C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


185 school bus drivers challaned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 1
Waking up to the need to make the journey to schools safe for the students, the Chandigarh Police today carried out early morning checks and challaned as many as 185 drivers. Besides this, another 18 buses were impounded.

The development is significant as the buses, and the drivers, were putting the lives of so many students at risk by not complying with the road safety norms, besides violating the directions issued, time to time, by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the traffic regulation and pollution control case.

Giving details of the challaning spree, sources in the traffic police said in an early morning drive the traffic cops issued challans to 115 drivers and conductors of the school buses for not wearing proper uniform. Twenty buses were challaned for plying without attendants or conductors. During the special drive the drivers and the conductors of 16 school buses were found wearing uniforms without name plates, 15 buses were found plying without displaying route plates, six buses for not having a first-aid kit, five school buses were found out to be plying without proper documents; three buses were challaned for not having prescribed colour on their body. Two buses were challaned for carrying underage children and one was issued a challan for playing without a fitness certificate. Besides this, two more school bus drivers were booked under miscellaneous category. The traffic police also issued challans to 10 other vehicles during the drive.

Quoting the High Court orders, a traffic police officer asserted that as per the high court in its verdict in the traffic regulation and pollution control case, had directed that “all school buses shall carry first-aid boxes duly containing the minimum requisite of medical items”. It was also directed that the buses would not “exceed the speed of 50 km per hour”.

The officer further added that, “The judges in their order said the authorities concerned should prefer that all school buses have yellow colour. The driver of the buses should wear proper uniforms with name plates”. A senior traffic police officer said that the Chandigarh Traffic Police would contact the Director Public Information, Schools, for conducting road safety seminars in school in future.



Show-cause notices to Barwala poultry farmers
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Barwala (Panchkula), May 1
Taking a serious note of the unhygienic sanitation conditions and mismanagement at various poultry farms in the Barwala belt, the district administration has issued showcause notices to over half a dozen poultry farm owners. Warning the poultry farmers, the district administration has asked the erring poultry owners to abide by all norms or face the consequences.

Highly-places sources in the district administration disclosed that the warning notices have been issued by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) on the basis of reports submitted by the teams that inspected 120 poultry farms located in Barwala, Raipur Rani, Kheri, and surroundings villages.

The DC has asked the defaulter poultry farmers to improve the sanitation conditions in their respective farms within two days or face the music.

The district administration had launched a hurried operation on April 28 for inspecting all poultry farms and the affected villages after the death of 5000 chicken in Himani Poultry Farm located in Kami village near Barwala on April 27.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr D K Singla, president of the Haryana Poultry Farmers Association, criticised the district administration for registering criminal cases against the poultry farmers. He said that the poultry industry was already facing a deep crisis and the government had further aggravated their problem by dragging them into litigations.

The members of association today held a meeting and decided to take up the matter with Haryana Finance Minister Birender Singh tomorrow. The issue “save poultry industry’ would be taken up with the Finance Minister, he claimed.

Mr Singla said the “bird flu” scare had already made the poultry farmers bankrupt and registration of criminal cases against them would force them to taken drastic steps.

Mr Brijendra Singh, Deputy Commissioner, was not available for comments, while Mr Verinder Singh Dahiya, Subdivisional Magistrate, disclosed that two days’ time has been given to the erring poultry farmers for improving sanitation condition at their units.

He, however, also disclosed that the district administration had decided to launch a massive drive to dis-insecticide all the poultry farms and villages facing the problem of flies in the area. The drive would be carried out with the help of 28 teams of the Health Department.

Mr Dahiya claimed that teams comprising seven persons each have been called from Yamunanagar, Ambala, Kurukshetra and Kaithal for launching the drive in all villages at one go. The functioning of each team would be looked into by an employee of the Panchkula Health Department, he added.



Wheat procurement: private traders play major role
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Wheat procurement has changed drastically this year. For the first time, private traders, including big companies like Cargill and ITC, have emerged as significant players in the mandis of Punjab and Haryana.

Private traders in Haryana have taken a major chunk of the wheat arriving in the mandis this year. Of the 28. 08 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat that has arrived in the mandis of the state, 6.30 LMT (22.43 per cent) have been taken by private traders, mainly because of its proximity to the national capital. In Punjab, too, a significant 12.56 per cent of the total 75.93 LMT of wheat arrival in the mandis, has been procured by private traders.

If the private traders in Punjab are concentrated mainly in Khanna and Rajpura, in Haryana the situation has been quite different. "While the American company Cargill, has procured wheat from Sonepat and Karnal, ITC has been a significant private player in the mandis of Sonepat, Karnal and Kurukshetra," informed a top official in the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Haryana.

