C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Colour of roses lends hues to dark lives
Fragrance and freedom fill hearts as Nari Niketan inmates go out
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Nari Niketan inmates borrowed a world of fragrance from flowers today. On a refreshing outing - their first in the past six years - to the Festival of Gardens, they brought home some splendid memories of roses in full bloom and of the Rose Garden which was their “paradise” today.

Unexpected as the gift was, the 18 inmates kept living its joy well past the evening when The Tribune team tracked them back to the Home in Sector 26. With wings of desire, they were still soaring, sharing the bliss of being “away from the Home which is a constant reminder of their tumultuous past.”

The mutual sharing was spirited for once, spared as it was of the pain of loss and the fear of the future. A mentally challenged Nagi, the eldest of them all, lent a faint voice to the feeling. “Mai khush (Iam happy),” she said in a frail attempt to catch up with the rest who were eager to tell how happy they were.

An inmate for eight years, Nagi had no idea what the city looked like by the day. But thanks to the Department of Social Welfare, UT where a change of power has spelt welcome changes, they had their first date with the City Beautiful today. Of the 18 inmates who spent three hours at the Rose Garden, eight are mentally disabled, four are orphans and the rest are undertrials for crimes as petty as marrying of their own will.

Invariably depressed, Bimla beamed with joy today. After talking about the blast she had this morning and about the dances she witnessed, she began narrating her past. “I come from a village near Panipat where I married a boy of my choice. My parents sent him to jail alleging he kidnapped me. But I love him and I will wait till he comes to take me,” says Bimla, supported by Manorama who has a similar case history.

For her part, Director, Social Welfare UT Ms Madhavi Kataria had one point to make, “If we call this a Home we should behave like a family. We will ensure the inmates are taken for outings once a week. It’s our obligation not a formality.”

Unmindful of the technicalities of such an “outing”, Pooja and Bharti, the two abandoned children at the Home were busy playing when we caught up with them.

Ask them what memory will they sleep on and they reply in unison, “That of freedom.”



Results of Festival of Gardens’ contests
Our Correspondent

Top row (left to right): Gurleen, Ustatt Anand and Sargam Verma. Bottom row (left to right): Jagjot Singh, Amitoj Singh and Armaan Sagar
Top row (left to right): Gurleen, Ustatt Anand and Sargam Verma. Bottom row (left to right): Jagjot Singh, Amitoj Singh and Armaan Sagar. — Tribune photos by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 26
The results of the Rose Prince and Rose Princess competitions held during Festival of Gardens are as follows:

Rose Prince

1 to 1 1/2 years: Jagjot Singh - Ist, Jahan Arora - IInd and Rishabh Verma - IIIrd.

1 1/2 to 2 years: Amitjot Singh - Ist, Dyumat Sachdeva IInd and Aryaeman - IIIrd.

2 to 3 years: Armaan Sagar - Ist, Mohak - IInd and Tanish Kohli - IIIrd.

Rose Princess

1 to 1 1/2 years: Gurleen - Ist, Navya Virk - IInd and Anshi Awasthi - IIIrd.

1 1/2 to 2 years: Ustatt Anand - Ist, Vrinda Bhardwaj - IInd and Ashita Prashar - IIIrd.

2 to 3 years: Sargam Verma - Ist, Bhanvi - IInd and Ananya Garg - IIIrd.

The results of Rose Quiz for schools and colleges are:


Government College of Education, Sector 20 - Ist, DAV College, Sector 10 - IInd and Panjab University - IIIrd.


Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19-C - Ist, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46-D - IInd and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector-35 - IIIrd.



AIDS scare getting real in Panchkula
Homosexuals, street kids most at risk
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
Panchkula has the highest concentration of homosexuals and the second highest number of street children in Haryana, who face the risk of contacting the HIV virus.

These are the findings of a statewide survey done by a private consultant, Faith Healthcare Private Limited. The survey reveals that there are about 95 homosexuals (of a total of 770 homosexuals identified all over Haryana) and 1,895 street children in the district, who face the risk of contacting the deadly virus. Faridabad is the only district that has a higher number of street children (2,601) than Panchkula, facing the risk of AIDS.

The mapping of site and size of high-risk behaviour population with regards to HIV/ AIDS in the district, was authorised by the Haryana AIDS Control Society.

This survey identified 3,605 truck drivers, 750 commercial sex workers, 367 intravenous drug users (IDUs), besides 41 eunuchs and 14, 248 migrant labourers in Panchkula, who form the high risk behaviour group.

Officials in the Haryana State AIDS Control Society said that though they had not formally accepted the survey report by the private consultant, the sample survey of the report had already been done in Panchkula. “The idea behind getting the survey done is to identify the high-risk population and concentrate awareness campaigns on this segment of population. Though this data is an estimation, the identification of each of these category will be done by the AIDS Control Society that runs awareness programmes in Panchkula. This will then help establish inter-linkages with public services like STD clinics and Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres (VCTCs),” said a senior official of Haryana State AIDS Control Society.

He added that a VCTC was set up in General Hospital, Panchkula, in the year 2000. This centre was imparting pre-test counselling, post-test counselling, and follow-up counselling, besides conducting the tests to check if a person had contacted the HIV virus or was suffering from AIDS. “The patient inflow in the VCTC is quite low- merely 10- 15 patients a day. This, even as we have a minimal fee of Rs 10 per patient if they walk in themselves, and it is free in case the patients are referred to us,” said the counsellor, Ms Anukampa Dhiman Sangwan.

She said that though HIV was a big scare among the local high risk population, the turnout to get themselves checked was low. “The follow up counselling after the tests is even less, because patients feel they could be victimised if their being infected by AIDS became known to others. Also, women are the ones using oral contraception, rather then men using condoms, which is further leading to a spread of the HIV virus in Panchkula. The need of the hour is to have consistent awareness programmes, especially among slum dwellers, about safe contraceptives to prevent the deadly disease.”



Surplus MC budget surprises councillors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Rs 30 crore surplus budget of the Municipal Corporation has left councillors wondering as the Commissioner in a letter to the administration last year had shown paucity of funds with the corporation.

The Budget presented last year showed a surplus of a little over Rs 9 crore, details of the budget this year show that on April 1, 2004 there was a spillover of Rs 30.58 crore. “Absolute mess in the financial details” was expression of the councillors at the meeting of the corporation.

The mess was dug out by the “Budget Review Committee” constituted by Mrs Kamlesh, a former Mayor. Mrs Kamlesh said “I was verifying some figures in the Budget when I discovered certain discrepancies. A review committee found shortcomings in different wings of the corporation.”

She said “it will be better if all the works related to pending amounts are rechecked. Does it mean that work on these projects was delayed beyond the stipulated time? Mr Pardeep Chhabra, a former senior Deputy Mayor, said delay in utilising the money meant an increase in the expenditure on projects.

The corporation has provided a list of ongoing projects for which the money was originally allotted. “Why these were not shown in the earlier budget meetings. This is a classic case of a financial mess”, Mr P.C. Sanghi, a councillor said.

Mrs Harjinder Kaur, a councillor of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said “according to a common man’s perceptions a deficit budget was best for a developing economy. This one is surplus. It appears that a large number of projects undertaken by the corporation were not finished within the stipulated time”. Mr Sanghi added that “the corporation was already receiving less than the projected figures from the administration in its budgetary allocations. A surplus budget will send wrong signals to the administration”.

A councillor differed on the issue. He said the money under question was meant for specific purposes so it should not be confused with a surplus in the new budget. In fact, the surplus amount shows that no or very less expenditure on ongoing projects was required from the fresh budget. This would give more freedom to the corporation for starting new projects.

The abstract of funds to be utilised out of opening balance of Rs 30.66 crore has underlined Rs 1.13 crore for providing amenities; Rs 7.56 crore in the public health circle; Rs 2.35 crore for the Medical Officer of Health; and Rs 58.11 lakh for the commissioner’s office.



Black is beautiful
Tribune News Service

Reshu Jain
HAPPY: Reshu Jain

Chandigarh, February 26
Thirteen-year-old Reshu Jain was brimming with joy as she stepped out of the Fun Republic hall after watching Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Black”.

Restless and panicky, the medically “hyperactive” girl didn’t know what way to react and who to talk to. Overwhelmed though, she couldn’t utter a word. So she reacted violently, quite like the deaf, dumb and blind Rani Mukherjee in Bhansali’s film. It was only later that one learnt of Reshu Jain’s ailment from her teachers. She suffers from what the protagonist of Bhansali “Black” suffers.

And like Reshu, 350 other physically disabled children who saw the film today courtesy Platinum Honda, also enjoyed every bit of it.

While one wondered how the visually disabled children from Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, related to the film, Sanjeev, a Class XII student of the institute reasoned, “We paint the visuals on the basis of the spoken words. It’s easy for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the film which teaches us to look ahead in life.”



Mauli Jagran sarpanch suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, today suspended the Sarpanch, Mr Om Parkash, and three panches, Kesar Singh, Darbara Singh and Rulda Singh, of the Mauli Jagran Gram Panchayat for their involvement in selling prime panchayat land of the village worth crores of rupee. The land was sold despite the fact that the issue was pending with the Revenue Department.

The Deputy Commissioner said on the basis of an inquiry, the Sarpanch was suspended with immediate effect. Orders have also been issued for registering an FIR against these persons.

The SDM (South), Mr PS Shergill, has been asked to conduct a regular inquiry in to the matter. The DC further ordered that the charge of the gram panchayat would be given to Mr Rajinder Sharma, Panchayat Secretary, till an alternative arrangement was made by calling the rest of the panches to elect the new Sarpanch.

It may be recollected that The Tribune had first published the news item on February 21 on how common land of the village had been sold out.



Ashok Vijh — father of electrochemistry
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
When advice comes from a person who has seen the best of both the worlds, it no longer remains an opinion. And when it is someone who is recognised as one of the greatest scientists of our times, the comment should be taken with all seriousness and with sanctity.

Dr Ashok K. Vijh has risen to be regarded as one of the fathers of electrochemistry. It is futile to count the number of medals and honorary doctorates he has received from scientific institutions and universities across the globe. But Dr. Vij’s modesty can only force him to say “I am scientist, at present, program leader and research master at the Institute of Research of Hydro-Quebec in Canada”. But what he does not reveal is that he has received nearly three dozen honours and distinctions that include ‘honoris causa’ doctorates from universities of Concordia, Waterloo and Panjab.

His observations about India concern us all. “India has the genius, talent and resources, but it needs a clear-cut goal of achieving excellence in attitudinal engineering. Nothing less than perfect should not be acceptable; standards must be well defined and met. If this is done, India will beat the world”.

His words echo the ‘mantra’ for a ‘developed 21st century India’. But at the same time he also spells caution. “In all spheres of life, may it be employment, research or education; ‘sifarish’ should be eliminated. The attitude of the people towards ‘institutionalised prejudices and corruption’ must change. Excellence attracts excellence; if a superior does not act like a coach of a team, it will always produce a third rate team”.

Dr Vijh is a foreign fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, a rare honour bestowed upon only half a dozen odd Indians that include noble laureates Hargobind Khurana, Abdul Salaam and Subramaniam Chandrashekhar. Dr Vijh’s recent works are in the fields of cancer research and hydrogen as an alternate fuel for the future.

“The ultimate energy source in the world has to be non-polluting and renewable. The world has to get away from carbon-based economy and gasoline, etc. The fuel of the future will be hydrogen, which can be burnt in an engine or electrochemically in a device called ‘fuel cell’”. Hydrogen can be sourced from photo electrolysis or from safe nuclear energy that will electrolyse water to give hydrogen. “Right now it is a question of economics; the price of coal and gas is far too low for anyone to research an alternative”.

Recalling with nostalgia, Dr. Vij narrated an incident from 1988 when he got his first doctorate from Concordia University. “During the convocation, Nobel laureate Subramaniam Chandrashekhar was sitting besides me. The only difference was that I was receiving my first doctorate and he his 28”. Panjab University awarded honorary D.Litt upon him in 1999. He was thrilled to receive the degree from this university which tried to expel him on various occasions for challenging the intellectual status quo, during his student days in early 1960s.

Dr Vijh further added that his father was an ardent Tribune reader and two decades ago when he returned to India and showed him clippings of his achievements published in papers worldwide, his father remarked “what use is it to me till it is published in The Tribune”. Today when you interview me for this paper, my father is not in this world to read it, he said in an emotionally surcharged voice.

“In the pursuit of science, creativity should be at the level of poetry”. Aesthetics in excellence and shunning casual and compromising attitude is the difference between attitudes in India and the developed world, he said.



Passing Thru

Ms Abha Ranjan
Ms Abha Ranjan, Occupational Therapist & Consultant with Pallavan Educational Trust.

Is dyslexia a common problem? What is the awareness level among parents and teachers?

About 8 to 10 per cent of the children may be dyslexic , which is a learning disability. The awareness level is low, and most parents or school authorities do not know how to deal with children having a learning disability. Even in cases where parents/school authorities are aware of this problem, the awareness is only in terms of labelling of the disease.

How much can therapy help a child having learning disability?

More than therapy, it is a regular school environment that can help a child suffering from dyslexia. Interacting with other children in a normal school environment is a better way to help such children. Schools, instead of closing their doors to such children should open their doors and help them get over this disability.

What is the strategy that parents can use to deal with dyslexia?

Parents have to be closely bonded with their children. There are 50 odd strategies available, but one has to filter out the best option for one’s child. Parents also have to be in regular touch with teachers for the development of child in school.

Ruchika M. Khanna



Victims of human rights violations feel harassed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
With the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) not entertaining complaints of city residents citing territorial jurisdiction, woes of the victims of the human rights violations in Chandigarh seem to be unending.

For scores of victims of rights violations, getting justice is a long drawn-out process since the city comes under the jurisdiction of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). With the NHRC’s hands full with the over 5,000 new cases every month, the city complainants are a harassed lot.

This is despite the fact that there is provision in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, regarding the setting up of the human rights court in the city. “For the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences arising out of the violation of the human rights, the state government may, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court, specify for each district a Court of Sessions to be a Human Rights Court to try the offences,” the Act says.

However, in the absence of the Human Rights Court here, the victims, a majority of them from poor sections, are forced to visit Delhi for filing complaints before the NHRC, alleges the lawyer for Human Rights International (LHRI).

And it takes atleast 45 days for the NHRC to take cognisance of the cases. On an average at least 100 cases are filed before the NHRC every month. Since the NHRC has no investigating machinery in Chandigarh, the complaints take longer periods for disposal.

The LHRI says the complaints are marked by the NHRC to the local SSP for action. Since, in a majority of the cases the involvement of the police personnel is suspected, the police inquiries tended to shield the alleged human rights violators.

As the District and Sessions Judge would be in better position to order a fair probe keeping the ground situation, the victims could hope to get justice, added an advocate.

The LHRI today alleged that the PSHRC was adopting “double standards” in dealing with cases of the VIPs and the common man. It alleged that the commission had taken cognisance of the alleged violation of human rights of a Punjab MLA, Ms Razia Sultan, by a senior police official in the Office of the Punjab Wakf Board in Sector 22 here.

But the commission had directed the LHRI to approach the NHRC whenever the complaints of the local residents were brought before it on the plea that Chandigarh was not in its jurisdiction, the application added.



PSHRC direction to Mohali SP
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 26
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission yesterday directed the SP here to look into the case of Phase VII resident who had alleged that a false complaint had been made against him and that he was abused by a police official.

Mr Amit Kumar told the commission that a false complaint had been made against him by Mr O.P. Chauhan of Phase VII upon which he received summons from inspector Amrit Singh, in charge of the Women Helpline in Phase I. When he appeared before the officer, he was told that a complaint had been made by Mr Chauhan’s wife and the officer allegedly abused him and asked him to leave the locality. There were certain other allegations also which were brought to the notice of the commission.

Commission Chairperson Justice N.C. Jain, said in his order that in view of the allegations contained in the complaint a prima facie case for taking cognizance was made out. Hence, the commission was taking cognizance under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. As the complainant apprehended, the commission said, that he “will be made to sign some blank papers which may be used for some unlawful purpose,” the commission thought it appropriate to issue directions to the Mohali SP to look into the matter and give a report to the commission on March 16.

The commission said that the complainant could appear before the SP, who would see to it that no harassment was caused to him, but added that the order “may not be taken to mean that the commission intends to interfere with the process of law.” The commission said that if there was some serious allegation against the complainant, the police authorities would be at liberty to investigate the same.



UT’s four villages under MC ‘stink’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Protests by Municipal Councillors over poor state of sanitation in villages have fallen on deaf ears. Stench continues to trouble the residents of Attawa, Badheri, Burail and Buterla villages, under the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s control.

Turning a blind eye to the complaints of poor sanitation, the authorities have failed to act against the private contractors despite repeated complaints to the office of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Municipal Corporation. The MOH, Dr G.C.Bansal, was not available for comments.

Due to poor monitoring, regular removal of garbage was not being undertaken in the villages, said Karam Chand, a resident of Burail. The safai karamcharis were seldom going to the interior parts of the villages. The strength of the safai karamcharis, as shown on papers, was not visible on the ground.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, who represents Attawa, Badheri and Burail, said, “Initially the strength of the safai workers deputed by the private contractor in by ward was around 110. But after few months the strength reduced and it has never been the same again”.

The councillors lament that despite them having stopped issuing the certificate to the private contractor, payments had been made in the past. When the contract was given about two years ago, it was decided that the concerned municipal councillor would issue a certificate before the payment was released to the contractor. But it was seldom being followed, said Mr Vijay Singh Rana, a councillor from Burail.

The issue had rocked the January meeting of the General House. When a number of councillors demanded cancellation of the sanitation contract, the officials had skirted the issue saying that there was no alternative arrangement.

A visit of the villages revealed that the contractor was not deploying sufficient number of carts to remove the garbage. Men of the contactor do visit the villages to pick up the garbage from the outer boundary.

Mr Surinder Singh, a councillor who represents Indira Colony, Mani Majra, said he had stopped issued certificate to the contractor due to lack of interest shown by the contractor. Mr Balraj, another councillor who represents Mauli Jagraon colony, said repeated complaints had been made to the office of Medical Officer of Health.



Candidates seek god’s blessings for D-day
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
As candidates brace themselves to know their performance at the hustings, they invoke blessings of the Almighty and make final preparations for the counting of votes for the Kalka Assembly seat.

During the past 24 days, candidates have made numerous trips to “dhams” of various gods and goddesses and organised havans. They admit that the past three weeks have also seen them visit various astrologers to know the outcome of the results.

For candidates, the day began with the rehearsal organised at Mini Secretariat today. While Congress candidate and sitting MLA Chander Mohan and BJP candidate Sham Lal Bansal were personally present during the rehearsal, Indian National Lok Dal candidate Pradeep Chaudhary was conspicuous by his absence. His supporters led by Om Prakash and Rajinder Sharma and polling agents were present for the rehearsals.

The candidates and their polling agents were told by the Election Kanungo to ensure that the electronic voting machines were sealed and were explained how to see the results for each booth.

The rest of the day was spent in holding discussions with the polling agents. Chander Mohan said while he spent the earlier part of the day holding discussions with his polling agents, he was with his supporters outside the counting centre — Sector 14 Community Centre- guarding the EVMs — later in the day.

He said he was sure of winning the election with a margin of 50,000 votes.

Pradeep Chaudhary said he was busy making arrangements for his polling agents the entire day. He said he had gained a lot of votes in the rural sector and would win.

Sham Lal Bansal said he would defeat the Congress candidate with around 4,000 votes. He, too, held discussions with his polling agents.



Residents plea to SP on crime
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 26
The HM Houses Welfare Association of Phase IV here has urged the police to check incidents of chain snatching in the town.

The president of the association, while appreciating the efforts of the police to arrest thieves who roamed about in the town in the guise of vendors and rehriwalas, said that vigil was required to check the activities of chain snatchers, especially in the evening and early in the morning. Police patrolling needed to be intensified.

Calling for making the town a zero-crime area, the president also urged SP, Rakesh Aggarwal to check sound created by the use of pressure horns in vehicles and that of loudspeakers used at high volume at marriage parties, particularly at odd hours at night. He also sought the launching of a drive against traffic offenders. He said that if the steps taken against the offenders were both educative and punitive, the results would be good.



Readers write
Why govt officials go scot free?

It is proper to take stern action against the management of Bhushan Industries after it was found guilty, but why no action has been taken against the officials concerned, officers of the departments concerned which have control over matters related to such factories. Why didn’t they periodically check such deficiencies before issuing clearance.

It is time that the Chandigarh Administrator directs all heads of departments of UT to be conversant with the rules and regulations of their respective departments and ensure strict compliance to avoid such incidents in future.

There is no denying the fact that because of the slackness of government departments the media has to point out their deficiencies. Residents have to suffer in the absence of quick decisions on various matters. Take the case of allowing the GPA holders to transfer their respective properties. Though news in this regard has appeared in the papers, the junior staff still creates hurdles. The Administrator should be very strict in getting various things concerning residents done without delay.

Kanwar S.S. Walia

Rock Garden brochure in Hindi sought

Rock Garden is a unique creation of Mr Nek Chand. Chandigarh is daily visited by a large number of tourists from different states and abroad. The SGPC and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee with their meagre resources has brought out brochures on Sikhism, but the Chandigarh Administration with its resources and sufficient funds has brought a coloured brochure on the Rock Garden only in English.

The Chandigarh Administrator should give directions to the Administration (CITCO) for brining out coloured brochures on the Rock Garden in Hindi, besides other regional languages

Narender Singh ‘International’



Tributes paid to Dr P.N. Chhuttani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
State of healthcare in the rural areas, including in Punjab, need to be improved so that common man can have access to better medical facilities. This was stated by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, T.K.A. Nair who drew the attention of the medical fraternity towards bridging the gap between public and private sector in healthcare delivery system, while speaking at the commemorative function to mark the 90th birth anniversary of former Director of PGI Prof P.N. Chhuttani here today.

“Basic health care facilities in rural Punjab are seriously lacking. This is happening despite a huge infrastructure built by the government in terms of manpower and materials. The scenario is so bad that even those patients who cannot afford the treatment in private sector hospitals prefer to go there only,’’ said Mr Nair. He said that unlike in Kerala, where the NGOs have played a crucial role in providing better health care facilities to the poor, the same scenario is not emerging in otherwise high per capita state like Punjab. “It’s a shame if basic healthcare facilities are denied to the people,’’ he remarked.

Recalling his association with Prof Chhuttani since 1980s, Mr Nair said that a few would know that former director’s dream of setting up a medical institute at Mohali has remain unfulfilled. “All the plans were prepared but things did not materialise. I hope the trust set up in his name would be able to realise the unfulfilled dream,’’ he said.

Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University, (JNU), New Delhi, Prof G.K. Chadha recalled his association with Prof Chhuttani, who was the director of the institution from 1969 to 1978 and described him an administrator par excellence and a devoted medical professional.

Prof I.C. Pathak, the former Director of PGI and the chairman of the Dr P.N. Chhuttani Trust, spoke on his long association with Dr Chhuttani and said that his vision- school of tropical medicine would take sometime to come up in the PGI. “Prof Chhuttani had a razor-shape mind and was completely devoted to the building of this institution,’’ he said. Director PGI, Prof K.K. Talwar welcomed the guest speakers.



Gen Pattabhiraman meets disabled soldiers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, accompanied by his wife, Mrs Lakshmi Pattabhiraman, visited the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Mohali, yesterday. General Pattabhiraman is also the chief patron of the PRC. This was his first visit to the centre after assuming charge as the Western Army Commander.

He interacted with the inmates of the centre and inquired about their activities and welfare. He also inspected the physiotherapy room, wards and vocational training hall. Mrs Pattabhiraman, who is also the president of the Western Command chapter of Army Wives Welfare Association, presented four motorised tricycles to the inmates. She also evinced keen interest in the welfare of the disabled soldiers and gave tips on improvement of the products made at the centre.

The Chairman of the PRC, Major-Gen D.D.S. Sandhu, and the institute’s Director, Col Jaswant Singh, briefed the Army Commander about the ongoing activities at the centre. The PRC is engaged in the rehabilitation of soldiers disabled due to spinal injuries during service.Besides providing physiotherapy, it also imparts them vocational training to make them self-reliant.

Later, General Pattabhiraman also visited the Defence Veterans Clinic and the Army Institute of Law in Mohali.



Ms Malik chosen nagar panchyat vice-president
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 26
Mrs Manisha Malik, a municipal councillor from Ward No 1 of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, was elected vice-president of the civic body on Friday.

Mrs Malik replaces Mrs Paramjit Kaur Sodhi, from the post after 13 elected members including Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, local MLA who is also a member of the civic body, elected her unanimously.

Earlier, Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the civic body proposed Manisha’s name for the post and Mr Nakshatra Singh, a municipal councillor, seconded it. The election held in the presence of Mr Narinder Sangah, SDM, in the office of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

Three municipal councilors — Mr Bhagwant Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh and Mr Ashok Marriya — belonging to the Congress party, boycotted the elections.



Kisan card revamped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
UTI Bank has revamped its kisan credit card. Now farmers can utilise it for crop loans, equipment purchase, investment credit and allied activities like dairy, poultry, piggery and consumption, says an official release from the bank.

The loan ranges from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1,50,000.



Raids on to nab kidnapping accused
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
Raids are being conducted by the police in Zirakpur, Panchkula and city hotels to nab Jairaj Singh and other unidentified kidnappers of two boys of New Public School here.

Jairaj along with six others had kidnapped the boys yesterday to teach them a lesson for harassing former’s sister.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, SHO, Sector 19 police station, Prem Singh Malik said the family members of Jairaj had asked for time from the police to produce Jairaj, maintaining that they were not aware of his whereabouts.

The police is trying to trace the black Accent car (HP-18-A-2216) used in the kidnapping. The second blue Indica car used belongs to Jairaj’s family.Interestingly, sources in the police said Amrinder, one of the boys who was kidnapped, had informed them that the girl had rung him up after he was kidnapped and asked him whether his brother was rough to him.

A case of kidnapping and criminal intimidation has been registered against Jairaj (son of the owner of Hotel Metro, Sector 35) on a complaint of Devinder Singh Aulakh, alias Koka, father of Amrinder Singh Aulakh.

Mr Aulakh alleged that the accused and other unidentified persons kidnapped his son and his friend, Diwan Virinder Pratap, from outside the school.

The accused took the two boys to a farmhouse where they were allegedly intimidated, beaten up and filmed nude.

The SHO said Jairaj had been booked by the local police in June, 2003 after he manhandled a policeman. The case is sub judice in a local court.



8-yr-old killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
Barhka (8), a resident of Mauli Jagran colony was killed after being hit by a scooter near SD School in Sector 24, yesterday.

Barkha was playing near the road when she suddenly came to the road and was hit by a scooter (CH01-N-6601) driven by Ashwani Kumar of Janta Colony Sector 25. The victim was rushed to a hospital where the doctors declared her brought dead. The police handed over the body to her family members after the post-mortem. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the accused. The police has arrested the scooterist but later released him on bail.

Purse snatched

Ms Richa of Sector 20 filed a complaint to the police that two unidentified persons riding a Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle snatched her purse containing two gold bangles, one mangalsutra, US $ 50, Canadian $ 10, one mobile phone, ATM card and Rs 7,000, from Sector 21, yesterday. A case has been registered.



City resident dies in mishap

Zirakpur, February 26
A Chandigarh Sector 37-C resident Mr Rakesh Bansal died in an accident on the Kalka-Ambala highway at Panchkula T-Point here, late last night.

According to the police, Mr Rakesh Bansal was heading towards Chandigarh from Panchkula in his Maruti car (CH-03F-2912) when a truck hit the vehicle from side. With the impact of the accident, the car rammed into an electricity pole killing the occupant on the spot. Mr Rakesh was on his way back to home after closing his timber shop in Industrial Area, Panchkula.

The driver of the vehicle reportedly sped away from the spot. Passersby and motorists noticed the accident and informed the police. The injured was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 in Chandigarh, where doctors declared him ‘brought dead’.

The body was today handed over to the family after a postmortem examination at Civil Hospital, Rajpura. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered at Lohgarh police post. OC



One booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 26
The police has booked one person on charges of criminal breach of trust, cheating, trespassing and criminal intimidation.

According to the police, Parvinder Singh, a resident of Gurgaon, complained to the police that he had purchased a plot in Sector 71 here from Tejinder Singh in 2003. The plot had been purchased for about Rs 12 lakh. All documents in connection with the plot had been prepared but the seller allegedly refused to get the plot registered in the name of Parvinder Singh. Parvinder Singh said that the plot was neither being registered in his name, nor was the money returned.

The police said that yesterday the complainant allegedly tried to take possession of the plot forcibly which led to some heated exchanges between the two. The police has registered a case.



Girl consumes poison, dies

Panchkula, February 26
Sanyogita, an 18-year-old girl of Siv Colony in Pinjore, died after she consumed some poisonous substance, last night.

According the family members, the girl mistakenly consumed some unprescribed tablets which resulted in her death. Her body was handed over to the family members after a postmortem examination at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, this afternoon. The police is investigating the matter. OC



One dead

Mohali, February 26
One person died in Mataur village here today after he allegedly consumed poisonous tablets by mistake. Amar Singh, a resident of the village, took Celphos tablets accidentally in the dark thinking these to be medicine. He was taken to a private hospital where he died. OC



Experts to teach formula of making super coffee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Here’s your chance to learn the golden rules for preparing great coffee. With Coffee Board, Bangalore, the coffee promotion wing of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, targetting North India, Chandigarh, will have its first taste of genuinely roasted and brewed coffee making.

A team of experts will be here to tell potential entrepreneurs the secrets of preparing a good cup of coffee, which has been a major challenge at the service end. On the eve of the training programme, Dr K. Basavaraj, Deputy Director (Quality Control), Coffee Board, was in Chandigarh yesterday to talk about emerging trends in stimulating world of coffee.

Interestingly, customers are favouring freshly brewed filter coffee over instant coffee all over the world. Even MNCs are entering this segment where the consumption has increased from 55,000 tonnes three years ago to 70,000 tonnes now.

With freshly brewed coffee taking over, instant coffee market is shrinking. Naturally, it will be a testing time for providers who base their business on instant coffee which is poor by all standards.

Dr Basavaraj clarified: “North India is yet to emerge from the instant coffee trap. There is no concept of filter coffee here, and that’s one reason why we are here with our programme. Maharashtra and Gujarat have responded well to our programme, so much so that at least 10 of our 14 trainees have made profits from coffee business.”


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