C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Peace warriors’ Test begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The ‘warriors’ are here again after a gap of six years. The last encounter at Mohali, a one-dayer, was tense and tough, and even before the teams had landed, battelines had been drawn. It was the first thaw and the colours of bonhomie were muted.

But not this time. The atmosphere in and around the stadium and in the city is relaxed and cheerful. 

The number of people who have arrived from across the border to watch the five-dayer is also a record — about 2,500 Pakistan nationals have arrived so far and they have been busy sightseeing, shopping, eating and making merry. The spirit of a carnival or a mela precedes the Test which begins tomorrow morning.

Interestingly, this is the first ever Test matrch in Mohali between India and Pakistan. It is the second-ever Test between the two countries in Punjab. The one and only Test match was played in Burton Park in Jalandhar in 1983. It had ended in a draw.

The generosity of Chandigarh residents literally overflows. From the common man to the VIPs, all have put in their best to make the guests feel at home.

The city and all main thoroughfares wear a festive look. All roads to the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium, Mohali, have been decked up with banners, welcoming the guests. Markets, too, have a decorative look with shopkeepers putting up bright displays. The plaza in Sector 17 has a display of selected creations of Nek Chand, creator of the Rock Garden.

Pakistan nationals were busy shopping in markets of Sectors 22, 35, 34 and other places. A sizeable number of visitors are staying at the houses of the local residents. Says an overwhelmed Ayub from Lahore about his host here, “Bhai sahib has not just offered his home for our stay but also made arrangement for visiting tourist places around. I had never met him before I landed here last night.”

The PCA stadium, however, has been under a heavy police bandobast. Over 2,000 policemen have been deployed for security duties.

The usual tension in the air before a match between the arch rivals is missing. Says Sanjay Raghav, a local resident, “The result of the match matters greatly to me. I would like India to win. However, I do not have the bitterness that I earlier had for the Pakistan team.” 



Only Hindu in Pak team visits Mansa Devi temple
Akash Ghai

Danish Kaneria Chandigarh, March 7
Pakistani player Danish Prabhashankar Kaneria visited to Mata Mansa Devi temple here, today. He is the only Hindu player of the visiting Pakistani cricket team. He had ‘darshan’ of goddess seek blessings. He was taken to the temple in a Tribune car. “This was very special visit and it gave relief and peace which could not be described in words,” he held.

He disclosed that he has full faith in God and was an devotee of Lord Shiva. He spent one hour in the temple and showed interest in gathering information about other temples nearby. “Yesterday also I visited Lord Shiva’s temple in Sector 24”, he said.

This was his first visit to India and he was very happy to get warm welcome, love and hospitality by Indian people. “The Chandigarh is very beautiful and people here are very friendly and nice” said the Karachi-based boy. “My forefathers were based at Surat in Gujarat so at home we used Gujarati and Urdu languages and followed all Gujarati customs and traditions in Pakistan,” he said.

Kaneria, who played his first international match in 2000-2001 in Faislabad against England, was the right arm leg spinner and the highest wicket taker (102) in his presently visiting team which would play with Indian team from tomorrow. “I will play the game honestly and sincerely.”Back


Pak cricket fans turn businessmen
Sell dry fruits, cloth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Pak guests who have come to the City Beautiful to watch the high profile Indo-Pak Test match were seen in a different orole taoday. Some of them have brought ‘saugaats’ for their brethren here, but at a price. Today, many cricket fans from Pakistan running were seen conducting moving department stores selling various articles like cloth, tille walli designer juttis, cigarettes and dry fruits to the locals.

Leaving aside the usual excitement of the sport it would also mean good business.” they opined.

Pakistanis’ shopping list

  • Saris. Of all hues and designs. Ramola Sikand and Parvati saris are in demand.
  • Salwar Kameez and unstitched embroidered suits
  • Kohlapuri chappals.
  • Mangal sutras top on the jewellery list besides stone, gold and, of course, diamond jewellery.
  • Gutkha and betel leaves.
  • Bidi bundles.
  • Glass and plastic bangles for kids.
  • Latest music cassettes and CDs.

Quite surprisingly, many of them, who are into the cloth business over there, also brought dry fruit from Pakistan as they expected to make good money by selling it here. They have brought ‘manakka’ and ‘giri’ in plenty.

Though there were few takers for ‘manakka’ in the market they switched over to the dry fruit traders to buy stock from them. But even they did not seem to be interested in purchasing from them. On being asked, the traders said they are were more price for their inferior quality stuff.

“They are asking Rs 450 for a kg of ‘giri’ while the same is available for Rs 410 here whereas the wholesale rate is Rs 370 in India,” said Tarwinder Singh, a dry fruit merchant based in Chandigarh.

Pakistani visitors did approach us and offered to sell manakka . They were having 20 to 25 kg of it but we cannot store so much quantity in summers as there is little consumption of this here in this season so we advised them to go to Sector 26 Grain Market because the merchants there are equipped with cold stores”. Moreover, they were demanding heavy price for it also.” told Madhu Malhotra, who is running the dryfruit business for the past 35 years.

“Cloth here does not match with what we have brought from Pakistan. That’s why I sold all the 30 suits in just one hour and that too for a good price,” said Mohammad Javed excitingly.

“The corner shop chappal trader has bought all my stock at one go”, said Mohammad Razaaq.

“I have brought ‘Goldlif’ brand Pakistani cigarettes. I have made good bucks out of this. I am asking Rs100 for a pack that costs Rs 40 in Pakistan . So I can very easily meet my boarding and lodging expenses,” The MC officials reached the site and tried to confiscate their prized possessions but let them off after the intervention of office-bearers of the market committee.



Pak team to miss Shoaib Akhtar
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, March 7
The Pakistan XI will certainly miss their star bowler Shoaib Akhtar since he gives a scare to Indian batsmen. This was stated by maestro spinner Harbhajan Singh. He came to the DAV College cricket coaching centre, Sector 10, at the invitation of DAV College Principal Subhash Marriya and former Test player Yograj Singh. He was accompanied by local Indian team manager Ranjit Bajaj.

