C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IT park hotel site to go under hammer
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

The Chandigarh Administration will be auctioning a site for a banquet hall, the first one in the city, in Sector 38 tomorrow. The 3.75 acre marriage palace will have a parking capacity of at least 900 cars and capacity to hold functions simultaneously. The site will be auctioned on a leasehold basis. The administration will hold auction for marriage palaces in Halomajra and Manimajra later this year.

Chandigarh, March 6
The Chandigarh Administration is making a second attempt to auction the four-acre five-star hotel site at the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park on Thursday.
Reliable sources in the administration said that this time certain groundwork had been done to ensure greater participation from the hoteliers for the property auction on the leasehold basis. Property experts still feel that there will be more takers for the property on the freehold and negligent for the auction on the leasehold basis.

The reserve price for the plot is Rs 43 crore this time. In a slight change to the original plan, the administration has increased the permissible Floor Area Ratio(FAR) in the hotel construction from 1.25 to 1.50.

It is important to point out that commercial plots in prime locations of Sectors 35 and 44 had not witnessed any bidders for the auction on a leasehold basis, in the recent past, while the auction of a four-odd acre in Manimajra on a freehold basis for a residential complex went in for a whopping sum of Rs 108.01 crore. The first auction on December 3, 2005, was cancelled because there was just one bidder. It was pointed out by several property experts that there will be many takers paying much higher prices than the reserved in case the property was sold on the freehold basis.

Mr Amarjit Sethi, an expert on property matters who had also participated in the last auction, said: "The auction was likely to be a failure even this time because of several factors. In case the plot measuring more than four acres is sold on a freehold, it is likely to fetch more than 100 crore". Mr Narbir, another property expert who had participated in the last auction, had said that "I represent the Le Meridian group and can assure Rs 125 crore bid from my group in case the property was given on a freehold".

Mr Sethi said: "It will be interesting for the administration to first study the actual profits made by its premier hotels, including Hotel Mountview and Shivalikview. On a leasehold basis, in case the property went for Rs 43 crore (which is the minimum), a hotelier will be paying more than Rs 1 crore annually as the lease money. He will also be spending on the construction. I think the figures are too high for anyone to invest in a leasehold".

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, said: "The auction of the plot is a policy matter. As far as the event is concerned, the auction last time had one bidder. We have done some study and have feelers from other parties as well".

A senior official in the administration said "we have to strike a deal according to the provisions in our plans. Property on the leasehold in the long run does not mean any lesser gains for us financially. In any case we are not losing anything much in making another attempt for a possible deal to get through".



Indian, England teams in city
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Indian and England cricket teams arrive at Hotel Taj, Chandigarh, on Monday for the second Test match in Mohali
Indian and England cricket teams arrive at Hotel Taj, Chandigarh, on Monday for the second Test match in Mohali. (From left) R.P. Singh, M.S. Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Greg Chappell, Andrew Flintoff, Andrew Strauss along with their team officials. — Tribune photos

Chandigarh, March 6
Amid tight security, members of the Indian and England cricket teams today arrived in the city and checked in at Hotel Taj GVK in the afternoon. Both teams will play the second Test match at Punjab Cricket Association stadium from March 9 to 13 here.

The hotel staff extended a traditional welcome to the guests, who reached at 3.30 p.m. Amid the galaxy of the stars, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Monty Panesar, the first Sikh in the England team, remained the cynosure of all eyes.

The mediapersons seemed disappointed as they were unable to extract any crispy quotes from the stars because of BCCI’s code of conduct and police strictness.

Over 150 police personnel were present, but surprisingly not even a single cricket enthusiast or autograph hunter was seen at the venue.

Leg spinner Anil Kumble did not turn up as he had to go home for some personal reasons. Sources confirmed his arrival in the city on March 7.

Meanwhile, Virender Sehwag was the only one accompanied by his wife Aarti.

Indian skipper Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell reached the PCA stadium immediately after their arrival to inspect the pitch.

However, Dravid joined the teammates, minus Yuvraj Singh, in the evening for warm-up exercises at Leisure Valley, Sector 10. Yuvraj Singh, who rested in the first match at Nagpur due to injury, was seen practicing at the nets in Mohali.

Tomorrow the English team will go to the nets at the PCA at 9.30 a.m. while the Indians will sweat it out in the afternoon 2.30 p.m.

Meanwhile, all arrangements have been made at the stadium. To facilitate the cricketers in the wet conditions, the PCA authorities have prepared five indoor practice nets, which will be inaugurated by BCCI president Mr Sharad Pawar on March 8.

As the previous two matches played here ended in a draw, this time the PCA officials seem confident about the outcome of the forthcoming match. “We have prepared a result-oriented pitch. If the teams play to their potential, result will definitely come”, said Mr M.P. Pandove, honorary secretary of the PCA.

However, the England coach Duncan Fletcher seemed high in spirits after the brilliant performance put up by his squad at Nagpur. “We are a young side with talented newcomers like Panesar, Cook and Blackwell, who had put up a marvellous show at Nagpur. Our main focus in Mohali will be on proper planning and we are confident enough as the team’s morale is quite high”.

The teams are:

India: Rahul Dravid, V. Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Anil Kumble, M.S. Dhoni, W. Jaffer, M. Kaif, I. Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Sree Santh, R.P. Singh, M. Patel, P. Chawla.

England: A. Flintoff, S. Harminson, M. Hoggard, J. Anderson, Ian Bell, Ian Blackwell, P. Collingwood, A. Cook, G. John, L. Plunkett, M. Prior, A. Strauss, O. Shah, Shaun Udal.



Former militant Billa held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Three days after former militant Vikramjit Singh, alias Billa, entered into a scuffle with a human rights lawyer, Mr Navkiran Singh, at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the former “resurfaced” at a press conference organised by the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) here today.

Billa, who was reportedly on the run for the past three days giving sleepless nights to the local and the Punjab police, was “spotted” by office-bearers of the human rights body outside a Sector 35 hotel where the press conference was in progress. High drama was witnessed at the venue as Billa claimed that he had come to tell his side of the story to the reporters.

Talking to reporters, Billa refuted the reports quoting him that Navkiran Singh had allegedly collected huge amount from the foreign countries, which was meant for the families of former militants. He claimed that he had come to collect Rs 50,000, which was sent to him by certain organisation through Mr Navkiran Singh.

On March 3, I had gone to the High Court to collect the amount from Mr Navkiran Singh, he said, adding that he did not know any senior Punjab police official.

Meanwhile, the LHRI office-bearers handed over Billa to the police.

Police sources said he had been handed over to the Sector 3 police station authorities, where a complaint against him was pending.



Chandigarh cop on a noble mission
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
It was May 17, 2000. Kosovo, Yugoslavia. Seconds before a passenger train mowed him down, Ramdayal, a young Chandigarh police officer doing a stint with the UNO, was certain that this was the last sight he would see before God snuffed out his life.

And today almost six years later, without his legs and with a tell tale scar that runs across his face to the back of his head, Ramdayal knows no fear of death, and cherishes every second of his life which he says is God’s gift to him.

Ramdayal cannot recall the details of the accident but he was told when a team of UN doctors rushed him to the hospital, he was a mass of flesh, his head had been severed at many places, his legs had been amputated and he was in deep coma. A miracle happened 14 days later at the hospital and “I came back to life. God spared my life so that I could dedicate it to others,” he says pointing out, “I could have either moped in self pity or look towards the future. I decided to do the latter.”

Working at the Chandigarh police headquarters here, Ramdayal, having over come his own disability (he “walks” proud and straight with the help of artificial limbs), decided to help others. Zealously carrying forward a family mission started by his mother at Hookran village in Hoshiarpur, where he studied along with his elder brothers and a sister, Ramdayal brings buses full of school kids from remote villages of the state on educational tours to Chandigarh and other places in the state.

“We call ours an awareness mission. The message to the parents is-Let us plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively and pursue persistently to equip our children with supreme knowledge, excellent health and with scientific temper,” he says.

“Today we are here with over 150 children from 26 villages in Hoshiarpur. We have been to Rock Garden, the High Court, the Sukhna Lake and the Vidhan Sabha. For those who live here visit to these places might be part of the routine but for a small child from a remote village in Punjab who has never stepped out of his village this is like opening a new world before him,” he says.

This is just one of the activities that Ramdayal has undertaken. “We have seen a lot of poverty. My father died when we were very young. My mother worked as a daily wage worker in the village to teach us. There were days when the entire family would go to sleep hungry. My elder brother Mohan Lal also worked through the day and studied at night. Today he is a commandant in the BSF and also heading this mission. He still recalls how a kind man in the village taught him to type free of cost. We decided to run a small computer education centre in the village to teach students an extra skill that might help them get better jobs. Also we have undertaken planting saplings of medicinal plants in our village and surrounding areas,” he says, adding that his mission does not involve any politicians or government aid.

“We don’t need any. We are a core group of over 15 dedicated workers. Everyone chips in a little and we never let our budget go beyond Rs 1 lakh. We limit our activities to those we can fulfil,” he says.



India a virgin territory in software governance: Expert 
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Jasvir Gill
Jasvir Gill

Chandigarh, March 6
Global leaders in governance, risk and compliance solutions, Virsa Systems Inc., will now control its Asia Pacific operations from Chandigarh.
Mr Jasvir Gill, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Virsa Systems, said Chandigarh had the potential and political will to turn into the Silicon Valley of North India.

He was here for the inauguration of the company's R & D facility, quality assurance, sales and marketing office at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park. "Virsa Systems has a global presence — in Fremont (USA), Bracknell (England), France, Germany, Singapore, Japan and Australia. Setting up a facility in Chandigarh has been a natural extension for us," said Mr Gill.

Son of a school teacher, hailing from Changhare village near Kurali (Ropar district), Mr Gill set up Virsa Systems at Fremont, California, in 1996. He said he wanted to start his operations from India because it was so far a virgin territory in software governance, risk and compliance solutions.

Various studies show that 6 per cent of the company's turnover is lost because of internal fraud, and Virsa develops automated solutions to keep checks on these frauds, and reduces the cost of compliance and audits.

"We chose Chandigarh to set up our facility, not just because of the home front advantage, but also because the real growth now lies in the Tier II cities. We will also fund research here by tying up with local educational institutions, and organise customer conferences to stimulate environment," said Mr Gill, while adding that Virsa Systems will also have its sale offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

He said though the company had venture investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Light Speed Venture Partners and SAP Ventures North America, the company is privately funded and has a positive cash flow.

"We cannot disclose the annual turnover as a company board policy, but our acquisition of new enterprise customers has led to a 245 per cent year-over-year growth in 2005".

Since then, the company has been growing from strength to strength, and their customers include market leaders like ABB, America Online, DuPont, Goodyear, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, SAP, Microsoft and General Electric, among others. The company added more than 170 new clients last year, and has lapped up over 50 leading companies in India in its client list.



Chandigarh Calling

Protesting farmers beat the heat at the road separating Sectors 16 and 17 in Chandigarh on Monday
Protesting farmers beat the heat at the road separating Sectors 16 and 17 in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Even while living in distant Canada, the sons and daughters of Punjab have not forgotten their soil and the great talent it has produced. The Punjabi Heritage Foundation of Canada at Ottawa will pay homage to legendary Punjabi poetess Amrita Pritam in the form of poetical evening. Vice-president of the foundation Harpal Singh Buttar is currently in Punjab to invite writers and authors to participate in the poetical evening scheduled for June 17 at Ben Franklin Place, Centre Point Theatre, Ottawa. The evening according to him will be designed in three distinct sessions highlighting the Amrita Pritam’s literary works, a sangeet durbar of her poetry and a kavi durbar.

Entrepreneurs all the way

Entrepreneurs are born not made, at least that is the impression one gets from the hundreds of roadside businesses that have sprung up along the National Highway 22 running between Chandigarh and Ambala. With the kind of clay toys, dolls and decorations available in the form of idols, animals and birds available here, one does not have to go to any expensive showrooms in Sector 17 or elsewhere to buy stuff for the homes. For those who get tired shopping for home decorations, there are scores of fruit vendors selling freshly extracted ‘Kinnow’ juice. But there is a word of caution for those who get to engrossed in their purchase — beware of the traffic, this highway is a major killer.

Wedding lesson

Weddings are fun but sometimes these could teach you a lesson of your life. A colleague who had organised the “lady-sangeet cum cocktails” on the occasion of his son’s wedding at the Sector 40 community centre will perhaps remember this day till his end. As is customary, visitors were handing over ‘shagun’ envelopes to the host with their blessings for the would-be couple. The host was tucking in the envelopes in his coat pocket till he realised that the number of envelopes was not increasing despite his receiving them. After drinks, dinner followed. As the host saw a smartly dressed man wandering all by himself, asking the cooks to pack some dinner, the host got suspicious and made a polite enquiry. Once it was discovered that the man was an uninvited intruder, he got some nice thrashing and in the process all the missing ‘shagun’ envelopes were also recovered.

‘Refreshing’ bus queue centres

In a new addition to the bus queue shelters on the city roads, it is an interesting sight to see a man peeping out of a small kiosk inbuilt in the shelter structure, at a number of places. These kiosks have been allowed by the Municipal Corporation providing refreshments and small daily need accessories.

The kiosks can be seen in structures only on the major roads of the city, at a number of places on the Madhya Marg and certain places on the Dakshin Marg.

Mrs Asha Sharma, a daily office goer to Sector 17, said “it is nice to have the kiosks at the bus queue shelters. There is no littering of the place. The refreshments will be very welcome to the daily passengers, particularly while waiting for buses during the hot season right ahead.”

Justice for Jessica

The demand for “justice” for Jessica Lal is gaining ground across the country. Various campaigns are being launched to gain sympathy for her family. The other day an SMS was in circulation, which read: “Jessica was murdered in cold blood... Manu Sharma was let off by the court...He came out of the court smiling as if he had won a war. He has many businesses in Chandigarh...We should boycott all these business establishments so that they get a jolt monetarily. If you think alike send this to all Chandigarhians...” A website has also been launched to garner public support for the cause. Thanks to the information technology revolution in sensitising the common man.

Energy boosters

With the onset of the summer, different persons seem to have different and weird ideas about the energy-boosters. This was demonstrated yet again at the launch of an Austrian energy drink Phantom at the Chandigarh Club the other day.

While the host offered the high-priced energy drink (Rs 85 for a 250 ml can) to the guests, including the members of the Fourth Estate, certain guests were looking for the “real” energy-booster on a sunny day. However, they were in for a disappointment as the “real” energy drink, an euphemism for beer and gin, was not served.

Disappointed, a guest started finding faults with the newly-launched drink. Who would buy this energy drink for Rs 85 when one could have a bottle of beer for about Rs 50. Anyway beer was certainly a better energy-giver than the other energy drinks, quipped a guest with naughtiness in his smile.

Well! that’s his idea of energy-boosters.

Contributed by Naveen S. Garewal, Sanjiv S. Bariana, Vishal Gulati and Pradeep Sharma



Kharar-Banur-Tepla road to be four-laned
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 6
The Punjab Government will spend a sum of Rs 66 crore on the four-laning of the Kharar-Banur-Tepla road under a World Bank project.
This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar, MLA, after inaugurating a public suvidha camp organised by the Ropar district administration at Saneta village, near here, today. He said the work of four-laning would start soon and after completion the road would act as a bypass directly linking Kharar to Ambala.

The MLA thanked the Punjab Chief Minister for giving the status of a district to Mohali which would help in developing the town as a hitech area.

Many multinational information technology companies were setting up their units in Mohali. He said a big industrial unit for manufacturing cars would be set up in the town which would provide employment to about 50,000 persons.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh gave cheques for Rs 6,100 each to 16 persons under the Ashirwad scheme and a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to Saneta village and another for Rs 80,000 to Durali village for development works. He said sewerage would be laid in Saneta village at a cost of Rs 25 lakh.

The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, appealed to the public to take advantage of suvidha camps organised by the administration as all arrangements were made to deal with cases on the spot.



Hallmarking of jewellery to be mandatory soon
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

S.P. Sharma
S.P. Sharma

Chandigarh, March 6
With the deadline for making hallmarking and assaying of gold jewellery mandatory by 2008, as announced by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is gearing up for the big day, said BIS Director-General S.P. Sharma who was in the city to attend a seminar.

"The critical factor in making hallmarking mandatory is that it has to be a law that people will follow. In terms of operation, there have to be enough hallmarking and assaying centres," he says.

Why gold jewellery in particular? "It is a sensitive product. Jewellery is bought by every family in this country and, therefore, it is necessary to ensure its quality and purity," he says.

The hallmarking and assaying scheme was launched on April 11, 2000, and has 36 centres around the country, with another two in the pipeline. "An additional 35 centres will be set up by March 2007 under a Central scheme to give fillip to uncovered areas," he says.

Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the North-East do not have such centres yet.

The scheme was revised in January this year with procedures for grant of licence and its operation simplified further to make it jeweller friendly. According to Mr Sharma, the number of licences applied for since the revision has almost trebled from an average of 16 licences being issued every month.

The need is for the simplification of processes so that the industry can conform and adapt. "Good quality should be the domain of smaller industries, too, not just the big players because every citizen is entitled to the best service at the lowest possible cost," he maintains.

The BIS has also submitted a National Building Code formulated in September 2005 to ensure that construction conforms to environment and is resistant to earthquakes.

The future lies "in ensuring our standards are compatible with the best standards to facilitate trade and export," he adds. 



Wipe out foeticide, says Jean Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and president of Indian Council of Social Welfare, Punjab branch while presiding over the meeting of central executive committee here today, called for a major effort for developing the full potential of the poor and disadvantaged and to make them equal partners in the process of national development.

Emphasising the need for generating mass awareness among the people to curb social evils, particularly female foeticide, domestic violence and drug addiction, Mrs Rodrigues said that this is the biggest challenge to social welfare agencies. She said that the unethical practice of female foeticide is a stigma on the social system which must be wiped out through educative, administrative and legal remedies. She emphasised the need for a special emphasis on education and healthcare programmes for the girl child with the joint endeavour of government and non-governmental agencies.

She also announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the Indian Council of Social Welfare.

The president of the Indian Council of Social Welfare, Dr. J Alexandar, while expressing his gratitude to the Punjab state branch of Indian Council of Social Welfare for hosting this meet, said that the Central and state governments have launched various social security schemes for women, children and disadvantaged sections.

Members from different states of the country participated in this meeting and expressed their views and performance of their respective state councils.

Gen(retd) S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, emphasised the need for having a hard look at ground realities and called for re-orienting our endeavours for meeting the challenges in this competitive world. He said that India is fast growing to be the world’s leading economic power and expected a sustained 8 per cent growth rate target.

The meeting discussed various issues and measures for stepping up various social welfare schemes and impressed upon the participating member states to gear up their plans for creating a socialistic equality in the country and to foster economic growth on a planned basis. It was also resolved that voluntary organisations should be motivated to develop new programmes of ameliorating work for women and children, especially in rural areas and habitation of poor sections of society.

In the afternoon session, the panel discussion of experts from different walks of life was held on the theme of Domestic Violence Act 2005. 



Female foeticide discussed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 6
Eighty persons participated in an awareness programme on female foeticide organised by the Population and Development Education Cell of the Regional Resource Centre for Adult and Continuing Education, Panjab University, Chandigarh , in collaboration with Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, programme officer of the sansthan, welcomed the participants and said the sex ratio in Punjab had declined from 882 in 1991 to 874 in 2001.

The sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 in the same period declined from 842 to 793.

Ten of the 16 districts in India which had sex ratio (in the age-group of 0-6) below 800 belonged to Punjab.

Dr Dazy Zarabi, programme coordinator, Regional Resource Centre for Adult and Continuing Education, PU, Chandigarh, discussed the causes, consequences and implications of the declining sex ratio in India, especially Punjab. She also discussed various strategies to combat the problem. Dr Prakash Gupta, an expert in family medicine and consultant, deliberated on the issues of human sexuality and adolescence. He discussed various misconceptions and myths related to sexuality, both in women and men. Dr Gupta also discussed the provisions of the MTP and the PNDT Act, which helped in mitigating the incidence of female foeticide.

Mr Dildar Khan, Director, JSS, Mohali, highlighted the historical traditions that promoted infanticide among people of different communities. He said among the Rajputs the practice of hypergamy — marrying girls in higher castes — was prevalent.

Ms Manjit Paintal, Director, RRC, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said the youth had an important role to play in combating the problem of female foeticide. 



Probe attacks on activists: rights body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
A human rights organisation, the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), today demanded an inquiry by a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court into the alleged attacks on its office-bearers at the behest of certain vested interests.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr A.S. Chahal and Mr Navkiran Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, alleged that certain police officials were using police cats (former militants) against human rights activists not to pursue cases of alleged land-grab on Chandigarh’s periphery against them.

“The recent assault on Mr Navkiran Singh at the high court and attacks on me are proof that police cats were being used by certain vested interests to silence the voices of human rights activists, Mr Arvind Thakur, LHRI local unit general secretary, alleged.

Meanwhile, the International Human Rights Organisation(IHRO) has urged the Punjab Chief Minister to order a high-level inquiry into the alleged assault on human rights activists.

It is a serious matter pertaining to human rights lawyers who are fighting against certain Punjab Police officers in the high court. You as Chief Minister and Law Minister of the state owe a duty and responsibility to take care of the security of the lawyers, Mr Gill, in a representation to the Chief Minister, added.



Public hearing on mall clearance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
The first-ever public hearing function for Environmental Impact Action (EIA) clearance of a shopping mall being developed by Contel was held at Sector 5, Panchkula, today.

Senior officials from different departments of Haryana were present for the hearing. The public hearing started with an introduction by an official from the Haryana Pollution Control Board, followed by a brief of the project by the project proponent. The function was organised by Contel to satisfy the public that the project is environment friendly.

Mr Jaskirat Singh Nagra, General Manager of the project, gave a detailed presentation of the project encompassing all issues of water requirement, waste water disposal, air pollution control, noise pollution control, the fire-fighting system, the transportation system, solid waste disposal and the rain harvesting system.

After the presentation, the public was invited to raise queries regarding the project which were answered by consultants and the Contel team. The site was inspected by Mr Mehta, Joint Director, Mr Mann, Senior Scientist ‘C’ and Mr Bhagwan Singh from the Haryana Pollution Control Board along with people and the Contel team.



Fauji Beat
Experience is a great teacher

We fought 1971 war with only one corps (15 Corps) in J&K. No doubt, we were badly surprised in Chhamb-Jaurian sector in the 1971 war, and even earlier in the 1965 war. But the situation was saved and the enemy was prevented from reaching Akhnoor. The other two areas of strategic importance are Samba sector and Madhupur heights because by capturing Samba, the enemy could cut off the main highway from Pathankot to Jammu. And by capturing the Madhupur heights, the enemy could, besides cutting off road communication to J&K, pose a serious threat to Pathankot. To keep our road communications with J&K in tact during all eventualities, the Dhar road was constructed well away from the border.

In 1972, the Northern Command was raised in J&K because the experience had shown that this area was too big and unmanageable for a corps. Over the years, the situation has undergone a sea change due to the terrorists' activities. The Kargil was another eye-opener for us. For all this, it was felt that some area should be taken away from the Northern Command and given to the Western Command. Thus the area from Pathankot to Akhnoor has gone to the latter by raising another corps under it for this area. To counter-balance this, the area from Sriganganagar to Bikaner in Rajasthan has been taken away from the Western Command and given to the new South Western Command, which is located at Jaipur.

By raising new formations and making changes in the operational responsibilities, we are definitely better prepared to face challenges in future.

Tenga museum

Raised on September 23, 1939, at Secunderabad, the "Ball of Fire" Division was the only formation during World War -II, which fought against all the three adversaries-Italians, Germans and Japanese in Sudan, Eritrea and Abyssinia, Burma, Kohima and Imphal. It also supervised the surrender of Japanese in Singapore and Indonesia.

Yet again, the division was flown from Ferozepore to Assam in 1962, when Chinese advanced to the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh and threatened Assam. The division, along with elements of armour, successfully blunted the advance of the Chinese. Thereafter, the "Ball of Fire", Division was re-designated as a mountain division and has continued to remain in this sector.

It was this division that forced the Italians to surrender after fighting major battles in Eritrea, Wahni and Kassala. And it was here that the late Lieut-Gen P.S. Bhagat (then 2nd- Lieut) won the Victoria Cross by leading a relentless pursuit through extensive minefield. He was the first Indian to have won a Victoria Cross.

The history of the division has been chronicled in the "Ball of Fire" museum at Tenga. The museum has a large array of rare photographs, weapons, equipment and other items that give an insight into the Indo-Chinese conflict. The local residents have also presented some of the rare paintings, ornaments and sculptures depicting their culture and heritage.

Dental treatment

"Earlier, the polyclinic in Chandigarh was referring us to the empanelled hospitals for our dental treatment. But we are told now that we have to be referred to the Command Dental unit for this treatment. The Command Dental unit takes minimum of four months to fit dentures. This is too long a period to manage without dentures", say several dental patients from Chandigarh.

Similar complaints have also come from Ambala. Maj Baldev Singh, an Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) member ,from there says that the Crops Dental unit takes four months to fit dentures. "How can a dental patient who needs dentures now wait for four months"? he adds. Incidentally, in empanelled hospitals the dentures are fitted within a fortnight. Despite the dental treatment being very costly in the market, some of the patients have started going to the private practitioners.

— Pritam Bhullar



Army postal corps celebrates anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Army Postal Service Corps (APS) celebrated its 34th anniversary at Chandimandir today. A barakhana was organised for serving and retired APS personnel stationed in Chandigarh and around.

A tea party was also hosted for senior officers at the Command Headquarters, which was attended by the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen Daljeet Singh, and the Chief Postmaster-General, Punjab, Ms Manjula Prashar, besides other senior army and postal service officers.

The APS is an extension of the Department of Posts. Though the youngest corps of the Army, its history dates back to 1856, when the first field post office accompanying the Indian Expeditionary Force was raised as an ad hoc war time establishment.

Besides basic postal amenities, the APS provides services like postal life insurance, savings bank, satellite money order, speed posts and e-post.



Writer Majhail honoured
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 6
Veteran writer, journalist and educationist Harjinder Singh Majhail, was honoured for his contribution to the development of literature and arts by the Nand Lal Nurpuri Sahitya Sabha here yesterday.

Dr Majhail was given a memento, a shawl, and a citation by Mr C.R. Maudgill, Director, Haryana Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, who was the chief guest at the function held in collaboration with in Punjab Government Languages Department at Government Senior Secondary School here.

Dr Majhail delivered a lecture on the concept of chardi kala in Gurbani. He said it was a matter of pride for Punjab and Punjabis that a writer of Mr Maudgill’s calibre had been appointed Director of the akademi. He had done a lot for the development of Punjab and for the welfare of Punjabi writers, he added.

Mr Maudgill invited Punjabi writers from Punjab to send their works to the akademi for publication in Punjabi magazines. A poetic symposium was also organised.



ESI scheme for unemployed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The ESI Corporation has introduced an unemployment allowance scheme called the Rajiv Gandhi Kalyana Yojna for those insured under the ESI Act and are unemployed due to the closure of factory or retrenchment or suffering up to 50 per cent permanent invalidity.

Eligible workers are entitled to an unemployment allowance which would be 50 per cent of their daily wages and medicare for self and spouse, the regional director of the ESI, Mr G.C. Jena, said.



Teacher caught helping students in copying
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 6
A private school teacher put on duty in examinations being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board was relieved on a charge of helping students to indulge in copying.

It is learnt that Mr Sohan Singh, a teacher at SD Senior Secondary School, Bhalwan, who was doing the duty of a supervisor at Government Senior Secondary School, Lutheri, was allegedly caught carrying helpbooks to help students during the examinations. He was, however, caught during a surprise check conducted by the Controller of Examinations who then directed the DEO to appoint another teacher as supervisor in place of Mr Sohan Singh for the examination to be conducted tomorrow.

Five students were found to be indulging in copying during examinations and authorities concerned have made unfair means cases against them. One student was caught from a centre in Gharuan village, one from Morinda, two from Lutheri village and one from Desumajra.



Sec 41 man, 3 others booked on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 6
The local police today booked a Sector 41 resident, his mother along with two neighbours on the allegations of kidnapping, raping and illegally confining a 21-year-old student of a local college. The police had registered the case after much deliberations and maintained that the matter would be investigated on merit.

Sources at the Sector 36 police station said a case of kidnapping, rape and illegal confinement had been registered against Yugdeep, his mother Radha Rani, their neighbours Vishal and Ashu on the basis of a complaint filed by the father of the victim.

The victim’s father alleged that his daughter was kidnapped by the accused on February 28 from the Sector 36 market at around 9 a.m. The girl was taken to Jalandhar and was raped there. Later, the victim also called up her parents. The girl was still untraceable.

A senior police officer said the victim’s father had recorded fresh statement with the police and on the basis of this statement the case had been registered in this regard. He added that the matter would be thoroughly investigated and action would be taken according to the findings of the investigations. 



Boy crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 6
Scared by a stray dog, a 10-year-old boy was succumbed to injuries in a local hospital after he was crushed under a truck, last night.
The police said the victim had been identified as Jatinder, a resident of Sanjay Colony. He was playing along the road when scared by a stray dog he ran to save himself. In process he ran toward the road and did not notice the approaching truck.

He came under the truck and his right portion of body was crushed under it. He was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he succumbed to injuries late in the night.

The police has arrested the truck driver, Jasbir Singh, after registering a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving in this regard. 



Chardi Kala Trust chief booked
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 6
The police has booked a Delhi resident and his son on the allegations of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy made by the chairman of the Blood Diseases Hospital Society, which is based in Sector 23, Chandigarh.

Mr Sukhdev Khanna, chairman of the society, said today that a case of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against Swaran Singh, chairman, Chardi Kala Trust, and his son Manjit Singh of Anand Niketan, New Delhi.

He has alleged that the accused had stolen blank chequebook pertaining to the saving bank account of the society and forged signatures of its chairman for withdrawing Rs 65,000. They fraudulently opened another account in the name of the society in Delhi.



Accidental firing: cook arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 6
The police today arrested the cook of a Sector 9 house, where a security guard was killed following a gunshot, on the charges of causing death due to negligence. The SHO of the Sector 3 police station said Umed Singh, the cook, had been arrested for causing death due to negligence as the victim, Magar Singh, had given his gun to Umed as he was attending a phone call. The findings had revealed that the bullet was not accidentally fired by Magar Singh.

Umed Singh today disclosed before the police that Magar Singh had handed him his gun, which he kept in his lap. It went off accidentally and killed Magar Singh.



Three more of car thief gang held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 6
The Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police today arrested three more members of the car thief gang, including another constable of the Punjab Police, and claimed to have recovered a Maruti Zen from their possession.

Sources said Constable Sukhpal Singh, posted in highway patrol in Batala, Kulwant Singh, a Mumbai resident, and a sector 29 resident, Jatinder Singh, had been arrested from near the Mohali barrier this afternoon. 



2 companies open offices in IT park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Punjab Governor, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, called upon IT professionals at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park for evolving an integrated mechanism to facilitate constant interactive process for bringing about efficiency and effectiveness in the system.

Interacting with IT professionals after inaugurating the facilities of Virsa System and Net Solutions and performing “bhoomi pujan” ceremony of the build-to-suit sites at the park here today, General Rodrigues said these facilities launched by various companies would integrate the most powerful technologies, software, networks, data-access systems and applications, creating a unique national resource that would benefit society. He said these projects promise to enhance our research and development capability and would help to make this region more competitive.

Emphasising the need for using IT in teaching, he said society must be empowered through entrepreneurship education, technology training and the development of life skills to improve the quality of life and to assist in levelling the business arena.

The Governor went around the area and checked the progress of build-to-suit sites allotted to various companies, including Amadeus, FCS, KMG, Micotech, IDS Infotech, Virsa Systems, Second Foundation, Bebo Technologies and Alchemist.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Secretary, IT, and Mr Vivek Attray, Director, IT, said 21 companies had joined the Chandigarh IT Park and six companies, including Infosys, DLF, IBM Daksh, Outer Bay, Virsa Systems and Net Solutions had already started their operations.

Four other companies, including Wipro, Bharti, Tech-Mahindra and e-sys Limited, have also been allotted land. 


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