C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City Beautiful needs a facial
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, November 21
In its infancy, it may have been apt to describe Chandigarh as City Beautiful. But not anymore. At best, the city can be referred to as a beautiful city with many ugly spots.

Garbage heaps are omnipresent and they refuse to disappear despite efforts. Several innovative schemes such as the Sahaj Safai Kendras have not been able to address the issue and the piles of filth visible in every sector are only getting larger.

Threats of stringent penal action by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC) to the sanitation inspectors and leaders of the sweepers’ union have had a slight impact, but the problem of garbage collection and disposal is far too serious to be handled by a few cleaners on the city streets.

In fact, this is an area where the blame cannot be put entirely on the Administration or the corporation. Le Corbusier might have summed up the situation saying, “The city residents are as much to blame for this as those entrusted with its upkeep.”

Corporation officials admit in private that getting rid of its garbage menace is a Herculean task without an adequate budget for setting up a modern waste disposal plant. The modernisation of the municipal waste disposal plant at Dadumajra has run into a controversy with the Administration turning down the Mayor and her team from visiting Canada to study a plant there. Out of the 16 companies that had shown interest in constructing and running a plant, only two had working plants to show. With the Mayor’s Canada trip scrapped, only one Hyderabad-based company remains in the race. This company has offered to set up and run a plant that would also generate 7.5 MW power from garbage.

Sahaj Safai Kendras under the bin-free waste disposal scheme, which were to collect and supply garbage for the plant, have run into trouble with residents, some backed by politicians, resenting the establishing of kendras in their sectors.

Work on the kendras has come to a standstill in many sectors such as 21 and 22 and is going on at a snail’s pace in other sectors like 4,8,9,15 and 27. The kendras are being set up with a Rs 9 crore grant from the Central Pollution Control Board. The corporation will contribute about 20 per cent of the project cost.

Apart from the safai kendras, many proposals have been made in the past for cleanliness: house-to-house garbage collection has been started at several places, two mechanical sweepers have been installed, serious thought has been given to improving the Dadumajra dump, mohalla sanitation scheme was introduced in Ram Darbar and bio-medical waste management was proposed, but the garbage problem has remained. A viable solution still eludes the MC.

The chairman of the corporation’s sanitation committee, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, says the corporation has an acute shortage of safai karamcharis. The current strength is only slightly higher than in 1987. “We have about 1,500 workers at present, as compared to 1,400 in 1987 and 2,000 in 1997. This, while the work has increased manifold with the increase in population and two new phases of the city having been developed. There is a complete ban on fresh recruitments and we have not got a single replacement for those who have died or retired during the last 25 years,” he complains.

The Administration has turned down a resolution of the corporation general house seeking recruitment of 1,009 safai karamcharis to solve the problem. Also, the budget under the “planned” head has come down from Rs 5 crore five years ago to Rs 42 lakh this year. Consequently, even the launch of night sweeping announced by the corporation is hanging fire.



HC order fails to declutter Zirakpur highway
Bipin Bhardwaj

Shops have come up in violation of rules on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Zirakpur
Shops have come up in violation of rules on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Zirakpur.
— Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Zirakpur, November 21
Encroachments in the market along the “killer” Kalka-Ambala and Panchkula-Patiala highways here have come up again despite directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to clear unauthorised structures along main roads. Encroachers of various categories have virtually taken over the lanes demarcated for local traffic on the sides of the highways, reducing the width of the busy road.

The situation has arisen owing to the indifference on the part of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, the Building and Roads Wing of the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) and the Punjab police over the past six months.

Following the court orders, the panchayat and the National Highways Authority of India (NHIA) had carried out a major demolition drive in the market in March. A huge amount was spent on the removal of the encroachments and on the construction of road dividers, pavements, and erecting an iron fence along the highway. Today, the problems, however, are just as they were.

Vehicles and rehris parked on the main road meant for the long-route vehicles and gross violations of traffic rules by the locals have compounded the situation.

The problem is at its worst during office hours when the traffic flow is the heaviest. The concrete road dividers constructed by the PPWD, leaving a 33-foot-wide space for long-route vehicles on the highway, is being used by scooters, autorickshaws, rickshaws and cycles.

The lanes meant for market goers have been converted into parking lots on both the sides of the highways. The road dividers have also been damaged at many points. A number of rehriwallahs have once again stationed themselves in the lanes in front of the shops.

Says Mr Krishan Pal Sharma, member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, “The huge amount spent on clearing and streamlining the highways has gone down the drain. The authorities should have kept violators in check.”

Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, chairman of Rotaract Club, Dera Bassi, said, “Given its strength, regulating traffic is beyond the capability of the police.”

Mr Girish Verma, Executive Officer of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, and Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dera Bassi, were not available for comment.



This Italian has a complaint for Sonia Gandhi
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
This Italian came to India seeking spiritual solace and peace. What he encountered instead was cheats and touts and a gruelling time with a monkey that attacked him with a syringe.

Mr Massimo Lucio Del Sette, 55, an official with the Environment Department of the Torino Regional Council in Italy, is so upset with his Indian “encounters” that he now wants to meet his “fellow countryperson”, Antonio Maino (Ms Sonia Gandhi), to narrate his tale of woes and urge her to ensure that foreigners are not treated shabbily in India.

