C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Opposition cries foul over Chautala hoardings
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 8
Do scores of boards highlighting the achievements of the Om Prakash Chautala government along the highways and other roads in the district violate the model code of conduct of the Election Commission (EC)?

Whatever be the answer, the Opposition parties are gunning for Mr Chautala over the issue and demanding the removal of the hoardings, saying they "violate the model code of conduct". It amounts to luring the voters in favour of the INLD candidates, the parties argue.

The BJP and the Congress have decided to approach the authorities to remove the hoardings to provide a "level playing field" to all parties in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly elections next year.

An extensive tour of the district today revealed that two major highways, the Panchkula-Naraingarh and the Zirakpur-Kalka, were lined with hoardings put up by boards, corporations and several departments of the Haryana Government.

At one place near Raipur Rani bus stop, four huge boards with the picture of Mr Chautala on them had been erected along the highway. Even in Panchkula, the situation was no different, with a number of "achievement boards" detailing the work done by the INLD government. Motorists say these boards are very distracting.

However, taking exception to the ruling party's "unfair practices", the treasurer of the Haryana BJP, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, alleged that crores of rupees had been "misused" by the state government to advertise its achievements.

There was a lot of hue and cry over the "India shining" campaign of the NDA, he said. However, to these hoardings, which also violated the directives of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the local authorities had turned a blind eye, he added.

Urging the EC to order the removal of the hoardings, the district president of the Congress, Mr R.S. Chauhan, said HPCC president Bhajan Lal would be urged to take up the matter with the commission. The district unit would also take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner and District Electoral Officer, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat.

When contacted, Ms Ahlawat said the administration could initiate action only if political parties sent a written complaint.

In the drive under which various departments put up hundreds of these boards all over the state, the Deputy Commissioners concerned were reportedly appointed the nodal officers for deciding the number and the location.



Holi revellers paint city red
Tribune Reporters

It rained colour as Chandigarh residents celebrated Holi with gusto
It rained colour as Chandigarh residents celebrated Holi with gusto on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, March 8
Revellers, armed with water pistols and balloons, took to the streets on their bikes and cars to play Holi. They zipped around the city with enthusiastic shrieks of “Holi hai” mingled with din of trumpets. The presence of the police, especially along the geri route, was no dampener.

Helmets were not seen and three persons riding on a single motor bike was a common sight.

The youths targeted passersby also. Armed with water balloons, they aimed at cyclists, and pedestrians. Even those travelling in cars and buses were not spared. Immaculate clothes were no consideration as they poured water mixed with colour on the victims.

The geri route and the southern sectors were the venue of prime celebrations. Boys in open jeeps “patrolled” the area between Sector 9 and Sector 11 and stopped to buy “bhang pakoras”. Others picked up eggs to aim and shoot.

The shopkeepers too had made special arrangements for the occasion. They could be seen selling eggs and colours.

As Panjab University’s main gate was closed, Holi was “just for the hostelers”. Those who stayed back to enjoy the festival away from their families, went from one hostel to another, making it a day to remember.

Girls, however, had their reasons to complain. The hostels, they alleged, were converted into jails. “As cops and security guards maintained vigil, the hostels were virtually inaccessible,” boys complained.

Private dance parties were also organised. As young couples gathered, disc jockeys mixed music for the revellers.

A large number of people went uphill. High beer, they danced to pulsating music after parking their cars right in the middle of the road.

Members of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal celebrated Holi with enthusiasm. They called upon the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, and the IG, Mr Rajesh Kumar. They also went to Raj Bhavan to wish to Governor.

For some, Holi was a colourless event. As synthetic colours entered their eyes, over 15 city residents rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The residents, with blood-red eyes, were discharged after first aid. Few others went to the PGI following allergy due to colours.

AMBALA: Holi was celebrated with enthusiasm here. Ambala Central Jaycee organised a function, including a cultural programme and singing competition.

Holi milan was organised by the Aggarwal Vikas Manch. Manch members danced to folk songs and Hindi film songs.

PANCHKULA: Even as the police looked the other way, hooligans had a field day. Residents were put to a lot of inconvenience. Traffic rules were flouted with impunity and the Holi revellers could be seen throwing colours on passersby, including women. The Sector 11 market saw a group of village youth drive a tractor recklessly, endangering lives.



Holi with ash and bones
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
Some residents of Sohana village here chose to play Holi with ash and animal bones this year. Instead of colours, ash was smeared on faces and skeletons of animals were hung outside neighbour’s houses by a group of youth. They wanted to revive a tradition that was followed in the village several years ago to appease ghosts. It was brought to an end after the police intervened.

Residents of the village woke up to find skeletons hanging outside their houses and a pile of bones in a tractor-trailer parked in the middle of the bazaar on Saturday. “Some of the bones were fresh and were stinking,” said Darbara Singh, a 74-year-old resident of the village.

