C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Facilities to Burail inmates withdrawn
Nishikant Dwivedi

Dhami questioned

The UT Police today visited the residence of Kanwar Pal Singh Dhami in neighbouring Mohali in connection with the escape of the three alleged assassins of Beant Singh from Burail Jail. Dhami, who runs Guru Aasra Trust in Phase VII, said the police reached his house at around 12 noon today and questioned him for about four hours. ‘‘My house is under surveillance as cops in plain clothes have been posted outside,” he alleged.

Chandigarh, January 24
All luxuries — room heater, television, music system, indoor games, special food, water purifier — provided to the remaining six alleged assassins of Beant Singh have been withdrawn. In fact, the jail authorities have withdrawn such facilities to all inmates.

The six — Navjot Singh, Shamsher Singh, Balwant Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Nasib Singh — have been put in separate barracks. The UT Administration on February 9, 1996, had imposed Section 268 of the Cr.P.C on the eight accused in the assassination case, prohibiting them from being taken out of the jail premises. The trial is being held in the jail premises itself.

Besides the six accused in the assassination case, several other dreaded criminals, including Om Prakash Saini and Naresh Kumar Bobby, are lodged in the jail.

The three alleged assassins — Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh — who escaped through a tunnel in the wee hours of January 22, enjoyed “special” facilities at the jail. It is being alleged the jail authorities did not “dare” to search the barracks of the three.

The UT Police, which could not spot anything suspicious during its inspection of the jail on January 14, today carried out a thorough search of the entire jail premises. The jail authorities, too carried out searches.

The facilities enjoyed by the inmates were withdrawn yesterday following a meeting of senior officials of the Administration, the jail authorities and the police.

The Chandigarh Administration is contemplating an inquiry into the jailbreak. Sources said the final decision to ask for a magisterial inquiry wrested with the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd). Meanwhile, Haryana has sent a panel of names of persons who can be posted at the Burail Jail here.

In a separate development, Mr N.S. Minhas, counsel of Navjot Singh, has moved an application before the Special Judge, Mr Balbir Singh, for restoration of the facilities. In the application he has alleged that the jail authorities had taken away medicines his from the barrack.

Mr Minhas said Navjot’s father had gone to meet him in the jail yesterday. ‘‘Navjot was down with high fever. The jail authorities took away his medicines and have also withdrawn all facilities earlier enjoyed by him in the jail”, said Mr Minhas.

Father of Navjot Singh, talking to The Tribune, said the authorities had taken away the heater, which Navjot required after the two knee surgeries he had under gone.



Tunnel dug with special tools, says fireman
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
“The tunnel through which the alleged assassins of Beant Singh escaped is a good example of engineering skill. The entire layout is commendable for its precision. The tunnel opened onto agricultural area a short distance from the outer wall, where it was not easy for the sentries at the checkpost to sight it,” Mr Kala Singh, the fireman who was the first to enter the tunnel after the escape, told The Tribune today.

“The entire passage has been neatly done. The walls are smooth and they appear to have been plastered. Therefore, the chances of the walls caving in were remote. Such a job could not have been done without the use of sophisticated tools,” he said.

“Nearly halfway down the tunnel, there was a socket in the wall with a bulb. The wire had been removed. A torch was found near the exit of the tunnel,” he said.

Mr Kala Singh said though he often “played” with fire and other threats, going through the tunnel was a tougher test as the underground passage could have had explosives left by the fleeing undertrails.

At least two of his colleagues who accompanied him on the “mission” said they were nervous and were praying when Mr Kala Singh was in the tunnel.

It was around 12.30 p.m. on the day of the escape when Mr S.K.Gosain. Station Fire Officer, Sector 32, got a call on his cellphone about the incident. It was planned as a rescue mission and a search operation for the escaping undertrails, in case of any mishap in the tunnel.

Mr Kala Singh said the first sight of the nearly 14-feet-deep tunnel frightened him. “The Fire Department has a breathing apparatus. This could not fit behind me because the passage was narrow. I was carrying two torches, one of 
which had a range of about more than half a kilometre,” he said.

