C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fog hits air, rail traffic
Flights cancelled, trains delayed
Tribune News Service

  • The lowest temperature reaches 2.6ºC. It was 1ºC four days ago.
  • No change in conditions for today.

Chandigarh, January 2
Chilly winds lashed the city and its surrounding areas forcing people indoors, as the mercury dipped once again to 2.6ºC. The cold wave continued unabated and similar conditions are expected to prevail tomorrow.

Foggy conditions continued to affect the normal life in the city, as residents of the city and its surrounding areas woke up once again to a thick blanket of fog, which reduced the visibility to a few metres. Flights were cancelled and trains were running late by several hours.

The minimum temperature dropped once again to 2.6ºC, around four degrees below normal for this time of the year. Yesterday, the minimum temperature was 7.2ºC. In the past four days, the lowest temperatures have dropped and risen, only to drop again. On December 29, 2003 the temperature had touched 1ºC.

The maximum temperature recorded today was 11.6ºC, about nine degrees below normal for this time of the year.

Explaining the factor responsible for the prevailing conditions, the Director of the Meteorological Office, Mr S.C. Bhan, said snowfall in the hilly areas and chilly winds blowing from there towards plains had lead to a drop in the temperature.

The biggest casualty of the prevailing conditions continued to be transportation. Flights of Indian Airlines as well as Jet Airways could not land due to poor visibility.

Similarly, trains were running behind schedule. Intense fog resulted in delay in the arrival of major trains. The Shatabdi Express arrived one hour behind schedule this morning. The Himalayan Queen was behind by two hours, while the Sadbhavna Express (Chandigarh-Lucknow), which was late by around five hours, arrived at 2.50 pm. The Paschim Express from Mumbai arrived around 8 pm, around five hours behind schedule. The Howrah-Kalka Mail arrived around seven hours late. The Jodhpur-Kalka Express was three hours behind schedule. The Jan Shatabdi arrived two hours late.

AMBALA: Around 24 important trains passing through Ambala have been reaching here late, while three trains, including the Pooja Express (up and down), were cancelled due to dense fog in the region.

According to information, the Himalayan Queen and the Himgiri Express reached Ambala Cantonment around 3 hours late.

The late arrival of the trains is causing inconvenience to passengers. Instead of waiting for trains for indefinite period, passengers are preferring go to their destinations by buses.


Independent monitors for polio drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Four independent monitors have been deputed by the UT Health Department to ensure that not even a single child, even in the high-risk areas of the city, is left out in the pulse polio immunisation campaign.

More than 1.32 lakh children, below the age of five years, will be administered polio drops under the campaign in the city from January 4 to 6 and February 22 to 24. The drops will be administered at designated booths on the first day, while house-to-house campaign will be undertaken on the next two days.

Though no fresh polio case was reported in the city during the past one year, the UT Health Department will set up 461 booths to ensure that every child residing in rural and urban areas gets polio drops under the campaign. The four monitors include Prof Rajesh Kumar, Head of the Community Medicine, Prof H.M. Swami, Director-Principal, Government Medical College and Hospital, Prof P.S. Chari, a former PGI Faculty, and Dr N.K. Kulshreshtha, Medical Superintendent, General Hospital. The high-risk areas include Nehru Colony, Daddu Majra, Sector 52-B, Khuda Lahora, Janta Colony and Kumhar Colony. These areas are largely inhabited by migrants.

Addressing a Press conference here today, the UT Health Secretary, Mr Karan. A. Singh, said, “Despite decade-long concerted efforts, we have not yet been able to eradicate polio from our country. We have sought cooperation from religious and political leaders, NGOs and government agencies to make the campaign a success”.

The Director Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, said 43 mobile teams would administer polio drops to children. Booth would be set up at the bus stands, railway station and barriers. A total of 1,600 employees have been deputed to man the booths, falling in the three zones. They will be headed by a monitor, along with a central coordination team. A total of 11 area supervisors and 69 sector supervisors have been entrusted responsibility to cover the entire target population in the city,” he said.


3,500 delegates in city for science congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The rush of delegates, the scramble for accommodation and the last minute hassles of identity cards dominated the day at Panjab University here today. A day before the Indian Science Congress (ISC) got under way, the focus of the organisers shifted from preparations to making the delegates feel at home even as the sun played truant and the chill continued to bite.

Upsetting the calculations of the organisers and sending them in a tizzy, the number of delegates exceeded the 3,500 mark by late evening. More delegates are expected to reach the city by tomorrow morning.

The immediate problem the organisers were faced with today was that of accommodating the guests following an overwhelming response to the ISC. The situation was aggravated by the fact that others who had been given bookings in hotels wanted alternative arrangements made on the university campus or in hostels keeping in view the expenditure a five-day stay in a hotel would involve.

Not being funded by their universities or organisations, these delegates wanted reasonably priced accommodation instead of the “expensive” hotels. Transport facilities to and from the venue were another cause of concern among these delegates.

The morning saw a commotion at the registration office, the hub of all activity for the most part of the day, where delegates from various parts of the country arrived in teams in large numbers.

Much to their disappointment, some of them found that there was no clear information about their accommodation. They shuttled between organisers and the “Help Desk” set up to address their complaints. There were others who complained that their identity cards were not ready and there was nobody to answer their queries.

However, by noon, things became more organised and delegates were provided with their identity cards and given accommodation details. The registration office of the ISC served as a transit camp for visitors. Most of them sat huddled side their baggage awaiting their turn for registration at the venue.

Meanwhile, arrangements for an estimated 5,000 guests have been made for the inaugural session of the science congress.

After the inaugural session which begins at 9.30 am, the chief guest, Human Resource Development Minister, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, will inaugurate science exhibition, Pride of India, in the ground adjacent to the Student Centre at 11am. Over 100 stall have been put up there by various companies.

The sessions on the first day of the Indian science congress will be addressed by experts including Prof M.G.K. Menon, Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Dr R. Chidambram and Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

Vigyanlok, a new weekly programme on science and technology, will begin on Doordarshan from tomorrow. The half-an-hour programme will be telecast every Saturday from 7.30 to 8 pm. 


Only veg food for scientists
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Delegates at the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress, scheduled to begin here from tomorrow, will be served only vegetarian food during their five-day stay in the City Beautiful.

Mr S. Saxena, Senior Executive Chef of the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), which has been given the catering contract for the mega event, says they are fully geared to take care of the food requirements of nearly 3,500 delegates from India and abroad expected to attend the session.

A massive ‘food village’ has been created for serving lunch and dinner to the delegates adjacent to the main, waterproof conference pandal erected in the sports stadium of Panjab University.

The interior of the ‘food village’ is simple but elegant, having a predominance of blue colour.

‘‘We will be serving only lunch and dinner,’’ Mr S. Saxena, said in an interview with TNS, here today. ‘‘Breakfast will be available to the delegates at their place of stay. So far, the orders are that only vegetarian food should be served, apparently because a large number of delegates coming for the Science Congress are from South India who prefer vegetarian food. But if the authorities change their mind, we can organise non-vegetarian food, too, in no time’’.

A total of 250 persons have been deployed for serving food to the delegates. These include 70 cooks. The rest are waiters and supervisors.

The food to be served at the science congress will be predominantly north Indian. ‘‘We catered at the Bangalore session of the Indian Science Congress also,’’ said Mr Saxena. ‘‘There the food served was predominantly south Indian. This time, we want the delegates to have the flavour of north Indian foods. Therefore, sarson-ka-saag, makki-ki-roti is going to be one of our main dishes during the session,’’ he adds.

Other north Indian preparations to be served at the session include paneer dishes, vegetable curries, daal makhni, rajmah, pulao, fresh salad and a variety of rotis. Sweet dishes would include gajar ka halwa and moong daal halwa.

A limited quantity of sambar, rasam and dahi-rice would also be available for those wanting only south Indian food.

The delegates are expected to consume more than 12, 500 kg of vegetables besides 100 kg of pulses during their five-day stay here.

The contract for procuring fresh vegetables for the conference has been given to another person who will buy them directly from the farmers in the surrounding areas.


Professional fire fighters for science congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Armed with fire extinguishers, they are a team of 10 youths doing rounds of the main hall of the venue of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University. Their job is to be on a lookout for any sparking that could trigger a fire.

“Imported” from Delhi for the hosting of the five-day event, the youths, aged between 18 and 25 years, are conspicuous among delegates of the congress as they keep a vigil.

Leading them, Akhilesh, says they are a part of the fire fighting team on the venue.”We have made elaborate arrangements for dealing with any incidents of fire. There is enough sand and water. However, being extra cautious never hurts,” he adds.

They have been assigned round-the-clock duties and are required to keep an eye on the areas assigned to them.”While a lot of care has been taken to avoid any untoward incident, we have to be careful with all wiring done for the event. With regular checks at sensitive points, in case there is a fire, we will be able to control it,” he claims.

Carrying out a reccee of the entire area where the congress would be held, they have also given the task of identifying sensitive points. “We are trying to familiarise ourselves with the various pandals. The action beings tomorrow and we do not want to be caught on the wrong foot. A specific duty charter would be ready by evening,” he informed.

The concept might be new to the city where any official function has fire brigades deployed outside the venue. However, this team of fire fighters claims they are very much in demand at all major events in Delhi.

“Most of the organisers go in for private companies to take care of freak fire incidents which provide additional facilities like teams to keep vigil, stacking of sand bags and keeping enough foam to douse flame since the administration can contribute only to the extent of stationing fire brigades at any venue,” Akhilesh explains.


Staff shortage dogs ‘rich’ MC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
Faced with an acute staff shortage, the ambitious campaign of the local Municipal Corporation (MC) to privatise civic amenities seems to have fizzled out, leaving the residents in the lurch.

With the civic body working on a skeleton staff and infighting among INLD-dominated council ruling the roost, the civic amenities are going from bad to worse. And all this is not the result of poor financial position of the MC, like other civic bodies in the state, but on account of lack of supervision on the part of municipal staff.

The MC gets an annual revenue of over Rs 10 crore from various taxes such as the house tax, stamp duty, fire tax and electricity cess.

Since its inception in 2001, the MC had been dogged by the shortage of staff. Though the MC required several hundred personnel to carry out its duties, a staff of 104 was reportedly sanctioned by the Haryana Government. However, these posts were never filled, thus affecting the working of the council. The MC reportedly has only one engineer and two JEs, besides the office staff, to attend to various civic duties.

Even as HUDA transferred certain functions like the maintenance of internal roads and parks, streetlights and sanitation to the MC, the move to transfer the “surplus” staff from HUDA hung fire and repeated pleas of the council to sanction more staff fell on deaf ears.

To begin with, the MC had privatised sanitation in sectors under its jurisdiction in 2002 to be followed by privatisation of maintenance of internal roads and parks and streetlights. However, lack of accountability on the part of contractors and alleged infighting among councillors ensured the virtual failure of the privatisation move.

Mr O.P. Shiag, Executive Officer, said the MC was doing its best to supervise the various maintenance works despite staff shortage. He informed that while the internal parks were being maintained with the assistance of residents welfare associations, a major drive to recarpet roads would be launched by the end of the winter season.

Sources told Chandigarh Tribune that the cash-rich municipality was very much in position to employ the requisite staff. However, with the government dragging its feet on the appointment of the employees, the current staff was trying hard to cope with the burden of the work.

Currently, Sectors 1, 3 and 5 and from 20 to 25 are maintained by HUDA and the rest by the MC.


On a mission of love and care
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
It was the spiritual quest which brought Katherine Albatova, now christened Mother Wangmo, from Hungary to India, more specifically to the Himalayas. In these 15 years of soul searching, Mother Wangmo did not just confine herself to the study of Indian religion and philosophy. She also made efforts to raise health care standards in the backward belts of Lahaul, Spiti and Kulu in Himachal Pradesh, where she runs a voluntary organisation in Ghurdorh village, which derives its name from the fact that Britishers used to race their horses here.

For the past four years, this NGO has been targeting over 60,000 women and children in the above-mentioned areas of Himachal, where health education level is considerably low. Already having provided the rural folk with health care facilities like HIV testing and counselling, drug deaddiction and a full-fledged gynaecology ward with eight beds, Mother Wangmo is ready to set up a 48-bed super speciality hospital and research centre in the same village.

To come up with the financial help from the European Community, besides some Indian donors, this centre will also have a Polymer Chain Reaction Laboratory, which will provide for complicated medical testing, including DNA testing.

On a short visit to Chandigarh today, Mother Wangmo talked about her health care network in rural Himachal, which has a high infant and mother mortality rate.

Having surveyed the rural Lahaul, Spiti and Kulu extensively, Mother Wangmo and her team of experts have found out that the Lahaul-Spiti area severely lacks trained midwives.

To arrest the high mortality rate in these areas, Mother Wangmo has also proposed to the Himachal Pradesh Government to set up a school for auxiliary nursing and midwife training. The school, which is awaiting approval, will train women, free of cost. Incidentally, Himachal faces a shortage of 900 auxiliary nurses.

On the need to set up an NGO, Mother Wangmo said, ‘‘After attaining spiritual knowledge, I felt the urge to give back something to the community. I have been particularly disturbed by the gross neglect of health care and education in Himachal. I began working in Dharamsala where I set up a dispensary. Later, I toured Spiti and found that women and children were in a bad state of health. My NGO cares for the expecting mother in a way that inspires her to live better and care for her child better. We use music therapy on expecting mothers, besides looking after their medical needs.’’

Besides this, Mother Wangmo also runs the Inner Asian Advanced Yoga Centre, where she teaches expecting rural mothers the art of pranayam. ‘‘The whole idea is to transform lives through better and personalised care. Our area of operation is now looking up, so much so that the small village of Ghurdorh is now attracting investors. Sudhanshu Maharaj is planning to set up his branch here. A hotel is also coming up in the vicinity of our tastefully-decorated hospital, which we call Shambhala.’’

In Tibetan text, Shambhala means the highest level of love, responsibility and maturity.


Accident victim awaits police action
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
A veteran painter and state awardee, P.S. Verma, is still in a hospital awaiting the Chandigarh Police to nab the person whose “rash” driving a month back left him fighting for life.

Mr Verma underwent an operation to remove a blood clot in his brain on December 30. The painter was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16, on November 27 with injuries to his shoulder and head when a car (PB-65 8562) hit his scooter (CH0I K 2120) on the road separating Sectors 36 and 37.

His wife, Ms Shakuntala, while highlighting the alleged apathy of the police, said in case of an assault on the granddaughter of late Chief Minister Beant Singh, the police had swung into action and detected those responsible for the offence despite not having the number of the car.

Sitting beside the unconscious painter, Ms Shakuntala alleged that it took them 18 days to get an FIR registered. They had to make personal visits to the Senior Superintendent of Police and the Inspector General in this regard.

Ms Shakuntala herself had received injuries to her ribs in the accident.

However, according to the police, Mr Verma had said that he was unfit to get his statement recorded before December 15, hence the delay.

Ms Shakuntala refutes the claim saying that it was during this period they had approached the SSP and the IG to get the case registered. They made personal visits to top police officials after their efforts at the police station level proved futile.

She says the police has not been able to arrest the person who was driving the car despite having the number of the car. She says the number had been jotted down by a street vendor, an eyewitness to the accident.

The police, however, says the Vermas themselves were not clear about the identity of the car. One of the vehicles with a suspected number was a motor cycle, second a car of their friend, while a third was that of a person who had shifted from his residence.

An official in the Sector 36 police station says Ms Shakuntala recollects the colour of the car as blue but the vehicles brought in for identification so far have turned out to be white.

Mr Verma is not clear about the colour of the car that hit their scooter, says the police.

Ms Shakuntala says the person who gave them the registration number of the car is alleged to have been sent away by the police. The police says he is not traceable.

Ms Shakuntala says the police does not seem to be as sincere as it was in the case of the granddaughter of Beant Singh. She alleges the police has double standard.

Mr Verma has received awards from late Punjab Chief Ministers Lachhman Singh Gill and Beant Singh apart from Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and UT Home Secretary R.S. Gujaral.

He runs the City Beautiful Arts School in Panchkula.


New Mayor promises to bridge North, South divide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The biggest priority during my tenure as the Mayor is to get councillors from different political groups and nominated members to join hands for common causes. The councillors need to be united in fulfilling dreams of the common man and personal or party differences need to be buried while they are in the office for public service.

This was stated by Ms Kamlesh, the newly elected Mayor of the city, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune here today. She brushed aside as “immaterial” the fact that her candidature for the post was protested against by BJP and SAD councillors.

“It was a political move. They have been duly answered by the corporation. Now it is time for all councillors to join hands and work together,” Ms Kamlesh said.

“Each councillor needs to be in direct contact with bodies and organisations engaged in various corporation projects in their localities, she said.

“The garbage free sectors scheme will gain a forceful form in case the councillors directly oversee project reports at Sehaj Safai Kendras (SSKs) in their wards,” she added.

The political journey of Ms Kamlesh from a housewife to the post of the Mayor, was all along supported by Mr Banarsi Das, her husband, who is a former general secretary of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress Committee (CTYCC). He accompanied her to different offices when she first became a councillor from the Ram Durbar ward in 1997. She is now one of the most senior councillors in the House.

Ms Kamlesh belongs to a village near Jaipur in Rajasthan. She did her schooling and her college education in the city. She has also been a national judo player. She remembers to have had a passion for stage during her school days.

She said one of her top priorities was to ensure that all roads of the city were carpetted during her tenure.

Those living in Southern sectors and areas near villages and colonies had a genuine complaint of being left out in matters of road upgradation in comparison with the roads in northern sectors. The corporation would strive for equality for all citizens, at least in matters of civil amenities.

The Mayor is very specific about her target to upgrade the garbage disposal facilities at the Mani Majra dumping ground.

“Residents have been seeking an alternate site for the disposal of waste. This might be very difficult. However, a detailed work plan for improving the disposal facilities at the existing site has been worked out. Pipes have already been installed in the compound for the release of the gas from waste and an electricity generation plant is also on the anvil. The corporation has already sought tenders for the project”, she added.


Calls on Administrator

The city Mayor Ms Kamlesh, called upon the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, a day after her election to the post here today. She was accompanied by Mr Pradeep Chhabra, Senior Deputy Mayor, and Ms Geeta Rani, Deputy Mayor. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local Member of Parliament, accompanied them.

It is learnt that Ms Kamlesh today sought a list of committees formed by the corporation for the distribution of work. She said the process of compiling new list of committees often took more than four to five months. “I will make an attempt to have different committees constituted at the earliest to ensure speedy implementation of recommended schemes,” she said.

Ms Kamlesh will now discontinue to be a member of the Finance and Contract Committee of the corporation. The seat will be filled at the earliest. She is keen on seeking more financial powers for the corporation.


Reserve price of octroi collection contract reduced
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 2
Following two unsuccessful attempts to auction octroi collection in Mohali, the municipal council today decided to reduce the reserve price of the contract from Rs 19.09 crore per year to Rs 16.9 crore.

Sources informed that the issue would be brought up at the next meeting of the council on January 6. The meeting has been specially called to get the proposed reduction rate passed in the House.

Following refusal of the contractor to work for another month till a new contractor was found, the council took up the octroi collection work on its own yesterday. Earlier, two attempts to auction octroi collection in the township received no response and a majority of the members of the council were of the opinion that the reserve price be reduced to a more realistic figure so that the collection would be privatised.

The president, Mr Kulwant Singh, said the reason why there was such a low response to the bidding was the 15 per cent hike in the reserve rate of the contract. “Since the last contract was given at Rs 16.59 crore per annum, the government had, according to rules, increased the amount by 15 per cent and the minimum reserve rate was thus fixed at Rs 19.9 crore. This was probably too high for bidders,” he said.

The contract of the company, which had taken up the work for this year, ended on December 31, 2003, and till the next auction scheduled for January 12, 2003, at Ludhiana.

Other than this, the members of the council will also review the working of the sanitation contractor in the township during the meeting.


Leaders must be accessible, says Canadian Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Politics in Canada has a much cleaner image compared with that in India. A leader’s car is not followed by a maze of escort vehicles and gun-wielding policemen unlike in India.

This was said by Dr Kuldip Singh Kular, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Government of Ontario, Canada, while talking exclusively with Chandigarh Tribune here today. Dr Kular is currently on a visit to the country in connection with a family wedding. A Parliamentary Secretary, who is attached to a Minister, is also an elected legislator in Canada.

He said a leader has to be a man of the masses who is best placed among the common man unlike in India where a big security cordon and strict protection procedure are the first wall between the common man and power holders. Easier accessibility is the first sign of people being heard.

“Party ticket for contesting an election there is given to a candidate who first proves his majority in his own group. I joined the Liberal Party at the grassroots level. I never had to maneuver my way up the ladder using any tricks. After around seven years, I was given the party ticket to contest elections on the basis of my past record, which I won,” he said.

Dr Kular did his schooling from Khanna High School, Khanna, and got a medical degree from Government College, Amritsar. He went to Canada in 1974. After spending two more years in advanced study, he began his practice as a family doctor in 1976.

“Medical profession is my first love. I told my Premier that I did not want to quit my profession at any cost. I practise my profession for around 15 hours a week. It is very vital for me, personally, to keep in touch with the grass roots,” he said.

“Canada is a multi-ethnic country where diversity is a virtue.

The immigration laws have been made easier. Nearly 2,25,000 immigrants land in Canada each year, of whom 73 per cent settle in Ontario alone. Canada can still absorb a lot of people.

A lot many procedural barriers are likely to be reduced for inflow of more professionals,” he said.

Dr Kular said: “Indians, particularly Sikhs, do not face any identity crises in Canada. The constituency that I represent has at least 16 per cent Sikhs. In fact not just Sikhs, the entire population of the country is multi-ethnic. Growing up children from Indian families are not lost in sea of humanity from a foreign land. They have plenty of compatriots to rely upon.”


Road Safety Week from Jan 5
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 2
The 15th Road Safety Week will be observed between January 5 and 11 across the city to focus on “Better roads do not mean batter your life: avoid over-speeding”.

A blood donation camp will be held at 12 noon at Sector 17 piazza after the inauguration of the week by IG Rajesh Kumar on January 5.

Rickshaw-pullers will be given a demonstration-cum-lecture at Traffic Children Park, Sector 23, at 11 am on January 6.

On January 7 at 11 am, a workshop and eye testing camp for bus drivers will be held at the ISBT, Sector 17. At 3 pm, NSS and NCC volunteers will paste traffic slogans at 10 main points of the city.

A painting competition for schoolchildren will be organised at the piazza on January 8. Teachers will be given tips about traffic rules at 10 am in the Traffic Auditorium, Sector 29, on January 9. Another workshop on administering first aid will be held at 3 pm.

Girl students of different colleges will held a scooter rally starting from Children Park, Sector 23 which will culminate at the piazza at 11 am on January 10.

A written and practical test for driving staff posted with traffic, PCR and other departments will be held on January 11 at Circus Ground, Sector 17. The closing ceremony will be held at 3 pm on the same day at Traffic Auditorium, Sector 29.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The District Transport Department has chalked out a programme for the Road Safety Week to create awareness among masses regarding traffic rules.

Giving details of the week Ms Raghbir Kaur Khehra, District Transport Officer, said inaugural function of the week would be held on January 5 on the G.T. road, Sirhind. Over loading and speeding and pollution control checking would be done on the occasion.

The next day’s function would be held at Bassi Pathana with the cooperation of the Citizen Club and the Lions Club. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, would preside over the function.

Officers of the Transport Department would deliver lectures on traffic rules and a free eye check-up camp would also be held only for truck drivers. On January 7, a free pollution check camp would be held on the G.T. road, Mandi Gobindgarh. On January 8, checking of over-loading and speeding and pollution control would be conducted on the G.T. road, Mandi Gobindgarh. On January 9, a painting and motto writing competition would be organised at Baba Zorawar Singh Fateh Singh Senior Secondary School, Fatehgarh Sahib, with the help of the Lions Club, Sirhind, and a free pollution check camp would be held on the G.T. road, Sirhind, on January 10.

The concluding function of the week would be held at Nahar Sugar Mill, Amloh, on January 11. Reflectors behind tractor-trolleys would be pasted during the function. Lectures on traffic rules would also be delivered on the occasion, said Ms Khehra.


Senior citizens organise get-together
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 2
To welcome 2004, the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Council organised a get-together for its 400 members with police officers and B.Ed students of the Dev Samaj College of Education. Bhajans and shabads were recited on the occasion.

The function was presided over by Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav. Giving details of the schemes introduced for involving senior citizens in community policing, the SSP promised to help them as and when they asked for assistance. Other speakers included meet organiser S.D. Kalia and council president Dr Sukhdev Singh. Education College Principal Ms Satinder Dhillon and Deputy Superintendent of Police S.S. Randhawa were the guests of honour.

The New Year was also celebrated with joy and fervour by those below the poverty line. The function was organised at Colony number 4 in Industrial Area. The programme was organised by the Jan Shikshan Sansthan. The speakers included director S.K. Goyal and programme officer Arjun Kamboj.


Fire in Sec 47 house
Tribune News Service

Tejinder Singh looks at charred goods after a fire broke out in his house in Sector 47, Chandigarh
Tejinder Singh looks at charred goods after a fire broke out in his house in Sector 47, Chandigarh, on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 2
The belongings of Mr Ajmer Singh, a former Head Draftsman in the Haryana Irrigation Department, were reduced to ashes following a fire at his residence in Sector 47 here this evening. Mr Ajmer Singh was out of station and his son, Tejinder Singh, was also not at home. His daughter-in-law was washing clothes on the top floor when she saw flames on the first floor.

She was helped by neighbours to cross over to compound of the neighbouring house from the roof of her house. Fire tenders were called in, but by the time the two fire-tenders reached the spot, most of the belongings in the house had already reduced to ashes. The exact loss is yet to be ascertained.


Railways official dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Mr Inderjeet Malhotra, Member (Technical) of the local Bench of the Railways Claims Tribunal, died here today. His cremation will be held on January 4 at the Kalkaji cremation ground in New Delhi.


Seven held for assault
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Seven persons have been arrested for allegedly making an attempt to murder Gauravjit Singh of Sector 21 with swords and sticks on December 29, 2003.

Those arrested have been identified as Sandeep Singh, Gurbhag Singh, Lokinder Singh, Sunitinder Singh, Viram Singh, Uttamvir Singh and Gurinder Singh.

They were today produced in a local court for a police remand.

While Sandeep Singh is a resident of H. No. 3197, Sector 21 D, Uttamvir hails from Ferozpore district. Gurinder Singh is a student of Class XII in SD College. The other four live in H. No. 1288, Sector 21.

Vikram Singh of Phase 11, Mohali, had complained to the police station, Sector 19, that a group led by Sandeep Singh had attacked Gauravjit Singh with swords and sticks. He had gone to visit Gauravjit Singh in Sector 21 when the incident occurred.

Gauravjit Singh was taken to a private hospital, while the alleged attackers fled the scene.

They have been booked under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 324, 307 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

Sources in the police said the fight was sparked off after a verbal duel between the two groups.


Man held with 78 gas cylinders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
An employee of Happy Gas Centre, Sector 35, has been arrested and 78 gas cylinders seized from him.

Ajit Singh, a resident of H. No. 1740, B Block, Colony Number 5, was arrested in a joint raid conducted by the Chandigarh Police and the Excise Department. The man was selling gas cylinders to unauthorised customers after 5 pm in Palsora Colony.

Ajit Singh is a godown keeper with a gas agency and has been remanded in two-day police custody. The police seized 41 empty and 47 filled cylinders from the accused. A case has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.


2 killed in accidents
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 2
Two person were killed and one was injured in three separate accidents in Panchkula district in the past 24 hours.

According to the police, Ruldu Ram, a poultry worker, fell to death from a tractor trolley after it was hit by a truck on the Barwala-Naraingarh road here this afternoon.

In another accident, an unidentified person was crushed to death by a truck near Pinjore the evening.

Jaswinder Singh, a Railways employee, sustained injuries after a truck rammed into his motor cycle at Lohara Ghati, near Pinjore. Separate cases have been registered.


1 hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 2
A Chandigarh resident Jasbir Singh sustained injuries when the car he was driving had a head-on collision with a truck on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Jwaharpur village today.

According to the police, Jasbir was on his way from Delhi to Chandigarh when the truck (CHW-3680) collided head-on with his car near Bhushan Industry.

Mr Jasbir Singh was injured and was taken to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. The truck driver reportedly fled from the scene.

After impounding the vehicles, a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC was registered against the truck driver.

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