The villagers found piles of ash lying at various places in the village. A group of 10 youths then gathered at the bazaar and started throwing ash at one another. ‘‘We smeared one another with ash and danced holding the bones,’’ said a shopkeeper who did not want to be named. ‘‘We did it because that is what we saw our elders do when we were children. It is believed that hanging skeletons outside the houses, keep the evil spirits happy,” he said, adding that they had gone to an animal bone store to get the skeletons.

Most of the village elders are horrified. ‘‘This is ridiculous. We had the tradition earlier. Sohana’s Holi was considered to be the dirtiest Holi in Punjab once. Thankfully, such a Holi was put to an end by a strict ‘thanedaar’ many years ago. These people revived it this year as the police station has been shifted from the village,’’ said the owner of a cycle repair shop.

‘‘We are not happy with this. This year the bazaar was made to look like a primitive jungle and these youth behaved like uneducated barbarians. Even small children were not spared. Someone informed the police,” said Darbara Singh.

‘‘We did it just for fun. We wanted to be different,’’ said one of the youths, adding that ‘‘the police will beat me if it comes to know.”

Pratap Singh, a 76-year-old villager said: ‘‘Sohana village along with Kumbra, Mouli Baidwan and Matour villages were established by four Jat brothers who had come from Meerut before the Mughal times. In order to save their families from attack, a skeleton of an animal would be hung outside the house to give it a haunted look. The attackers would never enter the house.’’



Teenager dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Holi turned out to be a horrifying experience for a Sector 42 family yesterday when a man allegedly tried to rape their seven-year-old daughter.

Radhey Shyam (52) of Kajheri village tried to rape the girl who had gone to the village along with her parents to play Holi with his maternal uncle yesterday. As per police sources, the accused who has been arrested, lured the girl and took her to an isolated place outside the village and attempted to rape her.

The police said the girl raised the alarm and a crowd gathered. He has been arrested under Sections 366-A, 376 and 511, IPC. 

Chandigarh, March 8
A teenager was killed in a road accident while the traffic police challaned over 800 persons on the Holi yesterday. The festival was celebrated in the city under heavy police bandobast.

A resident of Daddu Majra Colony, Jatinder Kumar, died when his scooter collided with another scooter on the road dividing Sectors 38 and 41 yesterday. Another unidentified youth, who was riding pillion on the scooter sustained serious injuries and has been admitted to the PGI. The two were not wearing helmets.

A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304A, IPC, has been registered.

The traffic police came down heavily on revellers, who violated rules and issued 816 challans. It also impounded 113 vehicles plying without proper documents.

Police sources said the maximum challans were issued to persons riding two-wheelers without helmets. Challans were also issued to those who crossed the speed limits.

The police had made arrangements to check hooliganism outside girls’ hostels in the city.

In a separate Holi-related incident, two persons were arrested for assaulting and threatening a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, Vipin Kumar. Trouble arose when Tity and Kamal Kishore, residents of the colony, along with some other persons entered into an altercation with Vipin Kumar while playing Holi. Tity and Kishore have been arrested under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 506, IPC.



Kidnapper of two girls arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 8
Satpal, alias Raju, who had allegedly abducted two sisters aged 4 and 5 years on March 2 from Abheypur village, Panchkula, was arrested by the UT Police. Raju was later handed over to the Panchkula police.

On March 3, the police had found the sisters from Kishengarh village (near the Sukhna lake). Police sources said after abducting the sisters, Raju had brought them to his jhuggi at Madrasi Colony, Bapu Dham, Sector 26. But when he came to know that the Chandigarh Police had been informed about the kidnapping by its counterpart in Panchkula, he abandoned the girls in Kishengarh and fled.

However, Raju returned home to play Holi yesterday and acting on an information, a police team led by Bapu Dham Colony police post in charge Dalbir Singh arrested him. He was later handed over to the Sector 19 police of Panchkula.

Father of the girls, Mr Sartar Khan, reportedly had a long-standing financial dispute with Raju. Both Sartar and Raju work in a flour mill in the Industrial Area, Panchkula.



Bhutan, Sri Lanka ask India to train their police
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Three countries have approached the Indian Government with requests to train their respective police forces. While a high-level assessment team is leaving shortly for Ethiopia, requests from Bhutan and Sri Lanka are being considered.

“A two-member team is scheduled to visit Ethiopia to analyse the situation there and assess their requirements,” Director-General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), Mr Sarabjit Singh, said while talking to The Tribune here today.

“We are working out the feasibility of stationing an Indian training team in Ethiopia. It could also be that the Ethiopians come here for training,” he added.

Similarly, Bhutan’s requirements are also being assessed. They have also shown interest in sending their personnel to attend courses at the Central Detective Training School (CDTS) in Kolkata, he said. Requests from Bhutan assume significance in the backdrop of operations launched by it against insurgents operating from its soil.

“The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, are seeking vacancies for their officers in the National Police Academy (NPA) at Hyderabad,” Mr Sarabjit Singh, who had earlier served as the Director-General of Punjab Police, said. Sri Lanka is seeking 30 seats per year to train officers at the level of inspectors and above.

Training of police personnel from these countries, if it comes through, he said, would be a regular feature rather than a one time affair. Recently, the CDTS at Chandigarh had also conducted a training course for six policemen from the Maldives and one from Uganda.

The BPRD has also revised the training curriculum of Indian Police Service officers attending courses at the NPA. “One important aspect is that we have devised inputs for scientific methods of interrogation,” he said. One such element is narco-analysis, where electrodes attached to a suspect’s head send back signals from the brain at an analysing machine. These signals can determine whether a suspect is telling the truth or not.

The Director-General said that the BPRD was also undertaking projects on stress management among police personnel. It had also been collaborating with various universities and management institutes to undertake research projects concerning police administration and functioning at all levels. A lot of research and analysis work relating to women’s and children’s issues was done at the BPRD last year, he said.



100 Tribune employees donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
As many as 100 employees of The Tribune donated blood at a camp organised by the Tribune Employees Union to observe the International Women’s Day on the premises of The Tribune here today.

It was the 17th consecutive blood donation camp and the second on the International Women’s Day to be organised by the union.

After inaugurating the camp, Dr R.P.Bambah, a trustee of the Tribune Trust, appreciated the gesture of the union in holding the camp on this day. Justice S. S. Sodhi (retd), another trustee of the Tribune Trust, also visited the camp.

A team of doctors from the Department of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, led by Dr Sabita Basu, conducted the camp. Mr Arun Kaushal donated blood for the 60th time followed by Dr Renuka Nayyar, who donated blood for the 32nd time. Other regular donors were Mr Satinder Singh Bedi (28 times), Mr Ashok Kumar (26 times), Mr S. S. Pathania (25 times), Mr Amarnath Vashistha (22 times), Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Anil Gupta (21 times). Mr Charanjit Singh, a star donor of the PGI, came to donate blood for the 145th time.

Other prominent persons who donated blood were Ms Saudamani Bambah, Mr O. P. Arora, Additional General Manager, The Tribune Trust, and Mr S. S. Bhullar, Editor of Punjabi Tribune.

The General Manager of the Tribune Trust, Mr R. N. Gupta, also visited the camp. The President of the Tribune Employees Union, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, said the camp was a mark of solidarity with the cause of the women.



Chandigarh Calling
Unique outfit

The Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association is unique in more ways than one. It not only provides a forum to senior citizens of the City Beautiful and the surrounding towns of Panchkula and Mohali to come together and share their experiences but also allows them to continue to use their varied expertise in the service of society even when they are no longer in employment.

It has launched a unique project, ‘Bheeshma Pitamaha’, named after the grand old man of Hastinapur of Mahabharata who, after renouncing his claim to the throne and taking a vow of service to his country, set about ensuring that future generations were brought up, imbibing good values.

According to Brig Keshav Chandra (retd), president of the association, in the present socio-economic scenario, children are the worst affected. Deprived of a healthy family environment the vulnerable among them fall prey to the influences, picking up sundry vices and becoming casual in their studies. This is evident from the increasing absenteeism and declining performances in schools. To indulge in vices, some of them go looking for easy money, with the result that instead of becoming net contributors to society, they become a drain on it. The resulting frustration, insecurity and humiliation may, end in criminal activity or suicide. Project ‘Bheeshma Pitamaha’ is an attempt by senior citizens to play the traditional grandparental role.

Under the project the association ‘adopts’ a school and sends its members to inculcate in impressionable young students values which were held dear, so that they may become good citizens.

The role of the association is limited to ‘guidance and counselling’ aimed at getting children to the school and keeping them there through interesting lectures and extra curricular activities. Formal education is left entirely to the class teachers.

Park calls for care

The Chandigarh Administration is going overboard greening Chandigarh parks. But the endeavour has remained confined to certain VIP sectors. The parks earmarked for their poor cousins adjoining the labour colonies and elsewhere are poorly maintained and call for proper upkeep. For instance the park earmarked for the residents of the Tenement Labour Colony in Sector 29-B is perhaps the most neglected of the lot.

