C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


United colours of a passion — cricket
‘Them’ become ‘us’ at Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Emotions of Friendship, love, and brotherhood between traditional rivals ruled the first day of the test series between India and Pakistan, both inside and outside the stadium. Professing a lasting relationship strengthened with emotional bonding, Indians and Pakistanis took the bilateral ties between the two nations a step ahead, using cricket as an anchor. There were cricket players inside the stadium and cricket fans inside and outside, in almost every place in the city and its periphery.

Today too, like yesterday, was full of excitement. While many Indians and their Pakistani guests chilled it out on beer inside the stadium, there were hosts and guests who braved the heat and took their ‘Pakistani kin’ for a boat ride at Sukhna Lake, an Indian movie shopping in Sectors 22 and 17.

Everyone even remotely connected with cricket was doing his best to boost the Indo-Pak festivities. Radio Buzz, a local radio station is celebrating the Indo-Pak friendship week. For the entire week the radio team would be doing the rounds of the city and recording the requests of the Pakistani guests. According to the Director of the Radio programme, Hardip Chandpuri, “the entire effort is being done, to welcome our friends from across the border. We have been requested by elderly people and also the guests from Pakistan. Punjabi songs have been specially sourced from Canada and will be played for the first time in Chandigarh”.

Hundreds of events in the city during the past two days reflect the camaraderie between the people. A Pakistani fan brought a giant kite with flags of the two countries printed on it and flew the same across the PCA stadium in Mohali. “Only to be confiscated by the police and torn as it was causing an obstacle in the match. But the tearing of the kite should not be taken to be symbolic or a bad omen, the thaw in relations is here to stay”, commented Mr Sant Singh of Mohali, who volunteered to escort the Pakistanis.

While, Pakistani’s are on a splurging spree, the Indian ‘entrepreneurs’ are living by the maxim, ‘never let go a good opportunity’, with many of them descending on the PCA venue with national flags priced from Rs 5 to Rs 200. Tattoos of the Indian tricolour and the Pakistani national flag can be got made on the face for a mere Rs 10.

The scene is not limited to in and around the PCA stadium only. There are several families hosting Pakistani’s in Mohali and Chandigarh. Now even families from Panchkula have come forward to be a part of the celebrations. Mr Sajjad Shah from Lahore is overwhelmed at the hospitality of his Indian host, Mr S P Bakshi. They had initially planned to stay at a hotel in Chandigarh, but a chance meeting with Mr Bakshi’s son, Arun, in Chandigarh, and the latter’s proposal that they stay with the Bakshis forced them to shift to the Bakshi house in Panchkula’s Sector 10.

Their host, Mr S.P. Bakhshi says that he had applied to the authorities that he wanted to host a family from Pakistan, because before Partition he was from Gujarat city in Pakistan. Other than the Shah’s, Mr Shah Rukh Khan, a former Vice Captain of Pakistan’s Hockey team, is also staying with the Bakshis here.



Sharmila lost, and found
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
In the Punjab Cricket Association stadium here a few friends were discussing cricket when suddenly bollywood actress of yesteryears Sharmila Tagore appeared and asked “Where was I sitting?”

Dressed in a crisp blue, the lady had lost way in the maze of dark glassed cabins on the second floor at the PCA pavilion and was looking for her “Tiger”. Her husband Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, aka Tiger Pataudi was sitting in one of the cabins and Sharmila probably forgot the cabin. The couple was guests of the PCA for the first India Pakistan Cricket match which started today.

Watching the actress with dimpled smile which made millions drool in movies like “An Evening in Paris” and hit “Aradhana,” this reported blurted out a question. She smiled but did not replied probably she was anxious to find her cabin. Within a blink photographers went wild, clicking. The lady again asked very softly “where is the cabin.” A young man standing nearby pointed to a cabin and said “Madam that side.”

By then a PCA official had arrived and he escorted the lady to her cabin. While walking to cabin Sharmila replied to this reporter’s question. “Cricket will bind the people of the two countries. This is not just a game it will help people to come together. We can play more often”, she said. A small-crowd kept following her. A dark glassed cabin opened and the lady walked in. There was her “Tiger” watching cricket.



Cricket match: who will pay for security?
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) and the Punjab police seem to be heading for conflict on who will pay for the security by the Punjab police inside and outside the stadium.

There are 2000 policemen from all over the state on security for the match and logistics.

SSP Ropar, S.P. Singh said the PCA has turned down a proposal of the police asking the Association to pay for the security arrangements. “We had asked for Rs 7.40 lakh for expenses. This proposal was sent to the PCA but was very turned down,” he said.

PCA President, I.S. Bindra denies having even seen any such proposal. “I have been busy with the match. But we and the police are working in coordination. When such proposal comes to me, we will decide the issue. There is no question of turning down the proposal,” he said. “Moreover it was not just a cricket match.

The show had been organised for a larger endeavour to help people of India and Pakistan to come closure, he added.

Confirming that a proposal security money was sent to the PCA, Mr Parag Jain, DIG Ludhiana range and in charge of the security arrangements said the organisation of the cricket match was a commercial activity and the PCA was earning money from it.

“It is simple logic that if the state police is deployed to facilitate a commercial activity, the police would have to be paid by the organiser of the commercial activity.

And we had asked to be paid only for the incidental expenses of food for the force and the equipment used etc. The Punjab government is going to pay for the travelling allowances etc.,” said Mr Jain.

Mr S.P. Singh added initially proposal of Rs 20 lakh was sent to the PCA. We reduced it to Rs 7.40 lakh, at the rate of Rs 30 per policeman per day. But we were refused. Today I arranged for Rs 2 lakh to be paid for the packed lunch that would be distributed to my men by a local sweet shop,” he said.

The policemen on duty too feel the pinch. “Forget what we deserve by way of food and water. By the end of the five-day duty, every constable posted here would have spent at least Rs 500 from his own pocket to help PCA earn its Rs 5 crore,” said a constable.



Poor occupancy in hotels
Guests go for budget accommodation
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Several city hotels which had cancelled corporate bookings to host Pakistani visitors have been incurring heavy losses as most of them have gone elusive.

A large number of young Pakistani guests last night went for drinks and to dance on the DJ tunes in hotels. They danced on the floor on pop and Punjabi songs till late in the night. The nightout places like Aroma and Mountview saw many Pakistani guests.

The occupancy in the hotels is between 50 and 60 per cent which is only normal. This is despite a mega cricket event being held in the city and around 3,000 Pakistanis coming to the city, the Hotel Association general secretary, Mr Ashok Bansal, told The Tribune here today.

The hotels, which had offered discounts and special packages for Pakistani guests, have been left high and dry following the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) offering a package of accommodation along with tickets.

The city which has around 3,000 star room bed category capacity also had to face competition from the budget accommodations available in the bhavans and guest houses.

The PCA had sent 7,500 tickets to Pakistan but half of them came back unsold. The sources said it was expected that hotels of the city, Panchkula, Mohali and Zirakpur were expected to be full if around 7,500 people had come from Pakistan. With this expectation, the hoteliers had cancelled bookings of seminars and corporate meetings.

The hotels also had to face competition from the private guest accommodation offered by a large number of the people in the city and surrounding areas.

Budget accommodation, which is estimated to be around 2,000 beds in the city in the dharamshalas and bhavans, attracted a great response. One can get dormitory accommodation in Kisan Bhavan, Parkview, Himachal Bhavan, Jat Bhavan and Khukhrain Bhawan for not more than Rs 50. These places became favourites for Pakistani guests who were more interested in shopping, fun and frolic in the city than the cricket match.

A Pakistani guest told The Tribune that living in a budget accommodation was better as the money saved be spent on enjoyment and shopping.

Pakistanis who have gone to hotels are those whose rooms were either booked by the PCA or the media and corporate houses. There are many hotels which did not get a single Pakistani guest.



Razzaq repays debt
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Aiysha Raza, wife of Pakistani cricketer Abdul Razaq (extreme left), and Taniya Youhana, wife of Yousuf Yohana (extreme right), with their family friends Dr. Ravi Gupta of Government Medical College at their residence on Tuesday.

Chandigarh, March 8
The ace Pakistani all-rounder Abdul Razzaq had been waiting for seven years to repay his debt to a local doctor who had operated upon him in 1997 when the player injured his leg in a match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Mohali.

Dr Ravi Gupta, an orthpaedician in the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), was surprised when Razzaq called him up asking about his family. Dr Gupta immediately went to visit the all-rounder at Mountview. The player told his wife Aisha that Dr Gupta had operated upon his leg and took care for seven days in 1997. Dr Gupta invited Razzaq to come home. Razzaq today sent his wife, nine-month-old son Fahad Ali and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Ammna to Dr Gupta’s house in the GMCH complex in the morning before going for match.

So enamoured was Razzaq with Dr Gupta that he also advised Pakistani Vice Captain Yousuf Youhana’s wife Tania and his children Damyan and Anika to go to Dr. Gupta’s house. Dr Varsha Gupta, the wife of Dr Ravi Gupta, was proud to be their host.



Counters set up for guests from Pak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The Sector 17 market is wearing a festive look these days. Different counters have been set up by the Municipal Corporation and the Traders Association, Sector 17, in order to help the guests from Pakistan.

The counter set up by the Traders Association provided help to the guests regarding their plans for shopping and sightseeing.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, inaugurated an exhibition of creations of Mr Nek Chand.

Mr Jagdish Paul Singh Kalra, general secretary of the association, said a special cultural programme will be organised in the evening for the guests. Shops, too, are offering discounts for the guests from across the borders. 



Police extends visas of 12 Pak guests
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
Pakistani visitors to Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula now can travel up to Delhi and Ajmer.

SSP Ropar, S.P. Singh today issued visas to the Pakistani visitors who wanted to go beyond these cites. “We have issued visas to 12 Pakistani nationals. These include a few visas to Delhi and also Ajmer.

Pakistani visitors who visited the SSP’s camp office at the PCA stadium said for them it was dream come true. “Both governments should encourage free movement of people across the border,” said Mohammaad Ishfaq, a Pakistani visitor. 



Cops at PCA stadium go without water
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 8
The 2000 police personnel on guard duty outside the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium here today went without water for over 7 hours. The men were called for duty at 6 am in the morning and till lunch time at 1 pm, no arrangements were in place for water for these policemen.

While those on duty near the market places next to the stadium’s front made frequent trips to the shops and stalls for water, but those who were on duty behind the stadium had to request the houses nearby for drinking water.

However, a van serving water and tea arrived with lunch but for the policemen on duty it was too late and too little. Stating that the food and water arrangements for the police are being streamlined further, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, SP, Mohali, said drinking water tankers would be in place at the various places around the stadium tomorrow.

The policemen on duty also complained that they end up doing duty for over 12 hours each day but food and water are never provided on time. “Today we got food at 3pm, simply because it was being distributed at one point for the 2000 men,” the SP, Mohali, said, adding that the system of distribution of packed food was being changed from tomorrow. “The food would now be given out by the unit in charge.

This would ensure that eight persons would be giving food to their unit members,” he said.



Sight-seeing, not match, interests visitors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Even as the Pakistan cricketers had a tough time against the Indians at the PCA Stadium in Mohali today, a large number of young visitors had a gala time outside the stadium.

With match not on their priority list, the visitors preferred to visit the places of tourist interest in the city and a majority of them showed up at the match only at the fag end of it. And top to it all most of them did not keep themselves updated on the latest score.

“I am here to visit India and have fun and the match can wait’, said Malik Rowan Hussein (22), a student from Lahore. The match did not excite Hussain and his friends, who went on leisurely strolls at many local places, including the Sukhna Lake, the Rock Garden and Sector 17.

On his first visit to India, Hussain said it was his dream to visit India and normally getting a visa was problem. However, the match had provided him a perfect opportunity to visit and meet his Indian brethren.

And the hospitality and warmth extended by the Indians had bowled them over. Garment merchant Tanzil-ul-Rahman, said he would remember the visit for the rest of his life. The climax of the five-day match reaches only in the last two days and till then we can have great time outside the stadium by visiting various places, Tanzil added.

With city residents like, Mr Suresh Sharma, Managing Director of a firm, playing perfect hosts, the visitors planned to visit the nearby tourist spots such as the Fun City and the Yadavindra Garden, Pinjore, in the next couple of days.

Mohali: Nokhaij Rana, the eight-year-old Pakistani girl bridged gap between the India and Pakistan border by comparing Islamabad and Chandigarh. She said “both the cities were alike, the only difference being that everything is written in Hindi or English while Urdu was used in Islamabad”.

She was watching the game with interest but did not want to side with any team.

About what she and her friends like she said, “Sachin Tendulkar” and “Kasauti Zindagi Ke”, a popular Indian serial. Her parents, Rana Araf Hussain and Yasmeen Rana are moved by the love and respect, received from Indians, contrary to what they have been projected in some Indian movies like ‘December 16’ and ‘The Hero’.

Pakistani fans did not turn up to stadium in much number as was expected as mostly guests were away for shopping and sightseeing.

Fazal Karim, Ghulam Ali and Shahid Khan were carrying their national flag and made two rounds of the Mohali stadium exchanging pleasanteries with the Indians.

Many people were seen with flags of both countries on their cheeks as well as carrying these in their hands. Indians clapped on the good shots hit by Pakistani batsmen and the Pakistani visitors cheered the Indian players on displaying good fielding. ‘Bum-Bum Bhole’ , ‘Hindustan- Pakistan jindabad’, ‘Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal’ and ‘Allah hu Akbar’ reverberated in the stadium. For cricket fans, the eating provisions were made by a food joint on nominal rates inside the premises of Punjab Cricket Association stadium. They were also distributing T-shirts to the Pakistanis.

