C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


12 hurt as stage collapses during wrestling match
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 11
Twelve spectators, including three children, sustained injuries when a portion of a makeshift stage they were occupying, gave in during a wrestling match of the Indo-Pak kabaddi and wrestling competitions here this afternoon.

The competitions were organised by the local Saanjh Dilan Di Sports Club in collaboration with the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat and the Zirakpur Property Dealers Association.

The spectators were watching a wrestling match when a portion of the stage along with cane and steel chairs came crashing down leaving over 12 persons injured.

The chief guest at the competitions, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister of Punjab, some Pakistani guests and prominent persons, including Mr Kartar Singh, Director Sports, Punjab, and Mr Surjan Singh Chattha, president of the Punjab Kabaddi Federation, had a narrow escape.

Those who sustained injuries included Mr Gurmeet Singh from Banur, Mr Gurinder Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh from Dera Bassi, Mr Neel Balinder Singh of Bhankharpur, Mr Darshan Singh from Kathgarh and a few others.

Besides, three children were also injured in the incident. Four Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) were also hurt in the accident.

Relatives and friends of the injured took them to private clinics here as the organisers did not have adequate first-aid equipment at the venue.

Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the organising committee and president of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, said the stage collapsed as it was loaded beyond its capacity. Over 500 spectators had occupied the stage against its capacity to accommodate about 100 chairs, he claimed.



Compensation to city resident upheld
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has upheld a decision of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum awarding a compensation of Rs 1.71 lakh to, Mr Naranjan, Mohan Singh, a Sector 35 resident.

However, partially modifying the forum’s order, the commission ruled that Rs 30,000, which was to be paid to Mr Singh for harassment apart from Rs 1.71 lakh, would not be paid.

The Citibank NA Global Consumer Bank, New Delhi, had appealed to the commission against the forum’s ruling. Mr Singh had taken a loan of Rs 3.24 lakh from the local representative of the bank-Amardeep Finance-for the purchase of a car in 1997.

The loan was to be returned in 36 instalments of Rs 11,615 each. Even as Mr Singh returned the amount on November 17,2000, the company did not issue the no objection certificate(NOC).

Mr Singh alleged before the forum that in the absence of the NOC, he could not sell his car. And for the purchase of new car, he had to take a loan from another firm.

It was alleged that Mr Singh was issued the NOC after a delay of two-and-a-half years and by this time the value of the Tata Sierra had depreciated. He had also alleged that he lost Rs 1.68 lakh as the interest on the finance of the new car.



Passing Thru

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here for the shooting of my English movie “House Keeper” — the third in the “Three House” series. The film conveys a powerful social message and endeavors to bring literature close to the cinema. A book on the series is also in the offing.

What has been response to your earlier two ventures?

“House Guest” and the House No 69 have received rave reviews the world over and were exhibited in over 22 international film festivals.

You shot into fame with “Chameli”. What are your latest projects as lyricist?

Harry Baweja’s “Karam” released today. Besides “Socha Na Tha” and “Shabd” have been musical hits. “Thodi Life Thoda Magic”, “Devki”, “Phir Mile Na Mile” are on the floor. Besides, ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali has lent his voice to lyrics penned by me in “Bekarar”.

Can you comment on the latest trends in Bollywood music?

Pure entertainment and happy-go-lucky lyrics and compositions are a hit with the generation next. A film, which may flop at the box-office, could be a musical hit.

Where does Punjabi music fit into the entertainment industry?

It has international appeal and a lot of experimental music is doing the rounds in entertainment industry.

— Pradeep Sharma



Train cops to detect attacks of bio-terrorism, says officer
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Russians had a biological weapons project bigger than their nuclear programme. Though the country has lost the status of superpower, the threat of biological weapons being used by terrorist outfits in other countries, including India, continues — at least this is what an IPS officer, Dr Sharad Chauhan has to say.

In the Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur after attending the first global conference on bio-terrorism organised by Interpol at Lyons in France, Dr Chauhan says that besides collateral damage, the financial implications of such an asymmetrical attack are immense.

Quoting an example, Dr Chauhan says that countries affected by the foot-and-mouth disease had to spend something like £ 60 billion to get rid of the malady. Similarly, something like £ 20 billion had to be spent on fighting the bird flu.

“Imagine the kind of damage that a country will suffer if someone was to silently introduce such a disease,” Dr Chauhan asserts. “Cattle will die, causing a considerable dent in the country’s economy. The problem will not end here. The authorities concerned will be forced to spend millions and millions of rupees in identifying and fighting the problem.”

He adds that the detection of biological weapons is not easy. For, there are no smoking guns. Moreover, doctors can only diagnose a disease. They cannot easily tell whether it is natural or deliberate.

Offering a solution, Dr Chauhan says that the police should be trained to detect attacks of bio-terrorism. They should be taught to differentiate between natural and deliberately introduced diseases so that the laboratories indulging in the preparation of biological weapons are traced. Moreover, studies in the field of biotechnology should be monitored to check offensive research.

Giving details of biological weapons, Dr Chauhan says organisms acting on a particular set of genes are developed, or germs resistant to antibiotics are produced through genetic engineering.

He claims that a biological weapon was used recently in India by a doctor living in Ahmedabad. He injected his wife with the HIV virus to get rid of her. “It was the use of a biological weapon on a small scale. But something similar can be done by terrorists.”

Regarding the conference, Dr Chauhan — the only Indian delegate selected on the basis of his book on biological weapons — says that 500 delegates from 155 countries attended it.

The conference recognised the continuing threat posed by global terrorism and the ongoing need to enhance the coordination of efforts at the national and international levels. He adds that the conference is part of a two-year Interpol programme funded largely by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A series of workshops will also be held around the world over the next 18 months.



Death of 28 milch cattle forces officials to sit up
Kulwinder Sangha

Swara village (Kharar), March 11
A dairy farmer loses six of his precious buffalo to a mysterious disease. But no official notice is taken. The toll of milch animals in the village reaches at 28 in just two months. It was callousness on the part of the officials of Department of Animal Husbandry, Punjab, which prevented them from taking serious action.

Today senior department officials took pains and turned up with a four-member diagnostic team from Jalandhar to this village which is hardly a couple of kilometres from the department headquarters in Chandigarh. The Kharar MLA made a lot of efforts to bring the plight of the buffalo owners, who had suffered losses running into lakhs of rupees, to the notice of the authorities.

Dharam Singh, who owned 10 animals before the outbreak of the disease, told the Chandigarh Tribune that he lost his first buffalo on January 13, and within a week four more buffaloes and a calf had perished. He first approached the government veterinary officer based in nearby Jhanjeri village who did not come but sent a Class IV employee to give the prescribed injections to his livestock. He had to run from pillar to post to get a doctor to examine his animals. The government doctor at Lakhnaur village also failed to come, and he had to get one from Landran village.

Gurmeet Singh said he lost three buffaloes and two calves about a month ago. He said he did not approach a government veterinary officer.

Similarly, Harinder Singh said he lost a buffalo and a calf while Kuldeep Singh, Karam Singh, Amar Singh, Davinder Singh and Swaran Singh lost one animal each. A buffalo of Kulwant Singh died yesterday. Villagers gave a list showing the death of 28 animals to the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who visited Swara along with senior department officials today. However, a senior veterinary officer said he had the list of only 19 animals. Villagers said the symptoms of the disease were high fever, bloating of the body of the animal, restlessness, frothing at the mouth and difficulty in breathing. Veterinary doctors said that the postmortem of only three animals had been done. So far the disease has not been diagnosed.

Dr Baljit Singh Sidhu, director of the department, said the nitrate content of fodder was high due to the excessive use of urea. This could be one of the factors.

A village panch, Mr Iqbal Singh, said that he made a complaint to the veterinary officer concerned on February 11 after 12 animals had perished. The doctor had examined the animals and took blood samples also. Dr K.K. Sharma, Senior Veterinary Officer, Kharar, also visited the village along with other staff members on February 21.

The MLA said there had been a serious lapse on the part of the department which did not take prompt action. He will demand a high-level probe into the matter so that responsibility could be fixed. He would also meet the Chief Minister in this regard besides raising the matter in the state Assembly.

Villagers demanded that financial relief should be given to at least two of the affected persons, Dharam Singh and Gurmeet Singh, who had lost 11 animals. The MLA said that as a post-mortem had not been conducted on all animals it would be difficult to press the government to give compensation.



Jawan kept in ‘illegal’ custody for 22 months
Inquiry holds Commanding Officer blameworthy
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
An Army Colonel is in the dock over the "illegal" confinement of an Army jawan who was tried by a General Court Martial(GCM) on charges of murder. A court of inquiry has reportedly held the Colonel blameworthy for acts of omission and commission resulting in the jawan being kept in illegal custody for over 22 months. The court of inquiry has recommended disciplinary action against the officer, it is learnt.

The court martial had sentenced the jawan to life imprisonment a few weeks ago. He had allegedly shot dead his colleague with his service rifle while they were on guard duty. The incident had occurred at an armoured regiment when it was stationed at Barmer in 2003. The shoot-out had taken place just a few yards away from residence of the unit's Commanding Officer, where the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lieut-Gen P.P.S. Bhandari, was having dinner during a visit.

The matter of illegal detention came to light when the GCM's proceedings were forwarded to Headquarters Western Command for confirmation. According to sources, the unit authorities ostensibly had tried to offset the period under which the accused was facing disciplinary proceedings against the sentence, so that he could serve less time in prison.

An undertaking was given before the GCM to this extent, the sources said. However, when the relevant details about the said custodial period were summoned for scrutiny by Western Command, it was found that no such records existed. Thereafter, a court of inquiry was ordered to ascertain facts.

The court of inquiry, conducted by the Infantry Brigade stationed in Kasauli, concluded on February 23. The Colonel, who was then the Commanding Officer of the unit, has been held responsible. He is currently posted in Jammu and Kashmir and is to be moved on attachment to another formation.

The sources said the jawan's trial had revealed certain infirmities in the initial investigation and subsequent handling of the case by the unit concerned. Initially a Sub-divisional Magistrate had acquitted the accused, whereas a murder case is the jurisdiction of a Sessions Court.

The unit, which in the meantime had moved to Punjab, did not initiate any action. And when asked for a progress report by higher formations a few months later, it suggested that the matter be disposed off summarily. When the documents of the case, including the summary of evidence, were scrutinised at Headquarters Western Command, it was found to be a case of alleged murder. Thereafter, the General Officer Commanding 9 Division ordered a GCM to try the accused.

The GCM had been convened at Dehra Dun last year. Another lapse pointed out by the sources was that the prosecuting officer initially appointed in the GCM belonged to the accused's unit.



Airmen’s study room inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, Training Command, Air Vice- Marshal Ambrish Kumar, inspected various sections of the MiG-23/27 TETTRA School at the Air Force High Grounds, near here, today. He also inaugurated airmen's study room at the airmen's mess.

Earlier on his arrival at the High Grounds, he was received by the Station Commander, Group Captain P. P. Khandekar, who also briefed him about the activities of the school.



PCA-police row over pass privilege
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
Two matches were on at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium today. While the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams battled it out in the lush green fields of the stadium, the PCA officials and the Punjab police today fought their own war outside.

Alleging that the police on duty was “getting” persons without passes inside the VIP enclosures and terrace stands, PCA officials went on a “clean up” drive this morning. Every person occupying a seat in the various VIP areas on the top floors of the pavilion and the terrace was checked and many of those who did not possess a pass were asked to vacate these stands.

However, for many VIP families who had left their passes at home, it was a humiliation which they could not tolerate. Wife of an Inspector-General of Police, reportedly left the stadium in a huff followed by an ADGP’s family. Senior government officers who were not on the PCA guest list and had “managed” entry into the stadium returned disappointed.

The PCA’s private security men were ordered to take over control of gates of the stadium from the Punjab Police. They were told to check the tickets and passes rather than leave the job to the policemen. They were also asked to lock gates at all strategic points inside the stadium so that the policemen could not access these areas. The gate from the SSP’s makeshift office to the terrace block was locked in the morning and despite several requests the gate was not opened. Sources said that the lock was also broken once but another one was put in its place. This was not all. The wife of a senior PCA official took upon herself the task of checking the passes of those entering the terrace and VIP enclosures.

The police too retaliated to what they considered was an unfair allegation and decided to harden their stand and tightened the security at all gates. The SSP Ropar ordered the policemen at the gates to follow the rules strictly and check all passes and tickets.

However the announcement had a different fall out. More egos were hurt and humiliations followed when PCA Official’s VIP guests were stopped by the police at the gates and asked for their passes. Senior PCA officials were seen ushering their guests from the gates to the inside enclosures but were stopped by the police at every point.

The strictness at the gates had another impact outside the stadium. Many of those who had been promised a “free” seat inside by those on duty at the PCA were left high and dry. While most returned, others resorted to asking for used gate passes. Two men approached this correspondent “selling” general tickets at face value. “We had bought these en-bloc before the beginning of the match. These are the only two we are left with,” they said. Within minutes a young boy approached these men and paid for the tickets to gain entry into the stadium.



PCA ignores disabled
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, March 11
Thousands of cricket lovers daily make beeline to watch the India-Pakistan Test series at PCA stadium, Mohali, which will conclude tomorrow. But sadly, the organisers have ignored the cause of physically challenged. There is no separate entry for them.

The Punjab Cricket Association which has been conducting the Test matches and one-day internationals has surprisingly made no efforts to have separate gate for them.

According to a cricket promoter whenever international level games like Olympics, Asian Games or Commonwealth Games are held there is always special provision for the safe entry of the physically challenged. There are many cricket lovers in the region who cannot afford to buy premium ticket. If they enter through the general block, then there is every chance of their getting hurt.

Moreover, the gate management is totally missing in the PCA grounds. One could witness lot of heated exchanges between the entry seekers and the police.

Another sport organiser who is his early 70s said for the past few days he had been visiting PCA stadium daily and was disturbed by the rude behaviour of policemen. He said there was no provision for the safe entry of senior citizens or parents with small children. It is the youth and students who generally storm the gates.

A sport lover was wondering why small children had been issued student tickets on concessional rates when they cannot have a safe entry in the stands. She said many children who were issued concessional tickets in their respective school could not make it to the stadium since they alone dare not enter the stadium.

Another cricket fan was of the view that in general and VIP stands, there should be cover and in this approaching summer spectators must get protection from the sun and the value of the money spent.



Most Pakistanis leave town to visit other places
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
Even before the Mohali Test comes to a close, a significant number of Pakistani visitors today abandoned the VIP blocks at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium, reserved for them.

Only those like ‘Chacha’, who have been sponsored by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), have stayed back in town. The queues for visas to other towns far exceeded than those lining up to enter the stadium on day four that saw an exciting Indian attack. The Pakistanis fell like a pack of cards till skipper Inzmam-ul-Haq and Yusuf Youhana provided some stability.

The tilting of the match in favour of India and the visa extensions to outside Punjab by the government were the reasons for their exodus from the city.

But those who stayed back had every reason to enjoy the match towards its fag end. Rao Javed Umar, a Pakistani guest, remarked, “ It is unpleasant to see that there are few supporters to cheer our home team. By now most of my friends have already landed in different cities”. But he was happy that his countrymen had understood that there was much more to share with their Indian brethren than just cheering the home team.

Umar’s Indian hosts, Deepak and Jasbir, who were also present in the stadium, said the Pakistani guests were the ambassadors of goodwill, who would take back home a strong message of increased people-to-people interaction.

The special stands kept for them were filled with Indian fans and the absence of these guests was noticed by all present there, including the police personnel, who were impressed with their good behaviour.

“All people from across the border are well-behaved and law-abiding. They did not create any problem for us anywhere”, said Mr K S Bhinder, Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was security in charge in Pakistani stands at the PCA stadium.

However, the guests were seen outside the stadium at the visa counter, set up to facilitate visas for them to visit different places. The aspirants started making a beeline even before the opening of the counter. None was bothered about the ongoing game inside the stadium. They were more interested in making enquiries about the cities they wanted to visit.

Enquiries with the police revealed that only 20 to 25 per cent Pakistanis still remained here. The fact was corroborated by the local hoteliers, owners of guest houses, bhavans and residents who accommodated the guests for the past six days.

All Pakistanis, about to leave the city, were very happy with the love and respect bestowed on them by their Indian counterparts. “ We are going from here with lots of sweet memories. We cannot forget all this for the rest of our lives”, said Mohammed Shafiq Tahir, who visited India for the first time with his friends Ahmed Ali and Naved Ahmed with lot of apprehensions in their minds before leaving Pakistan. “Now we will present the real picture of India and its lovable people to all our friends in Pakistan”, they said.

“Spending six days in India was like a dream come true for us and we thank all the people and the Government of India for giving us so much love and making us comfortable”, mused Waqas Naeem and Ahmed who came from Lahore. However, all insisted on the removal of visa restrictions between the two countries as they wanted to visit India again and again. 



Bonhomie beyond cricket
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Rangpurias residence in Sector 49 has been buzzing with activity ever since their Pakistani guests walked into their house and hearts four days back. They can’t contain their happiness at being able to host the guests and are playing indulging parents to the six youth, four boys and two girls.

Calling them the “harbingers of peace”, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, the lady of the house, recalls,”From the time we read about Pakistanis coming to the city, we were eager to play hosts to our brothers and sisters from across the border. We set our house in order, made arrangements for the stay of the guests, and left for the stadium in Sector 16.”

After the couple made their intentions known to the organisers, they were put in touch with a Pakistani couple. But they had already got their bookings done much to our disappointment. Then, we met this group of cousins who seemed very vivacious and urged them to stay with us. Their first reaction was how much we would charge for the stay little realising that we were doing it for the love of the land of our ancestors who had their roots in Sargoda in Punjab district of Pakistan. We explained our motive behind the proposal and they agreed,” she adds.

Her husband, Mr Rajwinder Singh, said the idea behind hosting the youngsters was to connect with the past. “Since they came, we have had a stream of visitors wanting to meet them, interact with them and know more about Pakistan.

Ayaz Mehmood, 27, is the eldest among the cousins. Omar Javed, Faraz Khuram, Amad Shraf and Farah Naaz and Sumera Shehzadi are all unanimous that the match wasn’t the only reason to come to India. In fact, we just wanted to visit India, meet people and establish strong ties. This mission has been successful as far as we are concerned,” says the eldest in the group.

“We salute the spirit of cricket which has opened up communication channels between the people of two nations. Now, our only wish is that Wagah ceases to be a border and instead becomes a meeting ground where Pakistanis and Indians can meet and exchange gifts. Amritsar-Lahore should become one,” Omar Javed stated.

With the same kind of loving people on both sides of the border, similar in culture and language, they said politicians should work towards more cordial relations. 



Pak women ‘lack freedom to do their own thing’
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Bopping, revelry and bonhomie galore!

A special, private party thrown by four young people in the city had the Pakistanis boogying through the afternoon.

And ‘private’ does not mean restricted, on the contrary, the more the merrier!

Vaibhav Sahni, Aparshakti Khurana, Sumit Gupta and his friends spread the word of camaraderie and almost 60 of their friends from across the border congregated for an afternoon of chow, brew, some Punjabi pop and a spirited performance by some young dramatists at Copper Club, Sector 26.

What made the evening singular was the extraordinary display by young boys of the local DAV College dramatics group, Aaghaz.

And keeping the Pakistanis company were an enthusiastic bunch of friends of the hosts. The short frills, long skirts and tinted hair all had the Pakistanis dazzled, who had preferred to come here without accompanied by women from their country.

Naveed Paswal, a 28-year-old lawyer from Lahore, speaks of a Pakistan where entertainment for youngsters, especially women, is almost non-existent if you belong to a middle-class family where traditional restrictions are firmly in place. “Hindi movies, although banned, are watched avidly in Pakistani homes. Pakistani singers hold shows and a lot of dramas are staged consisting mainly of comedy and dance.” And would that include women? “Yes, but the women who are not allowed to expose themselves, do so by singing vulgar verse. These are so crude that really it is difficult to watch.” “The society is hypocritical” says Naveed.

Faheem Jhanzaib (25) agrees. “Everything happens, drinking, dancing, but all behind closed doors. At college, some department heads tell us not to talk to women in front of everybody.”

Mohsin is a 31-year-old practising psychiatrist in Lahore. He says that a number of women he treats come to him with symptoms of depression springing from lack of freedom to do their own thing. “A lot of women go frequently to doctors using it as an excuse to get out of the house and to be able to speak with someone.”

But most of the people have come to India with their own agendas. “Cricket was just an excuse to get the visa,” said Asim Iftikhar, a chartered accountant in Lahore.

Faheem studies at the Institute of Communication at Punjab University, Lahore. He has come here to meet with students at the Department of Mass Communication at Punjab University and to invite them on an exchange programme to Pakistan. He insists that ideas, cultures and friendship can grow only through interactions like these. “I don’t like discos,” he says, “but the love is overwhelming and so I came here.”

Naveed loves to party. “There are no discos in Lahore. So we have basement parties. We try and make the most of what we have.”

While everyone guzzled beer and titbits, the Pakistanis soaked in the ambience of the disco lights, the loud music and the good cheer. Aparshakti says the whole “do” will cost about Rs 14,000 and it’s well worth it. As Naveed explains, “If you try and restrict young people, they will find a way around it.”

May the good times keep rolling!



Jumbo bat, an expression of his passion for cricket
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Cricket, passion and people are inextricably linked. It is the immense love and passion for the game that has inspired local craftsman Vishnu Prajapati to make a gigantic bat. His emotions moulded in the shape of a 21-foot-long giant bat are indeed spectacular. It weighs around 125 kgs.

In a corner of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, is located the workshop of Vishnu Prajapati where his entire family, comprising 10 members, is working tirelessly to give practical shape to his passion. For the past three weeks the task of completing the bat has been on the top of the priority list of this family and the usual sculpture- making has taken a back seat, he informed.

Giving details, he said the bat had a basic wooden frame on which he had applied a thick coat of plaster of Paris to give it the shape of a bat . To further give it a glossy look it would be covered with fibre glass.

His wife, Rajni, has helped him in scrubbing the surface of the bat to smoothen it. She herself is a good sculptor and has won appreciation from NGOs. The couple is proud of its achievement and propose to gift the bat to the team that wins the ongoing India-Pakistan test series.

Having already spent around Rs 40,000 on it, another Rs 10,000 would be required to finish it. “My relatives are also helping me financially to help me complete my dream project”, he said.

This could have been a unique kind of publicity. “I am looking for some sponsorship from some multinational company. But no company has contacted me so far,” he says. “If nobody comes forward, I will present this jumbo bat to the winning team.

“We work together all day and night to fulfil our father’s dream and present this bat to the winning team”, his children added.

Interestingly, all members of his family are passionate about cricket. Santosh, the eldest of his four children has a soft corner for Irfan Pathan while Vandana is all praise for Shoaib Akhtar. Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly is Manjit’s favourite and Davinder likes the bowling style of Balaji.



MC unclear on technology for garbage processing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Nearly five years after the Municipal Corporation started serious deliberation on garbage processing, it is not even clear on which technology it would employ.

The corporation had earlier shortlisted three technologies. Plasma technology involving heating gas in garbage does not have the approval of the Environment Ministry. Garbage to pellet and pellet to power technology was an accepted policy, however, problem in its implementation has raised a question mark over its feasibility. One of the original bidders in this category from Hyderabad has a plant located more than 50 kms from the city. Going by the size of the UT, the plant cannot find a place in the city and will have to be located either in Punjab or Haryana.

The corporation has also considered the viability of the garbage to pellet technology. There are a couple of options available, sources said. A decision on acceptability of the technology and availability of a functional plant is still awaited.

The corporation, during this period, has seen demonstrations of at least 20 different companies engaged in garbage disposal using different technologies.

The MC in its last meeting authorised the Mayor and the Commissioner to shortlist a technology by involving technical expertise. In a meeting attended by officials from the Punjab Energy Development Authority and Ministry of Environment, recently, no formal decision on the technology could be arrived at.

The corporation is bound under the act to have a garbage processing unit in the city. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has also taken a serious view about non availability of a garbage processing unit in the city.

Mr Subhash Chawla, a former mayor, said” We do not have example of a single functional plant which suited the requirements of the city. There has been a difference of opinion over selection of the technology. The matter needed to be discussed at a senior level of the administration involving the representatives from the corporation”.

Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, said deliberations on the issue were at an advanced stage. “No formal decision has yet been taken but we are exploring all the possible avenues in details before a final decision.”

A working committee has asked the corporation to ensure proper weighing of the daily garbage. A councillor pointed out that anyone who sets up a plant in the city will first ask for a guarantee on amount of garbage available. This was important in working out the feasibility of any plant. Greater efforts need to be made in segregation of waste — bio-degradable and the remainder.



Residents resent sewage discharge into choe
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
Hundreds of residents of Sector 12 here are suffering due to insanitary conditions caused by the sewage discharge into the Singh nullah choe, flowing through the sector.

Residents here allege that Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has been releasing sewage in the seasonal rivulet. They allege that in spite of an undertaking given to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in year 1997, HUDA officials have not refrained from discharging the sewage. They say that since the bed of the nullah is covered with silt and solid waste is being dumped here, the sewage discharge is not flowing and the stench emanating from the nullah is making living difficult for them.

Mrs Vidya Mani, a former Secretary of House Owners Social Welfare Association, Sector 12, says that they have made numerous complaints to HUDA, and taken up the matter with the district administration, but to no avail. Mr S P Gosain, another resident, informs that the residents had filed a writ in the High Court, seeking restraint on HUDA to discharge sewerage in the nullah.

“The High Court had taken an undertaking from HUDA that they would construct a sewage treatment plant. Though a plant was later constructed in Sector 20, but waste is still being released in the nullah,” he alleges.

Residents say that other than this, the migrant labourers residing in village Railla nearby are using all vacant plots for relieving themselves. “These plots have become like open toilets. A vacant government school site here has been converted into an open toilet, and the residents of houses near this site are facing a problem,’ adds Mr S S Bajwa.

These residents say that many of the original house owners have already sold off their houses here because of the insanitary conditions, but the HUDA officials have failed to take any action.



Sexual harassment: women appeal to Kalam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The crisis caused by charges of sexual molestation against Dr G.S. Chahal, acting Director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS), further deepened today with the complainants forwarding their appeal for justice to the President of India.

The woman staff of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society also appealed to Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) to help them secure justice against the erring officer, besides forwarding their representations to the President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh and Chairperson, All India Congress Committee, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

Charged with molesting women employees of the society, Dr Chahal has been continuing in service. This despite the fact that the “victimised” women have voiced their grievance on all possible platforms in Punjab. Dejected with the indifference of authorities, the complainants today appealed to women organisations to espouse their cause.

Today their protest entered the fourth day. In their written complaints to the President, Prime Minister and Ms Gandhi, the women have narrated the entire story from beginning to end. They have also listed details of the molestation cases, apart from explaining how they have exhausted all official channels but their grievances have still not been redressed.

The complainants today also levelled charges against the Punjab Health Ministry while saying that the Ministry seemed to be hand in glove with the erring officer simply because it has not bothered to take any action against him. It is significant that at least eight women have submitted written complains against Dr Chahal’s conduct. They claimed that they would continue their agitation till the government listens to their grievances and punishes Dr Chahal.



Journalists felicitated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
Some poets, writers or journalists, because of their wisdom, knowledge and flair for expression contribute to society in their respective realm which is acknowledged in a dignified manner. City-based journalists, Sham Singh and Jagtar Singh Sidhu of the Punjabi Tribune were bestowed with the ‘Shiromani Patarkar’ by the Government of Punjab.

‘Samvedna’ a literary organisation here felicitated journalist poet Sham Singh and Jagtar Singh Sidhu at a function at the Punjab Kala Bhavan today. 



Flower festival results
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
With the 19 th Flower Festival all set to begin tomorrow, the Town Park and other gardens in the township wore a festive look. The results of the potted plant category in the flower festival-2005 were announced today. The results are as follows:

D1 Pansy: Baba Sorup Singh, Chandigarh, Sanjay Thereja, Panchkula, Harpreet Kaur, Panchkula.

D2: Phlox: Baba Sarup Singh Ji, Chandigarh Sanjay Thareja Panchula.

D3 Aster: Santosh Kumar, Darua.

D4: Nasturitum: SS Gill, Mohali Sarwan Pal, Chandigarh.

D5: Verbena: Hans Raj Public School, Panchkula, Aman Deep, Chandigarh.

D6: Brachycome: Sanjay Thareja, Panchkula, Sarwan Pal, Chandigarh.

D7: Geranium: SS Gill, Mohali; Jai Goyal, Panchkula.

D8: Cineraria: Amandeep Chandigarh, Brij Sood, Panchkula.

D9: Antirrhinum: SS Gill, Mohali, Kavita Soni, Panchkula.

D10: Salvia: Amandeep, Chandigarh, Sobh Nath, Chandigarh, Sarwan Pal, Chandigarh.

D11: Carnation: Baba Sarup Singh Chandigarh, Brig Vikram Goswami, Chandimandir.

D12: Dahlia: Sanjay Thareja, Panchkula; Kavita Soni, Panchkula.

D13: Petunia: SS Gill, Mohali, Salik Ram, Panchkula, Rajesh Kumar, Panchkula.

D14: Rose HT: Col DC katoch, Panchkula.

D15: Rose Floribunda: Col DC Katoch.

D16: Any annual not mentioned above: Sarwan Pal, Chandigarh, Aman Deep Chandigarh.

D17: Cacti, Collection of 4 different kinds: Vijay Kumar Panchkula.

D18: Succulent Collection of 4 different kinds: Kavita Soni, Panchkula, Sanjay Thareja, Panchkula.

D19: Foliage plants decoratively trained 4 different kinds: Col DC Katoch, Panchkula, Mrs Ranuka Gupta, Panchkula.

D20: Col Action of Bonsai Plants: Dr VP Sood, Panchkula, Brij Sood, Panchkula;

D 21: Collection of decoratively trained bougainvillea: Vijay Kumar, Panchkula.



Guldasta begins today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
Guldasta: The two-day Flower Festival, 2005, is all set to begin at Silvi Park Phase 10, tomorrow. Punjab Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in collaboration with the Municipal Council Mohali will celebrate it.

Satinder Satti will compeer the musical night. Children’s carnival with eateries and swings has been organised.

Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh will inaugurate the festival.

Mr KBS Sidhu Secretary, Urban Housing and Development will be the chief guest.

Musical night will be inaugurated at 7.30 pm.



Search Within
Exam pressure — failure of education

“EVERY fifth student in Delhi feels suicidal under exam pressure” —that headline in one of the national newspapers based on a survey of 200 students (from Class VIII to XII) is a measure of the tension the students are undergoing as they sit for the board examinations all over the country.

A few weeks ago, newspapers from Delhi gave wide coverage to the examination blues that had caused six suicides and 300 unsuccessful suicide attempts within one fortnight of the board examinations scheduled in the national Capital. There can be no data about thousands others who might have become nervous wrecks because of stress and fear.

There is an element of truth in the claim that peer pressure is one of the factors in this tension. Yes, there is parental pressure on the one side making it imperative for the students to perform their best, and on the other, there is peer pressure. Peer pressure is related to that tendency in man to conform to what “everybody does.” It creates needless fears in those who are unable to conform or fall short of the general standards. However, there are those who can ignore sarcasm and jibes from fellow students and there are also those sensitive souls who could feel terrible humiliation over slighting remarks.

Overcome by a sense of failure or shame, some are bound to take extreme steps in a blind moment. How tragic it is when some youth makes an attempt to destroy oneself and mid-way is overcome by his will to live! And sure enough newspapers will come up with tales of woe of parents who are repentant and helpless.

Which mother or father will like to lose their boy or girl just because he or she did not fare well in an examination? Yet thoughtlessly, some measure their lives in terms of score and cards and end their lives on a tragic impulse. Parents who painstakingly bring up and bestow their love and labour on such children live on to suffer all their lives.

This, in short, is the failure of our education. Education is supposed to teach children to face life with all its challenges. “ The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things,” wrote a sage of old. By discernment he meant the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.”

It is unfortunate that education does not seem to impart this discernment to our teens. They rather delight in imitation. “Envy is ignorance. Imitation is suicide.” Those famous words were spoken by Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher and essayist, so long ago (1803-1882). But for all that wisdom, we have not grown any wiser. Why? There are those who believe that it is envy that leads to competition and competition brings out the best in us.

But if the elders in society are bent upon imitating the ways of the powerful and the wealthy, the youth should not be faulted for looking at the score cards and studies as means to acquire power and wealth. Peer pressure is an element present throughout one’s life. The rat race that is in evidence everywhere is nothing but the result of peer pressure. You are middle class and if your neighbour possesses a luxury car, you develop a craze to go in for a similar one. This cycle of imitation goes on making a dent into your finances and mental peace. Merchants and advertisers make capital out of this flaw of human nature and motivate people to live beyond their means.

There are those who justify peer pressure on the ground that competition is necessary for the progress of the individual. While there is some truth in this claim, one can also attribute most of the present day evils to the prevalence and heightening of the competitive spirit.

While it is easy to conform, it is tough to be the only one who says “no” to peer pressure. But it is necessary to resist wrong influences, particularly when one is young. To go back to Emerson’s words: “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.”

There could be very challenging situations in life and education should prepare one to face such challenges. If one gets disheartened over one’s score card and seeks to end his /her life, such folly reveals that education has not done much to change his/her defeatist attitude to life. To run away from life is cowardice. To take one’s life is condemned as a sin; taking one’s own life is equivalent to the sin of murder according to most religious beliefs. Only God has created life and only He has the right to bring it to an end.

And if any situation is overwhelming, one could always “ talk to the One who made us.” We are all not here by accident and God has a plan for each life and He has invested each one with definite talents. It is His will that we must develop those particular talents given to each one of us. Faith in God gives us the right values and when we are anchored in true faith, the challenges such as an examination or class test will not drive us to despair.

— M.P.K. Kutty



One held on charge of rape
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
The Chandigarh Police has registered a case of rape against Shiv Narain alias Suraj Soni after a Mauli Jagran resident complained saying that the man had made her pregnant after promising to marry her. But he later backed out forcing her to abort her and dispose of six month old foetus in a garbage bin in Mauli Jagran on March 9.

According to the police, the case was registered on the directions of a court. The mother yesterday in her statement to the court alleged that the accused had been repeatedly raping her on the promise of marrying her. A case of rape under Sections 376 and 506 was registered in Mani Majra police station, yesterday. The accused has been arrested and sent to judicial custody.

The police has also registered a case against the accused, the complainant and her mother for concealment of birth by disposing of the body after a foetus was found in the locality. The police has also sent the blood sample of both the mother and Shiv Narian, the suspected father for the DNA tests to establish the truth. 



Driver takes away impounded truck
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
A truck driver fled with his vehicle from police custody in Sector 31 police station, late last night.

The truck (PB-10-W-6549) was impounded by the State Transport Authority, Chandigarh on March 9 as it was without permit and other documents. The truck was parked in the open area besides the police station as there was not much space in the police station complex for parking.

The SHO of Sector 31 police station said, as the truck was parked outside the sentry on duty could not keep watch on it. As the open space was at a little distance away from the sentry post, the sentry failed to notice when the driver fled away with the truck. He added they had no malkhana to park big vehicles.

A case of theft has been registered against truck driver, Sukhdev Singh and the owner of the truck, Gurdev Singh. A police party has been sent to Ludhiana to arrest the accused, said the police.

Last year also a truck driver fled with his impounded truck from the premises of Traffic Police Lines, Sector 29. The accused was later arrested by the police.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Ravi of Sector 38-West reported to the police that his Bajaj Pulsar Motor cycle (CH-03-P-8338) was stolen from a parking lot in Sector 17, market. A case of theft has been registered.

In a separate incident, Mr M.L. Bhardwaj of Sector 44-A filed a complaint that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-M-7851) was stolen from his residence during night of March 8. A case has been registered.



Nepalese guard found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A Nepali guard here was allegedly murdered today. The body of 35-year-old Harkraj Bhatrai was found near Shampura village, about 3 km from here, in early morning. Some passers-by on the road spotted the body and informed the police.

A large number of persons hailing from Nepal gathered at the Civil Hospital to claim the body, but the police did not allow them to claim it till this evening. Police personnel had locked the body in the mortuary. They said they were completing the formalities of the case.

When The Tribune team visited the mortuary with the help of hospital employees, it found a deep wound on the forehead, near the eyes, of the deceased. He was probably hit with a sharp-edged weapon a number of times. It was also learnt that the whistle and the torch of the guard was missing from the spot.

The post-mortem was not conducted till 3 pm today and the Nepalese nationals, sitting outside the mortuary, continued to wait for the body.

While a relative of the deceased claimed that he was murdered, the police said the guard was probably hit by the some speeding vehicle and later he succumbed to his injuries.

“We came to know about the incident around 8.30 am. The deceased belonged to Sidharath Nagar in Kailali district in Nepal. He was living at Ropar for the past two years. He was employed in the New Garden Colony,” said Jeet Bahadur, who was waiting outside the mortuary.

The SHO city, Mr Manvir Singh Bajwa, said it was a case of accident. We have registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving, he added.



Rs 1.50 cr cheating case: one held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
The police here arrested Sanjay Gaur, an employee of Sat Narayan Associates, Sector 8, from Kalka yesterday. The company was booked by the police yesterday allegedly for duping 190 persons from region of more than Rs 1.5 crore for work visa of Dubai.

The accused was produced in a court today, which remanded him for five days in police custody for five days.

Around 150 persons, who were asked to collect their visas from the office of the company yesterday, found the office locked.



Banking week for women organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A banking week for homemakers was organised by Allahabad Bank, Sector 34, from March 7 to March 11 to spread banking habits amongst the ladies.

Mr V.K. Chawla, Assistant General Manager of Allahabad Bank, Chandigarh Zone exhorted the women to adopt the banking habits.

The bank has several deposit products to inculcate the habits of saving. He advised the women to come forward and start their own venture for which the bank would provide financial assistance.

Mr Indram Nandrajog, Senior Manager of the bank, explained about the various schemes of the Bank in detail such as, Housing Loan, Education Loan, AllBank Rent, AllBank Abhushan for ladies, Al-ayushman Bima Yojna, Free Personal Accident Insurance scheme etc.

Women showed interest in banking products.


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