C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sehwag cloudburst puts rain gods to shame
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Match at 9.30 am today

The Test match of the high-profile Test series going on at PCA Stadium, Mohali, will start at 9.30 am tomorrow instead of normal timing of 10 am.

Mohali, March 9
As if the euphoria generated by Indians welcoming Pakistani visitors was not enough, the rain gods too seem inclined to help the Pakistanis. Weather played an instrumental role in washing away the pre-lunch session of second day of the Test match being played at Mohali.

Pakistani fans were virtually missing, but the Indians turned up, initially in small numbers but later the 45000-capacity stadium was almost full.

Determined cricket buffs sat through the pre-lunch drizzle in the stands. Umbrellas helped some but many simply enjoyed the rain, sitting patiently eyeing the clouds and wishing them to go away. And their patience paid.

When the shower stopped, runs rained from Sehwag and Dravid’s bats, a sheer delight for the spectators. Sehwag obliged them with a brilliant knock, hitting 12 fours and one six, performing as if it were a one-dayer. Every Indian and a small number of Pakistanis who had returned to the stadium enjoyed each stroke without giving any thought to the nationality of the batsmen at the crease.

Just as the news of the aggressive play spread, the stadium started filling up. The stadium was packed to capacity within one hour after the resuming of game.

The batsmen seemed to lose their concentration as the spectators formed ‘Mexican waves’ on several occasions. Spectators in a stand would rise with raised hands passing on the movement in a synchronized manner to the spectators in the next stand. This motion was repeated in every stand of the stadium till it did a full round.

Interestingly, the local Shiv Sena activists took rounds of the stands with a banner on which ‘we come for friendship’ was scripted. Their gesture was appreciated by the Pakistani guests who welcomed and embraced the Sainiks.

All viewers were pleased with the performance of both the teams and gave them standing ovation at the end of this day match. Five runs short of his century, Shewag’s fans will spend a restless night to watch him complete his hundred.

Meanwhile, many Pakistani guests took advantage of the four hour delay in the game and went to markets, pubs and cinema halls. Some guests from across the border reached to the famous salon at Sector 11 to obtain its services which were being offered to them free of cost.

The hospitality, love and respect given by Indians to Pakistanis had won the hearts of all Pakistanis. However, some were complaining of poor arrangements provided at some bhavans where they did not get even drinking water and some grumbled that there was no arrangement of free transport from Sector 16 to PCA stadium.

The visa counter, set up in front of PCA stadium, also witnessed a great rush of visitors as they wanted to extend the visa for visiting other towns and cities of Punjab

Creating history of sorts, Hans Raj Hans performed live in the stadium today. He was specially called in to perform for the spectators while they waited for the match to begin. Encouraged by the crowd response, Hans Raj Hans sang some of his best numbers. “Dil tote tote ho gaya” went down the best with the audience.



Fans line roads for a glimpse of heroes
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 9
Cricket mania has taken the entire city in its grip. Those who could not cheer the home team at the Punjab Cricket Stadium (PCA) stadium in Mohali, managed to get a glimpse of the Indian cricket gods while they were leaving the stadium after the day’s game.

Thousands of residents lined the Chandigarh-Mohali road from the stadium to the city to wave to the players who returned in a special bus from the stadium to their hotel in Chandigarh.

A majority of these residents were watching the match on TV and as soon as the match ended they came on the main road.

Just before 6 pm today, less than half an hour after the end of today’s game, hundreds of children with their friends and parents stood waiting on the road dividing sectors 45-46 and 32-33. The young cricket fans desperate to catch a glimpse of their heroes had perched on their fathers’ shoulders. And as the police pilot jeep escorting the players’ bus passed through, the crowd broke out into a loud cheer. Some clapped, while the others waved at them. And whenever the bus slowed down, some of the daring ones thumped the bus, calling out the players’ names to catch their attention.

This continued till the bus reached the hotel. And by then the “lucky” residents living along the road returned to their houses, brimming with excitement and stories of who got to see whom.

“Was it Dravid on the window? I think it was him. But whoever it was he waved back to me,” said an overjoyed eight-year-old Gurpreet who lives in Sector 45. “I saw Sachin, I saw Sachin !!!” exclaimed another little child before breaking into an incoherent account of how he was looking and how he made an eye contact with him.



Punjabi hospitality floors guests from Pakistan
Aditi Tandon/ Arvind Katyal
Tribune News Service

Pakistani guests dance at a dinner party hosted by the Punjab Chief Minister at Chandigarh Club on Wednesday.
Pakistani guests dance at a dinner party hosted by the Punjab Chief Minister at Chandigarh Club on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

As a goodwill gesture to the visitors from Pakistan, Chandigarh Club sponsored the venue of the dinner. Even the catering and tent arrangements were heavily discounted. The arrangements were well made and it was apparent that a lot of thought had gone into them. Despite a hefty guest list, the organisers managed a decent show. So perfect was the spacing between stalls that not even once did the problem of overcrowding arise. There were separate food enclaves for VIPs and other guests. Present at the dinner were all ministers of the Punjab government, parliamentary secretaries, some Punjab Cricket Association officials and journalists. Highlight of the show were the welcome banners in Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi which greeted the guests where ever they went.

Chandigarh, March 9
Our guests from Pakistan were on Cloud 9 tonight. Smitten by the lavish dinner arrangements made at Chandigarh Club, they literally floundered for words when accosted for reactions.

Finally, the best thing they had to say about the reception at the club was: “Aapki mohabbat ka yeh paigaam hum nahi bhool payenge”. Their words of praise for Punjab Government were also interesting: “Aapki hukumat badi dariyadil hai (your state is very generous)” they said.

Organised under the care of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s office, the dinner was grand by all standards. It was well organised and well laid to cater to a gathering of about 3,000. Never in the past has Chandigarh Club seen such hectic preparations as it saw all today.

From morning till evening the caterers and tent house owners, in charge of affairs at the club, were busy putting their best foot forward lest goodwill suffers. At the back of their mind, however, the fear of rain was wreaking havoc until of course a clear night sky smiled at them.

Even the sound system and the live projector, installed for the cultural evening by Hans Raj Hans and Dolly Guleria, were at the mercy of weather till the evening. Mercifully, the show went on without a drizzle. Had it rained the organisers would have been in trouble as there was no arrangement of water proofing at the venue. Late as the orders were placed yesterday, neither the tent house people nor the caterers were ready for weather exigencies.

On the catering front, Ambrosia held the fort, offering to the Pakistanis what they like the best. “halal” and “jhatka” fare was laid in abundance, supplemented with “Punjabi” preparations (about five to six vegetables). Though not multicuisine, the menu was well chosen. In the dessert category, the traditional Indian “rabri and jalebi” ruled the roost. It had the guests hooked. For a while, the ice cream corner appeared deserted.

Coupled with the joy of good food was the joy of music. As Hans Raj and Dolly Guleria doled out their melodic sequences, the guests could not help shaking a leg. Interspersed with music was the dance of Punjab which further thrilled the gathering.



Love counts!
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh March 9
Overwhelmed by the care and affection showered on him and his compatriots by the Indians, Nasir Mehmood, a real estate developer from Lahore, donated Rs 7,000 to the Chandi Kusht Ashram in Sector 47 in Chandigarh yesterday.

Armed with the knowledge of The Tribune’s history, “Lahore is home to the paper” he claims proudly and his first visitor visa to the country, Nasir stepped onto Indian soil at Wagah, albeit with great trepidation.

“Television news conveys intolerance for us in India. The images of the Shiv Sainiks armed with lathis make for a terrifying representation. Our media responds with equal negative ferocity. It is a no win situation”

His wife and three daughters urged him not to come but the chance to see this “elusive neighbour” and the joyous cricketing spirit of an India-Pakistan Test proved irresistible. Once here, the warmth completely won his heart over.

“I wanted to donate some money before I go. I want to express my gratitude to the city and to this country by doing what little I can. “ Pakistani visitors are permitted to bring $ 500 and 4000 Indian rupees for their stay here. That is what Nasir Mehmood came with. “I am not a politician nor am I a landlord. I am a simple middle class person. I wish I could have done more.”

Nasir plans to visit Patiala today. His parents moved from Lahore to Patiala in 1935 to expand their business. They moved back in 1947 at the time of the partition. “I want to meander through the roads in Patiala. I just want to feel the place.” He has no family in India.

His three daughters in Pakistan are getting the best education that he can provide so that they get all opportunities that men have in his country. He wants his children to see a better world, “Grow, prosper and bloom India and think well of us”

We will, Nasir Mehmood, for you have shown us that love counts. 



Hunting for forbidden pleasure
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Most Pakistanis used cricket as an opportunity to come to India, but contrary to their public claims about love for the game, most Pakistani visitors admit in private that cricket has provided them the much needed excuse to visit India.

“There is so many notions about this country. We wanted to see the reality for ourselves”, says Shakur Ahmad, a Pakistani visitor from Lahore.

All you need is just a little friendly attitude and the Pakistanis open up easily, much to the surprise of many Indians who think that the society in Pakistan is very regulated and in the absence of a democratically elected government, people are subjected to authoritarian rule.

The openness of the Pakistanis has surprised many. Mr Lakhbir Singh, a Sector 17 trader said “I was just strolling in Sector 17 plaza today afternoon when two persons approached me and inquired about a particular eating place in Sector 35. From their accent I quickly recognised them to be from the other side of the border. They were Mohammad Asadullah and Shaukat from Faislabad. But before I could ask, they expressed their inconvenience at the non-availability of halaal meat”.

Shaukat, who met this correspondent in Sector 17 complained that he and his friends were fed up of eating daal and paneer in two days and now they had been informed about a place in Sector 35 where they can have it. They seem to be hardly interested in the high profile Indo-Pakistan clash going on at PCA grounds. “We are here to make merry and not to be confined at the stadium,” his friends were candid enough.

“Liquor is banned in Pakistan and only non- Muslims can have their little quota of two bottles a month. You have to get part with Rs 800 for a bottle of particular brand which is available for Rs 150 in India,” said Abdur Gaffur and Mohammad Neelam Nawaaz from Sialkot.

Due to prohibition only spurious liquor is available in Pakistan. No wonder they are keen to enjoy pure liquor here. Mohammad Rehman, another Lahore resident, admitted.

A liquor vender told TNS that many Pakistanis have bought liquor from their shop. Bagpiper, McDowells, Royal Stag are the much sought after brands.

This correspondent came across seven to eight Pakistani guests who were inquiring about the pubs and discotheques. They just want to have a taste of these pleasures forbidden in Pakistan. But they promise to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations of these places.

Mohammad Nawaz from Islamabad says this is his second visit to India and is quite excited to visit the city as he heard a lot about Lake, Rose Garden, Rock Garden. Architecturally, this city is same as Islamabad. Javed Alam who belongs to Sialkot says that it is the political bindings who separated us, otherwise we are one in every respect but had a little complaint from our Bollywood producers who make anti-Pakistan films.

Abdul Kaif from Lahore was excited to see the jean-clad girls riding classy-scooters which is a rare sight in Pakistan. According to him, the easy availability of “daaru” is the only difference between the Indian and Pakistani Punjab.



Visa extension, a dream come true
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 9
More than 500 Pakistani visitors got their visa extension to travel to various places in Punjab today. The SSP, Ropar, who is authorised to extend visas all over Punjab today stated that majority of the visa extension were given for Amritsar.

“Most of those from Pakistan want to visit the Golden Temple. But there are many who want to go to Malerkotla, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur too. We have extended these visas up to these places,” said Mr S.P. Singh.

The Pakistani visitors who are here for the five day Indo- Pakistan match have visas of Patiala, Ambala other than of the Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. For many however, being able to go to the towns where their parents came from is like a dream come true. Queuing up outside the makeshift visa extension counter outside the PCA Stadium here, the visitors are thrilled with the Punjab Government’s gesture to allow them beyond the tri-cities.

“I am looking forward to going to Shakot village in Danewal, Jalandhar district. My “abbujaan” came from there in 1947. He always told us about India and his village. Now I will go to his village and take with me his village’s soil,” said an ecstatic Hajim Mohammad Aslam from Burewala, Pakistan. “I was not expecting that my visa would be extended till Jalandhar. But now I have it and am leaving tomorrow morning,” he added.

Mohammad Aashiq, a motor cycle dealer of Burewala, is all set to visit his father’s birthplace at Deepawal, Jalandhar. “I was born in Pakistan but my parents love for India is today taking me to their roots,” he said.

Mohammad Rafiq from Gujranwala is on his way to Ambala from where he intends to go to Patiala and Amritsar, said he was won over by the hospitality of the city residents.



Sector 17 market buzzing with guests
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, March 9
The Sector 17 market is buzzing with activity these days. The latest craze among youths and older people is to identify guest from Pakistan strolling around in the market. On a visit to the main market this correspondent saw local boys and even children asking their parents curiously, ‘Mama is that a Pakistani or a Hindustani?

A school student, Jagjot, told this correspondent that I am able to differentiate between an Indian and a Pakistani as latter normally wear salwar kameez. Akshit Dhawan, another student, said the whole of Sector 17 market was charged up nowadays and the atmosphere was festive.

Sunaina Kapila, a school lecturer, said the Pakistani women were quite fashionable and I thought it were they who had brought their husbands to the markets for shopping. She said that a young Pakistani girl, whom she met, was curious to know if Chandigarh had an exclusive fashion college.

Another Pakistani guest, Hassan, said he was impressed the way Indians were giving them welcome and warm hospitality. He said the showroom owners were very polite.

Another Pakistani guest Sana said Chandigarh was like Europe for them, as here their currency was weak compared to the Indian rupee.

Still another Pakistani guest said I wanted to visit some places and buy something for my family, but now I would restrict myself to buying a few necessary things.



2 Pak patients discharged
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 9
Two Pakistani citizens, Mohammad Sohail Afzal Butt of Lahore and Mohammad Arshad Khan who were admitted to a hospital here were discharged today.

Thirtyfive-year-old Mr Mohammad Sohail Afzal Butt, a resident of Lahore had complained of severe pain in the right ureteric colic yesterday.

He was shifted to the hospital where he was treated for a ureteric stone.

The director administration, of the hospital said, “We had extended this offer of free emergency medical assistance to the Pakistani guests as a goodwill gesture. We are glad that we have been able to help Mr Mohammad Sohail in his hour of need”.

Meanwhile, the other Pakistani cricket fan, Mohammad Arshad Khan was rushed from the stadium to the hospital after he complained of severe chest pain.



City is beautiful: Salman Butt
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, March 9
It was total chaos at a leading Sector 17 footwear showroom this evening. People thronged the shop to have a glimpse of Pakistan cricketers who had come to visit the showroom at the invitation of the company.

Six cricketers and the wife of Yousuf Yohanna visited the showroom at 8.10 pm. Waiting newspersons were given a raw treatment by the company personnel who were not allowing them to have a talk with cricketers.

After about 15 minutes of heated exchanges, Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt spoke to newspersons. Both were delighted to be in Chandigarh and said they would also like to do shopping. Butt said Chandigarh was clean and less crowded unlike Lahore which was too crowded. He said the place was quite beautiful and their stay and food everything was perfect. When asked, Kamran said smilingly, he wanted to shop but was not sure if he would get the time.

The other players who came to the showroom were, Danish, Mohammed Sami, Taufeeq Umar and Yousuf Yohanna. They remained in the showroom for nearly an hour.



Govt to pay for stadium security

Mohali, March 9
The Punjab Government has decided to pay for the security arrangements organised by the police outside the PCA stadium for the Indo-Pakistan match. The SSP Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, said the Chief Minister had assured that Rs 10 lakh would be paid to the Punjab Police for the services being provided at the stadium. He added that Rs 2 lakh had already been released. TNS



Governor advocates fresh ideas for security environment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
In the backdrop of emergence of new, multi-dimensional threats to security and the changing nature of warfare, the Governor of Punjab, Gen S F Rodrigues (retd) called for fresh ideas, new methods and concepts which were suited to the local political, economic social and security environment.

Inaugurating a seminar on Comprehensive Security, organised by the Delhi Policy Group in collaboration with Panjab University here today, General Rodrigues said we were vulnerable because of very little original research on security matters. He said most opinions on security matters by experts were based on perceptions not totally relevant to us.

Calling for a focussed transformation in every field of activity to cope with the changing global scenario, he said we must equip ourselves with the tools of modernisation and forward looking programmes to compete successfully with the rest of the world. Advocating the use of our own resources and strength to deal with issue and problems facing us, the Governor said that certain areas which a country cannot handle on its won should be identified and a suitable system should be evolved to seek assistance from another country on a reciprocal basis.

Delving upon the issue of energy security, Prof S.K. Sharma, a member of the National Security Advisory Board, said our energy resources were very limited, with availability of energy resources, sustainability of supplies, security of trade routes and infrastructure, investments and governance being the key issues of concern.

Terming energy security as one of the most important issues, he said at present consumption rates, which are 30 times lower that that in the United States, our oil reserves would last for 30 years, natural gas for 40 and uranium reserves for about 45 years.

In his talk on non-traditional respective of security, Prof T.K. Oommen from the Delhi Policy Group, said besides security concerns relating to the state, society and the environment, factors like genocide, the destruction of the identity of people and the environment, needed to be redefined and incorporated into the concept of comprehensive security.

Speaking on the gender dimension of comprehensive security, Professor Rajesh Gill from Panjab University’s Sociology Department said security granted to people must have the same meaning for men as well as women.

In his talk on the evolution of security studies, Dr Swaran Singh from the School of International Studies, Jawarharlal Nehru University, said that though there had been rapid developments in this field, the subject still needed to be treated as an independent discipline.

In his valedictory address, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Mr H.K. Dua, said the problem of caste divide, poverty, lack of education and unemployment in the country were resulting in social discontentment. This, he said, are factors affecting national security. He said though the country had the muscle to protect its borders, we were not a fully secure country as we were not united. Stating that developments in neighbouring countries also had a bearing on Indian security, he added that neighbouring countries should chalk out a programme of co-operation with each other.

Former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, said war as an instrument of foreign policy had become less and less viable because of the high casualty rate, high cost and international pressure. New courses of war were multi-dimensional, and new security challenges were emerging, which required a multi-lateral approach.



A “Lahori” poet with anti-war poems
Nirupama Dutt
Tribune News Service
Raja Sadiqullah
Raja Sadiqullah

Chandigarh, March 9
Among the thousands who have arrived from across the border to be part of the Indo-Pak cricket Test at Mohali is Raja Sadiqullah, a well-known poet of Punjabi from Lahore. A district-level cricket player in his youth, Sadiqullah has not come waving a flag or holding a banner of friendship. That would be too crass for a poet. But coax him a little and he will recite anti-war poems. He has been raising his voice very aesthetically yet powerfully against war for over three decades.

In fact the lineage of this cricketer turned poet, who works as vice-president of Habib Bank in Lahore, is from Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir. Disclosing this in an interview in the city today, Sadiqullah says: “It is coming home in ways more than one. Our ancestor Raja Rahimullah was the ruler of Rajouri. We were Rajputs of Kangra origin and my forefathers were allies of the Sikhs. When the British handed over Jammu and Kashmir to the Dogras we were given the option of surrendering to them or moving out of their territory.” This is how they were relocated in Samman Burj, a fort built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Wazirabad in West Punjab. The large clan of the Raja still lives there.

However, Sadiqullah shows none of the snobbery of an aristocratic background. From his college days in Lahore he was attracted to the progressive groups and the suffering of the common people are the theme of his poems. “In 1971 when I was a fresher in Government College, Lahore, I was deeply affected by the 1971 Indo-Pak war and I wrote a poem called ‘Jangi Qaidi.’ It was chosen for ‘Ravi’, the college magazine, and wasn’t I proud.” Proud because he reveals that this was the magazine that had nurtured poets like Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Sadiqullah writes less but his one collection ‘Pehala Poor’ is considered one of the milestones in new Punjabi poetry written across the border. His poems on Siachen and Kargil are widely appreciated as they speak of the misery of war on both sides.

“Although I belong to a martial race my poetry has always cried out against conflict. Perhaps the one who has been in the thick of it knows its sorrows well.”

When asked how does he combine his interest in cricket, his career in banking and his passion for poetry, the handsome poet says with a smile, “I do not let cricket and banking interfere with the poet in me and I don’t let poetry meddle with sport and my livelihood.”



Travel agent dupes 190 of Rs 1.5 cr
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 9
A Mumbai-based travel agent allegedly duped 190 persons wanting to go to Dubai of Rs 1.5 crore.

The matter came to light when as many as 150 persons, who were asked to collect their visas from the office of the company in Sector 8, today found the office premises locked.

As many as 40 persons wanting to travel to Dubai had allegedly also suffered in the same way at the company’s branch in Jalandhar. This was stated by Jaspreet Singh, resident of Jalandhar.

The police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC in the Sector 3 Police Station in response to a complaint filed by Paramjit Singh from Hoshiarpur district in Punjab against Sat Narayan Associates, Sector 8.

The investigation officer, Mr Gurmail Singh, told the Chandigarh Tribune that as many as 50 more persons had recorded their statements in this regard.

He added that the police had conducted a raid at the Sector 8 office premises of the company and had confiscated some computers lying there.

Mr Kulwinder Singh of Chaswal village in Patiala district said, an advertisement had appeared in a Punjabi newspaper on February 2 regarding job opportunities for Masons, plumbers, general labourers, shuttering carpenters, cooks, painters and waiters in Dubai. The advertisement also promised that the applicants would be sent to Dubai within 15 days of clearing the interview.

Another candidate, Jaspal Singh from Jaja village in Hoshiarpur district alleged that he had paid Rs 65,000 to obtain a work visa for the post of office boy in Dubai. He said, Ms Khushi Manjan, manager at the Sector 8 office of the company, had told him that he would earn 1000 Dirham out of which he had to pay 200 Dirhams for medical and lodging facilities.

Resham Lal from Uccha village in Nawanshehr district said he had applied at the Jalandhar branch of the company. He said the situation out side the Jalandhar branch, just the same as the candidates had been called to collect their visas today, but, on reaching there they found out that no one was there to attend to them. He further added that he had come to Chandigarh only to check the situation here. Some of the candidates were also showing the copies of visas that had been faxed to them.

Mr Vipin Garg, Manager of Global Business Centre, said, he had given three cabins on rent to Mr Gurvinder Singh for Rs 14,000 per month on January 12, this year.



Passing Thru

What drew you towards the Grand Lodge?
Mr Vijay Kumar Dwarka, Assistant Grand Master of Grande Loge De France.
Mr Vijay Kumar Dwarka, Assistant Grand Master of Grande Loge De France.

I am a lawyer by profession based in Mauritius. It was in 1976 that I found a place where I found my like-minded company. I was sure that I wanted to help people who suffered in whatever way I could. It was also an opportunity of meeting people I would have never met in my life.

What impressed you the most in this belief?

We are not trapped in boundaries of any religion. We have masons who are Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. It is a stage for universal brotherhood. We don’t look for collections from the public for charitable activities. We do it ourselves. It is important to put one’s own house in order before looking for help beyond.

What does insignia of a compass over a square in your lodge represent?

The compass signifies the search for answers pertaining to spiritualism. The square represents the role of matter in a man’s life. In normal life it is the mad race behind matter that dominates a man’s life. The compass at the top signifies the need for a perfect balance between the two components.

— Sanjeev Singh Bariana



Mohali MC hikes octroi target to Rs 20.70 cr
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 9
The Municipal Council today hiked the proposed income target from octroi by 15 per cent fixing it at Rs 20.70 crore at a special meeting held here today. The amount proposed at the agenda was Rs 19.80 crore.

The council passed a budget of over Rs 25.62 crore for the year 2005-06. The budget proposals showed an income of more than Rs 25.36 crore while the balance carried forward from the previous fiscal was Rs 26.72 lakh.

Mr N.K. Marwaha said as per the rules the octroi income target should be hiked by 15 per cent but the figure mentioned in the agenda showed that the amount had been increased only by 10 per cent.

He said the civic body was planning to bring nine new sectors under its jurisdiction in the near future which would add to the income from octroi. However, the House agreed to the 15 per cent increase in the income target.

Mr Kulwant Singh, council president, said when more areas would come under municipal limits, a revised budget would be presented.

Mr B.B. Maini said the octroi figures given in the agenda were confusing. He said the proposed target of income from octroi was fixed at Rs 18 crore till March 31 which was lower than what it should have been if the council worked out figures on the basis of the monthly average income it had earned till January 31.

Mr Amrik Singh, vice-president, said the council had fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 8 crore when the present team of councillors took over in 2000 but at present the council had only Rs 26 lakh, an amount with which no development could be done in the town.

However, Mr Kulwant Singh said when he took over as president, the council did not have any property of its own. During his tenure, land had been purchased from PUDA for the office building in Sector 68. A building was also being constructed on the allotted site and four storeys would be completed in the coming months. He pointed out that the civic body had also purchased land for a cattle pound. Land had also been arranged for dumping garbage. He said even after doing so much, the council was not in any sort of debt at present.

In the budget presented today, the proposed expenditure had been worked out at more than Rs 25.36 crore. Expenditure on staff alone came to over Rs 7.40 crore, which was 29 per cent of the proposed income.

Out of the amount proposed to be spent on staff, over Rs 2 crore were proposed to be spent on the sanitation wing followed by the works branch whose expenditure had been proposed to be more than Rs 1.75 crore.

The budget had witnessed a very little increase in the amount proposed to be spent on development works in the town. The proposed expenditure in this regard this year had been fixed at Rs 16. 75 crore against the figure of Rs 16.61 crore proposed last year.

The proposed expenditure on paying power bills for the supply of water and streetlights is nearly Rs 5.50 crore while the amount to be spent on the strengthening of roads had been worked out at Rs 2.75 crore.



Move on monorail system for city questioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Architects Yetinder Mathur and Tarun Mathur have questioned the move on elevated rail track for operating a train based mass rapid transport system for Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

They say Le Courbusier left space for an underground bus system and this will be cheaper. The sky bus or mono rail proposal needs to be examined. The basic traffic profile should first be studied and the peculiarities of Chandigarh should also be considered, say the architects.

Commuters need to travel relatively short distances either to school or office or for shopping. On the other hand, the city receives two lakh commuters from outside daily. It is necessary that the mass transport system serve dual purpose and meet the requirements of both, short and long distance commuters.

The master-plan of Chandigarh has in-built provision for a MRTS. The extensive space, on either side of the main roads, were provided, not because of Le Corbusier’s personal fantasy, but to make way for a future traffic corridor, argue the architects. With London and Paris underground mass rapid transport systems having been set up in 1901, Corbusier could not have been oblivious to the basic future needs, they claim.

An alternate to the sky-bus or monorail proposal is the underground bus-ways. This is a simple underground tunnel meant for plying the ordinary buses. The construction of the bus way will be easy as the soil of Chandigarh is easy to excavate and the water-table is fairly low. Besides, the underground bus way will not spoil the sky-line of Chandigarh and the existing trees need not be disturbed.

As far as the cost, the bus way will not cost more than Rs 20 crore per km compared to Rs 45 crore per km for the sky bus or mono rail. Further, this is a simple technique, and this network can be created at a much lower cost. It entails a RCC box section with small underground bus-shelters, sufficient for a bus load, at frequent intervals. Fancy and costly escalators can be avoided.

The working of the bus-way, too, is simple and elementary. The existing local buses, except those belching out thick smoke, can ply on them. Also the long-distance buses coming from Ropar or Ambala or Patiala can use them. As soon as these buses enter Chandigarh boundary, they get into the underground passage and disembark commuters at multi-locations like the high court, the university, the PGI and the various office complexes. It is important that the commuters need to be scattered, rather than be concentrated at one location, like in the present case, the Sector 17 bus terminal, says the architects.



Changes in building bylaws sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh has sought changes in building bylaws of the city and permission for need-based changes in the buildings.

A press note of the association stated here yesterday that these issues were discussed at a meeting with Mr Baldev Aggarwal and Mr P.K. Mukherjee, both members of the Administrator’s advisory council sub-committee. The sub-committee was constituted for reviewing need-based changes in the bylaws. As many as 48 members from 30 welfare associations attended the meeting.

The meeting dwelt on “requirements of the residents that meet their aspirations for changes in the building bylaws”.

Mr P.C. Sanghi, chairman of the federation, urged the Administration to take a holistic view on their long-pending demands. The residents over the past 50 years have made certain need-based changes in their houses to meet the growing need for space, said the note.

Mr M.R. Lakhanpal, vice-chairman and a member of the sub-committee, apprised the members of the federation that the Administration had agreed to stay the execution of notices given to residents for various violations in their premises and advised them not to violate the existing bylaws till the notification of amended laws.

Members of the federation expressed resentment against the dillydallying attitude of the Administration in not agreeing to the recommendations of the previous committee.



Office-bearers of MC panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
A majority of chairmen and deputy chairmen of different committees of the Municipal Corporation were elected unanimously today.

Mr Surinder Singh was elected as chairman of the Apni Mandi and Day Markets Committee while Mr Vijay Singh Rana was elected as the deputy chairman.

Others who were elected to various committees include: Roads — Mrs Harpreet Kaur (chairman) and Mrs Amar Kulwant Singh (deputy chairman); Water Supply and Sewerage — Mrs Geeta Rani (chairperson) and Mr Sohan Lal Vaid (deputy chairman); Fire Services — Dr K.S. Raju (chairman) and Dr B.R. Verma (deputy chairman); Sanitation — Mr Pardeep Chhabra (chairman) and Mr Balraj Singh (deputy chairman); and Environment and City Beautification — Mr H.S. Lucky and Mrs 
Pushpa Sharma (deputy chairperson).

Only the house tax committee witnessed polling. Major-Gen A.S. Kahlon and Mr C.K. Sawhney, both nominated members, were pitted against each other. Major-Gen Kahlon, who was himself not present on the occasion, polled four votes against three by Mr Sawhney.



Mian Mir’s descendent honoured
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 9
The 19th descendent of Sai Mian Mir, a Muslim seer who had laid the foundation stone of Darbar Sahib at Amritsar, Syed Chand Pir Quadri, was honoured at Gurdwara Amb Sahib here today. He was presented a Siropa by Mr Hardeep Singh, SGPC member, along with representatives of various religious bodies.

Mr Hardeep Singh said Sai Mian Mir had good relations with three Gurus: Guru Ram Dass, Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Har Govind. They all shared a spiritual similarity with Sai Mian Mir.

He said a message of universal brotherhood had been sent across by our Guru when a Muslim was asked to lay the foundation stone of Darbar Sahib. He said the Sikh community was indebted to Sai Mian Mir.



3 in race for post of MC senior vice-president
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 9
There are three candidates in the race for the post of senior vice-president of the Municipal Council at present. The term of the present incumbents expires tomorrow and the elections for the post of senior vice-president and vice-president of the civic body are likely to be held this month.

It is learnt that Mr Bharat Bhushan Maini, Mr S.S. Barnala and Mrs Inderjit Kaur are interested in becoming the senior vice-president of the council. Mr Maini and Mr Barnala wanted to get the post even last year the latter had withdrawn from the fray at the last stage.

The terms of Mr Phoolraj Singh as senior vice-president and Mr Amrik Singh as vice-president expire tomorrow.

The post of the senior vice-president has always remained with the ruling group headed by Mr Kulwant Singh, while that of the vice-president had been left open for members from the opposition group.



Railway chief PRO visits city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Northern Railways, Mr Rajeev Saxena visited Chandigarh as part of the his familiarisation plan on Wednesday.

He joined duty 10 days ago and replaces Mr D.S. Sandhu. Mr Saxena is from the Indian Railway Traffic Services.



3 two-wheelers stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 9
A motor cycle and two scooters were stolen in the city, the police said today.

Mr Som Pal of Mauli Jagran reported that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-M-9959) was stolen from a parking lot of the Sector 8 market yesterday. A case has been registered.

In another incident, Mr Amit Bathla, a student of DAV College, Sector 10, reported that his Hero Honda motor cycle (PB-15-B-9328) was stolen from the college yesterday. A case has been registered.

Mr Harinder Singh of Sector 38 West reported that his scooter (CH-032-T-T2403) was stolen from a parking lot of the ISBT, Sector 17, on March 7.

Purse snatched

Ms Vijay Kanta of Sector 38 West filed a complaint that two motor cycle-borne miscreants snatched her purse containing cash, one gold ring and some documents from Sector 38 on March 7. A case has been registered.

Case registered

Ms Gian Kumari of Sector 66, Mohali, reported to the police that a motorcyclist (CH-03-P-5937) sped away after hitting her Kinetic Honda near the Sector 20-30 light point on March 5.

The complainant was admitted to GMCH-32. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the motor cycle.

In another incident, Mr Mukesh Khurana of Sector 38 reported to the police that a scooterist (CH-03-H-0984) sped away after hitting his wife, who was riding on a Kinetic Honda in Sector 37 on Tuesday. His wife got injured. A case has been registered.


Mr Mukul Joshi of Sector 44 filed a complaint that an electricity meter and five taps were stolen from his residence on March 6. A case has been registered.

Stereo stolen

Mr Harmandeep Singh Khatra of Sector 8 reported that a stereo was stolen from his car, which was parked at his residence on March 7. A case of theft has been registered.



Four porters held on murder charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police has arrested four porters of the Sector 26 grain market on charge of killing labourer Jaspal Singh on March 4 over a dispute on Rs 5.

The arrested persons were identified as Kewal Singh, Prince, Ashwani Kumar and Jatinder Singh.

They were arrested from Sector 43 yesterday for allegedly killing Jaspal Singh of Ropar.

They will be produced in a local court tomorrow.

Jaspal Singh was stabbed to death by the labourers when a dispute between them erupted because of Jaspal concealing Rs 5 from other labourers.



VAT will push flour price up, say mill-owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Wheat flour prices in the city are likely to go up by 12 per cent after VAT comes into force on April 1. Stating that the price of flour would go up by Rs 1.20 per kg, the president of the Chakki Owners Association, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, added that dry fruit, spices and petroleum products would also be hiked with the implementation of VAT.

“Consumers are going to be at a loss no matter what the government may claim. The worst hit will be non-producing states. Since the city has no agricultural produce of its own, wheat comes from adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana,” he said during a press conference, here today.

“We are already paying a purchase tax of 4 per cent in Punjab. With the introduction of VAT, we will be forced to pay more for the raw material by way of central sales tax and VAT in addition to what we are already paying as purchase tax,” Mr Gupta explained.

Mr Gupta stated that the prices of all other tax-free goods would be hiked in the coming days. He said that a number of states had deferred the implementation of VAT while the USA, the most developed country in the world, had no VAT.

The Chairman of the Chakki Owners Association, Mr V. K. Sood, said they were not against the implementation of VAT but wanted other concessions that existed in countries where VAT exists.

“In all such countries, there is no separate purchase tax, surcharge or sales tax. Also, with VAT, our paperwork will increase since we will be required to file six returns instead of four,” he held.

Claiming that running chakkis was becoming unviable given the stiff competition from roller flour mill owners, Mr Gupta also urged the Chandigarh Administration to allow partial conversion of trade.

“The Administration has allowed cinema houses to change to multiplexes, coal depots to other businesses and petrol stations have been allowed sales of eatables. When all these trades can be allowed conversion, why should we be made to suffer,” he remarked.

However, the biggest problem of the chakki owners, Mr Gupta said, was that entry of trucks was banned during daytime. “Our trucks with grains can’t unload during the day because no entry is allowed. We want the Administration to lift this ban after peak hours for at least a couple of hours. Now, we are paying double wages to the labour who unloads the grain,” he held.


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