C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Critical issues confront UT Adviser
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Matters which need a final push

  • Setting up of gaushalas for dealing with cattle menace.
  • Status of MC employees.
  • Status of PEC employees and resources.
  • Talks with computer giant Dell, a company which is keen to come here.
  • Industrial plots pending since 1982.

Implementation of decisions in past three months

  • Setting up of IT towers by DLF, a Rs 160 crore project.
  • Appointment of a regular Chief Engineer.
  • Delegation of punitive powers to MC officials.
  • Sites for schools, stuck up for more than an year, were allotted.
  • Property tax, which the MC has rejected. The Administration had linked grants to fresh taxes.

Chandigarh, November 22
For the new Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, the immediate task at hand is defined to the last detail. Several important decisions, which can have an impact on the city, are at a critical stage requiring, a final push. A decision on employees of the Municipal Corporation; a final notification on the status of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) and the latest issue of stray cattle will be the focus of attention.

In several other important matters, decided during the past three months, implementation will be the key. The pace at which the Administration has moved during the past three months will be critical. One of the most important matters which is in the final stages of being decided upon is the status of about 6,500 employees of the Municipal Corporation. High-level meetings have been held between former Adviser Raminder Singh Gujral and the employees along with officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The employees had agreed to get everything just short of ‘‘ deemed deputation.’’

The issues of status of employees of Punjab Engineering College and the resources of PEC were decided at official meetings. A rough draft notification is ready; it needs to be seen and orders issued for notifying the status of employees. Talks with Dell, a computer company, are at an advanced stage and will take another round of meetings before the company opens an office here.

Already the issue of cattle menace has caught the attention of the new Adviser, sources said. It has been decided to set up gaushalas in the city where the cattle will be kept. The states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have said that Chandigarh will not herd any more cattle outside its boundary into these states. Similarly the case of allotting industrial plots to applicants of 1982 is taking shape. This has been hanging fire and even put a roadblock in the way of setting up an IT park.

In the past few weeks, the Administration has tied up with builders DLF for developing state-of-the-art IT towers and a deadline of one year has been given. The pending issue of allotting school sites was decided and 11 additional sites have been identified for smaller schools. The officers of the Municipal Corporation were given powers to punish and penalise the staff, thus making the staff more accountable.

The much-awaited CT scan machine at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here has been approved and is finally arriving. The process of appointing a Chief Engineer in the Administration and also the Municipal Corporation has been initiated.

The system of imposing property tax in the city was enforced by the Administration and the latest is that the MC had finally rejected it.


Classroom attendance still negligible
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Classroom attendance remained negligible today in the local colleges affiliated to Panjab University because of the ongoing agitation against the fee hike.

The central stage of action of agitation has shifted from boys colleges to Government College for Girls, Sector 11. Indefinite hunger strike by Annpurna Singh, president of the college Students’ Council, entered its third day. She has been joined in by Madhumeet, president of Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, and Harpreet Kaur from Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45.

Gayatri Bawa, president of the students council of GCG, Sector 42, had to be shifted from the ‘dharna’ site last night because she complained of discomfort. She was rushed to a doctor and after that she left for her home.

Annpurna said they were neither visited by the college principal nor any representative of the UT Administration which showed the extent of “apathy to the welfare of students”. The tents had been removed and “we nearly freeze every night”.

Annpurna said she had been given indirect messages of a college action against her in case she did not get up from her hunger strike. “I am not afraid and will fight for the students’ right till the end”, she added.

Harpreet Kaur said it was strange that the authorities concerned were not bothered to even listen to them. “Principals and teachers are supposed to be our guardians, yet, none of them have turned up to enquire about our health”, she added.

Dalip Singh Virk, president of DAV College students council, said the administration was adopting coercive methods through the police to dissuade students from protest which was not correct.


UT panel on fee hike will have students
Tribune News Service


  • UT Administration announces constitution of a committee to look into the issue of fee hike in colleges. Members will include three from Senate, three principals from private colleges, two students and three government officials.
  • Fortysix students, including president of Panjab University Campus Students Council, and presidents of other students organisations short of lectures in Law department.
  • PU cancels admissions of five students after lodging an FIR for their getting admissions on fake certificates. PU will lodge FIR against six more.
  • 20 per cent hike in admission and tuition fee accepted for the next session(2004-2005).

Chandigarh, November 22
The UT Administration will constitute a committee to look into the ongoing controversy regarding the fee hike in the local affiliated colleges of Panjab University which has paralysed teaching from the past more than two weeks.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, informed the Syndicate about a telephonic conversation he had with the Home Secretary recently which mentioned the constitution of the committee.

The committee would comprise three members of Panjab University Senate, three principals of local private colleges, two from government colleges, two student leaders and three government officials, sources said.

The committee had already been announced by the UT Administrator and Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P.Verma, earlier but it was interesting to know that the committee would also have student representatives.

The university Syndicate had not accepted the 20 per cent fee hike in the affiliated colleges from the next academic session(2004-2005). The hike would apply only to the tuition and the admission fee. It would not be applicable to other funds levied by the colleges, sources said. However, the matter had been deferred.

As many as 46 students were short of lectures in the Law department. The names included a number of prominent student leaders, including Malwinder Singh Kang, president of Panjab University Campus Students Council. Other names included Khushbaz Singh Jattana, a former president of the Student Organisation of Panjab University, Satinder Pal Dahiya, a former general secretary of the council and Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, president of the PUSU(Shelly).

The power to condone lectures had been taken away from the Syndicate. The Vice-Chancellor had not condoned any lectures of students who had attended less than 50 per cent lectures. The matter was likely to feature in the Senate meeting of December.

The Syndicate had accepted the report of a committee which had probed into cases of fake admissions following a report in The Tribune. The university had decided to cancel admissions of five students in certain colleges of Ludhiana. The university had already lodged an FIR against them. The university Syndicate also decided in another similar case to lodge an FIR at Chandigarh against six more students on the list of admissions on fake documents.

Elections for the next Senate had been fixed for September 19, 2004. Elections would be held for 15 seats for registered graduates, eight for teachers of affiliated colleges and eight for principals. Voting booths would be set up at various places in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

The university Syndicate honoured four employees for certain achievements in their respective assignments at hand. Mr Karan Kumar Soni, a senior assistant in the certificate section, would be awarded Rs 1000 for detecting 18 cases of tampering with the detailed marks cards, irregularities in preparation of results and financial matters. Mr S.N.Bose, a security officer, would be awarded Rs 250 for exemplary bravery showed in fighting intruders on the campus.

Mr Joginder Singh, a chowkidar, had been honoured for sincerity in patrolling the campus. The university would honour Sukhdev Sharma, a junior assistant in the colleges branch, for professionalism he had shown in following up a case where an employee had challenged the university in concern to his service benefits.

The Syndicate showed its concern at a letter of the Punjab Government to the Centre where PU had been questioned on its financial management. Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath and Prof R.D.Anand challenged government interference in university affairs. Mr Ashok Goyal also criticised ‘undue government pressure’. Ms Nisha Sharad, DPI (Colleges), Punjab, said she disassociated herself from the proceedings on the issue.


An evening of rock, dance and ecstasy
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
Excitement broke loose as B4U music’s video jockey Keith stepped up on stage before the seven-member band Hundred Octane set the evening afire with its heavy metal guitaring at St Anne’s Convent School in Sector 32, here today.

The crowd went berserk with excitement as Keith, wearing a dark denim jacket over a grey top and grey jeans, graffed the microphone for introducing himself to the audience. Ecstacy was writ large on cheerful faces as he spoke about the music channel, the sponsors and the youth scene in Chandigarh, while the musicians played the drums in the background. Within minutes, he had the audience in splits with his unconventional but decent jokes. The crowd was still in the mood for more before he bid adieu after entertaining them for about 15 minutes.

Talking to the media over the excited screams and shrieks of youngsters eager for some real cool action just before the
show commenced, Keith expressed happiness about being in Chandigarh. The city was full of life and the youngsters simply fantastic, he declared. About his experiences as a video jockey, he said the profession was simply great for youngsters with confidence. No regrets, he told mediapersons before stepping on stage.

As the members of Hundred Octane took his place, thundering applause filled the air. The playground was converted into an open air discotheque illuminated by colourful blinking lights as the youngsters twirled around, while the musicians played some cool numbers. They bounced happily as the rhythmic notes filled the air.

Earlier during the day, impressive speakers boomed latest Western numbers as reverberating drums beats, mingled with rhythmic notes of the electric guitar, during Symphony — an inter-school Western music singing competition — was organised at the school. About 150 schools from the region, including Shimla, Dagshai, Sanawar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chandigarh, participated in the competition organised by Horizon Group.

It started at about 12 noon. Traffic came to almost a standstill on the road reaching the school as bus drivers looked for parking space before leaving behind the students. The impressive school gates appeared narrow as the eager students, accompanied by their music teachers, poured in to attend the competition.

Inside the school, “heaven was a place on earth” for the music buffs. Even as the organisers requested the students to get themselves registered before settling down, the little musicians started playing after making themselves comfortable. Their eager fingers plucked the guitar strings as they churned out hit after hit.

The crowd, in denim jackets over jeans with hair concealed under bandanas, danced as the bands performed. They danced till perspiration dotted their brows and they were struggling for breath.


Army club opens doors to civilian riders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
After instituting a massive programme to upgrade its humble riding school at Chandi Mandir Cantonment into a well-equipped riding club that meets international equestrian standards, Western Command has decided to open the club’s doors to civilian riders. The formal launch of the club is scheduled for November 27.

The Army has also offered to make the newly set up club as the nodal agency for equestrian events in North India.

Re-christened Shivalik Riding and Pony Club (SRPC), the erstwhile Command Riding School has been allocated about 50 acres of land within the cantonment and has procured 50 horses — an impressive number by any standards.

The club had recently organised the Shivalik Horse Show, which included the national tent-pegging championships. About 275 horses from military, para-military, police and civilian riding organisations had participated in the event, which organisers said, was perhaps the highest number ever.

‘‘The project to expand the riding club was initiated in April and work to complete the infrastructure is still under way. While the basic riding facilities have been completed, the club building is in the process of coming up,’’ an officer at Headquarters Western Command said.

Special stables had also been built for housing horses and state-of-the-art training facilities as well as safety measures had been incorporated.

The club had also constructed a 3-km-long riding trail within the cantonment. This, officers, said would do away with the monotony of riding in circles within a designated arena, as was the practice earlier. ‘‘Riding through cross-country trails would give confidence to young riders that they can handle horses outside enclosed spaces,’’ an officer said.

‘‘Besides being invigorating as well as relaxing the trails would also provide the opportunity for trotting, cantering and jumping across hurdles,’’ he added. The trail had been designed keeping in mind the suitability for horses as well as the trainees.

The club had also incorporated three riding arenas for training beginners to handle horses. The earlier riding school, set up decades ago, had just about 20 horses and a circular arena measuring just 60 meters by 20 meters.

Army officers said that the genesis of the club lied in the Army’s Project Olympics 2008, aimed to identify and train sports persons in various disciplines for the next Olympic games. Chandi Mandir, they added, had been selected for setting up premier equestrian facilities as most renowned riders hailed from this part of the country.


One killed in car-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Lalru, November 22
A resident of Delhi was killed while four others sustained injuries when the car in which they were on their way to Anandpur Sahib collided head on with a truck on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Sarseeni village, near here, this morning.

The car occupants, Ashwani Lamba (29), his wife Nidhi Lamba (22), relative Tajinder Batra (45), his wife Aarti Batra (44) and their teenaged daughter sustained serious head injuries. Ashwani Lamba, who was driving the car, succumbed to his injuries at Civil Hospital, Ambala City.


Building bylaws given the go-by
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 22
In what is likely to raise a question mark over the working of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), well-placed sources have alleged gross irregularities in the functioning of the Estate Office here.

The sources stated that the double SCO building complex in the Phase V market here, that collapsed some months ago, was being built not only without due permission from PUDA, but also despite having reports to the effect that wrongful construction was being undertaken in the market. The sources further alleged that these reports were either deliberately overlooked or not checked.

According to sources in PUDA, the junior engineer of the area had been visiting the site and giving reports to the office that a building was being constructed in the market in complete violation of building bylaws. No one seemed to have either taken notice of the report or overlooked it deliberately.

The matter came to light when the three-storey building collapsed and the top floor came crashing down on the morning of March 11 this year. The building was declared unsafe by the then Subdivisional Magistrate and the area was cordoned off. The mass of the building material which could fall and cause damage to life and property was removed and construction stopped.

The building was being constructed by joining two separate fully built showrooms in the market, but none of the plans being followed by the architect were approved by PUDA. While the owners had then feigned ignorance about building bylaws, the then SDO (Building), Mr Ranjit Kumar, stated that the building had been constructed without PUDA approval.

An inquiry was marked into the matter and the owners given a show-cause notice. Eight months later, no action had been taken against the owner. Even after the incident, the sources pointed out that the construction, which flouted building bylaws, was not possible without the builder being in connivance with someone in PUDA.


Retired postal staff to get health benefits
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
In a significant order, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the Ministry of Health, the Director of Central Government Health Scheme(CGHS), New Delhi, and the Joint Director, (CGHS), Chandigarh, to provide benefits of the CGHS to the retired employees of the Postal and Telecom Department.

While allowing the two different petitions filed by 22 retired employees of the Postal and Telecom Department, CAT said the departments concerned were directed to continue membership of the retired employees under the CGHS. The retired employees have also been entitled to get the benefits of reimbursement of their claim.

The applicants stated that after their retirement, initially they were getting Rs 100 as fixed medical allowance in view of the outdoor facilities. On September 10, 2001, the government extended the CGHS facilities to Chandigarh and a dispensary was opened on March 18, 2002. The scheme covers pensioners from the Central Government except those who have retired from the Railways and the armed forces.

Going into the background of the case, the applicants added that as per the government’s instructions, all retired personnel, whether they had been actually availing the CGHS facilities during the service or not, were eligible to get themselves registered. Following this, all of them had applied for registration under the scheme and paid the requisite subscription. They were issued prescribed cards by the Health Department.

Thereafter, they had been availing of medical facilities, including reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by them as indoor patients at government hospitals.

Giving details about the problems being faced by them, they further said that their fixed monthly allowance was stopped by the government by issuing instructions on August 19, 2002. Abruptly the authorities concerned cancelled their enrollment as CGHS members and refunded the balance subscription for the year 2003 by cheques.


Returning officers for gram panchayat poll appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The State Election Commissioner, Chandigarh, has appointed four officers of the Chandigarh Administration as returning officers in connection with elections to gram panchayats, to be held in the near future.

The following is the distribution of area of work for them: Mr S.P. Arora, Director, Public Relations — Kaimbwala, Khuda Alisher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora; Mr Gurdeep Singh, Director, Social Welfare — Sarangpur, Dhanas, Dadu Majra, Maloya, Palsora; Mr N.S. Brar, Assistant Estate Officer — Kajheri, Hallo Majra, Behlana; Mr Naresh Narwal, Secretary, State Transport Authority — Raipur Khurd, Raipur Kalan, Mauli Jagran, Daria, Kishangarh.

Draft lists of polling stations prepared on the basis of gram panchayat areas within the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency are being updated with January 1, 2003, as the qualifying date.

These lists are being kept at all offices of gram panchayats for the respective villages and can be inspected during office hours from November 27 to December 1.

Suggestions and objections to these lists can be filed in writing with the returning officers by 3 pm on December 1, the Joint Election Commissioner, Mr V.K. Harit, said.


BJP panels for elections formed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 22
Five-member committees, comprising members of the district units of the BJP, will be constituted for detecting fake votes in each district. This was stated by the newly elected district president of the BJP, Mr Baldev Nayyar, while addressing a press conference today. He said the state party president, Mr Ganeshi Lal, had given these instructions to all district presidents so that the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were fair.

Mr Nayyar said the party office in Sector 2 would also have a complaint centre, where an office-bearer would listen to the complaints of residents and then take them up with the district administration. He said according to the directions by the state party high command, they have launched a membership drive at booth level, so that they could reach out to people at the grass roots.

Mr Nayyar introduced his new team with Mr Sham Lal Sachdeva as the senior vice-president, Mr Anil Goyal as general secretary, Mr Krishan Kumar Joshi as treasurer and Mr Devendra Dhawan as media in charge. He also released a list of 28 members of the district working committee, the vice-presidents of Morni, Kalka and Raipur Rani and secretaries of Doon, Barwala, Kalka and Pinjore.

The following have been elected office-bearers — Ms Rekha Sharma (president of the mahila morcha), Mr Kamal Sharma (president of yuva morcha), Mr Rohtash (president of the Scheduled Caste morcha), Mr Jethmal Viad (president of vyapar morcha) and Mr Balbir Singh (president of Kisan Morcha).