As you chance upon this ill-maintained park, the musty stench of garbage heaps and the over-grown wild bushes and bramble, assorted public and private vehicles parked haphazardly there, hordes of stray cattle, dogs and other pets extend a cold welcome to you. Rag-pickers could be seen littering away the refuse from the massive dust bin. The garbage, more often than not, spills over the road which is not cleared for days. The colony residents, too, have contributed greatly to the problem by way of throwing the garbage at a place of their convenience. Besides being an ugly spot, the place has become a safe haven for rodents and reptiles. “Our long pending demand to develop the park as per the master plan has been acceded to. We have been sanctioned a grant of Rs 1.5 lakh for the purpose. Even though the sanctioned amount is too paltry, we are happy the Administration has at least moved in this direction”, chorused Mr Sohan Singh Sandhu and Mr Darshan Lal Malik, chairman and president, respectively, of the Nehru Social Welfare Association.

Encroachers’ paradise

The Sector 11 market of Pachkula has become an encraochers’ paradise. Not to speak of corridors, certain parts of the parking lot have been gobbled up by encroachers putting the general public to a lot of inconvenience.

While encroachments in the corridors make the movement of the shoppers difficult, the encroachments in the parking lot makes the parking of the vehicles difficult. Tempers run high as the shoppers compete with one another to park their vehicle in the limited space available.

The situation at the back of the showrooms is no different. Will the authorities concerned spare a thought for the problem, which is getting acute with the each pasing day?

Clubs take a back seat

Clubs in the city are normally very busy on weekends. The last weekend was a bit different. Children were in few number at the clubs due to examinations. Naturally their mothers also stayed away. So the clubs had a majority of men or young couples. In case of children studying in Class X or XII, even fathers stayed back home. In several cases fathers took leave from work as the board exams could make or mar the child’s career. And frequenting clubs does not figure in the programme till the exams are over.

The board exams have also changed the social life of parents. In case of working couples, women in most cases have adjusted their schedules to suit the tuition and special classes.

Apart from handing over the routine milk and almonds to children, the stress during board exams has also to be countered.

Humane side of youngsters

Management students might seem to think of managing finances and putting them to optimum use but they sure have a humane side. This was manifested by four youngsters of the University Business School, Panjab University, who have got together to give the inmates of the Old Age Home a good time.

First year students Anuja Dhar, Nishant Awasthi, Romy Thakur and Sumeet Gupta are gearing up to organise a special lunch for the inmates at their premises and spending quality time, giving them a feel of what it is like to have children around.

The funds for the lunch have come from money made at a games stall at the Rose Festival which concluded recently. “The maximum help came from our chairman, Dr Satish Kapoor, who agreed to sponsor the stall which was given by CITCO at concessional rates. He will accompany us to host the lunch at the Home on Thursday,” says Nishant.

PGI road in dire straits

The road within the PGIMER, leading to the new OPD block from the gate is in dire need of treatment. Dotted with potholes all over the small stretch, the narrow road is a bane for patients visiting the OPD.

Providing a roller-coaster ride to everybody taking it, the road needs immediate repair but the frequency of its use serves as a deterrent. While repair during the day is ruled out, filling up of potholes and recarpeting it for a smooth finish by night seems the only alternative before the authorities.

Tempting TV and exams

The much sought after Hindi soap operas have taken a backstage as it is the examination time. As the stakes are high, parents have ‘literally’ pushed the idot box into the remote corners of their homes.

But the distractions are many. The forthcoming cricket series between India and Pakistan would be testing the nerve of the parents. Some plan to allow their kids to view selective matches, provided there level of preparedness for the examination was satisfactory.



Women’s Day celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 8
The Woman and Child Support Unit of the Chandigarh Police organised host of events to mark the International Women’s Day. It started in the morning with a road run and walk. More than 600 persons took part. This included children from different government and private schools. The road run started from Rose Garden at 7.30 am and was flagged off by the Chief General Manager of the State Bank of India (SBI), Mr A.D. Chaudhary.

The run concluded at the Sukhna Lake. The winners were Constable Suresh Kumar, Chandigarh police, Dharamvir Singh and Ranjodh Singh of Government Model High School, Sector 42, Chandigarh.

The schools which participated were the Government Model High School, Sector 42-B, Chandigarh, Government Model High School, Sector 37-D, Chandigarh; Shivalik Public School, Sector 41-B, Chandigarh; Saint Peters School, Sector 37, Chandigarh; Government High School-VIII, Maloya, Chandigarh and Government High School, Sector-30A, Chandigarh.

The SBI presented a shirt and cap to all participants. The IG, Mr Rajesh Kumar, addressed the gathering and told them about the aims and objectives of Woman and Child Support Unit.

A declamation contest on “Is woman a commodity” was organised at GCG, Sector 11, Chandigarh. More than 25 candidates from different colleges and departments of Panjab University expressed their views on the topic. The winners of the contest were: Jyotika, GGSC, Sector 26, Chandigarh; Geetika GGDSD College, Sector 32, Chandigarh, and Tarika, Government College for Girls, Chandigarh.

