C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CVC blames PGI’s MS office for financial lapses
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Taking a note of the financial lapses in the implementation of the sanitation contract in the PGI in 2002, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), New Delhi, has put the institute’s Medical Superintendent’s (MS) office in the dock.

The CVC in its letter dated June 28, 2004, to the PGI has observed that “there has been lack of supervision on the part of the MS office which resulted in deficiency of services and excess payment to the contractor”.

The letter by the Director, CVC, Mr V. Kannan, had reached the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), PGI, Ms Meeta Rajiv Lochan, on June 28, 2004, in which the PGI was “advised to deal the matter administratively”. Sources in the hospital said no action had been initiated so far.

The controversy over the sanitation contract, involving lakhs, was raked up in 2002 and the PGI’s former Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, had referred the matter to the CVC and the CBI before his retirement on March 29 this year.

Prior to this, the internal inquiry of the PGI, which was conducted in March 2003 by Prof Arvind Rajwanshi, Professor in charge of procurement and the head of department of cytology, pointed out financial irregularities on the part of the MS office.

The preliminary findings of the report, which have been endorsed by the CVC say that workers were paid less wages by the contractor, contrary to the wages claimed from the PGI. “No person of the office of the MS checked the muster rolls regarding the payment to workers, in spite of the notings/proposals by the JMS, Dr D.P. Singh.”

Even the contractor admitted that less payment was made to the workers, the report said. “The wages of those who did not make a complaint have not been deposited with the PGI but the contractor has written to the MS office where the amount should be deposited. It appears that the amount has not been deposited with the MS office and amounts to serious financial lapse,” the inquiry said.

The report stated that the cheques issued to the workers were dishonoured by the bank and the complaints regarding this were received both from workers and PGI officials.

The report pointed out that though the PGI’s sanitation section informed the MS office regularly, no penalty was imposed. “No recoveries have been made on account of the short supply of manpower. This is a financial irregularity,” the report added.



Obtaining bar licence made cheaper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The city will have more bars and rates of liquor served in these bars are expected to fall. The Chandigarh Administration today removed eligibility condition imposed for applying a bar licence. This will enable more restaurant owners to have bars in their premises.

Earlier, to apply for bar licence, the restaurant owner was required to have an annual turnover of Rs 50 lakh. Now this is not required anymore and any restaurant owner can get a bar licence by paying a fixed licence fee. Sources said by doing away with pre-qualification of Rs 50 lakh turnover would actually translate into more bars and liquor at even cheaper rates.

When the eligibility condition was there, only established and long standing hotels could apply for licence. Now even small restaurants, which may have typical turnover of no more than Rs 20 to Rs 30 lakh, a month can get bar licence.

The Chandigarh Administration through today’s notification amended the Punjab Liquor Licence Rules as applicable to Chandigarh. Now anyone who wants a bar licence can get it by paying the annual fixed fee of Rs 1.5 lakh plus the assessment fee. Actually even those who want to open just bars can get a licence to serve liquor. With the concept of lounge bars coming in the notification comes at the right time for the lounge bar promoters.

Criticising today’s notification Mr Ashok Bansal, general secretary, the Hotel Association of Chandigarh, said, “with this decision, liquor will flow at almost every nook and corner of the city. This can have grave social implications on the society especially on the younger generation.” In almost all other states there are minimum eligibility criteria to maintain social discipline and harmony, he added.



Janmashtami celebrated with pomp
Our Correspondent

Children participate in Raaslila on Janmashtami at Shri Sidh Baba Amarnath Shiv Mandir behind Tribune office, Sector 29, Chandigarh
Children participate in Raaslila on Janmashtami at Shri Sidh Baba Amarnath Shiv Mandir behind Tribune office, Sector 29, Chandigarh, on Monday. — Tribune photo by Malkiat Singh

Chandigarh, September 6
The flute of the Sri Krishna it is said, held the gopies in Mathura spellbound. His laughter, his dance created the spirit of festivity and became the longing of people. The “Janmashtami” has created a lot of fervour and enthusiasm among the city residents.

One can spot them buying garlands, lamps, jhoolas and idols of Krishna. Many residents kept fast on the occasion and most of them celebrate it at home. They decorate their mandir in the home and do worship. This time different dates have arisen because of the lunar calendar. It is being celebrated on September 6 and September 7.

Almost all temples of the city have been decorated with the lights. The tales of his childhood pranks like how he used to steal butter and how Yashoda Ma used to scold him.

Devotees are visiting temples in large numbers. As the midnight approaches marking time of birth of Sri Krishna people do clapping with the chants of Hare Krishna. Special sweets are made of milk and rice at home and temples.

According to Anumpama, a member of Isckon, Sector 36 said, “ This festival is most important for us and it is celebrated like a Divali every year. We will celebrate it tomorrow and on the occasion various cultural programmes are organised on the occasion which increases the spiritual faith in our ‘Lord Krishna’. The cultural programme like ‘rasleelas’ is being performed by the girls who narrate incidents of Krishna’s life through the devotional songs.

Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidalalaya, Sector 21 celebrated Janmashtami today. The centre was decorated. B.K. Kusum, centre in charge explained the true meaning of Krishan Janmashtami. She said that there were means to become a part of Krishna’s golden world purity, peace and happiness. The idol of Krishna was rocked gently in swing while singing bhajans.

Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Sector 20 will also celebrate the festival tomorrow. But the Math holds special attraction for devotees. There is hi tech jhankis create the mystery of His times. Vivid and colourful lighting are definitely treat for the eyes.

Pandit Lakhi Ram Bhardwaj, head of Sri Sanatan Dharam Temple Sector 23, said we are also celebrating Janmashtami tomorrow.

We have made new clothes already for idols. The programmes like ‘havan’ of Gita and kirtan, bhajan will be held tomorrow. There will be also Katha on Sri Krishna’s birth.



Osho’s interpretation of Lord Krishna

With his profound insight and understanding, Osho had unveiled Lord Krishna’s multi-dimensional personality. According to Osho, Lord Krishna was ahead of his times and is unique in the sense that though he belonged to the past, he is more relevant for the future.

He has given the elements of celebration of life, love and laughter. He is the only God who can play the flute and dance. Lord Krishna accepted life in totality and that is why he is called “purna avtar”.

According to Lord Krishna, life is a continuous celebration. It is a “leela” and hence there is no need to view life seriously. It is drama where we play our part.

According to Osho, we are not capable of understanding Lord Krishna fully. The question arises how Lord Krishna can be relevant to the modern man who is burdened with work and responsibilities.

With emphasis on “leela”, Osho says that except for man, the entire creation celebrates.

We can also bring the same dimension to our lives. Our life should be a celebration.

Osho says that whether we clean the floor, construct a house or do any other work, we must do it with attention and gratitude. It then becomes creative and doesn’t leave one drained.

Every moment the choice is ours. “Doing” becomes insignificant. Life will no more be a burden or duty.

“We should connect Lord Krishna with the heart. We should dance, rejoice and then only can one have the glimpse of the divine through bhakti”, Osho has said. — OC



Jhankis depict Bal Gopal’s life
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
Janam Ashtmi was celebrated with traditional fervour here today. Temples in the town and surrounding areas of Pinjore and Kalka were decorated beautifully to mark the occasion.

The Mata Mansa Devi temple was illuminated and jhankis depicting the life of Lord Krishna were displayed. A bhajan sandhya was organised in the evening by the Ma Mansa Jagran Mandli. The gathering was enthralled with bhajan of Sri Krishna and “leela varnan”.

Jhankis were also set up at the Sector 6 Radha Krishan temple. While the temple was illuminated from outside, flower decorations and motorised jhankis were appreciated by devotees who thronged the temple.

Special jhankis were also put up at the temple in Sector 2. These jhankis were custom-made for the temple by special artistes from Kolkata.

A sea of devotees could also be seen outside the Pracheen Shiv Mandir in Sector 9. In all temples, flower-bedecked palanquins were set up, with Bal Gopal sitting in them. Devotees rocked the palanquin and offered bananas, guavas and milk.



PEC admission: 180 seats filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
On the first day of admission at Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Deemed University, at least 180 seats were filled in various streams. Of the eight total seats in the sports quota, seven seats were filled. One seat in aeronautical engineering could not be filled due to a court case, said a member of the admission committee.

Though the last date to deposit the fee was September 15, it was expected that the remaining 200 seats would be filled in the coming three days. The admission have started after one month’s delay when the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while hearing a petition, restored 85 per cent UT quota for this admission to the college.

In the electronics, 40 seats in different categories, including the UT quota were filled. In computer science, information technology, mechanical, electrical, production, the number of seats filled were 10, 12, 32, 32 and 19, respectively. In the low branches, the number of seats filled was aeronautical (4), civil (17) and metallurgy (14).

The college authorities have announced that to make up for the loss of the teaching hours due to the court case, extra classes would be held on every Saturday for two weeks. The course would be covered in 17 working days.

They said that some seats in the lower branches could remain vacant as the students could opt for a better stream in some other colleges. The second phase of counselling to fill the vacant seats is on September 23 and 24.



Harassment of woman: 2 food inspectors held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Food and Civil Supplies Department Inspectors Updhesh Singh and Sushil Gupta have been arrested allegedly for sexually harassing a woman Inspector of the department around a month back.

They were arrested yesterday and bailed out. The woman had alleged that they had slipped a used condom in the drawer of her table when she got up to receive a phone call in office.

The woman complained to the Deputy Commissioner on July 29 and the next day she was transferred from the department and she has not yet been taken back in the department.

Updhesh Singh had before the incident complained about the woman that she had allegedly been absent from her duty.

The Sector 17 Police Station had registered a case against the two Inspectors when the woman’s complaint was forwarded to the police.

The police has sent the condom recovered from the drawer to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) for a test. The CFSL report is pending.

During the police investigation, the Sexual Harassment Committee had recommended the transfer of the two officers from the department. They were transferred. The accused had been claiming that the woman had tried to frame them up for allegedly complaining about her absenteeism from the office before the incident. The police is yet to confirm if somebody had seen the accused slipping the condom in the drawer of the woman officer.



Army jawans at their creative best
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
For those who thought Army men could, at best, handle arms and ammunition, it's time to pay another visit to the Rock Garden.

Engaged in creative activity under the supervision of Nek Chand in the garden's third phase are 17 jawans who are sure to charm you with the perfection of their strokes. Their canvas is vast as that of their guru Nek Chand and their inspiration, for a change, is "official".

This group of spirited learners from Headquarters 10 Corps, Bathinda, is on an arty mission to Chandigarh. Under directions from their GOC to seek training in the nuances of environmental architecture made famous by Nek Chand, the jawans are naturally taking their work seriously. But had it been all work and no passion, they would not have progressed so fast on the track of learning.

Under the guidance of their JCO Yamu Bahadur Thapa, the 16 jawans are close to accomplishing their task. Currently on attachment at Chandimandir, they are supposed to get back to their unit in Bathinda where many interesting projects in environmental art await their attention. One of them is the landscaping and designing of a children's park in the cantonment area.

Busy acquiring the final lesson from Nek Chand known to be quite a hard task master, the jawans spared some time to talk about their refreshing experience off the battlefield. Said the JCO who is enjoying managing his boys these days, "We came here exactly 23 days ago and now it is time to return. It has been a great learning experience. In fact, all the boys who were selected to come here have some talent or the other. Many of them have been painting earlier also."

Having trained in Nek Chand's art, the jawans are expected to get back to Bathinda within a week. There they will landscape the children' park in the cantonment area, to begin with. Called Chetak Park, this space would be designed along the line of Nek Chand's Rock Garden.

Said Nek Chand who has been taking enough work from the jawans these days, "I will go to supervise the designing of that park in Bathinda. I have trained jawans earlier also but this bunch has been particularly eager to learn. Though they are trainees, they have decorated one whole section in the third phase."

It has been thus a symbiotic relationship for Nek Chand and the jawans, who have been particularly concentrating on the art of designing moulds for creating human images, ducks and peacocks.

Said hawaldar Jitender Singh, "The most difficult part of the process is designing of the mould. The face of the figure under consideration is another difficult part. The material was provided by Nek Chand, who has been exceptionally patient with us."

Interestingly, this is not the only set of jawans heading towards the Rock Garden for getting a hang of Nek Chand's art. The flow of trainees from Bathinda will continue, because there are a whole lot of spaces in HQ 10 Corps cantonment that need to be infused with artistic elements.



Tehelka case adjourned sine die
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The General Court Martial (GCM) trying Col Anil Sahgal at Chandimandir from professional impropriety in the tehelka case was today adjourned sine die on account of ill health of one of the court members.

According to sources, Col Anupam Sinha, Commanding Officer of an armoured workshop in Ambala, was admitted to a military hospital last week following a cardiac problem. He is expected to take several weeks to recuperate.

A GCM consists of five members and unless the quorum is complete, proceedings cannot be held. Also, there is no provision to change a member during the course of a trial.

The GCM had adjourned on August 18 after the original video tapes shot secretly by tehelka.com showing army officers allegedly demanding and accepting bribes from arms dealers were screened before the court. The secretary of the Phukan Commission inquiring into the scam had produced the tapes. The court re-assembled today when the decision to adjourn it sine die was announced.

The long adjournment is significant as the court would not be able to proceed beyond May, 2005, because the court's senior member, Colonel B.P. Manik is scheduled to superannuate. If the member retires before the trial is over, the court would have to be dissolved.



Koran does not allow killing of innocents: Akbar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Mr M.J. Akbar, Editor of The Asian Age, today said that the Koran did not allow killing of innocents, children and women in the name of 'jihad.'

Speaking on the topic 'The West and Islam: The role of prejudice in the formulation of policy' as part of the ongoing series of lectures in memory of late P.N. Haksar at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh, Mr Akbar said a lot of misconceptions were prevailing about the Muslim community throughout the world. "While Islam does propagate the theory of jihad, it is not what has been made out to be in the light of terrorist attacks. Jihad, like Dharam Yudh, has a rationale behind it, but can never be synonymous with terrorism. While Islam and almost all religions accept war as a fact of life, in jihad, you cannot be the aggressor," he said.

Blaming Christian rulers for most of present-day miseries of Muslims the world over, Mr Akbar said since Christian priests did not want to accept Islam as a religion, they spread lot of canards about Islam.

"Look at history. In all those Muslim-dominated countries where the Christian West interfered, democracy and rule of law went out. In their greed for materials, particularly oil, being produced by the Arab world, the West kept on interfering on one pretext or the other, in fact, still does. This led to mis-rule and a feeling of anger against the Christians," he added.

Maintaining that terrorism and fundamentalism are two different things, Mr Akbar said the problem arose when fundamentalism took the shape of terrorism. In India, he stated, Hindus and Muslims continued to share warm relations, despite misgivings.

"Give me one example of a good Muslim or Hindu scholar or learned man criticising the other's religion. This is the result of natural respect for each other's religion. This respect is missing when it comes to Muslims and Christians," Mr Akbar asserted.

He said that there was a prejudiced line of thinking when it came to Islam. "One of the biggest prejudices is that Islam does not have space for minorities. But, followers of history will tell you that while Islam had always respected other religions, it was Christians who had forced other religious minorities to convert. In Muslim-ruled countries, you will still find temples and churches.

But, in many of the countries ruled by non-Muslims, such as Spain and Greece, once inhabited by large number of Muslims, mosques were nowhere to be seen," he said.



Chandigarh Calling

Chautala’s wit

The Chief Minister, Haryana, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was at his wittiest best during a tour of Panchkula recently. And despite his hectic tour schedule that day, Mr Chautala seemed to be in a jovial mood and had every person in splits with his remarks and anecdotes. After inaugurating a power substation, the CM was asked to plant a sapling, along with other politicians accompanying him. Just when a senior party leader from Panchkula, who is also chairman of a corporation, sat to plant a sapling, the CM asked him to ensure that he filled the pit properly. Laughing for a brief second, Mr Chautala could not help remarking “... jab tane sari nadiya ki mitti khod dali, to ab matti dalne mein kyon sharmaye hai.” (when you were illegally mining river bed material from the rivers and streams , why can you not put some soil in the pit?)

BSNL’s Achille’s heel

Public relations seem to the Achilles’ heel of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). This was more than apparant the other day when the BSNL invited mediapersons for the launch of the interactive voice response system (IVRS) offering a variety of value-added service on the landline and mobile phones. As the scribes reached the office of the Chief General Manager Telecom of the Punjab Circle, the BSNL staff did not any inkling about the location of conference hall—the venue of the press conference. It was quite sometime before the scribes got to know about the conference hall on the second floor through “sources”. One of the officials was heard remarking that it was time the nigam held a “press conference” for the BSNL staff to popularise the conference hall. How true!

Railway counter

The local unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) has demanded a railway reservation counter at Panjab University from Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Minister of Railways. In a letter to him recently, the NSUI justified its demand by quoting statistics, pointing out that there were more than 3000 outstation students on the campus and more than 20,000 outstation students in the city colleges. The letter said that most of them came from far-off states, including Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Northeastern states. In some institutions the timings of the classes are from 9 AM to 5 PM which made it inconvenient for the students to get railway tickets booked. Another reason for their demand was that the PGIMER was adjacent to the university and hundreds of patients and their attendants came there for treatment daily from other states. This, the letter said, should be reason enough to open a railways reservation counter on the campus.

Student union poll

Gone are the days when elections to various students’ unions used to be a low-key affair. With the changing times, these elections, too, have added zing to the activity in terms of money and matter. Contesting election for a class representative (CR) now means spending away lavishly to woo voters. The bigger the seat the more the spending. With the elections to the local college unions round the corner, the pre-election heat is catching up with each passing day. Slated for September 24, the poster and placard war has already begun, with the die-hard supporters of each contesting candidate going the whole hog to win visual attention of the voter.

The students of GGDSD College, have taken the lead to kickstart the visual campaign by making a wonderful ‘collage’ of colourful party posters, playcards, billboards, ct al over a massive mango tree in front of the college building (see picture). The outer wall of the college too is a mute witness to the ongoing poster war. Designed in a typical style each branch of this age-old tree is laden with posters. The over-zealous supporters of the SOPU have invaded even the tree-tops, indeed is an act of dare-devilry on their part.

After the poster war the war of words and wits would also come to the fore soon. High-spirited group meetings, door-to-door campaign promises to voters by lavish partying to target voters would continue till before the polling.

Sunil Dutt’s visit

The maiden visit of Union Sports Minister Sunil Dutt on September 3 to Chandigarh has left local sports community in a fix. They were of the opinion that Mr Dutt who showed genuine concern about improving sports culture of the country, however, did not visit any of the sports centre in the city or elsewhere. A sports coach said even after more than 100 days of formation of Congress government at the Centre, Mr Dutt, had not even visited the ‘mecca’ of sports in India, National Institute of Sports, Patiala, which was not very far from Delhi. Mr Dutt had tried to convince the sports fraternity that growing doping problem would be checked but first he needed to understand the sports system in the country.

Though Mr Dutt had promised to increase the sports budget allocation but he also had to take into the account the variety of sport disciplines. His first job should be to prioritise the various sports in keeping in view India’s likely performance in future international meets, said another coach. Another sports expert suggested that Mr Dutt must give maximum emphasis to sports in schools, so as to tap talent at grass-roots level.

— Sentinel



New sectors to have more green areas
45 ft roads, 2-kanal plots planned
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 6
The layout plan for Sectors 77 and 78 has been approved by the Planning and Design Committee providing for several new features, hitherto lacking in other residential areas of the town.

Emphasis has been laid in the plan for the new sectors on the provision of more green areas and wider roads. For the first time in Mohali, a number of two-kanal plots has also been carved out and sites reserved for the setting up of a veterinary hospital and convenient shopping points.

Central green spaces have been planned vertically throughout the sectors and parking zones have also been created on two sides of parks to avoid traffic congestion in the areas. Sectors have been divided into three zones and additional horizontal roads having a width of 80 ft to 100 ft within the sector have been planned for public convenience.

The plan, which was cleared by the Planning and Design Committees at its 17th meeting held on August 5, is now being examined by PUDA for checking its feasibility.

Mr Dharam Singh, Chief Town Planner, Punjab, said today that for the first time nearly 30 plots, measuring two kanals each, had been carved out as there was a demand for big plots. He said people were ready to pay an additional price for such plots.

The width of the internal roads in the new sectors had been increased from 30 ft to nearly 45 ft. The markets in the new sectors would have more parking space as compared to the already developed sectors.

He said efforts had been made to remove the drawbacks, found in various existing sectors of the town, in the new sectors.

Sources said central portion in a cluster of houses, based on the Swastika plan, would be kept green and as such nearly 60 per cent of houses would face green areas in the new sectors.

In between Sectors 77 and 78 fell Sohana village which had been retained. Even the existing structures falling in Sector 77 like an eye hospital, Akal Ashram Colony, a private school which fell under Sohana village had been adjusted in the planning. Efforts had been made to avoid carving out of residential plots on the road passing along the commercial area. On kanal and 16 marla plots had been carved out along the main road and a service lane had also been provided. Convenient shopping points had been planned at two points in each sector keeping in mind the needs of the public and also to avoid the coming up of rehri markets.

In Sector 78, a 20-acre site had been earmarked for the setting up of a bus stand which would fall on the 200 ft wide road dividing Sectors 69 and 78. This 200 ft wide road would ultimately link Dera Bassi to the Kharar road.

A site for a veterinary hospital had also been reserved in this sector. Mohali, so far, does not have a veterinary hospital. A regional commercial area had also been planned on the road dividing Sectors 78 and 79 on the pattern of the Madhya Marg in Chandigarh.



Defunct traffic lights create traffic jams
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, September 6
Defunct traffic lights at the Panchkula T-point on the ‘killer’ Chandigarh-Ambala highway have been creating a bottleneck in smooth flow of vehicular traffic for the past couple of months.

Traffic jams for long hours are frequent at this spot which puts thousands of road users on the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Zirakpur-Panchkula highways to a great hardship. Moreover, absence of any traffic police personnel here has multiplied the problem manifold. Harassed motorists can be seen violating traffic rules to get out of the jams.

Parking of vehicles along the Chandigarh-Ambala road by the shopkeepers and customers at this point has also resulted by road congestion. After getting fuel from a petrol station near by, the vehicles owners often take a wrong turn thus hindering the traffic flow on the highway. Chandigarh-bound long-route buses also stop here to drop passengers which further aggravates the problem of congestion.

Mr Kuljit Singh, a commuter from Chhat village, said that heavy volume of traffic coming from Chandigarh, Panchkula and Ambala sides converged at this point. “The T-point with defunct traffic lights and absence of any traffic police personnel, who could regularise the vehicular movement here, has turned into a death trap. The spot has become accident-prone and many motorists have met with major and minor accidents at this particular point in last few months,” he pointed out.

Residents of the area said that the police had erected a shack and deployed traffic police personnel to control the traffic some time ago. The shack was later abandoned for some unknown reasons. “I see police personnel controlling traffic only when any VVIP crosses from here,” said Mr Ramesh Kumar, a shopkeeper.

Mr Rajinder Singh, a commuter from Panchkula, said that scores of VVIPs, VIPs, top bureaucrats and political leader of the region crossed the highway daily but the authorities had not taken any concrete step to solve this problem. “No doubt the police has made an effort to create a separate lane at the intersection of the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Zirakpur-Patiala highways for the vehicles heading towards Rajpura but the problem still persists at the Panchkula T-Point,” he claimed.

Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dera Bassi, was not available for comments.



Bazigars object to PUDA move
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, September 6
The fate of over 300 Bazigar families facing dislocation hangs in balance due to a move of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) for setting up of an ultra-modern urban estate on the Kalka-Ambala highway, near here.

Over 2,000 residents of ‘Bazigar’ community, residing in Bazigar bastis of Nagla, Singhpura and Ramgarh Bhudda villages in Dera Bassi subdivision, which are proposed to be merged in the urban estate, fear being rendered homeless by the PUDA.

A majority of the Bazigar (a Scheduled Tribe community) families had migrated from other states and constructed houses in these villages since 1962 onwards. With the passage of time, the families grew to bastis.

After 40 years of their establishment in these bastis, the government had provided them with all basic civic amenities like water supply, electricity, telephone, roads, schools, health centres, community centres, dharmshalas and temples. Moreover, many families had constructed pucca houses and even purchased agriculture land.

At present the Bazigar bastis in Nagla, Singhpura and Ramgarh Bhudda villages have 150, 100 and 50 families, respectively living there. Members of these families have been earning livelihood by either selling seasonal fruits along the Kalka-Ambala highway or vegetables on rehris and at roadside vends. Families residing in Gajipur colony in Nagla village sell milk by rearing milch cattle, found out a Tribune team, during a survey of these bastis.

The families have filed objections against the PUDA’s proposal for the acquisition of acres of agriculture land for developing an urban estate with the merger of Nagla, Singhpura and Ramgarh Bhudda villages.

In their objection to the Collector of the Urban Development Punjab, the residents of the bastis objected over the setting up of the urban estate. They made it clear that the houses constructed in these bastis were the only shelter they had. If the PUDA acquire the land, over 300 families of the community would be rendered homeless as the residents were unable to purchase residential houses anywhere else.

The objection also lists, “The constructed area or area developed as residential should not be acquired. It is a policy of the state government not to acquire area on which such construction (residential) exists.”

The objectors also stated that the PUDA’s proposal to acquire the land would be in violation of their constitutional right — right to life and livelihood — as per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Mr Tejinder Singh, sarpanch of Nagla village, said that with the acquisition of the land, the owners of small landholdings would be rendered landless and those having only houses homeless.

Meanwhile, over 100 residents of these three villages also filed objections against the PUDA’s move for land acquisition. More than 50 villagers, under the leadership of Mr Ranjit Singh, a former sarpanch of Singhpura village, today visited the PUDA office in Mohali and submitted their objections.

The affected villagers also threatened to launch a protest if their objections were not accepted.

Earlier, the PUDA had issued a notification, under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, for the acquisition of land in Nagla, Singhpura and Ramgarh Bhudda village and had also sought objections from the affected parties till September 9.



Handcuffing of Kohli: police fails to file reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Chandigarh police today failed to file a reply to the contempt of court plea in the case relating to the handcuffing of Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, main accused in British teenager Hannah Foster rape and murder case.

However, in its reply in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate(CJM), Ms Paramvir Nijjar, the CBI pleaded that its spokesman was “misquoted” by the PTI in its report on August 31. Quoting the CBI spokesman, the report said the CBI had alerted its Chandigarh unit to oppose the bail plea of Kohli on September 1.

Defence counsel had alleged that the handcuffing of the accused attracted action under the Contempt of Courts Act as it was violative of court orders which said the accused would only be handcuffed when being produced in the court. They also sought the transfer of Mr Anokh Singh, Inspector with the Chandigarh police, from the case in the interest of justice.

Kohli also alleged shabby treatment at the hands of the police saying he did not commit any crime in India.



Indigenous character basis of India’s unity: Mukherjee
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Soviet Union disintegrated, Pakistan broke into two sovereign countries but the Indian union has remained a single unit despite its heterogeneous composition. According to Professor Partha Mukherjee, India succeeded in remaining united because the Indian state was based on an indigenous model of nationhood.

Mr Mukherjee, who was the speaker today at a series of lectures being organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) in memory of Mr P.N. Haksar, said Mr M.A. Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi had different perceptions about the concept of a nation.

Jinnah, by declaring the Muslims as a separate nation, was embracing the western definition of a nation as a mono-cultural entity. In contrast people like Gandhi, Tagore and other stalwarts of the Congress-led freedom movement saw the continuity of Indian civilisation as the basis for the Indian nationalism. The “civilisational basis” of Indian nationalism found shape in the Constitution drafted in independent India. Concepts like secular polity and recognition of the cultural plurality in India, which were incorporated in the Constitution, had flowed from the indigenous model of nationhood which was different from the western concept of nation as a homogeneous entity, Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee, who was associated with various institutions, including the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Indian Statistical Institute, said in his view nation and state complemented each other. Nation building was a continuous process, Mukherjee said. He concluded his speech by talking about a seminar in the USA on the issue of future of nation states till 2015. The Indian experiment figured prominently in the seminar and the broad view that emerged about India was that it was managing the aspirations of various cultural groups well and would remain a single unit even in 2015.

Mr M.J. Akbar, distinguished journalist, presided over the lecture session.

Describing Mukherjee’s presentation as a feast of ideas, Mr Akbar said Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had responded to Mr M.A. Jinnah’s call for carving out a country on the basis of religion as a wholly erroneous proposition. “Islam could be basis of so many things but not a country”, Akbar said, and added that the Arabs, despite having one language, one religion and the same culture, were living in 22 different countries.

In Pakistan new thinking was going on about moving away from its dependence on religion as the basis for its coming about and finding out a different premise for its existence, Akbar said.



His quest for learning is young even at 70
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
It’s a former school teacher’s quest to study Indian spiritualism in the light of history that’s taking him places at the age of 70 when most of his contemporaries are leading retired life in the comfort of their homes.

Young at heart and still an eager learner rearing to go, Harbans Lal Bawa, a research scholar at Panjab University, has added another feather to his cap and one more degree to his kitty. Though he submitted his Ph D on the “Concept of the Body in India” at Panjab University, his research has only prodded him to explore more into history, dwell deeper into the subject.

The study has failed to satiate my hunger for knowledge which began with my thesis in 1999. The degree happened for me just by the way. It is certainly not the end. My romance with the subject has just begun, he says.

He maintains that having a Ph.D degree would only add to his status in the eyes of the others. Hailing from Ferozpur district in Punjab, Babaji, as he is fondly called by research scholars of the Philosophy department, believes,”The higher you go, the more you work. The same holds good for me and I am game for it.”

Interestingly, Mr Bawa did his post-graduation in Sanskrit after he retired from service in 1992. This teacher-turned-student recalls that the inspiration to enroll for Ph D Came from some troubling questions that kept pestering him day and night.

“We have taught our students so much about the gurus, the spiritual leaders and their ideology. I wanted to find for myself whether their teaching did, in any way, influence the minds of the common man when India was faced with attacks by foreigners. I also wanted to know why we are lagging behind, our masses are poor and miserable and how the past had a role to play in the present. This drove me to bury my head in the books. Before, I knew it, I was compiling my learning into a thesis,” he stated.

While learning gave a high to this old man who cycled to from Mohali, where he has rented a house for his study, to the university daily, his family, especially his wife, was at her wits end throughout. “She keeps telling me to call it a day as far as studies are concerned. My son joins issue everytime. They keep telling me to contribute to our meagre family income by working somewhere. I just laugh it off and come to the university library. I keep telling them that hard work and learning has never killed anybody. My search continues uninterrupted,” he maintains.

During the course of completing his Ph D, Babaji, who put in eight hours of work daily, recalls his two-year stay in the hostel on the campus with fondness. His eyes reflect his happiness as he narrates,”I was one with the many hostellers, their friend and guide. I would go out with them to the market in the evenings. My white beard, my age didn’t matter. It has never stood in the way of the many friendships I have cultivated in the past few years. It was a very fulfilling experience though I still have a long way to go,” he holds.



Serving destitutes his mission
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ladhowal, September 6
Jyoti, a 10-year-old mentally challenged girl, might have become a burden for her parents forcing them to abandon her eight years ago, but for Baba Jaswant Singh and his wife, Gurmeet Kaur, the child, whom they want to provide the very best in life, is a part of their lives.

Middle-aged Goonga, they call him so as he is mute and hearing impaired, has been with Baba for over 14 years now. He was found near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib from where Baba Jaswant Singh brought him here.

For Nidhi, who was only one-year-old when her parents abandoned her, life revolves around this small family. This bubbly girl goes to school and cannot think being away from Baba and her other friends.

So is the case with 17 inmates of Apahij Rogiyan Da Ashram Atey Welfare Society, which is providing shelter and supporting treatment of its inmates free of cost.

“We want to give love and shelter to all who need it. Anyone, be it a child, an old person or someone physically challenged, is welcome to be a part of our family,” says 62-year-old Baba, who is managing the ashram for about 17 years now with the help of his wife and a few villagers.

It was in 1987, when after serving Pingalwara in Amritsar for over 18 years, he saw that the Pingalwara could not accommodate some needy persons for want of space. Moved by their condition, Baba Jaswant Singh brought them here and since then he has been involved in helping the needy. Since then, the ashram has been home to many.

Several have left the place after treatment, whereas a few, who could not find shelter, are with him. Saroj, around 60-year-old, and her husband are one such couple. Having married their daughters off and none to take care of them, the couple found a home in Baba’s ashram.

But four rooms is all that the society currently has. “We want to construct four more rooms so as to create separate wards for men and women. However, it will take time as we need to arrange funds. It is because of some kindhearted persons who donate funds to us that we have been able to manage the ashram,” he said.

The kids in the ashram go to school, whereas those who need treatment are taken to the Civil Hospital. However, the mentally challenged stay in the ashram. They are not getting treatment due to want of funds. “We have not sought government help. However, we would certainly be able to include more people and provide better services to them if we have more funds,” he said.



Fauji Beat
Defence forces need joint war doctrine

IT is surprising that India has been functioning without a war doctrine since Independence.

Not only that, the country does not even have a defence policy. Nor has any information policy for the Army been evolved so far. We believe in ad hocism because decision-making is not our forte.

The government had taken a decision after the Kargil war to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to head three services for fighting integrated and joint wars in future we have gone in for this system partially, but are still dragging our feet on appointing a CDS. The decision has stalled for one reason or another. The government has been averse to putting the armed forces under one head. The opposition of the Navy and the Air Force to it is another factor.

Despite all this, no right-thinking person can deny that to fight any future war successfully, the three services will have to plan and fight jointly. Notwithstanding the opposition to it, a CDS is not a distant dream now.

At present, the Army is actively discussing the likely war doctrine for it. Would it be correct for the Army to formulate a war doctrine just for itself, without bringing the Navy and the Air Force into its discussions? Would such a doctrine work for any future war? Have we forgotten the controversy between the Army and the Air Force about the latter’s role in the Kargil war? Admittedly, it is time we shed inter-services rivalries and formulate a joint war doctrine.

Don’t degrade pre-Independence war heroes

The gallantry awardees (i.e. Param Vir Chakra (PVC), Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) and Vir Chakra (Vr C) winners) are exempted from paying income tax on their pension. But this concession is not extended to the pre-Independence gallantry award winners. There is no logic behind such a treatment to the pre-1947 war heroes. Their bravery should not be belittled for having born earlier and joining the Army during the British regime.

This raw deal has embittered the Second World War gallantry award winners. A very few of them are surviving today. And they too are over 85 years of age. Their case has been taken up with the government a number of times, but to no avail. We should not give an impression to these war heroes that we do not consider them Indian soldiers. The Army should take up this case again with the government because such a discrimination towards a category of brave Indian soldiers affects the morale of the entire Army.

Even if we have any prejudice against the British, it should not be taken out on our soldiers who fought gallantly in the British Indian Army and won awards.

Cancer detection camp

The Southern Air Command held a cancer detection camp with the help of the Regional Cancer Detection Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, recently. The camp was organised by the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA). It was inaugurated by Dr (Ms) Rekha Malik, regional president of the AFWWA. Over 100 women were examined during the camp.

A nine-member team, led by Dr Remani Wesley, Dr Gigi Thomas and Dr Minu Abraham, from the Regional Cancer Detection Centre attended the camp. The participants were examined for oral, throat, food pipe, breast, uterus and lung cancer.

Railways’ concession for widows

The Railways has decided to grant 75 per cent concession to the widows of defence personnel killed in counter-insurgency operations. The concession has come into effect from September 6 and is admissible for travellling by the second and sleeper classes, without any distance limit.

No doubt it is a good concession. But the Railways should not restrict it to only the second and sleeper classes. The widows should be allowed to travel by the same class, as they were travelling when their husbands were alive.

— Pritam Bhullar



Bank computer goes on the blink, customers feel angry
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 6
Consumers especially industrialists and traders of the Punjab National Bank were put to great hardship for over two days following failure of the computers at the main branch of the bank here. Failure of computer network also hampered monetary transactions for more than two days thus causing huge losses to the consumers.

Mr N.K. Nahar, branch manager of the Punjab National Bank, made it clear that Central Processing Units (CPUs) of four computers were damaged due to some electric fault. He, however, claimed that the CPUs were repaired this afternoon and routine work in the bank was restored.



Kultar Singh’s death mourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The state secretariat of the Punjab State Committee of the CPM today mourned the death of Kultar Singh, younger brother of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

“With his death, apart from a big loss to the patriotic values and traditions, an important link is snapped who could narrate the inspiring episodes on the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh”, said Mr Balwant Singh, Secretary, Punjab CPM.



6 cases of vehicle theft registered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
The city police has registered six cases of vehicle thefts, including two cars and four two-wheelers and arrested a thief, who was caught red-handed while stealing a scooter from Sector 19, yesterday, according to information released today.

Baldev Singh was caught red-handed by Parveen Sagar, a resident of Mariwala Town, Manimajra, when the accused was stealing his Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-01-L-4570), from near Verka booth, Sadar Bazaar, Sector 19, yesterday. The police has registered a case of theft under Sections 379, 411 of the IPC in the Sector 19 police station.

Neeraj Khanna, a resident of Sector 43, reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-H-1751) had been stolen from Kisan Mandi held at Sector 33, on September 4. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 44 police station.

In a similar incident, Harjinder Singh, a resident of Sector 56, filed a case in the Sector 39 police station that his Maruti car (CH-01-A-6210) had been stolen from his residence during the night of September 4. The police has registered a case of theft in this regards.

Nirranjan Singh, a resident of Sector 19 Panchkula, reported that his motor cycle (HR-12-E-0605), had been stolen from Rehri Market, Sector 19, yesterday. The police has registered a case in the Sector 19 police station.

Mr Jeenat Goswami, a resident of SCO 104-5, Sector 17, lodged a complaint that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-D-0742) was stolen from CMC parking, Sector 17, on September 4. The police has registered a case of theft in the Sector 17 police station.

K.N. Arora, a resident of Sector 20-B, reported that his Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-01-M-5341) was stolen from Ramgaria Bhavan, Sector 27, on September 4. The police has registered a case in this regards in the Sector 26 police station.



Suicide by newly married woman
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
A newly married woman committed suicide in Saini Bhavan, Sector 24, here today evening.

It is learnt that Ritu Sharma, wife of Rajesh Kumar Prashar, consumed some poisonous substance in the evening when her husband was away. She along with her husband was staying at the Saini Bhavan since August 12. They belonged to Raman Mandi, Joginder Nagar, Jalandhar district. They were married on May 1, this year. No suicide note was left.

According to Rajesh, who is a tabla player, he came back to their room at 5 pm in the evening. The door of their room was closed from inside and the hymns were playing on the music system. Believing that she might be meditating he did not find it fit to disturb her and left. When after two hours he came back and found out that the door was still closed and the hymns were playing on, suspecting something wrong he called up the watchman and they both broke open the door. Inside, they found her lying and vomiting. They took her to the nearest private hospital, but she died en route.



Four arrested in a dowry case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
The police has arrested four persons — Sanjeev Verma, Bal Krishan Verma, Tilak and Seema, on charges of harassing Sanjeev’s wife, Ashu Geeta, for bringing insufficient dowry.

All accused were produced before Magistrate Ashok Aggarwal today. While Sanjeev, Bal Krishan and Tilak were remanded in police custody for one day, the court issued a notice to the state for tommorow, on the bail application filed by Ms Seema.

Ms Ashu Geeta and Sanjeev, an NRI settled in New Zealand, had been married for one and a half year, and have a two months old baby. The complainant has also alleged that she was also harassed by her husband in New Zealand, and the matter was reported to the police there.

Judicial remand: The Duty Magistrate, Mr Ashok Aggarwal, today remanded Ms Rosy Devgan, manager of immigration firm, Fly International, to one day in police custody. The young woman was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing yesterday.

The police say that the manager had signed all the receipts of money received from the complaints, for sending them abroad. So far, the police has received six complaints against the immigration firm and detected a fraud of Rs 6 lakh. The managing director of the firm, Rahul Chaudhary is still at large.



Man suspected to have died of poisoning
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
Mystery shrouds the death of a 28-year-old resident of Bhainsa Tibba village, who died at Government Medical College and Hospital Chandigarh this morning.

Meharban, a tailor, was rushed to the hospital in the morning after a bout of vomiting and abdominal pain. He was declared brought dead.

A post-mortem examination was conducted and doctors suspected it to be a case of poisoning. Family members of the victim, however, maintained that the victim had been unwell for some days.

The viscera has been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban, for chemical examination.



Unit owners meet Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
A delegation of the Chandigarh Industrial Fasteners Association today called on the UT Administrator, Justice OP Verma.

According to the association president, Mr A.L. Aggarwal, the delegation urged the Administrator to order the transfer of lease deed rights to CITCO shed-holders, besides the enhancement of the self-assessment limit to sales tax from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 crore and constitution of the industry facilitation council.

Justice Verma assured the delegation that their genuine demands would be looked into.


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