C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Enrolment of extra Chandigarh Club members 
void: court
Allows separate ballot for those above 5,000 limit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
A city court today stepped in to clear the air of confusion over the enrolment of new members of the Chandigarh Club just ahead of poll and pave the way for the smooth conduct of election to elect office-bearers and executive slated for April 3.

In a 24-page order, Mr Phalit Sharma, Civil Judge, Junior Division, Chandigarh, held that “prima facie enrolment of members more than the limit of 5,000 is contrary to the provisions of Memorandum and Articles of Association and thus, membership of such members is prima facie illegal, void being made arbitrarily.”

Within hours of the court’s order, the executive of the club held a meeting on the club premises and appointed Mr S.C. Kapoor as the Returning Officer and Mr R.S. Randhawa as Additional Returning Officer for the poll.

Chandigarh Club has on its rolls former and serving politicians, ministers, judges, bureaucrats, lawyers, and businessmen as members. For the past few weeks, the club had been mired in controversy over the large-scale enrolment of fresh members in a bid to skew poll results. The air was thick with allegations and counter-allegations with regard to the conduct of certain office-bearers of the club.

This forced two members of the club, Mr V.S.T. Malik and Mr Vikas Kumar, to approach the court for intervention.

As to the question whether such members whose enrolment had been held to be contrary to Memorandum and Articles of Association have got the right to vote, the court ordered that “till these members are allowed to join the proceedings to defend their cases or in other words, given chance to prove legality of their membership, disallowing them from participating in casting of their votes would mean condemning them unheard. It will not be out of place to mention here that certainly by not providing full details of the members so enrolled up to the date of filing of suit despite court’s direction, the answering club has created doubt about their fair intentions but still there was a list of 700 new members on record, who could have been impleaded as respondents by the applications. Thus, I do not see any harm, if these members are allowed to cast their ballot separately but with a rider that counting of their votes in favour of contesting members cannot be allowed at this stage, as their enrolment is prima facie contrary to Memorandum and Articles of Association of the club. However, their votes could be counted once they are able to prove their enrolment to be legal.”

The judge said he was satisfied that the applicants had a prima facie case because if votes of members enrolled after the limit of 5,000 were allowed to be counted in favour of contesting members, this would mean putting a stamp of court on a prima facie illegal act done by the club. “The balance of convenience is also in favour of the applicants as they have support of provisions of Memorandum and Articles of Association in their favour. Similarly, it is the applicants who shall suffer irreparable loss if interim injunction is not granted because if the same is declined, the new enrolled members will presumably vote in favour of candidate who helped them to become member by prima facie not adopting the memorandum of the club and this would defeat the chance of a candidate who is following the rules being bound by it.”

The judge ordered that two sets of arrangement be made for the casting of votes, one for the members numbering up to 5,000 and another for the members numbering 5001 onwards till the last number. It was further directed that separate colour of ballet papers, ballot boxes and place be made available for the members numbering 5001 onwards for casting their votes and their votes not be counted with the votes of members numbering up to 5,000. However, it said, the club would be at liberty to announce the result based on the counting of votes numbering up to 5,000. However, the votes of remaining members should only be added to the total votes polled by valid numbers, only once their membership (members beyond 5000) has been held to be valid. The court added that after counting the votes polled of members beyond 5,000, their ballot should be sealed in boxes in the presence of contesting members or their representatives and these be kept in safe custody of the club. The club has been asked to place on record the list of total members enrolled with their full particulars by April 1, failing which list of members on record up to 5,700 shall be treated as the list of total members entitled to cast their votes.

The court further said as prima facie legality of enrolment of members beyond 5,000 was in question, any such member contesting election would be contesting the same at his own risk and responsibility subject to disposal of the present suit and his result in the election would not be announced till the disposal of the suit and if regular member was contesting against him, the same should be allowed to hold that post depending upon the votes so polled in his favour as compared to the contesting member whose membership was not under challenge.



Man, son found dead in Sec 30
Son’s love affair behind ‘suicides’?
Tribune News Service

Police officers inspect the body of Kashmiri Ram, who along with his father Phony Ram (inset), apparently committed suicide in a house in the CSIO complex
Police officers inspect the body of Kashmiri Ram, who along with his father Phony Ram (inset), apparently committed suicide in a house in the CSIO complex, Sector 30, Chandigarh, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 29
A sweeper working at a dispensary in the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) and his son were found dead in a house in the CSIO complex, Sector 30, here today. A love affair of the son, Kashmiri Ram (24), is stated to be the cause of apparent suicides by him and his father, Phony Ram (49).

While Phony Ram’s charred body was found in the toilet of his house — D-84 CSIO Colony — Kashmiri Ram was found dead in another room, apparently after he consumed sleeping pills. The police has recovered two strips of sleeping pills near Kashmiri Ram’s body.

The apparent suicides came to light when Phony Ram did not reach his office this morning. On his absence from the dispensary, the unit in charge, Dr P. Chakravarty, sent an attendant, Darshana Devi, to his house, but nobody opened the door. Following this, Dr Chakravarty, pharmacist Sandeep Kumar, and Security Officer H.S. Gill visited the house. After waiting for some time, they called the police, which entered the house through the balcony. The door at the balcony was found open.

The police found a packed baggage of Kashmiri Ram lying in the room. The neighbours had last seen Kashmiri Ram around 5 pm yesterday.

An undated letter, apparently written by an unidentified girl, recovered from Kashmiri Ram indicated that the father and son had apparently had an altercation over the affair of Kashmiri Ram. However, mystery still shrouds their death.

The letter written in Hindi and recovered from Kashmiri Ram said: “Dear K, Please, Please don’t go away till tomorrow. I want to meet you and talk. Please go after tomorrow evening. Please stay back for a while for my sake. I hope you will not disappoint me. I will somehow manage to meet you tomorrow. You will have to stay back till tomorrow evening. Please destroy the letter after reading it.”

The police has ruled out murder saying that the house had not been ransacked nor had anybody entered the house from outside. The bodies also did not bear any injury marks to suggest that the father and son might have killed each other.

The police suspected that Kashmiri Ram might have had taken pills either because of an altercation with the girl or with his son.

Phony Ram apparently died after Kashmiri Ram since there were no signs of any attempt to save the former. The police suspected that if the father had set himself on fire before the son took the pills, there were possibilities of the son making an effort to save his father.

The identity of the girl remains a mystery as youths in the neighbourhood told mediapersons that Kashmiri Ram, who had been living in the area for three years, was a decent guy and used to stay away from his peers in the area. Youths in the neighbourhood said they had no knowledge of any affair.

Phony Ram, who hailed from Palampur, is survived by his wife and two married daughters. The son was unemployed. The wife of Phony Ram lives in Palampur.

The police recovered one strip of sleeping pills with two consumed pills and another one with eight consumed pills.

The police later called a team of experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to seek their opinion and gather evidence. It also informed the family members of the dead in Palampur. Phony Ram’s wife is believed to have reached the city.



Long meetings harming varsity’s interest: Senators
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The deliberations at the Panjab University Senate meeting usually continue past midnight. Many times speeches are not relevant to the issues.
However, most Senators feel that the “painfully long” meetings leave no room for healthy discussion which is central to the meeting especially when it concerns the university and decides the fate of nearly two lakh students.

As soon as the clock strikes 10 pm, a sudden realisation of having spent the entire day without deliberating on the agenda dawns on these nocturnal birds. Then comes the rush hour when items are pushed quickly and the agenda comes into focus.

A few committed Senators, try to raise relevant issues but after a few attempts, they give up.

The idea of giving two days for holding meetings is unacceptable to the university authorities, as the suggestion was dismissed by the Vice-Chancellor at yesterday’s meeting.

“The budget needs a whole day for discussion. When the university spends so much time and money, it can certainly spare another day. I have a feeling that it is also the strategy of the Chair to allow discussions to stretch on since speakers would be exhausted by the time crucial matters are taken up. This does not augur well for academics,” says Dr Rabinder Nath Sharma.

Sick of the practice of carrying on discussion long into the night, Senators are of the opinion that it would be better if a timeframe for meetings is fixed. Anything stretching beyond that can be carried forward to another day.

“At every Senate meeting, we are discussing the agenda of practically three meetings of the Syndicate. If the Syndicate with its 17 members takes six to seven hours debating on the agenda, we are 70 members with three times the work. The Panjab University must realise this and make changes according to need. There is no harm in amending the rules in keeping with the need of the times,” says Mr Ashok Goyal.

Mr Dharinder Tayal adds: “The fact that 70 per cent members are around even after midnight shows they are interested in debating issues, but the fatigue factor can’t be wished away. Hence, some issues at the end do not get the attention they deserve. This makes a two-day meeting essential for the Senate.”



10 pc hike in exam fee okayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Effecting a hike of 10 per cent in examination fee along with the proposed tuition and admission fee for affiliated colleges and departments from this session, the Panjab University Senate debated on the introduction of a differential fee structure to ensure that higher education was not made an “elitist affair” at the university.

While Mr Satish Sharma, Mr Ashok Goyal and Prof P.P. Arya opposed the fee hike, the suggestion of paying fee according to family income found favour with the House. Members were unanimous on its introduction and stated that it was essential to ensure higher education remained affordable to all sections of society.

After generating a lot of heat following the presentation of the university budget, the item pertaining to the increase in number of NRI and industry sponsored seats in the first semester of LLB and those of the MBA department was withdrawn without discussion in the evening.

Mr Ashok Goyal had, in the morning session, raised the issue and contended that the university was “commercialising education” by increasing these seats in every department. However, Dr M.R. Aggarwal felt that the university had no alternative source of income and increasing NRI seats was the only option.

The Senate gave its nod to the five-year integrated course though questions were raised on the fee of Rs 65000 per year proposed for the course. Mr Charanjit Chawla was of the opinion that meritorious students scoring above a limit should be refunded fee as the recognition of their effort while Prof Arya opined that freeship be given to students instead of refunding the money. Prof Pathak said he would look into the matter.

Dr A.C. Vaid and Mr S.C. Marriya raised the issue of non-receipt of degrees by colleges before the convocation, pointing out that the Senate had directed the examination branch to make degrees available to colleges within three months of the declaration of results. Mr R.P.S. Josh and Mr S.S. Johal said that evaluation centres all over Punjab were in bad shape.

The issue of bogus voting in the graduate constituency was raised by Mr Dharinder Tayal on the floor of the House with suggestions to rectify the loopholes. However, it was decided, after a long discussion, that the item first needed the approval of the Syndicate before being taken up in the Senate. Prof Pathak was critical of the fact that remedial measures were suggested only when elections were round the corner, making their implementation difficult.

The letter of the Election Commission barring the university from issuing appointment letters to those faculty members selected under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) was criticised. For a good two hours, Senators debated on whether it applied to appointments on the Senate agenda brought for approval. Later, however, these were passed.

Expressing apprehension that the university authorities had intentionally kept the appointments made under CAS out of the agenda, Dr Keshav Malhotra said that the move was aimed at bringing down tempers, high on account of rejection of promotion to a number of teachers under the scheme. Prof Pathak denied the allegation.

Terming the redesignation of programmers of the Physics Department as lecturers as “backdoor entry”, the Senators were in favour of framing a proper promotion policy for them. However, since none of the members were ready to reject it, the item was passed after much deliberation.

Taking up the payment of Allowance to Administrative Officers of the university, the Senate made a case for extending the same to left out officers which included the Press Manager, the Director, Public Relations, and the Director, Youth Welfare. While Prof Pathak was convinced of the same, he said that the item would be referred back to the Board of Finance for its nod. Similarly, the case of sanction of arrears denied to engineers, chemists, foremen and workshop superintendents of the Geo-Chemistry Department would be referred back.

Choosing to take a soft stance on the awarding of punishment to Dr Rakesh Dutta, a Reader in the Centre for Defence Studies, found guilty of supplying false academic information during recruitment and negligence of duty, the Senate recommended that he be conveyed the “displeasure” of the House. His confirmation would now be taken up at the next meting of the Senate.

The item pertaining to adjustment of two staff members of the Population Development and education project was deferred after a long discussion. The Senate approved introduction of new courses in the University Institute of Engineering and Technology. However, Dr K. Malhotra observed that the university must spare a thought for paucity of staff, teaching and non-teaching, the absence of infrastructure and proper labs in the department. The university budget was also passed at the Senate meeting that continued till over midnight.

The Senate accepted the Rs 2 crore proposal of donations for a dental institute at the campus given by Dr Harvansh Singh Judge, an NRI from Canada. The Senate also agreed to naming the institute after him. 



Fee hike: Admn, PU on collision course
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh Administration and the Panjab University authorities are once again heading for a confrontation on the issue of tuition fee and admission fee for undergraduate and postgraduate classes.

The Panjab University Senate at yesterday’s meeting decided to increase the tuition fee and admission fee by 10 per cent from the new academic session. The colleges in the city, both government and non-government aided colleges, have charged the increased fee as per the orders of the Chandigarh Administration. The 10 per cent fee increase decided by the Senate is still less than the fee structure approved by the Administration.

As a result there are two different fee structures being followed by non-government aided colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh. While the Panjab University affiliated non-government aided colleges in Punjab would be charging the tuition fee and admission fee as per the decision of the Senate, the colleges in city are charging comparatively more from students.

At yesterday’ Senate meeting, Mr P.P.Arya and Mr Charanjeet Chawla, both Senators, moved a resolution terming the notification of the Administration as illegal. It was unanimously decided that the university would write to the Administration to withdraw the notification regarding the fee hike.

