C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC okays multistoreyed parking for Sector 17
Rs 21.20 cr for roads, Rs 15 cr for Kajauli works
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The Sector 17 shopping zone is all set to get a multistoreyed parking with the Municipal Corporation's Finance and Contract Committee approving a proposal in this regard.

Discussions to ease the parking problems of the city's major shopping area led to the conclusion that multistoreyed parking was one of the best possible solutions.

The area planned for the parking is near Neelam theatre. The construction is expected to be on basis of a 'public-private' participation. A sum of Rs 5 crore has been earmarked for the project.

As a part of the MC's endeavour to start "big infrastructural projects in the social sectors", the F and CC has also recommended a big shopping mall (multiplex) on the corporation land in Sector 35. The area had been earlier earmarked for a hotel.

The F and CC has further recommended a 'town park' in Manimajra which is expected to be developed at a cost of Rs 1 crore.

As regard to the water woes of Manimajra, the Committee observed "At present water supply to Manimajra is based on tubewells as no canal water is available for the Manimajra area. On completion of augmentation of water supply scheme, (Phase IV, Kajauli), Manimajra will be supplied water through additional pipeline."

The F and CC has passed a Budget totalling Rs 234 crore out of which Rs 165 crore has been put under the 'Non-Plan' head .

The corporation anticipates a grant of Rs 135 crore from the administration. The share of the administration includes additional grant of 50 per cent of the property tax imposed by the corporation.

The Budget comes up for a detailed discussion before the corporation on February 25.

Interestingly, the corporation expects receipts of Rs 238 crore through water tariff, sewerage cess, property tax and other receipts.

The F and CC has stipulated Rs 21.20 crore for roads, Rs 2.38 crore for landscaping, Rs 5 crore for multistoreyed parking in Sector 17, Rs 6 crore for sewerage treatment plant, Rs 4 crore for sanitation contract, Rs 3.50 crore for a slaughter house for birds, Rs 1.95 crore for services to colonies and Rs 50 lakh for services to four villages under the corporation.

It has been pointed out in an official press statement by the MC that "besides the water supply to Manimajra, the Phase IV of Kajauli works will be completed in the beginning of the next financial year for which a provision of Rs 15 crore has been made."

The F and CC has provided a sum of Rs 6.40 crore for augmentation of sewerage treatment plant at Diggian village, Mohali, and Maloya.

The F and CC has earmarked Rs 3.50 crore for construction of a bird slaughter house.

The F and CC of the corporation has earmarked Rs 4 crore for improvement of sanitation in the city.



Traffic on Zirakpur-Dera Bassi road disrupted for over 10 hours
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 16
Traffic on the Zirakpur-Dera Bassi stretch was disrupted for more than 10 hours after a truck broke down on the Ghaggar bridge late last night. Hunderds of passengers and motorists were stuck in the jam. The local administration and the police made no attempt to divert the traffic from the intersection of the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Panchkula-Patiala highways at Zirakpur towards Rajpura. Similarly, no traffic diversion was made on the Ambala highway.

The problem aggravated as vehicles plying on the Panchkula-Ramgarh-Mubarikpur- Dera Bassi route used the highway following the closure of the Mubarikpur-Ramgarh road. This road was closed for vehicular traffic last night after continuous rain washed away a makeshift causeway constructed by the Mubarikpur Stone Crushers Association on a seasonal rivulet near Mubarikpur village.

Long route buses and other motorists were caught in the jam which was cleared after 1.30 pm. The vehicles lined up all along the highway on either sides of the bridge even as traffic policemen at both ends of the bridge tried to regulate the traffic. Some motorists tried to reverse their vehicles to take alternative routes, thereby adding to the chaos.

The worst-hit were passengers who had to catch trains from Ambala and flights from Delhi.

Motorists who had paid toll at the Dera Bassi railway overbridge were also seen returning in the same lane of the overbridge.

The highway from the Zirakpur traffic light point till the toll barrier in Dera Bassi was completely blocked.

Traffic police personnel deployed on the Ghaggar bridge had a tough time in controlling the traffic as VIPs were in a hurry to go ahead. Motorists were seen arguing with the traffic police personnel. Residents took kutcha link roads to their destination. Deep potholes and cesspools on village link roads further added to the chaos.

