C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thousands stranded as NH blocked
Akali workers prevented from reaching Ropar
Tribune Reporters

Jatinder Singh Randhawa, Youth Akali Dal vice-president, injured after the lathicharge at Ropar
Jatinder Singh Randhawa, Youth Akali Dal vice-president, injured after the lathicharge at Ropar on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Ropar/Mohali, December 1
The entire stretch of the national highway between Kharar and Ropar leading to key destinations in Punjab and Himachal was sealed for over six hours by the police to prevent Akali workers from reaching Ropar, leaving thousands of people stranded on the road.

Long-route buses were cancelled at all bus stands from Kharar to Ropar and over 10 heavily manned nakas were put up at strategic points on the stretch from where no traffic was allowed to move till 2 p.m. The movement of vehicles was finally eased and waiting vehicles on both sides of the sealed townships were allowed to move.

Earlier in the day, these nakas were scenes of mild to heavy lathi charge of Akali workers by the police, following which more police force was called and a complete sealing of Ropar done. Akali workers were allowed to cross the Mohali-Balongi barrier to avoid any altercation with the police in the wake of the President’s visit to the township. However, the Akali workers were not allowed to move beyond Kharar.

All traffic from Kharar bus stop was diverted towards Morinda and back to Chandigarh. While those who had to go towards Ludhiana used the diversion towards Morinda, but those who had to reach Ropar had to simply wait it out.

From Morinda the road towards Kurali was sealed and only police and press cars were allowed to pass. Similarly, at Mullanpur Garibdass, the traffic was routed via village roads towards Kurali. However, those who managed to reach Kurali could not go beyond the Ropar police lines.

While cars and smaller vehicles managed to change course to save time, trucks and other heavy vehicles caused kilometres-long traffic jams at the outer nakas like Kharar and Ropar.

Alleging that the police had blocked Guru Gobind Singh Marg leading to Ropar by building a high wall at its gate near Ropar, some Akali leaders said the kind of sealing of village link roads had been done for the first time by the government since Partition.

At Kurali the bus stop was barricaded by the police but no major incidence of lathi charge was reported. However, commuters were stranded for many hours at the bus stop which showed little activity till the afternoon.

People were seen walking on the roads and reached their destinations hours late. “I have decided to go back home. I will leave in the afternoon for Una,” said a lady waiting near the bus stop. Scooterists and others on two-wheelers had a better time with many of them managing to cut across the barricades and traffic jams. “We have to reach for a wedding at Anandpur Sahib. Can you give us a lift till Ropar?” asked a young couple with a three-year-old child walking on the Kharar-Morinda road.

‘‘By this time we have at least 40 patients in the OPD but today there are very few people who have managed to reach the hospital,” said an employee of a roadside government dispensary in Kurali.

At places, roadsides were decorated with saffron Akali flags and a gurdwaras on the main road was serving langar to stranded commuters and Akali workers.

KHARAR: A large number of supporters of the SAD president sat in dharna at Khanpur Chowk hereon Monday when the police stopped them from going to Ropar to express solidarity with their leader where Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister, had to appear before a special court in connection with a vigilance case.

Even though the police was diverting traffic from near the Kharar bus stand, long queues of vehicles could be seen near the site where dharna had been staged. The road going to Ropar had been blocked by the police by using private trucks leading to a lot of inconvenience. About 50 policemen had been put on duty to take charge of the situation.

A large number of BJP leaders, including Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, former minister, and Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, persident of the Punjab unit of the BJP, along with a number of party workers, took part in the dharna as they could not join Mr Badal due to the road blockade by the police.

The police has asked the drivers of two mini trucks, a canter and oil tanker coming from the Ropar side to park their vehicles in such a way so that traffic could be blocked. Even though the drivers of these four vehicles could have taken another route to reach Chandigarh, they could not do so as the keys of the vehicles were allegedly in the possession of the police.

