C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Shopping festival begins with a bang
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Even as the shopping festival proposed by the Sector 22 Market Welfare Association continues to be mired in a controversy, a month-long shopping fete being organised by the Business Promotion Council (BPC), Sector 17, got off to a colourful start at the plaza, here today.

Beginning on a musical note this evening, with the military band providing lilting music in the background, the inaugural ceremony saw the release of colourful balloons by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, who opened the shopping festival.

The first lucky draw saw four winners walk home with prizes this evening. In the month-long festival which would conclude on November 28 and have daily draws of two prizes, gifts worth Rs 30 lakh are on offer.

The grand finale will be held on the last day of the festival when 15 prizes will be given away.

These will include three cars, one Chevrolet Tavera, one Chevrolet Optra and one Opel Corsa, three Yamaha Libero motorcycles, one 29 inch television, one digital camera among other electronic goods.

The co-ordinator of the BPC, Mr Darpan Kapoor, said the daily draws would be held in rotation for all the six blocks of the Sector 17 market.

"Two lucky draw prizes will be given away everyday. We will hold a draw for one block at a time. For the mega prizes, the coupons for all the blocks would be mixed together and 15 coupons taken out. Prize winners of the blockwise draw will also have the option of forgoing their prize and trying luck for the mega prizes," he added.

This time the number of mega prizes has, intentionally, been kept low to make the finale a lively affair rather than confining it to just drawing out winners' coupons. While the market has been well-illuminated for the festival, nearly 200 loud speakers have been installed to play music and lend to the festive spirit.

"Last year, there were 125 speakers installed. This time, they are up to 200 and we have music that's playing all through the day. Also, this time round, everybody has been assigned a specific duty to streamline the organisation of the entire festival rather than making it a one-man show," Mr Kapoor stated.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers spent the entire day getting ready for the evening's gala event though customers had begun pouring in since morning.

Explaining the criterion for a coupon, Mr Subhash Kataria said that customers would be entitled to a coupon on shopping worth Rs 1500 for watches, mobiles and other electronic gadgets, Rs 1000 for jewellery, Rs 500 for clothes and shoes or eatables worth Rs 250.



It is David vs Goliath in Sector 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Adding a new twist to the apparently jinxed shopping festival of Sector 22, the booth-owners have taken up the challenge thrown by the big shop-owners and decided to hold a parallel shopping festival.

Calling themselves the Progressive Traders Association, these 80-odd booth-owners have put up a united front against the 16 'big businessmen' who had 'marginalised' them by shutting them out of the shopping festival announced by the Market welfare Association-22. Their shopping festival got underway in Sector 22 today.

Despite a limited budget, the PTA has been able to enough generate funds to offer a Maruti 800, scooter, air-conditioner, refrigerator among other things as prizes for the lucky draw which will be held on Christmas Day, the final day of the festival. Huge colourful posters of the festival and the prizes were pasted on the door of all the booths to announce its beginning.

The PTA president, Mr Ranjan Verma, said, "A handful of shop-owners cannot dictate terms to the entire market and get away with what they have in mind."

"Ideally the entire market should have been involved in the festival. Since that hasn't been done despite our willingness to participate, we have decided to hold a parallel festival only to show these big shop owners that we are no less when it come to organising a show. One things is certain, the podium will not come up however hard they may try," he thundered.

The PTA submitted a memorandum to the Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, against the shop-owners' move to raise a podium in front of their booths, thereby blocking the view of the booths.

Later, troublecropped up again after the shop-owners put up two huge welcome gates without the permission of the Municipal Corporation.

"Not only are the two gates objectionable but all the prizes,including cars and refrigerators on display in the market place should invite action from the MC. They cannot encroach upon the MC land without permission," Mr Verma claimed.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr MP Singh, confirmed that the MC had so far given no permission to the Market Welfare Association.



Verma lays out agenda for e-governance in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today laid out the future agenda of e-governance in the city. He said ‘e-governance’ was the key to efficient and transparent government.

He was speaking after inaugurating a three-day international workshop on ‘Strategic framework for e-governance — learning about Europe’s best practices’. Representatives from over 25 European countries are participating in the workshop.

He said while finding e-governance solutions for developing countries, it was imperative to ensure that citizens of the country got hassle-free administration and gains of development percolated to the needy at the lowest level.

He said the Chandigarh Administration had made a small beginning in the e-governance by setting up e-governance centres, known as Sampark Centres, at different locations in the city.

In the second phase, he said, these centres would cover activities of the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Estate Office.

He said the focus of the exercise was that consumers of the Chandigarh Housing Board were able to deposit their monthly instalments at any Sampark Centre and could access details of their accounts.

Meanwhile, Mr Krishna Giri, Government Sector Leader, ASEAN/South Asia IBM Business Consultancy Services, delivered thekeynote address at the three-day workshop held at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

She said e-governance was ‘Government on demand’. It was not about technology but about process implementation to make life of citizens easy and comfortable, she opined.

Mr Jeremy Millard from Danish Technological Institute, co-organisers of the event with the Society for Promotion of e-Governance, said Chandigarh could be the next destination after Hyderabad and Bangalore for showcasing e-governance.

Highlighting what needs to be done,Mr N.S. Kalsi, Secretary (IT), Government of Punjab, said there was a need to put people first, reduce authority and monopoly and increase accountability in the government.

He chaired the first plenary session on ‘e-governance and development’.

Dr Vinay Dharamadhikari, senior Director, Department of IT, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India, said computerisation of records was not e-governance. It required to more transparency, accountability and direct benefits to citizens.

Prof Michael Blakemore of University Durham, UK, emphasised the need to look into sociological aspects of e-governance so as to enable governments to deliver services that citizens needed the most.

In the second plenary session, Ms Christine Leitner of the European Institute of Public Administration, showcased the assessment criteria being followed to promote good practices in e-governance with the objective of increasing European competitiveness and better life for citizens.

The workshop is being organised by the Society for Promotion of e-Governance (SPEG), New Delhi, and the Danish Technological Institute. It is being sponsored by IBM India and Quark India, with the support of the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), the Chandigarh IT Club and Punjab Engineering College.

Senior administrators and professionals from various Indian states are also participating in the workshop to enrich their experience by getting knowledge of initiatives being taken in India and Europe. The conference will conclude on October 20.



City needs more water
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Alarmed at the reality that Chandigarh will face a drinking water crisis, the Administration is seeking more water from the canals of the Bhakhra Dam.

It is for the Administration to decide if it wants to build a dedicated canal or a pipeline using the force of gravity or draw water from the Bhakhra canal pumping it against gravity to meet the needs of the City Beautiful.

Chandigarh has a total water availability of 64 million gallons a day (mgd), which includes water from canals and tubewells. The demand in peak summer is beyond 105 mgd. This demand is set to rise dramatcally as the population is going to rise further. Already it is touching 10 lakh and the growth in the past one decade has been 41 per cent, upsetting all calculations of planners to provide drinking water.

The matter will be taken up through the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for having another agreement on water with Punjab and the Bhakhra Beas Management Board. Already an agreement exists for drawing 80 mgd from Kajauli in Ropar on the Bhakhra main line canal.

Of this 60 mgd is presently being drawn and the fourth phase of the drinking water project for drawing 20 mgd is nearing completion.

The rise of population in Chandigarh has been 41 per cent in the past one decade which has upset all calculations of planners. Of the present 60 mgd, 7.5 mgd is the share of Mohali, 4.5 of Panchkula and another 4.5 of Chandi Mandir. Chandigarh is left with 43.5 mgd of water. Adding the tubewell supply the availability is 64 mgd while demand is about 105 mgd.

The Municipal Corporation has proposed to draw water using the force of gravity from Ganguwal in Ropar district. Officials in the Administration confirmed that the only option was to seek more water and the matter needs to be taken up with the MHA.

A study was conducted to know about the topography of the area between Ganguwal and Chandigarh. The height between Ganguwal and Chandigarh is about 70 m. The canal construction will cost about Rs 200 crore and the Administration will want more water by 2006 and by that time the canal cannot be completed.



Closure of 2 medicine shops ordered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The authorities today ordered the closure of two medicine shops, Alpha Medicos and Arohi Medical Hall, inside the Panchkula general hospital till tomorrow allegedly for committing grave irregularities.

At least one of the shops which has been closed sold expired medicine against cash memo. The other shop is believed to have been closed because it had no pharmacist, a mandatory requirement.

The allotment of the shops in Panchkula as well as at many other places has been mired in a controversy ever since the inception of the scheme. The Health Department had planned the open medicine shops in all civil hospitals, which would sell medicines at a reasonable profit and generic medicines. The shops were to be allotted to charitable or voluntary organisations of repute. However, when the allotments were made, the allegations surfaced that the shops had been cornered by politically-connected persons. Obviously, the authorities are reluctant to keep a strict vigil on their functioning.

Many patients allege that these shops sell medicines at prices which are higher than in the open market.

Sources in the trade say the action against the Panchkula shops has come too late and too little. They point out that for the offences for which these shops have been closed for one day, the authorities usually suspend the licences of private shops for several days, if not months.



Surgeon's skill, not equipment, makes laparoscopy safe, says expert
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Dr Kuldip Singh
Dr Kuldip Singh

Chandigarh, October 18
It is the surgeon's skill and experience in laparoscopic surgery and, not the equipment, which makes surgery successful and safe, says Dr. Kuldip Singh, a pioneer in laparoscopic surgery and president-elect of the Indian Association of Laparoscopic Surgery echoeing the views of some of the top surgeons of the world who attended the 13th International Congress of Endoscopic Surgery which concluded in the US last week.

In an interview with TNS here today, Dr Kuldip Singh said gone were the days when "big surgeons made big incisions" while another surgeon proclaimed that "I enter through doors and not through windows" while talking about innovations in the field of surgery.

With the introduction of key-hole surgery (Laparoscopy), the concept and understanding of surgical procedures have changed in the past decade.

Now surgeons have made different surgical procedures possible and safe through small holes by laparoscopic method, which were at one time difficult and contraindicated by this method, stressed Dr. Kuldip Singh who also made a presentation in open forum discussion on difficult laparoscopic gall bladder surgery in the conference.

The discussion was focused on safety and possibility of laparoscopic surgery in difficult gall bladder operations and how to make laparoscopic surgery safe ?

He pointed out that the difficult conditions which were earlier contraindicated in the beginning of laparoscopic surgery because of the lack of expertise and skill of the surgeons, were now possible through laparoscopic method.

Dr Duldeep Singh demonstrated his technique with modifications using peanut gauge, water jet, posterior dissection and harmonic scalpel. He asked surgeons to select the timing of surgery, evolve team work, have patience, exercise judgment and adhere to the basic principals of surgery of being gentle to the tissues, which could lead to successful and safe surgery in almost every difficult case without converting to an open procedure.

Dr Singh said that some of the foreign speakers at the Congress demonstrated advanced costly equipments like 3 D camera, different telescopes and disposable instruments to overcome the problems of difficult gall bladder surgery as compared to a simple and basic equipment used by Indian surgeons.

Dr Kuldip Singh who has delivered more than 70 guest lectures in the national and international conferences, says that one may need high-tech equipment for advanced surgical procedures but not for basic gall bladder surgery.

In northern part of India, gall bladder stone operations are one of the most commonly performed surgeries in almost every hospital and clinic.

So one has to be perfect so as to provide best results to each and every patient irrespective of his socio-economic status. He pointed out that one could achieve as good results as in open surgery by using good quality simple equipment.

It is always the judgement and skill of the surgeon which makes surgical procedure safe and successful. Complications do occur in surgery and are part of surgical procedures but we must be very careful and make every effort to avoid them and recognise them in time.

During the conference, robotic method was used to perform gall bladder surgery. In this method , the surgeon sends a command to a robot to perform the procedure with more precision and perfection. This robotic surgery might change the applications of surgery in the near future.

Dr Kuldip Singh while admitting that "in India, though we are short of advanced and good quality equipment in almost every hospital in country, yet our surgeons have demonstrated their skill and expertise in every surgical field in the world .

We have made lot of progress in the field of laparoscopic surgery and are now at par with the surgeons anywhere in the world", he said.



Alarming rise in unnatural deaths
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

  • Over 51 per cent increase in the unnatural deaths in the region from 1997 to 2002
  • Suicides deaths have risen from 6.5 per cent to more than 15 per cent over the years.

Chandigarh, October 18
The unnatural deaths in the regions have affected the young and productive age group — 16 to 45 years — the most as more than 82 per cent of the total unnatural fatalities caused by accidents, suicides and homicides belonged to this category, leading to a substantial socio-economic impact on the lives of the people involved.

Revealed by the first of its kind study undertaken over the past 25 years by the Department of Forensic Medicine at the PGI here, the facts are more disturbing as the lives lost due to unnatural and avoidable circumstances have risen abruptly, recording an unprecented rise of more than 51 per cent in the period between 1997 to 2002.

“The mean age of the deaths under the unnatural circumstances is around 26 years and almost one third of the unnatural deaths were of persons belonging to 16 to 25 years of age,’’ says Dr Dalbir Singh, Head of the Department of the Forensic Medicine at the PGI.

The study has taken into account 5933 autopsy reports of the patients who died at the PGI from 1977 to 2002.

The number of deaths steadily rose 492 in 1977 to 652 in 1992. But they shot up by 1997 to 1085 and further recorded a rise of more than 50 per cent in 2002 when the unnatural deaths rose to 3050.

However, contrary to the general perception that the vehicular traffic has begun to grab more lives over the years, the study points out that the proportion of the road accident deaths has remained constant over the years but the cases of suicides and homicides and deaths due to burn injuries have risen.

“Many people attribute the rising number of unnatural deaths to the traffic. But we have found that the accidents, though the main cause of deaths, have not shown an alarming increase,” says Dr Singh.

In all the autopsy reports of 5933 fatalities, the deaths due to accidents topped the charts, by being responsible for 79 per cent fatalities.

The suicides took away almost 14 per cent of the total lives and homicides accounted for 6 per cent of the deaths.

The proportion of suicidal deaths increased from 6.5 per cent in 1977-82 to 15.7 per cent in 2002, reaching its peak at 18.2 per cent in 1992-97.

On the other hand the proportion of accident victims remained around 80 per cent over the period of study.



Chandigarh Calling

The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice B.K Roy, did some plain-speaking while addressing judicial officers and members of the District Bar Association the other day.

“If, as a lawyer, you cannot be honest in your judgement, then be honest without being a lawyer,” he told a motley crowd. And without naming the Forest Hill Resort case, in which names of certain members of the legal fraternity got embroiled, he gently advised them not to be tempted into such incentives.

If you do not care for democracy, democracy will not care for you, he added.

Only if Justice Roy’s nuggets of advice are accepted by the legal fraternity!

Cattle menace

The stray cattle menace is growing and there seems to be no solution to it. The more the Chandigarh Administration is wrestling with the problem the more vagrant it is becoming with each passing day.

Hordes of stray cattle can be seen roaming about on city roads, public parks or near garbage vats, posing danger to passersby, besides being a traffic hazard. Many a precious life have been lost in the recent past with these bobine rogues striking at an unsuspecting passerby.

There is no gainsaying the fact that after the deaths of certain innocent residents, the administration went in overdrive to look up for ways and means to check the menace, including the raising of cattle ponds on the city’s outskirts. But the work got stalled half way through due to certain official wrangles.

The administration will do well by raising enough cattle ponds and initiate other measures to save innocent lives. (See photo)

Truckers’ road

The road leading from the Sector 31-32’s CII roundabout to the Sector 48-49 chowk, now has become like a “village road”. Here many potholes exists all the way, making the driving conditions worst and accident-prone.

No doubt, the road patches were filled sometime back. After rain, now the same condition persists.

This road passes through the residential areas of Sector 31, 32, 46 and 47. Many heavy vehicles pass through this road while coming and going to Punjab and Himachal. So it has become “truckers’ road”. Generally, the area remains under the cover of darkness as many streetlights are not functional. So, many cases of accidents have occurred.

Now, it is the time to make this road like others in the city beautiful for smooth flow of traffic.

As newly constructed four-lane road in the industrial area, Phase II, has become operational! How it will be better to change the route of trucks. Or is this road waiting for its inauguration now?

Shopping season

It’s prizes galore at shopping festivals being held in various markets. Everybody thronging the markets is hoping to pocket the mega prizes comprising cars, motor cycles and electrical gadgets.

Shops decked up with flowers and illuminated with lights have added new stocks to the items for sale. With the Navratras here, shopping is in full swing and customer is the king. However, while weekly lucky draws are being offered as bait to the customers, there are no sales going on like it used to be in the past.

One shopkeeper attributes the “no sale season” to the investment made in buying the prizes for the draws. Whatever concessions shopkeepers could offer to the customer have been contributed to the kitty meant for puchase of gifts. The sale season, the shopkeepers add, will follow the festival season.

Ancient texts

A city-based social organisation, Pratibimb, which is into teaching children about ancient Indian religious texts, has now launched a new scheme to run free classes on ancient Indian texts. These classes will be held at the request of any institute, school or religious place which desires to hold such classes. The classes can be of 30 minutes duration on any Sunday.

The founder member of the Pratibimb, Mr Satya Pal, says he has carried this idea from Australia where he held programmes on Indian mythology and Sikh Gurus in Hindi-speaking schools and gurdwaras. In Chandigarh, the interested institute can contact at SCO number 357-358, Sector 35-B.

We care for you

For a change, the Chandigarh police has lived up to its slogan “we care for you”. It was more than evident when traffic police cops went out of their usual way of issuing challans and helped a colleague in need. The benevolent side of these policemen was experienced by him when he apparently jumped a red-light signal on a slip road turning left. The moment he jumped the signal a cop on duty stopped him immediately.

The colleague made up his mind for a challan and, to his utter surprise, the cop on duty informed him that the tyre of his car was flat. Rather issuing a challan he offered help to change the tyre. The colleague made a call to his son for the help as his house was near to the place.

In the mean time, Head Constable Satpal Singh, and two constables Vaidpal and Mehtab Singh took out the jack, tools and a spare tyre from the car and changed the tyre before the son of the colleague arrived.

AIDS awareness

The recently concluded five-day state-level science exhibition at Government Model School, Sector 22, proved to be a perfect opportunity to spread message on “AIDS and drug awareness”.

Students of different government schools used innovative ways to put across their message to hundreds of visitors at the exhibition. Innovative models and flow charts explained the seriousness of the issue in a simple manner.

Officials of the State Institute of Education and the Department of Science and Technology, Chandigarh, said the issue of aids and drugs could not be delinked from science. It was the science and technology which had explained and solved various mysteries related to aids.

Shortcut to darshan

As the Navratra festival is going on, long queues of devotees for a glimpse of the Goddess at the Mata Mansa Devi shrine is a common sight. People coming from far away places, wait for hours to pay obeisance at the shrine, unmindful of their thirst and hunger.

While there are these devoted devotees on the one hand, VIP devotees, who want a quick darshan, can’t wait for in long queues. There are VIP passes with which they can get backdoor entries. Interestingly, you can get one pass and six persons can go inside.

Securing cinema tickets, railway tickets or in other matters through contacts is an established norm till now. Religion, too, has now joined the league.

— Sentinel



Devotion unlimited
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 18
Faith moves mountain. It charges the believer with an energy which, apart from giving him the serenity of the soul, propels him to realise his goals.

This realisation becomes stronger during a visit to the Mata Mansa Devi shrine. Long queues, notwithstanding, devotees are determined to have the darshan of the Mata. Brides attired in the red immediately draws your attention. As the queue dissolves the barrier between haves and have-nots, it becomes clear that it is the common thread of devotion which binds them together.

A small podium put up near the entrance is occupied by singers who render bhajans in film tunes. While some mothers rocks their new-borns to the music, those with little kids find it difficult to pacify them. But most of the devotees demanded that there should be original bhajan because bhajans on film tunes fails to touch the deeper core of your heart.

A 50-year-old baba, attired in bright yellow clothes and wearing malas, including a Rudraksh, seems to be a satisfied soul after the darshan.”I have come from Bihar to visit the shrine”, he said. Indirectly pleading for help, he told Chandigarh Tribune that he travelled ticketless in the train and is pennyless at the moment. “For food , I have only chirwa (dried rice)”, he says.

Also standing in the queue are scores of middle-aged women for whom paying obeisance here is an annual affair. Suman, who has come from Burail along with her mother-in law, says shyly that she has come here to fulfil the wish of the divine.”It is the God who knows what is best for us and gives us accordingly. I have not come here to ask Him to fulfil my wish.He has given me enough. I am here to express my gratitude”.

As she lives to the philosophy of true and undiluted devotion, there are many who are here to get their “mannat fulfilled”.

Nineteen-year-old Shanno from Ambala was crawling her way towards the shrine. Symbolising the zenith of surrender towards the divine will, she believes that God has already chosen a destiny for her. “I receive messages from the Maa and follow it accordingly”.

The blaring of announcements from a loudspeaker reminding people to take care of their valuables suddenly makes you aware about the practicalities . Obviously being worldly-wise is always an asset and temple is no exception.

But one thing that becomes clear is Navratras are definitely auspicious as these infuse a sublime influence in the life of common men.



Durga festival begins today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
Five-day festival of the Bengali community for celebrating goddess Durga’s victory over demon king, Mahishasur, will begin tomorrow.

It will end on October 23 with the immersion of idols of Durga.

The programme at Kalibari Temple, Sector 47, will begin with Mahashashti Pushpanjali. It will be followed by yajna, mahabhog, aarti and cultural progarmmes.

Mr C.R. Das, vice-president of the managing committee of Kalibari, said, “We organise Durga Puja every year. People come from all parts of the region here to be part of the function.

All preparations have been done for it this year. Many stalls including those of eatables, home appliances and other items, will be put up. The celebrationswill be like a mela.”

Khokan Adhikari and his wife, Mithuhas, give final touches to the statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Kartik and Ganesh. They have made 35 statues.

Durga Puja celebrations will also be held at Banga Bhavan, Sector 35-C by the Bangiya Sanskritik Sammelan.

The general secretary of the sammelan said, “The idols of Durga and other gods goddesses will be ready by tomorrow. We will celebrate the occasion in full festive spirit. The puja gives us strength to fight evil.”



Maintain roundabouts, MLA to officials
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh has asked officials concerned to beautify entry points to the town, construct bus queue shelters where required, and also to properly maintain the roundabouts and road berms in the town.

The MLA, who visited various areas along with Council officials here today, said that the entry point to the town from the Balongi side was badly maintained. The railing put up on the centre verge on the highway was broken from nearly 24 places and it was of a substandard quality. He said he had asked officials concerned to get the railing repaired but no action had been taken so far.

The MLA found the first-aid boxes of the police put on duty at the Balongi chowk empty. He directed the SMO of the local Civil Hospital to look into the matter and provide the necessary medicines in this regard. He asked the council officials to get the first-aid post and the naka repaired.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who held a meeting with officials from various departments here today, said that roundabouts of the town should be beautified. Competitions in this regard would be organised at the time of holding a flower show in the town.



MLA criticises Speaker
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October18
The Kharar MLA, Mr Birdevinder Singh, today attacked the Punjab Assembly Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, for getting involved in factionalism in Simbalmajra village, near here.

Mr Birdevinder Singh said a Speaker belonged to the entire House and it was regrettable that he had become a part of factionalism and that too within the same political party.

He said the Speaker did not even care to inform him that he was visiting his constituency yesterday where residents of Simbalmajra complained of bad link roads. Had he known of the visit he would have personally received the Speaker.

He said he had already spent Rs 24 lakh on development work in the village. He asked the Speaker to send more money from the latter’s discretionary funds to improve roads in the area.



11 senior citizens invited by Mauritius Govt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 18
An 11-member team of senior citizens from Chandigarh and Panchkula, have been invited by the Government of Mauritius for an exchange programme for senior citizens.

The delegation led by Dr S.K. Sharma, and including Mr Kishore Bansal, Mrs Sushil Bansal, Mr Satish Kumar Duggal, Mrs Kamlesh Duggal, Mr J.N. Gupta, Mrs Raksha Gupta, Lt Col D.S. Uppal, Mr A.L. Gupta, Dr Suritee Thakur and Ms Anmol Uppal, will leave for Mauritius on October 21. The delegation will be there as state guests for a period of one week .

Addressing mediapersons here today, Dr Sharma said that a total of 22 persons from India had been invited for the exchange programme. “Eight delegates are from Mumbai, and three from Agra are going under the aegis of Respect Age International. We will be studying the concessions and facilities being offered to the senior citizens there, and will be interacting with the Mauritian Prime Minister, and other Ministers,” he added. 



Readers write
Stop teenagers from going astray

A large number of teenagers are making the life of their parents a virtual hell by disobeying and insulting them, often publicly. They often use foul language to elders, pick up a quarrel without any provocation and indulge in fights. Driving without a helmet or a driving licence and flouting other traffic rules with impunity are common among them. At school they are often rude with teachers.

As parents we often defend them and teachers ignore the bad behaviour of such students. In one case a student warned his teacher, pointing out his shortcomings, and that, too, under the nose of his father. The father was shocked at his son’s misconduct. He felt sorry about what had happened and expressed his helplessness in controlling his son.

Our society is bound to be sympathetic to the needs of a child. A teacher must not give corporal punishment, but it is a matter of concern that the harassment that teachers face hardly invites any comment from parents. We preach that teachers are for the benefit of students, but can there be a Dronacharya in the absence of an Arjun or Eklavya?

We should introspect and check our wards from going astray.

Chander Prabha

MC harassment

The Municipal Corporation was set up for giving better services to residents. Experience shows that instead of being helpful to residents, the corporation tries its best to harass them. The latest instance is asking the residents to install their own water meters with ¾ inch size connection. A few years ago the corporation had asked the residents to install their own meters after purchasing these from the market and getting these tested from the corporation.

The procedure was cumbersome involving purchasing of the meter from the market, going to the SDO’s office and getting a slip from the SDO to be taken to the testing centre. After testing, the consumer had to go to the office of the SDO again for requesting him to install the meter. This involved several visits to the SDO’s office as well as the testing centre.

The Municipal Corporation now wants that defective ¾ inch meters should be replaced by the residents at their own cost after purchasing these from the market and getting these tested, following the procedure that existed before a high court judgment in this connection.

This is purely a case of harassment. Some of the councillors are aware of this. I, therefore, appeal to the Chief Administrator to look into the matter. I also urge the confederation of sector welfare associations to take up the matter with corporation.

Pala Ram

Repair road

Owing to rain potholes had formed near the level crossing and a hotel in Zirakpur. Since it is a National Highway, traffic on the road is heavy during peak hours.

Many residents of Zirakpur face difficulty in crossing the aforesaid area as the road is in bad shape. The authorities seem to be unmoved by their plight. What is the Building and Roads Department doing? The government should repair the damaged road immediately to avoid any mishap.

Kanwal Kapoor

Camping site

The Chandigarh Administration recently leased out a piece of land, which was earmarked as a tourist camping site, near the Sukhna Lake to a horse riding society for a nominal amount. This is illegal and unjustified. A place meant to be used as a camping site cannot be used for a purpose other than that for which it is reserved.

CITCO ran a camping site at the above place several years ago and tourists used to stay there.

At present there is no camping site in the city. The area should again be used for camping purposes by CITCO and the lease of the society cancelled in the public interest.

Narinder Singh

Rickshaws & rehris

Nowadays there is a heavy and unwanted rush of rickshaws and rehris on many roads in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

It is time that curbs are put on rickshaw pullers and rehri owners, most of whom break traffic rules with impunity, so that accidents can be avoided.




Fauji Beat
Infantry officers’ meet on Oct 29

The Mechanised Infantry Officers’ Regimental Association is holding its first get-together at the Defence Services Officers’ Institute (DSOI), Chandigarh, on October 29. The mechanised infantry battalions for the Army were conceived after the 1965 war. To begin with, the battalions got only 200 Topaz (Czechoslovakian) armoured personnel carriers (APCs). Accordingly, an organisation to equip six infantry battalions with 33 APCs each was worked out at the Army Headquarters in 1969. These battalions were culled out of six infantry regiments and cast as mechanised infantry battalions in 1971.

Gradually, the mechanised infantry grew in size and became an essential force for the plains’ warfare. It has also proved its mettle in mountain by leaving its armoured vehicles in the plains.

In 1989, the battalions graduated from the APCs to ICVs. The new armoured vehicles, called BMPs, are much better than the APCs.

The Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre is located at Ahmednagar. And Maj-Gen H.S. Panag is its Colonel.

Officers complain about medicines

Two ex-servicemen, a Colonel and a Major (both members of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme) have complained that the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, has refused to issue medicines to them.

Major S.S. Bedi (retd), who is an old case of coronary heart disease, has addressed his complaint to the Defence Minister with copy inter alia to Major-Gen S.K. Kaul, Commandant, CH, Chandimandir.

He has stated in the complaint that the medicines prescribed by the cardiologist at the CH were being issued to him regularly by the MI Room at Sector 21, Chandigarh, until August 12. But after that when the CH had stopped issuing medicines to the MI Roo for him, he brought this to the notice of the Deputy Commandant and the Officer-in-Charge medical store at the CH. They expressed their helplessness to get the medicines issued to him.

Col M.S. Rai states that on his visit to the CH the other day, he was not issued medicines. The new system introduced in the CH, he says, is that medicines can be issued only for 15 days at a time and that too when the prescription is signed by the specialist. The specialists can be contacted only on their OPD days.

The CH authorities have confirmed that no change in the system for issue of medicines has been made. And the medicines are still being issued for 30 days each time unless the specialist has written for a review earlier. In chronic cases, the review is generally done after every three months. The medicines in such cases, according to the Commandant, are issued after every 30 days for three months.

Importance of cantonments

The old system of administering military cantonments by the cantonment boards has become outdated. For, this system has become tardy because of the dual control by the cantonment board, comprising civilian staff, under the station commander (a military officer). Political interests of elected members of the cantonment board override the welfare of the cantonment.

For the past several years we have been establishing military stations, which are exclusively administered by the Army. The cantonment board have been done away with in these military stations. Many new military stations have come up in the Eastern and Northern sectors. Bathinda, which is the biggest cantonment in the country, is also a military station and is functioning very well.

While the Army is doing away with the old system, the Andhra Pradesh government has sent a request to the Ministry of Defence to merge the Secunderabad Cantonment Board with the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad. The request has been turned down. The cantonments (now military stations) have their own sanctity.

Pritam Bhullar



Paraplegic centre inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt-Gen J.J Singh, inaugurated the website of the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Mohali, from the Command Headquarters in Chandimandir Cantonment today. Apart from the general information about the centre and its management, the website “www.prcmohali.org” gives details of products manufactured by inmates of the Centre.

PRC, Mohali is a welfare organisation functioning under HQ Western Command for the welfare of 100 per cent disabled soldiers from central, eastern and northern regions of the country. These soldiers have been provided with indoor and outdoor games facilities. Besides, they along with family members are also given vocational training in various trades to make them self-reliant. Products, including hosiery items and candles made by the centre are in great demand with the Army Public Schools, AWWA outlets and customers in corporate sector.



Army expedition team scales mountain peak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
An Army expedition team yesterday successfully scaled the 22,222 feet Leo Pargial mountain peak on the India-China border in Himachal Pradesh.

The team comprising an officer and 10 others hoisted the National, Army and Western Command flags atop the peak at about 3 pm, a Defence Ministry spokesman said here.

The team was trained and organised by Western Command.

The troops under Western Command are participating in the expeditions.



Residents seek basic amenities not golf course
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
Local residents do not want a golf course in the town for the time being but seek basic facilities which they have been deprived off so far by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said the town lacked markets, dispensaries and schools in various sectors. There were no playgrounds at all and those who loved sports were facing problems.

He said PUDA had not earmarked any land for a truck union, a tempo union or a rehra union. No proper planning had been done regarding a meat market. Many areas were facing water shortage problems while others faced problems related to drainage. He said that parking lots and green belts in the market areas, which were to be maintained by PUDA, were in a state of neglect. These places had virtually become “slums in the markets”.

He said that PUDA was only interested in acquiring more land and selling property at high rates. Money earned by PUDA after selling plots in the town was being spent elsewhere while the development of Mohali was in a state of neglect. He said that PUDA had given a lot of money to the Punjab State Electricity Board.

He said that funds generated from the town should not be siphoned out but spent on carrying out development activity here.

The MLA demanded that PUDA should not acquire any more land for new sectors for some time but focus its attention on removing the shortcomings that prevailed in the sectors that had already been developed by it.



Safai workers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
Safai karamcharis, who lift garbage from houses in the town, protested against the sanitation contractors for not allowing them to dump garbage in dustbins placed by the Municipal Council at various points in the town.

The protesters, who staged a dharna outside the council office and raised slogans against the civic body, said that they hade been lifting garbage from the houses for the past several years. In fact, they said, that they had been hired by a welfare association for doing the work. But now sanitation contractors were not allowing them to dump garbage in the dustbins but were asked them to dump the garbage at the dumping site in the industrial area.



Writers honoured
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
A number of writers, who had come to attend the conference at Chandigarh, were honoured by the Virasat Kala Kender here today.

Mrs Sukhi Brar, director of the kender, said that writers had come from a number of countries and it was an opportunity to get in touch with them and honour them. A small cultural function was organised in their honour.

Writers had come from countries like Kazakstan, Mauritius, Japan, Sri Lanka, Romania, Nigeria, Lithuania, UK and Bangladesh. Two writers were from Orissa and Chennai.



Fire in house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
A fire broke out in a house in Phase XI here today in which clothes and a bed got gutted.

There was no one in the house when the incident took place. The fire brigade was called by neighbours when they saw smoke coming out of the building. The flames were brought under control by fire brigade officials.

It is learnt that the house is occupied by an employee working with the Department of Public Health. The fire took place due to a short-circuit from an iron which had not been switched off after use.



Two accident victims die in PGI
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
Sunita Sharma, 37, a resident of Panjab University campus, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI last night. She was injured when a Tata-407 truck (CH-01-J-1153) hit the scooter she was riding pillion on the Sector 37-38 dividing road yesterday.

Her husband, Mr Deepak Singh, was driving the scooter when the accident occurred. They were going to pick their son from a school in Mohali, where he had gone for match practice.

Sunita received serious head, chest and abdomen injuries. She was taken to the PGI, where she died after struggling for life for more than five hours.

According to doctors, she died due to internal bleeding.The truck driver fled from the spot after the accident.

Sunita was a teacher in Ankur Public school on the university campus. Her husband teaches in the Political Science Department of the university. She was cremated in the afternoon.

A case has been registered under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC at the Sector 39 police station. The truck driver is still at large.

In a separate incident, Babu Ram, a rickshaw-puller died at the PGI, last night. He was hit by a speeding car near Kalagram on October 11. He was seriously injured in the accident and was admitted to the PGI. The car driver managed to flee from the spot and is still at large.

Babu Ram lived in Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26.A case has been registered under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC at the Mani Majra police station.



2 kg charas seized, one held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Chandigarh Police today seized 2.02 kg charas from a Colony Number 5 resident who was peddling the consignment from Nepal.

A team of DSP (Crime) Om Prakash, Inspector Crime Branch KIP Singh and Sub-Inspector Dilsher Singh, among others, arrested Sanjay Kumar from Vaishali district of Bihar near the colony.

Inspector KIP said that the charas was packed in shapes of sticks which were recovered from Sanjay Kumar who was to deliver the contraband to an unidentified person just behind the Colony Number 5. The police, however, failed to arrest the person who was to get the delivery of the contraband.

Sanjay Kumar revealed to the police that the contraband was sent from Nepal by a drug smuggler Rajesh through Bihar. The drug was sent to one Ranjit who handed it over to Sanjay Kumar who was told that a person would contact him to receive the contraband. The police today waited for the receiver to contact Sanjay Kumar but the drug peddler probably got a whiff of Sanjay Kumar’s arrest and did not turn up at the designated place.

The Chandigarh Police is likely to send a team to Bihar to find out how the contraband was coming to the city through Nepal border.



Two cases of theft reported
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
Kamlesh Kumar of Sector 22 has reported to the police that cash and some articles were stolen from his plot no. 451, Phase II, Ram Darbar, on the night of October 16. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at Sector 31, police station.

In another incident, Usha Lalit Chaudhary of Sector 8-B reported to the police that her purse containing a gold chain, a kara, a pair of diamond tops, a sum of Rs 10,000, a diamond ring, credit card and other things were stolen from her car (CH-03-L-1039) parked outside Palika Bazaar, Sector 19.

A case of theft has been registered at Sector 19 police station.

Vehicle stolen

Kuldip Singh of Badhni Kalan village in Moga district has reported that his Scorpio Jeep (PB-29-D-7300) was stolen from the market in Sector 11, yesterday. A case of theft has been registered at Sector 11 police station.

In another case, Balkaran Singh of Singhpura in Sirsa district reported to the police that his motor cycle (PB-27-B-4012) was stolen from the ISBT, Sector 17 on Sunday. A case has been registered at Sector 17, police station.

Held for eve-teasing

Paramjit Kumar of Shanti Nagar in Mani Majra was arrested for eve-teasing at a satsang in Sector 34, yesterday. A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered in Sector 34, police station.

Liquor seized

Joginder Singh of Dadu Majra Colony was arrested and five bottles of whisky were seized from his possession. He was later released on bail.


Child killed

Iran, a six-year-old child was crushed to death by a white Maruti car near Gurdwara Nada Sahib today. He was coming from the gurdwara after partaking langar. He lived in a jhuggi near the gurdwara.



Biz Clips

LOAN SCHEME: The State Bank of Patiala has introduced Shubh Vivah Scheme to facilitate self-marriage, marriage of children, brother, sister or any dependent. The bank will provide loan from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh under the scheme. The loan will be repayable in 72 monthly instalments. It will be sanctioned against security equivalent to the loan amount. The scheme was launched byMr S.C Dhall, senior manager of the Kalka branch of the bank. TNS

Tie-up: OyzterBay has tied up with Diamond Trading Company (DTC) and M. Suresh and Company to launch the new DTC brand, Sangini, across all its exclusive showrooms. According to Mr. Vasant Nangia, managing director, OyzterBay, the Sangini collection consists of over 150 designs. TNS


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