Besides this, two educative plays were staged at Students’ Centre, Panjab University, and at Plaza in Sector 17. The plays focused on the social life of women and difficulties faced by them in general. A scroll was also put up to solicit messages, sentiments, views and opinion of today’s youth on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Students enthusiastically put their messages and views.

A poster-cum-slogan contest was also held and overwhelming response was received from various schools and colleges. More than 250 entries were received in this category. An exhibition of selected posters was held at Plaza, Sector 17, Chandigarh. The winners of poster and slogan contest are: Anita, Sandeep Kumar, Government Model School, Darua, and Jitendra Tiwari, Government School, Darua.

In the poster making contest (schools) the winners were: Arvinder Singh, Government Model School, Sector 21, Chandigarh Anshul Sharma, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, Chandigarh, and Sawan Singh, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40-B, Chandigarh. Poster-making contest (colleges): Amanpreet, Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36-B, Chandigarh; Manika, Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, Chandigarh, and Suman, SGGS College for Women, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the urban cell of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation organised a function to commemorate the International Women Day here today. Ms Prem Lata, Chief General Manager, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, who was the guest of honour, said quality education and equal opportunities had gone a long way in improving the status of women in the society.

While highlighting the role of women in shaping the history of the country, senior advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Ms Shiela Didi, rued that despite constitutional guarantee of gender equality, the status of women had not risen to the desired level after independence.

Mr Davinder Singh, president of the All-India SBOP Employees Federation urged the women to be more vigilant against women-directed crimes like female foeticide, dowry deaths, etc.

At Chandigarh, a lecture and an interactive session on women’s rights was held at No. 3 Base Repair Depot here. Over 200 members of the local unit of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association attended the function.

Mrs Manjit Virk, president of the association, stressed on the need to create awareness among women.

A lecture on Women’s rights and privileges was delivered by Sqn Ldr Lavjeet Kaur.

An eight-day-long awareness camp for women organised by Yuvsatta, a social organisation, in association with the Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board, concluded today with a rally against female foeticide.

The Citizens Awareness Group organised an awareness camp for rural and poor women in the community centre, Sector 56 (Palsora) today. The Surya Foundation organised a seminar and poster painting competition at Raipur Khurd. Main topics of the seminar were female feoticide and women empowerment. Meanwhile the Indra Social Welfare Society organised an awareness generation programme for rural women at Buterela village. 



Talks, discussions and competitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Declamation contests, talks and poster making competition marked the International Women’s Day celebrations in various educational institutions in the city. A talk on ‘ Ground Reality of Women’s Plight in Modern Society’ was organised at Government College of Education , Sector 20, here. The programme was organised jointly by the Government College of Education and the State Institute of Education.

At MCM DAV College for Women the day celebrated by organising a discussion on women related issues. Dr C.L. Narang from Panjab University was the chief guest.

In his address, Dr Narang said it was unfortunate that sex ratio in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh was going down very sharply. He said the women had shown her supremacy in every field. Dr Puneet Bedi, Principal of the college, highlighted the dowry death of a student of the college, Geetanjali Manchanda. The students who took part in the discussion were Amarjeet Kar, Geetali Singh, Shikha , Parul and Japana. The students spoke on sex determination tests and abortions being done by private nursing homes.

The Centre for Women Studies and Development, Panjab University, celebrated the day by organising a seminar on ‘Empowerment of Women’ . Ms Reeta Sharma, a journalist, recalled the sacrifices of thousands of women over the centuries. Everyone should reiterate, remember, inspire, motivate and encourage others on this day to ensure that the women get their due in the society. Prof S.K. Sharma, Dean University Instruction, PU, said in order to bring about a change in the feudal mind set, it was imperative to ensure universal education of women. Dr Aruna Goel, Director, Centre for Women Studies and Development, also spoke.

At Government High School, Sector 40, students and teachers took part in a function. Dr C.L. Naraing from Panjab University, was the chief guest. Ms Ashalata, Headmistress of the school, also spoke.



Mindset change needed to better women’s lot
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
More than 500 women social workers from Punjab participated in the state-level International Women’s Day celebrations organised by the Department of Social Security and Women and Child Welfare at Shivalik Public School, Phase II, here today.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Mr J.R. Kundal, Principal Secretary of the department, said there was a need to bring about change in the mindset of both men and women to tackle the problems being faced by women. There was duplicity in our attitude towards women, which needed to be cleared, he added.

“Law responds to changing social needs. But law by itself does not serve any purpose it has to be backed by social action,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Som Prakash, Director, Social Welfare, Punjab, spoke on the menace of female foeticide in the state. Ms Harsimran and Ms Amarjit Kaur Bhullar, both members of the Punjab State Women’s Commission, discussed some of the basic problems being faced by women.

At another function, more than 350 students of the Jan Shiksha Sansthan (JSS) here celebrated the day. Prof Asha Sethi of the JSS said the day provided the opportunity to reflect on various issues affecting women.