Pregnant woman ‘forced’ to leave hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Accusing the staff at the General Hospital of misbehaving with her husband, a 27-year-old pregnant women, Salma from Badheri village has alleged that she was forced to leave the hospital at midnight because of their insensitivity.

The incident took place at about 10.30 pm on Friday, forcing Salma and her husband, Shagir Ahmad, to leave the hospital. Salma had been admitted to the Ante-natal Ward of the hospital for delivery on November 19.

“The hospital staff created a ruckus when my husband reached the ward and wanted to give me the food he had brought with him,” said Salma, who has gone back home. She said the security staff outside the ward misbehaved with Ahmad and asked him to leave the place immediately.

She alleged that the watchman on duty was drunk and when she tried to pacify him, he asked her to accompany him if she was so concerned for her husband. She said even her repeated plea to them that she was not feeling too well and had fainted in the bathroom did not move them. “Finally after waiting outside the hospital till 1.30 am, we left for home,” she said.

The hospital, authorities on the other hand, said the staff on duty had only tried to tell the couple that no male attendant could be allowed to stay in the Ante-natal Ward, which led to an argument. “These are strict hospital rules and we cannot allow any male attendant to stay in the ward during night as other patients might object,” said an official.

Meanwhile, the doctors in the ward had marked Salma as absconding in the ward register as she had left without informing anyone. The nurses who were on duty at night said they had tried to help Salma and even paid Rs 150 for her medicines as she did not have money for treatment.


Food joints found stealing water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
In a surprise check conducted by a team of the municipal corporation here this evening, several educational institutions and eating joints in the northern sectors were found evading water tariff and sewerage cess to the tune of lakh of rupees. At least two popular eating joints in Sector 8 were found “stealing” water from a water stand post.

Of the total 12 educational institutions premises, including schools and colleges checked in Sectors 7, 8,9 and 26, the raiding team led by the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla and the Chief Engineer, Mr K.B. Sharma, found that water meters had not been functioning for a long period and average bills were being issued. The team did not rule out the involvement of field staff of the Public Health department in this regard.

Some schools had more sewerage connections than shown on papers. The raid was conducted by a Vigilance cell constituted by the Mayor when he took over in January. Earlier, the Vigilance cell had conducted surprise checks at industrial units in Industrial Area, including a soft drink bottling plant and petrol stations for misusing water connections.

It was noticed that the illegal connection of a particular eating joint in Sector 8 existed for the past 20 years. Mr Pardeep Chhabra and Mr Balraj Singh, both councillors, who were part of the raiding party said it had been found that costs incurred in supplying water to the educational institutions were much more than the revenue expected from them. Though notices had been issued to erring educational institutions, no follow-up action had been taken against them, sources in the corporation said.

The Mayor said it was an administrative action to check the revenue loses. Similar checks would be conducted in the southern sectors too.

The issue had come up for discussion at the monthly meeting of the water supply and sewerage disposal committee.

The Sources said ever since the last survey was carried out four years ago, the institutional premises had undergone expansion but the corporation had not been intimated.

Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, a Congress councillor welcoming the surprise checks, questioned the locus standi of a Congress Vikas manch leader, Mr Devinder Singh Babla, who was accompanying the raiding team. Mr Chhabra claimed that he happened to be there as he was scheduled to meet the Mayor.


Nagar kirtan ahead of Martyrdom Day
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
Melodious notes of shabads filled the air as enthusiastic residents followed the “panj pyaras” holding kirpans during a nagar kirtan taken out in connection with the Martyrdom Day of Guru Teg Bahadur falling on Monday.

Parsada was also distributed to the passersby.

The nagar kirtan started at about 10.30 am. As the band played religious tunes, students, clad in the traditional white attire, marched ahead, while the gatka players displayed their talent. A number of devotees joined in as the “panj pyaras” walked in front of the Palki with Guru Granth Sahib.

The kirtan started from Sector 22-D gurdwra. It passed through Sector 22-A and reached the inter state bus terminus before passing through the road dividing Sector 17 and 18. It then reached the press chowk before arriving at Sector 8 gurdwara.

