C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


All roads lead to Chandigarh Carnival
Striking floats, artistic displays, fun games, dances overwhelm residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
All city roads lead to Leisure Valley, it appeared so at least today. There was heavy rush on the inaugural day of the two-day Chandigarh Carnival. Fun and frolic marked the entire day of colourful activity.

Activities showed a celebration of life where the potter’s wheel spun magnificent figures, the painter’s brush sprung pictorial magic, the music lifted the audience’s feet and the fun games exhorted everyone to try a hand.

The carnival parade was one of the highlights of the day’s proceedings. More than 20 floats depicting different figures travelled at snail’s pace through different parts of the city much to the delight of the residents. Certain striking floats included those of Santa Claus, Day Dreamer and Evening in Paris.

Majority of these were made on cycle rickshaws. A huge boat on a tractor looked impressive. Interesting corners included the one displaying traditional folk instruments, one by the Lalit Kala Akademi and one named ‘Meet the Artist’. The stall ‘Friends of Children’ was an interesting venue for children. Experts helped children understand the complex questions of science and mathematics in a playful manner.

Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, inaugurated the event featuring art, culture and tourism of the region. The colourful and fun-filled inaugural ceremony was marked by the releasing of balloons, playing of bands, beating of drums, performance of Punjabi giddha and bhangra, Rajasthani and Haryanavi dances and display of other distinctive regional art forms.

General Rodrigues, accompanied by the Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan, and senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration, including Mr J.S. Bir, Managing Director, CITCO, Mr R.T. Jindal, Director, NZCC, Mr R.K. Rao, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Vivek Atray, Director Tourism, went round the aesthetically decorated stalls put up by various organisations.

The Governor inaugurated ‘CITCO Vehra’ and Film City Pavilion, which were the main attraction of the carnival. Some of the stalls at the venue include the professionally decorated sections put by the Sangeet Natak Academy, The Lalit Kala Academy and the Road Safety and Traffic Wing of Chandigarh Police. Senior Citizens Corner, Children Corner and Artists’ Corner, attracted a number of visitors.

‘French Villa’ displayed French culture, films, music, games and costumes, matching the theme of the carnival — Fun frolic and France.

The section pertaining to activity in Bollywood remained a hot favourite during the day. It covered all aspects of film production. Look-alikes of Govinda, Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt were appreciated by the audience.

Sanohar Kabeer, Mehak Chahal and Ruksar, known faces Bollywood and TV programmes, participated in a cultural programme late in the evening that witnessed heavy rush.

The carnival this year has many new novelties and attractions, with merrymaking and learning processes making it a festive manifestation of nature and harmony.

Thousands of people from different walks of life, attired in colourful outfits, thronged the venue. The carnival will conclude with a grand finale by the National Institute of Fashion Designing presenting a fashion fiesta tomorrow evening.

Winners of the painting competition:

Age group 6-9 yr: Arshita Sharma, DAV Public School, Sector 8; Aditya, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16; and Varun Arora, New Public School.

Age group 9-12 yr: Rahul Aggarwal, GMH, Sector 28; Babli, GMHS, Sector 37-D; and Alka, GMS, Sector 28.

Age group 12-15 yr: Arushi Saksene, Sacred Heart SSS, Sector 26; Jagdish Kumar, GMHS, Sector 26; and Sahil Aggarwal, GMHS, Sector 28.

Age group 15-18 yr: Isha, GMSSS, Sector 16; Khushdeep Kaur, GMSSS, Sector 40; and Monami, GMSSS, Sector 35.

Mentally challenged Group: Suman Rani of Vatika High School.

Clay modelling:

Age group 6-9 yr: Sakshi, GMSSS, Sector 37; Divya, GMSSS, Sector 10; and Tilak Raj, GHS, Sector 25.

Age group 9-12 yr: Chhaya Singh, GSS, Sector 45; Sonyu, PSE Maloya; and Durgesh, GMS, Sector 33.

Age group 12-15 yr: Parmod, GHS, Sector 24; Sonu Parsal, GHS, Darua; and Amit, GMSS, Sector 33.

Age group 15-18 yr: Subhash, GSS, Sector 45; Uma Shankar, GMHS, Sector 28; and Abhiruchi, GMS, Sector16.

