C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Hope for HUDA applicants
HC disposes of plea against construction
Maneesh Chibber and Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The wait for thousands of applicants for the housing scheme of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) in Sectors 2 and 6 could soon be over.
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal today disposed of the petition filed by Dr B. Singh, pertaining to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) housing scheme in Panchkula.

The Bench observed that the stay on initiating development activities would be effective for the next four weeks. During this period, the aggrieved person/party can approach the Supreme Court where a related writ is pending.

In case, the petitioner fails to approach the apex court during these four weeks or gets a stay from the court, HUDA will be allowed to develop the land.

The counsel for HUDA had earlier filed a civil miscellaneous petition praying to the court for permission to hold the draw of lots for 537 plots in Sector 2 and 6 of the MDC.

As many as 33,793 applicants had applied for these residential plots by investing Rs 465.103 crore with HUDA for the housing scheme floated in April, 2004.

Over 5,900 applications were received for residential plots in Sector 2 MDC, and 27, 850 applications for 372 plots in Sector 6 MDC.

The earnest money received from applicants is getting HUDA a collective monthly interest of around Rs 2.6 crore (at 7 per cent rate of interest, Rs 31.90 crore is the collective annual interest).

So far, HUDA has netted a profit of over Rs 28 crore as interest on earnest money of the applicants.

As the litigation in the case dragged on, HUDA offered to refund money to the applicants, if they so desired. However, only 120 applicants applied for a refund, while the rest of them decided to wait.

Dr B. Singh had also moved an application seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against HUDA Administrator for “willful and intentional violation” of order dated July 16, 2004 passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, whereby the court banned construction activity in the area within the forest area subject to further orders of the court.

He had stated in his petition that acceptance of all applications by HUDA “amounts to cheating and defrauding” innocent public besides violating the order of the court.

The petitioner in the public interest litigation, which had led the High Court to restrain the Haryana Government from implementing any low volume habitation scheme around Sukhna Lake, prayed that he be allowed to contest the application. He also said the draw of lots would be an illegal exercise and a contempt of court.



Theft of cable leaves 2000 phones dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Nearly 2000 telephones of the BSNL in Sector 29 and Sector 30 have been rendered non-functional for past two days, after the two main telephones cables catering to these two sectors were stolen from near the Industrial Area Phase I here on Thursday evening. The cables were stolen after digging the manhole cover.

Around five metres of each of the cables were stolen and the department officials say that the estimated loss due to the theft would be running into lakhs as even as small portion of the missing cable requires a replacement of a major chunk of cable.

“More than 1500 telephones are dead in the two sectors as the stolen cables were the main telephone lines in the area. Repair work is going and some of the telephones should start functioning by Saturday,’’ said a BSNL official to The Tribune today.

In addition to the two stolen cables, another cable in Industrial Area I was damaged which rendered 20 telephones nonfunctional.

Repair of the lost and damaged cables started today and the department officials say that the it would be only possible by Saturday evening that the telephones connections would be restored, but only for around 1000 connections. “Our men are working for repairing and replacing the cables. Around 1000 phones should start working by Saturday evening while others may take one more day,’’ added the official.

This is not the first instance where when telephone cables have been stolen in the city and the services severely affected. The officials however seem helpless about such incidents. “Due to the aluminum in the cables, many a times the cables have been stolen through the manhole covers and the department has to incur huge financial losses. Even a small missing portion of the cable affects several telephones,’’ added the officials.



Businessman’s son ‘kidnapped’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Hotelier and prominent businessman, Balbir Chaudhary has accused his rival Ram Lal, Chandigarh Congress leader Mr Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy, and a son of another hotelier, Minhal of kidnapping his 15-year-old son.

In a complaint to the police, Mr Chaudhary and his wife, Ms Asha Bandyan have accused the above mentioned and one Amandeep of kidnapping their son, Arzoo alias Manu. They have alleged that their son had been kidnapped because of an old rivalry with the accused.

