C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Navneet’s attacker arrested
17-year-old kin of ex-envoy
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 27
A relative of former High Commissioner to Ghana Daljit Singh Pannu was today arrested after being identified as the alleged attacker of Ms Navneet Kaur, granddaughter of late Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. She was assaulted in Sector 15 on December 23. The car, a white Chevrolet (DL 3C AA 1359), used in the incident, belongs to Mr Pannu, according to the police.

The 17-year-old boy, who is a grand-nephew of Mr Pannu, latter's personal security guard and one more person (yet to be identified) were allegedly involved in the incident.

The boy was today arrested and sent to the juvenile home. A plus-two student at Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, he is a son of Mr Dalbir Singh, a resident of Rambagh, Amritsar.

Mr Pannu could not be contacted despite repeated calls made on his mobile phone.

The boy reportedly told the police that the incident took place as Ms Navneet Kaur was not giving way to them to overtake the Maruti car she was driving. He admitted that after overtaking her vehicle, they stopped her. The heated argument that followed finally ended in the scuffle.

The police is yet to impound the vehicle involved in the incident as Mr Pannu has reportedly assured the police that he would cooperate in the investigation.

It was on the basis of the vital clues provided by Ms Navneet, a PhD student in Panjab University, about the weapon carried by the security man and the description of the car, that the police zeroed in on the culprits.

Though Ms Navneet could not remember the number of the car, the police learnt that a Toyota Qualis had come to the spot within minutes after the incident to pick up cassettes. This gave the police the idea that the persons involved in the incident where living somewhere in the vicinity.

“On the basis of the vehicle description given by Ms Navneet, we sought information about all Chevrolet, Octavia Sonata and similar luxury cars with a Delhi number that moved around in the region frequently or had been sold in Punjab,” informed Mr S.S. Sagar, DSP (Central).

The police had constituted a special team to expedite the investigations in the case. From the Punjab police it had taken a list of all personal security officers (PSO) who had small weapons on them, as Ms Navneet had told the police that the PSO was carrying such a weapon. The physical description of the PSO given by the complainant helped the police.

To narrow down the list of suspects, the police had made a list of VIP brats who could have possibly been behind the incident.

The alleged incident involving Ms Navneet Kaur, daughter of Beant Singh's daughter Gurkanwal Kaur, residing in Sector 9, took place near Lajpat Rai Bhavan in Sector 15 on December 23 afternoon when she was returning from Sector 17. The car which was following her overtook her vehicle and the occupants allegedly stopped her.

Ms Navneet Kaur had complained to the police that when she took out her mobile phone to ring up her family members, her attackers snatched her purse containing Rs 10,000, a gold chain, a wrist watch and documents of her vehicle. The girl herself also did not remember the full registration number of the vehicle. She could only recollect that the number started as DL-3C AA. A large crowd had also gathered at the site, but none of the onlookers could provide the number.



Shamina succumbs to burns
In-laws held, husband absconds
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 27
After fighting for life for more than 72 hours, Shamina, 26, who was allegedly set on fire by her husband and his parents on the evening of December 23 in her house in Sector 47-D, succumbed to her injuries at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here late last night.

On the day of the attack, in her statement before the Duty Magistrate, she had alleged that her husband, Matloon Hassan, and in-laws, Mirzoo Din and Shakeela, were harassing her for dowry. She said that the three had doused her with kerosene and set her on fire.

The in-laws have been arrested, while three other accused, including her husband, are at large. Shamina’s daughter, Nazzia, is four.

When the news of the death reached the relatives of Shamina, they, along with other people, started gathering at GMCH at night and by the morning over 200 people had reached the hospital. The agitated relatives alleged that the police had not act swiftly after Shamina was burnt and her husband escaped.

The relatives did not allow the authorities to perform a postmortem, alleging that the police had not included the names of two women, Harjinder Kaur and her daughter, Taranjeet Kaur (both residents of Sector 47). They alleged that the two were also party to the burning incident.

The relatives were pacified only after the DSP (South) Mr S.S. Randhawa, reached the hospital and assured prompt action in the case. The police also read out the FIR registered in the case to convince the agitated crowd that the names of Harjinder Kaur and Taranjeet Kaur were there in the FIR.

The father of the victim, Habeeb Ahmed, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune, alleged that Matloon had been having an illicit relationship with a girl. “We have information that he had even married the girl,” he added.

He alleged that his daughter was being harassed since the very next day of marriage, which took place in 1998. “Her husband and in-laws were greedy and often demanded money and I kept catering to their demands,” said Mr Ahmed. According to him, besides buying a scooter for Matloon, he had paid over Rs 87,000 since the marriage.

The police said Shamina was to give a statement against her husband and his family before the Crime Against Women Cell on December 24 against their dowry demands. They attacked her a day before that to prevent her from making the statement, the police suspected.

According to police sources, Shamina was taken to GMCH by one Mrs Surjeet Kaur in a car. She had sustained 95 per cent burn injuries.

The Punjab Istri Sabha chairperson, Ms Oshima Rekhi, said the ever-increasing demands of Shamina’s in-laws had not stopped even after she gave birth to a daughter, who is now four years old.

Ms Rekhi said her husband had allegedly demanded Rs 20,000 from her father to go to Dubai, where he stayed for a few months. He did not send any money from there and probably his effort to get settled there failed. At present Matloon was working with private contractors.

The police said a compromise was earlier reached between Shamina and her in-laws on December 16, after the Punjab Istri Sabha intervened in the matter. The in-laws had promised that they would not harass Shamina.

A case under Sections 307 and 498-A of the IPC was registered initially, but Section 307 was today changed to Section 302 after Shamina died.



Call for commercial use of industrial land in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has called upon the Punjab Government to evolve a policy to allow the change in status of land use by existing industrial plot holders in Mohali and other industrial towns. It has claimed that since majority of industrial units in the state had closed down due to changed economic scenario over the years, industrialists should be allowed to start retail and commercial activities on their lands, as had been allowed by some other states.

Supporting the Punjab Government’s decision to offer land at a reserve price for the construction of multiplex retail malls in the state, Mr R.S. Sachdeva, Co-Chairman, PHDCCI, said: “The retail and service sector are emerging as an alternative sector of employment generation. The government’s policy to offer land at the reserve price for mega projects worth over Rs 100 crore each has attracted number of investors like the Quark Inc., AB Motions and others for the development of integrated park projects in Mohali. The existing industrial plot holders should also be allowed to use land for commercial and service sector projects.”

Referring to various studies conducted by the CII, the PHDCCI and the recent national survey of sick industries, Mr Sachdeva said in Mohali alone over 50 per cent industrial units had closed down and a large number of remaining units were on the verge of closure. It included large-scale units like Punwire Ltd, Punjab Recorders Ltd and JCT Electronics
Ltd among others.

In fact, he said, over 60 per cent industrial units across the state had become nonviable, since the government had not paid over Rs 800 crore capital subsidy to them. Moreover, neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal and Jammu and Kashmir were offering huge incentives to attract industry. The increase in steel prices had further hit thousands of small and medium scale units in the state.

In that scenario, the PHDCCI claimed that the best hope for Punjab lied in creating modern infrastructure for the service sector. The state could become a commercial hub and could be marketed as best destination for retailing of products and services. These projects would create demand for products and services to be outsourced from the local SSI sector, which was in dire straits. Consequently, thousands of educated unemployed youth would get jobs.

Regarding the recent controversy of concessions to multiplex projects in Mohali, Mr Sachdeva said most of the states were already offering various concessions and land at subsidised rates for such projects. He said Andhra Pradesh had even allotted prime land for these projects. Further, as per the New Industrial Policy-2003, the state government had given industrial status to these mega projects.

The PHDCCI called upon the state government to give clearance to these projects at the earliest to enable investors to take effective steps for early implementation of these projects. At the same time, the existing industrial plot holders should be allowed by the Punjab Small Industries Development and Export Corporation to start other retail and commercial activities on their premises, it added.



Brief respite from fog
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
City residents basked in sunshine today as the thick curtain of fog lifted for a few hours around 10 a.m., giving brief respite. People could be seen enjoying in parks. By evening the fog had descended back.

Despite the sunshine the day temperature did not rise much and was recorded at 14.2°C, seven degrees below normal.

One of the biggest casualties of the foggy conditions continued to be transportation. Indian Airlines Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight was cancelled for the third day today. Jet Airways flight was about 35 minutes late. Their official said they would not operate tomorrow from here due to operational reasons. Meanwhile, an official of the Indian Airlines said tomorrow’s flight would depend upon weather. Instrument-aided landing facility does not exist at the local airport. Even night-landing facility is for the exclusive use of the Air Force.

The local Meteorological Department said foggy conditions were likely to continue. By tomorrow there was a possibility of rain.

Fog continued to have an impact on major trains arriving in the city as all were late by a couple of hours. Among the trains running late were the Shatabdi, arriving in the morning about 30 minutes behind schedule. The Himalayan Queen was late by 30 minutes. The Sadbhavna Express (Chandigarh-Lucknow), which was late by about seven hours, arrived at 5 p.m. The Paschim Express from Mumbai arrived at 5.55 p.m., about three hours behind schedule. The Kalka-Howrah Mail arrived around two hours late at 5.20 a.m.



Pakistanis want peace, say lawyers
Tribune News Service

Daler case catches attention

The trials and tribulations of the Indian pop singer, Daler Mehndi, currently lodged in Patiala jail, are being followed with great interest in Pakistan, according to Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

Mr Suhail Abbas, a top Pakistani TV personality, told members of the delegation that he found it hard to believe that a singer like Daler Mehndi who was earning crores of rupees through the sale of his music albums alone, would try to make a few lakh through kabootarbazi.

He said Daler Mehndi was the greatest Punjabi folk singer of the subcontinent after the late Nursrat Fateh Ali Khan and all music lovers should make sure that he was released from jail as early as possible.

Chandigarh, December 27
There is a huge groundswell in Pakistan in favour of normalisation of relations, greater cooperation and closer interaction with India. And this groundswell seems to be coming from the grassroot level as well rather than from the top alone.

This is the impression gained by a 59-member lawyers’ delegation of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Association which returned here last night after a four-day visit to Lahore, Islamabad, Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib.

According to Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, president of the Bar association who headed the delegation, there seems to have been a seachange in the mindset of an average Pakistani vis-ŕ-vis India in the recent times. When a Pakistani artiste, lamenting the partition of India, said at a function held in honour of the visiting Indian delegation: “Waghe diye sarhadde, kyon kite ade ade…”, there was a loud and long round of applause from the audience.

In a talk with TNS here today, Dr Sidhu observed that Pakistanis “no longer seem to be harping on the resolution of the Kashmir issue before everything else. It is also being stressed that a solution to the vexed issue could be found through negotiations alone. The feeling of distrust and disbelief at whatever India says and does also seems to be disappearing.”

Mr R.S. Cheema, a leading member of the delegation, said the Pakistanis “have begun to acknowledge that because of its size and power, India is legitimately trying to find its rightful place in the world politics. But they are of the view that no country could progress in isolation. The entire region has to work together to forward on the road to peace, progress and prosperity.”

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, Mr N. K. Nanda and Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, members of the delegation, said a common feeling among the Pakistanis, as understood by them, was that while the people of the Indian subcontinent had waged a common struggle for Independence from the British yoke, the fruits of Independence had not reached the common man because both the countries were forced to spend huge sums of money on defence in view of the uneasy relations with each other. If relations between the two countries could improve, the expenditure on defence could be cut and the money thus saved utilised for removing poverty and improving the living standards of the people.

During its stay in Pakistan, the delegation was feted, among others, by the Governor and Chief Minister of West Punjab. Their receptions were attended by top government officials, Speaker of the Punjab assembly, all MLAs and members of the High Court Bar Association of Punjab. Chief Justice of the Pakistani Federal Court, Sheikh Riaz Ahmed, also attended a reception at Islamabad.

The Indian delegation included Mr Justice B. K. Jhanji, Chief Justice of the J & K High Court, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, Advocate-General, Punjab, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, leader of the Congress Opposition in the Haryana Assembly and Mr Shadi Lal Batra, a Haryana MLA who hails from Jhang district. Mr Batra’s visit to his village was arranged by the Chief Minister during which he was able to locate and interact with some old people who knew and remembered his forefathers. Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, also accompanied the delegation and his briefings on the operations of the agricultural marketing board greatly interested the Pakistanis. As a matter of fact, the Chief Minister of West Punjab, Mr Parvez Elahi, convened a meeting of the state Cabinet for a briefing by Mr Singla.

Mr Rakesh Nagpal and Mr A.S. Brar, members of the delegation, said there seemed to be a great goodwill among the people for Indian Punjabis. Shopkeepers would either refuse to accept payments or offer hefty discounts on goods purchased by them. At the Wagah border yesterday, Pakistani porters declined to accept payment for carrying the baggage of the Indian delegates.

Mr Nagpal has brought with him to India the soil of three rivers, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum as also the soil of Lahore city. Mr Sidhu said the soil would be mixed with the soil taken from the Sutlej and Beas and used to plant a tree in the compound of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Pak Judges enjoy lesser freedom than us,
feels Jhanji
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
He travelled the bumpy road to friendship meandering through Indian cities to reach Pakistan. The welcome he received there made him forget the pains of an arduous backbreaking journey. Today, looking back upon the trip, Jammu and Kashmir Acting Chief Justice, Mr Justice V.K. Jhanji, believes that more people in Pakistan want better ties with the country. He is also of the opinion that judiciary there is by and large independent and fair as long as the government is not involved in the matter.

Back home in his Sector 4 residence after the trip, Mr Justice Jhanji says, “People have full faith and confidence in the judiciary as far as criminal and civil cases not involving the government are concerned. But the doctrine of necessity creeps in wherever the government is party. The judges act in a manner similar to some of our judges during the Emergency, I am sorry to say.”

Mr Justice Jhanji asserts, “The judges there do not enjoy as much independence as we in India do.” The reason, he asserts, is not very hard to see. “In India, nothing much can be done even if the government feels uncomfortable about the presence of certain judges because impeachment is the only procedure for removal and it is not very simple.”

The Judge adds, “But in Pakistan, things are not that difficult. The Supreme Judicial Council can make a reference for the removal of a judge. On the basis of the reference, the President can take a decision for removal.”

This is not all. In Pakistan, the possibility of supersession cannot be ruled out, something which is not possible here. Moreover, the Judges in Pakistan can be transferred to Shariat court if the government feels uncomfortable — a process which is looked upon as punishment by the judges there.

Regarding General Musharraf, Mr Justice Jhanji is of the opinion that the Pakistanis have mixed feelings about the President. “Majority of the people believe that General Musharraf is a genuine person. He does what he says.”

Otherwise also, there has been a lot of improvement at the district level. “Now the influence of the bureaucracy is minimum. The Deputy Commissioner is not involved in the process of decision making, he only co-ordinates with different officers.”



A year of twists and turns for PGI
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Highlights of the year

  • The fluctuating fortunes of Prof S.K. Sharma, with his unceremonious removal from the post of Director and his comeback, even as he faces an uncertain future.
  • Prof Sudha Suri, head of Radiodiagnosis, finally making it to the chair of the Dean.
  • Discontinuation of the Evening OPD in January, introduced at PGI with much fanfare, within a month after it was started.
  • GMCH and General Hospital’s endless wait for CT-scan machines, continues as the proposal fails to take shape.
  • VCD controversy rocked the Cardiology Department at PGI.
  • It was practically a disease-free year as there were hardly any cases of cholera, dengue, malaria or encephalitis.

Chandigarh, December 27
It has clearly been a year ridden with controversy for the PGI, the premiere medical institute of the region as it made news for all the wrong reasons, be it the unceremonious removal of the Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, or the legal wrangles over the selection of the institute’s Dean, with hardly any achievement to boast of.

The UT Health Department was the only one who had reason to rejoice as unlike last year, the city remained epidemic free with only stray dengue and cholera cases in the city. Thanks to the good preventive measures taken, following last year’s bitter experience, the city denizens, too, heaved a sigh of relief.

It was for the first time in the history of PGI that a Director was placed under suspension and an inquiry ordered against him. With the bickering and lobbying at PGI being at its lowest ebb, many termed it as “political interference” which they felt was very unfortunate.

It was on September 29 that the PGI Institute Body (IB) ordered an inquiry against Prof Sharma, while asking him to remain on leave till the inquiry was over. Even before the inquiry could be completed the Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, sprung another surprise by placing Prof Sharma under suspension.

It was finally the Punjab and Haryana High Court which gave relief to Prof Sharma, who was granted a stay on the suspension ordered by the Health Minister. Due to retire on March, 31 Prof Sharma’s future still remains uncertain as the matter is still in court.

It was following a long drawn legal battle that the head of Radiodiagnosis, Prof Sudha Suri, made it to the post of Dean, but not without legal wrangles. The head of Gynaecology, Prof Sarla Gopalan, challenged the appointment in court, while turning down the post of Sub Dean offered to her, in a bid to placate her.

To the great relief of the faculty members and resident doctors, the much hyped Evening OPD at PGI, the brainchild of film star turned politician, Mr Shatrughan Sinha, too made a quiet exit as it failed to evoke much response from the patients.

The demolition of a religious structure on the PGI campus, under the supervision of the Deputy Director, Administration, Mrs Meeta Rajivlochan, not just made a din in the Parliament but led to souring of her relations with Prof Sharma.

There were hardly any achievements that the PGI could boast of as the progress on the ongoing projects like Advanced Cardiac Centre, Eye Centre and Trauma Centre was slow and even the Bone Marrow Transplant Centre, which the authorities had claimed would be made operational this year, could not take off. Owing to a cut in the PGI budget, the financial health of the institute remained poor, as the fund-starved institute struggled hard to meet its expenses.

The lone visit of the Health Minister to the institute for the convocation did little to boost the morale of the faculty, as being aware of their bickering she went to the extent of advising the faculty to make a new beginning, in the larger interest of the institute. She also inaugurated the new building of the upgraded National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE).

The video compact disc (VCD) controversy, involving two senior cardiology doctors made headlines for all the wrong reasons. A VCD, where a patient accused one of the doctors of harassing her, was circulated to the media, amidst allegations that it was done to settle score with his colleague.

There were, however, over a dozen conferences during the year at PGI with the ones organised by the Radiodiagnosis and Neurology Department, turning out to be mega events, attracting huge attendance, both national and international.

If it was a year full of controversies at PGI, the General Hospital and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), too, did not achieve much. The unending wait for CT-scan machines at the two hospital still continues, causing inconvenience to patients, who have to be either referred to PGI or to private diagnostic centres.

Failing to get extension, the GMCH Director Principal, Prof S.B.S. Mann, returned to PGI, while Prof H.M. Swami, head of Community Medicine, was given charge, till a regular appointment was made. Though construction of the nine storeyed Block-C was finally completed in August, but the building still awaits a formal inauguration.

The GMCH authorities came in for severe criticism as they were pulled up by the UT administration for their failure to get 26 major equipments worth Rs 4.50 crore, repaired. The installation of a Rs 2 crore Tele Cobalt Radiation machine for cancer treatment at the Oncology Wing at GMCH, came as a big relief to patients, who had to be referred to PGI or other private institutes.

To cope up with the pressure of deliveries at its Gynaecology Department, the General Hospital added a new maternity wing, easing out the position to some extent.



PGI brings hope to childless couples
with IVF technology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Childless couples, exploring the option of having a test tube baby can avail of the facility at the PGI as its Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department has finally been able to offer the in-vitro fertilisation facility.

It is by the middle of next year that women who have been able to conceive with the help of the in-vitro fertilisation facility (IVF) will give birth to babies. The handicap of not having the facility has been overcome with the introduction of the IVF programme in August.

The IVF is the only therapeutic modality of hope for infertile couples where due to tubal damage women are unable to conceive. The infertility clinic at the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department has been offering treatment to childless couples for more than two decades. Many of these have been blessed with babies, using the ovulation induction, tuboplasty, IUI and treatment of male factor.

Explaining the IVF facility, doctors say after the couple is examined in detail hormone injections are administered to the female partner to produce more eggs. These are retrieved and fertilised with the husband’s sperms outside the laboratory under controlled conditions and a particular type of nourishing medium.

After a gap of about 48-72 hours of incubation that the embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus. The IVF procedure requires highly sophisticated laboratory with expensive imported equipment and trained dedicated team. The department with its trained and dedicated team, has been offering this facility to couples.



Road to IT park or accidents?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The road leading to the information technology park at Kishangarh is proving to be a perfect trap for road users. The huge pipes (about one and a half m in diametre) for sewerage connections are strewn all over a stretch of nearly half a km. The ongoing foggy weather has added to the woes of road users.

The road was witness to an accident earlier this week, which had claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy. The boy was riding a bicycle when he got crushed under a truck carrying construction material to the IT park.

The road stretch that turns left from the railway crossing while going towards Panchkula is a narrow stretch. The area has a large number of big farmhouses which used to enjoy the serene settings till a few months back, but has now become a centre of hectic vehicular traffic because of the ongoing developmental activity related to the park.

Trucks carrying raw material move at a high speed in the absence of any speed-breaker.

Mr S.S.Brar, a former Director-General of Police, Haryana, said, “There is sufficient vacant area at the construction site where the raw material could have been stored. No where on the stretch under question two vehicles can cross each other. In the interest of public safety the Administration needs to look into the issue.”

Sirajudin, a farm worker , said the pipes had been lying there for the past more than six months, which showed the laxity on part of the Administration.

Mr Mukesh Kumar, another resident, said accidents on this stretch have been averted a number of times. School-going children face the maximum risk.

A senior resident said the Administration should be careful in watching the interests of the local inhabitants while carrying on with developmental activity at the venue.



Ex-servicemen plan protest to focus demands
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
In a dramatic shift in the manner of staging protests against government apathy, ex-servicemen have decided to initiate a chain fast and resort to blocking rail traffic in order to focus public attention on their long-standing demands.

Speaking to ‘The Tribune’, several ex-servicemen today said that they were planning to initiate the protest next month at a number of places, where ex-servicemen will sit on fast by turn.

Ex-servicemen are also contemplating to hold up the Shatabdi Express trains at various places for a few minutes each day. They will also block the approach roads to airports.

“By targeting only the Shatabdi and the airports, we are directing our protests only at the elite or the decision-makers,” the president of the All-India Defence Brotherhood, Brig Harwant Singh (retd), said. He said the action was aimed at arousing public curiosity as well as tapping important people who could influence the decision-making process. Stating that ex-servicemen had never resorted to such kind of protest before, he added that they would carry out their activities in a dignified manner which would not affect the common man.

Among their major demands are adequate pension to retired soldiers keeping in mind their service conditions and retirement at a relatively younger age vis-a-vis civilian employees and reasonable post-retirement rehabilitation. Also on their agenda is jobs to next of kin or dependents of soldiers killed during service as is being done by the government in case of civilian employees.

Citing a recent report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, ex-servicemen said that the Directorate-General of Resettlement has been unable to cope up with the ever-growing ex-servicemen population since it lacks adequate financial and management expertise, while there has been a strong recommendation to overhaul and modernise the kendriya and rajya sainik boards.



MC gave more politics than services
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Residents look forward to...

  • More link roads to Chandigarh.
  • Augmentation of water supply.
  • Upgrade of fire services.
  • Better sanitation, roads and streetlights.
  • Better healthcare.
  • A government college for girls.

Panchkula, December 27
The year 2003 brought a new ray of hope for the residents of this township with the creation of an elected body, the municipal council. That it failed to live up to the people's expectations is another matter.

The town gained importance for supplying quality building material (boulders, bajri, sand and other river-bed material) for the construction of the Metro project in Delhi. The fact that illegal mining is damaging the bed of the Ghaggar and various other rivulets, especially in Raipur Rani and Pinjore blocks, did not move the authorities.

The municipal elections were held in January. Though the Congress decided to boycott the elections on the ground that the town was not fully developed and that HUDA should continue to maintain it, its party leaders, defying the dictate of the high command, jumped in the fray and won 16 of the 31 seats. The Congress ended up staking its claim as a majority party.

As time to elect the council President came near, the party suffered a major setback with 14 of its councillors defecting to the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Mrs Seema Chaudhary, wife of INLD state secretary Amardeep Chaudhary, was elected unopposed as the President. Hectic politicking remained the quintessential feature of the year. With a son of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, Mr Abhey Singh Chautala, challenging Mr Chander Mohan, sitting MLA and son of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, on the latter’s home turf here, the second quarter of the year saw a battle royale between the scions of the two parties.

The unanimous choice of President did not last for long, as the Congress councillors, one by one, went back to the party. As of now, the Congress has a strength of nine in the MC.

The MC also remained in the news for its failure to provide basic amenities. It started an experiment of privatisation of all works assigned to it—sanitation, rounding up of stray cattle, maintenance of roads, streetlights, removal of Congress grass and malba, and the maintenance of parks. However, this experiment seemed to have failed with insanitary conditions prevailing, the stray cattle and dog menace increasing and poor maintenance of streetlights.

No major projects were launched in the district, but efforts were made to finish the large number of projects of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) as well as those under various schemes of the district administration. Apart from the opening of a state-of-the-art Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex and a second Gymkhana Club in Sector 3, foundation stones were laid for a building of the Haryana Public Service Commission in Sector 4, and the Pashudhan building in Sector 2. Work on the 18-hole golf course is still on, though nine holes have been opened to the members. The Shivalik Development Board and Haryana Tourism also embarked upon several projects for making Morni — the only hill station in Haryana — a major tourist attraction.

To increase water availability in Panchkula, it is proposed to construct a lake on the Naddha choe, near Sector 23. Besides being a tourist attraction, the lake would help in recharging the ground water.

Being a satellite town of Chandigarh, most of the residents go to the UT for work. With an estimated 50,000 people rushing to and from Chandigarh each day, the need for alternative linkages to the city has been long felt. This year, HUDA started work on the construction of a second route to Chandigarh, while proposals to start work on two more are likely to be implemented next year.

For HUDA, the year saw a good response to the auction of commercial property, though the auction of school sites and institutional plots did not prove to be as successful. The auction of commercial sites in from September to December earned HUDA Rs 67 crore. A draw of residential plots in Sectors 17, 12-A and 12, and Mansa Devi Complex was also a big hit.

Though several anti-encroachment drives were launched, HUDA was found wanting when it came to settling the land disputes with Punjab in the Harmilap Nagar area of Bartana, or in the villages of Haripur in Sector 4 and Railla near Sector 12.

HUDA also made efforts to sell plots in Panchkula Extension. With most of the group-housing societies having given up their land, HUDA decided to convert the surrendered land into residential plots and floated the scheme in September, which yielded a good response.

Good news came from the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN), which not only simplified its rules and procedures at the instance of the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), but also increased the power supply capacity in the district. A 66 KV sub-station was commissioned at Mansa Devi Complex in April, while another 66 KV sub-station was commissioned this month at Kalka. Another 66 KV sub-station at Sector 3 is likely to be commissioned before the onset of summers next year.

On the health front, the new building of General Hospital, which was inaugurated last year, was rid of the initial snags. The efforts to ensure that drugs were sold at generic rates, and not brand rates, saw a large number of cases being filed against pharmaceutical giants in the local courts. All posts of Senior Medical Officer and Medical Officer were filled and the CT scan was made functional, but the posts of nurse and technician are still lying vacant.



City girl Canadian magnate
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
For Manishi Sagar, a Chandigarh girl who went to Montreal 10 years ago on a holiday but decided to stay back, things could not have worked out any better.

Without a formal training in business administration, she now presides over a business empire worth millions of dollars. She has also made it to the list of top 100 business women of Canada. She also figures in the list of 100 top powerful women of Canada. Running 12 childcare centres and two primary schools under the brand name of Kinderville in different parts of Canada, Manishi is now planning to expand her business in the neighbouring USA.

What was the secret of her success? “Passion and fire of a new immigrant to succeed”, she said in an interaction with TNS here today. Currently in town to visit her family in Sector 9, she emphasised that life was not easy in Canada.

“Believe me. It is very hard work”, she said, adding that “it is easier to run a McDonald’s than to manage a day care centre for the children”.

Born and brought up at Chandigarh, Manishi has studied at Carmel Convent and Government College for Girls in Sector 11 before doing her MA in English from Panjab University where she topped.



Bank gifts knitting machines to centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The State Bank of India has gifted two knitting machines and a computer to the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Mohali. At a simple function organised at the PRC the items were presented by Mr Yogesh Agrawal, Chief General Manager of the bank's Chandigarh circle. The head of the Ordnance Branch at the Western Command, Headquarters Maj-Gen D.D.S. Sandhu, chairman of the PRC's managing committee, PRC Director, Col Jaswant Singh (retd) and senior officers of the SBI were also present on the occasion.

According to a statement issued here today, this will enhance the capabilities of the centre in imparting vocational training to the inmates and their families and also improve their financial condition. They are given vocational training in knitting with machines, cutting and tailoring, wire-brush making, candle making and caning of chairs.



Gala day for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 27
It was laughter all the way at a gala programme organised by the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association to celebrate the advent of New Year at Senior Citizens Home in Sector 43.

Humming melodies of the yesteryear, they recited poems, shared memories and cracked jokes. Association members also enjoyed home-cooked food which they had brought along with them.

Addressing the gathering, association president Brig Keshav Chander (retd) said such programmes were organised at least once every year at each of the four old-age homes. He added that Lohri would be celebrated at the old-age home in Sector 15.



Ex-Chief Secy’s construction material seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Corporation today descended on the residence of former Chief Secretary of Haryana in Sector 8 here today and confiscated certain construction material lying on the road.

Reliable sources said the house of Mr L.M.Goyal, former chief secretary, was under construction. The raw material was dumped outside the house on road berms. There was a requisite permission for storage of the raw material. However, it had got scattered on the road. The site had witnessed a minor road accident in which a girl fell down from her scooter, sources said.

“The Enforcement Wing ensured that the material was kept in its proper place. Certain material was confiscated. A number of warnings had been issued earlier,” the sources added.

Mr Goyal, while confirming this, said, “The material may have got scattered on to the road. It could have been sorted out after a warning. But it has been blown out of proportions.”

Sources said a similar raid was also conducted in the Sector 16 market. Construction material of a showroom which was lying scattered on the road, had damaged the newly built road. The authorities confiscated water tankers and a concrete mixer in this regard.



Be a beauty expert yourself
Monica Sharma

YOU have always been interested in looks. That is, perhaps, the reason why you have been spending hours in front of the mirror looking at the contours. You have also been recommending home-made face packs to friends to get rid of blemishes. Now it is time for you to offer advice to others, officially, after getting tips from Bollywood’s makeup artist Ayesha.

Having come to Chandigarh from Mumbai to conduct courses in party makeup, hair styling and personal grooming, Ayesha said Cleopatra, a day spa, was offering certificate makeup courses formulated by her.

A professional makeup artist, Ayesha has been working for the past 15 years with Bollywood stars, including Raveena Tandon, Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty. In fact, she was the first one to introduce the art of body tattooing in Bollywood. For she has done a three-month professional course from Tokyo.

“To start with, I am conducting an eight-day course scheduled to conclude on December 31”. The courses, she added, “have been professionally formulated, coupled with complete practical training”.

Giving details, she said: “Students will get first-hand experience about the techniques, along with handy and useful tips.”

Regarding her future plans, Ayesha said: “We will soon open a school to impart coaching in beauty-related topics.” As of now, youngsters were approaching her to get a facelift for New Year’s party.

As for the latest in vogue, she said: “Short hair are in these days. Otherwise, for the evenings, you should go for smoky makeup with a western dress.” A word of caution though — smoky makeup suits few but makes small eyes look big.

But what is popular among Bollywood stars these days? “Hair extensions are the latest fad. The extensions, fixed after spending five or six hours, increase the length of tresses. Though expensive, they remain for about six months.”

Commenting on the problems faced by North Indians while getting dressed up for parties, she said: “The art of saree wrapping needs improvement.”

Party secrets

For a healthy look, apply sunscreen even in winter. Also use a translucent powder. Always remember to dab the visage with face puff after makeup. It will last longer.

Before applying lipstick, use a concealer or foundation followed by slight powder. Then use lip pencil on the outline. Apply lipstick over it. Do not put glitters on the entire lip. Put it on the tip only. In case you wish to remove makeup, massage baby oil before cleaning visage with a face wash.



‘LOC’ show for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
“LOC Kargil” will be screened exclusively for ex-servicemen at Fun Republic, Dhillon Complex, Mani Majra, on December 29 at 10 am, courtesy Fortis Heart Institute and Hospital, Mohali.

Complimentary tickets can be collected (on first-come-first-serve basis) from the OPD reception of the hospital by showing proof of identity.



Vehicle marked ‘govt’ to fool policemen
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
The man arrested by the police yesterday for smuggling liquor was found to be faking the vehicle he used for smuggling as that of the Government of India. The accused, Raju, was arrested late last night smuggling 52 cans of country made Hero whisky.

The Tata Sumo he was driving bore a Gujarat number with “Government of India” written on the rear number plate.

According to the police, the man admitted that it was not a government vehicle and that the words on the plate helped him get across police barricades with ease.

The registration number (GJ6 AA 9245) also seemed fake, the police said. “The possibility of the number being fake is also high as the accused belongs to Moga and was smuggling liquor from Chandigarh to Punjab,” said a police officer.

Besides various sections of the Excise Act, the accused has also been booked under Section 171 of the IPC for using “Government of India” on the number plate.


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