C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Yuvi returns home
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, April 18
The crown prince of Indian cricket, Yuvraj, returned home today after a triumphant outing. Adulation, cheerful smiles and warm affectionate hugs greeted the hero. Today, he was at home being just Yuvi once again and being surrounded by his relatives, friends and admirers.

But he was not the one to rest his tired limbs after a gruelling 40-day long tour of Pakistan. Soon after his arrival by the afternoon flight, Yuvi was with youngsters at the Sector 8 DAV School grounds sharing his joy of being a part of the Indian team that scored the historic Test and one day series win in Pakistan. He has always been well liked by juniors aspiring to break into the Indian squad. But today, it was different. Yuvi was the Hero, who had brought credit not only to the country and himself but also to Chandigarh.

Clad in a bright yellow ‘T’ shirt, blue shorts and sporting trendy goggles, Yuvi interacted with newspersons amidst a large number of young cricketers at the DAV Senior Secondary School grounds. This is the very ground where Yuvi honed his skills under the watchful eyes of SAI coach Sukhwinder Bawa. Obviously, he had debt to pay to this centre. On reaching the city he came to the ground. Talking to newsmen, Yuvraj Singh said that it was the team’s mental strength, cohesiveness and the unity which ensured India’s splendid win over Pakistan in the recent cricket series.

He said he was ‘much satisfied’ with his performance in the Pakistan tour. When asked if he was ignored on the bowling front in this series, Yuvraj said, “I did not get the chance to bowl as other bowlers like Irfan, Balaji”. He hastened to add that the two bowlers did a good job.

Sounding confident and relaxed, Yuvraj said that be it batting, bowling or fielding “we are in a position to beat any team in the world.” He said after the Australian tour, we have better confidence, temperament. The recent Pakistan tour has further consolidated our position.

On the kind of wickets in Pakistan, Yuvi said that when any one score runs, he gives due credit to the nature of the wicket. Yuvraj, incidentally, scored his first Test century in the recent tour. He said the wicket at Rawalpindi was the best.

Yuvraj was all praise for the skipper Saurav Ganguly but said any captain would value a performer in his team.

Yuvraj was all praise for the bowling of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami and Umar Gul. He especially singled out Gul for his splendid five-wicket haul in Lahore.



NIFD to offer degree programmes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University, Dr L.B. Venkatrangan, and Miss India Universe — 2004 Tanushree Dutta were present at a ceremony to mark the affiliation between Annamalai University and the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD), Sector 8.

After this technical collaboration, NIFD will offer three-year B.Sc degree programmes in fashion design, textile design and interior design, and a two-year advanced diploma along with a one-year diploma in these streams. These programmes will be offered at selected NIFD centres through the distance education mode of Annamalai University.

Addressing parents and students of various NIFD centres at Tagore Theatre today, Tanushree said fashion design as a career was not a possibility some time earlier. “But now with centres coming up all over, the profession has become common.” Congratulating NIFD for the technical merger, Tanushree said the collaboration would go a long way in enhancing the skills of students. The beauty queen was sporting her glittering Miss India crown, designed by Tanishq.

Later, Dr Venkatrangan said the university would offer the best possible technical support. A vote of thanks was presented by Ms Aditi Srivastava, Vice-President, Corporate, NIFD. The occasion was also used to award NIFD centres across the country. The following awards were presented:

Overall award category: Maharashtra, overall best centre; Ms Kamla Poddar from Jaipur, best centre head.

Larger centre category: Hauz Khas, New Delhi, best centre; Surat, centre par excellence; Nagpur, best academic performance; Indore, most enterprising centre.

Smaller centres: Kota, best centre; W. Nagar, best academic performance; Mehsana, most enterprising centre.

Diploma (larger centre category): Lindsay Street, Kolkata, overall best centre; Ludhiana, centre par excellence; Vadodra, best academic performance; Rajauri Garden, New Delhi, best fashion show; Ahmedabad, most result-oriented centre; Andheri, Mumbai, best newly launched centre; Salt Lake, Kolkata, most enterprising centre.



Another Miss India, another Bollywood dream
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Miss India Universe 2004 Tanushree Dutta seems to be taking her lessons in communication very seriously. Choosing her words cautiously, the 20-year-old beauty queen spoke with propriety on issues concerning her and the world she inhabits.

Here to attend the annual convocation ceremony of the National Institute of Fashion Design, Tanushree started by deflecting questions on the controversy shrouding the marital status of Laxmi Pandit, Miss India World 2004. “I cannot comment on the decision Laxmi took. All I know is that the Miss India organisers had been extremely careful,” said the suave beauty queen.

In fact, she sounded mature for her age, especially when she asserted, “Beauty queens are not social workers who must go into the slums to feed the poor. Service, as such, is not a matter of publicity. It is a personal affair which must have a personal touch. When charity is preceded by announcements, it loses its sacred purpose. I would rather work silently than make my intentions of social service public.”

Tanushree also spoke with disgust about the vulgar display of female form on various platforms, “Personally I am against exposure. Even while I was preparing for the Miss India pageant, I was rather nervous regarding the swim suit round. But I can’t actually do much about that because swim suit round is a prerequisite in all major beauty pageants across the world. But I am against unwarranted display of body. I also believe many of our music videos must be censored with strictness.”

The dirt of glamour world, however, does not keep Tanushree from dreaming big. Now that she has won the Miss India title, she believes the going in Bollywood would not be so tough for her. Like predecessors Sushmita Sen, Aishwarys Rai and Lara Dutta, she is waiting to walk the Bollywood road, as she admits, “I always aspired to be an actress. My victory in the pageant will help me answer my call. But right now I am concentrating on the Miss Universe title.”

The June 1 Miss Universe pageant will not be a cakewalk for Tanushree who is taking utmost care of her body and mind.. She believes her will to win will get her victory. “I moved to Pune consciously. While studying B.Com in Pune University, I worked consistently towards my goal of winning Miss India pageant. After modelling for a while, I moved to Mumbai, where I featured in a remix album, called, “Saiyaan dil mein aana re…” Gradually I found the doors were opening for me. I just went on securing entry. But Miss India was a dream come true, for me as well as my family,” says Tanushree.

With stars in her eyes, the vibrant young girl is awaiting the big day when her beauty will again be put to test. And with the best professionals engaged in designing her look for the Miss Universe pageant, she feels extremely responsible for India.



Servant decamps with ornaments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
A newly engaged domestic help decamped with ornaments worth Rs 2.13 lakh and some cash. his police verification done.

The servant had given his employer an address of West Bengal but when she tried to find out his whereabouts the efforts came to a naught.

Ms Kuldeep Kaur, resident of house number 611, Sector 11 B, lodged a complaint with the Sector 11 police station yesterday that her domestic help Shue Kumar, alias Shri Dhar, on April 9 allegedly stole one set of gold earrings, one gold medal, a gold watch and some cash when she was away from her house.

Ms Kaur, before reporting the matter to the police, went to West Bengal to find out the whereabouts of the servant but she could not trace him.

In other incidents, Minakshi, a resident of house number 3076, Sector 27-D, reported that two youths came on a scooter and snatched her mobile and a purse containing Rs 5000 in cash in Sector 16.



Mumbai duo had selected 11 students for show
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
The Mumbai based duo — Aryan and Sahil — who allegedly duped a group of small time businessmen here, luring them into investing large amount of cash to organise a mega competition, had also finalised over 10 children of the town who would perform at the show.

A Mohali-based choreographer, Harpreet Kaur, today stated that students of her dance academy were chosen by these two after auditions to perform during the proposed show. However, they did not charge any money for the auditions but promised her students roles in a TV serial and two Bollywood films that they claimed to be making.

She said she was contacted by the parents of one of her students who had seen the poster of the competition in the market. She then contacted the two at their office-cum-residence in Phase VII. The two conducted auditions of 15 of her students, selecting 11 of them. The duo also allegedly told Harpreet that they would also help her in her career as a choreographer by introducing her to big stars who will perform at the show. But when they realised that no money could be made either from the children or from Harpreet, they did not follow up, informed Harpreet.

The duo, allegedly ran away with over Rs 6 lakh that they had taken from small time businessmen for the show, “Kis Mein Kitna Hai Dum” which was to be held at Parade ground, Chandigarh. The show was supposed to be organised by the two under the banner of Mumbai-based AFZ Multimedia Productions.



Bungling in coal supplies for Army detected
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Investigations into the alleged diversion of coal supplies meant for the Army have revealed large scale misappropriations during transit and have also indicated the connivance of some Army personnel with the suppliers, it has been learnt.

Highly placed sources revealed that during the past about eight months, at least 130 trucks meant to ferry coal from depots in Chandigarh to Jatogh near Shimla have gone “missing”. Given the value of the cargo and the freight and handling charges, the scam, which sources said, had been going on for “quite some time”, could run into crores of rupees.

According to a senior officer at Chandimandir, the despatch of coal from Chandigarh as well as its receipt at Jatogh has been shown in papers, but the trucks never physically moved to their place of destination. “Investigations showed that the trucks never crossed the barrier at Parwanoo. There is no record at the toll tax collection centre,” he said. “This indicates the involvement of despatchers, transporters as well as the recipients at various levels,” he added.

Sources said that on documents, the weight of the cargo meant to be ferried by trucks to Jatogh has been shown as 14-16 tonnes. This, they add, is also questionable as trucks simply cannot haul this weight up the steep slopes enroute. Sources put the cost of the cargo at Rs 5,000 per tonne.

The scam came to light when a raid by a team from the Corps of Military Police (CMP) allegedly caught transporters off-loading Army coal at Darua village near the local railway station.



Choudhary’s court martial to begin on April 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The General Court Martial (GCM) of Major-Gen P.S.K. Choudhary, accused of impropriety while dealing with a fictitious arms dealer, is scheduled to convene at Ferozepore Cantonment on April 26, it is learnt. A sting operation carried out about three years ago by a website, tehelka.com, had reportedly caught several Army officers along with some political big-wigs and defence ministry officials demanding and accepting bribes.

While the date and venue of the trial has finally been fixed, the Army is still to appoint the presiding officer of the court. While the Army is tight-lipped about the disciplinary proceedings concerning the accused officers, sources said that a lieutenant general posted at Army Headquarters in New Delhi was being considered to head the trial.

The presiding officer at the trial has to be at least one rank senior to the accused. The other members comprising the court are equivalent in rank to the accused. The convening order for the GCM will be issued once the Army finalises the name of the presiding officer.

Major-Gen Choudhary, who was then the Additional Director General (Weapons and Procurement) at Army Headquarters, had allegedly demanded Rs 1 lakh and a gold chain. According to reports, he later also publically admitted having demanded accepted the cash and chain. The court martial of an officer of the rank of a major general is a rare instance.

Meanwhile, the GCM of another officer accused in the Tehelka scam, Col Anil Sehgal, is scheduled to re-convene at Chandimandir Military Station tomorrow. The GCM had convened last month, but was adjourned till tomorrow after a few days.

He had allegedly asked for Rs 2 lakh, claiming that the money went all the way to the top. He was then posted as Director, Ordnance Services, at Army Headquarters.



Body lying unclaimed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The body of a 35-year-old person, who died on the morning of April 16 after being hit by the evening Shatabdi at the Chandigarh Railway Station on April 15, has been lying unclaimed for three days.

Though the Railway police claims to have identified the deceased as Satish Kumar, son of Laxman, his address has baffled the police. The address mentioned of the person is Laina Chowk, Panchkula Road, Chandigarh. The Railway police has not been able to trace any such locality.



BJP’s ‘India Shining’ losing sheen: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s self-created hype of ‘India Shining’ is phasing out day by day, said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Congress candidate for the local seat, while addressing a rally here today.

“Latest surveys and trends clearly show a fall in the BJP’s popularity chart and a corresponding increase in the Congress’ popularity. Public money, running into crores, was misappropriated by the BJP to create a feel-good wave by misleading people with concocted figures in their Bharat Uday and ‘India Shining’ advertisements,” Mr Bansal said.

He said the Congress would benefit because of the dismal performance and misleading attitude of the BJP, both at the Centre and at the local level.

Mr Bansal said Chandigarh was moving towards becoming a world-class city. He said during his tenure at the Centre, he had helped in development of parks, roads, community centres, back service lanes, squalid rehri markets giving way to organised booths, development of markets by increasing parking area, installing light posts and laying pavements.

Mr Bansal came down heavily on the local BJP for its alleged failure in getting development work done from its government at the Centre. When the BJP was in power in the local municipal corporation, it had passed imposition of 10 per cent property tax. The proposal was rejected when the Congress gained a majority in the House.

Mr Bansal said the BJP candidate was not getting support of certain leaders of his own party in the city, making him frustrated, as a result of which he had resorted to issuing false statements.

The Youth Congress of Colony IV held a cycle rally comprising over 400 cyclists, a press note said. The rally was flagged off by Mr Bansal. It passed through Ram Darbar, Sectors 29, 30, 20, 21, 22 and culminated at the residence of Mr Bansal in Sector 28. Mrs Kamlesh, Mayor, Mr Venod Sharma, a senior leader, and Mr Shish Pal addressed the gathering.

The Chandigarh Yuva Dal, under the leadership of Dr Javed Akhtar, has expressed its solidarity with the Congress. Residents’ welfare associations of Sector 27 organised a residents’ meeting and extended their support to Mr Bansal. In Colony V, certain local leaders, including Mr Khalil Ahmed, Mr S.M. Khan, Mr Sadiq Mohammad and Mr Hamid addressed a gathering in support of the Congress candidate.



Decade sans development, says Chautala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The successive governments have pushed back the development of the city by at least a decade, said Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the Chief Minister of Haryana. He was addressing a rally at Nehru Park, Sector 22, here this evening.

Mr Chautala addressed the rally in favour of Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the Indian National Lok Dal candidate from the city. Dr Farooq Abdullah, a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was also present.

The city has not witnessed any major development during the successive tenures of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party MPs for the past 10 years. “When one enters the city from the Punjab side he is greeted by the Kajauli water work. When one enters from Haryana he is greeted by the Government Medical College. The tenements for the poor greet the visitor entering from the Himachal Pradesh side. Interestingly, all these projects were gifted to the city by Mr Dhawan,” Mr Chautala said.

Mr Dhawan had a potential to contribute much more, if given a chance. “Regional parties are here to stay. Mr Lal Krishan Advani, the Deputy Prime Minister, got a poor response in the city. He said in Palwal that voting for regional parties was an exercise in futility. At the same time, the same party is asking for support of regional parties like Akalis for a government at the Centre. This highlights the selfish nature,” he said.

“The BJP first supported Dr Farooq Abdullah for three years. When fresh poll was announced, it shifted its loyalties to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,” he said.

The Congress has relied on creating misunderstanding between Hindus and Sikhs; farmers and industrialists and forward and backward classes since Independence, he said.

The BJP claim of feel good was strange. “The ACs, mobile phones and flights are cheaper. Food, kerosene and gas are costlier. Who should feel good?” he added.

Dr Abdullah said “the successive governments had belied the dreams of the freedom fighters. Improving relations with Pakistan merely through cricket series doesn’t mean much. “The hijackers of a Kandhar flight and those behind Mumbai blasts were roaming freely in Pakistan. What good is improving relations? “ he said.

“The people of Kashmir had decided in 1947 to be in India. There can be Pakistani, Chinese or Russian Muslims. We are only Indians,” he said.

Dr Abdullah said that the BJP was sending wrong signals about development of the country. When school fees have increased and the food is costlier what should one feel good about? Mr Dhawan only introduced the speakers. The rally started more than three hours behind schedule. The venue was jam packed and gathering was more than at the Mr Advani’s rally at the same venue recently.



Jain promises changes in building bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit of the BJP, said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate for the Chandigarh seat, was a disappointed man.

Mr Bansal had said that he would not take many people and vehicles with him when filing his nomination papers.” Mr Bansal was reacting to a big rally that accompanied Mr Satya Pal Jain, the BJP candidate. Mr Bansal will never be able to muster so many supporters,” he said.

Mr Mahajan said that Mr Bansal had lost the support of a large number of his party workers which was evident at his rallies. “ He is importing supporters from Punjab”, he said

Mr Mahajan said that the local unit of the BJP had organised at least four big rallies in the city which were addressed by Mr Venkaiah Naidu, national President of the party, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and Mr Shanta Kumar, a former Union Minister.

A large number of youth activists today took out a procession in Raipur Khurd village and they appealed the people to vote for BJP candidate. This procession was led by Mr Harjit Singh Dhiman, Dr Ranjit Singh Dhiman, Mr Inder Kumar Bansal, Mr Tarun Kumar Bansal and Mr Sanjiv Malhotra.

Addressing various public meetings during his election campaign Mr Satya Pal Jain, the BJP candidate, said that he would strive hard to get the ownership right to the people living in 13-type houses on hire-purchase basis.

He said that the people of middle-class families were residing in these houses and they were not economically equipped to build their own houses after superannuation. He said that if he was voted to power, he would make efforts to have permission for building the second and third storey on the single storey houses and booths after getting the necessary amendments incorporated in the building bylaws.

Mr Jain said that Mr Bansal had not take any constructive steps towards the welfare of the people of the city as a result he would have to face its consequences in the coming Lok Sabha election.

During his campaign today Mr Jain participated in a Padyatra in Sector 42 and addressed a corner meeting in Sector 28 in which around 400 persons participated. In the evening, he held corner meetings in Sectors 33, 27 and a jan sabha in Ram Darbar.



BJP panel
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
A coordination committee of the BJP Mohali Mandal headed by Mr R.C. Jhingan has been formed to undertake joint election campaigning with the SAD here. The other members of the committee include Mr Lachhman Das Jindal, Mr H.S. Bhullar, Mr Gurinder Singla, Mr Ominder Sharma, Mr H.S. Saini and Mr Javed Aslam. According to Mr H.S. Saini, General Secretary of the BJP Mohali Mandal, Mr Jhinghan and Mr L.D. Jindal will be the spokespersons for the party in Mohali.



Mandal poll meeting on April 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The executive body of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal in a press note here yesterday announced that a general body meeting will be organised on April 20 where all prominent party candidates contesting the poll in the city will be invited.

The list of the invited candidates includes Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress), Mr Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Mr Harmohan Dhawan (INLD).

A charter of demands will be put forward for an open discussion.



Manch to support BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Backward Class Jagriti Manch (Punjab), in a press note issued here yesterday announced support for Mr Hem Raj Kashyap, the BSP candidate for the local Parliamentary constituency in the forthcoming elections. 



SP not to field nominee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The local unit of the Samajwadi Party (SP) in a statement issued here has decided not to field any candidate from this parliamentary constituency, a press note said here yesterday.

The party will decide on its support to the contesting candidates.



Sister releases Bhagat Singh’s memoirs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
It was an emotional moment for Ms Parkash Kaur who was invited to release a book in the memory of her brother martyr Bhagat Singh at Uttam Restaurant, Sector 46, here today. Fighting ill health and age, the lady made it a point to be present on the occasion which recalled the sacrifices of the likes of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

The function was organised by Qaumi Visra Kender which, of late, has assumed the task of publishing resource material on martyrs. Most of the publications are translations of rare accounts, documented by friends and contemporaries of those who participated in India’s struggle for freedom.

Under the stewardship of Prof Malvinderjit Singh Waraich, the Kender has published four books, including an autobiography of Gadari Baba Sohan Singh Bakhna. Today’s book, chronicling the life and exploits of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, is the fifth release by the Kender.

Releasing the book, “Amar Shahidaan Diyaan Yadaan” in the best company possible, Prof Waraich dedicated a copy to Ms Parkash Kaur and her son Hukumat Singh. The ceremony began in the backdrop of an exhibition that documented details of as many as 56 freedom fighters, including Ram Prasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad and Sukhdev.

Translated from the original work of Raja Ram Shastri, the long time librarian of Lahore’s Dwarka Das Library, now in Sector 15, Chandigarh, the book offers an insight into the social and political philosophy of Sardar Bhagat Singh. Raja Ram Shastri, a contemporary of Bhagat Singh, was a witness to his gradual transformation from an impetuous student to a committed activist. He was also a party to many an intellectual discussion Bhagat Singh had with friends Sukhdev and others in the Dwarka Das Library in Lahore, where students used to spend considerable time discussing freedom.

Prof Waraich said the idea behind translating Shastri’s work into Punjabi was to take Bhagat Singh’s philosophy to the world, which knows the martyr more for his matchless sacrifice and less for his sound ideology. Introducing the work to the gathering, Mr Sukhdarshan Nath, one of the translators, said, “When you read the literature written by Bhagat Singh’s contemporaries, you realise his foresight. He had declared that a day will come when the relevance of his ideology would be recognized and accepted.”

Later, it was time for Mr Nirbhinder Singh, translator of the work, to talk about his experiences in dealing with a priceless piece of literature. He said, “The task was nothing but challenging. As I got deeper into it, I realized how illequipped I was to handle Bhagat’s intellect. I kept falling short of words, even as my eyes kept feeling heavy with tears.”

As contents of the book unfolded, many in the gathering, including Parkash Kaur and nephew of Kartar Singh Saraba fought hard to hide tears that kept coming back. One then recalled how much of an inspiration Kartar Singh Saraba had been for Bhagat Singh. Years later, here was the family of two martyrs, sharing pain and pride at the same time.



Netaji and his men in pictures
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
An exhibition of rare photographs depicting the life and times of Netaji Subhas Chander Bose was the highlight of the function organised on the occasion of the Azad Hind Fauz Divas at the Arya Samaj in Sector 9 here today.

Mr Ved Prakash Saini of the Netaji Probe and Research Foundation spoke on the circumstances under which the Indian National Army(INA) was formed and its contribution to the freedom movement.

Mr R.K. Sethi informed that the Akhil Bharatiya Poorva Sainik Seva Parishad had formed the Netaji Azad Hind Fauz Smarak Trust to raise a memorial to the INA martyrs. Divakar ji Kumaria chaired the function. Maj-Gen Ashok Kumar Vasudev (retd), was the chief guest.

On April 18,1944, INA soldiers unfurled the National Flag at Moirang, a village near Imphal, the capital of Manipur. Since then Azad Hind Fauz Divas was celebrated every year to commemorate the sacrifices of the Netaji and his brave soldiers.

This year, the parishad had arranged the visit of INA veterans to Moirang, a press note said.



Anger leaves widower with 90 pc burns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
A 60-year-old widower set himself afire today. Earlier, he beat up his two sons, a labourer and a rickshaw-puller in Mani Majra.

Pramod Jha, a resident of house number 1037, Gobindpura, Mani Majra, was admitted to the PGI with 90 per cent burns.

Jha went on the rampage this morning when a crowd, tried to control him, he set himself afire.

Jha beat up his sons and came out of his house. On the road, he got entangled in a fight with a labourer and allegedly hit him with a stick.

A rickshaw-puller passing by tried to save the labourer.

Jha left the labourer and latched on to the rickshaw-puller and hit him with the stick. Noticing this, a large crowd gathered and caught hold of Jha. They pushed into a booth of his sons and downed the shutter. The crowd then informed the police. In a fit of anger, Jha poured kerosene on himself from a stove lying in the booth and set himself afire.

The police reached the spot and opened the shutter.

The police was told that Jha was short-tempered and had been indulging in fights with people. Last month, he had to leave his rented accommodation in the vicinity due to his belligerent behaviour.



MLA blames PSEB for short-circuit mishap
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today asked Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) officials to probe the accident that caused severe burns to eight children of a slum colony while they were playing under high-tension electricity wires.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said administrative negligence had led to the accident and a human settlement should not have been allowed to come up under such wires. He, however, added that a panch of the colony had reported to him that they had bought this piece of land from the Balongi village panchayat.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh today visited the spot of the accident and met residents of Ambedkar Colony to which the children belonged. Accompanied by the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, the MLA also ordered a ban on flying kites in the area. He asked the SDM to also hold an independent inquiry into the exact cause of the accident. ‘‘Chances are that the kite had some element of metal in it, either in the rib or the string, that led to the accident,’’he said adding that all kite shops would be checked by SDM’s staff to see if kites with metal embedded in them were on sale.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh will also be meeting the PSEB officials tomorrow regarding the matter. ‘‘The meeting will be held mainly to fix responsibility of the accident. Board officials hold regular inspection of these wires and in case a report that a colony has come up under these wires was overlooked than they are to be blamed.’’ he said.

The SDM was also asked by the MLA to identify an alternative site nearby where the colony could be shifted so that an accident like this did not recur.

Meanwhile, the condition of the eight children in PGI continues to be critical. These children of Ambedkar Colony were severely burnt on April 16 while they were playing under high-tension electricity wires.

According to eye witnesses, the children were trying to disentangle the kite they were flying from the wires using a metal rod, that led to a short-circuit. A blast followed and a shower of sparks fell on them. The children, all boys, between the age group of two and 12, got trapped in the shower and received severe burns on their faces, arms and feet and were rushed to the PGI.



Sanghi is welfare federation chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
A nominated Councillor, Mr P.C. Sanghi, today broke the 15-year-long hegemony of Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) over the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) by defeating the incumbent Chairman by a margin of 12 votes.

The first-ever elections in the organisation were today held at Kanthala Gurdwara, Mr Sanghi said in a press statement today.

M.R. Lakhanpal, Col D.R. Nijhawan (retd), Sadhu Singh, Mukesh Nishchal were elected as vice-chairman, general secretary, joint secretary and secretary (publicity) respectively of the federation.

As many as 135 members from 27 associations participated in the elections today.



Unemployed persons get certificates
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 18
Certificates were given to 25 unemployed persons who have undertaken technical skills training in entrepreneurship development programme for repair and assemble solar energy systems.

The objective of the programme was to equip the participants with technical, managerial and motivational inputs so that they were able to launch and run their own ventures successfully in the specific trade.

The programme was sponsored by the Small Industries Development Bank of India and organised by the Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship Development in association with Guru Nanak VBT Polytechnic and District Industries Centre.



Get out of comfort trap
Taru Bahl

WHEN Mr Manmohan S. Kohli, city restaurateur and Chief Executive of one of Chandigarh's oldest hotels, Aroma, sent his son overseas to study he knew this move would be instrumental in shaping his character. Getting international exposure was one part of the story. The other, more significant learning, was that by stepping out of the organised and narrow confines of Chandigarh and by finding his feet in the bigger cities, he would learn to organise his physical space and his time — two crucial components of life-skill planning.

According to him, one who has lived, survived and triumphed over the multi-layered lifestyles of Delhi or Mumbai can alone appreciate the advantages which Chandigarh offers. If prudently utilised, they strengthen his financial muscle and enhance performance levels. One's survival kit in the bigger cities pushes one to constantly learn and be on the move. They make you navigate your way in a sea of traffic and humanity, and make you struggle to carve out an identity in a milieu shaped by a multitude of influences and factors beyond your control.

Suffused with energy, your efforts yield high productivity and effectiveness quotient is at an all-time high. A resident of this city, on the other hand, may not be able to go beyond a structured existence, limited to an appreciation of the city's obvious plus points like an indulgence in the leisure pursuits of walking and golfing.

It is a person who has lived in the larger metros who can maximise the advantage of living in a small city and ensure he packs in a punch with the time saved on commuting. He knows that the travel time within the city is without major distressing notes as compared to the scene in another metro where traffic refuses to move and wayside view is far from pleasant. Exhausted and fed up, the strain of the daily grind shows up clearly in the worry lines and pale skins of our other metro brethren.

Mr Manmohan S. Kohli strongly recommends people in the 20-30 age group to go out and seek their fortune, be it in India or overseas, and to revert back to the city when they are in their 40s or 50s. A great believer of time management, he likes to organise his mind and relies on his set of three hardbound diaries. While one maintains jottings of his to-do list for the month, the second is a weekly planner and the third comprises of an exhaustive daily charter. Appointments, errands, ideas and commitments are listed point- wise on the left hand side. As the day progresses, the page gets choked with things to do. With every task done, there is a triumphant tick mark.

Alongside, on the right hand page, there is a debrief (to his own self) on the status of the job, feedback, if any, and a mention of further action, if required. The days the points on the entire page are systematically struck off, he gives himself a pat on the back. Clearly, he is the subordinate and he is the boss and in both cases the winner, too. What has worked for him as he juggles his various social, corporate, personal and humanitarian goals is “being organised in the mind”.

Then there are days when all your neatly crafted jottings are cast away as an emergency comes up and you swing into action, putting all your crisis management skills on the table. But as a true city loyalist, his advice to youngsters is: “Get out of the comfort trap of being a laidback Chandigarhian. Go out, sharpen your claws and get back when you can appreciate and make the most of the immense potential and wealth which the city offers.”



Making adults literate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
"Khelo Seekho Parao", a unique literacy programme by Marga and Kim Singh, a couple, in collaboration with the Yuvsatta, an NGO, has started showing results in Colony No. 5 here. Started in December, 2003, as many as 200 totally illiterate men and women taught under the programme can now read and write.

Students of the colony teach adults. Another batch of 100 illiterate adults is being enrolled. Chairman of the Indo-German B.S. Creative Learning, said the project was doing fine and more adults were being enrolled.

At a function, the beneficiaries were given away certificates. Work of the children who taught the adults was also recognised.



Leprosy patients discriminated against

THE news item “Leprosy patients fear casting vote” that appeared in Sunday Chandigarh Tribune (dated 28.3.2004) on the front page reveals the painful state of affairs as well as apathy of the district administration, Ambala, that has set up a separate polling booth since 1985 for the 60 voters of Kushat Ashram, Ambala Cantonment. Such an act is not only inhuman but is also against the interest of democracy. It is surprising that even after five-and-a-half decades of attaining Independence, leprosy patients are discriminated against due to stigma attached to them. The authorities instead of mitigating their pain is adding insult to injury by such an act. The attention of the Election Commission and the National Human Rights Commission is invited to revive the right of franchise of leprosy patients. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment should intervene to direct the district administration to allow the leprosy patients to cast their vote along with other citizens by standing in the same queue to prove that they have equal right to vote and are as much a part of society as the other sections and are not treated as untouchables.

Prem Singh Bhutte, Chandigarh

Improvement in quality and quantity

In the recently declared MSE-2004 results, GSSS-15-C, Chandigarh, has improved in quality and quantity. This year the school has sent 114 candidates for examination out of which 77 candidates have passed with 67.5 per cent. Last year the school had sent 108 candidates out of whom 55 had passed with 50.92 per cent. So this year there is an improvement of 16.58 per cent. This year seven candidates got first division and 57 second division. Whereas last year only three candidates had got first division and 28 second division. The Principal of the school, Mr K.S. Modi, thanked the teachers and gave them credit for their hard work and co operation. Anupama (R.No. 5238) stood first with 498 marks out of 700.

Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 15-C, Chandigarh

Bank ‘crimes’

I would like to bring to your kind notice the problems faced by serving and retired defence personnel in the Sector 31 branch of SBI. There are scores of gentlemen and ladies who have their pension accounts and hard earned money with the bank. The passbook printer of the bank is not working. The bank has updated the banking software but the bank employees are not able to operate the software.

The situation becomes more pathetic due to the non-cooperative attitude of the staff. I do not know how seriously you are going to take my words but I know that some day journalism will come to the rescue of the helpless Indian public and there will be more hawala exposures.

Vinay Gupta, Chandigarh

Quality care at PGI

Despite general perception that patient care is a casualty in most government hospitals, I had a pleasant surprise to find things exactly the opposite when my son was admitted to the surgical ward at the PGI, Chandigarh, last month. He was provided quality nursing care by skilled professionals wedded to great humanitarian cause. Although overburdened with work, they were soft-spoken, polite and eager listeners to patients and their attendants. They not only look after the patients’ needs but also tend them psychologically. They provided useful tips on healthcare to attendants for proper care of the patients at home.

It is for this reason that the quality assurance model (QAM) research project of the Indian Nursing Council has identified the PGI’s male surgical ward for rendering quality care to patients.

M.P. Singh, Chandigarh

Height of lawlessness

I was surprised to see the height of lawlessness while passing on the road outside the General hospital, Panchkula, on the evening of April 1. In spite of the controversy and the news that the owner of the latest controversial chemist shop had been issued notice to stop construction immediately, the construction was continuing with impunity. I had only read in newspapers but was stunned to see the location of this second chemist shop, right in front of the door of the hospital building at the entrance to the building itself. What is this mockery? A few days back the authorities removed the rehris outside the hospital wall which were serving the poor public but were removed in the name of bad look to the hospital. No just-minded person would be a party to these goings on — the least any architect or the town planner.

The authorities should wake up and not encourage lawlessness and corruption to such an extent that it becomes such a serious infection.

Mushrahat Khanna, Panchkula

The eve on the march

The status of women in society has been changing from time to time. In Vedic India, a woman was considered to be a goddess. No religious or social function was considered to be auspicious where woman was not present. She had a fairly high status in society.

Nowadays, the Eve is certainly on the march, she has joined the worldwide phenomenon of women. She is no longer a dumb cow. She is ambitious as the boys and wants to become a PCS or an IAS or an IPS officer. She does not want to confine herself to just cooking food and managing the household. She no longer depends on others. Education has raised her status. She is keen on becoming self supporting.

Freedom is good but too much of freedom is bad. Unfortunately, sometime she copies the western culture blindly. My suggestion here is that we should not copy the western culture blindly. We should copy only the best of the west without losing the best of the East. Nobody would like to keep us confined within the four walls of the house as in the olden days. But we should not forget the glorious traditions of the Indian women. We should not interpret the meaning of freedom wrongly.

Manju Malik, Chandigarh



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 18
Goods, including machinery, 100 honey cases and an earth mover, were destroyed in a major fire that broke out at an industrial unit on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Singhpura village about 3 km from here, today.

The honey cases containing bees were set up adjacent to the industrial unit. Besides several trees were also gutted.

Eyewitnesses said they noticed simmering fire in dry leaves of eucalyptus adjacent to the outer wall of the industrial unit. Soon it engulfed the trees and spread to the wood lying on the premises of the unit.

Mr Jaspal Singh, a Lalru-based bee keeper, claimed that he lost over 150 honey cases in the fire worth lakhs of rupees. Fire engines from Dera Bassi, Mohali, Chandigarh and Rajpura were called to douse the blaze. About 50 firemen and labourers had a tough time in controlling the flames.



A case of mistaken identity in chain-snatching case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 18
A case of mistaken identity almost landed a city youth in the police net following a chain-snatching incident here on Thursday. Major confusion stemmed from the fact that there were two vehicles with the same registration number. When the police trailed the “snatcher” with the registration number as evidence, it found that the owner of the said vehicle was actually not in city.

While the suspect deceived the police for a while by pasting a fake number plate on his vehicle, it was later that the police got its ear on the ground discovering the “duplication in the number plate”. The actual snatchers had not only duplicated the number but the make of the vehicle (Bajaj Pulsor vehicle) also. As the confusion ended, Dinesh, to whom the said registration number (CHO3-F-5013) was allotted, thanked his stars which for once settled in his favour, despite the shrewd move by the actual snatchers.

At around 8.30 pm last night, two unidentified youths riding a Bajaj Pulsor motor cycle bearing the said registration number allegedly snatched a gold chain from Sector 37 resident, Ms Vir Pal Kaur, in the market. The number was noted down and passed on to the police. Within minutes, the police tracked down the number to a Sector 22 house.

A surprise was in store for the police when it reached the house. The number and the make of the motorcycle was correct and it belonged to Mr Dinesh, who is pursuing his engineering course at Talwandi Sabo, Punjab. The family told the police that the motorcycle and Dinesh were in Talwandi Sabo. The police contacted him on his mobile phone. To be more sure, the police asked Dinesh to reach the nearest police station or post (in Talwandi Sabo) and request the officer in charge to give a call back. Dinesh did as he was told to do. A cop at Talwandi Sabo confirmed the UT police that Dinesh was standing in front of him along with the motorcycle.

Later, the police registered a case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC against two unidentified youths.



NDTV India upstages Aaj Tak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
NDTV India has upstaged Aaj Tak as the most popular Hindi news channel in the region. According to a recent survey conducted by the Television Audience Measures ( TAM), during the first week of April in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, NDTV India has acquired the number one position by having a viewership of 28.4 per cent.

Aaj Tak, which was so far the number one in the region, has now slipped to the number three with a viewership of 19.8 per cent. Zee TV has grabbed the number two slot by having a viewership of 21.9 per cent.

According to figures provided by TAM, Star News is at the fourth place with 12.1 per cent viewership, Sahara Samey at the number five position with 10 per cent viewership and DD TV is cooling its heels at the sixth position with just 7.8 per cent viewership.

The reports of FICCI and the KPMG reveal that the revenue generated by these news TV channels was to the tune of Rs 4,800 crore in 2002-2003, which is likely to go up to Rs 13,900 crore in 2007. And the revenue generated by the advertisements on these channels increase to Rs 5,500 crore by 2007. Besides this, the cable network revenue can also go up to Rs 7,200 crore.

An average viewer who was watching three minutes of news on a news channel in 2001 was watching it for six minutes in a day in 2003. The forecast is that viewers will watch more of news on these channels in the near future.

Hindi films and entertainment channels capture the main slots on TV, both in terms of market share and time, the survey has pointed out.


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