C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT employees to strike work today
Disciplinary action against erring staff
Tribune News Service

No work at banks too

The functioning of banks will also come to a halt as all public sector banks in the city go on a day-long strike tomorrow in support of their main demand, seeking revision of wages.

All major unions, except the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), backed by the Congress, and the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, supported by the RSS, will participate in this 24-hour strike.

Mr Amar Pal, general secretary of the All-India Bank Officers Federation, said, “We are forced to go on this strike since the authorities concerned have not bothered to look into our genuine demand till now.”

  • Electricity control room Sector 17 — 2703242 and 2773533; control room Sector 9 — 2742370 and 2743940.
  • CTU bus service partial between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Junior engineers and daily wagers to be deployed at power substations.
  • Supervisory staff to ensure water supply.

Chandigarh, February 23
Even as a section of UT employees, including power men, are going on a day-long strike tomorrow, the Chandigarh Administration today said the principle of “no work no pay” would be strictly enforced as the employees did not have any reason for going on a strike. Defaulting employees will also be liable for disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, the Administration said necessary arrangements for maintaining the power supply had been made. For ensuring the water supply, the MC has posted supervisory staff and daily wagers at pumping stations.

The Administration, which manages the power supply, has posted junior engineers and daily wagers at all substations.

About 200 police personnel have been deployed at substations. As many as 16 vehicles have been pressed into service. The last date for payment of electricity bills has been extended to the next working day, February 25.

Meanwhile, some buses of the CTU will remain off roads between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Administration said the public should contact complaint centres in their area for electricity complaints in case of a breakdown.

Besides this, a control room has been set up at following numbers: control room Sector 17 — 2703242 and 2773533; control room Sector 9 — 2742370 and 2743940.

Meanwhile, the employees have their own grievances. It may be recollected that the employees have been demanding a solution to their long pending demands.

The employees had called off a strike on May 7, last year, following assurances from the then Adviser, Mr Varindra Singh.

The Administration had then promised that something would be done to treat employees, who had been transferred from the Chandigarh Administration to the MC as deputationists. Mr R.S. Gujral had followed up the matter and a meeting was held with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. However, there was no headway.

The Administration had then also agreed to get the government notification dated January 13, 1992, withdrawn as under this notification service conditions of all UT employees were changed from that of the Central Service Rules to the Public Civil Services Rules. This has not been done.



Police remand for Geetanjali’s husband, in-laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Chandigarh Police today procured police remand of the husband and in-laws of Geetanjali till February 26. She had committed suicide yesterday allegedly due to harassment by her in-laws.

The 22-year-old BA (Final) student’s husband Gaurav Manchanda, her mother-in-law Rani Manchanda and her father-in-law Mahinder Manchanda were arrested last night on the basis of a complaint filed by the father of the deceased.

A team of doctors today conducted post-mortem examination and her viscera has been sent for examination.

The police has not, however, officially come out with details as to how the in-laws of the woman harassed her and what dowry they had demanded.

The grandmother of Gaurav Manchanda, Ms Puran Kaur, said in the presence of neighbours that Gaurav had himself gone to the police last night. The neighbours also said they had no knowledge about Geetanjali being harassed by her in-laws nor had they witnessed any such scene in the house.

Ms Puran Kaur denied that any dowry had been demanded from Geetanjali after about two years of marriage. She said the girl was facing trauma due to rejection by her parents. She added that Geetanjali used to go to her mother’s house was not able to met her parents.

A teacher of Geetanjali had also noticed that she was not attending her classes regularly and was apparently disturbed due to some reason. She had also called up the parents of the girl to bring the matter to their notice.

However, the presence of her scooter in the MCM College, Sector 36, has raised questions about the identity of the person with whom the girl had gone to the Sukhna Lake from where her body was found yesterday.



Call centre forfeits deposits of 50 employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A top company running a call centre in Industrial Area, Phase II, was today accused of illegally forfeiting Rs 10,000 deposit of each of 50 employees whom it fired on February 17.

The employees, who were sacked for “under-performance”, today approached Inspector-General of Police Rajesh Kumar to register a criminal complaint against the company.

They alleged that the company had not even given a prior notice of 15 days as per the terms and conditions of the contract nor had it returned their deposit after terminating them from service.

