C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos rules railway crossing
Mani Majra overbridge hangs fire
Pradeep Sharma/Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
It is a nightmare for commuters in the absence of a flyover at the manned level crossing at Mani Majra. Traffic gets virtually choked for several minutes several times each day at the crossing.

With the traffic bursting at the seams, the commuters are left high and dry as the closure of the level crossing coincides with office timings in the morning. Further, hundreds of vehicles remain stranded for a considerable time during the day, especially during the evening hours.

In fact the flyover at the crossing, which was reportedly proposed about two years back, seems to be nowhere on the agenda of the Chandigarh Administration. The narrow road connecting Mani Majra with the city only compounds the problems of the commuters with frayed tempers being a routine affair.

The road connects the Modern Housing Complex, parts of the Mansa Devi Complex and the Mani Majra township with Chandigarh. However, over the years the Administration has either forgotten the construction of a flyover or pay attention to the widening of the road.

Meanwhile, even as it takes time in making up its mind on the project, the commuters are furious.”It is nothing short of a nightmare with traffic jams a routine affair,” alleges Mr Baldev Raj Khetarpal, an office-bearer of the Residents Welfare Association (Duplex), Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra.

“While the administration was developing the state-of-the-art IT park at the nearby Kishangarh village, Mani Majra area seems to have escaped its attention,”rued Mr Mukesh Kumar, an executive with a private firm.

In recent years traffic on this particular road has increased manifold with the construction of roads connecting city with the IT park. Hundreds of motorists from Mani Majra bound for northern sectors prefer to use this road.

The development of the park in the area has only underlined the importance of this stretch.

* Major traffic chaos at 9.05 a.m. and 9.35 a.m. and 5.20 p.m. to 6.05 p.m.

* Roads need to be widened beyond the railway line going towards Mani Majra police station.

* Need to build dividers on road up to the point that forms a T junction with Modern Housing Complex. * Traffic lights or a small roundabout at this point.

* Permanent deployment of traffic policemen.



Police backtracks in Hawara case
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, July 25
Chandigarh Police has backtracked again.

Less than a week after claiming that Babbar Khalsa International’s alleged chief Jagtar Singh Hawara had named a senior jail officer as his sympathiser, senior police officers today categorically denied making any statement in this regard.

They added that so far Hawara, also accused of assassinating Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh, has not divulged details regarding the involvement of any officer in the jailbreak case.

The denial comes within days of receiving severe criticism for making “irresponsible statements to the media”. Coming down heavily on the cops for wrongly quoting Hawara, his counsel had earlier stated that the police was weaving tales.

The sources in the police headquarters admit that Chandigarh Police could have made “a statement without completely verifying the facts as it was under great pressure”.

Giving details, the sources add that the media had all along been blaming the Chandigarh Police for its failure to crack Hawara. The newsmen had gone upto the extent of doubting the abilities of the Chandigarh Police to interrogate the alleged criminal.

They had asserted that the alleged militant had even not revealed the whereabouts of his “accomplices” in the jailbreak case. Though Hawara was caught by Delhi Police in connection with the twin blasts in the Capital, other escapees, including Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, were still at large.

Going into the background of the controversy, the sources say the Chandigarh Police had earlier claimed on the basis of Hawara’s interrogation that a jail officer had helped him from being detected with explosives way back in 1998.

They added he had succeeded in flushing down 500 grams of explosive after being warned about the impending raid on the jail premises by the officer. Quoting the alleged militant, a police officer had asserted that a mobile set, being used by Hawara to get in touch with his mentors in the West, was also disposed of by him after receiving the information.

The sources add that this was not the first time that the Chandigarh Police had taken a u-turn. Even in Chandni-abetment-to-suicide case, the Chandigarh Police had dropped charges against Samidha Bansal after booking her as a co-accused in the matter.

The orders of dropping the charges were issued by the police after “causing harassment and mental torture” to Samidha for over a month. For her the ordeal had started soon after Panjab University student Chandni Bansal ended her life by jumping in the Sukhna Lake on June 11.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the Chandigarh Police had registered a case against Chandni’s friend Rakesh Rohilla and his colleague Samidha on the basis of a complaint filed by Nidhi Dubey - Chandni’s sister.

Following the registration of a case, the police arrested Rakesh Rohilla on June 13, but Samidha went underground. After the “unprofessional” approach of the Chandigarh Police was brought to the fore by the media, the police issued a statement asserting that Samidha had joined investigations. After analysis of the entire evidence available on record, the investigating officer had reached a conclusion that there was insufficient proof to connect Samidha with the offence.



Regional head of varsity held accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
A CBI team today nabbed a head of a regional centre of Tamil Nadu-based Alagappa University for allegedly taking a bribe from students on the pretext of clearing them in a viva. He was caught red-handed by the CBI sleuths while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000.

Sources in the CBI said A.K. Prashant, the head of Regional Study Information Centre of Alagappa University in Tamil Nadu was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Adarashpreet Singh of Ferozepore district in Punjab. The accused was arrested from DAV School in Sector 15, here where students had come to take a viva. The centre was being run in the basement of the school 

The sources further added that the complainant alleged that the Prashant was demanding a bribe from the students to clear them in viva and also threatened them to fail in the test if they did not pay him. The sources also disclosed that a search of his office led to recovery of Rs 40,000.

Prashant was allegedly collecting the bribe in the name of a trust that he was running after the name of his mother. The CBI officials have also reportedly seized the receipt books.

Following the complaint, the sleuths laid a trap and the complainant had handed over the marked currency notes to the accused in shape of a bribe. As soon as Prashant accepted the money, the officials swooped on him and arrested him.



1 killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 25
Mr Dubey Singh, a helper with a canter, was killed when the vehicle he was travelling had a head-on collision with a truck on the Panchkula-Naraingarh highway near Ramgarh village late last night.

A resident of Barwala village in Hisar, Dubey Singh sustained injuries in the accident while the canter driver escaped with minor injuries. He was later rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where he breathed his last on the morning.



Passing Thru

Ashish Khunger
Astrologer Ashish Khunger of Delhi

What do you think of astrology in the present-day scenario?

Astrology is now being accepted as another science which needs to be studied in a detailed and methodical manner. It is a complete science like other science subjects.

Could you suggest some institutes where one can study astrology?

Bhavan Vidyalaya Institute, Delhi, and many other Bhavan institutes offer courses in astrology which any aspirant can take up.

Do you think people still believe in this philosophy?

Yes, I have clients who are quite wealthy and believe in this science. They are always looking forward to remedies in astrology to ensure a smooth future.

Do gems have an effect on an individual?

Gems do play an important role as various planetary positions are also governed by these. However, one must be careful that every gem has a life and beyond that it does not produce the desired results.

What do you think is the future for newcomers in astrology?

It has a bright future for those who study it in a scientific manner.

— Arvind Katyal



Chandigarh Calling

A recent capacity building state-level workshop on human rights and HIV/ AIDS in the city marked the presence of several gay ‘peer educators’. What was heartening to see was the fire in their belly and the belief in the cause of safe and protected sex as a means of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. “We are not different from others”, one declared confidently, “But we go around all over telling other young people like us that protection must be used when having a relationship.” The task is arduous for friends listen but strangers do not. Patience is the key these young boys say, and they are not going to give up. “AIDS does not come announced, so protect yourself and your loved ones,” is their parting advice.

Evening walk

A walk in the morning or at least one in the evening is a fitness funda. While the human among the species have to be educated about this and coerced, it comes so naturally to the feathered friends. Tribune photographer Manoj Mahajan brings back for the readers a snapshot of these ducks going for an evening walk by the Sukhna lake. Freshly bathed and pretty, they walk with manner of self-assured ladies strolling in the city plazza

Front row

Gone are the days when journalists kept the Chief Minister at an arm’s length at press conferences. Now the mood is to flaunt the closeness one may or may not enjoy with the CM. The best way of doing so is to be seated close to the CM during a conference for that means being in the frame of the television and still cameras and they being splashed all over along with the CM. At Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s press conference recently, a scribe, who had arrived late, pulled a chair from the back row and wedged it between Hooda’s chair and the one next to it. So there he was very close and just short of being literally in Hooda’s lap.

CM’s men

However, at the press conferences of the Punjab Raja, Capt Amarinder Singh, the same handful occupy the seats next to him playing courtiers with aplomb. A couple of them are supposed be the favoured ones and a couple of them are trying to win favours. But at a recent press conference lunch was served before the conference. While the usual suspects were lolling about in the VIP quarters, other scribes took a quick bite and the chairs. The old faithful were unseated once.

Pehala sawal

Hold on... there is more yet on press do’s. For once in a while it is good to turn our funny side up. There is a whole lot of prestige attached to the first question and who asks it. In the old times there was one, the old white-bearded reporter of Urdu press, who would be all geared up to stand and rattle off the question and now a journalist of the Hindi press has taken his place. Well, one knew there was much to ‘pehala pyar, and ‘pehala khumar’ but the ‘pehala sawal’ is significant too.

Making magic

The over-riding passion was finally replaced with the arrival of the book! With magic brewing in the air, the release of J.K. Rowling’s sixth episode, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” on July 16th did not disappoint!

At the appointed hour of 6.30 am, book shops opened their doors to the motley gatherings waiting impatiently to be the first to open the haloed pages of this new age fable that has taken the world by storm. Young Vinay Malik’s attention is on “Albus Dumbledore,” the headmaster at the Hogwarts School of Magic. “This is where the book will take off from,” announces this young boy seriously. Will it? Rowling says so but you have to read it and decide.

Garbed in Urdu

There is no matching Urdu when it comes to delicacy and class. Tenderness of the language was again reiterated the other day when various ministers from the Haryana government gathered at Panjab University for a two-day seminar on Urdu poet Hali. Among the many interesting anecdotes narrated on the occasion, an interesting one came from the collection of Mr Phool Chand Mullana, Education Minister, Haryana. Referring to Urdu and its tender throw, he recounted the story of a nawab taking the offensive route and saying, “Ama ab aapne koi gustakhi ki to aisa tamacha raseed karoonga ki gulabi thukiyega”. Crudely put, the nawab’s statement means: “If you repeat your mistake I will hit you so hard that you will spit blood”.

Chinese special

In Chandigarh for a promotional visit for her latest teleserial, Aruna Irani did not fail to mention how she had savoured Mount View’s Chinese food the last time she came here. The first thing she did after landing at the hotel was ask the staff if the exclusive Chinese joint was still there. She came at 11 am and was hungry after a long journey from Delhi, but she did not have any breakfast to ensure that she could have a sumptuous meal at the hotel’s Chinese restaurant. It was food that drove Aruna to the Sector 10 hotel, although there were people who had been strongly recommending GVK Taj to her!

Hing Shingh Jeera

Those who may be mistaking ‘Hing Shing Jeera’ for some Chinese slang be first told that this is ‘theth Punjabi’ and in translation into English it would be ‘aesphotida-shasphotida and cummin’. In this era of branding it has become the brand name of a programme on local FM for ladies. Styled as the old ‘bhaina da programme’, it now talks of women’s issues and does a take-off on food and lifestyle too. There is Chachi Chatro thrown in for some comic relief modelled on the old Jalandhar radio team of Atro-Chatro. Let’s see if it will be able to come up to its spicy name.

Bechara Bajaj

Theatre director and actor Ram Gopal Bajaj was at his bitter best, or should one say ironic, about the state of theatre in India. With nothing positive to recall about anything he had seen in the past, he talked of how much he had worked for the sake of theatre and how he had never had the time to nurture relationships. In a lighter vein he even said: “Hamare bache to hain par biwiyaan nahi hain. Rishte bahut hue par ab nahi hain.” Well Bajaj Sahib, don’t you try to make the personal the professional too? — Sentinel



Mother seeks justice for son
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 25
A 23-year-old migrant labourer, Charan Singh, is dying a slow death at the PGI, Chandigarh. Critically injured Charan Singh was admitted to the hospital after being allegedly attacked by his employer and colleagues on March 27. Hailing from Bulandshahar in Uttar Pradesh, Charan Singh had sustained injuries on his spine, ankles and knees.

Unable to move the lower part of his body, Charan Singh has been forced to pass the rest of his life on a stretcher. His mother, Ms Leela Wati and younger brother, Deep Chand, have been trying to save him for the past five months. Bedsores have developed on his back and lower parts of his body.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune Ms Leela Wati, said she had lodged a written complaint to the Director-General of the Haryana Police, the IGP, Haryana, the SP, Panchkula, Mr Chander Mohan, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana against her son’s employer and a labour-contractor for allegedly trying to murder Charan Singh, but all of them had turned a blind eye towards her grievances. The complainant said she along with her family and son had been working at Aman Bhatta, a brick kiln, being run by her employer at Kakkar Majra village near Barwara for the past three months. She alleged that Kallu, a labourer-contractor, and his two men rammed their motorcycle into Charan’s cycle on a bridge near Bagawali village and knocked him down. The trio in connivance with the brick kiln owner attacked him with stones and threw him into a seasonal rivulet, she alleged.

She claimed that some passers-by informed her about her son’s condition and she got him admitted to a private hospital at Bagawali village. Seriously injured Charan Singh was later referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

With curious eyes, Deep Chand waits for rehris, distributing food among poor patients and their family members, and seeks food for his family while Ms Leela Wati has been living on the mercy of donors who give money for purchasing medicines.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, Ms Leela Wati said she was thankful to Seva Bharati, a social organisation, and Red Cross Society for the granting her money for medicines. “We are not in position to buy medicines prescribed by the doctors. When someone donates money, the medicines are purchased otherwise we skip them”, she lamented.

She alleged that instead of recording their statements, the police had been threatening them with dire consequences. The victim has demanded registration of an FIR against the labour contractor, brick kiln owner and other suspects in the case.



Baby elephant buried
Zoo violates CZA guidelines
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), July 25
Carcass of Seema, a female elephant calf that died under mysterious circumstances at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park on Sunday afternoon was buried in violation of the Central Zoo Authorities (CZA) guidelines, here today.

A team of veterinary doctors from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, conducted the postmortem and buried the body parts in a fodder farm within the zoo premises. As per the CZA guidelines, the carcasses of animals, covered under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, must be disposed-off after burning.

The team of doctors took about two hours in removing pieces of some organs of the animal for the post mortem examination.

The zoo management today slammed its door on media persons. The media was restricted from entering the zoo premises.

When contacted, Mr Vidya Bhushan, officiating director of the zoo, revealed that a team of five veterinary doctors, including Dr Nirmaljit Singh, zoo veterinary doctor, and two other veterinary doctor conducted the post mortem. In the preliminary investigations, the team of veterinary doctors found that Seema died due to ‘cardiac arrest’. The team has also taken eight samples of certain organs of the animal and the report is awaited in the next fortnight, claimed Mr Bhushan.

He said the animal was buried after the postmortem as per rules. He also claimed that the CZA guidelines say that carnivores and other animals with precious body parts should be burnt.

Mr Bhushan further added, “We do not permit any one to the site of the postmortem except the veterinary doctors and other veterinary staffers. Presence of general public at the site of postmortem hinders the concentration of doctors”.

The zoo employees revealed that none of the responsible officials including director, deputy director, doctor and wildlife warden reside at Chhat Bir zoo headquarters. In case of any emergency they are available only on the telephone.



Army Commander felicitates women’s Everest team
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Members of the Indian Army Women’s Everest Expedition were felicitated by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, during their visit to Chandimandir today.

Those who were honoured today included the team leader, Maj S.S. Shekhawat, Lieut-Col Anand Swaroop (deputy team leader), Lieut-Col Shobhana Das (medical officer), Capt Sipra Majumdar, Capt Gopika Pawar, Nb Sub Palden Giachho, Nb Sub C.N. Bodh and Hav Bhag Chain. Of the 15-member team, these eight were from Western Command.

“This time we conquered the Everest from the Tibetan side as earlier Army expeditions have scaled the peak from the Nepal side twice earlier,” Maj S.S. Shekhawat, the team leader, said.

“We wanted a different route and this approach was more tough and challenging,” he added.

The expedition to scale the Quomolungma, as the Everest is known in Tibet, took 80 days after it was flagged-off from Delhi on March 18. The team had flown from Delhi to Kathmandu and thereafter to Lhasa.

The team’s deputy leader, Lieut-Col Anand Swaroop, recalled how adverse weather prevailed for about a month, which led to some delay and at time had created doubts whether the expedition could go ahead or not.

“Constant contact with Delhi via satellite phone gave access to weather information and windows of suitable weather, which made planning easy,” he added.

The expedition was fraught with risks and emergency situations developed on several occasions. Near the summit, the team came across the body of a Slovakian climber who had perished a few days earlier. At this, a woman member sat down and started crying. It took some effort on the part of the team leader to get her going.

A woman officer, after reaching the summit, was unable to move without assistance due to exhaustion. A couple of team members gave up their attempt to reach the summit to help her out and it took them 17 hours to rescue her and bring her back to the camp.

On another occasion, the team had a serious shortage of oxygen when a porter carrying it developed chest pain and turned back without informing the team leader. Two other oxygen cylinders malfunctioned.

At such altitude the oxygen cylinder is the lifeline, but two team members, Sub Jagat Singh and Hav Topgey, gave up their cylinders to those who needed them most and descended without oxygen.



Fauji Beat
A mockery of health scheme

If the response of the ex-servicemen to the Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) is not what was expected when the scheme was launched in 2003, it is because of the lacklustre attitude of its implementers. No wonder then that of the nearly 35,000 ex-servicemen in Kangra district, only 1,700 have become members of the scheme so far.

What is peeving the ex-servicemen is the non-availability of medicines. The only way to know the factual position is to stand at a polyclinic dispensary and see how many patients go without two to three drugs of the ones written in the prescription slip. If an old and infirm patient has to repeatedly come to the polyclinic for medicines, which he was not given first time, and then go back because of their non-availability, what would he think of this scheme?

Little thinking has gone into the empanelling of hospitals. Take dental treatment. At Fortis Hospital, you can get only extraction done and dentures fitted. The hospital is not empanelled for cavity filling, root-canalling, crown fitting, etc. Does this mean that a patient has to go to a number of hospitals for dental treatment alone?

No doubt, polyclinic location and type was based on the figures available at the time of planning.

But now when the actual load is known, a re-categorisation of polyclinics should be carried out, in the absence of which some of them will become overcrowded and unmanageable.

AWWA lunch project

The Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) at New Delhi, is planning to start a catering project to provide lunch packets to officers posted at the Army Headquarters. It is understood that if the project gets final clearance, it may be made compulsory for all officers to buy lunch packets. The sale proceeds of the packets, it is learnt, will be utilised for the welfare activities by the AWWA.

The practice at the Army Headquarters is that most of the officers bring packed lunch of sandwiches or some other light eatables. Some officers have their lunch at the South Block cafeteria. And those living in the nearby hostels go for lunch to their residences.

Admittedly, it will be wrong to force the officers to buy AWWA lunch packets. It will, therefore, be in the fitness of things to let them exercise their choice. If this goes against the viability of the project, then it will be better not to launch it.

A stately officers’ mess

The building of the Black Elephant Division Officers’ Mess was got constructed by Maharaja Yadavindra Singh in 1946, after World War II. It was to honour the warriors of the Patiala State Forces who fought overseas and won many gallantry awards. The stately building was named as Yadavindra Soldiers’ Club.

The building was transferred to the Indian Army on merger of the Patiala State Forces with the Union of India. In March 1950, when 2nd Armoured Brigade moved from Meerut to Patiala, it turned this building into its Officers’ Mess. When the Black Elephant Division moved to Patiala in 1984, it made this building as its officers’ Mess.

AMC selection board

In the Army Medical Corps (AMC) selection board from Lieut-Col to Colonel held recently, all six officers in the category of general surgeons have been rejected.

In the battle zone, it is a surgeon who puts his life to great risk to save the lives to soldiers who get wounded, the surgeons say. The performance of general surgeons in the Kargil war is well-known to the Army and the nation, they add. Why this step-motherly treatment to us? They further say ruefully.

— Pritam Bhullar



Working for lepers his mission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The president of the Leprosy Welfare Mission, Mr Prem Singh Bhutte, has given a call to creative artists to help the physically challenged, especially lepers, in learning creative and performing arts.

Mr Bhutte, who was honoured with the national award last year for his work for the welfare of leprosy patients in the region, said creative arts would go a long way to help the physically challenged live a better life and involve themselves in mainstream activities. He said though it had been proved that leprosy was a curable disease, society was still ignorant.

He said most of these people were living in colonies situated at distant places from main habitations. He said he would soon launch a “lepro-well movement” for the rehabilitation of lepers.

“Early detection of leprosy can prevent disabilities in people suffering from it,” he said.

He would help victims of leprosy in getting their names registered with employment exchanges. He said he would try to get implemented various schemes meant for such persons. Cases of discrimination with physically challenged persons would be brought to the notice of the Chief Commissioner for Disabilities, he added.

He had involved his son Jatinder Singh, wife, and a friend, Mr Barinder Singh, to promote sports among those suffering from leprosy.

He said the next mission would be to set up a school for hearing and speech impaired children and prepare study material for the visually challenged students.



Close shave for children, bus driver dies
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 25
It was a miraculous escape for schoolchildren travelling in a bus whose driver suffered a heart attack after he swerved the vehicle away to save a scooterist and a cyclist in Industrial Area Phase IX here today.

It is learnt that the deceased, Naib Singh (60), a resident of Sohana village, tried to save a person coming on a scooter from colliding with the bus but soon saw a cyclist on his way. In order to save the person on the bicycle, he swerved the bus which then got on to a pavement. Soon after he became unconscious.

The schoolchildren had a narrow escape as a local bus of the CTU was also moving towards the school bus at that time but fortunately the vehicles did not collide. Naib Singh was working as a driver with Gian Jyoti Public School.

There were 12 children in the school bus at the time of the incident.

Gurkaran Singh, a student of Class XI, who was in the bus at the time of the incident, told Chandigarh Tribune that when the bus got on to the pavement the turban of the driver fell off and he became unconscious. Some persons from the CTU bus came and removed Naib Singh from the driver’s seat. Gurkaran Singh said the body of the driver was trembling at that time. He was made to lie on the ground and some persons tried to rub his palms. But he died after some time.

The body of Naib Singh was sent to the Civil Hospital for post-mortem. According to the post-mortem report, the driver died dut to an acute heart attack.

Mrs Ranjit Kaur Bedi, Principal of Gian Jyoti Public School, said all students travelling in the bus were safe. She said the driver had left the school at 6.45 a.m. and the incident took place at about 7 a.m.

She, along with some teachers of the school, visited the spot. While some students, travelling in the ill-fated bus, came to the school in another bus while others were dropped by their parents.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in this regard.



Vanamahotsava celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Vanamahotsava was celebrated at St Vivekananda Millennium School, HMT township, Pinjore today, with the launching of “Jan Jagriti Campaign”. As many as 120 students of Class VIII and IX took part in a rally which started from Gandhi Chowk, Kalka.

The Flying Officer, Mr Piyush Punj, the manager of school and vice-principal, Mr JD Saifi, flagged off the rally. Students assembled at forest office, Pinjore, and raised slogans like “Ped lagao,” “aaya saavan,” har birwa, “Tulsi sa paavan”.

The rally then went towards the railway station, Kalka, where the students along with Army personnel planted saplings and went for trekking. The theme of the trekking was “Know thy green friends”. The students trekked to the Naina Devi temple, situated at the top of hillock.

ENVIRONMENT DAY: Government Model High School, Sector 28, here celebrated Environment Day on Saturday. Mr Gulzar Singh, DEO, was the chief guest. Several saplings were planted on the school campus by the chief guest, PTA members and students.

Mausami, a student of class VIII highlighted the importance of trees. Songs on the theme of environment were also sung. An on-the-spot painting competition was held which was won by Sahil Aggarwal and Rahul Aggarwal. Students were given school uniforms by the Shirdi Sai Samaj Society through the Sunshine Children’s Welfare Society.



Pensioners’ plea to Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Members of the Central Government Pensioners’ Welfare Society, Chandigarh, which met under its president G.S. Oberoi on July 23, demanded that the Government of India should withdraw an order dated April 11, 2001, which had already been struck down by the Supreme Court.

This was stated in a press note issued by Mr M.S. Toor here today. This will enable pensioners to draw at least the minimum pension admissible at 50 per cent of the minimum of the actual revised scale for the post held by them before retirement under the orders issued on December 17, 1998.

The members also demanded that Fortis Hospital, Mohali, and other reputed hospitals should be included in the Central Government Health Scheme.



Martyrs kin honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Anti-Terrorist Front of India president, Dr Viresh Shandilya, today honoured the family members of officers and soldiers who attained martyrdom.

Dr Viresh went to the City residence of a martyr, Major Amit Ahuja at Urban Estate, Ambala City, and honoured his parents. Thereafter, he went to the Mahesh Nagar, Amabla Cantt residence of Capt Atul Somra and honoured his parents. Dr Shandilya then honoured Lt-Col Inder Singh, father of a martyr, Major Gurpreet Singh, in Tepla village. Finally, he went to the residence of L/Nk Harjinder Singh and honoured his family members.



Park upkeep goes for a six
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25
In the past year, the municipal council has spent Rs 36.03 lakh collected from the taxpayer on the “beautification” of 204 neighbourhood parks in the township. The results are for all to see — overgrown weeds, wrecked benches and swings.

From the alleged embezzlement of money meant for the maintenance of parks by the Park Development Societies to the scam involved in getting “substandard” swings, and benches installed in these parks - the promise of beautiful and green environs has cost the common man his hard earned money.

According to figures available with Chandigarh Tribune, Rs 23.36 lakh has been spent on installing 344 joyrides in about 190 parks. Another Rs 8 lakh has been spent on installing 625 benches at the rate of Rs 4,500 per bench while Rs 4.77 lakh has been spent by the Park Development Societies on maintenance of grass and plants etc.

The privatisation experiment for maintenance has failed. Instead of green expanses in each neighbourhood stand ugly spots of wild growth. With no payments having been released to these societies for the past six months, the parks are not been taken care of. Now, the MC proposes to give a contract for the maintenance of parks but the residents are skeptical. “In the past year, the condition of the parks has gone from bad to worse. We have little hope that things would improve,” says Ms Kaushalya Devi, a resident of Sector 10.

In most of the parks, the swings and benches have come off. The benches have been installed here by a local contractor at the rate of Rs 4,500 per bench while the benches with similar specifications have been installed in parks at Ambala cantonment at Rs 3,900 per bench.

The same contractor had initially installed joyrides in these parks but the MC found these of poor quality and gave the contract to another contractor. The two contractors then started undercutting the prices of the joyrides to browbeat the other and also started complaining of irregularities. Vigilance inquiries and internal inquiries by the Local Bodies Department have been initiated and all payments to the contractors have been stopped.

The MC had ordered for the installation of 344 joyrides, including dustbins (all made of fibre glass). Not only were these put haphazardly, even the green spaces left by HUDA between two houses were covered.

Dr S.K. Chabbra, president of the State Welfare Association, Sector 7, and a member of a Park Development Society, say “The entire exercise of privatisation of the maintenance of parks has come a cropper as the payments were never received. Their beauty has been spoiled by installing so many rides. These can no longer be used for taking a walk.



Sector-40 residents seek better amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
In a letter to the Advisor to the UT Administration residents of Sector 40 have stated that due attention was not being paid towards developing sectors in the southern parts of the city.

Listing out their problems, members of the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 40, said some parts of the recently installed streetlights on the V5 roads remain partially off daily. The roads urgently need recarpeting since it was done about six years ago. They said a V6 road in Sector 40-B, which connects V5 road with the office of the SDE (Electricity) circles 10 was in a miserable state although the public regularly used it.

Road gullies, constructed to carry rain water, neither have cement covers nor the iron grills and parks located in the interior of V5 road and between Sectors 40-A and 40-B have about 20 globe light points and out of this only five points are in serviceable state. This is causing great inconvenience to the public during night hours.



Plan for bicycle riders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Municipal Corporation, today, initiated a significant step to make the city bicycle-friendly. Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, signed the Velo Mondial (London, Amsterdam) charter and action plan for bicycle-friendly communities, on behalf of the city today. Mr Christopher Huggins countersigned the charter on behalf of Velo Mondial.

Describing the charter, the Mayor said it provides a blueprint and a set of directives for promoting the bicycle as an efficient, environmentally friendly alternative to motorised transport. Ms Chatrath said the city; with a population exceeding one million had, as in big cities everywhere, environmental challenges and transport problems.

“A large number of city residents own bicycles and continue to use this highly economical mode of transport. However, existing facilities for bicycle riders in the city are not sufficient. An increasing number of cities worldwide now look upon the bicycle as a solution to improving the environment, reducing congestion, enhancing public health and more,” she maintained.

The Mayor said with the signing of this charter, the corporation had made public its will to bring respect and dignity back to the cyclist. The bicycle as the poor man’s transport was in fact the healthiest mode of transport. Its usage had reduced in recent years, in many cases because of the safety issues and the rise of air pollution, both caused by motorised vehicles.

Through starting a dialogue with Velo Mondial, the city has taken a step further towards promoting the bicycle as an effective mode of transport for its citizens. In the following weeks, an analysis will be made on the current state of bicycle friendliness in the city. Factors such as bicycle safety, cycle paths, funding and partnerships will be explored. Representatives of the city will be invited to the next Velo Mondial conference in Cape Town, South Africa, (March 5 to 10, 2006) in order to represent the city and voice their views, the Mayor added.

The signing represents one more major achievement in the “360 ways venture” which began in Paris in June 2004. Having crossed seven European countries, Christopher Huggins and Peter Kennedy reached India on June 2 and Christopher reached the city on July 9.

The “360 ways venture” aims at promoting the bicycle a mode for urban transport and solution for sustainable urbanisation. The project was chalked out by Christopher Huggins and Peter Kennedy, with the support from the sponsors, to give a new life to the bicycle globally.

“This is a starting point for cities that realise the benefits of the bicycle for all. Among these benefits are reduced air pollution and noise pollution, less accidents and less traffic congestion. The health and well being of citizens of bicycle-friendly cities gets improved not only by the route physical activity itself, but also through lower air pollution and less road accidents”, Huggins maintains.



Third phase of meter installation begins
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 25
The PSEB has begun with the third phase of the installation of electronic meters, replacing mechanical meters in Mohali.

The first two phases covered industrial and commercial units and certain residential pockets. According to board officials, more than 10,000 electronic meters have been installed in the past two years and another 40000 mechanical meters are still to be replaced. Sources said there was resistance among consumers against the installation of electronic meters as it led to a higher electricity bill. Some residents questioned the drive stating that when the mechanical meters were running perfectly there was no need to replace them.

However, the officials said it was wrong to state that the new meters led to inflated bills. “Electronic meters are more accurate as these are more sensitive than the mechanical meters. Those who indulge in power thefts oppose the installation of these meters,” pointed an official.



School board staff oppose amendment to Act
Kulwinder Sangha
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 25
The Punjab School Education Board (Non-teaching) Employees Association has appealed to the government to withdraw the move to make amendments in the board Act so that it could remain an autonomous body.

The demand was made in memorandum handed over to Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President, PPCC, by Mr Gurdeep Singh Dhillon, president, and Mr Bhagwant Singh Bedi, general secretary, at the Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh today.

In the memorandum it has been stated that the bureaucracy allegedly wanted to bring the board under its control by carrying out the amendments and the move was a part of a pre-planned conspiracy. It has been said the government wanted to take away the work of printing books from the board and this would lead to a huge financial loss. The board would be then compelled to hike the fees of students.

Moreover, about 550 employees were working in different branches that dealt with the preparation of books and by taking away the work of printing books, the board would not be able to pay the salaries of the employees.

The memorandum said the authorities concerned were making efforts to do away with the precedence of having three MLAs as board members after being nominated by the Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha Amendments in the Act were also being made in connection with the appointment of the secretary of the board. A proposal had also been made to appoint an administrator in the board which would prove to harmful for the organisation. Under Section 21 of the relevant Act the government had the powers to give directions to the board on important matters.

Changes were also being brought about in various committees constituted by the education board so that more bureaucrats could allegedly become members of such committees and interfere in the working of the board.



Cleanliness drive 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 25
A cleanliness drive was carried out by the international organisation of Brahma Kumaris and the Rural Development Wing of the Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation at Kambali village yesterday under the social project “Call of the time — Swachh Swarnim Gramya Bharat”.

According to a press note, as many as 30 Brahma Kumaris and Brahma Kumars of Mohali and Kurali took part in the drive and cleaned the cremation ground of wild growth.

B.K. Meena, in charge, Rajyoga Centre, Kurali, said Kambali was the first village in Punjab to be adopted by Brahma Kumaris and all efforts would contiune to develop Kambali as an ideal village with the cooperation of residents of the area.

She said the formation of youth clubs, water conservation, tree plantation, eradication of blind faith and social evils, setting up of libraries, promotion of moral values and implementation of government plans would be carried out in the village.



32 roadside rehris removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
As many as 32 illegal road side rehris in Sector 48 were removed by the anti-encroachment wing of the Estate Office, sources said here today.

Official sources said all these temporary settlements belonged to a nomadic tribe since Saturday evening. 



Man alleges misdemeanour by cop
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 25
A local resident has alleged that a police official threatened him with dire consequences in the Phase VIII police station here today where he had come in connection with an ongoing case.

Mr Buta Singh, who had alleged that he was beaten up by the police on June 22 last year on a charge of traffic violation, had been called to the police station in connection with an inquiry. He alleged that the police official also misbehaved with his mother.

The inquiry is being conducted by Mr Jaspal Singh Dhanoa SP, HQ, Ropar. He had come to the police station in connection with the case. The statement of those linked with the case were being recorded in the police station in the presence of the SP. After some time, Mr Dhanoa had to leave due to some work.



Readers write
Illegal occupation of booths

Three booths (Nos. 95, 96 and 97) in Sector 15 market, Panchkula, have illegally been occupied right up to the parking area by a few anti-social elements. Truckloads of highly inflammable wooden scrap have been stacked in the open. These can catch fire anytime and pose a serious threat to life and property of the residents. The current market value of these booths is more than Rs 1 crore.Those encroaching upon these booths is also enjoying free electricity connection. The Estate Office should look into the matter and remove the people from these booths.

S.K.Sharma, Panchkula

Research scholars' problem

I would like to highlight the problems faced by research scholars in the Punjab Engineering College.During thesis work we had to face a lot of repercussions, topics were not allotted to us and if somehow we managed to get our work, the synopsis were either rejected without citing any reason or not checked by supervisors. Even they were not returned to us for many months. Research is practically non-existent in this department .Students are considered to be torch -bearers of the country but supervisors play with our career. The authorities should take steps to compensate the loss suffered by research scholars.

Vinay Kumar, Chandigarh

Unhealthy surrounding

Nursery students and staff working in the old Government Primary School,Kajheri,Nehru Colony, are working in miserable condition. The nearby labour colony uses the inner and the outer space of the school for natures call, dumping cow dung and debris. Rainwater gets accumulated inside and outside the school. the surrounding is infested with flies and mosquitoes. Due to the shortage of water bathrooms are always kept closed. No sweeper is provided in the school. The students and staff face a lot of inconvenience in attending natures call. Though a new school building was constructed about one year ago the department and authorities have failed to solve the problem despite repeated request.

Ms Sheela, Kajheri



Five arrested for gambling
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
Five persons were arrested from different parts of the city in the past 24 hours for allegedly indulging in gambling. The local police today arrested two youths and recovered a stolen motor cycle from them. One person was severely injured in a road accident.

The police said Bharat, a resident of Shamsher Ganj in Mainpur district in Uttar Pradesh, a resident of Madrassi Colony in Sector 26, and Sohan Lal of Naraini village in Banaiu district in Uttar Pradesh, were arrested from a near a wine shop in the grain market for allegedly indulging in gambling. The police recovered Rs 4,500 from their possession. Similarly, Kailash Sain of Mauli Jagran was arrested on the charge of gambling at a public place from near Government Model High School, Mauli complex, on Sunday. The police recovered Rs 350 from him. In another incident Jai Dev of Colony Number 4 was caught by the police for allegedly indulging in gambling from near Bhushan Factory on Sunday evening. The police recovered Rs 305 from his possession. Three separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered in various police stations in the city in this regard.

Held for stealing

The local police arrested Manish Kumar and Munish Kumar, both residents of Sector 23, today from Sector 34 while they were travelling on a stolen motor cycle.

The police said acting on secrete information they laid a trap in Sector 34 and arrested the accused. The police recovered a motor cycle, which the accused had allegedly stolen on July 22 from Sector 34 commercial complex. Both the accused were produced before a local court which remanded them to one-day of police custody.


Scooterist Mohammad Din (28), a resident of Mataur, sustained serious head injuries when a three-wheeler (PB-12-F-8611) hit his scooter near Krishna Mandir in Maloya on Sunday. He was admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 16 in an unconscious condition. The police said he was unfit to give his statement. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against Veer Sain, a resident of Maloya village, the three-wheeler driver. 



Youth held for raping sister
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
The local police has arrested a youth on charges of raping his sister for the past one year.

Beeru (21), the accused, was arrested last night following a complaint lodged against him by Daulat Ram, father of the girl. A case has been registered in this regard. The accused was produced today before a local court, which remanded him in judicial custody.

Daulat Ram, a resident of the colony No. 5, alleged that his 16-year-old daughter yesterday told her mother that her brother had been raping her for the past one year. After hearing the shocking revelation, the mother informed her husband, Daulat Ram, who reported the matter to the police.

The victim, a seventh standard student, told the police that her brother had been raping her and had threatened to kill her in case she opened her mouth. She alleged that Beeru did this in the absence of members of the family. As it was becoming unbearable for her she mustered up courage and informed her mother. The police after registering a case took both, the accused and the victim, to the hospital and got them medically examined. 



Two held with 68 kg of charas
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
In a joint operation the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh, and a team of the Himachal Pradesh police today arrested two persons and seized 68 kg of charas having an approximate market value of Rs 3.5 crore.

A press note released by the Zonal Director of NCB, Mr Srikant Jadav, stated that Dharam Dass and Abhishek Kumar, both residents of Jhamach in Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh, were arrested following reports that a gang of narcotic smugglers was active in the state for the past many years. A team of NCB officials was assigned the task to gather inputs and following the tip-offs a trap was laid to arrest the accused.

He added that the third accused Tek Chand of the same village, managed to escape.

Mr Jadav further added that as per intelligence reports of the NCB, the accused were operating vigorously in the area since 1988. The kingpin, Dharam Dass, used his two nephews Tek Chand and Abhishek to run smuggling operations. He also disclosed that an inter-state level drug syndicate was being operated in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Mumbai and Goa along with a few locals of Banjar in Kulu district.

Meanwhile, the Mandi police has launched a combing operation to trace the third accused, NCB officials said. The accused will be produced in a local court in Mandi tomorrow.



PNDT Act violated
3 ultrasound centres in Panchkula given notices
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25
Three registered ultrasound centres in Panchkula district have been issued show-cause notices under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT).

The Director General, Health Services, Dr. Sushma Madan, said that a joint team comprising of district task force and officers of the district administration had inspected three registered ultrasound centres namely, Jindal Diagnostic Centre, Kalka, Rana Hospital, Pinjore and Chakravarty Nursing Home, Panchkula and observed that there was gross violation of the PNDT Act. The notices have now been issued by the District Appropriate Authority of Panchkula.

She said that State Task Force had also raided Maya Maternity Home at Palwal and found that it was violating of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and drug Act. Necessary action had been initiated against the maternity home by the Civil Surgeon, Faridabad and the case registered by the police was under investigation. She said that on the basis of the disclosures made by the owner of the Maya Maternity Home, the team also inspected the Gupta Maternity Home, Anmol Nursing Center and Super Ultrasound Centre in Palwal.

She said that action had been initiated against the defaulters. She said that such raids were being conducted regularly to ensure the effective implementation of the PNDT Act. She said that all civil surgeons in the state had been directed to take stern action against those found violating the PNDT Act.

The pro-active role being played by the state government in the implementation of the PNDT Act has been appreciated by the Central Government and the Supreme Court.

The declining sex ratio had been of great concern to the state government. Therefore, all out efforts were being made to check female foeticide, she added. 



3 held for illegal mining
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25
Acting on a secret information about illegal mining near a culvert at Saketri, the City Magistrate, Ms Vandana Disodia, accompanied by mining officials, conducted a raid and rounded up three persons.

The police said the three persons, Babu Khan, Mehardeen and Kamaluddin, were found on the spot, lifting river-bed material from the Sukhna choe, near the culvert.

The police said upon questioning, the trio said that they had been hired by B. Singh, a resident of Saketri. They said they were only lifting the material from one place and putting it along the embankments so that the land along the embankment was not washed away in the rains.

The police has registered a case of theft against the trio. Police officials said further investigation was on.



Former Colonel’s house burgled
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 25
Burglars struck at a flat (No D 60) owned by a retired Army Colonel in Mansa Devi Complex in Sector 4 here, and decamped with goods and other valuables. The burglars broke into the flat in absence of the owners.

The incident came to light after Col. Prithavi Singh, a relative of the family, visited the flat and found its lock broken. He also found the entire flat ransacked and goods scattered. He than informed the neighbours and they assembled at the site.

Major P Pandit, a neighbour, told the Chandigarh Tribune that they informed the police soon after they came to know about the robbery. Residents of the flats claimed that the police was reluctant to attend their complaint. The police said it would visit the scene of crime tomorrow morning.

The residents claimed that this was the third burglary in the locality in a past one week. The chain of burglaries has created panic among the residents on the locality.



Fashion is serious business, says Rashmi
Tribune News Service

Rashmi Virmani
Rashmi Virmani 

Chandigarh, July 25
Rashmi Virmani, who has taught the walk to models, is in Chandigarh to audition young wannabes for her Ramp School of Fashion Modelling in Delhi.

It has been a long and arduous, fun and successful journey from being a make-up artist to choreographing and producing some of the most prestigious fashion shows in the industry to finally tying up with Wigan and Leigh College to open a fashion modelling school.

For Rashmi, fashion is a serious business and “not a social-do.” Time is precious and Sundays are reserved for her daughters and for fitness sessions.

“Life is a struggle, whether from the floor or from the top of a stool. No profession is shortlived, it is how you treat it,” she adds. 


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