C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


More water for city by March 2005
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The city will start getting more water from the next summer as the much-awaited fourth phase of Kajauli Waterworks, which is to bring water from the Bhakra Main Line Canal to Chandigarh, is expected to be completed by March 2005.

The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr M.P. Singh, said this at a meeting to review the progress of Kajauli Waterworks today. Close to 40 per cent of work in Punjab territory had been completed. A sum of Rs 14.1 crore had been paid during this financial year. Another instalment of Rs 2 crore would be released tomorrow.

Water to Chandigarh is pumped against gravity from Kajauli, located on the Bhakra canal. At present 60 million gallons of water is pumped daily. The fourth phase will add 20 million gallons to the daily supply.

The Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, said that Rs 17 crore had been budgeted in the next financial year for this project. The work on laying the line in Chandigarh territory was in full progress and Rs 15 crore would be spent on this.

The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, said the Finance Department and the Municipal Corporation Commissioner should work in tandem to ensure that the did not get delayed due to paucity of funds.

In another development, Justice Verma asked his Adviser to call a meeting of the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, and the PGI Director to give them final notice that they would have to pay penal rate for water consumed for irrigation over and above domestic requirements and that they should complete their tertiary water network at the earliest for irrigation. 



Tribune team assaulted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 22
Armed henchmen of a “land mafia” operating in the Zirakpur area allegedly in connivance with a local police officer tonight assaulted a Tribune correspondent, a photographer and their driver at Dhakoli village in Patiala District on the Kalka-Zirakpur highway. The reporter had gone to the site where a piece of government land had allegedly been grabbed through armed henchmen by a Chunni Kalan resident.

The Tribune correspondent Bipin Bhardwaj, and the photographer, Pawan Sharma, were attacked by a group of around 25 men armed with guns, lathis and swords. They also attacked the car driver, Mr Joginder Singh, and damaged the car. While Pawan Sharma and the driver managed to flee from the spot, Bipin was held in captivity for over two hours by the henchmen who also snatched his mobile phone and purse. Bipin was only released after police intervention. Over 10 men were also arrested along with their weapons from the spot.

Relating the incident, Bipin said he had received a complaint from Mr Kamaldeep Singh, a resident of Dhakoli, against Mr Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Chunni Kalan. According to Mr Kamaldeep, Mr Gurcharan Singh, with the help of a gang, took forcible possession of a piece of land on which he and his mother were living for the past many years and which they had been trying to buy from the government. Mr Kamaldeep Singh had on February 27 also complained to the police against the illegal possession of ‘their’ land by Mr Gurcharan Singh and had complained yesterday that Mr Gurcharan Singh’s goons were working in connivance with the in charge of the police post at Zirakpur, Mr Gurjit Singh.

Bipin had been following the case since the past few days and had also got in touch with IG Zonal -1 (Patiala) Mr Rajender Singh, and the SSP Patiala, Mr A.S. Rai, this morning. Working on the complaint Bipin along with the rest of The Tribune team went to the disputed site tonight and met Mr Kamaldeep Singh at his residence. ‘‘When we came out of his house at about 9.45 pm two men, one Sikh and the other clean shaven, pointed guns at us and asked us who we were. Before we could reply, over 20 men surrounded us and started beating us with lathis. While only two men seemed to have automatic weapons, all others were wielding swords and lathis. I was hit by lathis on the head and the thighs. Pawan managed to escape in the car,’’ he said.

When the photographer reached the nearest police post at Lohgarh the ASI in charge of the post refused to move to help till he received a formal complaint. In the meantime the SSP, Patiala, was contacted who then immediately sent the SHO Dera Bassi, Mr G.P. Singh, and the DSP, Mr Manmohan Sharma, to the spot. Thirteen men along with their weapons were arrested and a case registered against them. Bipin and the rest of the team were later taken to hospital for medical examination.

The SSP Patiala, Mr A.S. Rai, said if the connivance of the police personnel was proved disciplinary action would follow.

Bipin also spotted a police gypsy near Mr Kamaldeep’s house which left the spot following the attack. “The goons had apparently come in cars. One of them had a Delhi registration number (DL1CF 7849),” he added.



PU steps to check bogus voting 
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Complaints of bogus voting in the elections to the graduate constituency of the Panjab University Senate have prompted the introduction of changes in the process of identification of voters, post-graduates and under-graduates of the university.

From carrying an original document of the university on one's person to introducing PAN cards for identification, a committee constituted for the purpose has submitted its recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak.

Chaired by Justice S.K. Jain, the committee has suggested that voters of the graduate constituency, almost two lakh in number, should be required to produce an original document issued by the university at the time of casting their vote. This would be in addition to the already mandatory certification carrying a photograph of the voter attested by a First Class Civil Magistrate or a subordinate judge or the principal of an affiliated college.

The committee at its meeting held recently also approved the PAN card for identifying graduates. The other proofs of identity already approved are the voter's identity card, driving licence and passport.

Says Senator Charanjit Chawla, "Nearly 30 per cent votes cast in the graduate constituency are bogus. Unless the university makes a conscious decision to tackle this problem by holding the heads of polling booths responsible, it cannot be checked.”

The usual modus operandi of a bogus voter is to pick up a name that suits his age from any of the gazettes of previous years available at the university library. After that, all that is needed is a residence address and a photograph to register as a voter.

While the committee has attempted to check this, it has failed to discuss the crucial issue of deleting the names of graduates who have died.



All roads lead to Big B
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, March 22
The road that leads to Forest Hill Resort, perhaps for the first time, is seeing a steady line of swanky cars as the city's who's who is lining up to catch a glimpse of Amitabh Bachchan shooting at the resort for Anil Sharma-directed film "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo."

The frenzy heightened today, as the news about the arrival of Bobby Deol and Nagma spread. Dressed in their best clothes, the actors landed in the Resort, but only to get the feel of the situation. They did not join the sequence today. Bobby Deol's act begins from tomorrow.

The fans do not mind going through various hurdles to catch a glimpse of their hero, coaxing bosses for leave or students bunking their classes, struggling with the security at the main gate or the never-ending wait in front of the luxury bus in which Amitabh was put up for the day.

Even as the restaurant of the resort was more than ready to serve food and cold water, the waiting crowd preferred to stay put in front of his coach and go hungry for the day, fearing that the moment they left the spot, their hero would disappear under the blanket of his heavy security.

The crowd that gathered today was heterogeneous. From forty-plus Dr S. Gambhir of Mohali to four-year-old Diksha or young Sameer, who became Amitabh's fans after seeing his recent blockbuster "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham," people of all ages and backgrounds were there.

"I have closed my clinic today to be able to see my hero and, if I have luck, have myself clicked with him," said Dr Gambhir. However, her long wait bore fruit when Amitabh obliged her not just with his smile but also posed with her for a picture. "I have seen all his films and this is a dream come true" she exclaimed.

"I saw him in 'Baghban' and became his fan and now this piece of paper with his signature is going to be my prized possession," said Sameer, ecstatic after having managing an autograph.

The presence of glamour in the form of Sandali Sinha and Aarti Chhabria could not deter the group from their main focus as they faithfully followed the superstar to the location where he was matching his steps with that of Sandali to a Punjabi tune. He exhibited the same youthful energy for young Sandali, who plays the role of his granddaughter, as he had for his lead ladies not so long ago.



In footsteps of his father
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Tired after an arduous journey, Bobby Deol could well have escaped an audience today. But he chose to sit for an interview — something he admits he hates doing.
“I avoid interfaces. That is why you would hardly ever read anything about me. I feel very odd talking about myself. And even if I talk, I prefer if the listener is not writing anything. I don’t even remember when I last gave an interview, but I do feel like talking today,” says the favourite action star of the Hindi film industry, which does not impress him much, for many reasons.

Little amused by the crossover film trend or even by the so-called genre films, Bobby feels the industry’s vision has turned myopic. “There seems to be a severe dearth of good scripts, good writers and good directors. Everyone is busy replicating themes. So if a film of a certain idiom does well, the routine is to make many more films on the same theme. But that is not what serious cinema is all about. We need to open up and experiment with sensible, heart-felt ideas. Also, I wish I had not been labelled as an action hero.”

Although Bobby has been most successful in heavy-duty action films, he feels the pinch of not having done many romantic leads. Says the junior Deol, who just can’t get over his elder brother Sunny and father Dharmendra, “This sort of image making is typical of Bollywood. Anywhere else in the world, you don’t find definitions for stars. I am still doing action oriented scripts, but I would be lying if I said that I don’t want to be respected as a romantic hero. I would love doing soft, subtle roles that hinge on romance.”

It’s natural for Bobby to feel attracted towards “romance” — a theme virtually mastered by his father, who won over hearts with his disarming style. Also, Bobby is least bothered about critics who feel Sunny and Dharmendra cannot dance to save their lives. “We are no great dancers, but we all have our styles. Sunny was never into dancing, but when the script of the film demanded, he filled in the gaps in his own special way. My father’s song, “Main jat yamla pagla”, would never have been such a great hit had it not been for his peculiar style of treating the number. I have followed in their footsteps to evolve a signature style. I enjoy dancing my numbers.”

Busy working with leading directors like Anil Sharma (for whose film he is in town), Bobby will soon star along with his father and brother in a new production. Still regretful about “Dillagi” not having done as well as expected, Bobby said, “I did not understand what went wrong. It was labour of love and I still think it is a fine film. But I never sit in analysis. It does not help. In my family, the rule is to be together and live life, not brood over things that went wrong. It’s this attitude that helps us remain composed, despite the fact that we have not got our due. My father’s lifetime achievement award came very late. That’s why I have no faith in award functions.”

A family man, Bobby also misses spending time with his son. “Only after becoming a father did I realise the actual worth of my parents. Now I tell my mother that I understand what she meant whenever she said she was missing me,” said Bobby, whose motto in life is to make people smile. “Because life is short,” he concludes.



Waiting at her husband’s doorstep
Tribune News Service

Radha waiting for three days outside her in-laws' locked house in Sector 56 in Chandigarh to be re-united with her estranged husband and one year-old son
Radha waiting for three days outside her in-laws' locked house in Sector 56 in Chandigarh to be re-united with her estranged husband and one year-old son.

Chandigarh, March 22
Radha has been sitting in front of her in-laws’ locked house in Sector 56 for the past three days. She had returned to her house from her parent’s house in Gurdaspur after a gap of two months on March 19 after the police persuaded her in-laws to accept her back.

Soon after the police intervention her husband Satpal and in-laws locked their house and went away to an unknown destination. Neighbours are providing her food. Radha, who was married to Satpal five years back, alleges that her in-laws and husband had been torturing her for dowry.

Radha returned empty-handed from Gurdaspur. Her in-laws allegedly beat her up for not bringing dowry and kicked her out of the house. She approached the Palsora police post for help which reportedly asked her family to take back the woman. A neighbour Ram Kishan and her daughter have given shelter to Radha.

When she went back to her house after both the parties were called to the police post, her head was hit against a wall by her in-laws. She fell unconscious and her briefcase was thrown out of the house, Mr Ram Kishan said.

Her in-laws had taken away her child on a sly. Ram Kishan, told Chandigarh Tribune the girl is simple to the extent that she is considered “disturbed.”



Yuvraj deserved to be in squad
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, March 22
Yuvraj Singh truly deserved it. This was the common reaction of close aides of this young city sensation in cricket who was today chosen in the Indian squad for the coming Test series with Pakistan going to begin after the one-day series.

Sukhwinder Singh Bawa, SAI coach, who has been with Yuvraj from the beginning of his cricket career, echoed the same view that ‘Yuvi’ is in great form and he proved this before leaving for Pakistan in various Duleep Trophy matches.

He said Yuvraj was confident of performing even better if given the chance to open the innings for India in the Test matches. Bawa said for ODIs, Yuvraj could be worth batsmen at one-down batting. Bawa said Yuvraj was now capable of playing at any number as he had given tough times to every bowler, which could be judged from the current one-day series.

Ranjit Bajaj, cricket friend of Yuvraj, was excited after hearing the news of Yuvraj’s comeback in the Test team. Ranjit said only two days back he had a word with Yuvraj and was confident of his selection.

Ranjit was of the view that Yuvraj might score a century against Pakistan. He said in the last two Duleep Trophy matches, he did magnificent batting which was a testimony to the fact that Yuvraj had matured into a fine and neat player.

Ranjit said in the yesterday’s ODI held at Lahore, a few of his classic strokes resulted in boundaries, won him appreciation from top experts of cricket.

V.R.V. Singh, fellow of Yuvraj who plays at DAV centre, said Yuvraj deserved it long time ago and justified his selection.

VRV, who has played for Indian under-19 cricket team recently, said Yuvi Bhaji was a dedicated player and his style of batting was always worth watching. He hoped that Yuvraj, who is the lone city player in the Indian team, would bring laurels to the city and country in the Test matches against Pakistan like, he had performed in the ongoing one-day series.

Balwinder Singh ‘Billu’, skating coach, old friend of Yuvraj, said it was a great day for Chandigarh when its star performer had been selected in the Indian squad for the coming Test series with Pakistan. 



Cricket screens raised for Advani’s rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Realising that the dates of the final one day match between India and Pakistan and Mr Lal Krishna Advani’s rally in Chandigarh on March 24 are clashing, the local unit of the BJP said today it would set up a giant screen at the venue of the rally so that people do not miss the match.

Mr Advani is expected to arrive in the city astride his “rath” around 7 pm and address a rally at Nehru Park in Sector 22 at 8 p.m. Around that same time the India-Pakistan match will be half way through. The match will start around 3 pm (IST) and carry on till 10 pm.

The president of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, said the party had made arrangements for the live telecast of the match on two screens so that people of the city attending the rally were not deprived of watching the interesting match.

Mr Mahajan said people of Chandigarh could not be befooled by the false propaganda of Congress leaders and public of the city this time would vote for the BJP-SAD candidate, Mr Satya Pal Jain.

He said all office-bearers and party workers had been directed to work round the clock till the rally of Mr Advani was over. The party workers had also been given instructions to ensure that no body was deprived of participating in the Bharat Uday Yatra and the rally in the city.



Important verdict in sexual harassment case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Young women in educational institutes need as much protection as working women require in offices — a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled in a significant judgement.

Taking serious view of a sexual harassment case in a college, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, further ruled that the observations made by the Supreme Court in a case “leave no manner of doubt that the courts have to adopt a special, protective and parental attitude while dealing with cases of fundamental rights violation of a girl student guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Nijjar observed that “the Supreme Court had laid down guidelines (in Vishaka and others versus state of Rajasthan and others) to be followed by employers at work places and other responsible persons or institutions for ensuring prevention of sexual harassment of women....”

Mr Justice Nijjar further observed that the observations made by the Supreme Court, in their opinion, “were fully applicable to cases where students alleged sexual harassment from individuals who might be in dominant positions and were able to adversely affect the educational career of a girl student”.

The Judge added that the apex court had “categorically observed that the guidelines were being laid down for work places as well as other responsible persons or institutions. `Educational institutions’ would fall under the term `other responsible institutions’”.

Mr Justice Nijjar, along with Ms Justice Lall, also dismissed the petition filed by Dr Ram Niwas Manav against CRM Jat PG College at Hisar and other respondents. In his petition, Dr Manav, working as a Hindi lecturer, had sought the quashing of an order dismissing him from service. Directions for reinstatement were also sought.

He was accused of making an attempt to outrage the modesty of a girl student on March 6 last year. He was also accused of misbehaving with her parents and relatives.

Denying the allegations, the petitioner, on the other hand, had asserted that a conspiracy had been hatched against him due to professional rivalry. Giving details, he had submitted that the teaching staff, “some writers of local fame” and journalists had “become jealous of him”.

After hearing the arguments in the case and going through the documents, the Judges, in their 23-page order, concluded: “To satisfy ourselves that no miscarriage of justice occurred, we examined the findings recorded by the Inquiry Officer, the tentative findings recorded by the management committee and the final conclusion reached by the Commissioner of Higher Education. We are satisfied that the action taken by the respondents against the petitioner cannot be termed as arbitrary or in violative of rules of natural justice.... We find no merit in the writ petition and the same is dismissed”.




AFTER years of sleeping on the issue of accidents taking place at traffic junctions, the Mohali civic body and the traffic police have started constructing road dividers on all major roads leading to traffic junctions in the town.

An official of the civic body told Sentinel that accidents took place as there was no segregation of traffic moving in two opposite directions. To regulate the movement of traffic in the town, the civic body has suggested further widening of major roads. Constructing a dual carriageway on the road connecting the Mohali bus-stand with the Balongi bridge has also been demanded by residents of the town.

Seeking Stephanians

Stephanians are known as a different breed altogether. The prestigious college located in Delhi has produced scores of students who have made a name for themselves internationally and nationally. Why, there is even a group of writers which has graduated from this college and their writing is known as belonging to the Stephanian group! No other educational institution in the country, save perhaps the Presidency College, Kolkata, can claim such a distinction.

The region too has a fair selection of Stephanians who have made a name for themselves. Many of them are bureaucrats holding senior positions. And despite the hurly burly of life, they still manage to connect and revive college memories. One such gathering of ex students of St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, is slated for March 26 at Chandigarh Club. Four Stephanians from the Chandigarh chapter of St Stephen’s College Old Students Association — Mr Sukhbir Singh Grewal, Mr Anupinder Singh Grewal, Mr Parag Jain and Mr Vijay Vardhan — have joined hands to make the event, which will be held at Chandigarh Club, a memorable one with the spirit of bonhomie and camaraderie lingering thick in the air.

Recounts Mr Vijay Vardhan, an IAS officer: “The college gave every student the space to think and an opportunity be original through various clubs, societies and sporting activities. That is why most of the Stephanians are shining in their respective fields,” he says and reels off the names of a number of Stephanians who are now famous sportspersons, journalists, bureaucrats and legal luminaries.

Turning nostalgic, he says the best time of the year in the college was the Practical Joke week wherein it was a no-holds-barred seven days free-for-all. Anyone could pull a fast one at anybody.

Talk about student days and a boyish grin crosses Mr Parag Jain’s face. An IPS officer now, he associates his student days with unbridled ragging. “What I realised was that seniors who rag the most, turn out to be the thickest of pals later in life.”

Q and Q of fuel

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited has launched a fortnight-long campaign in the cities of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula under which it is inviting the general public to come and test the quality and quanity (Q & Q) of the fuel available at anyone of its petrol pumps in the region.

The campaign was formally inaugurated by Mr I. S. Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, at HPCL petrol pump in Sector 22 on Friday and was attended among others by Ms Madhvi Kataria, Joint Director, Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

According to Mr Rajnish Mehta, Chief Regional Manger, HPCL, Chandigarh, the objective of this campaign is to create awareness among customers regarding the quality and quantity of the fuel available at its outlets. Customers are encourged to physically conduct the Q an Q checks like product denisty test, filter paper test and measurement checks. Token gifts will be given to consumers conducting these checks. A lucky draw scheme has also been linked up in which mega prizes will be given to the lucky draw winners.

Show by tribal students

The annual function of the All India Tribal Students’ Association proved to be a feast for the audience as participating students displayed the various dance forms presented to melodious folk songs at Law Auditorium in Panjab University. From a Ladhaki to a Lahauli to a yak dance presentation, the students enthralled the audience on the occasion.

The Nagas performed martial arts on stage, Kuki and Naga folk songs were also presented. However, the highlight of the programme was a Punjabi dance performed by Ladhaki girls much to the delight of the crowd which clapped its way through the entire show.

The curtains came down on the function with a prize distribution function held to honour students who had won positions in the various events held during the session. A rock show by the “Bullshit Group” marked the grand finale.

Model code of conduct

The implementation of the model code of conduct for elections has come as a major help to many of our bureaucrats. In a recent function held in the vicinity of Chandigarh the chief guest on the occasion was supposed to be the Deputy Commissioner. However, after two hours of waiting and with no sign of the chief guest, the stage manager finally came up with an explanation for the weary audience. He announced that DC will not be able to attend the function because of the model code of conduct!

Equality of the sexes

During a function held in Mohali to mark International Women’s Day, the Secretary, Social Security, Women and Child Welfare, Punjab, Mr J.R. Kundal, made it a point to assure the audience, a majority of which were women, that women are physically as strong as men. ‘‘I used to believe that men and women are equal excepting the fact that women are not physically as strong as men. But ever since I saw the WWF women matches on TV, I have changed my opinion,’’ he said.

Cooperative VC

Panjab University is supposed to be a storehouse for information available to one and all. Contrary to this belief, most of the officers in authority choose to be elusive and evasive. Not willing to be party to any adverse report on the university, they always seem to be avoid giving the university’s viewpoint.

While meeting them is next to impossible, repeated phone calls only elicit the stereo-type response that the officials are not on their seat and would be available in an hour. An hour later, it is the same story. At home either they have gone out and left their mobiles behind or they are busy having food, not wanting any disturbance.

Consequently, all calls for the university’s version have to be diverted to the Vice Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, who, unlike his officers, is ready to answer any query, irrespective of the time he is called up.

Winged beauty

The City Beautiful has many beautiful winged visitors these days. Pictured in this issue are the two owls that resemble barn owls, but are not quite their species, technically speaking. These birds have long been inhabiting the branches of trees in the residential area of Sector 21.

Quite unexpectedly though, these owls can always be spotted in this area, situated right in the vicinity of the Sector 21 bird sanctuary. Rare though they are for this part of the region, these owls, the residents of the area maintain, can be found perched in the trees any time of the day.

And strange as it may sound, some owls, contrary to their nature of avoiding habitation, like to settle close to humans. Here are just two out of them!

Always cricket first

Last week the Chandigarh Administration was relatively quite. The top man, the Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), was out of station. Thus there was no coordination meeting. The Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma, guided the bureaucracy-led Administration through this period. With the boss away the officials also breathed easy. Normally officials are busy in meetings and after-affects of the meetings.

Last week was different. Work carried on as usual but the atmosphere was naturally relaxed. Normally senior officers work for half day on Saturday to clear the files. But that Saturday the Indo-Pakistan tie meant the television sets in the rooms of the officers were on or they did not come on Saturday. Some of the senior officers follow cricket seriously. One middle-level official, whose love and background about cricket is well known, was not even disturbed by reporters covering the beat during the nail-biting match.

Cashing in on the mania

Cricket craze in the city is seen to be believed. Bars were packed with fans. The hardcore critics preferred to watch the game with friends in their own circle. At lunch time on the fateful Saturday when India scored 349, people in bars stayed back for more action. Several city restaurants cashed in on the cricket mania by setting up giant screens for the fans. Special menus were also planned. And this time even women, who normally remain away from cricket, joined in. But the craze can be gauged from an incident narrated by a colleague who was aghast when her house-maid started talking about the match being played in Pakistan, and she seemed to know all the details about both the Indian and Pakistani players.

Untimely death

Chandigarh has become poorer with the untimely death of 24-year-old Vebhav Gupta, a multifaceted personality who had managed to achieved much in such a short time.

Vebhav was a regulator contributor, writing articles and letters to Editors of various newspapers, including The Tribune, for the past many years. His articles and letters were published in The Tribune a number of times for which he was also paid small sums of money by way of remuneration.

He also acted in the English movie “ANTS” and some plays. One of the photographs clicked by him was selected for “Sketches of the eye”, the annual anthology of photographs published by the International Library of Photography, USA.




HUDA draw passes off without a hitch
Tribune News Service

Draw today also

The plot applicants for Sectors 12,12-A,21 and Sector 4 of the Mansa Devi Complex will have to again come to the HUDA Office tomorrow as the draw could not be completed by tonight, sources said.

Panchkula, March 22
The much-awaited draw of lots for the allotment of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) plots in various sectors here passed off peacefully today.
Hundreds of applicants thronged the HUDA office in Sector 6 here to witness the draw, which started around 11am and continued till late in the night. First to be taken up for the draw were sectors 27 and 28, where HUDA had floated 954 and 989 plots, respectively.

In certain categories in Sector 28, where HUDA had floated plots from 4 marla to 1 kanal, most of the applicants were allotted plots as the number of the plots was more than the applicants. In Sector 27 too every second or third applicant got a plot.

However, in other sectors there was tough competition as thousands of applicants had applied for a few hundred plots.

Meanwhile, roadside vendors and the HUDA canteen did brisk business today as they catered to the applicants. Beggars also a had good day as they wished “good luck” to the plot seekers.

HUDA had floated about 2,800 plots of various sizes-4, 6, 8, 10 and 14 marlas and 1 and 2 kanals-in sectors 12, 12-A, 17, 21, 23, 27 and 28 of Panchkula and Sector 4 of Mansa Devi Complex in September-October last year. The scheme had received an overwhelming response with over 65,000 applications.

According to sources said the list of the successful applicants would be available on Tuesday.



Thou shalt not deface public property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Political parties which deface the property and walls of peoples homes or buildings in Chandigarh will face action besides having to bear the cost of restoring the walls or the property to its original condition. Orders in this regard were issued by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, Mr Arun Kumar, today.

Quoting the Model Code of Conduct for the elections the DC said “no political party or candidate shall permit its or his or her followers to make use of any individual’s land, building, compound, wall etc., without his or her permission for fixing flag stalls, suspending banners, pasting notices, writing slogans etc.” The defacement of public property is an offence under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, and can attract prosecution under the Act.

Anybody defacing the public property shall be making himself or herself liable for penal action under the said act or under the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. In case of pasting of posters or writing of slogans or painting of election symbols on private property without the permission of the owners of the building, it will attract action under the IPC and other provisions of law. The restoration of such property to its original shape shall also be done at the cost of the violator.

However, in case the owner gives his written consent the parties can use the compound of the building owner.



Delay in payment irks NSC holders
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 22
The Main Post Office, at Sector 8, has been delaying the encashment of National Saving Certificates (NSCs) for almost a week.
NSC holders alleged that for the past week the postal authorities had been dilly-dallying on the encashment of the NSCs above Rs 20,000. Since the payment above this amount was made through cheque only, lack of the cheque book at the disposal of the post office was stated to be the cause of the delay, Ms Manjusha Verma, a bank employee said.

Several persons said even the payment of the amount up to Rs 20,000 was made after several hours following heavy rush.

With the financial year almost ending a large number of people had been making a beeline to the post office for the payment. However, every day the NSC holders are told to returning saying that they would be issued the cheque the next day, Mr Parveen Kumar, a Rotarian who had been frequenting the post office for almost a week now, said.

Mr YK Bhushan, Post Master, said there was a problem in the encashment of the NSCs on Saturday since the cheques were exhausted on Friday. The post office had received the cheque book from Ambala only today and the situation would now be normal, he said, adding that it took three-four days to process the NSCs and make the payments.

The post office was shifting to the new computerised premises after March 31 and the transactions would be faster, he added.



Fauji Beat
War widows’ neglect a national shame

This silver trophy was presented to 35 Sikh by Lieut-Col T.H. Goldney
This silver trophy was presented to 35 Sikh by Lieut-Col T.H. Goldney.

A survey of war widows in India will show that majority of them live a life of neglect and deprivation. Sadly, a sizeable number of young brides have become widows in the past couple of years, due to the on going insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East.

In a recent investiture ceremony at Amritsar, of the 35 Sena Medal awardees, four were awarded the medal posthumously. The recipients of the awards for these brave soldiers were their widows, who are finding it difficult to make both ends meet.

It should be a matter of shame for the country that Savitri Thapa, widow of Naik Harish Bahadur Thapa, is doing a menial job at a hotel in Nepal to bring up her three minor children. Rekha Devi, of Rifleman Bhim Sen from Himachal Pradesh, said at the investiture ceremony, “The government must take strong measures to ensure respect for us at all levels”.

In the Kargil war, there were 66 Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra winners. Out of them 38 were honoured posthumously. In the 1971 war, 13 of the 22 winners of these gallantry awards were posthumous awardees.

There are not many takers for the Army today. If the neglect of widows continues, the day is not far when we will have few brave and war-winning soldiers in the Army.

Silver trophy

The Army is well known for preserving its old history dating back to hundreds of years by retaining old trophies and silver pieces in its officers’ messes.

The silver trophy in this picture was presented to 35th Sikh by Lieut-Col T.H. Goldney and nine other officers. It depicts a famous Greek fighter and a lion on top, with Sikh and British soldiers around it. The trophy is now lying in the Officers’ Mess of the Sikh Regimental Centre at Ramgarh in Bihar.

Command Hospital work culture

On taking over the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, on May 1,2002, Maj-Gen B. Sadananda, introduced a new work culture. The aim was patient satisfaction. “Don’t call it satisfaction, if it is not 100 per cent”, he often says. His daily routine is to come to the hospital at 7.15 am and go around the officers’ ward, ICU and OPDs by the time the hospital starts work at 8 am. From 8.15 am to 9 am, he holds staff conference and attends to any other important work.

From 9 am to 1.45 pm, he goes from place to place several times, talks to patients to know their problems. The entire staff remains present at the place of work during the working hours. Tea and snacks are provided to them there. General Sadananda gets back to his office at 1.45 pm and leaves the hospital at 3 pm.

The hospital working has become so streamlined. All out-door patients leave the hospital after getting themselves examined, receiving reports of their test and medicines the same day. There is never any shortage of medicines in the hospital. Medicines worth Rs 1.25 lakh are purchased every day to meet the requirement of more than 1,000 out-door patients who come to the hospital daily.

Being impressed by the work culture of the Command Hospital, the Headquarters Western Command called the Commandants of all hospitals under the Western Command to show them the working of this hospital on August 12, 2002.

Now when General Sadananda is about to move out on promotion, the question on every ex-serviceman’s lips is: “Will the present culture continue after he leaves?”

New military stations

The Army is in the process of acquiring land for setting up three stations at Anandpur Sahib, Una and Kullu. These military stations will help in reducing congestion in some of the old cantonments.

— Pritam Bhullar



Panchkula to have dossier on ‘bad characters’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 22
The police has decided to prepare dossiers of “bad characters” keeping the forthcoming elections in view.
According to the SP, Mr Ranbir Sharma, all arm licence-holders have been asked to deposit their arms with the police by the first week of April to maintain law and order.

A close watch was being kept on the activities of anti-social elements, he said.

Since the elections in the state are scheduled for May 10. The police has got enough time to gear up for the poll.

Efforts would be made to ensure that caste-based and party-based conflicts did not occur in the district.



Bank union seeks wage revision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The United Front of Banks Union ( State bank of Patiala unit) has sought the intervention of the union Finance Minister in the matter of wage revision in the banking industry. The revision has been long overdue and the talks in this regard have not yielded the desired results, according to Mr Amar Singh, secretary, Associate Bank Officers Association.

According to statement issued here today, all banks have been advised to organise rallies and demonstrations as both Indian Bank Association (IBA) and the government are having a casual approach towards the issue of revision of wages. Employees in the banking sector continue to wait for the wage revision, even as the negotiations for the same were held in November 2002. 



Procession in memory of Bhagat Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front took out a procession here today in memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, whose martyrdom day falls tomorrow.
The procession, led by AIATF Chandigarh president Rajesh Sharma, started from the Student Centre of Panjab University and ended at Piazza, Sector 17, passing through sectors 14, 15 and 16.

The activists, wearing saffron turbans and holding Indian flags, raised slogans like “Vande Matram”, “Inqalab zindabad” and “Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev amar rahe.”

Patriotic songs like “Mera Rang De Basanti Chola” were played in the procession. Activists of the AIATF took an oath to fight against religious fundamentalism, corruption and terrorism and to protect the freedom of India from all anti-national forces.

Among the participants were Nitin Goyal, president, NSUI, Vikram Chopra and Gurpervez Sandhu “Shaila” of PUSU. 



Osho meditation camp held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The enlightenment day of Zen master Osho was celebrated at Indira
Holiday Home, Sector 24-B, here yesterday. A one-day meditation camp was organised there by the Osho Naman Dhyan Kendra,3596,Sector 37-D here.

Ms Yog Shukla introduced various meditation techniques and therapies to participants.

A kathak performance by Divya Goswami and Sufi songs by a Phd(music) student of Panjab University, Satinder Singh, wove the magic spell of bhakti rasa.

The Osho Dhara Trust, Panchkula , also organised a function to mark the occasion. A unique dance to meditation programme and cathartic techniques were the highlights of the day.



Dr Gurdev Singh dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Dr Gurdev Singh, first Medical Superintendent of the PGI and one of the oldest residents of Chandigarh, died last week at the age of 99.
Dr Gurdev Singh was the personal physician of Late Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and had been a source of inspiration and role model for young medicos for the last many decades.

A graduate form Medical College, Lahore, Dr Gurdev Singh served as a physician in various towns of the Patiala state and in the World War II with the Patiala State Armed Forces. After the formation of PEPSU, he served as Civil Surgeon at Sangrur and Nabha. Then he was appointed as Deputy Director, Health Services, Punjab, from where he retired in 1963.

His passion for medical field didn’t stop him from working even after retirement and he joined the PGI as the Medical Superintendent. It was his sheer dedication and sincerity towards work that he went on to attain the pinnacle of success and recognition in his field.

His wife was also in the same profession and was always there with him through thick and thin. His wife late Dr Ajmer Kaur served as CMO in General Hospital from 1960 to 1965. He is survived by two sons and two daughters.



Quality control workshop
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 22
The third five-day training programme under the capacity-building project of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, started at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here today.

The programme, meant for analytical staff from small-scale industries, was attended by over 50 persons from the field. The participants were informed during the programme that guidelines under the Good Manufacturing Practices (Schedule M) were required to be adopted by the small-scale industries by the end of this year.

Issues related to upgrading analytical and quality-control facilities were discussed at the workshop.



BJP mandal’s executive body

Mohali, March 22
Mr R.C. Jhingan, president of the BJP Mohali Mandal, announced the formation of the executive body of the mandal which includes Lachman Das Jindal, Gurinder Kumar Singla, Ominder Sharma, Harcharan Singh Saini, Bharat Bhushan Gautam, Sarv Dev Bhardwaj, Gurnam Singh, Vanita, Hari Ram Dubey, Col S.S. Sidhu, Madam Mohan Gulati, Arun Tejpal, Sunita, Mustkeen, Rajinder Rozy and Devinder Singh Sachdeva. TNS



Over Rs 5 lakh received as offerings

Panchkula, March 22
Over Rs 5 lakh have been received as offerings at the Mata Mansa Devi temple on the first day of the Navratras.

An official spokesman said here today that 16 gm of gold, 1,862 gm of silver, 39 litres of pure ghee, six ceiling fans and five wall clocks were received at the shrine. TNS



BSNL launches customer services software 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Mr G.S. Bhatia, Chief General Manager, Telecom, Punjab Circle, has inaugurated the first phase of Dotsoft, an integrated software for customer services developed in-house by the BSNL, in Chandigarh.

Dotsoft includes modules for commercial services, telecom revenue billing and accounting, fault repair services and the directory enquiry for BSNL customers. It will provide a single-window solution to the subscribers of the BSNL. In the first phase of implementation, the commercial module is being launched for the southern area of Chandigarh and the other areas will be covered in phases by month end.

Dotsoft works on a wide area network (WAN) in which all exchanges, customer service centres, and online cash counters will be connected. The network in Chandigarh will connect 19 sites in Chandigarh town, 12 in Mohali and eight in Panchkula (total 39 sites) through a modern digital network consisting of leased lines and dial-up links. Flow of instructions and documents is online between all connected sites, which result in paperless working and increases the speed of services to BSNL subscribers.

The proposal to provide Dotsoft terminals in 10 post offices in Chandigarh for collection of telephone bills is also under active consideration.

In order to speed up the receipt of bills bar code printing of the bills will also be introduced. Advanced features like signature scanning will also be incorporated gradually. 



UK keen to invest in North India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Mr Alan Attryde, First Secretary (Trade and Investment), British High Commission, has said the UK was India’s third largest trade partner after the USA and Belgium and accounted for 4.6 per cent of India’s total foreign trade in goods in 2002-2003. “Bilateral trade in goods and services between the two countries has run at Rs 40,000 crore every year since the start of this decade. In 2003, we saw this figure grow strongly and expect trade to have exceeded Rs 47,000 crore,” he said.

The partnership between the two economies was due to the strength of investment in both directions. “Since 1993, almost 2000 new Indo-British joint ventures have been approved by the Government of India. The UK is the third biggest inward investor to India,” he said.

As many as 50 major UK companies are exhibiting their catalogues at the two-day UK Capabilities Catalogue Show that was inaugurated today. The multi-sectoral exhibition showcased products and services of companies in agribusiness, automotive, biotechnology, education, environment, food and drink, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

Asking Indian industries to invest in the UK, he said India was emerging as an important source of investments in the UK as UK companies were evincing keen interest in doing business with north Indian businessmen.

“About 40 per cent of Indian overseas investment flows into Europe. Out of this, over 60 per cent comes to the UK,” he stated, observing that major British companies considered it vital to have partnerships in India.

Clarifying that outsourcing of business processes to India from Britain was not opposed by the UK Government, Mr Attryde, welcoming job creation benefits that outsourcing brought to India, noted that it reflected on India’s role in globalisation of services.

Mr Satish Bagrodia, Chairman, Agri-Business Committee, PHDCCI, asked companies of both countries and the governments to explore the avenues of joint cooperation in agri-business. The maximum queries pertained to agri-business and automotive industry.

The Joanne Freeman, Second Secretary, British High Commission, said Indo-UK bilateral trade of goods and services at close to US $7 billion in 2002 had grown by 69 per cent since the Indo-British partnership was formed in 1993.

The Punjab Financial Commissioner (Development, Agriculture), Dr B.C. Gupta, also spoke.



‘Need to promote biotech sector’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The need to promote the biotech sector in Punjab was emphasised during a day-long awareness programme on “Business opportunities in biotech sector for small-scale industries” here on Friday by the Small Industries Service Institute (SISI), Ludhiana, in association with the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

The objective of the programme was to highlight the potential of biotech industry, discuss the strategy and policy framework for the promotion and development of biotech industry and to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in this sector.

Ms Romila Dubey, Principal Secretary, Science Technology and Environment, Punjab, in her inaugural address, said biotechnology was fast emerging as an area where not only big companies, but also small and medium enterprises could become globally competitive.

Dr N. S. Tiwana, Executive Director, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Chandigarh, said small-scale industry contributed only about 25 per cent towards the total investment pool in the private sector which could be substantially enhanced through biotechnogical applications in areas like post harvesting processing and pharma biotechnology.

“India was far behind in this sector and it should be our endeavour to create awareness and importance of this sector to the industrial community,” said Mr R.C Chopra, Director, SISI, Ludhiana.

In his keynote address, Dr Rajesh Kapoor, Director, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, said the biotechnology sector was projected to attract trade investment to the tune of Rs 700-800 crore over the next few years. This would in turn generate a turnover of Rs 900-1000 crore over the next seven years, leading to large-scale import substitution, augmentation of local production and introduction of some new products in the global market. Later, technical sessions were held. More than 150 participants attended the programme.


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