Traffic was restored after the truck, loaded with gravel, was removed with the help of a crane this afternoon.



Housing Board, HUDA lock horns over schools’ closure
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 16
The Housing Board, Haryana, HUDA and the municipal council, of Panchkula have locked horns over who is to ensure that schools running in residential areas of housing board colonies here are closed down.

Almost 10 schools are running in the residential areas in Sectors 6, 10, 11, 15 and 18. With the authorities unable to decide who is to act against these schools, the educational institutions are likely to continue functioning past the April 30 deadline set by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for their closure. This even as HUDA today issued a public notice that over 40 schools located in HUDA residential and industrial areas will be closed down in April. It asked parents not to admit their wards to such schools.

It is estimated that almost 12,000 children study in these schools and most of these schools have not opted for an alternative site. The students could face a problem in the next academic year.

While HUDA has resumed proceedings against 40 schools, it has expressed its helplessness to take action against the schools located in the housing board colonies. HUDA officials say that the board should take action against these schools. The board authorities on their part say that they got land from HUDA and developed housing societies and then returned these to HUDA. Only the powers of eviction rested with it while checking any misuse of property or encroachments was the responsibility of HUDA in sectors which were undeveloped and that of the municipal council in sectors which had been handed over to the MC by HUDA.

Sources in the municipal council also say that they cannot take any action as it is housing board property that is being misused.

Meanwhile, HUDA officials say that while they have ensured the closure of several schools in the residential areas, a number of schools were operating without displaying a board of a school. “In case of eight such schools, we have stopped resumption proceedings after the schools obtained a stay from the court. A number of these schools are being run in small houses and two to three classes are run simultaneously in each room,” a senior official said. The rules say that the size of a nursery school site should be 800 sq metres, while a primary school site must be one acre. A high school site should be in five acres.

Sources in the Town and Country Planning Department said there were 51 nursery school sites, 50 primary school sites and 18 high school sites in Panchkula, Panchkula extension and Mansa Devi Complex. While the school sites in all developed sites had been allotted after an auction, sites were available only in new sectors in Panchkula extension.

The president of the Panchkula Recognised Schools Association, Mr R.K. Kakkar, said the authorities could force them to close down instantly. “They will have to allot us alternative sites and give us at least one year’s time to shift,” he said.



Licence of KC cinema suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The District Magistrate (DM), Mr Arun Kumar, today ordered the suspension of the licence of KC cinema as the management did not get an electricity connection re-installed as they were unable to pay the fine levied by the Electricity Department. The cinema management had sought one-month time in this regard.

On February 9, the DM had issued a show-cause notice to the management, asking why the licence should not be cancelled as the seats were torn and the cinema was being run on a generator.

He opined that sufficient time had been given to comply with the directions and using generator was not in the interest of public safety, health and convenience and therefore ordered the stopping of the exhibition of films in the cinema forthwith. The Executive Magistrate, Mr H.R. Nagra, today sealed its projection room in presence of the cinema management.

A general routine inspection of the cinema was done by a team of the officials on February 7.



Humility vital to democracy, says Ashwani
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
"Arrogance of power and wealth need to be eschewed, violence shunned and intellectual integrity respected to ensure a quantitative distinction to our democracy and politics," says Mr Ashwani Kumar, who was honoured with D.Litt (Honria Causa) degree by Panjab University at its annual convocation here on Tuesday.

A second time Member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab, Mr Ashwani Kumar is perhaps the first non-alumnus and a lawyer to get this honour from this prestigious and one of the oldest universities of North India.

"All I remember is my younger days when I used to hop into the car of my father, Mr Parbodh Chander, the then Education Minister of Punjab, as and when he visited Panjab University to lay a foundation stone or inaugurate one building or the other," recalls Mr Ashwani Kumar, promising to strengthen institutions of democratic governance in return for the honour.

Mr Ashwani Kumar is perhaps the youngest ever counsel to be designated senior advocate by the Supreme Court. He was also one of the youngest to become Additional Solicitor-General of India at the age of 37. He also holds the distinction of being the youngest non-official representative of India to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1986.

Mr Kumar also happens to be founder- president of the Indo-French Parliamentary Friendship Group which has members from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Tribune was able to buttonhole him after the convocation.Some excerpts from the interview:

What does this honour mean to you?

First of all, I am humbled by and grateful for the honour conferred. I shall try to vindicate the gesture by contributing in a humble way to the strengthening of the institutions of democratic governance.

How do you propose to do this?

At this stage, I do not have the fine blueprint but I know that the functioning of our democracy should be such that men of letters and integrity do not consider themselves out of place in public life. It is imperative for us to once again bring integrity, ideas and ideology to the centre of our political discourse. A national debate on the health of our democracy needs to be initiated and the intelligentsia must not shirk its responsibility in this endeavour for national renewal. I would like to associate myself fully with such an initiative.

Will your party’s political compulsions in running a coalition government permit you this freedom?

The Congress track record demonstrates an unswerving commitment to values of our republic and despite compulsions of politics in a fractured polity, we have not compromised with our fundamental principles such as secularism and distributive equities. Also, Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s example of renouncing the highest political office is the ultimate testimony to our qualitative distinction. Her brand of leadership is defined by idealism, ideology and intellectual integrity. She has reintroduced compassion and human values at the entire of our political discourse.

What do you think will impart greater depth to our democracy?

I think democracy is our single-most important claim to glory. It has withstood many challenges. But we must not lower our vigil. Casteism and communalism pose a serious challenge to our social and political fabric. Insensitivity to the excesses of power by the bureaucracy and errant politicians are straining the institutions of democracy. In this scenario it is imperative that we entrust power to those who will not prostitute it for private gain nor will weaken the institutions they are expected to strengthen.

Conscientious dissent in aid of larger public causes must be respected which will create an environment conducive to social and political communication. Democracy, after all, must be a dialogue. We should be speaking to people not at them. Arrogance of power and wealth will need to be eschewed, violence shunned to intellectual integrity respected to ensure a quantitative distinction to our democracy and politics.

You have been nominated twice by your party for the Rajya Sabha membership and have held important position in the party. You are also an eminent lawyer and and are now being conferred with the highest academic honour by Panjab University. What are your future plans?

One’s future is never in one’s keeping and life is not at will. So I cannot foretell what fate has in store for me. All I can say is that I will continue to endeavour to give expression in speech and in conduct to values that I cherish. My politics and my exertions are a continuation of this endeavour. I am grateful to Soniaji for giving me an opportunity to serve the party and the nation.



No appointments till poll results are out: EC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 16
The Election Commission of India today informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that no fresh appointments can be made in Haryana till the election results are announced. This happened during hearing of the petition filed by Dr Ashok Kumar of Hisar, seeking directions to the respondents to allow the candidates selected for the post of Haryana Veterinary Service (Class II) to join their place of posting.

Saying that after September 3, 2004 test, he and 51 other candidates were informed about their selection on October 27, the petitioner stated that they were told to join by December 21. But the election code of conduct came into effect from December 17, and they were not allowed to join.

However, during the hearing, senior advocate M.L. Sarin, who is counsel for EC, requested the court to implied the Election Commission as party to the case. After hearing him, the Bench issued notice of motion for March 1.

Petition against Bhajan

Mr Pratap Singh Chautala, former MLA and estranged brother of Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, has filed a petition in the High Court seeking directions to the respondents to register a criminal case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

In his petition, Mr Chautala has stated that he made a complaint to the Sirsa Superintendent of Police on April 13, 2004, through an affidavit, seeking registration of a case against Mr Bhajan Lal. But no action was taken.

The petitioner has also given details of the alleged properties owned by Mr Bhajan Lal and his family members.

The case is still to come up for hearing.



Passing Thru

Which is the best way to verify the authenticity of educational consultants?

The best way to check about a consultant is by way of references from friends who are pursuing education abroad. Internet is also helpful in this regard. There are over 50 consultants in India who are licensed by the Australian authorities to forward the cases of students.

Which courses are in demand in Australia?

Depending upon the statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), courses like tourism and hospitality management and commercial cookery are in demand. The bureau advises the government about the requirement of professionals in different fields and the requirement keeps on changing every few years.

What is the scope of employment for students?

The chances of employment are high if the prospective candidates check up with certified consultants the category of professionals sought by the Australian Government. Now accountants have a high chance of being allowed immigration.

