C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops, villagers perform last rites of children
Killer father kept away; 6-yr-old Sunaina attends funeral 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The bodies of Suraj (3) and Anil (9 months), who were killed by their father, Kamleshwar Paswan, on Saturday at Kishangarh Village, were buried today at the cremation ground situated along the Sukhna choe.

There was nobody from their family to bury them except sympathisers, who had gathered in scores to perform the last rites of the infants.

Usually a dead person is given the final adieu by close relatives but the two children were buried by policemen and villagers.

Their sister, Yashodha (6), and mother, Sunaina, were today brought from the PGI along with the bodies which were wrapped in white sheets to the cremation ground.

But both of them were kept at a distance from the cremation ground. As soon as the bodies were being prepared to be buried, Sunaina got hysterical with grief. The police asked the woman accompanying her to persuade her to go home.

Yashodha was sitting 50 m away from the cremation ground apparently not realising that her brothers had gone for ever. She was covered in a blanket with her face bearing the brutality of her father’s attack. She was repeatedly asking for her father. Sunaina was also pleading with the police to bring her husband to the cremation ground to perform children’s last rites.

Kamleshwar Paswan, repentant but unable to come to terms with what he had done, did not even approach the court to grant him permission to bury his dead sons.

However, his wife was still expecting him to be at least redeem himself by joining the funeral.

Senior police officers said they feared that Kamleshwar might do something to himself if he was allowed to attend the funeral.

A local lawyer today approached a court for allowing Paswan to join the funeral but the permission was declined as the lawyer had no locus standi.

The shroud was arranged by Sarpanch Sita Ram and villagers also chipped in with their contributions.

Village youth performed the task of digging the graves.

The landlord of Sunaina waived off four months of rent amounting to Rs 2,400 and promised to take care of her. The provisions supplier Gurnam Singh decided to waive off Rs 385 due from the family. Mr Gurnam Singh said he had sent at least 15 days of ration to their house.

Villagers have decided to collect money and support the family.



Rodrigues finds faults in land allotment to law college
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 17
The UT Administrator today virtually acknowledged that there was something wrong in the allotment of a piece of prime land to a private company run by influential persons in Sector 38A for the construction of a law college.

In a communiqué addressed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice, the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), who is also the Governor of Punjab, has reportedly also acknowledged that “corrective steps” are needed to be taken in the matter.

In his letter, General Rodrigues has also said that after going through the record of allotment of land to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited for setting up a law institute, he has come to the conclusion that under the present circumstances there are two options open to the Administration. These options, he has said, are to either cancel the allotment or let the allotment stay but charge enhanced market rate from the allottee.

As for the second option, the Administrator feels that since the possession of land has been handed over and the company has started construction of the building, this option could also be considered.

The construction of the building had been stopped on the very first hearing on a PIL filed by Mr Neeraj Sharma of Jalandhar.

In his communiqué, General Rodrigues has also said that he has sought the legal opinion of the Attorney General of India with regard to the options. Earlier, the affidavit filed by the UT Finance Secretary in the matter was placed on record. In his affidavit, Finance Secretary S.K. Sandhu has stated that as per the directions of the High Court, the entire record concerning the allotment was placed before the Administrator.

It may be recalled that sometime back the High Court Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant had directed the UT Adviser or the Finance Secretary to file an affidavit saying therein if audit objections raised in the allotment of the land to the company were in the notice of the UT Administrator. The Bench had also asked about the views of the Administrator on the issue, if he knew about the objections.

The report of the government auditors, published by The Tribune, had said that the UT suffered a loss of Rs 139 crore due to the alleged irregularities in the allotment of land. Today, after hearing the counsels and taking in view the communiqué of the Administrator, the Bench adjourned the hearing to January 24.



PU blames storekeeper for re-evaluation goofing
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Even before a thorough enquiry is conducted into the lapses which led to the re-evaluation of answer-sheets of a cancelled paper of M Sc (mathematics), accountability-shy Panjab University has found a “convenient” scapegoat in a storekeeper responsible for handing over and storage of answer-sheets.

Raised in the Senate meeting held on December 19, the hotly-debated issue of revaluation of a cancelled paper and amidst a demand for “punishing the guilty” the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, ordered an inquiry into the matter.