Mentally challenged group: Preeti, Kallu and Kamal.



Age group 6-9 yr: Shivangi, GMSSS 20-D; Manjit Kumar, GMHS-26; and Brijesh, GMSSS-20-D.

Age group 9-12 yr: Sumit, GSSS 38-W; Neeraj, GSSS 38-W; and Chandani, GMHS 26.

Age group 12-15 yr: Arvind, GMHS-26; Brijesh Kushwala; and Deepak, GMHS 26.

Age group 15-18 yr: Arun Kumar, GMSSS-47; Nitin, GMSSS-40; and Ramesh, GMHS-26.



PGI selection process under a cloud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The much-awaited selection process for senior posts held at the PGI after a gap of three years has not only brought good news for the faculty but also given rise to a controversy involving the PGI Dean and the SC/ST Employees Welfare Association.

The absence of PGI Dean Sudha Suri from the selection committee has surprised the PGI faculty. The Dean, who had been present on November 22, the first day of the selection for sometime, reportedly did not attend the subsequent meetings of the selection committee.

It is learnt that during the previous selection committee meetings the Dean used to be a member of the committee and was even nominated a special invitee this time. However, it is further alleged that the office of the Director, PGI, confirmed that no letter of invitation had been issued to her and that she had been asked by the Director not to attend the selection proceedings.

However, Ms Sudha Suri refused to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, the state office of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Chandigarh, has also issued a notice to the Director, PGI, Prof K.K. Talwar, wherein it has decided to investigate why any member belonging to the SC/ST category was not included in the selection committee.

The notice also states that on earlier occasions the PGI was associating Liaison Officer of the institution in the selection process, but this has not been the case this time. The commission is also of the view that the association of the SC or ST or the Liaison Officer in the selection committee is required as per the instructions issued by DOPT.

The Director has been asked by the commission to submit the facts and information on the issue and on the action taken to this end within five days, failing which the commission will exercise the powers of the civil court conferred on it.



Once a ruffian, now a soldier
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Balram, alias Vicky Raja, who once carried batons and knives to settle “professional” scores on streets in the city, today guards the frontiers of the country as a Border Security Force jawan, posted in New Jalpaiguri on the borders of North Bengal.

Vicky, a vagabond ragpicker of Kumhar Colony, graduated into group clash activity as part of a youth wing of a leading political party during the early 1990s. A matriculate, Vicky never thought he would find a place in the normal stream of life. “I was definitely going to find a place in the world of criminals until I met Zulfiqar Khan, the founder of the Theatre Age Group in 1992”.

The theatre group started around the same time when the director was looking for someone who could play the “dhol” for a street play. Vicky walked into a rehearsal “accidentally” and expressed his interest in carrying on. The director remembers: “A number of students from the group asked me to throw the ‘tramp’ out because he had a shady background. I did not believe them and moreover he looked indispensable because of his command on the ‘dhol’ which was indispensable to my play”.

“One day there was a big noise of protesters running against a police lathicharge near Kumhar Colony. A boy walked up to me and said I should question Vicky where he was during the day. On questioning, Vicky pulled out a dagger from under his clothes. I was shocked. I asked him why he was keeping that?”.

Zulfiqar remembers fondly: “In a very ‘filmi’ style, Vicky threw the dagger and said he will never hold it again. He kept his word and everyone was surprised at his transformation. A distant uncle called him for a recruitment drive of the BSF in Meghalaya. He was selected in 1995”.

Vicky cannot hold back his tears when he says: “It is only because of ‘Bhaiyya’ that I continued in the BSF. I wrote him at least three letters saying how difficult the training was. There were mosquitoes swarming in the training school at Manipur. I was made to run and crawl as part of the exercise. I thought I would never make it. Sir, always goaded me to continue and I have made it”.

Vicky said: “The transformation came through my experience in theatre. I learnt to distance myself from the reality that surrounded me and see a new meaning in what I was performing in street plays. When people appreciated my work, I realised the value of good work. I have met a number of friends of yesteryear during my current visit. I told them the value of sincere life.”

Zulfiqar Khan said: “Transformation is not an instant or an overnight formula. It takes time, resolution and dedication. Change is worth all the pain if it can transform you into a decent human.”