Babblu, the driver of a mini truck (PB07J 4411), said that he was coming from Hoshiarpur and had to go to Chandigarh but got stranded there as the police has asked him to park his vehicles on the road. He said he had been there since 8.45 a.m. but could not leave the spot as the keys of the vehicle were with the police.

Mr Daljit Singh, DSP, Kapurthala, who had been deputed to look after the law and order situation at Khanpur Chowk, admitted that private vehicles had been used to block traffic towards Ropar.

Mr Ashok Khanna, a resident of Panchkula, who was on his way to Jalandhar to attend a function, got stuck in the road blockade. Cursing politicians, he said he had been standing there since 9.30 am along with a relative and even after three hours of wait he was not sure when he would be able to move ahead.

Akali and BJP leaders, one after the other, kept criticising the Congress government in their speeches at the dharna site.

Mr Balramji Das Tandon said the Congress government was trying to humiliate leaders of the Opposition by resorting to such tactics. He said the government had levelled charges of corruption against Mr Badal but could take no action against its own ministers who had been indicted by the Lok Pal.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna said the Congress government had resorted to revenge tactics. Fake cases had been registered against Akali and BJP leaders almost in every district. He said in a democratic set up people often resorted to protests but no legal action was taken against them. But the government had created a new history by registering cases against persons who had taken part in the ‘Rasta Roko’ agitation held on November 23.

Mr Mantaar Singh, SAD MLA from Kot Kapura, said such activities of the Congress government could not demoralise their party as it had earlier also fought against various odds.

FATEHGARH SAHIB: The district police on Monday arrested more than 100 SAD leaders and workers who were proceeding to Ropar in support of Mr Badal. Seventy three SAD workers led by Mr Ranjit Singh Libra and Mr Balwant Singh Sahpur were arrested at Sirhind railway station while they were about to board a train.

The police detained SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra and their supporters and took them to Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, where a large contingent of police surrounded them and did not allow them to proceed towards Ropar.

Later the leaders were released. But the 73 SAD leaders and workers were presented before the SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, who sent them to judicial custody till December 6. The SDM turned down the petition of the lawyers of these workers to provide them second class facilities in Nabha Jail.

Police sources said certain SAD leaders of the area made calls to the respective SHOs of police stations to arrest them at their residences. The police sources said as the SHOs informed them that they could come to the police stations at their own as the police was facing the shortage of staff, the SAD leaders came at their own.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, said the district police had taken in custody more than 100 SAD leaders and workers. He said more than 10 nakas were erected to stop the SAD workers from marching towards Ropar. He said there was complete peace in the district and no untoward incident was reported. He said traffic and life remain normal.


No stopping Badal supporters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Akalis were apparently back in power. At least for a day. As the supporters blocked road leading to Ropar, many police personnel looked around helplessly. Some policemen did use force to disperse the agitating supporters, but to infuriated the crowd in the process.

A group of supporters managed to reach Ropar in guise of a marriage party. The cars were all decked up with blooming flowers while the sword-yielding groom in a three-piece suit inside looked around

It all started at about 8 am. Punjab’s former Chief Minister-cum-Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal, with his supporters, left for attending the court hearing at Ropar.

For expressing solidarity with the former Chief Minister and his son, the supporters packed themselves in buses and cars for reaching Ropar. In an apparent attempt to deceive the police, flags and banners were absent.

As they took to the streets, the traffic moved at a snail’s pace at least till the road widened just after Mohali. But then the police, determined to stop the crowd from reaching Ropar, forcibly parked a truck and a jeep right in the middle of the road. The resultant jam continued for over 15 minutes till the supporters pushed aside the jeep to clear they way. The women supports, not to be left behind, caught hold of the cops while others acted. Raising slogans in support of their party, they then managed the traffic.

Undeterred, the police tried to stop the traffic at a level crossing by closing the gate. After blocking the traffic, the cops simply disappeared. Soon, the agitating crowd tried to lift the gates, but in vain. Then a supporter managed to open it and the traffic moved once again.