However, nearly a month later the university is still groping in the dark unable to identify its officials involved in the lapse. The only headway made in the case is that succumbing to pressure the university hastened the preparation of the M Sc (mathematics) result and declared it in the beginning of the New Year. Also, the authorities identified a “storekeeper to shoulder the entire blame”.

The Joint Registrar, Mr S.C. Malhotra, the inquiry officer in this case, also appointed in the first week of January this year, is yet to give his findings of an independent inquiry. However, with the university holding a storekeeper responsible for the lapse it is unlikely that any heads will roll in the case.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said, “A time-bound enquiry is being conducted into the matter. The Joint Registrar has been given two to three weeks to establish what went wrong. However, one thing is certain that it was the storekeeper who gave the wrong answer-sheets of the cancelled paper for re-evaluation.” It maybe recalled that the university had conducted the M Sc (mathematics) paper on April 20 last year. Following the paper, the students represented to the university stating that the paper was out of syllabus and that it be held again.

Conceding to the demand of the students, the university held a re-examination of the paper on July 5 after which the result was declared. Still not satisfied with their scores, the students applied for re-evaluation. The result was not declared and the students were forced to sit for the supplementary examination conducted in October.

Irked by the university’s lack of response on the date of declaration of the two results pending with the Examination Branch, the students approached the Senators. On investigation, it was found that the re-evaluation had been done twice, once for the cancelled paper and then again for the paper held in July. This had caused delay in the declaration of the result. 



No method to find HIV infection in window period
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

The window period for the HIV means that time period when the person carries the HIV virus but is not infected and thus can’t be diagnosed. The window period can last up to a few weeks or several years.

Chandigarh, January 17
Despite plethora of tests conducted to ensure the safety of donated blood, the threat of the HIV may still persist, especially if the donor has donated blood in the window period, when his disease status is not known.

In the wake of the recent incident in Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, where a newborn was administered blood from a private blood bank seven years ago, and he now is tested HIV positive, the city based blood transfusion experts say that while stringent tests are being conducted in the city blood banks to ensure the blood safety, such “stray incidents” could still happen.

Fact file

Chandigarh has three blood banks in government set-up, including one each at the PGI, GMCH-32 and GH-16. The recent addition is the city’s first blood bank in the private set-up jointly owned by the Rotary Club and the Red Cross Society. With the yearly requirement of around 45, 000 units of blood, the city is able to meet its requirements with 35 per cent replacements (professional) donations. 

“It is sad that despite the best of the safety measures at blood banks the world over, there is no mechanism of finding out the infected blood donated by the person within the window period for the HIV. Though under the national policy, the collected blood, if tested positive for diseases like HIV, hepatitis, and jaundice, has to be discarded, the problem can occur if the donor is in the window period for HIV and his status is not known while he donates blood in good faith,” says Ms Swaroop Krishan, general secretary of the Rotary Blood Centre, the only private blood bank in the city.

However, to tackle the lacunae, the Head of Department of Blood Transfusion, PGI, Dr Neelam Marwaha, says the screening of the donor should be stringent to ensure that the donor does not belong to “high risk group” for acquiring the disease.

“Before the person bleeds, his particulars are noted down and studied to assess if he could be a HIV carrier. This is an effective way to check the possibility of infected blood,” says Dr Marwaha.

Sources, however, reveal that in the national survey carried out a few years ago, Chandigarh Blood Banks had the lowest rate of the blood discard while the southern Indian cities had the highest rate of the blood that was discarded for carrying infections, including that of the HIV. 



Goods worth Rs 4 lakh stolen from Sector 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
At least Rs 4 lakh worth of goggles, $ 3000 and Rs 1.55 lakh in Indian currency and gold were stolen in the spate of thefts in the city since yesterday.

While 135 Ray Ban goggles and 16 contact lenses, estimated to be worth Rs 4, lakh, were stolen from Big Ben store in Sector 17, $ 3000 and Rs 85,000 were stolen from a marriage party in Saini Bhavan in Sector 24 from the purse of one Sushila Sharma who had come from the USA to attend the wedding. Two rag-picker children were questioned in this connection but nothing came out. In another incident in Sector 44, Rs 70,000, six gold bangles, one golden set and one silver set were stolen from House Number 34 in Sector 44, when the occupant of the house was away.

Rajinder Minocha of Big Ben said he got a call at 6 am that the shutter of his shop was broken. He found out that 135 goggles, worth around Rs 3000 each were stolen. The chowkidar of the area had seen two young cleanshaven men fleeing from the scene in a white car, which could have either been a Contessa or Ceilo car. The watchman said the incident took taken place between 5 a.m. and 5.20 a.m. He said the thieves had plastered tapes on the number plate of the car.

Mr Minocha said surprisingly the thieves did not touch Gucci goggles. He suspected two youths who had come yesterday and made lot of inquiries about the prices of different goggles but they did not make any purchase. Surprisingly, the cash in the shop was untouched.

Mr Minocha said he had not insured the goods. The police called forensic experts to lift finger prints suspected to have been left on the front glass door. A hand imprint was clearly visible on the front glass.

Beopar Mandal representatives under the leadership of its president Jagdish Arora demanded that the roadside vendors encroaching upon the government land in the sector be removed.



Gang of car thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
The police today claimed to have busted a gang of car thieves, involved in stealing cars here, preparing forged documents and selling them. As many as nine cars, valued at Rs 30 lakh, have been recovered.

The thieves were nabbed following the arrest of Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Ferozepur, on January 8.

The police said they received secret information about a Zen car (PB-05 J-7314) being parked near Red Bishop Hotel, and upon reaching there, the police found Lakhwinder sitting in the car.

They also found two registration certificates in the car, but the chassis number and engine number in the RCs were missing.

Lakhwinder later revealed that he was part of a seven member gang involved in stealing cars, preparing their registration certificates and then selling them.

The other members of the gang — Makhan Singh, Kali, Jaswinder Singh, Nikku, Ashwani Sethi and Rinku — were absconding.

Lakhwinder had revealed that they operated at night, and stole cars parked outside houses. They would break the car locks with a drill, open the ignition switches and then drive away the cars. They would then park the stolen cars at the parking of railway station, and hand over the car keys to the next person.

The fake RCs of the cars were prepared in Ferozepur, informed Mr Ashok Bakhshi, SHO, Sector 5.

A case under Sections 379, 411, 413, 414, 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC was registered, and two teams, headed by Mr Ashok Bakhshi and Mr Mukesh Kumar of CIA Staff were constituted.

The police teams raided various places in Amritsar, Moga, Ferozepur and Faridkot, and recovered the cars stolen by the gang.

The police has also arrested a gang member, Ashwani Sethi, who would buy the stolen cars from them, and ply them as taxis, or sell these off further. The police is now on the look out for other members of the gang. 



HC halts PUDA’s anti-encroachment drive
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 17
All preparations of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for the removal of encroachments in Kumbra village came to a halt with the Punjab and Haryana High Court giving a stay in this regard.

The Enforcement Wing of PUDA, which went fully geared equipped with three JCBs, trucks tractor-trailers and a team of nearly 100 employees taken from different branches, to remove the encroachments from outside the village, had to return without taking any action. As many 45 police personnel and a Duty Magistrate had accompanied the PUDA team.

First half of the day was spent by PUDA officials on making the required arrangements for the demolition drive during which 61 encroachments were to be removed. Some structures also existed in the encroached area.

The PUDA team reached Kumbra village in the afternoon to carry out demolitions. People of the village, including women had gathered in large number at that time. Some women were ready to protest against PUDA activity. But PUDA officials gave some time to the persons, who had encroached upon the land to remove their belongings from illegal structures. Before the actual operation could be started, some persons produced a letter from an advocate which stated that demolition had been stayed.

Mr Sanjay Bansal, advocate and counsel for the petitioners (Joginder Singh and others), stated in the letter to the Estate Officer, PUDA, that a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stayed the demolition of residential houses and notice of motion had been issued for April 5.

The Estate Officer of PUDA, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, said the operation had been postponed and the petitioners had been asked to present a copy of the stay order which would be produced by them tomorrow.

Residents of the village demanded that a plot to every adult male member of the family should be given by PUDA in lieu of removing them from this area. One plot to each family would create friction among brothers who had independent families. They even demanded money for the malba.

Only one person, Nahar Singh, had removed his belongings from the illegal structure and one could see beds, beddings, refrigerator, trunks, etc lying in the open. He said other members of the family were living in the village and he was alone in this area.

Mr Ujjagar Singh, a resident of the village, said PUDA was giving one plot to each family which was inadequate as the families were growing. Moreover, a number of conditions were being laid by PUDA for giving plots regarding their sale and division. “We can’t keep animals in the land allotted by PUDA”, he added.



Passing Thru

Shankar Sahney
Shankar Sahney

What is the new trend in Punjabi pop music?

Simple lyrics with thumping beats, which can make you dance is the latest trend. But the song should have a rural feel to it. Then only it can appeal to the masses.

Almost every day a new Punjabi singer is emerging, what do you have to say about it?

Usually those who have little experience in music come up with their own private albums. But you can count the names of established singers on your finger-tips. So if one wants to continue in the industry, hard work is the only answer.

Is there a craze for Punjabi music in other countries?

Bhangra music is making waves in other countries. Though the foreigners cannot understand the words but they like the beat. It seems to have an universal appeal and Bhangra has carved a place in their hearts.

Any future plans?

My new Punjabi album is in the pipeline. There will be nine songs and music has been given by my brother Vivek Sahney. I am also working on another album based on the remixes of songs by Mohammad Rafi.

— As told to Swarleen Kaur



Chandigarh Calling

HER love for abandoned creatures is unfailing. Heart-wrenching howls of a dog in distress or a puppy in pain in this bone0ratting chill can give her sleepless nights. A famished fowl or a grievously wounded cow or a calf touches the chords of her psyche.

A 20 plus Nisha Sharma, is fully devoted to the cause. She has taken up cudgels against mindless crudity against animals perpetrated by none other than humans. For her, the clinic run by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA) in Sector 38, home to the injured and abandoned animals including, cows, oxen, dogs, monkeys and other fowls, in the Mecca that she cannot afford to miss visiting.

Nisha daily offers her prayers for the well-being of these caged creatures. Her Sundays are devoted to them. She does not consume food unless she has fed them. Tearing off a thick blanket of pre-dawn fog, Nisha zooms off with foodstuffs, including bread, milk, cookies and eggs, to keep her tryst with these abandoned creatures. “Times are when she spends her entire month’s salary and whatever precious little pocket money she gets from her parents,” tells the proud mother who, more often than not, accompanies her to the clinic.

Film festival

A former student of DAV College and Panjab University Chandigarh, Ajay Sethi, who launched the first free-to-air terrestrial Hindi channel outside India in the Middle East a few years ago, is now busy in projecting Dubai as the destination for the International Film Festival.

Recently when Amitabh Bachchan was in Dubai, Ajay Sethi held discussion with him and he enjoys support from the Government of Dubai for organising mega event of the IIFA awards in Dubai in future, says Sethi’s family based in Chandigarh.

Ajay Sethi is now the chairman of Channel 729. He left Chandigarh 20 years ago. The idea is to make Dubai feel the presence of Indian film industry.

Contact programme

The Chandigarh Police has recently seen a change of heart, apparently not on its own, but with the new Administrator coming to the city.

The police has enlarged its police-public contact programme to set up youth clubs and even micro-credit bodies to generate employment. Police officials are now vying with each other to form clubs with innovative ideas. Even the police stations are getting decked up with the Administrator General S. F. Rodrigues (retd.) taking charge in the city. Earlier, the IG had announced an award for the best police station in the city. SHOs are now giving a corporate look to the police station.

Visits of children were organised, youth clubs have been formed and an NGO has been roped in. Now the police says it will leave its reactive strategy and become proactive in policing. It will reform people and will even try to get them meaningful engagement or employment to reduce crime as well as create sources in the city shanties.

But, will the police not feel uncomfortable getting too close to the people who it had earlier ruled by force?

Flower Day

Flower Day was celebrated in the city on January 14. In youngsters’ parlance, it meant giving flowers to the person whom you value or admire. Therefore, it was fitting that boys in the city grabbed the occasion, collected the choicest of flowers and headed for their respective destinations. Offering it girls to with whom they wanted to be pally with, however, was not so easy. But many managed to come over their initial inhibitions. A bunch of roses, single bud and other flowers like gladiolus were the hot favourites. Each flower had a different feeling to show. Most of the guys were of the opinion that this was the countdown to forthcoming Valentine day.

The craze for celebrating Flower Day was seen more among freshers. Senior students preferred to remain as onlookers.

Tsunami tragedy

Tsunami seems to have a profound effect on city residents. Trying to show sympathy with the victims of the worst natural calamity of recent times, Chandigarians are showing their concern in whichever way they can. The organisers of all routine blood donation camps taking place anywhere in the city do not forget to mention in the end that the victims were remembered, the press note drafters of the health awareness camps do not forget to mention that the participants were motivated to help the victims and the school functions too do not lag behind and link tsunami with all their functions. But a city based play school scored over everyone else last week, as it linked the Lohri celebrations by children as young as three years in the school to the tragedy. “As the tiny tots offered peanuts in the holy fire, they thought of the tsunami victims,” mentioned the press note.

