C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Battle lost, Bansal readies for war
Speaker accepts resignation as probe panel chief
Tribune News Service

Members of the BJP burn an effigy of MP Pawan Kumar Bansal outside Congress Bhavan in Sector 35, Chandigarh.
Members of the BJP burn an effigy of MP Pawan Kumar Bansal outside Congress Bhavan in Sector 35, Chandigarh, on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 27
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, has accepted the resignation of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, as chairman of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee probing the alleged misuse of MPLADS funds.

Following allegations of Mr Bansal giving Rs 5 lakh to the Chandigarh Golf Course for his “honorary membership”, the MP had tendered his resignation on Wednesday morning to the Speaker, which was “not accepted”. “With the amount under question, I could have sought a regular membership of the club. I have never visited the club, except once, and too long back. The membership details of the club clearly read that the membership was co-terminus with the post of the MP which I held in 2000”.

Mr Bansal said, “After allegations, I told the Speaker that I could not head a committee which itself was studying charges of misuse of funds. If I was questioning an accused MP and he said the allegations were baseless just “as in your case”, I would have been answerless. I thought it was best to resign. I am a much relieved man after my resignation from the committee because I can now counter the charges”. Mr Bansal said he knew the three names who spread the rumours. The names were not linked to any officials of the Administration.

He said the golf club was “not a private organisation. It was a registered body which had got land at very nominal rates from the Administration and also had senior officials as members, by virtue of the post they held.”

Mr Bansal said, “The role of a Member of Parliament is only confined to making recommendations on a work project under the MPLADs. The details of the implementation lie with the office of the Deputy Commissioner.”

“I will give a befitting reply to the pernicious vilification campaign against me shortly. Maybe, they have won a battle, the war is not yet over. I am aware of the fact that certain other television channels had been approached with the same story over the past fortnight. I shall come on record shortly”, he added.

Mr Bansal said he had gained a good public image because of his involvement in the ethics committee recently. “My popularity was, quite expectedly, not digested by those who opposed me and whose names figured in the probe which I headed. I will soon initiate action against them.”

The Speaker is learnt to have officially accepted the resignation of Mr Bansal and appointed Mr V.K. Suryanarayana Deo in his place. Mr Deo represents the Parvatipuram Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh.

The committee had recommended termination of Lok Sabha membership of 10 MPs who were caught on camera accepting bribe to raise questions in Parliament.



Bansal’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Workers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (colony cell) today held a demonstration in front of Congress Bhavan and burnt the effigy of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local Member of Parliament, for allegedly “giving money to the Golf Club for membership”.



Sacrifices of freedom fighters remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Parliamentary Secretary Dilu Ram reviewed the parade and unfurled the National Flag on the 57th Republic Day celebrations at Cricket Grounds yesterday. He reminded people of the sacrifices made by freedom fighters, especially the role of freedom fighters from Haryana, in the Freedom Struggle.

The Parliamentary Secretary also highlighted the development works undertaken and welfare schemes announced by the Hooda-led Congress government in the state.

Haryana Police personnel, Home Guards, NCC junior and senior wing cadets, scouts, guides and volunteers presented an impressive march past and PT show.

Students of Jainendra Public School, DAV Public School, Government Senior Secondary Schools, Sectors 7 and 15 , Hansraj Public School and Bhavan Vidyalaya presented cultural programmes on the themes of national integration and rich traditions of Haryana and Punjab.

Dilu Ram announced a reward of Rs 21,000 for students. Financial Commissioner K.C. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh and SP Balbir Singh were also present.

The Haryana Armed Police won the first prize in march past, followed by NCC cadets of Government College, Panchkula. For best cultural presentation, Hansraj Public School, Jainendra Public School and Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, won the prizes.

For best tableau, Forest Department, Morni, and Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board won the prizes.

Kalka: SDM Maheshwar Sharma presided over the sub-divisional-level celebrations and unfurled the National Flag here yesterday.

He also took salute from Haryana Police jawans, besides students of various schools.

A colourful cultural with folk dance and songs were the highlights of the programme.

Chandigarh: The Punjab National Bank, Sector 17, Deputy General Manager, Mr V.J. Mattoo, unfurled the National Flag in front of PNB House yesterday.

He said though the country had made strides in most areas of development, there was a need to be economically independent.



Patriotic zeal marks functions
Tribune News Service

Students participate at a Republic Day function at Shiwalik Public School, Mohali, on Friday.
Students participate at a Republic Day function at Shiwalik Public School, Mohali, on Friday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu
Girls of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, perform a folk dance in Sector 5, Panchkula.
Girls of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, perform a folk dance in Sector 5, Panchkula.
Students of Government Model High School, Sector 29-A, Chandigarh, participate in a cultural programme to celebrate Republic Day on Thursday.
Students of Government Model High School, Sector 29-A, Chandigarh, participate in a cultural programme to celebrate Republic Day on Thursday.
Recipients of awards from the Chandigarh Administration on the occasion of Republic Day at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, Chandigarh on Thursday.
Recipients of awards from the Chandigarh Administration on the occasion of Republic Day at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, Chandigarh on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 27
Patriotic fervour marked Republic Day celebrations in various schools, colleges, Panjab University, and the PGIMER. At Government Model High School, Sector 20, a function was organised which was presided over by Mr H.S. Lucky, Deputy Mayor, Chandigarh.

The chief guest unfurled the flag which was followed by a cultural programme and distribution of sweets. The four staff members were honoured on the occasion.

At Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 38 (West), the students, teachers and PTA members celebrated the Republic Day. The principal highlighted the contribution of various national leaders and asked the students to follow the principles set by them. Sweets were distributed among 500 children present on the occasion.

The importance of the day was highlighted at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, where the students expressed their views through their speeches.

At Shivalik Public School, the students held a march past as the school band played patriotic notes. The principal of the school apprised the students of their duties and asked them to uphold the dignity and honour of the country.

Group songs like ‘Bharat desh hamara’, ‘Bharat ma ke veer’ filled the school an at Sri Guru Harkrishan Model School, Sector 38.

A play was presented on the occasion by the CEVA group.

At Kendriya Vidyalaya, AFS High Grounds, the national flag was unfurled by Gp Capt BK Sood, VSM, Station Commander, AFS High Ground.

The students presented patriotic songs and participated in events like face painting competition. Sweets were distributed among the students. A similar function was held at KV-47 where Hema Venuopal presided over the function.

An art and craft exhibition was inaugurated on the occasion in addition to a cultural programme. IS Dev Samaj School, too, celebrated the Republic day with zeal and enthusiasm.

At Government College for Girls, Sector 11, young achievers and sports girls were honoured. Students of the Music Department presented the patriotic songs. Similar functions were held at Government College, Sector 46, SD College, Sector 32, Government College, Sector 11. At DAV College, Sector 10, the parents of the martyr Lt Rajeev Sandhu, Mahavir Chakra, were the chief guests and were honoured.

The hospitals, too, celebrated the Republic Day celebrations the GMCH, Sector 32, Director Principal, Mr H.M. Swami unfurled the flag and distributed fruit and sweets among patients and the staff. Dr Swami apprised the staff of various developments.

At the PGIMER, Dr K.K. Talwar unfurled the flag and briefed the gathering about the upcoming facilities at the PGI.



Programme by DPS students
Tribune News Service

Students present a patriotic song at Delhi Public School, Pinjore, on Thursday.
Students present a patriotic song at Delhi Public School, Pinjore, on Thursday.

Chandigarh, January 27
Republic Day was celebrated with patriotic fervour at Delhi Public School, Pinjore. The Tricolour was hoisted by the Principal, Mr Samson Masih, which was followed by speeches, poems and inter-house patriotic song competition.

The result: Sutlej House (first), Ganga House (second), Jhelum House (third) and Yamuna House (fourth).

Republic Day was also celebrated at Government Model High School, Sector 36-B, here. A cultural programme was organised on the occasion. Principal Reeta Jauhar unfurled the Tricolour. Students gave speeches on the occasion and danced. Prizes and sweets were distributed on the occasion.



SDM unfurls flag
Our Correspondent

Mohali/Kharar, January 27
The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, unfurled the national flag at the 57th Republic Day function held in Government Senior Secondary School, Phase III B-1, here yesterday.

A march past was organised by the police, students from Government College and various schools.

Persons who had donated blood more than 20 times, some social workers and students excelling in various fields were honoured.

A cultural function was also organised by students.

The SDM said more stress was laid on student participation at the march past and the number of cultural items were reduced this year.

The Republic Day was celebrated with enthusiasm at Christian High School, Kharar, where the national flag was unfurled by the Kharar SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu.

A number of persons were honoured at the function for their contribution to various fields. Students from various schools presented a cultural show.



Colourful show at Lions Bhawan

Chandigarh, January 27
Republic Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour at Lions Bhawan, Sector 18, here yesterday. Students of the school for the deaf and dumb being run under the aegis of the Lions Club along with the members of the Lions Club Host presented a colourful cultural programme on the occasion.

The function started with the hoisting of the National Flag by Mr Sanjiv Walia, president of the club. He also gave away prizes to the special children. The club members also spent time with inmates. TNS



Bid to take possession of doctor’s house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 27
Persons claiming to be aides of former MLA Vidya Beniwal, allegedly tried to take possession of a house here in Sector 8 yesterday morning. The owners of the house, a Rajpura-based doctor and his wife, were also assaulted by the accused.

While the district police was busy with the Republic Day celebrations, some youths barged into the house of Dr Rajan Soni. The couple alleged that the youths threatened them and said that they had come to occupy the house. “One of them claimed to be a nephew of Ms Beniwal. When we resisted, they beat us up. I sustained injuries on my back, while my wife received injuries on the forehead,” Dr Soni said.

He alleged that he had rented out the house to Ms Vandana Garg in September 2001, and the latter stopped paying rent after six months, and also refused to vacate the house. Dr Soni then approached the court and after a long litigation, he reached a settlement with her and two days later decided to shift in the house.

In the meantime, Bhupinder Singh, an aide of Ms Beniwal, shifted in the house. He had stopped paying the electricity charges and was using a kundi connection to get power. Last month, a case of power theft was registered against him.

The police had then arrested a person, who claimed to be Bhupinder Singh. He had tried to escape from police custody on December 17, 2005, but was unsuccessful. It was only yesterday, when another man claiming to be Bhupinder Singh, reached the spot, that the police realised that they had arrested someone else. Bhupinder’s aide, Devender Singh, had impersonated Bhupinder and got himself arrested.

After Bhupinder was arrested yesterday on charges of criminal trespassing and assault, the police also booked Bhupinder and Devender on charges of impersonation and escaping from police custody.

Media warned

One of the accused, claiming to be the nephew of Ms Beniwal, threatened mediapersons with dire consequences, if news was published against them. Mediapersons had gone to the house of Dr Soni after the news of the “illegal and forcible possession” of the house reached them in the afternoon.



Tribune Union celebrates silver jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Rich tributes were paid to the founder of The Tribune Trust, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, on the occasion the silver jubilee function of The Tribune Employees Union, held at Tribune Model School, Sector 29, yesterday. Tribune trustee, Mr. R P Bambah, and other members of The Tribune family were present in large numbers.

Congratulating the union on completing 25 years of service towards The Tribune employees, Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister and the day’s chief guest, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, lauded the role played by The Tribune publications, which she said ‘‘always stood for the empowerment of the society, while at the same time performing a social responsibility and maintaining its high traditions of journalism’’. She also passed on good wishes to The Tribune family on completing 125 years of publication.

In her short speech, she touched on the issue of the country’s progress and exhorted the young citizens to come forward for the betterment of society. Ms Bhattal honoured 23 blood donors, who have donated blood over 20 times during the blood donation camps held by the union.

Others present at the occasion included Mr Pawan Bansal, member of Parliament, the city Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, Dr Saudamani Bambah, Mr Sanjay Hazari, the General Manager of The Tribune, Mr Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Dainik Tribune, Mr O P Arora, Additional General Manager of The Tribune, and Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, President of the union.

Dr Bambah in his address congratulated the union and commended the role played by it with utmost responsibility for the betterment of the newspaper as well as its employees over the years. He said, ‘‘The Tribune is the gift of Mr Majithia to this region. This is a unique organisation as it is not a business house and has no owner’’. The Tribune has always strived to be the voice of the people, he added.

Mr Bansal, however, appreciated the union for different reasons. ‘‘In my career, I never ever heard single case or dispute involving The Tribune management and the union, which shows the coordination and the good relations between the employees and the employers’’, he added.

The General Manager, Mr Sanjay Hazari, said he was fortunate to be part of the family. ‘‘To disseminate fair news along with education is the main objective. We should be serious for our role and responsibilities and carry the traditions forward’’, he opined.

Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, President of the Tribune Union, termed The Tribune as one of the most reputed newspapers of the country. Praising the union he said, ‘‘our union is one of the few unions which has been actively involved in social uplifting of employees besides performing its duties towards employees’’.

Mr Anil Gupta, General Secretary of the union, dwelt on the role of the union. He also praised the union members for keeping together at the time of crisis. ‘‘Besides the welfare of the employees, the union always renders helping hand at the time of natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and other calamities’’, he added.

Meanwhile, the 331 members who donated blood in the camps held last year, were honoured. Top Punjabi singers Babbu Mann, Ravinder Ravi (Indian Idol finalist), Karan Jasbir and Lakhwinder Lucky enthralled the audience with their performance.



Honoured for promoting literature
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, January 27
The bestowing of the Padma Shri on a city-based litterateur, Dr Kashmiri Lal Zakir, is a recognition of his prolific writings and dedicated services for the promotion of literature. Reigning supreme on the literary firmament since 1942 and credited with 110 books on diverse subjects , Zakir claimed that awards and recognitions had flowed in plenty during the 65 years of his literary voyage, but being the only recipient of Padma Shri in the field of literature and education this year from the region is really encouraging.

Born at Bega Benian in Pakistani Punjab in April, 1919, Zakir had his education in Srinagar and Jammu before he took to teaching after a brief stint in journalism.

Endowed with the intuitive wisdom and sensibility of a poet and a writer, Zakir has penned novels, short stories, dramas, pen portraits of 70 creative writers and artists and books on his travelogues to the USA and European and African countries.

Blessed with a unique imaginative intensity with proficiency to write in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi, Zakir is adored in India and admired in alien lands, especially Pakistan, where his novels are a craze.

His writings define the national psyche and symbolize the deepest desires, dreams and problems of the common man. After “Ek Safar Dard Ka”, his novel “Samaundari Hawaon Ka Mausam” has already been released in Pakistan by Mr Parvez Elahi, Punjab Chief Minister. Another honour in Lahore awaits Zakir in April next.



Surinder Kaur gets Padma Shri
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, January 27
The prestigious national honour of Padma Shri conferred on the living legend, Punjabi folksinger, Surinder Kaur, came as a joy to her daughters and other family members at her Panchkula residence. Notwithstanding the delayed recognition, a beaming Surinder Kaur termed it as an honour to the pure and rich folk singing of Punjab and crores of music lovers the world over. Already a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1982 and the ‘ Millennium Punjabi Singer award, Surinder Kaur expressed gratitude to her admirers for their love and blessings which have been her inspiration. She sings even at the age of 76.

Talking to The Tribune, she appreciated her disciple daughter, Dolly Guleria, for keeping alive the family legacy of commitment to sublime and good Punjabi singing despite strong challenges from Western musical influences.

The living legend rued the half-baked singers being exploited by music companies. She advised the naïve aspirants attracted by the glamour world that learning classical music under the guru-shishya tradition was always beneficial. She remembered how she learnt classical music from ustads like Inayat Hussain, Niaz Hussain and Pandit Mani Prashad. Having recorded over 2,000 songs and performed the world over many times, she shared many memorable moments with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru who affectionately addressed her as “Moti”, “the memory of which rejuvenates me”, she says.



A witness to country’s legal system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
It was recognition long due for veteran Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate H.L. Sibal, a recipient of Padma Bhushan award.

“I am very happy and satisfied with the award”, said Mr Sibal while talking to The Tribune. After over 67 years, Mr Sibal recently retired from active legal practice.

Having started practice as a young lawyer, the recipient of the highest civilian award is an institution in himself. After passing out of Dayal Singh College, Lahore, in July, 1937, he has been a witness to the evolution of an independent India as also the country’s legal system.

He said , “There should a national-level recruitment of judicial officers on the pattern of civil services. Fixing certain quota for direct recruitment would clean the system and improve the judicial system”.

A strong advocate of a judicial commission to probe matters of any nature against the judiciary, he said the body should be above the apex court and should be an authority by itself.

On being asked about the Act dealing with the contempt of court, the veteran advocate said it should be changed as it was being misused. Those misusing it should be punished.

On the need of changing certain obsolete legal provisions, he said today the world had become a global village and there was an urgent need to see the legal framework in that light. Some of the laws which had become outdated should be replaced.

A witness to many historic moments, Mr Sibal was there when the country was partitioned and he shifted to Shimla where the High Court was situated. He was also witness to the trial of Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse at Shimla. He also participated in the function on March 19, 1955, when the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru inaugurated the Punjab and Haryana High Court complex in Chandigarh.



Director wants to see PGI grow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
For the Director of one of the most prestigious medical institutes in the country, the honour of being the recipient of Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India, is just not a matter of pride but of greater responsibilities and challenges. While the award will remain a constant reminder of the dreams to be traced, the doctor, meanwhile, is not just using his healing touch, but is also working to see the institute grow and glow in spite of all odds and constraints.

With many firsts to his credit, including introducing the technique of radio frequency ablation, therapy of automatic implantable cardioverter and defibrillator and the first to implant the multisite pacing system, Dr K.K. Talwar, Director, PGIMER, and Head, Department of Cardiology, is now focused on ushering in new technology that is so far not available at PGI.

While the note of optimism sounded high and clear in his voice, Dr Talwar is now looking forward to the setting up of the Regional Cancer Centre, Stem Cell Research Centre and the expansion of the Hispathology Centre for which Rs 7.75 crore has been received. The Director believes that these projects, including DNA based HLA typing, will not only provide state-of-the-art care to cancer patients but will also help in treating many cardiac, neurological and haematological conditions. He added that a gastroenterology ICU, Hepatology ICU, PET scan and cyber knife were some of the other facilities for which a requirement of Rs 100 crore had been sent to the PM’s Office.

Strengthening the management and patient related services at PGI is also high on Dr Talwar’s agenda. To this end, various health plans and packages and easy availability of emergency drugs are being chalked out to provide complete health care facility, informed Dr Talwar.

While 100 nurses had already been recruited, the management is also working to address the problem of shortage of nursing staff. According to Dr Talwar, PGI will also be a pioneer in the area of organ transplantation. While talking about the ‘‘telemedicine initiative’’, Dr Talwar said that more than 350 consultations had been given to patients in rural Punjab and more centres are being linked up to PGI.

Talking about the research activities at PGI, the Director said that in just one year the research budget has risen from Rs 7 crore to nearly Rs 12 crore indicating the importance given to various research projects.



Working for a polio-free world
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Padma Shri bestowed upon Mr Rajendra K. Saboo has resulted from 45 years of relentless service to humanity. Acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of the Worldwide Polio Plus Programme, Mr Saboo is today seen more as a ‘social worker’ involved in ameliorating pain and suffering rather than as an industrialist who has built his huge business empire on the foundation of honesty and hard work.

The Tribune caught up with Mr Saboo shortly before he was to leave for Kalahandi in Orissa, one of the poorest areas in the country, accompanied by a team of 20 doctors for his weeklong sojourn from the corporate world. “I have always said doing business for profit was important, but more important is what you do with that wealth. When you make money, it is your social responsibility to pay back to society what society has given you”, is Mr Saboo’s mantra for success. With conviction he adds, “I could not have succeeded in business had it not been for society”

It is with this commitment that he persuaded a group of likeminded people at the Rotary Club, way back in the 1960 to donate a funeral van, ‘enabling many to have a dignified last journey’. “People always donate to eradicate suffering after they see someone dear suffer from a deadly disease, but I always say, we should count our blessings when our near and dear ones are free of disease and work towards ‘similar freedom from suffering’ for others”. It is with this motivation that he took upon himself the ardent task of polio eradication worldwide.

An opportunity to realise his dream came his way in 1981-82 when Mr. Saboo made it to Board of Directors of the Rotary International and gave him the opportunity to initiate the move for a polio free world.

His efforts received a push when India became a member of the World Health Assembly in 1988 and a committee was set up for working for the eradication of polio.

His vision of a polio free world got a further boost when he became the World President of the Rotary International in 1991-92, enabling him to do much more for his country and the world as compared to before.

He says, “only 64 cases of polio were reported in India during 2005 and that too from the backward area of U.P, and Bihar. We are hoping to eradicate polio virus from India by the end of this year”, he recalls with satisfaction.

Mr Saboo sees the Padma Shri as not just recognition of his contribution to society, but as an acknowledgement for all those who walked with him in his endeavours. “But for my family, my friends, parents and above all my wife who has been very supportive of my work, I would not have been able to achieve much”.

He confesses that when he started out in life, his ambition was to establish himself as a leading industrialist - a captain of sorts for the industry, become President of FICCI and other similar bodies. But somewhere down the road, he got drifted towards social work. His belief in giving back to society led him to work for the spread of education and he got involved with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. His upbringings and resolve to lead an ethical life made him join the Ramakrishna Mission. All this led to a chemical reaction that preached, ‘do good and be good’.

Today, when Mr Saboo looks back at the 72 years he has spent ‘caring’ for those who have not been ‘so blessed’, he draws some satisfaction from the fact that he has been able to help many come out of their misery. Currently he is working on a project, “Gift of Life” at the PGI with aid from Rotary Club for corrective cardio thoracic surgery among children.



Residents oppose apartments complexes
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 27
In a first of its kind objection, residents of the Sarv Mangal (Phase 1) Residents Welfare Association are up in arms against the construction of certain apartment complexes.

Alleging that the rules, including the municipal laws, were being violated with impunity, the residents claimed that the construction of apartments in their areas would open a Pandora’s box and encourage other real estate promoters to construct flats on the small plots.

Besides encroaching on the privacy of residents, the three-storeyed flats would block light and air to them, alleged Mr Balwinder Singh, general secretary.

Meanwhile, in a representation to the president of the Nagar Panchayat, copies of which were sent to the Chief Administrator, Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), Mohali, the association claimed that construction of flats in the already populated areas was against rules and regulations. The Sarv Mangal Society had purchased the land in 1993.

“We have informed the president and other officials of the Nagar Panchayat about the construction in the area, but no action has been taken so far. It may be mentioned that the permission is taken for construction of the three-storeyed buildings and no permission is taken for the construction of the flats/towers,” alleged Mr B.K. Sharma, president.

It may be recalled that Zirakpur is bursting at its seams with the construction of thousands of flats.

Almost all builders are promising the allottees the state-of-the-art facilities, including solar water heating system, 24-hour water and power supplies, modular kitchens, besides strategic locations at the adjoining Zirakpur-Kalka highway, Chandigarh-Ambala and Zirakpur-Patiala highway.



Commission for minimum wages to BSNL safai workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Chairperson of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Santosh Chowdhary asked the top brass in the Punjab circle of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to ensure that all contractual safai karamcharis were given the minimum specified wages.

Addressing mediapersons after holding an interaction with officers of the BSNL, permanent safai karamcharis and contractors here, Ms Chowdhary said she had received a number of complaints about the contractual safai karamcharis not being paid the minimum wages in almost all cities in the circle.

“As against Rs 3,150 per month, they are being paid just Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,600 monthly by the contractor. The BSNL authorities should not give the contract without ensuring that the interest of safai karamcharis is maintained,” she said.

She added that after the UPA government had brought the safai karamcharis under the Minimum Wages Act, the contractors could be fined and even imprisoned if these workers were not paid properly.

Ms Chowdhary said these karamcharis were not given any uniform and medical aid.

She urged Chief General Manager Gokul Singh to ensure that these conditions were put in the contract.



Sales manager falls from third floor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 27
The Area Sales Manager of Samsung had a narrow escape after falling from the third floor of his Sector 42 house on Wednesday night. He was found lying in a pool of blood by a newspaper hawker in the morning and was rushed to hospital, where his condition is stated to be stable, the police said.

Mr Manish Gupta (32), broke several teeth. The police has ruled out foul play behind the incident.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the Sector 36 police station said Mr Gupta had accidentally fallen from the parapet in an inebriated condition. “He came out of his room to smoke a cigarette and being drunk, lost his balance and fell down. As it was too late in the night no one heard the thud and he fell unconscious,” a police officer said.

It was only at around 6 am that the accident came to light when a hawker saw him lying on the floor in a pool of blood. The hawker raised the alarm and soon people gathered at the spot. He was given first aid and neighbours called the police and ambulance. He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI.



Chahal releases Press Club calendar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, Punjab, released a magazine, a well calendar and a diary-cum-directory of the Press Club, here today.

Mr Balwant Takshak, secretary of the Press Club, welcomed Mr Chanal. Mr G.C. Bhardwaj president Mr Chahal with a memento.

The function was attended by Mr B.S. Sudan, Director, and Mrs Senu Duggal, Joint Secretary, Information and Public Relations Department, Punjab.

Mr Chahal appreciated the role of the press in highlighting the policies and programmes of the state government. The State Government was committed towards the welfare of journalists, he said.

Mr Chahal also released a table calendar and a pocket calendar on the occasion.



Man on mobike falls into ditch
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 27
A person was seriously injured in Phase III B 2 here today when he fell into a ditch dug by a private telephone company.

According to information, Mr Sanjay Handa who was going to the Phase III B 2 market on a motor cycle fell into the ditch along with the vehicle while avoiding a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The front wheel of the motor cycle and the rider fell into the ditch while the rear wheel remained on the road.

He was taken to a private hospital in Phase IV by some person who saw him falling.



Two shops gutted at Sohana
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 27
Two shops were destroyed in fire in Sohana village that broke out early in the morning yesterday.

The fire brigade was informed about the incident by a sewadar of a gurdwara in the area and the situation was brought under control by fire brigade employees.

While one of the shops that got destroyed in the fire was being run by a property consultant, the other shop belonged to an insurance company.

It is learnt that Rs 30,000 lying in the shop of the property consultant, apart from furniture and important documents, were destroyed in the fire. The cause of the fire, however, could not be ascertained.



Trust solemnises marriages
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 27
The Guru Asra Trust, Phase VII, solemnised the marriages of two girls belonging to families of militants who were allegedly killed by the police.

One function was held yesterday where Ms Gurvir Kaur was married Mr Tarandeep Singh, a resident of Ludhiana. Ms Gurvir Kaur is the daughter of militant Avtar Singh, who was allegedly killed by the police.

At a function held today, Ms Sarabjit Kaur was married to Mr Manmohan Singh, a resident of Jammu. Father of Ms Sarabjit Kaur, Avtar Singh, was killed in an encounter with the police in 1991.

Both marriages were reportedly out of caste.



Principal discharged
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 27
“I suffered a major catastrophe but have come out of it with a strong will power and by the personal attention given to me by the medical team and members of my family.”

This was stated by Ms Prem Suri, Principal, Tender Heart School, Sector 33, Chandigarh, while addressing a press conference at Fortis Hospital here today.

She said she had gone through a stage when she could neither hear nor speak but now felt totally recovered. She was discharged from the hospital today.

Dr Arvind Sahni, Director, Gastroenterology, Fortis Hospital, told mediapersons that Mrs Suri came to the hospital with viral fever and loose motions.



Readers Write
Industrial prosperity at cost of domestic sector

Prior to the year 2000, the industrial sector always helped the domestic sector at the time of fixation of electricity rates in line with the provisions of Electricity Supply Act. The state government constituted Electricity Regulatory Commission in the year 2001 to decide rates of Electricity of various category of consumers. Perhaps the commission remained oblivious of the fact that domestic sector is a social sector which needed support from other sectors like commercial, industrial etc so as to keep the electricity rates within the paying capacity of domestic consumers of the state. Unfortunately, during the past 5 years the electricity rates of domestic consumers have been increased even above the rates of electricity for industrial consumers.

This above shows that a number of industrial consumers using electricity as a raw material are paying lesser rate of electricity than domestic consumers. Steep increase in domestic tariff has increased theft of electricity manifold in domestic premises, and senior board officers admit this fact as checking of premises is not being carried out. The state government shall be appointing a new chairman and members of Electricity Regularity Commission shortly and domestic consumers hope that this injustice shall be undone during the next fixation of tariff in March, 2006.

K.L. Dhawan, New Lal Bagh, Patiala

Discourteous rail staff

The rail reservation counters on the premises of the ISBT in Sector 17, Chandigarh, are by and large manned by staff totally discourteous and devoid of any civilised behaviour and manners. The little power and authority they command in making reservations have gone high into their heads. They treat the customers and clients, except their own conmen and agents, as mendicants seeking alms and talk to them like super snobs.

The spot officer in charge just sits in his office room without any consideration to what happens at the counters and for how long serpentine queues just inch their way to the booking window.

I had a brush on this point with one of the officials of this set-up manning the counters meant for senior citizens, handicapped, NRIs and VIPs etc. While a senior citizen waits, this official makes bulk booking of some 40 tickets through a conman. And when that senior citizen presents a form for two tickets for his son and daughter-in-law, this counter clerk would say that the actual passengers are not senior citizens and commands the applicant/representatives to go to some other window/counter and stand there in some long queue. Next time my son goes to reserve two tickets for his aged/Sr citizen parents and again this official would direct him to go to some other window as he, the applicant, himself is not a senior citizen. That way they evade duty and derive sadistic pleasure in making the railing customers feel miserbale. These counter clerks and their bosses in fact need some disciplinary chastisement and counselling.

S.P. Singh, Chandigarh

Streetlights not functioning

The streetlights installed at the main road leading to Phase X and XI, Mohali crossing, Sectors 48-49, Chandigarh are not functioning since the last six months. It causes heavy damage to human life and motor vehicles. Stray cows and buffaloes keep occupying the road. In the last six months about 6-7 accidents have taken place. The area is dangerous to commuters. The administration is not repairing the lights.

Residents of Sector 48-49, Chandigarh

Stringent powers to Lok Adalat

It is worth mentioning that the Lok Adalat is conducting a special adalat for the loan recovery cases in Chandigarh. At the same time it may be pointed out that after availing loans from reputed institutions/banks, the loanees in Chandigarh roam freely without repaying the amount, thus putting the guarantors in hardships. Powers of the Lok Adalat should be quite stringent so that the loanee should not escape the clutches of the law and these defaulter loanees are taken to task, especially in Chandigarh city.

Sreenivasan, Chandigarh

Eligibility cut-off criterion faulty

The decision first taken by Panjab University and now by Punjab Engineering College to have the eligibility cut-off criterion at 60 per cent marks in the qualifying examination (10+2) for admission to engineering courses seems to have been taken while overlooking some related aspects. It suffers from a basic inconsistency, if not infirmity. Apparently, this was being done to bring a quality change in the intake of students into engineering courses. But if the same argument is to be accepted, then there must be some incentive to credit the performance of exceptionally brilliant students scoring 85-90 per cent or above marks in the pre-professional board examination. Can such a meritorious candidate be ensured of admission by some inbuilt mechanism for admission process? What if a candidate with such a high percentage in the qualifying plus two examination has All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) rank much lower than that of the one with a much lower percentage in the board examination? Ironically, such situations are anamolous but real if we look at the element of chance in the candidates’ performance.

In view of the above, the overall merit for admission should be determined by the performance of candidates both in the entrance test and the annual board examination by giving appropriate weightage to each.

(Dr) I.M. Joshi, PU (Chandigarh)



Two cars stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 27
Two cars were stolen from the city in the past 48 hours. In a separate incident thieves reportedly decamped with Rs 14,000 and from a house in Mani Majra. The local police arrested seven persons on the allegations of indulging in gambling.

Mr Rajesh Kumar of Sector 35-C reported to the police that his Maruti Car (CH-01-T-5005) was stolen from his residence on Tuesday night. In another incident, Mr B.R. Bhatti of Sector 18-C lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that his Maruti Car (CHK-9397) was stolen from the Sector 19 Sadar bazaar on Thursday.

Burglary: Mr Ram Chander of Mori Gate, Mani Majra, filed a complaint with the police alleging that gold jewellery and Rs 14,000 were stolen from his residence on Wednesday. A case under Section 380 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Gambling: The local police arrested seven persons on the allegations of indulging in gambling at public places from various parts of the city on Thursday.

According to the police, Badri Prashad and Mohan Singh of Dhanas Colony, Satpal of Colony Number 5 and Rajesh Kumar of Maloya Colony were arrested from two separate places in Sector 17, ISBT, while Rashid Ahmed, Mohammad Syed of Manimajra and Inderpal of Mauli Jagran were arrested from Transport Area, Sector 26.

Three separate cases have been registered against them under the provisions of the Gambling Act in the Sector 17 and 26 police stations.



Burglars strike at 5 shops
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 27
Burglars struck at five shops in Phase XI on the night of January 25 and decamped with cash and other items.

Locks of five shops dealing in confectionary and grocery items, medicines, shoes and sanitary fittings were broken to get into the buildings. The burglars mainly targeted cash though items like mobile phones, shoes, chocolates and toffees were also stolen. Efforts were made to target three more shops but the burglars probably were not able to break the central lock installed in these.

Mr Ravinder Singh, owner of the chemist shop, told Chandigarh Tribune that the burglars had taken away three mobile phones, recharging bucks worth about Rs 3000 and Rs 6000 in cash. He lamented that the police was not taking action even when thefts were on the rise in the area.

He said on January 10 a theft had taken place in another shop owned by the family when about 12 sets of mobile phones were stolen, but the police failed to register an FIR.

Mr Pawan Kumar of the sanitary store said burglars took away Rs 33,000 in cash and a gold chain belonging to his wife which he had brought to the shop for getting it repaired. He said there was inadequate police patrolling in the area and even streetlights were out of order.

Similarly, Mr Ram Dayal running a kiryana shop, said Rs 15,000 was stolen from his shop while Mr Rakesh Kumar, owning a confectionary shop, complained that the burglars had taken away Rs 15,000 and some boxes containing chocolates and toffees.

Mr Rohit Aggarwal, who has a shoe shop, said about 35 pairs of shoes were stolen from his shop apart from Rs 10,000 which he had kept to pay rent.

He said the chowkidar employed by shopkeepers had told a police patrol party that he was not well and would not be able to work for about two days even then the police failed to remain more vigilant in the area.



Political inhibitions holding up Indo-Pak trade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Opening up of international borders for trade and commerce will immensely benefit the agricultural community in India as well as Pakistan, but inhibitions at the political level on either side is holding up the issue.

This was brought out at a seminar for agricultural experts from the two countries, who got together to discuss modalities for improving bilateral co-operation and benefiting from each other's techno-economic capabilities and experiences at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here today.

A 16-member delegation representing the Farmers' Association of Pakistan (FAP) is presently visiting the region to study Indian agricultural practices and innovations in the field. Prominent among them are a Member of the Pakistan National Assembly and chairman of FAP, Mr Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Minister of Literacy, Punjab (Pak), Mr Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi, the FAP chief executive, Mr Afaq Ahmad Tiwana, and the FAP chief coordinator, Mr Mohammad Idrees.

Mr Qureshi pointed out that high-quality kinnows and mangoes are grown in abundance in Pakistani Punjab. These could be exported to India in return for produce like potatoes and grain. It was also pointed out that such a trade would be of immense economic benefit for either side as it could result in mango processing units being set up in Indian Punjab. Presently, mango processing units are concentrated in South India as the cost of transporting mangoes to North India is not economically viable.


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