However, Pakistani enthusiasts won the hearts of Punjab police with their good behaviour and the police personnel were also seen helping the visitors. 



Celebrity status giving Pakistanis tough time
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Their crossover from Wagah gave them a high. A welcome exuding Indian warmth, red carpets rolled out wherever they went, the Pakistani nationals couldn’t have asked for more and thus began their Indian dream. After all, camarderie was all the Indo-Pak cricket series was about. That, of course, is history.

The story follows and it begins and ends with all the hype in the media about Pakistanis visiting the city in such large never-before numbers. The moment they set foot in the city, overtaken by Pakistan and cricket frenzy, they are suddenly “being targeted”, everywhere and anywhere they go.

Going gaga since the time of their arrival, a couple of days back, the Pakistanis haven’t had a moment’s privacy, be it guest houses, markets or their place of stay. And, the media, print and electronic, is wholly to blame.

Practically from all over the country, the surging numbers of mediapersons on the lookout for “exclusive” opinions which will strike a chord, ring a bell and touch the heart, are giving the Pakistanis a tough time.

From big players like Zee, Aaj Tak to Punjab-based ETV, magazines like Outlook, India Today, to eveningers, they have besieged the city and are on the lookout for Pathani suits. Celebrity status, it seems, has been thrust on the Pakistanis and most of them claim they are not too comfortable under the spotlight.

Say Zulfikar, a student running an STD booth back home and his relative Mithan, “we have been interviewed a thousand times over. All of them want to know how it feels to be in India. We are, now, falling short of words to express ourselves. Of course, we are ecstatic just being in India but we don’t need to go on air to express our happiness. Initially, I was elated at being interviewed but the charm is wearing off,” he said.

However, there are others who are basking in the glory of their new-found status. Being a Pakistani has never earned them so much love and they are enjoying every bit of it. Rao Mohd. Ashraf, a property dealer, is loving all the attention he is getting as are his friends. “We did expect a friendly reception but all this is overwhelming. It is as if we are the heroes in our own right, a part of Inzy’s team and yet different,” he said. 



‘Pak guests’ pockets picked’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
Though the first day of the Indo-Pak Test match remained peaceful, complaints of pick pocketing were received.

It is learnt that a large number of complaints were received at the control room. Many of the complainants were reported to be from Pakistanis who had said that their pockets had been picked at entry gates to the stadium.

However, SP Rakesh Agrawal, said that small incidents do take place when a match of such a magnitude was organised. He maintained he had not received any complaint of this kind.



Youth dies as car catches fire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
A youth was killed when a car being run on LPG caught fire here late last night.

According to the police, Gurmeet Singh (22), was returning to his home in Phase XI in his Maruti car, when the vehicle caught fire due to leakage of LPG from the cylinder near the City Park around 1 a.m. The windows of the car were reported to be rolled up. As the pressure of the gases released due to flames increased in the vehicle, glass panes got shattered.

Nearby residents rushed on hearing the blast — like sound and saw the youth trapped in the vehicle calling for help. The police and fire brigade were informed about the incident by a resident.

The victim could not come out of the vehicle and suffered serious burn injuries. By the time the fire brigade reached the scene, the victim appeared to have died. He was taken to local Civil Hospital by the police where he was declared dead. According to fire brigade officials, the gas was still leaking in the badly damaged car when the fire engine reached.

A post-mortem examination was conducted at the hospital today.



Women’s Day celebrations
Hopes, concerns dominate discussions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Prevention of HIV/AIDS among women is a major challenge being faced by India. The National Sentinel Surveillance which regularly monitors trends in the area further confirms that the “viral load” in the country is increasing, which implies HIV/AIDS is spreading to low-risk behaviour population. If UNAIDS is to be believed, 64 per cent of the infected population in developing countries comes from the age group of 15 to 24.

Chandigarh is no exception to the trend and though the UT State AIDS Control Society is covering high-risk mapped areas in the city, its new challenge is the low-risk strata. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the society, along with the Director Social Welfare Office, UT, took stock of the situation and shared hopes and concerns regarding women and HIV/AIDS at a function held at Tagore Theatre.

Also present was Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, who stressed on collective action to make Chandigarh a genuinely unique place for women from all social sections.

As of now, the society is running 12 target intervention projects in high-risk sites. Being run with help from the voluntary sector, these projects are yielding positive results insofar as generating mass awareness about AIDS pandemic is concerned.

However, when seen in context with women, the problem is grave as 36 per cent of the total infected population of the city (198 infections reported) are women. There are 40 full-blown HIV/AIDS cases in Chandigarh.

Speaking to The Tribune about the challenges of the AIDS Control Society, Saryu, an adviser to the society headed by Dr N.M. Sharma, said: “Our objective is the provision of anti-retro viral drugs to the infected population. In this category we prefer those who have opted for the Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission programme. This is done because the availability of drugs is limited.”

Besides managing phenomenal intervention in the city, the society has broken some fresh grounds to create awareness about the menace. A heartening aspect of the movement is an increasing participation of women — both infected and otherwise.

Interestingly, most NGOs handling HIV/AIDS projects in Chandigarh are being led by women. Present in full strength at Tagore Theatre to celebrate their progress towards complete awareness of HIV/AIDS, some women shared their experiences on the condition of anonymity. An HIV infected woman said: “Although social stigma remains, families are accepting us with open arms. This inspires our fight for dignity.”

While the infected women continue to strive for better living, the society is taking AIDS-related information to the common man. It also runs an AIDS programme in which awareness is imparted in all 117 secondary and senior secondary schools in the city. There are collaborations with the CII for covering industrial workers and with the Adult Education Department for covering women in slums.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Field Publicity in collaboration with the Punjab Istri Sabha also observed the day.

Women activists took out a march from the Red Cross headquarters to Gandhi Samarak Bhavan in Sector 16. A two-hour rally was organised at Gandhi bhavan.

While addressing the rally, G.S. Sra, Field Publicity Officer of the Government of India, cautioned the women against increased violence.

The Citizens Awareness Group in collaboration with the State AIDS Control Society organised an AIDS awareness generation camp for beauticians at Government Primary School, Bapu Dham colony.

Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Deputy Mayor, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, was the chief guest.

Mr Surinder Verma, chairman of the awareness group, said the objective of the camp was to generate awareness among beauticians.

A function was also organised by the women’s cell of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation to celebrate the day. Ms Poonam Singh, Editor, Preet Lari, called for pro-active role of women in national construction and world peace. She stressed that a concept of `Ardhnarishma’ has to be rediscovered implying unity as the essence of life which is possible only through equality of status.

To salute womanhood, International Women’s Day was celebrated by the Max New York Life Insurance Company today where 300 people, including employees and agents attended the function. The show started with a lemon race. Besides recounting the accomplishments of women employees, speakers shared feelings on the occasion.

Zulfiqar Khan, Kamaljit Dhillon and child artiste Naqsh presented dramatisations of true life stories of HIV/AIDS-infected people at Tagore Theatre today. Concealing their identity, the artistes demanded psychological support for the infected. Heartfelt verses touching the lives of AIDS infected were recited by Parminder Kaur, a Dev Samaj College student. Jasbir Kaur, a volunteer, presented a woman-centric poem written by Sukhwinder Amrit.



‘With family’s support women can achieve highest potential’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
But for the support of her family, she would not have been the first Indian women to spend 16 months in the ‘wilderness of ice and glaciers on the edge of the world’. With family’s support and her determination she spent long winter in Antarctica where temperatures dipped to minus 80 degree celsius and icy winds with 350 km speed an hour.

It was in August 1999, for this “first and the only Indian woman to be a part of an Antarctica winter expedition’. “Women have it in them and what they need is a little family support to achieve the impossible,” says Dr (Mrs) Kanwal Vilku, who returned in 2001 after making history.

“I would have been like many other women today, but for my determination to achieve something. I got full support from my children and husband, who were very encouraging after I took a decision. On the eve of Women’s Day, I want to tell others that women can perform great feats if they are determined and have family support,” says Dr Vilku.

Recalling how even her team mates did not take her initially, she said “they had even booked my return ticket because they thought I will not be able to stay at Antarctica beyond a few days. I was determined to prove myself. I did. Now my colleagues at work and my relatives at home relate with me differently — they are proud of my achievement more than me”.

Being a doctor, I had faced several challenges in life, besides that I married a Signal’s officer in the Army (Lt Col Karamjit Singh) and postings in several tough areas had inculcated the spirit of adventure in me, she recalls. I made up my mind the moment a dispensary clerk showed me an advertisement seeking volunteers for the 19th Indian Antarctica Scientific Expedition.

Dr Vilku prepared mentally. “I was responsible for the health of 23 others and my task included taking care of all kind of emergencies including performing surgery, acting as a radiologist, nurse, neurologist, physiotherapist at the same time. The team was a little reluctant to open up to me, but as I used my charm as a cook and won them over. Their attitude changed towards me and we were all professionals doing the same job by rotation.”

For nine months, it is pitch dark and nothing can move out of Antarctica nor is it approachable by ship or air. During her stay there the satellite communication too broke down after a month. It was sheer grit that saw the team through the 16 months of harsh weather.

Dr Vilku has only one advice for women, “You have potential. With family’s support, you can achieve the most arduous task. And when you do it people’s attitude towards you changes. Life for women who achieve distinction changes”.



Women should be involved in decision-making
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
The thinking process needs to undergo a change to bring women on a par with men in the social-political and economic spheres. Women will be able to get justice only if social reforms take place.

These views were expressed by various speakers at a seminar organised by Women’s Dramatic Front in connection with International Women’s Day at the Punjab School Education Board here today.

Ms Shashi Bala, president of a women’s organisation from Jammu and Kashmir, said the women would have to get rid of shortcomings and prove their worth at various levels. Awareness had to be created in this regard.

Ms Rekha Punia, a representative of the front, said the issue of women’s rights was not just related to women but to a stable society. As such women should be made to play a crucial role in decision-making at various levels.

General secretary of the Women Employees Coordination Committee, Punjab, Ms Amarjit Kaur said that women should be aware of their rights and should not succumb to pressures from various fronts.



Passing Thru
Do you watch every cricket match that your husband plays ?

NOT every match but I love and prefer to watch the matches in which Virender is in form and expected to do well. He is the finest batsman and also in good form these days. In fact it is feast to the eyes of every cricket fan when he plays shots in style.

Is this your first visit to the City Beautiful ?

No, this is not my first visit to this city, I have come here earlier and it being a beautiful and peaceful city I love to be here again and again.

What would you prefer to do here? Would you like to watch the cricket match between India and Pakistan or go for shopping ?

To see the match would be my priority but I would also like to go for shopping as well as sight seeing whenever I get time. Rather I am asking my friends about various places that are worth a visit. Let me see how I manage the time between watching cricket and exploring Chandigarh.

Have you asked Sehwag about his plans for the forthcoming match?

No, it’s better if you asked this to Veeru himself.

— Akash Ghai



Rodrigues stresses use of IT to promote industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Calling for a structured policy to promote science and technology in the state, the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), stressed upon the use of information technology for the promotion of industry in the state.

He was speaking at an international conference on “Science and Technology Policy: Future Challenges in the Context of Globalisation”, being organised at the Centre for Research in Industrial and Rural Development here.

The Governor said the policy should aim to promote the manufacturing industry in Punjab and also strive to upgrade the obsolete small-scale industry in the state. General Rodrigues also advocated spread of greater awareness about information technology and its dissemination to rural areas so that all levels of society could be benefited by it.

Former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik spoke on India’s stability and security for science and technology investment where he covered the broad aspect of technology and its application in national development.

Several technical sessions were also organised in which experts discussed management and organisation for research and development, policy issues concerning drugs and pharmaceutical issues, herbal drugs and pharmaceutical development in India and science and technology policies as applicable to different countries.

Several experts from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China and the United States also took part in the discussions.



Missing man’s family alleges police indifference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The family of a senior Audit Officer, Ram Das Lohia, who has been missing since February 26 from Mohali, has alleged that a Punjab Police constable at Ghanauli police post, Ropar, had not taken timely action in the case.

Lohia was last seen in an inebriated state by a constable on the evening of February 26 near a roadside dhaba in Ghanauli. The shop owners concerned had requested the policeman to escort the audit officer to his home. But the constable had preferred to leave the man on the roadside.

On February 27, a the shirt and jacket of the audit officer was found in the same area. The items along with some documents were handed over the police. After keeping the belongings with him for over four days, the policemen at the Ghanauli police post came to the residence of the audit officer in Phase V here. “The policemen approached the family only after the Mohali police flashed the posters of the missing audit officer”, said Mr Bhupinder Singh, a family friend.

“Had the police acted in time, we would have been with our father, said Naveen Kumar, son of the audit officer.

The police has not been able to ascertain as to how Lohia had reached at Ghanauli, near the Ropar Thermal Plant. He had gone for evening walk to Bougainvillaea Garden in Phase 4.



AIDS Control Society staff hold dharna

Chandigarh, March 8
Staff of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society today organised a dharna to protest against the non-removal of Dr G.S. Chahal, their Director, for his alleged involvement in the incidents of molestation.

Staff of the society has forwarded representations in this regard to almost all authorities concerned — from the Health Minister, Punjab and the Secretary, Health Punjab to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the state Women’s Commission and the Director -General, National AIDS Control Organisation. TNS



She lends dignity to dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Stepping into the male bastion Amarjit Kaur Dhillon, 49 has taken up the task of lending dignity to the patients, who die in the obscure corridors of the PGI by cremating them.

Good work needs no bindings, she says and insists that her being a woman should not be any hindrance in lighting the pyres patients at the PGI who had no relatives to perform the last rites.

“I feel women should not believe in the taboos, which have no relevance in today’s world,” says Dhillon, who is devoted to the service of the needy and destitute patients at the PGI for the last five years.

When asked if her experiences in performing the acts that have always been considered a man’s birthright Dhillon forwards the explanation “Why people forget that the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh had ordered Bibi Sharanjit Kaur to cremate warriors of the battle of Chamkaur, including his two sons?”

Serious about her job she also keeps four shrouds ready with her always in case the need arises.

A familiar face in the hospital, she is so engrossed in her work that many mistake her to be among regular staff members at the PGI. Doctors and nurses also approach her for help.

Apart from cremating the unclaimed dead Amarjit also raises money for the poor and helps in getting poor girls married. Last year that she was given an ambulance van by the Guru Granth Sahib Seva Society for helping the patients.

She has initiated talks with Chairman of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation to improve the condition of the mortuaries in Punjab. “There are virtually no mortuaries in the entire state.

The mortuaries need adequate number of boxes and coolers. I will take up the upkeep of the mortuaries in Punjab in a big way now,” she says.

Though preferring to be single, Dhillion feels for the plight of widows in society and feel piqued by the neglect of senior citizens in the city.

Now a renowned social activist in the region, Dhillon says she is rather obeying God’s orders. “You cannot force yourself to perform any work. It’s the Divine powers which wants me to help the people in this way,” she sums up.



Shiva devotees throng temples
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 8
The festival of Mahashivratri, observed to celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati, was celebrated with religious fervour here today.

Lakhs of devotees paid obeisance at the old Shiv mandir in Saketri village. This Shiva temple is one of the oldest in the region. Devotees began arriving at the temple midnight onwards to offer milk and fruit to the deity.

They had come from different parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and the darshan began in the wee hours of the morning.

The queue of devotees was several kilometres long and people had to wait for at least four hours, in order to reach the temple and offer prayers. The devotees offered a mixture of water, honey and milk on the Shivalingam. Fruits like berries and bananas were distributed as prasad.

The local police had made elaborate arrangements to ensure that law and order was maintained. Around 150 policemen were deployed on special duty here. Traffic cops were also deployed to manage the traffic.

Devotees also thronged Shiva temples in Sectors 8, 9, 17 and 16. Right from the early hours of the morning, the devotees were standing outside these temples in order to pay obeisance. The crowds showed no signs of thinning outside the Pracheen Shiv Mandir in Sector 9 till afternoon.



Mahashivratri celebrated

Chandigarh, March 8
Devotees celebrated Mahashivratri by observing fast and offering flowers, sweets and fruits at city temples today. Long queue were seen in most of the city temples.

Pracheen Shiv Mandir in Sector 14 Panjab University was dedicated to the public after renovation. ‘Mahashivratri’ was celebrated at Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidalaya, Sector 21 today. Students and other prominent personalities from the city took part in the celebrations.



Readers write
Draw of HUDA plots

HUDA invited applications for the allotment of various plots in Sectors 2 and 6, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula. The scheme closed on April 30, 2004.Funds worth hundred of crores were collected by HUDA as earnest money about 10 months ago. However, HUDA is not holding draw of lots on the pretext that the issue is under litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It seems that HUDA is earning huge interest out of the earnest money at the cost of public. Under such circumstances HUDA should refund the entire amount along with interest earned to the applicants. HUDA can hold the draw whenever it gets clearance from the court on the basis of particulars submitted by the applicants and 25 per cent of the cost of the plot an be demanded later on. By this act, the applicants will feel relived and their faith in HUDA will get restored.

K.K.Garg, D.R.Sharma, B.S.Chauhan Panchkula

HUDA earning interest

HUDA invited applications for the allotment of plots in Sector-18, Jagadhri, on February 12, 2004. The scheme closed on April 30, 2004. It is evident from newspaper reports that HUDA collected crores of rupees as the earnest money and is earning huge interest out of it at the cost of public. It has not assigned any reason for not holding the draw. HUDA should either hold draw of lots or refund the money along with interest.

Pankaj Chauhan, Chandigarh

Concern for Corbusier’s work

Mr Jean-Piere Duport, president, Foundation Le Corbusier, had expressed concern over the poor upkeep of some of the Corbusier’s architectural creations in Chandigarh (The Chandigarh Tribune, March 2). We appreciate Duport’s concern but he should take home the massage that culture of other societies and civilizations should also be preserved and protected. The Khalsa panth of Guru Gobind Singh is a living architectural symbol no less important than Corbusier’s tapestries. For Muslims turban is desirable but for Sikhs it is indespensible. The French Government by following a narrow and reprehensible definition of secularism has banned the turban in schools. Such an approach is inconsistent with all post-positivist philosophies fro which the French are admired.

Prof Bhupinder Singh, Patiala

Cattle menace

Once when I was driving my scooter I saw two cows standing calm and quiet in my street. But I could not judge how one of them turned violent and struck its head against my scooter while I was crossing them. I fell on the ground and the collar bone got fractured but my head was saved since I was wearing turban. For full two months I had to go through the trauma of remaining out of job. Kindly let me know where I should go to claim losses suffered by me.

G.S.Madan, Patiala



8 held for assaulting Kajheri resident
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 8
The local police has arrested eight persons accused of assaulting a resident of Kajheri village, last night.

According to the police, the dispute started over an issue of a common wall. Mr Upinder Singh, the complainant alleged that Inderjit, Ramanjit, Darshan, Surjit and other accomplices - all residents of the same village - assaulted him with sticks and batons. The complainant has a dispute over a common wall with the accused. He suffered head injuries in the attack and was later admitted to the General Hospital. The police said his condition is stated to be out of danger.

A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 36 police station.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Peter of Sector 20-B reported to the police that his Scorpio jeep (CH-23-T-0284) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of March 6. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 19 police station.

In a similar incident, Mr Inderpal of Sector 37-D reported to the police that his Enfield Bullet motorcycle (PB-10-BC-1459) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of March 6. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.

Pick-pocket arrested

A woman, Babita, resident of Bapu Dham Colony was arrested for pick-pocketing from the OPD of the General Hospital in Sector 16, yesterday. Mr Varinder Singh caught the accused red-handed while she was attempting to pick his pocket. He reported the matter to the police. A case under Sections 379 and 511 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

Arrested for stealing

Mr Amrit Lal, officer of Malaria Store in Sector 23 filed a complaint to the police alleging that Karan Bhan of Sector 15 had stolen empty drums of malaria drugs from the store premises yesterday. The police arrested the accused same evening from Sector 23 market and recovered stolen property from his possession. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.



2 booked for trespass, theft
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
Two persons were booked by the police on a charge of trespassing and theft. According to the police, the two persons, Shabu and Nanah, both residents of Amb Sahib colony, stole an electric motor of 3 hp from a workshop of GREF, near Phase XI, on the intervening night of March 6 and March 7. Complaint in this regard had been lodged by Mr Manish Kumar Sharma. Police registered a case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC.

It is learnt that the police has nabbed both suspects involved in the case though it did not confirm it.



80-year-old man dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 8
An 80-year-old man was crushed to death when his Scooty (CH-03D-6607) was hit by a vehicle (CH-03 B-6185), near Maheshpur village today.

The police say that Het Ram died on the spot. A sum of Rs 82,000 was recovered from his possession. The victim, a chemist in Chandigarh, was reportedly going to Sector 20, from where he had to go to Delhi for some work.

Eye witnesses say that the victim’s scooty first missed colliding with a Maruti car (HR-03E-2539) coming from the opposite direction. Just then, it hit the Tata 709 vehicle coming from the opposite direction.



4 held for stealing bicycles
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 8
Four persons were arrested by the police on the charge of theft.

According to the police the arrested persons are Kulwinder Singh, Inderjit Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Narinder Kumar. Five bicycles and a rehri was recovered from them. They were arrested from near Daon village. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC in this regard.



Lucky draw results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The first mini draw of a promotional offer ‘Maruti Suzuki Dhoom’ was taken out today. About 10 wrist watches, 2 DVD Players and 1 CTV (21 inch) were given out at each of the three Maruti showrooms in city.

The winners are: CTV (21 inch) — Mr Jagdish Manocha, Mr Surinder Pal and Mr Prem Chand. DVD Player — Mr Yashisht Kumar, Mr Soman Sharma, Mr Ashok Jolly, M/S ICL, Mr Ashwani Kumar, Mr Om Prakash Jain and Mr Prem Kumar. Wrist Watches — Mr Inderjit, Ms Rajinder Kaur, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Mr Singhara Singh, Mr Avanish Ahuja, Mr Feroz Khan, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, Mr Dheeraj Agnihotri, M/S ICL, Mr Mohan Singh, Ms Sarla Verma, Mr Rajesh Gupta, Mr Aayush, Ms Veena Kaushal, Mr Chander Dev Bhatia, Mr Randeep Bajwa, Mr Parvender Dhanny, Mr Gurdip Singh/Ms Tarvinder, Mr Beant Singh Ahluwalia, Mr Yash Pal, Mr Inderjeet Singh, Mr. Akashdeep, Lt Col T.S. Pall, Mr Jatinder Sharma, Mr Ram Singh Bholla, Ms Kanta Rani, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Romel Singh, Mr N.K. Tiwari and Mr Romel Singh

There will be two more mini draws.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |