C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Delhi firm pockets 5.39 acre plot for making flats
Decisive bid of Rs 108.01 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
It took a whopping Rs 108.01 crore for Delhi-based Uppal Housing Private Limited to pocket the coveted 5.39 acre plot in Mani Majra for construction of multi-storeyed flats here today, in the first-ever highest-bid auction of a housing society.

The closely contested auction conducted by the Municipal Corporation saw two players, Bathinda-based G City Builders and Uppal Housing, “fight” it to the end before the latter emerged as the successful bidder.

Beginning to a lukewarm response from the 19-odd bidders present on the occasion, the price of the site with a reserve price of Rs 45.72 crore climbed up at a snail’s pace, increasing by only Rs 50,000 at a time.

A 20th bidder, the DLF, joined the auction mid way but didn’t make a bid. The initial bidders, AP Real Estate and Janta Land Promoters, were out of the picture once the bids crossed the 90-crore mark. Most of them, in fact, left the bidder’s arena to enjoy coffee while the two key bidders took over and their “battle” began. From the Rs 104 crore mark, no fresh bidder came forward and the climb up was painfully slow. For every Rs 1 lakh bid raised by G City, Uppal’s increased the same by Rs 4 lakh.

Finally, in the end, G City Builders gave its final bid of Rs 108 crore, climbing up by Rs 25 lakh from the last bid of 107.75 lakh. Against this, Uppal Housing, represented by Mr Naveen Bahri, made the decisive bid of Rs 108.01 crore to clinch the deal and bag plot. The Uppal group deposited 10 per cent of the bid today and the balance 15 per cent bid would be deposited by them by tomorrow.

It may be recalled that that this particular pocket was initially identified for building an MC employees’ society. However, the project ran into trouble when the MC decided to reserve 70 per cent of the flats for various categories of which 10 per cent would have been discretionary quota of the Mayor. This was protested against by Mr P.C. Sanghi, nominated councillor, and this scheme was shelved.

Subsequently, the House decided to allow auction for this plot on freehold basis since the corporation hardly has any permanent employees and most of them are on deputation from Punjab and Haryana.

B.K. Uppal
Mr B.K. Uppal, Chairman, Uppal’s Group of Companies, is all smiles after the auction held at Shivalik View in Chandigarh on Monday

Ecstatic after the auction, a beaming Mr Naveen Bahri, Director, Marketing, said that flats aimed at changing the skyline of the city would be constructed on the plot and the dreams of the tasteful city residents would be met.

“The flats will be completed well before the stipulated time of five years. We came here with a very focussed approach to get the site and obviously, we are excited with this new venture of ours. People in Chandigarh have a lot of taste and we are here to give it to them in the most stylish of ways,” he said after the auction was over.

The 26-year-old Uppal group is known for constructing “high-end apartments for people with taste”, have worked on IT enabled buildings in Gurgaon, Noida and Delhi, own Delhi’s eco-friendly five star hotel Uppal’s Orchid and have been allotted the contract for building a hi-tech city in Ghaziabad, a cyber park in Noida and are making multi-storeyed quality residential apartments in Noida and Lucknow.

However, he and the Chairman, Uppal Group, Mr Bushan Kumar Uppal, refused to peg a price for the flats. “It is too premature to say how much a flat will cost. People will have to wait for that,” they maintained. 



UT may ban dharnas at Matka Chowk
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Chandigarh Administration is seriously contemplating shifting the venue of dharnas to an alternate venue than the existing one at Matka Chowk (intersection of Sectors 9-10-16-17).

Matka Chowk averagely witnesses more than 800 dharnas by different political parties and employee organisations each year causing problems to hundreds of travellers on city roads.

The matter has been discussed in the senior echelons of power and alternate venues are being thought about. A senior officer said: “We are not contesting the right to protest by different parties. We are only concerned because the place had become synonymous with a blocked road. It is situated right on way to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Civil Secretariat complex (Punjab and Haryana Governments) and the UT Secretariat, besides scores of other important official buildings.

The officer said the Matka Chowk is close to Sector 17 which is the centre of commercial activity in the city. Hapless commuters pay with traffic woes for no fault of theirs. The administration has thought about the Nehru Park, Sector 22, Parade Ground, Sector 17, and certain other venues in the city periphery as the possible alternate venues. “The protest needs to be symbolic as the content of the protest is always communicated to the officers”, he added.

Mr Gopal Dutt Joshi, joint secretary of the UT Powermen’s Union, said: “The administration is trying to make a mockery of the democratic right to protest. Instead of allowing us to protest in front of our ruling offices which was the secretariat, we have been stopped at Matka Chowk by imposing Section 144 of the CrPC. Are we going through times of terrorism to invite CrPC 144? In case of any public inconvenience, we will only like to say we want the public also to realise how much our fellow beings were being exploited by the powers by not listening to us. We need public to support us”.

