C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC loses crores due to illegal occupation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Auction could generate funds

The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, said due to shortage of funds, the development works in the villages suffered. It was being considered that a separate head for development works in the villages be created. The money earned through auction of the commercial properties could be used for providing the basic amenities, he added.

Chandigarh, November 29
The cash-starved Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is losing crores of rupees due to unauthorised occupation on prime commercial property of the erstwhile gram panchayats in three villages — Buterla, Burail and Badheri — under the civic body.

An open auction of the property could fetch lakhs of rupees. Eversince the assets and liabilities of the villages were transferred to the Municipal Corporation, a number of tenants have neither paid the monthly rent nor the arrears of the rent, running in thousands of rupees.

“By rough estimates, the commercial property, valued at over Rs 2 crore, could fetch a good price if put under the hammer. Again, renting the shops would not be a profitable proposition,” said Mr Surinder Singh, a councillor. There are around 37 shops , mostly occupied by tenants. Some premises were occupied by government departments for running welfare activities.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, Senior Deputy Mayor, told the Chandigarh Tribune that most of the shops in the village were under the occupation of the tenants.

After assessing the ground situation, the corporation in yesterday’s General House meeting decided to dispose of the properties after getting them vacated by adopting the proper procedure. Inquiries reveal that after the Municipal Corporation came in to existence, the liabilities and assets of Burail, Badheri, Buterla and Attawa villages were transferred to the civic body with effect from July, 1994. However, the sarpanches of the erstwhile gram panchayats filed a civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Later, the civil writ petition was decided against the petitioners.

In 1998, a committee of the officials of the corporation was constituted to take over the assets and liabilities of the erstwhile gram panchayats. The details of the immovable property were taken over by the engineering wing of the corporation. From1995 to 1998, the corporation could not realise rent from the tenants, resulting in huge arrears. After persuasion, arrears of rent were realised from some of the tenants. Till date, some tenants have not paid the rent or arrears.

To get the properties vacated, the corporation had filed suits for the ejectment of the tenants from the premises on account of arrears of rent. The matter was referred to the Finance and Contract Committee of the corporation which has suggested that the shops lying vacant in the three villages be sold on a freehold basis through an open auction.


Of fee hike, students’ strike and parents
P.P.S. Gill and Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Financial control has become a bone of contention among Panjab University, the Punjab Government and the UT Administration. The current academic year has seen a tussle of money control with all three agencies announcing hikes, reconsidering it and even withdrawing it. The game of agitation and hunger strike has had a brief respite with the constitution of yet another committee.

The issue of academic and financial autonomy discussed in the Consultative Committee of Panjab University in New Delhi on November 14, will cast a shadow on the December 1 meeting of the committee on the issue of fee hike constituted by the Chandigarh Administration.

Though not on the agenda, the Committee observed that Panjab University had full ‘’academic’’ autonomy and not ‘’financial’’, as it was an instrument of the government. So it must abide by its decisions. In the name of autonomy, no university could be allowed to block or oppose the implementation of the state policies. The ultimate outcome of the conflict points — issue of fee-fund hike and autonomy — will impact future discussions between university and the Administration.

Sources told TNS that after discussions the committee concluded that the University’s Board of Finance would not take any decisions in conflict to the collective decisions of the committee, and on important financial matters, the university would seek the prior approval of the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration because the two shared the university’s financial responsibilities in 40:60 ratio and also gave 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges.

Prof Charanjit Chawla, a senior Senate member, questioned the validity of the committee on the fee hike and also quoted Clause 10 of the 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme that stipulated, since 1977-78, that the prerogative to prescribe fee, funds in the affiliated colleges was of the university concerned. Prof R.D. Anand, fellow, said both Punjab and Chandigarh, had issued notifications on fee hike on May 13 and July 2, respectively. Under political pressure, Punjab withdrew its notification on July 22, but the Chandigarh Administration did not do so.