The worse was yet to follow. Just outside the power colony a few kilometres short of Ropar, the police blocked the road again with the help of two trucks. The Akali workers, who tried to clear the way, were cane-charged. In the process, vice-president of Youth Akali Dal Jatinder Singh Randhawa sustained injuries on his head.

Not to be held back, the supporters, over a thousand in number, struck back. They uprooted the barricades and pushed back the trucks to pave the way for Sukhbir Badal’s convoy. Some more supporters sustained injuries on their hands and knees in the process.

At Ropar, they jumped out of their jeeps and buses to meet senior Mr Badal waiting for him at Water Lily Resort just about half a kilometer away from the court complex.


Need to review Army legal system, says President
Tribune News Service

The President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, addresses students and faculty members of the Army Institute of Law in Mohali on Monday
The President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, addresses students and faculty members of the Army Institute of Law in Mohali on Monday.
— Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma.

Mohali, December 1
In the light of a number of decisions taken by courts martial being revised by High Courts and the Supreme Court, the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today stressed upon the need for making a systematic study of the military judicial system and suggest appropriate modifications in the Army, Navy and Air Force Act.

He was here today to inaugurate the Army Institute of Law (AIL) established by the Army Education Welfare Society. Addressing a galaxy of serving and retired officers, students and faculty members, the President suggested that the AIL could carry out a special study on this subject by evaluating about 100 typical judgements on military matters.

Stating that military law had been derived for enforcing discipline in the forces, he said the Armed Forces had gradually become knowledge workers with the growth in education levels and technological progress. The management of knowledge workers, he said, was different from the conventional system of managing soldiers. Hence, commanding officers at all levels had to use the powers vested in them judiciously for getting the best out of the men.

On cyber law, Dr Kalam said economic prosperity by 2020 would mean that many Indians would be doing business in the digital world on the web. In this new era, he said, crime, law and justice would be completely different from the present era. He said the Indian judicial system had to build its capacity in a way that any crime committed against India or her assets anywhere in the world was punishable under the Indian law.

The legal community must enable formulation of progressive and innovative laws for digital economy that would be one of the vital components of a developed nation, he remarked. He also suggested creation of an electronic advisory system to assist the public.

The President said the administration of law and justice should take into account the overall impact of the judgements on the process of societal transformation and welfare of citizens. The rate of change of transformation, he said, was directly proportional to the functional efficiency of the legal system.

Stressing that legal instruments must maximise the benefits for our people and nation, Dr Kalam said laws must protect indigenous technologies and trade. Laws were meant to protect people, their rights and make them feel secure in the society.

He called upon the legal fraternity to think in what way they could contribute towards transforming India into a developed nation. Stating that the vision for Independence was provided by the legal community, he said it was now India’s vision to transform herself into a developed nation by 2020.

Coming down heavily on the judicial system, the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, in his address said the justice delivery system in the country was facing several ills such as delays and high costs. People had got the wrong impression that justice was available only to those with money.

The Governor, who has served as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, remarked that the prestige and image of the Bar was at its lowest ebb. He said this was not due to lack of intelligentsia, but because of the ills manifest in the judicial system.

He said it was with this view that the five-year law course was devised so that quality education could be imparted to youngsters. Stating that the nature of litigation had changed considerably over the years, he said new problems were being faced in the legal sphere.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Army Staff, General N.C. Vij, said the Army was setting up educational institutes in a big way so cater to frequent transfers and disturbed life of Army personnel. Stating that a few professional institutes were on the anvil, he said the strength of students in Army educational institutes was to be doubled in the coming years.

Complementing the Army for setting up a premier institute in the state, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, announced that vacant land on either side of the institute’s premises would be handed over to the Army for development of a green belt and parks.

Others who spoke on the occasion were Chairman of the Law Commission of India, Justice Jagan Nath Rao, who is also Chairman of AIL’s Academic Advisory Council, Justice S.S. Sodhi, Rector and member of AIL’s apex committee and Mr M.L. Sarin, Senior Advocate.