Mr Joshi said: “We have also heard about the move by the administration to shift the venue of the dharnas and rallies from Matka Chowk. The rally on the periphery of the city will not mean anything for the employee unions and we will fight for our rights and not take any decision by the administration, to shift the venue”, he added.

It may be remembered that the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in the past, had directed the administration to ensure a free flow of traffic during rallies and dharnas throughout the year. The failure to implement the directive was highlighted during the massive rally of a religious organisation in the city recently. School students reached home very late and of course. hungry. The city commuters were stranded on the city roads for hours.

Mr Ram Gopal Yadav, a senior citizen, said: “We should respect the democratic idea of allowing protest for the demands. However, the public should not be perennially held to ransom. An alternate venue was not a bad idea”.



Passing Thru

Paul John
Paul John, a UK- based educationist

What is the purpose of your visit to the city?

I am an arts teacher at Bablake School in Coventry, England. I teach sculpture, painting, textile designing etc. I have come to Chandigarh as a part of my research on archaeological buildings and especially to see the Rock Garden as we have read about it a lot when I was studying in Arts College, England.

How do you judge the intelligence of a child?

A panel sits and makes an observance of the works of the students and we give scholarship to outstanding students. More Indian students qualify for the scholarship as against English students. During my career of 14 years, I have taught many students of Indian origin and I have found them to be highly motivated and intelligent.

How do you find Chandigarh?

It is really a modern town with all amenities. Its architectural splendour is fascinating. I am thrilled to see the Government Museum and Art Gallery, it is the house of knowledge and everything is described opulently but I am sorry to say that it is not explained elaborately in travellers’ guide books. I think the authorities should take note of it.

How do you like Indian food?

A bit spicy! But I like to eat ‘dam aaloo’ and dal with naan.

— G. S. PAUL



Chandigarh Calling

Theatre blooms in the slums: Theatre Age, voluntary group, is seeking greater public cooperation for financing its activity for welfare of slum children. The only source of its funding is the money received through sale of waste newspaper given by the contributors. The group currently has nearly 500 volunteers contributing their waste newspapers. Zulfiqar Khan, the director, says “ I am sure more people can come forward and make contributions for a noble cause. A volunteer just needs to call at 93161-32900 and our man will go and make the collections’. Balram alias Vicky Raja, a former ‘badmash of gali in Kumhar colony’ who is now in the Border Security Force, said “the group has totally transformed me from a point of no return. Such activities need public cooperation”.

Good thoughts: What is good life, what is ultimate happiness and how are we to achieve it, what is right, what is wrong? These are perennial questions that have dogged mankind for centuries. Right from the sages like Gautama, Kannada, Ved Vyasa, Shankracharya in the east and the great Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle in the West have tried to find answers to such seemingly obvious but puzzling issues. If you find yourself asking such questions, you might attend the two-day seminar beginning today on What is Good Life’ organised by Centre for Vivekananda Studies, Panjab University at the Golden Jubilee hall from 10.30 am onwards. Swami Nikhileshwaranda will be inaugurating the seminar, Swami Brahmeshanandaji will chair it, Prof. Rekha Jhanji will be the guest of honour, while Prof. Dharmananda Sharma will preside over the papers to be read by Pankaj Shrivastava, Kavita Chauhan, Amit, Sandeep Singh and others.

Happy news: There is good news for a female handicapped student wishing to pursue higher education.The Kirpal Singh Chauli Trust, Melbourne, Australia, is offering a scholarship to such a needy student. The candidate must be an Indian citizen registered with an Indian university. Needless to say, she must be from a poor family. Those wishing to avail the grant can write to The Kirpal Singh Chauli Trust, PO Box 1252, Werribee Plaza, Victoria, Australia-3030.

Power racket!: Badminton is a tough and fast playing sport. Though from outside, one could not imagine that playing with any opponent for more than 30 minutes in the badminton court could be so flexing and tiresome. This was realised by the ‘power’ persons , who had come from various parts of the country to take part in two badminton tournaments. One was the BBMB Inter Power sector meet held in sector 42 Indoor hall from November 21 to 24 and the other All India Inter Electricity Boards badminton meet in Sector 3 Sports complex, Panchkula 22 teams participated. The spectators and even the umpires were astonished to watch over 50 years playing badminton with lot of bending, stretching. As one of the participant Atul Arora of BBMB says, “The sport is fascinating and gives one total satisfaction both mentally and physically. I never feel like not playing the game even for a single day.”

Crusty camel: Draped in a gaudily hued tie & dye fabric, this crabby fellow sat munching in an indolent way, oblivious to the fascinated children teeming around him.

This crusty camel, one of the city’s Carnival favourites, spent the two fiesta-filled days ferrying little ones on his humpy back. Maninder Singh, owner, was a proud man, for the camel brought in enough for him to buy a rattling toy for his six year old. “He is like my son, except he is the older one.” A part of Maninder’s ‘family’ for the last seven years, the camel has the eyes of an all-seeing, all-knowing oracle. And the name of this surly seer—Camel!