He said the tunnel had a circular base. This made it easy for the escapees to face the escape route at the base. It was also impossible for anyone inside the tunnel to turn back.

“The journey through the passage lasted about 15 minutes. There was never any breathing problem. The earth at the exit to the tunnel had collapsed a little and had to be flushed out before I was taken out,” he added. Mr Kala Singh said the cardboard cover of the tunnel had been camouflaged with carrot plants.  



Beefy cook helped them dig tunnel
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Dev Singh, alias Devi, who escaped along with the three alleged assassins of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, was the muscleman who executed the well-planned escape. A resident of Chamoli district in Uttaranachal, Devi was serving a life sentence under Section 302 of the IPC. He was serving as a cook for the alleged assassins.

The physical stamina of the accused proved vital in digging the 2.5 feet wide and 94 feet tunnel beneath the security walls.

Some undertrials said Devi used to do rigorous physical exercise and was known to hang himself upside down for long periods.

Sources in the police said the weight-training equipment and some drugs found by the jail authorities soon after the escape corroborated the theory. Sleuths of intelligence agencies probing the escape said the diet, exercise schedule and drugs taken by the escapee showed that everything was executed in a well-planned manner.

A forensic expert told The Tribune that a lot of stamina was required to dig the tunnel and — at the same time — prevent from suffocation. The horizontal digging work for the tunnel required special techniques, the expert added.



When tunnel was passed off as caved-in flower-bed
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Certain officials of the Chandigarh Administration reportedly passed off a tunnel in the Burail Jail here as “probably a flower-bed” which had caved in.
This incident dates back to June, 2002, when it was reported in newspapers that the three undertrials, Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, were digging a tunnel to escape. An enquiry was ordered and the then SDM, South, Gyanesh Bharati conducted the enquiry. It was said that there was no concrete evidence of a tunnel. Senior officers were reportedly told that it was probably a flower bed which had caved in.

The same theory was also given to the previous UT Administrator Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). Actually it was an 18-foot-long tunnel that was being dug, clearly aimed at an escape. However the three lost their way while digging. In the meantime a portion of the earth caved in and the Jail authorities panicked.

Actually the three who were facing trial for allegedly killing former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh camouflaged their tunnel digging operations with their love for gardening. The three used to regularly maintain the kitchen garden of the jail.

Even as various theories are being told by police and intelligence agencies, certain senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration who had heard the theory of the flower-bed are more than shocked.

The first attempt to escape by digging a tunnel was thwarted by the regular anti-sabotage checks which had been introduced after the trial in Beant Singh assassination case started inside the jail.



Hawara may try to get Bhullar freed, says Bitta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Beant Singh murder accused Jagtar Singh Hawara and others may try and get Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, presently lodged in Tihar Jail, released to provide “operational machinery to the Khalistan ideology.”

“The escapees will try to get Bhullar released and may make attempts on the lives of K.P.S Gill, Punjab Police IG Sumedh Singh Saini and me to revive terrorism,” The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chairman Maninderjit Singh Bitta informally told reporters here today.

He demanded an inquiry by a high-powered committee comprising K.P.S. Gill, Sumedh Singh Saini, CBI officers and other Central and state investigating agencies.

Mr Bitta said with conflicting statements appearing in the newspapers the Home Ministry should bring out a white paper in this regard.



Hawara had offered help to Pak spy

Chandigarh, January 24
Jagtar Singh Hawara had offered help to a Pakistani spy in fleeing from the Burail jail. This was found today by the Chandigarh Police after the interrogation of the arrested jail officials.
The Chandigarh Police is preparing to take Abid Mehmood. for interrogation. He is in jail for allegedly supplying information to Pakistan.

Hawara had also offered help to another prisoner, Nand, the sources said. The police suspects that Hawara may have bribed security personnel and jail officials. — TNS



Beant case witness moves court for security cover
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Just 48 hours after three accused in Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassination case made their way out of Burail Jail, key witness Balwinder Singh today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to further fortify the security cover.

In a related development, MP Simranjit Singh Mann also filed, a petition claiming that senior jail officials had been wrongly arrested. He added that the directions issued by the Supreme Court in D.K. Basu’s case had been violated. He further added that the record leading to the arrest should be summoned. The petitions are likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday.

In his petition, Balwinder Singh, whose statement, along with that of Sector 7 painter Surinder Singh, led to the unearthing of the conspiracy, also sought better conveyance in the wake of increased threat perception to his life. The petitioner, initially working as a mechanic with the painter, added that he was already receiving threats from dreaded terrorists. According to the prosecution, Mr Sharma had painted white a grey Ambassador car, allegedly purchased from New Delhi by an accused in the case, for committing the offence.

The car, as per the prosecution story, was recovered from the spot soon after the explosion in which the former Chief Minister was killed. The vehicle had later led to the identification of the accused and their subsequent arrest. Mr Sharma, in his petition, had alleged that the award, promised for the person providing information in the case, had not been handed over to him.

The former CM was killed in an explosion on August 31, 1995. While the believed-to-be human bomb died in the blast, the other accused in the case are facing trial. 



Spot evaluation by third examiner okayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Aimed at hastening the declaration of the revaluation results for various examinations held by Panjab University, the Syndicate today approved spot evaluation of answersheets by the third examiner.

Responsible for delay in declaration of results in most cases of revaluation, the Syndicate has done away with the procedure of sending answersheets to the house of the third examiner. Besides, to hasten the declaration of results withheld by the university for various reasons, the Syndicate has given a go-ahead to the appointment of a monitoring committee under the chairmanship of the Controller of Examination, Mr Sodhi Ram.

The five-year integrated BA LLB course was also passed. This course was approved along with other new courses to be started from the forthcoming academic session.

For the BA LLB course, the Syndicate approved an annual fee of Rs 65,000 per annum. While Rs 50,000 would be charged as tuition fee, Rs 15,000 would be charged as funds of the university. A fee of $2000 per year was fixed for the NRI seats of the course. This item was passed with objections on the fee structure.

It also approved new courses, including BE (Mechanical and Electrical and the M Sc honours in computers with 30 seats each. These would follow the existing fee structure on the engineering courses already running at the university. The holding of entrance tests for M.Phil and Ph.D were also approved.

The memorandum of understanding on starting an exchange programme with Simon Fraser University of Canada was also approved with minor modifications.

The item pertaining to the disaffiliation of Punjab Engineering College was withdrawn without discussion since the college is yet to receive a notification of having got the deemed university status. The item on charging fee of Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 from research scholars for carrying out research work in the university was deferred by the Syndicate.

While the university authorities were congratulated for hosting a successful session of the Indian Science Congress, the lack of interest shown by academicians and students was deplored by members of the Syndicate.



VSM for 3 BRD chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Base Repair Depot, Air Cmde S.P.S. Virk has been decorated with the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), while his predecessor, Air Cmde S.B. Prashar (retd) has been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM).

The awards, announced on the eve of Republic Day, have been conferred for devotion to duty. Air Commodore Prashar, who superannuated in September last, was earlier decorated with the VSM.

The citations for the decorations pertain to the period when Air Commodore Prashar was the AOC at 3 BRD and Air Commodore Virk, then a Group Captain, was posted here as the depot’s Chief of Planning. Air Commodore Virk had taken over command of the depot on promotion in October.

It is perhaps for the first time in the history of any base repair depot in the IAF that two succeeding AOC’s have been decorated concurrently. 



Southern Naval Command shows interest in helpline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The success of the Ex-Servicemen's Helpline (ESH) at Chandi Mandir has attracted officers from the Southern Naval Command, who visited the helpline recently to study its concept and functioning and gauge the possibility of establishing a similar organisation in South India.

Revealing this while interacting with mediapersons, ESH Director, Col Subhash Chandra, (retd) said since its establishment in September, 2002, about 30,000 ex-servicemen had visited the helpline to seek redressal for their problems.

He said the helpline's effort had resulted in the settlement of 167 cases relating to pension and outstanding claims totalling more than Rs 1.2 crore had been paid.

The helpline was initially set up at the Western Command Hospital in Chandi Mandir under the directions of the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta. Following an overwhelming response to this project, 10 more helplines had been established at various places in the region, including Delhi, Ambala, Patiala, Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ferozepore, Bikaner, Kota and Sriganganagar. Colonel Chandra added that more such helplines were being planned at various stations.

The aim of the helplines was to assist ex-servicemen or their next of kin to get their entitlements and resolve their day to day problems other than those concerned with crime and family issues.

The helplines, which were operative 24 hours, also disseminated the latest information concerning pension matters, ex-servicemen's contributory health scheme, housing policy and other welfare matters.

A new development, he pointed out, was that the next of kin of an ex-serviceman who died, could claim Rs 2,000 from the nearest Army unit for bearing funeral expenses.

The amount would be reimbursed to the unit from higher headquarters.

The director also said officers were eligible for a platinum grant of Rs 50,000 when they attained the age of 70 years, but there was very little awareness about this policy even among senior officers.

He added that the helpline was also helping find out the well-being of service personnel deployed in counter insurgency areas, providing medical assistance to ex-servicemen and offering ambulance services.

Recently, an ex-servicemen's hostel had been set up at Chandi Mandir where retired soldiers whose dependents were admitted to the hospital for treatment could stay.



44 residents to be honoured on R-Day
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 24
More than 500 students from 15 schools in the town will participate in the Republic Day celebrations this year, where the chief guest, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, will honour 44 residents for their achievements. Those who will be honoured include the DSP, Mohali, SMO, Kharar, Fire officer, Mohali, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Mohali, avid blood donors and some industrialists, MC employees, teachers and students.

The function, to be organised by the SDM's office, is scheduled to be held at the Phase 3B1 Government Senior Secondary School. It will begin with the arrival of the Chief guest at 10 am.

Students of Gian Jyoti School will begin the function with the singing of “Sare jahan se achha”, which will be followed by a cultural programme presented by students of other schools, including Saint Soldiers School, Shivalik Public School, Gem Public School, Government school of Sohana and Shastri Model School, among others.

Among those who will be honoured at the function are Mr Balwant Singh and Mrs Jaswant Kaur of Phase XI here for boosting the eye-donation movement, Mr Tara Dutt of Phase 1 for donating blood 48 times, Mr Satish Kumar of Sector 70 for donating blood 44 times and Mr Avtar Singh of Phase 11 for donating blood 38 times, Mr Sukhvinder Singh of Phase 10 for donating blood 25 times and Mr Rajinder Singh of Mundi Kharar for donating blood 25 times.

The DSP, Mohali Mr Harpreet Singh, will also be honoured on the occasion, along with the tehsildar, Mr Bhupinder Singh, the Naib Tehsildar, Mr Sucha Singh and the Municipal Council Executive Officer, Mr Har Bhagwan Garg. Mr Bhola Singh, a resident of Phase 2 here, will be honoured for providing free acupressure therapy while serving as a government servant.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, the president of the Mohali Industries Association, Mr R.S. Sachdeva of High-Tech industries, Mr Naresh Kumar of Ranbaxy, Mr Parminder Singh of Quark Media House, Mr R.P. Sehgal of PTL, Mr Mohan Singh of Centre for International Trade and Industries, Mohali, Mr Anurag Agarwal of P.K. Industries and Mr Gulzar Singh of Dara Studio will also be honoured.

Dr Sukhwant Singh Dhanoa, SMO, Kharar, Dr Jasmer Singh, of Phase I, Mr Phoolraj Singh, a Municipal Councillor, the widow of Surjit Bindrakhia, and Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, Fire Officer, will also be honoured. Mr Ajit Singh Kataria, Mr Satpal Singh and Mr Raj Mohan, all Municipal Council employees, will also be honoured on the occasion.

Gaurav Ralhan and Chetan Aggarwal, both students, will be honoured for achieving good marks in Class X examinations. Rahul Babbar of Shivalik Public School, Master Raj Kumar of village Sambhalki, Mrs Ravinder Kaur of Phase XI, Mrs Narinder Kaur of phase XI, Mr Lalit Kumar Bansal of Punjab Pesticides, Kharar, Mr S. Talwar of Punjab Anand Lamps, Brig S.S. Ghumman of Sector 71, Mrs Maninder Kaur of Middle School, Majatri, Mr Ramji Dass of Trade Union, Mohali, Mr Satya Dev Sharma, freedom fighter, Mr Bharat Bhushan Sharma of the Municipal Council, Ms Alpana Poddar and Ms Rajneet Kaur of NIIFT, Mohali, will also be honoured at the function.



Rain to benefit rabi crops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Barring hailstorm in isolated pockets, moderate to light rain today lashed the Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh region. Agricultural experts claimed that the rain would help rabi crops, including wheat, mustard, barley, gram and pulses, besides saving power worth crores of rupees.

According to reports, from the Meteorological and Agricultural Departments, moderate to light showers have been witnessed across the region during the past three days.

In Haryana, Karnal recorded the highest rainfall while in Punjab, Nangal Dam recorded the highest rainfall. In Himachal, Shimla witnessed heavy rain (57.2mm), besides fresh snow.

The Meteorological Department has forecasted moderate rain or snow in most parts in Himachal Pradesh and moderate rain and thunderstorm in parts of Punjab and Haryana in the next 24 hours.

Prof P.S. Rangi, senior economist at Punjab Agricultural University, said, “Besides farmers, the state electricity board will save crores of rupees due to the rain. About 8.5 lakh electricity-run tubewells will save 20 per cent electricity during the season as rain is sufficient for irrigating the crop once.”

Regarding the impact of hailstorm, officials at the Agricultural Department said, “At this stage, it will have no impact on wheat but may marginally affect fodder crops like ‘barseem’.

The experts said unlike last year, the region had so far witnessed more rain in January though the farmers were worried due to a long dry spell since November. Except light showers in mid-December, the region had not witnessed rain.

The rain will benefit the crop in rainfed areas of Haryana like Bhiwani, Rewari, Mahendergarh and Gurgaon.

A senior official of the Department of Agriculture, Haryana, said, “Due to adequate rain this season, the production of gram, pulses, barley and oilseed will increase this year especially in southern districts.” 



Sun brings cheer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
After three days of intermittent rainfall the city residents today woke up to a bright sunny day, bringing the much-needed respite from the cold wave. Thanks to the sunny conditions the day temperature went up to 17.6 degree celsius, three degree below normal.

The maximum day temperature recorded yesterday was 15.8 degree celsius. However, the minimum temperature continued to fall. Met officials said the minimum temperature fell to 7.4 degree celsius from 12.4 degree celsius recorded yesterday.

It could rain in the coming two days due to certain meteorological changes in the past 24 hours. The possibility of a hail storm is not ruled out.

The sunny weather was welcomed by people. Organisers of public functions had a reason to cheer as the rain did not play spoilsport. Business activity picked up as people thronged commercial centres on the weekend. Uncertain about the weather tomorrow, everyone wanted to bask under the sun. Some preferred to travel to picnic spots in adjoining areas.

Though the minimum temperature was recorded at 7.4 degree celsius, the maximum temperature was recorded at around 2 pm.



Warm send-off for Gen Mehta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
An informal “At Home” was hosted by the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, and other officers to bid adieu to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut Gen S.S. Mehta and his wife, Ms Madhu Mehta. General Mehta is scheduled to retire on January 31 after putting in about 40 years of service.

A large number of officers posted at Chandimandir as well as a galaxy of retired officers based in and around Chandigarh, along with their wives, attended the function, organised at the Shivalik Officers’ Institute.

Former Chief of the Army Staff Gen V.P. Malik (Retd) and former Western Army Commander Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd) were among those who turned up to bid farewell to the outgoing Army commander. A few senior functionaries from the Defence Research and Development Organisation establishments in Chandigarh and other institutions associated with the Army were also present at the occasion.



Rooting literature in realism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
A translation of celebrated Punjabi writer Mohan Bhandari’s collection of short stories was released here today. Published by Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, the anthology, “The Eye of a Doe”, translated by Dr Rana Nayyar from Panjab University’s English Department, was dedicated to the people at a function hosted by Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi at its Sector 34 office.

“The Eye of a Doe” comprises seven short stories that bring alive the ethos of rural Punjab. Spanning an era in words, the writer has painted realism on paper, while the translator has carried the writer’s passion forward into another language. As Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd), Chairman of the akademi, pointed out while introducing the work, “The language is to the point and very colloquial. His works are varied, but one theme almost runs through every story. The best part is that he traces the life and times of the people in rural Punjab. The writer has combined ethos, suffering, spirit of defiance and a rosy future which people in this part of the region deserve and are bent on getting.”

Discussing the challenges which translation from Punjabi to Hindi posed, Dr Rana Nayyar said, “Translation is a fine art as it opens up possibilities in the realms of communication. But I must admit that English has its own politics and it is a dominant language. It was thus important for me to carefully avoid the tilt towards an already privileged language. In this work of translation, the writer’s syntax posed many problems. I found that Mohan Bhandari was a minimalist and a miniaturist at the same time. He has used words so effectively in the original that it was very difficult to follow them into another language. So I have retained the expressions as they were in the original.”

Lauding the writer as a storyteller in the classical mould, Dr Nayyar turned to one of the finest stories in the collection. He read out portions from “The Eye of a Doe”, the title story, which deals with terror and violence. And as the prose flowed, one had a taste of Bhandari’s genius, which talked of formidable pain, without directly making statements on anyone. The story, set in the mayhem, marked by the 1984 riots, brought out the finesse of the writer as well as the translator. The opening lines of the story were absorbing, “If man gets killed, you reconcile, but if the mind gets killed, what do you do?”

It was only towards the end of the function that Mohan Bhandari shared his creative impulses with the gathering. “It is most important for a writer to be sensitive towards everything that defies the basic human rights of equality and justice. Our society excels in casting people into moulds. A downtrodden is psychologically fed to remain one. These things are for sensitive writers to see and expose.” 



Three to get “Himachal Gaurav Sanman”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Tribune Employees HP Helpline Cultural and Welfare Society, Chandigarh, is organising its third annual “Parivar Milan” and a cultural programme on January 26 at Tagore Theatre at 9.30 a.m.

Mr Satya Prakash Thakur, Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Marketing Board, will be the chief guest, while Mr K.D. Sultanpuri, member, AICC, will preside over.

Mr Brij Mohan Soni, Director, Himachal Tourism Corporation, will be the guest of honour.

Mr Gian Chand Tutu, Mr Onkar Chand and Dr A.R. Chauhan will be presented Himachal Gaurav Awards. A souvenir of the society will also be released.



Senior citizens’ day out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Chandigarh Industries and Tourism Corporation, as a part of the Republic Day celebrations, held a function for senior citizens in a unique manner at a function held at the Lake Club here today. The occasion witnessed a gathering of nearly 250 “young men and women”, in the age group ranging above 60 years.

A press note of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association said “the last three days had seen the winters returning with severity. It was apprehended that ‘bazurgs’ may prefer to remain tucked in quilts rather than facing the hazards of the chilly weather at Sukhna Lake. However, the huge attendance indicated that the apprehensions were misplaced”.

Senior citizens enjoyed boating, tambola and a long session of poetry recitation. Brig Keshav Chandra, president of the association, highlighted the activities of the association over the past year, including outing and visits to the old age homes, besides others.



Commercial tenants ‘frustrated lot’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Property Owners Welfare Association today said the step taken by the Commercial Tenants' Association to move the High Court was out of “frustration”. This had been taken after a number of futile protests, bandhs and fasts.

Having engaged top legal luminaries to stall the “progressive” policies of the government, commercial tenants as such had no logic in demanding protection under the Rent Act, claimed the POWA.The POWA said it had decided in principle to become party to the case to counter the move and make an appeal for bringing all tenants on a parity by scrapping the Rs 1500 exemption clause.



Readers Write
Not the place for the sensitive

This has reference to the news item (Chandigarh Tribune, January 18) ‘Noise pollution levels cross permissible limits’ by Aditi Tandon. The table of noise pollution is a cause of great concern and thought-provoking. The writer has rung the warning bell for the city residents and has put a question mark on the functioning of the authorities entrusted with the task of protecting the city’s environment. I, along with my environment-loving Chandigarhians, would like to thank the writer for her concern. The writer has only pointed out vehicular pollution whereas other aspects are equally important.

Chandigarh has become a noisy place and a jungle of concrete where sensitive persons cannot live. One day, half the population of the city will become hard of hearing if noise levels keep on increasing in this fashion.

In the daytime, when school sessions are on, sound level should not exceed 35dB(A) to be able to hear in classrooms. For hearing impaired children, a still lower level may be needed. The reverberation time in the classroom should be about 0.6 second, and preferably lower for hearing impaired children. For assembly halls and cafeterias in schools/colleges/university buildings, the reverberation time should be less than one second.

On festivals like Holi, youngsters take off silencers of their motor cycles to have fun. None of them has been challaned so far in the city. This disease will keep on increasing if strict measures are not taken. When the police can check air pollution, why not noise pollution?

SURESH K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Pension scheme

During his welcome address in the inaugural session of the Indian Science Congress (Chandigarh Tribune, January 4), Panjab University Vice-Chancellor K.N. Pathak did not miss the opportunity to draw the attention of the Central Government’s HRD Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, and the Higher Education Minister of Punjab, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, towards the plight of the university for want of a pension scheme.

Professor Pathak’s plea showed a not-so-unreal concern of the Vice-Chancellor for the urgent need of such a scheme as a social security measure for the well-being of the university. But it was sad and unfortunate that the plea of Professor Pathak did not evoke the positive response which it deserved.

I.M. JOSHI, Chandigarh

School tactics

I am writing this letter to protest against the tactics employed by new schools. In order to gain mileage, they hoodwink parents by misleading and twisting facts.

Reading about a new school in Mohali — Doon International, my reaction was that the reputed Doon School of Dehra Dun had opened a branch in the city. This tempted me to go and enrol my children there.

On making enquiries, I found that this school had nothing to do with the Doon School which I was looking forward to associating myself and my children with. Parents should be cautioned and must insist on reading between the lines.


‘Sewak’ scheme

According to a news item published in Chandigarh Tribune dated January 19, Panchkula has implemented the ‘Sewak’ scheme. Residents have to dial 2570057 and services like those of carpenter, plumber, mason and electronic and electric equipment mechanic will be provided. The scheme is badly needed in Chandigarh as well. The Chandigarh Administration should take up the matter with the Government of India and have a similar scheme implemented in Chandigarh.

Y.P. DHIR, Chandigarh



9 bottles of country-made liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 24
The police arrested Dharam Pal and seized nine bottles of country-made liquor from his possession near here last night. The man was arrested at a naka on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road. The police said Dharam Pal, a resident of Barwala, admitted that he used to sell liquor on retail basis. 



50 entrepreneurs attend SSI meet

Chandigarh, January 24
Canara Bank held small scale industry entrepreneurs meet here yesterday. More than 50 SSI customers from various branches attended the meeting. Mr Y.L. Madan, General Manager, Chandigarh circle said the bank had advanced Rs 4120 crore to SSI sectors and share of the Chandigarh circle covering Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and Haryana was Rs 450 crore. TNS


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