Discipline must for entrepreneur: Kalam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Stressing upon the need to bring excellence in quality management education in order to enable country’s industrialists, business and management executives to compete globally in the changed economic scenario, the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said here today that the key characteristics required in an entrepreneur were desire, drive, discipline and determination.

He was presiding over a function organised to sign Memorandum of Association between Punjab Technical University and the Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology for establishing PTU’s Gian Jyoti School of Total Quality Management(TQM) and Entrepreneurship.

The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, were present.

Recalling his experience in space and defence programmes, Dr Kalam emphasised that design was the most important aspect of any quality product. He exhorted the entrepreneurs and top managers to excel in conceptualisation of design.

Referring to the Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) scheme announced by the Prime Minister earlier the President hoped that entrepreneurs from this school would create enterprises in PURA complexes in the country, particularly Punjab, by 2005.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Mr Y.S. Rajan, said the university had introduced the concept of total quality management and this school land thrust towards imparting practical skills for the youth as well as employed persons.

The Chief Minister handed over a cheque for Rs 25 lakh to PTU on the occasion. The school will be run by an independent society.


President misses date with students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma, the Governor of Haryana, Babu Parmanand, chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana, Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Om Prakash Chautala, respectively, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, Punjab Chief Secretary J.S. Gill, Adviser to UT Administrator, Lalit Sharma, UT Home Secretary R.S. Gujral and a host of senior civil and military functionaries in Chandigarh were among those who received the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, at the Chandigarh airport today.

Accompanied by Chief of the Army Command, Gen N.C. Vij, the President’s special Air Force plane touched down at the tarmac here at about 1.30 pm and thereafter he drove down to the Army Institute of Law in Mohali where he spent about two hours.

The President, however, did not interact with students over tea as was planned earlier. He had advanced his visit to Mohali by about two hours and left early so that he could be in New Delhi in time to cast his vote in the Assembly elections.


Sidelights of Kalam’s Visit
Kalam administers divine hymn to students

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, before delivering his formal address, the President, administered a divine hymn to the students, whom he asked to repeat the verses after him. The hymn went as:

When there is righteousness in the heart

There is beauty in the character;

When there is beauty in the character,

There is harmony in the home;

When there is harmony in the home,

There is order in the nation;

When there is order in the nation,

There is peace in the world.

Disciple & righteousness

The discipline and ethos of the Army have cast a deep impression on Dr Kalam, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces. He mentioned that during his visits to two military units, 8 Sikh and 69 Armoured, yesterday and today he learnt that discipline was an important part of life. Discipline, he said, led to righteousness and when the two were combined, we got a good citizen who was valuable to society.

Security hassles

As it happens during most VVIP visits, there was a security hassle when mediapersons were barred from entering the hall. Special media passes were issued to journalists by the PRO (Defence), but a Punjab police Assistant Sub-Inspector, manning a staircase, refused to recognise these. Though let through two check points on the basis of the same pass after being frisked, the ASI refused to budge from his stance saying he would permit only those holding passes issued by the Administration. It was only after an AIL functionary and a senior police official were called that mediapersons were allowed to pass.

Protocol niceties

While the Punjab Governor was delivering his speech, the President felt the need to speak a few words to the Army Chief, who was sitting close to him. Brushing aside protocol and instead of asking the Army Chief to come near, the President slipped into the empty chair between him and the Army Chief and returned to his seat after the conversation was over a few minutes later.

Sans frills

Unlike the Punjab Governor and the Army Chief, who had their ADCs and Staff Officers placing the script of their addresses on the podium and the Governor’s ADC stood behind him while he delivered his address, the President preferred to do without such frills. He walked down to the podium alone, folder in his hand, while his ADC remained seated. Later, he even poured himself a glass of water, waving aside the Chief Minister who offered to do the job for him.

A bedlam

There was virtually a bedlam outside the building when the President, along with the Governor, the Chief Minister, the Army Chief and the Western Army Commander assembled for a group photograph with final year students. Faculty members were shooing away students from other classes, while officers had a tough time controlling photographers. When the Army Chief requested an overbearing photographer of a local vernacular daily to maintain a little distance from the president, he got a rude snub from the photographer who asserted that he knew his business. The army commander then got up and herded the photographers away.

A thoughtful gesture

The President did not forget the students assigned to conduct the stage when he began to deliver his speech. He included the name of all five students concerned alongside other dignitaries in the opening paragraph of his speech. Just a little before delivering his speech, he had called a girl student over and spoken to her briefly. Perhaps this was when he obtained the names.


There were apparently more guests than students in the hall. Initially, the President estimated that about 50 per cent of the audience comprised students and then asked them to raise their hands so that he could appraise their strength. He was disappointed to observe that students made for just about 30 per cent of the audience.


MC to take strict action on dumping of construction waste
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The municipal corporation will take action against the residents who use green belts for the dumping of construction material. As per the law, no permission can be given for the dumping of construction material in open spaces developed by the municipal corporation.

Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor, said issuing of challans by the Horticulture Department did not have any effect on the violators. He said the corporation would lodge FIRs against the violators.

It had been seen that there was a tendency to uproot mild steel railing so that the open spaces could be used by the residents for their convenience. Railings worth lakhs of rupees had been uprooted or damaged in the past few months at different places in the city.

The affected places have been the parks around which railings have been erected and the unauthorised thoroughfare plugged by the civic body. In a specific case, a mild steel railing was uprooted in Sector 11 to allow trucks to dump construction material.

Another specific trend witnessed by the officials was that certain residents in different localities collectively uprooted railings around parks to park their cars. By rough estimates tonnes of mild steel railing, valued at crores of rupees, had been erected in residential areas by the civic body.


Police help sought to deal with quacks
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 1
The under-staffed Health Department has sought police help in dealing with the hundreds of quacks operating in the district.

Senior health officials inform that they have approached the state police authorities to deploy police personnel at each police post to verify and check “quacks” operating in the area, including medical practitioners not registered with the state. Taking the plea of shortage of Drug Inspectors in the state, the health authorities have urged that even in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Rajasthan, the police is helping to control quackery.

A recent survey carried out by the state Health Department reveals that there are over 11,000 quacks in the state, while there are just 15 District Drug Inspectors. Over 110 quacks are operating in 75 villages here, along the stretch between Mata Mansa Devi to Thappall ( the last village of Haryana on the Pinjore-Nalagarh road in Panchkula). With a number of quacks having set up shop in the slum and labour colonies of Panchkula, Barwala, Raipur Rani and Kalka not being accounted for so far, the actual figure could be much higher.

The health authorities say that a single Drug Inspector was by and large unable to deal with these quacks. Presently, six cases are pending against the quacks in the district courts here. They say that since it is the health authorities who have been so far dealing with the problem of quackery, the other law enforcing agency, the police, has avoided dealing with this sensitive “socio-medical-legal issue”. “Since the police is more effective in enforcing the law and also has more personnel at its disposal, we have sought police help, informs a senior health officer.

Instances where the quacks have “mishandled” patients, sometimes even leading to their death have been often reported. In September, when a number of diarrhoea deaths were reported from Burj Kotian village, the health authorities had conceded that the quacks operating in the area were to be blamed for the deaths. However, the health authorities, other than launching a day-long drive against BAMS or BHMS doctors prescribing allopathic medicines, failed to do much in this regard.

Though a three-member committee comprising District Drug Inspector, District Ayurvedic Officer and a qualified doctor, has been formed to conduct raids on quacks on the first and third Friday of each month and prosecute them, the health authorities say that it is only with the police help that the menace can be dealt with effectively.


Two hurt as Army truck, car collide
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 1
Two persons were injured when their car collided head on with an Army truck on the Kalka-Ambala highway in front of the Silver City colony, near here, this morning.

The third occupant of the car, Harjit Singh (15), escaped unhurt.