They alleged that the company was making a false allegation of “under-performance” as they had been completing their quota of 4 sales cases per day. The matter was referred to the Sector 31 police station which called both parties to find a solution. Both parties have again been called tomorrow in the evening. The police is also verifying the allegations. No case has yet been registered in this regard.

The employees alleged that the company management was deliberately not letting them complete six months so that they were not confirmed in the job.

However, the complainants admitted that they were paid the salary of February but experience certificates and the deposit money were denied to them.

The Human Resource Manager of the company, Mr Sanjiv Kumar, however, said the allegations were “baseless.” He said the company had won the annual software exports awards from the Department of Information Technology.

An American Director of the company, Mr Tim, said they had been removed for lack of sufficient work and the matter of the return of deposit would go before the security committee of the company. He said the company was prepared to fight it out in a court of law.



Pak doctors impressed with healthcare facilities
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A 14-member delegation of Pakistani doctors currently on a visit to India has called for cooperation and coordination between India and Pakistan in the field of medical healthcare.

“Disease patterns are the same on both sides of the border”, said Dr Farzana Nazir, Parliamentary Secretary, Health, in Pakistani Punjab, who is leading the delegation.

“I come from Lahore and I know that people there tend to overeat which leads to obesity, high blood pressure, cardiac problems and diabetes. The lifestyle has become such that there is little or no physical exercise. Currently, diabetes is emerging as the main diseases in our Punjab. It is the same story in the Indian Punjab. So why should we not share our experiences and problems and adopt a common approach to tackle them?” she asked in an interview with TNS here today.

Dr Farzana Nazir said that there was an obvious need for closer cooperation between the two countries in all the fields. But to achieve this, they would have to shed the bitterness of the past, replace hatred, suspicion and distrust with love, affection and mutual trust and confidence. And this could be best achieved through promoting people to people contacts as was happening. For this, the leadership of the countries should be congratulated. They had displayed true statesmanship and vision.

Dr Farzana Nazir is a uro-gynaecologist and specialises in Family Planning and has undergone training in the US. She has been putting her skills to good use to control population growth which, she says, has become a big problem both India and Pakistan.

Striking a personal note, Dr Farzana Nazir says that this is her first visit to India and she has been amazed to discover that there are so many similarities between the two countries.

“It is the same people, same language, same dresses, even roads and buildings are the same. I don’t feel I am in a different country. It seems as if we are still in Lahore. And love, affection and warmth shown by people to us is overwhelming”.

Her family hailed from a village near Amritsar before it migrated to Pakistan in 1947.

She was impressed by the state-of-the-art medical facilities being offered by Fortis Hospital at Mohali which is playing host to them. She underwent a little dental surgery at the hospital this morning for a nagging tooth problem. She says that she is grateful to Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman of the Fortis Healthcare Limited, without whose efforts this visit will not have been possible.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, hosted a dinner in honour of the delegation at Patiala last night. The delegation is scheduled to leave tomorrow for New Delhi to participate in a conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry. The delegation will visit Agra to see Taj Mahal before returning home at the end of the week.

She also announced the creation of a Pakistan-India Overseas Healthcare Association with Dr Farzana Nazir as its president for the Pakistan chapter and Mr Harpal Singh as its president for the Indian chapter. 



India, Pak should share medical research, say doctors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Indians and Pakistanis share the same genome pool. But hardly any organised research has taken place so far on diseases common to population of the two countries.

Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman, and Mr Shivinder Mohan Singh , Joint Managing Director, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, today played host to a 14-member delegation of Pakistani doctors led by Dr Farzana Nazir, “Parliamentary Secretary, Health, Punjab. They said the research available to us is mostly based on the Caucasian or East Asian race. “It is unfortunate that though the sub-continent is today home to close to two billion people yet there has never been any real effort between countries such as ourselves and Pakistan to work together in the fields of science and medicine.”

“If we were to quote an example, the sub-continent would soon be home to more than 50 per cent of people at risk of cardiac diseases. Asians are more likely to get these diseases due to a variety of factors such as dietary habits and lifestyles. Therefore, even in terms of treatment it requires a particular skill set”, they added.

