C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City readies for water amusement park
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Residents of City Beautiful will soon enjoy a water amusement park. The Chandigarh Administration has tentatively earmarked 30 acres in Maloya village in the master plan for the project.

The authorities are working out the land value which will form the basis for drafting the expression of interest with public and private participation on a build, operate transfer (BOT) basis. Letters of interest on the project will be sought from companies in the near future, sources in the administration said.

The time for the completion of project has been earmarked between 15 months and 24 months.

The project had featured in the 10th Five-Year Plan (2002-2007). A sum of Rs 1 lakh had been earmarked for the setting up of an amusement park and water fun park. The agenda read: “It has been decided to enhance the amusement and entertainment facilities for every age group of tourists, both domestic and international.

This will not only attract more tourist traffic to the region but also enhance the duration of stay of tourists to the city. To achieve the goal, it has been decided to set up an amusement park and a water park in the city.”

The proposal for the theme-based water park has been approved by the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator. The administration has also contacted reputed firms in the amusement park business, seeking information about land requirements, rough estimates and anticipated time frame for the completion of the project.

These include Action Park (Spain), Proslide (Canada), Infinite Fun (India), Aquatic Amusement Associates (USA) and Heinrick Mack GMBH and Company (Germany).

Mack Rides (Germany) has responded to the communication through its Indian representatives. The company has offered services for the theme park master plan, ride selection, concept, design and storyline development, theme architecture, cartoon mascot, construction methodology and art direction.

The proposal reads that “if the water park is to be clubbed with an amusement park, the area required would be around 20 acres, the cost of theming being around Rs 12 crore. The cost will vary, depending on the choice and number of rides, slides and waterfalls.”



Auction makes HUDA richer by over 140 cr
S.D. Sharma

Panchkula, October 10
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) earned a record sum of Rs 14,082.60 lakh against the reserve price of Rs 5,192.05 lakh for the auction of 34 commercial sites in various sectors during a largely attended auction today.

The auction, on an overage, registered a threefold rise against the reserve price, with the two hotel sites (2 and 3) in Sector 10 witnessing a sevenfold increase, fetching Rs 2,480 lakh and Rs 2,390 lakh, respectively, against the reserve price of Rs 335 lakh. Another site in Sector 3 for a three-star or five-star hotel fetched Rs 3,992 lakh against the basic price of Rs 1,705 lakh.

Similar trends were witnessed for booth sites in Sector 2 where two booths (59 and 72) were sold for Rs 24.50 lakh and Rs 25.70 lakh, respectively, against the reserve price of Rs 8.50 lakh. A booth in Sector 8 (site 74) had gone for Rs 45 lakh, (sites 15 and 16) for Rs 61 lakh each while in Sector 10 two booths (123 and 124) had been sold for Rs 52 lakh each.

The auction of two booths in Sector 11 (sites 39 and 40) enriched HUDA by Rs 36.56 lakh and Rs 36 lakh, respectively. However, two built-up booths (5 and 6) with basement in Sector 14 were sold for Rs 40 lakh and Rs 38.50 lakh.

Two DS shop sites (315,316) with basement in Sector 20 went for Rs 217 lakh and Rs 220 lakh against the reserve price of Rs 94 lakh.

The bidders restrained their offers to nearly double the reserve price in the case of various-shop-cum office sites. Two SCO sites (39,40) in Sector 3 were sold for Rs 200 lakh and Rs 195 lakh each against the government price of Rs 80.80 lakh. Similarly four SCO sites (259, 262, 263, 264) in Sector 14 fell for Rs 441 lakh, Rs 432 lakh, Rs 442 lakh and Rs 440 lakh each against Rs 275 lakh each. The offers got encouragement for SCO site 95 fetching Rs 236 lakh and SCO sites (134,135) in Sector 25 for Rs 245 lakh and Rs 261 lakh, all against Rs 88 lakh, registering a manifold rise. The SCO sites (134 and 135) in Sector 5 of Mansa Devi Complex too got appreciated to the extent of Rs 255 lakh, Rs 258 lakh for basic price of Rs 147.70 each while site numbers 86 and 87 had gone for Rs 326 lakh and Rs 325 lakh for a fixed price of Rs 211.40 lakh.

