C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


107 rounded up from gurdwaras, let off
Tension marks World Sikh Convention
Tribune News Service

Protesters atop a truck raise anti-government slogans in SAS Nagar
Protesters atop a truck raise anti-government slogans in SAS Nagar on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

SAS Nagar, October 26
A total of 107 persons, brandishing swords and lathis, were taken into preventive custody by the local police apprehending a law and order problem in view of the World Sikh Convention held here today.

These persons, picked up from gurdwaras where they had assembled this morning, were detained at a police station for over eight hours till the convention ended just after 5 pm. The police said these persons were later let off on an order of the Subdivisional Magistrate.

While sources said the number of men rounded up from various gurdwaras in the morning was over 250, the SAS Nagar SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, told The Tribune that only 107 persons, including four women, had been presented before him.

Releasing a press note just before their detention this morning, members of the AISSF alleged that the Punjab Government had sided with the organisers of the World Sikh Federation and proved itself to be an anti-Sikh government. They also alleged that the police and other government machinery had been misused to help the Congress-oriented organisers of the convention.

While a majority of those arrested were led by the president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation, Harminder Singh Gill, two groups were led by the local Akali leaders Amrik Singh Mohali and Babby Badal, respectively.

The situation in the town became tense early afternoon when these three leaders with their supporters started converging on various gurdwaras.

Later, they all assembled together at the Phase I Gursagar where the police hoarded them into a truck and took them to the police station.

Holding lathis and kirpans in many cases, they got into the trucks raising anti-government slogans and exclaiming “Bole so nihal”.

The group led by Babby Badal had met at the Phase V gurdwara and tried to barge into the venue of the convention in Phase V. However, they were prevented from doing so by the police and nabbed.

Four persons, including two women, were also picked up from the venue when some of the organisers complained to the police that they were trying to hamper the proceedings of the convention.

These four, however, claimed that they had come to attend the convention and belonged to the Danga Pirat Society of SAS Nagar.

Cases under Sections 107 and 151 of the IPC were registered against them in the afternoon. A large number of persons associated with those detained surrounded the police station and waited for them outside the police station till they were released.

The police said over 400 policemen were deployed at the venue for security reasons. Another 200 were posted across the town, especially outside gurdwaras and police stations, where chances of clashes were higher.

Police forces had been called from all over Punjab for the convention.

Police sources also informed that nakas had been set up at various subdivisional borders across the state to screen all those entering the township.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mrs Seema Jain, and the SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, were present at the venue all through the day along with the SAS Nagar SP and the SDM.

Even at the venue, every person allowed to enter the hall was thoroughly checked and his identity verified.

Every person had to show either an identity card or any other proof of identification before being let in.


Migrant labourer dies of burns
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, October 26
It was a black Divali for migrant labourers from Jharkhand, settled in a jhuggi in Ramgarh, near here. Jarong Hambram, who had come here to celebrate Divali with some of his family members, died in a freak fire accident last night.

According to the police, Jarong and his paternal uncle Mangal Hambram, both residents of Jharkhand, had come to Jalandhar in Punjab in search of a job six months ago. As they could not go back home for Divali, they decided to visit their relatives and friends from their native village, staying in Ramgarh.

After the Divali puja, Jarong and his uncle Mangal were sleeping inside the hutment, while their host, Taal Soren, had gone out to watch television in a nearby hutment. As per the Divali ritual, a candle had been kept burning in the room, as an invitation to Goddess Lakshmi. The burning candle accidentally fell on the mattress on which Jarong was sleeping.

The cotton mattress immediately caught fire and Jarong's synthetic clothes, caught fire. Mangal, who was sleeping nearby, got up with a start as he heard Jarong's cries for help. He ran out to seek help and some neighbours managed to extinguish the flames. Jarong was rushed to General Hospital, Panchkula, from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he later died.

Elsewhere, in the township, as many as three minor fire incidents were reported — in Sectors 14, 7 and 17. While a wayward cracker fell on the temporary gate set up by the Sector 7 Market Association, a tarpauline kept in the open ground in Sector 14 was burnt.

As many as 10 persons were rushed to the General Hospital last evening after receiving injuries in different road accidents.

Meanwhile, Divali was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety. Interestingly, with the administration acting tough to stop the use of crackers causing noise pollution, the emphasis remained on fireworks (that have more visual effect) than fire crackers (which have sound effects).

The sale of crackers , especially in Sectors 14 and 16, continued till late in the night. With the price of most of the crackers going down by almost 50 per cent in the evening, the sale went on till about 9. 30 pm in the night.

CHANDIGARH: It was a relatively safe Divali for residents of the city this year as no major incident of fire was reported from the city. Only nine cases of minor fire were handled by the Chandigarh Fire Department in the city yesterday.

Like previous years, environment pollution due to the burning of fire crackers suffocated many. The pollution resulted in suspended particles creating haziness.

An officer of the fire department said an occupant of a house in Sector 38 reported a loss of a few hundred rupees when some household goods in his house caught fire due to sparks of a rocket which fell in his house. Incidents of minor fire were reported from Burail, Sarnagpur village, Mullanpur , Mauli Jagran and Mani Majra. The fires were controlled by fire tenders in time.

A fire tender each had been deployed in the five major fire prone areas of the city — markets of Sectors 15, 19 , 22, Burail and Mauli Jagran. The fire tenders had been positioned near the populated areas of the city. Certain incidents of wild growth catching fire due to falling of burning crackers were also reported.

Repeated claims by the local authorities to check the sale of banned fire crackers notwithstanding, people managed to procure the banned crackers. The sale of fire crackers picked up late in the evening when their prices were reduced by 40 to 50 per cent.

Any amount of motivation and enforcement notwithstanding, city residents ensured that they celebrated the festival of lights amidst deafening noise of crackers and blaring music and that too well beyond the 10 pm deadline set by the Administration. Those suffering from breathing problems waited for the smoke to settle in order to breathe fresh air.

Almost 12 hours after Divali revellers exhausted their stocks of crackers,a thick cloud of smog engulfed the city.. Explaining the reasons behind the phenomenon, an officer of the Metrological Department said primarily it was due to air pollution caused by bursting of fire crackers. The haziness, noticed at around 3 pm today, was created due to horizontal dispersion of smaller pollutants in air. At times due to high wind speed the pollutants settle down in the lower atmosphere.

SAS NAGAR: At least 14 persons sustained injuries in Divali-related incidents and five minor fires were reported here last night.

Four of the injured persons went for treatment to the local Civil Hospital. They were discharged after first aid. Ten other victims were treated at Cheema Medical Complex in Phase IV, according to Dr A.S. Cheema.

Dr Cheema said one of the victims, Mr Krishan Kumar of Kharar, had blood in the interior chamber of the eye due to an acute injury. Ms Uma Mahajan also sustained a minor eye injury during the celebrations. A cracker burst in the hand of Ravi, a local resident, injuring him while Talwinder sustained an injury on the food.

