C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Unstamped meat continues to be sold in slums
Unlicensed slaughterhouses do brisk business
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 12
In absence of a Health Department licencing authority and policy for selling of red meat in the district, unstamped meat continues to be sold at slum areas and villages surrounding Panchkula.

With the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation imposing restrictions on illegal supply of unstamped meat, all such meat which cannot be sold in the UT, is finding its way into Panchkula. Though the unstamped meat from the neighbouring UT meets most of the demand here, unlicensed slaughter houses here meet the daily requirement of around 50 quintals of meat in Panchkula and its surrounding villages.

Since the Haryana government is still in the process of finalising a policy on setting up a licensing authority for food and beverages, the unhealthy meat continues to be sold openly. The Chandigarh Tribune team today found that illegal slaughter houses are running in village Bana Madanpur, Abheypur, Kharag Mangoli, Old Panchkula, Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony and Azad Colony.

The goats and sheep, besides pigs, were being openly slaughtered in these villages and slum areas. In Kharag Mangoli village, swarms of flies dotted the area and blood was littered on the ground, even as the children played in the neighbourhood and another woman cooked her food in the open, a few steps away from where the animals are slaughtered.

An illegal meat market is running at village Abheypur, where mutton hangs in the open from kiosks. These kiosks are located on government land- where malba and garbage has been dumped just a few feet away from these kiosks. As customers line up to get their supply from these six meat shops, the shop owners remove the mutton, chop it into pieces and sell it off, even as flies stick on to the meat. Incidentally, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has cleared this meat market thrice last month, but they have returned back to business the day after HUDA’s demolition drive.

But it is not just these kiosks that sell unstamped meat. Most of the departmental stores in the city stock meat obtained from these sources .

It may be mentioned that though HUDA has constructed a slaughter house in Industrial Area, the Municipal Council has not yet taken over the building. Officials in MC say that HUDA has to affect certain changes in the construction before they can take over the slaughter house.

“We have even written to the Urban Development Directorate for sanctioning posts of a veterinary doctors, sweepers, watchman and Sanitary Inspector for the slaughter house. The government could also auction the running of slaughter house. Once this becomes operational, we will be able to keep check on the quality of meat sold,” informed an official. He added that as of now they issue temporary licences to meat sellers, though there is no check on quality.



2 more leopard skins seized
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 12
The Chandi Mandir Police and Wildlife Department has seized two more leopard skins from Ram Lal, the smuggler of wildlife trophies and animal skins arrested on Thursday.

Officials say that the leopard skins were recovered from Dhanes village in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. A team of policemen led by DSP Prerna Puri and Sub-Inspector Gulab Singh, accompanied by Wildlife officials raided the hideout of the smuggler today and recovered the animal skins.

The police said the animal skins were found buried under a peepal tree near a hill in Dhanes village. Ram Lal himself led the police to the spot, saying that he had bought these skins from another person in Himachal and he was merely selling them to customers in Delhi.

The police had raided the hideout of the leopard hunter identified by Ram Lal at Ludhiana yesterday. However, the hunter had got wind of Ram Lal’s arrest and managed to escape. The police found his house locked.

Police said that Ram Lal had confessed in his interrogation that he was part of a chain involved in poaching of leopards and other wildlife animals in Himachal Pradesh. He would buy the animal trophies, keep them at his hide-outs in Bangala bastis at Pinjore, Baddi or Parwanoo, and after finding a suitable customer, would sell them off in Delhi.

Ram Lal was arrested by the police on June 6, when he was waiting for a vehicle near Morni T-point for Nahan. One leopard skin and a sum of Rs 70,000 were recovered from him.



HUDA starts aligning course of rivulets
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 12
Wiser after last year’s flooding of the seasonal rivulets running through Panchkula that caused a lot of damage to life and property, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has begun work for aligning the course of these rivulets.

While a sum of Rs 2. 50 crore has been approved for realigning the Singh nullah choe that passes through Sectors 2, 4 and 12, estimates of another Rs 2. 50 crore have been sent to the government for the nullah passing through Sectors 7, 18 and 17, besides Indira Colony and Rajiv Colony.

Yesterday, the Commissioner Town and Country Planning, Ms Shakuntala Jakhu along with officers of Engineering wing of HUDA, led by the Engineer-in-Chief, Mr K.K. Bhugra, visited the area. Last year’s floods in August had not only led to people being washed away in Rajiv Colony, a large chunks of land, which had been allotted as plots in Sector 2 and 4 were also washed away.

Since mushroom growth of encroachments on the natural course of the seasonal rivulets in the Punjab area led to flooding, the Commissioner said that the state government would take up the matter with Punjab government.

Officials say that the terrain of Panchkula is such that the entire rain water flows down through three seasonal rivulets to Industrial Area and Sector 19 here. The outflow of water from the township is through three places in the neighbouring areas of Punjab, which have now been usurped by colonisers and marriage palace owners in Zirakpur.

Since the water cannot find an outlet, the water pressure not only damages the buildings constructed on this land reclaimed on the natural course of the nullahs, but also floods the low-lying areas like Sector 19 and Industrial Area, falling near the nullahs.

A few years ago, the storm-water would drain out in the nullah flowing behind Industrial Area. Most of the natural course of the nullah has been usurped and Harmilap Nagar stands on this land. From here, the nullah reaches the Punjab and Haryana boundary, near Shagun Hotel, where the outflow is now blocked. The second outflow of water from the township is also blocked by a coloniser, who has built apartments on the natural course near the Railway line on the Zirakpur — Panchkula highway. The third out flow of storm water from Panchkula has been blocked by a marriage palace near Ganda Nullah in Dhakauli village.



Low-floor buses: threat to move court
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The ambitious project of the Administration to buy over 100 low-floor buses is all set to hit a roadblock with an advocate of the District Court threatening to move court over its “defective design”.

Basing his petition on the Conductors Union, Mr Arvind Thakur alleged that the UT Administration was buying these buses, which had been “rejected” by other states.

The Strugglers’ Voice, in a representation to the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, earlier this year, had complained about serious defects in the buses. They had sought his intervention in the matter.

The body had alleged that the 14 such buses, which were purchased by the UT Administration over one-and-a-half year ago, had not been performing well. These had proved to be costlier than other buses as they gave a low average per litre of diesel.

Pinpointing the defects, the Strugglers’ Voice alleged that the rear-side engine made the vehicle to emit pollution. Meanwhile, certain defects pointed out to the company during the first stage inspection were yet to be rectified even though the second stage inspection was conducted on May 19. The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is likely to add 102 new low-floor buses to its fleet by next month.

The UT Administration had decided to purchase the low-floor buses and introduce the “grid system” with a view to improve the functioning of the public transport system. Currently the city’s public transport system is putting thousands of commuters to a lot inconvenience.

Even the city transport unions are divided over the purchase of such buses, which are touted to be conforming to latest standards and fuel-efficient by the officials. While certain unions have thrown their lot with the administration on the issue, others are opposing the purchase by terming them as “costly and polluting”.



MC to auction land for housing scheme
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Municipal Corporation has fixed a reserve price of Rs 18.5 crores on the land for multi-storeyed housing flats in Manimajra. The Finance and Contract Committee has decided to dispose of site on the prime land (Chandigarh-Kalka highway) though an open auction.

The price for the auction this time has witnessed a considerable hike as compared to the prices of Rs 9 crores and Rs 12 crores recommended on earlier occasions during the past two years.

“Delayed reasoning” has salvaged the housing scheme from an earlier proposal of 70 per cent reservation. Mr Surinder Singh, a Congress Councillor, had proposed 70 per cent quota in the total construction. As many as 10 per cent flats were supposed to be reserved for oustees, 20 per cent for economically backward sections, 30 per cent for the middle income groups and 10 per cent for the Mayor’s quota. The proposal was even cleared in one of the house meetings.

Mr P.C. Sanghi, a nominated councillor, in a later meeting in 2004 demanded a fresh agenda. He pointed out that a housing scheme with such a high reservation was not feasible for any company. He also mentioned allegations against a councillor who had land in the area under consideration for the housing scheme.

Later, a letter of dissatisfaction with a quota was signed by Mr Sanghi, Mrs Amar Kulwant Singh, Brig Sant Singh, Mr Dildar Khan, Mrs Harjinder Kaur, Mrs Kamla Sharma, Mr Vijay Rana and Mr Surinder Bhatia, all councillors.

The corporation decided to do away with the quota system. In February 2005, the house approved the multi-storeyed housing scheme as per a “zoning plan”. It has now been decided that 15 per cent of the accommodation area in the society will be reserved for the economically weaker sections, including the service providers in the society.

Mr Sanghi pointed out that construction companies would not be interested in investing in schemes with a very high reservation. “The companies want to make profits in addition to recovering their cost. This was not possible with more than 15 per cent reservation. It must also be remembered that the land under question was basically meant for houses of the MC employees. Since MC does not have enough employees on its direct rolls, it was prudent to sell it off to meet the growing MC deficit.”

An elected councillor said “the Congress party which is in majority in the house was engaged in the exercise of helping its party workers. 



Gurdwara panel releases list of office-bearers
Consent of SGPC member not taken
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 12
Members of the Gurdwara Coordination Committee today released the list of its office-bearers without the consent of the local SGPC member, Mr Hardeep Singh.

Stating that the SGPC member had no role to play in the committee’s working, which was a representative body of non-SGPC religious institutions in the township, the President of the committee, Mr Joginder Singh Sondhi, added that the committee would not “tolerate any interference of the SGPC member.”

Declaring his allegiance to the SAD by holding a press conference at Phase XI Singh Sabha Gurdwara in the presence of party members Amrik Singh Mohali and Paramjit Singh Kahlon, Mr Sondhi today managed to shift the focus of the committee from religious issues to political ones.

Mr Sondhi, the former president of the committee, claims that was unanimously elected President on May 28 following which today he selected his team in accordance with the committee’s constitution.

Alleging that the SGPC member wanted to have his “own” members in the committee so that he could control it from outside, Mr Mohali said Hardeep Singh wanted Mr Tirlochan Singh Loch as the general secretary of the committee which was not acceptable to other members.

Terming the whole affair as an attempt to divide the Sikh community on political lines, Mr Hardeep Singh said the election of Mr Sondhi as the president itself was illegal. “According to the constitution of the committee, the local SGPC member is given the duty of conducting elections to the post of the president of the committee. In that capacity I have not issued any letter to Mr Sondhi stating that he is the President. Joginder Singh Sondhi proposed the name of Tirlochan Singh Loch as President and Sohan Singh Sood’s name was proposed by someone else. Mr Sondhi’s name for the post the president was never even proposed,” he added.

However, members of Mr Sondhi’s group pointed out that since no final decision could be taken between Mr Sood and Mr Loch it was decided to elect Mr Sondhi as president. “Mr Sondhi was given the siropa by Mr Hardeep Singh before the Guru Granth Sahib in a large gathering. Why were objections not raised by him then about the presidentship?” questioned a member of the Sondhi group.

Mr Hardeep Singh said more than 20 members of the various institutions represented by the committee had handed over a written complaint to him alleging religious misconduct of on part of Mr Sood and Mr Sondhi. “They had demanded that elections to the post of president be held again. I had constituted a fact finding committee to look into the allegations and also directed Mr Sondhi not to take any step till the committee’s reports are received. This renders today’s list of office-bearers illegal. Interestingly six of the committee members, who have been chosen into the committee, are among those who complained to me against Mr Sondhi and Mr Sood,” Mr Hardeep Singh said.

Among those who have been elected office-bearers by Mr Sondhi are: Dr Sohan Singh Sood as the general secretary; Mr Swarn Singh Bhullar, Mr Swinder Singh Khokar, Mr Dalip Singh Malhi and Mr Jaswant Singh Natt as the senior vice-presidents; Mr Amar Singh, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Hardial Singh Mann and Mr Rajinder Singh Mann as vice-presidents; Mr Manmohan Singh Lang as the secretary; Mr Mohinder Singh as the press secretary, Mr Nirmal Singh Bhurji and Mr Balwinder Singh Tohra as the cashiers, Mr Baldev Singh Sidhu as auditor, Mr Surjit Singh Mann as chairman, Dharam Prachar Committee, and Ms Balwinder Kaur Dhaliwal as deputy chairman of the Dharam Prachar Committee. The executive members are Mr Balwinder Singh of Phase XI; Mr Pishora Singh of Phase XI; Mr Satpal Singh Baghi of Phase I and Mr Santokh Singh Mnana.



SAD youth wing enrolls eight lakh members
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 12
Members of the Youth Akali Dal (Badal) organised a special function in the city last night to celebrate the success of the statewide membership drive.

Stating that over 8 lakh new members had been brought into the Akali fold, Mr Harsukhinder Singh Bubby Badal, spokesman, Youth Akali Dal, pointed out that this was eight times more than the target fixed before the drive was launched.

Addressing party workers at a meeting organised at Gurdwara Amb Sahib, Mr Badal said the youth wing was attracting highly-qualified and educated youth, including doctors and engineers, into its fold.

Mr Badal said the SAD had waged a long struggle against the divisive policies of the Congress government at the Centre. He alleged that the wrong policies of the Punjab Government had led to the shifting of the major industrial houses from here to other states like Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. This had increased the number of unemployed youths in the state.

Mr Badal was honoured on the occasion by the organisers, Mr Jaswinder Singh Dilawari, Mr Rachpal Singh and Prof Sajjan Singh Bankarpur.



Woman succumbs to injury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Jawali Devi, a resident of Shahbad Markanda, who was seriously injured when she was hit by a CTU bus near the ISBT in Sector 17 here on June 10, succumbed to her injuries in the PGI yesterday.

According to police sources, driver of the bus (CHO1-G-5790) and resident of Badana village in Fatehgarh Sahib district Balbir Singh has been arrested by the police. However, he was later granted bail.

A case has been registered.



Design course for engineers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 12
One of the most coveted courses these days is the advanced postgraduate diploma in VLSI design. Being offered by VEDANT (VLSI Design Education and Training), as one of the prestigious projects of Semiconductor Complex Limited (SCL) here, the programme covers the complete spectrum of the VLSI design training for engineers.

Training during the course is given at the four “VEDANT centres of excellence” which includes a unique opportunity of design realisation on silicon through SCL’s India Chip Programme.

The six-month course, offered twice a year, covers all aspects of the VLSI design. The course curriculam is based on a project-centric approach, recommended by VLSI experts. Real life projects are assigned at the beginning of the course that provide an opportunity to grasp and correlate theory to real life applications. Training is imparted on Mentor Graphics and Cadence EDA tools at VEDANT-Chandigarh.

Admission to the course is done twice a year through an entrance test (nationwide). The batches starts in January and July every year. The centre has asked for applications from B.E./B.Tech (electronics, instrumentation, telecommunications and electrical) or M.Sc (physics with electronics) students.

The last date for the submission of forms is June 18 and the entrance test date is June 19. The result will be declared on June 20 and counselling and admission will be done on June 21 and 22.

The batch will commence on July 18. Paying guest accommodation is also available within walking distance from the complex in adjacent sectors 71 and 70 and Phase 3 and 5 of Mohali. Monthly charges for boarding and lodging range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per month.

However, most students use SCL canteen facility and generally opt for dormitory accommodation, by which the cost gets reduced to almost half. The list of PG facility providers is available at the VEDANT centre.



College Call
GGSCW-26 — carving a niche in sport
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, June 12
Carrying on with the crusade to providing selfless education, Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, has fared exceptionally well over the years with currently 1,300 students on its rolls.

Started by the Sikh Educational Society, around 300 students are availing of its hostel facility.

Established in 1973, the college ranks top among the society’s chain of schools and colleges. The college imparts education at postgraduate level in Information Technology.

At undergraduate level, the college runs classes in arts, commerce and vocational course in computer application. At professional level, it offers BCA. It also plans to introduce skill-oriented courses to promote interdisciplinary skills.

But it is in sports that the college has carved a niche for it has won many Panjab University inter-college championships.

It is also a proud winner of the runner’s-up trophy of the Panjab University Inter-College Sports Overall Championship.

Students keen on continuing their date with games along with studies have a reason to join it. Facilities are provided in table tennis, volleyball, football, baseball, softball, weightlifting, hockey and badminton.

Selection for admission to the sports wing is done on the basis of merit of the candidate in sports. Players should have a minimum standing of state level and should be holder of first or second position in the Chandigarh inter-school games or open championships.

As decided by the Panjab University Sport Committee, players participating in university tournaments must have attended at least 50 per cent lectures in each subject during their stay in the college.

Sprawled over an area of 11 acres, the college campus has an impressive three-storey building.

It has spacious classrooms, well-stocked library, laboratories, auditorium, playgrounds and newly built students’ centre.

Cyber cafe, Alumni Association, placement counselling cell and grievances cell, health centre are also there at the college.

Besides, the college has a canteen, recreation room, centre to run hobby classes and shops like bookshop, STD/photostat, gift, etc.

The college has been accredited B+ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

The institution’s National Cadet Corps unit consists of 200 cadets in Army, Naval and Air Force wings.

Every year the college enrolls 200 students for the National Service Scheme unit to promote social welfare.

The college magazine, “Gyan Manik”, is brought out annually by an editorial board consisting of members of the staff and students who have flair for writing.



PU results delayed for hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The delay of hours for accessing Panjab University (PU) results on its official website puts the students, especially the outstation students through a lot of discomfort who keep searching their results endlessly on the Internet which are made available hours after the official time of 10 am.

What is even more frustrating is the confounding mobile SMS services, which PU has introduced this year to know the results. Many candidates do not know which chat room to enter to know the results.

The last two results of B Sc III and O-CET (other than CET) were delayed by more than two hours on the Internet.

The outstation students, hooked on to the PU website, www.puchd.ac.in, to know about their O-CET results, kept waiting till 1 pm, even as the time given by the examination Branch was 10 am. ``I had appeared in the Masters in Mass Communication (MMC) and logged on to the PU website since 10 in the morning. There was no trace of the results till late afternoon. The SMS service for knowing the results was so confusing and the university had done nothing to explain to the candidates how to access the results through mobile phones,’’ says an aspiring student.

In the new service, introduced this year, PU has added the facility to access the results on mobile phones by sending an SMS with the subject code and roll number to 700. Many candidates tried sending an SMS as required under the system, but no information was provided on entering the correct chat rooms to know the results.

“I think the facilities like internet and SMS have been added to reduce the rush at the PU’s enquiry counters. But if the results are late by several hours on the Internet and there is no provision of asking the results on telephone, the candidates have no choice but to run to the campus to know the results,’’ remarks another student.

Meanwhile, the Controller of Examinations, (CoE), Dr Sodhi Ram, says at times the declaration of results of two separate exams can delay the proceedings. ``We have been declaring two results simultaneously, which increases the workload tremendously on the staff. This may be the reason for the delay.

We plan to declare one result in one day to avoid such delays,’’ he says. About the ill-informed SMS service, the CoE admits that since the facility has been introduced this year, some functional problems have arisen. 



Running from pillar to post to get justice
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Fourteen years ago, Neelam Kumar, a poverty-stricken driver moved to Dubai with the obvious aim of making money.

Today he is a dejected man. Poverty still haunts him.

After putting in around 10 years of service, his employer allegedly had him deported after involving him in a false case of cheating. A big share of the money he earned was spent in fighting a futile legal battle against the employer and in engaging a lawyer. His employer made efforts to illegally get him deported thrice. He remained in Dubai jails between December 1999 and February 2001.

After being finally deported on February 14, 2001, he has been running from pillar to post to get his share of dues back. Showing his record, he claimed that a Dubai court has announced a compensation of Dirhams 17,800. But the court order was allegedly tampered by his employer in connivance with the authorities concerned.

The issue was taken up by Mr Balwant Singh Rammowalia, a former member of Parliament with the Consulate General of India in Dubai. In his letter, Mr Rammowala mentioned that Mr Neelam had undergone harassment at the hand of his employers in Dubai and sought that testified copies of the appeal court’s original orders be arranged so that the factual position could be revealed.

The Consulate General of India, Dubai, replied back to the former MP that the complainant had refused to give his petition and wanted the Consulate General to directly write to the Attorney General to correct the court order, which Neelam Kumar, claims had been tampered with. The Consulate General said as the court order did not support the claim of the complainant, no further action could be taken.

After reaching India, the complainant made several efforts to meet the Ambassador of the UAE Embassy in India, but without any success so far.



Society seeks CM’s intervention
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 12
Members of the adhoc committee of the United Cooperative Housing society today demanded the Punjab Chief Minister’s intervention in solving the problems of the society members.

The housing society was dissolved in March this year by the Registrar Cooperatives, Punjab, following charges that some of the office-bearers of the society had sold and re-sold the society’s flats in Sector 68 here.

Following a meeting of the society members held here today, a press note issued by Mr Prem Singh Jindal, convener of the adhoc committee, stated that society office-bearers had indulged in several irregularities and the member were now paying for it. Many original members of the society who had given money for flats to the office-bearers were now being told that their flats have already been sold to someone else.

“It also came to our notice that the office-bearers had sold shares of the flat to couples which was not in accordance with the constitution of the society,” said Mr Jindal.

Mr Jindal added that the Registrar, Cooperatives had handed over the entire functioning of the society to an Assistant Registrar posted in Ropar.

“In a letter to the Chief Minister we have requested him to direct the society’s administrator to consider the plea of all those who had become members of the society and give them their due share in the flats,” said Mr Jindal.

The United Cooperative Housing Society was to construct 364 flats in Sector 68. Till now only 104 flats have been constructed. The number of members, however, has crossed beyond 500. The president of the society and its honorary secretary had been booked by the police for cheating some of the members and are on bail now.



ISKCON celebrates Appearance Day of founder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated the 108th Appearance Day of its founder H.D. A.C. Bhakti Vedant Swami Sril Prabhupada at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36, here today, with great enthusiasm and religious fervour. A large number of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to its co-president H.G. Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu.

The programme started with mangla aarti at 4.30 a.m. followed by Hari naam japa for two hours, Sringaar darshan aarti, Guru puja of Sril Prabhupada, discourse on the importance of Hari Naam sankirtan and prasadam.

The main attraction was the spiritual programme of “Swami Dance” amidst Harinaam sankirtan to the tune of mridanga and kartal by hundreds of ISKCON devotees at the Sukhna Lake.

The aim of holding such a programme at a public place was to make people aware of real source of happiness in life. On this pious day, H.G. Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu urged the people that if they wanted to get rid of sorrows and attain real peace in life than they should adopt the path of spiritualism shown by Sril Pabhupada. 



A ray of hope for alcoholics
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Alcoholics seeking a new lease of life free from the dragnet of the bottle can surely now look forward to a ray of hope in Alcoholics Anonymous, a fellowship where the affected share their experiences to help self and others to recover from the “disease”.

AA is organising a four day convention at Dharamsala from June 16 onwards. The event will witness participation of nearly 200 fellows from all over the country and even abroad. The outing will also have representatives from Al-Anon, relatives and friends of alcoholics and Alateen, children of alcoholics.

An office-bearer introduces the concept, saying “the underlying message of the fellowship is life can be fun without alcohol, which can only be easier said than done. The first step towards joining the fellowship is accepting that you have a problem with drinks. One just requires to walk in a meeting of AA and share his experience. He will witness and relate to several more stories on the same subject of losses he was suffering in his personal and professional life”.

“Visitors at these meetings don’t recover immediately. Time varies from person to person. Even a single success story is a very big motivation for us,” a member said.

The member pointed out that Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula had about seven AA groups and meetings are conducted throughout the week at different places. One idea of a get-together is to understand that there can be day-to-day living and celebrations without drinking. The most important component of the meeting is sharing experiences to understand the pain undergone while drinking and the enjoyment of sober life today.

A senior member of the local chapter of AA said: “Understanding the fact that alcoholism was a disease(as WHO puts it) was the biggest truth that dawned on me. I always thought I knew my drinking limits. When a friend first shared the idea of AA, I revolted against the idea which would shackle my personal life. Things changed when I understood that AA was not against alcohol, it was for help for those who could not drink and still live normally.”

Another member said: “Faces of my children were the first to shake me up. Our family did not have any visitors because as the dusk set in my bottle corks would open. My children did not call their friends. I also realised that I had suffered financially, socially and professionally. I also remembered to have had a bad time with the law enforcers on a couple of occasions. It has been more than a decade now that I quit, and hope to continue.”

AA was set up in 1935 by Mr Bill W, a stockbroker in Akon (USA). It has more than 20 million recovering alcoholics today in over 150 countries.

A lady member of the Al-Anon, the family group, said: “My husband was an alcoholic. I fought with him and always blamed him for everything wrong in our family life. In this fellowship I have discovered that he was suffering from a disease. I started afresh and have benefited greatly in improving the quality of family life and also in helping my husband quit drinks.”



A public man-turned-diplomat
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Dr Diljit Singh Pannun, India's new Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoras Islands, is all set to join select band of public men who got more than one Ambassadorial assignments. He is expected to take his new assignment in the coming week.

With no formal training in diplomacy, Amritsar-born Dr Pannun known more for his distinctions in the field of academics, media and administration, got his first diplomatic assignment in 1992 when he was made India's Ambassador to Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Purkina Faso and Central African Republic.

He continued till 1998, virtually setting a record in becoming the first public man to get six extensions as a diplomat.

Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean off the south-east coast of Africa.

Dr Diljit Singh Pannun, who once enjoyed close association with Nehru-Gandhi family, had tried to work as a mediator to avert infamous “Operation Bluestar” by mediating between Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale and the Union-Government.

Though he never got into electoral politics, he had the longest tenure as Chairman of the Punjab Backward Classes Development and Finance Corporation in 80s.

Talking to The Tribune before his departure to Mauritius on way to Madagascar, Dr Pannun said his immediate agenda would be to work and lobby for country's permanent seat in the Security Council with veto powers.

"Even during my previous diplomatic assignment in Africa, I not only created a great goodwill for the country but also helped improve bilateral relations and trade. Unlike conventional diplomacy, I believe more in improving people-to-people relations," says Dr Pannun.

Dr Pannun, who had been closely associated with the Departments of Journalism and Mass Communications of both Punjab Agricultural University and Punjabi University is currently the Managing Director of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Educational Trust, which besides other charitable projects is running a public school in Amritsar.

"It is because of my long association with the academic world that one of my priorities in a diplomatic assignment remains the same, establishing linkages between Indian and African universities," he added.

Dr Pannun said this was the need of the hour to project India as a new economic power .

India needed to be projected as a most liberal and secular democratic state as most of the Islamic countries had a wrong notion that India was a Hindu state.

He said India had the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia.

He said during his earlier assignment as Ambassador to Ghana, he had convinced at least four Islamic states, during his special tour to these countries as ‘Special Envoy’ to the then Prime Minister, Mr Narasimha Rao, and emphasised the point that no human rights violation occurred in India due to any sort of discrimination. 



Rotary International joins hands to save vulture
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
After being involved in the national-level pulse polo immunization campaign, the Rotary International has joined hands with the UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) to save vultures, the main scavengers in the Indian subcontinent which is facing extinction.

The Rotary International will be funding the conservation effort by setting up the vulture care centres as the one exists at Pinjore, Haryana.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Mike Yates, Chairman of the UK-based International Committee of District 1050, said the decision to contribute to the conservation efforts was taken as the Rotary was already collaborating with the RSPB in preventing health and environment-related problems. In the vulture-saving effort, the RSPB was collaborating with the BNHS.

Mr Yates, who along with a team of officers, visited the Vulture Care Centre at Pinjore, said extinction of the scavenger was in itself an ecological disaster occurring in the Asia. The ecological and social consequences of losing the bird species had never been so starkly apparent.

Studies carried out by WHO have indicated the bird was vital to health, cleaning and environment of rotting carcasses. “As vultures are decreasing, there has been an alarming increase in feral dogs, attracted to the rotting meat. This poses health and safety threats,” said Dr Devajit Dass and Dr Persy Avari, both representing the BNHS.

Saving the bird amounts to saving the mankind. The official from the BNHS said a total of six vulture breeding centres would be set up, including the one each in Pakistan and West Bengal. They said though the cause of the decline was unknown, studies across the Indian subcontinent point to a drug, dichlophenac, as one of the causes.

The avian experts said the oriental white-backed and long-billed vultures had now been classified as critically endangered. Efforts to isolate virus from tissue samples of diseased birds has yielded some success. Once these viral strains are typed, the scientists will finally be able to find the virus causing sudden death of two above mentioned species of vultures.

Experts say there has been more than 95 per cent decline in population of the two species of vultures during the past 10 years in the Indian subcontinent alone. Experts say as compared to millions of vultures found in this region of Asia, the population of white-backed vultures was estimated to be between 3000-5000 while that of long-billed species between 7000- 8000.



Super Coop Society members a harassed lot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
With the Office of the Joint Registrar Cooperative Societies (JRCS) dragging its feet on the defreezing of the account of Super Cooperative House Building First (I) Society Limited, Sector 49, for the past six months, members of the society are a harassed lot.

In a representation, the members alleged that they were disadvantaged lot as they had raised loans from the banks and were also paying rents for their accommodation.

And in the wake of the adamant attitude of the officials of the Cooperative Department, they were not being allowed to utilise their money for the construction of the flats.

The society has 91 members and the total project cost is pegged at Rs 8 crore.

Even a representation to the UT Secretary (Cooperation) has failed to move things, alleged Mr Jasmer Singh, secretary. Even after the completion of the audit by the senior Auditor, the account had not been defreezed.

Meanwhile, Mr Jasmer Singh has lodged a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner against a senior functionary of the department alleging “misbehaviour” by him on June 10.



Thank you for donating blood
World Blood Donor Day falls on June 14
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
World Blood Donor day which is being observed on June 14 the world over is just a small thanks to honour and thank those who donate blood without any material rewards except that they have saved a life.

Mrs Kanta Saroop Krishen, the woman behind the of blood donation movement in the city, wears her passion on her sleeve. “Information, education and communication” is her mantra, who has spent 41 years motivating the city people to come forward in this regard.

* Voluntary donors are the safest because their blood is tested every time they donate. They are not under compulsion to donate like in the case of replacement donors who could be selling blood.

* The Rotary and Blood Resource Centre has totally done away with the concept of replacement donors, and is instead working on motivation and education programs to encourage people to come and donate. In fact, Chandigarh is the pioneer in the voluntary blood donation awareness drive.

At the helm of The Rotary and Blood Resource Centre in Sector 37, Mrs. Krishen has lost none of her zeal and energy. Along with a dedicated team of 24 persons, the centre is working hard to supplement the blood requirement of the city and build up a stock so that an individual is never turned away for need of blood.

Their mission also includes showing appreciation to all those voluntary donors who come forward year after year with this precious resource. For this the Blood Bank Society is holding a special free screening of Bunty Aur Babli for donors on June 14. All you need is your blood donation card to get a special pass. In addition, special ‘Thank you blood donor’ slides in cinema theatres will flash the message of appreciation as well.

Bookshops and libraries around the city will give out special book marks and also pitching in is the media. Doordarshan has planned some special programs for telecast, including a qawaali on blood donation by school children. The city’s FM radio channel is also hosting shows on blood donation to publicise the message. The Centre has tied up with Spice Telecom, which is holding a blood donation camp on June 13.

With so much activity planned, can school children be far behind? Thirteen students from St. Stephen’s School will publicise this message by distributing the special bookmarks made for this day and carry red and white placards.

Volunteers at the centre are working hard to keep the message loud and simple. Mrs Vanita Sahni and Mrs Niti Sarin are at pains to explain how “just one donation can become a lifelong passion.” Try it, you will love it. 



Residents oppose allotment of park land for school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Residents of Sector 20-C are up in arms against the allotment of a public park land to the management of a private school.

The residents, who held a protest against the construction of the school this evening, alleged that the land of another adjoining park had been allotted to the management of the school, which was already existing in the area.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, who addressed the gathering, threatened to intensify the agitation if the UT Administration did not rescind its decision to allot school sites inside the public parks to private bodies.

Meanwhile, in memorandum to the UT Administrator, the residents alleged that with the coming up of the second school in the locality, there would be no space for the holding of the social functions.

Not only that the children would have no park to play and the senior citizens would be deprived of the space for the morning and the evening walks.

The memorandum urged the Administrator to stop the construct immediately so that the character of the city could be preserved.



Modern living in rural setting
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH is not only expanding intensively (new and bigger modern houses replacing the old ones) but also extensively with farm houses coming up just outside the city. One such recent addition to greater Chandigarh is the farmhouse Chandi Tryst (CT) which is one-of-its-kind farm located near the PGI.

Chandi Tryst is an architectural expression of it owner Dr Skylark Ishwaran S. Chadha (a Swedish NRI) of modern living in a rural setting where the best of both the worlds has found a very practical and plausible manifestation. Dr Chadha has lead large projects in 67 countries working as an advisor for the World Bank, UNDP, Sida, Danida, SDC, DfID, Unicef, ADB, etc.

Chandi Tryst is an admixture of the owner’s adolescent fantasies and precipitated ideas from a long innings of international exposure. In this pursuit, these acquired impressions and ideas from Asian traditions, European attributes and African outdoor passions have garnished the basic architectural needs imposed by the vicissitude of the Punjabi climate. An open layout is the underpinning theme in the architectural composition of the farmhouse. The in-farm drive is undulating, passing by a series of attractions, before reaching an off-loading ramp in front of the main entry to the edifice.

The ground floor consists of a large lounge and dining hall with all-sides open fireplace and a twelve feet, double-sided aquarium shared with the antechamber.

An egg-shaped elliptical spiral stairs leads one to the first floor. The four spacious bedrooms on the first floor have an emphasis on quality and exclusive fittings and decor.

Twinkling lights of Kasauli present a splendid stary spectacle on clear nights. The roof terrace offers a pleasant alfresco setting for 50 persons among the aromatic ‘raat-ki-raanis’.

Rice on aqueous minutiae, the house has a state-of-art Mediterranean-inspired pool (part of farm-irrigation system) with a gradual decline towards a diver’s pad. The platform around the pool has soft grass lawn and plant islands. The second-tier pool is designated for children — its overflow forming a misty waterfall on the lower pool. A multi -light, multi-nozzle fountain makes a rainbow in the day and presents an ethereal colour-spectacle at night.

The garden’s charm starts from the entry gate. The front wall has an imposing mix of jacarandas, oleanders, amaltaas, ashokas and double champas. Bottle plam, s morepankhis, seasonal chrysanthemums, gladiolus and dahlias etc flank the driveway. The circumferential walking-&-jogging track encircles an orchard of hybrid leeches, kinoos, mangoes, chikoos, pears, grapes, peaches, etc.



4 cases of minor fire in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
At least four cases of minor fire were reported in different parts of the city here today.

Fire broke out in the kitchen of house number 2744 in Sector 40 because of leakage in gas cylinder, sources said. A fire tender from the Sector 38 fire station rushed to the spot and the fire was brought under control without any major loss.

Fire was reported in the wild growth of grass adjoining Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Sector 25. There was another fire in grass adjoining the Gate Number 3 of Panjab University. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

Big clouds of smoke engulfed Sector 36-B earlier during the day due to a fire in wild grass in the open space adjoining the round-about near the market in Sector 35. 



Manhole covers stolen

Chandigarh, June 12
At least half a dozen manhole covers were lifted from residential quarters in Sector 21 on the night of June 10 and 11, according to Mr P.C. Sanghi, chairman of the Federation of Sector Welfare Association. TNS



One held

Chandigarh, June 12
The police today arrested Malkiat Kumar, a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, on the charges of possessing smack. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered.

Varinder Sharma, a resident of Pipliwala Town in Mani Majra, has been arrested on the charges of selling liquor without licence. The police has seized four bottles of Officer’s Choice from him. A case has been registered. TNS


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