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Devotees throng gurdwaras
Tribune Reporters

Devotees light candles at Gurdwara Sacha Dhan in Phase 3B1, Mohali, to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib’s installation
Flames of Faith: Devotees light candles at Gurdwara Sacha Dhan in Phase 3B1, Mohali, to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib’s installation; and (Below) langar being served at Sector 34 gurdwara, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photographs

Langar being served at Sector 34 gurdwara, Chandigarh, on Wednesday

Chandigarh, September 1
Religious fervour and gaiety marked the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the city and surrounding areas today.
Chanting hymns from the holy scripture, thousands of devotees thronged the gurdwaras since early morning. Great rush was witnessed at Sector 34 gurdwara as devotees waited patiently in long queues for their turns.

Recitation of shabad kirtan continued throughout the day and langar was served to devotees at the gurdwara, which was tastefully decorated. The police had made special arrangements for the smooth flow of the traffic.

The Bhagwan Shree Lakshmi Narayan Dham celebrated the occasion at Rajasthan Bhavan in Sector 33 with great enthusiasm. The chief patron of the dham, Brahmrishi Acharaya Kumar Swami ji, said Guru Granth Sahib had a special status among all Indian scriptures as teachings from all religions had been incorporated into it.

Prof Harjinder Singh Majhail, a noted Sikh scholar, said Guru Granth Sahib had a universal appeal.

Meanwhile, the Chief Auditor’s Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 50, chose the auspicious day for laying the foundation stone for the society’s flat. The Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, laid the foundation stone.

Members of the Traders Association, Sector 17 (A and B) assembled at the Anand Complex and celebrated the occasion with great fervour.

MOHALI: Hundreds of devotees thronged various gurdwaras in the township on Tuesday to participate in the celebrations of the 400 years of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib today.

The two main gurdwaras in the township — Amb Sahib Gurdwara in Phase VIII and Sacha Dhan Gurdwara in Phase 3B1 — were specially decorated for the occasion and day-long kirtan and katha marked the celebrations here.

Hundreds of devotees queued up to pay their obeisance. For them even an hour long wait was not too much. “I have waitd for two hours in the queue to take my turn at the langar. But it is worth it. The arrangements are good here. The langar is being served in an organised manner, said Ms Ravinder Kaur, a school principal, at Amb Sahib Gurdwara.

A light and sound programme had been organised for the evening at the Sacha Dhan Gurdwara. A fireworks display lit up the night sky.

Some markets also bore a festive look with rows of shops decorated with lights. The Phase 3B1 rehri market was beautifully done up by the market association. The markets were decorated with lights. Many houses, too were decorated with lights and candles.



Sea of humanity at Nada Sahib
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 1
Devotion and celebrations mingled at Nada Sahib Gurdwara here today, as a sea of humanity gathered to celebrate 400 years of the installation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Long queues got longer with each passing hour as nearly one lakh devotees paid obeisance at the gurdwara by evening. Young and old, men, women came loaded in trailers and jeeps from nearby villages. Some came in special buses run by the CTU for the occasion and others in their own vehicles.

The sweltering heat was no deterrent for these devotees who stood barefeet, awaiting their turn to pay obeisance.

The gates of the illumined gurdwara, decked with flowers for the special day, were thrown open to the devotees at 2 a.m. They continued to pour in till late in the evening. The gurdwara committee had arranged for a daylong langar which began at 5 p.m. and continued till 10 p.m.

The langar comprising dal, kheer, chappatis, puris, chana and jalebis, was prepared with 20 tins of refined oil, four quintals of sugar, 20 quintals of flour and five quintals of dal.

Three teams of ragis led by Bhai Gurmeet Singh and dhadhis, Bhai Sadhu Singh and Bhai Sher Singh recited kirtan, which began at 8 a.m.

In the evening, the number of devotees swelled at the gurdwara. Fire works illumined the night sky to mark the conclusion of the celebrations.

The crackers worth Rs 7,000, were contributed by the villagers of Nada.

Other gurdwaras in the township also held kirtan and langar to mark the occasion.



No retrospective promotion for censured employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
In a significant judgement, the Full Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today ruled that an eligible censured government employee could not get promotion with retrospective effect.

The Bench comprised Mr V.K. Majotra, Vice-Chairman of the Principal Bench, New Delhi, Justice O.P. Garg, Vice-Chairman of the Chandigarh Bench, and Mr L.M. Mehta, Administrative Member. It ruled the penalty of censure should have an adverse effect on the promotion of a government servant. In such cases, the promotion could not be given with retrospective effect even if the government servant was otherwise eligible for the post, the Bench ruled.

Dismissing an original application (OA) filed by Mr B.K. Kapoor, a former Senior Audit Officer (SAO) in the Office of the Haryana Accountant-General, the Bench observed: “A penalty involving censure (a minor penalty under the rules) imposed on a government servant in disciplinary proceedings against him does not exonerate him of charges levelled against him, but is consequential to blame-worthy conduct having been proved against him.”

“That eventuality in no manner would entitle him to retrospective promotion from the date when he became eligible for promotion. The reward of promotion in such a case has to have a prospective effect after the effect of punishment is over,” the Bench said.

Mr Kapoor, in his OA, had contended that he was given promotion to the post of the SAO from February 18, 1994, whereas he had become eligible to it on April 1, 1992.

He said the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) had wrongly denied him promotion on the plea that disciplinary proceedings were pending against him as a penalty of censure was imposed on him.

Counsel for the applicant pleaded though censure was a punishment, it was not an impediment in the promotion of an incumbent for the post. However, it was opposed on the plea that censure was indeed an impediment to promotion.



Booked for driving wife to suicide
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 1
The police booked Kuldeep Khan, alias Deepa, a resident of Barana village, for allegedly forcing his wife to commit suicide, today. He has been booked under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code on the complaint of his father-in-law, Mr Mehru Khan.

Mr Khan of Nagla village alleged that Kuldeep Khan has been harassing his daughter, Bhago, for more dowry even after two years of their marriage. Following the harassment, she was forced to commit suicide.

Bhago had left her husband’s house twice, but was sent back by her parents, the police said.

Bhago had visited her maternal house on August 28 and complained to her parents against her husband. This morning, one of Deepa’s relatives informed Mehru Khan on the telephone saying that Bhago’s health had deteriorated.

Mehru Khan, along with some relatives, reached Deepa’s house and found Bhago lying dead on a cot in the verandah. He informed the police and the body was sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for postmortem.

The police has rounded up Kuldeep Khan, alias Deepa, but no case has been registered against him. The body was handed over to the family this evening.



Beggar menace in City Beautiful
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

The police has arrested 11 beggars since yesterday. Chote Lal and Narang Dass, both from Kanpur, were arrested from Burail and the Sector 34 market, respectively, and Jinda Ram, a resident of Rajpura, was arrested from the Sector 36 market.

Chandigarh, September 1
Begging continues unhindered in the city despite a ban, and a sudden police crackdown, in Sectors 34, 35, 17 and 22 markets, the ISBT, the Aroma light point, Transport Chowk and in front of temples.
The menace has assumed alarming proportions.

Interestingly, not many beggars are found outside crowded gurdwaras, probably because these run langar on an almost regular basis.

Beggars of every age group can be scene moving freely under the nose of the city police at public places — bus stands, traffic lights, eating joints, hotels, discos, hospitals and in an around educational institutes such as the Panjab University and colleges.

They also pose a hazard as they beg for alms from those at traffic light signals, disrupting traffic.

At times, able-bodied, too, are seen begging. They keep pestering a person, asking money to buy a shroud for a dead relative. They evoke sympathy by exhibiting festering wounds and physical disabilities.

The clever beggars, on seeing a young couple, shower blessings on them for a happy married life, love birds are coaxed into giving money by wishing them success in their affair, the middle-aged are wished a bright future for their children and students are wished luck in their examinations.



Victimised for exposing corruption, Major moves High Court
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
An Army officer has alleged that he was implicated in a false and concocted case by the Army authorities and thereafter tried by a General Court Martial (GCM) for trying to expose corrupt practices and criminal acts while undergoing a training course at an Army establishment.

In a writ petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court this week, Major Sanjay Sitanshu, an EME officer based at Ambala, has claimed that in July, 1994, he was attached to the Administrative Wing of the College of Military Engineering after he highlighted corrupt practices existing in the college.

The persons concerned tried to bargain with him once they came to know about their acts being exposed. The authorities assured him that he would not be harmed if he did not expose their acts, he claimed. The attachment was revoked and he was allowed to continue the course.

When, however, he refused to accept their demands, a court of inquiry against him was conducted and he was pressurised to refrain from exposing corruption. Thereafter he was charged for acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline under Section 63 of the Army Act for possessing an additional answersheet containing written material during an examination and for tampering with the written material recovered from him. During recording of summary of evidence, he alleged that he was not allowed to call defence witnesses.

In November,1994, he was posted to 512 Army Base Workshop as the charges could not be established. In January,1995, a second chargesheet containing similar charges was served upon him.

Major Sitanshu alleged that he was asked to pay bribes for closing the case against him and a case in this regard was filed by him in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

In August,1995, a similar charge sheet was served upon him for the third time and he was tried by a General Court Martial (GCM) . He alleged that the officer against whom he had made the complaint of bribery was made the GCM's convening authority in contravention of regulations. The contents of all chargesheets, he claimed, varied.

During the GCM, Major Sitanshu claimed that he was not given an opportunity to call defence witnesses. A defending officer of his choice was not allowed.The officer appointed by the convening authority pressurised him to plead guilty, forcing him to conduct his defence in the absence of a defending officer. Nor was full liberty given to him for cross-examining witnesses. The GCM, which concluded in 1997, reduced his seniority and forfeited three years of service for the purpose of fixing pension.

Claiming that in the past seven years he has been posted several times to prevent him from pursuing his case, he has sought that the GCM's order be quashed and he be awarded all consequential benefits and service dues.



Bir Devinder writes to CM for release of funds
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 1
The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, in a communication to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has demanded the release of funds for development works for the Kharar Assembly constituency.

In a press note issued today, Mr Bir Devinder Singh stated that certain works in his constituency, sanctioned under the NABARD scheme, had to be stopped due to non-release of funds by the finance department.

This had caused traffic inconvenience inviting adverse criticism of the government by the Public. Even funds received in February, 2004, had not been released even after six months.

Listing various works lying incomplete due to the complacency of the finance department, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said funds to the tune of Rs 667.45 lakh released by NABARD were yet to be released by the department.

“These works were of top priority and pending for the past 50 years. A sum of Rs 667.45 lakh had already been released by NABARD to the finance department to be passed on to the construction circle, PWD, Chandigarh.

The remaining Rs 411.49 lakh was yet to be released to the PWD (B&R), said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, requesting the Chief Minister to issue explicit directions to the department so that the works could be completed.



Ex-Mayor Gian Chand eyeing Kalka ticket
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
After strengthening the party base in the city by launching an enrollment drive during his term as BJP president, former Mayor and two-time councillor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, has set his eyes on doing the same for Haryana. Unable to devote time to his ward after taking over as the Treasurer of the BJP in Haryana, Mr Gupta resigned from the councillorship of the municipal corporation yesterday.

This move is being seen in BJP circles as his first step towards staking a claim for the BJP ticket from the Kalka Assembly segment during the forthcoming vidhan sabha election in the state. However, Mr Sham Lal Bansal, a strong contender of the party, is likely to give him a tough fight for the party ticket.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference after submitting his resignation, Mr Gupta said his recent appointment as an office-bearer of the Haryana BJP spared him no time for his ward. “I have put in my papers since I could not do justice to two assignment simultaneously. All this has been done after due permission of the high command,” he said.

This is for the first time that a councillor has resigned since the municipal corporation came into being in 1996. Mr Gupta’s resignation will reduce the number of BJP councillors in the House from three to two and end the 25-year long innings of Mr Gupta in the local BJP unit.

Having won 16 of the 20 seats in the MC election fought under his leadership, Mr Gupta has a number of development works to his credit during his term as Mayor. These include development of Fragrance Garden in Sector 36, introduction of single-window system for spot booking of parks, grounds and community centres, installation of 15 tubewells to improve water supply, improving sanitation in colonies, construction of a fire station in Industrial Area among others.

Another creditable achievement of Mr Gupta as president of the city unit of the BJP was that of enrolling members and establishing a direct link between the public and his party. 



Residents side with Muslim body over graveyard
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 1
Residents of Shahi Majra village today expressed solidarity with members of the Muslims Welfare Committee, Mohali, on the issue of ownership of about two acres of land in Sector 57 here.

The committee is involved in a controversy with PUDA as regards to the ownership of a Muslim cemetery opposite the cremation ground here. While the committee claims to own the piece of land, PUDA officials allege the committee had encroached upon its land.

Mr Javed Aslam, vice-president of the committee, said a piece of land measuring 500 yrd by 200 yrd was allotted to the committee by the Punjab Housing Board in 1976. He claimed the committee had a documentary evidence to prove that. He said a representation to this effect had been handed over to the Mohali SDM also for necessary action.

While the PUDA authorities conceded that the committee had corresponded with the Punjab Housing Board in the late seventies regarding allotment of land for a graveyard, the issue never materialised. The land was never allotted to the committee and in the 90s, the committee members encroached upon the land and converted it into a graveyard.

“We have learnt that the place is also being used by the committee members as a junk yard for commercial purposes,” said a source in PUDA.

On August 27, PUDA got various structures at the site demolished. The action was followed by a protest by the committee. “We were not given any notice regarding the action and came to know about the demolition after two hours. We had 301 graves there,” said Mr Aslam.

PUDA officials, however, added that due notice had been served on the committee before the demolition was undertaken.



Police ill-equipped to handle snakes
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Fire Brigade and the police, generally called to handle snakes, are not equipped to handle the reptiles. Both the wings of the government are as ignorant about the snakes as a petrified common man. The snake is generally killed instead of caught and restored to its natural surrounding.

The process only strengthens the myth that all snakes are harmful. No effort is made to create an understanding about the nature and its conservation. Surprisingly, the Forest and Wildlife Department is not involved in the handling of snakes.

A nature conservationist and snake catcher, Captain Suresh Sharma, said the police and the Fire Brigade only perpetrated the fear about the snake. They don’t inform people that they could remain unharmed despite the presence of snakes nearby. Captain Sharma demonstrates it to public by catching snakes. He had caught 625 snakes in Chandigarh during the last six years.

Though the Fire Brigade and the police do a ensure the safety of the public, but killing the snake give great setback to the nature conservation. According to Captain Sharma, who is called by the police control room to handle snakes, says the most dangerous animals — tiger and snakes — are really gentle and they would not attack unless they perceive a threat. Captain Sharma has set up a snake cell to catch snakes. These are later released in a jungle. Captain Sharma says around 150 cases of snake bite are reported in the hospitals of Chandigarh every year.

The Fire Brigade chief, Mr G.S. Bajwa, told the Chandigarh Tribune that its staff had attended to 10 cases of snake appearance in a populated area but as the staff had not been trained these were killed in most cases.

The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, said the matter of training the police staff for handling snakes was under consideration.

Captain Sharma said a snake would not bite till it is cornered or hurt. It will try to escape at the first opportunity, then warn and attack before biting. However, if a person reacts in panic, it might harm. He said out of 80 species of snakes in India, only four venomous species were found in Chandigarh. Cobra, Common Krait, Russel’s Viper and saw-scaled wiper are poisonous. A common crait is 15 times more poisonous than a cobra.



BJP leader held in Bangalore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
On the first day of Satyagraha launched to show solidarity with former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Ms Uma Bharati, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, President of the local unit of BJP, was arrested in Bangalore, today, along with Mr L.K. Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister of India.

BJP leaders and workers who accompanied Mr Mahajan to Bangalore were also arrested. These included Mr Purshotam Mahajan, Mr Pritam Dass Mongia, Mr Mohinder Arora, Mr Girdhari Lal Jindal, Mr Krishan Mahajan, among others.

Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, BJP spokesperson, said the arrested leaders have been kept in the Sadashiv police station of Bangalore.



Bull fight damages two cars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
A half-an-hour-long bull fight today damaged two Maruti 800 cars in front of the Mukut Hospital parking in Sector 34.

The fighting bulls moved to the parking lot where they broke the windscreen of one car. The head of one bull smashed into the car, damaging the car’s music system. Then the bulls moved a little away and damaged another car. The rear glass of the car was broken.

During the fight, people pelted stones to shoo the bulls away. The running bulls ramed into parked two-wheelers, many of which fell.

Interestingly, a Punjab Police personnel deputed on VIP duty tried to scare the bulls away, but in vain. The Chandigarh traffic police personnel too unsuccessfully tried to do their bit.

The bulls ultimately ran away on their own before a control room vehicle reached the spot.



IT kendra to aid of tax-payers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Income Tax Department has set up a call centre, Aayakar Sampark Kendra, for the convenience of the income tax payers.

According to Ms P Sahi, Commissioner of Income(Computer Operations), the call centre would go a long way in solving the problems of tax payers relating to information or forms for PAN, status of the PAN application, return forms such as 2C,2D and 2E and challan nos 280,281 and 282. For this a phone line 0124-243800 has been set up.

Those tax payers facing difficulty in receiving PAN cards through M/s UTIISL and M/s NSDL can also send an e-mail to the Tkoshy@nsdl.co.in and chandran@mail.utiisl.co.in, she added.



‘Jhulan yatra’ concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
As part of celebrations of Janmashtami, a week-long “Jhulan yatra” organised by the local chapter of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, concluded here today.

Thousands of devotees who thronged the temple during the yatra waited for hours to have a glimpse of Lord Sri Krishna and Radha seated in a decorated silver swing.

The management had made elaborate arrangements to celebrate “Janmashtami” this time. Besides nagar kirtan, conducted in various parts of the city and the satellite towns of Panchkula , Mani Majra and Mohali, plays on Lord Krishna will be staged on the eve of Janmashtami. 



Labourer dies on way to hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
An ailing 22-year-old labourer working at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, here died today while on way to hospital.

The police said Mukhtar Singh (22) from Karnal had been working at the Parade Ground, pitching tents. He was rushed to hospital after falling unconscious, but was declared “brought dead” by doctors.

The police sees nothing suspicious in the death. The deceased was reportedly taking medicine prescribed by a private doctor.



LIC gets 1,000 agents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Chandigarh division of LIC will recruit 1,000 agents in the current financial year.
Addressing mediapersons here today, Senior Divisional Manager, Mr N.P. Chawla, said the division has collected a single premium of Rs 70 crore during April-August this year by selling 60,371 policies with sum assured Rs 491.10 crore and first premium income of Rs 32.75 crore.

Talking of the performance of LIC on its 48th anniversary today, he said the division had achieved second position in the country in number of policies and sum assured and fifth position in earning the first premium income. It has already completed 34.8 per cent of the annual target in the current financial year. It has also achieved a growth rate of 151.5 per cent in the first premium income over the corresponding period last year.

The division has again topped in north zone in earning the first premium income of Rs 16.26 crore under the Bima Plus Plan.

On the claim front Chandigarh division settled 31,478 maturity claims for Rs 62.24 crore and 821 death claims for Rs 7.28 crore in the current fiscal.

Answering a question, he said money-back policies have a 30 per cent share in the total business of LIC.

It has introduced a system for premium payment under which you can pay your premiums any day through ATMs of Corporation Bank and UTI, electronic clearing service ( ECS) for bank account holders and through Internet . 



504 clear police test
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
On the first day of recruitment of constables in the Chandigarh Police, 1500 applicants out of 3400 came to take the physical ability test here.
It is learnt that in all 1,34,000 candidates had applied against 230 posts of constable. As many as 504 candidates cleared the 1600 metres race in the stipulated time of six minutes. Only 200 could clear the physical test.

The physical test committee was chaired by the SP (Traffic), Mr Amitabh Dhillon.

The committee comprised DSP P.K.Dhawan, DSP Om Parkash and District Comandant Home Guards M.L. Verma.



2 held on kidnapping charge
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 1
The police here today arrested two persons on charges of kidnapping a minor. The two, Pinto and Vicky, were arrested from Kambala village on the complaint of another resident.

Gulzaro, wife of Mushtak Ahmed, a village potter, alleged that their 16-year-old daughter Sona had been kidnapped by three boys of the village on August 20. She told the police today that Sona had gone to learn stitching at Phase XI on that day but did not return. She added that she had a fight with Pinto a few days before the incident and he had allegedly intimidated her.

On her complaint Pinto and Vicky were arrested from the village today. Rakesh, also named in the FIR, is absconding.



One held for eve teasing
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
The police has arrested Sucha Singh, a resident of Sector 29, for eve-teasing today.
Jaspal Singh, father of a minor girl, who lives in the same sector, filed a complaint in the Industrial Area police station that he teased her and insulted the modesty of his daughter at his residence. According to the police, the complainant had shifted his house in the recent past following the activities of the accused.

The police has registered a case under Sections 294 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code, in Industrial Area, Police Station.

Motor cycle stolen: Ajay Singh, a resident of Milk Colony, village Dhanas, filed a complaint in the Sector 11, police station that his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (CH-03-M-8391) has been stolen from his residence, on August 29. A case of theft has been registered in this regard. 



Panel on problems faced by small units hailed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 1
The Centre For International Trade and Industry (CITI) here has welcomed the Prime Minister’s initiative for setting up a national commission to examine problems being faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Citi had advocated the need for such a commission to review existing laws and policies of country’s export promotion strategy, which could facilitate SMEs to exploit global opportunities, said Mr Gurmeet Singh Bhatia, national president of Citi, in a press note issued today.

Mr Bhatia appreciated the Prime Minister’s initiative, stating that this would help build confidence among the SMEs, specially since these were likely to be the most adversely affected under the WTO regime.

He said contributions of small-scale industries (SSI) to India’s industrial production, exports, and employment were significant.

About 3 million SSI units employing 16.7 million persons account for 35% of India’s total exports and 40% of industrial manufacture, pointed out Mr Bhatia, adding that the SSI associations must be represented in the proposed national commission, besides various apex industries associations. 


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