C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Trains arrive late, kin of passengers harassed
Railways fail to cope with inquiries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
Hundreds of the city-bound passengers and their relatives faced harassment today as all city-bound trains reached their destination several hours behind schedule on account of a derailment of a goods train near Karnal early this morning.

While the prestigious Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, which usually arrives at the city around 8.20 pm, was diverted via the Saharanpur-Meerut route, other trains such as the New Delhi-Kalka Himalayan Queen Express were routed through the Saharanpur-Shamli-New Delhi section.

The Shatabdi was running by over two hours late and the Jan Shatabdi by three hours. The Jodhpur-Kalka Express was behind schedule by over five hours.

In fact, the crisis management system of the Railways came under strain with the local Railway Station authorities virtually failing to cope with the rush of the inquiries by anxious relatives of the passengers. And with the Railway inquiry number remaining busy, hundreds of concerned relatives thronged the station, seeking information on the arrivals of various trains.

The harassed relatives demanded that in such emergencies the Railways should make provision for more helplines. Mr Gurmukh Singh, a resident of Phase IX, who had come to receive one of relatives, was also of this view.

The patience of the Railway officials was put to test time and again. Tempers ran high, with the relatives demanding precise information on the arrival of the trains, which the officials were unable to provide.

Meanwhile, almost all out-bound trains, including the Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi, Himalayan Queen, Paschim Express, Kalka-Jodhpur and Kalka-Howrah, left the station at the right time. They were, however, diverted to alternative routes from Ambala, Railway sources added.


Sikhs protest against helmet order
Manch educates women on helmet benefits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
Various representatives of gurdwaras, Sikh institutions and Sikh missionaries organised a protest against the alleged high-handedness of the Traffic Police for pressurising women to wear helmets, here today.

Beginning a march on scooters from the Sector 34 gurdwara, the protesters, carrying placards, blocked traffic at various crossings before reaching Sector 18 to lodge their protest against forcing women to wear helmets. In Sector 18, a rally was held and speeches against wearing helmets were made by various speakers.

Later, Mr N.S. Minhas, senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, along with former Mayor Harjinder Kaur and Mr Harcharan Singh Sawhnay met the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma. They submitted a memorandum against making helmets compulsory for women.

Justice Verma said their demand would be looked into in view of the high court order on helmets.

Those who participated in the protest included Major N.S. Rangi (retd), Mr G.S. Mavi, Mr Gurbir Singh and Ms Iqbal Kaur.

Meanwhile, members of the Nari Jagriti Manch, organised an awareness drive in Sector 44 to educate women riders to wear helmets. Standing at road turnings and roundabouts, the members stopped women driving two-wheelers and highlighted the benefits of wearing helmets.

They were of the opinion that most of the women drivers were convinced about wearing helmets and needed a slight prodding.

They said the women drivers were in favour of making helmets mandatory.

Earlier, a tent propped up by the manch for the awareness camp was removed after members of various Sikh organisations compelled them to suspend the drive.

To avoid confrontation on the issue, the manch carried on with its programme by spreading out in small groups all over the sector.

The awareness drive was led by Ms Neena Tewari who said their organisation had no intention of hurting the religious sentiment. “All we are interested in is mobilising public opinion, irrespective of religious divisions,” added Ms Sarla Gupta and Ms Anita Gupta.


Now, file IT returns on single page
Tribune News Service

Get forms from website

In the wake of reported shortage of the challan forms, the department today informed that the forms could be downloaded from website—www.incometaxindia.gov.in.The photocopies of the challans forms can also be used, the source added.

Chandigarh, June 7
Filing income tax returns will be a less cumbersome affair with the Income Tax Department introducing the single-page challan for the filing of the income tax returns.

Introduced as part of the Online Tax Accounting System (OLTAS) of the department, the user-friendly system would replace the existing manual compiling of the challans and ensure the speedy transfer of information about the tax collection of at the range-level, sources said.

Under the new system, an online entry of the challans received would be made by the designated banks. These, in turn, would be uploaded to the system of the National Security Depository Limited (NSDL), the agency entrusted by department to issue Permanent Account Numbers (PANs).

Detailing the benefits of the system, they added that the department’s new National Computer Centre would get the information at the click of the mouse. By downloading the data, the Zonal Accounts Offices would be able to transmit the data to the field offices for the calculation of tax collection.

According to Ms P. Sahi, Commissioner of Income Tax(Computer Operations), the tax payers should quote their PAN on the non-TDS challan for the proper credit of the taxes paid. The Challan No 280 should be used for income, corporate and wealth tax payments. The Challan No 281 should be used for the payment of the TDS.

The tax payers, who have applied for PAN should write their names and complete address in the challan. The tax payers should make payments only in the new challans in the banks, the sources said, adding that the manual entries would continue to be made for the time being as a “back-up service.”

Adequate number of forms are available at the Office of the Commissioner of Income Tax I and II in Sector 17-A, all range offices and the Commissioner of Income Tax(Computer Operation), Central Revenue Building, Sector 17.


New tool for lawyers to extract information
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
It happens so many times. A crime victim, even witness, goes to a lawyer or a social worker in search of justice but wavers from the path after he inadvertently asks uncomfortable, even embarrassing, questions. Now, for equipping them with an additional tool to extract information in an empathetic fashion, a Delhi-based human rights organisation is coming forward.

For the first time, perhaps, in this part of the region, the organisation is conducting a workshop on June 13 for sensitising lawyers and social workers.

The organisation — Human Rights Law Network — claims that the intention behind the training is to change professional methods while interacting with the victims, including women and children. It will be conducted by Assistant Professor of Psychology with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research here, Dr Ashima Nehra.

Giving details, the organisation members assert that the participants will be instructed about the methods of cautiously interacting with children who have undergone trauma due to child labour, physical or sexual abuse, parents’ divorce or other parental conflicts.

The participants will also be explained the importance of psychological assistance for enabling a child to regain lost innocence. They will also be told about the ways in which rehabilitation can actually break the cycle of violence within a child.

This kind of training, the members claim, has not been given priority in the country. In courtrooms, the lawyers can be witnessed repeatedly asking a child to narrate violent instances, including sexual assault incidents.

“Statistics from year 2000 show that a woman is raped every hour in India,” says organisation's senior legal adviser, Parul Sharma. “Still victims are often reluctant to report rape. In the court, they are supposed to prove that the rapist sexually penetrated them in order to get a conviction. This can be damaging, mainly so when defence counsel uses harsh and callous rhetorics to further victimise the survivor”.

The story, she adds, does not end here. “After proving that she has been raped, a victim is often ostracized from her family and community. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that rape laws are inadequate and definitions so narrow that prosecution is made complicated,” she asserts.

“Recent amendments to laws and Supreme Court rulings have undoubtedly strengthened the mechanism for investigation and prosecution, resulting in an increase — even though minuscule — in the number of women coming forward to report rape cases. But there is no training of lawyers as to how to extract information in a humane manner, for instance through counseling techniques”.


Complaint against MC official
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 7
The Chairman of the Brahmin Mahasabha, Mr Pawan Kumar Joshi, alleged that the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Mr O.P. Sihag, had threatened to file false cases against him at a meeting in the office of the City Magistrate, here today.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Joshi alleged that Mr Sihag had been harassing and threatening him repeatedly after he filed a complaint before the Deputy Commissioner against him for committing a fraud.

In his complaint, he alleged that Mr Sihag had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 which he was not returning despite a lapse of five months. Later, he has sent a fresh application to the Superintendent of Police, Mr A.S. Chawla, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and the City Magistrate, Ms Vandana Disodia, seeking initiation of legal proceedings against Mr Sihag. An inquiry on the case is already being done by Ms Disodia.

When contacted, Mr Sihag said he had never threatened Mr Joshi. “As far as the charge of committing a fraud is concerned, I have put my side before the inquiry officer. Since Mr Joshi has no evidence against me, he is leveling all sorts of charges. The final inquiry report will bring out the truth,” he added.


Chandigarh Calling

The growing vehicular rush in the city has resulted in vanishing roundabouts, gradually being replaced by traffic lights. A federation of sector welfare associations has appealed to the local Member of Parliament to replace the roundabouts of Sector 21, 22, 34, 35 with traffic lights. Despite being attractive on account of their maintenance, these are being seen as traffic hazards.

Also, another accident prone turning lies on the stretch of road between the Tribune Colony and the office of a vernacular paper in the vicinity. Residents are demanding construction of a speedbreaker with proper signs since a school is located on the stretch.

Challaning women drivers

At a recently held press conference on the helmet issue, political parties were critical of the challaning drive of the Chandigarh police against women driving two wheelers without helmets.

However, when quizzed on why they were politicising the issue, they had no answers. A senior leader admitted off the record that while he was leaving the house, his children had condemned him for being party to the protest. His only response was that he did not want to be singled out and had to toe his party’s line.

The leaders of various political parties had no answers to why boys chose to sling the helmets on their arms while driving two-wheelers. Also, since they were leading the protest against helmets for women drivers, they were asked if they would take responsibility for any death from then on. They chose to be evasive.

Mohali cops act swiftly

Kudos to the Mohali police. In a rather rare incident, the police was able to recover a stolen scooter within an hour. The scooter was stolen from outside a park in Phase X. Within minutes beat officers reached the spot. They were told that the scooter was a old, battered one. And as the poor victim was about to take a rickshaw back home, the policemen came back with the stolen scooter. The thief managed to run away leaving the scooter on the road, said a policeman, adding that the old and battered condition of the scooter helped catch the thief. The thief could not go beyond 30 km in an hour on it!

Self-help groups

A large number of branch managers of various banks and leaders of various self-help groups (SHGs) attended a workshop for bankers of Chandigarh organised last week by the PNB lead bank, UT Chandigarh, in collaboration with Adult Education Department and NABARD.

Mrs Madhvi Kataria, SDM (South), and Mr S.S. Bhandari, Senior Regional Manager, PNB, interacted with bankers and advised them to be proactive with workers of self-help groups.

The PNB has so far trained 400 ‘prerarks’ and head ‘prerarks’ of Adult Education Department. At present, there are more than 100 operative self-help groups in various pockets of Chandigarh but 76 of them are quite active. These groups are mostly pool their monthly savings and create fund for further lending among needy folk at a higher rate of 2 per cent per annum. Some of the groups have now collected a corpus of more than Rs 2 lakh and are planning to start production activity also.

Slum children examined

For the children of labour colonies of Kishangarh, Bapu Dham and Colony Number 9 of Chandigarh, it was a special occasion on Wednesday and Thursday. They were thorougly examined by a team of doctors from the Fortis Heart Institute and Multi Speciality Hospital.

As many as 214 children attended the two-day camp for slum children, held under the Indradhanush programme of St. John’s School. Medicines were distributed among the children free of cost.

A team of five doctors and three nurses comprising Dr M. Chandershekhar, Dr Bela Sharma, Dr Rajan Chugh, Dr Simmardeep Gill, Dr Ashutosh Sood, Dr Rajesh Kaushik, Dr Gurtej Puri, Sister Mary Shalini, Nurse Kulbeer and Sister Kulveer volunteered for this camp.

Stray dog menace

One of the most-populated sectors — Sector 20 — seems to be a virtual heaven for stray dogs. With the Municipal Corporation (MC) looking the other way, the stray dogs seem to be having a field day in the sector.

Not to talk of the parks and greenbelts, the open spaces in front of the houses are at the receiving end of the stray cattle menace. The residents, particularly the children, face the risk of being bitten by the stray dogs and puppies.

Residents demand that the MC, whose record of providing amenities to the city have been lacklustre, should take preventive measures before the situation takes a turn for the worse.

Future of roller skating

Baraldi Aldo, a renowned roller hockey coach from Italy, was here in the city. During his stay here for nearly a week he was much impressed by the kind of hospitality accorded to him by the Roller Skating Federation of India. He had a word of praise for the camp in charge, Ms Madhu Bahl, Principal of the KB DAV Centenary School, Sector 7, where the camp was held in the international specification skating rink.

Aldo said Indian women skaters were more aggressive and talented than their men counterparts. He said in roller hockey, which was mainly confined to North India, women had showed much of their skills and could be world beaters if given continuous training in a methodical manner. He said the junior girls needed to be given more exposure at the international level.

He said skating was very popular in Europe and wonder why the Indian Government was not giving due recognition to it. Aldo was accompanied by his wife. He said he liked Punjabi food and tasted other Indian delicacies besides various Italian dishes.

— Sentinel


Council to prepare database of residents
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 7
The local Municipal Council will prepare a database of the residents of the township. The information collected through a door-to-door survey will be computerised and made available to the district administration in order to facilitate e-governance.

This decision was taken during a meeting of the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, at the council’s office here on May 20 and the issue as an item on the agenda will be placed before the next meeting of the house scheduled for June 9.

The district administration has urged the council to start the house-to-house survey forthwith and complete the information collecting process within three months. Municipal employees or volunteers employed by the council will visit every house in the township and get forms filled regarding details of the persons residing in the house. This information will then be computerised and the database made available to the district administration. The administration will also take steps to computerise the process of registration of births and deaths in the township.

Other than this, development projects worth 65 lakhs are on the agenda of the meeting to be passed by the house. It will also take a decision regarding landscaping of certain roundabouts and light points in the township. The landscaping will be undertaken by private parties which can advertise at these points in lieu of the landscaping and its maintenance. It will also be decided if bus shelters and toilets in various markets be allowed to be set up by private parties.


Rushil’s date with Venus transit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 7
At 14, Rushil Goel is already dating the stars. A Class XI student of S.D. College, Rushil, an amateur star gazer, is all set with his massive telescope to watch the celestial rarity — the transit of Venus across the Sun — from his rooftop tomorrow.

A brilliant student, Rushil, just passed his Class X with 94 per cent marks. And his ambition is to be an astro-engineer. His parents, father Arun Goel, a bureaucrat, and mother, a college teacher, now talk in terms of the most beautiful stars and planets. “You have no idea how beautiful the main ring of the Saturn is. And of course the Venus, its always hiding its face. Also the Neptune, its enormous and simply out of this world,” says Rushil.

Having watched the lunar eclipse and the transit of Venus across the Moon, Rushil is now immensely excited about the rare event he will be watching tomorrow. “It is rare event and I am lucky to be able to watch it from my house. In fact I have invited all my friends for the event.” he says adding that he has been reading all that is being reported about the event in the newspapers and on the net.

“I have always been fascinated by the stars but when I visited the Kennedy Space Centre at Florida in May, 2000, I insisted on buying a telescope. It was expensive but I was allowed. This is a wonderful piece and can magnify the object 450 times. Since I understand its working, I am able to do many things with it,” he says.

And if you thought that star gazing is a night bird’s hobby, here is the surprise. “The Sun is the most beautiful star. It is a favourite with all of us and many afternoons are spent watching the Sun.”

For Rushil, Chandigarh’s budding astronomer, tomorrow is a big day when his favourite star will be dotted with his elusive planet Venus. “Venus intrigues me. One can never see it completely. The more hidden it is the brighter it is,” he quips.


Authorities declare BSF camp cholera-free
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 7
With no fresh cases of suspected cholera infection from the BSF camp here reporting to the local Civil Hospital, the health authorities of Ropar today claimed to have brought the outbreak of cholera at the camp under control. However, three persons of the same family from Sector 39, Chandigarh, were admitted to the Civil Hospital with an acute diarrhoea today. The total number of those admitted to the hospital with gastroenteritis has now risen to 20.

Promila, Rajesh and son Abhilash, all of Sector 39 were admitted to the hospital here this morning. Other than these three Rajiv Kumar of the same Sector was admitted to the hospital two days ago. However, according to the Ropar Civil Surgeon, Dr Rana Harinder, Promila, Rajesh and Abhilash are suffering from a bacterial infection and out of a family of 10, they alone have been taken ill.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune Dr N.K. Singla, District Health Officer, said the situation at the BSF camp was under control and there was no need to panic. “Since no fresh case of diarrhoea has been reported from the camp, we can safely conclude that this was not a cholera outbreak but a limited wave that has been controlled,” he added.

He added that other than the one case of Lily Das in the PGI, which was a confirmed case of cholera, other patients were suffering from gastroenteritis or diarrhoea.

Commandant Hava Singh, in charge, BSF camp, said the health of all jawans was being monitored carefully and no one had shown any sign of sickness.


Mystery shrouds death of labourer
Our Correspondent

Lalru, June 7
Mr Kishan Singh Bhandari, a labourer, working in a spinning mill located at Chaundehari village was found dead under mysterious circumstances, near here, this morning.

According to the police, Mr Bhandari, who hails from Pithoragarh in Uttranchal, along with his nephew was sleeping on the terrace of their hut in Chaundehari Colony, adjacent to the unit, last night. His nephew found Kishan Singh motionless when he woke up in the morning.

He called on labourers staying nearby and informed the police. The body was handed over to the family members after a post mortem at the Civil Hospital in Rajpura. The police has started inquest proceeding under Section 174, CrPC.


Summer camp on multi-media begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
About 30 children in the age group of three to 16 are participating in a multi-media summer camp, which opened today at the Desh Bhagat Institute of Competitive Studies in collaboration with the Progressive Arts Theatre.

The camp was inaugurated by Dr Zora Singh, chairman of the Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes. He urged to involve children in activities such as acting, direction, make-up, set designing, voice modulation, theatrical games, body language, mime and movement.

According to Dr Zora Singh, the 30-day summer camp will focus on the overall development of the children. A group of theatre artistes study the interests of the children before starting the training. Training is conducted under the guidance of eminent artists and instructors. 


Students visit Tribune office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
It was an enlightening experience for students of Guru Gobind Singh Vidya Mandir, Ratwara Sahib (Mullanpur), who visited The Tribune office today.

The students, Ravneet Kaur, Simarpreet Kaur, Gaganpreet Kaur, Jaspreet and Jatinder Pal Singh, led by the school Principal, visited various sections of the office after an interaction with Mr H.K.Dua, Editor-in-Chief of the Tribune Group of Newspapers.

Under an exchange programme, the students are leaving for England on a 20-day tour under the leadership of the Director of the school, Ms Tejinder Kaur Malhotra. The students have been selected on the basis of their overall performance. Before leaving, the students are scheduled to meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

Welcoming the students at the Tribune office, Mr Dua hoped that by visiting its various sections they would understand the process involved in publishing of a newspaper.

Mr Dua asked in detail the school Principal, Ms Gurnam Kaur Grewal, about facilities of sports and extra-curricular activities available at the school. After the interaction, the students recited a shabad on ‘Aesi pret karo men mera’.

The Principal said the three-year-old school was up to Class VIII and from next year, one class would be added every year. She said the founder of the school was late Sant Waryam Singh and the present chairperson was his wife, Bibi Ranjit Kaur. Baba Harpal Singh was the founder trustee of Vishav Gurmat Ruhani Mission Charitable Trust.

The Director of the school, Ms Tejinder Kaur Malhotra, said the vision of the founder was to impart education to children from backward areas of Ropar district where the school was located. He had envisaged that the students were well-versed with the present and modern education.

About the trip to England, she said the students would also be visiting schools and religious places and presenting cultural items, shabad and kirtan. Under the exchange programme sponsored by Atam Marg, UK Trust, students from England would be visiting India in November.


BJP chief hails Jain’s nomination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, President of the BJP unit of the city, has expressed gratitude on his behalf and on behalf of the BJP’s city unit to the All-India President of the BJP, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Mr Lal Krishan Advani for having nominated Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP of Chandigarh, as a member of the National Executive of the BJP.

He said Mr Jain had been nominated as the member of the BJP National Executive for the second consecutive time.


Masonic centre opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
North India Masonic Vocational Centre was inaugurated by the M.W.Bro. Arun Chintopanth, OSM, M.W. the Grand Master of the Masonic Fraternity of India in the presence of R.W.Bro. Vinod Kumar Bhutani, R.W. the Regional Grand Master of Northern India at Freemason’s Hall, Sector 18-B, Chandigarh, on Sunday.

Briefing the press on the occasion, M.W. the Grand Master applauded the efforts of the brethren of the area who under the stewardship of W.V.Bro. Harcharan Singh Ranuata, Assistant Regional Grand Master, have been making efforts to uphold the fraternity motto of brotherly love, relief and truth by carrying on charitable projects. The vocational centre will initially provide job-oriented computer courses, Mobiles, telephone repairs, T.V. repairs etc. on subsidised rates.

The Chandigarh masonic fraternity is running a ‘Yadavindra Masonic Polyclinic’ for the past nine years. A committee under the presidentship of W.Bro.J.S. Sandhu is successfully running this polyclinic in providing free consultation, medicines, laboratory tests, X.-rays, ECG. etc. Funds for their projects come from charity collections of the various area lodges, individual contributions from the brethren and assistance of the regional grand lodge of northern India and Grand Lodge of India.

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. It is a worldwide organisation based on the principles of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. It seeks to make good men better and thereby make the world a better place in which to live. It is committed to extending the hand of fellowship and providing relief to those in distress.

Freemasonry has been in existence in its present form for over 280 years in the world.


Man crushed under train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
A 30-year-old unidentified man was crushed to death by a train at the 246/56 point near the railway gate in Mani Majra today afternoon.

He was taken to the GMCH-32 from where he was referred to the PGI. He was declared brought dead by the doctors who attended on him in the PGI. The man was on foot when he met with the accident.

The driver of the train and its guard took the person to the hospital.

The police has not found any clue to the identity of the person.

A source in the Railway Police said that he is around 5’-7” tall and fair complexioned. He was wearing a white shirt and a grey trouser.


Fauji Beat
TA should adopt home-and-hearth culture

The Territorial Army (TA), a part-time volunteer force, was raised in 1949. It is mobilised at the time of an emergency to provide a second line of defence to the country. Experience shows that mobilisation of the TA infantry battalions takes four or five weeks after the declaration of an emergency. This period is too long because the wars that we have fought after Independence have generally been short. It seems that the new experiment of raising the home-and-hearth TA battalions provides an answer to this problem.

In May, three such battalions were raised in the Kashmir valley by recruiting locals from that area. These units are to be deployed close to their homes, from Kupwara in north Kashmir to Banihal.

To make optimum use of the TA, the concept of home-and-hearth should be made applicable to all TA units. They should be recruited from the same area where they are to be deployed. Four such battalions have also been raised from the Jammu region for deployment in that area.

The only question that is being asked about the Jammu and Kashmir units is: “Will their personnel be able to fight the militants who are also from the same area?” Only the time will provide an answer.

Missing split-pins

For a tiny-splitpin, a Jaguar aircraft has been lost in the current hi-tech era. This clearly brings out that absence of even the smallest component can play havoc with any equipment.

Of the 80 Jaguar aircraft with the IAF, four crashed this year. The fourth accident occurred near Ambala on May 7, resulting in the grounding of the Jaguar fleet. A missing split-pin is said to have caused this accident. All Jaguars are being thoroughly checked by a team of British-Aerospace and HAL. No Jaguar, according to the IAF, will take to the sky until it is declared 100 per cent fit.

Surprisingly, our aircraft accident rate is going up. After MiG-21, the Jaguar has begun to cause fear psychosis in the minds of pilots and the public. No doubt, the Jaguars are being technically checked. But what needs to be looked into is the standard of maintenance and the state of spare parts’ reserves.

It was only in March that the Jaguar aircraft won a thumping applause from experts when two Jaguars flying at a speed of 450 knots, carrying two BL-755 cluster bombs, attacked the bulk petroleum installation. It was in the largest firepower demonstration by the IAF, named “Vayu Shakti-2004”, which was held at Pokhran.

Sonia’s blessings

According to news reports, senior Army officers are turning up at Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s residence with state secrets in an effort to get promotions or lucrative postings, said former Defence Minister George Fernandes on May 30. Mr Fernandes had quoted a paragraph from the editorial of a newspaper which reads: “Career-minded officers and agency chiefs are calling on her (Sonia Gandhi) and briefing her on national security.”

If it is true, it is unfortunate for the stability and discipline of the Army. This trend, if allowed to set in, will not only politicise the Army, but affect its fighting potential to a large extent. It will not augur well for the country. There is neither a dearth of maverick politicians, nor is there a shortage of self-seekers in olive green uniforms.

The possibility of Mr Fernandes using the familiar Army arena to play his political game cannot be ruled out. The government must come out with a statement on this news, for its silence will send wrong signals.

Pritam Bhullar


Yoga is thrust upon them
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 7
With yoga as the new buzzword and Swami Ramdev’s camp here, a rage fitness seems to have taken a new meaning and become synonymous with regularised breathing exercises.

Attracting people from all walks of life, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) ground in Sector 5, is virtually under siege. The 15,000-strong crowd, thronging the ground, has willfully chosen to go through the strenuous grind to get into shape.

Then, there are those who wish the yoga fever had never caught on, that they could have slept peacefully through the night and woken up fresh the next morning. The last one week has changed all that for drivers and security men of politicians, bureaucrats and others. Yoga is being thrust upon them.

Their morning begins at 3 when they drive their “saab” or “memsaab” to the venue in the official vehicle. Once there, the wait for the clock to strike 7 begins.

The family members of ministers of the INLD-government, the Chief Justice of the High Court, escorted by two pilot cars, are there, and the camp seems to be a must-attend for bureaucrats of Punjab and Haryana accompanied by their wives. While they try their hand at exercises involving stretching and straining, the drivers and security men, condemned to the choc-a-block parking, kill time in their own way.

With no option but to wait, most of them doze off in their cars to the lullaby of Swami Ramdev’s barely audible instructions in the parking area. There are others who try chatting up and making new friends and still others are happy practising simple yogic mudras and making mental notes of the Swamiji’s sensible injunctions.

A policeman on duty at the venue since 3 am says, “We are not even lucky enough to be able to go to sleep once the camp begins. Since there is very little I can do without getting noticed, I adopted the nail-rubbing therapy as suggested by Swamiji on the first day. Given the time I am devoting to it, hopefully, I will get my black hair back by the time the camp concludes,” he says.

Finally, is time to go back and it is not as easy as one might perceive it to be. Honking cars and blaring sirens seem unable to find their way out of the madness in the parking, nobody willing to wait a while.

“It is another half an hour lost if the vehicle is parked deep into the ground. Everybody wants to leave the minute the camp is over. The patience they learn inside through the various exercises is easily forgotten the moment they are behind the steering wheel. It is beyond our comprehension,” a driver says.


Yoga camp for scribes ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
A seven-day yoga camp concluded at Chandigarh Press Club here this morning. The camp was conducted by Acharya Balvinder Kumar, a yoga expert from Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Chandigarh. About 40 journalists and members of their families attended the camp.

According to Acharya Balvinder Kumar, yoga is a science that peeps into the knowledge of balanced development and beauty of a healthy life. Yoga brings a beautiful blend of physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual development of the individual.

A special module of yoga practices was introduced in the form of a training programme.

Practical training of yogic exercises, yoga postures, pranamaya and meditation was imparted to the participants.


Navy foundation elects office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 7
A meeting of The Navy Foundation was held at Sector 36 today to review its progress and elect office-bearers. The foundation was established in 1990. There are more than 120 naval families in the city and among these 90 are active members of the foundation.

Dr Simmi Wariach, a city-based psychiatrist, spoke on various aspects related to mental health of senior citizens.

The new elected office bearers of the foundation are: president — Cdr Narinder Singh (retd); secretary — Cdr Ranjit S. Mundi (retd); treasurer — Lt. Cdr Kartar Singh.


Kids learn cooking and exercise brains
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 7
The workshop for children at Fun and Frolic, Sector 35, Chandigarh, includes art, craft, drawing, colouring along with dance and drama. Kids can also try their hands on cooking and exercise brains by games and puzzles.

The workshop is being conducted by Sonika Thatai and Swati Arora. The first batch of 40 students in the age group of 3 to 15 will conclude on June 14 and the second batch will start on June. 16.


SBI staff hold ‘chhabeel’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
Personnel of the treasury branch of the SBI today organised a “chhabeel” and distributed ‘halwa-chana’ on the occasion of the Ganesh Chowth festival.

Mr N.L. Soni, Chief Manager, inaugurated the ‘chhabeel’.


Cyclist robbed of cash, mobile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
A cyclist of Colony Number 4 has been allegedly robbed of Rs 6,000 and a mobile phone near the CTU Workshop by a group of unidentified persons aboard a Tata 407. The robbers allegedly attacked the cyclist with rods before taking away his mobile and Rs 6,000 on the night of June 5.

Jay Prakash, a mechanic with a private firm in Mani Majra, was returning home on a bicycle when around five persons chased him from the traffic signal.

The small truck pulled in front of him around 11.30 pm and the occupants of the vehicle started beating him up. Jay Prakash received eight stitches on his head besides treatment for injuries on arms and waist, his brother Mintoo told the Chandigarh Tribune today.

Mintoo said his brother was beaten up so badly that he fell unconscious. After he regain consciousness, Jay Prakash approached the patrolling staff of a police control room vehicle. But he was disappointed as the patrolling staff said they could help him only if he made a complaint to the police control room on phone number 100. But Jay Prakash could not call the police as his mobile had been snatched by the assailants.

Dismayed at the response of the patrolling party, the injured Jay Prakash reached home bleeding and limping. His brother took him to the Industrial Area Police Station. The police personnel asked them to go to Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32 for treatment, saying that they would reach the hospital and register a case.

The police, however, said the person had initially told patrolling staff that he was beaten up near the railway gate in Mani Majra and the injuries did not indicate that it was a serious matter.

Industrial Area police station has taken the complaint of Jay Prakash and is investigating the case.


Two killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
An 85-year-old person from Shahid Bhagat Singh Colony in Mauli Jagran died when his cycle hit a multi-axle truck near Deria village.

The truck had come from Ajmer in Rajasthan.

The deceased Fateh Singh fell from the cycle when it grazed past the truck. The truck was coming towards Deria after unloading cement brought from Rajasthan.

The driver of the truck Kailash Chand has been arrested.

Meanwhile a middle-aged cyclist was crushed to death by a truck in the Grain Market of Sector 39 this evening.

The police arrested the driver of the truck, Kehar Singh. 

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