrow.

The beginning of the day saw a huge crowd at the PCA Stadium gates but not comparable to what was witnessed yesterday. With the Kiwis batting first, many Indian fans kept away today, waiting for the Indian side’s batting. But those inside the stadium were in for some much awaited excitement after the lunch session when in a matter of less than four hours the Indians managed to down four wickets.

With no one allowed to carry anything to eat or drink to their seats, it was a long and tiresome wait for the spectators but they kept their spirits alive and kicking by trying to outshout each other and paint slogans.

The best show of the day was the “hai-hai” game being played between a Kiwi fan who would sway the New Zealand flag atop the pavilion terrace and shout “India hai hai”. In response, the Indians totally charged, would stand up and shout “New Zealand hai hai”.

A total leg and leg day, the match remained a frustrating effort for the Indian bowlers. Zaheer Khan and L.Balaji remained the unluckiest duo who did not get any wickets today.

The loudest cheers were heard when Mark Richardson got out, caught by Kumble off Harbhajan’s bowling. With him the Kiwi’s luck, which had stood by them yesterday and most of today, seemed to leave them. Then Stephen Fleming, the next to go back to the pavilion, was bowled by Sachin Tendulkar after a quickfire 30 off 34 balls. Scott Styris, who in his 119 runs scored the maximum number of boundaries, was out lbw off Kumble’s bowling. The crowd was ecstatic when Nathan Astle also left. The day ended with the Kiwis having scored 536 runs for the loss of only five wickets. College students had come ready with posters depicting their mood. While some said Saurav Ganguly was being missed, others warned “out karo nahin to doob maro”. More interesting were the comments and slogans that the spectators came up with. Sehwag was constantly being asked “Kya tumhari mummy ka phone hai?” Some quipped: “Doodh-shoodh piya karo” and to Harbhajan Singh “Ja ball le ke aa”. Among the slogans the most popular remained “India jeetega” and “yeh dil maange more”.

For the Indian fans, however, nothing could be more welcome than a sight of Sachin and Sehwag batting tomorrow. That is only possible if the Kiwi’s skipper declares the innings soon. 



Punjab Police horsemen at stadium a 
pleasant reminder of the Raj days

Tribune News Service

The pride of the Punjab Police at the PCA Stadium
The pride of the Punjab Police at the PCA Stadium, SAS Nagar. A Tribune photograph

SAS Nagar, October 17
Adding glory to the PCA Stadium here for the test match between India and New Zealand are the four ceremonial horses along with horsemen of the Punjab Police. Called specially for the event to escort the VVIPs into the stadium, the four will adorn the palatial gates of the stadium on all days of the match.

The four policemen mounted on these horses are dressed in a brilliant red long coat with wire mesh as shoulder halters and long decorative royal blue and red boots.

With a golden button on the front and a service badge belt, these four are the most attractive and smart in the crowd of over 600 policemen on duty at the venue.

Talking to The Tribune, the senior-most among them, Head Constable Jagtar Singh said they were part of the 125-strong horse force of the Punjab Police. ‘‘We have come from Jalandhar and while some of us are performing the mounted police duty, we have been chosen to don the ceremonial uniform and be on the escort duty,’’he added.

Explaining the significance of their dress and duties, Mr Jagtar Singh said ‘‘we act as ceremonial escorts at almost all major functions in Punjab. We are present at all the big melas, sports events and other mega public events. It is both a way of showing the presence of the police and to add glory to the occasion.’’

Constable Jasbir Singh, one of the younger policemen to have joined the force said, ‘‘Since the duties to be performed here are different there is greater opportunity to learn more, ’’he pointed out.

The horses all numbered and named, are specially trained for the police duties. The horses used by the mounted police and the ones for ceremonial duties are trained for the purpose.

The most well kept and beautiful, are selected for ceremonial duty. ‘‘This one is called Tip Top and the other one Shahenshah,’’informed Jasbir Singh. ‘‘We dress up the horses, their hair coat is given a special shine with brushes after being oiled. The tail is also combed and trimmed. Then the saddles and the velvet clothes are placed on them.

The horses have a chest cover which goes down from the face to the back. It takes us two hours just to dress the horses and then dress ourselves,’’he said.



Quality of food poor, rates high
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 17
As if the sun’s heat and the Kiwis’ batting was not enough to disappoint Indian fans, the eatables and cold drinks being made available inside the PCA stadium proved to be high on cost and low on quality. While one catering agency and some local contractors were supplying fast-food, ice-creams, water, cold drinks and juices inside, the rates in most cases were double the printed rates and triple in case of non-packed food items.

A single plate of chana bhatura was being sold for Rs 30 by one caterer which offered seating arrangements. The others were selling the same for Rs 10. A hot dog cost Rs 15 and so did two samosas. A vegetarian sandwich was for Rs 30, a pattie for Rs 15, while Coke and Pepsi ranged from Rs 20 to Rs 15. Noodles were available for Rs 30 per plate while other places were offering it for Rs 10. Tea and coffee was available for Rs 10 and Rs 15 each. Ice-creams were being sold at double the price of the printed cost.

Many of the spectators complained about the quality of food being given despite the high rates. “There was sand in the chana bhatura. I had to throw it,” said a spectator from Panchkula. Two spectators from Vivek High School had an even worse experience having brought a Mirinda bottle for Rs 20 despite the printed rate of Rs 15 just to discover that it was contaminated.

Many of the spectators who had brought packed lunch from homes were not allowed to take the food and water inside the stadium. “We had brought lunch for the children since we realised yesterday that it costs a lot inside to have food. We had also got our own water but we had to leave it in the car,” pointed a spectator from Mohali.

Inside too eatables and water were not being allowed to be taken from the stalls to the seats in the stadium. “Spectators throw empty bottles on to the ground. Since we cannot afford the stadium to be cluttered we have to stop the spectators from carrying food from the stalls to their seats,” explained a PCA official.

Outside the stadium, however, all those who were on duty were clearly having a better time as far as food was concerned. With all nearby shops selling packed lunches, water, cold drinks, tea and coffee there was a wide choice available at affordable rates to buy. “The last time there was a match here we had sold only water and made a good profit on it. Our booths are located very close to the stadium and we intend to make full use of it,” said an STD shop owner who has put up special shades and chairs to cater to the spectators and those on duty.



Punjabi flavour at PCA Stadium
Geetu Vaid
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 17
* Punjabi touch was there in everything at the PCA Stadium, whether it was the turbaned Punjab Police personnel on duty, the Punjabi numbers being played on the screen or the spicy chhole bhature available at the stalls.

* Most of the Indian fans had nothing much to cheer about as their heroes sweated it out on the field today with the Kiwis coming out with flying colours on the second day today.

* While the New Zealand batsmen thrashed the Indian bowling attack in the field some of their team members could be seen sharpening their fielding skills at the nets rather than making themselves comfortable in the pavilion.

* The scorching sun too did nothing to soothe the Indian fans’ burning desire to see the master Indian batsmen blast the Kiwis.

* Several viewers who had come with great expectations about the giant screen said they found it to be erratic as the visuals kept on disappearing. The only time it performed well was when Punjabi pop songs were played on the screen during lunch. The music of the band that played during lunch was, however, lost in the blaring sound of Punjabi numbers.

* Blistering sun and no permission to take water inside the stadium gave a tough time to several young kids who made the elders fetch water for them at regular intervals.

* Grandmothers too were seen enjoying the game. They were also providing latest information to dear ‘kakaji’ at home on their mobiles.

* Damsels who had kept mirrors in their handbags for touching up their make-up were ‘disarmed’ by the cops at entrance.

* The stands also proved to be the best place for the boy-meets-girl game. Outshouting competitions led to friendships and promises of sitting together for the rest of the match.

* At some stands it was also the boys versus the girls. While the boys outnumbered and out shouted the girls hands down, when it came to “India jeetega”, it was a united effort.

* There also seemed to be a competition of sorts on what is to be written on the posters. Ready with sketch pens and blank sheets schoolchildren were coming up with a new line every now and then.

* The most happening place in the stadium remained the stands where cheering and jeering were kept alive by the young crowd. Painted faces, Indian flags and posters added colour to the otherwise dull white-and-green show in the grounds during the match. 



Budding players’ date with Kirmani
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, October 17
A wicket-keeper is the most agile and knowledgeable player of the whole team and could provide the best coaching to his fellow team members. These views were expressed by Syed Kirmani, former Indian wicket-keeper who paid a brief visit to the Cricket Stadium, Sector 16 today.

After having a long innings from 1979 onwards and played under legends like Bishen Singh Bedi and Sunil Gavaskar, Kirmani is now on a different turf performing the role of Chairman of the Selection Committee of the Indian cricket team.

When asked, when the Indian hockey team can have a coach for its goal- keeper, then why cannot a cricket wicket-keeper have a separate coach, Kirmani said, “Do not ask me this question, otherwise the BCCI, might think that I am interested in becoming a coach. He said, it was a proven fact that wicket-keeper is one of the most crucial player of any team and could mould the outcome of any match.

Earlier, Kirmani gave useful tips to as many as 70 youngsters at the Sector 16 stadium where 40 trainees of the newly formed academy alongwith trainees of the DAV coaching centre came. Kirmani asked the budding players to keep some important things in mind to reach the pinnacle of glory in this sport.

He said, the most important thing was to be disciplined. He said, “Whatever you do and wherever you play, you must analyse at the end of the day, the shortcomings and the ways to improve the game”.

Kirmani told the trainees that nothing was impossible in this world and they only had to dedicate themselves to their goal.

“Do work hard and never give up and success will be your,” he said. Kirmani was joined by three other national selectors Sanjay Jagdale, Kiran More and Pranab Roy all of whom were impressed with the facilities at the stadium.

Mr Amrit Mathur, Director Communications, BCCI, told that the newly created academy would be formally inaugurated by Kapil Dev, who was groomed in this very stadium.

He said BCCI had also set up similar academies, which were basically training and development centres, at some other places in the country. These include, Pondicherry, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Mr Mathur said, next month, BCCI would also send a coach to assist the local coaches to further polish the academy players. Mr Vivek Attray, Nodal Officer, Cricket, UT Administration, said, they would also start an academy for under-15 age group soon. The trials for this would also be held shortly. 



Stamp duty to be cut to 5 per cent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Stamp duty on the sale of property will come down by 1 per cent in Chandigarh and there will be no repeal of the amendment made to the Rent Act in November last year.

These aspects of urban reforms were conveyed to mediapersons at the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the Union Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation and the Chandigarh Administration today. The city will now be eligible for incentives given by the Union Government for urban reforms.

The MoA was signed between the Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr L.M. Mehta, and the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr R.S.Gujral.

The Union Urban Development Secretary, Mr L.M. Mehta said Chandigarh being a UT had to follow the guidelines of the Centre on rent reforms, when asked by reporters that rent reforms were also part of the seven-point agenda in regard to housing, urban planning, municipal resources and urban infrastructure.

As per the agreement the Union Government will provide Additional Central Assistance of Rs 1.40 crore per year. The ministry and the Planning Commission will monitor the progress and review it annually.

The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Gujral, said in the first phase, Chandigarh would undertake reforms by the rationalisation of stamp duty to bring it down to no more than 5 per cent. At present the duty is 6 per cent.

A part of the reform process is the rent control laws to remove rent control so as to stimulate private investment in rental housing. Property Tax is to be enforced so that it may become a major source of revenue for urban local bodies and make arrangements for its effective implementation so that collection efficiency reaches at least 85 per cent by the end of the 10th Plan period.

As per the MoA, the UT Administration will also take reform measures in levying reasonable user charges by the MC like the fire cess with the objective of collecting the full cost of operation and maintenance, introduction of the computerised process of registration at the Sub-Registrar level.

Mr R.S. Gujral, after the signing of the MoA, said most of the reform measures had already been undertaken by the UT Administration. Among other officers present on the occasion were the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh, the Commissioner, MC, Mr M.P. Singh, the Chief Architect, Ms Renu Saigal, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, and the Joint Secretary Finance, Mr Dilip Kumar.



No takers for rainwater harvesting projects 
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Even as the City Beautiful boasts of having rainwater harvesting projects at eight different locations, most of these are lying abandoned. The Central Ground Water Board had set up the projects, funds for which were sanctioned by the Ministry of Water Resources.

A visit to Leisure Valley, Panjab University and roundabout of Sectors 19, 27, 20 and 30 shows that these are in a state of neglect. The threat to the projects is posed by the callousness of the authorities concerned towards their maintenance.

At Leisure Valley, with the investment of Rs 14 lakh, the administration had constructed eight wells with the assistance of the board. The trench-cum-recharge wells and five check dams were constructed on the choe. The depth of the wells varies from 65 m to 80 m depending upon the aquifer.

On the Panjab University campus, Rs 2.56 lakh was spent on the construction of one recharge structure. The engineering wing of the university executed the scheme. For this about 2,100 sq m of the rooftop area of the Basic Medical Sciences block was selected. The project was completed in August 2001.

Similarly, in order to tackle the flooding problem, four wells were constructed near the Sectors 27, 19, 20 and 30 roundabout this year at a cost of Rs 10 lakh.

When the Board’s Regional Director, North-Western Region, Dr M.D. Nautiyal, was asked about the poor maintenance of the projects after the monsoon, he said: “With the passage of time, weeds and silt choke the mouth of the recharge wells, which will definitely reduce their intake capacity. In order to maintain the structures, periodic cleaning of catchment area is required. It is the duty of the authorities concerned to look after its maintenance. Our duty is only to provide technical assistance.”

He said at the university, the main objective to construct the pilot project was to create awareness among students and teaching faculty about rainwater harvesting. But sadly the objective was defeated as the university failed to maintain it. Though it is recharging, its intake capacity has been reduced due to deposit of silt in the trench, he said.

Studies conducted by the board reveal that water table in the city is depleting due to over pumping and urbanisation. The domestic water supply is mainly met through tubewells. This results in more stress on groundwater and decline in the water levels, particularly of deeper aquifers, which sustain the tubewell discharge.

On the positive side, there is some improvement in the water table. With these projects, it is possible to recharge the confined aquifer system.

Mr S.K. Sharma, president, Environment Society of India, said: “The choe in Leisure Valley should be cleaned regularly as it is frequented by migrants to ease themselves. Moreover, some used it as a dumping ground.”



Ground laid for granting anticipatory bail
Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The implications of not joining independent witnesses for verifying the recovery made from an accused in a criminal case is not required to be considered at the time of granting anticipatory bail — the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled in a significant judgement.

The judgement is significant because a large number of petitions were being filed in the High Court seeking the grant of anticipatory bail on the ground that independent witnesses had not been joined at the time of recovery.

In one such petition, Vijay Kumar, booked under the provisions of the Excise Act on September 17, had asserted that the prosecution was likely to fail due to non-joining of independent witnesses.

Appearing before the Court, his counsel had asserted that the prosecution version in the case was doubtful in the absence of an independent witness to verify the recovery. As per the prosecution, the petitioner was spotted by the police with a gunny bag containing 125 sealed packets of whisky with “for sale in Chandigarh” printed on them.

Taking up his petition, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the High Court held: “A Division Bench judgement, relied upon by the petitioner in the case of state of Punjab versus Gurmet Singh has laid down that the non-joining of an independent witness would result into acquittal of the accused if there was opportunity and time to do so. The absence of an explanation (regarding non-joining of an independent witness) at the time of trial may result in the acquittal of an accused. At this stage, it would not be possible to record any conclusion....”

Referring to the current case, Mr Justice Kumar asserted: “After hearing counsel for the petitioner, I do not find any ground to extend the benefit of pre-arrest bail to him.... The effect of non-joining of an independent witness is not required to be gone at this stage.”

Mr Justice Kumar added: “The investigation is yet to be completed and the interrogation of the petitioner in such like cases is necessary because it is a mystery as to how he came in possession of illicit liquor and who was the manufacturer of it. Therefore, I do not feel persuaded to extend the benefit of pre-arrest bail.”

The Judge concluded that in the present case there was an “explanation in the first information report that efforts were made to join independent witnesses but no one came forward.... The investigating agency is entitled to be granted permission to proceed with the investigation in accordance with the law without any restriction.... The petition is dismissed”.

Chhatarpati case: Acting on a petition seeking probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the murder of a Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati for allegedly writing against a religious organisation, a Division Bench of the High Court reserved its orders.

In his petition for handing over the investigation of the first information report registered on October 24 last year under Sections 302, 120-B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, the journalist’s son Anshol Chhatarppati had earlier submitted that the police was shielding the prime accused in the case as was evident from the facts and circumstances.

Going into the background of the case, he had contended that his father, editor of Pura Sachh, besides being correspondent of a national newspaper, was on lookout for illegal acts being committed in the dera. Subsequently, on October 24, 2002, he was rushed to a hospital after being shot at.

It may be recalled that the High Court, while taking up a letter regarding alleged sexual exploitation of female inmates by the head of the religious organisation, had directed the CBI to look into the matter. The Court had also asked the premier investigating agency to submit its finding within six months.

Pre-arrest bail: Taking a serious view of a petition in which the fact about the filing of an anticipatory bail application by a Delhi resident was not specified, along with the fact that he had filed a second bail application, a three - Judge Bench of the High Court ruled that it was open for the police to arrest the petitioner and proceed against him in accordance with law.

Pronouncing the orders in an open Court, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, ruled that after going through the records produced by the office on the judicial as well as the administrative side, it appeared that an order dated August 12 passed by Mr Justice Virender Singh for placing the second anticipatory bail application, as well as the present application, before Mr Justice K.C. Gupta was not brought to the notice of the Chief Justice.

Moreover, the petition did not state the fact that on April 23, the petitioner had filed an anticipatory bail application which was dismissed as withdrawn on April 29. Further, it did not disclose that the petitioner had filed a second anticipatory bail. This was not all. An order dated April 21 passed by UT Additional Sessions Judge rejecting his anticipatory bail application was also not brought on record.

The Bench added that the explanation of the office was also a must as it had not pointed out the order dated August 12 passed by Mr Justice Virender Singh to the Chief Justice.

The Judges concluded that at present they were merely declaring an order dated September 16 as “non quorum judis” and declared that it would now be open for the police to arrest the petitioner. — Arjun Malhotra



Moulding scrap into robot
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
In a classic case of blending ingenuity with innovation Amandeep Hans, a student of Punjab Engineering College (PEC), has designed a robot. Nothing great about it, except, that all material used in the creation is scrap. Pieces of straw, ice-tray, waste aluminum sheet, tyres of toys, broken TV antennae rod, knitting pencils, parts of stereos and ball-pen refills have been structured into a moving machine which is capable of certain routine chores.

Not opting to stay in the college hostel, Amandeep has hired a room in Sector 37. “I attend my classes in electrical engineering, second year, and then I have to find time to work on my passion in designing gadgets. It was not possible in hostels so I shifted outside. I have been engaged in the related activity since my school days”, he said. Amandeep belongs to Gurdaspur.

A visit to his room by the Tribune team had a little robot waiting to welcome them. Amandeep had the remote control in his hands and commanded it to exhibit his tricks. The robot saluted the team and showed various movements. It was asked to pick a piece of paper lying in the middle of the room and throw it in a corner, which it duly obliged.

Amandeep had attended a special workshop of the college during the summer vacation this year. “The workshop cleared my perceptions regarding a robot. During interface with my faculty later, I gave shape to my dream,” he said. I am also in touch with the faculty at the Indian Institutes of Technology, Mumbai and Kharagpur, through Internet. I plan to participate in the technology festival being hosted in Mumbai in January, 2004, where I expect more recognition for my work”.

The robot consists of a base and an arm. The base moves the robot in different directions and is mounted on a framework of wheels. The arm can be rotated at an angle of 360 degrees and holds objects with the help of a jaw. The structure functions on 9 volts. The robot can be controlled through a remote or a computer.

Amandeep said his creation could be used to pick and move objects from different places, carry a camera where human movement was not easy, a land mine detector and as an industrial robot with slight innovations.

Amandeep said, “I used scrap because I first wanted to see the implementation aspect of my idea. I will try to seek assistance for better work in the area which has unlimited scope for innovations”, he added.



Security top issue in conference on civil-military liaison
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Lieut-Governor of Delhi Vijay Kapoor said since the Army would be vacating the Red Fort, their concern would be to ensure its security. He wanted Delhi Cantonment to be an area of full security with zero violation.

He added that the “regulation of traffic through the cantonment would have to be taken care of to ensure smooth flow in the area”. Similarly, civic amenities like electricity and water would be augmented in Delhi cantonment.

He was addressing a conference on civil-military liaison held at Chandi Mandir between the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and Headquarters, Western Command.

The conference, according to a press note, gave an opportunity to the Army, the Air Force, the police and the civil administration to discuss issues, including security of Delhi, with specific reference to the Cantonment and other military installations.

He was of the opinion that the problem of encroachments could be sorted out with the involvement of the Delhi Cantonment Board. Emphasising on the importance of disaster management, it was revealed while some equipment for the purpose had been procured, there was “need to attend to command structure in this regard”.

Chief Secretary Shailja Chandra, said the Delhi government would be happy to take up matters of mutual interest between the Army and the civil administration. On the resettlement of ex-servicemen, she said there were enormous opportunities in the areas such as co-operatives, afforestation, dairying and transport. “We are looking forward to initiate welfare measures for ex-soldiers in close co-ordination with the Army”, she added.

The GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, highlighted the increased security threat in Delhi prompted by fundamentalist elements and expressed the need to maintain the required vigil and sharing of information by the Army, civil and police intelligence agencies. 



Family of blood donors
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
To donate blood is common, to donate eyes is not so and the donation of bodies for research is even rarer. In a satellite town of City Beautiful, SAS Nagar, lives a unique family of Mr Balwant Singh. It is a family of blood donors. All family members have also pledged to donate their eyes. And the couple has pledged to donate their bodies to the PGI for research.

Mr Balwant Singh is employed in the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation. His wife Jaswant Kaur, is employed in the Animal Husbandry Department, Punjab.

The family has persuaded 2,000 persons to donate their eyes.

On being asked about the inspiration, Mrs Jaswant Kaur said : ‘‘ Making our bodies available to medical students is service to a good cause. This act would inspire our children to follow suit,’’ added Mr Balwant Singh.

‘‘We (the couple) have donated blood 38 times since April, 1994. And we organised 26 camps and contributed 4,500 bottles of blood to the blood banks of various hospitals in Chandigarh. My son Amandeep Singh and daughter Sandeep Kaur have donated blood 16 times and seven times, respectively’’, says Mrs Jaswant Kaur.

The couple donates blood four times a year. ‘‘One such occasion is our marriage anniversary,’’ says the couple. Besides, the couple has set up the Baba Shiekh Farid Blood Donors Council to organise blood donation camps.

‘‘In 1994, Mr Inderjit Sharma took me to a blood donation camp organised by the Baba Farid Society at Faridkot. We were posted there. That day I donated blood without taking my husband into confidence. The next time he accompanied me. Then on we went to such camps together,’’ says Mrs Jaswant Kaur. She was honoured in 1998 by the Baba Farid Society.

‘‘Now the council honours star blood donors every year. Recently, Mr Sat Pal Bansal, a bank officer from Patiala, who has donated blood over 110 times, was honoured by the council’’.

However, the council has no financial support through the government can help.

The council can be contacted in case of emergency for blood on 94170-56734.



Crackers will burn a hole in your pocket
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
Rockets busting into thousand stars, illuminating the night sky on Divali night, along with other crackers, will burn holes in your pockets.
The reason is not hard to see. Despite a reduction in the maximum retail price (MRP) of crackers by almost all major manufacturers, the prices are still high. In fact, the prices have gone up by almost 15 to 20 per cent compared to 2001.

Explaining the trend, a Sector 26-based wholesale cracker dealer says: “As the excise duty is being charged on the MRP, the manufacturers have reduced the same. But in an attempt to maintain their own gain margins, they have reduced our profit margins. As a result we will not be able to offer much discount to the revelers in this season.”

He adds: “Until last year, we were offering discount up to 50 per cent on the MRP to our regular customers, or the ones buying the stuff in bulk. But now with the reduction of profit margins, we will be able to offer just 20 to 25 per cent discount.”

“Giving details of the prices, he says: “You can buy a pack of 10 whistling ‘hawais’ for Rs 130. The one which explodes into 250 stars can be had for Rs 1,600. A pack of five big ‘anars’ can be had for Rs 100. For the small ones, you will have to pay Rs 50.”

He adds: “If you wish to buy five extra long ‘fuljaris’, you will have to take out Rs 50 from your wallet. Small ones, 10 in number, can be had for just Rs 10 per.”

In the category of ‘bombs’, the prices range between Rs 2 and Rs 100 per piece. “You can buy 10 ‘bullet-bombs’ for just Rs 30. ‘Anar-cum-bombs’ are a bit expensive. You will have to pay Rs 30 for five pieces. If you wish to go in for ‘hydrogen bomb’, you will have to pay Rs 30 for 10 pieces. For small string crackers, you have to take out Rs 5 for 25 pieces.

For the ‘big bombs’ you will have to pay anything between Rs 15 and Rs 200. ‘Colourful flower bomb’ can be had after paying anything between Rs 65 and Rs 90. If you wish to buy 10 pieces of ‘Silver rain torches’, just pay for Rs 40 and have a nice time.



Handle crackers with care, Fire Dept tells kids
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 17
The Chandigarh Fire Department has launched a drive for creating awareness among school students about the hazards of playing with fire just before the festival of lights. Handle crackers with care — that is the apparent objective of the drive.

Department officials are going from one school to another issuing a long list of do’s and don’ts to the students. The drive is not just limited to the government schools in the city, but also the private institutes.

The move to create awareness among the students assumes significance as, according to the officials, children are involved in a large number of fire accidents. In majority of the cases the mishaps could have been averted had the young innocents been a little more careful while handling the explosives, the officials claim.

Creating awareness among the students, they assert, would not only help in reducing such accidents in the future, it would also help the students in taking appropriate measures without delay in case of mishap. This would go a long way in preventing fire from causing further damage.

A senior official asserts: “The children are basically being asked to take precautionary measures. They are being asked not to play with high-explosive crackers, but with small and safe ones in their own interest.”

He adds: “The little ones are also being requested against playing with fire in the absence of elders. They can handle the sparklers themselves, no doubt about it, but the presence of elders is essential if they are lighting up an ‘anar’ or launching a rocket.”

The officials are also asking the students to act fast in case the flames break out. “If a wooden chair is on fire, it should be thrown out of the house in a vacant area, but without panicking,” explains an officer. “The person should use his presence of mind and make sure that his hands do not suffer injury in the process.”

Otherwise, the fire should be doused by pouring water over the flames. “In case electric appliances are on fire, water should not be used, sand should be thrown,” the officer adds.



Anti-cracker campaign launched
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
The Chandigarh Chapter of the Environmental Society of India launched an anti- cracker campaign by organising a rally on “Say no to Crackers” involving school students here today. About 250 students of Government Senior Secondary School and Janta Model School, Naya Gaon, took part in it.

Starting the rally from the school premises, the students went around the city carrying placards and banners to spread awareness about the hazards of crackers.

Highlighting their negative effects on health and environment, Environment, Society of India president S. K. Sharma said since children are the worst sufferers we all should take a stand on banning crackers.

Ms Sushma Nakra, Principal of Government Senior Secondary School, also highlighted the negative effects of crackers and flagged off the rally.



Python on the prowl
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
The 5-and-a-half-foot-long “visitor” in a Sector 6 neighbourhood this afternoon scared the residents out of their wits, forcing them to remain indoors.
The python, which was believed to be over three years of age, was spotted perched atop a Gulmohar tree in the public park by Ram Dular at about 11. 30 am. It was only at about 2 pm that the message was flashed to the Wildlife Department and a team of officials led by wildlife inspector Sada Ram was rushed to the spot.

As word of the presence of this reptile spread in the neighbourhood, people huddled in their houses. As children ran out to have a look at the “ dreaded python,” their anxious parents were seen pulling them in. Devanshi, a six-year-old resident of the area and a class I student of Hansraj Public School, said that she had seen another snake in the park, but had not heard of a python. She pleaded with her mother and grandmother to have a closer look, but was quickly huddled inside her house.

When the wildlife officials reached the spot, they realised the difficulty they would encounter in trying to catch the python. The reptile had coiled up on a branch of the tree, at least 20 feet above the ground. Then began the task of looking for a 20-feet-long pole, which could be used to catch the python. Two snake charmers were called from Old Panchkula to assist the wildlife men.

Once the pole and several small sticks were gathered, one of the snake charmers climbed a tree next to the one where the python was resting. He tried to reach out to the snake with a stick but to no avail. Since emphasis was laid on not hurting the reptile in any way, the wildlife guards had to find a way of lifting the snake carefully. It was then that wildlife inspector Sada Ram came up with the idea of shaking a branch of the tree near the branch where the snake was resting.

It was after an exercise of almost one-and-a-half hours that the reptile finally fell off the tree as the wildlife officials pounced on it, catching it by its neck before the python could escape. The reptile was then put in a sack and later released near Berwala in Morni hills.

Wildlife officials say that in all likelihood, the reptile had come from Chandimandir cantonement area. They said that pythons killed its victims by coiling itself around the victims and asphyxiating them. These snakes had earlier been spotted in Chandimandir and about three years ago, a python had killed a black buck in the Deer Park in Chandimandir. 



BJP leaders meet Administrator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A delegation of the local BJP unit today met the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, and urged him to withdraw criminal cases registered against various employees and union leaders of the PGI in 1995.

The delegation comprising Mr Yash Pal Mahajan and Mr Satya Pal Jain, informed the Administrator that during the strike in 1995, FIRs were registered against the employees at the behest of the PGI authorities.

They said they had brought the entire case to the notice of Ms Sushma Swaraj, the Union Health Minister. Mr Jain said he had requested the Home Secretary, Chandigarh, to withdraw the cases to create congenial atmosphere in the PGI.

The BJP leaders also demanded a high-level inquiry in facts and circumstances leading to the death of Som Nath, a resident of Bapu Dham colony, on October 12. 



Innovative way of harassing parents

The SAS Nagar administration has devised an innovative way to harass people. Recently, a decision was taken by the administration to create bus stops for school going children. According to the administration, the decision has been taken keeping in view the security of children.

The parents are unable to understand how this act of the administration will ensure security. Earlier, school buses used to ply on roads in residential areas and pick children directly from their houses and leave them at the doorstep. This was the most secure arrangement for school going children as the responsibility of leaving children at their homes was that of the schools or transporters. However, if the kids are left at bus stops, there will always be an element of insecurity while they walk back home. Students of working parents generally go to child care homes or creches located in residential area. If kids are dropped at designated bus stops, it will create more problems for them. The best way is to pick children from their homes and leave them there.

On September 17, the SAS Nagar police challaned some buses on the pretext of stopping at undesignated places. I request the police and the administration to work out better ways to help citizens rather than harassing them.

Karamvir Singh, SAS Nagar

Honest policeman

While people generally hurl brickbats of criticism at the police, I am pleased to offer ‘bouquets’ to some of them who still stand shining in the ‘dark cloudy sky’.

Two members of a family, which was travelling from Delhi to Chandigarh, and some others were seriously injured in an accident on the night of October 8. The role played by head constable Naib Singh of the Dera Bassi police station in helping the injured was praiseworthy.

With the help of a person who was passing by in a Sumo, he carried the bodies and the injured to the PGI. Timely medical aid provided to the injured saved one life and ensured that the condition of other two seriously injured persons did not deteriorate further. The policeman not only conveyed the baggage found in the damaged car to its owners, but also returned a bag containing Rs 10,000 to them.

Such instances, though not common, help to restore faith of the citizens in the otherwise maligned police force.

Brig B.S. Oberoi, Chandigarh

Chandigarh is 50

It is nice to note that Chandigarh has turned 50. Definitely, it still enjoys the reputation of being the most planned city in North India. Even the satellite towns and cities are developing with efficient planning.

The beauty of Chandigarh lies in the fact, that it has very few complicated architectural designs and the residents want to move forward. The city has lovely gardens and the way environmental issues are being taken care of is really admirable. The city has excellent communication facilities.

Aman Jain, Ambala Cantt


In the editorial ‘Chandigarh is 50' (October 7) you have rightly highlighted the beauty and distinct character of Chandigarh, along with its many firsts.

I would like to highlight another point that speaks volumes about its soul — voluntary blood donation. The city leads the country in voluntary blood donation. As a result, it has one of the highest levels of satisfaction of patient’s demand for blood in the country. The Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, needs to be complimented for this noble work. The society is going to set up a state-of-the-art blood resource centre in association with the Rotary Club, Chandigarh.

Undoubtedly, Chandigarh is a jewel among all cities of India.

Col R.D. Singh, Ambala Cantt

Allegations against PGI Director

The recent news from the PGI makes a painful reading. While any incident of corruption or nepotism can’t be overlooked, frivolous and wild allegations need to be condemned.

Making a mountain out of a molehill due to extraneous reasons can only lead to collapse of an institution, even if it happens to be of the repute of the PGI, and staining the reputation of top medical men like Dr S.K. Sharma. No public interest can be served by such actions of the Health Ministry.

Dr S.K. Sharma is widely known as an eminent urologist, medical teacher par-excellence, administrator of integrity and deeply humane person. The allegations seem to have emanated from the minds of frustrated elements, who are out to malign him and who could not corrupt him.

If he, as the head of a national and autonomous institute, could not exercise the discretion of allotting parking lots or appoint even Class III or Class IV employees on ad hoc basis, what is the fun of appointing a doctor of international fame as the Director of the institute? Let the politicians and bureaucrats gobble every authority, as elsewhere.

Dr R. Kumar, Chandigarh


Newspapers have been reporting about MP Suresh Chandel’s tirade against Dr S.K. Sharma. It is a shame that as an elected representative of the people is indulging in petty politics to malign the name of Dr Sharma, who is a leading urologist and has made big contribution to the growth of the PGI.

Instead of rewarding our doctors with national honours, we are maligning their name in public. Unfortunately, there are many qualified professionals like Dr Sharma who excel in their field of study, but when they are appointed to high administrative offices, they become vulnerable to political pressure.

As a developing country, we must ensure that our technocrats do not fall prey to political pressure and petty rivalries. If this unhealthy trend is not stopped, it will demoralise our professionals, forcing them to migrate to Western countries.

Gian Chand Dhiman, Panchkula



Workshop on vaccine technology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Over 100 experts in the field of vaccinology took part in a two-day workshop on new vaccine technology, quality control and testing, which concluded today at the Central Drugs Laboratory, C.R.I, Kasauli.

Dr Urmil Mahajan, Deputy Director General (P), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, was the guest of honour and Dr (Ms) Usha Soren Singh, Director, CRI. Kasauli, presided over the function.



Cops lectured on moral values
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Senior officers and around 500 police personnel today listened to Acharya Alok Muni’s lecture on moral values. This was the third lecture on adherence to moral values at the Police Lines.

The acharya taught techniques of meditation and the gathering then meditated for 10 minutes. Stressing upon the purity of life and thought, he advised them to sleep and rise early, walk in the morning and eat vegetarian food.

The acharya told the gathering that the ultimate goal in life is to attain peace of mind which could not be ensured through accumulation of wealth.



Security beefed up in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The police today beefed up security in the city following a bomb blast near Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmed Sayeed’s house.
Anti-terrorist pickets were put up in the entire city with station house officers themselves supervising these in their respective areas.

Separate pickets were also put up for providing security during Divali.

Special nakas were also put up in the evening.



Bomb hoax in District Courts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
A team of UT police personnel today carried out a search operation at the UT District Courts for more than hour after getting a hoax call that a bomb had been planted on the court premises.

Sources informed that the call was made by a woman. Thereafter, the court authorities intimated the police about it immediately after this the police accompanied by a bomb squad and a sniffer dog, searched every corner of the complex but no explosive was found. During operation, proceedings in the courts were not disrupted. Litigants and advocates remained inside the courts, attending to their cases.

So far, more than 21 calls have been received in the District Courts in the past few years. To deal with the menace of hoax callers, a caller identification system has also been installed in the District Courts and the police control room. But the UT police has failed to trace any culprit so far.

When contacted, a number of litigants and advocates said hoax calls had become a routine affair and every year a number of such calls were made by miscreants to disturb the court proceedings. They said such calls were usually made whenever any important case came up for hearing.

The president of the District Bar Association, Mr Sajal Koser, said any attempt to disturb court proceedings with such calls should be taken seriously by the UT police and those responsible arrested.



Cyclist killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A cyclist was killed today near Sectors 34, 35, 21 and 22 roundabout after a car allegedly hit him while he was crossing the road.
The police said the accident victim, Sumer Chand, a resident of Sector 27, was tossed in the air when the car reportedly being driven by Arvind, son of Bipin Handa of Handa Jewellers, hit him.

The accident briefly led to a traffic jam on one of the busiest roundabouts of the city. The windscreen and front portion of the car bearing registration number PB 10 AL 6004 have been damaged as the cyclist fell on the car after being tossed in the air.

Sumer Chand sustained serious injuries and was taken to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI because of his deteriorating condition.

The car screeched to a halt at least 32 feet after the driver applied brakes as was indicated from the tyre marks on the road.

The particular spot on the road is one of the most dangerous spots as a large number of cyclists and rickshaw pullers take a short cut from this point to go to Sector 22 Bajwara Market.

Even the road crossing for pedestrians did not have zebra cross markings to alert drivers.

Man booked: SAS Nagar resident Mehar Singh has been booked for allegedly attempting to outrage the modesty of a minor girl of Sector 43.

The complainant alleged that Mehar Singh trespassed his house and attempted to outrage the modesty of his minor daughter and threatened him. A case has been registered in the Sector 36 police station under Sections 354, 506 and 509 of the IPC.

Theft in Sector 36: An NRI’s lap top computer, mobile phone and Rs 1,000 were stolen from his scooter in the Sector 36 market.

Mr Sumit Khurana, who had come to the city from Oman, said he had gone inside a shop for making purchases, leaving behind his computer and other things.

The police has registered a case in this regard.

Unclaimed body in PGI: The PGI police post is in a dilemma regarding what to do to an unclaimed body lying in the morgue since October 6. The body is that of a youth presumed to be in his 20s and clad in a white pyjama. He was admitted to the hospital on October 2 and succumbed to injuries on October 6.

He is around 5ft 7 inches tall, lean and has a dark complexion, the police said. The police said the youth reportedly met with an accident and was admitted to the hospital by an unidentified person. It was difficult to identify the body as it was known where he was picked from, who brought him to hospital and how he had received injuries, the police said. The police is suspecting it to be a hit-and-run case.

Truck driver killed:
The driver of a truck was crushed to death while another sustained serious injuries in an accident involving two trucks on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Dappar here today.

Heading towards Lalru, truck number HR-20B-0744, loaded with empty LPG cylinders, rammed into a stationary truck (HR-37-3809) loaded with sand. This resulted in the death of Gurdeep Singh, driver of the stationary truck. The driver of the other truck, Jagganath Singh, also sustained injuries and was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The police said Gurdeep Singh was replacing a tyre of his vehicle when Jagganath Singh’s truck rammed into his vehicle from behind. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC against Jagganath Singh at the Lalru police station.

Man killed:
Baldev Singh, a resident of Gaziabad, died after an unidentified vehicle hit him on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway late last night.

Baldev Singh (45) was accompanying a Mohali-based family to Gaziabad in a car. He reportedly asked the car driver to stop the vehicles, adjacent to the Kohinoor dhaba along the highway.

As he stepped out of the car a speeding vehicle, heading towards Ambala, kncked him down. Baldev Singh died on the spot. After a post-mortem examination, the body was handed over to his family today evening.

Meanwhile, the police has started proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Prisoner dead:
A prisoner of the Ambala Central jail, convicted for life term, died at the PGI, Chandigarh, yesterday.

According to information, the deceased, Trilok Singh, belonged to Panipat. He was referred to the PGI by jail doctors following a serious illness.

Shop burgled:
Thieves broke into a shop on the Bela road here yesterday night and decamped with a 14-inch colour TV, 3 VCDs, a bag of crackers and 2,000. The owner of the shop, Mr Harvinder Singh Saini, said the thieves entered the shop after breaking the rear wall of his shop. While fleeing, the thieves also took away a rickshaw parked near the shop. The Ropar city police has registered a case.



Jewellers take centrestage 
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

The gold rush

  • Mani Majra jewellers doing business worth Rs 1 crore daily.
  • Manufacturing rates substantially lower than other markets.
  • Gold prices hovering around Rs 5,400 per 10 gram (22 carat).
  • Assured Divali gift besides lucky coupon on Rs 1,000 worth of purchase.

Chandigarh, October17
The residents of Chandigarh and surrounding towns may still consider Sector 22 and Sector 17 markets as the hub of jewellery business in the region, but the Mani Majra market is fast emerging as a leader in the business, attracting customer from far away places.

It is now attracting customers from various towns of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana by not only offering lucky coupons but also lower manufacturing charges and assured Divali gifts to customers. According to representatives of the traders, the market, with around 50 shops, is now doing a business of around Rs 1 crore daily. Since the gold prices have come down from Rs 5,700 per 10 gram to about Rs 5,400 during the past few days, the sale has picked up.

Says Mr Sandeep Bansal of Kangan Jewellers: “We offer all sorts of new designs besides traditional designs. The sale of gold and diamond jewellery has picked up substantially during the past few days. The Singapore style and Polki oxidised gold jewellery designs from Mumbai are much in demand. People from Chandigarh and Panchkula, besides Parwanoo, Kalka and other nearby towns, come here to buy latest designs at reasonable price.”

The Jewellers’ Association of NAC, Mani Majra market, has also launched a lucky draw scheme offering prizes worth Rs 3.5 lakh. Among others, an association of 12 members has offered a car, air-conditioner, TV, refrigerator and lots of other prizes. The customers get a lucky coupon on the purchase of jewellery worth Rs 1,000 besides an assured prize of Divali vanity box. The lucky draw will be announced on November 11.

Enquires revealed that a lot of customers were buying gold bangles, “mangal sutras”, rings, chains and other heavy items. Said Ms Rama Chauhan, a customer coming from Parwanoo: “We have full faith in this market since the jewellers here offer latest designs as per the demand of the customer, besides offering lower manufacturing rates — up to Rs 50 per 10 gram as against Rs 100 to Rs 120 per 10 gram in other markets.” Further, there is a “buy back” guarantee given by the traders, she added.

Mr Anurag Bhardwaj of Anurag Jewellers, said: “Around 300 artisans work in Mani Majra alone who prepare jewellery not only for us but also for traders of other markets. With the outset of Divali season we expect a good business.”

Interestingly, the jewellers are doing business without giving proper bills of purchase to avoid payment of sales tax. A jeweller admitted: “No customer is ready to pay one per cent sales tax on jewellery. So we do not insist on giving bills. The whole business runs on mutual understanding and faith.”



ATM on Tribune premises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Allahabad Bank inaugurated an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) counter on the premises of The Tribune office today.
The counter will provide ATM facility to the staff of The Tribune. The facility will be for those who have an account in the bank’s extension counter on the premises of The Tribune office.

The General Manager of the Tribune Trust, Mr R.N. Gupta, who inaugurated the ATM, was the first one to use the ATM also. The Editor-in-Chief, Mr H.K. Dua, and the Additional General Manager, Mr O.P. Arora, were also present on the occasion.



Styling trendy tresses
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
If you want a hairstyle to match your winter wardrobe, then L’Oreal Professional, the salon division of the L’Oreal group, will provide you with an opportunity to choose one up from the current international trends. Internationally acclaimed hairdresser Hugo Ratzel is at Tress Lounge, a beauty salon in Sector 8, to take care of your tresses and shape up your looks according to your lifestyle.

“An Indian woman’s looks particularly her hairstyle, has been defined by her tradition and media image which is essentially the one with long tresses and in a bland look,” says Hugo as he tries his hands on a model. “But if I have my way I would like to give them layered asymmetrical cut for a new look,” says Hugo.

Hugo is in the city to train the staff of Tress Lounge in the current trends in hair cuts and hair colours. Demonstrating a layered cut in slice technique, Hugo says while wavy, asymmetrical cut is in, warm colours like copper red, mauve, burgundy and bronze are in for the winter.

“However one can not generalise while predicting a style as a lot many things have to be taken into consideration, for instance one’s face, texture of hair and lifestyle,” says Hugo. This innovative Frenchman has been awarded Man’s Image Award —2003 and nominated for the Avante Garde award, has been in this profession for the past 13 years.

“My family has been in this profession for generations and I guess this is in my blood too,” says Hugo while justifying his love for styling people’s hair.


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