C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU student bodies under party pressure, struggle for promises
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Issues: old and new

* Fee varying between Rs 75,000 and Rs 1 lakh per annum in certain new courses was too high.

* Internet facilities in all hostels.

* Night bus service for girl students staying in hostels.

* Representation for students in the university Senate.

*Better quality of food in hostels.

Chandigarh, August 26
Student bodies in fray for the forthcoming elections to the Panjab University Campus Students Council are digging old election agendas for preparing a list of new promises to the voters.

With hardly a week’s time before the scheduled voting on September 3 picking up old agendas for selecting issues to increase the length of the promises, a majority of which remain unfulfilled, is going on at full pace. “In a race against time, we are trying to trace old copies of manifestoes,” said a party worker of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU). A worker of the ABVP said, “more interesting issues at hand, instead of election promises, are the party alignments before the picture for the final race emerges”.

None of the students parties has any clear vision about what they want to offer to their voters. Amandeep Singh, presidential candidate of PUSU, said “We are nearly ready with our proposals and will tell you as soon as we are through with the draft. I want to make it very brief by including only those issues on the list on which I can show results”. Harpreet Singh ‘Harry’ from the NSUI said “We are still to finalise our agenda. I cannot tell off hand the issues that will top our priority list”. Vikas Rathee from INSO said his party was still deliberating upon issues that were pertinent to PU students.

As usual, a majority of the leaders are silent on larger issues related to the national education policy, the need to update the curricula content, the need to revise courses and the ills afflicting the examination system. The leaders here are concentrating on local issues, including the high fee structure in new courses, poor quality of food in hostels, lack of drinking water facilities in certain departments, inconvenience to girl students while going to the library during the night and poor facilities in the administration block.

Dalveer Singh Khangura ‘Goldy’ presidential candidate of the Students Organisation of Panjab University(SOPU), said, “We are still to take stock of the issues for the coming election. The issue which tops our list is an exorbitantly high fee structure for the new courses. One year in the five-year law degree course costs Rs 75,000 while the same in the ongoing three-year degree course costs nearly Rs 7,000. One year in the BDS costs nearly a lakh each year. We will ensure this is not repeated in the future”.

Goldy said girls were not able to avail thenselves of library facilities at night because of darkness on the campus.”We assure the girls that the university bus services will ferry girls from their hostels to the library every night,” he said. Ravinder Sheokand of the Haryana Students Association said, “ The skyrocketing price of education on the campus is the biggest concern for us. A normal prospectus in many cases costs more than Rs 1,200 and certain courses cost more than Rs 75,000 annually. Where will the children of low and middle-level government officials and other weaker segments of society go?

Sheokand said, “the fees should be collected individually by all departments. Currently the students have to stand in long queues in the administrative block. Results should be declared within a month of the examination. They often drag on for months at a stretch. He also spoke about the need to improve the quality of food in the hostels”. 



Students show little zest for poll
Swarleen Kaur

Panjab University student bodies have started wooing voters on the campus
Panjab University student bodies have started wooing voters on the campus but students aren’t moved. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 26
Campaigning for the election to the Panjab University Students Council is yet to catch up at the university. As time is short to woo the voters, each party has its own agenda and hopes to reach out to as many students as it can in the most effective way.

Hoping to reach out to the voters personally, the candidates are moving around on foot garnering support rather than in jeeps and cars with horns blaring. With the D-day as close as September 3 and the long weekend proving a spoilsport, campaigning is slowly moving towards a climax but a distinct lack of enthusiasm is visible among students. Only small rallies and a few geris were witnessed today. The various student unions went to both boys and girls hostels on the campus to seek votes.

Security officers deployed on Panjab University campus felt that campaigning was never so peaceful here. It is for the first time that canvassing is on low key but holding the elections early this time lessened the chances of riots, wastage of time and indiscipline.

Till date, the participation of girl students in canvassing is negligible. But this evening, when members of student unions came to the hostels, the girls did not lag behind in raising slogans.

Helplines, formed by various student unions, helped them to win support of the students. These helplines were meant to help the students and answer their queries. Almost every organisation had given various mobile numbers so that those students who needed help could contact them. Simerjit Sidhu, an activist of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), said, “These helplines have helped us a lot and we are still receiving calls from various students. This was the best way to get in touch with the students”.