The Italian official has hopes of getting an appointment with the UPA Chairperson as he hails from the same area as Ms Gandhi. Her family home is just 20 km from Mr Sette’s house and is under the same administrative jurisdiction of Torino. He contested the Italian parliamentary elections in 1978 as a member of the Radical Party.

Mr Sette told Chandigarh Tribune here today that his woes started the moment he landed in Delhi on November 16. Some touts lured him to a hotel in Paharaganj, which charged him exorbitant rates. Then he was pushed into a travel agency office which allegedly cheated him by charging Rs 13,200 for a trip to Kulu, Manali and Dharamsala in a private car being passed off as a taxi.

He was charged Rs 1,740 for a trip to Hardwar, when the actual cost of the railway ticket was only Rs 800.

Despite his protests, the Delhi hotel owner refused to release his luggage till he first paid Rs 500 and then again Rs 800.

Mr Sette rues, “I came to India to see if I could settle here and partake of its spirituality. I wanted to open a clinic of a new stream of medicine (a mix of naturopathy and yoga) in India. But after all that I have experienced, the idea has been abandoned. I just want to get out of India now.”

The most harrowing experience was when a monkey was set upon him in Shimla by a “madari.” According to the Italian, the monkey picked up a syringe from the street and jumped on him and scratched his head with it. Mr Sette is afraid that the wound caused by the syringe might have given him some serious disease.

Mr Sette narrated his tale of woes today to the Assistant Director, Tourism, UT, Mr Vinod Kalia, who helped him file written complaints.

Interestingly, Mr Sette, in his letter to the travel agency, delivered a parting shot: “Thanks for the nice commission and sorry for being stupid enough to trust you.”



Separate law for seers sought
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
In the backdrop of the arrest and police remand of the Kanchi Shankaracharya, Jayendra Saraswati, the BJP today advocated the formulation of a separate law for seers and important religious personalities to prevent their treatment as ordinary criminals by the law-enforcement agencies.

Terming the arrest of the Kanchi seer as “planned conspiracy” by the AIADMK, the Congress and the other vested interests,the BJP national Vice-President and spokesman, Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, told reporters here that the separate law would go a long way in assuaging the religious sentiments of crores of followers of the religious gurus.

Mr Naqvi, who seemed to be retracting from his statement regarding the separate law later, failed to elaborate on the new law saying that even the existing law provided for certain privileges to certain top personalities.

He, however, expressed full faith in the Indian judicial system.

Blasting the Tamil Nadu Police for giving a “shabby treatment” to the pontiff, Mr Naqvi alleged that the case was “fabricated” by the pseudo-secularists and the BJP had enough evidence to prove that he was innocent.

Commenting on the reported statement of the VHP working president, Mr Ashok Singhal, that the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, was behind the arrest of the Shankaracharya, Mr Naqvi said it was the “planned conspiracy” and an attack on the national culture.

To highlight the failure of the UPA Government on all fronts,particularly the spiralling prices of the essential commodities,the BJP would organise a “sadak se sansad tak” protest rally under the leadership the party President, Mr L.K. Advani, from the Ramlila Ground to Parliament House in New Delhi on December 1, Mr Naqvi informed.

The black marketeers and quota permit traders, who had been rendered out of business during the NDA government, are back into business in the wake of the “anti-people” policies of the government and thriving at the cost of the common man, the BJP leader alleged.

A member of the National Executive of the party, Mr Satya Pal Jain, alleged that in “creating evidence” the police was violating a judgement of the Supreme Court.



Seer’s arrest flayed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
The BJP Panchayati Raj cell vice-president, Mr Manoj Arora, today condemned the arrest of Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati at a press conference held at Kharar today. Mr Arora said his arrest was an attack on Hinduism. He added that the Congress rule at the Centre was like the 1977 Emergency.

Demanding the immediate release of the Shankaracharya, he said the religious and moral sentiments of thousands of Hindus across India and the world were attached to the Kanchi mutt.

He added that in case the Shankaracharya was not released a nation wide protest would be launched by the BJP

Similar sentiments were shown by the Kharar Arya Samaj president Lala Om Prakash Agarwal. He, along with Mr Shayam Vedpuri, the Kharar BJP President, Mr Tilak Raj Chaddha and Mr Ashoo Khanna, condemned the arrest of the Shankaracharya.



Tehelka accused admits accepting money
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The General Court Martial trying Col Anil Sahgal for professional impropriety in the tehelka case took a significant turn today when the accused stated under oath that he had accepted money and hospitality of wine and women from operatives of tehelka.com.

Colonel Sahgal told the military court that he had accepted Rs 20,000 at his residence from Anil Malviya on September 5, 2000, and then again took Rs 20,000 on September 21, but "threw" the money back at the tehelka operatives, who were posing as arms dealers and secretly video-taping the transactions.

Colonel Sahgal himself was being examined by the defence as a witness when he made these statements.