No major incidents of fire were reported in the town, according to the fire brigade. The fire brigade was called when heaps of rice stalks caught fire in Pakki Rurkee village near Kharar and in Shahi Majra village here. In another incident a tree caught fire in Shahi Majra.

The fire brigade was also summoned when wild growth caught fire near the HL Houses in Phase 1 and near Shivalik Public School in Phase VI.


They found it hard to refuse gifts
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The missive from the Central Vigilance Commissioner asking government officers not to accept gifts on the occasion of Divali had only a limited impact on the large community of bureaucrats in the city.

This has become clear from the frenzied pace at which the gifts were purchased, presented and exchanged among all sections of society on Divali. Bureaucrats proved to be no different. While it was “sab chalta hai” for a large number of officers of Punjab and Haryana as far as gifts were concerned, officers of the UT Administration were much more discreet and circumspect while accepting Divali gifts.

“There is a reason for this”, said a knowledgeable source. “Chandigarh represents a small, compact administrative unit, with only a handful of top officers who run the show. They are known to be generally upright and above board in their dealings with the public at large. A recent string of events in the union territory had also put everybody on notice. The previous Chief Engineer was chargesheeted on the day of his retirement from government service while the previous Adviser to the Administrator of UT, Chandigarh, had to leave his high-profile assignment post haste, setting a lot of tongues wagging in the city. It was clear that he had left under a cloud”, the source said.

Therefore, nobody in the bureaucracy in the UT Administration was prepared to attract unwelcome attention to himself by accepting Divali gifts from all and sundry. One Divali gift-bearer recounted to TNS his experience when he went to the residence of the UT Administrate for to convey his best wishes. “I was stopped at the outer gate of the residence where the gunman first inspected the gift package and then rang up the officer concerned to find out if he would like to see the caller. Finally, the gift package was taken by the gunman to his sahib and I was turned back from the gate”.

In another case, he said, the officer was sitting in the front lawn of his residence and opening each and every gift package presented to him and distributing the dry fruit and sweets in them among those present. “I found it to be quite insulting,” he fumed, but there was precious little he could do about it.

However, things were more or less “normal” as far as officers from Punjab and Haryana residing in Chandigarh were concerned. While Punjab officers were generally gracious about the gifts, many in the Haryana bureaucracy let it be known they would not really mind accepting something good. One prominent showroom owner in Chandigarh actually received a message: “Sahib ne yaad kiya hai”, conveyed the PA to his sahib. Shoppers as well as shopkeepers reported that the crowds which thronged the markets of the city during the run-up to Divali were unprecedented.

While almost all major markets of the city had gone all out to woo the customers , the residents of Chandigarh, too, did not disappoint them.

Jewellery shops in the city reported a high volume of business as did the large gift stores. Corporate gifts made a comeback in a big way after a gap of a couple of years. Crystalware, apparel and liquor were among the more popular items. Dry fruit did not find favour with the gift-bearers because of the high prices. These were substituted with traditional mithai.


For Canadian PM, it was a memorable visit
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The Canadian Prime Minister was christened Jean Singh Chretien as he wound up his two-day “memorable” working trip to India with a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar besides inaugurating his country’s Consulate-General Office here yesterday. It was a special day for him as it marked the completion of his one decade in power with tens of thousands of Punjabis, mostly Sikhs, struggling to touch or just get a glimpse of him, both here and in Amritsar, on a historic Divali day.

Accompanied by his wife, Mr Jean Chretien became the first foreign head of a government and second leader of a national political party of Canada to visit the Golden Temple in recent times.

“It is something which I will remember for the rest of my life,” an emotional Mr Jean Chretien remarked here saying, “I never shook so many hands in so few hours.”

The Canadian Prime Minister jetted to both Amritsar and Chandigarh on the final day of his last official visit to Asia before his planned retirement early next year. But his whirlwind tour ran behind schedule as his entourage got caught in the surging crowds at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar and arrived here more than an hour late.

The visiting Prime Minister described his visit as the fulfillment of a promise made to the Sikh Canadians when he took power on October 25, 1993. He paid rich tributes to Sikhs who have been emigrating to Canada to form the largest single group of Indo-Canadians. He cited the success of Natural Resources Minister, Mr Herb Dhaliwal, Parliamentary Secretary for Labour, Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr Gurmant Grewal, who all accompanied him on the trip, as examples of equal opportunities open to Sikh Canadians. The Liberal Government has also named a Kenya-born Sikh, Mr Bhupinder Singh Liddar, as Canada’s first Consul-General in Chandigarh.

It was Mr Herb Dhaliwal, who at the end of his speech, presented a steel bracelet (“karra”) to the Prime Minister and christened him as Jean Singh Chretien. Mr Dhaliwal said that it was under Mr Chretien’s leadership that Sikhs could make their historic entry into Canada’s House of Commons in 1993 and he could became a federal minister.

“India is one of our most important partners,” Mr Chretien said. “The Consulate-General here will improve the flow of people between our two countries by enhancing immigration and visa services to both Canadians and Indians in the region. Enhanced representation is essential component for building the political, economic and cultural framework required for rapidly expanding relationship.” He disclosed that India had been one of the major source of immigrants to Canada and of the total new entrants to Canada in 2001, 11 per cent came from India alone.

Taking a cue from the visiting dignitary, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said that he was amazed to learn that the proportion of Sikhs living in Canada — 600,000, or 2 per cent of the national population — was a little more than the percentage of Sikhs (1.5) living in India.

Earlier, Acting Adviser to the Administrator of Chandigarh, Mr R.S. Gujral, in his address of welcome, promised all help to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh. Also present was the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, besides members of the visiting Canadian delegation, MPs, both from India and Canada, members of the Council of Ministers of Punjab and senior officials of the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration.

Later, members of Mr Chretien’s entourage signed a couple of Memoranda of Understanding with the Punjab Government on agro-industry and agro-processing.

At a reception held at Mountview Hotel later in the afternoon, Mr Chretien made a brief speech before mixing with the invitees, shaking hands with many. He was presented a copy of a book on Sikh Diaspora by a New Delhi-based journalist Gurmukh Singh, and a memorandum by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.

Later in the evening, Mr Chretien flew back to Ottawa via Oslo from here in his special Airbus.

Newsmen protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Newsmen covering the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the city on Divali day lodged a strong protest with Canadian Embassy officials over the denial of proper facilities at the venue of the event.

At one stage, all media men staged a walkout from the venue as they were told to stand at the back of the pandal for covering the proceedings. Later, the Deputy High Commissioner apologised and urged the newsmen to cooperate.



Chandigarh Calling

The true sufi

Little did the people gathered in the Leisure Valley to attend the exquisite rendition of Abida Parveen realise that there were many things that went into structuring the divine sufi concert. The tasteful stage was only one part of the programme, which was conceptualised and directed by film maker Muzaffar Ali. The other significant part was incense. As Abida Parveen sang sufi verses on stage, some workers hired by the Sufi Foundation of India seemed to be busy lighting special sticks to create an incense, that would then further the spiritual ambience created by the quality of music being offered, besides serving as a fragrant tribute to God, which was being addressed time and again by Abida Parveen.

In the true sufi tradition, the woman performed as if she was not on stage but in some pedestal of a mazaar, which inspires the soul to sing and dance and rejoice in the love of God. While the singer did her bit, some of the sufi audience also added romance to the evening by feeding on the divine verses from the bare floor and not from the cushioned seats. After all, sufism preaches humility and surrender, not indulgence and comfort.

Thrilling fusion

Ghulam Nabi Namtahali from Kashmir and Samandar Khan Manganiar from Rajasthan, who were part of the Sufi Foundation of India’s Sada-e-Sufi concert, have been serving folk music for the past many generations. Namtahali, the most famous folk group from Kashmir, boasts of a rich sufi tradition in which the practitioners sing praises of sufi saints like Amir Khusrau, Bulle Shah, Shah Hussain and Lalded, the renowned sufi poetess from the Valley, who touched many a heart with her earthy pen.

While the Kahsmiri group reiterated peace through their music and melody, the rustic Manganiars unleashed their desert charms. Sporting vibrant turbans, with the colours smiling at you from their numerous folds, the Manganiars struck an instant rapport with the crowd. They danced through the recital, thrilling the audience with their inimitable style. The real high came when Manganiars and Namtahalis joined hands to create a blended tapestry of sufi verses, that spelt vivaciousness, variety and melody.

HUDA wake up!

Implement once and sleep over the issue forever. That is perhaps HUDA’s policy. Armed with a court directive, HUDA had removed fencings in front of the houses in Panchkula nearly three years ago. There was a hue and cry over this issue initially as the residents anticipated stray cattle grazing up the lawns and sullying the flowerbeds. However, once implemented with iron hand, Panchkula-ites understood the essence of the whole issue. The roads became wider and residents converted the space in front of their houses into cemented parking lots. The Administration also permitted the house owners to use some space (one foot perhaps) adjoining the front wall for beautifying through plantation.

But once implemented, HUDA went into slumber without bothering to have a fresh inspection on whether such encroachments have resurfaced or not. After three years, things are back to square one. Fencings of various kinds have sprouted again and a few daring ones are even going in for cemented foundations to support pillars on which barbed wires will run. The sceptical ones have put up half-diagonal bricks along what they call their kitchengarden. Others have simply put up iron poles minus fencing that can be uprooted at the slightest indication of relaunch of anti-encroachment drive.

Since violations are more severe along corner plots, these fencings are becoming a potential safety hazard, as manoeuvrability space for motorists gets limited, besides showing care-two-hoots attitude by residents for administration.

The problem is that authorities keep on sleeping over the issue till eternity and then wake up suddenly to launch what they call a ‘massive drive’ in their press notes. HUDA wake up or will those bulldozers rev up only when fenced encroachments become Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii.

Sangeet sammelan

The Indian National Theatre, a society for promotion of performing arts, is organising its 36th three-day annual sangeet sammelan in Chandigarh from October 31 to November 2 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Sector 27.

The event is being organised under the stewardship of Mr Navjivan Khosla, President of the Indian National Theatre, and Mr Kuldeep Bhatnagar, honorary secretary. Participating artistes will include some outstanding performers of the day and a handful of bright, upcoming ones who have made music their vocation and deserve encouragement.

The first day of the sammelan will be marked by performances by sitar artiste Amitabh Chatterjee and Kankana Bannerjee, a Calcutta-based sitarist with a rich musical background as an “A” grade artiste of All India Radio and Television and has won many national music awards for his performances in various sangeet sammelans all over the country. Kankana Bannerjee, who also hails from Calcutta and is attached with All India Radio, Mumbai, has mesmerised national and international audiences with her melodious recitals for more than 40 years.

The second day stars will be Suhas Vyas, an established vocalist of Indian classic music and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, an artiste from intricate Jaipur-Atrauli khayal gayaki tradition and disciple of her mother, Manik Bhide. Suhas Vyas, a graded artiste at All India Radio, has been promoting the cause of Indian classical music by holding various lecture and training demonstrations, both in India and abroad. He has to his credit rich musical insights bestowed upon him by great artistes such as Pandit Kumar Gandharv, Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki and his own father Pandit C.R. Vyas.

Ashwini Bhide Despande, a Mumbai-based highly qualified artiste with a master’s degree in microbiology and a doctorate in bio-chemistry, has her music cassettes and discs recorded under big banners like HMV, Sony Music, Times Music, etc. She has also featured in various sangeet sammelans in India and abroad.

Mr Khosla says Chandigarhians are lucky that she would be singing morning ragas on the third day of the festival. The entry to this musical extravaganza has always been free. So music connoisseurs, mark these days in your calendar right away.

Bored cops

The most bored set of people during the recent Test match were the policemen on duty outside the stadium. For the full five days majority of them could not see the match being on duty either on the roads leading to the stadium or at parking places. But it did lead to high levels of interaction between the Mohali and the Ropar police. By the end of the five days many of them were exchanging addresses and promising to keep in touch.

Necessity certainly is the mother of invention. During the match a balloon vendor shifted his trade from selling balloons to painting the Indian tri-colours on faces of the spectators. Using a brush and poster paints, one daily wager earned hundreds of rupees painting faces for Rs 10 per face every day during the match. Who said Indians were not enterprising?

Another interesting observation during the cricket match was the sudden shifting of loyalties by the spectators on the last day of the match. On the fourth day fans were in a frenzy over Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and since the match was being held in Mohali over Yuvraj Singh. But by the last day when Tendulkar and the rest of the stars faded even without making their presence felt, the fans were cheering for Laxman and Akash Chopra instead.


A group of over 20 college students in the match, all through the five days would take a massive flag of India over their heads and move from one stand to another cheering neither for India nor for New Zealand. Their slogan was one —Pakistan hai hai. Although the rest of the spectators found it amusing nonetheless they would join in the sloganeering whenever the group came into their stands.

Musharraf also seemed to be everyone’s favourite whipping boy. Indian fans at the match had brought posters with statement against Musharraf. One such poster said — Musharraf is dead...two minutes silence.

Last-minute change

At a foundation stone laying ceremony in Mohali, when the Chief Minister of Punjab failed to reach the venue, the Finance Minister was rushed in to do the honours. But since the plaque already had the name of the Maharaja on it last-minute changes were made to it. A computer-typed white paper with the Finance Minister’s name was pasted on top of the CM’s name and the plaque unveiled.