Mr Dildar Khan, director, JSS, Mohali, said the empowerment of women would be meaningful only when they themselves realised the relevance of education for their own development.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, JSS programme officer, also spoke on the occasion. Eight students of various courses participated in a declamation contest. Among those who won were Sandeep Singh and Anju.

The Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology here also celebrated the day in collaboration with the Family Planning Association of India. The programme was inaugurated by Mr Karminderjit Singh, Programme Officer, NSS. Mrs Shiela Didi, president, Punjab Istri Sabha, was the chief guest.

Students of the institute Geetika, Nidhi and Gayatri made presentations on the issue.



Protest against J&K daughter’s Bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the local unit of the BJP Mahila Morcha organised a protest against the Bill introduced in the House of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly which says women from the state will lose their state subject rights if they marry outside the state.

The morcha will launch a “Jan Jagran Abhiyan” throughout Chandigarh against the said Act.

About 300 women workers participated in the protest. The sammelan’ was presided over by Mrs Asha Verma, president, BJP Mahila Morcha. A resolution condemning the J & K Government and the Congress party for passing of the Bill for withdrawing the state subject rights of Jammu & Kashmir girls marrying an outsider was passed.

After the ‘sammelan’ the Mahila Morcha led by Mrs Nancy Ganju, president, Kashmiri cell of the BJP, held a demonstration. According to the Bill, if a Kashmiri girl gets married to an outsider, she will be deprived of her right of moveable and immovable ancestral property.

Meanwhile, the Kashmiri Sahayak Sabha, Chandigarh, held an extraordinary executive committee meeting on Sunday. It denounced the passing of the Bill. The committee termed the passing of the Bill as a discrimination against women, most of whom belong to the Dogra, Sikh and Kashmiri Pandit communities.

It was paradoxical that in 1982 the National Conference government, supported by the Congress, had introduced a Bill seeking reclamation of proprieties by those persons who had migrated to Pakistan between 1947 and 1954. Today, the PDP government supported by the Congress wanted to forfeit the rights of a woman marrying a non-state subject.

The Kashmiri Sahayak Sabha, Chandigarh, condemned the retrograde step taken by the Jammu and Kishmar Legislative Assembly and urged the state government to reconsider its decision.



University panel to check harassment against girls
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, March 8
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai constituted a five-member committee pertaining to violence and sexual harassment of women at workplace on the occasion of International Women’s Day here today.
The committee will work for the security of girls students and women employees in the university.

Mr Boparai said women were a force to reckon with and were excelling in all fields.

The National Theatre Arts Society organised “Atam Hatya Di Dukan”, a social satire, here. The play was directed by Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal.

Meanwhile, the achievements of the police counselling cell for the past year were evaluated today.

The objective of the cell is to provide a platform for the redress of marital disputes.

The postgraduate department of English of Government Mohindra College organised a symposium on women’s rights to mark women’s day.

The Principal of the college, Mr Raj Kumar Sharma, said despite constitutional provisions, women did not actually enjoy rights in India. He said women’s empowerment could be achieved only through education.

Panchkula: The DC, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, flagged off a women awareness rally in Panchkula. She called upon women, especially those from the rural areas, to fight social evils like dowry and female foeticide.

The Ambala district president of the women’s unit of the Haryana Punjabi welfare Sabha, Mrs Sunila Vig, today said women must be given due representation in politics.

She said all parties must take into consideration the women force.

The Talent Promotion Club (India), held a function to mark women’s day.

A variety of events marked women’s day at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal (Ropar). An inter-college paper reading contest was organised in which 40 students from various colleges of Punjab participated.

Drishi Kaur from IET, Bhaddal, stood first in the best personality contest. while Aviral Vyas of RIEIT and Harleen Kaur of CEC, Landran, stood second and third, respectively. Deepika Gupta of Indo Global College of Architecture won the consolation prize.

Women sarpanches from nearby villages also participated in the function. Prof S. Suri, Dean and Head of the Department of Radio-Diagnosis, PGI, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. She emphasised on the economic independence and education for women.



Contractors demand land to build their houses
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
The Private Construction Labour Contractors Association has demanded land for a separate residential colony for its members.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Jaswant Singh Bhullar, president of the association, said about 90 per cent of the construction in the town had been carried out by contractors, but they themselves were houseless. He said their organisation had approached various political parties in this regard but no one had come to their help.

He said that the government was making efforts to rehabilitate people who had come from other states but no provision was being made to accommodate them. He said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Kharar MLA, had assured their body at the time of elections that their demand would be looked into, but now more than two years had passed and nothing had been done so far.

Mr Bhullar said that their body was registered and its members worked on the basis of scheduled item rates. There were some contractors, who were not members of their organisation and did not work according to the scheduled item rates. He appealed to the people to get their work done only from members of the contractors union who had been issued identity cards.

He said that there were 300 contractors in Chandigarh and 250 each in Mohali and Panchkula who had become members of the registered body.

It had also been pointed out that the Municipal Council was charging octroi on the same shuttering material time and again. Whenever the material was brought back from Chandigarh octroi was charged.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Nagi, president of the Chandigarh unit of contractors, said no land had been earmarked by the administration where the contractors could store their shuttering material. A penalty was imposed by the Chandigarh Administration if the material kept lying for some days in front of houses where construction activity was going on. He said they had met the Deputy Commissioner and Mr Satya Pal Jain, ex-MP, in this regard but to no avail.

Meanwhile, the following have been elected office-bearers of the association: president-Mr Jaswant Singh Bhullar; senior vice-president-Mr Manjeet Singh Mann; vice-president-Mr Surat Singh Kalsi; general secretary-Mr Lakhbir Singh; secretary-Mr Didar Singh Kalsi; cashier-Mr Bhupinder Singh; members-Mr Mehal Singh, Mr Sucha Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Kalsi and Mr Nirmal Singh Sabharwal.



Taxi operators oppose passenger tax
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
Taxi operators of the town have opposed the move of the Chandigarh Administration to impose road tax and passenger tax on tourist vehicles.
The affected persons, who held a meeting at Rose Garden in Phase III B I here today, said they had formed a five-member committee to take up the issue with the authorities concerned.

They said a delegation of the taxi operators would be meeting officials of the State Transport Authority, Chandigarh, in this regard.

If the decision was not rolled back, the taxi operators would be compelled to go to court.

The taxi operators said no road tax or passenger tax was levied on tourist vehicles in Delhi and states controlled by the Central Government. They said they were already paying taxes under the all-India tourist permit on vehicles which had move then six seats.

In Punjab this tax was Rs 10, 250, in Haryana Rs 14, 400 and in Himachal Pradesh it was Rs 12,000 per year.

They said in Punjab the tax was Rs 10,250, but the Chandigarh Administration had decided to charge Rs 12,000 for an area running into 20 km only.

The tax was totally unjustified as Chandigarh was the capital of Punjab. The taxi operators of Chandigarh had to pay only Rs 8,000 tax in Punjab.

The members of the newly formed committee are Mr Jasbhinder Singh, Mr Kuldeep Singh Gossal, Mr Satinder Singh Prince, Mr Paramvir Singh and Mr Tejinder Singh Dhanoa.



Programme on prison administration begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
A six-day training programme on “Human rights initiatives in prisons” began at the Institute for Correctional Administration here, which aims at improving human resources in jails. Delegates from several states are attending the programme, organised regularly by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).

The programme, which was inaugurated by the Director-General, BPRD, Mr Sarabjit Singh, will provide an informal forum to deliberate upon various issues relating to prison administration like perspective plan for jails to make them self-financing in the near future. The participants will also be sensitised to various issues of national concern and their constitutional obligations.

Participants will also be motivated to evolve different management techniques by associating other agencies more actively in improving prison services. Human rights issues in relation to prison administration, security, training and coordination of prison staff and prison inmates’ welfare are among topics to be discussed. Rights and duties of prisoners, overcrowding, visitors as well as treatment of women prisoners and children with them will also be discussed.



Fauji Beat
Ground MiG-21 to save lives

4 Guards (1 Rajput)  centrepiece in the Officers’ Mess depicting two-century-old history.
4 Guards (1 Rajput) centrepiece in the Officers’ Mess depicting two-century-old history.

If MiG-21 has acquired public notoriety of being called “flying coffin”, it is not without reason. To an Internet poll question in The Tribune, “should all MiG aircraft be grounded”, 77 per cent people have answered in ‘yes’, but then in India, unlike in America, the public opinion is always ignored.

Surprisingly, after losing a large number of pilots, besides civilians and aircraft, in accidents, the Air Headquarters in New Delhi, has said, after yet another accident at Jamnagar on February 20, that MiG-21 aircraft have a design defect. It has also been said that this defect is attributable to malfunctioning of the rotary slide wall in the fuel pump of the engine. The IAF authorities have also revealed, albeit, for the first time that this defect has been noticed several times earlier.

Lot of politics has been played with the MiG aircraft over the years, resulting in loss of precious human lives. It is sad that even the top brass of the IAF has contributed to this shoddy game by making statements in defence of the killer aircraft.

We now learn that the IAF is in the process of negotiating with the US, French and Russian bidders to purchase 125 multi-role fighters to replace 300 MiG-21 and 100 MiG-23-BN, which are on the verge of being phased out, thanks to our Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that continues to be a dream.

The regimental pride

“Lake and Victory”, is a battle honour, which was won by 4 Guards (1 Rajput) more than two centuries ago. After a string of six victories, as part of Lord Lake’s forces, the battalion, besides this battle honour, was awarded an honorary standard inscribed ‘Lake and Victory’. These Honorary Colours unfold a saga where the sons by their victory redeemed the honour of their fathers. This clearly brings out the regimental pride, which is the hallmark of the traditions of our Army.

It was the Bharatpore fortress that proved impregnable for the Lake’s forces. All his three assaults on this fortress in January and February, 1805, proved abortive. In the fourth assault, 4 Guards (1 Rajput) lost 180 men out of 400. The assault was partially successful with Lieutenant Templeton planting the Colours on the rampart. But he was soon shot down. When his comrade took his place, he, too, was shot down, but he fell holding the Colours riddled with shots and in tatters.

These were replaced by the new one. No one knew about the disappearance of the fragmented old Colours. When 20 years later, in January 1826, the same battalion, 4 Guards (1 Rajput) attacked the fort and took it, the sons brought the old Colours out and tied them to the new Colours to remind themselves of the unfinished task of their fathers that they had to accomplish.

These Colours were then preserved in a glass case and were later encased in a silver casket, which constitutes centre piece of 4 Guards (1 Rajput) today.

Health scheme, a non-starter

The Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) was inaugurated in the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, on April 5, 2003. What is creating dissatisfaction among the ex-servicemen is that even after one year of its launch, the scheme has not taken off. How can it take off when the empanelled hospitals have not been nominated so far?

From the very day the scheme was announced, authorities started making changes in it. For example, the subscription rates for membership were enhanced manifold before even the applications were filed, the application form itself was changed in a few months, the membership cards (called smart cards) have yet not been issued despite the hope given at the time of the submission of applications that these would be issued within three months.

It has been decided recently that a member will have to pay Rs 90 for each smart card. And those ex-servicemen who become members after February 1, 2004, will make this payment by a demand draft.

A recent change in the scheme, however, brings a good news for war widows who have been exempted from payment of contribution for the scheme.

Pritam Bhullar



ISO recognition for city police
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 8
The woman and child support unit of the police was today handed over the prestigious ISO 9001:2000 certification. The Chandigarh police has become the first police organisation in the country to be given the certificate. The certificate was handed over to the UT IGP, Mr Rajesh Kumar, by Mr K.K Sharma, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), at a function held at the Police Headquarters here today. Dr Arun Kumar Singh of the National Productivity Council, made a presentation highlighting the requirements and advantages of quality certification. 



Cop injured
Tribune Reporter

LALRU: Gurdeep Singh, constable with the Lalru police station, sustained injuries when a car hit him on the Kalka-Ambala highway here on Sunday. He has been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. A case has been registered.

Man assaulted

Prithi Chand (70), a resident of Dappar village, was seriously injured when he was allegedly attacked by four persons of the same village on Sunday.

In a complaint to the police, the sons of the victim said their father was beaten up when he objected to sheep grazing near a village dharamshala.

The victim has been hospitalised. Youth stabbed to death

AMBALA: A youth, Amit, was stabbed to death in Ambala City on Sunday. The youth was the resident of Ram Nagar.

According to information, a scuffle took place between Amit and four youths near a motor market. According to the police, old rivalry was the cause of the scuffle. The attackers used a broken bottle to stab Amit who was brought to the local Civil Hospital but was declared brought dead.

A case has been registered. The police has nabbed one of the accused.

Woman killed in accident

A women was killed in a road accident near Nanhera village on Monday. The victim has been identified as Jaswinder Kaur who along with her husband was going to Delhi when their car collided with a tractor-trailer near Nanhera. She died on the spot while her husband sustained injuries. He has been admitted to hospital.



Unemployed youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
Harmandeep, a 25-year-old unemployed youth, allegedly committed suicide here last night. A resident of Sector 69, Harmandeep, was found dead in his room hanging from a ceiling hook.

His father, Kuldeep, found a suicide note near him which stated that he is killing himself as he has been unable to find any job.

The police has started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the IPC.

Body found: A body was found at Jagatpura village, here on Monday. According to Mr Vinod Sharma, SHO, Sohana, the body seems to be of a middle-aged migrant labourer. The body does not have any injury marks and is slightly decomposed.

‘‘The body seems to have been lying out in the open for the past five-six days. We have no complaint of any person missing from the village. The photographs of the man have been taken and will be shown to the villagers tomorrow to help in the identification of the body,’’ Mr Sharma said.



Man found dead

Panchkula: Harsh Kumar, a resident of Kalka, was found dead under mysterious circumstances by the police from near the Parwanoo barrier, on Sunday. According to sources, he had been hit on the head with an iron object. A bachelor and in his early forties, Harsh was living in Kranti building on the Kalka-Shimla highway.

The brother of the deceased, Mr Sanjay Kumar, had lodged a complaint with the police that his brother had gone missing.


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