Contributors: Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Arvind Katyal, Pradeep Sharma, Kuldip Dhiman & Gayatri Rajwade.



Sec-15 deaths: probe moves at snail’s pace
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Even though almost two weeks have lapsed since the bodies of Madhur Bala and her two sons were discovered in a Sector-15 house, the Chandigarh Police has not been able to establish a contact with her family in Meerut.

Though senior police officers are maintaining silence over the issue, the sources in the police headquarters say that her family can provide vital clues to the cops for unravelling the mystery shrouding their deaths, specially in light of the fact that viscera and handwriting reports will pour only after a month.

The sources say that the family can possibly give the police some insight into the psyche of the three.

Quoting an example, the sources say that if nothing else the family can tell the police the possibility of a property dispute being the reason behind their deaths.

They add that in any case the family can shed some light on the reason why the trio were leading a life of seclusion, away from relatives and friends, besides providing information about their “not-so-healthy” lifestyle.

The bodies of Madhur Bala, Pyuesh and Anupam were discovered in different rooms by a rickshaw puller about a fortnight ago.

The puller had reached the residence to take Madhur Bala to her office in the morning.

One look at the house was enough to tell the police that theirs was not a happy family.

Everywhere the cops looked, they found a thick coat of dust. Even the daily-use items had not been dusted by the trio.

Besides this, quotes from scriptures had been penned down on all the walls.

The sources add the Chandigarh Police took its own sweet time to send a cop to Meerut for talking to the family.

They add that the cops, instead of adopting a pro-active approach to explore other angles, are conveniently waiting for the reports to establish suicide.

This, the sources assert, is despite the fact that “there is more than what meets the eye”.

For instance, an illegal weapon was used by one of the victims to end his life. The source of the weapon is still a mystery.

Besides this, the cops have no explanation as to why the three had left the doors open before ending their lives. Or why two consumed poison, while the third shot himself through his head.



Fulbright review conference begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
A heady mix of intellectuals from different backgrounds, bringing together their knowledge, cultural diversity and professional expertise set the ball rolling for the two-day Fulbright review conference entitled “Fulbrighters: Cultural Ambassadors,” for Fulbrighters in South Asia at Hotel Mountview this morning.

Gathered together with the main objective to share their academic work, scholars from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the US shared their experiences in South Asia and the US and invited suggestions for the future. The forum provided a closer look at both the academic and administrative aspects of the Fulbright programme.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune, delivered the keynote address at the inaugural session. Speaking on the occasion he stated that Fulbright Scholarship which had been there for 55 years had only helped increase the understanding between India and the US. “The conference being held here will help improve the understanding among the countries of South East Asia and also the US. It will be worth the Fulbright scholars to focus on problems common to all South East Asian countries.”

He further suggested that the scholars should take up such subjects as education, particularly for girls, healthcare, drinking water and population control in their studies. “How to combat AIDS is another important issue. Nearly 5 million are suffering from AIDS. This requires urgent and important attention,” he stated.

The Fulbright scholars, divided in groups discussed and compared various problems and positive points of various issues. In the area of public health it was felt that bureaucracy was a big hurdle in India. “One thing that can be done is that in the rural sector people should be trained, some programme should be formulated to focus on them, drug abuse is another problem that needs to be addressed,” stated the scholars.

On the issue of law and public policy it was felt that human rights is an issue that is talked about even in the United States as much as it is in India, however not much attention is given to it”

Water was another issue that needs attention. Forestry and housing are other issues that need to be addressed. The American and Indian system of education was also discussed at length. It was observed that in American high schools students have a low math science standard but are otherwise well rounded. However, in Indian schools it is the opposite. It was observed that in India teachers have no involvement in curriculum.

The conference has brought forward a heady mix of people like Wendy E. Jehlen Nayak from the US doing her research at Chennai on the comparative study of the changing roles of woman dancers in the US and India over the past century. Talking about the changing art forms she felt that there was not much difference in the dance forms.

Shyamala Gomez, a lawyer from Sri Lanka who works for human rights with a special focus on women rights, too had insightful information about women and the role they play in Sri Lanka. According to her it is not much different from India.

The bilateral agreement on educational exchange signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and US Ambassador Loy Henderson on February 2, 1950 established the United States Educational Foundation to administer Fulbright program in India. Since 1950 USEFI has awarded approximately 7324 Fulbright fellowships to Indians and Americans.



New promotion policy results in super session of officers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Changes brought about in the promotion policy for Border Security Force (BSF) officers and the subsequent inability of the force to devise a cadre management system have resulted in a large number of officers being superseded.

In August, 2001, the BSF Directorate-General prescribed at least two years service in a "duty battalion" for officers to be eligible for next promotion. It also made it mandatory for officers to undergo certain specified courses for moving up the hierarchy.