HUDA Administrator Neelam P. Kasni, who supervised the auction proceedings, disclosed that after Karnal, the auction for sites in Panchkula had got a response.



Beware! Snatchers are on prowl
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, October 10
Look before you step on the road carrying mobile phones and handbags. Chances are that a snatcher, stalking you for quite some time, are looking for an opportunity to target you.

Last week, at least seven residents were not careful enough. They landed up in police stations with complaints losing their valuables to the snatchers.

The story is similar in all cases. Talking on the phone while strolling down the road or travelling in a rickshaw, they do not even realise that someone is right behind them, waiting for the right moment to strike.

In almost all cases, the snatchers — two on a bike — zip away with the valuables even before the victims can jot down the vehicle number for informing the police.

Sources in the police headquarters say that the snatchers target mostly women and pedestrians either late in the evenings, or early in the morning. They usually operate near religious places, vegetable markets or on dark lanes leading to residential areas. Such cases normally register a spurt during the festival season as more and more women go out wearing heavy jewellery. Sometimes, the snatchers even manage to escape on cycles after striking their targets.

Last week, two unidentified two-wheeler riders snatched a bag from two employees of a money transferring company a bag containing Rs 1 lakh. The affected persons were riding on their motor cycle after withdrawing cash from a bank in Sector 9. The police has yet to trace the accused.

In another incident that took place last week in Sector 21, two unidentified cyclists snatched a gold chain from a 71-year-old woman early in the morning. The woman was taking a morning walk. The police arrested five persons, including two minor boys, involved in snatching incidents last week. They were arrested with the active participation of the public who caught the accused red-handed. In two cases, the women raised the alarm and with the help of passers-by the accused were nabbed, said the police sources.

The anti-snatching pickets set up by the police have registered little success. Residents are of the view that the cops on duty are more interested in challaning people than keeping an eye on those who indulge in snatching.



Nayagaon rape case: HC’s no to CBI probe
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 10
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today disallowed the plea of the Punjab Government for handing over investigation of the Nayagaon minor's rape case to the CBI.

Disposing of the application of the government in this regard, the Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mrs Justice Kiran Anand Lall held that acceding to the government request would be tantamount to review of its May 31, 2005 order and hence would be "inappropriate".

The order means that SIT will continue to investigate the case.

Noting that Punjab has eight DGPs, 10 ADGPs and 19 IGPs "who are expected to be competent, independent, dedicated and professional in their approach as the CBI", the Bench said that there was reason why the investigation should be handed over to the CBI "at this late stage".

This, the Bench said, was more important because "if the assertions made at the bar and expressed in the application are taken as correct, the CBI is virtually going to be required to re-appraise the investigation, prepare a final report (chargesheet or closure) within a period of 10 days.

"Would such an expectation be fair to the transferee investigation agency? Our answer is `no' because if required to work within this time frame we are likely to bring into disrepute the agency to which not only the state of Punjab but other states of the Union of India and the Government of India turn to, on account of the professional thoroughness and dedication that it is expected to apply in investigation entrusted to it. In this scenario, we cannot record our assent to the decision of the state," it held.

Recalling the facts of the case, the Bench observed that the case brought into focus "an effort of the state to do balancing act with a view to pleasing everyone concerned by trying to reconcile irreconcilable interests, that is, the interest of the minor who had to undergo the traumatic experience of violation of her person when she was only 12 and that of allegedly powerful lobby which has been able to stall the investigation for more than two years.

It also observed that so far 24 arrests had been made by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) constituted on High Court orders.

The Bench also said that it had no doubt that SIT, while completing the investigation, would bear in mind the caution administered to the investigating agencies by Lord Denning in a case. The caution relates to the impartial role of the police and how it should not bow before the political master.



Passing Thru

Abdul Majid
Abdul Majid, coach and manager, Pakistan Wrestling Federation

For how long are you associated with wrestling?

I have been in this sport since ’80s. I won the Pakistan Amateur Championship eight times and won one silver and two bronze in the Challenger Cup, UK, besides winning silver in the Commonwealth Games in 1993.

Is this your first visit to City Beautiful?

Yes. Earlier, I visited India in 1999 to participate in the Indo-Pak wrestling competition held at Anandpur Sahib.

What is the status of wrestling in Pakistan?

Actually, we don’t have sports culture in Pakistan. It’s only cricket that overshadows other sports. People seldom encourage their children to adopt this sport as their professional career. The reason for this is that it involves a lot of money and time to make a good wrestler.

What steps can be taken to promote this sport?

The children, who have inclination towards the sport, should sent for training at the age of six. The events should be organised at the high school level which we call “fox style” wrestling and then comes “freestyle” in the college level and then “Greco Roman” style. My only wish is that sumo fights, judo and kabaddi should get due recognition and should be included in the Olympics.

— G. S. Paul



Chandigarh Calling

Sweet fruit of hard labour: Thakur Harbhajan Singh brokers no rough handling of his vegetables. "Please put the cauliflowers straight up when you finishing choosing the one you wish to buy," he reprimands gently. He has been selling vegetables from his little outlet in Sector 8 since 1960 now and 45 years later, at the venerable age of 73, he is planning to put his weighing scales down and close the shop in March next year. His two children are all grown up and settled in their own little worlds. His daughter is a teacher and councillor at a military school in Dagshai and his son, a Major in the Infantry, is posted in South Africa. It was his shop that has kept the family going all these years and his mantra for living is simple. "If a man has self-control then whatever he gets is enough." His children's successes are proof of a life well spent.

Designer Rocky: Designer Rocky S is a big star in his own right and moods, a part of his creative repertoire so starry skirmishes he will not tolerate! "I throw more tantrums than the stars when they are late because I am a much bigger star," he grins. It is designing for films that pose a greater challenge for mainstream fashion because, "One has to keep in the mind the setting of the film, that the fact it will release a year later, the actor's personality, the look for the film and a host of other considerations." Lycra is his choice of fabric, "for it blends and is flexible and does wonders for me," and he forecasts bright colours for the winters, "turquoise, orange, pink." And if not a designer then what? "A dreamer" comes the prompt reply!

Wild dreams: To sensitise the students on the importance of nature, Prakriti, the environment society of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, celebrated the wildlife week from October 3 to 7. "Saving the wild" was the theme of the week. Among other activities, various display boards, having news clippings on nature, were prepared. The aspects covered in the clippings included the association of wildlife with art and religion; threats to wildlife; survey reports, government policies and strategies towards saving the wildlife from poaching; role of NGOs, tribal communities, villagers in and around the wildlife reserves and amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act. The display boards carried maximum clippings of The Tribune.

Music fest: A welcome reminder of the fact that Chandigarh is not just a city of buildings and roads is round the corner. The much awaited Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan, to be presented by Indian National Theatre, is all set to regale the audiences from October 21 to 23. As is the tradition of the festival, country's best practitioners of the vocal art will be in town to infuse some spirituality and aesthetics into its ambience. This year's festival, being jointly organised with the Chitkara Foundation, will feature a celebrated list of presenters. These will include Rajan and Sajan Misra, Kalapini Komkali the daughter and legatee of none other than the all-time great Pt Kumar Gandharva and Alaka Deo Marulkar whose father Pt Rajabhau Deo was a stalwart of the Gwalior gharana in his times. The venue will be Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Sector 27, Chandigarh and admission will be free.

Sheer poetry: Currently in semi-retirement from teaching writing courses at Grossmont College in San Diego, California, Indo-American poet and writer Kamla K. Kapur, in the city for the release of her latest poems, has been busy building a home in the Kullu Valley. What makes her tick along with writing is Yoga, hiking and cooking, "when she fancies it." Music-Indian classical, fusion, jazz-are her passion as is her writing, "I like to cut myself off when I write, to face a blank wall. But now, in our home, I face the river flowing in front of the house. A river is the universe's music, not something created by man and it is going to sing for me long after I am gone." The sheer poetry is not lost!

Mobile Dashrath

Photo by Manoj MahajanAs the festive season is picking up momentum, we thought of Ramlila-hopping from venue to venue. We met very interesting actors and stage hands. In Sector 17, for instance, we saw Ravan rehearsing his lines in his thundering voice, Parshuram having his wig adjusted, while in the far corner was Sita and her sakhis were being given final touches of grease paint. In walked another artiste who said he was playing Dashrath. He was very serious about his role. Since there was yet time for his entry, he began talking about the rehearsals and the various roles. Other artistes joined him, and we soon began to feel we had travelled back in time. As the enigmatic Dashrath was illuminating on the finer points of Ramlila, we heard a ring tone. Dashrath took out the mobile from his pocket and said hello! 

—Contributed by Aditi Tandon, Gayatri Rajwade, Kuldip Dhiman and Vishal Gulati



Aid reaching Uri not enough 
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Despite the best efforts of the Army and civil administration, the situation in the Uri sector in Kashmir continues to be grim after the earthquake that devastated the area on Saturday. Several well meaning people are touring the area and providing people with medicines and warm clothing based on their individual resources and the relief material collected by them from donors on a humanitarian ground.

Indication to this affect was received here through a communication sent by Mr Firdous Syed, a former militant and currently the president of the Kashmir Foundation of Peace and Developmental Studies based in Srinagar

In a communication to Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director, Centre for Research and Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Mr Syed has said that his team visited the earthquake devastated areas in Uri. In particular they visited Sultanbhiti village situated about 15 km from the Uri town. Around 100 to 125 persons have died in the village, with a population of about 3000. Hundreds of people here are critically injured and need immediate help.

According to Mr Syed, all residential structures in this village have been razed to ground. The people, who have somehow survived the earthquake, are out on the streets, with no access to basic amenities.

“We managed to provide some medicines and other medical relief to the affected population, but our resources were too meagre to meet the requirements”, he has disclosed.

He has disclosed that the entire population of the village is in dire need of medical aid, blankets and woollen garments immediately. Mr Syed has appealed to CRRID and other agencies to organise relief material- first aid, medicines, blankets and warm clothing for these hapless masses.

The medical and first aid that is needed for the earthquake affected people includes antibiotics and analgesics.

Those who wish to contribute to the cause may contact CRRID, located on Madhya Marg in Sector 19.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Welfare Association, Srinagar, has appreciated the gesture of Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, offering to provide transport to teachers, on deputation and other assignments here to take them back to their families in Kashmir-hit by the earthquake. These teachers include Mr Irshad Kirmani and Mr Mohd Amin Khan who are on deputation for doing PGCTE course at the Regional Institute of English, Sector 32-C, Chandigarh. 



Rozgar yojna gets rolling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Swaran Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojna project of the Municipal Corporation (MC), providing financial help and free vocational training programmes for people of the city below poverty line (BPL), finally got rolling here today.

A spokesman for the MC said in association with various NGOs and departments, 16 training centres covering 400 BPL beneficiaries had been made functional. Colonies, including Colony No. 4 ( Industrial Area, Phase I), Kaghari, Palsora, Karsan, Maloya, Mauli Jagran, Colony No. 5 (Burail) and Bapu Dham (Sector 26 ) had been covered in Phase I.

The MC is provided free training along with monthly stipend of Rs 100 to the trainees. The period of training is from two to six months subject to a minimum of 300 hour training. All consumable material including tool kits (sewing machines) for trainees of cutting and tailoring, is being provided free of cost.

Almost 76 per cent of trained BPL beneficiaries are engaged in economic activities. People who have been living in the city for the past three years and earning Rs 432 only per member in a month are eligible for the training and financial help.



Fauji Beat
Short tenures not in Army’s interest

Until a few years ago, a Lieutenant-General not having two years residual period of service, could not be promoted as an Army Commander. Because, it was felt that he could not do justice to his command in less than two years. Imagine the time required for an Army commander to know the operational plans of his three Corps and three divisions in each corps.

Not only that, it takes a long time to become familiar with the vast area that falls in the operational jurisdiction of an Army commander. Besides, an Army commander must know his commanders up to the Brigade Commanders.

We are seeing the third Army Commander in the Western Command from February 1, 2004 to October 1, 2005. Gen J.J. Singh, having already commanded the Army Training Command, stayed for 11 months as the Western Army Commander, before he stepped up as the Army Chief. His case is, therefore, different. But his successor Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, who is now Vice-Chief of the Army, stayed as the Western Army Commander barely for eight months.

The planners in the Army feel that a battalion commander (with about 1,000 troops under his command) should command his unit for not less than two years. But when it comes to an Army Commander, who commands more than two lakh troops, they seem to feel that a few months’ tenure is enough for him. In this short period neither can he know his command nor can he lay down any policy, leave alone seeing its implementation.

TA: a useful force

Territorial Army (TA) Day was celebrated all over the country on October 9, 2005. Raised in 1949, the TA, also called the Citizens’ Army, has done the country proud when deployed during national emergencies to relieve the regular Army of its static duties. Apart from this, the TA infantry battalions have acquired themselves credibly even in low intensity conflict (LIC) in J&K and in Sri Lanka.

Earlier, there were two types of TA battalions i.e. provincial and urban. But now all urban battalions have been changed into provincial battalions and only four provincial battalions have an urban company each. Each TA battalion is affiliated to an infantry regiment, which provides the permanent staff of officers, JCOs and other ranks to it. The TA personnel, being part-timers, comes for annual training camp of 60 days in a year.

The experiment of home-and-hearth battalions, which were raised last year in J&K, has proved very useful. These battalions comprise manpower from the same area where they are deployed. An ex-militants’ battalion raised in J&K has also given a good account of itself. Besides, the ecological battalions have done a useful job of improving the ecology of the areas where they have been deployed. There are two types of units in TA i.e. non-departmental such as Infantry battalions and home and hearth battalions; the departmental units are railway engineers, signal, ecological task force, ASC marketing and three others.

Welfare of ex-servicemen

When you think of the Ex-servicemen Helpline Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta’s name comes to your mind. For, this yeoman’s service for the ex-servicemen, their wards and defence widows was his brainchild. It was inaugurated in the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, on September 15, 2002. General Mehta, who was the Western Army Commander from 2002 to 2004, is still remembered by the ex-servicemen for the deep interest that he took in their welfare.

Seeing the service that the Western Command Helpline was rendering to the ex-servicemen in solving their pensionary and welfare problems, all Corps in this Command also started this service. Realising the usefulness of this service, the other Commands started it two years ago.

The motto of this round-the-clock service is: “you have made the nation proud. It is our turn now to serve you”.

— Pritam Bhullar



General Narinder Singh passes away
Tribune News Service

Narinder Singh
Major-Gen Narinder Singh

Chandigarh, October 10
Major-Gen Narinder Singh, who held the key appointment of Director-General, Military Operations, during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, passed away today. He was 86 and was a witness to some of the most decisive moments in the history of the Army.

Family members said he died in his sleep. He was in a good state of health and had spent the last night having dinner and watching TV with his family as usual before retiring to bed. He was among those last officers who had served in senior positions in that era.

He is survived by his 83-year-old wife, Mrs Gian Kaur, two sons, Air Cmde R P S Dhillon (retd) and Mr Inderjeet Singh, an engineer based in Canada, and grandchildren.

General Narinder Singh was commissioned into 8 Cavalry in 1942 and later commanded 20 Lancers. His other important assignments included command of 163 Infantry Brigade in Ladakh, GOC of 19 Infantry Division and GOC of Srinagar Sector.

He was seconded to the newly raised Border Security Force after his retirement from the Army and served as the Inspector-General, Operations at BSF Headquarters during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, family members said. Later, he served as the IG Kashmir with the BSF. He was also an active member of the Cavalry Officers Association and used to attend social functions regularly.

His cremation will take place at Sector 25 crematorium at 12.30 pm tomorrow.



Governor's greetings for Durga Puja
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Gen S.F. Rodrigues, UT Administrator and the Governor of Punjab, has greeted the people of Punjab and the UT on the occasion of Durga Puja. In a message, General Rodrigues said the festival was an embodiment of shakti, symbolising the victory of good over evil and inspires us to be righteous in all our actions. He stressed upon the need for the empowerment of women to make them equal partners in our social system. 



Five held in two cases
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 10
The local police today arrested two persons in connection with the thrashing of an accountant working with a trader of Sector 26 Grain Market. In a separate incident, three persons were taken in custody on the allegations of committing a theft in a house.

The sources in the Sector 26 police station said Gagandeep Singh and Sonu, alias Paramjit Singh, were arrested from the city this afternoon. The other two accused - Lal Singh Lamba, Ajit Singh Lamba of SCF Number 8 in Grain Market - are still absconding.

Mr Som Nath, an accountant working with Rama Traders in the same market, had gone to the accused top take a payment of Rs 8,000. He alleged that the accused thrashed him. A case has been registered.

About three persons arrested on the allegations of stealing, sources in the Sector 31, police station said Deepak, Balraj and Rakesh, all residents of Sector 31 were arrested last night from Ram Darbar.

Mr Jai Singh of Deep Complex in Hallo Majra lodged a complaint to the police that Rs 6000, a driving licence and clothes were stolen from his residence late Saturday night.

The accused all in their early twenties, were involved in two incidents of attempt of theft in Industrial Area and a theft in Sector 47 and cases had been registered against them with the Chandigarh police.

The accused were today produced before a local court, which remanded them in judicial custody till October 24.



Head Constable dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
A head constable with the Chandigarh police was killed, while two others sustained serious injuries in separate mishaps during the past 24 hours.
For Head Constable Rajesh Kumar, the journey ended before his destination. He was on his way home in Panchkula when a truck rammed into the motor cycle he was riding near the railway crossing on the Zirakpur-Panchkula road.

Sources said 41-year-old Kumar was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), but was declared dead on arrival.

The truck has been identified and a case of causing death due to rash and negligent act under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in the matter.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh police said Sapna of Kishangarh village in Chandigarh was rushed to the GMCH after being hit by an unidentified car near the Gill farmhouse in Mani Majra.

A scooterist riding a vehicle was admitted to the PGI after being hit by a three-wheeler. 



Star TV's programmes on Hutch 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
You can now watch your favourite Star programmes on Hutch mobile phone. For, Hutchison Essar and Star India, today launched "mobisodes" — one-minute video clips specifically designed to be watched on mobile phones.

Star India has specially created "mobisodes" of Star One's highest-rated comedy show "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge" and would be available to Hutch subscribers.

"Mobisodes" of the show will offer Indian audiences next generation interactive and personalised viewing on their phones. Users will have access to downloadable video clips of the best moments of the programme through Hutch World on their GPRS-enabled phones. The show is among the top 50 shows week-on-week on India. 


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