C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman beats youth to death over langar
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 8
In a horrifying incident that took place in the holy precincts of a gurdwara, a middle-aged woman in Mauli Baidwan village today beat a 22-year-old youth to death while he was doing sewa in the gurdwara. He was beaten up by the woman for allegedly refusing to send langar to her house during the Gurpurb celebrations. The police has registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and arrested the woman.

The incident took place in the late afternoon when the victim Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Mauli Baidwan village, was helping in the distribution of langar at the village gurdwara following Gurpurb celebrations in the village.

According to the police, the accused Karamjit Kaur who also lives nearby sent her 10-year-old son, Amrik, to fetch langar for the family. Sukhdev pointed out to Amrik that langar could not be sent to homes and if they wanted to share the langar, the family should visit the gurdwara.

Relating the rest of the incident, Harpal Singh, Sukhdev’s eldest brother who was also in the gurdwara when the incident occurred, said, ‘‘Following this, after half an hour, Karamjit Kaur reached the gurdwara in a fit of anger and started hitting Sukhdev. He was bent over a balti when she arrived in the langar hall and started thrashing his back and neck with her hands and feet. Sukhdev fell unconscious on the spot even before he could turn around and retort. A local doctor was called who said that Sukhdev was dead.’’

Harpal also informed that by the time Karamjit Kaur arrived in the langar hall, the hall was almost empty with just a few people sitting nearby. ‘‘But before they could react and stop her, Sukhdev had collapsed. She was besides herself with rage and was shouting abuses at Sukhdev,’’ said Harpal.

Villagers told The Tribune team that Karamjit Kaur was a virtual castaway in the village. ‘‘No one ever talks to her or her family. She does not enjoy a good reputation in the village and is quarrelsome. Some years ago, she beat up an old man in the village. Her husband is an alcoholic and unemployed. She is the one who is feeding the family. She constantly fights with everyone in the village and everyone here avoids her,’’ said the village Sarpanch, Mr Jaswant Singh.

Sukhdev was a matriculate and unmarried. He used to help his elder brother and mother in agriculture. ‘‘He was the youngest in the family. Our father had died years ago and we all live here with our mother,’’ said Harpal who works at the Singh Shahidan Gurdwara in Sohana village as a giani.

The police was called and the house of the accused searched. ‘‘The accused lives with her husband and two sons in a nearby house. Her eldest son and husband are unemployed while the younger son is in school in the village,’’ informed the Sarpanch.

The holy day of Guru Nanak’s prakash utsav turned out to be a day of mourning for the family of Ms Jagir Kaur, mother of Sukhdev Singh.

‘‘The whole family has been for years involved in performing free seva in the village gurdwaras and it is extremely sad that someone should act like this on the gurdwara premises and that, too, on a day of happiness and celebrations,’’ said the village Sarpanch Jaswant Singh.

Interestingly, the SP, Mohali, Mr Vijay Pratap Singh, did not have any information to provide even after four hours of the incident. However, the SSP Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, confirmed that the accused had been arrested and a case under Section 304 of the IPC registered against her.



PU questions its own concession
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Panjab University has raised a question mark over a special concession made by the Syndicate for allowing admission to candidates placed under compartment of school boards, particularly Punjab School Education Board.

The university Syndicate had earlier this year allowed admission to students who secured less than 20 marks in the board examination but cleared the examination before the last date of admissions to the college in the university in which they were applying. According to the university rules, they had failed and did not stand a chance for regular admissions.

At the same time, Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University allow them admissions.

Panjab University Syndicate in July earlier this year allowed admission to students who secured less than 20 in a paper but cleared their compartment before the last date of admissions. The change was allowed by the university in anticipation of a formal clearance by the university senate and subsequently by the Government of India.

Now when the last date of admissions has ended the concerned branch in the university has raised objections. Interestingly, relevant portions of the university calendar have been quoted which prohibit admissions to students securing less than 20. The university has appointed a committee to look into the issue.

The committee under Prof R.J. Hans-Gill, Dean, University Instructions, include Prof Ramesh Kapoor, Dean, College Development Council, Prof Paramjit Singh, Registrar, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Principal Usha Gupta and Mr S.K. Sharma, Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor.

Interestingly, the proposal which goes back for reconsideration was proposed to be implemented from the current academic session(2003-2004). A committee member said the proposal of the syndicate should have to the regulation committee for an amendment in the current regulations instead of being sent to another committee. Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, in the meeting of the Syndicate had pointed out that the concession did not extend to MBBS, BAMS, BHMS, B Arch, BBA and BCA courses.

The university has pointed out to the existing regulation in calendar volume II which says that ‘a candidate placed under compartment in one subject only is eligible for admission to BA, B.Sc or B.Com courses if he has obtained at least 20 per cent in the concerned subject’.

The issue has led to the current debate because of yet another university regulation which says that admission in BA, B.Sc and B.Com is open to a student who has passed at least one academic year previously to the qualifying examination. In case of compartment, a candidate who is eligible to join BA and BSc a period of one year will be counted from the date a candidate is placed under compartment.

This means the result of the chance that a candidate takes in the special examination does not make him eligible for admission to the higher class in the same year. He stands to lose an academic year which the committee wanted to save.



Discovering healing power of music
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Belief in the curative and healing power of music has existed in India since ages. Seeing the advantages, it has over the western psychotherapy, psychiatrists have stressed the need to adopt and accept music therapy to bring about positive changes in lowering blood pressure, muscle tension and anxiety.

"Research on music therapy has shown that it has a lot of therapeutic benefits, which need to be documented to enhance its acceptability, rather than waiting for the validation to come from the west," says Prof Savita Malhotra, from the Psychiatry Department at the PGI.

"We have two CDs brought out by Dr Barathi from Pondicherry PIMS Medical College and we shall start music therapy on an experimental basis at the PGI shortly to see how effective it is in treating patients," disclosed Dr Anil Malhotra, Additional Professor in Psychiatry.

Dr Barathi, whose healing touch treatment through music has been accepted by researchers at Madras Medical Mission, is planning to open two centres at Chandigarh and Delhi. She strongly feels that medicine and music help each other. "Music helps to reduce the dose of medicine in psychosomatic disorders and behavioural problems," she says.

Almost miraculous effects have been ascribed to mental therapy not only in minor mental disorders but also in major psychotic disorders. There have been instances when it has been effective in organic bodily diseases such as asthma, headache, cough, hypertension and backache, said Prof Malhotra. She presented a paper on "Music and mental health" at the N N De Oration at the annual conference of the Indian Association of Social Psychiatry held in Trichy, last week.

Well-founded systems of music therapy have been devised and applied in many countries throughout the world but strangely text books of psychiatry, do not even make brief mention of this. "We would want to research and document facts like music can raise or lower blood pressure, change the frequency pattern of brain wave, create new connections between brain cells and enhance cognitive activities, before we can start offering the therapy here at the PGI," explains Prof Malhotra.

The Raga Research Centre in Chennai is conducting study of Indian ragas, with the help of doctors, psychiatrists and musicians to evaluate the therapeutic potential. It is believed ragas can not just cure diseases but can help fight ageing, pain, unhappiness, insomnia, epilepsy and schizophrenia. It is believed that each raga has its own speciality of curing diseases like raga malkauns cures intestinal gas, madhuvanti cures haemorrhoids, bhairavi for rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis and sohani cures headache. It is also believed that music stimulates pituitary gland, thereby affecting the nervous system and the flow of blood.

Psychatrists as well as psychologists admit that modern medicine was now rediscovering the healing powers of music. In the west it is now an accepted form of treatment even within orthodox medical practice. "With the social psychiatry movement being responsible for integration of patients with mental disorders into society, music therapy, too, could play a significant role," feels Prof Malhotra.



Gurpurb weaves a joyous spell
Tribune Reporters

Devotees partake ‘langar’ at Gurdwara Nada Sahib on Gurpurb on Saturday.
Devotees partake ‘langar’ at Gurdwara Nada Sahib on Gurpurb on Saturday.
— Tribune photo by Malkiat Singh
Students of Kids Village Preparatory School participate in a nagar kirtan in SAS Nagar.
Students of Kids Village Preparatory School participate in a nagar kirtan in SAS Nagar.
Volunteers donate blood at a camp held on the occasion of Gurpurb at Sector 15 gurdwara in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Volunteers donate blood at a camp held on the occasion of Gurpurb at Sector 15 gurdwara in Chandigarh on Saturday. — Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, November 8
Boisterous din of bursting crackers today echoed in houses decked up with colourful blinking lights as residents celebrated Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary.

Blood donation camps, health camps, community kitchens, poetry recital and shabad singing competitions were organised all over the city and the adjoining areas to commemorate the parkash utsav.

Tea was offered to devotees visiting gurdwaras. Sweets were distributed among the children, particularly the ones residing in slums and colonies.

The celebrations started early. Even before the sun’s rays pushed aside the blanket of darkness, residents, eager to pay obeisance, left their houses to reach the gurdwaras for offering prayers.

In fact, honking of horns filled the air as residents took to the streets as early as 4.30 am. As car after car negotiated the bends to reach Nada Sahib near Panchkula, the traffic almost came to a standstill on the road leading to the gurdwara. Even before they parked their vehicles, the melodious tunes of shabads greeted them.

The gurdwara and its vicinity had been decorated with cheerful lights and chuckling flowers. Other gurdwaras, including the one in Sector 34, too had been decked up.

Outside the gurdwaras, stalls had been set up for offering not only religious books, calendars, “karas” and “parnas”, but even crackers and cold drinks. Bottle necks were created as residents left behind their cars along the roadside to take home the stuff.

In the evening, the residents came out of their houses to burst crackers. The ones bursting into a thousand stars illuminated the evening sky. So many residents had saved the fireworks since Divali. Others drove down to the market for buying these from shops and stalls.

At a camp organised at Gurdwara Sri Teg Bhadur Ji in Sector 15, 105 residents donated blood. The donors, along with the doctors from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, were presented with Guru Sahib’s siropas.

DERA BASSI: The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was celebrated with great fervour in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and other parts of this subdivision, here today.

Gurdwaras located in different villages and the townships here were well decked-up. Langars and nagar kirtans were also organised.

Sri Guru Harkrishan Singh Sewa Jatha organised a procession.

Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, Additional Advocate-General of Punjab, who was the chief guest on the occasion lit candles. He also asked resident to maintain amity. He also donated Rs 5,100 for the Jatha.

PANCHKULA: Almost 1.5 lakh persons from the region today visited the historic Nada Sahib gurdwara to pay their obeisance, on the occasion of Gurpurb.

Mr H.S. Bhangoo, manager of the gurdwara, said devotees had begun arriving at the gurdwara past midnight and the gates of the gurdwara were opened to the devotees at 2 am. A number of raagi jathas also visited the gurdwara, singing Guru Nanak vaani and hymns about the Sikh history.

A big langar was arranged for the devotees. Jalebis, kheer, kadi chawal were served. The management had deployed 200 kar sevaks to ensure proper flow of traffic and for parking the vehicles of devotees visiting the shrine.

SAS NAGAR: Kids Village Preparatory School, here, celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Students and teachers participated in a nagar kirtan, organised yesterday. Five students of the school, Ganraj, Gursimrat, Kanwarpal, Jasnoor and Sirat, were dressed up as the panj piaras. After the procession, the students were told about the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev.

Students of Golden Bells Public School, Sohana, and Sector 35, Chandigarh, celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev with fervour and joy. Speeches were given by teachers on the life of Guru Nanak Dev. They also encouraged the students to emulate his teachings. The Director of the school, Mr C.S. Bawa, enlightened the students on the life of Guru Nanak Dev and encouraged them to follow his teachings.

Shabad gayan, geet and quiz competitions were also held on the occasion. Among those who won the prizes included Amin, Harinderpal, Simarpreet, Kamal Passi, Amrinder and Jaspreet.



Children presented siropas
Tribune News Service

Participants of ongoing National Children Festival at Mohali present Bihu dance at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Participants of ongoing National Children Festival at Mohali present Bihu dance at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Saturday.

SAS Nagar, November 8
It was a day out for participants of the National Children Festival today. Starting with hobby classes to enjoying langars at gurdwaras to the Rose Garden and the Rock Garden, the day for the young energetic crowd of a thousand children ended at the Sukhna lake.

“The most memorable experience was the langar that these children had at the Mohali Phase 1 and Sector 39 Chandigarh gurdwaras. They were told about the importance of gurpurb and some of the children were presented siropas by the granthis during the visit,” said Mr G.S. Sidhu, the camp coordinator. “We have never seen so many people eating food together like this. This festival is very good.” said a student from Tamil Nadu.

The group then gathered at the rose garden from where all of them reached the lake. “We wanted to see the Rock Garden but many of us got late and could not see the garden properly,” said another student.

With only an hour left before their daily prayer at Shivalik Public School in Mohali, students performed the Bihu dance at the lake. “The onlookers were so amused and glad to be part of the audience who watched this dance performed by the students,” said Mr Sidhu.

Organised as part of the National Youth Project under the leadership of Mr S.N. Subba Rao, the four-day festival ends tomorrow with the visit of the Punjab governor to the school.



20-yr-old killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
A city youth, Amit Rajwanshi, a student of the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehra Dun, died in a road accident this morning.

Son of Prof Arvind Rajwanshi, head of Cytology and Gynaecological Pathology at the PGI, Chandigarh, 20-year-old Amit died when his motor cycle met with an accident in Dehra Dun this morning. He was in the second year of the MBBS course.

His last rites will be performed at the Sector 25 Crematorium at 11 a.m tomorrow.



Anupam Kher comes home to nostalgia
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
No matter how close to prominence one gets, there is no escaping the call of nostalgia. It is small wonder then that Anupam Kher, the brand new chairman of the Censor Board of India and outstanding actor who is busy straddling international cinema, came running when warm memories of childhood beckoned him.

Sojourning in Chandigarh before taking on the nostalgic route to Shimla this evening, Anupam Kher, accompanied by wife Kiron, recalled the tranquility of his hometown, which he left behind so that bigger dreams could be realised.

With all tasks at hand having been accomplished, Anupam could not but feel exhilarated over his return to Shimla, the place that taught him to soar. While in the city, he also inaugurated a joint exhibition of paintings and garments, put up by his brother-in-law Amardeep Singh and his wife Honey Singh in Sector 8.

Before leaving for Shimla, he spared a few moments to talk about his mission in life and his "meagre accomplishments", as he humbly called them. "The moment I think of Shimla, a strange sense of peace dawns on me. I wonder if it is peaceful anymore. All said and done, I am excited to return, more so because I will be staging my autobiographical play, 'Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai', on the university campus at Shimla. It forms a part of the ongoing celebrations."

Detailing his autobiographical play, Anupam said, "I felt a pressing need to communicate, despite the films I have done. There was no better medium than theatre to do that. The challenge was frightening, but worth taking. I wrote the play, which is a solo performance for two and a half hours. Naturally, it requires tremendous reserves of energy. We opened it in Mumbai. We will take it all over the world, from Shimla."

Recently appointed Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification, Anupam listed his immediate concerns, saying, "Being the Censor Board Chairman does not mean I have suddenly become the custodian of all morality. But a certain moral code, which is basic to Indian ethos, must be maintained. For this we must choose board members with great care. Once we have clean people at the helm of affairs, everything will fall in place. Also, the Cinematography Act, last revised in 1991, needs to be looked at again."

Besides this role, Anupam is also stepping across the Atlantic Ocean to New York, where he will work in another international film, "Soul and Spice", along with Hollywood style icon Samuel L. Jackson.

He is also featuring in another project undertaken by Indians in Britain. "In this film, I will be cast opposite Mahima Choudhry. The film explores the relationship between an old man and a younger wife. I am also excited about my film 'The Return', which will soon hit the floors. This one is all about the relationship between father and son, viewed from a foreigner's perspective. Meanwhile, I have completed 'Bride and Prejudice' with Gurinder Chadha."

Notwithstanding his countless moments in the sun, Anupam manages to keep his soilidly on the ground, as he said, "I would rather be unpopular and answer the call of conscience than be frivolous and, thus, popular. I am here to enjoy my work and not to get any 'tombstones' installed in my name."

Tracing his past to the Department of Indian Theatre and to Balwant Gargi, Anupam added, "Gargi forms an inseparable part of my play's script. I wish he had not died an unnoticed death. I also wish the governments did something to honour his contributions."



Nostalgia prevails at UBS alumni reunion
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
“I am feeling so happy on visiting my department that I have no words to express. I owe my confidence, positive attitude and professional skills to the department,” said Ms Kiran Khera, the first woman MBA passout of 1971 batch from University Business School (UBS) of Panjab University.

The mood at the sixth UBS alumni reunion held here today was nostalgic. Some students of the 1978 batch said they were meeting after more than 25 years. Some of them were surprised to see how they had changed in appearance and attitude. Only a few had been able to keep their fitness intact.

The present batch of students felt proud of their seniors like Sanjeev Gupta (IG, Punjab Police), A.P.S. Lamba (Director, Anka Shoe Exports), Sudarshan Agnihotri (Manager, NTPC), R.K. Gupta (Chief General Manager, Ballarpur Industries) and Rakesh Sharma (Chief Executive Officer, Small Appliances Division, Philips India), who had scaled new heights in their career.

The teachers of the department were happy to know that some of their students were working at senior positions in companies like Motorola, Wockhardt, Spice, Airtel, Escorts, Reliance and Bluestar.

Mr Rakesh Sharma suggested that the annual meeting in future could be made more lively and meaningful if lecturers by prominent industrialists like Mr Pawan Munjal and Mr Dileep Modi were organised.

Mr Sharma reminisced, “Since there were no girl students in our batch, we would go to the Department of English whenever we found time.”

Remembering her days in the department, Mrs Kiran Khera said “I was the only girl student in the department, and most of the boys would vie with each other to have friendship with me.”

Prof Padmanabhan, now working at SDM Institute of Management Development, said, “The department has played a great role in our life. Now we want to offer every help, may it be in finding jobs for the young students or finances for additional infrastructure for the department.”

Mr Kuldip Kaul, Director, Metro Exports, was elected the president of the association.

Nostalgia was at its peak at the fun games organised by the students. The faces of the old guard and the younger lot gleemed with joy while participating in the tug of war game in which the faculty members of the UBS defeated the students of 1978 batch.

The girl students of the department, however, succeeded in defeating the women faculty members and old women students of the department in the game.

After lunch, there was a felicitation programme for the Class of 1978. All members of that batch were honoured on the silver jubilee of their passing out. Also, an award presentation ceremony was held in the memory of Chander Mohan, a student of 1990 batch.



Kurukshetra boy who rocked the Silicon Valley
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
If Sabir Bhatia hit the news headlines in 1997, when he walked away with a $400 million deal with Bill Gates, Rohit Sharma did a repeat with a share-exchange worth $900 million, when his 1997 infant ONI Systems merged with CIENA Corporation in June 2002. A deal that shook the US communications industry, it was a stunning debut.

Here on one of his regular visits, Rohit said in an interview today that what had earned him "fortune and fame" was his work on using high-speed optical rings, the "metro-optical networking" that links buildings via fibre connections to metro and regional networks. In the event of any disruption in the cables, in the blink of an eye, the signals switch to alternative routes that he has discovered, through switching technology.

Today, Rohit is a house-hold name in the telecommunications, software engineering and semiconductors world, even beyond the USA. "My cost-effective switching technology has now been widely adopted in Europe, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, where this technology is a national priority".

He also has four patents to his credit in the USA.

In his 30s, Rohit is fascinated by "ideas"—any purposeful concept that would change the world for the better.

Though his parental roots are in Mustafabad village in Kapurthala district of Punjab, he was born, brought up and educated at Kurukshetra. Rohit obtained his B.Sc. (Honours) in electronics and communication engineering from REC, Kurukshetra. Thereafter, he did his M.Sc. (1989-1991) in electrical engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, writing his thesis on “Forward error correction and adaptive equalization for mobile communication systems”. In 1993-1996, he completed his Ph.D (electrical engineering).

Currently, Rohit is serving as the Executive-in-Residence with Mohr Davidow Ventures—MDV, one of the leading venture capital firms based in the Silicon Valley, California, with more than $1 billion under management.

Recently, Rohit had donated $1.075 million to the University of Alberta, which honoured him with the Alumni Horizons Award in October 2003. He has endowed a Professorship in Digital Communications and Signal Processing in the Faculty of Engineering at the university, besides establishing a yearly graduate scholarship.

Why did he not make such a donation to REC, Kurukshetra? Is he proposing to contribute to his parental village, Mustafabad?

To this question, Rohit sighed, ''I was disheartened by the response I got at REC. I found whatever software is available there is either locked up or there is no proper infrastructure for it. My interaction with the faculty was disappointing.

"Yes, I have a couple of projects worth $600,000 lined up for my ancestral village, Mustafabad. These include a community centre with a library, school and a charitable hospital. My grandfather, Pt. Ram Rakha, was a teacher and his house was open to all children for free education. I want to perpetuate his memory by focusing on education."

Since Rohit believes in picking up ideas, he has had a word with the Punjab Technical University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Y S Rajan.



Seized drugs to stay in police hands no more
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has paved way for effective pre-trial disposal of seized contraband. This can go a long way in reducing the possibility of the police planting the narcotics on innocent people.

Taking up a bail appplication, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the high court has clarified that the magistrates before whom applications are made for disposal of contraband, will deal with it as per the statutory provisions.

The directions are significant as the state has been submitting applications for the disposal of contraband before the magistrates. However, in certain cases the magistrates were not entertaining the applications, or were keeping them pending, on the ground that the cases were triable by the Sessions Court.

The Judge, after hearing Punjab's Deputy Advocate-General Mansur Ali, ruled: "A perusal of Section 52-A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act makes it clear that, though such cases are triable by a Sessions Court, an application is to be made before the Magistrate concerned.... It is, thus, made clear that any Magistrate, before whom such an application is moved, will dispose of the same as per the statutory provisions". In his detailed order, the Judge further directed Punjab to file an affidavit about the disposal of contraband by the Punjab police. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 25.

Mr Justice Goel had earlier taken serious view of the fact that seized contraband, instead of being disposed of after following the due procedure, was being kept in police malkhanas.

The Judge had observed: "During the course of hearing, my attention was invited to Section 52-A of the NDPS Act, 1985, which has been inserted by Act 2 of 1989. The section, inter alia, requires the officer in charge of a police station to prepare an inventory of seized contraband and to apply before a Magistrate to get the particulars certified.... There is also a provision for the disposal of seized contraband under Section 52-A (1) of the NDPS Act. Standing instructions have also been issued by the authorities concerned in this regard."

The Judge also observed: "This special procedure is a departure from the normal procedure of keeping case properties for evidence during trial. Provision for pre-trial disposal has been made to prevent the misuse of contraband after seizure. This process also helps the prosecution by obviating the need for producing it during the trial and responsibility for safe custody".

Mr Justice Goel had concluded: "It has been brought to my notice that in spite of the statutory provisions which have been supplemented by instructions, the procedure is not being followed and contraband are being kept in police malkhanas which provide opportunity for misuse. The amendment was made in 1989 and even after 13 years there is no reason to ignore it."



Dance girl may sue police for harassment
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
One of the dancing girls recovered from a pub in Bangalore is considering to sue the police for her alleged harassment and plans to return to the Indian Silicon Valley sometime after November 20.

Seeking anonymity, the girl said the raiding party of the Chandigarh police seemed to have arrogated to itself the task of moral policing.

She said why the Chandigarh police did not arrest film actresses who give dance performances and bold scenes in films.

While refusing to talk to mediapersons, the mother of one of the girls said if the police failed to protect the girls’ identity, she had an option of going to the court to fight for the honour of the girls.

The girl said the raiding party of the Chandigarh police had seized their mobile phones and asked them to stay in their houses provided by an accused in the case, K. M. Muralidhar. When asked why they did not approach the Karnataka police for the protection of their rights when the Chandigarh police asked them to do so, the girl said it was Muralidhar who persuaded them to surrender their mobile phones and stay in their houses.

The girl said they were provided houses in posh localities and each flat was being shared by four girls. They said the apartment in which they were staying had a visitors’ register in which a record of those coming and going was there. She said the girls used to be taken to market for shopping during the day in the company’s vehicle.

She rubbished the allegation that they were forced to dance till 3 am saying they were not toys who would dance to the tune of a master.

The girl said it was not possible to dance from 9 pm to 3 am as it was beyond the physical strength of a normal person, adding that otherwise also dance was allowed between 9 pm and 11 pm only.

She said a girl could at the most can dance on four numbers and the numbers used to be interspersed with ghazals to allow them breathing time.

The girl said a group of four girls used to perform dance at a time on the floor of the pub and the group used to be changed after four numbers.

She said after four performances, they could be asked to join the dance group if it was required.

The family members of the girls continued to be media shy saying media coverage would destroy the chances of the marriage of these girls.

They said the girls were happily earning their livelihood through their skill which they acquired after years of training.

Unconfirmed reports said the girls had been advised not to talk to the media.

The Chandigarh police team, which went to Bangalore, is scheduled to return to the city tomorrow along with Rajni on whose relative’s complaint the police registered a case against seven persons, including Muralidhar.



Punjab canals in bad shape, says engineers’ body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The Institution of Engineers (India), a body of engineers from Punjab, Chandigarh and surrounding states, has expressed its concern about the lack of maintenance of hydel projects and canal system in Punjab. With the fall in budgetary support from the Centre and state governments, it felt, the Irrigation Departments were finding it hard to meet even day-to-day maintenance expenses of the canal systems.

These views were expressed by speakers at the annual general meeting of the Institution of Engineers (India) held here yesterday. Presiding over the function, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister, Punjab, admitted that the canal system in Punjab was in a bad shape. He said over the years the canal system had deteriorated, resulting in financial loss worth crores to farmers.

Mr Bhullar gave away Kala Devi Awards to Mr Apurv Aggrawal (mechanical engineering) of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, Ms Nidhi Goel (electrical engineering) of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar and Mr Rajiv Kumar (civil engineering) of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, who had got gold medals from their institutes. The awards included a cash prize of Rs 10,000 each, a gold-plated medal and a certificate.

Mr Balbir Singh, Chairman of the institution, said most of the canal system in the state were more than a century-old and was in a state of decay. He wondered why the Punjab Government was not ready to pay attention to the Punjab Irrigation Management and Training Institute, set up in Amritsar, specifically for the purpose of improving the canal systems.

He claimed that in the Doaba area, the utilisation of canal system had declined to about 30 per cent due to non-existence of the water courses and improper maintenance. On the other hand, due to more water supply in the Muktsar-Malout-Bathinda belt, farmers were facing the problem of waterlogging though the state government had spend crores of rupees to solve the problem.

Mr O.P. Goel, President, Institution of Engineers (India), Mr Jagman Singh, former president of the institute and Mr Jotinder Singh, SE, Punjab State Electricity Board also expressed their views.



Century-old rail heritage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
As the last train to mark the end of a century of glorious railway heritage chugged off from Kalka Railway Station this evening, there were somethings special for every passenger on board.

To ensure that the passengers get nostalgic feel of the Raj period, a guard dressed in the uniform of the erstwhile North Western Railways was on board the special train.

The guard Station Superintendent, Mr R.K. Dutta, told the Chandigarh Tribune that the stations along the heritage route had been decked up for the celebrations. A fresh coat of paint has been given to the historic building of the Kalka Railway Station.

The Himachal Tourism was constructing an online information centre at the Kalka station. The information centre would enable the tourists to make their arrangements for stay at different hotels in Himachal Pradesh.



INLD flouts apex court’s order on hoardings
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8
Encouraged by political patronage, the two national highways passing through the district NH-22 (Zirakpur - Panchkula- Kalka) and NH-73 (Panchkula - Naraingarh) are the new avenues for political parties and various companies to seek publicity. This is in gross violation of the apex court’s guidelines, which prohibits the setting up of hoardings along highways.

Huge hoardings, propagating the achievements of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government, banners of various companies advertising their products and the Health Department’s pulse polio campaign dot the national highways. Sloganeering highlighting, the achievements of the ruling party, is painted in green colour on the aprons of culverts on the highways, walls of almost all government buildings, including the Kalka and Pinjore police station.

Hoardings (15’ by 10’) that have been set up near Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore, and slogans painted at other strategic locations talk about achievements of the INLD government, especially in the areas of power sector reforms, old-age pension, Devi Rupak Scheme, etc.

Almost all signboards, giving indication of the various cities ahead and their distance, have also been covered with posters having pictures of the entire Chautala clan — former Prime Minister Devi Lal, Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, and the latter’s son Ajay Singh Chautala. The commuters passing by the highway are most likely to miss the signboards and remain uninformed of the distance left for them to cover before they reach their destination.

The posters, exhorting people to participate in the Samman Divas held at Karnal to celebrate the birth anniversary of Ch Devi Lal and those of a medical camp inaugurated by Mr Ajay Chautala in September, can be seen on most of these signboards.

Other than this, banners of various companies, advertising their products, banners of new shops, highway motels and new resorts also adorn the trees along the highway. Thinking perhaps, of such propaganda as the best means of reaching out to the people, numerous banners of the Health Department about its pulse polio campaign scheduled for tomorrow can also be seen along the highways.

Even the Punjab and Haryana High Court had passed a series of directions, endorsing the apex court’s directives on hoardings, neon signboards and signages on highways, side roads and other roads. But this seems to have had little effect on the state government, who keeping the next parliamentary and Assembly elections in mind, on the has formally asked various boards and corporations to instal these hoardings at their own expense.



Panchkula Diary
Pammi Bai supports Daler Mehndi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8
Punjabi folk singer Pammi Bai yesterday gave his oblique support to pop star Daler Mehndi, caught in the human trafficking racket, by saying that bureaucrats, politicians and religious leaders were also involved in this racket.

He was addressing a press conference here this afternoon. He said though he was not defending Daler Mehndi, the investigating agencies instead of singling out folk artistes, should also investigate how men were being taken abroad by religious leaders, bureaucrats and politicians.

Talking about his new album, he said the new music album would again speak of Punjabiyat and would be a compilation of eight songs. He said the album would be released by year-end.

Certificate of Excellence

Neha Aggarwal and Kanav Goyal, both students of Class IX at Manav Mangal School, have bagged the prestigious All-India Talent Scholarship Award sponsored by the International Children’s Excellence Fund. They have qualified for the Certificate of Excellence and a cash award on the basis of their having cleared the second round of the examination.

Fancy dress

A fancy dress activity was organised for play group of Saupins School, Panchkula, under their monthly project, Seasonal Vegetables yesterday. Children dressed up as vegetables- mushrooms, chillies, tomatoes, cauliflowers and brinjals, came up one by one and gave the merits of each vegetable.

Orientation seminar

An orientation seminar was organised for the parents of students enrolled in Eurokids , Sector 9, yesterday. Mr Rubbal Dutta, regional manager of north operations, Eurokids and Ms Sarika Verma, master Coordinator, conducted this seminar. They apprised the parents of the standard education system being followed in the school, under the guided support of Egmont Imagination India. They said the work on the philosophy of learning by doing and thus our equipment , toys etc, are selected keeping in mind a child’s need to touch, explore, learn and enjoy, they said.



Tension over bid to sacrifice goat
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 8
Tension prevailed at the Phase II park here yesterday when residents of Maloya and Burail villages tried to sacrifice a goat as a thanksgiving gesture for the birth of a son to a resident of Burail.

More than 150 residents of Burail and Maloya had gathered at the park with a goat, allegedly to sacrifice it stating that this was a tradition followed by their ancestors whenever a son was born as a first child in the village. Amarjit Singh of Burail had been blessed with a son earlier this week.

Apparently this park houses an ancient mazaar, the followers of which are now residing in Maloya and Burail.



MC workers to hold rally

Chandigarh, November 8
The Municipal Corporation Roads Workers Union will hold a rally at Matka chowk in protest against the non-acceptance of their long-pending demands. The main demands of the union include withdrawal of notification dated January 13, 1991, implementing Central Service Rule to UT employees, transfer of employees from UT administration to the corporation, filing of vacant posts, balance sheets of GPF and issuing gumboots and rain coats, said Mr P. Karm Raj, president of the union. TNS



Readers Write
Plan approval a long-drawn process

REPORTS appearing in the Press like “UT's red tape just got a little longer”, “Getting the building plans now more simple”, “Estate Office: where clerk is the king” and “Estate Office clarifies time-frame for plan approval process” are not projecting the true picture of ground reality.

In the system that is being followed for approving plans, the fixing of responsibility is impossible or at least difficult. The technical job is supposed to be dealt by technocrats. Even the head of bottom-most office, i.e. the SDO, Building Branch, who is responsible for dealing with the public, is not accountable in any way.

As reported in the Press, it is the responsibility of clerks, junior engineers, draftsmen and head-draftsmen to submit and get drawings sanctioned from the Plan Approval Committee (PAC). The SDO(B) is only required to put his signatures. Again the duty of dispatching the approved plan rests upon the Dispatch Branch (read dispatch clerk), all working under his full control and supervision.

