C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


“Fake” postal covers in circulation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
Philatelists in the country are being taken for a ride with “fake” postal covers in circulation. Certain unscrupulous dealers of philatelic material are misusing the permission by the Department of Posts to print unapproved special postal covers.

The postal covers ( as one seen in the picture) carry a special post mark which has not been approved by the department. Though black ink is used to put the mark, the “fake” postal covers have a screened mark not approved by the Postal Department.

Sources in the department said an Amritsar-based dealer had been running the business of the printing certain postal covers with impunity, despite being blacklisted by the department.

Selling for anything between Rs 10 and Rs 20, such postal covers, which have an adhesive stamp of Rs 5, has been widely circulated among the philatelists across the country.

Two such “unapproved” postal covers were exhibited by a participant during a two-day district-level philatelic exhibition which concluded today at the headquarters of the Punjab Circle of the Postal Department.

A number of veteran stamp collectors have complained about the covers to the Senior Superintendent of Post Offices at Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Mr Rakesh Walia, a veteran philatelist, told the Tribune that he had too taken up the issue with the concerned authorities. Another philatelist, Mr Abnash Luthra, said it was illegal to print and sell such special postal covers without the approval of the department. During regular exhibitions, unsuspecting stamp collectors were lured by such covers.

Inquiries reveal as per the procedure, a private person can design a special postal cover and apply with a fee of Rs 3,000 to the postal officer concerned for approval.

Then the cover is released on a specific date and the date is mentioned on the post mark. The applicant has also to fix an adhesive postal stamp on each cover. Then the department orders printing of certain number of postal covers for official release.

The sources said after repeated complaints against the dealer, the department decided not to allow any private person to print the covers. But unapproved postal covers continued to be sold right under the nose of the authorities.



PEC to hold special 8-week term
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
Punjab Engineering College here will hold a special eight-week term during the summer break this year. The college will hold classes for first year students during the summer vacations.

Stating that this was being done to take care of those students who had not been able to clear one or more subjects in the first semester, Dr Vijay Gupta, PEC Director, pointed out that these students would have to repeat classes for the subject, not just the examination.

“Earlier, the system was that in case students could not clear a particular subject during the semester examination, he or she would re-appear in that subject along with other examinations at the end of the next semester.

“However, following the commonly followed international pattern, such students would now attend classes for these subjects again and then sit for the examinations. This has been done to shift focus away from an examination-oriented system to an understanding-of-the-subject system.

“If a student is not able to clear the exam for a subject, it should be presumed that he or she has not been able to understand the subject and requires a repeat of classes not a mere repeat of exams,” said Dr Gupta.

This was also the reason why first-year students of the college who had joined for their second semester recently had been asked to drop the subjects which they had not been able to clear and take up other subjects, Dr Gupta said.

The college would give an opportunity to students to clear the dropped subjects following classes which would be held during the summer break.

“Classes for some subjects would be available during the summer break, but not all. This means a student may have to spend an additional semester after the end of the course to clear certain subjects,” Dr Gupta added.



Tearful adieu to Army hero
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 22
The mortal remains of Lt-Col Rajeev Bakshi, who laid down his life in the line of duty while combating ULFA terrorists in Manipur on January 20, were consigned to the flames with full military honours here today. A large number of officers, friends and well-wishers turned up to pay their last respects.

While Colonel Bakshi’s aged father, Lt-Col J.M.L. Bakshi (retd), wearing his service cap and medals, managed to remain stoic despite his grief, his wife Nandita and two small daughters Arzoo and Amanat broke down.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the GOC-in-C, Western Command, by Brig Rajeev Sareen, while the Station Commander, Chandi Mandir, Brig P.R. Sharma, paid floral tributes on behalf of the Colonel of the Dogra Regiment, Lt-Gen Bhupinder Singh. The district administration was represented by the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Ms Monika Malik. The funeral pyre was lit by his brother, Lt-Col Rajesh Bakshi, also a Dogra Regiment officer.

A guard of honour reversed arms while the last post was sounded on the bugle. A three-shot volley was also fired as a mark of respect to the fallen warrior. Earlier, his Tricolour-draped body was brought to his home in Sector 11 here from the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, for family members and well-wishers to pay their last respects. The body had been airlifted to Delhi from Manipur, from where it was brought here by road last night.

Commissioned into the 13th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment in 1991 after passing out from the Officers Training Academy, the 39-year-old officer had been hit in the neck during a search-and-cordon-operation in southern Manipur. The operation was being undertaken in the dark. He was evacuated by air at first light, but he breathed his last en route. Colonel Bakshi laid down his life at the same place where his father had commanded the same battalion almost 30 years ago.

He had been serving in Manipur for about a year. Prior to that he was in Sikkim. His wife and daughters were residing in the Meerut Cantonment, his earlier place of posting, where his wife was working as a teacher.



70-year-old woman crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Kharar, January 22
A 70-year-old woman died while her husband was seriously injured when the couple’s moped was hit by a truck from behind on the Kharar- Chandigarh road here today.

The couple — Niranjan Kaur and Pritam Singh — residents of Nayashahar Badala village, were going to Chandigarh to attend a function. They were hit by the truck near Mundi Kharar.

Niranjan Kaur, riding pillion, fell from the moped and was crushed to death by the truck.

The two were taken to the Kharar Civil Hospital. Niranjan was declared brought dead, while Pritam Singh was admitted to the hospital and is said to be in critical condition.

Kharar City police station in-charge Ramesh Kumar said a case had been registered against the driver of the truck who fled after the accident, leaving the truck on the spot.



Another would-be groom goes missing
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Derabassi, January 22
Close on the heels of Jaswinder Pal Singh, a resident of Dera Jagadhari, going missing on January 20 days before his marriage, another youth has gone missing, spreading anxiety among the family members

Ashwani Kumar, a would-be groom and a resident of Suniara Mohalla here, went missing under mysterious circumstances around 6 a.m. today.

His “baraat” was to leave for the nearby town of Barwala around 10 a.m. The “shagun” ceremony was performed here yesterday here and the girl’s parents and relatives had given dowry items.

Ashwani’ s family members said the boy bolted the door of the house from outside and left. When efforts to trace the boy failed, the family members lodged a complaint with the police. The police has launched a search operation.

Ashwani was engaged to Vandana, daughter of Mr Mohinder Pal, a resident of Barwala. He works in a liquor factory at Bhagwas village, near here.

The father of the girl said he suspected the hand of certain relatives of Ashwani in his disappearance.



Mohali faces water crisis, authorities fight over trivia
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 22
The town is heading for a water shortage in the coming months as no new tubewells have been bored over the past more than a year by the Municipal Council to meet the growing demand.

The matter has been lying pending over the year because of differences in opinion between the elected body and the Director, Local Government, Punjab, as to which agency should bore tubewells.

While the council wants to dig tubewells at its own level, the Director wants the civic body to get the work done from the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB).

The former president of the council, Mr Kulwant Singh, had requested the Director, through a letter sent on January 14 last year, for a permission to bore tubewells at the level of the civic body.

The permission had so far not been granted even when the term of the elected body expired on November 23.

Council officials do not want the PWSSB to bore tubewells in the town as those bored earlier by the PWSSB have failed to give the required discharge.

Tubewells bored by the civic body were giving a satisfactory performances even when comparatively less money was spent on the work.

Residents in the town have been condemning the government for hiking water and sewerage rates even when the town was not being provided adequate supply of water.

The demand has been increasing with the passage of time while the water discharge from the existing tubewells was decreasing.

Even the Phase IV of Kajauli waterworks, out of which Mohali would have got a share of 2.5 mgd of water, had not been commissioned so far.

Areas like Phases III A and VII, parts of Sector 70, Matour and Shahi Majra villages have been facing water shortage. Water does not reach the first floor level and above in many parts of the town.

The Department of Public Health (DPH), which is taking care of the water supply system in the town, had been requesting the civic body to sink more tubewells to meet water shortage.

In a letter sent to the civic body on February 14 last year, the DPH had requested the council to sink 24 tubewells in various parts of the town to meet the growing demand.

However, the council authorities had said it did not have funds for so many tubewells. As such another list should be prepared on the basis of priority.

According to the list sent to the council on April 27 last year the DPH asked the civic body to sink tubewells in Sector 70, Matour and Shahi Majra villages, Phases III A and VII.

The demand for five new tubwells was put up again today by officials of the DPH at a meeting called by the Administrator of the civic body, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu.

The council was also asked to spend about Rs 15 lakh on getting the canal water pipelines interconnected so that water could be provided without any disruption if some snag developed in any pipeline. Different pipelines were feeding different areas.

Mr Sandhu said DPH officials had been asked to plug water leakages in different parts of the town. They had also been asked to make payments of power bills for running tubewells at their own level since they were collecting water and sewerage bills.



A black woman who wants to serve in India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
For Mama Edie, an international storyteller, life has really not been a beautiful story with a happy ending. Each dawn brings a hope to be in India but by twilight the story takes a different turn and the hope manifests itself into a vain wishful thinking surrounded by fears and at times rejection too.

But still this 50- year-old black woman, who is also an Ameri-Indian has not learnt to give up on her efforts to be in India. After having exchanged umpteenth online messages with various Indian organisations and for the past two years with Poonam, Chandigarh- based editor of Preetlari, Mama Edie has still not been able to answer to `India Calling'.

For many months together, Edie did not reveal her identity of being a black woman for fear of racial prejudice, revealed Poonam. "We were exchanging and posting messages to each other but for quite some time I did not know anything about her except for her keen desire to be in India,'' said Poonam. She adds that it was just a mere guess that proved right and exposed her fear of not being treated at par with others just because of her being a black woman.

While, to be in India all Edie needs is travelling tickets, the bargain has already been thought of by her. Time and again Mama Edie who is currently at Chicago and besides being a storyteller, is also a speech pathologist and a percussionist, has volunteered to serve at schools, churches, temples, children hospitals, museums, cultural centers, social service agencies, universities and educators.

"I have offered to do storytelling and play percussive music,'' writes Edie.

Very recently, Edie has also associated herself with the Art of Living people at Chicago, who are interested in having a large representation from children of American descent , informed Poonam. As a result she has been invited to attend the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Art of Living at Bangalore from February 13 to 20 . Poonam, however, adds that with no money to be paid as the travelling fare, Edie at present cannot even avail this opportunity but is still hopeful.

Meanwhile, Poonam who herself is a storyteller feels that various organisations should come forward and help Edie who wants to serve and work for the people in India. "This will also help in the exchange of values and help us know more about people who have spent nearly 250 years in slavery,'' adds Poonam.



Shiv Sena threatens stir
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 22
The president of Shiv Sena Hindustan, Mr Pawan Gupta, today threatened to launch a stir in case the police failed to identify those involved in the attacks on its activists in Panchkula.

Mr Gupta was talking to mediapersons in wake of the attack on Mr Sandeep Kapoor, president of the Haryana unit of the Shiv Sena Hindustan, and Mr Suresh Chaudhary, general secretary of the party, last night. Following the attack, activists of the Shiv Sena brandishing swords and lathis, blocked the National Highway 22.

About 13 Shiv Sena activists were arrested last night. They were produced before a local court today and three of them were remanded to police custody, but 10 were sent to judicial remand.

Mr Gupta said the police had failed to do anything, despite so many earlier attacks on the Shiv Sena activists. "Our activists have met the Deputy Chief Minister and the local SP. If they fail to act, we will be forced to take a retaliatory course of action," he said. This is the third attack on the Shiv Sena activists. On December 22, unknown miscreants burnt the jeep of Mr Sandeep Kapoor, while it was parked outside his house in Sector 7. In October, someone had also ransacked the office of the Shiv Sena in Sector 18 here, and broken all the furniture.



World Space channels go off air
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
Thousands of music lovers in the city and surrounding areas have been forced to go without the favourite channels on World Space for the past five days. Local interference, after the ESPN set up its tower in Mohali, has led to this blackout.

Sources in the customer care department of World Space said after the ESPN had set up a tower in Mohali, there was a disruption in air waves. The air waves of World Space and the ESPN were overlapping, resulting in the disruption.

“Our engineers here and in Bangalore are working to remove these interruptions, which may take anything between 24 hours-48 hours,” the officials said.

As many as 40 music and news channels are available on World Space like Jhankaar (new Hindi songs), Farishte (old Hindi songs), Tunak (Punjabi music), KL (South Indian music), Sparsh (spiritual), and World Zone (world music like Spanish, Oriental).

One can listen to Country music on Up Country and news on news channels like NDTV, BBC and Fox News.

For most of Space subscribers, the wait for rectifying the fault seems endless. Says Mr Gurmohan Singh, a resident of Sector 10 here:” For the past four days, I have been forced to go without this favourite music. World Space has become a way of life for me for the past two years. The company engineers are taking too long to remove the interruptions,” he complained.



CVM to go it alone in MCC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
Putting rumours about his joining hands with the BJP at rest, a former Union Minister and president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM), Mr Harmohan Dhawan, today announced that the party would go all alone in the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

Addressing a press conference he, however, didn’t rule out the option of an alliance at a later stage. At the same time, he announced the reconstitution of the CVM.

Mr Harmohan Dhawan today reconstituted its executive body with an eye on the forthcoming elections. Accusing both Congress and BJP of failing to come up to the expectations of people, Mr Dhawan reiterated his party’s commitment to champion the cause of the common man.

In the 2001 MC polls, the CVM had bagged three seats in the 30-member House. However, with Harpreet Kaur Babla, wife of Mr Devinder Singh Babla, a Congress leader, throwing her lot with the Congress, the party lost the status of the Opposition in the MCC. Later also, Mr Vijay Singh Rana, a party councillor, was “expelled” from the party for “anti-party” activities. However, considering his impressive performance in the recent election to the post of the Deputy Mayor, where he lost by a slender margin of one vote, the CVM chief seemed to have revoked his expulsion.

Meanwhile, prominent office bearers of the CVM include Sandeep Singh, Municipal Councillors Jatinder Bhatia, Vijay Singh Rana, who have been appointed as general secretaries; distt rural presidents are zila parishad member from village Khudha Ali Sher Avtar Singh, and ex sarpanch of village Darua Gurpreet Singh Happy. Mr P.S. Lamba has been appointed as Chairman of the employees cell.



Verification drive on
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 22
As many as 862 servants and 450 tenants today get their antecedents verified at special verification camps organised by the UT police in various parts of the city.

A spokesman of the UT police stated that the police had organised 17 camps for the purpose in various parts of the city. The drive began at 10 am and went on till 4 pm. All three Subdivisional police officers of the UT police supervised the drive in their respective areas.

A senior officer said the drive was an attempt to prevent crime by anti-social elements, who get themselves employed as domestic help with the intension of committing crime.

The police had initiated the drive following the incident last week in which a maidservant decamped with jewellery and other valuables after serving food laced with sedatives to her employers in Sector 22.



Bank staff put off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
The three-day nationwide strike called by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Association which was to begin tomorrow, was called off today.

According to Mr Davinder Singh and Mr Rajesh Sondhi, president and regional secretary, respectively, the strike had been called off following acceptance of certain demands of the employees by the management. The management, the employees leaders claimed, had agreed to restore allowances to single-window operators.



Spurious Verka ghee pack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
A resident of Sector 30 here was flummoxed when he bought a Verka ghee pack from a shop in Sector 30 only to find a liquid pack inside.

The resident, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said the box in which the ghee was packed looked just like the original Verka ghee pack, but when opened instead of the semi-solid plastic pack, a liquid was found packed in a silver foil packet.

The fake pack also carried a Verka hologram on the outside but there was no such hologram on the inside pack.



Brahmin Mahasabha vows to help poor students
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 22
The national president of the Akhil Bhartiya Brahmin Mahasabha, Mr Madan Gopal Sharma, today called upon the members of the mahasabha to work for the poor and promotion of literacy.

He was talking to mediapersons after presiding over a meeting of the Haryana unit of the mahasabha here. This was the first meeting of the Haryana unit taken by Mr Madan Gopal Sharma, after he took over as national president.

He asked all the district presidents of the mahasabha to identify poor students in their area who were not being provided education. "We will provide all necessary monetary help and human resources to run schools for such poor children," he said.



Readers Write
Power, water shortage

Haryana Vikas Party members of Ambala under the presidentship of Mr Anil Vij recently staged a dharna at the conjunction of Nicholson Road and DC road (Tanga stand) here to demonstrate against the acute deficiency of electricity and water. These two are the basic necessities of life.

The moment the power goes off, generator sets start roaring on the roads and pavements, throwing soot and smoke on the faces of people. The smoke and soot are the cause of carcinoma. The generator sets reverberate and their vibrations create fissures in houses, buildings and lavatory seats and tanks. The noise pollution damages ears. Nullahs and drains are already stuffed with plastic bags and choked to the brim. Water doesn’t flow forward and gets seeped into the foundations of the buildings, making them damp, unsafe and vulnerable. The government by itself is thus the purveyor of environmental pollution, besides being “butlers” by opening liquor shops at every turn of the road like candy shops. Hoardings are fixed across roads and gullies. Even narrow gullies like pansari and saudagar bazars have not been spared. This nuisance is in addition to the nuisance of projections of tins above, much beyond the width, breadth and length of sanctioned chajjas, thus circumventing the Municipal Act. I suggest the MC should wake up and take notice of the problems of the people.

K.B. Sharma, Ambala Cantt

Gates an obstruction

I want to bring to your kind notice that gates are being constructed on all entry points of Civil Lines, Patiala, supposedly by residents of that area. The Civil Lines is not a private colony and the maintenance of roads and streetlights etc is being done by the Municipal Corporation/Punjab Government. Therefore, the construction of gates at the entry points of this locality is totally illegal. The road passing through the Civil Lines is, undoubtedly, a thoroughfare and not a personal property of anybody. Moreover, it is the main line between the colonies on the west side of Bhupindra road (Model Town, Bachittar Nagar, Waraich Colony and Gobind Nagar etc) and Passey road as well as the park constructed along this road. Therefore, the gates will cause great inconvenience to the people residing in the above said colonies as the people returning late from outside/ outstations or going early for morning walks or to outstations may face a lot of difficulty on finding the gates closed. If the construction of gates is allowed to be done, it will become a precedent and the people of every locality may start constructing gates on all the entry points as if it is their personal property.

Raj Kumar, Patiala

Probe housing society affairs

In open collusion with the Chandigarh Administration and contractors, office-bearers of the PUSHPAC Housing Cooperative Society have used non-ISI steel, bought most of the items at exorbitant rates and used substandard bricks, poorly finished wood and more sand than cement.

All appeals to the Registrar, Cooperatives, have fallen on deaf ears. Our two professors and their colleagues in the PUSHPAC executive seem to have managed all levels in the UT Administration. Even the money meant for the water pump booster and the community centre was swallowed and in spite of budget provision, these were left incomplete. Members had to pay again for the water booster.

Earlier, the general body meeting was evaded doggedly to avoid any discussion. All requests for the meeting were ignored by the administration too. General Jacob had instituted a technical audit but soon it was wound up under obvious pressures. The new Governor, General Rodrigues, may kindly probe PUSHPAC affairs.

Prof Arun D. Ahluwalia, Chandigarh



15-yr-old girl kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 22
A 15-year-old girl from Baltana village was reportedly kidnapped by a Delhi resident, who was working with the girl’s father’s tailoring shop in Sector 27-D, here.

The father in his complaint to the police alleged that his daughter came to his shop after school on January 4. After lunch there, her mother sent her home in a bus. In the evening they went home and found their daughter missing.

Inquiries made by the couple revealed that the girl had dropped near the Sector 26 Grain Market along with her friend. Both girls then went with a boy on his scooter. The father alleged that the accused, a resident of Uttam Nagar, Delhi, had kidnapped his daughter.

When contacted a police officer from the Sector 26 police station said a police team had conducted a raid at the said residence of the accused along with the complainant, but the house was found locked.



Man held for stealing iron plates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 22
The police arrested a resident of Colony Number 4 on the charges of stealing iron plates from a plot in industrial area. Besides this, a Sector 22 resident reported theft of gold ornaments and other articles to the police. Elsewhere, a woman was arrested on the allegations of carrying smack.

Sources in the police said Mr Major Singh of plot number 185, Phase I, Industrial Area, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Bira of Colony Number 4 had stolen five iron plates worth Rs 50,000 from his factory premises during the Friday night.

Acting on the complaint the police launched a search operation and arrested the accused from a junk dealer4 shop late last night. The stolen property was recovered from his possession.


Mr Jaggi Mittal of Sector 22 filed a complaint alleging that a gold necklace, a pair of earrings and Rs 1,500 was stolen from his residence on Saturday.

A case of theft ahs been registered in this regard.

Smack seized

The police arrested Anju of Sector 38 from near Sector 38 and 38 West while allegedly carrying 100 grams of smack on Saturday.

A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered in this connection.



Drunkard fires shots into air
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
Fear prevailed among shopkeepers of the Sector 29 iron market after a drunkard fired shots into the air late in the evening. According to sources, Jaspreet Singh, a resident of Sector 44, fired shots while trying to escape some shopkeepers with whom he had a long-pending dispute.

The incident occurred at 9 pm when Jaspreet, under the influence of liquor, got into a tiff with the shopkeepers. Sources said he fired three shots into the air with his pistol.

He has absconded. Police have lodged a complaint against him in the Industrial Area police station.



Eatery in Colonel’s memory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
What could be a better ode to their father, Col A.B. Singh, the pioneer in bringing fast food culture to the city, than opening and dedicating another eatery in his memory.

The three sons of the late Colonel today announced their foray into fine dining restaurants with the launch of AB’s in Sector 26.

The trio- Amanbir Singh, Rajbir Singh and Mohanbir Singh — said a fine dining restaurant was their father’s pet project. “He wanted to open a signature restaurant which served exotic Indian cuisine. As a tribute to his pioneering leadership in establishing a chain of eateries in this region, we dedicate this restaurant to him,” they said.

Mr Rajbir Singh said their USP would be infinite quality of fine food- Punjabi, Mughlai and Wazwaan, with its range of influences from all over North India.

“Being a foodie, Colonel Singh had a passion to experiment with new recipes. Most of the recipes included in the menu like, Murgh Taash Kebab, Kabargah or Indian breads like achari roti, mirchi wali roti were personally selected by Col A.B. Singh,” he said.

The menu is extensive an array of Indian breads, chicken and meat dishes, besides vegetables and sweet delicacies.

Spread over 8000 sq feet area, the restaurant is done up in pastel shades, with a rich upholstery with traditional weaves. AB’s also has a night club, “Rendezvous”, and an open bar.


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