Harjit Singh said Kashmir Singh Mohal (45) and Tehal Singh (26), who were also travelling in the car, sustained injuries.

According to eyewitnesses, the Army men indulged in arguments with the injured after the accident. But certain police personnel, who were deployed to restrain local Akali workers from joining the Akali workers in Ropar, reached the site and intervened into the matter.

The injured were later taken to the hospital by the Army men. A fracture in an arm of Kashmir Singh was detected while Tehal Singh was given first aid.


Young achiever
Skating is about expressing oneself
Tribune News Service

Shubhangini RathoreChandigarh, December 1
For Shimla-girl Shubhangini Rathore, a Class XII student at St Xavier's School, Sector 44, skating was meant to be just another activity to keep her "occupied" during her winter break. It was certainly not her passport to fame though it is doing just that — bringing in accolades and medals.

"My introduction to skating in all its aspects happened just by chance during my school day. In Shimla, the schools are closed for more than three months in winter. With nothing much to do, I decided to accompany my friends to the skating rink. I was in Class VI when I fell in love with skating and since then, it hasn't waned," she says.

Despite being out of touch with skating since she came to the city, Shubhangini won a gold medal in pair skating, two silver medals in speed skating and a bronze medal in another speed skating event in the nationals held early this year.

"I had gone home for a break when I received a phone call asking me to be part of the team for the nationals. Since there are very few ice-skaters, I must have been their choice. I was surprised with the performance, especially since I was out of practice," she recalls.

While she loves speed skating and playing ice-hockey, figure skating is her favourite pick."I also had the same pair dance partner for four years. When we are together, we don't miss a chance to tango. It involves a lot of jumping around to fast music. It relaxes me immensely," she informs.

At the moment, however, academics are a priority. A hosteller at the school, she says," The board examinations are all I am thinking of now. I will be back on wheels once the examination is over. I plan to pursue skating seriously. On my skates, I feel like I am flying and I certainly can't let go of such an experience."

"Skating is all about expressing yourself. While music transports you to another world, skating uses body language as a medium to convey feelings. So far, I have had no formal instructors and everything I know was picked up from seniors at the rink. After my board examinations, I plan to go in for professional guidance and improve upon my performance," she emphasises.


Fauji Beat
They saved Fazilka in 1971 war
Col Pritam Bhullar (retd)

A beautiful memorial stands in Asafwala at the site where the bodies of 64 war heroes of 4 Jat — who sacrificed their lives to save Fazilka — were cremated on December 18, 1971.

Fazilka, a border town in Ferozepore district, witnessed a fierce fight in the 1971 war in which 200 Indian Army men were killed and 450 wounded.

The enemy had captured the Beriwala bridge in the Indian territory near the border. 4 Jat launched two attacks, one each on the nights of December 4 and 5, to dislodge the enemy from the bridge. The unit suffered heavy casualties, including one of its company commanders, who was carried away by the enemy in a seriously wounded condition. His body was returned on December 18, after the ceasefire.

The residents of Fazilka were so impressed by the gallant fight put up by the brave jawans that they commemorate the event every year at the memorial, which was jointly raised by them and the Army in 1972. The land for the memorial was donated by the residents. The Shaheed Samarak Society: looks after the upkeep of the monument.

The widespread floods in September, 1988 caused heavy damage to the memorial. It was later repaired and renovated with the joint effort of the Army, the civil administration and residents of Fazilka.

Flag Day

Flag Day — that falls on December 7 — should remind the citizens of the old saying: “A nation that does not remember those who laid down their lives for it cannot always remain a nation worth dying for”.

On this day, every Indian should search his conscience to find an answer to the question: What is a soldier doing to enable me to live in peace and what am I doing for him? If an honest answer to this question suggests to him that he also owes something to the soldier who sacrifices his life to safeguard the integrity of the country, then he should contribute his share by donating towards Flag Day Fund. This fund is collected for the welfare and rehabilitation of war widows, disabled soldiers, ex-servicemen and serving soldiers.

Imagine how many young brides are turning widows with almost every passing day and how many small children become orphans, thanks to the ongoing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. Also think of the widows and disabled soldiers of the wars that we have fought in the past few decades. Can any nation ignore its sacred obligation towards them? What the government does for them is different. Nothing raises a soldier’s morale more than the thought that the whole nation is with him.

Sena Madal awardees sore

The Sena Medal (SM) winners in Punjab are sore over the attitude of the Punjab Government for paying them only Rs 1,200 as annuity, whereas it is paying Rs 1,800 per year to the awardees of the Vishisht Seva Madal (VSM). Their bitterness is justified because of the reasons that the SM is a gallantry award, whereas the VSM is a peace-time award. Moreover,the former is higher in the order of precedence than the latter.

Several affected officers from the state have been writing to the Punjab Government for the past few years to rectify this anomaly but their requests have not yielded any results.

For example, Col Mohinder Singh has written three letters, one each to the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, the Secretary, Defence Welfare, and the Governor of Punjab in June 2001, July 2002 and December 2002, respectively, in this regard. But so far, he has not received any response to any of these letters.

Since the issue raised is genuine, the Punjab Government should rectify the rules in the interest of justice and for the morale of the defence forces.


Readers Write
Frivolous demands of students

In view of the recent agitation by students of local colleges against the proposed fee hike, I feel that this ‘mobile-mobike’ class of students is not justified in seeking fee rollback. If they can afford swanky cars, motorcycles and mobile phones, they can easily pay a little more as college fee. This is the reality about the majority of students of the local colleges, as only a handful of students come to the colleges on foot or on bicycles. The agitating students should ask for more stipends and scholarships for the needy students.

Secondly, the agitating students have no right to make a mockery of the poor by enacting the role of shoe-shine boys, for they don’t realise what poverty is. Thousands of children are forced to work as child labourers in our country. Only the privileged ones reach the colleges. For the poor, it is not a question of paying a few rupees more as tuition fee but the necessity to earn and supplement the family income which denies them a chance to go to the college.

The students must realise that higher education in our country is highly subsidised. Money collected from the students meets just a fraction of the college expenditure and the rest is met by the government grant. In schools, hefty sum of money is paid as fee. For private coaching classes, thousands of rupees are shelled out, but when it comes to paying a few rupees more as college tuition fee, there is so much of opposition.

Moreover, in the changing economic scenario, subsidies will have to be reduced over a period of time. Regarding to the disparity in fee structure of the government and private colleges, there could be some regulation on the fee structure of the private colleges. But one should consider that the disparity in the fee structure of private and government schools is much more glaring then among the colleges.

I wish and pray that good sense prevails on these student leaders (the mute majority of the students realise the frivolous nature of their demands) and the students concentrate on their studies.

R. Sardana

Unfair projection of doctors

I want to draw the attention of the public towards the wrongful projection of doctors in certain TV serials being aired by various channels. Doctors are being projected as evil beings or helpers of the forces of evil. Be it child swapping, wrong reporting of serious diseases or declaring a non-pregnant woman pregnant, doctors are presented in bad light.

Most of the doctors are shown indulging in unethical practices, which is wrong. The medical profession, which is considered a noble one, may have a few black sheep, but such a negative projection of the medical fraternity needs to be condemned.

Dr Sachin Kaushal

Inclusion of Irfan Pathan good

It is good that fast bowler Irfan Pathan has been included in the 16-member squad for India’s four-match Test series against Australia. Though his inclusion in the squad is termed a surprise, I think he really deserved it as he drove the Indian Under-19 team to victory in the Asia Cup in Pakistan recently. He took nine wickets in a match, which is a big achievement. All the best to this new face in the Indian team.

Gurdershan Singh


Vendors seek probe into manhandling by two cops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 1
Over 60 vendors of the Kisan Mandi at Mansa Devi Complex today asked the Deputy Commissioner to get an inquiry conducted against two cops, who had allegedly assaulted a few vendors last night.

The vendors gave a memorandum asking that a probe be ordered against the cops who had manhandled some vendors last night. They alleged that the cops had taken vegetables from some vendor without paying for the same. When they demanded money, the cops manhandled them. The cops, then, took them to the Mansa Devi police post. They were released only after a protest by other vendors.


Group insurance for advocates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has started a group insurance scheme for about 35,000 advocates practising in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, informed the President of the Bar Council, Mr Mukesh Berry, here today.

Giving details, he said the scheme was, open to every lawyer practising or enrolled with the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana for which he had to pay Rs 400 per year. Besides, the Bar Council from its fund would insure the advocates for accidental death to the tune of Rs 1 lakh. Premium for the same would be paid by the council.


‘Antakshri on the Move’ on FM radio
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
FM Radio will achieve yet another landmark on Tuesday with the launch of CONNECT Antakshri on the Move. This interactive programme involves the age-old favourite game of antakshri on radio for the first time in Chandigarh but altogether in a fresh and an exciting avatar.

"Our objective is to reach the hearts of the audience with this all- time favourite game and highlight the fact that telephony helps you revive and rejoice the different memorable facets of life, while the peppy jingle "Zara phone ghumao, CONNECT ho jao" rhymes through the programme," said Mr Jayant Keswani, General Manager, HFCL Infotel Limited

The programme will be aired on AIR Chandigarh, FM 103.1 at 9.15 am on every Tuesday.

The RadioBuzz team shall be going into different locales, including colleges, schools, offices, shopping malls and eating joints, in the city to conduct antakshri on the move, where all will be invited to take part. Exciting prizes will be given on the spot, he added.


Sector 40 house burgled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
A Sector 40 family returned home after attending a marriage in Ludhiana this morning only to find the locks on their house broken and cash, jewellery and National Saving Certificates and other items worth about Rs 90,000 missing. The burglary took place after Friday evening when the family had left for Ludhiana, said the police.

The thieves had entered the double-storeyed House No 2787 of Mr Pratap Singh Wadhwa by breaking locks on the outer grill and main door. The police said jewellery worth Rs 35,000, National Saving Certificates worth Rs 25,000 and Rs 25,000 (in cash), which had been kept in an almirah are reported to be stolen. The thieves had broken as many as four locks in the house. The entire house had been ransacked.

The theft was first noticed by Vinod, a servant of Mr Wadhwa, this morning. ‘‘As we were to return on Monday, so we had asked Vinod to report back on duty’’, said Mr Wadhwa, an engineer by profession. When Vinod found the locks broken, he reported the matter to a neighbour of Mr Wadhwa. The neighbour called up Mr Wadhwa on his mobile phone and told him about the theft. Mr Wadhwa, along with his family, was on their way to home, when the news was broken to him.

Mr Wadhwa provides consultancy in electrical appliances and has set up a workshop on the first floor of the house. He said he was yet to verify if any electrical appliances had also been stolen.

Other things, including a credit card, passport and keys, are also missing from the house. A case has been registered.


Clothes worth Rs 3 lakh stolen from shop
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 1
Clothes worth Rs 3 lakh were stolen from a shop in Phase 3B2. The burglary came to light this morning when the shop owner opened his shop after two days and found the shutter locks broken.

The burglary took place at Shop No. 136, owned jointly by two persons — Balbir Singh and Balwinder Singh. According to the police, the owners told them that they had closed the shop on Friday night at 9 p.m. and had not opened it on Saturday as they were out of station.

This morning when they came to open the shop, they found the locks of both the main shutter and rear shutter were broken. The thieves had decamped with expensive dress material, specially the ones used to make clothes for marriages. Most of the shelves in the shop were empty. A case has been registered.

Sources, however, said the police being busy with the President’s visit today was not able to give enough attention to the theft. ‘‘No one came to gather any clues or take fingerprints,’’ said another shopkeeper.

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 |