C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Doctors’ stir now mass movement
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Inqalab zindabad — the two words synonymous with India’s Independence struggle today found echo at the Sector 17 piazza where the issue of reservation finally moved out of hospitals to reach out to the common man and snowball into a people’s movement.

The anti-reservation rally turned out to be a people’s meeting, just like the organisers had planned and expected it to be.

While the day saw an almost complete “medical bandh” in the city, the evening witnessed a gathering of hundreds of “concerned citizens” condemning reservation in one voice. The speakers at the rally even gave a clarion call for a revolution to throw out politicians dividing society on the basis of caste.

The public at the venue pledged to break barriers of caste that divide society and launch a crusade against the government’s proposed reservation policy. There were doctors and there were lawyers, traders and professionals, students and parents, organised groups and individuals.

Even little Aditi Thakur, a Class V student at a local school, came charged to protest against reservation as she sat flanked by her parents.

“We have discussed the issue at home over and over again. We are here to express our solidarity with the medicos because our children will bear the brunt of the reservation. The proposal has to be shot down and it can’t happen if we sit in our homes”, Mr Pawan Thakur, a civil engineer and Aditi’s father, said.

Students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, led by their head boy Archit Dhir and head girl Charu Sharma, holding placards, banners and posters against reservation were equally perturbed on the issue. “Human Resource and Development Minister Arjun Singh needs to be shown the door for even proposing such a policy. The government is no better since it is playing a mute spectator despite protests”, said Purnima and Sukoon Bablani, both students of Class XI.

Punjab Engineering College students also extended support by attending the rally after their exam got over. “A white coat and a stethoscope doesn’t make a doctor. It is the confidence and hardwork that makes a doctor. With reservation and quotas, quality doctors will become practically extinct”, remarked an agitated Sajag Bhardwaj.

The general secretary of the Chandigarh Medical Representatives Association, Mr Ajay Sharma, too, minced no words in rejecting the quota system. “Reservation is not a game — you can have it one day and roll it back another day. It’s a compromise with quality and if our doctors are hurt, we are hurt. We are prepared to go to any extent for their cause”, he stated.

A resident doctor of the PGI, Dr Hariharah, held up a placard saying “How about 50 per cent reservation in the Army, the cricket team and politics”, another poster questioned “What decides me — my birth or my worth” and still another said “Disease knows no caste, politicians do”.

Groups from Indira Gandhi medical College, Shimla, Guru Ram Das Dental College, Amritsar, Sunam Dental College, Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, students and interns from Nalagarh’s medical institute, NIMA, NIPER, IMTECH, the Chandigarh Medical Representatives Association (CMRA), the General Category Welfare Federation, traders of the Sector 22 and 17 markets, pitched in to make the rally a success.

The rally, organised by the Youth for Equality, a platform to fight against reservation, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the doctors’ struggle as people joined hands and extended their whole-hearted support.


  • OPDs at PGI were suspended by the faculty for a couple of hours to express solidarity with the resident doctors.
  • Elective surgeries at hospitals were cancelled.
  • Khayali Saharan of the Laughter Challenge fame entertained the crowd at the rally.
  • Shopkeepers of the Sector 22 market closed down their shops for some time in support of the cause.
  • President of the Vyapar Sadan, Mr Arvind Jain, suggested the setting up of a fund to meet the expenses of the agitation and announced Rs 11,000 as the first contribution.



Lax PU leaves CET aspirants shocked
Test rescheduled for June 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
It was a rude shock in place of a question paper that 8,540 students, who had come to the city from across the region to take the Common Entrance Test, received this morning.

They were informed 10 minutes before the exam that the entrance test had been cancelled. The exam has now been rescheduled for June 17, according to the Controller of Examinations, Panjab University, Mr Sodhi Ram. He said: “The time and venue for the exam will remain unchanged.”

According to Mr Sodhi Ram, the exam was cancelled as the question papers could not reach the university due to an accident of the vehicle carrying these. “Consequently, we are constrained to postpone all papers scheduled for today under CET-2006.”