Duty battalion has been defined in BSF rules as a battalion on active duty. It could be on border management duties or internal security deployment and does not include training institutions, and other static and peace station establishments. Rules also required officers to have commanded a service (rifle) company to be eligible for promotion to commandant.

A letter from BSF headquarters that followed the revised promotion guidelines stated that it was the responsibility of every individual to ensure that he met the qualitative requirements (QR) for his promotions. Till 2002, relaxation was granted by the Home Ministry to those who did not meet the QR, but thereafter, no such benefits were granted and a large number of officers lost out on promotion.

Sources in the BSF say that hundreds of officers from the rank of inspector up to the level of commandant have been affected by the revised promotion guidelines. Several affected officers have already sought legal redressal. The Delhi High Court issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the BSF Headquarters on November 22 over one such petition filed through a Chandigarh-based lawyer.

"Postings and placements are not the prerogative of an individual," Mr Rajeev Anand, a former BSF officer and a practicing High Court lawyer said. "When rules were changed, it was the duty and responsibility of the government and the force headquarters to ensure that cadre management system is suitably modified so that officers are able to meet the revised guidelines," he added.

A BSF officer gave an example of a highly qualified officer who had undergone professional courses in Army training institutions, not being promoted. Given his experience and qualifications, he was being given instructional and staff appointments in static establishments and hence could not serve in a duty battalion. "In this case, the officer's qualifications have become a disqualification," he quipped.

A few weeks ago, BSF headquarters issued directions to all force establishments and units to ensure that officers are posted to duty battalions and meet the revised QR. But this will only benefit officers who are not yet due for promotion. 



Chandigarh leaves fine imprint on German environmentalist’s mind
Parbina Rashid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Nek Chand's bevy of junk-men excited him to no end, so was the shoreline of Sukhna Lake. But what Dr Heiner Kluge will take back with him from City Beautiful is the conviction with which Chandigarhians identify themselves with the character of the city and how hard they are trying to keep it preserved.

Back from Beijing after receiving the highest environmental award -- "Award for International Cooperation on Environmental Protection" from the Minister of State, Environmental Protection Administration, China -- Dr Kluge, Director of the Centre for International Postgraduate Training, Dresden Technical University, Dresden, was here on a personal visit.

"If I had not come to Chandigarh, I would have gone back with a different impression about India", says Dr Kluge, explaining his disappointment with New Delhi. "Things are much more organised here. People seem to identify themselves with the city and hence believe in taking care of the place they live in", he says, adding that Sector 17 with all its festivity reminded him of a little of Dresden during Christmas.

Besides visits to various tourist spots of the city and the experience at many shopping centres, what Dr Kluge liked the best was the concept of leaving a green space outside the houses and the fact that individuals taking good care for beautifying such green patches.

"Unlike Delhi, here one can see the greenery and the concrete pavements without having to remove an inch-thick dust layer with one's shoes", he says with a smile.

As the Director of the centre, Dr Kluge's job has been to train young environmentalists from under-developed countries. That includes about 127 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The courses include long-term projects as well as short-term crash courses.

Talking about his impression about Indian students, he says they are highly motivated, well trained in their field and contribute actively to the course programme, but when it comes to the implementation of the knowledge, they falter.

"In fact, for most of them the course has just become an extension in their curriculum vitae. They learn, go back and publish a paper or two. But what is important is the implementation of the knowledge in the context of their country", he says.

However, a positive trend that has emerged in the past as far as the Indians are concerned, is that they are now opening up to the world. "Earlier, most of them were not very receptive to what we had to teach for they already learnt those things theoretically. But in the recent past, they have come out of their cocoon and are more interested in what we have to teach", says Dr Kluge.

Maybe, a positive impact of the phenomenon called globalisation!



Mediapersons sensitised about female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
While various measures are being taken nationwide to address the problem of declining sex ratio, efforts are also being made in Punjab and Haryana where the sex ratio, according to the census report, was the lowest and various schemes have been launched, this was stated by Dr V.K Goyal, State Nodal Officer on PNDT Act and State Immunisation Officer, at the advocacy-cum-sensitising workshop for mediapersons, organised today by the Voluntary Health Association of Punjab.

According to Dr Goyal, a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh will be awarded to the panchayat of the village where the sex ratio will be completely balanced. In addition to this in any village where the sex ratio is between 951 to 1000 girls per 1000 males, a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh has been reserved. It was further stressed by Dr Goel that though the change in the mindset of the people was important such steps will also help in arresting the declining sex ratio.

An award of Rs 5,000 each will also be given to the informer and the decoy, said Dr Goyal. He added that four doctors from Amritsar and Tarn Taran, including a doctor couple from Malerkotla, have been booked under the PNDT Act. According to Dr Goyal 72 cases have been registered under the PNDT Act in Punjab. The Balri Rakshak scheme too has been implemented in the state, said Dr Goyal.

During the workshop, Manmohan Sharma, executive director, VHAP, said media and the society need to be sensitised on the growing cases of sex selection and pre-birth elimination of the girl child. To this Dr Goyal added that the declining sex ratio is not only due to female foeticide but also due to the neglect of the girl child resulting in higher infant mortality rate.

Also present on the occasion was Sushma Madaan, Director General Health Services, Haryana, who informed that the concept of delivery huts in the rural areas has been introduced in the state and a rebate of 10 paise per unit on electricity bill will also be given if the electricity meter is in the name of a woman. Also a number of other schemes, including the Ladli Scheme, have also been launched. 



A comedy of con errors
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 28
Striking a bargain with an "unscrupulous" gas delivery boy has landed a Mohali resident behind bars.
It all started when the man, now in trouble, saw a delivery boy allegedly pilfering gas.

Thinking it to be an opportunity to make some quick bucks, he threatened the delivery boy with police action and demanded his mobile to keep mum.

Little did he realise that the boy was smarter than he had thought. The delivery boy, though handed him the mobile, later turned the tables on him by calling up the police to report that he had been robbed off his mobile.

Giving details of the case, the sources in the Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police said Ved Prakash Khatri, a resident of Phase 3B-II, was today picked up by the police on the charges of snatching a mobile phone.

Ved Prakash, a transporter by profession, owns a truck and lives with his family in Mohali.

The crime branch in charge, Inspector Satbir Singh, said a case had been registered in this regard on a complaint filed by Chunni Lal, delivery boy of a city-based gas agency.

Chunni Lal had alleged in his report that an unidentified man riding on a Kinetic Honda scooter sped away after snatching his mobile phone on November 3 in Sector 30.

He told the police that he was coming out of a house after delivering a cylinder when the incident occurred.

Inspector Satbir Singh said Ved Prakash was tracked down by the police on the basis of calls that he made from Chunni Lal's mobile phone.

While quoting Ved Prakash, the police sources said on the fateful day Ved Prakash saw Chunni Lal transferring gas from one cylinder to another. When he told him that he would report the matter to the police, Chunni Lal urged him not to do that and offered Rs 1000 to remain silent.

Instead, he noticed a mobile phone in Chunni Lal's pocket and asked the latter to give the same to him to which Chunni Lal agreed.

After Ved Prakash left the place allegedly with the phone, Chunni Lal called the police and reported that his mobile phone had been snatched by an unidentified scooterist. He also gave the police the incomplete number of the scooter.

When asked about the future course of action, Inspector Satbir Singh said, "We are investigating the matter. We will go through the statements and the allegations made by both the parties and take appropriate action in this regard."



Good response to CHB scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The flats of the Chandigarh Housing Board under a special housing scheme in Sector 49 have witnessed a good response, recording nearly 10 times the number of applicants than the flats available, on the last day here today, sources said.

Mr S.N. Sahai, Chairman of the board, said the scheme invited more than 1,900 applications for 96 two-bedroom flats and the same number for one-room flats.

In the preliminary draw of lots, at least double the number of eligible allottees would be chosen. Following a security of documents, final decision would be taken through another draw of lots. The dates for the draw would be decided soon.

A two-bedroom flat is priced at Rs 32 lakh while a one bedroom flat would cost Rs 15.9 lakh. A two-bedroom (1,150 sq ft) on the first floor will cost Rs 26 lakh and Rs 24 lakh on the top floor. At the same time, the price of the one-bedroom flat (650 sq ft) will vary between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 13 lakh on the first and the second floor, respectively.



Celebrating life with serenity
Geetu Vaid
Tribune News Service

Rishi Nityapragya
Rishi Nityapragya

Chandigarh, November 28
At first glance there was no contrast as long flowing tresses, beard, tilak on forehead, flowing white robes and serenity writ large over his visage and reflected in his honey dew voice made Rishi Nityapragya look every inch a guru or a teacher that he is with the Art Of Living organisation. But he sure was a bundle of surprises whether it was his ecstatic response to the South Africa-India ODI or getting teary-eyed while recollecting his first meeting with his teacher and mentor Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or his gay abandon. Ask him about this and he says ‘‘My life is full of celebration, truth, responsibility and meditation (silence) and these reactions are shades of all these.’’

‘‘The problem with most people is that they do not live in the present moment and carry unhappy memories of past or fear of future in their hearts. If we free our mind from these then only can we achieve the state of bliss’’, said this guru with a difference who was in the city on Friday to conduct a satsang at MCM DAV College, Sector 36, in the final leg of his tour of Punjab during which he had conducted eight satsangs in eight days.

Originally from Baroda 41-year-old Nitin Limaye (his original name) is a teacher with a difference qualified chemical engineer who loved to race motor cycles, had an orchestra group besides acting in DD plays and worked with IPCL for six years before his quest for his life’s purpose took him to the Art Of Living course. ‘‘The effect of the basic course was so great and magical that progression to the advanced course and meeting Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and becoming a voluntary teacher with AOL was but natural’’ ‘‘I was looking for a purpose and my experience with guruji revealed that the purpose of life is to put a smile on the face of everyone to spread the sunshine of happiness. That happiness which can not be taken away by anything and that is what I have been doing for the past 15 years’’, he says candidly.

