C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Schools under CBSE scanner over coaching
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

A roaring business

The turnover of coaching centres and tutorials in the city runs into crores. It can be gauged from the fact that a tutor on an average earns Rs 6,000 a month. The fee charged from a student ranges between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 for an eight-month course.

Chandigarh, April 12
The Central Board of Secondary Education has taken a serious view of schools which allow their students to attend coaching classes for competitive examinations during school timings. Several such schools in the city are on the watch list of the board for violating the guidelines on teaching hours.

To boast of students having achieved a high percentage, thus adding to the prestige of a school, the school ensured that the attendance of such students did not fall short as per the requirement of the board. To circumvent the rules, the schools completed the minimum attendance of students, said a senior officer of the board.

Sources in the board said the nexus between schools and coaching centres was also being probed as it involved crores of rupees. Certain complaints had been forwarded to the board in which teachers asked students to take coaching classes. Some cases, in which teachers recommended the name of a particular coaching centre, had come to notice of board officials. Cases of some government schools recommending coaching centers to students were also being probed.

Since the arrangement of coaching classes during the school timings suited the school, students and their parents, none of the beneficiaries came forward to complain about the illegal practice. The board is probing a case of two prestigious schools not marking attendance of their students regularly.

Investigations reveal that in some cases schools passed specific instructions to teachers to free students to attend coaching centres. There have been some cases where students have cleared competitive exams, but failed in the board exams.

The sources said that aware of the menace of tuitions, the heads of schools in the city had been asked to shun the practice of allowing students to take tuitions during the school timings. The regional office of the board was on the job of identifying erring schools, said the Regional Officer of the board, Mr P.I. Sabu.

The Director (Academics), Mr G. Balasubramanian, in a communique to the schools in the city, has said that it has been noticed that some institutions manipulate their class schedules and timings, especially senior classes, to facilitate students to go for coaching classes.

Mr Sabu said the instructions of the headquarters were being conveyed to the heads of the schools in the city.


Turbanators set ramp on fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
City-based fashion designers glorified the Indian wedding during an eclectic Baisakhi Fashion Glow at the Forest Hill Golf and Country Club tonight.

So even if Indian fashion pundits are turning away from Rani pink to English rose (from jarring to sombre), the city’s fashionistas and divas decided to glorify the Indian wedding in all its bright hues and heavy embellishments.

The show lasted for almost an hour, as the models showcased what city designers, Babi and Jas, and designers from the house of Meena Bazaar and Sweet Sixteen, predicted the season’s fashion forecast. While the designers predicted heavily embellished traditional wear in bold colours, the accent was on jazz. So it was sequins on the jeans, with cuts, geometric print tops and fishnet tees for guys. Meena Bazaar’s collection in white was like a whiff of fresh air, as was the summer wardrobe by Sweet Sixteen in nude colour capris and white kurtis.

The fashion show, which also celebrated city-based choreographer and event manager Jeet Brar’s 15 years in the world of fashion, finally had the turbanators on show for the world. Gurmeet Singh of Launchers ... The Modeler had various screening tests in the region, before he launched the turban-clad models with Greek god figures who set the ramp on fire. In just a month of training, the 18 Sikh models on the ramp were sashaying down as professionals.

Top models like Gladrags Mega Model Amanpreet Wahi, Lada and Ruhi Barua sported the designs of city models — ranging more towards couture than street fashion.



Holiday bonanza for govt staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Government employees who took a casual leave today are enjoying six days of continuous holidays. The sequence of holidays announced by the government fits in so nicely that employees of the Punjab Government, the Chandigarh Administration and the Central Government are in for a ‘’mega weekend’’. The string of holidays, which started on Friday, has brought work in government offices to a grinding halt.

The holidays started on April 9 (Good Friday). Baisakhi falls on April 13 while the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar falls on April 14. Offices remained closed on April 10 and 11 being Saturday and Sunday.

So, an employee just needed today’s leave to make it a mega weekend. Offices will remain open on April 15 and 16 and then again remain closed for the weekend on April 17 and 18.

Already visitors to various government offices are being advised to come on April 15 after the holidays come to an end. Officials said they were helpless as employees could not be stopped from taking leave.

For government employees, whose families live in nearby towns, the holidays have come as a boon. Reports from nearby holiday destinations like Kasauli, Shimla and Barog say that hotels have witnessed an increase in the number of bookings. Several private schools in the city are closed for these five days. Government schools in the city are already closed as per the schedule of holidays announced by the Chandigarh Administration.

If an employee takes two more days of leave on April 15 and 16, it will be a 10-day break for him or her.

In the banking sector, closed days are decided on the basis of holidays declared under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Employees in the private sector are envious of the long weekend the government employees will enjoy.

The Central Government, while allowing a pay hike under the Fifth Pay Commission, had suggested that the number of holidays should be cut down.


RBI closed on April 14

Chandigarh, April 12
The Reserve Bank of India has declared April 14 a holiday on account of birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, according to an official announcement here today. — TNS




Another chance for left-out voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
City residents have one more chance to be on the voters’ list for the elections to the Lok Sabha to be held in the city on May 10. The residents who have shifted their place of residence or whose names are yet to be on the list after attaining the age of 18 can apply to the UT Election Department on the prescribed form. The last date for application is April 23.

The form is available free of cost from the office of the department in Sector 17. Also it can be downloaded from the website of the Chandigarh Administration “www. chandigarh.nic.in” .

People who have moved in from other states will have to bring proof that their names have been deleted from the voters’ list of their respective states. At this stage the onus for this will lie on the applicant, said the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Mr Arun Kumar. However, for people who have been living in Chandigarh the names will be added after verification.

The department plans to come out with a supplementary voters’ list by May 1. Going by the response, there will be an addition of nearly 20,000 voters to the existing list of about 5.04 lakh voters. Women who have been staying in Chandigarh and have got married within the city can also avail themselves of the opportunity. Every day nearly 300 applicants have been coming to the department. The idea is not to target the voter card but to first add the name on the list which will allow right to franchise.


Ashwani defends party on support to Jethmalani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Congress party today accused the BJP and its allies of deliberately trying to shift the public attention to non-issues in the run up to the elections.

Addressing a media conference here, Mr Ashwani Kumar, a spokesman for the AICC , said the coming elections were important because they would decide the course India would take in the 21st century. Therefore, the debate during the poll campaign for the elections should be on principles and fundamental issues facing the country. Instead, deliberate attempt was being made as part of a well thoughtout strategy by the BJP and its allies to trivialise the whole debate by raising issues like the foreign origin of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Bofors issues and the utterances of Mr Narendra Modi and Mr Praveen Togadia.

The Congress party had repeatedly said that it would welcome any effort by the government to bring to book the culprits in the Bofors case . He was of the view that the Bofors case had been deliberately reinvented on the eve of the elections even after the High Court had exonerated late Rajiv Gandhi in the case. Not a single reference had been made Mrs Sonia Gandhi in the 26 volumes of evidence in the Bofors case.

He observed that the politics of calumnization and deception had always been the hallmark of the BJP politics.

Mr Ashwani Kumar asserted that the BJP which claimed to be a party of good governance had nothing whatsoever to show by way of its performance. The NDA had been marked by unprecedented number of scams, blatant and patent communalisation of politics. The flip flop on the foreign policy and defence issues was there for all to see. The Congress party, if elected to power, promised to put back on track and further strengthen the core values of the republic under siege for the past many years. The reforms programme by the Congress would mean upliftment of the national existence of all people and not just a few people.

He also said that it was regrettable that a woman who had lost her mother in law and husband while defending the unity and integrity of the country was being questioned about her foreign origin. It was indicative of the low levels to which the politics had been brought down.

Mr Kumar also said that the attempt of his party would be to avoid division of secular votes while supporting a candidate against the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in Lucknow.

He defended the move by his party to extend support to Mr Ram Jethmalani in the electoral contest against Mr Vajpayee. He saw nothing wrong in his party extending support to someone who used to put 10 questions every day to Rajiv Gandhi on Bofors , defended the assassins of Mrs Indira Gandhi in a court of law and remained the national vice president of the BJP.


Chance for all you budding singers!
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 12
If you nurture a dream to become a singer, here is a big chance for you. “Pepsi Banja Staara Yaraa” — a talent hunt organised by Pepsi in association with ETC Channel Punjabi — has invited aspiring singers of this region to try their luck.

