C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Punjabi spirit triumphs
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 10
Time can dull memories but not pain. All it takes is a single episode and the wounds reopen.

For Manjit Singh and his wife Inderjit, even 21 years after their house and shop were reduced to ashes, fear of death still comes alive as it did when they saw the angry mob armed with bricks and burning flames on their doorstep on November 1, 1984.

Manjit’s family survived the riots that lasted a week in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. A BSF truck arranged by a friend rescued them from the ruins of their palatial house and brought the penniless couple, their old parents and two small children to Mohali. Everything they owned had been burnt down and the once rich family that paid each of its workers Rs 500 a month, found it tough to arrange Rs 5 for the doctor’s fee when their son hurt himself.

“Our shop was the biggest cloth shop in Sundernagar and we were probably the most affluent Sikh family there. Nothing happened on the day Indira Gandhi was assassinated but the next morning when we opened the shop, the local population started pelting us with stones. We locked ourselves in and called the police but no help came,” recalls Manjit, then 34 years old.

“We went without food for days and depended only on what our friends surreptitiously smuggled in at night. The whole day we watched as people, including our neighbours, gathered large stones in front of our house to use against us. We dressed our 9-year-old son as a girl and sent him to a friend’s house. Our two-year-old daughter was also taken to safety by a worker in our shop,” he said.

The next day a large mob came and threw burning flames inside the house. “We were being set on fire. I opened to the main door and saw people with huge stones in their hands. I folded my hands and asked what we had done. No one spoke anything but it seemed to have some affect on them and they went away. We rushed out of the burning building. Fire brigade officers came but watched till the shop was gutted,” said Inderjit.

But the worse was yet to come. That evening the mob threw dynamite sticks. “The house was being blasted. That same night, we left Sundernagar. My younger brother was in the Army and he had by then managed to call a BSF truck from Chandigarh. Without food and water, we reached Mohali,” said Manjit.

“Here we met hundreds like us who had come from Delhi, Kanpur and other places. When we heard their stories we thanked God for having spared our lives. Other Sikh families had lost their dear ones in the riots,” said Inderjit.

Starting with a small loan, they struggled for years. “I borrowed some money and took a small shop on rent. Then I went back to Sundernagar and brought the stuff that I could salvage from the shop. We put all that stuff on sale. People came to our shop out of pity and bought material which was burnt. It was a very difficult time and every single paisa was saved. We had never seen poverty but we lived through it with courage and the grace of God. Today my shop mohali is one of the top shops in Ropar. We were riot victims and whatever the government did for us was too little and too late. We were compensated with Rs 3,000 for our losses worth Rs 4 lakh,” he said.



Yet another suicide attempt at Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Arun Kumar (34), a resident of Dadu Majra Colony allegedly attempted to end his life by jumping into the Sukhna Lake early this morning. He was immediately saved by the police personnel on duty.

The police said Arun was an employee of the UT Health Department, who came to the lake at around 7:30 am along with his four-year-old son. When he jumped into the lake from the staircases near the sentry post, his son began to cry, it added. Jangi Ram, a sweeper, raised an alarm and informed policemen, Jagdev Singh and Mahipal, who rescued the victim. The police said Arun was a drunkard and used to fight with his wife. On the hand, Arun said he had come to the lake for a morning walk when he slipped from the staircases.

A case has been registered under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. Despite a number of suicides, the Chandigarh Police has apparently failed to make the Sukhna Lake secure. Sources in the police headquarters say almost every other week a person jumps into the lake to end his life.

Senior officers of the city police claim that its personnel patrol the entire length of the lake on cycles throughout the day to prevent such incidents. Besides, boards and signs prohibiting swimming in the lake have been displayed at different places for enabling the police to detect such attempts. But all measures have failed to take the distinction of city's favourite suicide spot away from the lake.

The sources say the police is now considering to install a wire mesh all around the lake to prevent further suicide attempts.



