C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 PEC ex-students among Civil Services toppers
Tribune News Service|

Veenu Bansal (82nd) and Abhishek Garg (169th)
Veenu Bansal (82nd) and Abhishek Garg (169th)

Gagandeep Gambhir (85th) and Rajan Datt (390th)
Gagandeep Gambhir (85th) and Rajan Datt (390th)

Parul Khush (135th)
Parul Khush (135th)

Chandigarh, May 7
Two former students of Punjab Engineering College, Arshdeep Singh Thind and Shurbir Singh, came out with flying colours in the Civil Services examination, securing the third and fourth places, respectively. The result of the examination was declared by the UPSC in Delhi today.

Overwhelmed with the result, Arshdeep said on the cellphone, “I don’t know how I have done it. This is just unbelievable. I just might be the first to have cleared the examination from Shalapur Bet in Kapurthala.” However, the only duty weighing on the mind of this Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Delhi, is that of seeing the elections through peacefully. “I will be allowed to go home and share my happiness with my family only after the elections are over,” he added.

Coming from a family of agriculturists, Arshdeep has studied in the city throughout his student life. “In my third attempt, I have finally done justice to the labour I put in. With the combination of physics and geography, I was expecting to be among the first 100. This is too much to digest,” he maintained.

His friend and batchmate Shurbir Singh, a retired Army officer’s son, had the same subject combination. He claimed that there was no substitute for committed and organised hard work. “There is no end to the information available on any subject. The candidate must know where to draw the line. A focused approach holds the key,” he opines. Both students have studied from the IAS Study Circle in Sector 21.

Gagandeep Gambhir, a research scholar at the Department of History, Panjab University, has secured the 85th rank. “I missed out on all the fun my friends were having. I had completely cut off myself from my social circle and did nothing but study, sleep and eat in the past one year or so. I didn’t even go home to Ludhiana for fear of being distracted. My mission was to get through the examination and I have done that satisfactorily. Now, I have all the time in the world to enjoy,” she said.

Pursuing her doctorate in botany, Parul Khush has secured the 135th rank in the examination. From Safidon in Haryana, she says, “I am thrilled with the result and my performance. My hard work has paid rich dividends. I have spoken to my family and they, too, are happy. My father, a farmer, is particularly elated.”

Other candidates who have cleared the examination from the city include Veenu Bansal (82), Sanjay Bamalia (94), Asra Garg (130), Rajesh Manjhu (158), Abhishek Garg (169), Maninder Pawar (389), and Rajan Dutt (390). Interestingly, none of them belong to the city, though they had prepared for the examination from city-based coaching centres.

Meanwhile, the candidates had a tough time confirming their result since it was not available on the Internet till late in the evening. The students managed to contact candidates in Delhi, who conveyed them the result and their positions.

PATIALA: Four students of the local Vidya Sagar Shastri Academy are also among the first 200 selected candidates. They are Amrish Kumar, Ram Asra, Binu Bansal and Vivek Aggarwal. OC


Two teachers escape unhurt in pileup
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Two schoolteachers had a providential escape when their cars collided with a Haryana Roadways bus in front of the GMCH, Sector 32, on Dakshin Marg here today. Eight vehicles were involved in the accident. The accident led to a three-hour disruption in the flow of traffic.

A St Xavier’s School teacher, Ms Taruna Khanna, who was driving a Maruti car, had to be extricated from the car after removing its windscreen. Though her car was badly damaged, she escaped unhurt.

Ms Deepti, a teacher with IMS, who was driving a Santro car and following the bus, crashed into the rear of the bus but also escaped unhurt. The bonnet of the car went underneath the bus and the right side of the car received extensive damage.

Mr J.M. Sahni, whose Scorpio car was also involved in the accident, said the multiple collision took place when the drivers of two cars simultaneously tried to overtake the bus. The driver of the bus swerved the vehicle to the right when the cars tried to overtake it.

This led to a virtual pileup on the road, similar to one, involving more than 10 vehicles, that happened last year.

Ms Khanna said she was following an Indica car, which applied breaks. Consequently, she also jammed breaks to avoid collision with the car ahead of her. But another bus following her hit her car from the rear, causing damage to her vehicle.

Ms Deepti said she could not remember anything and thanked God for saving her. She however said she could have prevented her car from hitting another vehicle by turning it towards left.

Apart from the three vehicles, the other five vehicles escaped without much damage. All parties later reached a compromise.


Flesh trade racket busted, 7 arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 7
The Panchkula police today claimed to have unearthed a flesh trade racket with the arrest of seven persons, including three girls. All accused were arrested after the police received secret information about the racket operating in Chandi Mandir area.

In a sting operation the police sent a customer to the house in Chandi Mandir, from where the racket was being operated.

Once the deal was made and money was paid to the alleged middle man, Ajay, the police party led by Inspector Dariab Singh and Sub-Inspector Varinder Singh barged in and arrested the accused.

Besides the three women and Ajay, three customers — Vinod Kumar of Mohali, Rakesh Kumar and Raj Kumar, both residents of Old Panchkula — were also arrested. The police has booked them for immoral trafficking and present them in the court tomorrow.


Chief Engineer’s reply sought on opening of tenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Returning Officer (RO) of the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, Mr Arun Kumar, today asked the Chief Engineer, Chandigarh Housing Board, to reply by tomorrow morning as to how the board opened tenders to allot work worth Rs 5 crore last evening.

The action was taken following a report in The Tribune that the board had invited tenders for widening and relaying of roads besides erecting of streetlights in the southern sectors. The Chief Engineer has been asked to reply on the basis of The Tribune report. Any action will be contemplated only after he gives the report as why the tenders were opened.

The board could have opened tenders only with the permission of the Election Commission of India.


India faces threat from US influence: Sunil Dutt
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
India faces a grave threat from the American influence over its society. The BJP is committing the same mistake which Indian rulers made while dealing with the British before the country was annexed.

This was stated by Sunil Dutt, a senior Congressman and a veteran actor, in an exclusive interview with Chandigarh Tribune late last night. He was on his way to Hotel Mountview to take a rest after a day of election rallies.

Dutt said the party which raised slogans of “swadeshi” at different platforms before coming to power had criticised the economic policies of the Congress government for opening up the economy. The Congress knew where to draw the limits for foreign investors, he said. “The BJP is playing into the hands of US policies. Remember that even the British had come to our country on the pretext of having only trade relations,” he said.

The US influence is not merely in matters of trade. The culture is being invaded and music is being adulterated. We see a confusion of cultures on the roads. Such activities will never add pride to our country, he said.

Dutt said voters should assess the contribution of the Congress to the freedom of the nation before making a choice. “Can you name even a single leader of the BJP who played a prominent role in the freedom struggle?” he said.

“I came into politics because the partition of the nation left a permanent mark on my life. The Congress’ contribution to managing the human disaster then was marvellous. I was born in Jhelum district of Pakistan, where we had our land. We were given land in Haryana after Partition. I went to Bombay to study, where I joined a refugee college”, he said.

“I have worked as a bus conductor for Rs 100 monthly. I have always been very conscious about my duties towards the nation even while I was in films. I visited the forces on the borders during the wars in 1962, 1965 and 1975,” he said.

“The BJP has a long history of attempting a communal divide. I warn the National Democratic Alliance partners to keep in mind the future of the country before reaching any poll agreement”, he said.

“The growth of regional parties is an interesting development in Indian politics. It is always in the interest of the country to have minimum number of political parties at the national level. Over a period of time, local leaders realised their power in making or breaking national governments and soon the scenario changed”, he said.

“Communal divide is one of the biggest threats faced by the Indian democracy. Riots involving different minorities have been the most unfortunate incidents in the country’s history. Look at the BJP, which is forging an alliance with Muslims merely for their votes. They have no answer to having participated in certain gory incidents promoting communal disharmony. People of the country need to sit back and ponder over which government can ensure a safe living before pressing the EVM button”, he said.

Rolling down a car window near Hallo Majra, Dutt said, “It is such a delight to watch the moon. I wish such calmness prevails in the country. I really miss this scene in Mumbai.”Back


First Vote
Voting for the first time is exciting

I AM excited to vote for the first time like other youths of our country. Though it is quite difficult to find Mr Clean among the present politicians, since it is my right, I shall vote for the man who has a sense of responsibility for the youngsters.

He should have the calibre of fulfilling the aspiration of the youth. Both BJP and Congress, viewing the huge population of youth voters, are making tall claims on employment avenues but reality speaks otherwise.

I expect the candidate I choose to vote for to promise to do something to eradicate corruption from the autonomous institutions responsible for recruitment.

In the end, I just request my dear ones to caste their vote.


Proof of identity must for voters, says Election Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Election Department today reminded the Chandigarh voters that those who did not have voter cards would have to bring alternative documents to prove their identity.

However, the name of the voters should be on the voters’ list. Revision of electoral rolls had been carried out and the supplementary lists had been issued. These were available on the website www.chandigarh.nic.in

According to Returning Officer Arun Kumar, the list of alternative documents prescribed by the commission for the purpose included passports, driving licenses, PAN cards and identity cards issued to its employees by the state or the central government. Identity cards issued by public sector undertakings, local bodies and private industrial houses would also be admissible.

The electors could also produce bank pass books, Kisan Vikas Patra, post office pass books (account must have been opened on or before March 31, 2004), student identity cards, property documents, ration cards (issued on or before March 31, 2004), Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes Certificates issued by the competent authority, pension documents (ex-servicemen’s pension book, pension payment order, ex-servicemen’s widow or dependent certificates and od age pension order, widow pension order), railway identification cards, freedom fighter identity cards, arms licences and certificate of physical handicap issued by a competent authority on or before March 31, 2004.

The commission further directed that these alternative documents for identification would also apply in case of those electors who had been issued voter cards but were unable to produce these due to reasons beyond their control.

The alternative document, like a ration card or a pension card issued in the name of the head of any other members of a family will be admissible as proof of identity for other members of the family whose names are mentioned on it.


Presiding officers take part in rehearsal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
No political activity will be allowed within a 200-metre radius of polling stations in Chandigarh, presiding officers and representatives of political parties were told today.

Assistant Election Returning Officers called upon presiding officers to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. They were instructed to take necessary steps to ensure convenience of voters during their visit to the polling stations.

Presiding officers will have to submit details of polling with or without voter identity cards immediately after its conclusion.

All this was part of a rehearsal regarding the polling process.

It also covered the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) on the day of polling, sealing of ballot units and control units after elections.

The procedure for setting up the EVMs at the four counting centres, namely Government College, Sector 11, the Government College for Girls, Sector 42, the Government College, Sector 46, and the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, was also explained.

The AEROs present were Mr S.P. Arora, Mr N.S. Brar, Mr Arun Sekhri, Mr Naresh Narwal, Mr D.S. Mangat, Mr Gurdip Singh, Mrs Sarita Malik, Mr H.S. Kandhola, Mr O.P. Popli, Mr Kuwant Kumar Kalson and Mrs Madhvi Kataria.


SAD is with BJP: Bhaur
Riar to face action for siding with INLD candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7“The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is with the Bharatiya Janata Party. I am here on the command of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, party president, to confirm the party’s alliance with the BJP”, said Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), while addressing a press conference here today.

He said, “The party will take action against Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, president of the local unit, for disobeying the party high command and declaring to go with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate. Mr Badal in his speeches at various forums in Punjab has repeated that the SAD was with the BJP for all 13 seats, besides that of Chandigarh”.

“If Mr Riar says he is following the party high command, it means I am not. This means that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, a former president of the SGPC, who passed away recently, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Tota Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur, all senior leaders who attended the BJP rallies, are going against the orders of the high command.

We are all in front of you obviously his claims are baseless. A single man does not make the party. We will soon sort out the matter”, he said.

Mr Seshadri Chari, a former editor of the Organiser and member of the BJP campaign committee, said the BJP alliance was confident of getting more than 300 seats. “The Chandigarh voter is conscious and it usually elects an MP from the majority party,” he added.

Mr Satya Pal Jain said the SAD was with the BJP as had been clarified by its senior leaders. “I hope you do not waste your vote by not favouring the BJP”, he said. He said the city Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, should resign as she had been booked in a case of signing “ration cards in violation of the Model Code of Conduct”.


Jain’s motorcade goes around city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
A car rally was the highlight of the campaign of Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, here today.

The rally, taken out by the Traders’ Cell of the party, was flagged off by Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, President of the local unit of the BJP, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, a senior Akali leader.

The rally passed through Sectors 43, 42, 41, 40, 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, 29, 30, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 27, 28, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7 and terminated at Satsang Bhavan, Sector 26. The gathering was addressed by Mr Jain at the termination point.

A “sammelan” of footpath workers was held in support of Mr Jain. He undertook a “padyatra” covering Sectors 36, 37, 38 and 19. He addressed employees of the Government Printing Press at Press Chowk, Sector 18. He also addressed members of the Muslim community at Jama Masjid, Sector 20.

In the evening, people from the Sansi community and the Himachal Public Welfare Organisation came to the “Kamlam” in support of the BJP candidate. He also addressed meetings in Industrial Area, Phase I, Panjab University, Sector 23, 52 and 49.

A party press note said Ms Rekha Sharma, the only woman candidate from the city, had withdrawn her candidature in favour of the BJP-SAD candidate. Addressing various rallies, Mr Jain said the Congress Party, sensing defeat, had become unsettled. A recent example of this was the incidence in Ludhiana, where Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh made attempts to block the rally of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which would be held tomorrow.

Ms Shashi Bala Jain, wife of the BJP candidate, addressed a number of public gatherings in Sectors 31, 22, 28 and 43.

In a joint statement today, Ms Kamla Sharma, a former Mayor, and Mr Rajesh Gupta, a councillor, demanded the resignation of Ms Kamlesh, Congress Mayor, against whom the police case was registered yesterday for alleged corruption. Corruption was not new to the Congress, they said.


Manmohan defends ticket to Sajjan, Tytler
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh said today that Mrs Sonia Gandhi was competent to lead the country and should be the next Prime Minister if the Congress-led alliance got a majority in the Lok Sabha.

Talking to mediapersons, he said Mrs Gandhi was not only the leader of a democratic and secular party like the Congress, but also Leader of the Opposition in the dissolved House. Therefore, there was no reason why she should not the next Prime Minister if the combine led by the Congress was able to cross the half-way mark in the Lok Sabha.

To a question, he said he was not in the race for the prime ministership. “I know my limitations. Therefore, I am not a candidate for any post or position in the party. I am in politics just by accident”.

The Congress leader defended the party decision to put up Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Jagdish Tytler, alleged to have been involved in the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, for the Lok Sabha elections. He said there was no criminal case pending against them. If invited, he would not mind addressing poll rallies in support of the two in Delhi.

Referring to the wild fluctuations in Sensex due to exit poll projections by various TV channels, Dr Manmohan Singh said there should be no cause for worry because the Congress, too, was committed to the policy of liberalisation of economy. 


Badal has developed ‘Cong phobia’, says CM
Our Correspondent

Sanaur (Patiala), May 7
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today stated that if the repeated complaints filed by SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal to the National Human Rights Commission and the Election Commission were any indication, then the former CM had not only lost his balance but also developed a “Congress phobia” ahead of the parliamentary elections.

Capt Amarinder Singh was addressing a 6,000-strong gathering at Sanaur, which is part of the Dakala Assembly segment, falling in the Patiala parliamentary constituency.

Prominent among others present were the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, a former MP, Mr Charanjit Walia, who till a few days ago was vociferously campaigning for the SAD candidate, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, and film actor Mukesh Rishi.

However, the Congress candidate, Mrs Preneet Kaur, in whose support the rally was held, was absent.

Terming the SAD-BJP alliance as a party of bankers, Capt Amarinder Singh, who arrived at the rally in a helicopter, said the NDA government had ruined the country as it was acting on the whims and fancies of a few industrial houses like the Birlas and Tatas.

For a major part of his speech, the CM not only berated Mr Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, but also lashed out at the Akalis, whom, he said, had messed up the finances of the state during their five-year rule.

Warning the Akalis against creating any trouble during the elections, the CM said his government would leave no stone unturned to ensure a free and fair poll. “Je Badal Shadal garbar karange, taan main siddha vi kar danga,” he said. The CM said his government had definite information that the Akalis would be disrupting the poll process. He said the SAD leadership was resorting to such tactics as they feared a defeat.

Terming the Badal father-son duo as the most corrupt politicians, Capt Amarinder Singh wondered how the Badal family had amassed a fortune of Rs 8,200 crore. He said the SAD chief and his family members would finally succumb to the anti-corruption drive launched by his government.

Taking potshots at the SAD candidate for the Patiala Lok Sabha seat, Capt Amarinder Singh said when the Surjit Singh Barnala government had ordered Operation Black Thunder in 1986, Capt Kanwaljit Singh was the Home Minister, adding that the latter was solely responsible for the entire operation.

The CM stated that Capt Kanwaljit Singh, as Finance Minister, had played havoc with the treasury, due to which his government had to “inherit” empty coffers.


Congress rally disrupts traffic
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 7
Vehicular traffic on the busy Kalka-Ambala highway moved at a snail’s pace because of a rally by the Congress here this morning. Congress supporters in over 250 vehicles, including jeeps, cars, motor cycles and scooters, carrying flags and banners, took out a rally in support of Ms Preneet Kaur, Congress candidate from the Patiala parliamentary constituency.

The rally, led by Kunwar Jagat Singh, an MLA from Rajashan, started at 12 noon from Lalru. The rally covered about 20 villages and appealed the villagers to vote for Congress candidate Preneet Kaur.

Various trade unions including INTUC, joined the rally and extended their support to Ms Preneet Kaur. The rally concluded at Zirakpur at about 3 pm. 


Bar Association pledges support to Preneet
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 7
The campaign of Congress nominee from Patiala constituency Preneet Kaur got a boost today when the local unit of the Bar Association extended its support to her in the parliamentary elections.

Addressing members of association here, she reiterated her commitment to working for the all-round development of the constituency. She said she was confident that people of the constituency would again restore faith in her by assuring her victory. “I have kept my poll promises made in the last parliamentary elections,” she claimed.

With just one day left for campaigning, Ms Preneet Kaur focussed on canvassing in the city. Prior to addressing the District Bar Association, a rally was held at New Grain Market.

In her address, she reminded commission agents that the Capt Amarinder Singh-led government had fulfilled their demands.


Employees worst hit by government
policies, says Bansal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
“Government employees are the worst sufferers among those affected by the lopsided economic policies of the BJP,” said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, while addressing employees of Panjab University here today.

Mr Bansal said he had taken up various employee-related issues, including pension for PU employees, regularisation of daily wagers in UT, status of deemed deputation for employees transferred from the UT Administration to Municipal Corporation, increase in allowances for university teachers, health scheme for SBI employees and revision of the Minimum Wages Act, in the outgoing Parliament. “I will continue to do so till these demands are accepted by the government,” he said.

He said if voted to power, the Congress government would take up issues related to employees on priority basis and he would recommend creation of a housing fund on the lines of provident fund for employees to enable them to construct their houses without financial hardship. He said the pensionary and gratuity benefits should be directly sent into the retiring employee’s bank account on the very next day of his retirement.

A number of “Sewa Dal” workers took out a cycle rally from Congress Bhavan, Sector 35, and passed through different parts of the city. Later in the evening, the procession was received by Mr B. B. Behl, president, CTCC, and Mr Ram Pal Sharma, vice-president of the CTCC, at Mr Bansal’s residence in Sector 28.

Mr Bansal addressed a gathering organised by the Traders Welfare Association, Sector 37. Traders weighed Mr Bansal against coins, presented a sword in his honour and contributed Rs 11,000 towards his election campaign.

Earlier, Mr Bansal along with his supporters undertook “padyatras” in Sectors 24 and 27. He addressed public meetings in Sectors 20, Nehru Colony, Colony Number V, Labour Chowk, Bapu Dham Colony and Colony No. IV.

Ms Madhu Bansal, wife of the Congress candidate, addressed gatherings of women in Police Colony, Dadu Majra and Burail.


Admn puts curbs on movement of vehicles
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 7
For the smooth conduct of polling for the Ambala parliamentary seat on May 10, the district administration today put certain restrictions on the movement of vehicles.

According to official sources, the movement of vehicles will be restricted from 7 am to 5 pm near the polling booths under Section 144 of the CrPC. However, certain categories of vehicles, having a valid permit from the District Magistrate, will be exempt from the ban.

Similarly, state government buses as well as buses of cooperative societies will be exempt from this ban. Vehicles used for essential services, like hospital ambulance vans, water tankers, emergency services vans and private vehicles used by the sick and disabled will also not be covered under the ban.

Officials said the contesting candidates would be issued permits from the Returning Officers. While one vehicle would be allowed for the personal use of the candidate, another would be allowed to carry his agent or party workers.

Unauthorised vehicles will be impounded, the officials warned.

Meanwhile, the administration has imposed Section 144 in a 200-metre radius of the Community Centre of the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for the safety of EVMs and other election material from May 10 to 13.

In another order, the administration has directed arms dealers to supply the list of various arms possessed by them to the respective police stations.


Libra intensifies poll campaign
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 7
The election campaign of Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, SAD candidate for the Ropar (reserved) constituency has intensified as various top leaders of the SAD, BJP and SGPC addressed several corner meetings, rallies and conferences in Sirhind and Amloh Assembly constituencies falling in the Ropar parliamentary constituency.

Last night, Mr Libra, accompanied by BJP and SAD leaders, addressed five corner meetings in Bassi Pathana and Sirhind towns of the district. All factions of the SAD and leaders belonging to the Tohra faction joined the election campaign and shared the dais.

Addressing an election rally at Chanarthal village today, organised by Tohra loyalists, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, former president of the BJP, advocated the “feel-good” slogan and appreciated the administrative qualities of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He lashed out at Ms Sonia Gandhi as well as Capt Amarinder Singh.

He said there was a wave in the favour of the SAD-BJP alliance in the state, adding that the alliance would win all seats with a big margin. He said the state government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had stopped all concessions provided by the Badal government to various sections of society.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, former acting president of the SGPC, said earlier the Congress had won only due to the division of SAD votes. As all Akali leaders and workers were united now, the party would register a landslide victory.

Addressing the rally, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, former Chairman, Punsup, said the SAD was united under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said people of the country wanted to see Mr Vajpayee as the Prime Minister as he had shown his qualities by ruling the country for five years.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra said all major SAD leaders of the district, including Mr Randhir Singh Cheema, former minister, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra and Mr Didar Singh Bhatti were campaigning for him.

Mr Ranjit Singh Libra, Mr Harbhajan Singh Chanarthal and Mr Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, all senior SAD leaders, also addressed the rally.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhagh Singh Surtapur, Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate from the Ropar (reserved) parliamentary constituency, also intensified his election campaign. Mr Surtapur, accompanied by Mr Iman Singh Mann, son of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, and other party leaders, visited more than 35 villages in Sirhind, Chamkaur Saib and Morinda.

Addressing the gatherings, Mr Surtapur lashed out at the SAD as well as the Congress. He termed Mr Badal as a traitor of the Sikh Panth, who defied Akal Takht and had been taking anti-Sikh and anti-farmer decisions. Criticising the Congress, he termed it as the number one enemy of the Sikhs as it was responsible for riots in 1984.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, media in charge of the party, said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, party president, would address a public rally tomorrow in support of Mr Surtapur at Fatehgarh Sahib. 


Campaign gains momentum
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 7
The election campaign in the Ambala parliamentary constituency today gained momentum with the Congress and INLD campaiging at a number of places in and around the township.

Mr Balwant Singh, INLD candidate, addressed gatherings at Tipra, Kalka, HMT Colony, Old Panchkula and Majri. Accompanied by Mr Amardeep Chaudhary, general secretary of the INLD, Mr Balwant Singh appealed to the voters to vote on the performance of the Chautala Government during the past over four years.

Meanwhile, Ms Seema Chaudhary, President of the local Municipal council, campaigned in various wards of Panchkula to seek votes for INLD candidate. She visited at Kharag Mangoli, Sectors 15, 8, 9, 26 and Ambedkar Colony on foot.

The state organising secretary of the Congress, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, and the president of the district unit of the Congress Seva Dal, Mr Mehar Chand Nagra, campaigned for the Congress candidate, Ms Selja, in Islam Nagar,Virat Nagar, Tibbi, Pattan, Dera and Bakshiwala villages.

The president of the Haryana Mazdoor Congress, Mr Raj Kumar Sarsar, campaigned for the party in Rajiv Colony and Indira Colony.


Mahima sings Dhawan’s ‘mahima’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Actress Mahima Chaudhary was a big crowd puller at different rallies in favour of Mr Harmohan Dhawan, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate in the coming parliamentary elections, here today.

Mahima did not talk on any election issue. “I am a family friend of Mr Dhawan and he is a very clean person. Please support him”, she said addressing a rally near 30 Bays Building in Sector 17.

Crowds in Sector 18 jostled to have a glimpse of the actress when she delivered certain dialogues from her hit films. The dialogues from her first hit film ‘Pardes’ were very well appreciated. The rally went to Sector 19 and 20 and then to the residence of Mr Dhawan for a lunch break. She addressed a press conference at Mr Dhawan’s residence. A rally was also held in Sector 46 in the evening.

Addressing the press conference, Mahima said “I don’t know anything about politics. I am not with any political party nor do I support anyone of them exclusively. During the last elections I had come to support Mr Ashok Singh in Delhi.”

“I know Mr Dhawan personally and can vouch for his clean image. The political agenda and the work that he will do is entirely his game”, she added leaving the venue for Mr Dhawan to take over.

Addressing the conference later, Mr Dhawan said the city politics had become “very dirty. “ At one time the city politicians had a very clean image. The election process usually passed off peacefully. This time both Congress and Bharatiya Janata party are crossing all the limits.”, he said.

Highlighting an incident at a function in Sector 20 last evening, Mr Dhawan said the Congress had tried to occupy space at a place where their (INLD’s) campaigning was going on. The place had been wrongfully booked for a social function.

Mr Dhawan said he did not need any agenda for the election “I am only questioning the non-performance of the Congress and BJP candidates in the past 13 years. Look at their agendas and the same promises have been repeated each time. The important ones include: abolition of leasehold system; amendments in building bylaws; corporation employees to be treated on deputation of the administration; rehabilitation of labour colonies; and extension of ‘lal doras’, besides others.


Independent plans to work for city’s progress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Mr Arvind Jain, a representative of the local traders contesting the forthcoming parliamentary elections, today said the city had a great potential in itself and did not require officials not belonging to the city for managing its affairs.

Mr Jain said he planned to work for the city’s development schemes through the establishment of a Chandigarh Development Board under the MPLAD funds.

He said leasehold was hampering the business of traders as they had to pay for the booths. The government had created hurdles in the way of traders by passing laws like the Rent Act, Building Bye Laws and new sales tax policies. These needed to be immediately addressed.

He campaigned in Sectors 37, 38, 40 and 41.


Residents plan holidays as poll din ends today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
For three days starting tomorrow the lifestyle of city residents will change. At 5 pm the din of electioneering will die down. Liquor vends will be closed till 5 pm on May 10. Clubs will have little activity as they will also not serve liquor. The only gainer will be holiday destinations in the nearby Shivaliks or cinema houses.

From tomorrow starts an extended three-day weekend for residents of the city, Mohali and Panchkula. Saturday and Sunday are closed days and Monday is a public holiday in view of the elections. Several city residents have booked rooms in Kasauli, Barog and even Shimla. Employees, whose families live in other cities, have already left. An official at the ISBT said all outgoing buses in the evening were running full.

Those who work in the city but are listed as voters in other constituencies are also keen on getting back to cast their vote. Mr Jivesh Parmar, who is listed in Hamirpur but works in a private concern here, said: “My family wants me to vote so I have to go.”

A telephone call to a resort in Kasauli revealed that all rooms were booked there. The hotelier said people were coming in not only from Chandigarh but also from places like Ludhiana, Delhi and Gurgaon. In Barog also, the rooms were booked.

At city clubs like the Chandigarh Club, the Golf Club or the Golf Range business will be on a low key. Since no liquor can be served, the number of visitors will be lesser. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, clarified that no temporary licences to serve liquor will be issued even for marriages or other celebrations.

Sources in the Taxation Department said, however, nobody would be checked for consumption of liquor within their homes.


Punwire union ends fast
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 7
The Punwire Employees Union ended the relay fast by its members on the 992nd day here today on an assurance by the Punjab Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, that the industrial unit was likely to be made functional in about a year. The Deputy Speaker offered juice to five members of the union — Ms Asha Puran, Mr Dhani Ram, Mr Chander Shekhar, Mr Sajjan Singh and Mr Gurnam Singh — who were on the relay fast.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said all efforts were being made to make Punwire functional. He said that he was the only person to raise the issue of Punwire in the state Assembly and had also written several letters to the government for its revival. He said the government had then formed a core committee with the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, as its chairman. The committee held a meeting on April 12.

He said Mr B.S. Baidwan, former president of the Mohali Industries Association, had been assigned the task of preparing a report in connection with Punwire. The Deputy Speaker said he had handed over some confidential documents also to Mr Baidwan so that an exhaustive report could be prepared. The report was presented to the core committee and the members saw the possibility of the revival of Punwire. He said some officials had also been asked to meet representatives of financial institutions regarding Punwire and submit a report.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said the members of the core committee would again be meeting on May 15. Further action would be taken after the meeting. He said the Finance Minister had told him that if the need arose, the government could also think of making some financial contribution.

Targetting the Akalis, the Deputy Speaker said the SAD government had a big role to play in the failure of Punwire. The officials who were responsible for the closure of the factory were given a safe passage to go abroad even when CBI cases were going on against them.


Fake kills: Major who blew whistle gets show cause
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Just 24 hours after reports appeared in the media about alleged wrongdoings by a section of the Indian Army, which is based in Leh, the Commander of N-Area has issued show cause notice to the Major who blew the whistle on the fake-deaths-for-citation scam.

According to information available, the N-Area Commander has asked Army Headquarters to explain why action should not be taken against him for “leaking” sensitive information to the media.

Giving him time till May 8, the N-Area has accused him of sharing confidential information with the media. He is also accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Major Surinder Singh, currently attached with N-Area, Chandigarh, is also learnt to have filed a writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging the decision of the Army to attach him with a unit in Jammu and Kashmir.

Major Singh has provided details of fake kills made by the companies posted in Leh to a court of inquiry headed by Brigadier HS Nagra, Deputy General-Officer-Commanding (GOC), 3 Infantry Division.

He has told the inquiry that the companies, with the knowledge and instructions of the Commanding Officer, Col K.D. Singh, reported kills of militants and enemy soldiers that never took place.

He also gave details of how the scam was perpetuated. In some cases, to provide video support to the claims, soldiers of the company would play dead enemy. He provided specific details of the “kills” to the court of inquiry. The fruad was carrid out between July and November 15, 2003.

Major Singh himself participated in some of these fake incidents and was later recommended for Vir Chakra or Sena Medal. Later, he was attached with N-Area, Chandigarh.

However, after coming to know of a move to attach him out to J&K, Major Singh filed a writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in which he again highlighted the issue brought out by him.

In his writ in the High Court, he said a medical board of the Indian Army had marked him unfit for high altitude duties. By deciding to attach him to a unit in Kashmir, the Major claimed, the medial report had been neglected.

He also pointed out that if he were to be posted to J&K, it would not be possible for him to assist the court. He also said that in the militancy-infested region, he would not be able to function properly because of his medical condition.

In its reply, the Union Government had offered to provide him all possible facilities in the new formation.


3 hurt in roof collapse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Three persons received minor injuries when a part of a building under renovation collapsed in Daddu Majra Colony.

Karnail Singh and his two sons — Sarabjit and Devinder — were repairing the roof of the house (No. 2323) with a drilling machine when the roof collapsed and they fell down.

Karnail Singh is a labour contractor. The roof is suspected to have collapsed because of the vibrations created by the drilling machine.


Mother’s Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 7
Mother’s Day was celebrated at the junior wing of Satluj Public School, Sector 2, here. Fifty mothers took part in the quiz competition and one-minute games organised on the occasion. Mrs Palwinder Kaur Bains, Dr Anureet Sandhu, Dr Shradha Mehrotra, Dr Sudha Sharma, Mrs Mona Puri, Mrs Mona Verma and Mrs Namrata Jajoo won prizes in the competitions.

The Director of the school, Mr Pritam Singh Serai, spoke on the occasion. Ms Harpreet Kaur, school coordinator, anchored the programme 


Cancer patient ends life

Chandigarh, May 7
A 40-year-old cancer patient committed suicide by hanging himself from the hook of a ceiling fan at his house in Sector 21 here today. He leaves behind two children and wife.

His body was first noticed by his daughter, Ritu, a class IV student. Jaipal was operated upon for removal of throat cancer about 11 months ago. He slipped into despair when he was recently told by doctors that he would not be able to speak. He was working with a private company before cancer was detected. — TNS

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