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Navratra fair from today
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 20
The district administration and the Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board are all geared up for a week-long Navratra mela starting from tomorrow.

The Chief Administrator of Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board and Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, Mrs Satwanti Ahlawat said adequate arrangements had been made to facilitate pilgrims, who would visit the shrine complex over a week-long fair. A special bus service had been initiated for the pilgrims from Chandigarh, Pinjore, Kalka and other surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, tight security arrangements had been made by the police for the Navratra fair. The Deputy Superintendent of Police (City), Mr Rajesh Duggal, has been made overall in charge of security.

Over 550 cops, from Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Panchkula, have been deployed in and around the shrine complex to keep a check on anti-social elements. The cops have been posted at 13 nakas enroute to the shrine from Mansa Devi T- point, besides Patiala temple, dharamsalas and bhandaras venues.

The board has also made elaborate arrangements that include availability of drinking water, toilets, sanitation and parking. For public conveniences, besides a temporary police station, a control room has also been set up. Vehicles has been restricted from entering the shrine complex. Moreover, separate parking lots have been earmarked for vehicles near the Haryana Urban Development Authority’s shopping complex.

To meet the drinking water requirement of the devotees, the Board has arranged three water tankers and made arrangement of accommodation for the devotees from far flung areas in the temple dharmashala and guest house. Apart from three bhandaras being run by the Board every year, seven more bhandaras will be organised during the fair.

Taking a serious view of the sanitation condition which often deteriorates during the fair, over 60 movable and immovable toilets have been set up. The board authorities have also pressed 40 sweepers on round the clock duty within the shrine complex. Besides, two makeshift dispensaries have also been created to provide medical assistance for the needy during the fair.



Raging bulls crash into showroom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Two stray bulls locking their horns over a fight on the city roads broke the glass panes of a showroom in Sector 20 here today. The incident highlights the problem of the cattle menace despite loud claims of an improvement by the Municipal Corporation.

It was normal business at the shop during the late afternoon hours when two bulls started fighting on the road. The animals crashed into the showroom, breaking the glass. The shopkeeper said the cattle menace was openly visible in different parts of the city and the problem seems to have become a part of the city environs.

The MC has shown its commitment for public welfare by transporting a number of cows to a ‘gaushala’ in Delhi. A sum of Rs 30 lakh has been cleared to pay for future transportation. There is also a provision for construction of two ‘gaushalas’ in the city.

“Good intentions mean little without proper implementation”, Mr Ram Tilak, a shopkeeper, in Sector 22 said. Stray cattle can be seen in different parts of the city. The city has been witness to a number of road accidents, a few of which had proved fatal.

Ms Rohina Sharma, a university student said, “while coming from the university library in the late evenings one often comes across stray cattle on the road across Kumhar Colony in Sector 24 which are very dangerous in the dark. I have had a narrow escape on at least a couple of occasions”.



Small screen dwarfs the big one
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The couch potatoes rule. Even among the cola guzzling and pizza munching yuppies. This is proved by empty cinema halls and the only multiplex in the region.

Both the masses and classes seem to elude cinema halls in the city and its satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali. They prefer to enjoy a movie on their home theatre systems and plasma TVs, or watch it when it is beamed on the cable network two months after the release. So, even if Bollywood stars, including Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan and Badshah Shah Rukh Khan, are presently shining in the city and have the people flocking to them for a dekko, movie buffs still prefer the comfort of home for watching their favourite stars in action.

Two days ago, a routine check of the cinema halls in the city by staff of the Deputy Commissioner’s office saw not more than 30 cinegoers in each of the seven halls. The two cinemas in Panchkula do not have many takers as they are closer to the only multiplex in the area. The city’s first multiplex – Fun Republic — got a great initial response, but has been slowly losing cinegoers, though the shopping arcade is still attracting people.

Though the current cricket fever and annual examinations may have contributed to the decline in the sale of cinema tickets, this downtrend is not seasonal. “Of the 20 movies that my company released during this year, only “Munnabhai MBBS” was a hit. Other big budget movies like “Rudraksh”, “Janasheen” failed to get even an initial draw,” says Mr Vicky Arora, a leading film distributors of the region.

Says Mr Vinay Gambhir, manager of Batra Cinema, “Earlier, cinema halls were the main place for entertainment and everyone looked forward to a new release. Now, with cable network and preference for ‘personalised’ socialising — where they can interact only with people of their kind — the cinema-going crowd is dwindling.”

Even the rollback of Rs 5 on cinema tickets, from Rs 50 per ticket to Rs 45, last month, has failed to have the desired effect.

In Panchkula, the cinema halls reflect the aftereffects of the introduction of multiplex culture. At KC, manager Roop Lall says ever since the multiplex came up in nearby Mani Majra, business is down by 50 per cent. Says Mr Vipin Jain, proprietor of Suraj theatre, “We propose to convert our theatre into a multiplex. With the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) having auctioned two multiplex sites, and proposing to add eight more, we are hoping that the government allows us to convert our theatre into a multiplex.”

The craze for building multiplexes has caught on. Jagat theatre will close down by the month-end for conversion into a multiplex. Owners of KC are also planning the same.

But Mr Vicky Arora points out, “The response to the only multiplex of the region is nothing as compared to the multiplexes in Gurgaon. When Fun Republic opened in Chandigarh, we hoped to get at least 80 per cent of the response as compared to Gurgaon, but it was mere 20 per cent. People here are not open to spending Rs 100 on a movie ticket. How many takers the emerging multiplexes will get, only time will tell.”



Philately may be introduced as subject
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Philately as part of school and college curricula across the country will soon be a reality. The Department of Posts has asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the respective state governments to take up philately as a subject, said the Director-General, Department of posts, Mr Vijay Bhushan, here today.

It was an ideal medium of education as the stamps cover subjects ranging from politics to national monuments to cultural heritage to religion, he said, adding that on an initiative of the postal department, certain state education departments and Jadavpur University, Kolkata, have already done so. Promoting separate philatelic sections in state government museums was also on the plans of the department.

Mr Bhushan, who is also the Secretary, Department of Posts, told the TNS that the government was going all out to promote philately as a source of revenue generation and to promote tourism. Citing statistics, he said around 40 per cent of the total revenue earned by the department from various services came from the sale of stamps.

On being asked about the security features being incorporated in the design of stamps, he said the mode of printings was being changed to intaglio as it made the printing more attractive and ensured that the design was not copied.

He admitted that the postal traffic from individual to individual was decreasing but claimed that the traffic from individuals to business houses and vice versa was on the rise.

“To improve the efficiency of the post offices, the department has earmarked Rs 836 crore for computerisation of 26,000 post offices throughout the country. Multi-purposed counter machines would be installed to lessen the harassment faced by customers,” said the Secretary.

But he strongly denied that the computerisation would lead to retrenchment. On being asked about the increasing gap between the receipt and expenditure, he said the department was suffering 90 per cent of the losses, around 600 crore last year, in the rural areas covered under the Universal Service Obligation (USO).



NRI had sent 2 persons abroad on fake passports
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A city-based NRI, who was arrested from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi this week while trying to flee the country, had allegedly sent two more persons abroad on fake passports.

The NRI, Inderjeet Singh Uppal, during interrogation, revealed that he had sent Amarbir Singh of Jagatpur. He also said he had sent his son Gagandeep Singh abroad by changing his name as Rajbir Singh.

The police had not got the forged documents used for these two passports yet. The documents would give the police more clues about his modus operandi.

The police suspected that Uppal had changed the name of his son Gagandeep Singh to Rajbir Singh because his son’s passport had expired. He might have changed the name as his son might have been denied visa on his passport and there was no way he could have again applied for visa on the same passport.

The police arrested Uppal earlier this week when Sector 44 resident Amarjeet Kaur complained that Uppal had taken Rs 10 lakh from her for sending her son Rohit Arjun Singh abroad and had never arranged genuine documents. She said Uppal was instead sending her son in the name of Inderjeet Singh Uppal’s son Gagandeep Singh, which she had refused to accept.



‘Close shave’ for student eating noodles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Vipul Tikku, a student of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, got a shock today when he almost swallowed a piece of a shaving blade while eating Maggie noodles in the Hostel No. 2 mess of Panjab University. This led to a protest by the hostellers.

The plate of noodles was kept as evidence by them. Later, they met the hostel warden to express resentment against the carelessness of the contractor.

Taking up the issue, activists of the National Students Union of India met the Dean Student Welfare, Prof Nirmal Singh, seeking termination of the contract for the mess.

Dr Nirmal Singh said a three-member committee of wardens had been constituted to look into the matter. “They will investigate the lapse on the part of the contractor and submit their recommendations to me. After that, we will decide the action to be taken against the contractor,” he added.

Protest held

Activists of the National Students Union of India and the Haryana Students Association burnt the cut-outs of Pepsi and Coke at the Student Centre, Panjab University, here today.

Protesting against the lifting of ban on the sale of aerated drinks at canteens on the campus and in colleges, the students demanded that the ban be reimposed.

The vice-president of the NSUI, Amanjeet Singh, said the university authorities had imposed a ban when the “pesticolas” were found to be contaminated, but it had been lifted after the Joint Parliamentary Committee confirmed the presence of pesticides in colas.



Papers filed for poll of Chandigarh Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The process of filing nominations for the elections in the Chandigarh Club ended yesterday with Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi and Mr Mukesh Bassi pitted against each other for the post of president. Elections in the prestigious club are scheduled for April 3. The last time elections were held was in March 2001. The elected president, Mr Ravinder Chopra, died in August last year. The vice-president, Mr Sunil Khanna, has been the acting President.

Besides Mr Sethi and Mr Bassi, there will be a keen contest for the lone post of vice-president. Mr Gopal Gupta and Mr Sandeep Sahni are in the fray. There are eight posts of executive member. Four members of the previous body — Mr Priya Bhusan Sharma, Mr Sanjeev Mehan, Mr Ajaibir Singh and Mr Naresh Chaudhary —are seeking a re-election. Apart from them 16 others have filed their nominations. These are Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Palli, Capt Sanjeev Gandotra, Mr Rajesh Sachdeva, Mr K.S. Bhatia, Mr Satpal Garg, Mr Vijay Kumar Pahwa, Mr V.S.T. Malik, Mr Parveen Chander Goyal , Mr Sanjeev Moudgil, Mr Ashok Jindal, Mr Sonal Noorpuri, Mr Raj Kumar Mittal, Mr Sandeep Bansal, Dr Sanjeev Goyal, Mr S.S. Toor and Mr Subhash Bindlish.

The forms will be scrutinised tomorrow. The last date of withdrawal is March 21. Meanwhile, in an interesting development, Mr Sethi and Mr Bassi have filed multiple nomination forms. Mr Sethi filed 12 forms while Mr Bassi filed three. Mr Sethi’s name was proposed by Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, Mr M.L. Sarin, Mr R.S. Sachdeva, Mr N.K. Nanda, Mr Jaspal Singh Khandhari, Mr J.S. Sekhri, Mr Sukhjit Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Rikhi. Among the seconders were Mr Jagit Singh, Mr Ramesh Kapoor, Mr Bhart Bhushan Verma, Mr Arjan Singh, Mr M.S. Manaktala, Mr S.S. Gulati, Mr Devraj Bansal.

Mr Bassi’s name was proposed by Mr Ravinder Krishan, Ravinder Bindlish and Mr O.P. Mahajan. His seconders include Mr Sunil Gupta, Mr Paramjeet Singh ( Pammi) Sethi and Mr K.I.P. Singh.



Advani’s yatra to reach city on March 24
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Bharat Uday Yatra of Mr Advani will reach the city after the completion of its first phase on March 24, which started from Kanyakumari. The yatra comes to the city from Kurukshetra. The Bharat uday rath will be first welcomed to the city by villagers of Hallo Majra with garlands and thereafter the yatra will be received at Tribune Chowk.

The yatra will pass through the markets of Sectors 29, 30, 20 and 21 and will reach Nehru Park in Sector 22. This is stated in a press note issued by the local unit of the BJP.

Mr Advani will address a public meeting at Nehru Park the same evening. He will address a press conference at the UT Guest House on March 25 from where the yatra will leave for Punjab.

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, will organise a function tomorrow at Kamalam, the party office in Sector 33. Mr Hartirath Singh, in charge of the Pradesh BJYM and member of the National Executive of the Yuva Morcha will address the meeting, the note states.

The BJYM activists will go from door to door and visit all markets to distribute prachar material highlighting the achievements of the NDA government.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate, and Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit, will address the sammelan. Mr Davesh Moudgil, president of the BJYM’s Chandigarh unit, said youths at tomorrow’s youth sammelan would be urged to launch an awareness campaign in the city in favour of the BJP.



BJP men campaign riding horses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
In a novel campaigning exercise for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the local unit of the BJP took out a rally on horses here today.

Six activists on horseback led the rally which travelled to different parts of the city. They were followed by supporters on two-wheelers and a mini-truck. The truck was fitted with a loud speaker highlighting the party’s achievements during its tenure in the Centre.

The Mahila Morcha of the BJP Chandigarh pradesh has intensified its campaign in the city through interaction with general public of the city. The Minority Morcha of the BJP has made an appeal to the minorities, particularly in the rural belt including Burail, Bapu Dham Colony, Mauli Jagran Colony and Manimajra villages, to participate in the” Bharat Uday Yatra”. The Trader Cell of the BJP is distributing prachar material in all markets.

Addressing a majority of the meetings, Mr Satya Pal Jain, the BJP candidate, said an extensive campaign was required to make the Bharat Uday Yatra of Mr Advani a success. He said a strong wave in favour of the BJP was prevailing throughout India.



Jain asks Bansal to exercise restraint
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, urged Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate, to restrain from using “unparliamentary language” while criticising his political opponents.

Mr Jain was referring to Mr Bansal’s comment at Friday’s press conference in which he had projected the BJP government as a team of “Ali Baba and 40 chor’. He had said that Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee was heading a team of ‘thugs’.

Mr Jain said in a democratic set up, everyone had the right to criticise others, but that does not mean that Mr Bansal should level allegations which were nowhere near the truth. Mr Jain said the ‘chargesheet’ issued by the local Congress leaders against the NDA government was merely a photocopy of the one released in New Delhi, a few days ago. “There is nothing original about the script. The charge sheet is not even worth the paper on which it was typed”, he added.

He said the Wednesday evening incident which saw an altercation between Mr Bansal’s driver and shopkeepers at Manimajra was unfortunate because Mr Bansal did not show any political maturity while dealing with the matter. Mr Bansal’s car was parked for more than two hours in front of certain shops which was objected to by a few shopkeepers.

Instead of resolving the matter amicably Mr Bansal sat in the police station demanding the arrest of the shopkeepers. “I or my party have nothing to do with the incident as claimed by the Congress”, he added.



Women urged to shun female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 20
Describing female foeticide as a “heinous crime”, Honorary General Secretary of Indian Council of Social Welfare (ICSW) Sharestha Mehta today urged women not to indulge in this evil.

She was addressing the gathering on the concluding day of an awareness generation camp, which was organised by the ICSW in collaboration with the Panjab University’s Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension. The camp was held at Maloya village to mark “International women’s fortnight”.

Ms Mehta also informed the audience about violence against women. Social worker Davinder Ahuja talked about health issues. He also stressed upon the need for taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Mr Gurmeet Singh from the State Legal Services Authority talked about the legal rights of women and services provided to them by the Authority. The other speakers included ICSW project co-ordinator Amartya Bagal Rana and Chairperson of Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board Kamlesh Gupta. Ms Gupta, along with ICSW Chairperson Rani Sharma, also distributed certificates to the participants.



Muslim panel to hold conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The local unit of the Anjuman Aqwaam-ul-Muslameen Alhind in a press note here today said that a conference would be organised shortly during the ongoing poll where leaders from different political parties would be invited to address the community.

Any leader who assures that his party will work for the welfare of the community will get votes, Mr Mohammad Mukarrammuddin, general secretary of the anjuman, said. It was stated in the press note that the anjuman criticised " exploitation of voters by certain self-proclaimed Muslim leaders." Such leaders have been asked not to use the religious premises for political activity, he added.



Tarrot cards effective in predicting future, says expert
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 20
Are you waiting for your promotion or for your business to pick up or eager to know what the future has in store for you and your family members? Here is a chance to get those answers through a crystal ball or just a deck of card for well-known tarrot card reader Poonam Sethi is in the city to predict your future.

This master of Feng Shui and expert tarrot card reader who is known for handling stars of Bollywood as well as politicians is ready to give solution to all your problems too, be it through colour therapy or ‘Rudraks’ healing or removing black magic through “mantras”. “I have been practicing tarrot card reading for the past nine years and I have found it very effective in predicting the future,” says Poonam, who is holding a three-day session in Hotel Mountview. She has also come up with “The Power of Feng Shui” which is the first book of her series of six books on this subject.

Claiming herself as psychic since childhood, Poonam says, “One needs to have certain degree of clairvoyance to become a tarrot card reader. One can not teach how to become a tarrot card reader but if one has the psychic power, or she can master the art by following the guidelines given in different books.”

Though a deck of “Rider Waite” card is her forte, Poonam is planning to enter the arena of reading crystal ball too. “I have been trying visualising future through a crystal ball and now I am ready to take my skill to the public,” adds Poonam.



Phone services hit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
Services provided by the BSNL in some villages of the area have been affected following damage to the telephone cable in Phase X here. The affected villages are Bakarpur, Kurari, Patton, Matran, Manakpur, Barri, Sekhan Majra and Siau.

According to a press note issued by the General Manager, BSNL, Mohali, Mr T.R. Sarangal, workers of the Municipal Council, Mohali, while carrying out digging near house numbers 2192 to 2202 in Phase X, have damaged the BSNL cable, thus affecting the services in the area. He said the repair work was in progress.



Red Cross society donates cycle
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 20
The Indian Red Cross Society yesterday donated a bicycle and other equipment to Sadhna Vocational Training Institute for mentally challenged in Manimajra.

According to a press note, the secretary of the Indian Red Cross Society, Ms Madhvi Kataria, handed over the things to children. The equipment is worth Rs 7,000. About 30 children were present on the occasion. The institution is being run by parents of special children.



Man killed, wife, son hurt in road mishap
Tribune Reporters

Lalru, March 20
A motorcyclist was crushed to death while his wife and son were seriously hurt when a truck collided head on with their vehicle on the Ambala-Naraingarh road near Handesra, about 15 km from here, late last night.

According to the police, an Ambala based family — Nirmal Singh, his wife Kuldeep Kaur and son Bunty — who were riding motor cycle (HR-01M-1503), had a head on collision with a truck (HR-38-2917) at about 9.30 last night.

Mr Nirmal Singh died on the spot. The injured were rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh, where they are struggling for life.

The truck driver reportedly fled from the spot. A case under Sections 304-A of the IPC has been registered against him with the Handesra police post.

Girl hospitalised: Tammana, a student of local Dental College, reportedly admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16 in Chandigarh, in an unconscious state last evening.

The girl was rushed to the Civil Hospital in Dera Bassi by her friends and was later referred to the General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh after her condition deteriorated.

Sources in the hospital revealed that the girl consumed over doze of a nerve reliever drug and fell unconscious. This all happened following a scuffle between two groups of college students over some issue.


Scooterist killed: Neeraj Sharma, a resident of Naya Gaon village, was killed after the scooter he was riding was allegedly hit by a truck at Khuda Alisher village here yesterday.

The driver of the truck (CHW-5885) managed to escape from the accident spot abandoning the truck. Sharma was taken to the PGI, where he died.

Forgery: On the complaint of a manager of the State Bank of India, the police has booked a resident of Patiala district on the charge of submitting forged documents for obtaining loan from the bank.

Pawan Kumar, a resident of Baltana, had secured a loan of Rs 60,000 from the Sector 30 branch of the SBI allegedly by submitting forged documents in May, 2001. On the complaint of the manager, Mr B.K Gupta, a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC has been registered.

Thefts: Gold jewellery and Rs 300 were reportedly stolen from the residence of Mr Sukhvir Singh in Dhanas village on Friday. Mr Sudhir Kumar Bansal, a Sector 56 resident, also reported that a CD player was stolen from his house on Friday.

A resident of Sector 22, Mr Tarsem Kumar Aggarwal, reported to the police that his truck (HR-68-2423) was stolen from Indira Colony, Mani Majra, on the night of March 18.


Crushed to death: A one-year-old child was killed after being crushed under a tractor-trailer at Sohana yesterday.

The accident took place at Akal Ashram Gurdwara, Sohana, where some construction work was going on. The child's parents worked as labourers there.

The child, Ashok, had been put to sleep by his mother on the roadside while she and her husband, Ketal Lal, were repairing the road. A tractor-trailer was parked on the road. While backing the vehicle, the driver, Avtar Singh, ran over the sleeping child crushing him to death on the spot.



Catalogue show to be held by UK trade teams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The British High Commission’s UK Trade and Investment team will organise a two-day multi-sectoral catalogue show in Chandigarh on March 22-23.

According to a release, the UK Capabilities Catalogue Show has been put together by the UK Trade and Investment teams in India and UK following UK companies’ keen interest in doing business with north Indian businessmen. The catalogue show aims to inform and interest Indian businessmen about UK expertise across several sectors — agri-business, biotechnology, education, environment, food and drink, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.



Gurmeet Singh is planning board member
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 20
Mr Gurmeet Singh, president, Mohali Industries Association (MIA), has been nominated as a member of the Punjab State Planning Board.

Hailing the appointment, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, general secretary, MIA, said it would help in getting higher allocations for schemes relating to industrial development and provision of better infrastructure to make Punjab an investors destination.


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