C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT demands more power from Centre
Adviser protests: ‘No justification for cuts in
revenue surplus area’
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Facing a huge cut in power allocation which has led to power cuts, the Chandigarh Administration today shot letters to the Union Power Minister and also the Union Power Secretary demanding more power for the city which is reeling from huge cuts to tide over the shortage.

The UT Administrator Justice O.P. Verma (retd) has written to the Union Power minister while his Adviser, Lalit Sharma has written a detailed letter on why and how Chandigarh needs more power.

The Union Power Ministry had cut the assured allocation of Chandigarh from 218 Mega Watt per hour to anything between 115 to 150 MW per hour, depending upon the peak hours of usage. Without this power the Administration has been forced to impose rotational power cuts lasting two hours each throughout the day.

The Administration has brought out that the cut in allocation for Chandigarh was unreasonable as the city had no power generation source of its own and it only draws from the grid on payment. In the past few weeks the Administration has been buying power at a whopping Rs 6 per unit during peak hours. When any state over draws more than its allocation it has to pay fines thus the allocation in itself is critical.

The Northern Region Load Despatch Centre which monitors the power grid had threatened to disconnect power supply to Chandigarh in case the overdraft was not stopped.

In his letter the Adviser has explained that Chandigarh was a revenue surplus state and the electricity was not running in losses. Chandigarh Administration collects about Rs 225 crore by selling power and it spends almost the same amount in buying power from outside. It is not like the typical loss-making state electricity boards.

Meanwhile sources pointed out the receipts from power will drop in this year if the same scenario continues. Due to the shortage of power production in industrial units will be hit. Yesterday the city consumed 38.50 lakh units of power while the allocation was for 31 lakh units. The gap is to be bridged by paying fines. Had the cuts not been imposed the usage would have jumped to 43 lakh or 44 lakh units in day and it would have resulted in even more fines besides the threat of dis-connection.

It may be re-collected that Chandigarh had been consistently performing well in the power sector thus had slowly built up on its reputation and get an allocation of 218 mega watt.

Schedule for power cuts

  • 9 am to 11 am: Sector 26, Bapu Dham, Grain Market, part of Sector 7B & C, parts of 27, 28, parts of 19, parts of 20, Sector 15-A, B & C.

  • 10 to 12 noon: Sector 1, parts of Sector 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7A & B, 8A-B & C, 9A-B&C,10A&B, Sector 47, 31, parts of 30, 29C&D, 27, 33, 46, 48, 45, 34, parts of Ram Darbar, Hallomajra village, Kaimbwala village.
  • 11 to 1 p.m: Sector 39, 24, 40, Maloya village, Maloya Colony, Sectors 56, 38 West, parts of Sector 37 and 38, Sector 23-A&B, Dadu Majra, Dadu Majra Colony, IMT (39).
  • 12 to 2 p.m: Parts of Ram Darbar, Darua village, Behlana village, parts of 30, 37, 36D, parts of 40, 41.
  • 1 p.m to 3 pm: Sectors 11, 10B, C&D, 9C, parts of Sectors 2, 16 parts of Sector 25 Sarangpur, PGI Colony, PEC (12), Aman Colony, Sector 15D.
  • 2 p.m to 4 pm: Parts of 17, 22C, parts of 16, Sector 29A,B, Colony No 4, Raipur Khurd, Makhanmajra.
  • 3 pm to 5pm: Sectors 8C, 9C, 18, parts of 19, parts of 17, 20, 34, 32, 43, parts of 21, Mauli village, Mauli Jagran Colony, Raipur Kalan village, Bhagwanpura, IT Park Mani Majra City, Kishangarh, Shivalik Enclave.
  • 4 p.m to 6 p.m: Sector 34 C &D, parts of 34 City Centre, Sectors 35 A-B & C, 22C&D, 20A&C, 33A &C, 45A, MHC, 23-A-C&D, Sectors 42, 52, 61, 41, 22A, 44C&D, 43, parts of 45, 36 C, parts of 46, 44A, 35D, parts of 32.



Power cuts throw traffic out of gear
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 11
The Chandigarh Traffic police today had testing time in managing traffic because of the power cuts in the city. Due to the two hour power cuts traffic lights in affected areas went off. Motorists were forced to find way through the chaos.

The police was not posted to manage traffic even as the schedule for power cuts has been appearing in newspapers in the past three days. Source said the deployment was routine and no special arrangements were made for the regulation of traffic. The police claimed that there were no reports of any traffic related problems due to the non-functioning traffic lights.

In absence of any clear directions do, several policemen were found to be passing their ‘free time’ under the trees gossiping as there were nobody to be nabbed for jumping traffic lights.

Motorists on inner roads of the city were moving on their own as the policemen were not deployed there to regulate the traffic in the absence of traffic lights. Road users found it tough in the absence of traffic lights. Traffic was moving irregularly. Vehicles were seen coming to a halt to avoid hitting vehicles coming from the opposite direction. At some points there were small traffic help ups when motorists in an effort to pass each other got grazed at the cross roads.

There were no traffic police cops at Sector 18-19 traffic lights when there was a power cut between 3 pm and 5 pm. Also no traffic policemen was anywhere near entry points of Sector 17 when the cut was imposed power supply from 2 pm to 4 pm. The same was the case of sector 19-27 and 29-30 traffic lights.

Traffic cops were regulating traffic at the Aroma lights, Piccadilly chowk and at Transport chowk lights. These being the roads where volume of traffic is heavy and police is generally deployed on the normal days also.

It was clear that the police has not made any advance arrangements to cope with these problems arising due to the absence of power supply.

Mr Inder Verma of Sector 27, who was driving a scooter said the Traffic Police of the city is known to its residents as a ‘Challan Issuing Police’. And today they showed their lackadaisical attitude by not even noticing the very basic and are normally more interested in nabbing traffic rules violators than regulating the traffic on the roads.



Industrialists resent power cuts
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 11
Unscheduled power cuts for the industrial sector have put the industrialists to a great hardship besides causing them huge losses for the past a couple of months.
The industrialists complained that the frequent power cuts had hit the production in their units. Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees have only added to their problems.

They alleged that anti-industrialist policies of the Punjab government had been forcing the industrialist to shift from Dera Bassi and Lalru to neighbouring states.

Mr HS Kohli, a former president of the Dera Bassi Small Scale Industries Association, the government’s decision to impose 24-hours power cuts to the industrial sector from September 11 onwards would ruin the industrialists. 



Gurdwara or parking place for trucks?
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, September 11
Caretakers of Gurdwara Tibba Sahib, Sector 26, are allegedly charging Rs 50 per truck as a parking fee illegally and give a receipt of donation (kar seva) against the money charged by them.

With lack of parking space at a time when there is a heavy influx of apple-laden trucks, the gurdwara caretakers have made it a business allowing trucks to be parked near the religious place.

The caretakers of the gurdwara have turned it into a major source of revenue by charging money from the drivers. Such practice without any permission has been going on for years.

A truck driver from Nalagarh district in Himachal Pradesh, said he had to give money to them as there was lack of parking space in the market.

He had no choice as policemen also asked for money if vehicle was found parked on the roadsides. Moreover the Gurudwara people charged Rs 50 once and the drivers were allowed to park their vehicles for two-three days.

Another truck driver, who was from Gurudaspur district said he found it convenient to pay them as he was even allowed to take a bath at the Gurdwara’s water tap.

He further said approximately 50-70 trucks were parked in the Gurdwara premises daily. The Gurdwara people make anything around Rs 2500 or 3500 daily.

There is no boundary wall of the Gurdwara, thus trucks moves freely in the premises. There are three kuchha rooms in the Gurdwara and the Nishan Sahib (the Religious Flag and Symbol) is hoisted in front of these rooms in the open area. Truckers move freely without covering their heads. The truck drivers are even spotted smoking in the Gurdwara.

When this correspondent approached the caretaker posing as a trucker, (as they avoid talking about this affair in public) the caretaker said they had ample space to park the trucks.

When he was asked about the money he showed the kar-seva receipt and said they charged Rs 50 per truck.



PGI deputy chief not allowed to join duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
The PGI’s Deputy Director Administration (DDA) Meeta Rajivlochan was not allowed to join her duties today at the institute when she came back after remaining on “forced leave” for the last 15 days.

In a fresh official circular issued by the Director PGI, Prof K.K. Talwar, today morning, the PGI’s Financial Adviser, Mr Harmit Singh, had been asked to continue his own duties, along with the additional charge of the duties of the DDA, “till any further orders.”

Sources in the institute said DDA Meeta Rajivlochan, who had been sent on the official leave since August 27 for issuing a controversial circular to her staff, had completed 15 days’ of the leave period today. She tried to submit her joining report to the Director this morning. But the Director did not accept the report and returned it to her. The Director then issued a fresh office order to reaffirm the indefinite leave period of the DDA. Sources further revealed that the DDA, while leaving the institute today, took away some files from her office.

The entire controversy, which had gripped the PGI for last couple of weeks, was about a circular issued on August 24 by the DDA to the staff of seven administrative wings under her, asking the staff “not to hesitate to disagree with the Director PGI in the administrative matters.” In the name of improving the efficiency at PGI, she, in fact, went on to write in her circular that the “Director is a medicine man. His core competence does not lie in administrative matters and he needs to be briefed about all administrative matters.’’

The Union Health Ministry had taken “a serious note of the incident” and the DDA was served a show-cause notice Her reply was already being examined by ministry officials in Delhi. A final decision by the ministry was awaited next week as the Union Health Minister A Ramadoss would join office on Monday.

The entire episode ensued a strong reaction from the PGI faculty which said that `the unprecedented incident is not only unfortunate but also a breach of protocol.’’



With Javed, Shabana, it is theatre at its best
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
When Shabaan Azmi and Javed Akhtar get together it is perhaps theatre at its best. The unstated intensity, the silken bonds between two strong individuals and the dialogue that flows between them yield valuable nuggets on their state of being.

Though spontaneous and heartfelt, the chemistry between the two, verbal and non-verbal, has the essence of a finely crafted script involving two self-absorbed yet richly creative people. The romanticism that follows is interesting, even surprising.

Shabana came first and held the centrestage for an hour at the residence of Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla. She spoke passionately about the grim consequences of communalism, the need to take religion away from politics and the urgency to strengthen democracy. But as she reasoned issues like the validity of Islam and the need of regional cooperation, her heart seemed restive.

It was obvious that she was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Javed Akhtar who was to come from Saharanpur. When he finally arrived on the scene, the script flowed effortlessly, with man and wife sharing identical notes on almost everything from matrimony to communalism. “We are like intellectual twins. My friends tell me that I keep magnifying his views and he keeps magnifying mine,” signals Shabana, a sense of romanticism hovering around her.

The expression of love lingers, “We share the same world view, the same professions. Also, we are so much content in our spaces that we don’t burden each other for sustenance. Relationships where one person depends entirely on another for emotional sustenance don’t last longer. Fortunately, we feel fulfilled in our respective worlds,” she said.

The expression finds reciprocation from the other side, with Javed admitting that Shabana was his best critic. “She is the biggest critic of her own works. I value her remarks because they are purposeful but finally I do what my sensibilities approve of,” declares the quintessential poet insisting that a fundamentalist would have given us a better copy.

“My greatest concern as a writer is restoration of peace in the country. Those assigned with the task of ensuring that justice prevails have abdicated their duty. So we had to come forward to spread the message that violence breeds violence. We need to be secular but our secularism should not condone minority reactionary attitudes.” That reminds one of what Shabana had just said, “Secularism would allow easy expression of fundamental and liberal view points.”

As the notion of Shabana-Javed being intellectual twins gets established, we ask Javed about how he strikes a balance between commercial and social pursuits. “It’s easy. We are all juggling more than one ball at a time. “Seemingly more at ease with the status celebrity than his wife, Javed even cares to blast the myth that there is something mystifying about his works. “Writers love to create an aura around them, but I am not in that league. I write simple poetry that can be identified with.” Reflections of Jaan Nisar Akhtar are, however, integral to his writings.

Fed on a diet of classical Urdu poetry, Javed is as much in league of his own as Shabana is. Does the celebrity status bot burden them at times? Shabana takes this one, “The advantages of being known are great. Anyone who says he does not savour fame must be lying.” Javed refrains from a remark. He would rather have the script flowing...



Javed Akhtar casts a spell
Aditi Tandon

Javed Akhtar enraptures with his words. Measured, motivated and refreshingly melodic, they flow unmindful of restraint, inspiring emotions and actions alike. And as they impact the mind at various levels, one wonders what has kept Javed Akhtar from entering politics.

“I have never felt the need to be a politician. Par logon ko bigadte der nahi lagti,” shot the poet in Javed Akhtar who stood in conversation with the people of Chandigarh at Tagore Theatre, courtesy Reel Entertainment. The show was rare in all respects, from the way it managed to draw the best in Javed Akhtar who literally poured his heart out even on issues as personal as alcoholism.

Reacting to a decent query in this regard, he said, “I am obliged that you have used the word “maikashi”. You could have worded your question rudely. But I am glad to admit that I have not drunk to ages. I gave up liquor because I felt the conscious always had an advantage over the inebriated, who ran tremendous risk of committing blunders.”

Before taking on queries spanning all aspects of his life, Javed Akhtar recited several poems from his latest anthology, “Tarkash”. The verse, as always, tugged at the heartstrings, with the element of relatability reigning supreme. He began with a “nazm” he wrote recently. Titled “Yeh khel kya hai”, it used the metaphor of chess to bare the futility of war. Then came strikingly fresh poetic pieces like “Bachpan”, “Dushwari”,“Uljhan” and “Banjara”.

But more than the poetry, it was the interaction that bared more of Javed Akhtar who talked about serious issues with admirable ease. Amidst applause, Akhtar admitted to his hatred for arrogance, even his love for song, verse and prose.

“We have immense poetic talent in India but the trouble is that the youngsters are not prepared. It’s a must to learn the craft of every art,” said Javed sharing his experiences from the days when he came to Mumbai to become a film director. “I began as an assistant director, but I used to edit dialogues. Gradually I began writing scripts, and then songs. Yash Chopra had literally forced me to writing lyrics for “Silsila”.”

The creator of hits like “Ek Ladki Ko” and “Pyar mujhse jo kiye tumne”, has been influenced in his creative pursuits by progressive writers like Sahir and Krishan Chander. “We have had seven generations of poets in our family. I was the only one who digressed, but returned for good,” said Javed Akhtar who cherishes his role as a script writer too. “I have identified most with three characters — Gabbar in “Sholay”, Raja in “Mashaal” and Vijay in “Deewar”. It was fascinating to see them evolve. They often surprised me with their spontaneity.”

The interactive session was followed by another event that featured singers from Chandigarh presenting hit songs of Javed Akhtar. As the show went on, the poet sat as though readying for another spell of creativity. TNS



Jail term for 8 advocates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
After holding eight Faridabad-based lawyers and a journalist guilty of contempt of court, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has sentenced them to undergo simple imprisonment for periods ranging from three to six months. A fine ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 has also been imposed.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice B K Roy and Justice V K Bali, described the activities of the contemners as those of a mafia gang. “We are terming the activities of the contemners as those of a mafia gang for the reason that they not only threatened and used abusive language against a Magistrate — dealing with the matter and yet not satisfied with the same — they also raised slogans against him...”

The Judges added that the contemners “blocked the entrance and exit door of the court room”. “The abuses hurled by them were so shameful that in the first instance we were not inclined to even make a mention of the same in the order....”

The Bench also observed that they had come across a number of contempt matters, but no case parallel to the present one “might have come to their notice”.

The High Court had earlier taken suo motu notice on the basis of a letter received from Faridabad’s District and Sessions Judge in September, 1999. The letter reportedly mentioned that on September 11, 1999, advocate L N Prashar hurled abuses and made derogatory remarks after finding that a decision of a Judicial Magistrate was not favourable.

Later others also allegedly joined him and shouted slogans against the magistrate and also threatened him. In their detailed order, the Bench observed, “Unfortunately more such cases are coming to the courts, wherein a lawyer, unable to get the desired relief, has a tendency to be discourteous, disrespectful and disparaging simply to brow-beat the court and have a command order. The ring leaders of the gang, from the narration of the facts given, appear to be advocates O P Sharma and L N Parashar. The other contemners seem to be towing their line and come forward to support them at their command”. The Bench also observed that this was not an isolated instance and the contemner apparently had no regret regarding their ‘misconduct’.



‘Act has made security forces brutal’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act has only made security forces brutal and has exposed the ugly face of the Indian ruling elite. The Act has not helped in reducing extremism in the North-East — at least this is what speakers at a seminar organised by the Institute for Development and Communication had to say.

The speakers added that the situation in Manipur was being viewed as a conflict between India and people of Manipur.

The impression sought to be created was that the people of Manipur were either extremists or hostages.

The allegations of rape and murder of Monorama were also sought to be passed off as an isolated incident.

But all this was far from the truth.

Prof Apurba Baruah of North-Eastern Hill University at Shillong said the people of Manipur had proved their faith in the Indian judiciary by participating in the elections repeatedly since 1952.

Addressing the gathering, the Associate Professor of Philosophy at Jawaharlal Nehru
University, Dr Bhagat Oinam, said a draconian law of the colonial power, used during the 1942 Quit India Movement, was being re-enacted in independent India against its own people from 1958.



Probe ordered into conductor’s callousness
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 11
The Director, State Transport, Punjab today ordered an inquiry into the alleged callousness of a bus conductor in Morinda that had led to a student sustaining grave injuries. The bus conductor had reportedly pushed out the student from the moving bus. The student, Jatinder Singh Honey, a BA first year student of the local Government College, fell on the road and the rear tyre of the bus crossed over his right leg.

The Director, State Transport, Mr P.S. Aujla, said he had asked his officers to investigate the incident and report to him. "Following which action would be initiated against those found responsible," he said adding that fresh instructions were being issued to the field staff to ensure that buses provide regular services to students.

Meanwhile, students of Government College had alleged that both the government and private buses did not allow students to occupy seats in the buses and most of the time avoided ferrying them since they had subsidised passes. There have been several instances when conductors or drivers had pushed away or hit the students when they had tried to enter these buses, they alleged.

“No such incident has come to my notice. Neither have I received any complaint from any educational institution regarding this,” said Mr Aujla. However, he pointed out that bus drivers and conductors check entry into the bus if it was overcrowded or full.

When contacted, the Chairman, Pepsu Road Transport Corporation, Mr Ved Prakash Gupta said he, too, had not received any complaint about PRTC bus drivers not stopping buses for students who had passes.

Reimbursement was made to the corporation for subsidised passes issued to the students, he said adding that if the government wanted, it could run buses on specific routes only for students.

Hundreds of angry students had smashed two buses outside the government college yesterday. They spilled over on the road outside the college yesterday and blocked traffic for over an hour. The police restored to a mild lathi charge and at least six students received injuries.



Bir Devinder out of Punwire’s revival process
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 11
The person who had mooted the idea of the possibility of the revival of Punjab Wireless Limited here has been booted out of the process. In a controversial move the Punjab Government has ‘once again’ constituted a core committee to revive Punwire, this time, excluding the name of Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh from the committee.

According to an office order (a copy of which is with The Tribune), issued by Mr S.C. Agarwal, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries, dated August 20, 2004, a core committee to explore the possibility of the revival of Punwire has been constituted. The committee will be chaired by the Punjab Finance Minister. While all the other members of the committee remain the same, the name of Mr Bir Devinder Singh has been replaced by former Ropar MP, Mr. Shamsher Singh Dullo.

Interestingly, the ‘original’ core committee to revive Punwire was constituted in October, 2003, on a detailed noting of Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who was the Deputy Speaker then and had floated the idea of Punwire's revival. Two meetings of this core committee, with Mr Bir Devinder attending them, had already taken place, the last being held on July 20. While a proposed revival plan was placed before the core committee in its first meeting held on April 12, 2004, it was decided in the second meeting that the Punjab Government consider the technical viability of the revival plan.

While Mr Bir Devinder Singh could not be contacted for comments, Mr S.C. Agarwal, when contacted, said he was not aware of Mr Bir Devinder's removal from the core committee. “I did recall that that an office order regarding the core committee was issued but I had nothing to say about its contents,” he said.

Despite the fact that a copy of this office order were forwarded to Mr Bir Devinder Singh for information, the order does not state that the core committee has been ‘reconstituted’ to exclude his name. It simply states that a core committee has been constituted. Other than the Finance Minister, the new eight-member core committee now includes the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries, Principal Secretary, Department of Finance, former Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr A.S. Chatha, MD, Punjab Financial Corporation, MD, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo.

If this is the new core committee, then what will be the fate of the original core committee? What about its two meetings and the proceedings?’’questioned a close aide of Mr Bir Devinder Singh adding that the action was a fallout of Mr Bir Devinder's outspoken nature. “Since he had the courage to call a spade a spade, his presence was considered threatening by many,” he added.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh was at the forefront of pushing the government into considering the revival of the company, the closure of which had led to thousand persons losing their jobs. Some time after the constitution of the core committee, Mr Bir Devinder resigned as a member of the committee following a protest by the company's former employees. However, he was coaxed into withdrawing his resignation by the then Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, after the workers tendered an apology.



Only 1 pc women own land, says Shabana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Nearly 90 per cent of women are engaged in agriculture and allied activities, but only 1 per cent have land in their name. This is indeed a sad reflection, said fiery feminist Shabana Azmi, while exhorting rural women in the region to become more active and assert their rights.

Presiding over a seminar on "Women in agriculture — workers to entrepreneurs", organised by Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust, she said a mechanism needed to be created to empower women, otherwise the whole exercise was futile. Women could emerge as a force to reckon with and needed to have a voice in Parliament.

Ms Varinder Kaur Randhawa, Associate Professor in PAU, Ludhiana, said women could play an important role in reorienting agriculture to the present needs of the country by doing away with conventional methods. Taking note of the fact that a woman works for 16 to 18 hours a day and has no time to spend on herself, she stressed that efforts should be made to reduce their drudgery by offering them technical assistance and to empower them economically.

Putting the blame for AIDS infection in most cases on men, Ms Vandana Mahajan from the United Nations Development Fund for Women lamented that women today were still not in a position to insist that their spouses should use a condom for safer sex. She held the government responsible for not paying adequate attention to issues pertaining to public health. Nearly 50 lakh people in the country were AIDS-affected, of which 20 lakh were women, she added.

Piya Sharma representing an NGO laid emphasis on the reproductive health of women and their education, which according to her, are big steps towards empowerment.

The general secretary of the Young Farmers Association, Mr Bhagwan Dass, talked of shifting the focus on market-oriented agriculture from merely growing crops. There was need for diversification and exploring open markets for the produce. The General Manager of Punjab National Bank, Mr B.P. Chopra, talked about what banks were doing to provide credit to women in rural and semi-urban areas for agriculture and allied activities.

During the open session, women from different rural backgrounds in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh highlighted the problems they faced in opening an account or availing loans under various schemes for their self-help groups and that the formalities should be simplified. Fed up with chasing banks for a loan, Raksha suggested that stamp duty in Punjab should be reduced on the pattern of neighbouring states and only office -bearers of a group should be required to go to a bank for loan and not all members. Kuldip Kaur sought subsidy on loans for self-help groups

Later, some women narrated their success stories in agriculture and other agro-based enterprises. While Shashi Sabharwal talked of her experiment as a strawberry grower in Kurukshetra, Gurmeet Kaur of Manna Talwandi narrated how she had been active in fields, ploughing them with a tractor for the past 18 years and looking after livestock.



City girl selected for commission in Army
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Come October, Arshpreet, a girl from the city, would join a selected group of 22 girls to adorn the olive green.
This 21-year-old girl, a second-year student of MA (English) at Panjab University, was among the 22 girls picked from across the country after a tough screening process by the Subordinate Selection Board (SSB).

They would undergo training at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, before joining as short service commission officers in the Indian Army.

“There has been no let up in the enthusiasm since the first batch of 25 girls made history when they joined the Indian Army. It is a promising career, which also earns the national pride, and respect” believes Col Piyush Bahugna (retd), Arshpreet’s mentor.

Many girls opted for the Air Force and the Navy also. The candidates were selected under a special enrollment scheme for women. Hundreds of girls appeared in the test of the SSB and the best 22 were selected every year.

Excited over her selection, Arshpreet told the Chandigarh Tribune that seeing the special chance provided by the Army, she decided to grab the opportunity. “It is a perfect gift for my father whom I had promised that I would become an Army officer before I turn 22 years of age”.

She added that when she was studying at Army School, Pathankot, she used to see Army vehicles passing by her school, giving her constant motivation to join the force.

Explaining the rigorous process to test officer like qualities (OLQ), she said around 300 girls were shorlisted and out of these the best 22 were called for training at the OTA. “I am ready to face the tough training schedule,” she said.

Colonel Bahugna, who has been training persons for NDA, CDA and SSB, says the Armed Forces provided a promising career for the boys and girls.



Western Command Raising Day events
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
A number of special programmes are scheduled to be organised to mark the 57th Raising Day of the Western Command at Chandi Mandir Military Station, near here, from September 15.

The celebrations will commence with a homage-paying ceremony at the Command War Memorial, Veer Smriti, with General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh, and veteran soldiers laying wreaths at the memorial, a statement issued here said.

Other events planned for troops and their families include a display by the dare-devil team of motorcycle riders from the Corps of Military Police, a dog show and a band concert by the Maratha Light Infantry band.

On September 15 the motor cycle display and the dog show will also be organised in the Sports Complex, Sector 7 B, Chandigarh, for the benefit of the people living in Chandigarh. The Maratha band will play at the Sector 17 Plaza, Chandigarh, on September 17.



Federation of schools to launch movement against terrorism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
The Federation of Indian Schools (FIS), as a NGO comprising members from different walks of life, have announced a movement against terrorism beginning from Gandhi Bhavan, Panjab University on October 2.

Addressing a press conference, members of the FIS, said the purpose of the movement was to generate awareness among the youth. The federation also plans to create a ‘ Pool of Resources’ identifying the needs of schools and accordingly design the workshops and training systems to impart requisite knowledge and skills to the students, teachers and school managements.

The federation has been formed with a vision to bring together schools of India to a common pool of resources, research and publication.



Auto drivers intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 11
Auto-rickshaw drivers in the township intensified their ongoing stir today. Autos coming from Chandigarh were stopped by the striking drivers and not allowed to enter Mohali, leading to angry scenes at the Mohali-Chandigarh border points. Sources said the striking drivers deflated tyres of some autos coming from Chandigarh.

Terming the strike as successful, Mr Rajinder Singh Randhawa, president of the SAS Auto-rickshaw Drivers Union, said not a single auto plied in Mohali today. ‘‘We will not allow any auto to enter Mohali. School students will not be picked up from their homes in Mohali on Monday and neither autos carrying schoolchildren from Chandigarh to Mohali will be allowed to enter,’’ he said. Mr Randhawa said if no action was initiated by either the Mohali or the Chandigarh Administrations soon the drivers would have to take to the streets. ‘‘We will intensify the stir further. Any auto found plying on Mohali roads would be impounded by us. And on Tuesday, we will take to the streets,’’ he said.



Housing complex for ITBP jawans opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Mrs Swatanter Kaur, chairperson, Himveer Wives Welfare Association (HWWA), inaugurated a housing complex of 15 No Type-III quarters here today.
This would benefit a long-standing requirement of ITBP troops, deployed on the border outposts on the Indo-China border.

As a welfare measure, the complex was dedicated to the separated families of the jawans deployed away from their families for a long period of time. She addressed a large number of officers and families present on the occasion.

Special steps had been taken on behalf of HWWA to look after other welfare needs of the Himveer jawans. Each of these quarters have 3 spacious rooms with added facilities.

The ITBP jawans and their families would be utilising this facility at ITBP Transport Battalion located at Chandigarh, Airport, near Behlana village.



BPCL conducts mock fire drill
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 11
As an annual feature to check the effectiveness of its emergency preparedness in case of any mishap, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) conducted a mock fire-fighting drill within the premises of the company’s bottling plant here today.

The drill was conducted with the help of the fire brigade and the police to ensure the company’s effectiveness in handling any mishap.

After detecting ‘mock’ leakage in the flange of an LPG pipeline, a fire-reading system detected a minor fire and sounded alarms. Hearing the alarms, about 45 trained staff and officers working inside the plant rushed to the spot carrying fire-fighting equipments.

In the meantime, the fire-fighting team swung into action. Subsequently, the fire brigade was called from Dera Bassi and Ambala, and the police from Lalru for help. After fighting four over 20 minutes, the flames were brought under control.

The mock drill was conducted in the presence of Mr Sanjiv Kumar, Tehsildar, Dera Bassi, and Mr R.K. Bhardwaj, SHO, Lalru, said Mr M.N. Rao, territory manager of the company.



Motorists allege harassment by cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
A High drama was witnessed at the Sector 9-10 dividing road near Matka Chowk late this night when about a dozen motorists alleged harassment by UT police personnel who had put a naka there to nab the traffic rules violators, including drunken driving.

The motorists, however, alleged that the policemen did not had proper equipment to check drunken driving and that they asked them to give them their licences for issuing challans.



DC seeks time to file reply
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 11
The counsel for the Deputy Commissioner and the Municipal Council president has sought time till September 18 for filing a reply in a petition filed by two lawyers on the pitiable condition of public conveniences in the courts complex.

A notice was issued to the Deputy Commissioner and MC president by the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mrs Sneh Prashar, for today. Two lawyers, Mr Ramesh Goyal and Mr Satish Kumar, had filed a petition, seeking instructions to the local administration to look into the matter. The petitioners have said that the toilets are in a dilapidated condition.



Brahma Kumaris’ conference on Sept 26
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 11
A five-day conference on ‘Media, Technology and spirituality’ is being organised jointly by the media wing of Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation and Brahma Kumaris at Shantivan from September 26.

Brahma Kumari Prem, in charge of the local centre, said here today that nearly 2000 delegates from the print and electronic media, programmers, directors from newspapers, magzines, radio, TV, film producers, controllers, broadcasters, cable operators along with IT professionals, media experts, academics, PROs from all over the country and Nepal were likely to participate in the conference.

The main topics to be covered in the conference are current social scenario and media; media, technology and spirituality, redefining the goals of media with reference to spirituality; stress free living; media agenda for a better society; Karma philosophy for success in life; eternal values in media; promoting social harmony through media; decline in social values and media; new dimension of media technology; and cyber media and global culture.

The centre in charge said that free registration, boarding and lodging facilities were to be provided by Brahma Kumaris but participants would have to bear their travel expenses.



Chawla elected CIA President

Chandigarh, September 11
Mr M.P.S. Chawla was elected President of the Chandigarh Industrial Association at a meeting of the association in Industrial Area Phase II here today.

Other office-bearers are: Senior Vice-President — Mr N.S. Vohra; Vice-President — Mr Parkash Bhambani; General Secretary — Mr Tejinder Singh; Joint Secretary — Mr Manmohan Singh; Finance Secretary — Mr Joga Singh. — TNS



Scooterist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 11
A scooterist, Raju Singh, resident of Vallapur village, Amritsar district, was killed when vehicle hit him, near Parveen Gas Agency, Mullanpur road, Sarangpur, yesterday. He died on the spot. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen: The police has registered a case of car theft on a complaint filed by Jagat Bhushan Sharma, a resident of Badheri, Sector 41. He has complained that his Maruti car (CH-01-M-5475) was stolen from the market area on the intervening night of September 9-10. The police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC.

Driver missing: Tarsem Puri, a resident of TPT Area, Sector 26, has reported to the police that Sumer Singh, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib district, who was driver of his truck (HR-38-A-0493) loaded with apples meant for delivery at Begusarai on August 27, 2004 had not reached Begusarai. He neither come back so far. The police has registered a case.

The local police has arrested Subhash Chand, a resident of Jhujjar Nagar, in Ropar district for carrying 30 litres of kerosene oil without permit or ration card on a complaint filed by Mani Ram Kalia Food And Supply Inspector, UT, Chandigarh. The police has registered a case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act.



Lot to learn from China, says businessman
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 11
A seminar on Business Excellence Through Process Approach was organised by Rotary Club Mohali today. Mr B.B. Gupta of Underwriters Laboratories was the key speaker.

Mr Gupta said that today the only language business understood in the world was of numbers and money. When one talks of excellence in business it is about numbers and money that is the bottom line.

He compared the working of industry in China with that of in India and said that to become competitive and world class there was a lot that we could learn from China. He said that their productivity was much higher than our and one reason he stated was their high-level of commitment, whereas we have a general absenteeism rate of about 10 per cent hey had a rate of less than 1 per cent Mr Gurmeet Singh, President Mohali Industries Association was also present.



BEL gets MoU Award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a defence public sector undertaking, has bagged the prestigious MoU Award for 2002-03. The award was received by BEL Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mr Y Gopal Rao, from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a function held in New Delhi last week, a statement issued here said.

The award, instituted by the Department of Public Enterprises, is given to the top 10 outstanding PSUs for their performance against memorandum of understanding targets.


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