C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


US salutes son of India
Tribune News Service

Uday Singh's father, Col P.M. Singh, grandmother, Ms Anup Kaur and sister Bani mourn at Uday's funeral in Chandigarh
Uday Singh's father, Col P.M. Singh, grandmother, Ms Anup Kaur and sister Bani mourn at Uday's funeral in Chandigarh on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma

Relatives and friends of fallen Indian-born US soldier Uday Singh pray near his coffin during a wreath laying ceremony in Chandigarh
Relatives and friends of fallen Indian-born US soldier Uday Singh pray near his coffin during a wreath laying ceremony in Chandigarh on Thursday.
— Reuters photo

Chandigarh, December 11
In perhaps the first ceremony of its kind in the country, a top US Army officer led fellow officers and men to pay tributes to Indian-born US Army trooper, Sgt Uday Singh, at his parental home in Sector 18 here today. Uday had fallen to gunshot wounds on December 1 while serving with US forces in Iraq.

While the ceremony to honour him was performed according to US Army traditions, with the Commander of the US Army Pacific Command, Lieut-Gen James Campbell, flying in for the purpose, Uday’s mortal remains were later confined to the flames as per family customs.

Wreaths were laid on the body by General Campbell on behalf of the US armed forces, the US Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Walter North, Uday’s father, Col P.M. Singh, relatives and other well-wishers. While a Major from Chandimandir was the official Indian Army representative at the ceremony, who laid a wreath on behalf of all ranks of the Chandigarh garrison, Maj-Gen A.J.S. Sadhu from the Army Headquarters and two serving officers from Ambala, Maj-Gen M.P. Singh and Brig J.P Singh, were present in their personal capacity. A wreath was also laid by the president of the Cavalry Officers Association.

General Campbell was accompanied by Brigadier-General O’Neil and two other officers, along with the US Military Attache to India, Col Steve Sboto. A few other members of the US Embassy were also present.

A guard of honour was presented by a six-member ceremonial team comprising four US Army Majors and two Captains. As three members of the unarmed guard stood to attention on either side of the flag-draped coffin and saluted, two buglers from the Indian Army’s Fifth Gorkha Rifles sounded the Last Post.

The guard then removed the US flag from the coffin, folded it into a triangle and handed it over to General Campbell, who was standing at the foot of the coffin. General Campbell then walked up to Uday’s father. Another similarly folded flag was handed over to Uday’s mother.

The General also handed over Uday’s two recently announced medals, the Purple Star, awarded for injuries sustained in action, and the Bronze Star, awarded for meritorious service in Iraq, where he sacrificed his life, to his parents. A wood box displaying his service medal ribbons and badges was also presented to the family.

Paying tributes to “a brother-in-arms and India’s son”, General Campbell said, “Today, two great democratic nations pause to mourn the loss of this courageous young man who chose the life of a soldier.” Stating that he knew full well that he could be called upon to put his life on the line, he added, “In his loss we are reminded once again that freedom is not free. It is paid for in blood, sweat and tears, and in the lives of our most treasured resource, our sons and daughters in uniform.”

Stating that Uday was an extraordinary soldier and a magnificent role model and standard-setter for his company, the US General added that the US Army took enormous pride in saluting Uday for his noble stance.

Stating that Uday made the supreme sacrifice that is expected of men in uniform, his father, who was wearing his service medals, said that Uday had brought honour not only to his family, but to the entire country. Expressing his gratitude to the US Army, an emotional Colonel P.M. Singh said that today his son had returned home, which he used to say would always be his. In the words of his 11-year-old sister, Bani, Uday was “our superman”.

While General Campbell, along with other officers, departed soon after the ceremony, members of the guard and several NCOs stayed behind to attend the cremation. The body was handed over to the family for the last rites.

Though only a small number of relatives and well-wishers were present at the Sector 18 residence during the ceremony, a large number attended the cremation. Kirtan was also held later. The family put up a brave face, though a few could not hold back their tears during the cremation. The pyre was lit by Uday’s father.



Uday Singh cremated with US honours
Tribune News Service

The Commander of the US Army, Pacific Command, Lieut-Gen James Campbell, lays a wreath on the coffin of Uday Singh, in Chandigarh on Thursday
The Commander of the US Army, Pacific Command, Lieut-Gen James Campbell, lays a wreath on the coffin of Uday Singh, in Chandigarh on Thursday.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 11
A top US Army General flew in here today at the head of a contingent to pay last respects to India-born US Army trooper, Sgt Uday Singh, who had died in combat on December 1 while deployed with US forces in Iraq. This is perhaps for the first time that a foreign army organised a ceremony on Indian soil to honour one of its war dead.

The Commander of the US Army Pacific Command, Lieut-Gen James Campbell, accompanied by the US Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Walter North and several officers and NCOs paid floral tributes to the 21-year old fallen soldier.

General Campbell also expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and ceremoniously handed them the US national flag which had been draped on Uday’s coffin. Two medals, the Purple Heart, for battle injuries and the Bronze Star, for meritorious service, awarded to Uday posthumously were also handed over to the family members along with a wooden case containing his service medals and badges.

While the ceremony to honour Uday’s sacrifice was in accordance with US Army traditions, the last rites were performed later as per family customs. Uday’s ashes will be flown to the Arlington National Cemetry near Washington, where the US buries its war dead. A guard of honour of six officers from the US Army was specially flown in for the purpose, while the Indian Army provided two buglers.

Speaking on the occasion, General Campbell said, “The motto of his division, the First Division, is No Mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great — duty first , which epitomizes the spirit and the warrior ethos championed by Uday. He placed his mission first. He never accepted defeat and he never quit. He is our hero.”

Uday came from a defence family. His late grandfather, Karat Singh Taunque had retired as Wing Commander from the Indian Air Force, while his father Col P M Singh had served with the Army. His maternal grandfather too was in the Army.

Uday’s body, which arrived here early this morning was kept at his residence to allow people to pay their last respects before the cremation. A large number of relatives, friends and well wishers, including some serving and retired Army officers, attended the cremation.



Son, grandson arrested in Arora murder case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
The police here today arrested a son and grandson of K.L. Arora, who alongwith his youngest daughter-in-law Parveen Arora and grandson Anmol were murdered.

Superintendent of Police Mohammad Akil said Dr Vinod Arora, son of K.L. Arora, and Amit Arora were arrested on the ground of suspicion.

K.L. Arora, his daughter-in-law and her son were found murdered in their Sector 4 house on Monday night. The police had initially said robbery was the motive behind the murder. But Parveen Arora’s family, which arrived here yesterday, alleged that a property dispute was the motive.

Mr Maninder Sharma, a brother of Parveen, had yesterday in a written complaint to the police alleged that the elder sons of K.L. Arora — Subhash Arora and Vinod Arora — and Amit, son of Subhash, were involved in the murder.

Meanwhile, the family fued came out in the open today when Dr Vinod Arora convened a press conference and said the Sector 4 house was in the name of his father and there was a move to give the power of attorney in somebody else’s name. He added that his father also had a plot in Faridabad, which was sold three years ago for Rs 28.50 lakh, and the money was invested in fixed deposits in the names of all family members. He asserted that he had a house and clinic in Sector 46, while Subhash had a house in Mani Majra, and that they were financially independent.

On being asked if they, suspected foul play in the death of Vijay, Dr Vinod Arora said when Vijay had died he had given a verbal complaint to the police that it did not appear to be a hit-and-run case. Contrary to the claims of the brothers of Parveen Arora, Dr Vinod Arora claimed that he had cordial relations with his brother, and had even given him financial help to set up a sports goods business in February. Even after his death we had been taking good care of Parveen and Anmol.

He also conceded that Vijay had been arrested by the Panchkula police in March, 2000, on charges of stealing cars.

Meanwhile, some relatives of Parveen, who had come to express condolences, took umbrage at Dr Vinod’s comments on Vijay and walked out of the house. They then came back with the brothers of Parveen, Maninder and Chander, who levelled a fresh set of allegations, saying that other than Subhash, Dr Vinod and Amit, Kumkum (daughter of K.L. Arora) was also involved in the murder. They added that they would again give a written complaint to the police with the names of the above mentioned as suspects.



City-Ludhiana rail link hits another block
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

  • Overhead power transmission lines crossing the proposed path of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail line are low in height.

  • Chandigarh will take the help of the Punjab State Electricity Board.

  • At one place even an underground wire system will be laid to replace the overhead one.

  • Two months ago the main water supply line coming in from Kajauli had to be re-routed as it was coming in the way of the track. 

Chandigarh, December 11
The much delayed Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link has hit another hurdle. This time the overhead high tension power transmission lines which criss-cross the path of the upcoming track within the city have been found to be too low for a train to pass underneath. This has added a couple of crores as expenses for the Railways.

Just two months ago work to shift one of the main water supply lines between Kajauli and Chandigarh had started as the water supply line was also coming in the way of the rail track near Morinda.

At places in Industrial Area Phase-I the distance between the overhead power lines and the specially laid down foundation of the track is no more than a few feet. At present even a truck cannot pass underneath the wires. For a train to pass under a power line a clearance of about 30 feet is required after calculating the height of the train, its own overhead power supply line and also the distance of railways power line and the electricity transmission line. Whenever the Railways lays a track it has to be on a raised earth platform made out by laying of loose earth and then compacting it.

When the platform was being raised just behind the BBMB-managed power sub-station in Industrial Area phase-I the height of the wires came in the way.

The Railways has now asked the Chandigarh Administration to do something quickly and have also deposited the Rs 65 lakh meant for correcting the over head lines. The Administration which does not have experience in erecting high tension 33 kv or 66 kv feeders have called in engineers from the Punjab State Electricity Board. The idea is to raise the height of the feeder to such a level that meets the requirements of the Railways. Since the feeders cannot be closed the possibility is that the PSEB will erect a new tower and then shift the power line onto the new tower. The old tower will be dismantled.

Another problem area is just south of Sector 47 where the power line will have to be re-located. For re-locating the 11 kv power lines the Administration is using its experience.

In the past it may be recollected that the location of the water supply line feeding the requirements of Chandigarh from Kajauli needed to be changed. In October this year the Municipal Corporation started work on this. The rail line crosses the water supply lines near Morinda. The line is said to be crossing over the Phase I, II and III supply lines.

To protect the water supply lines the Railways is constructing a bridge to avoid damage. A pillar of the bridge is on the Phase III line. Sources said the Railway authorities had suggested the shifting of Phase III line and had paid around Rs 16.5 lakh while the total expenditure on the change of location would be around Rs 22 lakh.

Actual work on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link had begun in October 2000 when the Railways performed a “bhoomi poojan” at a site in Industrial Area Phase I. The project entails the laying of 47.5 kilometres of rail line between Chandigarh and Morinda thus connecting the city with Ludhiana, It is expected to cost about Rs 200 crore.



DAV College to honour distinguished alumni
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The distinguished alumni of DAV College, Sector 10, will be honoured at a function slated for December 13 on the college campus by the Vice-President of India, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

On the priority list of the college for the honours are martyrs Major Navneet Vats, Brig B.S. Shergill, Capt Vikram Batra, Second Lieut Rajeev Sandhu, Capt Vijyant Thapar and Major Sandeep Sagar.

“We are inviting families of these heroes, who passed out from our college, to receive the award. We have six boys from our college who laid down their lives protecting the country’s borders. We are indebted to them and want to salute their parents,” said Principal S.C. Marriya during a press conference held here today.

Others to be honoured at the function include judges, senior bureaucrats, executives and businessmen, besides international sportsmen.

While three students, Rajya Sabha MP R.K. Anand, Mr Justice Arun Kumar Goyal of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the former Editor of Dainik Tribune, Mr Vijay Sehgal, who belong to the first batch of the college, have also been invited, sportspersons to be honoured at the function include Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh and Yograj Singh for cricket, Harjinder Singh for football, Charanjit Singh Bajwa for athletics, Krishan Kumar for wrestling and S.S. Gill for hockey. Thirtyeight awards would be given on the occasion.

In addition, former teachers of the college are also being invited. “The first thing the students wanted to know was how their teachers were. So we decided to organise a reunion not only for the students but for the staff as well,” the Principal stated.

Two former students, Mr R.K. Anand, and Mr P.K. Nanda, Vice-President of Punjab Tractors Limited, have offered financial assistance to the college to cater to poor students who are brilliant.

“While Mr Anand has given Rs 2 lakh to the college, Mr Nanda has contributed Rs 50,000,” Principal Marriya added.

He added that the college would honour distinguished alumni annually and attempts would be made to give representation to all batches.



Man fakes identity to get loan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
A Mani Majra resident, Amit Kumar, was today arrested for getting a motor cycle financed from GE Countrywide by presenting fake documents of a Star TV reporter, Amit Chaudhary.

The Star TV reporter brought the matter to the notice of the police after he got a welcome letter from the finance company for taking a loan. A shocked reporter said he had not got any motor cycle financed from the company.

An amount of Rs 21,000 was extended as loan to Amit Kumar for the purchase of the vehicle from Sood Automobiles on August 23, 2003.

Amit Kumar told the police that he had approached the distributor of the motor cycle for a loan but his income did not allow the company to extend the loan amount. He said a ration card and other related documents were allegedly forged in the name of Amit Chaudhary to get the loan.

While talking to the TNS, Amit Chaudhary alleged that the investigating officer tried to shield persons from the company and Sood Automobiles and the arrest came after he visited IG Rajesh Kumar and SSP Gaurav Yadav. He said the matter had been reported to the police in September but the case had been registered now.

He said as soon as he got the note from the finance company, he approached them. When he told the finance company that he had not taken any loan, the company turned a blind eye to him. The TV reporter then asked the company to show him the related files. He was shocked to see the photograph of another person and his own name on the forged ration card and driving licence.

He said the file had a phone number, which used to be his three years ago. The forged documents, ration card, driving licence and postdated cheques in the file showed him a resident of Mani Majra, despite the fact that he was born and brought up in house No. 3848, Sector 47, Chandigarh. He said the cheques kept in the file were those of the Punjab Cooperative Bank, Mani Majra.

After finding the forged documents, he asked the company’s officials if they had conducted any physical verification of the facts. The company told him that the facts had been verified on the telephone number given on the file.

The police said it was investigating on how the documents were forged. Amit Kumar is a barber at Mohalla Dera Sahib in Mani Majra.



‘Water conservation key to improving health’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 11
“Conserve water to curb poverty and improve health standards all over the globe” was what Nigeria-based World President of Rotary International Jonathan B. Majiyagbe said while interacting with Rotary Club members here today.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune just after the conclusion of a function held this afternoon at a Sector 10 hotel, Mr Majiyagbe asserted that in some African cities, the women still had to trek miles to fetch water. By the time they returned in the evening, they were too exhausted to cook food. As a result they had malnourished children.

This, in return, was affecting not only the health of the family but also their financial status. The example was true in case of other countries also, he asserted.

Offering a solution, Mr Majiyagbe added that efforts should be made to manage and conserve water so that healthy family was able to generate better output and utilise time for worthwhile purposes.

Rotary too would work towards conservation of water and its effective distribution. He said clothes and food should be distributed to help the downtrodden all over the world.

“As Rotarians, we must open our eyes to see those of us who cannot afford shelter, healthcare, food and other essentials,” he said. No wonder, the prime thrust of the Rotary International would be on sensitive areas, including poverty eradication, literacy and education, besides health concern.

The objective, he maintained, would be achieved through ‘’lend a hand’’ theme — a clarion call for all Rotary Club members to make a difference in their respective communities.

Giving details of the organisation’s activities, he said the body had grown in 166 countries and had more than 31,000 clubs. Recently a Rotary centre was opened in Afghanistan. The club in Kabul was working for the benefit of local communities. He added that a medical team of Rotarians from India would visit Afghanistan soon.

He said doctors from “district 3080” had been visiting Africa to provide medical treatment. A team would also visit Cambodia in December. Seven teams from India would got to Africa in March, next year.



MC chief writes to CM on district status
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 11
The Municipal Council today urged the Punjab Chief Minister to grant district status to the town.

In a letter sent by the council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, to Capt Amarinder Singh, he said municipal councillors, welfare associations of different phases and industrial unit owners had been demanding a district status for Mohali.

In the letter Mr Kulwant Singh said a number of people had to go to Ropar in connection with various types of work. The population of the town was about 4 lakh and it was not possible to control the vast population administratively from Ropar. Many central and state government establishments like National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Army Institute of Law, PUDA Bhavan and Punjab School Education Board had come up in the town.

The president said that the town also had a cricket stadium where international matches were played. People from other countries and different states of India came to see the matches. Some big foreign companies had already set up industrial units in the town while many others were showing interest in this regard. It is very important to grant district status to Mohali to help foreign companies to set up their units here.

He said that the Haryana Government had given district status to Panchkula many years ago and that was why that town had become more important than Mohali.

The issue had been discussed in the council meeting held on November 18 and the House had unanimously adopted the resolution demanding district status for the town. It had also been discussed that even though Mohali had been given the tehsil status about eight years ago, it lacked full-fledged tehsil facilities. The town did not have a building for the SDM’s office and neither there were any judicial courts. Mr Kulwant Singh stated that by granting a district status to Mohali more development activities would take place and that too at a faster pace.



Panchkula takes lead in urban development
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
Panchkula has taken great strides in the implementation of the state government’s progressive and development-oriented policies, especially in the areas of urban development, power, health and road construction.

Giving this information, an official spokesman said during the past four years, a sum of Rs 164 crore had been spent on various schemes of urban development, Rs 22.25 crore on improvement of the power sector, Rs 34.65 crore on the construction of roads and bridges, Rs 8.78 crore on strengthening health services and Rs 10.10 crore under the Kandi project.

Giving details, he said the Haryana Urban Development Authority had spent a sum of Rs 164 crore under various schemes and had made a provision of Rs 52 crore for carrying out various development works and their upkeep during the current financial year. Of this, an amount of Rs 33 crore had been spent till November this year.

The spokesman said from July, 1999, till date, HUDA had provided five new community centres, four dispensaries, three primary schools, two high schools, a police post, a restaurant and a gymkhana club for the benefit of residents of Panchkula. An effluent treatment plant had been set up in Sector 20 and a number of buildings for public use had been constructed in various parts of the city. A link road between Panchkula and Chandigarh was being constructed near Sector 17, which would be completed by March, 2004.

He said to give an impetus to sports activities in the city, a sports complex and a golf course were being built and the work was nearing completion. An air-conditioned auditorium was being built in Sector 5 for the entertainment of people. Besides, an alternative way from the Chandigarh railway station to Panchkula was also coming up. Residents were also being provided sufficient drinking water for which 48 new tubewells had been started, which had taken the total number of tubewells in the city to 105. He said the Housing Board had constructed 225 LIG houses at a cost of Rs 2.17 crore in Sector 28.

The spokesman said a sum of Rs 22.25 crore had been spent on strengthening the distribution and transmission of power in the district. Three new sub-stations had been set up at a cost of Rs 9.5 crore and another sub-station was under construction at a cost of Rs 3 crore. An amount of Rs 8.78 crore had been spent on improving the health services in the district. General Hospital in Panchkula had been expanded at a cost of Rs 8 crore, while a primary health centre had been set up at Kot village and an operating theatre and a labour room in the Kalka Civil Hospital. In Raipur Rani, an operating theatre and a labour room were under construction at an estimated cost of Rs10 lakh, which would soon be completed.

He said during this period, the District Industries Centre had made available loans worth Rs 9.14 crore through banks so as to help them set up their own ventures.


Safai karamcharis observe strike
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
Safai karamcharis today observed a strike in protest against the non payment/partial payment of their wages by the contractors. Thus, garbage continued to pile in various parts of the township.

This is the second strike by the safai karamcharis in a month. On November 17, too, the safai karamcharis had observed strike on a similar complaint. They were later assured by the district administration that they would be given salary on the basis on the minimum wages announced by the government.

However, the safai karamcharis today alleged that the contractors had not been paying their dues, on the pretext that the Municipal Council had not been clearing their dues. Other than the fact that the contractors were not being paid the minimum wages notified by the government, the contractors have also employed under age labourers.

Municipal Council officials, when contacted, said that though the tender for sanitation, after four zoning the total area, was allotted in October, the Local Bodies Department has not given its final consent to the allotment of tenders, thus the delay in release of tenders. They also said that they had again written to the higher authorities to release the payment, and assured that the safai karamcharis would be paid as per the notified minimum wages.



SSP told to look into dowry case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 11
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the Ropar SSP to look into the complaint of a Kharar resident who had alleged that she was harassed by her in-laws for bringing inadequate dowry.

In the orders passed by Justice R.L. Anand, member of the commission, on December 8 it had been stated that since the grouse of the complainant was that the police had taken no action on her complaint, the same now be sent to SSP, Ropar, who is directed to look into the allegations of the complainant sympathetically and dispose of the complaint at his own level. Interim directions were also given for the safety of life and liberty of the complainant.

Ms Kiran Sharma, a resident of Sector 7, Kharar, had complained that her husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law had been allegedly harassing her for bringing inadequate dowry and pressed her to bring more from her parents. As a result she was depressed. She had made a complaint to the DSP and SHO at Kharar in this regard but no action was taken. She said that she suffered from a number of diseases but her husband did not take care of her. She even apprehended danger to her life.



Cops sensitised on crime against women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Police personnel deployed with the Crime against Women Cell today got an insight into extramarital affairs, AIDS, matrimonial disputes, sexual harassment of children and dowry and drug-affecting married lives.

A lecture on the issues was delivered by Ms J.K. Grewal, Chairperson of the Punjab State Social Welfare Advisory Committee, when she visited the Chandigarh police unit.

Ms Grewal had special advice for the counsellors working with the unit that marital discords could be sorted out from the experiences of life.

She said the counsellors needed to focus on the child in disputes where husband and wife wanted to separate.

Ms Grewal said it was a misconception that rape, dowry and physical abuse were found only in slums, adding that it was equally prevalent in well-to-do families.

She suggested that those found guilty of rape of a minor should either be hanged or be sentenced life imprisonment.



Peace monument at Sukhna
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 11
A Rotary Peace City monument would be inaugurated at the Sukhna lake by world president of Rotary International Jonathan B. Majiyagbe tomorrow. It has been constructed by the Rotary Club of Chandigarh and the State Bank of India for declaring Chandigarh a peace city. UT Administrator Justice O.P. Verma would formally receive the Charter of Peace City.

Mr Majiyagbe is on a two-day visit to the city. Addressing over 700 Rotarians at a function organised at Zirakpur this evening, Mr Majiyagbe said the alleviation of poverty and elimination of illiteracy could ensure a world full of peace as these were the pre-requisite for ensuring better understanding. 



Chohan for observer status in UNO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a Khalistan ideologue, today demanded observer status in the UNO to what he calls ‘the Sikh nation’. Addressing a press conference, Dr Chohan said the Khalsa Raj Party had decided to approach the UNO to get the observer status for the ‘ Sikh nation’.

He said the article (1) of the UNO charter and the subsequent article 55 and 56 clearly defined the right of self determination as a Human Right in the international law. “The state policy of the Indian Government under the pretext of territorial integrity had violated the very spirit of the objective resolution of December 13, 1946, which was declared to be the basic structure of the constitution of free India”.



Idol installation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Eigth ‘murti sthapana divas’ was celebrated at Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir in Sector 29A with great pomp and show. Devotees thronged the temple from the surrounding areas.

Bhajan singer Mukesh Saxena of the Saxena Bandhu fame from Delhi recited Sai bhajan.

A langar was also organised by the committee.



Apathy hits PU employees’ interests

Dr Virendra Kumar's legal analysis of PU pension scheme, published in the Chandigarh Tribune (dated November 30, 2003) is indeed revealing. I along with my four other retired fellow professors of the university followed with deep interest Dr Kumar's earlier article published in Chandigarh Tribune on November 6, 2002, and we collectively commented upon it. Through the columns of this esteemed paper, I once again reiterate and emphasise that the problem in the implementation of the PU pension scheme is not essentially the problem of funds but the lack of serious concern, which is causing the ‘mental block’. If the university can afford to raise and spend crores of rupees for the payment of salaries and grants for attending international/national conferences to the superannuated persons after the age of 60 years without any authorisation from the governments concerned, there seems to be every reason to raise only a fraction of this amount for a statutorily sanctioned purpose - the purpose of providing social security to the retired employees of the university.

Prof S.S Kumar, Chandigarh


Dr Virendra Kumar's exposition of pension scheme in Panjab University, Chandigarh. On November 19, 2003, with the initiative of Prof S.L Sharma and Prof S.S Kumar, both Fellows of Panjab University, Dr Virendra Kumar was invited to enlighten a group of about 25 retired teachers about the existing PU pension scheme. The meeting was organised under the aegis of the Punjab University Panchkula Residents Association at Kala Gram (UT). Dr Kumar very eloquently clarified that the issue of eligibility is not to be confused with the date of enforcement of the pension scheme as provided under Chapter X of PU Calendar, vol.I (2000). Again, in his write up, Dr Kumar has very rightly argued that "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 retiring later." For meeting the legitimate demand of the retirees, it was also resolved to pursue the pension issue first by meeting the Vice-Chancellor, and thereafter by presenting a signed memorandum to the Chancellor by seeking a personal appointment with him.

Dr R.C.Bansal, Chandigarh


The implementation of the pension scheme has been weighing on the minds of the Panjab University employees for the past 10 years or so. They are grateful to Dr Virendra Kumar for critically examining the 'viability' aspect of the scheme in the 'Readers write' column of Chandigarh Tribune's issue dated November 30, 2003.

It is natural to rue the fact that the PU employees have been bereft of the pensionary benefits inspite of the duly approved and notified Pension Scheme, 1991, with the relevant regulations incorporated in the PU Calendar, Volume 1 (page 201-201). It is all the more regrettable that the present sorry state is the result of the attitude of a certain section of employees who find the regulation 1.2(b)ii quite repugnant.

"Why should the old retirees get pensionary benefits? If the university doles out all available funds to them, from where shall we get pension when we retire?" They spread this type of canard, little understanding the mechanism of working of the pension schemes which envisage that the contributions of the present employees pay for the pensionary benefits of retirees and this applies to the successive generations of employees.

In their relentless pursuit to negate the pensionary benefits to retired employees under regulation 1.2(b)ii, they put forward the so called 'viable' pension scheme with arbitrary cut off date (31.3.98), which was summarily rejected by the Government of India.

Notwithstanding the above considerations, it is unrealistic not to assume that the university may not have the requisite funds to pay pensionary benefits to all eligible employees. In this situation, the employees may voluntarily agree to forgo certain benefits such as pension arrears and interest thereon, commutation of pension, deferment of a part of DA on pension. However, whatever may be the circumstances, an approach which denies a certain section of the employees the pensionary benefits to which they are rightfully entitled, has to be firmly ruled out.

I.S Mittra, Chandigarh

Insensitive act

It was painful to read a news report in your paper concerning the case of a newly born girl-child who was done to death by her mother and maternal grandmother by thrusting bread in her mouth. Women like these worship Durga in temples but kill devis in their homes. No words are sufficient to condemn such heinous crimes. Deterrent punishment may help in reducing such crimes. Over to women's organisations.

Hans Raj Gupta, Panchkula



Thief escapes from police custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
A drug addict and thief Dalbagh Singh (19), of Kajheri, facing trial in six cases of theft registered in different police stations and lodged in Burail Jail, today escaped from police custody after his appearance in a local court.

Dilbagh is reported to have escaped when the policemen accompanying him were busy preparing documents regarding his appearance in the court. This is the second case in the city during the past two months. Last month, a criminal had fled from the PGI after he was examined for a throat infection.

Dilbagh might have escaped to satisfy his urge for drugs the police said.

The Sector 17 police station has registered a case under Section 223 of the Indian Penal Code against constable Bhag Singh and under Section 234 of the IPC against the thief. The criminal disappeared while coming out of the court, which had extended his remand.

Dilbagh along with 22 other accused lodged in the jail, were sent to the UT District Courts to attend the hearing in their cases. The accused were lodged in a make shift jail on the court premises. Dilbagh Singh was produced in the court of UT Judicial Magistrate(First Class) Sangeeta Rai Sachdev.

Dilbagh, involved in petty theft cases, was lodged in the jail on December 5.



1 killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 11
One person was killed when a Tata Sumo and a tractor trailer collided on the hospital road last night.

According to the police the driver of the car, Harjit Singh (25), died on the spot. Two more persons, Barjinder Singh (22) and Navtej Singh, received injuries. While Barjinder Singh was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh, Navtej Singh was admitted at the Civil Hospital at Kharar.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304A on the statement of Navtej Singh. The driver of the tractor, Manjeet Singh, fled from the scene of crime.



Body found hanging
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
Mystery shrouds the death of a youth, whose body was found in a jungle near Khatauli village this afternoon. The maggot-infested body of the man was found hanging from a tree by a villager.

The police says that the body could be about 10 days old. The deceased has not been identified and the police has begun an extensive exercise of identifying the accused. They have initiated inquest proceedings in this regard.

It is learnt that the body was discovered in the Air Force jungle near Khatauli, by a villager, who informed the Barwala police. The police say that it could be a case of suicide.



Seminar on banking and finance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
A seminar was organised by the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF) on “Emerging era of competition, opportunities, challenges and strategies with special focus on banking and finance” here today.

The seminar was specially for students interested in a career in banking and finance. A large number of students from various colleges of the city attended the seminar.

The General Manager, Punjab State Cooperative Bank Ltd, Mr Sohan Singh, was the chief guest. Mr J.K. Deshpande, Deputy Director, IIBF, presided over the seminar.


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