PAC consists of officers of the rank of SDO from the Department of Architecture and the Department of Engineering to verify the requirements as per building rules. These requirements primarily relate to ventilation and lighting of buildings and are documented as building rules. These rules are a carbon copy of the regulations, contained in the National Building Code of India (NBC) prepared by Indian Standards Institution, now known as the Bureau of Indian Standards with an objective to assure optimum returns of the large national investment made in the housing sector; revise designs overburdened with safety factors and to avoid wastage in construction.

This code, which is in an easy to understand language, covers the ready to be adopted regulations by the municipal administrations like aspects of administrative regulations, bylaws for open spaces, fire safety, structural design, rules for electrical installations, lighting, air-conditioning and lifts, regulation for ventilation, etc.

The building rules are silent about fire safety and electrical requirements. The NBC has prescribed open spaces like front and back courtyards for fire safety and the Electrical Wing takes care of electrical requirements, when an electrical connection is applied for by the owner. The left over architectural, structural and public health requirements are the jobs of a civil engineer i.e. SDO (B).

If there is time-frame by which a plan will be sanctioned, then steps involved in approving the plans have no relevance.

Gurjit Singh, Chandigarh

Rai Sikhs' demands

Rai Sikhs have been demanding the inclusion of their community in the Scheduled Tribes' list for a long time. All prominent leaders of the Congress, including Indira Gandhi, had promised this several times in the past.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister of Punjab, had also recommended their inclusion in the list to the Union Home Ministry on March 26, 1970, and later in April 2000. Unfortunately, it was opposed by some MLAs of the Akali Dal, the BSP and the BJP in the Punjab Assembly. It seems all political parties have merely exploited the community as a vote bank, which numbers about 15 lakh in Punjab.

The recent move of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, as reported in The Tribune on October 21, 2003, to recommend the inclusion of the community in the list of Scheduled Castes to the Central Government is most thoughtful. The Rai Sikhs welcome this and congratulate Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Rai Sikhs have remained socially, educationally, economically and politically most backward. They have primitive traits and distinctive culture. Some members of this tribe also live in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi. It is hoped that chief ministers of these states will also take a similar initiative. The Central Government should also look into their condition sympathetically.

Khazan Singh Kachura, Fatehabad

Kudos to judiciary for ban on strikes

Judicial activism has again done a great service to the nation by banning strikes and agitations by government employees on roads during working hours. The ban should be applicable to non-government employees as well. We are a poor nation. Even after 50 years of Independence, we are afflicted with many maladies, including corruption and indiscipline. We can ill afford strikes and agitations which result into wastage of working hours of agitating employees and others, besides holding the public to ransom.

How much manpower is wasted is impossible to calculate. Not only the time of those agitating is wasted but also of others, who are not even remotely concerned with them or their establishment. Persons going to offices, students and patients are also affected. What right does anybody have to disturb others?

All problems can be solved through remedial negotiations and arbitration. Strikes, if at all needed, can be observed after working hours and agitations, in form of processions, within the campus of the establishment and not on roads, thus disrupting the traffic.

Muskaan Khanna, Panchkula



Raids conducted to arrest assaulters
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8 
The police today raided various places in Chandigarh and Panchkula to arrest Lokesh and Satish Gupta, who have been accused of having assaulted lawyer Neeraj Sahni.

The raids began after the anticipatory bail application of the accused was rejected by a local court today. However, the duo could not be traced.

The two above mentioned, along with Gaurav and Nikunj, had allegedly assaulted a local lawyer Neeraj Sahni in Sector 9 on November 1.

Two injured: A 13-year-old boy Deepak was injured when a rocket cracker that he lit misfired and fell on his hand.

In another incident, an 18-year-old girl was injured in a road accident in Sector 21.



Man killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 8
An unidentified man in his early 70s died after being hit by a car on the Madhya Marg in Sector 26 here yesterday.

According to police sources, the person was seriously injured and was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where he died. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304A of the IPC has been registered.

ARRESTED: The police has arrested Sudhir Sharma, a resident of Panchkula district and Krishan Mohan of Mani Majra, for allegedly stealing a motorcycle. Mr Surinder of Mani Majra had lodged a complaint that the motorcycle was stolen on the night of November 6. The motorcycle has been recovered from them.

CAUGHT RED-HANDED: Sanjay of District Unao, Uttar Pradesh, was allegedly caught red-handed while stealing a bicycle from the parking lot of Inscol Hospital in Sector 34 here. He was arrested under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC on a complaint lodged by Ram Bahori, resident of Sector 21 here.

STOLEN: Mr Hardeep Singh of Sector 10 has lodged a complaint that his Enfield motorcycle (CH03 L 3732) was stolen from the parking lot at the Pharmacy Department, Panjab University, on November 15. A case under Section 379 has been registered.

HELD: Sat Narain of Burail village was yesterday arrested from Sector 34 allegedly for gambling. The police also arrested Balwinder Kaur of Sector 25 and Faqir Chand of Ram Darbar for smuggling liquor.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |