C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Plumber falls to death, house owner booked
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, May 31
A plumber today died after falling from a loose shuttering that gave in on the second floor of house number 218 in Sector 15 A.

The Sector 11 police has arrested the house owner, Mr Tara Singh, and the contractor, Mr Khushal Singh, after booking them under Section 304 A (negligence) of IPC, after it reportedly discovered that the shuttering was loosely erected, exposing the labourer to danger of life. A part of the shuttering also came crashing when the labourer Ram Hari (40), slipped from it from the top floor. Mr Tara Singh, a transporter, had given Mr Khushal Singh the contract to renovate the house.

The arrested persons are likely to be released as soon as their bail is arranged for.

Ram Hari from Kajheri was atop the shuttering at the top floor when he fell from it in the courtyard. The other labourers rushed to his help and took him to the Sector 16 General Hospital but he succumbed to his injuries.

He is suspected to have received multiple injuries in the backbone and head. This will be confirmed after post-mortem is conducted tomorrow. The body will be handed over to his family tomorrow.

Mr Tara Singh and Mr Khushal Singh accompanied the plumber to the hospital.

The police was informed only after Ram Hari had been taken to the hospital. The police said during preliminary investigation it was found out that the shuttering was loose and had given in when Ram Hari fell. A Kajheri resident, Ram Hari is survived by his wife, a 15-year-old daughter and two sons below the age of 10. The registration of the case will come to the help of the family when it demands a compensation.


Water shortage: Public Health Dept faces
 councillors’ ire
Tribune News Service

The Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, and MLA, Kharar, attending the council's meeting, proposed that a function on a grand scale be organised in Mohali to commemorate the 300 years of the martyrdom of Sahibzada Ajit Singh, after whom the township had been named. The proposal was unanimously passed by the council and an amount of Rs 2 lakh was approved to be spent on the function.

Mohali, May 31
Water shortage problem in the township overshadowed the other items on the agenda at the monthly meeting of the municipal council held here today. While the President of the council assured councillors that the problem of water shortage will be taken care of, the role of the Public Health Department came in for sharp criticism.

The councillors pointed out that the various tubewells, which were the main source of supplying drinking water to the residents, were not being maintained by the Public Health Department and if the situation continued, the task of maintaining the tubewells would be withdrawn from the department. Councillor Shyam Bansal pointed out that a new tubewell had been dug for Phase 1 but it was non-functional due to lack of power supply. Similarly, Mr Manjit Sethi stressed the need for a new pipeline from the Kajuali waterworks with dedicated supply to Mohali.

The meeting attended by the Kharar MLA and Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, turned stormy over the issue of accepting suggestions of the general public on the proposed adoption of the sanitation and health bye-laws 2003. Mr B.B. Maini, a ruling group councillor, raised the issue that no suggestions had been invited from the councillors on the matter and only the ones given by a few residents’ welfare associations had been incorporated in the agenda.

He added that the item be brought up for discussion again after suggestions were invited and received from the councillors who were the elected representatives of the residents. Many other councillors supported Mr Maini's contention, including Shyam Bansal, Indu Sehgal and Najar Singh, all of the ruling group. Despite the president, Mr Kulwant Singh, objecting to their contention, the Deputy Speaker overruled the objection stating that the item would be taken up again to the satisfaction of the councillors.

The council also decided to give one acre out of two acres of the cattle pound land to the Gau Seva Society Mohali on lease for five years at the rate of Rs 500 per year. The society will maintain stray cows at its own expense. The rest of the land will be retained by the council to house stray cattle on its own.

Mr Kulwant Singh brought to the attention of the house an item on the agenda stating that the council should object to the long delay by the Chief Engineer, Public Health, Patiala, in sending the estimates of the expenditure to the council. He said while these estimates, which were to be sent to the council before its budget meeting in March every year, these were received by the council in June.

Infrastructure development and maintenance works worth Rs 50 lakh were passed by the council during the meeting and estimates of over Rs 3 lakh of the Public Health Department were passed by the council. All other items were passed during the meeting, excepting the one related to the provision of winter uniforms for the MC employees. The councillors wanted to be assured that the employees would use the uniform, only after which these will be bought.


Admn staff to get raise in pay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Employees of the Chandigarh Administration and its boards and corporations are going to get increased salaries. The Administration has decided to merge the dearness allowance (DA) to the extent of 50 per cent of the basic pay. It will follow the Punjab pattern.

On Thursday, the Punjab Cabinet had approved the merger of DA with the salaries of its employees.

The Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh today said that “ We will also merge the DA only the formal written information from Punjab is awaited and it will be available in the next few days.”

Employees of Chandigarh will see their salaries rise substantially from July. Since it has been applied with retrospective effect in Punjab the same will be followed in Chandigarh also. The date of implementation will be April 1. The employees will get arrears.

The existing DA is fixed at 61 per cent of the basic salary. Out of this, 50 per cent of the DA will be merged with the Basic salary. After the new scales come into being, the DA will be at 11 per cent.

The rise will vary between Rs 1,200 and Rs 4000 depending upon the status of the employee and also the fact if the employee occupies a government house or not. The biggest gainers will be those who are living in their houses. Working couples will gain doubly. Those living in government houses will gain the least, as only the DA will rise marginally.

There are about 25,000 employees of the Administration and another 3,000 persons working for the boards and corporations like the Chandigarh Housing Board or the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation.

The new scales will mean higher house rent allowance and a changed calculation for the remaining portion of the DA. The house rent at present is calculated at 15 per cent of the basic wage. When 50 per cent of the DA will be merged with the basic it will effectively mean a jump of 50 per cent in the basic salary. A Rs 7,000 basic salary will become Rs 10,500. The house rent will go up from Rs 1,125 to Rs 1,575. A jump of about, Rs 450.

Besides this the employees will also gain from the new DA calculation. The DA component will be 11 per cent of the basic salary. Employees of the Central Government have started getting wages under the new system from April 1.


19 Evening Studies teachers seek transfer to morning classes
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Panjab University is considering the formulation of an inter-department transfer policy for its faculty. The move comes in the wake of 19 teachers of the Department of Evening Studies, (DES), Panjab University, dissatisfied by the work environment in their department, applying for transfer to the morning classes.

To consider their demand, the university authorities have constituted a committee to evolve a policy for considering transfers from one department to another. This 14-member committee, headed by Dean University Instruction, Prof S.K. Sharma, will thrash out the issues of workload available to adjust these teachers, seniority issue in case their transfer is effected and the existing workload of the teachers who have sought a transfer. The committee will also go into the reasons for seeking transfer at length and make recommendations, sources said.

Of a staff of 40 teachers in the DES, four English teachers including the Chairperson of the department, Prof Santosh Gupta, three each from economics, Punjabi and History, one each from Hindi, political science, correspondence studies and mathematics and two from public administration have put their demand before the authorities.

In their representations, these teachers have said that they are willing to go to any department of the morning shift including the Department of Correspondence Studies.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, these teachers alleged that while the department had very few students in each department, most of those enrolled were not serious about their studies, giving them absolutely no job satisfaction and hardly opportunity to grow and learn.

Alleging step-motherly treatment from the university, a teacher claimed that the authorities were indifferent to their demands and they were deprived of facilities for research. “We have no research facilities in the department. All we end up doing in the evening is take a class of 15 students. Most of these students, too, opt to leave before the department gets over. We have had enough of it. The university should have a transfer policy to enable us to get a break from this unfulfilling job,” a faculty member said.

They claimed that the trimmings of the department, too, were responsible for the mess in the evening studies. “Our department begins at 4.20 pm and closes at 10.10 pm. the university bus, ferrying students, leaves the campus at 9 pm. This means that we are hardly getting any genuine students who are actually working as is laid down in the admission guidelines. Then, even those who are coming leave by 9 pm since 10 pm is too late to study, whatever standards we adopt. The university needs to rethink on making the department more professional in approach and admitting students who want to study,” another faculty member claims.

Meanwhile, the committee constituted to look into the matter met today. The meeting was attended by Prof S.C. Vaidya, Prof Devinder Singh, Prof Ramesh Kapoor, Prof M.R. Aggarwal, Prof S.P. Gautam and Dr Keshav Malhotra. Nothing substantial was taken up at the meeting though the course action to be pursued in the case was discussed.


No summer vacations for contractual teachers
Told to hold extra classes, summer workshops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
The Chandigarh Administration has created a class within teachers. Those on contract are working during the summer vacations while those on regular jobs are enjoying the break. The summer vacations in the government schools in the city began from today.

In the orders of the UT Education Department, the heads of the government schools have assigned duties to the contractual teachers for holding extra classes and summer workshops for students, triggering a wave of protest among the affected teaching community.

Sources in the department said after the approval of the Administration, the orders were sent to the heads of the schools to depute the contractual teachers on rotational basis.

An attempt by the Administration to put regular teachers on duties during the summer vacations after the poor board results last year had led to protests by government teachers. Before the orders to deploy regular teachers on duty were withdrawn, the Government Teachers Union had held several rallies against the decision.

In an attempt to resolve the issue of calling teachers on duty during the month-long amicably, the Government School Teachers Union, in its talks with the DPI (Schools), decided to support the move conditionally and voluntarily. A final decision would be taken after the approval of recommendation at the general house of teachers tomorrow morning.

The District Education Officer (DEO), Ms Rajesh Chaudhary, said there was nothing wrong in putting the contractual teachers on duty as they would also be paid for the period. The terms and conditions on the contractual teachers did not prevent the department from using their services where and when required.

On the condition of anonymity, the contractual teachers said they were being put to unnecessary harassment. In some schools, the contractual teachers were virtually sitting ideal, as there was no requirement.

Meanwhile, the general body meeting of the Government Teachers Union at a meeting held have sought promotion of all cadres, release of seniority list of all cadres, abolition of deputation quota, special housing scheme for teachers, review of ACR Performa, re-adjustment of vacations. Mr Vinod Sharma and Mr Harbir Singh, general secretary and president of the union, attended the meeting.


Fresh probe sought into fake Army killings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
While blaming Chief of the Army Staff, Gen N C Vij for failing to appreciate the seriousness and gravity of reports of Army officers faking kills at Siachen, R S Randhawa, counsel of Major Surinder Singh said that there are procedural errors in the disciplinary process initiated by the Army against the officer. He has written to the newly appointed Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, seeking a fresh probe into the matter.

Major Surinder Singh of 5/5 GR had blown the whistle on the fake kills scam and is currently attached to 12 Corps at Jodhpur for recording of Summary of Evidence (SOE) against him.

Speaking to media persons here today, Mr Randhawa said that the Chief was attempting to mislead the public by saying that the ongoing proceedings against the Major is an open trial. He said that the Army Chief refused to grant audience to the Major and the matter continued to be dealt with at the local level under the very commanders whose responsibility and role needed scrutiny. He said that Major Surinder had been denied access to a counsel by the officer recording the SOE, Brig Philip Campose. SOE is a prelude to a trial by court martial and is not an investigation.

Counsel alleged that Major Surinder's commanding officer, Maj-Gen M. Naidu, Chief of Staff of 12 Corps, is tipped to go on promotion as the GOC 14 Corps at Leh, the formation under which the incidents took place. "We fear that by attaching Surinder Singh under this officer, the Army wants to protect all officers in the chain of command who could have been involved in the matter," he said.

Mr Randhawa said that he had also sent two representations to the Army Chief earlier this month. The representations sought independent investigations into the role of other officers involved in the matter.

A total of 52 "fake" kills had been reported by the battalion. It was also brought to the notice of the Army Chief that the evidence in the case was allegedly being tempered with to protect certain officers.

He said that in Major Surinder's case the directions to record SOE came from senior officers whereas only the accused officer's commanding officer can order the recording of SOE. He alleged that the court of inquiry into the matter was conducted by the Deputy GOC of 3 Division, whose immediate purpose was to save senior officers from blame. Further, the Commanding Officer of 5/5/ GR was not removed during the course of investigations and he continued to hold sway and influence over witnesses, he added.


Pak actor longs to work in Hindi film
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Gulam Mohiuddin
Gulam Mohiuddin

Chandigarh, May 31
Gulam Mohiuddin is a big name in Pakistani film industry. Popular as “Gulu”, he has played lead and other roles in 300 Pakistani Punjabi (175) and Urdu (125) movies.

What has provided him a distinct identity is the role of a Sikh character he played in Pak movies such as ‘Jiva’, “Sakhi Badshah” and “Muthi Bhar Chawal.” “I have been paired with Babra Sherif in most movies”, says Gulu, in an exclusive interview with The Tribune.

Gulu, has strong Indian connections because his maternal grandfather, Mir Mubsheer Alam, served as the police chief of Mumbai while grandfather, Gulam Mohiuddin served as the Deputy Commissioner in Hyderabad Deccan before Partition.

His role model is legendry Indian actor Dalip Kumar. He has met Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty and other Indian stars. He also likes Shatrughan Sinha.

He has strong reservations about the cultural aspect of Indian movies. “Western culture has strong influance on Indian movies. It should be discouraged,” Gulu says.

Pakistani cinema has suffered because of the Indian film industry. The Dubai route has become famous for the smuggling of Indian movies to Pakistan. “Within a few hours of the release of an Indian movie, its CDs reached Pakistan via Dubai”. People in Pakistan are crazy about Indian movies, says Gulu. Gulu desires to work in a Hindi movie, preferably with a theme of friendship between two countries.


Chandigarh Calling

Come summer and fire-related incidents caused due to burning of dry leaves start hitting newspaper headlines. Heaps of dry leaves that the earlier season leaves behind is a cause of concern for city residents in general and the Sanitation Department in particular. The heaps could be seen anywhere and everywhere around the residential areas and on the city roads, which are not removed for days. Ironically, this problem of many has no takers.

“The other day fire flames caused due to burning of leaves engulfed my courtyard where my grand children were playing. It would have proved disastrous had some good samaritan passerby not arrived there and helped in extinguish the fire. But, who cares?”, laments Roshan Lal of Sector 29-B.

An interaction with the staff of Sanitation Department revealed that the fallen tree leaves are collected in heaps, as per instructions of the department, facilitating the horticulture staff to lift these for their proper disposal. “Once in a blue moon”, confided a staff member on condition of anonymity, “we resort to putting these unwanted heaps on fire. But we do not leave the site till the fire in completely extinguished” “We have given a set of standing instructions to our staff in this regard and these are being followed in letter and spirit”, asserted Rajbir Singh, a sanitary supervisor, when cornered to spell out the role of his staff in this act.

The city residents, too, have contributed to make the situation worse than ever. In their anxiety to get rid off the leaves that lie littered around their houses, the residents put them on fire and go away, leaving everything to Providence. This poses a potential danger to the life and property of the fellow residents. Besides trees and plants, many a bird of rare species and other creatures perish in the raging flames. To cap it all, the burning of heaps of unwanted leaves adds to the woes of those suffering from respiratory problems.

Adult education

For some students the summer vacations is not the time for picnicking or enrolling in personality development programmes, it is time to do something constructive in life.

Some believe in giving back something to society. Aware about their duties, students of Vivek High school have offered themselves as volunteers for the Youth Technical Training Society in the field of education. The students would be assisting the members of the NGO in providing adult education to the learners in the slum areas of the city.

Another group of students from different schools would be spending time in slums, educating the inhabitants about the precautions to check spread of water-borne diseases.

Unsung heroes

Even as students coming from urban middle class hogged limelight by bagging the top positions in the Class X of the CBSE, certain students from humble rural background did their institutions proud by securing merit positions.

Newspapers competed with each other to publish photographs of the toppers(above 90% marks). Their performance was all the more creditable as they achieved this without any tuitions braving all odds, said Ms Sudha Babbar, Principal of Jainendra Public School, Panchkula. At least five of her students got marks between 80% to 90%.

In fact they were the unsung heroes.

Cycle tracks

Cycle tracks built next to all important roads have found new users. In the morning joggers and walkers use these tracks. There is no rush and no fear of an accident from a vehicle on these tracks. In the morning there is hardly a cycle ply on these tracks thus the tracks are even more popular. When the cycle tracks were planned nobody may have thought of such a benefit. People also let their children walk freely in the morning. Old persons also enjoy this facility.

— Sentinel


Smoking on rise in developing countries: expert
Tribune News Service

Brahma Kumaris take out an awareness rally in Chandigarh on Monday on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day
Say no to tobacco: Brahma Kumaris take out an awareness rally in Chandigarh on Monday on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, May 31
World No Tobacco Day was observed today at a function organised by Tobacco Cessation Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).

The programme began with a poster-making competition in which more than 70 students from various government schools of Chandigarh and the periphery participated. The students as well as their teachers displayed a lot of enthusiasm for the competition with the theme, “Tobacco and Poverty”.

Dr Savita Malhotra from the Department of Psychiatry and head of Tobacco Cessation Clinic (TCC) at the PGI also organised a seminar to increase people’s awareness regarding the harmful effects of tobacco. Dr K.K Talwar, Director of the PGI, presided over the seminar.

The topic for the discussion, “Tobacco and Poverty”, was initiated by Dr Malhotra herself. She spoke about how tobacco and poverty was becoming a vicious circle. She referred to tobacco as the “biggest killer” and told the audience that it led to the cancer of mouth, throat, stomach and lungs. Dr Malhotra also spoke about smoking being on the rise in developing countries.

Dr S K Jindal from the Chest Department spoke about the harmful effects of passive smoking. He said it was equally bad for a passive smoker as it was for an active one. Giving alarming figures, he said 10 per cent of children between the age group of 13 to 15 consumed tobacco in some form or the other. The highest rate was in Chandigarh itself.

Mr Omkar Chand, Chairman of the Servants of People Society, presented an emotional aspect of the subject. He talked about how government could only impose bans but not provide any sympathy to the smokers.

The chief guest, Dr K. K. Talwar, said it was easy to stop smoking but difficult to stop starting it again. He also said that hukka was as harmful as a cigarette. Out of the total world population of 6.2 billion, 1.1 billion were smokers and 80 per cent of them were from developing countries. A study by the WHO showed that in India 2,200 persons were killed daily due to tobacco.

Dr Sudha Suri released three manuals regarding the ill-effects of tobacco and how to save oneself from getting addicted. The talk ended with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr Anil Malhotra.


World No Tobacco Day
Support of people must to check tobacco menace
Tribune News Service

Five rules for active non-smokers

  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your office or home. No matter who he is.
  • Object to anyone smoking at any public place, like bus, train, hotel, hospital, bus stand, railway station, public offices, etc. Be vocal in your objection and point out the harm to your and other people’s health. Point out that it is illegal too.
  • Educate young people about the effects and consequences of smoking in a friendly, receptive and informal manner.
  • Since 70 per cent of the people who smoke continue to smoke because no one close to them persistently asks them to quit smoking. So, ask your friends, relatives and acquaintances who smoke to give up smoking. Impart proper information and dangers of smoking. Help them quit smoking.
  • When someone offers a cigarette, don’t just refuse it. Take one, break it into pieces and throw it into a dustbin. This will assert your status as an active non-smoker. If you can point out the harms of smoking while doing so, you will definitely make your point.

Chandigarh, May 31
Volunteers of the Burning Brain Society chalked out a five-point formula on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day today to be followed by non-smokers for spreading awareness about ill effects of tobacco.

Mr Hemant Goswami, who chaired the meeting of the society, asked the volunteers to gain support of the public to counter the menace of smoking. He said the problem of smoking was so deep-rooted among people that it could not be controlled without the cooperation and support of the people. He called upon all non-smokers to adopt the policy of “active non-smoking.”

Elaborating on the guidelines for non-smokers, he said the philosophy behind the five rules for non-smokers is that when people who consume tobacco infringe the rights of non-smokers so it becomes necessary for all non-smokers to assert their rights. Everyday should be considered as a non-smoking day by all non-smokers was the emphasis of the society members.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which has been signed and ratified by India, was also discussed at the meeting. Mr Goswami said the FCTC was adopted unanimously by the World Health Assembly on May 23 May, 2003 and 115 countries had already signed the FCTC, and 16 had ratified the treaty. It was further revealed that a minimum of 40 countries must sign and ratify the FCTC before it came into force.

It was decided that the society shall write to the government to add the provisions mentioned in Article 16 (7) of the treaty wherein it is said that the government must adopt measures to ban selling of tobacco products by minors. It is an irony that while Section 6 of the Smoking Prohibition Act bans selling tobacco products to minors but it does not ban selling of tobacco products by minors.

On no-tobacco day, children as young as 10-12 years could be seen selling tobacco products to other young people. People were openly smoking in public places and advertisements bigger than the prescribed size could be seen on top of many cigarette shops. No enforcement agency acted despite having a strong and strict law against it. Shameful is all what we can say, concluded Mr Goswami.


Labourers educated on No Tobacco Day
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 31
The Voluntary Health Association of Punjab, Chandigarh, observed World No Tobacco Day by holding meetings, distributing pamphlets, leaflets and handbills relating to the menace of tobacco here today.

At a meeting held at Labour Chowk, the association also made a gathering of labourers aware of the correlation of tobacco with poverty. In the evening, the association also educated scores of truckers about tobacco abuse in a one-to-one contact programme at the Transport Area.

Similar camps were also organised at Bapu Dham Colony, Ram Darbar Colony, and many other places in slums, informed Mr Manmohan Sharma, executive director of the association.


Sector 34 to get new look
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

  • Sector 34 to have fresh planning.
  • New building to be 10 stories high.
  • Buildings will house multiplexes, hotels and huge offices.
  • Each building to have its own style and not conform to grey look.

Chandigarh, May 31
The way the city looks, will change in the coming times. Buildings having an individual style and upto 10 stories come up. These will house shopping malls, multiplexes, restaurants and huge offices in Sector 34.

The Chandigarh Administration has changed the planning for the Sector 34 sub-city centre to provide for bigger buildings which will make it an attractive investment place nationally and globally. The change has come about as Chandigarh was facing competition from cities like Gurgaon or Noida where less stringent bylaws exist.

At least three blocks in Sector 34 will be 10 stories high. Also the system of auctioning land on the basis of fixed size of a plot will be done away with instead, it will be given away on a chunk basis. This means more huge spaces. Also the look of Sector 34 wherein it does not have much of open area will change. To bring in open areas, the only option is to go up vertically, said one of the planners.

The idea is to bring about landmarks in the city as all buildings look the same. In residential areas all houses have a distinctive look. The idea will be replicated in commercial area. Owners can have glass panels, different facades or varying size of halls within the same building. At present even the size of room within a building has to be as per the framework laid down by the Administration.

The Chandigarh Administration will also set up an exhibition of the same in the next two days to open the idea to members of the public and professionals.


Chandigarh Club directors seek nod to inspect records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
In a representation to the management and president of Chandigarh Club, the directors, Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Mr C.M. Munjal, Mr Gopal Gupta and Mr Bhushan Sharma, have sought permission to inspect the records. They said an application had also been forwarded to the management and the president of the club for “holding an emergency meeting of the club before June 9”.

They added that the documents had not been provided by the management either to them or the Company Law Board despite directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

Addressing a press conference, Dr Sidhu added that no meeting of the executive committee had been held for the past several months. Moreover, they were not being consulted in financial or other matters related to the club. “Rather, the club money was being siphoned off in an irregular manner,” they alleged in a press note.

Quoting Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, who had contested the elections for the president’s post, it was added that a complaint had been filed against Mr Rajiv Kwatra just to pressurise him to withdraw the case pertaining to the club now pending before the Company Law Board. Director Munjal added that Mr Kwatra was filing a defamation case against those involved in maligning his image.


Helmets: Youth Cong decries drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
The drive of the Chandigarh police to challan women driving two-wheelers came in for condemnation from the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress and the New Congress Party, here today.

At a meeting of the District Youth Congress, Urban I and Legal Cell, held under the chairmanship of Mr AS Gujral, the activists said that challaning drive of the traffic police against helmetless women drivers represented their highhandedness and had hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

They alleged that the police had initiated the drive without specifying a cut-off date as was done eight years ago. “The same was withdrawn after people resisted the move. The police will have to do so now as well,” Mr Gujral said.

The New Congress Party claimed that the drive of the police was merely aimed at earning money. They claimed that the road layout was systematic in the city and the scope of accidents was greatly reduced which implied that helmets were not required.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Citizens’ Committee, Sector 43, has come out in support of the police, claiming that wearing of helmets should be made mandatory since it is a great safety measure in case of accidents.

The association was of the view that insurance companies, too, should be asked to amend their laws whereby insurance should be given only in case the victim was wearing a helmet in case of an accident.

The president of the association, Mr P.C. Puri, urged the Chandigarh Administration that ISI-marked helmets should be made available at Rs 100 in the city.


Land acquisition: villagers meet minister
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 31
A delegation of villagers agitating against the acquisition of land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) met the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri at his residence here today.

The delegation was led by Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Chief Minister.

Talking to Tribune News Service she said she had informed the Chief Minister about the problems being faced by the villagers this morning and he had helped fix the meeting with the minister.

Mrs Garcha added that the Secretary Housing and Urban Development Mr K.B.S Sidhu, was also called at the meeting to get first hand information about what the villagers wanted.

She pointed out that while the acquisition of land was essential for development the authorities did not realise that it led to a large number of economic and social problems. ‘‘The villagers as a result are not asking for an enhancement of the compensation money but as an alternative source of income through the pooling scheme. Why cannot PUDA give them a commercial site in Mohali in lieu of the land they acquire?’’ she said.

Mrs Garcha said the villagers were assured by the minister that their interests would be taken care of in due time.


Fauji Beat
Are officers taking bribes from jawans?

A Lance Naik clerk serving in a mechanised infantry battalion in Punjab, has alleged that he was forcibly sent on discharge because he was in the know of his unit officers taking bribes from jawans for selecting them for the UN peacekeeping missions. He further says that he is moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek justice. Surprisingly, a similar case of an ex-Havildar is already pending in the high court.

The Headquarters Western Command has directed the formation concerned to order an inquiry into the allegations levelled by the Lance Naik against the officers. According to official sources, the Lance Naik concerned was dismissed from service because he had fraudulently withdrawn money from another jawan’s account in February. If this was so, then why the Commanding Officer (CO) did not try this Lance Naik by a summary court-martial for this serious offence.

Since the case is being moved in the high court, we are likely to know more about it.

Horse becomes extinct

Time was when the horse was the principal mode of transport from one place to another, especially in the rural areas. In those days, the revenue and police officers travelled to the countryside on the horseback.

To promote interest in horses, the British had established an Army depot in each of the districts of West Punjab. This depot served a two-fold purpose. One was to give land to the farmers on which they kept mares for breeding of mules for the Army. Keeping of stallions with good race record for covering the mares of horse-lovers for breeding racehorses was the other. Each new colony also had a race course for monthly races in winters.

All armoured corps regiments at that time were horse-based cavalry regiments. The artillery and the ASC were also dependant on the horse and the mule. With a total transformation to the mechanised era, the horse has nearly become extinct.

The Army, of course, still has horses and mules and one can see them at various horse shows. This reminds one of the National Equestrian Championship and the Bangalore Horse Show-2004. The ASC Centre and College Bangalore organised it. The riders of international repute from the Army and private riding clubs participated in this four-day meet. The main events of the show were dressage, tent-pegging, cross-country and show jumping. The people of Bangalore evinced keen interest in this show.

Ex-serviceman’s cards

A number of ex-servicemen have been refused to purchase grocery items from the CSD canteens without the canteen card. In some cases, the senior citizens were not allowed to take helpers with them inside the canteens.

No doubt, there have been instances where the canteen liquor and other stores have fallen into the unauthorised hands. But then this should not mean that for the crime of a few black sheep, inconvenience should be caused to the entire community of ex-servicemen. Allout efforts must be made to apprehend the offenders and punish them severely.

The number of cards that an ex-serviceman has to carry is unimaginable. These are the armed forces identity card for retired (now become redundant), ex-servicemen identity card, liquor card, canteen card, hospital admission card and senior citizen’s card if you are one. Add to these your driving licence and the registration certificate of your vehicle. Not to speak of ATM, PAN and photo identity cards.

The liquor card should entitle a person to purchase both liquor and grocery. And if you go to a canteen other than the one mentioned in your liquor card for grocery items, the identity card should serve the purpose.

— Pritam Bhullar


Congress workers protest against toll
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 31
To protest against the “illegal” imposition of toll, hundreds of Congress workers today held a dharna at the Ghaggar bridge in Burj Kotian village, near here.

Led by the Kalka MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, the protesters said the bridge had been constructed for the convenience of the villagers across the bridge. However, even after the cost of the bridge had been recovered, the government was making no effort to remove the toll.

The purpose of the bridge was to join the new stone-crusher zone with the main highway. By imposing the toll, the government wanted to cut off several villages from the mainstream and stall the development activities in the area, they alleged.

They also alleged that repeated requests to the authorities concerned to withdraw the toll had fallen on deaf ears.They warned that if the tax was not withdrawn within 15 days, the Congress would start a “jan andolan” against the government.


Cops come visiting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
One is afraid of a knock at the door by a policeman. But the knock from the men in khaki this time when the summer vacation is beginning may be a welcome one.

With thefts on the rise here, the SHOs have been asked to send their beat officers and men to visit each house and ask residents about their plans for outstation summer vacations.

The beat officers have been visiting houses in their locality to find out which house could be unoccupied during the summer vacations. The police will give a list of the vacant houses to the beat staff to put such houses under vigil.

The police suspects with a large number of people normally going outstation for the summer vacations, the thieves might have a field day.


Dr Dhawan joins as Addl Director (IT)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Dr S. C. Dhawan has joined the Department of Information Technology, Chandigarh as Additional Director, Information Technology, according to an official announcement here today. His appointment is on a contract basis with the Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC). SPIC has been set up under the aegis of the Department of Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration for implementing the various plans of the Administration to promote the IT industry in Chandigarh. Dr S.C. Dhawan will look after the various projects of SPIC and the department, especially the e-governance and the ITES training programmes in colleges. Dr Dhawan retired as professor from Panjab Engineering College and also headed the Centre for Computational Engineering located in the college.


‘Saa Re Ga Ma’ award winner’s house burgled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Prizes given by Zee TV to the twice “Saa Re Ga Ma” programme national award winner, Ms Rinku Kalia, were today stolen from her house in Sector 20 along with other valuables estimated to be worth Rs 50,000.

She had gone to the market at around 12 pm when the incident is suspected to have taken place. A television set, jewellery and a telephone set were stolen, apart from eight watches given away by Zee TV. The watches are worth around Rs 16,000.

The theft was noticed by Mr Pardeep Sharma, her husband returned home at around 2.20 p.m. He said the burglars had targeted the master bed-room and the locks of the almirah and safes had been opened.

Mr Sharma, who had reported the matter to the police, said the thieves did not touch a costly music system and CD player. They had deposited heavy jewellery in a locker recently,

In another incident of theft in Sector 23, Mr Jai Shankar has complained his HDFC ATM card and Rs 16,590 in cash had been stolen from his house on the intervening night of May 29 and 30. In another case, Mr Santosh Kataria of Sector 21, reported that his Esteem car had been stolen from his house. 


2 held for smuggling liquor
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, May 31
The police has arrested two residents of Kaithal and recovered 60 cases of country-made liquor from their possession. The accused — Kuldeep Singh and Charan Singh — were nabbed by a police party near the Ghaggar river bridge while they were smuggling the liquor in a Tata Safari (HP-06-2420) to Haryana.

According to the police, the duo were carrying the liquor through Chhat-Singhpura village link road that connects the Kalka-Ambala and the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Patiala highways when the police party arrested them near the Ghaggar river bridge this noon.

The police said the accused were involved in the liquor smuggling for the last a couple of months and used to sell it on retain basis on much higher prices after purchasing it from Chandigarh.

The police has also impounded the vehicles used in smuggling the liquor and a case under the Excise Act has been registered against them with the Lohgarh police post.


Man held, charas seized
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 31
The police has arrested a person and seized 460 gm of charas from him. According to the police, Balwant Singh, a resident of Badlahaata village falling under Metiana police station in Hoshiarpur district, was arrested at a naka laid by the police at Bariyali chowk here this evening.

The police had yesterday arrested Bhupinder Singh for illegally smuggling liquor from Chandigarh into Punjab.

As many as 109 boxes of different brands of liquor were seized by the police during a naka set up near Bansan Wali Chungi here.

The liquor was being smuggled in a truck by two persons. While the police was able to nab one of them, the other fled. There were 24 boxes of the Gulab brand, 75 of Everyday and 10 of Officer’s Choice.


One held for selling cinema tickets in black
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
The Sector 34 police station has arrested a Chhat village resident for allegedly selling cinema tickets in black.

Harjinder Singh has been booked under Section 7-C of the Punjab Cinema Act.

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