Thus, there are multiple disparities in fee structures. Government colleges charge different fee and private different. To make the situation more complex, in a single city like Chandigarh all private colleges have big differences and the same extends to all other cities and towns.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the PU Student Council, said the agitation was to demand the roll back of the Administration’s July 2 notification to seek elimination or narrowing of disparity in fee-funds charged by government and private colleges. When disparities are accepted, why checks should not be introduced? he asked.

It is worth mentioning that at Panjab University, the admission and tuition fee was enhanced by 10 per cent every year, since 1999, without any complaints. An intriguing reality of the strike was the ‘’code of silence” by parents. The class which would be really affected was not visible on the streets.

Public opinion is divided for and against the fee-funds hike. Justice O.P. Verma (retd), UT Administrator, said higher education was not a fundamental right. Primary education was. He referred to the lifestyle of students, the silence of parents and asked where from the money was to come to meet academic and administrative requirements?

The Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said fee hike should be ‘’slow and steady, reasonable, prior-to-admissions and transparent’’. A bureaucrat said the city had the highest per capita income. Why crib?

A lecturer in a government College said, ‘’In the present strike, middle or lower-middle class students were conspicuous by their absence. The well-off, who pay up huge sums on tuition packages or carry mobile phones or use automobiles or flaunt brand-name clothes or visit eateries or enjoy handsome pocket-money allowance, were heading the misplaced strike’’.

Army officer Iqbal Singh said the issue could not be discussed merely on the basis of total fee. There were varying shares for different components — the government, the university, the colleges. The government share was minimal. ‘’What is wrong in paying a little more?” he asked.

Businessman Dalip Singh said the demand of city students was strange. He said, ‘’A large number of them carry the latest gadgets; a majority drive to college on two-wheelers or even cars; they spend large sums on fast-food joints. We should co-operate with government and pay user charges’’.

A university Class IV employee, Raj Kumar, whose two sons are in college said, ‘’The government, as a welfare state, should take the responsibility of education of the economically weak children’’.


MPs want PGI linked to hospitals in region
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 29
Members of Parliament (MPs) from the region have mooted the Union Health Ministry to link PGI Chandigarh with at least one hospital in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir through video-conferencing. Most people from these states depend upon the PGI for expert medical advice. However, if the PGI was connected through video-conferencing with other hospitals in state the patients can have medical expertise of the institute at other hospitals also. This would help the patients in state of emergencies and also reduce workload at emergency of the PGI in Chandigarh.

Mr Suresh Chandel, coordinator of the group of MPs from the region and member of the Institute body of PGI disclosed this at Nangal today.

Proposal by the PGI administration to increase charges of various medical services in the institute has also been turned down by the Union Health Ministry. The PGI has proposed an increase in charges for various services on the plea that cost of these services had increased.

Mr Chandel, however, opposed the move as a member of the Institutional body of the PGI. The recommendations for increase in charges of medical services in the PGI and the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were given in 1996. The AIIMS did not increase the charges the PGI administration increased these in 1996 on the basis of the recommendations. Due to it charges of several medical facilities in the PGI were more than those in the AIIMS. The demand was also raised to equate charges of medical facilities in the PGI with those at the AIIMS, he told.

He added that the group of MPs from the region formed a year ago had highlighted collective demands of the region to the Union Government. The group has put forward meagre development of the Railways in the region since Independence. The Union Railway Ministry now has acknowledged the fact and assured to allocate more Budget for the expansion of the Railways in the northern region.


Traffic cops use Carnival to stress safety
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Today, when all city roads led to the buzzing venue of Chandigarh Carnival, UT traffic police personnel were busy mapping the knowledge of city residents regarding safety norms. Donning a friendly mantle, they helped the youth and elders alike in understanding their prime concern — human life. The strategy that they adopted for this testing was not only interesting but also engaging.

Having published questionnaires — designed especially to test people's knowledge of traffic safety norms, rules and regulations, besides intricate traffic situations — the traffic policemen managed to attract many youth to take the test. They had also announced several cash prizes. The cash awarded was directly proportional to the number of questions answered correctly.

A large number of city residents took the interesting test, struggling to achieve the highest score which, until about 12 noon, had been achieved by Satish of Phase X, SAS Nagar. He had scored 23 marks. As Satish had his name written on the board installed at the traffic police stall, many other youths were tempted to cross him over. They were busy trying out possible answers to the tricky traffic situations. The scene resembled the one in a tension-packed examination hall.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune about the novelty of the concept, the SP (Traffic), Mr Amitabh Dhillon, who was present at the venue. said: "The aspects that we have touched through the questionnaires are the ones which all drivers are expected to know. We have designed the questions to gauge the knowledge level of drivers. The test is open to all those who have driving licences as well as those who are to get the same issued.”



Kalam to inaugurate Army Institute of Law
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will inaugurate the Army Institute of Law (AIL) at Sector 68, Mohali, on December 1.

The Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief of Army Staff, General N.C. Vij, a former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Mr Justice S.S. Sodhi, and Senior Advocate of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr M.L. Sarin, are among the other dignitaries who would be attending the inaugural function.

After his inaugural address, the President would unveil the inauguration stone followed by an interaction with the students of AIL during the high tea.

The Army Institute of Law was established on July 15, 1999, under the aegis of the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) at its interim location at Patiala.


Hectic preparations for Kalam’s visit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 29
Hectic preparations are going on in and around Sector 68 for the visit of the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, here on December 1. The President is coming to inaugurate the Army Institute of Law.

A number of road rollers, JCBs, tractor-trailers and other machinery was seen carrying out activity in full swing this afternoon. All those linked with the preparations were working overtime as the work had started only about three days back and it had to be completed today itself. PUDA officials said the security personnel would take charge of the area tomorrow and nobody else would be allowed near it.

A number of labourers could be seen on the road leading to the institute cleaning the area on which premix was being laid. Some of them were busy removing wild growth from the centre verge while others were busy painting kerb channels.

As many as 60 labourers were on the job and 30 painters had been called to carry out the paint work.

PUDA officials said that the work being carried out was part of the estimates that had been prepared by the authority for the development of Sectors 68 and 69.

The Municipal Council was also busy laying premix on a stretch of road that connected Sector 67 to 68. In fact, roads in Sector 67 had been carpeted when the President had earlier visited the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research here on September 29.

Mr Har Bhagwan Garg, Executive Officer of the civic body, said that the stretch of road leading from Guru Nanak Colony towards Sector 68 was being cleaned. As many as 20 employees had been put on the job.

The council was putting up direction boards at various points. The work of putting up flags, banners and sprinkling of water would start tomorrow.


Octroi collectors harass commuters
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, November 29
Commuters and road users, especially families, are facing harassment due to the high-handedness of the octroi-collection staff at every entry and exit point to the Zirakpur nagar panchayat limits since long.

The motorists and other road users have been facing the problem ever since the collection of octroi was given in private hands by the Zirakpur nagar panchayat authorities. The worst affected are families when penalties are slapped on them for carrying even their household goods.

The Gypsy-borne octroi collectors can often be seen chasing long-route vehicles and stopping them on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala and the Panchkula-Zirakpur-Patiala highways in a filmy style. This has often let to even accidents.

The octroi collectors, to stop a suspect motorist, often drive their vehicles on the wrong side of the highways, heightening the chances of an accident.

The men employed by the octroi contractor have been using all possible means to meet their daily target of collection of money without caring for the convenience of the motorists. Cases of overcharging from passengers and motorists from far-flung areas have also come to light.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Rajinder Singh, a commuter from Panchkula, complained of harassment by octroi collectors at the level crossing at Dhakauli village. He said the octroi men even searched vegetable bags at the level crossing.

Another commuter from Chandigarh, Mr Sunil Sharma, alleged that octroi men virtually frisked passengers.

Certain affected families were of the view that the civic body should depute its own employees at every post so that commuters were not over charged or harassed by contractors' men unnecessarily.

“They flash torches inside vehicles lined along the Zirakpur- Panchkula road whenever these vehicles stop here at the Dhakauli level crossing,’’ said Mr Jaspal Singh, a resident of Bartana.

When contacted, Mr Sant Lal, an octroi contractor, denied any harassment to the public. He, however, said the commuters evaded octroi in one way or the other. Certain industrialists and traders had been transporting taxable goods and accessories by hiding these in their vehicles to evade octroi.

Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the civic body, admitted to harassment of the general public by the octroi men. ‘‘I have also received complaints of harassment of commuters by the octroi men. The contractor has been told to penalise actual octroi evaders and not to harass the public,” said Mr Sharma.


The most auspicious day of marriage season
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The city is witness to an increase in splendour and style associated with the heavy marriage season this year. Today happened to be the “most auspicious day” (worked out by the astrological calculations) and the extravaganza was evident in a majority of the banquet halls of hotels and marriage palaces.

The caterers are having a gala time and in case the bookings were not made in advance by the interested parties, it has led to running from pillar to post.

One common feedback on the ongoing scenario is a marked increase in grandeur associated with the occasion.

Mrs Himsobha Singh said there was a big change in the activities associated with the marriage. Girls and families are very conscious of the dress to suit the occasion. Often the apparel is decided following discussion with the family of the groom. The menu for lunch or dinner wears a very planned look which has led to a boom in the catering business.

Mr Arun Malik, director of Lazeez Caterers, said people were willing to spend more. They were, however, looking for quality. There is more style associated with the occasion these days. Gone are the days when the entire cooking and serving was handled by the marriage parties concerned. People are more relaxed in the new set-up. They have time to celebrate more, Mr Malik added.

Mr Suresh Kumar, a tent house manager, said certain big names in the catering business like Essex Farms and Cater-to-Cater charged more compared to several others. However, their quality set the benchmark for others to follow.

Farmhouses make elaborate decorations at the entrance gates with floral arrangements. The venue is neatly laid out with rows of stalls serving specific dishes, vegetarian or non vegetarian. The best venues also have a neat dress of code for the staff serving the dishes.

Mrs Veena Gupta, manager of the Green Valley Flowers, Sector 34, said floral decoration at weddings had become more a part of the prevalent culture. Decorating the venue and the cars, more particularly, are the most demanded work projects during these days.

Hotel Shivalik View and Hotel Mount View have stayed packed during the entire season, confirmed the sources. Astrologers had worked out the period between November 25 and December 3 as the best period for tying the nuptial knots. Of the entire period, November 29 was recommended as the best day. It is also felt that November 27 also witnessed a very big number of marriage ceremonies.


It is how you play the game that is important

DR Ranjit Singh, kingpin of the scandal relating to the question paper leakage of the Common Admission Test for the Indian Institutes of Management, belongs to a middle class family like anyone of us. As one newspaper reported, he might be a villain for the CBI but for the people of his hometown he is a hero. The same should hold good in the case of many other “chief villains”’ figuring in the numerous scandals that pop up in our media every other day.

The doctor in particular has “given jobs to hundreds of youths of Nalanda and Patna districts”,’ according to a villager who is in the know of things. How does it happen that such respectable people stoop low to amass wealth through illegal means? The talk of middle class morality sliding steadily is not news. This may be attributed to various causes such as the competitive struggle to earn money, the crass materialism and the rat race. While it is legitimate to earn money, it has to be through just means. In this regard, there is a temptation to justify one’s ways to making a living, nay, to make a quick buck saying everybody does it.

Not only in the case of ordinary mortals, who want to get rich quick, but also political leaders and the high and mighty indulge in such kinds of corruption as a matter of course as to blur the distinction between right and wrong.

At this juncture we have very few conscience keepers like Mahatma Gandhi. He had a moral stature that commanded respect of the masses. Like the prophets of old, his voice was heeded. Today there is an abysmal lack of such moral authority in our current society, the rot has set in and there is cause for concern.

It is ironic that while we keep boasting about being one of the most religious nations of the world, the UN lists India among the most corrupt. The conclusion is that religion here is divorced from morality. To Gandhiji, religion and morality were the same. He did not believe that religious activity was separate from other activities.

Prof K D Gangrade, a Gandhian philosopher in his book, ‘Gandhi’s Autobiography: Moral Lessons’, reflects aptly on present conditions when he states: ``The present political and development processes are acting as a catalyst of a collective decadence. A society which lays emphasis more on the accumulation of power than on restraints, on wealth than on morality, on knowledge than on humanism, on demagogy rather than on authentic sharing and participation in the process of change and development, is bound to pay a heavy price for its lack of collective wisdom.’’

The Mahatma listed seven sins in the world: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; commerce without morality; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice; politics without principle. As a nation we are guilty of breaking all the unwritten moral laws in our race for wealth, power and influence. Our very concept of sin has become very diluted.

The aberrations that are reported in our newspapers like that of Dr Ranjit Singh is the result of the striving to achieve certain goals without regard to the means. Gandhiji held that the means should be as justifiable as the ends. Now we have the “anything goes” generation.

At a time when man does not like to hear the word, `sin’ mentioned even in a religious discourse, here is what a writer has said on the subject: ``Man calls sin an accident. God calls it an abomination. Man calls sin a blunder. God calls it blindness. Man calls sin a chance. God calls it a choice. Man calls sin a defect. God calls it a disease. Man calls sin an error. God calls it iniquity. Man calls sin a fascination. God calls it a fatality. Man calls sin a luxury. God calls it lawlessness. Man calls sin a trifle. God calls it tragedy. Man calls sin a weakness. God calls it willfulness. It doesn’t matter what man calls it. It is what God calls it is all that’s important. Man is good at giving nice and innocent sounding names to sin. He says abortion is choice. He says homosexuality is Gay, etc. Sin is disobedience to God whether man believes Him or not. We got to go by what God says if we want to go to heaven.’’

Situational ethics or moral relativism seems to be taking root in people’s hearts. There is a growing conviction that everything is relative and that there are no absolute truths.

This is to render all our judgements about morality precarious and of doubtful value. Should morality be a matter that is constantly subject to change according to the seasons, regions, times and situations? And according to a man’s inclinations? If that is so, it becomes so easy to explain away or justify immoral conduct. Then the whole concept of right and wrong becomes illusory. What is `right’ for one person may be wrong for another. There could be no common standards to measure the conduct of people.

To an extent one’s idea of right and wrong depends on his or her’s worldview. It also depends on what view one takes of human nature. Is man divine? Is he wholly evil? Of late there has been a watering down of the concept. Far from considering sin as “offence against a holy God,” or violation of God’s laws, it is now called ‘sickness’, a disorder, an error or even ignorance. In western society also, sin in a person is looked upon as a social falling than a spiritual falling. Instead of needing repentance in order to restore fellowship to God, he is advised to consult a psychiatrist or counsellors to help repair a ``social failure which offends people.’’

In there Westminster Confession, sin is defined as ``any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.’’ There are certainly sins of commission. Sin is a failure to meet God’s holy standard. Anything short of perfection falls into this category. “Whoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4) There are also sins of omission. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him, it is sin.’’(James 4: 17)

Finally, there is a state of sin inherited through Adam due to his rebellion and the resultant curse. It is an inborn, inbred, indwelling propensity or tendency towards sin. We are inherently sinners! Thus sin is an act: the breaking of the law or commandment is sin. Sin is a state: the fallen state of man without righteousness. Sin is a nature: the nature of fallen man. In Boswell’s life of Johnson, the following lines appear: “I hate mankind for I think myself one of the best of them, and know how bad I am.”

— MPK Kutty



Pension scheme at Panjab University

I HAD an opportunity to examine the issue of pension at Panjab University now for more than a year ago, which was published by the Chandigarh Tribune, in the issue dated November 6, 2002, under the title, “PU pension scheme in prospect and retrospect.”

The avowed objective was to dispel some serious misgivings that lingered on for quite sometime about the so-called non-existence of ‘cut-off’ date in the existing, fully-approved and notified scheme of 1991. This led to the futile exercise of proposing a new pension scheme of 1999 (excluding all those university employees who had retired before March 31, 1998), proposing the repeal of the 1991-scheme, which is meant for all employees of the university, both in service and retired under the provisions of Regulation 1.2, read with Regulation 1.9 of PU Calendar, Volume 1 (2000), Chapter X, at pages 180, 181. The repeal proposal, however, stood rejected because the same did not find favour with the Central Government.