Both the countries today have some excellent healthcare facilities especially in the area of cardiac care. It is important that there should be a regular exchange of professionals from both sides to meet and interact.

Dr Farzana shared the sentiments expressed by Mr Harpal Singh and Mr Shivinder Mohan Singh by raising the slogan “Pak-India dosti, zindabad” at the media conference held at Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Dr Farzana called for opening of a new chapter of mutual friendship cooperation between the two countries. “Time had come to shed mutual suspicion and distrust. There was no problem in the world which could not be solved through love and a positive approach,” she said while mentioning the recent visit of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to Lahore. She termed the visit an emotional event for everyone.

This has raised hope about the much awaited dawn of an era of mutual respect and cooperation between the people of the two countries,” she added.

Dr Farzana said it was heartening to note that both the governments were trying to create an atmosphere in which all outstanding problems could be resolved. “I strongly believe that even serious differences can be resolved by the people through sincerity and earnest soul searching”.

Members of the delegation included Dr Jawad Sajid, Dr Farzana Nazir, Dr. Mohi-ud-Din, Mr Zaheer Ahmed, Dr Safia Javed, Dr Zafar-ul-Ahsan, Dr Shabana Faizal, Dr Sultan Hayat, Dr Semee Hussain, Dr Mubarik Alai, Dr Riaz Ahmed Warraich, Dr Nasir, Dr Waris and Dr Zahad Parvez.

Dr Farzana Nazir said she was grateful to Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister, Ch Parvez Elahi and the Indian Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh for making this visit possible. When asked how would she compare and contrast the two Chief Ministers, she said while the Chief Minister of Indian Punjab was a Maharaja, Pakistani Chief Minister was just a chaudhary. Another member of the Pakistani delegation responded that both the Chief Ministers were “Jatt, Punjabis and large hearted”.



Pak children call on Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Rotary Club of Chandigarh today ushered in the centennial celebrations of Rotary International at the rotary peace monument at Sukhna Lake.
Noted sarod maestro Subhash Ghosh, with his disciples, Wavel Sharma on flute and Mehmood on tabla, rendered some of the choicest morning ragas. Mr A.D. Chaudhry, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, was the chief guest at the function which was also attended by Dr Mohammad Ayub from Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan.

Dr Mohammad Ayub is the coordinator in Pakistan engaged in selecting and sending the needy children to Chandigarh for free cardiac surgery which the Rotary Club here has offered to five children as a part of its peace initiative.

Morning walkers at the lake signed their peace message on a banner.

Later, Dr Ayub along with the two children who have undergone heart surgery, called on the Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma, at Raj Bhavan. Justice Verma appreciated the Rotary’s endeavour in building bridges of understanding and goodwill amongst the two nations, and hoped that the city doctors would be able to provide their best professional services to treat these complicated cases.



PGI’s bid to promote organ donation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The PGI will shortly be linked with the Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), launched at AIIMS as a national facility to encourage and create awareness about organ donation, which has not been able to pick up owing to religious myths and fear of disfigurement of the body.

“We already have networking with 14 major hospitals in Delhi and shortly we will link the PGI, as it is the premiere medical institute of the region,” informed Dr Aarti Vij, Assistant Professor in Hospital Administration at AIIMS and chief of ORBO. She said though initially it was only the metros which would be linked with the nodal agency at AIIMS, the PGI, being an important medical centre, would also figure in the list.

ORBO was established in August 2003, to facilitate and encourage organ donation, which owing to various reasons had not picked up much. “During the past year and a half, we have been able to get more than 100 organs and tissues donated at various government and private hospitals in Delhi,” she informed.

Dr Vij informed that a waiting list for various organs was maintained and the organ which was maximum in demand was the eyes, followed by the liver and the heart. She explained that the reason why the waiting list for a heart and a liver was not too long was because there were very few heart and liver transplant centres in the country.

She said a team comprising an ophthalmologist, a cardiologist, a hepatologist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a gastroenterologist was involved in organ retrieval and there was no disfigurement as the body was stitched up very neatly. 



PUDA’s MoU with Malaysian real estate developer is off
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 23
In a last minute shift in policy, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has shelved its MoU with the Malaysian real estate developer, IJM, for development of an integrated township in Sectors 88 and 89 here. According to sources, PUDA’s MoU with the IJM has been shelved “in the name of justice fair play”.

Instead of the earlier policy of getting into a joint venture partnership with a single foreign direct investor, PUDA, according to the Mr Sanjay Kumar, Chief Administrator, will float global tenders for FDI ventures in order to give equal opportunity to all international players to invest in Punjab in real estate development.

Mr Suresh Kumar, the then Chief Administrator, PUDA, had on September 5, 2003, signed the MoU on behalf of the authority.

Mr Ng Chin Meng, Executive Director, IJM, had signed it on behalf of the IJM (India) Infrastructure Ltd. A final financial agreement had to be signed with the company to kick start the project.

Sources pointed out that a change in policy at the last minute had only delayed indefinitely a perfectly planned joint venture project, which was to take off by the end of last year, adding that many other states in India, including Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, had undertaken such ventures using a similar process.

“This will only discourage foreign investors from coming to Punjab,” pointed out an official.

On the other hand, many PUDA officials felt a change in policy was for the good as it allowed free competition between all interested parties across the world to invest in the state. ‘‘A global tender is more fair and just. Why should a single company be given preference.

Just because they were the first ones to show a serious interest in the area? The IJM is still welcome but only through participation in an open tender system,” said a senior PUDA official, who did not want to be named.

Regardless of pros and cons, however, highly placed sources said that the change in policy regarding FDI had sounded the death knell of any such project in Punjab not just because the IJM Malaysia had been left high and dry but also because it would send a signal that the Punjab Government was dithering and inconsistent in its dealings.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, who had said that day that the state government was keenly looking forward to operationalise the project, adding that all transactions would be based upon well-defined and transparent commercial considerations and the projects required to adhere to all development regulations of the state government.

‘‘The projects, apart from bringing in the latest design, construction and management practices in tune with the global trends, would provide a benchmark for quality township development in the state,’’ he had announced.

A visit of a state delegation to Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai from July 19 to 30, 2003, had received an overwhelming response from builders and infrastructure companies.

The then PUDA Chief Administrator, Mr Suresh Kumar, who was a part of the delegation, had told TNS that five sites in Mohali, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar had been earmarked for FDI, involving an estimated investment of $ 53.30 million.



Armymen resent receiving mobile phone bills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A number of Army officers and jawans residing in Chandimandir cantonment are peeved over the receipt of mobile phone bills and notices from Reliance even though they have been unable to effectively use the phones. This is because of non-availability of signals in that area.

Several army personnel affected said that they were offered Reliance mobile connections April last year, with the company then promising that its services would be fully operational soon. Some of the officers said that they had approached the company several times but to no avail.

A large number of jawans too had procured these connections under the “Veer Jawan” scheme, specially launched for defence personnel. Even 10 months later, armymen said that their homes and officers within the cantonment remained out of the reach of signals, making their mobile telephones virtually useless.

Armymen said that they had gone in for mobile telephone connections after outside access to military telephones was cut-off due to security reasons and keeping in touch with family members and relatives became a major problem. There is no bar on armymen having their personnel mobile phones, but they are required to provide this information to the local authorities.

Added to this, a number of subscribers have been sent notices by the firm for non-payment of dues. One such notice made available to The Tribune said that legal action would be initiated against defaulters.

While a number of the company’s customer care office provided by a Reliance official was inaccessible, another functionary when contacted said that there could be non-availability of signals in certain pockets as Chandimandir fell in a shadow area. He added that this problem was also being faced by other telecom service providers.



A Judge with human touch
By Mr Justice
V.K. Jhanji

A Judge with a human touch — that is how I remember Justice H.R. Sodhi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Even though he retired from the Bench in 1973 after attaining the age of superannuation, his regard for human values, reflected through his judgements, are still fresh in my mind.

The news about his death at about 7.20 this morning came as a shock to me. Though he was 93, Justice Sodhi — father of Kerala High Court’s Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi — was hail and hearty. No one expected that the final summons of death would be served on him so soon.

People say that a Judge speaks through his judgements. I agree with them. So, if you want to know anything about him, just go through the verdicts he delivered while he was a sitting judge. One thing will become evident, he was ever willing to help others, especially the poor.

I came in contact with him way back in 1971. Fresh out of the university after completing my degree in law, I was eager to succeed. But there was so much to do and so much more to learn in the profession. Well, all my apprehensions came to an end after I appeared before Justice Sodhi to argue.

He was always eager to help the youngsters. Justice Sodhi would talk to me like any uncle would speak to his nephew. He was simply wonderful. Yes, that is the appropriate word.

Justice Sodhi was not only soft spoken, but “excellent”. A look at his achievements would make it clear. After graduating from Christian College at Lahore, he did his Masters in Law from Panjab University in the same city. Before his elevation as a High Court Judge, he was Secretary of the Punjab Bar Conference held in 1953 at Shimla. He twice remained the President of the High Court Bar Association from 1963-64 and from 1965-66.

This is not all. Justice Sodhi remained Dean of Panjab University’s Law Faculty and was also a member of the National Executive of the Friends of Soviet Union. You may find it hard to believe, but he was the founder member of the Chandigarh Golf Club and the Chandigarh Club.

After his retirement, he remained Presiding Officer of Punjab Industrial Tribunal. He was also a member of the Syndicate and different committees of Panjab University and Maharishi Dayanand University at Rohtak. His contribution can never be forgotten.



Search Within
Four freedoms and the worth of man

The middle class holds the reins of power in our country and the poor do not even get crumbs from their table in our country. Millions are destined to a life of poverty, disease and sickness because the fruits of progress are not available to them even after more than five decades. Not even the freedom or opportunity to labour with their hands and live a life of dignity and liberty. The backward classes and the Scheduled Castes and tribes are given some special privileges, but that has not put them on a platform of equality with the higher castes. Neither are they free of the shackles and the stains of caste which had bound them for ages. They are yet to see the dawn of the “freedom of the mind’’ to strive towards perfection as Rabindranath Tagore had put it.

The freedom of everyone has to be defended: the freedom of the poor to have their legitimate share in the nation’s progress. They need to be free from want and fear. Franklin D Roosevelt, former US President talked of four freedoms: The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of everyone to worship God in his own way, everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world.

The weaker sections and the minorities have a stake in the freedom of choice. Intolerance takes many forms. When religious groups clash, there is religious intolerance. When a Harijan boy or girl is killed for falling in love with a member of a higher caste, with the approval of the panchayat it becomes casteist intolerance. Likewise, there could be social boycott of a family that decides to do away with a social custom it found too superstitious or illogical.

The media has a duty to stand on the side of those few to whom the right of choice is denied. ``They are cowards who dare not be/ In the right with two or three’’ so runs the lines of an old saying. Dr Ambedkar and Gandhiji had the courage to condemn untouchability. There must be a sizable majority today opposing casteist discriminations. They, however, do not protest.

It is this lack of courage to stand up for what is right that is at the root of corruption in society. That is also the reason why muscle power and money power are able to hijack society leaving in the lurch all those who stand for justice and righteousness. That is why crooks and unscrupulous men get elected to represent the people in state legislature and Parliament. The wicked are united while the righteous in our society remain mute spectators to the daily rapacious attack on human rights, justice and equality.

It must be admitted that though “we the people of India’’ were set free from foreign rule on August 15,1947, we are yet a people governed by age-old traditions, customs and superstitions and unwilling to change with the times.

We are not free to take decisions. We are swayed by our slavish mind. That is why the tag of caste still rules our elections, the tag of religion determines our sense of justice; that is why money power and muscle power determine respectability in society.

In a traditional family, is the lady free to choose her life partner? Is she free to reject a proposal that involves demands of a large sum of money for agreeing to marry her? Is she free to marry a man of another caste? Will a widow be able to live a life of dignity in society without being thought of by others as a bad omen? Is an untouchable free to share a meal with you on your dinner table as an equal?

“The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality’’ declared Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, civil rights leader, speaking at the Lincoln Memorial during his “March on Washington’’ on August 28, 1963. Today, he would have been happy to take note of blacks who occupy prominent positions in the US government.

The people there can take credit for having followed the affirmation of the Constitution that “all men are created equal.’’ The Indian, on the other hand, must admit with shame that such equality is still a far cry to the marginalized and the poor in this land.

Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but on the basis of their merit. As for we Indians, we still measure the worth of people by parentage, caste, religion and of course, a new criterion, bank balance!

— MPK Kutty



Recalling Shihan Hussaini, the maverick
Earlier he allowed cars over his hand; now he paints in blood
Aditi Tondon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Shihan Hussaini has a knack of staying in news. Only recently on October 29, the 42-year-old karate champion, also a student of Government Art College in Chennai, made news as soon as he entered Chandigarh. Breaking his old record of allowing 101 cars to roll over his right hand, Shihan had 111 cars passing over his hand which he then used to paint a portrait.

Less than half a year later, the man with a strange muse has again managed to hit headlines by using a rare medium to execute a rare art work — Jayalalithaa’s portrait. And this he did to attract the CM’s wavering attention. The news has it that Shihan painted Jayalalithaa’s portrait to remind her of a meeting she had promised him regarding the expansion of his karate school. Today Shihan has been quoted saying, “I have no other way out but to use blood, which is an emotional medium to paint, to make a plea for appointment, as my earlier efforts have proved futile.”

Like everywhere else, the news was received with interest in Chandigarh, where he exhibited his frenzy very recently. In fact, Shihan had raised apprehensions of Government Art College (GCA) authorities here when he had decided to used its campus to prove his obsession for the extraordinary.

Recalling him, Principal, GCA, Sector 10, Prof Brahm Prakash says, “He was overambitious. Although we did not have any problems with Shihan using our campus to set a new record, we were not really consulted by him before he decided upon that. He had fixed up everything on his own. I feel this is his way of proving his skills. But his act of using blood as a painting medium is vague. It amounts to exhibitionism. It is not something a real artist would do. He should have thought of something more sensitive. In fact, when he came to Chandigarh last, he was narrating how he had earlier also painted Jayalalithaa in blood.”

In his interview with The Tribune earlier, Shihan had defended his passion saying, “I want to prove that fine artists are fine artists, whatever the circumstances.

This is for the first time I am attempting a feat outside my state.” Interestingly, he had admitted that people often dismissed him as a maverick. The man, now hellbent upon meeting Jayalalithaa, had said, “People dub me as foolish, wondering why I have to indulge in strange things. But I am a firm believer in the supremacy of mind over matter. I am a karate teacher, who has understood karate as an art of conditioning the mind to succeed. When I first allowed 101 cars to pass over my hand, I sustained six fractures, but did not withdraw. Today I am undertaking the feat with a fresh resolve. While I do this, I run a high risk to my life. I need your love if I succeed. I need greater love if I don’t.”

Now that Shihan has shed his blood for an appointment, he surely needs greater understanding, if not greater love.



4 injured in bus mishap
Tribune New Service

Panchkula, February 23
At least four passengers were injured seriously when a Delhi Transport Corporation(DTC) bus developed a technical snag and turned turtle on the Shimla-Kalka highway, near here, today.
According to reports, Satya Devi, Kausalya Devi, Subhash and Madan Sharma were shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh. Several passengers, who were injured, were discharged after first aid at a government hospital in Kalka.

Even as passengers cried for help, the police took its own time in reaching the site, alleged a passenger. The passenger said the brakes of the bus had failed, resulting in the accident. A scooterist had a narrow escape when the bus overturned.



Fauji Beat
Controversy over Gen Kapil must end

Since the controversy about the transfer of Lieut-Gen-Kapil Vij, a Strike Corps Commander during Operation Prakram, is refusing to die, it is essential to put things in their true perspective.

Lieut-Gen Kapil Vij (retd), the then GOC 2 Corps, gave orders for the operation to his commanders in the third week of December, 2002, at Ambala, before the corps started moving to its concentration area. The then Army Chief, General S.Padmanabhan, came to the concentration area, addressed the troops and told them: “We will now meet at Rahimyar Khan”. This town is in Pakistan.

The corps commenced its move at night. No doubt, Gen Kapil in his enthusiasm to launch the armoured thrust into Pakistan at the given time moved his corps 50 km ahead towards the border than where it should have been. If this was not done, the attack could not be launched at the given ‘H’ hour.

The move of armoured formations near the border put Pakistan in a tizzy and the US expressed serious concern over this development. This made our government jittery. All said and done, this made a mockery of Operation Prakram and Gen Kapil Vij became its scapegoat.

That Gen Vij did not keep his Army Commander in picture about moving closer to the border is the only thing that could be held against him. Here again, given the tom that the government had made about going to war, this should not have been taken so seriously. Lastly, when this writer asked Gen Padmanabhan a few days before his retirement whether Gen Vij was at fault. His categorical answer was no.

The historical sandalwood gates of Somnath Temple on display at Agra Fort
The historical sandalwood gates of Somnath Temple on display at Agra Fort.

Somnath Temple gates: Recently, some contradictory versions have surfaced about the Somnath Temple gates. The word used in all historical writings is gates and not gate. Besides, two types of gates have been mentioned in different writings i.e. silver gates and sandalwood gates. It would be safe to draw a conclusion from these writings that the historic Somnath Temple had more than one gate.

What military history of the British Indian Army makes very clear is that the sandalwood gates were looted by Sultan Mahmud Ghazni from the temple of Somnath in 1024 AD. And then during the First Afghan War, when I Jat, now 2 Mechanised Infantry Battalin (I Jat LI), stormed the fort of Ghazni on September 6, 1842, it retrieved the sandalwood gates from the tomb of Sultan Mahmud Ghazni and brought these back on its return to India in December 1842. The gates are currently displayed at Agra Fort under the aegis of Archaeological Survey of India.

Don’t neglect war widows: After seeing the sad plight of every newly turned war widow, one is reminded of the saying: “A nation that does not remember those who laid down their lives for it, cannot always remain a nation worth dying for”. Like all other widows, the young widow of Maj Navneet Vats, who sacrificed his life in an encounter with militants at Srinagar, in the third week of November 2003, is totally dejected with the callous attitude of the bureaucrats in Panchkula. All that the widow, Shivani Vats, is asking for is her rehabilitation. She lost her husband within four years of her marriage. She has a small daughter.

We all know that when a civil servant, irrespective of his status, dies in harness even in a road accident, his widow is provided a suitable job. But when a soldier makes the sacrifice of his life for the country, his widow is made to run from pillar to post without any result. All the promises made by politicians to widows at the time of the death of their gallant husbands, remain unfulfilled. Isn’t it a cruel joke?

The Army on its part does whatever it can to get the pensionary dues and other benefits to the widows. But it cannot provide civil jobs to them. In such cases, the Sainik Welfare Boards should not except the widows to come to them but Sainik Welfare Officers should personally go to the widows to know their problems and then help them in getting suitable jobs. Over to the Rajya Sainik Welfare Officer, Haryana.

Pritam Bhullar



Governor mourns Justice Sodhi's death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Describing Justice H.R. Sodhi as a legal luminary, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, said he had contributed a lot in the area of labour and constitutional law. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also expressed profound grief over his death.

Justice Sodhi died at this morning. His funeral procession will start for the Cremation Ground in Sector 25 from house No. 36, Sector 4, at 1 pm on Tuesday. Justice Sodhi had also been writing for The Tribune under the heading "Law for the Laymen".

In a condolence message, Justice Verma said Justice Sodhi was an ardent philanthropist and would be remembered by the people of Punjab and Chandigarh in times to come. Justice Verma also shared his grief with the bereaved family.

The Chief Minister, meanwhile, asserted that the legal fraternity had lost a gem with Justice Sodhi's death.

He added that Justice Sodhi had spent his entire life upholding the supreme moral values and high ideals while discharging his professional duties within the ambit of principles of natural justice, conscious and equity.



Readers Write
The true meaning of love

A few days back every gift shop, newspaper column, mobile company and college was brimming with love. Roses, gifts, chocolates, jewellery and other things were being exchanged by lovers of Gen-X. However, as days pass and months roll, many of these lovers will part ways. The question is what is love and what is its significance for the youth of today? I am sorry but I cannot narrate the Romeo-Juliet love story as an explanation because I consider it a tragedy. Love is a feeling of joy and happiness with one person. As children we love our parents and relatives. On the threshold of adulthood, we seek a companion and love is the path to this companionship. Love is divine and above infatuation.

Valentine’s Day is a celebration with “someone, somewhere especially made for you.” It is sacred if celebrated in true spirit of a lifetime relationship.

The youth of Gen-X is highly enthusiastic and ambitious in life. True love will not abstract their success but enhance prospects to succeed. But how does one find true love? It has been a mystery how two exactly opposite people form most compatible lovers. But some mysteries have a charm of their own and so does love. 

Ahim Preet S. Jurry, Mohali

Inadequate bus service

The bus service from Sector 40-B to the ISBT-II, located in Sector 43, is inadequate. I would like to request the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking to start more buses on this route. The problem can be easily solved if buses on route no. 35, 38 and 39, which go up to Kharar or Mohali, are routed through the ISBT-II in Sector 43.

Rupinder Singh, Chandigarh

Students allege exploitation

The purpose behind writing this letter is to bring to your notice the exploitation of students through overcharging and manipulation of fee structure by the Regional Institute of Management and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, which is affiliated to the PTU, Jalandhar. The security charges, approximately Rs 4000, according to university rules are refundable but, the college management had not refunded it to its ex-students. It will also not refund the charges refund to present students as these have been converted into placement charges. The college was initially charging Rs 500 for Internet and computer lab charges. But in the last semester, these were increased to Rs 2400. However, the student are not even allowed to enter computer and Internet labs, let alone use the facilities. At the time of admissions, the students are lured by saying that the college will provide them free transport and lunch but after admission everything is changed. Even hostel charges are high and three students are forced to share a single room. Fee receipts are given after two or three months of depositing the fee as the college management manipulates the fee structure.

The management of the institute plays with the career of the students. If anybody wants to raise the issue they are mentally harassed.

Please highlight, our problem in your columns so that we can hope to get justice. We are not disclosing our names as the management will spoil our internal assessment. Student of Institute of Management and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh



Pensioners for merger of DA from July, 2002
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Himachal Pradesh State Pensioners Welfare Association has demanded merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance in pay from July, 2002, and not from April, 2004, as has been declared by the government.

Association president Des Raj Sharma said in a press release here today that the government had not met the demands of pensioners. The feel-good factor had become a feel-bad factor for the pensioners, he said.

The other demands of the pensioners include enhancement of the reimbursement of medical expenses from Rs 40 to Rs 500 per month, grand of LTC and allied benefits on the Punjab pattern and restoration of interest rate of 12 per cent for deposits by pensioners.



Woman succumbs to burns

Chandigarh, February 23
Parbati (22), who was admitted to the PGI with 90 per cent burn injuries on February 18, today succumbed to her injuries.
The police had arrested her husband, Devi Dutt, for allegedly abetting her to self immolate. Parbati in her statement had accepted that she set herself on fire after her husband suspected her fidelity.

Parbati had been married for one year with Devi Dutt who worked as an attendant in the Old Age Home, Sector 15. Devi Dutt himself had taken his wife to the PGI after the incident on February 18 but the woman was not in a position to get her statement recorded for two days. TNS



L.M. Mehta made CAT member
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 23
Mr LM Mehta, a former IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, has been appointed Administrative Member of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) by the Union Government. He has been posted in the Chandigarh bench.

An alumnus of DAV College, Chandigarh, Mr Mehta retired as Secretary to the Central Government in the Ministry of Urban Development and CMD of HUDCO. He has been honoured by the DAV Management Committee, New Delhi, for his contribution in the field of education.



Car thief held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 23
The police today claimed to have arrested former Punjab militant Gurvinder Singh on the charge of stealing a car.
According to information, Gurvinder was arrested at a special “naka” on the Zirakpur-Shimla highway near Sector 21 here. A case has been registered.



Cash, jewellery stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A Scorpio, a Tata Safari and cash and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh were stolen from the city yesterday. Nirmal Prakash, a resident of Karnal, complained that someone had stolen two bags containing Rs 50,000 in cash, jewellery worth Rs 1.5 lakh and other items from his car parked in a paid parking lot in Sector 17.

The Scorpio was stolen from Sector 8 and the Tata Safari from Sector 15. The police is investigating.


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