The defence took up examination of its witnesses after the prosecution closed its evidence today.He maintained that his action of throwing the money back features in the original VHS tape shot by tehelka.com and submitted that the original tape be screened in the court so that he could prove the point. The court allowed his request.

He stated that when he had enjoyed the hospitality of call girls made available by the tehelka operatives, he had been intoxicated and the liquor served to him had been spiked.

Colonel Sahgal said that he was first introduced to Samuel Mathews, who had executed the sting operation, by an assistant in his office, P. Shashi. He was told that Mathews was a representative of a firm doing business with the Canteen Stores Department. He added that it was Shashi who had told him that a friend, whose name he did not recall, was waiting for him at Hotel Park.

On reaching there, however, he was intercepted by Mathews who said that it was on his insistence that Shashi had asked him to come to the hotel.

Similar replies were also given to the court when it questioned the accused under Army Rule 58. Under this rule, the accused is not obliged to answer the court and any statement given by him cannot be used as evidence against him.

Earlier, the defence counsel, Major K Ramesh (retd) accused the prosecuting officer of professional misconduct. In an application forwarded to the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J J Singh, a copy of which was also submitted to the court, counsel accused the prosecutor, Major Sanjay Sitanshu and the defence counsel, Arvind Moudgil of entertaining Samuel Mathews, a prime witness, at Ambala and tutoring him after serving him liquor. They added that the three consumed so much liquor that they could not make it in time to appear before the court today.

He added that despite requesting the court to ensure there was no interaction between the prosecution and the witness, effective orders were not passed to bar the prosecutor from entering the officers' mess where the witness was staying.

The prosecutor submitted that if the defence did not withdraw the allegations, he would move the court and the Bar Council against Major Ramesh for defamation, as he is a teetotaller. The defence counsel's letter as well as the prosecutor's reply to it has been forwarded to higher authorities for appropriate action.

The court has fixed December 9 as the next date of hearing to enable the prosecution to obtain the original video tape in the meantime.



Punjabi film industry resents step-motherly treatment
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab Government’s decision to grant entertainment tax exemption to Yash Chopra’s blockbuster Veer-Zaara has started snowballing into a major embarrassment for the Punjab Government with Punjabi film producers, directors, artistes and singers coming out strongly against the move that has given special concessions to a Bollywood film, while the Punjabi movies demand for a similar concession has so far been ignored.

Singer cum actor, Harbhajan Mann who is considered to be one of the brains behind reviving Punjabi cinema, told The Tribune that people like him were feeling very disheartened as the government after making several promises to promote Punjabi language and culture through cinema had not granted entertainment tax exemption.

“We do not grudge Mr. Chopra’s movie getting the tax relief, but what has perturbed us is that movies like Jee Ayan Nu and Asa Nu Maan Atna Da that depict Punjabi culture in the truest sense and highlight important issues have been promised tax benefit, but the same has not been implemented”, Mr. Iqbal Dhillon, noted Punjabi film producer (who made Shaheed Udham Singh with Raj Babbar) said.

Punjabi filmmakers have appealed to the state government to extend tax exemption to Punjabi films shot in the state as is done in some other states. Member of Parliament from Patiala and wife of Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs. Parneet Kaur, had promised to take up the matter at the screening of Jee ayan nu at Chandigarh in November 2002, but nothing has materialised ever since.

Those associated with the Punjabi cinema are perturbed over what they term as ‘step-motherly’ treatment towards the state’s own cinema industry. Film producer and comedian, Jaspal Bhatti said that if the state government was serious about preserving and promoting Punjabi cinema, it must come out with liberal subsidies and grants for Punjabi films This producer of Mahaul Theek Hai said that the Punjabi cinema was passing through a very difficult phase and it was the duty of the state government to help.

Vinod Sharma, TV and film artiste said that Punjab must follow the Karnataka pattern for promotion of vernacular cinema. In that state he said that Hindi films were not allowed screening for six weeks after their national launch. This, he said, provides the much needed support to the vernacular cinema.

Iqbal Dhillon disclosed that the first joint Indo-Pak film ‘Pind Di Kuri’ is ready and scheduled for release on December 10. The movie has both Indian and Pakistani actors and has been shot on both sides of the border. Directed by Sukhwant Dhanda (of the Ek Chadar Mailee Se fame) Sarabjeet Cheema from India and Vina Malik from Pakistan play the lead roles and Pakistani writer Basir Niaz is writing the script. “Let the Punjab Government make the beginning by offering a concession similar to Veer-Zaara to this move as it truly depicts the lives in the two Punjabs”, he added.



BSNL, Connect subscribers fail to make SOS calls
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
If you are stranded, forget about calling for help through your mobile phone. Chances are that your SOS will not materialise for some of the service providers in the region are not able to provide proper connectivity to these emergency numbers.

The subscribers, mostly using BSNL, Connect and few of those using Hutch connections said they were often not able to get through the numbers of police assistance (100), fire services (101), ambulance services (102) and child helpline (1098) and these sets just become mere toys if one is stranded at an accident site.

Sometime back, even the Airtel connections had no provision for making emergency call services, but now these numbers can be dialled without using any STD code. These numbers can also be dialled direct through Spice connections.

Mr Randhir Verma, president of the Chandigarh Mobile Phone Consumers Organisation, said, even as all the service providers in the region were trying to outdo each other in terms of providing latest value-added services, they were not paying attention to the provision of basic services. One such subscriber could neither reach the police nor avail ambulance services, when he and his family met with a serious accident.

The officials of these companies maintain that the facility to call emergency numbers has been made available in public interest, but due to some problem on the route, the service of dialling 100 to seek police assistance or other numbers at times may be a problem, but the same will soon be set in order, they add .

Those on duty at the control room also confirm that they receive regular calls from Airtel and Spice connections, but not many on BSNL and Connect due to poor connectivity.

Few Spice subscribers pointed out that at times they got connected to a police station instead of main control room on dialling 100. A senior official attributed this to the problem on the dialled route and not at their end, he added.

Even the Hutch officials claimed that calls to these numbers were being made from their network regularly. 



2 injured as jeep overturns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Two persons were injured when a jeep overturned at the Sector 7 and 8 dividing road this evening.

Jagjit of Sector 18 and Ramandeep of Amritsar sustained minor injuries and were stated to be out of danger.

The police said the two were coming in an open vehicle this evening from the Sukhna Lake. The accident occurred in a bid to save a rickshaw puller. The rickshaw rider suddenly took a turn and the Jeep first hit the footpath and then a lamp post before overturning.



Safai karamchari panel to ensure end of scavenging
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 21
The Chairperson of the National Safai Karamchari Commission, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, today said all scavengers in the country would be liberated by 2007.

Ms Chaudhary was talking to mediapersons after presiding over the concluding-day function of a national delegates’ convention of the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj here today. She said her commission would work to ensure that scavengers were liberated from their job of carrying night soil on their heads.

“After 57 years of Independence, we have not been able to ensure a healthy and respectful living for scavengers, who belong to the Valmiki Samaj. Though it’s only been a fortnight since I took over as the Chairperson, I have been through census reports of scavengers prepared by the previous commission. We will first tour Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar, which have the maximum number of scavengers,” she said.

Ms Chaudhary, who is a former Member of Parliament from Phillaur, said now the commission had been reconstituted. “Earlier, it had seven members and a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman. But now there are five members and a Chairperson. The commission now falls under two ministries, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Poverty Alleviation and Urban Development, and will be coordinating with both to ensure that SC/ST commissions, and safai karamchari commissions are set up in each state,” she said.

Delegates from 15 states, including Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, participated in the seminar. The Adi Dharamguru Sarshabadacharya Viresh Vikal presided over the seminar, while the chief organiser was Mr Chandra Pal.

The delegates concluded that education was the only way to create awareness of rights and responsibilities among the Valmikis. Mr Chander Pal also submitted a memorandum to Ms Chaudhary, demanding a pay commission for safai karamcharis, compensation for their families in case of death of an employee on duty, and easy loans for their children.



Govt move to privatise public sector banks flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Union Government’s move to privatise public sector banks in the country was opposed by speakers at the 32nd biennial conference of Central Bank of Indian Employees Union, held here today. The general view of the leaders was that it would not help strengthen the banks and their efficiency.

Addressing the participants, Mr S.N Singh, president of the All-India Central Bank Employees Congress, said merger and acquisition in banking industry might lead to serious job losses. They may also lead to downsizing of employees as seen in some software companies, thereby making it difficult for the middle-age employees to find a job elsewhere.

He said merger of nationalised banks could not take place unless an enactment is passed in Parliament with regard to this. These banks are not mere commercial organisations but also perform a vital social task in a developing economy like India.

Inaugurating the conference, the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal stressed on the need for a change in the economic scenario of the country so that it could compete at the international level. The banks were nationalised in 1969 because the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi wanted banking facilities to be made available to one and all, particularly those in the rural areas but times have changed and now one has to cater to the competition at the global level, he added. Hence, at least one or two banks should be set up with an international character to compete in the world market.

Mr Bansal also spoke on better service conditions for employees in terms of early and timely wage revision, and emphasised on making available credit facilities for agriculture sector.

The general secretary of the State Bank of India Staff Association, Mr O.N Bindroo, expressed concern on the increased non-performing assets ( NPAs) in the bank and attributed the same to the non-fixing of responsibility on the sanctioning authorities. “The government should provide more teeth to the banks to help them recover bad loans,’’ he said.

Mr J.L Tuli, Deputy General Manager of the Central Bank of India, Chandigarh Zone, talked about maintaining good employer-employee relations. He was all for holding negotiations across the table instead of adopting an agitational path.

A resolution demanding reduction in high rate of interest on house building loans being presently charged from the bank employees than the general public was passed. Others resolutions demanding appointments on compassionate grounds, seeking an early wage revision and increase in rate of interest on special deposit schemes was also passed.

Meanwhile, the fifth biennial conference of the Central Bank Officers Congress was also held. Delegates from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh participated in the deliberations.

Mr A.L Chopra and Mr B.S Gill have been unanimously elected president and general secretary of the Central Bank of Employees Union, respectively, in the elections held today.



