C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman of courage — a riot story
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 11
A majority of Mohali residents know Inderjit Kaur of Phase 11, only as a former councillor. But there are a few who know her as the fearless daughter who risked her life while facing the fury of a crowd bent upon killing her father during the 84 riots in Shakarpur, New Delhi.

Though she could not save her father who was first stabbed, then crushed and finally burnt to death before her eyes, Inderjit Kaur became what she is today because of what happened on that fateful day in November - a leader of the local community and a woman to be reckoned with but most importantly, a person who withstood every adversity with rock steadfastness, providing unfaltering support to her widowed mother and her two younger brothers.

“On November 1, we saw a small crowd killing two Sikhs outside our house. Some of the Sikh families got together to save them but the crowd swelled and the two were killed. I lived a few houses away from my mother’s house in Shakarpur with my two children. My husband and his younger brother were off to Assam on business. My father who was a supervisor in a school in Lajpat Nagar was at work. By the evening the situation had become grave in our area. We were getting reports that Sikhs were not just being killed on the roads but were being taken out of their houses and being burnt alive. We got scared. I opened my son’s hair and braided it, dressed him in a frock and sent him to a Hindu neighbour’s house. I rushed to my mother’s house and dressed both my brothers as girls and took them to another neighbour’s house. There they were hid in the pen where hens were kept and it was covered with dirty clothes,” she recalls.

Inderjit’s fears came alive. The crowd surrounded every Sikh house that evening and demanded that the men come out. “When no one appeared, they searched every Hindu house in the street. My children and brothers managed to escape their eyes. The mob left and we thought that the worst was over.”

Her father Gurdip Singh had not come home since October 31. “We were told that the school had asked him to stay indoors and presumed that he was safe. The next afternoon, we heard someone scream that my father was being chased by a crowd in the next street. I rushed out with my mother. My father was on a scooter driving with another Sikh sitting behind him. The crowd was just a few feet away. The crowd threw a rope and managed to pull off the person sitting behind my father. He was done to death immediately. My father sped the scooter but was caught by the crowd from the opposite side. Surrounded on all sides, he was trapped. Someone stabbed him in the chest but he tried to run away. Then someone threw a big stone from a roof on his head and he collapsed. My mother had fainted by this time and I was trying to take her to my father who seemed to be still breathing. But the crowd was not satisfied. They took some petrol from the vehicle and burnt my father alive,” says Inderjit.

Life was never the same after that. By the time she reached home with her mother, their houses had been looted. “Everything valuable we owned was missing. The houses had been burned and we were homeless. I collected my brothers and children and we joined the other victim families at a relief camp. My husband and his brother joined us at the camp after a fortnight. They had come to Delhi on a train from Assam and had their own harrowing tale to relate,” she says.

The penniless family shifted to their village house in Batala and tried to revive their furniture business. “But we failed. The terrorist groups here would not allow any dowry to be given or taken during marriages. So we never got any substantial orders. We struggled with poverty and grief and tried to educate my two sons. Finally, we came to Mohali in 1997. Our business did not prosper here either. You will not believe this, but my husband started doing his first job only three days ago,” she adds.



Effigies of Tytler, Sajjan, Bhagat burnt
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 11
Representatives of various organisations staged a protest outside the office of the SDM here today and demanded that the President of India should order strict action against Congress leaders whose names figured in the report submitted by the Nanavati Commission in connection with Delhi riots.

They raised slogans against the Congress, Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr H.K.L. Bhagat. Effigies of the Congress leaders were also burnt.

Representatives of the All-India Youth Akali Dal, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the BJP and other Sikh religious bodies of the town presented a memorandum, addressed to the President of India, to the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma.

The protesters said that there was a fear among the Sikhs that Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, wanted that another commission should be constituted to look into the matter so that the leaders could be saved from being punished.

They said the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, was a Sikh but wanted to protect the interests of the Congress. Mr Manmohan Singh should do justice with the Sikhs or resign. They said Mr Manmohan Singh should not act like various other Sikh leaders, who were used by the party, but order strict action against those allegedly involved in the riots.

They said the resignation given by Tytler was not enough to pacify the Sikhs around the world. Fast track courts should be set up to give punishment to the leaders.

Among those who presented the memorandum were Mr Paramjit Singh Kahlon, vice-president of the All-India Youth Akali Dal; Mr Amrik Singh Mohali and Mr Arjan Singh Shergil, senior vice-president and general secretary of the Ropar unit of SAD; Mr Harjit Singh Bhullar from the BJP, Mrs Kashmir Kaur, representing the Danga Peerat Welfare Society and Mr Joginder Singh, president of the Gurdwara Coordination Committee.



Car number auctioned for Rs 5.05 lakh
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Mr Amarjeet Claire, a resident of Sector 44, has purchased the “prestigious” Number 1 for registration of his new car at a whopping cost of Rs 5.05 lakh at an auction conducted by the Licencing Authority of the city. A common man could have bought two Maruti 800s or a Maruti 800 and a Santro at the same price.

Reliable sources in the department said that there were seven bidders for the coveted number CH-03U-001 when the bidding took place at the auction on Wednesday. The highest price for auction of number one on an earlier occasion has been recorded at Rs 1.25 lakh. The price for the first number of a series has been fixed at a minimum of Rs 25,000. It was pointed out by the official that Mr Claire is yet to get his vehicle registered, “so I cannot say which model and which make he is buying”.

Sources said that the last date of applications for the paid numbers was fixed as August 2. The amounts in bidding for the first number of the new series registered went on “shooting right from the word go”.

There wasn’t much competition for the number CH-03U-0002. It fetched only Rs 16,500 against the reserve price of Rs 15,000. The number CH-03U-0003 fetched Rs 1.20 lakh against the reserve price of Rs 15000, sources said. The number was bagged by Rahul Sales Pvt Limited. The number CH-03U-0005 was bagged by the Hindustan Hydel Project Private Ltd at a cost of Rs 62,000.

Mr Mohan Jain, a resident of Sector 21, bagged the bid for the number CH-03U-0009. The cost was settled at Rs 60,000. Ms Amrit Kaur, a resident of Sector 44, bagged the bid for the number CH-03U-999. She will be required to pay Rs 43,000. It was pointed out that customers had the option of paying to take a number of their choice above 10. The prices varied between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000. In case of more than one bidder, the number was auctioned.

A senior official said that “there was a rush for the first 10 numbers because they were thought to be status symbols. Another major reason or heavy bidding was the superstition that people associated with the numbers based on numerology”.

The bidders are required to deposit the money within three days, failing which a penalty of 10 per cent is charged on the balance amount. The recipient of the reserved number is required to get his vehicle registered within one month from the date of auction. In case, the vehicle is not registered the auction will be cancelled.



Licence must for milkmen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Milk vendors’ supplying milk in and around the city will now have to obtain a licence for the job. A decision to this effect was taken after The Tribune reported that randomly collected samples from various locations had failed the “purity” test, shattering the “myth” that fresh milk was “healthier” and more nutritious than pasteurised milk.

“There is already a legislation to regulate the sale of milk. All milk vendors are required to carry a licence which is renewed from time to time,” UT Health Secretary Krishna Mohan told this newsman today. He announced that the administration had given a one-month-time to all milk vendors’ to procure or renew their licences failing which stringent action would be taken against the violators.

A majority of 24 samples of milk that were got tested at a local lab earlier this month were found to be containing copious amount of water, along with bacteria and caustic soda. Following a public outcry, the Chandigarh Administration has now asked its recently appointed Director Health Services, Dr Inderjit Walia, to take steps to ensure that safe and hygienic milk reached the consumers.

Soon after taking over her new assignment the first decision Dr Walia took was to pass an order that said: “All vendors and wholesalers, engaged in the sale of milk whether branded or loose, will obtain a licence.” This means that all milkmen, sweet shops, dairies and canteen contractors will be required to possess a licence for selling milk.

The administration is, however, still not sure if it would like to have booths such as those selling “Verka” or other packaged milk to possess individual licences or a licence taken by the company to sell milk in Chandigarh will suffice. Nearly half of the 5 lakh litres of milk consumed in Chandigarh is supplied by milkmen and the remaining half by companies such as Verka.

The administration has announced that it would give one month to vendors to obtain a licence, failing which penal action will be initiated under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 (PFA). The Health Department has announced that it will take random samples from the residential and commercial areas sometimes in September, 2005, and any sample found to be containing urea or other adulterants will not only lead to cancellation of the licence, but also attract strict action according to the provisions of law.

Milkmen can obtain a licence from the local Health Department.



Gurdwara razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The enforcement squad of the Chandigarh Administration today razed Tibba Sahib Gurdwara and a portion of the Balmiki dharamshala in Sector 26 here today. After initial resistance by members of the management of the gurdwara, the enforcement staff was able to demolish the structure with the assistance of the police.

As mark of respect to the religious scripture, police personnel carried Nishan sahib and Guru Granth Sahib to the Sector 26 gurdwara in the Police Lines.

A part of the dharamshala which had come on acquired land was also demolished. The affected persons lamented that the Administration had not served any notice to them before carrying out the demolition.

Around nine shops which had come up on the premises of the two sites were also demolished. The authorities had requisitioned over 300 police personnel. The drive was supervised by the ADC, Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, the LAO, Mr S.K. Setia, SDM, Swati Sharma and SDO Suresh Kumar.



Property conversion charges unchanged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Not bowing to the pressure of industrialists, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to stick to its earlier decision of charging Rs 18,000 per sq yd as conversion charges from those interested in converting use of property in the Industrial Area.

The administration, however, has made certain relaxations in the earlier policy as sops for the industrial plot owners. Those interested in setting up a banquet hall can now go ahead in a plot measuring one acre only. Earlier, the requirement was fixed at four acres. The amount for conversion can be paid in a maximum of five equal installments.

An official press release said, "The conversion was allowed on a payment of conversion charges, which was based on average price of the past three years auction of commercial sites in the city. The average price which is Rs 80,000 per sq yd has been reduced to half as FAR allowed here is half of FAR obtainable in the city. The conversion charge has been further discounted by 50 per cent and another 10 per cent concession has been given to the applicants in the first year. The price works out to Rs 18,000."

The release said following persistent demand from the industrialists, the administration would allow "FAR of 2 against the earlier announced 1.5. Request for payment of conversion charges in a number of annual equated installments has been accepted. The plot owners would be free to choose between paying up in lumpsum or two, three, four or five installments."

The amount remaining due in the first installment would bear an interest at the rate that CITCO would obtain, if it was to invest the money in a bank for a comparable period. In case of a default, the property can be resumed.

It has also been decided that multiplexes, marriage palaces or banquet halls will be allowed to come up on the plots of one acre or above instead of four acres as announced earlier. Marriage palaces will be allowed in front of a road of 100 feet width.

The note said commercial activity was viable on smaller plots so the administration has permitted fragmentation of bigger plots subject to the condition that no fragment will be less than one acre.

Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, said, "We welcome the concessions announced by the administration particularly those associated with the permission for a banquet hall in a one acre plot. But, we are not satisfied with the reserve price at Rs 18,000 per sq yd and will once again knock the doors of the administration to reconsider the matter."

Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, reiterated that the aim of the recently announced conversion policy of land use from industrial to commercial was only to create an option for entrepreneurs to venture into more profitable business and did not compel them to change their trade.

Mr Sharma said the entire conversion policy was envisaged as a voluntary, cooperative partnership, and had deliberately eschewed the coercive model of urban renewal. He said those interested in continuing with manufacturing were free to do so, including the manufacturer of information technology hardware, adding that the origins of this policy lay in the facts that some 45 per cent of the industries had been closed down and worker productivity was stagnant or declining.

Rebutting the criticism of land in the IT Park having been given at “throw away” prices, the Adviser said the threshold conditions of entry into the IT park (from Rs 10 crore to Rs 100 crore of turnover for different categories in the previous three years, research and development activities) were very stiff and there were no exit options.



Passing Thru

Kuljit Kaur
Kuljit Kaur,
a US-based businesswoman

What is the purpose of your visit to the city?

I am here to look for business ventures. I am planning to introduce American-based franchises in the hotel industry and beauty care clinics. I am planning to open Medspa health clinic in the city.

Do you see any business potential in the city?

Chandigarh is emerging as an IT hub which means more hotel and tourism- based business.

Is this your first visit to the city?

No, this is my second after 15 years. In States, people of Indian origin miss Divali and Holi.

How do you like Chandigarh?

It is a planned city. The lush green lawns, wide roads and beautiful roundabouts are very impressive. We have visited the Rock Garden, Fragrance Garden and the Sukhna Lake.

—G. S. Paul



Panchayat samiti for lal dora extension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The UT Panchayat Samiti comprising representatives of 18 UT villages today urged the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, to extend the lal dora of the villages and omit these from the purview of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952.

A delegation of the samiti, headed by its chairman, Mr Didar Singh, today met the Deputy Commissioner and submitted a memorandum of demands. Mr Didar Singh told the Tribune that their plea was that most of the people belonged to middle-class families and had purchased small pieces of land.

The members said a wrong picture had been projected about the status of the houses outside the lal dora. They said as per the consolidation of the village done between 1952 and 1960, a number of houses had come up outside the lal dora, including those in the extended abadi deh. The figure of such houses was much more than the figure of 2,695 houses being stated by the Administration.

The houses outside the lal dora had been constructed after permission had been given by the authorities concerned. These houses fall outside the lal dora of the villages in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and are out of the municipal limits also, they added.

As per the figures quoted by the members, around 35,000 families are living out the lal dora in UT villages. They argue that the Chandigarh Administration has itself violated the provisions of the Act by raising structures in Mani Majra.

Mr Didar Singh said the Deputy Commissioner had assured them that residential houses outside the lal dora would not be demolished.



Admn signs MoU on utility services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Chandigarh Administration today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Times Internet for providing information to city residents on utility services.

The MoU was signed by Mr S.K Sandhu, Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary, Information Technology, and Mr Sukanta Dey, Director, Communication Times Internet Limited, at the UT Secretariat. The Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, Home Secretary, Krishna Mohan and senior officers of the Administration were present on the occasion.

Under the MoU a provision has been made to provide information on services being offered through the e-Sampark Programme of the Administration to the public. The Department of Information Technology with the support of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has made arrangement for residents to access information relating to their bills and other information through SMS at 8888. The centre has provided its server for access to data on query basis for the project.

The e-Sampark Project presently offers services relating to payment of taxes (LST/CST), issuing of bus passes and senior citizen cards, payment of electricity bill, births and death certificates, besides others.

These services are provided at e-Sampark Centres at Sectors 10, 15, 18, 23, 43, 47 and Manimajra. Residents can SMS the word “SMENU” at 8888 to avail of the services.



Pits left open after repair
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The roads in Sector 44 has a plenty of pits by its sides, courtesy the lackadaisical attitude of the Municipal Corporation.

A number of pits have been dug on the sides of the road in vicinity of the entire area. The road opposite Divya Public School leading to the row between house numbers 3127 and 3184 has a big hole placed precariously on its turn. "The pit was dug by the Municipal Corporation for repairing the underground sewerage pipes. The hole was left open after the work making it a perfect setting for an untoward accident," rues Mr H.S. Johal, a resident of the locality.

The condition of the road is pitiable, which is full of potholes and uneven patches, putting the motorists and pedestrians to great inconvenience while maneuvering their way through.

A cobbler who runs his business on the side of the road said he saw at least two-three accidents daily because of the dilapidated condition of the road.

The situation has deteriorated significantly during the monsoon. The road is often inundated with water and it gets difficult to judge the potholes. The downpours this monsoon, have washed away parts of the road and what is visible are pebbles and uneven, bumpy stretches.

After the rains, sand gets accumulated on the sides of the road making it more slippery and it gets dicey for the motorists especially for those riding two-wheelers.

Meenakshi, a college student, who has no option but to use the same stretch of road while going to college complained, "I often get a flat tyre of my scooter while passing through this stretch. I am always apprehensive of missing my morning class". "My new car had its axle broken but I have no option but to use this road only" rued Mr K.K. Sawal, a retired lecturer.



Soft drink bottling plant sealed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 11
Health Department officials along with the police today raided an illegal bottling plant operating from a house in Sector 10.

The officials said the raid was conducted after they learnt of a illegal bottling plant allegedly being run by Mr Omkar Bhatia at his house. They alleged that he was supplying these cold drinks in slum colonies. A team led by Medical Officer, Sanjay Sharma, Food Inspector Rajinder Singh and Mr Ajay Disodia from the local police conducted the raid. They sealed the bottling unit and took some samples.

In summer, hundreds of lemon, orange and strawberry “bante wali botal” bottle can be seen being sold on rehris in the township and the adjoining Pinjore and Kalka. Illegal bottling units, some of them running in houses, come up each year. These drinks are available for Rs 5 a bottle. None of these units have an FPO number or a licence from the local administration.

The unit raided today in Sector 10 was running from a room. The cold drinks were prepared by using normal tap water and there was no filtration plant. In fact, water was stored in open tanks. A concentrate, sugar and colour is added into the bottle which is then filled with water and gas.

The police tried to take the owner into custody but he refused to comply, saying that the authorities could only seal his unit but not arrest him. The DSP, Mr Hemant Kalson, arrived on the scene and after some discussions, Mr Bhatia was let off. 



Five brave children felicitated
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
These are not mere tales of valour but they inspire, for their protagonists are young children, whose courage and spirit saved lives. Conferred with the National Bravery Awards, five of the 18 children were felicitated at a function organised by Coca Cola India, in the city today.

The most poignant narrative is of 13-year-old Harry Chaudhary who tried saving his sister from the clutches of a miscreant. His sister later succumbed to the injuries while Harry was severely wounded but not before snatching away the miscreant’s motorcycle keys. He also raised an alarm, called the police and informed his mother. Knifed by the offender, he continued undeterred and held onto the weapon that had been used to take his sister’s life.

This boy, who wants to be a mechanical engineer one day, says he is spurred on by his sister’s wishes. “She wanted me to be well educated and I am going to do just that.”

Was he scared when all this was happening? “I don’t know. I could only see that this person was hurting my sister”. This Delhi boy believes he would do the same thing all over again if he had to.

Nine -year-old Priyanka who had to travel 12 hours to reach Chandigarh (the bus broke down en-route from Rewari in Haryana to Chandigarh) was looking sleeply. Priyanka saved two young children from drowning in a flooded area near her home. Interestingly, she does not know how to swim. “I thought if I do not help them they will die.” She wants to be a policewoman when she grows up.

Eighteen-year-old Ramandeep Singh and 17-year-old Pawan Kumar from Anandpur Sahib also have a similar tale to tell. They both jumped into the Bhakra canal to save the life of an 11-year-old student of their school. Ramandeep wants to be in the Merchant Navy and travel the world for he loves the sea and Pawan wants to be in the army. Both boys, shy and reticent, say they would the same thing again if the need arises.

Eleven-year-old Mahima Tiwari has the prettiest smile in the room. Narrating her story she says that she had gone to distribute sweets in the neighbourhood followed by her little sister when a jackal sprung out of the nearby fields and attacked them. Mahima hit the animal hard repeatedly with the bowl in her hand and warded off the attack. The animal had dug its teeth into her little sister and was dragging her away into the fields when Mahima’s act of bravery rescued them both “If I had been afraid then the jackal would have killed my sister.” For this bold young thing from Aligarh the ultimate mission is to be a police officer.

For this young one who loves watching cricket life is all about making good at everything she does and that includes cooking dal and rotis which she says she makes really well!

These children dream of upright and honest lives.



Choosing to be a beggar
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, August 11
Beggar menace has hit Chandigarh in a big way. Despite the blanket ban by the police, there has been a rise in the number of beggars. The most vulnerable points are religious places, traffic lights and shopping complexes.

On a visit to various places, this reporter was able to identify the presence of beggars on select days at select places. On Thursday, there is huge rush of beggars outside Peer samadh (near Dhillon Fun Republic, Sector 45 and Sector 36) and outside Shirdi Temple, Sector 29. On Saturday, they collect in large numbers outside the Sector 30 Mahakali Temple, Sector 19 Shani Dev Temple and other such temples. On Tuesday, they gather at Hanuman Temples.

Mr Swapan Garg, an advocate, termed the growing menace as another blot on the city. The moment one enters a temple, various children below 12 years pester for money, he said, wondering why the police had not taken steps in this regard.

Ms Sandhya Sareen, a government employee, said daily she encountered beggars who seemed trained professionally. On busy traffic light crossing, after offices got over, the 90-second wait was horrible as innovative methods were adopted by the beggars for money. She said it was sad that in an “educated” city like Chandigarh, “we are able to develop this habit to earn money. Like metro cities, the police can start challaning those who give money to beggars.

Mr Satish Goyal, a chartered accountant and a regular devotee at Shirdi Temple, Sector 29, said over the past few years, more and more beggars had started assembling on Thursdays since there was a huge rush of devotees.

Mr Parvinder Bhatia, a manager with a multinational company, said one could notice the same beggars at different places.

“The youth is the latest target as it doesn’t mind shelling Rs 5 out for the beggars,” he added.

Ms Indu Moudgil, a teacher, said in the name of religion, a few people had made it a business and they visited houses to exploit in the name of religious trusts or sankritan.



N-irradiations for better grain storage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
As part of its initiative to improve grain storage techniques and the quality of foodgrains, the Food Corporation on India (FCI), Haryana, organised a lecture on “Role of nuclear irradiations in safer food storage” here today.

Prof Narendra Nath, former Professor at Kurukshetra University, covered the application of gamma and electron irradiation of various food items like cereals, pulses, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

Prof Narender Nath speaks about the role of nuclear irradiations for safe food storage at a seminar at the FCI office in Panchkula
Prof Narender Nath speaks about the role of nuclear irradiations for safe food storage at a seminar at the FCI office in Panchkula on Thursday.

“The techniques significantly enhance the storage life of different items without adversely affecting nutritional value and taste. Only one or two such irradiation plants will cover the requirement of Haryana.

There is a wide scope for exploiting our surplus food items like fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs that will meet international standards both in quality and hygiene,” he maintained.

He said plants, were sterilised from harmful insects (fruit fly, cotton ball worms, screw worm) and save several crops. No chemical treatment that may harm the produce was involved. Sub standard food items would not be associated with India if the technique was utilised.

The Senior Regional Manger, Punjab and Haryana, Mr T.C. Gupta, said the lecture would sensitise FCI officers about using this technology.

The state FCI plans to establish contact with the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, for setting up commercially viable nuclear irradiation plants which will make Haryana a pioneering state in this field.

A spokesperson said the godowns of Haryana had been adjudged the best in the north zone.

The quality of rice and wheat procured and dispatched by Haryana had been appreciated.



7-year-long wait for loan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Mr Om Parkash, a resident of Hallo Majra, is a harassed man today. Even after about seven years he has been running from pillar to post to get a loan to start a business.

An employed person, Mr Om Parkash, approached the local Industries Department with a project. He was sanctioned a loan of Rs 95,000 under the Pradhan Manrti Rozgar Yojana and his case was sent to the UCO Bank, Behlana.

Mr Om Prakash alleges that his case was rejected because he was earning Rs 2,200 per month( Rs 26,400 per annum) hence not eligible under the scheme, which was meant for the unemployed youth.

This was despite the fact that under the scheme the annual income of the family should not exceed Rs 40,000.

However, he did not lose heart and approached the Khadi and Village Industries Commission under the Margin Money Scheme. The value of his project was assessed at Rs 1.5 lakh and he was directed to get the amount from the Industrial Area branch of the State Bank of India(SBI).

On the directions of the bank, he submitted a valuation certificate of his property amounting to Rs 5.25 lakh. However, his loan was rejected on the plea that there was no bank employee, who could stand surety for him.

Mr Om Prakash said despite representations to the top functionaries of the UT Administration nothing seemed to have been done.My prime years of work had been lost and the officials concerned should be penalised for harassing me, he demanded.

Now Mr Om Prakash has written to the President.



Tribune Impact
MC removes wild growth
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, August 11
Thursday morning proved to be a welcome relief for residents of Sector 34-D when MC workers swung into action by removing congress grass and wild growth.

Chandigarh Tribune had published a story about the negligent attitude of the MC with regard to the sector.

Mr Sanjeev Verma, a resident, termed the action as a delayed one. He said it was the duty of the Horticulture Department to have periodic checks. Mr Harvinder Singh, another resident, wondered why such persuasion was required for the upkeep of the sector. He said the corporation was paid for this and it should not ignore its duty. He said there should be permanent complaint system which could be monitored by the MC.

He said a large number people from Punjab, Haryana and other states visited city and if such conditions continued it would project a poor image of the city.

Mrs Arushi said, the MC must pay attention on providing swings in each park as for years, no one cared to maintain them.



Search within
Patriotism and truth

TWO statements in recent times had led to stormy discussions in public and the media: Advani’s statement on Jinnah’s secularism and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s good word for the British for the benefits conferred on this country by their rule.

The truth of the statements and the sincerity of those who made the statements had been subject to severe scrutiny by supporters and opponents of the views expressed therein. However, the power behind the controversy or its origin has not been touched upon.

Why have the statements invited such attention? Jinnah may have been secular or communal. British rule may have been beneficial or malevolent. These do not matter. But for an Indian to say that the British Empire did some good or for a BJP leader to concede that there was some admirable element in the person of Jinnah militates against the spirit of patriotism.

It is this spirit of patriotism, intolerant of dissent, that is the subject of this column. Patriotism is at the root of all our troubles because the patriotic spirit forbids us from examining every issue impartially. It often militates against the truth.

The question is not whether Advani was sincere in making the statement. Why should anyone object to Advani having a change of heart? Let us face it. The opposition stems from the fact that a BJP loyalist is not expected to say anything good about Pakistan. Why should the Prime Minister be criticised for expressing his views on the British rule? Because patriotism demands that the subject of a former colony is not expected to say anything nice about a colonial power even after a lapse of more than five decades!

Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation and a book that seriously examines some of his failures cannot be expected to click with the masses because its patriotic spirit holds the Father of the Nation incapable of sinning! How patriotism blinds our eyes!!

The book, “Jinnah: a corrective reading of Indian History” shows some of the less palatable aspects of his personality. At a function held in 1915 in Bombay, Gandhi’s suggestion that the function be held in Gujarat embarrassed many participants, particularly Jinnah, who was presiding over the function. The book rightly seeks a corrective reading of history for events and personalities had given unrealistic colours to the past hiding the truth and propagating falsehood.

The power of truth overcame the citadel of patriotism in the Soviet Union when President Gorbachev willingly staked his reputation in opening the floodgates to truth. No doubt the monolith state got disintegrated but people could now breathe freely and enjoy the freedom denied to them for several decades.

Perhaps the formation of regional groupings can be interpreted as the fading away of nationalism and patriotism and the triumph of the call to regard the world as one human family. The ideal of globalisation, though now confined to markets, will slowly erode those walls of prejudices and hatred built amidst nations.

Writing as early as 1890 Tolstoy observed: “The whole path travelled both by individuals and by homogeneous groups (nations) may be represented as a consecutive flight of steps from the lowest, on the level of animal life, to the highest attained by the consciousness of man at a given moment of history”.

“Patriotism”, he wrote, “was a feeling of exclusive love for one’s own people and as a doctrine of the virtue of sacrificing one’s tranquillity, one’s property and even one’s life in defense of one’s own people from slaughter and outrage by the enemies, was the highest idea of the period when each nation considered it feasible and just for its own advantage, to subject to slaughter and outrage the people of other nations.”

With the evolution of consciousness, it is no longer fashionable to plunder and conquer. If pride and selfishness are no longer desirable qualities in an individual, today they are equally despicable in nations. Hitler was able to hoodwink a whole nation in the name of German nationalism or Aryan superiority and murdered six million Jews. A corrective reading of history has certainly occurred leading to condemnation of what was once regarded as German heroism!

Recently, there seems to be an evolution of consciousness taking place in respect of India and Pakistan. Besides the general swell of goodwill between the peoples and the civil society in Pakistan, the media in both nations have started acknowledging hard realities as against the chanting of patriotic slogans. Some progress indeed.

The Dawn’s Shahid Javed Burki in an article titled “Cost and Gain of Kashmir,” says; “Keeping the Kashmir issue alive has cost Pakistan considerably more than the social, political and economic costs paid by India.” Burki says that the use of Islamists to foment terror, though it brought tremendous benefits vis a vis India, also laid waste Pakistani society. He adds: “The infrastructure needed to produce Jihadists proved corrosive for Pakistani society. As it turned out, a heavy price was paid for the reliance on groups whose members were deeply committed to Islamic fundamentalism. Often under official patronage, these groups began to penetrate Pakistani society and also its political system.” The success of the Islamists to brainwash the common people and bring them round to thinking that terror was the right way has gained prominence at all levels of Pak society. The common folk now want a radical political dispensation at the Centre, a virtual Talibanisation of Pakistan!

With terrorists turning against Musharraf, radicalisation of society poses a threat to the very political stability of that nation. Now it is just a matter of conjecture what Indian media has to confess on the dangers of continuing with the Kashmir conflict. May be wisdom may dawn on political leadership on both sides. Then alone there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

— M.P.K. Kutty



Sec 40 post office to get accommodation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The sub-post office in Sector 40 is likely to start functioning from a new rented accommodation by month end. The post office had been shifted to General Post Office (GPO), Sector 17, after the housing board flat in which it was housed was got vacated last month by the board authorities.

Residents of Sectors 38,39, 40, 41, 42 and Badheri village had been facing problem as the entire record of the persons subscribing to various postal services had also been shifted to the GPO. The Senior Superintendent of Post Office, Chandigarh, Mr Nirmaljit Singh, said tenders had already been invited for taking a rented accommodation in Sector 40. However, the residents state that till the arrangement is worked out a temporary arrangement can be made at Sector 36.



HUDA notices to defaulting allottees
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 11
The Haryana Urban Development Authority has launched a major campaign to recover its dues from commercial, industrial and residential allottees.

Over the past three months, the Estate Office has tightened its noose around 200 defaulting allottees. Officials say that several crores of rupees are due from these defaulters as instalments, enhancement charges and extension fees. Notices are being issued to the defaulters.

The move follows the poor recovery by the Estate Office during the last financial year. Since there was only one commercial auction during the entire year, and the recovery from defaulters was poor, the Estate Office had one of the lowest recoveries among all other urban estates of Haryana. 



Man dies after having overdose of drugs
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
A Solan resident, Sanjeev Kumar (32), who was putting up in Chanan Dharamshala, Sector 15, here with his wife and son died last night. According to the police, he was taken to the PGI after allegedly having an overdose of drugs. The doctors there declared him brought dead.

Sources in the police said that Sanjeev Kumar had come to the city in search of a job along with his wife Veena and a 7-year-old-son Adil. The condition of Sanjeev, who was said to be a drug addict, started deteriorating after he allegedly consumed high dose of drugs in the dharamshala. He was rushed to a private clinic by people living next door. The doctor referred him to the PGI, where he died.

The brother of the deceased, Mr Subash Sharma, ruled out any foul play behind the death of Sanjeev. He reportedly told the police that Sanjeev was temporarily working at a mobile repair shop and had also worked at a chemist shop. Sanjeev was living alone with his wife in Solan before he came to the city in search of a job.

The police said they had started the inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in this matter. No injury mark was noticed on the body. However, a post-mortem of the body will be conducted tomorrow to ascertain the exact cause of death.

1 held for theft

The local police has arrested one person for stealing a mobile phone while in another incident two persons have been arrested for allegedly indulging in gambling.

The local police arrested Iqbal Singh, a resident of Mehrana village in Panipat district, on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Vikas Mittal, in charge of Cargo hostel, Punjab Engineering College, Sector 12, here. Mr Mittal alleged that Iqbal Singh was caught red-handed while stealing a mobile phone of Dr Harbans Singh from his room No. S-14 in the hostel on Wednesday morning. A case of theft has been registered against the accused and the police has recovered the telephone.

Arrested for gambling

The local police arrested Sham Kumar of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran and Sanjay Kumar, of Charan Singh Colony, Mauli Jagran, from Vikas Nagar for allegedly indulging in gambling at a public place on Wednesday. The police recovered some cash from them. Two separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered against them at the Mani Majra police station.

Hit-and-run case

Mr Satish Bhasker of Sector 15 here reported to the police that his car was hit by another car (PB-04-4444) in Sector 15 on Wednesday. The driver of the other car allegedly sped away after the accident. Mr Bhasker sustained injuries in the mishap and was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the driver.

In another incident, a cyclist, Ravi, of Mauli complex, Mani Majra suffered injuries after a motorcyclist allegedly hit him near Fun republic, on Wednesday. The motorcyclist sped away. A case of rash and negligent driving under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered at the Mani Majra police station.



One held for Kharar killings
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 11
A special investigation team of the state police today arrested one person for his alleged involvement in the murder of three members of a family, who were bludgeoned to death, and injuring eight others during a brutal attack by a group of at least 15 persons in Chhajjumajra village in Kharar on August 7.

The accused, Ravinder, a resident of Khooni Majra village near here along with another person Chajju was reportedly giving threaten calls to the family of the deceased for the past month. The family had also complained to the police in this regard.



Scooter stolen

Chandigarh, August 11
Mr O.P. Sharma, a former employee of The Tribune Trust and resident of Sector 22-C, in a complaint lodged with the police alleged that his scooter (CH-01-O-3572) was stolen from the backside of the General Post Office, Sector 17, on August 8. A case has been registered. — TNS


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