The procession, then, passed through Sector 19 market and reached Sector 19-D gurdwara and moved towards Sector 20, 21 and 22 markets. It passed through Kisan Bhavan and Khukhrain Bhavan in Sector 35 before reaching the Sector 34 gurdwara. It culminated at gurdwara Sahib Bagh Shaheedan in Sector 44. Elaborate arrangements had been made to divert the traffic during the nagar kirtan.


Readers Write
Open GMC canteen

WE, the parents of students of the hostel for boys of Government Medical College, Chandigarh, Sector 32, are concerned about the pathetic conditions being faced by our wards for the past two months as the mess-cum-canteen is closed and no arrangement is being made to re-open it by the authorities. Rather, they seem to be indifferent to the students’ woes.

The dispute with the contractor arose due to the poor quality and unhygienic food. Students had been making complaints to the Chief Warden, but to no avail. And now the things have come to such a pass that the shutters of the canteen are locked at a time when students are busy preparing for their final exams. With little time to go outside for breakfast, lunch and dinner etc.

On approaching the Director-Principal, they have been further disappointed to know that the misery can’t be cured until March when a new tender will be floated. This is wrong as we have left our children to their responsibility. Students have talked to a new contractor and he is willing to come but the authorities concerned do not agree. If a contractor can’t provide food properly, why his contract can’t be broken? Rather, he must be penalised for this wrong.

Students are even ready for a mess/canteen on a cooperative pattern, but this plea too has been turned down.

Worried parents

Courts in Mohali needed

This is in reference to a Tribune report dated October 22, 2003, whereby Mohali residents have sought subdivisional courts at Mohali. Mohali has a population of nearly 3.5 lakh, with a status of subdivision, but without judicial courts.

The people of Mohali for redress of their grievances on the criminal and civil side, have to go to the courts located at a small town, Kharar, having population only of 50,000. They attend to the administrative work in Ropar district. More than 60 per cent of the cases pending in Kharar courts pertain to Mohali and the entire appellate work of the said courts is attended to at Ropar district.

Nearly 225 advocates stationed at Mohali are practising at the district courts in Chandigarh and a similar numbers of advocates are practising in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh. Thus, they are not able to serve the residents of Mohali in getting justice.

The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) has not earmarked any place for the establishment of courts at Mohali.

Mohali is a big industrial town and many big concerns are establishing their businesses here. This justifies the demand of upgradation of Mohali to a district, like the similarly placed Panchkula town of Haryana has been upgraded.

PUDA has decided to undertake a complete overhauling of infrastructural and civil facilities in the township as reported by Tribune News Service dated November 16, 2003.

Mohali township can only be built as an integrated town with its upgradation as district and the setting up of district courts there.

R.S. Sachdeva
Additional District and Sessions Judge (retd), Mohali

Release PoWs from Pak jails

Apropos the November 18, 2003 report on the list of 33 Indian youths in Pakistan jails, even after their term is over.

There are 56 prisoners of war since the 1971 war, rotting in Pakistan jails, undeclared. Ever since, it has been published in the world media, many a time. Even after 33 years, General Musharraf has declined this after the Agra meeting. Who is fighting to get our brave soldier back from Pakistan jails?

Their names are: Major J.S. Malik, Maj S.P.S. Warraich, Maj Kanwaljeet Singh, Capt K.S. Rathore, Capt G.R. Singh, Capt O.P. Dalal, Capt Kamal Bakshi, 2nd Lt Sabarwal, 2nd Lt P.R. Sharma, Maj S.C. Guleri, Maj A.K. Ghosh, Maj A.K. Suri, Capt Ravinder Kaura, 2nd Lt V.K. Aazad (but in jail), Capt Vashis Nath, Subedar Kali Dass, Sub Aasa Singh, Sepoy (Sep ) S. Chauhan, Corporal (Cpl) Paal Singh, Sep Daler Singh, Sep Jagir Singh, Havildar (Hav) Krishna Lal, Sqn Ldr Mohinder Kumar Jain, Flt Lt S.K. Goswami, Flt Lt Harvinder Singh, Flg Offr Sudhir Tayagi, Flt Lt V.B. Tambey, Flt Lt Moses Sasun, Flt Lt R.M. Adwami, Flt Lt N.S. Shankar, Flt Lt S.C. Sandal, Flt Lt S.C. Nanda, Wing Comdr (Wg Cdr) H.S. Gill, Flt Lt T.S. Dadal, Sqn Ldr J. Manekshaw Mistri, Flt Lt R.G.R. Kadam, Flg Offr K.L. Malkhani, Flt Lt B. Guha, Sqn Ldr J.D. Kumar, Flt Lt G.S. Rai, Flt Lt A.B. Dhavte, Flt Lt S.K.C.K. Mahajan, Flg Offr K.P. Murlidharan, Sep J.Lal, Gunner (Gnr) M. Mohan, Gnr Sujan Singh, Lance Naik (L/Nk) Hazura Singh, Lt Cdr Ashok Ray, Pilot Offr T.S. Sethi, Sqn Ldr D.P. Chatterjee, Gnr Syam Singh, L/Nk Balbir Singh, and Gnr Gyan Chand.

Major Jaskaran Singh was taken prisoner in front of us, on December 8, 1971. All his family members have died one by one, in his wait.

Lt-Col S.S. Sohi (retd) President, Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell, Mohali

Readers are invited to contribute to the Readers Write column. The letters should be typed in double space or written legibly with the name and address of the writer and should not exceed 200 words. (Editor)


Ekta Shakti fourth force in state, says party chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 22
Maratha Virendra Verma, President of the Ekta Shakti Party, has said that they are emerging as the fourth force in the state, an alternative to the “corrupt” and “dictatorial” Lals of the Haryana politics.

Mr Verma was addressing mediapersons today and said that his party was the voice of the people of north Haryana. “We will provide a clean administration and there will be a fair distribution of the state resources in various parts of the state.

Till date, the northern and southern parts of the state have been ignored and all government jobs, educational institutions, healthcare facilities are concentrated in western Haryana from where Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Bansi Lal and Mr Om Prakash Chautala hail,” he said.

Mr Verma, who is a former bureaucrat, also accused the Chief Minister, Mr Chautala, of amassing wealth and diverting funds from various boards and corporations to fill the coffers of his party and for personal gains. “Even the postings of government employees are based on an employee’s ability to pay the Chief Minister,” he alleged. He said if the party won at the hustings, they would conduct a summary trial for the present governments’ various acts of omission and commission.

Talking about his party, he said they were garnering support from all quarters. “So far, we have a membership of 40,000 which will increase to five lakh by the end of this year. We are organising ‘nukkad’ meetings in villages and rallies in urban areas. A rally will be held at Ambala on November 29 while another rally will be held at Kurukshetra on December 28, which will be a historic mahasabha where the oppressed people from north Haryana will pledge to fight against discrimination by other political parties,” he said.

He said since the people staying in the southern parts of the state were also discriminated against, he hoped that once the party began to expand its operations in south, they would get a positive response. He said they had already covered 21 Assembly constituencies in the state.

Talking about the local problems of Panchkula, he said they would take up the matter of abolishing the Periphery Act and solving the problems of the Mornu area.


Two women held for indulging in flesh trade
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
The crime branch of the police today arrested two women for being involved in flesh trade.

The two were caught red-handed while accepting money from decoy customers in Sector 42 here.

As per police sources, acting on specific information, a trap was laid and the two were caught while accepting Rs 5,000 each from decoy customers. The currency notes (in Rs 500 denomination) were marked. The two were said to be waiting for 'customers' near the Sector 42 dispensary.

The two are believed to have been involved in flesh trade for quite some time. One of them, Meenu (name changed) of Rohini in Delhi is married and has separated from her husband. She has a son from that marriage. The other, Neelu (name changed), has been residing in a rented room in Sector 37. The two told the police that they were engaged in flesh trade because of their poverty.


2 held for thefts in temples
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
Two members of an inter-state gang were arrested today for carrying out thefts in temples in the city and the adjoining town of Panchkula in the past few weeks. The operation cell of the police also recovered jewellery stolen from temples worth Rs 2 lakh.

The police arrested Jasbir, alias Jassi (19), of Jalandhar and Mohan (60) of Uttar Pradesh. With their arrest, cases of the October 22 theft at a Sector 28 temple and another theft on October 26 in Sector 35 were solved, said the police. The two also admitted to having committed a theft in a temple in Sector 9 of Panchkula.

The police said 30 mukuts, 17 chattars and 5 necklaces, costing about Rs 2 lakh, were recovered from their possession.

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