C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Amorous advances sans love, it’s Valentine’s Day
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Love’s got nothing to do with it. As college and school fêtes, along with opportunities to socialise, are slipping into the recycle bin of memories, so many youngsters in the city with hearts palpitating for tender pangs are counting on St Valentine’s Day to fire love messages, reducing it to an all proposal day.

For them, February 14 offers just another fair field. Oh yes, for shooting proposals at migratory love birds hovering over the geri route on single cylinder flying machines fondly christened scooters.

Having doubts? Ask undergrad Rahul Singh. The young communication student will tell you all about it. Adjusting pink sunglasses to conceal those famished dark eyes, he says philosophically, “It’s nothing, but bullet theory of proposal. You shoot love messages blindly at the willing ducks sitting on the scooters, or the ones trotting down the road meandering through the hustle and bustle of life, hoping someone would accept the proposal”.

Flashing a broad smile, he whispers, “It’s based on the hypothesis of probability…. The more you try, the better are your chance of succeeding, as simple as that”. Sounds logical! After all, “try and try again until you succeed” is based on the same premise.

As you stand there staring at him, Rahul pulls out a bundle of “I love you” cards picked up from a gift shop in Sector 11. Handing them over to you, the young Sector 42 resident smiles, “I have purchased a dozen of them. If the first one refuses to acknowledge my feelings, I will move on to the second….”

Wow! Guys, just look at the young warrior and so many like him. They simply refuse to take rejection as an attack on their ego and believe in proposing till the last card. Guess everyone should learn a lesson or two from them. For, until a few years ago, youngsters like them would have allowed rejection to cow them down.

Looking at them from close quarters, Ms Raman of a chunk jewellery shops in Sector 11 says, “Existing in a material whirl of mobiles and malls where money purchases everything including happiness, love means nothing to Rahul and others like him. They pick up cards or plastic roses and propose at first sight, even if their hearts do not meet”.

She adds, “The intention is to go around, share happy moments and enjoy till the affair lasts. And then bid adieu. No promises, no pain….It is emotionless affection, a sort of caring indifference”.

Phew, it’s all so complicated. As she speaks, you realise lovers’ day has been reduced to all proposal day where guys try their luck and the girls accept the trophies of love, gracefully. Oh yes, they remind you of Belinda in Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock, “Favours to none, to all she smiles extends, oft she rejects, but never once offends. Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, And, like the sun, they shine on all alike”. What else can you say! Happy Valentine’s Day!



What lies beneath? Keep guessing!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Cupid is out of the bag, again. Fluttering his wings passionately for soaring high in the romantic air, he is carrying loads of “surprises” for pretty damsels living life in the luxury lanes down below.

The little angel of love is rubbing his hands excitedly ready to pull a few tricks, along with astounding stuff, sure to swipe your girl off her feet on St Valentine’s Day.

Nay, it is not just devil in the box with glittering eyes and sinister laughter that’s peeing out of his satchel. He is clutching little buds of affection ready to bloom into wonder. For, concealed amidst the cheerful red petals is underlinen.

Phew, to a discerning ear, it may sound in poor taste. After all decent guys do not present undergarments kept under wraps in red flowers. No, not even on the lovers’ day. But boys will be boys. And Chandigarh boys… what can you say about them? In sync with their wayward image, they are picking up tender plastic flowers, loaded with much more than fragrance, from gift and chunk jewellery shops across the city.

Ask Chetan Kumar of Jewels in Sector 11, he will tell you all about the popping-up craze for the innermost secret. “Costing just about Rs 120, the cute little flowers with small clothes bundled inside are finding their place in the markets, and the hearts of so many guys, after being ferried from China and other alien lands via Mumbai,” he says.

Flashing a broad smile with a tinge of naughtiness in his sparkling eyes, he says, “Everyday we are selling something like 15 to 20 buds with the “unmentionables” covered deep inside. They are hot-off-the-fire craze amidst city teenyboppers for the big day”.

But why are the guys going in for “cheap thrills” when there are good gifts dazzling on the glass shelves in so many showrooms across the city? Well, Chetan believes the guys want to give something different to their burning flames on the big day, instead of just plain simple teddies and alluring boxes of imported chocolates wrapped up in nice cellophane papers.

“Oh yes, some of the forlorn guys are even buying the stuff to embarrass the girls, but then there is hardly anything we can do about it,” he says. Well girls, you be careful. If a stranger offers you an alluring flower, examine it carefully before accepting it as another trophy of love or acknowledgement of your good looks. In any case let’s listen to what the guys have to say about the stuff.

“It’s cool man,” whispers undergrad Arman Singh. “I have just picked up one for presenting to my girlfriend of four years…. I just want to see the expression of her face and eyes when she pulls out the thing out of the flower”.

Passing muscular fingers through his dusty brown hair, the second year Arts student says, “Nay, the idea is not to mortify her or even to make her uncomfortable. I just want to surprise her with the gift. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less! You see, Valentines is a day to enjoy. Why make it a drab affair?” Well, folks lets hope the situation does not turn ugly with the inside out.



Cops to guard V-day festivity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
With the Chandigarh police having made elaborate arrangements to keep a tab on things going over board on Valentine’s Day tomorrow, there is not much expected to happen around city colleges and the university.

With a holiday falling one day before the V-day, nothing much could be planned by students in colleges, the university and PEC. Also majority of hostellers would be returning from their home towns tomorrow after an extended weekend. The university bore a deserted look today. No young crowds thronged gift and flower shops in the university markets, a clear indication that tomorrow might also just pass off as yet another day.

But the police is still not taking any chances. Admitting that the Valentine day fever had definitely gone down in the past few years, Chandigarh police officials are not bothered about being tagged as spoilsports. Like in the past, there would be enough police presence outside the colleges, the geri route, Sector 10, 11 and 15 markets and other usual hangouts. While traffic diversions had been planned in the past most such diversion would be done on the spot if needed and no prior information could be given, the police added

Entry to the Panjab University campus tomorrow would be regulated through gate No.2 (Sector-14/15 dividing road). To avoid any inconvenience, students are advised to keep their Identity Cards. Likewise, teachers and other employees coming to the university may also carry their identity cards.



Shopkeepers have a reason to smile too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
For many it was time to lose heart, for some an opportunity to earn money. As the clock steadily ticked towards St Valentine’s Day, shopkeepers across the city did brisk business selling not just gifts and cards, but also chunk and real jewellery. Almost all shops selling Valentines stuff were decked up with cheerful red balloons, besides crimson hearts and other soft toys.

For some of the youngsters, slipping out of the house wasn’t easy. Being a holiday, some of them had to come up with all kinds of excuses. Once out, they went on a wild shopping spree with money saved especially for the occasion.

Heavy rush of youngsters clad in their casual best was witnessed in gifts shops in Sector 11 and 35. “Teddy bear continued to be the hot favourite gift as guys purchased the soft toy for their girls, along with tender hearts on plastic stalks,” said Raman of Jewels in Sector 11. Imported chocolates moulded like flowers added flavour to the festive spirit.

In their quest for wishing Valentine’s Day differently, a large number of youngsters also placed orders for heart-shaped cakes. “The range begins from Rs 100 and goes up to Rs 350 depending upon the size and flavour,” said Jagdish Seth of Kandy’s Pastry Parlour in Sector 32. He added that they had received as many as 35 orders for such cakes, not just from youngsters, but from elderly couples as well.

Those eager to buy jewellery went to Sector 8, 17 and 22. Most of the jewellers were offering special discounts ranging anywhere between 15 per cent and 35 per cent. Needless to say, heart shaped pendants were the most sought-after gifts.

Eager to look fascinating on the big day, so many of the girls frequented beauty parlours situated throughout the length and breadth of the city. “The number of youngsters visiting us was almost double,” said beauty consultant Neeru Sidhu. She runs her own beauty saloon in Sector 35.

Interestingly, some of the courier companies also decided to cash in on the craze. Banners announcing discounts of up to 15 per cent on the delivery of cards and gift items could be seen in front of their offices in Sector 35 and 17.

As always, the flower business bloomed in the city with most of the roadside florists jotting down the addresses throughout the day. “Especially for February 14, roses have been flown from Bangalore and several other places,” said Raghubir Singh, working with a sector 35 florist.

A visit to the florists across the city revealed that almost all of them had jacked up the prices. A bouquet, normally costing about Rs 150 was now being offered for almost double the price. Lilacs and Carnations, along with traditional roses, continued to flourish as floral gifts.



Triple murder case: elder son in police net
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
The city police today claimed to have solved the blind triple murder case in less than a week with the arrest of Pawandeep Singh, the main suspect and the elder son of the slain Group Captain T.P. Singh, from a remote village in Nagaland.

The retired officer was found murdered along with his wife Shibani and sister Ajit Kaur in his Sector 34 residence last Tuesday.

Giving details of the arrest, DSP (South) K.I.P. Singh said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Chandigarh Police arrested Pawandeep from a remote L. Hotovi village on the outskirts of Dimapur district in Nagaland. After getting a tip-off about Pawandeep’s movements in that area, the SIT in association with the Nagaland police and the Intelligence Bureau launched an operation and subsequently developed the information gathered from various sources and zeroed in on Pawandeep in a jungle area. He was later produced before a court by the SIT and the court granted his transit remand to the SIT.

Elaborating over the details, the DSP added that during preliminary interrogation Pawandeep has confessed involvement in the crime and has also named his two accomplices. They had executed the gruesome murder by coming from Gurgaon to Chandigarh on the Monday night. The next day Pawandeep and his friend Pearl boarded the Rajdhani Express from Delhi and reached Dimapur. Pawandeep deliberately avoided to stay with the family of Pearl and kept on shifting his places to elude the police. The technical analysis of mobile phones used by them had also pointed the needle of suspicion towards them.

About the relationship with his parents, Pawandeep disclosed that he had strained relations with his father due to his wayward behaviour. His father had also threatened to disown and disinherit him from the family property. The retired officer had earlier invited Pawandeep’s wrath by selling a Mani Majra-based property. He was also disturbed on learning that his father was further intending to sell other family property. Adding to this, the family was also against his proposed marriage with Pearl and he was reportedly trying to convince the family to agree to it.

The SIT was comprised of DSP K.I.P. Singh, Inspector and In-charge of Crime Branch Satbir Singh and SHO of the Sector 34 police station Ram Gopal.



Finland envoy focuses on environmental concerns
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
"Environment is the biggest bottleneck to all economic development today and definitely in future. Scientists from all over the world are highlighting the environmental concerns which need immediate attention. The melting of the ice cover in the Arctic belt is just one small example of the big changes, internationally. The change will have an impact in shaping the future of the world. The international community needs to collaborate and work on solutions, at the earliest".

This was said by Mr Asko Numminen, Ambassador of Finland to India, while speaking to The Tribune at the international conference on ‘Revisiting ‘Euro-Asia’ Cultures, Connections and Conceptualisations’ at Panjab University here today.

Mr Numminen said "environment needs to be brought on top of agenda for consideration of the international community while panning for the future. Environment is one of the most dearest subjects for Finland as was evident from its top ranking in environmental care by international agencies."

The "phenomenal" growth of trade in India and China is reshaping the international scenario, he said. Going by the recent developments, it is clear that trade and investment opportunities are the key areas for future international relations.

India has emerged as one of the biggest forces showing economic growth which has led to the a change in international perceptions about the Asian country, he said.

In a "new competitive situation’, internationally, the role of the 'Superpower' is also undergoing a change. There is nothing denying the fact that the USA continues to be a very important player at the international level. In new developments, Europe is trying to open up to the Asian continent and the world future needs to be seen only in the perspective of mutual cooperation", Mr Numminen said.

The Ambassador said "The European Union is one of the most dynamic forces in the world scenario. Concentrated efforts were being made for the EU-Asia tie-ups in general and EU-India relations, in particular. Finland will hold the presidency of the EU from July onwards later this year which means it will represent 25 countries of the union. "

"Finland will be holding a summit meeting of Asian countries later this year. An ASEAN summit will feature the EU-Asian counties interaction. A China-EU summit will also be hosted later this year. The issues under discussion will feature trade, commerce, security, cultural relations and people interaction.

All the activities are aimed at giving a political impetus to the growing relations ", he said.



Chandigarh Calling

Another officer from the city has had his name etched in the Army’s roll of honour. Lieutenant Colonel Ajai Singh Chonker has been awarded the Vishisht Sewa Medal for his performance in getting the fence along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir erected in record time.

He was commissioned into the Bombay Sappers in December, 1991. He had stood first in his course at the Indian Military Academy, for which he was awarded the President’s Gold Medal. Presently commanding a unit in Ambala, he had also had a stint with a specialist sapper outfit in Chandimandir earlier and with the Ladakh Scouts.

His father, Col A.J.S. Chonker, said that Ajai is a third generation officer in the Army. His grandfather, Lt-Col Hartirath Singh, had served in North Africa and Burma during the Second World War. His father, a gunner, had fought in the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars and later settled down in the city after retirement.

Interestingly, Lt-Col Chonker’s wife, Manmeet, also comes from a family with military tradition. Her grandfather, Col J.S. Samra, had fought in the Second World War, while her father Brig A.S. Samra had been actively involved in all major wars since 1962 as well as counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.

Colonel Chonker envisions that his 3-year old grandson Arjan, would carry on the family’s deep-rooted tradition of military service.


Mr D.S. Doad, the defence ministry’s public relations assistant posted at Headquarters Western Command, has been awarded the Vice Chief of Army Staff’s commendation for meritorious service. He has been associated with the Western Command and the media for about 25 years.

‘Rang de Basanti’ and Tribune

Apart from the acting of the perfectionist Aamir Khan as well as its different flavour of patriotism, the new release film ‘Rang de Basanti’ catches the attention of Chandigarhians for one more reason.

The film has the memoirs of moments of pre-Independence era and the director showed the clippings of ‘The Tribune’ newspaper to give the audience an idea about the news. The city people feel to be part of the film to see the clippings of their own paper on the screen. Many people were seen pointing those clippings, containing historic news to their companions with sheer delight. Some even evinced their happiness with applause. The old readers of the newspaper are convinced to see the clippings as it has been a witness to the Indian freedom movement.

IM Soni’s books

Two books of city-based author I.M. Soni, a former Chairman, Department of Mass Communication, Panjab University, Chandigarh, have hit stalls. ‘You are Better Than You Know’ and ‘Climbing the Greasy Ladder’ are both inspirational and based on practical and psychological funda: no principle of success works unless you do!

The author, who has been freelancing for the past many years, has garnered from personal experience and study a staggering variety of guidelines for young men and women aspiring to a lucrative career.

He has also authored “Art of Essay Writing” and “Success and Personality”.

Honour for Sukhmani institute

Another honour has come to the faculty of the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology(SSIET), Dera Bassi. The SSIET Training and Placement Officer, Lieut-Col NS Julka, has been included in the panel of experts in the area of mechanical engineering by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation(CSIO), Chandigarh.

The panel of experts will be utilised for the purpose of assessments of technical and support staff besides constitution of various selection committees, a CSIO communication said.

Commerce mother of all inventions

When it comes to marketing products, companies can really come up with imaginative ideas. But when it comes to marketing gifts and products on an occasion like Valentine’s Day, some companies can really go overboard. To begin with an occasion like Valentine’s Day itself is the creation of companies selling greeting cards and soft toys. With ideas of stuffed puppies and musical cards becoming stale, you can now find pens with invisible ink requiring a particular pen with infrared torch to read selling like hot cakes. Imagine an artificial rose with a concealed piece of lingerie, specially made for the cupid’s day. Appalling and so very un-romantic, some would say though others may not agree. But we have to agree that it was earlier said that ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions. Now this should be changed to ‘commerce is the mother of all inventions’.

Science versus nature

Over the past few years, people in the region have seen many ups and downs in the weather. This year too it was predicted that the city will have a long and harsh winter. For the past two months people have been waiting for the “rains” to accelerate the cold wave. But on the contrary many people started using fans in the first week of February. Most woollens in shops are already on sale, some offering up to 70 per cent flat on the original price. Some restaurants have already turned on the air-conditioners. Moral of the story is simple, whatever advances in science man may have achieved, he can never predict the ways of nature. There is hope in this for those who are now getting ready for a hot summer.

— Sentinel



CHB announces ‘assured allotment’ scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
In a new development, the Chandigarh Housing Board has decided to reserve 20 flats in the new housing scheme in Sector 49 for "Assured Allotment" seekers.

Confirming the development, Mr Amar Nath, the Chief Executive Officer of the CHB, said, “A small portion of the houses has been reserved for those seeking a flat very desperately. The category includes those who had been transferred to the city for an assignment and plan to settle here or those were retiring from their active service elsewhere. The officers of the armed forces, in particular, show very keen interest in settling here after their retirement.”

Mr Amar Nath said, “Since the applicants in this special category will be seeking an out of turn allotment, they will also be paying a price higher than the price for normal allotment for the rest who seek allotment through a draw of lots.”

Explaining the pricing of the flats under the “reserved” category, he said, "Minimum price will be the reserve price fixed for the allotment of other flats. The CHB will then short-list the 20 top bidders for the flats from those who qualify for the allotment. Interestingly, out of the 20 top bidders, the lowest price quoted among those selected will apply to the rest also."

The number of flats booked under the assured allotment” scheme forms small percentage out of the 112 and 160 flats planned under two different schemes in the area.

Reacting to the development, Mr Rohit Sood, a business consultant, said "The CHB is, in a way, carrying out an auction. The plea of giving all the flats at the lowest price is a cover-up for the indirect auction. In a way, the board was promoting houses only for the rich which was just like the numerous property dealers offering houses to groups seeking desperate allotment.”

A senior officer of the CHB, however, said, “We have kept aside only a very small portion of the total number of flats for the “assured allotment” category. In case, money-making was the only criteria, we would have given more houses under this scheme. There is a genuine category of people seeking an assured allotment.”



Apprehension over parking
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, February 13
The Industries Association of Chandigarh has expressed apprehension over, “commercialisation of Industrial Area”. In a letter to UT’s Chief Administrator, chairman of the association, Mr H.S. Mamik, has conveyed that the members of the association are skeptical over the “planning and development” of the area.

Citing the example of Fun Republic, the association has said a study of the existing parking space there has showed that a parking space of 6900 square yards is available there, but it is proving to be inadequate, leading to serious problems of traffic congestion.

With the Pasco Mall coming up in the Industrial Area, the Administration has been asked to ensure ample parking for owners and visitors vehicles.

The letter has said the matter pertaining to adequate parking has been raised by the association members many times.

“The present situation in the Industrial Area is serious as the road leading to the railway station is being used as parking or for loading and unloading of cargo. With this kind of activity being permitted, we do not see much success in the commercialisation unless strict traffic condition is implemented and clean kerbs and walking areas are provided”, the Administrator has been told.

The association has requested for an assurance from the Administration that “this matter has been considered and sufficient parking as per requirement has been provided within the premises as per the notification allowing conversion of land use in the Industrial Area”.



Irregularities by Nafed alleged
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Auction of rice by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) held here today has come under a cloud with several participants alleging irregularities.

Nafed had offered 2,500 metric tonnes (MT) of rice for sale through tenders. The minimum quantity which a tenderer had to lift was 500 MT. According to sources, 12 parties submitted tenders at rates varying from Rs 615 per quintal to Rs 933.33 per quintal.

The Nafed authorities, however, decided to go in for auction. They divided the entire quantity of 2,500 MT into five lots of 500 MT each.

The highest bid for the first lot was for Rs 957 per quintal by LMJ Limited, Kolkata. The second lot attracted the highest bid of Rs 958 per quintal by Naresh Trading Company, Panipat. Before the highest bid of Rs 959 by the Kolkata party for the third lot could be accepted, a dispute arose.

The authorities reportedly decided to reauction even those two lots for which the auction had been finalised.

During the re-auction, the three lots, which had earlier attracted the highest bids of Rs 957, Rs 958 and Rs 959 a quintal, were auctioned for Rs 944, Rs 945 and Rs 946 per quintal. However, again a dispute arose.

The authorities, the sources say, then decided to auction the entire quantity of 2,500 MT as one lot. Mr Birbal Sharma of Shiva Enterprises, Kurukshetra, alleged that this was done to eliminate competition because small bidders had deposited security only for the lots of 500 MT as mentioned in the tender notice. Whereas earlier 12 parties were competing, once the small lots were merged into one single large lot, only two parties remained in the competition.

Mr Rajinder Garg of Anubhav Traders, Kurukshetra, alleged that the entire exercise was done by the Nafed authorities to favour a particular party. He said against the average rate of Rs 958 per quintal in the first auction and Rs 945 per quintal in the second auction, the entire lot was sold to the Kolkata party for Rs 943 per quintal. He also alleged that the accepted practice of getting the signatures of the bidding parties on the auction papers was also not followed by the Nafed authorities.

When contacted, the Chandigarh Branch Manager of Nafed, Mr S.S. Kalra, denied that any irregularity had been committed in the sale of rice. He said the entire procedure was adopted with the concurrence of the bidding parties and with the permission of the head office.

The Managing Director of Nafed, Mr Alok Ranjan, said the issue was not in his notice and now he would look into it.



Army interlinking ordnance units with suppliers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Following the implementation of its Computerised Inventory Control Management (CICM) system, the Army has initiated the process of interlinking its ordnance establishments with external agencies associated with supply and evaluation of military equipment.

The existing system is also being expanded to cover additional ordnance units and ammunition depots.

“The Army had called for expression of interest from the industry last month to execute the project on a turn key basis,” a senior officer at Headquarters Western Command said.

Inventory control and management would be automated at 23 specific locations across the country and these would be networked,” he added.

Sources revealed that public sector undertakings, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Directorate General of Quality Assurance, the Controllate of Quality Assurance and the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals are among agencies which would be interfaced with the CICM.

This is being done for online exchange of information among various establishments to cut down on costs and time delays.

The interface between the ordnance establishments and the external agencies are expected to be through independent servers due to security reasons.

Also, persons not of Indian origins would not be allowed to work on the project.

The Army had started work on the CICM system about five years ago and it was to be implemented in four phases at a cost of about Rs 450 crore.

Sources said the central ordnance depots, regional ordnance depots and divisional ordnance units located at various places were already online and interlinked with Army Headquarters where data and equipment holdings could be accessed with a click of the mouse.

Work is now underway to automate ammunition management, where the Central Ammunition Depot at Palgaon and 14 ammunition depots spread across the country would be networked.

Next in line is developing a CICM system for the Army’s aviation support establishments. Initially two such establishments have been identified for automation.

According to some reports, the Army would have options for integrated logistics management by networking computerised inventory holdings of all arms and services like the Army Service Corps, the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, the Army Medical Corps, the Engineers and the Military Engineer Service.



Probationer nurses commissioned as lieutenants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Fourteen probationer nurses were commissioned as lieutenants in the Military Nursing Service (MNS) on completion of their four-year training course at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir today. They belonged to the 37th batch of the hospital's School of Nursing.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt-Gen Paramjit Singh, who "pipped" the newly commissioned officers, emphasised that excellence in health care directly depended upon the quality of nursing. He said it was imperative for all nursing officers to keep abreast with the latest trends in healthcare delivery system to ensure optimum well being of the clientele.

General Paramjit also gave away prizes for excellence during the course. Lt Geeta Kumari Chahar, Lt Radhika P.V. and Lt Padma Ragini had secured the top three positions, respectively, during the course.

The school's principal tutor, Lt-Col T.G. Chandrika, highlighted the role and achievements of the institute. She said the aim of the school was to impart a blend of scientific knowledge, technical competence, basic ethical standards and inculcation of an attitude of compassion, empathy and selfless devotion.

The Deputy Director, Medical Services, Western Command, Major-Gen S.K. Kaul, Hospital Commandant, Major-Gen Pruthwiraj Rao, senior officers from Western Command as well as parents of the newly commissioned officers were present on the occasion.



Fauji Beat
Will Rashtriya Rifles be merged with Army?

The integration of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) with the Army, as suggested in an article in this newspaper recently, will make this force more effective. Despite being manned by the Army and being a part of it in more ways than one, RR is called a paramilitary force.

It has not only proved its mettle in counter-insurgency operations in J&K and in the North East but has also come to stay as the premium force to control insurgency. In spite of its commendable performance, it has not been made a permanent force and that is why it gets lease of life from time to time.

The government agreed, though reluctantly, to raise this force with manpower from the Army in the early 90s because of militancy related problems in Punjab and J&K. Given the prejudice of our politicians and bureaucrats against the Army, which dates back to the Nehru era, the RR is neither likely to be integrated with the Army nor will it get a permanent status.

In the Karachi Agreement, after the 1947 war, India had shown14 J&K Militia battalions in the quantum of troops in J&K, while on ground there were only seven. When the Army asked sanction from the government to raise seven more battalions, it was turned down on the plea that instead of these units, CRPF battalions should be raised. The Army’s logic that J&K Militia battalions were more suitable to meet the operational commitments did not work with the government. Thereafter, the government gave sanction to raise seven CRPF battalions.

Up or out policy

Before Partition, the promotion of officers by selection after Major’s rank was governed by the policy of ‘‘up or out’’. This meant that if an officer did not make the grade for the next higher rank, he retired with a compensatory pension.

The implication of this rule was that in the combat arms, a Major who was not selected for Lieutenant Colonel’s rank retired at the age of 45 years with 75 per cent of his pay as pension. And a Lieutenant Colonel retired with 76.7 to 88.9 per cent of his pay as pension at the age of 48 years or after a tenure of four years, whichever was earlier. Incidentally, in the civil services no pension was higher than 50 per cent at that time.

Oil spill control

The Coast Guard was formed on February 1, 1978, to protect the Indian maritime zones. One of its several tasks is to take care of incidents of oil spillage in our maritime zones. It has devised a National Oil Spills Disaster Contingency Plan to deal with all major and minor spill disasters. The Coast Guard pollution response teams (PRTs) are located in Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair.

Over 20.000 tonnes of marine oil was recovered by the RPT Mumbai till last year. The team at Chennai has managed to neutralise the pollution threat cause by the grounding of MV Sagar with 400 tonnes of heavy oil.

Coast Guard’s helicopter squadrons also undertake spill operations. A specially designed TC-3 bucket is slung under Chetak helicopter that flies over the oil slick to neutralise it. One of these helicopters detected oil seepage off the Goa coast. This spill was contained immediately by the laying of booms. Controlled aerial spraying by helicopters was also carried out to neutralise the slick.

No ex-serviceman senior citizen, irrespective of his age, can take anyone inside a CSD canteen to help him unless a written permission is obtained from the Station Headquarters has Chandimandir for it. And one who is too old to come to visit the CSD personally, has to get someone authorised in writing from the Station Headquarters to make purchases on his behalf from the canteen.

— Pritam Bhullar



Politicians, underworld, police have formed
nexus: Om Puri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
“Politicians, underworld and the police are a nexus and unless this nexus is broken, nothing can be done about it,” stated veteran actor Om Puri today. He was here for interaction with the media today at Press Club, Sector 27.

Talking about the underworld and Bollywood, Puri stated that the media had a large role to play in sensationalising things, especially the Bollywood and the underworld.

He did not deny that many in Bollywood “borrowed” money from the underworld, but during the earlier days. “The underworld does not deal with petty things. It is interested in bigger things,” he stated.

Talking about the changing face of parallel cinema, Puri stated that while earlier, parallel cinema was only for newcomers and unknown faces, now the whole trend had changed and parallel cinema was now for the masses and well-known faces were doing it.

Puri talked about his days in Punjab and said they were the best days in his life.



Society vows to fight for justice
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 13
The Social Justice and Human Rights Protection Society, formed mainly by legal luminaries of the region, stated at a press conference held at hotel Wah Dilli here today, that it would continue to provide free legal aid to the poor. Besides educating people about their fundamental rights, the society would fight for social justice, mediate to solve petty crime cases and other disputes at the prelitigation stage or pending in the courts. The General Secretary of the society, Mr Jagpal Singh, said the society would draw the attention of the general public to governance on policy matters like the role of HUDA.



Society celebrates annual day
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The Society for Disowned Humans and Animals yesterday celebrated its second annual day by honouring 15 social and welfare organisations of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

The function was held at DC Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, and was well attended. The president of the society, Ms Urmil Gupta read the annual report of the society and claimed till date, 400 living beings (humans and animals) had been helped by the society by medical treatment of their diseases.

A presentation on the activities of the society was given by its general secretary, Mr Sanjay Sharma. A sum of Rs 12.50 lakh had been spent by the society for the cause — through money collected by the members and other donations.

Representatives of social organisations honoured today, also assured their full support to the society. A cultural programme was also presented to regale the gathering.



Rs 5-lakh grant for sabha
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan today called upon the people to imbibe the teachings of Guru Ravi Dass which were relevant even today.

He was addressing a gathering on the occasion of the 629th birth anniversary of Guru Ravi Dass at Ravi Dass Bhawan, Sector 15 organised by Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha.

While paying his obeisance to Sant Guru Ravi Dass, Mr Chander Mohan said Guru Ravi Dass advocated service to the mankind with dedication, zeal. He was also a revolutionary social reformer.

Mr Chander Mohan said the Haryana Government had implemented a number of welfare schemes for the benefit of the people belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

The budget of the Scheduled Castes Financial and Development Corporation had been increased from Rs 50 crore to Rs 78.36 crore in the current financial year.

Mr Chander Mohan released a souvenir published by Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha.

He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the sabha from his discretionary fund. A memento and shawl was presented to Mr Chander Mohan by Mr Lachhman Dass and President of Sabha B.S. Ranga.

Former DGP Lachhman Dass said the site for the sabha was given by the then Chief Minister Bhajan Lal and the bhawan of the Sabha had been constructed with the unstinted cooperation from all members of the sabha.

Former MD of Harco Bank Lehamber Singh also announced a sum of Rs. 51,000 for construction of the hostel.



Parkash utsav of Guru Ravi Dass celebrated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 13
The 629th parkash utsav of Guru Ravi Dass was celebrated with religious fervour at Guru Ravidass Bhavan in Phase VII here today.

The function was organised by Shri Guru Ravi Dass Naujawan Sabha, Punjab, in which prominent ragis and preachers participated.

Mr K.R. Chaudhary, president of the sabha, said a souvenir was also released on the occasion by Mr R.L. Kalsia, Secretary, Social Security, Development of Women and Children. A large number of devotees thronged the bhavan.

The sabha had organised a nagar kirtan in connection with the parkash utsav here yesterday.



MC staff face resistance

Chandigarh, February 13
The staff of the enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, today faced strong resistance from shopkeepers of the Dadu Majra market.

The drama, which lasted for more than two hours, started at about 4:30 pm, when the enforcement wing staff started to challan the shopkeepers who had displayed their goods in corridors in front of their shops. The shopkeepers protested that shopkeepers who had put shutters in the corridors were not being challaned.

On being told, that the MC would take action only if a written complaint was given by them in this regard, they protested against the MC for not issuing challans against them also. According to sources, the MC picked up six trucks of goods from the shops which were displaying these goods outside. — TNS



Relax BPL scheme
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 13
The Dalit Chetna Manch, Punjab, has asked the state government to relax the conditions laid down in connection with the BPL scheme and reconduct a survey to cancel the illegal applications received under the scheme.

The demand was made at a meeting held by the manch here today. Relax BPL scheme The participants also demanded that the commission established for the welfare of Scheduled Castes be given more powers and cells be set up at the district level, cases relating to economically weaker sections be dealt on a priority basis and fees in technical education institutions be reduced.



Vatsal crowned Sood prince

Panchkula, February 13
Vatsal Sood was adjudged the Sood prince and Urja Sood was chosen the Sood princess during the 44th annual Sood Mela held here yesterday. The mela, aimed at bringing closeness among people belonging in the community, was well attended with hundreds of families from all over the region converging. Mr Hardyal Deogar, a philanthropist, was awarded the Sood Rattan award for 2005 for his selfless service to society. TNS



Katha ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The first Shrimad Maha Bhagwad Katha concluded here today, with at least 5000 people attending the religious discourses held over one week at the Circus Grounds in Sector 17.

The Devalaya Pujak Parishad, a religious body comprising over 70 places of worship in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, organised this for the first time.



One held with smack
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
The local police today arrested one person on the allegation of carrying 5g of smack.

Sanjeev Kumar of Sector 29 was arrested from near a school in Sector 29. A case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act was registered.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Saja Ram of Mani Majra lodged a complaint that his Mahindra pick-up van (CH-03-U-5422) was stolen from his house on Saturday night. Mr Manohar Lal Joshi of Sector 19 filed a complaint that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-F-8288) was stolen from his house on Friday.

Held for theft

The local police took a minor boy in custody on the charges of stealing.

Mr Parkash Chander of Phase I, Industrial Area, reported that the accused was caught red-handed while stealing two bundles of wire from near the plot 3, Phase I, on Sunday.



Youth crushed to death under train
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
A 20-year-old youth was crushed to death under the Kalka-Delhi Himalayan Queen express train near Kishangarh village here this morning.

According to the General Railway Police the victim was identified as Tejinder Singh of Mori Gate in Mani Majra.

The accident occurred when he stumbled over the track and was subsequently run over by the speeding train.

The body was badly mutilated. The accident occurred around 11: 30 am.

Friends of the deceased told the police that they were playing cricket and Tejinder crossed the track to answer the call of nature. The mishap occurred when he was coming back.

The body was sent for post-mortem examination to the Civil Hospital at Kalka. It was later handed over to members of the family of the victim.



4-yr-old killed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
A four-year-old child was killed when he was run over by a truck in Phase VIII Industrial Area here today.

According to the police, the deceased, Manish, was playing on the road in the area when he was run over by a Tata-407 truck.

The father of the child has been working as a watchman in an industrial unit in Phase VIII.

The child was taken to the Civil Hospital after the accident, where he was reportedly declared brought dead.

The police registered a case under Section 279 and 304-A of the IPC against the driver of the truck.



One killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Lalru, February 13
A 59-year-old person, Sushil, was killed and two persons injured when their car collided head on with an unidentified vehicle on the national highway here early today.

According to information, Sushil, who was injured seriously, died at Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, later. The injured included Shamir and Indina.

A case was registered.



Traders bury the hatchet, elect CBM chief “unanimously”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The two factions of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), the apex body of the city traders, have buried the hatchet for the time being. At a general body meeting yesterday, the CBM decided against the biennial elections to the post of CBM chief and worked out a 'compromise formula' for the prestigious post.

Under the 'compromise formula' aimed at placating both the factions, the CBM decided to amend the constitution providing for a one-year tenure for leaders of the two factions.While Mr Subhash Sethi will be the president for the first year, Mr Charanjiv Singh, who has been named as the senior vice-president, will take over as the president in the next year.

"The unanimous election is the first step to end groupism in the apex body," the CBM chairman, Mr MP Kohli said here today. Recently, the top brass of the CBM had intensified efforts to work out a 'consensus' for the top post. As a first step in this direction, the mandal had formed a seven-member committee comprising Mr MP Kohli, Mr Baldev Goel, Mr Jagdish Arora, Mr Satpal Garg, Mr Neeraj Bajaj, Mr Satpal Gupta and Mr BK Sood, to work out the 'unity formula'.

Sources said putting up a united front by traders in the year when the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) are due would stand the CBM in good stead. Though a 'non-political' body, yet the mandal had a strong presence in all political parties and its members wielded a considerable influence. It has been a longstanding CBM demand that its president should be coopted as the member of the MCC on the pattern of the nominated councillors.

The "unanimous election", the sources highlighted, would send right signals to the authorities concerned at the local and the Central government levels. In fact, buoyed by the elevation of the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal as a minister in the Union Cabinet, the CBM wanted to put up a 'united front' to tackle certain issues, including the Rent Act, the VAT implementation, the ban on polythene bags and representation in various advisory committees of the administration, senior beopar mandal members told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

And with the traders fighting with their back to the wall with the coming of multinational companies (MNCs) and the opening of the retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI), unity among traders was the need of the hour, Mr J.P.S. Kalra argued.

Meanwhile, Mr Sethi and Mr Charanjiv Singh claimed there was no difference of opinion between the two groups. Both the leaders hinted at the expansion of the CBM through the enrollment of new members.



Industrial exhibition ends
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 13
The three-day “Punjab Industrial Exhibition-2006-cum-Vendor Development Programme” organised by the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) concluded here yesterday.

Mr Balbir Singh, president of the MIA, said at the exhibition, which was organised in association with Small Industries Service Institute, Ludhiana, items displayed by Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, and Diesel Component Works, Patiala, attracted small entrepreneurs who desired to develop and supply items required by these organisations.

Mr M.K. Tyagi from the RCF and Mr P.M. Phate from the association of State Road Transport Undertakings briefed the participants about their procurement and registration procedure and invited the SSI units to get registered with these organisations and supply products to them.

Mr R.C. Chopra, Director, SISI said the exhibition-cum-vendor development programme was organised to bring the buyers and sellers on one platform.

The MIA president said the exhibition gave an opportunity to the SSIs to showcase their manufacturing capabilities in an organised manner. It helped them in marketing their products as more than 10,000 visitors, including exporters from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh visited the exhibition.

Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, was the chief guest at the valedictory function. He gave away certificates of participation and best display awards to exhibitors.



Airtel gold auction contest winners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Airtel, India’s leading mobile service provider, today announced the winner of the grand prize of 1 kilo gold in the Airtel gold auction contest — Mr Rajan Chadha of Haryana. The Airtel gold auction was a unique, all-India contest in which all that an Airtel customer had to do was call 646 and place a bid for the 1 kilo gold. The customer with the lowest and unique bid at the end of the contest period was adjudged the winner.

Twenty-year-old Rajan is a student and a regular participant in the various contests conducted by Airtel. “I have a habit of winning,” said a smiling Rajan,” and have earlier won Rs 50,000 cash, 4 mobile phones, a colour television and an entry into Kaun Banega Crorepati.”


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