TB patient ends life
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 10
Ravinder Singh, 22, a tuberculosis patient allegedly hanged himself to death at his Sector-22 residence this afternoon. No suicide note has been found. The family members of Ravinder ruled out any foul play behind the death, the police said.

The death came to light, when Mewa Singh Purkhali, a Superintendent, Department of Education, Punjab Civil Secretariat, came home at about 4 pm and found the front door bolted from inside. When his repeated knocks went unanswered, he called Mr Piara Singh, his neighbour, to inquire. They made a phone call at the landline number of Mewa Singh’s residence which remained unanswered. Then they broke open the front door and entered the house. There was no one at the ground floor and when they went to the first floor, they found Ravinder hanging from a ceiling fan, the police said.



Traffic jam on highway
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 10
Traffic came to stand still on busy the Chandigarh-Panchkula Highway late this evening. Heavy rush of vehicles coupled with ‘faulty traffic lights’ was stated to be reason behind the traffic jam.

A few commuters were caught in the traffic jam for almost an hour. Police sources said this was not the first time that such a jam had taken place. The problem could be solved by popularising alternate routes among the commuters. There were at least two alternate routes to Panchkula, but most of the commuters were not using them.



Passing Thru

Ram Gopal Bajaj
Ram Gopal Bajaj, theatre person, former NSD chairman

What, according to you, is theatre’s role in refining society?

Theatre is the very soul of society. It can inspire opinions and can change the course of the nation’s history, if allowed to evolve liberally. I am all for making theatre a part of school activities and a major issue in the local body elections. Just as villages have roads, they should have cultural centres where children/adults can interact. But unfortunately, in India, theatre policies were never made.

Is National School of Drama not performing the role it was expected to?

Even NSD was conceived as an adult education programme and those who first joined it were dropouts from the mainstream. It is sad that there is just one NSD and so many aspirants. I won’t say that NSD is not doing its job. As in charge of the NSD I introduced children’s theatre festivals and the national theatre festival. B.V. Karanth’s contribution to theatre and especially theatrical music is immense. However, we need solid political policies to provide a boost to theatre and through theatre to culture.

— Aditi Tandon



Sector 34 upkeep leaves much to be desired
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, August 10
Missing swings and wild growth of congress grass mark the poor upkeep of various open spaces in Sector 34-D.

Ms Kalpna Singh, an executive, said that if this was the condition of the Sector 34, we could not think of making Chandigarh an internationally renowned city by inviting multinational companies.

The horticulture wing of the municipal corporation, had failed to do anything about swings as out of normally four different types of swings installed in central parks, none were intact here, said Ms Monika Gulati, a housewife. She said though it was a centrally-located sector, it was full of wild grass.

Mr Harsimrat Singh, a bank employee, said as the sector was represented by a councillor who was not from the Congress-led MC, there was discrimination. He said it was only after written complaints, men from the MC came to clean the parks.

Sonia, a student, said there should be sign boards with phone numbers in each sector as to whom to complain to.

Mr Ashok Kumar, a business man said the sector was fast becoming a slum. If the Administration could look after the limited houses in this part of the sector the plight of other sectors could not be imagined.



Tribune Impact
Repair of Sec 31-32 road begins
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Following a news item published in the Chandigarh Tribune on August 5 under the heading “A road which brings shame to City Beautiful”, the Administration has commenced repair work on the road dividing Sectors 31 and 32.

Today, workers of the department concerned were seen engaged in repairing the road. Potholes were filled and charcoal was put on the broken patches.

The condition of the road leading to Sector 47 was pitiable and full of potholes. Many were deep enough to cause a serious accident. It was impossible for vehicles to move in a straight line.

The road has been repaired up to the roundabout of Sectors 31, 32, 46 and 47, however, a lot still remains to be done. Residents are not satisfied with the ongoing work. “There is need to recarpet the entire road instead of the patchwork as it gets worn out after heavy rain. The ongoing patchwork is not a solution as the material would get washed away within a fortnight with the heavy rush of vehicles”, Mr Gurinder Singh, a resident of Sector 45, said.

Some residents of the adjoining sectors have, however, expressed satisfaction over the repair work. “Though the entire road needs to be recarpted, the filling of potholes and levelling of road would provide some respite,” said Mr Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 32.



Governor invites Israeli firms to Punjab
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, August 10
Mr David Denieli, Ambassador of Israel to India, called on Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab, today at Punjab Raj Bhavan here and discussed different subjects of mutual interest.

The Governor informed the Ambassador that Punjab was a progressive and vibrant state, which had made a mark in the agricultural sector. He said the crop diversification had been given a top priority by involving agriculture scientists in the field and that the Farmers’ Commission had been set up in the state under the chairmanship of an internationally famous scientist to coordinate the farm ventures and related activities.

He sought the cooperation of Israeli companies to set up joint ventures in the state, especially in the areas of food processing, agro-processing, post-harvest technology and dairy farming.

The Governor said: We are also upgrading the Chandigarh Airport to the international level and Chandigarh as an export hub for foods and vegetables.

The Governor informed him that the Chandigarh Administration had also set up a world-class IT Park, which had been declared as a Special Economic Zone by the government.

The Ambassador showed keen interest in these activities and assured the Governor that he would take up relevant issues with the Israel Government and make efforts to promote trade and business relationships.

Meanwhile, an exhibition on photographs of Israeli archeological sites was inaugurated by Mr David Danieli today at Panjab University. The Ambassador highlighted the exhibition as part of the cultural exchange he wished to develop with the country.

To acquaint the people of the region, a panorama of the priceless Israeli history and culture unfolded at the PU.

A selection of its renowned and most interesting historical sites can be seen at an exhibition “Archaeology from the Air” at Fine Arts Museum of the university.

The exhibition is on till August 21. It is a joint effort by the Fine Arts Department, PU, and the Israeli Embassy.



Deputation case: CAT pulls up UT admin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has come down heavily on the Chandigarh Administration for deviating from the draft rules and prescribing experience of eight years to fill the post Senior Town Planner and Divisional Town Planner by way of transfer on deputation.

Terming the circular of the administration dated August 4, 2004, regarding the transfer on deputation to the said posts in the Department of Urban Planning, the Bench comprising of Mr L.M.Goyal and Mr Jasbir S. Dhaliwal, vice-chairman, and member (judicial), respectively, directed the administration to fill the post of the DTP after issuing an advertisement in accordance with the recruitment rules.

The orders were passed by the tribunal after hearing the applications moved by Ms Swati Anand, DTP, previously working as ATP, Haryana Town and Country Planning Association and Mr J.S.Raghu, DTP, Haryana Urban Development.

The applicants stated that the method of recruitment to the post of DTP was by way of deputation of suitable officers from the states of Punjab and Haryana, holding analogous posts or eligible to hold the post of DTP or equivalent to his parent state. The administration had made an attempt to amend the rules in 2002 and got it approved, but did not notify the rules.

While quoting a couple of judgments, the tribunal observed that the circular of 2004 as illegal. While referring to the plea of Ms Anand, who had staked claim to the post, the tribunal observed that she was eligible for the post but the administration deprived her of a chance of consideration.



Fauji Beat
Don’t defame Army uniform

It has become a common practice for the doormen at hotels, restaurants, big shops and for security guards at various private companies to wear the Army uniform. Besides being an insult to the military uniform, donning of it by civilians is beset with grave security risk to the country. The wearing of military uniform or any item, which resembles the military uniform, by civilians is a cognisable offence as per Section 114 of the Cr Pc/IPC.

This point was highlighted by the writer in The Tribune columns a few years ago. The then Western Army Commander Lieut-Gen H.B Kala, had informed him, that apart from putting forth this point at a civil and military liaison conference, he had also discussed it with the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The General said the Chief Minister gave him assurance that this wrong practice would be stopped. But, the unlawful practice is still prevalent in all towns, including Chandigarh.

On June 13, Brig Harwant Singh (retd), chairman of the Ex-servicemen Brotherhood, from Mohali, wrote to the DGP, Punjab, Mr S.S. Virk, in this regard. He had also told Mr Virk that civilian bands in Mohali and Patiala not only don Army uniform but also wear shoulder titles of the Sikh and Sikh Light Infantry regiments.

The Brigadier says that Mr Virk has not replied to his letter. The police should act earnestly against the offenders in the interest of the country and the Army.

Benefit of ECHS membership

Former Havildar C.L. Datta says that he was given an Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) form and was advised by Col Subash Chander (retd), Director Helpline, Western Command, to become a member of it. “But I did not pay any heed to his advice. On October 26, 2004, I had a severe heart attack and had to spend Rs 2,75,000 on my treatment. Had I become a member of the scheme earlier, the government would have paid for my treatment,” he adds.

Lieut-Col Jagdish Chand (retd) says: “I did not become a member of the ECHS due to my laziness. I got a heart attack on June 3 last and had to pay Rs 3 lakh to the Fortis Hospital for my treatment. I got a refund of only Rs 1,15,000. On June 4, I became a member of the scheme but it was too late”.

The same is the case of former Junior Warrant Officer Sardar Singh whose wife suffered a heart attack. After the incident, he became a member of the scheme. He got only Rs 1,12,500 as claim against the treatment and the rest of the amount he had to pay from his pocket. He is a member of the scheme now.

These are only a few of the many such cases. Delay in becoming members of the ECHS can cost dearly to the ex-servicemen.

Invincible Garuda

At the time of raising of Brigade of the Guards in 1949, the late Field Marshal K.M. Carriapa, then General and the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, was the first Colonel of Regiment of the Guards. He had selected a garuda with spread wings in standing posture as the emblem of the regiment in consultation with the senior officers of the regiment.

The emblem resembles that of the French Army under Napolean having an eagle with spread wings as the state symbol as also that of the US Army i.e. a bald eagle. Both these armies had selected an eagle for its virility and strength.

The garuda was selected not only because of its elegance, strength and courage but also because of the reverence with which it is held by the people of India. There are two statues of the garuda in human form in the Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai. The one, which was originally at the Elephant Cave near Mumbai is of the sixth century. The other one of the eleventh century, was earlier situated at the temple of Gogga Narayana in Gujarat.

— Pritam Bhullar



No decision on Zila Parishad chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Even a month after the results of the election to the UT Zila Parishad were declared, the Chandigarh Administration is yet too decided on the reservation for the post of Chairman. The members have been administered the oath of office by the Secretary, Rural Development.

Due to the delay in deciding on the chairman, the functioning of the Parishad has crippled, said Mr Didar Singh, Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti.

The Secretary has sought legal opinion whether the post could be reserved.

Mr Didar Singh, Chairman of Panchayat Samiti, claimed that there was no need to seek legal opinion when there was a noting on the file about the reservation of the seat. The UT follows the Punjab pattern, he added.

A group of candidates, who have decided upon Ms Kuldeep Kaur for the post of the chairman, supported by the Behl group in the Congress and the BJP leaders, alleged that the Administration was scumbling to political pressure. “It was being done to cerate confusion in the mind of the candidates who were supporting me,” said Ms Kuldeep Kaur. She is the wife of Chairman of Pancahyat Samiti, Mr Didar Singh.



Challan fee reduced for rickshaw-pullers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Keeping in view the economic status of the rickshaw-pullers, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to reduced the compounding fee for the impounded rickshaws so that they are not heavily penalised and financially burdened.

It may be mentioned here that as per the Chandigarh Cycle Rickshaw (Regulation and Control) Bye-laws 1960, which was amended in 2004, the erring rickshaw-pullers whose rickshaws were impounded have to get it released after paying Rs 500 within a period of 15 days.

Now, the administration has decided to extend the period of release to 30 days. As per the amended bye-laws, the compounding fee has been rationalised and reduced to Rs 100 on the first offence and on the second and third offence, they would have to pay Rs 200 and Rs 300, respectively.



Abolish paid parking: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The traders’ cell of the local BJP has condemned the Congress-ruled MC for deciding to issue multi-purpose pass worth Rs 500 (car) and Rs 300 for two-wheelers for parking, a press note said here today.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr Amrit Lal Goyal, president of the cell, said the paid parking system should be abolished. He said residents were not happy with the paid parking system.

There were reports of vehicles being stolen from the parking and bags being stolen, the press note said. The BJP asked the Chandigarh Administration to interfere and get paid parking abolished.



Protest by SBI staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Employees of the State Bank of India and associate banks today held a demonstration in front of the main branch of the bank here.

Addressing the employees, Mr Davinder Singh, president of the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, condemned the Union Government’s move to merge associate banks with the SBI.

He said the AIBEA, NCBE, AIBOC and AIBOA unions of the SBI and associate banks had united to oppose the merger move. He also condemned the “anti-labour” and “anti-employee” policies of the government.



Aruna Asaf Ali memorial to be raised in Kalka
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 10
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said that a befitting memorial would be raised to commemorate the memory of Bharat Ratna Aruna Asaf Ali in Kalka near here.

While talking to mediapersons here, the Chief Minister said those communities did not survive who forgot their leaders and freedom fighters. He said she was a colleague of his father and he was well aware of her significant contribution in the freedom movement. Ali was born in a Bengali Brahmin family in Kalka in 1909.



Anti-Cong dharna tomorrow

Chandigarh, August 10
The local unit of the BJP will stage a dharna on August 12 in Sector 17, here “in protest against the anti-Sikh Congress which has been exposed in the Nanavati Commission report and effigies of those held guilty in the report will be burnt”, a press note said today.

The state BJP president, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan held a meeting which was attended by state office- bearers and presidents of districts and cells. TNS



Car stolen from MC office
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 10
A car and a motor cycle have reportedly been stolen from the city. In another incident, a cyclist sustained injuries after being hit by a CTU bus. Mr Subhash, a resident of Sector-46, reported to the police that his car (CH-03-M-9707) was stolen from the Municipal Corporation’s office in Sector-17 on Tuesday. In another incident, Mr Rajinder Kumar Saini, a resident of MLA Flats in Sector-3, alleged that his motor cycle (HR-61-HQ-(T)-6950) was stolen from in front of his residence on August 8.

Scooter stolen

Mr O.P. Sharma, a resident of Sector 22-C, in a complaint lodged with the police alleged that his scooter (CH-01-O-5372)was stolen from the backside of the General Post Office, Sector-17, on August 8. He said he had parked the scooter at 11.30 am and had gone to the Registrar Cooperative Society, Sector- 17. When he came back at 3.30 pm he found the scooter missing. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in this regard.


A cyclist, Abhay Gupta of Sector 24, sustained injuries after being hit by a bus near the PGI Club in Sector-24 on Tuesday. He was admitted to the PGI. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered.



Shopping festival a flop show
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 10
Participants of the ongoing “Shop N Win” shopping festival-2005 organised by the Business Promotion Council, Sector 17, here have shown dissatisfaction the way it is going on, according to a press note. They said the festival had failed to attract customers despite offering the extra coupons under the scheme.

They said the festival was improperly organised and was lacking in co-ordination. Major decisions were being taken without informing the participants. Most banners, which were displayed outside the shops and for which huge fee was paid to the Municipal Corporation, had been removed.

According to them, the sound system was not up to the mark and to attract the customers the prize list had not been displayed till date. Daily draw of two prizes had also been delayed.


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