Government responsible for DAP shortage: Tata official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Failure of the government to decide the prices of DAP fertilisers on time has led to its shortage — this is what the Chief Operating Officer of Tata Chemicals Limited Kapil Mehan had to say.

Addressing the media after the launch of Tata Kisan Sansar — a chain of one-stop resource centers for providing farmers with end-to-end “agri” solutions — he added that fertiliser was still a regulated industry. He further asserted that the government took a long time to decide the prices resulting in long delay and subsequent shortage.

Regarding “Kisan Sansar”, Mr Mehan claimed that the unique initiative would benefit the farmers by offering the latest in agro services and specilised input products, not easily available to Indian farmers.

Spanning three highly productive agricultural states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the scheme was expected to provide solutions to over 14,000 villages in Northern India in its first phase, Mr Mehan further claimed.

He added that the service — “ranging from agro input planning to crop procurement” — would assist the farmers in the decision making process. This would go a long way in helping the farmers increase their yield and align themselves the market demands.



Children immunised against polio
Tribune Reporters

Polio drops being administered to a child during the pulse polio drive at Panchkula
Polio drops being administered to a child during the pulse polio drive at Panchkula  on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, November 21
Over one lakh children below the age of 5 years were administered polio drops at the pulse polio campaign in the city today. In all 432 pulse polio centres and 70 mobile teams were set up by the UT Health Department for administering the life saving drops. “We have administered drops to 1,01,833 children between the age group of 0-5 years. The door-to-door campaign will continue for the next two days in the city to reach out to a maximum number of children,’’ said the UT Director Health Services, (DHS) Dr C.P. Bansal.

The door-to-door campaign will continue on Monday and Tuesday where the health workers will give drops to those children who did not come to the booths today.

Earlier in the day, Financial Advisor-cum-Health Secretary, Chandigarh S.K. Sandhu, along with Dr Bansal took the rounds of the Bapu Dham Colony, Sanjay Colony and Civil Dispensary, Sector 11, to see the campaign being carried out effectively.

Some voluntary groups too came forward to set up booths at different parts of the city for administrating the polio drops. The Senior Citizens Association gave polio drops to children in Mauli complex and Mauli Jagran. The convener of the association, Mr H.S. Ranga, president Zile Singh and general secretary M.L. Gulati gave the polio drops.

The State Bank of India, Treasury Branch, Personal banking branch and Lions Club, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Health Department organised the campaign in Khejeri village furniture roundabout and Sector 43, where more than 3,000 children were administered polio drops at 13 centres.

No case of polio has surfaced in Chandigarh since October, 2002, while the adjoining states of Haryana and Punjab have seen the last case of paralytic polio in September, 2003. “The presence of the disease in the western Uttar Pradesh and central Bihar has made us to continue this polio campaign along with the other states of the country,’’ said a senior officer of the Health Department.


As many as 54,410 children, were administered polio drops during the pulse polio campaign in the district today.

The campaign in the district was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, who administered polio drops to children at a booth set at Mansa Devi T-point. She also visited booths at Old Panchkula, Kot and Ramgarh.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Satvir Chaudhary, said they had set a target of immunising 71,000 children against polio. As many as 320 booths, including eight transit booths and 13 mobile teams, were set up for today’s drive. A total of 1,280 health workers and 58 supervisors were on duty for this work. He said 32,676 children in rural areas of the district, and 21, 734 children in the urban areas of the district were administered drops today.

Dr Shail Gupta, District Immunisation Officer, said 3,216 children in Raipur Rani, 4,140 children in Kot, 3,406 in Barwala, 2,737 in Hangola, 1,728 in Morni, 8,354 in Old Panchkula, 5,592 in Pinjore, 9527 in Kalka, and 15,710 in urban Panchkula were administered polio drops. She said a door-to-door campaign for the children, who could not get the drops today, will be conducted on November 22 and 23.


As many as 46,839 children, were administrated polio drops during the pulse polio campaign in Mohali and Kharar today.

As many as 67 booths, including three transit and four mobile teams, were specially set up for today’s drive in Mohali township. A total of 300 health workers and 12 supervisors were on duty for this work. According to the nodal officer, Dr Satpal Singla, in Mohali alone, 12,523 children were administered polio drops.

According to Dr Kulbir Singh Kang, SMO, Primary Health Centre, Gharuan, 31,800 children in rural areas of Mohali and Kharar were administered polio drops. The nodal officer, Dr H.S. Oberai said the number of those administered polio drops in Kharar town was 2,516.

Dr Harinder Rana, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, said a door-to-door campaign for the children who could not get the drops today, will be conducted on November 22 and 23.


Children were administered pulse polio drops at various places in Ambala city and Ambala Cantonment. The pulse polio drive in the district was started with the Deputy Commissioner administering polio drops to children at Seva Samiti School, Ambala Cantt. Speaking on the occasion, the DC said it was the moral duty of the parents to ensure that their children get polio drops.

Mr Gupta said a sustained effort was being made to eradicate polio. He said while the government and non-government organisations were working hard for a polio free society, the public should extend support to the campaign.


