C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ban goes up in smoke
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Uninhibited, unaware and unmindful, the smokers of the city continue to puff in public places. The recent Supreme Court order banning smoking in public places, effective from May 1, is no deterrent. The order remains confined to the papers, thanks to the reactive mode being adopted by government agencies, entrusted with the task of implementing it.

At the main bus stand and inside buses, there is no letup in the smoking habit. Cigarette shops continue to operate from within the premises. Here, the ban goes up in smoke everytime these tobacco-lovers light a cigarette, despite being surrounded by hundreds of commuters.

In government buildings and on the Panjab University campus, its implementation is merely confined to stickers proclaiming “No Smoking”. Beyond that, there are no checks and smoking carries on unabated in nooks and corners, in corridors and in office rooms. Passing the buck and unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of enforcing the order, the various agencies are claiming to be waiting for a formal notification from the government before getting into action and announcing the imposition of fine on those caught smoking.

Taking the new order in their stride, senior officials of the Administration maintain that the SC has given its directions and these will be implemented. “Once the notification comes, we will make a formal announcement of the ban and inform the public about the fine it would carry. From then on, the ball will be in the court of the police. It is up to it to devise ways and means of implementing the order. We can’t be expected to step into its shoes and wield the baton to ensure the order is followed to the letter,” an officer says. The police, meanwhile, has no clue on where and how to begin with the implementation of the order. An official adds that the task cannot be left to the police entirely and the Administration must, jointly, contribute to the exercise.

Though the authorities managing the busstand have yet to work out the implementation of the ban, they claim that the first casualty after the receipt of the order would be the shops selling tobacco at the bus stand. “We will order the closure of these shops and all mobile cigarette sellers would shut out. Going about checking the public from smoking at the bus stand could take time since there is no way of implementing a definite ban,” says the Director, Transport, Mr O.P. Popli.

At the railway station, banning smoking would not require much effort with the order already in place. “Under Section 167 of the Railway Act, smoking is already prohibited inside the train. This ban has to be extended to the platform only. It would merely require one round of the platform by the personnel of the Railway Police who are, even otherwise, present at the time of the arrival and departure of the train. We see no hitch in effectively imposing the ban,” a personnel of the Group Railway Police holds.

Though this is not the first time the court has directed the government and administration to ban smoking in public places, the various agencies are as ill-prepared to implement the ban as they were when the ban was announced for the first time. And, since then, no lessons have been learnt, no strategies framed. 


Woman killed, mother hurt as Sumo hits scooter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
A 30-year-old mother of three was killed and her 55-year-old widowed mother was seriously injured when their scooter collided with a Tata Sumo today in Sector 28. Both were employees of the UT Health Department.

Asha Rawat, whose youngest child from her second marriage is just two months old, succumbed to injuries in the PGI, where her mother Giano Devi is fighting for life.

The duo was coming back from Sector 16 after collecting their salary from the UT Health Department when their scooter collided with a Tata Sumo driven by Ashwani of Indira Colony.

Eyewitnesses told the police that the scooter carrying the helmetless women was dragged for about 20 metres. Asha Rawat had reportedly given the indication for turning towards the Sector 28 Jain Temple. The driver has been arrested.

Asha’s mother Giano Devi had lost her husband a few years ago and had got a job in his place in the Sector 26 Civil Dispensary. Giano Devi lives in Sector 28 while Asha Rawat was a resident of Derui village.

Asha Rawat was working in the Sector 19 Civil dispensary. She has a seven-year-old daughter from her first husband, who had died, and a two-year-old daughter and a two-month-old son from her second marriage.


Golf Club members to pay Rs 1000 each to meet IT arrears
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Members of the Chandigarh Golf Club will have to shell out Rs 1,000 each to meet the IT arrears of the club running into over Rs 28 lakh.

This one-time voluntary payment was agreed upon at an extraordinary general body meeting of the club attended by over 250 members here last night. Giving this information to The Tribune, Dr G.S. Kochhar, Chairman, Media and Publicity of the club, said a minimum quorum of 250 is required for an extraordinary general body meeting.

A proposal to raise the membership fee from Rs 200 to Rs 350 was shot down by the members. But they agreed on a raise of Rs 50 on the monthly fee charged from all category of members.

The fee charged from life members has been raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. This follows the review of the revised rules and regulations by Lt-Gen B.S. Randhawa and his subcommittee.

Another important decision is the change in the tenure of the management committee which will be from April 1 to March 31 so that the outgoing committee gets the accounts audited. Following this decision the present management committee will continue till March 31, 2005.

Only permanent members with five years standing can contest for the management committee membership.

Most of the members felt that private catering should be tried out on a long- term basis. May be two to three years.


Bansal’s assets information incomplete, says Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate for the Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency, today accused his Congress rival, Mr Pawan Bansal, of failing to fully disclose the details of his property in the affidavit filed by him to the Election Commission and asked the Returning Officer to institute an enquiry into the matter.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Jain said while giving details of his moveable and immovable property, Mr Bansal had mentioned in one of the columns that he had advanced an unsecured loan of Rs 9,88,736 to Heritage Education Society. However, the affidavit was silent on the rate of interest he was charging on the loan. It had not been mentioned whether any guarantee or any assset had been claimed against the said loan.

Further, said, Mr Jain, no information had been provided in the affidavit regarding the details of Mr Bansal’s immovable property. It was a matter of record that Mr Bansal, his sons, Ms Ambika Soni and her family members and certain other persons were the office-bearers of the Heritage Education Society. They owned the land and the building of the Delhi Public School, being run by the society in Sector 40, Chandigarh. Being members of the society, Mr Bansal and his sons had a share in the said property owned by the society.

“This fact has not been disclosed by Mr Bansal in the affidavit. One is supposed to give all details including any direct or indirect interest in the immovable and movable property. Mr Bansal has deliberately concealed this information about his interest in Heritage Education Society, being a member of the society which owned the land and the building. Non-disclosure of the interest income in the affidavit is a serious thing and demands scrutiny and strict action against him”, said Mr Jain.


BSF, police patrol Mohali streets
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 3
A unit of the Border Security Force (BSF) reached here today to beef up the security in the town in view of the elections. Over 45 BSF and 30 Punjab police personnel patrolled the streets in the town later in the day as part of the security drill.

“Flag marches will also be carried out till elections. It has two purposes: one to send a message to the anti-social elements that security arrangements are in place and the other to acquaint the security personnel coming from outside with the major landmarks and important buildings of the town,” said Mr Balbir Singh, SHO, Phase I, here.

Other security arrangements have also been planned by the police. As many as 14 entry points and four points within the town have been identified to set up special nakas. These points include YPS Chowk, the Dara Studio point, C-road in Phase VI, Hotel Franco, micro-tower in Phase II, education board building, Guru Nanak Colony, Commando Complex, cremation ground, and the Jain gas agency office.

Mr Balbir Singh said over 80 BSF men would be deployed for election duty. The second lot of the BSF men is expected to arrive tomorrow. 


First Vote
Opportunity to clean up the system

“Politics is a dirty game. But now we young people have an opportunity to clean up the political system by voting the right candidate and the right party to power at the Centre. I will ensure that I am not influenced by propaganda when I go to vote.

I will go for the party which has fielded honest and educated candidates.

In our democratic system, we have political freedom but it will be meaningless if it does not bring economic freedom and solve the problems of poverty and illiteracy. I will judge the party on the basis of its performance on the front of nation building. It is wrong to judge the performance of a government in five years. It takes years of planning of many successive governments to build the nation.

I am against the parties which spend huge sums of money on rallies and advertisements. As a first-time voter I feel the opinion polls and exit polls influence the minds of young voters. 


Building that runs on solar power
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The city and surrounding areas can look forward to a greener tomorrow with certain government and civic agencies increasingly exploiting renewable sources of energy like the solar power.

Conceived as one of its kind in North India, the state-of-the-art building with in-built solar lighting, heating and cooling systems, which become functional as Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) Bhavan in Sector 33, is a case in point.

Talking to TNS about the concept, PEDA Director S.S Sekhon said: “A better building design in consonance with solar photovoltaic (SPV) principals will help utilise sun's energy not only to provide natural eco-friendly lighting, but also ensure optimal insulation, temperature control and minimal glare.”

Designed by Prof Arvind Krishan of Delhi, the building is based on the solar passive theory.

“The three-dimensional form of the building has been designed in such a way that it follows the trajectory of the sun and has a solar power plant of 25 kw to run the lighting, heating and ventilation systems,” said Mr Sekhon. The construction has been undertaken by PEDA at a cost of Rs 7 crore as demonstration model to promote conservation of conventional energy.

Mr Sekhon said the low energy architecture of the building would help save 40-50 per cent of electricity bills by making optimal utilisation of wind power and solar light for energy generation. “We plan to take the load of running fans, computerlights, fax machines and other systems with solar power,” Mr Sekhon informed. The conventional sources of energy would be required only to run air-conditioners, that too for only 2-3 months in a year.

Spread over 1.5 acres, the building has a covered area of 70,000 sq feet, The orientation of the building is such that it brings in light from the south-east during the winters and cuts it out during the summers. In fact, two of the external walls on the south and the west have been insulted with a layer of spintex wool. This would protect it from heat in summers and from cold in winters.

The roof has been fitted with solar photovoltaic cells which would supply energy to run the lighting and cooling systems. “The inner temperature of the building would be anything between 25-30 degree celsius, both during the summers and winters,” said a junior engineer.

A visit to the building shows that the North and the South blocks have been joined by a suspended bridge. The central wind tower located at the entrance of the building will suck in the light hot air from the surface and send it out through the solar chimneys atop the building so as to ensure proper ventilation.

“We would take just a 80 kw-load to run the systems against the normal load requirement of 200 kw and that too during the peak of the season,” said Mr Sekhon. This would help save at least Rs 8-9 lakhs per year on energy bills, he claimed. It would also make employees work in a healthier environment.

Besides the auditorium, the building has an exhibition hall to display latest products running on non-conventional sources like wind power, solar power, biogas and fuel cells. 


Quota for poor students not practical, say Principals
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Reacting to a Supreme Court judgment on private schools regarding the fee, Principals of some of private schools in the city maintained that the government should compare the amount it was spending on each student before fixing the norms for unaided schools. They felt that the functioning of the government and private schools should be in harmony.

“While the authorities running a government school do not pay anything for the land, repair of building and salaries of the staff from their pocket, the management of the unaided schools have to manage the funds from the fee itself ” said, Mr D.S. Bedi, president of the Independent Schools Association of Chandigarh.

Mr Harold Carver, Principal of St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, said the social responsibility of regulating the fee structure was in the hands of the management of the respective schools. The fee being charged by a majority of the schools in the city was nominal as compared to what was being charged by schools in Delhi, he added.

On the issue of admitting children from the economically weaker sections of the society, Mr Bedi opined that it was very difficult to bridge the gap between the privileged and the under privileged and could lead to an unhealthy trend.

“It takes some years to groom a child and bring him to a certain level. If even we admit children from the weaker sections along with the privileged students, the former would not be able to sustain the pressure”, said Mr Bedi.

Mr Carver said his school was already offering scholarships to the deserving students and the social duty was being fulfilled by the school.

The Principal of Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, Mr Charles Samuel, said the government could regulate the fee structure and fix the minimum norms. But he added that in order to accommodate students from the economically weaker sections, separate infrastructure would have to be created as the privileged and the under privileged students could not be taught together.

He felt that the UT Education Department and the CBSE had the means to check whether a school was adhering the norms or not.

By asking the schools to file their annual financial account giving details of the total fee collected from students, the profit, the expenditure on various heads, including salary, PF and gratuity and the surplus funds, the government could keep a tab on a school.



With the campaigning in full swing and elections round the corner, activists of political parties are out in full strength convincing the electroate why they should be voted to power. Holding nukkad meetings, visiting colonies and giving a personal touch to their campaign, politicians are, for once, seen anywhere and everywhere.

Along the Kalka-Shimla highway, however, canvassing has taken a different meaning. The flags of the Congress and the BJP dot all the shops along the highway. Interestingly, flags of the two parties are fluttering side by side in these shops. As one shopkeeper says,”By allowing activists of all parties to exhibit their flags, we are not divulging our personal preferences. If we cooperate with one and disallow the other, we would stand exposed. Then, where is the possibility of a secret ballot.”

Exams and campaigning

The examination season is taking a toll on the election campaigning with college and university students missing out on all the fun. While youth constitute a major chunk of the electorate, this time round they are feeling completely left out, tied down by their examinations.

Neck-deep in their studies, they are conspicous by their absence at rallies. Confined to their books and staying at home or in their hostel rooms, these students are awaiting the conclusion of their examinations to participate in rallies and sloganeering. However, by the time they are done with their tests, most of the campaiging would be over, limiting their participation to the polling day.

For now, between examinations, they are only extending support to various political parties based on the loyalties of the students’ organisations they are supporting.

Confident Congress

Although the Congress has so far been acting coy so far as the naming of its prime ministerial candidate is concerned for fear of annoying its electoral partners, it is gaining in confidence with each passing day following prediction of a close fight between the BJP-led NDA and the Congress and its allies by the exist polls conducted by various TV channels and newspapers.

This was much in evidence at the poll rally held here on Sunday in support of the Congress candidate for the Chandigarh parliamentary poll, Mr Pawan Bansal, where the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, was the main speaker. While slogans were raised by the party workers in support of Mrs Gandhi, the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl got so carried away that he announced that Mrs Gandhi would be the next Prime Minister of India. “She takes oath as the next Prime Minister of India as soon as the counting of votes is over and results declared next week”, he said amidst cheers from the audience.

A piece of advice

The High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago in India, Pundit Maniedeo Persad, during his recent visit to Panjab University, has a piece of advice for those who care for India cultural and social values.

We can take a cue from people of Indian origin in the island republics of Trinidad and Tobago as far as celebrating the religious festivals like Divali and Holi were concerned. Remarked the High Commissiones: “ While Holi in Delhi is witness to consumption of liquor, piousness of the festivals has been retained by the people of Indian origin from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who landed at the island over 150 years back”.

Peace city

Yuvsatta, an NGO, has embarked upon a unique campaign for Chandigarh making a peace city. The NGO has plans to motivate over 10,000 students and teachers to be peace volunteers and accept non violence as a way of life. Under the campaign, one lakh families are to be designated as families pledged to non-violence.

Badal the cloud

The Met lingo enters the Chandigarh Lok Sabha elections with two candidates claiming the support of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

A BJP leader, when asked about the support of SAD in the city, said “Badal hain... kaun jana kahan barsenge.”

He compared the stand of its Punjab partner to that of a cloud who can come down anywhere. He, however, said the alliance partner will support the BJP candidate Satypal Jain. Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate Harmohan Dhawan has got a faction of the SAD supporting him.

Defence note

A fault in the printing of notes has been occurring with regularity. The latest to bear the brunt is a Mohali resident, Hitesh Madhok, a resident of Phase X. He has pointed out to a 100-rupee note his father received in payment. The note has no numbers. All other parameters of a normal note exist in it.


City SAD leaders go with INLD
Dhawan to take up employees’ issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Adding to the confusion as to on whose side is the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the president of the local unit of the SAD, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, and his supporters today campaigned in favour of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate, Mr Harmohan Dhawan. On the other hand, senior Akali leader Bibi Jagir Kaur said the SAD was with the BJP.

Besides Mr Riar, Ms Amarjit Bhullar, president of the local Istri Akali Dal, Mr Mohinder Singh, vice-president the SAD, Chandigarh, Mr Kuldip S. Saini, president of the Youth Akali Dal, Chandigarh, Mr Kesar Singh, a former chairman of the Chandigarh Market Committee, also accompanied Mr Dhawan and said that the SAD would support the INLD candidate. Two days ago, Mr Riar had said the SAD would support the INLD in Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhawan today promised to take up demands the employees of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and the Central government in a big way. He promised to get the income tax limit raised to Rs 1 lakh. Mr Dhawan also claimed that without the support of the Akalis, the local candidate of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) stood no chance of winning.

He said the posts that had been abolished should be restored keeping in view the unemployment. The city compensatory allowance limit should be raised from Rs 100 per month to Rs 500, he added.

An increase in the pension by 5 per cent at the age of 65 and another 5 per cent at 70 should be given to the Haryana pensioners on a par with Punjab, he said, and added that the fixed medical allowance to Haryana employees and pensioners should be raised from Rs 125 per month to Rs 500.

For the Central employees, the health scheme should be replaced by the payment of actual medical expenses, he demanded.

For Chandigarh employees, he said the age at entry should be 18-35 years instead of 18-25 years.

Representatives of various employees and pensioners' organisations have decided to support Mr Dhawan. Mr P.S. Lamba, a former general secretary of the UT Subordinate Services Federation, said Mr Bansal and Mr Jain had failed to meet the demands of the pensioners.

Mr Dhawan today also called on the District Bar Association as part of his campaign.



SAD to support Jain, says Jagir Kaur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Clarifying the stance of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bibi Jagir Kaur, sitting MLA and close confidante of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that the SAD would support the BJP in Chandigarh in the coming Lok Sabha poll. Bibi Jagir Kaur spoke to the Tribune minutes after participating in a rally in support of the BJP candidate, Mr Satya Pal Jain, in Burail village and inaugurated the party office there.

Lending support to the Chandigarh unit of the BJP was a decision of the SAD working committee, said Bibi Jagir Kaur. All 13 seats and the one seat in Chandigarh had to be contested in alliance with the BJP, said Bibi Jagir Kaur.

When asked why the president of the local unit of the SAD, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, had pledged support to Mr Harmohan Dhawan, Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “I am not competent to comment on this. Even if some action is to be taken against Mr Riar, it has to be decided by Mr Prakash Singh Badal.”

Just two days ago, Mr Riar had announced that Mr Badal had asked him to support Mr Dhawan, who is contesting on the ticket of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), led by Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, said she had come here as an official of the SAD. “We do not know how this confusion of Akali support to the BJP had risen, we are very clear,” she said. Even at tomorrow’s rally of Union Health Minister, Sushma Swaraj in Chandigarh, former Akali MP from Patiala, Prem Singh Chandumajra and former Punjab minister Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpura would be present to support the BJP, she said.



SAD faction joins Jain in campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Members of a faction within the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), defied the stance of their party, as they openly came out in support of BJP candidate, Satya Pal Jain today.

Former Mayor and municipal councillor, Harjinder Kaur along with other leaders of the SAD Mr N.S. Minhas and Mr Harcharan Singh Sawhney joined Mr Jain in the “padyatras” at various locations in the city today.

Just two days ago the SAD had announced that it would support the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, and not Mr Jain.

Mrs Harjinder Kaur said Akali workers would work day and night to ensure the victory of Mr Jain, who met the congregation at Gurdwara, Sector-46. He was welcomed by the general secretary of the gurdwara, Mr Himmat Singh, who presented a “siropa” to him.

Mr Jain undertook four padyatras. One each in Khudda-Ali-Sher village, Sector-46, Sector 27-28 market and Sector-15. During the “padyatra” of Sector-46, the wife of Mr Kedarnath Sharma, president of the Residents Welfare Association, prayed for the victory of Mr Jain by putting a “tilak” on his forehead. The Residents Welfare Association of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, decided to give full support to Mr Jain.

This decision was taken in a meeting of the association held in Vikas Nagar.

The BJP claimed that an active worker of the Congress, Mr Somnath, joined the BJP along with his supporters.

Mr Jain addressed a gathering of advocates in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He addressed public meetings in Burail village, Sector-24, Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, Cheap Houses, Sector-28 and Sector-27. He was weighed against coins in Indira Colony, Mani Majra.

Mrs Shashi Bala Jain, wife of Mr Jain, undertook “padyatras”
in Sectors 48, 49 and 50.Back


Bansal takes up oustees’ cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Villagers should be made active participants in development and should be given adequate compensation for their lands acquired by government, this was stated by the Congress candidate from Chandigarh, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

He was addressing a gathering in Raipur Kalan, Makhan Majra and Raipur Khurd villages. He said the existing Lal Dora had lost significance since its inception 117 years back in view of sharp increase in population and tremendous improvement in the standards of living and its consequent requirements of a common man.

He said out of 32 original UT villages, the land belonging to 28 villages had been developed completely and areas around the remaining four UT villages had already been developed. Therefore, it is only logical to allow the owners of the remaining land to develop the area in an organised manner in accordance with the existing Environmental Regulations, he said.

He further added that the adequate compensation as well as flats at concessional rates should be allotted to the 5,000 families who had to vacate their dwellings at the time of formation of Chandigarh. Mr Bansal said the people of Chandigarh should not forget the sacrifices made by these families who had suffered not only financial losses but had to resettle and reorient their whole lives at that time.

Earlier, Mr Bansal undertook a padyatra in PGI alongwith his supporters. He claimed that he had always stood by the local residents and would continue do so. Mr Bansal also visited colonies in Sector 25. While addressing resident there he said Chandigarh would become the City Beautiful in true sense only when rehabilitated colonies would be provided the basic amenities.

Members of the Marble Traders Association, under the leadership of Mr Narata Mall Gupta joined the Congress today. In a separate function Ms Madhu Bansal informed the gathering that her husband was one of the few MPs who had utilised 100 per cent of the MP Local Area Development funds.Back

Ravi Inder opens poll office

Mohali, May 3
The election office of Mr Surjan Singh Rahi, Akali Dal (Ravi Inder Singh) candidate for the Ropar Lok Sabha seat, was inaugurated by the party chief near Gurdwara Amb Sahib here yesterday. Mr Rahi appealed to residents to help him win the election.

He assured to take up pending problems of the state in Parliament, if elected. OC

Sushma to address rally today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj will address a rally in the city tomorrow.

The minister will speak at the rally at Nehru Park, Sector 22-B, in support of the BJP candidate from this constituency, Mr Satya Pal Jain.Back



Identity crisis, courtesy voter card
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, May 3
The photo identity cards issued by the Election Commission that enable the voters to exercise their right to franchise and can be used for identification under different government schemes are not foolproof as often glaring mistakes can be seen in these.

Take the case of Mr Ajit Singh, a resident of Mohali. He was surprised to see someone else’s photograph on the I-card issued in his name. This was not all. His father’s name too was wrongly spelt. “Mehitagh Singh” was neatly printed on the identity card instead of Mehtab Singh. Only the age and the address were correct.

The story did not end here. The names of his wife and son were also incorrect. Instead of Neeru Sidhu, the card had mentioned “Niru Sindhu”. His son Vikramjit’s name was printed as Bikramjit Singh. His daughter however, has still not received her identity card.

The cards have “facsimile signature of the Electoral Registration Officer for the Constituency”, along with hologram of Punjab Government. The end note reads, “this card may be used as an identity card under different government schemes”.

Meanwhile, sources in Chandigarh Administration revealed that almost 40 per cent of city residents still did not possess voter identity cards. According to an estimate, there were about 5.03 lakh eligible voters in Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency and only 58 per cent of them had voter identity cards.

The cards were necessary as names of the residents could be deleted from the voters’ list in the absence of voters’ identity cards. The sources further revealed that a letter had been issued to the Chandigarh Administration by the Election Commission last year in this regard. The authorities were asked to issue a 15-day notice to the residents who did not have the cards. They were also asked to initiate the process of deleting the names of the defaulters.

Giving details of the procedure, the sources revealed that the authorities were asked to first write to all eligible voters without identity cards. The authorities were asked to warn the defaulters that action would be initiated against them under the provisions of the People’s Representation Act.

In case you are a registered voter without an identity card, you can still get it issued as the Election Department of the Chandigarh Administration has extended the deadline. The previous deadline had expired on March 31. Back


City becoming regional flesh trade centre
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The city is developing into a regional flesh trade centre on the lines of metropolitan cities. This came to light after the arrest of Pardeep Kumar by the Chandigarh police last week along with six customers and three call girls brought to the city.

The city has also become a point from where customers pick up girls brought from other cities and take them to places like Nainital before dropping them back.

Sources in the police said though the number of cases registered did not reflect the growth of the trade, but during the past few years, the murky business was estimated to have grown eight times.

Sources said it was very difficult to establish allegations of immoral trafficking as all parties involved in the business were accused and their statements were not admissible in court. Moreover, cracking a whip on this business has also drawn flak for the law-enforcing agency, the sources said.

Scrutiny of the last few cases registered indicates that pimps from Chandigarh are connected to a national network which supplies sex workers to major cities. Three of the girls recently arrested had come from Delhi and Mumbai.

Sources in the police said those people who did not have a visible source of income and still lived a lavish life were suspected to be involved in immoral trafficking. A large number of such people from the region are moving to southern sectors.

However, the immoral trade has not quite caught the attention of the residents as a large number of the girls supplied and the customers come from outside and fix the deal in the city.

Pardeep Kumar reportedly moved to the city from Muktsar to be in the big league of flesh traders. The police suspects that Pardeep, booked twice this year under the same charge by the Panchkula and Chandigarh police, had minted money in this trade to be able to purchase a house in Sector 20 within two years of shifting his base here.

The police said one of the girls who joined Pardeep around three months ago at a salary of Rs 80,000 per month was earning more than Rs 20,000 per day for the pimp. Pardeep, during this period, got more than 40 girls from Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi and Mumbai.

Pardeep’s modus operandi was to put up the girls in a city hotel and ask customers to take a room or two in the same hotel. He kept on shifting the girls to different hotels so that the illegal trade was not noticed easily. The alleged pimp also kept shifting in the city, Panchkula and Zirakpur.

He was largely getting customers from Punjab. However, he is suspected have a very long list of persons with whom he is in touch.


Condemned vehicles await disposal
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, May 3
Has the Punjab Health Department forgotten to auction 17 condemned vehicles lying exposed to the vagaries of the weather at a workshop which was closed some time ago?

The vehicles, which include Ambassador cars, ambulances, Swaraj Mazda canters, a mobile dispensary van and Jeeps, have been lying condemned for years and are rotting.

Tenders for disposing of 22 vehicles were invited in November last year but the department could get rid of only 15 vehicles. Though at present there are 17 condemned vehicles, tenders for only seven vehicles have been invited for disposing them in about 10 days time.

Though vehicles are disposed of now and then by calling tenders, the department fails to sell all discarded vehicles as buyers find the reserve price on the higher side. The reserve price of the condemned vehicles is fixed at 30 per cent of its book value.

The workshop, which was running on the premises of the Punjab Institute for Health and Family Welfare here, had very little work over the past about one year as adequate quantity of material required for the repair of vehicles was not provided by the government due to shortage of funds. At present, four employees of the workshop — a mechanic, a turner and two helpers — have no work. They are at times called to the head office of the department in Chandigarh to carry out minor repairs. These repairs are carried on the roadside by parking vehicles under trees.

The department had not recruited any new staff for the repair of vehicles even when mechanics were retiring and there was shortage of staff. At certain places in the state, only one person was working against three sanctioned posts. Neither were any training programme, being organised to upgrade the knowledge of mechanics, who were finding it difficult to repair certain vehicles due to change in technology.

The building of the workshop was recently handed over to the Education Department as Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, was interested in setting up a government model senior secondary school here, which became functional last month. Earlier, the town did not have any government senior secondary school.


Humouring employees with humour pill
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Laughter has also become a serious business. If you are a person with a cheerful countenance and a wonderful sense of humour, ample opportunities await you in the multinational and national companies. This is not a joke for several companies these days are committed to the cause of providing a light and happy environment to ease out stress from the lives of their employees, who work for 12-14 hours. These companies are looking for humour consultants, who can motivate people to laugh.

Ms Janak Nirula, president of the Fragrance Laughter Club, said the culture of laughter clubs was catching up and more and more corporate houses were availing of the services of humour consultants. Their club which is associated with Laughter Club International, Mumbai, had come into existence four years ago but today hundreds of people have become members of the clubs in the city and in the satellite towns of Mohali and Panchkula.

Fascinated by the initiative taken by the club, Mr Nirula said of late many industrial houses and educational institutions in the area have invited members of the club, to induce laughter and bring some respite in the stress-related lives of employees and students.

Airtel, the mobile service provider already has a “merry-makers club”, whose job is to induce fun by organsing comedy skits, dance and drama programmes.Employees are free to become members of the club and the activities of the club help in dealing with stress, said Mr Harshvardhan Soin, HR ( Manager). Besides, this the cafetaria “Fun on Wheels’’ is also designed in such a way that it provides a host of facilities , including games like snooker, carrom and chess all under one roof. The employees can sit and enjoy the food as they drive in a live car within the cafetaria. Gymnasium and dance floor also add to their fun, he adds. The graffiti on the employees’ board, carrying light comments on the team members is also a welcome relief right at the start of the day, says an executive.

Local companies like Amartex and a few government institutions are also hiring the services of consultants to destress their employees.

A senior official of a company said “these consultants will not only be instrumental in creating a happy atmosphere at the work places but will also tell the bosses the importance of laughter in the offices.’’ They will be told as to how the creation of happy and congenial atmosphere at work places will go a long way in improving the efficiency of the employees, he added. It also helps in removing inhibitions, helps one become more sociable and self-confident.

Ms Ranjana Kapur, a member of the club, said the importance of laughter had been realised in Greece. People, who were facing any kind of mental tension or stress were rehabilitated near the theatres. The idea behind this being that a patient who had access to better entertainment facilities recovered faster. The company officials are also drawing lessons from the importance of laughter as highlighted by Bharat Muni in Natya Shastra and other puranic classics.

Corporates, which were early focussing on Art of Living, Reiki and other such week-long meditation courses to further improve the quality of life of their executives, feel the need to have humour consultants to make available these services to their employees on a regular basis, says Mr Madan Lal Kataria, the founder member of the Mumbai laughter club.


Id-Milad-ul-Nabi celebrated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 3
Impressive congregations were held in mosques all over the city to mark Id-Milad-ul-Nabi — the birthday of Prophet Mohammed today.

The venue of prime celebrations was Jama Masjid in Sector 20. The Imam, Maulana Mohammed Ajmal Khan, highlighted different aspects of the Prophet’s life besides recitation of Koran sessions of naats — religious songs in praise of the prophet — and prayers were held till midnight.


Shias demand land for mosque
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 3
Members of the Hussainy Association, Punjab, have demanded land for a mosque and imambara in the vicinity of Chandigarh. An organisation of Shia Muslims, it has in a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister pointed out that over 10,000 Shias are settled in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, but the nearest place of worship for them is the mosque at Malerkotla.

Mr Mohammad Anees Haider, president of the association, said they had applied to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for 1,000 square yards of land in Mohali in 2001. “PUDA had invited applications for the allotment of land on a 99-year-lease basis for the construction of mandirs, churches, gurdwaras and masjids. We applied and were called for an interview, during which we were assured that we would be given land in Mohali for the construction of an imambara. However, in June 2003 our request was turned down,” he said.

Sources in PUDA say that the application of the Hussainy Association was rejected along with many other similar applications. “When the new government came into power, many of the decisions taken by the previous regime were reviewed. A committee was formed to look into some of the ‘last-minute decisions’ taken by PUDA and on the recommendation of this committee, several orders were reversed,” the source said.

“Whatever might have been the compulsions of PUDA in rejecting our application, at least we should have been given the reason. After pursuing our demand for two years, one fine day we were refused the land. After that PUDA has not made any new offer,” said Mr Haider.

The Hussainy Association, based in Mohali, is a registered society, and was formed by Shia families of the town. “Our members are firm believers of Islam and believe in the teachings of Koran. But we have to celebrate all our festivals at private places as the administration has failed to provide us any land for an imambara. Also, we have no place to offer prayers. All Shia Muslims have to visit the mosque at Malerkotla, which is over a two-hour drive away,” said Mr Haider.

Kharar MLA and Punjab Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh had also forwarded the demand for land to PUDA, but there was no response. “We have also written to the Waqf Board for land, but that is likely to take time,” added Mr Haider.Back


Fauji Beat
Wake up ex-servicemen, vote on merit

If ex-servicemen were disgusted with politicians until about a fortnight ago, today they are disgusted with their own leaders, most of whom are “self-styled”. Why? Because the same leaders who were condemning all political parties for betraying them repeatedly and asking the ex-servicemen to vote according to their conscience were now aligning with one party or another.

Though they pulled on the same rope to win wars when in uniform, but after retirement they start pulling in different directions. It would be interesting to recall briefly what the main political parties have done for the soldiers since Independence.

The Congress has ruled the country most of the time. It has done maximum damage to the morale of the defence personnel by reducing their pay, pension and by pulling them down in status. The Janata Dal had accepted the demand of “one rank, one pension” on coming to power in 1989. Thereafter, it used the bureaucratic handle to scuttle this demand. Defence Minister George Fernandes had made an announcement at Anandpur Sahib on April 10, 1999, that the NDA government had accepted the demand of “one rank, one pension”. The rest is history.

How one wishes that the ex-servicemen’s “torch bearers” had struck to their demand of conscience-voting rather than falling for small favours.

Brig Sant Singh, MVC, and Bar, president of the Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Ex-Services League (IESL), seems to be the only exception in this region. For he asked the members of the IESL on April 28 to vote for a candidate on merit.

DSIO, Chandigarh

A Defence Services Officers Institute (DSOI) was started in Chandigarh in 1991. It was the then Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh, Gen O.P. Malhotra, who approved the project and laid the foundation stone of the institute in Sector 36 on the land given by UT to the Punjab Government.

But it was only after the DSOI was handed over to the Headquarters, Western Command, in November, 2001, on the instructions of the former Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob, that the institute started making headway.

Since assuming control of the institute, the Headquarters, Western Command, has been taking keen interest in its administration and growth.

On his first visit to the DSOI the other day, the chief of Western Command, Lieut-Gen JJ Singh, announced a financial grant of Rs 1 lakh for the institute. He also assumed the members that help would be given to the institute for its betterment.

Widow’s complaint

Harbans Kaur, widow of a World War II veteran Havildar Thakur Singh, who lives in her house in Sector 19, Chandigarh, has sent a written complaint to the Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh, through the Western Command Helpline on April 26.

Her complaint reads: “I am 78-year-old and have three daughters and one son. My son Kulwant Singh with his family of three sons and one daughter (all married) are staying with me. My grandchildren ill-treat me, often beat me up and on April 21 they threatened to kill me”. Her grandchildren do not allow her to sell the house, adds Harbans Kaur.

Such cases where children ill-treat their old parents or grandparents are very common these days due to the disintegration of the joint family system. Since the case has been reported to the Chandigarh police who, we hope, will take appropriate action in the matter. The only silver lining that we can see in such cases of harassed parents is the latest Calcutta High Court judgement of April 19, which says: “No son or daughter (or their spouses) above 18 years of age has any right to stay at their parents’ house if they (the parents) do not like them”.

— Pritam Bhullar


Shan-e-Sapper celebrates 8th Raising Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Several functions, including a sainik sammelan, pagal gymkhana and barakhana, were organised to mark the Eighth Raising Day of the Shan-e-Sapper Regiment, an elite unit of the Bombay Sapper Group. The celebrations, spread over three days, concluded somewhere in the Western Sector today.

Addressing the sainik sammelan, the regiment’s Commanding Officer, Col Y. Dimri, reminded the unit personnel of their achievements and the sappers’ past glory. He exhorted them to rededicate themselves to scale new heights in future, a statement issued here said.

The squadrons of the regiment draw lineage from those units disbanded after the Second World War and these bear the same designations. These sub-units had participated in both the World Wars and were recipients of one OBE and five Mention-in-Despatches.

The regiment has set very high standards. During operation Parakram and subsequent demining operations, it had received accolades from all quarters. 


New SSP for greater police-public interaction
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 3“Sensitivity to human behaviour is essential for good policing. Both in terms of catching criminals and helping the public, it is important to know the minds of those you are dealing with,’’ said Mr Rajiv Ahir, the newly appointed Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ropar, here today. Mr Ahir was speaking to mediapersons during a press conference organised at his camp office in Phase IV.

Mr Ahir joined as SSP, Ropar, two weeks ago in place of Mr S.P. Singh, who was removed from the post following directions of the Chief Election Commissioner. This is his first posting as SSP. Mr Ahir has earlier served as SP (City), Jalandhar, and SP, Patiala. ‘‘My priority is to increase police-public interaction and communication. What people need should be known to us and our problems and limitations should be known to them. Our target is better policing and satisfied public, apart from providing justice and security to the people here,’’he said.

A 1996-batch IPS officer, Mr Ahir said there was a need for modernisation of Punjab police to accommodate laws and regulations for modern-day crime. ‘‘Despite the fact that the IPC was formulated in 1861, it still encompasses a majority of the crimes that take place. But with the advent of newer forms of communication, hi-tech crime is on the rise. Thus, there is a need to upgrade policing services in order to keep pace with such developments,’’ he said.

An architecture graduate from the Delhi School of Planning and Architecture, Mr Ahir said he had learnt a lot about policing from his architecture course. ‘‘When you have to design a building, you have to keep in mind the kind of people who are going to live in it. Similarly, in policing, the effect your acts will have on people is always to be kept in mind,’’ he said.

‘‘The other thing that I learned during college and which comes in handy in this profession is teamwork. Without coordination of effort, neither can an architect work nor a policeman. Coordination and harmonious teamwork is common to both,’’ he said

Mr Ahir promised to take strict disciplinary action against those police employees who willingly delay registering of FIRs or use their power to trouble innocent persons. ‘‘I have given clear directions that cases should be registered freely. Specially in cases of heinous crimes, evidence should be collected and arrests made. But in cases of frauds and family disputes, thorough inquiry is required before a case is registered or arrests are made,’’ he said.


Follow Buddha’s ideals, says Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Governor and Administrator of Chandigarh, Justice O.P. Verma, today called upon the people to imbibe and preach the eternal message of peace, non-violence and salvation given by Lord Buddha.

On the eve of Budh Purnima, he said the philosophy of compassion, brotherhood and peaceful coexistence was as relevant today as ever.

Reaffirming our faith in the ideals of Lord Buddha and living by them in our daily lives would be the real tribute to him, the Governor added.


Yoga camp registration from May 5
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 3
Swami Ram Dev, will hold a meditation camp here to educate people about yoga, meditation and pranayam.

In addition to this, he would also help people to get rid of diabetes, migraine, depression, asthma, acidity, constipation and certain other problems with yoga.

Mr V.P. Singh, the organiser of the camp, informed that the camp would be organised at Cricket Ground in Sector 5 from June 2 to 9. Entry passes for the camp would be available at various branches of the Punjab National Bank in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali from May 5 onwards.


Fresh complaint against Chandigarh Club member
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Two members of Chandigarh Club have lodged a complaint with the police against another member, Mr Rajiv Kwatra, for allegedly forging their signatures on a list of members submitted before the Company Law Board (CLB).

The complaint follows one already lodged against the same person on April 22 by two other members. The fresh complaint was lodged on April 30 by Mr Harinder Singh (membership No. 1042) and Mr Ranjan Verma (2917). With this complaint, the number of members who have submitted affidavits against Mr Kwatra for allegedly forging signatures has gone up to four.

The April 22 complaint had been forwarded to DSP S. C. Sagar for an inquiry by the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav. The inquiry is not yet over. Mr Sagar, when asked if he had got the second complaint, said it had not yet reached him.

These complaints give a new twist to the April 3 elections of the club, the result of which has not yet been declared, awaiting a court order.

With four among a thousand members whose list was sent to the CLB approaching the club management for getting a case registered against Mr Kwatra, the petition before the CLB is threatened to be rejected.

According to the rules of the CLB, one fifth of the members have to move a petition with the CLB for seeking its intervention in the matter of fixing the number of club members.

One of the contestants in the April 3 elections, Mr Mukesh Bassi, told Chandigarh Tribune that more than 30 members whose names were mentioned in the list had filed affidavits with the club management denying their signatures. However, all of them were not interested in getting a case registered, he said.

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