C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Heaps of garbage dot city roads
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The local municipal corporation (MC) seems to have turned a blind eye to the garbage littering the city roads, streets and back lanes in residential areas.

Overflowing garbage bins are a common sight all over the city, particularly in the Southern sectors. Heaps of unattended home waste can be seen in Sectors 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 38 (West), besides other places.

This Tribune correspondent witnessed piles of splattered garbage and polyethene bags at a number of places all over the city during the past three days. Residents of different localities confirmed that the heaps were not an overnight developments but had been lying there for the past several days.

The official justifications are simple. “What can we do when six out of the past nine days have been holidays for the corporation. Even tomorrow is a holiday.” The official accepted that the Southern sectors were severely handicapped in maintaining clean surroundings. “The tenders of the private parties engaged in the sanitation of the belt under question have been cancelled. We are managing the MC job with ad hoc arrangements”, the official said.

The MC had given the task of sanitation of Shivalik Enclave, Modern Housing Complex and Duplex Complex, all in Mani Majra, Sectors 48, 49, 46, 45, 42, 41 and Burail, Attawa, Mauli Jagran, Dadu Majra and Dhanas villages on contractual basis. Following reports of poor sanitary services in the areas from residents, the corporation cancelled the contracts of three contractors. The same parties are currently handling the arrangement on ad hoc basis.

The official said the corporation had imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on one of the contractors for providing below standard services. Others too had been fined. “Our department is facing an acute staff shortage. There are no signs of any fresh recruitment. At the same time, the private contractors are not able to provide the expected results. This makes the whole task very taxing on the existing staff”, the official said.

Ms Kamla Sharma, councillor said “One of the reasons for the shoddy city appearance these days is the overzealous sanitary drive over the past more than a month. All officials are busy at the same spot and other works are suffering. Not just the cleanliness, all corporation works appear to have gone haywire”.

Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, said the “corporation drive has nothing to do with sanitation. We keep the sanitation apart because it is a daily affair. During the drive, the city has been pruned up in terms of sprucing up the streets and roads and fixing streetlights”.

Mr Sandeep Kumar, resident of Sector 21, said “When the corporation drive was launched in March it was also called a sanitation drive. In any case, what is the meaning of any corporation drive in the city till it cleaned the environs .”



Defeat stuns city fans
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The city was stunned by the humiliating defeat of the Indian cricket team at hands of the Pakistan team, which had arrived here last month with the tag of ‘underdogs.’

Disbelief and anger was writ large on faces as people watched the visiting team tear apart India’s bowling attack and later rip apart the batting lineup in the last one-day tie in New Delhi today.

With this defeat, India also lost the one-day series by 4-2.

Like many cricket enthusiasts, Rahul Sachdeva, a student of B. Com, could not conceal his frustration over the defeat. “I have wasted my whole precious day by watching the match despite the fact that I have to take my final paper on April 19. I was expecting some good cricket from the Indians but at the moment I am totally disappointed. The defeat had definitely made me very sad”, rued Rahul.

Praising the knock by Afridi, Mr Charanjit Sharma, an advocate, criticised the selectors for the inclusion of Ajit Agarkar in the crucial match. “Today again, the Indian bowlers seemed to be helpless in front of Afridi. The decision of bringing in Agarkar did not make any sense when he had not played a single match in this series. Instead Pathan should have been given the chance in this match”.

“As soon as the wickets of Sehwag and Tendulkar fell in the first 10 overs, I switched off my television and come out of home to make my Sunday afternoon enjoyable by the means as I could foresee the result of the match. The Indians proved it again that it is a strong team only on the papers. But when the time comes to perform, it falls like a pack of cards”, said Mr Ashwani Gupta, a businessman.

Backing the inclusion of Anil Kumble in the team, Varun Batra, who is pursuing his higher studies in Canada, was of the view that Pakistan team had been scared of Kumble’s bowling and Indian team should have included Kumble in such crucial match. “The series defeat literally destroyed my Indian visit. It is really disappointing to lose the series after wining the first two matches. However, I congratulate the Pakistani team, which had been dubbed as the weakest-ever team visiting India for the series win”, asserted Batra.

Criticising the nature of the pitch for the humiliating defeat, Mr G.S. Banga, a former Ranji player, opined that winning the toss and batting first on this docile wicket were the main criteria for the victory. “The condition of the pitch had been deteriorating with every delivery.”

“As it is it became difficult to bat in the 2nd innings and chase a huge total of 303 runs so the defeat was imminent. As the Pakistanis outclassed Indians in all departments of the game, they deserved to win the series”, said Mr Banga.



School demolished to resettle Kishangarh encroachers
Tribune News Service

Building material for rehabilitation of Gwala Colony residents being dumped near the Sector 38 (West) Gurdwara in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Building material for rehabilitation of Gwala Colony residents being dumped near the Sector 38 (West) Gurdwara in Chandigarh on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 17
The Chandigarh Administration has temporarily settled around 150 uprooted persons of the Gwala Clony by demolishing a school for the poor near the Sector 38 (West) Gurdwara to the dismay of local residents.

Official sources said that the residents of the Gwala Colony had procured a court order to provide them with a place after they were removed after a road was widened to the Kishangarh Information Technology Park.

The temporary rehabilitation of the Gwala Colony residents began on Friday when a school for poor with a strength of 220 students was demolished by the Estate Office to create space for new settlers. However, president of the Sulesh Chand Memorial Educational Society Rakesh Kumar, said there was other space available to rehabilitate these persons.

Mr Kumar claimed the temporary school structure was removed without even serving a notice to him. He claimed that his school was left out last time from demolition as it was found to be helping the poor. However, he admitted that he had given an affidavit that whenever the school land would be required he would vacate it. Kumar also claimed that he was paying a ground rent for the use of the land.

The residents in the vicinity, however, resented the rehabilitation of the uprooted people saying it would affect the sanitation of the area and electricity and water supply.

Residents of the area rang up The Tribune office complaining that around 40 truck loads of building material had been shifted to the rehabilitation site with around 200 persons along with their household items lined up at the site. 



Disabled ‘selling’ aids received in charity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Who says every physically challenged person needs material aid? If some specific instances are to be believed, the recipients of the aid or their family members have sold it in the market to earn easy money.

On finding that such a practice was prevalent among the beneficiaries, a non-government organisation (NGO), Apang Seva Sansthan, has evolved a checking system under which the beneficiaries have to report at the centre after every three months to show that they are using the aid.

The project in charge at the sansthan, Mr G.S. Sandhu, said, “Through the new system we can keep a tab on the tendency of those selling their equipments in the market. The area pardhans were involved, while giving the aid, to ensure that it reaches the proper hands”.

The organisation, which has already conducted a number of camps to distribute aid to the needy has urged the Social Welfare Department of the Chandigarh Administration to prepare a data bank of information about the physically-challenged persons in the city. The NGOs willing to give aid to such persons should refer to this centralised information. This will ensure that same set of people are not getting the appliances again and again from different organisations.

For the past four years, the Disable Centre in Ram Darbar has been working for the uplift of the physically challenged persons in the slum areas. Mr Sandhu, who conducted a survey of different slums areas, said many of the slum dwellers when approached directly for getting the aid, were not forthcoming. The same exercise when repeated through their area pardhans yielded encouraging results.

In February Mr Sandhu had conducted the survey in Dhanas, Daddu Majra, Maloya, Sarangpur, Bapu Dham, Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagroan, Colony No. 4 and No. 5, Hallo Majra, Ram Darbar and Sector 40 Khokha Market to find out the needy persons.

The NGO also found that in some case the parents of those getting disability pensions were putting the money to wrong use. In some specific cases, the recipients or their parents were addicts.



Fraud by CA: CBI files charge sheet after 2 years
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A Bhiwani-based Charted Accountant (CA) and his accomplices allegedly duped the Income Tax Department of Rs 43.38 lakh by getting refunds on "forged" Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) vouchers of "fictitious" companies.

The alleged fraud has been exposed in the chargesheet filed recently in a special CBI court at Ambala in a case that was registered in January, 2003.

According to the chargesheet, the CA Naresh Gupta and others allegedly forged TDS vouchers of fictitious companies to get refunds of Rs 43.38 lakh.

The fraud, the CBI claimed, has been detected after handwriting experts confirmed that the writing on the TDS vouchers was of the accused, including Naresh Gupta. The CBI also claimed that the CA allegedly converted Delhi addresses into those of Bhiwani in Haryana.

The alleged racket involved Naresh Gupta, Shyam Lal, Satyanarain, Vinod Kumar, S. P. Tanwar, Vir Singh, Vijender Singh, Ram Chander and Raj Kumar.

The sources in the CBI said delay in the filing of the chargesheet was caused as the Income Tax Department took considerable time to inquire if any TDS was deposited in the department or not in the names of the companies which claimed to have employed several persons.

According to the CBI, even rickshaw-pullers had been shown as employees or contractual workers, or suppliers in the fictitious companies, and their TDS was deducted to claim refund later.

The CBI, during the investigation, found out that the "fictitious" companies were not producing anything nor was there any bank transaction in the companies' accounts to show that the companies actually existed.

The CBI found out that no deductions of the companies that claimed refund had been made by the Income Tax Department while the vouchers showed a hefty deposit of the tax to the department. The Income Tax Department had to provide these details to establish the fraud of the accused.

The chargesheet also points out that the fraud was meant to benefit from a tax benefit scheme on the timely deposit of the TDS.



Renovate & reinvent, says UK architect
“City looks shoddy and derelict now”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
“A city is a place, where a child, as he walks through it, may see something that will inspire his young mind to do what he wants for the rest of his life,” says UK-based Indian architect Surinder Behl. It is his mantra for urban architecture.

For Chandigarh, his advice is clear, “Renovate and reinvent! A city is the art of the people, built over time, bringing a confluence of different ideas and influences. It is the only art form which is inescapable as the quality of every construction affects us all.” But, over the years, “the heart of the city seems lost and it looks shoddy and derelict now.”

“What we need is value addition and here the government and the Municipal Corporation can take the lead. They should start doing something that will change the perceptions of architecture in the city. If the MC takes the lead in doing quality work, the residents are bound to follow it in making perceptible changes to their own homes. The lead must come from the government,” he say.

On his next visit to Chandigarh, Mr Behl plans on getting in touch with the Chandigarh College of Architecture. He wants the students to come up with schemes to beautify the city and to present these schemes to the residents and to the Municipal Corporation. He hopes to set up an award for the best ideas generated.

“My purpose is engender a discussion, awareness towards a constructive forum to talk about how the city is going to preserve its architecture and how do we take it forward. Good urban design attracts life and investment for the community.”

According to Mr Behl, “We have to look beyond our past. Le Corbusier cannot be our mentor forever. He is no more.

We have to look ahead at different technologies and different influences and start incorporating them to keep the city’s architecture alive. Let us complete the miracles that he had planned. What is left behind is a legacy which we need to preserve and add to. We need a builders’ forum that can talk and discuss new technologies and new ideas and pay greater attention to the building process taking responsibility for the construction work and the real process of the implementation of the design.”

Mr Behl says that the complex which was envisioned as the central spirit of the new city remains incomplete with the secular Museum of Knowledge or Governor’s Palace still not built. The monumental scale of the Capitol Complex with vast distances between the major buildings, were supposedly based on the sequence of monuments on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Yet, in reality, the measurements made by the assistants were found to be incorrect and consequently Le Corbusier used the wrong scale.

“Our true and honest homage to Le Corbusier, therefore, lies in fully implementing his total vision of the incredible Capital Complex in all its complexity, simple geometry with the complement of tricks of which he was a master. This action alone will vindicate our professed faith in the master and in ourselves and give the world an architectural composition of the century.”

It is also a known fact that the design and execution of most civic buildings, government housing and urban detailing fell to the other senior architects of Le Corbusier’s team, Jeanneret, Fry and Drew.

“The team” according to Mr Behl “fell foul to the Herculean task of designing and implementing the vast number of building types as well as the needed variations within the same type, giving way to large scale repetition and tedious uniformity with a resulting monotony that is overwhelming and inexcusable.”

“Buildings which gleam in the sun during the first year and looked tired and stained before their fifth year is a challenge to the judgement of its designer and owner. If we cannot find the time to do a thing right for the first time, then how will be ever find the time to do it over! Make Chandigarh the beacon for the whole world.”



Courts closed today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
All subordinate judicial courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will remain closed tomorrow on account of Ram Navami, according to a press note issued by the Deputy Registrar (General) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here.



Central Govt offices open today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
There will be no holiday in Central Government offices in the city tomorrow on account of Ramnavami, according to Mr Yash Pal Bhagat, Secretary of the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee.

However offices, boards and corporations and educational institutions of the Chandigarh Administration will remain closed.



Passing Thru

Dr Akash Gulalia
Dr Akash Gulalia,
National and International Consultant, Department of Social Work,
Delhi University, 

How do you find the youth’s response towards their social responsibilities?

I think the youth of our country are mature enough to participate in building a healthy social set-up. Now when the youth abroad are ignoring their duties, our country has a very sensitive generation who wants to do something for their country. They have the feeling of belongingness and responsibility.

What is your next project for research in social service?

There are a number of areas which need to be explored by the researchers as there is a need to change the focus of society. I am planning to undertake a study on the drug consumption cases in the northern region. At the same time, I also have a plan to work on gender study, with special thrust on men and how they are affected by the attitude of their wives, female colleagues and surroundings.

What steps should be taken to increase the awareness graph of a society?

This is a give and take process. The society has to understand the importance of increasing its awareness level only then people will be ready to accept your ideas.

— Swarleen Kaur



Pulling rickshaws to fight poverty
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The eagerness is agonizing in its desperation. “I can go all the way, it will take 40 minutes but I can do it. Give me just Rs 20,” says 70-year-old Agyat Shukla from Samastipur in Bihar wiping the beads of sweat collecting on his face. The distance is PGI to the Tribune Chowk.

Among more than 20,000 rickshaw and rehri pullers in the city, Agyat is a part of the largely migrant population of the rickshaw pullers.

Sleeping in front of the closed shops in the slums areas near the Sukhna Lake or riding out the one-hour-long haul from Sector 17 to Maloya Colony to rest for the night, most do not have even a cover over their heads.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh spew out the maximum number of migrant labourers, almost 70 per cent rickshaw pullers.

Ram Narayan Thakur bemoans the lack of employment opportunities in his native district of Darbanga. “Our leaders roam around in Delhi hankering for power and our land is flooded during the rains or gets insufficient water during the summers.”

Chander Paswan has been in Chandigarh for 15 years now. He manages to send anything between Rs 300 to 500 a month to his home in Bihar living off a meagre Rs 40 a day. Most pullers struggle to send up to Rs 1.500 every month to their homes.

The vagaries of eking out an existence are onerous. Buying a new cycle rickshaw is impossible for a majority of the pullers at Rs 6200, the tag is way beyond their budget. A second-hand rickshaw comes for Rs 1,500 but that is what the pullers send home to their families.

Also, most cycle-rickshaws are the “fiefdom” of a few. “Sharma in Sector 20” has about 150 to 200 rickshaws that are plied daily and “Pappu in Sector 30” has a handful of rickshaws and autos-and that is how the system works in the city despite the ruling of registering only two rickshaws in the name of one person. The real owners operate from behind the scenes and can be anybody from a policeman to a shop owner.

“We have to pay a hiring charge of Rs 10 to Rs 15 per day to the owners. Each puncture costs Rs 5 for which we are responsible and the other repairs are the responsibility of the owners but more often, they cut the money from our earnings, “ lament rickshaw pullers.

Parasnath Pandey from Gonda, living in the city for more than seven years, was involved in an accident last month in which his hired rickshaw was completely shattered. Not only he has to pay Rs 1,500 to the owner, but also to pull a rehri by hand for earning money to send home and to pay his dues off.

Most say the police do not harass them but the system for issuing of licences and the payment of challans break most of their backs. The licences can only be issued if the verifications come from their hometowns but this rarely happens. Therefore, most vehicles are plied without licenses, as there is no ration card or proof of residence that the pullers can produce. Even though most admit to breaking the traffic laws, they seem helpless in their penury, taking that wrong turn or breaking a traffic light to earn those few extra rupees.

The unending poverty keep the pullers bonded to the city year after year till the dreams die out and grittiness replaces the stars in their eyes.

Rickshaw pullers’ problems

The challan for violating traffic rules ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 500. The period for payment of fine has been reduced from 30 days to 15 days.

The impounded rickshaw will be released only on payment of fine. After the specific time, the rickshaw will be dismantled and sold as scrap. Less than a week ago, 60 to 70 rickshaws were auctioned because the pullers were unable to release them due to lack of funds.

Facilitate issuing of licences once the personal details are furnished instead of waiting for the police verification clearance to come from the home state.

Finance Secretary for the UT Administration, S.K. Sandhu says if representatives of the Rickshaw Union come to him with their grievances, “I consider their problems”.



Benefits elude Army medical, dental corps officers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Four months after the government announced the implementation of the A.V. Singh Committee recommendations on re-structuring the army's officer cadre, the much-awaited benefits continue to elude the Army Medical Corps and Army Dental Corps officers.

The benefits include faster promotions up the chain of command and time-scale promotion to the rank of colonel, with consequential financial gains and allied facilities. Prior to the implementation of the recommendations, officers used to superannuate at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

While eligible officers in other arms and services have already picked up their next rank, their counterparts in the medical services still have no clue as to when orders in their case would be issued.

The implementation of the A.V. Singh Committee was announced by the Defence Minister on December 16, 2004, and orders in this respect were issued by the Military Secretary's (MS) Branch on December 21, 2004.

Sources say since then, a number of officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel, who otherwise would have become colonels and continued in service, have retired. Lieutenant colonels in the AMC superannuate at the age of 56 years while colonels superannuate at the age of 58 years.

The AMC is a huge organisation with seven lieutenant generals at its apex. Implementation of the recommendations would result in about 500 officers attaining the rank of colonel, sources said.

Implementation of the recommendations now could put services in a piquant situation. If they are implemented from the date of announcement, AMC officers would be placed at a disadvantage vis-a-vis their counterparts who have been promoted earlier. If implemented in retrospect from December, 2004, officers who have since retired may have to be reinstated.

One of the reasons for non-implementation of the A V Singh Committee recommendations was that the AMC is a "composite" service which incorporates officers from the AIr Force as well as the Navy. These two services had earlier not implemented the recommendations. Any change in the cadre restructure in this service could not be done without the mutual consent of all three services. All three services have now implemented the recommendations.

Meanwhile, Regimental Commission Officers (RCO) have claimed that they have not been brought under the purview of the MS Branch orders, implementing the cadre restructure.



Ram Navami celebrated

Chandigarh, April 17
Chandigarh branch of the All-India Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Sector 20 today celebrated the third day of the ongoing 35th annual function and Ram Navami festival. The function was presided over by Srila B.B. Tirtha Goswami Maharaj and the chief guest for the evening was Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP. OC



Governor’s Ram Navami greetings

Chandigarh, April 17
Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, S.F. Rodrigues, greeted people on of ‘Ram Navami’, birthday of Lord Rama.

Describing this day as an occasion of great religious merit, worship and salvation, General Rodrigues said that it reflected the inherent feelings of the people of our country, wedded, as they are, to the values of secularism and humanism. He hoped it would bring peace of mind, inner happiness and joy on all, paving the way for peace and a bright future. The Governor has appealed to the people to celebrate this festival collectively, in a spirit of traditional fervour, amity and devotion, rising above petty considerations of caste, creed and religion. OC



Rath Yatra held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
Hundreds of devotees of Lord Rama participated in the Rath Yatra and Nagar Kirtan organised by the Sanatan Dharam Kendriya Parishad, today. The devotees, including women and children, sang hymns in praise of Lord Rama as they passed through various parts of the town.

The yatra began from the Sector 14 Durga Mata temple around 2 pm. The devotees pulled a rath, which carried idols of Lord Rama and Hanuman. The yatra lasted over three hours. Four men on horses led the yatra while a music band played religious hymns.

The yatra passed through Sectors 8, 11, 16, 17 and concluded at Raghunath Mandir in Sector 15.



Blue bull released in forest area
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
The UT Forest and Wildlife officials today captured the blue-bull that had strayed into Haryana Forest and Wildlife Minister Venod Sharma’s farmhouse located along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Hallo Majra village and released it into the forest area adjoining Sukhna Lake.

A team of UT Forest and Wildlife officials reached the farmhouse around 9 am and tranquilised the animal that was kept in a stable shed. When the animal dozed off, they carried it to the forest area.

Mr H.S. Sidhu, forest range officer of the department, said the animal was healthy. Since it had not sustained any injury it was released in the forest area adjoining the lake after preliminary medication.



Super Cassettes, Bhagwant Mann trade charges over contract
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
The vice-president of Super Cassettes Industries today accused Punjabi comedian Bhagwant Mann of breach of trust. On the other hand, Mr Mann, while refuting the allegation made a counter accusation that the company was exploiting Punjabi singers and making a false complaint against him.

Mr Pardeep Gangal, the vice-president of the company, alleged that Bhagwant Mann had backtracked from the three-year agreement he had signed with the company on March 23, 2002.

He maintained that Mann had agreed that he would produce three cassettes during the tenure of agreement.

It was also mentioned in the agreement that the tenure could be prolonged for two more years.

Mr Gangal said Mr Mann had also taken Rs two lakh in advance from the company. But only one cassette “Full Speed” hit the market in 2002.

He alleged that Mr Mann had launched his new cassette, “Bhagwant Mann most wanted”, yesterday, under the banner of a new company Creative Arts Productions and termed it a breach of trust as Mann was to produce two more cassettes for the company.

On the other hand, Mr Mann alleged that the company was giving a stepmotherly treatment to Punjabi singers. They were exploiting the singers. Earlier too, the company had harassed Hans Raj Hans.

About the breach of agreement, he said the agreement ended on March 22, 2005, after the completion of three years.

He also claimed that he had produced three cassettes for the company during the period. The other two cassettes were “Savdhan! Agge Bhagwant Mann” and “Ki main jhoot boliaya” as per the agreement.

Mr Mann further said that the company was making baseless allegations.

The company people had made duplicate copies of his cassette were selling it the same for Rs 20 per cassette, he alleged.

Mr Mann also added that he had apprised the Punjab Chief Minister and senior Punjab police Officers about the incident. He said the entire community of Punjabi singers was backing him.



Circus still a crowd puller
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 17
For those who thought the big top had collapsed under the burden of TV and other sources of entertainment, they should visit circus, which is running successfully at Dasehra Grounds, Phase VIII, here.

Last evening witnessed a jam-packed arena with enthusiastic family audience, complete with children and grandparents, soaking in every little detail of the show.

But if there is zeal among audience to watch circus, why are these closing down around the country?

“It is generally believed that television, glossy films, computer games have taken the interest of the audience away from circus. But this has very little to do with the poor attendance at circus. The main reason is the government apathy towards the trade,” points out Mr K.K. Misra, manager of Asiad circus for the past 30 years.

With well-trained, talented artistes showcasing items like Australian parrot dance, six-inch fire crawl, 40-foot-high trapeze and deadly motorcycle globe, there is enough entertainment to attract audience.

“Real life entertainment can never be replaced by TV. Even when they show circus on TV, it is nowhere close to watching the same for real,” says Sukhpal Singh, an engineer who had come with his parents and children to watch the show.

“It’s the same logic that works with live concerts. You might see these on the TV or hear these on the radio but there is a special thrill to watch things happening before you for real,” adds his wife.

But in spite of all the crowd and talent, there are signs of things not being so bright for circus. Artistes need better dresses and the arena requires better equipment.

The artistes need to be trained well, given better medical and housing facilities. Artistes are putting up in tents, most of which are in tatters.

“There is no dearth of audience. But we need to improve the quality of entertainment. The government should support us. Since this form of entertainment always takes place on a large scale, there is never a huge profit margin. But at the same time since we employ over a 1,000 people in the circus, we need to be encouraged to go on,” says Lalit, an event manager at the circus.

For artistes, circus means life to them. “I came here when I was 13. Now I am 23. I love to perform. It’s risky but I enjoy it when the audience clap for me,” says Sunil who performs the six-inch fire crawl.

“I take over a litre of kerosene-petrol mix in my mouth. I let it out in swooshes, which I light. I can also keep fire in my mouth for over two minutes,” he claims.

From a small village in Bihar, Sunil joined the circus when it was in his town. “I will spend another five years here, get married and go back to my village where my brother runs a shop,” he adds.

However for some, circus is a family. Aarti who joined the circus when she was barely five is now married to another artiste. “I married Shakeel who is a trainer here. Now we work together. We have a son who is in a boarding school in Darjeeling,” she said. 



Lobbying on for MC chief
Nine INLD Councillors hold the key
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
The jubiliation of the ousting INLD-supported president of the municipal council has given way to intense lobbying in the Congress for the post of president. But nine councillors from the INLD seem to hold the key as to who is the next president.

Of the 19 councillors in the Congress camp, nine are in the race for president. These councillors claim to be from three camps — of Deputy Chief Minister Mr Chander Mohan, MP Selja Kumari, and the third comprising supporters of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and councillors from slum and labour colonies.

While most councillors, who are close to Mr Chander Mohan are in the race for the top post in the MC, two councillors each from the Selja camp and Mr Hooda, are also in the race.

“Hum sabhi daavedar hain...” say councillors of the Congress. While almost all in the Chander Mohan campare fighting among themselves.

On the other hand, the Selja camp has four councillors, while the supporters of Mr Hooda and the councillors from the slum colonies are five in number.

Because of the infighting in the party and councillors failing to have a consensus on the president, different lobbies in the Congress are now wooing the nine INLD-supported councillors.

Each group feel that by getting the support of these nine councillors, including the former president and Vice-President, Ms Seema Chaudhary and Ms Kuljit Waraich, they will be stronger than the other group.

Earlier, Mr Chander Mohan had said he would not interfere in elections to the post of president.

He had gone on record saying that he would recommend to the Chief Minister that the council at Panchkula should be abolished because HUDA had so far been unable to develop the township.

“We will not impose a leader on our councillors, they can unanimously elect on their own,” he had said.

However, the councillors from the Selja group feel that this is aimed at ensuring that his position in Panchkula is not threatened.

They even allege that he is not making a decision on the candidate for the president’s post so that an interim president/ administrator is appointed and the control rests with a government official.

On the other hand, neither the Chief Minister nor the local MP has so far shown any sign of interfering in the local body elections. 



Retired IAF personnel hold get-together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Air Force Association (AFA), an organisation established to welfare activities for retired IAF personnel and render assistance to widows, will be commemorating its silver jubilee this year.

Stating this here today, president of the association's northern zone branch, Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (retd), said several events were being planned to mark the occasion. Marshal of the Air Force, Arjan Singh, was among the association's handful founding officers and the immediate past Chief of the Air Staff heads the association.

Air Marshal Bedi said besides helping to resolve pension and welfare related issues with the government, the branch also organised talks on health matters and on information about various schemes.

Meanwhile, the AFA organised a social get-together for senior retired IAF officers at the Air Force Station here today. A large number of officers of the rank of air commodore and above along with their wives attended the meet. Besides, six retired air marshals and five air vice-marshals, AOC Advance Headquarters, Air Vice-Marshal C.S. Gill, AOC 12 Wing, Air Cmde T K Venugopal and AOC 3 BRD, Air Cmde S.P.S. Virk also joined in.

The get-together is organised once in six months and the meeting serves as a platform to maintain the spirit of camaraderie, strengthen old associations.



Hotel owners meet PSEB member
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 17
Members of the Hotel and Banquet Association, Zirakpur, had meeting with Mr Hardyal Kamboj, a member of the Punjab State Electricity Board managing committee, and gave him a memorandum listing their grievances.

The association made Mr Kamboj aware of Hotels and Banquets run in the area. They demanded a Single-Phase (9KVA) electricity connection for their establishments to avoid power cuts.

Mr Pradeep Aggarwal, president of the association, complained that of thefts had increased in the area but the police had failed to curb it.

Apart from owners of 25 banquets and hotels, Mr Krishan Pal Sharma, a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Chaand Rana, sarpanch of Mubarikpur village some other prominent men of the area were also present.



SHO, ASI sent to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 17
The SHO of Phase I police station, Mr Raminder Singh Kahlon, and an ASI Harpal Singh were sent to the Police Lines on orders of the SSP Ropar, Surinder Pal Singh here today.

According to the SSP, the two had carried out a search in a house in Chandigarh without authorisation. He added Jagdish Singh, SHO, Sadar, Ropar has been asked to join duty as SHO Phase I police station Mohali from tomorrow.

The SSP said he had received a complaint from Mr Gurinder Singh Kairon, a Chandigarh resident that the SHO and the ASI had come to search his house in Chandigarh without the necessary warrants. He pointed out that a relative of Mr Kairon was involved in a property-related civil suite with a Mohali resident. Mr Kairon’s relative was reportedly declared a proclaimed offender in the case but without proper warrants from the court the SHO and the ASI along with the Mohali resident went to search for him.



Fire in house
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 17
Household goods worth Rs 10,000 were destroyed in a fire that broke out in Bank Colony in Phase 10 here today.

Owner of the house Ram Nath said the fire started in his quarter from a burning incense stick. A fire tender was called to control the fire.



Petrol station not to join strike

Chandigarh, April 17
The Sector 28 D-based Bramswarup and Sons petrol pump will remain open tomorrow despite a strike, the owners of the pump told the Chandigarh Tribune. TNS



Brick-kiln owner accused of attempt to murder
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 17
A migrant labourer from Uttar Pradesh, Leela Wati, has written to the SP against her employer and a labour contractor for allegedly attempting to murder her 23-year-old son Charanjit.

The complainant along with her family and son has been working at Aman Bhatta, a brick kiln, being run by her employer in Kakkar Majra village for the past over three months.

In the complaint, Leela Wati alleged that Kallu, a labour contractor, and two others while riding a motor cycle rammed it into Charanjit’s cycle on a bridge near Bagawali and knocked him down.

The three then attacked him with stones and threw him into a seasonal rivulet, she alleged.

She claimed that some passersby informed her about her son’s condition and she took him to a private hospital in Bagawali village.

Seriously injured Charanjit was then referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, as his condition deteriorated, she claimed.

She also alleged that instead of recording Charanjit’s statement, the police had been threatening the family with dire consequences.

She apprehended that the labour contractor and the brick-kiln owner in connivance with the police were trying to hush up the case.

Though police personnel visited the PGI twice, no case was registered, she added.

The victim has demanded a fair inquiry and registration of an FIR against the suspects.



Ex-serviceman — one of the peddlers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
One of the narcotics peddlers arrested yesterday in Nawanshahr is a local millionaire “drug addict” ex-serviceman who was courtmartialled in 1988 for irregularities.

Sector 20-based ex-serviceman Narinder Singh Bhuller (62), the NCB claimed, admitted to have supplied 40 kg of charas when he was posted in Pithoragarh years ago.

The NCB which laid the trap in Nawanshahr yesterday revealed that Bhuller collected the contraband from an Amritsar-based Major Singh and was to hand it over to an unidentified European in Chandigarh.

Bhuller (62), who has a house in Sector 20 and 50 acres of land in Baddi and Banur, was courtmartialled in 1988.

The sources in the NCB said Bhuller is a drug-addict and admitted to have sent a consignment of 40 kg of charas when he was posted in Pithoragarh in Uttaranchal.

According to the NCB, Bhuller was to get a commission of Rs 2 lakh on the consignment. Bhuller’s family is well-established with his three daughters being in the USA, the UK and Kolkata.

The bureau also arrested a couple, Manish and Komal for allegedly possessing the contraband. The couple admitted to have delivered a few consignments in Chandigarh and Mohali earlier. They also said the contraband was to be collected by a European and they got the consignment from one Mehal Singh of Amritsar.



Stabbed DAV student in PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A student of DAV College, Sector 10, was allegedly stabbed thrice by a group of students of the college following a skirmish over misbehaving with a girl. The students of both groups had come to the college to take their annual examinations, the police said.

Punardeep Singh received injuries in his abdomen and legs and was referred to the PGI today. He was taken to Sector 16 General Hospital yesterday after the incident.

According to the police, Punardeep’s cousin Kanwardeep had come to the college to appear for an exam and the group of the alleged attackers was also at the college for taking the exam. As per the complaint, the group of students made a pass at a girl against which Kanwardeep objected. Kanwardeep called up his cousins, Punardeep and Hunardeep. They were returning home after dropping Kanwardeep at the college.

The two immediately reached the college and castigated the group of other students. A fight picked up. Punardeep was allegedly stabbed in the fight by the other group. The police has registered a case of attempt to murder against eight persons. The accused have also been booked for rioting under Sections 147, 148 and 149 in a case registered in the Sector 3 police station.

The police said it had raided places of the alleged attackers but nobody could be arrested. The alleged attackers may now be deprived of the opportunity because of being involved in the attempt to murder.

The police expressed the hope that they would be arrested soon after having been identified by the police. 



Man held for molesting housewife
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
The police yesterday arrested a man, who allegedly forced entry into a house in Bapu Dham Colony and molested a housewife.

According to the police, Urmila Devi, reported that Abhey, a resident of the same locality, forced entry into her house and pulled and took her inside a room. He also reportedly offered her money to have favour from her. The woman raised an alarm and some neighbours came to her rescue and nabbed the accused.

A case under Section 354 of the IPC has been registered.



Mobiletek-2005 concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
“Mobiletek-2005”, which concluded today witnessed an enthusiastic participation from leading telecom companies.

Going by the response of visitors, organisers Masterline Media announced “Plug ‘n’ Play’’, larger spectrum showcasing the emerging technologies in January next year.

Plug ‘n’ Play will be a mega event encompassing the elements of voice, video and data to showcase the next generation wireless world. The mega event will be held at Parade Ground, informed Mr. Naresh Nanda, Managing Director, Mastering, which is going to establish a fully functional technology showcasing division.

Mr Nanda said, “The response was beyond all expectations with over 10,000 visitors attended the expo. Visitors had even come from far off areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, besides the rural areas in the region.”



PFC celebrates golden jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A cultural function organised by the Punjab Financial Corporation brought the histrionic talents of many of its employees to the fore. The occasion, marked the 50th golden jubilee celebrations of the corporation, and skits and monoacts to dances, group dances and songs were performed.

The most interesting of the items, presented at Tagore Theatre was the skit “Toya” which featured in lead roles Harish Madan, Sushil Sharma, Anil Tuleria, Munish Gupta, Karan Bhardwaj, Anil, and Pankaj Thakkar. Later bhangra was presented by Avtar Chana and his team.

Apart from the artistes of the PFC, many film and television actors also took part in the function. Some participants included actor Vijay Tandon, Kapil Kalyan, Satinder, Baljit Bala, Baljit Lakshmi and Paramjit Pallu.

Songs were also presented by Brijesh Ahuja of “Ulta Pulta” fame . The show was compered by Vinod Sharma, a television artiste.


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