Divali shopping

The city residents seem to have gone crazy shopping for Divali. Unlike other years when things seemed to slightly under control, this year the city roads are witnessing hour-long traffic jams in the evenings, all due to the Divali shoppers doing the rounds of buying and gifting through the evenings.

— Sentinel


104 burn cases reported
UT Admn deadline on bursting crackers ignored
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 26
As many as 104 Divali-related burn cases were reported at the three major hospitals from the city and its surrounding areas.

The city residents cared little for the UT Administration’s order of “no bursting of crackers after 10 pm”, as crackers of various colours kept dotting the city skies well past midnight. There were reports of the police asking people to stop bursting crackers after the deadline.

According to sources in various hospitals, 40 burn cases were reported at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and an equal number of cases (six eye injuries) at the General Hospital, Sector 16. At the PGI, 19 cases of eye injuries were reported and six of the cases were said to be serious. All patients who were taken to the General Hospital were discharged after treatment, except Sonali, who was referred to the PGI.

Fifteen-year-old Sonali of Sector 38 sustained an injury in her left eye when a stray cracker burst near her in Sector 40 last evening. She was crossing a road when the accident took place. She is currently admitted at the PGI. Raju of Dhanas village and Ravi of Sector 24 were among the persons who sustained burn injuries last night.

Mr Sarwan Singh of Sangrur district, who was admitted to the PGI with an eye injury, told Chandigarh Tribune that he was sitting on a cot when a stray cracker fell near him and injured his eye.

Despite some major campaigns by different organisations requesting people to abstain from crackers, most of the cracker vends in the city were able to sell off their entire stock by 9 pm yesterday.

The police said no major crime was reported from any part of the city yesterday. There were no reports of any fatal road accidents. The Sector 34 police nabbed six persons for gambling at public places.


Innovative crackers, resplendent markets define Divali
Tribune News Service

“No to crackers” up in smoke

Coming to crackers, there was nothing restrictive about the mood of the public, which not only facilitated exhaustion of cracker stocks by the night, but ensured that bursting of crackers went on well beyond midnight. While health remained a casualty as hazardous smoke went up into air, no one seemed bothered to spare a thought for the slogan, “say no to crackers”. Innovative crackers kept the festival going, facilitating colourful, radiant formations on the canvas of the sky, every time they went up in flames.

Chandigarh, October 26
Resplendence and gusto apart, this Divali spelt loads of innovation. Although the festivities had commenced well before actual arrival of Divali this year, they acquired better colour as the festive day matured from dawn to dusk.

Shopkeepers of various significant markets ensured that the day was not about late beginnings. No wonder then that small shops in major commercial areas of Sectors 7, 22, 19 and 34 opened almost with dawn, ready to cater to the spirited masses, who kept up the fervour going all day and night. The markets were virtually flooded with the city frequently running into major traffic chaos at various rotaries as well as roads across shopping areas, most of which extended well beyond their premises.

In Sector 7, the stalls seemed to be moving away from the allotted spaces and reaching for the main road, where vehicles were jammed for most part of the day and the passes-by were literally trapped. Same was true of all other shopping areas.

Sweet shops were the real profit makers, besides shops selling home appliances, which were among the favoured gifts for those from the middle class. A home appliance store in Sector 7 alone did a business of over lakhs during the past week. In the category of gifts, crystal no longer ruled. The nature of gifts was diverse, with people trying out all sorts of packages, from Cremica stocks and traditional sweets to silverware and decorative pieces. Biscuits emerged as the hot favourites among gift packs.

Sector 17, the commercial hub of the city, led the rest of the pack on both the fronts — embellishment as well as shopping bonanza. The very entry into the Sector gave the visitor a feel of razzmatazz, which Divali was all about. The most eye catching aspects of Sector 17 included a host of bhelpuri vendors, who seemed to be making almost equal profits by the end of the day. There were at least 10 bhelpuri vendors parked comfortably within the piazza area opposite to Neelam Theatre, all selling well. Open food stalls were quite a rage with the visitors in Sector 17 as they were greeted by packed restaurants. So they had two natural choices — the open restaurant set up by Sindhis as also a delectable feast of “basmati rice-rajmah and paav bhaji” laid out by a Delhi-based team, which had especially come in from Delhi to make hay while the sun shines.


Wheels of joy light up their Divali
The Tribune, Avon gift 12 bicycles to slum kids
Tribune News Service

Slum kids associated with Theatre Age flaunt their brand new bicycles gifted to them on Divali by The Tribune and Avon
Slum kids associated with Theatre Age flaunt their brand new bicycles gifted to them on Divali by The Tribune and Avon. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 26
Initiatives are simple to take. Only inspiration gathering is a little challenging. A fine example of a thoroughly inspired initiative was witnessed last morning, which saw two reputed organisations come together to make the Divali of slum children hailing from the city joyful.

Thanks to the determined efforts made by the team of The Tribune and Avon, as many as 12 slum kids from different areas of the city will not have to miss their school any longer. Mobile with the brand new bicycles procured for them by the Tribune and Avon, these children will now attend their school in Sector 24 regularly.

For over a week, the staff of the Tribune had been toying with the idea of making collections to sponsor about six bicycles for the slum children, who are associated with a local NGO, Theatre Age. Unclear about the number of bicycles that could be sponsored, The Tribune went about making collections which came to about Rs 10, 000. Finally the money collected was enough to buy six trendy sets for the slum children, who rode their new bikes on the opportune occasion of Divali yesterday.

Another heartening matter was the willingness of Avon, a premiere bicycle manufacturing firm, to come forward and donate six more bikes to the kids, who were more than happy to treasure their Divali gifts. Speaking to The Tribune about the entire initiative and also thanking it for the gesture, Zulfiqar Khan, who manages Theatre Age, along with his team of dedicated teachers who even run a school for slum kids in the premises of Sector 24 Government High School, said, “The purpose of our organisation is to impart free education to these slum kids, who are mostly into the trade of shoe shining in Sector 17 as also in other localities of the city. Because these children have to work in the morning and study in the afternoons, time management is a must for them. Immobile earlier, the kids used to bunk school. Invariably the bunk was not voluntary but forced. I had approached The Tribune office, requesting editorial members to run an article, asking people to donate old bicycles. The Tribune members, however, surprised me by saying they would make collections and gift brand new cycles to our kids on Divali. They have shown that they practice the ideals they preach.” Slum kids come to Sector 24 to study from various areas of Chandigarh — Sector 38, Dadumajra, Sector 17 and Sector 25 Janata Colony slums.


Divali festivities at CGA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The crowds at the CGA Golf Range swayed to the Divali spirit on Friday as a pre-Divali bash was organised. Spectacular fireworks and foot-tapping music made the Divali eve memorable for the members and guests.