Comparatively, the private traders in Haryana had purchased just 1.32 per cent (61,000 metric tonnes) of wheat in 2005, and 2.79 per cent (1.47 LMT) in 2004. Punjab, too, has seen a massive increase in the role of private traders in the wheat procurement as compared to the previous years. In 2005, private traders had purchased just 2.73 per cent (2.46 LMT) of wheat, and 2.61 per cent (2.42 LMT) in 2004.

Though the government had announced a hike of Rs 50 per quintal (from Rs 650 per quintal announced earlier) in Minimum Support Price (MSP) last week, it seems to have had little effect on the procurement by the private traders, millers and other companies. Senior officials in Food and Civil Supplies departments of Punjab and Haryana informed TNS that with the hike in MSP, the private traders, too, started offering Rs 10 — Rs 25 per quintal more than the MSP of Rs 700 per quintal in the various mandis of the two states.

Though the wheat procurement is almost over, total wheat arrival in the mandis this year is quite less as compared to the previous years. As compared to the total wheat arrival of 45.91 LMT in Haryana last year, the wheat arrival was just 28.08 LMT till yesterday. In Punjab, while the total wheat arrival last year was just 92.56 LMT, 75.93 LMT of wheat has arrived in the mandis till date.

This less arrival of wheat in the mandis has given rise to speculations that farmers are holding on to the grains because of the low prices being offered. "Though the yield per acre, too, is less this year, most of the farmers are hoarding stocks, so that they can sell these at high rates later.

Farmers are also committing their produce to traders for the autumn and winter months, when the price of wheat flour is expected to increase further," informed an official.



Journalists up in arms against Malkiat Singh Birmi
Issue of threatening Indian Express reporter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The threats issued by Punjab Chief Parliamentary Secretary Malkiat Singh Birmi have the media community up in arms.

Birmi’s threat of eliminating a journalist was today condemned by over 40 journalists of the city, apart from the Chandigarh Press Club and the Tribune Employees Union.

In a signed statement, over 40 mediapersons from Chandigarh, representing various media organisations in the city, condemned Malkiat Singh Birmi for threatening The Indian Express reporter Sharat Verma.

They demanded immediate action against him for threatening to eliminate the journalist for writing a story.

“Sharat Verma was performing his duty when he wrote about disrespect shown to the National Flag and the threats by Birmi amount to an attack on the media,” they said.

They demanded registration of a case against Birmi for both threatening a journalist and showing disrespect to the National Flag. They sought action by both Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the Congress high command.

President of the Chandigarh Press Club Balwant Takshak condemned the attack on the freedom of the media and sought action against Birmi.

“The CM should intervene immediately,” said president of the Tribune Employees Union Jagtar Singh Sidhu. He condemned the remarks by Birmi and demanded strict action against him.

Sharat Verma had reported about the disrespect shown to the National Flag at a rally organised by Birmi. Birmi had reacted by threatening to eliminate him for writing the report.

The journalists who issued a written statement here today included Raven Thukral, political editor, Hindustan Times, Sarbjeet Dhaliwal and Ajay Banerjee of The Tribune, Surinder Awasthi and Ramaninder Kaur Bhatia from The Times of India, Bajinder Pal Singh and R.P. Sharma from The Indian Express, Baljit Balli of the Ajit, A.S. Prashar from the Punjab Kesari, N.S. Parwana from the Punjab Kesari (Delhi), Sarabjit Pandher of The Hindu, Asit Jolly of The Asian Age, Balwinder Jammu of the Punjabi Tribune, Vijay Dabur and Manjit Singh of the PTI, Ritesh Lekhi of Zee News and Vikramjeet Singh of Tehelka.

Other signatories included Mukesh Rajpoot (Sahara Samay), Anilesh Mahajan (The Finance World), Vikramjeet Singh (Tehelka), T.S. Bedi, G.C. Bhardwaj, Tejinder Singh Sehgal and Sushi Grover (Rozana Spokesman), Manjit Singh (PTI), Deep Kumar (Times of India), Ravinder Singh Rang (Ajit), Ajay Bhardwaj (DNA), Gajinder Singh (The Telegraph), Panjaj Khanna (DD, Jalandhar), Devinder Singh Kohli (Charhdikala), Manjit Singh Sidhu (Desh Sewak), Prem Verma (Vir Partap), Kamla Sharma (Charhdikala), Sunil Kumar (The Pioneer), Suraj Bhardwaj (Total TV), Harbans Sodhi (DD News), Daljeet Singh (Aaj Tak), G.S. Bhullar (Jagbani), Sukhbir Singh Bajwa (Dainik Bhaskar), Nalin Acharya (Him Prabha), R.K. Sharma (Dainik Hawk) and Ranju Aery (Dainik Tribune).