The authorities remained tightlipped about the destination from where the question papers were to come. They only disclosed that the papers had been outsourced and the job was given to a firm. Citing secrecy, the name of the firm was kept under tight wraps.

According to rules, the university should receive the question papers 24 hours before the exam. However, even though the university had failed to receive the question papers till Friday evening, it did not consider it prudent to announce the cancellation of the exam yesterday evening.

Addressing a press conference later in the day, Mr Sodhi Ram said they were hopeful till the last minute about receiving the question papers and, therefore, did not want to “upset the exam schedule”.

He assured that complete arrangements would be made for the PU O-CET (other common entrance test) scheduled for May 26. “We will ensure that this is not repeated,” he said.

A few students were told that the fresh date of the examination would be announced soon, while others were informed that it was June 1. Parents and students could then be seen sweating it out in the sun to convince the authorities to change the date as it was clashing with the AIIMS entrance test. A fresh date of June 17 was finally announced later in the evening. Also adding to the chaos were major traffic jams outside colleges as students tried to leave the examination centres.

Harassed students and parents protested against the “irresponsible attitude” of the university. They alleged that no official was present at the examination centres to announce the cancellation. Furthermore, the notices put up at examination centres were not signed by any official and more than one notice put up, which were contradictory in content.

The Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) led a protest to the Controller of Examinations and also submitted a memorandum of the students to the Vice-Chancellor.

Alleging laxity by the examination branch, they said they would hold a dharna against the improper functioning of the examination branch.



PU cancels exam at last moment
Vice-Chancellor orders inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Amidst chaos and confusion Panjab University (PU) cancelled the Common Entrance Test scheduled to be held today. The exam has now been re-scheduled for June 17, according to the Controller of Examinations, Mr. Sodhi Ram. He said, "the time and venue for the papers will remain unchanged".

As a result of the P.U mismanagement of the exam, thousands of students who arrived in the city to take the entrance test early today morning from far of places were inconvenienced.

The sudden cancellation led to several rumours, including one that suggests 'paper leakage' to be the reason for the cancellation. Though this was later ruled out by the Controller of Examinations, who said that the exam was cancelled "due to an accident of the vehicle carrying the questions papers, which could not reach the university. Consequently, we are constrained to postpone all the papers scheduled for today under CET-2006."

However, even though the university had failed to receive the question papers 24 hours before the exam that was scheduled to start at 8:30 am, (which according to rules its should) it did not consider it prudent to announce the cancellation of the exam yesterday evening.

Had the university been a little more reactive, it would not have caused inconvenience to a large number of students. The university officials said they were hopeful till the last minute about receiving the question papers and therefore, they did not want to "upset the exam schedule"

A final decision to cancel the rest of the papers scheduled for the day was taken after a meeting of all the officials of the examination branch at 9: 30 am. However, it was only an hour later that the waiting students were informed.

In all, 8540 students were to appear for the entrance exam today across 30 centers in the city for admission to various courses of MBBS, BAMS, BHMS, BDS, BSc Honours, B Pharmacy and BA LLB (Five year) courses being taught at various colleges and teaching departments of the university. Students had come from far of places and many had even for gone other entrance exams that scheduled for today to appear for the PU CET.

Harassed students and parents were agitated at the university's attitude which most of them termed as "lax and indifferent". They alleged that no official was present at the examination centers to announce the cancellation. Furthermore, the notices put up at the various examination centers were neither signed by any official and more than one notice put up was contradictory in content. Another stated that the cancellation was due to "heavy rains" while another stated that it was because of "vehicle breakdown" and a fresh date would be announced. Such notices only added to the chaos.

"I have come here all the way from Jodhpur and it was only at 8:20 that we were told there is no paper. No official is here to help us or inform us of why it has been cancelled and when will it be held next," stated Vaibhav Nev from Jodhpur.

Meanwhile, Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, PU, has ordered a one-man inquiry to look into the reasons for today's serious lapse. Prof. K.K. Bajaj, former Controller of Examinations and Dean of Colleges, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, will conduct this inquiry and submit his report within 72 hours to the Vice-Chancellor.

Talking to TNS Prof Pathak stated he was informed at 6.30 a.m. that the truck which was carrying the question papers has not reached the university. "I was informed at 6:30 am, I immediately asked the officials concerned to announce the cancellation of the exam, I have ordered an inquiry.", he said.



Warrants in hand, cops fail to nail garment theft co-accused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The Chandigarh Police today procured arrest warrants against Ms Jaspal Kaur Bhattal, an alleged co-accused in the Sector 17 garment theft case, and conducted raids on her Sector 8 residence. However, she was not traceable.

Though the application for arrest warrants had been moved a few days ago, a local court allowed the application today, said sources.

Following investigations by the police, Ms Bhattal, along with Ms Harneet Singh, wife of the Deputy Mayor, had been booked under Sections 380 and 34 of the IPC.

Counsel for Ms Bhattal told Chandigarh Tribune that they would apply for anticipatory bail at an appropriate time as it was pressure tactics of the police.

A police official said there was no need to seek arrest warrants against Ms Harneet as she had been granted interim bail by the Additional District and Session Judge, Mr R.S. Baswana, and directed to join police investigation. The sources said so far the women had not joined police investigation and were waiting for May 23, the day when the application of the police is scheduled to be heard by the Additional District and Session Judge, Mr B.K. Mehta.

Meanwhile, following a protest from the Congress leadership regarding the name of the Deputy Mayor’s wife being dragged into the theft case, the Chandigarh Administration had directed the SSP to submit a detailed report on the outcome and progress of the investigations. The report has already been submitted.

During a reception party of the son of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, which was held recently in Delhi, a delegation of Congress leaders had met the Minister of State for Home, demanding a fair probe into the mater and had alleged biased role of the Chandigarh Police.



Draft plan for airport cleared

Chandigarh, May 20
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has cleared the draft plan for expansion of Chandigarh Airport, sources said here today. The Administration has started the process of finalising the drawings of the project. — TNS



passing thru

Dr Shobha Sehgal, Chief Technical Officer, Beauty Services, VLCC, Gurgaon
Dr Shobha Sehgal, Chief Technical Officer, Beauty Services, VLCC, Gurgaon

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The stressful life of the working class along with extreme and harsh weather conditions as well as pollution are the main culprits.

What is the cure for summer woes?

Keep the skin hydrated and supple by consuming lots of liquids like water, juices and watermelons.

What are the main problems that afflict the Indian skin?

People have become more conscious of their looks. Any blemish, a wrinkle on the forehead, laugh lines, crows feet, pigmentation, rashes, tans and they head to experts for treatment.

Even men?

Definitely, they are also as vain as women. There has been a 25 per cent rise in our men’s clientele over the past one year.

Any new techniques of treatment?

We have begun advanced treatments at VLCC. The research has been conducted in French laboratories. The therapies include lipo-lift contour, aroma-sensitive, sebo control, botu-like, skin hormone resource, supreme DHE-age and white perfect.

Are there any side-effects?

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— Harvinder Khetal



Dardi releases 2 books on his historic plays
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Gurcharan Dardi has a mission — that of advancing Punjabi theatre to the last possible limit. Engaged in the task of building an audience for Punjabi drama, the playwright and actor has now decided to document some of his finest literature for posterity.

Two of his many revered productions — “Singh Surme” and “Rishta lahoo te maas da” — were released in the shape of books this evening. The books are the latest additions to the playwright’s existing literary corpus of seven books, also based on his plays. The two new books have been published by Raghbir Prakashan. They have, however, been published later than expected, as the playwright admits: “My earlier publishers had no sense of commitment and they squandered a lot of my resources. I had to finally pull the novel off their press and seek an appointment with fresh publishers.”

But as is said, it is never too late for purposeful works. And the two books released today are constructive in many senses of the word. The first one “Singh Surme” has seen many a rough weather as it got embroiled in a court case when it was to be staged for the first time in Chandigarh some years ago. The point of controversy was two significant characters of Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Mehtab Singh were being played by Hindu actors Anil Gupta and Ashok Bali, respectively.

The controversy, however, got cleared sooner than it had arisen, and the play got the permission to be staged in Chandigarh. It later travelled abroad under the direction of Gurkirtan Chauhan. What’s new about the production is its new director — Gurcharan Dardi this time. “We are refashioning the script to add a global appeal,” says Dardi, whose second published work “Rishta Lahoo te maas da” is equally absorbing for the pathos it evokes.

Centred on 1984 riots and the playwright’s perspectives on the issue, the play had, in times of its enactment, generated tremendous response. It pricked the conscience of people and inspired fresh debate. For Dardi, that was the real reward for the production which has finally been captured in words.

While tirelessly writing new plays, Dardi also manages to finds time to act. He has featured in some of the finest films made in recent times including “Train to Pakistan”, “Des Hoya Pardes”, “Shaheed-e-Mohabbat” and “Baagi”. The latest acting credit under Dardi’s belt is a role in Raj Babbar-produced “Maharaja Ranjit Singh”.

Dardi plays the role of misl leader Jai Singh Kanhaiya in the serial.



CPUJ conference on May 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) will hold its fourth state annual conference at Hotel Shivalik View here on May 23.

Mr Vinod Kohli, president of the union, said that 700 journalists from Punjab and Chandigarh would attend the conference. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would be the chief guest and his counterpart from Haryana, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, would preside over the function. The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, would be the guest of honour.

Mr Suresh Aukhori , president of the Indian Journalists Union, and Ms Sabina Inderjit, Asia's representative in the International Federation of Journalists, would also attend the conference.

Mr Kohli said that on this occasion an insurance policy with a cover of Rs 22.55 crore for 700 journalists would be launched for 2006-07 by Capt Amarinder Singh.



BJP holds demonstration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Workers of the BJP, led by Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, today held a demonstration at Matka Chowk, and courted arrest to protest against the Congress government in Punjab for not releasing water to the city from the fourth phase of Kajauli waterworks.

Around 500 BJP workers courted arrest today.

The party workers first gathered at the Municipal Corporation office in Sector 17, before marching towards Matka Chowk.

Addressing the party workers, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, said a meeting of the state BJP would be held wherein a decision regarding the further action would be taken.



Car rally on Pulse Polio

Mohali, May 20
In order to create awareness among the public regarding the Pulse Polio campaign, a car rally was organised by the local Rotary Club and the Mohali Industries Association ( MIA) here today.

The rally was flagged off by Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh and was received by Sandeep Hans SDM. The cars had banners on them saying that polio drops would be given tomorrow. OC



BJP to launch stir
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 20
Alleging “favouritism” by the presiding officer, who is also Sub-Divisional Magistrate, in the election to the local Municipal Council chief, leaders of the district unit of the BJP today held a meeting and decided to launch a protest in front of the Mini-Secretariat from Monday.

Meanwhile, the local Citizens Welfare Association has expressed concern over discontent among the councillors regarding election to the post of MC president. Mr S.K. Nayar, president of the association, said infighting among the councillors had affected the development of the city. 



Governor’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Gen S.F. Rodrigues, (retd), UT Administrator, today called upon the people to administer polio drops to every child up to the age of five years tomorrow.

He said all NGOs and government functionaries must join hands in this movement to educate the people, especially the poor segments of society, to participate in the polio eradication effort, a press note said.

He said no polio case had been detected in the UT since October 2002.



New game show on Sahara One

Chandigarh, May 20
Channel Sahara One has launched a new game show “Sirf Ek Minute Mein”. The show is telecast from Monday to Thursday at 7.30 pm.

The show that offers loads of prizes to the participants will be hosted by Aryan Vaid, who returns to television after more than a decade. Mini Mathur will be the co-host. TNS



Panchkula trader shot at
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 20
A Sector 9-based trader was shot at point blank by two unidentified youths while he, along with his wife and a close friend, was going to his residence on foot in Sector 4 late last night.

The victim, Mr Vikas Garg, owner of a department store, sustained bullet injuries in his abdomen and collapsed at the spot. The assailants snatched a bag from him and sped away.

Hearing shrieks of Ms Sonia, wife of Vikas, and their friend, Ms Poonam, residents of the locality assembled at the spot and took the injured to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

“The robbery seemed to be pre-planed as the assailants had deflated tyres of our car. We shut the shop and walked to our car. Finding its tyres punctured, we left for our home on foot. After chasing us a long distance, the assailants, who were riding a motor cycle, snatched the bag containing cash from Mr Garg and sped away after shooting at him. Interestingly, they took away a bag sans money”, claimed Ms Sonia.

The doctors retrieved the bullet from the body and handed it overt to the police.

The police has sent it to Madhuban Forensic Laboratory.

Mr Garg is said to be out of danger.

A case of attempt to murder with intention of robbery has been registered. 



Two booked for inter-state liquor smuggling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The special crime investigating cell of the Chandigarh Police today claimed to have busted an organised network of inter-state smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh to Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The modus operandi on the smugglers was to transport liquor in trucks under fake documents. A spokesman for the cell said on a tip-off, a truck was stopped at 3.55 am in Mani Majra. Liquor had been hidden in boxes meant for storing apples. To confuse the police, the driver showed documents which indicated that apples were being transported to Jalgaon, Maharashtra.

A search revealed different brands of liquor worth Rs 4 lakh were being smuggled. The driver and the cleaner of the truck have been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, IPC and under the Excise Act.

Meanwhile, the traffic police during a naka last night, arrested a Panipat-based resident for possessing 40 cases of countrymade liquor and in another case, a Sector 34 resident was found possessing a .12 bore gun and 23 cartridges without permission.



Minor girl abducted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
A minor girl was allegedly abducted by Sukhwinder, a resident of Sham Nagar, here today.

According to the police, the girl, along with her elder sister, had gone to school. When she did not return, a search operation was launched. It was learnt that her neighbour Sukhwinder was also missing.

In the meantime, the father of the girl lodged a complaint with the police which spotted Sukhwinder’s scooter near the Narwana branch canal.

A case has been registered.



Police round up 3
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 20
The police today rounded up three persons, including two women, for questioning on a suspicion that they were involved in flesh trade here.

It is learnt that the police raided a house on getting information from a resident and took the three to the Phase I police station for questioning.

Residents of the area alleged that a number of young girls and men visited the house often and this had been going on for the past many months.

According to the police, a middle aged employee, with the Punjab School Education Board had employed a girl as domestic help. The other woman was her mother and had come here in connection with a court case. The police said the information was baseless and nobody was coming on record to make a statement.



Villager run over by vehicle
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 20
A 40-year-old resident of Kot village was crushed to death after being hit by an unidentified vehicle on the Panchkula-Naraingarh road late last night.

According to the police, the victim Roshan Lal was crossing the road when some vehicle knocked him down. He succumbed to injuries after being rushed to hospital.

The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination. The police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving.



Bank approves housing loan scheme
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 20
The Board of Directors of Panchkula Central Cooperative Bank today held a meeting and approved a urban housing loan scheme.

Mr Om Parkash Rana, Chairman of the board, said the scheme would be implemented soon. Loans would be available to almost all categories of borrowers for the construction of new houses, purchase of existing houses and flats, purchase of residential plots, payment of plot instalments in addition to the payment of earnest money of HUDA plots.

Processing fees and pre-payment charges have been done away with. The bank has also approved an exclusive branch office in Panchkula for the purpose.


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