As many as 26,245 children were administrated polio drops by the local health authorities.

According to Dr Ram Kumar, SMO, Dera Bassi, said 129 teams of paramedical staff, students of local dental college and other social organisations joined hands to make the campaign a success.

The children who could not be given anti-polio vaccines today would be covered by mobile teams in a door-to-door campaign. The teams also visited brick-kilns and other slum areas.


The NSS unit of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, on Sunday participated in the pulse polio campaign and set up a camp at Gurdwara Jyoti Sarup at here.

The college Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, inaugurated the camp. Prof Lakhvir Singh, in charge of the collge NSS unit, said 52 NSS volunteers participated in the campaign. He said two teams went to slums to give polio drops to the children.



Administration geared up for band call
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The district administration has made all necessary arrangements to ensure that essential services are not affected in view of the bandh call given by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) to demand immediate release of Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswathi.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, said the law and order would be maintained at all cost. He said all public offices and educational institutions would remain open and no one would be allowed to disrupt the essential services.

Adequate police arrangements had been made to deal with the troublemakers. Those who create law and order problem would be dealt with in accordance with provisions of the law, he said. The Chandigarh police has put additional force to protect important installations in the city.



War veteran fights for pension
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Piara Singh
Piara Singh

Chandigarh, November 21
Struggles never end. Fifty-seven-year after three bullets pierced his right arm while thrashing the enemy in Uri sector, ex-sepoy Piara Singh is fighting a different battle. The attempt this time is to get disability pension for life.

Determined to succeed, the 77-year-old World-War II veteran says he has now issued a notice of demand to the army authorities, including Chief of the Army Staff.

Putting up in Hirdapur village in Ropar district, Piara Singh claims that the Union Government gave him pension only for a year even though he had suffered permanent injury.

Terming it as “mockery on part of the government authorities”, the soldier adds that he was not even offered a government job after being boarded out of service on medical grounds.

Going into the background of the matter, the soldier says he was enrolled in the Army on July 5, 1944, after he was found medically fit. After successful completion of training at Naushera — now in Pakistan — he was inducted in the Sikh Regiment.

The soldier claims that he was awarded a large number of medals, including Burma Star, “WO” Medal, “GS” Medal, “J&K Operation Medal and Indian Independence Medal for his outstanding abilities. But he was wounded in Uri sector on December 12, 1947.

Giving details, Piara Singh adds that initially the disability was assessed at 40 per cent “permanent for life” by the Medical Board. But a year later, the Controller of Military Accounts (Pension) — now called Principal Controller of Defence Accounts — reduced the same to below 20 per cent. As a result, his plea for disability pension was rejected.

He maintains that the authorities stopped not only “disability element” of pension, but also the “service element”, even though it was payable for life. Moreover, the pension was held back without the issuance of notice.

Assisting Piara Singh in his long drawn legal battle, Chairman of All-India Ex-servicemen Association Bhim Sen Sehgal adds that “the whole thing is patently wrong”.

Quoting orders passed by the courts from time to time, he adds that the percentage of disability assessed by a Medical Board cannot be reduced to an individual’s disadvantage without bringing him before the Appellate Medical Board.

In Piara Singh’s case, the authorities could not have “tinkered with the percentage of disability prescribed by the Medical Board without following the due procedure”.

This is not all. Mr Sehgal believes that the soldier was entitled to “`War Injury Pension’ for life regardless of the fact that his disability was assessed to be less than 20 per cent”.

The authorities should have considered Piara Singh’s case with compassion as he had suffered war injury. But it is never too late to rectify a mistake, Mr Sehgal concludes.



From alcoholic anonymity to sober dignity
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
For Karnal-based recovering alcoholic Arun (name changed), who drank during jaundice for about 11 months, it has been a second birth. Pronounced “hopeless” by the doctors, happiness and dignity have returned to his life—courtesy Alcoholic Anonymous (AA).

As Arun spoke at an open meeting of the Welcome Group of AA, organised to mark its 16th anniversary here today, gratitude and happiness were writ large on his face. “AA has pulled me back from the brink of death and it is nothing short of a miracle,” said Arun, who has not had a drink for several years now.

In fact, it was a big day for the motley crowd of recovering alcoholics and their families, comprising mostly professionals, businessmen and government servants as they hugged each other at Carmel Convent School, Sector 9. Thanking God and AA, members said their sobriety, one day at a time, has blessed them with material and spiritual gains, which they had never expected even in dreams.

It his introductory remarks, another member said AA was an international fellowship of men and women in over 150 countries, who helped each other maintain sobriety and shared recovery experiences with individuals with a drinking problem. It was a disease like any other and the cure generally involved avoiding the first drink, he said.

Sharing his nightmarish experiences with alcohol, Sunit spoke of how he had been advised to leave his job by his department. Living sober, he was now the head of the department and dedicated time to spread the message of fellowship to needy alcoholics.

And for Vijay, an NRI from the USA, the one-day-at-a-time programme has been of immense help, keeping him sober for many years.

The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. The primary purpose is to stay sober and help others alcoholics to achieve sobriety.



Campaign picks up in Ward No. 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
With just a week remaining for the election to Ward No 11 of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), various candidates have intensified their campaign.

The Kalka MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, while campaigning appealed to the Haryana Government employees to vote for the Congress candidate. Mr Lucky assured the residents that the community centres in Sectors 20 and 33 would be spruced up and special facilities provided to the ex-servicemen and senior citizens.

On the other hand, the BJP candidate, Mr Girdhari Lal Jindal, focussed on the door-to-door campaigning by organising a padyatra. Addressing a corner meeting, a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, appealed to the voters to give a crushing defeat to the Congress for its various acts of omission and commission.

The candidate of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch(CVM), Dr OP Verma, and president of the women’s cell of the CVM, Ms Manju, continued their personal contact programme in Sector 20.

Meanwhile, the president of the local unit of SAD, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, said the party was supporting the Independent candidate, Mr Rajesh Gupta, for his services to the residents of the area.



Western Army Commander visits forward areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt-Gen J.J. Singh, today visited forward areas of the Vajra Corps to review operational preparedness and interact with unit and formation commanders.

Addressing Commanders and troops in the filed, the Army Commander said that inspite the thaw in relations with our neighbour, the Armed Forces could not afford to let their guard down. He emphasised the need to remain operationally fit for which training must be done realistically, troops familiarised with their operational tasks and the serviceability levels of arms and equipment maintained at high levels and at the same time enhance the motivational level of all ranks so as to forge a war winning team.

He underlined the need to adopt new techniques for individual and collective training to enhance combat effectiveness.

While reviewing the operational plans, he said a very realistic appraisal of capabilities of adversaries must be made while formulating these plans. The Army was not only modernising and upgrading its equipment, but was also refining its war doctrine and operational concept to keep pace with the emerging battlefiled environment.

Expressing satisfaction over operational preparedness, he exhorted all ranks to remain vigilant and reminded them that in operations there was no prize for runners-up and that all troops of Western Command must live up to their moto of “Fight to win.”



Cops come calling on senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The city police today fanned out in the city to meet senior citizens and share their problems. According to the SDPO (Central), Mr Subhash Sagar, SDPOs, SHOs and officials in charge of police posts met 750 out of the 1,000 senior citizens identified by the police to be living on their own in the city.

DSP (South) S.S. Randhawa said that he had called a meeting of senior citizens and heard their problems in Sector 38.

Mr Sagar said that around 250 senior citizens were not available in the city as they had gone out of the city when police staff visited their houses. Beat staff was also accompanied by senior officers.

The beat staff was directed to take particular care of the senior citizens and keep in touch with them to solve their problems. The police advised the senior citizens to make use of the neighbourhood watch scheme. The police also asked them to keep important phone numbers with them at all times so that the police and ambulance could be called if needed.



Jagannath mahotsava ends with rath yatra
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
Thousands participated in the colourful Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra Mahotsava today. The six days of festivities ended with the rath yatra that began at the Phase-11, Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir ending at the Phase-3B2 Lakshmi Narayan Mandir.

Tableaus of various Gods were also presented as part of the yatra. The yatra ended with display of fireworks. As many as 208 women took out a separate kalash yatra.

Organised by the Shri Vaishno Seva Mandal, Mohali, Mr Prem Agarwal, the president said the rath yatra festivities were being held for the fifth time in a row. General secretary Mr Manoj Agarwal informed Chandigarh Tribune that Shri Bhaktiyog Swami from Rishikesh would be attending today’s proceedings.



Hanuman Jayanti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
Scores of Hanuman devotees chanted Sunderkand during a function organised by the Sri Ram Namay Sumrin Satsang, Chandigarh, to celebrate Lord Hanuman birth anniversary today.

Founder of the organisation, Acharaya Sri Shyam Maya, asked the devotees to come forward for help, as the organisation was planning to launch free dispensary, free ambulance service free swing centre and some other services, for the poor.



Pawar’s visit put off

Chandigarh, November 21
The President of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, has postponed his proposed visit to Karnal on November 23.

The senior vice-president of the Haryana unit of the NCP, Mr Surat Singh Bajwa, said the visit had to be postponed because the Prime Minister had called an important meeting in Delhi on November 23. — TNS



3 names for CITCO MD
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab Government has sent a panel of three names to replace, Mr S.P. Singh, Managing Director (MD) of Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Development Corporation, (CITCO). The panel has the names of, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, and Mr Kulbir Singh Kang.

The present MD, CITCO, Mr S.P. Singh, has been refused extension.



Dr Nirankari clarifies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Dr Man Singh Nirankari, a former Principal of Medical College, Amritsar, in a statement issued here today said he had never spoken against Shaheed Bhagat Singh and always held the martyr in high esteem.

His clarification comes after a photo was published in Chandigarh Tribune on November 17, where the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front was shown burning Dr Nirankari’s effigy. He said his respect for the martyr was reflected in his writings.



Four booked in cheating case
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
The Kharar police registered a case against the shopkeepers of Balongi village, today, who were allegedly cheating the public by promising to double their money.

The four accused, Bahadur Singh, Jit Singh, both residents of Bassi Pathana township, Sukhjit Singh Randhawa and Major Singh, both residents of Balongi village have been booked under Sections 420 of the IPC and 4/5 of the Chit Fund Act 1982.

The accused were selling goods at half the cost. They would take the money in advance promising to deliver the goods after 15 days. The SP Kharar, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, had conducted a raid last evening and seized four truckloads of commercial goods being sold in the shop at discounted rates.

The police said a complaint against the shop being run in the name of -Jai Luxmi Super Agencies was received from Mr Dilbag Singh a resident of Adarsh Nagar, Balongi village.



1 killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 21
A man was killed when he was hit by a speeding motorcycle near Kalka today. The victim, Gurdev, was going to Pinjore in a three wheeler, when he stopped for a while to relieve himself. A motor cyclist coming from the opposite side ran into him. The motor cyclist fled from the spot, and some passers-by rushed him to the Civil Hospital, Kalka, from where he was refered to the GMCH, Chandigarh. He died on way to the hospital.


Unknown miscreants stole a colour television, one meter reading equipment and some cash from the house of a Senior sub-station Engineer, UHBVN, Mr Yogesh Gupta. When he returned to his official accomodation in Industrial Area, this morning, and found the locks of hi s house broken and the rooms ransacked.

Liquor seized

The police arrested two persons, Jaswant and Sanjeev, near Barwala and seized 192 bottles of country made liquor. The accused were ravelling in a car when they were apprehended by the police.



Clues found in shooting incident: police
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
The police here today claimed to have got certain vital leads that could help nab the person who shot at 47-year-old Mewa Singh, a Punjab Roadways employee at the Phase VIII bus stand here yesterday. The victim, a resident of Dharamgarh village was shot at twice and is admitted to the PGI Chandigarh. He recorded his statement with the police today and informed that the person who shot at him was a regular visitor to the bus stand.

The police also claimed to have taken four parking slips from the scooter stand that could have belonged to the accused. The police would be sending teams to Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to nab the accused. “We will be able to arrest him in a day or two. Mewa Singh has given a full description of the person and a computer sketch of the accused would be prepared,” said Mr Rakesh Agarwal, SP, Mohali.

The incident took place just after midnight when Mewa Singh and an unidentified person had a heated argument over the parking of the latter's scooter at the scooter stand. Mewa Singh, who was on night duty as watchman at the scooter stand, asked for the parking slip amount from this person, who refused to pay, insisting that his scooter was outside the stand. The unidentified person then took out a revolver and shot at Mewa Singh.



Accident victim succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 21
Mr Ajaib Singh, a resident of Jawaharpur village, who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital in a critical condition, succumbed to his injuries, sustained in a road accident early this morning.

Mr Ajaib Singh had sustained severe head injuries when he fell from a tractor-trailer on the Kalka-Ambala highway at about 4 a.m. He, along with his companions, was carrying vegetables for sale on the tractor-trailer when the mishap occurred. The hook of the trailer detached from the tractor, resulting in the accident.

His companions rushed Ajaib Singh to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, where he was given some treatment.

The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem examination at the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, this evening. The police has initiated inquest proceeding in this regard.

Driver assaulted

A truck driver, Mr Kulwinder Singh, who was bound for Uttar Pradesh from Himachal Pradesh, was allegedly assaulted at an octroi post by the staffers when he reportedly refused to pay ‘rahdari’ for the goods he was carrying.

According to the police, the windowpanes of the truck (PB-07H-1201) were also smashed following a clash with the truck driver and the octroi staffers. In the clash, Kulwinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh, an octroi staffer, sustained injuries.

The police has registered a case.



Girl, boy injured in brawl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A girl and a boy were allegedly wounded in an attack by a Sector 36 resident in front of Blue Ice Restaurant last night.

Yamandeep of Sector 36 allegedly took out a sharp-edged weapon from his car and hit Mukesh Chopra of Sector 44, Gur Fateh Singh of Sector 8 and Harneet Kaur. The three had gone to Sector 17 to have dinner together.

According to the police, Yamandeep and others picked up a fight at the Sector 17 parking. Harneet Kaur received injuries in the neck, while Gur Fateh’s left was injured.

The police has arrested Yamandeep Singh. He has been remanded to judicial custody till December 4.



Jeweller held for duping
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A jeweller from Burail village was today arrested for allegedly duping the Sector 22-based Nikkamal Baburam Jeweller twice this month.

According to the police, Ranjit Singh bought two gold chains from Nikkamal Baburam and later returned these. He again took two chains on November 18 and returned those as well. Today again he came to return the chains. The repeated return of the chains attracted the attention of the jeweller who had alerted the local police.

The jeweller alleged that the person from Burail had only been retaining the stamped part of the golden chain and returning the other gold with higher impurity. The stamp is in the hook of the chain.



One hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
One person was injured in an accident that took place opposite the Hanuman Mandir, Phase 3B2, here this evening.

Abhishek Arora was driving towards his house in Sector 70 when his scooter (CHO 1H 5566) was hit by a car (CH0 3H 3456) coming from the side.

The victim was reportedly dragged a large distance . The car driver fled in the vehicle.


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