Passing Thru

Bikram Singh Thapa from Darjeeling, who is black belt in choi kwang do
Bikram Singh Thapa from Darjeeling, who is black belt in choi kwang do

What is choi kwang do?

Choi kwang do is a form of martial art which gives equal importance to developing the defence techniques along with overall care of health. The current form was developed in 1987 by martial art exponents in consultation with a team of doctors in the USA.

How is it different from karate, tae kwon do and Kung Fu?

All three martial arts are basically for self-defence, which includes confrontation with the opponent. The parts of the body of the opponent which cannot be touched during the self-defence are underlined. All martial arts are competitive in nature, which leads to harming other bodies. Choi kwang do is not competitive. Moreover, during actual self-defence, one does not think about which parts of the body should not be touched.

What is the response to the comparatively new form of the martial art?

This one is slowly gaining popularity among the masses as is evident from the huge response to camps. A child who just starts walking and a man who just manages to walk in his old age can all enjoy the benefits of the form. I did my training under a Grand Master in the USA and gained my black belt there. I have travelled to various parts of the country propagating the martial art form before I came to Panchkula, and public everywhere is showing considerable interest.

— Sanjeev Singh Bariana



Chandigarh Calling
Now that summer is here

As the sun dear decides to shine down upon the city harder, people seem to be diving into drinks that are delightfully chilled. And when the drink promises a solid chunk of health besides a great taste, people can do anything to get it. Perhaps that's the reason why bridge market, sector 17, is brimming with crowds of people these afternoons. Promising tempting treat to the taste buds, this little market is flooded with juice shops, selling delicious shakes at just Rs. 10 and Rs. 15 per glass. The options available are many---mango shake, cheekoo shake, banana shake, lassi shake, milk shake…you name it and you get it. And as if the temptation is not enough, these thick shakes are garnished with pomegranate seeds, pistas and frothy ice cream. While the human beings partake of these delicacies, the poor goat in the picture brought by Vicky Garu is looking for a drop of cool water.

Jazzy jagratas

Now that the best time for socialising is well after the sun has set, the jagrata fever has caught up with the city. It is good to sit up through the night and sing praise of the goddess while having a pleasant festive time. The jagratas in the city are becoming very jazzy and now residents of Sector of 47-D are all set for a great jagrata time. This time the jagrata will be telecast live on Siti channel and the singing stars will be Kaler Kanth from Jalandhar, Rakesh Chanchal from Yamuna Nagar And Rajesh Dhiman from Kurali. Happy singing!

Troubled sector

Unscheduled power cuts, low-pressure water supply, stray dogs and cattle are just few of the problems plaguing Sector 19, Panchkula. The sector probably owes its woes to its close proximity to Punjab townships like Zirakpur and Baltana whose own cup of woes is brimming over. A cursory look at the sector makes one feel as if HUDA or the Municipal Corporation is oblivious of its existence.

The railway track passing alongside the sector is not properly guarded and a fast-moving express train mowed down only recently three cows. The other feather in the cap of the sector is its streelights that do function when they ought to. But at 12 noon, you will find them on! Much can't be said about the roads because the residents are still ill searching for them.

Name game

The arrival of a newborn is a period of much scrambling-for names. In the quest for the perfect moniker, parents scour every possible source, digging deep into all possible scriptures, even mythological tales for that perfect 'identity'. A friend decided to name her daughter, Jagrvi, the light and heat of the sun. However, what she had not bargained for was her daughter's response when her little girl turned all of a grown-up six years! "I have decided to change my name," she declared to her mother one fine day. "From now on please call me Mike, (incidentally pronounced Mikey to rhyme with her own name!); it is so much easier to spell!" And that decided it all!

Santa special

A Santa special doing the rounds of the local SMS brigade has it that Santa went to the market to buy the Indian Flag. He looked at the saffron, green and white flag and said, "Kuchh aur rang bhi dikkha do!"

(Contributed by Anandita Gupta, Sunil Minocha, Gayatri Rajwade & Vishal Sharma).



Rallies galore on May Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
May Day was observed across the city to salute the martyrs of Chicago. Rallys were held across the City by different organisations. Panjab University Non-Teaching Employee’s Federation organised a May Day rally in the university campus today. The federation also passed a few resolutions at the rally which included immediate reviewing of the qualifications of the wards on compassionate grounds.

The UT and MC employees from its various departments participated in a rally at Matka Chownk. Raghunath Singh, All-India vice-president of CITU addressed the rally. Condemning the Central Governments policies of globalisation and privatisation he said that the workers would now have to wage a struggle with more vigour.

The federation of UT Employees and Workers observed May Day as anti-imperialist day in Sector 18. A procession was also taken out towards the Governor House where a memorandum was also submitted to the UT Administrator. Mr Manmohan Singh, president of the federation, while addressing the rally, criticised the UT Administration for not implementing the genuine demands of the employees like regularisation of daily wages, grant of bonus, etc.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions observed a rally from Cheema Bhawam-30 to Industrial Area Phase-1and 2, which culminated at Labor Colony No 4. Addressing the rally president of CITU MS Gorsi asked the workers to fight against the neo-liberall policies of the government.

The All-India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU) organised a rally at cricket ground Hallomajra. Addressing the rally All-India secretary of AICTU Malkiat Singh stressed on implementation of minimum wages.

The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of journalists formed a human chain at Plaza-Sector 17 to observe May Day today.

The journalists, bearing placards, also took a round of Sector 17. Addressing the gathering CPUJ president Mr Vinod Kohli said that the working journalists were not getting their dues. He further demanded formation of a fresh wage board.



It was suicide by Captain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A young Army officer from the city, Capt Sumit Kohli, reportedly committed suicide near Kupwara, where he was serving with the Rashtriya Rifles, yesterday. On learning about the incident, his father, Mr Satish Kohli, suffered a brain haemorrhage and has been admitted into the intensive care unit of Command Hospital, Chandimandir.

Captain Kohli is survived by his parents, his wife Deepika, an architect whom he married seven months ago, and a sister. Having served for about two-and-a-half years in terrorist-affected areas, where he was decorated for gallantry, the officer was due to move out and was awaiting his posting orders.

According to family members, Mr Kohli, who retired as an establishment officer from Markfed, was at a social function when the news was conveyed to him.

He collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Captain Kohli's wife, who is in the family way, was at Patiala with her parents at that time and has rushed here.

The Army spokesman at Srinagar, Lt Col V. K. Batra, said Captain Kohli had lunch with others officers as usual in the mess and thereafter he went to his room, where he shot himself with his AK rifle.

He had reportedly placed the muzzle of his weapon under his chin and pressed the trigger. The incident occurred at about 3.30 pm.

Initially the impression among family members and relatives was that Captain Kohli had died after being ambushed during an anti-terrorist operation. Only his father knew the real story, but he was unconscious. It was only later today that the family came to terms with the reality.

"Though no suicide note has been recovered, there have been unconfirmed reports indicating that the officer was facing some family problem," he said. He added that there was no evidence of foul play. A post-mortem was conducted today and a court of inquest has been ordered into the incident. The body will be airlifted to New Delhi tomorrow, from where it will be brought here by road.

Captain Kohli had returned from leave on April 15 and rejoined his unit in Lalop near Kupwara on April 17.

A few days ago, he was recalled to the unit headquarters to form a board of officers to execute an administrative task.

The officer had spent over two years in anti-terrorist operations and, according to Colonel Batra, his posting orders were likely to reach his unit today or tomorrow.

An Artillery officer, Captain Kohli had been decorated with Shaurya Chakra for gallantry during counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir this year. He was the only officer from Chandigarh to have been awarded a gallantry medal on the occasion of the 57th Republic Day.

He was commissioned into 102 Medium Regiment in 2000 after passing out from the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, and was serving with the Rashtriya Rifles. An alumni of Shivalik Public School (not Sainik School, Rewa, as reported earlier) and Government College, Sector 11, he was a keen tennis and handball player.



Fauji Beat
Veterans’ hostels a necessity

By calling an ex-serviceman a “veteran” that he always was and by launching a last rites scheme for him or laying a wreath on his body on behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff, you do not help an ex-serviceman. What is essentially required today is to make arrangement for his decent living, of course, on his own cost, in the evening of his life.

The joint family system having crumbled, an old person in his/her eighties cannot live alone even if one is financially well off. Senior citizens’ homes are too few to meet the escalating requirement of our society.

The Army had mooted a laudable plan for the construction of senior citizens’ homes in various towns in June, 2003. It was said such homes would have all requisite facilities like messing, medical, recreation, security, etc. The rough cost of each decent dwelling unit of 600 sqr ft, including all facilities, was estimated as Rs 9-12 lakh. Alas, this project continues to remain on paper. We now hear that a pilot project called “veterans’ hostel” will soon come up at Dwarka in New Delhi.

There is a pressing requirement for such projects all over the country. Since these projects are to be executed by the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO), the Army should work fast on them. As for this region, if the Station Headquarters, Chandimandir, asks for the reaction of the ex-servicemen and their widows about such projects from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, it will get an overwhelming response from them.

Age expectancy lowest

While it is well-known that soldiers are among the youngest to retire from the government service, what is not known to most is that their age expectancy is also the lowest as compared to all other government employees. The revelation about the lowest age expectancy is an outcome of a few private studies carried out by retired officers.

The reasons for their shorter span of life are stress and strain that they have to go through, especially during combat, counter-insurgency and hazardous routine as sentinels of the nation,. Add to this, the inhospitable high-altitude areas like Siachen which take a heavy toll of life. Recently, when the Army drew up a clinical profile of 90 young soldiers admitted to a hospital with heart problems, it found that 36 of them had developed this disease as a result of combat stress. Among the other life shortening factors are separation from families, neglect of children’s education and property at the home front. All of which cause worry and anxiety.

On retiring as young men, they have to fight another long war to settle their children, recover their properties from the unscrupulous elements with virtually no help from the government or any other agency. The losing battle that most of them have to fight takes its toll on them.

With the glamour of soldiering, its prestige and status having fallen to a new low, this, once considered to be the noblest of all professions, has lost its attraction.

IAF’s dilemma

On April 24, the air force ruled out that fighter and transport pilots would not be allowed to leave service for more lucrative jobs in the private airlines. This ruling comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s notice to the Centre asking it to explain why an IAF pilot should not be permitted to take premature retirement by reimbursing the money spent on his training.

The questions that arise are: Can the IAF expect the desired efficiency from an unwilling pilot? Since most of the pilots, if allowed, would leave the service, how would the IAF function in this scenario? Can a person be denied the right to better his career prospects? The current situation seems to have forced the air force to go in vigorously for awareness campaigns to attract the youth to opt for it.

— Pritam Bhullar



500th helicopter released at 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The 500th helicopter to be overhauled by No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here was released by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, Air Marshal K.S. Chaturvedi, today.

The helicopter, a Mi-17, was received by Wg Cdr K. Allen, Commanding Officer of 127 Helicopter Unit, at a ceremony organised at 3 BRD, a statement issued here said. The helicopter was manufactured in February, 1987, and inducted into the IAF on February 28 the same year. It has undertaken a total of 2979.37 hours of flying.

The Air Marshal is on a three-day inspection visit to 3 BRD. On his arrival here he was received by the Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, Air Cmde R.K. Srivastava, and senior officers. The depot is responsible for the repair, maintenance and overhaul of all Mi8- and Mi-17 helicopters in service with the IAF.

Addressing Air Force personnel on the occasion, Air Marshal Chaturvedi appreciated the high professional standards set by the Depot. He also complimented them on achievement of tasks assigned to the depot within the stipulated period.

He also released the first issue of the IAF Hindi magazine, Garima. The articles for the magazine have been contributed by air warriors and their families. He said the magazine would be a positive step towards the promotion of Hindi in the Air Force and bringing out literary talent..

Later, the Maintenance Command chief laid the foundation stone of a married accommodation project in Sector 31. Comprising 707 family dwelling units, this is a major residential project and will be executed in two phases. The total cost of the project is Rs 61.46 crore and it is scheduled to be complete by December 2007.



Riding seatless cycle across the country for release of POWs
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Hira Lal Yadav rides his seatless bicycle in Chandigarh on Monday.
Hira Lal Yadav rides his seatless bicycle in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, May 1
He rides a bicycle which has no seat but an iron strip. The purpose of his journey is to attract the attention and ask the Indian Government one question. ''During the Indo - Pak war, when we released around 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war (PoWs), then why do we feel helpless when we talk about the release of our just 54 Indian soldiers who are being tortured in Pakistan jails since 65 and 71 wars?'' His noble mission is to force the Indian Government to think about this issue!

Meet 47 -year-old Hira Lal Yadav, an LIC agent from Mumbai, who has taken the arduous task of riding a seatless cycle, conveying his sentiments about POWs who are languishing in Pakistani jails to the general public.

Yadav has a very simple reasoning: "It is pathetic to see how much people remember soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the sake of our country". He carried along the letters penned by ordinary Indian citizens that urge both the governments to find a solution to this great concern."

Starting his tour from Mumbai on December 19 last, Yadav reached Chandigarh today, after covering approximately 40,000 km on his seatless bicycle, and passing through cities like Nagpur, Hyderabad, Chennai, Andaman and Nicobar island and then to Calcutta by ship, reached Dhanbad, Ranchi, Kanpur, Ittawa, Agra, Mathura, Bareilly, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehra Dun, Delhi, Sonepat, Panipat, Ambala and lately took halt at Chandigarh. It took him around 130 days to reach here.

Yadav had also written a book 'Salaam Sainik' (in Hindi) in 1999. The book, released by Paramveer Chakra recipient Grenadier Joginder Singh Yadav, is basically a compilation of letters. Showing his creation, he said, "This book contains letters from citizens to the soldiers and also replies from soldiers and most importantly letters from members of deceased soldiers' families".

This is not a new task for Hira Lal Yadav. He took to bicycle tours for causes earlier also.

His earlier mission was to inspire and instill the courage for de-addiction from drugs, alcohol and other evils of society and live a simple and austere existence. "About 10 years back, I used to be a chain smoker. One day, I found my four-year-old son trying to smoke the cigarette bud I threw. This incident left a big question mark on my mind and I was determined to do something to deject this evil which is gripping our younger generation fast," said Yadav.

He has covered around 26,000 km journey on his bicycle and been facing all hazards on the way all alone in the interiors and in the countryside, but has also earned friends all along the way. To fulfill his mission he visited various universities, colleges and schools to let students know bout the ill-effects of drugs and also encourage them about taking initiatives for the release of our worthy soldiers.

In the year 1997-98, he cycled around 11,000 km from Mumbai to Chennai and reached Delhi via Calcutta and this journey took him around 103 days for de-addiction mission. In 1999, he covered a distance of around 2,700 km from Mumbai to Kargil for the sake of POW heroes. In 2004 he travelled to Thailand, Laos , Cambodia and Vietnam . ''It took me around 25 days to cover a distance of around 7000 km and I reached Mumbai through cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kolkatta, Jharkhand, Bihar, UP, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat.''

On being asked, Yadav said, "I chose this mode of transport because I wanted to reach the remote corners of the country and I couldn't think of any regular mode of transport other than the bicycle."

''But when I started my task, this cycle had a seat. I removed it because I wanted to make my journey toughest possible to force people think that if I can travel all along on a seatless bicycle then why can't they refrain from these evil vices? ''



Marriage functions leave filth behind
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
It’s not just the marriage food that is causing heartburn among city residents. The failure of the municipal corporation authorities to ensure the removal of garbage strewn all over venues after the feast is also leaving them with a dirty feeling.

Go to parks and other green belts in sectors across the city during the marriage season and you will find half-eaten stuff, bones, box wrappers, paper-napkins and even broken plates all over the place.

And then there is this nauseating stench that emanates from the heaps of garbage. Mr Arun Kumar of Sector 21 says: “For the relatives and the revelers, it may be a celebration but for those living in the vicinity of the green belts, it is an ordeal.”

Crows hovering over these lawns only makes the problem worse. “They pick up the bones and other food and throw it inside the houses,” says a Sector 19-based business executive, Mr Ravi Sharma. “The bones are swallowed and then vomited by pet dogs,” he adds.

Even though the terms readily agreed upon by the relatives clearly say that the venues have to be cleaned up soon after the marriage, it is seldom done so.

“The organisers curse others for leaving the place dirty before getting it spruced up for holding a party but after the wrapping up of the event, they themselves do little to clean the place,” he says.

There is another problem that is ignored by the authorities. The revelers more often than not remove railings for allowing water tankers and trucks to enter the lawns with sofas and chairs. However, little is done to put them back, making it easier for cattle to stray.

He suggests the imposition of heavy penalty on defaulters.

MC to blame, too

The cash-strapped MC is responsible for the loss of revenue. Though organisers take permission for one or two days to hold parties, some of them start pitching tents and storing things at least three or four days in advance. They take another day or two to remove the goods from the venues.

The corporation charges approximately Rs 1,000 a day for a lawn depending upon the area.



New Zealand minister visits Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 1
Mr Trevor Mallard, Economic Development Minister of New Zealand, said his visit to India was an initiative towards advancing the India-New Zealand educational and economic relationship at the government level.

The minister, who is leading the second New Zealand education mission to India comprising 20 senior education representatives, said the mission followed the first anniversary of the formal establishment of New Zealand-Indian bilateral educational relationship.

Mr Mallard, who visited the Canadian Institute of International Studies (CIIS) here today, said he was here to interact with students who were pursuing the bachelor’s course in nursing from the Universal College of Nursing, New Zealand.

He said the delegation had come to Punjab to look into various aspects of economic and educational opportunities available here.

He said the education mission to India had helped develop institution-to-institution link, raise the profile of New Zealand education abroad and to help develop links between the New Zealand and Indian government agencies.

Lieut-Gen K.S. Mann (retd), Director of the CIIS, said considering the huge success of the nursing programme, the CIIS and the Universal College of Nursing had got together to offer a bridging programme in computer graphics.

The 18-week certificate programme would enable students to experience a range of art and design activities and help prepare a portfolio to move on to the graduate or postgraduate levels.



Food poisoning case: inquiry marked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
The Chief Medical Officer, Panchkula, has marked an inquiry to the District Health Officer, to probe the Kot food poisoning case, in which over 60 persons including children, women and elderly persons, were taken ill after partaking of bhandara.

Mr GP Saluja, CMO, has asked Mr ML Garg, DHO, to submit the report so the action could be initiated against the guilty.

A majority of the victims, going under treatment at Kot Hospital were discharged while one patients, out of the five admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, is still under observation.

Following outbreak of the food poisoning at a large scale, the authorities had collected samples of food served at the Parshu Ram Jayanti celebrations in the village. The samples had been sent to a Chandigarh-based laboratory for confirming the exact cause of food poisoning.



Sadhu denies charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 1
A sadhu of Dharamgarh village, who was booked by the police on various charges, alleged here today that he had been falsely implicated in the case by a woman.

Mr Charan Singh said at a press conference that a woman had come to his place some time ago and lived with the family for a few days saying that she had nobody to look after her. Later she allegedly started demanding Rs 50,000 from him saying that if he did not give her the demanded amount, she would harm his reputation in the public.

He said that the charges that she was levelling against him were all baseless and the matter was now with the police.



Fire in house
Our Correspondent

A view of the puja room after a fire broke out at a house in Sector 70, Mohali, on Monday.
A view of the puja room after a fire broke out at a house in Sector 70, Mohali, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, May 1
A fire broke out in a house in Sector 70 here today.

Several items lying in a room on the first floor of the house were damaged in the fire.

Shri Guru Granth Sahib had been kept in the room in which the fire broke out.

Fire brigade officials suspect that a short-circuit might be the cause behind the fire.

 It took almost 30 minutes to bring the situation under control.

The Bir of Shri Guru Granth Sahib was then sent to a gurdwara in Sohana.



Tribune employee bereaved

Chandigarh, May 1
Mrs Shodha Devi (80), mother of Mr Ranjit Singh Verma, process operator in The Tribune, died today at Rori-Kori near Chanaur in Kangra district after a brief illness. She is survived by five sons and four daughters. Her son-in-law Mr Ramesh Dhiman is also working in The Tribune. — TNS



3 property dealers, 7 others held
Taking possession of land forcibly

Tribune News Service

Lalru, May 1
The local police has arrested 10 persons, including three property dealers, on the charge of taking the possession of a land, falling in the Lalru revenue area, forcibly.

The complainant, Mr Jasbir Singh, a resident of Mani Majra, alleged that he had entered into an agreement to sell 23 acres at the rate of Rs 5.5 lakh per acre with certain persons, including property dealers Harmesh, Krishan Lal and Shankar Lal, last year. An amount of Rs 5 lakh was given as “biana” (advance money) and April 30 was fixed as the date for getting the registry done, he added.

Mr Jasbir Singh claimed that it was decided not to give the possession of the land to the purchasers at the time of the registry. However, the purchasers claimed that it was decided to hand over the possession at the time of the registry.

The property dealers, along with their supporters, came to the site to take the possession of the land and allegedly tried to take the possession of the land forcibly.

Meanwhile, the police was informed and the accused were arrested under various sections of the IPC, including 452, 447, 596, 511, 148 and 149.

Apart from the property dealers, the other arrested persons were Parveen Kumar, Surinder Pal Virk, Vijay Mohit, Harphool Singh, Charanjit Singh, Sabjinder Singh and Sanjay.

Meanwhile, the accused, who were produced in a court at Rajpura, have been remanded in judicial custody till May 11.



2 Delhi residents held for stealing cable
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 1
Two Delhi residents have been caught stealing cable from a Sector 48 godown. Sources in Sector 31 police station said Mr Harinder Singh of Sector 48 lodged a complaint alleging that he had caught Narinder Singh and Amit, both residents of New Delhi, stealing 3,400 metres of cable from his godown in Sector 48 last night.

A case was registered. The police recovered the stolen property from the accused.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Roshan Lal of Shivalik Enclave, Mani Majra, complained to the police that his Mitsubishi Lancer car (CH-03-M-5486) was stolen from his residence on the Saturday night.

In another incident, Mr Mohan Lal of Sector 15 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (CH-03-L-5575) was stolen from near SD School, Sector 32. Two cases of thefts have been registered.

Laptop stolen

Mr Devashish Tej Pal of Sector 11-A filed a complaint with the police alleging that his laptop computer was stolen from his residence between April 23 and 30. He told the police that the thieves gained entry by breaking open the window grill at his residence. A case of theft has been registered.



Suicide bid by maid

Chandigarh, May 1
A 19-year-old girl tried to commit suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of a house in Sector 46, here this morning.

The girl, a maid, suffered multiple injuries and was admitted to the GMCH-32.

Sources in the Sector 34 police station said Sangeeta, a resident of Sector 52, had come to meet her relatives in Sector 46 this morning. Her mother Ramesh Devi told the police that Sangeeta was upset for the past several days. She had gone to meet her cousins but unable to cope with depression, she allegedly tried to end her life. The police has booked her in a case of attempt to suicide. OC



Burglars decamp with Rs 56,000
Tribune News Service

Lalru, May 1
Unidentified burglars broke into a house in Dharamgarh village near here and decamped with Rs 56,000 yesterday. According to the police, the burglars broke into the house of Mr Labh Singh, a tenant, between 5 pm and 10 pm. He was away to Lalru with his family to meet his brother.

Mr Labh Singh said he had left the cash, received as part of payment for selling a plot, in a trunk. When he returned around 10 pm, the house was ransacked and the money stolen. A case has been registered.



Uppal group takes over ‘Centra Mall’
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
“Centra Mall” — the tallest mall to come up in the city, has been taken over from Pasco Real Estate by Delhi’s Uppal Group.

Though officials in Uppal Group are unwilling to disclose the exact amount for which they have taken over the project, Uppal Group CEO, Rumneek Bawa, informed TNS that the estimated cost of construction of the project would be Rs 35 crore.

This is the second project of the Uppal Group in the city. It may be noted that they had recently taken a 5.4 acre chunk of land in Manimajra for over Rs 108 crore in an auction. The group plans to construct high end luxury apartments -Uppals Marble Arch- here, at a cost of Rs 1. 14 crore - Rs 1. 31 crore. The construction of the apartments commenced today.

The “Bhoomi pujan” at the mall site was also performed today. Speaking to TNS, he said that the mall would have 1.44 lakh square feet of retail space. “This will be one of the tallest buildings in the city. The building will have a glass facade, 344 feet frontage and will have a clear visibility to all stores. The building will also have a food court, besides four state-of-art-auditoriums and a 53-ft high atrium.

The building will be earth-quake resistant. The fifth floor will have a multiplex, and we have tied up with PVR Group for the multiplex, which will have 1000 seats,” he said.

The Centra Mall is coming up in place of Pasco Automobiles after the Chandigarh Administration had allowed change of land use. The mall, a family entertainment centre, was being promoted by Pasco Real Estates, till the Uppal Group stepped in and took over the project.

Keeping in mind that most commercial areas in Chandigarh have an external verandah, the architects have chosen to give an edge atrium instead of a regular central atrium to the building.

The building will have panels of cold cathode red lighting running along the glass facade that is recharged by the sunlight and emits a reddish hue at night.

The family entertainment centre aims to provide an all-round leisure and retail experience to the residents in an ecologically sound and responsible manner.



Biz Clips

Campaign: Pepsi has launched a unique promotional campaign in the entire region, involving a search for “Bubbly”. By way of this unique campaign called “Talaash Bubbly ki”, a team from Pepsi will be going around various houses in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar. If the residents are found drinking Pepsi, or have stocked 2 litres of Pepsi at home, they get to win exciting prizes like diamond pendants, home theatres, microwave ovens, dinner sets, cassettes etc. — TNS

SONG DOWNLOAD: Hutch today introduced an innovative service ‘full song download’. Hutch along with Hungama Mobile, Filmkraft and T-Series announced the music premiere of the forthcoming blockbuster ‘Krissh’ through this service. This service provides Hutch customers downloads of full songs across many categories like Bollywood, International, Indipop and Regional hits. Starting from May 15, this service will be available to Hutch postpaid and prepaid customers across all circles (except Maharashtra and Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala). — TNS


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