Dr A.C. Vaid, Principal of the GGDSD College, Sector 32, said a strange situation had emerged due to lack of coordination between the university and Administration. The Administration has recently directed the aided colleges to give in writing they were charging the increased fee, failing which their grant-in-aid would be cut.

On the other hand, the committee of the Panjab University Senate had decided to increase the tuition fee for undergraduate and postgraduate courses from Rs 63 per month to Rs 75 per month for two years with effect from academic year 2004 -2005. The Senate had also decided to increase the admission fee from Rs 165 per annum to Rs 198 for both courses for two years with effect from academic year 2004-2005.



Consumer panel rules out negligence
Accepts nursing home’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Allowing an appeal filed by city-based Deep Nursing Home, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has set aside the orders of UT State Commission after holding that there was no evidence before it to conclude negligence on part of a nursing home doctor.

Acting on a complaint filed by Ms Neena Gupta alleging negligence, the State Commission had earlier ordered the payment of Rs 12,500 as compensation, along with Rs 2,000 as costs.

The complainant had alleged that the doctor had needlessly used forceps during delivery for extracting extra money. Ms Gupta had added that she had developed a problem due to negligent use of forceps.

Denying the allegations, the nursing home, on the other hand, had contended that injury had not been caused to the baby’s face or head. They had added that “Utero Vesical Fistula” (UVF) could have occurred even in normal delivery “after a previous caesarean section”.

After going through the record and hearing arguments in the case, the National Commission added that “forceps delivery was justified in the circumstances of the case”. Moreover, there was no evidence to show that the complainant had developed UVF due to negligence in the application of forceps.

The Commission also held that there was no force in the arguments of the complainant that the “forceps delivery was made by the attending doctor only to make more money. Neena Gupta had given birth to a girl in the very same nursing home in 1989 through caesarean section. If the doctors wanted to make more money, she would have again prevailed on Neena Gupta to undergo caesarean section. The doctor in fact avoided this and tried to effect a normal delivery”.

The Commission added: “Dr Sarla Malhotra, Additional Professor in PGI’s Department of Gynecology, who saw the patient on January 23, 1992, clearly stated that fistula could not have been caused by low forceps delivery.... She also mentioned that normal delivery could also cause this type of fistula in view of previous caesarean section.... We, therefore, hold that the condition developed by the complainant was a medical complication and not due to negligence”.



Juhi, Divya surprise Sukhna visitors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
If the entire city was sizzling under the bright stars of Bollywood — from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan — could Sukhna Lake be left behind?
So while the other stars shifted their shooting schedules out of the city, the chirpy Juhi Chawla and “Punjab di kudi” Divya Dutta had the crowds asking for more as they shot for a film at the lake today. Beginning at 7 in the morning, the last leg of the shooting schedule for Manjit Mann’s latest production “Des Hoya Pardes” was finally over by the afternoon, and Juhi said goodbye to the city and her fans.

Dressed in a simple cream salwar-kameez, the acclaimed actress shot a scene with Divya Dutta, where the latter tries to know Juhi’s opinion about Gurdas Mann, and if she (Juhi) is in love with him. Divya Dutta plays a sister to Gurdas Mann in the film. Juhi had been in the city since February 10, and the scenes were shot in the city as well as in villages like Shergarh Bara, near Morinda, Anandpur Kaloud, Zirakpur, Banur and in Pinjore.

With the two actresses sitting on a bench and engaging in conversation — in chaste Punjabi — Juhi exuded professionalism by giving her best shots in spite of the hundreds of eyes gazing at her. In the movie, Juhi plays Gurdas Mann’s wife, and the film explores the life of a common man caught in the web of terrorism.

Being directed by Manoj Punj, who earlier directed “Shaheed-e-Mohabbat” and “Zindagi Khoobsurat Hai”, “Des hoya Pardes” is being made in both English and Hindi. It has music by Jaidev Kumar and background music by Gurdas Mann and Alka Yagnik.




No one could escape the charisma of superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Not even the bureaucratic fraternity of Punjab, Haryana or Chandigarh, that sits in full strength at Chandigarh. So when the mega star was in town, shooting for Anil Sharma’s ‘Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon’,” some IAS officers and even members of the judiciary could not keep off the opportunity of seeing him off-screen.

Many of these officers missed work to have a look at the star. However, Mr Bachchan was in no mood to relent for anyone, not even the high and mighty bureaucrats. So, when a senior woman IAS officer from Haryana, converged at Forest Hill Golf and Country Club, with her daughter, she was shocked at not being allowed inside the resort. After throwing many a bureaucratic tantrum, she was finally allowed in.

However, when she was again not allowed to enter the bar of the club, where the star was meeting select press men, her tantrums did not work. She was asked to produce her identity card, which she apparently did not have. It was only after her typical bureaucratic threat to the management officials (‘main tumhe dekh loongi’) that they were convinced of her being an IAS officer, and then she was finally allowed in.

Shabana at her best

Shabana Azmi is every bit her father’s daughter. In city to witness a play being staged by Rani Balbir Kaur in her father Kaifi Azmi’s memory recently, the multi-faceted Shabana — a social activist, actor, politician — spoke at length of how her life, her firebrand feminism or her social activism were inherited from her father. The only starry airs that one witnessed about her was her slight obsession for appearing picture perfect for the lensmen, during a tete a tete at the Chandigarh Press Club. Late by an hour — partly on the request of journalists busy covering Punjab Assemby and partly because of her flight getting late- Shabana first requested that she be spared two minutes to check her appearance, before she walked in to for waiting lensmen. During her 40 minute interface with the press, she emerged a journo’s delight giving many a quotable quote, and reciting verses penned by her father. The best came when she said she did not write poetry herself, rather was the inspiration for father Kaifi and husband Javed Akhtar for penning some of the best lines.

VIPs and fans

They say your wishes will come true if you see a shooting star but the stars shooting in the city during the past few days made the wishes of so many fans come true. A golf club near the city that played host to Bollywood celebrities was literally swarmed with fans and the security personnel there had a tough time trying to ward off the excited crowds. But Chandigarh being a city full of VIPs, there was no dearth of sahibs in ‘‘lal-batti’’ cars with security men in tow, pulling a few strings to get into the shooting arena. But getting in seemed to be not enough for our macho ‘sahib’ who brought his memsahib and kiddo not only for a dekho but it seemed with a promise to make them a part of the film.

As the shooting for the song sequence proceeded, our man who flashed his walkie talkie time and again too managed to move from an obscure position to the front row of spectators in the scene and soon the memsahib who had proudly claimed to the production assistant minutes ago that she was at the shoot against her doctor’s advice, was seen swaying to the music with gusto.

Several such scenes and manipulations going on behind the camera by ‘ambitious’ fans were witnessed by Sentinel making one wonder whether being satisfied with an autograph and a smile from one’s favourite star was passe.

‘Divine force’ noble cause

Verender Sikka is a popular face in the PGI. He is not there for his own treatment but for others who might need a helping hand. Every morning he can be seen guiding patients, deciphering medical prescriptions and, sometimes, even buying medicines for them.

Sikka is not one of the many social workers looking for helpless patients in the corridors of the medical institute. He is, in fact, an Assistant Manager with the Medical Institute Branch of the State Bank of India.

From opening special account for patients with help from his colleagues to organising blood donation camps, he does it all and claims there is “divine force” prodding him to serve humanity. While ensuring that office work does not suffer and performing his duties diligently, he utilises the time before and after office hours to pursue this noble cause.

Press in a fix

Reporters covering Panjab University are in a fix these days because any students’ issue spells trouble for them. This is not because authorities are mum on queries pertaining to the problem but because all students’ organisations want credit for having come to the rescue of the students.

Any positive decision on the part of the university means press note after press note to stake claim on how the authorities were influenced and forced to give in to their demand. Every organisation denies the other had any role to play and insist only their name must go in the item to be published. Interestingly, sometimes the wording in the press statement sent by various organisations is the same.

Big B vs Shah Rukh

With the City Beautiful turning starry as a hoard of Bollywood stars descended on it, our city saw a lot of hustle and bustle. But the big two of Bollywood — Amitabh and Shah Rukh — were the most sought after of all stars.

For the generation which grew up on the ‘Sholay’ dialogues, the choice was obvious. They unabashedly made a beeline for the Big B. If they could also meet Shah Rukh, that was just an added bonus.

But for little kiddies there was no such dilemma involved. Shah Rukh ‘uncle’ was the only choice. The parents went crazy clamouring for a sight of Big B, waiting for hours at various shooting sites in the city just to catch a glimpse of Amitabh. But the kids accompanying them held no such awe for the ‘Sholay’ star. Most of them were seen pestering their parents with the queries “When will we meet Shah Rukh?” “Will Shah Rukh be also at the shooting?” “Will Shah Rukh come?” etc.

Big B might be creating flutters in the hearts of the older generation, but it is the ‘Baazigar’ who rules the Little Kingdom.




Assault on Tribune team: police fails to 
recover car, guns
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 29
Even a week after the attack on The Tribune team, the police has failed to recover a car and guns used by henchmen of a land mafia in Dhakauli village on March 22. The police has hardly made any attempt to nab two members of the mafia who used a blue Lancer car (DL-1CF-7849) in reaching the spot in less than 15 minutes after the attack on a correspondent and a photographer of The Tribune.

Two youths had reached the spot and handed over the goods that were snatched by their henchmen from the reporter. They had refused to disclose their identity when questioned by the team members.

Along with 11 henchmen, the car occupants were also taken to the Lohgarh police post by the police on the same night but were reportedly let off without any questioning.

Eleven henchmen, who were arrested from the spot by the police and a case under Sections 341, 355, 323, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code was registered against them, were granted bail by Mr D R Garg, Subdivisional Magistrate, on March 24.

According to police records, the henchmen — Jaswinder Singh, Iqbal Singh, Simat Singh, Gurjot Singh, Vikram Singh, Ajit Singh, Gurlal Singh, Jagdish Singh, Beant Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Gurmal Singh — who were arrested from the spot belonged to Bathinda and surrounding areas. They were reportedly hired by the land mafia to grab this prime piece of government land worth crores of rupees.

When contacted Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Dera Bassi, said the case has been sent to the District Attorney (DA), Patiala, for legal advice, and further action would be taken accordingly.



Dhawan’s loyalist joins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Mr Davinder Singh Babla, General Secretary of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, and a long time loyalist of a former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, today created a flutter in the local political circles by joining the Congress. His wife, Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla, municipal councillor, also joined the Congress.

The husband-wife team along with their supporters were invited to Congress Bhavan, this afternoon. The local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, welcomed them into the party. Mr Babla said he would work for the success of Mr Bansal. Interestingly, the President of the local unit of the Congress Mr B.B. Bahl, stayed away from the ceremony. Mr Babla, along with his mentor, Mr Dhawan, had joined the Congress before the Lok Sabha poll in 1999. After a year they parted ways with the Congress.



Election officials attend programme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The UT Election Department today organised a training programme for the Joint Chief Electoral Officer and 11 Assistant Electoral Returning Officers to acquaint them with the use of electronic voting machines. The programme was organised at Punjab Engineering College.

The trainees were briefed on the casting of votes, display of total votes polled, sealing of EVMs after the polling and declaration of results.

The Chandigarh constituency has been divided into 11 zones, which would be headed by one Assistant Electoral Returning Officer (AERO). Each AERO would further conduct the training programme for the polling staff, presiding officers and polling officers.



Three election observers appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Election Commission of India has appointed three observers for the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency.
Mr Shaik Khader Rehman, has been appointed observer (expenditure), while Mr Manu Kumar and Mr T.R. Tamasamy as observer (general). The observers will visit the city from April 20 to 25 and again from May 1 to 14.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, has been designated as District Election Officer.



Factory employees thwart takeover attempt
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
Following the closure of two of Mohali’s largest industrial units — JCT and Punwire — Ajay Electrical Industries Limited here now faces a similar future. High drama ensued on the unit’s Phase I premises today when one of the creditors of the factory produced a takeover notice from the Delhi High Court and tried to take over the assets of the company employees numbering 150 Company who face unemployment, however foiled the bid by blocking the factory gates. They have been since the late evening sitting outside on a dharna against the move.

The factory owned by a Delhi-based businessman is one of the oldest industrial units to be set up in Mohali in the 1970s. Better known as Ajay Lamps, the company is involved in the manufacture of electrical lamps and tubes. It was declared sick in 1994 by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction the (BIFR). In 2001, the BIFR ordered the winding up of the factory following an unsuccessful rehabilitation effort. Currently the winding up proceedings are underway in the Delhi high court.

According to the information provided by the CEO of the company here, Mr B.S. Baidwan, one of the creditors who claimed that the company owed him Rs 1.5 lakh obtained an order that stated that a provisional liquidator had been appointed to take the possession of the factory. “Efforts should be made to sell the company in a running condition so that not this factory can fetch a better price which is to the advantage of the creditor and in the process also safeguard the employment of its workers’’he said adding that once the factory is closed, its machinery becomes junk and ultimately only the price of land is available for liquidation.

Mr Kuldip Singh, President of the Ajay Electrical Industries Workers’ Union, affiliated to the Hind Majdoor Sabha, strongly objected to the closure. The workers sat on dharna outside the factory gates stating that they will not allow the police to facilitate the closure. This would result in the unemployment of 150 persons with an average wage rate of Rs 6000 a month.



Military Police raids meat, poultry shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Military Police today raided shops supplying meat and poultry products to military establishments in the region. Though officials at Chandimandir are tight lipped about the issue, sources reveal that the raiding party found several discrepancies in the stock and the records being maintained.

The raid comes close on the heels of the Army unearthing a scam to siphon of coal supplies meant for the forces. The sources refused to rule out the involvement of a senior officer in these scams. They also refused to comment on the allegations that the Army authorities were trying to hush up the matter in an attempt to save the officer.

On Sunday, the Army had detained four civilian trucks and a driver allegedly involved in the coal scam, the sources added. A fifth coal truck was, however, allowed to proceed to Shimla. Two of the trucks had entered and moved out of Chandimandir without logging their movement in the register at the transport check post. Seven more trucks of coal were to proceed from the coal depot here belonging to a private contractor to Shimla, but the movement has now been cancelled. The coal was reportedly being diverted to brick kilns in Mubarakpur and Mullanpur.



Fauji Beat
Army takes to aero sports

A parasailor is ready to land
A parasailor is ready to land.

Aero sports are fast picking up in our country. Since adventure forms an important part of military training, the Army has taken keenly to aero sports to inculcate high degree of physical fitness and mental robustness. These sports also provide recreation to the Army personnel and their families.

Most Army divisions in peace stations have created infrastructure to promote aero sports activities. In Ferozepore, an old air strip of second World War vintage, which was not being used due to its close proximity to the Indo-Pak border, has been developed into an aero sports club. Making a beginning in para-sailing with one para-sail a few years ago, the club has been brought up to a full-fledged aero sports centre. Because of the citizens of Ferozepore having shown keen interest in para-sailing, the club was also opened to then some time ago.

The club has successfully completed hundreds of para-sail launches and in a number of them the civilians have also participated. The Army Adventure Wing has nominated the club as a nodal centre.

A case for strong Army: Answer to this question that comes from history is no. Our politicians and bureaucrats fear a strong army will not auger well for India. There is nothing new in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) opposing the proposal of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to raise 12 more Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalions, six each this year and next year, respectively. The MHA feels that there is adequate number of para-military forces in Jammu and Kashmir to counter terrorism, raising of more RR battalions will, there, amount to a waste of money. The raising of RR battalions has always been opposed by the MHA because their manpower comes from the Army. Plus they are under the operational administrative control of the Army. No wonder then that the Fifth Pay Commission had recommended that the RR battalions should be disbanded.

In the quantum of troops in J & K, we listed 14 Jammu and Kashmir Militia battalions in the Karachi Agreement in 1949, where on ground we had only seven battalions. For several years, the government kept on turning the Army’s proposed to raise seven more J&K Militia battalions. Eventually in 1969, the Army chief gave in and the government then raised seven more CRP battalions.

Against this background, those who think that the government would ever agree for the parallel placement of the Army manpower in the paramilitary forces are sadly mistaken.

Ex-servicemen a divided lot: Come elections and the ex-servicemen get divided more discernibly to form their new groups, cells or organisations. This is the reason why despite a large vote-bank of over two crore, including their families, they do not have a clout at the hustings. If the ruling parties have remained indifferent to the ex-servicemen’s genuine demands the latter have to blame themselves for this.

The political parties cleverly cash in on the division among ex-servicemen in every election. Not only that, they also divide them by promising some sops to some of them. It is surprising that the same ex-servicemen, who pulled on one rope while being in service, cannot see eye to eye with one another after hanging up their uniform.

Several times after accepting their demands, for example, “one rank, one pension”, the political parties in power have pulled the rung from under their feet. Yet, being “Faujis” they have not woken up to this reality. No doubt, individually a negligible number of them has climbed the political ladder. But what is disconcerting is that after coming into politics and assuming power they totally forget their brethern leave alone their demands.

Website on medical update: Recently, a website was launched at the Command Hospital, Udhampur, by Mrs Lakshmi Hari Prasad, President of the Army Wives, Welfare Association (AWWA), Northern Command. The launching of the website, which was a part of the “know your hospital programme”, will have a link to the super-specialists at the Command Hospital. It will generate awareness about the latest medical facilities available at the hospital.

— Pritam Bhullar



Drive to clean rivulets soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
With the threat of dengue looming large on city, a drive will be launched to clean the rivulet which runs through sectors of the city and also the Sukhna rivulet so that stagnating water in these choes does not become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The UT Administrator, Justice O. P. Verma, said a special drive should be launched to clean both rivulets to ensure that no sullage was released in these rivulets. He said the condition of Sukhna rivulet was bad because sullage and sewage being released by two slums and adjoining Kishangarh village in it.

Justice Verma asked the Municipal Commissioner to launch a special drive to clean the rivulets of polythene and other suspended particles. He asked the Commissioner to place additional garbage bins in the colonies on the banks of the rivulets and ensure that residents put garbage in the garbage bins.

Regarding the work on closing of openings on V-3 roads, the Chief Engineer informed the Administrator that 51 spots have been found by the Administration to erect walls to close the openings. The work of erecting walls on three spots has been completed by the Engineering Department itself and tender for rest of the 48 sites have been allotted to the contractor who would complete this job within 30 days.



Deputy Speaker to visit Mohali parks
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
The Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha and MLA, Kharar Mr Bir Devinder Singh, will visit various parks here on March 31 to review their state of maintenance. While a majority of the parks in the town are being maintained by the Municipal Council, some of these are being taken care of by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh had in November last year visited some of the parks following complaints from the public about their shoddy state. Mr Bir Devinder Singh was accompanied by top officials of the council and PUDA during that visit. However, the matter was again brought to the notice of the MLA during the recent meeting of the Municipal Council.



Traffic disrupted
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 29
Traffic on the Panchkula -Naraingarh road was disrupted for over three hours as a truck carrying bitumen overturned on the road this evening.
According to information, the truck overturned and the bitumen spread across the highway, resulting in the traffic jam.

The traffic was restored after the police managed to remove the vehicle and the bitumen with the help of earth movers.



Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Madan Mohan Sharma (68), father of Mr Sanjeev Sharma, senior clerk in the advertisement department, died last evening following cardiac arrest.
He leaves behind two married daughters and a son. His cremation was largely attended.



Ambika suicide case: in-laws booked
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 29
In the Ambika suicide case the police today booked the husband and in-laws of the deceased.
The trio — Gagan Gupta, husband of the deceased, VP Gupta, father in-law, and Nirmal Gupta, mother-in-law — has been booked under Sections 304-B and 34, Indian Penal Code.

A Deputy Manager with HDFC Bank, Ms Ambika, had committed suicide at her house in the Mansa Devi Complex yesterday evening. Her brother, Mr Dinesh Shangar, in a complaint to the police has alleged that his sister ended her life due to dowry demand by her in-laws.



Two arrested
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
The local police today arrested two persons on charges of theft. Bhupinder Singh and Mahinder Pal Singh were arrested and a stolen Kinetic Honda (PB65A 0457) was recovered from them. Both the accused are residents of Mohali.

1,081 motorists challaned: A week-long challan drive carried out by the traffic police concluded here today. According to Mr Jagjit Singh, 1,081 motorists were challaned. Out of these, 280 challans were issued to those driving two-wheelers without helmet and 110 to pillion riders without helmet. Ten person were challaned for using the mobile while driving and 17 for not using the safety belt. Seventy challans were issued for red light jumping and 81 challaned for not carrying vehicle registration certificates. As many as 211 challans were issued to those driving without licence and 91 to those without insurance.



Women entrepreneurs display wares
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Women entrepreneurs from the region have brought in exquisitely crafted wares for a three-day exhibition-cum-sale, which began at Lajpat Rai Bhavan today. Organised by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development Cell of Canara Bank, “Canmela” aims at giving a fillip to market the exclusive wares produced by these women.

The fair was inaugurated by Ms Dheera Khandelwal, Director Women and Child Development, Haryana.

She interacted with most of the participants in the fair, asking about their enterprise and marketing strategies. From intricate handcrafted jewellery in silver and pearls, block prints on women ensemble to home linen, hand-embroidered suits to knitted sweaters, paintings to sculptures — the exhibition showcases the creativity of women, and how the creativity can help them move up the economic ladder and thus ameliorate themselves both socially and economically.

Putting their creations on display at 40 stalls, these women speak about their products and how they established their enterprise, with honesty. Jaipur-based Anuradha Aman’s stall of silver jewellery attracted a large number of customers, as did Bindia Bagai’s stall of ethnic block prints juxtaposed on earthy hues in cottons, chiffon and chanderis for suits and sarees, and on home linen (bedspread and durrie sets, table linen).

Few could escape Rameet Bakshi’s chocolates, which the young woman has been making at her home in Mohali, or the food mixes (cake mix, idli mix, pakori mix etc.) by Ms Yashica Jain. Besides Ms Suchitra’s soft toys, murals, paintings, handicrafts, shawls, phulkari items, leather goods, candles, Rajasthani stone jewellery etc. by other entrepreneurs also offered a visual treat.

Mr S.N. Yaligar, Manager, Canara Bank, said the exhibition aimed at providing marketing support to women entrepreneurs by providing them a common forum for interaction, display and sale of products.


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