This afternoon when the Indian National Students Organisation (INSO) activists were putting up posters of their candidate, Vikas Rathee on trees, they were stopped by security officers on the ground of violation of code of conduct.

Short Messaging Service (SMS) has proved useful for the student bodies to woo the voters. Members of these bodies have been sending messages to their classmates and friends for their support. Interesting messages are being forwarded to secure votes.



Going may be tough in colleges
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, August 26
Winning votes and goodwill of students will not be easy for the students’ unions even in the city colleges this time. The sudden decision of the college authorities to hold elections to student councils on September 3 has left no time for canvassing and campaigning for the student unions.

What to talk of campaigning, most of the student bodies have even failed to declare their panels till date. Only a few bodies have succeeded to name the candidates who will be contesting the elections.

The Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) has declared the names of its candidates for DAV College, Sector 10, Government College, Sector 11, and the names of candidates for Government College for Girls, Sector 11, will be announced tomorrow.

From Government College, Sector 11 (GC-11), Dharminder Singh Benipal, a student of BA final year and a contender for the president’s post said, “We don’t have much time for campaigning and the holidays have added another problem. Most of the hostellers have gone home because of a long weekend. But still we are trying to make one-to-one contact with students”. Arun, a student of BA final at GC-11 is the candidate for vice-president’s post. The names of candidates for the posts of general secretary and secretary will be decided later at a meeting. At DAV College, Sector 10, Rajwinder Singh Romi, is SOPU candidate for president’s post.

President of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), Chandigarh, Nitin Goyal said, “We have declared our panel at Government College for Girls, Sector 42 only. Abhilasha will be contesting for the president’s post, Prena, a student of BA final year will be the candidate for vice-president’s post, Tarunmeet, B.Sc Biotechnology (IInd year) for general secretary and Jyoti of B.Com IInd year will contest for joint secretary posts”.

From the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) Gagandeep Singh is the candidate for the post of president from Government College, Sector 11, Amit Pal Singh for president’s post at DAV College, Sector 10, and Iqbal Singh, for president of Khalsa College Students Union at Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26.

There are still no candidates in fray from the Haryana Students Association (HSA). Ravinder Singh, president of HSA said, “We are thinking of having alliance with the leading unions in colleges but this decision will be taken by student leaders from colleges. For this a meeting will also be held”.

The Students Federation of India (SFI) has entered the election fray in the university for the first time but it will not field any candidates from the colleges. The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has not declared the names of candidates as yet. Moreover, the poll fever is yet to catch up in colleges.

Various other students unions held meetings in the evening to decide about the names of candidates and to decide upon campaigning strategies. They will be announcing their panels tomorrow.



 Dahiya ABVP candidate
Our Correspondent

Satinder Singh Dahiya Chandigarh, August 26
The general body meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Panjab University unit, was held today on the campus.
It was declared unanimously at the meeting that Mr Satinder Singh Dahiya would contest for the president’s post in the elections to the campus Students Council. 




Great rush at temples
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 26
Janmashtami, birthday of Lord Krishna was celebrated today with fervour in the city. Devotees in large numbers thronged various temples of the city and made offerings. The temples were decorated tastefully. Many devotees observed a fast on the day. Sankirtan mandalis spread spiritual fragrance by rendering devotional songs. Prasad was also distributed among the devotees.

Great rush was witnessed at Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Sector 20, Shri Sanatan Dharam Mandirs, Sectors 23 and 24, Shri Radha Krishan Mandir, Sector 40, Shri Lal Dwara Mandir, Sector 40, Shri Pracheen Shiv Mandir, Sector 40-B, Shri Sanatan Dharam Mandirs, Sectors 38, 45, 46, 21, 22, 15 and 16.

Various functions were held to mark the occasion at schools too. Competitions were organised which saw maximum participation from the students.

Mohali: Students of Genius Public School, Sector 69, celebrated Janmashtami with great enthusiasm, devotion and religious fervour.

Students dressed as Krishna and Radha performed rasleela and other scenes from the life of Krishna. A swing decked up with flowers was put up for Krishna. Students danced to the tune of “Chotey se hey mere Nand Gopal”.

Teachers spoke about the teachings of Lord Krishna. Stationery items and books were distributed to poor children on the occasion.

Brahma Kumaris in Phase VII here today decorated the local rajyoga centre “Sukhshanti Bhawan”and the spiritual art gallery tastefully with lights, banners and flags.

