C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


71 pc turnout in panchayat poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
As many as 71 per cent voters cast their ballot during elections to panchayats in the Union Territory here today.
As many as 28,192 voters of the total 39,436 cast their ballot. Of these, 11,871 were women.

A majority of the polling booths in villages witnessed a heavy rush during the day. Except for a few complaints from voters of not being allowed to vote despite possessing ID cards, the polling was by and large peaceful.

The counting of votes for 17 panchayats is scheduled for December 23 at four counting stations.

Long queues could be seen at the polling stations since early morning despite it being a foggy day. People started coming around 6 am even though polling was scheduled to commence at 8 am.

Seven or eight persons were rounded up at Darua village. They reportedly owed allegiance to the group of Mr Kulwant Singh, a former sarpanch whose wife was one of the contestants. They were allegedly attempting to cast their votes without possessing voting cards.

Some voters complained about not being allowed to vote as their names did not figure in the list of voters. This was despite the fact that they possessed legitimate voter ID cards. Mr Onkar Chand, a member of the Khudda Jassu panchayat, said his father, Mr Brij Kishore, and mother, Mrs Rajpati, were not allowed to cast their ballot despite possessing voter ID cards.

Mr Kirpal Singh and Mrs Karam Kaur of Maloya village were not allowed to cast their ballot on the same grounds. Similar complaints were aired by a few residents of Khudda Jassu and Raipur Khurd.

As many as 539 voters of the total 1,393 had cast their ballot at Dhanas village till noon. At Sarangpur village, nearly 35 per cent voters of the total 1,152 had cast their ballot till noon. A voter said he had to wait for three hours in a queue to cast his ballot.

Nearly 400 persons of the total 1,864 had cast their ballot at Khuda Lahora till 1 pm and 410 of the 656 at Khudda Jassu by the same time. Though the polling was to end at 4 pm, it was continued for a little more time at Hallo Majra village as a number of people had not cast their ballot at that time.



Wanted criminal’s accomplice held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 21
The police today arrested a Chandigarh Vikas Manch activist, Devinder Singh, alias Koka, claiming that he was an accomplice of the city's most wanted criminal, Anil Kumar, alias Tota. An unlicensed German-made 9 mm pistol and 11 cartridges were seized from him.
The police claimed that Koka had been financing Tota.

Tota is wanted in several cases, including the murder of UT Executive Engineer V.K. Chopra.

The police intercepted a Scorpio jeep (CH03 L 0575) near Cricket Stadium here and arrested Koka. During interrogation, Koka, a resident of Sector 18-C, reportedly told the police that he used to harbour Tota and his accomplice Bhoora.

The two had stayed at Koka's house after snatching a bag from Mr Sanjay Duggal on October 16 in Sector 40.

Koka also told the police that he purchased the pistol from Tota for Rs 80,000. He has been booked under Sections 212 and 216 of the IPC for harbouring Tota and also under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Koka had earlier been rounded up by the police after the snatching incident.

The police said “Tota and Bhoora used to come to Koka's residence to stay and collect money for sustenance.”

The police claimed that it had records of calls made from Koka's mobile and residence phone.



Admn scored some, missed some
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Still awaited

  • Six-laning of the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway.
  • Though roads in Southern sectors have improved, roundabouts and traffic lights are needed at critical places.
  • More road links to Panchkula.
  • Better streetlights on roads leading to Mohali.
  • An Administration with less dependence on clerks.
  • Decision on the status of about 6,500 MC employees.
  • Status of PEC employees and resources. 

Chandigarh , December 21
In Chandigarh it has been literally an year of changes. The bureaucracy-led Chandigarh Administration saw major changes on the administrative front. The city also saw some major changes intended for saving its land resources from further exploitation and bring about safety on the roads. But yet certain critical problems remain unattended or have been caught in the red tape.

For once the Administration took a major step as it scrapped the controversial rehabilitation scheme for slum dwellers which was causing to migrants influx from UP and Bihar, changing the demographic profile of the city. The burgeoning number of slums have been linked with problems like theft of power, lack of civic amenities. Now, anyone who came in after December 8, 1996, will be rehabilitated.

The issue of cattle menace became a major problem. The MC staff had stopped catching stray cattle after some head of cattle died while being transported. When the number of stray cattle went up and several accidents were reported. (one girl even lost her life) there was an outcry in the city. A panicked Administration decided to set up gaushalas in the city. Just two days ago the MC tied up with a gaushala in Delhi for keeping stray cattle nabbed in Chandigarh.

In May the Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) bid goodbye to the city. The new incumbent Justice O.P. Verma brought in his style of functioning. Being a legal man he goes into small details. Among the first things Justice Verma did was to free hundreds of acres from encroachments i.e. 10,000 jhuggies.

Interestingly, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) transferred1968 batch UT cadre IAS officer Virendra Singh to Chandigarh despite the controversy regarding his conduct. The previous Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, went back to Delhi following the completion of her tenure in the first week of January. Virendra Singh during his stay in Chandigarh remained controversial. On September 9 he was shifted and the Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral became the first Haryana cadre IAS official to hold the top bureaucratic post in Chandigarh when he was elevated as Adviser. His brief yet effective tenure of just more than two months ended when Mr Lalit Sharma joined in November.

A major decision is pending on the future of 6,500 employees of the Municipal Corporation. High-level meetings have been held during the tenure of former Adviser, Raminder Singh Gujral, and the employees along with officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Even as Punjab Engineering College was formally declared a deemed University, the issue of the status of its employees and its resources is yet to be settled.

On the information technology (IT) front Chandigarh exposed unleashed its potential. The Administration tied up with DLF builders for developing state-of-the-art IT towers. A deadline of one year has been given for the Rs 160-crore project. Major IT giant Convergys is also coming to the city.

The imposition of property tax in the city was enforced by the Administration but the MC rejected it.

Apart from this, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar who had scripted much of the amended building bylaws in the city ended his four-year tenure. Last week The MHA ordered the transfer of the Chairman of Chandigarh Housing Board , Mr G.K. Marwah. The process of appointing a Chief Engineer in the Administration and also the Municipal Corporation has been initiated.

The Administration four-laned an important road running from Sector 39 to 31 and also put up new streetlights.

But still missing was regular interaction between the municipal councillors and officials of the Chandigarh Administration.

On the transport front a long-standing demand which is pending is the six-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway. The high court has given directions but work on this is yet to start. More than 50 persons have lost lives on this stretch due to accidents.

The city also remained very politically active. The President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, visited the city thrice. The Canadian Prime Minister came, followed by the Vice-President, Mr Bhairon Singh Sekhawat. Besides this High Commissioners of various countries also paid visits to the city.



Letrozole controversy: prescription worries 
many women
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Despite being on infertility treatment for the past five months, it was only after reading media reports today that Anu (name changed) discovered that she, like many other hopeful women seeking a child, had been prescribed an anti-cancer drug, which could have possible side-effects.

The revelation that Letrozole formulation, which was actually an anti-cancer drug, was being given for treating infertility took many women by surprise. A majority of them claimed that they were never told by doctors concerned that it was a drug given for treating breast cancer and could have possible side-effects.

“I have put about 25 women, taking infertility treatment from me, on this drug as it has practically no side-effects. There is ample evidence of this in medical journals and health literature,” said Dr Umesh Jindal, who is running an infertility centre in the city. She claimed the drug had been effective in five women, who had conceived.

“From January onwards I took the drug for five months and though I conceived, the foetus had to be aborted within a month's time because of improper growth. Since then the doctor at the private infertility clinic has advised me to take a few months break before starting the treatment again,” said Anu.

She also claimed that one of the side-effects she was suffering from ever since then was persistent cough. Another of her concern stems from the fact that a possible side-effect of the drug could be an adverse effect on the embryo.

A senior gynaecologist, working at a government medical institute, said some of the doctors were giving the drug to patients coming to their infertility clinic. “Medical representatives keep coming to us suggesting Letrozole for treating infertility and we do prescribe it. But we do not know whether pharmaceutical companies have taken a permission from the Drug Controller,” said a doctor in a government hospital.

A gynaecologist in the city, Dr Mangat Dogra, said she was not prescribing the medicine, but had two such patients who had been put on the drug by their earlier doctor. “I personally feel that the drug, being manufactured by reputed companies, is safe and there is a mention of it, as a fertility treatment, even in the Year Book of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,” she remarked.

Dr Jindal, however, said the entire issue was being wrongly projected as the drug was being used for treating breast cancer simply because it was an anti-estrogen and used as a hormone suppressant. “I was not aware that the required permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had not been sought and since this is mandatory, I will not prescribe it to other patients who come to my infertility clinic from now onwards,” she assured.

The primary concern of patients, who discovered that they had been prescribed the drug, was that doctors should have taken them into confidence before putting them on the medicine. Yearender

ADMINISTRATION "Before prescribing any medicine, it is the primary duty of a doctor to explain about its possible side-effects and leave the decision, whether to take the drug or not, on the patient. But due to a lack of awareness among the patients, this practice is not being followed,” remarked a senior doctor.



Fog delays trains, disrupts traffic

Chandigarh, December 21
The maximum temperatures dropped sharply today at many places in the northern region, intensifying the cold conditions even as poor visibility due to fog continued to hamper normal life.

In a fog-related accident, one person was killed and eight received serious injuries as a roadways bus collided with a truck in Amritsar district due to reduced visibility.

The maximum temperature dropped by five degrees below normal in Chandigarh to settle at 17.4°C, while Ambala, at a high of 16.9°C, was down by six degrees. The respective minimums at these places were recorded at 9°C and 8.8°C, the Meteorological Department said here.

Hisar also experienced a cold day at 15.4°C, five below normal and the minimum temperature at 7.2°C. Srinagar had a cold day at 9.4°C. The minimum dropped a degree below normal to touch minus 3°C.

Fog continued to disrupt normal life for the fifth consecutive day in the region, badly affecting flight and train schedules. Several buses running on inter-state routes were also delayed due to poor visibility. Fog affected life at Udhampur, Jammu, Halwara, Amritsar, Adampur, Bathinda, Pathankot, Ambala, Sirsa, Sirsawa and Suratgarh.

Coldwave conditions made Amritsar residents groan under intense chill as the mercury in minimum dropped two below normal at 2.6°C. The day temperature failed to provide any respite as it was recorded at 17.6°C.

The minimum temperature at Bhuntar in Himachal Pradesh plunged to zero degrees Celsius and settled at 1.6°C at Sundernagar. Shimla recorded a maximum temperature of 15°C and a low of 5.6°C.

All long-distance and sub-urban trains passing through Punjab and Haryana were delayed for hours, stranding passengers at various stations, railway sources said here.

