C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CTU starts trial run on grid system
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking(CTU) has started a trial run of buses on different routes in the city under the grid system, proposed to be introduced from January 23 onwards. Buses on new routes are running only on horizontal and vertical lines of the city roads and avoiding meandering through different inter-sector routes.

Mr Arun Sekhri, Director of the CTU, said that the trial run had started on six different routes under the new scheme. The move received a positive response from daily commuters as was reflected from feedback received by CTU staff members from a cross-section of daily travellers.

Mr Sekhri said, “We are listening to responses from the general public and are ready to make the necessary changes. We had originally proposed four buses on the Mani Majra-Sarangpur route. It has now been decided to add two more buses on the route for public convenience ensuring service at an interval of 7.5 minutes”.

The Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration has also started work on ensuring zebra-crossings for the public safety while crossing roads for catching a bus on the new route. Mr Ram Pal Yadav, a retired bank manager, said “On road where a person was supposed to change his bus from a vertical to a horizontal route, or otherwise, he is expected to cross over to the other road. It can be difficult for people to cross roads, at several places on the major routes, including the Madhya Marg and Dakshin Marg, besides many others. The Administration should make necessary arrangements before the services commence”.

The CTU will continue services of certain old bus routes for public convenience. These routes are specifically aimed at the visitors coming from outside the city for important tasks at hand. The old routes to continue as earlier include: ISBT(Sector 17)- PGI, ISBT-Punjab and Haryana High Court and ISBT(Sector 17)-ISBT(Sector 43).

The CTU is receiving a heavy rush of enquiry for bus passes of the daily commuters. A senior official said that a general bus pass will cost Rs 320 per month. A special holiday pass is worth Rs 20. Employees of the UT Secretariat can get the pass for Rs 85 per month while students can get the same for Rs 60. Freedom fighters and wives of war heroes can travel free while physically handicapped and senior citizens can avail 50 per cent concession.

A CTU driver pointed out that “I cannot say anything about the new route system. Credibility of the system depends only on how we are able to maintain the time gap as shown in our timing charts. In case we are able to maintain the correct timing, the flow of buses will be much faster and more regular. This definitely will have an impact on daily travellers who take their own conveyances to the office. In case of quicker and direct services they can think of discarding their private vehicles”.

Mr P.K.Sharma, an employee in a showroom in Sector 17, said, “The flat rate of Rs 5 was unfair for people like him who travel for short distances(about 3 km only). The CTU can make two or three different slabs going by the distance actually travelled”. 



Cloudy weather, rain revive cold wave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
After brilliant sunshine and warm days for whole of last week, city residents woke up to a cloudy day and rain today. A cool breeze swept through the city as the temperature went down, reviving the cold wave.

While the maximum temperature came down from 20 degrees yesterday to 16.4 degrees today, the minimum temperature rose from 11.4 degrees yesterday to 12 degrees today. The change in weather was largely due to drizzle which continued throughout the day. The local Met Office recorded 7.2mm rainfall today.

Grey clouds were there in the sky, cooling the city. Jackets, caps and coats were out again while bonfires re-appeared by roadsides as the poor struggled to stay warm.

With it the rain resulted in usual poor attendance in schools and offices, with residents preferring to stay indoors. The afternoon, too, saw the rain coming down in intervals. The intermittent rain also meant little business in city markets which were relatively less crowded.

Office-goers flocking the Sector 17 plaza at lunch time and students hanging around in gardens were`ds threatened a heavy downpour. Heaters worked overtime in offices and homes as people tried to keep the cold at bay.

The Director, Meteorological Office, Mr Chattar Singh Malik, said that the rain being experienced by the city was due to the western disturbance moving over central Pakistan.

"The western disturbance over central Pakistan was having a fallout in this part of the continent, resulting in rain. The weather is unlikely to change tomorrow as well. More rain can be expected tomorrow," he added.

While the rain has brought down day temperatures, the night temperature has shown marked improvement.

The Met Office has predicted more rainfall tomorrow. 



Weather hits flights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Overcast sky and continual rain since morning led to delaying of some flights to and from the city today. However, no flight had to be cancelled.

The Jet Airways flight from Delhi to the city was 40 minutes late from its scheduled time of 1.40 pm, while the Indian Airlines flight was about an hour late from its scheduled time of 1.25 pm.

The Air Deccan flight from Delhi was late by 40 minutes from its scheduled time of 1.40 pm. The subsequent Air Deccan flight from the city to Jammu was also thus delayed.



Colonisers suffer due to ‘war’ between depts
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 16
With the two government departments, the Department of Country and Town Planning (T&CP) and the Department of Local Bodies (DLB), allegedly working at cross-purposes, certain colonisers are at the receiving end.

At least five major colonisers, who got their projects approved from the T&CP Department, are at their wits’ end with the local Nagar Panchayat, which comes under the jurisdiction of the DLB, shoting off notices to them.

Terming the construction as “unauthorised”, the letter urged the colonisers to stop the construction as the T&CP was not a “competent authority to accord technical approval to the building plans, falling within the municipal limits.”

However, the builders are up in arms against, what they called the “duplication” of works by the two departments. “It is ridiculous that the T&CP, which approves the layout plan of the colony, has no competency to approve the building plans on the said area,” Mr F.S. Nagra of the Zirakpur Promoters and Builders Association, told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

The association claimed that when the licence was granted by the Senior Town Planner, which was the competent authority, the builder was required to deposit the external development charges (EDCs) and develop and maintain the colony for a period of five years. Besides, the competent authority charges the scrutiny fee for granting sanction to the building plans on the said layout plan of the area. There was no need for the approval of the building plan again by the civic body, Mr Nagra reasoned.

And to set the anomaly right, the association, in a representation to the Director-cum-Secretary of the DLB, has urged him to direct the Nagar Panchayat not to interfere in the constructions of those buildings whose layout and building plans had already been sanctioned by the competent authority.

The association also urged both the departments to come out with a policy to “avoid detrimental action against the builders so that their constructions were not unnecessarily hampered.”

It was learnt that the Chandigarh Colonisers Private Limited, promoters of the one of the PUDA-approved colonies, were one the victims of the alleged official apathy. Despite the fact that they wrote to the Executive Officer of the Nagar Panchayat on November 7 last year regarding the approval of the building plans, the civic body was yet to receive any reply.

Even the information sought by the promoters under Section 6 of the Right to Information, 2005, on November 24, 2005, asking for a copy of the building bylaws was still awaited by them. 



Woman sets herself on fire, dies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 16
A 35-year-old woman allegedly ended her life by setting herself afire at her Pipliwala Town residence in Mani Majra this morning. Though no suicide note was found from the spot, the police cited prolonged illness as the cause behind the extreme step.

Giving details about the incident, police sources said Kanta was alone in the house when she set herself on fire using kerosene. Someone from her neighbourhood noticed the smoke coming out of her house and rushed there. She was found engulfed in flames. People gathered at the spot and the police was informed about the incident around 9.55 am.

A police official said by the time the police managed to reach the spot it was too late. She was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared her “dead on arrival”.

The police said Kanta’s 13-year-old son was away to school and her husband, a carpenter by profession, was also not at home.

Quoting neighbours, the police said there was no dispute between the couple and the victim had been under depression due to illness.

The body has been kept in the mortuary of the Sector 16 General Hospital and a post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Land allotted for garbage processing unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
The Municipal Corporation has handed over the possession of 10 acres of land to M/s Jai Prakash Associates limited for a period of 30 years for setting up a garbage processing unit in the city. Work on the unit is likely to start by the end of January.

The unit is being set up on BOT basis at a cost of Rs 23.28 crore. The project is to be set up in one year. The Central Pollution Control Board has already sanctioned another project costing Rs 9.55 crore for closing, capping and covering of the dumping ground and development of a sanitary landfill.

A football ground, a hockey ground and parks will be developed here.

To ensure timely completion and subsequent operation of the plant in an effective and efficient manner, the Municipal Corporation has taken performance guarantee of Rs 1.16 crore from M/s Jai Prakash Associates limited.



Travel agents bring misery to youths
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Thousands of Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese and others have been hired by Kuwait-based private companies through travel agents from India and other countries to cater to the needs of the US armed forces in Iraq.

The Tribune interacted with several Punjabi and Himachali youths who had returned after being taken to Iraq by greedy travel agents to serve the occupying forces. Obviously, these youths were not told in advance that they were being taken to the war zone.

“First the agents took us to Kuwait and later to Baghdad in Iraq,” said Dharmpal of Sihala village, near Samrala. “We were promised Rs 33,000 per month as salary for driving big-sized trolleys,” said Gurmat, a close relation of Dharmpal.

“From India, we were taken on May 18 last year. We returned to India on December 18 through the efforts of a former Union Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia,” added Dharmpal.

“Instead of giving us the promised amount, the private company which had hired us through travel agents gave us only Rs 15,000 per month and that too only for three months though we stayed there for about eight months,” said Gurmat. “Each of us gave Rs 1.2 lakh to the travel agents and their sub-agents for employment as drivers in Dubai. It is another matter that we were made to serve the American forces by agents,” they asserted.

The US and allied forces have hired private companies for rendering all sorts of services to them in Iraq.

These services include the cleaning of toilets, laundry work and the removal of cigarette butts, junk and other litter from army camps. Private companies have further hired travel agents based in Kuwait and Dubai to supply the required manpower, mostly labourers and drivers to do peripheral jobs for the armed forces. Even those who were taken to do the job of drivers were asked to clean toilets or shift these from one place to another in army camps.

“American army commanders had told us that they were paying $3,500 (about Rs 1,57,000) per driver hired for them by private companies. However, the companies made a big cut from our wages,” said Vijay Kumar, who hails from a village near Anandpur Sahib. Drivers were asked to transport tanks and other material on trolleys from one army camp to another. “Often, we were attacked by Iraqis with rocket launchers while transporting tanks,” he said.

“Some of our colleagues were hurt in rocket launcher attacks and their vehicles were also burnt,” he said. “American and allied forces, which escorted the convoys of trolleys, used to run away in their vehicles at the time of attack by Iraqis,” said most of the Punjabi youths. As many as 24 have returned to India. Mr Ramoowalia had taken up their case with Indian Embassy officials based in Kuwait.

The US forces have “outsourced” their major workload to private companies in Iraq.

All movement of ammunition and equipment related to war is being handled by labourers and drivers hired by private companies from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and other Asian countries. The maintenance of the army camps of the US forces was also being looked after by these people, said the Punjabi youth who had returned home after passing through one of the worst phases of his life.



HAL accelerates Su-30 production
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has accelerated the production of indigenously assembled Su-30 multi-role aircraft for the IAF.
This will result in the Air Force getting more aircraft every year, while cutting down the time to produce the entire Su-30 fleet by three years.

“We are increasing our production from eight aircraft per annum to 13 aircraft,” Managing Director of HAL, Mr K.P. Puri, said. “The Su-30 production, which was earlier scheduled to finish by 2017-18 will now be over by 2014-15,” he added.

He said the Defence Minister had accorded his approval for the accelerated production. The Su-30 are being produced at HAL's Nasik complex, which is the largest production unit among its 16 factories across the country.

The Su-30 entered service with the IAF in 1997, with 50-odd aircraft being procured directly from Russia and another about 150 aircraft to be built in India by HAL under licence.

At present, the IAF is operating three Su-30 squadrons -- the 20th, 24th and 30th squadrons. It would be the mainstay of the IAF in the 
coming decades.

HAL had commenced the indigenous production of the Su-30 in 2004. The first two indigenous aircraft (MKI version) took to the skies in October, 2004, for flight tests and these were handed over to the IAF in March, 2005. The indigenous content in the Su-30 at present is just about 15 per cent and proposed to be increased progressively up to 45 per cent.

Mr Puri said a project to carry out "block-wise" improvement of the Su-30 was also on the cards. Besides HAL, the Defence Research and Development Orgaisation and Russian firms would be involved in the project. The first meeting in this regard was held on January 6.

The improvement programme involving aircraft produced in different blocks will result in aircraft having the same configuration and capabilities.

The first 50 aircraft had some deficiencies that were to be taken care of later.

HAL would also complete the upgradation of the MiG-21 to the Bison configuration this year. So far 94 MiG-21 have been upgraded and work on the remaining 29 aircraft is in progress.

As far as the MiG-27 upgrade programme is concerned, Mr Puri said the prototypes had already been certified and the first batch of 12 upgraded MiG-27s would be handed over to the IAF this year.

Unlike other upgrade programmes, the MiG-27 upgrade is totally indigenous.

The upgraded MiG-27 have a totally new cockpit, mission control computer and advanced avionics, thereby reducing the pilot's work load significantly.



Army man’s widow moves HC over ex gratia, other benefits
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 16
Denied ex gratia compensation, liberalised pension and terminal benefits by the Army, the widow of a Military Engineering Service (MES) official, one of the first to be kidnapped and killed by militants in the Kashmir valley, has now moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for redressal of her grievances.

Petitioner Kamlesh Ghai's husband B.K. Ghai, posted at Baramula, was kidnapped by heavily-armed militants owing allegiance to pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front militants on August 3, 1992.

The militants asked for the release of 16 militants, who had been arrested by the Army, in lieu of the kidnapped MES employee. When the Union Government did not yield to the strong-arm tactics of the militants and refused to do their biding, the petitioner's husband was gunned down on September 17, 1992.

Following the killing of her husband, Ms Ghai was sent condolences by the top brass of Army. In his condolence, the Commander, Headquarters 133, Sub-Area, also informed her that he had already directed the Garrison Engineer of her husband's unit to immediately initiate steps to provide ex gratia and other benefits to her.

However, when the promised help did not arrive, the petitioner wrote to the Garrison Engineer, seeking financial assistance as her family was facing hardships.

However, as it later turned out, lackadaisical Army authorities refused to give the ex gratia and other benefits to her, instead informing her that she would be given ordinary pension. Incidentally, the widow has three daughters and one son.

In her petition, filed through advocate Hemant Bassi, Ms Ghai has claimed that despite being eligible for ex gratia compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh from the Army and another ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh from the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and other terminal benefits, she has not been given anything.

The petition says that even though the Commander, Headquarters 133, Sub-Area, had directed the Garrison Engineer to release the benefits on priority basis, she has not been given the ex gratia or the pensionary benefits. So much so, even her claim has not been decided by the respondents. Today, when her petition came up before it, a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal issued notice of motion for April 20.



Chandigarh Calling

Playing for a Social Cause: Students in the city make it a point to play a role in raising consciousness in the less privileged colonies. Recently, the NSS unit of PEC, conducted a rally and street play targeting issues like adult literacy, de-addiction, AIDS and cleanliness in the Janata Colony. About 60 NSS volunteers under the leadership of Dr. M.L.Gupta and Dr. Anju Singla shouted out slogans like Bapu chor do sharab, mujhko lado ek kitaab. The impact of the play could be seen on the faces of the spectators. The rally was a part of the ten-day camps being held in campus of Punjab Engineering College. The other activities taken up by the unit are micro financing, pickle making project undertaken by self help group ‘pragati’, anti-defacement drive, tree plantation and human chain on AIDS awareness.

Square city: We may find straight lines and squares of Chandigarh a bit boring, but for Caroline David, Stephane Couturier, Herve Siman and Regis Servant, Chandigarh came as one of the most interesting city, only next to Brasilia. It’s a rigid city, yes, but that does not make Chandigarh any less mysterious in the eyes of these Frenchmen. They shot mostly the buildings of Chandigarh like the Assembly, secretariat and the Infosis building among others for an exhibition called Lille 3000. What about the inhabitants of Chandigarh? The team found them interesting all right, aggressive honkers (they honk even at the red lights), enjoy getting photographed and polite but never say thank you!

Haryana heroes: Any mention about the wars India has had with China and Pakistan since independence, Haryanavis assume a significant place among the heroes who have fought bravely for the glory of the nation. A television serial on the theme of regional heroes is being shot for the Doordarshan these days at different locales in Panchkula these days. ‘Paanch Fazule’ (Five Wayward) is based on life of educated talented youth who have not got any employment and are thought to be wayward in their lifestyle by the members of the normal society. K.D.Sharma, producer-director, is attempting a fresh look at the burning issue of giving direction to those searching for a foothold in the struggle for decent and settled life after education. Sharma feels that entire world today was facing testing times at hands of terrorism. Society needs to rise to the situation and give opportunity to hundreds of unemployed on the streets of the country who only need a guiding hand to show them the potential areas where their capabilities could be utilised, particularly in the defense of the country. The serial has relied heavily on the folklore of Haryana. The khote sikke turned heroes sacrifice their life in defense of the national borders.

Lohri lookback: Lohri— the time to lit huge bonfires, was celebrated in the city with much fanfare. Huge bonfires were lit in the front yards of houses and people killed the biting chill with lots of gachchaks and rewaris. But little did anyone seem interested in how the festival was a celebration of the promising golden harvest in Punjab. Beamed a collegiate, “All I like is the snug fireplaces by which we friends dance on the latest hits, eating chocolates and popcorns. The whole thing is quite romantic, so English.” More than her tone, it was the last two words that would offend anyone. A festival so seeped in our Punjabi tradition is accepted by as youngsters for it’s English feel! Perhaps, they’ve read about fireplaces in Mills and Boons or other English novels. But do they know Lohri’s about much more. It’s about friends and family gathering around flames, everybody savouring sesame, peanuts, jaggery or sweets like gajak, rewri etc and guests digging their tongues into Sarson da saag te makki di roti. It’s a celebration of fertility and life and not just a dance party, English istyle!

Moving on: The grid city buses that start from January 23 by the UT Administration, with buses plying on horizontal and vertical routes, has been welcomed by the local residents. But it may be recalled that it was General JFR Jacob, former UT Administrator, who had in his tenure proposed this system for the convenience of city commuters. Now after three years, his visionary approach is going to bore fruit.  Interestingly even the Chandigarh Technology Park being set up in Kishangarh, which is also likely to give a major development plan for Chandigarh, was also his brainchild. On sports front, the Football and Hockey academy in Sector 42 has been a big boost to sports community, which was also initiated by General Jacob. City will continue to remember this gentle administrator for long.

NRI investors: Real estate developers were all over the Hotel Mountview during the two-day Pravasi Punjabi Divas 2006, which concluded on January 15. With the region bursting at seams with the launch of new mega projects almost everyday, the realtors wooed the NRIs with impunity at the conference. So much so that certain NRIs felt inconvenienced on account of the wooing tactics of the real estate developers, who promised the NRIs the moon in case they invested in the property back home. “There is a misconception among the people that the NRIs are here to invest money or eat drink and be merry, “ complained an agitated NRI from the USA. This perception has changed as there are other serious issues to addressed by the NRIs and the Indian and state government, he added. May be next time, this perception will change and the NRIs will not be harassed for investment in real estate.

Contributors: Pradeep Tewari, Parbina Rashid, Anandita Gupta, Arvind Katyal, Pradeep Sharma and Sanjeev Singh Bariana



Auction for octroi collection postponed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 16
The Municipal Council today postponed the auction for the work of octroi collection due to poor response from bidders. The auction will now be held on January 24.
Only one bidder turned up for the auction that was held at the Municipal Bhavan in Sector 68 here. A minimum of three bidders were needed to carry out the auction.

A reserve price of Rs 22.79 crore for the auction for a period of one year was declared on the spot. Other conditions laid down for the work were also announced.

The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kler, and the Administrator of the civic body, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, had come to supervise the auction.

It is learnt that the single bidder who had come to take part in the auction found the reserve price on the higher side. If a similar response was received even at the next auction, the council might have to reduce the reserve price, which is generally kept 15 per cent higher than the income of the preceding year.

Last year, the civic body had fixed the reserve price for the same work at Rs 16.90 crore against an income of Rs 17.52 crore. The work was given on contract for Rs 16.91 crore. A municipal councillor, Mr Sham Bansal, had then approached a court councillor had alleged that the civic body had indulged in irregularities while giving the work on contract. Later, the council employees were able to collect revenue more than the amount that would have been given to the council by the contractor.



BJP opposed to demolition drive in Deep Complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
The BJP and the Kisan Morcha have criticised the Chandigarh Administration and the Congress for its move to carry out demolitions in Deep Complex at Hallomajra village here.

Chandigarh BJP secretary Ramvir Bhatti, Kisan Morcha president Mam Chand Rana, Mr Gurdeep Singh Attawa, Mr Harbhajan Singh Kajheri, Mr Bhajan Singh and Mr Shingara Singh, in a statement issued here today, stated that the city unit of the BJP would participate in a joint dharna of political parties in the complex against the proposed demolition drive on January 18.

The leaders said residents of the complex had been on a dharna for the past three months, but the Congress and its local MP had not come to support them.

Convener of the all-India BJP legal cell Satya Pal Jain and other party office-bearers would participate in the dharna.



Mulajam Front flays govt
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 16
Members of the Mulajam Front, Punjab, flayed the state government here today for adopting anti-employee policies and not concealing to the genuine demands of employees.

Leaders of various employees organisations from different government departments, who had gathered at Gurdwara Amb Sahib here, said that their demands were lying pending since long. The government had stated in the election manifesto that it would look after the interests of the employees but had done nothing even though four years had passed since it resumed power in the state.

The demands of the front include the implementation of the 4,9,14 promotion scale, release of bonus, an increase in medical and travel allowance, raising the retirement age to 60 years, filling of vacant posts etc.



Save Oil Fortnight begins
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 16
A function in connection with soil and gas conservation fortnight was inaugurated by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, in the auditorium of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, here today.

The fortnight being celebrated to enhance the awareness on conservation of petroleum products amongst the masses. The themes of the year 2006 is “Save oil and gas for better tomorrow”.

Mr Kang said that natural resources should be used with lot of care and wastage should be totally avoided. He suggested that overbridges should be constructed wherever required so that traffic bottleneck were removed which led to lot of fuel wastage.

He said that even the ground water table in the state was getting low and as such wastage should be stopped because ultimately the consumer would have to bear the burden.

Mr M.S. Jaiswal, State Level Coordinator (Oil Industry), Punjab, said that out of the total energy requirement of our country 40 per cent was got from oil. About 70 per cent was produced in India. He deliberated on bio diesel plants in the country.

Mr Kang flagged off a vehicle carrying slogans and messages on oil and gas conservation, along with publicity material and handouts. The vehicle will move through out Punjab during the fortnight to create awareness amongst the masses.



Fauji Beat
In the footsteps of Cariappa

Remembering the late Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa on the Army Day (January 15) every year, because he (then General) became the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on this day in 1949, is not enough.

What the Army, especially, senior officers need to do is to follow the high principles of soldiering that the Field Marshal not only preached but also practiced.

An epitome of soldiering, Field Marshal Cariappa, also called “Father of the Indian Army”, was meticulous to the last detail in dress, discipline, gentlemanliness and good behaviour. And he expected every soldier to be correct in everything he did.

A professional to the core, he spared no efforts to ensure that the Army measured up to its tasks, both during peace time and war. High standard of drill, according to him, was the hallmark of good discipline, He firmly believed in maintaining high traditions of the Army.

Having served in 4 Guards (1 Rajput) in the 1950s in which the Field Marshal had been commissioned when it was 1 Rajput, this writer was lucky enough to know all virtues of this soldier, the like of whom the Indian Army has not produced so far.

He continued to visit his battalion till quite late in his life. And each of his visits proved to be a great learning for the then serving officers.

If the present-day officers practice even half of what the Field Marshal stood for to build a strong Army, the Army will, undoubtedly, regain its erstwhile standards of discipline, up-righteousness, morality and integrity.

Hall that unfolds history

The Golden Arrow Division raised in 1914 has an enviable history of victories and sacrifices in both World Wars as well as in the 1965 and 1971 wars. It has a large array of gallantry awards and battle honours to its credit.

To preserve the history of the division under one roof and to commemorate the sacrifices made by he valiant soldiers of this formation, a hall called “Barki-Sehjra Hall”, was constructed in the Ferozepore Cantonment a few years ago.

The hall is divided into various sections, of which five need special mention. The reception and information section is where brief history of the division along with photographs of all its General Officers Commanding since 1964 are displayed.

Another section, the hall of fame, contains roll of honour, photographs and decorations of all the war heroes of the Golden Arrow Division. The prepartition section brings out the history of the important battles fought by the division during World War II.

The section of 1965 war brings out in detail the capture of Barki. The 1971 section depicts the 1971 war with special emphasis on the famous battle of Sehjra Bulge. The capture of Sehjra by 48 Infantry Brigade is vividly illustrated in this section.

Heart surgery stalled

As per the Army Headquarters (Adjutant General’s Branch) letter of September 1, 2004, any treatment at the empanelled hospitals, costing more than Rs 1 lakh, if not provided in the agreement, can only be carried out with the sanction of Senior Executive Medical Officer (SEMO).

And if it is beyond Rs 5 lakh, the sanction of the higher authorities has to be obtained. Accordingly, for open-heart surgery, the CD and report of angiography of each patient used to sent by the Fortis Hospital to the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir.

Lately, the SEMO at the Command Hospital has told the Fortis Hospital that they should not be asked for this clearance. This has put the Fortis Hospital in a quandary. The question that arises is who will give sanction for these operations now. What will be the fate of serious heart patients awaiting immediate heart surgery operations? It is time the Headquarters Western Command stepped in and sorted out this muddle to save the lives of serious heart patients.

— Pritam Bhullar



NGO honours slum women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
A special valedictory function was today organised by Yuvsatta, an NGO, to honour slum women of Colony Number 5 for having successfully learnt the basics of reading and writing through the use of specially-designed deck of playing cards as the primary tool. The cards were used at a mutually agreed and fixed time convenient for the learner.

The programme originally supported by Germany-based Kim Jit Singh and Marga Buhrmann Singh, co-founders of Buhrmann Singh Creative Learning, Germany, was targeted at the slum women to make them literate and self-reliant.

The function was presided over by Dr Satinder Dhillon, Principal, Dev Samaj College of Education. Also present was Dr C.L. Narang who said that such innovative methods should be used to promote adult education. Dr Dhillon also lauded the efforts of Yuvsatta and said that the people should not only discuss the problem but also find out its solution.



Traders apprise DC of problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
A delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal today called on Mr R.K. Rao, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Excise and Taxation Officer, and Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, the DETC, in connection with the problems being faced by the local traders with regard to filing of their VAT returns.

A press note here today said that a lot of confusion still prevails with regard to following the new tax regime and needs to be examined on priority basis for smooth and hassle free implementation by the senior UT officials.

The traders have sought an extension of period time in filing the stock statement for claiming ITC uptil February 14; extension of 30 days for submission of VAT 1 form for the old registered dealers; wide publicity in local newspapers for public convenience; and a booklet out for public information as well.

The delegation has been assured action on account of all issues raised in the meeting.



Rally planned against Admn

Chandigarh, January 16
The Chandigarh Housing Board Residents’ Federation, the apex organisation of CHB colonies, in a press release here today expressed concern over the policy of the administration to go ahead with the demolitions without notifying the concessions already given.

The federation has announced a massive rally to raise issues concerning the pending demands. An action commission will be formed by attempting participation from the counsellors of the Municipal Corporation, the release said.

The federation also thanked the administration for expediting the transfer ownership rights by ignoring inner changes and deleting its affidavit clause.— TNS



Fire-extinguishing ball unveiled
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 16
A self-activating fire-extinguishing ball was launched in the presence of fire officials here today.
Mr Anoop Khullar from Apple Safety Products, said the ball, which had been launched in 115 countries, required no practical training to use. It automatically operated on extinguished fire after coming in contact with flames with three seconds giving a loud fire alarm.



Burglars strike at Sector 10 house
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 16
Burglars struck at the Sector 10 house of Prof V.K. Sondhi on the night of January 14 and decamped with cash and jewellery worth around Rs 1 lakh.
The family of Professor Sondhi, Head of the Chemistry Department in DAV College, Chandigarh, had left the house on January 14 to attend a family function in Jalandhar.

When they returned yesterday at about 8 pm to find the house ransacked and the grills of a drawing room window removed.

A forensic team examined the house. According to Prof Sondhi, the burglars probably spent a few hours ransacking the house. The estimated loss in the burglary might be just over Rs 1 lakh, which includes Rs 40,000, gold ornaments worth over Rs 45,000 and silver items and other goods worth about Rs 10,000, a DVD player and few wrist watches, the Professor said.



109 bottles of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 16
The police reportedly arrested two persons from various parts of the city and seized 109 bottles of illicit liquor today.
Giving details of the seizure, in charge of the Burail police post Sub-Inspector Prem Chand said acting on secrete information a police team raided the residence of Surinder Kumar Jindal in Burail village this morning. Ninety-one bottles of whisky were seized from his possession.

The accused was produced in a court that remanded him in judicial custody. Sources said Jindal was booked under the Excise Act earlier also for possessing illicit liquor.

In another incident, Ram Diya of Natiyan village in Rohtak district was arrested from near Dev Samaj College, Sector 46, by a police party. Sources said the patrolling party noticed the suspicious behavior of Ram Diya and stopped him. His search led to seizure of 18 bottles of liquor. A case has been registered.



Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
The Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Krishna Mohan, today launched the Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight (OGCF), which is celebrated throughout the country to create mass awareness about the importance of conservation of oil and gas and protection of environment, here today.

The inauguration function of OGCF-2006 was convened by HPCL as state-level Coordinator, U.T., Chandigarh, and the members of oil industry participated in the inauguration ceremony of the event. The Home Secretary was the chief guest of the occasion.

Stressing upon the need to conserve oil and gas, Mr Mohan said that crisis had been felt at the national and international level as oil and gas, which were commonly used for fuel, figured prominently in the list of scarce resources. The scientist all over the world were working hard to find solution to meet this scarcity and find alternative means of oil and gas. The final solution was in hydrogen which would be the fuel for future generation and available abundantly in nature, he added.

Mr Mohan said that although there are many apprehensions for using hydrogen as a replacement to present day fuel resources yet he was sure that the use of hydrogen as an alternate resource could play a significant role in saving scarce and important resources.

However, the conservation of the natural resources such as oil and gas was of paramount importance, he emphasized.

The Chandigarh Administration, had adopted various measures to ensure the conservation of natural resources and for their optimum utilisation. It had been made mandatory that the building plans should cater to water conservation and its 

Similarly, it had also been made essential for the installation of solar heating system wherever necessary. In its endeavour to provide a pollution-free environment in the Union Territory, several aspects of rapid transport system were also being explored.

Mr V.K. Yadav, Senior Regional Manager, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Chandigarh, conveyed that OGCF was being celebrated every year since 1991 by the Oil PSU’s to spread the message of conservation among all sections of the society through various activities.

The pledge for the Oil conservation was taken by all participants which was administered by Mr Ravinder Dogra of BPC. The pledge was endorsed by Chief Guest the Home Secretary of U.T. Chandigarh.

Students of Sanjay Public School, Sector 44, Gyandeep Model High School, Sector 20-C, and Gurunanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Sector 30, participated in the inaugural function. Activities such as mass rally, cycle rally, essay competition, drawing and painting competition, quiz contest, bio diesel seminar, LPG and kerosene clinic, transport and industry meets would be undertaken during OGCF.



Cricket updates on Spice
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Spice Telecom has launched services to keep the cricket buffs updated on the ongoing India-Pakistan series.
According to a press note issued here today, Spice subscribers can dial 555 and listen to Ravi Shastri for his comments.

For the latest score, the subscribers can dial *555#, the general manager(marketing), Mr Mukul Khanna, said. Besides, the subscribers can also test their cricket knowledge with the cricket pundit quiz and win a diamond ring, it added.


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