C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Twist of fate...
Dumped to die on road 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 22
Nasib Singh, a 48-year-old cyclist, was on an official errand when a car hit him. He suffered head injuries and as the bystanders rushed to help the profusely bleeding peon, the driver of the car himself got out of the vehicle and volunteered to take him to a hospital.

But it was ruse employed by the driver to get away from the angry crowd. He packed the injured man in the car and then dumped him in a deserted area. Nasib Singh’s luck had run out completely by then. He bled to death.

Nasib Singh’s body was found by the police this morning from Phase VIII Industrial Area here. The culprit has been identified as Kamaljit Singh, a driver with the Indo-Canadian Travel Agency. Surprisingly, he has only been charged with ‘causing death due to negligence.’ He is absconding.

Luckless Nasib Singh’s ordeal did not end even after his death. A turf war erupted between Chandigarh and Mohali police over jurisdiction. The accident had happened in one jurisdiction and the body had been recovered from another. The family had to run from pillar to post even to have an FIR registered.

According to the police, the accident took place on February 20 evening when Nasib Singh was coming to Mohali from Bhabat on his cycle. He was carrying a bag of examination answer sheets from the school. He was supposed to deposit them at the education depot in Mohali.

The police said Nasib was hit by a Tata Sumo near the furniture market just short of the YPS Chowk. He suffered head injuries and according to eye witnesses, was bleeding profusely. The car driver stopped the car and offered to take Nasib Singh to the hospital. He put him in the car and drove towards Mohali’s Industrial Area. He then allegedly threw him out of the car.

Meanwhile, an onlooker managed to inform Nasib Singh’s family in Bhago Majra village about the accident. His brother, Ajaib Singh, and wife, Gurmeet Kaur, reached the accident spot and were told that the person responsible for the accident had taken him to the PGI. The family rushed to the PGI but could not find him there. “We went to every hospital in Chandigarh and Mohali, but could not find him,” said Ajaib Singh, Nasib Singh’s brother.

The family contacted the Phase I police station to register a complaint. “But nothing was done by them there,” he said. “Then we started looking for Nasib on the roadside. We searched all through the night but did not find him. My sister-in-law went through hell. I wish we had found him earlier. May be, we could have saved him,” he said, breaking into tears.

“Yesterday evening, we were told that the accident took place about 20 feet into Chandigarh, so we will have to register a complaint in the Sector 61 police post. The case was finally registered in Sector 36 police station, and it was then that the police started searching for him with us.”

Nasib Singh’s body was found by workers of ICI Paints Limited near the factory premises in Phase VIII this morning. The police was informed and later the family was called for identifying the body.

After the accident, the driver, Kamaljit Singh, left the car with the owners informing them that he had met with a small accident and the victim had been left at a hospital. He then left for his village in Gurdaspur.

Nasib Singh was working as a peon at the Government Senior Secondary School, Bhabat, and is survived by his wife and three children.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh and Mr Balbir Sidhu, political leaders, visited the family of the victim today.



Love’s labour lost for ever
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The trauma began soon after Gitanjali fell in love with her neighbour, Gaurav. Her parents rejected the alliance and tried to keep them apart by shifting the house. But she was adamant. She married him in October 2002. Her body was fished out from the Sukhna Lake today. Gitanjali had drowned herself as she could cope with the pressures that the love alliance had brought on her.

Twenty two year-old Gitanjali was a student of BA, III at MCM College, Sector 36 here. Her husband, Gaurav Manchanda, is a Class 11 dropout and unemployed. She went missing on February 17 from her college. Gaurav as well as her parents had filed a missing complaint with the police. She probably committed suicide two days ago.

Her body was recovered from the regulator end of the Sukhna Lake today. She was still wearing her mangalsutra and bangles. A book, a note book, a question paper and a note seemingly written in shorthand were found near the spot.

According to the police, the girl’s parents had registered a complaint alleging that she was being harassed for dowry by her husband and his parents and it led to her suicide.

It is learnt that after Gitanjali fell in love, her parents shifted the house from the neighbourhood of Gaurav in Sector 22 to Sector 15. However, this did not dampen the young lovers’ spirit who entered into a wedlock against the wishes of their parents.

The family of the girl then severed ties with the couple. But her mother reestablished the contact recently.

A case under Section 498 (dowry), 364 (harassment), 120B and 304B has been registered. No arrests have been made so far. 



1.17 lakh kids get polio drops
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, February 22
More than 1.17 lakh children, below the age of five, were administered polio drops in the second phase of the Pulse Polio Immunisation campaign in the city today.
“The response this time has been better than during the first phase on January 4, as the weather was good and people came out in large numbers to get their children immunised against polio,” said Dr C.P. Bansal, Director, Health Services, UT.

He said all those children who could not come to the booths to take the polio drops would be covered during the house-to-house search, in the next two days.

On the first day of the first phase in January, a total of 1.08 lakh children had been covered, while an additional 14,000 were covered during the next two days.

“The target population for the second phase was about 1.20 lakh and all those who have been left out will be administered polio drops so as to ensure that every child is immunised,” said Dr M.P. Minocha, Director, Family Welfare.

The highest number of children were administered polio drops at the booths set in slum colonies, including Colony Number 5, Dhanas, Maloya, Ram Darbar and Karsan.

The UT Health department had set up 461 booths, including 51 mobile teams, to cover all the sectors and villages in the city. To ensure that all children, including those who are travelling are covered, seven booths has been set up at entry points from Panchkula, Mohali and the PGI side. Booths had also been set up at the railway station and the bus stand. Mohali: As many as 37,231 children were administered polio drops in various parts of the subdivision during the second phase of the Pulse Polio Immunisation campaign here on Sunday. Almost 80 per cent of the targeted beneficiaries numbering 46,800 were covered during the campaign here.

According to the information provided by Dr Satpal Singla, the in charge of the campaign here, out of the rural target number of 30,500 children, 24,677 were administered polio vaccine drops on Sunday while out of the 16,300 urban target, 12,554 children were given the drops.

Dr Singla said 160 booths were put up in the rural areas where almost every village had a booth within the range of one kilometer. In the urban areas, 68 fixed booths, four mobile and three transit teams covered children in the zero-five age group.

Dr Singla also said as many as 394 personnel in the rural areas and 280 in the urban areas carried out the vaccination drive. In addition to this the entire programme was supervised by a team of 24 senior medical officers in the rural areas and 12 in the urban areas. The district authorities, including the Civil Surgeon, the District Health Officer and the District Immunisation Officer, also supervised the operations.

Other than the district health authorities, a large number of health workers and members of the local Rotary Club went about various places in the township to oversee the immunisation.

Giving details, Mr B.S. Khandpur, President of the Rotary Club, said that the response on the first day of the campaign was almost the same as had been achieved the last time. The club had undertaken a massive awareness drive in the town yesterday with the help of schoolchildren. Three separate groups of children took out the rally at different places in the township.

The Ranbaxy Community Healthcare Society also participated in the programme by setting up booths at Mohali village. A total of 605 children were give OPV drops as a part of the campaign by the society workers. The team will visit approximately 2400 houses during the house -to- house survey to cover the left-out children ‘‘In case all children are not covered in the next two days, we will extend the campaign beyond that,’’ said Dr Singla.

The Punjab Engineering College branch of the State bank of India organised the Pulse Polio campaign at Phase VII here where more than 350 children less than five years of age were administered polio drops by Dr Gaurav Gupta. 



Economic growth key to progress, says Jaitley
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Union Commerce Minister, Arun Jaitley today said that the statecraft was a complex and delicate operation which could not be left in the hands of a person who was worried all the time about his or her foreign origin.

Addressing a meeting of local industrialists organised by the industry cell of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP, he said the events of recent years had shown how quick decisions involving the deployment and recall of country’s armed forces on the borders, foreign policy, internal security and economic polices had to be taken keeping in mind the overall situation.

It was in pursuit of this statecraft by a confident Prime Minister that free and fair elections were organised in J and K last year, a peace initiative with Pakistan was announced by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Srinagar, SAARC summit was attended by him in Islamabad and now the relations between two countries were improving at a fast pace. It was difficult to visualise this possibility till a few months ago.

Mr Jaitley said the future of the country would be decided by economic growth and not whose son or daughter would join politics and contesting for the coming parliamentary elections. He asserted that there had been a sea change in the general mood of the country and rapid economic growth had generated a new sense of pride. Cynicism had been replaced by self-confidence.

Mr Jaitley said India had missed the first opportunity to grow when industrial revolution bypassed it. This was now the second opportunity. Economic reforms and liberalisation launched in 1991 should have been started at least two decades earlier. The process of unleashing the energies of India was thus delayed by 20 years. Moreover, all five-year plans for the development of India, somehow, did not plan for the development of instructure.

But now all these issues were being addressed and the results were there for all to see. India was already the fastest growing country in the field of telecommunications. In the services sector, it had shown its prowess. In the pharmaceuticals sector, too, it had proven that it could be the source for world-class low-cost medicines. In auto components, it was fast becoming a hub for the whole world.

India’s lost-cost economy had begun to cause worry to developed countries like the US from where jobs were migrating to India. But the country still had a long way to go. What was required was a stability of policies and creation of an atmosphere for safe, secure and successful investment opportunities in the country. This, in turn, would leave to job creation, revenue generation and attract more investments.

“There is no other way to development. The government is doing everything possible to generate that economic activity. India has begun to rediscover itself and its energies have been released. I am sure that coming years would see BRICS namely Brazil, Russia, India and China overtaking the G-7 countries in the GDP growth”.

Earlier, the minister was welcomed by Mr Satyapal Jain, former BJP MP and Mr Yashpal Mahajan, president of the Chandigarh BJP.



Thousands of trees face axe
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, February 22
Thousands of trees on about 64 hectares along the Zirakpur-Jharmari stretch of the Kalka-Ambala National Highway-22 will face the axe during four-laning by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Besides this, scores that have come up on the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) land will be brought down by the authorities to make way for the highway.

The four-laning of the 35-km long stretch would come up at a cost of Rs 190 crore and is being taken up by the NHAI under the Pradhan Mantri Bharat Jodo Pariyojna (PMBJP) on a built operate and transfer (BoT) basis.

A majority of trees which would be chopped off are eucalyptus, kikar and mango. The Ministry of Surface and Transport (MOST) has already released Rs 1.19 crore for axing the trees.

The road updgradation project includes construction of four bridges, service roads in Lalru, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur and two plazas. Parallel to a bridge on the Ghaggar in Bhankharpur village, another bridge would be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.54 crore, which would ease the flow of traffic on the highway. Three small bridges in Jharmari, Sarseeni and Lalru (over the Jharmal rivulet) would be constructed.

Keeping in view the fastest developing Satellite town of Chandigarh, the NHAI has decided to construct a flyover interchange in Zirakpur. The flyover would be on the pattern of the flyover on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Ambala cantonment.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr P.K. Kalia, Executive Engineer, Buildings and Roads wing of the PPWD, said the width of the highway would be 60 feet, including a 2 meter wide divider. A 28-feet wide road would be laid on the right (heading towards Ambala from Chandigarh) of the Kalka-Ambala national highway along the Jharmari-Bhankharpur stretch. The highway from the Ghaggar river bridge till Zirakpur would be widened from either sides.

Standing trees, electrical installations and public health service like water supply and sewerage lines on land would be shifted before the launch of this pilot project.

A sum of Rs 1,19,17530 would be spent for cutting the trees, Rs 9.16 lakh for shifting the water supply and sewerage lines and the rest for shifting of electrical installations in Lalru, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur areas.

There is a provision for 18-feet wide service roads and 7.6 feet-wide footpaths on either sides of the highway in Lalru, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur urban areas. To ease congestion at the sales tax collection centre at the Jharmari barrier, a 36 feet-wide lane for parking along either side on the highway will be made.

Though Mr Kalia claimed that almost the entire stretch was free of encroachments, sources in the department revealed that scores of industrialist units in this belt were in possession of the government land illegally.

Major-General (Retd.) B.C. Khanduri, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, at the “bhoomi poojan” of the project had announced that it would be taken up on priority, keeping in view the mortality rate in road accidents in the past couple of years.

The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (Retd), had also expressed happiness over the NHAI’s initiative for widening the road which connects New Delhi with Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.



Mesmerising voice with a simple heart
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, February 22
That playback singer Udit Narayan has a mesmerising voice is common knowledge, but what many people don’t know is that beneath the veneer of that sonorous voice, lies a very simple heart, which at the slightest opportunity, would rather wander in the wilderness of the North East than bask in the glory of Bollywood’s limelight.

