C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Little industry, all mall
Industrial Area all set to become business hub
Administration gives nod to conversion of land use
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Industrial Area in the city, spread across 1200 acres, is all set to undergo a change. It will soon emerge as a commercial hot spot. In a landmark decision, the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has approved the conversion of industrial plots for commercial use on the payment of conversion charges, a spokesperson of the Chandigarh Administration said here today.

This is expected to push up land price while freeing a large number of plots in possession of closed-down industrial units. This policy will apply to all kinds of trades except those falling in the red category of the Pollution Control Board. The Administration will allow full convertibility from industrial to commercial. A detailed scheme specifying the architectural controls and conversion charges will be formulated and notified shortly.

Now the owners of industrial plots in Phase I and II of the Industrial Area can convert their manufacturing units to restaurants, hotels, guest houses, lodges, hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centres, banquet halls, shopping malls, retail outlet centres for trade and computer and education training centres, opening up the huge potential.

Already several leading car companies have swank showrooms in the Industrial Area.

However, the owners of these buildings will have to confine themselves within the parameters of the conversion policy and pay conversion charges as applicable.

There will be no permission. The conversion charges will be fixed as per the average price that will be worked out on the basis of previous two or three auctions.

Conversion will be allowed either of the entire site or floorwise and not in shares or parts. The occupiers or tenants of the site can apply for conversion with the consent of the owner only. The completion certificate from the Estate Office is also one of the pre-requisites for conversion and it is subject to building bylaws and zoning plans.

The Administration visualised that the city had to look far ahead as the economic environment is rapidly changing from manufacturing to service industries. There is a need to allow services, banking, financial services, insurance, tourism, hospitality, information technology, medical services and other commercial activities.

Interestingly, in a
survey conducted by the Director of Industries in the year 2003-04, it has been revealed that approximately 45 per cent of the industrial units in the city have either been closed or shifted to another industrial activity due to various reasons, including economic viability.

It has been observed that many industrial units intend to shift to other areas of economic activity in view of the better economic viability offered by new technology and trends. Many manufacturing units are shifting to assembling and service units, others intend to set up modern offices of international standards where returns on investment are higher, adding more value to the economy of the city.

The broad engineering, architectural and financial parameters are currently being worked out by the Administration.



Baithak to have more ethnic look
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
In order to meet the emerging challenges in the changed market scenario, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) has chalked out a detailed programme to upgrade the existing facilities and work out fresh avenues.

Hotel Mountview is being renovated, staff is being re-trained and menu is being upgraded. The ‘Baithak’ restaurant at the Kalagram, on the Chandigarh-Kalka road, will now bear a more ethnic look to suit the environment of a venue for promotion of cultural events. CITCO has decided to use venues like the Fragrance Garden, the Sukhna Lake, the Rose Garden and the Terrace Garden for regular cultural shows promoting traditional art, folk and classical music.

As a special privilege for the senior citizens, CITCO has decided to allow them to use the Baithak convention hall without any charges and the food there at a concession of 50 per cent.

“Hotel Mountview is trying for a five-star status. So developing the infrastructure is naturally important. This has become more important in the context that Hotel Taj is fast coming up and will definitely be the biggest challenge for Mountview”, a senior official said.

The hotel management has decided to appoint a consultancy for a work plan specifying changes and making improvements in the existing facilities.” It has been felt that a more professional approach, keeping in mind the current market requirements, can be better spelt by a special agency”, the office said.

Giving details of the project at Mountview, the officer said that entire block ‘A’ was under renovation at the moment. Suite 6 in the same block is being specially redesigned, particularly with regard to facilities for the accompanying guests.

The hotel is making an additional ‘Banquet hall’ adjoining to the existing hall. The hall can be used exclusively by the interested parties or both the halls can be used as a common venue. Sources said that special attention is being paid to upgrade the kitchen facilities. A dish washing machine costing Rs 8.5 lakh has been installed.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Managing Director of the CITCO, said that “People always look for innovations, particularly in the hotel industry. We are trying to make changes in the available food items. They also look forward to changes in the ambience. The five-star status should be borne by the facilities available”, Mr Bir added.



Stray dogs call the shots in city
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Ritu Diwan and her two young children are under siege — by a pack of stray dogs! As many as nine dogs have blocked the entrance to her house. There are 20 dogs in all roaming around the street in Sector 34 C scaring away visitors and casual passersby.

The Diwan family is unable to move out as the dogs have not left premises for over two months now. Mrs Diwan says she fears for the safety of her two little kids. “Yesterday one of the bigger dogs growled at my younger one as he was entering the house. The older son picked up a stone and ran to chase the dog away thinking his brother was going to be attacked. All this worries me. If the children inadvertently upset the dogs they might attack them.”

Mrs Diwan says: “A few months ago there were few dogs. But suddenly the number has increased. They bark, rummage in the dust bin and create havoc. They fight over leftover food. It is unsafe to venture out when they are like this.”

This is not a stray incident. Today almost 4,000 to 5,000 stray dogs rule the roost in the city. Every sector faces the wrath of these dogs, who, when disturbed, attack, sometimes without provocation. Bandeep Singh, living in Sector 19, affirms: “If I come home later than 10 at night, the dogs chase me all the way. I have to kick out with my legs and drive like a maniac. Otherwise, I will get bitten.”

The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) says it is the responsibility of the Municipal Corporation (MC) to take care of stray dogs. Dr (Mrs) Satinder Dhillon, president of the SPCA, says it is cruel and inhuman to kill stray dogs and the only way to deal with the menace is to sterilise them so that their numbers falls. “The animal hospital in Sector 38 sterilises as many as 80 dogs a day. The number can be increased but there is lack of space to house them while they recover. We have created additional space and it is up to the MC to catch these dogs and bring them in.”

However, schemes to deal with this nuisance have failed going by the sheer numbers encountered in every sector. The numbers aside, dogs require regular vaccinations to keep them diseasefree.

Dr Dhillon believes, “Adopting stray dogs and giving them a home would curb the growing numbers of untended dogs.” However, such incidences are infrequent and the growing menace has led to the increased demand for anti-rabies injections and medication.



Two applications filed in Law Institute case
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court

Chandigarh, May 16
The alleged “conflict of opinion” between the two Judges, who constituted the Division Bench that decided the case regarding alleged irregularities in the allotment of prime land to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited, is all set to be exploited legally by the respondents.

Two separate applications have been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, praying that in view of the difference in opinion between the then Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, and Mr Justice Surya Kant, the case be handed to another Judge for review. Both constituted the Division Bench that heard the PIL challenging the allotment of land for the institute.

If the applications are allowed, it could give another chance to the UT Administration and the management of Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited to try and convince the court about the bona fides of the allotment of land in Sector 38A for the law institute.

It may be recalled while delivering the judgement, both the Judges had disagreed on certain points, particularly the locus standi of the petitioner, Mr Neeraj Sharma, to move the PIL. Also, while Mr Justice Surya Kant, in his judgement, authored on behalf of the Division Bench, had specifically issued directions to the UT Administration to take necessary corrective steps within two months, Mr Justice Roy had expressed “full faith and trust in His Excellency the Governor of Punjab-cum-UT Administrator, Chandigarh Administration” to find out who were the persons responsible for the apparent acts of commission.

Mr Justice Roy had also left it to the Governor’s discretion if the persons responsible for the apparent acts of commission needed to be dealt with through disciplinary proceedings or even launch of prosecution.

In his order, Mr Justice Roy had stated that he fully agreed with the views of Mr Justice Surya Kant in paragraphs 39-44, except the issue of locus standi of the petitioner.

The then Chief Justice also agreed with the views in paragraphs 61 except those which were at variance with his own views. Thus, even after agreeing with the main judgment prepared by Mr Justice Surya Kant, Chief Justice Roy put a conditional clause about views that were at variance with his own views. Mr Justice Surya Kant did not sign the order prepared by Chief Justice Roy.

According to available information, while Mr Justice Surya Kant sent the draft of his judgement to the then Chief Justice many days in advance, where it kept lying till the pronouncement on February 14, he was not aware of complete text of Chief Justice Roy’s observations and view points.

On February 14, Chief Justice Roy, who had already received orders of his transfer to the Guwahati High Court, did not hold court, except in the post-lunch period when the judgements were pronounced. He left for Guwahati the next day.

Inquiries have revealed that immediately after receiving the full record of the case, along with the order penned by Chief Justice Roy, Mr Justice Surya Kant dictated a clarificatory note, which was appended to the judgements as “post-Judgement Script”.

High Court records show that the judgements, post-judgement script and the entire record of the case was handed over to the branch concerned by the officials of Mr Justice Surya Kant’s court.

Legal experts say that the post-judgment script is a clarificatory note, which only emphasised that the judgement authored by Mr Justice Surya Kant was the Division Bench judgement.

What could give rise to further controversy is a letter written by Chief Justice Roy from Guwahati on May 6 to his counterpart in Chandigarh.

In the letter, Chief Justice Roy denies any knowledge of the post-judgement script.

He has also requested that his letter be placed on record of the law institute case writ.

However, when contacted, Mr Justice Surya Kant refused to comment on the issue.




Why are so many Indian weddings held during hot summer days? Well, it all has to with auspicious stars and many of us are firm believers in astrology. So the past two weeks have been seeing ever so many summer weddings. Of course, people have evolved special ways of tackling summer celebrations. It begins with sending in cards in pastel colours, then choosing tissue, chanderi, crepe and organdie fabrics to make the ceremonial dresses. And the feasts have a lot by way of salads and cold cuts. The favourite desert of the season is kulfi with a lot of falooda and rose syrup. So summer wedding are not so bad after all!

‘Cheeni kurhi paye bhangra’

A Chinese girl coming to wed her Punjabi collegemate from New Zealand in Chandigarh wanted to know what she would have to do during the wedding ceremonies. Among other things the desi munda Kabir Tewari told his Cheeni kurhi that she would have to do the bhangra dance. The girl panicked for she did not know how to do it. “Don’t you worry, Just keep shaking your legs and moving your arms as though you were doing swimming freestyle. When your arms tire then you start clapping.” The advice worked well. Tribune photographer Pradeep Tewari photographed young Kimberlay in Punjabi bridal wear doing the bhangra with her husband and mother-in-law Paramjit Tiwari, a Punjab university professor and theatre actress.

Pleasing colours

The city is awash with the colours of summer these days. While the trees alongside the roads are wearing lilac, purple and yellow blooms a healthy sprinkling of these colours can be seen in the summer wardrobe of city folk. Soothing hues of lime green, pale pink, lemon yellow, fruity peach and the ever graceful white are what young and the young at heart in the city are going ga ga over these days. The scorching sun has whipped up the thirst for fashion as the style divas and cool dudes are beating the heat with chic chikankari and crisp cottons. A number of exhibitions on in the city and the show windows in main markets bear testimony to the fact that the rising mercury in no way lowers the fashion quotient.

Manali ho!

It is difficult to book an air-conditioned bus these days. Many are booked for weddings with the barats travelling in style. Companies, schools, colleges and other institutions too have booked these coaches for excursion trips to the hills to get away from the heat of the plains book. The favourite destination seems to be Manali for that becomes the base camp for long and exciting treks. The call of the hills is never as pleasant as it is in the months of May and June.

Selfish giants

Childhood and play may be synonymous for many but not in the city as children playing in parks and in the open areas near their houses are fast becoming a cause of bitter arguments between the parents and neighbours. So much so that in one of the sectors the police was called to ‘restrain’ the little ones wanting to enjoy a game of cricket or football in the park. Things are worse in sectors with multi-storeyed flats as the Administration seems to have overlooked this important aspect. Our heart goes out for the little ones, wherever they may be in the city, as the number of playgrounds is going down and the number of ‘selfish giants’ of the Oscar Wilde variety increasing. Hope something will be done before spring deserts the City Beautiful.

Parking perils

Parking fee all right, but the entry fee to Sector 17 is bothering a lot of the residents. “If I just have to go into Sector 17 to drop someone and then come out and go again, it means shelling out money each time,” says a harassed lady. This does make it touch for vehicle owners. The parking rules should be people friendly rather than contractor friendly. A practice that parking lot contractors are following near the Bank Square is of digging nails into the tree trunks, most unfriendly, and fixing barbed wire. This is damaging the trees as well as depriving pedestrians the shade.

Not so refreshing

A real-life scene at a refreshment counter in a theatre in Sector 17: A woman purchases two cold drinks and hands over Rs 100 to the salesman. He swiftly returns the Rs 70 balance, which came in notes of ten. The woman satisfied that she has seen him counting the change is about to put it in her purse but finer sense prevails and decides to double-check. To her surprise, she finds she is Rs 20 short. When confronted, the counter man insists on recounting them in front of her. He does it so rapidly that it again appears that he’s returning seven ten rupee notes. But once more when she counts them, she finds it is still 20 short. This time angrily she confronts the salesperson and threatens to report him, and counts the money in front of the salesman and all others to see. Then at once, without a fuss, the man hands her over the remaining Rs 20. The moral of the story: Check the balance at crowded counters, especially if it comes in tens. This is happening at a number of cinema theatres in the city.

Slapping spree

The other day, one scooter-borne youth riding past the dividing roads of Sectors 35 and 36 literally went berserk. Seemingly a learner, he was labouring hard to balance his two-wheeler. Barely managing the balance, he became so frustrated by the end of it all that he chose to focus his anger on the bicycle riders moving across the same road. Displeased with the ‘little’ space he got to drive, the youth started cursing and then went on a slapping spree, hitting every other man who was occupying the left portion of the road. He must have hit at least six bicycle riders one by one and each time he did so, he shouted, “Dikhai nai denda main aa reha haan; sadak tuhade baap di hai?” Before the unassuming targets of the man’s anger could figure out what was happening to them and why, the latter disappeared somewhere — to take a break, for sure.

Music in command

The UT Administration’s weekend cultural programmes are a great hit not just among the regular visitors of Sukhna Lake and Fragrance Garden but also among the rickshaw-pullers and auto drivers who ply in these areas. Thanks to the musical fare being doled out, both the locations, especially Fragrance Garden, have become a favourite haunt for everyone and anyone passing by. Right outside the garden, rickshaw-pullers are often seen enjoying the songs, with their vehicles parked in line. Because they can’t leave their vehicles on the roads, they manage by peeping through the hedges. With music in command, cops have a tough time clearing the road for moving traffic. As for the rickshaw-pullers, they would have hated to budge but for the rule of the road!

Singing stars

It is not merely enough to organise jagratas, which are nightlong affairs singing loudly to the mother goddess. It is important to have a singing star at these gatherings. Punjabi singer Sardool Sikandar was the star attraction of a jagrata in Sector 47 with his passionate singing of bhetas like Aj main daras Maa da keeta, Ohda naam pyala peeta. Last year the performer at the jagrata in the same sector was none other than Hans Raj Hans.

— Sentinel



Fighting with courage to keep dignity intact
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16 
It’s home coming for 37-year-old Udita. It was here in Chandigarh in the early 80s that she came from Manipur to complete her school education. The city since then has changed, she says, but her life, dramatically, she adds. For, returning to the city after several years, Udita has come to seek a better status for women living with HIV/AIDS. But why this disease, we ask. And without a trace of sorrow, she informs that she herself is HIV positive, an infection she acquired from her husband seven years ago.

“I got to know about my status only when I lost my three-year-old son in 1998. Doctors said he died of AIDS, which made my husband and me to get ourselves tested. We both tested positive. My husband was an intravenous drug user and I got the infection from him, as many married women in the country do. But fortunately, my eight year old daughter is negative,” says Udita, who has come to the city as a part of the 10-member women delegation of Positive Women Network at Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre for four-day workshop, beginning today.

Like other members of the network, she with her husband, a former financial officer with State AIDS Control Society, Manipur, work as full time volunteers for Manipur Network of Positive People. Affirming her positive status publicly, Udita refuses to blame her husband for causing the disease. “Initially I did blame him, but then I realised what he needed more was support from me. We are now working together to spread information among people about HIV,” she adds.

The zeal to make a difference and a dignified public acceptance of their status is what has made all the 10 positive women epitome of courage. After fighting discrimination, stigma and social ostracism, they have come out to share their woes with the world. In most cases the past is forgotten and what remains is a positive beginning.

Manisha Patel (27) was thrown out of her in-law’s home after her husband died of the disease in 2002, within four years of marriage. Without a trace of any regret, she looks forward to motivating positive women like her in her hometown Vadodara through counselling. Similar is the tale of Naina (26) from Pune and Shubhmangla (30) from Karnataka who were thrown out of their in laws’ homes after they had contacted the infection from their husbands. Now they are active members of the Network.

“I had to close my Positive Women Centre within 15 days of its opening after the owner got to know that I am HIV positive. I worked from a makeshift office before finding a new place. I have not disclosed that I am HIV positive to the new owners, though,” she says. Staying with her younger brother and mother, Manisha regrets that discrimination and stigma are so deep-rooted in society that her status hampered her brother’s marriage. “His engagement broke recently but my family decided to stand by me,” she affirms.
For 30-year-old Renuka from Vijayawada focus of life is her 8-year-old daughter after her husband died of AIDS in 2003. Mustering up courage to spread awareness about HIV, Renuka is waiting for her daughter to grow up so that she can disclose her status to her. Managing the “drop-in centre” for HIV positive persons, Renuka says sharing information with the other affected persons is the most satisfying experience.

President of Positive Women Network (PWN) P Kousalaya says that talks are on with the local State AIDS Control Society to convince the HIV positive women in the city to come forward so that a Chandigarh chapter can be started. “I had started the network in 1998 with just 18 members. Now we have 5000 women registered as members through the country. We had started one chapter in Gurgoan, Haryana, but no one in Punjab or Chandigarh has come forward,” she says while talking to The Tribune.

Kousalaya adds that discrimination in hospitals, homes and workplace is common for positive women and a lot of information is needed to create awareness about HIV. “There is need for pre-marriage counseling so that people are better informed about the disease when they get married,” she says. HIV positive herself, Ms Kousalaya got to know about her status within three months of marriage after her husband fell sick in 1995 and died two years later. “He had known his status before marriage but he did not disclose it,” she says.



NGOs’ help sought in welfare schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Director, Social Welfare, Chandigarh Administration, Ms Madhvi Kataria, today held a meeting with local NGOs and individuals who have volunteered to do various social welfare activities.

The meeting was convened to develop linkages with NGOs and social workers so as to ensure that the benefits of the schemes reach every member of the disadvantaged sections of society.

Ms Kataria spoke about the welfare schemes being implemented by the department and talked about the process of reviewing the existing schemes saying that she would welcome suggestions to introduce new schemes based on ground realities and to weed out existing schemes.

She also emphasised that NGOs and social workers could also help the department by recommending beneficiaries under various welfare scheme besides children and the youth for training in different vocations like computers, driving, cutting and tailoring, beauty culture, stenography and typing.

A decision to form a core group of volunteers was taken which would be convened shortly. Some volunteers also offered their services to educate the children of the juvenile Home, Nari Niketan, anganwari centres and to associate with the NGOs working for the cause of cancer patients, for street children and to assist in the campaign against the female foeticide and in the shelter home for women in difficult circumstances.

It was also decided that a directory of NGOs should be brought out.



Global tenders to develop City Centre
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 16
Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, said global tenders would be called to develop City Centre of Mohali.

Mr Puri, who was talking to mediapersons after laying the foundation stone of a 300-bed Grecian Superspeciality Hospital in Sector 69 here today, said a meeting in connection with the development of City Centre which fell in Sector 62 here would be held in a week. Tenders for the development of the centre would be called soon.

The minister said mega projects would be coming to Mohali and other parts of the state. Nearly 3,200 acres was acquired in Punjab for developing urban estates. About 60 per cent of the land would be reserved for industry and 10 per cent for commercial activities.

A site measuring about 5 kanals was reserved in Phase VI here for a hotel. Regarding illegal colonies coming up in the state, Mr Puri said police cases were registered against illegal colonisers in Patiala and Jalandhar. Letters of intent were being issued to approved colonisers.

Talking about the masterplan of Mohali, which was not acceptable to farmers whose land would be acquired for expansion, the minister said the masterplan was in favour of the farmers as the market value of their land would shoot up. The farmers should not protest in this regard as efforts were being made to provide a good rate to farmers for their land. Regarding the landpooling scheme, he said farmers would be given either plots or money for their land. He said no final decision had been taken so far as the committee constituted to study various details had not submitted its report.

Dr S.S. Samra, who would be developing the hospital at a cost of Rs 50 crore, said the first phase of the hospital would become functional in about a year and would mainly focus on cure of cancer. He said the hospital would target the middle-class families and the charges would be kept affordable.

Among those who were present on the occasion were Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM.



Office-bearers of senior citizens’ body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, MAY 16
The Senior Citizens Federation North Zone (SENFED-NZ), comprising members of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, have constituted its governing council.

Its elected officer-bearers are: president — Dr S.K. Sharma, Panchkula; senior vice-presidents — Mr R.K. Tully (Panchkula), and Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti (Mohali); vice-presidents — Mr O.P. Mangotra (Jammu), and Mr Ram Saroop Chauhan (Nahan); general secretary — Mr Manmohan Singh Walia (Chandigarh); secretary — Mr Arjan Singh (Chandigarh); press secretary — Mr R.K. Bali (Chandigarh); organising secretary — Mr C.D. Bhardwaj (Panchkula); finance secretary — Mr L.M. Aggarwal (Panchkula).



India, Pak asked to withdraw curbs on media exchange
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Chandigarh Press Club has asked the governments of India and Pakistan to immediately withdraw all restrictions on the sale and exchange of newspapers, magazines and telecast of news channels between the two countries.

The demand was raised in a resolution passed at the general body meeting of the club held yesterday afternoon. The House suggested that to begin with, the exchange and sale of newspapers and magazines should be allowed through land route at Wagah.

The club also asked both governments to allow the postings of more journalists as against the existing number of two from each side. Both governments were urged to consider granting permission to media organisations, on either side, to post their respective correspondents at Chandigarh and Lahore. The club also demanded the issuance of multi-entry visas for scribes working in the region.

The resolution was made in light of the efforts put in by the governments of India and Pakistan to improve bilateral relations, especially when various delegations related to diverse fields had been exchanged as part of the ongoing “track two diplomacy”.

Through another resolution the club demanded suitable legislations from the respective state governments to set up State Press Commissions, which could be empowered to protect the rights of the journalistic community as well as arbitrate on the wide spectrum of disputes related to news industry in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Another resolution of club related to celebrating its silver jubilee this year in a befitting manner. The club committed itself to setting up Press Clubs at district level in the states of Punjab and Haryana. Once set up, these district Press Clubs could become eligible, on a reciprocal basis, for affiliation with the Chandigarh Press Club, to use the facilities and participate in professional activities.

Earlier, the President of the club, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, while addressing the General House, said as part of the silver jubilee celebrations, efforts would be put in to construct a state-of-the-art media tower, which would provide wide ranging facilities to journalists.

In his report, the Secretary General, Mr Balwant Takshak, announced two more awards, which the club instituted to encourage professionalism among journalists in the electronic media as well as for those working on the desk in the print media. The awards would be sponsored by Yagya Dutt Sharma Memorial Trust.

Mr Takshak also announced that the remuneration for the existing awards has been raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for Investigative reporting, Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 for photography, while the club proposed to start another award for “best layout of the front page”, where the prize would be Rs 7,500.

He said a table soccer meet would be organised in June for children of club members. For this a table was provided to the club by the Table Soccer Federation of India. 



Maini Sr vice-chief of Mohali MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 16
Mr Bharat Bhushan Maini has been elected senior vice-president of the Municipal Council at an election held at the office of the civic body here today.

Mr Maini won the election by securing 18 votes while his immediate rival, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, who got only eight votes was made the vice-president.

The name of Mr Maini was proposed by Mr Surjit Singh Garewal and seconded by Mr S.S. Barnala and Mrs Daljit Kaur. The name of Mr Patwari was proposed by Mr Manmohan Singh Lang.

The elections were held by under the supervision of the local SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma. Voting was done by show of hands.

Mr Maini wanted to fight the elections for the post of senior vice-president even last year but had failed to get the maximum number of votes at the internal voting of the ruling group which is done before fielding the final candidates. Mr Phoolraj Singh had become the senior vice-president as he was more favourable in the ruling group and had managed to get more votes than Mr Maini.

However, this year Mr Maini was able to get the maximum number of votes at the internal voting of the ruling group which was held on Saturday. There has been a tradition in the ruling group to field only that candidates for the election who manages to get the maximum number of votes at the internal voting. Others who were interested in the post of senior vice-president were Mr Surjit Singh Garewal, Mr S.S. Barnala and Mrs Daljit Kaur. It is learnt that at the internal voting of the ruling party, Mr Maini had managed to get seven votes while Mr Garewal and Mr Barnala secured five votes each. Mrs Daljit Kaur got only one vote and that, too her own.



Fauji Beat
Forgotten during life, remembered after death

THERE has been a tidal wave of praise for Lieut-Gen J.S. Aurora after his death. What is unusual is that not only the soldiers but a large number of public and some politicians also have showered praise on him. Appreciation for this war hero, who transformed the map of the subcontinent by creating Bangladesh, has also flowed in from that country.

The question on every lip after his death is: Why was the General not honoured during his lifetime despite having brought the first decisive victory to the country after Independence? This question can only be answered by the inner circle of the politicians.

General Aurora was far from being a flamboyant. he was a macro model of a simple and professional soldier who never asked for any favour as this writer knows having served under him in the 50s. But then does this mean that recognition comes only by asking? Leave alone honouring him with a rare title, the General was not even offered the post of a Governor or an Ambassador.

The public opinion is that he should at least be honoured now. Some suggest naming of a road or an institution after his name. While some others recommend erecting a statute in the capital or bringing out a special stamp with his bust to honour him.

Ludhiana polyclinic short of medicines

“We became members of the Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) on an assurance by the government that we will get all types of medical treatment and medicines free of cost. But now we are being betrayed on various counts,” say several ex-servicemen from Ludhiana.

On an average 125-130 patients visit the polyclinic at Ludhiana daily, which is classified as Type A (Military). This polyclinic depends for medicines on the Military Hospital (MH), Jalandhar. Because of the acute shortage of medicines, they (the patients) are told to come back after a fortnight. Despite repeated visits to the polyclinic, they still do not get the medicines. “Why should we purchase medicines from our own pocket when we are members of the ECHS”? ask many veterans from Ludhiana.

The Jalandhar MH is commanded by a Brigadier whose local purchase powers are Rs 50,000 for a single item per transaction vide Ministry of Defence letter of April 22, 2002. Why is he not exercising these powers to meet the demand of the polyclinic in full?

The officers-in-charge (OIC) polyclinic at Ludhiana should refer the patients for specialists’ treatment to the local empanelled hospitals i.e. CMC and DMC. There is a complaint from the patients that he is hesitant to do so. Because of the MH being located in another station, a case has already been taken up by the ECHS authorities to turn the Ludhiana polyclinic into Type A (non-military). Located in a station where there is no military hospital, the Ludhiana polyclinic can purchase medicines worth Rs 50,000 every month. The Station Commander, Ludhiana, should empanel chemists for this purpose.

Army traditions

Tradition according to Clausewitz is a subtle and indefinable term. Field Marshal Willian Slim calls it “ a standard of conduct below which a man in uniform must never fall”.

The mess customs and traditions may look meaningless to some but they are a unifying and driving force to motivate the officers to protect the honour of the regiment, the Army and the nation.

In the Indian Army, the dinner nights and guest nights are still held in a traditional manner. All officers of the regiment/unit attend this function in their appropriate mess dress. The unit Colours are usually displayed behind the Commanding Officer’s seat. He is the president of the function and the junior-most officer (vice-president) sits at the other end of table opposite him.

— Pritam Bhullar



Readers write
Bias against women Army officers

Reading Fauji Upbeat was a way of reliving the association I enjoyed with the Armed forces ever since I hung my uniform in 2000. But the article dated May 3, 2005 left a bad taste in my mouth and forced me to pen down this rejoinder.

I don’t know the credentials of the author Pritam Bhullar who penned down his/her views about the woman officers’ discipline, but I am sure of my five years of hands-on experience with the more traditional and male-dominated Indian Army. Having been among the first few woman officer to have joined the Army way back in 1994, I must say that each and every word of the article was a kind of insult I have never experienced.

Talking about the first ever court martial of a woman officer in 11 years, I would like to say that the case is still subjudice and awarding judgement against Flying Officer Anjali Gupta at this point of time is unwarranted and a pointer that an officer is a “woman or a man” first and an officer later. There are thousands of instances of insubordination in the Armed forces but none of them attract the kind of publicity this one is attracting because they are all against officers and this one is against a woman. This itself is a reflection of how well the longest ever male bastion of the Indian Government has accepted or is accepting the entry of woman in Armed Forces.

Secondly, the kind of social fabric we all come from where more than 50 per cent women suffer sexual harassments at home or in workplaces, why are we saying that if such a charge surfaces in the armed forces, then this would be a fabrication to find an escape route from the disciplinary cases and not a reality? I am aghast and surprised to note that in a society where thousands of sexual harassment cases go unreported everyday the author is suggesting that a woman will put her virtue and reputation at stake to escape disciplinary charges.

The entire tone of the article is so biased that it is conveying an impression that a woman in uniform is a pampered lot, enjoying at the expense of ‘poor man’ while the ground reality is that she is in a fluid situation bearing, the brunt of the transition in the social outlook and professional outlook. She is fighting a system which believed in ‘ladies first’ and will take time to look upon her as an officer and not a mere woman, who is slowly and patiently waiting for a transition in the social system, who is a part of a system which is experimenting with her induction in the Armed forces in terms of her physical capabilities, in terms of manpower requirement of the forces, in terms of defining the roles she can play, in terms of her acceptance at the grass root level (jawans). She in fact is as a scapegoat who herself is not sure of her future (after 14 years of service, what?) but is part of a revolution which will run for long before results are drawn.

Remember opening doors for woman was a strategic decision arrived at in light of manpower requirement of the forces, the changing social scenario and not to glamorise. the forces.

(Ex) Capt Shikha Saxena Chandigarh



Complaint against doctor lodged
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 16
A resident of Kumbra village here has complained to the police that doctors of the local Civil Hospital did not attend him when was admitted there and has sought action against them.

Mr Lakhmir Singh reportedly got admitted to the hospital on Friday as he was suffering from loose motions and vomiting. He said that he had to move out of the hospital in protest last night as he was not attended to by doctors on duty. He alleged that doctors were not present on duty during the time he was in the hospital. He said he was put on glucose by nurses and no doctor inquired about his condition.

It is learnt that he called up the Kharar MLA and the SDM yesterday to lodge a complaint.

However, Dr S.P. Singla, SMO-in-charge of the hospital, told The Tribune today that the doctors were on duty at the time mentioned by the patient. The patient, he said, must have made a complaint because the treatment did not come up to his level of satisfaction.



Issue of water charges hike again kept in abeyance
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 16
The proposal to hike water and sewerage charges in the town has once again been kept pending by the municipal council at the general House meeting of the civic body held here today.

The Director, Local Government, Punjab, had directed the council authorities at a meeting held on April 30 to implement the government notification under which rates of water and sewerage had been revised. But the House has once again kept the implementation of hiked rates pending.

The proposal was put up at the council meeting held on April 4 also but was kept pending. The issue had earlier been discussed at the general House meetings held on June 30 and August 27, 2003, but was kept pending as councillors felt that the rates in the town were already on the higher side as compared to Chandigarh and any further hike would increase the financial burden on the residents. However, Mr Manjeet Singh Sethi said today he demanded that the proposal should not be kept pending everytime but should be rejected. He said that in Mohali sewerage cess was being imposed according to the number of toilet seats in each house and residents had to pay Rs 15 per seat each month. In Chandigarh sewerage cess was imposed at the rate of Rs 15 per floor of the house.

A proposal to provide chlorinated water by tankers to the slums around the town at a cost of Rs 2 lakh was cleared at the meeting. Directions in this regard were given by the Ropar Deputy Commissioner at the monthly meeting held on March 16 to check the spread of diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. As the work to provide chlorinated water by tankers to the slums fell outside the provisions of the council, special permission would have to be taken from the Director, Local Government, Punjab.

The House cleared the proposal to purchase insecticide worth over Rs 2 lakh as mosquitoes and flies had increased in the town. The insecticides would be purchased directly from the company.

The proposal to pay salary amount of over Rs 72,000 to 28 employees who had been hired for a period of one month to carry out a house-to-house survey in connection with the forthcoming municipal elections was also cleared at the meeting.

Estimates of around Rs 1 crore for development works in different areas of the town were cleared.



Former murder accused held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A former accused in a murder case and a resident of the Dadu Majra colony, Dinesh Anand, was arrested here today by the police on the charges of possessing 5 gm smack.

Police sources said Dinesh was one of the accused in a murder, which was committed on July 11,1997 in Sector 22. He had reportedly served a five-year jail term for the offence.

A case has been registered.

Stereo stolen

A resident of Sector 22, Mr Rajinder Kumar, alleged that the stereo of his car was stolen from outside his house yesterday. The police has registered a case.


Ms Vinpreet Kaur, a resident of Phase X of Mohali, alleged that two bags containing some clothes and certain other articles were stolen from her car parked in Sector 17.

A case has been registered.

Mobile stolen

Ms Mandeep Kaur Gill, a resident of Sector 12, reported that her mobile phone set was stolen from her scooter, which was parked in Sector 11 yesterday.

A case has been registered.



Two conductors, 3 more arrested for possessing drugs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The city seems to be turning a haven for drug pushers if the number of cases registered under the NDPS Act during the past 48 hours is any indication. With the registration of three more cases today, the number has gone up to nine.

According to police sources, Satinder Singh Rana of Phase II in Mohali was arrested with four grams of smack here today. In a similar case yesterday Gurvinder Singh Sidhu and Surjit Singh were held with three grams, of smack each during a search operation.

Only yesterday the police arrested two conductors of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) on the charges of storing poppy husk in their almirahs at the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) in Sector 17.

The arrests were made following a surprise check of the almirahs, used for keeping tickets and cash. The police said 750 gm of poppy husk was seized from the almirah of Rajinder Singh and 450 gm from Kuldeep Singh. Both were arrested by the police.

During the search operation 650 gm of poppy husk was found from the cabinet of conductor Sucha Singh and 850 gm from the cabinet of Ranjit Singh.

Sanjeevan Lal, a resident of Sector 47, was also arrested for possessing six grams of smack. Another resident of Burail, Dara Singh, was arrested with seven grams of smack.



One held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The local police today arrested Zareena, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26, on the charges of stealing a mobile phone set.

According to the police, Zareena, who works as a maid servant in a Sector 23 house, allegedly stole the mobile of Mr Hari, a resident of Sector 9. Mr Hari had gone to visit his friend, Mr Arun Verma, in Sector 23 where he left his phone.


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