How does it feel to be a teacher? ‘‘The teacher is also a learner the difference is that a teacher is a conduit or instrument of the divine and thus his life is continuously soaked in divine grace’’, he says while admitting that his is the best occupation in the world. ‘‘Now I am in a bigger job and now I handle bigger chemicals’’, he adds with a disarming smile.

The satsang conducted by him in the city was attended by over 1500 persons and comprised bhajans, meditation and gyan charcha.

He also talked about the YES+ programme of AOL which is aimed at harnessing the energy of youth positively and to make them counter negativities and lead a fuller and meaningful life.



Put bridles on stray cattle, cry residents
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, November 28
The stray cattle menace has assumed alarming proportions in the town with people continuing to lose their lives or sustain serious injuries in road accidents involving such animals.

Although the Municipal Council has claimed that the menace is under check, residents have come down heavily on the authorities for failing to find a solution to the serious problem.

Mr D.P. Singh, president of the Phase IX Industrial Welfare Association, said today that he himself was a victim about two months ago when his car collided with a stray animal on the road at night. He said his vehicle was badly damaged in the accident.

Mr D.P. Singh flayed the council for its inability to tackle the menace.

He said representatives of various religious organisations, which might be opposed to catching and transporting such animals outside the town, NGOs and the council should hold a meeting to find a way out to end the problem which had been plaguing the town for a long time.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a former municipal councillor who lives in Phase II, said the problem had become acute with stray cattle seen frequently on roads, streets and in parks. People had lost their lives in accidents involving stray animals. A woman in Phase I and a man in Phase IV were reported to have died in such mishaps on the road, she added.

She said nobody seemed to be bothered about solving the problem. “I have brought the problem to the notice of the council authorities several times but to no avail.”

Earlier, the council faced the problem of finding a place to keep the impounded animals. However, there was now a cattle pound available with the council but the menace persisted.

Mrs Sapna Jain, a resident of Phase VII, said the cattle problem in Phase VII was less severe as compared to that in Sector 70.

She said here daughter went for tuition to Sector 70 where she found a large number of stray cattle on roads. Her daughter usually got scared to see so many animals moving about on the roads.

Mrs Jain said that even in Phase VII stray cattle created unhygienic conditions.

However, the municipal wing responsible for checking the cattle problem said that efforts were made regularly to deal with the menace.

Mr Kesar Singh, in charge of the wing, said between April 1 this year and October 31 as many as 297 head of cattle were cuaght and 241 of these were released outside the town limits. Fines totalling Rs 51,000 were also levied on offending owner’s.

Mr Kesar Singh said there was no gaushala in the town where these animals could be sent. Besides, the cattle pound of the civic body had a capacity of only 60 to 70. Even at the pound there were problems relating to fodder and shortage of manpower.

He said the problem might have worsened to some extent as the municipal staff were busy collecting ‘tehbazari’ during the Divali season.



Fauji Beat
Reservation will weaken Army

Almost every year, one politician or the other comes up with the proposal that there should be reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Army. Reservation in the Army can only be done by lowering its standards of selection. No country can fight a war with soldiers having lower standards. As it is, every Indian citizen can join the Army, if he is found fit in all respects.

What to talk of reservation, even mixing various classes in infantry units lowers their fighting potential. No wonder then that Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in his foreword to the book “Behind the Scene” said this against mixing of classes in the regiments: “Are the past glories and achievements of the regiments like the Mahrathas, the Sikhs, the Dogras, the Rajputs, the Madras, the Gorkhas, etc, to be forgotten? Are their famous rallying slogans to be done away with? In the name of God desist from such folly. Neither God nor future generations will forgive the perpetrators of such misplaced nationalism as will lead to the destabilisation of the famous Indian Army”.

The Army is one organisation where reservation will prove suicidal because you cannot afford to put up a weak front to the enemy. No true politician, who is sincere to the country, should even think of reservation in the Army, for it will cut at the very roots of its fighting potential.

Why this discrimination?

The passing away of the last living Victoria Cross Subedar Major and Honorary Captain Umrao Singh brings to one’s mind the high traditions that the British had passed on to the Indian Army. If being foreigners, they got the best out of the Indian Army, it was because they held the Army in high esteem. Even after 1947, they continued to keep association with their erstwhile comrades in India.

British officers used to come all the way to attend reunions of their regiments in India. a few of them, who are still alive, come to their regiments on such occasions. Not only that, they have always been inviting the Victoria Cross and other award winners to the UK every year. That their ties are still alive with us was proved by Brig Ian Rees, from the British High Commission, who laid a wreath on behalf of the British Government on the body of Honorary Captain Umrao Singh.

