C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Film city likely in Sarangpur
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Chandigarh is fast emerging as a close ally of the Bollywood with all ground work ready for a film city and an accompanying acting school in the city.

The Home Secretary and the Director Tourism are all set to participate in the “Cinematic Tourism Promotion” conclave in Mumbai on December 17. The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) recently released an advertisement seeking application from girls likely to feature in a film sequence of Yash Chopra’s forthcoming film, and there has been a “good response”.

This year the city has witnessed shooting of at least five different movies in the city.

The conclave at Mumbai, focussing specifically on Chandigarh, will also looking for cinematic avenues in entire North India. A senior UT official said besides providing opportunity for shooting in local sites, the city was a gateway to many places in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The work for processing, editing, sound recording and other related finer details could be handled at the proposed film city.

The Chandigarh Administration is learnt to have identified at least 10 acres in Sarangpur village for the project. Following the completion of the preliminary exercises, more land was likely to be allocated, sources said.

Eminent film producers, including Yash Chopra and Suneel Darshan, have shown their keenness in developing the city as a centre of film production. Yash Chopra is reportedly in regular correspondence with the Administration and the Director of CITCO has also called on him in Mumbai.

It is important to mention that at least five different feature films were shot in the locales of the city during the past one year, which is probably the highest figure recorded in the past. The films include “Short-Cut” (cast: Sahil Khan, Mustaq Mohammad and Payal), “Chanchal” (cast: Gracy Singh) and “Dosti” (Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Bobby Deol). “Alene”, featuring Dharmendra, Bobby Deol and Sunny Deol, is scheduled to be shot later this month.

A senior official pointed out that at the planning stage, a film institute was meaningless in case the control remained in government hands. “The art of film making is entirely a different line and needs professional hands. Managing a good faculty will not be easy for the government, as a lot of bargaining has to be done to attract reputed names in the industry.

The Administration is working on a draft specifying the details in the execution of the project. Catering to the basic infrastructure, the Administration will provide approach roads, lights and water supply in addition to other structural needs. The Administration is also planning to study studios at the international level to provide state-of-the-art facilities.

It is felt that the Administration needs to be convinced for making concessions, at least or the first entrants at the venue. Besides basic infrastructure, the site also demands special gardens, helipad, courtrooms, temples, banks, post office, restaurants and a number of other profession-related places. The official said the Administration was committed to make the proposal a success so all groundwork was being done after detailed discussions with the quarters concerned.



CBI grills 2 Sachha Sauda members
Tight security arrangements in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 12
Scared by the large number of Dera Sachha Sauda supporters who choked city roads in October this year, the Chandigarh police today made elaborate security arrangement anticipating protest as two members of Dera were called by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning.

The cops waited with bated breath during the day, but the protesters did not come and everything went on peacefully. Only two members of the Dera, Avtar Singh and Inder Sain, who were called for questioning, came to the CBI office.

In an effort to leave nothing to chance this time, the local police set up barricades outside the CBI office in Sector 30 since early morning. About 250 cops, including 115 from Punjab police, were deployed in the vicinity to tackle any untoward incident. The police deployed highway trauma van, riot control vehicle and fire brigade and the senior officers of they UT police made rounds of the building throughout the day. All the three SHOs of the sub-division east were present on the spot during the day.

Similar arrangements were made at the parade ground and near “Matka Chowk”. The cops were remained deployed outside the CBI office till about 6 pm until Avtar Singh and Inder Sain left the office premises. They were allowed to go out for lunch at around 1.30 pm and they came back by 2.30 pm.

Sources in the police said there were reports that the Dera supporters were going in for a big action on December 12. There were reports that the supporters would block highways and railway tracks to mark their protest against the CBI proceedings.



Maloya murder suspects behind
another killing: police

Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 12
It was sheer chance that the Chandigarh Police cracked the case of murder of an unidentified man, whose headless body was found in the jungle near Maloya village in February this year.

While interrogating the two suspects in the last Sunday’s murder case, the police stumbled on the fact that they were also connected to the murder of an unidentified man, whose body was found in Maloya village on February 4. Victims in both the murder cases reportedly had illicit relations with the wives of two real brothers and this is being cited as the motice behind the two murders.

The police had, on Saturday, arrested Mewa Ram and his nephew Sucha for being involved in the murder of an unidentified man, whose body was found on December 5. The police said Sucha along with his uncle Mewa Ram and three brothers Darshan, Masih and Raj Kumar had killed the man after he was caught in a compromising situation with Sucha’s wife on December 4. The suspects belonging to Sansi tribe, had been living in an orchard, which they had taken on a lease. The other suspects fled from the orchard after Mewa Ram and Sucha were arrested by the police.

The police has managed to arrest Raj Kumar, one of the suspects, from Chandigarh today while the other two suspects were still at large.

Addressing mediapersons the UT Deputy Superintendent of Police, (DSP), Crime Branch, Mr Om Prakash, said, “There were similarities in both the murders. The circumstantial evidences in both the cases indicated towards illicit relations as the reason behind the killings. As underwears of both the victims were lowered, their trousers were missing and they had been killed brutally.” Working on these clues the police succeeded in cracking this case.

On February 4, this year a headless body was found in the jungle area near Maloya village. The head of the victim, who appeared to be in his thirties, was not found from the spot and his identity remained a mystery for the police.

The DSP said during interrogation Mewa Singh and Sucha confessed to having killed the man for honour.

They told the police that on February 3 Darshan Singh, elder brother of Sucha Singh, found his wife Usha with an unidentified man. He called his brothers and they allegedly gagged the man with a pillow.

The man was then taken to a secluded place and was killed and his head was chopping off.

A special investigating team of the police comprising Inspector Satbir Singh and the SHO of Sector 39 police station, that was set up to solve the Sunday’s blind murder is yet to establish the identity of both the victims.



Chandigarh-Morinda rail link
to be ready by mid-January

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

V.N. Mathur
V.N. Mathur

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh-Morinda section of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link will be ready by mid-January 2006, said the General Manager of Northern Railway, Mr. V.N. Mathur, after inspecting the link here today.

Due to the delay in implementation of the project, the overall costs of the project has shot above Rs 400 crore against the initial cost of around Rs 377 crore.

“A total of Rs 200 crore had been spent so far of the Rs 270 crore sanctioned by the Railway Board for the project. But the electrification of track had not been approved yet”, said the GM.

Underbridges and overpasses

The General Manager, Northern Railway on Monday had a meeting with the Punjab Chief Secretary to sort out the issue of cost sharing of the 21 underbridges and overpasses on main roads. Sources said though an agreement was reached between the two parties, the issue would be put before the Punjab Chief Minister at the board meeting. In the past Punjab had been refusing the share the cost of projects.

He added that certain shortcomings, noticed by inspecting officers, were being removed before the green light was given by the Commissioner, Railway Safety (CRS).

While indicating towards the tentative schedule of opening the track, Mr Mathur did not divulge the dignitary who was being approached to inaugurate the line. Sources said efforts were being made to bring the UPA President Ms Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minster, Dr Manmohan Singh, for the function.

Talking to mediapersons, he said after inspecting the track he found that all the safety-related parameters had been fulfilled and it was capable of withstanding high speed trains.

On being asked about the completion of the remaining 67 km long Morinda-Sahnewal- Ludhiana track, he said it would take another three years as the process to acquire land in nine of the 15 villages was in progress.

Till the line up to Ludhiana was completed, Northern Railway had decided to daily run two trains, including a diesel multiple unit (DMU), on the Chandigarh-Morinda-Una section. The existing DMU, running between Ambala and Una section would be diverted through the new section, said sources in the department.

Though the completion of the Chandigarh-Morinda section of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana project may not be of much help to commuters travelling to Ludhiana, but it would help the commuters travelling on the Chandigarh-Anandpur Sahib route, by providing a shorter and direct link between the city and the birthplace of the Khalsa.

He said electrification was not required at the moment as there was no plan to divert any of the long distance trains and only shuttle trains would be run.

The profitability of the track would be analysed before the traffic, including the good trains, were introduced on the section.

On being asked about the Public Reservation System (PRS) counters at the new Mohali and new Morinda stations, he said efforts were being made to start reservation at Mohali.

But no such plans had been worked out at Morinda. Though there would be no electrification on the track, but provision of electrification at the new stations en route had been made for use at the respective stations.

Besides, he said the rail line up to Kashmir would be completed by 2009. Information on the opening of two new sections in Ferozepore Division was also disclosed by the GM.



Baddi to have rail connectivity with UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
There is good news for the entrepreneurs based at Baddi. The industrial hub would have direct rail connectivity with Chandigarh.

On a request of the Himachal Pradesh Government, Northern Railway has started a feasibility study of a 20 km stretch between the two places. The proposed line would join the Kalka-Chandigarh line near Pinjore.

Confirming that the feasibility study had been started, the General Manager, Northern Railway, Mr V.N. Mathur, said profitability of the project would be analysed. In lieu of the Chandigarh-Baddi line, the old proposal for laying the Kalka-Parwanoo broad gauge line had been scrapped at the instance of the Himachal Pradesh Government.

Sources in the railways said the importance of Baddi could not be ignored as a lot of industry had come up there and there was no rail connectivity to the town. The proposed line would make movement of freight easy and economical.

The proposed rail line could also benefit a number of ancillary units in adjoining districts of Punjab which were feeding the bigger units at Baddi. The industrial hub of Punjab, Mandi Gobindgarh, could benefit from it.

Meanwhile, talking about the upgradation of the Chandigarh railway station, Mr Mathur said more public reservation counters were being added at the station. There were plans to instal electronic tough screen and an unreserved ticketing system (UTS) at the Sector 17 bus stand reservation counter.

The DRM, Ambala Division, Mr R.K. Tandon, who was accompanying the GM, said two more platforms had been added to the station, another washing line was coming up and the sanitation was being improved. There were plans to provide new uniforms to safai karamcharis and involve NGOs in the maintaining cleanliness at the stations in the division. A budget hotel is proposed to be built at the station.



Passing Thru

Alok Kumar, former Asian snooker champion
Alok Kumar, former Asian snooker champion

Do you think cue sport (snooker, billiards and pool) are getting desired attention in India?

Yes, the sub-junior category (under-17) in the cue sport is being introduced for the first time in the National Cue Sport Championship to be held next month in Chennai. This will definitely help the sport to grow.

Why are cue sport tournaments not played at the school level?

The next step will be to make cue sport tables available in the schools so that children can develop their love for this sport.

You belong to Punjab, what is the status of this sport in the state?

I am the secretary of the Punjab Billiards and Snooker Association which was revived after a long time. Recently we had a major tournament in Jalandhar which helped in giving a boost to this sport in the region.

How about sponsors in cue sport?

We are now getting encouraging response from the corporate sector which is willing to invest in this sport.

What is the image of Indian cueists at the world level?

Indian snooker and billiards players are a force to reckon with in the world. Michael Fareira, Geet Sethi, myself and Pankaj Advani command respect in the world arena.

— Arvind Katyal



Chandigarh Calling

Vacant plots are dumping yards

Innovation may not be the key to success. After someone dumped a condemned jeep in a vacant plot in Mohali, and the plot owner was unable to remove it because of the cost factor, he decided to use the jeep for displaying a message, telling people not to throw any garbage in the plot. But things are obviously not helping. With the garbage being thrown all over the jeep, and wild growth all over, it seems that the plot owner’s innovation has not paid.

Sabzi Mandi

If you are planning to visit Sector-26 grain market, think again. Rampant encroachments by vendors, littered waste, stray dogs, poor traffic management and bad parking are just a few of the troubles waiting for you here. In fact, once you enter the market it takes all your manipulative skills to negotiate the way out. There are no separate entries for vehicles carrying produce and pedestrians. The two-way passage to the market is narrow, rendering it perennially congested. The mess becomes more pronounced in the night hours owing to the poor lighting. Unrelenting vendors, usually under 10 years of age, thrust their spinach or green chillies or ‘pudina’ right up your nose.


Prof Arun D. Ahluwalia of Geology Department of Panjab University has proceeded on December 7 to Kalimpong Subdivision of Darjeeling Hills to advise in the community-based disaster preparedness on the request of NGO Anugyalaya, a Darjeeling Diocese Social Service Society. The areas falling under Nimbong, Pabringta and Angmakhmar Gram Panchayats are the worst hit by landslides and some hot gases are reportedly emanating there. The collaboration is an outcome by the PU Professor at a refresher course to IAS Officers of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Missourie. A young IAS Officer, Mrs Choten Lama, was inspired and advised the NGO to take PU help in tackling this basement problem.

Dirty job

It still remains a mystery if a trickle of water has oozed out or not following the noisy, month-long, drilling by the administration. But one thing is too obvious— mounds of dirt are spoiling clean environs of a part of the Sector 21-C. The residents of the sector had barely heaved a sigh of relief at the withdrawal of boring machines that they were left to cope up with another dilemma. Whenever a gust comes, houses, located in the vicinity of the boring spot, have to bear the brunt with a thick layer of dust covering them. The dust is also resulting in air pollution and is especially hazardous for asthma patients. But the situation has come as a windfall for domestic helps who are demanding double the charges to mop the floor. Homemakers are cribbing and that is all they can do. The question is who will clean up the administration’s dirty job?

Her voice

Finally, a magazine that celebrates Sikh womanhood is here. It is called KAURS, appropriately titled after the middle name that unites all Sikh Women. Started by women themselves, the magazine seeks to portray the Sikh woman not in the traditional context of a passive housewife but rather to echo her social, economic and spiritual voice as she plays an increasingly vital role in decision making process inside and outside of her home.

KAURS is a bi-monthly and bilingual (English/ Punjabi) magazine. It is a manifestation of the voice of the contemporary Sikh women who have chosen to live according to the principles of Sikhism and seek guidance from their glorious history,” says Roma Kaur, the magazine’s editor-in-chief who launched the magazine in the city the past week.

Stray dogs

Even as residents prefer to remain indoors in the chilly weather, stray dogs rule the roost in the streets. At night they put to risk the lives of two-wheeler drivers.In fact, this season seems to be quite fertile for ‘man’s best friends’ as hordes of puppies have appeared from nowhere. The harried residents are at their wits’ end as how to control the stray dog menace. The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) officials, it appear, are also fumbling for solutions to control the menace. Accidents are a routine affair as the stray dogs chase the two-wheeler drivers and strangers. And repeated representations to the MCC seem to have fallen on deaf ears, harassed residents complain.

Contributors: Chitleen K.Sethi, Vishal Sharma, Pradeep Sharma, Sanjeev Singh Bariana and Nirupama Dutt



Project to protect heritage trees
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Trees in Chandigarh will no longer remain ornamental embellishments and counterfoils to the ambient brick and concrete architecture of the city. Instead, a city based NGO, Yuvsatta, with the support and patronage of Department of Forests and Environment, has started managing, enhancing and expanding the vital collection of trees while documenting their historic, scientific, aesthetic, environmental, economic and educational value simultaneously under the campaign ‘Project Heritage Trees’.

To this end the volunteers of Yuvsatta have already started marking the trees which are rare and are unique examples of species, cultivar form, size or other remarkable feature. The project will also focus on installing lightning conductors on some of the trees to protect them from damage caused by lightning, along with measures like prevention of soil compaction or excavation around the root zone. In addition, ‘Heritage Trees Fund’ and ‘Heritage Tree Tour’ will also be organised. According to the project which is being executed in two phases, the first two months will focus on mobilising people, educational institutions, resident welfare associations, corporate houses and environment conscious people for the purpose of identification and documentation. This will be followed by the second phase of six months wherein adoption and care programme for the heritage trees will be initiated.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Ishwar Singh, IFS, DCF-cum-Director, Department of Environment, UT Chandigarh, informed that Chandigarh was the only city in India where there were two legislations for the protection and preservation of trees. These are Tree Preservation Order which was issued in 1952 under which no tree can be felled without permission of the Finance Secretary and the Indian Forest Act 1989. He added that such a project was indeed needed to protect and preserve trees which were old and rare but also had mythological and medicinal value. At present stress is being laid on the plantation of indigenous trees lie neem, pipal and bad, added the Director.

Meanwhile, a heritage tree board has also been constituted and nomination from the general public interested in the cause is also called for. Also any individual or organisation can nominate a deserving tree, for the heritage status. Once endorsed, the tree will be include in the heritage trees list of Chandigarh for the purpose of conservation and education.

The convener of the project, Mr Pramod Sharma, said each community had a tree that was a landmark and a living witness and hence their legacy should be presented to the coming generations.

The project also involves educationists like District Education Officer, R.S. Goraya, and environmentalist and scientists from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). According to Dr Satish Narula, scientist PAU Extension Centre, the world’s largest mango tree existed in Chandigarh at Burail village with a vast canopy.



Family awaits a good Samaritan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Things were looking up for Harpal Singh, a resident of Pipliwala Town, after he underwent a kidney transplant operation in the year 2000. After being sick for two years, he finally regained lost energy and even went back to his work of making nameplates.

Five years down the line, with a family of six to support, he was making enough money to sustain a decent living. “I was getting my medicine from the hospital practically free of cost. This was the only expenditure I was required to make post transplant and it was well taken care of,” he says.

However, now, this is not forthcoming since the PGIMER, where he was operated upon, cannot keep on providing this medicine to him indefinitely. “They have asked us to make our own arrangements. We don’t know where to go. We need a helping hand to fund this expenditure of Rs 10,000 a month I can’t even dream of earning that much money. Moreover, with four school-going kids in my family, I would need a lot more than that even to make both ends meet,” he maintains.

His wife, perturbed by the turn of events, says in desperation,”How will we organise the money? So much was spent on the transplant. If he can’t live another three-four years despite all the effort that went in, it will be a wasted operation. I can’t see him die for want of medicine.”

A daily wager who goes from office to office in search of the work of writing name plates, Harpal Singh says the gloom in his house due to the sudden turn of events depresses him no end.

“The children are aware of the difficult times the family is going through. My eldest son also offered to quit studies and become a daily wager. However, I realise that this too would not serve any purpose since no job will give him Rs 10,000 a month. On top of that, he won’t even be a able to get a Class X pass certificate. In such a situation we can only look towards others for help,” says Harpal Singh.



Engineer gives MNCs run for their money
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Suresh Sharma
Suresh Sharma

Chandigarh, December 12
An engineer making it big in the medical field is rather unusual and unique. Mr Suresh Sharma, Managing Director of Allengers Medical Systems Limited, has performed the feat and is giving MNCs run for their money in the country and abroad in manufacture and export of specialised medical equipment.

In fact,having a current sales of about Rs 500 million, Mr Sharma’s company has emerged as the “Indian MNC” in the international arena where it had successfully been rubbing shoulders with such giants as GE, Philips and Siemens for years now.Allengers’ success is all the more creditable as it had never gone in for a collaboration with any company so far.

And if the track record of the company in supplying and exporting medical equipment, including X-ray machines, mobile C-arm image intensifiers, lithotripter, mammography unit, mobile cathlab and ultra sound scanner is any indication there seems to be no stopping the company.It has the domestic market share of about 35 per cent and the growth rate has been consistent at 20-25 per cent for the past three years.

Apart from leading domestic hospitals, the company has supplied its equipment to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, to name just a few countries.

It all started in 1987 when Mr Sharma, a former electronics engineer with the electronic giant GE, formed the Allengers to “serve the society for its health care requirements”. “With no background in medical field, I only had obsession to succeed in life through the R and D efforts,” Mr Sharma told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

“Innovation and commitment to customers and employees, besides fair dealing, are the keys to success. It is our endeavour to add a new product every year through our indigenous efforts,” added Mr Sharma.

With “We are global” as the motto, the year 2004 had been a high point in company’s soaring performance graph. It launched the mobile cathlab and achieved 100 machines per month production milestone in during last year.

On the future of the X-ray machines with the coming of the new technologies such as ultrasound, Mr Sharma claimed that the X-ray machines would be relevant for all times to come since the bony body parts could only be diagnosed by them.

The company, Mr Sharma informed, was waiting for “CE certification” which would enable it to export its products to the developed countries. It is in the pipeline and should take about two months, he added with a smile.



Programme in Halwarvi’s memory
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 12
Litterateurs from the city converged at the Chandigarh Press Club in a meet the poet programme organised by the newly formed Halvarvi International Literary Forum, in the memory of well known journalist and poet, Harbhajan Singh Halvarvi, the former editor of the Punjabi Tribune.

The Denmark-based Punjabi poet, Swaran Singh Parwana, known as the poet of humanism, recited his choicest poems, which reflected his insight into the profound depth of Punjabi poetry. Laced with the social and spiritual thought, his verses are weaved with a sense of realism and humanism, universal religion and brotherhood.

Hailing from Simbly , a sleeping village near Hoshiarpur, the prolific writer Parwana had been editing a magazine ‘Sone-savera’ since 1960 before migrating to Denmark in 1977. He is keeping his literary passion alive in the alien land through creative writings for his magazine ‘Vishav Punjabi ghazal’, which he had been editing since 1996.

Credited with eight publications, Parwana is engaged in the promotion and propagation of Punjabi literature through a radio station ‘ Radio-Pride of India’ established by him in Copenhagen. Presently president of the Asian Writers Association, Denmark, Parwana has instituted an international annual award Baba Bulleshah Purskar since 1988 which was bestowed upon Harbhajan Halvarvi in 1995.

Noted sufi singer Dev Dildar presented four ghazals penned by Parawna, which were well received. Earlier, the forum chairman welcomed the chief guest, C.R. Moudgil, Director, Haryana Punjabi Sahit academy, who honoured Swaran Singh Parwana. Gurnam Singh Derabassi presided over the function conducted by poet Sham Singh.



Fighting female foeticide their mission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
They are a group of small children (aged 11 to 13 years) and they barely reach your knees but when they start talking about a serious issue like female foeticide in detail, one is taken aback, wondering for a second if they even know the meaning of words — abortion, womb — that they so confidently use as part of their “scripted” dialogue. However, a few minutes into conversation with them and all our apprehensions turn into appreciation because of their thorough knowledge about the subject.

These 32 students are part of a group of 200 students who took part in a 13-day workshop organised by Ryan International School, Sector 49, on various visual and performing arts on the theme “Laado-my girl child”, which focuses on the issue of female foeticide. The workshop is part of an effort by the school to increase awareness about the need to save the girl-child.

Practicing for about six hours every day these children (students of Class VI, VII and VIII) have had an opportunity to learn puppetry, theatre, “Kakaripayattu” (which means gymnasium in Malayalam), Mayurbanj Chhau, an art form from Orissa, and painting from a set of experts. Through the various art forms the students will be depicting the burning issue of female foeticide.

Interestingly, street play and puppet show scripts have been written by the students themselves. “We had an interactive session with them and heard their views before incorporating the dialogues and the general script of the play”, informs Utraksh Marwah, Cultural and Creative Director, Ryan Foundation, Delhi.

The students will be performing across the city for the next three days. The inauguration of the festival will be held at Tagore Theatre tomorrow evening at 7 pm .

A painting exhibition will be held at Browser library on December 15 and at the State Library, Sector 34, on December 16.

A street play will be staged at Panjab University, PGI and Pushpac Complex on December 15 while on December 16 it’ll be organised at Khuda Ali Sher, Sukhna Lake and Sector 17. A puppet show — “Ladoo” — will be organised in Indira Colony on December 15 and at Guru Harkishan Public School on December 16.



Army tightens screws on officers
using underhand means

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Army has tightened the screws on officers employing underhand means to get lucrative assignments in various organisations in the Ministry of Defence as well as other government departments.

Issuing revised guidelines on the subject, Army Headquarters (AHQ) has also sought disciplinary action by the departments concerned against erring officers or their reversion back to the Army, sources in Headquarters Western Command, Chandimandir, said.

A letter received by army formations from the Military Secretary’s Branch in AHQ last month states that in order to get their deputation or permanent secondment to organisations like the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Directorate General of Quality Assurance, the Directorate of Standardisation and other organisations and departments facilitated, some officers try to get withdrawn from selection boards for the next promotion.

Officers of the rank of major and lieutenant colonel only are eligible for permanent secondment to such organisations, provided they have completed at least two years’ service with the said department. A large number of service officers are serving with non-uniformed government organisations.

The issue of such a letter indicates that the Army does not find the trend of officers seeking to go on deputation to “civilian departments” to be acceptable.

The letter states that in order to get their nomination to selection boards deferred or withdrawn, officers do not take any action on their confidential reports or they do not cover gaps in their career profile as they are required to do so.

“In order to prevent malpractices by officers for personal gain, names of officers having gaps in their career profile or with confidential reports under observation will not be forwarded for deputation or permanent secondment,” the letter states.

According to the letter, the aforementioned organisations have been asked to reject such officers even though earlier listed for permanent secondment.

“In case officers serving on deputation fail to get their career gaps regularised or observations on reports settled within two months of intimation by the MS Branch, the said organisation will be requested to initiate disciplinary action against the officer or revert him back to the Army,” the letter states.



Fauji Beat
Will CDS continue to elude India?

IN India, history keeps repeating itself. For, we learn lessons from our mistakes in every war, yet the powers that be refuse to implement the decisions that flow from these lessons. One of the major lessons learnt from the Kargil war was that India must have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), as head of the three services to fight a modern war.

After having completed all formalities for it in 2001, followed by the recommendation of the Group of Ministers (GOM), we have been dragging our feet on the decision. This is because of the bureaucrats’ inhibition that if the defence forces are integrated under one head, they will become stronger. And this will result in their (bureaucrats) losing some of their jurisdiction and powers. Our politicians also suffer from an inherent phobia that a strong Army will not augur well for them.

Defence experts strongly feel that the integrated armed forces can fight a modern war more effectively. They also feel that for this, the three services have to integrate their war doctrines besides restructuring and re-equipping themselves.

Ironically, a politician or a bureaucrat is least bothered about what happens to the Army in the next war. Because, what matters for the former is his chair and the latter his power. It seems this mindset will not allow the CDS to become a reality in India.

One rank, one pension

The Minister of the State for Defence, Mr B.K. Handique, informed the Lok Sabha on December 1 that the decision on “one rank, one pension” would be taken soon. Having been repeatedly betrayed by the politicians and bureaucrats, the ex-servicemen do not give much credence to this statement.

At the cost of repetition, the past utterances and “unfulfilled promises” of the politicians are briefly quoted here.

On assuming office as Prime Minister in 1989, Mr V.P. Singh said in his TV address to the nation that his government stood committed to “one rank, one pension” demand. The then President, Mr R. Venkataraman, had also made a similar commitment in his TV address in December, 1989. What followed thereafter was the appointment of the “Jaffa Committee”, which gave a bureaucratic burial to this demand.

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes again revived the hope of the ex-servicemen on April 10, 1999, by saying at Anandpur Sahib: “One rank, one pension demand has been accepted in principle and its implementation is a matter of only a few days”.

The Congress government, having stayed in power at the Centre for a much longer period than any other government, takes the cake in betraying the ex-servicemen. Will it honour its commitment this time? Only the time will tell.

Army recruitment

The present system of “walk in selection” for recruitment in the Army was started in April, 1998. This system has succeded to a large extent to eliminate the role of touts and agents in the selection of candidates.

According to the system, programme of recruitment rallies is issued by the Army Headquarters six months in advance. This is followed by publicity about the place and date of rallies in each region well in advance. At these rallies, after verifying the documents of candidates, they are put through physical tests. Those who are found fit, are medically examined at the rally site itself. The written test is held on the last Sunday of each month throughout the country. The main feature of this system is that the branch recruiting office, which organises the rally, is not involved in the recruiting process.

CSD stores

Why are we not allowed to draw attractive items such as washing machines, geysers and food processors, etc, from the CSD canteens? Complain several defence widows from Haryana. There is no reason why the Haryana Government should debar the widows from availing of this facility from the CSD canteens. Incidentally, there is no such restriction in Punjab.

— Pritam Bhullar



Assessment scheme re-introduced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to reintroduce the deemed assessment scheme in order to facilitate the dealers in getting their pending tax assessment cases cleared.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, informed that the scheme will be implemented under the Punjab Sales Tax Act 1948 as applicable to Chandigarh. The pending cases, for and up to 1999-2000, will be covered, notwithstanding that the assessment proceedings have already been taken by assessment authorities of the Excise and Taxation Department. However, the dealers, who are interested in availing the benefit of this scheme have to opt for the scheme within 90 days of the date of notification.

Mr Sandhu said the conditions of the scheme included that the dealers must have filed all quarterly or monthly returns and have paid the tax as per the returns prescribed under the rule. They must have filed the prescribed form ST-XXX-A within the stipulated period of 90 days.

They need to have deposited the deemed assessment at the rate of Rs 100 per lakh of gross turnover of sales and purchase. The assessment benefit will be available if the dealers submit declaration form - C, F, H and all other prescribed forms.

Mr Sandhu said cases in which the voluntary tax was withheld by the tax payer, whose cases are sub-judice, will not be covered under the scheme.



Fresh survey for Deep Complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh Administration will conduct a fresh survey of Deep Complex in Hallomajra to ascertain the ground reality. This was disclosed during a meeting of residents of Deep Complex which was called by the Deputy Commissioner here today.

The report of the survey would be tabled in the next meeting called by the Deputy Commissioner after 15 days.

During the meeting, officials of the administration asked the residents about the constructions which had come up after 1997 when the land was acquired for the CRPF complex. The residents said an assurance was given by the then officials that the structures would not be displaced.

The residents were categorically told that there would no extension of lal dora. Sources in the administration did not rule out the possibility of a rehabilitation plan being prepared for residents of Deep Complex.

It may be mentioned that residents of the complex are sitting on dharna for the past two months against the move by the administration to acquire 33 acres on which Deep Complex has come up.



Human Rights Day observed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
International Human Rights Day was observed by the Rayat and Bahra College of Education, Sahauran, today as part of human rights week. Various activities were held throughout the week.

The theme of these activities was human rights awareness. A poster-making and slogan-writing competition was organised on the college campus. Students were made aware of human rights and their importance in the present scenario. Literature related to human rights and its awareness was displayed at an exhibition organised in the college library. On the concluding day, a function was organised where paper reading and poetry recitation contests were also organised.



500 structures to be demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh Administration has identified 500 structures, in pocket no. 2, 7, 8, 9 and 11 in Mani Majra which would be demolished to make way for Town Hall.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the officials of Deputy Commissioner and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation held here today.

Sources said while the elected councillors pressed for rehabilitation of the occupants of the houses, the administration was yet to decide on the demand. The land on which the structures are standing has to be acquired for the Town Hall.



Residents’ plea to Deputy Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
The Peoples Voice Gods Voice, a welfare action group, has asked the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, to reject the resolution passed by the Municipal Council for making payments of all pending bills to park maintenance committees.

In a press note, Mr B.L. Tandon of the group said the committees were making and claiming false bills so the payments must be stopped at the earliest. He said the committtees had violated all terms of the agreement signed between the council and the committees.

He alleged that the committees never involved the residents staying near the parks or resident welfare associations.




Chandigarh, December 12
The following have been elected office-bearers and members of executive of the Panjab University Library Staff Association. President — Neelam Sharma; vice-president — Mr S.S. Bedi, secretary — Mr. G.S. Thakar; joint secretary — Mr. R.L. Arora; treasurer — Ms Navjeet Kaur. Executive members — Mr Vinod Grover, Mr Jivesh Bansal, Dr Payare Lal, Ms Indu Dhawan, Ms Mritunjay Kumar and Ms Nirupama Chodha. — TNS



Seven hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Seven persons were injured in a clash over a peice of land at Harpalpur village, near here, last night.

According to information, families of Hazura Singh and Kesar had a long-standing dispute. Both the families exchanged hot words last night which culminated in the fight in which sharp-edged weapons were also used.

The injured included Hazura Singh, his son Sukhdev Singh, Shamsher Kaur, Kesar Singh, Naib Singh, Darshan Kaur and Babi Kaur.

They have been admitted to the Rajpura Civil Hospital where the condition of Shamsher Kaur is stated to be serious.

A case has been registered.



Bribery case: fresh probe against doctor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
The Director-General Health Services, Haryana, Dr Sushma Madan, today ordered a fresh inquiry against Dr Vivek Bhadoo, who has been accused of demanding and accepting bribe from patients.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Madan said following the release of the video CDs where relatives of two patients had accused Dr Bhadoo of accepting bribe from them, she had asked the Additional Director, Capt Ram Kishen, to conduct the inquiry. “I have asked the inquiry officer to submit a report at the earliest,” she said.

The CDs were screened before a gathering of mediapersons last evening and show relatives of two patients alleging that they were forced to shell out Rs 1,600 and Rs 2,500 to Dr Bhadoo.

They allege that Dr Bhadoo asked them to pay the money while their relatives were in the operation theatre on the pretext of getting medicines at wholesale prices.



Four cows killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
As many as four cows were killed when a truck carrying them, allegedly to a slaughter house in UP, broke down on the Chandigarh-Rajpura overbridge here today.

According to information, 20 cows were being transported from Patiala when the truck broke down. The cows died when the truck tilted towards one side and they were crushed under the weight of other cows.

Later, representatives of certain Hindu organisations, including Mr Satish Kumar of the Gau Rakhsha Dal and Swami Yashonand Bhuriwala, shifted the cows to a local gaushala.

The driver of the truck had absconded and a case has been registered.



Three held

The local police on Monday arrested three youths on charges of eve-teasing. The accused — Sidharth, a resident of Sector 44, and Vishal Negi and Harpreet Singh, both students of Panjab University — allegedly misbehaved with a girl at a hotel in Sector 22 on December 10.



Envoy sees Ethiopia as great
market for Indian investors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Ethiopia can serve as a gateway for Indian industry to Africa. This was the underlying message of the address by Dr Teketel Forssido, Ambassador of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, while speaking to members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Northern Region here today.

The Ambassador said that Ethiopia could be a great market for Indian investors, given its population, size and enabling business environment. He said Indians had played a pivotal role in the field of education in Ethiopia. He said Ethiopia and India shared excellent diplomatic relations, and bilateral trade would further strengthen ties between the two countries.

Dr Forssido said he was impressed by the buoyancy of Indian economy.

“The way India is expanding today, it needs markets. Africa is developing- as a continent, as a destination for investment and beyond the domestic market, Ethiopia can serve as a launch pad for investment in Africa by virtue of its membership of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), comprising 19 countries”.

The Ambassador pointed out that the potential areas for export for Indian industry were drugs and pharmaceuticals, primary and semi finished iron and steel, cosmetics / toiletries, rubber and paper manufactured goods, finished leather, inorganic / organic chemicals, electronic goods and plastic goods. "Investors can also look for greener pastures in areas like agriculture, information technology, horticulture, fisheries, mining, and hospitality industry,"he said.

Commenting on potential areas of import from his home country, Dr Forssido said raw material, cotton, spices, pulses, silk, oil and oil seeds, hides and skins from Ethiopia would definitively cut an edge in the Indian market.

Earlier, while welcoming Dr Teketel Forssido, Mr Ashok Tandon, Chairman, CII Himachal Pradesh State Council, apprised the participants about the India-Ethiopia trade scenario. With respect to investment opportunities, Mr Tandon highlighted the areas requiring special focus by Indian entrepreneurs.



WTO impact on agriculture discussed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
A seminar on “WTO and developing countries with special reference to agriculture” was organised at the Ambedkar Institute of Careers and Courses, Phase 3B2, here.

The main speaker was Dr Mangat Ram Agarwal, an economist from Panjab University.

He expressed his views about the WTO and its impact on the trade of developing countries, specially on agriculture.

He pointed out that the origin of GATT (now WTO) took place in 1947 with 23 member countries, including India, with its headquarters in Geneva.

The main aim of GATT was to bring down tariffs and promote world trade.

He explained that in the eighth round of GATT negotiations in September 1986 new controversial areas between the developed and developing countries were included like agriculture, services, TRIPS, TRIMS and GATT was replaced by a new name WTO in the concluding session of the round in December 1993. But this treaty was effective from January 1, 1995.

He emphasised that in all five ministerial conference held in Singapore, Geneva, Seattle, Doha and Cancun, there was some kind of contention between developed and developing countries.

Mainly he stressed on the agricultural subsidies given by the developed nations. He said advanced nations, especially the USA, the EU and Japan, were highly subsidising their farm products under the name of green subsidies.

He emphasised that in the coming Ministerial Conference of WTO in Hong Kong, agricultural subsidies again would be a major bone of contention between the developed and developing countries.

Concluding his lecture, he said if the provisions of the WTO were applied in right spirit, then everyone could get benefit from it.

He stressed that in order to compete in this globalised world “we should develop our research and technology”.



Dena Bank chief inaugurates ATM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Mr M.V. Nair, Chairman and Managing Director, Dena Bank, today inaugurated the ATM and FINMART at its Sector 7 branch here today. He said the bank had gone in for automation so that latest banking facilities can be extended to the customers.

A large number of customers were present on the occasion. Mr S.K. Jain, Zonal Manager of the bank, highlighted various schemes offered by the bank. A power point presentation on various schemes of the bank was also given to the customers.



Mathur is Site Director of Dell
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
Mr Vivek Mathur has taken charge as the Site Director of Dell here. Prior to this appointment, he was Director Strategy at the company’s headquarters in Bangalore. He will now be responsible for running Dell’s operations in Mohali that includes providing technical support and care for Dell’s customers in the USA.

Mr Mathur will continue to report to Mr Romi Malhotra, Managing Director, Dell India, and will also continue to be a member of the company’s senior management team.

Before joining Dell in 2004, Mr Mathur was with Scope International, Chennai, as the CFO. Earlier, he had worked with Citibank, ANZ Grindlays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Mr Mathur is a graduate in chemical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology Studies, Pilani. He holds an MBA from the University of Iowa, USA.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |