C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No power cuts after 2 years
UT signs 15 agreements
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
In an important development, the Chandigarh Administration has signed more than 15 power purchase agreements with different power-generating avenues all over the country. The step is significant in the direction of ensuring a 24-hour power supply promised by the administration in the recent past.

The UT is placed comfortably for the current electricity needs, sources said.

As the UT has no avenues for power generation, it is left with no other option but to depend on agreements with generation centres all over the country for its power supply. The expected date of delivery of new agreements varies between 2007 and 2012.

"We want to make all arrangements for an uninterrupted power supply in the city. The supply status in the city is already enviable in comparison to majority of cities in the country", a senior official said. The power-generating plants supplying power to the UT include projects in categories of hydel, thermal, gas and even a nuclear plant categories at the moment.

The administration has signed agreements with Tehri Hydro Electric Project in Garhwal(Uttaranchal). The expected year of delivery of 6 MW power supply per day is 2007; 6 MW from Kol Dam Hydroelectric Project, Bilaspur by 2008; 15 MW from Karanpur Super Thermal Power Station in Bihar by 2008; 15 MW from Barh Super Thermal Power Station and Kahalgaon Thermal Station, both in Bihar, by 2008; and 10 MW from Unchahar Thermal Station.

Other signatories on the agreement with the UT include Hydel in Kashmir, Parvati in Kulu and Chamera in Chamba, Sewa Hydro Electric, Kathua, Dal Pakal Hydro, Doda, all in Jammu and Pradesh and Dadri. The Bursar Project in Doda is expected to supply by 2011 and Kishanganga in Baramula by 2012.

Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, at the Information Technology conference in 2005, announced that there would be no power cuts in the city after two years. This meant that the current efficiency of the electricity distribution in the city was 99.5 per cent which the department proposed to increase to 99.999 per cent. This would mean a total power cut of six minutes in a year.

The Electricity Department of the Chandigarh Administration has planned a total revamp of the electricity distribution system in the city and villages involving installation of at least 2000 new distribution transformers.

The total cost of the revamp, including eight power transformers, has been pegged at approximately Rs 88 crore. The capacity of each transformer is planned to be 200 KV. The entire circuit is proposed to be brought on to the ''Ring Main'' which will facilitate uninterrupted power supply. This will provide for an alternate route for power supply in case the mainline supply is interrupted.

The administration plans at least eight new power transformers. The major function of the new installations is to reduce the burden on the existing transformers and streamline the supply in case of an emergency. The existing load on the supply lines is 4.33 lakh KV to which an additional capacity of four lakh KV is proposed to be added. 



British punter booked
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
Taking action at reports of issuing admit card to an alleged British punter, Rajiv Mulchandani, Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) president I.S. Bindra today ordered an inquiry into the matter.

“We have ordered an inquiry to fix the responsibility and if anybody is found guilty, strict action will be taken against him. An IAS officer of the rank of Principal Secretary in the Punjab Government, who is also the vice-president of the PCA, will hold the inquiry,” said Mr Bindra at the PCA Stadium here.

He accepted that allowing the masquerader to leave the stadium yesterday without filing a formal police complaint was a mistake on their part.

“I admit the mistake and he (the punter) should have been handed over to the police instead of being let off. Rectifying the mistake, we have reported the matter to the police,” said Mr Bindra.

He also acknowledged that issuing the media accreditation pass to the suspected British punter, without checking the credentials, was a major lapse on the part of the association.

It is to be recalled that taking advantage of the loophole in the process of issuing media accreditation cards, the alleged punter got access to the media box, where journalists from all over the world sit to cover the match, and allegedly placed bets from his laptop.

Treasurer of the PCA and media in-charge G.S. Walia had said that the accreditation was issued to him minutes before the start of the match after looking at his identity card.

He had also admitted that they were at fault and issuing the admit pass without verification was a case of negligence and oversight.

Mr Bindra, who claimed to have knowledge about the incident this morning, said media accreditation to foreign journalists could be issued only by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) whereas the PCA could issue the same to Indian journalists only.

Meanwhile, the Mohali police has registered a case under Sections of 419, 420, 464, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of the IPC and Section 13 A of the Gambling Act.

The case was registered after taking opinion of the District Attorney (Legal).



PCA unfriendly to disabled 
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
India have won the second Test against England at the PCA stadium here, but the Punjab Cricket Association has once again failed miserably when it comes to managing matches in a proper manner.

All tall claims of the association to provide facilities to cricket lovers were belied when they failed to extend their so-called “responsive gestures” towards disabled Army personnel.

It was the passion for the game and newspapers report about good arrangements at the stadium, which prompted the permanently disabled soldiers — Mahinder Singh, Girdhari Lal , Prem — along with two of their friends, to see their favourite cricket stars performing live at the PCA strip on Sunday.

But all their hopes were shattered, thanks to a careless attitude of the organisers. They kept waiting outside the stadium as the PCA authorities had made no arrangements for a separate entry for the disabled.

Mahinder Singh, who lost his legs during an Army training session in diving, said: “We read in the newspapers about the arrangements made by the PCA and decided to watch the match live. It was a total chaos at the ticket counters and gates. The security personnel were unable to cope with the sudden rush at the stadium, perhaps due to the reduction in the prices of tickets.

“Our attendant Kirti Singh Rana, somehow, managed tickets (Gate No. 1) for us. But, we were not allowed to enter through that gate. The personnel on duty there told us that entry from this gate had been reserved for VIPs only. We kept waiting outside.”

“All our requests for gaining entry couldn’t move the personnel as there was a heavy rush of people. Moreover, the way through the entrance was not disabled-friendly,” rued Girdhari Lal, who had been rendered disabled after an accident during the Operation Prakram in 2001.

“As per the security instructions, we tried to gain access from another gate. But, again we were told to go to another gate. We kept moving from one gate to another. Finally, we got entry with the great help of spectators who guided us inside through Gate No. 9”, said Prem, a permanently disabled soldier, who had met with an accident during a free-fall para dropping in 2002.

According to a cricket promoter, whenever international level games like Olympics, Asian Games or Commonwealth Games are held there is always special provision for the safe entry of the physically challenged.

There are many cricket lovers in the region who cannot afford to buy premium tickets. If they enter through the general block, then there is every chance of their getting hurt. Moreover, there is provision for concessional tickets for the disabled, he says.

Moreover, like every time, one could witness heated exchanges between the personnel at the entry gates and cricket fans.

Another cricket lover, Prem Prakash, in his early 70s, said for the past few days he had been visiting the stadium daily and was perturbed by the rude behaviour of PCA personnel and security men. He said there was no provision for a separate entry for senior citizens or parents carrying small children.

A sport lover wondered why small children had been issued students’ tickets on concessional rates when they couldn’t have a safe entry into the stands. She said many children, who were issued tickets on concessional rates in their respective school, could not make it to the stadium on their own.



Property dealers sell roads
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 13
With the property boom at its peak, certain property dealers have allegedly found a convenient way of making a fast buck in the Notified Area Committee (NAC) limits, particularly in Bhabhat village.

With the NAC turning a blind eye to the demarcation of the roads and basic amenities like the drainage system, the property dealers are having a field day and allegedly selling parts of the roads to the gullible buyers.

And now alarmed at the disputes arising out of the non-demarcation of the roads by the local civic body, the Commercial Welfare Association (Godown Area), Zirakpur, has shot off a representation to the DC, Patiala, to instruct the authorities concerned to earmark the areas of the roads in the colonies.

It may be recalled that before the inclusion of Bhabhat village in the NAC jurisdiction on September 4, 2001, certain developers carved out “unauthorised” colonies in the village.

They also reportedly earmarked certain roads in these colonies and sold off plots by preparing maps showing these roads in the site plans.

With the inclusion of Bhabhat village in the NAC limits, the property prices shot up and more developers carved out colonies. With the existing roads yet to be earmarked by the civic body, certain developers allegedly encroached upon the government land and sold off even parts of the roads to the buyers.

The non-demarcation of roads, coupled with the absence of the drainage system, has compounded residents’ problems with quarrels between neighbours becoming a routine affair.

In fact, two persons were injured in a firing incident recently when two families clashed over the drainage of water from a house in Bhabhat.

“The non-demarcation of roads in the area could lead to serious law and order problems as the construction activity was in full swing. With the property prices touching the roof, the property-related disputes could assume serious proportion if the civic body failed to intervene immediately,” said Mr F.S. Nagra, president of the association.

Besides, earmarking the exact area of the roads, the NAC should fix the plinth-level of each plot so that the provision of the drainage system could be made. This would avoid disputes among the residents and lead to the smooth development of the area, the residents highlighted.



Fraini makes it to next round among a bevy of attractive women
Regional auditions take place for Mrs India-World contest
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Model Noyonika Chatterjee sports a pretty smile for the camera in between the auditions
Model Noyonika Chatterjee sports a pretty smile for the camera in between the auditions. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, March 13
The hunt is on for the perfect woman, but with a delicious twist-she must be married! So, as an ode to the perfect multi-tasking ability of the ubiquitous Indian home-maker, the regional auditions to the Mrs India-World contest took place at a hotel today with a bevy of attractive women waiting their turn on the cat-walk.

The Mrs India-World 2006 will be India's official entry at the Mrs World contest to be held on April 23 at St Petersburg, Russia, where women from more than 50 countries will vie for the Mrs World crown.

After inviting entries from as far away as Ludhiana and Amritsar, the auditions held by model and fashion coordinator Noyonika Chatterjee yielded a single positive result with a "delighted" Fraini Ahuja making it to the next round of auditions.

While Noyonika was pleased with the response in sheer numbers, she was visibly disappointed with the quality.

"A lot of people have come forward this year, especially in the other centres like Calcutta and Delhi, but the women are not necessarily in shape."

So what counts during the selection process? "Weight and measurement are important but equally significant is the presentation style and confidence. Changing a personality style later on is not easy, so there has to be an element of poise. A symmetrical, pleasant face and easy body language all play a part. After all it is the overall package we look at."

The auditions divided into three rounds, the question and answer session, the catwalk and the talent round, completed the process.

A mother (she has a three-year-old) and a wife, Noyonika believes some days are worse than the others but one has to take it one day at a time, changing priorities notwithstanding. "Life does not stop after anything, least of all marriage. The chances of losing oneself greater after getting married because the responsibilities increase, but remember to take stock of your life and be sure that you matter to yourself," she smiles.

Indeed the group of aspiring contenders was a motley gathering brimming with confidence. While Sandeep Dhami's mother-in-law had come with her to boost her morale, Dr Monica Sharma's in-laws have no clue about her dreams.

A practicing gynaecologist at the Sector 20 dispensary at Panckula, Bharatnatyam classes, two school going children, Monica packs in a full day to stay fit and keep her family happy.

For Nilima Khot from Panchkula, the sky is the limit. "Nothing is impossible," she says, for this mother of a three-year-old boy felt she had all the ingredients that a Mrs India should have.

Simmi Sukhbir Kaur, a resident of Chandigarh, ballooned to an unbelievable 85 kg during her pregnancy. Today as the aerobics instructor at Ozone, she is a petite example of how fitness can revolutionise the mindset.

After all, for these multi-tasking talented women, life is about making a go of every single opportunity whatever the result may be.



Artistes, not art, have flourished, says expert
S.D. Sharma

Kiran Seth
Dr Kiran Seth

Chandigarh, March 13
“Our rich traditions of Indian classical music have given us something of eternal value to hold on to but in the present age, Indian music has developed many internal tensions and external stresses”, said Kiran Seth, the founder chairperson of the Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture among youth (SPIC-MACAY). He was in the city for an overview and finalisation of the national SPIC-MACY convention to be held here in 2007.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Kiran Seth, a professor of Applied Mathematics at the IIT, Delhi, disclosed that way back in 1974 when he was doing his Phd. at Columbia University, a friend invited him to a concert by Ustad Aminudin Khan Dagar. Seth said he was unaware of the Ustad and the Dhrupad style of gayaki and had to feel small before the American friend. That impelled him not only to learn the classical music but also inspired him to propagate the rich Indian music in the world.

Thus the giant organisation of SPIC-MACAY came in existence in 1977 with his personal efforts and that of a handful of friends as he summed ‘Main to akela hee chala tha Janibe Manzil, magar log milte gaye our karvan banta gaya’.

Due to the debasing power of money, glamour and craze in the present musical scene, the artistes have prospered but not the art, which had thrown a challenge for us to popularise the classical tradition among the masses. But the efforts have brought appreciable results as we have over 200 centers in India and over 50 centers abroad. The present programs of SPIC-MACY include schemes like School Intensive (holistic) camps in the schools, seven-day national convention at Jaipur from June 19 to 24 in 2007 besides celebration of the World Dance Day on April 29, 2006. These programs will involve the masses at large while the noted musicologists and performers will interact with them at the concerts and lecture demonstrations. Dr. Seth lauded the cooperation from the Chandigarh chapter of the society.

Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), the Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, while presiding over the Advisory Board Meeting advocated the need for expanding its programmes, with the focus on cultural growth and its harmonisation with social development and empowerment of disadvantaged sections.

While welcoming the founder President of SPIC-MACY, Dr Kiran Seth gave an account of the activities of this movement, at national and international level and its future plan and resource building projects. He said a national convention of the organisation would be held in June, 2007, at Chandigarh.

Dr S.U. Lavasa, Chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of the SPIC-MACAY highlighted the achievements in the north zone. Various members, including Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Prof K.N. Pathak, former Director, PGI, Dr B.N.S. Walia and other members gave valuable suggestions for further progress of the organisation.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers and a member of the Advisory Board, was also present on the occasion.



Chandigarh Calling

Photo: Parvesh ChauhanPrithi is a proud man with a big moustache. While certainly not a record holder, his black moustache along with white tufts of beard are his pride and honour. Showing them off to the photographer, Prithi explains his 'nurturing' regime: “Douse them in sarson ka tel and dye them regularly with mehndi.”

A milkman by profession, this resident of Faidan village, near Sector 47, attends to his moustache before tending to his cows everyday.

"If my moustache gets good oiling, then my cows give good quantities of milk too!"

May the moustache prosper, lest the city falls short of its milk supply!

Zoo incinerator

To ensure environmental-friendly disposal of carcasses and other waste, the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi, has sanctioned funds for installing an incinerator in the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir.

It will be installed within two months near the nursery in the zoo. The oil-fired incinerator has a capacity to burn 100 kg of waste per hour.

It will not only save the wood but also check the pilferage of hides and bones of the endangered animals. The annual rate of mortality of the animals in the zoo varies from seven to 10 per cent.

Sidhu magic

Sidhuism popularised by the cricketer-turned-politician, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, has assumed legendary proportions.

This was more than evident at the Chandigarh Press Club during the course of a press conference the other day.

Though the scribes tried their level best to nail down the firebrand BJP MP from Amritsar, the former dashing opening batsman of the Indian cricket team did not oblige them.

In fact, many a scribe were "bowled over" by Sidhu's "googlies".

At a time when India convincingly defeated England at the PCA Stadium in Mohali in the second Test match , the club was also witness to some real action from Sidhu.

Now we know that his great performance at the Great Indian Laughter Challenge on the Star One,which put even the Bollywood star Shekhar Suman to shade, was no fluke. Carry on Sherry!

Reality craze

Reality shows are getting bigger with every new episode on the idiot box.

And to ensure that your favourite participant is not out of the race for want of SMSes, viewers hook to their mobiles after every show.

The DAV institutions are no different. When it happens to be an alumnus in the race, support must come from within the DAV fraternity.

Recently, city DAV schools received a fax stating that their former student is also in the race for the top honours at the Indian Idol show.

Mentioning that the next programme will be telecast on February 27 on Sony TV, it pleads desperately, "He needs more votes to win. The voting lines will be open from 9:30 pm on Monday to 9:30 am on Tuesday.”

It goes on to give the number and the text that has to be sent through SMS. Clearly, the DAV family must get going to "save" its alumnus.

Sale scenario

Sale of any kind attracts hordes of people of the city. In fact, many of them wait for months together for goods to go on sale. People queue up outside shops and departmental stores and shopkeepers too waste no opportunity to clear their old stocks under the garb of one occasion or the other.

The sale is packaged variously as end of the season sale, New Year sale, Divali Sale and now Holi sale.

The shopkeepers sell all kinds of goods with the condition that they will neither be returned nor exchanged.

It is high time that the consumers strengthened the consumer movement in the country and ensured that as in the western countries, they are able to return or exchange goods even if they are bought at a 40 or 50 per cent discount.

Employees at these shops are made to slog from 10 to 10 pm while it is the shopkeepers who make profits by clearing old stocks.

It is only when consumer becomes king in the real sense that these sales would become really attractive.

Indian Holi, Chinese hues

With the Chinese crackers and lamps acquiring a near monopoly over Divali, how could a festival like Holi have escaped the onslaught.

There are magical colours available in the market that are really mind boggling.

A few minutes after being thrown at, they disappear leaving no trace but as soon as a person comes in contact with water, they reappear.

Freely available at many departmental stores, these colours claim to be safe and are even available in fluorescent colours.

These colours have added a whole new panorama to the festival of colours.

Budget tourism

Besides making innovation on its prime property in the city, including the Mountview and the Shivalik View hotels, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation(CITCO) is paying special attention to renovate Hotel Parkview by adding infrastructure in terms of rooms and other facilities.

The hotel is being developed as a popular 'budget class' destination for tourists.

To give it an ethnic ambience, the venue will have a Punjabi 'vehra' to give quality food to the visitors.

Apart from 24 new rooms, new infrastructure would be added to help create space and feasibility for additional 72 rooms.

Woes of step sector

Panchkula is a hot property these days. IT parks, shopping malls and multiplexes are mushrooming at a breakneck pace. But wait a minute before you dub the city as a budding metro.

There are some sectors, especially those touching the industrial area, like Sector 19 which still lack basic amenities like good roads, streetlights and efficient sewerage system.

Rain showers misery on this sector and it becomes next to impossible to traverse through it with water logging at its worst.

The residents feel a neglected lot and want Panchkula MC to wake up soon.

— Contributed by Gayatri Rajwade, Vishal Gulati, Pradeep Sharma, Geetanjali Gayatri, Naveen S Grewal, Sanjeev Singh Bariana and Vishal Sharma



More Daria godowns face demolition today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Eight months after demolishing unauthorised godowns on the outskirts of Daria village, the Chandigarh Administration is carrying out another demolition drive against the leftout godowns tomorrow. The godowns have come up in violation of the Periphery Act.

The drive will be carried out to clear 200 feet of land on both sides of the roads leading to Mauli Jagran and Makhan Majra. The road forms part of the proposed route no.2.

Sources in the administration said notices had already been served to the owners of the godowns. In the last drive, around 150 structures on the outskirts of Daria village were demolished by the enforcement staff of the Estate Office. The structures were in violation of the Periphery Control Act

Officials in the administration said 200 feet of land on both sides of the roads leading to Mauli Jagran and Makhan Majra would be freed of encroachments for the widening of the road.

While the road leading to Mauli Jagran would ultimately touch the Zirakpur-Kalka National Highway near Sector 21, Panchkula, the road leading to Makhan Majra would provide a direct link between the IT Park at Kishangarh and Chandigarh Airport. 



MC all set to take over villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Municipal Corporation Chandigarh is all set to take over the villages from the UT Administration, but on there own terms.
The seven-member committee of the MCC councillors on bylaws, today held a meeting to discuss the framing of building bylaws. It will meet the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, tomorrow to discuss the issue.

According to sources, the committee has decided to ask the UT Administration to regularise the constructions outside lal dora. The MC officials would also discuss the future policy of all commercial activities in the villages.

The MCC is also keen to be the deciding authority on the future planning of these villages.

The building bylaws will also be applicable on the existing villages in the jurisdiction of the MCC. 



PUDA calls off flower show
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 13
It seems to be a bad news for flower lovers and those found of entertainment. After two consecutive years of organising the flower show here, PUDA authorities appeared to have got tired and decided to call it off this year.

Residents of the town contested enthusiastically in the popular flower show — Guldasta, and music lovers came in droves to hear well-known singers.

Students from various schools were also invited to take part in different contests. The show was introduced for the first time since the setting up of the town after much effort by the local MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

Although some PUDA officials said that the show could not be held as the PUDA staff were busy in connection with the Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, others suspected that rivlry between two Congress groups was responsible for depriving the residents of the popular show.

Mrs Amteshwar Kaur, a former municipal councillor and president of the Generation Saviour Association, said there was disappointment among residents of the area after learning that the flower show was not being organised by PUDA authorities this year.

She said it was strange that after organising the show for two years, PUDA authorities had called it off this year.

She added that in Chandigarh, the Rose Festival was held every year and this had been going on for years. Why could PUDA not make it a regular feature? She questioned.

She said during both the shows held earlier, her association had put up stalls where posters highlighting the illeffects of tobacco were displayed.

According to sources, a meeting in connection with the holding of the flower show this year was held by the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr Yashvir Mahajan, around February 20. Some spadework was done and officials were even assigned duties in this regard.

Even dates (March 11 and 12) for holding the flower show were proposed at the meeting. However, it was later decided at a high level not to hold the show this year but in a better way next year.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said it was unfortunate if PUDA authorities had taken such a decision.

He said that earlier he used to get meetings fixed in this regard and things started moving. This year he had left the matter to the PUDA authorities thinking that “it was their baby now”. It was an annual feature and should not be called off in this way.

He said he had talked yesterday to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, in this regard who said that the show would be arranged.

Last year, PUDA had received 386 entries in the flower categories, 200 entries had been received for paintings and 50 for photography.



Villagers seek road links
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 13
Residents of various villages have been facing transportation problems because the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has failed to provide proper link roads from Sector 76 to 80.

Dr Karamjit Singh Chilla and Mr Jarnail Singh Soni, president and general secretary, respectively, of the local Yuvak Vikas Manch, said PUDA had damaged the road linking Sohana and Mohali to Chilla, Mauli, Durali, Raipur Khurd and other villages and failed to provide any alternative link. They said the matter was brought to the notice of ministers concerned and even PUDA official but no action had been taken so far.

They said resentment prevailed among residents who had been hit due to the wrong planning of the PUDA authorities. If PUDA failed to take any action, the manch would be compelled to launch an agitation, they said. 



Go for hi-tech colours
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Splash the colours of surprise on your friends during the Holi of 2006. Pick up “magical” hues. They show their true colours only when you wash away the shades of celebrations at the end of the day. Else, go in for the colours that vanish as soon as you leave your chum’s house.

This is not all. Invite your friends to the great Holi bash at your house with “Mughal-e-Azam” scrolls. Add some colour to their lives by splattering a tinge of affection with water guns that look like walking sticks. Or else, see their visage lose colour by pointing pistols that resemble the real thing.

In case you haven’t picked up the stuff till date, do not worry. You still have time. Just drive down to gift shops or departmental stores across the city, even in Panchkula and Mohali, and just ask for surprise Holi stuff, now.

“Besides the magical shades, colour foam is the in-thing,” says Rohit Gawri of Peshawari Supermarket in Sector 19. “The cans look just like shaving foam but shower colours as soon as you press the pump dispenser”.

You can also indulge in a riot of colours with “hi-tech” water pistols that have flooded the market. Go in for “water launchers”, or even the great guns like the ones used by “Ghostbusters” in the famous Hollywood blockbuster.

“In fact, Ghostbusters and Spiderman guns are in great demand among young innocents putting up in the city and surrounding areas,” says Chetan of gift shop Jewels in Sector 11. “Available in fluorescent colours, the weapon’s tank can be clasped on to the revelers’ back with the help of straps. Reloading is not a problem as the tank has a capacity of storing as much up to five liters”.

The nozzle is attached to a long rubber tube for facilitating free movement. Water gushes out with pressure at your “enemy” as soon as you press the trigger.“You just have to aim and shoot. That is all”, says Chetan. “No wonder, we are selling up to 15 pieces a day”.

Among the purchasers is Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Anil Pal Singh Shergill. Putting up in Sector 10 along with his family, the lawyer has picked up the Ghostbusters gun for his daughter.

Back to water pistols! Chetan asserts that the guns are costing anywhere between Rs 75 and Rs 375, depending upon the size and the tank capacity. The price varies with the colours also.“Multi-coloured guns are a wee bit more expensive,” he adds. For water launchers, shaped just like rocket launchers, you will have to pay something like Rs 275.

The not-so-expensive ones are not that “simple” either. By pulling out Rs 150 from your wallet, you can take home plastic “pichkaris” with “Pokeman” characters nicely glued. “As children are simply obsessed about Pokeman characters, the manufacturers are just not missing the opportunity of encashing on their craze,” says Sector 35 shopkeeper Raman Sharma.“That is why you have pichkaris with Pikachu and other characters, along with Pokeman cards and tazoos.”

You can also buy traditional metal “pichkaris” with long nozzles. They are costing anything between Rs 60 and Rs 80. If you do not plan to spend so much money on “pichkaris”, just pull out Rs 5 from your wallet for a water pistol. Happy Holi. 



Fauji Beat
Mixing units will destabilise Army

The Indian Army combat units, especially infantry regiments were formed on one-class basis by the British and this system has worked very well in all the wars. Most armies of the world are also based on one-class regiments. The advantages of this system are that the recruitment for each regiment being from a specific region, binds men together intimately.It also goads them to create a good image for themselves individually and collectively as a class. Apart from this, commonality of languages, customs, traditions and food habits bind them together.

Since Independence, a strong lobby, mostly comprising politicians, has been at work to change the class composition of the Army to mixed-class regiments. If they have not succeeded, it is because the old soldiers have always felt that the mixing of one-class units will dilute their old traditions and impinge upon their fighting efficiency.

After the horrifying experience of 1984, a former Chief of the Army, the late Gen K. Sunderji, veered to the opinion that a change in one-class units was called for. However, after analysing all the facts, he changed his opinion and said: "I attribute the primary cause of mutiny to poor leadership in the units. There was a failure of command".

Religion plays an important part in a soldier's life. For, he takes an oath to sacrifice his life for the country by putting his hand on his religious book at the time of attestation from a recuirt to a sepoy. Religion has always proved to be a strong rallying factor in war. The one-class regiments must be retained fr the integrity of the country.

Tenure of polyclinics' staff

The contractual employment of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) staff at the polyclinics is for 11 months, which can be terminated anytime by giving 20 days' notice by either side. The ECHS can also terminate the contract of the staff without notice by paying one month's salary.

Generally, if the performance of an employee is good, his contractual period is extended to last for two years. Some of the polyclinics are doing very well because of the painstaking staff and the doctors. There are quite a few others, which do not come up to the mark. The patients dependent on them are often a dissatisfied lot.

The most important appointment in the polyclinic is that of its officer-in- charge. No doubt he is a general duty officer, but he is the one who administers the polyclinic and overseas its functioning. An officer who is not conversant with all rules and regulations of the ECHS, cannot function in this appointment effectively. To know these rules and their implication, a minimum period of six months is required even by an officer with a good grasp. The tenure of those officers who are performing very well in this appointment should not be less than three years, for continuity in such cases enhances efficiency.

As for the doctors, what matters is the patient's confidence in the doctor, which takes time to develop. A doctor's tenure should also be three years as far as possible. For, his or her continuity in the same job generates a spirit of belonging, which results in a better paient-doctor relationship.

An exquisite trophy

An exquisite trophy with a pair of long elephant tusks, occupies a place of pride in the Officers' Mess of the Bombay Engineers Group Kirkee, Pune. This trophy was presented to the mess by officers of 22 Filed Company on their return from Congo in March 1963.

The tusks were stolen from the mess in November 1975 and were cut into pieces for easy carriage. Luckily, the culprits were apprehended from Bombay with the pieces of tusks. On getting the pieces back, the Bombay Engineers Group joined these with silver rings (as can be seen from the picture) and the trophy was restored to its earlier place in the mess.

— Pritam Bhullar



Programme on population held
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
Forty beneficiaries of Jan Shikshan Sansthan from villages Bande Mahal Kalan, Sangatpura and Mahal Khurd participated in a programme on ''Population and Development Education'' organised by the sansthan at its field office in Bande Mahal Kalan village, Ropar, today.

Anand Mohan Sharma, programme officer of the sansthan, said the programme sought to empower people through education and life-skill development. It helped individuals to make informed choices and adopt a responsible behaviour leading to a better quality of life.

In the past 100 years, the world population had increased from 2 billion to 6 billion. This puts a tremendous pressure on natural resources, besides affecting social development. The issue of population had to be seen in relation with development, environment and quality of life.

Mr. A.K. Gupta, another programme officer laid emphasis on the importance of providing sex education to the youth. He said parents and teachers could play an important role by showing openness to discuss issues related to human sexuality and reproductive health. 



Unions seek wage hike

Chandigarh, March 13
The Central Industrial Trade Union (CITU), the All-India Trade Union Council (AITUC), the Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS) and the Hindustan Majdoor Sangh (HMS) held a protest in front of the offices of the Labour Commissioner in Punjab today.

They were protesting against the alleged anti-labour policy of the government. The members of the unions demanded Rs 5,000 as minimum wage for unskilled labourers, Rs 6,500 for semi-skilled labourers, Rs 8,000 for skilled labourers and Rs 10,000 for fully-skilled labourers. TNS



Accident victim dies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 13
A 40-year-old Maloya resident succumbed to his injuries in the PGI today. He was admitted to the hospital on Friday after his scooter got skidded.
The police said the victim, Raj Kumar, was on his way back home when his scooter (CH-01-Y-2283) got skidded near the small chowk of Sector 40 and 41. He sustained multiple injuries, including serious head injuries.



3 women held for stealing spares
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 13
The local police today arrested three women of Sansi tribe on the charge of stealing spares from a factory in Industrial Area, here.
The police said Asha, Puja and Sunita, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, were caught while stealing spares worth Rs 80,000 from a factory in Phase I, Industrial Area.

They were produced before a local court, which remanded them in judicial custody.

Held for playing loud music

The police on Saturday arrested Nasib Singh of Kishangarh village from his residence on the charge of creating nuisance by playing loud music.

A case under Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Noise Control Act has been registered against him. He was later released on bail.

One held

Rajan Shukla, a slum dweller, was held on Saturday on the charge of gambling near a poultry farm.

The police recovered Rs 1,800 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered in this regard.

Motor cycle stolen

Gaurav Chohan of Sector 20 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Hero Honda CBZ motor cycle (HP-10-1502) was stolen from Grain Market, Sector 26, yesterday. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.



Biz Clips

BSNL connections: Residents of the Ashiana Enclave Society and the Bank of India Society in Sector 48-C can now avail of a BSNL telephone connection.An official press note of the BSNL today announced that the houses in these two societies were now eligible for receiving new connections. TNS

Internet-based trading: Master Capital has joined an elite group of stock brokers offering Internet-based trading to its patrons. The company  has also received its SEBI licence to act as portfolio managers in a new company called Master Portfolio Managers Ltd, informed Mr G.S. Chawla, Director In-charge, Chandigarh Regional office. TNS

Holi celebrations: To mark the festive spirit of Holi, Surya Funcity is organising an event on March 14 and 15. Being organised for the sixth year, the event promises unlimited water, colour and foot-tapping music. A DJ and a dance troupe will be the main attraction. TNS

Awards for students:JAIS TV, which will go on air soon, announced the “Lifetime Education Awards” today. According to Rakesh Mittal, its managing director, the contest is open online for students from Classes VI to XII and will be held in two categories.Top 3,000 students from the first category and top 2,000 students from the second category will be provide free education for lifetime. Mr Mittal said the channel would start from the first week of May and focus on rural India. TNS


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