Maybe that is why he is rather philosophical about life. “Voice is a gifted thing, but to become a good artiste one has to be a good human being, for one’s honesty, clarity of heart shines through one’s performance,” says Udit as he makes himself comfortable at Hotel Mountview in Sector 10 during his visit to the city. Accompanied by his wife, Deepa, who is also a singer, Udit is here to perform at the concluding function of Festival of Garden at the Leisure Valley here tonight.

As he narrates his long struggle in Bollywood’s music industry, it comes out as the typical rags-to-riches story — a nobody coming from a small town on the Bihar-Nepal border with a musical inheritance from his singer mother Bhubneshwari Devi Jha and making it big in the tinsel town with five Filmfare awards and two National Awards to his credit.

“I went through a period of struggle from 1978 to 1988 , a time that was reigned by legends like Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar and which also saw an influx of new generation singers like Shabbir Kumar, Mohammad Aziz, Amit Kumar and so on. In 1980, I was given a chance to sing a few lines with the legendary Rafi, “Mil gaya, mil gaya,” for a film called “Unees Bees”, recalls the singer.

And from those few lines he rose to be a solo singer in “Mere Laila.” But his major break came with the mega success of “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” that not only just established him as a singer, but also bagged him his first Filmfare award for his song “Papa kehte hain bada naam karega”. There was no looking back for him then. Another Filmfare award for “Mehndi lagake rakhna” from “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” in 1995 was followed by one for “Pardesi pardesi” from “Raja Hindustani”in 1996 and then for “Chand chhuppa” in “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” in 1999. “Lagaan” earned him his first National Award, besides a Filmfare award. His second National Award came for the title song of Gurdas Mann’s film “Zindagi Khubsoorat Hain”.

“Awards are not the yardsticks for me to measure my success. It’s people’s acceptance that counts,” says the singer as he gets philosophical once again. “I am happy that I have managed to make my own place in this industry even in the face of stiff competition from singers like Kumar Sanu that I faced in the 1990s” he says. What about competition from younger artistes? “I am an established singer now and I feel a dose of healthy competition helps one to remain charged,” he replies.

Udit Narayan has sung more than 5,000 songs in 20 different languages and cut three albums , “I Love You”, “Love is Life” and “Dil Deewana,” with his wife Deepa. On his singer-actor son Aditya Narayan, he says, “My son is free to choose his career.” Aditya became a singing sensation after he sang “O I love you daddy “ in “Akele Hum Akele Tum” and later that famous “Chota bachha jan ke humko” which became the national rage, the same way his own song, “Main nikla gaddi le ke” from “Gadar” became popular nationally and internationally.

“Wherever I go I am asked to sing this particular song and I still love singing it,” says Udit. What else as a singer he wants to achieve in life ?” I want to be known for my work and loved and respected like Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi”, he concludes.



Udit Narayan spreads scent of music

Udit Naryan, performs at liesure valley in Chandigarh on Sunday
Udit Naryan, performs at liesure valley in Chandigarh on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

There could not have been a better way to conclude the Festival of Garden. The melody rendered by famous playback singer Udit Narayan was in total sync with the colours of spring. The huge crowd, that gathered for the concluding function at Leisure Valley in Sector 10 tonight, returned home totally satisfied. The singer not only obliged them by singing their favourite number “Mein nikla, gaddi le ke” but delivered a lot more.

Starting the evening with his first-ever mega hit “Papa kahte hain” from Naseer Hussain’s film “Qyamat se Qyamat Tak” which established him as a singer of repute as well as earned him his first Filmfare Award, Udit Narayan infused different moods to his concert. It bordered on sadness with “Pardesi Pardesi Jana Nahi” or simple frivolity with his many hits “ud ja kale kawa” or romantic numbers like “Jadu ter nazar” and “Tumse milna baten karna” from his recent musical hits.

His son Aditya Narayan of “Chota bacha jan ke humko” fame could not accompany him in this trip but the void was filled by his wife Deepa who is a former air hostess-turned-singer wife. She has sung in a number of regional films, including Bengali and Nepalese. She and Udit sang a number of duet songs like “Koi mil gaya” and “Bole churiya bole kangana” from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham”.

Earlier, the show was opened by two Mumbai-based upcoming singer Kumar Shaily and Payal. Shaqueel Ansari who hosted the show entertained the audience with comedy and mimicry. OC



CSIO instrument to measure ammunition speed
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
A unique laser-based instrument to measure the speed of small-calibre ammunition has been developed by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here. It is stated to be the only gadget of its kind in the world,
Following successful trials of the instrument, called by scientists as the Velocity Panel for Small Projectiles (VPSP), the Semi-conductor Complex Limited (SCL) at Mohali has sought the transfer of technology from the CSIO for taking up commercial production of the VPSP. A case for getting it patented is also underway.

The project was initiated about two years ago following a requirement projected by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). “Besides defence, the gadget also has several civilian applications,” Dr Gautam Mitra, who headed the design team, said. “It can be used in forensics, ballistic studies, gun manufacturers, sporting marksmen and police organisations,” he added.

The Velocity Panel was tested separately by scientists at the CSIO as well as the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, a DRDO establishment, before being certified for accuracy. It can measure speed up to 2,000 metres per second and has been tested with Ak-47, self-loading rifle, carbine and the indigenously developed INSAS rifle. The velocities of an Ak-47 bullet and an INSAS bullet are about 700 and 900 metres per second, respectively.

Lasers are used to form two vertical optical “curtains”, about 250 mm apart, and these are linked to computer-operated timer devices. The time between the penetration of the two curtains is recorded by highly sensitive devices and the speed of the projectiles passing through them is calculated by a computer.

All components used in the gadget are either available commercially in the Indian market or have been designed and fabricated at the CSIO. The approximate cost of one unit is pegged at Rs 3.5 - 4 lakh.

Dr Mitra said, presently, machines using electrical technique were being used for such purposes.




Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma A function held last week at Zirakpur in connection with the “bhoomi poojan” ceremony for converting the Chandigarh-Ambala highway into a four-lane one became an occasion for one-upmanship between the Punjab Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa and the local Akali MLA and former Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Much to the amusement of the audience at the function, while Mr Bajwa claimed that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh had met the Union Minister at New Delhi more than once to emphasise the need for an early clearance of the project, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that it was during the Akali regime that preliminary work had been launched in this regard.

While thanking Union Minister, Gen B.C. Khanduri for launching the project, Capt Kanwaljit Singh made a tongue-in-cheek prediction about his impending victory and, by inference, defeat of Mrs Preneet Kaur, wife of the Punjab Chief Minister. She is seeking re-election in the forthcoming parliamentary election from Patiala constituency. He said since he had been nominated by the Shiromani Akali Dal as its candidate for the Patiala seat, he hoped to work with Gen Khanduri in the NDA government soon.

Not to be left behind, Mr Bajwa, who is a trusted aide of the Chief Minister said that Capt Kanwaljit Singh had been doing good work in Punjab. Therefore, he and his party would do everything possible to retain his services by preventing him from going to Delhi.

However, Gen Khanduri preferred to give the credit for the project to the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), and his two party colleagues, Mr Satyapal Jain, former MP from Chandigarh, and Mr R.L. Kataria, sitting MP from Ambala.

Poll gimmick?

Although the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Maj-Gen B.C. Khanduri, announced that work on the four-lane Ambala-Chandigarh Highway would be completed within 30 months, the fact remains that even the preliminary work with regard to the construction of the highway is yet to begin.

The Punjab government is yet to initiate land acquisition proceedings on both sides of the 35-km section sought to be widened. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the implementing agency under the Pradhan Mantri Bharat Jodo Pariyojana, is also yet to invite bids from empanelled Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) entrepreneurs.

The question being asked is whether Minister’s “bhoomi poojan” is part of an elaborate poll gimmick on the eve of the parliamentary elections? Land acquisition process as is well known is notoriously slow and cumbersome. Landowners often drag the government to courts for adequate compensation.

Festive time

Studies have taken a backseat in Panjab University and colleges ever since Valentine’s Day. Students have been busy attending functions and participating in the many contests that have been organised as part of the festivities.

The week saw the beginning of the national youth festival, Jhankaar 2004, attended by teams from affiliated colleges. Each evening was planned keeping in mind the liking of the students. Jasbir Jassi performed to a full house are the laser show proved to be a novelty. The dance party was a lot of fun too.

Next in line was the Festival of Gardens. This, too, saw participation from a large number of students. They chose to stay away from classes and enjoyed at the Rose Garden, watching dances, eating and having a good time.

Good advice

Forty-two-year-old Sarbati arrived at the General Hospital, Sector 6, complaining of a recurring stomachache. She was looking for quick treatment to ensure that she is back on her feet and contributing to the meagre family income.

Little did she know that a 4.75 kg tumour was wrecking havoc with her digestive system ever since the pain began. An ultrasound confirmed Dr Usha Gupta’s suspicion and the patient was admitted for surgery immediately. The tumour in her uterus was removed by Dr Gupta after a one-and-a-half-hour long operation.

Recuperating at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, she has a word of advise for all those who believe in self-medication,”The one golden rule I have learnt for a healthy life is that the doctor knows best. The slightest of aches and the smallest of problems needs a doctor. Had I come to the hospital earlier, I would have been saved this tension of surgery. A stitch in time saves nine.”

Showtime, folks

Beauty and the beast. We are not talking about the fable, but the Dog Show at Leisure Valley held here recently. The most beautiful faces from among the who’s who of the region — Patiala to Patti and Amritsar to Patiala — with diamonds dripping all over them, were attracting more attention than the little darlings on show.

Pershaps, it confirms the general perception that the most beautiful women have the best dogs. As the dogs were paraded before the judges, their beautiful owners stood around in crocheted tops over washed denims, tight sweaters over trousers, or A-line skirts, their Gucci glares firmly intact over their noses.

Similarly, the Rose Prince and Rose Princess show, also saw a number of fashion enthusiasts and curious onlookers who were here only to have a dekko at the crowd. From the different sizes and shapes of diamonds, to the latest platinum jewellery, Gucci and Da Milano handbags or the stilletos of the fairer sex all were put to show putting the babies in shade.

Brisk business

The Festival of Gardens at the Zakir Rose Garden turned out to be a huge crowd puller. Vendors selling balloons, offering camel rides, selling candy floss, ice cream or popcorn did brisk business. With people joining in the spring festivities, these “salesmen” say that they never had it better. A candy floss stick, which is otherwise available for Rs 5, was being sold at Rs 7, and a three minute camel ride, which attracted the children was available for Rs 10.

— Sentinel



Cong to oppose Admn’s decision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Mr Pawan Bansal, Congress MP from Chandigarh, today strongly attacked the UT Administration for allegedly dancing to the tune of the BJP.
Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Bansal alleged that the decision to revert to the leasehold system with regard to the sale of commercial property had been taken by the Administration without even consulting him at the behest of the BJP leaders who were doing everything possible to accommodate its vote bank. The Congress would stage a dharna against the “retrograde decision” in Sector 17 Piazza on February 25.

He also claimed that the recent “bhoomi poojan” ceremony of the four-laning project of the Ambala-Chandigarh highway was just a poll gimmick undertaken by the BJP leaders on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Even preliminary work like acquisition of land for the four-laning of the road had not been initiated so far.



Over 3 lakh witness Festival of Gardens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Over three lakh people visited the Zakir Rose Garden, during the three-day Festival of Gardens organised by the Chandigarh Administration. Amidst traffic chaos, people from all walks of life converged here to join in the spring festivities.

The festivities today included an on-the-spot painting competition and antakshari. During the concluding day function today, the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, gave away prizes to the winners of various competitions organised during the festival.

The Adviser also awarded Finance-cum-Engineering Secretary, Mr Karan Avatar Singh, Chief Engineer, UT, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, the Director Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, Mr S.P. Arora, and the Deputy General Manager-CITCO, Mr A.K. Malhotra for their contribution towards organising the Festival of Gardens.

During the three-day festival more than 250 artistes sponsored by the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, entertained the public by presenting Bihu -Assam, Pooja Kunisha-Karnataka, Liabharroba-Manipur, Bambrasia-Haryana, Nachaar, Malwai Giddha, Gatka-Punjab, Mask dance-Pondicherry, Sindhi Dhamal-Gujarat, Kalbila, Cheri Dance-Rajasthan, Onaga Dance -Nagaland, Pasu Dance, Sofa Pyas-Orrisa, etc.

Result of on the spot painting competition: Group-A (age 5-8 years) — Arshita Sharma Class II, DAV Public School, 8-C, Chandigarh I; Hitakshi, St. Kabir School II, and Gurpreet Kaur, D/o IIIrd; group-B (age 8-11 years) Dipankar Dhar H.No. 2340/3, Sec. 45-C, Chandigarh, I, Gurleen Kaur, H.No. 5031/38(W), Chandigarh, II, and Amanjot Kaur H. No. 344, Ph IV, Mohali, III; group-C (age 11-14 years) — 1st-Nitin H. No. 2052, Sec. 27-C, Chandigarh, I, Arushi H.No. 236/45-A, Chandigarh II, and Garima Bhatia H. No. 511/8, Urban Estate, Ambala city, III; group-D (age 14-17 years)

Inayat Khan, Guru Harkrishan Public School, 40-C, Chandigarh, I, Deepali Thaper, Class XI-A, G.M. Senior Secondary School, Sec. 35-D, Chandigarh, II, and Arvinder Jasu Khuda, H. No. 99, Chandigarh, III. Topper of the road rules test organised by the Chandigarh Traffic Police

1st (cash prize of Rs 750/-)- Gaurav Mittal, H.No. 369/8, Panchkula, 2nd (cash prize of Rs. 500/-)-Sanjeev Kumar, H. No. 2228/42-C, 3rd (cash prize of Rs. 500/-)-Manish Gupta, H. No. 1042/38-B.



Brothers with a mission
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohan LalChandigarh, February 22
A Chandigarh Police Sub Inspector, Ram Dayal Hookran and his brother, Mohan Lal Hookran, a Commandant in the Border Security Force (BSF) are men with a difference. They have made education their mission.

A silent campaign “Awareness Mission” that was started with an initial investment of Rs 20,000 three years ago for educating the deprived and destitute children of Hookran village in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, has spread to 35 villages today and hundreds of children have benefited from the mission.

A mishap in which Ram Dayal lost both his legs while on a UN peace keeping mission in Kosovo has not discouraged him for making a difference in the lives of poor children.

“The selected children are imparted quality education and provided with stationery, school dress and bags”, said Commandant Mohan Lal Hookran, who was in the city on way to his present place of posting in Meghalaya. Every year the mission selects eligible children from Class VIII and above and imparts computer education to them at a centre being run in Hookran village. In a two-hour class, the students from 35 villages are given basic training in computers.

The children who had never seen computers earlier have now become proficient. “In the last three years 74 children have passed out from the computer training centre and already six of the students are suitably employed, said Ram Dayal, while answering queries at public window at Chandigarh Police Headquarters in Sector 9 here.

As a ritual, every year the mission holds an award distribution ceremony. This year at a function held in Hookran village recently, 321 meritorious students from 107 classes of different schools and 15 students from under privileged sections of the society were honoured. Another 650 students from 20 schools were given a gift set, consisting of a pair of slippers, a pencil box and a memento.

Mohan Lal, said “We urge the people to equip the children with supreme knowledge, good health and scientific temper”. To pray for the success of the campaign Commandant Mohan Lal undertakes a padyatra from Hookran village to Golden Temple every year.



Citizens put to inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Chaos reigned at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, during the second phase of the updating of the voters list undertaken by the Election Department of the UT, here today.

While one computer operator worked at a snail’s pace to key in details of residents still not enrolled in the voters list, the only photographer deployed to click pictures of these new voters disappeared without any information for over an hour, causing inconvenience to the residents.

Cooling their heels at their venue, the residents rued that the much-publicised drive to enroll voters not registered with the Election Department was undertaken without adequate facilities to cater to large numbers. The old and the young awaited their turn for being clicked for over three hours, given the shortage of staff on the school campus.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, said 10 to 12 people were trickling in at some centres of the city for which one computer and a photographer were sufficient.

“Going by the previous record of the centre, we had made arrangements for the second phase as well. I will look into this tomorrow and depute another photographer and more computer operators if the response has been good,” he said.

This is the second phase of enrolling voters after 4,000 new voters were enrolled in the first phase of the drive from all over the city, undertaken from February 16 to 20. 



Rotary to launch project against suicides by youth
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Rotary Club of Chandigarh is launching a unique community service project on the problem of suicides among the youth, especially during the examination season, as a part of the worldwide centennial celebrations of the Rotary International this year.

“Suicides by students, especially during the annual examination season, is a growing problem”, says Mrs Vijay Wadhawan, President of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh. “The problem has been worsening from year to year. Hundreds of suicides were reported from all over the region including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh last year”.

In Chandigarh alone, 31 cases were reported last year till April 2003. Out of these, as many as 23 took place during the month of April alone. In a meeting held by the Department of Social Welfare of UT, it was pointed out that 50 per cent of those who had committed suicide were below the age of 25 years. “Hence, the club has seen a greater need to sensitise the public, parents and teachers on suicidal tendencies amongst children so that proper counselling can be provided to them”, she said in a talk with TNS here today.

According to Ms Kawal Bedi, District Governor of Rotary International District 3080, every club the world over has been challenged to initiate some unique community service project as a part of the centennial celebrations of Rotary International which enters its centennial year of service to the mankind today.

The Rotary Club of Chandigarh will formally usher in the celebrations with a musical recital by noted sarod maestro Subhash Ghosh at the Rotary Peace monument at Sukhna Lake tomorrow morning. The morning walkers at the lake can also sign their peace message on the banner, where relatives of the two children from Pakistan who have recently undergone heart surgery shall also be present.

Dr Mohammad Ayub, who is the coordinator in Pakistan and involved in the selection of the children for heart surgery in Chandigarh, is also expected to join in the morning celebrations. Dr Ayub, along with the two children who have undergone the surgery, shall later call on the Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), at Raj Bhavan .

The club was established in the city on May 10, 1958, with the then Justice R.P. Khosla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as its President.

“The club has grown with the city responding to its needs” remarks Ms Bedi who is the first woman to lead the District 3080 of Rotary International that has 76 clubs in its folds. The club enjoys international recognition as it is from here that one of its members, R.K. Saboo, a prominent local industrialist, rose to become the world President of this international organisation in 1991-92.

“In its earlier days, the club contributed a funeral van to the Red Cross and another van to the Blood Bank Society, but later it evolved and responded to community needs”, adds Ms Bedi, under whose presidentship of the club five years back, the Rs 42-lakh Gift of Life project was initiated and that has so far provided free cardiac surgery to 97 needy children from weaker economic backgrounds, including six from Uganda and two from Pakistan.

Some of the major landmarks in the city include a Rotary PGI serai which was built by collecting funds from the public through a fund-raising drive where Rotarians walked from door to door asking people to contribute.



Vikas Manch leader joins Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Mr Gurmit Seghal Monty, president of the youth wing of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, today joined the Congress along with a number of workers.
Six of the nine members of the executive of the youth wing also crossed over to the Congress.

He was formally welcomed into the party by the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, and the local party MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, at a simple ceremony.



Panel on Sikh issues formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Institute of Sikh Studies convened a meeting of its members and formed an action committee to deal with Sikh issues. The institute had held its annual seminar in November last year where it was felt that there was need to create an apex body for the Sikh Panth to deal with problems and provide guidance to the community, a press note of the institute said today.

The SGPC has been requested to take the required initiative for creating this body with representatives of major Panthic organisations and Sikhs from across the world. 



Strike to affect water supply

Chandigarh, February 22
Water supply to various parts of the city will remain affected on February 24 due to a strike call given by the Coordination Committee of Government and Municipal Corporation Employees and Workers, UT. TNS



Five-year-old raped
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 22
A five-year-old girl was reportedly raped by her neighbour in the wilderness along the Ghaggar last evening. She was found in an unconscious state by her family members around dusk.

Police sources say that Rajinder Patel, a resident of Azad Colony, had taken the victim to the forest on the pretext of getting her some sweets. He then raped the child and fled.

The victim’s father, Mr Raju Ram, approached the police today and a case under Section 377 of the IPC has been registered. The victim has been admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6.



Purse stolen

Chandigarh, February 22
Mr S.S. Pathania, a resident of Sector 29, in a complaint lodged with the Sector 17 police said that a bag containing his driving licence, petro card two ATM cards and Rs 800 was stolen while he visited Rose Garden to see the festival. TNS



New showroom

Chandigarh, February 22
Abhushan — a jewellery plaza — opened its second showroom at NAC Manimajra today.
The exclusive gold and diamond jewellery showroom was first opened in Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula. The new showroom, with its chic interiors, offers a wide range of ethnic and Western designs. Jewellery pieces have been crafted by craftsmen from Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Rajkot, Mr Yogesh Gupta and Mr Arun Gupta, proprietors of the showroom, said. TNS


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