Talking to TNS, Ms Bandyan said that her son, who had just cleared his Class IX from St Kabir School, Chandigarh, was missing for the past three days. “I was away to a bank in Chandigarh, while my husband was away to his hotel. Our two sons- Arzoo and Akash were alone with the maid servants. Akash was taking bath and when he came out, he realised that Arzoo was missing. He then informed us, and we started looking for him. Initially we thought that he had just gone away, and tried to find about his whereabouts from his friends. Later, we filed a complaint with the police about his being missing,” she said.

“However, over the past two days we have gathered enough proof that he has been kidnapped. We have learnt that attempts were being made to kidnap him for ransom for some time. So I met the Superintendent of Police today and apprised him of the matter,” she said.

Superintendent of Police, Dr R.C. Misra, when contacted, said that the police was investigating the matter and necessary steps were being taken to recover the victim.



Centre restrained from reverting KV Principals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today restrained the Central Government from issuing any orders regarding reversion of Principals of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).

The directions were issued after an application was moved by 11 Principals. Serving notice on the Commissioner of the KVS for April 18, the tribunal, after hearing the plea of the applicants, restrained the respondent from issuing any adverse order on the basis of the show-cause notice issued by it earlier.

The applicants had in their plea challenged the show-cause notice to them asking as to why their services should not be cancelled from the post of Principal.

They apprehended that their appointments as Principal may be cancelled immediately on receipt of the show-cause notice.

KVS Commissioner Ranglal Jamuda had recently served show-cause notices on the applicants. In an order dated December 3, 2004, the KVS amended the rules by passing the basic rules of promotion, thus making vice-principals (with one year of experience) eligible for the post of Principal.

The amendment affected the legitimate right of the applicants who had been working as Principals for around five years without an adverse report against them.

The applicants stated that the rules had been amended with some ulterior motive to accommodate vice-principals.

The ground taken by the respondents was that the regular appointment of the Principal was beyond the mandate prescribed by the Board of Governors and exercising of powers by the then Commissioner was unauthorised.

The applicants were initially appointed as Principals on deputation basis on May 19, 2000, as they were already working as PGT teachers and were subsequently appointed as such on regular basis on May 29, 2001.

In an earlier case, the tribunal in an order dated February 9, 2005, gave liberty to the respondents to proceed against the Principals in accordance with the law and quashed an impugned order of reversion of the applicants from the post of Principals to PGT teachers.

The Principals had contended that no show-cause notices were issued to any of them to explain their points of view. Since they had been directed to hand over the charge to vice-principals and senior-most postgraduate teachers (PGTs), an ambiguous situation could emerge as they would have to work under “junior teachers”.



Man stabs dog, case registered
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, April 8
Rakesh Kumar of Burail was walking with his dog last night when he passed another resident, Kala, who was out on a similar purpose. The two men, the police claimed, had not on good terms.

Rakesh and Kala did not even exchange a look with each other but their dogs did. They growled and snapped and finally got into a fight.

Rakesh’s dog got the better of the other dog. However, before Kala’s pet could retire to nurse its bruises, the master got into the act on its behalf.

The police said Kala rushed to his house and pulled out his butcher’s knife. He stabbed Rakesh’s dog repeatedly and then escaped from the scene of the “crime”.

A case under Sections 429 IPC - “mischief by killing or maiming cattle etc of any value or any animal of the value of Rs 50” —- has been registered. It carries an imprisonment of up to five years or fine or both.



Govt officials insensitive to audit findings: CAG
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Lack of sensitivity to audit findings and erosion of accountability on the part of government officials has been pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Several audit paragraphs relating to system failure, mis-management and misappropriation of government money have not been addressed for past several years. The appropriate and timely response from the executive is missing.

In the audit report for the year ending March 31, 2004, the CAG said several departments of the Punjab Government like the Public Works, Industry, Education, Social Welfare and Health and Family Welfare, and Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) were largely responsible for the non-submission of explanatory notes.

The government did not respond even to the reviews pertaining to the misappropriation of government money.

It pointed out that at the instance of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Finance Department issued instructions to all departments to initiate action on all reviews figuring in the audit reports , irrespective of whether the cases had been taken up for examination by the PAC or not.