When asked why the Indian team seemed to be under pressure, Harbhajan Singh it was not so. “We will play even better.” He said it could be the media hype. Whenever Indian and Pakistan play, there is pressure. For tomorrow tie, we are 100 per cent prepared. Harbhajan Singh said in lighter vein it was a friendship series , we will play with love but will eventually beat Pakistan.

Harbhajan Singh praised the coaching centre run by Mr Yograj Singh and said the academy would produce good results in times to come.

When he was asked, if the absence of Yuvraj would affect the team’s performance, Harbhajan Singh said everyone had his role to play. We would play like a team. Earlier, Harbhajan Singh was surrounded by children in the age group six years onwards who asked him questions and also took his autographs.

Young cricketers and other sports fans were disappointed when it was told to them that Yuvraj Singh, popularly known as Yuvi, would not be playing in the Mohali Test, beginning tomorrow. A cricketer said selectors could have dropped V.V.S. Laxman and kept Yuvraj on whom they had pinned high hopes. Morever, Yuvraj also enjoyed local media support. 



In hearts and homes of people
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 7
It is in the hearts and homes of the people of this township that Pakistan and India came to being the one nation that we were before the Partition. For those Mohali residents who had offered to accommodate Pakistani visitors, the morning dawned with their wishes coming true. And for the “brothers” across the border, the greetings and welcome they received in these houses was beyond their imagination.

For Mr O.P. Chuttani, a superintendent in the Haryana Government, his MIG house in Phase IX might be small but it’s the hearts that matter. “We have two guests here from Lahore. Both, Mehmood Akhtar and Khalid Sayed, are travelling alone,” he said.

But where are the Pakistani women and children? “We did not bring our families as we were not sure where we would be staying. However, now since we are here and we have been so warmly welcomed, we are regretting that we did not get them along,” said Sayed, a businessman in Lahore.

“For me this a trip back to the place where my parents came from. They were from Jalandhar. And now I am thinking of going there,” he added.

“My daughter Nadia is in Canada and she specially called to tell me the things she wanted from here. The match is more of an excuse to visit this place,” said Akhtar, a civil engineer.

And what are they going to do with the expensive tickets they have bought. “They have offered that to me to go and watch the match,” quipped Dhanesh, Mr Chuttani’s son.

All praise for the way they are being treated at their Indian hosts house the two, however, want to send a larger message across. “The two governments should continue with this people-to-people exchange programme. It is important for the peaceful solution of problems,” said Khalid.

Ms Chuttani is serving up a whole series of Indian cuisine in the coming days for their guests. “They had stuffed paranthas with white butter and curd this morning. For the night we would be cooking whatever they ask for,” she said.

The busiest today are Ms and Mr H.S. Midha in Phase 3B1 who have eight guests — Liaquat Ali, Manzoor, Mujibur Rehman, Mohammad Riaz, Mohammad Ashfaq, Farooque and Shahid Mehmood — staying with them. “They talk like us, they laugh like us and while they are in India they are thinking like us too,” said Mr Midha.

And what other than shopping are the day’s plans? “We would be watching Hindi films though most of the ones we have seen in Pakistan. The day a film is released here, we get a CD through Dubai there the next day,” Mr Mohammad Ashfaq.



Examinations play spoilsport, say students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Indo-Pak match is being held at the wrong time in the city and school students couldn’t agree more. While cricket is weighing on their minds, they have the arduous task of keeping their heads buried in their books since it is examination time as well. The excitement in the city is almost infectious and the students are having a tough time keeping the cricket frenzy at bay.

“It’s as if we are a part of the cricket fever that has spread like wildfire all over the city and yet we are expected to stay aloof. Either examinations should have been postponed keeping in view the Test match or the city should not have been chosen as a venue at all,” says Mukul Kaushal, a Class XI student of DAV Senior Secondary School.

Nirbhav Dhillon, a cricket lover to the core, has his head buried in his books for the better part of the day. Studying in Class XI at St Stephen’s School, he adds, “Not being able to be a part of cricket in the city is affecting my preparation for the examination. I have my economics paper on March 10 and am not allowed to step out of the house if it has anything to do with cricket.”

Ruing that he can’t meet his favourite players from the Indian side, already in the city to participate in the Test, Sarvesh Mahajan of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, is “disturbed” about the Test timings.

“A cricket match is something that has me glued to the television all day. And when it is happening between the two most “watched” teams and in my city, it is nothing short of torture to be appearing for the examinations. I try to gather as much information as I can by reading newspapers to know exactly what is happening,” he maintains.

Megha Oberoi and Mahima Kaushal of St Anne’s School were of the opinion that they were caught up with exam preparation when cricketing heroes were in the city. “It was the most opportune moment to meet them, take autographs and get pictures clicked. We would have been happy just having a glance from a distance or watching them pass by even if a meeting is not possible. However, in the given circumstances, all this is not possible,” Mahima claimed.

While examinations are going on in most schools of the city, the board examinations of the CBSE, ICSE, Haryana and Punjab are also on. So, practically, for all schoolgoing die-hard cricket fans, it’s curtains even before the first ball has been bowled as far as this Test is concerned.



Do away with trade barriers, say Pakistani guests
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Impressed by quality products available at less rates in India, a section of young Pakistani traders stressed the need for doing away with trade barriers to allow an integrated India, Pakistan and Bangladesh market to take on the European Union.

A group of traders from Lahore and Faislabad told The Tribune that an integrated market in few years could pose a challenge to the European Union.

Pakistan can offer dry fruits to India at cheap rates while India has a large number of items much cheaper than Europe from which the Pakistani consumers could benefit, they said. Pakistan has been resisting free trade for years, young traders say, because of vested interests of big businessmen.

Mohmmed Zohaib who runs a super store in Lahore and has trade links with the Central Asian countries said he had seen Europe and Central Asian countries but trade with India could benefit both the countries, especially Pakistan.

Zohaib, a progressive young trader, who had rescued four Indian youths arrested in Uzbekistan said he cried when he heard from the mother of an arrested youth, Mohan Lal, that she sold her jewellery to talk to her son on mobile phone.

Mohmmed Zahid and Amir Sharif from Faislabad, reeled out prices of different products to establish that even grape which is available in the Indian market at Rs 25 a kg is priced at Rs 300 in Pakistan. A similar scenario exist about mango and apple. The Indian warmth has impressed them. There is no enmity we have only found love, they said.

Mohmmed Javed, an old Lahore-based goldsmith, said Pakistan was already flooded with Indian artificial jewellery but if jewellery designs from India could be allowed in Pakistan, Madrasi light weight jewellery and Bengali design and colour scheme will sweep the Pakistani market.Back


Shakeel dreams of a role in Indian films
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 7
Here is a fan from Pakistan, the likes of whom Sanjay Dutt will not even find in India. Shakeel, a budding journalist from Pindi, Pakistan, has a collection of over a thousand photos of the actor. “The craze started in 1992 when I saw his film “Khalnayak.” Since then I have collected each and every picture of Sanjay Dutt. I have at least 30 albums of these pictures now,” he said.

A die-hard Sanjay Dutt fan, Shakeel also harbours dreams of making it in to Bollywood. “I wish I could come to India more often and try to get a role in an Indian film here,” said Shakeel, who is visiting India for the first time to watch the Indo-Pak cricket Test match that begins tomorrow.

“Match ka to sirf bahana hai…. hum to barson se Hindustan aana chahte the. Mere liye yahaan aana Mecca Madina se bhi badh kar hai,” he said. He is visiting India with his mother, Shafia. The two are living with Mr H.S. Arneja, general manager (retd), Coal India, in Phase 3B2 here.

“We are here to see the match but only briefly. I have always wanted to come to India and today my biggest dream has come true,” said Shafeel. Leaving his three sisters behind is something he regrets. “I wish Noreen, Naushia and Rubina were here but since we were coming for the first time, we thought we should go alone. Moreover, while two of them are doing their medical studies the third is married,” he added. But the sisters are going to be compensated with gifts from India.

The hosts are also eager to help their special guests shop around. “Meeting a Pakistani family makes you hard to believe that they come from another nation. The reason we wanted this family as guests here 
was so that the message goes across that Indians are not enemies,” said Mr Arneja.

And what’s cooking for the guests? “They want to eat simple Indian food. We want to make them feel at home. However, we have requested Shafia to cook biryani for us,” laughed Mrs Arneja. 



CM to host dinner for Pak guests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Chandigarh Club will host qawaalli night to entertain guests from Pakistan on March 11. It has been also chosen as the venue for hosting dinner for 2500 persons from Pakistan by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on March 9.

President of the Chandigarh Club Mukesh Bassi said entry to these functions for guests from Pakistan would be regulated through passports. The club has asked Pakistanis to carry passports with them when coming to witness qawaalli night which starts at 8 p.m.

Rehmat Qawaal will perform on the club premises. Pakistani cricket team has also been invited to dinner on March 12. 



Police counters to assist Pak guests

Chandigarh, March 7
The police has set up special counters at Cricket Stadium in Sector 16 and at the police Headquarters in Sector 9 to provide information and assistance to Pakistani guests.

According to a police press note here, today, information regarding their places of stay, important tourists places, shopping centres and entertainment programmes organised by the Chandigarh Administration for their honour.

The police said, apart from this, a Mini Control Room has also been set up at the Cricket Stadium, Sector 16 to help the guests from Pakistan on their lost and found belongings and documents. OC



Panchkula impresses visitors from Pak
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 7
The 300 Pak visitors to the township, impressed by the lush green gardens, compare it to Islamabad — the most beautiful city in Pakistan. In town as part of the team visiting India for the Indo-Pak test match at Mohali, the visitors from across the borders say that they were impressed with the gardens here. “This is the perfect time to visit, because gardens are in full bloom. We were really impressed with the Cactus Garden here. The wide roads and greenery here remind us of Islamabad,” said Mohammad Waseem, a resident of Lahore.

He says that it was not just the love of cricket, but a deep desire to see India and meet people across the border. Adds Sayeed Iqbal Hussain Geelani from Riyasat Bhawalapur, “I had heard so much about India, and wanted to come here. As soon as I heard about the test match, I booked my tickets so that I could be here”. He says that he has also been given a shopping list by his mother-in-law, wife and children. His mother inlaw has asked him to get a mangal sutra, and his children have asked for Shaka laka pencils.

As many as 355 men from Pakistan have been housed in Sood Bhavan, Yadav Bhavan, Aggarwal Bhavan, Youth Hostel and Sports Hostel. The district administration has made free of cost arangements for stay, and officials have been assigned to take them around.

The men today visited the Yadavindra Gardens at Pinjore, Cactus Garden, Fun City, Mansa Devi shrine, Nadda Sahib gurudwara. The residents , too, came out to make the Pak guests comfortable. While Pallavi Hotel in Sector 5 had organised a free lunch, many residents sent their cars so that the travellers could travel around comfortably.

It was a happy reunion for visitors from Pakistan, Qamar Husian and Akhtar husain with Serctor 9 resident Manjit Singh after a gap of 22 years. the duo had last met during the wedding of Manjit's cousin at Chandigarh.

Manjit Singh's uncle, Didar Singh had saved Aktar Husain and Qamar Husain from miscreants during the 1947 riots. Since then the two families had remained in touch trrough letters and ocassional phonecalls. It was a nostalgic moment as they met at Manjit's Sector 9 house, today. 



One held for selling tickets on black market
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 7
A resident of Phase X here was today arrested on a charge of selling tickets on the black market of the cricket Test match between India and Pakistan starting tomorrow.

According to the police, Sanjiv Kumar, who belongs to Bhavnaur village, in Hoshiarpur district, was caught while selling the tickets on the black market. He was nabbed from near the PCA chowk by a police team headed by Mr Kulbir Singh, in charge of the police post in Phase XI.



Bureaucrat couple’s son has brush with cops
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 7
Ranjit Bajaj, local manager of the Indian Cricket team and son of a Punjab bureaucrat couple, had a scuffle with a policeman here outside the PCA main gate this afternoon.

While Ranjit was manhandled by an ASI on duty at the main gate allegedly for abusing him, Ranjit alleged that he was manhandled without provocation by the policeman.

Policeman, Kashmira Singh, said Ranjit parked the car inside the stadium and tried to get in without showing his duty pass. “When I asked him to show his pass, he held me by the collar and abused me. That is when I acted against him,” he said.

With blood oozing out from his neck and chest, Ranjit did not react and contacted the PCA authorities to report the matter. The PCA authorities came to his aid with senior PCA organising committee members as telling Ranjit to cool down and assuring him that action would be taken against the policeman. DIG Parag Jain who was in the stadium was contracted to resolve the matter.

He said the policeman stopped him and manhandled him without provocation, Ranjit demanded action against the policeman. Situation was defused when SSP Ropar, S.P. Singh promised Ranjit that the policeman would be “thrown out”.

Ranjit was busy ferrying Indian players to and from the stadium had a duty pass. “Only that he was too busy to show it to the policemen on the gate,” pointed out Jagjit Singh, inspector in charge of the main gate. Back



The royal red carpet is out and verdant green is in. That is what the shop owners of Sector 22 have spread out to welcome the visitors from Pakistan. The spirit of festivity is infectious with the traders getting together to carpet the corridor and decorate it with flowers. Cricket, of course is on the top of the chart for these rare visitors but shopping is the next priority. 

‘Capturing’ stars on mobiles

With the city riding high on cricket fever, a glimpse of the cricket stars was making the day of many fans of this game. And some managed to get not just a glimpse, but their photographs also on the mobile cameras. Tribune photographer Pardeep Tewari captures the scene outside Sylvie’s Saloon in Sector 11 on Sunday. As the car with the cricket players drove in, fans put their mobile cameras to use clicking pictures of the players from outside the car windows. Sitting in the car were great guys like Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan. One wishes more people put their mobile cameras to such use rather than clicking sleaze.

The shop owners are at their hospitable best and only too eager to press soft drinks on them. Nostalgia runs high as one post-Partition born shop owner told them: “My grandfather graduated from Dayal Singh College in Lahore.” Old ties are hard to break even if a barbed wire is put across them. It is a happy sign indeed that crossing the fence is now easier.

Silken dreams

Silk saris and jewellery are what the visitors from Pakistan wish to take back for themselves and other relatives and friends back home. They seem to be most inspired by the clothes and jewellery worn by Tulsi Virani in ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thhi’ and Parvati Agarwal in ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’. These serials are equally popular among women in Pakistan as they are in India. However, the visiting women were a bit surprised that they did not see women dressed up like these small-screen heroines. The silken dreams that these serials are selling are that Indian women remain thus dolled up all the time.

Fresheners, please

The Coffee Shop at Hotel Mountview is a fine place for meetings what with the lush green garden visible through the big glass windows. But a few of us had to forgo the pleasure of the beautiful site on Thursday afternoon for something smelt foul in the Coffee Shop. In fact the odour was so strong that the meeting had to be shifted to the Executive Lounge upstairs. With cricket teams and coaches checking into Mountview, the hotels staff should put their act together fast. Where have all the room fresheners gone?

Sector proud

The first day of March, Ms. Anu Chatrath, Mayor, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, launched a cleanliness drive for the southern sectors with a function in Sector 47. A cultural function, including folk songs, dances and a skit, was presented on the occasion. Tea and snacks followed. Residents of Sector 47 are making a special effort at keeping the sector clean for they feel their sector is the chosen one. They certainly are sector proud.

Thoughtful gifts

It is not the gift that matters so much as the thought that is put in its selection. The inmates of Nari Niketan in Sector 26 were all smiles after receiving their first gift in this year. They woke up to a pleasant surprise on the morning of March 4, with a special guest knocking at their door. It was the first lady of Punjab, Ms. Jean Rodrigues, excited to meet the 18 Nari Niketan inmates and gift them something each. The gift pack was small but the gesture big. By presenting them a hand towel, a deodorant and a talcum powder, the lady had them dancing with joy. Even long after their guest left, they kept caressing their gifts and talking about them. Ms. Rodrigues had shown a similar sensitivity earlier by distributing salty delicacies instead of sweet in the Old People’s Home lest the sugar level of the old folks rise.


This time two festivals come on the same day. It is another matter that one is the traditional festival of Shivaratri and the other is the modern celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8. However, more often than not parallels can be found in the mythical and the modern. Shiva in his Ardhnarishwar avtar indicates the duality of existence. Whereas Shiva and Shakti have their own separate energies, when these come together then the concept of Ardhnarishwar is born — a being that is half man and half woman. Thus even myth gives equal space to the woman.

Puppy savers

Two employees of The Tribune became lifesavers for a puppy seriously injured by a speeding scooterist on the evening of March 4. Had it not been for their immediate reaction and attention, the tiny creature would have died after being left bleeding on the Delhi-Ambala highway. Mohit Sabharwal and Yashpal Walia were taking a stroll outside the Tribune office. Suddenly they witnessed a puppy being ruthlessly crushed by a scooter whose rider did not bother to even stop, let alone care. So they rushed to the spot and took the puppy to a nearby chemist where the initial medication was taken care of. Next, they fed the puppy with some milk and bread before letting it off…safely.

Mobile menace

Bowing to the standing ovation by the Chandigarh audience for ‘Aapki Soniya’ in Tagore Theatre, Farooq Sheikh said: “Chandigarh is City Beautiful not only because of its planned architecture and greenery, but also due to the discerning audience.” He recalled how the residents had given a similar response to their earlier production ‘Tumhari Amrita’. No doubt the theatre lovers got a treat following the range of emotions unfolded by the exchange of letters between the protagonists of the play enacted superbly by Sonali Bendre and Farooq. And, yes, they showed their appreciation by breaking into ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and clapping frequently. But perhaps they fell a bit short of deserving so much praise. For, despite repeated requests to please switch off the mobile phones, ring tones now and then marred the magic.

Making a difference

It’s 10.05 p.m. “Please cancel my order if it will take any longer as my movie begins at 10.15,” the man standing in front of a counter at the Food Court in Fun Republic tells the young girl manning the outlet. Not wanting to let the man go hungry, the girl peeps into the shelf, consults her colleague and hands over the box of veggie crunch pan pizza to the man whose face lights up with a smile. Well, nothing unusual, you would say. But the girl’s duty was only till 10 p.m. Hanging on a few minutes more can make all the difference. The customer is bound to come there a second time and more.


Question: What does a restaurant in one of the Sector 44 markets call itself?

Answer: ‘9/11’.

Lesson: Enter at your own risk!




Councillors seek CBI probe into ‘corruption’ in MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 7
Four councillors belonging to the opposition group in the Municipal Council today appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to order a CBI inquiry into the alleged large-scale corruption in the Municipal Council here.

Addressing a press conference, the councillors — Mr Amrik Singh, vice-president of the council, Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, Mr Manmohan Singh Lang and Mr Manjit Singh — alleged that the civic body was misusing public funds to oblige senior officials. The president of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, said they had not carried out any significant development work in the town during his tenrure. However, corruption had increased in the council during the past four and a half year.

They said certain councillors had earlier made written complaints to the Minister for Local Government, senior officials of that department and even to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau regarding corruption in the council but to no avail.

The four councillors said kerb channels had not been cleaned in the town for the past six months, footpaths in various areas and railings around parks were damaged and roads in certain localities were in a state of disrepair.

Sanitation situation too was in a state of neglect, and the contractors were not deploying the required number of safai sevaks for cleaning work. Besides, out of 145 council employees of the sanitation wing as many as 46 were working illegally at the house of senior government officials but were drawing their salaries from the civic body’s funds.

The councillors further said when the present team of coucillors headed by Mr Kulwant Singh took over in the year 2000, the council had about Rs 7 crore in fixed deposits. In addition to that, the council had earned crores of rupees as revenue since that year. Despite the availability of such huge funds, no development work had been carried out in the town. They alleged that a substantial part of the public funds, instead of being used for the welfare of the residents, had been misused.

The councillors gave a list of various cases in which they had demanded inquiries. Several ongoing inquiries, they alleged had been scuttled.

Referring to specific cases in which the probes demanded by them had made no headway, the concillors said these included a case of September 21, 2001, in which the driver of a truck carrying cement had allegedly evaded octroi. The penalty for the offence came to Rs 63,000, which was reduced to Rs 6,300 by the council. Two tubewells sunk in Phase III A, and VII became non-functional within a year, but the council still paid the full dues to the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board which had sunk them. Two new vehicle chassis were bought by the council and sent to a Ludhiana firm for providing the bodies. However, the work was not done for around two years and the vehicles had rotted during that period.

They also alleged that Rs 27,000 worth of public money had been wasted on the visit of the Minister for Housing and Urban Development to the town on May 21, 2002. Apart from this vigilance officials had conducted a raid on the office of the council on August 26, 2002, in connection with a complaint of corruption. Later, in another case the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, had conducted a raid on the office and had seized records. However, in both cases the relevant inquiries had been closed.

Mr Kulwant Singh said certain councillors of the opposition group were in the habit of levelling allegations and they had been doing so for the past four and a half year. They were not paying any attention to development works in the town but always tried to create a hurdle in the way of development. Talking about inquiries that were allegedly got scuttled by the civic body, the president of the civic body said opposition councillors had been making false complaints and as such no action could be taken by authorities concerned.



Getting a taste of freedom
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, March 7
The Servants of the People Society, Sector 15, made the International Women’s Day special for some under privileged women by giving them a taste of freedom today.

As many as15 women from Maloya village, left the confines of their homes and went around Chandigarh for the first time today, courtesy, the Servants of the People Society. They visited the Rose Garden.

The society also organised a small programme for them at Rose Garden. Their visit was organised with the help of the State AIDS Control Society, Fun games were an additional attraction for them and prizes were given to the winners.

Most of themmost of were however, not able to read and write and had been confined to their homes for their life. Therefore it was not surprising that they found it impossible to transcend a distance of a few miles. But for the society’s gesture, they would still have been unaware of what a city like Chandigarh looked like.

However a chat with them revealed that they too had a dream to do better in life. and nurtured a desire to do something different in life and carve an independent existence. But the fear of going against the wishes of their husbands and traditional family set-up had been holding them back.

Reeta, a mother of four children, who was in the group, said “I wanted to have only two children but my mother-in-law and my husband’s desire for a male child led me to have more children. It is difficult to bear the expenses of four children. I want to work but my husband doesn’t want me to work I lack direction and I do not know what to do”.

But the awareness level is quite high in these women. Ask them about AIDS they have the complete knowledge.

“The need of the hour is to start observing men’s day so that they could be made aware and counselled. This would help in changing the mindsets of the male-oriented society”, said Sandeep Mittal, Coodinator of he society.



Women’s Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The International Women’s Day was celebrated by the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development at Panjab University here today.

Taking it as an occasion, not merely for celebration, but an opportunity to review the progress of women in the struggle for peace, equality and development, the Centre conceived it as an occasion to rededicate itself to the goal of women’s empowerment, which is still far from achieved.

Ms Madhvi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare, Chandigarh, the Chief Guest on the occasion urged upon the need to take action and not merely focus on policies and programmes.

She emphasised the need to initiate programme-based research which would actually lead to empowerment of women. Ms Parminder Kaur, Chairperson, Punjab State Commission for Women, stressed upon the need to actively work towards securing the rights and full potentials of women. Prof M.P.

Bhardwaj, former Chairperson, Department of Hindi, PU in his presidential address declared the basic cause of women’s oppression lay in the system and not in any individual. Earlier, Prof Aruna Goel, Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, welcoming the guests briefly traced the history of the International Women’s Day and the theme of women’s Empowerment.

A play by noted Punjabi Play writer and Director, S. Sursharan Singh ‘Begumo di Kudi’ and a poem recited by Ms Satbir Kuar were the highlights of the occasion.



What it mean to be woman in Pak
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
While the city plays host to the Pakistani cricket fans, the delight and wonderment of the Pakistani women is evident in their enchantment at being here. It is a happy coincidence that women from across the border are here to witness the celebrations of the International Women’s Day in the city.

What does it mean to be a woman in Pakistan and what is the significance of this day in their country? This is the question that comes to the mind as Pakistan has the dubious distinction of having some of the most discriminatory laws against women. In fact, the South Asian subcontinent is the least gender sensitive region in the world. It is the only region where the sex ratio is 105.7 men to every 100 women.

Significantly, these everyday women who are here to see India and a game of cricket, came out with some very meaningful answers. For Khalida, a housewife from Lahore, being a woman is a great feeling indeed as she says, “all life springs from a woman.”

Gulnaz Sadaf believes a woman denotes respect. She would like to see more equality for women in her country. She wants her daughter to study.

However, she advocates the burqa even though feminists in her country have raised a voice against the purdah. Gulnaz says, “We are from a Muslim country and this is what our woman looks like, covered.”

But the Pakistan of today is not really the burqa-clad woman we see in prototypical pictures of such states. The women’s rights movement in Pakistan is a strong, assertive definition of what the women of this region are attempting to achieve for themselves.

Nigar Ahmed, Executive Director of Aurat Foundation (a civil society committed to women’s empowerment in Pakistan) says there is a awareness spreading from cities, to district levels down to the local communities outside the urban areas where women are coming together to celebrate their own essence.

Women celebrate the International Women’s Day with melas, mushairas where women poets get together, cultural festivals and seminars, where various women and human rights groups and organisations come together to form joint action committees on ways to empower the women in their country.

Women across Pakistan commemorate February 12 as Pakistan Women’s Day in remembrance of the state’s brutality against women in Lahore in 1983 to protest against the Law of Evidence which reduces the status of a woman witness to half that of a male witness.

Despite the foreign origins of the International Women’s Day, women all over are fighting for equal opportunities to “realise” the equality that they deserve as equal citizens of the world, along with the men folk.

Nigar Ahmed has kept her faith high. “It is wonderful that I am a woman and I am getting the opportunity to do all the work I can for women in this country. If you cannot go somewhere because the law does not allow it, go where you can go and do what you can do there.”Back


Centre opening up space sector for FDI
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The government is opening up the space sector for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Spatial mapping of the country and satellite launches are among the areas to be covered under the scheme.

Stating this here today, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Ocean Development, Mr Kapil Sibal, said a meeting of the committee of secretaries in this regard had already taken place and the draft policy would be placed before the Cabinet soon.

He, however, denied to spell out the contents of the draft policy on the grounds that it was yet to be approved by the Cabinet.

With a string of successful space vehicle launches, India is already a global player in the space sector. FDI in this sector is expected to increase the inflow of funds and further boost space research and development as well as commercial activities. India is also in the international market for launching satellites for other countries. The minster said already several countries had tied up with India for satellite launches.

Mr Sibal said the major focus was on spatial mapping of the country where satellite imagery would be used to generate maps for diverse purposes. He said certain types of maps catering to general public interests as well as those for development or planning could be generated without having to physically survey the area concerned.

He said the government was also coming out with a bio-technology development policy. Stating that bio-technology is the new frontier of science which has immense potential, he said the new policy would focus on research, socio-economic development and the bio-tech industry. The policy would be available on the internet for broad dissemination, he added.

The government is also in the process of awarding a deemed university status to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous government body comprising 38 laboratories and research establishments. The move envisions awarding a common degree to research scholars in these establishments.

Stating that scientific activities have become multi-disciplinary, Mr Sibal added that synergy was required for integrating the industry with laboratories and universities with the government acting as a moderator.



MC yet to find contractor for streetlight maintenance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 7
The streetlight maintenance here is likely to deteriorate. With the contract for maintenance of 8400 light points in the township expiring on March 9, the Municipal Council is yet to find a new contractor.

The MC had asked the district administration to ask Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to maintain the streetlights, till the time they float new tenders and allot the contract. However, the latter refused on the pretext that they had neither any budget nor was there any policy for HUDA to take over interim maintenance of street lights.

The streetlight maintenance in the township has gone from bad to worse over the past couple of months. Most of the streetlight in the town remain defunct, and are rarely replaced. This had led to a lot of resentment among the residents and the district administration had ordered an inquiry into the episode.

The inquiry report submitted last month, pointed out that over the past one year, lakhs of rupees spent by the Council on maintenance of street lights had gone down the drain with defunct street lights being a norm rather than exception. The inquiry also said that the Council had by-passed all rules to allot the contract for street light maintenance last year. All payments to the street light contractor were then stopped, and the latter, too, stopped working.

With the one year contract end in two days, the administration today called a meeting of officials of Electrical wing of HUDA, and asked them to take over the maintenance work. The officials reportedly said that after HUDA had transferred the maintenance to MC in October 2003, they had no budgetary allocation for maintenance of street lights. They also said that it was the staff of Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) that they used to hire for maintenance work.

The administration later held meetings with the MC officials and asked them to find a solution for carrying out maintenance work within the next two days, so that the public does not suffer. 



India needs to attract more investments for industrial sector
Tribune News Service

Union Science and Technology Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal (left), Haryana Governor Dr A R Kidwai, Director-General CSIR, Dr R A Mashelkar,  and Ms Paula Tiihonen from Finland during a conference on science and technology in Chandigarh on Monday.
Union Science and Technology Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal (left), Haryana Governor Dr A R Kidwai, Director-General CSIR, Dr R A Mashelkar, and Ms Paula Tiihonen from Finland during a conference on science and technology in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 7
In the era of globalisation, activities to attract more investments in the industrial sector need to be increased. Stating this here today, Haryana Governor, Dr A R Kidwai, said while giant technological strides had been made by the country, several challenges remained.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of the three-day international conference on "Science and Technology : Future Challenges in the Context of Globalisation", organised at the Center for Research in Industrial and Rural Development here. Besides Indian experts, several delegates from UNESCO, Bangladesh, Finland, Germany, the United States, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China and Germany are attending the conference.

Stating that 98 per cent of pharmaceutical processes in the country are outsourced, the Governor stressed upon the need to strengthen indigenous research and development in this field. Pointing out that about 35 per cent of the automobile components produced in India were now exported, he added that there was more scope in this field.

Terming food security and health to be the major challenges in the coming years, Union Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Kapil Sibal said we must double our present agro-production by 2020 to sustain the population. Per capita production of food, he added, was declining.

He said we had to devise new technologies to meet challenges in the health sector as the developed countries would not invest to tackle diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, which were the diseases prevalent in the Third World countries. Calling for large investments in the bio-technology field to meet future requirements, Mr Sibal also stressed upon the need for using modern technology for development purposes. Depletion of fossil fuel reserves was another major issue.

Stating that the challenges are huge and cannot be met overnight, he said India was also willing to collaborate with other countries on various matters, but on equal terms. He added India now had the capability and the stature to set the agenda in this regard.

Delving upon the factors leading to development of indigenous technology, Director-General of the Council for Industrial Research and Development, Dr R A Mashelkar, said as a research and development platform, India had a responsibility to do good for the world. He said India needed to focus on intellectual capital power as it had a very low standing in this field.

An interactive session was also held where members of Parliaments from different countries and UNESCO shared their views and experiences on the role of technology in their respective countries.

Among them were Saifuddin Soz (India), Paula Tiihonen (Finland), Nurul Islam Moni (Bangladesh and Mustafa El-Tayed (UNESCO, Paris).

Discussions were also held on the topic of transfer of technology and innovation as a principal sources of growth in economy.



Tribune employees donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
More than 130 employees of The Tribune group of newspapers donated blood at a blood donation camp organised by The Tribune Employees Union on the eve of International Women's Day here today.

A team of doctors led by Dr Sabita Basu, Head of the Department of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, conducted the camp.

Inaugurating the camp, Prof R. P. Bambah, a Trustee of The Tribune Trust, praised the efforts of the union in organising the camp. He said blood donation was a noble gesture and by holding such camps, The Tribune had reiterated its commitment to social causes.

The Editor-in-Chief, Mr H. K. Dua, in his message lauded the efforts of the employees and The Tribune Employees Union in organising such camps.

Mr R.N. Gupta, General Manager of The Tribune, Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune, Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager, Mr Shingara Singh Bhullar, Editor, Punjabi Tribune, and Mr Naresh Kaushal, officiating Editor, Dainik Tribune also visited the camp.

Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, president of the union, said by holding the camp on the eve of International Women's Day, the union had expressed its solidarity with the cause of women who were still being discriminated against in various fields of life.

About 100 employees have donated blood on more than 10 occasions each. These include Mr Arun Kaushal (62 times), Mr Rajan Raikhy (36), Dr Renuka Nayyar (34), Mr Vinod Kumar (33), Mr Ashok Kumar and Mr Satinder Singh (28 times each), Mr Raj Kumar (25), Mr Dharamvir Sharma (23), Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Anil Kumar Gupta and Mr Tara Chand (22 times each) and Mr Prem Gorkhi and Mr Amarnath Vashisht, 20 times each.



Serving cops is their devotion
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 7
Service knows no barriers and religion no precincts. A group of less than 20 women at Sohana Singh Shahidan Gurdwara make thousands of chapattis every day for the 2000 policemen deployed at the PCA stadium on duty for the Indo-Pakistan cricket match.

The whole village has come to their aid to cook the food which include vegetables, dals and anything that the villagers can gather in enough quantity to serve.

“We are using over 20 kgs of pure ghee every day. Three quintals of flour and another 40 kg of rice are cooked for the police lunch,” explained Bhag Singh Sohana, the community kitchen in-charge.

The combined effort has the police bringing in the raw material and the Gurdwara folk cooking it. “We are doing this as seva. For us it is a service to God. The langar goes from here to the police, is an extension of our service to god,” said Mr Labh Singh, the president of the Sohana Committee that is running the gurdwara.

And has the gurdwara got any Pakistani visitors? “Not yet. But any one is welcome here. We would be serving them with folded hands like we do everyone else. But those who come to the gurdwara cannot leave without either having the tea or the lassi langar which is our best langar offers,” said Mr Bhag Singh pointing towards the motor-run lassi making machine.



Fauji Beat
Pension bill must be reduced

THE economic survey for 2004-05 has given a call to the government to bring down the ever increasing liability on the pension front. It says that the pension burden has increased sevenfold to Rs 15,367 crore in the past 13 years, whereas it was only Rs 2,138 crore in 1990-91.

That the pension burden will continue to increase cannot be denied. For, the government has to pay pensionary benefits to its retirees. With the age expectancy having gone up, pensions will pose a formidable financial problem to the government. Not that the other countries are not facing this problem, but they find ways to overcome it.

As for the armed forces, the easiest way to reduce the pension bill is to shift its manpower on retirement to other sectors. A bulk of it should be moved to the paramilitary forces to enable them to serve up to the age of 58 to 60 years. This will save the government their pension. At the same time, they will be serving in the paramiltary forces on half of their pay because 50 per cent of it they would have got as pension, if they had proeeded on retirement from the Army. This proposal has not found favour with the government so far. But the escalating pension bill will force the government to accept it one day.

Ex-servicemen of Chandigarh sore

In the sixties, a station headquarters was located at Chandigarh. Leaving a detachment here, it shifted to Chandimandir in the seventies, when 2 crops moved there. But now a sudden decision has been taken by the Army authorities to shift the Station Headquarters’ Detachment to Chandimandir.

The ex-servicemen, their dependents and widows from Chandigarh, Ropar and Mohali numbering over one lakh were depending on this detachment for liquor and ration cards and for getting hundreds of other documents countersigned. The move of this detachment to Chandimandir has made ex-servicemen from Chandigarh and surrounding areas bitter.

The Station Headquarters Detachment was in Chandigarh for a long time to cater to the requirements of ex-servicemen. The old and infirm ex-serviceman from for off areas will have to travel all the way to Chandimandir now. On the one hand, the polyclinic, which is located in Sector 11, Chandigarh, is being shifted to a southern sector for the convenience of the ex-servicemen who are in a larger number in that part of Chandigarh. On the other, the convenience of the ex-servicemen has been thrown to the winds by shifting the Station Headquarters Detachment from here. Rather than putting a large number of ex-servicemen to inconvenience, couldn’t the authorities place another clerk with the detachment temporarily to clear the work of Ex-servicemen Contributory.

Health Scheme (ECHS)?

“Don’t the decision-makers realise that they have also to retire one day to face the problems that they themselves are creating now” say most of the ex-servicemen ruefully.

Canteen smart card

Most of the CSD canteens have issued smart to the serving Army personnel, ex-servicemen and defence civilians. The network of the canteens in still in the process of automation. It is being given a trial in the smaller canteens. However, in the bigger canteens like the Headquarters Western Command Canteen, Chandimandir , and in its branch in Sector 21, Chandigarh, it will take some time to start the new system.

Once the system is made fully operative, and entitled person would then be able to draw his liquor and grocery quota from any unit canteen anywhere in the country. He cannot purchase more than what he is entitled to in a month because his purchases will be reflected on the network. With the introduction of smart card system, the misuse of canteen facilities will also come to an end.

Ghuznee Cup

This silver trophy weighing 3.6 kg. was presented to the Officers’ Mess of 2 Jat (Mooltan) Battalion by Lieut-Gen Dhunse rville in 1858, in the memory of soldiers who felt in action in Afghanistan.

Pritam Bhullar 



Brahma Kumaris celebrate Mahashivaratri
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 7
Materialistic lifestyle has ruined the inner strength of human beings and one must take a pledge to shun vices and imbibe virtues. These views were expressed by Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, at a Mahashivaratri function held by Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Visawa Vidyalaya here yesterday. Lauding the selfless services rendered by the Brahma Kumaris, Dr Harbans Lal, said that it helped to eliminate negativity in a person.

Earlier, in the day a peace procession was organised which passed through different phases of the town and a large number of persons took part in it.



Beggar clubbed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 7
A beggar was beaten to death by another beggar following a dispute over sleeping on public land here last night. According to the police, the beggar Venkat Shalam (45), had occupied a piece of land adjacent to the cycle track in Sector 21, near the Sector 20-21 dividing road. He had put up a makeshift structure.

The deceased, aged around 35 years, who is yet to be identified, reportedly came late night in a drunken state and asked Venkat to vacate the space for him. An altercation between the two ensued in which Venkat seized a brick and clubbed him to death.



Car, 3 scooters stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 7
A car and three scooters were stolen from the city, the police said here today. Mr Sarbjit Singh of Rani Ka Bagh in Amritsar district reported to the police that his Maruti Zen car was stolen from Sector 22 during the night of March 4. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

In another incident, Mr Arun P. Singh of Sector 21 filed a complaint that his Kinetic Honda scooter was stolen froma market in Sector 36, yesterday.

Mr Madan Lal Gupta of Sector 21-D reported to the police that his scooter was stolen from market in Sector 18, yesterday. A case has been registered .

In a similar incident, Mr Ram Singh of Khudda Lahora village reported to the police that his scooter was stolen from market in Sector 15, yesterday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 11 police station.

Mobile Phone stolen

Mr Sanjiv Kumar of Sector 31 reported to the police that his mobile phone was stolen from his car parked at his residence yesterday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 31 police station.

One injured

Mr Samanjeet Singh of Sector 47 filed a complaint to the police that a motorcyclist hit him near Sukhna Bridge, near Daria village, yesterday. He was injured in the accident and was admitted to the GMCh-32. A case has been registered against the motorcyclist, Varun Rana of Sector 45 under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC in the Industrial Area police station.

Held for gambling

The local police has arrested Sanjiv Kumar of Daddu Majra Colony from out side his residence for gambling at public place, yesterday. The police recovered Rs 365 from his possession and booked him under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act in the Sector 39 police station.

Liquor seized

The local police has arrested Kishore Kumar of Palsora village and seized five bottles of whisky from Sector 56, yesterday. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.



Theft at medicine shop

Panchkula, March 7
Burglars struck at a showroom an agency of ayurvedic medicines in Railley village in Sector 12-A and decamped with boxes of medicines and other goods worth lakhs of rupees, on Monday morning.

The burglars entered the showroom after breaking open the locks of the shutters. They took away boxes containing costly medicines.

A police party from Sector 19 police station reached the spot and restrained onlooker from entering the showroom as they had found some finger prints on the walls and the railings inside.

The police also called a team of forensic experts and a dog squad to get clues in the case. OC


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