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Crores of rupees change hands
Cricket betting catches on in city, Mohali, Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
It is one trade which has no definite figures. Betting on cricket matches has been going on for long. Actually it has become a fine art where skills in reading the outcome of matches is required. Last night, when India beat Pakistan in the deciding one-dayer at Lahore, crores of rupees were placed on bets. The figure for Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali runs into a couple of crores, say bookies.

Knowing the exact figure is difficult as bookies are secretive about payments made to people who win bets. Though the figures do not match the scale of Ludhiana, Delhi or Mumbai, Chandigarh also has its share of bookies and punters. The trade functions through a close knit circle of acquaintances. Bets are accepted by bookies only when the antecedents of the punter have been verified. A bookie told The Tribune this was required as anybody could be police informer. The bookies did not lose much as the odds were hedged very close. Among betting circles it is a known fact that like yesterday when the odds changed more than four or five times. It is said the bookies do not know the outcome of the match. In other words the match is not “fixed”.

In Panchkula the police nabbed bookies and recovered money running into lakhs.

Betting is the dark underside of cricket which cannot be brushed away. Crores of rupees are placed on bets on cricket games. Bookies (the ones who accept the bets) and punters (people who put in money on outcome of matches) had been gladdened with the historic clash between India and Pakistan.

When the match started the odds were in favour of Pakistan. Which means bookies were offering more money in case of an India win. The odds were in Pakistan’s favour even when India put up 293 on the board. The Pakistan required 294. It seemed easy.

The moment L. Balaji bowled out in-form Pakistani batsman Yasir Hameed and Irfan Pathan got rid of the dependable Yousaf Yohanna, the match had changed in favour of India. Which meant a punter would have lost more money now if India won.

Even when Inzamam-ul-Haq was going strong or when Moin Khan was playing the magnificent inning, the odds did not change.

About two weeks ago the bookies had predicted that the odds will be almost even for the one-day series. The odds for the test matches will be fixed on the basis of the one-day series. This will be based on the form of Indian batsmen, form of Pakistani bowlers and state of the pitches.

Betting during Test matches is even more complex. The odds for the draw change on daily basis as rain, conditions of the pitch, good batting or bowling alter the outcome.



To Pak fans with love, Shah Rukh Khan
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, March 25
Fans from across the border rushed to catch a glimpse of Bollywood’s stars this morning. All the way from Pakistan, they waited restlessly in the parking lot of a Sector 10 hotel just to have a snap with Shah Rukh Khan.

For starry-eyed Nadia, Abeer, Sidra, Meenu and Tajdar a warm hug from Baadshah Khan was nothing less than a dream come true. As they stood next to him, the anger and frustration of long hours of wait disappeared. A smile played on their lips as they clung to him before posing for photographs. Excitement was writ large on their faces as they asked for autographs.

Shah Rukh also obliged them by sparing “precious minutes” out of his busy schedule. Ready to leave for the shoot in his car, he stopped to have a word with his foreign fans. As the local movie buffs watched from some distance, he embraced them before smiling at the lensman.

They had seen him on the small screen in Lahore. Dazzled by his ardent ways and “flawless acting”, they had discussed his romantic style for hours together with other fans. But meeting the “hero of their lives” was altogether a new experience.

“When we came to Chandigarh from Lahore a few days back for attending a workshop being conducted at the College of Architecture here, little did we know that legend called Shah Rukh Khan would be standing next to us one day”, they said.

Trying to contain her excitement, Nadia said, “We had been trying to meet Shah Rukh Khan since Wednesday night. But somehow success was eluding us. All those messages sent to him through security personnel were just not doing the trick. In fact, we were not even sure whether he was receiving them or not”.

Placing the camera back in the cover, she added, “We were disappointed. No doubt about it. Time was running out as we had to leave for Delhi this afternoon. Just as were losing hope of meeting him, someone called his name. We turned around and saw him”.



HUDA may extend application dates
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 25
Following the grant of stay on the development of Sectors 2 and 6 of the Mansa Devi Complex by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) may extend the last date for submitting application forms for the allotment of plots in the Mansa Devi Complex.

And for the benefit of general public, HUDA on Wednesday decided to approach the high court to advance the next date of hearing in the case, which had been fixed on May 19. The high court had recently stayed the development of the “catchment area” of Sukhna Lake with a view of preserving environment.

It may be recalled that HUDA had recently decided to sell 500 prime residential plots in Sectors 2 and 6 of the complex. The last date of applying for the plots is April 5. Following the stay HUDA has asked Haryana Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal to plead before the high court to advance the next date for hearing, May 19. In any case, the last date for applying for the plots would be extended, sources said.

However, a section of the officers informed that the stay had been obtained on frivolous grounds by the petitioner, Dr B. Singh. The development of Sectors 2 and 6 would not affect the ecological balance of the lake, the sources added.

Sectors 2 and 6 did not come under the “catchment area” of Sukhna Lake. Sector 1, which could have come under the “catchment area”, had already been declared as “entertainment sector” by HUDA, a source added.



Cop killed as gun goes off
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 25
A 39-year-old Punjab police constable, Baljinder Singh, posted as a security guard with a local businessman, was killed here this morning when he accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.

The accident happened at about 8.30am when Baljinder Singh was cleaning his carbine in a makeshift room in the house of the businessman. The occupants of the house heard a gunshot and rushed outside and found him lying in a pool of blood. The bullet had pierced his jaw and gone through the skull.

The police has started inquest proceedings under Section 174, CrPC. Baljinder Singh who was deputed to 82 Battalion Chandigarh, PAP, is survived by his mother, his wife, a son and a daughter.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh Walia, the businessman, said the body had been handed over to the panchayat of Gachar Majra village (Malerkotla). Asked if he was entitled to Punjab police security, he said he was facing threat to his and his family’s life and an FIR in this regard had been registered with the police. “My house had been fired at and attacked twice in the past year,” he said.



Ram Temple no poll issue, says Advani
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, today expressed the confidence that a negotiated settlement of the dispute over Ram Janambhoomi temple at Ayodhya would be reached between the Muslim community and the new Vajpayee government at the Centre after the poll.

Speaking to media persons here on the 16th and penultimate day of Bharat Uday Yatra, Mr Advani said the government had been encouraging greater civil society interaction between Hindus and Muslims. Some of these had had very positive results. On Id this year, religious leaders from Deoband appealed to Muslims to desist from any sacrifice of cattle. The Mahamakam in Kumbhakonam witnessed a spectacular degree of Muslim involvement.

Over the past six months, with the help of religious figures like the Shankaracharya of Kanchi and the Dalai Lama, the government had been attempting to find a negotiated settlement to the dispute at Ayodhya. He believed that a settlement involving both Hindu and Muslim representatives was the most desirable way to resolve this year.

“I have reason to be optimistic that negotiated settlement will be possible shortly after Mr Vajpayee forms his new government after May”. Mr Advani emphasised that although the BJP’s commitment to the Palampur resolution of 1989 stood, the BJP would not make the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya a poll issue.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the joint statement by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan in January this year had established a framework for meaningful dialogue between the two countries. Particularly satisfying was the commitment of President Musharraf to prevent Pakistani territory and territory controlled by Pakistan from being used to wage terrorist attacks on India.

“I believe that harmony between India and Pakistan has a tremendous bearing on both peace in Jammu and Kashmir and on good Hindu-Muslim relations within India.”

Launching a frontal attack on the Congress party, Mr Advani complained that since Independence, the Muslims had been exposed to a sustained campaign of hate against the Jana Sangh and the BJP.

“Our political opponents painted us as anti-Muslim in the very same way as the Muslim League depicted the Congress prior to 1947.

“The reason for arousing fear in the minds of India’s Muslim minority was to perpetuate vote bank politics. Since 1947 the Congress had viewed the Muslim community as bloc vote. It had developed vested interests in keeping the Muslim community backward, frightened and aloof.”

Muslim women in particular, he said, had suffered the most from the cynical vote bank politics of the Congress. The reversal of the Supreme Court judgement on the Shah Bano case was a well known example of the Congress double standards. But equally notorious was the complicity of the Congress and, for that matter, the CPM, in attempting to statutorily disinherit women in J and K for marrying a non-state subject.

“I find the Congress policy towards the Muslim community to be manipulative and distasteful,” he said.

During the Bharat Uday Yatra, he had an occasion to meet various Muslim individuals and community leaders. “I have found an openmindedness on the part of Muslims about the BJP. All over the country various Muslim leaders had joined the BJP. Others have expressed their support for the re-election of the NDA and Mr Vajpayee.

Mr Advani said there were important indications to suggest that the Muslim community was unwilling to be used as voting fodder by parties who flaunted a distorted variety of secularism. “It is heartening, for example, that much of the opposition to the Uttar Pradesh Government’s decision to declare Friday a half-holiday for educational institutions came from the Muslim community”.

The ongoing cricket tour of Pakistan has generated tremendous interest in the subcontinent. It is a small but important step in restoring normal relations between India and Pakistan.

Last night, I spoke to BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya and captain Sourav Ganguly and congratulated them on a famous victory.

Since the time the Prime Minister undertook a bus journey to Lahore in 1999, it has been the endeavour of the NDA government to seek a peaceful solution to all bilateral problems between the two countries.



Future of Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, said today that issues like the future of Chandigarh and other inter-state disputes could be resolved only through consensus and consultations.

Speaking at an interaction with media persons here, Mr Advani pointed out there were many issues in the country like dispute over Belgaum which were still pending and defied a solution so far. Similarly, dispute over Chandigarh which was claimed by both Punjab and Haryana had been hanging fire for a long time. But all these issues could be solved only through consensus which could happen in due course.



Bharat Uday Yatra enters Punjab
Halts at Mohali for 10 minutes, Kharar for 5
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, March 25
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, stopped for less than 10 minutes on the Phase VI main road here this morning, as part of his Bharat Uday Yatra. Mr Advani entered Mohali at 10 am, over 40 minutes behind schedule, reaching the point where he was welcomed by local BJP and SAD leaders with garlands and petal showers. People had been mobilised to stand on the roadside to greet the leader.

Mr Advani did not get off his yatra bus but stood at the bus’ doorstep to received garlands from waiting leaders. The police had cordoned off the bus with a rope from all around with only the door made accessible to local leaders.

Mr Harjit Bhullar, vice-president, of the local unit of the Youth BJP, presented a turban and kirpan to Mr Advani who adorned it and held the kirpan high. While Mr Advani did not speak a word all through his stoppage, his gestures were welcomed with loud claps and slogan-shouting. Despite the efforts of the local SAD and BJP leaders, only about 300 persons could be mobilised for Mr Advani’s stopover here.

Among the local leaders who spoke included Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, former state president of the BJP, who listed the achievements of the BJP government. Mr Manoranjan Kalia, and former Health Minister, Punjab, said only the BJP could give a stable government. Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, former Food Supplies Minister, stated that the Congress had taken away all the facilities provided to the people during the SAD government rule. Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, SAD candidate from the Ropar constituency for the Lok Sabha elections, stated that the Congress government had failed to protect the interest of the Dalits and minorities. Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang of the SAD was also present.

The police had made stringent arrangements to ensure Mr Advani’s safe entry to Punjab. The SSP, Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, was overlooking the security arrangements on the route to Ropar. He was present at the stopover point this morning.

The police avoided diversion of traffic on the Chandigarh-Mohali-Kharar road till minutes before the arrival of Mr Advani’s motorcade here. However, traffic had to be diverted for over half an hour on his arrival.

KHARAR: Mr Advani said here that the question in the coming Lok Sabha elections was not which party would win or lose. But the poll this time was like a match in which everybody was aware who would be victorious even before the first ball was bowled.

Mr Advani’s yatra was welcomed by BJP and SAD supporters, besides others, here.

Mr Advani, who halted here for more than five minutes, said the yatra had entered Punjab on its 16th day. The first phase of the yatra would be completed tomorrow in Amritsar, where Mr Vajpayee would also be present. He thanked the gathering for the warm welcome to the yatra on its entry to Punjab.

Mr Advani was presented with a kirpan, a siropa and a shawl. The kirpan was handed over to Mr Advani on his “rath” by Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the SAD. People threw flower petals towards Mr Advani as he stood atop his “rath”. Slogans were also raised by the gathering.

Flags of the BJP had been put up on the divider of the road from Balongi to Kharar. Banners to welcome Mr Advani had also been put up by the BJP and the SAD at various points along the route.

Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Garewal, former Akali minister, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra joined the Akali supporters here.

Amongh those seen accompanying the yatra were Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal and Mr Balram Ji Dass Tandon, former Punjab ministers.

Traffic on the highway was stopped around 9 am and diverted. The internal traffic from the town and surrounding areas continued on the main highway which was stopped only a few minutes before the Deputy Prime Minister reached the spot where a gathering was waiting for him.

ROPAR: The Bharat Uday Yatra of Mr Advani today came in for sharp criticism by the residents of Morinda. Many residents of Morinda, who daily go for jobs in Ropar, Kharar and Chandigarh, alleged that the police blocked the Morinda-Kharar highway this morning due to the rath yatra.

The people had to go through Kurali and Ropar for their jobs. Similarly, people coming from Chandigarh had to come through the Kurali-Mullanpur road to reach their destination as the traffic on the main road was blocked.

Mr K.R. Joshi, state president of the All-India Lawyers Union, alleged that if Mr Advani was on a political campaign why he was being accorded the welcome of the Deputy Prime Minister. What type of election campaigning it was in which the common people were being put to inconvenience.

Meanwhile, due to the police arrangement the yatra of Mr Advani did not meet any resistance while passing through the Ropar district, despite threats by the SAD(A).

CHANDIGARH: Mr Advani, today congratulated the local unit of the BJP for holding a successful rally of the Bharat Uday Yatra here yesterday night.

Mr Advani said “Mr Satya Pal Jain, my old colleague in the 11th and 12th Parliament and the present candidate of the BJP was an active politician and always comes to me and other ministries for matters concerning overall development of the city”.

Also present on the occasion were Mr Parkash Javedekar, national spokesperson for the BJP, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, general secretary of the SAD, Mr Jain and Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit of the BJP.

After a press conference Mr Advani left for Punjab from the UT Guest House. He went through roads of Sectors 10-11, 15-16, 23-24, 36-37 and 39-42. The rally crossed the Furniture Market, Kajheri, Badheri, Palsora and Maloya villages before he entered Punjab. Both the sides of the road enroute were decorated with BJP banners and bunting.



Move to revive Punwire
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 25
There is a move to revive the public sector unit Punwire, lying closed for over four years now. According to a report submitted by an industrialist to the core committee constituted to look into the possibility of Punwire’s revival, the company can be revived with its present infrastructure and staff strength.

Talking to mediapersons, Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh said yesterday that Mr B.S. Baidwan, former president of the Mohali Industries Association, had been asked by the core committee to file a report on the matter. The report had recommended the revival of the company, adding that it would take at least three years for the company to restart production. The company should limit itself to repair initially, stated the report.

Sources pointed out that following a demand from the company’s employees, who had been agitating against its closure for years now, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, former Ropar MP, and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, outgoing Chandigarh MP, met Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on March 16 and urged him to consider the revival of the company.

The sources added that Finance Minister Lal Singh, also the chairman of the core committee, was then asked by the Chief Minister to call a meeting to discuss the matter.

Punwire had closed down in 2000 following the unearthing of a Rs 500-crore scam in 1999 and a series of FIRs against company employees and the management. While the police had filed challans in the case, the CBI was still investigating the FIRs registered by the Punjab police.



City cadet bags gold medal
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
A Gold Medal for standing first in the order of merit among cadets who passed out from the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, last week has been bagged by a youngster hailing from Chandigarh.

Lieutenant Puneet Bedi, who has been commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery, also stood first in tactics and service subjects such as leadership, military history and law, administration, field engineering, radio telephony, intelligence and security.

The 23-year old officer was the only cadet in the 77th Short Service Course to be “pipped” by the passing-out -parade’s reviewing officer, Lieut-Gen K.M. Seth, the Governor of Chhattisgarh. Puneet was also awarded the Director General of Artillery Trophy, which is awarded to the topper who joins the Artillery.

“I feel content that I got the result of my hard work,” Puneet said while speaking to The Tribune here today. “The best part was that with my position I was able to choose the arm that I wanted to join,” he added. During the training period, which he described as “tough”, he held the appointments of Academy Cadet Adjutant and Academy Under Officer.

He will be joining a newly raised missile group next month. Stating that he will be joining the Army’s most strategic regiment, he added that he wanted to join the Artillery as it was the “arm of the future”.

An alumnus of SD College, Sector 32, he said that he had joined the Army as he liked the profession, discipline, tradition and the quality of life it offered. Though his father was also a gunner, he did not influence his decision to join the Army. Puneet was pursuing chartered accountancy before he finally made it in his seventh attempt.

“It was a very proud moment for us,” Puneet’s father, Lieut-Col B.S. Bedi (retd) said. “The Director General of Artillery, Lieut-Gen R.S. Nagra, himself called up to congratulate us,” he added. Colonel Bedi’s elder son, Lt Harmeet Bedi, too is a gunner. He was commissioned two years ago into the same regiment in which his father had served.



Recognition day function organised
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 25
Special talent of every student from Nursery to Class V of Hansraj Public School was recognised at recognition day here yesterday. The SDM ,Mr Varinder Dahiya, said it was heartening to see that talent of each child was recognised.

A prize distribution function for the junior wing of DAV Senior Public School, Surajpur, was held here today. An orientation programme for students of Nursery, LKG and UKG was also held at DAV Preparatory School, Pinjore. 



MC meeting scheduled for March 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The next meeting of the local municipal corporation is scheduled for March 31, sources said here today. The meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee of the corporation is scheduled for March 29.

The agenda was unlikely to take up new projects for discussion because of the model code of conduct that has come into force following the announcement of the date of the elections.



Seminar on rural development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Punjab Development Society is organising an international seminar on rural development in collaboration with the Indian Council of Social Science Research, North-West Regional Centre, Panjab University, on the campus on March 27 and 28.

The seminar will deliberate on the key emerging issues in the wake of rural society’s rapid socio-economic transformation, driven largely by agricultural development, over the last three decades. The seminar aims at highlighting the NRI contribution (and constraints) and also at critically reviewing the official policies with a view to suggest measures to improve their effectiveness.

The NRIs have been silently contributing to the overall development of the places of their origin in the rural Punjab over the years. Their contribution has been quite significant in creating socio-economic infrastructural facilities.

Some of the key issues will be discussed by leading experts representing Asia, North America and Europe. Prof. S.S. Johal, Vice-Chairman, State Planning Board, Punjab, Dr. G.S. Kalkat, former Vice-Chancellor, PAU, Ludhiana, Professor Emeritus R.S. Basi, Alaska Pacific University, Alaska, USA, Prof Shinder Thandi, Coventry University, Dr Darshan Tatla, University of Birmingham, UK, Dr Steve Taylor, Teeside University, UK, Dr G.S. Gill, Vancouver University, Canada, and senior administrators are to participate.

One session will be devoted to issues relating to NRIs’ participation in rural development. One session will focus on the role of agricultural development in rural transformation — past experience, potential, emerging issues and policy responses.

The second session will be concerned with status of education and health services in the rural areas and its consequences for population growth, and development in general. The final technical session will be devoted to examining the existing rural development programmes.



Purse, chain snatched; cases registered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Two motorcycle-borne youths snatched a purse and a gold chain from two women in separate incidents last night.

Ms Upasana Nanda, a resident of Sector 46A, said two persons snatched her gold chain at the road dividing Sectors 32 and 46 at around 8.30 pm. She was going in a rickshaw when they snatched the chain.

Within minutes, seemingly the same persons, snatched the purse of Ms Sudesh Jathi, a resident of Sector 45, on the road dividing 34 and 44. The purse contained Rs 20,000 and some documents.

Two cases have been registered in this regard. No arrest has been made yet. The police suspects that the same persons were involved in both cases as the crime took place on the same stretch of road and within a gap of about six minutes.

Vehicle thief arrested

The crime branch of the police has arrested an auto thief and found seven two-wheelers bearing fake registration numbers.

An auto-rickshaw driver, Sanjiv Kumar, was arrested while riding a stolen Yamaha motor cycle.

The arrest was made on specific information, the police said.

The worth of the stolen vehicles had been estimated at Rs 2.5 lakh. He used to use a master key to open the locks of the vehicles before disposing them of with fake registration numbers.

Liquor seized

The police has seized 6,000 pouches of country-made liquor from a vehicle coming from Chandigarh side. Two persons have been rounded up in this regard. The police had got a tip-off that some persons were carrying liquor in a vehicle. The police set a naka on the Ambala-Chandigarh road and a search yielded 6,000 pouches of liquor and 360 bottles of IMFL. A case has been registered.

Murder case solved

The police has solved the Bhunni murder case. Three motorcycle-borne persons had shot dead Jeet Ram at Bhunni village near the Haryana-Punjab boarder on March 10 and later fled towards Punjab.

The police said three persons had been arrested in this regard.


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