Announcing the contest here on Monday, Mr Aloke Malik, Head of Pepsi’s operations in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, said: “The company is committed to the long-term promotion of music and musical talent.” Mr Rabindra Narayan, President, ETC Channel Punjabi, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Business Head, Music Today, Atul Sharma, music director, Malkit Singh, folk singer, and Dolly Guleria, Harbhajan Singh, Test cricketer, and Shamsher Singh Sandhu, famous lyricist, were present.

The contest is open to all between the age group of 16 and 35 years. The participant has to send in a recording of his or her song, sung in Punjabi, on a cassette or a CD or call a central number (309) and record his or her song. To reach out to people, the company will take out a number of teams, which will visit youth hangouts such as malls, cinema complexes and college campuses in the city where an aspirant can record his songs on the spot.

A panel of judges, consisting of well-known artistes like Atul Sharma, Malkit Singh, Dolly Guleria and Shamsher Singh Sandhu will shortlist contestants for auditions. Based on the results of auditions, successful contestants — divided into four groups — will perform live along with Punjabi pop stars at four concerts to be held at Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Jammu. The final, a musical extravaganza, will decide the ultimate winners — one male and one female. The contest will have three rounds — folk, pop and choice.

Music Today, which is also associated with the contest, will record an album with the winners, while ETC Channel Punjabi will telecast the five live concerts, which will form the basis for selection of winners.


J & K boys’ foray into an exciting world
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
For 59 school children who had never ventured beyond the confines of their villages in Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir, an Army-sponsored trip to the city has provided a foray into a whole new world.

For those who had never travelled in a train or watched a movie in a theatre the experience gave them an insight into an exciting world beyond the drab routine of life in far away villages.

Under the “Aao Apna Desh Dekhen” programme, being conducted by the Army under Operation Sadbhavana, the students are being shown different facets of the country. The main objective of the programme is to inculcate a sense of belonging and create awareness about the country.

In Chandigarh, they visited Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake and Sector 17 plaza. Also on their schedule is a visit to the Pinjore Gardens and the HMT factory.

“Rock Garden is simply fascinating,” they chorused. The Sector 17 shopping plaza as well as the Fun Republic shopping mall had them bedazzled. “It is good to see new places and also to know that things you saw only on TV and dreamt about are within reach,” Mohammad Abass, a class 10 student said. A few, however, were hesitant to enter a movie theatre as it was “dark inside”.

For many life had not been easy. Living under the shadow of guns and in constant fear has had an impact on them. “I want to join the Army,” Rafiq, a class 9 student whose village is just a kilometres away from the Line of Control, said. “Otherwise, there is always a chance that militants may take you away,” he

added. Another student expressed a desire to become a lawyer, while another, fascinated with a train, wanted to join the Railways. Shaukat Hussain who at 13 was the youngest of the group could not make up his mind after looking at various career possibilities he has now come across.

The students also interacted with the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover over tea in Chandimandir Cantonment near here today. During the interacting General Grover said the students would get an opportunity to mingle with people and have fruitful exchange of views with their counterparts in this part of the country. He added that such visits contributed a lot towards strengthening the bonds and national unity and integrity. The children all boys in the age group of 13 to 19 years and are students in secondary schools in Poonch district. Just nine out of them, mostly Sikhs, had earlier visited Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana and Jammu.

They will also be visiting the Army Public School at Daghsai and interact with students there. A trip to the 14 Gorkha Training Centre at Sabathu nearby, where they would have an opportunity to meet Gorkha troops, is also on the agenda.



THE mobile phone scene in Chandigarh and Punjab has begun to hot up with the entry of yet another player, Hutch. This company claims to have always been in the forefront in introducing innovative features and giving value-added services to its subscribers. “It is about delivering the performance and making the experience enjoyable at the same time”, says a spokesman of the company.

Hutch has in the near past introduced an array of value-added services that have been created keeping the customers’ needs and requirements in mind. These include services like GPRS, MMS, UMS, Hutch4help-a first of its kind dial-in-location based service, ‘Direct Top-Up’, Hutch Mobile Shops.

Hutch has been offering a host of innovative, MMS based multi media services to its users since February, 2003, when GPRS service was launched. Hutch is the only cellular service to offer ‘Live’ video-replays of sports, entertainments and fashion events such as the Cricket World Cup 2003, Miss universe Contests 2003 and Lakme fashion Week 2003, using MMS. Another unique feature of hutch is cell broadcast where in subscriber’s nearest Geographical location is appears on the screen.

Value-Added Services like cricket updates, ring tones, jokes, logos, movies, stock information, news, horoscope, news, music cards etc will also be now available at a touch of a button through the Voice Response System. Another feather in hutch’s cap is its innovative ‘Click & Print’ MMS service that allows users to click photos through their camera phones, covert them into photo prints and have delivered anywhere in the country.

Panchkula traffic rules

Panchkula seems to be a poor cousin of City Beautiful if enforcing the traffic laws are any indication. Even as the Chandigarh Police goes whole hog to challan the traffic law violators, the Panchkula police prefer to keep a low profile on this count.

Jumping traffic lights, overspeeding and not wearing helmets are some of the traffic violations, which are reported from the township day in and day out. With the traffic wing of the police looking the other way, it is sheer providence that serious accidents are not reported.

In fact, enforcing the traffic laws seems to be last on the agenda of the Panchkula Police. To top it all, underage drivers endanger their lives and that of other persons. Will the police, whose record in policing has been average, care to implement the traffic rules?

‘Khulja Sim Sim’

The “Khulja Sim Sim” show at Kalagram proved to be a big draw though it resulted in a lot of swollen faces as well with the participants having to wait for over three hours before the show actually began. Then, again, inside the premises they were unable to find chairs despite having paid for their entry.

So worked up were the participants with the arrangements that they just decided to act weird and play spoilsport. One of them, in a fit of anger, climbed the dais with a dog much to the amazement of organisers. Another one chose to pedal a rickshaw on to the stage to express his resentment.

Motorists wiser

The Chandigarh Traffic Police, it seems, has successfully inculcated the habit of adhering to traffic rules among the city residents. When the lights go out at the many light points in the city, city residents have been seen to ‘behave’ themselves. In keeping with the system, the traffic moves by turns to ensure that their movement doesn’t cause any chaos.

We Indians...

As the electoral battle for the Lok Sabha hots up, principal contenders for power are using every trick in the book to win friends and influence voters. In addition to the usual poll rallies, padyatras and rounds of the markets by candidates, political parties are also employing mass media like radio and TV to convey their message.

But it is the BJP which seems to be the most organised among them. Not only has it coined and propagated phrases like “Feel Good”, “India Shining” and “Mission 2004”, it is also sending SMS and voice messages over cellphones. The voice of the Prime Minister himself has been used to persuade the voters over the cellphones to vote for the BJP.

The sterling performance of the Indian cricket team in the ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series have also come in handy for the BJP to get is political message across.

Sample some of the SMS messages: “Khelenge aur lambee paari, Saurav, Sachin, Atal Bihari”: sender “We Indians”.

“Sehwag jaise 300 ko humein bhi paar karke dikhana hai!” sender BJP.

“Atal Bihari Himayat Committee, a new Muslim platform to mobilise Muslims for the PM: Khawaja Iftekhar”: Sender Mission 2004.

Remotely mobile!

Talking about absentmindedness, the other day a man, who runs an electrical firm, got ready for an early morning engagement. He kept his mobile on the charger in the living room, as he watched the television. Suddenly remembering an urgent piece of work, he left the home with his mobile. Upon reaching his office, he met a delegation that had come for business. One of the members of the delegation expressed his wish to talk to his father, the proprietor of the firm. The businessman pulled out the “mobile” from his pocket and gently handed it over to him. Visibly confused, the member politely returned it back amidst a peel of laughter. It was in fact the remote, about the size of the mobile, that he had carried with himself all the way to the office.

Defacing continues

The defacing of the important public signs and guide maps continues unabated in Panchkula. With various organisations, including the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), pasting posters on the guide maps, the visitors are at their wits’ end regarding location of various sectors.

In fact the Municipal Council (MC) seems to have washed its hands off the issue. With hardly any drive to remove the posters by the MC in recent times, the very purpose of installing the guide maps is defeated.

The ensuing Lok Sabha elections are likely to give a fillip to the menace of pasting the posters. It is another matter when the administration will wake up to perform its statutory duty.


Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. It is a worldwide organisation based on the principles of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. It seeks to make good men better and thereby make the world a better place in which to live, says W. Bro Kanwaljit Singh.

Freemasonry has been in existence in its present form for little over 280 years in the world and in India for about 200 years. The primary unit of Freemasonry is a Lodge. We have, as of today in India 341 Lodges and over 200 other Masonic bodies with a membership of over 17,000 Freemasons. The Indian order of Freemasons has, as its head, M. W. Bro. Arun Chintopanth, OSM as Grand Master. Some of the prominent Indians who have been Freemasons are Swami Vivekananda, C. Rajagopalachari, Moti Lal Nehru, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed as also several serving and retired judges of Supreme Court and High Court. Sentinel


Development Nagra’s poll plank
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 12
Accusing the political parties of ignoring people’s interests, Mr Aman Kumar Nagra, the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) candidate from the Ambala parliamentary constituency, said here today that development would be the main poll plank of his party in the Lok Sabha poll.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Nagra came down heavily on the outgoing BJP Member of Parliament, Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, saying that despite the BJP government at the Centre, he failed to extract any scheme for the region.

Mr Nagra, a former Ambala MP, alleged that the unemployment problem had gone from bad to worse during the past five years. Even as a cement factory at Surajpur had closed down and the HMT was on the verge of closure, Mr Kataria had failed to get any special package for the latter, he said.

If elected he would strive to establish big industrial units in the region besides the declaration of the Morni as the “hilly area”, he claimed.

Answering a question on his frequent change of parties, the former Haryana BSP chief claimed that he was expelled from the BSP on July 12, 2001, without any show-cause notice. Similarly, he never became the primary member of the Congress. He has joined the HVP as Mr Bansi Lal alone could lead the state to the path of progress.

Claiming that the party stood to win the Ambala seat, Mr K.P. Singh, Panchkula, HVP president, refuted the reports that there were differences in the party over the selection of Mr Nagra as the candidate.

The president of the Punjabi Manch of the HVP, Mr Yash Arora, claimed that the victory of Mr Nagra would have far-reaching consequences on the outcome of the Haryana Assembly election results as Mr Nagra commanded wide support in the state.


Rally by BJYM activists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today staged a demonstration followed by a dharna against the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, for its alleged failure to provide basic amenities to the residents of colonies.

Those who took part in the demonstration and dharna included Mr Davesh Moudgil, President of BJYM, Shashi Shankar Tiwari, Manjit Kaur, Chander Bhan Pathak, Arun Kumar, Arvind Singh, Ajay, Vijay, Swaraj Singh, Ravi Prakash Kansal, Annu Gupta, Usha Shrivastava and Mr Satya Pal Jain.

Addressing the demonstrators, Mr Satya Pal Jain, the BJP candidate from Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, alleged that the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, and ex-Congress MP had miserably failed in providing anything worthwhile for Chandigarh people as well as residents of colonies during the last 2½ years. The condition of sanitation in the colonies had been deteriorating day by day.


Chautala opportunist, says BJP city chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Mr Yashpal Mahajan, president of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP, today criticised the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, for making wrong and misleading statements in the context of the SAD-BJP alliance.

In a statement here, Mr Mahajan said SAD was an ally of the NDA therefore, the question of the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, campaigning in favour of the INLD candidate for the Chandigarh the Lok Sabha seat did not arise. He said Mr Chautala had always been an opportunist in politics and, therefore, could not mislead the people.

He hoped that Mr Badal would himself make his position clear and direct the SAD’s local unit to campaign in favour of the BJP candidate, Mr Satya Pal Jain.


Bansal ridicules Shanta Kumar’s statement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Mr Pawan Bansal, the Congress candidate for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat, yesterday ridiculed the statement of the BJP leader, Mr Shanta Kumar, predicting a split in the Congress after the elections.

Talking to mediapersons, he reminded Mr Shanta Kumar about his disgraceful exit from the Union Cabinet some time ago because of his utterances. He had now begun to sing a different tune so as to make himself more acceptable to the party leadership. Supporters of Mr Bansal also took out a big procession at Maloya.


Councillor flays Bansal

Chandigarh, April 12
A large number of people joined Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the INLD candidate, on his “padyatra” of Burail village today. Mr Vijay Singh Rana, the local councillor, criticised the Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, who had not spared even a penny out of his MPLAD fund for the development of Burail. TNS


Labourer searches for lost family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Poverty-stricken for years, Gulab Singh now has a new battle to fight. Left alone to fend for his seven-year-old daughter, he is running from pillar to post to locate his wife, who suddenly disappeared along their year-old son.

Haggard after the long search for his "mentally disturbed wife" who had been behaving strangely ever since the birth of a son, Gulab Singh claimed, "She used to remain disturbed, but I could not figure out why. I tried to keep her in good humour as long as I could, but finally she became so agitated that she would often start throwing tantrums and even damaging the belongings of neighbours. She also tried to run away from the house. So I started locking her up before going to work."

On the fateful day, Gulab Singh remembers, "I had just bolted the door from outside because I had some work nearby. While I was away, a child in my neighbourhood opened the door, facilitating her escape. I am worried about her well being. She is not in stable mind. Someone told me that she was last spotted at the railway station. I was also told that she used to beg for rice from the packs unloaded from the train and feed her and our son from the alms. But when I went to the railway station, she was nowhere to be found. I fear something must have happened to her."

Gulab Singh has also lodged a missing report with the police post in Sector 16, Panchkula, but he has not yet heard from anyone.


Devotees take part in nagar kirtan
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 12
An aircraft showered flowers and glazed paper strips on devotees who were taking part in a nagar kirtan organised in the city today. It was taken out in connection with the Baisakhi celebrations and to commemorate the founding of the Khalsa by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

The procession started from the in Sector 29 gurdwara and culminated at the Sector 37 gurdwara. As the kirtan passed through different sectors, more devotees joined in. Kirtan and path were also organised in many gurdwaras.

In a message to the residents, UT Administrator-cum-Punjab Governor Justice O.P. Verma, extended heartiest greeting to all “Punjabis” on the eve of the festival.

He said the festival had a special significance in the Indian history. Going into the background, he said Guru Gobind Singh had laid the foundation of the Khalsa Panth on this day in 1699 for protecting the under-privileged and the oppressed. “It marked a watershed in the freedom movement as hundreds of people laid down the lives on this day in 1919 in the Jallianwala Bagh”.


Fauji Beat
CDS not a possibility in India

Modern wars need a high standard of defence management, which can only be achieved by having a professional man at the top to coordinate and direct the efforts of the three services to a common aim. Even a limited war in Kargil in 1999, proved it beyond doubt that the integration of three services was essential to fight a modern war.

After having completed all formalities for a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in 2001, we have been dragging our feet on the implementation of this “historic” decision. The opposition of the two smaller services i.e. the Navy and the Air Force can easily be overcome by sharing this appointment between the three services by seniority. But the bureaucrats and the politicians will continue to stall this appointment.

The bureaucrats feel that if the defence forces are integrated under one head, they will become stronger and this will result in their (bureaucrats) losing some of their jurisdiction and powers. The politicians suffer from an inherent phobia that a strong Army will not augur well for them.

It will be suicidal in the next war if we continue with the present outmoded system of single service thinking. But a politician or a bureaucrat is least bothered about this. What matters for the former is his chair and the latter his power.

Opening for NCC cadets

The realisation has started dawning on the private sector that the youths with military training prove better workers than others because they are imbued with a sense of duty and self-discipline. This is the reason why the Army placement agencies have started finding good openings for the ex-servicemen in the private sector.

Some of the firms have also started looking for NCC cadets as their potential source of recruitment. The Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd, Amby Valley, Maharashtra, has asked for the NCC cadets of less than 25 years of age, who are graduates and possess NCC ‘C’ certificate.

They should have participated in the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi or attended the Prime Minister’s Rally.

Subject to being found medically fit, the cadets will be required to go through skill testing followed by an interview. The selected candidates would then join as AJW II (trainees) at a stipend of Rs 4600 per month for a period of 12 months. On confirmation, they would be given a salary of Rs 7000 per month with subsidised food and single accommodation.

The desirous candidates should forward their applications on the prescribed performa along with a passport size photograph to the NCC Directorate, Punjab, Haryana, HP & Chandigarh by April 30, 2004. The performa can be obtained from the nearest NCC unit/Group Headquarters or the NCC Directorate Chandigarh. Admittedly, military training has enhanced the employment opportunities for the NCC cadets.

Rest and refit centre

The inauguration of a Rest and Refit (R&R) Centre for the troops at Dalhousie by the GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lieut-Gen Hari Prasad, on April 4, was a welcome step.

The centre will provide rest and relaxation to the counter-insurgency-weary troops from J&K for a week. Officers, JCOs and other ranks will be sent compulsorily to this centre by rotation. They will have the choice of taking their spouses and children with them.

The R&R Centre will provide a comfortable living in fully furnished and carpeted rooms with multi-cuisine. The other facilities include a cafe, library, bank, health club, cyber video theatre and a yoga-training centre.

The R&R Centre reminds one of the World War II holiday homes where the battle-stressed troops were sent for rest so that they could return fresh to the battlefront.

We also followed this culture after the 1947-48 war in J&K by establishing a holiday home for all ranks in Srinagar. But after that, our Army has never thought of the necessity of such a comforting luxury for the troops. To give them complete mental and physical relaxation, the stay of the troops in the R&R centre should not be less than 10 days.

— Pritam Bhullar


Need to modernise IAF: Air Marshal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, Air Marshal D. C. Nigam, today emphasised the need for modernising equipment of the Air Force and to adopt new technologies for further improvements in the performance of the organisation.

Addressing personnel of No.3 Base Repair Depot here, he appreciated the high standard of discipline, camaraderie and esprit de corps of depot personnel, a statement issued here said. The depot had made commendable contribution towards UN missions, which had enhanced the image of the IAF Maintenance Command, he added. He had arrived here yesterday on a three-day visit.

The Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, Air Cdre S. P. S. Virk, briefed the Maintenance Command chief on various projects and activities being undertaken in the depot. Air Marshal Nigam inspected various repair laboratories and hangars of the depot. He also inaugurated an Airmen Club and later attended a “barakhana” in Airmen Mess.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kanak Nigam, president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional), accompanied by Mrs Manjit Virk, president, AFWWA (Local), visited Nischint Boys Hostel, Air Force School, and other AFWWA ventures. She inaugurated a children traffic park and an activity room for nursery students in Air Force School.


Driver found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
A 25-year-old driver, Surjeet Singh, was today found dead at Motor Market of Mani Majra.

He was lying on a cot. The police suspect that he died of an illness as prescriptions of a doctor and a few medicines were recovered from his possession.

People in the area who identified him said he was running high fever and had visited a doctor yesterday. However, the police could not tell from what he was suffering.


Woman robbed of Rs 9000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
A woman from Balongi was today tricked into losing Rs 9000 drawn from the Sector 22 Branch of the Punjab National Bank within minutes of her coming out of the bank.

A Junior Draftswoman in the Sector 17-based Ranjit Sagar Dam Design Organisation, Rashmi Gupta, was putting her purse in the glove compartment of her scooter, when some body called her from behind “ Madam your notes are lying on the road,” the caller said Ms Gupta turned back and saw two 10 rupee notes lying on the road she immediately went to pick them up. When she picked the two notes, she noticed that there were three other notes of the same denomination lying at a distance. The woman, accompanied by a six-year-old daughter of her colleague, asked the child to pick up the other notes. When she came back to start her scooter she noticed that her purse containing Rs 8500 drawn just before, Rs 500 she already had in the purse, two ATM cards, PAN card had been picked up by some-body. The woman told the Chandigarh Tribune she had not yet recovered her salary. She had withdrawn the money to meet some urgency .

The tricksters struck at a time when there were not many people on the road between 2 and 2.30 pm.

At Sector 17 police station, she was shown photographs of cheats involved in such crimes. But Rashmi could not recognise the person. She told the police, that it happened within minutes. She did not even had the time to realise that how the currency notes could have fallen from her purse. The woman told the police that she suspected that two persons were involved in the crime. She had noticed a middle-aged and dark-skinned man staring at her when she was coming out of the bank.

A case of cheating and theft has been registered under Sections 420 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

This is the second time within a year that such a incident had happened on this spot. On July 24 last year, a draftsman of the organisation Kamal Dev also lost his belongings in a similar fashion.

Sources said such gangs are active in Sector 17 and 22 area and children below the age of 18 are involved. As many as five such incidents had been reported in the area during the last few years. In one of the incidents, somebody called a person at the back saying that his cloths were smeared with dirt. When the person tried to find out, the tricksters picked up his belongings.

It is suspected that the members of such gangs are outsiders.


3 houses burgled, 1 nabbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Four incidents of theft, including three house-breaking incidents, were today reported from Panjab University and Sectors 24 and 17.

The Sector 11 police station personnel have nabbed one Vinod Kumar of Sector 24-C, who admitted to have broken open the locks of two houses there. Vinod, a drug addict, admitted that he had broken the locks of house numbers 2288-A and 2302 of the same area during the past two days.

The incidents happened when occupants of the two houses had gone out of the city. Three mobile phones. A wrist watch and Rs 4,500 have been recovered from the alleged thief. Tarlok Singh of Panjab University reported that somebody had stolen four golden chains, one gold bangle, three pairs of gold earrings, one gold ring and Rs 60,000 during the day. The police is investigating.

In another case registered in the Sector 17 police station, a rickshaw-puller Parabhu Nath from Khushinagar district in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of stealing a box of Sohan Lal from the Sector 17 bus stop. The box contained 15 steel glasses, Rs 250 and a tiffin carrier.


Vendor held for stabbing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
A vegetable vendor today stabbed another vendor over what seems to be a business rivalry in the Sector 26 vegetable market.

Bhagwan Das of Bapu Dham allegedly stabbed an 18-year-old Mahinder of Mauli Jagran when the two were engaged in a scuffle over the beating up of the five-year-old sister of the latter by Das.

Sitting side by side on the road, the sister of Mahinder strayed into the area where Bhagwan Das was selling vegetables. Bhagwan Das slapped her. An irked Mahinder shouted at Bhagwan Das and both got involved in an altercation. In the heat of the moment, he picked up his knife used for cutting vegetables and stabbed Mahinder on the face and neck.

He has been arrested.

Mahinder was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital from where he was discharged.


DAV student beaten up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 12
Himanshu Chopra, a student of DAV Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, was beaten up and injured by certain youths in Sector 2 this afternoon. Himanshu had gone to Sector 2 along with his father, Mr Suraj Chopra, to meet a family friend.

The incident took place when Mr Chopra went inside the house and Himanshu was sitting outside in the car. The youths assaulted Himanshu and tried to snatch the car keys from him. When Himanshu resisted they resorted to beating him up and in the process he sustained injuries on the hands. A complaint with the police has been lodged.


New ice cream brand hits city

Cream Bells is here in Chandigarh … “bade badon ki ghanti bajane ke liye” (as their jingle goes). The cool flavours of this ice cream are out to tempt you and tantalise your taste buds this summer.

Cream Bells has already had the Delhi to Agra belt on one side and Delhi to Jaipur on the other, clamouring for more. Now they have set their eyes on Chandigarh, and promise great taste, nutrition and value for money with over 33 different flavours, including flavours to suit the Indian palette.

To be made available in flavours like chocolate, coffee, litchi, black currant, the ice cream manufacturers say they are here to get everyone hooked to their ice cream. They say their selling point is the combination of price, flavour and quality. So those hooked on to the regular flavours of vanilla, strawberry and butterscotch in either cups or cones, Cream Bells offers chops (malai flavour slices), joosticks (orange, litchi juice on sticks), ice candy (chocolate and coffee), or combination of two flavours on sticks or in one pack.

And we have almost 500 recipes, says Mr M.S. Parikh, Director of Universal Dairy Products. He says they have used natural flavours like saffron and honey, instead of using flavour concentrates. The ice cream is competitively priced — from Rs 5 to Rs 25 for small packs, to Rs 50 to Rs 100 for family packs.

“We are starting a manufacturing plant in Baddi, and more flavours will be added when the plant becomes operational. As of now, the ice cream will be transported here from our plant in Agra. The ice cream will be available through retail and from mobile ice candy vans as of now, but shortly we plan to open an exclusive Cream Bell parlour,” he adds. TNS

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |