C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Stars spurn fans’ attention
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
When it rains, it pours; it’s either feast or famine!

So it was for those gathered at Chandigarh Airport which saw a star-studded afternoon today. One after the other, celebrities poured in, posed briefly and zoomed towards another destination.

Strangely, Shimla was the destination of the day for the stars, who charmed the city briefly, right from actresses Kareena Kapoor and Preity Zinta to a more elusive Priyanka Gandhi who was driven away from the airport’s VIP lounge. She was most probably on her way to Wildflower Hall, a luxury hotel in Mashobra where her mother is holidaying.

Filmmaker Sunil Darshan was also in attendance, but he could not manage the kind of attention he normally does…for obvious reasons. He was, however, the only one among the VIP visitors who cared to give some sound bytes.

For Kareena, who arrived by the Jet Airways flight at about 1.30 pm, it was perhaps too inopportune an occasion to talk. Why else would she sew her lips, literally, and allow room only for a smile timed for a camera click!

Later, however, film director Sunil Darshan gave away Kareena’s hard-kept secret.

“She is going to Shimla to shoot for my new film, “Dosti”, which also stars Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol and Lara Dutta.”

Now about the pretty Preity Zinta who is returning to Shimla after a long time. Although on a break from her hectic schedules in the film city, the actress hardly appeared relaxed.

In fact, someone at the airport did not fail to mention, “Our Samsung Youth Icon of the Year is hardly a trendsetter, especially when she’s off the screen.”

At her arrogant best, Preity did not talk much either. Unlike Kareena, who at least obliged the fans by smiling, Priety chose to part with a nasty remark, “Why are you making my life miserable by asking me so many questions? I am going home and I am happy. That’s natural. What is it that you want to know?”

“After such a ‘heartwarming’ response, who would like to know anything Ms Pretty?” another fan mumbled as the actress headed for her luxury vehicle escorted by two bodyguards.

In a scenario as listless as this, film director Sunil Darshan came up with a much-needed breather. So he chose to talk, breaking the day’s rule.

“I love to experiment with human relationships, the way they change and evolve. Almost all my films have centred on this very theme. “Dosti” is no exception.

It is a story of two “inseparable” friends and the trials they undergo in the test of their friendship.

The film features two pairs — Akshay-Kareena and Lara-Bobby. We earlier shot for the film in Chandigarh. Now we are shooting in Shimla.”

Awaiting a major release “Barsaat” on August 19, Darshan is happy with the initial response to “Mere Jeevan Sathi” which hit the theatres today. He is hopeful that both his new films would succeed.



Talent hunt for young cartoon fans
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles represent a state of mind, an attitude! Does this sound like gibberish? Well, never scoff at a child’s aspirations for this is exactly what the three signify. Collectively known as Powerpuff Girls, they are muses to the young cable viewing generation of this country desiring ‘Super Powerdom’ and helping the young ones taste the Powerpuff Girls’ sweet success is Cartoon Network.

‘Join The Powerpuff Generation’ is a nationwide campaign of Cartoon Network and its allied channel Pogo, that is looking for children who pack a winning combination of confidence, creativity, on-screen presence and a wacky sense of humour! Mr The six winners—three boys and three girls—will get an opportunity to anchor the new season of a popular Cartoon Network show. The hunt is open to both boys and girls between the ages of seven and 14 years of age.

The event, kicked off on June 27 with a six-city school contact programme and promotional films on air. The USP of the talent hunt is that there is an attempt to reach as many children as possible and it will be spread across 16 cities in India with auditions being held in Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi and the other cities being connected by Reliance Web World which will enable ‘virtual’ auditions where the judges and contestants will be able to see each other through video-conferencing facilities.

The entry forms are available at all Reliance Web World outlets across India and children can log onto the channel website, www.cartoonnetworkindia.com. The closing date for entry forms is July 31, 2005.

Cartoon Network will be 10 years old in India in October this year and Pogo a year and a half old. The creative heads at the channels hope to “create multiple touch points going beyond television for the young ones here,” states Vivek Krishnani, Director Marketing, Cartoon Network and Pogo, India. “We are launching this talent hunt as a token of our appreciation to the children of this country who have enjoyed our programming for almost a decade now. We are giving them a chance to be a part of history on Cartoon Network as we have never had live children anchoring our shows before.”

The anticipation, therefore, is tangible, for the three ‘super girlies’ are as popular amongst boys as they are with the girls. Ten-year-old Vikhyat has already filled the form and is all set for his audition, slated for August.



Justice Narula’s death mourned by High Court
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today paid homage to former Chief Justice Mr Justice Ranjit Singh Narula, who passed away on June 1.