Only the other day, the employees of Panjab University organised a general house in protest against the non-implementation of a ‘viable pension scheme’ (Chandigarh Tribune, November 21, 2003). They echoed the concerns of the employees on account of security after retirement. The pension issue becomes more precarious when one realises the fast-depleting rate of interest on life-earnings and other securities.

The critical issue to be considered here is which scheme of pension can legitimately be labelled as “viable”. Unarguably, any pension provision envisioned in terms of its “viability” has to be in consonance with the pension scheme of 1991, as provided under the said Chapter X of PU Calendar, Volume 1. It needs to be stressed here that the said scheme of 1991 is equitable inasmuch as it covers all employees of the university, not only those who are in service but also the ones who have retired even before the scheme of 1991 was enacted. In the latter case, however, the benefit of pension can be availed of only by those who are willing to refund or transfer the total contribution of the university to the CP Fund Account as on the relevant date(s), along with interest, thereon to be adjusted against the pension payment payable with effect from January 1, 1986, for being credited to the university pension fund.

Nevertheless, if for any reason or through any contrivance, ‘viability’ is to be construed solely on the count of ‘paucity of funds’, it will only be just and proper to provide the much-needed social security measure first to those who retired earlier, for it is they who are in most necessitous circumstances because of the dwindling interest rate on their securities. In fact, both as a matter of prudence and principle, the claims of those employees who retired first should have precedence over the ones who have retired or will be retired later. It will be highly immoral to deny the benefit of social security to the ‘founder’ members of the university who are still with us in the evening of their life sheer in the name of ‘viability’! Again, it will be illegal too if the retired university employees are denied the benefit of pension in the disguise of “viability”, for Regulation 1.6 of the said Chapter X of PU Calendar specifically provides that unless otherwise provided in these regulations, “an employee’s claim to pension will be regulated by the regulations in force applicable to him at the time he retires from, or, otherwise quits the service, any subsequent amendment in the Regulation not being applicable in his case.”

Since delay in the payment of pension involves hardship to the pensioners, the Regulation 9.1 requires the Vice-Chancellor to frame a time table and prescribe the procedure for ensuring prompt sanctioning and timely payment of pension and other dues of the retirees. Besides, it is also the duty of the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that all those who are concerned with the sanctioning and payment of pension and other dues make the payment on the date when it becomes due. If the dues are not cleared within three months from the due date, Regulation 9.2 envisages even the payment interest. All such seminal statutory provisions need to be kept in view while drawing details of any “viable” pension scheme.

Dr Virendra Kumar, UGC Emeritus Fellow, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Accept positive charges in religion

Apropos of news item ‘SGPC, Head Granthi cross swords’ dated November 22. Every step for change with the changing times does not mean sacrilege or blasphemy. Each such suggestion should be seen in the right perspective. Resistance to change is a natural human reaction and confrontation is the last alternative to resolve contentious issues. Environmental and other physical factors do change with time and it should be natural to change with them to our advantage.

The installation of a filtration plant for the sacred ‘sarovar’ should not be seen as a violation of the religious code of conduct. Such facilities were not available in the earlier times, hence no such mention of it is made anywhere. The upgradation of any facility is progress and Sikhism being the most modern and progressive religion should go ahead with this project. Constant improvements have been going on in the Sri Darbar Sahib complex over the times. The original Harmandier Sahib building may not be exactly the same as it was rebuilt thrice. The ‘Prikarma’, in its present neat and majestic layout, was not there originally as can be seen in historical paintings. But the same has added splendor and grace to the environment. So, my humble appeal to reverend Singh Sahib, let us look forward and accept the positive changes and reconfirm that we are the most modern and progressive religion.

Lieut-Col Bhagwant Singh (retd.), Mohali

Delayed dental ills

Indians have a tendency to delay dental problems until they cause trouble. Even in pain, they keep dilly-dallying by taking pain-killers, some home remedies and try to avoid visiting a dentist. But this delay only leads to severity of dental problem. There’s a simple rule, “less severe the symptom, easier the treatment, more severe the symptom, more extensive the treatment”.

Dental pain is described as the most excruciating pain so it is better to nip the earlier symptoms in their bud by getting timely treatment. Many persons, for instance, never visit a dentist until an aching tooth reminds them that dental aid is available. The public, in general, does not appreciate the value of early prevention and treatment of dental ills. Dental treatments are very advanced, aesthetic and nearly painless today. So a regular dental check up will result in corrective dental treatment, leading to long-lasting impact on good dental health. It is mandatory to shrug off your phobias of visiting a dentist because the continued dental neglect only leads to the complication of dental problems.

Being a dentist, I want to elevate dental health standards of the public and help them to maintain a healthy and radiant smile.

Dr Abhiruchi Makker, Chandigarh


The name of Mr T. Bhattacharya in the letter published in Chandigarh Tribune under the headline ‘‘CM’s speech insult to Punjab’’ was inadvertently published as R. Bhattacharya. error is regretted.


3 kin of stabbing accused held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
Unable to arrest Manjit, the main accused in the stabbing of Sector 14 housewife, Neelam Devi, the police today arrested three of his relatives on charges of sheltering an accused.

The father of the accused, Kundan Singh, and two other relatives, Manbir Singh and Parveen, have been booked by the police under Section 216 of the IPC. The police said they had harboured the accused , and had been in regular touch with him even after he had stabbed Neelam Devi at her residence on November 24.

All three accused were produced in the court of the CJM, Mr Gulab Singh, and the police sought their police remand for five days. However, the police's plea was rejected and they were released on bail.

Booked: The police has booked a former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr Gurnam Singh on charges of abetting their servant Ranbir Singh to commit suicide.

A case under Section 306 of the IPC has been registered against the former forest officer following an order of a local court. The parents of the victim had alleged that Mr Gurnam Singh had brought Ranbir from Jagadhri on the pretext of getting him a job in the Forest department. However, they failed to do so and kept him at his Sector 6 house as a domestic help. It was out of frustration that Ranbir had consumed poison in his room, and his body was found by Mr Gurnam Singh on October 5 morning.

Telephone stolen: A telephone instrument installed at the office of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Neelam P Kasni, in Mini Secretariat, has been stolen by unknown miscreant(s). The theft came to light when a stenographer of the officer went to the office today and found the instrument missing.


Woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 29
Indro Devi (47) Bhankharpur village was crushed to death by a truck on the Dera Bassi-Mubarikpur- Ramgarh road near Mubarikpur village here today. Her relative Baljit Kaur also sustained injuries in the accident.

Indro Devi and Ms Baljit Kaur were riding pillion on a scooter driven by Mr Tarlochan Singh, son of the deceased. The scooter collided with a truck approaching from the opposite direction. Indro Devi died on the spot while Baljit Kaur was rushed to the local Civil Hospital. Mr Tarlochan Singh sustained minor injuries in the accident.

The driver of the truck reportedly fled from the spot leaving behind the truck. After impounding the vehicles involved in the accident, the police has registered a case under sections 279, 337, 427 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code against the truck driver.

CAR STOLEN: A brand new Maruti Zen car was stolen from outside a marriage palace located on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway at Bhabhat village, near Zirakpur, late last night.

The car was parked in front of the marriage palace where its owner, Mr Amritpal Singh Modi, husband of Ms Kamlesh Sarana, a Municipal Councillor, had come to attend a marriage function along with his family.


Hotel industry seeks more incentives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
For the first time in years the hotel industry is on the upswing and the smaller hotels are driving the economy. Despite this the government is not giving enough incentives to the hotel industry, said Col Manbeer Choudhary (retd), newly elected president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI), here today.

Col Choudhary, a Karnal-based hotelier, was accompanied by a team of the HRANI after being elected as the president of the body. Actually he is the first president of the body, who is not a five star hotel owner. The body had been promoted in 1950 by the famous M.S. Oberoi and at present has 1,200 members.

Foreseeing a change in tourism trends, Colonel Choudhary said, destinations like Shimla were not just summer destinations now. North India had the best hill destinations like Shimla, Srinagar, Manali and Dalhousie. Besides some of the best destinations in the plains like Jaipur, Agra and Delhi are high on the tourist map. He said this season even places like Dalhousie were packed.

A hotel was a place where the customer was paying taxes happily as people come to hotels to celebrate. The hotel is today seen as a requirement and not a luxury, he added.

He said despite tourism being the second largest foreign exchange earner, the government was doing a little. He demanded that the rates of power charged from hotels should be on a par with what had been charged from the industry. Not the present system of billing the hotels at commercial rates which were higher. “If we are an industry please give us this basic incentive,’’ he said.

Among the major demands of the association is sales tax on liquor should be removed when it is sold in hotels as the liquor already comes to the hotels after a levy of several taxes. There should be no restriction on what brands of liquor can be served at hotels. In some states licence fee to serve liquor was as high as 7 lakh per annum. This means an added expense for the hotelier.

Colonel Choudhary, said it would be our endeavour to try and bring the state governments and the private sector together. The association would insist on forming “toursim advisory councils” for developing tourism and direct interaction with government while framing tourism policy and drafting bye-laws.

The tourism industry employs 89 persons for every investment of Rs 10 lakh. Correspondingly the figure for similar investments was 12.6 for the manufacturing sector and 44.6 for the agriculture sector.


Khadi exhibition a big draw
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The exhibition of handicrafts, khadi clothes, and other products manufactured by village artisans under the banner of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is getting a good response. Societies and entrepreneurs affiliated to the KVIC are enthused by the overwhelming response from customers in the city.

The annual exhibition, which had started on November 1, would conclude tomorrow. Mr H.C. Upreti, Regional Director, KVIC, said,” We had received a grant of Rs 5 lakh from the headquarters to organise this exhibition and were expecting a sales of Rs 50 lakh. The total sales has already crossed the Rs 65 lakh mark. The next exhibition would be organised from December 12 in Mohali.”

A visit to the exhibition in Sector 34 revealed that the entrepreneurs, who had come from different parts of North India, were more than happy by the public response. Mr Veer Kumar from Ismailabad town in Kurukshetra, Haryana, said, “The customers have no doubt made heavy purchases during the Divali festival, but I have sold shoes, slip-ons, bellies, sandals worth over Rs 50,000. In fact, I have seen better sales here compared to Delhi exhibitions.”

He felt that the KVIC exhibition was no more associated with poor quality products, since the commission had made efforts in the recent past to improve the quality of products keeping in mind the preference of the urban customers. There were a number of stalls selling furniture, handicrafts, organic plants and even pots made of paper like egg trays.

Mr Upreti said the KVIC had entered into an agreement with the NIFT to design its garments. Consultants had been hired to make changes in the labelling and packaging of products to fetch better price in the market. He said, “From next year you would see a total change in the products of the exhibition. We are planning to organise fashion shows in Chandigarh to promote products.” Over 800 units were financed by the KVIC in the north region comprising Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, giving employment to hundreds of persons, he added.


Khadi exhibition fails to draw crowds
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
The khadi exhibition at the Sector 5 grounds here has failed to attract the crowds in spite of showcasing the best of products.

The exhibition, which began on November 3, and will conclude tomorrow, has failed to have as good a response as last year. With the local crowds preferring the khadi exhibition at Sector 34 in the neighbouring Chandigarh, the exhibitors here are feeling the heat.

At least two of the 30-odd stalls were not even sold and another exhibitor quit before the exhibition was over. Says Mr Vijay Kumar of the Khadi Gramudyog Sangh, Narar, Kurukshetra, “Since the time of the exhibition here clashed with Chandigarh, the sales have remained bleak”. He says that on many a day they have had no sale at all.

Agrees Mr Sham Lal from Khadi Sadan, Naya Gaon, Ambala, “Though there is some rush during the evenings, it is mainly the onlookers and customers are rare. Last year, we had a sale of Rs 4,000 a day, but this year, the sale is less by almost 40 per cent.”

But not everybody is complaining. The exhibitors dealing in shoes and accessories like ayurvedic medicines, cosmetics etc, are happy with the response. 

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