— Sentinel



Cold wave resurfaces in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The January chill seems to have set in with a significant fall in the day temperature coupled with light showers in the city today.

And with several parts of Himachal Pradesh, including Shimla, witnessing showfall, cold wave-like conditions prevailed in the city and the adjoining areas by the evening. The city witnessed a maximum temperature of 16.6°C as against yesterday’s temperature of 23°C.

However, the minimum temperature, which was 7°C, rose to 9.4°C, weather office sources said, while predicting a fall in the temperature in the days to come. According to reports received here, Ambala recorded a minimum temperature of 4.9 degree celsius. Patiala, on the other hand, reported a maximum and minimum temperatures of 15.8°C and 8.5°C, respectively.

The sources said fog and mist during the night and the early morning would contribute to further reduction in temperature.

The weather office has predicted widespread snow in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, which, in turn, would contribute to the intensity of the cold wave in the plains.



Sector 8 gurdwara gives Rs 3.02 lakh for tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Sharing concern for the cause of rehabilitation of tsunami-hit people, the president at Gurdwara Patshahi Dasween, Sector 8-C, Chandigarh, Mr Harbans Singh, accompanied by Mr B.B. Behl, president Chandigarh Territorial Congress, Lt-Col. Mahinder Singh and Mr Chandan Singh presented cheques for Rs 3.02 lakh to the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), as a contribution towards the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

These donations were mobilised by the devotees of the gurdwara. Appreciating the gesture, General Rodrigues said Punjabis always displayed a deep sense of fellow-feeling and rose to the occasion in selfless service to people in distress and despair. He urged them to keep these high traditions alive in times to come.

General Rodrigues said that he was deeply concerned over social evils like female foeticide and discrimination against the girl child and women folk. He said that there was a need of setting up homes for destitute girls to make them self reliant by giving them vocational training and arranging financial support to start a business. He asked for their cooperation in this endeavour. Mr Harbans Singh and Mr Behl lauded the concern of General Rodrigues and assured full support in achieving the objectives.



Tax payers suffer due to wrong MICR code
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Mr Joginder Singh, an income tax payer and a Sector 17 shopkeeper, is a harassed man. Even after receiving a refund order from the Income Tax Department several days back, Mr Joginder Singh is yet to get his refund.

In fact, over 300 income tax assessees like Mr Joginder Singh are at their wits’ end as their respective banks have “declined” to accept the refund cheques forcing them to move from pillar to post.

Sources informed that the computer software in the city banks had not been accepting refund orders as the MICR code did not tally with the official code.

It may be recalled that the department issued refund orders to the assessees through the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which acts as a “clearing house” for such transactions. The RBI, in turn, entrusted the job to the Treasury branch of the State Bank of India (SBI).

The sources said the RBI might have printed wrong MICR code, which led to this problem. Another possibility was that the bank had used old stationery for printing the refund vouchers.

Meanwhile, Mr Joginder Singh alleged that the assessees were being asked to pay Rs 50 per refund order for the rectification of mistake in the MICR code.

Ms S.K. Aulakh, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, North Western Region, conceded that the assessees were inconvenienced due to a “software” problem in the system. All 300 “bounced” cheques were from Chandigarh, highlighted Income Tax officials.

Claiming that the problem had been “remedied”, Ms Aulakh said fresh cheques were being issued to the assessees. She advised the assessees to contact their respective assessing officers for the issuance of fresh refund orders.



Unsung heroes given bravery awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Acts of uncommon courage in saving human lives are never done in anticipation of any social appreciation. However, an award for an act of bravery, social or physical, can be inspiration for someone else also who could also save a life.

As many as 10 inhabitants from Punjab and Haryana were honoured for acts of physical bravery and social acts of courage at the 13th Red and White Bravery awards ceremony here today. General S.F. Rodrigues(retd), Governor of Punjab, presented the awards.

The recipients of the award from Punjab were Mr Dilbagh Singh and Mr Balbir Singh for physical bravery and Mr Gurmukh Singh and Mr Ramchandra Pannu for social acts of courage. Mr Sukhbir Singh, Mr Rajendra Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr G Ram Brar were awarded for physical bravery from the state of Haryana and Dr D.V.Vidyarthi, Ms Anita Saini and Mr Satyadev Sangwan for Social Acts of Courage.

The awards have been instituted for the "unsung heroes who have risen above and beyond the call of duty and proved that selflessness and compassion towards fellow beings knew no bounds". The gold meal carried a cash reward of Rs 20,000 and the bronze medal carried Rs 10,000.

Mr Sukhbir Singh is a Hindi teacher at Bhagvi village in Bhivani district of Haryana. He has done MA in Hindi, History and Public Administration. He was practicing swimming when he heard cries of two boys nearby who were drowning. Mr Sukhbir Singh is a physically handicapped person yet he rushed to the aid of the drowning boys and saved them.

Mr Sukhbir Singh has participated in the gamed for physically disabled at Brussels last year. He won three gold medals. He was also a swimmer for Kurukshetra University.

" I am happy with the award because this could promote similar attitude to help fellow humans among others. However, I am shocked that the Haryana Government did not bother to even send me a brief letter of appreciation", he said.

Mr Dilbagh Singh is a resident of Barmla in Ropar district. He is a truck driver and also looks after family agriculture. Some people went for paying their obedience at the dargah of Khwaja Pir on the banks of the Sutlej. Later, they went to take their bath in the river. The flow of river increased and soon he heard cries of drowning girl. Mr Dilbagh Singh jumped into the fast current and saved 10 persons. One of the girls, however, succumbed to her injuries later.

Mr Balbir Singh working in the Ludhiana Stock Exchange Association near Ludhiana has been conferred the silver medal for an act of courage in saving fellow beings.

" I was in my office when we heard cries for help from the adjoining building. A large number of employees of Navrang Electronic, including women, were trapped in a fire. The situation turned grim before the fire tenders reached the spot. ' With the help of a DSP we tied a few ladders together and I climbed the ladder to the spot where the employees were stranded, I helped them to get down."

Mr Rajendra Singh and Mr Sukhdev Singh from Mandi Dabwali have been conferred the silver medal for physical bravery. In the first week of August, 2004, three robbers were attempting to enter into a shop in their locality well past midnight. Hearing the noise of thundering shop shutters, Mr Rajendra Singh and Mr Sukhdev Singh rushed to the spot.

They challenged the robbers and were able to nab one. They also managed to snatch a rifle which was loaded.

Mr Rajendra Singh said " we have not been given any note of appreciation by the police or the administration. In fact when the police came after the incident they gave us handcuffs and themselves slipped from the spot".

Mr G. Ram Brar, a clerk at the GPO, Ambala, foiled bid of two miscreants who had snatched away cash from the post office.

Dr Dharam Vir Vidyarthi has been given the medal for participation in the activities of social welfare. He helped in organising a mass marriage of 125 poor girls and heads an organisation which adopted a village in Haryana and achieved 100 per cent literacy.

Mrs Anita Saini has been given the silver meal for act of social courage. She provides training in tailoring to poor and needy girls.

Mr Satyadev Sangwan is an ex-serviceman who took up tree plantation as a passion after his retirement.

He shows his deep concern for preserving the environment.

Mr Gurmukh Singh from Ludhiana has been awarded the gold medal for social acts of courage for his role in AIDS awareness activities.

Mr Ramchandra Pannu from Chandigarh is a social worker committed to environmental activism. He is a policeman by profession and travels on his bicycle.



Training programme for Information Officers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) organised a four-week specialised training programme for chief information officers of the Punjab Government in collaboration with the Department of Information Technology, Punjab. The programme on “Planning implementation and management of e-governance projects” was inaugurated by Mr J.S. Bhatia, Director, CDAC.

Stating that the programme was aimed at enabling participants to introduce e-governance in their respective departments by learning IT tools, Mr Bhatia added that the introduction of e-governance would result in transparency, speedy information dissemination, higher administrative efficiency and improved public services in sectors like transportation, education, power, health etc. He pointed out that a super information highway was being established between all government information centres that would give a boost to the e-governance activities all over India.

Mr V.K. Bhatia, advisor, Planning Commission, Government of India, and Brig S.S. Sawhney, former director, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, highlighted the importance of e-governance in every area of government activity. They said it would empower citizens and helped them in taking informed decisions.

Mr Suneet Khetarpal, course coordinator, said live demonstration of the e-governance applications running at various departments and institutions would be given to the participants during the course.



Sharma is Mohali SPCA chief
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
Dr R. M. Sharma has been chosen as the president of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Mohali. Dr R.K. Arora would be the senior vice-president while Dr Kanwarjit Singh would be the honorary general secretary. Mr Lachman Singh will be the joint secretary, Mr Gurpreet Niamian is press secretary Mr S.B. Kaushal is finance secretary and Mr H.B.S. Baidwan will be the honorary legal advisor.

These decisions were taken at the general body meeting of the society held at the Civil Veterinary Hospital, Kumbra, Sector 68, under the chairmanship of Mr P.L. Kler. The society has proposed to organise a series of animal welfare camps in all sectors of the township during this year.

The first in the series of camps would be held in Phase XI on February 5. The society had urged the Municipal Council, Mohali, and the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to consider its demand for allotment of land for a shelter cum hospital of SPCA on priority.



Fauji Beat
Rank dilution no solution to supersession

About 25 years ago, Lieut-Colonels used to command battalions and regiments and Majors were their second-in-command. After that, the command of units was upgraded to Colonels and Lieut-Colonels were downgraded to second-in-command level. Now by shifting the first selection grade rank from Lieut-Colonels to Colonels, we have diluted the Colonels rank. This, it is said, is to reduce the supersession level in the Army.

Officers not promoted to the rank of Colonel by selection “may be granted the substantive rank of Colonel by time scale, if considered fit in all respects”. Such officers will be held against the authorisation of Lieut-Colonels. The new system will throw up many unforeseen problems. The human nature being what it is, once an officer is superseded, his interest in service recedes considerably. After that, the Army has to carry him till he retires or puts in his papers earlier. In the new system, we will have many superseded (time scale) Colonels serving in units as seconds-in-command under their junior selection grade Colonels. This will adversely affect the efficiency and fighting potential of the Army.

The incidence of supersession in the Army is very high because it is a paramedical organisation. The only way to tackle this problem is either to retire the officers on a pension, which is over 95 per cent of their pay, as was the case during the British regime or to absorb them on supersession in the paramilitary forces/police. The latter step will enhance the efficiency of these forces to a large extend. But then who will convince our politicians?

Sports trophy for 3 BRD

Three Base Repair Depot (BRD), Air Force Station, Chandigarh, is entrusted with the responsibility of training the Air Force personnel in hockey and weight lifting. The depot has the proud privilege of producing three players who represented the Air Force in the National Games held at Hyderabad in September 2003. For this noted achievement, the work put in by the coaches of the BRD has been highly appreciated.

During the Commanders’ Conference held at the Headquarters Maintenance Command, Nagpur, recently, a trophy called ‘Vital Trophy’ was presented to 3 BRD for its outstanding performance in sports. The Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Air Commodore S.P.S. Virk of 3 BRD, handed over this trophy to the coaches of the depot recently.

Army institute of fashion

The Army has opened its first Institute of Fashion and Design in Bangalore under the aegis of the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES). The aim of establishing this institute is to provide professional training to the children of the serving and retired Army personnel in garment technologies, textile designing and apparel marketing. On completion of training at the Army Institute of Fashion and Design (AIFD), these children will become qualified fashion designers.

In the past few years, the Army has established many professional institutions, such as Law Institute, Hotel Management Institute, Business Administration Institute, etc. This step has helped in providing new avenues of employment for the children of the defence personnel.

Defence studies

Fourteen officers from the armed forces are currently working at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. A service officer is granted two-year fellowship, which can be extended to four years. Service officers have been appointed Directors/Deputy Directors at the IDSA after they are approved for these appointments. Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar, who had joined as Member Navy in 1989, was appointed Deputy Director in 1996. Since August last year, he is officiating as Director IDSA.

— Pritam Bhullar



Police to guard houses
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
The Superintendent of Police, Mr S.P. Ranga, today said the police would guard houses, if the owners informed the nearest police station, before going out of station.

He said if any resident informed at the nearest police station on police post, that they would be away and the house would be locked, the police would provide surveillance on such houses. This would help in controlling the spate of burglaries at locked houses in the township.

He also advised people to instal burglar alarms and appealed that they took precautions like ensuring that the newspapers did not pile up outside the house, if it was locked for several days.

He also said police would also increase its surveillance during 2 am to 4 am at night.

It may be noted that there have been a series of burglaries at locked houses, including the sensational robbery at a house in Sector 12-A on Saturday night.

The Jindal family had gone for the marriage of their younger son, when burglars struck at their house. Gold and diamond jewellery, lakhs of rupees in Indian currency, and hundreds of pounds and Canadian dollars were stolen.

The investigation of this sensational burglary has now been transferred to the CIA Staff. However, the family has not yet submitted a list of articles stolen from the house.

Mr Ranga also informed that they had asked all persons having armed licences to deposit their firearms with the police. He said there were as many as 1000 arms licence holders, of which 305 had already deposited their firearms.



Mohali diary
Sewing centre opened
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
A sewing centre was inaugurated by the SDM, Mohali, at Dashmesh Khalsa Public Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, Mohali. No fee would be charged from those who come to the school to learn sewing. The SDM also honoured Mr Surinder Singh Sony who had donated seven sewing machines to the school.

Dr T.S. Nanda, and his colleagues also organised a free dental check up camp for the teachers and the students of the school. The SDM also honoured the lab technician who had checked the blood group of all students of the school.

Students Amandeep Singh of Class X, Beant Kaur of Class VI who had won first prizes in the essay writing competitions organised by the Environment Protection Society were also honoured by the SDM who gave them a cash prize of Rs 250 each.

Addressing the students, the SDM stated that the environment should be kept clean and tidy and advised the students to work hard. The School Principal, Mr Tirlochan Singh Sidhu, and the school chairman, Mr Hardev Singh Jatana, thanked the chief guest.

Pledge ceremony

A pledge ceremony for the students of the Victor Institute of Nursing and Paramedical Science, Kharar, was organised at the institute this week. Ms Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Punjab Chief Minister, appreciated the efforts of the students and the staff for their diligence and exhorted them to be sincere to their discipline.

Ms Garcha stressed the need of self-discipline in the noble profession of nursing which is highly respected all over the world. Ms Garcha also distributed prizes to the outstanding students in the field of academics, clinical training and extra-curricular activities, with the purpose of inculcating the spirit of competition among the students. 



Brahma Kumaris to celebrate World Peace Day
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 17
Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya will celebrate the World Peace Day in connection with the 36th Ascension Day of the founding-father Prajapita Brahma tomorrow.

According to B.K. Prem, 7,000 rajyoga centres across 90 countries would practice rajyoga meditation for world peace from 4 am to 8 pm on this occasion. Several programmes were also being organised at the local centre in Phase VII here.

A special programme on teachings, the life and contribution of Brahma Baba for world peace will be organised, followed by a peace experience session.



Man assaulted by brother-in-law
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 17
A resident of Dappar village sustained head injuries when he was reportedly assaulted by his brother-in-law on his objection to the letter’s behaviour with his sister at his house, near here, this noon.

Sources said that Mr Balihar Singh was assaulted by his sister Usha Rani’s husband Amarjit Singh with a spade causing injuries in his head. He was later admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

The problem started when Mr Amarjit Singh, a resident of Baghaur (Ghanaur) village near Banur, along with his father Bhagwan Singh was involved in an argument with Mr Balihar Singh that resulted into a clash.

According to the police, Mr Amarjit Singh along with his father had come to his-in-law’s house to take his wife, Usha Rani, along when the incident occurred. Usha was staying at her parental house for the past over one year. After being allegedly harassed for dowry by her in-laws Usha had come to Dappar village with her baby boy, the family members claimed.

No case was registered till late this evening.

1 held with poppy husk

Zirakpur: The police has arrested Baldev Singh, a resident of Amritsar, for smuggling poppy husk.

According to the police, Baldev Singh was carrying 10 kg of poppy husk in a gunny bag when a police party caught him red-handed.

Acting on a tip-off, the police laid a naka on the Singhpura-Chhat link road and nabbed him while carrying the stuff.

The police said that he had been involved in the trade for the past couple of months and used to sell drugs on retail basis.

A case has been registered against him at the Lohgarh police post.



Mystery over woman’s death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
Mystery shrouds the death of 25-year-old Simran at Barwala today morning. The family says that she was suffering from a breathing disorder and died today. She was brought to the General Hospital where she was declared dead. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.

One Injured: A scooterist, Ramindra, was injured when his scooter was hit by a canter (HP-64-0452) near Nankpur village. He was rushed to a nearby hospital from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.


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