Chilly winds accompanied by foggy conditions forced people at several places to remain indoors as roads wore a deserted look.

Reports of foggy conditions have been received from Ambala, Karnal, Sonepat, Hisar, Panipat, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Sirsa, Pathankot and Bathinda.

Bathinda: Dense fog delayed the movement of rail and road traffic and led to a significant fall in day temperatures. The vehicles moved with the headlights on during the day and all major trains were running late by a few hours.

While the fog has led to a sudden fall in temperature, officials of the Agriculture Department said rain at this time would be beneficial for wheat crop. — PTI, TNS



Rise in Army men’s disability pension favoured
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Taking serious note of the low disability pension being paid to armed forces personnel who are injured while in service, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence, while seeking suitable revision in the rate of disability pension, has recommended pension equivalent to the last pay drawn in cases of 100 per cent disability.

“The disability pension, which is about Rs 2,600 per month for officers and Rs 1,500 for jawans is very less to sustain the livelihood of the injured serviceman and his family,” the committee, in its recent report has observed.

Pointing out that many a time armed forces personnel get disabled in the process of conflict with other nations, during national security duties and also in peacetime while on training or performing day-to-day activities, the committee has felt that the disability pension, specially in cases of 100 per cent disability, needs to be revised. “In cases where there is 100 per cent disability, the poor jawan’s standard of living slumps towards meagre sustenance level. Had he remained in service, he would have been eligible for accommodation, rations and other facilities available to service personnel,” the committee has noted. “In the absence of these benefits and inability to take up any job due to disability, the jawan becomes a burden on his own family,” the committee has further observed.

Recommending that a formula in the cases of disability pension be worked out so as to provide pension-cum-disability pension equal to the last pay drawn to 100 per cent disabled service personnel, the committee has also sought that the same should also be worked out suitable in cases where disability is above 50 per cent.

The committee has also taken note of representations forwarded by ex-servicemen, claiming that the disability pension for armed forces personnel is lower than that for civilian government employees. Their grievance is borne out by the facts provided by to the committee by government officials concerned.

During examination of evidence, an expert stated before the committee that while there are fixed amounts of disability pension for that armed forces personnel, that is a maximum of Rs 2,600 for officers, Rs 1,900 for JCOs and Rs 1,500 for other ranks, civilian employees are entitled to 30 per cent of last pay drawn as 100 per cent disability pension.

“This means that if an Army Chief gets disabled tomorrow, he will get only a maximum of Rs 2,600 as disability pension, where as his counterpart, the Cabinet Secretary will get around Rs 10,000 as disability pension, which is nearly four times more than what an Army Chief would get,” the expert had stated before the committee.



Blood donation drive on anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
One of the premier NGOs of the region, the Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, has chalked out an elaborate plan to reach out extensively to colleges, companies and government departments for enrolling blood donors and double the number of blood donation camps.

Volunteers of the Blood Bank Society were recently felicitated by Mrs Shobha Verma, wife of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, at a special function held in Raj Bhavan recently, where she lauded their efforts in promoting voluntary blood donation and noted that the society had made a tremendous impact on the life in the city.

The Blood Bank Society has planned a major blood donation drive over next three months. According to its honorary secretary Kanta Saroop Krishen, the youth motivation programme, started some years ago, will focus on 12 to 15 colleges and institutions in the next three months, where group of youngsters in the 18-25 year age group would be addressed with the aim of motivating and educating them about blood donation .

A considerable number of corporations and offices remain untapped. The Blood Bank Society plans to establish a link to involve them actively in this life-saving service. The school programme aims at ‘catching them young’, to enable children to shed the fear associated with blood and grow up thinking of blood donation as a natural way of life. They will be addressed from time to time till they themselves can become blood donors at the age of 18.

The society is a voluntary, non-profit, non-governmental agency formed in 1964 under the Societies Registration Act 1860, with the object of instituting a 100 per cent voluntary and safe blood service in the region of the UT, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and HP. All blood is donated only by voluntary donors. The society, staffed entirely by dedicated honorary social workers, is located in Chandigarh and has carved for itself a niche in the area of blood banking service not only nationally, but internationally also.

The society organises blood donation camps in offices, colleges and other institutions. It also organises motivational campaigns like cycle rally, chain-of-life, painting competitions etc. It holds workshops to educate and involve teachers and motivators and has special youth motivation camps etc

Over the years, the Blood Bank Society has helped organise 25 national conferences of the ISBTI. Members have actively participated by presenting papers and arranging exhibits not only in national but also international conferences. The Blood Bank Society members were also instrumental in the landmark Supreme Court judgment against professional donors.

In the present scenario, children suffering from thalassaemia and haemophilia have sometimes to go without the life-saving blood transfusion, haemorrhaging mothers during delivery face a similar situation. Innumerable men, women and children face a risk to life because there is a shortage of blood.

The blood bank’s new project with the Rotary Club of Chandigarh — a blood resource centre — will augment the present 50 per cent shortage. The centre is located in Sector 37. The estimated cost of project is Rs 5 crore . The blood bank will run and maintain the centre on a no profit no loss basis. All blood collected from voluntary donors will be separated into components so that and a unit can be used for up to four patients. All units collected shall undergo the mandatory tests to ensure the safety of blood for the recipient. The centre will be open 24 hours.



A book on India’s greats
Tribune News Service

Dr Sansar Chandra with his book that was released in Chandigarh
Dr Sansar Chandra with his book that was released in Chandigarh on Friday. — A  Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 21
In times when glamour and glitz rule centre stage in matters of publications, ‘Bharat ke Anukarniya Mahapurush’(Great Masters of India Worth Pursuing) by Dr Sansar Chandra comes in as a whiff of fresh air.

The book attempts to brush readers with knowledge about the great lives down the ages. It was released by Mr H.K.Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune at the Press Club here today. The book has drawn life sketches of stalwarts of the Indian civilisation from different walks of life, who have left an indelible imprint on the social, cultural, literary and political fabric of the country. Dr Chandra has listed 16 personalities. They include Gautam Buddha, Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ram Teerth, Madan Mohan Malviya, Chanakya, Ashoka, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Mirza Ghalib, Munshi Prem Chand, Muhammad Iqbal, Rabindranath Tagore, Kalidas and Harshvardhan.

Born in 1917, Dr Chandra (D. Lit) taught at Panjab University and Jammu University for 47 years. Certain prominent works among his more than three dozen publications include ‘Satak Sitaram’, ‘Sone ki Daant’, ‘Baaten Yeh Joothi’ and ‘Ganga Jab Ulti Bahe’. He is a columnist for The Tribune.

Dr Shankar Jha of the Department of Sanskrit, Panjab University, B.D.Kalia ‘Humdum’, eminent poet, and Mr Radhey Shyam Sharma, former Editor of the Dainik Tribune, paid tributes to the leading lights in literature.

Mr Dua said there seemed no great individuals these days, in fact, no great causes. This had led to a change in the content for writing. A Madhuri Dixit or Shah Rukh Khan made better stories for publication and even newspapers were not paying proper attention to certain crucial issues of the Indian civilisation. Often, while looking for matter on great lives, one had to go to a library.

Mr Dua lauded the effort of Dr Chandra and said he had cut across religious and social barriers to give a peep into the lives of a galaxy of personalities from different walks of life.

Dr Chandra said because of the changed times and preferences, he felt the need to write about personalities who left a permanent mark on the Indian civilisation for the coming generations to ponder.



Chandigarh Calling

Traffic congestion is worsening in the city by the day. What adds to it is the jams at various roundabouts, many of which are becoming impossible to negotiate during rush hour.

Officials always speak of installing traffic lights to ease the congestion, little realising that this will not be very practical in a city like Chandigarh which has roundabouts every 750 m or so.

Strangely, nobody talks of enforcing the rule specifying who has the right of way at a roundabout. All over the world, the one who has entered the rotary first has the right to come out of it first. In other words, the vehicle on the right has the right of way. But here it is free for all. Policemen never challan anyone rushing maniacally to a roundabout.

One wonders whether they themselves know who is in the right and who is in the wrong when a jam or an accident ensues.

Urdu is suffering

Launched with much fanfare in July, 1976, a scheme of the Department of Languages, Punjab, to promote Urdu now faces a tough time in the city. Dr H.K. Lall (he prefers to explain “Lall” as Live and Let Live) is associated with the scheme ever since its inception.

Dr Lall said first the classes were conducted at the Punjabi Cell in the Department of Languages office. These were then shifted to Sector 22 and later to Sector 32. About 10 days ago the classes were discontinued even at that place.

Mr Lall said the department was contemplating to shift the venue to Government College, Mohali. The students were not willing to go so far for the classes. Their examinations were drawing near. So a workable arrangement was the need of the hour, he said.

No handicap

Cricket for the mentally challenged is a game where passion is no less than the average cricket match. Of course, there are no coaches who sit in dressing rooms with somber faces and laptop computers in hand. The coach of the team in this type of cricket stands within the field and guides his boys when to run and when to stop.

Last week Chandigarh hosted a cricket tourney for the mentally challenged. It was a treat to watch how much passion the boys had for the game.

Their guide told them when to run, when to start bowling and even when to hit the ball. This type of cricket is played with a soft ball and the players understand each nuance of the game and even appeal for LBW decisions.

Without the guides the game is almost impossible. One also marvels at the communication skills of the guides.

Creative all the way

He is an engineer, choreographer, stage anchor, orator, painter, sculptor, journalist, all rolled into one. That is how one can aptly describe G.S. Shah, a workaholic who knows no rest.

Starting his career as an engineer with a private firm, reluctantly though, Shah dabbled in many a creative field. His maiden foray into the fashion world was like a dream-come-true for him. His passion for the stage dates back to the days of innocence. “I choreographed the first-ever fashion show in 1987 and there was no looking back,” says Shah.

As a painter, Shah proved his mettle when he adorned the facade of a local club building with mural depicting a man and a woman in dancing posture, precariously perched on a guitar and badminton racket. The rare mural, designed on an aluminium sheet, is a visual treat. Shah also designed and installed his company's logo on a vacant piece of land in front of its building, punctuated by pigmented pebbles — indeed a work of art in cement and stone!

On public speaking, Shah says: “I remember how I was once 'forced' to address a 2000-strong distinguished gathering, extempore. But, once I took hold of the mike I discovered I could handle it with uncanny ease. It was an amazing experience on the stage.”

Unceremonious exit

They had it coming. This is the most common comment being heard on the rather unceremonious removal of Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, media Adviser, and Mr S.K. Sinha, Principal Secretary, to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, from their powerful posts in a bid to mollify the Congress dissident MLAs who have launched a high-voltage campaign for a change in the leadership of the state Congress Legislature Party.

While Mr Chahal has been sent on a three-month leave, and Mr Sinha has been divested of the post of principal secretary, though he continues to hold charge of the Home Department. Now there is a demand for certain Cabinet colleagues of the Chief Minister that Mr Sinha should be divested of the Home portfolio as well.

Although Mr Chahal is technically on leave to attend a relative’s wedding abroad, the general perception is that he is unlikely to return to the post of Media Adviser.

The Chahal-Sinha duo functioned as what can only be described as the left and right arms of Capt Amarinder Singh. Mr Chahal enjoyed the status of a Minister of State. It remains to be seen how effective the Chief Minister will now be without them.

However, these changes have failed to mollify the dissidents who describe them as “mere window-dressing”. They emphasise that their demand is for a change in the leadership and not in the bureaucratic set-up.

Not many tears are being shed over the removal of Mr Chahal and Mr Sinha. Hailing from Patiala, which is also the home district of the Chief Minister, Mr Chahal was an officer in the Public Relations Department. He became a District Public Relations Officer (DPRO) in 1980. Later, he moved to Patiala and struck a friendship with the then Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sinha. Mr Sinha later became Divisional Commissioner of Patiala Range. During the years of militancy, he was the blue-eyed boy of the then Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr K.P.S. Gill. Although an officer in the PR Department, Mr Chahal functioned as a virtual election manager of Capt Amarinder Singh during the run-up to the last Assembly poll and was adversely commented upon by the State Election Commissioner.

After the election of Capt Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister, Mr Chahal was quick to resign from the PR Department to become Media Adviser to the Chief Minister with the rank of a Minister of State. But it was his “bindaas” style of functioning in which ends justified the means which led to his downfall.




MC staff await CAT order implementation 
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 21
A large number of employees of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation are waiting for the past more than a year for the implementation of a court order directing the UT Municipal Commissioner, the Secretary of the Engineering Department and the UT Administration to set aside their transfers and give them a chance to exercise a fresh option.

Finding the authorities concerned adopting a discriminatory policy, the employees had even approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for the implementation of the order passed in their favour. The employees had filed a contempt petition against the UT Administration, the MC and the UT Chief Engineer.

The employees have stated in the petition that many of the sectional officers in the substantive capacity in the PWD (B and R branch) were transferred to the corporation without their consent.

Substantiating their claim to file a contempt petition against the officials concerned, the employees have stated that earlier, taking note of a plea of the employees, the CAT had ordered to set aside the transfers. Directions were also issued to the officials to allow the employees a chance to exercise fresh option and to maintain their seniority as was the case prior to their transfer to the MC.

“They have been suffering on account of non-implementation of the order passed by the CAT, they said.

Admitting the contempt petition, the CAT has order the authorities concerned to report compliance with the judgement and has mentioned that failure to do so will be taken as an act of deliberate contempt of the order of the tribunal.



Golf Club votes in the box
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Golf carts were put to an altogether different use — to transport senior members of the prestigious Golf Club from the gate to the ballot box. Elections to the club for the posts of president and 11 members of the executive committee were held today. The results will be declared tomorrow after the counting of votes during the day.

In the polling, which began at 11.30 am, after the annual general body meeting, 1,043 members cast their vote till it finished at 4 pm. The club has on its rolls 1,800 regular members, including nearly 400 outstation members. Almost the same number of members had cast their vote in the elections held last year.

Vying for the post of president are Senior Advocate Rajiv Atma Ram and Lieut-Col A.P. Singh (retd). So acute was the rivalry between the two contesting groups, that an elderly woman in a wheelchair was also brought to cast her vote. The turnout of voters from the neighbouring areas of Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar was also good. In fact, several retired judges, including Justice N.K. Sodhi, Justice H.S. Bedi, Justice Mehtab Gill, and Justice K.S. Grewal, had come down to the city to cast their vote. Among others were former Punjab Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar and SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann.

The atmosphere was electric, with the young and the old all attired in their Sunday best. With liquor and snacks in abundance, the proceedings had a festive colour. The sunshades, the clink of the glasses and the laughter set the mood for the poll. As many as 573 votes were polled till 1 pm and the rest after that. Brig J.S. Phoolka (retd) was the returning officer. Special arrangements were made to facilitate polling by old and handicapped members.

Rajiv Atma Ram (Tony to friends), 47, who is contesting for the post of president for the first time, has been a member of the Club since 1987. He has a lot of plans for the course, the clubhouse and other facilities, if elected. “Whichever team wins, will have the support of the entire team,” quips Rajiv, who is confident of his entire team getting a chance to work for the club.

His rival is Lieut-Col A.P. Singh (retd), who has been president of the club once in 1989, had lost last year by 14 votes. His poll plank was getting the finances of the club in order, fine-tuning the club services and better maintenance of the greens.

Besides the elected 11 members, the executive committee also has on its rolls three government nominees, the previous year’s Captain, who is the ex-officio member of the committee. This year it will be Mr Birender Singh Gill. The counting of votes will commence at 9 am 



Lawyers leave for Pakistan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
A 60-member delegation of lawyers and judges of Punjab and Haryana left here today for Pakistan on a five-day goodwill mission on an invitation of the Advocate-General of the Punjab High Court, Lahore, the Advocate-General of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad, and Mr Arif Chaudhary, Vice-Chairman, Punjab Bar Council, Lahore.

Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court V.K. Jhanji and Chaudhary Har Bhagwan Singh, Advocate-General, Punjab, are leading the delegation.

The delegation comprises Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Mr Sartaj Singh Toor, president and vice- president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association; Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, a former president of the Income Tax Bar Association; Mr N.K. Nanda, a former president of the District Bar Association; Mr R.S. Cheema and Mr Ashok Aggarwal, senior advocates; and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, advocate and general secretary of the International Punjabi Society among others.

The delegation will visit Lahore and Islamabad. It will be received at the Wagah border tomorrow from where it will proceed for lunch with the Chief Justice of Punjab on the Lahore High Court premises. A dinner will be hosted by the Chief Minister of Punjab.

Another luncheon meeting is scheduled with the Chief Justice of Pakistan on the premises of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. The delegation will meet several legal luminaries. It will return on December 26.



Search Within
Meaning of Christmas and its tidings

Christmas is here and the world is once again agog with excitement and merrymaking of the season. And in the midst of all these, the reason for the season is forgotten. What exactly is the meaning of this announcement: “Behold! I bring you Good Tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born in the city of David (Bethlehem), a Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10)

Christmas is the celebration of the story of God taking human form and coming into our world as the saviour of mankind. The Bible tells us that He came to save man from sins and bring him back to God. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all that is evil.” This is because “Jesus Christ died for sins once for all, the Sinless One for the sinful, to bring you to God.” His death on the Cross is the price He paid for the sins of mankind. “He died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and He rose on the third day.”

Jesus Christ not only promises forgiveness for past sins and a sure hope of heaven, but also promises His own presence through His Holy Spirit within us so that we can live a life that is acceptable to God and personally fulfilling. Jesus declared: “You believe in God, believe also in me. I have authority on earth to forgive sins. I am the resurrection and the life; whoever lives and believes in me will never die. I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to God except through me.”

Christmas for the Christian is clothed with deep theological meaning. It says many things about the nature of God. Far from being unknowable or impersonal, Christmas says that God can be known. He is a person of love and compassion.

Christmas is God’s self-disclosure, the revelation of Himself. Christmas says that there is a God who cares, who is concerned about you. Something happened in Bethlehem that first Christmas which set the bells ringing and the choirs singing. Which motivates people to build churches, schools, orphanages and hospitals. He was born to lead us to God, to make ready for heaven.

Charles M. Duke, Jr, Apollo 16 astronaut, who walked on the moon, speaking at one of the functions held in Delhi years ago said God walking on our earth was of greater significance than man walking on moon.

Of Him, it has been recorded in history: “He came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman. He put on humanity so that we might put on divinity. He became the son of man so that we might become the sons of God. He was born in a supernatural way, lived in poverty, reared in obscurity. Only once He crossed the boundary of the land, in childhood. He had no wealth, no influence and no college education; yet the profoundest wisdom of men has never equalled his last discourse in John 13 to 17 (Bible) and the Sermon on the Mount. Never man spake like this Man.”

He never wrote a book, yet not all the libraries of any country could hold the books that have been written about Him. Yet He furnished the theme of more songs than all song writers combined. He never founded a college, yet all schools together can not boast of as many students as He has. He never marshalled an army, drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun, yet no leader ever made so many volunteers, who have under His orders made rebels stack arms or surrender without a shot being fired.

“Great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him. Death could not destroy Him, the grave could not hold Him and even demons obeyed Him. He fed the hungry multitudes with a boy’s little lunch, broke up funerals and gave back to life those that were dead. He laid aside His purple robe for a peasants gown. He was rich yet for our sakes, He became poor. As to how poor? He slept in another’s manger; He cruised the lake in another’s boat. He rode on a borrowed beast. He was buried in a rich man’s tomb.

He conquered death, rose on the third day as He said He would, ascended into heaven, is now at the right hand of the throne of God. He will judge the world in righteousness, when every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue shall confess Him as Lord.”

Philip Brooks, New Testament scholar, recorded: “I am not far from the mark when I say that all armies that ever marched and the navies that were ever built, and that all parliaments that ever sat and all kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man on earth as much as did that one Solitary Life. Christmas is all about that perfect one.”

Of Him, another Christian author, James Stewart, says: In Him, you have everything you may need here and hereafter — hope, when all hopes seems broken; courage, when you are terrified; light, when you are in darkness; forgiveness, when you have blundered badly; friendship, when you are feeling lonely and forsaken; and at the last, a wonderful welcome home from the Lord of life eternal, when your day has run to sunset and the evening star is in the sky.”

M.P.K. Kutty



Residents decry PUDA apathy
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
Residents of Sector 71 here have in a letter to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) highlight various problems being faced by the residents due to the negligence of its officers.

In the letter, Lt. Col. S.S.Sohi, (retd.), member of the Punjab District Planning and Development Board, Ropar and president of the Ex-Servicemen’s Grievances Cell has stated that the area between Sector 70-71 from road crossing, 3B2, Phase7 to Mattaur Village, was in a bad shape. “It is the most neglected low-level area, with ill-planned water drainage. Water from nearby kothies regularly keeps the road wet and damaged. People avoid driving through this road and pass through the C-roads lining the houses,” states the letter.

He pointed that a big hole in the centre of the park, has not been repaired since the last one year, and is becoming wider. “It is located in between kothies No. 1100 & 1010, under the high-tension wires. This ditch on the main water drainage sewerage pipe is causing danger and fowl smell for the public,” it states.



Mohali Diary
Teachers attend workshop on meditation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
A workshop on meditation was organised for teachers at Gian Jyoti Public School, Phase II, here on Friday.
Ms Cheema, coordinator, Sahaj Yoga Meditation Centre, and Ms Sangeeta Chopra told teachers about meditation. Ms Cheema said meditation should be done twice a day to reduce stress and anxiety. The school Principal, Ms Ranjeet Bedi, thanked the teachers and the experts for conducting the workshop.

Students visit park: Children from various schools visited Thunder Zone amusement park here on Friday. Students of Saupin’s school put up a Christmas tree, while Santa Claus distributed sweets to the children. An inter-school cultural competition was also held. The winners included students of Mata Sahib Kaur School, Sohana, and Guru Nanak Foundation School, Chappar Chidi.

Self-help groups: The Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, organised a one-day programme for members of self-help groups at the Kansala village gurdwara here on Friday.

The programme was organised in collaboration with the block unit of the Social Security and Child and Women Development Department of the Punjab Government. Forty-two women members of self-help groups of Kansala, Taqipur, Hoshiarpur and Kartarapura villages, along with supervisors and anganwadi workers, participated in the programme.

10-day NSS camp: A 10-day camp, being organised by the NSS unit of Government College, Mohali, began here on Friday. The camp was inaugurated by the college Principal by planting a sapling.

A large number of activities, including competitions among the participating students, will be held as part of the camp during the next 10 days.

Science fair: A two-day regional science fair of Vidya Bharti Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan will begin at Sarvhitkari Model High School, Sector 71, on Wednesday.

More than 100 students from various branches of the school being run in five states in the region will participate in the fair. The chairman of the Sarvhitkari Society Madan Mohan Vyas will preside over the inaugural ceremony, while the secretary of the Vidya Bharti, Mr Narenderjirt Rawal, will distribute prizes to the winners on the concluding day.

Literacy camp: A special literacy camp was organised by teachers of DAV Public School here this week. The teachers of the school visited Guru Nanak Colony and persuaded children of the colony to study. After going from house to house, the team of teachers brought all students together and taught them for a few hours using simple teaching techniques.

Free check-up camp: A free check-up camp for ‘would-be ’mothers and those who have crossed the child-bearing age was organised at Cheema Medical Complex last week. More than 40 persons attended the camp and availed themselves of the free check-up facilities. The camp was aimed at instilling confidence among expectant parents who generally remain worried about the well being of their unborn child.

Literacy award: Yadavindrra Public School here has won the Computer Literacy Excellence Award-2003. Instituted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the award is given to schools chosen out of all recognised schools at the state and national level. The school has been selected at the state level from Punjab and will be awarded Rs 1.5 lakh as prize money.

Foundation stone laid: Dr John V. George, IG, Haryana, laid the foundation stone of Kerala Bhavan this week to be built by the Malyalee Samajam, Mohali, in Phase 11 here. Dr George said construction of the Kerala Cultural Centre at Mohali would be a symbol of national integration and unity in diversity among Indians. Exchange of cultural activities among the younger generation was essential for a vibrant and united India, he added. Mr Benny Thomas, president of the samajam, thanked PUDA and the local administration for the speedy allotment of land to the samajam.

IT club: Members of the Chandigarh IT Club met at the Canadian Institute for International Studies (CIIS), Mohali, yesterday. A cricket match was organised in which teams from IDS, CIIS and SPIC participated. The IDS team, captained by Saini, won the match, followed by the SPIC team headed by Bawa.

The match was followed by addresses by Mr Vivek Atray, Director, IT, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Gurinder Sethi, VP, Quark, Mr Prem Ojha, head of sales, HFCL, Mr Rajan Vasudevan, CEO, Safaltek, and Mr Gurdeepak Singh, assistant institute director, CIIStudies.

Cultural festival: A winter rural cultural festival was organised at the Centre for Rural Environment Education, Nadiali, on Saturday. More than 60 students from different schools participated in a fancy-dress competition. More than 10 students participated in the turban-tying competition. Last month, 200 had participated in an on-the-spot painting competition as part of these celebrations.

Students of Sherwood Convent School, Mohali, celebrate Christmas
Students of Sherwood Convent School, Mohali, celebrate Christmas. 

Christmas celebrated: Students of Sherwood Convent School, Phase IV, here celebrated Christmas. Dr Raj Mathew, a social worker, was the chief cuest at the function. The children were distributed sweets and gifts by a teacher dressed like Santa Claus. The children presented a cultural show. Tiny tots dressed as butterflies and stars enchanted the audience by singing Christmas jingles.

Staff training: An in-house training programme for officers of the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) was held here last week. The programme was inaugurated by Dr R.S. Khandpur, Director-General of Pushpa Gujral Science City. He emphasised the need for such programmes to promote team work and improve effectiveness under simulated conditions.



11 war widows honoured
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 21
The Poorva Sainik Sewa Parishad honoured 11 war widows from this district as part of the Vijay Divas celebrations here today.
It was an emotional day for most of the women, as the delegates spoke about the Army tradition of sacrifice and the apathy of society at large towards the war widows. Vidyawati, wife of Sepoy Ram Swaroop, Jagir Kaur, wife of Sepoy Gurdeep Singh, Sulochana, wife of Gr. Om Prakash, Ram Kaur, wife of Sepoy Sukhdev Singh, Swarno Devi, wife of Sepoy Rameshwar, Dyal Kaur, wife of Sepoy Tarlok Singh, Karnailo, wife of Sepoy Sarbal Singh, Darshan Kaur, wife of Sipoy Gurdev Singh, Santosh, wife of Sepoy Rajpal Singh, Kirpal Devi, wife of Sepoy Mahendra, and Balwinder, daughter of Subedar Ram Singh, were honoured on the occasion.

They were given gift hampers by the managing director of Amartex Industries, Mr Arun Grover, and Mr S. D. Kamboj, an NRI. Mr Devendra Swaroop, Editor of Panchjanya, a mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), was the chief guest on the occasion. He spoke at length about the positive role that the media could play in nation building.

Lieut-Gen J. L. Malhotra (retd), who was the guest of honour, reminded all about the sacrifices of hundreds of valiant soldiers and exhorted the youth to emulate their example.

An army band earlier played to the audience consisting of NCC cadets, ex-servicemen and representatives of various social organisations. 



Balraj Sahni Memorial Awards conferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Eminent actor Dr Mohan Agashe today gave away the 18th Balraj Sahni Memorial Awards 2002 to six theatre persons from the city. At a special function held this evening at Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16, the awards were presented to Parvesh Sethi, Umesh Kant, Zulfikar Khan, Harbax Latta and Rajiv Mehta.

Parvesh Sethi, the veteran theatre actor, was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the world of Punjabi and Hindi theatre.

Till date Sethi has worked in 1000 plays, in the capacity of an actor and a director. Umesh Kant, the director which has earned a good share of fame for Chandigarh, was rewarded for his rich canvas comprising directorial productions of the order of Medea (the classic Greek tragedy), Sakharam Binder (the famous Vijay Tendulkar play) and Balde Tibbe (the play based on the script by Balwant Gargi).

Whee Harbax Latta was recognised for his multi-media productions like Sher-e-Punjab and Bole Sonihal, Zulfikar Khan was awarded for his ability to adapt theatre for society. Rajiv Mehta, the youngest achiever in the lot, was also conferred with the award today. All citations were read out by Dr Vijaylakshmi Pandit. 



5 hurt while laying pipelines
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 21
Five labourers engaged in the laying of sewerage pipelines in the Kishangarh information technology park were injured when an earth-moving machine accidentally touched high tension overhead power transmission cables here today.

However, the labourers sustained burn injuries. They were discharged from the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, later in the day.

As per sources, labourers Chandan and Uma Shankar, were holding an exhaust pipe while it was being lifted by the machine. When the machine came in contact with the power cables (11,000 KV) both labourers received jolts. Three other labourers, Nanku, Suresh and Vishwa Nath, who were also standing near the machine, were also injured.

The contractor, Babbar, who accompanied the injured labourers to the hospital, later disappeared and could not be contacted.



Senior BJP leader dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 21
Roop Lal Jain, a senior BJP leader from the district, died today after a prolonged illness. He was 65 years old.

A close associate of the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, and the Union External Affairs Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, he was the executive member of the state unit of the BJP for two terms from 1993. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.



Theft in Sector 40 market
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 21
Thieves broke into three booths in the Sector 40 market and took away goods and cash worth several hundreds here last night.
As per police sources, booth Nos 115, 116 and 126 were burgled and the theft was discovered in the morning when the shopkeepers opened their shops. The thieves entered the shops through ventilators and took away Rs 3,200, Rs 500 and Rs 700 from booth Nos 115, 116 and 126, respectively. They also stole 40 CDs and a CD player from booth No 116 (Riki Audio Video).

Thefts: The Manager of the Sector 41 branch of the Union Bank of India, Mr Lakhbir Singh, reported to the police that a block of demand drafts bearing serial nos 009901 to 0010000, had been stolen from an almirah of the bank. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Mr Khanda, a resident of Sector 7A, reported that his mobile phone was stolen from his residence yesterday.

A scooter (CH01J 5502) of Mr S.S. Sarna, a resident of Sector 45A, was allegedly stolen from a parking lot at the Piccadilly Cinema, Sector 34, on December 5. Two cases of theft have been registered.

Held: A resident of the Dadu Majra colony was arrested for allegedly stealing two manhole covers from the colony yesterday. The police has claimed that the stolen properties have been recovered from the accused.

The police said Ajay, a resident of Sector 38A, was arrested yesterday for stealing a rickshaw-rehri from the residence of Mr Amarjit Singh in Palsora village. The rehri has been recovered.

A resident of Burail, Mohan Lal, was allegedly caught red handed while stealing a bicycle of Mr Neeraj Kumar from Sector 32 yesterday. The bicycle has been recovered from the accused, claimed the police. 



One killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
A 30 -year-old scooterist was killed on the Balongi bridge today after being hit by a truck. According to the police, the victim, Ram Dafan, a resident of Ludhiana, was returning to Ludhiana from Kajheri village on his scooter with his brother Ram Keval when the accident took place.

Sources said the two were on the bridge when a truck’ going in the same direction, took a sharp turn to the left to give way to a bus coming from the opposite side.

Ram Dafan, who was a migrant labour from Gorakhpur, died on the spot while his brother received injuries. He has been admitted to the Phase VI Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case against the driver, Karamjit Singh, and arrested him.



Ex-minister’s car stolen
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 21
A Bolero jeep (HR 03D 2542) of a former Haryana Minister and senior Congress leader Ms Prasanni Devi was reportedly stolen from Sector 2 here today. A case has been registered. 


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