A special congregation was held which was attended by devotees from Ropar, Morinda, Manauli, Kambali, etc.

Students of Brahma Kumaris staged a play on an episode from Lord Krishna’s life which held the public spell-bound.

Panchkula: Janamasthmi was celebrated with fervour all over the township today. Various schools and social organisations celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna by offering prayers in temples and organising dandiya.

Most temples here were illuminated and decked up . Cradles were set up in all temples with idols of baby Krishna. Devotees made long queues and rocked the cradles at the Laxmi Narain temple, Sector 6, Pracheen Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, Sanatan Dharam Mandir in Sectors 10 and 25; the Shiv Mandir in Sector 17.

Shiv Sena activists organised a dandiya and gatka show in Sector 7. Gatka artistes enthralled everybody with their dare-devil acts. Butter-stealing god’s pranks were relived when Shiv Sena youths climbed over one another’s shoulders to break the butter pot.

Shishu Niketan Public School, Mansa Devi Complex

Celebrations were held on the school campus bringing out various aspects of Krishna’s life. The students were colourfully attired as Lord Krishna, Radha and gopis. Dandia was the main attraction of the programme.

New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15

The birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm by the junior as well as senior students of the school. In keeping with the festive mood the background of the festival was elaborated and extracts from Geeta Saar were read out.

DPS School, Pinjore

Janmashtami was celebrated with religious fervour on Friday at Delhi Public School, Pinjore. The significance of the day was highlighted through speeches by students and teachers.

A fancy dress competition was also held in which students from Class III to IV took part. The results are: first — Ishaan Diwan (3-A), Ayushi (3-B) and Amol Garg (4); second — Akshit Bassi (3-A), Sacchit Gupta (3-B) and Mridul (4); and third — Sambhibhav Shikhar (3-A), Shubham Pushkarna (3-B) and S. Siddharth.

The Principal, Mr Samson Masih, congratulated the gathering on the auspicious occasion.



Planning panel directs Health Ministry to restructure CGHS
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Mired in irregularities and controversies, the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) is all set for a makeover with the Planning Commission directing the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to restructure and reform the scheme. It would benefit over 40 lakh Central Government employees across the country.

The recommendations have been made after the mid-term appraisal of the 10th Five-Year plan (2002-2007) by the Planning Commission.

The ministry has been asked to systematise insurance at secondary health-care levels by reforming the CGHS. Attention has also been drawn towards several reports of low satisfaction level, poor emergency services, substandard medicine and non-availability of medicines at 250 CGHS clinics across the country. Recently, complaints of expired medicines being given to patients have been reported from the CGHS dispensary at Sector 45 in Chandigarh.

The aim of reforming the scheme was to allow the government employees to shift to a system of health insurance, through which they could access the CHGS clinic or any other clinical health-care provider of their choice. The direct budgetary support to the CGHS would be phased out to the health insurance system, said a senior office in the Ministry of Finance.

The ministry has been asked to develop the new system by 2007, so that greater operational autonomy could be given to the health scheme and convert it into an appropriate organisational form.

Initially, the employees could be given the option of subscribing to a new system developed within the CGHS or convert it to a public sector provider of clinical health care for the general public, on payment of services , in competition with other providers, private and public, at the secondary level of health care.

Sources in the ministry said several shortcomings had been noticed in the scheme benefiting around 44 lakh government employees. Initially, the costs were sought to be controlled by limiting the number and locations of clinics and entitlements to treatment. The employees living in semi-urban areas were hardly getting any benefit of the scheme. The government expenditure on the CGHS has risen to over Rs 500 crore per annum.



Passing Thru

Alan Greig
Mr Alan Greig, Heritage Director of Chivas Brothers

What is the purpose of your visit to India?

I am here for the brand promotion of Seagram’s 100 Pipers, one of the fastest growing blended Scotch whisky worldwide. It’s my job to travel and share the story of Chivas Brothers and its famous Scotch whiskies. I started from Ludhiana and will travel to a few more places before going back to Scotland.

What potential do you see for your brand in the North India market?

The North India market, particularly Punjab, has a lot of potential for premium whiskeys. The sale figures of Punjab and Haryana indicate people’s preference for quality liquor and their ability to pay more for it.

Are you planning to launch any new brands in the India market?

We will be launching two expressions of Glenlivet single malt in the Indian market next week. It’s a super-premium whiskey and will be priced anything above Rs 2,500.

How do you find Chandigarh?

It’s a neat, well-planned city. The greenery and open spaces make it more fascinating indeed. I am planning to drive through the place before I leave to get a feel of the place.

— Poonam Batth



Service lanes in bad shape
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Municipal Council (MC) have locked horns over who is to maintain the service lanes near all sector dividing roads in the township. As a result, all service lanes are in bad shape.

Even as residents fret and fume over the potholed service lanes, both the organisations are busy in shifting responsibility to the other. HUDA officials say that other than the road from Majri chowk to the Sector 7 and 18 roundabout, and from there to the Zirakpur Kalka highway, all other roads have been transferred to the MC for repair and maintenance.

MC officials, however, concede that the maintenance of (internal roads in the sectors is with them, while repair of all external roads rests with HUDA. The HUDA authorities say that last year they did all maintenance work of external roads, on behalf of the MC, and funds for this repair work were deleted from the extension fee that HUDA collects on behalf of MC.

This year too a proposal to recrapet all external roads and sent an estimate of Rs. 3. 47 crore for the purpose were sent to the MC. “However, the MC turned it down, saying that they would repair all roads themselves,” said a senior HUDA official.

So even as this standoff between HUDA and the MC continues, it is the residents who are suffering. Mr B K Sood, a resident of Sector 12- A, whose house is on the service lane dividing Sector 12- A, says that for the past five years no repair work has been done on the road opposite his house. “All internal roads in the sector were relaid. But the service road was left out. We pay all taxes, so why this discrimination against us,” he rues. 



Open manholes: no one is just bothered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Chandigarh residents continue to risk their lives at the open manholes and dug-up ditches at numerous points in the city. The Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation continue to play the ‘blame game’ and shift responsibility on the other. But the fact of the matter is that there could be many more constable Jaswinder Kaur kind of tragedies that can shatter families.

The picture of this open manhole was taken on the dividing road between Sectors 24 and 25 by the Tribune lensman this morning. Hundreds of students and commuters from Mohali, west of Sector 38, Dhanas, Sector 39, etc commute on this road daily to get to Panjab University, PGI and other places of work. In fact anyone could fall into this manhole large enough for any able-bodied person.

There are hundreds of manholes all over the city where many accidents have taken place over a period of time but insensitivity on the part of those responsible to cover these alone can explain their presence. 



Aeronautical society to hold space centre contest in city
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) will be organising the second Asian Region Space Settlement Design Centre Competition in Chandigarh shortly. This competition is meant for senior secondary students and the winning team will be going to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centre in Florida for participating in the finals.

This is the first time that such an event is being organised in Chandigarh. Besides, NASA, aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing and the US Embassy in Delhi will be associated with the competition.

The Vice-Chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of AeSI, Wg Cdr D P Sabharwal (retd), said a detailed proposal from NASA was expected within a few days and a website which would contain details of the competition would be launched on September 3.

Participating teams are required to prepare designs for cities in space where over 10,000 persons can live. The competition is an exercise in creativity, technical competence, management skills, environmental knowledge, planning of resources in space and teamwork.

It is envisioned that space colonies will be a reality in about 20-25 years’ time and it is the present generation of students who will be designing such colonies. Hence, the competition is targeted at students to tap talent as well as motivate them.

Last year, the competition for the Asia region was held in Delhi and it was the first time that such an event was held anywhere outside the USA. The society had sent proposals to about a 1,000 schools in 42 countries and 100 schools had responded. The winner of the final round held at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was the team from Budha Dal School, Patiala.

The schools will be given about six weeks to send in their proposals to the society, which will be evaluated in November. Thereafter the shortlisted teams, each comprising 14 members, will be called to Chandigarh and given a design to work upon. Their written report will be evaluated by technical experts, including those from the United States. They will also be required to give an oral presentation and answer certain questions.



Misery begins for shoeshiners
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Miseries have just begun for the motley bunch of cobblers and shoeshine boys, who were asked to leave the Sector 17 ‘corridor’ by a Municipal Corporation order.
Raju lives in Sector 25 and has six children to feed. “I have been working in Sector 17 for the past 20 years. Why have we been asked to leave ? he asks bewildered.

According to Mr H S Kandhola, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, all hawkers were removed prior to the UT Administrator, Gen (Retd.) S F Rodrigues’s visit to the Sector 17 market in June this year.

Babu, who has been working in the corridor’s for the past 35 years, says that the police has taken any shoeshine wares three times.

Even the fine of Rs 200 for these people is too much. “On a good day we earn up to Rs 80 but on some days we do not make a paisa,” says 35-year-old Kishore who has been working as a cobbler for 16 years.

Even after paying up the fine, their bags, brushes and polish and other items are not returned to them.

Om Prakash, who has lost his ‘instruments of trade’ three times, says, the police snatches away our bags sometimes we even get beaten up.”

Cops found Rakesh polishing a customer’s shoes. He was taken to a police station in the afternoon and released only at 7:30 p.m. 



Clicking for a cause: documenting impact of female foeticide
Nirupama Dutt
Tribune News Service

Ruhani Kaur
Ruhani Kaur

Chandigarh, August 26
Ruhani Kaur is a young Delhi-based freelance photo-journalist. The name of the project that she is working on in the villages and towns of Punjab and Haryana is a telling one. The photography project that she has been commissioned to do by the National Foundation of India, New Delhi, is called ‘The Invisible Woman of India.’

Elaborating on the media project given to her for the year 2004-2005, Ruhani says, “ My project is all about documenting the situation created by the scarcity of women as a result of infanticide and foeticide in the northern states of India. It is a complex project because everything is being documented in photographs and the outcome of the project will be mounting an exhibition.”

Ruhani, who has spent several months photographing the impact in Haryana villages around Rohtak, is now in Chandigarh. “ I will camp for a few days in Chandigarh and then move onto Punjab and I am particularly interested in documenting the impact at Fatehgarh Sahib, which has the lowest sex ration in Punjab, and the Mansa-Bathinda area where there is a lot of trafficking of women as there are not enough women available for marriage.”

The photographer says that the impact of the elimination of the female foetus after sex determination tests is most visible in rural areas. A socially committed lens-woman, Ruhani says, “Technology which is used for luxury in the West means death for us. The sex-determination technology in the West is used to ensure better health for the baby or design a nursery in pink or blue. But here it means the elimination of the female child.”

Among the visible impacts of this malaise that came to India in the late ‘80s is trafficking for marriage. “In the Rohtak villages, girls are being bought from Tripura, Bengal and Orissa to function as wives and produce male children. Women have been reduced to fertility machines and I came across a 70-year-old man with several daughters and grandchildren who has bought himself a young Bengali bride to sire a male child,” says Ruhani.

She adds that this phenomenon is going to lead to the disintegration of the family as who is going to be responsible for these women. She also says that since the tests are difficult in some places due to stringent laws quacks and babas are having a field day. “Women are being given the sap of peacock feathers and something called son-bhasam which is resulting in babies being born with deformities,” she says.

Ruhani belongs to a family of Taran Taran but since her father was in the Army she has travelled all over. Honing her skills as an advertising photographer she moved onto magazines like ‘First City’ and ‘Down to Earth’. Now she chooses to click for a cause — be it hapless children, social activists or environment.



Geri route unsafe
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Geri route — running through the city’s history — continues to be unsafe.
Though the Chandigarh police had announced a series of measures — including intensification of patrolling on the road cutting through Sector 10 and 11 — the “efforts” have proved futile, apparently.

Nothing else can explain the death of a 19-year-old college student late Thursday evening. The victim, Sanjog of Sector 10 DAV College, was riding his friend’s bike when it skidded near the roundabout adjoining the Sector 11 market, resulting in severe head injuries. He was rushed to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), but was declared dead on arrival.

Senior officers refuse to comment on the matter but sources in the Chandigarh police headquarters admit that the accident was not an isolated one. Though the exact data is not readily available with the police, the sources say on an average an accident takes place on the geri route every day.

All accidents are, however, not reported to the police due to legal complications involved in the process. Otherwise also, most of the cases involving students end in compromise, the sources assert.

Quoting rough figures, the sources say that as many as 186 accidents were reported to the Chandigarh police from January till April this year. Out of the total, a substantial number of accidents occurred on the geri route.

Referring to the Thursday evening’s tragic accident, the sources assert that the same could have definitely been averted had the traffic cops been a bit more vigilant. Giving details, the sources assert that the victim should have been caught by the police for riding a mobike without wearing a helmet much before the mishap took place.

In any case, the cops were not there to check over-speeding and other violations, the sources say, adding that it apparently takes more than a mishap to wake them up from slumber.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the Chandigarh Parents’ Association has decided to issue a legal notice to the authorities concerned, including the Inspector-General of the Chandigarh police, asking them to ensure the performance of statutory duties by all.

Blaming the authorities for not doing much to save precious lives, association chairman Bhim Sen Sehgal says that the police has simply failed to implement the directions issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the traffic regulation and pollution control case for making the roads a safer place to travel. Quoting an example, Mr Sehgal says though directions were issued against the use of pressure horns, the police has hardly done anything in this regard.

Mr Sehgal adds that the violators include the wards of VIPs, including senior officers of the Chandigarh and the Punjab police.”This largely explains the inaction on part of the traffic police,” he concludes. 



Traffic disrupted at Kalka for 12 hours
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
Traffic on National Highway-22 (Panchkula-Shimla) remained disrupted for around 12 hours today after two trucks carrying apples overturned on the highway at Kalka.
Traffic moved at a snail’s pace till the highway was cleared. A large number of weekend revellers going to uphill destinations for the long weekend had a harrowing time, as it took them over two hours to cross the four-kilometer-long stretch near the accident spot.

According to the police a truck carrying apples overtutned near the Kali Mata Temple at around 3 am today. It was only at around 10.30 am. that another truck reached the spot in order to offload the apples and remove the truck. The apple crates were re-loaded on the second truck (HR-37-2332), which too, overturned after moving just a few metres away.

Later, a crane was called in to remove the trucks, but since the second truck was packed with apple crates, it could not be removed. A third truck was then called in, and apple crates were loaded on it. The trucks were then removed, and movement of traffic on the highway was restored by 4 pm.



Philatelist with British Era ‘Black Penny’
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Capt Gulab Israni
Capt Gulab Israni

Chandigarh, August 26
It is those little bits of paper that fascinate him and he has spent a lifetime collecting them. For Capt Gulab Israni is a philatelist with a passion spanning 55 years. Passing through on his way to Leh, for he wants to see the stark beauty of the frontier regions of the country, Capt Israni is very keen to meet with other stamp collectors in the city and interact with them. Settled in Goa (for he served there with the Indian Navy for more than 10 years) Capt Israni is now carrying his enthusiasm for stamps wherever he travels.

The proud owner of a ‘Black Penny’ — the first stamp ever issued by Britain in the early 1840s — it is not the only one which occupies pride of place in his musings, his very special Indian stamps are dear to him too. “As I was growing up, I realised that it was not possible to collect stamps from all over the world. It made sense to collect those not being issued anymore. So I chose the British reign in India with a strong accent on Indian issues prior to 1947, particularly the erstwhile Indian states.”

Capt Israni insists there is something “romantic” about stamps from these states. ‘They are pretty, particularly those from Jaipur and are also of good quality. There were several printing errors made during this time and these stamps are now collectors’ items for they are considered freaks,” laughs this gentleman.

He has several interesting anecdotes in his kitty like the stamps he has from the state of Sirohi in Gujarat. “A tremendous flood there washed away the government printing presses and with them the stamps in circulation then disappeared. The stamps were simply lost so now those stamps are extremely valuable.”

How does he add to his collection? Capt Israni smiles, “Well, one exchanges with friends or buys. Buying can pose a problem because even forgeries are so cleverly done now that one cannot make the difference out. However, all stamps have water marks on them and that is one way of determining the authenticity of stamps.”

Capt Israni inherited his father’s collection at the age of eight and since then there had been no looking back. He spends 10 quality, concentrated hours each week on his hobby and this according to him is equivalent to “meditation.”

He is rueful about the fact that the hobby is a declining one. He believes stamp collections will make a comeback once youngsters “get tired of vast moving pictures on the television screen and decide to stop only clicking the mouse!”

The virtues of philately are immense, insists Capt Israni. “For one, the powers of observation get honed in. It teaches patience in a subtle way and what’s more children can learn geography and history of the world instead of overlooking them for IT.”

For this man who was on India’s first aircraft carrier, Vikrant, way back in 1960, this “passive yet intense” hobby is more than an indulgent fad. 



