C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City celebrates Holi tomorrow
Mohali to play with colours today
Monica Sharma

What is closed and when

  • Government schools in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh closed on Saturday.
  • Banks to function in the city on Saturday.
  • Courts open on Saturday.

Chandigarh, March 5
Holi celebrations will depend on where you are. City residents will be playing with colours on Sunday. Those living in Haryana too will celebrate the occasion on March 7. But if you are in Punjab, you will be targeting friends with water balloons on Saturday.

City students will, meanwhile, be spared the burden of carrying books to government schools, colleges and Panjab University on Saturday. A majority of educational institutes are closed on that day. Government schools are closed in Haryana as well. A substantial number of creches in the city will remain open on Saturday.

Banks in Chandigarh will remain open on Saturday, while most private organisations in the city have decided to keep the shutters down. The Sector 22-D market will, however, remain open on Saturday. According to the Market Welfare Association, the shops will remain closed on Sunday due to Holi.

"Holika Dahan" will take place between 6.27 pm to 8.56 pm on March 6. "Holi will be celebrated the next day," explains Pandit Satyavrat Bainjval of Baltana.

The police is, meanwhile, has made arrangements for both days. According to senior police authorities, over 500 police officials will keep a strict vigil on hooligans and law breakers on Saturday and Sunday.

Giving details, a senior police officer said that 300 constables and Head Constables, besides 80 Assistant Sub Inspectors and 18 Inspectors will be deployed.

This is not all. As many as 22 nakas are being set up by the police all over the city. Sixteen police control room vehicles will patrol the length and breadth of Chandigarh on both days. Eve teasers will be booked under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code for the offence.

Men in white will be looking for residents violating the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, riding without helmets on March 6 and 7. "They will also catch hold of chose driving on the wrong side of the road or on bikes without silencers".

A large number of students bunked classes today before taking to the streets on their bikes for celebrating the occasion.

Employees of several banks and other organisations in the city also played Holi this morning. School students joined in.


Old-age home residents, tiny tots celebrate Holi
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 5
Reliving the monotony of life, members of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association (CSCA) today ushered the colours of spring for residents of Sri Sathya Sai Old Age Home in Sector 30, here today. The usually sober atmosphere of the Old Age Home turned colourful as members of the association, residents of the home and senior citizens played Holi amongst themselves.

Senior citizens celebrate Holi at Sri Sathya Sai Old Age Home, Sector 30, Chandigarh, on Friday.
Senior citizens celebrate Holi at Sri Sathya Sai Old Age Home, Sector 30, Chandigarh, on Friday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan
Children of Rai School, Sector 48, celebrate Holi on the school premises in Chandigarh on Friday.
Children of Rai School, Sector 48, celebrate Holi on the school premises in Chandigarh on Friday.

As the spirit of Holi picked up Raj Kumar Bali opened the function with a bhajan. Following this others came forward with old Hindi songs, poetry and couplets recitation to entertain the gathering. Gurbachan Singh, a member of the Senior Citizens’ Association presented self-composed couplets while A.K. Umat, another senior citizen quoted Mirza Ghalib. Ms Sayukta Khanna presented a few Urdu “shayeri”.

After two hours of activity, the Holi revellers devoured home cooked lunch brought by members of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association. Mr A.K. Ummat, convener, Sri Sathya Sai Trust thanked Brig Keshav Chandra, President, CSCA, and members of the association for bringing cheer into the lives of residents of the home.

Holi at school

Children of Rai School, Sector 48, celebrated Holi on the school premises here today.

The legend of the victory of Prahlad over Holika was enacted by teachers of the school. Children danced to the beat of dhol. There was a lot of music, dancing and colour splashing as children had fun with ‘pichkaris’ and colours.

Meanwhile, students of the junior wing of Sanjay Public School, Sector 44, gathered at the Rose Garden, Sector 16 and celebrated Holi on Friday. The children, dressed in colourful clothes, participated in a dance programme organised for them by school- teachers. They were later taken to the Government Art Gallery and Museum, Sector 10. This was stated by Ms U. Sethi, Principal of the school, in a press note.



‘Nationalist’ fashion comes to town
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
City fashionistas as well as hoi polloi had a taste of 'nationalist' fashion at Khadi Paridhan Utsav staged tonight during the Northern and North Eastern Zone Khadi Gramodyog Expo. The show was brought to the city by Swadeshi Jagran Foundation, an offshoot of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).

The show, brought to the city by the Centre for Bharatiya Marketing Development, a unit of Swadeshi Jagran Foundation, brought khadi outfits ranging from pret to diffusion and a wee bit of haute couture. The raw appeal of khadi and other natural fabrics, sported by top models like former Mrs World Aditi Govitrikar and former Ms India Nikita Anand, Tina Chatwal et al, was enjoyed by the city's cream, as well as casual visitors to the Gramodyog Expo.

A portrait of Mahatama Gandhi, who rediscovered khadi and gave it the status of an austere nationalist fabric, was placed at a distance from the ramp, which was done up in the tri -colours of saffron, white and green. A documentary on the life of the Father of the Nation, evolution of the country's indigenous fabric, and efforts to save the country's village industries by making khadi trendy, was shown as a prelude to the show.

The eclectic show began with a flash of laser and smoke. From behind, emerged Aditi Govitrikar in a deep orange kurti with a white pallazo, who sashayed down the ramp with a bouquet and presented it to the chief guest, Ms Jaya Jaitely.

As many as 12 sequences were staged, exhibiting the sensuousness of khadi- be it the traditional saree and salwar kameez; Indo-Western kurtis with trousers or formal business suits and dresses the drama was palpable.

Men's khadi line in traditional as well as formal trousers and shirts was also showcased. The show was an exposition and exploration of khadi as a daily wear fabric. The entire range was designed by the budding designers of NIIFT, Mohali, to revive the rich heritage of indigenous fabrics.

The designers of the show- Arun S. Benjamin, Navneet, Prabhdip Brar, Simrita Singh, K. Krishnamurthy and Anu H. Gupta — had their accent on simplicity with detail on the neckline. Some of the designs in the traditional wear were juxtaposed with the wild riot of sequins and gotta patti work on batik prints.

The trousers for women were mainly in khadi silk and loose-fit, while the sarees had intricately woven borders. For the men's garments, as always, black was leech- like on the ramp, though it was brightened by the use of stoles with a touch of golden.


No takers for 2 shopping malls
Auction of third kicks up row
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 5
Even as there were no takers for two shopping mall sites auctioned by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) here today, the re-auction of the third mall (SM-5) has kicked up a row with the previous allottee alleging “foul play” by the authorities.

Meanwhile, the third shopping mall in Sector 5 was “auctioned” for Rs 30 crore. In fact, a bidder had deposited a demand draft of Rs 3 crore as 10% earnest money when this mall was auctioned last month for Rs 25.5 crore. Expecting better response, HUDA had put the mall under the hammer again.

It may be recalled that HUDA had auctioned the said mall for Rs 25.5 crore at an auction in which about 26 bidders had participated. After the fall of the hammer, a bidder had offered an amount of Rs 30 crore for the mall and deposited Rs 3 crore as the earnest money. Today he was the only person who offered bid for the mall.

However, the other two sites could not be auctioned for want of buyers. HUDA had put the malls in Sector 3 and the Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) under the hammer.

Meanwhile, talking to The Tribune, Mr Ishwar Chand Bansal, one of the partners of the Sri Hari Colonisers, which was allotted the SM-5,alleged “black-mailing” of HUDA after the allotment of the site to the firm. When the firm had successfully bid for the mall and deposited the requisite amount, there was no reason for HUDA to cancel the allotment, he added.

However, HUDA sources blamed the Income Tax Department for the lack of response to the auction of shopping malls. A source claimed that the IT Department had been “questioning” the bidders, who had participated in the auction last time resulting in lack of response this time.

On the “re-auction” of SM-5, the sources claimed that HUDA being a commercial organisation reserved the right to cancel the allotment of any sold-out property.


2 students crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Morinda (Ropar), March 5
The only children of two families of Saheri village-on the Ropar-Morinda road were crushed to death by a mini-bus while they were returning home after appearing in their practical exams today.

Sources said here Harsimran Singh, son of Bhupinder Singh, Gurdeep Singh, son of Chanan Singh and Harinder Singh, all students of Class VIII, Indra High School in Kainor village, were returning home on their bicycles after appearing in their practical exams today afternoon when a mini bus (PB-31A-4165) of Janta Bus Service going from Chamkaur Sahib to Morinda hit the children from behind near Gopalpur village killing Harsimran and Gurdeep on the spot. Both students were crushed under the bus.

The third student, Harinder Singh, who was also in the bus fell on the side of the road and thus escaped with minor injuries.

The driver of the bus fled from the accident scene. An agitated villagers who gathered on the spot first broke the window panes and then set the bus afire. Fire brigade had to be summoned from the Ropar thermal Plant to douse the fire. The traffic on the Morinda-Ropar road also remained disrupted for about an hour due to the incident.

Both students were only child of their parents.

The police has registered a case against the driver of the bus who has been identified as Bahadur Singh of Jagraon. The police sources said the people who set the bus on fire had been identified and cases would registered against them.


Declare Lahore, Amritsar twin cities: Pak professor
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

 Dr Farhad Mahmood Chandigarh, March 5
The momentum generated by the current thaw in relations between India and Pakistan is unstoppable and has the potential of resolving all differences between the two countries, paving the way for lasting peace in the subcontinent.

"A cool fresh air has started blowing across the subcontinent," says Dr Farhad Mahmood, seniormost member of the 11-member delegation from Government College, Lahore, currently on a visit to India. "People on both sides of the border are fed up of conflict and confrontation over the past 55 years and now they want peace. Given willingness on both sides, there is no problem which cannot be solved."

A former head of the History Department of Government College, Lahore, Dr Mahmood retired in 1996 and is now Professor Emeritus at the college. Born and brought up in Lahore, Dr Mahmood recalls that he was a frequent visitor to Delhi and Shimla before Partition in 1947. "My uncles were employees of the Government of India and we used to visit them at Lodhi Road. I was very young then…hardly 12 years old… but I am looking forward to visiting Delhi next week because I feel that I will still be able to find my way through some of the old streets of Delhi," said Dr Mahmood in an interview with Tribune News Service here today.

This is his first visit to India after Partition. Known for his rather outspoken views on Indo-Pak relations which sometimes tend to land him in trouble, Dr Mahmood feels that the "current interaction between the people should have been allowed by the two governments much earlier. A people-to-people contact will go a long way in removing negative notions and building bridges of understanding between the two countries. I actually feel that Lahore and Amritsar should be declared twin cities and people should be able to visit to each other without the formalities of a visa.

He is of the view that the present thaw in relations would last because the Pakistani Army was now a party to it. He says that the previous attempt to broker peace between the two countries in 1999 during Nawaz Sharif’s regime did not succeed because the Army stayed out.


Joint research can improve Indo-Pak ties, says Butt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Pakistan with its strong urban governance system and the general sales tax scheme can serve as a model for India while joint research and institution to institution linkages and trade could be developed between the two countries.

These views were expressed during an interaction of the Pakistani delegation with academicians and the faculty of the Centre for Rural Research and Industrial Development (CRRID) in Sector 19, here today.

Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director, CRRID, began the session by sharing his experiences of a recent visit to Pakistan and specifying areas which could provide valuable tips to India for strengthening its systems and their operation.

While Mr Khalid Manzoor Butt, Secretary, Old Ravians Union, and the leader of the team, acknowledged the strength of urban governance, he said India and Pakistan should stop burdening the common man with taxes.

“This can be done if both countries decide to reduce the expenditure incurred on maintaining huge armies. This can be brought about by improving the relations with neighbouring countries. It will also result in lifting the living standards of the people of the country. When people are better off, there will be fewer taxes,” he added.

He emphasised on the need of giving a better future to coming generations by establishing cordial relations. He said their delegation, through its old students who were top bureaucrats and involved with decision-making, would try to facilitate right thinking and improved linkages as well as joint research.


“Jis Lahore nai vekheya...” impresses Pak delegation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The 16th show of “Jis Lahore nai vehkeya oho jameya nai...”, the famous play produced under the aegis of Theatre Age, was today staged at Tagore Theatre for visiting Pakistani delegates.

Directed by Zulfiqar Khan of Theatre Age, the play featured, among others senior artistes from the city like Madhavi Kataria, Vijay Kapoor, Tej Bhan Gandhi, and Zulfiqar Khan himself. The focus of the play was on a family which moves to Lahore from Lucknow after partition. The plot matures as this Muslim family, on reaching Lahore, finds it difficult to oust the Hindu woman in possession of the haveli allotted to them. The emotional content of the play surfaces as the Hindu woman gradually wins over the entire Muslim family. She becomes a mother to them, cares for them in their times of trial and helps them handle complicated situations. Upset with the bonding between people of two religions, some fanatics spell the venom of communalism. But as the play progresses, everything falls in the place, Underlying the message of universal brotherhood.

Also featuring in the production were slum kids of the Sector 25 colony, including Harpal, Jyoti, Kanwar, Ajay Machal and Vinod Chawla. The play was highly appreciated by the Pakistani delegates, who were called on the stage to honour the actors.


Foreign tourists face security hitch on holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
While efforts are being made to woo tourists, a large number of foreigners coming to the city to study the architectural aspects of the City Beautiful have to face harassment. The security staff at the Capitol Project buildings is non-cooperative when these tourists visit the buildings on holidays.

“A number of tourists from South Korea, Israel, New Zealand, Japan and Sweden have come to the city to study its architectural aspects but they are disappointed when the security staff does not cooperate with them on holidays,” sources told The Chandigarh Tribune today.

These foreigners have a valid permit and request letter from the Tourism Department to visit these buildings having an imprint of Le Corbusier.

There has been around 40 per cent increase in the inflow of foreign tourists to the city to study the architectural aspect of the city recently.

However, officials of the Secretariat, Vidhan Sabha, Punjab and Haryana High Court, museum have been very cooperative during the working days.

But the problem arises when the tourists come on short visits on Sundays and Saturdays and have to stay back till Monday to see these monuments.

As senior officials are not available on these public holidays, the security personnel on duty do not let them inside these high-security areas.

Sources said there was need for the Chandigarh Administration and Punjab and Haryana Governments to discuss the issue and find out a solution to the problem.

Mark and Suzanne who have come from Australia came to the city on Friday but had to wait till Monday to study the Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha.

A number foreign tourists, therefore, halt at Delhi and come by the morning Shatabdi to return by the same train in the evening.

The Tourist Information Centre at the bus stand is aware of the problem and it has been trying to make these visits possible even on holidays by issuing recommendation letters but the security staff does not honour these until a senior official is available.

Annika, a student of architecture from New Zealand, told the Chandigarh Tribune she was disappointed to come to the city as lot of tinkering had been done with the original design of the great architect. Besides other problems, there was a practice to overcharge foreign tourists by auto-rickshaw drivers.


Injectable contraceptives now in India
Our Correspondent

In India, 16 per cent of married women are not using contraceptives. In Punjab, the percentage of such women is the lowest in the country. Only seven per cent of married women are not using contraceptives in the state. The percentage is the highest in Nagaland.

Chandigarh, March 5
Injectable contraceptives — preferred by over 14 million users in 100 countries — have been launched in India also. It is safe, effective and hassle free. You require just one injection of “Medroxyprogesterone Acetate” or “DMPA” every three months for protection.

Emphasising on the benefits of the contraceptive, principal medical advisor to the Management Science for Health at Boston in the USA Dr Douglas Huber asserts, “the failure rate is exceptionally low as compared to other oral contraceptives. In fact, it is 99.7 per cent effective, making it one of the most reliable methods of birth control available in the world.” Dr Douglas is also on the panel of the World Health Organisation (WHO_ and has written over 120 books.

He adds, “You do not have to worry about missing the pill as injections have to be used just four times a year. In other words one dose offers women three months of protection. Otherwise also, the effect is immediate”.

This is not all. Dr Douglas says, “the DMPA’s effect of stopping the release of ova is 100 per cent reversible. You simply discontinue the use when you wish to get pregnant gradually enabling you to regain the ability to conceive”.

Some women have reported a marginal increase in weight — up to 2 kg a year. “But by following a controlled diet and exercising regularly, you can manage your weight,” he asserts.

He says, “For more than 30 years, it has been used safely by women in over 100 countries. It is now being imported and marketed in India by Pfizer. The rate of the injection varies between Rs 150 and Rs 170 per voil. Procuring the contraceptive from non-government organisations (NGOs) would prove to be cheaper. It would cost Rs 70”.


Power from solid waste on anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Municipal Corporation has decided to go in for solid waste management technology, which will generate electricity for mass consumption.

The ‘plasma’ process is seen as a profit-making eco-friendly technology. The city produces 350 metric tonnes of garbage each day. The land will be handed over to the company on nominal rent. A decision has been taken with regard to the technology alone. There is no decision on the any company to be given the tash.

A decision in this regard was made by a high-level committee of the corporation. It had three more options on the choice of technology.

The waste will be disposed mechanically. It will help avoid pollution. One need not segregate individual implements of the garbage for disposal and production of electricity. In routine, plastic components are to be segregated for their disposal separately. The corporation will float global tenders for the project.

The project will be given on a BOT (Build, operate and transfer) basis. The total cost of the project is put at approximately Rs 85 crore. Out of the sum, the Ministry for Non-Conventional Energy is expected to contribute Rs 15 crore.

This amount will serve as equity share of the corporation in the project and is expected to generate revenue Rs 5 crore for MC each year.

Those on the committee are Mr B.R. Verma, Mr Surinder Singh, Dr K.S. Raju, Mr K.B. Sharma, Chief Engineer, Dr G.C. Bansal, Medical Officer, Health, and Mr Kulwant Singh Kalson, member-secretary.

Mrs Lalit Joshi, former Mayor, has been included as a special invitee.

The corporation will invite officials from the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy for consultation. The help of the Centre has been sought to provide expertise for inviting tenders for the corporation.


‘Peace bus’ may ply from India to Nairobi in Oct
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
A “peace bus” may ply from India to Nairobi in October for the World Youth Peace Summit to be organised there.

This was disclosed here today by Mr Raghumit Sodhi, country representative, who attended the World Youth Peace Summit Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Conference organised in Thailand in February. He said the bus would be plying in cooperation with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Some of the Asia-Pacific’s youth leaders had gathered at Buddhamonthon and the UN conference centre in Bangkok from February 25 to 28 for the summit. According to Mr Sodhi, the summit was conceived as a response to the growing need to provide the youth with a forum to discuss and address pressing global and regional issues.

Yasuhide Nakayama (MP, Japan), Rahul Bose (actor, India) Tushar A. Gandhi (great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi), Sarah En-Sa Park (Chairperson, International Conference Committee, South Korea), Tama Potaka (Attorney, New Zealand ), G.M. Rabbani (President, Bangladesh Central Youth Fourm), Omak Apang (former Union Minister, India), Raghumit Sodhi (Punjab, India), V. Muraleedharan (DG, Nehru Yuvak Sangathan, India) attended the summit. Mr Vasnat Pandit was there as an advisor to the summit.


Swamp deer enclosure covered with net
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, March 5
Efforts by Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park to keep a young pair of swamp deer in their enclosure seem to be unsatisfactory.

A deer had escaped from the enclosure on February 15, jumping over the more than nine-foot high enclosure wall.

Sources in the zoo said the animals were sensitive and got panicky at hearing any noise outside. Roaring lions and howling jackals scared them too.

The animals also jumped 6 to 8 feet high on seeing gatherings of strangers.

Zoo Director Kuldeep Kumar said the “vulnerable” portion of the enclosure from where the deer had jumped over the boundary wall had been covered with a net.

He said the antelopes would be exhibited for visitors only after raising the boundary wall. A wire mesh would also be erected on the wall of the main enclosure.


BJP blamed for steel price hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky, President of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress, in a press note here today has criticised the unprecedented increase in steel prices. “The direct impact of all policies of the BJP-led government has thrown multitudes of skilled workers on the road,” he said.

Mr Lucky said the increase in prices of steel had inflicted a crippling blow to small-scale industry and young entrepreneurs, besides the labour force. “The price of a bicycle has gone up by about Rs 200. The illusion of “feel good” by the BJP has put similar cost pressures on the common man.”

He said hundreds of crores of public money had been wasted by the government on advertising “unreal achievements”.


Body of new-born sent for clinical postmortem
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 5
The body of a new-born child, which was recovered from a vacant plot by the police last evening, was today sent to Patiala for a clinical post-mortem. Dr S.S. Dhanoa, SMO in charge of the Civil Hospital, told Chandigarh Tribune that the postmortem could not be performed because the body had started decomposing. As such it had been sent to Patiala where forensic experts at the medical college would carry out a clinical post-mortem.

He said he could not confirm the sex of the child because of decomposition though it appeared to be a male child.


3 cars recovered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
The police today claimed to have traced three more Maruti cars reportedly stolen from different parts of the city after interrogation of Gauravdeep Singh, who was earlier arrested by the police after he allegedly stole a Maruti Esteem car from Sector 15.

The three cars were found in Narwana, Haryana. The police claimed Gauravdeep was part of a gang of auto thieves. Other members of the gang had also been identified.

Held for extortion: The police today arrested a Dadu Majra Colony resident, Sohan Lal, alias Dabal, allegedly for demanding extortion money from a colony-based jeweller, Sukh Ram Soni.

The police, however, clarified that Dabal had no connection with any extortion racket.

According to police sources, Dabal demanded money from the jeweller as he wanted to purchase liquor. The jeweller had told the police that there were two more persons with Dabal, but investigations revealed that Dabal was alone at the time of the incident.


Convergys keen on call centre in UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The world’s biggest business process outsourcing (BPO) company, Convergys, is keen to open a call centre in the city. The president of Convergys, Mr John. C. Frekker, and his team called on the Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today.

The team also visited the upcoming IT park in Kishangarh. Sources in the IT sector indicate that Convergys aims to have a call centre with a staff of 1500. It is a $ 2.5 billion company, handling clients like Microsoft.

The Chandigarh Administration reportedly told the visiting officials about the human resource upgradation programme in the city.

They were told that Punjab Engineering College had been granted the status of deemed university.

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