Now compare this with how we treat these Indian soldiers. All the gallantry award winners are exempted from paying income tax on their pension. But this concession is not extended to the pre-Independence gallantry award winners. As per the rules, they are not even allowed treatment in military hospitals. It is a different matter that they are not refused this treatment at the military hospitals as a goodwill gesture. Why this discrimination against them? Are they not Indians?

Canine contribution

First to use trained dogs for close combat were the Romans. The Allied Forces used about 2.5 lakh dogs during World War II. In India, we started a dog-training wing as part of the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) at Meerut in 1960. At present, we have German Shepherd and Labrador dogs in the Army dog units. These dogs are trained in various disciplines i.e. for guarding, mine and explosive detection and for tracking.

They are also used in infantry patrols. To meet the ever-increasing demand of dogs, the RVC has also taken to breeding of pups. Every pup is allotted a personal number and name.

Dogs have saved many human lives by detecting explosive devices and mines in the ongoing Jammu and Kashmir militancy. These have also proved useful in tracking down humans from under the debris in the recent earthquake. Several dogs have earned the Chief of the Army Staff’s and the Army Commanders’ commendation cards for their exceptional performance.

— Pritam Bhullar



Auction of hotel site on December 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Mr S.K.Sandhu, Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary Information Technology, said today that the companies, which had already set up five star hotels, would be eligible for participating in the auction of hotel site at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) to be held on December 3, by Estate Officer at Hotel Mountview.

According to a press note, the hotel site at the RGCTP is a commercial site and therefore keeping in view the rules regarding such sites in Chandigarh it has been decided to allot the site on leasehold basis for a period of 99 years, after the auction. This leasehold model is also followed by the Delhi Government and other state governments in respect of hotel sites. The maximum height permissible for the hotel building will be 74 feet and the FAR will be 1.25. The business hotel will have 100 to 150 rooms and a convention centre for 1200 persons.

An enthusiastic response has been received by the local Estate Office for the auction.



Speaking Out
City elated over monorail project
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The decision to revive the monorail project by the Chandigarh Administration has come as a good news for the residents who have been at the receiving end of the poor public transport system in the tricity.

Varinder Garg, Tarlochan Singh, S.M. Khan, Ashwani Gupta
Varinder Garg, Tarlochan Singh, S.M. Khan, Ashwani Gupta

With Chandigarh on the threshold of the IT revolution, it is the right time to implement the monorail project which would pave the way for the mass rapid transit system (MRTS) in the city

When implementated, the monorail would solve several problems afflicting the city, particularly the traffic chaos and environmental pollution, the residents felt.

Here are the views of a cross-section of residents:

“Though coming a bit late, the monorail project will definitely prove to be a boon for the commuters having no means of conveyance. The effort should be to have an integrated transport system covering the tricity and its periphery. It would also have a positive impact on the economy through fuel saving and environmental preservation.”

— Varinder Garg, advocate and tax consultant

“The sooner the city has the monorail the better as traffic chaos is rampant with the city having the highest vehicular density in the country. Before the situation goes out of control, the administration should get down to work. After all an efficient public transport system was the need of the hour.”

— Tarlochan Singh, property consultant

“The administration should learn from the mistakes of the Delhi Metro and make the proposed monorail project “people-friendly” keeping in mind the peculiar needs of Chandigarh and its peripheral towns. Chandigarh has all the pre-requisites for the successful operation of the MRTS.

— SM Khan, hotelier

“Till now the erratic public transport has been having an adverse affect on the business and trade. The monorail project, besides giving a fillip to the tourism industry, will prove to be a boon for the trade and business. It will also be of great help to the professionals and city residents besides the students and people frequenting the city for various purposes.

— Ashwani Gupta, businessman



Lions Club meeting held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Lions Club, Chandigarh Host, organised a meeting at Lions Bhavan, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Saturday where Lion R.K. Rana, vice District governor of Lions Club International District 321F, paid an official visit. He appreciated the staff of Deaf Dumb Children School being run by the club for the last few decades.

He was overwhelmed to see an award being won by one of the student of the school. While presenting a trophy, he said special children need special attention and care and with proper training, they could do wonders not only for their families but also for the society as a whole.

Lions R.K. Rana, a social activist, urged the members to come out as a role model for the other 140 clubs of District 321F as it is one of the pioneer club of the district.



Faux pas by CID
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The faux pas of CID came to the fore at the district courts here today yet again. While the case filed by the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was not listed for hearing today, the CID tipped security agencies about the case following which a security ring was thrown around the court complex around 8.30 am.

Barricades were put to regulate traffic and security personnel were deployed. However, when the litigants failed to appear by around 10.30 am, Mr N.S. Minhas, counsel for Mr Badal was contacted. He told CID sleuths that no case was listed for today, following which the security was withdrawn.



Auction fails to enthuse bidders

Panchkula, November 28
The auction of sites for shops in sabzi mandi and anaj mandi in Sector 20 failed to enthuse bidders and Mandi Board officials. Of the 63 sites, only one site was auctioned for Rs 81.55 lakh.

The Market Committee, Panchkula, had organised the auction. No reserve price was fixed for the site, and the officials asked the bidders to bid according to the existing market rates. The first site was auctioned for Rs 81. 55 lakh but the final bid for the second site reached only Re 68 lakh. The committee cancelled the auction on the pretext that the bid amount was too less. TNS



Office-bearers elected

Mohali, November 28
The following have been elected office-bearers of the local Audit and Accounts Fraternity: president — Mr Surinder Singh Bawa; general secretary — Mr Harbans Singh Kanwal; senior vice-president — Mr Jagir Singh Lalia; vice-president — Mr Kabul Singh; additional general secretary — Mr Gurdial Singh; assistant secretaries — Mr Manmohan Dada and Mr Jatinder Pal Sehgal; and finance secretary — Mr Jaspal Singh Sandhu. OC



3 employees of SDM’s office in police custody
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 28
Three employees of licencing and registration branch of SDM office, Panchkula, were arrested today for involvement in the fake registeration of vehicles scam.
The three employees — clerks Surat Singh and Surinder Singh and a former Personal Assistant to SDM, Shiv Shankar — were arrested by the police yesterday.

They were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Gulab Singh, and remanded to three days in police custody.

It is alleged that the three employees used to receive anything from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for helping the kingpin, Anup Pal, prepare fake registeration documents of stolen vehicles.

Anup Pal, a resident of Sector 17 here, had allegedly got fake documents of 50 cars prepared from July 1997 to October 2003.

These cars were stolen from different places in Punjab and Haryana, and later sold off to his accomplices Prem Kumar Singla and Subhash Bansal.

Anup Pal’s bluff was called by the SDM, Panchkula, Mr Virender Dahiya, when he was examining his request for reassignment of NOC and registration copy for a car in January this year.

Anup Pal had approached the SDM office for getting re- registeration of a Bolero (BR-01 AD-8600) and a Tata Sumo (BR-01 AC- 9100). The man submitted NOC’s from the District Transport Office, Patna, claiming that the vehicles were originally registered there.

On verification of documents, the SDM found that the DTO office at Patna had never registered these vehicles.

Insurance papers, attached with the application for the Bolero, were in fact the same as were attached with the registeration application of another vehicle with registeration number HR-03D- 9697 — a number which had not been alloted to any vehicle.



Drive against travel agents
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 28
The local Crime Branch of the Chandigarh police has launched a special drive against the travel agents indulging in “kabootarbazi” (human trafficking) in the city. As a part of the drive the police today arrested a city-based travel agent on the charges of duping two brothers of Rs 2 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad.

Giving details, the crime branch in charge Inspector Satbir Singh said Anjali Kaplish, alias Neena Sharma, Managing Director of Sector 35-C based Durga Finance and Immigration Consultants was arrested following a registration of a criminal case of cheating against her.

Mr Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Medond village in Fatehabad district in Haryana, in his complaint alleged that he had given Rs 1.5 lakh to the accused to get a three-month work permit in Australia. Similarly, his brother, Harminder Singh had given Rs 50,000 for a three-month work visa of Canada. The payments were given in the month of May this year. They had given away their passport and other documents for the purpose.

When the accused failed to deliver his promise the matter was brought to the notice of the police. The police said a case had been registered after conducting inquiries in this matter. Sources added that more complaints were expected to come in future in this regard.



Judge’s driver held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 28
District and Sessions Judge Mr Arvind Kumar's driver today barged into the chamber of Chief Judicial Magistrate in an inebriated state and tried to misbehave with the latter.

The incident took place in the afternoon when the driver, Malkiat Singh, allegedly in an inebriated state, started shouting outside the chamber of the CJM, Mr Gulab Singh.

As some other employees tried to calm him down, he pushed them away and barged into the CJM's chambers.

He reportedly babbled and tried to misbehave with the CJM but the latter called the police. Malkiat Singh was arrested on charges of drinking at a public place.



Scooterist snatches nurse’s purse
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 28
Snatching continues unabated in the city. Two unidentified persons sped away on a scooter afer snatching a purse from a woman in Sector 15 this evening.
According to sources in the police, Karamjit Kaur, a staff nurse at the Sector 16 Government Hospital, in her complaint alleged that two persons snatched her purse as she was alighting from an autorickshaw near the Sector 15 petrol station around 7.30 pm. The purse contained Rs 700, a mobile phone and an ATM card. A case has been registered.



Class II student wins Tata Safari
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
It was a dream come true for a Sector 8 resident and a Class II student of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, Arshya Mandhar, who won a Tata Safari in the Sector 17 shop fest draw held here last night.

A parking contractor and a resident of Sector 44, Devinder Singh and Shalinder Verma of Sector 7 walked away with Tata Indigo cars. The Tata Marina cars went to Vinod (Sector 7) and Haryjot (Phase 7 of Mohali). 


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