Emotionally still bonded to Pak
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 26
Even after 58 years of painful adieu to his birthplace, Narah, in Pakistan, the tormented heart of Manmohan Sethi still beats for his native place. His emotional bonding with his birthplace is discernible as the 77-year old Sethi always introduces himself ‘Manmohan Sethi — Pedaishi Pakistan and Rehaishi Hindustan’.

During all these years Manmohan has been spreading the message of peace and communal harmony through his musical offerings like ‘Tadap’ and ‘Pyar ka safar’ and other literary creations, including ‘Safarnama’ ‘Himalaya Weeps’ on Kashmir imbroglio and ‘Mission Pakistan’ with the sole objective of the Indo — Pak amity.

Dr A.R. Kidwai, the Governor of Haryana complimented Sethi for his endeavour. The Delhi-based philanthropist was in city after his visit to Pakistan.

People of Pakistan are for cordial relationship with Indians. Those, forced to migrate still bemoan the loss.

Studying at Gordon College and dreaming to be doctor, it were political considerations which made me sell mangoes at Lucknow to eke out my living. With the help of my hosts Zaved Mallik Syeeda Begum and their family at Islamabad, I was able to visit my birthplace. His songs from ‘Tadap’ and ‘Pyar ka Safar’ are played at the Attari railway station. He says: “Ham watan na sahi, tehzeebein to ek hain, Yun hi saath chalte rahein, manzilein to ek hain.”



Scheme for slum women, kids mooted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
With a view to empowering women and children of the city’s slums and rural areas of the city, an innovative programme for making the women economically self-reliant and equipping disadvantaged children with quality academic education and vocational skills has been drawn up by the Chandigarh Administration.

An NGO, the Navjivan Trust, which is engaged in addressing the problems of slum dwellers and rural people, has been associated with the programme.

A high-level meeting chaired by Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, was attended by the Home Secretary and other senior officers of the Education, Social Welfare and Rural Development Departments, besides representatives from the Navjivan Trust.

General Rodrigues said needy women would be imparted vocational training in the local Government Craft Institute in different trades to equip them with various skills and to enable them to undertake self-employment ventures in handicrafts and other productive fields.

He said the staff of the craft institute would be compensated for their efforts. He said the women so trained would be provided raw materials to set up their income-generating units, given designs and paid for their work. A network would be created for marketing their products and bank loans arranged where necessary.

Disadvantaged children will be housed centrally and admitted in various government model and privately managed schools for imparting them education free of cost. Some heads of private educational institutions have already agreed to support this programme and have reserved seats for these underprivileged children in their schools.



Makhan Singh’s kidnapper Punjabi
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 26
While the police has failed to rescue Makhan Singh of Kumbra village here from his kidnappers in South Africa, it has been alleged that the victim is in the custody of a Punjabi youth hailing from Kakrala village, near Samana Patran.

It is reported that a phone call was received here from Gunwinder Bhattal, alias Rimi, alias Rocky, a youth hailing from Bathinda, at present staying in South Africa, to a family friend of Makhan Singh. Claiming that he was not involved in the kidnapping, the caller alleged that Makhan Singh was in the custody of Jassi, a Punjabi youth belonging to Kakrala village.

Gunwinder Bhattal had also talked on the phone to Mr Balwinder Singh, a man from Badal village, who came here to meet a top Punjab police officer in Chandigarh today to provide assistance with information on how he suffered a similar fate in that country and managed to escape from his kidnappers. At the time when he was kidnapped in South Africa Gunwinder Bhattal was also allegedly a member of the gang which had kidnapped him, said Mr Balwinder Singh.

Mr Balwinder Singh suspected that the same gang who had kidnapped him last year was involved in the case of Makhan Singh.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, brother of Makhan Singh, said the family had received no information about his brother from the Durban police in South Africa. He said that he had received a phone call from the South African Embassy in New Delhi which stated that his visa had been cleared, but reportedly wanted an assurance from the authorities concerned about his safety in South Africa. He wished that his brother would be rescued by the police in South Africa at the earliest so that he did not have to go to that country.

Mr Bhupinder Sharma, a friend of Makhan Singh, said that the latter’s family had not received any phone call from the kidnappers for ransom since Tuesday. The kidnappers had initially demanded Rs 15 lakh as ransom but later reduced the amount to Rs 7.5 lakh.



SBOP celebrates ‘Vanmahotsav’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
State Bank of Patiala, ADB Patiala, celebrated Vanmahotsav at Government School, Shekhupur, on Wednesday. Mr J.S. Brar ADC Development, Patiala, was the chief guest and Mr K.S. Sandhu, Assistant General Manager, presided over the function.

Mr Brar and Mr Sandhu planted saplings and also spoke on the importance of tree plantation.

Mr S.C. Sharma, Branch Manager, Mr J.K. Jain (LDM), Mr Jagmail Singh, Vice-Principal of the school and Mr Tehal Singh, Sarpanch, also planted saplings.

Girls of the school also participated in the programme.



Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
Former senior IAS officer of Punjab, Mr Navjeevan Khosla has clarified that the liquor haul from a house in Sector 6 here a couple of days ago, did not belong to him. He said the house was owned by his widow niece, who rented out the house to the Dehra Doon-based business man. However, the tenant had not paid her rent for several months and was not even responding to the notices served on him.



UP labourer in need of help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Aged parents of Charan Singh, a 23-year-old migrant labourer who is dying a slow death at the PGI here, are running from pillar to post to get justice and bring to book the culprits behind the condition of their son.

A critically injured Charan Singh was admitted to the hospital after he was allegedly attacked by his employer and his men on March 27. Hailing from Bulandshahar in Uttar Pradesh, the victim had sustained injuries at his spine, ankles and knees. Due to the injury, he is bed-ridden at a serai in the PGI.

They lament that their son was not getting proper treatment at the PGI after he sent to the serai.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ms Leela Wati said that after failing to get any response from the Director General of Haryana Police regarding the complaint made against his son’s employer for attempting to murder her 23-year-old son Charan Singh, she was now writing to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The complainant had said that she along with her family and son had been working at Aman Bhatta, a brick kiln, being run in Kakkar Majra village near Barwala for the past over three months. The police personnel at Mauli Chowki were instead helping the men of the brick kiln owner and no action had been taken so far.

Ms Leela Wati alleged that Kallu, a labourer-contractor, and his two men while riding a motor cycle rammed it 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 said she was on the mercy of some kind donors who volunteer money to her for purchasing medicines.

“We are not in a position of buy medicines prescribed by the doctors. When someone donates us money, the medicines are purchased otherwise we skip them,” lamented Ms Leela Wati.

The victim has demanded registration of an FIR against the labourer, contractor and brick kiln owner and other suspects in the case.



Teenager held on rape charge
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
The police has arrested a 19-year-old youth, Satish Kumar, on charges of abducting a 13-year-old daughter of his neighbour from Rajiv Colony. He was arrested from the bus stand today and remanded to judicial custody. He is has also been accused of raping the minor girl. According to the police he had eloped with the girl last week.

Two juveniles arrested: Two boys, aged 16 and 13 years have been arrested by the police on the charges of stealing and killing the dog of their employer. The two were employed as domestic helps in the house of Mr R.K. Mahajan. They allegedly killed his dog, and committed a theft, They were caught by the house owner when they were trying to flee. They have been remanded to juvenile home.

Theft: Cash worth Rs 6,000 and a mobile phone were stolen from the car of resident of Sector 16, Ms Poonam Khurana, she had gone to a temple in Sector 6 to offer prayers when the incident occurred. According to the police some miscreants broke the window glass of her car and took away her purse and mobile phone.



8 arrested

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chandigarh police arrested eight persons for gambling in public places from Sector 26 and behind Bapu Dham Colony on Thursday. Five separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered in this regard. OC



Police raids to arrest murderer

Mohali, August 26
The police has conducted raids at various places in search of a person who had allegedly murdered a resident of Seneta village. The body of Koora Ram was found lying in a pool of blood by his grandson early morning on Thursday. The police had picked up members of the family of Swaran Singh for questioning. The police had suspected that the crime had been committed by Swaran Singh, a resident of Sukhgarh village, against whom a case over a power connection was going on in a Kharar court. — OC



Minors held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 26
The local police arrested two minor boys for allegedly stealing iron articles from a plot in Phase I, Industrial Area, on Thursday. Mr Sanjiv Gupta had lodged a complaint to the police in this regard. The police recovered stolen property from their possession. A case under Sections 457, 380 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in this regard. The accused were later sent to the juvenile home. 


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