Studies show sexual abuse of boys on the rise
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Incidence of child sexual abuse, especially abuse of boys, is on the rise. Though a lot of emphasis is being laid on commercial child sexual abuse, neither the government, nor social organisations are dealing with the problem of child sexual abuse by acquaintances.

This was stated by Mr Alankaar, Programme Facilitator with Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse. Studies conducted by various NGOs like Raahi and Sakhi in Delhi, and Samvada in Bangalore recently show that almost 50 per cent of the children, below 16, have been victims of direct (intercourse) or indirect (voyeurism, fondling, sexual talk) child sexual abuse by acquaintances — at one point or the another.

"The youngest reported victim of child sexual abuse in India was a 16-day old baby girl, while many cases of abuse against children as young as two years have been reported in recent times. And these cases are not restricted to the lowest socio-economic strata. Child sexual abuse is taking place in normal affluent homes. However, our laws are inadequate to deal with this crime. The Indian Penal Code recognises only direct child sexual abuse as crime (rape/ sodomy), but fails to deal with indirect abuse," he said.

"What may come as a surprise to most, is the fact that young boys are also being victimised by close family members and acquaintances. Studies have also shown while 90 per cent of abusers are males, 10 per cent of those abusing boys are women acquintances, often close relatives," he said, in an interview with The Tribune. Because of the social stigma attached to this kind of abuse, and because parents most often refuse to believe their child when he approaches them, most of these cases are brushed under the carpet, he added.

Mr Alankaar has been working with school children in Chennai and Bangalore, besides imparting training to NGO's in Goa, Pune, Varanasi and Delhi, for dealing with child sexual abuse. He said he was also on the look out for NGOs in Punjab and Chandigarh, who could take up the issue against child sexual abuse in this region.

"Child sexual abuse is not just a crime, but it is a social issue, which has to be dealt with through therapeutic counselling,” he said. 



Residents’ thumbs up to monorail
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

 Sunil Bandha
 Sunil Bandha

Chandigarh, November 26
The Chandigarh Administration’s decision to revive the monorail project has been hailed by city residents. Routine traffic jams in the city, which has the highest vehicular density in the country, will be a thing of the past if the ambitious project sees the light of the day, residents feel. Chandigarh Tribune talked to a cross section of the residents:

“With the city becoming a preferred IT destination, the monorail will solve the traffic congestion problem to a great extent. It will prove to be a boon for the students, professionals and employees. In fact, the Administration should explore the possibility of extending it to peripheral towns such as Zirakpur and Kharar, which are witnessing construction boon.

— Sunil Bandha, Mohali resident & GM of Silver City

J.P.S. Kalra
J.P.S. Kalra
Arvind Thakur
Arvind Thakur
Gurpreet Singh
Gurpreet Singh

“It will give a fillip to the trade and business in the city. The Admin-istration should expedite the work on it before Chandigarh turns into another Indian city with traffic chaos ruling the roost. The Administration deserves kudos for taking a “people friendly” decision, which would also go a long way in preserving the environment.”

— J.P.S. Kalra, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal spokesman

“Being a planned city, the monorail has a better chance of success in Chandigarh. While on the one hand, it will bring down the accident rate, on the other it will save precious foreign exchange spent on oil import. It will definitely be a better alternative to the poor public transport system.”

— Arvind Thakur, human rights lawyer

“The lack of the MRTS was a weak point of the otherwise worlds-class city. With the monorail project getting on rails, the city will come in the league of leading cities of the world. In fact, an economical public transport system is a pre-requisite for any major city.”

— Gurpreet Singh, NRI

What is monorail

Monorail is an effective means of mass rapid transit system (MRTS) which is a guarantee in avoiding environmental pollution. West Bengal has already announced a monorail for Kolkata.

The system can be either on an elevated platform in which the rail car is mounted on a special track, or it can be at a height of four feet like a normal railway track.The latter has been installed in Malaysia and is said to be a success.

Experts point out that monorails are safe whether they are of the straddle-beam or suspended nature because the nature of their design does not allow derailment. These are said to be cost-effective not just on account of the original capital, but also on account of operations. Since these are electrically powered, monorails are non-polluting.

Work to have an integrated monorail transport system connecting Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali has re-started this year after around eight years. The Chandigarh Administration also toyed with the idea of having electric trolleys during the intervening period. A single monorail has the potential of replacing hundreds of cars on the city roads in a single day.



Residents air grievances at open darbar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
Proper storm water drainage, upgrading of schools, opening of banks in villages of Panchkula were some of the problems brought forth by residents in an open darbar held by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, today.

The SDM, Mr Virender Dahiya, and officers from the electrical wing of HUDA and the Municipal Council were also present.

Mr Chander Mohan urged the gathering to participate in the survey for families below poverty line so that they could benefit from various welfare schemes launched by the government. In urban areas, the residents join hands with the authorities in maintaining sanitation and beautifying the area, he said. He promised to look into residents complaints.



Jagannath yatra held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
A Jagannath yatra was organised by the Vaishno Seva Mandal here today.
It started from Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Phase XI, and culminated at the Vaishno Mata Mandir in Phase III-A. As many as 208 women, dressed in similar sarees, and 108 wearing saffron scarfs participated in the yatra. A langar was also arranged by devotees on the route of the yatra.



21-year-old cyclist killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
A cyclist was killed after a roadways bus hit him in the Industrial Area early this morning. The victim has been identified as 21-year-old Satish Kumar of Colony Number 4.

As the news about the mishap spread, colony dwellers took to the streets alleging police inaction, forcing senior police officers to intervene in the matter.

Residents said the cyclist was rushed to hospital, but doctors could not save him. They added that the driver disappeared from the spot soon after the accident.

A senior officer of the Chandigarh Police said a case of causing death due to rash and negligent act was being registered in the matter under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code. Further investigations were on.

Police sources admitted that the police had done precious little to check such accidents.

Quoting rough figures, they asserted that approximately 2,389 accidents took place in Chandigarh from January 2000 till April this year. In a substantial number of mishaps, buses were involved.

A majority of the accidents involving buses were reported from the stretch in front of the grain market in Sector 26 on the Chandigarh-Panchkula highway and the Industrial Area. The sources added that in almost all the accidents, the victims were the ones riding slow-moving vehicles.

12 rounded up: Coming down heavily on small-time liquor smugglers and gamblers, the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police today rounded up over 12 persons from different parts of the city after launching a special drive.

Police sources said the thrust of the drive was on colonies and slums spread throughout the length and breadth of the city. The intention was to check the ever-growing menace of gambling and liquor smuggling in the city.



48-year-old found murdered
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
A resident of Sohana village was allegedly murdered and his body was thrown near a gurdwara after committing the crime.
The body of Sukhdev Singh (48), who had left his house on November 24, was seen floating in a water body near Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan by some resident of the village in the morning today.

The police said it was not clear why Sukhdev Singh was allegedly murdered as the member of his family had no enmity with anyone.

The police is working on different theories. It is not clear whether Sukhdev Singh was allegedly murdered in the village or elsewhere. Was his body dumped near the gurdwara after committing the crime? and When was he murdered? The police suspects that a sharp edged weapon was used in the crime as the face of the deceased had injury marks.

The SP, Mr Varinder Pal Singh, said Sukhdev was last seen on the night of November 24 in the village. He had approached someone and asked for Rs 20, which were not given to him. The SP said Sukhdev used to consume liquor.

When he did not return home on November 24 members of his family made frantic efforts to trace him. They even approached the police.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC. The body has been sent to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.



Mani Majra resident wins Santro
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Mr Naresh Kumar of Mani Majra won a Santro in the lucky draw of the Chandigarh Shopping Carnival organised by the Trade Promotion Council(TPC) in Sector 17 here this evening.

Besides the car, draws for 26 prizes, including colour TV,microwave,vacuum cleaner, washing machine and audio systems, were also held.

Prominent among those present were the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, the creator-director of the Rock Garden, Mr Nek Chand, and the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Mr Jagdish Arora.

Expressing gratitude to the customers, Mr Suresh Bansal and Mr Rajinder Manocha, president and general secretary of the TPC, claimed that the scheme, which had been promoted by the mass-based traders from their own resources, had met with an “overwhelming response”.


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