What is the rate of immigration?

In the financial year 2003-2004, around 12,000 students migrated from the region. The numbers are going to rise in the coming years.

— Rajmeet Singh



Rodrigues briefed on monorail system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Giving a presentation on an integrated monorail transport system connecting Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, the Chairman of Metrail India, Mr Zafar Saifullah, claimed it was the cheapest and most viable mass rapid transport option for the three cities.

He was talking to mediapersons after making a formal presentation on the monorail before the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, and senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration, Punjab and Haryana.

Mr Saifullah, former Union Cabinet Secretary, now works for Metrail. He explained that the monorail did not need any power as it ran on battery packs, which were constantly charged through a small noiseless generator, placed on each coach. The generator was powered by CNG or LPG and options of hydro cells were being studied. It was a hybrid ultra-light system, he added.

The cost of monorail was about Rs 45 crore per km while Delhi Metro costs Rs 200 crore per km. The two states and the UT would need to have a 50-kilometre track to meet the requirements projected for the year 2021.

The train, in city conditions, provided for a speed of 35 km per hour as it had to stop at various stations. However, its maximum speed was 100 km per hour.

Mr Saifullah said, “We will require about 18 months to complete the track after start. Everything from the track to the equipment will be provided by Metrail India which is subsidiary of a Swiss company,’’ he said. He added that the company would locally produce material excepting electronic signalling. The monorail could have multiple coaches with each coach seating 120 commuters. The coaches would ply on a special elevated track rail system which causes no vehicular traffic.

Monorail was the most silent, environmentally compatible, pleasing, safe and economically viable system best suited for the population in these three cities, he concluded.

Faridabad-based Craphts consultants-who originally drew out a comprehensive transportation plan-today all about the area needed for the monorail. Mr D. Sanyal, managing director of Craphts, said among electric trolley buses, sky bus or metro-like system the monorail was the best option.

Meanwhile, officials said the Chandigarh Administration had also consulted the Planning Commission which had suggested that the monorail system was the best suited for Chandigarh.

It may be recollected that on the basis of the earlier reports given by Craphts, a number of modifications had already been made in the existing road network and traffic management.

This included opening a second entry to the railway station from Panchkula, widening of roads like Himalaya Marg, Dakshin Marg and Madhya Marg and building a second bus stand in Sector 43.

The same expert group had also suggested about cycle tracks, diversion of slow traffic to slip-roads and also the concept of paid parking.



City should grow out of Corbousier’s shadow, say experts
Feel city lacks Indianness
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Non-functional, a nightmare for pedestrians and devoid of life with overpowering concrete buildings. If you thought that Chandigarh is on the global map as a symbol of architectural excellence, then the city’s “lack of Indianisation” appears a lacunae to the visitors, especially when they are two expert architects who have reached the pinnacle of their field.

“Change is the essence of life. It’s about time to grow out of the Le Corbousier’s concepts,” says Mr Uttan C. Jain while counting the failure of the experiment called Chandigarh. Mr Jain practices in Mumbai and is the recipient of the Golden Architect Award, 2004 for lifetime achievement.

If the concrete, lifeless structures devoid of colours need a re-look, the long stretches of roads are a nightmare for the pedestrians walking down the city.

“It is this aspect which makes the city a failure in connecting with the common man. The connectivity and the belongingness, which exists in the middle-aged cities like Jaiselmair or Jaipur is missing in Chandigarh,” adds Mr Jain, who is accompanied by Mr S. Sudhakar Nivasarkar, President of the Indian Institute of Interior Designers.

The two visited the Chandigarh College of Architecture today for periodic inspection of the college on behalf of the Council of Architects.

If functionality is one aspect where the city needs to concentrate, accommodating the growing numbers is another. The population pressures, emergence of the slums coupled with a complete no of the policymakers to alter the original plans is compounding the problems.

“Chandigarh was planned for merely 5 lakh people but now it is expanding in all directions. That is the main problem of the urban centres,” says Mr Nivasarkar.

But as the problems keep adding on, the solutions are long-term and fall beyond the realm of architecture. “There is a string needed to de-glamorise the city. If the other nearby centres are equally well-equipped and developed, the pressures on the city will reduce,” adds Mr Nivasarkar.

But then there is some hope, as the city has not done as bad as its contemporaries like Bhubaneswar and Brasilia in Brazil which according to the experts are a complete mistake, replete with problems for the dwellers.

“Chandigarh’s success lies in the fact that it gave a chance for a new brand of architects to flourish in the country. People began to take note of the profession of architecture,” adds Mr Jain.

And for the burgeoning slums, the message of the architects to the policymakers is simple — do not try to demolish them but rehabilitate them by improving the quality of life. After all, “man should always be at the centre of architectural planning,” they say.



8 Army men charged with cowardice
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
About a year-and-a-half after a terrorist attack on an army camp near Jammu killed a brigadier and nearly annihilated the Northern Command top brass eight army personnel have been charged with cowardice, it is learnt.

Cowardice is among the most serious charges that can be levied against military personnel and, under provisions of the Army Act, is punishable by death.

Highly placed sources revealed that three junior commissioned officers and five other ranks of an EME battalion have been charged under Section 34-C of the Act. Section 34 of the Act deals with offences in relation to the enemy which are punishable by death. Part-C is a charge that a person, in the presence of the enemy, shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition, tools or equipment or misbehaves in such a manner as to show cowardice.

It is learnt that at least three personnel have already been convicted by general courts martial and have been awarded various sentences of rigorous imprisonment. More trials are to follow. All eight charged so far were members of the unit's quarter guard or the quick reaction team (QRT). A court of inquiry conducted into the incident by the commander of an infantry brigade had recommended disciplinary action against those concerned.

Army personnel deployed in counter insurgency areas being tried on charges of cowardice is unheard of. No such cases are known to have initiated even during major campaigns like Operation Vijay in Kargil or Operation Pawan in Jaffna, where troops had witnessed some of the bloodiest battles.

Besides, two officers of the unit, including the then Commanding Officer, have been charged with failure of effective command and control under different provisions of the Act. Sources reveal that the summary of evidence (SOE) in both the cases was recorded recently by the deputy commander of an infantry brigade. SOE is a prelude to trial by a court martial.

It may be recalled that Brig V K Govil an EME officer, when three terrorists stormed an Army camp in Tanda on July 22, 2003. GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lieut-Gen Hari Prasad, GOC of the Nagrota Corps, Lieut-Gen T P S Brar and five officers, including two major generals were injured. Even jawans had also lost their lives. Two terrorists were killed initially, but a third remained hidden within the camp and lobbed grenades when the top brass visited the site a few hours later.

EME is a support service dealing with the repair and maintenance of electronic, electrical and mechanical equipment and comprises engineers and technicians rather than battle oriented soldiers.

Sources revealed that evidence now coming forth suggested that several members of the quarter guard and QRT had abandoned their positions when the militants stormed the camp and opened fire. Some had locked themselves in rooms, fled through rear windows or even used brass planters lying abound to cover themselves. The hooter to raise the alarm too did not work.

It has now also been revealed that during the fracas, a young officer of the same unit had shown courage and presence of mind. He snatched a rifle from a floundering soldier and returned fire at the militants. Only one EME trooper had taken up position befittingly and opened fire. He, however, died unsung at his post, sources said. Further, two troopers on guard duty at an adjoining cavalry unit reacted to the situation and engaged the militants.

Sources added that contrary to the Army's claims that two militants were shot by troops, one of the militants was killed by his own bullet at the entrance of the camp after it ricocheted from the gate post. The second was shot by troops inside the camp and the third hours later after he had attacked the commanders.



Awareness camp to check milk quality
Tribune News Service

Chandgiarh, February 16
The Punjab Dairy Development Board organised an awareness camp in Kharar to check quality of milk. Out of the total 70 samples checked, 46 were adulterated while 14 were below standard, said the PDDB.

The camp was organised in collaboration with Rotary Club and Mr Anil Kaura, Director of PDDB, inaugurated it. The Joint Director, Mr K.S. Mavi, said none, of the samples , however contained urea, nitrate, starch, sugar, salt, formalin or hydrogen peroxide.

Mr Kaura said the campaign was to create awareness as it was felt that low quality milk was being supplied. 



Kuka role in freedom struggle ‘can’t be ignored’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 16
The BJP and the RSS had no role in the freedom struggle and even the former union government had refused to recognise the role of the Kuka and the Kamagata Maru movement as part of the freedom struggle.

This was stated by Dr Prem Singh, a member of the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Committee, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said a five-member delegation led by Mr A.B. Burman, general secretary of the Communist Party of India, had met Mr Shiv Raj Patil, Union Minister for Home, in Delhi yesterday. He had assured the delegation that the wrongs done by the previous government would be set right. Mr Patil told the delegation members that the sacrifices made by the two movements in the freedom struggle could not be overlooked.



US-based firm gives Rs 2.5 lakh to Governor for tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Expressing concern over the rehabilitation of the tsunami-hit, the US-based the Second Foundation Inc, led by its managing partner, Mr Pardeep Bakshi, and the local area in charge, Col T.S. Bakshi (retd), today presented a cheque for Rs 2.5 lakh to the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, as contribution towards the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

The Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association, led by its president, Mr P.H. Vaishnav, a former Chief Secretary of Punjab presented a cheque for Rs 2.63 lakh to the Administrator.

Appreciating the gesture, General Rodrigues said senior citizens had an important role to play in public life and he expected them to advise him not only on matters pertaining to the elderly, but also on other aspects of society.



Search Within
Love, lust & romance 

Have you fallen in love? Experienced the springtime in your life? When your soul was full of music and the world around appeared clothed in brilliance and beauty? Great bards and sages have sung of the glory of romantic love when to the lover no gift was good enough to be given to the beloved. When Robert Burns wrote “O, my luve’s like a red red rose/That’s newly sprung in June/ O my luve’s like a melodie/ That’s sweetly played in tune,” he was putting to verse your own feelings.

If you have not fallen in love you would not understand much about the madness that surrounds St Valentine’s Day. Of course, there is much commerce built around the divine spark that visits young hearts unannounced. There is also much mistaking of the lust of the flesh for true love leading to broken hearts and disillusionment. Those who fall for mere outward charms of the flesh in the other or are lured by the prospects of wealth and high connections are bound to get disillusioned.

“I am a lawyer’s daughter, you know Rajesh,” Radhika told the youth who had successfully proposed to her. “And you would not think it strange if I were to ask you to sign a little paper to the effect that we are engaged, would you?” Rajesh was too happy to think anything strange then, and he signed the paper with a trembling hand and a bursting heart. Then contented, she leaned against his colourful vest and they were very, very happy. “Tell me, darling,” said Rajesh, after a long, delicious silence, “why did you want me to sign that paper? Don’t you have confidence in my love for you?” “Ah yes,” she sighed, with infinite content, “indeed I do; but Rajesh dear, I have been fooled so many times.”

Joking apart, today’s love affairs have about them a quality of impulsiveness so characteristic of the restlessness of the times. But then romance in the human heart, which is as old as the hills, continues to fascinate young minds as Valentine’s Day celebrations, hitherto a Western obsession, indicate.

East or West, the human story on the celluloid screen as also those of celebrated novels of the past centre around the eternal theme. Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and essayist, wrote: “For it is a fire that, kindling its first embers in the narrow nook of a private bosom, caught from a wandering spark out of another private heart, glows and enlarges until it warms and beams upon multitudes of men and women, upon the universal heart of all, and so lights up the whole world and all nature with its generous flames.”

If a Lata Mangeshkar or a Mohammad Rafi moves the hearts of millions with their music, the reasons are not far to seek. Musical qualities apart, their theme is love that makes the world go round, as the saying goes. Love is what everyone yearns for, and then there is a time in a young man or a maid’s life when such yearning takes on a romantic hue. Then they tune on to music feeding their passion or write songs under its influence. This emotion may have played its role in the making of poets and musicians.

So Valentine’s Day need not be condemned as a Western invention; wherever young persons are, the attraction for the opposite sex comes to the fore.

The history of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. It contains vestiges of both Christian and Roman traditions. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. He became a martyr at the altar of love.

But then, these days in some states of this nation we are accustomed to hear about another kind of martyrdom — many a young woman becomes a martyr to the greed of dowry-hungry in-laws. A well-accomplished girl leaves her home, parents and dear ones to be joined in matrimony to a stranger expecting her husband’s home to be a paradise. It soon turns out that the husband’s family is more in love with her father’s fortune. She is tortured and pressured into bringing more dowry. Many a hapless woman gets disillusioned and takes her own life. The large number of dowry deaths constitutes a shame on our social system.

Love is invested with amazing power in a man-woman relationship — be it lovers or the mother-son, sister-brother or father-daughter kind. When other considerations take the place of love in this human relationship, it turns out to be a disaster. Dowry deaths, female infanticide and suppression of women in other ways are all manifestations of a society that rebels against the perfect complementarity of man and woman ordained by the creater.

Will Durant, author and philosopher, analysing history, observes: “It was woman who gave man agriculture and the home. She domesticated man as she domesticated the sheep and the pig. Man is woman’s last domestic animal, and perhaps he is the last animal that will be civilised by woman. The task is just begun.” One could reasonably conclude that Valentine’s Day is one of the more successful tactics in that long-term strategy.

— MPK Kutty 



Four new electricity bill collection centres soon
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 16
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) will open four new bill collection centres at the complaint centre in Sector 8, a switching sub-station at Mansa Devi Complex and indoor substations at Swastik Vihar and Sector 20.

A decision to this effect was taken during the monthly Operation Review Committee of the UHBVN today.

It was observed that a large number of consumers had to travel four to five km in order to deposit the bills.

The bill collection centres in the township are located at the Industrial Area or the bills can be deposited with the Bank of Punjab branches in Sector 7 and 11. Other than this, account holders in the ICICI Bank can also deposit their bills at the bank.

The UHBVN officials inform that work orders for setting up collection centres have been given to National Information and Computer Technology (NICT), and the equipment has already 

They say that the centres will become operational by the end of this week.

Officials say they have also recommended a collection centre at Sector 25 complaint centre. They add that hundreds of residents in Panchkula Extension and Ramgarh village have to travel all the way to the industrial area for depositing the bills.

One person is sent to Ramgarh twice a month to collect the bills.



Anti-encroachment drive in Sec 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Corporation carried out an anti-encroachment drive in Sector 22 here today. The backside of the shops was the main area of the operation. The area had been encroached upon by the shopkeepers and some of them had even put up small tents.

The drive which began from a corner near Hotel Sunbeam was peaceful.

One of the shopkeepers pointed out that the drive was meaningless because the encroachments would be back within a couple of days. “Take the case of the grain market, Sector 26 and other areas. The encroachers have returned,” he said.



Honest drivers, constable return cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 16
Three autorickshaw drivers and a police constable found a woman’s purse containing Rs 5,000 and jewellery lying on a road and instead of pocketing the goods, they searched the purse for the address of the owner and then returned it to her.

Mrs Davinder Kaur, a resident of Sector 9 here, said she had gone to the Sector 7 gurdwara on Sunday morning with her grandson. However, her purse fell off when she got out of the car, and she did not realise it till the time she reached home.

“I came back looking for the purse, but did not find it. I was upset as it contained Rs 5,000 in cash, important documents and a ring.

But when I reached home, four men came to my house and said they had found my purse near the gurdwara.

They identified themselves as Sunil, Sanjeev and Sanjeev — all autorickshaw drivers — and a cop posted at Yamunanagar, Mr Irshad Khan,” she said.

The autorickshaw drivers had apparently found the purse, but wer afraid of opening it themselves.

They saw the cop and in his presence opened the purse, found the owner’s address and then went to return the purse.



Shopkeepers gherao police station
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 16
In protest against “police inaction” against two shopkeepers, a number of shopkeepers, today gheraoed the Dera Bassi police station. The protesters were demanding the arrest of Raju and Kala who allegedly assaulted Amarjit Singh, owner of a shoe shop, after an alteration.

The irate shopkeepers assembled in front of the police station and staged a dharna for over three hours on the highway.

Amarjit Singh, Raju, Kala and some other shopkeepers had come to blows on February 13. In the clash, Amarjit Singh had sustained some injuries. The victim had lodged a complaint against Raju and Kala.

The protesters were also demanding action against the police official who is investigating the case.

Led by Mr Amrit Pal Singh, president of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, a delegation also met DSP Manmohan Kumar Sharma and gave a representation. The DSP assured them that action would be taken against the investigating officer of the case and that the suspects would be nabbed soon.



Two BJP councillors resign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Two councillors of the Bhartiya Janata Party today submitted their 
resignation to the Mayor of the Municipal Corporation to protest against the unfair representation in the MC committees.

Mrs Kamla Sharma and Mr Rajesh Gupta had already spoken about their intentions at a press conference on Monday.

An official press note said “no criteria had been followed in the appointment of the committees”.

Mrs Sharma had been included in the Environment and the City Beautification Committee and Fire Services Committee.

A press note of the party said being a former Mayor, her services could have been uti1ised in better committees.

Mr Gupta had been included in the House Tax Committee despite his difference of opinion on the issue.

Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, said the aggrieved councillors had been nicely represented on different committees.

“I will try to talk to both of them and resolve the issues,” she added.



Call girl racket busted in Mohali, 10 held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 16
The police busted a call girl racket here last night and arrested 10 persons, including five women. The racket was being operated from a house in Phase 1. A head constable of the Punjab police was also living in a portion of the house.

The police did not rule out his involvement. He was suspended today and sent to the Police Lines.

Out of the 10 persons arrested, eight are residents of Chandigarh and all of them belong to economically weaker sections of society. The women involved in the alleged racket are all married.

Addressing a press conference here today, the SP Mr Rakesh Agrawal, said on getting a tip-off, the DSP, Mr Harpreet Singh, conducted a raid last night and made the arrests from the house in Phase 1. The house had been taken on rent by Kunti Garg more than a year ago. The SP alleged that Kunti used to provide accommodation and charged Rs 100 per person.

He said Surinder Kaur and Naresh Kumar, who claimed that they were husband and wife, allegedly used to get clients to Kunti’s place and used to take Rs 200 from each person.

It was brought to the notice of the SP by mediapersons that head constable, Pavitar Singh was also living in the same house and must be involved in the racket. The SP asked Mr Harpreet Singh to inquire into the allegations and suspend the cop.

Mr Agrawal said five mobile phones had been seized from those arrested. Among those who have been arrested are Vijay Kumar, Subhash, Rajab Ali, Sham Lal, Vandana, Veena, Harjit Kaur and Kamlesh.

Talking to mediapersons, Kunti admitted that the racket had been going on for the past about three months. She said she had to resort to such methods as she had to bring up two children and her husband was not giving her any money.

Kamlesh said she used to work in a factory but her employer did not pay her for her serices.

She was compelled to join such a racket as she had to bring up her children. Her husband was living with another woman and was not giving her any money, she said.

Two persons, including a girl, had been arrested from the Industrial Area here on February 12 for their alleged involvement in a flesh trade racket.

A case has been registered under Sections 3,4 and 8 of the Prevention of the Immoral Traffic Act. 



Student arrested in murder case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 16
The UT police today arrested Sunil, a student of BA-I of DAV College (Sector 10), for his alleged involvement in the Randhir Singh murder case. The police has also registered a case of murder against him.

Sunil was allegedly involved in a clash between two groups that occurred on February 8 in the Sector 40 market. In the clash, Sukhbir Singh, Randhir Singh and Mukesh sustained severe injuries. They had been admitted to the PGI.

Randhir Singh succumbed to his injuries on February 11. The police has registered a case against Rockey and six others, all associates of Sunil.

One held for loitering

The police arrested Kirpal Singh, who claimed to be a salesman, for loitering in Sector 29 here on Tuesday.

He was nabbed by a resident of the locality and handed over to the police.

The police has recovered two identity cards from his possession.

He has been identified as a resident of Ratwara village in Patiala district.

A case under Sections 109 and 412 of the IPC has been registered.



Police thwarts attempt to loot shop
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 16
Hundreds of residents converged at Sri Ganesh Home Appliances in the wee hours today in order to loot the third godown of the shop. However, timely action by the police prevented the looting of the shop.

Sources said a number of people started arriving at the shop in Haripur village and tried to loot the godown in an attempt to recover the loss suffered after the shopowners fled away. However, the police rushed to the village and thwarted the looting attempt.

People tried to justify the looting, saying that they were taking goods only for which they had already paid the shopowner, S. Ganesan. “If he has fled, we have a right over the goods,” they said. 


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