The prize for the best dancing couple was bagged by Mrs and Mr Anurag Puri and Mrs and Mr J.S Rana got the second prizein this category.

The prize for the best dancer was won by Ms Sharan in the girls category and by Mr Akal in the boys group. Gulnaar won the best child dancer prize.

Mr D.P Azad and Mr J.S Cheema, president and vice-president, respectively of the CGA, gave away the prizesto the winners. The programme was organised under the chairmanship of Mr Bachitter Singh, an executive member of the CGA.


SMS takes over tradition on Divali
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The festival of lights, Divali, is changing fast. The generation of computers and mobiles is reinventing the festival mood by giving it a new touch.

Not the traditional gifts of sweets or dry fruits but packs of soft drinks, Kurkures and Frooty were the Divali gifts this year. The traditional way of greeting each other through personal visits, telephones, greeting cards and letters were replaced by SMS messages. About one crore SMS were exchanged this Divali.

Apart from the young brigade, even the public relation companies, corporate sector, Army men, and millions of other cellular users used their handsets to send greetings to their relatives, customers and other people.

Enquires with the Spice, Airtel, BSNL and Reliance mobile revealed that the number of SMS greetings sharply increased this year against last year. Mr Mukul Khanna, DGM, Marketing, said, “Our 30 lakh SMS messages have been sent through our network. We had increased the capacity to 50 lakh from the normal capacity of sending 20-25 lakh messages”.

An Airtel official said, “Since we had already made arrangements expecting heavy rush, people did not face congestion like last year.” Interestingly, Spice and other operators also launched lucky draw schemes on the occasion to encash the festival.

Companies also find it the right time to announce new tariff packages through SMS. Said an SMS from Spice, “ISD shubh Dipavali offer! Now ISD call rate at an unbelievable rate of Rs 5.99/ min to the USA, UK, Canada and west Europe every day from 11 am to 6 am”.

One of the journalists received a message from an upcoming actor in Mumbai, “Wishing U happiness as big as Ganeshji’s appetite, life as long as his trunk, trouble as small as his mouse and moments as sweet as his favourite ladoos — happy Divali”.

A message from Jasjot Singh, a city computer expert, said, “Ae mere SMS, mere dost ke paas janna, agar wo busy ho to shor mat machana, jab wo free ho jaye to dheere se muskrana, aur kehna happy Divali.”

Some college boys found the moment to express their feeling to their girlfriends. A message to a student of Panjab University read, “Likhe jo SMS tujhe, woh teri yaad mein hazaron rang ke nazaare ban gae....” Another one read, “With petals of rose, palm full of holy water, light of full moon, fragrance of flowers and grass with dew, I wish U a very happy Divali”.

Nisha, a student of MCM DAV College, said, “I will remember some of the messages for years together. Though I find it difficult to type messages, yet I love to receive them and pass on to my friends, which I find interesting”.

Added an official of the BSNL, “The SMS greetings are here to stay. They offer a chance to send personalised message instantly. No doubt, we earn good money from them”.


Vishwakarma Day
Vulgarity upstages faith at celebrations
Tribune News Service

Unruly scenes were the order of the day during Vishwakarma Day celebrations at Panchkula
Unruly scenes were the order of the day during Vishwakarma Day celebrations at Panchkula on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Panchkula, October 26
Scantily clad women jived to the tunes of latest Bollywood, Punjabi and Bihari numbers as thousands of labourers drooled over them during a function to mark Vishwakarma Day here today.

At least four of these “Zinda” dancers had been hired by the Labour Nirman Sangh to entertain the labourers “by organising a cultural show” — which, interestingly, comprised dance items by these dancers. Dressed in striking red, green, blue and gold dresses, these dancers held the audience’s attention for over three hours, interrupted only by the speeches of INLD leader and Sugarfed Chairman, Mr Banta Ram, and other labour leaders.

Displaying their midriffs and legs to the advantage of hundreds of onlookers, these dancers entertained the audience by dancing to the tunes of “Sharara sharara”, “Aankhiyon se goli mare”, “Seeti te seeti”, “Tu cheez badi hai mast mast “ etc, and other such double meaning Bollywood numbers. Matching step with step, these girls imitated the Bollywood stars to the tee — from plunging necklines and rising hemlines to the jhatkas of the heroines.

Labour leaders, however, maintained that the show was strictly to promote culture among the labour force and for their entertainment. However, no item depicting the culture of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar was performed on stage. Interestingly, whenever the dancers would leave the stage for a changeover or for some speech by the organisers, the crowds would boo the speaker off the stage and cheer for the dancers to come with yet another item.

In order to get a better view of the programme, at least a dozen — odd onlookers, parked their bicycles and rickshaws on the divider of the Sector 17 and 16 road and climbed on their vehicles, to enjoy the programme.

Countrymade liquor, too, flowed like water as the labourers helped themselves generously. With the local police failing to make its presence felt near the venue, where over 300 labourers had gathered, unruly scenes were also witnessed. There was chaos after a person accidentally slipped and fell on another person people began hitting each other. The president of Labour Nirman Sangh, Mr Jagdish Kashyap, intervened and asked the labourers to maintain discipline.

Meanwhile, the Labour Nirman Sangh has demanded that temporary labour chowk of Sector 16 be given a permanent status of Labour Chowk. The members also resolved to request the authorities to shift the wine shop and lottery stalls to a new location in order to ensure that the labourers did not get lured by these vices.

Before the cultural show, Vishwakarma puja was performed by Mr Jagdish Kashyap and other members of the union. The union members demanded that “Raen Basera” and toilets be constructed for labourers at Labour Chowk. It was also demanded that electric meters be installed at their houses to avoid power theft


Continuing with festive ‘Season’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 26
Continuing with the festive mood about 250 persons gyrated to the tune of Arabic, Western and Indian dance beats at Hotel Regency in Sector 35 where Doubloon, an event management company, organised a dance bash “Seasons”, this evening.

The basement of the hotel was turned into a make-shift discotheque. It was not just the music but the presence of glamour girl Jonita Doda, an upcoming model-turned-film artiste who hosted the event accompanied by Bahrain based DJ Avi, who was an immediate hit with the crowd through his choice of music.

“We are treating every one like a celebrity here,” says Jonita. With Jonita who has made her mark in the glamour world with films like “Mahiya”, “Lakeeran” and a number of music albums, the crowd could not have asked for more. “It is indeed a nice experience to be treated like a celebrity by someone who herself is a celebrity,” said Harsh, one of the participants.

Another novelty for the partying crowd was the soothing rhythm of Arabic music. Thanks to DJ Avi, who said. “I am visiting India to find out more about the people’s choice in music,”. Hailing originally from Jalandhar, he is now settled in Bahrain. “I am a civil engineer by profession, but my love for music drove me to take up DJaying as my hobby,” he says.


Burail jail inmates feel discriminated
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, October 26
Strange but true imprisonment for committing crime in Chandigarh is much more than in any other state, including Punjab and Haryana. This is because prisoners lodged in the Model-Burail Jail cannot benefit from the system by which a part of the sentence can be remitted. The reason being the area is a union territory and there is no state government.

Ironically, if anyone commits a murder in Chandigarh he has to undergo 14 to 20-year imprisonment. This in some cases of bad conduct, is extendable. On the other hand, criminals lodged in jails elsewhere for the same offence have to undergo between 9 and 14 year of imprisonment.

Purpose of remission is to give an incentive for good behaviour and work of prisoners. Prisoners lodged in state jails usually get remission on various occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti. But for the prisoners of Burail jail, the concession is only for very short while and that too depends upon the jail authorities.

Pleading for remission, as many as 130 prisoners, including 40 undergoing life term, lodged in Burail Jail, have sent representations to the UT Administrator through jail authorities.

A youth, who was convicted for murder, said anyone could make mistakes, but there was always a chance for improvement. The life term should be same everywhere in the country. Another murder convict, who has moved an appeal against the order, said there should be no discrimination.

The Superintendent of Model Burail Jail, Mr D.S. Rana, has made a request to the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, for reducing the sentence of the prisoners on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.

Giving details, Mr Rana said they deserved remission as there was always a chance of improvement. The remission was a concession which could be granted to prisoners by the state government, the Inspector General and the Superintendent of the jail. However, it is not a right. The state government reserves the right to debar, withdraw any prisoner or category of prisoners from the concession of remission,” he added.


Delay in drafting of model MC laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Opposition to the suggestions of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh on the term of Mayor has delayed the drafting of the recommendations of the model municipal laws.

Earlier, the recommendations were to be tabled in the General House meeting of the corporation on October 23.

On the directions of the Union Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, the Chandigarh Administration has sought a draft of the model municipal laws in light of the 74th Constitutional Amendment. The draft, when ready, would have to be passed in the General House before being sent to the Chandigarh Administration.

Sources in the corporation said the Administration had asked the corporation twice to submit the draft recommendations. “Since the city was a centrally administered territory, any amendment regarding the term of the Mayor had to be passed by the Parliament. It would depend upon the Administration to accept the draft recommendations of the corporation on the issue”, said an elected councillor. Another elected councillor said the Legal Affairs Committee, headed by a nominated councillor, Dr K.S. Raju, had recommended a one-year term for the Mayor in its report submitted in August last.

The elected councillors are, however,opposed to the one-year term as it provided little time to get the things in shape. The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, opined that the term of a Mayor should be extended. He cited the proceedings of the South Asian Mayors’ Conference held earlier this year in Indore.

The conference had accepted proposals on seeking tax exemptions for persons contributing to Mayors’ Relief Funds, empowering Mayors to write confidential reports of municipal officials and commitment to supply 100 gallons of safe water. Mr Chawla said he was in favour of direct election to the Mayor’s post.

A section of the elected councillors wanted two-and-a-half year term for the Mayor.


New IA flight schedule
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
With the incoming winter Indian Airlines has rescheduled its operations, to and from the city, with effect from today.

The departure time of the daily Chandigarh to Goa- Mumbai flight, IC 866, will now be 7.25 am and it will reach at 8.20 am. The IC 866 Chandigarh to Mumbai/Delhi will leave at 9 am and will arrive in Mumbai at 10.55 am. The IC 866 Delhi-Chandigarh flight will take off at 11.40 am and will arrive at city airport at 12.20 pm.

Monika Verma, Area Marketing Manager, Indian Airlines, in a press statement issued here today informed that the daily flight from Chandigarh to Delhi ( IC 863) would depart from here at 3.35 pm and arrive at Delhi at 4.15 pm. Similarly, the IC 863, Chandigarh to Delhi/ Mumbai flight will depart from Chandigarh Airport at 5 pm and arrive at 6.55 pm.

The flight numbers of the flights have also been changed. Now onwards, the weekly flight IC 7484 (Wednesday) on the Leh/Chandigarh route will depart at 8.40 am from Leh and will arrive here at 9.35 am.

The departure time of the weekly Chandigarh-Leh flight, IC 7483, on Wednesday will be 10.05 am and arrival time will be 11 am, she added.

Earlier, the daily Indian Airlines flight from Chandigarh to Delhi had to be cancelled today as one of the tyres of the plane developed a snag. She said 70 passengers were sent through taxies.


Dr Des Raj Gulati dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Prof D.R. Gulati, a pioneering neuroscientist of the region, died today at the PGI following a brief illness. He was 80. He is survived by his daughter, one brother and two sisters.

Former dean of the PGI, Prof Gulati joined the PGI in 1962 as an assistant professor after completing his training at the McGill University at Montreal Institute of Neurology under giants like Prof Penfield and Prof Rasmussen. A graduate from Lahore, Prof Gulati completed his M.S. in surgery from Amritsar and in 1962, started both the departments of neurology and neurosurgery and built them up on strong foundations. He subsequently took exclusive charge of the department of Neurosurgery which he brought to international recognition.

A great academician, he was on the panel and boards of several scientific organisations like the ICMR, National Academy of Medical Sciences. He was also elected president of the Neurological Society of India. A great visionary, he had a passion for research and his contributions to neurosciences were immense. A very warm individual, he was known for humane touch and as a very friendly. His funeral held here in the afternoon today was largely attended.


SAS Nagar Diary
Workers’ exploitation economic crime: Trade Council
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 26
The Trade Council today demanded that various forms of exploitation of workers by factory managements should be considered as economic crimes and action be taken against them. According to a press note issued by the general secretary of the council, Mr Ramji Dass, members alleged that the Congress government had not fulfilled the promise it had made to employees that it would reopen various closed units in SAS Nagar.

“As a result of this, a large number of employees of these units are now without jobs and suffering. But they have now united and are demanding action against those responsible for the closure of these units,” said the note.


The Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, made an on the-spot inspection of the Rotary crossing between Phase 3 and 7, this week. The Rotary Club, under its traffic awareness programme, had installed road safety equipment worth Rs 2 lakh on the crossing.

Rotary eye camp

The Rotary Club organised a three-day free eye check-up camp last week. Inaugurated by Ms Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, The District Governor of the club was the guest of honour while Dr Harinder Rana, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, special guest at the camp.

Mr B.S. Khandpur welcomed guests and patients while the immediate past president and the project chairman, Mr Manpreet Singh gave details about the activities and the history of the club. Mr Balbir Singh was the master of ceremonies and Mr Ashok Gupta gave a vote of thanks.

Dr Jatinder Singh, Dr Pavan Sharma, Dr T. S. Sandhu and Dr Ashwani Kansal conducted operations at the J.P. Eye Hospital here. Over 390 patients visited the camp, out of which 76 were operated free of cost.

Fancy-dress contest

Kids Village Preparatory School organised a fancy-dress competition on the school premises this week. Students were dressed in colourful outfits. Among those who were given awards included Harveen Saini, Gunkirat Kaur and Jasleen Kaur.

Freshers’ party

A freshers party was organised at the Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Tangori, this week.

The function started with senior students of the college welcoming freshers. While Zorawar was chosen as Mr Fresher, Ashima was chosen Ms Fresher. Kangan was chosen Ms Charming, Anubhav Mr Personality, Sagar Rai Mr Charming and Ravneet Ms Personality. Mohit, Divya, Karan and Priyanka were the runners-up. The function ended with a word of appreciation by the Chairman of the college, Mr J.S. Sidhu, and the Principal of the college, Mr S.K. Girdhar.

Science exhibition

A science exhibition was held at Lawrence Public School last week. The exhibition, based on the theme “Science and technology in a changing world”, was organised by the District Education Board, Ropar.

Students from across the district participated in the competition. Among those who won prizes included Deepak, Kushvinder, Gurjant, Sarabjit, Daljit, Sumit, Aniket, Shivani, Bhupinder, Gurmeet, Ajay Gupta, Des Raj, Monica Verma, Ancy, Mona, Sandeep and Pritpal.

Environment map

The Punjab School Education Board Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh, facilitated the release of an environment map by Ms Tejinder Kaur, Education Secretary, Punjab, this week.

Developed by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), the map will introduce students to environmental information and data related to Punjab. The map has been designed in an interactive way with coloured photographs. Each environmentally important area in the map has been well connected with brief description in the form of text boxes.


Readers Write
Elusive concessions for heart patients

According to a news-item published in your paper dated March 26, 2003, the Ministry of Railways had issued orders granting concession to heart patients travelling along with an attendant from April 1, 2003.

I am living in Patiala and suffering from heart ailment. I have been visiting Escort Hospital, New Delhi, from 1993 onwards for my treatment. I had undergone a bypass surgery in 1995 from the same hospital.

As I had to go to Escort Hospital , for check up last month I met the Station Superintendent and Station Superviser, Patiala, for getting concessional ticket for New Delhi in A.C. Chaircar for myself and my wife who was to accompany me as my attendant. But I was told by Railway authorities to bring a letter from Escort Hospital, New Delhi, asking me to visit that hospital.

I pleaded that I could not go to New Delhi just to get such a letter from the Hospital. I showed them the record of the hospital from 1993 onwards alongwith the record of angiography and bypass surgery but it failed to have any effect.

Railway station authorities at Patiala expressed their inability to grant any concession on the basis of these documents. So I alongwith my wife travelled in second class to New Delhi from Patiala.

I spent a week in Escort Hospital and while on my return journey to Patiala from New Delhi, I decided to avail of the concession meant for senior citizens. Asking my wife to take care of the luggage I waited for a long time in a queue to get concessional ticket for myself and an ordinary second class ticket for my wife.

But when my turn for getting the ticket came, the booking clerk asked me to go to another counter to get concessional tickets. Having left with no energy to wait in another queue I requested the clerk to issue two ordinary second class tickets.

I fail to understand as to why the Railway Ministry makes “false” propaganda about various concessions whereas in reality it is almost impossible to avail of any such concession. Either the rules should be simplified or the false propaganda on concessions be stopped.

K.K. Bhardwaj, Patiala

Mobile phone users’ woes

It is said that a company like Reliance India Mobile has issued fictitious bills and that too in the name of those who are not their customers.

The company seems to be lacking coordination within its organisational structure also and it seems that the communications of the customers are thrown in the dustbins only. I applied for registration under “Kar Lo Duniya Muthi Mein” scheme with Rs 500.

The scheme was launched by the company in the month of July. Since the company failed to fulfill its commitment of “come with Rs 500 and walk out with a cell phone till July 16, 2003’’, I requested the Branch Manager, Reliance India Mobile, SCO 373-74, Sector 35-C, Chandigarh, for the cancellation of my registration and refund of money.

But to my surprise I have received two bills for the months of August and September 2003 amounting to Rs 969.84.

Does the company issue bill without executing sales or it has raised another slogan of “De Do Paise Booking Ke Naam”?

Pravin Kapoor, Panchkula

Landline subscribers, a neglected lot

Prior to August 15, 1998, the telephone rentals were charged on the basis of capacity of the Telephone Exchange but in order to charge hefty rentals the Department of Telecommunications revised the policy with effect from August 15, 1998 to charge rentals on the basis of capacities of the Short Distance Charging Areas (SDCAs).

After the corporatisation of the Telecom Department, the successive taking over company the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) that now has almost a monopoly of landline telephones has been pursuing the policy of charging rentals on the basis of capacities of the SDAs.

This policy of charging high rate of rentals is not in the knowledge of the telephone subscribers. They simply know that the charges have been increased.

The basic telephone operators are in the habit of increasing telephone tariff every now and then without bothering about the impact of these hikes on the common man.

It is all the more painful to know that the government too in shielding the operators. Firstly, the government fooled the people by charging rentals on the basis of capacities of the SDAs and thereafter the successive private operators continued this policy.

In the era of cellular phones there is cut-throat competition among various operators. But nobody seems to be bothered about the cause of the landline telephone subscribers.

The service tax on telephone bills has since been increased from 5 to 8 per cent and furthermore 12.5 per cent tax of the Punjab Government is in the offing. The tall claims of the Central Government to provide telephones at affordable rates have thus been belied.

The Central Government should wake up and intervene to see that telephone rent in charged as per the capacities of the telephone exchanges to give a fair deal to the subscribers.

D.P. Jindal, Mandi Gobindgarh

Harassment by Postal Department

The main post office at Mandi Gobindgarh makes cash payments up to Rs 19,999 of small saving scheme deposits and fixed deposits. For the payment of Rs 20,000 and above it asks the depositors to get the same either by transferring the amount into their savings accounts or through cheques which are issued by the Head Office, Rajpura.

The realisation of the cheques cost the depositors additional burden of bank collection charges besides the wastage of time in the process. There is resentment among the depositors over this.

This undue harassment discourages many from investing in the small saving schemes of the government.

However, the post office at the nearby town of Amloh makes such payments in cash up to Rs 20,000 and insists on the above mentioned procedure for amounts exceeding this limit.

The post office at the adjoining city of Khanna makes payments in cash for any amount and doesn't insist on any other mode of payment.

Why different yardsticks are being applied for making payments in the same department at different stations? The authorities concerned should look into the anomaly and issue directions in this regard to maintain a uniform procedure all over.

If the government sincerely wants to promote procedure the small saving scheme then it must make the payment hassle free.

D.P. Jindal, Mandi Gobindgarh


Pictorial tribute to a visionary
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 26
An exhibition focusing on activities of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti and the life of the late Laxmibai Kelkar, founder of the samiti, was organised at Parshuram Bhavan in Sector 37, here today. The major attraction of the exhibition was about 200 rare photographs of Laxmibai, who devoted her life to the cause of organising women to work in different social fields.

A commemorative programme to honour the memory of Laxmibai was also organised by the Chandigarh branch of the samiti. Ms Promila Tai Madhey, All-India chief of the samiti, was the chief orator while Dr Manisha presided over the function. Earlier, the exhibition was inaugurated by Dr Pragya Kumar, Director, Child and Women Development Corporation.

The exhibition was part of a continuous yatra of 300 days to celebrate the birth centenary of Laxmibai. It was initiated by Ms Madhey at Nagpur on August 9. The photographs have been displayed at 21 places all over the country.

The primary objective of the samiti is to lend a helping hand to destitute and downtrodden women. The samiti has over 3,350 branches all over India. It was established on July 6, 1936, and during the freedom struggle, it played an active role under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.


Fervour marks Govardhan puja
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The local chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised Govardhan puja and Annkut festival at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here, today with great enthusiasm and religious fervour. Thousands of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Bhakti Vinode Dass Prabhu, president of the local unit of ISKCON.

The programme was started at 12 noon with “aarti” followed by Govardhan puja, cow worship and Govardhan parikrama. The making of Govardhan by ISKCON devotees was a unique feature of the programme.

Annkut made of rice of various colours, sweets, flowers, cakes, milk products, vegetables was given a shape of mountain on which the decorated deity of Ladoo Gopal ji was placed. It was also a special feature of the programme.

Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Sector 20-B, also celebrated Govardhan Pooja and Annkut Mahotsav on its premises in which hundreds of devotees took part. At least 250 varieties of food-items were offered to Govardhan ji. The math in charge, Pujyapad, Tridandi Swami Srimad B.S. Nishkinchan Maharaj, explained the importance of the festival.


One arrested for possessing opium
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
Vijay Kumar, a migrant from UP now living in Vishvakarma Colony, was arrested from near the T-point in Transport Nagar on Friday while he was allegedly carrying 500 gm of contraband opium. A case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act was registered against him at the Division No. 6 police station.

Man dies in mishap

The Jodhewal police registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Bhupinder Singh, who lives on the Noorwala road, against an unknown driver of a tempo (PB-32A-0150), who hit his father Mr Jarnail Singh near Sujatwal village on Friday morning and killed him on the spot.

Assault cases

The Sadar police, on the statement of Mr Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Bermi village falling under the Hambran police station, yesterday registered a case under Sections 324, 323, 356 and 34 of the IPC, against Bachittar Singh and Sony, both residents of Malikpur Bet village. The complainant had stated that the accused came to his land on a tractor on Thursday morning. The accused, who were armed with sticks and swords, beat him up and injured him after which the accused ran away from the spot, added the complainant.

The Sarabha Nagar police registered a case under Sections 382, 511 and 323 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Vijay Kumar, a resident of Ghulabi Hotel, Phillaur, currently living on the Gill road and running a business there, against two unknown persons travelling by a Maruti Esteem car. The complainant had stated that the accused hit his scooter, snatched his cash-bag from him and beat him up near Satluj Hospital on Friday. No arrest has been made so far.

Fraud alleged

The Division No. 8 police registered a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC yesterday on the statement of Mr Saleem Sharma, Senior Manager, Baidyanath Bhavan, Baddi, in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, against Parvinder Singh, partner in a city-based agency dealing in medicines. The complainant had alleged that he had sold some medicines to the accused on credit but the accused had refused to make any payment for the same. No arrest has been made so far.

Gamblers held

The Division No. 3 police on Friday night arrested Onkar Singh, a resident of Mohalla Fateh Ganj, Arjan Kumar, a resident of Islam Ganj, Kuldeep Singh and Inderjeet Singh, residents of Amar Pura, while they were gambling at a public place and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said today that a sum of Rs 2,330 and a deck of playing cards were recovered from their possession.

Gamblers booked

On specific tip-offs, some alleged gamblers were booked separately in two cases under the Gambling Act at the Division No. 4 police station yesterday. Those booked in the first case were identified as Tarsem Lal, Amrik Singh, Surinder Singh and Pinky, all residents of Qilla Mohalla. Those booked in the other case are Rinku, a resident of Qilla Mohalla, Deepu and Yadwinder, residents of Chhawni Mohalla.

The Civil Lines police registered a case under the Gambling Act yesterday against Balwinder Singh, Amarjit Singh, Jaswant Singh and Harish Kumar, all resident of Manjeet Nagar.

The Jodhewal police also registered a case against some gamblers on recovering specific tip-off that they were gambling at a certain place. Those booked under the Gambling Act have been identified as Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Tower Lines, Sat Pal, Sham Lal, a resident of Garewal Colony, and Chaman Lal, a resident of New Subhash Nagar.

No arrest has been made in any of these cases.

Liquor seized

The Sadar police arrested Gurdial Singh, a migrant from Bihar now living in EWS Colony near the Vardhman Mill, seized 24 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act yesterday.

The Division No. 6 police arrested Kishan Lal, a resident of Mohalla Ram Vihar, Jodhewal, and seized 11 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act, the police said here today.


5 injured in incidents of violence
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
Five persons, including a woman, were injured in two separate incidents of violence here this evening.

Ram Pal, Madan Pal, Jaswant and his wife Omwati, all residents of Sector 12-A, were injured when they were allegedly attacked by two persons this evening. The assailants are also residents of the area. The police was called in on the spot.

A resident of Sector 4, Krishan, was injured seriously when he was attacked by five persons carrying sticks at 8.30 pm. The assailants barged into the house of Krishan and beat him with sticks. The cause behind the attack was not yet known. Later, Krishan told the police that he could identify the assailants. The police was investigating the matter.

Two hurt in mishap

Chandigarh: Mr Paramjit and Mr Krishan, residents of SAS Nagar, were injured when the Maruti car they were travelling in collided with an Opel Astra car on the road dividing Sectors 50 and 52, near Marble market, this afternoon. The injured were admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. A case has been registered. OC


Theft in Sec 15 houses
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
Cash and jewellery worth over Rs 9,000 were stolen from two houses in HUDA Colony in Sector 15 yesterday.

The occupants of the house were away, when the burglaries took place.

Ms Sunita Dhariwal, in charge of the cultural cell of the Pradesh Congress Committee, who was away from 1 pm to 8 pm last night, came back to find her house ransacked. She lost cash and jewellery reportedly worth Rs 4,000.

In nearby house of Mr Surinder Gulia, cash and jewellery reportedly worth Rs 5,000 was stolen, while the family was away for an hour in the evening.

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