As per the instructions, the departments were required to furnish the action taken report within three months of the presentation of the reports to the state legislature.

In the case of the Health and Family Welfare Department, the inspection reports issued to 348 drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) from 1993-94 to September 2003, 4208 paragraphs relating to 2173 inspection reports remained outstanding at the end of March 2004. Of these, 624 inspection reports containing 912 paragraphs had not been settled for more than 10 years. As a result, serious irregularities amounting to several crores have not been settled. The Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, has also failed to ensure timely action on part of the officials concerned.

In connection with the revenue receipts, the inspection reports issued up to the departments of December 2003, pertaining to Excise and Taxation, Revenue, Forests, Power, Transport and Finance involving Rs 1019.43 crore were pending for settlement at the end of June 2004. Of these, the paragraphs involving Rs 917.02 crore were pending for more than one year. In some of the cases, even the first replies had not been received by the CAG.

It was further pointed out that the government did not take adequate action pertaining to irregularities having financial implications of Rs 47.63 crore ( Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation), Rs 16.85 crore (Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation), Rs 5.18 crore (Punjab Agro Industries Corporation) The irregularities were included in reports of the CAG for the period from 1994-95 to 2002-03. The government also failed to take action regarding another irregularity of Rs 166.83 crore (Punjab State Electricity Board) .

The CAG has recommended action against the officials who fail to send replies to audit paragraphs, revamping of the system and recovery of the wrongful expenditure and outstanding dues.



Army cashiers Col Sahgal in Tehelka scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The Army today promulgated the General Court Martial (GCM) sentence cashiering Col Anil Sahgal for professional impropriety in the infamous Tehelka scam.
Sources said Colonel Sahgal was brought from Bathinda under escort to Ambala, where a promulgation parade was held in the presence of the General Officer Commanding 2 Corps.

The GCM’s sentence was read out to him and thereafter he was stripped of his badges of rank, medals and regimental insignia. He will be taken to Delhi and handed over to civilian authorities for being lodged in the Tihar Jail.

The GCM, presided over by Brig Kuldip SIngh, had sentenced Colonel Sahgal to cashiering from service and four-year rigorous imprisonment for allegedly demanding and accepting bribes from fictitious arms dealers while he was posted in Army Headquarters. The sentence was announced by the court in January and thereafter was sent to the Chief of the Army Staff for confirmation. The sentence was confirmed last month.

Colonel Sahgal had filed a writ in the Delhi High Court seeking a stay, but the High Court, however, had refused to stay the promulgation of the sentence.



Passing Thru

Imdad Qazi
Imdad Qazi — general secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) was in the city for the recent CPI National Congress.

What is the position of the Communist movement in Pakistan?

Despite persecution, the CPP is gaining ground. In fact, it has 18 Nazims (Mayors) in Pakistan, a country where democracy is at the receiving end and the military rules the roost.

Your comments on the recent US offer to sell F-16s to Pakistan and India?

The offer is clearly an attempt to set off an arms race in South Asia. Both Pakistan and India should decline the offer in the backdrop of “people-to-people” contact between the two nations.

How can both countries resolve the vexed Kashmir issue?

Kashmir should be put on the backburner and the two countries should cooperate in trade and commerce. The resolution of the Kashmir dispute lies in the “open border” trade policy. Globalisation is the buzz word and the two nations must realise this.

How you view the starting of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service?

Though a belated step, this would prove to be a milestone in the normalisation of the relations between the two South Asian neighbours.

— Pradeep Sharma



IRS officer encroaches upon public land
Affected family moves NHRC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
A family today moved the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) against a senior IRS officer for encroaching upon public land and blocking the entry of their house in Kajheri village here.

In a complaint to the NHRC,Mr Kaka Singh(77) and his wife Ms Angrej Kaur,alleged that the front entrance to their house was blocked following the construction of a building by Mr Mewa Singh, Commissioner(Appeals), Customs and Central Excise, here.

However, Mr Mewa Singh refuted the allegations, saying that the land “legally” belonged his family as it was purchased by his father a few years back. The complainants had another entrance from the back side.

Mr Mewa Singh claimed that he had erected a gate at the entrance of his building but offered a passage to the complainants. However, the complainants, at the instigation of certain village residents, had created a controversy. Even the village panchayat had validated his claim to the land, he claimed.

“The blockade of the entry of our house by the construction of the building has put us to inconvenience as the rain water drainage from the roof has stopped, endangering our house”, Ms Narinder Kaur, daughter-in-law of Mr Kaka Singh, alleged.

Besides, the public street has also been encroached upon by the construction of the building as a visit to the site revealed today.

Ms Narinder Kaur alleged that on March 6, Mr Mewa Singh, accompanied by over 20 persons, started constructing a wall opposite their front door. Ms Angrej Kaur and Ms Narinder Kaur were also assaulted by Mr Mewa Singh’s associates when they tried to resist their attempt to construct the wall, the representation alleged.

Ms Narinder Kaur alleged that the matter was reported to the Sector 61 police post immediately but no action was taken. Moreover, a written complaint to the SSP on March 16 has failed to elicit any response, she alleged.

However, Mr Mewa Singh could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.

The representation urged the NHRC to order an inquiry by an officer not below the rank of the IG since the matter involved a senior excise official.



Panchayat elections today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Stage is set for the Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad elections in Panchkula tomorrow. As many as 2292 candidates are in the fray for the posts of Sarpanch, panch, Panchayat Samiti member and Zila Parishad member.

Today a team of officials including Returning Officer Mrs Keshni Anand Arora and Deputy Commissioner, Brijendra Singh, visited various parts of the district to check arrangements for tomorrow’s elections.

The DC, who is also the District Election Officer informed that elections were being held in 64 villages in Pinjore block, 36 in Barwala block, 20 in Morni block and 42 in Raipur Rani block. As many as 647 candidates are in fray for panches in villages of Pinjore, 408 in Barwala, 425 in Raipur Rani and 142 in Morni, whereas 955 sarpanches have already been elected unanimously in all these villages.

As many as 20 sarpanches have been unanimously elected, whereas 470 are in the fray for elections of 262 panchayats in the district. The Deputy Commissioner also informed that 154 candidates will contest for the four Panchayat Samitis- Pinjore, Barwala, Raipur Rani and Morni. Nine Panchayat Samiti members have already been declared as elected.

Forty six persons are contesting the Zila Parishad elections from the ten wards in the district, he added.

Mr Brijendra Singh said that 1310 employees have been put on special duty for conducting the elections. The police too has made elaborate arrangements to ensure that law and order is maintained during the elections. Over 1000 cops will be on duty, besides 264 home guard jawans. The police has also set up 16 patrolling parties. There are 10 sensitive and 32 hyper-sensitive booths in the district.

Results for the Panchayat elections will be declared tomorrow, results for the Zila Parishad elections will be declared on March 12.



Asst Excise Commissioner chargesheeted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The Chandigarh Administration today issued a chargesheet to Mr S.P. Kansal, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, on charges of possessing wealth and assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The chargesheet has been issued for major penalty under Rule 8 of the Punjab Civil Service (Punishment & Appeals) Rules, 1970. It also says that he had willfully detained goods of a private coal depot which were later found to be missing damaged and misused by the said official.

A spokesperson for the Administration said Mr Kansal had seized lottery tickets worth Rs 62.50 lakh and imposed a penalty of Rs 12 lakh but failed to recover the same in time. He had also seized lotteries worth Rs 5 crore in the case of Rajasthan Lotteries and although the dealer had paid the due tax of Rs 40 lakh, Mr Kansal did not decide this case, said the spokesperson. In another case, he had imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on goods worth Rs 1 crore but he did not enter the details in the disposal register or penalty register with a mala fide intention of procuring wrongful gain. On inspection of his office, 104 penalty cases were found in his cabinet, which were lying unattended for several years and no proceedings were initiated. 



Circus shows begin in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 8
Inaugural show of Asiad Circus got off to a colourful start here this evening.
The show, was inaugurated by local SP, Rakesh Agrawal, at the parade ground in Phase VIII and it included lively parade around the ring by the participating artistes.

Several items, including the flying trapeze, the dog show and the spring net, drew applause. Around 40 items were scheduled to be presented during the evening.

Mr R.P. Sharma and Mr K.K. Misra, managers of the circus, said there were 160 artistes with the circus, including 80 women. Most of them hail from Assam and Nepal. Asked which items were usually popular with the spectators they said these included the flying trapeze, the motor cycle jump and the one with four women motor cyclists driving at 80 km per hour in a globe.

They said that response to their shows was good in states like Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra but not particularly encouraging in areas like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.



Registration of land up to 2 kanals outside lal dora banned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The registration of land transaction of up to two kanals outside the lal dora has been banned by the Revenue Department in the 18 UT villages. The move aims at checking the sale of agricultural land for residential and commercial purposes.

Affecting the sale and purchase of around 200 acres located between the lal dora and pherni of the respective village, the instructions of the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) have already been communicated to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Central.

Issued in the light of the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the move aims at checking the sale of the agricultural land for residential and commercial purposes, said a senior officer in the Chandigarh Administration. Taking the land outside the lal dora as extended abadi, a number of land transactions were being done in violation of the high court directions, he added.

The office of the LAO has also sought clarification from the UT Finance Secretary regarding the status of the baras, a word used for the area which is fenced for keeping milch cattle.

It has also been proposed that any type of land outside the existing lal dora should be treated in the light of the Periphery Control Act.

Taking the baras as part of extended lal dora, the transaction of such type of land has also been going on. Sources in the administration said the purpose of the high court orders in a suo motu civil writ petition (CWP) 16325 of 1997 was to stop constructions for residential and commercial purpose in the periphery area around villages outside the lal dora. To bypass the high court instructions, two separate chunks of land were clubbed for the purpose of registration.

The LAO in a clarification note sent to the Finance Secretary has stated that the meaning of bara has been wrongly interpreted as an extended abadi area. The confusion has been created by a clarification given by the Law Department regarding a query put by the office of the Finance Secretary in March, 2001.

As the acquisitions were for the purpose of urbanisation under the Municipal Act and Capital Act, keeping of animals could not be permitted. Thus there was no justification for exempting the baras from acquisition, said the officer. 



Race hots up for the greens
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
On the surface, the Chandigarh Golf Club seems too complacent to go to the polls. But deep inside, it is busy preparing grounds for the April 10 elections, which will witness a clash of titans. The agenda for this year is more or less constant — golf being at the heart of all election endeavours.

In fray for the top post of president is the serving president, Col A.P. Singh (retd), who is satisfied with the experiences he brought to the club; Mr G.S. Sandhu, the bureaucrat who believes in the significance of organisational skills to run institutes like the Golf Club; and the oft-elected Tegvir Singh Sibia who has already mustered a fraction of the support. With the Army brotherhood at his side, he is taking it easy.

However, that is not about all. There are several channels waiting to be tapped, at least so feels Mr G.S. Sandhu, the 1978 batch Punjab IAS officer who is confident of victory for many reasons. Having served as a productive president for two terms in the past, Mr Sandhu claims he stands a fair chance at the hustings. At the heart of his commitments is the game of golf and the health of the course.

Says the candidate, presently Financial Commissioner in Punjab, “I hold the reputation of building up the club corpus like no one ever did. The club was in losses before and after my term. We managed to add Rs 22.5 lakh to the club corpus by way of fixed deposit in the bank. We also upgraded the course.”

Mr Sandhu is seeking a re-election on the grounds that he would develop the golf course and also lay the sixth green as per the required standards. “We will concentrate on import of machinery, which can help raise standards of the course. Upkeep of the greens is important, so is professional management of the club. By virtue of my job, I can bring some expertise to the way affairs are handled,” he says.