A Full Court reference was made when the High Court re-opened after the summer vacation. The Chief Justice, Mr Justice DK Jain, Judges, serving as well as retired, judicial officers, lawyers, the Advocates General of Punjab and Haryana and office-bearers of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association were present at the Full Court reference.

In his condolence message, Mr Chief Justice Jain described Justice Narula as a multi-dimensional personality of firm determination and commitment who led a principled and pious life.

A leading lawyer before his elevation to the Bench, Justice Narula was also known for his work in other fields.

Born on November 3, 1915, at Gojra (West Pakistan), Justice Narula did his law from University Law College, Lahore. He began his career as Pleader in Delhi in 1938 and later enrolled as an advocate of the Lahore High Court on July 31, 1942.

During the Second World War, he was appointed as an official defence counsel by the Home Department for the secret trials of the enemy agents. In that capacity, he defended personnel of the Indian National Army.

He enrolled as Advocate in the Supreme Court of India in 1952 and later shifted his practice to the circuit court of Punjab and Haryana High Court in Delhi. He was designated as Senior Advocate in 1961 and also remained president of the Delhi High Court Bar Association as also Chairman of the Bar Council of Delhi.

In view of his popularity as lawyer and grasp of law, he was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on April 1, 1965, and was later promoted as Chief Justice on May 11, 1974. He retired on October 31, 1977.

After his retirement, Justice Narula again started practice in New Delhi and soon became a much-sought-after lawyer.

Today, at the Full Court reference, Punjab AG R.S. Cheema said though Justice Narula was an eminent jurist, admired widely for his judicial acumen, he was a man of many parts. Among his facets was his interest in theology and Gandhian philosophy.

Justice Narula also remained a member of the highest bodies of many top universities. He also remained member of the World Association of Judges and President of the Punjab Branch of International Commission of Jurists.

Justice Narula gave up active practice after the anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi in 1984 and devoted himself entirely to the relief and rehabilitation of the victims and their families.



Excise official moves CAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
The Chief Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise, Chandigarh Zone, today moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for being superseded while filing the posts of member in the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

In his plea before the tribunal, Mr S.S.Bedi, the Chief Commissioner, has pleaded that despite being at the first position in the departmental seniority list, his name was not considered for any of the three posts which were filled at a meeting of the special committee of secretaries, Government of India, held on June 22, 2005.

The special committee comprises Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary, Private Secretary to Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training and Secretary, Revenue.

After hearing the plea of the applicant, the tribunal issued notices to the Union Government, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training and Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister for July 13.

The Chief Commissioner stated that despite having an unblemished service record, he had been denied promotion by unjustifiable reasons to the post of Member Central Board of Excise and Customs. Though the applicant was within the zone of consideration, his name was not considered for the posts.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs consists of a chairman and a five members. All these ex-cadre posts are filled from amongst the Chief Commissioner’s of Customs and Central Excise, subject to a clause the officer must have a balance service of one year as on date of vacancy.



Bank’s 200-year saga of progress on display
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
To commemorate its Golden Jubilee Bank Day today, an exhibition on the State Bank of India’s origin and evolution was opened in the North Block Hall of the SBI’s local head office building in Sector 17. It was inaugurated by the Chief General Manager of the bank, Mr Hemant Contractor.

It was on July 1, 1955, that the Imperial Bank of India was nationalised and rechristened as the State Bank of India. The exhibition traces its growth from the opening of the Bank of Calcutta ( 1806), to Bank of Bombay ( 1840 ) and Bank of Madras ( 1843). It showcases memorabilia and a photographic narration of the important developments during its long history.

The interesting exhibits include old currency notes of Rs 15 and Rs 25 denominations, heritage buildings of SBI, especially a hand-painted one of the Shimla branch (1907). Old seals of the Presidency Banks are on display along with the modern banking images.

The exhibition will be on till July 7 from 10 am to 7 pm.



SBI golden jubilee celebrations
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
State Bank of India’s golden jubilee celebrations were held at Sector 30 branch, Chandigarh. On this occasion a free medical health check-up camp was organised.

About 80 pensioners were examined and free medicines were distributed. The AGM of the branch, Mr Rajesh Kumar and staff members greeted the customers with sweets.



On a song, as always
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
When Jagjit Singh introduced Vinod Sehgal in “Mirza Ghalib,” he introduced a star, literally.

The power of Sehgal’s rendition, coupled with Jagjit Singh’s subtle technique, transformed Gulzar’s production into a classic.

Years after the series was presented on the small screen, people still remember it more for its heartwarming music than for anything else. What they seem to have forgotten is the full throated rendition which made a whopping success of the “Mirza Ghalib” title track.

Vinod Sehgal, the man behind that music, could not agree less as he admits, “Everyone takes his or her own time to finish the journey. I have taken long enough, but I have enjoyed the pace which gave me time to caress my melodies the way I wanted to. I have not played to populism, and I am happy about that.”

But Sehgal has always managed to be where it matters most - from Gulzar’s “Maachis” in which he wrapped up the nostalgic “Chhod aaye hum” in his trademark style to Mamooty’s “Baba Saheb Ambedkar” in which he rendered another sequence that underlined his musical worth.

“Bhagwati,” India’s first animation film, being made by Zee television, is Sehgal’s next big project which he is happy to mention. “The film is historical in its own way. Being the first animation film of the country, it required a different, somewhat “exotic” handling. You will find me in a sufiana mood in this song, which also features one of the Sabri brothers, the famous qawaals from Jaipur. The film is due for release.”

Well rooted in all musical traditions and wellknown for his diversity, Sehgal says he is keen to take the Bollywood route to success now. Films are no strangers to Sehgal, who has 56 to his credit, the most famous being “Train to Pakistan”. “But now it is time to pursue films serious simply because films offer permanence to music. You may have a dozen ghazal albums to your name but no one will rave about them after a while. Albums have a life, beyond which they fail to impress. But films offer that much needed diversity which prolongs the listeners’ attention. Also, films live after us,” says the singer who is presently busy with a devotional album. Earlier he had been commissioned by the HMV to sing the “dohas” of Ras Khan, a famous seer who wrote in Braj.

As for his passion for ghazals, Sehgal gratifies it off and on. But he is pained about the commercialization of music which has no better future in this country than politics. “Those who are street smart are ruling the roost. Talent hunts have further trivialized the whole affair. I am not against giving a chance to youngsters, but music has limits which must be maintained,” rues Sehgal, who is now performing along side budding singers.

“That is my way of promoting talent. The rest is up to individuals. I have taken long to reach where I am today. Others may take longer than me. But everything is fine till the journey is enjoyable. And I am enjoying mine thoroughly,” Sehgal sings off.



Passing Thru

Amanullah, a Pakistan hockey team member
Amanullah, a Pakistan hockey team member, was recently in the town to play for the Multan Hockey Club, Pakistan.

What are your achievements in hockey?

I was among the Pakistan hockey squad in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament held recently at Kuala Lumpur. Besides, I am ranked among the top three goalkeepers of the Pakistan hockey team and have been playing regularly in the domestic matches. I have been adjudged three times champion in national games held in Pakistan and won many gold medals.

How do you compare the Indian domestic hockey with that of Pakistan’s?

Indian domestic hockey is better in terms of availability of good infrastructure. There are many academies here which hone the skills of the budding players and also bear the expenses of their studies like the Chandigarh Hockey Academy. Although, a new hockey stadium, almost on the pattern of Hockey Stadium, Sector 42, is coming up in Faisalabad, but it is quite still smaller.

— G. S. PAUL



Women candidates to fight against drug menace
Zila Parishad Poll
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Harassed family members of drug addicts and alcoholics in this village have a reason to cheer. Women candidates at Hallomajra village have resolved to fight against the increasing menace of drug addiction and easy availability of liquor in the village.

In the past few months “aathas” have become a preferred destination for villagers. The village is located along the Ambala- Chandigarh highway. There have been several instance of fights among drug addicts, admits a member of the Panchayat Samiti.

After liquor becoming expensive in Chandigarh, cheap liquor smuggled from Himachal Pradesh is easily available in the village. In fact, the villagers have gone on an extended drinking binge, courtesy the easy delivery of liquor at doorsteps.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ms Kuldeep Kaur, one of the candidates from the Hallomajra ward, said the initiative to start a drive against addiction was taken when she had gone to file her nomination. Three other women candidates, Harinder Kaur, Veena Dyal and Chanda Devi, also resolved to fight against the menace.

Chanda Devi said she was equally pained at seeing the increasing menace of the addiction and liquor consumption. A few years back a fight between two addicts had lead to murder of one of them. The women candidates lamented that the police was doing little to check the menace of alcoholism.

Meanwhile, canvassing for the election came to an end. At Hallo Majra, one of the candidates, Kuldeep Kaur, took out a procession. Most of the candidates preferred to intensify their door-to-door campaign on the last day of campaign.

On the order of the Deputy Commissioner, liquor shops in 18 villages will be closed till 5 pm on July 3.



Motorists unaware of pedestrians’ rights
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Pedestrians continue to walk into trouble.

Even though most of the intersections in the city have zebra crossings, the walkers are still turning into victims due to failure of the Chandigarh Police to stop the vehicles before the halt line.

Though the exact data is not readily available with the police, sources in the headquarters say as many as 1531 accidents were reported to the police from January 2002 to March this year. A substantial number of them involved pedestrians. Several of them sustained injuries while crossing roads.

The sources add that the number of footers falling prey is “much higher” than the reported figure. Quoting “rough” estimates, the sources say every day at least a dozen pedestrians are hit by the vehicles at crossings all over the city. But a majority of minor accidents go unreported, the sources add.

They claim that the story is almost the same. The walker, after receiving green signal from the traffic light, steps on the zebra crossing to reach the other end. In most of the accidents, the pedestrian is caught unawares as the drivers stop the speeding vehicle a bit too late.

Elaborating upon their contention, the sources say so many drivers try to cross the road before the lights turn red. In the process, they accelerate the vehicles on reaching the intersection. They slam the brakes if the signals change. But in the process hit the pedestrians dead ahead.

The sources add that such accidents can be avoided by putting pressure on the drivers to stop the vehicles before the halt line. This, they add, can be done through heavy challaning.

A senior officer says the Chandigarh Police at one point of time was maintaining strict vigil at the crossings and issuing challan receipts to vehicles crossing the line inspite the red signal.

He adds that the drive had proved effective. Apprehending challans, the commuters had actually started to stop the vehicles well before the line giving enough space to the pedestrians to cross the road.

The officer adds that otherwise also the traffic wing of the Chandigarh Police has failed to educate the masses about the relevant rules and instill a sense of respect for law in them.

Giving details, he says that even the pedestrians in the city do not know on which side of the road they should be walking on. “Just travel down the road and you will find most of the footers walking with their back towards the traffic,” he says. Describing it as a wrong practice, he says the pedestrians should essentially face the traffic while walking so that they can step aside in case a reckless driver is coming in a vehicle from the wrong side.



Help centre at excise office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Mr Rajender Parsad, Commissioner, Central Excise and Customs, today inaugurated a help center, which has been set up on its official premises in Sector 18, with an objective to assist, guide and help the small tax payers.

The centre will be manned by a team comprising of a superintendent and an inspector of the department to begin it will work on all working days from 10 am to 1 pm. A committee comprising representatives of central excise department professionals, trade and the PHDCCI will oversee the functioning of the help Center. The committee will meet fortnightly to discuss the pending and complex issues which will be received through the help centre.

Addressing representatives of trade and industry, Mr Parsad said other bodies, like the regional Advisory Committee (RAC) and the grievances committee which were constituted earlier, mainly caters to the large industry and big tax payers but this help centre would cater to the small tax payers of the region.



Bank employees hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Employees of State Bank of Patiala held demonstration in front of the bank’s Sector 35-C branch in the city to protest against the decision of the management to close 23 extension counters of the bank spread all over the country.

While addressing the employees, Mr Davinder Singh, president, All-India SBOP Employees Association, deplored the adamant attitude of the management. He demanded immediate recruitment of watch and ward staff as a number of branches of the bank are without guards, there by jeopardising the bank’s interests. He also sought immediate calling of the bank’s welfare committee meeting. The regional secretary, Mr Vijay Tiwari, also addressed the employees and condemned the “callous” attitude of the management.



Mohali resident’s purse snatched
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
A scooterist snatched the purse of a woman in the city. In another incident, a man was held while he was allegedly selling liquor illegally. The police also arrested four persons on the charge of assaulting a city resident.

Ms Geeta Aggarwal of Phase IV, Mohali, complained to the police alleging that a scooterist snatched her purse containing Rs 2,200, an Indian Bank pass book, her driving licence and some other articles from the Sectors 36-37 dividing road yesterday. A case has been registered.

Sources in the police said Ramesh, a resident of Kuldeep Colony in Kajheri village, was arrested from near the government tubewell in Sector 45 for selling liquor illegally last evening. The police seized one bottle of whisky from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered in this connection.

The police arrested four persons, Deepak, Umesh, Pawan Kumar and Rattan Lal, all residents of Sector 20, on the charge of beating up a shopkeeper in Sector 20 on Wednesday. Mr Surinder Pal, the complainant, alleged that the suspects beat him up and injured him. He was admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, here later. A case has been registered.

In a separate incident, Ms Divya Ahluwalia, a resident of Sector 47, complained to the police alleging that Anshuman, her husband, Sucheta, his mother, and Deepti, his sister, all residents of Greenwood Park, Sector 45, Gurgaon, were harassing and maltreating her to bring dowry. She told the police that she was married to Anshuman in February this year. A case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Prevention of Dowry Act. No arrests have been made so far in this regard, said the sources in the police.

Driving licence found

A driving licence issued in the name of Mr Emmanuel Samuel, a resident of house number 11, Bank Colony, Rajpura, in Patiala district was found from the Motor Market in Mani Majra on June 23. The owner of the licence can get it from The Tribune office in Sector 29, Chandigarh, by proving his credentials.



Cop held for harassing wife
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 1
A constable posted at the Wireless Office of the police, has been arrested by the Kalka police on charges of assaulting his wife, who in also a police constable.

A case under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against constable Devi Dass on a complaint filed by his wife, Gurvinder Kaur. The latter alleged that Devi Dass beat her up yesterday. She also alleged that she was a victim of domestic violence for several years now.

He was arrested by the police yesterday and produced before a local court.



Chemical-free vegetables
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
The Punjab Agri-Export Corporation (Pagrexco), today announced the availability of fresh, chemical-free vegetables. Initially, vegetables will be available at a the special outlet set up at Punjab Agro’s office in Sector 28 here.

The vegetables have been grown under the organic farming programme at Pagrexco’s own farm with natural manure and without the use of chemical fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides and herbicide. As a result of this, the vegetables offer tremendous health benefits to consumers.

Extensive research conducted by world bodies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the USA, the have concluded that many pesticides, approved for use by various Agencies were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established.

At the Pagrexco outlet, all seasonal farm fresh, chemical-free vegetables like onion, ladyfingers tori, “karela”, capsicum, beetroot, carrot, brinjal, leek of red cabbage, basmati rice, moong dal and “shakkar” will be available from 1.30 pm onwards everyday.



Portal for small, medium enterprises launched
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 1
The Punjab Government in collaboration with SME Business Service Limited has launched a marketing portal — www.sme.in-specifically to cater to the small and medium enterprises in Punjab. The portal powered by 16 international business directories has been created to connect the small and medium enterprises with the international market.

A special awareness seminar on the portal was organised by the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) at the Gian Jyoti Institute of Management Technology here today.

The Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce Punjab, Mr S.C. Agarwal, stated that the small and medium enterprises could gain a lot from using such portals that took care of the marketing part of these enterprises.

Stating that there were over 2 lakh small and medium industries in Punjab the Secretary, Information Technology, Punjab Mr N.S. Kalsi, added that these were responsible for a large proportion of the total industrial output of the state.

Mr Deepak Nanda, CEO, SME Business Services described in detail the various facilities being provided by the portal.

“Active assisted search, trade services, precision search are some of the features of this portal. We have a multi-lingual directory that makes your business talk in 16 languages and a 69,000 plus product and service classification,” explained Mr Nanda.



Comfort cafe launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Wafting aroma of freshly brewed coffee, strains of contemporary music floating through and a perfect ambience to completely de-stress and rejuvenate - this is what the employees of corporate houses can look forward to now-a-days. One such cafe was launched by Spice Telecom exclusively for its employees and their guests. It was inaugurated by COO, Spice Telecom, Mr Navin Kaul.

The café boasts of a new eating-place with a seating capacity of 120 people, where quality meals would be served. It would also have a snack parlour, where fresh and healthy snacks and beverages would be available. With the stewards donning orange and black attire and the dishes to be named in sync with the products offered by Spice, the cafe will reflect true values of the brand.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Kaul said that upgradation of offices at various places was on at Patiala and Jalandhar. Bathinda already has a state-of-the-art office. It would entail an investment of Rs 5 crore. To further improve the quality of network services, 95 towers have been put up in the past 50 days in the city circuits. As many as 130 sites, mostly in rural areas would be covered from July 15 to October end.



Service tunnel to connect Quark complexes
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 1
In a first of its kind civil structure in Punjab, Mohali industrial area would have a 170-feet-long tunnel connecting the two complexes of Quark in Phase VIII-A and VIII B here. The tunnel to be built under an inter-sectoral road that divides Quark Media House with the Quark City is being designed as a service tunnel to facilitate movement of men and material across the two units of the same company.

The requisite permission for the construction of the tunnel was granted during the last meeting of the board of Directors of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) held on June 15.

Sources pointed out that the tunnel would be constructed by Quark interconnecting their complexes.

PSIEC has reportedly given the lease of the 100-feet wide inter-sectoral road to Quark for 99 years on payment of certain charges. Quark would make suitable alternative arrangements for traffic diversion during the construction of the tunnel.


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