For Mr Tegvir Singh Sibia, who has been associated with the club for decades, the April 10 poll is just another way of getting back to where he belongs. He has served the club in various capacities in the past - as honorary secretary, member of the finance committee, chairman of the house committee and president for two terms. Naturally, he is composed and confident. Significantly, development of the golf course is his prime concern too, but he also wants to ensure transparency in accounts. “We want to involve more members and invite more suggestions. The only way to elevate the club to the international standard is teamwork,” says the agriculturist and horse-breeder.

Mr Sibia already has the support of the Army brotherhood, which has a substantial number of voters in the club — 350 of the total 1,800. Mr Sibia will, however, have to take Mr Sandhu seriously. The latter has defeated him in the past.

As for Col A.P. Singh, the serving president, anti-incumbency is not much of a concern. Associated with the club’s running for 15 years, Col Singh banks on his past performance, especially the fact that he helped lay the nine-hole course across the road in the Chandigarh Golf Club. He also built the 18-hole course, which everyone now plays on.

Claims and counter-claims apart, all eyes are set on the countdown now. April 10 will spell it all.



Search Within
The God of Guru Gobind Singh

The bright sunshine of spring is indicative of the time of celebrations in Punjab. People dance in thanksgiving to the Lord of the harvests; visit gurdwaras, sing kirtans and enjoy food together at the langars. Baisakhi falls on April 13. It is a day rendered sacred by several significant events in Punjab’s history.

Baisakhi has a special meaning for the Sikhs. On this day in 1699, their tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, organised the order of the Khalsa. He discontinued the tradition of Gurus in Sikhism by declaring Granth Sahib to be the eternal Guru of all Sikhs. He gave call to his followers to be ready to lay down their lives to protect the faith and defend others against religious despotism. He instituted the Panj Piaras comprising representatives of five different castes to lead the Sikhs.

At a time when numerous religious leaders were setting themselves as gods deceiving the people and blinding them for ever, he castigated the custom of elevating mere mortals to the status of God or gods. Foreseeing the possibility that his own followers may start worshipping him as God, he wrote those immortal words: “Those who address me as God shall fall into the pit of hell. Treat me as a servant of the Lord. And entertain no doubt about it.I am only a slave of the Lord. I have only come to witness the Lord’s play (Lila).”

Equally strong was his condemnation of those customs and traditions which had almost become sources of exploitation of the devout by godmen, the so-called sants. “It is of no avail to sit closing both eyes and meditating like a crane. This world is lost, and the next also, for those who go about bathing in the seas, desiring salvation. They pass their lives in vain dwelling in the midst of sin. I speak verily; hear me all -God is realised only through love.” (Swayya 9)

“God has no marks, no colour, no caste, and no ancestors: no form, no complexion, no outline, no costume and so he is indescribable.” He wrote. “He is fearless, luminous and measureless in might. He is the king of kings, the Lord of the prophets. He is the sovereign of the universe, gods, men and demons. The woods and dales sing the indescribable. O Lord, none can tell Thy names. The wise count your blessings to coin your names.” (Jaap Sahib)

He had a keen insight into the prevalent confusion caused by man-made philosophies. What he wrote then is so true of the religious scene in our land today. “Whoever was clever in the world established his own sect. No one tried to unite people in the search for the Creator. Enmity, contention and pride increased. All, big and small, flared up and started perishing in their own rivalry. And none of them tried my way. They who obtained a little spiritual power struck out their own way. None of them cared to recognise the Supreme Being, but became mad, boasting of themselves. They cared little to recognise the Real Essence. But each became absorbed in himself and tried to establish his superiority over others.” (Bachittar Natak)

We have today godmen and godwomen who proffer themselves as gods and goddesses and make religion their “business.” What is tragic is that millions, in search of truth, are mesmerised by their “good works” accomplished through donations from generous individuals. These so-called saints have great oratorical skills and promote false philosophies to build their own particular empires and spheres of influence. They speak of a dharma which does not extend beyond their kith and kin and thereby sow seeds of narrow-mindedness and hatred among followers.

In our caste-ridden society and even in urban settings where the rich and the powerful are preferred over the poor and men are ‘measured’ in terms of their wealth, his words should bring some realism. “All men are the same though they appear different. The bright and the dark, the ugly and the beautiful, The Hindus and the Muslims have developed in accordance with their different surroundings; All human beings have the same eyes, the same ears, the same body build composed of earth, air, fire and water. The names Allah and Abhekh are for the same God; the same is referred to in the Puranas and the Quran. All human beings are the reflection of one and the same Lord. Recognise ye the whole human race as one.” It is on the basis of that very equality of all human beings and brotherhood of man that he built the order of the Khalsa.

To conclude, the opening chapter of Guru Granth Sahib contains this God: ‘God is one. He is the supreme truth. He, the Creator, is beyond fear and beyond hate. He is immortal. He is neither born and nor does He die. By Guru’s grace shall He be met. In the beginning He was the truth. Throughout the ages He has been the truth. He is the truth here and now and He shall be the truth forever’.

M.P.K. Kutty



Navratra fair from today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
The Navratra fair at the Mansa Devi shrine here is all set to begin tomorrow. Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, will be one of the first persons to pay obeisance at the shrine tomorrow morning. He will also be participating in a yajya.

The nine-day festival is celebrated here during Navratras, when devotees of the Mother Goddess arrive from all over the region come to pay their obeisance.

The district administration has made arrangements for the nine-day festival. Security arrangements have been made and a temporary police post has also been set up here. Two dispensaries are also being set up and two ambulances will be stationed here. The administration has also reserved 10 beds in General Hospital here for an emergency.

Today, a team of Health department officials led by District Health Officer, Dr Lalit Virmani, visited the shrine complex and issued instructions to the food shops and langar committees to maintain hygiene.



Catholics pray for Pope

Chandigarh, April 8
Even as millions thronged St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to pay homage to their Beloved Pope and take part the biggest funeral ever held in human history, a Holy Mass was offered at the Christ the King Cathedral, Sector 19 here today.

Devotees assembled at the Church today to pray for peace of the departed soul, and the Mass was presided over by Gerald Mathias, Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh Diocese. Over 40 priests concelebrated the Mass and a huge number of Catholics from the city attended the service.

On the occasion the greatest spiritual leader of the world who dominated the world scene with his faith, conviction and action for 27 years was remembered. The Bishop said that Pope John Paul II had done a lot for the Church and the world without any selfish motive. He did everything for projection of peace and love, as preached by Jesus Christ. TNS



Ex-Chief Secy K.S. Narang dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Mr K.S. Narang, former Chief Secretary of Punjab and Chief Administrator of Chandigarh, died here today after a massive cardiac arrest. He is survived by widow and two daughters. One of his daughters, Mrs Geetika Kalha, is a 1977 batch IAS officer of Punjab. She is married to an IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, Mr Dilsher Singh Kalha.

In a condolence message, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said Mr Narang was an able administrator and a prolific writer. He had a chequered career and served the Government of Punjab as well as the Government of India in different administrative capacities with distinction. In his death the state has lost a gem and void had been created which was difficult to be filled.

The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), in a condolence message to the bereaved family described Mr Narang as an upright, committed and able administrator.

Later in the evening the mortal remains of Mr Narang were consigned to flames at the Sector 25 cremation ground. garh attended the cremation.



Two receive burns
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Two persons received severe burns following stove bursts in separate accidents during the past 24 hours. Kaushalya Devi, a resident of Morni received 80 per cent burns when the stove she was cooking food on burst in her house. Anokhe Lal, a resident of Industrial Area also received severe burns while he was cooking food.



Money withdrawn by forged signatures
Victim claims bank didn’t tally sign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
A BSNL employee found Rs 8,000 withdrawn from his salary account in the Sector 17-C branch of HDFC Bank through a cheque bearing his forged signatures. He also discovered that somebody had withdrawn Rs 1000 and Rs 500 from his Andhra Bank account through ATM card.

BSNL employee Prabhjot Singh Kakkar discovered yesterday that withdrawals were made after his bag was allegedly stolen from boot of his scooter parked outside his office in Sector 17. He found that his cheque book and an ATM card, among other things, were in the bag alleged to have been stolen.

He discovered the fraud when yesterday he went to the bank to withdraw money. But his balance of the salary account in branch of the HDFC Bank showed that Rs 8,000 had been withdrawn through a “self” cheque a couple of hours before he reached the ATM. Mr Kakkar brought the matter to the notice of bank officials who showed him a cheque issued by him with what they called his signatures. Prabhjot Singh contested that signatures were not his and were forged but the bank showed helplessness.

Mr Kakkar asked the bank officials if they could tell him who had withdrawn the money. The staff did not provide him the information. Later, they said Ram Kumar had taken the payment.

Mr Kakkar is not sure as to when his bag might have been stolen.

Kakkar’s father Balwant Singh Kakkar claims that the bank staff did not even tally the signatures, which manager (Service Delivery) Rajiv Chhibbar refuted, saying that it could be difficult to tally the signatures with naked eyes. He, however, said an inquiry into the matter was on.

The victim reported the matter to the police.

Mr Kakkar said Andhra Bank officials did not even consider their request for stop payment and refused to acknowledge a written request in this regard, saying that it would charge a payment after counting the cheque contained in three cheque books issued to Mr Kakkar. The application was not entertained as the balance his account in Andhra Bank had only Rs 794.



Hike in AC, fridge prices imminent
Coolex-2005 begins at CII
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The summer of 2005 is going to be a little more uncomfortable for the people. With a rise in prices of ACs and refrigerators quite imminent on account of rising input cost and VAT, people will have to either have to burn a hole in their pockets or do without necessities- now turning into luxuries.

The prices of ACs and refrigerators will go up by 10 per cent by May. Expressing apprehensions of the price hike, most representatives of AC and refrigerator manufacturing companies, participating in Coolex-2005, which started today, said the impact of VAT on these goods was yet to show. However, most companies have hiked the prices by 5 per cent due to overall hike in the raw material and the remaining 10 per cent will be jacked up by VAT.

While Samsung, Voltas and Godrej are yet to effect a price hike in the city, LG has already raised the prices up to 10 per cent.

``We have already increased the prices of fridges and ACs by 6-8 per cent due to an increase in the steel prices after the Budget. Additional hikes are inevitable due to the rising material cost and VAT", said Mr Gaurav Tikkoo, marketing manager of LG here.

Mr Arun Wadhawan, manager (Sales) of Godrej, said steel prices had gone up by 20 per cent, prices of other raw materials like copper, aluminium and plastic were also going up, thereby forcing the white goods manufacturers to hike their prices.

LG had on display a huge double- door refrigerator with a wooden metallic finish, priced at Rs 1 lakh, which opens from both sides. Voltas has introduced a 0.8 tonne split AC in the market with various new models.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Hooda, Area Sales Manager of the company, said 0.8 tonne window AC was being offered to the customers for Rs 11,990 along with a free mobile set of Tata Indicomm worth Rs 2,102. The cost of the split 0.8 tonne split AC is 15,990 and would be low on electricity consumption.

The company has also manufactured a 5-litre “teenie weenie'' refrigerator, exclusively for children, priced at Rs 5,555.

The 450-litre Pentacool range of Godrej is also on display with an attractive freebie of a microwave worth Rs 6,000 and other features like tulip handle. The company also claims to be the first to launch metallic gold and metallic blue in its range of fridges.

LG, Voltas, Carrier, Daikin Shriram Air Conditioning, Fedders International, Samsung, Godrej and Boyce, Hitachi, Whirlpool, Videocon and some local companies like Sidwan Refrigeration and Everon are participating in this fair. Samsung is showcasing ACs with silver Nano technology to give air free from bacteria and foul odour.

Coolex-2005, a four-day exposition organised by the CII, was inaugurated by Mr Sanjay Kumar, Secretary and Director, Industries and Commerce, Punjab.


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